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World Egg Day calls for celebratory Shakshuka

Yes it’s Friday the 13th but this recipe is foolproof! No broken egg yolks here (we hope!). It makes me so happy that we have a whole day dedicated to the humble egg – so versatile, affordable and nutritious. Eggs often get a bad rep for being too high in fat or cholesterol and yes, the egg yolk does contain cholesterol but recent research shows that having 1-2 eggs/day is healthy and in fact, we should be aiming to get in atleast 1 egg/day. Treat yourself to this vibrant and fresh Shakshuka that shows off the egg in all it’s glory!

Foolproof Shakshuka (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add the onions, green peppers, garlic, spices, pinch salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, and honey. Simmer until the tomato mixture begins to reduce, about 10-12 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, make 6 “wells,” in the tomato mixture (make sure the indentations are spaced out). Gently crack an egg into each well.
  4. Reduce the heat, cover the skillet, and cook on low until the egg whites are set.
  5. Uncover and add the fresh parsley and mint. You can add more black pepper or crushed red pepper, if you like.

The dirty deets on the glorious egg – here we are:

Nutritional composition per egg (roughly 50g):

  • Energy (kJ): 308
  • Protein (g): 6.29
  • Carbohydrates (g): 0.39
  • Fat (g): 4.97
  • of which Saturated fat (g): 1.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 212
  • Sodium (mg): 70

Five uses for your trusty blender

Has your blender made its way to the back of the cupboard because the idea of making a smoothie in this chilly Winter puts you off ? Dust the handy appliance off ASAP. Here are 5 fantastic uses for your trusty blender.

Homemade Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 200g tinned chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (or more)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until combined. If not fully blended, scrape down the sides and blend again. Season to taste.

Thai Green Curry Paste

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 medium green chillies, deseeded
  • 5cm piece of ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • 1 lime, grated zest and juice
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend to make a paste. If not fully blended, scrape down the sides and blend again.

Basil Pesto (or any pesto)

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 cups fresh basil, washed
  • 50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Place the pine nuts, basil, garlic and parmesan in a blender and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the oil in a thin steady stream until well combined.

Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain low fat yoghurt/coconut cream

Method:

  1. Place the halved tomatoes, quartered onions, and garlic cloves into a large bowl and add the oil. Season well with salt and pepper, and stir well to coat. Pour the oiled and seasoned vegetables onto a baking tray, and roast at 180C for about 30 minutes.
  2. Set the roasted vegetables aside for 15 minutes to cool and then place the veggies into your blender.
  3. Once the soup is blended, add the yoghurt/coconut cream and, salt and pepper to taste. If you are serving the soup immediately – pour the soup into a pot and heat on the stove top for 5 minutes.

Salsa Verde

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  •  1 cup basil leaves
  •  1 garlic clove, chopped
  •  2 teaspoons capers, drained
  •  1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  1 lemon, juiced
  •  Salt, to taste

Method:

  1. Place parsley, basil, garlic and capers in a blender. Process until finely chopped.
  2. With the motor running, add oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice to parsley mixture. Blend until well combined. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Blenders are so versatile. From the above mentioned recipes to the humble pancake, frothy lattes or simply grinding flaxseeds – there should be no reason to ever push your blender to the back of your cupboard.

 

 

Individual blueberry cheesecakes

(serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 cup packed (200g) pitted dates
  • 1 cup (120 g) raw almonds/walnuts

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) raw cashews, soaked
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

Method:

  1. Add dates to a food processor and blend until small bits remain and it forms into a ball. Remove and set aside.
  2. Next add nuts and process into a meal. Then add dates back in and blend until a loose dough forms – it should stick together when you squeeze a bit between your fingers. If it’s too dry, add a few more dates through the spout while processing. If too wet, add more almond or walnut meal.
  3. Lightly grease a standard, 12 pan muffin tin.
  4. Next scoop in heaping 1 Tbsp amounts of crust and press with fingers. Set in freezer to firm up.
  5. Add all filling ingredients to a blender and mix until very smooth.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  7. Divide filling evenly among the muffin tins. Place a couple of blueberries in each mini cheesecake. Tap a few times to release any air bubbles, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until hard – about 4-6 hours.
  8. Once set, remove carefully with a butter knife. They should pop right out.

Mother’s Day breakie – Healthy Banana Pancakes

Healthy pancakes with mum’s choice of toppings (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

Method:

  1. Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the eggs, oats and cinnamon to the bananas, and mix.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium heat, spray a small amount of non-stick spray into the pan.
  4. Pour a small amount of the mixture into the frying pan and wait till the pancake is easily flippable.
  5. Repeat step 4 with the remaining mixture.
  6. Stack the pancakes on a plate topping with either nut butter, fresh fruit, yoghurt, nuts, honey or chia seeds.

