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P1030341

This is just the easiest, most delicious, healthiest and beautiful bean salad there ever was. So lovely, I just had to share.

Ingredients

  • 500g broad beans (in their pods)
  • 2-3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • a handful of parsley, chopped
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • season to taste

First, remove the beans from their pods –  I think this is one of the most satisfying of culinary tasks.

Next, steam the beans for about 5 minutes. Run them (in a sieve) under a cold tap then remove the tough skins, to reveal the bright green loveliness beneath.

Combine with the other ingredients – and enjoy!

SHOULD SERVE 2-3, but I ate them all by myself.

 

 

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P1030241

This is easily the nicest meal I ate this week. It is ridiculously simple to make, but impressive, colourful and most importantly, tasty.

Ingredients

  • 2 trout
  • 1 1/2 inches of fresh ginger, chopped into thin matchsticks
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped into thin matchsticks
  • 2 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 3-4 spring onions, chopped into thin matchsticks
  • coriander
  • 3  tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 200C

You will need two pieces of tinfoil,  large enough to parcel up your fish, leaving enough space within for steam to circulate.

Lay your fish onto the individual pieces of tinfoil.

Make three slashes in each fish.

Scatter the chilli, ginger, garlic and most of the spring onion over and into your fish.

Whisk the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar together to create a dressing. Pour this over the fish.

Loosely wrap the fish into parcels. Twist together the edges of the foil, to try to prevent leaks.

Put the fishy packages onto a baking tray, and bake for 25-30 minutes.

When your fish are cooked, scatter the coriander and remaining spring onions over them as a garnish.

I served with brown rice and dressed broccoli and green beans.

SERVES 2.

P1030231

Quinoa always has a rather a wholesome reputation, but this lovely side-dish is so full of flavour and great textures, you don’t really feel like you’re being unduly virtuous. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp Marigold vegetable bouillon
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, halved lengthwise
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • some herbs – on this occasion I used some sage and parsley

Set the oven to 200C

Cook the quinoa on the hob over a low temperature. In general with quinoa, you use double the amount of water to grain. In this recipe I used 1 cup of quinoa, to two cups of water, adding a little vegetable bouillon for flavour. Cook for about twenty minutes until the kernels begin to separate.

Meanwhile, cook the tomatoes and garlic in an oven-proof dish with a little olive oil. This time I added some sage, but sometimes I use rosemary or thyme. Cook for about twenty minutes.

Add the baked tomato mixture to the quinoa, serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

SERVES 2 as a side dish.

P1030235

Another easy baked fish dish, but the spicy stuffing gives this a slightly different tone to my usual Friday night fish supper. The herbs and spices add a wonderful deep flavour. And the breadcrumbs give it a delightful crunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 trout
  • 60g white bread
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • a handful of parsley
  • a handful of sage
  • some cardamom seeds (about 5 pods)
  • some fennel seeds (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, roughly chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • butter

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

Put the  bread, lemon zest, garlic, and a sprinkling of ground cardamom and fennel seeds into a food processor and zap until you have a beautiful fragrant, breadcrumby mix.  Add some finely chopped parsley and sage,

Lay the fish into a baking tray, alongside the fennel, tomatoes and some lemon wedges.

Drizzle with a little olive oil.

Sprinkle the herby breadcrumbs into the fish cavities, and over the top of the fish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry some whole sage leaves in a little butter until they are crisp, but not burnt. Lay them out on a little kitchen paper to soak up some of the butter.

When your fish is cooked, scatter the sage over the top.

I served with a warm quinoa and tomato salad.

SERVES 2

P1030200

This almost-soup is perfect for when you want something extremely tasty but light for supper. I have two different ways of cooking it. The slow-cooker method is great for when you have plenty of time, but don’t want any last-minute faffing. The pan version is super-speedy and tastes delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4-5 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 salmon steaks
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and sliced
  • a grating of ginger
  • a squeeze of lime
  • 500ml white wine
  • 200ml fish or vegetable stock
  • 6 baby sweetcorn
  • 50g brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 100g glass noodles
  • a head or two of pak choi or a handful of baby spinach
  • a handful of chopped coriander

Method 1

This is the one-pot slow-cooker method. It takes about five minutes to prepare, two and a half hours to cook, and is unbelievably easy.

