Coconut Lentils w/ Honey Roasted Salmon

 

 

It’s with sadness that I have to announce that this recipe will be the final act in the ‘Beat the Bloat’ series. It’s been really special guys, I have loved the research and creating these recipes, I have learnt so much about correct food combinations and clean eating, all without losing out on taste and all within a reasonable budget.

I am working on some other food projects even as we speak, so if you don’t hear from me in the next few days it’s because I’m planning and experimenting away! All of these recipes have many more benefits to your health and well-being more than simply getting into those pair of jeans you bought a year ago, although that has its place too!

I hope the recipes have more than just inspired you…what would be truly amazing is if you tried making one of them and really liked it –  a lot! That would bring a smile to my face, your tummy would also be happy too!

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Honey roasted salmon. I love smoked honey roasted salmon and there is always a way to artificially re-create that flavour; but I didn’t want to add too many artificial condiments to this recipe.

I love the colour and texture of this dish, it really is one for sharing. Be sure not to over cook the salmon; make it the last thing that you cook and try not to re-heat it, otherwise it tastes all chewy.

Then bask in the sunshine on your plate and enjoy a fork full of honey roasted goodness…until next time!

 

Coconut Lentils w/ Honey Roasted Salmon

Ingredients

For the Salmon:

2 Salmon fillets

Thumb size piece of fresh ginger (finely grated)

1 Tbsp Honey

Juice of half a lime

1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 tbsp Soya Sauce

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 Himalayan Pink Salt

2 garlic cloves crushed

1/4 white onion (finely grated)

 

For the Lentils:

1 cup Puy Lentils

3 cups water

1 vegetable stock cube/ jelly

1/4 Scotch bonnet pepper

1/2 tbsp Curry paste

1/2 Onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves crushed

1 tsp tomato paste

1 tbsp of coconut cream (from a solid block) or 2 tbsp of coconut milk

Pinch of salt

2 Kaffir leaves

 

For the Roasted Vegetables:

2 Sweet Peppers (one red, yellow)

1/2 White Onion

1 garlic crushed

5 Chestnut Brown Mushrooms (cut into quarters)

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 carrot cut into chunks

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp of Olive Oil.

 

Handful of Kale (steamed)

 

Method

Preparation:

Pre-heat the Oven (Gas Mark 6)

1. Chop up the vegetables for roasting (excluding the Kale and peppers) and place them in a bowl (without the oil).

2. Prepare the marinade for the Salmon. Once you have cleaned the fish marinade it with the seasoning and transfer to the fridge.

 

Cooking:

3. Take the Lentils, water and vegetable stock and transfer to a pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer for 20-5 mins until the water is reduced and the lentils are firm but cooked.

4. You may roast the sweet peppers with the other vegetables or you can do so over an open flame as I did: take each of the peppers and rest it over a open flame on the cooker, turning the pepper as the skin begins to blacken.

5. When you have finished the first pepper, transfer it to a sealed container (or bowl with a plate over it), the steam will help to soften the skin to make it easier to peel off. Do the same with the second one.

6. Now take the baking tray to roast the vegetables in, add the oil and garlic and transfer to the hot oven. Bring out the tray when the pan is heated, you should be able to add the vegetables to a sizzling pan and return it to the oven for 10 minutes. Near the end, you can add the peppers so that all the flavours from the vegetables are soaked up.

7. When the lentils are cooked, take a separate pot and fry the onions, garlic, pepper and curry paste. Then add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute.

8. Then straining the lentils but keeping the water, transfer the lentils to the pot of onions and stir adding all the lentils in and stirring completely.

9. Then add the water from the lentils and coconut milk. Season to taste and simmer for 5 minutes leaving a little sauce in the stew.

10. Take the vegetables out the oven and throw in the Salmon for 10 minutes or until the salmon is cooked.

11. To steam the Kale, simply place it on top of the lentil stew and cover with the pot cover; the steam from the lentils will cook the Kale – it should be a nice bright green and slightly firm.

 

Plate up:

12. Place the Kale on the plate first with a sprinkle of lentils, then add some of the roasted vegetables and keep layering. Then flake the Salmon on top of the plate.

Sedano al Pomodoro

 

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This has to be the first time I have given celery centre stage in a dish. Most of the time it remains well hidden in a stir-fry, rice or soup; the only indication of its presence being its strong aniseed flavour or the random in-digestible stalk that gets caught between your teeth. But with its firm crunchy texture and fine grooves along its spine, celery ought to be used a lot more like pasta as it can carry a lot of sauce on its back without wilting under the weight.

