RECIPES

Pumkin Soup or My Autumnal Comfort Food

pumpkin soup

In my journey for a healthier me, I have learnt to find alternatives to transform old habits to better ones.

I thought about comfort food last week when I was walking to uni in the rain and wind. When I arrived there I bought a hot chocolate. And I actually found it too sweet. Don’t get me wrong, it went down quite well, but had I made it myself, I wouldn’t have put that much sugar. It’s funny how you can get used to eating certain types of food and how your palate adjusts with changes. Some changes that we force ourselves to make, like swapping white bread for wholegrain, or giving up sugar in tea, for example, can seem hard at first but our taste buds really do readjust. Especially to sweetness I find. I’m sure it’s true for salt too.

Anyway, today I’m making a pumpkin soup, all because of that walk in the rain that made me want comfort food. Something with a nice colour, thick texture and good taste.

pumpkin soup ingredients

I thought about what veggies would go well together and decided for: pumpkin, parsnip, carrot, leek and onion. Very seasonal, and for a bit of a kick, I will add turmeric and chili pepper. And of course a bit of black pepper and salt. I will serve it either on its own, or with a bit of creme fraiche and grated cheddar / gruyère, or chorizo slices. For the exact recipe, scroll down to the bottom of the page :-)

Now for those interested, here is the nutritional content of each ingredient (per 100g):

(source: wikipedia, sorry haven’t got time for deeper research today)

Pumpkin: 26 kcal, pretty much 0g fat, 0g protein, carbohydrate 6g (2.8g sugar), sodium 1mg, potassium 340mg and 170% of your daily needs in vitamin A (remember to eat your vitamin A with fat as it is a fat soluble vitamin).

Parsnip: 75 kcal, pretty much 0g fat, 1.2g protein, potassium 375mg, sodium 10mg, carbohydrate 18g (4.8g sugar), calcium 3% of your daily needs, vitamin C 28%, however that will be lost in cooking because vitamin C is very sensitive to heat.

Carrot: 42 kcal, 0g fat, 0g protein, potassium 320mg, sodium 69mg, carbohydrate 10g (4.7g sugar), vitamin A 334% of your daily needs (great news!) and no need to mention vit C now we know it’s going to be lost in cooking.

Leek: 61 kcal, 0g fat, protein 1.5g,  potassium 180mg, sodium 20mg, carbohydrate 14g (3.9g sugar), vitamin A 33% of your daily needs, vitamin B6 10% of your daily needs, iron 11% of your daily needs, magnesium 7% of your daily needs.

Onion: Antioxidant (so is vit A by the way), 40 kcal, 0g fat, 1.1g protein, potassium 146mg, sodium 4mg, carbohydrate 9g (4,2g sugar)

Turmeric: said to have anti cancer properties and improve the mood :-)

Chili pepper: well, you’ll find over the internet all sorts of health related reasons to eat chili peppers but I haven’t got time to do all the research so I’ll let you do it yourself if you’re dying to know.

Note that potassium contributes to lowering the risks of cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure. And this recipe is full of it! Yey! Chemically speaking, it’s very similar to sodium (the salt we most commonly use) so this soup might not need much added salt, especially if you add cheese to it too, taste before adding any! (source: World Health Organisation)

pumpkin soup ingredients chopped

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 small to medium size pumpkins
  • 3 large parsnips
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder (or more)
  • 1 tsp chil powder (or more)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

You know me, I don’t like to complicate things. Just peel and de seed the pumpkin (that’s hard work but wotht it). Peel the onions. Wash and chop all vegetables and throw in large pan with a pint of water or 2. Cook until soft. If you would like a thick texture, remove some of the cooking water (and drink it, it’s yummy!). Finally, blend all, taste and then add the spices and salt and pepper.

Bon appetit!

Summer Light Plum Clafouti

Hello from France!

I’m still enjoying the sea, sun and… the cooking and have now got with me my nephew. Not that only kids like cakes, but they do enjoy baking don’t they?!

We have made a French traditional summer cake called CLAFOUTI. The most commonly found clafoutis are made with cherries. But this time of year, cherries are no longer in season so we need to get creative and use other fruits, and basically whatever fruits we like. Last year we made one with nectarines, this time, small green plums. You can really chose the fruits you have available locally.

