Tag Archives: folate

3 Courses of Chocolate

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL CHOCOLATE DAY!!! To celebrate, I have created 3 courses of chocolate – all healthy recipes which provide numerous vitamins and minerals: spinach and pear salad with a chocolate vinaigrette for starter; steak with a chocolate and coffee sauce for main; and chocolate fruit pudding for dessert. I use 85% dark chocolate in all the recipes, which is high in antioxidants and minerals such as copper for iron metabolism and blood clots; and manganese for bone health and reducing inflammation. Enjoy!

Starter: Spinach and Pear Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pear
  • handful of spinach
  • 10g 85% dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 slices parma ham
  • 1 tsp honey

METHOD:

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30s-1min, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey, season, and whisk to create the vinaigrette.
  3. Arrange the spinach, pear and pancetta on a plate, and cover in dressing.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Pear – High in vitamin C for immune and antioxidant function, K for cell signalling, and potassium for fluid balance and electrolytes.

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

Parma ham – High in protein and the B vitamins for carbohydrate and energy utilisation, and mineral phosphorus for bone and protein function.

Main: Steak with Chocolate and Coffee Sauce

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 140g (1 average) lean trimmed steak
  • 1 medium potato, cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 2 slices parma ham
  • 50ml white wine
  • 50ml fat free creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp coffee (I used 1 tsp instant made up with water)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns
  • 10g 85% dark chocolate

NUTRITION:Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 09.29.56.png

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.

Onion –  High in vitamin C for immune function, folic acid for DNA synthesis, and fibre for digestion.

Creme fraiche – contributes towards your protein and calcium requirements. Calcium is essential for bone growth and maintenance.

Parma ham – High in protein and the B vitamins for carbohydrate and energy utilisation, and mineral phosphorus for bone and protein function.

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

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220/ 6.
  2. Mix 1 tsp of olive oil with the potato wedges and season. Bake for 40minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a pan on a medium heat and sauté the onion until caramelised for 5minutes. Blitz in a blender with the white wine into a paste.
  4. Add the steak to the pan and fry on each side for 2 minutes on a high heat. Remove from the pan.
  5. Add the parma ham and fry until just crisping, then add the onion paste and heat through for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Return the beef to the pan along with the creme fraiche and peppercorns and cook until bubbling, then add the coffee, chocolate and thyme until simmering.
  7. Serve with spinach and the potato wedges.
  8. Enjoy!

Dessert: Chocolate Blueberry Pudding

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 150ml fat free greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 60g blueberry
  • half a banana
  • 1 tso 85% dark chocolate, grated
  • honey (optional, to make sweeter)

METHOD:

  1. Mix half the greek yoghurt with the cocoa powder.
  2. Serve in a tall glass tumbler, layering the cocoa yoghurt, fruit, and plain yoghurt.
  3. Top with chocolate shavings and a mint leaf.
  4. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 09.31.43.png

Yoghurt – contributes towards your protein and calcium requirements. Calcium is essential for bone growth and maintenance.

Blueberries – Containing iron for oxygen transfer, phosphorus for bone structure, and magnesium for nerve transmission and DNA replication.

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

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Smoked Mackerel Kedgeree

Brunch or dinner, this recipe provides MULTIPLE essential nutrients like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from the mackerel, protein from the eggs (and mackerel), and loads of vitamins from the vegetables.

Serves 2.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 curry leaves
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 100g rice
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cooked smoked mackerel fillets
  • 1/2 lime

METHOD:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan on a high heat; add the mustard seeds, coriander seeds and curry leaves and stir until the seeds crackle, for roughly 1 minute.
  2. Add the onion, leek and carrot and reduce the heat to low. Cook for roughly 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add the rice, turmeric and curry powder and combine; frying for 1 minute.
  5. Add the appropriate amount of boiling water for 100g of rice, reduce to a simmer,  and cover to cook for 15 minutes – keep watching, I read that 250ml water would be sufficient but found that much more was needed.
  6. Whilst the rice is cooking, boil the eggs for 5 minutes, then remove the shell and keep to the side.
  7. Uncover the rice, flake in the mackerel and season. Cook uncovered for a further 5 minutes – more water may need to be added to stop the rice sticking.
  8. Season and serve with the egg and 1/4 lime wedge.
  9. 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).

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.

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

Carrots – high in vitamin A (specifically beta-carotene) for vision and immune function.

Onion – High in vitamin C for immune function, folic acid for DNA synthesis, and fibre for digestion.

