Great British Menu

Great British Menu

One of the SK chefs’ favourite TV programmes – Great British Menu – returns to our screens this week and this year it is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

We are looking forward to seeing what the professional chefs come up with as they attempt to win a place at the banquet, but we’re willing to bet, they will steer clear of hospital food.

A survey undertaken by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food recently looked at the current state of hospital food in NHS England, using London as a test case, and unfortunately it doesn’t make for great reading.

The survey showed that half of hospitals are failing to meet basic food standards and nearly two thirds are not cooking fresh food for their patients. As nutrition is a vital part of recovery from illness, you think that we would be doing much better in this area, so it got us looking at what hospital food is like in other countries.

In Canada, patients are likely to be given baked salmon, peas, carrots, corn and water; in South Africa, they are served chicken, lentils, rice, mashed root vegetable and milk while in Japan, seafood noodles and green tea are commonly served.

All of this sounds very nutritious, healthy and not expensive or hard to make, so it makes you wonder where we are going so wrong?

We guess, like all things, it comes down to cost, and some trusts have admitted to paying less than £3 per patient for a day’s meals, but can you really put a price on making someone better?

The NHS, to their credit, have acknowledged this and earlier this year, for example, they banned hospitals from selling all sugary drinks.

Hopefully, they will continue to make improvements and programmes like Great British Menu, which will shine a spotlight on such a great British institution as the, NHS can only help this.

We’re turning to Japan for inspiration for our hospital food-inspired recipe this week;

Prawn noodle broth

  • 75g rice noodles, thick or think depending on preference
  • 500ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • juice ½ lime
  • 1 star anise
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 packet of small raw prawns
  • handful mint and coriander leaves
  • chopped red chilli, to serve
  • 1 boiled egg, optional

Boil the noodles until al dente, then drain. Put the stock in a pan with the fish sauce, lime juice, star anise and pinch of sugar. Bring to the boil and add the noodles and prawns. Warm through, then pour into a bowl and serve topped with the mint, coriander and chilli. Serve with a boiled egg if you wish.

Development & Innovation Chef of SK Foods. Your food. Our Passion.
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