Spiced tuna and Tomato Pasta

Tuna pasta dishes are wonderful. They are effortless to make, require very little preparation, and rich in protein. Also all of the ingredients (apart from the fresh tomatoes) were kitchen cupboard essentials  – in my kitchen at least (!) I came up with this particular recipe on Saturday after losing track of time painting and realising that as it was 9.55pm, there was no way I could get to a shop to buy some dinner  before the closing time of 10pm. The problems of being an artist and getting lost in art!

Anyway, with an empty fridge, a broken oven, and a hungry stomach, I needed to come up with something quickly. So, to the cupboard I went! Canned tuna and tomatoes are perfect in situations like that. The recipe for the pasta dish is below. If you have fresh carrots you could add them too for some additional goodness. Also, if unlike me, you’re not waiting for an oven to be fixed, you could bake in the oven for 20mins rather than on the hob. You could even top with a little cheese for additional tastiness.

This recipe makes a generous portion for 1 but could also be split into two smaller meals for lunch etc. The tuna contains about 27g protein so this is a great post-work out dish especially after a muscle focussed session.

Ingredients

Pasta 

1 portion dried Fusilli pasta (wholewheat is healthiest but I used white as it cooks slightly quicker)

Sauce

1 small can tuna chunks
1/2 can sweet corn
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tin good quality tomatoes
Handful cherry tomatoes
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp oregano
Pinch ground turmeric
Ground black pepper

Method:

For the pasta:

  • Cook pasta according to packaging instructions.
  • Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.04.24

For the sauce:

  • Add everything except the tuna, sweetcorn and black pepper
  • Cook for 10 mins
  • Drain tuna and stir in
  • Leave to summer for 20minutes on a low heat
  • Add in sweetcorn
  • Leave for another few minutes
  • Taste and season with black pepper if desired
  • Toss in the drained pasta and stir
  • Serve

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.04.09

Finished pasta

Optional: Top with fresh parsley to serve

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Healthy Salad Dressing Ingredients

As we’re into summer now – though Scotland seems to have failed to get the memo so far – I thought I’d put together a little list of ideas for salad dressings. Salad dressings often get bad rep. and it’s often assumed that all dressings are high calorie and high in saturated fats. This is not wholly true though. There are a number of ways you can have a salad dressed with a proper healthy option. The fats in these dressings are ones which are good for you and which you do need, rather than a lot of saturated fats of which you don’t want a lot. It is more the acidic content you want to be wary of when it comes to vinegar-based or lemon based dressings (and that’s regarding your teeth not your body as a whole!) But as long as you don’t go overboard with dressing you’ll be fine. As always, it’s about balance, moderation, and common sense.

Here is my suggestions of dressing ingredients:

OILS

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • The standard minimal dressing if used on its own – plain but still flavoursome. Go for as high quality as you can as the better quality the nicer it is as a dressing. You want a full, rich, taste.
  • The history of this oil is immense – stretching way back to Ancient times, favoured by the Meditteranean for centuries and one reason for the area being renowned for having a healthy diet.
  • It is high in mono and polyunsaturated fats – the good fats.
  • Mixed with vinegars it makes lovely dressings.
  • It can also be infused with fresh herbs such as sprigs of rosemary (just pop the rosemary into the bottle in which it is stored and leave it until the hints of the flavour can be tasted in the oil)
  • You can also buy oils pre-infused with not only herbs, but also chilli, or other things like red peppers, or tomatoes.

Rapeseed Oil

  • A cheaper alternative to olive oil, it doesn’t have the distinctive flavour and is made from the seeds of flowers but if looking for a milder alternative to olive oil, then this may be a good oil to try.
  • Like olive oil it is high in the good fats.
  • If you’re in Scotland, like I am, you’ll know that at this time of year many fields are bright yellow due to the growth of Rapeseed, so if you like supporting local produce rather than imported, then that could be another reason for opting to use this.
  • Alternatively use some parts olive oil with some parts rape in dressings. You’d be in good company as if you check the labels of a lot of pre-packed salads at the moment, you’ll find that’s what supermarkets are doing too! (Cost effective)

