Tag Archives: health

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!

Elix had a Blinder!

Last week, after a tough few days, Elix treated me to a dish which I had seen on the Delicious instagram site. Watercress, Bacon and Goats Cheese Risotto. It was AMAZING! Fresh, comforting, tasty and with an entire bag of watercress used was packed with Vitamin K which helps healing, it also contains Vitamin C good helping maintain healthy cells, skin and bones and also Vitamin A which we need for a strong immune system.

According to Elix, the recipe was also easy to follow (always a good thing!) so here we go!

Serves 4
100g Watercress (plus a handful left reserved)
2 Garlic Cloves
Grated Zest & Juice of one Lemon
Olive Oil
200g Pancetta Cubes
2 Shallots – diced
300g Arborio Rice
1.2l Chicken Stock
2tbsp Grated Parmesan
30g Soft Goats Cheese
20g Pistachios – toasted in a dry pan

To start, make a pesto by whizzing the watercress, garlic and lemon zest and juice in a processor to a paste consistency. Add 1 tbsp olive oil with some salt and pepper and whizz again. Hey Presto – watercress pesto! Next in a large frying pan, fry the pancetta until crisp and remove to one side. In the same pan, add the shallots with a little olive oil until translucent and then add the rice. Mix together for a few minutes and then begin to add the stock a ladel-ful at a time when all the liquid has been absorbed. After around 20 minutes or so all the rice should be fluffy and cooked through and the liquid will have been absorbed. Now stir in the pesto, the parmesan and pancetta – the risotto will turn a lovely rich green colour with flecks of pink pancetta throughout. Stir through the reserved watercress for that fresh, peppery kick. Finally add the goats cheese in small chunks and sprinkle the pistachios on top.


This really was the best risotto i’ve ever eaten – I think I’ll be asking Elix to make this one again!

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!

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.

Jungle Curry

I’m getting more and more excited about my November trip to Thailand. David Thompson’s Thai Food Cookery book as helped this along and I spent quite a bit of time this weekend leafing through the beautiful book – so many salads, curries and soups to choose from. The book includes a recipe for Jungle Curry – my recipe below is not David Thompson’s one – I needed something quick and easy after a busy weekend and his will take more patience, effort and specialist ingredients – one for another time!

Jungle Curry originates from North Thailand, it doesnt include coconut milk (apparently there are no coconuts there, I assume because its inland and a mountainous region – I will check in November and confirm!) so is hotter, less creamy and less sweet than the more commonly found green, yellow and red thai curries.

The recipe I designed was also healthy and nutritious.  Chillis in the paste are good to supress appetite, the paste also includes ginger and garlic aswell as a sprinkling of turmeric – all good to aid digestion and promote a strong immune system. Brown rice accompanied the curry – unprocessed whole grains are important sources of fiber and protein. For cooking I used coconut oil instead of vegetable/sunflower oil as this is good for balancing cholesterol and light in flavour. I made the curry with fish (I used hake), mange tout and baby corn – a good balance of protein and vitamins. The paste will work with any protein and vegetable combination  though. Next on the list to try are chicken, mushroom and baby corn aswell as mixed vegetable (aubergine, cauliflower, peas and squash).  

I researched a few recipes for the Jungle paste – and came up with one which isnt too hot but balances the sweet, salt, sour, hot flavours found in Thai food.

Serves 4
500g sustainable fish fillets cut into 1 inch/bitesize pieces – i used hake
1tbsp coconut oil
1 large handful baby corn – halved
1 large handful mange tout – halved
2tbsp fish sauce
2tsp palm sugar
1 tsp lime juice
1tsp tamarind water (mix 1/2 tsp tamarind with 1tbsp water)
For the Paste
1 green chilli
1 red chilli
8 shallots
4 cloves garlic
6cm ginger
1 tbsp lemongrass paste/2 sticks lemongrassed bruised and diced
1tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp shrimp paste

Cook the veggies for a couple of minutes in boiling water and set to one side (this way you can pop them in with the fish at the end and as they are part cooked will be ready when the fish is).
To make the paste simply blitz everything together until a smooth paste forms.
Cook the paste for a few minutes in 1tbsp coconut oil until fragrant and sizzling. Add in the fish sauce, tamarind water, lime juice, palm sugar and check the seasoning. If you feel something isnt balanced (too sweet or sour, then balance by adding extra acidity – lime or extra sugar to balance a sour taste). Stir through. Add the vegetables and fish (if you are using a different protein add this now too) – cook through, fish should take 8 minutes or so, chicken will take 10 minutes.
Dish out with brown rice and sprinkle with fresh coriander.

Zoodles & Noodles

Before i go any further, I should clarify that for the purposes of this recipe, I have re-named courgetti (which I usually associate with Pasta meals) to zoodles – associated with South East Asian noodle recipes. Both are spiralized courgettes, eaten raw and a good substitute for the carb-heavy noodle or spaghetti.

After a delightful afternoon tea at The Winter Garden at The Landmark in Marylebone I wanted a light and healthy dinner last night. The new butchers in Toots had some lovely Rump steak in and so an Oriental Beef and Zoodle salad was settled on for dins.
The recipe is quite bitty to cook im afraid. Each task is simple and once completed the ingredients are simply put to one side until ready to be mixed together for serving.

I am making my way through my nutrition diploma so trying to be mindful of the nutrional make-up of my meals. This salad is high in protein from the beef, wholewheat rice noodles and protein rich spinach. It also is low carb and low fat. Chilli and Ginger keep you feeling fuller for longer and brocolli is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Serves 2
1 thinly cut Rump Steak
1 Clove Garlic – grated
1 Courgette – spiralized for zoodles
1 handful Wholewheat Rice Noodles
3cm Ginger – grated
2tbsp Fish Sauce
2tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1tsp Sugar
2 handfuls spinach – shredded
6 Florets Broccolli
4 Spring Onions – finely sliced
1 Chilli – finely diced
1 handful Coriander
1 handful Cashews
2tbsp Sesame seeds

Marinade the steak in the garlic and ginger, rubbing into the meat and leave for 20 minutes.
Spoon the fish sauce, sugar and vinegar over the zoodles and leave to one side.
Cook the rice noodles (i usually place them in a large bowl, pour boiling water over them, and cover for 5 minutes until softened) and add them to the zoodles.
Shallow fry the broccoli in sesame oil until cooked through and slightly charred.
Dry fry the cashews and sesame seeds for a couple of minutes until fragrant and toasted.
Mix together the spring onions, spinach, chilli, coriander and broccolli into the zoodles and noodles.
Rub the steak in olive oil and place onto a searing hot pan for 2-3 minutes on each side (for medium rare steak). Take out of the pan and leave to rest for a few minutes before thinly slicing into strips.
Now we are finally ready to plate up. The zoodles, noodles and veg make up the base of the salad – make sure any excess dressing goes into the salad too. Place the steak slices on top and scatter with the cashews and sesame seeds.