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Discover the Benefits of Eating the Mediterranean Way
As you know if you have heard me speak before I am very much influenced by the Greek Mediterranean Diet, not only because it has kept me off medication for many years but because I spend a lot of time there, however, what it does is it shares its principals and ethos of the rest of the Mediterranean. I love Greece and her people, and their approach in the rural communities to the way their lifestyle and food reflects a general well-being.
This plant based nutritional approach suits me and it has been ranked one of the healthiest diets in the world, proven to hep lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and reduce the risk of many life changes illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and cognitive ones.
If you google “Mediterranean Diet”, you will find that today there are many versions available but most of them are a watered down, distorted version of what anyone at any point of time, ate in the Mediterranean area. Unfortunately today you will start to find obesity is rising in the Med areas at rates not dissimilar to Western Europe and America this is because the culture has changes as more fast food is introduced and becomes readily available.
But look deeper into the rural/sea communities and you will find the traditional seasonal, local produce based diet and many fit older people living healthy long lives. In fact the Greek island of Ikaria just 10 miles south of Samos is well known for the fact that on average people here live 10 years longer than the rest of Europe, around 1 in 3 live into their 90s, BUT they also have a much lower rate of cancer, heart disease, suffer less depression and dementia, maintain a sex life into old age and remain physically active.
Why, what are the doing differently in Ikaria?
Lots of wholegrains and beans, not too much meat or refined sugar, the locals feast on Horta? Wild greens some of which contain 10 times more antioxidants, red wine, herbal tea and small quantities of coffee. They also take … an afternoon nap, and research conducted extensively across Greece has proved that regular napping reduces occurrences of heart disease by 40%.
Enter any house in Ikaria and you will be offered locally produced red wine and garden grown vegetables, possibly fish or a little meat – hospitality and warmth will greet you as the Telegraph reported this island isn't a me place its an us place. Everything is home made from these local/seasonal ingredients.
So for this evening, join me on my own Greek Odyssey and lets investigate the nutrition behind some of the basic ingredients used in the traditional way of eating in the Mediterranean.
Having just spent a fortnight with our Greek friends, it is so obvious during conversations that food should be fresh and used on the day. You see the local fishman, the veg and fruit vans daily in the remote villages. Rural Greece has it right, as little processed as possible and cooking from scratch most of the time. In our visit Sept 2020 we noticed how many people are growing their own vegetables in soil without pesticides, letting nature nurture them.
Nina's Greek style oven potatoes
When theyare cooked, the liquid will have been absorbed and the potatoes will be golden in colour.
Persian influenced slow cooked Lamb
Gigantes ke Horta
Serves 4 – 8 [ main/starter]
1 x large tin butter beans [drained and rinsed]
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped or grated
½ tablespoon of tomato puree
Large 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
250g spinach or chard [ washed]
oregano – dried tablespoon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Soften garlic, onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, when soft and opaque stir in tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, water salt and pepper – bring to a simmer and cook for 30 mins. The stir in the spinach into this thickened tomato mixture. Next add the beans and cinnamon and the remainder of the olive oil. If it appears a little dry add a little more water and simmer for 20 – 30 mins, adding the oregano towards the end of the cooking.
Put everything apart from the spinach, oregano and 50ml of water into the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, just before serving stir the rinsed spinach into the ingredients and let it wilt down and stir to incorporate. Stir in the oregano just before serving.
Butter beans are a stable ingredient in Greece and this dish is delicious served with grilled meats or on its own with a chunk of rustic bread.
Jo's what's in the kitchen soup!
