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Five Herb-Filled Dish Ideas for World Pasta Day

Five Herb-Filled Dish Ideas for World Pasta Day

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25th October is the third annual World Pasta Day – an international celebration of all things related to one of our very favourite food types.

Pasta is fantastic because it’s so very versatile, offering endless ways to get fresh herbs and other ingredients into wholesome, filling recipes. All of which can tickle the taste buds whether you prefer creamy dishes or tangy tomatoey ones.

So with that in mind, these are five of our favourite pasta dishes featuring fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Cheesy chive pasta

pasta dishes that include delicious fresh herbs

Image credit: The Feed Feed

Everybody loves a good mac n cheese, and this is like a nicer, posher version! Simply boil up a pasta of your choice and while it’s on the hob, make a thick béchamel sauce using two tablespoons of flour, two tablespoons of butter, around 240ml of a milk of your choice (we find plain soya or almond work well if your diet is non-dairy) – and add around 130g of grated cheddar to add the cheesy taste. (Go for extra mature to make it as cheesy as can be!). Then pour the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with chopped chives for that extra bit of fresh-tasting crunchiness!

Simple, quick and ever so tasty, this cheesy pasta is one of our favourite ways to use fresh herbs with pasta.

Sausage pasta bake with chorizo, basil, thyme and melted brie

the best herbs to pair with pasta

Image credit: Kitchen Sanctuary

You can’t beat a hearty pasta bake on a cold autumnal evening, and this is a delightful way to do that with two of the best herbs to pair with pasta – basil and thyme.

On top of that, in the pre-Covid times, the last week in October also used to be UK Sausage Week – so we thought we’d pay homage to that with a sausage-filled recipe you’re guaranteed to love!

Packed with bangers, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, fresh baby spinach, mozzarella, brie and of course the aforementioned fresh ingredients (there’s even a small bunch of parsley in there too!), this recipe from Kitchen Sanctuary is just a great antidote to a long workday as the nights draw in.

Vegetarians and vegans can always swap out the animal-based ingredients for alternatives, too – so everyone can enjoy this delicious dish on World Pasta Day. It’s big enough for the whole family to enjoy – or if you’re cooking for one, you can always put it in Tupperware and place it in the fridge to enjoy for the next few days.

Greek spaghetti Bolognese with dried or fresh oregano

best herby pasta dishes

Image credit: Marley Spoon

Here we have a fresh twist on a classic. You’ve almost inevitably had Bolognese before – but what about Greek Bolognese?

The twist in this recipe comes from the Baharat spice mix that includes cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg – but for our part, we also like to add a little fresh ground ginger and shredded turmeric to give things an added kick!

The Marley Spoon recipe also calls for dried oregano, but we prefer the freshly picked and packed variety. Whichever you go for, though, you’ll find this to be a rich, succulent pasta dish with a bit of zing on the tongue. Definitely one of the best herby pasta dishes we’ve tried in a long, long time.

Shrimp spaghetti aglio olio with parsley

ways to use parsley with pasta

Image credit: My food Story

It might look like a labour of love in the picture above, but with just five key ingredients (garlic, chilli flakes, shrimp, parsley and parmesan – alongside oil, salt, water, and a spaghetti of your choice), this shrimp spaghetti aglio olio can be made by anyone in around 20 minutes.

We’ve picked this particular recipe because we’re big fans of seafood – but also because it’s one of our favourite ways to use parsley with pasta. Parsley has a complex and earthy flavour that doesn’t always translate well to rustic dishes, but here it makes the whole concoction sing. Give it a go; we’re sure you’ll love it just as much as we do!

Chorizo, iberico ham and tarragon linguine

five of our favourite pasta dishes featuring fresh herbs

Image credit: Great British Chefs.

We’re finishing off our list of five pasta dishes featuring fresh herbs and ingredients with another novel twist on a classic. We promise you’ve never had a linguine quite like this before!

The long list of ingredients for this creamy, rich, cheesy pasta dish includes a juiced and zested lemon, fresh peas, shallots, garlic, parmesan, double cream and shredded turnip tops, alongside the headline ingredients named above. The tarragon adds a zingy, refreshing aniseedy taste to the dish that perfectly complements the creaminess of the sauce and cheese, and it’s all served tossed in thick, delicious linguine pasta – making for a delightfully Italian-inspired World Pasta Day. Or, indeed, any day of the week you choose to cook this on!

What will you be eating this World Pasta Day?

So those are our five suggestions for different pasta dishes that include delicious fresh herbs. Will you be making one – or perhaps rustling up your own original recipe instead?

Whatever you’re eating, we hope you #HaveAGoodPasta – and don’t forget to share your culinary creations with us on Facebook and Instagram using that very hashtag.

A plate, knife and fork on the union jack to celebrate British Food Fortnight

British Food Fortnight: Less Waste, More Taste!

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Early autumn is a fantastic time for foodies, with a ton of top food festivals to attend and two particularly prominent and long-running campaigns that will interest anyone with an interest in British cuisine or ethical food practices.

First up between 6-10 September is Zero Waste Week, an international movement now in its 14th year that encourages people to look after the planet by being more mindful of (and ultimately doing something about) the amount of food and other disposable items they throw out.

Then between 18th September – 3rd October is British Food Fortnight, an annual campaign designed to promote eating traditional British food produce, now celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Being passionate about both causes, we thought it was time to look at them in a little more depth and give you an idea of how you can get involved in them!

What is zero waste and why is it important?

The idea behind zero waste is that items which you might once have absent-mindedly decided to throw out can instead be reused in an alternative way (maybe repaired, or possibly repurposed entirely) in order to get full value from them. This extends their shelf life, lowers the amount of waste in the world, and even helps save you money.

