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Showing posts from tagged with: veggie

AVOIDING THE FAD SUMMER DIET..

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03.08.16

AVOIDING FAD DIETS!

For a long time, we have collectively been aware of the fact the fad diets do not work, however so many of us continually appear to get caught up in the cycle of eating less, losing weight fast, to then only go and put it back on again soon after. As the Summer Season is in full swing, it’s essential to ensure that we are aware of this common Summer Diet, and aim to eat as mindfully as possible as the indulgence is taken up a gear! Occasionally, phrases similar to “if I’m good” or “I deserve it” can float around, allowing us to feel as though food can be used as either a punishment or a reward, however it’s much more productive to gain some balance and perspective on the food we eat at this time of year.

EAT A HEALTHY BREKKIE

It’s the old fave that we all know but don’t always abide by, yes you guessed it (well, it is in the sub heading…), eat breakfast! Ensuring you eat a healthy first meal of the day will of course set you up for the day ahead, but will more importantly allow you to worry less about what you eat for the rest of the day (within reason, of course!). If you are to have a smoothie bowl packed with goodness and topped with seeds, fruit or cacao nibs, with a glass of fresh juice, a herbal tea or another healthy alternative, you will automatically feel as though you are on course for a healthier day and subconsciously want to remain feeling super healthy, but will equally not be as worried about having what you really want for dinner!

DON’T BE FOOLED

A word of guidance now, don’t be fooled by the false promises of fad diets, as let’s face it, they make you feel well and truly miserable! Remember when the sun is out, it’s a lot easier to thrive off raw fruit and veg, with a naturally lower calorie content than other foods and undoubtedly bursting with goodness! Try keep up your healthy eating with exciting recipes and delicious seasonal fruit and veg.

PORTION PROPERLY

Many people fear the phrase “portion control” as it can come with negative connotations, however the premise of it really is to ensure you don’t overload your plate with an unnecessary amount of food. If fad-ing is a familiar thing for you, aim to exercise portion control (or whichever way you wish to phrase it) when having the more indulgent foods, as the misery from under eating can swing the other way once the 10th profiterole has been consumed, meaning you end up feeling equally as bad, and resulting in the lead up to a fad diet being on the cards! Portion properly throughout the day and you one, won’t be as ravenous when meal time hits, and two, will be able to enjoy your choice of meal without any of the ‘guilty’ repercussions.

SNACK YOUR HEART OUT

Snacking sometimes has a bad rep, however if you want to avoid feeling the need to fad in the future, snacking is a consistent and reliable way of ensuring that you aren’t going to reach for the choccy biscuits or family bag of crisps later on in the evening. Preparing small, sandwich - style bags with nuts, seeds, dried fruit or fresh fruit is a brilliant way of knowing that you have food on you for emergency hunger situations, in turn encouraging you to snack healthily, resulting in there being no need for over-indulging, and you feeling extremely satisfied in the long run.

CHILL OUT

It’s easy to fall into the all-or-nothing trap of eating, presuming that, if you eat really heathily for a week, you are then granted permission to eat whatever you want (binge style) a day following this; As soon as this is over, you end up feeling somewhat guilty about the quantity and quality of food you have consumed, and there begins the fad diet once again. By ensuring that you have a relaxed approach to your eating schedule, your decisions regarding the food you eat will be much easier as you will inevitably act more instinctively and if you wish to eat something healthy or alternatively unhealthily, it will be a more conscious, less impulsive decision. Whilst bearing these points in mind, it’s important to acknowledge that different things work for different people, and so to only commit to eating brekkie or consuming healthy snacks is absolutely fine, just as long as it works for you and your daily routine, as let’s face it, we can’t always do everything we know we should do all the time! So steer away from those age old fads if you’re looking for long term health and happiness, just make sure you enjoy the journey while you’re doing it!

National Vegetarian Week – the best of the bites!

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17.05.16

National Vegetarian Week is upon us, so why not try one of these delicious meat-free meals?

These dishes are full of flavour, texture and colour so you won't feel like you're missing out on anything at all.

For the Pasta and Cheese lovers..