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 400-500g fruits (as many as you can fit in your dish, they will shrink when baking)
  • 100g flour
  • 25cl milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 70g sugar or to make it lighter like mine, use stevia, half a tsp is enough because the fruits when cooking release a lot of natural sugar.
  • small pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence (optional)
  • 20g butter to butter the dish
  1. Wash and chop the fruits in small pieces.
  2. Butter the dish, then add the fruits.
  3. In a bowl, place the flour in the centre and dig a hole, add the sugar, salt and eggs all together (and vanilla essence if using it).
  4. Mix well then add the milk gradually while stirring.
  5. Pour into the dish and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees c, 350 degrees f.
  6. The clafouti is ready when the consistency is the one of a flan and the fruits looked cooked. Inserting a knife, as we do in sponge cakes, won’t work because the inside of the clafouti will stay a bit wet from the fruits.

Three Tomato Salad with Basil

photo(164)

Sometimes, the simplest things are the best. I hope you guys like this recipe. The quality of the tomatoes is key. If they are either organic or close to being organic, come from a garden, or a small producer, and grew with a lot of sun, they should taste so good you don’t even want to add any dressing! Don’t worry though, I have two different dressings here for you, and as I’m spending some time with my parents at the moment, my mum took part in preparing lunch and told me it would probably be nice to mix both dressings together. I disagreed, but without telling me, she did it (stubborn much?), and it was a great surprise! Very nice and flavoursome. A pure taste of summer, perfect to eat whilst listening to the cicadas in the shade of a pine tree :-)

Ingredients:

  • 1 big black tomato
  • 1 big red tomato
  • 1 big yellow tomato
  • Half a red onion
  • basil leaves, finely chopped

Dressing 1:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper

No need to prepare in advance, just add on the top of the salad all the ingredients before serving.

sauce mousseline

Dressing 2 (mum’ sauce mousseline):

  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • salt, pepper
  • 6-7 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  1. In a bowl, combine the mustard, salt and pepper
  2. Add the oil gradually, slowly while whisking.
  3. Carry on whisking, the sauce should start to foam.
  4. To finish, add the vinegar, only as much as you think tastes right. Vinegar tends to counteract the effect from the previous ingredients and the foamy aspect of the sauce may decrease. That’s why you only need a tiny bit, just for the taste (1 to 2 tsp).

It’s a bit of a gamble to manage to keep it foamy, the sauce mousseline will still taste nice if it didn’t work, but it’s best when foamy.

photo(165) IMG_6306 photo(162)

Strawberries, goat cheese and green leaves

The tastiest recipe I’ve made in a while. I found it on Pinterest from this website: http://www.skylineempire.com/avocado-strawberry-spinach-salad-with-poppyseed-dressing/

My version is a bit different because I couldn’t find baby spinach leaves and I prefer goat cheese to blue cheese. So here it is:

Serves 3

  • half a bag of young mixed leaves
  • 1 avocado
  • about the same quantity of strawberries, washed and cut in halves
  • half a small red onion
  • 6 or 7 slices of goat cheese log
  • a handful of almonds, chopped
  • nothing more nothing less, it’s perfect just like that!

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 to 4 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider viegar
  • 1 tbsp of poppy seeds
  • half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

For the dressing, whisk all ingredients together until combined. Toss the salad, add the dressing and serve. If you fancy a bit of animal protein, the salad goes well with Parma ham.

Enjoy!

Cooking with a sea view

Homemade Hummus Nice & Easy

Home Made Hummus

Hello food-loving friends!

Today I am writing to you from the south of France where I am spending the summer. London is a fantastic place to live but nothing beats the south of France for summer holidays!

Holidays… I love cooking while on holidays. I can’t find anything more relaxing than cooking with a sea view, something healthy, something tasty.

Last night I made hummus from a recipe found on BBC Good Food. Ingredients were:

  • 200g/7oz canned ckickpeas

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or more

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • salt

  • 100ml/3½fl oz tahini (sesame seed paste) optional

  • 4 tbsp water

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • But I didn’t have any cumin or paprika so I used turmeric instead and it worked just fine.

Basically, just throw everything in a bowl and blend using an immersion blender. Taste, add more lemon juice, salt, or oil if needed.

Have you tried eating hummus with carrots instead of pitta bread? It’s a great combination in terms of taste and texture, and carrots are very rich in beta carotene (in vitamin A), which, among other things, is good for your skin and is thought to be useful to prepare skin before sun exposure. And guess what: its absorption is enhanced when eaten with fat. Great news since hummus is made with olive oil !!

