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Greek Salad with a Difference!


(makes 4 generous or 6 small servings)

The ‘spicing’ of the feta and the addition of the sweet potatoes and aubergine make this a really fresh but filling salad.


Ingredients
 

Spicy Feta Cheese
200g feta, cut into bite sized chunks
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably Greek

Salad
½ aubergine, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 sweet potato, cut into 1 inch cubes
100g black olives, stone and halved
1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
5 tomatoes, cut into large chunks
½ cucumber, cut into bite sized chunks
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ lemon, juice only
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for roasting
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Toast the fennel and cumin seeds for a minute or so in a dry pan until the aromas are released. 
  • Combine the seeds with the feta and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a bowl, making sure the feta is coated in the spiced oil. Place in the fridge for as long as possible to marinate (overnight is great).
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
  • Place the sweet potatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with a little of the olive oil. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes then add the aubergine and roast for a further 10 to 15 minutes then allow them to cool a little whilst you prepare the salad.
  • Combine the olives, red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, oregano, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl, then mix in the marinated feta. Add the sweet potato and aubergine and toss it all together before serving.

Fennel and Orange Quinoa Salad


(makes 2 generous or 3 small servings)

I love this salad on its own as it is so fresh, colourful and satisfying but it also makes a good ‘side’ to a thick fillet of baked ‘meaty’ fish like cod, halibut or turbot.

Ingredients

100g quinoa
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and divided into quarters or eighths (keep the root in place as this holds each segment together)
50mls fresh orange juice
1 pinch saffron powder
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Light olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini paste
1 tablespoon flaked almonds
1 orange, skin and pith removed with a sharp knife and segmented
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
Extra virgin olive oil

Method

  • Soak the quinoa in cool water for 15 minutes then drain and rinse and place in a pot. Cover with boiling water (use a cup to measure the soaked quinoa and use one and a half times that amount of boiling water).
  • Bring to the boil, stir well, turn the heat to very low, put a lid on the pot and lightly ‘steam’ for 30 minutes then turn off the heat and set the pot aside (don’t remove the lid).
  • Put the fennel in a bowl with the orange juice, saffron, a dash of salt and plenty of black pepper, cover and leave to ‘infuse’ for 20 minutes then drain (keeping the liquid), dry the fennel off with paper towel, lightly paint each quarter with the light olive oil, place on a baking sheet under a hot grill and grill them (turning often) until they are cooked through but still have a bit of ‘bite’ and are nicely caramelised.
  • Combine the tahini paste with the strained orange/saffron/fennel marinade until really smooth and creamy.
  • Toast the flaked almonds in a small dry frying pan - watch them like a hawk as they burn in the blink of an eye!
  • Fork through the quinoa until all the grains are separate then mix the tahini dressing through before placing on a serving plate.
  • Arrange the grilled fennel and orange segments around, scatter the pomegranate seeds, chopped chives and almonds over the whole lot, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the salad and serve.

Crab, Salmon and Avocado Salad


(makes 4 servings)

This is a particularly delightful mix and the addition of the pickled fennel and avocado ‘cream’ are (I have to say, modestly) inspired!

Ingredients

Cider vinegar
Water
Sugar
Sea salt
1 bulb fennel, trimmed, root removed and very finely sliced
150g fresh white crab meat, flaked
5 drops Tabasco
Fresh lemon juice
2 avocados, skinned, stoned and roughly chopped
100g good quality (or homemade) mayonnaise
100g crème fraîche
30ml fresh lime juice
1 green apple, cored and diced
100g smoked salmon in thin slices
Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Combine a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon water in a small pot, bring just to the boil, turn off the heat, add the fennel, cover and set aside until cool.
  • Mix the crab meat with the Tabasco and a dash of lemon juice, grind in some black pepper, cover and set aside.
  • Mash the avocado with a fork (or in a blender) with the mayonnaise, crème fraîche and lime juice until it is smooth and creamy.
  • Place the smoked salmon slices on a serving plate, scatter the diced apple around, drain the pickled fennel and add to the plate along with the crab mix, drizzle the avocado ‘cream’ over the whole lot, scatter more freshly ground black pepper around and serve.

