Pan-fried Mackerel with Garlic and Thyme Roasted Celeriac and Wilted Kale

 Pan-fried Mackerel with Roasted Celeriac with garlic and thyme and Wilted Kale

Pan-fried Mackerel with Roasted Celeriac with garlic and thyme and Wilted Kale

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 1 medium celeriac

  • 6 cloves of garlic, skin on

  • 4 sprigs of thyme

  • Olive oil

  • 1 lemon, juice and zest of ½ the lemon

  • 150g kale – I used a mixture of green and red but either is fine

  • Handful parsley, leaves roughly chopped and stalks finely chopped

  • 4 fresh mackerel fillets, skin on & pin boned

  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Method

celeriac and kale.JPG
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c

  2. Peel the celeriac – this is easiest if you use a sharp knife – cut into chunks and place in a baking tray.

  3. Add the thyme leaves, garlic cloves (skin on ) and lemon zest. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Toss to combine flavours and oil.

  4. Cover with foil and roast in oven for 25 mins. Remove foil, toss and return to oven for a further 15 mins. The celeriac should be soft and slightly coloured. Remove from oven.

  5. Wash the kale and leave fairly wet so it can steam

  6. Remove leaves and roughly chop and finely chop stalks

  7. Add to a hot saucepan with a lid and let steam for 4-5 mins, stirring occasionally until wilted but still bright green / deep reddish purple

  8. Add to a bowl, combine with the roasted celeriac, chopped and squeeze over the lemon juice.

 To pan fry the mackerel

 Mackerel fillets ready to pan fry

Mackerel fillets ready to pan fry

  1. Ask your fishmonger / at the supermarket fish counter to fillet your mackerel & pin bone (unless you like to do this yourself)

  2. Pat the fillets dry with some kitchen roll and season

  3. Heat a saucepan and add a drizzle light olive oil

  4. Add the fillets, skin down and as the fillets curl up gently push the fillets down so the skin is in contact with the pan, cook for 1-2 minutes, depending how thick the fillets are

  5. Turn over and remove from heat, leave for 1 minute so the mackerel continues to cook in the heat from the pan.

  6. Serve with the celeriac and kale and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper

Health Benefits

Mackerel is a cheaper alternative to salmon and is a fabulous source of omega-3 essential fats which have multiple health promoting properties from reducing inflammation, hormone balance, boosting mood and concentration to immune support. It is also a great source of vitamin D and selenium (both vitamin D and selenium are needed for the immune system). Ask for mackerel caught using traditional methods such as hand lines, ring and driftnets and certified by the MSC (blue label) for sustainability.

 Celeriac is an under-rated vegetable. It looks a bit gnarly but don’t be put off. Peel it using a knife and can be eaten raw in salads or slaw for a nutty, celery-like flavour or when roasted or baked it becomes sweeter yet still deliciously nutty. It works really well with herbs like thyme and garlic.

 If you make extra portions of the roasted celeriac this keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days and can be reheated at 180 c for about 15 mins. It goes well with any roast or as a warm salad with toasted pine nuts on top.

Red and Green Kale adds antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, kale is a brassica vegetable so great for hormone health and to support the liver.

Chickpea and Caramelised Fennel with Citrus and Coriander and Herb Quinoa

Chickpea and Caramelised Fennel

Serves 4

Ingredients

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  • 1-2 fennel bulbs

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 2 cans chickpeas

  • 10 olives, pitted and halved

  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds

  • Handful chopped parsley

  • Large handful chopped coriander

  • Red quinoa (or if you don’t have red, white is fine)

  • Zest and juice of 1 orange

Method

  1. Trim the fennel and cut into ¼ inch thick wedges, reserve the fronds

  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy based saucepan, add the fennel, crushed garlic and coriander seeds and gently sauté, stirring occasionally until starting to soften (approx. 15 mins)

  3. Add the ground coriander, turn up the heat and cook for a further 5 or 10 mins until the fennel starts to colour and is soft and tasty

  4. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas, olives, lemon zest and juice and stir to combine, season.

