20 minute rice supper

Monday, January 6th, 2014

After all the cooking and overindulgence at Christmas, quick but healthy meals are the perfect thing for these dark January night, This recipe ticks both those boxes, taking only 20 minutes to cook but is a healthy dish, high in omega 3 fats.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 5 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins



  • 300g long grain rice
  • 600ml hot vegetable or fish stock (from a cube is fine)
  • 1 tbsp korma curry paste
  • 100ml frozen peas
  • 150g pack smoked mackerel, skinned
  • 3 tbsp low-fat crème fraîche
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • handful coriander, to serve


  1. Tip the rice into a large microwavable container. Mix together the stock and curry paste, then pour over the rice. cover with cling film and pierce a few times with a fork. Microwave for 6 mins on High.
  2. Break the mackerel into large chunks and stir through the rice along with the peas and crème fraîche, then microwave for 6-8 mins more on medium until the rice is tender. Top with the eggs and serve sprinkled with the coriander.

Taken from bbc online:


Gluten Free Vegetarian Nut Roast

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Fed up of turkey? Or having a vegetarian over for Christmas? This nut roast makes a perfect dish for Christmas day, alternatively tastes delicious cold with salad for Boxing Day. Nuts are high in the healthy fats, monounsaturated fats and brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, which in the UK many people are deficient in. Also a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested those who eat nut regularly may actually live longer! So what’s stopping you!

Serves 4

Ready in 1 hours 15 minutes

• 4 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 200g mixed white nuts, such as pine nuts, almonds, macadamia and brazil, ground in a processor
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
• 50g fresh white or brown gluten free breadcrumbs
• 400g can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed well and roughly chopped
• 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage, plus 4 extra leaves
• 2 egg white

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ fan180°C/gas 6. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for 5-6 minutes, stirring, until softened but not browned. Add the nuts, garlic, lemon zest and juice, breadcrumbs and artichokes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the sage and egg white. Stir to mix well.
2. Tip the mixture into the centre of a large sheet of baking paper and shape into a fat sausage, packing tightly. Scatter over 4 sage leaves, then wrap it tightly in the paper and put into a roasting tin.
3. Roast for 20 minutes, and then unwrap the paper on the nut roast, so it can brown in the oven. Cook for a further 15 minutes.

Serve hot with baked potatoes and roast root vegetables or cold with new potatoes and salad

Lemon and Pepper Mackerel Pasta

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

 Do you struggle to get your 1-2 portions of oily fish per week? This dish contains mackerel, high in omega 3 fats. The dish is quick to make so perfect for an after work dinner, and why not make extra so you can have a healthy lunch the next day.

Serves 4

Preparation time 5 mins

Cooking time: 20 mins


  • 300g wholemeal pasta shapes
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 150ml low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • zest and juice 1 lemon, plus extra to serve, optional
  • 2 x 110g cans steam cooked mackerel fillets (we used John West)
  • 140g half-fat crème fraîche
  • small bunch parsley, chopped


  1. Cook the pasta in lots of boiling water following pack instructions. Meanwhile, cook the leeks in the stock until really soft. Add the lemon zest and juice, fish, crème fraîche and parsley and take the pan off the heat.
  2. Drain the pasta, holding back a little of the cooking water, then add pasta to the pan. Mix well and season with lots of black pepper, then add a little of the cooking water if it looks a bit thick.
  3. Divide between four bowls and serve immediately with extra lemon, if you like.



Take from bbc online:


Chestnut filled Mushrooms

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Serves 3-4

Preparation and cooking time: 30-60mins

This is a simple dish, but makes a delicious dinner. Mushrooms are low in calories and are good sources of B vitamins and some minerals such as selenium, which many people have low intake of.

Selenium is thought to play a role in reducing certain cancers, heart disease and diabetes.

Chestnuts unlike other nuts are low in fat, therefore lower in calories. They also have a high content of vitamin C.


