The Journal

 

(Charlotte is wearing our Tie-Back Halter Top in Cherry Blossom and Organic Cotton Paper Bag Pants)

 

As we think about living sustainably, our thoughts naturally drift to the food that we put on our tables. As foodies ourselves, it’s natural that we often fantasise about a good meal, and indulge in a chocolate bar or two. But how does one eat well and stay conscious of their food choices? As we celebrate the abundance of the New Year, we also reflect on the year gone past, and take a moment to look deeper about all aspects of our life, and what we want to feed our body and soul with in 2020.
 
That’s why we recently caught up with Charlotte Mei de Drouas. Even though it was our first time meeting Charlotte in person, her enigmatic and cheerful presence immediately brightened up the set of our shoot. Of her many attributes and abilities, Charlotte is most known for cooking, and is fluent in all things delicious and healthy. Charlotte is also a sustainability advocate, nutritionist and host of TheCharlotteMei channel on YouTube. For now, we’ll leave you with mouth-watering pictures as well as an amazingly simple yet delicious dish she generously shared with us. 

 

 

 
 

 

(Charlotte is wearing our Organic Cotton Halter Top in Petal Pink and Organic Cotton Double Layered Pants in Olive )


Alicia: Tell us more about what you do, and how you got started as a nutritionist and chef.
 
Charlotte: I wear two hats – one of a nutritionist and the other of a host/media presenter.
 
Food and nutrition has always been a passion of mine, however as a 17-18 year old, there aren’t many good sources of information out in the media and I was constantly lost in the maze of information. So I decided to study nutrition once and for all, so I was able to discern the science from fiction.

 

I would call myself a ‘home chef’ …and that got started because I grew up watching lots of cooking shows growing up, and somehow I subconsciously picked up a few useful tricks to help me whip up meals in university! 
 
Alicia: There’s a common misconception that eating healthy means going on a diet, meal plan or avoiding certain types of food altogether, what would you say to debunk that?
 
Charlotte: It’s all about a balance. Healthy eating is actually simpler and way more enjoyable than it sounds. I believe in the 80:20 rule, which is to eat well 80% of the time (fresh, unprocessed foods), and to enjoy your vices 20% of the time, instead of avoiding them completely. As for those that fall under the 80%, find foods which bring you joy!…so much that you’d indulge in them!
 
Alicia: We’re really lucky to be surrounded by an abundance of ingredients and produce in our supermarkets and wet markets. How does one cook and eat more sustainably?
 
Charlotte: Shopping at the wet market is a great place to start, as most things are unpackaged, you buy only what you need, and you’re supporting the local community! When at the supermarket, try to go for produce that is grown closer to Singapore (e.g. vegetables from Malaysia), and when shopping for packaged foods, try to avoid buying those which are individually packaged.
 
Alicia: What are some of your pantry staples?
 
Charlotte: Eggs (omelettes are my quick go-to breakfast/lunch/dinner!), Soya bean milk (I love to drink it warm late at night), Bananas (perfect quick snack; and when they’re turning overripe, I slice them up to keep in the freezer for a smoothie or banana ice cream).

 

 

(Charlotte is wearing our T-Back Maxi Dress in Indigo)

 

“Healthy eating is actually simpler and way more enjoyable than it sounds. I believe in the 80:20 rule, which is to eat well 80% of the time (fresh, unprocessed foods), and to enjoy your vices 20% of the time, instead of avoiding them completely.” 

 
Alicia: You recently started a YouTube Channel, TheCharlotteMei which features lots of fuss-free and healthy recipes. Do you have other exciting plans in the pipeline?
 
Charlotte: YES! I am planning a new series that takes my viewers to the wet market to teach them how to shop there. Wet markets are a great place to shop, however they can get rather intimidating, so I’m hoping to share some of my tips and experiences to encourage more people to check out their local wet markets.
 
Alicia: You’re an advocate for living sustainably. What does living sustainably mean to you?
 
Charlotte: It means being aware of the impact I leave behind, and incorporating conscious practices in all aspects of my life (shopping for earth-friendly textiles, avoiding all forms of single-use products where I can, consciously packing all my reusables before leaving home, cooking with all parts of a vegetable, upcycling old objects into new ones, etc…)
 

”When at the supermarket, try to go for produce that is grown closer to Singapore (e.g. vegetables from Malaysia), and when shopping for packaged foods, try to avoid buying those which are individually packaged.”

 

(Charlotte is wearing our T-Back Maxi Dress in Indigo)

 
 
Alicia: Thank you for sharing the Mala Mackerel recipe with us! Do tell us more about what inspired the recipe.
 
Charlotte: Most of my dishes have a touch of familiarity but with a slight tweak – usually to make it healthier or easier to prepare. In this case, many people are familiar with mala-flavoured dishes, but I added mackerel to the mix because I think the flavours of the mackerel and dou ban jiang (spicy bean paste) go so well together, and mackerel is a great source of protein and healthy fats too! And it is incredibly e-a-s-y!!!

 

 

 
 

Mala Mackerel



Ingredients:
 

½ block
Silken tofu, cubed
1 can

Ayam Brand Mackerel Fillets in Extra Virgin Olive Oil (100g, drained)
½ tsp
Sesame Oil
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1½ tbsp
Dou Ban Jiang
2 Garlic, minced
1" Ginger, minced
3 sprigs Spring onions, sliced
250ml Water
½ tbsp
Szechuan peppers (toasted and ground)
1 tbsp Soy sauce
Cornstarch slurry
(½ tbsp water + 1 tbsp cornstarch)

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Method:  

Fry

Garlic, ginger and spring onion (white portion),
over low heat
Add Dou Ban Jiang and fry
Add 250ml of water and bring to a simmer
Add

Tofu, mackerel, and soy sauce and simmer
for 2 minutes
Make

Cornstarch slurry, and add to the pot to thicken
the mixture to your liking
Add Sesame oil, spring onion (green portion)
Sprinkle Szechuan pepper powder to taste
Serve with rice or your favourite noodles!

 

 For more delicious and healthy recipes, check out Charlotte’s Youtube channel