Four recipes to see you through the week!

I’ve just finished seeing a client and on my back door step is my lovely organic fruit and veg box delivery from Abel and Cole:

Not only is their lovely food organic and delivered to the door (the fab delivery man even brings it to my back door step so that no passersby take a fancy to my boxes whilst I’m seeing clients!), but it’s all traceable too – pretty important these days with the spectre of horse and other meat finding its way into all sorts of supermarket foods. I love getting my veg box delivery – it’s like opening presents as you never know what will be inside! One of the challenges though is thinking of recipes for all the lovely veggies inside, so this week we’ll be having:

Tuesday: it’s pancake day today but instead of using up flour, butter and eggs, I’ll be using up our leftover parsnips and apples for a seasonal soup. Roast equal numbers of parsnips and apples with an onion and couple of cloves of garlic. Blend with water and perhaps a little cumin if you like the spice. Ta-dah, it’s ready! If there is any leftover, I’ll freeze it for a future lunch.

Wednesday: perhaps some celery, stilton and broccoli soup! I literally stir fry the celery until soft, lightly boil the broccoli and then blend the two together with a little olive oil, water and some stilton to taste – yum and super quick! You could also add some spinach or cabbage for a super boost of iron and folic acid!

Thursday: Valentines day… to show my love for British sustainable fish, we’ll be having gurnard (white fish) fillets poached in milk, a little butter and bay leaves, served with brocolli, cabbage and potatoes. Did you know gurnard fish are found in shallow British coastal waters and use their specially adapted pectoral fins to cling onto the rocks and ‘walk’ on the seabed allowing them not to get pulled into deeper waters by the waves?! (Ah – I knew my marine biology degree would come in useful!)

Friday: roasted tomatoes with onion, garlic and sweet potato wedges (rolled in paprika and rosemary).

That’s dinners for the rest of the week sorted then!


Alternatives to mince pie temptation!

It’s almost mid-December and many of us are now on the count down to Christmas, with mince pies popping up to tempt us all over the place! It’s lovely to indulge in these treats at Christmas, but also easy to end up on a diet full of fat, sugar and alcohol! Not the way to feel your best, or look your best at Christmas parties! It’s worth trying to pop some extra veg into your meals if you can, to get a boost of vitamins and goodness, in amongst the treats.

One way to do this is to add more veg into dishes you’re already making. Fish or shepherd’s pie for example. I made a big fish pie last night and there was more veg in it than fish! I added in curly kale, spinach, peas and plenty of shredded cabbage. Not only do these add plenty of fibre (to help digestion), but also vitamin A (needed for bone growth, reproduction, and skin health), folate (important for conception and energy release), thiamin (important for growth and development), vitamin C (you probably know about that one already – it is essential in collagen formation , wound healing and is also an antioxidant helping to protect against infection), vitamin K (helps in blood clotting)!

Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel are also full of essential fatty acids – essential because we can’t produce them in the body naturally so we have to eat them, and because they’re necessary for all sorts of important things – particularly growth and development. More on these essential fatty acids another time!

Back to the veggies! I’m a big fan of sticking them in in extra quantities into existing meals – I add spinach to scrambled eggs (more folate and iron) on toast, courgettes, carrots and more spinach to bolognnaise or shepherd’s pie (as well as plenty of chopped tomatoes and a good spoonful of cinnamon) and even beetroot into brownies! It gives a lovely moistness and squishiness. Most meals can have more veggies added to them, either obviously, or you can sneak them in if you’re also feeding fussy eaters.

It really is worth keeping up your veg intake, not just to help you look good throughout the party season, but also to feel less bloated by all the sugar, fat and alcohol on offer. Although ‘5 a day’ is the officially recommended number of fruit and veg a day in the UK, your body will thank you for eating a lot more – especially veggies. On top of this, there is also lots of evidence now that diets rich in fruit and vegetables are associated with reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases associated with ageing*. So it’s worth sticking them in when you can…


*Dietary supplements and functional foods, by Webb, 2011; and Food Standards Agency (FSA)






Healthy, nutritious, easy, 15 minute dinner!

Many people struggle to find the time to cook or eat properly. We’re all so busy all of the time. Most people want to be healthy but find it difficult and inconvenient to cook. As a student of nutrition, I’m keen to change that and to help you eat better, sleep better and generally feel better!

A super quick, easy and nutritious meal is chicken or salmon noodle soup. This is full of protein and vegetables, as well as water. It’s quick to make and easy to digest, so makes an ideal meal if you’re late home from work. This recipe has the added benefits of tasting like you’ve spent a lot more time preparing it than 15 minutes and can all be cooked in one sauce pan, saving time and washing up!

Ingredients (for one, but double/triple etc depending how many people you’re cooking for)

  • One salmon fillet or chicken breast
  • A few broccoli florets
  • 1/3 of a leek
  • 1/3 courgette
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • A small grating of ginger
  • Soy sauce
  • One medium saucepan
  • One ‘nest’ of wholewheat egg noodles
  • 300 ml boiling water from the kettle

Firstly, chop up the onion, leeks, courgette and garlic and sauté lightly in the saucepan a drop of olive oil.