Blazing Hot Tomato Soup (v)

blazing tomato small.jpg

(makes 4 servings)

This soup can be as ʻblazingly hotʼ as you want it - some like it hotter than others! Add just
the merest hint of chilli powder and smoked paprika and it tastes remarkably like a rather
famous canned soup but without the added colourings, flavourings and preservatives so can
be a real winner on the health stakes for both kids and those who donʼt go in for a spicy
soup. Packs well too!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed or finely sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes or 8 good-sized, fresh, ripe tomatoes
120g sweet red peppers from a jar
500mls good chicken or vegetable stock
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
Juice of 2 small limes
Natural live/bio yoghurt
Parsley leaves, finely chopped

Method

  • Warm the oil in a heavy-based soup pot, add the onion, garlic and salt, cover and sauté over a very low heat for around 20-30 minutes (the longer the better). Check and stir every 5 minutes or so to ensure the vegetables are not catching on the bottom of the pot.
  • If you are using fresh tomatoes, place them in a large bowl, pour boiling water over to cover, count slowly to 30, drain off the water, leave the tomatoes until cool enough to handle then slip off the skins, remove the core and seeds and roughly chop the flesh.
  • Drain the red peppers, chop and add to the pot with the fresh or tinned tomatoes, stock and spices and stir well - if you like it a little less ‘hot’, leave out the cayenne pepper - then bring just to the boil before turning the heat down to low and simmering for 20 minutes. 
  • Blitz the soup in a liquidiser or blender before passing through a fine sieve into a clean pot, add the lime juice a tablespoon at a time and keep tasting until you get the perfect citrus ‘edge’, add sea salt to taste, reheat gently and serve topped with a generous spoonful of yoghurt straight from the fridge (the hot and spicy soup combined with the oh so cold yoghurt is magical!) and top with a good sprinkling of parsley.
  • NB: This soup (without the yoghurt topping) will keep in the fridge for a few days or you can portion and freeze it for convenience.

Very Quick Tomato Soup (v)

(makes 2 servings)

A soup, a drink, a must when you are in a rush!

Ingredients

3 large ripe tomatoes
500mls fresh tomato juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Juice of one lime or half a lemon
4 drops Tabasco sauce
½ teaspoon celery salt
Freshly ground black pepper
0% fat Greek yoghurt
Mustard cress or celery leaves

Method

  • Place the tomatoes in a bowl, pour boiling water over them and leave for 30 seconds.
  • Drain, remove the skins, chop into quarters, remove the seeds and finely dice the flesh.
  • Put the tomato flesh, the tomato juice, the Worcestershire sauce, the balsamic vinegar, the
  • lime/lemon juice, the tabasco, the celery salt and a few good grindings of black pepper in a
  • medium sized pot.
  • Stir well and heat through until just beginning to boil.
  • Taste and adjust, adding more of any of the flavourings and/or seasonings until it’s just how
  • you want it - some like it hot!
  • Pour into bowls or mugs, top with a good dollop of yoghurt per serving and scatter with
  • snipped mustard cress/finely sliced celery leaves or flask it if you are on the go.
  • NB: Adding a generous measure of vodka on a lazy Saturday/Sunday morning can get the
  • day off to a very cheering start!

Summer Soup Shots


(makes 6 servings)

These delightful little concoctions are a super-nutritious snack or appetiser and can be kept in
the fridge for a couple of days without losing their gorgeous green colour. You can also top
them with toasted nuts and seeds, a few prawns drizzled with chilli oil or a spoonful of salsa

Ingredients

1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 avocado, peeled, stoned and roughly chopped
4 spring onions, trimmed, roots removed and roughly chopped
A good handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
160ml coconut cream
Juice of one lime
Sea salt and ground white pepper
170g fresh or tinned white crab meat
1 heaped teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
1 tablespoon cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

