How to make every meal awesome

Condiments. A random way to start a sentence yes, but condiments are the key to making every meal awesome. True story! What I found when researching the history of condiments (honestly, my nerdiness knows no bounds) is that they date back to Ancient civilisations. Who knew they’d been around so long?! Historically, condiments were used to enhance the flavour of a meal due to few preservation techniques being available and foodΒ spoilageΒ being rife. Food spoilage is less of an issue these days of course but we don’t seem to have let that stop our love affair with them and they continue to adorn our tables. And why not? They are delicious….. although not always nutritious when store-bought.

I’d always loved throwing a bit of mustard, hot sauce or tomato sauce (ketchup) on things to brighten them up and never really thought much more about it. When I found I had Ankylosing Spondylitis though, I scrutinised every single thing I bought and condiments soon fell off my shopping list. Aside from the fact they tend to contain quite a bit of sugar (1/3 of the bottle in some ketuchups!!), other ingredients can also be far from wholesome (I’m now thinking of an awesome Tex Perkins concert I went to – Far from Folsom πŸ˜€). That was a very bland period in my life for many reasons, but mostly I was re-learning lessons on food. After having a very Western diet and not really caring about what I ate, re-learning to look at food as a tool to nourish can be a daunting task. So I ate raw salads (with no dressing – blah), fruit, a few well-cooked legumes and not much else. Enter Holly Davis and Jude Blereau….

Many years ago now I signed up to my first cooking class with Holly and Jude (there have been many since) and they almost instantaneously re-ignited my love of condiments. This time it was the home-made variety and as I came to learn they are packed to the brim with nutrient dense ingredients, which truly does make them an excellent addition to any meal. They can also turn leftovers into something pretty special so you should ALWAYS have a fridge full of them… I definitely doΒ πŸ˜€

The definition of condiments seems to vary greatly and can include salt and pepper (seasonings in my book) right through to herbs, spices, sauces and some beverages like tea and coffee. Can’t say I’ve ever used coffee as a condiment but I’d be open to it! My definition of condiments is mostly sauces / spreads and I’ve listed below five of my favourites. Three recipes are mine and the other two will take you over to a couple I use from other sites because I love them and feel no need to change a thing!

So, whether you’re a long time condiment lover or haven’t really given them a second thought…. I hope one of these will take your fancy. Give store bought varieties the flick and stick with the nutrient dense kind….. they’ll love you back πŸ˜‰

Chimichurri
chimichurri
Chimichurri is perfect for meat dishes although I’ve had it on plenty of veg or used it to spruce up a salad or two as well. I’ve gone with a non-traditional apple cider vinegar in this recipe because I was out of red-wine vinegar one day and used it as a substitute and now prefer it!

Ingredients

  • Β½Β cup coriander (leaves only)
  • Β½Β cup continental parsley (leaves only)
  • Β½ – 1 tsp chili flakes or Β½ red chili
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (can be left out for a low FODMAPs version)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 100ml olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Add herbs, chilli and garlic (if using) to a blender and whizz until well chopped
  2. Add the apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and blend again to combine
  3. Scrape down the sides of the blender then put it on a medium speed and slowly add in the olive oil. Leave to blend for about one minute
  4. Store in a jar in the fridge

For those who are low FODMAPs try half garlic infused olive oil and half plain olive oil

Mayonnaise
mayonnaise
This one takes a bit of elbow grease but it’s worth it! I love to dip carrots in this mayonnaise or have it on top of baked veg. The trick to a good mayonnaise that doesn’t split is adding the olive oil very slowly and whisking vigorously.

Ingredients

  • 1 organic egg yolk
  • Β½ clove garlic crushedΒ (can omit for a low FODMAPs version)
  • Β½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60ml olive oil

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, add the egg yolk, garlic (if using), mustard, apple cider vinegar and salt then whisk to combine.
  2. Start adding in the oil but DO THIS SLOWLY! Add in one teaspoon of oil then whisk vigorously. Add another teaspoon and do the same. Keep doing this until all the oil has been incorporated and the mayonnaise has thickened
  3. Store in a jar in the fridge

For those who are low FODMAPs try half garlic infused olive oil and half plain olive oil

Pesto
pesto
All I need with pesto is a teaspoon. I love this so much it’s almost like other foods are not needed! However, it does taste divine on black bean spaghetti, roasted vegetables, as a salad dressing or even as a dip. Basically, use it for everything!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Tbsp Parmesan, finely grated (I like 2, my husband likes 3 😐)
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large bunch basil (1.5 cups packed)
  • 1 Tbsp macadamias
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100ml olive oil (have a little extra at hand in case you need more)

Directions

  1. In a blender add the macadamias, salt and garlic and whizz until well chopped (about 5 seconds)
  2. Add in a handful of basil, 1 Tbsp of parmesan, 1 Tbsp of nutritional yeast and a drizzle of oil then blend again to start forming a paste (about 10 seconds)
  3. Scrape down the sides of the blender and add in the rest of the basil, parmesan and nutritional yeast and another drizzle of olive oil. Start blending and slowly add in the remainder of the oil and keep blending until smooth. This is usually about one or two minutes for me. If you find it is too thick just drizzle in a little extra oil as needed.

  • For those who are low FODMAPs try half garlic infused olive oil and half plain olive oil
  • For a dairy free version leave out the parmesan but you will need to adjust the amount of oil you use. Start with about 60ml and slowly add more until you have a saucy/paste consistency

Nasturtium and Sumac Hot Sauce
nasturtium-hot-sauce
This is more of a lovely flavoured vinegar than super spicy sauce to me. It’s great in salads!

Fermented Hot Pepper Sauce
pepper-sauce
The spice here depends on the chillis you choose to use. I make this quite spicy and use it to replace tabasco sauce.

Resources:

Lambert, T, 2016, β€˜A Brief History of Condiments’, Local Histories, viewed 30 December 2016

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