Category Archives: Gluten Free

Recovery Salad – Watermelon, Feta and Tuna

I’ve had a tough week – an infection and high blood pressure has had me in an ambulance, at the doctors, in tears, in bed and quite frankly feeling pretty pants!

I’m on the mend now and more eager than ever to get my diet on track with a focus on maintaining good blood pressure levels and good energy levels – i am supposed to be training for the 3 peaks challenge after all!

After a long day at work yesterday at the end of which I had a banging headache, I took myself home for a relaxing evening of healthy dinner and catch up on celebrity big brother (my not-so-guilty pleasure!)

A little reading of The Optimum Nutrition Bible, my trusted Neals Yard Healing Foods book and The Happy Kitchen by Rachel Kelly gave me inspiration for a quick and easy salad which would hopefully help me get some balance and energy back as well as help me feel better.

Feta, Watermelon and Tuna salad quite honestly sound like three ingredients which should never be eaten together but the salad was fresh, sweet and light. Peppery rocket goes fantastically with salty feta and zingy watermelon and the sweet black olives cut through the fatty tuna. Trust me on this one and if you cant then either leave out the tuna (or substitute for chicken) or switch the watermelon for tomatoes to retain some juicy sweetness.

The reasons i chose this salad after being poorly this week are :

Watermelon – rich in vitamin c and antioxidants which are good for immune support and contains potassium which helps to normalise blood  pressure. Watermelons are also good for digestion having a natural diuretic effect.

Rocket – protects against infections through very high vitamin C content  – it is also used for its energising and detoxifying qualities.

Tuna – a semi oily fish – good source of magnesium and potassium which are good for heart health and helping keep blood pressure low. Tuna is a great protein, good for energy and heart health.

Feta – helps supply a sustained energy and help to keep the gut running  nicely ensuring good digestion.

Ok – so now for the construction of the salad which is nice and easy. Marinate 100g diced tuna steak in some lime juice, olive oil and a teaspoon of oregano and leave to one side. Start to assemble the salad with 80g rocket as the salad base. Scatter over 20g low fat feta (chopped into small cubes), 90g diced watermelon, 1/2 red onion – thinly sliced, 70g black olives (halved). Gently fry the tuna in a pan for 2 minutes (save any of the marinade as this becomes the salad dressing) until sealed on the outside and still pink on the inside. Pop the tuna on top of the salad and scatter some shredded mint leaves and the left over lime and oregano dressing on top. Enjoy and feel good!

 

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Hormone Balancing Sesame Tuna Salad

During a stressful time where i am a moody little wotsit; tired, teary and lethargic I wanted to use ingredients which would help to bring me balance – cheer me up, keep my skin and hair healthy, calm me down and taste delicious. Balanced hormones keep weight down, keep us happy, ensure our skin and hair are clear, healthy and strong. Hormone inbalance can disrupt sleep, deplete energy and reduce the strength of our immune system so you can see its important to look after our hormones all the time!

This tuna salad did just that. Just cooking and putting it together cheered me up – its a very colourful salad. According to some research, Omega-3 rich foods such as tuna can have a positive effect on mental health reducing depression. Cooking the sesame tuna in coconut oil rather than another oil also helps to balance hormones – good for the skin, easy to digest, quick source of energy and protects against bad bacteria. The avocado is also great – its high potassium, vitamins B and E and folic acid are also essential im maintaining hormonal balance. Dark green veggies are powerful sources of antioxidents – here i use kale and broccoli. I could use up a whole blog post on how fabulous kale is so i’ll go into detail another time – suffice to say its amazing! The brightly coloured veggies including radish, mango and carrot are great sources of vitamin C too.  

