Tag Archives: healthy

Thai Lime and Coconut Salmon Parcels with Lemongrass Infused Rice

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IMG_4541Planning a “dinner for two” but stuck for ideas and can’t bare the thought of spending the whole evening slaving away in the kitchen? Why not try this amazing little dinner and dessert combo that is packed full of flavour, easy on the eye and sure to please even the toughest of critics. Despite looking like something you would see served up at a fine dining restaurant, both of these recipes are very simple and easy to prepare, leaving you plenty of time to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself.

Thai Lime and Coconut Salmon Parcels with Lemongrass Infused Rice

 What you need…

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 fresh lime, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely diced
  • small bunch coriander, choppedIMG_4519
  • 1 tsp green curry paste
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised
  • ½ Chinese wombok, finely sliced
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
  • ½ tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • Steamed greens to serve

What to do…

Pre-heat fan forced oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Next place 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add a pinch of salt, the lemongrass and the rice. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover with a tight lid and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, spread two large pieces of alfoil down on a clean working surface and then place a piece of baking paper over the top. Divide the wombok amongst the sheets of paper and then top each with a salmon fillet. Next start layering the salmon fillets with the fresh lime slices followed by the shallots, garlic, coriander, chilli and kaffir lime leaves.

Add the coconut milk, fish sauce and curry paste to a bowl and stir well to combine. Fold up the sides of each of the salmon parcels and then pour the coconut mixture over the fillets. Wrap each parcel up like a big present.

Place in the oven and cook for approximately 15-20minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets. To test, open one of the packets, insert a fork into the centre of the fillet and gently pull back. If the inside flesh is opaque the fish is cooked. If not, return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until cooked to your liking.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and serve with some steamed greens and the lemongrass infused rice sprinkled with the toasted sesame seeds.

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Choc Coconut Dipped Strawberries with Pistachio Crumb

What you need…

  • 1 punnet fresh strawberries, rinsed and drained IMG_4557
  • 200g dark cooking chocolate
  • 200ml coconut milk or cream
  • 2 tbsp pistachios, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp almond meal

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan forced. To make the crumb, mix the pistachios, almond meal and coconut together and spread over a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spray lightly with oil and place in the oven for about 5-7 minutes or until the edges of the mixture just start to brown slightly. Remove the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, use a double boiler or microwave to melt the chocolate and coconut cream, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Transfer the chocolate to a bowl and assemble on a platter with the beautiful fresh strawberries and the pistachio crumb.

Enjoy!

A

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Christmas Highlights: Part 1 – Healthy Pre-Dinner Snacks

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So Christmas is done and dusted for another year, but I have no doubts the memories (and delicious food) shared amongst family and friends are likely to be treasured for a long time to come! Though it all seemed to whizz past in the blink of an eye, I managed to take a few snap shots of some of the tasty delights that my family and I managed to whip up over the Christmas break which I thought I would share with you, as you all prepare for another exciting year ahead!

Though these dishes will always remind me of Christmas in some way, they can really be made to share amongst family and friends at any time of year! Firstly I thought I would share a couple of my favourite simple, pre-dinner nibbles that were created in our kitchen over Christmas. Though one may conjure images of pre-packaged calorie-laden dips, chips and cheeses when the idea of pre-dinner “nibbles” are mentioned, but I like to keep things light, simple, and relatively healthy, as there is really no need to fill up on loads of unhealthy foods before sitting down to eat a big meal!

So, here are a couple of my favourite, healthier options!

1. Christmas Spiced Almonds with Mixed Olives

spiced almondsWhat you need…

  • 250g raw almonds
  • olive oil spray
  • 3 long sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • sea salt flakes

What to do…

Heat a large fry pan over the stove and throw in the almonds. Spray generously with olive oil spray and stir constantly over the heat for 5-10mins.

Sprinkle over the spices and cook for another 1-2 mins. Remove from the heat and add a good sprinkling of Maldon sea salt flakes. Set aside and allow to cool before serving.

Serve with a selection of mixed olives for the perfect pre-dinner snack to serve with a glass of bubbly or cold ale!

