Tag Archives: salad

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!

  

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Cauliflower Couscous, Roasted Vegetable & Harissa Prawn Salad

As we continue being healthy and trying my new cookbooks out we stumbled on this little gem by Gizzi Erskine and what can I say….she is a genius! This salad is filling without being stodgy, nutritious, tasty and easy. Normally I dont simply copy recipes for my blog and always try and add my own spin on things but I have not changed one thing about this one – there is no need! 

Serves 2
250g Cauliflower
100ml Chicken Stock
1/2 Butternut Squash
1 Courgette
1 Red Pepper
2 Handfuls Spinach shredded
Handful of Pine Nuts
Handful of Mixed Seeds
Handful chopped Coriander, Parsley & Mint
1 packet Prawns
1 tbsp Harissa
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
3 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
Juice of one Lemon
1 tbsp Olive Oil
5 tbsp Natural Yoghurt
1 tsp Harissa

Kick things off by slicing the squash, courgette and pepper and roasting in the oven at 200 degrees. Slice them any which way – ours took 40 minutes to roast and caramelise slightly with a little bit of tasty char. We left the skins on the pepper and the squash but the official recipe recommends peeling off.
Marinate the prawns in the harissa, garlic, spices, oil and lemon juice and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes.
Blitz the cauliflower until the consistency of couscous and then fry in a little oil for a minute or two. Add the stock to the pan and cover for 5 minutes until the stock has absorbed, take the lid off and cook for another minute then take off the heat.
Toast the seeds and nuts until fragrant and leave to one side.
Final step before assembling the salad is to fry the prawns, as they have been marinating in a little oil and harissa, there is no need to add extra oil and this should only take a couple of minutes.
Now time to assemble the salad which as Elix’s job when we did it!
Lay the cauliflower at the base of the serving bowl and top with the herbs, spinach and vegetables – drizzle a little lemon juice and mix together. Scatter the nuts and seeds over the top and finally add the prawns with the marinade as this acts as a dressing.
To serve, mix some harissa into natural yoghurt and drizzle this on top of the salad.
Enjoy!

  

Healthy Salmon, Courgette & Sweet Potato Fishcakes and Salad

Happy New Year! Once again, Elix and I are trying to be healthy – she is on a bikini diet before her holiday to sunny Dubai and I’m just on a health kick along for the ride! This is difficult given the collection of new cookbooks I got for Christmas, Nigella, Gizzi, Nigel Slater and Elix got the Spuntino book from your’s truly aswell. 

Our meals this week have consisted of Vietnamese Salmon Salad, Spiced Butternut Squash and Vegetable Soup and the delight which Elix made last night (and I helped a bit) which was a twist on Nigel Slater’s Salmon and Courgette Fishcakes with the Spuntino Asparagus and Hazelnut Salad with a Soft Boiled Egg on the side.

 The original fishcake recipe uses potatoes but we adapted for Sweet Potato – healthier, lighter, tastier and more nutritious. Sweet Potatoes are packed with Vitamins A, B6 and C and antioxidants aswell as being a good source of fiber and magnesium and being low in sodium and saturated fat. We didn’t add any salt to this recipe as we found the fishcakes were tasty enough especially with the salad and egg on the side.

 Serves 3 (we saved a portion for packed lunch another day!)

 Fishcakes

2 Salmon fillets

1 large sweet potato

2 Spring Onions – sliced

2 Courgettes – grated

Olive Oil

 Grate the courgette and leave to dry out on some kitchen paper for 30 minutes or so. Peel the sweet potato and cut into chunks and boil until soft enough to mash (should take around 10-15 minutes). Bake the salmon in the oven at 180 degrees until cooked through.

Once the courgettes have lost some moisture (we didn’t manage to get them “dry” ) fry lightly in some olive oil with the spring onions until lightly golden, then mix in the mashed sweet potato until all combined. Lastly flake the salmon through and mix together. Let the mixture cool slightly (Elix did not do this and burnt her hands!) and using a little flour shape into 6 fishcakes – leave to cool thoroughly in the fridge for 30 minutes as they are easier to fry and less likely to fall apart in the pan when cooking.

 Whilst you are waiting for this – get onto the Salad. Apologies in advance for my casual approach to measurements for the dressing and hazelnut crumb – i went by taste for this one and you should too…..

 Salad

Bag of Mixed Leaves – we used lambs lettuce, frisee and rocket

Asparagus – boiled until al dente

3 Eggs

2 Spring Onions – sliced

Handful of Hazelnuts

1 Tsp each of Cumin Seeds, Caraway Seeds, Black Sesame Seeds & Coriander Seeds

Dressing

3tbsp Olive Oil

1tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1tsp Dijon Mustard

Caster Sugar

Salt & Pepper

 Dry toast the hazelnuts in a pan, be careful not to burn them. Remove and toast the seeds until the spicy, warm aroma arrives, the seeds may start to pop so be careful – remove from the pan and leave to cool with the hazelnuts.

For the dressing, mix all the ingredients together, this gives a lovely vinaigrette which complements the nutty crumb perfectly and is so light it doesn’t clash with the fishcakes. You may wish to add grated garlic for extra heat and adjust if you like your dressing to have more punch by adding more mustard or vinegar.

