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April 29, 2009

Erling Rugsten:What delegates should be eating this spring and why

The head chef at London venue the Brewery offers his personal nutritional tips for what to serve at your events this season – along with one of his favourite spring recipes, exclusively for EVENTS:review.
My food is inspired by the seasons and in spring it embraces the new crops, the spring lamb and the freshness of our local farms.

Creatures that have been hibernating awaken from their sleep. Just like us, they varied their diet to get ready for the winter and settled in for a cosy time centred on their homes. Now that spring is here we’ll look to eat lighter foods and start getting out and about more and more as the weather warms up.

In some ways it is obvious that we are affected by the seasons, but it is easy to lose sight of this when you can buy any produce all year round, because it is shipped in from warmer climates. We can embrace the changes that happen within us throughout the year and connect those with the changes that are happening all around us. This way we can feel more a part of nature and less a part of the machine; it is through my food that I try to get people to feel this connection.

Stress-busting antioxidants
As we will be spending more time in the sun and the outdoors, we need to have a diet that is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are present in the body in the form of Vitamin C, Glutathione and Urate, which quench the free radicals produced by the body’s pollutants. By eating food rich in antioxidants, such as blackberry, redcurrant, orange, blueberry and Pineapple, we can help our body fight off pollutants, such as stress.

Your mother may have told you as a child that carrots would keep your eyes bright, but as an adult, it is fruit that is the key to great eyesight. Eating three or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (the primary cause of vision loss in older adults) by 36%, compared to people who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

I suggest that you start the day with a bowl of fresh fruit and berries and a glass of red grape juice. For a mid-morning break you need fibres such as oat energy bars, dried fruit, seeds or nuts. After lunch you can try combining raw vegetables and fruit in a smoothie, thus giving your body the maximum chance for it to do what you want it to do. 

Banana and Pineapple Energy Bars
Here is the recipe for the very popular Banana and Pineapple Energy Bars that I serve for conferences as part of the day delegate rate at the Brewery.

Ripe bananas 400g
Pineapple dices 400g
Rolled oats 1000g
Honey 500g
Glucose 100g
Unsalted Butter 750g
Golden syrup 50g
– First, put the butter, glucose, golden syrup and honey in a pot and melt down the whole mix until it starts boiling.
– Then add the bananas and pineapple to the boiling mix.
– Cook everything until the pineapples go soft, almost the texture of compote.
– Then add the rolled oats to the mix and mix everything together.
– Put the mix in gastronome trays lined with silicon paper 3cm in height.
– Bake it in an oven heated to 170°C for 25 minutes until the top is golden and crusty.
– Allow to cool and cut as desired.

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