The Rainbow Salad

A couple of weeks ago I caught a virus. Let’s have some overshare time now – most viruses cause vomiting and diarrhea, but mine caused my whole body to just seize up. I had an appetite but anytime I ate anything my stomach would go into agonising cramps and swell up to pregnant size. It wasn’t a good look. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I spent 4 days solidly living off overcooked carrot and brocolli. That was all my body could handle. So now I’m out the other side, I’m craving that raw fibrous fruit and veg that I was deprived for that small period of time. 

So I’ve been making a lot of rainbow salads. Here’s how to do it:

In short… Pile as many different raw, brightly coloured vegetables on your plate as possible.

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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In this photo, the salad is made up of a bed of spinach and kale, topped with tomatoes, white onion (I’m brave), grated carrot, chopped beetroot, raisins and fresh basil. I also always tend to garnish anything I make with chilli, because if you can top anything with ginger, garlic or chlili, you’re doing your body and your metabolism a favour.

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Now is the time to make a rainbow salad, while the sun is out and the heat is blazing. In winter, you won’t want this kind of thing, but right now it is easy to fill your body with this kind of goodness. So go raw, even just for a meal. “Thanks”, said your bod.

Roasted Red Pepper Houmous

I’ve been busy…

Last week it was my birthday, and on my birthday boxing-day I immediately jetted off to the Cannes Film Festival. This basically involves a long weekend of massive over-indulgence. The first glass of rose tends to come out at midday on the dot, and then the steak and wine keep flowing until the sun rises the next day. My poor body is in turmoil. On my last full day, I sought out a healthier option and found the most incredible quinoa salad at Mocca (a cafe opposite the Palais in the centre of Cannes). It was a delicious light option to counteract the abuse I’d been doing to my body until 5am the night before.

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I returned to England on Monday, and by God have you guys had the weather! Cannes was alright, but London was steamy! I made my classic avocado-heaped wet salad for dinner and begun the slow process of returning to normality. After a whole day spent in bed yesterday (yes, it was completely necessary), I jumped up this morning in the mood for some home-cooking. 

I’ve been wanting to make my own houmous for some time now, inspired by one of my favourite health-food blogs, Deliciously Ella. She has a wonderful recipe for normal houmous, and for red pepper houmous, and I made a version of the latter today. It turned out absolutely spectacularly, and I would encourage everyone to get on and make it! Like with soups, things that involve blenders are much easier than we realise. Just get your hands on a blender and start puree-ing food. Make like a baby, and eat smush!

Here is my slightly adapted version of Ella’s Red Pepper houmous.          

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Ingredients

1 and 1/2 tins of chick-peas

2 long, sweet red peppers

1/2 a chilli pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon tahini

Juice from 2 lemons

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 cup of water

a generous pinch of salt

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Cut the red pepper into slices and roast for about 10 minutes at 180 degrees C. Meanwhile, add everything else to the blender and whir it all together. When the pepper is cooked, add it to the blender and blend it all together once more. You may need to switch the blender off and stir the mixture a couple of times; You may need to add a little more water – but always be careful with the latter, as too much water will destroy the mixture. Always add very little by very little.

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Enjoy dipping healthy crudites in. “Thank you Lucy”, said my body, with a sigh.

 

Wet Salad

I’m off to Japan tomorrow morning! My family love travelling and this has been on our list for years, so we are so excited to finally be visiting. I’m quite overwhelmed by it all actually – I just can’t wait. I’m fascinated to see what it’s like, although a little nervous about the food, as I’m not a sushi fan…

I’m sure a post will follow. But for now I wanted to share my recipe for getting rid of all the leftovers in my fridge! A classic pre-holiday activity.

A few years ago an actor friend of mine came to crash with me for a few days. He was a very healthy man, in body and mind. He was very zen, and we had a lot of big deep and meaningful conversations while he was here. Of all my memories though, the residing image in my brain from his brief stay was the “wet salads” he always made, as he called them. These involved grating up very moist vegetables, to create a very soggy pile of raw goodness. Sound grim? It definitely isn’t.

Here is my Avocado and Chilli Wet Salad, as the beautiful and calm Vyelle would have called it. Enjoy your upcoming week, and I’ll see you all on the other side…


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Ingredients

1 large grated carrot

1/2 grated courgette

1 grated cooked beetroot

1 avocado

1/4 red chilli, chopped

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Black pepper

Mix it all together, and what have you got…? Delicious fridge-emptying goodness, that’s what. Happy holidays!

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Hot Tomato Orange soup

My most recent obsession has been this delicious home-made soup. I made it for a friend, who responded with the following analysis:

First you taste the tomato and think “yum, yeah nice tomato soup”, then you get the kick of the chilli and you’re all like, “woah there, what’s that?” Then in the aftertaste you notice the orange and it’s like, “alright clever dick”.

