Nutty Granola Bars

Nutty Granola Bars with Bio-live Yoghurt and Berries

Makes 12-16 bars (depending on how big you cut them!)

Ingredients

  • 80g almonds, roughly chopped
  • 200g oats (if you avoid gluten you can use gluten-free oats or quinoa flakes)
  • 75g mixed seeds (I used a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds)
  • 80g honey
  • 6 tbsp almond butter (you could also use pumpkin seed butter or peanut butter)
  • 10 Medjool dates, stones removed and roughly chopped
  • 40g gluten-free oat bran (or porridge oats whizzed up in a processor until fine)
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 45g dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into small pieces

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c. Lightly grease a baking dish with oil (20cm square or similar dimensions)
  2. Mix together the chopped almonds, oat flakes and seeds and spread over a large baking tray. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, turning halfway through
  3. Heat the honey and nut butter over a low heat and mix well
  4. Blitz the chopped dates with 100ml warm water in a blender, until you have a smooth paste
  5. Add the date paste to the honey and nut mixture, stir well and let cool slightly
  6. Put the toasted oats, nuts & seeds in a large mixing bowl, add the dried fruit, oat bran, cinnamon, sea salt and chopped fresh apple and stir in the honey/nut butter/date mixture until thoroughly combined
  7. Spoon the mixture into the baking tin and press down into an even layer
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until golden and set
  9. Let cool in tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a board and cut into desired portion size.
  10. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container. Will keep for 5 days

Delicious eaten on their own, or served with some yoghurt and fresh fruit.

These bars are full of healthy fats from the nuts and seeds and the bars provide a good source of fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper. They contain much less fruit and sugar than many commercial granola bars, however dates, honey and dried fruit are still sources of sugar so I recommend these as an occasional breakfast treat or when friends are staying. They would also make a good pudding or snack alternative for active children. Enjoy!

 

The toasted oat, nut and seed mix also makes a great granola, add some cinnamon and milk (or milk alternative); kefir or bio-live yoghurt and some fresh fruit - delicious!

The toasted oat, nut and seed mix also makes a great granola, add some cinnamon and milk (or milk alternative); kefir or bio-live yoghurt and some fresh fruit - delicious!

Puy Lentil and Tomato Salad

Puy Lentil and Tomato Salad

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 75g dried Puy lentils, rinsed OR use 250g pouch of ready cooked Puy lentils
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 300g tomatoes, sliced
  • 100g radishes, topped and tailed, sliced
  • 20g fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 20g fresh parsley, chopped

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • splash of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • ½ tsp runny honey
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Cook the lentils in 3 x water or stock for 35-40 minutes, until soft but still with a little bite, drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl and let cool OR use a ready pouch of cooked Puy lentils if you are pushed for time
  2. Add the sliced onions, tomatoes, radishes and fresh herbs and gently combine
  3. Mix the dressing ingredients together thoroughly, season well, and pour over the salad
  4. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle a few fresh herbs over the top to finish

This dish works brilliantly as a side dish at a summer BBQ and is great to take to work as it will keep you feeling satisfied.

Lentils originate from Asia and North Africa and do not require pre-soaking before cooking, unlike other pulses. They are a great vegetarian / vegan protein source and also provide complex carbohydrate and fibre. They are a rich source of folate and a good source of other B vitamins and minerals.

Puy lentils are grown in the French region Le Puy, they have a delicious nutty taste and hold their texture well after cooking. You could easily use green or brown lentils in this recipe but the texture may be a little softer.

tomatoes

Tomatoes are delicious at this time of the year, smell your tomatoes to check they are tasty (no tomatoey smell = no flavour) and keep them out of the fridge to maximise flavour too. Tomatoes are a fantastic source of antioxidants, including lycopene and are a key ingredient of the healthy Mediterranean diet. They also contain vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum, vitamin K, vitamin A, minerals and B vitamins.

Radishes provide a lovely crunch to the salad and are also a great source of fibre for your gut microbes. They are a natural diuretic, helping to keep the urinary system healthy and are also great for relieving congestion and preventing respiratory problems.

Asian-inspired Salmon Salad with Courgetti

This delicious and nutritious meal is so quick to make - ready in 10 minutes!

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 3 Salmon fillets
  • 2-3 courgettes, depending on size, spiralised/made into noodles
  • 1 large carrot, spiralised/made into noodles
  • 1 Cos or 2 Little Gem lettuce, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of coriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (or chopped fresh chilli)
  • olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Marinade the salmon fillets in 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp chilli flakes (or half fresh chopped chilli), juice of 1 lime and a little olive oil for 5 mins
  2. Grill on both sides until done (3-5 mins skin side up & 1-3 minutes flesh side up, depending on thickness of fillets). Set aside to rest while you make your noodles, then cut into cubes while noodles are warming
  3. Meanwhile using a spiraliser or veg peeler make your courgettini and carrot noodles (could also use butternut squash if you prefer), gently pan fry in a little oil until soft, season and transfer to a plate
  4. Make a salad of lettuce and avocado slices, serve with salmon cubes on top
  5. Top with fresh coriander, more lime, more chilli flakes / fresh chilli (if desired)

Oily fish like salmon provides us with complete protein (meaning it contains all 8 essential amino acids we need for building muscle, growth and repair of all body tissues) and essential omega 3 fats (with important anti-inflammatory properties).

courgette and carrot noodles

Using vegetables like courgettes and carrots instead of refined wheat or rice noodles adds extra fibre, nutrients and antioxidants to your diet and helps keep you feeling fuller, longer as they don't raise your blood sugar levels as quickly as the grain noodles would. Served with a salad and fresh herbs means you get 3 generous portions of vegetables and remember the more diverse your diet is, the happier your gut microbiome is!

If you don't like avocado, or find they are just too pricey at the moment, you could add some sliced radish, red pepper and a few pumpkin & sunflower seeds to the salad.

So even if you get in tired from work - don't be tempted by a packet of pasta - this is so quick to prepare and very nourishing!

