Posts tagged ‘recipe’

October 15, 2013

Let’s have a brew!

by lrmetcalfe

ImageThis week, the weather has suddenly become very chilly. This time of year makes me want to cuddle up on the sofa with a steaming mug of something delicious. However did you know there are many warming brews you could try with added healthy benefits…


Indian Tea- Chai

Bursting with the spicy benefits of cardamom, cinnamon, fennel and cloves, this drink really warms the insides.

Makes 6 mugs


  • 2 teabags (everyday breakfast tea)
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 6 fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • Milk

1. Boil 500ml of water in a kettle

2. Pour the boiling water into a saucepan, add the teabags, spices and sugar, stir.

3. Bring back to the boil and leave to boil for 15 minutes

4. Once boiled add as much milk as required to turn the tea to the preferred strength/colour

5. Bring back to the boil (watch closely, as at this point it has a tendency to boil over)

6. Once boiled, remove from the heat and strain off the spices and teabags.

7. Pour into mugs and enjoy


Hot Cherry Punch

Cherries are rich in antioxidants, and studies show they are beneficial for those who suffer from arthritis and gout. Together with the anti-inflammatory action of chilli, ginger and cinnamon- this delicious fruity drink packs a punch for joint problems!

Makes a large jug of punch


  • 2 litres cherry juice
  • peel from 3 oranges
  • 1 thumb-sized red chilli, pierced a few times but left whole
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 cloves
  • 6 slices ginger

1. Tip the cherry juice, orange peel, chilli, cinnamon sticks, cloves and ginger into a large saucepan.

2. Simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat.

(If you prepare in advance, leave the spices in for 4 hours, allowing them to infuse the juice)

3. Strain the spices and orange peel away, (re-heat if left to infuse). Serve in mugs or a heatproof jug.


Indulgent hot chocolate

It’s OK to indulge every once in a while, and the antioxidants found in dark chocolate, make this naughty treat a little more beneficial!

Makes 6 mugs


200g dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa content, for a spicier treat look for dark chocolate with chilli)

600ml milk

1. Break the chocolate into cubes and put into a pan with the milk. Gently heat until the chocolate melts,.

2. Bring almost to the boil, stirring constantly until smooth. Poor into mugs, top with marshmallows if liked.


I hope you will enjoy these delicious drinks, remember there are lots of healthy hot drinks on the market- my favourites include: Yogi Teas Classic Cinnamon Spice, Teapigs Green Tea with Mint, Starbucks Earl Grey. Why not find your favourite…


June 29, 2013

Fruity Fun

by lrmetcalfe

berriesWhen I was younger every summer holiday we would go fruit picking. My sister and I loved this cheap and fun day out. We would drive to a local fruit farm, pick and eat our way through a field full of strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries and blueberries, coming home to make jam in my mum’s giant jam pot.

The second ‘fruitful’ event of the summer would be picking the yellow plums from the tree in our garden. As the summer holidays wound on, the bees and wasps would start to circle the tree and mum and dad would sigh and say- ‘it’s time to pick the plums’. It was their most dreaded chore but my sister and my favourite treat; we would use the stepladder to climb on top of the roof of the shed and teeter on the edge stripping the plums from the boughs of the tree. Mum and dad were down below catching the plums in bowls and constantly shouting ‘be careful!’

That night mum would stew the plums and we would have plums drizzled with natural yoghurt and honey for pudding. Yum yum!

These two fruity summer memories remind me that soon these delightful summer berries are coming into season. Not just a delicious indulgence, berries are an excellent source of Vitamin C, Bioflavanoids, Potassium, Folic Acid, Antioxidants and Fibre, so here are some yummy summer berry recipes for you to enjoy:

Super Berry Smoothie


150g strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries

3 tablespoons of natural yoghurt

Put all the ingredients in a blender, whizz until smooth, add a little milk if the mixture isn’t blending well. Serve over ice in a tall glass, alternatively pour into ice-lolly molds and freeze.

Blueberry  Pancakes with fruit compote and yoghurt

For pancakes

100g blueberries

175g self-raising wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp caster sugar

1 egg

100ml milk

A little olive oil

For the compote

300g mixed summer berries

1 tbsp. caster sugar

1. Place the berries in a saucepan with a little water, simmer gently for 5-10 minutes until they soften. Sweeten to taste with the sugar. Leave to one side.

