The benefits of filtered water and a recipe by acclaimed chef Gary Mehigan.
By Amy Crawford
Water. We shower in it, we swim in it, we water our gardens with it. We also (steadfastly try to) drink at least 8 glasses of it every single day. Many of us undoubtedly take its life saving benefits for granted. But how about filtered water specifically? We've long known that filtered water can offer health benefits beyond hydration; personal and environmental health also benefit. Had you considered however that filtered water can also improve the taste of your food? Given water is such an integral element of preparing our meals, today we've taken on a challenge (set for us by Nuffnang and BRITA Water) and re-created one of acclaimed chef (and BRITA Water ambassador) Gary Mehigan's water based recipes with fantastic results.
As Gary states: "quality recipes require quality ingredients". Next time you're in the kitchen, be sure to consider your water as a key ingredient too.
What are the benefits of filtered water?
1. Better taste
A BRITA water filtration system can improve the odor and taste of tap water by removing small imparting substances and limescale, therefore allowing the flavours of your foods and drinks to shine. Vibrant washed vegetables and smooth water based soups, you can now understand why Gary Mehigan would align himself with a filtered water company! Try filtered water in your tea or coffee and taste the flavours yourself.
2. Improved health
Unfiltered water can contain impurities that affect the taste and odour of your water. Old house pipes can also contain heavy metals. A quality water filter system (such as the BRITA tap in my kitchen) will reduce these impurities, metals and chlorine and leave in minerals essential for our wellbeing.
3. Environmental protection
Just think how many plastic bottles of water we purchase as a nation on a daily basis. Can you conceptualise the expense in terms of power and energy, transport and plastic waste? With an in home filtration system attached to your kitchen tap, you can fill your stainless steel bottle in the morning before work or play, ensuring your environmental footprint is minimised.
Minestrone with Greens and Beans
You will need:
1 whole head garlic
4 thin slices pancetta
1 sourdough baguette or gluten free bread
70ml extra virgin olive oil plus extra to drizzle
1 brown onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Fresh cracked black pepper
150g piece flat smoked pancetta chopped
2 anchovy fillets
1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
1 litre (4 cups) filtered water
80g parmesan rind, chopped
1/2 bunch green kale, washed, stalks removed
200g can cannellini beans
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
1 handful broad beans, skins removed
80g (1/2 cup) frozen peas
1 bunch asparagus, sliced
Half bunch basil
60g grated parmesan to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C fan forced.
Place the head of garlic in the middle of a square of foil and scrunch up to enclose completely. Place on the oven rack and bake for 45 minutes or until it is soft. Remove and set aside to cool.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Add pancetta slices and bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, cut four 1.5cm-thick slices of baguette on a 45° angle. Brush each slice with a little of the olive oil, then place them on the warm baking tray and bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside and cool.
Place a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the onion, finely chopped garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add diced pancetta and stir in the anchovies until dissolved. Add the fennel and celery and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Add the bay leaf. Pour in the filtered water.
Bring the soup to the boil. Add the parmesan rind and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the kale, cannellini beans, zucchini, broad beans, peas and asparagus. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add a good drizzle of olive oil and basil. Bay leaf can be removed before serving. Squeeze the baked garlic from the skin, spread thickly on the toasted baguette and top each with a slice of crisp pancetta. Serve soup topped with grated parmesan.
*Nuffnang is running a 'Fresh Recipe' network competition, thanks to BRITA, from August 6 – 27. Write up your own 'fresh recipe' blog post and share your URL on the Nuffnang blog post for a chance to win a $500 or $250 gift voucher at The Essential Ingredient.
For more of Gary’s recipes, head to betterwithbrita.com