But what is zero waste week 2021?

An illustration of two hands holding the Zero Waste Week logo with

Zero Waste Week began in September 2008 in response to a natural disaster which left founder Rachel Strauss determined to leave behind a better life for her child.

It started as a blog where she encouraged people to check what was in their fridge and track what they threw out. It’s since grown into a movement followed in over 80 countries, with the #ZeroWasteWeek hashtag shared over 56 million times on Twitter.

Why does Zero Waste Week matter?

A video on the Zero Waste Week website makes the answer to this clear:

  • Only 1% of the things we buy are still being used after six months
  • An entire third of the food produced globally is wasted. Despite this, many third-world countries still experience famine and people dying of starvation
  • To grow all of that wasted food, people need a land mass larger than China – meaning an enormous logistical and pollutive effort for absolutely no benefit to anyone
  • To make the point on a more local and relatable level, however, the average UK family spends £810 a year on food they then throw out.

Whether on a humanitarian level, viewed through the lens of climate change, or considered purely on the basis of individual expense, food wastage in particular is an enormous problem. Addressing it is therefore crucially important to people from all walks of life, as well as to the longevity of our planet.

How can you get involved with Zero Waste Week?

The Zero Waste Week campaign works with businesses, local authorities, schools and householders to help them act more mindfully about their daily wastage. The first step is to do a waste audit.

“Just live your normal life,” says Rachel, “don’t try and make any changes for about a week. And then jot down everything you’re throwing away. And then you can start to make a plan as to what you’re going to do with it.”

If you’re interested in knowing more about Zero Waste Week, head to the website to sign up to the mailing list. You can also donate to keep Zero Waste high on the agenda, or download posters and other materials to print over at the press page.

Additionally, you can follow the campaign on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, joining the conversation with the hashtag #ZeroWasteWeek.

British Food Fortnight: everything you need to know

A selection of British food in front of the Union Jack flag

First conceived as a modern mainstream version of the traditional British Harvest Festival and patroned by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, British Food Fortnight has been running since 2001 and celebrates the diversity and deliciousness of fresh British foods, produce and ingredients.

Why buy and eat British?

The Love British Food website gives many compelling reasons, including:

  • British meat is more humanely reared than almost anywhere else: 70% of the pig meat imported into the UK comes from a farming system that would be illegal in the UK
  • British people want to buy British: 63% of consumers for instance want the chicken they eat to be reared here in Britain
  • Eating in-season British fruit and veg isn’t only good for you – it travels less far, meaning a lower carbon footprint, which is far better for the planet.

What does British Food Fortnight involve?

During the fortnight there will be literally hundreds of events up and down the country, in all sorts of establishments. They include:

  • Schools: Fun activities, foodie lessons and special school menus in schools.
  • Pubs, restaurants and hotels: menu promotions and visitor attractions.
  • Hospitals and care homes: Love British Food menus
  • Universities: Themed menus in unis where Fresher’s Week coincides with the Fortnight.
  • Shops and markets: Promotions, meet the producer events and tastings
  • The food service sector: Special menus in places from staff restaurants to sports venues
  • Across the country: The Love British Food Harvest Torch travels with a National Harvest Service every year.
  • Plus: An annual competition will run to find the most imaginative community event during the Fortnight.
  • Villages, market towns and cities: Community celebrations of all shapes and sizes!

How to get involved with British Food Fortnight

Whether you’re an individual or work in any branch of the British food industry, there are an incredible number of ways to get involved with the foodie festivities this British Food Fortnight. They include:

  • Consumers: Buy British, seek out British Food Fortnight menus and encourage local shops and restaurants to take part.
  • Retailers: Highlight British foods in-store, expand your range and offer tasting sessions.
  • Pubs, hotels etc: Highlight British food on your menu and name the farms your produce comes from. You could even launch offers, promotions and bookings to make the most of local pride in British produce!
  • Food service: Source British food, promote the Britishness of your menu and contact suppliers so you can buy in bulk (But make sure you don’t let any go to waste!)
  • Public sector: Hospitals, care homes, government offices and the like could consider banding together to aggregate food costs and running special menus in on-site canteens
  • Schools: Use the Fortnight as motivation to find British suppliers, buy in-season products, and promote your actions to local media interested in eating and buying British. You can even use point of sale material with the BFF or Union Jack to make your participation more noticeable
  • Universities: Offer cookery demos, produce case studies and market your participation in British Food Fortnight on your website and social media channels
  • Councils: Champion local business that buy and sell British produce and distribute our ‘How to take part’ packs. You could even sponsor or run local events, or offer regional food producers’ tastings or awareness courses that speak to the importance of buying, selling and British.

You can also apply to become a Food Hero in order to support the campaign in this and future years. Plus, the Love British Food site lists an additional 14 things you can do to promote the Fortnight. And don’t forget you can get involved with the conversation on social media using the hashtag #BritishFoodIsGreat.

Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget to tell the organisers of British Food Fortnight what you’re doing so they can promote it too. You can email them at info@lovebritishfood.co.uk.

How we support great-taste, low-waste British food

At R&G Fresh, we care deeply about reducing waste and delivering the freshest, and where possible locally-sourced produce, that can make every dish you prepare taste incredible.

Not only have we previously blogged about preventing food waste, we actively outsource the majority of our production process to our growers so that our food arrives pre-bunched. It’s a process designed specifically to reduce food waste while allowing us to pay our growers more at the same time – all part of our commitment to ethical food business practices. (In fact, 96% of our raw produce is bought through our sustainable sourcing strategy).

