Breakfast

Home / Nutritious Delicious / Recipies / Archive by category "Breakfast"
When is the best time to eat?

When is the best time to eat?

Mindful eating

I was recently asked by the Daily Mail Online about my favourite go-to breakfast?

This had me thinking a little bit about how my view of breakfast and eating in general has changed over the years.  There was a time when I conformed to the view that breakfast was the most important meal of the day and that you should eat as soon as you get up.  However, as i’ve gotten a little older (heaven forbid I am nearly 40!! – cringe) my food taste and lifestyle has changed.  I’m no longer dashing to the gym at the crack of dawn as stressful deadlines and lack of organization skills have me up early, frantically typing to meet overdue deadlines and for some reason the last thing I feel like doing when I’m stressed or distracted is eating.  Coffee is the only thing that’s going to hit the spot at 6am.

Forget the old adage of eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper.  Who even came up with this anyway! I now firmly believe that eating should be more intuitive.  Not that you should throw regular meal times out of the window but I do think that we need to learn to listen to our body and eat when we genuinely feel hungry.

Understanding your own hunger and fullness is probably the best thing you can do to help maintain a healthy weight and work in sync with your body.  This doesn’t mean starving yourself because you’re too rushed in the morning to make breakfast or cant be bothered to cook, but satisfying the need for food when your body asks for it.

There’s a whole raft of information out there dictating when, how and what we should be eating, but understanding and listening to your own body is always going to be the best option.  There was a time when we had to hunt for our food and mealtimes were dictated by what you managed to forage or catch.  Although you cant draw comparisons as we have come a long way since then, eating for the sake of eating or at a set times during the day just doesn’t seem to make sense.

It’s really flippant to think this is an easy way to eat as there are wider issues around food that influence how and what people eat but learning to adopt basic mindfulness and intuitive eating skills can help.  Don’t be put off by the sound of these concepts as they really are just common sense.

Whilst a healthy balanced diet is key to good health, the idea of what this is has become very blurred as we have so much access to nutrition advice and media attention on the latest superfood or wonder diet.  Just getting back to basics about healthy eating and focusing your attention more on how you eat and not what you eat will help you to tune into your basic cycle of hunger and satiety.

Tips for mindful eating

Eat slowly

Eating is not a race.  Taking your time to eat and enjoy your food will help you to recognize when you’re full.  Chew your food slowly as this will help with digestion and give your body time to recognize that you are full.  Eating too quickly also leads to indigestion and bloating.  Many fast eaters have adopted these habits from childhood and they often come from large families so trying to educate your children on the idea of eating slowly may go some way in helping to prevent this habit from being passed on.

Switch off! 

Try and make food and eating the main attraction at the dinner table.  Turn the TV off and make dinner time an electronic-free zone.  This doesn’t mean forgoing the Saturday night take-away and movie but just making all other evening meal times about the food without distraction.

Savour the flavour

Eating slowly and savoring every mouthful of food allows you to appreciate the flavours and textures of food, which adds to the enjoyment of eating.  If you wolf down you meal in five minutes then it’s likely you won’t even notice what you’re eating and this can lead to a lack of appreciation making food and eating a mechanical process of eating to live rather than living to eat.

So after all that, what was my favorite breakfast?  Well it was chopped egg and avocado on toast that I actually ate at 11am when I finally felt hungry after a morning of deadlines and coffee.

 

Chopped egg and avocado on toast 

Serves 1

300 calories per serving 

 

Ingredients 

1 egg

1 small avocado

1/2 yellow pepper, deseeded and finely diced

1 spring onions, finely sliced

2 chives, finely chopped

1 small handful of coriander, finely chopped

1/2 lemon, juiced

Sea salt

Black pepper

1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

1 slice of granary bread, toasted

 

Method

  1. Place the egg in a small pan of water set over a high heat and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 8 minutes then take the pan off the heat and place under cold tuning water to cool.
  2. Once cooled (about 2 minutes), peel the shell from the egg.  Quarter the egg.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients (except the granary toast) to a medium-sized bowl and combine well.
  4. Serve the egg on a plate with the avocado mixture and granary toast.

