Discovering the Wonders of Organic Food with the #OrganicUnboxed Challenge

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between organic and non-organic food? This month marks Organic September, which means it's the perfect time to showcase the benefits of incorporating Organic food into your lifestyle for not only yourself and your family but also for the animals we eat and the environment! 

The #OrganicUnboxed Challenge was inspired by one of my favourite nutrition bloggers Madeleine Shaw and I'm so pleased to be joining her in promoting the many benefits of going organic. Take a look at this video and see what she creates for the mystery challenge :

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So Fabulous Foodie, what exactly is organic food? 

Organic food is food that is grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. Just reading that list freaks me out a little!

How does it affect the environment?

The intensive agriculture of normal farming can cause soil erosion and chemicals to mix into water systems. This means that some weeds and insects become resistant to herbicides and pesticides. Organic farms are helping wildlife too. According to the Soil Association, there are 50% more wildlife on organic farms and organic food is produced with natural fertilisers from plants, less energy and more respect for the animals that provide it. Organic meat is free range too which means that the animals are able to live 

For Organic September, I was sent a box of organic ingredients in order to raise awareness about the benefits of using organic produce. The #OrganicUnboxed campaign is spreading the news nationwide in the U.K through creating a selection of personal recipes using ONLY the organic ingredients in the box. I'm going to show you the healthy and delicious recipes I made and whether they tasted any different! 

Unboxing the mystery ingredients!

There was a fantastic variety of organic brands in the box such as Clearspring, Yeo Valley, Daylesford Farm, Olive, John Hurd's, Haygrove, Seed & Bean, Doves Farm, SO Organic range from Sainsbury's, Mr Organic and more! Some brands I recognised, others were a treat to newly discover.

Recipe 1: A Japanese twist on a Chicken roast using Miso paste as a broth with onions
 

You will need

  • SO Organic Onion chopped into slices (3)
  • Organic Red Miso Paste that can be used for broths or soups
  • One Organic Fresh Chicken from Daylesford Farms in Gloucestershire
  • Clearspring Organic Soy Sauce

Method

This is simple recipe of slow-cooking the chicken so it can absorb all of the fresh flavours of the onion and miso paste in its broth and then be glazed in soy sauce and left to rest before coming out of the cooking pot. I noticed an immediate difference is size, amount of meat and how succulent the organic chicken is to the regular chicken breasts I usually purchase. 
 

  1. Get a large pot of water boiling
  2. Chop up the onions and place in the water with some seasoning for 3-4 minutes
  3. Add 3 heaped tablespoons of miso paste to the pot, stir and let simmer for 4 minutes
  4. Slowly lower the chicken into the pot, cover with a lid and let boil for 45 minutes on a low heat
  5. After 45 minutes, add 4 tablespoons of soy sauce to the pot and turn of the heat. 
  6. Let the chicken rest in the water under the cover for another 10 minutes and then remove from the stock and carve up!

Recipe 2: Courgette Sliders

You will need

  • 2 Fresh, Organic Courgettes [Zucchinis]
  • 2 handfuls of Organic Closed Cop Mushrooms [Olive Mushrooms, Chewsbury Farms]
  • 6 SO Organic Potatoes [Lady Balfour range from Sainsbury's]
  • 125g of Yeo Valley Organic Butter
  • 1 Organic Lime
  • Clearspring Organic Soy Sauce
  • John Hurd's Traditionally Bunched Organic Watercress [to decorate]

Method

I'm a huge fan of pepper and courgette sliders as they're so easy to make and I love coming up with my own fillings! For this recipe, I chose to use the organic Lady Dalfour range potatoes from Sainsbury's to make a mash infused with sautéed mushrooms and soy sauce for a kick. 
 