My friend, Jo, in Devon is a very imaginative cook, she is creative and has a natural flair when producing a dish, the other day we were corresponding and swapping idea for soups and I loved Jo's thought thought process of What's in the Kitchen soup which on this particular day consisted of Leeks,celery, potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, stock, onion garlic, ginger, cumin and chilli. simmer then wizz to a pulp - a very nutiritious tasty soup. I am not sharing quantities as I want you to think about what you have in your kitchen, then be creative and design your own bespoke soup. I did it today, mine was a diced minestrone type - courgettes , celery, red onion, garlic, mushrooms, leek, oregano, black pepper, wholegrain spaghetti, tin of chopped tomatoes and stock. Wonderful served with some grated cheese on..
We spent a fantastic evening with some friends, now Kay is a great cook anyway and keen to support local producers and grow her own vegetables, so I always know that the food will be delicious. It was a cold crisp night, the log fire was creating a lovely cosy environment and in the background a delicate aroma of hotter climates. The tagine appearing on the table, gave the game away and I can honestly say this is the best tagine I have ever tasted. Kay had created a masterpiece that far outshines anything I have tasted in Morocco. So with a bit of arm twisting, I would like to say Thank you to Kay for sharing this wonderful recipe.
Kay’s Lamb Tagine with lime couscous & Moroccan potatoes
This is a very easy dish, perfect for sharing with friends as everything is prepared in advance.
The long cooking time will fill your house full of spicy Moroccan aromas and is well worth the wait!
Large shoulder of lamb boned and diced
2 large onions
6 Cloves of garlic *
2tsp Ground cinnamon *
1tbsp Paprika *
1tbsp Turmeric *
1tbsp Cayenne pepper *
1 inch fresh ginger finely chopped *
2x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 pint of lamb stock
120g Apricots halved *
60g Whole almonds (with skins peeled)*
Olive oil for frying
Fresh coriander to serve
3-4 fresh limes (lime couscous)
The quantities of all ingredients marked * can be changed to suit personal preferences.
In a large bowl, mix the diced lamb and spices and leave to marinate for several hours or overnight, if possible.
When ready to start cooking the tagine, chop the onions and garlic and fry in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Add the lamb to the garlic and onions and brown.
Add the tinned tomatoes and lamb stock and slow cook at 140degrees/120degrees fan oven for 3-4 hours.
Half an hour before serving add the mushrooms, apricots and almonds.
(To peel the almonds place them in a cup of boiling water and the skins will easily peel off)
To serve, garnish with chopped coriander.
Use the quantity of plain couscous to serve however many you have to feed.
Slice 2-3 limes and place in with the couscous.
Add the boiling water and a knob of butter.
To serve, garnish with fresh lime wedges and freshly chopped coriander.
Peel 3 large old potatoes and cube into ½ inch portions.
Put in a pan of boiling water and cook for a few minutes.
Drain and set aside.
Put 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a roasting tray with chopped cloves of garlic and a selection of the spices used in the tagine to suit your taste.
Heat the oil and spices in a warm oven for 5mins.
Add the potatoes and coat in the oil and spices.
- Cook for approx. 30mins or until crispy.
Slow Cooked Salmon Trout with Mint and lemon
Greek Lemon Potatoes in the Oven
Lamb with lemon and potatoes
Chicken, Pepper and Chilli Onesie!
Very Easy Tomato Sauce
Home made Ready meal - Pork in One
Budleigh Beef - serves 4 - 6 [ depends on the appetites of those you are serving!]
Called as such because I invented this during a stay in Budleigh Salterton.
CHICKEN AND CHORITZO STEW
A NEW GLUTEN FREE CAKE FOR YOU TO TRY;-
Cranberry, Almond and Polenta Cake
TOMATO BRUSCHETTA FILLING
The following is approximately the amounts you will need to produce enough to serve 2 people, although it is rather moreish so be prepared!!!
You can of course use any type of bread to make the base but I like to use a spelt based bread to add the nutritional benefits of spelt over wheat and to add a little nuttiness to the overall flavours. Whatever you chose to use cut into half centimetre slices, either toast in a toaster or drizzle with olive oil and place on a baking sheet into a pre heated oven for between 5 and 10 mins to crisp it. During this time you can be creating the filling. Remove the toasted croutons from the oven, leave to cool whilst you create the delicious filling.
