Tag Archive for Healthy

Salade de carottes râpées

One of the two classic French legumes cru (the other is Céleri Rémoulade). In France, you can buy this everywhere ready-made, in supermarkets, at charcuteries, etc. And of course people make it at home, freshly made it tastes better anyway. It is really important to cut the carrots to the right size. I’ve found cutting them by hand into julienne makes them too coarse, grating them makes them too wet and my mandoline doesn’t make quite the right julienne either. But the smallest cutter of my spiralizer does! If you have a kitchen machine, the large grating disk might work too. Or use a French mouli-julienne. Of course the right size is up to personal taste.

Salade de Carottes Rapees

Salade de carottes râpées (serves 2-3 persons)
Adapted from David Lebovitz

200-300 g carrot
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sugar
teeny-tiny clove of garlic, mashed finely
salt and pepper
Optional: some chopped flat-leave parsley

Process the carrots by method of your liking. Mix all the other ingredients to form a nice dressing. Taste to check for seasoning. Mix the dressing with the carrots and serve. If preparing in advance, keep the dressing and carrots separate and mix just before serving.

Stuffed Vegetables

Rice with lots of different bits and pieces, savoury and sweet, loads of different flavours and textures, stuffed into delicious vegetables. You definitely don’t miss the meat in this dish! I like stuffed vegetables, it is a fun way of serving, a bit different than the average rice dish. But I always have one problem: the amount of filling never matches the volume I need to fill the vegetables that I want to fill. Usually I err on the side of caution and make more filling than I need, and serve the remainder on the side. Or store it for next days lunch.
I cooked a double batch of rice on a previous day, stored half and used it for this dish. Because brown rice takes 30-45 minutes, I wouldn’t cook it specially for this dish, so a bit of planning is advised. Alternatively you could use basmati, or another rice, that does cook quicker.

Stuffed Vegetables

Stuffed Vegetables (serves 2)
Slightly adapted from “Leon – Fast Vegetarian”

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sambal badjak
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tomato, cubed
1/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup brown rice, cooked in bouillon
1/2 cup drained and rinsed canned chickpeas
1/4 cup cooked spinach, chopped
1/4 cup cubed feta (or crumbled goats cheese)
salt and pepper
optional: 1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (like parsley, mint, dill and/or coriander)

vegetables of choice (aubergine, pumpkin/squash, courgette, onions, paprika, tomato)

Precook the vegetables in the oven at 175-200C (time/temperature will depend on the kind of vegetable you use), then scoop out the flesh if necessary.
Heat the oil in a pan, add the onions and sauté until soft and golden. Add the garlic and sambal, and sauté for another few minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and tomato, and cook for 2 minutes. Add all the other ingredients, mix and season well with salt and pepper.
Stuff the vegetables with the filling and cook in the oven at 160C for 20 minutes.

Note: Omit the feta to make this dish vegan friendly. Or use a vegan cheese instead.

Soy and Honey Chicken with Coconut Rice

Very simple, but utterly delicious. What else would you expect when it is a recipe from Monica Galetti (sous chef at Le Gavroche, the 2-stars restaurant of Michel Roux Jr, and a judge in Masterchef: the Professionals)?

Soy and Honey Chicken

Soy and Honey Chicken with Coconut Rice (serves 2)
Slightly adapted from Food&Drink

4 tsp clear honey
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sambal badjak
4 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 300 gram)

75 g brown rice
1 stock cube (I used vegetable)
1/2 tsp coconut oil

drizzle of sesame oil
drizzle of rapeseed oil
2 heads of bok choi, halved

Mix together the honey, soy sauce and sambal badjak in a heavy based pan (cold!). Add the chicken thighs and mix until completely coated in the marinade. Place the pan onto a medium heat and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the honey and soy coating has thickened to a glossy glaze.
Meanwhile, add the rice, 150 ml water and the stock cube to a separate pan and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer the rice, covered, until tender (about 30 minutes).
For the bok choi, heat a drizzle of rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the bok choi and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the leaves have wilted. Drizzle with a little sesame oil.
When the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork, then stir through the coconut oil.

Super salad

A very delicious salad, also perfect as something light and healthy to counteract all the indulgence of Christmas and New Years Eve. It keeps quite well, so if you make a bit extra, you can use it as lunch the next day.

Super Salad

Super salad (serves 2)
Adapted from “Leon – Ingredients and Recipes”

125 g couscous
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 vegetable stock cube

1 head of broccoli, in florets
2-3 fillets smoked mackerel, skin and bones removed, flaked
1/4 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
50 g (baby) spinach
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice

Bring 125 ml (check the package if this is the appropriate amount of water for your couscous) water to the boil, dissolve the stock cube in it and add olive oil, cumin and lemon juice/zest. Add the couscous, stir, cover and set aside off the heat. After 10 minutes, use a fork to break up the couscous and to fluff it up.
Meanwhile, cook the broccoli.
Add the broccoli, mackerel, almonds, apricots, raisins, dill and spinach to the couscous (or transfer everything, including the couscous, to a big bowl/serving plate) and carefully mix. Add salt and pepper to taste, and dress with a little more olive oil and lemon juice if you like.

