Blogger challenge: Meals from scratch – day five

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Gemma JohnsonCook meals from scratch? No problem, it will be a challenge I am confident enough to grab with both hands, two greedy eyes, one mouth and a big belly!

I am a massive foodie and I cook our family meals from scratch 90% of the time. The other 10% is the odd fish finger and baked bean combo or shop-bought pizza at a push.

Food is a big feature in our household and we always have lots of fresh produce and a packed freezer full of meals I can whip out and defrost to counteract any resistance from my five year-old when I try and sneak in a new meal combination.

This morning, the kids were in the bath telling me they wanted bolognese for breakfast. I managed to negotiate with them by getting out their favourite homemade mint, lemon, yogurt and coriander chicken curry for their dinner tonight – I won’t be home in time to cook it later, but as part of my Food Revolution Day blogger challenge, I have rustled up my day’s worth of food already.


Gemma breakfastThe kids always have breakfast between 7.30am and 8.30am. If it’s the weekend or a work from home day, I’ll eat with them and make a big spread, continental breakfast or egg based option.

During the working week I am pretty bad when it comes to looking after myself, like so many other mums! In my rush to get out the door and on the train in time to get in to London, I usually either leave my lunch bag behind or forget to eat in general. I tend to crash around 11am and have to nip out to get something. Some of the options on Fleet Street are sticky pastries, so it’s not uncommon for me to wait until lunchtime with only coffee in my tummy to keep me fuelled.

But today’s breakfast as part of my challenge is a grapefruit and my own mix of oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseeds and raisins, mixed in with plain soya yogurt. That breakfast with all of its slow-releasing energy should see me through until lunchtime without pining for a quick energy fix.


Gemma lunch ingredients A lot of people know I am a bit of a perfectionist and am a total fusspot when it comes to food; I like to lay out the ingredients so I can see what I’ve got.

Last night I made chicken baked in the oven with garlic, ginger, fresh coriander, fresh chilli, lemon juice, Gemma lunch preparedrapeseed oil and pancetta mixture. I par-boiled some new potatoes and put them in with it to bake. I served it with a green salad for dinner last night and put some aside for my lunch today. I’m grateful for not having any meetings today, it’s just the staff who have to suffer my garlicky breath…

I then squirreled some away for my lunch and I couldn’t wait to eat it. I had it in a bag and was stinking out the tube to high heaven on my way into work.


Chicken Fajita! A family fave in our household – my kids and husband love all of the Gemma dinnerdifferent elements of the dish. I usually set it out in little bowls so they can get messy and assemble their own, then I wrap them up and pop them in the oven to crisp and let the cheese go gooey and melted.

My husband’s limit is three of these and then he can’t move; my kids eat one each and I can just about squeeze in two but I put less chicken mix in and ramp up the guacamole. Serve with plenty of napkins! It’s a whole world of messy!

You can make these with sliced beef, just veggies, a bean mix or prawns! Delish!

My Food Revolution Challenge observation

I noticed that the breakfast gave me a nice steady energy release, so I definitely need to make that a priority before I leave the house. The lunch was quite heavy albeit very fresh and homemade. I would usually not have potatoes at lunch, but instead stick to more of a protein-veggie balance. I started to feel sleepy at my desk, which is never a good look when managing a team!

Dinner – well hubby loved it and, although I wasn’t home in time for their tea, the kids got lots of the soured cream, guacamole and salsa left over as a treat for their nachos, which my son adores. I have learnt to distinguish between the green pack (cheese nachos) and the red pack (chilli nachos). It’s a mistake you only make once after you have a screaming child who yells: “You are not their best mummy anymore”.

All in all, I loved the cookery day, was totally in my comfort zone and hope the Food Revolution Day marks a change for the future for us all.

The Jamie Oliver Foundation helping people to reconnect with food is a great initiative; it’s so easy to opt for convenience, but this is a great reminder to celebrate all that is fresh and wholesome. It helps us to keep ourselves healthy, and to help keep future generations up to speed on how to eat well and take care of themselves.

Feeling inspired? Try out the Food Revolution eBook full of 30 ideas to get you going or MyFamilyClub’s Food Revolution eBook with free downloadable meal planner recipes included.