Monthly Archives: February 2013

Morning run in morning sun

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I went for a run this morning, not long after sunrise, before heading to uni for my 11am lecture.

What an amazing morning! The sun was shining, and reflecting on the river. Birds woke up in a happy mood, singing, as me and my friend jogged by. While city workers were making their way to the station, we enjoyed our early outing in the village. Exercising definitely needs to be a part of my healthy resolutions. I am aiming to go again on Saturday and try make this a twice a week thing from now on. Exercising + nature + healthy breakfast = ultimate well being.

As we say in France:  P U R    B O N H E U R

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At uni, outside the cafeteria

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My lovely ratatouille

Ingredients: 4 or 5 courgettes, 1 aubergine, 4 or 5 tomatoes, olive oil, 3 shallots, 3 garlic cloves, fresh thyme and fresh rosemary (2 branches of each), salt and pepper.

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Photography by Peter Hawley

Cook the shallots in olive oil until lightly golden. Then add the finely chopped and peeled vegetables and crushed garlic and add more oil. Throw in the thyme and rosemary branches and cook on low heat for an hour or so, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Photography by Peter Hawley

Use as much olive oil as you want, the flavours of olive oil, rosemary and thyme marry so well and a good ratatouille should be moist and flavoursome.

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Photography by Peter Hawley

It doesn’t look very good but it tastes AMAZING!

Tip: Put the rosemary in a teabag and make a knot to avoid having to eat the leaves (or remove them one by one). Long teabags can be bought in tea shops.

Jamie Oliver’s sweet potato and chorizo soup

(my slightly healthier version = a little less saturated fat, more veg)

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Jamie’s ingredients: 2 carrots, 2 sticks of celery, 2 medium onions, 2 cloves of garlic, 800g of sweet potatoes, 200g of chorizo sausage, a small bunch of fresh parsley, olive oil, 1 heaped teaspoon curry powder, 2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes, preferably organic, sea sat and freshly ground black pepper, 1 fresh chilli

My additions / changes: I had 1500g of butternut squash and onion squash (after removing skin and seeds) so I basically doubled the quantities of all other ingredients. I didn’t have a fresh chilli so I used chilli powder. Also added a bit of turmeric. I had a big tomato and a courgette in the fridge, left over from the ratatouille I made before so I put them in too. Oh and I used shallots instead of onions, they are a bit sweeter. I used only about 150g of chorizo.

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To make the soup: Peel and slice all the ingredients. Put a large pan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil (I added a bit more). Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients with the curry powder and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened, but are still holding their shape, and the onion is lightly golden. Put the stock cubes into a jug or pan and pour in 1.8 litres of boiling water from the kettle (adjusting quantity of water and stock cubes depending on the quantity of the other ingredients). Stir until the stock cubes are dissolved, then add to the vegetables. Give the soup a good stir and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the sweet potato or butternut squash is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. (Before the next step, if you like your soup a bit thick, you can remove some of the cooking water with a ladle, to a glass, and add some back later for a perfect thickness according to your taste). Using a hand blender or liquidizer, pulse the soup until smooth and scatter over a little finely chopped chilli (or chilli powder). Deeeeelicious!

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New Year’s resolutions: a month later

It’s now been a month since I decided to eat better quality food and a little less carbs. Thinking about it today, I realised I cut down on wheat a lot. I have been eating rye bread, rice and oats, chick peas, and lentils as forms of carbohydrates but very little wheat. I wonder if the fact that I’m eating less gluten now is the reason why I have lost weight and am feeling more energetic in the afternoon…

I have to be honest though, I had a bad day where I gave in and had a lot of milk chocolate digestive biscuits. But I found them too sweet and had a sore stomach after eating them (probably cos I ate too many). Yes, them being too sweet didn’t stop me. It was a cold afternoon, I was tired and had been craving them for a while. Well, it’s done now, I don’t think I will be craving them again.

So what have I been eating instead of pasta, bread and biscuits?

Think “nutritious food”

I feel I should stretch the importance of eating a varied diet. Too often we focus on eating less carbs or less fat. It seems all we read in the paper is about evil saturated fats and cheap refined carbs. But instead of constantly worrying about that, why don’t we turn this around and think of all the healthy, colourful, tasty and nutrient-rich foods that are around?

This past month I have been eating delicious soups that contain more than 5 types of veg in them, salads rich in lots of nutrients coming from nuts, avocados, tomatoes, cucumber, eggs, salmon, chicken, green beans, green leaves, berries, seeds etc. I didn’t find any of what I ate boring or tasteless. It’s up to me to season it and make it interesting using spices.

My version of Jamie’s Sweet Potato and Chorizo soup

Tip: If you take a look at the vegetable area in the supermarket, it’s got so many different kinds of veg! But if you’re like me, you tend to always buy the same 3 or 4. So now when I go grocery shopping, I try to buy some veg I haven’t tried before. The other day I bought an “onion squash”. Had never heard of it before. But it looked like it would go well in the Jamie Oliver soup. The one I mentioned before, calling it “Butternut squash, chorizo and curry soup”. It’s actually called “Sweet potato and chorizo soup” if anyone was looking it up. But I make it with butternut squash instead of sweet potato because the carb content of butternut squash is lower. And it’s delicious. The recipe comes from his book: Jamie’s Ministry of Food. I like this book because it has easy-to-follow recipes, nutritious, and tasty. (I will post the recipe in the recipe page)

Butternut Squash vs Sweet Potato per 100g

Butternut squash, cooked

  •  9.05 g carbs
  • 40 calories
  • 36.2 calories from carbs

 

Sweet potato, cooked, without skin

  •  17,72 g carbs
  • 76 calories
  • 60.88 calories from carbs