Roasted Almond And Hazelnut Butter

hazelnut-almond-butter

My roasted almond and hazelnut butter is super easy-to-make, and is delicious on toasted rye-bread or added to your favourite breakfast smoothie recipe, or spread into the U of a celery stick to make an excellent protein snack.

Almonds and hazelnuts provide a rich source of vitamin E which is an antioxidant. Almonds provide a good source of calcium, magnesium and zinc whilst hazelnuts contain a good amount of copper and vitamin B6. These nuts contain good fats so whilst this nut butter is high in calories, it is very satisfying and can diminish appetite and so be helpful in weight loss.

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Home-made Baked Beans

baked-beans
Whilst living in Indonesia, I would sometimes crave baked beans but Heinz 57 Varieties were not to be found in the supermarkets. These cravings were strange because even though I enjoyed baked beans occasionally, they weren’t a passion. And so my recent sudden desire to have beans-on-toast made me smile as it reminded me of these old hankerings. Back in Indonesia, it didn’t occur to me that I might be able to bake my own —now I can 🙂

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Mushroom Potage — mushroom soup

mushroom soup herbs

mushroom potage In the winter, I feel the need for comforting soups that are thick and warming when it’s cold outside. I particularly like the flavour of portobello mushrooms, but you can use field, chestnut mushrooms or regular mushrooms too. As long as the mushrooms are fresh, there is no need to peel them: simply rinse or wipe them clean. For the fresh herbs, I use a mixture from my garden; parsley, chives, thyme, marjoram and just a little sage. I sometimes use rosemary too. Basil would work too. Essentially, they are the herbs you would find in commercially produced ‘dried herbs’ or ‘Herbes de Provence’.

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Russian Beetroot Soup — Borscht

beetroot-soup
Borscht is a traditional Russian recipe with an earthy tang from the beetroot and a very slightly sweet flavour from the cooking apple. It’s a great winter soup for its colour alone can lift your spirits and beetroot has great nutritional benefits too.

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Easy To Make Flatbreads — wheat and wheat-free recipes

flatbread

What do you do if you fancy bread, but bread made with wheat bloats your tummy? After years of omitting all bread from my diet, I suddenly fancied it again. So, I decided to get into the kitchen and start experimenting. I wanted to make a bread which was both wheat-free and very easy to make. And also create a flat-bread with wheat for those of you who have no difficulties digesting it.

After a little research and some experimenting, I now have these easy to make flatbreads recipes to share with you. I have tried quite a few different combinations of flour (see below, for those that didn’t work) and whilst the wheat flatbreads still win on taste, I am enjoying the buckwheat and the buckwheat-and oat versions—and I hope you will too. Buckwheat is part of the rhubarb family—so despite it’s name, it doesn’t contain wheat, or gluten.

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Apple and Blackberry Crumble – wheat-free

apple-blackberry-crumble
As a child, I remember picking blackberries from the hedgerows with my family. I rediscovered the joy of it a few years ago, and also found that when they ripen, depends very much on the summer we have had. In August last year, with my daughter and granddaughter, we picked a kilo in about half an hour. But this year, on Portland, it will be mid-September before they are ready. Of course, you can buy blackberries in the supermarkets, but there is something special about picking and cooking your own. I like these times when I’m in synch with nature. Perhaps this year you will try it too? For this recipe, you will need a food processor.

As you may know, I am sensitive to wheat, so I avoid it as much as possible and this recipe is wheat-free, but not gluten free (although the gluten found in oats is often far more easily tolerated). This apple and blackberry crumble is satisfyingly sweet and filling, as all good puddings should be. But what of it’s nutritional and sugar/fat content vs a traditional crumble? I decided to do a full nutritional analysis too—see below if you are interested—or simply enjoy, knowing it a delicious treat and better for you than a traditional recipe.

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Japanese Style Miso Noodle Soup

miso-noodle-soup
My ex-husband is Japanese. He introduced me to the wonderful culinary delights of Japanese food. Traditional miso soup has a strong flavour, so my miso noodle soup is an east-meets-west version, that I hope you will enjoy. It’s a healthy soup with good amounts of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Fermented foods such as tofu and miso contain good bacteria which is beneficial for your digestive system. This is an easy-to-make soup and surprisingly filling too.

Where to buy the ingredients?
Tofu, Brown Rice Miso Paste and Brown Rice Vermicelli Noodles are not widely stocked in the supermarkets, but most Waitrose and Sainsbury’s stock Tofu and Brown Rice Miso by ClearSpring. You can also buy them from Ocado and www.realfoods.co.uk. The Brown Rice vermicelli can be found in independent health food stores, Asian supermarkets, or when desperate, via Amazon! My preferred brand for the noodles is Mama. Note once opened, miso paste will keep for a very long time if stored in a fridge.

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Rainbow Trout with a dash of ‘pep’

rainbow-trout-cooked

Rainbow trout is an “oily fish” which means that it’s an excellent source of good fats in particular Omega 3. Rainbow trout has a slightly sweet flavour and has become of one of my favourite fish. This recipe is quick and easy to make and provides a nutritious main meal.

