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.

If the colours don’t make your eyes hurt, you’ve not done it right!Image

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.

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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.

 

The “Lucy Salad”

Let’s kick things off in style, with a post on “Lucy Salads”, as they are known in my family.

A “Lucy Salad” is, in a word, enormous. For all those people who think a salad can’t be a meal, I say you’re being too shy with your portion size. If you put the right things in a salad, then there is no reason to hold back.

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First things first, select the right bowl. For a “Lucy Salad” I like to use the mixing bowl my mother got me for cake making (how ironic). If you don’t have something like that, just raid your kitchen for anything supersize – even if it’s just a large pot! Next area of focus is the leaves. This is where I really bulk up. There is not only nothing bad about leaves, but some lettuces are actively good for you. No ice-berg here please – Kale, Spinach, Watercress and Rocket are my favourites. For websites explaining a little more of their nutritional value see the bottom of this post.

Fill your bowl 3/4 full of leaves.

Next is the toppings: again don’t be shy. Here is an example of my basic quantities:

A third of a cucumber.

2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes

2 stalks of celery

Half a pepper

1 small onion

If you don’t like any of the above, leave them out or replace them. Include carrot or courgette. Throw in some peas or raw mushroom? After putting in the salad basics, I select 2 luxury items – the extra-tasty, pretty looking ingredients that go right at the top of the salad mountain. My rule is generally to only allow one fatty topping at most. Here are some suggestions:

  • avocado and chick-peas
  • turkey breast and pear
  • tuna and pomegranate seeds
  • chicken and goats cheese

The icing on the metaphorical cake (un-cake) is to chop up heaps of herbs (basil, coriander, mint) to coat the top of the salad. Then sprinkle a few raisins on top and pour olive oil and balsamic over the top. Don’t skimp on the olive oil. It may be oil and seem calorific, but it is God’s gift to us!! I am part Greek and have been brought up on the stuff. It is so good for you. More on that another day though.

If anybody attempts a “Lucy Salad”, please take a picture and post it for me to see!