 

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I liked that analysis, and I think he liked the soup. So here it is, my recipe for Hot Tomato Orange soup. Leave out the chilli if you don’t like spicy and adapt the portion size depending on how many you’re cooking for. This will make a very large portion of soup for 1:

Ingredients:

3 large tomatoes

1 small white onion

1/3 of a chilli pepper

2 cloves of garlic

a teaspoon of dried basil

1 vegetable stock cube

a healthy dash of worcester sauce

a teaspoon of tomato puree

a dash of cinnamon

juice of 1/2 an orange

Firstly chop up your tomatoes and onion and pop them in the pan to sizzle with the garlic, dried basil and chopped chilli. There is actually no need to add any oil in this recipe, as tomatoes are such soggy food and won’t stick to the bottom of the pan. (But olive oil always adds some deliciousness to any meal – so you can decide.) After the tomato and onion have gone soft, crumble the vegetable stock cube in, add the tomato puree, worcester sauce and cinnamon and stir for a little while longer. Then add water (this is a guessing game and it all depends on how watery you want your soup. Remember you can always add more water later, so I’d always err on the side of less than more. Generously cover the vegetables at least though.) When you have left all this to bubble for about 10 minutes, you’re ready to blend it together. Pour the mixture into a blender and let the machine do its magic. The final touch is the juice from the orange. Add this at the final moment, when the pureed soup is back in the pan.

Serve and enjoy 🙂

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ps. Also, it’s crazy low in calories for maximum taste. Another wonderful fasting day meal. The above portion size has about 150 calories in maximum.

Gorging on Winter Side-Dishes

I’ve eaten a lot this evening. It’s been a binge day. But thanks to my rule of not buying any bread/potatoes/sweets/crisps for my own flat, the worst I could binge on was buttered rice cakes… and I certainly did that, after my celery dipped in salsa, oatcakes dipped in pesto and corn thins dipped in almond butter. However, the most delicious thing I ate were these wonderful bowls of vegetables, otherwise known as the “winter side-dishes” (even though they played the role of protagonist in my mealtimes today).

Firstly the spinach:

 

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I got the idea for this from my favourite food porn website. Firstly I fried a small handful of pine-nuts and a small handful of raisins in about a teaspoon of coconut oil. Then I steamed a whole 240g bag of spinach, drained it, chopped it up and added it to the pan. All the ingredients were sizzled around a little, salt and pepper was added, and voila. Delicious and nutritious.

 

The second dish was the hot mushroom and carrot dish:

ImageA large carrot was grated, and a box of mushroom were sliced. An onion was fried in a small dash of olive oil, and a chopped chilli pepper was added. Then the mushroom and carrot was added, along with a handful of cranberries (keeping it festive, and adding a bit of tang to the dish). A dash of worcester sauce and a slop of teriaki sauce joined the party, and finally a generous teaspoon of paprika was thrown on top. The bowl was garnished with some chopped coriander, and I was ready to go.

 

Spicy Sweet Potato Cottage Pie with my Ex

My ex-boyfriend came round for dinner tonight.

What a potentially dramatic way to start a blog post! But the reality is much more mundane (although wonderful for being so). Rob was my university boyfriend and the most important relationship of my life thus far. However, it was not meant to be. I knew that. He knew that. Now we are almost 4 years on from the break-up and are just incredibly close friends. Not with benefits. Just friends. The platonic sort. People say it can’t happen – Well we’ve gone and done it.

Now you’ve had that bit of personal history, I’ll bring this round to food again. Rob is a boy who likes to eat. I know a lot of boys like to eat, but this boy particularly likes to eat. When we were at university he had to go to the doctors for a check-up at one point because we thought he had tape worm – he would wake up in the middle of the night with crippling hunger and couldn’t rest again until he’d eaten a banana. It wasn’t tape worm. It was just an enormous appetite. So when Rob was coming round for a catchup dinner tonight, it was important that I made something hearty. This suited me, as the seasons are changing in London and the horrid cold and rain that has crept up on us Londoners over the last few days has made me long for wintery pies and stews. However, I still like to stay healthy. So I cooked up this: My spicy sweet potato cottage pie. It’s full of vegetables and good protein. No bad carboydrates. Just vitamin-y goodness.

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Ingredients:

1 x Courgette (grated),  2 x white onion, 10 x button mushrooms, 1 x tin of tomatoes, 1 x pack of lean beef mince, 1 x chilli, 2 x garlic cloves, tbsp of worcester sauce, tbsp of wholemeal flour, about 300g butternut squash, 1 x sweet potato.

Instructions:

Fry the chopped onion, chilli, garlic and mushrooms in a small amount of olive oil until soft and golden. Add the grated courgette and stir for a little. Add the mince. Add the tomatoes. Add the worcester sauce and flour. Leave to boil on a low heat for at least an hour. Meanwhile, boil your squash and sweet potato and create a mash. I added black onion seeds and a little fresh coriander to my mash, but that is certainly optional. Set your oven to 190C. Place the mash on top of the beef mixture and grate a little cheese on top, or just season with salt and pepper. Place your dish into the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese on top has cooked and begun to brown.

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Experiment and enjoy! (with ex-boyfriend friendships, and cottage pie…)