Tag Archives: healthy

Smoked Bacon Soup with Kale and Quinoea

I’m so happy – I found kale ! After reading all your posts about how delicious it is, and how wonderfully nutritious it is, and the amazing recipes you share (eg kale chips which are being made as I type this), I FINALLY FOUND KALE. We went to Pasar Bella yesterday and bought an entire trunkfull of delicious meats, cheese and vegetables.

Today for lunch I made a vibrant, bursting-full-of-goodness soup, with a smoked bacon stock – making it bursting-full-of-flavour soup.

Again soups like this can be entirely adjusted depending on what vegetables you have handy in the fridge – I used yellow and purple carrots and the leaves of purple and green kale. The quinoea gives the soup an added protein boost.

Ingredients serves 6 for lunch or as a starter at dinner

  1. 400g smoked bacon bones
  2. 1 onion, diced
  3. 3 stalks celery, sliced
  4. 2 medium carrots, diced
  5. 1-2 bay leaves
  6. large handful kale leaves, stalks removed, thickly sliced
  7. 1/4 cup raw quinoea

Method

  1. Brown the bacon bones on medium-high heat in a large, heavy-based saucepan
  2. Remove from pan reduce heat to medium and soften the onions for 5 minutes
  3. Add the celery and carrots and soften, an additional 5 minutes
  4. Add the bacon back to the pan, add the bay leaves
  5. Add water so that everything is just covered, and simmer on low for 2 hours
  6. Remove the bay leaves
  7. Add the quinoea and continue to simmer for 10 minutes
  8. Add the kale leaves and simmer for a final 5 minutes
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Seared sesame tuna, fig and prosciutto salad

Whenever I can get my hands on juicy plump figs, this is my go to salad. Vibrant and fresh, it’s such a versatile and simple salad, and I love the delicate balance of salt, sweet and savoury. You can also coat the tuna in fennel or coriander seeds instead of sesame seeds (I used what I had available in my pantry).

It makes a healthy light lunch, or would work as a starter for dinner.

Ingredients
Serves 4

  1. 6-8 figs quartered
  2. sashimi grade tuna – about 400g
  3. 4 tbs sesame seeds (I used black)
  4. 2 tbs coarsely cracked black pepper
  5. 2 tbs coarse sea salt
  6. 2 tbs olive oil
  7. 4 large handfuls of rocket
  8. 4-8 thinly shaved slices of prosciutto
  9. 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  10. 2-3 tbs lemon juice
  11. lemon wedges to serve

Method

  1. Combine the sesame seeds, black pepper and salt and place on a flat plate
  2. Cut the tuna into thick strips – about 5cm wide
  3. Coat the tuna with the sesame seed/pepper/salt mix
  4. Heat olive oil in a pan.  Sear the tuna strips on all sides for 1 minute on each side – it should be rare inside.  Set aside to cool for 5 minutes
  5. Thinly slice the tuna and arrange with the figs on top of the rocket.
  6. “Drape’ slices of prosciutto on top
  7. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice
  8. Serve immediately

Roasted potato salad with bacon and spinach

A delicious salad that would make a great lunch or as a lighter side to a juicy steak or roast, rather than the usual roasted vegetables.

Fun fact: I think potatoes have had a bit of a bad rap with their high GI. However, if you dry cook potatoes (ie roasted vs boiled) and also allow them to cool, their GI actually lowers. It has to do with the effort your body has to expend to digest foods and increasing their resistant starch. I won’t go into the details – you can do more research if you want, here is a nice quick reference if you’re interested.

Keep the potato skins on for added nutrition. The skins have B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium and also provides lots of fibre. Be sure to wash the potato well and remove any obvious blemishes before cooking.

