Top 5 food tips for students

Top 5 food tips for students

A-level results are out, so for many its now off to University.  You may be completely prepared for it or you might be terrified of what the next three years holds for you.  But either way you will have to be more independent than you probably have been.  And that goes for what you eat.

Follow my 5 simple tips and at least you will have the food side of things sorted!

Tip #1

Try and avoid fast food outlets, takeaways and ready meals.  If that’s not possible limit them to once or twice a week.  The reason being they are heavily processed, contain high amounts of salt, sugar, fat and calories and are often lacking in nutrients.  The result could be weight gain, tiredness, bad skin, irritability, poor sleep and concentration.  Instead focus on plenty of vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, water, nuts and pulses.

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Tip #2

Buy the basics; by that I mean a selection of tins, jars and packets that can quickly be turned in to a nutritious meal.  And don’t be afraid of frozen veg and fruit; they are nutritious, inexpensive, reduce food waste and easy to prepare.

store cupboard basic

 

Do your food shop at the end of the day, when you are more likely to bag bargains like reduced prices.  Also buy food the day before a shop is closed for a public holiday (and they have to get rid of stock).  Buy fresh fruit and veg when its in season – it is bursting with nutritional goodness and also cheaper (often greengrocers or local Asian supermarkets have very reasonably priced items).  But don’t buy food when you are hungry, it will encourage you to buy high fat, sugar processed items

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Tip #3

Buy in bulk.  Dried goods are often cheaper when bought in quantity.  If you haven’t got the space to store lots of food, club together with your friends; share the cost, share the quantity, share the discounts.  Don’t be afraid to shop around; Aldi, Lidl, Coop, Morrisons are often cheaper than the big named supermarkets.

Tip #4

Whilst you’re still at home get some quick and easy recipes under your belt.  Base your meals around vegetables, they are incredibly cheap, nutritious, versatile and easy to cook

  • spaghetti Bolognese – either with mince, Quorn or lentils, tinned tomatoes, lots of herbs, chopped veggies (carrots, peas, sweetcorn, onions, mushrooms courgettes, or wherever you have available) and some stock powder. Served with wholemeal spaghetti (to keep you fuller for longer)
  • Curry – cauliflower and chickpea is simple and cheap.  Fry frozen cauliflower in a pan with a chopped onion.  Add a jar of curry sauce or curry powder/paste.  Add a tin of chickpeas and its water (if using curry powder or paste).  finish with a splash of lemon juice and some fresh coriander (if you want it to look cheffy!

vegan

  • stir-fry – use can use a frozen stir-fry mix and a jar of Sharwoods black bean and pepper sauce (low in sugar).  Add chicken, beans, tofu, nuts or Quorn for protein

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  • cheats risotto – using microwave wholegrain rice, frozen veg and leftover cooked chicken, Quorn, tofu or beans.  You can make it fancy by adding fresh or dried herbs and spices

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Tip #5

If you really don’t know where to start come to my student cookery classes that take place in West Bridgford, Nottingham every Thursday at 2pm

student cooking

Vegan stir-fry

Vegan stir-fry – serves 2 or 3

This recipe makes a really quick and tasty light vegan lunch for three or a more substantial  stir-fry for two.  I think its worth the effort to bake and add in the tofu, but if you really are in a rush then stick with the peanuts/cashews and sesame seeds.  All three ingredients add protein and some useful minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium and all the veggies are bursting with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.  The spiralised sweet potato is a lighter alternative than rice or noodles.