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Kale And Pomegranate Fiesta

curly-kale-fiesta

Kale is grown virtually all year round in the UK so it’s never really out of season. Kale, like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kohlrabi, is part of the Brassica family, which all have an excellent nutritional profile. Kale though is the Super Star, full of vitamins A, C and K, loaded with calcium and iron as well as antioxidants and phytonutrients that have been shown to protect you against certain cancers. Eat and enjoy kale several times a week 🙂

This recipe is very quick to make and can be enjoyed as a side dish or, you can easily make it into a delicious light meal.

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Mildly Spicy Turkey With Beans

mildly spicy turkey and beans

Mildly Spicy Turkey With Beans is variation on Chilli Con Carne à-la-Jennie – but there are quite a few differences so I thought it should have it’s own recipe page. As will all recipes like this, the exact quantities of meat and vegetables is not critical and you can easily substitute different vegetables too. I choose not to eat beef, pork or lamb—but you could substitute the turkey for a very lean beef or chicken breast, but the latter is very bland in flavour.

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Simple Chicken Casserole

simple chicken casserole

simple-chicken-stew

Sometimes, most especially after eating lots of rich food as at Christmas, there is a craving for simple, wholesome food to heal and rebalance the body. This very simple Chicken Casserole does exactly that and yet still feels nourishing to the body in a way that a salad doesn’t in the cold weather.

Using the simplest of ingredients, cooked for a long time, the natural flavours each ingredient is enhanced. I make this chicken casserole without salt or stock. Try making it in this way – I think you will be surprised it tastes good without any salt. However, if you really miss it, then add just a few specks of rock or sea salt as seasoning when serving.

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Buckwheat pancakes with blueberries

buckwheat-pancakes

Buckwheat pancakes with blueberries are a real treat for breakfast or they make a tasty, light dessert too.

Despite it’s name, buckwheat is part of rhubarb family—not wheat. It is gluten free and so makes an excellent alternative for those who are intolerant to wheat.

These buckwheat pancakes are very easy to make. They also freeze really well, and from frozen, you simply place the buckwheat pancake on a dry, hot pan and within minutes they are ready to eat and enjoy.

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Pizza With A Twist – tasty and wheat-free

Pizza with a twist

I have to admit when I first heard about using cauliflower instead of bread or rice, I was more than a little sceptical that it would work—but it does. It’s true that this pizza doesn’t have the satisfying flavour of bread that we all love, but for those of you like me are sensitive to wheat, this is a good alternative. And even if you don’t have a wheat intolerance – I’d love you to cast your doubts to one side and enjoy this pizza that truly is tasty and good for you.

This recipe was inspired by an Anna Jones’s recipe in her wonderful book a Modern Way to Eat. The base is Anna’s recipe.

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Mild, Swiss Chard Chickpea Curry

Swiss chard & chickpea curry

This is a slightly modified version of a Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recipe. I love it because it’s easy-to-make, mild yet tasty and it has lots of contrasting flavours and textures. It can be served as either a main meal or a side dish.

swiss-chardSwiss Chard is increasingly available in the shops and is in season from June to September. Because I love this vegetable so much and on Portland it’s not always easy to find, this year I had a go at growing it—and I was amazed how quickly and well it grew. The taste of home-grown produce is so much better – so for novice and experienced gardeners alike, this is one to try. Needless to say I’ve now had Swiss Chard in all manner of different ways—but this recipe is my favourite.

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Black Forest Gateau Smoothie – start your day decadently!

black forest gateau smoothieDrinking this Black Forest Gateau Smoothie for breakfast, with it’s chocolatey undertones, makes feels like I’m cheating: like having my cake and eating it. Yet it’s also very healthy with good amounts of protein, good fats, fibre, vitamins, minerals and an excellent array of micronutrients from the goji berries and cacao (not cocoa) powder.

Chocolate is frequently extolled for it’s health benefits, yet not all chocolate is made equal. Most shop-bought chocolate, especially those with less than 80% cocoa content, contain high amounts of fat and sugar. This means any benefits from the cocoa is far outweighed by negative impact of the fat and sugar. However, raw chocolate and other food, drinks made with raw cacao powder (as used in this recipe) have some health benefits as raw cacao contains good amounts of flavonoids, antioxidants and the minerals—magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium and zinc. See The Clinical Resource for Cellular Nutrition’s article: Chocolate & Cocoa: Healthy Benefit and Negative Health Effects for more information.

This smoothie is not an everyday smoothie—but wonderful treat for when you want to feel special.

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Golden Saffron Eggs – with peppers

golden eggs with saffron

golden eggs with saffron
Golden saffron eggs with peppers is satisfying in so many ways: it looks and smells wonderful and it is filling too. This recipe is an adaptation of Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall’s Chachouka with Duck Eggs served with bread, in his delightful book, River Cottage Everyday Veg. In my version, I’ve added butternut squash which soaks up the juices and adds substance to the dish, so no bread is needed.

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Sweet Stewed Plums

sweet stewed plumsSweet Stewed Plums are so very easy to make. Sometimes we (including me!) just need reminding of how simple it is to create a different taste simply by stewing them. From August through to October plums are in season and this is the best time to eat them. They are delicious lightly cooked as the cooking brings out the sweetness – definitely no sugar required!

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Chilli Con Carne – á la Jennie

chilli-con-carneBefore creating the Eat Well—Be Well programs, I rarely measured ingredients for my cooking – I’d do everything by eye and I would add a little of this or that or substitute one ingredient with another. Most of the time it turns out well! In part this is down to my early training to be a chef that gave me the confidence of knowing which foods combine well with one another – but mostly it is my curious and adventurous-self, as well as using what happens to be available in my kitchen.