Serves 2

Tuna

2 Tuna Steaks
1 Garlic Clove – finely sliced
2 Red Chillis – finely sliced
2cm Ginger – peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1tbsp Sesame Oil
2tbsp Coconut Oil
Handful Fresh Coriander – chopped
20g Cashew Nuts
3tbsp Sesame Seeds (I used black and white)
2 Spring Onions – sliced

Salad
200g Kale – I massaged this is a little cold water to soften the leaves slightly
1 Mango – chopped into chunks
8 Radishes – sliced
½ head broccoli – chopped into florets and cooked to al dente to retain crunch
1 avocado – diced
Handful of Coriander – chopped
1 nest of Whole-wheat Rice Noodles – to cook, place in boiling water for 3 minutes

Dressing
1 Chilli – diced
2tbsp Soy Sauce
1tbsp Lime juice
1tbsp Maple Syrup
3tbsp Sesame Oil
1tsp AllSpice

This is the straight forward part! Marinate the tuna in the chilli, ginger, garlic and sesame oil – place in the fridge for at least an hour. Make the dressing my mixing all ingredients together and seasoning to taste. Bring al the salad ingredients together making sure everything is mixed together and pour the dressing on the top. Leave in the fridge to infuse – not for too long though as you don’t want everything to go soggy – I would say 20 minutes whilst you prep and cook the tuna is fine. Meanwhile, toast the cashews in a dry pan for a few minutes, let them brown slightly and start to smell toasty! Leave to one side. Once the tuna is marinated remove from the marinade (I poured the marinade into the salad for extra taste and so as not to waste as those lovely flavours). Mix the sesame seeds together in a bowl and place the tuna steaks into the seeds to cover on all sides. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and fry the sesame coated tuna for 3 minutes on each side. This should ensure the steaks are cooked medium and the sesame seeds are nice and toasted.

To bring together, place the dressed salad on the base of the bowl and top with the tuna steak. Scatter the cashews, remaining coriander and spring onions on top. I defy anyone not to enjoy this salad – its fabulously nutritious, tasty, light and pretty!

Nasi Goreng – my style

Hi folks, having recently moved house and missing my cookbooks which are still in boxes in “the outhouse” (my garden shed) I have been making up recipes for dinner lately and this Nasi Goreng is one.

Traditionally Nasi Goreng is fried rice with chicken or seafood topped with a fried egg and spiced with Indonesian spices. My version uses cauliflower rice (after my cleanse I am loving substituting regular for cauliflower – it makes dishes lighter, is more nutritious and tastier) and I have no idea whether the spice mix is Indonesian – i made it up! 

After a long weekend in Krakow (amazing place!) where I ate a lot of comforting but rather stodgy meat dishes I wanted a lighter dinner so elected seafood for my nasi goreng mixing squid into the spiced rice and topping with a lovely fillet of turmeric spiced seabass. 
The dish is gluten free, packed with your 5 a day veggies and high in protein from the seabass and squid.

Serves 2
Paste – blitz the below in a food processsor until a smooth paste is formed:

4 cloves garlic
2cm ginger
1tsp shrimp paste
2tbsp lime juice
1 red chilli
1tsp palm sugar
2tbsp roasted flaked almonds
1 tbsp veg oil
salt and pepper
1tsp turmeric
1tsp chilli powder

Nasi Goreng

Spice Paste (above)
1tbsp Kecap Manis (this is Indonesian ketchup, if you cant find any, use equal amounts of soy sauce and palm sugar)
1tsp Soy Sauce
1 handful of baby corn (chopped)
2 heads Pak Choi (sliced)
1 handful of mange tout (chopped)
3 spring onions (sliced)
1 handful green beans (chopped)
1/2 head Cauliflower – coarsely grated to a rice-like consistency
2 fillets seabass
1 tbsp turmeric
2 eggs
Rapeseed oil

Sprinkle the turmeric over the seabass fillets and leave to one side. Warm the cauliflower rice in a dry pan and leave to one side.
To ensure everything is cooked well, I part cooked the veggies in boiling water so that they were ready to be stirfried into the nasi goreng and would be nicely al dente.
Heat the paste in a wok or large frying pan with a little rapeseed oil and wait until it sizzles and smells fragrant. Add the kecap manis and the soy and mix again.
Add the veggies and squid and cover with the spice mix. Whilst this is cooking through, fry the seabass in a little oil, skin side down for 2 minutes on each side. At this stage, mix the cauliflower rice into the wok with the squid and veggies to mix together and heat through.
If you can multi task, now is the time to fry your eggs as they can be cooking through as you plate up.
Serve the nasi goreng topped with the seabass and the fried egg on top.