Pesto Pork with Italian Couscous

Looking for something quick? High protein? Spiced? Delicious? This is the perfect meal – packing in two of your 5-a-day, as well as plenty of protein, this will satisfy your cravings and keep you fuller for longer!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Pork chop
  • 1 tbsp reduced-fat pesto
  • 30g dried couscous
  • 150ml water or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220/7.
  2. Cover the pesto on the pork chop
  3. Add the onion and pepper to a baking tray and mix in olive oil, half the spices, and seasoning. Make space in the middle to place the pork chop, facing pesto side up. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add the remaining spices to the couscous and cover with the boiling water/ stock and leave for 5 minutes so the couscous can absorb the water.
  5. After the pork has been baking for 20minutes, remove the chop from the tray and mix the couscous with the vegetables. Make a well in the middle and add the chop again, baking for a further 10minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Pork – High in protein and the B vitamins for carbohydrate and energy utilisation, and mineral phosphorus for bone and protein function.

Couscous – high in protein and providing a good base for this dish.

Onion – High in vitamin C for immune function, folic acid for DNA synthesis, and fibre for digestion.

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

African-Spiced Peach and Pomegranate Chicken

I am stuck in not-so-sunny Cardiff so I thought I would make a summery spiced salad to cheer me up! Using North African flavours, this light and easy meal can be used as a lunch and a tea, and provides a load of vitamins and minerals for health.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 2 peaches, quartered
  • 1 courgette, stripped
  • 3 Brazil nuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Seasoning

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220/8.
  2. Mix the spices together and put half on the chicken thighs and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add the remaining spices to the peaches and add to the oven after the 10 minutes is over. The peaches and chicken thighs should now take a further 20minutes to cook.
  4. When they are nearly done, heat the olive oil in a pan on a medium-high heat. Add the courgette strips and cook until slightly browned.
  5. Plate up the courgette, peaches and chicken thighs, and top with the pomegranate seeds and Brazil nuts.
  6. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Chicken – a good source of protein which is high in the vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and niacin for energy production; and zinc for enzyme function, immune control and protein synthesis.

Peaches – High in vitamin A for vision, and C for antioxidant and immune function.

Brazil nuts – One of the best sources of selenium which has a massive role in the immune system and in thyroid hormone function.

Pomegranate seeds – Considered a superfood, pomegranate is high in vitamin C for immune function, folate for DNA synthesis, and potassium for fluid balance.

Courgette – High in vitamin A for vision, fibre for digestion, and magnesium for chemical reactions in the body and immune function.

Moroccan Chicken and Date Couscous

A fragrant tea or easy pack up lunch, this Moroccan style chicken uses dates to give it a sweet kick and is super high in protein!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 40g couscous
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 5 dates
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 120ml boiling water or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Bunch of parsley, to top
  • METHOD:
    1. Preheat the oven to 220/8.
      Heat the olive oil on a medium-high heat and brown the chicken thighs for 4-5 minutes, or until crispy.
      Remove and add to a roasting tin, along with the dry couscous.
      In the same pan that has just cooked the chicken, reduce the heat and soften the onion and garlic for 5minutes.
      Add the dates, cumin, cinnamon and stock to the onion mix, and bring to the boil.
      Mix the dates and stock to the dried couscous and chicken in the roasting tin, and cover with tin foil.
      Bake for 25- 30 minutes.
      Serve with parsley and enjoy!

    NUTRITION:

    Chicken – a good source of protein which is high in the vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and niacin for energy production; and zinc for enzyme function, immune control and protein synthesis.

    Couscous – high in protein (5g per portion) and providing a good base for this dish.

    Onion – High in vitamin C for immune function, folic acid for DNA synthesis, and fibre for digestion.

    Dates – a good source of carbohydrate and high in calcium for bone strength.

    Goats Cheese, Butternut Squash and Caramelised Onion Pizza Naans

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 plain naan breads
    • 1/2 cooked butternut squash, cut into cubes
    • 60g soft goats cheese
    • 2 red onions, sliced
    • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 5 tbsp tomato paste

    METHOD:

    1. Preheat the oven to 220/8
    2. Heat the olive oil in a pan on a low heat and add the onion. Cook for around 10minutes, until softened and then add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 10minutes.
    3. Top the naan with the tomato paste, then the squash, goats cheese and balsamic vinegar.
    4. Cook for 10minutes in the oven, or until the cheese has melted and gone slightly crispy.
    5. Enjoy!

    NUTRITION:

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    Butternut squash – despite the large natural sugar content, squash provides LOADS OF B vitamins, which have functions in energy release in respiration, and is massively high in potassium which maintains fluid and electrolyte balance.

    Goats cheese – even though it has a relatively high fat content, cheese is high in calcium for bone strength and stability.

    Onion – High in vitamin C for immune function, folic acid for DNA synthesis, and fibre for digestion.

    Prawn Pesto Pasta

    Tasty, tasty, tasty… and providing a whopping 3 OF YOUR 5 A DAY, a solid 32 grams of protein, and plenty of vitamins and minerals to improve your health.

