Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Day 7: Thai Beef Salad

I've been lax... Burgers and cheese and crisps and chocolate and pizza and fries and butter. Not to mention wine and cider and vodka and whiskey and beer and gin and tequila. Yuck. Time to get back on form with spicy Thai-style beef salad, not only interesting in colour and flavour but containing much needed meat. Being pescetarian all week doesn't suit the ravenous carnivore in me.

Today's recipe: Thai Beef Salad
Serves 4

1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
2 red chilli, finely chopped and deseeded if preferred 
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 piece of ginger root (roughly 1 inch long), peeled and finely chopped
10g fresh coriander, finely chopped
4 spring onion, finely sliced
1tbsp light soy sauce
1tbsp fish sauce
1tsp sesame oil
1tbsp olive oil

1 lime
1 carrot, grated
1 green pepper, sliced
2 pak choi, sliced
2 rump steak

1. Place all the dressing ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the juice of half the lime and place to one side.
2. Sear the rump steaks for 2 minutes on each side for medium rare. Once the steaks are cooked, place them into the bowl with the dressing to cool and soak up the flavours.
3. Once the steak has cooled, remove from dressing and slice finely. Add back to the dressing along with the carrot and pepper and mix.
4. Stir fry the pak choi for 2 minutes and distribute between four plates. Place the steak and vegetable mixture over the top and squeeze over the extra lime.

This salad does require buying a fair few ingredients the end product is far fresher than using a pre-made Thai paste to smother the meat in.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Day 6: Tabbouleh

My date got cancelled and I'd eaten hardly anything all day in my plight to stave off the enormous bloated belly I get from eating anything, ever so I was craving carbs in a big way. Thank goodness for tabbouleh with the perfect combination of heavy, filling bulgur wheat and fresh flavoursome herbs with a big lemony zing. Needless to say, after a plateful of this, my stomach is back to its rounded former glory. Luckily no-one's here to see it.

Today's Recipe: Tabbouleh
Serves 2

0.25 cup bulgur wheat
30g flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
15g mint leaves, chopped finely
6 cherry tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped finely
0.5 red onion, diced finely
0.5 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil

1. Cook the bulgur wheat according to packet instructions. Usually this is 1 part bulgur wheat to 5 parts water, boil with the lid on for 15 minutes or until water has been soaked up then stand for 10 minutes. Separate the grains with a fork and leave to cool.
2. In a large bowl combine the parsley, mint, tomato and red onion then add the juice of the half lemon and combine.
3. Add the cooled bulgar and olive oil, along with seasoning to taste and mix well.

It can be served with humous, baba ganoush or flat breads on the side but I find it perfectly substantial and very filling alone. Lovely fresh tasting comfort food.

Day 5: Guacamole

I wasn't feeling too peckish at dinnertime so vegetable crudites and dips took my fancy. I've realised how completely besotted I have become with avocado. It feels so decadent and is ridiculously good for your skin. 

Today's Recipe: Guacamole
Serves 2-4

1 ripe avocado
1 red chilli, chopped finely – deseeded if you prefer less heat
10g coriander, chopped finely
6 cherry tomatoes, seeds removed and diced finely
0.5 red onion, diced finely
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 lime
2 tsp low-fat sour cream

1. Put the chilli, coriander, tomato, onion and garlic into a bowl and stir to combine.
2. On a chopping board, scoop out the avocado flesh and mash with a fork. If you like your guacamole to have a chunky texture, mash three quarters and cube the rest. Add the avocado to the bowl.
3. Roll the lime on a hard surface for a few seconds to make it easier to juice, slice in half and add the juice to the bowl with the sour cream and mix thoroughly, working quickly to ensure the avocado doesn't turn brown.
4. Season to taste and add chilli sauce if you want more spice. 

Enjoy it with vegetables for a healthy snack or have it with tortilla chips, salsa and mountains of melted cheese on a weekend cheat night. I'm looking forward to Saturday already.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Day 4: Prawn, Asparagus and Avocado Salad

To clarify, I'm only doing the 'healthy thing' during the week... The weekends I'll still be building on my essential layer of winter fat. This weekend mainly consisted of melted cheese – a bit of cheddar, some parmesan and even a hunk of stilton – and mayonnaise, to accompany all manner of deep-fried-gorgeousness. Yikes. Back to the colourful stuff it is then.

