I seem to have been posting lots of cakes and treats recently so I thought it was time to redress the balance and post a lovely healthy dinner recipe!
This one is really easy to throw together and ideal for a mid week supper.
I find aubergines a great replacement for meat, they have an interesting texture and work really well in curries and spicy dishes. Gone are the days when you had to salt them for hours then fry them in loads of unhealthy oils! In this recipe, just dice and add them straight to the pan, easy, peasy!
This dish contains many ingredients with amazing health benefits. We have my usual favourites;
Red onions, packed with antioxidants, great source of fuel for our gut bacteria and great infection fighters.
Garlic which is just a nutritional superstar on every level,
Turmeric which even surpasses garlic in the health stakes, improving pretty much every health issue from brain health, to fighting cancer to reducing inflammation from arthritis, improving digestive issues and improving skin health.
Ginger another amazing anti inflammatory and great for soothing the digestion.
Coconut milk, deliciously creamy, full of healthy fats, metabolism boosting, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial and something that I sneak into as many dishes as I can. I just love it!
Lentils of any kind support every body system and are packed full of fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are also cheap, versatile and easy to cook and an essential ingredient in my kitchen.
Coriander a fantastic herb for detoxing, especially good at removing heavy metals from the body and high in antioxidants and cancer fighting phytochemicals.
Spinach another nutritional superstar containing 22 different phytochemicals and a great source of iron, calcium and magnesium.
Once you start to think of food in terms of nutrition, you become much more mindful of what you are actually feeding your body and that is a very good thing!
I tend to think in terms of every time we eat or drink something, we are either feeding disease or fighting it and I choose to support my body by choosing nutritionally dense foods which support me on every level.
Admittedly no one is perfect and eats well all the time but we need to find a balance where we can be our best selves and that means eating decent food the majority of the time.
Since I am Nourished by Nature, for me this is mostly plants and wholefoods, natures' super-foods!
The 80/20 rule is a good one to follow and means we can eat really well 80% of the time and allow ourselves less healthy food and treats the rest of the time.
Life is for living and being happy and healthy, its not about deprivation, guilt and regrets so don't make your life about these things.
There ends my sermon for the day!
Right back to the recipe. I had no frozen peas since my freezer broke this week, and it was full of kale from my garden, frozen berries and bananas! Luckily I could squeeze some of it into my other freezer but the frozen bananas were just mush. Anyway I discovered a bag of edamame beans in my other freezer so added them instead. They are such a nice colour, almost lime green and sweet and delicious.
I also had a bag of lovely wee organic potatoes which I wanted to use so I cooked them separately and added them to the dish at the end. I served it with some lovely steamed green beans.
So here is the recipe.. enjoy!
AUBERGINE, LENTIL & COCONUT CURRY
1 cup of puy or green lentils (250g)
650ml vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil or coconut oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
2cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
1 level teaspoon dried chillies (more if you like it hot!)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground coriander
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can coconut milk (400ml)
2 aubergines, washed and cut into cubes
1 cup of frozen peas or edamame beans
Handful of chopped fresh coriander
Big handful of spinach
........your health in your hands......
I'm very honoured that Laura, my 15 year old daughter and awesome vegan baker, is allowing me to share her recipe for the most delicious carrot cake ever!
She made this one for her dad for Fathers Day, at his request, its his favourite cake!
I've always been a fan of carrot cake but sometimes its just dry and unappetising, but not this one!
Its deliciously moist, sweet, flavoursome, packed full of nuts and seeds for a bit of crunch and oodles of minerals, good fats, vitamins and antioxidants.
The wholemeal flour provides fibre and minerals. The carrots also provide fibre and lots of vitamins.
The flavour is enhanced by mixed spice and cinnamon, which helps insulin do its job of mopping up sugar from your bloodstream so you don't end up with a sugar rush. The fibre and protein from all the nuts, seeds and carrots also slows the rate at which the sugar hits your bloodstream.
So all in all this cake has a lot going for it!!
I do think that putting veggies in cakes is a genious idea, courgette and lime, beetroot brownies, sweet potato and chocolate cake! These are all great but I did make a cauliflower and chocolate cake a few months ago for the BBC Radio Scotland Kitchen Cafe and that was just wrong on every level! Cauliflower is just bitter tasting and totally overpowers any other ingredient. It also smelled awful, just like cooked cauliflower! Why anyone thought it was a good idea is beyond me!
Anyway back to the totally right on every level carrot cake!
Admittedly it is a special treat cake and not one we have regularly and yes it does contain sugar but in my opinion that is balanced out by all the good stuff!
The recipe makes a large cake which you can cut into 10 slices but we are greedy so usually cut it into rather big slices, 8 is our normal!
I do hope you give it a go the next time you have a celebration coming up or just fancy treating yourself or impressing your friends!
I'm convinced it will become a family favourite!
Please let me know what you think, if you try it, by leaving me a comment! It's lovely to know that folks are trying out my recipes and I value any feedback!
