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Archive for the ‘Healthy’ Category

Chickpea and spinach curry

We don’t know about you lot but our bellies are crying out for a rest and we haven’t even got to New Year’s yet. This is a lightweight curry suitable for veggies and vegans (if you don’t serve with yoghurt) and it’s also substantial enough to serve as it is without any rice. The spices are very gentle as confirmed by our 5 year old who has developed a recent aversion to anything ‘too spicy!!’.

Chickpea & spinach curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 6cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 long green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 150g baby spinach
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt (optional to serve)
  • Sprigs of coriander (to serve)

Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over a high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until starting to brown, add a splash of water if they stick.

Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the spices and salt and stir for a minute, then add the tomato purée and cook for another minute.

Add the tinned tomatoes, stock and chickpeas, then bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

When ready to serve, stir through the spinach and cook briefly until just wilted.

Divide between bowls (on top of some steamed rice if you like) and top with a spoon of yoghurt and some coriander.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, Absolute Press, 2017.)

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Crispy Parma ham w avocado and hot tomato dressing

A really nice dish to serve as a starter in late summer when the tomatoes are at their best.

Wine Suggestion: We love serving slightly-chilled, young, light reds with salads like this. Given the Parma ham we chose the Colterenzio Pinot Nero from the Alto Adige, but it could have easily been a Joven Tempranillo, Beaujolais or Cheverny rouge. Young, lighter bodied, fruity and with a fresh acidity; perfect.

Crispy Parma Ham with Avocado & Hot Tomato Dressing – serves 4

  • 5 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit extra
  • 85g Parma ham, roughly torn
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, quartered, seeded and cut into thin slivers
  • 15g basil, roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 100-120g mixed salad leaves
  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Add half the Parma ham pieces, add some freshly ground black pepper and fry for one minute per side until crisp. Transfer to a plate and keep warm while you repeat with the rest of the ham.

Wipe any excess fat out of the pan and return to a low heat. Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil, then add the tomatoes, basil and lemon juice. Season with freshly ground black pepper and gently heat through for about 30 seconds.

Arrange the salad leaves on 4 plates. Top with the avocado slices, then pile on the crispy ham and spoon over the hot dressing. Serve immediately with a little extra salt if needed and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

(Original recipe by Lesley Waters in BBC Good Food Magazine, September 2001)

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Blistered peppers, pomodorini, mozzarella & pesto

Flavours of late summer and something different to use up fresh pesto. We loved this dish, so light but really tasty. Serve with salad and bread.

Wine Suggestion: We’d suggest a juicy Tempranillo with a touch of oak, like the Paco Garcia Rioja Seis; a modern style that doesn’t need food unlike some other Rioja wines. Very happily served alongside a dish like this.

Blistered peppers, pomodorini, torn mozzarella & pesto – serves 2

  • 2 large red peppers
  • 12 pomodorini or baby plum tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1  ball of buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks
  • 4 tbsp fresh pesto

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Cut the peppers in half lengthways, remove the seeds and rub all over with a little olive oil and seasoning.

Toss the tomatoes with some olive oil, seasoning and the garlic .

Heat a heavy oven-proof pan until hot. Put the peppers, cut-side down, into the pan and sear until blackened along the edges. Turn them over and add the tomatoes to the pan, then roast in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Put the tomatoes inside the peppers along with the chunks of mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil, then return to the oven until the mozzarella has started to melt. Put a tablespoon of pesto on each stuffed pepper before serving.

Serve with salad and bread.

(Original recipe by Alastair Hendy in Olive Magazine, August 2014.)

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Sloppy Joes

Nothing too glamorous about this dish but it’s really tasty and our 4 year old loved the leftovers with rice and salad. Good value stuff for busy weekdays.

Wine Suggestion: A fun, easy and tasty meal needed something similar on the wine front so we found a bottle of the La Puma Pecorino lurking in our fridge. Italian white’s like this seem to be made for food with a bit of tomato, light spices and, in this case, a touch of sweet and sour.

