Today I've had fun in the kitchen trying out a few new recipes! I'm running a Healthy Curry Workshop for the lovely students at Glasgow University this week and was looking for a warming, nourishing, filling, quick and easy bean curry and this one fits the bill perfectly!
I'm a big fan of all kinds of beans, they literally support every system in the body, they are cheap, versatile and filling. I always have a stock of tinned beans in my cupboard. This particular curry is great for using up any kind of tinned beans but I used kidney beans and Rosecoco beans, which I discovered recently. They are a cross between kidney and borlotti beans and I love them!
There are lots of great ingredients in this dish, chilli, garlic, ginger, onions, coriander, tomatoes and spinach will all give your immune system a boost, which is a must at this time of year when coughs and colds are doing the rounds!
This recipe would be a great mid week dinner served with some brown basmati rice and naan bread and some steamed greens if you wanted to up the nutritional benefits! You could also add other veggies like chopped peppers, celery or aubergine but then you would have more chopping to do!
It literally takes 30 minutes to cook and 10 minutes to prepare.
I'm serving mine with basmati and wild rice and homemade organic spelt flatbreads, which I also made today. I will post the recipe later this week.
So without further ado, here is the recipe! Enjoy!!
2 tins beans, kidney, borlotti, rosecoco
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
1 level teaspoon sea salt
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, diced fairly small
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch piece of root ginger, grated or finely chopped
1 or 2 green chillies, finely chopped (depending how hot you like it!)
2 tablespoons curry paste ( I used Madras but any will do)
I tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 cup (250ml) water
Few handfuls spinach (optional)
Fresh coriander to garnish
1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the cumin and mustard seeds for a few minutes until they start popping! Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until the onion has softened.
2. Stir in the curry paste and cook for 2 or 3 minutes more stirring all the time.
3. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, salt, water and the chopped carrot, mix well and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add the drained beans, mix well, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
5. Stir in the spinach for the last few minutes, then add the chopped coriander.
. .....your health in your hands.....
I had a very busy weekend catching up with my old school friends for lunch on Saturday, which is always fun and then I had 7 people over for a plant based feast of a lunch on Sunday! Everyone loved all the food, and there was a LOT of food! This fantastic Wild Rice Salad was one of the dishes accompanying the main course and everyone was raving about it!
So I thought I'd share the recipe. There was some left over since the recipe makes a lot so Alastair took it for his lunch with some feta cheese, nothing goes to waste in our house, especially not delicious food!
This is a beautiful salad, packed full of the most delicious, nutritious and colourful ingredients. There are so many flavours and textures going on here all resulting in a wonderfully taste bud tingling sensation. From the spicy crunch of the radishes to the sweetness of the raisins, the saltiness from the sun dried tomatoes to the zingy freshness of the lime dressing this is an absolutely winning combination and definitely one to impress your friends!
Big thanks to my Twitter pal, Lee Watson over at The Beach House Kitchen for the original recipe which I adapted slightly! I used a combination of Red Camargue & Wild Rice, from Waitrose, since Wild Rice is rather expensive and not that easy to find. You could use any combination of rice but preferably brown rice. There are quite a few rice mixtures available with wild rice.
I didn't have any dill or chives so I left both out and it was still delicious.! I had half a pomegranate to use up so added the seeds which worked really well!
I hope you give this recipe a go, I can guarantee it will become a favourite!
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
For the dressing
I was shopping at Locavore yesterday, my favourite shop for all things seasonal, locally grown and organic and I bought a lovely bunch of one of my favourite, healthiest and most versatile of veggies! You've probably guessed its kale, a true superfood and worthy of the title! Its simply packed with all manner of wonderful health promoting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fibre and protein and its well worth including in your diet. I use it all year round and grow my own in the summer.
Faith and Grace, my wee ex battery chickens absolutely love kale so I have to share it with them but I figure that we all benefit since their eggs are extremely nutritious! Oddly enough they don't like broccoli, brussel sprouts or savoy cabbage but they love spring greens! I bought them a brussel sprout tree for their Christmas last year and they wouldn't even try it! I was most disappointed, I thought they would love it! They'll just be getting a big bunch of kale this year!
