Sweet potato curry

Sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry – serves 2.  270 calories per serving

 

veg curry

Why not try this 5:2 fast diet curry,  the additions at the bottom of the page mean you can make it more substantial and also eat it on your non fast days

It works equally well with sweet potato, butternut squash or those Halloween pumpkins!

 

1 small sweet potato (100g) – chopped into bite sized pieces – you could also use pumpkin or butternut squash

1 small onion (50g) – chopped

1 medium chopped courgette or frozen peas (145g)

½ tsp vegetable oil

80g of spinach – fresh, frozen or tinned (and drained)

½ of a 400g tin of chickpeas – drained , reserve the liquid

½ garlic clove – chopped

Pinch chilli flakes

½ tsp curry powder

½ tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp tomato puree

1 tsp balti/curry paste

25 g per person of uncooked brown basmati rice (makes 80g of cooked rice)

Coriander leaves (optional)

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Frozen spinach

Frozen spinach

 

Fry the onion in the oil add the curry powder, tomato puree and curry paste and fry for 2 minutes.  Add the sweet potato (butternut squash or pumpkin) and cook for another 5 with a lid on.

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Add the courgettes (or peas), spinach, tomatoes, garlic, chilli, chickpeas.  If the sauce is too thick add some chickpea water.  Turn down the heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft (20-25 mins).  Taste and adjust seasoning, add more water if necessary

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At the same time cook brown rice (according to instructions on the packet) for about 20-25 minutes

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Sever the rice and curry.  Scatter over a few coriander leaves

Non-fast day additions

rotiMore rice 80g cooked – 90 calories

28g cashew nuts – 164 calories

small tandoori roti bread – 160 calories

Pulled jackfruit wrap

PULLED JACKFRUIT WRAP (Its best if you can make this the day before ) serves 3 – 4 people

There are a lot of ingredients here, but the taste and texture is so worth it!  You can make large batches of the pulled jackfruit.  When it’s cooled,  portion it up in to freezer bags and freeze for when you need to eat in a hurry.

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I found the tinned jackfruit and liquid smoke at V Spot, a completely vegan shop in Sherwood, Nottingham  http://www.v-spot.co.uk

 

2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil

1 small red onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

½ tsp ground cumin, coriander and smoked paprika

1 pinch ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves or star anise, optional

½ – 1 tsp chilli paste/flakes or powder – I used Gochujang

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tin of jackfruit in water

1 ½ tbsp soy sauce or tamari

1 tbsp. maple syrup or 2 squares of dark chocolate

½ tsp black pepper

1 tsp liquid smoke**

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

4-5 wholemeal wraps

lots of crunchy salad

avocado salsa – optional 1 avocado, mashed, large pinch chili flakes or ½ fresh chilli, 1-2 tsp lime juice, 1 tomato chopped, 1 spring onion finely sliced, pick of rock/sea salt.

**If you don’t have liquid smoke, you could increase the amount of smoked paprika instead

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  • Heat the oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed, pan. Fry the diced red onion until soft and golden. Add chopped garlic and fry for a few minutes.
  • While that is cooking drain the jackfruit and set aside.

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  • Add the spices to the onions: cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, cinnamon and cloves. Fry for a minute or two, to release the flavours.
  • Mix in the tomato & chilli paste or fresh chilli and again fry for a minute, using a spoon/spatula to keep it from sticking.
  • Add in the jackfruit along with soy sauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke and apple cider vinegar. Mix everything really well. Squash the jackfruit pieces with your spoon or fork so that the individual fibres separate. Season with pepper. Simmer the mixture gently for another 10-15 minutes and then allow it to cool down. Place in the fridge overnight to intensify the flavour. If that’s not possible a couple of hours will do
  • Just before you are ready to assemble the wraps, set the oven to 200° C/ Gas 6 Spread the jackfruit pieces on a baking paper-lined baking tray, pull apart any large pieces and bake for about 20 minutes, until they are browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and let it cool
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baked jackfruit

 

  • Make the salsa if you are having it – Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Check the seasoning. Done!

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  • Finally, fill your wrap with salad spread the pulled jackfruit on top and add a dollop of salsa (if using). Wrap up and enjoy.  2 wraps per person

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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!

