Roasted Beetroot and Ginger Soup

beetroot soup

Ingredients

Serves 2- just double, triple, quadruple…. quantities as preferred - this freezes well

Earthy rooty goodness

Earthy rooty goodness

  • 2-3 tbsp light olive oil

  • 4 beetroot, scrubbed, tops and tails removed and quartered

  • 1 small red onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 1 thumb-size piece of fresh root ginger, grated

  • Juice and zest of half a lemon

  • 2 bay leaves

  • Handful black peppercorns

  • 500ml of veg stock

  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt (dairy or coconut)

  • Handful toasted hazelnuts

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c

  2. Roast the quartered beetroot in a little olive oil, for 20 minutes. This gives them a lovely rich flavour.

  3. Meanwhile gently saute the red onion in about 2tbsp olive oil until soft, about 10 mins

  4. Add the garlic, ginger, beetroot and lemon zest and saute for another minute.

  5. Add the stock, bay leaves and peppercorns, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

  6. Remove the bay leaves and blend. Squeeze in the lemon juice and check for seasoning.

You can get this ready ahead of time and just heat up before serving with the yoghurt swirled over and topped with hazelnuts. A slice or 2 of fresh sourdough is perfect for dunking.

Goodness alert

beetroots ready for roasting

Beetroots are superfoods packed full of nutrients and antioxidants for heart health.

Beetroot soup has a rich and earthy flavour, which is really enhanced by roasting. Paired with ginger, lemon zest and juice, it has an added zing and freshness. Plus ginger is a rich source of gingerol, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

I hope you enjoy!

Steamed Mussels with Sweet Potato Fries

Steamed Mussels and Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled

  • 2 tbsp light olive oil

  • 1 leek, washed carefully to remove any grit, thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme

  • 150ml white wine

  • 500g mussels, prepped

  • 3-4 Vine tomatoes, chopped

  • 400g firm white fish such as cod or haddock, cut into chunks

  • Large handful chopped parsley

  • Green salad

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Method for the Sweet Potato Fries

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 200c

  2. Peel your potatoes and cut into thin strips

  3. Place the strips in a single layer on a baking tray, drizzle with a little light oil and season well.

  4. Bake for about 20 mins, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Yummmmmmy!



Method for the Mussels

  1. Rinse the mussels before cooking and discard any that are cracked. If any are open after running under water and don’t close when tapped, then discard those too.

  2. Give them a scrub to remove any barnacles and pull off the hairy ‘beard’ that might be sticking out from the shell. Now you are ready to cook them…. 

Vegetable ingredients for Steamed Mussels
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat

  2. Add the chopped leek and cook gently, stirring occasionally for 5 mins until the leek is soft.

  3. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for another minute

  4. Increase the heat and add the wine, simmer until the wine bubbles and reduces by half.

  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and mussels, cover and cook for 5 minutes. The mussels should open.

  6. Then add the fish chunks, cover again, and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until the fish is opaque.

  7. Sprinkle with parsley and season with plenty of pepper.

 

You can serve the mussels in the saucepan with a bowl of fries and a crisp green salad to mop up all the lovely juices.

If you don’t like sweet potato fries then some fresh sourdough bread would be lovely instead.

More about Mussels

Mussels are a nutrient-dense and delicious protein-rich seafood. They provide minerals such as iron and zinc, omega 3 fats (nearly as much as an equivalent serving of salmon) and vitamins A and B12- a key nutrient that is often lacking if you eat a predominantly plant-based diet.

 Mussels are in season and a sustainable seafood – so make a great choice for ethical reasons too.    

Enjoy!

Gooey Date and Hazelnut Brownies

Gooey Date and Hazelnut Brownies

Gooey Date and Hazelnut Brownies

Ingredients

  • 450g dried dates, pitted

  • 250g hazelnuts, whole

  • 5 heaped tablespoons of raw cacao powder

  • 4 tablespoons date syrup (or can use maple syrup)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Pinch of sea salt

 

Method

  1. Put the dates in a bowl and pour over boiling water until almost covered and let soak for about 10-15 mins until the dates have softened.

  2. Preheat oven to 180c, fan. Place the whole hazelnuts on a baking tray in a single layer and roast 5-10 minutes until golden, take out and leave to cool, reserve a handful for sprinkling over the top

  3. Once cool, blend the roasted hazelnuts in a food processor and set aside.

  4. Blend the dates and water they soaked in – this can get a bit sticky and you may need to stop blending, stir the dates and blend again. Then add the whizzed up hazelnuts, cacao powder, date (or maple syrup, vanilla extract and pinch of salt and blend again.

  5. Line a baking tray (27 x 20cm) with greaseproof paper and dollop the mixture in, smoothing into a layer (not sure how they get this so neatly on the bake off?!) and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

  6. Once the brownies are set, cut up into small chunks and serve sprinkled with some of the reserved, chopped hazelnuts.

    You can keep the remainder in the fridge.

    You could serve with some vanilla yoghurt if fancied. 

“Sugar-free” facts

brownies on a plate

Don’t be fooled into thinking these brownies are sugar-free because dates are one of the most sugary fruits ever – BUT dates do contain some important vitamin and minerals (including potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6 with a little iron), antioxidants (such as flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acid which are anti-inflammatory) and are good source of fibre. This makes dates a much better ingredient for brownies than sugar. Using date syrup gives them a really rich and dense flavour.

