January is meant to herald the start of a year of healthy eating and portion control. Countless magazine covers are testament to this; but I often find the kind of diets they promote are unsustainable and faddish. So as we enter February, I hope those fad diets have been ditched. I fundamentally don’t believe in eating like a rabbit after a Christmas binge – how depressing! I think it’s about getting great flavours in with healthy staples that you should be eating regularly anyway. So I thought I’d share a couple of recipes I made recently. They feature some of my favourite ingredients that are really healthy and delicious. The following recipes have a bit of thrift in mind so you’re using the leftover of some ingredients in a completely different dish the next day…
Chorizo and parsley salad:
Parsley and lemon were the two ingredients that inspired me to put this together – if it was up to me, I’d just eat a plate of parsley…
- 60g chorizo
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 handfuls spinach
- 1 handful parsley
- 200g borlotti beans
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 ciabatta
- Crème fraîche
1. Slice the chorizo and ciabatta into small pieces and fry with a little olive oil – once crisp, remove to plate
2. In the same pan heat fry the garlic on a low heat and add the borlotti beans and spinach after a minute
3. Once the spinach has wilted a bit, add a squeeze of lemon juice and return the chorizo and ciabatta to the pan
4. Mix in most of the chopped parsley (leave some for garnish) and plate up.
5. Garnish (which means ‘pile on’ in my world) with a dollop of crème fraîche, the rest of the parsley and a small sprinkling of lemon zest
Mushooms…another ingredient that I can never seem to get enough of, and here is a soup that dedicates everything to enhancing it’s mushroom flavour.
- 45g Dried porcini mushrooms and 200ml of water to soak them in
- 200g Chestnut mushrooms
- 500 ml Chicken stock
- 2 garlic cloves (I originally used 1, but I think it could do with another…maybe 1/2)
- 1/2 onion
- Crème fraîche
- Grate lemon peel
- 1/2 ciabatta
- Handful of parsley
- Sprig of thyme
1. Sock the porcini mushrooms and gently fry the onions, garlic and thyme for 5 mins until softened (use a big pan)
2. Drain the porcini (keep the liquid!) and add to the onions along with the roughly chopped chestnut mushrooms – cook for 5 mins
3. Add the stock and porcini mushroom juices, season lightly and simmer for 20 mins
4. Lastly add a few dollops of crème fraîche and simmer for a few more minutes – check the seasoning
5. Let it cool for a few minutes before putting it in the blender (or use a hand blender). I got a new Kitchen Aid blender for Christmas and managed to get soup EVERYWHERE attempting this – any soup blending tips would be appreciated:)
6. Finally, serve with a small dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkling of lemon zest on top (none of that swirly nonsense)
And now a little word about the wonder of some of the ingredients I’ve featured in this months’ blog.
Parsley: my favourite herb of all. Parsley is rich in vitamins A & C (powerful antioxidants) and two tablespoons contain 16% of the RDA of vitamin C and 12% of the RDA of vitamin A. These vitamins in themselves are wonderful anti-inflammatories and are key for a healthy immune system. And get this… it contains masses of Vitamin K – cruicial for healthy bones! Just 1 tablespoon is your RDA of the stuff.
Lemon: a wonder fruit and really, really good for you. Not only can it boast antiviral and antibiotic powers, but it’s high in Vitamin C and has properties that help boost liver function. Believe it or not, but once it’s broken down by the digestion process, it’s one of the most alkalising things you can eat (which is good!) Check out this article for more info: http://www.livestrong.com/article/500654-the-alkalizing-effect-of-lemons/
Mushrooms: mushrooms are magic – they are the only fruit/veg source of Vitamin D, they boost your immune system and contain a good amount of B vitamins (B2 and B3), which are great for the metabolism. They also contain selenium, which is suspected to help lower the risk of bladder cancer.
So, there you have it – beautiful ingredients, with beautiful health benefits and not a fad diet in sight… X