Tag Archives: foodblog

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.

Prawn & Sweet Potato Fishcakes

I saw a similar recipe to this in Delicious magazine, it was indeed delicious but after I over bought some sweet potatoes and ran out of paprika I thought I would make a a couple of substitutes to see what the end result tasted like and it was pretty great! Elix preferred the sweet potato version which was a positive and obviously the addition of sweet potatoes instead of the usual white potatoes gives this dinner an extra boost of vitamins A and C so are good for the immune system and healthy bones aswell as being a good source of fiber which helps our hearts and tummys.

Anyway on to the recipe which is pretty easy to make (even in the building site which is my kitchen at the moment!) – get a frying pan and a food blitzer ready as we will be using these.

Serves 3 (makes 6 fishcakes)
1 large roasted red pepper (i used one from a jar)
40g Ground Almonds
1.5tsp Lemon Juice
2 Garlic Cloves
1tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Sweet Potatoes – peeled and diced
250g Prawns – roughly chopped
100g Breadcrumbs (i used wholewheat bread)
2 Eggs

First thing first, get those sweet potatoes on to boil and cook until just soft enough to mash – dont want to overcook as they will be too wet for the fishcake.
Whilst these are on the hob, blitz together the pepper, cayenne pepper, ground almonds, 1 garlic clove and lemon juice to make a paste and leave to one side in a large bowl. When the potatoes are
cooked, drain and mix with the pepper paste – mash everything together and leave to one side to cool. In the frying pan, lightly fry the remaining garlic clove with the prawns until the prawns are cooked through. Pop the cooked prawns and any garlic into the potato and paste mix and mix together.
When the mixture is cool enough to handle, use your hands to mould into 6 fishcakes. To ensure the fishcakes are firm enough to coat and cook, place in the fridge for 30 minutes, dont worry if you dont have time though – I coated them and cooked them when they were still a little warm and as long as you’re careful they will cook fine!
To coat, place the eggs into a bowl and beat and place the breadcrumbs onto a plate. Heat some rapeseed oil in the frying pan and once you have gently coated the fishcakes in the eggs and then the breadcrumbs, place into the pan and allow 3 minutes on each side for the fishcakes to crisp up and heat up (dont forget everything is already cooked!).
I served with a broccolli, sugarsnap and spinach salad and cider vinegar dressing but any fresh side salad or veggies would work well as the fishcakes are packed with flavour – sweetness from the pepper and potatoes and a little kick from the cayenne pepper. Next time Elix wants a fried egg on top which will also be delicious!

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!

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.

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.

Winter Salad

As my new year healthkick continues, I have tried to be more thoughtful about each and every bit of food im putting into my body. Saying that – after a long and tough last week and a success in avoiding caffeine, alcohol, salt and sugar – I finished off a lovely dinner last night at Cafe Monico in London, with a Paris Brest – a choux pastry filled with beautiful coffee and hazelnut praline cream – it was perfect and a real treat.

Anyway – back to being nutritious today and working on filling my body with goodness. Elix saw a salad in the Nopi cookbook with a base of sprouts and watercress so we decided to use this as inspiration for our lunch.

You will see shortly that the recipe is super simple and easy so I wanted to add on some info about why I chose some ingredients today. This is also good revision for me as I am close to completing my Nutrition diploma!

Sprouts – seasonal at the moment and high in anti-cancer elements. Sprouts are part of the cabbage family all of which boost skin health from the vitamins C and K as well as being packed with sulphur which can help to heal skin conditions including acne and eczema and keeps your digestice system healthy.

Watercress – grown all year round. The leaves are rich in Vitamins B, C and K meaning it’s a good way to process energy from protein, promote skin health, fight colds and flu aswell as acting as a natural antibiotic.

Mushrooms – support immune function, cleanse the digestive system and through their high vitamin D content, are good for bone health, cancer prevention and immune defence.

Serves 2
20 sprouts
10 mushrooms – sliced
Handful of Asparagus – chopped
100g Watercress
2 Eggs
White Wine Vinegar
50g Iberica Ham – diced
1 small Seeded Wholegrain Roll
Pecorino – shaved
1 1/2 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 1/2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 1/2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

Rip up the roll into bitesize pieces, drizzle with a little olive oil and place under the grill for 10 minutes. Once crispy, remove and leave to one side.
Set 2 saucepans on with water to boil. In one, place 16 sprouts (8 each are 1 of your 5 a day) and the asparagus to cook for 5 minutes. In the other pan, add a teaspoon of white wine vinegar and bring to a rolling boil.
Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a frying pan and gently fry the mushrooms, adding the ham as the mushrooms start to brown. Shred the remaining sprouts by slicing finely and add these to the pan.
Crack the eggs into the saucepan of water to poach for 5 minutes until softly cooked.
Drain the whole sprouts and asparagus and add to the mushroom and ham to caramelise. They are really lovely with a little char.
To bring the salad together, place the watercress at the base and cover with the ham, mushrooms and shredded sprouts. Using a peeler, shave a few strands of pecorino over the top and scatter the croutons around.
For the dressing – stir together the vinegar, syrup and lemon juice and gently spoon over the salad.
Finally – place your poached egg on top and let the runny yolk act as an extra dressing to this warming, nutritious and tasty winter salad.