Beetroot pasta salad

Beetroot pasta salad

They say you eat with your eyes first.  Well, this delicious and colourful salad will have you drooling!  It is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and fibre.  The earthy taste of the beetroot and cumin is really complemented by the fiery horseradish.  Of course its up to you how hot you go!

At only 165 calories a portion it is perfect for anyone wanting to lose weight, especially you 5:2 fast-ers.

Beetroot pasta salad – serves 2, 165 calories a portion

beetrootbeetro160g cooked beetroot, cubed (I used the pre-cooked vacuum packed version), 60g grated carrot, 100g of cooked and cooled wholemeal pasta,

The dressing –  1tsp horseradish puree (from a jar but not the creamed version)  or fresh horseradish if you have it, ¼ tsp each of ground paprika and cumin,  2 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp orange juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, large pinch of ground black pepper, small pinch of sea salt,

1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint or parsley

Make the dressing by mixing the spices, oil and juice together.  I use an empty clean jam jar. Set aside.

horseradish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mix the vegetables into the cold pasta pour over the dressing and mix well.  Sprinkle over the fresh herbs and mix again.

Divide in to two bowls and serve

 

 

 

Non-fast day additions

Add a large mixed salad (180g) – 50 calories in total

Add ½ tin drained chickpeas for two– 145 calories in total

Add ½ an avocado – 150 calories

Vegan pancakes

Vegan pancakes

pancake1Many of you began January as a vegan, because you wanted to support Veganuary, and I know thorough social media that many of you have continued.  And its on special occasions like ‘Pancake day’ that you think…hmm now what do I do?!

Well, I have the answer in my vegan pancake recipe.  This is a mashup of a ‘normal’ recipe and different recipes I found on the Vegan Food UK Facebook page.  I’d highly recommend this resource if you want some vegan inspiration

Makes 12 small pancakes and serves 4 people

IMG_0021100g or 1 cup of porridge oats

300ml or 1¼  cups of non dairy milk (I used soya milk)

50g or 1/3 cup wholemeal/coconut/gluten free flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon powder

pinch of salt

1 medium or 2 small ripe bananas

1 tbls chia seeds

rapeseed oil for frying

Don’t worry if your first pancake is a bit ‘pants’ it takes a while for the pan to warm up and for the oil to do its work.  But persevere, your second and subsequent pancakes will be fab!

  • Put all the items into a large bowl and blend them using a hand blender, or in a nutribullet if you have one. Blend until well mixed, you may need to add more milk or a splash of water if its too thick
  • The batter should be the consistency of slightly whipped cream.  The chia seeds will thicken it, if that happens as you’re making your pancakes just add another splash of water
  • Drizzle oil in a non-stick pan, and spread around with a paper towel. Heat on a medium setting.
  • I tried both a large frying pan and my individual cast iron pan, for me the individual pan worked best but it does take longer to cook all the batter
  • Pour in a small amount of the batter to make a small thick circle.

  • When the top starts to bubble (after about 1 minute), its time to flip! A spatula is easiest, but if you fancy your chances give it a toss!
  • Again cook for about a minute, pick the edge up and have a look to see if its cooked. When it’s nice and brown it’s ready. Woo-hoo!
  • When you cook the next pancake don’t add any extra oil but use the kitchen paper and rub the base of the pan, which will provide enough oil.

 

  • IMG_0101Serve straight away or stack the pancakes on a plate in a warm oven until you’re ready to eat.  They can also be made in advance, cooled and kept in the fridge or freezer to eat at another time

I like clementine segments and some vegan ice-cream  with mine.  How do you like yours?

