Pasta Evangelists

My favourite food is PASTA. As a vegetarian, I’ve found Italian food one of the most versatile. So when my friend recommended Pasta Evangelists – the fresh pasta subscription service – I had to try it. Here’s my review and if you want to try some yourself then follow this link to get 50% off your first order.

Unlike many food subscriptions, Pasta Evangelists food doesn’t feel like your average ready meal. This pasta is fresh, handmade and it tastes amazing. The options are always diverse and the veggie menus on offer have been really exciting. So far I’ve had mozzarella tortellini, arrabbiata fusilli, pesto gnocchi, pumpkin ravioli, mac and cheese… and I’ve got Porcini, Wild Mushroom & Chestnut Tortelloni with Thyme Butter & Hazelnuts, Tagliatelle with Ligurian Basil Pesto & Pine Nuts  and Pumpkin Lasagna on the way. I can’t wait to try them!

The ordering process is very simple. Choose a one off order or opt for a subscription to save money. There are three subscription offers: Vegetarian, Variety and Gourmet. Then pick:

  • the number of dishes you want to receive
  • the frequency (weekly, fortnightly etc)
  • when you want your pasta delivered (I go for Tuesdays so I have the delivery at the start of the week)

I like the subscription model because I can be a bit lazy cooking through the week and it’s handy to know I’m always going to have some yummy pasta stocked in the fridge for nights when I’m feeling a bit tired or uninspired.

As for delivery, the fresh pasta comes packed with cool bags and insulation.  I was really impressed with the thoughtfulness of their packaging and the best part is that you can send it all back to Pasta Evangelists for recycling so it ticks the sustainable box too.

And when the food arrives, everything is super simple. Each pasta dish comes with its own recipe card and the different elements are colour-coded so it can be easily sorted out. Typically, there are only about three or four steps to follow and they take about 10 minutes to make and the finished product is Insta-worthy.

I’ll be honest. The big downside of Pasta Evangelists is that it is a little on the expensive side. It’ll cost you about £7 or £8 per portion of pasta although you do save on the subscriptions. Having said that, I do think it’s worth it because it is restaurant-quality and the average ready meal in the supermarket costs about £3 anyway and tastes no where near as good.

And if you want to save some money you can get 50% off your first order with my family and friends referral or simply quote ‘Fourth Month’ at the checkout. With this discount, you get roughly four portions of delicious pasta for about £12.50 and I’ll get a free box too. Win, win! Already a member? You can get 5% off with the code SITE5.

P.S. I’m not affiliated with Pasta Evangelists and this isn’t a sponsored post, I just really love and believe in their products.

Keep up-to-date with my favourite things on Instagram @the.fourth.month.

Health

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the festive period and are now moving into 2019 feeling positive and excited for what lies ahead. I’ve decided to write a blog which is quite out of my comfort zone but that’s a good thing. I’m writing about…HEALTH.

Time to face the facts. I am quite an unhealthy person. I am addicted to junk food, I don’t exercise at all and my mental health is often quite poor. I’m frequently fatigued, feel low and get out of breath just walking up stairs. Yikes!

At the age of 24, this is NOT where I want to be. So I’ve decided to set myself some healthy and realistic goals for 2019 and want to invite my friends and family – and anyone who is interested – to join me on my journey.

Goal sharing

The main reason for sharing this very personal journey with you right now is because there are proven benefits of goal sharing and I am much more likely to achieve if I have said it out loud. Mostly because it keeps me accountable for my actions. I see you all as my accountability partners. If you’re interested in the psychology behind goal sharing I found this blog a helpful read.

What do I want to achieve?