Bruschetta Filling for 2
60 – 80 ml of extra virgin olive or rapeseed oil
1 red onion sliced
2 - 3 cloves of garlic chopped
Vine ripened tomatoes are preferable but any will do [ you need approx 4 medium ones per person or 8 cherry ones per person] – roughly chop [ do NOT remove seeds or skin!
30ml of balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil [ dried will suffice if you don’t have fresh]
Take a small heavy bottomed pan, add some of the oil and lightly soften the chopped onion and garlic.
Now add your roughly chopped tomatoes, allow about 5 - 10 mins to soften down – increase your heat if required but don’t let it start to boil!
You may find you need to use some more oil during this process. You are aiming for a soft but not puréed filling at this stage.
Now stir in your balsamic vinegar, if you are using dried basil add it now if fresh – hang onto it.
Now its almost ready
Take your croutons of bread, spoon over the bruschetta filling, add freshly ground pepper to taste and if you have fresh basil add a little torn basil before serving. If it appears a to need it drizzle a little of your olive or rapeseed oil over.
Serve and enjoy.
The beauty of this is you can serve it warm but should it go cold it still tasted delicious, the only thing to remember is that the base croûton will soften as it cools, but the taste remains the same.
The first thing we are going to make is our taster salad dressing;-
Again these amounts will make enough dressing for 2 – 4 people depending how much they use! If I am coating the salad ingredients totally then it will do 2 but if you are a drizzler! It will do 4
Taster Salad Dressing
150g Natural yoghurt [not the set type]
1 teaspoon of tomato puree
2 teaspoon of dijon mustard/wholegrain mustard
2 teaspoon of curry powder
2 teaspoon of tumeric
Pinch of dried cinamon
pinch of allspice. [ do not include for anyone who is pregnant.]
Very easy just mix everything together, cover and chill till ready to use. It will keep a couple of days in the fridge if you have a little left over then you can use it will cold chicken or fish.
Now this is where the fun starts because from the following as this dressing really does go with most vegetables, and on jacket potatoes, but for today we will use;-
Taster Salad for 2
300g of mixed salad leaves, or just use little gem or iceberg [ use what you have to hand!]
1 leek [ or 2 small ones, although at this time in the season they are likely to be bigger] You need the white flesh of the leek and slice it into thin rings then wash well and drain.
2 tablespoons of tinned sweetcorn, [ in water not sugar or salt added]
½ red pepper sliced
small beetroot cubed
100g feta roughly cubed or crumbled into large pieces
Arrange the salad leaves on your plate.
In a bowl mix together the sliced leeks, sweetcorn, pepper and feta. Now place on top of the salad leaves.
Drizzle your dressing over.
I must admit I often make this and use ½ an avocado and 150g cooked chicken for a lunch box lunch, just all mixed together. You really can play around with it, using anything that you fancy or need to use up.
Quick Leek and Mushroom Bake
Spicy Parsnip and Apple soup
Very Easy Butternut Squash Soup
At a recent talk to Shifnal Townswomens Guild, we were discussing the benefits of not only seasonal vegetables but also of trying to include various colours of vegetables into the diet and a powerhouse of Vitamin A Beta Carotene is the delicious butternut squash and I had made a very easy soup so promised that I would share it via the website.
1 butternut squash - peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes
2 onions - peeled and chopped roughly
5 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped roughly
1.2 litres of stock [ chicken, or vegetable ]
2 tablespoons of olive oil
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil gently and add the vegetables, cover and soften for approx 5 - 19 mins without browning. Add the stock and then simmer gently for about 20 mins until the butternut squash has softened. Remove from heat and either liquidise or blend until smooth. Fantastic easy soup, which has a velvety texture yet still lightweight so ideal as part of your lunch or a starter before dinner.
