All posts by cookandcontemplate

Tuna Sweet Potato Jackets

Tuna and sweet potato? Although an odd combo, it is delicious! This easy-to-make tea only needs the sweet potato to be bake and the tuna ‘mayo’ to be made and voilà! Yummy tea…

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large sweet potato, halved
  • 2 cans tuna in brine
  • 4 tbsp fat free greek yoghurt, plus more for topping
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Seasoning

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220/8.
  2. Pierce the sweet potato halves, and rub with the olive oil and seasoning. Cook for 40minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, drain the tuna cans and combine with the greek yoghurt and mustard.
  4. Make the salad by mixing the pepper, onion and spinach.
  5. Top the cooked sweet potato with tuna and a dollop of greek yoghurt, serve with the salad.
  6. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Sweet potato – one of your 5-a-day, and a useful source for many vitamins and minerals including: retinol needed for vision, growth, immune function and is a key antioxidant; thiamin for energy production; and vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis, detoxification and acts as an antioxidant.

Tuna – high in protein and low in fat, tuna also provides selenium for immune function, vitamin B3 for energy utilisation, and phosphorus for bone structure and energy storage.

Spinach – providing vitamin K for cell signalling and vitamin A for eye function, as well as fibre for digestion.

Pepper – high in vitamin A and C, but also B6 to release energy and folate which helps DNA synthesis.

Greek yoghurt –  this mayo alternative not only makes the tuna taste AMAZING but also contributes towards your protein and calcium requirements. Calcium is essential for bone growth and maintenance.

Zingy Lemon Mackerel Risotto

Stuck for tea ideas tonight? This refreshing summery recipe is perfect! Easy to make but very impressive, especially if cooking for lots of people (and also super cheap)!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 140g dried risotto rice
  • 1 pint vegetable stock or water
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 cans mackerel in sunflower oil
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 150g green beans, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil

METHOD:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the onions, cook until just softened, for around 4 minutes on a medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and stir for a further 1 minute.
  3. Add the risotto rice, and keep stirring until the edges of the grains are becoming more translucent.
  4. Add a third of the stock, stir, and reduce the heat so it is simmering.
  5. When the first third of the stock has nearly reduced, add the mackerel and the second third of the stock and stir once more.
  6. Add the lemon juice, zest, frozen peas, and green beans with the final third of stock and cook until the stock has reduced and the rice is soft.
  7. Serve with lemon pieces and season.
  8. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Mackerel – High in essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids of which you should be having three times a week, and protein, so is a good choice of fish (and it tastes AMAZING)

Risotto rice – high in carbohydrate to give you loads of energy to get you through your day!

Peas – providing potassium, vitamin B6 for energy and dietary fibre for bowel moment.

Quick and Easy Egg Noodle Salad

Need a pack up lunch idea, meal-prep, or just have a busy schedule and need a quick and easy meal to fuel your day? Look no further, this veggie noodle bowl is perfect!

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 boiled egg
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • Half an avocado, chopped
  • 50g dried egg noodles (1 nest)
  • 1 tbsp reduces-salt soy sauce

METHOD:

  1. Boil the egg noodles as per packet instructions
  2. Toss all ingredients together
  3. Enjoy!

NUTRITION

Eggs – Eggs are the most useful protein source as they provide essential amino acids (the building molecules of protein), which are also absorbed most efficiently by the body.

Noodles – A good carbohydrate base to keep you fuller for longer, and relatively low in calories.

Avocado – High in unsaturated (good) fats and relatively low in saturates (bad).

Tomatoes – massively high in vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis; it also has functions in detoxification and as an antioxidant. It also gives you vitamin A for vision and immune function, and potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction.

Spinach – An excellent source of vitamin K for cell signalling and to aid calcium absorption, and magnesium for nerve transmission and heart function.

Blueberry Banana Protein Pancakes

Yasssss lazy mornings call for PANCAKES… with over 20g of protein per portion, these are perfect for keeping you fuller for longer!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 70g porridge oats
  • 150g blueberries (to top)

METHOD:

  1. Mash the bananas into a pulp, and beat in the eggs and oats to make the pancake mixture.
  2. Heat a non-stick frying pan on a high heat and add the mix with one spoonful per pancake (they should be quite small so they are easier to turn).
  3. Cook until brown on the underside and then flip (it should be around 2minutes per side).
  4. Top with blueberries or the toppings of your choice – peanut butter or maple syrup is also nice!
  5. Enjoy!

NUTRITION

Eggs – Eggs are the most useful protein source as they provide essential amino acids (the building molecules of protein), which are also absorbed most efficiently by the body.

Porridge oats – high in fibre for digestion and slow energy releasing carbohydrates to keep you going!

Bananas – High in potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction, and containing naturally occurring sugars to keep your energy up for longer!

Peanut Butter Treat Brownies

Okay okay okay – so if we eat a BALANCED we should be allowed little treats now and again. So here one is – gooey peanut butter brownies!

