Tag Archives: dinner

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!

 

A quick and easy Dinner Treat

Last week after a tough day I wanted to treat myself to something new and a little different for dinner. Luckily for me Sainsburys in Toots had some beautiful fresh scallops on the Fish Counter which I decided to combine with the comfort of linguine and chorizo.

This dish contains 2 of your 5 veg a day from the spinach and tomatoes – which also provide an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Scallops are low in fat and also a great source of Vitamin B, potassium and magnesium – all of which are great for heart health. 

You’ll see I added dried spice – I used a dried arrabiata mix I picked up from Italy which contains dried chilli, parsley, oregano and garlic but dried chilli is also just fine.

Serves 2
12 Fresh Scallops – keep the roe to one side
220g Cherry Tomatoes
100g Chorizo – cubed
200g Spinach – shredded
2 handfuls Linguine
1tsp dried chilli/dried arrabiata mix

Start by boiling the linguine – this is a quick dish so by the time the pasta has cooked everything else will be ready!
In a frying pan, dry fry the cherry tomatoes – keep an eye on them. When they start to char and soften, turn down the heat and add some olive oil. At this stage, add the dried chilli or dried herbs (depending on how much spice you fancy) and also add the chorizo. I also added in the scallop roe – many people dont like to eat this but it adds a mild scallop flavour to the sauce which saves having to add extra seasoning for those trying to limit their salt intake. As everything sizzles, gently mash the tomatoes to make a chunky sauce. Add the spinach and let it wilt down into the sauce.
Allow the sauce to simmer on a low heat and get on to the scallops.
I fried my scallops in a little olive oil in a frying pan – I cooked for 2 minutes on one side until they had a lovely golden sheen and then flipped to cook on the other side for another minute.
To serve, I mixed the sauce with the linguine and placed the scallops on top. A perfect Summery comfort dish.

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!

A little Crackling

I want to share this recipe mainly as a reminder to myself of how to get great crackling! I finally achieved a deliciously golden crunchy crackle atop juicy, fragrant pork belly.

As a lighter, something different, as recommended by Ottelenghi in his Nopi cookbook I made a walnut and apple salsa to serve alongside the pork with some sauteed potatoes and kale and sprouts.

Serves 4
For the Pork

1kg Pork Belly
Half a Lemon
Coarse Sea Salt
12 Sprigs Thyme
10 Cloves Garlic – crushed, with skin on
10cm Ginger – sliced
4 tsp Lemongrass Paste
400ml Water
500ml White Wine

For the Salsa

1 Apple – diced
50g toasted walnuts – chopped
50g pickled walnuts – chopped
Small handful of chopped tarragon
2tbsp Lime Juice
1tbsp Rice Vinegar
2tbsp Mirin
2tbsp Olive Oil

Pre-heat oven to 200degs – it needs to be very hot to achieve good crackling. Get the pork and pork skin as dry as you can – I left mine out of the fridge at room temperature on a plate for an hour. Rub the lemon half all over the skin ensuring the juice covers the top – and leave for 10 minutes. Once 10 minutes had passed, rub the skin thoroughly with the salt.
Place the herbs and aromats in a roasting tray and pop the pork belly on top – skin side up. Pop in the oven for an hour.
After the hour, the skin should be hard, golden and cracked! Rub any excess salt off and shower again with a little more salt – pop back into the oven for another 30 minutes.
The next step involves carefully pouring the wine and water into the roasting tray ensuring none of it goes onto the top – we dont want to lose the crackle!
Back into the oven again (yes I know its a lot of in and out, opening and closing the oven door!) at a lower temperature of 175degs for 45 minutes.
Now its time to make the salsa – simply mix all the ingredients together. For the pickled walnuts, i warmed a mixture of white wine vinegar and sugar with some peppercorns and left the walnuts in it for 30 minutes. This little salsa is a refreshing, zingy accompanyment to the rich pork.
When the pork is ready you should be able to cut through the crackling and straight into a silky soft layer of fat on top of the moist meat. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes. Serve in beautiful slices with the salsa and some greens.
Good Luck – may the crackle be with you!

Roast Pork & Summer Veg

Elix is away so what better chance to have ourselves a little experiment with Roast Pork Chop which she pulls a face at each time I suggest I cook it for dins. 

This meal is super simple and despite the stonking size of the pork chop is a good, light meal for a warm evening.

As im getting further down the very enjoyable road of becoming a nutritionist I am mindful of what goes into each meal ensuring my diet is balanced. 

