With travelling off the menu for a while and no opportunity to taste different foods abroad, the owner of an artisan food platform is encouraging people to embark on a food and drink adventure at home.
Taking part in MeltedInside.com founder Candy Bowles’ triple challenge during January will involve trying a whole variety of artisan-made foods, drinks and taste sensations from the comfort of your own home. She is also encouraging people to make a New Year’s resolution to eat a better diet with more quality, flavours and stories.
Veganuary, Dry January or both?
Candy says it’s admirable to take part in Veganuary and also Dry January but taking part in both, with the additional focus of buying more from artisans, will make the challenge bring real health benefits.
Candy explains: “Why not go the whole hog in January – without involving any hogs of course – and do something that will not only be good for you, but it will give you the opportunity to explore and discover new foods and recipes while supporting our amazing artisan makers.”
According to Candy, the range of vegan food has exploded such as cheese made from cashew nuts by Artisan Raw. Their roquefort with spirulina looks and tastes like the real thing. There is also plant-based ricotta from Palace Culturethat will tantalise your taste buds. Candy believes non-vegans sometimes miss out on the many delicious options just because they are deterred by the ‘Vegan” label.
On www.meltedinside.com there are more than 300 vegan food and drink items to tempt you. You can stock up your cupboards with savoury sauces such as tomato and basil sauce from Bay Kitchen and marinades like this jerk one from Big Deez that you can add to vegan pasta or your favourite vegetables. A new tomato ketchup on the platform is made by Wonderchup. As well as being vegan, it contains no added sugars or salt.
Try a little soup or quick snack
Soup is great to have on hand if you don’t feel like cooking or need a quick lunch. The Bay Kitchen produces some tasty vegan soups which are also IBS and gut friendly. Flavours include parsnip and rosemary. It’s also nice to have some relishes on hand like the ones made by The Wonky Food Company whose team makes great-tasting products using imperfect, surplus fruit and veg. A particular favourite is their zesty lime relish.
Quick meals include star restaurant standard, mouth-watering vegan pastas. Makers include La Tua Pasta whose ravioli fillings include peas and shallots, to the gourmet Vegan Wild Mushroom & Caramelised Onion Ravioli by RaviOllie. Best of all you can have a nutritious meal in under five minutes.
For savoury snacks try some of the dips from ChicP like this Herby Hummus made from imperfect vegetables. Nuts are incredibly nutritious so make sure you stock up with a few items from the tasty and very moreish range by Cajuu.
Something for the sweet tooth?
Nut butters are becoming very popular and are useful to have in the pantry to spread on a bagel or add to home-made muffins and energy balls. Jake’s Boost has come up with Cacao Boost Organic Nut and Seed Butter that is a simple, nutritious combination of peanuts, cacao nibs and chia seeds which tastes rich and chocolately.
When you want to satisfy those cravings for something sweet there is a wealth of choice such as Organic Strawberry Coconut Bites and organic Passionfruit Coconut Macaroons from Nourish, – Grow Cook and Enjoy.
If you fancy trying treats with a South American link then the Miss Apple Mini Bakery offers amazing vegan Brazillian truffles. Or gluten free master baker Davina Steel has developed an amazing recipe for Gluten Free Iced Carrot Cake Shortbread bites
Alternatively fill your kitchen with wonderful home-baking smells using one of the organic cake mixes from Superfood Bakery.
Sip something different
When you’ve hidden your alcoholic drinks out of sight for the month, it’s a chance to try some delicious drinks that will do you good like kefir water. Flor de Madre produces a natural, live lemonade/ginger beer called Agua de Madrewhich is naturally sparkling, unfiltered and not too sweet.
Or Jasmine Sparkling Tea from Saicho might convert you to give up the prosecco and switch to alcohol-free drinks forever. Punchy Drinks has developed amazing soft drinks with quirky names like the Holiday Romance Peach Ginger Chai designed to remind you of good times with friends and transport you back to a special place.
If you are feeling creative, you could make your own amazing tonic water using one of the kits supplied by Montgomery Donald’s Proper Drinks Co. The flavours include Lavenderlicious and take 24 hours to make, so you will need to plan ahead a little.
Making January challenges more of a pleasure
Candy added: “Take our challenge in January and go on a real food and drink adventure. There are so many wonderful new foods and drinks being created by artisan makers. Faced with their own challenges, many of our makers had to develop their products because of intolerances and others couldn’t drink alcohol but still wanted something interesting to drink.
“We’re so pleased to have so many ‘free-from’ food and drinks on the platform and give people a huge choice compared to the limited range you normally find in most supermarkets. Before they buy, our shoppers can read stories about the makers and the passion behind their products.”
Candy launched Melted Inside during lockdown to offer people a greater choice of lovingly made products during a time of isolation and social distancing.
“Working with the artisan makers is proving a wonderful experience. Their passion and commitment to what they do is simply inspiring and humbling. This realisation helps me appreciate what they make even more and the stories of many of our makers are just fascinating,” she added.