“Papa”-ganoush (Eggplant dip)

What you need…papa ganoush

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • ½ – 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt and pepper

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and place in the oven to roast for 15-20mins. Once soft, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Pierce the skins of your eggplant with a fork then place onto a lined baking tray. Roast in the oven until the skin blackens and the flesh is soft and creamy.
Remove from the oven and place the eggplant into a colander to allow excess juices from the eggplant to run out and cool.
Remove the inside flesh from the eggplant and throw into a blender along with the tahini paste, juice and zest from ½ a lemon. Then scrape out the creamy flesh from the roasted garlic cloves and add to the eggplant before seasoning with salt and pepper.

Blend until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl and add a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts for garnish. Drizzle with olive oil and your “papa” ganoush is ready to serve!

Best served with some cut up veggie sticks, home-made pita crisps or some gluten free rice crackers.

Stay tuned, as there is more to come on my favourite Christmas Foodie Highlights!

Happy New Year Everyone!

A

Chilli Chicken, Pumpkin and Cashew Stir-fry

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chilli chicken cashewGetting home late from work last night I needed to come up with something fast, nutritious and tasty based on what i had lurking in my fridge and this is what I came up with! And I’m not going to lie..it certainly did pack a nutritional punch without skimping on flavour!

What you need… (for 2 people)

350g chicken breast, sliced

2 tsp chilli flakes (or 2 dried chillis)

1 tsp grated ginger

3 cloves garlic, finely diced

1/2 large brown onion, finely sliced

handful of snow peas

large handful green beans, halved,

1/2 small capsicum, sliced

1 cup broccoli florets

1/4 small pumpkin, cut into thin strips

rice bran or peanut oil

For the sauce:

1 tbsp light soy sauce (or tamari for GF version)

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tsp fish sauce

1 tbsp kecap manis

juice of half a lime

 

What to do…

Add all the sauce ingredients to a small mixing bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.

Secondly throw a handful of cashews into a small non-stick fry pan and lightly toast. Remove from the heat and set aside.

For the pumpkin, steam it for 3-4 mins in the microwave then allow to drain.

Meanwhile, heat a small amount of oil in a wok and add the sliced chicken. Once cooked through, remove from the wok and set aside.

Add a smidge more oil to the wok and then saute the onion for 2-3 mins or until soft. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for another 1-2 mins.

Add the mushrooms and capsicum and cook for 2 mins before adding the remaining veggies and then the chicken back in.Pour the sauce over the top, add the chopped corriander and then mix well to combine. Remove from the heat once the veggies are cooked to your liking.

 

Nutritional Breakdown:

Pros:

Low carb, Low fat/calories, high in good quality protein and packed full of nutrients!….

The chicken breast provides a perfect lean source of protein with about 20g of high quality protein per 100g. The cashews on the other hand are not only high in magnesium which is essential for nerve and muscle conduction but they are also made up of 75% oleic acid, the same heart healthy fat found in olive oil.

Meanwhile the mixture of veggies all add their own unique nutritional qualities to the dish. All veggies contain different types of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so the more colour on your plate, the better better off you will be from a nutritional perspective! Studies also show that the more variety in colour on your plate the higher your satisfaction levels will be with your meal! Interesting huh?

Firstly, broccoli is hard to beat when it comes to its nutritional qualities, as it is not only a great source of iron, magnesium and folate but like all green cruciferous veggies broccoli contains high levels of “isothiocyanates” which are compounds that help to generate mitachondria (the part of our cells responsible for converting glucose to energy (ATP)…Making them a serious powerhouse when it comes to energy production!

Capsicum is a great source of vitamin C and beta-carotene whilst the snow peas are super low in calories, high in fibre and contain important vitamins and minerals like vitamin C,  B Complex vitamins and folate.

Despite its starchy texture and sweet taste, pumpkin is actually quite low in carbohydrates so is a great alternative to high carb veggies like sweet potato and corn! It is also contains impressive amounts of essential vitamins and minerals like beta carotene, vitamins A, E and K and potassium and phosphorus!

So moral of the story? This dish just about covers all bases from a nutritional perspective!

Cons:

Welllll correct me if I’m wrong but I cant really think of any! 😉

Enjoy!

