Steak night!

steak saint emillionYes I eat red meat. Not that often, I prefer veg or fish by sometimes I just fancy a nice piece of fillet steak. Despite the current heat wave, tonight  is one of those nights! I know I’m a bit strange, I have been seen standing outside in the snow, -15 degrees tucking joyfully into an ice-cream and now during the craziest heat wave I feel like a steak. Oh well, follow what the body wants I say! So red meat…saturated fats…not good for anything apparently. Yes I believe that eating red meat twice a day or even once a day is not a good idea. But every now and again it’s fine. There’s a lot of iron in meat : ) but the traditional steak, fries and a creamy sauce is just a meal full of empty calories ( or calories full of baddies without any goodies ) so there has to be a better way of eating it

So here’s what we do,

Serves 2

Fillet steak ( if you don’t eat it that often you can splash out on what is in my humble opinion the nicest cut )
2 sweet potatoes
2 parsnips
1 carrot
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove of garlic
A couple of pinches of dried basil
1 whole garlic bulb
100 grams of green beans
Wholegrain mustard

Put oven on 175 degrees. Peel and cut sweet potatoes, parsnips and carrot into wedges. Place in an oven proof tray. Mix olive oil, herbs and garlic and pour over vegetables. Mix well. Put vegetables in oven until they are cooked approximately 45 min.
In the meantime make the coleslaw, steam the beans ( I usually just put a colander on top of a pan with boiling water and put a lid on the colander for approximately 12 min) Grill or barbecue the steak to your liking

Coleslaw

A friend of mine asked if I knew a lighter not so oily coleslaw and I found this recepie. I do like the oily version but although it is good fat the standard mayonnaise heavy coleslaw is full of fat and calories so if one feels like using a much lighter version this was actually really tasty

6 tbsp plain yogurt

1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1⁄2 white cabbage
2 carrots

1⁄2 onion

So the surprise for me was how healthy mustard is. I think I have always associated mustard with hot dogs hence the naughty food connection. But mustard has been long known ( to other people) for their healing properties. Itis an excellent source of antioxidants. Mustard has anti-inflammatory benefits due to its high content of Magnesium and Selenium. It also contains omega3 and omega6-fatty acids, as well as potassium, calcium and phosphorus. So out with fatty creamy sauce and in with mustard!

Prosciutto , mozzarella and peach salad

mozzarella salad    balsamic

Discovered this very delicious salad at a ( very rare these days ) dinner party! It’s originally a Jamie Oliver recipe but the hostess didn’t have it and we couldn’t find it online so here it is from memory

Serves 4

3 ripe peaches (the ripe bit is very important)

4 slices of thinly cut prosciutto

2 mozzarella balls

2 cups of mixed salad leaves

1 handful of mint

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Black pepper

Quarter the peaches (leave the skin on) Tear the mozzarella and prosciutto into bit size pieces. Mix it all up, add some mint leaves, olive oil, black pepper and balsamic vinegar. I like to use balsamic vinegar cream. (I bought this one at an Italian delicatessen )

Salmon, lentils and feta

salmon lentils 2

This dish is a real saver if you really don’t feel like cooking and you are just a second away from pressing the phone-takeaway-pizza-button. (Given that you have the ingredients at home of course) We usually keep some ready to eat lentils at home to make it a super fast, super healthy meal. This is a great brand that we get from Sainsburys.

Serves 2 very hungry people or 2 plus 1 portion of lunch

2 salmon pieces (3 if you are going for the lunch box option)

1 pack of ready to eat puy lentils (250 gram)

1/2 pack of feta cheese (100 gram)

2 large handfuls of cherry tomatoes

1 large handful of parsley

Fry the salmon. Heat up the lentils in the micro for a minute. Chop up feta cheese, tomatoes and parsley and mix with the lentils. Et voila, dinner is served!

Salmon is a great source of those super good for you fats, however I just read an article about the amount of toxins in farmed salmon…I will still eat salmon but perhaps a bit less often and spend more on wild salmon…..

Lentils are good for energy, digestive health, lowering cholesterol and hearth health. It’s also low in calories with hardly no fat but plenty of protein so good for weight loss and sports.  Healthy easy and yummy, just how I like it!

Weekend favourite breakfast!

weekend breakfast…is poached eggs on bread with various vegetables and a dollop of hollandaise sauce.  Poached egg is sort of tricky to do hence I don’t make it during the week. There are all sorts of tricks how to make them but so far I haven’t found anything that has worked so what I do is this ; boil the water and take the pan of the heat. When the water isn’t bubbling break the egg as close to the water surface as you can without scolding yourself. When the egg is starting to look white release it carefully from the bottom with a spatula. Then put it back on the heat and slowly cook it some more. Then eat your breakfast and relish in the fact that you have started the weekend with 2-3 portions of fruit and veg!

I just bought these cool looking poachpods. I’ll try them out next weekend and let you know if it is the ultimate poach solution

Apple and peanut butter niceness!

apple peanut peanut butter

Serious sweet cravings today after only 5 hours of restless sleep in the sweltering heat. ( I’m not complaining, it’s just sooooooo hot during the night ; ) So what could I eat instead of the default mars bar I thought to myself. Then I remembered this snack that I started to eat during my au-pair days in San Francisco. Apple and a dollop of peanut butter!