Ingredients serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side

  1. 750 g new potatoes or if using larger ones, select a waxy variety, like the red potato, so they “hold together” when you mix them
  2. *optional – rosemary
  3. 4 rashers of streaky bacon
  4. 1 bunch of spinach leaves
  5. 1 clove garlic – skin on
  6. 2 tbls red wine vinegar
  7. 1 tbls dijon mustard
  8. 3 tbls olive oil (see note below)
  9. *optional – squirt of mayonnaise
  10. Good handful of grated fresh parmesan cheese
  11. salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F
  2. Place the potatoes in a baking tray
  3. Drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper and rosemary if you have it
  4. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes
  5. Pop your clove of garlic in with the potatoes 10 minutes before they have to come out
  6. COOL YOUR POTATOES TO ROOM TEMPERATURE
  7. Blanch the spinach leaves until wilted, drain and squeeze out as much liquid as you can – you don’t want a soggy salad !
  8. Pan-fry or microwave the bacon till their nice and crispy
  9. Make your dressing
  10. Remove the skin from the garlic and either mince/mash into a jar with a tight fitting lid
  11. Add the red wine vinegar, mustard, oil, mayonnaise (the mayonnaise makes the dressing a teeny bit creamier – use as much or as little as you like but add that in a little at a time until you get the desired consistency
  12. Pop the lid on and shake well to mix
  13. Add the cooled potatoes, spinach, crumbled bacon to a large bowl
  14. Dress lightly – you want the dressing to just coat the potatoes, not be gluggy
  15. Top with grated parmesan and mix again
  16. Season with salt and pepper to taste

NOTE: I think anchovies are one of the best things in the world, and always have a big jar of marinated anchovies in my fridge. When cooked they don’t smell too fishy, they melt into the sauce and add a complex savoury note to whatever dish you are making. With this dish, instead of using plain olive oil, I used the anchovy oil. You’ll need to make sure you taste the final dressing and dish before you season with salt so it’s not too salty.


Marinated tofu salad with ginger, soy and mirin dressing

My husband calls tofu “a non-food”. His explanation: that “it doesn’t taste of anything”. Which is actually quite true. My take on tofu is because it has no strong taste, it can (and does) absorb flavours really well, so marinating tofu gives you the protein-packed goodness of it, with all the wonderful flavours of your marinade.

This is an asian-inspired salad that is light from the dressing, yet filling and nutritious. Marinating the tofu does take time but once it’s ready you can put this salad together very quickly.

Ingredients makes 2 servings 

  1. 2 squares firm tofu
  2. Edamame – squeeze out the edamame from their pods – I buy frozen edamame still in the pod from my supermarket, they’re super easy to use – just take the amount you want, cover with hot water for a few minutes and they’re ready !
  3. Mixed salad greens
  4. 1/2 small Japanese cucumber, sliced
  5. handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  6. 1/2 avocado
  7. 3 tbls raw pine nuts, toasted
  8. Dressing:
  9. 1/2 thumb-sized piece of ginger – peel off the outer skin and grate finely
  10. 8 tbls mirin
  11. 8 tbls rice vinegar
  12. 6 tbls neutral flavoured oil – I used rapeseed
  13. 2-3 tbls soya sauce
  14. 2 tsp sesame oil

Method

  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and pour 3/4 of it into a ziplock bag
  2. Pop the tofu in the bag with the dressing and let marinate for at least a few hours, preferably overnight
  3. When ready, heat up your skillet on high heat and fry the tofu
  4. While the tofu is cooking prepare the rest of the salad
  5. Dress the salad lightly with the remaining salad dressing
  6. Pile salad on to a salad bowl/plate and top with sliced tofu

 


Quinoea Salad

Quick, healthy and delicious – who could ask for anything more in just one dish ?

Packed with lean protein, you can whip this up for a simple lunch that will keep you satisfied till dinner-time.

Ingredients makes 2 lunchtime servings

  1. 1/2 cup quinoea
  2. 1 cup hot chicken broth
  3. handful coriander
  4. handful flat leaf parsley
  5. cherry tomatoes, quartered
  6. 1/2 small red onion, diced
  7. 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  8. few cubes feta cheese – I used Danish but any feta would do
  9. juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon
  10. few tbls good olive oil
  11. few tsp red wine vinegar
  12. salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Bring the chicken broth to boil, add quinoea, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the germ of the quinoea appears
  2. Strain any excess liquid if there is any, fluff up the quinoea in the pot and let cool till warm (just so that it won’t cook the herbs)
  3. Add the vegetables and herbs
  4. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper together – adjust to taste
  5. Dress the quinoea salad and you’re ready to eat !