Boil the eggs – I find that popping the eggs into already boiled water for 6 minutes usually gives a good soft centre –not too runny so good for salads like this one but stick with your own method for boiling eggs as I find everyone seems to have their own way which works for them!

Once cooled, grind the nuts and seeds down either with a pestle and mortar or in a food processor (we used the nutribullet).

Assemble the salad simply by tangling the leaves on the plate, scattering with the asparagus and spring onion and finally top with the egg. Dress with the vinaigrette and then sprinkle with the spicy nutty crumb for texture at the end.

 Finally, for the fishcakes, lightly fry in olive oil until golden on the bottom and then carefully flip over for a few minutes on the other side. We followed Nigel’s advice in the book by frying them and not moving them around the pan to avoid them breaking up and ensure even cooking – it took about 6 minutes on each side to cook through and get a lovely crisp on the outside.

 Enjoy!

  

Middle Eastern Monday Night Feast

Elix and I have just demolished a dinner so delicious i wanted to blog about it straight away. It was healthy, nutritious and easy aswell as tasting fresh, authentic and yum!

Our total dinner as you will see in the picture below comprised baked falafels, babaganoush, fattoush salad, courgette and mint dip and flat breads. We used recipes from the Moro book and Honey & Co as inspiration but I went with taste and look in the end.

  
 
Falafel Recipe (makes 10 falafel)
1 tin chickpeas
30g quinoa (cook on the hob for 15mins in 200ml water)
Handful of parsley
Half an egg
1 Clove Garlic
1tsp Ground Cumin
Blitz all ingredients in a food processor until incorporated but retaining some texture. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Take the chilled mixture and roll into 10 pattie shapes. Place on a lightly oiled baking tray and cook in the oven at 200 degs for 20 minutes until crispy on the outside.

  
Babaganoush Recipe
1 aubergine
40ml tahini
3tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Clove Garlic mince
Pomegranate Seeds & Pomegranate Molasses to serve
Char the aubergine over a gas hob (the aubergine can sit directly on the flame) or under a grill until the skin is charred and crispy. Elix came home to me mid-babaganoush-making and was worried I was in the process of burning the kitchen down but don’t worry the burning smell is fine and upon removing the skin the flesh inside the aubergine is soft, creamy and smokey in flavour. To make the babaganoush mix all ingredients together adding more lemon juice or tahini to taste. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and drizzle with the molasses.

  
I don’t think there is much point in giving you a fattoush recipe because each one i’ve come across is different. I picked my favorite veggies from each for ours and chopped up small including cauliflower florets, diced cucumber, radish discs, quartered cherry tomatoes, sliced red onions and spring onions, chopped parsley, coriander and mint. The dressing is simply a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, grated garlic, and sumac but you can adjust this to taste.

  
We ate all of this with a simple yoghurt dip and flatbreads but would also work well with wraps and some chilli sauce wouldn’t go amiss for some heat!

Enjoy!

New Year’s Resolutions

My new year has been pretty tough so far – yes I know – only 12 days in, but amongst the stress and tiredness I have found solace in cooking and contentment in eating healthy and nutritious, tasty food. My January issue of Olive magazine inspired me with some new recipes and I wanted to note them on here – partly to share them but also to serve as a record of the recipe as Elix and I tend  to forget the recipes we love and end  up spending ages trying the locate them in all my old magazines and cookbooks.

The first is a Smashed Beef Laap with Fennel & Ginger which was filling without being stodgy, easy to make, tasty and good for you with plenty of fresh herbs, vegetables and aromatics. I have made a couple of changes from the original recipe, adding salad leaves in and also leaving out the roasted rice powder which is added to the dressing.

A laap is a traditional Loatian dish which is usually cooked with minced meat  flavoured with fish sauce and lime juice and served with sticky rice. Whilst this salad uses sliced steak I think it would be tasty whether served with griddled meat, minced meat, seafood or vegetables including mushrooms would work well.

3cm grated Ginger
1tsp Fennel Seeds
3 sliced cloves Garlic
1 Sirloin Steak
2 sliced Shallots
A handful of salad leaves
1/2 stick Lemongrass – finely sliced
2 shredded kaffir lime leaves
1 Lime – half to serve in wedges and half juiced for the dressing
2 tbsp Fish Sauce
2 tsp Caster Sugar
1/2tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Red Chilli – finely sliced
1 small bunch coriander & mint
Steamed Rice – to serve

Pound the ginger, 1 garlic clove, fennel seeds and some salt into a paste and rub over the steak. Leave to marinade overnight in the fridge.
One ready to cook, brush the steak with oil and sear on a griddle pan for 2 minutes on each side (or, as done as you like your steak) and leave to rest.
Fry the rest of the garlic and mix with the remaining ingredients to make a lightly dressed salad.
Serve the rice and salad side by side topped with the flavoursome juicy sliced steak.