When friends or family have liked what I’ve cooked and ask me for the recipe, it’s become a standing joke that it is “Casserole á la Jennie” or “Soup á la Jennie” and so on. This recipe, my take on Chilli Con Carne, is made in this spirit and following the my Eat Well—Be Well philosophy, I use far more veg and a little less meat than traditional recipes. The exact quantities are not that important for you really can’t go wrong with this dish. And by using different vegetables, different herbs and possibly even different meats, it will taste a little different each time – and to me that’s good – because you get more variety.

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Chia Pudding—with raspberry and mango

chia pudding

chia puddingChia Pudding makes a super nutritious breakfast or dessert. Chia and Goji Berries have exceptionally good nutritional profiles. And whilst pumpkin seeds and almonds don’t quite have the same superstar status, they too are highly nutritious.

Chia are tiny seeds from a flowering plant of the mint family. They originated in Mexico and were harvested by Aztecs. They have a fantastic Omega 3 content, as well as excellent amounts of protein and antioxidants together with many different minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients.

You can buy white or black Chia seeds. Nutritionally, they have the same value, but the white seeds are aesthetically more pleasing.

Goji Berries are known as medicine berries in Tibetan Medicine because they are so wonderfully nutritious. They originate from the Himalayan mountains and are packed with an amazing array of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and protein too.

In a nutshell, this Chia Pudding is really good for you – and it’s so easy to make.

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Mildly Spicy Squash & Split Pea Soup

squash and split pea soup

squash and split pea soup
This rich, hearty and mildly spicy squash soup takes a little longer to make than some, but the different flavours and textures makes this a special soup to enjoy when the temperature dips in the winter and you need warming up from the inside. If using dried split peas, they need to be soaked overnight and cooked before making the soup. If you regularly use split peas in recipes, cook a large batch, then freeze them so you can use them instantly.

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Chicken Stock

chicken stock

chicken stock Making your own chicken stock is considered to be an old-fashioned and time consuming affair: why would anyone want to go to all that trouble when you can so easily buy a stock-cube or stock-pot gel? As with all convenience foods, what you ‘think’ it contains is not as good as the marketing implies. Knorr’s Chicken Stock Cubes are advertised as free from artificial preservatives and colourings, which they are, but there is a lot of salt and sugar! As I write, these are the ingredients for Knorr’s Chicken Stock Cubes:

Salt, Potato Starch, Vegetable Fats (Palm, Shea Butter, Sal, Butter), Yeast Extract, Sugar, Chicken Fat (2%), Chicken (1%), Spices (Turmeric, Pepper, Celery Seeds), Flavourings, Onion Powder, Maltodextrin, Lemon Juice Powder, Parsley, Caramel Syrup, Antioxidant (Extracts of Rosemary)

And their new Chicken Stock-Pot Gels contain:

Concentrated Chicken Stock (Water, Chicken) (36%), Glucose Syrup, Salt, Sugar, Flavourings, Yeast Extract, Chicken Fat (2%), Carrots, Palm Fat, Potassium Chloride, Leek, Gelling Agent (Xanthan Gum, Locust Bean Gum), Parsley, Garlic, Caramel Syrup, Maltodextrin, Carrot Juice Concentrate, Colour (Mixed Carotenes)

Is using a supermarket-sold stock cube/pot/powder a bad choice for you? There are far worse things you could have – but please consider this. These cubes are mostly salt and they have quite a lot of sugar too. Most dishes requiring ‘stock’ would be equally as tasty if you simply added a little salt (then you know how much you are adding!), black pepper and sprinkling of fresh or dried herbs. And this is often what I do. But when I have the time or if I have previously-made frozen, then my preferred option is to make/use my own chicken stock or see my recipe for a quick vegetable stock.

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Baked Falafel

baked-falafel
Baked falafel have a lower fat content compared to the traditionally deep-fried recipe. They are quick and easy to make and they freeze very well too. Ideal as a starter served with a spicy tomato sauce or with a salad.

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Spicy Apple Compote

apple compoteApple compote – stewed apples—don’t have to be boring! Apples are really good for you. The saying, “An apple-a-day will keep the doctor away has a lot of truth in it. In this recipe I’ve mixed cooking apples with dessert apples. This does two things: it sweetens the often tart cooking apples meaning that no sugar is required. And the dessert apples retain their form, so you get a mixture of textures too.

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Zingy Mint & Mango Smoothie

mango smoothieThis Mint and Mango smoothie has a real  ‘zing’ to it! If you’re missing your early morning caffeine ‘hit’ this smoothie will awaken your senses as well as help keep you full until lunchtime.
1 Large portion
• 200 ml unsweetened organic Almond Milk or Rice Milk (with no preservatives)
• 150 g Frozen Mango
• A large handful of washed baby spinach leaves
• ½ lemon squeezed
• 1 scoop of whey protein (I use Solgar Whey-to-Go Vanilla)
• 2 large or 3 small/medium fresh mint leaves
• 1 teaspoon of macadamia or flax seed oil

Method
Place all the ingredients into the blender. Blitz. Enjoy!
solgar-whey-to-go If you are new to making smoothies, buying the speciality ingredients can be daunting, but I hope you will see it as an investment in your health. I buy Solar Whey to Go Vanilla from Body Kind. When choosing a whey protein, ensure it’s an isolate protein rather than concentrate as the latter is more aimed at the body-building market with added carbohydrates.