Turkey Sloppy Joes – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 125ml cider vinegar
  • 500ml passata
  • 6 soft buns & coleslaw (to serve)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion and garlic with some seasoning for about 5 minutes. Add the mince and cook until browned. Add the cumin, brown sugar, paprika and vinegar, then keep cooking for another 5 minutes. Add the passata and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve on the buns with a spoon of coleslaw.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Chargrilled Pepper & Lime Chicken with Lime Aïoli

We’re just back from holidays in France and there seems to be a little heatwave going on. You can’t get more straight forward than this for tasty barbecued chicken and a cheat’s aïoli. Less time spent inside and more time to sit in the sun. We actually cooked this back in May when the sun was also shining – serve with some seasonal veg or salad.

Wine Suggestion: one of the wines we picked up on our trip was Chateau du Hureau’s Foudre blanc, 100% Chenin Blanc made and matured in large 20hl oak casks. A good choice.

Chargrilled pepper chicken with lime aïoli – serves 2

  • 4-6 skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • ½ a clove of garlic, crushed

Trim any big bits of fat off the chicken thighs. Lay them out on a piece of cling film and put another piece of cling film on top. Gently bash the chicken with a rolling pin to flatten.

Put the chicken into a dish and add half of the lime juice, 1 tbsp of olive oil, some salt and lots of black pepper. Leave to marinate for about 15 minutes.

To make the aïoli, put the mayonnaise into a dish and add the rest of the lime juice, the garlic and some seasoning. Stir together until combined.

Shake off excess marinade and cook the chicken on a hot griddle or barbecue for about 4 minutes on each side.

Serve with the aïoli. Some chips would also be good.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, June 2011.)

 

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Chicken with an agrodulce sauce

A quick and healthy Italian-style sweet & sour dish for midweek. We weren’t completely sure about the celery but it smells amazing in the pan with the red onions and tastes perfect in the finished dish. Serve with new potatoes and a green salad or steamed tenderstem broccoli.

Wine Suggestion: We served this with a fuller Italian white, the l’Insolito by Michele Biancardi from Puglia. This is made from Minitolo which used to be thought of as a sub-variety of Fiano. Honeysuckle and white flower aromatics are tempered by a good citrus twist … sort of like the agrodulce.

Chicken with Agrodolce Sauce – serves 2

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp flour, well-seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • a small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally. Cover the 4 pieces of chicken with baking paper and flatten gently with a rolling pin. Dust the chicken pieces with the seasoned flour shaking off any excess.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and brown the chicken really well, then remove from the pan. Throw the onion and celery into the pan now and cook for about 3 minutes, then season. Add the tomatoes and cook for another few minutes or until they start to break down, then add the vinegar and sugar.

Return the chicken to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through, then stir in the parsley.

Serve with green salad or steamed broccoli and some new potatoes if you like.

(Original recipe by Jennifer Joyce IN: BBC Olive Magazine, April 2009.)

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Winter root vegetable soup

So here we are almost March and we are experiencing an artic blast. The snow is piled up at the back door and Dubliners have been advised to stay indoors tomorrow as more is on the way. Soup seems like our only defence. Nothing fancy here but full of fresh vegetable flavours. It will protect you against almost all weather eventualities, or at least both fill and warm you up.

Winter Root Vegetable Soup – serves 6 to 8

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 litres vegetable stock
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and chopped

Melt the butter in a large pot over a medium to high heat. As soon as it has melted and started to froth, add the onion, leek and potatoes. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then cover and sweat over a low heat for 8 minutes.

Add the stock, the rest of the vegetables and some salt and pepper (white pepper would be our preference), then lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, partially covered. Taste the vegetables to check that they are completely soft, then check the seasoning before serving.

(Original recipe from Fresh by Donal Skeehan, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.)

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