Anyway back to the kale, its so versatile; I juice it, add it to smoothies, steam it, stir fry it, add it to soups, massage it with oil and have it raw in winter salads and of course make kale crisps with it!
It never ceases to amaze me that a vegetable as nutritious as kale can be transformed into the most delicious, light and crispy crisps!
If you've never tried them, please give them a go, even kids love them!
They are so expensive to buy but so cheap and easy to make. My bunch of lovely organic kale cost £1 and I used a tablespoon of good organic Scottish Rapeseed Oil to add inflammation busting omega 3 fats. I decided to stick with the Scottish theme and seasoned mine with Mara seaweed flakes to add fantastic flavour, loads of minerals and boost my detoxification pathways, always beneficial at the weekend when wine is being consumed! I always like to give my body a wee helping hand because I love it and appreciate what an incredible job it does every minute of the day, keeping me healthy, energised and well!
So back to the seaweed, although it adds a fantastic salty flavour, it only contains 10% sodium instead of 98% in normal salt. So pay attention all of you with high blood pressure and start using seaweed instead of salt for big health benefits!
The other two seasonings I love are Pink Himalyan Sea Salt, quite rightly known as the king of salts, due to the 82 trace minerals it contains, all of which your body can use! Remember table salt is just sodium chloride usually with added anti caking agents and should only be used for clearing the snow and ice from your driveway! It has no benefit for your health and excess sodium is linked with high blood pressure which is linked to an increased risk of stroke and heart attacks! Bear in mind that it is always the cheapest salt which is added to processed foods which is just sodium. If we want cheap food then the food industry will provide it but at what cost to our health?
So always make the best choice for your health, without it nothing else matters! Some things are worth paying extra for and best quality food always has been and always will be a priority for me.
Right, the other seasoning I use a lot and absolutely love is a macrobiotic condiment called Gomashio. Its just sesame seeds and himalyan sea salt, dry toasted to bring out the nutty flavour, then ground in a pestle and mortar. It adds the most delicious salty, nutty flavour and is packed full of calcium and magnesium, protein and good fats. You can buy it ready made but its so easy to make your own.
Simply dry toast 1 teaspoon of sea salt, preferably Himalyan but any quality sea salt will do.
Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind until fine.
Add 18 teaspoons of sesame seeds to the pan, keep the heat medium and keep them moving with a wooden spatula to prevent them burning. Once they start popping, usually in a few minutes, transfer them to the pestle and mortar and grind them. You may have to do this in two batches. They don't have to be finely ground. Transfer to a glass jar with the salt and mix well. Voila a delicious, low sodium seasoning! We use it on steamed greens, brown rice balls, any stir fry or veggie dish.
BEST EVER KALE CRISPS
Okay back to the kale crisps, the mistake most people make is to bake them at too high a temperature and burn them, then they taste horrible and don't look good either! The ideal temperature I have discovered is 130C 260F. So here is the very simple recipe
1 large bunch of organic curly kale
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
Himalyan sea salt, seaweed flakes or gomashio to season
1. Preheat the oven to 130 C (260F)
2. Wash the kale leaves well, tear into bite sized pieces then
dry the leaves well in a salad spinner or dry with kitchen roll.
3. Place the kale in a large bowl, pour over the oil then massage the leaves well with your hands until the leaves are all well coated in oil.
4. Place the kale in a single layer on lightly greased baking trays. Sprinkle with your chosen seasonings.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the trays around, turn the oven off and leave in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Add more seasoning if required, then eat them. Eat them all if you want to, they are so healthy and delicious or you can share them if you are feeling generous!
One wee note, kale baking in the oven doesn't smell great so these are not the best to make just before you are expecting visitors! They will keep in a tupperware for a few hours before they start to lose their crispness!
......your health in your hands......
Its another cold day here in Glasgow so I've just made a lovely big pot of one of my favourite soups! This recipe is actually from the lovely Jamie Olivers first cookery book, which brings back memories of his first TV show The Naked Chef! I loved that programme and I think he inspired a lot of young people to get into the kitchen and start cooking. He made it cool and trendy and he is still inspiring people and has upped the ante for his new book Everyday Superfood by using healthier ingredients which I'm all for!
