Aug 012016
 
Seasonal Snacks: August - Watermelon

  Watermelon is the quintessential summertime fruit snack. True to its name, watermelons are more than 90% water so are extremely refreshing and hydrating. However, despite their high water content, watermelons are powerhouses of nutrition as well.   Lycopene – Lycopene is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants, usually found in pink and red fruits and vegetables. It helps keep a variety of diseases at bay by clearing your body of harmful free radicals and has been shown to protect your skin against harmful UV rays. While tomatoes are especially well-known for their lycopene content, watermelons have an even higher concentration of lycopene than tomatoes. Vitamin A – Vitamin A is good for maintaining the health of your eyes, skin and bones. Vitamin C – Vitamin C is an antioxidant which helps support your immune system, maintains skin elasticity, and helps your body heal and repair itself. It is also believed to increase your blood flow [Continue reading…]

Jul 242016
 
Recipe: Saffron Couscous and Chickpea Salad

  ‘Saffron Couscous and Chickpea Salad’ is a great summertime salad to bring to a picnic. It is packed with flavour, delicious at room temperature, and doesn’t get soggy. By steaming the couscous in saffron-infused stock (chicken or vegetable), all the delicious flavours are imbued directly into the grains so there is no need to make a separate dressing.       SAFFRON COUSCOUS AND CHICKPEA SALAD (Serves 4)   Ingredients:   200g dried coucous 250ml hot stock (vegetable or chicken) ½ tsp loosely packed saffron strands 1 tsp sea salt 2 Tbsp EVOO + 3 Tbsp EVOO 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 240g drained tinned chickpeas 8 cherry tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, deseeded and cut into bite-size pieces 6 radishes, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces 1 small or ½ large cucumber, quartered and chopped 2 Tbsp coriander leaves, chopped 2 Tbsp mint leaves, chopped   Optional garnish (pomegranate [Continue reading…]

Jul 012016
 
Seasonal Snacks: July - Cherries and Peaches

    Summertime is prime stone-fruit time and my two favourites are cherries and peaches.   Cherries: When I was a little girl, I remember eating cherries straight out of a colander, freshly rinsed. I was taught that the darker cherries were sweeter and I would spend time examining the pile looking for the darkest cherries, with extra joy when I found twin-cherries joined by the stem. However, there are many varieties of sweet cherries which  come in a variety of colours from deep burgundy to bright red to yellow. When buying cherries, look for glossy firm skin and green stems. Cherries stay freshest in cold storage so make sure you keep them in your refrigerator rather than on your countertop (unless you plan on eating them straight away, in which case your countertop is perfectly fine). Cherries freeze well if you remove their stone, place them in a single layer on a tray [Continue reading…]

Jun 172016
 
Recipe: Grilled Aubergine (Eggplant) Salad with Spicy Maple Dressing

  Grilled vegetables give salads a lovely depth and heartiness and one of my favourite vegetables to grill is aubergines (eggplants). To get lovely tasty grill-lines on your aubergines, you will need to use a griddle pan, panini press or barbecue. If you don’t have any of these, fear not. Roasting your aubergine slices in a hot oven or pan-frying them in a little olive oil also works well (although you won’t get the coveted grill-lines).   Whether you decide to salt your aubergines before cooking them (to eliminate bitterness) or not is entirely your decision. I don’t salt aubergines before cooking them and I have never experienced the bitter flavour which people talk about. However, I do tend to buy small or medium sized aubergine, so it is possible that these don’t have as much of a problem as the larger variety.   This aubergine salad recipe has a nice punchy Spicy Maple Dressing, and is easy [Continue reading…]

Jun 012016
 
Seasonal Snacks: June - Berries

  June is the start of summer and the month to look out for all types of berries. There are probably 1,000 great reasons to eat berries by the handful while they are in season, but the best reason is that they will be at their sweetest and juiciest at this time of year.   Look for shiny firm berries with a strong colour and avoid ones which are soft, bruised or leaking. Eat them on their own, or add them to yogurt, cereal, desserts or salads for a boost of fiber and the antioxidant Vitamin C.   Strawberries  ·  Raspberries  ·  Blueberries  ·  Blackberries Mulberries ·  Bilberries ·  Black Crowberries ·  Boysenberries Elderberries ·  Loganberries ·  Gooseberries ·  Blackcurrants ·  Redcurrants     * The produce above is in season in June in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, June seasonal produce includes pears, kiwifruits and kale.   Follow Me:

May 182016
 
Recipe: Kale and Spring Vegetable Salad

  Kale is one of my favourite green leaves to put into a salad because you can pre-toss it in dressing and it won’t get limp for days. My general method with most kale salads is to massage the kale leaves by chopping them and then squeezing them between my hands for about three minutes. It makes a world of a difference because the relaxed kale leaves become softer and more flavourful.   These days, I’m tossing my kale salads with roasted spring vegetables. Any three vegetables that roast well would work in this recipe, but do try and look for different coloured vegetables to get the most variety. Here I used carrots, leeks and beetroots. I’m using some irresistibly cute mini vegetables which I found in my market, but if you can’t use mini-sized vegetables feel free to use the regular-sized ones and simply cut them into bite-sized chunks.     Kale and Spring [Continue reading…]

