5 Ways to Make Your Festive Meal Healthier And Tastier!

5 Ways to make your festive meal healthier and tastier!

 

 

  1. Peckish for some potatoes?

Switch to sweet potatoes for more vitamins and lower calories, and give your meal a flavourful kick! My good neighbour once imparted a bit of little knowledge that I’ve since lived by… Instead of deep frying or drowning your potatoes in fat before roasting, if you boil the (sweet)potatoes first, give the pieces a vigorous shake in the colander with a tiny bit of olive oil THEN roast them, you’ll get the fluffiest, crispiest roast potatoes with barely any extra calories!

 

  1. A pinch of herbs in your parsnips!

 

Cut your parsnips into small chunks and brush very thinly with extra virgin olive oil. Again, avoid goose fat or a copious amount of oil. Instead, sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and pepper, then add 2 teaspoons of fresh sage and rosemary to enhance the taste and bring out the parsnip’s natural flavours. Now roast the healthiest and most delicious parsnips you’ll ever eat!

 

  1. Be picky with your turkey! 

 

If you’re having the big bird this December, chances are you might be a tad worried about where all that turkey’s going. Fear not! If you stay away from the skin, you’ll cut down on all that saturated fat. Also, a good thing to know is the leaner part of the turkey is the white meat, which is lower in calories and fat than dark meat but has roughly the same amount of protein!

 

  1. Spruce up those sprouts!

 

Nobody likes Brussels sprouts, they’re horrible. But if you’re celebrating Christmas, they’re so quintessential you just can’t leave them out, but you probably won’t have very many anyway. Well, believe it or not, if you steam those sprouts for a bit, quarter them then sauté with a bit of butter and some garlic; throw in some pine nuts and you’ll wipe the bowl clean in no time at all!

 

  1. Mmmm, mince pies!

 

Instead of spooning dollops of mincemeat into your pies, why not opt for some fresh fruits? Take just a bit of mincemeat and spread it in your pastry cups, then fill those with chopped up fresh apples, pears, and perhaps black grapes if you’re feeling adventurous! Also, instead of the usual shortcrust pastry, try baking your mince pies with something lighter like filo pastry. You’ll find it’s rather delicious!

 

Also, some countries (pshh, Italy!) have pasta as part of their festive meal around this time of the year. So if you’d like to give your celebrations a unique twist, visit Our Shop to view our selection of Black Jasmine Rice pasta! 

 

 

Welcome to the Warehouse!

 

14522108_1132507190174934_1095545286_o

 

“Oi Jikky, your boxes are here!”

Somebody shouted from across the warehouse and waved at us. Jikky waved back and said victoriously.

“Well, it’s about time!”

Hi again, it’s Nash here. In this episode, I’m taking you to the warehouse where we keep the pasta. ‘Why?’, You ask. Well, that’s because we’re now setting up an online ordering system to get those orders to your doorsteps of course!

But first, let me tell you about how we got here.

Since the Free From show in Olympia ended, Jikky’s been focusing on getting a new shipment of pasta over from Thailand and setting up a pick-and-pack system for online delivery. What started off looking like a smooth sailing phase in our enterprise, ended up becoming a tempest that broke the mast when the shipping company we used suddenly went bankrupt.

Oh dear.

Hundreds of boxes of pasta were stranded at sea, and no matter how many urgent calls of plea we made, in the end we just had to wait it out.

Jikky bemoaned the unfortunate twist of fate for a few hours. She then set off to work on putting together a system where the pick-and-pack company and the delivery company can work together, which brought us to where we were: the warehouse.

 

14489052_1132507260174927_186084490_o

 

After a few weeks at sea, the pasta finally arrived. So today, we had a meeting with representatives from the warehouse who would pick up the pasta and pack it as per you orders, and people from the postal service company who will then get the pasta to your door. We all sat down together to brainstorm.

Until now, it’s mostly been the case of us dealing with stakeholders from abroad to get the products manufactured and shipped. Now, however, we found ourselves in the company of the most helpful team we could’ve ever imagined working with. The coordination between the warehouse and the postal company was incredible; they realised that we’re a new enterprise, they knew we wanted the system to hit the ground running without a hitch, and they offered plenty of helpful advices to guide us along.

 

Gusto Nero Black Jasmine Rice Pasta

 

This was our goal from the very beginning, to have us local people working together; nothing mass produced, nothing put together by machines, just individuals and local companies getting quality food out to like minded people.

When we finally bring you the products (soon), we want this to be the message that goes out. “Gusto Nero is international, its products are from abroad and something we’re really proud of, but it’s also brought to you by the local people here in Norfolk who try their best to give you the best.” We want to share with you how proud and grateful we feel to be working with real people, here in Britain.

 

The Allergy & Free From Show: 8 – 10 July 2016

 

Gusto Nero Organic Gluten Free Healthy Pasta

 

Hello again lovely readers! We’ve had our hands a bit full in the past few weeks, and guess what? We finally launched our products at ‘The Allergy & Free From Show’ at Olympia in London! The show was Europe’s biggest event for organic, gluten free, dairy free and GMO free health products, and it absolutely crept up to knock on our door before we knew it.

 

It was such a memorable event and we thank you so much to all of you who came to the booth! I’d be lying if I said the preparation wasn’t gruelling, but we really did have a ton of fun.

 

Our workspace was abound with excitement the week before the show. We spent a week in a total frenzy preparing for the event, with the graphic people working until the early hours on our banners, the tech team getting the website ready, while others busied themselves with finding decorative furnitures that would fit our tiny booth and Jikky dashing about doing paperwork and everything else at the same time.