    Serves 1

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 75g wholewheat spaghetti
    • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 5 spears of asparagus
    • 70g frozen peas
    • 1 tbsp basil pesto
    • 2 tbsp fat-free creme fraiche
    • 60g king prawns
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp olive oil

    METHOD:

    1. Boil water in a pan and add the pasta, set a timer for 10 minutes – with 4 minutes to go, you will need to add the asparagus tips and the frozen peas.
    2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan, add the tomatoes and prawns (you can use either cooked or raw prawns – if cooking from raw just make sure they are pink all the way through when fully cooked) and heat for 3-4 minutes.
    3. Add the garlic to the prawn pan and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
    4. Drain the pasta, asparagus and peas.
    5. Arrange the asparagus on a plate.
    6. Mix in the pesto and creme fraiche into the pasta and peas, and serve on the asparagus. Top with the garlic prawns and tomatoes.
    7. Enjoy!

    NUTRITION:

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    Prawns – high in protein for muscle repair and growth, and low in fat.

    Wholewheat pasta – high in starchy carbs for energy which will keep you going, and fibre to improve digestion.

    Asparagus – high in vitamin A for vision, vitamin B6 for energy release, and folate for DNA synthesis.

    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.

    Creme Fraiche – no fat (as fat-free version is bought), and high in calcium for bone strength.

     

    Cajun Prawns

    Low in calorie, fat and high in protein, this light tea/ lunch provides 4 of your 5 a day with a spicey twist!

    INGREDIENTS

    • 150g raw prawns
    • 1 green pepper, chopped
    • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 sweetcorn cob, chopped
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
    • Seasoning
    • 1 tbsp olive oil

    METHOD

    1. Preheat the oven to 220/8
    2. Pop the sweetcorn cob pieces in the microwave for 3-4minutes until slightly soft.
    3. Mix the spices and seasoning in a small bowl.
    4. Put the prawns, pepper, tomatoes, sweetcorn cob and carrot pieces and top with the spice mix and olive oil, mix well.
    5. Put in oven and bake for 20minutes.
    6. Enjoy!

    NUTRITION

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    Prawns – High in protein and low in fat for a lean tasty meat!

    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.

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

    Carrots – Also high in vitamin A (specifically beta-carotene) for vision and immune function.

    Sweetcorn – High in vitamin B1 and B5 for release of energy from respiration, and vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis.

     

    Vegan Chickpea Bean Burgers

    Is everyone enjoying the sun? These low-calorie vegan burgers are perfect for cooking on a barbecue whilst soaking up all that vitamin D from the sunny days!

    Makes 4-6 burgers.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 can of  chickpeas
    • 1 can of kidney beans
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp dried coriander
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1 bunch of fresh coriander
    • A little water
    • 1 tsp olive oil

    METHOD

    1. Combine the chickpeas, kidney beans, lemon zest, dried spices and fresh coriander in a food processor until broken up but still lumpy.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a pan on high heat.
    3. Add a little water if needed, and mould 4-6 patties out of the bean mix.
    4. Fry for 10-15 minutes, or until the outsides are crispy and golden and the insides are hot. Be careful when flipping as this is when the patties are most likely to break.
    5. Serve in breadcakes with salad or with oven chips.
    6. Enjoy!

    NUTRITION

    Typical serving for one patty (if 4 are made):

    Screen Shot 2018-04-22 at 13.54.34.png

    Chickpeas – a plant-based protein source. They are high in iron for oxygen transport, immune and vitamin C function; folate for DNA synthesis and cell production; and dietary fibre for digestion.

    Kidney beans – Another important source of plant-based protein. They are high in dietary fibre for digestion and are a source of iron for oxygen transport whilst containing loads of antioxidants.

    Squash Lentil Dhal

    This vegan meal is high in protein and rich in spices which are all complemented by a sweetness from the butternut squash. Any leftovers can also be reheated or eaten cold for a meal the next day!

    Serves 2

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 150g dried red lentils
    • 400g can chopped tomatoes
    • 600L vegetable stock
    • Half butternut squash, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes
    • 1 onion
    • 1 clove of garlic, diced
    • 1 tsp dried coriander
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 bunch of fresh coriander

    METHOD:

    1. Heat the olive oil in a pan, and cook the onions until soft.
    2. Add the garlic, dried coriander, turmeric and cumin and cook for a further 1 minute.
    3. Add the butternut squash and coat in the spice onion mix.
    4. Add the chopped tomatoes and stock, and bring to the boil.
    5. Simmer for 10-15minutes until the squash is just cooked.
    6. Add the lentils (and any extra water if needed) and simmer for a further 10minutes, until the lentils and squash are tender.
    7. Mix in the fresh coriander and season.
    8. Serve with a sprig of coriander on top.
    9. Enjoy!

    NUTRITION:

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    Squash – despite the large natural sugar content, squash provides LOADS OF B vitamins, which have functions in energy release in respiration, and is massively high in potassium which maintains fluid and electrolyte balance.

    Lentils – providing a whopping 35g of protein per portion, high for a plant-based protein, lentils give an amazing base for this vegan meal. They are also high in fibre for digestion and folate for DNA synthesis.

    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.