Here is the recipe..
BEST EVER VEGAN CARROT CAKE
2 cups (300g) of plain wholemeal flour
1 cup (150g) of brown sugar
3 cups of grated carrots, about 4 large ones
1/2 cup (50g) desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (75g)raisins or sultanas
1/4 cup (35g) of pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup (35g)of sunflower seeds
1/4 cup of nuts (35g), chopped, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts all work well
1 teaspoon cinammon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/3 cup of sunflower or olive oil
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g icing sugar
100g vegan spread
zest of an orange
1/2 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
.....your health in your hands.....
I've decided to share this lovely summer soup recipe with you all. I'm a massive fan of seasonal eating and courgettes are in season right now, along with lots of other wonderful summer produce!
I love soup and always tend to have a pot on the go, even in summer, although I do tend to keep it in the fridge to keep it fresh. One of my pet hates is waste and having to throw soup away because its gone off!
A wee tip, its actually onions that are to blame, since they absorb bacteria which makes them very good for us but once cut, they absorb bacteria from the environment. Never leave a half cut onion in your fridge. Just buy smaller onions and use the whole thing!
Onions were used during the plague to prevent spread of disease and households used to leave cut onions in every room. Apparently it worked
Remember you can also freeze any soup so that avoids the going off problem!
Anyway back to this rather lovely summer soup. I got the original recipe from an old Marks & Spencer cookbook about 20 years ago and it's one I still use.
If you grow your own courgettes, which I do, then this is a great way to use them up! However I'm buying them at the moment since mine aren't ready yet!
I've been spiralising lots of courgettes recently too, courgetti is just a genious replacement for carb heavy, white pasta and its delicious and so healthy!
Try and select darkest green, firmest courgettes and the smaller ones tend to be sweeter. I sometimes find that the bigger courgettes can be quite watery and bitter, not what you want for your lovely soup!
So among the healthy ingredients of this soup is turmeric which is beating drugs for just about everything in numerous trials! It has so many health benefits and is well worth including in your diet. Point to note that the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin is absorbed way better in the presence of piperidine, found in black pepper and further enhanced by oil so any recipe using turmeric should include black pepper and oil for maximum benefit!
So without further rambling, here is the recipe!
COURGETTE & TOMATO SOUP
2 or 3 small to medium courgettes, finely sliced
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 tin of tomatoes or 400g of fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
1 tablespoon organic white flour
1 level teaspoon turmeric powder
750 ml good quality vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the finely sliced onion and courgettes. Turn the heat to low, put the lid on and sweat the vegetables for around 5 to 10 minutes with a pinch of sea salt.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, turmeric and the tablespoon of flour and give it a good mix with a wooden spoon to disperse the flour evenly and get rid of any lumps.
3. Add the hot stock, give it all a good stir then
put the lid on and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
4. Puree with a hand blender until smooth
5. Add a good grinding of black pepper and some sea salt to taste.
Some grated parmesan is also lovely!
.....your health in your hands....
I have just launched my new and dare I say it totally awesome summer workshop!
Here is a testimonial from Norah who attended my first session!
"Thanks for a brilliant workshop Janice!! Your passion shines like a beacon - your wealth of knowledge is remarkable - an inspiring day.
My taste buds thank you also - they were in taste bud Heaven!!!! The food was soooooooo good my tongue was left speechless!!!"
Hoping this has grabbed your attention!
Seasonal eating is the way forward for our health and as the summer approaches, well its actually arrived here in Scotland - it's been glorious these past few weeks - who wants to be spending hours in the kitchen every day?
Embracing all the gorgeous summer produce available, will impact your health in such an amazing way. Summer is the time to lighten up body, mind and soul with lots of fresh air, sunshine and of course lots of salads and raw foods.
Eating the rainbow is easy in the summer months, there's so much choice but what to do with it ?
Make it taste and look amazing, add loads of flavour using herbs, garlic, turmeric, tahini, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, lemons, avocados, quality oils, nuts, seeds........................then you will look and feel amazing too!
Think courgetti, sweet potato noodles, vast fabulous salads, layered with flavours and textures, smothered in delicious dressings and of course all packed with amazing health benefits!
Brilliant Buddha Bowls, so easy to put together with a bit of imagination, endless possibilities! Quinoa, bulghur wheat, caramelised oven roast veggies,
Courgettes, spinach, beetroot, rocket, salad leaves, herbs, peppers, tomatoes, aubergines, avocados.
Now why would you want to come along to a workshop when you can just try a few recipes from the blog?
Well here's a few reasons:
...........and the benefits: feel lighter, have loads of energy, better digestion, clearer skin, improved immune system, a happy gut and spend less time in the kitchen, freeing up precious time to relax!
Where is the workshop?
In my welcoming home in the south-side of Glasgow.
There are various dates available during June and July; please contact me for details.
The workshops are small with a maximum of five people; I look forward to welcoming you, having some fun and sharing lots of amazing nutritious food!
......your health in your hands.....
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.