So back to the soup, this soup is just silky and nourishing and delicious. The basic recipe is vegan but I actually added an old parmesan cheese rind which adds real flavour and is a great way to use up old end bits of parmesan! I also served mine with some parmesan shavings but the soup is equally good without it, so vegans fear not! You can also add another level of flavour by drizzling your best extra virgin olive oil on top, which adds omega 3 and vitamin E and lots of lovely antioxidants.
I am also a massive fan of seaweed, which comes from my Macrobiotic training, in which sea vegetables feature highly for their fantastic flavour, mineral profile and detoxification properties!
I'm using Mara seaweed flakes at the moment, which are great and they are Scottish and I'm all for promoting quality Scottish products! They sell a great range of beautifully packaged seaweeds which are perfect for sprinkling on any savoury dish.
Leeks, onions and garlic are all from the Allium family and have major
benefits for our health. High in sulphur based compounds they have an antiviral effect, protect from certain cancers, lower cholesterol and improve digestive health by feeding the good bacteria in our gut. Onions also have antihistamine and anti inflammatory properties especially effective in the respiratory tract so great for reducing symptoms of colds and flu. Garlic has superstar status and is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. Whole books have been written solely on the benefits of garlic so include it in your diet as much as possible!
.....your health in your hands........
.I've been really busy recently redecorating everywhere!
The clearing out bug has well and truly hit me and I'm feeling very liberated! I've been recycling and throwing old stuff out that no longer serves me and its a great feeling!
However the downside is that I don't have so much time for cooking! Luckily Alastair is a great cook, when he is actually allowed into the kitchen so I've been well fed and nourished over the weekend!
So I was looking for something easy to make for dinner yesterday and this tray bake is most definitely in that category. I was also feeling a bit cold and wanted a lovely warming, nourishing meal so a look in the fridge and cupboards revealed a few of my favourite ingredients. Cauliflower which is in season just now so I'll be eating plenty of it. I should just add that cauliflower is a bit of a superstar in the health stakes. Its a great source of Vit C, Vit K, B vitamins, fibre, omega 3 fats, magnesium, antioxidants and phytonutrients which protect against cancer. It contains choline for brain health, its anti inflammatory, supports the digestive system and detoxification. Quite a few reasons there to include cauliflower in your diet! I'll be posting more cauliflower recipes over the next few weeks, I'm all for seasonal eating!
Sweet potatoes, spinach, red onions, garlic, a tin of tomatoes, some spices, creamed coconut and some flaked almonds and coconut chips completed my ingredients.
So I basically just cut everything into pieces, piled it all into a roasting tray and baked it in the oven! Doesn't get much easier than that! It does however take around an hour and a half to bake but then you can go and get on with something else or just go and relax with a good book and a cup of tea or a glass of wine, depending on what mood you are in!
So here is the basic recipe but feel free to add any other veggies you have, aubergine, peppers, leeks, potatoes would all work well.
I should just say that although the flavours are Indian, this isn't really a curry, it's not spicy because I really can't handle chilli and hot flavours but of course you can add whatever spices you like! Its also a fairly dry dish but if you wanted more of a sauce you could just dissolve the creamed coconut in a cup of boiling water or use a cup of coconut milk instead. You could then add more spices since then the flavours may be diluted but it will taste delicious whatever you decide to add! If anyone tries any variations, can you leave me a comment please, its good to share!
Indian Inspired Coconut Cauliflower Oven Bake
1 cauliflower, broken into florets
1 large sweet potato or potato, chopped
2 medium red onions, cut into quarters
1 tin chopped tomatoes
100g creamed coconut, chopped or cup of coconut milk
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 heaped teaspoon, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, ground coriander, ground turmeric
few big handfuls spinach (optional)
sea salt and black pepper
coriander, flaked almonds, coconut chips or cashew nuts to garnish
1. Simply put the cauliflower, sweet potato, red onions in a roasting tray.
2. Add creamed coconut, tinned tomatoes and all the spices.
3. Cover with tin foil and bake at 180C for about 45 minutes, then uncover and use a lifter to turn everything so its evenly coated. Put back in the oven for another 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked.