Potatoes in the oven [ cheats Daupinoise!]
I've been cooking this dish for a long time, I dont know how it came about but I do know its a very old method of making what appears to be a creamy potato comfort food, yet there is no cream in it! It is an incredibly easy dish which once prepared cooks itself alongside your roast and never fails to please.
The following Serves 4 - 5
700 to 900g potatoes - peeled and thinly sliced
450ml of milk [ of your choice I have even used soya!]
25g of butter or fat of your choice ie pure spread if you are dairy free
25g plain flour [ wholemeal, plain or spelt!]
1 medium onion, finely chopped.
OPTIONAL - 50G grated cheese.
You will need a large ovenproof dish, preferably with a lid but you can seal with foil if not.
Make the onion sauce first, melt fat in your pan, add onion and soften but dont brown. Stir in the flour and cook out for a minute or so then add the milk, stirring all the time to prevent lumps. It will take approx 2 mins to thicken then remove from the heat and stir in salt and pepper to taste. Put to one side.
Now layer your potatoes in your ovenproof dish, overlapping the slices.
Pour over the sauce.
Cover and cook for approx 1and a half hours, until the potatoes are soft.
If you really want to be decadent you can uncover, then sprinkle on some cheese and return to the oven until the cheese melts. This is great if you are serving it along side a plain pork chop.
Quick Chicken and Wild mushroom risotto
For a very simple quick meal for 2 try the following using at the moment any veg thats in season but this recipe works equally well at any time of the year with onions, leeks, peppers and mushrooms or simply one soft veg of your choice. The underlined parts are the ingredients you will need to make this dish.
For 2 people - pop 1 chicken breast in a saucepan containing 500 ml of stock and simmer for approx 20 mins
In the fry pan, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil and lightly soften your choice of vegetables, I use at least 100g of mushrooms, and 100g of your seasonal veg to give it enough body. When the vegetables are softening add 2 cloves of roughy chopped garlic. Then stir in 75 g [ dry weight] of arborio rice and mix well together all the ingredients.
Remove the chicken from the stock and chop into 1/2 inch pieces, retain the stock and add about a third to your risotto veg mix, stir and then leave until its almost all absorbed, then add some more and continue until you are left with about two tablespoons. This whole process takes about 25 mins to this point and the rice should start to become slightly creamy.
Stir in your chopped chicken and the rest of the stock, stir and when the mixture is still slightly wet, stir in 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt or creme fresh if you have it, if not it really doesnt matter. Put into two heated bowls and sprinkle some grated parmesan on top of each and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!
Minty Spring Lamb marinade.
this marinade I mentioned in the June Seasonal food, the following amount will serve 4 - 6 people. Just mix all the following together and marinade your meat for 24 to 48 hours before grilling it or barbequing it.
juice of one lemon,
20g fresh mint leaves chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped finely.
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
pinch of paprika
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
3 teaspoons of ground coriander.
This is a fabulous Low GL recipe, so not only is it good for your blood sugar release it is fairly low fat, full of healthy antioxidants and will either provide a starter or and accompaniment to a main course, it works especially well with the Morrocan Chicken recipe. The amount serves 2 for a main course or 4 as a starter. Should you not like peppers, it works equally as well with large field mushrooms although the cooking time is less.
6 large field mushrooms OR
2 coloured peppers [ I tend to use two different colours and serve one of each ]
Small red onion - finely diced [ as small as you can get it!]
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley - flat leaf or curly and fresh is best
75g of green cooked lentils [ I tend to buy a large can and freeze the rest for the next time]
50g chopped almonds
50g of grated parmesan
olive oil to drizzle
Firstly make your stuffing mix by mixing onion, parsley, drained and rinsed lentils, garlic, almonds and parmesan and mix well together.
Cut your peppers in half length ways and put in an ovenproof dish [ if using mushrooms, remove stalks and discard or use in my risotto recipe!] .