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1 sweet potato – spiralised into noodles (or ready bought if you haven’t got a gadget!)½  (100g) large onion – sliced2 (130g) carrots – cut into matchsticks1 x (130g) red pepper – sliced

80g spring greens, spinach or mange tout

20g fresh ginger, grated or 1 tsp ‘lazy’ ginger or 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste

¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

¼ jar of Sharwods black bean and pepper sauce – this has the lowest sugar content of all of the jarred sauces400g of sweetcorn (tinned or frozen)30g unsalted peanuts or cashews1 spring onion – sliced

½ tsp soy sauce or gluten free tamari

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

For the baked tofu : ½ block extra-firm tofu (drained and pressed in a clean tea towel),, small drizzle of olive oil, 3 tsp light soy sauce, 1 – 1½ tsp gochugaru or sriracha spice

  • Preheat oven to 220C/ gas 7/425F.
  • Cut the tofu into into slices. Place it in a mixing bowl and add the olive oil, chilli sauce/paste and soy sauce. You may need to add a splash of water if it’s too thick. Gently mix to combine.
  • Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, remove your baking sheet from the oven and flip each piece of tofu. Drizzle the remaining marinade over the tofu and bake for another 10-12 minutes.
  • Once the tofu is crispy on the outside, remove from the oven. Let it cool before you cut it in to strips

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  • In the meantime spiralises the sweet potato in to ‘noodles’ and blanche in boiling water for two minutes. Remove from the water

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  • Heat the wok until it is really hot and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Quickly add the sliced onion and keep them moving in the pan (with a large spoon or chopsticks). After 2 minutes at the carrots. Again move them about to stop them burning. If it looks too dry add a splash of water
  • After another 2 minutes add the pepper, greens, ginger /garlic and chili flakes and ¼ of a jar of sauce. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the veg softens slightly. Again add some water if it sticks

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  • Add the softened sweet potato ‘noodles’ to the wok and mix in. Add the peanuts or tofu, soy sauce, sweetcorn and spring onion and again stir to mix. Cook for a final minute

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Divide into 2 bowls for a generous evening meal serving or into 3 bowls for a lighter lunch or 5:2 fast diet meal. And sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds

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How to be a healthy vegan

How to be a healthy vegan

What a vegan diet should include (macro and micro nutrients)

 

People have very different reasons for choosing a plant-based diet and for some the transition can be daunting and fraught with complexity.

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Hopefully I can help you navigate your way through and understand what food types, nutrients and minerals you should include in your diet and what if any supplements you should ask your GP about

 

Lets start with the biggie PROTEIN!

Protein, if you didn’t know is a “macronutrient,” meaning you need relatively large amounts of it to stay healthy. Different protein sources contains various amounts of amino acids that help build and repair muscles in our bodies

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The average UK adult should eat about 50g of protein a day. To be more precise, it’s about 0.75g per kilo of body weight. If you weigh 11 st (70kg) your daily protein intake should be 52.5g. For a vegan that’s about 2 palm-sized portions of tofu, nuts, vegan quorn etc or pulses and beans

Protein rich meal ideas

Carbohydrates

This is another macronutrient, and its fair to say we should and probably do obtain most of our carbs from eating wholegrains, fruits, veg and pulses. And as with any healthy diet the carbs from simple sugars (cakes, biscuits, pastries, processed food etc) should be limited, as they have little nutritional value.

pasta-portionIf you need to lose a kilo or two I would advise you to portion control your bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. A balanced portion of wholegrain pasta or rice is 75g uncooked or 125g cooked. A portion of potato is 80g, and a serving of wholemeal bread is one slice

 

 

Fats

This is the final macronutrient. Its role is to transport fat-soluble vitamins, as a secondary energy source, to keep us warm and to aid brain function. It is the most calorific food at 9 calories a gram compared with protein and carbs at 4 calories a gram. So moderation is the watchword!

Too much fat has been associated with heart disease, obesity and some forms of cancer. With that in mind I would suggest for general cooking, dressings etc you use olive oil or rapeseed oil. Coconut oil has a higher smoking temperature and can be used for deep fat frying and roasting. Be careful of processed, diet foods and ready meals as these can have high levels of fats

vegan-shoppingAs more and more supermarkets are stocking vegan versions of family favourites it is now easier than ever to find vegan cheese, milk, yoghurts and ice cream. But just take a look at the labels and check the fat content as you may be consuming more than the recommended daily amounts of saturated fat (20g for a woman and 30g for a man)

Other fats to incorporate are from avocados, nuts and seeds.  They contain good levels of omega 3 fatty acids

