Easy Bean Dip – Vegan and Gluten-free

This dip is super quick and easy to make and will be sure to impress your friends with it’s taste.

Cannellini beans are a great part of a healthy diet as they are high in both protein and fibre. Beans such as cannellinni are frequently used in weight loss as they can help to maintain healthy, normal blood sugar levels in the body. Beans not only help you to feel full but they are also low in calories so they can be used to help achieve a calorie controlled diet. Along with the high fibre content this also makes them a great food for diabetics.

Ingredients:

  • 1x 400g tin cannellini beans
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 heaped tbsp. sesame seeds
  • A pinch ground cinnamon
  • Large handful flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon juiced

Method:

  1. Whizz all ingredients, except 1 tbsp lemon juice, in a hand blender until smooth and creamy, taste and add more lemon juice if required
  2. Serve with pitta bread, bread sticks or crackers

Frittata Cups Dairy-free and Gluten-free

These are my favourite thing at the minute, so quick and easy to make and they can be eaten cold as a breakfast on the go or taken to work for lunch. I tend to use whatever vegetables I have in the fridge so feel free to mix it up and add any herbs you like. If you like your vegetables crunchy then use diced vegetables, it you prefer them softer then grate the harder vegetables. You can easily double the recipe to make more so you have plenty left for lunch or switch it up by adding some grated cheese.

Eggs are a great source of protein and omega 3 they also contain Vitamins A, B5, B12.

Ingredients:

Makes 6

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ courgette
  • 1 small carrot
  • 5 mushrooms
  • ½ an onion
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Fresh coriander leaves (or any herbs you like)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200C
  2. Chop the vegetables into small pieces or if you prefer grate the courgette and carrots. Chop the spinach in to small strips and finely chop the coriander
  3. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add the vegetables and coriander and stir well
  4. Using a muffin tin, divide the mixture evenly between the muffin moulds
  5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the egg is set
  6. Serve with salad

Vegan Pesto

This recipe is a great way to make the most of seasonal ingredients. The addition of wild garlic leaves gives it a great colour and flavour; however it works just as well with a garlic clove. This dairy-free pesto works well with both pasta and salmon.

Ingredients:

  • 40g cashew nuts, pine nuts or almonds
  • A small handful of wild garlic leaves (or 1 clove garlic)
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 small handful of basil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Olive oil

Method:

  1. Put the nuts and garlic into a hand blender and blend until they are roughly chopped.
  2. Add all the other ingredients except the olive oil and blend.
  3. Add a little bit of olive oil at a time so that there is just enough to make a paste consistency.
  4. Optional extra: add a couple of tbsp. of tomato puree to make a tomato pesto, great on pizzas!

Prawn Pho – Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free

One of my favourite dishes when I go to a Vietnamese restaurant is Pho is a hearty, healthy broth packed full of delicious ingredients. This is my take on a prawn pho, the prawns can easily be replaced with chicken or tofu if you prefer. If I make it with chicken I use homemade chicken stock to add extra goodness.

This recipe uses cloves which are often an ingredient that get bought for a particular recipe, like ham at Christmas, and then sit in the cupboard for the rest of the year. However there are many health benefits to cloves they have anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and analgesic properties. Due to these properties they are commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine.

Ingredients:               

Serves 6

  • 7 whole cloves
  • 4 star anaise
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 6 black pepper corns
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1” fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ red chilli (to taste)
  • 2 pints vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • ½ packet rice noodles
  • ½ packet mushrooms
  • 1 packet of baby corn
  • ½ packet green beans
  • 2 packets cooked prawns
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 limes
  • Small handful of fresh coriander
  • Small handful of fresh mint

Method:

  1. Put the star anise, cinnamon, black peppercorns and cloves in a dry frying pan and heat until the aromas of the spices begins to release
  2. Put the spices in a pestle and mortar and roughly grind up, then wrap them in a muslin cloth and secure
  3. Place the stock in a large pan and add the spice parcel, ginger, garlic and half of the chilli, simmer for minimum of 10 minutes to allow the flavours to merge
  4. Slice the mushrooms and chop the baby corn and green beans in half and then add them to the stock along with the rice noodles, fish sauce and soya sauce
  5. Simmer until the noodles are cooked
  6. Divide the prawns between the bowls and then place the pho on top
  7. Add slices spring onions, fresh coriander, mint and squeeze with lime to serve

 

NB if you don’t have muslin you can place the spices directly in the pan and simmer for at least 10 minutes and then strained the stock before adding the remaining ingredients.