Happy New Year !!

Lentil salad with balsamic and pomegranate molasses dressing

I hope you all had a fun-filled and happy start to the new year !!

The last few weeks of 2012 saw the silly season in full swing in our household and whilst I had a ball on Monday night with my friends, I think I would be happy to be booze-free for at least a few weeks (I can’t even fathom a whole month of not drinking), lighter food and more home-cooked meals – and thought I’d start the year at least eating healthily.

I think the earthiness of these ingredients makes it a more substantial salad than a green leafy salad – it’s filling and full of goodness that will keep you feeling satiated until it’s time for your next meal. The pomegranate molasses adds a wonderfully rich sweetness to the dressing.

Carolyn’s new year salad of lentils and quinoa with balsamic and pomegranate molasses dressing

Ingredients serves 2

  1. handful puy lentils
  2. handful of uncooked quinoa
  3. 1 cup chicken broth
  4. sprig of thyme
  5. handful of swiss brown mushrooms, thickly sliced
  6. small handful 0f cherry or baby roma tomatoes, halved
  7. 1/2 avocado (or 1 if you love them)

For the dressing:

  1. 2 tbls balsamic vinegar
  2. 4 tbls good extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tsp pomegranate molassas
  4. salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cook the lentils and quinoa in the chicken stock and thyme, and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the lentils are tender and the quinoa germ has spiralled out
  2. Drain and discard the stem of thyme
  3. Let cool slightly then mix together with the mushrooms, tomatoes
  4. I add the avocados on top just because I want them to not be too mushy
  5. For the dressing, add all ingredients to a jar, and mix well

 

 

 


Garlic and brocolli pasta

In the middle of one of my twice annual detoxes, I was in the mood for a simple pasta dish. I’ve found some really good organic brown rice pastas and also buckwheat pastas, which are detox-friendly, as well as having the added bonus of being gluten-free.

This dish is so quick and simple – perfect weekday dinner or double the quantity and you can have the leftovers as a pasta salad for lunch the next day.

Ingredients for one serving – adjust accordingly for more

  1. 3/4 cup dry spiral organic brown rice pasta
  2. 1/2 cup broccoli florets – no stems
  3. 2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I love garlic so feel free to use less)
  4. good squeeze of lemon
  5. salt and pepper

Method

  1. Cook pasta according to packet directions in salted water
  2. When pasta is almost cooked, add the broccoli for a 30 seconds and drain – save about half a cup of the pasta water
  3. Sautée the garlic in a hot pan with some oil till soft
  4. Add the drained pasta and broccoli and toss in the garlic and oil – add a few spoons of the pasta water to help loosen the pasta up. The starchy water will help to give the pasta a nice silky texture
  5. Squeeze the lemon juice, and add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Serve hot for dinner
  7. If you want to keep the leftovers for lunch the next day, add a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and pop into the fridge for a yummy pasta salad

Salmon and brown rice pie

All I wanted to do was to change the name of my blog, including the URL. It seemed simple enough at the time but WordPress won’t let me delete the old one, so until I figure it all, out I’m duplicating my posts on both URLs, so apologies if you are receiving notifications twice – I promise I’m looking in to it !

Back to food though, it rained most of yesterday in Singapore – very odd, as usually the tropical storms here are torrential, but last, at most, 30 minutes, then the clouds seem to magically disappear, exposing the warm blue sky again. I’ve been here for five years now yet I’m still surprised that it can be grey and wet outside and still 30C/86F. But while I am cool and dry in my apartment, it makes me feel like it’s winter, and I feel the  need to eat some warm comfort food.

So I decided to make a salmon and brown rice pie. Feel free to substitute with tuna, white rice, even pasta – this is a very versatile recipe.

