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Peas & Broad Beans Risotto – A classic with a twist

I love a good home-made risotto. And over the last few years I tried different versions all of which tasted slightly different but still delicious. But this one I made few days ago is topping all of them.

I used coconut oil for the first time ever and was slightly sceptical but the final result was a sense of pleasure, delight and cleanness… wanting more.

–          Coconut oil (twist No. 1)
–          1 shallot – finely chopped
–          2 garlic gloves – crushed
–          2 celery sticks – finely chopped
–          250 grams arborio risotto rice
–          1 big glass of prosecco (twist No 2) – taste first 🙂
–          1L of home-made hot chicken stock (twist No. 3) – this extra effort is worth it believe me!
–          200 grams of mixed frozen peas and broad beans
–          Basil, mint, chives finely chopped – a good handful in total
–          1 teaspoon butter (real butter!)
–          30 grams grated parmesan plus extra for serving (optional)
–          Lemon
–          Salt, pepper to taste

Instruction

I made my own chicken stock. I know that sounds a lot of work, but is actually not. See my blog here. It is worth the extra effort. Try it out and you will see/taste it for yourself!

Also I used heavy iron casserole pot (twist No 4). Heat the pot over medium heat (careful the iron casserole can get very, very hot), add coconut oil (and smell the amazing coconut flavour which takes you to a far far away land… twist No. 5). Fry shallot, garlic, celery for about 5 minutes. Add risotto rice and fry for 2-3 minutes. Then add prosecco. Again smell the amazing flavour combination. Let the alcohol cook off than start adding chicken stock ladle by ladle. As we all know cooking risotto requires patient and close eye – somehow relaxing. So have a glass of prosecco to enjoy the task (twist No. 6). After 10 minutes add peas and broad beans. Keep stirring and adding more stock (if required). We like our risotto with a bit of a bite. Another 10 minutes the rice has the right bite. Turn heat off. Mix in herbs, butter, grated parmesan. Put lid on and leave for 5 minutes. This will allow the flavours to mix and risotto becomes creamy. Drizzle the lemon juice. Serve immediately! (you wouldn’t be able to resist it any longer).

I found using coconut oil gave risotto much cleaner texture and flavour rather than olive oil or rapeseed/sunflower oil. The reason is that coconut oil is a high heat oil where for example olive oil is not. Means coconut oil doesn’t burn and get smoky/greasy.

Also prosecco worked very well. I guess there isn’t much different between a good quality white wine and a good prosecco.

Happy cooking!

Irina

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Mung Bean salad

This is another recipe of mine which is super easy to make, healthy and so delicious. Very good to take for lunch to work or as side dish with some poached salmon and steamed broccoli. Delish!

–          300 grams dried mung beans (soaked overnight)
–          Generous bunch of fresh herbs – like coriander, parsley, dill
–          1-2 Chillies – bird eyes deseeded
–          1 Lemon and the zest
–          Feta – use original Greek has more flavour and less preservatives
–          Virgin Olive oil
–          Salt, pepper
–          Optional: Pear or carrot (I do shave the carrot with veg peeler – fun!)

Instruction:

Cook mung beans as per pack instruction (takes about 20-25 minutes). Drain, rinse. Leave to cool a little bit.

While the mung beans are cooking chop herbs and chillies put in big bowl. Zest lemon and use the juice. Cut feta in squares. If using pear/carrot cut in nice pieces (or shave carrot). When mung beans are ready put to the bowl with herbs etc. Add splash of olive oil and salt pepper (careful). Give good mix. Taste, season if needed (or add more lemon juice – see my tip). Mix, taste. Done! Cooking doesn’t get easier than that!

Did you know that mung beans are great source of protein, Vitamin C, Calcium and Carbohydrates.

Happy cooking!

Irina

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Home-made humous

I love humous! But the ones from supermarkets are full of preservatives and other ingredients which I cannot even pronounce aka in my world it means chemicals and not good for you. Simple!

I tried doing the recipe with tinned chickpeas. It worked ok but then I did with dried chickpeas and I am not going back to tins ever again. Many of us think dried beans/lentils/chickpeas etc. are too complicated and take too much time. But actually they are the simplest ingredients to work/cook with. All you need to do is to soak them for 8-12 hours or overnight.

Here is the simplest humous recipe ever.

–          300g chickpeas – dried, soaked overnight
–          Big bunch of fresh coriander (I also had some leftovers of fresh parsley)
–          2 chillies – go for hot ones, like bird eye chillies (take the seeds out)
–          1 lemon juice – plus the zest of it
–          3 tablespoons tahini
–          1 tablespoon sesame seeds
–          ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
–          ½ teaspoon paprika (I used smoked)
–          Virgin Olive oil – a good splash or two
–          Salt

Instruction

Cook chickpeas as per pack instruction. I leave them soaking overnight which doesn’t require much effort apart from putting chickpeas in a bowl and pour cold water over them. Please, anyone can do that!

Once chickpeas are cooked (takes about 30-35 minutes), leave to cool in their cooking water (!). Then put them in the food processor, with other ingredients and some (5tbsp) of the kept chickpeas cooking water. Mix, taste, season if required, mix, taste. Perfect!