  5. Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa well, add to a saucepan with double the amount of water and season well.

  6. Place over a medium heat, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer for 10-15 mins until the water is absorbed.

  7. Fluff it with a fork, drizzle over the remaining tbsp olive oil and stir in the orange zest, juice, the chopped parsley and half the chopped coriander.

  8. Serve the quinoa with the chickpea and fennel and juices on top and sprinkle with the black sesame and remaining chopped coriander and chopped dill fronds.

 If you like raw onion, you can add some thin slices to the quinoa to give it more of a punch.

Also good served with grilled fish, lamb chops or chicken.

Freezes well and works well for a packed-lunch salad the next day, so you can make in bulk and make good use of the leftovers.

Hormone Balance

Chickpeas are an excellent source of isoflavones - these are phytoestrogens (naturally occurring substances in food which, when converted by our friendly gut bacteria into useable compounds, help balance hormones. This makes them an excellent choice for anyone looking for relief from hormonal issues such as PMS or peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms. They are also great for men too. They are filling and fibre rich.

The red quinoa and black sesame seeds provide polyphenols which our friendly gut bacteria love, so if the gut bacteria are happy they can make the phytoestrogens in the chickpeas work for us!

5-A-Day Vegetable & Cashew Thai Curry

 Vegetable & Cashew Thai Curry Served with Black Rice

Vegetable & Cashew Thai Curry Served with Black Rice

Serves 4

 Ingredients For the Curry Paste

  • 1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 red chilli, roughly chopped

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped

  • 1 knob of ginger, peeled and chopped

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 heaped tsp ground coriander

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 3 kaffir lime leaves

  • 1 dsp coconut oil

  • 1 tbsp water

ingredients for 5 a day curry.jpeg
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Ingredients For the Curry

  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks

  • 1 Romanesco cauliflower (or 1 white cauliflower or 1 broccoli), cut into florets and stalk chopped

  • 1 aubergine, cut into chunks

  • 1 courgette, cut into chunks

  • 100g mushrooms (whole or in half depending on size)

  • Drizzle olive oil

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 stick lemon grass

  • 1 tin coconut milk

  • 1 tbsp tamari or soya sauce

  • Toasted cashew nuts

  • Handful coriander chopped or Thai basil if you prefer

     

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan.

  2. Place the pepper, cauliflower, aubergine, courgette and mushrooms in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast in oven for 15 mins or so, until veg slightly soft and have a bit of colour. When done take out of oven ready to add to the curry.

  3. Make the paste by blitzing the paste ingredients in a food processor, add a little more water if need be, you might need to scrape the paste from the side and blitz again

  4. Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan, add the paste and cook for 5 mins

  5. Add the lemongrass, coconut milk and tamari and simmer for 5 mins

  6. Add the roasted veg and simmer for another 5 mins or so

  7. Once cooked, take out the lemongrass sticks, top with toasted cashew nuts and sprinkle with chopped coriander or Thai basil

  8. Serve with black or wholegrain rice.

What else could I add if I don’t have those vegetables?

The great thing about this curry is you can use other veg you have available, for example baby corn, mangetout work well instead of the courgette, you could use sweet potato instead of aubergine and any of the brassica family veg like cauliflower, broccoli, kale or Kalettes work well instead of Romanesco.

Other ways to serve:

If you eat fish you can add chunks of white fish, salmon or prawns with the veg, simmer until the opaque and cooked through.

You could also add tofu, again just add to the coconut milk and spices when you add the veg

Or, if you eat chicken and have leftover roast chicken you can add that with the veg, heat through until fully hot.

