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!

My Gut Makeover

Now that I completed my Nutrition diploma I thought it about time to put some of my learnings into practise and trial out some new eating habits.

I think I generally eat pretty healthily – the vast majority of what I eat is unprocessed, homemade and nutritious however I am prone to bloating, bad skin, lack of energy and catching every cold around so after reading Jeanette Hyde’s “The Gut Makeover” I decided to give it a go.

I have completed week one of the cleanse and thought I would share my thoughts and a couple of recipe ideas with you.

Firstly, the theory behind the book centre on the gut being central to our weight and health so it sets out a 4 week cleanse plan to help repair the gut, re-populate with good bacteria and have us feeling better, happier, more energetic and healthier.

Our guts are filled with trillions of bacteria, processed foods, dairy, gluten and sugar are some key foods which act as irritants to the gut lining and cause an inbalance in the levels of bacteria in the gut. By removing these foods from our daily diet we are giving our guts a chance to recover, rebuild and rebalance. Good bacteria will flourish and we will hopefully end up feeling rejuvinated and glowing. 

The author of this book makes it clear that this isnt a diet – it is more a makeover and whilst you dont need to follow the daily plans forever this cleanse will help form better food and eating habits and can be revisited periodically to routinely give yourself a bit of an MOT!

Essentially week one has involved cutting out caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten, sugar, salt and processed foods. Every time I have told my friends about this they have been horrified asking what I am able to eat but, being honest, the only thing I have really missed is cappuccinos! I have followed the advice in the book by snacking on fruit, nuts and vegetables. The plan recommends trying to eat a wide variety of all fruit and vegetables – 20 a week and I think I have achieved this!

This isn’t about calorie counting, it is about 3 healthy, nutritious meals a day with healthy snacks, plenty of water and herbal tea.

When I am at work I have followed the following plan: 

Breakfast – Grapefruit with a Smoothie made with 3/4 fruits and vegetables – usually banana, kiwi, spinach and pear.

Lunch – Sweet Potato, Squash, Carrott and Chilli Soup

Snacks – a handful of nuts, an apple, melon and pineapple

Dinners this week have included Courgetti with Fresh tomatoes, chilli, garlic and anchovy

Warm Thai beef salad with Cauliflower Rice

Seabass with Chilli Greens and Mushrooms and Cauliflower Rice

Almond Crusted Chicken with Apple and Walnut Salad and Kale

Genuinely I think I am now a cauliflower rice convert – coarsley grate a quarter of a cauliflower and warm in a dry pan – I couldnt tell the difference between that and rice when it was mixed with the warm thai salad!


Again, by using ground almonds and crushed pistachios or walnuts to coat chicken instead of breadcrumbs you still retain a crispy coating – perfect for with a salad.


Weekend breakfasts have also been a treat – poached eggs, homemade guacamole made by mashing avocado, grated ginger, diced chilli with lime juice with sauteed mushrooms and spinach or salmon.


I have been drinking plenty of water, peppermint tea androoibos tea. 

So it really hasnt been too difficult at all despite sitting in the pub with my friends on water whilst they enjoy beer and wine and walking to the market near work seeing the lovely falafal stall (which i love!) and being unable to eat it!

So far i have lost 1.5kg in weight and have not felt bloated at all. My skin and sleeping patterns arent great but I am putting that down to the stress of moving house and a restructure at work.

I will blog again once I have finished week 2 which I am excited about! I am making a vegetable curry today for Elix and I to have for dinner tomorrow in fact and look forward to sharing the recipe!

Before the Cleanse…..

As I am now a qualified nutritionist, it seemed only right that I put myself on a cleanse so that I am best placed to give advice to people as and when life takes me there. 

The cleanse that I have chosen aims to nourish the tummy by repairing and rejuvinating the gut – taking out foods which are harmful to the digestive system and replacing them with foods which rebalance, replenish and nourish. My aim is not to lose weight but its to get my body to the best possible place to be fit, healthy and glowing! Anyway – more about that next week – for now I am sharing the recipe for Jamie Oliver’s Bustrengo which is a Bolognese Apple and Polenta Cake. Before the cleanse I am going out with a bang!

