June Bank Holiday Weekend - Time to party outdoors πŸ˜Žβ˜€οΈπŸ•πŸΎ

We've had a great few days of sunshine and here's another Bank Holiday Weekend upon us. It's definitely time to fire up the BBQ and have friends over. Here's some of my top tips for hosting a great outdoor party. πŸΉπŸ•

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Spread the Word 

What time you'll be eating - Avoid having to refire the BBQ for latecomers with a WhatsApp message like "The grill master will be sizzlin' steaks from 6-7. Come and get it!"

Rain Plans (cos let's face it, it probably will) - Make sure everyone knows that rain or shine the party will go ahead. Get your hands on a few board games just in case you need to move it inside.

Have enough seats

5 chairs and 20 people? - Have a look around the house and see what you can turn into seating. Throw a few blankets or rugs on the ground and people eating picnic style.

Light it right

Don't leave the guests in the dark - We've all got some fairy lights from the Christmas tree put away somewhere. πŸ’‘Hang them around doors, trees, along the walls to create a nice bit of ambient lighting. (Just make sure the extension cord is out of the way so no-one trips)

If you have some tea lights and jars you could place them around the garden but I wouldn't go out of my way to get them. There's really no need to over do it with decorations at a BBQ.

Master the music 

Get your playlist - From Forbidden Fruit to Vantastival take some inspiration from the many festivals happening around the country this weekend. If you don't have a speaker see if someone can bring one. 

Keep the food simple

Marinade the meat - I'd suggest getting some good quality chicken breasts, sausages and steaks. Cut them into thick strips and marinade before grilling. Layed out on a big platter, your mixed grill can be served with a lovely salad

Dry marinade for steak

  • Peppercorns
  • Salt
  • A sprig of rosemary, leaves only
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Olive oil, rubbed in just before grilling

Wet alla diavola marinade, for the chicken:

  • The juice of one lemon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper

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Serve up some pizza

Not everyone enjoys cooking up a BBQ. Our pizza bases can have you serving up fresh, delicious and genuine Italian Pizza in less then 5 minutes. A great way to get your guests involved is laying out the toppings and letting them make their own creations!

Here's some of our party favourites (click on photo for recipe)

#MeatFreeMonday - why we've decided to cut down on eating meat 🌿

Piero cooks one hell of a steak. Most Fridays, he'll arrive home from the bakery with some really good quality sirloin or ribeye steaks. With a pinch of salt & pepper and a squeeze of lemon, he can fry up restaurant-quality steaks in less then 10 minutes. Delicious.

So, you'd think our love of good steak would have us eating it every day? Nope! We're firm believers of everything-in-moderation and eating a balanced diet. Meat free Monday was an idea from Paul & Stella McCartney in 2009 inspired, of course, by Linda McCartney. 

These days eating vegetarian or vegan meals are more common. So here's our top 3 reasons for going #meatfree once a week:

Try something new

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Even if you're not a good cook, it's a great opportunity to learn some really tasty and simple recipes.

Being a healthy eater means being an adventurous eater. Yes, sticking to the same diet all the time is convenient, but trying new foods can have so many positive benefits. Do you have a favourite food? Do you think there's anything better out there? Of course not! But hang on, how do you know? I was never a big fan of cauliflower growing up. Then I came across a recipe that I thought looked interesting, so I decided to give it a try. Now I make these Vegan Cauliflower Falafels for my lunch all the time. A unique and amazing dish I would never have discovered had I not been a little adventurous.

Save a little money

My vegetarian recipes are always made from food I already have in the kitchen. It's amazing the dishes that can be made once you have a well stocked larder. We keep staples such as veg stock, tin tomatoes, coconut milk, lentils, chickpeas, pasta and pizza bases. Some days we'll just have a really simple pasta and pizza dish with a green salad or a vitamin packed soup always goes down well for lunch. Green pesto is so easy to make and you can add it to pasta or top a pizza base for a delicious, quick, meat free meal like mouth watering Panfried Mushroom & Pesto Pizza

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Health Benefits

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This Food Pyramid is designed to make healthy eating easier. Healthy eating is about getting the correct amount of nutrients – protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals - you need to maintain good health. 

Cutting down on meat could be one of the most significant things we can do for our health. If you don’t know where to start in your healthy eating journey, the best change you can make in your home is to focus on cooking more items from scratch instead of buying processed foods. Vegetarian dishes are a great way to make simple, fresh food. Taking it week by week, we'd recommend experimenting with different vegetables and gradually trying newer things.

Variety is the spice of life so next time you're doing your food shop why not pick up:

- A grain you've never tried before, like Quinoa, Couscous, Bulgar or even Sweet Corn

-Vegetables of all colours, like Peppers, Tomato, Courgette, Asparagus & Aubergines

- Pizza da Piero Pizza Bases. Our artisan pizza bases are the only bases to go through a two day fermentation process. This is the traditional Italian way that makes them so delicious and easy to digest. Topped with your favourite veggies they provide a simple solution to any meat free meal. They freeze really well so you can have them on hand any time. 

My tips for healthier eating habits for kids πŸ‘«

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Myself & my Italian husband Piero run an artisan pizza base business. We have provided Irish families with handmade award winning authentic pizza bases since 2007. As a baker, it's Piero's passion. He oversees the making of every single base and wouldn't have it any other way.

We are proud parents to 3 great girls and we are also passionate about making healthy meals for our family while teaching the kids the importance of eating well.

So, how can we make and eat so much pizza but claim to be advocates for healthy eating? In Italy, where Piero grew up, it's not at all uncommon for families to eat pasta everyday and pizza about twice a week. Up until a few years ago Italy still had one of the lowest rates of obesity in Europe. (Those figures have since changed as Italian children are eating less and less of the Italian diet, and more and more junk food)

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I try to guide my children's choices, instead of dictating to them all the time what they can and can't eat

I try to have only fresh and healthy food and snacks in the house. Since we're always told the importance of drinking water every day why should it be any different for our kids?! I only serve water at meal times.

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Second helpings

Ever found that sometimes kids can say one thing but mean the other?!!! If my kids say they don't like something I cook, I try not to give in and make something else. I will let them cool off (as it can get heated!). Once they've calmed down enough to try it,  quite often they discover they like it!

If they're still hungry after dinner I'll get them to wait 10 minutes and drink some water. Then if they insist on more food it will always be a much smaller serving than the first one.

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Family meal time

Of course this doesn't happen every singe day but I really make the effort to get everyone sitting at the table for dinner most days. We chat about our day, share stories and food. 

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Getting the kids involved

One of my daughters is a budding artist and sometimes writes up and designs a menu for our meals! The girls will set the table, yes it does take them ages, but they get there in the end!

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Snacks

Yes, my kids snack, A LOT!!!! So when they're in from school I'll make sure I have lot's of healthy stuff lying around the kitchen for them to grab if they want it. Homemade popcorn is a quick thing to make and super cheap. Put some berries and milk into a blender and you've got a smoothie. Or I'll leave out grapes, carrot and cucumber sticks with homemade hummus, a few sambos or boiled eggs. If it's cold I'll throw a load of veg in a pot and make a soup.  

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So there you have it. Yes we are a pizza making and pizza loving family but it's not the only thing we eat! Some days I'll spend time making Homemade Pesto or Hidden Veg Pizza Sauce (it's much cheaper then shop bought, fresher and easy to make, I promise!)  I always get the kids involved. I find them way more willing to eat something they have made themselves!!! It does take effort on our parts, but knowing you are teaching your family valuable lessons in healthy eating has to be worth it doesn't it?