eat healthy

Mar 032016
 

Restaurant: Nathalie's

 


The GIVEAWAY for a AED250 voucher to eat at Nathalie’s is now over. You can keep up to date with other giveaways by signing up for my newsletter or following me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.


 

VENUE

 

Nathalie’s is a coffee and kitchen concept which serves up healthy and wholesome food all day long, from 7am until 10pm. Located in Dubai Sports City right next to the gym Fit Republik, Nathalie’s is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of some of the busier locations in Dubai. Despite its discrete location, it has a growing fan-base amongst those who value healthy eating and nutrition. Their customers seems to be a good mix of gym enthusiasts looking to refuel after a workout and non-gym clientele just looking for something good to eat.

 

The space itself is beautiful. The eclectic interior design harmoniously combines some of my favourite natural materials such as wood, marble, tiles, exposed brick, glass and even a wall of potted plants. On the double-story wall behind the counter, there is a large charming sketch which I couldn’t stop gazing at. The overall result is a place where you can sit back, relax and lose track of time.

 

Nathalie's

 

 

They have a great ethos which makes you feel good about eating there. In their own words:

 

We love food. Simple food. Real food. Honest food. We love coffee, tea and whole wheat pastries. We hate additives, preservatives and words we can’t pronounce. We hate waste and love giving back. We also hate empty calories and love empty plates. We care about what you eat and where you eat it.

 

Nathalie’s is a home-grown Dubai concept started by Nathalie Haddad, who you may also know as the founder of the healthy eating company Right Bite.

 

DRINKS

 

Nathalie’s has lots of healthy drinks to suit most tastes.

 

On the counter, there is a pretty glass drink dispenser with water infused with beetroots and cucumbers which clients can help themselves to free of charge.

 

Nathalie's

 

A nicely designed cooler in the wall has a large variety of ‘Thirst Quenchers’ which include everything from bottled water (local and imported) to coconut water to raw juices. Given that many of their clients are coming from the gym and are probably very thirsty, it’s great to be able to grab a drink from the cooler rather than having to order it through a waiter.

 

Nathalie’s makes several smoothies and protein shakes to order (AED17-AED32). For the uber-healthy, Green² (avocado, spinach, protein powder and water) might be suitable. If you prefer something a little more indulgent, you might want to try the Nutella Shake (almond milk, Nutella, bananas, toasted hazelnuts, vanilla protein, topped with granola). If, like me, you are not into protein powder, no worries – simply tell them and they won’t add it to your shake. I ordered the Monkey Business (AED32) without protein powder (almond milk, peanut butter, bananas, honey, sea salt, vanilla protein, topped with granola). It was ice-cold, delicious and not overly sweet like some shakes can be.

 

There are also several types of coffees and teas if you prefer a hot drink (AED16-AED22).

 

MAIN COURSES

 

Nathalie’s has a lot of healthy main courses on offer. Most of their dishes can be altered to suit your dietary preferences. For example, sandwiches can be served on bread or alternatively on a bed of leafy greens. Similarly, you can swap the toast which your eggs are served on to portobello mushrooms instead. And there is gluten-free bread available for those who prefer that.

 

Nathalie's

 

As for salads, Nathalie’s has 5 salads on the menu plus 4 more salads behind the counter which are changed daily.

 

Nathalie's

 

The day I visited, the daily salads were Moroccan Chicken and Couscous Salad, Baby Eggplant Salad, Mediterranean Salad (like a Greek Salad), and Green Herb Salad. You can order a small bowl of two salads (AED35) or a large bowl of three salads (AED45). All the salads were very nice and fresh, and I particularly liked the Moroccan Chicken and Couscous Salad and the Mediterranean Salad. The Baby Eggplant Salad was really tasty but the eggplants which I got could have been cooked a little softer than they were.

 

Nathalie's

 

From the a la carte salads, I tried the Freekeh Salad and the Seared Tuna Nicoise Salad.

 

The Freekeh Salad (AED57) was made with freekeh (green uncracked wheat), dates, manchego cheese, green apples, candied pecans, baby rocket and white balsamic vinaigrette. It was a beautiful mix of textures and flavours. I would have loved to have had the option of adding some grilled prawns to make it more of a complete meal for me.

 

Nathalie's

 

I also tried the Seared Tuna Nicoise (AED65) which had endives (yay!), cherry tomatoes, good black olives, boiled eggs, potatoes, french green beans and pepper-crusted tuna. I really loved this salad because it was not just delicious but a very complete well-balanced meal on its own. And I really love that their creativity in using endives to bring a bit of bitterness and crunch to the Nicoise salad.

 

Nathalie's

 

I also tried their Avocado and Egg (AED48) which was chili spiced avocado mash, fresh basil and two poached eggs on toasted pain de campagne. It was really yummy and my eggs were medium poached just like I like them. A squeeze of the lemon on the side added a really nice fresh tone to the flavour of the dish.

