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Hot Lemon and Ginger

Boil the kettle, put 1 or 2 tablespoons of freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice in a mug (the stuff that comes in bottles or squeezy lemon/lime shapes is fine), add a good pinch of sea salt crystals, grate in some peeled fresh root ginger (you can peel it, cut it into chunks, bag these and freeze, then grate from frozen), add boiling water, stir well, leave to cool a little before stirring in a teaspoon of Manuka honey and sipping slowly.

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Cleansing Juice

Mix equal quantities of water, unsweetened grapefruit, pomegranate and cranberry juices in a large glass. Add a pinch of cinnamon, ginger and allspice and stir well. You can also warm it through gently and have it as a hot drink on a cold day.

Cool refreshing apple juice with ice and fruit, selective focus

Switchel

Mix 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons maple syrup, the juice of half a lime and a 5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated in a large mug. Top up with boiling water, stir well, cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve over ice and top up with sparkling water.

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Scrambled Eggs on Toast

Why anyone would have a bowl of shop-bought cereal of a morning when you can have delectably-creamy scrambled eggs on hot buttered toast beats me!

(makes 1 serving)

Ingredients

2 large eggs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large or 2 small slices dark brown sprouted-grain bread
Top quality butter
Extras: smoked salmon, ham, grated hard cheese, chives

Method

  • Have your bread ready in the toaster or ready to go under a hot grill.
  • Put a small non-stick pan over a medium heat.
  • Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, pour into the pan and start stirring gently (use a wooden spoon with a pointed end or a spatula to get to the very edges of the pan).
  • Keep scrambling until three-quarters of the egg is a creamy mass then turn off the heat.
  • Toast the bread.
  • Add ‘extras’ to the pan if using and keep stirring until there is no liquid egg left.
  • Quickly butter your toast, top with the scrambled egg and dig in.
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Fresh Fruit Salad with Crunchy Yoghurt

You can make your own ‘crunchy mix’ in bulk using grains, nuts and seeds of choice and store in a glass jar or other airtight container in the fridge or buy a ready-prepared, muesli-type mix for convenience. If you go down that route, make sure it has no added sugars - label-reading is vital here and I recommend you head to a health store as a great many of those on the supermarket shelves are bulked out with dried fruits and involve difficult to spot sugary syrups!

Ingredients

Grains and flaked grains of choice (oats, millet, spelt, quinoa, buckwheat, rye etc)
Nuts and seeds of choice
Manuka honey
Natural dairy or non-dairy yoghurt
Fruits of choice
Powdered cinnamon or grated nutmeg

Method

  • If you are making your own ‘crunchy mix’, preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2-3.
  • Mix your chosen grains, nuts and seeds in a bowl, add a couple of tablespoons of runny honey and stir well until everything is coated.
  • Transfer the mix to a shallow baking tray and roast in the over for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, give the whole lot a good stir with a fork and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let the mix cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.
  • To serve, stir a couple of tablespoons of your homemade or ready-prepared ‘crunchy mix’ into 3 or 4 tablespoons of yoghurt, layer into a bowl or glass or transportable container with whole, sliced or diced fruit and top with powdered cinnamon or grated nutmeg.
  • The best thing about yoghurt, fruit and a bit of ‘extra crunch’ is that when you choose this as your first meal of the day, it is going to deliver an excellent balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate, make your tastebuds sing and keep you firing on all cylinders until lunchtime!
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Smoked Salmon and Avocado on Rye Toast

(makes 1 serving)

I favour pumpernickel which is hugely popular in Germany and Scandinavian countries for open sandwiches, comes ready-sliced and keeps in the fridge for up to a month.

Here are my ‘4 Ways’ that require minimal preparation:
Have your bread ready in the toaster or ready to go under a hot grill - one slice is generally sufficient but if it’s a very hungry morning, go for two and top with one of the following:

  • delicious creamy butter, sliced smoked salmon and lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • almond or cashew nut butter, sliced smoked salmon and finely-sliced cucumber
  • mashed or sliced avocado, sliced smoked salmon and finely-sliced peppery radish
  • horseradish sauce, sliced smoked salmon, chopped boiled egg and lots of freshly ground black pepper

I can also heartily recommend fresh, sliced pear and sliced/crumbled blue cheese or scrambled egg with chopped tomatoes or nut butter and sliced strawberries with a dash of Balsamic vinegar (it really works!)