Nearly Niçoise with Asparagus and Endive

Tuna Niçoise with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives, Tomatoes, Lettuce and Endive

Make a change to a Tuna Niçoise by adding seasonal asparagus and different salad leaves like endive.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 6 new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks if too large
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 2 handfuls cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Little Gem lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 1 endive, washed and chopped
  • 8 asparagus spears, woody ends discarded
  • 10 Kalamata olives
  • 1 tin sustainably-sourced tuna steak in olive oil, drained

For the dressing

  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 10 mins, until done - if you have left over potatoes this is a great way to use them up and cooked potatoes that have been cooled overnight are a good source of resistant starch*
  2. Boil the eggs for 6-8 minutes, depending on size and how soft you like them. Drain, run under cold water to cool, then peel and halve
  3. Steam or boil the asparagus for approx. 3 - 4 mins until al dente, drain and refresh in cold water to stop them becoming too soft
  4. Meanwhile whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard and garlic together to make the dressing, season well
  5. Place the lettuce, endive, cherry tomatoes, potatoes and olives in large bowl and gently combine with the dressing. Divide between two plates and top with the asparagus, tuna, anchovies and halved eggs. Season well.

 

Asparagus, lettuce and tomatoes

Asparagus are a rich source of vitamin C, vital for the immune system and contains vitamin K, fibre and prebiotics which feed your friendly gut bacteria. They are in season from the end of April until June in the UK – so make the most of these super spears while you can!

  • Try drizzling with olive oil and lemon juice, then grilling – delicious!
  • You can boil for 3-5 minutes or steam for 4-5 minutes then serve with Hollandaise or melted butter for a traditional side veg.
  • Try them roasted in the oven, for 15 minutes, then served with sea salt, lemon zest and some grated parmesan.

New potatoes are delicious in this salad and many people avoid eating too many potatoes due to their high starch content, however, did you know that allowing potatoes (as well as other starchy foods like rice or pasta) to cool overnight results in changes to the starch structure. Once cooled the potatoes contain *resistant starch which is harder for us to digest and extract calories from but feeds our friendly gut bacteria. Eating resistant starch has been shown to have a number of health benefits including:

  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Reduced appetite
  • More balanced blood sugar levels
  • Improved digestion

If you reheat the cooled potatoes that is fine, it’s the initial cooling process that makes the changes to the starch structure.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Roast Chicken, Red Pepper, Pine Nuts and Basil and Other Ideas

Purple-sprouting Broccoli with Roast Chicken Salad

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 4-6 chicken thighs, bone in
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 400g purple sprouting broccoli
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated
  • olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 25g pine nuts
  • handful basil leaves
  • 50g parmesan shavings

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190°c.  Place chicken thighs on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper, tuck rosemary under the chicken and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the broccoli – wash and cut any thick stalks into chunks, place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season and grate lemon zest over.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 180°c, continue to roast chicken and add broccoli for 20-25 mins.
  4. Meanwhile lightly toast pinenuts in a dry pan
  5. Check chicken is cooked after 15- 20 mins (30-35mins total), remove from oven and let rest.
  6. When broccoli is tender, shred chicken from bone and combine with broccoli, red pepper, pine nuts, basil leaves and some shards of parmesan (vegetable peeler works well here)

Spring's Super Sprouter

Spring heralds the arrival of purple sprouting broccoli and what a treat it is! All modern varieties of broccoli actually derive from the purple-spouting kind and it arrives before many other crops. It is very versatile and can be steamed, roasted, griddled, stir-fried and eaten raw.

It is a fantastic source of vitamin C and carotenoids as well as providing fibre, folic acid, magnesium, calcium and iron. It is a rich source of phytochemicals

PSB is in season between late February and April and you can use broccoli or cauliflower instead, later in the year.

Choose broccoli with dark greeny-purple leaves and florets and store in an air-tight container or paper bag in the fridge.

Purple sprouting broccoli goes well with ginger, chilli, garlic, soya sauce, citrus and cashews amongst other flavours

 

Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Garlic, Chilli and Tamari

  1. Steam 400g purple sprouting broccoli for 3-4 minutes until almost tender, refresh under cold water
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan and gently sauté 2 finely sliced garlic cloves and 1, deseeded, finely chopped chilli for a few minutes.
  3. Add the broccoli and cook for a further 2 minutes then drizzle with 1 tbsp soy sauce (or Tamari for a gluten-free version) & 1 tbsp sesame oil

You can also sprinkle with fresh seeds such as sesame, pumpkin and sunflower.

Other ideas

It’s delicious simply roasted with lemon zest and olive oil - cut any thick stalks into chunks, drizzle with olive oil & season, then roast at 180 c for about 20 minutes, until cooked through and serve with finely grated, unwaxed lemon zest.

Fantastic raw, or lightly steamed, in any salad.

Also pairs brilliantly with anchovies & garlic or with grilled or pan-fried salmon.

Lightly steam and dip into softly-boiled eggs or leftover broccoli works really well in a frittata.

 

 

Buckwheat Pancakes with Delicious Savoury or Sweet Toppings

Buckwheat Pancake Ingredients

  • 125g buckwheat flour
  • 40g gram flour
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • pinch of salt
  • 400ml hemp / almond OR coconut milk
  • 65ml water
  • 2 tsp cinnamon – optional if making sweet pancakes
  • oil for cooking such as coconut oil

Method

  1. Whisk together the flours, salt and milk and cinnamon, if using. Leave the mixture to stand for at least one hour, or overnight.
  2. Heat a non-stick pan (20-25 cm diameter is ideal) over a medium heat. Melt a little oil in the pan.
  3. Pour in enough batter and swirl round to form a thin layer.
  4. Let cook for approx. 1 minute, until surface of pancake dries out. Then flip over and cook other side. The pancake should be lightly golden on both sides.
  5. Transfer to a warm plate and repeat the process, until you have used all the batter.

