Posts tagged ‘protein’

October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween- Pumpkin Recipes

by lrmetcalfe

PumpkinPumpkin.  This delicious winter squash, is not only great for a spooky Halloween decoration, but is bursting with health benefits too.

Pumpkin’s bright orange colour is due to its beta-carotene content, a provitamin that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Known for its immune-boosting powers, beta-carotene is an antixoxidant essential for eye health and has also been linked to preventing heart disease. Pumpkin is also a rich source of fibre and protein.

It’s not only the sweet orange flesh that has health benefits, the seeds are packed with goodness too. Pumpkin seeds are renowned for their zinc content, an essential mineral for immune health, and men’s health. The seeds also contain the minerals, magnesium and potassium; as well as phytosterols, which can help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Why not try one of these delicious recipes, and make the most out of your Halloween pumpkin…

Pumpkin Pittas

Serves 4

Ingredients
• 1kg pumpkins or butternut squash, deseeded and cut into wedges
• 400g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• ½ tsp chilli flakes
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
• 2 slices white bread, whizzed to crumbs

For the salad
• 2 carrots, coarsely grated
• ½ small red onion, finely sliced
• 100g feta cheese, crumbled
• 4 wholemeal pitta breads to serve

1. Put the pumpkin in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with cling film. Cook on High for 10 mins or until soft. Tip the chickpeas, garlic, chilli flakes, cumin and half of the parsley into a food processor, then whizz until the chickpeas are finely chopped but not smooth.
2. Allow the pumpkin to cool slightly, then scoop the flesh from the skin and add to the chickpea mix with some seasoning and the breadcrumbs. Give everything a good stir, then shape into 12 little patties with your hands. Put the falafels on a plate and chill for 10 mins.
3. Meanwhile, mix the remaining parsley with the grated carrot, onion and feta cheese, then set aside. Heat the grill to Medium, then cook the falafels on a baking tray for 3-5 mins on each side until golden. Split the pitta breads lengthways and fill with the warm falafels and some of the feta salad.

Pumpkin Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients
• 4 tbsp olive oil
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 1kg pumpkins or squash (try kabocha), peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
• 700ml vegetable stock or chicken stock
• 142ml pot double cream
• 4 slices wholemeal seeded bread
• handful pumpkin seed from a packet

1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan, then gently cook 2 finely chopped onions for 5 mins, until soft but not coloured. Add 1kg peeled, deseeded and chopped pumpkin or squash to the pan, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.

2. Pour 700ml vegetable stock into the pan, then season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the squash is very soft. Pour the 142ml pot of double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée with a hand blender. For an extra-velvety consistency you can now push the soup through a fine sieve into another pan. The soup can now be frozen for up to 2 months.

3. While the soup is cooking, slice the crusts from 4 slices of wholemeal seed bread, then cut the bread into small croutons. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the bread until it starts to become crisp. Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to the pan, then cook for a few mins more until they are toasted. These can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container. Reheat the soup if needed, taste for seasoning, then serve scattered with croutons and seeds and drizzled with more olive oil, if you want.

Pumpkin, Lemon & Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

Ingredients

• 225g peeled and deseeded pumpkin or butternut squash, cubed.
• 4 tbsp full cream milk.
• 1 large egg.
• 175g self-raising flour.
• 1/2 tsp baking powder.
• 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
• 150g caster sugar .
• 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice.
• 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg.
• 50g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces.
• 2 tbsp poppy seeds.
• Grated zest of 1 small lemon.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease a 900g loaf tin and line with baking paper or greaseproof paper, then grease well once more. Cook the pumpkin in boiling water for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Drain well and leave until the steam dies down, then blend to a smooth purée in a food processor. Scoop into a mixing bowl and mix in 3 tablespoons milk and the egg.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, mixed spice, nutmeg and seasoning into the cleaned bowl of the food processor. Add the butter and process until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add to the purée and stir until just mixed, adding the remaining milk if the mixture seems dry. Stir in the poppy seeds and grated lemon zest. Spoon the mix into the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes until well risen and golden.

3. Remove the cake from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Remove the paper and serve cut into slices.

April 1, 2013

Quick & Healthy

by lrmetcalfe

greek

In my last post I mentioned the importance of eating healthy, balanced meals, and quick and easy recipes will make this much easier.

The key to a healthy meal is getting the right amount of protein, carbohydrates and fruit or vegetables.