 

Download recipe here Chopped egg and avocado on toast 

 

 

 

Favourite recipe ideas from home cooking sessions with clients

Favourite recipe ideas from home cooking sessions with clients

 

Favourite recipes that I cook with clients in their homes (Download as PDF  Favourite recipes

 

Chopped salad with pomegranate

Serves two

Ingredients

1 lemon, juiced and zested

1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped

1 spring onions, finely chopped

½ fennel bulb, finely chopped

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

100g pomegranate seeds

Small handful each of parsley, mint and dill all finely chopped

Method 

  1. Combine ingredients together in a large bowl and serve with one of the dressings below.

 

Honey and allspice dressing

Serves two 

Ingredients

1 medium lemon, juiced

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp honey

¼ tsp ground allspice

¼ tsp smoked paprika

½ garlic clove, crushed

Sea salt

Pepper

Method

  1. Combine in a smal bowl and serve with salad  

 

Tahini dressing

Serves two 

Ingredients

200g soya (or low fat) yoghurt

1 heaped tbsp tahini

1 garlic clove, minced

1 inch piece of ginger, chopped

1 lime, juiced

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (best quality)

1 tsp turmeric

Method

  1. Combine in a small bowl and serve with salad

 

Sweet potato and miso dressing

Serves two

Ingredients

100g sweet potato, peeled and diced

15g ginger, finely chopped

25ml lemon juice

25ml rice wine vinegar

35g sweet white miso

10ml sesame oil

75ml olive oil

5g tamari sauce

Method

  1. Combine in a small bowl and serve with salad

 

Turkey and cashew curry

Serves 4

Ingredients

100g cashew nuts

2 vine tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic

1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

400g turkey breast, diced

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp ground turmeric

1 cauliflower, florets

100ml water

200ml reduced fat coconut milk

100g fresh peas

 Method

  1. Place cashew nuts in a blender with the tomatoes, chili, garlic, ginger and lemon juice and blitz to a paste. Transfer this to a large mixing bowl and add in the turkey. Cover with the ground cumin, ground coriander and ground turmeric, cover and leave to marinate for 20 minutes in the fridge.
  2. Meanwhile, place a large saucepan on a high heat and add a drop of oil
  3. Add in the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the marinated turkey and cook for 5-7 minutes until sealed.
  5. Add in the cauliflower, water and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Keep the heat low and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Add in the peas and simmer for a further 5 minutes

 

Kale chips with paprika and cashew

Makes 200g

 Ingredients

30g cashew nuts

1 tsp rapeseed oil

50ml water

500g kale (but big fresh leaves not the prepackaged stuff)

1 tsp paprika

1 pinch of Malden salt 

Method  

  1. Preheat your oven to 50°c.
  2. Soak the cashew nuts in water for 20 minutes. Then drain and place them in a blender with the rapeseed oil and 50ml water. Blitz for 5 minutes until completely smooth. Add more water if necessary; the consistency should be like single cream.
  3. Take the kale leaves off the stalk and break the leaves up into bite sized pieces. Place the kale in a large bowl and pour over the cashew cream, toss with you hands to ensure the leaves are coated well.
  4. Place the kale on a baking tray and sprinkle with the paprika and Malden salt.
  5. Place in the oven for 60 minutes until crispy.
  6. You can store these in an airtight contained for up to 2 days.

 

Roasted tikka cauliflower Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients

250g Pearl barley

1 large cauliflower

1 level tbsp tikka curry paste

60g flaked almonds

60g dried cherries (or cranberries)

100g pomegranate seeds

2 tsp nigella (black onion) seeds

1 small handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

Yoghurt and tahini dressing (see above)

Sea salt 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Cook the barley in boiling water until tender (about 30-40 minutes) then drain and rinse under cold water
  3. In a large roasting tin, break the cauliflower into bite sized pieces and add the curry paste, rubbing in well so all the cauliflower is covered
  4. Place the tin in the oven and cook until tender (about 20 mins)
  5. Whilst the cauliflower is cooking make the dressing by adding all the ingredients to the bender and slowly bending until smooth. It should be the consistency of double cream so loosen with a little water if too thick.
  6. Take out the cauliflower and allow to cool.7. In a large bowl combine the barley, cauliflower, almonds, cherries and pomegranate 8. Drizzle a little of the dressing over the salad and sprinkle with onion seeds

 

Lemon salmon

Serves two

Ingredients

2 salmon fillets

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (also, 4 tbsp for the dressing)