  1. Activity. I don’t intend to join a gym and go to 4+ fitness classes a week. I have tried to throw myself in at the deep end in the past and failed to achieve consistency several times. I want to increase my activity by walking more, driving less, getting the stairs instead of lifts and generally standing more. After all, standing is the new smoking. I would also like to attend yoga for both physical and mental reasons.
  2. Nourish. I am NOT on a diet. I have been dieting on-and-off since I was about 16 and so far I am still overweight. I’ve tried Slimming World, Cambridge Weight Loss, Ketogenic diet etc and, personally, I find they work in the short-term but I gain weight quickly after. I’m not disparaging those who find this works because I know it does for lots of people. In 2019, I want to take a non-diet approach which focuses on adding lots of healthy, colourful and nourishing food to my diet and where possible ditching high processed carbs and sugary foods. I’m not restricting myself and I’m not punishing myself or attaching morals (‘good’ and ‘bad’) to food because it’s incredibly unhelpful to me. I’m sure you all know how it feels to be on a diet then fall off the wagon with a Chinese or pizza and you beat yourself up about it and make yourself feel like a failure. Not good. If you want to know more about a non-diet approach to eating, have a read at this blog.
  3. Relax. Stress is a huge factor in all of our lives and it’s something I want to become better at managing – mostly through my first goal of activity but also through regular meditation practices. I will also work on using social media less because this is a huge factor in feeling a bit rubbish about myself. I wrote a blog called Breaking Up With The Internet a while ago which talks about this in more detail.
  4. Sleep. I have been fortunate to never really suffer from insomnia. Unfortunately though I have had long bouts of hypersomnia where I find myself needing to sleep for 12-14 hours every day to feel remotely human. To work on having better quality sleep I plan to reduce my caffeine intake, reduce time spent in front of a screen and create a positive sleep routine which I follow as much as possible. I actually wrote a blog about sleep a while ago which you can read here.

What to expect

I want to write regularly about my health journey and share tools and resources that I have found helpful along the way.

I would also like to share the stories of friends and family who have successfully managed to change their health for the better using lifestyle so please do get in touch if you have any tips.

Love April x

Rigatoni Mexicana

 

I’m writing this recipe while I eat my second helping of this delicious pasta dish. I apologise in advance for blowing my own trumpet but this tastes so good. I was inspired to make this after trying to Buzzfeed One-Pot Fajita Pasta twice. I had wanted to share a vegetarian rendition of the recipe but, while I love the flavours, I was disappointed with the consistency both times. I just love the idea of an Italian/Mexican love-child meal so I didn’t give up and I’m glad I didn’t.

The other great thing about this recipe is it is low-fat and if you follow Slimming World, it can be syn free if you take the cheese as your Healthy Extra A choice and use low-cal spray instead of oil. If you don’t follow any diet plans but want to eat healthy, this is a great low-fat option. That’s just a bonus to the fact that it’s meat-free and freakin’ DELICIOUS.

This recipe serves two-three people but as usual, you can alter it to suit your level of hunger. If you don’t want to use Quorn chicken pieces you could add extra veg. I was really lazy and used frozen peppers but you can throw in whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.

Top tip: please don’t drain your pasta before adding the pasta water to the frying pan. I’ve done this before when cooking certain recipes and it’s a pain in the butt when you forget.

Ingredients
  • 150g Dried Rigatoni Pasta
  • 1 Red Onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2 Peppers (any colour, deseeded and roughly chopped)
  • 200g Meat-Free “Chicken” Pieces i.e Quorn
  • 2tsp Cumin
  • 1tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1tsp Mild Chilli Powder
  • Good Grinding of Rock Salt
  • 2tsp Soy Sauce
  • 40g Soft Cheese (I used Garlic & Herb Philly)
  • 40g Cheddar Cheese (Grated)
  • Oil
Method
  1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Salt and add your pasta. Remember to stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat a slosh of oil in a non-stick frying pan on a high heat. Start by adding the red onion and garlic and fry for about 3 minutes.
  3. Throw in the “chicken pieces” and chopped peppers, fry for a further 3 minutes until the pieces start to cook through.
  4. Add the cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, mild chilli powder and a good grinding of rock salt. Stir until the “chicken” and veg are completely coated. Fry for 2 minutes before adding the dash of soy sauce and stir-frying some more.
  5. Now add 40g soft cheese and stir continuously so that it melts and coats the ingredients.
  6. Before draining the pasta, take a ladleful of pasta water and add to the frying pan. Mix to create a sort of glossy sauce. If it’s not saucy enough then add another spoonful of pasta water.
  7. Drain the pasta and add to the frying pan. Mix. Add the grated cheddar cheese and mix again until the cheese melts away and you’re left with a delicious, gooey pasta dish.
  8. Serve and enjoy.