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Country vegetable soup – Gluten and Dairy free and a Vegan option

For this soup recipe I thought I would go back to basics and use a pressure cooker.  Vegetables cook a lot quicker and you don’t loose any of the steam so more of the nutrients are kept within the soup.  You can use a slow cooker but don’t cook for too long as the veg will go to mush and you will have a very sloppy soup.

This dish is packed full with essential winter goodness to try and fight off those colds before they arrive.

Broccoli is high in fibre, 2.6g per 100g portion,  high in antioxidant vitamins beta-carotene and C, and Potassium.

Cabbage, try to use a savoy cabbage as the green leafs contain more vitamins and minerals than the lighter variety, also has 3.1g per 100g portion of fibre.

Swede has 24 calories per 100g and contains the antioxidant vitamins beta-carotene and vitamin C  and is a good source of fibre.

Kale is another green veg that is classed as a super food due to the high levels of antioxidants beta-carotene C and E and also contains potassium and magnesium.

Ingredients

    • 2 Shallots – chopped finely
    • 1 cm Fresh Ginger – chopped very finely
    • ½ Butternut Squash - cubed
    • ½ Swede - cubed
    • 100 g Kale
    • ½ Cabbage – chopped
    • ½ Courgette
    • 3 Carrots - cubed
    • 1 Parsnip - cubed
    • 8 Florets of Broccoli
    • 4 Potatoes – cubed
    • 1 tbsp of sesame seed oil
    • 1 Knorr Vegetable stock cube with 500ml water (vegan, use the knorr vegetable stock pot)
    • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
    • Salt & Pepper to taste
    • 1 tbsp coconut flour

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker until hot, add the onions and ginger and simmer until soft.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, pour over the stock and sprinkle the herbs and seasoning.
  3. Place the lid on and bring to pressure and cook for 10 mins
  4. Mix the coconut flour with a little water to make a paste and stir into the soup to add a thick sauce.
  5. Leave to cool for about 30 mins then blitz in the Nutrabulit

 

 

 

Healthy sweets, healthy jelly sweet recipe, free jelly sweet reciepe, sweets to help with post training fatigue

Jelly babies to sustain training, try these Jelly Love Hearts

These Jelly Love Hearts, are lactose free, suitable for celiacs and with a little twist Vegans as well.

I was inspired by an article I read in Woman's Health Magazine some months ago and have been experimenting ever since.  As usual there have been many interesting outcomes.  My husband has tried these on a long bike ride to keep him going and the response was - 'not bad'!!!!

You may want to put them in a sandwich bag if you are taking them out on a run or to the gym, as your body heat makes them a little sticky.  I have used love heart ice trays as I thought they looked quite cute, but you can let them set in little cups or container.

Coconut water has had a lot of media coverage over the last couple years with various claims, one being that it is better than plain water or energy drinks post workout to re-hydrate you, due to the natural source of electrolytes.

Green tea is packed with antioxidants, so will help prevent the free radical damage caused by your workout and the caffeine content will also give your energy levels a boost.

Cherry juice can help alleviate pain caused by swelling and can aid the reduction of inflammation, therefore encouraging the body to recover more quickly.

Honey is a natural energy source that is easily absorbed by the body.  Try using raw honey if you can as it hasn't been treated and will contain more natural health benefits.  It also contains polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants which will encourage your immune system to work more efficiently.


the immune system post workout.

Ingredients

  • 150ml  Coconut Water
  • 2 Green Tea Bags
  • 215ml Cherry Juice
  • 3 tsp Honey (maple syrup)
  • 20g Gelatin (vegan gelatin)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method

  • Bring to the boil the coconut water then add the green tea bags and simmer for 5 mins.
  • Add the Cherry Juice, Honey and Salt and simmer until all has dissolved, remove from the heat.
  • Gradually sprinkle and whisk in the gelatin until dissolved.
  • Pour into molds and allow to cool before placing in the fridge for 10 mins.

Hearty Autumn Tomato and Lentil Soup

You just can’t beat a Hearty Soup on a winters night.

As the nights get colder and darker you can’t beat a good Hearty Soup.  I do get a bit carried away when I make soup, as you can just about throw anything that is left in the fridge into it.  I always start with this base and experiment from there.  This base doesn’t use garlic or celery as it can aggravate the stomach of anyone who has a food intolerance.