My dear friend Jodie Bell played with my Mango Smoothie recipe (I encourage you all to experiment like this) and switched to coconut milk and added a 2-3 inch chunk of cucumber. I love this variation too.

All of my smoothie recipes are nutritionally balanced. Read my article Smoothies: Are they good for you?, which also includes how to make your own healthy smoothies.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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Overnight Oats—going nutty

overnight-oats-nuts-w306Here is another version of the oh-so-easy Overnight Oats – this time with banana, nuts and seeds.

For one person
Half a Banana
35 g Old Fashioned Oats
100 ml Rice Milk (Rice Dream – or one without preservatives)
1 desert spoon of pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon of Chia seeds (or sunflower)
6 pecan halves

Slice banana and place in the bottom of your small pot (a kilner jar makes it more special, but a plastic pot with a lid or a large cup/mug and cling film will work equally well). Pour in oats on top of the banana and push them down. Sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds. Pour in the milk then place pecan nuts on top. Seal your pot. Place in your fridge overnight.

The banana and rice milk provide a natural sweetness – but if you are just beginning your Clean Eating journey and feel you need some extra sweetness, then just a drizzle of 100% Maple Syrup (a drizzle—not a tablespoon!)

The nuts and seeds provide a lovely chewy and slightly crunchy texture to the oats. They also boost the protein of this breakfast helping you stay full until lunchtime. Bananas have good amounts of potassium – which helps you stay more alert too. So this is an excellent, very easy way to start your day.

Eat Well. Be Well 🙂

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Strawberry Delight – a nutritious dessert

strawberry-delightStrawberry delight is such a simple recipe – yet it is nutritious too, providing you with a good source of protein which slows down the absorption of sugar. It’s a good alternative to yoghurt.

Although I’m suggesting strawberries you can use any soft fruit—raspberries also work well—and, as it’s going into a blender, it’s OK to use slightly over-ripened fruit too, which is often sold at half the normal price.

Per person
75 g of strawberries
¼ packet of Tofu (make sure it’s additive free: I use ClearSpring Organic)
½ banana
Optional – if you feel it needs slightly extra sweetness, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup

Pop berries, tofu and banana into the blender – blend and taste. Optionally add maple syrup. It’s ready to serve. I also like to pop into a freezer for 20 minutes – ice-crystals begin to occur without freezing it entirely. I like it like this: but maybe it’s just me!

Alternatives: Try making with raspberries, blueberries or any other berries of your choice.

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Spicy Oat Bars—a healthier alternative to flapjack

spicy-oat-barsSpicy Oat Bars are a healthier alternative to flapjack. It’s true they aren’t anywhere as sweet, nor sticky or gooey, but they do satisfy a sweet craving without spiking your sugar levels.

Makes 8 or 9 bars

• 15 g of coconut oil (ideally virgin, old pressed: at room temp in the UK, coconut oil is solid)
• 3–6 green cardamom pods (optional – but worth effort as it gives great flavour)
• 1 slightly rounded teaspoon of ground cinnamon
• 2 dessertspoons of pure maple syrup
• 200 g old-fashioned porridge oats
• 50 g dried dates (not glucose coated) or sun-dried apricots (without preservatives) chopped
• 15 g dried goji berries (if not available, increase dates/apricots to 60 g)
• 30 g pumpkin seeds
• 20 g sunflower seeds
• 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (optional)
• 15 g raw almonds roughly chopped (you can substitute with pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts)
• 500 ml water

Heat oven to gas mark 6 or 200°C. If needed, line your 7–8″ (approx. 200 cm) cake/baking tin with parchment paper. I use a tin that is 7 x 12″ and I just fill one end. You can also use a loaf tin. Weigh/measure the oat, seeds, dried fruit and nuts. Put into a bowl and mix together.

Slice top off cardamom pods and remove the brown/black seeds inside. How many seeds you will find in any particular cardamom pod is unpredictable: there may be just 1 or 2 or as many as 6. If the first ones you open only have a few seeds, use a few more pods. Put the seeds into a mortar, and using a pestle, grind the seeds into a coarse powder.

In a medium saucepan, melt the coconut oil. Add ground cardamom and cinnamon and allow to sizzle in the oil for 30 seconds to bring out the flavour. Add the maple syrup and mix. Now pour the oat, seed, fruit, nut mixture to the pan and mix thoroughly. If you have made flapjacks before, note the oil and syrup won’t coat all of the oats: none-the-less, mix it well. Now add the water and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring all of the tin until the excess water has been absorbed and the mixture is now gooey and thick. Pour the mixture into your tin, and smooth it into shape with a wooden spoon. Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes (loaf tin takes longer).

Remove the spicy oat bars from the oven. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then with a knife, mark out 8 or 9 bars. Allow to fully cool then lift it out from the tin. When you newly begin to cook treats like this, if they are left in your kitchen, they are likely to end up in your tummy! So as soon as they are cold, freeze what you don’t wish to eat on the day of making them.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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Cherry Punch Smoothie

cherry punch smoothieWith a distinct, a sweet/tart twang from the fruit – this Cherry Punch Smoothie is quite different from the ice-creamy flavour of smoothies made with whey protein, but it’s one of my favourites. Hemp Protein is a superfood. It gives smoothies a slightly earthy taste—but please don’t be put off by that—it tastes surprisingly good despite this!  Hemp contains good amounts of protein, making it great addition to your breakfast.