Quick and Easy, Baked Salmon, New Potatoes and Vegetables (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)

I love this dish, it is so quick and easy to do when you get in from work and it is packed full of omega 3 fatty acids which are essential to your overall health.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are two types of fat that are essential for human health, the body cannot create them, and we must consume them. However, most people don’t consume enough omega 3 and too much omega 6, the ideal ratio is 1:1 of omega 6:omega 3 research shows that many people consume a ratio of between 20:1 and 50:1.

Eating enough omega 3 has been linked to helping prevent or ease symptoms of the following health conditions: coronary heart disease and stroke, essential fatty acid deficiency in unborn babies (retinal and brain development), lupus, nephropathy, osteoporosis, cancer, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to this Omega 3 can support general brain health including memory loss and osteoporosis.

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 750g new potatoes, halved
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled (no need to chop)
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 220g green beans

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6/200C
  2. Place the new potatoes in a pan of boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender. Then drain and shake
  3. Place the potatoes, onion, garlic, rosemary and 1 tbsp of oil into a roasting tin, stir well and roast for 20 minutes
  4. Remove from the oven and add the cherry tomatoes and salmon fillets, sprinkle with the zest of the lemon, then cut the lemon into quarters and squeeze over the ingredients, before placing the lemon wedges in the baking dish. Drizzle with 1 tbsp oil and a cooked sprinkle of black pepper. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, until the salmon is cooked and the potatoes are cooked
  5. Cut the broccoli into 2” florets, remove the ends of the green beans and cut in half. Steam the broccoli and green beans for 5 minutes
  6. Serve the salmon dish with the greens and enjoy

Polenta Bread Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

This week I’m in Norway staying with a lovely yoga teacher called Vild from Allmenningen Yoga. Last night we made polenta bread and served it with a homemade ratatouille. Polenta bread isn’t the texture or taste of normal bread so you wouldn’t have it with jam but it is great with soup or main meals.

Polenta dates back to the 1700s in Italy where it was a staple food which was very cheap. Polenta is made from corn which means it is a low carbohydrate food rich in Vitamins A and C, it is a good source of caroteinoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Therefore it can help to prevent cancer and heart disease. Polenta is gluten-free.

Ingredients:             

  • 300g polenta
  • 
Polenta Bread
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 5 sundried tomatoes
  • 10 black olives
  • ½ tsp milled black pepper (to taste)
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes (to taste)

Method:

  • Pre heat the oven to 180C/gas 4
  • Place the polenta in a large bowl and add the hot stock, black pepper and chilli flakes, stir well and leave for 5 minutes
  • Chop up the sundried tomatoes and cut the olives in half
  • Add the olives and sundried tomatoes to the polenta, stir well
  • Pour the polenta into a lined cake tin and ensure it is evenly spread out
  • Bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes, until a crust has formed on the top
  • Remove from the oven and it can be eaten straight away or left to cool. The polenta will become hard once it cools

Chicken and tomato curry – dairy-free and gluten-free

This curry came about when I realised I didn’t have the spices I needed for my usual curry so I thought I’d experiment a bit. It’s a great one if you don’t have much time, you can throw it together and then leave it to cook whilst the rice cooks. The heat from the chilli makes it a lovely dish to warm you up as the colder evenings draw in. If you’d like to make a vegetarian version simply swap the chicken for chickpeas.

Tomatoes are a fantastic source of Vitamin C as well as lypocene. Lypocene is part of the cartenoid group of antioxidants. Lypocene can help to prevent and treat a number of conditions including cancer, diabetes, cataracts, osteoporosis and heart disease.

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • Chicken and Tomato Curry
  • 3 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 green chilli (adjust depending how hot you like it)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1” piece ginger
  • 2 onions
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 350g skin and boneless chicken
  • 1 tsp fenugreek leaves
  • Small handful of fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Chop the garlic and chilli finely, grate the ginger and dice the onion
  2. Place in a pan with a splash of water and cook the onions out
  3. Add the cumin seeds, cumin powder and curry powder. Stir the spices to coat the onion and add more water if needed so it doesn’t stick to the pan
  4. Cut the chicken into cubes and then add to the pan, stir frequently and add more water if the chicken starts to stick, cook until sealed on all sides
  5. Chop the mushrooms into chunks and add to the pan stirring to coat with the spices
  6. Chop the courgette and peppers into chunks and add to the pan
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and the juice from the lemon
  8. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked
  9. Add the chopped fresh coriander and fenugreek seeds and stir well

Serve with brown rice