Spice Up Your Rice – Sticky Coconut & Coriander

coconut rice

The second part of my Spice Up Your Rice mini-series, this has become a firm favourite in boosting my clean bulk. Super easy (as ever) but with a richer, creamier taste than standard Basmati and a perfect compliment to Asian style dishes. Cooking the rice in coconut milk does increase the fat content of this rice, but it’s all monounsaturated, meaning your body utilises it for energy quickly, instead of storing it.

Ingredients:

  • Basmati rice (75g per person)
  • 1 can Coconut milk
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Method:

Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the rice grains and coat evenly in the oil. If you’re doing a large portion, you might want to add a bit more oil, so all the rice is coated.

Tip the contents of the coconut milk into a bowl and mix to a smooth consistency. Measure out the same volume as the rice, eg. 75g rice = 75ml coconut milk. Add to the pan, along with the same amount of water. Bring to a strong simmer, whilst stirring; then cover and turn the heat right down to it’s lowest setting. Cook the rice like this forĀ  10-15 mins, stirring regularly to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. The rice should be slightly sticky and not watery in texture when it’s done – you shouldn’t need to drain it.

Top with fresh chopped coriander and serve.

Let me know if you want a particular rice recipe via twitter or the comment box below!

 

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Just Peachy

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This week I’ve increased my calorie intake to 20% above maintenance (SHOCK HORROR – not all women are trying to lose weight) in effort to get stronger and build more muscle. Eating so many calories of food that’s actually nutritious can get pretty difficult, especially when half of it is from sustainable carbohydrate sources. I’ve found that at the end of the day I usually have some carbs to make up in my macros and at 9pm in the evening, I don’t want more oats, sweet potatoes or brown rice.

I’m not good at eating fruit in general, I don’t particularly like it, especially not for dessert, largely because it’s not cream or chocolate. However, I absolutely love it cooked. Stewed apples, caramelised bananas and my latest obsession, roasted peach.

Peaches are so sweet and juicy at this time of year and easy to make into a delicious pudding. This dish is very high in carbs, which I know isn’t suitable for a lot of people, especially mid-cutting season!! But if you struggle with sugar cravings and want a fuss-free, delicious summer pudding, you can’t go far wrong. Yeah, it’s sugar, but at least it’s natural sugar and with the addition of greek yoghurt, you get a liiiiittle bit of protein too.

This isn’t even really a recipe as such, more of a construction. Just a side note – peaches are one of the fruits you really should buy organic. They’re so sweet that they require a gas tank of pesticide to keep flies away, so organically grown peaches are much safer and more delicious.

  • 1 peach per person
  • 170g Total Greek 0% fat yoghurt
  • handful pistachios, roughly chopped
  • handful blueberries
  • maple syrup
  • cinnamon

Approx macros per serving: Kcal – 221 Carbs – 44g Fat – 2g Protein – 6g

Method:

Heat the oven to 150C. Halve and stone the peaches, then fill the indent with blueberries. Put into a baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with maple syrup (I could drown in the stuff, so use 2 tbsp per peach, obviously adjust it if you care about dental health). Bake for 40 mins, until peaches are very soft.

Serve with the Greek yoghurt and chopped pistachios. And maybe some more maple syrup…..

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Spring pea & bean salad with mint and feta

bean salad

In the warmer weather, I always crave fresh, green, light food that’s nutritious and full of summer flavour. I love small dishes and make this Spring Salad a lot for my vegetarian friends as part of a tapas table. It’s a great lunch or solo supper with wholemeal pittas and hummus cut with creme fraiche and paprika.

If you’re a carnivore, it’s a fantastic accompaniment to grilled chicken and won’t be out of place at a BBQ either.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (I use Canelleni)
  • 1 cup/ 300g broad beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup/300g peas (fresh or frozen)
  • large handful mint
  • large handful corriander
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • glug extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 squeezed lemon
  • crumbled feta
  • Wholemeal pitta breads and creme fraiche mixed with hummus & paprika to serve

Method:

Drain and rinse the white beans and add to a large bowl. If using frozen broad beans and peas, simmer on the hob for approx. 3 mins, drain and immediately tip into a bowl of ice water to blanche and keep the vibrant green colour. Drain again and add to the bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, except the mint. This will turn black in a few hours, so keep it until you want to serve. Season to taste & preferably eat al fresco!