1 lemon, halved

1 tbsp chopped parsley

2 tbsp chopped chives

Sea salt

Black pepper

Method

  1. Heat the grill
  2. Coat the salmon with olive oil and a little salt
  3. Place the lemon halves, cut-side down, next to the salmon and grill for about 4 mins each side
  4. Transfer the salmon to a plate and prepare the dressing
  5. To make the dressing squeeze the lemon juice from the charred lemons into a small bowl and add 4 tbsp olive oil, chopped herbs and season.
  6. Pour dressing over the salmon and serve

 

Quinoa, lentil and chicken salad

Serves four

Ingredients 

250g puy lentils, boiled


250g quinoa, boiled

300g chicken breast, thinly sliced

1 ripe mango, sliced

1/2 red onion, finely sliced

1 handful watercress, stalks removed (or pea shoots)

1 small handful mint, chopped

1 small handful coriander, chopped

Dressing

1 lime juiced

1 tsp curry paste

4 tbsp light olive oil

3 tbsp of ½ fat crème fraiche

Sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Wrap the chicken in foil with a little oil and lemon juice.
  3. Place chicken in oven and bake for 20 minutes until cooked through
  4. Cook the grains, drain and leave to cool
  5. Once the chicken has cooled, thinly slice
  6. Add all the dressing ingredients to the blender and blend for a minute until fully combined (add a little water until it is the consistency of single cream – it should be quite runny
  7. Add the grains, chicken, mango, red onion, watercress, mint and coriander  to a large salad bowl 8. Dress salad with dressing

 

Aniseed green juice

Serves two

Ingredients

1 bunch of spinach, washed

1 bunch of mint

1 cucumber

2 green apples, cored

1 fennel bulb 1⁄2 lemon

Method

  1. Chop ingredients and blend high for 30 seconds
  2. Lay muslin over a bowl, pour in juice then grab the four corners of cloth and squeeze out the juice

 

Green goddess juice

Serves two

Ingredients

1/2 cucumber

3 kale leaves (take soft leaf off the stem)

1 small handful coriander

1 lime (juice only)

1 head Romaine lettuce

2 apples, cored 

Method

  1. Chop ingredients and blend high for 30 seconds
    Lay muslin over a bowl, pour in juice then grab the four corners of cloth and squeeze out the juice

 

Carrot, beetroot, apple and ginger

Serves two

Ingredients

2 carrots

2 beetroot

2 apple
s, cored 

1 inch knob of ginger

1 lemon, juiced

Method

  1. Chop ingredients and blend high for 30 seconds
    Lay muslin over a bowl, pour in juice then grab the four corners of cloth and squeeze out the juice

 

Raw cacao cashew milk

Serves two

Ingredients

150g raw cashews

2-3 level tablespoons raw cacao powder (depending on taste. I like 2)

2 Tablespoons pure Maple Syrup

Vanilla pod

Pinch of sea salt

600ml 
water

Method

  1. Add ingredients to a high power blender and blitz for 1 minute
  2. Add more or less water depending on the desired consistency.

 

Shakshuka

Serves two

Ingredients

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 onion, finely diced 

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 red peppers, cut into strips

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 pinch saffron

2 tins chopped tomatoes

Sea salt

Black pepper

4 eggs

Method

  1. Heat up the oil and add the fennel seeds cooking for 1 minute
  2. Add in the onion, garlic and cook for another 3 minutes
  3. Add in the peppers, spices, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for 25 minutes until the peppers are soft (you will need to add more water as you go)
  4. make small wells in the tomato sauce and drop in the eggs then put the lid on and cook for 5 minutes until the whites of the egg are cooked

 Serve with spinach or toast

 

Cajun chicken

Serves two 

Ingredients

Marinade

1 tbsp smoked paprika

2 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp olive oil

4 skinless chicken breast

Salad

150g spinach, chopped

A handful each of parsley, mint and coriander (finely chopped)

½ red onion, diced

1 tsp olive oil

2 avocados, cubed

Mango salsa

1 mango, diced

5 cherry tomatoes, diced

A handful coriander, chopped

1 lime, juiced

½ chilli, finely diced

Sea salt

Black pepper

Method

  1. Combine marinade spices and chicken in a large bowl then set aside for 10 minute
  2. Heat up a large non-stick frying pan (or griddle)
  3. Whilst the pan is heating up wrap each marinated chicken breast in cling film and seals at the ends then bash lightly to 1 cm thick
  4. Cook each chicken breast for about 5 minutes each side until cooked
  5. Combine salad ingredients together
  6. Combine salsa ingredients together
  7. Serve the chicken with salsa and salad

 

Download as PDF Favourite recipes

For nutrition and cookery videos click here

Wheat-free hot cross buns and the benefits of rye flour

Wheat-free hot cross buns and the benefits of rye flour

So, after a lot of disasters, which included many batches of hot cross rocks! I finally managed to produce a batch of edible buns!  These were created for a PR agency who are trying to promote the use of rye flour.

