Meatless Monday: Carrot, Sesame & Lime Soup [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 6
Prep & Cooking Time: 35-40 mins (*Dependent upon skill & the number of kitchen helpers!)
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, measuring jug, non-stick pot, ladle, blender, resealable container

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving contains a low quantity of added sugar, salt and a moderate quantity of fats!

 

Hi everyone- happy Monday! 😀

For those regularly participating in Meatless Mondays, following a plant-based diet or just fancy a meat-free meal, here’s a delicious, healthful and easy recipe for tonight’s dinner- Carrot, Sesame & Lime Soup!

Our soup has minimal prep, cooking and assembly! You can taste every delicious ingredient for what it is, but it has truly produced a fantastic combination of flavours! #limemakeseverythingbetter

We thought it was about time we had updated last year’s carrot soup recipe (as tasty as it was!) with another one that can use any carrot (#loveuglyvegetables) and will inspire you to eat this healthy more days than none! 😛 In fact, it’s a great recipe for using up your ‘end of days’ veggies and houmous; one of Hugh’s ‘waste not tips’ (as seen on TV) was to add old houmous into your soup! So if you don’t have tahini, or maybe it’s just not your thing, try adding your leftover houmous instead. If you do, let us know how you get on! 🙂 For those a little weary of using tahini (or lime), try adding a little, tasting, adding and tasting as you go!

We only used one tin of beans, yes ‘tinned’ (kick our butt back to the shop to buy more dried beans!), but would definitely add twice as much next time around. You’ll also notice that we were trying to be ‘artistic’ with the garnishes, but all the toppings ended up being ‘super tasty additions’; we added thin slices of raw red onions every day! 

We thoroughly recommend curling up with a bowl of this soup… accompanied with a big hunk of crusty multi-grain (or just your favourite!) bread.

Happy cooking! 🙂

 

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • Carrots are a cheap, versatile, delicious and a nutritious root vegetable that come in a variety of colours! Enjoy them raw or cooked in a sweet or savoury dish! They’re a great source of Vitamin A and fibre and also contain: Vitamin C, calcium, potassium (just to name a few!) amongst many other great nutrients! 
  • Tahini is a delicious and ‘calorific’ paste made from sesame seeds and oil. It’s a great source of: B-Vitamins, minerals (such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc) and Mono & Poly Unsaturated fats!

It’s a staple in many cuisines including but not limited to: Cypriot, Greek, Middle Eastern and North African. It can be served au natural (as a dip or seed-based spread!) or as a flavouring component to soup, sauces, salad dressings, houmous, dips, baked goods, desserts or even as an egg-free binder for egg-free or plant-based cooking and/or baking! Check out some of our other recipes that include tahini for some further inspiration! 

 

 

Ingredients

+++++++++900g             Carrot
+++++++++500g             Sweet Potato
+++++++++200g             Banana Shallots
+++++++++5g                   Garlic Clove (1 fat one!)
+++++++++1.5L                Vegetable Stock (low-salt/GF if required)
+++++++++½ tsp             Ground Coriander (1-2g)
+++++++++½ tsp             Ground Turmeric (1g)
+++++++++                       Ground Black Pepper
+++++++++2                     Limes
+++++++++1/3 cup          Tahini
+++++++++240-480g     Cooked Butter Beans (1-2 tins or 120-240g Dried/Cooked)
+++++++++200ml           Unsweetened Almond Milk (fortified)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Wash, peel, trim the ends and roughly slice the carrots. Wash, peel and roughly chop the sweet potato. Peel and roughly slice the shallots. Peel the garlic.

 

 

  • Heat 1.5L of water in a large non-stick pot over a medium heat. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the stock. Whisk to dissolve. Add the carrot, sweet potato, shallots, garlic, 1-2 g ground coriander and 1g ground turmeric. Season it with a few grinds of black pepper. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring back to a boil. Simmer and cook for about 8-10 mins or until vegetables have softened.
  • Remove from the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly.

 

In the meantime, wash the limes, grate some zest (as much as you like, but we used the zest of both limes!) and then juice them.

 

A. Transfer the soup mixture (as much as possible!) into a blender. Add the lime zest and juice and tahini.
B. Blend until smooth and creamy.
C. Drain and wash the beans (if applicable) and place them into a pot or large and resealable container (as we did for our meal prep).
D. Transfer the puréed soup into the pot or container. Repeat steps one and two until all of the soup has been puréed.
E. Add the DF milk into the blender (when you have finished puréeing the soup). Quickly pulse to help remove any bits of soup stuck to the sides of the blender.
F. Transfer the DF milk into the soup.
G. Stir together. Taste and season it as necessary.

Tip: Don’t have a blender? Use a food processor or a hand-held stick blender and blend the soup in the pot instead!

 

 

Warm the soup in a pot over a medium-low heat and do not allow to boil (if applicable).

