Tag Archives: cooking

Eating Well In 2013 turns 1

I can’t believe it has been a year since I started writing this blog.

2013 will be over soon and with it the longest lasting New Years resolutions ever! Yes! I made it! Twelve months later I’m still following my resolutions!

In January I decided to change part of my diet to become a healthier version of me, more precisely, that meant eating fewer carbohydrates, especially the refined ones (white bread, pasta, biscuits, sugar) and more vegetables. So, I’ve got two things to say about it:


1) Having written about my New Year’s resolutions and documented my journey on here made it very official. It helped me not to forget as the months went on and helped me stay focused.

 


2) Being focused and serious about it, I started to shop and cook differently. Gradually, this new eating plan became a habit.

I have had to try out all sorts of recipes; some didn’t turn out well, but some I still cook regularly. My taste buds have evolved, I have discovered new flavours and am now more open-minded when it comes to food. It also developed my creativity because you need to get creative when designing healthy recipes that you will love, or when adjusting old favourites to healthier versions. I learned how to bake with less sugar and managed to get my family involved in healthy cooking too, so that was fun!


In summer I started eating salads for breakfast, rather unorthodox I know, but a good way to get your five-a-day in! I also try to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables now, because if they are in season, chances are they are also locally produced, therefore, they should be fresher and contain more vitamins. Need I say it is rather eco-friendly and helps local producers?

 

Anyway, as a result, I feel better, lighter and I have more energy throughout the day. I don’t need to eat much but the better quality food keeps me fuller for longer. When I eat carbohydrates, I chose wholegrain, and have small quantities. Having all this energy motivated me to exercise more. I can honestly and happily say that this new lifestyle has improved my overall wellbeing.

 

There have been times, of course, when I felt like I had other things on my mind and eating healthy became the least of my preoccupations. But these times were temporary and didn’t last long. No one is perfect, but I never forgot about my resolutions because 2013 deep down was just the start of an adventure that will last much longer I hope.

 I’m already thinking about my resolutions for 2014. It will be along these lines: “keep up the healthier lifestyle and add one new challenge” (I haven’t decided what yet).

I believe that doing things one at a time will bring greater success. This way if I add one challenge each year, it will be a slow but steady progress towards a life lasting healthy me. One challenge per year gives me time to actually think about it: why I chose this challenge in particular, why it is important to me, and what this achievement will mean to me.

Stay tuned for the New Year’s resolutions 2014  to come soon!

IMG_8786IMG_9100photo(94)DSC03483IMG_8790photo(110)Simple Summer Fruit Salad + basilHummusphoto(146)pumpkin soup

Advertisements

Food Revolution Day, what will you be doing?

Hello my dear friends and followers who I feel I’ve let down lately. It’s been hectic here at Fitting-50-hours-in-24-hours headquarters! Exams, work, side projects… Poor abandoned blog. I must apologise.

A little while back I mentioned something about diet related diseases and how they have become near to the biggest killer of this century. This is why I am supporting Food Revolution Day, the day we will share our recipes and knowledge to keep cooking skills alive and promote healthy eating. It’s next Friday, May 17th, anyone can get involved, at home, by organising a cooking party with friends or neighbours; at school, teaching how to cook to children, showing how vegetables grow; in the park, organising a picnic with home made food only; at your local farmers market; where ever you feel enthusiastic about really. Hundreds of people have already registered their activity on the website here http://www.foodrevolutionday.com. It will be so big, the press will talk about us! Things are changing, and I want to be part of it.

How to get involved? Check out Jamie Oliver‘s special page (yes, him again) ‘Food Revolution Day’ http://www.foodrevolutionday.com to find ideas and download guides and posters to use as support for your event.