Imagine a plate divided into quarters. At meal times, 1 quarter of your plate should be protein, 1 quarter starchy carbohydrates and 2 quarters non-starchy carbohydrates (fruit and vegetables).

These combinations will give you a healthy balanced meal that will keep your blood sugar balanced and your energy levels high.

So now the question is, what do you fill the quarters of your plate with? Keep it as varied as possible, this will keep your meals interesting and will ensure you receive all the nutrients you require.

PROTEIN- Meat, fish, quorn, soya, tofu, shellfish, eggs, beans, lentils, quinoa, cheese

CARBOHYDRATES (starchy carbohydrates)- Pasta, rice, couscous, broad beans, sweetcorn, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin

VEGETABLES & FRUITS (non-starchy carbohydrates)- Obviously there are many varieties to choose from, but here are some ideas on how to serve them:- Stir fried oriental vegetables, roasted Mediterranean vegetables, salads, steamed vegetables, fruit salad, fruit compote, fruit and/or vegetable smoothies.

I thought I would also share some of my favourite quick and easiest healthy meals, try them for yourself:

 

Jacket potato with Greek salad

Serves 2

2 x Medium potato

100g feta cheese

½ red onion

1 tbsp black olives

2 tomatoes

10cm chunk cucumber

Black pepper

½ tsp dried oregano

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.
  2. Wash the potatoes and prick with a fork, put in microwave at full power for 10 minutes or until softened. (Alternatively you can cook your potatoes in the oven, obviously this will take longer!)
  3. Put in the oven to crisp us the skins for 10 minutes.
  4. While the potato is in the oven, prepare the salad.
  5. Chop the feta, onion, tomatoes and cucumber into cubes and put into a bowl. Cut the olives into halves and add, along with the oregano and pepper, to taste. Mix well.
  6. When the potato is ready cut in half and serve topped with the Greek salad and a green side salad.

 

Lamb and roasted vegetable pittas with mint and yoghurt dip

Serves 2

300g diced lean lamb

½ sweet potato

Red pepper

Green Pepper

Red onion

1 tbsp olive oil

150ml natural yogurt

2 tbsps mint jelly

2 wholemeal pitta breads

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.
  2. Chop the vegetables into chunks, put on a baking tray and drizzle with the oil. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes.
  3. Mix the mint jelly and the yoghurt together in a bowl and cut the top side of the pitta to create a pouch.
  4. For the last ten minutes of the vegetable cooking time, fry off the lamb in a griddle pan. Drain off any fat once cooked.
  5. When the lamb and the vegetables are ready, stuff into the pittas and drizzle with the yoghurt and mint dip. Serve with a green salad.

For a vegetarian option omit the lamb and add aubergine to the rest of the vegetables.

 

Honey Soy Salmon with noodles

Serves 2

2 Salmon fillets

2tsps wholegrain mustard

2tbsps soy sauce

100g soba noodles

Mangetout

Baby corn

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.
  2. In a bowl mix the mustard and soy sauce together.
  3. Put the salmon in an oven dish and spoon over the mustard mixture. Cover the dish with tin foil and put in the oven for 25 mins.
  4. Add the noodles to a pan of boiling water, if you have a steamer you can cook the noodles in the bottom of the noodles in the water and add the vegetables to one of the steamer pans above the water. Boil for 6 minutes or until the vegetables and noodles are cooked. (If you don’t have a steamer stir fry the vegetables in a pan.)
  5. Put the noodles and vegetables on a plate and serve the salmon on top, drizzling over any of the sauce left in the oven dish.

 

Mozarella Pesto Pasta with rocket salad

Serves 2

110g wholemeal spaghetti

2 tbsps pesto (there are many varieties available in supermarkets, my favourite is tomato and red pepper)

2 tbsps green olives, chopped

1 large ball of mozzarella, chopped into cubes.

Bag of rocket leaves

1 tsbp olive oil

2 tbsps lemon juice

Parmesan cheese

  1. Cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling water.
  2. Whilst the pasta is cooking mix the olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl, grate the parmesan cheese.
  3. Add the rocket to the salad dressing and mix well.  Put onto plates and sprinkle with as much parmesan as you would like.
  4. When the pasta is cooked, drain the water and return to the sauce pan. Stir the pesto through the pasta and heat gently add the olives and mozzarella,  stir until the cheese has melted and the pasta is warm.
  5. Serve with the salad.

Enjoy….