1 large portion

• 200 ml rice milk (this also works well with almond milk)
• Half a banana
• 120 g frozen Morello cherries (These are slight sour. Asda stock them. Sainsbury’s sell a Dark Sweet Cherry that tastes good too)
• 1-2 heaped dessert spoon of Hemp Protein (start with one: increase as you get used to the flavour)
• 1 or 2 heaped teaspoon(s) of Greens Powder (I use Udo’s Choice Beyond Greens)
• 2 teaspoons melted coconut oil (cold pressed, virgin oil) or 2 teaspoons of flaxseed oil or 1 level tablespoon of ground flaxseeds.

Place all the ingredients into the blender. It generally helps the blender to ‘get going’ by popping the milk and banana into the blender before the frozen cherries and other ingredients.

Udo's Beyond GreensIf you are new to making smoothies, buying the speciality ingredients can be daunting, but I hope you will see it as an invesment in your health. I am big fan of Udo’s Beyond Greens because it’s so nutritionally rich. It contains organic, fermented grasses, algae, spices, vegetables and seeds all which helps support your immune system. I buy Udo’s Beyond Greens and (other super foods such as hemp protein, cacao powder and goji berries) from Body Kind who are typically cheaper than Amazon or other health food shops.

All of my smoothie recipes are nutritionally balanced. Read my article Smoothies: Are they good for you?, which also includes how to make your own healthy smoothies.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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Creamy Raspberry Smoothie

creamy raspberry smoothieIf you’re new to smoothies, this Creamy Raspberry Smoothie is a great one to begin with as it tastes familiar – almost like ice-cream! – BUT it is so much better for you.

Makes 1 large portion

• Half a banana*
• 120 g Frozen raspberries
• 200 ml Rice milk (I recommend Rude Health Brown Rice Milk or Rice Dream Organic)
• 1 scoop of whey protein (I use Solgar’s Whey-to-Go Vanilla Powder)
• 1–2 tspns of greens powder (I use Udo’s Choice Beyond Greens) and/or a handful spinach
• 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil (ensure it’s organic, virgin and cold pressed)

Method
Melt the coconut oil by putting the jar/bottle into a saucepan of water and heat until it melts. Place The frozen raspberries into your blender first, then add all other ingredients apart from the coconut oil. Then carefully pour in the coconut oil, avoiding the frozen raspberries or the oil will harden again. Blitz. Enjoy immediately.

Please note that this and most other smoothies don’t keep: even after half-an-hour the fruit will begin to oxidise and the nutrients will be increasingly lost.

Until you become accustomed to the slightly veggie/herby flavour of greens powder, stick to 1 teaspoon. By the way, don’t skip the oil because you think it’s fattening: you need it! Good fats can help you lose weight and help reduce bad cholesterol.

* If you aren’t keen on bananas, you can make this smoothie without it. Instead simply add a few more raspberries, and if you really need a little more sweetness, add a teaspoon of maple syrup.
Udo's Beyond GreensIf you are new to making smoothies, buying the speciality ingredients can be daunting, but I hope you will see it as an investment in your health. I am big fan of Udo’s Beyond Greens because it’s so nutritionally rich. It contains organic, fermented grasses, algae, spices, vegetables and seeds all which helps support your immune system. I buy Udo’s Beyond Greens and (other super foods such as whey protein) from Body Kind who are typically cheaper than Amazon or other health food shops.

All of my smoothie recipes are nutritionally balanced. Read my article Smoothies: Are they good for you?, which also includes how to make your own healthy smoothies.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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Tahk Pok Kum — Korean style chicken

korean-chicken
I came across this Tahk Pok Kum recipe many years ago. It is lightly spicy – but can easily be made without the spices and it will still taste really good. This is another recipe that I sometimes make when I’m Batch Cooking as it freezes really well.

INGREDIENTS FOR TAHK POK KUM

Creates 4-6 portions (depending on the size of the chicken breasts)

• 2 Chicken breasts – cut into 1 inch (ish) cubes
• 10 (ish) shallots (I usually buy these in a bag) peeled (cut larger ones in half)
• 1 plump clove of garlic (or 2 skinny ones)
• 2 rounded tsp solid coconut oil (or 1 tblsp Olive—not virgin—Oil)
• Approx. 400 ml stock or water (see chicken stock recipe)
• 150 g mushrooms (Shiitake are really great in this recipe: but field, or Portobello mushrooms will also work) wiped and, if very large, quartered.
• Half a small red chilli (optional) de-seeded and chopped into tiny, tiny pieces
• 1 red bell pepper (or sweet red pointed pepper) sliced into to lengthwise strips
• 2 tblsp of soya sauce (wheat-free is available if you are sensitive to wheat)
• 2 tsp of sesame seeds
• ½ tsp ginger powder
• ground black pepper
• 50 g pine nuts (optional)

Heat the coconut oil. Add garlic and shallots and toss, cooking on a high heat until lightly browned. Add the cubed chicken. Continue stirring until the chicken is also slight browned too (a few minutes only). Now add the stock followed by all of the ingredients apart from the pine nuts. Bring to the boil. Then turn the heat down, cover and simmer very slowly for 1 hour. When cooked, if using pine-nuts, sprinkle on just before serving.