This is also a great way to get extra veg into your little angels and your not so little angels if they are fussy.  Be careful not to add too many leafy green veg as it does change the colour of the soup and might put them off.  Stick to lighter coloured veg, like butternut squash, cauliflower, swede, carrots and parsnips.

Ingredients

  • 4 shallots, chopped finely
  • 1.5 cm cube of fresh ginger, chopped finely
  • 50g lentils
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 carton of passata
  • 1 Red Pepper chopped
  • 1 Green Pepper chopped
  • 1 Yellow Pepper chopped
  • 1 Red Chili chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of Tomato Puree
  • a large handful of basil leaves, chopped

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan until hot, add the shallots and ginger and cook until the onions are translucent (you can add Garlic and Celery to add flavour at this point).
  2. Add the chili to the onions, season to taste and cook for a further 2 mins.
  3. Boil the lentils for 10 mins, skim off any white foam, then add to the pot with the remaining water.
  4. Place the rest of the ingredients in the pan, bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a little extra water if the consistency becomes too thick.
  5. Place to one side to allow to cool a little, then put the liquid in a blender, I always use a Nutribullet as they make a lovely smooth soup.
  6. Serve with our homemade bread.

 

Polenta cake, what is polenta, what can I make with polenta, polenta and honey cake recipe

Orange and Lemon Polenta Cake

So what is Polenta and what can I do with it.

It originated from northern Italy and used to be known as peasant food but is now popular all over Europe due to being inexpensive and can be prepared in many different ways.  It’s normally made from the yellow corn, by grinding the dried corn kernels to either fine, medium and course texture depending upon how it is going to be used.  The finely ground white version is normally known as ‘cornflour’.  The Polenta that is referred to in this recipe is the medium version and has a slightly crunchy texture, I have added a link to Sainsbury’s online as they stock it.

It can be made into a a version of mashed potato, added to dishes like a flour, or cooked and sliced and added to a stir fry.  You do need to follow the instructions carefully if you are making your own.  There is a fine line between the correct amount of water added, to get the best texture.

Polenta is made from ground cornmeal so is great for anyone with a wheat intolerance or celiacs as it naturally gluten free.  50 grams of dry polenta will give you 172 calories, 4.3 grams protein, 37 grams carbs, and is a  good source of Iron.

Ingredients

  • 150ml Sunflower Oil
  • 150g Runny Honey
  • 3 Eggs
  • 100g Ground Polenta
  • 60g Coconut Flour
  • 2 large Oranges
  • 1 lemon

Method

  1. Pre heat the oven to 160C/gas 3
  2. Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl mix the oil and honey together, then combine ingredients from both bowls.
  3. Add zest of the oranges and lemon and fold in the Polenta, coconut flour and the juice of the oranges.
  4. Pour the mixture into a lined baking tin and bake for approx. 40-50 mins. Once cooked leave in the tin until cool.

 

Apple and plum pudding, healthy recipes, healthy food, free recipes

Apple and Plum Pudding (Gluten and Dairy Free) using Coconut Flour

Coconut flour, what and why should I use it?

I have been experimenting with coconut flour, it has a far less grainy texture compared to most gluten free flours.  As you can imagine I have had mixed success, ranging from sawdust to glub.  What you have to remember, when using coconut flour, is you cannot just swap like for like in any recipe, it will absorb any liquid far more than normal flour.  I have mainly been using 1/2 to 1/4 of normal flour to coconut flour,  but will always use less to start with as you can always add more depending on the texture.

Coconut flour is made from 'meat' or the white pulp of the coconut and is naturally gluten and lactose free so no chemicals are used to alter the composition.  It is relatively easy to make, follow this link and see how you get on.  The flour has a higher protein and fiber content than normal flour and due to its low GI content is great in helping to maintain your blood sugar which prevents peaks and troughs of energy.

There has been lots in the media recently about the health benefits of coconut water and how it can help to rehydrate you after a workout.  It is packed with minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and manganese, it also contains high levels of antioxidants and amino acids.  However in recent tests, water has been found to be just as good at rehydrating the body during and post workout.  So I think the jury is still out on that one.  If you like the taste and feel better after drinking it, then it may be for you.  I personally still prefer basic water.