Ladle the soup into a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh coriander, sliced onion, seeds, a wedge of lime or a piece of dehydrated lime, a drizzle of tahini or whatever takes your fancy! Serve with a large piece of warmed multi-grain crusty bread, pitta or toast.

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftover soup in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, freeze the soup in one or more containers; defrost and reheat within 1-2 months.

Recipe updated: 19/02/16
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Onion & Sun-Dried Tomato Tart

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4-8
Prep & Cooking time: 75 minutes

Recipe adapted from: Holycowvegan.net

Notes: This recipe contains: B-vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium and is low in salt* and saturated fats*

Firstly, we would like to thank Holycow for this great recipe!  We’ve made this a few times before, but usually with a GF crust; see below!

We have adjusted the cooking temperatures as we see fit; baking the pastry for the full duration (especially in a GF format) always produced a crust that was just too hard for our liking! We value our teeth and don’t fancy using a huge knife to hack away at it during our dinner!

This tart is delicious, and hopefully you’ll find (with the pictures) it’s easy to prepare! Be creative, change the flavours of the crust or filling; see some suggestions below!

We have used a DF margarine instead of a DF shortening or coconut oil, and it’s worked well; it has also very nicely cut down on the total fat/saturated fat contents ! The suggested serving size is 4-8. It’s not unreasonable to serve yourself a quarter of the tart… just as long as you are mindful of your daily calorie, fat and salt intakes (as always)! For a lighter meal, serve an eighth of the tart…but with all ‘higher calorie/fat/sugary foods’- eat them in moderation!

We suggest that you serve this tart with a green salad or some steamed green veggies to help make it a balanced meal!

 

 

Ingredients:

 

Nutritional info (tart only):

Based on 4 servings, this tart has an orange traffic light rating for its fat, saturated fat and salt content.

*Based on 8 servings, this tart has an orange traffic light rating for its fat and green ones for its saturated fat and salt contents (a.k.a low in s/fat and salt)!

NB: Remember orange values make an OK choice, but green ones are always healthier! 

 

 

Directions:

Open and drain the tofu. Place it between two heavy chopping boards for approximately 20-30 minutes to remove any excess water.

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the pastry for tart. Place the wholemeal flour and cornmeal into a large mixing bowl. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Mix together.

 

 

Add the DF margarine.

 

 

Use a knife or a fork and break it apart; work it gently through the flour mixture.

 

 

Add the water. Use a knife, pastry knife or fork and stir the mixture until it comes together…

 

 

…to form a ball (use more water if needed…and don’t be afraid to use your hands!).

The dough will be a bit tacky but not sticky.

 

 

Place a piece of kitchen film onto a flat surface. Transfer the dough onto the film. Wrap it up. Press/flatten the dough into a disc.

 

 

Place it into the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove.

 

 

Meanwhile, prep the tart filling. Peel and chop the onions into halves and then into thin slices.

 

 

Drain and chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Wash and dry the thyme (if using fresh) and remove the leaves from the stem. Drain the pressed tofu. Organise the remaining ingredients.

 

 

Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F.

 

 

Place the oil in a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium heat.

 

 

Add the onions and sugar. Stir together. Gently fry for 10-20 minutes or until lightly browned and/or caramelised.

NB: We fried ours for approx. 14 minutes.

 

 

Add the water to help de-glaze the pan. Add the thyme. Mix together.

 

 

Remove from the heat. Allow it to cool slightly.

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the pastry. Lightly flour a clean surface. Unwrap the dough and place it onto the flour.

 

 

Using a large rolling pin, gently roll it out; large enough to cover the pastry case.

The dough will be stretched quite thin (not paper thin) but enough to have a ‘thin’ crust. NB: There is not enough mixture to have a thick crust, even if you wanted to…and we would not recommend that either!

 

 

Gently re-roll it onto the rolling pin.

 

 

Unroll the pastry over the case.

Don’t worry if your dough rips in half! We have smushed and placed previous doughs into place (like a puzzle) and they have always turned out fine!

 

 

Gently move and press it to fit into the case; shape it with your fingers and remove any overlap.

 

 

Cover the pastry with kitchen foil.

 

 

Add baking beads or dried beans (ones that you never plan to cook and eat!).

This is to blind-bake the case; blind baking will help make sure the crust keeps it shape, not rise too much(if applicable) and this pre-baking will also help provide stability for a wet filling. NB: Dried legumes, pulses or rice can work just as well as store bought beads!

 

 

Place it into the oven. Blind-bake for 10 minutes. Remove.

 

 

In the meantime, place the tofu, milk, mustard and onion powder into a food processor.

 

 

Blend until creamy. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste.

 

 

Transfer it into a large mixing bowl.

 

 

Add the tomatoes. Stir together.

 

 

Add the onion mixture. Stir to combine.

