Pepper season is almost upon us and soon gardeners and markets will be awash with these veggies which are certainly a staple in my home. There’s a special place in my heart for the long pointed variety which have a thinner skin and flesh, making […]
Personally I am not gluten intolerant, but I’m always looking for ways to bring different foods into my diet to make it as varied as possible as this is so good for our gut flora. That means not just using wheat flour in everything and […]
Frozen vegetables are brilliant if you’re trying to eat healthy, quickly and on a budget. Which let’s fact it is our January! They’re brilliant way of eating veggies that are out of season but still at their peak, and actually finding them at reasonable price. […]
They are often the most unwelcome guest at the Christmas dinner table, but sprouts get a bad rap as they suffer from being overcooked, badly seasoned and basically unloved when it comes to the festive season. Although many of us only think to boil them, actually sprouts are pretty versatile little things. And as they are so good for us, tucking in more regularly and making the most of the time they are in season can only be a good thing!
Roasted Sprouts with Parmesan
When sprouts are roasted, rather than boiled, they retain their texture and develop delicious singed crispy bits which are incredibly moreish. Even better they are easy to throw into the oven with the rest of the roast rather than having them on the hob.
1 kg Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsps grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to season
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/gas 7.
Toss the sprouts in the olive oil and then spread on a baking tray. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, remove and sprinkle over the Parmesan and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. The cheese should then be crispy and the sprouts cooked, serve immediately.
Stir Fry Sprouts
If you want to add a little kick to your Christmas dinner table and have a side cooked in a matter of minutes then the wok is your friend! These also make a fab vegan quick dinner with some rice or noodles.
500g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 chilli, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2cm root ginger, grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
A pinch of sesame seeds to serve
Cook your sprouts for just 3 minutes in boiling water and drain immediately.
Heat the oil in a wok, then stir-fry the chilli, garlic and ginger for a minute before adding the sprouts.
Stir fry the sprouts for a couple of minutes. While they are cooking whisk together the sesame oil and soy sauce in a cup.
When the sprouts have had a couple minutes in the wok throw in the sauce and coat the sprouts in it.
Serve garnished with some sesame seeds.
Brussels Sprout Slaw
Have you ever tried Brussels sprouts in a salad? Well if you are fan of salads and slaw then this could be the perfect way to begin to enjoy sprouts. They are a member of the cabbage family – which is commonly used in tradition coleslaw – so it’s only right it could work with sprouts. The sweeter fruit flavours lift the dish and the nuts add some crunch too.
This is fab with cold meats on Boxing Day.
For the salad:
200g Brussels sprouts, shredded or finely sliced
1 apple, cored and grated
3 finely chopped spring onions
75g toasted flaked almonds
75g dried cranberries
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp French mustard
salt and pepper
Place all the slaw ingredients into a large bowl and combine well.
In another bowl combine all the dressing ingredients and season to taste.
Toss together the dressing and the vegetables so they are all covered. Serve immediately.
It’s always so helpful to have a quick and easy recipe up your sleeve which uses store cupboard ingredients and tastes delicious too. Even better if it’s accessible to as many people as possible. These healthy flapjacks are great for those who might not […]
Pumpkins and squashes are still bringing a burst of colour to our tables as we slip into winter. But aside from soups a lot of people ask me how they should use these cheap and plentiful veggies. They are certainly underrated as a side dish […]
Are these a cookie or are they a cake? With these Soft Pumpkin Cookies you can have your cake – and your biscuit – and eat it! The flavours in these really sum up autumn to me and the spices and sweetness of the vegetable means you don’t need loads of refined sugar. The agave nectar makes these sweet enough and the oats mean these can be enjoyed by anyone avoiding gluten (just chose the specified oats) and they are vegan too. If you want to, leave out the chocolate chips and you have a fab toddler breakfast or snack.
These are not a traditional cookie texture in that they are soft, almost cake like. I love that they are so different and a nice change in that respect but don’t think you have done something wrong if they aren’t crunchy!
A word on the puree. I make mine with butternut squash as its cheap, plentiful and tasty where I live. I simply cut one in half and roast it on a baking tray until it’s soft, then blitz it to a puree. You can use canned pumpkin puree if you would like too. If you are making your puree from pumpkin make sure you use eating pumpkins rather than those grow for carving which can be tasteless.
Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- 125g oats, ground into a flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 25g coconut oil (or butter), melted
- 180g butternut squash or pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g agave nectar (or honey)
- 40g dark (or milk) chocolate drops
- Step 1 Blitz your oats to create a flour. Add all the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Step 2 In a separate bowl, mix the oil or butter, puree, agave nectar and vanilla.
