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Cook at home and live longer…

We all enjoy a takeaway or ready meal, whether we’re late coming back from the office or just rolling in from the pub and want something quick and easy. But according to a recent article in The Huffington Post , new research shows that those who cook at home five times a week are 47% more likely to survive the next 10 years of their lives. The reasons are easy to spot. Not only are you monitoring what exactly is going into your food and reducing your sugar and salt intake (not to mention cutting out all the other nasty preservatives found lurking in ready meals), the therapeutic advantages of cooking at home are hard to beat. Many people find the process of just switching off from the day’s stresses and presiding over a simmering pan of delicious food a highly rewarding past time. Cooking with fresh ingredients also means you’re getting more nutritional benefits from what you eat – resulting in a healthier body and mind – and, as research suggests, a longer lifespan.

For those who don’t have much confidence in the kitchen, there are many tasty basic recipes to start off with. By adding seasonings from Schwartz you can turn a simple meal into a masterpiece.

A popular yet fairly easy recipe to try is Spaghetti Bolognese – perfect for feeding large families or if you’re having a lot of guests around for dinner. It only takes around 30 minutes to make this delicious and filling dish. Simply fry 450g mincemeat and a chopped onion into a pan until the ingredients have browned. Add Schwarz’s Bolognese seasoning, together with a can of chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil, then simmer for 25 minutes. Finally boil some fresh spaghetti for five minutes, drain and serve with the Bolognese mixture, topped with a shaving of Parmesan cheese. Then just wait for the compliments to come rolling in. To give this meal extra depth and richness, add a good glug of red wine to the sauce while it’s simmering. Or to create a more interesting flavour and texture, when you’re frying the onions and mince try adding up some chopped celery too.

Another great recipe which couldn’t be easier to cook is Shepherd’s Pie - the perfect British dish for when the nights start to get colder. First pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Take 900g potatoes, peel and cut them into chunks and boil them on the hob for 10-15 minutes. In another pan, fry 450g lean lamb mince, a chopped onion and two peeled, chopped carrots until browned. After draining off any excess liquid, mix the Schwartz Shepherd’s Pie seasoning with water and add to the mixture. Then immediately stir in 100g peas and simmer for five minutes before transferring the mixture to an ovenproof dish. Drain the boiled potatoes, mash them in a bowl and add a little butter and salt, then spread over the mince mixture. Put the dish in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes - and at the end, you have a perfect warming meal for the autumn months. For a more interesting mash, try mixing it in with chopped chives and cream cheese.

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