Method

  • Put the cucumber, avocado, spring onions and coriander in a blender and whizz until
  • smooth.
  • Add half the lime juice and all the coconut cream and whizz again briefly until just mixed.
  • Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
  • Pour the soup into glasses or cups, cover with cling film and put in the fridge to chill
  • thoroughly (minimum 30 minutes).
  • In a bowl, using a fork, mix the crab meat (well-drained if using tinned crab) with the sweet
  • chilli sauce, the olive oil and some or all of the remaining lime juice - don’t make the mixture
  • too wet.
  • Season to taste, cover and refrigerate.
  • When ready to serve, top the soup shots with a generous spoonful of the crab mixture.

Delicious Tahini Cream! (v)

Bowl of tahini with sesame seeds

One of the fabulous things about tahini (sesame seed paste) is that when you eat it straight from the jar or spread it on crackers or oatcakes, it sticks to your teeth so the enjoyment continues for much longer than the time it takes to hoover the snack down! However, that may not work for everyone - but - when you whizz it up with garlic, lemon juice and water and turn it into a silky-smooth cream and dunk things in it (particularly grilled or roasted vegetables) or drizzle it over things (particularly lamb), it becomes seriously moreish and you just have to make another batch - which is absolutely fine as it keeps in a jar in the fridge for days!

Ingredients

  • 1 teacup light tahini from a jar
  • 3/4 teacup lukewarm water
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teacup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt crystals

Method

  • Slowly whizz everything in a blender or food processor until creamy, stopping every now and then to scrape the sides and give the paste a bit of a bashing with a wooden spoon as it tends to clump.
  • Keep adding a little more water until the sauce becomes really creamy, smooth and frothy or to your desired consistency.

Vegetable Fritters (v)

Courgette Fritters

(makes 10-12 burger-sized fritters)

Fritters are so quick and easy and these ones are baked in the oven making them super-convenient and pretty darned healthy. You can play around with different vegetables, cheeses and herb mixes and as long as you stick to the recommended proportions, you get perfect fritters every time to have as a quick snack or with a lightly-dressed mixed salad for lunch or dinner - and - a dip really does add that extra something special!

Ingredients

2 medium-sized courgettes, cleaned and coarsely grated
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated or minced
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and very finely diced
2 large eggs
80g feta cheese, crumbled
140g Panko breadcrumbs or finely-cut oats

Method

  • In a bowl, mix the grated courgette with a good pinch of salt, cover with cling film and leave for around 20 minutes to allow the courgettes to release their water content.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4 then mix the olive oil, garlic, baking powder, dill, chilli, eggs, feta and breadcrumbs or oats in a bowl.
  • Using a clean tea towel, squeeze as much of the water out of the courgettes as possible then add to the bowl with a few good grindings of black pepper and a pinch of salt and thoroughly combine the lot.
  • Form 10-12 fritters with your hands (make a ball first then slightly flatten with the heel of your hand) place them (leaving space between each) on a baking sheet lined with baking paper or a non-stick sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, turning halfway. It all depends on the size of your fritters, so check after 20 minutes (best way to test them is to eat one!) and give them another 10 minutes if required.
  • Serve them piping hot with a dip (yoghurt and mint works well as does sour cream and chives) and a lightly-dressed mixed green salad.

Spinach and Watercress Soup (v)

Spinach and Watercress Soup

(makes 4 servings)

It is almost impossible not to start slurping this soup straight from the blender the minute you have blitzed it - the rich, green colour, the velvety smoothness and that subtle ‘irony edge’ that you just know is providing vitamins and minerals in abundance makes this a quick-fix elixir you have to repeat again and again! And the oats add some protein making this a soup that fills you up for a good few hours…

Ingredients

2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
1 heaped tablespoon porridge oats
2 bags spinach leaves
1 bag watercress
Fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Warm the oil in a large soup pot and sauté the onion gently until soft.
  • Add the stock and the porridge oats, bring slowly to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add the spinach and watercress and keep stirring whilst bringing the soup back to the boil then turn off the heat.
  • Blend the whole lot until you have a smooth, foamy soup then return to a clean pan.
  • Heat through gently, add a good squeeze of lemon juice and check the seasoning.
  • You can grate a little lemon zest on top of each bowl for added zing.