May 022016
 
Recipe: Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote (with a hint of rosewater)

  Rhubarb and strawberries come into season at almost the same time, with rhubarb making its appearance first and strawberries following soon on its heels. Their flavours work beautifully when lightly stewed together. At its simplest, all you need to add is some brown sugar and a little water. I like to incorporate other flavours into it as well. This recipe for ‘Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote’ uses vanilla essence and rosewater to bring some Eastern flair to the dish. The compote stays fresh in the fridge for upto a week, and is delicious spooned onto yoghurt, smoothies, porridge, custard, chia pudding, pancakes or meringue.   RHUBARB AND STRAWBERRY COMPOTE (with a hint of rosewater) (Makes 3 cups)   Ingredients: 250g fresh strawberries 450g fresh rhubarb (discard leaves as they are inedible) 3/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 tsp sea salt 1/4 cup water 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla essence 2 tsp rosewater [Continue reading…]

May 012016
 
Seasonal Snacks: May - Rhubarb and Strawberries

    Rhubarb and strawberries come into season roughly around the same time, with rhubarb making its appearance first and strawberries following soon after. They can be eaten separately of course, but they also work wonderfully stewed together with some brown sugar as a topping for desserts. Have a look at my recently posted recipe ‘Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote (with a hint of rosewater)’.   Rhubarb is a vegetable which is in season from around April to July. Only the stalks of the rhubarb are edible, with the leaves being toxic due to high levels of oxalic acid (so make sure you always discard your rhubarb leaves). Rhubarb is quite tart and some people dip it into sugar before eating it raw. I prefer stewing it with a little brown sugar and some fruit to make a topping for yogurt and desserts. Rhubarb freezes well, so you can chop it up and [Continue reading…]

Apr 272016
 
Salad Bowl: Quinoa and Prawn Salad

  When I want to put together a well-balanced salad fast, I make myself a quick salad bowl using a mix of pre-cooked leftovers and raw ingredients which I usually have washed and ready to cut. Instead of following a recipe, I simply follow my instinct.   Organising the salad ingredients into segments in the bowl which I plan to eat from helps me to create a well-balanced salad and ensures that the portion size is correct so that there is no waste.   This is a salad bowl I made recently using leftover grilled prawns and quinoa plus freshly cut lettuce, avocado and tomatoes. I like placing a dollop of yogurt or some kind of dip in the center and scatter a few chopped nuts or seeds on top. Leftovers are often well-seasoned, so I don’t always add a dressing. If I do, it is usually a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic [Continue reading…]

Apr 122016
 
Product: Berryfect Bilberry Powder

    Unless you live in an extremely northern country, chances are you haven’t encountered bilberries yet.   Bilberries are small dark berries which grow on wild shrubs in forests close to the Arctic Circle. It is the unique combination of the cold climate along with the Northern Lights of the winter and the Midnight Sun of the summer which contributes to developing this nutritional powerhouse of a berry.   Although bilberries look similar to blueberries, they are upto four times more nutrient-dense. They contain a potent antioxidant called anthocyanin which shows itself as red and blue pigments. If you compare the colour of a blueberry and a bilberry, you will see that the skin of a bilberry is much darker – almost black. The difference in colour is even more evident when you break the berries open. The inside of a blueberry is yellowish-green while the inside of a bilberry is deep red.   [Continue reading…]

Apr 072016
 
Recipe: Asparagus and Rucola Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

    In my previous post, I highlighted some seasonal fruits and vegetables which are at their prime in April: Asparagus, Grapefruit and Rucola (also called arugula in the US or rocket in the UK).   I came up with a simple recipe which uses all three of these ingredients, called ‘Asparagus and Rucola Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette’. Although asparagus can be eaten raw, I lightly grill it for this recipe to deepen its flavour. The rucola works as a simple base and can be mixed with other spring greens of you find its flavour too overpowering. And I felt the best way to use the grapefruit was in a dressing.   This recipe can be used as a base on which to build a more complex salad by adding additional ingredients on top. Otherwise, it is delicious served simply as it is.     ASPARAGUS and RUCOLA SALAD with GRAPEFRUIT VINAIGRETTE   Dressing ingredients: (makes half [Continue reading…]

Apr 012016
 
Seasonal Snacks: April - Asparagus, Grapefruit and Rucola (Arugula/Rocket)

  April means that we’re well into Springtime. Here is what you should be snacking on this month:   Asparagus is in season from March until June, with April being it’s peak month. Raw asparagus has a taste similar to mangetout, and it can be eaten in many different ways. Thin and delicate spears can be eaten as is, while thick spears do well if you slice them thinly. You can dunk them in your favourite dip, throw them into a salad, or scatter them on top of virtually anything you’re eating. If you can’t quite get yourself to munch on raw asparagus, tossing them with olive oil and throwing them into a grill pan, panini press or oven to cook lightly will intensify their flavour to the more familiar asparagus taste that most of us are used to. Cooked asparagus can be kept in the refrigerator for upto three days.   Grapefruit is in [Continue reading…]