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The second recipe is the cover picture from Olive and I can see why – it looks colourful, light and delicious and trust me, was amazing to eat. Supergrain Salmon Salad with Chilli and Mint Dressing uses freekeh which is a North African/Middle Eastern wheat grain which has a nutty taste and is full of protein and fiber. If you struggle to find some in the shops you could use quinoa, pearl barley or couscous. I added avocado to this recipe because I love it, I also think other veggies including tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli and spinach would work really well – whatever you like!

100g Freekeh
2 Salmon Steaks
2 tbsp Harissa Paste
Salad Leaves to serve
1 Avocado diced
For the Dressing:
Juice of 2 Lemons
1tsp Ground Cumin
1 Red Chilli – finely chopped
Finely Chopped Mint

Cook the freekeh in vegetable stock for 30 mins or until tender and drain. Mix with the dressing ingredients and some olive oil.
Brush the salmon with the harissa and grill for 5-6 minutes, when cooked as you like it, use a fork to gently flake into chunks.
Pile the grains, greens and dressing and top with the salad for a tasty lunch or light dinner.

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My New Favourite Salad for Dinner

The title of this blog says it all – i have a new favourite salad that i have been cooking for myself at least once a week for a while now – its fresh, tasty, warming and packed with goodness.
Im going through a bit of a “phase” or “fad” presently trying to be more aware of what im eating and the nutritional benefits of ingredients that i use to improve my health and happiness. This salad ticks and few of those boxes so i thought id share.
The recipe was originally in Stylist magazine but iv made a few tasty tweaks.

(Serves 1)
Ingredients
Chicken Breast x1
Sweet Potato x1 peeled and cubed
Spinach leaves
Chilli flakes
Rosemary leaves chopped
1 clove garlic grated
Apple x1
Half a Fennel
Half an Avocado

Dressing
Olive Oil
Cider Vinegar
English Mustard

Start by pre-heating the oven to 200 degs, part boil the cubed sweet potato then pop into a roasting dish with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and a drizzle of olive oil.
I butterfly my chicken breast and marinate with olive oil, garlic and rosemary and leave to one side.
Assembly of the salad is very simple – spinach on the base with chopped avocado and thinly sliced fennel. Thinly slice the apple and marinate in the dressing ingredients – i tend to use half a teaspoon of mustard and equal quantities of the oil and vinegar but feel free to adapt depending on how much of a kick you like or how sharp you like the taste to be.
Cook the chicken on a griddle and slice into strips.
To serve, add the sweet potato onto the salad, apple on top of that and chicken on last and drizzle with any leftover dressing from the apples.

chix salad

Now for the nutrition part….
Cider vinegar is good in dressings as not only is it tasty but acts as an antioxidant, has been known to kill bacteria, is low in calorie. Some studies have shown it can also help heart health and lower blood sugar.

Spinach – as popeye used to say this i good for big muscles and bones but it also is high in antioxidents and vitamin c which help against inflammation protecting against heart disease and the build up of unhealthy cholestrol.

Sweet Potatoes – superfood providing huge amounts of vitamin c benefiting skin health and the immune system aswell as balancing blood sugar levels. When researching about sweet potatoes I found out that the orange ones are good for combating heart rate and stress through high potassium levels, the purple ones support and protect the gut and the purple skin and yellow flesh potatoes are highest in antioxidents

Well  thats enough education for one day – my next blog is about all the tasty food I ate when on holiday in New York – in the run up to Christmas one cant be too healthy 😉

 

 

Bikini Diet has started – Tuna and Anchovy Greens for Dinner

My Summer holiday is in 23 days!!!
Now begins my healthy-kick, daily yoga sessions and thrice-weekly runs.
To kick off today’s dinner was from this month’s Good Food magazine. Seared tuna steak for a low-fat protein with purple sprouting broccoli and green beans dressed with an anchovy and caper dressing for taste.
I am also pleased to say the dish was gluten free (which seems to be trending at the moment!) and went down a treat with Elix, who announced afterwards she wanted to eat it again!
The dish was very quick and easy to cook and I will definitely be using the salad and dressing idea to accompany chicken, steak, salmon and fishcakes.

Serves 2
Ingredients

2 tbsp chopped chives
12 basil leaves
2 tbsp chopped mint
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp small capers
6 anchovies chopped
300g runner beans (i mixed this up half beans and half broccoli – i think broad beans, mange tout, sugar snaps would also work very well)
2 tuna steaks
small handful flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds

Put the herbs, lemon zest and juice, olive oil and mustard into a food processor and blitz to a puree. Brush 2 tbsp of the dressing onto the tuna steaks and add the capers and anchovies to the remaining. Mix together to make the vegetable dressing.
Cook the beans (or whatever greens you decide to have) in boiling water for 5 minutes, these should still have a bit of crunch to them to provide a contrasting texture for the tuna and hold up against the punchy dressing.
Ensure the tuna is fully coated with the dressing and place on a hot griddle pan for 2-3 minutes each side or until cooked to your desire (Elix likes her tuna well done).
To plate up – pour the dressing over the greens ensuring each and every vegetable has a tasty dash of the fresh sauce. Top with the chargrilled tuna, scattering almonds on top.
Enjoy!

tuna and veg