I’m not afraid of carbohydrates in the diet and spend quite a lot of time sticking up for the health benefits of including this food group in the diet.  I don’t mean promoting the consumption of sugary drinks and mars bars,  but the inclusion of small amounts of good quality wholegrain foods that add valuable fibre, B vitamins, magnesium and iron to the diet.

We don’t need a huge amount of carbohydrate in the diet and what you need can be manipulated based on your health goals.  If you’re a healthy weight and very active, training hard, then they’re a valuable source of immediate energy in the form of glucose (the body’s preferred source of energy), that helps to prevent fatigue by storing glycogen in the muscles and liver.  However, overloading the body with carbohydrate foods as well as leading an inactive lifestyle, will lead to weight gain and if you’re trying to lose weight then cutting back is a useful tactic given the fat storage effect of insulin.  Limiting carbohydrates in the diet to no more that 50g per day, which equates to 2 slices of bread or 200g of cooked wholegrain pasta, rice or quinoa, can force the body into utilising fat stores as an energy source (a process called ketosis).   You don’t want to remain in this state indefinitely, but studies show ketogenic diets are an effective way to reduce body fat and ultimately overall body weight.

Foods made using rye flour such as pumpernickel are a good choice of carbohydrate given their high fibre content.  Most people don’t eat enough fibre and this nutrient has been shown to protect against heart disease and bowel cancer as well as helping to control blood sugar levels and maintain fullness between meals.  Rye is also a good source of magnesium, iron , zinc, manganese and copper as well as B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and B6, which are all essential for the conversion of food into energy used by cells as well as maintaining healthy skin and nervous system.

Rye is also wheat-free, although not suitable for coeliacs or those with gluten sensitivity as it still contains gluten.  Whilst there are a significant number of people who experience bloating and digestive upset when they eat too much wheat, a diagnosed allergy is very rare.  The most dangerous form of wheat allergy occurs in people after exercising within a few hours of eating these foods.  Exercise-induced changes in the body either trigger an allergic reaction or worsen the immune response to a wheat protein.  This condition normally results in life-threatening anaphylaxis.

These hot cross buns are made using rye and gluten-free flours.  They’re not as fluffy and light as your usual hot cross buns and fail to rise in the same way but still taste great.  I also like the homemade look of these hot cross buns! You can play around with the ingredients and experiment with different flavours such as cranberry and orange or ginger and apple.  I have switched the caster sugar in this recipe for honey (still a sugar but with more depth of flavour) and used less of it so they contain about half the sugar of traditional shop-bought buns.

Adding in dried fruit and walnuts helps to boost the nutritional content of the buns although they should still be seen as a sweet treat.  The best way to enjoy them is toasted with a little butter.  I have no problem with using butter as it’s a much more natural food (and tastier) than chemically produced margarines that are high in omega 6.  Although butter is high in saturated fat, we are now beginning to question the effect on health (especially heart health) of foods naturally high in this type of fat, although it’s still high in calories so you need to go easy!

 

Apple, walnut and cinnamon hot cross buns

Makes 12

250 calories

10.3g fat, 3g sat fat, 35.2g carb, 9g sugar, 7.4g protein, 2.7g fibre

Source of magnesium, selenium, B6, B12 and folate

 

Ingredients

Buns

250g wholemeal rye flour

200g gluten-free white flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

85g butter

2 x 7g sachets of easy-blend dried yeast

325ml almond milk, slightly warmed

4 medium eggs, beaten

3 tbsp honey

2 small apples, peeled and chopped

85g sultanas

30g walnuts, crushed

 

Cross glaze

100g gluten-free white flour

2 tbsp water

 