 

 

Remove the foil and beads/dried beans from the pastry. Place it back into the oven. Bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove.

 

 

Increase the oven temperature 220°C/430°F.

 

 

Add the onion filling to the pastry case. Use a spatula to help spread it evenly.

NB: This is what our pastry looked like it after it was baked  for 15 minutes.

 

 

Place it back into the oven. Bake for a final 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove. NB: We baked ours for a final 30 minutes. 

 

 

In the meantime, prepare a green salad or steam some veggies!

 

 

Allow the tart to cool slightly; approximately 5-10 minutes.

We allowed a cooling window of 5 minutes.

 

 

Cut into slices. Serve with a salad or steamed veggies.

NB: This is one quarter of the tart.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Here is one me made last year when we were transitioning into veganism (it has a GF crust)!

We topped this one with fake cheese…but don’t recommend it!

 

 Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container…

…enjoy them hot or cold, but consume within 3-4 days.

 

If preferred…

  • Use red onions instead!
  • Omit the sun-dried tomatoes and try some other combinations! Try adding some leek, alternative fresh herbs or a medley of them (chives or parsley), nutritional yeast, pine or walnuts, brown lentils, balsamic vinegar, dried mushrooms or maybe even some apple!

Oriental-Inspired Vegetable & Baked Tofu Soup

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time: 60 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C & K, protein, fibre, calcium, potassium, iron and is low in fats!

We think its safe to say that most people still have soup or stew on tonight’s menu! …Being that it’s cold, damp and for the selected few, are battling snow drifts! 

This recipe is great! It’s versatile, simple to execute, packed full of flavour and Vitamin C (approx. 257% of your RDA be specific)… and if you add enough chilli you’ll be warm in no time! 😀

 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

Nutritional Info:

 Traffic light alert! The fat and saturated fat get a green light while the salt receives an orange one. Remember, orange ratings still make it an OK choice, but green ones are always better! To achieve this, reduce the quantity of the stock and soya sauce to lower the salt content. Flavour it by adding with more fresh ginger, fresh chillies or any other spices that you desire.

 

Directions:

Open and drain the tofu. Place it between two heavy chopping boards for approximately 20-30 minutes to remove any excess water.

 

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper; lightly spray it some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the vegetables. Wash and slice the mushrooms. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper into small slices. Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the carrot into ‘match-stick’ pieces. Wash, peel and slice the ginger. Peel and chop the white onion into thin slices. Wash, trim the ends and diagonally slice the spring onion. Peel and chop the garlic. Wash the mange tout.

 

 

Meanwhile, drain and chop the tofu into small cubes. Place it onto the baking tray. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Place the tray into the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove. Allow to cool slightly.

NB: The cooking duration depends on your own personal preference; for a firmer texture, bake it for a minimum of 20 minutes.

 

 

In the meantime, place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the stock, water and the frozen cabbage and sweetcorn. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil.

 

 

Meanwhile, prepare the rice noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain.

The water took 10 minutes to boil, but the rice noodles only took 5 minutes to cook!  C’est le vie. 🙂

 

 

Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, carrot, ginger, the white and spring onion, garlic and chilli flakes. Stir together. Bring back to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Feel free to add more chilli flakes than we have!

 

 

Add the mange tout and soya sauce. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until tender.

 

 

Remove from the heat.

 

 

Add the noodles and seeds. Stir through.

 

 

Add the tofu. Stir together. Taste and season the soup as necessary.

 

 

Ladle into soups bowls and serve.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively freeze in one or more containers; defrost and consume within 1-2 months.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use seasonal vegetables; fresh or frozen!
  • Try using: shredded kale, sliced spinach leaves or some Pak or Bok Choi instead of frozen white cabbage.
  • Use some spaghetti (broken into halves), fusilli or soba noodles instead of rice sticks.
  • Try some cooked/cubed temph or soya beans instead of tofu.
  • Try a little brown rice miso paste instead of soya sauce… or use less soya sauce and ‘spice it up’ with fresh chillies instead; the addition of some star anise might also work nicely too!

Banana & Berry Soya Muffins

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 12
Prep & Cooking Time: 60-70 mins

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium and is low in salt and saturated fats!

We went through a phase last year where we were making loads of these muffins! This is a recipe that we both enjoy and recommend! 

Ever since we began our vegan journey, our sweet tooth has slowly become a thing of the past! Which is why these muffins do not contain any added sugar. The ripe bananas and berries add a wholesome, natural sweetness; use fresh berries for an even sweeter taste! 

These muffins are gluten free (GF), but they are are not your typical GF product (you know what we mean!)… they are not dry, nor do they burst into a pile of crumbs as soon as you take a bite! They have a spongy texture (obviously less moist than a classic muffin- which contains butter, milk and sugar!) with plenty of flavour.