Speaking of our growers, at R&G Fresh we work with some of the finest on the planet – including several based in the UK. We feel passionately about providing the freshest in-season produce possible; picked, packed and shipped locally whenever the season allows. We also make sure our suppliers work with the land to enhance it rather than damaging it; thereby ensuring our practices are great for Britain, and the British food industry.

And over in the recipes part of our blog The Chopping Board, we showcase some of the best ways to use that freshly-picked British produce in recipes for quirky and traditional British foods alike.

To discover more about what we do, visit the How We Work and Our Produce pages, or browse the links below.

4 lamb chops with herbs

Love Lamb Week: Our Favourite Herby Preparations

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One of the questions we get asked most by meat lovers is, “Which herbs go well with lamb?” The answer is: there is no set answer! However, we find that rosemary and mint are firm favourites, but basil, thyme, tarragon, coriander, parsley and oregano can all work exceedingly well too, depending on the dish.

So to celebrate Love Lamb Week on 1st-7th September, we thought we’d put together this post detailing the best herbs to compliment your lamb and showcase some of our favourite luscious lamb recipes packed with fresh herbs and ingredients.

Herb crusted rack of lamb with minty yoghurt sauce

A little more elegant than a lamb roast but slightly more upmarket than simple lamb chops, a rack of lamb is an excellent choice if you have dinner guests.

This recipe from The Cookie Rookie packs in fresh thyme, parsley and basil leaves alongside breadcrumbs, Dijon mustard and kosher salt, all of which make for a deliciously herby crust – and adds mint, garlic and pepper into the yoghurt for a rich, tangy dip!

lamb with herbs and mint sauce

Image credit: The Cookie Rookie

Prefer your lamb on the bone with a Greek twist instead? Give this Greek lamb chop with oregano recipe a look instead.

Herby lamb kebabs with rosemary and mint

The second of our favourite herb picks for Love Lamb Week is the tried and tested combination of fresh mint and rosemary.

Both are prominent features of this simple yet ridiculously tasty lamb kebab recipe from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Add some ripe cherry tomatoes and onions, and you’ve got the makings of a truly pukka barbecue.

(And if you want more tips for BBQing with fresh herbs, check out our blog on that very subject here!)

lamb kebabs with herbs

Image credit: Jamie Oliver

Lamb and tarragon pie

Gousto is great when you want a diverse selection of home-cooked meals, made in minutes with fresh ingredients. Of course, Gousto gives you all of the ingredients you need in one box – but you can also gather them separately yourself and follow their recipes like any other.

We came across this tantalising pie recipe on the Gousto website that, amongst other things, packs in fresh tarragon, potatoes, onions, leeks and minced lamb. We’ve made it ourselves – and you should too!

lamb and tarragon pie

Image credit: Gousto

The aniseedy flavour of the tarragon really stands out, which for us makes it one of the best herbs to compliment your lamb when it’s prepared as thoughtfully as it is here. That’s why it’s one of our favourite herby preparations for Love Lamb Week.

Tried this and want another hearty lamb pie recipe with a slightly different feel? Check out this recipe for a herby lamb cobbler containing parsley and other fresh herbs over at BBC Good Food.

Lamb keema with ginger, green chillies and coriander

We love a lamb keema. It’s essentially a low-key, quick-to-cook minced lamb curry that’s packed with spices, herbs, and fresh earthy flavours – often offset by a creamy cooling yoghurt. It’s fab with rice, bread, or even on a pizza!

When it comes to which herbs go well with lamb keema, coriander is a clear winner – especially when packed in alongside fresh root ginger and green chillies.

That’s the case with this taste bud-teaser from Taming Twins, and we think you should certainly give it a go!

lamb keema dish

Image credit: Taming Twins

Roasted leg of lamb with rosemary and thyme

We’ll finish with a classic – because no post about which herbs go well with lamb could leave out a good ol’ lamb roast joint, could it?!

The method for this particular roast lamb recipe over at Damn Delicious admits that lamb can seem a daunting dish to make, but makes it simple in just six steps. One of those involves making a rub from garlic, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. The next one involves adding that rub to the lamb – before the penultimate step of putting it in the oven, and the final one of serving it all up.

It’s not scary at all – but it sure is delicious!

Roasted leg of lamb with herbs

Image credit: Damn Delicious

The parsley-and-chive-loaded mini hasselback potatoes are another nice touch for a surprisingly straightforward dish that will take people’s breath away when it comes out on a platter during Sunday dinner. What better way to celebrate Love Lamb Week than this?

Have we tickled your taste buds for more herby recipes?

Head on over to The Chopping Board to see more of our favourite food and drinks ideas with fresh herbs.

Or for more info on Love Lamb Week, visit the campaign page over at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board website.

Want to learn more about how we source our fresh herbs and the ethics that drive our business? Visit our How We Work page.

The ultimate herb-filled food picnic platter

The Ultimate Herb-Filled Food Picnic Platter

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With National Picnic Week happening from 19th-27th June, we decided to help you elevate your picnic with fresh herb recipes the whole family will love!

Read on to learn about the fresh herbs to make your picnic better – and discover the recipes we reckon might make up the ultimate herb-filled food picnic platter.

Fennel and sage pork pies

Image credit: Sorted Club

You can’t go wrong with the humble pork pie – and we think this recipe from Sorted Club offers one of the very best herb-filled foods for a picnic.

Packed with pork belly and pork shoulder alongside echalion shallots, plus the titular fennel seeds and sage herbs, it also includes a sharp cider jelly and hot water crust pastry for a mouth-watering picnic treat!