Cold-pressed Coconut Oil

  • Coconut oil is one of the new ‘superfood’ craze foods and if were it not for the fact I’m über obsessed with coconut in all forms (fresh, desiccated, milk, water), I may not have tried it because as with all new ‘super foods’ it comes with a ‘nice’ price tag! Not too extreme, but I still would only buy it when its on offer.
  • This oil is solid at room temperature so if using as a dressing it will need to be warmed up (just leave some out in a small cup and it will melt if it is a warm day)
  • Unlike, traditional ‘healthy oils’ coconut oil does have saturated fats but from my reading on the subject, the form in which the fats take, are not as bad as other saturated fats in the way our body deals with them. (A quick search on a search engine will let you see my sources so go give them a read if you’re interested. As I make clear, I’m no nutritionist just a passionate healthy foodie who wants to keep her body as healthy as possible!)
  • The taste of the oil is gorgeous as it gives everything a coconut taste – hardly unsurprising (!) I use it a lot for cooking chicken.

There are more oils but these are my top 3.

VINEGARS

Balsamic

  • This includes standard balsamic vinegar, balsamic glazes, and infused balsamic vinegars (e.g. raspberry, orange, strawberry, or garlic)
  • Balsamic is a wonderful dressing on its own, combined with other condiments to map dressings, while it is also a great dip for freshly baked rustic Italian bread too.

White Wine Vinegar

  • This is a great base for a number of dressings – French, mustard, or simple vinaigrettes.

Cider Vinegar

  • Made from apples this is a traditional British vinegar
  • Although I personally don’t like this, I’m including it as comes with numerous benefits (There are even books devoted to the goodness of it.)
  • In dressings it is often used with salads containing radishes, walnuts, apples etc.

HEAT

Mustard

  • Mustard seeds or powder can both be used
  • Adds distinctive spiciness

Chilli

  • Adds a fiery heat
  • Cook first then chop finely or use dried chilli flakes

Horseradish

  • Great using for salads containing oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)
  • Also great with thinly sliced beef in salads
  • It add an undeniable hotness

Garlic

  • Can use in a variety of ways – roasted, bought in an oil suspension, garlic paste
  • All of the above ways make great additions to salad dressings

SWEETNESS

Honey

  • Adds sweetness to dressings to counteract and complement the acidity / flavour of other ingredients e.g. lemon / mustard seeds
  • Goes great in mustard seed dressings

Maple Syrup

  • Similar to honey but with its distinctive flavour and less sweet (nutritionally lower in sugar too)

Dried Fruit

  • Dates (standard or the currently Medjool dates)
  • Finely chop or blend to a paste

Orange juice / Pureed Raspberries / Strawberries

  • All add sweetness and go lovely with balsamic based dressings

SOURNESS 

Lemon

  • The juice of lemon is a wonderful contrast to the flavour of salmon but equally goes with a variety of salads

Lime

  • Lime juice adds sourness again but with a less bitter taste

HERBS (just a selection)

Mint

  • A classic
  • Finely chop it in the dressing and also leave some to sprinkle over at the end too for a nice final touch

Fresh Basil

  • The basis of the tasty thing that is pesto!
  • Can be used blended (in oil / vinegar etc.), finely chopped, or whole

Oregano

  • My second favourite herb after basil
  • Use in a similar fashion to basil

Parsley

  • Can be used in dressings for many different salads
  • Looks great finely chopped sprinkled over the top too

NOT FORGETTING…

Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Add these to taste and I also seem to finish with a twist of freshly ground black pepper over everything savoury I cook. You just need to check my previous posts to see!


Hope you found this useful,

Helen x

Find me on Twitter (@HLDCblog), Facebook (/HLDCblog), and Instagram (@HCRinstacam)


Copyright HLDCblog // Helen Redman 2014-2015.