Quick vegetable rice

Quick vegetable rice  – serves 2, 262 calories (315 calls if using microwaveable rice)

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

IMG_2799This makes a really quick, filling and tasty lunch; packed with lots of veggies and some wholegrain carbs.  The seasonings can be varied to bring different flavours to the dish.  Try adding cumin, curry powder and fresh coriander for an Indian flavour.  Or smoked paprika, harissa and fresh mint  for a more Moroccan twist.  And if you want a Mediterranean feel add some tomato paste,  a few chopped olives, lemon zest and fresh mint or basil

IMG_27911 courgette – cut into cubes

1 red pepper – cut into cubes

1 onion – sliced

1 stick of celery – sliced

1 garlic clove – finely chopped or grated

½ tsp minced ginger or small piece of grated fresh ginger

good pinch of ground black pepper

250 g cooked brown basmati (or 1 packet of microwaveable wholegrain basmati)

2 tsp olive oil

splash lemon juice and soy sauce

good pinch of chilli flakes

handful of chopped parsley

 

IMG_2794Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the vegetables IMG_2792until they start to soften – about 8-10 minutes. Add the chilli, garlic, black pepper, parsley and ginger and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the cooked rice. If using the microwaveable rice, cook according to the instruction then add to the pan

 

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Keep stirring until all the ingredients are hot and well mixed. Add the soy sauce and a splash of lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve on two warmed plates.

 

To make it a more substantial meal add ½ tin of chickpeas (145 calories), 50g toasted cashew nuts (275 calories) or 200g steamed edamame beans (166 calories)

Speedy stir-fry

Speedy stir-fry – serves 2 or 3

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

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To celebrate the Chinese New year why not cook yourself this vegan speedy stir-fry.

This recipe makes a really quick and tasty light lunch or a more substantial supper dish.  The peanuts and sesame seeds add protein and some useful minerals like iron and magnesium and all the veggies are bursting with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.  The wholegrain rice also adds some useful protein and fibre.

 

 

 

IMG_36311 packet microwavable wholegrain rice

½ (100g) large onion – sliced

2 (130g) carrots – cut into matchsticks

1 (130g) red pepper – sliced

80g spring greens or spinach or kale- shredded

20g fresh ginger – thin strips

¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

30g unsalted peanuts or cashews

1 spring onion – sliced

½ tsp soy sauce

1 tsp *toasted sesame seeds

 

 

Heat a wok (or non stick frying pan) 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 add 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 and chili flakes. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the veg soften slightly

 

In the meantime microwave the rice according to the instructions on the packet (usually 2 minutes).  This step can be missed out, just tip the rice straight into the wok and cook for an extra 2 minutes with a splash of hot water

 

IMG_3639Add the steaming rice to the wok and mix in. Add the peanuts, soy sauce and spring onion and again stir to mix

 

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Divide into 2 bowls for a generous evening meal serving (358 calories) or into 3 bowls for a lighter lunch or 5:2 fast diet meal (238 calories). And sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds

 

Now you know how simple it is what are you waiting for?! 

* To toast sesame seeds. Heat a nonstick frying pan – don’t add any oil. Add the sesame seeds and keep moving the pan to stop the seeds burning. They will start to colour and go golden brown after 2-3 minutes. Switch off the heat and allow to cool before tipping into a container with a lid. The toasted seeds will keep for 2-3 months

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Makes 4 x 300g servings = which can be frozen

230 calories per portion

IMG_2129It’s getting colder so what better way to keep out those chills than have a bowl of warming and nutritious homemade soup. Feel free to adjust the vegetables and add in whatever is to hand.  But always use the lentils as it adds protein and fibre, therefore making the soup really hearty and filling.

250g parnsips

150g swede

200g potatoes

100g leek

150g dried red lentils

1 tsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

½  vegetable stock cube or 1 tsp bouillon powder

½ litre of hot water

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 chilli or 1 tsp dried chilli

1 bay leave (optional)

Salt and pepper

Dash of lemon juice and a handful of chopped fresh herbs

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Wash all the vegetables but only peel the swede.  Both the parsnips and the potatoes can keep their peel (to retain more fibre and nutrients).  Chop in to bite sized pieces

IMG_2099I use a pressure cooker for this soup as it reduces the cooking time,  But if you don’t have one then use a large pan.  Add the oil to the pan and warm before adding the leeks.  Cook on their own for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally to stop them colouring too much.  Add the rest of the vegetables and stir.  After a few minutes add the chilli, spices, bay leaves, garlic, stock cube dissolved in the hot water and tinned tomatoes.

