AS WE LOOK TO the new year, what can we expect food-wise? According to Whole Foods, flexitarianism is set to be one of the biggest food trends of 2017. But what exactly is it and how did it come about?

 

What is flexitarianism?

Simply put, flexitarianism = flexible vegetarianism. If you are a flexitarian, you eat a predominantly, but not strictly vegetarian diet. You choose when to eat meat - it could be just on weekends, or when you're eating out, or only after 6pm. You get to pick whatever is most manageable for you.

At Cedele, we welcome this new trend. To us, this trend means that people are looking for more creative, flexible ways to eat healthy. We're all for it! We look forward to being part of this movement, to help you (our customers) discover what foods make you feel like your best self, without having to struggle with a stringent diet plan.

 

How did flexitarianism start?

If you dig a little deeper, you'll realise that the flexitarian way of eating isn't new at all. It's closely related to a more familiar movement: Meatless Monday.

The history of Meatless Monday can be traced back to World War I, when the US Food Administration urged families to reduce consumption of key staples to aid the war effort. With the slogan, "Food Will Win the War", the US government introduced "Meatless Monday" and "Wheatless Wednesday" to encourage Americans to do their part. Over 13 million families pledged to observe these days to help the war effort.

image “Food Will Win the War,” US Food Administration, ca. 1918. (GLC09522)

Since then, flexitarianism has gained popularity. A turning point came in 2009, when Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney started the Meat-Free Monday campaign. Supported by high-profile individuals including Sir Richard Branson, Emma Thompson and Jamie Oliver, the not-for-profit campaign encourages people to have at least one meat-free day a week.

Why would anyone decide to eat less meat?

Health

Firstly, research shows that diets high in animal products are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. By reducing the amount of red meat you consume, you'll see positive effects on your weight and health. The World Cancer Research Fund recommends that people "choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat".

Environment

Eating less meat is also a way to care for the environment. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the livestock sector is one of the top most significant contributors to "the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global". Research also shows that livestock production is "the largest global source of methane and nitrous oxide - two particularly potent GHGs [greenhouse gases]", which are harmful to the environment.

 

What Now?

According to The Independent, flexitarianism is "emerging as a much more achievable alternative to going full vegetarian or vegan." Since studies have shown that cutting down meat has numerous health benefits, flexitarianism allows people to improve their health without giving up meat for good.

Take it One Step at a Time

meatlessmonday

We know that making significant changes to your diet can be hard to stick to. Why not take it one step at a time, and start by committing to one meat-free day a week?

Since November, Cedele has been offering $1 off meatless salads and vegetarian sandwiches/thins at all our outlets. If you're thinking of ordering in, head over to Cedele Market to have a look at our vegetarian options.

flexcollage (Pictured, from left: Beetroot Avocado Burger and our Tofutti Supreme Deli salad)

We'll leave you with the words of one of our favourite food writers, Michael Pollan, who summed up everything he learned about food and health in these few words:

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." 

What do you think about flexitarianism? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

AS MUCH AS WE WOULD LIKE the festive season to be relaxing, the truth is that this time of the year can make us feel frenzied. Whether it is days of meet ups, cooking, hosting or last minute Christmas shopping, we often find ourselves struggling to stay afloat this year end. Not wanting you to struggle through this period, here are some simple tips that will help you savour the season, and appreciate how wonderful this time of the year can be.

1. Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help

Hosting a big holiday gathering can be extremely stressful, even if you've been doing it for years. You're not superman, so don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Here are some suggestions:

Recruit your guests for small tasksGuests usually prefer to take on small tasks, instead of standing around while you attempt to do everything yourself. Don't be shy to ask them to greet other arriving guests, offer drinks or set the table while you busy yourself in the kitchen.

Make it a potluck! Instead of bearing the burden of feeding everyone and slaving away in the kitchen, get each guest to bring a dish. You can even offer suggested dishes that will help the meal come together.

Save time and effort by ordering your food. There's no shame in catering good food for your meal. You could order a turkey as the centerpiece for dinner. Or grab a log cake for a sweet end to the meal. For more ideas on how to satisfy all appetites, read our previous blog post. You can also check out our Christmas offerings on Cedele Market.

