I've never really liked shopping. As a teenager, my Mum would tease me after a trip to The Glades shopping centre in Bromley, as I'd usually need a lie-down afterwards to recover. I suspect now, this was more to do with being a teenager, but even today I can think of nothing worse than heading out to the high street, or even shopping online.
Except that is, when a trip to The Green Shop in Berwick-upon-Tweed is in the offing. An eco-friendly and ethical retail experience, it's the one place I can usually get my hands on those harder to find ingredients and my favorite Vivani Feine Bitter chocolate.
The last time I was there I stumbled on a tin of Biona jackfruit. I'd come across a recipe that called for jackfruit a while back (which I've now misplaced) so it seemed like a good store cupboard item to stock up on for future use. I was pleased with my find.
But, not as pleased as I was a few days later when I was flicking through a copy of Foodies in my local butchers and came across Jack Monroe's recipe for chilli. I followed the simple recipe slavishly and it was truly delicious, not to mention another dish shifting the vegetarian verse meat ratio.
When you look at the nutritional profile of the the jackfruit, it's little wonder this tropical fruit thought to originate in Southern India, has been gathering a reputation as a superfood for vegans.
It's protein content (1.7g per 100g) is unusual for a fruit, and it contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium and manganese. It's rich in dietary fibre and also contains the powerful antioxidants, carotenoids and flavanones that are thought to be effective in fighting inflammation and helping to protect us from chronic disease.
I enjoyed using Jackfruit as an ingredient. It worked well in this dish due to its natural propensity to soak up the flavourful sauce and one thing's for sure, I'll be heading back to Berwick to buy more.
To complete the dish I chose a traditional chilli con carne accompaniment; Jamie Oliver's classic guacamole recipe. It enlivened the plate with contrasting colour and added a freshness to the warm earthy flavours of Jack's chilli.