  • 6 large mushrooms
  • 80g/2oz butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 sprigs thyme, picked
  • 3 tbsp madeira
  • 2 medium onions
  • 6 Lincolnshire sausages
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, picked
  • 200g/7oz breadcrumbs
  • 200g/7oz can of chestnuts, chopped

Preparation method

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms to allow them to be stuffed and lay in a large oven dish. Place a little knob of butter in each one and then drizzle the olive oil all over. Sprinkle the thyme into the mushrooms and finish with a few generous glugs of Madeira wine. Pop them in the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Now for the stuffing, roughly chop your onions and soften in a frying pan with a little butter till golden. Remove the sausage skin and break the meat into the pan with the now golden onions. Tear in the remaining herbs, add the breadcrumbs and allow to cook through slightly. Chop the chestnuts and add to the pan and mix the contents well.
  4. After about 20 minutes remove the mushrooms and generously heap your stuffing into the mushrooms, piling it as high as you dare. Don’t worry about there being extra stuffing, simply shape them into little balls and place them around the mushrooms.
  5. Now return the dish to the oven for a further half hour. Serve when the stuffing is crisp and golden.

Taken from the bbc online:


Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Seasonal recipe for Halloween with a twist. This soup is very warming and perfect for those cold dark nights. Pumpkin is a good source of fibre and the vitamins E, beta carotene and vitamin C all important antioxidants, to help keep away those winter colds!

Serves 6

Preparation time: 25 mins

Cooking time: 40 mins


  • 1½ kg pumpkin or squash, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 lemongrass, bashed a little
  • 3-4 tbsp Thai red curry paste (check contain no fish oil if vegetarian)
  • 400ml can low fat coconut milk
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • lime juice and sugar, for seasoning
  • 1 red chilli, sliced, to serve (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the pumpkin or squash in a roasting tin with half the oil and seasoning, then roast for 30 mins until golden and tender.
  2. Meanwhile, put the remaining oil in a pan with the onion, ginger and lemongrass. Gently cook for 8-10 mins until softened. Stir in the curry paste for 1 min, followed by the roasted pumpkin, all but 3 tbsp of the coconut milk and the stock. Bring to a simmer, cook for 5 mins, then take out the lemongrass. Cool for a few mins, then whizz until smooth with a hand blender, or in a large blender in batches. Return to the pan to heat through, seasoning with salt, pepper, lime juice and sugar, if it needs it.
  3. Serve drizzled with the remaining coconut milk and scattered with chilli, if you like.

Healthy cereal bars

Monday, October 14th, 2013

These cereal bars are easy to make and make a perfect mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. They only have a small amount of sugar from the honey or golden syrup and the rest of the sweetness is from the fruit. The seeds provide vitamins and minerals and the linseeds are a vegetarian source of Omega 3. Once cooked and cut into squares these can be individually frozen by wrapping in foil or cling film, so then ready for when needed.

Serves 14

Preparation time: 25 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins


  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp linseeds
  • 2 bananas, about 300 g (10½ oz) in total, weighed with their skins on
  • 100 g (3½ oz) unsalted butter (or margarine)
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup or honey
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) millet flakes
  • 100 g (3½ oz) rolled oats
  • 100 g (3½ oz) stoned dried dates, roughly chopped



  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (gas mark 4). Grease a 28 × 18 × 4 cm cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment. Roughly chop the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and linseeds. Peel and roughly mash the bananas.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the golden syrup. Add the chopped seeds and mashed bananas, together with the millet flakes, rolled oats and dates.
  3. Mix together well, and then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, and then cut into 14 bars and leave to cool completely. The bars can be kept in an airtight tin for up to 2 days.


Low FODMAP Spicy Pepper Soup

Monday, October 7th, 2013

This soup is really quick to make, with very small amount of preparation needed. It makes a lovely warming soup for the cold nights ahead of us. It is low in calories and is full of antioxidants from the tomato juice. As no stock, onions or garlic are needed it is suitable for those following the Low FODMAP diet.