Try this really quick and easy pudding that all the family can enjoy.

Ingredients

Fruit Layer

  • 2 x Cooking Apples, peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
  • 3 x Plums washed, stone removed and chopped into cubes
  • 1/2 tbsp Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Topping

  • 4 Eggs
  • 75 grams Caster Sugar
  • 50 grams Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 20 grams of Ground Almonds

Method

  1. Put fruit, sugar and cinnamon in a pan and cook for 2 mins on a high heat, reduce to a simmer for 15-20 mins until the fruit is soft.
  2. While the fruit is cooking whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until fluffy and quite firm.  Gently stir in Flour, Almonds and baking powder until thoroughly mixed, do not beat the mixture as all the air will be lost and the 'sponge' won't rise.
  3. Add the fruit to a dish and pour over the topping.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 170C and bake for about 30 mins until the topping is firm to touch.
  5. Serve immediately with a splash of Coconut Cream.
tomato, spinach and courgette pasta, free tomato, spinach and courgette past

Tomato, Spinach and Courgette Pasta with Avocado Pesto

Courgette Pasta, whatever is that?

I have been experimenting with using Courgettes as pasta, some attempts have been more successful than others.  This dish is inspired by a Deliciously Ella recipe, with of course a little bit more added.

There is a lot in the press about reducing the amount of carbs you eat, however my reason for experimenting was due to my husband not being able to eat pasta.  I have tried some of the gluten free options and to be quite honest was not that impressed, there is about a second where it goes from being under cooked to mush!!  You can now buy Courgettes already made into noodles, for about £1.25 for 300g, although it's more fun doing them yourself.  If you do want to have a go at making your own, a spiralizer will cost anywhere from £11.99 to £49.99.  A very dear friend bought me a Rotato Express when I broke my wrist and could not peel vegetables.  You can imagine my excitement to find a machine that peels your vegetables for you!! Anyway I now use this to spiralize my veg!!!

Nutritional Information

Courgettes are one of the lowest calorie vegetables, with only 17 calories per 100g, it is technically known as a fruit not a vegetable.  Zucchini, as it is also known, has a high fiber content which helps to lower cholesterol levels.

Did you know that the simple Avocado (or Alligator pear) originated from South Central Mexico, they produce around 1.47 million tonnes a year.  Advocados are a great source of vitamins C & E, which provide antioxidants to fight those free radicals post workout.  They have twice the potassium as Bananas which helps regulate body fluids.

In previous blogs we have talked about the importance of Magnesium, this dish has a good source due to the spinach, avocado and pine nuts and will give you around 155mg of Magnesium.

Ingredients

  • 2 Courgettes, Spiralized
  • 10 Chestnut Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Avocados
  • 2 Large Handfuls of Spinach
  • 8 Cherry Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Red Chili, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • 10 leaves of fresh Mint
  • 5 leaves Coriander
  • Handful of pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of Sesame Seed Oil

Method

  • Heat a large pan and add the Sesame Seed oil, when hot add the mushrooms and chili, simmer for about 7 mins. Add the spinach and simmer until the spinach has reduced down.
  • Add the spiralized courgettes, and simmer gently for about 5 mins.
  • Peel and stone the avocado and chop, add to a large jug, add the mint, coriander, lime juice and olive oil.  Using a little hand blender, blitz the mixture until it is as smooth as desired.  Season to taste.
  • Add the avocado mixture to the pan and heat through.
  • Serve with chopped tomatoes and pine nuts sprinkled on the top.
Energy bar, homemade energy bar, free recipe for homemade energy bar,

Energy bars, steady they are very moreish.

These energy bars are a perfect snack to help you refuel after a heavy workout, hitting the spot when you are low on energy.  They are very moreish so don't overindulge, otherwise you might be in danger of exceeding the daily recommended intake of sugar.

I have been using this recipe for ages, it's suitable for celiac and lactose intolerant sufferers, just replace the oats and spread for the brand you would normally use.  I like to play around with the ingredients to get different tastes and consistencies.  These little bars of energy include chopped nuts, but most nuts are suitable, just ensure they are broken into very small pieces to assist digestion.  One of my favourite ingredients is Goji berries, for their taste and colour, you could try dates as an alternative.

