So here is the list of recipes and methods that I used on my second ever webinar, for a part of our beloved NHS. I absolutely love doing these. It does feels strange talking to two cameras and seeing my upper body in one and then my hands and the food in the other. I cannot get the image of the magican supposedly sawing the body in two on stage and having the legs and arms still moving. I guess this is simply a childhood throwback to its an illusion. I found it fascinating but obviously never wanted to try for obvious reasons.
The theme behind yesterdays presentation was to introduce the idea of a date night for people in lockdown, while at the same time continuing on with the goal of doing some tasty and nutritious food. So with this in mind I started with the rainbow again by showing people the super healthy granola which is in itself a cornucopia of natural nutritious colours. As time goes on we all change recipes a little and this recipe here has also changed slightly from the original. We then continued with the gluten free and lactose free soup recipe, I do this recipe a lot, as I am asked a lot for a soup recipes that are simple, nutritious and versatile to make. One which can accomadate all food groups and this one, fits the bill on all of these points.
Next up was the hardy perrenial my homemade tomato sauce. This is a must for anyone who like me is always in need of a pot of tomato sauce either sitting in the fridge or in the freezer. Its simple and nutritious and unlike most of the shop bought ones is not stuffed full of hidden salt, sugar or any nasty chemicals. I checked out one yesterday sold in numerous supermarkets that contained ingredients that a fresh tomato sauce basically does not need or never will. As the idea of yesterday was to try and do a starter a main and a desert for either two people or a family, we then had a fantastic lemon posset recipe that had lots of fresh zesty lemon juice and zest which as we all know is packed with vitamin C and lots of healthy fat which like everything it should always be eaten in moderation. I have reduced the sugar content to keep it healthy. I know that these were fab as I had as soon as the camera was switched off.
The starter was a sharing plate of burrata cheese with some juicy cherry tomatoes and a huge selection of roasted vegetables topped with a basil and garlic olive oil so all the nutrition boxs were ticked. The burrata was soft and creamy and as a family we had this for dinner that evening. Not only did I enjoy doing all of this food my family have already asked me when is the next one. The answer to that is at the end of March and the theme for the next one is Fakeaway where I am going to do my take on some of our favourite take out food but obviously healthy and nutritious and super tasty, so watch this space! I have already started on my recipes one of which will be my little Thai fishcakes, These were a regular favourite of my clientelle from my days of restaurant ownership.
Yesterday was finished with two simple fish dishes, both served with a warm salad of new potatoes and french beans. I did a panfried sea bass which has featured before on the blog and a fillet of fresh salmon rolled in silicone paper and tin foil and gently oven roasted in its own juices. Two really simple fish plates that just show how easy it is to prepare and serve healthy accesible fish. All thats left for me to do now is write up the recipes and the methods along with some photos.
Any questions please dont be shy just ask.
I may actually try at some stage to put the video link on here if anyone has a spare 50 minutes to watch it!
Recipe for a Basic Soup using potato as a thickener
600g Peeled potatoes this will give you about 540g after peeling. Chop them or slice them into 2-3cm pieces.
2 Medium onions sliced roughly
500g Leeks now just use the white parts only and any green tops left just keep for vegetable stock. Roughly sliced into 2cm pieces and please wash well as they are fond of grit and mud. You won’t get away with the crunch of grit by saying its black pepper.
1500mls of vegetable stock TBH I use Kallo stock cubes they are GF, DF, WF organic and vegan and to be honest they are as close to homemade as I can find.
Small bunch of parsley. Pick off the top and chop and cut the stalks in 4cm pieces and wash well as they are going in the pot.
2 bay leafs. These are going in the pot as well but do not liquidise them, so remember to take them out.
You need a pot that needs at least 5lts capacity.
Dissolve your stock cubes in the 1.5lt of hot water
Put absolutely everything (Except the picked chopped parsley) in the pot with the stock cubes and water and put on a low heat with the lid on.
Simmer the mix for approximately 50 minutes.
When the potatoes have cooked through, then everything else is also ready you simply use a hand blender to liquidise it all (Take the pot off the heat when you are doing this, make sure it’s on an even surface. I do think safety first and always try to hold the pot using a cloth as you liquidise it). Add the chopped parsley and some salt and pepper to taste. At this stage if you want to add some dairy then please do.
Now essentially this soup is ready but if you want to bump up the nutrition levels you can do the following additions.
You can add 200g of frozen peas straight to the hot soup now and liquidise and serve straight away, this ups your intake of vitamin C, folate, vitamin B1 and fibre. This also makes the soup a very nice green colour and is a great way to get the kids eating peas without them knowing it. Also the flavour of it is in my opinion even better. Plus by not cooking them out your vitamins are not destroyed or lost.
Another option and one we do a lot especially in winter is while the soup is still whole. I add one full head of broccoli that I chop into 2cm pieces including the florets and the stalk and cook for four minutes and then liquidise. Broccoli is a real anti cancer vegetable while also being rich in vitamin C, fibre and vitamin K. Again by adding it just before liquidising the soup you protect all of the goodness. If you do this you may have to add some water or stock because the fibre content of broccoli is in itself a natural thickener.