 

2. Embrace the Imperfections

Be satisfied with "good enough". Face it, even the best laid plans often go awry. Make it a point to let go of the small things this season. Do presents really need to be perfectly wrapped when your nephew is going to tear them to shreds in seconds? Do you need to scrub your home from top to bottom so that it appears spotless for the holiday meal? Take a deep breath and let go, no one's judging you.

Stick to the tried and true. A special gathering is not the time to experiment with a new recipe. It's better to stick to what you can do, and do it well. That way you can focus on the people without stressing out on the preparations and menu.

 

3. Focus On What's Important

Reconnect with loved ones. Send a personal text message or email to people you care about but have lost touch with. Keep it short - don't feel like you have to update them on the last five years of your life.

Drop expensive or stressful rituals. If you're feeling overwhelmed with the dozen of Christmas cards you send out, choose to send 10 of the most important ones and put the rest on the back burner.

Have compassion. We know that family time during the holiday season is often more stressful than enjoyable. Instead of falling into familiar habits and frustrations, respond to your family members by putting yourself in their shoes, throwing in some humour and giving them a chance to do something better. Perhaps you'll be able to break through the tension and learn to love your family more this season.

 

4. Show Yourself Some Love

Enjoy your treats the right way. Too much sugar is known to cause blood sugar highs and lows which in turn affect your mood and leave you feeling more anxious. Lauri Wright, PhD, RDN, assistant professor, department of nutrition and dietetics, University of North Florida, suggests small changes that can help significantly reduce your overall sugar intake. Instead of a handful, have just one cookie or a piece of candy so you can have a taste without overdoing it. Also, place your treat on a plate, then walk away from the rest of the goodies so that you won't be in sight of more temptations.

Take time to reflect. What were your highlights this year? List what you would you like to achieve in the coming year, and start making plans to work towards it.

Find reasons to be grateful. Events around the world are a present and poignant reminder that life is precious and fleeting. Take time to be grateful for the luxuries and the little things: from loved ones to a simple good cup of coffee.


SO HERE'S TO A MORE JOYOUS SEASON! Keep your plans simple, and savour this season before it ends. Merry Christmas!

WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT giving during Christmastime, and there's nothing wrong with giving presents and showing others you care for them. But perhaps it is time for us to go beyond gifts, and think about giving back to society and community.

Here are some meaningful ways you can give back this season.

1. Donate

We have to admit that many of us in Singapore have more than what we truly need. If you have been thinking of donating some of your possessions, now is a good time to start! Whether it is household supplies for migrant workers living in shelters or donating baby-related to help ease the financial and emotional burdens of young mothers, there are a wide variety of ways you can contribute to those in need.

If you prefer to give financially, there are countless needs all around us: internationally and locally. To help the people Aleppo and the escalating crisis in Syria, here are some ways to contribute. Choose to give financially to the millions of people who still do not have access to clean drinking water or who live without proper sanitation. From pets to the intellectually disabled, there are also many causes for you to invest your money into social good closer to home.

Donating Surplus Food

As a bakery and cafe, food is naturally on our minds. We want to highlight the work of The Food Bank Singapore, who collects unwanted yet perfectly fit-to-eat food and provides it to organisations and people in need. Food wastage is a big issue in Singapore. Just last year, food waste amounted to a staggering 788,600 tonnes-that's 108 double-decker buses worth!

healthy-food-bundle_food bank (Image from The Food Bank Singapore)

Contribute by making a deposit of canned food or dried goods at the various Bank Boxes around Singapore. Alternatively, you can adopt a Bank Box, which you can place at home or in your office to allow others to contribute their unopened and unexpired goods. Visit their website to find out more.

 

2. Choosing Socially Conscious Gifts

Since many of us will be searching to find the perfect gift this season, why not choose one that makes a difference as well? There are plenty of companies that produce quality goods and take on big inequalities and noticeable causes at the same time.

band collage (Top: Conscious Step's gift box: Conscious Collection: Books, Water, Poverty; bottom: Matter's Sideswept Dhoti collection)

For instance, US-based Conscious Step sells high quality cotton socks which are matched to key issues in the fight against poverty, such as providing safe water or treating HIV. A little closer to home, local brand, Matter creates "pants to see the world in", using artisan printed and loomed fabric. They collaborate with artisans in India, creating modern fashion pieces with time-honoured techniques like ikat, jamdani and block printing. This in turn supports the artisan communities and helps conserve their native crafts. For more ideas on gifts that give back, head over here and here.