Mac and three cheeses recipe

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS 1 x 410g tin of evaporated milk 200g cream cheese 2 tsp English mustard ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg 350g macaroni 3 tbsp chi coconut oil 1 small garlic clove, crushed 175g  Comté or cheddar, grated 75g stilton, crumbled 500g green beans 1 tbsp chopped chives 45g  sourdough breadcrumbs 45g  pecans 150g sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

METHOD Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Whisk the evaporated milk, cream cheese and mustard well. Add the nutmeg and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Bring 3.5 litres of salted water to a boil, and add the macaroni, slowly, making sure the water is always boiling. Stir for a minute to stop the macaroni sticking together. Test after about eight minutes – the macaroni should be very al dente. Drain well and add to the cream-cheese mixture.
 Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil and garlic and use this to grease a deep 20 x 20cm (8 x8 in) baking-dish. Spread half of the macaroni on the bottom of the dish. Scatter on half of the Comté and all of the stilton, cover with another layer of macaroni and finish with the rest of the Comté. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Boil or steam the green beans until tender with a slight crunch – about five minutes. Drain, place in a bowl and sprinkle with the chives. Heat the coconut oil in a frying-pan. When hot, add the breadcrumbs and pecans and cook for two to three minutes, until crisp and golden. Add the beans and toss to coat them well. Serve the macaroni with green beans and, if you wish, a few tomatoes on the side.   cheesemac

Mushroom, spinach, and blue-cheese lasagne

This creamy vegetarian lasagne full of chesnut mushrooms is perfect served with a big salad and some fresh crusty bread

SERVES 4
INGREDIENTS 3 tbsp olive oil 2 x 250g packs chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 large clove of garlic, crushed 2 x 240g packs pre-washed fresh spinach 1 large jar ready-made white sauce (710g) 12 sheets ready-to-bake lasagne 125g blue cheese, crumbled
METHOD Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, add half the mushrooms and fry until golden, about five minutes. Transfer them to kitchen paper, add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the remaining mushrooms, also transferring them to kitchen paper after five minutes.
Add the final tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and cook the onion and garlic for about four minutes, until soft. Add the spinach to the pan, cover with a lid and allow it to wilt for one to two minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan, mix together and season.
Use a rectangular dish about 24 x 18cm and spread a layer of white sauce on the base. Place three lasagne sheets on the sauce followed by a third of the mushroom mixture, another layer of white sauce and some crumbled cheese.
Add another three sheets of lasagne and continue layering, finishing with the final three sheets of lasagne, a good covering of white sauce and a sprinkling of crumbled cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until it is cooked through and the topping is bubbling and golden. Serve with a side salad or garlic bread.

Aubergine, pepper and yogurt stacks with coriander pesto

Serves four
3 red peppers chi coconut oil for brushing 2 large aubergines ½ lemon 8 heaped tbsp Greek yogurt sprigs of coriander to serve
For the pesto: 60g (2oz) coriander leaves 40g (1½oz) blanched almonds, lightly toasted 2 garlic cloves, chopped juice of ½ lemon 125ml (4fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil (not too grassy) 60g (2oz) feta cheese, finely crumbled 1 red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped 1 green chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Halve the peppers and remove the seeds and stalk. Put into a small roasting-tin and brush with olive oil. Season. Roast for 35 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the edges of the flesh are slightly scorched.
Meanwhile make the pesto by putting everything, except the feta and chilli, into a food processor. Whizz to a purée. Season to taste, then scrape into a bowl and add the feta cheese and chilli.   stacks_2917851b
Bean chilli with chocolate and walnuts
SERVES 6-8
INGREDIENTS 2 tbsp chi coconut oil 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tsp cumin seeds or 1 tsp ground cumin 1 fresh chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (more if you like it hot) 1 tsp ground paprika 1 tsp dried oregano 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, seeded and finely chopped 1 carrot, finely chopped 2 sweetcorn cobs (kernels cut off) or 150g thawed frozen sweetcorn 2 large celery sticks (use leaves too), finely sliced 150g  walnuts, very finely chopped 300g dried mixed beans, such as kidney, black-eye or borlotti, soaked and cooked (or 3 x 400g cans cooked mixed pulses, drained) 2 x 400g cans whole plum tomatoes 2 tsp sea salt 60g dark chocolate (minimum 80 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces
to serve 120ml  plain yogurt 1 large handful coriander leaves, coarsely chopped Giving Tree broccoli and pumpkin crisps to dip and use as toppings too
METHOD Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, spices and oregano and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spices smell fragrant and the onions are soft but not browned.
Add the peppers, carrot, sweetcorn and celery and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the walnuts, beans, tomatoes, 250ml (9fl oz) water and salt, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the chocolate and cook for a couple of minutes. Taste and season. Serve in bowls, garnished with a dollop of yogurt and chopped coriander with toasted corn tortillas on the side. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for three to five days.

branchili

Veggie Sunday Roasts for the long weekend!