Poor peanut butter has such a bad rep ; ( Unjustly so! Sure it is high in fats and calories so not a good idea to eat a tub of it in one sitting. But like this it’s a superb snack ;

1 apple (in wedges)

1 small tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter. It has to be a no added sugar, all natural type of thing. Such as the Koeze brand that I love!

A snack like this is almost half the calories of a Mars bar.
Peanut butter and apple = 140 cal
Mars bar =  260 cal

Then one might be thinking, well I might just have half a Mars bar instead. Sure it’s possible, however what good stuff for your health does it have in store for you? ( And who are you trying to kid by thinking you will only have half, just one small bite more, and another one…whoopsie time to throw away the wrapper)

Sugar : ….not so good. Causes havoc with your blood sugar levels. Bad for stress, bad for your heart, cholesterol…and it’s addictive ( apparently debatable, but I just remembered how I felt when I went on a Candida diet a couple of years ago…awful feeling!)
Saturated fats : clogs your arteries, bad for your heart and cholesterol etc

Chocolate, must be good for you right? Sure but the amount of cocoa is so small it’s hardly worth mentioning

What about the peanut butter apple version….
Apple : An apple a day…..do I need to say more….
Peanut butter : full of monounsaturated goodie goodie fats that are beneficial for heart health.
A good source of protein, anti-oxidants, mineral and vitamins….
Because of the protein content it keeps you full for longer and it’s a slow released source of energy so you won’t be craving more sugar an hour later when your hyped up blood sugar levels comes crashing down. So it’s good for weight loss!

Week day favourite breakfast!

porridgeMy favourite breakfast on week days is porridge. So simple, tasty, healthy and it keeps you full for so long. Oats must be the cheapest superfood around but apart from being nice to your wallet the health benefits are many. For example very good to prevent diabetes and cardio vascular disease. According to an article in the Guardian oats were used as one of the few effective treatments for diabetes before insulin was discovered.

I like to eat my porridge with cinnamon (which is also good for preventing diabetes) All that’s needed is a teaspoon a day according to this article .I then top it with some berries ( I don’t think I need to mention the superfood qualities of berries : )

And also porridge should be complimented with a glass of orange juice since porridge is full of iron and orange juice helps the absorption of iron. Wasn’t aware of the iron content so a glass of orange juice will be added to my favourite breakfast from tomorrow!

Butternut squash and parmesan soup

photo (6)

I love soup! It’s surprisingly filling and really warms you up from the inside.( Not that I need to be warmed up on a day like today) Soups are also mostly packed with good for you things. So I will start with one of my favourite soup recipe from Taste, a fantastic cookbook by Sybil Kapoor.  We probably eat this soup once a week. If possible try to get coquina squash, it has a darker colour and a richer taste.

Serves 6

2 small onions, roughly chopped

1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes or to taste (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium butternut squash

1 litre chicken stock

1 bay leaf

3 sprigs of fresh parsley

50 g of Parmesan cheese rind

60 ml creme fraiche

freshly ground pepper

roughly shaved Parmesan cheese to serve

Gently fry the onions, garlic and chilli flakes in the olive oil in a large saucepan for about 10 min, or until soft and golden. Meanwhile, cut off the tough skin of the butternut squash. Scrape out and discard the seeds, then roughly dice the flesh and stir it into the sauteed onions. Cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash begins to soften.

Add the stock, herbs and Parmesan rind and simmer gently for 45 minutes, or until the squash is meltingly soft. Discard the herbs and Parmesan rind, scraping any gooey cheese into the soup. Liquidize the soup, add the creme fraiche, and season to taste. Serve piping hot scattered with Parmesan cheese shavings.

Enjoy!

Butternut squash, so many health benefits that I don’t know where to start. It has been called a super food! It’s low-calorie and high in fibre (good for weight management and possible cholesterol lowering) High in vitamin A (essential vitamin for good eyesight) and packs a nutritional punch with lots of antioxidants and vitamins. Here’s a good article in the Guardian about the health benefits of this also very very tasty vegetable!

A mars a day…..

is not the way to go. I know it however lately it’s been more a mars a day than an apple a day…The tension, lack of sleep and stress of dealing with a 2 year old tantrum girl and a high-energy-look-mummy-I-can-climb-the-stairs 10 month old I am putting anything in my mouth that gives me a quick fix! Comfort and instant pick me uppers! Think coffee, cakes, chocolate, biscuits and even some coca cola. But I’m starting to feel more worn out than I should so am longing to go back to eating healthy healing food. I have been interested in the health benefits of food for a while but because I love my food the recipes have to be yummy as well. Put me on a boring vegetables only diet and I wouldn’t last a week. Apart from being nutritionally good for you food also has to satisfy the taste buds. I’m not a dietitian, doctor or chef so do take what I say with a pinch of salt. Let the feast begin!