Andrew Jones: 7 tips for tasty, healthy dishes

PUBLISHED: 17:07 21 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:25 22 January 2019

Spelt risotto, goats curd, grilled leek - The Dial House (photo: Simon Finlay)

Spelt risotto, goats curd, grilled leek - The Dial House (photo: Simon Finlay)


Tempting tips which turn up the taste to ten but still hit the healthy mark

Contrary to popular belief, restaurant standard flavour isn’t all about cooking with butter – unless you’re French. Don’t get me wrong I love butter, but I don’t use a lot of it in the food we cook in the restaurants.

I like flavours to pop and fats like cream and butter can dull that sensation. We look for other ways to intensify flavour at work. I’m going to share with you some nifty ways to get your food at home to tantalise your senses without worrying your waist line. Here are my home hacks for cooking off-the-hook healthy food, disguised as something deliciously naughty.

1. When cooking root vegetables, roast them slowly to allow the natural sugars to be released and caramelise. Whole beetroot roasted in their skins for three hours break down into a dense almost fudgy texture with intense flavour.

2. If you’re using a leaner cut of meat add depth of flavour to it by using rubs or glazes. Chilli heat stimulates the saliva which creates the sensation of juiciness in the mouth, it also releases endorphins in the brain which makes you feel good. Soy sauce boosts umami, the savoury flavour of roast meat, to tickle your taste buds.

3. When you make your mash try replacing butter with extra virgin rapeseed oil. The mellow nutty flavour of cold-pressed rapeseed oil works with earthy potatoes and the vibrant golden colour will give your mash a delicate yellow hue. Add the oil instead of butter when you mash the spuds and fold in a little warm milk infused with black pepper and nutmeg.

4. If you’re craving chips try home-made oven chips. Use a floury potato like maris piper or King Edward. Leave the skins on and cut them longways into wedges. Boil them in salted water until just tender, drain well and allow any excess water to steam off before dressing with extra-virgin rapeseed oil and roasting in a hot oven on a tray until crispy and golden. Before serving sprinkle with a few drops of truffle oil to up the indulgence stakes.

5. Try using vegan alternatives instead of dairy in soups. We’ve been making a vegan cauliflower and cumin soup made with coconut milk for our restaurant week menu, it’s so rich and velvety you wouldn’t know it is completely dairy-free.

6. If you’re doing a spag bol or lasagne, add a cupful of soaked red lentils halfway through cooking the ragu. The lentils will take on the flavour of the meat and after half-an-hour or so they will have broken down but have kept enough texture to provide a meaty bite.

Rice pudding

When it comes to dessert of course you still need to treat yourself. This is my super-simple, delicious and almost shame-free almond milk rice pudding.

• 110g pudding rice

• 570ml roasted almond milk

• 50g demerara sugar

• Grating of nutmeg

• 1 bay leaf

Bring all the ingredients to the boil in a pan, transfer to an oven proof dish and bake in a pre-heated oven at 160C for 60 minutes. Serve from the dish, making sure you get a bit of the skin on top with a blob of jam.


Dial H for Hacks by Andrew Jones, executive chef and joint owner of The Dial House, Reepham and Farmyard, Norwich

Latest from the EDP Norfolk Magazine