Feel free to experiment; try altering the fruit and flavourings as you see fit! We would also encourage you to use some wholemeal flour (if gluten is not a concern) instead- just make sure to omit the xanthan gum as it won’t necessary. 

 

Quick(ish) Foodie Facts:

  • Porridge oats are a versatile and low-GI food that also provide a good source of soluble fibre (in the form of beta-glucan); which has been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels (*when consuming a minimum of 3g of beta-glucans/D as part of a healthy diet), e.g. a bowl of porridge containing 30g of oats and 2 tbsp. of oatbran sprinkled over some yoghurt, soup or stew would be suffice.  
  • Soya isolate is a versatile and high protein food source also containing iron, calcium and all of the essential amino acids- which includes tryptophan (which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin!); literature has shown that a drop in tryptophan can cause a corresponding drop in brain serotonin production, which therefore can cause mood swings and memory impairment.

Soya products have also been shown to actively lower cholesterol levels and therefore reduce your risk for heart disease (*when consuming 25g of soya protein/D as part of a healthy diet), e.g. a 250ml glass of soya milk and 75g of silken hard tofu or 85g of edamame beans would be plenty.

  • Ground flaxseed is a versatile, high fibre and low GI food containing omega three oils, polyunsaturated fats, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc; it makes a good ‘food fortifier’! 
  • Baking powder is high in calcium. Make sure you throw a little extra into your recipe the next time you bake; we did and it added an extra 347mg of calcium to our muffin batter! 

 

 

We didn’t use the sunflower seeds (they were going to be a ‘topping’)!

 

 

Ingredients:

++++++++++++++++++++140g      Frozen berries (or fresh)
++++++++++++++++++++100g      Porridge oats (Coeliac friendly if needed)
++++++++++++++++++++480ml   Soya milk (unsweetened and fortified)
++++++++++++++++++++40g        Soya isolate
++++++++++++++++++++               1 ‘Flaxegg’ (16g flaxseed mixed w/3 tbsp. water)
++++++++++++++++++++310g      Banana flesh (approximately 3 ripe bananas!)
++++++++++++++++++++60ml     Rapeseed oil
++++++++++++++++++++4g          Vanilla essence
++++++++++++++++++++220g     Plain GF flour (if needed)
++++++++++++++++++++8g          Baking powder (GF if needed)
++++++++++++++++++++5g          Baking soda
++++++++++++++++++++4g          Xanthan gum
++++++++++++++++++++8g          Ground cinnamon
++++++++++++++++++++               Salt (just a pinch!)
++++++++++++++++++++10g         Vegan spread (low fat)

 

 

Nutritional Info:

 

 

Directions:

Place the berries into a microwavable dish. Defrost in the microwave!

These are defrosted! NB: We used a ‘mixed berry’ pack, but we normally opt for just blueberries!

 

 

Meanwhile, place the oats into a large mixing bowl.

 

 

Place the milk into a ‘shaker cup’. Add the isolate. Cover. Shake until mixed.

Alternatively, whisk the milk and isolate in a mixing bowl (add the milk first though).

 

 

Pour the milky isolate mixture into the oats. Whisk together. Leave the oats to soak for approximately 10 minutes.

 

 

Create the ‘flaxegg’. Place the flaxseed into a small dish. Add the water. Stir until combined. Leave for approximately 5 minutes.

 

 

Peel and place the banana into a separate mixing bowl. Mash.

 

 

Add the oil, ‘flaxegg’ and vanilla.

 

 

Mix together.

 

 

Place the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt) into a separate, large mixing bowl. Mix together.

 

 

Grease the muffin tin with the spread using some parchment paper (or for a ‘0 calorie’ approach- line them with ‘paper muffin casings instead!).

We find this GF mixture sticks to paper casings…so we prefer to grease the tin! Perhaps a silicone muffin mould would work better all round?!

 

 

Add a little flour. Shake and tip the flour around to coat the sides of the tin.

NB: We used approx. 10g of flour for this step.This flour will give the mixture something to ‘climb’ when it’s baking (hopefully it stops them from collapsing!)

 

 

Heat the oven to 190°C/380°F.

 

 

Make a ‘well’ in the centre of the dry ingredients.

 

 

Add the banana mixture.

 

 

Stir and fold until combined.

NB: The mixture will be quite ‘tacky’.

 

 

Add the oat mixture.

 

 

Stir until combined.

NB: The mixture will be quite thick/dense at this stage- this is completely normal!

 

 

Add the berries.

 

 

Fold them into the batter.

NB: We haven’t squashed the berries! The batter has gone slightly purple from the ‘berry juices’ created in the microwave!

 

 

 

 

Spoon and distribute the mixture evenly among the muffin cases.

 

 

Top with some spare oats and a dash of spice, seeds, crushed  nuts, a berry or a slice of banana if desired.

We used another small banana (it weighed aprox. 80g without the skin). 🙂

 

 

Place into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.