Method

  1. Grease two large baking sheets and lightly dust with rye flour.
  2. Add the flours, salt and spices to a large bowl and combine.
  3. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Stir in the yeast the add the milk, eggs and honey then beat with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth.
  5. Stir in the apples, sultanas and walnuts until evenly dispersed.
  6. Use a tablespoon and drop the mixture onto the baking sheets making sure each one is widely spaced. Use a knife dipped in water to shape each one into a round shape.
  7. Cover each of the baking sheets with greased cling film and leave somewhere warm to rise for 40 minutes until doubled in size and small holes appear on the surface. Remove the cling film.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  9. In a small bowl combine 100g gluten-free flour with 2 tbsp of water to form a thick paste. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe crosses on the buns.
  10. Place the baking sheets in the centre of the oven and cook for 30 minutes. They will not rise like a usual hot cross bun as they have been made using rye and gluten-free flours.
  11. Once cooked transfer to a wire rack. In a small bowl, combine a little honey and water then brush lightly over each bun whilst still hot to create a glaze.

 

Rye pancakes with blueberry and ginger compote

Rye pancakes with blueberry and ginger compote

Antioxidant-rich breakfast (download as a PDF rye-flour-pancakes-with-blueberries)

These delicious pancakes make a great breakfast or brunch.  Rye four is a good alternative for people who are trying to eat  less wheat.  The blueberries are rich in plant compounds called flavonoids that act as antioxidants in the body and have been shown to help protect against disease.

 

Serves 4  (makes 12 pancakes)

260 calories per serving

 

Ingredients

Pancakes

100g wholemeal rye flour

Pinch of salt

2 eggs

150ml almond milk

1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

 

Compote

300g blueberries

1/2 tsp ginger, peeled and grated

1/4 lime, juiced

2 tsp honey

 

120g zero fat, thick Greek yoghurt

 

Method

  1. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Separate the eggs and add the yolk to the bowl with the flour.  Pour in the almond milk and beat with a wooden spoon.
  3. Place the egg white in a medium-sized bowl and whisk until soft peaks start to form.
  4. Fold 1 tbsp of the egg white into the pancakes batter then add the remaining egg white and fold very gently to retain the air.
  5. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan.  Add 1 tbsp of the mixture at a time to the pan (you will be able to fit 4-6 pancakes per batch).  Once air bubbles start to form on the top of the pancakes (after about 1-2 minutes), flip them over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until lightly browned.  Transfer the pancakes to a plate and repeat until all the pancakes are cooked (keep them warm by covering the plate with foil.
  6. To make the compote, place the blueberries, ginger, lime juice and honey in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring gently.  Once boiling, turn down the heat and cook gently for about 5 minutes until some of the blueberries start to burst.  Once done, remove the pan from the heat.
  7. To serve, place 3 pancakes per person on a small plate, spoon over the compote and top with 1 tbsp of yoghurt.

 

Download as a PDF (rye-flour-pancakes-with-blueberries)

 

 

 

 

 

Shakshuka

Shakshuka

A heart healthy breakfast

Heart disease is the leading cause of premature death in the UK.  Diet and lifestyle factors have a huge influence on the likelihood of developing heart disease and most of us are well aware of what these are, however, it is the the willingness to change behaviour that poses one the biggest barriers to improving health.  Living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking are risk factors for the condition as is being overweight, which comes with its own set of risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, all of which are directly associated to the food choices we make.

Eating a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of foods will ensure that you get all the nutrients your body needs to maintain good heart health as well as limit those that can increase your risk of heart disease.  A diet rich in plant-based foods, healthy fats (found in foods such as extra virgin olive oil and oily fish) and small amounts of meat, as illustrated by the Mediterranean diet,  is the ultimate heart-healthy way of eating and research has highlighted the benefit of certain foods included in this particular diet such as extra virgin olive oil and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.

The best way to start your day is by eating a nutritious breakfast. Not only does it set you up for the day ahead, but research shows that eating breakfast can help with weight loss as you are more likely to eat less across the day.  Opting for high protein foods is also good for weight loss and studies have shown that eggs can lead to greater satiety (feeling of fullness) than grain-based breakfasts, making you less likely to reach for snacks mid-morning.   If you do not eat eggs then try another protein-rich breakfast such as smoked salmon, scrambled tofu or yoghurt with seeds and nuts.  Choosing sensible portion sizes is also important for weight loss and eating from a small plate is a good tactic (You can find useful examples of average portion sizes of individual foods by visiting sites such as NHS choices or Weight Watchers).

