Just arrived back from the launch of the Blue Haven ‘Casual Cooking’ cookbook. Its a lovely little cookbook for the spring and summer, with plenty of easy tasty recipes. I was given an opportunity to supply a few recipes to promote the area of healthy eating, which was a great opportunity. Below is one of the recipes that I have in the book – this is perfect for a summer BBQ (ok… ok… its the last thing you’re thinking of tonight) – give it a try
Healthy Eating recipes: Giant tomato salsa with lentils
This dish does not involve giant tomatoes but rather the tomatoes are cut into quarters rather than finely chopped like a normal salsa. This fresh salad goes great with BBQs in summer. The lentils provide extra anti-oxidants, fibre and protein to this salsa andcan be eaten as a lunchbox for work or a weekend lunch.
12 ripe tomatoes
1 tin of puy lentils (or other lentils)
1 small red onion – finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
A small bunch of mint leaves
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Drain the lentils and wash well.
Chop the tomatoes into quarters.
Place in a large bowl with the lentils and stir the finely chopped red onion gently.
Sprinkle in the lemon juice, olive oil and mint leave and toss lightly.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
If possible leave in fridge covered for an hour or serve straight away.
Wednesday March 24th
Last night I talked to the Munster branch of the Traditional Chinese Medecine Association (ICTCM) about the importance of building a good foundation for the health of their patients through good nutrition.
The message to them was similar to that of the message I’ll be giving to the Munster CPA tonight. It is the foundation of your diet, the food that you are eating from meal to meal and from bite to bite that are essential for wellbeing and health. Once you get the foundation right, you are putting yourself in a very strong position in terms of ensuring that you are living a in healthy way.
The simple acts of ensuring that you are consuming 3 balanced meals a day is key. Each meal should contain some form of protein, some form of carbohydrate and some form of fibre. This will keep you satisfied for longer and reducing those cravings in between meals. You’ll notice that all of my recipes are either complete meals or have suggestions in them to make them complete meals. The great thing about soups is that you can have a complete meal in one bowl and save on washing up!!!
Healthy Eating recipes: Spicy Lentil Soup
1 tblsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 onions finely chopped
1 parsnip chopped
1 stick celery chopped
4 large carrots chopped
85g / 3oz split red lentils
25g / 1oz long grain brown rice
2 pints vegetable stock or boiling water
1. Saute the onions in a little water in a large saucepan for 5 mins. Add ginger, cumin, chilli powder, curry powder and corriander and stir well.
2. Add the vegatables and stock/boiling water and cook for 10 mins before adding the lentils and rice.
3. Cook for 30 mins ( but keep an eye on the pan) as the lentils soak up the water quite quickly and you don’t want it to cook dry. Add more boiling water if necessary.
4. Pulp the soup using a hand held blitzer.
I guess you never realised healthy eating could taste so good!
Tuesday March 23rd
If you are interested in understanding the role that healthy eating can play in managing allergies, such as asthma, eczema, sinusitis etc, read my article in the Cork Independent this week:
One area that many people ask me about when I meet them in Food Allergies. They will ask me if I do allergy testing and what cover. Although it is possible to do allergy tests on people, the good tests are generally expensive and not 100% accurate. I find it best to ask the question – why am you not able to tolerate this food? Is it that my body is allergic to the food or is it that your digestive system is unable to handle the food. I often find that building up a person’s digestive system can actually get them tolerating much more food and saves them the expense of an allergy test. Food for thought…..
Monday March 22nd
The cookery demonstration in Dublin went really well this weekend and one thing I realised noticed is that people lack so much confidence in terms of spices. Research is suggesting that those who eat spices on a regular basis benefit from improved digestive health and therefore a range of other health advantages.
I find I have to do a lot of de-mystifying around using spices in everyday cooking. Trying to include spices in your day to day cooking can help greatly in terms of healthy eating.
We are in a lucky situation in Ireland where spices have become readily available and any supermarket or grocery store will have a nice variety. However, people often don’t know how to incorporate spices into dishes or what spices work with each other. Here are a few tips:
Cumin and coriander work very well together and are a great base for any soup. For example, when making a carrot soup, add some ground cumin and coriander to the recipe and they will add a lovely subtle kick.
Add ground turmeric to your water when cooking rice or brown rice to add a lovely yellow colour to your dish – remember you eat with your eyes! Turmeric has been shown to be a great anti-inflammatory agent and recent evidence is also suggesting that its useful in cancer prevention.
When flavouring a dish at the end, use pepper rather than salt to bring all the flavours together. Pepper contains a substance that can help digestion.
Cinnamon is a great natural sweetener so add to your stewed fruit or porridge in the morning.
Friday March 19th, 2010
Its the weekend and there is nothing nicer than a yummy breakfast when you get up on Saturday morning. Here is slightly different idea for pancakes using oat flour and wheat germ to ensure healthy eating!
Wheat germ contains a large amount of Vitamin E – this is a great anti-oxidant andprotectsour cells from damage – both inside and out!!!!!! Research has suggested that through their powerful antioxidant activity, the tocopherols may be able to protect DNA from the damage caused by oxidative stress.
Once you open the packet of wheat germ please keep it in the fridge. It is also not suitable for those with ceoliacs disease.
Healthy Eating recipes: Saturday Morning Pancakes
a little peanut oil or other oil
1 and a half oz of oat flour
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 small egg
3 fl oz of soya milk (or other milk)
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon or a little less
a dash of vanilla extract (if you have it)
dash of water
Make the flour by placing the oats into a food processor and grinding till flour like. Place in a mixing bowl.
Make a hollow in the centre and add in the egg and the soya milk (I handwhisked the egg andsoyamilk with a fork in the measuring jug before I added but you don’t have to).
Add the cinnamon and vanilla at this stage.