 

 

Reduce the heat to 180°C/360°F. Bake for a further 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown/firm to the touch.

 

 

Remove. Allow them to cool/set in the tin for 5 minutes before removing.

They may not look perfect, but they are made with love 😀

 

 

Enjoy!

Juicy blueberries!  So delicious!

 

 

 Place in a resealable container; consume within 3-5 days (potentially sooner; temperature permitting). Alternatively, freezing them is a great option! They can be frozen for 1-2 months; just defrost before eating of course!

 

 

If preferred….

  • Add some grated orange or lemon zest.
  • Maybe try using a lemon, orange or almond extract instead of vanilla essence; using vanilla extract is also fine!
  • Add ground ginger instead of cinnamon.
  • If you prefer an even sweeter taste, add a little honey or agave syrup.

Savoury Flat Bread [Vegan, Gluten Free, Yeast Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 7
Yields: 14 small flat breads
Prep & Cooking Time: 65-75 mins
Type: Side Dish
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, manual grater, non-stick frying (or griddle) pan, large frying spatula, mixing bowl, silicone spatula, kitchen film, small dish, rolling pin, pastry brush (*optional), kitchen paper, large plate (for serving)

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, no added sugars and per serving is low in salt and fats! 

This bread is ideal for those that want something to accompany their soups & stews or to serve alongside their homemade curries or chilli!  You can also try preparing them in slightly bigger portions and use as a tasty wrap instead!  

Try experimenting to find your perfect combination of flavours:
-Alter the spices and herbs
-Use red onion, leeks, fennel, cooked sweet potato or squash instead of spring onion

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

Quick Foodie Facts & Tips:

  • The xanthan gum helps provide a stable and flexible texture to this bread.
  • These breads are soooo tasty! If you want leftovers, we recommend that you do not place them all onto the table at once!
Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g       Spring Onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g         Ginger Root
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g            Garlic Clove (1 fat one!)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++12g           Fresh Coriander
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                Low-Fat Cooking Oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++250ml     Boiling Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++220g        Plain GF Flour(+ 70g for rolling out the breads)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g              Xanthan Gum
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g              Ground Coriander
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                 Salt & Ground Black Pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++24g           DF Margarine (low-fat)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Nutritional Content

 

Directions

1. Wash, trim the ends and then finely slice the spring onion. Wash, peel and grate the ginger. Peel and finely grate the garlic. Wash and dry the coriander; remove its leaves from its stem and roughly chop them.

2. Meanwhile, heat a non-stick frying (or griddle) pan over a medium-low heat. Spray it some low-fat cooking oil. Add the onion, ginger and garlic. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened.

3. In the meantime, boil 250ml water in a kettle.

4. Place 220g flour, about ½ tsp xanthan gum and about ½ tbsp ground coriander into a large mixing bowl. Season it with some salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Add the onion mixture and fresh coriander. Stir to combine. Add the water. Stir with a silicone spatula or spoon. Mix together. Tip: The mixture will be a bit ‘tacky’; lightly flour your hands if needed.

5. Place the mixture onto the centre of some kitchen film. Wrap tightly and form a ball. Leave to rest for 30 mins. NB: We dumped the dough straight out of the bowl onto one large piece of film.

6. In the meantime, melt the margarine in a microwave or on your stove top in a small/non-stick pot. Tip: Make sure your margarine is thoroughly melted; a thinner consistency will go further and will be easier to use! Lightly flour a clean work surface.

7. Heat a non-stick frying (or griddle) pan over a medium-high heat.

8. Place the dough onto the floured surface. Divide it into about fourteen ‘balls’. Roll them out into thin ‘discs’ (make them round, oval, square- whatever you fancy!). Use some of the melted margarine to coat the ‘top sides’ of the ‘discs’. Tip: We used a silicone pastry brush for this step, but you can use the back of a spoon instead! 

9. Place some of the discs (margarine side down) into the hot pan. Gently apply and spread some more margarine onto the top surface of each disc as it cooks. Tip: If you’re using a griddle pan, you can gently press down on top of the bread as it cooks to lightly singe the other side. Cook for 2 mins and then flip them over. Tip: The top surface of the breads will slightly inflate and/or bubble, a bit like a pancake as they cook; this is the time to flip them! Cook the other side for about 2 mins or until lightly browned. Remove and transfer them onto a plate lined with kitchen paper. NB: If preferred, keep them warm with a little kitchen foil or place into a gently heated oven.

10. Serve warm with soup or whatever takes your fancy and enjoy!

Tip: For ideal freshness, place the breads into an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 2 days. Alternatively, individually wrap them in kitchen film and place them into an air-tight and resealable container and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

 

 

 

We served ours with a quick and basic homemade broccoli soup!  If you want the soup recipe, just ask- it was delicious!