Today's Recipe: Prawn, Asparagus and Avocado Salad.
Serves 4

200g prawns
125g asparagus tips
1 avocado, peeled, stoned and cubed
8 cherry tomatoes, seeds removed and cubed
10g coriander, chopped finely
1 red chilli, chopped finely – deseed if you prefer less heat
1 bag Food Doctor 'Easy Cereals, Pulses and Grains'
1 lime
3 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil

1. Put the asparagus into a bowl with 2 tbsp of water, cover with cling film and microwave for 3 minutes. Alternatively boil in salted water for 3 minutes or until tender. Leave to cool and slice into 2cm pieces.
2. Put the prawns, asparagus slices, avocado, tomato, coriander and chilli into a bowl and add the lime juice. Coat the salad ingredients to stop the avocado turning brown.
3. Add the bag of Food Doctor grains and the olive oil and mix thoroughly. Season to taste.

Another fairly filling one due to the grains but we all need our food to be hearty and comforting in winter. The chilli is good for warming the belly too.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Day 3: Potato-less Salade Nicoise

Today the sudden changes in daily London climate have started taking their toll. Leaving the house there was an expanse of the brightest blue sky as far as the horizon and beaming sunshine cooking me inside my winter coat.
Coming back home was miserable. Ballerina flats soaked through, the cold pavement turning my toes blue, the unrelenting downpour, the wind, the ashen sky... Just miserable!

A protein boost was in order to assist my immune system in fending off the inevitable winter bugs that are on their way. Eggs and fish and olives and greens. What more could you ask for?

Today's recipe – Potato-less Salade Nicoise
Serves 2

1 tin of tuna in brine, drained
1/2 tin anchovies in oil, drained
70g semi-dried black cocktail olives
2 baby gem lettuce, shredded
100g fine green beans, boiled and blanched
3 eggs, boiled
1 portion of French-ish dressing

1. Flake the tuna into a large dish and add the anchovies, pulling them roughly apart as you add them.
2. Chop the olives in half or quarters and mix through the fish.
3. Add the lettuce, green beans and dressing then mix thoroughly so all ingredients are coated with the dressing and combined. Portion into two bowls.
4. Run the boiled eggs under cold water and peel, chop into halves and divide between the portions.

Add cooked and halved new potatoes if desired, it's just a personal preference to do without.
Enjoy! And hopefully it'll us all to fend off the viruses.

Day 2: My Favourite Dressing

A little late but day 2 was spent still eating the leftover beetroot salad I made on day 1 but I added some of my favourite dressing along with half an avocado to boost the nutrition. I believe the dressing is a basic French dressing and I use it in most green salads but I also like to toss still-hot fine green beans in it for a healthy snack when watching films at home.

Todays Recipe – French-ish Dressing
Serves 2-3

1/2 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix with a fork until thick and emulsified.
2. Put all ingredients into an empty jar and shake until thick and emulsified.

The second method also means you can make large batches to keep in the fridge and shake it all up when you need it as it will separate over time. 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Day 1: Beetroot, Feta and Spinach Salad

After a summer of wallowing in gluttony I've become increasingly aware of the spare inches I've accumulated around my waist, the sluggish feeling inside my body and how weak my immune system has become.
So, today is the start of a new me an' all that...
Let's see how it goes, this new life of salad making, salad tasting, recipe collecting and hopefully a bit of recipe inventing too.

Today's recipe - Beetroot, Feta and Spinach Salad
Serves 4-6

3 cooked beetroot washed and cubed
1 block authentic Greek Feta cheese
150g spinach sliced finely
10 cherry tomatoes (I used Piccolo variety) cubed
3 spring onions sliced
1 large carrot grated
10g coriander chopped finely
1 bag Food Doctor 'Easy Cereals, Pulses and Grains
1 lemon wedge
4 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil

1. Add the beetroot, spinach, tomato, onion, carrot, coriander and pulses to a bowl and mix thoroughly. The carrot and onion will take on a slight pink hue from the beetroot.
2. Squeeze the juice from the lemon wedge and mix through the salad with the olive oil.
3. Crumble the feta in and mix lightly so as not to break it up too much and retain the nice salty chunks.
4. Season to taste.

It makes a beautifully colourful salad which I served with a big dollop of low fat humous. Try to serve it in moderation as the pulses make it very filling indeed.