Carrots are also a good antioxidant, rich in vitamin c, and contain vitamin B-6, calcium and magnesium in smaller amounts.

I’m going to be cooking with a sea view until the end of August, so come back for more summer recipes soon!

And Bon Appetit bien sur!

Home Made Hummus

Simple Summer Fruit Salad

3 ingredients: nectarine, strawberries and raspberries

2 salads:

  • Add a tbsp of orange juice and 3-4 basil leaves and you have the perfect refreshing summer desert

Simple Summer Fruit Salad + basil

  • Add 2 spoonfuls of organic plain yoghurt, mixed seeds and a Brazil nut (crushed) and you have the perfect summer breakfast or mid-morning snack.

Simple, isn’t it?

Courgette Slices and Goat Cheese in Tomato Sauce

Last week I found a delicious-looking recipe on this blog: http://marcelamatallana.com/2013/07/15/meatless-monday-recipe/ : Eggplant Cannelloni

It inspired me to make the recipe I am blogging about today with what I had available in my fridge / cupboard. It was the 1st time I made such thing and, you know, it takes a bit of practice to master a new recipe, so I’ll give my feedback as well.

Courgette, goat cheese, tomatoINGREDIENTS (for 1 to 2 servings)

2 courgettes

125g soft goat cheese

olive oil

1/2 onion

rosemary

pepper

SAUCE:

half a can of chopped tomatoes (approx. 200g)

2 shallots

basil leaves

olive oil

1 garlic clove

salt

pepper

(If you have time to roast or steam a pepper, try adding one in the sauce for more flavour)

INSTRUCTIONS

1st things 1st: Preheat your oven to 180 C (350F / Gas 4)

Start by making the sauce:

  1. Fry the shallots in 1 to 2 tbs of olive oil
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, chopped basil leaves, crushed garlic and salt and pepper
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, then put to rest on the side

Then, the filling:

  1. Fry the onion in olive oil, until soft and lightly brown
  2. In a bowl, mix the cheese, onion, rosemary, and pepper together

Cook the courgettes:

  1. Slice the courgettes, about 3 to 5 mm thick
  2. Then, either spray them with olive oil and cook them on low heat in a pan or steam them until soft for a healthier version. Olive oil is the healthy oil, sure, but we’re using a lot of it here!

Finally, put about a tsp of filling at the end of each courgette slice and roll. Empty the bowl of sauce in a baking tray and add all the courgette rolls. Cook in the oven for maximum 15 mins and finish with the grill if you would like them to look nice and brown.

When serving, if you have a bit of filling left, why not crumble it all over the plate. Looks nice and if like me you love cheese, you can never have enough!

Feedback: The extra cheese filling mixed in the tomato sauce tasted really good but maybe I’m just a cheese addict! I will definitely try again with a red pepper and maybe some chilli pepper too next time. If you do make this recipe and add your own twist to it, I would love to know how it turned out!

My French Tabbouleh

French TabboulehSummer is here, I want nice, refreshing food. Tabbouleh is a good one!

INGREDIENTS FOR 2 (preferably organic):

150g wholegrain couscous

1 to 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 tomatoes

2 mini sweet peppers

a bunch of mint

3 spring onions

the juice of 1 lemon

salt (unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt are best because they contain lots of minerals)

black pepper

Ingredients tabbouleh

INSTRUCTIONS:

Boil some water and pour over the couscous in a bowl, to the point where the water just covers the cousous. Cover and leave for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop all the ingredients, including the mint.

When the couscous has cooled down, add the ingredients to the bowl, with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and put in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow flavours to develop.

Serve at a BBQ with home made burgers or sausages, YUM!

Bon Appetit !!

Lemon Water With Mint

What more than water can refresh and hydrate you on a hot sunny afternoon? And look like a cocktail to drink at a BBQ in the early evening?

Just add the juice of half a lemon, lots of ice and mint to still or sparkling water and you’ll get a fantastic summer drink with no calories!!

Feel-good breakfast

Organic plain yoghurt with apple, brazil nuts, and mixed seeds

Good morning you all!

I hope you had a good weekend. I sure did. Well… I studied a lot in prevision of next term. I can’t exactly call that a party weekend but I’m always happy to learn new things, especially when it’s related to nutrition!