Warm Cajun Chicken Salad

Header Graphic by HCRHere in Scotland, there has been a remarkable run of sunny days since around Easter Weekend. This has made me more in the mood for salads and maintaining a good, clean, diet. Clear blue skies and sun from sunrise to sunset have been making me feel like it’s summer already! It is mainly during summer that I have loads of salads and less hot, cooked, meals as I seem to go off hot food and also don’t require so many calories to keep me warm due to the warmer climate. This salad is served warm so is perfect as an evening meal at this time of year when, despite the sun, there is a distinctive drop in temperature by early evening from moderately warm to noticeably cool. Serving a warm salad is thus in the middle, not too hot and not too cold! (Writing that sentence has just reminded me of the children’s story, Goldilocks and The Three Bears)

Warm Cajun Salad image 1

Recipe for my ‘Warm Cajun Chicken Salad’

Ingredients

To make 1 portion:

  • 1 chicken breast (cut into chunks or diced)
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Coconut oil
  • Two mini sweet peppers (try and go for two different colours) A plateful of mixed salad leaves (spinach, watercress, lambs lettuce, and radaccio is great)
  • Black pepper
  • Balsamic glaze

Method:

In a frying pan, heat the coconut oil and add the seasoning. Add the chicken and cook until piping hot throughout and no pink remains. Spread the salad leaves on a plate. Cut the peppers lengthways, remove the middle, and quarter. Arrange on salad leaves. Top with the cooked chicken and glaze with the balsamic.

Photo

Image 2 Warm Cajun Salad

Warm Cajun Salad image 1

Serve with garlic pitta bread or on its own.

Tip: For extra protein, add mixed beans or cooked lentils.

Follow me on Twitter for daily health and fitness tips, on Instagram for foodie pics, and Facebook for articles.

Enjoy,

Helen x


©Copyright HLDCblog // Helen Redman 2015.

Tasty Side Dish

This is a quick post passing on a recipe I have just discovered saved in the ‘notes’  in my phone from a while ago. I clearly forgot to ever actually upload this recipe of mine! Anyway, thought I would share this now before I forget again or delete the note by mistake.

Ingredients (serves 2)

A couple of handfuls of:

  • Mushrooms
  • Sliced courgettes
  • Red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Black pepper

Optional:

  • Rocket, to serve

Method:

Saute sliced mushrooms and courgettes in olive oil. Add rosemary and thyme and a generous twist of ground black pepper. Continue to cook until the mushrooms and courgettes are beginning to soften. Add in some chopped red pepper and stir for a little longer until the rest of the vegetables are cooked through.

Serve while the red pepper is still quite crisp.

Serving tip:

This is a great accompaniment for turkey.

It can be plated with rocket added too.

Enjoy,

Helen x

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Copyright©HLDCblog // Helen Redman 2015.

 

5 healthy breakfast food swaps

Header graphic by HCRart


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1.

Original:

Smoked salmon and standard cream cheese on a white bagel

Swap for:

Smoked salmon and Quark (a naturally fat free soft cheese) in a wholemeal tortilla wrap or, if you really want a bagel, have a nice wholemeal one.

Why?

Standard cream cheese has saturated fat and is often processed with long ‘sell buy’ dates. Quark offers a fat free alternative that is fresher, natural, and wholesome. White bagels are made from flour which has been stripped of its natural goodness through processing and they also often have higher sugar content than wholemeal alternatives. Wholemeal is much more natural as the wheat grains are left as is and not altered. It also means you get much more fibre key for keeping your digestive system nice and healthy.


 2.

Original:

Fried eggs, bacon rashers, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, and hash browns

Swap for:

A poached egg, grilled turkey bacon, meat-free sausages, grilled large mushroom and tomatoes. Skip the hash browns.

Why?

Grilling is a much more healthy-concious option compared to frying. It removes the need for oil to be added when cooking. Turkey bacon is leaner than bacon from pork. Meat-free sausages have higher protein content than a lot of standard sausages due to them having less fat. The meat in standard sausages is often the cheapest cuts padded out with pork or beef fat – doesn’t sound very appetising, does it? Hash browns are fine as a treat but if you are aiming to be healthy then leave them out as they are fried extensively and often bought readymade meaning with the addition of chemicals.


 3.

Original:

Porridge/Hot oatmeal made with cream and topped with golden syrup, and jam

Swap for:

Porridge/Hot oatmeal made with water or semi-skimmed milk or half n’ half and topped with maple syrup and homemade fruit compote such as this one

Why?