Eggs still get a bad wrap when it comes to heart health as they are naturally high in cholesterol, however we now know that naturally occurring cholesterol in foods has little significant impact on harmful levels in the body.  The British Heart Foundation states that there is no limit on the amount of eggs you can safely include in your diet (although people with very high cholesterol or familial hypercholesterolaemia need to be more cautious).

This delicious shakshuka recipe may not be something to cook on a daily basis, but it makes a great healthy brunch dish for the weekend.  Red peppers, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and tomatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (found in plants) that act as antioxidants in the body and help to protect it against disease.  Try serving with slices of toasted sourdough bread or on its own if you are trying to cut down on carbohydrate foods.  This dish is also really versatile.  I have added in a few handfuls of green peas but it can also be modified into something heartier for supper by adding cannellini beans or a serving of brown rice or quinoa.

 

Shakshuka

Serves 3-4

300 calories per serving (without bread)

Ingredients

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

300g cherry tomatoes, halved

½ lemon, zested

1 tbsp smoked paprika

2 tsp ground cumin

Small pinch of saffron

500ml stock (chicken or vegetable)

3 sweet red peppers, de-seeded and sliced

1 red chilli, chopped

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

2 handfuls of frozen peas

1 tsp sea salt

Ground black pepper

6 large eggs

Small handful flat leaf parsley

Small handful chopped coriander

 

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan set on the hob over a medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic then fry for 5-8 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon zest, paprika, cumin and saffron then cook for a further minute.
  5. Add the stock, peppers, chilli and chopped tomatoes. Cook for 20 minutes or until the peppers are tender. Add the peas after 15 minutes of cooking. You may need to add a little more water if the dish dries out too much. The consistency should be thick but not dry.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Make a well in the sauce using a spoon and crack in one egg. Repeat for the other five eggs.
  8. Place the pan in the oven and cook for about five minutes until the egg whites are cooked and the yolk is still runny. Cook a little longer of you do not like runny yolks.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven and garnish with the herbs.
  10. Serve the shakshuka with freshly toasted sourdough or other bread of choice.

 

 

Green juices

Green juices

I love a green juice as much as any other health conscious person (something about the colour that psychologically feels superiorly healthy). However, given the fuss around them in recent years you couldn’t be blamed for thinking they were some sort of elixir for eternal youth and a life free of disease!

Most gourmet juice companies talk about enzymes, phytonutrients, antioxidants and ‘clean food’, which is just the oddest term with little nutritional relevance. Many also offer ‘juice cleanses’, which I will happily say I don’t agree with, but for those that swear by them and genuinely feel better after them then go for it, in the short term they won’t do you any harm (although I would be starving and not very nice to be around).

My view is; why not focus your health kick on putting as much good stuff into your body from a range of (solid) foods that include healthy fats, veggies, nuts, seeds and wholegrains whilst cutting down on the baddies such as processed foods, booze and sugar. Better still, whilst your at it, why not adopt a few of these healthy eating habits for the long-term instead of quick fixes and the illusion that somehow purging your body will correct the damage done by an unhealthy lifestyle (especially if you just return to that way of living afterwards). The irony is that ‘cleanses’ tend do be done by people who are already very healthy.

Sugar is also used as a marketing tool to demonise fruit juices like orange and apple, in favour of green veggie juices. Sugar has received much bad press recently, and rightly so as we now understand the effect it has on health when eaten in large quantities (heart disease, inflammation, obesity, oral health). Fruit juice got caught up in the exposure, particularly as the liver breaks down fructose, too much of which can lead to a build up of fat (fatty liver), elevated blood fat and bad cholesterol, insulin resistant tissues and increased free radical damage. Most of this damage though is caused by excessive consumption and particularly high fructose corn syrup which is the main sweetener used by manufacturers in certain countries (especially the United States). A daily glass of fruit juice as part of a balanced diet poses little harm to your health and a good dose of vitamin C.

Many juice companies also talk about the difficulty in eating enough fruit and veg on a daily basis, and whilst the new research suggests we should increase our intake nearer to 10 servings each day, a juice is still only classed as one serving given the removal of fibre. A serving of fruit or veg is actually not that big at 80g and can easily be notched up across the day.