Now we get on to the micronutrients! The foods we need in smaller amounts

 

Vitamins

Many vegans will have been told that they will be lacking in vitamin B12 and D. This of course can be the case but it could also happen to a meat or fish eater. It really depends on the person’s ability to absorb nutrients and how varied and balanced their diet is. That said vegans do have to take more care as B12 especially, is only found naturally in a few foods and most of those are animal in origin

B12

 

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin; in order to keep your levels topped up spend about 10 minutes a day outdoors without sun protection. If that isn’t possible some vegan foods are fortified with this vitamin i.e. soya milk, orange juice, cereals and breads. Just make sure your D3 is from vegan sources. There is some evidence that if mushrooms are placed in the sunlight they will synthesise the rays in the same way we do and produce vitamin D enriched mushrooms

 

Calcium

Ryvita hummus

 

This mineral works with vitamin D to produce strong bones and helps maintain the function of our heart, muscles and nerves.

Good vegan sources are green leafy veg like chard, cabbage, spinach, kale, sesame seeds (hummus and tahini), oranges, soya (beans, milk, tofu)

 

 

Iron

Another mineral that vegans may have difficulty consuming because it is found in large quantities in meat and offal. But it is possible to have healthy iron levels if your diet contains some of the following: fortified breakfast cereals, kale, broccoli, watercress, soya based foods, dried prunes, dried apricots, nuts and seeds, beans, pulses and fortified wholemeal bread.

Vitamin C rich foods help with the absorption of iron but tea and coffee can hinder it.

Vitamin C

Quinoa with broad beans, courgette and mint

Quinoa with broad beans, courgette and mint –  serves 2

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My simple summer dish has appeared in the latest addition of Aspect  Nottinghamshire, a local magazine showcasing “all of what’s good in Nottinghamshire”

 

 

 

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If you can’t get hold of a copy then the full recipe is below

 

At this time of year both broad beans and courgettes are at their best and this recipe makes great use of them.  Out of season you can use frozen broad beans, soya beans, peas or broccoli.  Now you seem to be able to get courgettes all year round but if you fancy a change why not use leeks when they are in season, which is November through to April.   And if you tire of quinoa (pronounced keen-wha) try using giant couscous or experiment with freekeh (green wheat)

But before you go off piste give this recipe a go and like me, I’m sure you’ll love it!

quinoa and broad bean

90g uncooked quinoa

300 ml of hot stock (made with ½ tsp vegetable bouillon powder like Marigold)

quinoa and broad bean100g of fresh podded broad beans or frozen –  its worth making the effort to remove the outer greyish skin; the result is a much more vibrant green bean

1½ large courgettes (250g) cut into thick slices

1 tsp oil

large pinch of dried chilli flakes or ½ a fresh chilli finely chopped

handful of chopped fresh mint and parsley

1 tsp lemon juice

large pinch black pepper small pinch sea salt

 

Put the quinoa in a pan and add the hot stock and cook for 15 minutes on a low heat. Then add the fresh or frozen broad beans and cook for a further 5 minutes until the beans and quinoa are soft

In the meantime brush the courgettes with oil and a few chilli flakes and fry in a pan or griddle for about 10 minutes

Place the cooked quinoa in a bowl and add the cooked courgettes, chopped mint, parsley and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper and divide in to two bowls

quinoa and broad bean

Enjoy!

Is fast food making us fat?

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Is fast food making us fat?

Should we be concerned about the number of fast food meals our family eats?  

The average UK diet appears to be in dire need of an overhaul.  It contains more than the recommended levels of sugar, salt and fat and less fruit and veg than the 5-a-day guidelines –  only 26% of adults met the fruit and veg target. 15 year olds fare much better with 52% stating they get their recommended daily intake *

This situation is not helped by the increase in the number of fast food outlets appearing on the high streets and in our suburbs

*  Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet England: 2017

The Guardian’s recent article about Takeaways has an interactive map showing the proliferation of fast food outlets.  Simply enter your location or post code.