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29.04.16

The cooking clouds have started to lift, the blossom is out and so surely, now it is most definitely time to leave roasting behind for a bit, along with woolly hats and winter coats. But something in us doesn’t feel JUST ready for salads and steamers only yet ...Sunday roasts are here to stay!

Try these two types of roasting: one fast and full-on, the other slow and sweet. For the fast roast, peppers, broad beans (pod-and-all) and radishes were sent to a searing hot oven, bringing smokiness lots of flavour. The slow roast is sweeter from the baby vegetables.

Both roasts are simply spiced while they cook to allow the character of all the vegetables to shine bright. They are then carefully coated in herby spring dressings which make the roast so delicious too!

Roast spring roots with turnip and carrot-top pesto

Serves 4 200g new potatoes (jersey royals), scrubbed clean 200g baby beetroots, tops saved, scrubbed clean 200g baby turnips, tops saved, scrubbed clean 200g baby carrots, tops saved, scrubbed clean 6 baby onions, peeled and halved Juice of 2 lemons Juice of 1 orange 1 head of garlic, cloves separated, but unpeeled

For the pesto A bunch of mint, leaves picked from the stalks A bunch of thyme Saved turnip tops or a big bunch of watercress Saved carrot tops or a big bunch of parsley 4 cornichons or little gherkins 100g hazelnuts or almonds, roasted 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp baby capers Salt and black pepper A small bunch of radishes

1 Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Take all your scrubbed vegetables, keeping the tops for later, and cut any larger vegetables in half – you want everything to roast in about the same length of time. Divide the vegetables between two baking trays. Squeeze the juice of the lemon and the orange over the veg, then put the squeezed halves on the tray. Scatter the unpeeled garlic cloves over the top and put both trays in to roast for 45 minutes, or until everything is soft throughout and brown round the edges.

2 Meanwhile, wash, dry and finely chop your herbs and vegetable tops, keeping the beetroot tops for later. Finely chop the cornichons too.

3 Put the nuts in a pestle and mortar, then bash well until you have a rough, crumby texture. Mix with the chopped herbs and tops, the olive oil, cornichons, capers and a good pinch each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4 Once the vegetables are ready, scatter over the beetroot tops for the last few minutes. Once everything is ready, the vegetables are nicely golden and the beetroot tops have wilted and begun to crisp a little at the edges, take the tray out of the oven. Carefully squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into a little bowl, then mash them well and add to the herb mixture.

5 Use tongs to squeeze the juice out of the (still hot) roasted citrus – even the ones you originally squeezed will have become juicy again after roasting.

6 Serve the veg on a big platter with the garlic, herb and almond dressing for spooning over.

7 Serve with some bread or brown rice if you are particularly hungry; a spoonful of tart yoghurt is also delicious too!

Flash-roast green veg

Flash-roast green veg

Serves 4  8 green peppers 4 red onions, peeled and cut into thin wedges 8 broad beans in their pods 4 little gem lettuces, washed and cut into wedges A bunch of long radishes, washed A bunch of spring onions Salt and black pepper 2 good pinches of Turkish chilli powder (pul biber) Extra virgin olive oil 200g feta A small bunch of thyme 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, or 300g jarred chickpeas, drained (optional) Juice and zest of 1 lemon

For the dressing A splash of white wine vinegar A small bunch of mint A small bunch of dill A small bunch of parsley 2 garlic clovesfinely sliced

1 First, preheat your oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Put all the vegetables on to a tray, season with salt, pepper and chilli, then drizzle with olive oil and put into the oven to roast for 25 minutes. You want the oven to be very hot, so that everything will catch and char.

2 On another tray, lay the whole block of feta on one side and the chickpeas on the other. Top the feta with a little more chilli, half the lemon zest and the thyme tips. Sprinkle the chickpeas with about 2 tbsp vinegar. Put this into the oven underneath the veg for the final 20 minutes.

3 Meanwhile, make the dressing. Chop all the herbs and put them into a bowl with the remaining lemon zest and half the juice, plus 4 tbsp of olive oil.

4 When the veg is nearly done, squeeze the last of the lemon juice over the top, scatter with garlic and return the tray to the oven for a couple of minutes.

5 Pull both trays out of the oven. Pile each plate with greens, then top with chickpeas, chunks of feta and a good amount of the herb dressing. Serve with Turkish bread, if you like.

Enjoy these delicious roasts this Bank Holiday Weekend - they won't disappoint!