 

Iron: Understanding & Supporting Healthy Intakes

Diet & Weight Loss

Most of us have been told that iron, especially in the form of spinach (think Popeye!) ‘gives us muscles and makes us strong’! Although I’m sure vegetables were the last thing I was thinking about when I was five!  However, when it comes to understanding the importance of iron’s role and making sure we have a healthy intake of it- how does your knowledge and diet weigh up?!

 

 

Photo by: Kalli McCleary Flickr

Photo by: Kalli McCleary Flickr

The human body contains 2-4mg of iron (men usually and naturally have higher levels); approximately two-thirds is found in Haemoglobin (Hb).

Haemoglobin is a protein found in our red blood cells that: carry oxygen around our body, mygoglobin in our muscles and it also gives it its red colour; myogloblin accepts, stores, transports and releases oxygen.

The body uses iron to make Hb. A protein called transferrin binds to iron and transports it around the body. Without enough iron, our organs and tissues become starved for oxygen.

 

Iron-Deficiency Anemia By: Ed Uthman Flickr

Ferritin is another protein that helps store iron by binding to it; approximately 25% of our iron is stored as ferritin.

It’s found in our liver, spleen, skeletal muscles and bone marrow. Only a small amount is found in the blood, but this is an indicator of how much is stored in our bodies; low ferritin levels are indicative of iron deficiency which causes anaemia.

 

Functions Of Iron

Photo by: Barack Shacked  Flickr

Photo by: Barack Shacked Flickr

Energy Production

If iron stores are low, Hb production slows down, therefore the transport of oxygen is diminished resulting in fatigue, dizziness and lowered immunity.

 

 

Photo by: The American Yoga Academy FlickrImmunitymmunity

Immunity

Our immune system depends on it for efficient functioning; the production of new enzymes is dependent on iron, which is important when we are recovering from illness or strenuous exercise.

 

 

 

 

 

DNA. Photo by: AJC1 FlickrRequired For DNA Synthesis

Iron is required for the function of many proteins involved in cell cycle and DNA synthesis, e.g. Ribonucleotide Reductase.

Production of red blood cells; they help carry oxygen around the body.

 

 

 

Consequences of Low Iron

  • Iron deprivation can result in harmful effects, in particular to our: cardiovascular, respiratory, brain and muscle function.
  • Iron depletion occurs when iron stores are low or exhausted and further decreases can produce iron deficiency anaemia. Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common consequence of a lack of dietary iron.
  • Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. Mclean et al 2008, showed that it affects nearly 2 billion people globally; a significant problem in the developed world affecting approximately 50% of the global population and 74% of non-pregnant women.

 

 

Why Women Are At An Increased Risk?

Photo by: Mini-DV Flickr

  • Menstruation with long and/or heavy periods.
  • Eating disorders and/or various ‘restrictive dieting regimes’.
  • Following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle with improper instruction.
  • Consecutive pregnancies/ bleeding during deliveries.

 

 

 

All women should be given dietary information to maximise iron intake and absorption regardless of whether they are vegan/vegetarian or following a ‘typical’ balanced diet.

 

 

Groups At Risk Of Iron Inadequacy

Photo by: Howard Dickins Flickr

Photo by: Howard Dickins Flickr

  • Pregnant women
  • Infants and young children (needed for physical and mental growth)
  • Frequent blood donors
  • People with colon cancer or heart failure
  • People with G.I disorders or that have had G.I surgery
  • Vegetarians/vegans/fussy eaters

 

 

Signs And symptoms of Iron Deficiency

Photo by: Rajesh Jhawar Flickr

  •  Pica
    • Apathy
      • Dizziness
        • Depression
          • A sore tongue
            • Breathlessness
              • Exhaustion/weakness
                • Reduced endurance
                  • Unusually pale skin
                    • Frequent infections
                      • Restless leg syndrome
                        • Memory problems/difficulty focusing
                          • Brittle nails/ concave or spoon-shaped depression in the nails

 

 

Iron DRV’s (UK)

Average adult woman:

(19-50yrs) = 14.8mg/Day (inclusive of pregnant women).

*Breasting feeding could require up to an extra mg per day.

Average adult man:

(19+) = 8.7mg/day

NB: Please refer to your own country’s nutrient guidelines; quantities may vary.

Quick Facts:

  • These DRV’s take in to account that with normal iron metabolism only approximately 5-10% of dietary iron is absorbed through diet and supplements.
  • Children and adolsences having growth spurts may find their intake of iron isn’t adequate.
  • The iron in breast milk has a high bioavailability. Unfortunately not in amounts that are sufficient to meet the needs of infants older than 4 to 6 months. This is why children older than 6 months should not be exclusively breast fed.
  • On average, 1mg of iron/day is lost through faeces, sweat, urine and the exfoliation of old skin cells.
  • Women of child bearing age lose on average 20mg/month through menstruation- but this can vary.
  • Blood donors can lose approximately 200-250mg of iron with each donation.