Sprinkle the spring onions and garlic over the bottom of the slow-cooker.

Lay the salmon over the onions and garlic.

Grate some ginger over the fish – I keep my ginger in the freezer, and grate from frozen.

Add the chilli,  a squeeze of lime and a splash of white wine.

Pour boiling stock around the fish.

Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on ‘slow’ for about two hours.

About twenty minutes before you are ready to eat, throw the sweetcorn, pak choi and mushrooms into the slow cooker. Press them into the cooking liquid.

About five minutes before you are ready to eat, add the glass noodles (and baby spinach, if you are including) to the pot.

Sprinkle with chopped coriander.

Enjoy.

SERVES 2

Method 2

This method is (dare I say it), heaps tastier than the slow cooker version, but higher in calories and there is more washing-up. Also you don’t have the advantage of making it in advance. You just have to go with your priorities.

The key to this recipe is the toasted sesame oil. It really ramps up the flavour.

Fry the fish in a little sesame oil – don’t overcook, it will continue cooking once you’ve added it to the broth later. Leave to one side.

In a separate pan, fry the sweetcorn and mushrooms in a little sesame oil. Add the chilli, garlic, ginger and spring onions.

Pour in about 200ml of stock (I omit the white wine from this version).

Add the noodles, pak choi and salmon. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add baby spinach, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of coriander.

Enjoy

SERVES 2

P1020459

A perfect meal for a wintry June evening… This is a low-calorie, herby chicken dish that could as easily be made in the slow-cooker.

Ingredients

  • 2 rashers of lean, unsmoked bacon, chopped
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into chunks
  • 3-4 shallots
  • a sprinkling of dried rosemary and herbes de provence
  • 1/2 glass of white wine
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1 (410g) can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped into chunks
  • a handful of sliced kale

Heat the oven to 200C.

Dry fry the bacon in a non-stick oven-proof dish for about a minute, then remove from the pan. Add the chicken and shallots and allow to brown. Then add your herbs. If you like you could add a splash of white wine here, allow to reduce, then add the chicken stock.

Return the bacon to the dish, along with the cannellini beans and red pepper.

Put in the oven for 25 minutes.

Just before you are ready to eat, add the sliced kale and cook for another five minutes.

If you prefer, you can transfer the cassoulet to a slow-cooker and heat on ‘low’ for 8-10 hours, adding the kale 20 minutes before the end.

SERVES 2.

P1020399

This is a variation of mini chicken roulades. They are fiddly, but a little bit special – and low in calories.

Ingredients

For the roulades

  • 4 boneless, skinless free-range chicken breasts
  • 100g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 small leek, finely chopped
  • 1 small courgette, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon
  • 1-2 tbsp low-fat fromage frais

For the sauce

  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 300ml skimmed milk
  • 2 tbsp cornflour

The roulades

Set the oven to 180C

Place the chicken fillets between two pieces of cling film and bash flat, using a rolling-pin.

Chop the vegetables finely. Cook them in a tiny bit of oil, until just soft. Put half the vegetables to one side to use later in the sauce.

Now turn to the vegetables for the filling:  add enough fromage frais to bind the vegetables together.

Put a teaspoon of the filling on each chicken breast, and roll up, securing with a cocktail stick.

Place the chicken rolls on a piece of tin-foil. Pour over a tablespoon of chicken stock and wrap tightly in the foil (you might want to remove the cocktail stick at this stage).

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

The sauce

Cook the remaining vegetables in the stock until it has almost completely reduced. Remove from the heat.

In a large jug, pour a little of the milk into the cornflour and mix well. Add the rest of the milk to the jug.

Pour the milk into the vegetable/stock mixture and slowly build up the heat, stirring continuously. Bring to the boil and simmer for two-three minutes.