Makes 16

INGREDIENTS:

  • 225g crunchy peanut butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 280g brown sugar
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 3 eggs

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160/4.
  2. Heat 175g of the peanut butter, 150g of the dark chocolate and all of the sugar in a pan on a high heat until the sugar has just melted (this should take around 10minutes). Stir occasionally so that the sugar can caramelise.
  3. Leave the mixture for around 5minutes to cool and then add the eggs, stirring with a wooden spoon.
  4. Sieve in the flour and combine.
  5. Pour into a greased 20cm cubed tin and bake for 30minutes.
  6. Melt the remainder of the peanut butter, and drizzle onto the cooked brownies. Do the same with the remainder of the chocolate.
  7. Enjoy! (Not in excess).

NUTRITION

Compared to most other brownies, these are actually fairly low in calories and fat, most probably because peanut butter has replaced the butter that would have been added!

Italian Soda Bread

ITS SUNNY….. and this means picnics! Do you know what picnics mean? Tear-off sharing bread – so here is an easy recipe for summery Italian soda bread – no time for prooving needed! Super quick, easy and healthy!

Makes 8 triangles.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 450g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g oil
  • 225ml milk
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 125g low-fat mozzarella, chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried basil or a few sprigs of fresh basil, chopped

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180/4
  2. Mix the self-raising flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Make a deep well.
  4. Add the pepper, then yoghurt, then oil to the well. Then slowly pour in 3/4 of the milk.FullSizeRender 3.jpg
  5. Combine the ingredients from the outside in – bring the flour mix round the inside into the wet ingredients with clean hands.FullSizeRender 2.jpg
  6. Add any extra necessary milk until you have a firm dough.
  7. Add the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and combine with the dough in a kneading-line action (there is no actual need for kneading in this dough, it is just an easy way to combine the ingredients).IMG_2290.jpg
  8. Form into a ball in a floured surface and place on a floured baking tray.
  9. Cut 4-6 long deep slits in the dough – these should be 3/4 deep, so nearly cutting the dough in half.IMG_2293.jpg
  10. Bake for 30-35minutes.
  11. Enjoy!

NUTRITION

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One serving = one triangle.

Beef-ey Poached Eggs

Yummy yummy yummy… a twist on a shaklaka (of which I will be making soon…) and can be eaten for breakfast, tea or dinner!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g 5% fat minced beef
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 140g frozen peas

METHOD:

  1. Saute the onions for 3-4minutes on a medium heat until soft.
  2. Add the mince beef and turn to a high heat to brown. Then reduce the heat and cook for a further 5minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and mix for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes and peas, and mix.
  5. Crack the eggs on top of the beef, cover and cook for 4minutes or until the eggs are cooked as wanted.
  6. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Beef – High in protein and low in fat, when the lean version is bought. It is also high in vitamin B3, B6 and B12 for energy release in respiration, and iron for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis and immune function.

Eggs –  Eggs are the most useful protein source as they provide essential amino acids (the building molecules of protein), which are also absorbed most efficiently by the body.

Tomatoes – massively high in vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis; it also has functions in detoxification and as an antioxidant. It also gives you vitamin A for vision and immune function, and potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction.

Peas – providing potassium, vitamin B6 for energy and dietary fibre for bowel moment.

Homemade muesli

BREAKFAST TIME: This recipe can easily be adapted to suit your preferences – whether you are an early riser or need a boost to get you going in the morning.

Makes 28 bowls of muesli (60g per serving).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1kg porridge oats
  • 250g dried fruit and nut mix
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 250g tropical mix
  • 100g flax seeds

METHOD:

  1. Empty 1/2- 3/4 of the porridge oats into a large saucepan on a medium heat.
  2. Keep moving the oats to toast them until they are a golden colour.
  3. Add the toasted oats, the rest of the other oats, and all other ingredients to a large bowl and mix.
  4. Serve with cold milk or low-fat greek yoghurt.
  5. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Oats – A good source of carbohydrate which will keep you going for ages! And high in fibre for digestion and the B vitamins for energy release.

Dried fruit – Depending on what dried fruit you pick, the nutrients will vary however without a doubt it will be high in vitamins and minerals.

Nuts – Another source of fibre, and high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (good) fats, and vitamin E and selenium for immune and antioxidant function.

 

Barcelona: my small but mighty culinary experience

If anyone follows my instagram (if you don’t – go give it a follow ;-)) they will know that I recently went on holiday to Barcelona.

This was VERY exciting.

Not only did I enjoy the many attractions that the city offers, I also indulged in both the healthy (and the occasional unhealthy) food.

So here is my small but MIGHTY experience of Barcelona’s food (and its nutritional value):

PAELLA

Now then, I cannot start a guide on Spanish food without starting with the ultimate fishy dish…

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We were so excited about experiencing this delicacy that we splashed out a little, going to Xiringuito Escriba on Bogatell beach. We had done a full day of beach activities, and with the restaurant being conveniently placed on the beachside, and the raving reviews from the locals, it was a no-brainer on which paella place to choose. We were not disappointed.

Although the restaurant is known for its speciality ‘sea and mountain’ paella (with chicken, ribs, Norway lobster, mussels, cuttlefish, vegetables & mushrooms) which sounded AMAZING, we opted for the special fish paella. For 21 euros a head, we received a generous amount each of sticky aromatic rice and perfectly cooked fish (in shell and out). At the bottom, the rice had toasted to the pan which gave the dish texture and a crisp flavour, which cannot be praised enough – I have discovered now this layer is called socarrat and is essential to a perfect Spanish paella.