By swapping you lower the amount of saturated fat and sugar. Golden syrup is made from refined sugar and jam is full of naturally sweet fruit but with the added addition of lots of sugar (the ratio of fruit:sugar is often shockingly low especially on cheaper ones). Homemade fruit compote, on the other hand, has only naturally occurring sugars or a little natural added sweetener such as honey or maple syrup. Maple syrup is used instead of golden syrup as it is less processed and much lower in sugar (and free of refined sugar).


 4.

Original:

A bowl of cereal

Swap for:

A bowl of custom (aka make your own) muesli or granola

Why?

Some cereal is reasonably healthy but despite the big claims on boxes of them being ‘fortified’ with ‘added vitamins and calcium’ etc., they are frequently full of sugar, and also often have quite a lot of salt. Maize-based cereals can also be found to be made from GM (genetically modified) maize crops.

If you buy, organic, low sugar and salt cereal then that is probably ok as part of a healthy lifestyle but if you buy the super-processed, sweet, cereal, then by switching to homemade muesli you can be fully in the know entirely what you are eating. It’s super simple to make and you can either make up a serving each time or to save time make up a larger quantity and store it as you would bought cereal.

Here’s a basic muesli recipe:

Oats, wheat flakes

Seeds (e.g. sunflower, pumpkin, flaxseed, chia)

Nuts (e.g. Almond, hazelnut, pecans, walnuts, macadamia, brazil)

Dried fruit (e.g. raisins, sultanas, cranberries, banana, pineapple (watch out for sugar content though))

Serve dry or with dairy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk.

Optional:

Use fresh fruit (e.g. berries, sliced banana, mango, grapes) instead of dried fruit or have some of both


 5.

Original:

White toast and butter / chocolate spread / jam / marmalade

Swap for:

Wholewheat toast and spread with mashed ripe avocado seasoned with pepper and a little sea salt or home-made healthier chocolate spread

• Recipe: Homemade clean chocolate spread •

Basic method:

Blend some mashed ripe avocado and cocoa powder together and/or a little maple syrup or mashed ripe banana to sweeten. Approx. ratios 1/2 avocado: 1tsp cocoa powder: quarter mashed banana or 1 tsp to a tbsp maple syrup

This can be stored in the fridge until the next day in an airtight jar.

Enjoy!

Helen x

P.S For more foodie goodness, find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!


 Copyright©HLDCblog//Helen Redman 2015.

My Top 5 Vegetables

It surprises me how much of a fan I am of vegetables now compared to how I used to be. Back in my childhood I remember clearly saying I didn’t want to eat all the vegetables on my plate and being a bit fussy about which ones I would eat and which ones I would not. Yet, reflecting back on it now I think it has a lot to do with limited variety. Since my childhood, healthy eating and living has had a big boost in the country with great efforts taken by the government, the school curriculum, and the NHS to promote healthier lifestyles. With this has also come an increase in year-round availability of foods from all around the world as well as seasonal produce from the UK being present in more shops. Health food shops are also being used by probably the greatest demographic that they ever have been.

My point is, that with all of this, there is a much greater variety of vegetables to choose from and prices have been lowered as supermarkets compete to be seen to be promoting healthy eating. Consuming vegetables is arguably a vital component of eating healthily. They are great as they contain many nutrients and compared to fruit, also key, have much lower sugar content. In this post, I’m going to discuss my current top 5 vegetables – why I like them and how I cook them.

1. Kale

Photo

This is a leafy green that is currently ‘in vogue’ but it is actually one I have eaten for years as it is something that can easily be grown in the UK and is also often good value because the hard stalks can put some people off eating it and thus the price is lower. There is both curly kale and smooth kale, it is curly kale with which I am more familiar and is the more popular of the two varieties. Recently, in an effort to get around this problem, there has been the emergence of baby kale which has smaller leaves and no hard stalks to remove as well as being more tender in texture. Whichever one you go for, I am quite happy with the standard kale, it is a remarkable green in that it provides so much positive nutritional value. Super high in vitamin K, it is a great source of vitamins A and C also, and a surprisingly great source of calcium as well as fibre. Additionally, a standard portion of kale (80g) is very low calorie.