What we also tend to do with this soup indeed what we do with all soups in this family is grate a small mountain of cheese on top predominantly parmesan or cheddar and the drizzle a good extra virgin olive oil on top, yet again all optional but it does add to the richness and flavour and the olive oil is rich in antioxidants and helpful fatty acids which are good for the old ticker. While cheese in moderation has high levels of calcium and omega 3 fatty acids. These are all optional additions and as a family we eat all our recipes so therefore I tell you what we do with our food.
That’s it as you can see this basic recipe can become the base of lots of different soups and lots of different flavours work. One last thing to bear in mind is that different potatoes have different starch levels so some potatoes will give you a thicker or lighter soup so don’t be afraid to add a little extra stock if you feel you need it. In this house we have a tendency to like really thick soups. Any questions please ask and I shall try to answer.
Homemade Tomato sauce:
2 carrots roughly chopped
2 medium onions roughly chopped
1 Large red pepper roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic chopped
1 leek washed well and chopped
1/4Tsp dried crushed chilli (This is optional but I like the slight kick of chilli)
2 Stock cubes
2 x 440gr tins of chopped tomato
1 x 500mls water
Salt and pepper to taste
20mls white wine vinegar
1tbls Brown sugar
Cook all of your veg in a heavy bottomed pan on a low heat for fifteen minutes and don’t worry if they brown in fact it adds to the flavour.
Add you chilli and brown sugar, stock cube and salt and pepper.
Add the tomato, the water and vinegar, place on a lid and cook on a low heat for a further 40 minutes. If you have time this is a great sauce to cook with a lid on in the oven at 140 for approx an hour and a half, as it gets better with a slow cook.
Now some people will tell you to dice all of your veg small and then leave it chunky. But I like to cool the sauce down and then liquidise it. This makes the sauce more versatile.
This is a very versatile sauce and because it’s got cooked tomato, it’s fantastic for your health. It’s great if you have kids, they will love it! Once again it’s a great way to sneak in the veg they normally may not eat. You can add diced cooked chorizo or diced smoked bacon lardons to it and make a fantastic pasta sauce. You can as I said earlier use it to coat some Chicken breast or cod and roast it gently in the oven. Or simply break it down into smaller portions and freeze for future use. Like I said earlier I am no expert but I do have the present knowledge of living through cancer and a desire to reduce the prospects of my kids getting it in the future
Super Healthy Granola Recipe
30g of Dried Apricots (Tasty little things packed with natural sugar with calcium and fibre a must in granola
30g of Dried Prunes (Fantastic as we all know for the digestive system, just don’t eat to many at one go 🙂
30g of Dates (natural sugar and packed with fibre)
30g of Sliced Almonds (Lots of Calcium plus packed with fibre and great for cell regeneration)
30g of Pecan nuts (lots of antioxidant properties plus great for boosting the immune system plus toasted they have a great flavour
30g Hazelnuts (Lots of Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids)
50g Coconut flakes (I prefer toasted for the flavour) I actually cut this down to 20g and the family liked it better but you can always just sprinkle more on top later if you wish.
10g Chia seeds (Lots of Fibre and proteins plus rich in Omega 3)
20g Dried strawberry chips (You can use cranberries which are easier to get but my boys love the sharpness of the strawberries)
60g Mixed seeds such as Pumpkin, Sesame, Sunflower seeds mixed, (possibly one of the healthiest items you can use in your diet they have everything you need to fight cancer and work on the side effects of Chemo)
300g Oats (I like jumbo oats that are slightly rolled but not milled into dust try the Aldi Kavanagh Oats)
150ml of Maple syrup (One of Mother Nature’s most powerful anti-oxidants)
25ml Sunflower oil / rapeseed oil
(1) Preheat oven to 120C
(2) Mix oats with the seeds and pour over the honey, maple syrup and the veg oil and mix all thoroughly.
(3) Spread the entire mx on two roasting trays and roast gently at 120C for 15mins then remove and turn gently around the tray and turn your oven up to 150C for a further ten minutes or until a nice golden toasted colour. Keep an eye on this as the oats can go from hero to zero in seconds.
(4) While you’re waiting for the oats to roast you will need to finely dice the dried fruits to a size that you prefer, I personally like them really small.
(5) Meanwhile you need to toast all the nuts in a dry frying pan you can use a little oil if you wish to speed up the process but I prefer not to, as it encourages the nuts to use their own oil to toast. Take it off when the smell is tickling your nose. Do not leave this alone as they burn really fast.
All that’s now left to do is to combine everything including the Chia seeds and the coconut and mix really well and the pop back on your roasting trays to cool completely. When its nice and cool then sprinkle the dried strawberry’s on top.
When cold this will hold in an air tight container for about three weeks, but is eaten in our house about three to four days.