Oats are a good source of  slow release carbohydrates, which will help curb hunger and keep you feeling full for longer.

Nuts are high in Iron, Zinc, magnesium and protein, great at encouraging recovery after a workout.

Sunflower and sesame seeds are high in Iron, calcium and magnesium.  Packed with Vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant in the fight against free radicals.

Chia seeds (chia means strength) originate from Mexico and are sometimes referred to as 'runners food'.  It was believed these seeds could keep warriors going all day.  Not sure how many warriors there are out there, but the high fibre content will help regulate blood sugar and energy levels.  Chia seeds are high in antioxidants, which scoop up those pesky free radicals that are created during exercise and can damage body tissue.

Cinnamon has one of the highest antioxidant contents of most herbs/spices.

Ingredients for the energy bars

  • 8 oz Gluten free Porridge Oats
  • 4 oz Sunflower Seeds
  • 2 oz Chia Seeds
  • 2 oz Sesame seeds
  • 2 oz Chopped Nuts
  • 4 oz of Goji berries soaked in boiling water for 20 mins
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 3 oz of lactose free spread
  • 4 oz Brown Sugar
  • 4 1/2 tbsp of Honey

Method

  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, drain the  goji berries and mix in.
  • Add the honey, spread and sugar to a saucepan on a low heat until it forms a liquid.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the pan and mix.
  • Line a 10cm x 30cm baking tray with non stick baking paper and spoon in ingredients.
  • Using a potato masher, compact the ingredients into the tray and bake on 140c for about 20 mins.
  • leave to cool in the tray then cut into 5cm squares. (you wont need any more than that)

 

Shahi Dahl and Roji, Shahi Dahl and Rohi recipe, How to cook Sahi Dhal and Royi

Asma’s wonderful family Shahi Dhal and Roti

I had the pleasure recently to cook with a wonderful lady called Asma, who introduced me to this Dhal recipe. This is a family favourite that Asma has been making for years and very kindly shared with me.  I had never used onions in this way before, so the Tarkha was a completely different approach to adding flavours to a dish.  Quite a lot of my recipes use lentils, as they are packed with Iron, Vitamin B6, Potassium and have a very low GI which helps to regulate your blood sugar and keep you fuller for longer.

Food should be fun and being able to experiment with different styles certainly opens your mind to different food types. This should then give you confidence to see a recipe and think 'well lets shake it up a bit and make it different'.  My aim is always to see how many vegetables I can add to a dish to make it as nutritionally packed as I can.

Ingredients -

100g Chana Dhal

100g Red lentils

100g Green lentils

100g Mung Beans

1 1/2 large onion finely sliced

3 Cloves Garlic

1/2 tsp Turmeric

1 Medium Tomato

1 tsp salt

2 Pints Water

Tarkha

1/2 large onion finely sliced

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Garnish

4 dry red chilies

1 handful of coriander leaves chopped

1 lime cut in quarters

Roti

150g Wholemeal Flour

100ml Boiled water

1/4 tsp salt

flour for dusting

Dhal Method

  1. Soak Channa Dhal for at least 30 mins.
  2. Mix all lentils in a pan and rinse 2-3 times.
  3. Add 1.5 pints of water, onion, garlic, turmeric and salt and bring to the boil.
  4. Stir, cover and let simmer for 15 mins on a low heat. Stir occasionally.
  5. Add chopped tomato and more water if required and simmer for a further 5 mins.

Tarkha Method

  1. Heat oil in a small pan on a high heat, and add onion and garlic.
  2. Ensure you stir vigorously to stop them burning.  Cook until golden brown.
  3. Add to the Lentils.

Roti Method

  1. Mix the salt into the flour and add the water slowly to form a nice dough
  2. Kneed the mixture well and divide into 6 pieces.
  3. Roll each dough ball in your palm and place on a floured surface.
  4. Using a rolling pin roll out until thin and the size of a small side plate.
  5. Heat a non stick frying pan to a medium heat and cook each Roti for around 3-5 mins each side.

Serve the Dhal and garnish with the coriander, lime and chilli.

Try making extra of the Dhal as it freezes really well and will be a great go to meal when you are in a rush.