Serving

Kale can be eaten either raw or cooked. It is more traditional to cook it, although with the rise of green juices and smoothies, it is quite common now to use kale as the ‘green base’ of a green drink and thus consume it raw. Kale can be steamed or boiled to cook it. I sometimes have a half n’ half way of cooking it, by placing it in boiling water and leaving it to sit for a few minutes. This breaks down the fibres a bit and makes it less tender but also prevents it from the possibility of it being overcooked. To complete this blanching method, place it in a sieve to drain the water, and run cold water over it to prevent it from continuing to cook. Alternatively, just drain it and allow it to keep its heat and serve immediately.C

Suggestions of how to use kale:

Cooked:

  • As an addition to a stir-fry
  • An omelette filling
  • As a side vegetable
  • In soup

Raw:

  • In a green juice or smoothie

 2. Broccoli

Photo

Broccoli is that odd ‘tree-looking’ green vegetable. There are also less tree-like tender stem and purple sprouting varieties. The traditional large broccoli florets are well suited to being used in soups while the smaller varieties can be more convenient for cooking and serving as is. When buying green broccoli make sure the florets are all green and not beginning to go yellow as that indicates they are past their best. As for nutritional value, similar to kale, they have high vitamin K and E content. They are also a source of calcium and a source of thiamin among others.

Serving

Broccoli is best steamed or boiled. Both the stalk and top is edible. It should be bright green with a bit of bite when cooked. If it is very dark or mushy, it is over-cooked resulting in much of the goodness being lost in the water in which it was cooked. (This is, however, ok if you are intending making soup as you’ll be using both the vegetable and the water it is cooked in as stock.

Suggestions on how to use broccoli:

  • Steamed as a side served with salmon and asparagus
  • Used to make a delicious broccoli soup (add some stilton / soft goat’s cheese for the best result)
  • Tender-stem broccoli is good in stir-fries

3. Spinach

Spinach is great. I grew up only having cooked spinach as my father grew it in our back garden yet I now much prefer it raw as it’s a great go-to vegetable to serve with a dish or as the basis for a healthy salad. If ever beginning adding green smoothies to your diet spinach the ideal ‘green’ element to start with as it is much more tender and milder than other greens, notably kale. Cooked, spinach is also a nice addition to homemade tomato-based pasta sauces and the Italian al forno pasta dish cannelloni. As a general rule, baby leaf spinach is nicest to eat raw whereas standard, larger leaf, spinach is better cooked. As with kale and broccoli, spinach is packed with goodness. It is a great source of iron, particularly useful for those who maintain a vegetarian diet, and a number of other nutrients.

Serving:

To cook spinach you can either steam or blanch it. Alternatively, it can be added, near the end of cooking, to a stir-fry or a pasta sauce where it will wilt down until nice and soft. If using spinach raw it can be left as is or blended in a blender with other ingredients to make a smoothie.

TIP: If you buy a large bag of spinach it is a good idea to freeze some of it, as spinach is better the fresher it is.

Suggestions of how to use it:

Cooked

  • As a bed on which to serve cod or chicken breast
  • In Eggs Florentine
  • In dishes such as cannelloni
  • As an addition to a fish pie

Raw

  • In a smoothie like this one
  • As a leafy green in a salad (here are some of my salad ideas)
  • As a side

4. Sweet PotatoPhotoFinally, something that’s not green you may be thinking! Sweet potatoes are wonderfully versatile. They can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes and can be cooked in virtually every way you can think of. They are a powerhouse of goodness and completely different in taste and texture to anything else.

Serving:

Sweet potato has to be cooked. It can be cut and baked to make wedges, boiled and mashed, fried, or boiled, mashed and baked in brownies or cake.