Sage and onion sausage rolls

Sage and onion sausage rolls

Image Credit: Cookipedia

These sage and onion sausage rolls from the wonderfully named Cookipedia are called a Christmas favourite over on their website – but we say they’d be ideal for the ultimate herb-filled food picnic platter!

Just two teaspoons of finely chopped fresh sage brings a real richness to a recipe that also jams in sausage meat, chopped onions and poppy seeds into a fantastically flaky puff pastry casing.

Garlic and herb cream cheese

garlic and herb cream cheese

Image credit: allrecipes

You can’t have a picnic without a little bit of cheese (or a vegan alternative!) – and we’re especially big fans of a creamy one that’s equally suited for spreading or dipping.

That’s why we’ve picked this garlic and herb cream cheese from allrecipes for our ultimate herb-filled food picnic platter. The herbs included are dried dill weed, oregano, basil and thyme – all of which you can dry in a variety of ways.

With butter, cream cheese and parmesan all in there too, it’s probably not one for anyone on a health kick, or those avoiding dairy. However, this cashew cream-based vegan option from Minimalist Baker makes for a very tasty alternative!

Quinoa cucumber salad with feta, dill and mint

Quinoa cucumber salad with feta, dill and mint

Image credit: The Bojon Gourmet

No picnic would be complete without some leaves, and this quick fresh salad recipe by The Bojon Gourmet is one you and your picnic pals won’t want to leave alone until every last bit is gone!

The cucumbers and radishes give it a really satisfying crunch, while the feta gives it a creamy edge that’s perfectly complemented by a dressing made from garlic, olive oil, lemon, and vinegar. However, it’s the dill and mint we really love, adding a freshness and earthiness that’s rare, even for a homemade salad! Definitely two of our favourite fresh herbs to make your picnic better.

Cheesy ham and herb quiche

Image credit: Homemade in the Kitchen

Rosemary, thyme and parsley play a starring role in this summery quiche recipe from Homemade in the Kitchen. The blog’s author Carla says “the addition of fresh herbs paired with the saltiness of the ham really kicks the flavour up a notch” – and having tried it out for ourselves, we completely agree!

It’s definitely one of our best herb-filled foods for a picnic. Give it a try yourself; we’re sure you’ll think so too!

Rosemary-infused chocolate mousse

Rosemary-infused chocolate mousse

Image credit: The Flavour Bender

Like with any big meal, it’s always nice to finish with something sweet. And this rosemary-infused chocolate dessert from The Flavour Bender is a rich and delicious little bit of luxury that’s easily amongst the best herb-filled food for a picnic.

The rosemary adds an earthiness that’s unusual for a mousse, and really does balance out the sweetness of the chocolate – just as the recipe says. The best bit though is you can change up the amounts and types of chocolate you use, giving each batch you make a bit of a different flavour.

Being a mousse, you can place this dessert in ramekins or small Tupperware pots and whip them out to surprise guests at the end of your picnic. We’re sure they’ll love it – as long as they have room left by that point!

Happy picnicking!

So that’s our six tantalising recipes that make up the ultimate herb-filled food picnic platter for National Picnic Week and beyond. Which one are you most excited to try? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for more tasty ways to use fresh herbs in your cooking? Head on over to The Chopping Board.

Steak and rosemary - a classic combination!

BBQing with Fresh Herbs: Our Top Tasty Combinations

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Barbecue season is finally upon us – though you might not know it from the UK weather in recent weeks! Hopefully the sun comes out to play soon and you can enjoy trying out the recipes we’ve featured below.

Here at R&G FRESH, we think fresh herbs can really up your BBQing game, creating a mix of wonderful flavours that are sure to impress family and friends alike.

So, to give you some summer grilling inspiration, we’ve collected ideas for what we think are the best herbs for a BBQ and how to use them.

Grilling with fresh herbs

One of our favourite herbs for grilling is rosemary. It has intense flavour and stands up well to the rigours of a high-heat grill. As it’s so robust, rosemary can also be used when smoking – just add whole stems to your smoker.

One great example of grilling with fresh herbs are these steak and rosemary skewers by My Garden Life. Simply remove the leaves from the bottom two-thirds of the rosemary stems, then, skewer the cubed meat and any vegetables you fancy adding to the mix. Finally, brush the kebabs with a marinade or olive oil and season with salt and pepper

steak and rosemary skewers

Image Credit: My Garden Life

BBQ cooking tends to lean toward strong-flavoured meats and fish, so you might also like to try cooking with thyme. It can add its own punchy flavour to the mix, making it easily one of the best herbs for a BBQ (in our opinion!).

An excellent grilling recipe involving fresh thyme is this grilled whole fish with lemon. The mix of flavours here makes for something much more interesting than your standard burger and sausages!

Making dry rubs with fresh herbs

If you’re wondering how a BBQ with fresh herbs can be even better, a rub could be just what you’re looking for!

Making a fresh herb dry rub for your next BBQ can add a whole new dimension to the flavour of your meats and fish. The fresh herbs you use can be down to personal preference, but a good rule of thumb is:

  • Rosemary, parsley, sage or basil go well with beef
  • Tarragon, basil, oregano and coriander go nicely with chicken
  • Sage, rosemary and thyme are great with pork
  • Oregano, thyme, fennel or dill is terrific with grilled fish.

Making a dry rub is fairly simple. Start by combining the finely chopped fresh herbs in a bowl with some salt and pepper. Then rub the mixture on both sides of your chosen meat or fish, cover it up, and leave it to marinate for at least an hour.

marinaded chicken

Fresh herbs with grilled veg

Fresh herbs don’t just go well with meat and fish; they also work amazingly with veggies! Especially when added to the dish toward the end of the cooking process or just after removing the vegetables from the grill.