Take-aways and ‘fast food’ tend to be high in fat, salt, calories and sugar; making them an unhealthy food choice when eaten regularly. It has also been shown that people who eat quickly and until full are more likely to be overweight.

 

fast food

Being overweight can lead to obesity, which if left unchecked can increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, raised blood pressure and some cancers. Currently ⅔ of adults and ⅓ of 10-11 year olds in England are obese or overweight.

Is there ‘good’ fast food?

Maybe, is the short answer. The longer answer is, choose your fast food wisely and make them an occasional treat rather than a daily necessity. Try and avoid the breadcrumbed versions, high calorie sauces, the thin cut fries, processed meat additions, calorie ladened ‘sides’ and the large bottles of fizzy drinks. Here are some examples of the good(ish), the bad and the downright ugly!

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The KFC Chicken flamin’ wrap has an acceptable 305 calories but nearly 3 teaspoons of fat and over ¼ teaspoon of salt and sugar.  And definitely keep away from their treats; the White Chocolate Krushems has 435 calories and a whopping 15 teaspoons of sugar.

To put that in to context, that’s double the government’s recommendation for the daily amount of added sugar 

The McDonald’s Filet-o-fish, which is probably one of the least fattening choices in their range still has 329 calories, 3 teaspoons of fat, ½  teaspoons of sugar and over ¼ teaspoons of salt. The other chains are similar; the lowest calorie Subway is roast chicken with 5 salad items at 306 calories, almost 1 teaspoon of fat, nearly 1½ teaspoons of sugar and over ¼ teaspoon of salt. It only remains that low if no dressings are added. However if you chose the Chicken and bacon ranch melt the calories etc increase – 503 calories, nearly 5 teaspoons of fat,  almost 2 teaspoons of sugar and over ½ teaspoon of salt.

And don’t be fooled by the salads; although the Subway Meatball Marinara salad only boasts a waist nipping 270 calories it contains over 3 teaspoons of sugar and nearly 4 teaspoons of fat.

You’d  also be wise not to assume that the vegetarian choice is the ‘healthier’ option.  In all cases a vegetarian burger, sub or wrap could contain more calories, salt, sugar and fat than the meat or fish basic version. For instance the McDonald’s vegetable deluxe has 400 cals, nearly 4 teaspoons of fat, 3 teaspoons of sugar and over ¼ teaspoon of salt

Probably the worst offenders of them all is Burger Kings Steakhouse king at 1100 calories and 24g of saturated fat, that’s over half a woman’s calorie consumption and all her saturated fat intake for the whole day!

And Dominos ‘scrummy’ small classic crust pizza – 1152 calories, almost 13 teaspoons of fat, 3 ½ teaspoons of sugar and almost 2 teaspoons of salt

On the good side if you are vegan, you will probably be an infrequent visitor to these places.  Thankfully (for some of you!) they haven’t yet incorporated many vegan options in to their menus.  All Dominos pizza bases include milk powder, you can enjoy Subways veggie delight (various salad items on a sub or salad), KFC, McDonalds and Burger King only have a few vegan sides like corn on the cob, fries, apple pie and green beans.

20623898_10154869962571903_22678629_nSo please don’t be in a rush to eat fast food

Meat Free Monday

Meat Free Monday

In some circles Monday has been deemed ‘Monday Free'; with bloggers and recipe writers like myself posting meat free or vegan dishes, and promoting the idea to be meat free at least one day a week (and hopefully more!).

Meat Free Monday

If you are looking for inspiration then check out my recipes on the right of this post

Or maybe you need more confidence to try Meat free; if that’s the case then why not come to my vegan cookery classes in West Bridgford, Nottingham?

