Life Eat & Drink Forget ‘student food’: a guide to cheap, healthy grub

Forget ‘student food’: a guide to cheap, healthy grub

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Forget fancy techniques, expensive ingredients, dangerous fat and long recipes – Tobie Puttock’s new food philosophy is the way to cook.

He no longer works in restaurants (Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, River Cafe) and his book The Chef Gets Healthy, written with wife Georgia, helps people avoid harmful food habits.

“Nothing in the book takes too much time. Everything is cookable and accessible. It’s not rabbit food and it tastes good,” Puttock tells The New Daily.

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“They’re (all gluten free) dishes that are low fat and low carb but are fun for me to cook and eat still.

“We wanted to minimise the starchy things – still keep it tasty – and we lost a huge amount of weight without trying.”

Puttock’s background as a chef means he cooked the same meals at home and at work, relying on butter, cream and oil for extra flavour – it’s what his tastebuds were used to.

Puttock and Oliver go a long way back. Photo: Getty

But this kept wife Georgia from “getting the training and health goals she wanted” so Puttock needed a balance between taste and health.

“It’s not a pigeon-holed cookbook,” but he has found ways to keep the food “moreish and make you feel like you’re not going without”.

“I always went back to the drawing board to make things as tasty and simple as possible.”

Recipes cover breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert and a highlight is the chapter on salad, where Puttock breathes life into an oft bland, boring or deceptively unhealthy category (creamy dressings, cheese, croutons).

There’s also some incredible soups for winter, the best a delectable mushroom and leek soul food warmer.

Despite the book saying dishes serve four or six they can easily be made for one or two and he agrees that if you do need some carbs, there is no problem adding rice, pasta, quinoa or pearl barley.

‘Secret’ chef food hacks

Puttock ditched the butter, cream and oil so he had to look for healthier flavour enhancers.

“Things like anchovies, capers and a lot of spices and fresh herbs, they’re definitely the secret,” he said.

When infused in dressings, sauces, marinades and soups, they’re all cheap, fresh and figure-loving ways to get great flavour.

This next one can’t be messed up and it’s good to use on any meat you like, even vegetables.

“One of my favourites (in the book) is the smokey BBQ salmon. It literally has three ingredients … fish, cumin, paprika, (plus) salt and olive oil and you rub it all over and BBQ it.

“Once you scorch up those spices on the BBQ or grill … it tastes amazing.”

Easy Cauliflower Pizza

In the book prosciutto is substituted with fresh grilled eggplant.

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Delicious Rosemary Infused Prawns

In the book bread is omitted.

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The Chef Gets Healthy is released on May 27. It is published by Penguin.

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