 

 

Types Of Iron In Our diet

Photo by: Michael T nicknamemiket/ Flickr

Photo by: Michael T nicknamemiket/ Flickr

Haem:

Is iron found in ‘meat’. Its bio-availability is greater and is generally unaffected by other food components.

The bioavailability is approximately 14-18%* from mixed diets that include vitamin c and substantial amounts of meat and seafoods.

 

 

 

 

Photo by: Ric W Flickr

Photo by: Ric W Flickr

Non-Haem:

Is iron found in foods of vegetable origin or fortified foods and is the main form of dietary iron.

The bio-availability is lower and is therefore harder for your body to absorb. The bioavailability is approximately 5-12% (1).

 

 

 

 

 

Some Common Foods That Contain Iron

*Sources: 2,3,4

 Have a look and see if you can roughly calculate what your current iron intake is!

 

Factors That Can Increase & Affect Overall Iron Absorption

Photo by: Flickr

Photo by:V/ Axiomista  Flickr

  • The absorption of iron is affected by the presence of other foods in our guts, e.g.

 calcium, tannins, phenols, protein (inclusive of eggs & milk) and phytates (phytic acid) which all hinder iron absorption.

We should all avoid drinking caffeinated teas, coffee and milk around meal times, especially if we’re taking iron supplements.

 

 

 

Photo by: Julia Khusainova Flickr

  • Vitamin and iron are best friends! Vitamin C helps to increase of the absorption is iron, particularly non-haem, e.g. drink a glass of orange juice with your morning porridge!

 

 

 Our Diets & ‘Supplementation’ For Health And Well-Being

  • Purchasing cookbooks can help inspire new ideas to make sure you keep your meals nutritious, varied and ‘iron rich’. 🙂
  • Some studies have shown, including this article (found in the Journal of Food Science), that cooking in cast iron pots/pans can possibly increase the amount of iron in your food, especially when cooking high-acids foods, e.g. applesauce or tomato-based recipes. Apparently the greater the acidity of the food and the longer you cook it= the more iron that is transferred into the food; it’s a nice thought, but this would be hard for us to measure!
  • If you are embarking on a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s a good idea to talk to your GP, a dietitian or a recognised nutritionist to make sure you have all the facts & avoid ill health. If you do suffer from, e.g. ‘heavy’ periods, an underlying G.I problem, or have a limited budget, it might also be a good idea to speak to a health professional about possible supplementation to lower your risk of iron deficiency anaemia.
  • If you are diagnosed with iron deficiency anaemia, your GP might prescribe iron supplementation or iron therapy; even an oral contraceptive pill to decrease menstrual blood loss during periods.

We should consult with our health care provider before taking loads of extra supplementation, especially if you are taking prescribed medications, regardless of whether it’s iron or, e.g. vitamin A, zinc or calcium. Firstly, to make sure we are going to do ourselves any harm, e.g. unsupervised use of iron supplements can reduce the absorption of other essential nutrients (such as zinc and calcium) and secondly they can recommend the ones with the most bio-availability and that may cause the least amount of gastrointestinal effects etc.

Unfortunately, taking mineral supplements, especially iron can cause undesirable side effects…

 

Possible Side effects of iron supplementation:
  • constipation
  • nausea
  • sickness
  • diarrhoea
  • heartburn
  • tummy ache

These types of side effects can make compliance poor and will have knock-on effects on your well-being.

 

So having read my article, hopefully you are just a few informed choices away from improving your health….

…As everyone has a responsibility to themselves to source and eat a healthy diet, regardless of their food likes and dislikes…

…Because it’s all too easy to just assume that we are getting enough iron, but the reality is that it’s all too easy to not get enough!

 

Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Miserablespice Flickr

 

Sources:
1. Am J Clin Nutr May 2010 vol. 91 no. 5 1461S-1467S
2. USDA Database
3.Foods Standards Agency (2002) McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods, Sixth summary edition. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemisty
4.Foods Standards Agency (2002) Food Portion Sizes, 3rd Revised edition edition. London:TSO

Thai Red Curry With Tofu

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time: 50-60 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. 

This is not an authentic Thai red curry recipe…not by a mile! This recipe is more about helping to meet your ‘5-A-Day’ and still being able to enjoy all the lovely Thai flavours without consuming ridiculous amounts of fat! Instead of tinned coconut milk (which is typically seen in this recipe), I used a small amount of creamed coconut, mixed with DF milk, vegetable stock and corn starch to help keep a similar consistency and some of the flavour!  I also added extra lemongrass, garlic, ginger (in addition to the curry paste) to enhance the curry flavours.

As I have mentioned previously, coconut products contain nearly 90% saturated fats- so its obviously not exactly the ‘healthier’ choice!  So with any high fat/sugar food or meal, either have a bit of what you love (in small portions and in moderation of course!) or try a reduced fat version such as this! 