They are for a maximum of four people and occur on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 11 – 12.15pm, Tuesday from 12.15 – 1.30pm and Tuesday evening from 5.30 – 6.45pm – although the times could be flexible.

vegan classes

It costs £25 a session (includes ingredients, equipment and recipes), or if you block book all six you only pay for five i.e. £125

If you are thinking about going meat free you may feel you need some nutritional support to make sure your meals contain all the elements for a healthy balanced diet.  I offer one to one tailored nutritional sessions that will help you to achieve that balance.  A 50 minute session costs £40 or 3 sessions for £100

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Contact me for more details or to book your place on my cookery classes 07946 301338

 

 

Veg out review – Annie’s burger shack

Veg out review – Annie’s burger shack

 

Annie’s burger shack in Nottingham’s Lace Market is renowned for its extensive menu and the fact that everything can be made for a meat eater, vegetarian or vegan. I’ve eaten there a few times and could never make my mind up what burger to have.

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This time I decided to go for brunch to see if the choice was as extensive and the portions just as generous – I wasn’t disappointed on either count!

 

We arrived at 10.30 and it was already half full with fellow breakfast diners all tucking in to large plates of food.

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You can also read my review online and hard copy in the Nottingham Post

Nottingham Post Annie’s review

 

 

 

Now all you vegetarians and vegans out there will understand that generally perusing a menu takes a few minutes, because the choice is limited. That’s not the case at Annie’s, we had to tell the server to come back three times because I couldn’t make my mind up!

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I was torn between the pancakes, breakfast burroito and the North East flannel hash. After much deliberation I chose the hash, but immediately wished I’d gone for one of the other two. It was always going to be a win win situation so I didn’t mind

I asked for my coffee to come with my food, because I knew there’d be a wait. But in the meantime we were served with lots of fresh water.   On the coffee front I was surprised to see just a small pre- selected machine, which meant I couldn’t have a cappuccino or latte just black coffee with soya milk on the side. But that was a minor irritation.

The wait for the food afforded us the chance to check out the other diners and what they had chosen. The young boy in the superman costume next to us was tucking in to pancakes, they looked so light and delicious. A couple were sharing their breakfast and looked like they’d ordered the chilli and the Boston franks and beans. Some finished plates had quite a lot of food left, maybe the portion size was too much for some.

veggie

When our food (and coffee) arrived I wasn’t disappointed by my choice. I had sweet potato, beetroot and onion hash, tofu scramble and two slices of chunky toast. My other half had the wagon train scrambler (corned beef hash, poached eggs and toast). I greedily tucked in because it all looked so delicious and initially it was. But something on my plate was incredibly salty; I couldn’t tell if it was the hash or the tofu scramble. Half way through I asked for more water but it was getting to the point where I couldn’t finish it. My partner said his was salty too

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I mentioned the over seasoning when our plates were taken away with reassurances that it would be relayed to the kitchen. We heard nothing else. So for me, my Annie’s brunch ended on a low note. The positives were good coffee, extensive vegan and veggie options and huge portions (although that can also be a negative). But the down side was the salt content and how it affected the taste and enjoyment of my meal.

Would I go back; yes but I would certainly ask for the seasoning to be adjusted

Horse and plough, Bingham – Food review

Horse and plough, Bingham  – Food review

A vegan feast!

The Horse and Plough at Bingham is part of the Castle Rock Brewery chain and they are definitely upping their game when it comes to vegan options in their establishments

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The pubs manager, Dan Brown put on a whole vegan night on Tuesday, I heard about it via a FaceBook groups called the Vale of Belvoir Vegan community. So I went with my vegan friend and had an amazing night, as did the sixteen or so other dinners who came along

 

 

For all you omnivores out there, you are used to scanning a restaurant menu and taking your time to choose what you want from a wide array of options. It’s a whole different ball game when you are a vegetarian or vegan. There may be nothing on the menu other than chips or a salad. But on Tuesday evening I felt like a normal customer; decisions, decisions!

pea fritter

I eventually decided on the pea fritters with satay sauce, the classic roast and chocolate brownie for dessert. My friend chose a different main course; the sweet and sour aubergine. Even the drinks were vegan friendly with two draft beers and a numbers of vegan friendly wines to choose from, but as the nominated driver, it was soda water for me!