Anyway, this morning I just wanted to post a photo of my breakfast which, if I gave it a simple name could be called: “Yoghurt and fruit”, but it sounds a bit boring, doesn’t it? In all honesty it was yoghurt and fruit. But I made it a bit more interesting by adding some crushed brazil nuts and the seeds that I use on salads: pumpkin and sunflower seeds. A few slices of apple and it makes a colourful, crunchy, nutritious and delicious breakfast yoghurt recipe.

How often do you eat nuts? Walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, pecan… Each have a particular health benefit. For example, did you know that walnuts and brazil nuts both contain the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron? The vitamins C, and B6? That they are a good source of protein as well as containing polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fat, which can help reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood and therefore reduce the risks of heart disease? All the minerals and vitamins listed, our body needs them. And there they are, all in one little tiny nut. Isn’t life beautiful? :-)

Look it up but most nuts and seeds are loaded in nutrients that our body needs to give us energy, protect us against free radicals, make us healthy, beautiful, and happy.

Have a nice week everyone! (and eat some nuts!) x

Energy Boost Blueberry Muffins

Image

Hello there! I hope you are all having a lovely Sunday. I baked today, and felt like I HAD TO share this! Back in March, I uploaded a recipe called Simple Coconut Flour Muffins. If you remember, it was my 1st ever attempt to cook without sugar and a gluten free and dairy free recipe. At the end I mentioned that they would have probably been better with blueberries or something to make them a bit more moist and maybe a bit sweeter. Well, I just baked them again with lots of blueberries and this is totally the answer! They are so good! I can’t believe they are sugar free and wheat flour free!

For the recipe, go to https://eatingwellin2013.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/my-1st-low-carb-and-low-sugar-sweet-treats/ and add about 300g of blueberries and the result will be amazing!

Now, about the calorie content. First of all, you need to know that these muffins are healthy because they have no refined sugar, I use Stevia (Canderel) which is a natural sweetener extracted from a plant that grows in South America. Instead of wheat flour, they have coconut flour, instead of butter, coconut oil, and lots of eggs. It makes them low in sugar and carbohydrates, high in protein and high in healthy fat. The fat from coconut oil is believed to help losing weight as it provides energy to be used by the body instead of being stored as fat. Coconut oil has so many healthy properties I can’t remember them all. It’s meant to be good for chronic fatigue, psoriasis and other skin disorders, to eliminate dandruffs, help with digestive problems, high blood pressure, migraines, diabetes, gum disease, weight loss… (see The Coconut Oil Miracle, by Bruce Fife, founder of the Coconut Research Center for more info on coconut).

Anyway, it tastes good and is healthy, that’s enough for me.

Back to calorie content now, I have roughly calculated that there is about 160 – 170 kcal per muffin. I think it’s higher than an what average muffin has but again, these are healthy calories. Calories that won’t make you feel stuffed and sleepy, that won’t make you put on weight (unless you eat all 12 at once!) and that will give you a lot of energy for the day ahead. So my advice is to eat 1 to 2 blueberry muffins for breakfast, or have one as a mid morning snack or before going to the gym or after exercising. You will feel great, trust me, because it taste like something we would normally feel guilty to eat but these muffins, they are good for you! You need them! So enjoy! And don’t hesitate to tell me what you think, share your recipe if you made them with a different fruit, etc.

Bon Appetit!

Image

Muffins ready to be baked

Federica’s Mediterranean Pasta Salad

MEDITERRANEAN PASTA SALAD

The one on the right

The one on the right

INGREDIENTS:

Fresh cherry tomatoes, Wholegrain penne, Extra virgin olive oil, Sea salt, Garlic, Dried chilies, Basil leaves, Parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS:

1 – Finely chop the tomatoes and basil and leave them to marinate together with garlic cloves, extra virgin olive oil, dried chilli and sea salt.

2 – Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, and toss it in a serving bowl with the raw sauce and add the grated Parmesan. Finally stir until the cheese is melted completely.