A few ways you can add fresh herbs to your vegetables include:

  • Tomatoes can be accented with; basil, bay leaves, chives, dill, garlic, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, and thyme
  • Carrots go well with bay leaves, chives, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, tarragon and thyme
  • Sweetcorn can be enhanced with: dill, marjoram, parsley or thyme.

We especially love this veggie kebab recipe from All Recipes. They’re made with mushrooms, onion, red peppers and green peppers, along with fresh thyme and fresh rosemary.

veggie skewers

You can make them by threading the vegetables onto a skewer, alternating them as you go along. Once the skewers are prepped, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Then brush the mushrooms and peppers with the mixture.

After that, just place the skewers on the BBQ and cook until the mushrooms are tender and cooked through!

(We added some extras to our skewers. What would you add?)

Feeling inspired to get the grill going?

So that’s our blog on how to BBQ with fresh herbs! Have we inspired you to try some new recipes for any barbecues you have this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

For more of our recipes, check out The Chopping Board.

From food waste to new food

Why Stopping Food Waste Matters

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28th April 2021 is Stop Food Waste Day – so we felt it timely to look at the serious (and growing!) problem of food waste and what we can all do about it.

Understanding food loss and waste

According to FareShare, the UK food industry alone wastes 3.6 million tonnes of food each year – 2 million of which is still edible at the time it’s thrown out. That’s enough for around 1.3 billion meals.

Even taken in isolation, those numbers are staggering. But when you consider that over 8 million people in the UK struggle to eat each year, and that food bank usage hit an all-time high during the global pandemic, there are clearly some big reasons why food waste prevention matters.

Why does food waste happen?

Food waste happens at every stage of the supply chain.

Fareshare’s numbers indicate that around 2 million tonnes of waste occurs at the farming stage alone, with food that’s spilled, spoiled stored incorrectly or packed poorly.

Processing and manufacturing is the next largest area for improvement, with up to 160,000 tonnes of lost food that’s fit for human consumption. Distribution channels can account for up to 120,000 tonnes, and unsold retail produce for around 110,000 tonnes of food that could have fed hungry mouths.

Humanitarian concerns aside, however, food waste also contributes heavily to climate change, with the World Wildlife Fund estimating 11% of all food system greenhouse gas emissions would be avoided by successfully tackling the problem of food wastage.

Solving the problem of food waste

Food waste pile

At R&G Fresh we make sure our suppliers work responsibly with the land to nurture the soil and the immediate environment rather than damaging it.

Our growers also pre-bunch 90% of the produce they pick before shipping it to us, meaning we minimise waste as much as possible.

That all happens because everyone in our business is committed to a sustainable way of working. We really do believe that these things start from a value system that favours sustainability.

Aside from a fundamental culture shift, however, there are certain things companies and individuals can do to solve the problem of food waste.

Corporate food waste

This post by Supply Chain Digital offers three things businesses can look at to address food waste. In short, they are:

1.     Improve visibility across the supply chain

For companies to reduce food waste, they first need to analyse the different stages of their process to get a real sense of how it’s working, and what needs to change.

2.     Make intelligent changes

There are many kinds of changes food companies could make depending on their findings at stage one. They include:

  • Improving product forecasting and ordering less inventory
  • Reviewing their distribution process and partners
  • Taking a keen eye to transportation choices and combining fleet journeys

3.     Increase efficiencies and work together better

If stage one above was ‘figure out what to do’ and stage two was ‘do it’, stage three is to continually iterate on and improve those processes – while recognising that communication and transparency with other businesses are critical to making it happen.

At R&G Fresh, we regularly visit our growers to make sure we’re aware of the challenges they’re facing, and are on-hand to offer our resources and support. We believe it’s the right way to operate, and the companies we work with think that way too.

Additionally, there is also the simple act of donating food rather than throwing it away. More than 100 UK supermarkets have pledged to reduce food waste by half by 2030, and each of them donating to the food banks we mentioned earlier will go a long way to addressing the problem’s human impact.

Personal food waste

Full kitchen food waste bin

So far, we’ve explained why stopping food waste matters and some of the steps companies can take towards solving the problem of food waste.

However, according to Friends of the Earth, there are many steps we can all take as individuals to stop food waste, each and every day.

They include:

How will you do your bit to prevent food waste?

Whether you’re reading this from a food industry perspective, or looking at things as an individual, we hope we’ve gotten across why reducing food waste is important.

If you’d like to learn more, please visit the Stop Food Waste Day website and join the virtual event on 28th April.

Woman enjoying the aroma of fresh herbs outside

Happy Herbs: Plants with Mood-Boosting Properties

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Did you know that planted snugly in the calendar each March is International Day of Happiness? It’s a day when everyone is officially encouraged to “find positive ways to look after ourselves and each other.”

That got us thinking about all the times we’ve turned to fresh herbs and plants to help us relax, smile, and spread a little joy in our lives.

We don’t just mean using herbs in cooking – though our produce is definitely great for that! Instead, we’ll be looking here at the best plants to boost your mood and how you can use them to do just that.

Herbs with mood-boosting properties

The International Day of Happiness website gives three positive steps we can all take when facing difficult times: keep calm, stay wise, and be kind.

With that in mind, we’ve sorted the plant suggestions below to help you do all three!

bottle of lemongrass oil and fresh lemongrass

Keep calm

There are many things in life we can’t control, but the way we respond to stressful situations is something we can.

One thing you might like to try in high-stress circumstances is brewing a cup of thyme tea. Thyme contains a compound called carvacrol which naturally calms and supports your nervous system. That makes sipping a thyme tea in the office, or at bedtime after a long day, both equally good ideas. You can find a great recipe here.