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Quinoa Vegetable Bowl

(makes 1 serving)

Ingredients

50g quinoa, cooked according to package instructions
4 florets broccoli, finely chopped
½ small red onion, peeled and very finely diced
1 small carrot, scrubbed and roughly grated
1 tablespoon coriander leaves, roughly chopped
2 spring onions, very finely sliced
1 tablespoon fresh peanuts, chopped or roughly crushed

For the Dressing
Zest and juice of half a lime
½ teaspoon sesame seeds
½ tablespoon tamari or light soy sauce
½ tablespoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced/grated
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced/grated

Method

  • In a large bowl toss the cooked quinoa, broccoli, red onion, carrot, coriander, spring onions and peanuts together. Mix until combined.
  • In a small bowl combine dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the whole lot and mix until all the ingredients are well coated.
  • This is such a quick, tasty and protein-rich salad which you can happily mess around with dependent on your tastes and what’s in stock. I have tried calves liver, shiitake mushrooms and blue cheese plus duck breast, dried cherries and mozzarella with good results - experiment!
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Light Chicken or Lentil Broth

(makes 4 bowls)

This is a great broth to make in bulk and freeze in portions so you always have it on hand when you need a quick and nourishing lunch - itʼs good for much more than just the soul!

Ingredients

2 chicken thighs or 4 chicken wings or 4 tablespoons ready-cooked Puy lentils
1 tablespoon light olive oil
3 thick stalks celery, peeled and finely sliced
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
100g brown rice
1 teaspoon horseradish sauce
A generous bunch of parsley, stalks removed and leaves very finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Method

  • Roast the chicken pieces (if using) in a medium to hot oven until the skins are crisp and the flesh is cooked through while you make the soup. 
  • Warm the oil in a soup pot, add the celery, onion and carrot and sauté gently until the vegetables are tender (about 15 minutes). 
  • Add stock of choice and bring slowly to the boil. 
  • Reduce the heat, add the rice and simmer very gently, covered until the rice is cooked (around 20 minutes). 
  • Skin the chicken pieces (is using) and shred/chop the flesh before adding to the soup with the horseradish sauce and parsley or add the Puy lentils, horseradish sauce and parsley at this stage.
  • Stir well and season to taste. 
  • As rice soaks up a lot of liquid, you will probably have to add more stock or water to achieve the light, brothy experience if you are not supping this soup immediately or have refrigerated/frozen it for future use.
  • NB: If you opt for the lentils instead of the chicken, you may wish to ‘add a bit more green’ in the form of shredded spinach or lettuce leaves or fresh/frozen peas towards the end of cooking.
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Fabulous Warm Salad

(makes 1 serving)

There is something about adding freshly-cooked and warm elements to a salad and/or a dressing that you warm through just at the very last minute that can turn what might have been a good salad into a really great salad - here’s one that I never tire of creating... and eating!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
½ red pepper, de-seeded and finely sliced
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 skinless chicken breast, carved into bite-sized slices
Crunchy lettuce leaves, torn into edible bites
½ cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and thinly sliced
½ courgette, wiped and grated
A handful of frozen peas, soaked in boiling water for 5-10 minutes
A handful of beansprouts
Large tomato, sliced or quartered
½ avocado, stoned, peeled and sliced
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon coarse grain or Dijon mustard
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Method

  • Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan over a medium heat until golden and set aside.
  • Sauté the peppers and spring onions in the oil until soft and slightly caramelised around the edges then remove with a slotted spoon, cover and keep warm.
  • Add the chicken to the remaining oil and sauté gently until cooked through but still juicy.
  • Meanwhile, mix all the dressing ingredients in a small pan or microwaveable dish and very gently heat through.
  • Load a good helping of the lettuce leaves into a wide serving bowl, add the cucumber, grated courgette, peas and beansprouts then top the salad with the hot onions and peppers followed by the hot chicken and finally the tomato, avocado and pine nuts.
  • Drizzle the warm dressing over the whole dish but don’t soak it, sit yourself down and enjoy!
  • NB: you can replace the chicken with any protein of choice.
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Crispy-Topped Fish, Tofu or Chicken

(makes 1 serving)

The tasty topping can be made in advance, making this dish a real ‘no brainer’ when you’re tight for time. It works really well with fish, chicken or tofu but you can play around with the ingredients dependent on what’s in the fridge.