Organic Gluten Free Pasta Gusto Nero

Gusto Nero Organic Gluten Free Healthy Pasta

 

As you know, we’re based in Norwich; all the pasta has already been transported to London in advance. It was on the eve of the fair that we all packed our bags and headed for the capital, feeling a little sleep deprived and rather nervous but nonetheless very excited. Jikky was wondering aloud whether any of it was going to sell and had brought along her largest suitcase in case she had to take any of the pasta back, despite outcries from the others that it was all paranoia.

The fair started at 10 am at Olympia, but reportedly Jikky got there since 8 before any of us were even awake. The tiny two-by-one metres booth was packed with boxes of pasta, and all around us were big name brands I’d only ever seen on boxes and the telly. I suppose it’d be safe to say we all froze when the first customer walked up to the booth.

 Gusto Nero Organic Gluten Free Healthy Pasta

 

Sophia, if you’re reading, this one is for you. Thank you for buying that box of macaroni, you were our first official customer, you’ve cut the red ribbon and kick started it all. It was only after you’ve left the booth that it dawned on us that the pasta actually sold.

Oh wow, it actually sold!

After that, it was episodes after episodes of Jikky tirelessly introducing the brand to everybody who dropped by, and truly Gusto Nero was garnering lots of attention from shoppers and hosts alike. We barely had any pasta left to show on the last day of the event. It was surreal, the responses were overwhelming, it totally exceeded our expectations and we absolutely could not have done it without you.

Jikky had busied herself chatting with people who filed in with a lot of questions. What exactly was this black rice, where was the pasta being sold and was it on the shelf anywhere? Well, we are proud to say that all of the products that you saw on the day will be available for order on our website very soon.

‘Some people gave me hugs’, Jikky grinned after the show was over, ‘They said it couldn’t have been easy running a business by myself, they showed such great support and I’m really proud of the brand. You know what? …

This is all I ever wanted!’

 

Gusto Nero Organic Gluten Free Healthy Pasta

 

 

What a big day!

Blimey, it’s the big day!

We’re all feeling a little giddy over here, not entirely unlike a film crew on the Premiere night. Because after years of working behind the scenes and keeping things strictly hushed, it’s finally time for the website to go live. Gusto Nero is taking to the internet!

To be very honest, I’ll admit that I hadn’t the faintest daydream of what we’d have today back a couple of years ago when I first learnt of this pasta business. Of course Jikky, our founder, had then been envisioning this whole enterprise for much longer, but let me take you back to the day when it all came together to me.

Over tea and a couple of buttered crumpets, Jikky very casually mentioned that she wanted to make black rice pasta.

We’d been friends for a good half a decade and I knew that Jikky tended to dream big. This, however, was one of the times when I had an inkling that the subject at hand wasn’t much of a dream as it was a well thought out plan.

‘For who?’, I asked.

‘Britain’, she said, and elaborated no further.

I wasn’t a pasta connoisseur (still am not), but even I found the idea of pasta made from black rice rather intriguing. It wasn’t until much later, after exams to be precise (yes, we were but students then, oh those were the days), and the conversation had long fled the forefront of my mind, that I received a call from our founder-to-be.

‘Weird how nobody around here’s ever thought to make a food product out of it…’ she mused pensively, ‘I mean, we live in a very health conscious society after all. I grew up eating steamed black rice, but I guess pasta would be more liked in Britain.’

 

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

 

It was some unholy hour in the morning, and the most I could manage was a groggy ‘Huh?’

Two mugs of tea and a few hobnobs later, we were talking business.

If there is something I’ve learnt about Jikky in the past years, it’s that she’s a visionary as much as a perfectionist. We were discussing the organic control of the farm, and when I argued that Thailand relies on the irrigation system to grow rice, she brushed the idea off without a second thought.

‘If you’re saying we can’t be sure where the river water comes from, then we’ll have nothing to do with irrigation’, she crossed her arms, ‘It’s the seasonal rainfall or nothing.’

Jikky flew out shortly after that fateful conversation and spent the next six months roaming the plains of central Thailand, finding the right farmers to talk to and the right patch of land to work on.

 

IMG_8204

 

‘I know it sounds cheesy, but every grain of rice matters’, she said in one of our Skype conversations, ‘If I wanted to just make any old pasta, I would’ve used some common rice and cut the production cost by half, but I want this to be a deluxe taste, it has to be special. It wasn’t easy finding farmers who share my vision, but I have, and at least now I know my rice will be perfectly organic.’

She then disappeared for the next year or so to get the farms, the storage and the manufacturing house organically certified. It was in January 2016 when our paths crossed again, that she said everything was ready.

‘I’ve got my pasta, and I’m getting in touch with whole food stores to get it on the shelves. The only thing left to do now is the marketing. I’m making a website’.

I wondered why she was telling me all this and nodded sagely, mindful not to tip over the mortarboard and the anxiety that rested on my newly graduated shoulders. What I didn’t quite realise at the time was that I was about to get my first job offer.

‘Why don’t you have some pasta and start writing something for the website?’

‘I’ll have the pasta’, I said, and served myself some.

‘And the website?’

‘Oh alright, and the website!’

So here we are today! Please stay tuned for our upcoming blogs, where we’ll bring you more stories of Gusto Nero and plenty of other health-related chitchats.

Cheerio for now, and I’ll see you next time!