Savoury Topping

Buckwheat Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Lemon Cream Cheese, Chive, Capers and Seeds

Buckwheat pancake with smoked salmon, lemon cream cheese, chives, capers and toasted seeds

Ingredients

  • Pancakes – as above
  • 200g cream cheese OR for a diary-free version use 100g silken tofu and 100g avocado mashed together
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • ground black pepper
  • 100g rocket (or watercress)
  • 200g smoked salmon
  • Bunch of chives, chopped
  • 25g sunflower & black sesame seeds, toasted / also great with pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp capers, chopped

Method

  1. Combine cream cheese (or silken tofu and avocado), lemon juice and zest and season generously with black pepper
  2. Spread a layer of cream cheese (or tofu/avocado) over each pancake
  3. Top with handful rocket leaves, slice of smoked salmon, chopped chives, toasted seeds and capers. Finish with freshly ground black pepper

Serves 4

Other savoury toppings for buckwheat pancakes include:

  • Poached eggs with sautéed spinach, mushroom, tomatoes with chives and thyme
  • Avocado and tahini dressing, with freshly chopped coriander
  • Ratatouille and puy lentils

Sweet Toppings

Buckwheat Pancakes with Berry Compote,  Vanilla Yoghurt & Hazelnut Topping

Buckwheat Pancakes with vanilla yoghurt, berries and hazelnuts

Ingredients

  • Pancakes – as above, adding the cinnamon
  • 150g fresh or frozen berries
  • Bio-live yoghurt (cow, goat or, for a dairy-free option, coconut)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence or seeds from 1 vanilla pod
  • Hazelnuts, chopped
  • Fresh mint leaves

Method

  1. Puree the berries in a blender or processor, if using frozen (when berries are not in season) you will need to defrost beforehand. If you don’t like the pips then you can pass through a sieve to remove
  2. Mix the vanilla essence or vanilla seeds into the yoghurt then spoon a generous dollop of yoghurt on each pancake.
  3. Top with a spoonful of berry puree, sprinkle of hazelnuts and a couple of mint leaves to garnish

Other sweet toppings include:

  • Banana, pumpkin seed and yoghurt
  • Roasted spiced plums or apricots with orange zest and honey
  • Fresh figs, pistachios and crème fraiche

Facts about Buckwheat 

Not related to wheat!

Buckwheat is actually a seed closely related to the rhubarb plant rather than a cereal grain. It is naturally gluten-free and is a rich source of the flavonoids, particularly rich in rutin. Flavonoids have potent antioxidant properties and rutin has been shown to help maintain cardiovascular health by promoting healthy blood flow, preventing excessive blood clotting as well as protecting cholesterol from oxidation.

Buckwheat also provides nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and zinc. Magnesium helps blood vessels relax thus improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Magnesium is also needed as a co-factor for many body enzymes.

Studies have also shown buckwheat to be favourable for blood glucose management in diabetics.

The addition of cinnamon to the sweet pancakes also helps blood sugar levels as cinnamon helps enhance the effect of insulin as well as having anti-inflammatory properties.

Wild Salmon, Kalettes & Coconut Curry

Wild Salmon, Kalette and Coconut Curry.jpg

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed

  • 1 tbsp fresh root ginger, grated or finely chopped

  • 1 leek, washed and thinly sliced

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • 125 ml water

  • 4 tbsp Keralan curry paste

  • 250g Kalettes (you could also use kale or another leafy green veg)

  • 450g wild salmon, skin removed, cut into chunks

  • 1 fresh green chilli, sliced (optional)

 Method:

  1. In a large pan, melt coconut oil over medium heat and gently sauté the garlic, ginger and leek until the leek has started to soften, about 4 minutes.

  2. Add the curry paste and heat for another minute, then add the coconut milk and water and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.

  3. Reduce the heat and add the salmon chunks and Kalettes, simmer for 5 minutes or so and check the salmon is cooked.

Fantastic as is, or sprinkled with fresh chilli slices if you like extra heat, or can be served with buckwheat noodles, ‘boodles’ (aka butternut squash noodles), quinoa, brown rice, or cauliflower ‘rice’, if you are very hungry.

More about Kalettes

*Kalettes are a fairly new vegetable, they’ve only been around since 2010. They are a winter vegetable, available from November - March, similar to a mini cabbage or Brussels sprout but with the milder and sweeter flavour of kale. They are non-GMO and came about through traditional breeding methods.

They are easy to prepare and can be used in a variety of ways: steamed, stir-fried, boiled, added to stews or eaten raw in winter salads. Fantastic for all the family!

Kalettes have more B6 and vitamin C than standard Brussels sprouts and are also packed full of antioxidants, vitamin E and fibre like other members of the brassica family.

Kalettes in a collander

Where can I find Kalettes?

Larger supermarkets stock them. If you can't find Kalettes you could use any leafy green vegetable instead, like kale, cabbage or cavelo nero.

Hearty Midwinter Beef and Swede Stew

Beef and Swede Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 600g grass-fed beef, cubed (ask your butcher for a cut suitable for stewing)
  • 1 swede, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2-3 carrots, scrubbed and cut into chunks
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary, 2 on the stalk, 1 leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 175ml red wine (optional, if not using add more stock)
  • 600ml beef stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ lemon zest

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°c / gas mark 2
  2. Heat the olive oil in a lidded casserole pan, add the onions and sauté gently until softened (about 5 mins), then add the garlic and sauté for a further minute or 2
  3. Add all the other ingredients, except the chopped rosemary and lemon zest, and bring to the boil
  4. Put the lid on and transfer to the oven to cook for about 2-2½ hours, if you are going out you could cook it for longer just turn the oven down to 120°c and it will take around 4 hours. If the meat is not tender cook it for a bit longer.
  5. Just before you serve it, sprinkle the chopped rosemary and lemon zest over for additional flavour.
  6. Serve in bowls so you can enjoy the delicious gravy and it goes well with leafy greens like kale or cavolo nero.

Why is beef good for me?

Beef is a great source of B12 and iron, both of which are harder to obtain in sufficient amounts on vegetarian and especially vegan diets. B12 is crucial for maintaining healthy nerve function and is needed for DNA and RNA production. Iron is a key component of red blood cells which transports oxygen. It facilitates regulation of cell growth and helps build enzymes for overall health.

Beef also contains good levels of other minerals including selenium and zinc, which are important for the immune system, as well as B6, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3) all important for energy production.

Grass-fed beef

Grass-fed beef has a number of advantages over grain-fed beef including being:

  • Lower in total and saturated fat
  • higher in omega-3 fats
  • Higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is a fatty acid that has antioxidant properties.
  • Higher in vitamins and minerals, as grazing on a natural diet is more nutrient dense for the cows.

Organic, grass-fed beef is more expensive, but by buying cheaper cuts and slow cooking it you get all the benefits for less cost.