Ingredients

1 white fish fillet or
1 slice of tofu (around 2cm thick) or
1 medium-sized skinless chicken breast
1 tablespoon oats
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive or coconut oil
3 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
2 heaped teaspoons tomato puree
1 medium-sized tomato, sliced
15g Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
  • In a small bowl, mix the oats, parsley and lemon juice, lightly season and set aside.
  • Warm the oil in a small sauté pan and cook the spring onions over a medium heat until soft then add the tomato puree and mix well. 
  • For fish or tofu: Place a sheet of baking foil in a small oven-proof dish, place the fish or tofu in the middle and pull up the sides of the foil so you create an open-topped parcel.
  • Top the fish/tofu with the spring onion/tomato puree mix, arrange the tomato slices on top and finally the oat mix (don’t close the parcel) then place the dish on a middle shelf in the oven and bake until cooked through.
  • Thin fish fillets and tofu will take around 5-6 minutes, thicker/denser fish fillets will take around 8-12 minutes. Have a peek and check that the fish flakes nicely and the juice is clear.
  • Remove from the oven, turn the oven off and the grill on (to a medium heat), scatter the cheese on top, grill on the lowest shelf until the cheese melts and is just beginning to brown (around 5 minutes) then with a fish slice, lift the fish/tofu onto a warmed serving plate and spoon over the cooking juices.
  • For the chicken: Place the chicken on the foil, lightly season, add a splash of oil, scrunch the foil so it creates a loose but sealed parcel and bake for 10 minutes then open up the parcel, top as per the fish/tofu and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Continue as before and serve.
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One-Pot Chicken, Fish or Chickpeas

(makes 2 servings)

I love a one-pot dish that does it’s own thing in the oven! Preparation time is quick and you can get on with a pile of tasks whilst the cooking happens...

Ingredients

200g peeled and diced sweet potato
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 organic chicken thighs, skin on or 2 fish fillets or 200g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed              40ml chicken or vegetable stock
¼ lemon cut into 2 wedges
1 tablespoon light avocado or olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small courgette, wiped and cut into good-sized chunks
½ red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
50g chorizo, sliced
½ small bag baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7
  • Spread the sweet potato and garlic over the base of a small, deep roasting tin and place the chicken (skin side up) on top.
  • Pour the stock in, pop the lemon wedges around the tin, drizzle the oil over the whole lot, season with a good pinch of salt and lots of pepper and place the roasting tin (uncovered) in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the tin from the oven and add the courgette, chilli and chorizo, mix everything well but still keep the chicken (skin side up) on top and return to the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are ‘al dente’.
  • Remove the tin from the oven again, squeeze the flesh from the garlic cloves, mix it through and discard the skins before stuffing the spinach and parsley leaves in and around everything - seems like there is way too much but they soon wilt - then return to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  • NB: If using fish or chickpeas instead of chicken, wait until 15 to 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time before adding them. You can also omit the chorizo if you are not a meat-eater.
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Aubergine Curry with Coconut Rice

    (makes 4 servings)

    Ingredients

    1 ripe mango, peeled, stoned and diced
    1 teaspoon sugar
    2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves
    Sea salt
    Fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon light olive oil
    450g fresh, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
    1 tablespoon coconut oil
    1 large or 2 small aubergines, wiped and cut into bite-sized chunks
    225g button mushrooms, cleaned and halved
    6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
    2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
    2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated/mashed
    2 teaspoons curry powder
    2 level tablespoons Thai red curry paste
    ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
    2 heaped tablespoons ‘no added sugar’ almond butter
    250ml unsweetened almond milk
    250ml coconut milk
    240g tinned or jarred chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    2 good handfuls roughly chopped coriander leaves
    2 good handfuls roughly chopped basil leaves
    Raw cauliflower (white only) box-grated and steamed or microwaved for a couple of minutes

    Method

    • The salsa: mix the mango, sugar, mint, a good pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice together in a bowl, cover and set aside.
    • The curry: warm the olive oil in a large, shallow pan and sauté the chicken pieces until lightly-browned and just cooked through before removing them (and their juices) to a dish and setting aside.
    • Add the coconut oil to the pan, warm through then sauté the aubergine, mushrooms, tomatoes, ginger and garlic over a medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes.
    • Return the chicken pieces and their juices to the pan and continuing to sauté for another few minutes, stirring carefully so as not to break up the vegetables.
    • Mix the curry powder, Thai curry paste, chilli flakes and almond butter into a cupful of the almond milk and stir well until very smooth then add this mix to the pan followed by the rest of the almond milk, the coconut milk and the chickpeas. Stir well, bring slowly to the boil then turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
    • Just before serving, add the basil and coriander to the curry and stir to combine for a scant minute or two before serving on a bed of the cauliflower 'rice' with the fresh mango salsa alongside (good quality mango chutney also works well).

    NB: replace the chicken with the same amount of turkey, lean lamb, veal, firm white fish, fresh prawns or tofu (all cut into bite-sized chunks before sautéing in the olive oil until just cooked through as per the chicken).