If you follow my blog, you must know by now about Jamie’s Food Revolution, but for the newcomers, here is a link to the Food Revolution website:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/news

Check out my posts called ‘Celebrity Chefs and Food Politics’ and ‘New Year’s Resolutions: February update’ to find out what Jamie Oliver does to make this world a better place. I don’t know how to link things (IT and me = not friends) but click here, it should work:

https://eatingwellin2013.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/celebrity-chefs-and-food-politics/

https://eatingwellin2013.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/new-years-resolutions-feb/

I haven’t uploaded my event on the interactive map yet because I am still in the stages of hoping it will happen but I’m currently waiting for a few emails to find out if it will come to life. I have teamed up with a friend from my course at uni to have a stand on our campus offering food tasting. As the university is organising a 10K race that day, it will be buzzing with students and staff so we are hoping to give samples of our healthy recipes to at least 70 people! Scary! We are making two salads, both easy to make, rather cheap and so tasty! We will show the ingredients we used and give leaflets with the recipes and their nutritional information to take home. I’m so looking forward to it! Fingers crossed!

What about you? What will you be doing?

Share the fun!

Cooking

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)

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

Celebrity Chefs and Food Politics

Last night I attended a talk at a renowned university in London about celebrity chefs and food politics. I had apprehensions as I knew it wasn’t going to be all praise and love, but I did not expect so much unfounded criticism. From the moment I got there to the end an hour later, I experienced excitement, anger and finally happiness. My god I was tired after that talk!

I did not understand why one of the speakers went on and on about how people like Jamie Oliver make money out of selling branded goods as well as fighting for a good cause and that somehow, it makes them bad people. Since when providing for your family has become a bad thing?

I did not get her point. Yes she had far too many cook books on her lounge shelves (as she showed us on her Power Point presentation) (compulsive shopper?) and yes you can find Jamie Oliver foods in the supermarket and Jamie Oliver saucepans and knives in the shops but does that make his actions less worthy? No one is forcing her to buy all these products. Or maybe the point she was trying to make was that people buy things they don’t need when presented them in shops? But what would that have to do with last night’s talk? Surely you can’t blame book writers and food makers for trying to sell their products!

In my opinion, if anything, having his products on shop shelves makes him more famous and that can only have a positive outcome. The more famous the better, as the greater the impact. I mean, remember back in 2006 when he campaigned for better school lunches? Being a celebrity – with great communication skills, lets not abstract that – helped getting results! How hard did he work on that? Then in 2009, he did Ministry of Food, a program in which he went across England to try teaching and empowering people. People who took part were then meant to share the recipe they had learned with 6 other people, and so on, spreading the knowledge throughout the whole country. Would it have worked half as well had it been conducted by a regular person? It takes time to see change but last night I found out that food education will be compulsory in schools for children aged 7-14 from September 2014. And it doesn’t stop there, the aim is to get parents involved too to make sure changes occur at home. That definitely was the highlight of my day! I can’t believe I did not know about it. Where have I been?? Ah that’s right I was in France last week.

I admire Jamie Oliver for his investment for a healthier nation. I wish more people were aware of the health consequences of unhealthy eating. Maybe they would invest more in food now in order to pay a smaller price in the future.

Anyway, some people argue that his food isn’t that healthy. Well here is my response to that:
1) in his last book “15 minute meals”, he got a nutritionist to help and each recipe has a calorie count now. Changes are being made on his side too.
2) his point was always to get people who feed themselves ready meals and takeaways to cook at home. Change occurs step by step. If you ask someone who only eats takeaways to make salads everyday from now on I doubt it will work. 1st you learn that cooking is possible and can be easy, fun and tasty. Then you improve to maybe using less fat or so. Or maybe buying more veg, one step at a time.

At uni we were told that the government recommendations should in fact be 10 fruits and vegetables a day but that they could not officially declare this, as most people struggle to match the 5-a-day recommendations already. They decided that giving an aim that is too hard to achieve leads to discouragement rather than progress. Same goes with running. Ask someone who doesn’t run, to go out run a marathon, it will not work! My point being, with eating habits, it goes back to how our mothers cooked for us, how their mothers cooked, etc. I think what’s happening at the moment is pretty amazing and we should look back on it in twenty years time to evaluate the changes.