I can honestly tell you is its healthier, and one word of warning its heavier than shop bought so cut down the portion you would normally have. I recommend about 50g per portion.
I have tried my best to give you an idea of the health benefits of the ingredients. While one single ingredient on its own may not make a difference to how you feel, when you combine them in food such as granola and eat a portion every morning or as a sprinkle over a bit of yoghurt for desert, it all adds up to giving your body’s immune system a much needed boost.
Lemon Posset recipe
350ml Double cream
80g Light brown sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
2 large Lemons zest and juice only.
In a large pot combine the sugar, cream and the vanilla. Bring to the boil slowly while stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Allow to boil for about 45 seconds and then remove from the heat.
After five minutes off the heat add in the lemon juice and zest while stirring for approximately three minutes. (By waiting for the cream mix to cool you preserve the vitamin C in the juice and zest).
Divide evenly between four small desert bowls and refrigerate for about three hours until cold and set.
Now you can serve some shortbread with these but I think that on their own they are delicious. I sometimes grate a ginger nut biscuit on top and this adds a nice subtle ginger bite to them.
Burrata Cheese sharing plate.
When it comes down to this plate the world is your oyster. You can make it as easy as slicing some good cherry tomatoes or large beef tomatoes and sprinkling a little salt and pepper on them and a dash of sherry/apple cider vinegar and a splash of olive oil on top and then plopping your cheese on top and dig in. Or you can do like I do and go the whole hog….. and use Roast vegetables with it. There is an alternative in so far as you can buy these vegetables such as pepper ready roasted. But I feel that if you are going to do this then you need to own it and do your on veggies. They are simple to do and once you do them the first time you can use them in other salads you can use then to garnish a soup or another nain course. The choice is your so I am going to do a crash course in veg roasting. This dish has only one golden rule!!! YOU MUST USE A GREAT BURRATA which is not expensive and one that will feed four. I use one from Waitrose which is excellent and so beautifully creamy when split and drizzled with some basil and garlic oil.
The vegetables and how to cut and cook.
1 Large red pepper cut into 2cm strips
1 Courgette cut into 1cm discs
3 Shallots peeled and cut in four lengthways or one medium onion peeled and cut into six
8 Button mushrooms with the stalk removed
6 cloves of garlic not peeled but gently crushed to break them (Optional but if you use then then both of you have to eat them.
Ok the method is simple all you do is arrange all of the veg on a large roasting tray and try to keep them all as a group I.E the pepper together or you can mix them all but I just think it looks nicer on the board.
Sprinkle a good dash of olive oil evenly over the vegetables and then season with some salt and pepper and a sprinkle of paprika.
Roast in an oven at 150C for fifteen minutes and the turn the oven down to 120C for a further ten minutes and then take out the tray and allow to cool for an hour without moving
While the vegetables are still warm put your tomatoes in on top you should allow about five cherry tomatoes per person or half a large tomato. I normally cut my tomatoes in half but you can slice them if you prefer.
Take a large plate and put some Rocket right in the middle the start layering your vegetables in and around the rocket. Now at this stage you can put your burrata on the vegetables and use the remaining vegetables around it. All thats left to do is too make the basil and garlic oil and for this you will need the following.
Chop up one clove of garlic and slice about six large basil leaves and then pop it all in a little bowl and drizzle some olive oil on top and thats it you have made your dressing.
Now sprinkle the sharing plate with some sherry/Apple cider or balsamic vinegar and then liberally pour your basil oil on top and cut the burrata down the middle and watch all that beautifull mild cheese goodness ooze out.
We love this with some toasted ciabatta or any rustic bread. I have previously done a recipe for a simple white seeded loaf which works really well with this but the choice is yours. Enjoy and then relax a while ………
Now we finally get to the main course which I have done in a previous post titled we need to eat more fish. This post also gives you a neat breakdown on the different types of fish asnd what they bring to the table in regards to your health and nutrition. Here is the link to that post and so all I have left to do is a short method on the potato and french bean accompaniment.
Allow five to six potatoes per person and slice them into 1cm rings.Boil in lightly salted water until soft but not mushy approximately twelve minutes.
Top and tail your french beans and plunge into lightly salted water for four minutes then drain off water carefully and add a little cold to stop them cooking. Drain and set aside.
Cook your fish as per the recipe an method. Lift out the fish and plate then add the potatoes and french beans back to the frying pan with a small knob of butter(optional or a dash of olive or rapeseed oil).
Panfry until warm which is about five minutes add a small dash of salt and pepper as required and then place nicely on the plate near the fish.Squeeze a quarter of lemon on top of everything and eat.
Thats it for now just remember that a recipe is simply a road map and if there is anything you dont like simply omit it and put something else in its place. Any questions please ask as I love it when people come up with suggestions or alternatives.Food is important and not just fppr our physical health but it adds so much to our mental wellbeing as well. Thank you all so much and take care.
Thank you and enjoy!! Liam X