2. Now make the pancakes. Tip the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl and mix well.

3. Make a well in the centre and crack in the egg, then gradually mix the egg into the flour, adding the milk gradually to make a soft batter. Then stir in the blueberries.

4. Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the batter in heaped tablespoonsful, well apart to allow them to spread. When bubbles appear on the surface, flip the pancakes over and cook until light golden.

5. Cook all the pancakes and keep them warm.

6. Serve 2-3 pancakes with a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt and the compote.


Strawberry Salsa

100g strawberries, chopped

1 small avocado, chopped

Half a small red onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh corriander, chopped

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for an hour.

Serve with tortilla chips or at summer barbeques with pork, chicken or fish.

Raspberry Sorbet

175g granulated sugar

250ml water

juice of ½ lemon

450g raspberries

1. Place the sugar in a pan with the water. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then boil for 1 minute until the mixture is slightly syrupy. Pour into a bowl, add the lemon juice then cool.

2. Press the raspberries through a sieve, then pour the sugar syrup over the pips in the sieve to extract as much juice as possible. Pour the mixture into a shallow container and put in the freezer.

3. After 2 hours take out and break up the ice crystals with a fork, then return to the freezer for another 2 hours. Continue to break up the ice every hour until the mixture is firm. Move the container to the fridge 30 minutes before serving.

April 1, 2013

Quick & Healthy

by lrmetcalfe


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


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.


August 23, 2012

Curry Night

by lrmetcalfe

To many of us, a curry on a Friday night is a weekend indulgence and is not to be considered a healthy habit. However, if you make your own curry from scratch using an array of spices and cut down on the ghee and oil, a curry can pack a strong nutritious punch!

 A great curry base starts with onions and garlic fried in a little oil.

Onions contain the sugars fructo-oligosaccharides or FOS. These compounds are only partially digested by humans, however the undigested portion feeds the intestinal microflora or ‘friendly bacteria’ present in the human gut. The microflora keep the intestines functioning healthily, whilst simultaneously reducing the population of harmful disease-causing bacteria.

Garlic is renowned for its medicinal properties. A great remedy for colds and flu it is antibiotic and anti-viral, garlic has also has been found to loosen catarrh. It regulates blood pressure and lowers cholesterol.

 Next to add a kick of heat- chilli pepper and ginger…

Chilli peppers encourage blood flow and improve circulation. Chilli pepper or capsicum has become an increasingly popular weight loss remedy due to its effects on the body’s metabolism.  Diet-induced thermogenesis is the amount of extra energy used by the body to process food for use and storage. Chilli pepper is believed to increase this.

Ginger root has an anti-inflammatory effect, a useful remedy for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. It aids digestion by encouraging gastric secretion; it has carminative and anti-spasmodic properties, a popular remedy for stomach complaints and nausea.

Once the chilli, ginger, onions and garlic have started to brown, add the spices…

Cumin- A traditional Indian remedy for indigestion.

Coriander- Useful remedy for flatulence and colic.

Turmeric- Powerful anti-inflammatory, useful for arthritis and inflammatory skin disorders such as eczema. Inhibits the growth of H.pylori, the bacteria commonly responsible for peptic ulcers.

Black Pepper- Contains piperine which encourages the absorption of nutrients.

Cloves- Popular topical remedy for toothache, acts as a mild anaesthetic, also has a powerful antiseptic effect.

Cinnamon- Can help to normalise blood sugar levels.

Cardamom- Useful remedy for flatulence and colic, soothes the digestive system.

Once you can smell the aromas from the spices add tinned tomatoes.

Tomatoes contain vitamins C & A, both important for a healthy immune system. Tomatoes are also the biggest dietary source of the powerful antioxidant lycopene, the component which makes the tomato red.  Don’t worry about using tinned tomatoes over fresh, as unusually lycopene has even greater bioavailability after cooking and processing.

Research continues into the anti-cancer properties of tomatoes.

Now you have a great curry sauce to add your favourite protein to- chicken, lamb, king prawns, lentils, paneer and white fish are all tasty choices. Just make sure to buy lean meat or cut off any fat.

Serve with brown rice and a little natural yoghurt and you will be hard pushed to find a tastier, more nutritious meal for your Friday night treat.