A

Mussels in Spicy Tomato Broth

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musselsAs a serious seafood lover it probably isn’t hard to believe that I seriously love mussels..especially the big juicey kinds. Combine these with a tasty spicy tomato broth and some crusty ciabatta and I am in seventh heaven! Now that the nights are getting cooler, there is really nothing better than sitting down to a big steaming pot of fresh mussels in a hearty tomato broth and the one I dished up on Thursday night certainly did not disappoint!

Not only is this delicious but it is also very low in fat and mussels are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium (an antioxidant compound that fights free radicals in the blood stream) and iodine (which plays an essential role in the production of our thyroid hormones that essentially help control our metabolism.) Mussels are also good sources of protein, iron and vitamin B12 (a vitamin found predominantly in animal food sources that plays a role in the metabolism of every cell in our bodies and is essential for normal brain and nerve functioning.)

Ok so now that I have managed to convince you all that mussels will probably be featuring on your dinner tables tonight I suppose I should probably give you the recipe!

What you need…

1 kg punnet of fresh mussels

2 tins of crushed tomatoes

1 cup white wine

2 brown onions

2 button mushrooms

3 cloves garlic

handful of pitted kalamata olives

bunch of parsley

1 fresh red chilli or chilli flakes

lemon

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

pinch of saffron

loaf of ciabatta/sourdough

What to do…

Turn on your oven to moderate heat (180degrees).

Finely dice the onion and chilli and slice up the garlic as finely as you can. Add the onion to a large saucepan/pot over medium heat with a good splash of olive oil. Saute until soft and cooked through then add your chilli, garlic and the other spices and cook for a further 1-2mins. Grate half the lemon and add the rind to the pot along with the mushrooms, tinned tomatoes, chopped olives and white wine, stir through and then allow to simmer on low heat for about 5-10minutes.

Place your bread on a tray and chuck it in the oven to crisp up for 5 or so minutes.

Add your mussels and the juice of half the lemon then cover with a lid for about 5mins or until all of the mussels have opened up nice and wide. (if any are still firmly shut discard them!)

Have a taste of your broth and if you think it could do with some more spice sprinkle over some chilli flakes and some chopped parsely.

Grab your bread out of the oven and you’re good to go!

Enjoy!

A

Spicy Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

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pumpkin soupNow that winter is approaching my cravings for delicious hearty soups are ramping up quickly, so I thought I better get cracking on coming up with some tasty winter warmers! I have always LOVED pumpkin soup and I thought what better way to spice it up a bit than to throw a bit of chilli into the mix! Not only is this recipe SUPER quick and easy, it is also cheap to make and tastes ridiculously good…(if I may say so myself)!

What you need…(for 4 people)
1kg of jap or butternut pumpkin
3-4cups of vegetable stock
1 fresh red chili
1 heaped tsp of green curry paste (you can alter this to make it as spicey or mild as you like!)
1 large brown onion
1 clove crushed garlic
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
100ml low fat coconut milk (or use coconut flavoured evaporated milk if you want to be extra weight/heart conscious as it contains for less saturated fat than coconut milk)
fresh coriander
nutmeg
low fat yoghurt and poppadums to serve

What to do…
Chop the pumpkin up into chunks and dice up your onion. Place a large saucepan over medium heat on your stove and add a splash of olive oil. Then, add your onion and saute until soft and transparent. Add your garlic, chopped chili, curry paste and ginger to the pan and saute for another 1 -2 minutes.

Add your cut up pumpkin to the pan and add enough stock to cover the pumpkin. Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer away until the pumpkin is soft and cooked through. I just used a hand held whiz stick to blend up my pumpkin soup mixture but you can transfer your mixture to a food processor if you have one! Either way, blend away until the soup mixture is smooth and relatively lump free!

Add your coconut milk and stir through before serving up into some nice soup bowls. To each bowl, add a sprinkling of nutmeg and some fresh coriander along with a good dollop of low fat natural yoghurt! And you’re ready to eat! Easy huh?

Enjoy!