4. Add the chopped spinach for the last 10 minutes.
5. Garnish with chopped coriander and/or toasted flaked almonds and coconut chips or cashew nuts for extra protein!
You can either serve on its own with some nan bread or make it go further by serving with some brown rice and steamed greens!
.......your health in your hands......
It's been another busy week here at Nourished by Nature! I was running another workshop for the lovely students at Glasgow University last night and the focus of the workshop was Healthy Fast Food.
We made lots of healthy dishes including Baked Sweet Potatoes with hummus and winter coleslaw, Beetroot Marinara with Courgetti, Lentil Bolgnese, Curried Veggie Filo Parcels Spicy Couscous and Sweet & Sour Beans.
The beans was actually the easiest recipe and the most popular so I thought I'd share the recipe so you too could enjoy some healthy fast food this weekend!
Beans are literally the perfect food, they can lower cholesterol, protect your heart, balance your blood sugar making you feel fuller for longer and improve your digestion. This is a brilliant and incredibly easy dish I adapted from a macrobiotic recipe, originally using adzuki beans. It works well with tinned kidney beans and literally takes minutes to make! The hardest bit is chopping the onions! Don’t use cheap soy sauce which is artificially flavoured with MSG and really bad for your health. Shoyu and tamari are naturally fermented healthy alternatives. Clearspring do a good range of organic sauces. This is delicious served with some brown rice and simply steamed greens for a healthy, balanced meal which will support every system in your body. Give it a go, your body will thank you!
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
....your health in your hands.....
I've been posting a lot of soup recipes recently, because I love soup and its cold and soups are very warming and nourishing! However a nice slice or two of delicious home-made bread just elevates the whole soup experience and who doesn't love the smell of freshly baked bread?
So on that note I thought I'd share one of my favourite bread recipes from the totally awesome and fabulous Lee Watson, author of Peace and Parsnips, one of my absolute favourite vegan authors and all round cool dude! I'd highly recommend his book, it is full of mouth wateringly heavenly combinations from all corners of the world and all totally healthy and delicious.
Anyway back to the bread
This bread is delicious and really easy to make. Spelt is an ancient form of wheat and is way more nutritious than any of the modern wheat varieties. It has more fibre, iron, potassium, zinc and B vitamins and has a low GI which can help to stabilise blood sugar. It contains less gluten than wheat and the gluten is a different structure which is much easier to digest, making it a healthier choice for most of us, especially those with digestive issues. Spelt tends to be more amenable to organic farming since it has a hard hull which naturally protects it from insects and pollutants, negating the need for chemical pesticides, whereas wheat is one of the crops most heavily sprayed with pesticides!
I always buy organic flour for bread and baking anyway and would recommend you do the same. We don’t need any more pesticide residues and kids are 4 times more susceptible to chemicals than adults. So it’s a no brainer if you have kids, buy organic flour for baking!
So this loaf is really lovely, it makes great toast, it’s dense and has a lovely crisp crust. The dough is quite wet and sticky but you just have to knead it for a few minutes then it holds its shape in the tin.
If you prefer you can use half spelt and half white flour or wholemeal which makes the dough slightly easier to work with and less sticky but then its not quite so nutritious! Its still miles ahead of shop bought bread, which is generally full of additives, flour improvers, preservatives, sugar and pesticide laden flour!
500g spelt flour or( 250g spelt and 250g white or wholemeal flour)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon quick yeast
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup or honey
400ml warm water
1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
A large handful sunflower seeds, about ¼ cup
A large handful of walnuts, roughly chopped (optional but recommended)
.......your health in your hands......
This is one of my absolute favourite winter soups, its just so nourishing, creamy and delicious. I adapted the recipe from a macrobiotic one and it just ticks all the boxes for me on flavour and nutrition.
I served it last night to my guests at the launch of my Gourmet Vegan Supper Club and everyone thought it was delicious and much more interesting than leek and potato soup!
In Scotland, a soup thickened with oatmeal is called a ‘brose’. Oats can lower cholesterol due to the high amounts of soluble fibre and are easy to digest. Books have been written on the benefits of coconut but 3 key benefits are in lowering inflammation, boosting your immune system and boosting metabolism. Leeks and garlic fight infection and combined with ginger make this an inflammation busting super soup! The addition of coconut and lime gives this soup an exotic twist and it tastes absolutely delicious! Give it a go and impress your family and friends!