Gluten and lactose free stuffed mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms with Salmon and Steamed Veg

Gluten and Lactose Free Stuffed Mushrooms with Salmon and Steamed Veg

I like to practice what I preach and just about all our meals are cooked from totally fresh ingredients. By cooking with fresh products I know exactly what is going into my cooking, which for me is important from an allergy point of view, plus I like the fact that there isn't any added salt, sugar or additives going into my meals.  However every now and again I come across certain pre-made products that look interesting and aren’t that bad when you look at the ingredients. Surprisingly some of the Gluten and Lactose free products available, have so many other additives added to try and replace the ingredients that you can't have, that I end up not buying them because they just aren't that good for you. That's why, when I find something that has quite basic ingredients and is also quite reasonably priced, I like to experiment.

When I saw this Gluten and Dairy free stuffing from Tesco’s, I decided to give it a try.  I used it as stuffing for a Sunday lunch and was pleasantly surprised, it didn’t taste like sawdust like most gluten and dairy free foods!!!! (including some of my disasters), I decided to get creative and stuffed mushrooms were the outcome.

Stuffed Mushroom Ingredients –

1 pack of Free From sage and onion stuffing mix

4 large Portabella Mushrooms

1 large red onion finely chopped

½ Courgette, grated

½ Medium Aubergine, finely chopped

½ Red pepper

½ Green pepper

1 tbsp. of oil

4 Salmon steaks

1 large orange

Method

1 – Place the Salmon steaks in a dish and juice the orange over the top, place to one side.

2 - Preheat oven to 180C

3 – Prepare the stuffing as stated on the packed and leave to stand.

4 – Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion, gently fry until soft.

5 – Add the courgette and aubergine, simmer for approx. 5-10 mins until soft.

6 – Now add the peppers and cook for another 5-10 mins until soft.

7 – Remove stalks from the mushrooms, place in an oven proof dish.  Mix stuffing and veg mix thoroughly, stuff the mushrooms, cover with foil or lid.

8 – Place salmon and mushrooms in the oven for around 20 mins, then remove cover from mushrooms and cook for a further 10 mins.

9 – Served with steamed vegetables.

Gluten Free Vegetable Hot Pot

A Healthy One Pot, Gluten Free Vegetable Hot Pot

This is one of our old favourites which comes out as the weather gets colder. It is perfect for those damp and cold winter nights and has a real homely kind of feel to it. There are a couple of naughty ingredients included like the cheese and nuts, this is because they have a higher fat content than all the other ingredients.  The basic recipe is not lactose free as I add cheese on the top. However, you can follow the notes below to change the topping to create a lactose free version. If you are a real meat eater and can’t bear the thought of another veggie meal, add strips of either chicken or turkey to the lower part of the dish where the stock is and it will cook thoroughly in the hour.

You will see in the photos below how  I layer the dish up as it looks really attractive if you arrange the vegetables in a fan like shape (anyone with a bit of OCD, I hope will appreciate the look).  This dish can be prepared ahead and just left to cook on those busy nights when there are 20 other things to do!!!

Ingredients

¼ Swede, sliced thinly

¼ Butternut Squash, sliced thinly

1 Red Onion, chopped small

3 Carrots, sliced

½ Celeriac, sliced thinly

1 Parsnip, sliced

1 courgette sliced

1tsp of mixed herbs

1 Knorr veg stock cube, (knorr stock cubes are gluten free) 400 ml of boiling water.

4 x sweet potatoes, sliced thinly (for gluten free version)

4 x potatoes, sliced thinly

80 grams Cashew Nuts, chopped

50 g grated cheese

Normal Version

 

1 – Pre heat oven to 180C

2 – Start to layer up the sliced vegetables, starting with the denser ones first like swede and celeriac, then butternut squash.

3 - Add a layer of the nuts and onion, then the sliced carrots and parsnips, then another layer of nuts and onion. Then use a layer of courgette, and finish with a layer of potatoes.

4 – Pour over the stock and cover with grated cheese, bake in the over for a 1 hour or until the potatoes are baked and cheese gives a crunchy topping.

 

 

 

Lactose Intolerant Version

1 – As above 1-3, however finish with sliced sweet potatoes, add stock and cover the dish  with either a lid or foil, to ensure the potatoes don’t dry out.