Fill your chosen vegetable with the stuffing mix, pressing quite firmly to make quite a robust filled veg. Drizzle with olive oil. If you are making this in advance, just cover it now, pop in fridge and use within 2 days. If you are cooking straight away;-
Put some water into your dish, pouring carefully around your peppers/mushrooms making sure it doesnt come into contact with the stuffing mix. Place in your oven [180/Gas 4 or fan 160] and bake for around 20 - 30 mins you are really wanting the vegetables to cook enough, the stuffing will be ready when the skins are soft!
Lemon, Almond and Blueberry Cake
You all know of my love of using Spelt flour, well this cake is made with spelt and it really is delicious. Its an adaptation of a recipe I saw in a magazine, I experimented to enable me to use spelt, cut the sugar right down and generally make a cake that I think should be called the "disappearing" cake as it goes very quickly.
First line a 2lb loaf tin with a cake liner, or do it the hard way!
Preheat the oven to 180/Fan160/Gas Mark 4
250g spelt flour
2tspn baking powder
100g butter or for vegetarians the equivalent weight of something like Pure dairy free margarine.
115g sugar [ I use brown unrefined although really caster would be fine]
1 lemon [ grate the zest finely and extract the juice]
2 large free range eggs
100g natural yoghurt
25g ground almonds
200g of blueberries [ you could use raspberries ]
50g of extra sugar for the topping.
Cream the butter and 115g of sugar together for about 5 mins until it is fluffy and pale.
Beat in the lemon zest and one egg. Mix well then add 1 tablespoon of your flour/baking powder mix and the second egg, mix well together.
Now add the rest of the flour/baking powder mix alternatively with the yoghurt until all folded in well together.
Now fold in the ground almonds.
Cover the bottom of your lined loaf tin with this mixture, sprinkle some blueberries over and alternate until you have used all the mix up making sure you finish with a layer of blueberries.
Bake approx 50 mins until the cake is nicely browned, cover with foil [quite loose] and continue to bake for a further 25 mins.
Test the cake to see if it is cooked [ the skewer test is best-insert a skewer into the middle and if it comes out without any mixture sticking to it, the cake is done]
Stand the cake [ still in the tin] on a cooling tray and mix the 50g of extra sugar with the lemon juice and pour it over your finished cake.
After about 5 mins lift the cake from the tin and leave to cool thoroughly on your cooling tray.
Lentil, Barley and Tomato Soup!
Ok you've guessed it, another delicacy in the slow cooker. I make enough for 6 portions then it either is used for lunches whilst this weather is cold or can be frozen. As it contains lentils this is a good source of protein, magnesium, iron and folic acid. It actually makes quite a complete lunch which can be easily transported either to work or should you be lucky enough to be on an adventure for a picnic. Warming and comforting but it will do you good.
1 and half tablespoons of olive or rapeseed oil
1 onion chopped finely
2 - 3 cloves of garlic chopped.
1 teaspoon of tumeric
shake of cayenne pepper [ the more you add the hotter the taste!!!]
1 teaspoon of curry powder - I quite like the delicate flavour of a korma powder but any will do....
So heat the oil gently, then soften the onion and garlic for a few mins, then add all the spices, mix well do not overcook but release the flavours.
Put this onion mix together with the rest of the ingredients into your slow cooker so here you go, this is what you need to add to the onion mix.
400g Tin of chopped tomatoes,
1.75 litres of cold water
Stock cube [ vegetable low salt]
200g red lentils [ use this dried weight, just rinse and add]
100g pearl barley or pearled spelt
stir all the ingredients together, switch slow cooker to low, cover and leave for at least 6 hours. Use and enjoy as you wish.... a truely nutritious meal.