I serve this with a portion of brown jasmine rice or a mix of brown, red and wild rice. Some times I also add a portion of green vegetables too.

You make think that 2 chicken breasts can’t make 6 portions, however, I would love to encourage you to switch to a smaller portion of chicken per person and then increase your portion sizes of vegetables—especially of green vegetables. Overtime, this approach helps you to begin eating far more vegetables and needing smaller amounts of meat which can be beneficial to your health and also help you lose weight too.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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Salmon Parcels — fast, easy and no pans to wash!

salmon in a parcel

I love cooking salmon parcels (I also use this method for chicken and other fish too) because it’s so quick and easy. It steams the food inside, minimising nutrient loss and, as an added bonus, there are no pans to wash afterwards!

Per person
• 1 small piece of salmon fillet (rainbow trout also works well)
• ½ red onion finely chopped
• 1 clove garlic – very finely chopped (or crushed)
• a little butter
• herbs – fresh if you can: or dried mixed herbs or Herbs de Provence
• Black pepper
• Veggies of your choice – chopped into chunks. Choose 2 or 3 different ones: leeks, green beans, carrots, sugar snap peas, mangetout, or broccoli
• Parchment paper

On an oven baking tray place a long strip of parchment paper approx. 60 cm long. Place the salmon on the middle of the paper. Make 3 cuts into the flesh. Smear a LITTLE butter into the cuts. Push the garlic into the cuts too. Sprinkle the herbs all over the salmon. Grind black paper over the whole too. Now add your chopped veggies. Take the long ends of the parchment paper over the salmon and fold over several times. Now do the same with the short ends too. So it looks like the photo above. Place in hot oven (mark 6 or 200°C) and cook for 25 minutes.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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Veggie Curry – with optional chicken?

This easy-to-make Veggie Curry sometimes has added chicken. Why would I do that? Because whilst I’m not ready to become 100% vegetarian, I believe our diet has to become far more vegetable based: it is how our digestive system evolved—lots of vegetables with occasional meat. And, our beautiful planet cannot cope with ever increasing amounts of farmed animals either (but that story is for another day). So know the chicken is optional: the recipe tastes equally good as a hearty vegetarian meal, or one where there is a small amount of chicken too.

cooking veggie curry

I often cook a Veggie Curry when I’m batch cooking (cooking a large amount of several dishes; portioning the cooked food into individual pots; and then freezing) which means I have convenience food in my freezer that is CLEAN and healthy.

As a Veggie Curry this will make 5–6 portions. With the chicken there’s enough for 8 servings

• 2 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp cumin seeds or powder
• 1 tsp mustard seed
• 1 tsp fenugreek
• 3 tsp coriander
• 1 tsp ginger
• ½ tsp chilli powder (or crushed chilli)
• black pepper from pepper mill

• 2 large or 3 medium red onions (roughly chopped)
• 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
• 2 heaped teaspoons Ghee or Coconut oil (or 2 tbsp olive oil)
• 500 ml rice milk
• 2 tblsp vinegar (cider or white wine)
• 1 tin chopped tomatoes (check no sugar added!)
• 1 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
• Approx 400 ml stock (ideally home made – see my stock recipe)
• 750g—1 kilo vegetables (ish!) chopped (for the one I made shown in the photo, I used: half a butternut squash, half a head of broccoli, and the same of cauliflower, a handful of green beans and 2 large field mushrooms. I sometimes use carrots, courgettes, okra or red peppers instead of one or more of the above. If not adding chicken, make sure to use some beans, peas, lentils or chickpeas to boost the protein content. Be adventurous!)

• If using chicken in this dish, try using the 2 drumsticks, thighs and wings after portioning a whole chicken, reserving the chicken breasts for another dish—for example when batch cooking. In the photo above I was booking this recipe with Tahk Pok Kum. As this curry has a long cooking time, the chicken bones also add flavour and the meat will be so tender it will fall off the bones during cooking. Cut the wings and the thighs in half and, by twisting the drumstick bone, pull it cleanly out of the flesh). However, if time is of the essence and/or you have chicken breasts to hand, then allow approx 500-600 gms of chicken cut into cubes.

Start with the spices. With a mortar and pestle, grind the mustard seeds until the seeds are broken up into flakes. Pour these into a small bowl and add all of the other spices adding to this spice mix a good grinding of black pepper too.

In a large wok, melt the oil. Pour in the spices and sizzle them for 30 seconds allowing the flavours to develop. Add the onions and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes stirring all of the time so the onion gets coated with the spices. The onion will begin to become translucent. If you are using chicken, add it to the pan, and again, stir to coat with the spices and onion, stirring well until the chicken begins to brown just very slightly. Now add the milk and vinegar. Stir well to mix in the spices, onion and chicken. Then add the stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, and vegetables. Bring to the boil and then put on a very low heat and simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes. Stir from time to time.

When cooked, serve with the rice of your choice.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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Raspberry Overnight Oats

Raspberry Overnight Oats are simply delicious! I kept seeing recipes on the popular healthy food blogs, but as if often the case, life is busy. Then I decided I had to try them out for myself. And in one try I was converted especially because they are so quick and easy – and nutritious too! I can see endless possibilities using different fruit, spices or adding seeds and nuts – but for now you may like to try my first recipe – then experiment and let me know what turns out to be your favourite.

raspberyy-overnight-oats

Per individual Serving of Raspberry Overnight Oats
• 35 gms Old Fashioned Oats (jumbo oats)
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
• 1 or 2 teaspoons seeds (pumpkin or sunflower or hemp or chia or…)
• 40 gms of frozen raspberries
• 100 ml organic rice milk

I have and used a small kilner jar – but you could easily use a plastic pot or even a large mug and cover it with cling film.

