Understanding How Food Can Make You Feel

COOKBOOKS TO KEEP YOU INSPIRED FOR A TASTY, HAPPY YEAR AHEAD

I'm often on the lookout for healthy inspiration in the kitchen but also on my mind is ease and cost effectiveness. I've been on my fair share of faddy diets in my time, and my relationship with food hasn't always been a happy one. Not only that but the information out there on what we should and shouldn't be eating can often be overwhelming and all consuming with conflicting and misleading messages backed by pseudoscience that renders us completely and utterly confused! Anyone who watched the recent BBC Two Horizon Documentary on "clean-eating" will know what I mean. So these days I'm far more concerned with cramming the good stuff in than I am with obsessively cutting stuff out and punishing myself. I refuse to give up my love of cake entirely, but it's all about finding a balance and still ensuring that amongst the odd treat here and there, you're getting in the goodness too.

Understanding How Food Can Make You Feel

Using food as fuel and understanding how it makes you feel both mentally and physically has become something of an interest to me and this month I've made a couple of fab foodie book discoveries that have been helping me to learn more and cook good, (mostly) quick and tasty food to boot. Goodness doesn't have to be boring, nor does it have to take ages or involve a load of expensive ingredients. Two books that I've discovered this year so far have been teaching me just that.

Understanding How Food Can Make You Feel

Personally I find cookbooks so useful for inspiration, even if I don't fully follow every morsel of a particular author's philosophy and perhaps don't always follow each and every recipe to the latter, I still enjoy using books to inspire and encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and to introduce me to, or perhaps even just remind me of, some different ingredients for my usual weekly shopping list. Using a book to inspire and learn doesn't mean you have to be rigid with your food or diet, I still believe it's important to be creative with the recipes in order to make sure you're getting the most out of what you have in your cupboards and avoid unnecessary waste. With almost 50% of food thrown away each year in the UK being domestic* it's important to work with what you have and try to make small, healthier choices and changes along the way.

*Source Olive Magazine Jan 2017

Understanding How Food Can Make You Feel

Two books that have been offering up some delicious, healthy and achievable recipes for me this month have been The Medicinal Chef: Healthy Every Day by Dale Pinnock and The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food by Rachel Kelly and Alice Mackintosh. I've spent much of this month trying many recipes from both and have enjoyed each and every bite! I also love how each book celebrates food rather than making it seem like a complicated chore. Fresh recipes that use everyday ingredients and invite you to view food in a positive light, for all of its benefits and abilities to enhance our sense of well-being. To enjoy food without feeling guilty whilst still understanding the effects that it can have on the body and to use that in a positive fashion. 

Understanding How Food Can Make You Feel

When it comes to busy lifestyles both also offer up quick and easy recipes alongside recipes that you can take your time over at the weekends, or whenever you have longer, and want to enjoy the process of creating something mouth-watering just much as you want to eat it - because the act of cooking in itself can be incredibly therapeutic and calming. 

In Healthy Every Day you will find a little run down on each recipe that explains the benefits of the ingredients that you are using. Three of my all time favourite recipes so far from this book have to be the cold-busting wasabi salmon skewers, can-do chicken kebabs and the feel-good fish pie.

The Happy Kitchen has been collated into sections that depend on what you might be looking for your food to do fo you. For example, choose from recipe sections such as beating the blues, balanced energy and sweet dreams to find a suitable recipe that's right for you at that particular moment. I've recently made the zingy courgette, pea and coconut soup and the kedgeree and have totally delighted in the warming, tastiness of both during this chilly winter that we've been having.

So those are two of my favourite, totally personal (and not sponsored!) picks for a thoroughly appetising New Year! I love to share the things that have been making me tick and with New Year being a time that many focus on healthier habits, I feel that these books offer up useful, non-faddy advice that's just made to make your mouth water!

Let me know where you like to get your feel-good and actually actionable foodie inspiration from too? It's always good to know where my next source of foodie fun might be coming from!

Louise

 


Post Work Refresh: Super Simple Gazpacho Soup

A FRESH AND HEALTHY KICK

It's been a while since I shared anything foodie related here on the blog so today seemed like a good day to offer up a simple, refreshing soup recipe that I've been enjoying all summer long. Even though September is here and the autumn is showing slow signs of breaking through, the days are still pretty warm and stuffy right now. So this easy little number is both tasty and revitalising, along with a good dose of healthy goodness as well. 

Gazpacho Soup

Now cold soup might not be everyone's bag! But I love Gazpacho, especially when it's really fresh, a little crunchy with a good kick of spicy heat and super chilled when served. The recipe I've been using comes from the latest book by nutritionist Amelia Freer called Cook Nourish Glow and is really pretty easy to master. Basically chuck a load of good stuff into a food processor, blend, chill and then eat. Simple! I use red onion instead of the suggested spring onion and that works really well - mainly because red onion is normally what I have in the house hence the simple substitution. 

Gazpacho Soup
Gazpacho Soup

Gazpacho Soup

(slightly adapted from the original recipe, check out the book for more tasty and healthy inspiration)

Serves 4

YOU WILL NEED

1 red pepper (deseeded and chopped), 1/2 stick of celery roughly chopped, 1/4 cucumber (you can deseed but I don't bother and it works fine), 500g ripe tomatoes, 1/2 red onion (or 1 spring onion if you prefer), 1/2 clove garlic, 1 handful of fresh basil, 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons of sherry vinegar, a healthy dash of tabasco, sea salt and ground black pepper.