Have a look at a couple of articles on the new National Curriculum and food education below. This is all very exciting! We can be proud of the people who got involved. Jamie is not the only one of course, but his media coverage is so gigantic that it definitely got things moving. And that is why, I support 100% celebrity chefs who get active for a good cause. Go Jamie!

School Food Plan:
http://www.education.gov.uk/schoolfoodplan/news/a00221479/school-food-plan-cook-curric

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution:
http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/news-content/cookery-lessons-to-become-compulsory-in-

kids_cooking460

Children learning to cook at Hampstead Norreys School, Berkshire, in 2008. Photograph: Frank Baron

Photo found on: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2008/sep/18/recipe.foodanddrink

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!

  1. Salmon is loaded in Omega 3 fatty acids, good for heart health.
  2. Spinach is rich in folate, known for its mood enhancer.
  3. Broccoli has vitamins A, C and E. A and E are fat soluble vitamins, therefore, good to eat with oily fish. Vit E and vit C are antioxidants, which are good for fighting free radicals.
  4. Peas provide slow-release carbohydrate, protein and contain vit A and E as well as other good stuff (magnesium, potassium, zinc, etc.).

Definitely this week’s winner dinner!

Back home to Lyon for a family reunion…

photo(101)

… and the kitchen is already full of food!

(Thursday)

I arrived from the 11am Easyjet flight this morning. The pilot said it was raining in Lyon but when we landed the sun was shining and dad was waiting for me in the arrival area. We drove home to find mum in the middle of feeding lunch to her grandson, my lovely 2 year old nephew. After his afternoon nap, we all went grocery shopping for the weekend. You see, this weekend we are reuniting for the 1st time since a year ago: my parents, brother, sister and her two kids and me, all together at the same place at the same time. It’s a miracle!

There is a reason why we managed to get this organized: we are celebrating our birthdays. All of our birthdays! We were all born in February, March and April (except dad, but he will get his own special celebration later this year).

I am loving the atmosphere here today. I can feel there is something special in the air. My brother will land tonight from Vancouver and we are going to meet his girlfriend. My sister will arrive tomorrow with her eldest, who does miss his uncle Charles a lot. I can tell my parents are excited even though they are not making a fuss.

It is going to be a good weekend!

But – there is a but – I have been doing so well on my New Year’s resolutions (see the ‘About’ page) that I am getting a bit nervous about how it’s going to go here. Canapés, cheese, bread, cakes, wine, etc. It all looks so good and smells so deeeeelicious! We got the bread from a local traiteur that make the best country style bread in town. It smelled so good in the car on the way back!

Anyway, all I’m saying is I am a little concerned about this weekend going a bit overboard if not totally, but I just remembered: “When you have healthy habits, indulging every now and again won’t make a difference on your health”.

Therefore, I am now ready to enjoy this long waited for reunion, sharing good food and wine and our stories of the past year.

(Saturday)

Last night dad cooked! It’s a “once-a-year” event!! His favourite and very own recipe is stuffed tomatoes. He makes them with love and it’s always a success. Check out the recipe on my recipe page.

Stuffed tomato and rice

Stuffed tomato and rice

(Monday)

Oh dear! I just read that and I see all I was worried about was me eating too much. Well, I’m an optimist, what can I do?! Sure I ate and drank too much this weekend but honestly it’s no big deal.

IMG_9242

Pain au chocolat, croissant, baguette, brioche and bugnes

Kids and their mummy have just gone and the house is quiet again. It feels strange. As if something was missing. They are loud but it’s so much fun to have them around. However I must say, four days with brother, sister, nephews who fight and cry (not all the time, thank god!), and grand parents is a bit overwhelming. But hey, that’s family!

I will go back to London tomorrow feeling refreshed and ready to face revision period, yes, even immunology. I’m ready!

That’s what family does to me. I am glad we are a strong loving family and looking forward to seeing them again.

Family at work

Family working hard in the kitchen