As well as having these benefits for our health raising cattle on pasture is better for the environment too! One of the reasons for this is because much of the soya imported to the UK to feed farm animals is grown on cleared forest land. In addition grazing animals give nutrients back to the soil via their dung and cattle allowed to forage and eat their natural pasture diet tend to be healthier and happier than those kept indoors in cramped conditions and fed an unnatural diet.

Benefits of Swede

Swede, also known as rutabaga, neep or Swedish turnip, is a root vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family. It makes a good alternative to potatoes often used in stews like this. Swede is a good source of vitamin C and betacarotene and is lower in carbohydrate and higher in nutrients and fibre than white potatoes. Swede taste sweet and work well with the rich meaty flavours of the stew.

Swede is also delicious boiled and mashed, either on its own or with other root vegetables like carrots and celeriac. 

Ingredients for beef and swede stew

Winter Warmer - Scrumptious Celeriac Soup

Celeriac Soup

Celeriac Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • Knob of butter (optional)
  • Glug of olive oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, washed and chopped
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small (or ½ large) swede, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • I bay leaf
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • Chopped parsley and chopped walnuts to serve

Method

  1. Heat the butter (if using) and olive oil in a large pan, add the mustard seeds, stir and let heat for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add all the chopped vegetables and reduce the heat, let them sweat with the lid on for 10 mins, stirring occasionally to check they are not sticking to the pan.
  3. Add the bay leaf and stock, bring to the boil and let simmer for 20 mins. Season well
  4. Remove the bay leaf and blend with a hand blender or liquidizer.
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and walnuts for added texture and nutrients.

Can be frozen

 

Other ideas for celeriac

Celeriac has a gorgeous earthy, nutty taste with slight aniseed undernotes. It goes really well with salmon and other oily fish, game, lamb and pork. Herbs and spices that enhance its flavour include garlic, mustard, parsley, thyme and bay.

Pureed (simmer, over a low heat, a peeled and chopped celeriac in plenty of milk (cow, goat or almond all work well) for 30 mins. Blend with enough of the milk to make a thick puree and season. You can add a knob of butter at the end if you like for added unction)

Raw in a winter coleslaw with carrot, red cabbage and apple. (grate or julienne the vegetables and thinly slice the apples, combine and dress with a mixture of natural yoghurt 5:2 mayonnaise and a good dollop of grainy mustard. Lovely with toasted seeds tossed through). Or try raw grated celeriac with a generous squeeze of lemon and some capers

Mashed with other root veg

Roasted with garlic and thyme or mustard seeds

Added to a casserole or stew

Celeriac facts

Celeriac is also known as celery root, knob celery and turnip-root. It is a type of celery and originates from Italy. Choose a celeriac that is firm and feels heavy as the centre can become fluffy. To peel it use a sharp knife as a vegetable peeler may not do the trick.

Celeriac is a good source of dietary fibre, vitamins B6, B5 and C, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin K and Phosphorus.

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Rosti, Steamed Chard and Tahini Dressing

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Rosti with Steamed Chard and Tahini Dressing

Ingredients

(makes approx. 12 rosti)

Ingredients for Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Rosti
  • 300g sweet potato, peeled & grated
  • 300g pumpkin, peeled, deseeded & grated (keep the seeds for roasting – see below)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves only
  • 1 tbps cumin seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Salt & pepper to taste

 Method

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix together, season well.
  2. Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan. Mould 2 generous tablespoons of mixture into a rosti shape, don’t worry if they don’t seem to hold together well they will do once cooked. Repeat until you have approx. 12 rosti.
  3. Gently fry 4 at a time and flip over once golden on the bottom and cook until both sides are golden.
  4. Keep warm while you cook the rest, serve with steamed seasonal greens and tahini dressing (see below).

Also delicious with fried or poached eggs or with roast chicken or lamb.

Tahini Dressing

Ingredients

  • 120ml tahini
  • 120ml olive oil
  • 120ml water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger root, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • black pepper to taste

 Method

  1. Blend all the ingredients until you have a smooth dressing

 

What else to do with Pumpkins and Squashes

Pumpkins and squashes go well with chilli, onion, garlic, ginger and spices like cinnamon, cumin and coriander. They keep well if you store them somewhere cool.

Pumpkins and squashes are great roasted with olive oil and some spices of your choice – if the skin isn’t too thick you can roast with the skin on and eat it, otherwise peel with a sharp knife or robust veg peeler. You can eat the roasted pumpkin as a side vegetable, in a winter salad or add to risotto.

Veggie Noodles. Pumpkin and squash flesh spiralise really well (or use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons) and these can be steamed, par-boiled or stir fried and used instead of spaghetti or noodles in any recipe to boost your vegetable intake.

Pumpkins and squashes make delicious soup.


 Lentil and Pumpkin / Squash Soup

Ingredients

Squash and Lentil Soup
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 small pumpkin or squash, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 1-2 tsp each of turmeric, ground coriander and cumin
  • 200g red lentils, washed
  • 1 – 1 ½ litres vegetable or chicken stock
  • Large handful of fresh coriander
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds

Method

  1. In a casserole dish or large lidded saucepan gently sauté the onion in olive oil until transparent
  2. Add the celery, carrot and pumpkin and spices and sauté gently, with the lid on for a few minutes.
  3. When veg are soft add the lentils. Pour over the stock, bring to the boil and simmer, covered for 30 mins.
  4. Top with fresh chopped coriander and toasted pumpkin seeds when cooked. Can also stir in a dollop of hummous or nut butter for extra creaminess.

 

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

When you scrape the seeds out of your pumpkin or squash remove the strands of flesh and place in a single layer on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and season. Roast at 180 degrees for about 10-15 mins

Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkins

Pumpkin flesh is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E and other antioxidant phytonutrients, which make pumpkins great for eye health and boosting the immune system. They are also rich in potassium and fibre, so are great for cardiovascular health.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in the minerals including zinc, magnesium, copper and manganese as well as vitamin E and other antioxidants. Pumpkin seed oil has anti-microbial lignans and essential fats.