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 5 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins



2 tbsp. vegetable oil

½ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. cumin

½ tsp. mustard seeds

¼ tsp. asafoetida

2 whole dried chillies

4-6 curry leaves

300ml tomato juice

150ml orange juice

170ml water

Coriander leaves – garish



Heat oil in pan, fry all the spices, chilli and curry leaves until the chillies are nearly black

Lower the heat; add the tomato and orange juice, water and salt to taste.

Simmer for 10 minutes, serve.


Low FODMAP Pad Thai

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

This recipe is suitable for anyone but in particular for those on the low FODMAP diet. Rice noodles are used in the place of wheat noodles and green part of spring onions and garlic infused oil to get the onion flavour. The dish has a lovely flavour and is a fantastic accompaniment to other oriental style dishes or a great meal all on its own.


Serves 2-4



For the red curry paste:

  • 4 dried red chillies
  • 3 green tops of spring onions chopped
  • 3 tsp garlic infused oil
  • 1 tbsp of peeled, chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp chopped coriander leaves
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tsp Thai fish sauce

For the Pad Thai:

  • 200g dried rice noodles
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar  or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 4 green tops of spring onions chopped finely
  • 2 tsp red curry paste (see above)
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 150g fresh bean sprouts
  • 500g diced chicken, pork or prawns (cooked)
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked

To garnish: 2 limes, cut into wedges, 50g roasted peanuts, crushed



For the red curry paste:

  1. Place all the curry paste ingredients into a food processor and grind to a smooth consistency.


For the Pad Thai:

  1. Place the rice noodles in a bowl of hot, but not boiling, water and leave to soak for ten minutes.
  2. Drain the noodles and refresh under cold water, then drain again and place in a bowl.
  3. Add one tablespoon of the cooking oil and the rice vinegar to the noodles and mix well – the groundnut oil and vinegar will stop them from sticking to each other.
  4. Heat a wok and add two tablespoons of the oil, ginger and spring onion and cook until soft. Add the curry paste and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the noodles and coat well with the spring onion, ginger and curry paste mixture. Add the fish sauce and soy sauce.
  6. Add the bean sprouts cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, heat the remaining groundnut oil in a frying pan and add the egg mixture. Swirl to cover the base of the pan and cook until set. Remove from the pan to a plate, roll up and roughly chop.
  8. Add chopped egg, cooked prawns, pork or chicken to the wok.. Cook until thoroughly heated through.

To serve:

Divide the pad thai between four serving dishes and garnish with the crushed roasted peanuts and the lime wedges.


Taken from Low FODMAP recipes: http://www.lowfodmaprecipes.co.uk/low-fodmap-pad-thai-noodles

Eating fruit could reduce risk of diabetes, but drinking fruit juice may increase risk.

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

A recent study published in the BMJ found a reduction in diabetes risk with fruit consumption. Fruit juice however appeared to increase the risk.  The fruit consumption of 187,000 people in the US was analysed, and those who developed diabetes.

The study suggested replacing 3 serving of juice per week with whole fruit could reduce the risk of diabetes by 33% for blueberries, 19% for grapes and raisins, 13% for apples and pears and 7% for all other fruit.

A possible reason for this is juice does not contain all the beneficial components fresh fruit does and with juicing you are just left with fluid which is high in sugar and absorbed very quickly into the blood.

This study provided further evidence eating fruit is good for your health and follows the government recommendations that we should be eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

Diabetes UK recommend the best ways to reduce diabetes risk is to eat a healthy balanced diet, high in a variety of fruit and vegetables, and to be physically active.


Full study published in the British Medical Journal August 2013


Drinking large amounts of coffee has been linked to increased risk of death in under 55s new study has found.

Monday, August 19th, 2013

A recent study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings found those who have more than 28 cups of coffee per week (more than 4 cups per day) had increased risk of death for all causes, the reason for this is not clear.

This study is a large one around 43,000 people were included and followed over 7 years. However more research is needed to identify if coffee is the actual cause of this increased risk of death and if so what is it in coffee that does it.

In the meantime, as for most things, coffee in moderation is likely not to cause any problems, just be careful not to over do it on those days after a late night!