Sheperds Pie with a difference
Chatting this week on how to cut down meat in meals and introduce different vegetables to ensure a good intake of nutrients made me think about this very easy recipe once again I use my slow cooker, but you could pop the slow cooker ingredients into a casserole dish and cook in the oven. This is enough for 4, but can be frozen so you could split it into two. You could also make it into a cottage pie by using minced beef instead of the minced lamb, either way by using the lentils it increases the fibre and cuts down the saturated fat from the meat, especially if you use a lean mince. By using the sweet potato in with the potato you are also giving yourself a boost of Vitamin A Beta Carotene.
Into your slow cooker put;-
1 chopped onion
2 diced carrots
250g lean lamb mince
1 tablespoon of flour [ I use spelt]
350ml of stock
227g chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
400g can of green lentils fully drained and rinsed
tablespoon of oregano
splash of worcester sauce.
cook this in your slow cooker for at least 5 hours on low! you could put it on in the morning and when you get home all you have to do is mash the topping and its all ready! If you are using a casserole in the oven cook for approx 60 - 90 mins on 180/Fan 160/Gas 4 until veg is tender and meat cooked through.
650g potatoes and 250g sweet potato, boiled and mashed together. If you wish you can mix in 2 tablespoons of total greek yoghurt and a sprinkle of black petter.
Make your pie up, by putting meaty filling into your oven proof dish and cover with your mash. If you want to freeze this is the time to chill, cover and then freeze. To serve I like to pop a sprinkle of parmesan on and then brown the top in the oven, obviousy if this has been previously frozen you can deforst and heat through thoroughly so steaming hot in the middle.
Spicy Beans and Vegetable Stew
Following a request from Sheila to try a meat free dish, this is a vegetarian delicious stew, it has protein from the beans and the spices give it a delicious flavour. If you dont want the fiddle of following the recipe below, just throw everything into your slow cooker, switch it on and then several hours later the most delicious, aromatic stew will be waiting for you.
This recipe serves 3 hungry people or 4 light snack lunches!
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion - sliced finely
4 cloves of garlic - roughly chopped
1 aubergine - diced around 2 cm pieces
1 red pepper - diced around 2 cm pieces
1 green pepper - diced around 2 cm pieces
1 large leek - cut into circles 2 cm width
1 large courgetter - diced around 2 cm pieces
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
300g tin of butterbeans
200g tin of flagolet or pinto beans
tablespoon of tomato puree
2 x teaspoons of cinnamon
1 level teaspoon of allspice
freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large pan, gently soften the onion for a few mins, then add the garlic and all the other vegetables and the spices, almost steam cook them stiring occasionally to stop them sticking. After approx 15 mins add the tomato puree, and chopped tomatoes , after a further 10 mins stir in the drained beans and heat thoroughly without boiling for approx 5 mins or until you are ready to eat it. This high fibre/low saturated fat dish is now ready to eat.
This dish works well made one day and then reheated thoroughly the next day. Or pop everything except the beans together in the slow cooker [ you can miss the olive oil out and leave on low for at least 7 hours! ] , stir in the drained beans to warm through and then enjoy - delicious.
You can alter the vegetables, dependant what is in season, you may wish during the winter/spring to use celeriac cubed or fennel, if you do then this will take a little longer to cook.
A Treacle Sponge that's lighter!
Ideal as a treat on a Sunday after lunch, serve this healthier version of a treacle sponge, especially nice with some home made soya milk custard!
This makes enough for 4, you will need a 2 pint pudding dish which you need to brush with 1/4 teaspoon of olive/rapeseed oil.Then place it onto an ordinary baking tray. Put the oven to 180/160 Fan/Gas mark 4.
4 teaspoons of rapeseed oil
3 to 4 tablespoons of golden syrup
1/2 a lemon [ use the zest grated, and you will need 4 teaspoons of lemon juice]
100g of self raising floor
1 level tespoon of baking powder
50g of sugar
20g of ground almonds
1 medium egg - beaten
110g natural yoghurt
15g melted butter [ or 2 teaspoon of rapeseed oil]
1] mix together the lemon zest, golden syrup, and lemon juice - pour into the bottom of your pudding basin.
