About the Author.
Hi, my name is Claire and this website has been my labour of love for the last five years. Friends said I should include a little bit about me, to explain how this all came about. I have three children and a husband who, due to work, sometimes eats with us, sometimes doesn’t. Feeding my family good food and the right food is really important, but it’s not the only thing on my to-do list, so I wanted to design something simple, easy and family friendly that we can all do.
I should also probably mention that I’m not a chef. When I cook, I do not have all my ingredients laid out in little white bowls and my kitchen is not perfectly tidy. Another crucial point is, I am not alone. No, when I cook, I am simultaneously trying to help with homework, look for some lost Barbie shoes/football kit and refereeing whose turn it is on the Playstation. Why am I telling you this? Well, if you too feel your life is quite full on and a bit crazy and you probably don’t have time for this, then you’re in good company. My approach to all the recipes has been ‘What’s the minimum we can get away with here?’ There are no weird ingredients you’ve never heard of. No special ‘Go To Recipes’, no ‘This Season’s Must Haves’ and definitely, no, ‘Signature Dishes’, (they make me feel small and inadequate).
So back to my story. I’ve always hated that head in hands moment when you think “Oh no, what are we going to have for dinner tonight?” I vowed to get myself organised and plan ahead, so I started to put together some recipes. But over the last few years, I’ve been struck by how the issues surrounding food have changed and become a lot more serious. Whereas before, it was basically just about our own health, it seems we’ve woken up to the really big important stuff and the impact it has, not just on us, but on the wider world.
Food waste has become a big deal and we can’t just blame the supermarkets any more, we’re all doing it. In fact Mr. And Mrs Average-Food-Waster are chucking almost the cost of a holiday in the bin every year! Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall told us all about how our fish stocks were depleting in ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’ and the latest from the United Nations and leading Aid Organisations is that we need to eat less meat. There’s just so much to think about now as you do your weekly shop. So, I challenged myself to incorporate all of the issues into these recipes.
I do believe that we can all make a difference to food poverty and climate change, but we need help organising how we’re going to do it. So that’s what this is all about. The tools for the job! Everyone’s offering a meal deal these days, this is The Real Meal Deal, a Real Deal for you and your family, a Real Deal for the poor and the planet. If you want to find out more about this, go to my Philosophy page.
I hope you and your family really enjoy making a difference and enjoy some good cooking too!
About the recipes
There is so much to consider nowadays when we are shopping for food! Not just about our own health and that of our families, but also how what we choose to eat has an impact on climate change and on global food poverty. How can we make the right choices taking everything into account?
TheRealMealDeal.com has been specially designed to tackle all of the issues together in one place in an easy and adaptable way with busyness in mind. The recipes are as simple as they can possibly be but still taste great and will appeal to all ages. You’ll find firm family favourites as well as some dishes you may not have tried before. They can also save you time, money and hassle.
Here’s the checklist
- All the recipes use fresh British produce in season.
- Many recipes can be cooked in bulk and frozen, saving on time and energy costs.
- The ingredient lists highlight the availability of organic, and fair-trade products helping you make good choices.
- 99% of the recipes use some Fair-trade products.
- The wide variety of vegetarian dishes, specially designed for those who are used to eating meat, will help you reduce the amount of meat you eat and fill up even the most hungry carnivores.
- It will help you to cut down on your food waste and save money with the handy meal planning tool and because you can search recipes by ingredient, help you use up leftovers.
- Most recipes come with instructions on how to re-heat or prepare the same meal for different family members eating at different times, helping you save on energy costs, reduce food waste as well as saving you time and hassle.
- The variety of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes can help you to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
How you use the site is up to you. It’s here to help you make changes, big or small to what you eat. All changes are important and can add up to make a big difference.
If you can, try and include at least one vegetarian dish a week and swap something in your shopping basket for the fair-trade version. Look out for organic ingredients too. You may be surprised that the price difference is often not that much. To keep your family healthy, The Department for Health recommends we should all eat at least one portion of white fish and one portion of oily fish per week and there are plenty of recipes to help you do that.
Most of all, enjoy it and know that you are part of something amazing that really matters and can literally, change the world!