This meal is protein rich, sugar free and packed with 3 of your 5-a-day. The Apples provides fiber and sweetness without sugar, sweet potato is rich in Vitamin C and fennel is good for lowering cholesterol.
Coconut Oil is one of the only types of saturated fats which reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol in the body.

Serves 2
2 Pork Chops (bone in) – seasoned with salt and pepper
3tbsp Chicken Stock
3tbsp Cider Vinegar
1tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 handful Asparagus – sliced in half
1 Medium Sweet potato – thinly sliced
1 Apple – cut into 8
1 Fennel bulb – thinly sliced

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degs. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan, add the pork and sweet potato and fry for a few minutes before flipping everything over to the other side. Remove from the pan and add in the rest of the veggies for a few minutes.
Pop the sauteed vegetables into a roasting dish and top with the sweet potato and pork chop.
Stir together the mustard, stock and vinegar and pour this over everything in the roasting dish.
Roast for 20 minutes and devour!

Sesame & Coconut Fish

I have had such a busy weekend this weekend including eating out at my two favourite restaurants (Honest Burger and The Ivy Market Grill) with my two favourite people  ☺️ and so tonight stayed in and fancied fish or seafood, as I haven’t had Asian food in a while I picked this steamed sesame and coconut fish dish. This is a Burmese recipe and its very delicious and easy, perfect for today’s warm Summer evening as it is light, tasty and reminds me of eating al fresco in Myanmar.

Serves 2
2 fillets of white fish – I used basa but cod or haddock would work well too
1 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic
70ml warm water
40g dessicated coconut
1tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper
1tbsp flour
1tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp coriander leaves – chopped

Blitz the ginger, garlic and coconut with the water until a paste. Mix in the sesame seeds, coriander, salt, pepper, flour, lemon juice and turmeric.
Place each fish fillet on a sqaure of foil and cover with the coconut mixture. Wrap the fish up into a parcel so sealed.
Steam above boiling water for 10 minutes.
Serve with veggies and rice.

Mexican Pork Stuffed Aubergine

It was a frugal evening at home tonight making the most of leftover pork mince from the Mee Krob aswell as making sure we were eating plenty of veggies after a big few days holidaying in Mallorca (lots of bread, wine, tapas, paella and crisps – my holiday staple!). I decided on Mexican as we haven’t had it in a while and its a good variation to all the asian and spanish flavours i’ve been eating recently. I took inspiration from a Rick Stein idea of Middle Eastern lamb stuffed aubergine and made it Mexican….with Pork!

Onto the health part – aubergine helps to remove toxins from the body providing a good balance of blood sugar and water levels. Aubergines have digestive benefits and are good for the heart. This recipe also has a fair bit of chilli im it. I used fresh green chilli, dried morito chilli and chipotle chilli paste. All varieties of chilli, including dried contain the oil capsaicin which provides both the strong, spicy flavour as well as antioxident and anti-inflammatory effects. These, in turn, give chilli the powers of lowering cholesterol, balancing blood sugar and supressing appetite which are all good for detoxification. Whilst pork mince isnt the healthiest meat to use, pork generally is a good source of vitamin B and had useful amounts of zinc and iron which are good for energy release. I used extra lean mince to further reduce fat content.

The dish is spicy and smokey to taste, balanced by the creaminess of the feta and sweetness of the tomatoes. It is light, carb free and gluten free.

Serves 2
1 Aubergine
200g Minced Pork
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
1 red onion – diced
1/2 Yellow Pepper – diced
1/2 Green Chilli – finely chopped
1tsp Chipotle Chilli Paste
1 dried Morito Chilli – finely chopped
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Feta Cheese – to taste

Start by halving the aubergine lenghthways and scoring the flesh. Lay skin-side down on a baking tray and roast in a 200deg oven for 30 minutes.
Whilst this is cooking, heat some olive oil in a pan and start to fry the onion, as it softens, add the pork and cook. Once the pork is cooked add in the pepper, garlic, cayenne pepper and chopped red and green chilli. Mix well and combine the chopped tomatoes and chipotle chilli paste. Once the aubergine is softened, gently scoop out the flesh (be careful to leave the skin in tact on the baking tray) and mix in with the pork mixture.
Place the mixture back into the aubergine skin, scatter with feta cheese (as much or as little as you like!) and pop back in the oven to heat through for 10 minutes.
Serve with extra veggies or brown rice if you fancy a carb kick!