Daniela Forbes is the owner and head chef of Love Food Catering and created the recipes for the Scottish Government’s Happier Mealtimes campaign. You can try Daniela's recipes at the Happier Mealtimes pop up food kitchen as it travels across Scotland.
Sourcing local and in season food seems like the right thing to do for most people. However we are bombarded with so many mixed messages it can be overwhelming and confusing to make the right choices when shopping for food. The Happier Mealtimes campaign champions the eating and sourcing of fresh, in-season food which is nutritious, tastes delicious and also has environmental benefits.
As a chef I get very excited about using local and in season ingredients. My starting point when developing the menu for Happier Mealtimes was to focus on affordable, easily available ingredients that can be picked up easily, be it in any supermarket, local store or farmers market that are also local and in season.
I wanted to create simple recipes that pack a punch flavour wise and that people will want to make at home. I believe any ingredient, no matter how basic, can be brought to life with a little spice here and a sprig of fresh herbs there. I also wanted the dishes to be warming and nourishing to provide a boost when the weather is still chilly outside.
For me Scotch Broth is the ultimate Scottish winter warmer. It’s a dish many of us associate with our grannies (not always a bad thing!) and it’s full of healthy and filling pearl barley, seasonal root veggies and can be made with any variety of leftover meat, especially lamb or beef. All of these ingredients are cheap and plentiful at this time of year and tucking into a steaming hot bowl - it is like getting a warm hug!
The Root Vegetable Tagine is a favourite of mine since it uses the most simple of ingredients - vegetables, chickpeas and spices to create a wonderfully aromatic and tasty meat free main. Eating more vegetables is something we all know we should do, but meat free dishes can often be bland and boring. This dish proves you can still get flavour into veggies and feel full, satisfied and like you’ve been good to yourself.
Scotland really does have some of the most delicious and amazing ingredients available, March offers limited choice when it comes to fruit. Rhubarb however is like a gift from the fruit gods (but did you know that actually, it’s a vegetable!) … I get very excited when I see the first stalks of bright pink forced rhubarb in shops. There’s so much you can do with them, but they are fantastic paired with both fresh and dried apples.
My Rhubarb and Apple Muffin is a great combo of tart rhubarb with sweet dried apple. The recipe uses less sugar and fat than standard muffins so it’s a little bit healthier too without compromising on flavour, perfect for eating on the go or packing into kids’ lunch boxes. I really do hope you enjoy tasting these dishes and give them a go at home!