Spinach and Roasted Cauliflower Curry

Spinach and Roasted Cauliflower Curry

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 cauliflower, flower cut into florets and stalk sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cm piece of fresh root ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp fenugreek
  • ½ - 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 green chillies, finely sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes (or use white potatoes, carrots or a small squash)
  • 260g fresh spinach leaves, washed (and chopped if v. big leaves). Thick stalks removed and chopped finely
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • salt & pepper
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°c.
  2. Place cauliflower florets and the stalk slices in a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over cumin and coriander, season and mix well.
  3. Roast cauliflower for 20 mins, until tender
  4. While cauliflower is roasting, heat oil in a large saucepan and fry onions until translucent, approx. 2-3 mins, stirring frequently
  5. Add ginger, mustard seeds, garam masala, turmeric, fenugreek, chilli powder and fresh green chillies. Cook for 2-3 mins, stirring frequently
  6. Add sweet potatoes (or other root veg as preferred) and stir well, then add tinned tomatoes. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook with lid on for approx. 20 mins, stirring occasionally – you may need to add a little water if the sauce is catching.
  7. When the potatoes are cooked (test with a sharp knife) add the spinach and stir until the spinach has wilted. If your spinach had v. thick stalks you’ll need to add them first and give them a bit longer than the leaves.
  8. Add the roasted cauliflower, squeeze a little lemon juice over, taste and season.

Great on its own as a light veggie curry or served with brown basmati rice.

Can also add a tin of chickpeas with the spinach for a more substantial meal OR you could add leftover roast chicken pieces – make sure you heat the chicken through until v. hot.

Benefits of Spinach

Spinach is an excellent source of iron (for energy levels), magnesiumcalcium and vitamin K (for bone health), and vitamins A, C and folic acid. Spinach has a great reputation as a super-food, partly due to its legendary ability to give Popeye incredible strength and bulging biceps! While its powers may have been somewhat exaggerated in Popeye’s case it does pack a punch in nutrient density and is a concentrated source of health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin) and other antioxidant flavonoids with anti-inflammatory & anti-cancer properties. These phytonutrients are also beneficial for the nervous system and eye health. And combined with the turmeric, ginger and other spices you are getting even more goodness per mouthful. 

What else can I do with spinach?

Spinach goes really well with onions, garlic and spices like nutmeg or in other curries. It also works brilliantly with fish, cheese and eggs and in quiches – just be careful to drain the juices from the spinach or your quiche will go soggy.

When fresh spinach is not available frozen spinach is a great alternative, many of its nutrients are well preserved. Defrost thoroughly and drain any liquid off carefully before using.

Other leafy greens such as chard, cavolo nero and kale can also be used instead of spinach in most recipes.

What else can I do with Roasted Cauliflower?

If you have never tried roasting cauliflower then I urge you to do so! Roasted cauliflower has a totally different texture to boiled or steamed cauliflower and takes on the flavours of any spices you roast it with really well. Try roasting cauliflower in turmeric and coriander with some light olive oil for a bold, savoury side dish which you can eat with roast chicken, meat or oily fish. You could also sprinkle with almonds or walnuts, for a light veggie meal or add it to a quinoa or lentil salad. 

Plum Plum! Savoury Plum Sauce and other ideas

Freshly picked plums

Savoury Plum Sauce

Ingredients

  • 450g plums, washed, quartered, stones removed
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. tamari sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. ginger root, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 cloves & 1 star anise, ground
  • 1 red chilli, chopped (and de-seeded if you don't like the heat)
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook over a low heat until the plums have softened (around 15 - 20 minutes)
  2. Using a food processor or wand blender or food processor blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  3. Cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 

Chicken or Pork Kebabs with Red Onion, Bell Pepper and Savoury Plum Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500 - 650g free range chicken or pork, cut into cubes
  • 8 skewers (if using wooden skewers soak them in water so they don’t burn when you cook the kebabs)
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 2 bell peppers (red, yellow or orange), cut into pieces seeds removed
  • 8 tbsp plum sauce (see recipe above)

Method

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  1. Coat chicken or pork chunks with plum sauce, marinate for 1 - 4 hours
  2. Thread alternate meat chunks,  red onion and pepper pieces on to the skewers
  3. Grill or BBQ, turning frequently, basting with any remaining sauce in first 5 minutes, for 10 to 15 minutes or so until cooked through
  4. Great served with a peppery salad

Plum Facts

The most ancient plum varieties (the oldest is believed to be Japanese Plum (Prunis Salicina) are thought to originate from China and were then introduced to Japan.  

Japanese pickled plums (Umeboshi) were thought to combat fatigue by the samurai.

The European plum most likely originated in south-eastern Europe and were introduced to northern Europe by the Romans.

Plums have been grown in England for centuries and it is thought the well-known Victoria plum was first cultivated in Sussex in the 1840s. They are in season from August through September. Look for plums that are smooth and plump with a rich colour. 

Plums are a fantastic source of vitamin C ...

...as well as a wide spectrum of phytonutrients important for the integrity and maintenance of skin health, the immune system as well as the heart and circulatory system. Plums also provide bioavailable minerals and good for aiding the absorption of iron. Plums, and particularly prunes (dried plums) are well known for helping encourage regular bowel movements. They have a relatively low glycaemic load so enjoy this delicious and nutritious fruit while its in season. 

Other ideas for Plums

Plums are great eaten raw or cooked and freeze well, just take out the stone before freezing to keep their flavour intact. They are lovely stewed with spices like cinnamon, cloves and star anise and they also go well with orange or lemon zest. Stewed plums are great on porridge or served with bio live yoghurt and some fresh nuts or seeds.

 

Prunes (dried plums) are  good in savoury dishes such as tagines and stews.  They go well with rabbit, chicken, lamb, beef, hare and pork and are particularly good when slow cooked. Prunes are also great chopped into museli (always soak museli before eating though or it will be hard to digest) or made into compôtes. 

