Food Heroes: Those Foods That Never Fail to Save the Day

Photo by Josephine Baran on Unsplash

Salmon by Eve Davies

Photo by Ramille Soares on Unsplash

From boujee brunches to on-the-go lunches and fine-dining dinners, salmon is a requisite. Smoked, canned, grilled, poached, or pan-fried, the pinkish-orange fish can be enjoyed in various ways – with avocado on a bagel, or cream cheese in a sandwich, as sushi, in a risotto or traybake.

Being an oily fish, rich in omega three fatty acids and high in protein, salmon is credited with a multitude of health benefits. It is said to decrease inflammation, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer, and improve the function of the cells that line arteries. Sixty-nine percent water and twenty percent protein, salmon is an all-round nutrient donor, providing vitamins B3, B5, B6, B12, vitamin D, vitamin E, and selenium. It is also a great source of potassium, which supports nerve function, muscle contraction, and a regular heartbeat.

Not only does salmon offer an abundance of health, but it is a malleable source of protein. It can be crafted into sashimi, sushi, steak, tartare, or even a burger. Along with this comes its versatility when pairing with other tastes. Salmon glides well with hollandaise, soy, sesame, chilli, and ginger.

Salmon is a staple of sushi now, but it has not always been this way. In fact, it took Norway to convince Japanese sushi connoisseurs to love salmon sushi – great find Norway! Like salmon return to their birth-streams during later life, I will always return to salmon when pondering indecisively over a menu or sandwich counter.

Mushrooms by Abi Edwards

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Thinking back to my experiences in restaurants and the meals I have made in the kitchen, I have become extremely fond of the mushroom. The earthy, white vegetable is commonly used within Asian and European varieties of cooking, and they have also become a popular vice within vegetarian dishes.

Its uniqueness and versatility can be enjoyed in everyday dishes that we may make after a stressful day of university work, such as student favourite spag bol, chilli con carne and curries, and can take centre stage in a vegetable stir fry. They also taste amazing on pizzas, and are a tasty addition when added to omelettes and pastas. You can even eat them with a full English breakfast; the versatility of the vegetable can be enjoyed during any meal time.

Different types of mushrooms can be used for a variety of dishes. For example, the Portobello mushroom has a chewy texture when cooked or grilled, and has a rich, earthy taste. They are commonly used for vegetarian dishes such as stuffed mushrooms, tasting amazing under the grill topped with melted Stilton, or you can pair them with halloumi. The chestnut mushroom (my personal favourite), has a slightly firmer texture and a nutty taste which makes it so distinctive from other vegetables. When paired with garlic, white wine and cream, they taste absolutely sensational.

The mushroom is definitely my food hero. When fried and browned, they have the ability to taste divine, and can be used in so many dishes – honestly, what’s not to love?

Tomatoes by Clara Boon

Photo by Josephine Baran on Unsplash

I often find myself staring into the bottomless abyss that is my Smeg fridge (when I’m counting down the days until our next online food shop arrives). Cuddled up against some sad looking spinach and a jar of pesto that I’d forgotten about, the humble tomato looks back at me and offers a beacon of shiny red light. You can give tomatoes the starring role that they deserve in a number of dishes, such as comforting creamy tomato soup.

But one of my favourite ways to use them is within a zesty salsa. I finely chop up some red onion, garlic and garnish with coriander and a squeeze of lime juice. I often like to smother a bit of pesto onto a slice of ciabatta or sourdough and then add the salsa and fresh mozzarella on top. Drizzle on some olive oil and you’ve made yourself a scrumptious snack that even Gino D’Acampo would approve of. This saucy salsa is also a nice accompaniment to fajitas or tortilla chips. Tomatoes are so versatile. Sun-dried tomatoes are incredibly rich in flavour and are great at sprucing up a dish or sauce. My favourite way of incorporating tomatoes into my cooking is to use them as the foundations of my pasta sauce, such as for my version of a Chicken Arrabiata. However, I cannot end this article without saying that my favourite use of tomato of all time is notoriously, the one and only…Tomato Ketchup. Need I say anymore?