Note: because I like to use the whole broccoli, and I don’t like the stalk on its own, I always cut my broccoli in such a way that there is a bit of stalk on each floret. Obviously, this causes the florets to be rather long, and makes it difficult to mix them through the salad. Therefore, I served them on the side (as you can see on the photo). If you want to have the broccoli mixed through the salad, slice them into smaller florets.

Carrot and orange salad

A small and fun side salad, fresh and slightly sweet. You can add bits of orange or grapefruit if you like. I like to make this in autumn and winter, when carrots are abundant but other salad vegetables are not. The salad on my photo has a bit of a strange colour, because I used white, yellow, orange and purple carrots from my garden. When you use “normal” orange carrots, the salad will be orange too. I like to grate the carrot finely, but you can also slice the carrot into julienne or grate it coarsely, if you prefer.

Carrot and Orange Salad

Carrot and orange salad (serves 2)
Inspired on a recipe of the Voedingscentrum that I read somewhere

30 g raisins
150 g carrot
30 ml orange juice

Wash the raisins and soak them 10 minutes in warm water. Wash (or peel, when you use thicker/older carrots) and grate the carrots. Drain the raisins and mix with the carrot and orange juice.

Muesli and fruit breakfast

A delicious and healthy breakfast!

Although I love (fat-free) Greek yoghurt, I don’t really like it in this recipe, because it doesn’t mix very well with the other ingredients because it is quite thick. Therefore I use a more liquid, not too acidic yoghurt as alternative. I find the standard muesli you can buy in the supermarket a bit boring (and it tends to be a bit stale as well), so I either buy a premium brand (like dorset or eat natural), or I buy something from the whole foods shop, that has a more in it than only oats and raisins. Use broken linseed and not whole linseed, because it has a hard shell that you cannot digest, so you don’t absorb any nutrients from a whole linseed, it just passes through you whole. You can either crack them yourself, or buy them already broken (but keep in mind they tend to turn rancid quite fast). And you can use any bran you like, I use wheat bran, but oat bran is also very nice if you can find it.

Muesli and Fruit Breakfast

Muesli and fruit breakfast (serves 2)

1 apple
1 kiwi
1 small orange (or a mandarin or minneola)
2 slices of pineapple (preferably fresh or from a can on juice, not on syrup)

300 ml mild yoghurt
90 g muesli
2 tbsp broken linseed
2 tbsp bran

Core the apple and slice in small cubes. Peel and core the kiwi, slice in small cubes. Peel the orange, slice in small cubes. Slice the pineapple slices in small cubes. Mix all the fruit together and divide over two bowls. Divide the yoghurt between the two bowls, then sprinkle over the muesli, linseed and bran. Eat immediately.

Mixed vegetable soup

As so often, I used a BBC programme as an inspiration for this recipe, this time it was Saturday Kitchen Best Bites. The vegetable soup they made reminded me of the vegetable velouté you can buy in cartons in the French supermarket, absolutely delicious, great to have something reasonably healthy that is ready-made and unfortunately not available in the Netherlands. So I decided to make my own, which is quite a bit more work than opening a carton, but definitely worth it. It is a lovely vibrant, fresh soup tasting of all the lush vegetables that are available in summer. Vegetable patch soup is maybe a good name for this recipe, because you can use up all kinds of vegetables, perfect for finishing the bits and pieces that you sometimes have growing around your vegetable patch. The recipe below shows the vegetables I used, but you could use all kinds of other vegetables as well. I think that for example cauliflower, broccoli, fennel and green beans would also be delicious.

Mixed Vegetable Soup

Mixed vegetable soup (serves 2)
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 small celeriac, in cubes
1 large carrot, in cubes
1/2 courgette, in cubes
500 ml water
2 vegetable stock cubes
a handful fresh peas
a few tbsp mascarpone
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a large pan (I like to use my Dutch oven for this). Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, celeriac, carrot and courgette and sauté until softened, but not coloured (5-8 minutes). Add the water and stock cubes, stir well and leave to simmer until the vegetables are soft. Optionally, fish out the garlic. Add the peas, cook for another 2 minutes, then blend the whole thing with a stick blender. Stir in the mascarpone (don’t let the soup boil after this!), parsley, chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Note: to make this recipe suitable for vegans, use olive oil instead of butter and a plant based cream instead of mascarpone.