2] In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and almonds - make a well in the middle and mix in the beaten egg, treacle, yoghurt and melted butter and the 4 teaspoons of rapeseed oil. Using a metal spoon stir quite quickly to ensure it mixes well together do not over beat. pour into your greased pudding basin. Bake in the oven for 20 - 25 mins till they feel firm to the touch. Remove from oven and leave a few mins while you make your custard, then run a knife round the pudding basin, put a plate over and holding firmly turn out onto the plate. All thats left is to enjoy this lower fat version of a favourite comfort food. If you are Vegetarian replace the 15g of melted butter with 2 teaspoon of rapeseed oil.
Salmon in Lemon/Ginger Butter
I shared this idea recently with Fiona @'fishinaboxcouk . It is a simple way to create a different salmon dish. I thought it was a good time to put a Salmon recipe on as Wild Salmon comes into season from March and stays in season till September - a long season during which time you may wish to try a different way of flavouring it.
You can move the recipe up a level and envelope the ingredients in filo pastry to make a lighter, Salmon Wellington. My Foodie Friend Elaine cooked this for us and it really was delicious. Fiona at Fish in a Box down in Newport, Shropshire also is contemplating making a short crust pasty recipe with this filling as the base, guess we will have to wait and see and hopefully taste that in due course.
So today I am just giving you the recipe for the flavoured butter to cook your salmon in.
This makes enough flavoured butter to cook between 4 and 6 portions of salmon.
1] Finely chop 1/2 red chilli and 1/2 a green chilli [ I deseed to remove too much heat from them otherwise I feel they overtake the delicate flavours]
2] In a bowl put 50g softened butter, add the grated zest of 1/2 a lemon, add 1" of fresh grated ginger - mix together, form into a sausage shape, wrap in greaseproof paper and chill to harden.
3]In your oven proof dish place your salmon fillets, cut a disc of your flavoured butter, and place on top of your salmon fillet. gently sprinkle a mix of red and green chilli on top.
4] cover dish and place in oven 180/Fan 160/Gas Mark3 - until salmon is just cooked - dont over cook it,I find under 15 mins usually works for me, but it would depend on how thick your salmon fillet is.
Serve with a green veg, spinach or purple sprouting broccoli works well, and some small potatoes boiled or steamed in their skins.
Then use the liquid from the fish to pour over the veg
I can smell it now, wow. If any one wants to tweet me @ninanutrition and request the wellington part of the recipe I will add it on..........
Beef - OK this one is different!
I know you all have a recipe for this, but just this week I experimented as time was short and I want to share with you something that not only lowers the fat content, is ridiculously easy and saves time!!! The amounts below serve 6, but is easily reduced or increased to suit your party size... I have never before not browned my beef once I had coated it in flour, but time was against me so I did as follows and it really does work!
- In a bowl put 4 tablespoons of plain flour, sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper - drop into this your 1kg of cubed braising beef [ shin, stew or any of the cheaper yet lean cuts!] - mix altogether until all the flour is coating the beef.... put to one side while you prepare the following.
- Peel and thickly slice 5 carrots and 2 parsnips,
- chop roughly 2 medium onions
- seperately mix together 500ml of dark beer/stout - I remember reading that Delia said she always picked the bottle with the nicest lable, I will leave it to you to chose your beer of choice, rest assured there is unlikely to be any left to drink unless you have altered the amount you are cooking, so yu are not going to be savouring it. Add to the beer, 150ml of beef stock [ use a stock cube if you wish], also add 2 tablespoons of tomato puree, and 2 teaspoons of oregano [ or a mixed dry herb will work too]
- Now for the technical bit, Mix everything together and put into your slow cooker, switch onto low and leave for at least 6-8 hours. I left mine on for over 12 hours.