 

Nathalie's

 

 

DESSERTS

 

Desserts at Nathalie’s offer something for everyone. I wanted to try some of their healthiest desserts, so I went for their Chia Raspberry Pastry and Raw Brownie both of which were very good, although I would recommend letting them sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before eating because they were a little cold on arrival. I would absolutely order either one of these again. Other healthy desserts include more traditional things such as fruit salad and yogurt parfait.

 

Nathalie's

 

However, if you don’t fancy a healthy dessert and prefer something more indulgent, there is plenty on offer including Gooey Chocolate Cake, Nathalie’s Cheesecake and a selection of pastries.

 

 


The GIVEAWAY for a AED250 voucher to eat at Nathalie’s is now over. You can keep up to date with other giveaways by signing up for my newsletter or following me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

 

 


 

 

Full disclosure: I was invited to Nathalie’s with one guest and then I visited again as a paying client. All content reflects my honest opinion. 

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Jan 262016
 

Salmon and Puy Lentil Salad Bowl

 

Two of the big food trends predicted for 2016 which I’m really excited about are:

  • Increasing the effort to reduce food waste, and
  • The rise of the ‘bowl’

 

Wasted food is a huge problem and it’s great to see it being increasingly acknowledged. Recipes which use up leftovers are a big help in reducing food wastage and I’d like to do my part by showing you some of the salads which I make at home using leftovers. Up until now, these salads have not quite made it onto my blog – mostly because there is no real recipe (just pulling together leftovers). But they are utterly satisfying, delicious and super easy to make.

 

Using a bowl for these salads rather than a plate has several advantages:

  • it’s easier to toss a mixed salad in a bowl than in a plate
  • when eating a chopped salad, bowls are easier to use because you can use the sides to pack in the ingredients into your fork or spoon
  • bowls take up less table space than plates, which is a big plus if you eat at your desk
  • bowls give a cosy and homely feeling – whatever you eat from a bowl becomes comfort food!

 

When making my Salad Bowls, I try to stick to the following rules (remember to chop up the ingredients fairly small):

  • one grain (leftover quinoa, puy lentils, brown rice, couscous, etc…)
  • one protein (leftover cooked chicken, fish, seafood, meat, beans, and/or cheese)
  • one cooked vegetable (leftover)
  • two raw fresh vegetables (I always keep a stash of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots or bell peppers in the fridge, washed and ready to cut)
  • one dollop of anything I have in the fridge (yogurt, cottage cheese, hummus, guacamole, tahini, etc…)
  • any micro-greens, nuts or seeds to be sprinkled on top of the aforementioned ‘dollop’
  • depending on how much seasoning there is in the leftovers, you may or may not need some dressing. I find that a glug of extra virgin olive oil and a mini-glug of balsamic vinegar does the job.

 

 

PUY LENTIL and SALMON SALAD BOWL

 

All ingredients should be cut into bite-size pieces.

Quantities depend on what you have in the house.

Make ingredient substitutions as you see fit.

 

Salad Ingredients: 

 

Salmon fillet, cooked and flaked with a fork

Green beans, cooked and chopped

Puy lentils, cooked

Lettuce (raw), washed and finely slices

Cherry tomatoes (raw), washed and cut into sixths

Greek yogurt, a good dollop per serving

Mustard cress, washed

 

Dressing Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Sea salt

 

Directions:

  1. Use a single-serving bowl per person.
  2. In each bowl, put an equal amount of each of the following: salmon, green beans, puy lentils, lettuce and tomatoes.
  3. Put a dollop of yogurt in the centre of the bowl.
  4. Scatter mustard dress on top of the yogurt.
  5. Add a glug of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sea salt, if necessary.
  6. For the best presentation, I like to serve the bowl like this (with all the ingredients separate.)
  7. To eat, mix all the ingredients together in the bowl and start chomping!

 

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Nov 102015
 

Roasted Pumpkin, Garlic and Feta Dip

 

It’s November and there are pumpkins everywhere I turn – smooth yellow ones, big orange ones, knobbly green ones – so I decided to try making a pumpkin dip. I’m a big fan of dips because they make eating healthy very easy. A healthy dip waiting for me in my fridge plus vegetable sticks equals a healthy snack I can turn to in between meals.

 

Roasting is the best way to cook pumpkins. You don’t have to remove the skin, which can be tricky when the pumpkin is not entirely smooth. For roasting, you simply need to cut your pumpkin in half and roast it with the skin on (removing the skin after roasting is much easier). Some people discard the pumpkin seeds, but I recommend roasting them because they are high in zinc and make a delicious snack (see my tutorial on how to Roast Pumpkin Seeds).

 

I am in the habit of throwing a few garlic cloves into the oven whenever I roast anything, so adding roasted garlic with my roasted pumpkin was obvious for me. Feta brings some cool savouriness to the dip, and the saltiness of the feta means that you may not need to add any extra salt.