So here I have created this recipe: ‘Celery in Tomato Sauce’ basically, for the ‘Beat the Bloat’ series I’m running at the moment. All of this week I have been consuming only those recipes that I have mentioned in the series, and along with daily exercise I have to say, I feel amazing! Very refreshed and not ‘full’ to the point of wanting to sleep midday (if there’s any cause for sleep, its this beautiful hot sun we’ve been enjoying lately).

So enjoy this side dish with rice or maybe even spaghetti – the choice is yours!

 

Sedano al Pomodoro

Ingredients:

8 Celery Sticks – sliced

1 large Tomato – finely chopped

1 tbsp Tomato Paste

2 garlic cloves crushed

1/4 white onion, finely chopped

3 sprigs of fresh Thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)

tbsp vegetable oil

3 Anchovy fillets (optional)

pinch of black pepper

Method:

1. Slice the celery and steam in a pot for 2 minutes or until the stalks turn bright green in colour. Then transfer the celery to an ‘ice cold bath’ of water to stop them cooking and to retain their colour.

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2. In a frying pan, fry the onion and garlic then add the anchovies and stir them in until they melt. Then add the tomato paste and fresh tomatoes.

3. Stir in the fresh thyme and then gradually add the celery stalks (drained from the water) to the saucepan, stir them in until fully drenched in the sauce. Then add salt and pepper to taste.

7 Recipes to Beat Bloating

 

 

I know I’m not the only one who has experienced the ‘bloated feeling’, when your tummy is stretched, puffy, uncomfortable and feels like a permanent rubber dingy round your waist. It often follows a big weekend of eating badly or late into the evening or some other festive occasion.

But for some people, bloating is more than an occasional inconvenience. If your stomach or tummy often feels bloated, it could be due to several things besides excessive wind and constipation.

Funny, I was always told as a child to chew my food properly and to drink peppermint tea and water, I wish I knew then what I know now that these are some of the aids to reducing bloating.

Medical advice is always advised if this appears to be your experience over a sustained period of time, but for many other people, there are moderate changes and intelligent ways we can incorporate ‘Bloat Beating’ foods into our diets and hopefully avoid the need for medical intervention.

This week I will be sharing with you 7 recipes that combine some of the many foods that help reduce bloating. Feel free to share your reviews and tips as I would gladly welcome them!

 

Breakfast:

  • Lemon Aid

Warm lemon or lime water is not only a good defence against the common cold, it also serves as the perfect ‘good morning drink’, to flush out toxins and kick start your digestive system. Lemon water also prevents constipation and diarrhea, by ensuring smooth bowel functions.

Lemon is also a rich source of vitamin C, which enhances your beauty by rejuvenating skin from within bringing a glow to your face, and helping to prevent the formation of wrinkles and acne.

One of the major health benefits of drinking lemon water is that it paves the way for losing weight faster, thus acting as a great weight loss remedy. So before anything else enters your system, have a tall glass of lemon/lime water every day.

 

  • Watermelon  and Bananas

All kinds of melons are beneficial to your health, but watermelon is known as one of the juiciest fruits on the stand. That’s probably because it consists of 92 percent water. It is also reported to have a natural diuretic property and is a great source of potassium.

Too high an intake of salt is one of the most common causes of water retention around the abdominal area. Foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, help combat bloating caused by salty food. When incorporating bananas into your anti-bloating diet, be sure to only eat ripe fruit — unripe bananas contain resistant starch which can cause wind and bloating.

Try the Watermelon ‘Brain Freeze’ Smoothie on the blog for a potassium rich start to the day!

 

  • Greek Yoghurt & Honey

Cultured natural yoghurt typically contains Lactobacillus acidophilus and/or Bifidobacterium bifidum (or ‘friendly bacteria’ as it’s otherwise known ). This probiotic bacteria lives in the gastrointestinal tract where they help digestion and fight the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, thereby preventing bloating. You can actually purchase Probiotic Acidophilus in a tablet form from good health shops or online; but a tasty package to enjoy this is Greek Yoghurt with Honey.