Suggestions of how to use it:

Savoury:

  • It can be used to make healthy ‘baked fries’
  • In sweet potato soup (add some chorizo for some smoky Spanish heat)
  • Cut into wedges, seasoned with herbs, brushed with oil and baked
  • Mashed as a side dish
  • Bake and fill it, jacket potato style

Sweet:

  • As an ingredient in clean brownies or cakes
  • mashed with maple syrup, nutmeg, and cinnamon

5. Onions

Onions are a fantastic addition to an array of dishes. They add wonderful flavour as well as helping to bring out the flavour of other ingredients in a recipe. Onions can be either red or white. If eaten raw white onions are much milder and with less of an intense kick than raw onions. Red onions add a lovely purple-red hue to dishes when added and finely chopped red onions make a great garnish. Onions go great with all meats and complement the taste of the meat. They are good as the base of a sauce, soup, and also as a base of gravy. Equally, they can be a nice side on their own, especially if seasoned and roasted with other root vegetables. As for why onions are good for you, history shows their benefits have been known for hundreds of years. They, among other things, are an antioxidant, help reduce inflammation, and are high in vitamin C.

Serving:

Both types can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be cooked in a variety of ways, sauteed, roasted, boiled, and battered and deep fried in onion rings (but the latter is certainly not a ‘healthy living’ option!). I have to admit, I have enjoyed them the few times I’ve had them though… I live in Scotland, home of deep fried everything so what can I say!

Raw:

  • Homemade salsa
  • Finely chopped as a garnish
  • In a light, homemade coleslaw
  • Finely sliced rings in salad (I often use red onion but white if I want a milder taste – depends what mood I’m in and what dressing I’m making) – find some of my salad ideas here

Cooked:

  • In soups or French onion soup
  • Sauteed with mushrooms and served with grilled tomato as a side for a juicy steak
  • As a base for pasta sauce, sauteed with crushed garlic
  • Boiled in white sauce (I think this might be a Scottish side but I really like it, it goes great with chicken!)
  • Roasted with other vegetables and served as a side (just drizzle with olive oil, season with freshly ground black pepper, add some dried chilli flakes if you like things hot, and roast in a hot oven until suitably done)

So, that’s my 5 top veg. of the moment, hope it has been of interest to you and encouraged you to go eat some veg!

If you’d like to follow more of my foodie exploits, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Happy stalking 😉

Helen x


DISCLAIMER: All nutritional content is from my personal study and I am a graduate of a non-nutrition or science based course. Consult professionals for further information.
Copyright©HLDCblog2015.

Wondering what to have for dinner? Read this


Everyone has days when they don’t have a clue what to buy for dinner, let alone what to cook for dinner. I’ve even gone to a shop with the intention of buying something for dinner but ended up with a conglomeration of random foods, none of which had the potential to be put together to form a decent meal! That’s why it is never a good idea to go shopping after a day of revision and exams… Ah, university life! Way before I started this blog, I used Instagram as a platform for sharing many of my daily meals and culinary creations in the hope of inspiring others to eat healthily, and I still do. Now I have this blog, though, I thought it would be good to do a post, or perhaps a series of posts, of some pictorial inspiration for meals. As I’m a very visual person, I feel pictorial inspiration is the most effective and I hope it encourages each person who reads this to try something different for their evening meal.

I always try to come up with different meal ideas and I try rarely repeat a meal on Instagram. I love the variety that comes with creating new dishes and serving ideas. Now that I’m in my early 20s I find I’m happy to eat the majority of foods and certainly wouldn’t say I’m too fussy about food, providing it’s reasonably healthy and not full of chemicals! I used to really dislike olives, for example, but now will happily eat them. The reason for my initial dislike was that many years ago when I was at a childhood friend’s party, I mistook a bowl of olives for a bowl of grapes. Olives could not be more different in taste to grapes and so the hatred of olives was born! That is, until I tried them again a few years ago, the first time since the childhood incident, and discovered they are actually quite nice so long as you aren’t hoping to bite into a nice plump, sweet, juicy grape.

Digressions on olives aside, the following meal ideas consist of various sources of protein and a range of sides. Hopefully they will give you some idea as to what you would like to have for dinner:

1. Salmon with pea and lemon risotto 

Photo

Basic method:

Salmon

Simply bake salmon, seasoned how you like it, wrapped in foil for 18-20 minutes at 180C in a fan oven.

Side 1

Bake tomatoes and yellow peppers too, with a little olive oil, in either the same or a separate foil parcel. Use a separate parcel if you’d like the side to have more bite and bake in the oven 10mins before the salmon is ready.