Give it all a good stir and add a dash of water.
Heat your frying pan till hot.
Put a little of the peanut oil into the pan and swirl around. I use some kitchen paper to ensure its covered evenly.
Pour in 2 tablespoons of the mixture (or something similar) and swirl the mixture in the pan till you get a even spread. I used the back of the tablespoon to try to round the mixture.
Leave for a minute or so, when bubbles start popping through all over the mixture its generally done. Flip over and cook on the other side for another minute or so.
Place in a warmed oven while you cook the others.
If you feel you need it, add another little bit of oil for each pancake. Serve this with some stewed apples or pear (stew in a little water, cinnamon and nutmeg) and a dollop of natural yogurt on top.
Thursday March 18th, 2010
I’m in Dublin doing a demo this weekend and the focus of the demo is cancer prevention. As you may know, diet can play a major role in the prevention of cancer and this is largely recognised by most cancer agencies. Loosing weight, stopping smoking and improving your diet are the top tips for cancer prevention. So what can you?
Simply, in terms of healthy eating, it seems the kings of the castle are fresh fruit and vegetables. Try to ensure you are consuming 5 fruit and vegetables a day – this is a minimum. Going for 7-9 is even more beneficial. Most people choke when I say this so here are some tips.
For breakfast try have a handful of blueberries on your porridge or muesli (1)
For mid-morning snack try an apple or pear with a handful of raw nuts (1)
For lunch, chose a side salad with your meal if eating out or make a lovely homemade vegetable soup (2)
For mid-afternoon snack have some crudites (chopped veggies) with hummus or guacamole (2)
For dinner, ensure vegetables take up half of our plate – this is the recommendation. Use vegetables as a base for the dish and build it up – for example, vegetable stews at this time of year, heaps of steamed veggies with grilled Asian salmon (2-3)
See, healthy eating with 8-9 servings of fruit and vegetables.
In addition, how you cook and prepare you foods, the temperatures you reach, are also N.B.
Wednesday March 17th, 2010
Happy St Patrick’s day to you all.
This is a day celebrations and families andfriends- even better when its around a dinner table. When making your lunch or dinner today, try to add as much green as possible. Remember the green vegetables, which are so abundantthroughoutthe winter here in Ireland, are also perfect in terms of healthy eating. Not only are they low in calories and high in fibre but…. they are linked strongly to supporting the liver detox. This is great news in terms of cancer prevention and support, along with hormonal disorders. I covered cabbage recently in one of my newsletters and its suitably Irish for today!!! This is a great recipe for healthy eating:
Healthy Eating recipes: Yummy Stir Fried Cabbage
|150g of broccoli (a small head)
150g savoy cabbage
2 spring onions
1 inch root ginger (grated)
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon tamari (or other soy sauce)
2 tblsp Mirin
Some freshly cracked pepper
|Cut all the veggies and set aside for 5 mins to allow the health promoting properties to be activated. Slice the cabbage and leek thinly and cut the broccoli into florets and half again. Slice the spring onions diagonally.
Heat a large frying pan and place a little water in bottom and wait till it starts to steam.
Add the garlic, leek and ginger and cook for a few minutes.
Add the broccoli and stir in well. Next add the cabbage and stir in for a few minutes.
Lastly add the spring onions and toss well for a minute or two.
Monday March 15th, 2010
I spent the weekend at the Mind Body and Spirit Show in Dublin talking about the importance of fresh whole foods in the management of your health. The response I got was great – people are crying out for good quality information to make consious choices in terms of what they are on a daily basis.
I worked with a fabulous company called Absolutely Organic for the weekend – they home deliver a wide range of organic fresh and dried produce. Check them out on http://www.absolutelyorganic.ie/
The question I got asked most this weekend is how to cook certain beans and legumes. Here are some tips:
Some facts on Legumes
Wide variety available tinned (read label) and dried
Legumes include pulses and beans
Great source of protein, fibre and folate, potassium, iron and magnesium
Add to stews, salad, curry or chilli
Puree for dips
Use instead of meat or with it
Cooking with legumes
Add to pot of boiling water and leave for 1-2 minutes
Turn off heat and leave overnight
Drain off liquid and cook for 1 hour
Add Kombu, spices, bay leaf to cooking
Add salt or acidic flavours afterwards
Quickies: lentils, split peas and black eyed peas don’t need soaking
Friday, March 12th
The cookery demo in Brennan’s went really well last night and I was reminded of how its the basics that are important in terms of cooking and health. We really need to keep it simple, seasonal and tasty so the idea of venturing off the track of healthy eating is inconcievable!!!
- Soups are still perfect at this time of year. The great thing about soups is that they are
Can be cooked in one pot!
Endless spices and herbs can be used to flavour
The root vegetables being harvested at this time of year are made for soups
If made right, soups can be a meal in one, i.e. with prtein, carbs and fibre in one bowl
Below is a lovely little recipe I came up with when I found way too many parsnips in my fridge.
Healthy Eating recipes: Parsnip and Coconut Soup
2 small red onions
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 cloves of garlic
Half a tin of coconut milk
1 tin of hartcot beans
1 iltre boiling water
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
Chop the onions and the garlic and set aside for 5 mins. This will activate their health promoting properties.
Place the fennel, coriander and cumin in a large saucepan and warm gently for 5 mins til they start to smell. Remove from heat and place in a spice grinder/pestle and mortar and grind.
Put a little water down the bottom of the saucepan, add the onions and sweat for 5-10 mins.
Add the spices, pepper and garlic and stir through.
Add the parsnips, add boiling water, bring to boil andsimmer for around 30 mins.
Add coconut milk and haricot beans and cook for another few minutes.
Remove from heat andblitz with a hand blitzerorliquidiser. Its lovely with some chopped parsely or coriander on top. Enjoy