Another of the best plants to boost your mood is lemongrass. You can use it to make lemongrass oil, which has a fresh, citrusy scent that’s both clean and calming, helping to relieve irritability, prevent drowsiness, and even relax muscles when rubbed onto the skin. Best of all, it’s also really simple to make your own lemongrass oil. There are lots of recipes out there, but we found this one from Times of India simple to follow and highly effective.

Fresh Thyme on a plate

Stay wise

There’s a famous quote by Shakespeare that says “Rosemary is for remembrance.” That’s backed up by a study by the Department of Psychology at Northumbria University, which found that rosemary can boost memory in people aged 65 and over by up to 15%.

Whether you opt for a live rosemary plant or a fresh rosemary diffuser, there are many wonderful ways to disseminate this memory-boosting plant’s woody, evergreen scent. You can even mix it with other herbs to create your own special blend of diffuser oils!

Fresh mint tea in glass

Be kind

That same study from Northumbria University also found that mint tea enhances both mood and cognition. That means you’ll be both happier and more alert after a cup or two, and better able to remember things like birthdays and anniversaries thanks to mint’s proven boost to long-term memory.

There are nearly endless numbers of mint tea recipes out there, but we like this rather simple one from BBC Good Food. We’re sure you’ll like it too.

The last of our plants with mood-boosting properties meanwhile is fresh root ginger. It’s packed with vitamin B6, which boosts energy levels, and magnesium, which can help to ward off depression. Ginger has even been known to settle an upset stomach! All of which makes it one of the best things for someone who’s feeling fatigued, a little down in the dumps, or simply somewhat under the weather.

Ginger is an incredibly versatile plant and lends itself surprisingly well to a calming herbal tea. We especially enjoy this recipe from Taste of Home, which you’ll need to brew in a slow cooker over two to three hours.

Which herbs help your mood?

So that’s our blog inspired by this month’s International Day of Happiness: five herbs and other plants with mood-boosting properties. Are there any we might have mentioned? And how do you prefer to use them? Let us know in the comments below.

To find out more about using our herbs and ingredients in all sorts of creative ways, visit our fresh produce page or take a look at our blog, The Chopping Board.

chopping board with cooking ingredients around it

Veganuary: Using Herbs in Vegan Recipes

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It’s January! And you know what that means: it’s also Veganuary!

Here at R&G FRESH, we love fresh herby dishes of all kinds, and our focus on ethical sourcing practices means we identify a lot with the Veganuary campaign and what it’s trying to achieve.

So to celebrate Veganuary, and to encourage you to give it a go too, we’ve collected some of our favourite creative vegan recipes featuring fresh herbs.

Parsley and dill

Parsley and dill are two of the best herbs to use in vegan recipes, as their flavour profiles complement and contrast with each other nicely.

Both are soft herbs, but while parsley has an earthy, peppery taste, dill has a sharper, aniseedy one. Combining them in your cooking adds a rich and complex finish to dishes, which we’re big fans of.

This meat-free pasta dish from Crowded Kitchen is a fabulous example. It looks incredible – and it tastes even better!

Alongside parsley and dill, it incorporates olive oil, leeks, peas, sugar snaps, salt, pepper, soak-softened cashews, lemon wedges and fresh or roasted garlic. Oh, and of course, vegan pasta!

You can even add a tad more protein with white beans or grilled tofu. And if the meat-eaters in your household absolutely can’t do without it, they can always add grilled chicken pieces instead.

Creamy-tasting, herby and full of nature’s flavours, this is a brilliant way to get friends and family members on board with Veganuary. But in all honesty, we think it would go down a treat on your dinner table any time of the year.

Turmeric root, coriander and red chillies

Fresh turmeric root has anti-inflammatory properties, making it one of the best herbs for a healthy vegan diet. It has a pungent, earthy aroma and adds a musky, peppery taste to meals – along with a golden glow that makes for eye-catching cooking.

Speaking of eye-catching, this recipe for turmeric pumpkin soup from Homespun Capers is certainly that!

soup with fresh herbs on top

Alongside the headline ingredients, it also packs in coconut cream, red lentils, plus lime and coriander – the latter two of which lend a citrusy twist your taste buds are sure to pick up on.

The recipe here also calls for chilli flakes – but we say why not change it up with freshly sliced red chillies instead? We’d suggest one for every half teaspoon of flakes in the recipe, or more if you like your soup with a kick.

Basil

Hearty and aromatic, basil is a universal favourite in salads and hot food recipes alike – but did you know you could also use it in drinks?

Indeed, this recipe for a blueberry tahini basil smoothie from Unconventional Baker is one of our favourite vegan recipes you can make with fresh herbs.

blueberry smoothie in jam jar

For starters – just look at the colour! We can completely picture serving this up to friends and family in the summer (or whenever lockdown laws will allow) and seeing the looks of intrigue and wonder.

It’s so simple to make, too. Just whizz the ingredients – which also include non-dairy milk, frozen banana, hulled tahini and maple syrup – in a blender. Et voila!

The recipe even suggests changing it up by adding lemon juice, cinnamon, or raw vanilla bean extract. It really is a very versatile drink… and did we mention how perfectly purple it is?!

Oregano

We’ve stayed somewhat European so far for our vegan recipes you can make with fresh herbs. But now we’re crossing continents for the taste of Mexico.

These Chimichurri tacos with mushrooms from Veggies Save The Day are a street food favourite, and this is by far one of our favourite creative vegan recipes featuring fresh herbs.

The herb in question, of course, is oregano. A typical favourite in Greek and Italian cooking, this time its bold and ever so slightly bitter flavour is used here as part of the Chimichurri sauce.