 

Awesome Aubergines

Raw Aubergines with Lemon and Coriander

Aubergine and Coriander 2 ways

 

Sautéed Aubergine Salad

Serves 2 as a main salad or 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 aubergine, cut into 2cm cubes light olive oil for frying
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 100g peppery salad leaves like rocket or watercress
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Sauté the aubergine in a large fying pan with plenty of oil, until golden brown on each side and nice and soft
  2. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon to a mixing bowl
  3. Mix in lemon, chopped coriander and season well
  4. Serve on a bed of the rocket or watercress leaves
Delicious with houmous or tahini dressing
Also great as a side dish with roast lamb

 

Houmous recipe

  • 1 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  •  Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 ½  tblsp tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 – 3 tblsp water to create smooth consistency, if desired
  • Dash ground paprika & olive oil, for serving

Method

  1. In a processor blend the tahini and lemon juice until creamy, about 1 minute
  2. Add the olive oil, pressed garlic, cumin and approx. ½ tsp salt and blend for 30 seconds, scrape the mixture off the sides of the mixing bowl and blend again for another 30 seconds
  3. Add ½ of the drained, rinsed chickpeas and blend for 1 minute, then scrape the mixture of the sides of the bowl, add the remaining chickpeas and blend again until smooth. You may need to add 1 – 3 tblsp of water to get a creamy consistency, depending on how smooth you like it. Or you can keep a few chickpeas back and serve them on the houmous with a drizzle of olive oil

Tahini dressing

Ingredients

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 tblsp water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Whizz the ingredients altogether with a wand blender, start with 1 tblsp water and add more if too thick
  2. Or if you’d rather use a pestle and mortar - grind the garlic (no need to press it), tahini and salt. Slowly add in the lemon juice until all combined, then add water 1 tblsp at a time until a bit thicker than you want it and finally add the olive oil.

 

Baked Aubergine with coriander, cumin and lemon

Baked Aubergine with Coriander, Cumin and Lemon on Sourdough

 

Ingredients

Serves 6 as a dip or side dish

  • 2 whole aubergines, washed
  • Large handful of chopped coriander
  • Pinch of cumin seeds
  • ¼ lemon juice and zest
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional – chilli powder or fresh chopped chilli

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°c
  2. Bake the aubergines whole for around 50 minutes until nice and soft
  3. Allow to cool and remove the green stalk
  4. Whizz in a blender with the chopped coriander, cumin seeds, lemon juice and zest and season well

Serve as a dip or salad or on wholemeal, seedy or rye sourdough

Other ideas:

You could also whizz up the baked aubergine with a tin of drained chickpeas, a large handful toasted pinenuts, a regular handful of breadcrumbs, a clove or 2 of garlic, a large pinch of cumin, a large handful of chopped mint and some chilli to make veggie burgers. Then just gently heat through in a frying pan.

 

Aubergines, also known as Eggplant, are related to tomatoes, peppers and potatoes (from the Nightshade family*). Aubergines are technically berries -they are the fruit of the Solanum Melongena plant, with many seeds. The large purple varieties available in the UK are rich and buttery when cooked and do not need salting, rinsing and draining, which is often recommended in recipes to remove the bitterness of other varieties.

The main health benefits of aubergines come from the antioxidants they contain. One of the key antioxidants, Nasunin, an anthocyanin, gives aubergines their rich purple colour and helps protect the fatty acids we need for optimal brain function. Aubergines are also believed to be beneficial for managing blood glucose levels and cardiovascular health.

 

* Nightshade family vegetables are rich in alkaloids, which may not be tolerated well by those with auto-immune conditions. Cooking Nightshade family vegetables, avoiding green tomatoes and green/sprouting potatoes and peeling potatoes will help keep alkaloids to a minimum. It is always best to take advice from a health professional or registered nutritional therapist before removing food groups from your diet.

Hey Pesto! Homemade Carrot Top Pesto and more...

Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot Tops, Basil, Pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Garlic, Extra-virgin Olive Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 large handful of carrot tops (large stems removed)
  • 1 handful of fresh basil
  • 2 tblsp pine nuts
  • 1 tblsp finely ground Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1-2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Using a food processor pulse together all the ingredients, adding a more oil as necessary to make a nice paste.
  2. Check the taste, season with salt and pepper and add more pine nuts, Parmesan or basil as/if needed

 

Carrot Top Pesto Is Great On Roasted Carrots

Just scrub the carrots, chop into 2 inch pieces and roast in some light olive oil in a medium hot oven (180oC) for25-35 minutes, . giving them stir around after 15 minutes.

Once the roasted carrots have cooled a bit, coat with the pesto and serve. Lovely with a lean beef steak, roast chicken or a lentil salad.

Other ideas for Pesto

Carrot Top Pesto, or any other homemade pesto*– is also delicious with potatoespasta and veggie pasta alternatives like courgette or butternut squash noodles; cheese like mozzarella, halloumi or feta;  on steamed veggies; with chicken or fish; as a salad dressing (you can dilute it with more extra virgin olive oil or some lemon juice); with avocado and tomato.

* If you don’t have any carrot tops you can use any other greens, like rocket, radish leaves, spinach, kale (just remove the tough stems), broccoli or just use fresh basil for the traditional pesto etc. 

You can also use other nuts or seeds instead of pine nuts and add chilli if you like it spicy.

Here I’ve combined the pesto with new potatoes and steamed runner beans and tender-stem broccoli and served with pan-fried salmon steaks.

Pan-fried Salmon with New Potatoes, Runner Beans, Tender-stem Broccoli and Homemade Pesto

Pan-fried Salmon with New Potatoes, Runner Beans, Tender-stem Broccoli and Homemade Pesto

 

You can store home-made pesto in a glass jar in the fridge for 3-4 days, just drizzle a little extra olive oil over the top before storing, or freeze it.

Nutritional Benefits of Carrot Tops

You may not have eaten carrot tops before and many people throw them away! However, they are nutritious and a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium and chlorophyll. I would use organic carrot tops as non-organic ones will likely have been sprayed with pesticides

Other ideas for using Carrot Tops

You can also use them for stock, in stews or as part of a salad or as a garnish in the same way you would use parsley. They taste a bit like parsley but more carroty. Just don’t overdo it as some people are sensitive to them if they eat too many.

 

 

Char-grilled Courgette & Mozzarella Salad with Red Onion, Chicory, Olives & Basil

Char-grilled Courgette, Chicory and Mozzarella Salad

Char-grilled Courgette & Mozzarella Salad with Red Onion, Chicory, Olives & Basil

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 2 courgettes, cut lengthways into slices
  • 1 red onion, cut into slices
  • 2 small red chicory, cut into quarters
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil to coat the veg prior to grilling, plus extra virgin for drizzling
  • 100g mozzarella, torn into pieces (buffalo is most delicious)
  • 50g black olives
  • handful of basil leaves
  • lemon zest (from ½ lemon)
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Toss the courgettes, onion and red chicory slices in olive oil.
  2. Get a griddle pan hot (or get a BBQ ready for cooking – charcoals will need to be white hot and then cool slightly)
  3. Place the courgettes slices side by side in the griddle pan (or on the BBQ grill), don’t let them overlap, they will need around 2-3 minutes on either side. Set aside when done
  4. Then do the same for the onion and red chicory
  5. Arrange the grilled vegetables on a plate then add the mozzarella pieces, olives and basil leaves.
  6. Finally sprinkle over the lemon zest, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season

Also lovely with….