  1. Slice the courgette down the middle and use a tablespoon to scrape out the middle. [Place the middle aside to use later]
  2. Peel the potatoes (I prefer to place mine in warm water for 10 minutes beforehand as it's easier to peel them) and then boil in a pan for 15 minutes until soft to a fork press.
  3. Take the potatoes out of the pan, place through a strainer and place in a bowl with the butter and mash until soft.
  4. Chop up around two handfuls of closed cup or button mushrooms into small pieces and cook in a pan with a small knob of butter for 10 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms to mash potato and stir in. Then add two tablespoons of soy sauce and mix.
  6. With a tablespoon, add the mash mix to the courgette as a filling. After this, you may choose to bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes or eat with the courgette raw. Decorate by sprinkling with watercress and a squeeze of half a lime.

Recipe 3: Wholemeal Organic Raspberry and Strawberry Summer Baskets

You will need

  • Organic Fine Plain English Wholemeal Flour
  • Yeo Valley Organic Plain Yoghurt
  • One handful of Organic Strawberries and one handful of Raspberries [Haygrove farms]
  • 1/2 Packet of Seed & Bean Organic Dark Chocolate
  • Rolling Pin

Method

These tarts were to DIE for. I'd never baked tarts with wholemeal organic flour before; but the combination of fresh yoghurt with fruit and chocolate was incredible. My mum had to have two! [Result!] I also love how they're a healthier option to filling the tartes with a chocolate ganache. The drizzle of organic dark chocolate on top was the perfect finish.
 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/ Gas 6.
  2. Add 50g of the organic wholemeal flour to 30g of softened organic butter, add 3 tblespoons of water and kneed into a ball
  3. Cover the ball in a bowl with clingfilm and set aside for 30 minutes
  4. Flour a clean surface and roll the dough out with a rolling pin to get roughly a 4mm thickness
  5. Use some of the butter to grease a cupcake baking tray
  6. Place each quarter into the cupcake tray carefully, making sure that you mould the sides with your fingers incase the dough brakes. Cut off extra strips around the side with a knife.
  7. Bake the pastry for 20 minutes at 180C and let cool for 15 minutes.
  8. Fill the pastry baskets with 2 spoonfuls of organic plain flour, some fresh raspberries and strawberries.
  9. Melt the organic dark chocolate for one minute in the microwave, stirring halfway.
  10. With a tablespoon, drizzle the melted chocolate back and forth over the fruit baskets.

Recipe 3: Green Pea & Quinoa Pasta, Organic Tomatoes, Organic Strawberries

You will need

  • 2 Cups of Organic Green Pea & Quinoa Pasta [or alternatively Organic Quinoa Pasta] 
  • 3 Organic Tomatoes
  • One handful of Organic Strawberries [Haygrove farms]
  • Fresh Organic Watercress
  • 1/2 a lime to squeeze

Method

We're waving goodbye to the summer here in the U.K. but that doesn't mean we need say goodbye to summer salads. This is packed with colourful vegetables and I've even thrown in some of the strawberries as I'm a huge fan of strawberries with balsamic vinegar in salads. The Green Pea & Quinoa Organic pasta is a great base for this salad and cooks in just under five minutes. 

  1. This salad's an easy one - boil some water for the pasta, cook for 5 minutes and drain.
  2. Chop up the veggies, place into a bowl, add the pasta, drizzle with lime and serve with the roast chicken and courgette slider!
     

The final result - what a feast!

I served up the dishes to my family and friends with a glass of the French Organic wine to accompany. As you can see I also used some organic black beans from Mr Organic in another courgette slider with mushrooms! I used the broth from the miso paste as a gravy for the fresh Daylesford chicken and mash. The food tasted much fresher than non-organic and really marked a special occasion shared with loved ones. I've never had difficult locating organic produce in supermarkets; but really the best way to eat organic food is to source it from farmers' markets. We're very lucky to have so many of these in London to choose from and to have so much choice towards a healthier and more sustainable way of life.

To find out more about #OrganicUK take a look at their website:

#OrganicUnboxed with Madeleine Shaw

Organic UK Facebook

Organic UK Twitter

Organic UK Instagram

Please note that this post was sponsored to celebrate the wonders of organic cooking alongisde Organic UK