Also in there are parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes and red wine vinegar, plus salt and pepper and olive oil. They’re all blended together and poured over skillet-heated corn tacos filled with sautéed mushrooms.

Top with sliced avocado, and you’re good to go!

Don’t have much room for mushrooms in your life? No problem – swap them out for jackfruit and black beans, sweet potato, or whatever else your taste buds desire.

Chives

And finally, fast food to finish – albeit encompassing two recipes, rather than one.

We found this vegan pesto stuffed crust pizza recipe from My Quiet Kitchen, which suggests using a basil pesto as both a topper and within the stuffed crust.

And honestly, while that’s delicious enough, we want to be a bit more creative, by using what we think is secretly one of the best herbs to use in vegan recipes: chives!

Chives belong to the same family as garlic and onions but have a subtler and more delicate flavour. That’s why we prefer the idea of stuffing said pizza crust with Food52’s vegan spinach and chive pesto instead.

Tickled your taste buds?

So that’s our contribution to Veganuary: five creative vegan recipes featuring fresh herbs you can make and enjoy at home. Have we inspired you to try eating (or drinking!) vegan?

For more of our recipes, check out The Chopping Board. Or head to this page on Feastie.com for a wealth of vegan recipes to last you throughout 2021 and beyond.

birds eye view of man making cocktails with fresh herbs

Using Herbs and Ingredients in Drinks

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What goes into your favourite cocktail? If your automatic answer would be to list a selection of different types of alcohol… well, we’d forgive you!

The truth is that fresh herbs are an underrated, and often overlooked, but still rather key ingredient to some of the most popular concoctions around.

With plenty of occasions coming up, we can’t think of a better time to look at all the different ways to use herbs and ingredients in drinks.

How and when to use herbs in cocktails

As with any food or drink preparation, part of the success when using herbs and ingredients in drinks lies in pairing the right plants and liquor. The other part lies in preparing the herbs properly.

So before you begin mixing, here are the things we’d suggest you keep in mind:

Perfect pairings

Some drinks simply suit certain herbs perfectly. As a quick primer, those heaven-made matches include:

  • Coriander and tequila
  • Dill and vodka
  • Rosemary with any sweet citrus concoction
  • Basil and gin
  • Mint with… well, almost everything! (More on how to use mint leaves in drinks a little later).

Muddle it up

Instead of crushing your herbs like too many overzealous bartenders at the end of a day-long shift, take care using the proper tools. A muddler is essential here, used with a gentle, firm pressing motion that bruises rather than grinds your ingredients.

Done right, muddling will bring the oils to the surface, allowing them to infuse into the other liquids, bringing out the full flavour of your herb(s) of choice.

orange cocktail with mint sprig

Awaken the aromas

This part is less ‘using herbs and ingredients in drinks’, and more on drinks!

Cocktail creation is less a science and more an artform, and that extends to the presentation aspect. Herbs can be a beautiful finishing touch to a cocktail – but for an extra flourish, make sure you release the scents locked inside the leaves.

You can do this through a process called Awakening, whereby you hold the leaves you’ve chosen and bring down your other hand upon them in a gentle slapping motion. If you’ve done it right, you should smell the aroma of your chosen herb begin to fill the room. That’s when you’re ready to use it as a garnish.

Some of our best herb-infused cocktail recipes

Mint

We’ll start with the obvious choice – and by far and away the most versatile. Fresh mint’s smooth, refreshing flavour makes it an ideal way to take the edge of sharper citrussy drinks. However, it also works when paired with a startling variety of other ingredients – from lemon or lime, to chocolate and cream.

Mojitos and juleps might be the most immediate choices for a recipe, but at the time of writing we wanted to keep the winter feel. So instead, check out this creamy and delicious Merry & Bright cocktail recipe from Mountain Cravings.

Basil

Aromatic and earthy in its more common green variety, but spicier and clove-like in its less common purple one, basil makes for a pungent and powerful cocktail ingredient.

One of the most unique we’ve tried is The Fallen Leaf, which muddles both garden green and coppery purple basil leaves before shaking them with white rum, lemon and honey. Visit Kitchen Konfidence for the full recipe and method.

Fresh ginger

Finely-grated fresh ginger goes down incredibly well in a cocktail, giving beverages a strong, spicy flavour.

In particular, ginger complements sour drinks rather nicely – such as in this Ginger Lime Whiskey Sour recipe by Delish. Incredibly easy to make, the method involves cooking up a ginger simple syrup in a saucepan, before adding the mixture to a cocktail shaker with bourbon, lime juice and, perhaps unexpectedly, an egg white! (Don’t worry, it emulsifies with the alcohol, making it safe to consume).

Rosemary

cocktail with fresh rosemary, peppercorns and cucumber

Used in the right amounts, rosemary can add richness and depth to a beverage. Of course, being a ‘hard’ herb, its strong flavour means rosemary can overpower the other flavours too – making it one to be especially careful with.

That flavour profile makes rosemary especially ideal for citrus-infused gin drinks. One such example is this gin-based Rosemary Gimlet from chef David Lebovitz.

Chillies

While our green, leafy produce might be a more obvious option in alcoholic beverages, our chillies can lend a nifty kick to any cocktail.

As recipes go, one of the simplest and most effective we’ve found is this mango, chilli and lime margarita from Taste. Blending tequila and lime juice with peeled fresh mangoes, sugar and half a fresh long red chilli, it’s a wonderfully fruity concoction with a little extra spice. (Our tip: cut slits into leftover chillies and slide one over the side of each glass as an extra-colourful garnish!).