Radicchio instead of red chicory

Leftover roast chicken instead of mozzarella

Sun-dried tomatoes

This salad will keep well in the fridge for a day or two if kept in an air tight container, make sure you bring it to room temperature before eating. 

Other things to do with courgettes….

Raw Courgette ‘spaghetti’

Works well as a replacement for pasta or as a base for a salad.

Method

  1. Create long strands of courgette by running the long side of the courgette along a grater. You could also use a spiriliser to make noodles or veg peeler to make ribbons.
  2. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season. Simple.
  3. You could also add lemon zest and pumpkin seeds or soaked almonds

Sautéed courgette Salad

Method

  1. Cut courgettes in round slices, about 1/2 cm thick
  2. Gently fry in light olive oil for around 5 mins
  3. Add crushed garlic to the pan and cook for another minute or so
  4. Add fresh mint & oregano, sun-dried (or cherry) tomatoes and walnut halves.
  5. Drizzle a little olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar.
  6. Or combine with feta cheese and pine nuts

Courgette facts....

Courgettes, also known as zucchini, are in season in the UK from June to September/October. They are a popular member of the squash family and are best when firm to the touch with a glossy, green skin. They keep well in the fridge but a cool larder or cupboard will do. 

They do not need peeling or de-seeding. Courgettes provide folate and other B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A and a range of antioxidants as well as being an excellent source of potassium. They have a low glycaemic load, meaning they have little effect on blood sugar levels making them a great choice if you are watching your waist-line.

courgettes, red onion, red chicory, basil and olives

Scrumptious Smoothies

Green Goodness / Berry Beet Treat / Instant Energy Smoothies

Scrumptious smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to boost your fruit and veg intake, up the antioxidants and make a refreshing start to the day.

Try these recipes below or make up your own. I purposely haven’t given exact amounts for each ingredient because you can play around with the quantities you like and the amount of fluid needed to make the consistency that suits.

You will need a blender or smoothie maker

They are best drunk fresh but if you have leftovers they will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 8 hours, just stir or shake well before drinking. To keep the sugar load down ensure there are plenty of vegetables and other ingredients like nuts, seeds or protein powders rather than just fruit.

Nuts and seeds are best soaked overnight in salty water and then rinsed, this helps make them more digestible by breaking down phytates and enzyme inhibitors present in the nuts and seeds. By breaking these down you will absorb the nutrients they contain more easily.

 

Kale, spinach, kiwi, bananas and sunflower seeds

Green Goodness

  • Handful of kale
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/2  banana or 1 small one
  • 1 kiwi
  • handful of soaked pumpkin seeds
  • coconut water

 

 

 

Beetroot, lettuce, berries and almonds

 

Berry Beet Treat

  • 1 beetroot
  • handful of red lettuce leaves
  • handful of berries
  • handful of soaked almonds
  • almond milk*

 

 

 

Instant Energy

  • ½ orange pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • stick of celery including leaves
  • ½ avocado
  • handful of soaked sunflower seeds
  • almond milk*

*To make your own Almond milk  use 25g pre-soaked almonds per 100 ml fresh water whizzed up with hand blender or liquidizer.

To soak the almonds 4 cups with 1 tablespoon salt soaked for around 7 hours

 

 

 

Pepper, orange, celery, avocado and sunflower seeds

Apricot Seed & Nut Snack Balls

Seed & Nut Snack Balls

Apricot Seed & Nut Snack Balls

 

Ingredients

(makes about 10-12 balls)

  • 10 dried apricots (unsulphured if possible – these are the dark ones and they have a richer flavour)
  • 85g almonds
  • 60g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • grind of sea salt
  • sesame seeds to coat

Method

  1. Pour just enough hot (just boiled) water to cover the apricots, almonds and pumpkin seeds and leave to soak for at least 10 minutes. This makes the mixture easier to blend but also easier to digest.
  2. Get a plate of sesame seeds ready for the rolling at the end
  3. Put all the ingredients (except the sesame seeds) in a food processor and blend until the nuts and seeds are broken down and the mixture starts to stick together.
  4. Scrape the mixture off the sides of the blender and give a good stir. Then take about 1 tbsp mixture in the palm of your hand and roll to make a ball.
  5. Gently roll the ball in the sesame seeds to coat and tap to ensure any that haven’t stuck fall off.
  6. Continue to make balls until all the mixture is used up
  7. Place on a plate and refrigerate for approx. 30 mins so they harden up

 

Store in an airtight container.

You can freeze them and take them to work, by the time you want to eat them they will have defrosted.

 

Nutritional Information

These energy balls are nutrient and energy dense. You only need one or two at a time. The nuts, seeds and coconut oil are a rich source of unsaturated fats, the hemp powder adds protein and the apricots add some sweetness and carbohydrate.

These seed and nut balls are not as sweet as shop bought bars. Some ‘natural’ bars have around 4 teaspoons of sugar in and some cereal bars even more, whereas each one of these balls has only around ½ tsp sugar from the apricots. Cinnamon adds a lovely flavour and research has shown this spice can help improve insulin sensitivity, which in turn helps keep blood sugar at a healthy level.

Nuts and seeds can also be hard to digest for some so make sure you chew them well and don’t eat too many at once. In moderation these little power balls can fill the gap between lunch and dinner or satisfy after your workout without all the sugar in shop-bought bars.

Coconut, Almond & Raw Chocolate Truffles

Coconut & raw chocolate truffles

Coconut, Almond and Raw Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients

(Makes about 12 truffles)

  • 8 dates
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 2 tbsp almonds
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao/chocolate powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Extra shredded coconut for coating the truffles

Method

  1. Soak the dates in hot (just boiled water) for approx. 15 minutes and drain
  2. Blend the dates and coconut in a food processor until they make a paste
  3. Add the almonds, cacao/chocolate powder and coconut oil and blend again
  4. Take approx. 1 heaped tsp of mixture to make 1 truffle, roll into a ball shape in the palm of your hand and then roll in coconut to cover
  5. Refrigerate for around 30 mins to harden

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

These are not as sweet as traditional truffles but they hit the spot when you are trying to keep sugar minimal and really fancy something chocolaty!