 

The pea fritter was really tasty and just the right size for a starter. The satay sauce was delicious and the accompanying salad had a great dressing.   I’d say that was a good start!

vegan roast dinner

vegan roast dinner

My classic roast dinner was tempeh (fermented soya beans) coated in a mint dressing, roast potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower cheese, a Yorkshire pud and lots of gravy. The cauliflower cheese was amazing, it had a pungent cheesy kick with lovely crunchy bits, but I think the Yorkshire Pud needed a bit more work as it were very flat (but tasty nonetheless)

sweet and sour aubergine

sweet and sour aubergine

The sweet and sour dish was a very generous portion of slow cooked aubergines, peppers and onion served with lots of white rice. My friend thought the balance of sweet and sour was just about right but maybe wholegrain rice would have been a nice touch.

WBW

 

 

My review of the Horse and Plough has also appeared in The West Bridgford Wire

 

 

 

Our dessert was heavenly and everything you would want from a brownie; only just warm, soft, chocolatey and gooey! Served with a fruit coulis and some very creamy ice-cream. Winner!

chocolate brownie

chocolate brownie

The other diners also enjoyed their starters which included gazpatcho, beetroot hummus and potato bombas .

Other mains on offer were courgette lasagne, curried courgette chimichanga and Thai pineapple fried rice, served in the pineapple case. Portions were a good size, although the lasagne looked small compared to the others

Lasagne

Lasagne

Chimichanga

Chimichanga

And to finish; Strawberry Oreo Shake, Ice Cream and Sorbets or Waffles

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There were empty plates all round and I think all diners left full and happy. The cost of the 3 course meal including live music by Matty Haynes was £25. It would certainly be less if you didn’t eat all 3 courses, but on this occasions it would have been rude not to!!

Thai vegetarian curry

Thai vegetarian curry – serves 6

I often get inspiration for my recipes from magazines, so a few weeks ago I was at the dentist and came across a back edition of Woman’s Weekly and in it was a Thai vegetarian curry, Perfect!  Unfortunately although it clearly stated it was vegetarian one of the ingredients was Thai fish sauce!!

My advice to you is please read the ingredients carefully for erroneous inclusions and Women’s Weekly please if you have clearly described something as vegetarian then make sure it is!

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So this is their recipe, however I have replaced the fish sauce with soy or tamari (gluten free), and adjusted other elements.  Another potential non veggie ingredient is the curry paste, as it often contains shrimp.  I have found the Aroy-D brand to be shrimp free

Thai vegetarian and vegan curry

2 tbls rapeseed oil

1 butternut squash peeled deseeded and cut in to chunks, (or the equivalent weight of sweet potato)

400ml reduced fat coconut milk

20136709_10154818955526903_104768442_n3 tbls red or green curry paste* see note above

1 tbls  each of soy sauce or tamarin and sugar or agave

juice of 4 limes ( or 8 tbls of bottled lime juice)

4 kaffir lime leaves or the zest of 2 limes

300g fine beans

400g baby corn

200g frozen peas

handful of chopped coriander

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the chunks of butternut squash for 5-10 minutes to get some colour.  Add the paste and fry for a minute before adding the coconut milk, soy sauce, lime juice and leaves/zest.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes

Add about 5tbls water, the beans, baby corn and peas.  Cook for a further 5 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.

Serve in warmed bowls with the coriander leaves scattered on top

 

 

Mellow menopause

How to experience a mellow menopause

Join me, Susan Hart nutrition coach and Pamela Windle, women’s health coach for an evenings discussion about the menopause and how to manage it. It will take place in my home, that has been especially designed for relaxed group sessions

20th July 6.30 – 8.30pm, West Bridgford, Nottingham

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We will lead you on a path of discovery:

How to overcome symptoms naturally
What foods nourish your body
Say good bye to those hot sweats, mood swings and more
Enjoy a mouthwatering vegan supper prepared by Susan

Pamela and Susan are joining forces to bring you this unique evening that will jump start your hormonal healing journey.

Places are limited to 12, so don’t delay book your place to avoid disappointment

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Click on Eventbrite to secure your booking. Tickets are £25 each

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mellow-menopause-tickets-35506086661

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