Ingredients makes enough to feed six hungry people

  1. 3/4 cup brown rice, rinsed
  2. 1/4 cup quinoea, rinsed
  3. 2 cups water
  4. 450g tinned salmon (I had red but you could also use pink)
  5. 1 tbs grain mustard
  6. 1 red onion, finely diced
  7. 1 cup plain yoghurt
  8. 1/2 cup sour cream
  9. 1/4 cup milk
  10. Salt and pepper to taste
  11. 1 cup grated cheddar cheese plus another 1/2 cup for topping
  12. 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Method

  1. Cook the rice first. Add the water to the brown rice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 25 minutes
  2. Add the quinoea, give a quick stir, and cook for a further 20 minutes
  3. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  4. Mix the cooked rice with the the rest of the ingredients except the cheese for topping and breadcrumbs
  5. Line a deep, 11″ pie dish with the salmon/rice mix and press down lightly
  6. Mix the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs together and scatter over the salmon/rice mix
  7. Add a couple of blobs of butter on top to help it all brown
  8. Cook in preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown
  9. Let cool slightly before slicing up into wedges and serve warm with a fresh green salad
  10. It’s filling, but don’t despair – you can eat it the next day – it’s still yummy cold from the fridge

Warm quinoa salad

Trying to fully recover from this flu I’ve had for over two weeks now, I am putting a bit more effort in to preparing meals that are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants to help my body fight off the bad guys.

This quinoa salad I made for lunch was super easy, delicious, and full of goodness. I love quinoa – you cook and eat it as a grain, but it has a very high protein content (unlike wheat or rice) and is also gluten-free (for those of you who are intolerant).

Any suggestions on new and inventive ways to include quinoa in my diet ?

Ingredients (makes 2-4 lunch-sized portions)

  1. 1 cup quinoa – rinsed if not already pre-rinsed to remove the bitter outer coating
  2. 2 cups boiling water
  3. 2 cups of any vegetables you have in your fridge, diced: this time for me I had capsicum, cucumber, tomatoes, broccoli, red onions and mushrooms
  4. juice of 1 lemon (or to taste)
  5. extra-virgin olive oil
  6. salt and pepper
  7. optional – add nuts for more super goodness – toast some raw almonds or pinenuts
  8. another option – crumble tangy salty feta cheese on top

Method

  1. Add the quinoa to the boiling water and cook for 15 minutes. The cooked grain should have a tiny curl that has separated from the seed, and have a nice bite to it (like al dente pasta)
  2. Transfer to a large salad bowl and fluff with a fork (as you would with couscous)
  3. Add the vegetables and mix
  4. Dress with the lemon juice, a good glug of the olive oil and salt and pepper

Quinoea, Apricot and Nut Clusters

In the middle of my detox, I found myself craving for something sweet (chocolate, to be honest), but processed food is one of the big no nos for me this week, so I was thrilled to find this genius way of getting my sweet hit sans sugar (I replaced the sugar in the original recipe with honey) with the added bonus of quinoea.  The original recipe is from Martha Stewart.com. If you’re interested, the basics of my detox are here.

Ingredients (makes about 10)

  1. 1/2 cup quinoea
  2. 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  3. 1/4 cup shelled raw sunflower seeds
  4. 1/4 cup shelled raw pistachios, chopped
  5. 1/2 cup dried apricots, thinly sliced
  6. 1/4 cup honey
  7. 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  8. 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  9. 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  10. 2 eggs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
  2. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa; return to a boil. Stir quinoea; cover, and reduce heat. Simmer until most liquid is absorbed and quinoa is slightly undercooked, about 10 minutes
  3. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and bake, fluffing with a fork occasionally, until pale golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in a large bowl
  4. Spread oats on baking sheet; bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Add oats to quinoea
  5. Spread seeds and nuts on baking sheet; bake until lightly toasted, about 7 minutes. Add to quinoa mixture; let cool
  6. Reduce oven temperature to 150C (300F)
  7. Toss nuts, apricots and salt with quinoa mixture
  8. Beat honey, oil, and vanilla into eggs; stir into quinoa mixture
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Spoon 1/4 cup firmly packed batter onto sheet for each cluster – space 3 inches apart and bake until crisp, about 25 minutes
  10. Let cool on a wire rack. Store, loosely covered with foil, up to 2 days