Side 2 (makes two sensibly-sized portions)

For the risotto, make up a quantity of stock from one low-salt organic vegetable stock cube (follow instructions on packet or use about 500ml of homemade stock). Then fry arborio rice in unsalted butter for a few minutes before adding the stock one cup at a time. Each time you add the stock stir well until it is all absorbed in the rice. Once nearing the end of the stock add a handful of frozen peas and the juice from a wedge of lemon (or more depending on your preferences). Stir in the remaining stock and add a little more lemon to taste. Finish by seasoning with freshly ground black pepper.


2. Ballotine of chicken breast 

Photo

 Basic method:

Chicken

There are many ways to fill a ballotine of chicken breast. Some suggestions are as follows:

  • caramelised onions and goat’s cheese
  • asparagus and parma ham
  • sun blush tomatoes, basil, and reduced fat mozzarella

Here is one of my recipes for ballotine of chicken breast with the full method of cooking: click here

Rice

Boiled white rice or, the healthier option, brown rice.

Baked peppers and tomatoes 

Same as Dish 1. You can also add some balsamic vinegar before baking.  Can you tell I like having that side? It is just so wonderfully simple yet scrummy and quick.


3. One pot clean-eat creamy veggie bulgar wheat

Photo

This dish is great on its own as a vegetarian dish or can be used as a ‘bed’ on which to serve a turkey breast steak or chicken breast. It would also be a nice accompaniment for a fillet of pork.

The full method and recipe for this can be found in one of my earlier blog posts: click here

NOTE: This dish can easily be made gluten free by using quinoa instead of bulgar wheat.


 

4. Duck with deliciousness!

Photo

Basic method:

Score the skin of the duck in a criss-cross pattern. Pan-fry the duck and keep draining the fat off (for timing see the packaging of the duck you buy, it varies with size – approx. 6-8mins). Transfer the duck to an ovenproof dish skin-side down and cook for to your preference of rare or medium or well-done. (Again consult the packaging of the duck for timings.)

Sides:

Steamed fine green beans, boiled blend of puy lentils and quinoa, and salad leaves (including rocket and red chard). The salad and blend of grains was dressed with a simple honey and mustard dressing.


  5. Tuna salad

Photo

This is ideal if you have under 5 minutes to prepare something to eat. It is very quick and really nutritious making it a perfect pit stop dinner in a hurry. It also contains 2 of your 5 a day.

Basic method:

The salad consists of a combination of a tin of tuna chunks, 1 portion of cooked pre-cooked quinoa (use a microwaveable packet or cook in advance), 1 portion of sweetcorn, 1 portion of peas, a tbsp dried cranberries, and homemade lemon juice, black pepper and natural yoghurt dressing. If you’d like less sweetcorn and peas half each quantity. Note: This will mean you only have 1 of your 5 a day rather than 2.


 6. Three Bean Chilli

Photo

This is a really good nutritious meal packed with plant-based protein. It contains 4 of your 5 a day too. It can be as hot as you like or can easily be made milder by adding just a dash of chilli or excluding it completely and using smoked paprika instead of chilli for a rich smoky tomato and pepper flavour.

Note: If you like a lot of heat, why not add some tobacco sauce.

It is really easy to double or triple the ingredients in this and re-heat it the next day or you could serve it cold as a filling in a tortilla with some raw baby spinach leaves for lunch.

I have blogged the recipe for this dish in the past which you can see by clicking here.


 

7. Salad Nicoise style dish

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Basic method:

The photo of this meal is pretty self-explanatory. I used flaked cooked salmon for this and served it with:

  • 1 sliced boiled egg
  • a handful of spinach
  • approx. a 1/3 cup sweetcorn (either use frozen cooked then cooled or tinned that has no, or minimal, salt/or sugar added)
  • 1/4 sweet red pepper sliced
  • 2 medium-sized cold sliced new potatoes

Seasoning:

Black pepper and lemon juice over the salmon and pepper on the potatoes.


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Have a great day,

Helen x


 

Copyright©HLDCblog // Helen Redman 2015.