 

3. Volunteer

Since we live in an increasingly busy society, the year-end is as good a time as any to slow down. While you're at it, why not pick a cause close to your heart and volunteer some time and effort for the betterment of others?

wh_collage (Images from Willing Hearts Singapore)

We suggest volunteering your time with Willing Hearts, a secular soup kitchen we have been supporting over the years. They prepare, cook and distribute about 5,000 daily meals to the needy in Singapore. They are open daily and run wholly by volunteers who prepare the ingredients, pack lunch boxes and clean up the kitchen. Visit their website to find out how you can get involved. For more opportunities to volunteer locally, visit the Giving.sg online portal, run by by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre.

 

4. Starting Small - One Act of Kindness at a Time

"It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving." - Mother Teresa

At the end of the day, it is not just the grand gestures that make a difference. Random acts of kindness work just fine. It can be as simple as showing you appreciate your parents, anticipating what your loved one needs before he or she even articulates it or buying a sweet treat for a colleague who's stressed out. After all, it's these small surprises that make our day, isn't it? two-glasses (Image from Charity: Water)

We really like Charity: Water's simple suggestion to 'pledge your birthday' to raise money for clean water instead of receiving gifts. If you're feeling uninspired, head over to Food52 to explore 50 over ways you can help a loved one (or a stranger) this festive season. two-glasses (Image from Food52)

Get Inspired

THIS IS JUST THE TIP of the iceberg! There are so many opportunities and worthy causes you can get involved in. All in all, we hope that reading this will get you inspired to act thoughtfully and bless others meaningfully this season – there’s plenty of good to go around.

"Help one another; there’s no time like the present and no present like the time." — James Durst

"What better way to ring in the festive season than to open your doors and welcome in the laughter of friends and family?" 

 

FOR MANY, CHRISTMASTIME IS ABOUT GATHERINGS. According to a recent study, research found that families who perform "collective rituals" like communal dinners or decorating the tree, feel closer to one another and experience more enjoyment.

But between work and other commitments, you might be fretting over catering your next Christmas gathering. How do you cater to everyone's dietary preferences?

When we developed our menu for Christmas this year, we made sure to have food options available for every appetite. So read on below and let us help you plan your next Christmas gathering!

 

For the Vegetarian: Going Green this Christmas

It is becoming more common these days to have a friend or family member who is vegetarian. Whether they are vegetarian by choice or just going green temporarily, we have plenty of options to help you cater to their palate this Christmas. Who says going green has to be boring?

xmas_veg

(From top left, clockwise: Chocolate Truffle Squares, Baby French Beans salad with Spicy Thai Dressing, Classic Minced Pies and our Veggie Lovers' Sliders Platter)

Created with 70% dark couverture chocolate and cream, our Chocolate Truffle Squares are the perfect melt-in-your-mouth treat that is subtly sweet and full of antioxidants.

Our lovely light salad features a medley of French beans, sweet peas, garbanzo beans and cherry tomatoes paired with a spicy Thai dressing.

A classic Christmas dessert staple, our minced pies contain a boozy mix of spiced fruits and rum with a crumbly almond tart pastry. For an alcohol-free version: our Frangipane Apricot minced pies pack a mix of almonds, apricots, currants and cranberries into a tender almond pastry crust.

For an appetizing array of petite brioche burgers, try our Veggie Lovers' Slider Platter. We offer four vegetarian fillings, including a veggie tofu patty with plum chutney and our Mushroom Overload patty with brie.

 

For the Meat Lovers

Despite the increase in veganism in Singapore, you are bound to have a carnivorous friend (or two)! For those looking for a protein-filled punch in their Christmas meal, our selection of meats are sure to satisfy. xmas_meat

(From left: Salami Deli Platter, Rosemary Christmas Turkey and Manuka Glazed Ham & Cheese Tray)

Our Salami Deli Platter features air-dried Hungarian Salami, which has been aged for six weeks. It comes packed with cheeses (Camembert and Parmigiano-Reggiano), onion marmalata chutney and a loaf of walnut bread.