- Step 3 Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until all mixed. Add the chocolate chips.
- Step 4 Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes or longer.
- Step 5 Preheat the oven to 150°C Fan/ 180°C / 325°F, and line a baking sheet with baking paper or a silicone mat.
- Step 6 Scoop 12 spoonfuls of the mixture onto the tray (they don’t spread too much) and shape them into circles, flatten the tops.
- Step 7 Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Step 8 Cool on the baking sheet for 15mins or more before picking up.
There are so many reasons to love this Spinach, Carrot and Coconut Salad. Firstly, it’s actually really easy to throw together with things that you probably already have in your fridge. Secondly, coconut in a salad? I know it sounds weird but trust me it […]
The humble sandwich can also be a fabulously healthy meal – if you make it correctly. It’s possible to combine the perfect blend of protein, veggies and slow-release wholegrain carbs to make a nutritious and filling meal which is quick to throw together or take as a packed lunch or dinner. Here are the swaps you need to make the pep up the goodness and take the taste levels to dizzy new heights!
Swap: white bread for wholegrain
Not only is white sliced bread pretty boring, it’s also a nutritional wasteland. Packed with fast release carbs which will send you running for the biscuit tin a couple of hours later, switching your bread will not only leave you feeling satisfied, it can also add taste and texture to your sandwich too.
Choosing a wholemeal granary variety will increase the B vitamin, fibre and mineral levels of your sandwich and those malty granary bits will also add texture and flavour too. Likewise rye and spelt breads which are digested more slowly but also more easily by your body.
If you hate a soggy sarnie then sourdough is your friend. Sourdough is also more digestible than processed packaged bread as the gluten in the flour has been broken down more than usual in the longer, natural rising process. It’s more nutritious too as the lactic acids make the vitamins and minerals in the flour more available to the body. It’s much lower on the glycemic index (GI), so it doesn’t cause spikes in insulin.
Swap: margarine for butter
Years ago we were encouraged to ditch butter for marg as it was lower in fat – now we realise that heavily processed trans-fats are just not good for us. In contrast butter, especially if you chose an organic butter which is made from milk from grass fed cows not only prevents your sandwich going soggy but also contains vitamin A, D, E and K as well as manganese, zinc and chromium. The fat is actually helpful as it will allow your body to absorb the fat soluble vitamins in the rest of your filling.
Swap: lettuce for spinach
If you love lettuce in your sandwich just swapping it for spinach will make your sarnie more flavoursome and also bump up its nutritional content. The darker the vegetable, the more nutrients you’re going to get, spinach will give you more folic acid and iron than lettuce. Also try watercress which is very high in vitamin K as well as vitamins C, A and potassium.
Swap: processed meats for roasted meat, fish, eggs or Quorn
Ham and salami are certainly go-to sandwich fillings for many but these nitrate rich processed meats have been linked to early death from heart disease and cancer, particularly bowel cancer. Better to use home cooked meats which are leftover or a meat substitute like Quorn or tofu. Fish, prawns and eggs are also great to sub in for ham.
Swap: mayonnaise for cream cheese
Yes mayo is delicious in a sandwich but contain those dreaded trans-fats and one tablespoon can contain a whopping 90calores with not a huge amount else to add to the sarnie party. In contrast a tablespoon of low fat cream cheese contains 30 calories and also calcium, potassium and protein. If you love tuna mayo make a much healthier version by combining the drained tinned tuna with cream cheese, a squeeze of lemon and some ground black pepper – delicious! Or try this easy but yummy Smoked Salmon Pate.
Swap: chutney for vegetables or houmous
Chutney brings moisture and flavour to a sandwich, but it’s also high in sugar. If you are looking for a similar tang try using sliced balsamic pickled onions or roasted red peppers from a jar. Humous is also will give you moisture of chutney and a great shot of flavour too and also boasts the nutritional benefits of chickpeas and tahini. Houmous is a great source of protein to make you feel fuller for longer and also has been linked to lower cholesterol, improved bone health and is packed with antioxidants which can help prevent damage throughout our bodies. You could also try this White Bean Pate if you want a change from houmous
Condiments like mustard also pack a flavour punch without as much sugar. Adding fresh salad vegetables like radish, grated carrot, tomatoes and even some fresh apple adds flavour and texture as well as a wealth of health benefits, also helping you achieve your five-a-day easily. Beetroot looks and tastes delicious in a sarnie, try this Creamy Beetroot Pate.
Some people are just not breakfast people. No matter how hard they try the idea of food in the morning does not work for them. While this isn’t true of me – I get it. But there’s no reason why they should lose out on […]