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2 minute Guacamole

guacamole

There seems to be a bit of a dip theme going on at the moment on my blog, but hey, it’s Superbowl this weekend and so having a few speedy ideas for entertaining snacks is always handy.

I eat a lot of home made dips like this because they’re highly nutritious, satisfying and portable! Great to take to work with a few Ryvitas.

Guacamole is a great way of getting healthy fats via avocado and if you make sure they’re ripe enough, you can just squeeze the flesh out of the skin with your hand instead of fiddling around trying to slice it up. This recipe really does take minutes, just chuck everything in a blender, blitz and serve!

  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 ripe avocado’s
  • 1/2-1 red chilli
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch of corriander
  • 4 spring onions

I like to serve it with organic gluten free corn chips, so crunchy and way better than standard Doritos.

Dark Chocolate Honeycomb

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Honeycomb is one of my top treats, especially at this time of year. The texture makes it so fun to eat and the dark chocolate adds interest to the saccharine flavour. I saw this on the front of Waitrose Kitchen magazine and just had to try it as a fab foodie gift for Christmas! I like to take it in little bags tied with ribbon and a parcel tag to all the random drinks parties I end up at over the festive season. It’s better than flowers, which don’t fit with most people’s Christmas decorations and is something more exciting than chocolates or another bottle of wine.

For one small tin:

+100g caster sugar

+ 4 tbsp golden syrup

+1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

+150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids or more)

Mix the sugar and golden syrup together. The texture should be like wet sand, not a smooth paste.

Let the mixture boil in a saucepan on the hob and when it’s very bubbly, gently shake the pan – do not stir as the sugar starts to crystalise.

Remove from the heat and add the bicarb. Stir thoroughly and quickly with a wooden spoon and then tip into a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper

Wack it in the fridge for about 20 mins and then break it up with your hands or bash it with a hammer!

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Melt the chocolate and dip the shards of honeycomb in. Leave them to set on greaseproof paper in the fridge. Don’t worry – the chocolate won’t stick and they’ll be easy to peel away when set.

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Peanut Butter Bites

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New research has found that teenage girls who eat peanut butter twice a week cut their risk of developing breast cancer by 39%! Now, I don’t feel qualified to give you the science behind this but apparently the high proportion of Vitamin E in peanuts can cut the risk of benign breast tumours (which can lead to even scarier tumours) by this significant proportion*. Could just be another superfood story, but it’s not the first time Peanut Butter has been heralded for it’s nutritional properties. I love the stuff for pre-workout energy snacks, high in protein and slow release carbs.

These bars are like fake Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and actually require *NO COOKING AT ALL*! So whatever your reason, get some of the crunchy stuff down your gob and feel good about it!

Recipe – Nigella Lawson, How To Be a Domestic Goddess

For the base

  • 50 cm muscovado sugar
  • 200 grams icing sugar
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 200 grams smooth peanut butter

For the topping

  • 200 grams milk chocolate
  • 100 grams plain chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Method

  • Stir all the ingredients for the base together until it resembles soft, damp sand.
  • Press the sandy mixture into a 23cm sq lined brownie tin and press down the surface as even as possible. If you have kids, this bit is fun so don’t let them do it!

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  • To make the topping simply put the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl and microwave for only a minute or two to melt.
  • Spread on base and put the tin in the fridge to set.

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  • When the chocolate has hardened, warm a sharp knife under warm water and cut into mini squares to serve.

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*http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2438566/Teenage-girls-eat-peanut-butter-twice-week-reduce-risk-breast-cancer-39.html

Incredible Indian – Super Curry Sauce!

DSCF6005[1]I first found Panjaban sauces on a recent trip to a farm shop near my mum’s in Northamptonshire, where they’re made. I have to admit, I’m not a huge curry fan. I like the odd takeaway but I’m not crazy about making curry at home, it takes so much practice and patience to get a good blend and balance of spices and aromats and after dealing with teenagers at work all day, I don’t have either of those in boundless quantities.

Panjaban makes it foolproof to whip up an insaaaane curry in no time. I’m talking absolutely delicious! In case you need more convincing, the sauces are free from gluten, nuts, sugar, ghee, yeast, wheat and dairy AND contain no preservatives, colours or additives. Just completely natural, simple combinations of ingredients.

