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Archive for the ‘Healthy’ Category

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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Turkey & parsnip curry

A regular post-Christmas dish in our house. It’s a bit Bridget Jones but really tasty and fairly light and healthy too. Just what you need if you’ve been on the mince pies 😉

Wine Suggestion: We love a nice Alsace Pinot Gris with this which is rich enough to stand up to the flavours and also contributes it’s own spices and freshness. We had an older Marcel Deiss Pinot Gris which was found in the cellar and it was deliciously complex, but an easier, younger wine would be good too.

Turkey & Parsnip Curry – serves 4

  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 500g parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 5 tbsp Madras curry paste (we like Patak’s)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 500g cooked turkey, torn into chunks
  • handful of chopped coriander, to serve
  • 150g natural yoghurt, to serve
  • cooked basmati rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a saucepan, then fry the onions gently for about 10 minutes or until softened and lightly coloured. Stir in the parsnips.

Stir in the curry paste, then add the tin of tomatoes with a little salt. Add 1½ tinfuls of water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the parsnips are just tender.

Stir in the turkey, then cover the pan and cook for another 5 minutes to heat through.

Serve over steamed basmati rice with some yoghurt on the side and coriander on the top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, January 2003.)

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Salmon on lentils with herb relishEveryone loves salmon in our house and it helps with our oily fish intake, which makes us feel good about ourselves. The lentils in this dish make it good and hearty and the herb relish is fresh and delicious.

Wine Suggestion: despite it being traditional to drink rosé only during summer we like to have it all year round, and for oily “pink” fish like salmon a Provençal rosé, from Chateau Vignelaure makes a great match

Salmon on lentils with herb relish – serves 4

FOR THE LENTILS:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ a small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 150g Puy lentils
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 275ml chicken stock or water
  • squeeze of lemon juice

FOR THE HERB RELISH:

  • 50g herb leaves (parsley, basil, mint & chives)
  • 1½ tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 7½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil

FOR THE SALMON:

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 4 x 175g salmon fillets

Start with the lentils by heating the oil in a saucepan and cooking the onion, celery and carrot until starting to soften. Stir in the lentils, thyme & stock and season with pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes but keep an eye on the lentils as they can turn mushy in minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the herbs very finely and mix with the other relish ingredients.

Heat the butter and oil for the salmon in a large frying pan. Season the fillets on both sides and cook over a high heat, skin side down, until the skin is crispy. Turn the fish over carefully and cook over a medium heat for another minute or two or until cooked through.

When the lentils are cooked, add the lemon juice and a good glug of olive oil and some seasoning. Put lentils on each plate and top with the salmon fillets and relish.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Grilled chilli & coriander salmon w. ginger rice

This is a bit of a fall back recipe for us on weeknights. It’s super simple and pretty healthy but there’s also something really nice and tasty about it. We think you should try this one! We grill an extra salmon fillet for our 3 year old (without the chillies) and she loves it with the ginger rice.

Wine Suggestion: Riesling, pure and simple. Try the vibrant Weingut Korrell “Slice of Paradise” dry Riesling from the Nahe in Germany, or if you want to push the boat out their Kreuznach Paradies Riesling, a full-throttle, powerful and dry Riesling with delicacy and a light touch despite the power and body. Even better if you can hang on to it for a few years and get the benefit of development in the bottle.

Grilled Chilli & Coriander with Ginger Rice – serves 2

  • 2 skinless salmon fillets, about 140g each
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • small bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 lime, halved

FOR THE RICE:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • small piece fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 100g basmati rice

Heat a tbsp of the oil in a pan and fry the onion for a few mins until lightly browned. Stir in the ginger and garlic, fry for another minute, then stir in the rice. Add 300ml boiling water and a little salt, then bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 10-12 mins or until the rice is tender.

Meanwhile, heat the grill to medium. Brush a baking tray with a little oil and place the salmon fillets on top. Grill for about 4 minutes, then scatter with the chilli, coriander, the other tbsp of olive oil and some seasoning. Return to the grill for another 4 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through.

Serve the salmon on top of the rice with a piece of lime to squeeze over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Maroccan kale, chickpea and squash stew

So here we are in October which in our house means thoughts are turning towards Autumn veg, warm casseroles and roast dinners. Here’s a really delicious, but healthy, idea for your first butternut squash.

Wine Suggestion: A little tricky this match but we have two suggestions: a juicy and spicy, Californian Zinfandel – get a good one if you can, like Cline or Ridge; or the Altos de Torona Albariño, a richly fruited white with spices and textures to complement the spices in the dish.

Moroccan chickpea, squash & cavolo nero stew – serves 4

  • 4 tomatoes, halved
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g butternut squash, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 1 lemon, zested and cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted in a dry pan and lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 200g cavolo nero, shredded
  • a handful fresh coriander leaves, to serve

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

Put the tomatoes on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, drizzle over 2 tbsp olive oil, season well and roast in the oven about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour 2 tbsp oil into a large saucepan and add the squash, thyme, garlic and onion. Season well and cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, bay leaf, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and harissa. Season and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30-35 minutes or  until the liquid has reduced.

Mix the feta with the last tbsp of olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl.

Add the ground coriander and cavolo nero to the stew and cook for a couple of minutes. Put the stew into bowls and top with feta, some coriander leaves and fennel seeds, and some seasoning. Serve with the lemon wedges.

(Original recipe by Romilly Newman for BBC Good Food)

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Makshi, stuffed peppers with beef & rice

This is delicious. You will need a very big pot and small peppers to fit them all in. Yet again Honey & Co have not let us down with this fab recipe.

Wine Suggestion: try not to drink too heavy a wine with this as it might fight with the spices and red pepper flavours. We found a northern Italian Pinot Nero from Alto Adige / Südtirol made by Cantina Colterenzio was a good match. It provided a delightful play of cherry fruit and earthiness while balancing the freshness with youthful acidity.

Makshi – stuffed peppers with beef & rice – serves 4

  • 8 small red peppers
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g beef mince
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 90g basmati rice
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (about 200g)
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, chop the leaves and reserve the stalks

FOR THE COOKING LIQUOR:

  • 70g tomato purée
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled

Cut around the top of each pepper, about 1 cam below the stalk, and take the top section off but don’t throw it away. Remove the seeds and white membrane from the inside of the peppers.

Arrange the peppers upright in a pan that can hold them snugly so they don’t topple over. Push the lemon and tomato wedges in around them to hold them in place. Also add the reserved parsley stalks.

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil over a medium heat until softened, then add the beef mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it has lost any pinkness and has gone crumbly. Add the salt and spices and mix well, then tip in the rice and fry for a minute. Add the diced tomato & chopped parsley. Take off the heat and mix well. Spoon this mixture into the peppers but don’t press it down too much as the rice will expand as it cooks.

Put the cooking liquor ingredients into a saucepan with 1 litre of water and bring to the boil. Pour the hot liquid over the pepper filled peppers, making sure some liquid gets into each one (we used a plastic funnel to do this). Put the pot containing the peppers over a high heat and bring to the boil, then immediately reduce the heat and cook for 30 minutes at a gentle simmer.

Check how much liquid is left in the pan (it should be about three-quarters full – if not top it up with more water). Baste the peppers with the cooking liquid and put the lid back on. Simmer for a further 20 minutes, then serve or keep for the following day (when they will taste even better). They reheat well in the microwave.

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