 





 

Red Lentil and Squash Soup with Rosemary

Red Lentil and Squash Soup with Rosemary topped with pinenuts.jpg

Serves 4

ingredient for red lentil and squash soup with rosemary.jpeg
ingredient prepped for red lentil and squash soup with rosemary.jpeg

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp light olive oil

  • 1 onion, peeled & chopped

  • 2 small carrots, chopped

  • 2 sticks celery, chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only

  • 1 red chilli, chopped or sprinkle chilli seeds

  • 1 squash, peeled, seeds removed and chopped

  • 150g red lentils

  • 1200 ml stock

  • Black pepper

Method

squash and veg sweating.jpeg
  1. In a large lidded saucepan or casserole heat 2tbsp olive oil

  2. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, squash, rosemary leaves and chilli and on low heat, ‘sweat’ the veg with lid on, stirring now and then, for 15-20 mins until veg soft

  3. Add lentils and stock and bring to boil

  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 mins

  5. Blend to desired consistency

Makes a delicious and filling soup. Can top with a drizzle olive oil, roasted seeds or pinenuts or serve with sourdough bread or a dollop of hummus.

Freezes well so worth making x2 or x3 of amounts given.

Stuffed Squash with Spicy Dhal

Stuffed Squash with Spicy Dhal

Serves 4

Ingredients

Ingredients for Stuffed Squash and Spicy Dhal
  • 2-3 squash, depending on size

  • 200g Puy lentils, rinsed

  • 1 red onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed

  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped

  • 30g fresh root ginger, ½ finely chopped and ½ cut into thin strips

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

  • ½ tsp ground turmeric

  • 1 ½  tsp ground coriander

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped

  • Seeds of one pomegranate - optional

 Method

Squash ready to go in the oven
  • Preheat the oven to 180c

  • Cut the top off the squash and scoop out the seeds.

  •  The seeds can be rinsed, dried and roasted – just spread them out on a baking tray, sprinkle with a little salt and chilli flakes, coriander seeds (or chopped rosemary is amazing) and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 10 mins or so. If the seeds are very thick – depends which squash you use -  you might need to boil them for 10 mins first.

  •  Wipe some oil inside and over the skin of your squash and roast in oven for 45 mins

Veg chopped ready for Dhal
  • Meanwhile make your Dhal…. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan and add the cumin seeds, fry for about 30 seconds.

  • Add the onion and gently fry for 5 mins, then add the garlic and cook for another minute

  • Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, spices, ginger, ½ tsp salt and 300ml water

  • Bring to a gently boil and simmer for 30 mins or until lentils soft. You can puree half the dhal for a smoother consistency or leave as is

  •  After 45 mins take the squash out of the oven, fill with the dhal and return to oven for another 10-15 mins

  •  Top with chopped coriander and the roasted seeds.

You can also sprinkle some pomegranate seeds over for added colour, sweetness and texture!

Dhal-icous!

 

Any leftover dhal is fabulous with poached eggs and spinach, served with rice and leafy greens or combine with a mixed salad and take to work for your lunch.

Rainbow Stir-Fry with Sweet, Zingy Salmon

Rainbow Stir-Fry with Salmon

A great way to boost your vegetable intake and ‘Eat A Rainbow’. The wider the variety of plant foods, and the more varied the colour, the better. You can use any combination of veg you like, but here’s how I made mine…

Serves 4 

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets

  • light olive oil

  • 2 spring onions

  • 1 head of broccoli

  • 1 red pepper

  • 2 carrots

  • 1 courgette

  • knob of root ginger

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

  • 1 orange – zest and juice

  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (you could also use black ones for added goodness)

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c

  2. Place the salmon fillets in a baking tray.

  3. Scrape the skin off the knob of ginger using a teaspoon (you waste less than if you try to peel it) and grate half over the salmon along with the peel of half the orange, then squeeze half the juice from the orange over. Cover with foil and bake for 10-15 mins until salmon is cooked

  4. Meanwhile prep your veg: chop the spring onion, chop the broccoli stalk, chop the florets into bite size pieces, deseed and slice your pepper, peel the carrot using a julienne peeler – if you haven’t got one a regular peeler will make ribbons of veg which is fine too.