For example, their Curry Base sauce contains…Onions, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, ginger, spices, salt, lemon juice and cumin seeds. THAT’S IT.

I know I sounds like a shameless PR rep and I promise, this isn’t a paid post or something I’ve been asked to do. I just think it’s incredibly refreshing to find a well priced, home made product that is easy to use and contains 100% natural ingredients. They also make fab chapattis and chutneys.

Visit http://www.panjaban.co.uk/home to order online or for stockist list

5-A-Day Tabouleh

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Tabouleh has to be THE best salad in the world. It’s insanely healthy, crazy tasty AND it fills you up for hours, which is more than can be said for most dishes consisting solely of raw veg & herbs. Even the dressing does you good! A squeeze of fresh lemon juice keeps the crunch and vitality of the ingredients and a good quality, extra-virgin olive oil can help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Tabouleh is really simple to make, just chop everything up really small & don’t overdo the bulgar wheat. It’s a herb –not a couscous salad – the wheat just gives texture and interest. A great dish to take along to a garden party or barbeque and super cheap to make, this is really a recipe everyone should have on their roster.

For the Tabouleh:

+1 red onion

+3-4 tomatoes

+1/2 cucumber

+large bunch of fresh mint

+large bunch fresh corriander

+50g bulgar wheat/couscous

 

For the dressing:

+2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

+4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

+sea/rock salt flakes

+freshly ground black pepper

Chop everything up finely. Squeeze the tomatoes in your hand, over a bowl. Too much moisture will ruin the tabouleh, so don’t skip this process. Add the tomatoes and cucumber just before serving (up to an hour before should be fine).

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Fast, Fresh, Fun: Vietnamese Noodle Salad

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I haven’t posted in an age…hectic end of term teaching and then on holiday lushing it up in Morocco. I would LOVE to post images of amazing Moroccan tagines, full of sweet fruit and heady spice, but the honest truth is it was an all inclusive, lie-around-drinking-cocktails-and-overindulging holiday, so the culture was pretty limited.

Since I’ve been back, I’ve been desperate to eat healthily and cut back to fresh, simple ingredients with tons of flavour. Kind of a food lovers detox if you will. Without anything involving the words ‘grass’ ‘germ’ or ‘seed’. This salad is adapted from a JOliver recipe. SO healthy and so refreshing, but with giant flavours that will give you a big smack in the mouth …in a good way. The key is the five spice and lime juice, it gives it a smokey, sweet but sharp and zingy flavour, while the peanuts add a distinctly Asian texture.

I like to make it before I go the gym and then gobble it down afterwards, feeling like I’m in a health food advert.

  • 300 g cellophane noodles/1 pack instant stir fry rice noodles
  • 2 teaspoons five-spice
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
  • 2 heaped teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 100 g cooked peeled prawns (smaller are better)
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 bunch spring onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1 handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 handfuls roasted peanuts

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Put all these cold salad ingredients into a large bowl and add the fish sauce and lime juice.

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Heat the oil in a hot pan. Add the five spice, then the ginger, sugar and garlic mix. Fry for one minute then add the prawns and coat in the aromatic mix for 2 minutes until juicy and tender. Add the noodles and heat through for a minute, stirring through the mixture. Doesn’t look great now but it will!!

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Et Voila! Make extra because you WILL want seconds. And why shouldn’t you?! It’s probably still only 2 calories…

Easily adapted to vegetarian/vegan diets, just leave the prawns out, obvs.

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super quick – beetroot & mint dip!

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This dip is amazing – earthy, fresh and tangy. Perfect with bruschetta, spread on crusty bread, pitta, with tortilla chips or veg sticks; it goes with everything AND it’s bright pink! Ok, so I’ve used vac-pack beets for ease and speed, but beetroot is in season and you can’t beat the velvety texture of the fresh stuff, so if you’re not as lazy as me then get some. This is vegetarian and easily adapted for vegans too. Just replace the feta with almond feta andĀ  instead of creme fraiche, use vegan cream cheese cut with a little lemon juice.

ingredients

Blend the beetroot and cumin together to get a course paste

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Decorate with a few small mint leaves and serve with..pretty much anything!DSCF4051[2]

tapas