A

Jamie’s jerk pork, grilled corn and crunchy tortilla salad

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jerkpork2Jamie Oliver…you did it again!! I have never been much of a pork fan and have rarely used it in my cooking, but as this week is all about experimenting and trying new things I decided to give his Jerk pork recipe a go..and I can tell you now I was not disappointed! Actually no, I would maybe even go as far as saying that the flavours in this dish blew my mind and I have no doubt it will be making an appearance on the dinner table at my place again soon!

Not only did I love the combination of flavours in this dish but when looking at it from a nutritional point of view, it ticks alot of boxes! Pork fillet for one, is one of the leanest cuts of pork with only around 1-2g of fat per 100g, making it a fantastic low fat source of quality protein.Pork also contains a range of other important nutrients including essential vitamins such as B12, B6, thiamin, niacin, as well as minerals such as zinc, selenium, iron and magnesium.

With plenty of vitamin C from the chillies and coriander and an impressive dose of antioxidants from the tomatoes the Jerk sauce also certainly packs an impressive nutritional punch! And as for the salad? What’s not to love about a delicious combination of fresh salad veggies(full of important vitamins and minerals, avocado (rich in the “good” monounsaturated fats that help lower cholesterol) and the satisfying crunch of toasted low fat corn tortillas? Nothing! It was all delicious and I highly reccommmend you try this one!

Rather than re-writing out this whole delicious recipe I thought I would just share a link to Jamie’s 15 minute meals video which explains the whole recipe step by step by the king of healthy fast food himself! Thanks Jamie!

Enjoy!

My version of Jamie’s 15 minute Greek Feast!

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jamies greek feast 3 Another 15 minute meal done and dusted and believe it or not but I somehow managed to whip up this wickedly delicious (yet relatively healthy) Greek feast in less than 15minutes! 14mins and 39seconds to be exact!! Although Jamie uses lamb mince in his recipe to make Greek lamb koftas, I was lucky enough to find some lamb (home grown on my parents farm) hiding in the back of my freezer this morning! So, instead of going out and buying lamb mince, which is often quite high in fat (particularly saturated fat), I just cut off any excess fat and diced up my lamb into bite sized chunks. Then cooked it in much the same way as Jamie’s Koftas! I also left out the pita pockets as there seemed to be plenty of food to go round without them but they are definitely a nice addition when feeding a crew and are fun alternative for scooping up food than the boring old knife and fork!

What you need… (for 2 people)

1 lamb backstrap (or a shoulder or leg could also be used if you are feeding a crowd!)

small handful of raw pistachios

honey

1 glove garlic (crushed)

2 tsp garam massala

fresh thyme (or oregano)

1 small cos lettuce

handful of cherry tomatoes

1  tbs of low fat fetta or cottage cheese

1 lemon

1/2 small lebanese cucumber

1/2 small red onion

small handful of kalamata olives

olive oil

1/2 cup cous cous

large handful of mint

handful of parsley

1 chilli

1/2 cup fat free natural yoghurt

What to do….

Turn on your kettle and while the water is boiling add your handful of mint and the chilli to a food processor with a pinch of salt and pepper and blitz until smooth. Remove the blade then throw in half a cup of cous cous and about half a cup of boiling water. Then cover with the lid and set aside.

Next, place a non-stick frying pan over high heat, and while it is heating up, add your lamb to a bowl along with the garam massala, season with salt and pepper and mix well to allow the spice to infuse into the meat. Once the pan is hot, add a dash of olive oil to the pan before throwing in your lamb, turning regularly so it browns nicely all over.

Meanwhile, quickly chop up your lettuce into chunks and throw onto to a serving board along with your cherry tomatoes (halved). Coarsely grate you cucumber and red onion, place in a bowl and then season lightly with salt. Then squeeze out the excess salty fluid before sprinkling over the lettuce, along with the your crumbled fetta/cottage cheese, chopped parsely and olives.

Bash the pistachios with a mortar and pestle and then throw them over your sizzling lamb along with a drizzle of honey, your chopped thyme or oregano leaves and I also added a sprinkling of sesame seeds for good measure then toss well to combine. Remove your lamb from the heat and assemble next to the salad on your serving board.

Fluff up your cous cous and transfer to a serving bowl. The last thing to do is to pour your yoghurt into a serving dish and squeeze over some lemon juice, mix through and you’re good to go!

Good Luck!

A

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