Fruity Oaty Bake

Fruity Oaty Breakfast Bake

(makes 4 generous servings)

Chewy, tasty and filling, this is a breakfast that you can make ahead and dive into when time is not on your side or take with you when you are out and about for a quick and filling snack -  experiment with whatever fruits are in season. 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons coconut oil
180g rough cut oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon sea salt
60g fresh nuts of choice, roughly chopped
60g unsweetened, shredded/flaked coconut
300g fresh or frozen mixed berries
1 egg (Omega 3-rich preferably), lightly whisked
1 tablespoon maple syrup or runny honey
350mls cows, almond or oat milk
Natural live/bio or Greek-style yoghurt to serve

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.
  • Put the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nuts, coconut, berries and coconut oil (melt it quickly in a small pan first) in a large bowl and and stir gently until everything is thoroughly mixed.
  • Add the whisked egg, maple syrup or honey and milk and keep stirring until everything is well-combined.
  • Transfer to a baking dish, lightly smooth the surface and place in the middle of the oven and bake, uncovered for 30 minutes. If it is still slightly runny, give it another 5-10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool a little before serving with the yoghurt.
  • NB: It will keep in the fridge (covered) for a week so all you need do in the morning (or whenever!) is just  take a good slice from the dish and heat it through in the oven or microwave before digging in. It is also delicious cold as a flapjack-style snack.

Crispy-topped Baked Fish, Tofu or Chicken

Crispy-Topped Baked Fish

(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.

Juices and Smoothies

Juices and Smoothies

Most juices and smoothies benefit from the addition of oats to add a little protein, fat and soluble fibre which all make them a little more filling and help to keep hunger at bay - experiment!

(each recipe makes 1 to 2 juices/smoothies)

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.

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.

Essential Smoothie

Ingredients

2 tablespoons mixed raw seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flax etc)
3 ice cubes
200g mixed red/purple berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, stoned cherries, brambles etc.)
100g fresh watermelon, seeds included
200g sliken tofu, drained and sliced
750mls rice milk or skimmed milk

Method

Place the seeds in a spice grinder and blitz until pulverised or use a mortar and pestle if you don’t have a grinder.
Place the ice cubes in a blender with all the other ingredients and run of low power until they start to come together, then on full power until the smoothie is creamy and frothy.
Add a little water if it is too thick and strain to remove the seedy, gritty bits.
Transfer half the mixture to a tall glass and refrigerate or freeze the rest for tomorrow. You may need to give it another blitz before serving the other portion.
NB: you can make more of the seed mix in one go and keep it in a dark glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 days for convenience.

Beta Carotene Cocktail

Ingredients

3 ice cubes
1 yellow or orange pepper, de-seeded and chopped
1 orange, peeled and chopped
½ small cantaloupe melon, peeled and chopped
4 fresh apricots, cleaned, stoned and chopped
4 cos lettuce leaves, washed and torn
Fresh carrot juice

Method

Blitz the ice cubes, pepper, orange, melon, apricots and lettuce until smooth and add carrot juice until you achieve your desired consistency.

Super Green Smoothie

Ingredients

½ cup/100g baby spinach leaves
½ cup/100g romaine lettuce leaves
½ cup/110mls chilled water
½ cup/110mls unsweetened pineapple juice
1 cup frozen green grapes (bag and put them in the freezer the night before)
½ tablespoon protein powder, powdered greens or chia seeds (quickly grind the seeds in a spice grinder or with a pestle and mortar before adding)

Method

Place the spinach, lettuce and water in a blender and whizz until smooth.
Add the grapes and whizz again until smooth.
Add the pineapple juice and protein powder, powdered greens or ground chia seeds and give the whole lot a final whizz until smooth and frothy.
Serve immediately or flask and sup later but if so, remember to give it a really good shake before serving.