Cleanse Weeks 2 and 3

Sorry for the delay in posting this but work and my new house combined with seeing friends and being away etc have made me a very busy bee the past two weeks.

So…..the cleanse….week one was a breeze, far easier than i imagined. Week two was slightly harder – being the only one on our work trip away not drinking lovely red wine with our tapas dinner and starting off life in my new house without chocolate to get me through the stress of it! I had a couple of nice meals out which were gluten, sugar and grain free including Jin Juu’s Jap Chae Noodles and a simple Flat Iron Steak with a side salad of green beans, heritage tomatoes and a light citrus dressing at Bordelaise in Toots.

On top of that my meals and snacks have been easy to include in the cleanse. Cauliflower Rice and Courgetti have been fabulous substitutes for regular rice and pasta. Elix was shocked the other day when I announced I would never have rice again as I love the cauli stuff so much! Fruit and Veg smoothies for breakfast with eggs, avocado and salmon at weekends as a treat has also been easy to continue with. Packed lunches at work have involved chicken, walnut and apple salad, tuna nicoise and roast vegetable salad. Whilst rooibos and peppermint tea are delightful I continue to pine for cappuccinos and a milky earl grey cuppa!

My weight loss has continued – nothing huge but a little nip and tuck here and there which my skinny jeans have been grateful for! Most importantly my skin is in a far better state now with some little irritable patches I used to suffer from now completely clear and my face pretty much free from blemishes.

To confess, I did take my best friend Bex for afternoon tea for her birthday at The Goring. We enjoyed sandwiches, scones and pastries aswell as a glass of champagne. I felt ok afterwards, fuller than usual (i would normally devour extra servings of sandwiches and scones and I didnt!) and a little bloated but nothing too concerning. I think this showed me that everything in moderation, for me, is ok although I do think I have a slight intolerance to milk which I will investigate.

My favourite recipe from the past couple of weeks has been Seafood Stew with Tomato and Saffron.

Serves 2
200g Mixed Seafood including prawns, mussels and squid
6 Scallops
1 Onion – diced
4 cloves Garlic – crushed
1/2 Carton Tomato Passata
1 tin Plum Tomatoes
Sprinkle of Saffron
1tsp Chilli flakes
1tsp Turmeric
Flat Leaf Parsley
Lemon Juice

Start by slowly frying the onion and garlic in some olive oil in a saucepan. As they begin to soften, add in the spices and mix. Pour in the passata and tinned tomatoes and stir together – leave to simmer gently in the pan for 30 minutes.
If you need to sweeten the sauce add a little sugar or agave – I found that mine didn’t need it.
Add the seafood for a couple of minutes to cook through and stir through the chopped parsley. Finally add a little lemon juice and mix again.
When the sauce has a good balance of chilli heat, sharpness from the lemon and sweetness from the tomatoes and the seafood is cooked through you are ready to serve.
I served mine with kale, tenderstem broccoli and cauliflower rice.

My last meal in my first Flat

I’m about to move house and leave my lovely huge kitchen for the delights of a “do-er upper”. I am not moving far but will have a whole house – i’ll be knocking some walls down and building some new rooms so will have a lovely new kitchen in no time but tonight – as the last time i’ll cook here it was quite emotional.

So my last meal was a vegetable curry and it was delicious. It ticks all the gluten free, dairy free, low fat, no salt, no sugar boxes and was packed with nutritious vegetables.

Serves 4
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
Coconut Oil
1 onion – blitzed to form a paste
1 carrot – diced
1 potato – diced
1 tin plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2tsp ground coriander
1tsp turmeric
1/2 cauliflower – chopped to florets
1 red pepper – diced
1 courgette – sliced
1/2 tsp Garam masala

For the Masala – blitz the below:
1 red chilli
2 cloves garlic
4cm Ginger

In a large pan heat some oil, once hot add the cumin seeds until they start to pop. At this point when fragrant, add the onion and gently cook until caramelised and dark. Add the carrot and potato along with the spices, mix in the tinned tomatoes and then half fill the can with water and add this too. Leave on a high heat, covered for 10 minutes.