I’ve used whole hazelnuts as there are health-giving polyphenols in the skins but you could also use blanched.

They are guten-free and refined sugar-free, just not actually sugar-free.

Totally delicious and enjoy in moderation!

Scrumptious Miso Salmon with Pak Choi and Sesame

miso salmon with pak choi an sesame

Serves 4

Ingredients

pak choi
  • Wholegrain or wild rice (approx 40g / person)

  • 4 salmon fillets

  • 4 tsp miso

  • 4 tsp soy sauce or tamari

  • 4 tsp mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)

  • 4 tsp grated root ginger

  • 2 spring onions, chopped

  • Sesame oil

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • 2-3 pak choi (or other leafy greens)

  • Light olive oil

  • Fresh lime cut into wedges

  • Handful Fresh coriander, chopped

 

Method

salmon ready to bake
  1. Bring a pan of water to boil, add your rice (if using) and cook for suggested time on packet

  2. Preheat the oven to 180 c

  3. Place the salmon fillets in a baking tray

  4. Mix together the miso, soy sauce, mirin, grated root ginger and drizzle of sesame oil and spread over the fillets. Top with the spring onion and sesame seeds.

  5. Cover the tray with foil and bake for approx. 10 mins (depending on how thick the fish fillets are – you can check they are done by using a knife to peek into the middle of the fillet. Should have changed colour and be opaque. Don’t overcook them though, they will be more succulent if just cooked through)

  6. Meanwhile rinse the pak choi, cut into half. Drizzle over and gently rub in some light olive oil.

  7. Heat a griddle pan and add the pak choi. It won’t take long for the leaves to wilt and char slightly

  8. Serve the salmon on top of the rice, if using, with the pak choi and squeeze over some fresh lime, add fresh chopped coriander and a little more sesame oil, if desired.

 

Salmon is a great source of omega 3 essential fats as well as being rich in protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D and selenium. It also provides vitamin B3, phosphorus, vitamin B6, choline, vitamin B5, biotin and potassium.

Miso is a fermented bean paste, usually soy bean, and adds depth of flavour or ‘umami’ the sixth taste. Miso is a rich source of phytoestrogens (hormone-balancing plant compounds) so is a great addition to the diet and replaces the need for sugary ready sauces.

Ginger is a wonderful spice with anti-inflammatory properties and is great for digestive health.

I hope you enjoy!

Lunchbox Winter Salad

Lunchbox salad

Ingredients for 3-4 portions

Ingredients for Lunchbox Winter Salad
  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets

  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 75g sunblush or sundried tomatoes

  • 75g olives, pitted

  • 40g pine nuts

  • 1 tin black-eyed beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 lemon, juice and zest

  • Large handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

  • Salt and pepper

 

 Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 c fan

  2. Mix the broccoli florets, sunblush tomatoes, cherry tomato halves, olives and salt in a roasting tin and drizzle over olive oil, roast for 15 mins

  3. Add pinenuts and black-eyed beans, give a good stir and roast for another 10 mins

  4. Mix in basil, lemon juice and zest, a little more olive oil and plenty of black pepper, taste and season if needed.

Keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days and you can ring the changes each day by adding different fresh salad leaves or a tin or sweetcorn and an extra protein-rich source like chicken / fish / tofu / cheese / nuts / seeds

Roasted Broccoli and Kale with Chickpeas and Tahini Dressing

Roasted Broccoli and Kale with Chickpeas and Tahini Dressing

Roasted Broccoli and Kale with Chickpeas and Tahini Dressing

Ingredients for Roasted Broccoli and Kale with Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets and stalk sliced

  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered

  • 200g kale, tough stalks removed, roughly chopped

  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp ground coriander

  • 2 tbsp ground cumin

  • 2 tbsp ground ginger

  • 1 tbsp paprika

  • 2 tsp salt

 

  • 30g fresh coriander, chopped

  • 30g pumpkin seeds

 

Tahini dressing

  • 60g tahini

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 lemon, juice and zest

  • 3 tbsp water

  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

broccoli kale red onion chickpeas and spices for roasting

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 c fan

  2. Combine the broccoli, kale, onion quarters, spices, salt and olive oil in  a large roasting tin. Mix well.

  3. Bake for 20-25 mins until the broccoli is cooked through, the greens will char slightly and this adds a lovely flavour

  4. To make the dressing combine the tahini, lemon juice, zest, oil, water and season well. I used a wand blender to make it really smooth but you could whisk if you don’t have one

  5. Top with fresh coriander and pumpkin seeds (you can toast these if you like)

 

Roasting vegetables give them a lovely flavour and its so easy as everything is in one pan.

This dish is great on its own as a vegan supper or you could serve with baked fish (just pop this in the oven part way through baking the veg, eg salmon takes about 10 mins).

Also delicious with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, winter greens or chard. You could also add garlic and experiment with other spices like sumac and chilli.



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

fullsizeoutput_5a7e.jpeg
  • 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
roasted veg.jpeg

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.