Category Archives: nutrition
Happy New Year Everyone! January has a lot going for it, I feel. When better to shake off a few dusty routines and habits than after a few weeks of glorious indulgence. I have always liked a fresh start – bring on the resolutions. Never mind if they fizzle or fade, a positive intention is still a wonderful thing. So much as I delight in the fairy lights and tinsel, I always feel happy to pack them away, dust off the cobwebs of the old year and move forward. And a delicious healthy regime is a great way to start – here are some of my favourite vitamin rich foods to celebrate the New Year.
I like to add a few sprigs of mint to my green tea. And a beautiful mug makes it even nicer – this one is a hand made Christmas gift by our talented (eldest) girl! And to go with the tea, how about a few nuts and seeds, dried berries and some squares of inky dark chocolate?
Hmm, what else? A dish of simply steamed Scottish salmon, with a little lemon and pepper. But surely this is still indulgence isn’t it? Especially with a drizzle of this magnificent, jewel green pistachio oil. I bought this bottle in France a few weeks ago. Such a rich, deep roasted nutty flavour.
A few slices of beetroot – more colour, more vibrancy, more flavour…
So that’s the view from my kitchen worktop this week.
As for other new plans and projects this year, well I have been busy and have made a good start. My new studio in the garden – a lovely Scandinavian log cabin – is all built and ready. I’m still working on the finishing touches, a bit of painting and organising all my props and stuff. Of those there are lots – it’s quite a task! I’ll make some photos of the studio in a week or so and post them soon.
What plans do you have for the New year? Drop me a comment if you like – I’d love to hear!
Oh – I forgot the avocado! x
Every so often, I wake up with a resolve to have a scanty eating day or week… a detox, spa day, regime – namely the best spin I can put on restricting my diet after a bit too much indulgence. The problem is that whenever I decide to lighten up on food, all I can think about is food! I have the most robust appetite in my mind and nothing fuels it quite like a bit of abstinence. One day a friend said to me that when she is trying to eat lighter, she thinks about all the things she can eat, rather than the ones she plans to avoid. So I tried that, and guess what? It works. (Sometimes.) So today I’m thinking about steamed fish.
Steamed fish is just plain delicious, spa cuisine or not. Add some spice and fragrant herbs and it is even an indulgence, for body and mind. As for the coconut rice – well that’s just balance isn’t it?
Recently I photographed a few features for Eat Me Magazine. One of the pieces was a recipe feature for snapper steamed in banana leaves with a heady, exotic paste of spices, nuts and herbs. Banana leaves are not always readily available in England but I found some lovely fresh banana leaves in an Oriental supermarket in Oxford – a delightful find among the dreaming spires and honey stone walls. But if you are not so lucky, it is easy enough to steam fish in parchment paper or just in a steamer. More on recipes in a moment.
As you can see, the idea is to make the spice paste, and wrap it together with the fish filet in a leaf and tie with string to secure. Then you steam the fish parcels in the bamboo steamer. Later when you unwrap the leaves it is with the anticipation and delight of opening a yummy present!
So to recipes. I am going to be deliberately vague here because there is so much latitude in this type of cooking. And you can vary things depending on what flavours you like best and what you have available. For an exact recipe, take a look at Issue 5 of Eat Me magazine or email me (see contact page) for a link.
For the steamed fish, take a couple of fresh white fish fillets. Snapper, halibut, or even tilapia will all work well. Lay each fillet out on a generous sheet of parchment or in a good size piece of banana leaf. Cover the fish with a few spoonfuls of the seasoning paste. For the paste, mash together in a mortar or a mini chopper a clove of garlic, a shallot, the juice of a lime, a cube of ginger, a few coriander seeds, a half teaspoon of turmeric, a teaspoon of lemongrass, perhaps a couple of tablespoons of peanuts or macadamia nuts, a tiny spoon of shrimp paste, a small fresh chilli pepper…just choose or omit the ingredients as you wish. Sometimes, I just use a quick squeeze of lime, and little grating of ginger or chilli. Wrap the fish up into a parcel and place in a steamer basket over simmering water. Steam for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the fish fillets.
A delicious bowl of rice is a wonderful accompaniment to this fish. You can prepare some simple plain steamed rice, white or brown as you desire. Or perhaps some coconut rice made like this. Take one cup of jasmine rice, or sticky type rice. Add two cups of coconut milk, or half coconut milk/half water if you want it a little lighter. Add a half teaspoon of salt. Cover and bring quickly to a boil then immediately turn the heat down to as low as possible. Allow to rice to gently steam over that very low heat for about 15 minutes, covered all the while. Turn off the heat, and when you are ready to serve garnish with a few coriander (cilantro) leaves and chopped cashew nuts if you like.
Has Spring arrived with a great busy rush for you? It seems to me that the last month or so has been so full, with weddings and school holidays, and bright sunny days all in addition. This is such a wonderful time of year in England. There is so much greenery and life in all the countryside and lanes. The village cricket team is all geared up for the opening match of the season and the pitch is rolled and ready too. And I know it will be my turn to make the cricket teas very soon – perhaps I will post on village cricket teas, what do you think?
Thanks for visiting. More soon.
Sometimes it’s only the old favourites that will do. Those wonderful, comforting dishes that nourish the body and make you feel happy. For me, leeks and potatoes are one of those glorious long standing marriages of pure comfort and deliciousness. Together in a simple soup they are real harmony. Recently, I’ve really been craving those nourishing foods so I’ve been enjoying lots of this lovely soup. I like to add other richly nutritious greens like watercress or spinach for an extra boost of goodness.
Do you remember last time I mentioned that my lovely husband has been doing a little more of the cooking lately? I’ve been been trying to teach him a bit as he goes along. Some people are not natural cooks are they? (It’s that good old diplomatic side of me speaking here!) I firmly believe that everyone can cook, it’s a matter of common sense and if nothing else you can always follow a decent recipe. But that real magic, that blend of art and chemistry that makes for the yummiest food, well it’s an instinctive thing isn’t it? I wouldn’t say that D is a natural cook. But given the chance – and he doesn’t get much chance with me in the way all the time – he does really well. In fact, he is now a master of this lovely soup. It’s actually even nicer because he’s made it for me, and that makes me feel very happy.
It has been a proper old winter, this one. Bitterly cold on many days, dull and gloomy at times too. It’s got a quiet beauty about it though, doesn’t it? I still love to go out walking even though I don’t really like being cold. There is always something interesting to see in the stark winter landscape and I love to see the horses, cows and piggies in the fields around our village. And then come home to a big warm bowl of nourishing, homemade soup.
If you feel like sharing any thoughts or ideas or sending me a link to your website/blog, please do leave a comment. It’s always wonderful to hear your thoughts.
Otherwise, until next time. With some more vibrant colours I think. P.