Tag Archives: health

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.

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Chicken & Vegetable Noodles with Mushroom & Miso Broth

Summer has officially ended and I write this post on a wet Wednesday morning having had to dig my rain mac out of the wardrobe. One of the positives that this means……its the start of Elix’s favourite time of year…..SOUP SEASON! Granted she isnt here to enjoy it as she is sunning herself in Italy but I have commenced Soup season in her absence and yesterday made a tasty, comforting, healthy and nutritious Asian Chicken soup.

Two ingredients which form the base of the soup and create a depth of earthy, umami flavour are miso and  mushrooms.

Miso is a Japanese fermented soya paste – known for aiding digestion as it is packed with good bacteria so is a probiotic. Miso is also a good source of vitamin K which is great for healthy skin, bones and heart. For any vegetarians out there – miso is a protein source too and great for energy.

Mushrooms are one of the best ways to get vitamin D into your diet – when we dont see the sun as much now that Autumn is upon us, this is much needed and mushrooms are the only vegetable which makes it’s own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Mushrooms are also a good source of iron, vitamin C and antioxidents.

The recipe is fairly speedy and easy –  feel free to switch in other veggies or meat (pork would work well) – even add a soft boiled egg in if you are looking for something more filling.

Serves 4
2tbsp Coconut Oil
1 leek – finely sliced
1 clove garlic – finely diced
1 tsp grated ginger
3 large handfuls of mixed mushrooms – chopped. I used portobello, shitake, oyster and enoki
1 small handful dried porini mushrooms soaked and diced
1.5 litres vegetable stock
1 large roast chicken breast – shredded (i used leftovers from my Sunday Roast!)
1tsp Soy Sauce
1tsp Mirin
1tbsp Miso
2 handfuls of chopped veg – i used mange tout and mini-corn
1 handful coriander – shredded
2 nests noodles – i used soba noodles but rice noodles or ramen would work well too
4 Spring Onions – sliced

Start by gently frying the leeks, garlic and ginger in the coconut oil until softened. Add the chopped fresh mushrooms and mix together. Add the porcini mushrooms – keep the soaking liquid to one side (drain through a fine seive to remove any sedement).
Add the soy, mirin and miso stirring through and once mixed 1- add the stock and porcini liquid. When the soup has reached a simmer, add the veggies and coriander and leave bubbling for 20 minutes. For the final 5 minutes add the noodles and check for seasoning – if you want more depth, add more miso and a tiny sprinkle of soy.
Once the noodles are cooked al dente, serve with a scatter of spring onions on top for some freshness.

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!

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!