Or for something a little creamier, Jamie Oliver’s frosty-looking boozy Christmas lemonade might go down a treat at New Year. Amongst its ingredients is a green jalapeno chilli, and just the one alcoholic ingredient: white rum (or alternatively Cahaca). Take out the latter and you can turn this into a tasty mocktail instead!

And that’s just a taster

As you can see, there are a number of ways to use fresh herbs in drinks. The only limit really is how creative (or possibly daring!) you’re willing to be.

If we’ve whetted your appetite, don’t stop there! The Spruce Eat’s blog ‘Using Herbs and Spices in Cocktails’ is full of more ways to use herbs and ingredients in drinks. Give it a read and turn opening your drinks cabinet into an adventure for the taste buds!

Feeling inspired? Visit our produce page to get an idea of the different herbs and ingredients you could add to your concoctions. Or head to The Chopping Board for our very own herb-infused food recipes.

silhouette of men shaking hands in a field

What We Look For When Choosing Suppliers

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It’s one thing to say that we pride ourselves on the quality of the produce we supply. (And we really do!).

But we’re also so proud of the way we work, so thought it was about time we gave more context on what that actually means.

In this post, we pull back the curtain to give you more detail on what we look for when choosing fresh herb suppliers, and how that impacts the produce you buy and use.

Picking our pickers

From the farmer’s field to your chopping board, our freshly-cut herbs go on quite a journey before they make it into your menu. But before a single ingredient can be selected, we first need to pick the people who grow them.

At R&G FRESH, we scour the globe using five key criteria – all to bring you the best possible produce, from the most ethical and passionate people in our field.

Security of supply

Between weather patterns and the challenges of the global pandemic, in the last few years, unpredictable has become our new normal. But with international growers in Spain, Kenya, Jordan, Ethiopia and South Africa – alongside our UK operations – we’re able to overcome those challenges and deliver fresh, flavourful produce all year round.

As you can imagine, such an operation comes with challenges and complications. So in choosing suppliers, we weigh up:

  • Quality of crop factors like the type of soil they use and altitude of their farm
    Alongside…
  • Logistical and financial concerns like cost of labour and transport links.

Once we’ve chosen a supplier, we’ll also support them for mutual benefit. For instance, we partly funded solar panelling, heating and greenhouses for our Kenyan grower, allowing them to make the most of their unique growing conditions.

Minimum standard

We make sure that each farm we work with operates to a minimum quality standard.

In the UK, our suppliers must meet Red Tractor Assured Food Standards – a product certification programme that comprises farm assurance schemes for food products, animal feed and fertiliser.

Overseas, our suppliers follow the world’s most widely implemented farm certification scheme, GLOBALG.A.P. which regulates Good Agricultural Practice worldwide.

someone holding fresh mint in their hands

Additionally, we take a unique approach to packaging, bunching our produce head and tail so that everything is uniform. Not only is this unique amongst British suppliers, it’s done in a pack house which is both BRCGS food safety accredited, and Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) certified.

From South Africa to Spain and Kenya, to the UK, all of our suppliers work to the same standards, day in day out. That means our customers get the same product, grown, picked and packed to the same high standard, no matter where it came from.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

We are committed to ethical trading, and we only work with suppliers who are able and willing to treat their workforce in the kindest and fairest way possible.

We insist that all of our suppliers be registered with Sedex, one of the world’s leading ethical trading service providers, and work to the standards of the ETI – who themselves follow the remit of the International Labour Organization.

This means that even in countries where laws designed to protect workers’ rights are either inadequate or not enforced, our suppliers still follow best practice on areas like:

  • Wages
  • Working hours
  • Health and safety
  • And the right to join trade unions

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we delivered fresh food baskets to our in-house staff, making sure our people felt cared for during a time of great uncertainty.

Taking our lead, our suppliers followed suit, going above and beyond to make sure their workers were looked after. Many subsidised their employees food and drink, and some even had a specialist nurse offering free on site health checks and treatment.

We’re incredibly proud of our ethical standards – and we wholeheartedly believe they make for the best possible product on your plate.

many people holding a plant in their hands

Sustainability

We’re committed to sustainability, and go to great lengths to make sure our suppliers are too.

When picking a supplier, we visit their farm to make sure they meet a minimum environmental standard. In broad terms, this means that they work with the land, enhancing it rather than damaging it. At setup, we offer guidance on aspects like efficient use of water and fertiliser, and if needed connect them to experts in the field in order to solve challenges they face in the most sustainable way possible.

But that’s just the beginning. We also visit our suppliers regularly – not to conduct formal audits, but to see how they are and how we can best support them. We see these bonds as a partnership – and because of our approach, they tend to last. In fact, a quarter of our current growers have been with us for over 20 years!

We also outsource most of our production process to our growers, with 90% of our product arriving from them pre-bunched. That means we spend less on waste disposal, and pay our suppliers more instead – allowing them to pay their workers higher wages, and making our overall supply chain better for the environment.

From proven long-term working relationships to an extreme focus on being environmentally friendly, we’re incredibly proud of our approach to sustainability, and will always keep that long-term outlook in mind when working with new suppliers.

Service

At the time of writing, all of our growers have been with us for at least five years. Because each follows the four criteria above, that’s translated to an incredibly high level of operational efficiency, with our current service level sitting at 99.4%. That means our buyers and customers alike can trust us implicitly to delivers on time, and to the highest standards.

We never want to compromise on that – so as our business grows, we’ll always consider our level of service as a factor when deciding on suppliers.

Want to know more about what we look for when choosing fresh organic herb suppliers? Visit this page, or get in touch with us for more information.

HEAD OFFICE

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Tel: +44 (0)1483 474041
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E-mail: info@rgfresh.co.uk

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