Very Berry Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup/200g frozen mixed berries
½ cup/110mls unsweetened pomegranate or pineapple juice (or a mix)
½ cup/110mls water
½ tablespoon ground almonds
½ tablespoon flaxseed or coconut oil

Method

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until well-blended and very smooth and frothy.
Serve immediately or flask and sup later but if so, remember to give it a really good shake before serving.

Overnight Bircher Muesli

Overnight Muesli

(makes 1 generous or 2 smaller servings)

I learned how to make real authentic Bircher muesli whilst working as a waitress in the mountains of Switzerland in my early 20s. Since then, I have been playing around with the revered Dr Maximilian Bircher-Bennerʼs classic, restorative recipe and this is one that doesnʼt include much fruit but still has a wonderfully sweet edge. The big bonus is that you can make it the night before and simply dive into the fridge in the morning for a helping or take it to work!

Ingredients

6 tablespoons oats
140ml coconut water
2 tablespoons flaked almonds (toasted or un-toasted)
½ tablespoon Manuka honey
1 tablespoon 0% fat Greek yoghurt
2 teaspoons lemon/lime juice
½ apple, peeled, cored and grated
4 fresh mint leaves, very finely chopped

Method

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix really well, cover and place in the fridge overnight. Serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon powder or grated nutmeg on top.

Perfect Porridge

Perfect Porridge

(makes 1 serving)

The fabulous thing about porridge is that there is no definitive recipe or cooking method - it’s more of a personal thing. I am a Scot and over the last 60 years or so have sampled many a bowl of porridge - some which take your breath away, some which glue your gums together and some which are way too thin and watery! Here’s one of my fat-busting favourites where you soak the oats overnight so it takes less time to cook, is quickly ready to scoff or can be transported in a wide-necked vacuum flask.

Ingredients

1 teacup medium-cut oats
3 teacups hot but not boiling water
Decent pinch of sea salt crystals
Double cream
Runny honey
Cinnamon or nutmeg

Method

  • Place the water in a heat-proof bowl and gradually but meaningfully whisk in the oats - you don’t want any lumps.
  • Leave to cool a little then cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  • In the morning (or whenever), transfer the porridge to a non-stick pan and cook over a medium heat until bubbling, stirring all the time.
  • Add the salt and continue to stir for another few minutes - if it is a little thick for your liking, just add some boiling water.
  • Serve with a spoonful or two of double cream, a drizzle of runny honey and a good sprinkling of cinnamon powder or grated nutmeg.

Chicken and Barley Broth

Chicken and Barley Broth

(makes 4 servings)

A meal-in-a-bowl style soup but in no way heavy or overly-filling. I am a big fan of barley! My Scottish heritage? Probably! But also because this little grain packs a mighty punch nutritionally, has a lovely nutty taste and doesn’t occasion that bloated feeling that occurs with many wheaty grains.

Nutrition Bite: when compared to many grains, barley is lower in fat and calories and higher in dietary fibre and trace minerals and beats an equivalent serving of quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, sorghum, millet or wild rice hands down - nutritionally-impressive and tasty!

Ingredients

1 small chicken
20 cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons light olive oil
I medium onion, peeled and finely sliced
4 celery stalks, finely sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced or diced
1.5 litres chicken stock
5 small sprigs fresh thyme
150g barley, rinsed
150g green split peas, rinsed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bag spinach leaves, roughly chopped

Method

  • Roast the chicken until cooked through, allow to cool slightly then remove the skin and chop the flesh into bite-sized pieces (or buy a small ready-roasted chicken).
  • Roast the tomatoes in a low oven for around 15 minutes or until they start to caramelise around the edges then remove from the oven and let them cool.
  • Warm the oil in a soup pot, add the onion, celery and carrot and gently sauté until just tender, about 8-10 minutes. 
  • Add the stock and thyme, stir in the barley and split peas, bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the barley and split peas are tender but still have a slight ‘bite’.
  • Check the seasoning then add the chicken flesh, the roasted tomatoes and the spinach.
  • Stir everything very gently making sure the tomatoes don’t break up too much then simmer for a further 5-10 minutes.
  • Check the seasoning again and serve.
  • NB: like all broths, the longer you leave them, the thicker they become so add boiling water before serving to achieve desired consistency.