Should I be eating with the seasons?

We’ve all heard it before. “Buying seasonal fruit and vegetables is much better”. It’s something we often brush off assuming it’s a marketing ploy or an ‘old-wives’ tale. But besides the actual cost benefit (you can easily save a pretty penny), there are other reasons as to why it is actually important to buy fruit and vegetables that are in fact in season.

  1. These foods are nutrient dense and wholesome.

Seasonal foods have been harvested when they are in the ripest form, and usually, minimal or no preservation methods are needed, so the fruit or vegetable you are buying in the grocer is at its freshest. Seasonal fruit are usually super tasty too.

  1. We are directly and indirectly helping the farmers.

Eating seasonal fruit and vegetables reduces the demand for out of season produce which further supports local farming in your area which means less transportation, less refrigeration, less hot houses, and less irradiation of produce. Win-win!

  1. It allows us to get in different types of foods.

Eating seasonal fruit and vegetables offers us natural diversity. By eating fruit/vegetables you wouldn’t normally buy, provides you with a larger range of vitamins and minerals.

Autumn fruit and vegetables are the bomb. March to May allow for some delicious produce. Have a look at the list below and then feast your eyes on some easy and nutrient rich recipes below.

Fruit:                                                                                             

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Figs
  • Granadillas
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Lemons
  • Naartjies
  • Oranges
  • Pawpaws or Papayas
  • Pears
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates
  • Quinces
  • Sweet melon
  • Watermelon

Vegetables:

  • Aubergines or Egg plants
  • Baby marrows
  • Beetroot
  • Broad beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Butter beans
  • Hubbard squash
  • Parsnips
  • Radishes
  • Sweet peppers
  • Turnips

Broad bean and quince bulgur wheat salad with a honey and chilli dressing (serves 2)

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 100g bulgur wheat
  • 150g broad beans
  • 1 large quince
  • Handful of sugar-snap peas
  • 4 radish, very thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • Fresh herbs (mixed)

For the dressing:

  • 50ml Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp red chilli flakes

Method:

  1. Place the bulgur wheat in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to stand for 30 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Cook the beans and peas in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Drain thoroughly and skin the broad beans
  3. Peel and chop the quince into small chunks. Place into a pot and boil in a small amount of water for 15 minutes or until soft.
  4. Fluff up the bulgur wheat using a fork and combine the bulgur wheat, beans, peas, cooked quince, sliced radish and chopped red onion in a bowl.
  5. In a small bowl mix all the dressing ingredients together.
  6. Pour the dressing over the salad, add in the fresh herbs and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Serve and enjoy as a side dish or a delicious and satisfying lunch-time salad.

 

Pear stuffed chicken with beetroot baba ganoush

Ingredients:

For the stuffed chicken:

  • 1 whole free-range chicken
  • 2 (ripe) medium-sized pears (peeled and cut into 4)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • ½ tsp Paprika

For the beetroot baba ganoush:

  •  1 Tbsp Olive oil (for grill and drizzling)
  • 4 large beetroot
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • ½ garlic clove, finely grated
  • Salt & pepper

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 °C
  2. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the cut and peeled pears.
  3. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and paprika
  4. Roast the chicken at 190°C for 1 hour 10 min or until cooked.
  5. In the meantime, prepare a grill for medium-high heat.
  6. Lightly oil grill surface.
  7. Grill beetroot, turning occasionally, until skin is charred and flesh is fork-tender (50–60 minutes).
  8. Let the beetroot cool slightly.
  9. Halve beets; scoop flesh into a food processor.
  10. Add lemon juice, tahini, and garlic and process until smooth; season with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve as an accompaniment to the delicious roast chicken.

Berry Power Smoothie

Ingredients (2 servings)

• 1 frozen banana
• 1 cup frozen mixed berries
• 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
• 1 tbsp mixed seeds

 

Method
1. Combined all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Peach Coconut Smoothie

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1 cup coconut milk, chilled (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2 large fresh peaches, peeled and cut into chunks
  • fresh lemon zest, to taste

 

Method

  1. Combined all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Garlic Mushroom Qunioa

An easy, healthy side dish that you’ll want to make with every single meal!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 punnet mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

 

Method

  1. In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, chilli and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in quinoa until well combined.
  3. Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan, if desired.