As the vegetables begin to soften, add the cauliflower, courgette and pepper and a little water if needed. Mix together and add the chilli masala paste. Leave covered on the hob, bubbling away for another 15 minutes. For the final 5 minutes uncover to allow the sauce to thicken a little. The curry will be ready when the veggies are soft and the sauce is thick and punchy!

Serve with cauliflower rice and a sprinkle of fresh coriander.


And with that il say a fond farewell to my lovely flat in Toots and sign off….next time I blog it will be from my new house!

I want to Bake a Cake…..what can I use from the Cupboard?!

To cheer myself up today….and also start to use up some of the food in the cupboard before we move house – I baked a Marmalade, Coconut and Polenta cake. I know it sounds like a random mix of ingredients but the end result is lovely and tasty. 

The recipe makes enough for two loaf tins worth….il admit, the first batch i forgot to put sugar in (oops!) but…..I can attest to the fact that the sugar-free version tastes nice as it benefits from the sweetness of the coconut and orange juice but obviously the sugar helps to balance out the slightly bitter marmalade taste. So…..its upto you which version you make!

Makes 2 Loaf Tins
180ml Rapeseed Oil
240ml Orange Juice
Grated zest of one Orange
160g Marmalade
4 Eggs
70g Dessicated Coconut
70g Caster Sugar
100g Ground Almonds
180g Polenta (fine)
2tsp Baking Powder

For the Syrup

50g Caster Sugar
20ml Water
10ml Orange Juice

Preheat the oven to 180 degs.
Whisk the wet ingredients together including the marmalade, until it dissolves. Mix the dry ingregients together so all incorporated. Gently add them to the wet ingredients and mix together. The mix will be slightly runny – don’t panic – the oven will sort that out!
Line the loaf tins with greaseproof paper and fill them with equal measures of the cake mix.
Bake for 45minutes or until a skewer comes out clear.
To make the syrup, slowly heat the sugar, juice and water until bubbling and slightly syrup-y in texture.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven generously brush the syrup over the top so that the whole cake can soak it up for extra sweetness and moisture.
Leave the cake on a wire rack to cool and serve with some greek yoghurt.

Sweet Thai Noodles with Vegetables, Prawns and Crispy Chilli Tofu

My love of Thai food just keeps on growing and a trip to Chinatown in London on Friday where i found some flat rice noodles inspired me to attempt to recreate a stir fry that we learnt to cook in Chiang Mai.

This dish contains loads of healthy vegetables, is meat and gluten free and very easy and tasty.

Serves 2
150g Flat Rice Noodles
3tsp low salt Soy Sauce
2 heads Pak Choi – leaves and stems halved
Handful of Mange Tout, Mini Corn, Mushrooms – all sliced
150g Prawns
100g Extra firm Tofu – diced into 2cm cubes
1 Chilli – diced
2 Cloves Garlic – diced
1 Egg – beaten
3tbsp Oyster Sauce
1tsp Fish Sauce
1/2 tsp Palm Sugar
Coconut Oil
Vegetable Oil

If using dry noodles, soak these in boiling water until softened, drain and then leave to soak in 1tsp Soy Sauce – put to one side.
Get two frying pans on the hob. In one, heat 4tbsp vegetable oil, once hot, gently place the tofu and chilli in to crisp up and turn golden.
In the other pan or wok heat 1tbsp coconut oil and add the garlic. Once sizzling, add the mange tout, mushrooms, pak choi and baby corn. As the veggies begin to soften add the prawns and noodles, followed by the sauces and sugar. As everything mixes together smelling sweet and giving a little colour to the noodles – push it all to one side of the wok and tip in the beaten egg. Let the egg scramble and mix into the noodles and the vegetables.
Keep an eye on the tofu, turning over until each piece is golden and crispy. When cooked, place on some kitchen roll to dry.
Serve with the crispy tofu on top for extra crunch and let the full texture and taste of the sweet noodles come through.