Aromatic Lamb Casserole

Aromatic Lamb Casserole

(makes 2 servings)

It’s all about the long, slow cooking here. Even those who have an issue with ‘healthy’ alternatives love this stew and it’s even better if you leave it in the fridge for a day or freeze and bring it back to the table. Careful though, the temptation to mop up the juices with crusty bread can be hard to control!

Nutrition Bite: Sesame seeds have powerful hormone-balancing and cholesterol-lowering effects, coconut oil improves digestion and helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins plus calcium, and magnesium and warm spices are rich in antioxidant plant chemicals which help to protect us against inflammation and boost our defences against disease - a casserole that's got the lot!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
400g lean lamb or beef, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
Lamb/beef stock
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 level tablespoon coconut oil
¼ teaspoon saffron powder
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Manuka honey (optional)

Method

  • Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan, tossing until golden then set aside (watch them as they burn very quickly).
  • Put the meat in a medium-sized pan, barely cover with stock and add the onion, oil, saffron, ginger, coriander and cinnamon.
  • Stir well, bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer very gently until the meat is very tender and the liquid has become a rich sauce (about 2 hours but check after an hour and a half and add more stock if necessary).
  • Season to taste, stir in the honey (if using) and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  • Cool and refrigerate/freeze at this stage if desired.
  • Garnish with toasted sesame seeds before serving.

Adzuki Bean Soup (v)

Adzuki Bean Soup

(makes 4 servings)

This a great lunchtime soup, is easily transported and does a splendid job of filling you up nicely to get you through a taxing afternoon. A good dollop of Greek yoghurt stirred in at the last minute before topping with the parsley creates a light creamy look and taste and marries extremely well with the beans. This soup can be cooked on the hob if you don’t have a slow cooker.

Nutrition Bite: Adzuki beans are an awesome source of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, are packed with protein, fibre, folate, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, copper, magnesium, zinc, iron, thiamine, vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, calcium and more and have been shown to help manage diabetes, increase antioxidant intake, boost muscle mass, improve heart health and help manage weight.

Ingredients

1 x 400g tin Adzuki beans
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
450mls chicken/vegetable stock
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
8 button mushrooms, cleaned and roughly sliced or chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon smoked or unsmoked paprika powder
A generous splash of Worcestershire sauce
A generous splash of soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Put all the ingredients other than the salt, pepper and parsley into a slow cooker, stir well and cook on the low setting for around 5 hours.
  • Season to taste and if you wish, add more paprika, Worcestershire sauce and/or soy sauce before serving topped with the parsley.
  • If you don’t have a slow cooker, gently sauté the onion, garlic and red pepper in a tablespoon of oil in a soup pot until soft. Add the remainder of the ingredients other than the salt, pepper and parsley, bring slowly to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 30-40 minutes.
  • Season to taste and if you wish, add more paprika, Worcestershire sauce and/or soy sauce before serving topped with the parsley.

Open Sandwiches

Open Sandwich Toppings

An open sandwich means half the bread, loads of healthy protein and fat-rich toppings, lots of vegetables and a really filling snack or small meal!

