Have you been one of the many victims of prohibition 2015? Whether that has been a dry January, a detox of sorts, or one step further into the realm of a faddy, strict eating regime; finding yourself all of a sudden transfixed (and confused) at the nutrition label of every food item you are faced with. Sound a bit familiar?
It’s been pretty miserable eh. Well rejoice, January is nearly over!
Which is what makes this the perfect time to bring some cheer in to your lives by adding some delicious, yet not super-indulgent recipes to your new year repertoire. A good place to start is with a simple and versatile ingredient. Greek yoghurt, in my view, is the king of the tubs easily found in your local supermarket, and can be used for many dishes including savoury and sweet. Due to its thick texture and rich taste, many people use it as a substitute for less angelic alternatives such as cream and creme fraiche. One of the most publicised health benefits of Greek yogurt is the probiotics it contains. To the likes of you and me, this means happy bacteria which help promote a healthy gut. As another big plus, it contains 40 per cent less sugar, 38 per cent less sodium and more than twice the amount of protein than traditional yogurt. Each spoonful is also packed with nutrients and vitamins providing numerous health benefits.
Choosing a balanced way of eating, as close to nature as possible is the most realistic plan for eating long term. Going to extremes with strict eating plans where you find yourself ogling at the nutritional label of every food item you are faced with is not a sustainable way of eating or living. What I propose instead is a sensible, flexible dietary strategy that we can incorporate successfully, and joyfully, over a lifetime.
There are many reasons people feel the need to press the reset button this time of year. Over-indulgence, chronic stress, feelings of fatigue or sluggishness are the usual suspects, but there are also positive grounds for clearing out the cobwebs such as wanting to gain more energy and increase vitality, achieve higher levels of clarity, and realign with our internal guidance systems. I know the telltale signs for myself, and they usually involve a slight disinterest in eating (sounds crazy, I know), along with the desire to examine my food-body-mind relationship. Since I am often cooking everyday for a living, I can sometimes lose sight of the total magic that food is. If I slice open a head of red cabbage and fail to swoon, or that pomegranate doesn’t bring me to my knees in awe, I know it’s time to take a break, simplify, and make space for those feelings again.
So shine from the inside out, with these delicious, fresh and nutritious recipes. Happy 2015 to all my readers, old and new!
Raspberries, peach, sage and honey bowl
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
200g Greek Yoghurt
1 large peach, stone removed and sliced
a small handful of sage leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp honey
a large handful of raspberries
1 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 180c, fan 160C, gas 4. In a bowl, mix the peaches with the sage and honey. Tip onto a lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.
2. Add the cooked peaches to the Greek yoghurt and top with a few raspberries and a sprinkling of pistachios.
Strawberry, avocado & spinach salad with bacon and poppy seed dressing.
Omit the bacon to make this suitable for vegetarians
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 5 minutes`
150g Jubilee Strawberries, sliced
½ avocado, cut into slices
a large handful of young leaf spinach
100g bacon lardons
1 heaped tsp sunflower seeds
For the poppy seed dressing
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
50g Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp white wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
1. For the salad, begin by cooking the bacon lardons in a pan for 5 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Set aside.
2. Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients together in a jar, close with a lid and shake until well combined and smooth.
3. When ready to serve, place the strawberries, young leaf spinach, avocado and bacon into a large bowl, and toss with the dressing. (the dressing will keep in the refrigerator for about a week)
Raspberry and elderflower fool with pistachio nibs
Prep 10 minutes, plus chilling
Cook 5 minutes
2 tbsp caster sugar
3-4 tbsp elderflower cordial
250g 0% Greek Yoghurt
250ml double cream
2 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped
1. Place the raspberries, sugar and cordial in a wide heavy based pan and bring to a gentle simmer for a few minutes before removing from the heat. Lightly crush with a fork, then tip into a bowl to cool and chill for 1 hour.
2. Gently whisk in the cream, then fold in the greek yoghurt. Ripple through the raspberry pulp and spoon into pretty glasses or bowls to serve. Finish with a few chopped pistachios on top; delicious with shortbread.