Posts Tagged healthy
Following the discovery that I could buy Meyer lemons here in the UK I found myself with said lemons and no idea what to make with them! I’m a terrible hoarder of my favourite things. Not a hoarder in the sense that have tons of stuff (I don’t!) but when I get something that I love I can’t bring myself to use it! So there I was with these lovely lemons and suddenly no recipe seemed to appeal to me as I didn’t want to use all my lemons! Before one gets the impression that I’m crazy I will get on with what I actually found to make! I had heard that Meyer lemons were so sweet the whole thing was edible! So this salad using the whole lemon, skin and all, was the perfect way to use one of my precious lemons without any waste!
It was lovely the day I made this salad, sunny and above 10 degrees, which possibly made me enjoy this even more! After a winter of soup this was such a treat as it was so summery and so healthy, it was the best salad I’ve eaten in a long time! It’s true you can eat the whole of a Meyer lemon! It’s a zesty and quite bitter (in a good way) salad. It certainly wakes up your taste buds and the spinach, feta and walnuts all balance it out adding their creamier, softer flavours. The more eagle-eyed of you may notice there are no walnuts in the picture! That is because I cut my finger while chopping the parsley for the salad and in my haste to finish so I could deal with the cut finger I forgot to add them for the picture!
It’s hard to find radicchio in all supermarkets, I get mine from the green grocer. I’m long aware of the difficulties in getting Meyer lemons in the UK so if you are unable to get a Meyer lemon a 1/4 of a pink grapefruit may make a substitute, although I haven’t tried that.
Radicchio and Meyer Lemon Salad (adapted from this recipe from Whole Living)
Ingredients (for 2)
- 1/2 a Meyer lemon, washed and chopped
- 1 small radicchio lettuce, sliced
- 1 shallot, chopped finely
- a handful of fresh spinach leaves, washed and chopped
- 1 heaped tbsp of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Meyer lemon juice (the other half of the lemon was enough for this)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 60 grams feta cheese, cut into cubes
- 30 grams walnuts, chopped
- Chop the lemon, radicchio, shallot, spinach and parsley. Add each to a bowl.
- Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper together until combined. Add to the salad ingredients and mix well.
- Add the feta and walnuts and gently mix in to the rest of the ingredients.
- Serve immediately.
At this time of the year we are awash with recipes for soup. I have countless soup recipes on my “to make” list, yet still I seek more! Trying to get my husband to eat some/any vegetables is a constant trial. Vegetables blended in soup are my husband’s preferred way of eating vegetables, surprisingly even carrots. So when I saw this recipe I thought I was onto a winner. My version of that soup is a little more simple, I omitted the peanut butter to save a few calories. I find carrot soup verges on the over sweet for my taste so also left out the maple syrup. I prefer to use half coconut milk and half stock as I found all coconut milk added a little too much sweetness. I also like my soup a lot thinner so added more liquid.
This soup is so flavorful, extra sweet from roasting the peppers and carrots, the coconut milk adds another dimension to the flavour and for me the addition of chilli adds a punch of heat at the end. This soup is full of vitamin C and A and high in beta carotene all of which aid in boosting the immune system and are though to aid in the fight against cancer. At this time of the year, common for seasonal over indulgence its nice to have a quick, healthy meal up your sleeve.
Roasted Red Pepper and Carrot Soup (adapted from this recipe)
- 200 gram (7 oz) red peppers
- 450 gram (I lb) carrots (preferably organic)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 can (200 ml) light coconut milk
- 200 ml vegetable stock plus more for thinning, I use about an extra 2oo mls
- 1 tsp chilli flakes ( or less to your taste)
- Preheat the oven to 200 c, 400 f, Gas mark 6.
- Peel and chop the carrots into chunks of around 1.5 inches and place onto a baking sheet.
- Remove the seeds from the peppers and slice into 4-6 largish slices. (I used the longer red peppers) and place onto the baking sheet with the carrots.
- Sprinkle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for around 40 minutes until the carrots are soft enough to pierce easily with a knife and the peppers have started to shrink and darken at the edges.
- If you have a blender tip the roasted vegetables into it and add the coconut milk, stock and chilli flakes. Blend until all the ingredients are well mixed and the resulting soup is thick and creamy. If you don’t have a blender use a stick/hand blender to blend all the ingredients in a saucepan the texture just wont be as smooth.
- Thin the soup with some more stock until you have the consistency you like.