 

Roasted Pumpkin, Garlic and Feta Dip is delicious served with vegetable sticks, bread, crackers or corn chips. It also works well as a warm meal tossed with hot pasta.

 

Share your thoughts: Do you have a favourite pumpkin dip recipe you would like to share?

 

Roasted Pumpkin, Garlic and Feta Dip

 

 

ROASTED PUMPKIN, GARLIC AND FETA DIP

(makes 2 cups/400ml)

 

Ingredients:

700g raw pumpkin in its shell for roasting (or 400g/300mL freshly roasted pumpkin) – any pumpkin variety will do except for a jack-o-lantern pumpkin

8 fresh raw whole garlic cloves, with their paper skin still on

100g feta cheese, roughly crumbled

salt, according to taste (I did not need to add any as the feta was salty enough)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F to roast the pumpkin and garlic cloves.
  2. To roast the garlic: In a small oven-proof dish, toss the garlic cloves with a little olive oil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Remove and discard the paper skin and cut off the hard root end from the garlic cloves.
  3. To roast the pumpkin: Cut your pumpkin in half lengthwise. Use a tablespoon to scrape out the strings and seeds in the cavity of the pumpkin. Some people discard the pumpkin seeds, but I recommend roasting them because they are high in zinc and make a delicious snack (see my tutorial on how to Roast Pumpkin Seeds). Rub the inside of the two halves of the pumpkin with some extra virgin olive oil and place them face down in an oven-proof dish. Roast for 40 minutes or until the pumpkin flesh is soft. Turn the pumpkin over and allow to cool. Once cool, mash the pumpkin flesh and scoop it out of the skin. Discard the skin. If you have too much cooked pumpkin, you can save it in the fridge or the freezer for another recipe.
  4. In a food processor, put in your 8 roasted garlic cloves and 100g crumbled feta cheese. Process  until smooth. Add 400g/300mL freshly roasted pumpkin and process to desired consistency. Taste and add salt if necessary (depending on the saltiness of the feta)
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve within 3 days with vegetable sticks, bread, crackers or corn chips.
  6. For a warm meal, this also works nicely tossed with pasta.

 

Share your thoughts: Do you have a favourite pumpkin dip recipe you would like to share?

 

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Nov 042015
 

Taris EVOO

 

Tariş is a Turkish olive oil producing company that was originally founded by local farmers in 1915. In 2001, it became ‘Tariş Olive and Olive Oil Agriculture Sales Cooperatives Union’, a group of 32 cooperatives made up of 28,000 Turkish producer-partners who collectively own and operate Tariş’ production facilities. The 32 cooperatives are from towns near the Aegean coast, such as Aydın, Balıkesir, Çanakkale, İzmir, Manisa and Muğla.

 

Tariş divides it’s olive oils between North Aegean and South Aegean because of the distinctive taste which is imparted from the soil and microclimate of each region. On their website, they describe the oils from the two regions as:

 

  • NORTH AEGEAN OLIVE OILS – This is a highly fluid olive oil specific to the Gulf of Edremit region. As a result of the climatic effect, this oil has a fresh-fruity and grassy aroma accompanied by an exquisite flavour. A mild and momentary taste of bitterness in the palate and on the tip of tongue is the characteristic of this oil.
  • SOUTH AEGEAN OLIVE OILS – Derived from the Southern Aegean olives comprising İzmir, Aydın and Muğla region, this olive oil is characterised by its darker colour, more dominant fruit flavour and less fluidity.

 

The olive oil I tried is Tariş’ 100% Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is mild and fruity and is moves a little more fluidly than other olive oils I have tried so far. While the bottle doesn’t specify whether the oil is North Aegean or South Aegean, my guess is that it’s North due to its mildness and high fluidity. Here are my thoughts after trying it:

 

[If you want to learn how to taste olive oil, go to my tutorial ‘How To Choose An Extra Virgin Olive Oil’]

 

Organoleptic Profile:

Aroma: Fruit (olive), fresh corn, tomato, nuts, lemon peel, slight fresh green grass at the end

Taste: Mild tasting olive oil

Bitterness: Light bitterness on the tongue

Peppery: Spiciness comes in slowly and then increases towards the end

 

Other information:

Company: Tariş Olive and Olive Oil Agriculture Sales Cooperatives Union

Region: Aegean Coast, Turkey

Olive Varietal: Not specified on the bottle

Bottle: Dark glass to protect the oil inside

Production Date: Printed on the bottle

Expiry Date: Printed on the bottle

Acidity level: Max 0.8%

Peroxide level: Not specified on the bottle

Price: EUR12 for a 500mL bottle

 

Share your thoughts: If you have you tried Tariş 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil, share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Full Disclosure:

  • I purchased a 500ml bottle of Tariş 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil. All opinions are honest and my own.

 

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