Tip: if you think more salt is needed, try adding more lemon juice first. Lemon brings the flavours out much more and you will avoid adding unnecessary sodium to your food! Genius!
Done! Easier doesn’t get it!

Humous will keep in the fridge for about 5 days (in our house it rarely makes it past 3). Serve with rye bread or ryvitta, celery, carrots, cucumber, peppers. Or I put it over green leaves (with extra splash of tabasco – yup I love it hot!).

Did you know that chickpeas are high in protein which is essential for recovery! But also good source of isoflavones (plant chemical) which can help to prevent hormon-related conditions incl. PMS and breast cancer. They also helping stabilize blood sugar. Rich in antioxidant vitamin E, which promotes the ability of white blood cells to fight infection. Chickpeas are also rich in zinc, iron, B Vitamins, Calcium and carbohydrate. So clearly chickpeas are Super-Food!

And Cayenne Pepper: is effective in treatment of arthritis, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney infection and other respiratory problems. Come on spice your food/life a bit!

Happy cooking!

Irina

 
 

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Green Goodness

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical with the idea. No matter what others said, what I read about it… But after trying myself for few days I have to say, I am hooked. I feel great, not too full, not too hungry, my blood sugar is stable for several hours, my bowls are happy too and it taste so yummy! …. I am talking about smoothies for breakfast. Green Tea Smoothie to be exact, aka “Green Goodness”.

They are very easy to make and you can put whatever you like in them (ish). I don’t take any measurements so I kind of did an ish estimate (sorry). This one is my favourite:

1 cup frozen green grapes – no seeds
1 frozen banana (peel the banana before putting in the freezer. You save yourself a lot of time…. wrap it in cling film or plastic food bag – reuse the bag!)
2 cups of green tea – cooled. You can use whatever flavour you like (or have at home). I used mango/lychee, 3 tea bags for 2 cups, brewed it for 4-5 minutes.
2 cups of fresh Spinach (or 2 hand full loads)
3 tablespoons of plain probiotic yogurt
1 teaspoon Maca Powder (optional)
1 teaspoon Spirulina Powder (optional)
2 tablespoons runny honey
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
Optional: 1 avocado and 1 lime

The preparation is very easy (probably the easiest part). Put everything in the blender. Blend until smooth. Viola! You have got a great, delicious Green Tea smoothie to start your day.

Green Goodness

However I do give my stomach some solid food, I do have two soft boiled eggs before and a big glass of this delicious Green Tea Smoothie (I sometimes put some home-made granola in it to give a bit of texture). This breakfast keeps me going until lunch time (though I do have a mid-morning snack – banana and few nuts).

And even better, I make slightly bigger portion and have some as my afternoon snack.

As you may notice I use some unusual ingredients – Maca and Spirulina powders.
Maca Powder – increases energy, vitality and endurance. Is high in Vitamins C, B, E, Magnesium, Calcium, protein.

Spirulina Powder – is a blue algae. Great for weight loss, detox, stress buster. High in iron, carotene, Vitamins A, Bs, C, E and H, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Omega 3 oils, 18 Amino Acids.
I tried Spirulina Powder with water but didn’t like the taste. So put it in smoothie seems to work well. And it gives some lush colour to the final product.

Give it ago! You will love it!

Irina

 
 

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Healthy Savoury Rice – Lunches for Work

Most weeks we make a savoury (brown) rice dish which we can keep in the fridge and take to work for lunch, or have handy for a quick & easy meal at home. The basic recipe is easy and healthy, and normally we’d use cooked ham or chicken as the meat ingredient, but this week I found a couple of packs of diced chorizo sausage on offer so decided to have a treat! 😉

Ingredients:

1 x celery stick, diced
1 x carrot, diced
2 x peppers, diced
1 x cup of peas
1 x cup of diced or chopped meat of your choice
Finely chopped Chilli’s to suit your taste. We like a spicy kick so use 2 or 3 birds eyes!
Half a bag of brown Rice.
Pepper to season & a couple of tsp’s of dried parsley

Method:

Cook the rice as instructed, but not for the full time on the bag as we will fry and then steam it a little at the end, put it to one side. (When the rice is cooking, I chop all the veg ready, then drain the rice and put it in a large bowl, so I can use the same large pan to cook the veg. Saves on washing up!) Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 20 November, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing, Recipes & Nutrition

 

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Peppers and Eggs – A Hearty Birthday Breakfast!

It’s Irina’s birthday today… happy birthday! 🙂

This morning I fancied eggs, but made them with a twist. They were really yummy! Crunchy, juicy peppers, perfectly cooked soft eggs with runny yolk, tasty salt pepper and dill. We ate it with some rye bread and spelt bread and a glass of orange juice. A healthy, hearty, nutritious start to the day! Carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals and a little fat.
We’re off for a run this morning and a bouldering session this afternoon, so need a good start. B)

It’s super easy to make, so no excuses!

Ingredients:

Eggs!
Peppers cut into a thick ring (I broke one egg into a small glass bowl to get an idea of the thickness needed)
Salt, pepper and some chopped fresh dill
1 x Tbsp olive oil Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 8 November, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing, Recipes & Nutrition

 

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