TO MAKE

Basically put all of the ingredients (apart from the basil) into a food processor and blitz to your required consistency. The recipe states until smooth but I like mine a teeny bit chunky to have some crispy bite so I stop just before it is fully blended.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and add more tabasco and sherry vinegar if required to bring it to your preferred heat and sharpness. Sometimes I actually add a little more garlic and give it an extra blitz to blend. We love garlic in our house and we aren't afraid to show it!

Leave your soup to chill in the fridge for at least two hours. I just put it into a clickable tupperware box. 

Serve garnished with a sprinkling of fresh basil leaves. You can make this in large batches and it will happily keep in the fridge for a good few days.

 

So this weekend why not try this ultimate veggie hit of goodness to cool you down and keep you fighting fit. Make a batch on a Sunday evening and enjoy it, nicely chilled and fresh, when you get home from work throughout the week. Enjoy!

Louise

 


Post Work Dinner: Super Easy Avocado Pasta

Happy hump day everyone! Today I'm sharing the most ridiculously easy post work dinner idea ever. So easy it almost seems silly to write it down but ultimately I guess that's exactly what we're all looking for at the end of a busy day. Something healthy, delicious and so very quick to make that we barely even notice we've been in the kitchen! I love this meal, it's a great way to use up over ripe avocado and is tasty, fresh and will have you coming back for more time and time again. So without further ado, here's how to make this super simple post work dinner fix. 

Easy Avocado Pasta

Super Easy Avocado Pasta

Serves 2-3

YOU WILL NEED

250g uncooked pasta (I use linguine), 1 large ripe avocado, 1-2 cloves of garlic to taste, 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper to taste, a sprinkling of sliced smoked salmon to serve (optional)

TO MAKE

So I said this was simple and it really couldn't be any easier! Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook your pasta as per packet instructions. 

Meanwhile add the avocado flesh, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and a little salt and pepper to a processor and blend together until smooth. Season again to taste and if necessary add a little more oil and/or lemon juice to adjust to your desired consistency and flavour.

Once your pasta is cooked, remove from the heat and drain. Add back into the pan and stir in the avocado sauce. 

Serve with a little smoked salmon and fresh black pepper, or just enjoy it on its own. It's totally and utterly gorgeous and I'm confident you'll want to make this again and again.

Goodness I feel cheeky that this post is so short but then that's really the nature of this delicious dinner! So I hope it helps out on those days when you want something fresh but don't want the hassle of hours spent in the kitchen. Happy eating my friends!

Louise

 


Winter Warmer: Spiced Cauliflower And Chickpea Salad With Harissa Chicken

This recipe is an incredibly simple make for a winters evening. Invoking spicy moroccan vibes and clean, tasty flavours. You really can't go wrong whipping this up in your kitchen following a busy day at work. Taken from the December issue of Red Magazine and a recipe by Nigella Lawson, tucking in to this is guaranteed to warm you up on the upcoming cold winter nights!

Spiced Cauliflower And Chickpea Salad With Harissa Chicken

You may remember me mentioning a few months back that I was the lucky recipient of a years subscription to Red after joining the magazine.co.uk blogger network. I've been loving having a read through the monthly issues and taking all sorts of lifestyle inspiration from fashion to food and everything else in between. Recently I completed my first post for The Hub about strong female role models and how they inspire and inform us throughout our lives, if you missed it and are intrigued then take a look here: The Female Role Models That Changed My Life. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the women who have motivated you along the way.

Today though, and back to the post in hand with this delicious recipe that I wanted to share to inspire your winter eating. This really is so easy to make. I have ever so slightly adapted it by adding a little harissa spiced chicken and substituting a little spinach as I didn't have enough flat leaf parsley. It worked perfectly well so without further ado here's what you'll need if you want to make this delightful dinner for yourself.

Ingredients

WARM SPICED CAULIFLOWER AND CHICKPEA SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS

SERVES 2

YOU WILL NEED

1 small cauliflower head, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 1x400g tin chickpeas drained and rinsed, 1-2 tbsp harissa to taste, 4 smallish vine tomatoes, 3-4 tbsp pomegranate seeds, 100g flat-leaf parsley to serve (I used a little spinach as well), sea salt.

METHOD

Please note that I have taken and adapted this very, very slightly from the magazine version. The original can be found in the December issue of Red or in Nigella's latest book, Simply Nigella.

Heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Trim the cauliflower and cut into small florets. Pour the oil into a large bowl, add the cinnamon and cumin, stir to help the spices disperse. Tip in the cauliflower florets and toss to coat. Pour onto a small oven tray and roast for 15 minutes. Don’t wash out the bowl you’ve been using just yet.

Tip the chickpeas into the empty bowl, add the harissa, tasting it first for heat, to see if you want to use both tablespoonfuls. Toss to coat. Quarter the tomatoes, add them to the bowl, and shake or stir to mix. When the cauliflower has had its 15 minutes, remove the tray, tip in the chickpeas and tomatoes, combine and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.

When the cauliflower is ready, remove from the oven and sprinkle the salt over the vegetables, then combine with half the pomegranate seeds, before dividing between two bowls. Divide the parsley leaves between the two bowls and mix. Scatter with the remaining pomegranate seeds and serve.

I served mine with 4 small chicken thighs coated in a little harissa paste, seasoned with sea salt and black pepper and baked in the over until tender. Highly recommended!

Happy cooking and if you make this recipe let me know. Would love to hear what you think.

Louise

 

You can learn more about the magazine.co.uk blogger network in this post: A Much Needed Break From My Screen.

*This post contains some affiliate links