For traditionalists, we offer our Rosemary Christmas Turkey - a succulent roast stuffed with fruit, complete with spiced cranberry strawberry sauce and tasty Turkey gravy. We slow roast the bird with rosemary herbs for four hours, basting it with a butter broth every half hour. It comes with a healthy side of mixed black rice, millet, edamame and mushroom.

Try our Manuka Glazed Ham & Cheese tray, which comes with a pleasing platter of cheeses and cranberry orange chutney. Our ham is nitrate-free and comes with the benefits of Manuka honey for a great tasting platter.

 

Not Forgetting Other Diets: Gluten-Free Offerings

A DISCLAIMER: our gluten-free suggestions may not be suitable for coeliacs due to the specific food preparatory environment require for coeliacs.

Gluten is a protein found primarily in wheat, barley and rye. Coeliac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder where consumption of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Gluten is found in many foods, and is often a hidden ingredient in many recipes. Unlike coeliac disease, gluten intolerance manifests in symptoms of gassiness, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Head over here for more information about gluten intolerance.

xmas_glutenfree (From top left, clockwise: Sausage platter, Roasted Roots Platter, Chocolate Flourless Truffle log cake, and our Moroccan Roasted Chicken & Golden Pilaf Rice)

Feast on our signature Sausage platter: sun dried tomato sausages, herbed Nürnberger and Pork Bratwurst. Our custom-made sausages are preservative free and come with sweet and sour caramelized sauerkraut, cranberries, Bavarian mustard and Sriracha ketchup. This finger food is great for family gatherings!

What about a side of Roasted Roots? Grilled pumpkin, purple and yellow sweet potatoes served with a maple sage dressing. Such a simple way for you to bring a delicious, gluten-free dish to the table.

For something sweet, our Chocolate Flourless Truffle log cake is a Christmas classic. The moist chocolate sponge cake is coated with a decadent layer of chocolate cream cheese and garnished with berries.

For a less traditional Christmas dish, we recommend our Moroccan Roasted Chicken & Golden Pilaf rice: the turmeric-infused rice is steamed with Moroccan-inspired herbs and spices, topped with roasted chermoula chicken breast and toasted whole almond flakes.

 

If You Have a Sweet Tooth...

Here's your chance to blow your guests away with a selection of sweet treats to end your meal. xmas_sweets

(From top left, clockwise: Christmas Butter Shortbread, Berry Pistachio log cake, Chocolate Matcha Sake Squares, Rustic Chocolate Tiramisu)

Our Christmas Butter Shortbread comes in three flavours: classic butter, green tea marble butter and chocolate marble butter. They come in a box of 48.

You'll find that our limited edition Berry Pistachio log cake is such a lovely sight! The soft pistachio cake is wrapped in a bright pink berry frosting.

A fan favourite, our Chocolate Matcha Sake Squares are made of matcha cookies and dark chocolate truffles. They contain a mix of sake-soaked fruits topped with a layer of white chocolate and green tea lace. They come in a box of 9.

Last but far from the least, the Rustic Chocolate Tiramisu is our take on the classic Italian dessert. The luscious yet light cake is layered with marscapone cream and rum-soaked dark chocolate, topped with a selection of berries.

 

A Healthier, Fuss-Free Christmas Meal

Here's another reason to consider our suggestions: you can rest assured that by choosing Cedele you are treating your loved ones to a healthier Christmas meal.

At Cedele, we don't want our indulgences to be irresponsible. We choose to use organic unrefined sugar to make sure that our food is as natural and unprocessed as possible. We also don't use any trans fat in our food. Trans fat is hydrogenated vegetable oil used widely in the food industry because of its longer shelf life. Instead, we choose to use extra virgin olive oil and unsalted butter.

STILL FRETTING over your next Christmas gathering? Visit Cedele Market to view all our available options and save your time for the ones that truly matter.