Recipe for a Colourful Smoothie

Header As well as being a passionate foodie and advocate for healthy living, I am also an artist. This means I love, like, really love, colour! Shades, hues, and tones are all awesome to me. (I actually own a book which consists solely of annotated swatch-like squares of colour…) A new series of paintings on which I’m currently working, involves a lot of ochre pigments, specifically yellow and golden. So, I think the fact that ochre is currently on my mind is perhaps why my mind gravitated towards creating this smoothie today as the finished drink gives a somewhat light ochre’y finish! I had it as part of my breakfast.

It goes lovely with a big bowl of muesli. The fact my muesli contains a variety of dried fruit – pineapple, papya, raisins, and banana – in combination with the ingredients of the smoothie resulted in a breakfast with a pretty tropical feel. Always good to brighten up an overcast Scottish morning!

Let’s push the grey clouds away with this sunny smoothie.

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Here’s the recipe:

Mango-Coconut Smoothie                                                                                                  Photo

  • 1/2 a fresh mango
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1cm root ginger
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Put everything in a blender and whizz till smooth.

It’s so simple yet packed with goodness and super scrumptious and sweet.

If you like a thick smoothie, chill for a while before serving as the chia seeds and flaxseed will naturally thicken the smoothie.

P.S If you’d like to take a look at some of my art, you can find my art profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter. The first painting from my new, aforementioned series will be revealed soon so keep checking back to those profiles, or give me a follow and you can find my art adding some creativity to your newsfeed!

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 Copyright©HLDCblog2015.

Perfect Weekday Breakfast

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Extra early morning start? Make overnight oats the night before. Breakfast will be ready and waiting for you when you wake up! Overnight oats is a great alternative to porridge, and requires no cooking. The oats and chia seeds will swell and thicken overnight making a delicious filling breakfast dish. There are a number of recipes around but this is my one.

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Recipe: Berry Overnight Oats

They are ‘berry’ good!

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 heaped cup frozen berries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
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Step 1 before stirring

1. Add everything to a bowl or mason jar and stir

2. Cover with cling film or the mason jar lid and chill overnight

3. Remove cling film, stir once more, and eat!

(Note: All of my photos are from overnight oats I only left for around 3/4 of an hour (long story…) rather than overnight. Chilling overnight is recommended for a thicker result – hence the name ‘Overnight oats’  obviously!)

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Basic Nutrition:

This breakfast provides a great source of slow-release energy and iron from the oats, fibre and a number of other nutritional benefits from the chia seeds (a superfood tracing back to Aztec times), calcium in the milk, and vitamins from the berries.

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Disclaimer: Nutritional information is solely from personal research and general knowledge. I am not professionally qualified in nutrition. 
Copyright©HLDCblog//Helen Redman 2015.

10 Healthy Wrap Fillings

HeaderHere is a handy list of suggestions for what to fill a tortilla wrap with. I love having a generously filled wrap for lunch as they are super convenient (protein, carbs, and veg in one), quick to make, and easy to grab and go.

Also to keep the wrap as healthy as possible, try to use wholemeal or 50/50 tortillas rather than white ones.

10 Healthy Wrap fillings

1. Hummus, rocket, red pepper, and feta cheese

2. Chickpea, cous cous, Harissa dressing, and salad leaves

3. Chicken /or lentil dahl, mint yoghurt dressing, baby spinach, and fresh coriander leaves

4. Red onion, goats cheese, and baby spinach

5. Turkey bacon, iceberg lettuce, and tomato

6. Chicken, sliced olives, cous cous, lettuce, and a mint yoghurt dressing

7. Smoked salmon, cucumber, low-fat cream cheese, and freshly ground black pepper

8. Feta cheese, fresh basil, tomatoes and black olives (add salad leaves too)

9. Red peppers, grated carrot, hummus, and watercress

10. Pre-cooked bean chilli, spinach and natural yoghurt. Fancy bean chilli but don’t have a recipe? No problem! I have one from one of my earlier blog posts here.

I hope there was something there that sounds great to you. Have a food-tastic day! 😉

Helen x


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Copyright©HLDCblog2015.