Recipes – Week 1

Chicken Surprise

Serves 4

4 Chicken breasts, skinned
Handful of basil leaves
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 small red peppers, sliced and deseeded

Lay a sheet of foil in a baking tray and put in the tomatoes, peppers and torn basil leaves then top with the chicken breasts. Now fold over the foil to make a parcel and bake in the oven on 200°C/400°/Gas 6 for 20 minutes.

Serving suggestion: This is lovely served with steamed broccoli and French beans over which you could grate some fresh ginger.  Ginger is a wonderful herb; it is a blood cleanser and improves digestion.

Fresh Salmon on a Bed of Fennel

Serves 4

4 Salmon Fillets
1 Bulb of fennel
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

Wash and chop the fennel finely.  Heat the oil in the pan and add the chopped fennel, cook gently for about 5 minutes or until the fennel is soft.  Lay a piece of silver foil on a baking tray and spoon on the fennel.  Wash the salmon and pat dry and then place on top of the fennel.  Bake in a preheated oven 180°C/350°/Gas 5 for 20 minutes to 25 minutes depending on the size of the salmon fillets.

You can substitute chicken breast for this recipe but remember to remove any fat and the skin.

Serve with brown rice or Quinoa and steamed whole baby courgettes with fresh chopped parsley.

Fennel helps to remove fat from the body and also aids digestion.  Try fennel tea it’s delicious and caffeine free.  Parsley is a blood cleanser and deodorizer.

Oriental Steamed Sea Bass with Spicy Stir-Fried Broccoli

Serves 2 – Romantic dinner for two

If you do not have a steamer place a shallow heat-proof plate over a large pan of simmering water and cover with a lid.

Serve with 100g (uncooked weight) of basmati rice for two.

2 x 150g fillets of sea bass
2cm length fresh ginger, peeled
½ deseeded and chopped red chilli
2 spring onions
1 teaspoon naturally brewed soy sauce

Put the basmati rice on to cook. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer, stir cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for five minutes.

Meanwhile, shred the ginger and the spring onion into fine julienne strips and set aside.  For quick cooking, slice the broccoli into thinner florets so that it looks pretty ready for steaming.

Wash the fish and pat dry with kitchen paper. Place both fillets skin side down on a heat-proof plate.  Sprinkle the ginger and red chilli over the top; place the plate in the steamer and cover or on top of the saucepan and cover.  Cook for about eight minutes until the flesh flakes easily. At the same time steam the broccoli in a separate pan.

Carefully transfer the cooked fish to two plates.  Sprinkle each with the spring onion before seasoning with the soy sauce.  Serve immediately with the broccoli and basmati rice.

You may need to adjust the amount of chilli and ginger to taste.

Yellow Pea Soup with Oriental Style Salad

Serves 4

225g yellow split peas, soaked for 3 hours
1 sweet potato
2 carrots
2 onions
2 sticks of celery
2 teaspoons of salt-free bouillon powder or you may prefer to use one vegetable stock cube.
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley

Sieve the yellow split peas and rinse well under cold water put them in a pan and cover with water approximately 5cm (1”) above the level of the peas.  Bring to the boil and skim off the excess foam.  Add the sweet potato, carrots, celery, onion and bouillon or crumbled stock cube.  Boil for 10 minutes, lower the heat then simmer for another 15 minutes. Blend until smooth.  Pour into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

You could have some crudité of carrots and peppers to add more antioxidant value to this dish.

Oriental Style Salad

Serves 2

1 courgette
½ cucumber
½ red or yellow pepper
1 carrot
2 spring onions
Sliced beansprouts
Green salad leave.

2 tablespoons Tamari sauce; 2 teaspoons sesame oil; 2 tablespoons water; and 1 clove garlic, crushed.

Cut the courgettes, cucumber, peppers and carrots into long thin sticks.  Toss with sliced spring onions and rinsed beansprouts.  Mix together the ingredients for the dressing and drizzle the dressing over the salad.  Serve over green salad leaves.

Spicy Carrot & Lentil Soup

4 carrots, grated coarsely
1 onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
1.2 litre vegetable stock or water
6 tablespoon split red lentils
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan, add the carrots and onions and sauté for a few minutes then add the garlic. Heat until sizzling stirring continuously then add three tablespoons of boiling water; cover and cook on very low heat for about 10 minutes until softened. Shake the pan occasionally but do not lift the lid.  Now stir in the curry powder, cook for a minute then pour in the stock and mix in the lentils, thyme and seasoning.

Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Process to almost smooth and heat for serving.

This makes a tasty lunchtime dish and you could have a piece of fruit to follow.  Apple or pear would be my suggestion.

Tuscan Bean and Tomato Soup

Adjust recipe for servings required

Onions; Garlic; 1 tablespoon of olive oil, use extra virgin olive oil for this recipe as it gives the real taste of Italy; Tin of Tomatoes; Tin of mixed beans; Salt and pepper

Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil until transparent

Add chopped tin of tomatoes and reduce on low heat for about 15 minutes.

Add mixed beans and seasoning

Heat for a further five minutes

Cool a little then blend to a puree and heat to serve.

This is a favourite of mine as it can be prepared in less than ten minutes and is very satisfying when you are hungry.  This also freezes well so you could make a large batch and freeze in single portions – excellent at lunch and when you are in a hurry.

Mediterranean Bean Stew

Serves 4

2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 medium sized red onions (finely chopped)
4 sticks of celery (washed and cut into batons)
2 medium carrots (peeled and cut into batons)
Half a packet of fresh stick beans (trimmed and cut into short lengths)
400 g tin of tomatoes or try Passata, if you can find it, for a smoother finish or even better, when fresh tomatoes are readily available use six skinned and chopped
2 x 400 g tins of mixed beans which are ideal – I always use the organic variety found in Tesco or from a health store. Look for “Seeds of Change”.
2 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato paste
4 gloves of garlic crushed
½ level teaspoon of chilli powder (optional)
2 thyme sprigs or a large pinch of dried thyme
2 bay leaves
¾ pint of vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil and cook the onion for 10 minutes or until soft.  Add garlic, tomato paste and chilli powder; cook for 1 – 2 minutes.  Now add the carrots, celery, tin of chopped tomatoes, or the suggested alternatives, thyme, bay leaves, stock, and season to taste.  Bring to the boil and simmer stirring occasionally for 20 – 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft.  You can prepare for this stage earlier or even the day before. Now add the beans and French beans, and then simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, until the beans are heated through and the French beans are just tender.  Garnish with fresh thyme if available.

Serve with wholegrain rice.

Most of my Clients love this recipe.  It is excellent because it provides vegetable protein which is easy to digest, is spicy, and comforting while providing the body with sustained energy so you feel satisfied for longer and will not be tempted to snack on the wrong things.

Roasted Vegetables

Use a selection of the following vegetables.  I often just use what is left in the fridge after the weekend.

Carrots; Red onions; Parsnips; Celery; Courgettes; Red, green and yellow peppers; Squash; Sweet potatoes; Tomatoes; Mushrooms; Garlic

Prepare the vegetables by washing, then pealing those that need to be pealed. Cut all vegetables into chunks about 3 x 2 inches.  Slice onion into quarters or smaller if they are large.

While you are preparing the vegetables heat the oven, I cook at 180°C.  Heat some olive oil in the bottom of an oblong dish, the type you would cook lasagne in.  About 3 tablespoons of oil should do it.  When the oil is hot add the vegetables and stir, drizzle a little more over the top and put them in the oven for half an hour.  After this time add the tomatoes and mushrooms and stir round.  You can add a little salt if you want at this stage. Cook for a further half an hour but keep an eye on the dish as oven temperatures do vary.  I don’t like burnt edges because research suggests that burnt food may be carcinogenic so would spoil what is a really healthy dish.

You could add fresh rosemary to the oil then lay the vegetables on top to vary this dish.  If I am serving this as a main course at dinner I would add either some goats cheese slices for the last 10 minutes or separately cooked chicken breasts for those hungry members of the family!

Lamb and Spinach Curry

Serves 2

This is a little time consuming and expensive but tasty and often when we are making changes to our eating regime then spicy food is very welcome.

1 French-trimmed rack of lamb (ask your butcher); or use 185g lamb fillet
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 cloves of garlic
¼ stick cinnamon, crumbled
½ dried chilli
A good grating of fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
250g fresh tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
170g baby-leaf spinach

First, prepare the lamb.  Using a sharp knife, cut down around the bone, releasing the meat.  Then cut away any fat or sinew so that you are left with a lean piece of meat that should weight about 185g.  Cut into 2.5cm chunks and place in a bowl.