  5. In a large frying pan heat some light olive oil, add the spring onion, garlic, ginger and chopped broccoli stalks and stir fry for 1-2 mins

  6. Add the broccoli florets and a splash of water and let these steam a little with lid on for 1-2 mins (unless you like the broccoli very crunchy in which case just stir fry and carry on adding the other veg)

  7. Add the pepper, carrot and courgette, the tamari and rest of the orange jucie and zest and stir fry  3-4 mins.

  8. When your salmon is done sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve with the lovely veg.

 

You can use other fish if you don’t like salmon, just adjust the cooking time if the fillets are thinner. You can also mix this up with other veg like kale, cabbage, mangetout, sweetcorn, and if you love the heat add some chilli.

Vegan Beany Pie with Swede and Carrot Mash

 Black and Black-eyed Beans with Swede and Carrot Mash

Black and Black-eyed Beans with Swede and Carrot Mash

Ingredients:

  • 600g swede and carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes

  • Olive oil

  • 1 large red onion, peeled and finely diced

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced

  • 1 tbsp tomato puree

  • 1 can tinned tomatoes

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds

  • 150g mushrooms

  • 1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed OR 150g dried black beans, soaked overnight and cooked for x mins

  • 1 can black eyed beans,  drained and rinsed OR 150g dried black eyed  beans, soaked overnight and cooked for x mins

  • Handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c

  2. Place the swede and carrot cubes in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season well, cover with baking paper and roast for about 30-40 mins until really soft. This makes them sweet and tasty but you could steam the swede and carrot if you prefer.

  3. Meanwhile, fry the onions, in a drizzle of olive oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes, until the onion softens.

  4. Add the garlic, coriander seeds, ground coriander, chilli flakes and tomato puree, sauté for 2-3 minutes, before adding the mushrooms and sautéing for further 5 mins

  5. Add beans, add the tinned tomatoes, lemon juice and season well. Simmer for 10 – 15 mins, add chopped coriander.

  6. Once the swede & carrots are soft, mash them and season well, mix in the chopped parsley.

  7. Spoon the bean mix into an oven-proof dish, top with the swede & carrot mash. Place in the oven and cook about 20-25 minutes, until top starts to crisp

  8. Serve with greens. You could also pour vegan gravy over.

swede and carrots for roasting
Ingredients for Vegan Beany Pie
Finished pie

Other ideas:

Also delicious with sweet potato mash instead of swede & carrot.

You can use any combination of beans or lentils in this dish too.

Cooking with dried pulses

Tinned beans are quick and convenient but you can easily use dried, just remember to soak them overnight and drain, then cover with water cook for 1 hour at a low simmer, test how soft they are by mashing one with a fork, if they are soft / easy to mash then they are done! If still hard carry on cooking, checking every 20 mins or so, 2 hours should be enough but some beans take up to 4 hours to cook depending on size and freshness. Add salt when they are done, if you add it at the beginning the beans can go tough.

Lentils don’t need soaking overnight so are even easier!

Black Beans with Roasted Squash, Toasted Kale and Sage

 Black Beans with Roasted Squash, Toasted Kale and Sage

Black Beans with Roasted Squash, Toasted Kale and Sage

Serves 4

Ingredients

  •  1 large butternut squash

  • 50g pumpkin seeds

  • large handful of sage leaves

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tins of black beans

  • Light olive oil

  • 100g kale or cavelo nero

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 140C

  2. Wash and dry the kale or cavelo nero, removed thick stalks and chop. Mix with drizzle of oil, sesame seeds and chilli and place on a baking tray in one layer. Roast for 15 – 20 mins until crisp (don’t let them burn!)

  3. Turn the oven up to 180C

  4. Wash the butternut squash, half, remove the seeds and chop – no need to peel

  5. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season generously and roast for 30 mins, turning half way through

  6. Drain and rinse the black beans

  7. Fry the sage leaves in some hot olive oil, when crisp remove with slotted spoon and place on some kitchen towel to remove excess oil, season well.