Pour oats into your jar (pot or mug)
Sprinkle cinnamon and seeds evenly over the oats.
Place raspberries on top of the oats.
Pour rice milk into the jar.
Seal and pop into your fridge overnight.

Next morning – it’s ready to eat – straight out of the jar if you wish. The oats will have soaked up the milk and cinnamon and the raspberries have gone soft and sort-of melted into the oats too.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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Poached Eggs – with spinach and tomato

Poached egg

For me, poached eggs on toast (with butter a marmite!) used to be a real favourite. So this idea came about as an alternative to having bread as I am very sensitive to wheat. I have to admit, Even though I love spinach, I wasn’t sure about the idea of it replacing bread—but it tastes really good.

poached eggs with spinach and tomatoes

There are several ways to poach eggs. I’ve tried the vinegar and cling film methods—and failed miserably! So now I cheat! I have a natty little egg poacher. They are inexpensive to buy (costs between £5—10). If you haven’t seen one before, it’s a small, shallow pan (like a mini-frying pan) with an inner lid that holds 4 plastic ‘nests’ for the eggs and then a lid on top. This recipe uses a poaching pan, but if you’re an egg poaching genius, please use your own method.

For one portion

• 1 or 2 eggs (depending on how hungry you are)
• 100–150 g baby spinach leaves
• 4 or 5 cherry tomatoes (or several larger ones halved)
• ½ (generous) teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
• a little butter or coconut oil
• ground black pepper

To poach the eggs using a poacher, take out one of the nests and fill the pan with water so the nests bottoms are wet, but not floating above the height of the inner lid. Add a tiny ‘nib’ of butter into the plastic nests you will be using. Put the pan onto the hob/stove and bring the water to the boil.

Whilst waiting for the water to boil, put approximately ½ teaspoon of butter or coconut oil into a small saucepan. Heat until the butter or oil has melted. Add the tomatoes and mixed herbs. Toss the tomatoes around in the pan to coat the tomatoes with the herbs. Cook for 1–2 minutes on a high heat, shaking the pan regularly. Then turn down to the lowest heat.

In the poacher, the water will now be boiling and butter/oil melted. Crack the egg(s) into the nest(s). Put the lid on, then slightly turn down the heat. For large, room temperature eggs, the cooking time will be around 6½ minutes. For eggs that have been kept chilled, they will take slightly longer. Set your timer or note the time.

Give the tomatoes a quick toss in the pan as they continue to cook.

Place the baby spinach Into another small saucepan. Add just a little water. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the spinach has wilted down. Pour the cooked spinach into a sieve. Using the back of a spoon. Squeeze out the excess water. Place on your plate – arranging it into a bed in readiness for the egg. The tomatoes will now be cooked so add these to your plate.

With good timing, your egg-timer will now be ringing. Check the eggs are cooked by placing the tip of a (regular) knife into the white. It should be reasonably firm. If it’s not, allow the eggs to cook for another 30 seconds or so.

When the white is solid, but not rubbery, lift the nest out of the pan. Run a knife around the edge of the nest to loosen the egg. Now tip out on top of your spinach bed. Hey-presto hassle free poached egg that looks good too!

Grind a little black pepper over the egg. Serve and eat straight away.

Although the portion size may look small (if you have one egg) this is a really filling and nutritious breakfast.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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Semolina – with green cardamom

Spicy Semolina? When I first saw this recipe, I was reminded of lumpy semolina served with a teaspoon of jam was regularly served at my primary school. We used to stir in the jam and call it ‘sick’! It was truly awful and the memory of it almost put me off trying this way of eating semolina. Yet I am so glad I tried it, as this makes a hearty, warming and filling breakfast ideal for cold days.

semolina with cardamom

Like cous-cous and pasta, semolina is made from Durum wheat which is different from the wheat flour used for baking bread and easier on the digestive system for most people too.

For one portion

• 1 rounded teaspoon of ghee or coconut oil
• 3 rounded dessertspoons of semolina
• 200 ml Rice milk
• 2–6 green cardamom pods*  – remove seeds and grind them with mortar and pestle
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 dried fig chopped into thin slices
• sprinkle of pumpkin seeds
• sprinkle of sunflower seeds
• 4 half pecan or walnuts
• tiny (very tiny!) drizzle of maple syrup

Melt the ghee or coconut oil in a small saucepan. Sizzle the spices. Add the semolina and stir well. Cook for just 1 minute. Add all the rice milk. Stir and cook for another 2–3 minutes until the semolina has thickened up. Pour semolina into a bowl. Place the nuts on top of the semolina, then the seeds, followed by the goji berries and finally the tiniest drizzle of maple syrup.