Panzanella is such a classic summer dish, making use of all the lovely tomatoes that the summer heat brings. I believe it was once considered a peasants dish, using up stale bread but its a trendy dish now and there are dozens of variations. While its true that tomatoes here in the UK sadly don’t compare with those in Tuscany, where Panzanella originates, if you choose the ripest tomatoes you can find and use them at room temperature you can make a delicious Panzanella here too. I love it and think I could eat it most days during the summer. My husband is not a fan of cucumbers, so this Panzanella does not include them, although they are easily added in if you prefer.
Having just enjoyed a week in the sun I am still in holiday mode and this shows in the meals I want to prepare at the moment, it may not be very summery here but nonetheless its summer on our plates! I included scallops and mozzarella pearls in our latest Panzanella and it was delicious! It’s rare that I am organised enough to have good tomatoes and stale bread in the house without planning so I often lightly toast the bread which works just fine.
- 4 slices of sourdough bread or any sturdy country type bread
- 4 large tomatoes, cut into large chunks
- 1 medium red onion, sliced into thin rings
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthways
- Few sprigs of fresh basil, leaves removed from stems
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more to cook the scallops
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Mozzarella pearls, my pot weighed 125 grams, if you can’t find pearls a ball of mozzarella torn into pieces would be fine
- Scallops, about 8 large scallops (or if sadly like the day I wanted them they only have small ones in a pack that will also be fine)
- Cut the tomatoes into large chunks, the onions into rings and place into a large bowl.
- Lightly toast the sourdough bread.
- Rub each piece of bread lightly, on both sides with the cut pieces of garlic. Cut each piece of bread into large cubes and put in the bowl with the onions and tomatoes.
- Roughly cut up the basil leaves and add to the bowl.
- Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar, add salt and pepper to taste and pour over the ingredients in the bowl. Mix together well and leave to sit for a while allowing the bread to soak up the dressing and the flavours to combine.
- Brush each scallop with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a griddle or frying pan and place the scallops in the hot pan, cook for about a minute on each side.
- Add the mozzarella to the salad. Mix ingredients again and serve.
- Place the scallops onto the prepared Panzanella and enjoy.
Lovely tomatoes on holiday
I’ve had a real Mexican theme going on with my cooking recently. The theme wasn’t planned but I went to Leith’s cookery school for a Mexican cooking class on Friday so I think subconsciously I’ve been in the mood for all things Mexican. I have memories of eating wonderful Mexican food while growing up in California, my father made the best tacos! While I was the happiest girl ever when “Old El Paso” came to the UK it’s the fresher, more authentic, less processed Mexican food I really want so I was really excited about the cookery class! We cooked some lovely things on Friday, one of the most impressive things was the whole box of ripe avocados they had! When do you ever see that here? I can hardly ever get avocados from the supermarket for use on the same day, I find markets better for having riper and cheaper avocados otherwise I have to be organised and buy them a few days before I need them. We made chilled avocado soup in the class, it was good but to be honest not really my thing also the lovely teacher did ask that her recipes not be published. So today I am writing my recipe for guacamole. I adore avocados, apparently I was weaned on them! Guacamole is one of my favourite ways to use them. It’s so easy to make your own, all you need is a chopping board, knife and a bowl! Chop everything, add to the bowl, mix and its done! If you have never made your own do try it, it’s so much fresher and nicer than ready-made guacamole. I use it in tacos, as a sandwich filling, as a healthy lunch with some chopped carrots and celery. Its delicious spread on crispy toast. As well as being delicious avocados are really good for you too they are a good source of potassium and folate as well as vitamin E. They apparently have anti cancer properties, can help lower your cholesterol as well as lowering the chance of strokes and heart disease.
Once the avocados are cut they do go brown, the lime juice in the recipe does help to prevent this. A long time ago I read that if you put the avocado stones back into to the guacamole when it’s prepared it wont go brown. I don’t know why but this really works so don’t throw away the stones, pop them into the guacamole when its done, cover with cling film/glad-wrap and it will happily stay in the fridge until you need it.
- 2 Avocados
- 1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
- 1 chilli, (red or green as you prefer), finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- juice of 1/2 a lime
- a small handful of coriander, chopped
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Halve the avocados, reserving the stones. Scoop the avocado flesh from the skin with a spoon, put into a bowl and roughly smash with a fork. Do not puree the avocado you want some chunks and texture.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and give a quick stir to incorporate everything.
- If not using right away pop the stones into the guacamole and cover with cling film. Store in the fridge until needed.