  • Equally delicious raw or cooked, tomatoes are low in calories and a useful source of vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, folate and potassium. They also contain the powerful antioxidant Lycopene that exerts anticancer properties.
  • Whole-grain pasta is significantly higher in fiber and nutrients than its refined counterparts. Whole-grain pasta is an excellent source of B vitamins and iron, and provides significantly higher levels of the essential trace mineral selenium a nutrient with antioxidant properties. Whole-wheat pasta also contains appreciable levels of alpha-linolenic acid, a compound that converts to beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in the body.
  • Extra virgin olive oil is the primary source of fat in the healthy Mediterranean diet. It is rich in unique disease fighting phytochemicals, vitamin E and monounsaturated fat, which all help to prevent cholesterol from being deposited in the arteries.
  • The classical accompaniment to all tomato dishes, and important in Italian cooking, basil is a natural tranquillizer and is said to calm the nervous system. It can also aid digestion and ease stomach cramps.
  • Parmesan is a very nutritious cheese due to its high protein content. It is also rich in calcium, phosphorus and vitamins. One kilogram of Parmesan contains the nutritional equivalent of 17 litres of high-quality milk. It is recommended for youths, athletes and seniors who require an additional boost of energy. In addition, unlike other cheeses Parmesan has low cholesterol content.

FRD2013 Pasta saladFood tasting, pasta saladPasta salad recipe

Summer Quinoa Salad for Two

The one on the left

The one on the left

INGREDIENTS

160g quinoa

1 medium tomato, finely diced

1/2 avocado

1/3 cucumber, diced

½ small red pepper (use romano pepper for a sweeter taste), finely chopped

1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice

1 ½ tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

½ tablespoon of red wine vinegar

Sea salt and pepper

a few coriander leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

Boil the quinoa for 20 minutes or as instructed on packet.

Meanwhile, chop the tomato in small cubes, peel and slice the avocado, dice the cucumber and chop the red pepper.

Drain and rinse the quinoa and leave to rest for a few minutes then add all the previously prepared ingredients. Add olive oil, lime juice and vinegar. Finish with salt, pepper and coriander.

The one on the left

 A SALAD FULL OF GOODNESS !!

QUINOA provides a vegetarian source of protein. It is also a good source of wholesome carbohydrate and fibre.

TOMATOES contain vitamins A and E and the antioxidant Lycopene that is known for its anti-cancer properties.

OLIVE OIL is a monounsaturated fat. It means it is heart-friendly.

AVOCADO is amazing for heart health, weight management, and for good health overall. It contains B-vitamins, vitamin E, folate, potassium and many more.

LIME is a fantastic source of vitamin C!

CORIANDER must be good for something too, I’ll let you guess!

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Papaya For Breakfast

Papaya

Papaya

I was feeling thirsty and found myself dreaming about fruits I eat in the south of France: apricots, white peaches, watermelon… They are so sweet and refreshing.

But well… I live in London, so I went to my local supermarket hoping to find something that would make a fresh and tasty alternative to my French fruit dream. And I bought a papaya.

I’m sure many of you have had papayas before but I didn’t and I had to look online how to prepare a papaya. And for those of you who, like me, didn’t know, it’s easy.

  1. I peeled the skin off and sliced the papaya in half
  2. I removed the seeds with a spoon
  3. Then sliced it
  4. And I squeezed the juice of half a lemon

Papaya slicedImage

I tried it without the lemon but I think the lemon gives it a nice sharper flavour.

Trying new foods is now part of my goals and this one is a winner! I ate it in no time! Now to enjoy a sunny day of revision in the garden with a big jug of water with lemon and orange slices :)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Spicy Tomato Soup

Hiding under the blanket with my cold, I found myself thinking about getting some chocolate, until I realised what I really wanted was to be warm and able to breathe through my nose again.

Enter Spicy Tomato Soup.

DSC03597

Needless to say I am feeling energy-less and lazy, but the thought of feeling better gave me the motivation to get up from the sofa and cook! It doesn’t take long and is easy to make. Plus, if like me you always have some carrots in the fridge and tomato passata in the cupboard, then you don’t even have to go shopping. It’s all in the house already!

Ingredients:

  • 500ml of tomato passata
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 shallots or 1 onion
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
  • about a thumb wide of fresh red chilli pepper or a teaspoon of chilli powder
  • half a teaspoon of turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • half a teaspoon of thyme and half a teaspoon of rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • half a glass of water (to make the soup more liquid if you prefer it that way)

DSC03579  DSC03578  DSC03583  DSC03593

  1. Slice the shallots and carrots and fry in a saucepan in olive oil until shallots are soft.
  2. Add in the tomato passata, garlic, turmeric and finely chopped chilli.
  3. Give it a good stir and add in the thyme and rosemary.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add water if needed.
  6. Cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes for the flavours to develop.