Give the whole lot a big stir and then add in the dried lentils.  With another big stir

If you are using a pressure cooker at this point add the lid and wait for a steady stream of steam to be produced add the weight, turn down the gas to a simmer and set the timer for 10 minutes.

If you are just using a large pan, cover with a lid, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes (storing regularly), or until all the veg are nice and soft and the lentils have broken down

Have a taste and then season with salt and pepper and a dash of lemon and some chopped herbs, such as parsley, mint, coriander

IMG_2100You can leave the soup nice and chunky or use a stick blender to make it smooth.  This will thicken the soup so add some more hot water, until you reached the desired consistency.

It may mean that you then get an extra portion so the recipe will have 5 not 4 servings in which case the calorie per portion will reduce to 200

The soup can be kept covered in the fridge for 3 days.  Any uneaten portions can be frozen and defrosted and reheated before eating

As a chunky soup it can quickly be turned in to a versatile casserole by adding cooked veggie sausages, Quorn (or for the meat eaters; roasted chicken or left over Sunday roast meat)

soupAs a smooth soup it can be used as a protein rich topping for jacket pototoes or a filling for a veggie shepherds pie

Please share if you have other creative ways of using this versatile recipe

Part time veggie

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

thai-tofu-curryOn Monday why not take part in ‘meat free Monday’ and become a part time veggie.   The idea is that one day a week you eat vegetarian or vegan meals. There are now an estimated two – three million vegetarians in the UK, who for a variety of wide-ranging reasons have given up meat and fish. You could become one of them

The number of vegans in the UK is also growing as the evidence that a plant based diet has health benefits increases

 

Why should you bite the bullet (or rather the carrot!)?

  • Weight – According to recent research by Cancer research UK vegetarians and vegans have a lower body weight.  Meat eaters who continue eating meat will carry on putting on more weight over a five year period, compared to those who switched over to vegetarianism.  The World Health Organisation believes being overweight can increase the risk of serious health consequences such as cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke), type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, and some cancers.  What is not widely known is that the risk of health problems starts when someone is only very slightly overweight, and that the likelihood of problems increases as someone becomes more and more overweight
  • imagesCholesterol – vegetarians  and vegans generally have lower cholesterol levels.  A recent study demonstrated that a vegetarian diet made up of specific plant foods can lower cholesterol as effectively as a drug treatment.
  • Longevity – many vegetarians and vegans will live longer due to their reduced risk of becoming obese, developing diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases; in fact vegetarians have 32% less chance of having heart disease than their meat-eating friends.
  • Saturated fat – Red meat, especially processed meat, contains a lot of saturated fat (plus sodium, nitrites etc) that have been linked to increased risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
  • beansCost – as food prices rise its good to know that you can still buy good quality inexpensive protein like beans and pulses and turn them into delicious meals such as  veggie chilli or cauliflower chickpea curry.  Buying seasonal vegetables and fruit will also make your meals less expensive and more nutritious. More delicious veggie and vegan recipes can be found on my blog

Quick tips

  • Add a tin of beans to your soups, curries, chills and pasta dishes.  You’ll be adding low fat, low cholesterol protein
  • Make a frittata bursting with veggies like peppers, onions, courgettes and mushrooms.
  • soupHomemade soups are a great way to introduce a vegetarian meal.  Add lentils for additional protein.
  • Spiralise vegetables and have them instead of pasta
  • Nuts can be ground to make your own nut butters – packed with protein and good fats
  • Chickpeas make great hummus. Add to jacket potatoes, enrich a cauliflower curry or smear on to a piece of toasted sourdough

However the veggie garden isn’t completely rosy.  There is a higher risk of developing a B12 deficiency, which can lead to anemia.  Eating plenty of milk, cheese and eggs or certain fortified breakfast cereals, non dairy milks, nutritional yeast if you’re a vegan, should provide enough of this essential vitamin

coucousIf you’d like to increase your vegetarian repertoire then why not come along to my vegan and vegetarian cookery classes in West Bridgford? They occur most days from 11am (Tuesdays start at 12.15), I also run a session on a Tuesday evening at 5.30pm

Contact me for more details or to book a place 07946 301338

 

More detailed information about healthy eating can be obtained from my previous healthy diet blog