We also, to get the full authentic Catalonian eatery experience, bought red wine Sangria to complement this dish. And boy it did! I had actually never had Sangria before as I am not a big drinker, however, in moderation this fruity flavoursome drink was refreshing and, as my mum would say, just what the doctor ordered.

Nutritionally, fish paella is pretty healthy! The rice forms a good carbohydrate base for any future activities you may be partaking in when in the beautiful Valencian capital, and the fish provides a useful protein source without being high in fat – in fact, with most fish paella, the large remainder of the fat will be from the oil that it is cooked in (which generally isn’t that much, especially if you are wanting to recreate this at home). If mixed or meat paellas are chosen, the fat and calorie content may be slightly larger however as long as it is eaten in moderation, it is also a good choice compared to some other restaurant options. The main concern with paella will be salt and calorie content of the dish – it will be high, especially if eaten out. However you just need to be aware of this and make sure that, if you are going to indulge in this delicacy, it is of a normal portion size and paired with low-salt food options for the rest of the day.

To see another review of Xiringuito Escriba, look no further than this one on the Culture Trip that I found: Restaurant Of The Week: Xiringuito Escribà – Culture Trip

MARKETPLACE DELICACIES: LA BOQUERIA

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La Boqueria is the largest and most well known marketplace in Barcelona – so of course we had to visit it! As we walked in, the first thing I noticed is that it is HUGE. So huge that I am surprised we didn’t get lost. The stalls within are arranged in aisle-fashion, with no particular order to them, which I quite enjoyed. They also offer pretty much everything.

The fruits and vegetable stalls were definitely the most abundant, with the produce coming in all shapes and sizes. This was a refreshing concept, with not just La Boqueria but the whole city embracing the uniqueness of their fruit and vegetables, and not just selling the ‘perfect’ products and chucking those that don’t conform away like most of the UKs supermarkets. The fruits were also offered in refreshing smoothie form, so you can get your 5-a-day in whilst cooling down from the Catalonian heat.

There was also meat and fish stands offering pretty much every protein source that you could think of if you are wanting to eat in but still experience the food that Barcelona offers. As Barcelona is a costal city, the array of fish that was offered was impressive (as was the smell…). The cured meat stalls were also remarkable, with large Jamon Iberico – the back leg of an Iberian pig – on display around every corner. They also offered cones of cured meat and cheeses, as shown in the picture above, which are perfect as a light snack and providing protein and calcium!

TAPAS

I didn’t manage to take a picture of the tapas that we ate (sorry!), mainly because we were so hungry it was pretty much gone as soon as it arrived.

We went to Tapa Tapa, a chain tapas restaurant which did not disappoint. There was so much choice… so we ordered a rather large amount of food…

This included: mussels in white wine, shellfish and avocado salad, Spanish omelette, cured meat platter… and quite a few more!

And the thing about tapas is that it is really easy to be healthy! When selecting the tapas, I would think about a few things. What will the food be cooked in? Excess oil or butter will rank up the calories and fat content. Is the food naturally high in fat? Meats and cheeses tend to tick this box, so if opting for these options, make sure they are consumed in moderation. Is the food high in salt? Again, some meats and fish are naturally high in salt, so be careful to avoid this option if needed. There are plenty of salad or potato-based options in the menu, so think about looking for those compared to the fried options.

We didn’t manage to go to this restaurant, however we were recommended Elisabets in El Raval for good tapas – with Bombas, a specific tapa on their menu being highlighted. Check out their website here: EN

EATING IN: CLAM AND CHORIZO LINGUINE

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We actually only ate out a few times in Barcelona, but we still wanted to experience the food, so I whipped up this quick but delicious dish from the food traditional to the city.

Find the recipe here: clam-chorizo-linguine

ICE CREAM

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You cannot go on holiday without enjoying the occasional ice cream, and that is exactly what we did! There are plenty of gelato bars dotted around the city, with Gelaaati di Marco being one of our favourites, with it offering vegan and low-sugar ice cream, as well as sorbet and frozen yoghurt, and some pretty cool flavour combinations (the hazelnut, chocolate and citrus fruit one was INCREDIBLE).

To pick the most healthy option for you, here is a short guide:

Lower-calorie – sorbets are a good option as they don’t contain any fat, however if you are wanting something creamier, choosing the plainer, less chocolatey options may be a good idea. Pick a tub rather than a cone to prevent any extra calories to be added!

Lower-fat – again, sorbets are the best option but frozen yoghurts if offered may also be good.

Lower-sugar – sugar is hard to avoid when eating ice cream, so it may be best to ask the waiter which options that they have.

OR, just enjoy the odd scoop of ice cream – in moderation it is actually quite good for you, providing calcium and protein.

I hope that this has been useful for you! Please leave any questions that you may have about Barcelona below and I would be happy to answer! I cannot stress how beautiful the city is and, if you ever have the opportunity to go, how you should try to experience as much of it as you can.