DSC03585 DSC03586 DSC03591

The chilli helped me breathe, it worked! Now, off to bed for some deep sleep. Hoping to feel better tomorrow.

Share this:

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Quinoa salad with feta cheese

DSC03574

Yes, I finally bought quinoa! Everyone is talking about it these days. I felt like I was behind not knowing about it. For those of you who don’t know (like me last week), quinoa is a seed providing protein, carbohydrate, fibre, vitamins and minerals. It is a good protein alternative for vegetarian and vegan people. It can be used in salads and other dishes, such as couscous, making it a nutrient-rich alternative for people with gluten intolerance as well. What a discovery, right?

So I made a quinoa salad with tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese.

Verdict: Wow! Maybe I’m just a huge cheese fan but honestly, feta cheese, quinoa, tomatoes and olive oil is an amazing combination! Interesting texture, a bit soft but light as well. The taste of the seed on its own is rather bland, which means it is good news for adapting recipes. I think you can make it any way you like. Next I’m going to try a couple of recipes I saw on others blogs. One was a quinoa version of chilli con carne and the other had roasted sweet potatoes and goat cheese. I like the sound of it. Meanwhile, starting with a salad as a first ever quinoa experience is good to get an idea of what quinoa is like, tastes like. I think if you know an ingredient well, you are more likely to cook it well and make tasty recipes out of it.

This salad makes a delicious healthy and light lunch. I can also picture it on a summer night, dinning in the garden or at a picnic.

DSC03573

How to make the salad:

Simply boil the quinoa following the instructions on the packet, slice the tomatoes and cucumber. Add all the ingredients and serve.

Ingredients:

  • A handful of quinoa
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 5 slices of cucumber
  • 1cm wide slice of feta cheese
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • a squeeze of lemon
  • salt and pepper

Quinoa nutritional information: per cooked 100g

  • calories: 120
  • protein: 4.4
  • carbohydrate: 21.3
  • sugar: 0.6
  • fat: 1.9
  • fibre: 2.8
  • also contains vitamins B1, B2, B6, Folate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc (source: Wikipedia)

Share this:

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

My 1st low carb and low sugar sweet treats

Is it possible to eat healthy cakes? I am so happy to say the answer is yes!

In my opinion, if you have to choose between sugar and fat in order to reduce calories, get rid of the sugar! Fat has health benefits but caster sugar really doesn’t. And let’s face it, a low fat AND low sugar cake would not taste good!

These cakes do taste good and are nutritious and almost totally guilt free! Enjoy :-)

1. Flourless chocolate cake

DSC03444

Recipe found online at http://www.taste.com.au/recipes. There was a little bit of coffee in the initial recipe but I left that out. I also replaced most of the sugar with stevia. Stevia is a natural sweetener coming from a plant that grows in Paraguay and contains almost no calories. Powdered Canderel stevia is a good brand to use for baking because 1 spoon of it = 1 spoon of sugar, making it easy to measure.

Suitable for people with gluten intolerance!

Ingredients:

  • 200g butter
  • 180g dark chocolate (I suggest Lindt Excellence Dark, 70% or 85%)
  • 2 tablespoons coco powder. Try to find one without added sugar (I used Cadbury’s Bournville).
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar and 3/4 cup Canderel Stevia
  • 2 cups ground almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) or 160 degrees fan oven (320 degrees Fahrenheit). Grease a round cake tin.

2. Place butter, chocolate and coco powder in a saucepan on low heat and stir until melted. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

DSC03400DSC03407

3. Beat egg yolks and sugar until thick.

4. Beat egg whites until peaks form.

DSC03408

5. Add the chocolate and almond flour to egg yolk mixture and stir. Gently add the egg whites to the mixture. Pour into cake tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

DSC03418 DSC03421

5. Cool cake in tin then place on serving dish.

DSC03491

2. Simple coconut flour muffins

DSC03462

I found this recipe on thecoconutmama.com. These muffins don’t have the texture that you would expect of a muffin but given that gluten is the ingredient that makes cakes rise, it was inevitable that these would be more dense. The recipe suggested you add chocolate chip or sultanas to personalise them. I wanted to make plain ones for a first try but to be honest they were a bit dry. Next time I will add blueberries. Blueberries in cakes are great because they burst and bring moisture, acidity and sweetness as well as colour. I also replaced the sugar with stevia.