Nutritional Information

Dates contain minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They also provide vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, folate, vitamin A and K. Dates are very sweet so are often used in snack bars – just be wary how much sugar they add. In small quantities like this recipe they are really useful for when you really fancy a sweet treat. Dates are high in fibre and when combined with nuts and coconut oil make a sustaining alternative to sweeter chocolate bars or biscuits.

Coconuts are also very nutritious and rich in fibre. They include minerals iron, selenium, calcium and magnesium and are rich in lauric acid, a medium chain saturated fatty acid, which the body can utilise for energy quickly and so this energy is less likely to be stored as fat. Lauric acid has antiviral and antibacterial properties so may be helpful to protect against infections.

Speedy Summer Salad

Easy Summer Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 100g mixed salad leaves like rocket, mizuna, baby spinach, baby beet, radicchio, oak leaf etc. washed and dried
  • large handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • handful of walnut halves
  • ½ pomegranate – seeds removed
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 50g hard cheese like Manchego, thinly sliced (using a cheese slicer or vegetable peeler)
  • Extra virgin oil for drizzling
  • Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Method

Combine the salad leaves, tomatoes, avocado and cheese slices. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds and walnuts on the top. Drizzle with oil and a little balsamic, if using.

 

Nutritional benefits of this salad

Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, vitamin C and betacarotene for immune health.

Pomegranates are rich in vitamin C and vitamin K. Vitamin K helps keep our bones strong and blood vessels healthy by keeping calcium out of the body’s blood vessels and in its bones – particularly important for post-menopausal women for whom loss of bone density is an issue but also for those with a history of cardiovascular disease. Pomegranates pack a serious antioxidant punch and taste deliciously sweet, yet tangy. They are considered a natural aphrodisiac as well as having anti-cancer properties.

Walnuts provide plenty of vitamins B1, B2, B6 and folate along with some B3 and B5 as well as being a rich source of the minerals magnesium, copper and manganese. They contain omega 6 essential fats for hormone and skin health and also some omega 3 fats, which help reduce inflammation. Walnuts are also beneficial for keeping levels of LDL cholesterol down.

Manchego is a sheep’s cheese from La Mancha region in Spain. Sheep’s cheese is naturally low in lactose, so may be tolerated by those with lactose intolerance.  The proteins in sheep’s cheese are also generally easier to digest. It is high in calcium and protein and also contains some vitamin A, E and D. You could use other hard cheeses if you don’t have any Manchego.

Avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and vitamin E as well as vitamin C, B5 and folate.

This salad will keep you feeling satisfied due to its fibre and fat content. Fibre is also important for gut health and fats are important for mood, brain function, hormone balance and for providing slow-release energy.

 

Top tip

How to tell if your avocado is ripe: give it a gentle squeeze, it should have a little give, but shouldn't be soft or squidgy. If it is still too firm, help it ripen by putting in a brown paper bag with a banana. You can also tell by picking off the tiny stem and looking at the colour underneath. If the stem comes away easily and it’s nice and yellow-green underneath, your avocado is ripe. If it is brown, your avocado is overripe and won't be at its best - you could make it into guacamole instead!

Summer Salad

Cauliflower Couscous with Cumin and Coriander Spiced Trout

Cauliflower Couscous, Cumin and Coriander Trout

Ingredients

For the trout:

  • 2 whole rainbow trout
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Olive oil

 For the cauliflower couscous:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, blitzed or grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • A large handful of toasted pine nuts (toasted flaked almonds would also work well)
  • Salt and and freshly ground pepper
  • A handful fresh coriander, and/or parsley, finely chopped

Method 

  1. Preheat the grill to high
  2. Rinse your trout and pat dry. Cut 1cm-deep slashes into the skin, about 3cm apart, on both sides of the fish
  3. Mix 2 tbsp cumin seeds with 2 tsp coriander, salt and pepper. Rub the mix all over both fish and into the slashes.
  4. Tuck a few lemon slices inside the belly of each fish. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Grill for approx. 7 or 8 mins on each side, the skin should be crisp and the fish cooked (pink & opaque flesh). Cover and leave to rest
  6. Remove leaves and thick base/stem from the cauliflower. You can use the leaves as you would cabbage in another dish like stir fry or soup
  7. Cut the cauliflower into 4 and either blitz in a food processor (be careful not to over-blitz or it will go to mush) or coarsely grate into a large bowl
  8. Toast the pine nuts (or flaked almonds) in a hot (large) frying pan (no oil needed) until just golden – watch them they can easily burn! Remove and set aside
  9. Heat some olive oil in the same pan, add the garlic until just softened then add 1 tbsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp ground coriander. Stir and heat for 1 min
  10. Add grated/blitzed cauliflower to pan, lower the heat and cook,  stirring well, until slightly softened and warmed through
  11. Add the toasted pine nuts (or flaked almonds), lemon zest and juice and chopped fresh herbs, season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
  12. Serve the grilled trout (either with or without the skin, as you prefer) on a mound of the cauliflower couscous and some lemon wedges.

Cauliflower benefits

Cauliflower is a member of the brassica family and is rich in glucosinolates – these super phytonutrients help increase the activity of enzymes that help the body eliminate carcinogens and help protect us against certain cancers. Cauliflower is also a rich source of fibre, vitamins A, C B3 and folate and provides minerals like calcium, potassium and zinc.

Gluten-free and low carb

Replacing conventional wheat couscous with cauliflower helps reduce the glycaemic load of the meal (a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels are raised), therefore helping weight management. It also means the meal is gluten-free.

If you have never tried cauliflower couscous then now is the time. Cauliflower are still in season. You can also use other Mediterranean herbs for flavour.

Also works well with...

This dish also works well with other oily fish such as sardines or salmon and would make a lovely dish to serve at a BBQ. Cauliflower couscous makes a great salad base to take to work, you could try it with leftover roast chicken, avocado, tomato and salad leaves and a lemon and oil dressing.

Cauliflower, garlic, coriander, cumin, lemon, toasted pinenuts and parsley