- The resulting casserole is a thick, dark, deliciously flavoured tender casserole.
I would suggest serving with some form of mashed potato be it ordinary or sweet potato and should you wish a dark leafy green veg to really give you a good nutritious boost!
Spicy Moroccan Chicken
This has turned out to be a firm favourite in our household and is equally eaten in winter on a cold night or in the summer when you can actually barbeque it! The different colours of the spices really enhance the look of this dish
For the purpose of this dish the spice mix is enough for two chicken breasts [ its easy to double it up if you are cooking for more, or even to reduce if you are cooking for one.]
Take One chicken breast [ skinless] per person. Put into an ovenproof glass or ceramic dish. Dont use plastic as you need this to marinade and the marinade is quite strong and could flavour your plastic container!]
Seperately mix together
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of tumeric
1/2 teaspoon of allspice
2 x garlic cloves sliced
Now sprinkle your spice mix onto your chicken breasts.
Squeeze over the juice of 1/2 a lemon and gently pour over [ I often use about 50 ml of pomegranite juice if I dont have a lemon to hand!]
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Cover your dish with foil and leave for at least 12 hours - I usually leave it 24 hours
Uncover and cook until tender in the ovenproof dish oven heat 180/ Fan 160/ Gas 4 [ usually takes about 35 - 40 mins] Or Barbeque !!
Delicious served either hot or left to cool - perhaps with lentil stuffed peppers, or a mixed salad and plain potato wedges - The plainer the accompaniment the better so as not to detract from the delcious flavours of the chicken.
Prepare a 18cm square tin - I use a non stick cake liner which saves having to use extra fat for greasing! I have reduced the sugar down by a third and it still is sweet enough, it is perhaps a little crumblier but think of the calories saved and the health benefits
Oven Needs to be preheated to 180C/Fan oven 160C/Gas 4
Heat the following ingredients till they melt and mix together
100g butter - or pure cooking spread which is suitable for most vegetarians.
50 -75g demerara sugar
1 teaspoon of golden syrup this weighs approx 12g
In a seperate bowl weight out 225g porridge oats and add to your taste a handful of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and perhaps some chopped nuts - mix together [Itend to use 25g sunflower seeds and 25g of cranberries and 15g pumpkin]
Now add the melted mixture to the oat mixture and mix together well to ensure all the dry ingredients are coated, put into lined tin, spread evenly and press lightly down,.
Cook for approx 20 - 25 mins till golden brown.
Remove from oven, leave in tin and place on a cooling tray.
After a few minutes cut into 12 slices, it seems crumbly at this stage just press it down back into the tin and leave till totally cold - you will then find the flapjacks break cleanly into their pieces. Biggest problem is not to eat too many at any one time!!!!
Slow Pot ideas for all seasons!
Lamb Hot Pot with a twist!
For 2 people use the following quantities - I forgot to take a picture this week of this and it was gone before I had the chance!!!!
250-300g British lamb [ shoulder, leg or neck although neck can be a little fattier] - cut into small 3cm pieces and well coated in 2 tablespoons of spelt flour seasoned with 2 tablespoons of dried mint and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 carrots - peeled and sliced in 1/2 cm slices
1 large parsnip - peeled and sliced in 1/2cm slices
Large leek, washed and sliced into 1/2 cm slices
200g potatoes, washed and thinly sliced [ leave the skin on for the fibre]
400 ml of stock of your choice I tend to use a beef one, with a few shakes of worcester sauce in it and 2 tablespoons of tomato puree and a further tablespoon of dried mint.
In your slow cooker, layer carrot, parsnip, leek and lamb and repeat at least twice more finishing with lamb. Then layer the potatoes around the top of the slow cooker not leaving any gaps or a few as possible. Pour the stock over and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours [ or longer it wont matter if you are delayed]
The minty aroma and the tenderness of the lamb make this a different hot pot which is delcious served just as it comes out of the slow cooker.