Suitable for people with gluten and dairy intolerance!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup Canderel Stevia (instead of honey)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dried shredded coconut for decoration

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

2. In a small bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside.

DSC03431

3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and mix in melted coconut oil and vanilla.

4. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Let sit for 3-5 minutes or until the coconut flour has absorbed the liquid.

5. Scoop batter in muffin cases in muffin tray.

DSC03434DSC03438

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let muffins cool before serving. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

DSC03451

Share this:

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

An alternative to mashed potatoes

MASHED CAULIFLOWER ! I discovered this great recipe in The South Beach Diet book if I remember well, a few years ago. It’s so simple. Instead of potatoes, use cauliflower.

DSC03561

Baked salmon fillet and mashed cauliflower

You may have noticed by now that I’m not very good with giving quantities in savoury recipes but I think you can play it by ear. Just start with a little bit (of butter, milk) and add more to suit your taste as you cook.

DSC03551DSC03552DSC03553

  1. I steamed a whole cauliflower.
  2. I then melted butter in a saucepan (about 1 tablespoon I’d say).
  3. Added the cauliflower to the saucepan and a dash of milk (two tablespoons) and mashed it.
  4. Stirred well and added salt, pepper, grated cheddar.
  5. And served :-)

Ingredients: cauliflower, butter, salt, pepper, grated cheddar.

Simples!

P.s: And as usual, I cooked the whole cauliflower in order to freeze some and now have some home-made frozen mashed cauliflower for another day :)

DSC03565

Share this:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Healthy, tasty dinner for lazy people

Hello you! Yes, you, the one who does not wish to spend more than 10 minutes in the kitchen. I have a recipe for you today!

Baked salmon fillet and stir-fried green vegetables

DSC03507

Ingredients:

  • 1 salmon fillet
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • green peas
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

2. Season the salmon with pepper and wrap in aluminium foil. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

3. Put olive oil in a frying pan, add the broccoli and peas. Cook for 5 minutes then add the spinach. Salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve

I like to make this recipe because it’s easy and quick. It doesn’t require any cooking skills and above all it is very nutritious! Salmon is loaded in Omega 3 fatty acids (good for heart health), spinach in folate (for good mood :-) ), broccoli has vitamins A, C and E (A and E are fat soluble vitamins, therefore, good to eat with oily fish. Vit E is an antioxidant that protects vit A, so, it’s good to eat them together at the same time, and vit C is also an antioxidant, which are good for fighting free radicals). Peas provide slow-release carbs, proteins and contain vit A and E as well as other good stuff (magnesium, potassium, zinc, etc.).

Definitely this week’s winner dinner!

Share this:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Dad’s Stuffed Tomatoes

IMG_9227

Serves 8 (two stuffed tomatoes each)

  • 16 big tomatoes
  • 900g sausage meat
  • 1 onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • parsley (as much as you want)
  • 1 to 2 slices of bread
  • a dash of milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil

1.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2.  Slice the top off the tomatoes and empty the flesh into a bowl. Save for later.

DSC03251DSC03254

3.  Roughly chop the onion, shallot and garlic and put in a mixer. Add the parsley and mix.

IMG_9214IMG_9216IMG_9219

4.  In another bowl, tear the bread up and add the milk.

IMG_9221DSC03298

5.  Add the sausage meat and the chopped onion and parsley to the bread bowl and and mix well.

DSC03304

6.  Put the stuffing into the tomatoes.

DSC03310

7. Add a drizzle of olive oil and cook in the oven for about an hour.

photo(94)

8.  Meanwhile, drain the tomato flesh and heat in a saucepan with olive oil, salt and pepper.

photo(97)

9. Serve with rice and home-made tomato sauce.

Stuffed tomato and rice

Enjoy!

Share this:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Asparagus and Mushroom Crust-free Quiche

photo(82)

I got the idea to put mushrooms and asparagus together in a quiche from a friend / dad of two cute twins (miniature versions of him and his lovely wife). I ran into him at the supermarket when I was looking for ideas to make a healthy quiche and he told me about his mum’s quiche. She would 1st cook the mushrooms in white wine and butter (yum!) and I don’t really remember the rest, but I think the base was quite similar to my recipe. Anyway, I didn’t have wine in mine, but it was good nonetheless.