Now that Bonfire Night is here and I'm talking about how the weather affects our food choices and some healthy foods for Bonfire Night on BBC Radio Scotland Kitchen Cafe so I thought I'd quickly write a blog post to share some simple, healthy ideas to make your Bonfire Night Celebrations go with a bang! Big thanks to my lovely hand models Megan and Daniel from Juice Warriors for holding my paper cones of nuts and popcorn! They did eat them after I took the photos!
I have to admit its not a time of year I particularly enjoy, our dog Ben is absolutely terrified of fireworks and shakes uncontrollably when he hears them, which these days is not just on the 5th but for a few days before and after, so he's going to the kennels in the country this year.!
Soup in a mug always goes down well and there are many simple and delicious options to choose from on the blog. Just click on the soup category. I'd recommend Tomato and Chickpea it's so easy and delicious!
So back to some simple, healthy snack ideas. You really want finger foods that you and your guests can enjoy al fresco while you are watching the fireworks.. Also you don't want to be washing lots of dishes so these wee paper cones are perfect, I made mine from a Lidl magazine, half pages for spiced nuts and a full page for popcorn.
Here is the link showing you how to make them, its really easy!
These are delicious and way better than ordinary salted nuts. You can use any combination of nuts and seeds, I used walnuts, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds but almonds, hazelnuts, pecans would work well too. Nuts are a great source of protein, good fats and minerals and seeds are packed full of antioxidants, protein, calcium and magnesium.
2 cups of nuts
1/2 cup of pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp to 1tsp cayenne pepper (depending how hot you like them)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsps chopped rosemary (optional)
Put the nuts and seeds in a bowl and add the tamari, oil and all the spices and mix well until the nuts are coated in the mixture.
Empty the nuts and seeds onto a lightly greased baking tray, spreading them out into a single layer
Bake in the oven at 180C for around 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the tray to make sure they don't stick.
Cool then serve in paper cones!
Popcorn is a wonderful snack and its a wholegrain so has useful amounts of fibre. Its incredibly cheap to buy and you can make loads which is great for a party. Its a great kids snack and way better than Pringles or artificially flavoured crisps. Its even better if you use coconut oil to cook it in or rapeseed oil both of which are stable at high temperatures and add additional health benefits. A wee sprinkling of Himalyan Sea salt will add 86 trace minerals the body can use as well as a nice salty flavour!
Voila a cheap and healthy snack!
You don't need a popcorn maker, just a good sized solid pot with a lid.
So put enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pot, add a good grinding of sea salt and a single layer of corn kernels. Its important not to add too many or they will overflow and pop all over the place!
Just put the pot on a fairly high heat, put the lid on and hold it on, you will hear the corn start to pop. Don't be tempted to take the lid off or you could be hit in the face or the eye with a hot piece of popcorn, which is most definitely not fun! Give the pot a shake and when the popping stops, turn heat off, remove the lid and you have a pot full of delicious popcorn.
Season with some Himalyan sea salt, pour into large paper cones and enjoy!
Fun Filo Pastries
These healthy pastries make a delicious lunch or snack, are really easy to make and they are really versatile. They are baked in the oven so are pretty much fat free, compared to shop bought samosas which are generally deep fried in questionable oil! Not great for your health on any level! There are lots of alternative fillings but the simple curried filling seems appropriately warming and spicy for eating al fresco on Bonfire night!
1 pack of filo pastry, 30 x 50 cm (12 x 20 in) each,
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
1 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
½ cup frozen peas
1-2tbsp curry paste
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
pinch of salt
Quite simply, half and thinly slice 2 red onions. Sauté the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil over a low heat with a pinch of sea salt for 10 minutes until soft. Add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and stir for a few minutes.
Crumble or cube the feta cheese and mix together.
Chickpea, spinach and feta cheese
Drain a tin of drained chickpeas, and add to food processor with 100g feta cheese, couple of handfuls spinach, zest of a lemon, tablespoon lemon juice, ½ tsp smoked paprika and blitz until combined.
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