SERVES 4 (I usually halve the recipe)

P1020333

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall calls this recipe the more prosaic “Pasta with raw tomato”, but I think my title sums up this wonderful vegetarian dish more accurately. It is the perfect summer supper, especially when you can find ripe and tasty tomatoes. I was so pleased when we had a few days of sunshine so I could make this again. The recipe comes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s marvellous River Cottage Veg Every Day!. It is my favourite cookery book, and I urge you to buy it.

Ingredients

  • 750g ripe tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • a handful of shredded basil leaves
  • a splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 350g pasta
  • salt and pepper

You can see from the picture that I used spaghetti this time, but only because it is what I had in the cupboard. Normally I would follow Hugh’s suggestion and use penne, conchigliette or oricchiette. He also says to use chilli, which I find too dominant here, and I prefer it without. Hugh tells you to rinse your capers – I don’t, but I wonder if Hugh uses salted capers, where I use pickled capers. Finally, as usual, while I skin my tomatoes, I don’t de-seed.

Prick your tomatoes with a fork and then place in a jug of boiling water. Leave for a minute or so, fish out and peel the skin off. Chop to bite-size, and put in a bowl with the capers, garlic, olive oil and basil.

Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions.

Mix it all together.

Enjoy. No need for parmesan. Sometimes I add some finely chopped fennel.

SERVES 4.

P1020323

This is a lovely, fresh, low-calorie chicken recipe to welcome in the spring.

Ingredients

  • 2 rashers of lean, unsmoked bacon, chopped
  • 4-5 shallots, either left whole, or chopped in half
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size strips
  • 1 baby leek, sliced
  • a splash of white wine (optional)
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 100g frozen petits-pois
  • 1 baby gem lettuce, finely sliced

Heat the oven to 200C.

Dry fry the bacon in a non-stick oven-proof dish for about a minute, then remove from the pan. Add the chicken and shallots and allow to brown. If you like you could add a splash of white wine here, allow to reduce, then add the leeks and the chicken stock. Return the bacon to the dish.

Put in the oven for 25 minutes. Then add in your frozen peas and allow to cook for another four minutes.

Just before you are ready to eat, add the sliced lettuce.

We served with brown basmati rice.

SERVES 2

P1020141

It’s a doddle. We probably have a variation of this once a week. You can mix and match the vegetables, depending on what’s in the ‘fridge. It is very quick – once the ingredients have been prepared takes just 25 minutes in the oven. Best of all, we both like it!

Ingredients

 

  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 stick celery finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, slivered
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon or 1 lime
  • a grating of ginger
  • 100ml white wine or fish stock
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach, washed
  • 2 portions of noodles
  • coriander

 

 

Additional ingredients might include, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, fennel and fresh basil.

Set the oven to 200C.

Share the diced carrot, spring onion, celery and garlic between two sheets of tin foil. Lay the salmon over the vegetables. Pour the lemon or lime juice and a few fine peelings of zest over the salmon. Grate some ginger over the top.

Scrunch the edges of the tin foil together to create little parcels. Pour the wine or hot fish stock around the salmon and seal the top of the tin foil parcels. Make sure there’s enough room for the steam to circulate.

Place on an oven-proof tray and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Share the uncooked spinach between two bowls.

Once you have cooked your noodles, put them in the bowls on top of the spinach – the heat of the noodles should just wilt the spinach without over-cooking it.

Then take your salmon with the vegetables and juices and pour onto the noodles. Add a sprinkle of coriander as the finishing touch. Serve with a little sweet chilli sauce.

SERVES 2.

Here's one I made earlier

Here's one I made earlier

Hi, my name's Helen and I live in London with my husband and two children. When I started piping the potato on my shepherd's pies, my husband suggested that it might be a good idea for me to find an outlet for my creativity, so here we are. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, the extra twist is that I don't eat meat (I do eat fish though) and Jim, who loves meat, is always on a diet. Here are a few recipes that I have enjoyed making for my family.

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