Tag Archives: Healthy

Tomato Pasta Sauce

In my garden I always grow tomatoes. One of the reasons that I grow them is because they are relatively easy but also because so often you find the supermarket ones kept in the fridge. It seems crazy to me to buy a tomato that has been in the fridge as putting them in the there fundamentally changes their texture. They get that nasty cotton wool like texture which completely ruins my enjoyment.

Anyway, one of the issues with growing tomatoes is what to do when they all become ripe. I always sew too many, it doesn’t matter how much I try to stop myself I simply can’t resist growing at least two varieties; this year Gardeners Delight an easy cherry and Sungold a golden cherry both suitable for ripening in the English sunshine or lack there of. Obviously you can make a tomato salad but this sauce makes something more substantial and can easily be made in 20 minutes.

Sungold & Gardeners Delight Tomatoes

Recipe: Tomato Pasta Sauce

Summary: Simple fresh pasta sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 Tin of Anchovies
  • 400g Fresh Tomatoes
  • Dried Pasta – 60g per Person
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • Pinch of Chilli Flakes (optional)
  • Handful of Basil Leaves
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. In a shallow pan (I use my big sautéing pan which is a bit like a flat bottom wok) on a gentle heat melt the anchovies.
  2. Add the tomatoes, roughly chopped. Cook for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes break down. There will be a lot of juice that comes out of the tomatoes which will reduced and create an intensely tomatoey sauce.
  3. In a pan of boiling, well salted water add the pasta shape of your choice – for me it really depends on my mood and what I have in the cupboard.
  4. Add the garlic and chilli to the tomatoes, reduce the heat and cook until the pasta is ready. If your sauce becomes a bit dry add a little of the pasta water to loosen it.
  5. Just before you are going to serve add the torn basil leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. I am currently using a peppery one from Puglia in the south of Italy.

Spaghetti with a Tomato Pasta Sauce

Quick notes

This tomato sauce is the starting point for so many of the traditional sauces. In fact by adding the chilli it goes from a simple pomadoro to arribatta.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: Italian

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Hungarian Lentil Soup

This soup is probably more of a winter soup but it is very tasty and healthy so I don’t think that it really matters. Anyway today is the Hungarian Grand Prix so I don’t really care.

Hungarian Lentil Soup

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Recipe: Hungarian Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium Onion – Finely diced
  • 1 Carrot – Finely diced
  • 1 tsp Butter
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 1/2 cup or 100g of Dried Lentils – I used red split
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tomatoes – Roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp White Wine Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Sweat the carrots and onions on a low heat in the butter for about 10 minutes until they are soft
  2. Add the garlic to the carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes
  3. Tip the rest of the ingredients into the pan and add about 750ml of water (or ideally, stock). Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  4. Cook on a gentle heat for about 30 minutes until the lentils are thoroughly cooked
  5. Season to taste and serve with a spoonful of yoghurt, sour cream or creme fraiche

Quick notes

A small bowl of this (without the yoghurt) is 4 of the new WeightWatchers points

Variations

To bulk this soup up you can add some smoked bacon or sausage. If you do, reduce the amount of smoked paprika.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Diet tags: Low calorie

Number of servings (yield): 2

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Pumpkin Pasta

One of the main reasons that I started growing pumpkins in my garden was to be able to make this pasta dish – plus the fact that they are delicious, very low in calories and expensive in the This dish tastes like it has cream in it but the only fat is milk (I use semi-skimmed) and a little butter to cook the onions.

All of the ingredients needed for the pasta sauce

Recipe: Pumpkin Pasta

Summary: Quick and easy sage and pumpkin pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium Onion Sliced
  • 25g Butter
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic – Finely Chopped
  • 6 Sage Leaves
  • 1 Medium Pumpkin – Chopped into 1 inch chucks (I used Red Kuri as it’s one of the varieties in my garden)
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Spaghetti or Linguine to serve

Instructions

  1. Cook the onion in the butter on a medium to low heat for about 10 minutes until it is softened
  2. Add the sage and the garlic and cook for about 1 minute
  3. Add the pumpkin, stir and then add the milk and bring to the boil
  4. Simmer for about 15 minutes stirring to stop the sauce catching on the bottom of the pan. The sauce will break up into a slightly lumpy puree. Season to taste and mix in freshly cooked (buttered if you wish) pasta and serve.
  5. You can add some cheese but due to the milk it’s already quite creamy. Don’t be tempted to add a drizzle of olive oil as this dish is a northern Italian – if you do want additional fat, add butter.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: Italian

The finished dish

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Vietnamese Style Beef Salad

Recipe: Vietnamese Style Beef Salad

Summary: A healthy way to use up rare roast beef in the summer time. It looks like loads of ingredients but most of them are store cupboard staples.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Palm Sugar (or caster sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp Lime Juice
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 1 Chilli – Finely Chopped
  • 1 Small Clover of Garlic – Grated
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger – Grated
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds – Toasted
  • Cooked Beef – About 50g per Person – Very Thinly Sliced
  • 1/2 Iceberg Lettuce – Shredded
  • 1/2 Red Onion – Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Courgette – In Ribbons
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Mint
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Basil