 

WHEN WE THINK OF CHRISTMAS, our minds (and stomachs) often drift to thoughts of food and feasting. Have you ever wondered what people around the world have for Christmas? Here are some interesting stories of the many festive food traditions around the globe!

XmasTraditionsInfo  

Eggnog  (United States & Canada)

Eggnog is commonly consumed from the American Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday of November) through the end of the Christmas season. The rich and creamy dairy-based beverage is traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, distilled spirits (brandy, rum or bourbon) and whipped eggs, which gives it a frothy texture. Its name is most likely a combination of two colonial slang words: rum was referred to as 'grog' and bartenders served it in small wooden mugs called 'noggins'. This Christmas, try our Eggnog Speculoos cheesecake, which incorporates this uniquely festive flavour.

eggnog cake Cedele's Eggnog Speculoos Cheesecake

Minced Pies (England)

For centuries in England, minced pies have been consumed as a Christmas treat. The original pies were much larger and contained a mix of sweet and savoury ingredients. However, the pies today are much smaller in size and are mostly sweet, making them a classic bite-sized treat.

Our version of the classic minced pie contains rich, boozy spiced fruit and rum. This year, we offer our frangipane apricot minced pie as an alcohol-free version, which contains a mix of fruit and nut in a tender almond pastry crust.

 

Radish Festival (Oaxaca, Mexico)

Every year, the city of Oaxaca in Mexico holds the Noche de Rábanos (or the Night of the Radishes) during its Christmas market on 23 December. Over-sized radishes are carved to create various scenes that compete for prizes. This tradition seems to have originated from the colonial period, when the priests first encouraged the carving of religious themes on radishes for the annual Christmas market. As a result, the carvings evolved into a marketing gimmick by farmers to attract customers before a formal radish carving competition was established by the mayor of Oaxaca in 1897.

 

Yule Log (France)

The Yule log, or the Bûche de Noël, is a traditional dessert served near Christmas time in France. Its history stretches back hundreds of years to an ancient time in Europe, when families would burn logs decorated with holly, pine cones or ivy, cleansing the air of the previous year's events and to usher in the spring. The tradition has since evolved to that of eating a log cake made of sponge cake with marzipan or meringue decorations.

logcakes

We are proud to offer three special log cakes this Christmas: our soft Berry Pistachio log cake, our gluten-free Chocolate Flourless Truffle log cake, and our Lychee Champagne Tiramisu log cake with champagne-spiked marscapone frosting.

 

Panettone (Italy)

The Panettone's origins date back to the Roman Empire, when ancient Romans sweetened a type of leavened cake with honey. The word "panettone" derives from the Italian word "panetto" meaning a small loaf cake. Served around Christmas time, the Milanese sweet bread loaf is traditionally filled with dried and candied fruits.

This year, we offer a fragrant twist to the classic Italian fruit bread with our Christmas Baby Lemon Panettone.

 

KFC (Japan)

KFC chicken is a must-have Christmas meal in Japan as a result of an ingenious Christmas marketing campaign in 1974 with the slogan “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky For Christmas!). During the festive season, long queues are expected at KFC outlets and Colonel Sanders dresses up as Santa Claus. As a result, KFC outlets now take their orders for "chicken barrels" two months in advance.

 

Kulkuls (India)

This traditional Christmas sweet combines Portuguese and Indian flavours and is native to Goa. Most Christian families prepare it a few days before Christmas, using simple ingredients like flour, egg, butter and sugar. Each kulkul is delicately prepared by rolling the dough on a comb-shaped fork or mold to form intricate curls before being deep fried.

 

Stollen (Germany)

Since the 15th century, the Stollen has symbolised the infant Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. It is traditionally baked during the advent using only flour, yeast, oil and water. Over the years, the recipe evolved to include sweeter ingredients, such as marzipan. It is also linked closely to the traditional fruit cakes of England.

Our traditional Stollen is a lightly-spiced buttery loaf with dried fruit soaked in dark rum and almond marzipan, finished with a delicate dusting of sugar.

WHAT ARE YOUR TRADITIONS for the Christmas season? We'll help you start some new ones with our festive spread! Head over to Cedele Market to purchase some traditional treats.