This recipe can be served as a curry or a soup (just omit the corn starch and halve the quantity of rice if you prefer soup)!

Quick fact:
Per serving, this recipe provides approximately 3 of your ‘5-A-DAY’!

Galagnal root comes from the same family as ginger root but their flavours are slightly different! Ginger root has a warm, spicy taste while as galagnal adds a spicy, peppery element to Thai cooking! Use both or or just one of the roots in this recipe if your prefer!

 

*Based on 4 servings, this recipe provides approximately:

<500kcal, 12g fat and 4.5g s/fat/ serving. 

*NB: A standard veggie Thai red curry could easily contain twice the amount of fats! To reduce the fat content: make your own curry paste, use slightly less tofu and do not use the nuts.

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++260g    Firm Tofu
+++++++++++++++++++++++++              1kcal Fry Spray (low-fat cooking oil)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g     Spring onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g         Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++16g       Galangal Root
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g       Ginger Root
+++++++++++++++++++++++++16g       Lemongrass (=1 stick)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++140g     Red bell pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++70g       Carrot
+++++++++++++++++++++++++300g     Sweet potato
+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g     Chestnut mushrooms
+++++++++++++++++++++++++60g        Baby spinach
+++++++++++++++++++++++++10g        Fresh coriander
+++++++++++++++++++++++++55g        Lime, zest & juice (=1 lime)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++20g        Thai red curry paste
+++++++++++++++++++++++++250ml   Vegetable stock (low-sodium/DF/GF)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++250ml   Soya milk (unsweetened)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++400g      Tin chopped plum tomatoes
+++++++++++++++++++++++++20g         Creamed coconut
+++++++++++++++++++++++++60g         Brown basmati rice/person
+++++++++++++++++++++++++16g         Corn starch
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g            Peanuts, (unsalted) (optional)

 

Directions:

Open and drain the tofu. Place it between two heavy chopping boards for approximately 30 minutes to remove any excess water.

 

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F. Line a baking tray with some parchment paper or a silicone mat; lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

In the meantime, wash, trim the ends and finely chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Wash, peel and chop the galangal into fine sticks. Wash, peel and grate the ginger. Wash and trim the ends off the lemongrass; bash it slightly with a rolling pin to soften the leaves, remove the outer leaves and discard the ‘hard core’ (if preferred) and then finely slice it.

NB: I only used shallots because it came with a vegetable kit I bought. Do not feel obligated too! I did not remove the inner/hard core… but you might find this will not soften during cooking and add a ‘crunchy’ element to your curry…which you might not enjoy!

 

Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and finely slice the bell pepper. Wash, trim the ends, peel and chop the carrot into ‘match-stick’ pieces. Wash, peel and chop the potato into small, bite-sized pieces. Wash, dry and slice the mushrooms.

 

Wash and drain the spinach. Wash, dry and roughly chop the coriander.

 

Wash, zest and juice the lime.

 

Meanwhile, drain and chop the tofu into bite-sized pieces. Place it onto the baking sheet. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Place it into the oven. Bake for approximately 26 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove. (NB: I baked my tofu slightly less than I normally would as I prefer ‘softer’ pieces in the curry).

NB: Refer to my previous recipes if you require visual guidance for this step.

 

In the meantime, heat a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add some low-fat cooking oil. Add the onion, garlic, galangal, ginger and lemongrass. Stir together. Gently fry for 1-2 minutes.

NB: I added ‘3sprays’ of my oil= 3 calories and 0.3g fat!

 

Add the bell pepper, carrot, potato and mushrooms. Stir together. Add some more low-fat cooking oil if necessary. Gently fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

Add the curry paste. Stir to coat. Gently fry for a further minute or until fragrant.

 

Add the stock, milk, tomatoes and creamed coconut. Stir together. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

 

In the meantime, cook the rice according to the packet instructions (if applicable). Drain.

 

Meanwhile, create a slurry (if applicable). Add the cornstarch to a small dish. Add equal parts water and stir until dissolved.

 

Finely crush/chop the nuts (if using).

 

Add the slurry (if applicable). Stir to combine. Continue stirring until slightly thickened.

 

Add the spinach, coriander, 1/2 the quantity of the zest and the juice. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Allow the spinach to wilt slightly.

 

Add the tofu. Stir to combine.

 

Place the rice into a large serving bowl (if applicable). Ladle over the curry. Garnish with the remaining lime zest, fresh coriander and crushed nuts if desired.

 

Enjoy!

If preferred…

  • Alternatively, serve over thick rice or buckwheat soba noodles.
  • Prepare your own Thai red curry paste.
  • Vary your vegetables! Try: pak choi, baby corn, green beans, mange tout, water chestnuts, butternut squash, broccoli, cauliflower, fresh chillies, Kaffir leaves, or maybe even some shredded kale.