Tag Archives: food blog

Harissa Roasted Aubergine with Couscous & Feta Salad

Recently I have been experimenting with vegetarian meals in a bid to cut down on my meat consumption. I could never totally give up meat – i value the protein, nutritional content and my roast dinners too much but am trying to have at least 2 veggie days per week especially on days when i dont exercise.

Aubergines are an excellent aource of vitamin C – good for healthy skins and cells and wound healing. Aubergines also contain Vitamin K and B6 which are needed for healing, healthy blood cells and energy.

This meal was made up of food needing to be eaten from fridge and stuff already in the cupboard and was quick, easy, light and very tasty. It was also surprisingly filling so if you are looking for a light dinner give this a go.

Serves 1
1 Aubergine
1tbsp olive oil
1tbsp harissa
1tsp honey or agave
1tsp lemon juice
60g Couscous (bulgar or quinoa would also work)
20g Feta – cubed
Handful of Greens – i used tenderstem broccoli, asparagus and runner beans
Handful of pomegranate seeds

Halve the aubergine and score the flesh with a knife into criss-cross pattern. Mix together the olive oil, harissa, lemon juice and honey and generously  brush over the flesh of the aubergine. Place in the oven at 180degs for 25 minutes or until softened. To assemble the salad, cook the couscous to instructions – I usually cover with boiling water and leave for 5 minutes until cooked through. Steam any greens that you are using. Simply mix the grains, greens, feta and pomegranate seeds adding a little lemon juice, oregano and sumac for extra zing and flavour.
Serve with the aubergine on top for a tasty, healthy, vegetarian dinner.

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Tofu Time

I love tofu! I’m on a one woman rampage trying to convert everyone – Elix has just about gotten on board with it and the tofu rice bowl i made for dinner helped in encouraging her into the tofu fan club.

Tofu – made by curdling fresh soya milk and allowing it to firm up as it cools is a great source of protein, calcium and iron. It helps to keep bad cholesterol low and is good for hormone balancing. Great to incorporate into your diet if you are trying to cut out meat but still want a decent amount of protein.

Serves 2
250g Firm Tofu
4tbsp Cornflour
Salt & Pepper
Vegetable Oil
1 Red Chilli – sliced
1 Carrott – julienned
1/2 Cucumber – julienned
150g Shitake Mushrooms – sliced
150g Spinach
3tbsp Soy Sauce
3tbsp Mirin
1tsp Grated Ginger
2tbsp Sesame Oil
1tsp Grated Garlic
2 servings brown rice – cooked to instructions

This recipe requires a couple of pans to be on similtaneously so I advise prepping, chopping and measuring all the ingredients before you start to cook anything. Mix together the cornflour, salt and pepper and coat the tofu pieces. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan and gently fry the tofu pieces with the aliced chilli – turn them to achieve a golden, crispy coating.
Whilst the tofu is cooking, mix together the soy, mirin, garlic, ginger and sesame oil – fry the mushrooms in this sauce and as the mushrooms soften, mix in the spinach.
To assemble the rice bowl, place the rice at the base and the raw carrott and cucumber on top. This gives some fresh crunch to the dish. Now place the saucy mushrooms and spinach on top and finally the crispy, chilli and tofu. Pour any remaining sauce from the mushrooms over the top for extra flavour – almost like a gravy! If you fancy, make this into a bibimbap and top with a fried egg and sriracha chilli sauce! Mix everything together into a giant mess before eating – this way you get a mouthful of all the textures and temperatures aswell as chilli and sweet, sticky sauce.

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!

 

Spring Time Carbonara

This recipe is a light, spring twist on a normal carbonara. Slightly healthier with no creme freche or cream and more veggies – also no added salt. 

Broad Beans are added to this recipe – i LOVE broad beans – despite the effort of cooking them and de-podding them as they cook they are so worth the effort. Not only are they are great source of vegetable protein and fibre so they give us energy and keep out digestive system ticking along, they are also packed with vitamin B – this is good for pregnancy, helps cell strength and finally are a great source of calcium, manganese and iron.

The dish was delicious, rich sundried tomatoes and salty, crispy pancetta were balanced with the creaminess of the broad beans and parmesan and the tang from the lemon juice and zest. Fresh herbs were added for extra freshness especially mint, which goes so well with pancetta, parmesan and the beans. 

Serves 2
1 courgette – spiralized for courgetti
1 serving wholewheat spaghetti
100g pancetta cubes
1 clove garlic – finely diced
Olive Oil
Juice and Zest of 1/2 Lemon
8 sundried tomatoes – sliced
100g Peas
200g Broad Beans
1 egg – beaten
Handful of Parmesan – grated
Handful of fresh mint and fresh parsley – chopped

Pop the spaghetti in a pan to cook in boiling water for 8 minutes until al dente.
Cook the pease and broad beans in a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes and shell the beans discarding the skins.
Get yourself a frying pan and in a little olive oil, fry the pancetta until slightly crispy, as the pancetta starts to caramelise, add the garlic. Once cooked, remove from the pan and set to one side.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the courgetti, tomatoes, lemon juice and zest and herbs.
Next pop the cooked pasta into the large frying pan (utilise that pancetta and garlic oil for extra flavour) on a very low heat and add the egg. Keep mixing through and add the pancetta and garlic. As the egg scrambles and mixes through the pasta add the courgetti and tomatoes and mix everything together. The egg should lace through the dish
providing a creamy element and tying all the other ingredients together. Finally scatter over the parmesan and stir through. Try not to leave the pan on the heat after the egg is cooked through as the dish could overcook and there is a risk it could all turn to mush when you want to retain that light, fresh, zing.

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.

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!

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!)