 

  • Bran Cereal and Oatmeal
Fiber helps relieve constipation, which is an all-too frequent cause of bloating. By adding bulk in the form of certain cold or hot cereals, everything moves through the intestines more quickly.  Just be certain to not add too much fiber to your diet too fast, or worsened bloating can occur.
  • Strawberries and Blueberries

Fiber also takes the form of certain delicious fruits and berries. Snacking on high-fiber foods such as strawberries and blueberries, can help clean out one’s system regularly.

Why not try the Peanut Flax Granola recipe on the blog with some of the Greek Yoghurt and berries for a perfect bloat busting breakfast! 

 

Lunch:

  •  Brown Rice

Some foods, especially certain carbohydrates, are either indigestible or only partially digested in the gut. These foods can cause gas buildup and therefore bloating. Rice however, particularly brown rice makes a good substitute for starches such potatoes. Rice is fully digested in the small intestines, giving it the least potential to form gases in the gut.

  • Turmeric Powder

You’re probably familiar with turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine. Turmeric is used for many ailments including to treat, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, heartburn and liver problems.

This week on the blog: A quick Pilau Rice recipe which combines these ingredients for an easy tasty way to a flatter stomach!

  • Rosemary and Garlic

Rosemary has been used to treat everything from heartburn and headaches to toothaches and high blood pressure. But it also treats intestinal gas and helps digestion. Garlic helps reduce the levels of fat in the liver, whose main functions include detoxification and the production of biochemicals necessary for digestion — major aspects of the prevention of bloating.

Try the garlic and rosemary infused sweet potato chips, the crispiest chips every time!

 

Dinner:

Celery:

Over the years this green crunchy stalk has been used as a digestive aid to regulate bowel movements and to control intestinal gas because its chemicals are known to decrease fluid retention. Because of its high water content with a detoxing system, this helps purge your body of toxins.

Check out this tasty celery recipe on the blog this week!

Beans and Lentils:

Most of us grew up believing beans was the source of all bloating and flatulence, but don’t be too harsh on the little gems, their high amount of fiber, are a good choice for aiding with digestion. The potassium-rich foods are also naturally high in both estrogen and protein and can relieve period-induced bloat.

Kale and Spinach
These green leaves, in addition to lettuce and chard, require ample chewing and provide a healthy dose of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also help with acid indigestion, constipation, and urinary tract infections.

Another healthy recipe combining these ingredients will be coming your way this week…

 

 

 

Delicious Peanut Flax Granola

Rome was not built in a day, neither was Granola, or so it seemed. The secret to good granola is to cook it slow and low!

I learn from my mistakes very quickly! The first time I made this, I put the oven on so high, the granola cooked to a crisp; rather than throw all my hard work away, I grimaced and ate the bitter cereal the rest of the week. Never again.

Top tip: after 20 minutes in the oven, take it out and turn the mixture, making sure to push the granola from the edges inward toward the middle. Then place it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove and stir it one final time before returning it to the oven for the last 10 minutes: a total of 40 minutes!

Long wait but the reward is so great; your breakfasts (or even snacks) will leave you feeling so satisfied. You can thank me later…enjoy!

Peanut Flax Granola

Ingredients

* Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees

3 1/2 – 4 cups Whole rolled porridge oats

1/2 cup pecan nuts – roughly chopped

1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped

1/4 cup golden flax seeds

2 tbsp almond meal

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raisins (or your choice of dried fruit)

1/4 cup peanut butter,

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 cup water

2 tsps vanilla extract

1 tbsp almond extract

1 tbsp cinnamon powder

Pinch of salt

Method: 

1. Combine all dry ingredients (minus the raisins and brown sugar) in a large mixing bowl

2. Combine all wet ingredients plus the brown sugar in a small sauce pan and stir occasionally until simmering. Simmer for a few minutes until it starts to thicken.

3. Pour hot mixture slowly over oat mixture and stir until the mixture is moist and the liquid is evenly distributed throughout.

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4. Spread mixture evenly onto heavy baking tray and place on middle rack in heated oven.

Total baking time is 40 minutes – Remove from the oven and place a clean, heavy pan on top of the granola while it’s cooling.

Now you can break apart, add to a large bowl and add the raisins or any other dried fruit. – Keep in air tight container.

Grilled Onions w/ Pomegranate Molasses

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Pomegranate molasses (also called grenadine molasses) is a staple in the countries of the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. I recently discovered this syrup whilst trying to replicate this roasted red onion side dish which often accompanies meals in Turkish Restaurants here in London. I was surprised at how sour and tangy the molasses was given the sweet dry taste of a pomegranate. I would only recommend buying a small bottle at first (which can be purchased from most Middle Eastern shops).