Now decide if you fancy salmon or chicken noodle soup. If salmon, remove the skin by placing the fillet skin side up. Slide a knife under the skin at one end and hold the fillet down with one hand, carefully slice your way under the skin and discard (in the compost/ food waste bin!). Chop up the salmon or chicken fillet into small bite sized pieces and cut off any fat from the chicken.

Pour 300 ml of boiling water to the saucepan containing the onion, leeks, courgette and garlic, and add the salmon/chicken pieces. Put the water on to continue boiling until the salmon / chicken is cooked all the way through (take out the biggest piece and check it is cooked through).

After a couple of minutes add two tablespoons of soy sauce and the broccoli florets to the boiling water. Also stir in chopped/grated ginger and give it all a good stir.

Once you’ve checked the chicken/salmon is cooked all the way through, add the noodles and simmer for a further two – three minutes, until the noodles are cooked.

Ladle the noodles, veg, chicken/fish and ‘soup’ into a dish and dinner is served! You may wish to add extra soy sauce to suit your taste.

You could also use any other green veggies which might be lurking in the fridge and need to be eaten – including pak choi, fennel, cabbage, spinach although you might want to give the cucumber and lettuce a miss this time.

Remember you can always chop the rest of the courgette/leeks and freeze these to use another day.

Let me know what you think of this recipe on Facebook and post some of your own favourite healthy recipes!









Hawaiian honeymoon smoothies!

Having returned earlier this summer from an amazing honeymoon in Hawaii, we got used to having wonderful, exotic, tropical fruits every day, particularly in a smoothie at breakfast time. As I’m keen to eat seasonally – it’s cheaper and better for the environment – I was wondering how to keep up our weekend smoothie intake, particularly as we move into winter. So, I have two options for you, one is to buy frozen tropical fruit in your weekly shop. You can whizz this in your food processor straight from frozen, or let it de-frost a little overnight. Add in some water, your favourite fruit juice, a couple of spoonfuls of yoghurt and a little milk if you want to add a bit more protein. Some people also add a teaspoon of honey or cinnamon – particularly nice with bananas and yoghurt! My favourite is (frozen) mango, strawberry and papaya; throw in a few mint leaves from the garden and a little bit of yoghurt – delicious and healthy! Whizz for 30 seconds or a minute in the food processor and you’re ready for a fruit fantasy!

Another option is to use up whatever fruit is leftover in your fruit bowl and needs eating. Did you know that the average household wastes over £50 a month by throwing away good food that could have been eaten? In the UK we throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food every year – that’s worth £12 billion pounds – and most of it could have been eaten. A fabulous website is Love Food Hate Waste which gives loads of tips about making your food last longer and reducing how much food you throw away – saving you money and helping the environment!

Obviously you don’t want to be drinking smoothies ALL the time, as fruit does contain a lot of sugar, and you might prefer to use low fat milk/yoghurt too. Ours are a weekend treat and certainly don’t replace adding fruit to our cereal or as a snack during the day. There’ll be another post coming soon about how to ensure you’re getting your five + a day of fruit and veg…

Energy muffins for the Oxford half marathon!

My husband is running the Oxford half marathon this Sunday so between clients and lectures I’ve been perfecting my recipe for banana and nut energy muffins!

This is loosely based on a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, but I’ve added lots of extra slow release energy in the form of bananas, nuts, oats, oatmeal and using wholemeal flour to keep you going for longer. I first tried these out on some friends about a month ago when we did the Vitruvian triathlon in Lincolnshire, and since we all managed to finish one way or another, I reckon they must have enough energy for the half marathon!

They really are super easy to make and take about 15 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook. You also don’t need any fancy baking equipment – just a couple of bowls, pestle and mortar and muffin cases. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, you can crush the nuts between two spoons.

Makes about 6 – 10 muffins (depending on the size of your muffin cases!):

  • 2 bananas mushed up
  • Small handful of pumpkin seeds
  • 4 brazil nuts
  • Small handful of almonds
  • Small handful of macadamia nuts
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 100g oatmeal
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • Drizzle of honey if you wish
  • 100g sugar (I use brown sugar but caster works too)
  • 75g melted butter
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 125g plain yoghurt (I use low fat but choose your favourite)
  • 125ml milk (I use skimmed but choose your favourite)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Sprinkle of cinammon if you wish

Bash up the nuts with a pestle and mortar and mush up the bananas with a spoon.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, oats, oatmeal, salt, sugar and baking powder lightly together.

In another bowl mix the eggs, yoghurt, milk and melted butter together gently and then add to the dry ingredients, along with the mushed banana, pumpkin seeds and bashed nuts. If you want to add in a spoonful or two of honey, add that now (I tend not to as the sweetness of the bananas and sugar is enough but adjust to your taste).

Mix everything together gently so it is just about combined, being careful not to overmix. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake at 180 degrees for about half an hour until they’re golden brown on top.

Eat warm on their own or dipped into some natural yoghurt or smoothie. Now, this energy booster breakfast should have you finishing the half marathon in record time too! Let me know what you think – email me or get in touch on Facebook.