Breakfast: yoghurt with berries, juice (2)
Snack: hummus with carrot and pepper sticks (2)
Lunch: vegetable and lentil/bean soup, fruit salad (3)
Snack: dried fruit/nut bar (1)
Evening meal: chicken stir-fry (3)

As a rule of thumb:

Half a large fruit or veggie (grapefruit, avocado, courgette, pepper, carrot)
One medium fruit (apple or pear)
Two small fruits (tangerine or plum)
Three dried fruits (apricots, figs, prunes) or one small handful (sultanas)
One handful of beans and pulses (red kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas)
One handful of larger vegetables (prepared broccoli, cauliflower, squash or sliced cucumber)
One handful of leaves (lettuce, spinach, kale)

See more at NHS choices

I’m definitely not going to start knocking gourmet juice companies (many of whom I know) for what they do; the guys who run them are great and have a genuine interest in health and the juices taste delicious with a nice ‘filtered’ freshness to them. Fresh organic fruit and veg is also expensive and for people that can afford them, they offer convenience. It is worth checking the ingredient list before you buy, there are some brands offering cold-pressed green juices that have very little green veg and over 80% apple juice (that’s expensive apple juice!)

Whilst green juices may contain a wider range of nutrients than boring old orange juice, it’s still just a juice, a glass of which contributes to one of your daily fruit and veg intake. Having recently worked on a juice project I was staggered at the price of some cold-pressed juices on the market but the average cost is around £6.  At this price (£2160 per year) that would buy you you’re own Vitamix, years supply of veggies and a relaxing two week holiday in the Mediterranean so here are a few recipes to make your own green juices at home. You can control the sweetness by adding more or less fruit.

Green goddess juice

Serves 2

90 calories

Ingredients

1/2 cucumber
3 kale leaves (take soft leaf off the stem)
1 small handful coriander
1 lime (juice only)
1 head Romaine lettuce
1-2 apples
Ginger (to taste)

Green aniseed juice

Serves 2

90 calories

Ingredients

1 big bunch spinach
Handful of mint
1 cucumber
1-2 green apples (or pears)
1 fennel bulb
1/2 lemon, juiced

Method

1. Chop ingredients and blend high for 30 seconds.
2. Lay muslin over a bowl, pour in juice then grab the four corners of cloth and squeeze out the juice.

Shakshuka (aka Shakshouka)

Shakshuka (aka Shakshouka)

Shakshuka

Serves 4-6

Shakshuka is my absolute favourite breakfast, made up of a spicy tomato and pepper stew with poached eggs. I’m a massive fan of eggs as they provide a quality source of protein and many nutrients including vitamin D and selenium which food surveys suggest may be lacking in many people’s diets.

This dish also makes a great vegetarian supper that you can bulk up by serving with chunks of wholemeal bread. If you’re avoiding wheat or watching your carbs then try adding a handful of black beans to the stew.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 red peppers, cut into strips
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 6 eggs

Method

  1. Heat up the oil and add the fennel seeds cooking for 1 minute.
  2. Add in the onion, garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add in the peppers, spices, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for 25 minutes until the peppers are soft (you will need to add more water as you go).
  4. Make small wells in the tomato sauce and drop in the eggs then put the lid on and cook for 5 minutes until the whites of the egg are cooked.

Serve with spinach or wholemeal toast. This dish also looks cool when you cook each portion separately and serve in small skillet pans.

Oat bircher muesli

Oat bircher muesli

Oat Bircher Muesli (Download as a PDF oat-bircher-muesli)

Serves 2

300 calories per serving

This muesli makes a great breakfast to start your day or even a nourishing snack (I like it after training or as a bedtime snack).

Oats are loaded with soluble fibre that aids digestion and helps keep you full whilst balancing blood sugar levels. One group of soluble fibres are the beta-glucans which have been shown to help lower cholesterol – good news for your heart!

 

Ingredients

80g rolled oats       img_0714

200ml fresh apple juice

70ml almond milk

Pinch of cinnamon

½ lime zested

1 tsp honey

1 apple, grated

1 kiwi, peeled and diced

½ pomegranate

1 tbsp toasted sliced almonds

 

Method

 

  1. Place the oats in a large bowl and cover with the apple juice, milk, cinnamon, lime zest and honey. Combine well and cover.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from the fridge and stir through the grated apple. Add more almond milk of a little too thick.  Top with kiwi and pomegranate.

 Download as a PDF (oat-bircher-muesli)