  8. Fry the pumpkin seeds in the same oil, remove with a slotted spoon and remove excess oil as with the sage leaves

  9. Use the oil in the pan to make your dressing (it will have retained lovely sagey flavour) – add the apple cider vinegar and seasoning and whisk

  10. Then combine the beans, squash, sage, pumpkin seeds and kale crisps and pour over the dressing.

  11. For those that like cheese you could top with feta or soft goats cheese  but it is delicious as is!

 The black beans are powerhouses of nutrition – they are a fantastic source of soluble and insoluble fibre, resistant starch and polyphenols – all fuel for your friendly gut bacteria.

A portion of black beans provide 15g protein and are a good source of calcium, magnesium, zinc, as well as B vitamins especially folate. They are very rich in antioxidants.

 

The seasonal squash and pumpkin seeds work brilliantly with fried sage leaves and kale chips in this filling autumnal dish, I’ve added chilli flakes and sesame seeds for extra punch and crunch. Enjoy!

Other ideas:

  • You could add soft goats cheese or feta if you eat cheese

  • You could swap the butternut squash for sweet potato

  • You could use chickpeas or puy lentils instead of the black beans

Baked Aubergines with Tahini Dressing

Baked Aubergines with Tahini.jpg

Serves 2 as a main meal or 4 as a side vegetable

Ingredients

Ingredients
  • 2 aubergines, flesh removed from skin and diced
  • 1 red pepper. Deseeded & diced
  • 8 chestnut mushrooms. diced
  • 1 medium onion or shallot, finely diced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • Handful fresh oregano or sweet marjoram leaves, roughly chopped
  • Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

For the tahini dressing

  • 1 tbsp Tahini
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • pinch salt and generous grind of pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper

Method

  • Halve the aubergines, score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern and scoop out the flesh leaving the skins intact and cubes of aubergine flesh.
  • Place the skins in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season and bake in a preheated oven at 180°c for approx. 15 mins until skins have softened
  • Meanwhile deseed and dice the pepper, dice the mushrooms, finely dice the shallot, peel and press the garlic
  • Heat some olive oil in a pan and gently sauté the aubergine cubes, red pepper, onion/shallot and garlic, stirring frequently until veg soften, approx. 10 minutes. Add the oregano leaves and season
  • Remove aubergine halves from the oven and fill with the sautéed veg mixture and return to the oven for 5 minutes
  • Prepare the tahini dressing – whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl
  • Serve the baked, filled aubergines with plenty of chopped parsley and the tahini dressing drizzled over

Other ways to serve....

You could also grate cheese and sprinkle with breadcrumbs instead of serving with the tahini dressing. (If you have stale bread don’t throw it away – whizz up in a processor or finely grate – then freeze until needed. They won’t take long to defrost)

When you have filled the aubergines with the sautéed veg mix, sprinkle with a handful of strong cheese such as mature Cheddar or Parmesan, and some breadcrumbs, return to the oven so the cheese melts and the breadcrumbs crisp. Skip the tahini dressing but serve with plenty of parsley.

Or you could also have this with hummous and some seedy sourdough or as a side veg for a meat or poultry dish.

 

Aubergines (also known as Eggplant) are rich in the antioxidant Nasunin, this anthocyanin gives the aubergine skin its deep purple colour and exerts a protective effect on essential fatty acids needed for brain function. Nasunin and other phytochemicals in aubergines are also believed to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Aubergines are rich in fibre and provide a good source of vitamins B1 and B6 along with the minerals copper, manganese and magnesium.

 

Oregano

There are many varieties of Origanium vulgare (or common oregano) and some of these are also referred to as marjoram, although true marjoram is Origanum majorana (also known as sweet marjoram). Oregano and Marjoram are used liberally in Mediterranean cooking and are great for the digestion.

Parsley

Parsley is a fantastic herb which can enhance many dishes and has a very rich nutrient content, making it one of most widely used herbs - use liberally!

 

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.