Broad bean purée

This purée is very versatile. It is delicious as a side-dish with all kinds of meats, it is delicious as a dip for bread sticks, it is delicious as a spread on bruscetta and it works also great as a pasta sauce (thin it with some water in that case). Double-podding all the broad beans is a bit of a job, but the end-result makes it certainly worth it. And I kind of like the repetition of podding beans, it is quite a meditative activity. So why not make a big batch even when you will not eat it at once? It keeps for 4 days in the fridge, so it is a great stand-by for an easy dinner, or a delicious snack.
On the photo you can see I served the purée with a beefburger and fried polenta squares. You make this squares by cooking your polenta according to the instructions on the package. Season with salt, pepper, a knob of butter, some cream or mascarpone and parmesan. Pour into a greased baking dish (so that it forms a thin and even layer) and leave to cool. It should be completely cool, so I like to place the baking dish in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Cut into squares and fry in a hot pan in some olive oil until golden and crisp on the outside, and warm in the middle.

Broad Bean Puree

Broad bean purée (serves 4-6)
Adapted from “Annabel Langbein – The Free Range Cook”

1 kg podded fresh or frozen broad beans (or 5 kg fresh broad beans in their pods, podded)
3 cloves garlic, chopped very finely
4 tbsp extra vergine olive oil
50 g grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp water
Optional: squeeze of lemon

If broad beans are fresh, boil them for 2 minutes then drain. If using frozen broad beans, pour over boiling water and leave until cool enough to handle. Slip off greyish outer skins by grasping each bean by its grooved end and squeezing gently. Discard skins.
Put the beans, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor and purée. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if necessary. The purée can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days.
To serve, add the water and warm on low heat while stirring regularly. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like. Serve.

Note: to make this dish truly vegetarian, use a vegetarian alternative for Parmesan cheese.

Brussel sprouts with mustard sauce

I usually serve my brussel sprouts very simple, either simply boiled, or boiled and then grilled on very high heat, which makes them a bit sweeter. But sometimes you want something different, so I thought to share this recipe with you, since it is the beginning of the brussel sprout season. It is a very simple mustard sauce, the creaminess mellows the flavour of the sprouts and the heat/flavour of the mustard gives it something interesting. Keep in mind when making this sauce that mustards can be very differently, so add a little and taste, you can always add more but you cannot take out. This sauce would also be very delicious with other vegetables, for example savoy cabbage or green beans. Or use it as a sandwich spread and layer it with sliced cold meats.

The work in this recipe is in the cleaning of the brussel sprouts. You can buy cleaned sprouts, but usually those are very bitter and not tasty at all. This is caused by a degradation of components in the sprouts, very fresh sprouts taste very mild and sweet, and when they get older they get more bitter (less sweet) and more cabbagy. The cleaned sprouts are usually quite old, they keep longer because of special packaging tricks but the flavour will still change. So I think it is worth it to spend the extra time on cleaning fresh brussel sprouts. Another thing that is quite detrimental for the flavour of brussel sprouts is overcooking them. They will get horribly stinky and bitter. So make sure you cook your sprouts until just tender.

Brussel sprouts with mustard sauce (2-4 persons)
500 g brussel sprouts
3 tbsp cream cheese (normal or light)
1 tsp, or to taste coarse mustard
1 tsp, or to taste Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Clean the brussel sprouts: slice a bit from the bottom and remove the outer leaves. Drop in cold water and wash to remove any sand or other unwanted stuff. Drain, place in a pan and barely cover with water. Add some salt to the cooking water. Bring to the boil, when boiling turn down the heat. Cook until just tender (test with a fork). The sprouts will be bright green and will just start to smell slightly cabbagy.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining the cream cheese and mustards. Taste and season with salt, pepper or more mustard.
Combine the sauce with the brussel sprouts and serve immediately.

Coconut-pineapple baked oatmeal

I made baked oatmeal in a few different flavours before, and I keep loving the concept. You can make it in advance, it has whole grains and fruit, and it makes a tasty, filling breakfast. Therefore I decided to make a new flavour variation, perfect for summer (or when you want to be reminded of summer): coconut and pineapple.
This variation is quite firm, I guess you could even eat it as a bar instead of from a bowl. I find that the pineapple makes the whole thing sweet enough (and lovely pineapple-y), I like my breakfast not too sweet. If you like sweet, add some sugar. Or drizzle with honey when serving. I like to eat it with some yoghurt, but I think it would be delicious with a splash of coconut milk too, to even further enhance the coconut flavour.

Coconut Pinapple Baked Oatmeal

Coconut-pineapple-vanilla baked oatmeal (6 portions)

1/2 cup grated coconut
2 1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup puréed pineapple (I puréed the pineapple from a 425 g can of pineapple on juice, and used the juice for another purposes)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup coconut milk (from a can)

Preheat the oven to 175C.
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in the other, then combine. Mix well, pour into a 20×20 cm baking dish and cover with aluminium foil. Place in the oven, bake for 20 minutes, then remove the aluminium foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
Cover well with aluminium foil or cling film and store for a maximum of 5 days in the fridge.