Spinach Cake

There’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. It’s been printed off the internet and sat on my desk for a few months, and I just haven’t got round to it, which is silly, because it is very simple.

After a heavy Saturday night drinking this weekend, I felt like I needed something last night which would do me a lot of good, so I finally made this Spinach Cake. As a pre-cursor to the recipe, it is meant to be put in a loaf tin, or something of the sort, so it ends up as a long flat slab which can be cut up. I couldn’t find my loaf tin, or a suitable baking dish, so I put the mixture into muffin cases!! This worked quite well.

Ingredients:

200g Spinach

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Handful of pine nuts

1 clove garlic

1 egg, whisked

Handful of raisins or currants

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1. Wilt the spinach in a large covered saucepan over low hear for about 5 minutes (until all is cooked lightly). Then drain it and allow it to cool for a bit.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, saute the pine nuts in the olive oil and garlic until they are just brown. Careful with your timings here, as pine nuts burn very easily. Better to have them a little on the paler side than the darker side at this point.

3. In a bowl, combine the pine nuts mixture, spinach, whisked egg and raisins. Add a sprinkling of salt.

4. Bake in greased muffin cases or loaf dish for about 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius.

5. Enjoy!

I then finished my night off with some lemon-drizzled Kale chips. (Obviously, I was a little hungover, and there were lots of rice cakes and popcorn around all this health… I wouldn’t want to lie to you.)

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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.

 

Well-Behaved Fats

So, let’s chat “good fats”. I going to break it down for you all, and make it mega simple first.

If you eat more more of the GOOD FATS, it could help you lose weight. It will CERTAINLY not make you gain weight, and it will DEFINITELY be doing all kinds of good things for your heart and brain (which, let’s be honest, are the two key players in our clever bodies).

Good fats are almost as important as eating lots of fruit and vegetables, and actually help you absorb more of the vitamins and minerals from those kind of foods. A nutritionist friend of mine once recommended that if I make a smoothie, I should just pop a few drops of olive oil in there, because it will help my body absorb all the goodness from the fruit.

It makes sense… my family are part Greek, and we go to Greece every year if at all possible. When I was younger we would go for a fortnight each trip, and we would eat like kings. Lots of healthy food, but also a vast amount of bread!

Here is a sample day:

BREAKFAST – Melon and full-fat Greek Yogurt. Bread.

LUNCH – Greek Salad (feta, tomato, cucumber, red onion) doused in olive oil and vinegar. Bread (we’re talking about a third of a loaf each).

TEA – Crisps or baclava. Bread dipped in olive oil. Wine.

DINNER – Large 2 course meal, involving lots of vegetables and meat, but also lots of bread, pasta, wine and, you guessed it… olive oil.

But I would always come home to England thinner than I went away. Now I admit, when I was younger my metabolism was crazy fast, but the Greeks are not a fat population, and the average Greek consumes 20 litres of olive oil a year. 20 litres! Olive oil is magic. And the Greeks have it absolutely right with the amount of fruit and vegetables they consume in their diet.

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Anyway, let’s move away from the Greeks and back to our homes. My favourite good fats to incorporate into life at home are olive oil, tuna, avocado, nuts and seeds. I cook everything in olive oil, I put it on my salads and I drizzle it on rye bread toast. I also have a huge tupaware tub that is full of almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, which I get out while I’m working in the afternoon, just to nibble on. But I’m going to end on a new recommendation.

I read an article the other day on coconut oil. The coconut is the new hot property of the nutritional world – coconut water has been proven to have all kinds of advantageous effects, and now coconut oil is getting the same attention. The main thing though is that it is damn tasty! Chop up some turkey, an onion and some spinach, and fry them in coconut oil, with some cranberries or raisins or chopped up plum. It’s a simple meal that tastes divine. And it’s guilt free.

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Pictures above: Tupaware of nuts, and turkey meal with cranberries.

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