Desert island dishes

Emily Robinson RNUTR
Senior nutritionist and sustainability lead, Compass Scotland

Spaghetti bolognese

Quite possibly my favourite meal of all time. This is a dish that really goes back to childhood and how your parents made it for you – if you ever eat it at someone else’s house, it’s never quite the same! It’s also the perfect dish for packing in loads of veggies – the basics of onion, garlic and tomato, but I always grate carrots and courgettes in too.

I’ve been following more of a plant forward diet for the benefit of our environment and trying to rebalance by making some meat to plant swaps. I often use half beef mince and half lentils, with all the same flavours, and it still tastes like my normal spag bol!

I promise I’m not just saying this because I’m a nutritionist and breakfast is a super-important meal of the day – but it’s my favourite! I really look forward to waking up, making a cup of tea and eating my bowl of cereal. My favourites are fruit and fibre or porridge, topped with whatever fruit is in season in the UK at the time.

Any type of bread items will do me - sourdough, flatbread, crumpet, soda, I love them all. I prefer wholemeal, wholegrain, seeded versions, as they give me more fibre and nutrients, but I also think they’re tastier!

Greek mezze
I find it hard to pick my favourite cuisine, but I think I found a winner when Greek Island hopping a couple of years ago. Mediterranean flavours are completely up my street and it’s so fresh. Houmous, olives, baked feta, Greek salads, tzatziki, kolokithokeftedes, simple grilled fish, lemon, and olive oil on a big platter with a glass of white wine – my idea of heaven! And if you’ve never tried gyros, get that on your bucket list.

Sunday roast
Another nod to my childhood, I grew up having this every Sunday, and most Sundays I still do. The comfort and joy that eating a roast dinner brings is just incomparable. The gravy, yorkies, roast potatoes….yum!

Recently I’ve been alternating between chicken and a nut roast made with things like peppers, sweet potato, onion, garlic, spices, herbs and nuts. It’s a great way to use up any veg and another plant forward swap for one of my favourite meals.

I’ve only started cooking this in the past couple of years, but now I can’t stop. Little balls of heaven! Crispy outside, fluffy inside and mixed with a creamy tomato sauce or a simple pesto. I’m determined my chef colleagues teach me to make from scratch!

I use these in everything, whether roasting them with spices as a crunchy snack, mixing them raw into a pasta salad, adding them to curries – the list is endless. A simple, low-cost legume that I find so versatile and packs in extra fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Wagamama Katsu Curry
Need I say more?

/What one book would you take?
If I’m allowed to count this as a book, then it would be my journal. I write in it every morning and night, where it poses things like ‘what I’m excited about today’, ‘good things that happened today’ and ‘what are you grateful for today?’. It really helps me focus, settle my mind and make space for reflecting on the positives and how I’m feeling.

And one luxury item?
Got to be my rose lip balm.

And finally, what one dish would you save from the waves?
Probably the spaghetti Bolognese. It’s my go-to comfort food and if I was alone on a desert island, my spag bol and I would be grand!

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