We ate similar cake in Bologna – its not too sweet – similar to bread and  butter pudding I suppose. Best served warm with either custard or creme freche.

Serves 10/fills a 28cm loose bottomed cake tin
Butter
100g Fine Polenta
200g Plain Flour
100g Breadcrumbs
100g Caster Sugar
500ml Milk
3 Eggs – beaten
100g Runny Honey
55ml Olive Oil
100g Dried Figs – chopped
100g Sultanas
500g (approx 2) Apples – peeled and diced
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
Zest of an Orange
Zest of a Lemon

Pre-heat oven to 180 degs and grease the cakes tin.
Mix together the polenta, flour, breadcrumbs and sugar in a large
mixing bowl. In a seperate bowl beat together the milk, eggs, honey and olive oil. Add this wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix together. Pop in the dried fruits, apples, zest and cinnamon and stir together.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50 minutes to an
hour or until a skewer comes out clean when poked through.
As i said earlier – devour whilst still warm with creme freche or custard and a glass of Italian red wine.


See you next week when I’ll be a week into the cleanse and on my way to a new, healthier self!

Korean Salmon

As i sit on the train up to St Albans to see my bestie Zoe I am writing this blog as a reminder of the best chilli sauce i have ever tasted. Its super easy and versatile and uses one of my favourite ingredients at the moment – gochujang paste. I think I have mentioned it before in a blog – its Korean Chilli Paste – rich, spicy, and sweet all at the same time.

The inspiration for this recipe is JinJuu which is a brilliant Korean restaurant in Carnaby St London. I’ve been a few times and always get the Tofu Bibimbap and the Sticky Chicken wings – AMAZING!

Anyway, Judy Joo, the chef behind the place has a cookbook which i bought for Elix for Christmas and it is packed with tasty recipes.

This recipe is a simple grilled Salmon dish – its the Gochujang glaze which makes it so special. After making a batch of the glaze I also used it to marinade some chicken and drizzled it over some lightly fried tofu – both worked and were delicious!

For the Gochujang Glaze
3tbsp Gochujang Paste
2tsbp Mirin
2tbsp Soy Sauce
2tbsp Sugar
2 Cloves Garlic – grated
1/2 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Grated Ginger
1 tsp Black Pepper

Mix everything together! Yep – thats it, so straight forward!
To make the salmon dish, I brushed the sauce generously over the salmon fillets and grilled for 8 minutes. To serve, scatter over some spring onion slices and sesame seeds and plate alongside some brown rice and greens.

Cashew Chicken & Noodles

I loved cooking and eating this dish – it made me very happy! Prep everything beforehand and then simply add each ingredient one by one into a wok and see the tastiest noodle stir fry come together!

The recipe i have used came from a cooking class I took in Chiang Mai, Thailand so its authentic but still easy and oh so delicious!

Serves 2
1 nest of rice noodles
1tsp Soy Sauce
1 Chicken Breast – butterflied and sliced
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Chilli – sliced
1/2 Onion – diced
3 Spring Onions – sliced
60g Cashew Nuts
1 handful Mini Corn – sliced
1 handful Mangetout
1 handful Tenderstem Broccolli
1 head Pak Choi – chopped
2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1tbsp Fish Sauce
1tbsp Soy Sauce
1/2 tbsp Palm Sugar
Water

Soak the noodles in boiling water and when al dente, drain and stir 1 teaspoon of soy sauce through – leave to one side.
Fry the cashews in rapeseed oil until golden and leave to one side.
Heat some rapeseed oil in a wok and pop the garlic in to lightly fry. As the garlic turns a golden brown colour, add the chicken, chilli and onion and stir fry for 5 minutes or until the chicken has cooked. Add the veggies in along with 50ml water. Continue to stir fry and then add the soy, fish sauce, oyster sauce and palm sugar. Mix everything together and continue to simmer. Finally add the cashews and spring onions and mix through.
Finally pop the noodles into the wok and ensure they get completely covered with the rich, tasty sauce and take off the heat.
I served with some crispy tofu on top for a little crunch (and because I love tofu!)

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.