Tag Archives: salad

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!

 

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!

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.

Oh Hi 2017

New Year’s Day dinner this year was Ottolenghi inspired. Chicken Sofrito with Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad and Roasted Tahini Squash. I did lots of research for Sofrito and found that each region makes it differently and Sofrito axtually refers more to the cooking method – the meat is lightly fried in a little oil and is then left to cook slowly in a pan on the hob, in steam created from its own juices.
I used Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem book as my inspiration for this meal but made a few changes – firstly I have kept the chicken whole for cooking, and, as im on a new year’s detox I ommitted any salt and sugar from the recipe. Elix announced she couldn’t tell as there is so much flavour from the marinade!

This meal was hearty and healthy – a perfect way to start 2017.

Serves 4
Chicken Sofrito

1.4kg Organic Whole Chicken
1 onion – quartered
1tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 1/2 tbsp Lemon Juice
a tiny drizzle of agave nectar (or 1/4 tsp sugar)
1tbsp Grapeseed Oil
6 Garlic Cloves
2 medium sized potatoes – peeled and diced

Fry the chicken, whole in a large pan so that it turns light, golden brown on the outside. Whilst this is frying, mix together the paprika, lemon juice, turmeric and agave. Remove the chicken and brush all over with the spice mix. Pop back into the pan with the lid on and leave to cook for an hour. If the bottom of the pan becomes dry, just add a little water.
After an hour, remove the chicken from the pan. In an oven dish, pour the chicken sauce with the onion, garlic and diced potatoes and place the chicken on top. Pop into the oven at 180 degs for 30 minutes, this will given enough time for the potatoes to cook, the chicken skin the crisp up and the sauce to infuse with the garlic and onion and become your gravy! Serve the chicken simply, carved for the table to share with the gravy and potatoes on the side.
I served my chicken with a couple of sides which were super easy and healthy.

Roasted Squash with Tahini – Half and slice a butternut squash and roast in the oven, scattered with ground cumin and drizzled with olive oil for 40minutes. Serve with 50g roasted pinenuts and drizzle with a dressing made of 4tbsp tahini, 2tbsp lemon juice and a grated garlic clove. To serve sprinkle 1tsp of za’atar on top.

Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad
– chop half a cauliflower into tiny florets and roast for 30minutes. For the last 10 minutes add 30g hazelnuts to roast. In a sepearate salad bowl, slice one stick of celery diagonally and mix with a handful of parsley leaves and a handful of pomegranite seeds. Make a dressing of 1/2 tsp ground cinammon, 1/2 tsp mixed spice, 1tbsp Cider Vinegar and 1tsp agave nectar (or maple syrup). To serve, add the cauliflower and hazelnuts to the salad and mix the dressing.

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.

Tuna Nicoise

After a very busy week and a busy (and food-filled) Easter weekend ahead I wanted a quick and healthy dinner which would revive me after my gym workout and was full of lovely fresh ingredients. Tuna Nicoise it was!

 I’m not going to bore you with the recipe – it was a salad with leaves, boiled potatoes, cucumber, carrots, green beans, anchovies and an egg with a lovely grilled tuna steak on top.

Tuna is an excellent source of protein and is known for its high level of omega-3 fatty acid which is good for anti-inflammatory health and heart health.

I will mention the dressing I made though which was very tasty and nutritious and would work nicely with any salad:

2 tbsp Cider Vinegar

¾ tsp Cayenne Pepper

½ tsp English Mustard

1tsp Olive Oil

Juice of ½ a Lemon

Cayenne Pepper is known for it anti-irritant and anti-fungal properties – good for fighting infection and colds, it is also a well known digestive aid (often advised in these detox diets people do) as it stimulates the body’s ability to metabolize food and toxins.

Cider Vinegar is again good for detox and weight loss and has been known to help reduce blood sugar levels and some studies have shown it is good for heart health and fighting infection. 

I always try and make my own salad dressings so that I can use natural flavours and spices for taste rather than adding salt and sugar – what’s the point of eating a healthy salad if you are going to smother it with mayonnaise or another sugary sauce!

Enjoy Guys!