Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley are among the hottest names in healthy eating at the moment. Ahead of their appearance at the BBC Good Food Eat Well Show they share their inspiration, favourite healthy recipes and clever tips for staying healthy
Everyone says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, what do you have for breakfast and why?
Breakfast essentially means you are breaking a fast, so your body needs good fuel in order to get your day off to a good start. Never skip it! A good breakfast means you are less likely to make bad choices throughout the rest of the day. Breakfast is one of the meals that you can control best without any social pressure, so it’s definitely the one to get right! For us anything goes so long as it’s nourishing: a superfood packed smoothie; a thick slice of our Multiseed Loaf with butter and Goji Marmalade or chia jam; Amaranth Porridge; softly scrambled eggs with greens and avocado or even some leftover soup, and very often our favourite – Mung Dahl – this Indian dish is our comfort food and a delicious start to the day. Muffin frittatas are a great grab and go breakfast and we pack them full of vegetables. Simply grating in the same volume of veg to beaten eggs – it’s an easy, protein rich, veg packed meal or snack with no need to even fry the veggies first!
What is the one food you couldn’t live without?
Bone broth. Nutrient rich bone broth is at the heart of what we do – so much so that our popular tote bags say #BoilYourBones on them! Full of flavour and deeply nourishing, broth (also known as stock) made from meat and fish bones has been eaten across cultures for centuries and is also the secret to great tasting soups, stews and sauces. We also love drinking a mug of it with some miso stirred in – delicious and definitely worth a try. Oh and eggs. We love eggs – one of the most highly valued foods since the beginning of time. Eggs from chickens that naturally forage under the sun are tasty powerhouses of nutrition.
What are your top three tips for someone who is trying to eat more healthily?
Small changes have big impacts. Our book The Art of Eating Well includes a list of ‘10 Things to do Today’ to promote a healthier lifestyle. Small steps such as stocking up on wholesome, cupboard essentials will allow you to pave a path to healthier eating and a healthier lifestyle. Eating well is not about dieting, it’s a lifestyle approach.
1. Every time you cook, make double or even triple – take leftovers in for lunch or freeze them for a rainy day. We love the Sunday Cook off – where with a few hours of stress free simple cooking on a Sunday, you really get ahead on meals for the working week.
2. If you’re looking for fast and fuss free food, make soups. They’re a great way to use up any vegetables, just rough chop, simmer and blend. Soups are as old as the history of cooking and a homemade one is an easy and satisfying way to get a good dose of bone broth and vegetables. For the amount of nutrition in every mouthful, they are a really inexpensive food, particularly if you use local, seasonal vegetables which are always good value.
3. Spiralize! It’s a great way to eat more vegetables and prepare them quickly – carrot, beetroot and cucumber noodles, spaghetti from squash and celeriac. One of our favourite quick weekday suppers is pesto with courgetti, ready in less than 10 minutes. Or as in Tip 1, make a big batch of ragu and freeze in individual portions. Defrost when needed and while you’re heating it up, grate some parmesan and spiralize your courgette into courgetti – 5 mins in the kitchen and you’ve got a delicious nourishing supper.
Do you have trouble finding time to cook nutritious meals with your busy schedule and if so how do you think it’s best to manage your time?
Just make it work for you. We swear by a weekly Sunday Cook Off and so do many of our readers once they see how little effort has a huge positive impact on their eating habits throughout the week. A little prep at the weekend and you’ll reap the rewards for days!
Some healthy recipes include ingredients that are hard to find and sometimes more expensive, what’s your best tip for keeping costs down?
A little research turns up some great finds from internet orders to local suppliers, bulk buying to home delivery meat and vegetable box schemes. Exotic superfoods like Acai and Maca are exciting and attractive, but our favourite superfoods and key healthy ingredients are much closer to home, like broccoli, chicken livers, watercress, butter and bone broth.
Buy seasonal vegetables and cook in big batches. Bone Broth is a fantastically frugal ingredient that makes for sustainable, healthy home cooking and it’s also a great way to enjoy more protein on the cheap. Try the cheaper cuts of meat that need slow cooking but are just as delicious in stews. People often find that by choosing cheaper cuts of meat they can upgrade the quality of the meat they are buying. This means better animal welfare and the benefits of a healthier animal are being passed on to you, aside from the fact that it saves you money. E.g. A scrag end lamb stew as oppose to a rib eye steak is cheaper and goes further.
What is the most exciting recipe you’ve created recently?
We’re having so much fun adapting new dishes with our Hemsley + Hemsley spiralizer. One of the most popular recipes in our book is Beef Ragu with Courgetti – our more wintery version has been celeriacetti (bit of a mouthful!) with beef meatballs and tomato sauce. So many people have said that although it’s not obviously pasta, it tastes so delicious and feels just as satisfying. A lot of our recipes are interpretations of classic dishes. There’s nothing we love more than the challenge of reworking classic dishes to make them healthier and more nutrient-dense.
Jasmine’s celebration cakes that she makes using her secret recipe involves cannellini beans for a grain and gluten free whole food cake that satisfies. She’s been making them for birthdays and weddings and they’re making a lot of people happy – the guests have no idea they’re eating a ‘healthy cake.’
Who is your inspiration for healthy eating?
Our parents definitely set us off on the right foot. It wasn’t that mum and dad talked about ‘eating clean’ as such, but they were pretty old fashioned and junk food was rarely on the menu. They were both sticklers for eating proper meals and avoiding waste. In our house, every ailment was fixed with a nap and a good meal. We started Hemsley + Hemsley as private chefs and our clients challenged us to make ‘good for you’ versions of their favourite foods and now our readers and online followers often make recipe requests, so they definitely keep us on our toes.
What’s your motivation for healthy eating?
Eating good food makes you feel good, there’s no better feeling. It’s as simple as that!
If you were to treat yourself to one ‘naughty’ meal what would it be?
We’ve reworked comfort foods so we never really feel like we’re missing out on anything or that we need junk food. We make delicious succulent burgers whether it’s grass-fed meat or from black beans and feta, enjoy celeriac chips cooked in ghee, Flower Power pizzas and delicious puddings like our Black Bean Brownies and Avocado and Lime Cheesecake that all hit the spot…
We live by the 80/20 nutritional balance rule. If you feed your body pure, good food 80% of the time, it is much better equipped to to deal with the croissants that occasionally cross our path and jump into our mouth
What’s your ‘ultimate’ healthy ingredient?
We’ve picked 2…
1. We always have nourishing and delicious bone broth in the fridge or freezer, whether served up in a mug with a little miso or in our soups, stews and sauces, we tend to have some everyday. It’s soothing on your tummy, rich in protein and packed full of vitamins , minerals, collagen and keratin so is also amazing for your skin – and the dreaded cellulite.
2. Another must have is extra virgin coconut oil. We use it in the kitchen for everything from baking brownies and cakes, to making stir-fries and roasts, smoothies and curries. It is also excellent for the hair and skin – a brilliant make-up remover, hydrating moisturiser and hair mask. The best part of course is that it’s natural.
The Hemsley sisters will be appearing at the BBC Good Food Eat Well Show at Olympia from 27 February to 1 March. To win tickets to the show, visit our competitions page