Ingredients:

  • A good bunch of asparagus, about 250g
  • Organic white cup mushrooms 250g
  • Creme fraiche, 200ml
  • Eggs, 4
  • Shallot, 1 small
  • Nutmeg, half a tsp
  • Parmesan cheese, 2 to 3 tbsp
  • Grated cheddar cheese, 3 to 4 tbsp
  • Pepper to taste. No need for salt because cheese is naturally quite salty
  • A little bit of butter

How to make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180-200 degrees.
  2. Slice the mushrooms and shallot.
  3. Cook the mushrooms and shallot in a frying pan with butter and pepper.
  4. In a big bowl, mix the eggs and creme fraiche together. Then add the cheese, some pepper and nutmeg. Give it a good stir.
  5. Pour into quiche dish and add the veg.

It should look like this:

Quiche before cooking

Quiche before cooking

The mushrooms and asparagus do not need to be cooked thoroughly as they are going to cook in the oven for half an hour.

6.  If you love cheese as much as I do, add a bit of cheese on top:

Ready to be cooked now!

Ready to be cooked now!

7.  Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes. It is important that it is cooked enough because there is no crust. If it is a bit runny it won’t hold together.

You can serve it with a green salad and French dressing.

And best of all, you can freeze slices for another day. Convenient to take with you for lunch and reheat at the office or eat cold. Both are good.

photo(84)

Share this:

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Green Veg Soup

IMG_9100

This is the soup I make every winter, several times each winter in fact. Soup is great because you can literally make as many versions as you want. In this one, here’s a list of what I put in it:

  • Shallots, 4
  • Garlic, 3 cloves
  • Courgettes, 6
  • Broccoli, about 300g
  • Carrots, 3
  • Spinach, a bag of baby leaves
  • Leeks, 3

To cook, I put a little bit of water in a huge pot, throw in all the ingredients diced, and cook on medium heat until the carrots are almost soft. Depending on how much water there is after the vegetables are cooked, I may remove some (and put it in a glass for drinking, it’s full of vitamins!!) so that the soup is a bit thicker. Then I blend it all.

Now, you must think this is very bland. I do it on purpose. Because I’m going to make many portions to freeze, I keep it as bland as possible and will season it differently every time I eat a bowl.

Ideas for seasoning:

  • double cream, parsley, salt and pepper
  • coconut oil, turmeric and chilli pepper
  • olive oil and parmesan cheese
  • whatever you like really…
Seasoning the soup

Seasoning the soup

Share this:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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.

Photography by Peter Hawley
Photography by Peter Hawley

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

Photography by Peter Hawley
Photography by Peter Hawley

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

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.

Share this:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Jamie Oliver’s sweet potato and chorizo soup

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

IMG_8653

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 about half a tsp 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.

IMG_8656

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!

IMG_8786

Share this:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Chilli Con Carne

Image
Photography by Peter Hawley

This recipe takes about half an hour to make.

Ingredients: 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 red pepper or 1 carrot or both, 500g to 750g mince beef, hot chilli powder (1 or 2 tsp), cayenne pepper (half a tsp), turmeric (half a tsp), salt, pepper, beef stock (500 ml hot water), 1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g), 1 can of kidney beans (400g) and olive oil.

I fried the onion in olive oil and quickly added the carrots. Then browned the meat with all the spices and garlic. I then added the chopped tomatoes and stock and cooked for about 20 minutes. Added the kidney beans and cooked for another 5 minutes and done. You can add half a square of dark chocolate, like I did, following a recipe I had found online but it didn’t make much difference to be honest.

Image

Photography by Peter Hawley

Can be served with rice and sour cream or Greek yoghurt works well too. However, chilli con carne is nutritious enough on its own to not add rice if you don’t feel like it. Kidney beans provide 14.6g carbohydrate/100g. They are also a good source of fibre and potassium. If you do wish to add anything, you could have a small green salad or avocado salad to go with it.

I made too much on purpose and froze the rest in portion bags for other days.

Share this:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

1st healthy recipe of 2013: My big lunch salad

Alix-10039

Photography by Peter Hawley

Done in 15 minutes!

Ingredients: mixed leaves, gem lettuce, 2 boiled eggs, a few walnuts, 4 cherry tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper.

I just put everything in the bowl while the eggs were cooking. Then let them cool under running water for a couple of minutes. Added a drizzle of olive oil and squeezed half a lemon. And added salt and pepper.

Very tasty and refreshing. Can be served with a slice of toasted wholegrain bread if you want a bit of carbs.

The eggs can be replaced by salmon fillet or chicken breast. It tastes really good too :-)

Share this:

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s