Start with a slice of wholegrain rye, millet, spelt or other non-wheat bread or a sprouted grain bread (Essene or Ezekiel). You can toast it first if you wish as toasting often stops any possible sogginess if you are making your open sandwich a while before you plan to demolish it! Try some of these:

  • Sliced cooked beef, tzatziki, toasted flaked almonds, fresh mint leaves and a drizzle of honey.
  • Fresh prawns or crabmeat, sliced cucumber, chopped boiled egg, natural yoghurt and toasted pine nuts.
  • Parma ham, sliced raw mushrooms, sliced tomato, scrambled egg or sliced boiled egg and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
  • Tinned tuna, coarse grain mustard, lime/lemon juice, anchovy sauce, sliced tomato and Greek yoghurt.
  • Tinned salmon, chopped boiled egg, sliced mixed olives, sliced avocado, sliced cucumber, natural yoghurt, lemon juice and a good dash of smoked paprika powder.
  • Smashed avocado, cottage cheese, grated courgette, cherry tomatoes and chutney.
  • Smoked salmon, raita, a dollop of horseradish sauce, watercress and sliced apple.
  • Nut butter, mashed fresh berries and watercress leaves.
  • Creamy goats cheese, baby spinach leaves, caramelised onions and crunchy, sliced radish.
  • Hummus, sliced avocado, grated raw carrot and toasted pine nuts.
  • Sliced banana, ricotta cheese and a good sprinkling of cinnamon powder.

Top Tip!
Remember to scribble down some of the combinations you come up with - it’s all too easy to forget what works for you - build up a list of them so you can be sure you have your favourite ingredients in stock!

Crisp Breads

Crisp Bread Toppings

Select plain wholegrain rye crisp breads or the ones with added grains (particularly oats) and/or mixed seeds and top with one of the following delicious combinations or simply get creative and become a crisp bread guru!

  • Sliced cooked beef, tzatziki, toasted flaked almonds, fresh mint leaves and a drizzle of honey.
  • Fresh prawns or crabmeat, sliced cucumber, chopped boiled egg, natural yoghurt and toasted pine nuts.
  • Parma ham, sliced raw mushrooms, sliced tomato, scrambled egg or sliced boiled egg and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
  • Tinned tuna, coarse grain mustard, lime/lemon juice, anchovy sauce, sliced tomato and Greek yoghurt.
  • Tinned salmon, chopped boiled egg, sliced mixed olives, sliced avocado, sliced cucumber, natural yoghurt, lemon juice and a good dash of smoked paprika powder.
  • Smashed avocado, cottage cheese, grated courgette, cherry tomatoes and chutney.
  • Smoked salmon, raita, a dollop of horseradish sauce, watercress and sliced apple.
  • Nut butter, mashed fresh berries and watercress leaves.
  • Creamy goats cheese, baby spinach leaves, caramelised onions and crunchy, sliced radish.
  • Hummus, sliced avocado, grated raw carrot and toasted pine nuts.
  • Sliced banana, ricotta cheese and a good sprinkling of cinnamon powder.

Top Tip
Remember to scribble down some of the combinations you come up with - it’s all too easy to forget what works for you - build up a list of them so you can be sure you have your favourite ingredients in stock!

One-Pot Chicken and Chorizo

one-pot chicken and chorizo1.jpg

(makes 4 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. You can also create something equally delicious with chunky fillets of fish but as fish cooks quickly, don’t place them on the bed of vegetables and chorizo until 15 to 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time (less if you are using thin fish fillets).

Nutrition Bite: Avocado oil is pressed from the fleshy pulp surrounding the avocado stone, making it one of the few edible oils not derived from a seed. This pulp produces an oil full of healthy fats, including oleic acid and essential fatty acids. Additionally, it has a high 'smoke point'. When an oil reaches its 'smoke point', the structure of the oil begins to break down, nutrients are lost and compounds are created that may damage our health. Avocado oil’s high 'smoke point' make it a great choice for cooking.

Ingredients

400g peeled and diced sweet potato
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
4-6 organic chicken thighs, skin on                                                                                  
75mls chicken or vegetable stock                                                                               
Half a lemon cut into wedges
2 tablespoons extra virgin avocado or olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 small courgettes, wiped and cut into good-sized chunks
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
100g chorizo, sliced
1 small bag baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons roughly 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 fairly 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 courgettes, 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 and stuff the spinach and parsley leaves in and around everything - seems like there is way too much (and they can be tricky to control!) but they soon wilt - then return to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.