Instructions

  1. Mix the fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, water, chilli, garlic and ginger in a bowl. If your palm sugar is in a big lump grate it first otherwise it won’t dissolve.
  2. Put all of the other ingredients (apart from the sesame seeds) in a bowl or on a large plate.
  3. Pour over the dressing and mix together thoroughly.
  4. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and serve

Variations

I have used courgettes as I have a glut from the garden but carrots or any other crunchy vegetable would work just as well. Feel free to use other green herbs if you have them in stock – dill or coriander would work perfectly in here. If you would like some carbs add cold noodles but increase the amount of dressing.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet tags: Low calorie, Reduced carbohydrate

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: Vietnamese

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Tomato Salad

Recipe: Classic Tomato Salad

Summary: This salad goes with most things and is great for bbqs; I haven’t put any quantities down as it depends on how many tomatoes you have.


Ingredients

  • Vine Ripened Tomatoes
  • 1 Medium Red Onion
  • Basil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice the tomatoes and onions
  2. Layer the salad in a shallow bowl by placing the tomatoes, onions, torn basil leaves in turn; season each layer as you go
  3. Once you have used all of the ingredients drizzle generously with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar

Quick notes

To make the salad look its best, use the “best” tomato slices for the top; these are the biggest ones from the middle section

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet type: Vegetarian / Vegan

Diet tags: Low calorie

Culinary tradition: Italian

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Canadian Grand Prix

I have been racking my brain since Monaco to decide what to eat for the Canadian Grand Prix and it’s been surprisingly difficult. For inspiration, I searched the web and I asked my friends. The best suggestions were either obvious – Maple Syrup – or something that I didn’t (or couldn’t) really make at home – Poutine and Nanaimo bars. My research brought me to the conclusion that Canada has a rich food history inspired from the many different cultures that settled there. Even Bannock, a bread popular with the First Nations, apparently originates from Scottish fur traders.

With that in mind I decided to take my inspiration from the only Canadian person I know (she is Indian-Canadian) and the fact that we were having vegetarian friends around for dinner. Hence for the Canadian Grand Prix we were having curry! It’s not actually such a great leap as there has actually been quite a large population of South Asian Indians in Canada since the late 19th century.

Recipe: Pumpkin Curry

Summary: This curry is real satisfying and doesn’t miss meat at all, the ingredient list may look long (as with all curry recipes) but once you have all of the ingredients you’ll have loads of fun playing with the flavours. As with all of my recipes they are designed to be played around with and adjusted to suit your own preference.

Pumkin Curry

Ingredients

  • 600g Pumpkin or Squash – peeled and cut into chunks – I used half a Kabocha but it works just as well with Butternut
  • 1 tbsp Oil – any light, flavourless oil will do, I used rapeseed
  • 4 x Large White Onions – finely sliced
  • 4 x Clove of Garlic – grated
  • 1 x tsp Dried Chilli Flakes – you can increase or decrease the amount for preference
  • 1 inch of Ginger – grated
  • 1 inch Fresh Turmeric – grated – you can use 1 tsp of dried powder
  • 2 tsp Curry Power – I use my homemade Roasted Sri Lankan Curry Powder but any good one from the shop will do
  • 1 tin Coconut Milk
  • 2 tbsp Tamarind Water – you can use lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Palm Sugar – grated
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Coriander – roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large heavy pan ( I use one of these Le Creuset Cast Iron Casserole) heat the oil over a gentle heat and add the onions with a pinch of salt. Turn the heat down as low as possible and place a tight fitting lid. Stir this occasionally, to stop it catching, for about an hour until the onions are sweet and golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and turmeric and cook for another couple of minutes.
  3. Next add the curry powder, give a good stir and once you can smell the spices add the pumpkin and coconut milk and stir once more.
  4. Put the lid onto the curry and leave to cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The coconut milk should be gently bubbling not boiling; if the cooking is too rapid then the pumpkin will break up.
  5. Add the tamarind water and palm sugar and then season to taste. When tasting only the milk it should have quite a kick from chilli and have a slight sweet and sour taste from the sugar and tamarind.
  6. Test the pumpkin to if it is cooked – it should still have a bit of body but not be hard on the teeth.
  7. Once you are ready to serve add the chopped coriander and serve with rice.

Quick notes

Tip: If you don’t have much time you can speed the recipe up by softening the onions on a higher heat. They will be cooked but they won’t have the amazing sweetness and depth or colour that the slow cooking does.

Variations

You can substitute the pumpkin with other vegetables or even meat.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 30 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: Indian (Southern)

My rating 4 stars:  ????? 1 review(s)

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