Place the coriander seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon and dried chilli in a small dry saucepan.  Set over a low heat and gently cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for a couple of minutes or until the spices release a wonderful aroma. Transfer to a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder, grind to a fine powder and tip over the lamb.  Mix thoroughly, and then add 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Chill, covered, for 30 minutes.

Heat a non-stick saucepan over a medium-low flame.  Add the remaining oil, and once hot, mix in the onion, ginger and garlic. Cover and fry over a low heat for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes.  Peel by cutting a small nick in the base of each tomato, then place in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Drain after 1 minute; the skin will peel easily away.  Halve, squeeze out and discard the pips before roughly chopping the flesh.  Set aside.

Remove the lid on the onion mix, increase the heat slightly and stir regularly for a further 3 minutes or until the onion has lightly caramelised.  Add the tomatoes and some salt, then continue to stir regularly for about 5 minutes or until a thick paste forms.  Mix in the lamb and stir all the time until the meat is well coloured.  Mix in 200 ml water.  Bring up to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.  Finally, increase the heat to a boil and add the spinach in batches, stirring all the time to ensure that it wilts quickly.  Adjust the seasoning to taste and remove from the heat.

Serve with brown rice and a steamed fresh vegetable of your choice – you probably guessed that my choice would be broccoli simply because it is a very powerful antioxidant.  You could add lime or lemon zest and a little fresh chopped red chilli if you want to really spice up the vegetable.

Chicken Pilaff

Serves 4

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes
4 Chicken portions (cooked and cut into pieces)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium sized onion (finely chopped)
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
2 sticks of celery
8 oz of whole grain rice
1 chicken stock cube in 1¼ pints of water
1 glove of garlic crushed
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
8 oz tin of tomatoes
2 oz mushrooms
4 oz frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil and fry the onion, peppers and celery for a few minutes, then add the rice and continue frying for a further few minutes.  Add all the other ingredients and bring to the boil, stir well and then simmer for 25 minutes.  Serve with a green salad.

This recipe has been in my family for years and is very popular. I often cook it for large gatherings and there is never any left!

HEALTHY SOUPS – Courtesy of Theresa Wright

Red Lentil & Tomato Soup

Serves 6-8

Preparation time: 5minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

300g red lentils
Thumb size piece of ginger
Bottle of Passata (this means sieved in Italian. Passata can be bought in most supermarkets and is a smoother, less intense taste than tomato puree and less watery than tinned tomatoes.  The best quality has only one ingredient – tomatoes).
300ml of chicken/vegetable stock

Cook the lentils, with the piece of ginger, peeled and chopped, according to the packet instructions.  When the lentils are cooked, add the chicken stock and the jar of Passata.  Liquidise this mixture to ensure a smooth finish.  Add salt and pepper at this point, to taste.

Green Lentil, Spinach & Leek Soup

Serves 6-8

Preparation time: 5minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes

300g green lentils
Water, chicken stock or vegetable stock
4-5 baby leeks, trimmed and sliced
400g fresh spinach
Freshly ground nutmeg

Wash the lentils and place in a roomy saucepan with the leeks and cover with the water or stock. Cook with the lid on, according to the instructions on the packet of lentils. Usually about 3 hours. You may need to top up the water/stock. Meanwhile, cook the spinach. Wash and place in a saucepan of boiling water - cook until it collapses, about 2/3 minutes. Drain the spinach, squeezing out as much water as possible – best done between two dinner plates. Allow the spinach to cool. This ensures that the finished product retains a lovely fresh green colour.

When the lentils and leeks are cooked, liquidise with the spinach, adding the nutmeg and some salt and pepper to taste.  This makes enough soup for 6-8 people for a starter.

Both the above soups freeze well. An idea is to freeze portions of soup and defrost as you need it to make a warming and nutritious lunch. Remember eating bread with soup is just a bad habit and not needed with these recipes they are filling and will satisfy your hunger. Have a piece of fruit afterward instead!


Chicken & Flageolet Soup

Serves 4

500ml good quality chicken stock
150g cold diced, cooked chicken
400g can of flageolet beans
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic

Drain the beans and rinse well.

Put the onions and garlic in a large saucepan with the chicken stock and bring to the boil.  Simmer for about 10 minutes until the onion is softened.  Add the chicken and beans and heat through.  Chop the parsley and stir in at the last moment, together with salt and pepper to taste.