* When you slice open a cardamom pod, you never know whether you’ll find one seed or as many as 6. They are sometimes brown and sometimes black – but that doesn’t matter. If you open the first 2 pods and there is only one seed inside, open a few more. Using 6 pods with lots of seeds inside won’t ruin the dish either – it will just give a slightly stronger flavour. In time you will get to know how much you like.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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Spicy Eggs – with spinach and pepper

Spicy eggs

This hearty breakfast is an different take on scrambled eggs and will help keep you going until lunchtime. I even sometimes eat spicy eggs dish for lunch if I’m in a hurry and need something filling.

spicy eggs

For one portion

• 2 eggs
• 1/4 small/medium onion (I prefer red, as they are milder) finely chopped
• 1/4 sweet red pepper (or red bell pepper) finely chopped
• 2 small tomatoes – roughly chopped
• 1 handful of spinach – shredded
• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1/4 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
• 1 lightly rounded teaspoon of coconut oil or Ghee

In saucepan melt the coconut oil (or Ghee). When the oil is hot, add the spices and let them sizzle for 30 seconds to bring out the full flavour.

Add chopped onions, pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring all the time as the vegetables begin to soften. Add the shredded spinach and cook for a further minute. Now crack eggs directly into the saucepan. Allow the eggs to begin to cook in amongst the vegetables until the whites begin to solidify, then stir again – breaking the yolks. Continue to stir until the eggs are completely cooked.

Serve and eat immediately. Spicy eggs are filling enough to be eaten alone, but if you are really hungry and are not wheat sensitive/intolerant you could serve with a small slice of home-made/artisan toast or with extra steamed boil vegetables such as broccoli and sugar snap peas.

Different options: You can use different vegetables: I’ve used chopped baby corn, or mange tout and Pak Choi makes a good replacement for spinach and you can substitute fresh tomatoes with sundried ones that have either been kept in oil or dried ones that have been soaked.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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Porridge – with cinnamon, nuts, seeds and fruit

Porridge

PorridgeI enjoy porridge all year round – it’s comforting way to start the day.

Oats contain good levels of protein and, despite containing gluten, it is far less likely to cause digestive problems compared to wheat. Oats also have good amounts of soluble fibre as well as useful amounts of phosphorus, potassium, selenium, magnesium and small amounts of iron.

Cinnamon is also known to help keep blood sugar levels steady – an important factor when trying to lose weight.

Choose good quality, “Old Fashioned” oats: leave “Instant” and “Easy-Cook” varieties on the supermarket shelf – as nutritionally these are not nearly as good for you!

For one portion

• 40 g Old fashion oats
• 200 ml Rice milk (I use Rice Dream Organic)
• ¼ or for a stronger flavour ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
• Half a banana
• 4 almonds
• A sprinkling of: goji berries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Put oats, rice milk and cinnamon into a saucepan. Bring to boil, then turn down and cook for around 4 minutes until the oats have fluffed up. Let go of any ideas that oats need to be cooked for a long time: a few minutes is all they need.

Pour cooked porridge into a bowl. Add sliced banana, almonds, goji berries and seeds.

Different options: Mix up your selection of fresh and dried fruit: strawberries, pineapple, raspberries, mango or blueberries as fresh alternatives to banana. Dried apricots (make sure sundried), dried dates or dried figs instead of the goji berries. And, instead of almonds, you could substitute pecans, walnuts or even brazil nuts. In this way, your porridge can take on many different tastes.

If you are feeling particularly hungry, and/or know you have a long morning ahead of you, try adding 1 teaspoon of chia-seeds — simply add with the oats.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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Green Goddess Smoothie

pineapple-goddess-w633This Green Goddess Smoothie reminds me of the Thomas Crown Affair film with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. Rene’s character, Catherine, drank green smoothies all the time – making them seem very cool. Now I drink them too – but I’m not so sure I’m quite as cool as Rene!

Pineapple and avocado both contain high levels of vitamins and minerals. Pineapple also contains bromelian which can aide digestion. Whey provides the protein and avocado gives you a super boost of good fats which can help lower bad cholesterol.

1 large portion

• 100 g pineapple (fresh or frozen) Fresh pineapple will produce a more watery smoothie
• Optional, 1 teaspoon of Maple Syrup (depends on ripeness/sweetness of pineapple and how you are adapting to less sweetness)
• One third of  a tin of coconut milk (those in the supermarket often contain additives: citric acid as a preservative is OK, but sulphates and emulsifiers etc are to be avoided. Try your health food shop or an Asian Supermarket to find an additive free brand)
• 1 scoop of Whey Protein (I use Solgar Whey-to-Go vanilla)
• 1–2 teaspoons of greens powder (I recommend Udo’s Beyond Greens)
• ¼ Ripe avocado
• A little water (or rice milk) may be required to ‘thin’ the smoothie down a little especially if using frozen pineapple.

Blend all of the ingredients. This smoothie may take a little longer in the blender than most – so give it time. If necessary, thin the consistency with a little of water or rice milk.

Udo's Beyond GreensIf you are new to making smoothies, buying the speciality ingredients can be daunting, but I hope you will see it as an invesment in your health. I am big fan of Udo’s Beyond Greens because it’s so nutritionally rich. It contains organic, fermented grasses, algae, spices, vegetables and seeds all which helps support your immune system. I buy Udo’s Beyond Greens and (other super foods such as hemp protein, cacao powder and goji berries) from Body Kind who are typically cheaper than Amazon or other health food shops.

All of my smoothie recipes are nutritionally balanced. Read my article Smoothies: Are they good for you?, which also includes how to make your own healthy smoothies.

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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