Chermoula is one of my favourite marinades, it’s a blend of coriander (cilantro), garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and spices. A very popular seasoning for grilled meat or fish in Morocco, it’s incredibly flavourful and zingy. Your taste buds will get such a blast! I use it most weeks through the summer as a marinade for white fish. It couldn’t be easier to make, all of the ingredients go into a food processor and get blitzed together to form a slack paste which can be spread onto chicken or fish.
There are many versions of Chermoula, some with onions, some containing harissa or smoked paprika but this I think is the simplest version and I love it! It is so easy to make and use. I usually make it at the weekend and store it in a Tupperware to make a fast dinner during the week. The Chermoulah can also be used as a marinade but I usually just spread it on just before the end of the cooking time to save a little time.
With recent issues about blogging others recipes I must declare that I do not know the origination of this! I have a folder full of recipes torn from magazines, many are years old and its impossible to know where they came from. I have adapted the original recipe but can not give credit to the recipe creator. I will just have to hope you believe me when I say I have no wish to cause offense to anyone when posting a recipe!
- A large bunch of Coriander, rinsed and chopped roughly in half
- Approximately 2 tbsp Flat leaf Parsley, rinsed
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled, chopped in halves
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder (this is quite a hot version, do use less chilli powder for less heat)
- 1tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp ground Cumin
- 1/4 cup, 60 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and process until blended, stopping to scrape the sides of the processor a couple of times to incorporate all of the ingredients.
- To use, pan fry or grill your fish, firm fish portions are best to avoid breaking up. When the fish is almost cooked spread on the Chermoulah and finish cooking.
It’s that time of the year again when everyone is trying to be healthy! I know that’s rather boring but after the Christmas period when most of us over indulged and ate less than our share of healthier foods January is a time to nourish ourselves. It makes us feel better to do some good after all that excess. I have yet to decide which diet I am doing this January! (I’m only half-joking!) While I ponder over that decision I am avoiding processed foods, drinking lots of water and stuffing myself with healthy vegetables, especially greens. Green is the colour this January! On a recent trip to the local market I came home with a bag stuffed with greens including kale, spinach, cavalo nero and brussels tops. I had however got carried away with all these greens, too much just for me, my husband has an aversion to greens! I find the shelf life of greens shorter than some other vegetables so as speed to use them was necessary I whipped up a speedy soup using the spinach and some of the kale.
This is a use what you have kind of soup, with a base of potato, onion and garlic and what greens you have or fancy. The greens are only wilted so they retain their vibrant green colour and their nutrients. Its very green, something this green has to be good for you! Although my husband hates most vegetables he will eat spinach so I hoped that by mainly using spinach he would at least try it! Well he did try and whats more really enjoyed it! He knows me well though and while eating said ” I know there is more than just spinach in here and that you will tell me when I’m finished”!
I did tell him about the kale in the soup when we had finished but he declared it to be delicious! Ever keen to feed my husband vegetables I will be making this again.
Healthy Green Soup
- 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 350 gram spinach leaves, washed
- 150 gram kale (I used curly kale) washed
- 1 litre stock, vegetable or chicken as you prefer
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan heat the oil and add the potato and onion. Coat with the oil and turning the heat right down cover and leave to sweat for about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the pan and stir.
- Add the stock and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potato is soft.
- Add the green leaves to the pan, no need to stir. Put the lid on and leave until the greens have wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and puree to desired consistency using a blender or as I did an immersion blender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
I have just taken part in Seasons Eatings, organised by the lovely Katie of Thyme for Cooking. Its a worldwide holiday gift exchange to spice up our holidays! The idea was that we sent a small gift of a herb, spice or food from where we live, with a recipe of how to use it to someone somewhere else in the world. I received a wonderful, generous array of wild rice, dried cranberries, some wild rice seasoning and spud seasoning (see picture above) from Kate in Minnesota. With the holiday season busy as it is I am only just getting around to my Seasons eatings post after Christmas. But that turned out to be a good thing as after the indulgent few days (weeks!) I’ve had I was craving something healthier and my new wild rice is perfect for healthy recipes!
I cooked the rice using the wild rice seasoning in the water. The seasoning contains salt, raspberry granules, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, orange peel and herbs. If you aren’t lucky enough to have this I’m sure you could use stock in your cooking water as an alternative. When looking for wild rice recipes I came across many salads, lots were creamy which didn’t appeal to me, I really just wanted the rice and cranberries to be the stars of this salad so I didn’t add to many other ingredients. I ended up with a lovely simple salad that I thoroughly enjoyed, Id forgotten how much I like wild rice! Thanks Kate for the lovely package and Katie for organising!
Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad (2 servings)
- 100 grams Wild rice
- 1 litre cold water
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Spring onions, chopped
- 1 tsp Lemon zest
- 1 tbsp Flat parsley, chopped
- 30 grams Dried Cranberries
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Put the rice in a medium saucepan and pour over cold water. At this point add some stock or salt as you wish to the water. Bring to a hard boil, reduce heat cover and simmer for 30 minutes. I stirred a couple of times during cooking.
- After 30 minutes turn off the heat and leave to stand with the lid still on for 20-30 minutes until the rice reaches the desired texture.
- Meanwhile make the dressing by adding the olive oil and lemon zest together and whisking well.
- Drain the rice and place in a dish, adding the chopped spring onion, olive oil and lemon zest dressing. Stir gently to coat
- Add the parsley and cranberries, stir gently and season with pepper to taste.
I enjoyed this salad at room temperature with a mix of green leaves.
After a two week holiday of over eating unhealthy types of food I am in need of cleaning up my diet. All good things must come to an end! One of my favourite summer dishes is tomato salad. So easy, tasty and healthy. It goes with everything.
I first experienced tomato salad many years ago on a holiday to Greece. We were served the most delicious tomatoes and bread with every meal. This was back when mass-produced tomatoes in the UK had lost all flavour, thankfully, if you look carefully tomatoes have improved since then. I asked in one of the tavernas how they made the salad and was surprised to find only 4 ingredients, yep just tomatoes, local olive oil, salt and local oregano. This was also back in the day when you could bring litres of olive oil home in your hand luggage, which of course I did! If I can get it I like to use olive oil from the Kalamata region of Greece, its peppery taste takes me back to Stoupa every time!
I recommend having tomatoes at room temperature, the fridge kills their flavour! Any tomatoes will work, large or cherry just choose the ripest/reddest you can find, the cost doesn’t matter as long as they are good and ripe. If the basics range in the supermarket look redder than the organic, best of range then get the cheap ones! Even expensive tomatoes can be duds!
Tomato salad for 2 (easily doubled)
- 300 gram (11 oz) room temperature tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt to taste
- Pinch dried oregano (Greek if you can get it)
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Wash and chop the tomatoes into large chunks or is using cherry tomatoes chop in half, add to your bowl.
- Pour over the olive oil.
- Sprinkle with salt, oregano and pepper.
- Stir gently and leave for a minimum of 10 minutes to let the flavours infuse. The salt will also draw the tomato juice out which is delicious for dipping bread into.
Serve with bread as a simple lunch or alongside grilled chicken or fish for a healthy main meal.
My Mother in law has half of an allotment plot and although very green fingered she does not eat vegetables (seriously!) She just loves the outdoors and the hard work, she is happiest weeding and pottering! Without knowing anything about growing vegetables she plants, waters and hopes and is mostly incredibly successful. Lucky for me she passes most of what she grows on to me. While this is a blessing I truly enjoy, sometimes its a little overwhelming, as I said my Mother in law is very green fingered so most of what she grows is abundant and of huge proportions! One of the vegetables she grows very successfully is beetroot. Last year I simply roasted them, which was delicious but this year we are on our 3rd crop of beetroot, too many to roast so I tried pickled beets for the first time, they were a triumph! I thought I loved store-bought pickled beetroot until I tried these! They are sweet and spicy but not hot. The recipe was inspired by the Ball Blue book of Preserving. This made 4 jars (500 ml size)
Pickled Beetroot (Adapted from the Spicy Pickled Beets in Ball Blue Book of Preserving)
- 4 pounds fresh beetroot, washed, larger ones cut in half
- 2 cups onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 small chillies (1/2 a chile pepper for each jar of beetroot)
1 lb = 450 g
1 cup = 250 ml
- Put beetroot in a large pan, cover with water and cook until tender (15-20 mins depending on beetroot size)
- Drain the beetroot and peel, I scrape the softened skin away with a teaspoon. (wearing rubber gloves to avoid stained fingers)
- Cut the beetroot to desired size if, like mine, they are rather large.
- Add the onions, sugar, vinegar, water, spices and salt to a pan and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove the cinnamon stick.
- Add the beetroot to the liquid and cook until heated through.
- Put the hot beetroot into sterilised, hot jars.
- Using a ladle pour the liquid into the jars, leaving about a 1/4 inch space at the top of the jar.
- Add half a chili to each jar.
- Making sure there are no air bubbles in the jars, put lids on.
- Process for 30 minutes in a water bath or follow your usual canning procedure.