Once you get use to its flavour, I think it will become a stable in your pantry. You can use it as a substitute to honey for glazing meat, poultry or roasted root vegetables like carrots. But traditionally it’s used as a dressing in salads or relishes. To achieve the sweet and sour taste here, I added fresh pomegranate juice to take the edge off the molasses.

 

Grilled Red Onions w/ Pomegranate Molasses

  • Servings: 4-5
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Ingredients:

2 red Onions 1 white Onion cut into quarters.

Sunflower Oil Spray (for the grill)

2 Garlic Cloves

2 tbsp  Pomegranate seeds

1/2 cup Pomegranate juice

2 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses

Pinch of salt/ pepper

 

Method:

1. Put the grill pan on a high heat for about 3 minutes, then spray with oil.

Place the onion quarts on the grill for about 3 minutes per side or until it is well caramelized.

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2. Once both sides of the onion have been grilled, break up the segments to allow the onion to soften a little more.

3. Remove from the grill and leave the garlic on the grill to roast some more. Once soft remove from grill and mash with a fork.

4. In a separate bowl, mix the pomegranate juice, molasses and garlic.

When you are ready to serve, strain the juice through a sieve to remove the garlic and pour over the onions.

Add the pomegranate seeds as a garnish.

5. Serve as a condiment or with warm flat bread.

 

 

 

 

West African Peanut Stew

 

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Thick, thin or soupy. Depending on where you are, peanut stews can be found across the whole of West Africa. This is one dish I really wanted to get right, it had to be as authentic as I could possibly get it without having to grind the peanuts to make butter myself. This dish is usually made with chicken, but as someone who is attempting but failing badly to wean off meat, I thought I would try and make this with vegetables.

The question was, which vegetables to use and to combine. My choice was based on several factors: texture, colour, and combination. As I would be missing meat, I had to make up for that with giving the stew something to chew on. IMG_7451No one likes over-cooked discoloured vegetables, well I don’t and so I needed vegetables that could hold their form, or at least help thicken the stew. I decided against courgettes for that very reason: they tend to get very watery when cooked and lose both colour and texture. Aubergines on the other hand taste better when they melt away into a pulp, especially helpful for this thick sauce. And then the small black flecks of eggplant skin still shine through the soup.

Then in honour of this stews ‘roots’ (sorry for the pun), sweet potato was an easy choice, it forms the ‘meat’ of this stew. The mushrooms also help to add a depth of flavour and save you having to add a heap of water to the dish, you want a fairly intense sauce.

Try and keep the vegetables as chunky as possible and add them in stages, I added to green sweet pepper, right at the end when all was said and done (i.e. cooked) for example as again I wanted to retain the bright green colour and crunchy texture. You will really enjoy this with the coconut and lime rice also on the blog…happy cooking!

West African Peanut Stew

  • Servings: 4-5 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 large (orange flesh) Sweet Potato – cut into chunks
1 large Aubergine – cut into cubes
1 cup mushrooms – roughly chopped
3 spring onions – cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 medium onion – chopped finely
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 cup of chopped plum tomatoes (and juice)
1/2 medium green sweet pepper- chopped 1″ squares
4 garlics crushes
3 sprigs thyme
3/4 cup peanut butter

To Temper

1 tsp tumeric
1 whole scotch bonnet
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 whole cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fenugeek powder
1 tsp corriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp of Asafoetida

salt to taste
Roasted peanuts (garnish)

Method

Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large pot. Add the chopped aubergine to the pot and let it cook for about 5 minutes stirring frequently. You can cover the pot with a lid, lower the heat and allow the juices from the aubergine to soften it. When its cooked, take it out the pot and set it aside.

In the same pot, add 2 tsp of oil and all the ingredients under ‘to temper’, fry gently under a medium heat for about 30 seconds. Then add all the onions, garlic and thyme the temper and fry until the onions have softened. Then add the mushrooms followed by the aubergine and all it to cook gently.

Then add all the remaining ingredients to the pot except the peanut butter: you want to dissolve the butter in some hot water first to help distribute it. Then add the peanut butter to the pot with all the other ingredients (except the green peppers). Cook under a medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 20 mins or until the potato is cooked.

Season to taste. Serve with rice