Toolkit recipes

Posted in: LF, N, Nutrition Info, S, Uncategorized, V, WF

With a teeny tiny bit of prep, and some Tupperware, you can eat within five minutes of stepping in your kitchen. Literally. Leaving the evening free to do, well, whatever it is you like to do…

Toolkit recipes

Now, I enjoy cooking but the last thing I want to do when I get in late, so hungry I could eat a weathered donkey, is cook. And quite frankly, my creativity and patience by this point have entirely evaporated in the face of anything more challenging than a tub of hummus. So, what happens if one is equipped with enough toolkit tupperware for several days? Revolutionary.

You may have noticed I’m a bit of a salad groupie. None of the insubstantial, rabbit feed variety for me though. An ideal receptacle for accommodating almost the entire contents of the fridge and given the high male praise of being “like eating meat”, I’ve termed them Man Salads. The key is in the base, and in embracing accidental recipes; where my most treasured dishes are born.

Pick & Mix lunch

Salad base (for two):

1 handful salad leaves: rocket, watercress, spinach and / or herbs
2 dsp puy lentils – from the Larder page
2 tbsp qunioa – from the Larder page
2 tbsp peas, frozen (and defrosted!) fine
4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp vinaigrette, or to taste
1 tbsp toasted seeds

See Qunioa, feta, rocket & toasted seed for rough nutritional data. Note: this recipe includes feta.

Quinoa, feta & toasted seed salad, wholesomeseduction

With a couple of additions, the options are endless. Click on the recipe links in the text:

Feta, butternut & hummus

Top with feta for one of my favourite, healthy suppers: Qunioa, feta, rocket & toasted seed. Or swap the quinoa for Roast butternut & fennel seed and a desert spoon of hummus. The saltiness of the feta against the sweet butternut squash and earthy, yet lemony hummus and nutty, crunchy seeds is happiness itself. In my opinion…

Garam masala chicken

Chuck in half a breast of Garam masala chicken and maybe a desert spoon of hummus for my take on Shawarma joy – a Middle eastern staple. This is also delicious in a wrap; chicken and hummus really are perfect partners. The chicken and feta route is a winner too.

I sometimes swap the quinoa, hummus and vinaigrette for Caesar salad dressing and toasted pine nuts with feta, goat’s cheese or Parmesan – an altogether meatier Chicken Caesar. And Goat’s cheese, apple and Caesar is pretty addictive.

Food to Go - salad

As you may have noticed, I have a tendency to throw all sorts of ingredients in together, even sometimes adding to shop bought salads if they err towards bland or insubstantial. Don’t be afraid to improvise; some concoctions work, some don’t. Making mistakes is the best way to learn and innovate.

In the interests of your sanity (and mine), I’ve stuck to bite sized tips: Salads this week, soups and stews next.

Garam masala & tamarind chicken

Posted in: DF, S, Uncategorized, WF

Sweet and spicy garam masala and chilli with tangy tamarind do something magical with chicken. It takes a modicum of willpower not to devour the whole dish straight from the pan. Perfect in salads and soups, I almost always have a Tupperware of this in the fridge. Don’t be put off by the anchovies; other than bringing a greater depth of flavor and meatiness, you’d never know they’re there.

Garam masala chicken

Feeds 2. Cooking time: less than 30 mins.

 

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp crushed chillies
2 anchovies, chopped
3 tsp tamarind
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 dsp tomato puree
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tin plum tomatoes, optional

Method

Coat the chicken in the ingredients, bar the olive oil and plum tomatoes, and set aside, ideally overnight. You can also cook straight away (I often do), but the flavour’s better if you’re able to leave to marinate.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the chicken breasts until browned. About 4 mins. on the first side and 2 on the reverse.

It’s at this point that you add, or not, the tinned tomatoes. I alternate between the two, depending if I want more sauce to have with some rice, or if I’m cooking chicken to go straight to the fridge for a Toolkit lunch.

Turn down to a relatively low heat, cover and cook for 15 mins, or until the chicken is still tender, yet cooked through. If you’ve gone for the plum tomato option, take the lid off 5 mins before the end so that some of the liquid evaporates and your sauce thickens.

Eat straight away with crusty bread, rice or mash. Or chopped into a salad.

Garam masala chicken & toasted seed salad

With either dish, make sure you keep some chicken aside in the fridge for salads, wraps, stir-fries or soups.

Tip: Drop the tinned tomatoes and cook your Garam masala chicken on the BBQ in the summer. Tandoor chicken. Ish.

PP (150g): Kcal: 360, Pr: 50.5g, Carb: 9.3g, OWS: 1.6g, Fat: 13.6g, Sat Fat: 2.3g, Salt: 0.7g

P/1/2 breast: Kcal: 180, Pr: 25.3g, Carb: 4.6g, OWS: 0.8g, Fat: 6.8g, Sat Fat: 1.1g, Salt: 0.4g

 

Roast butternut & fennel seed

Posted in: DF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Another faithful Toolkit recipe that’s as impressive at a BBQ or dinner party (a hit at Yotel’s Christmas party!) as it is fridge staple for adding to packed lunch salads and wraps. I’ve even topped it with a poached egg, feta and coriander for brunch.

Roast butternut & fennel seed

Feeds 6. Prep: 10 mins. Cook: 40 mins.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash – approx.
2kg 2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 head garlic, halved – no need to remove skin
1 tsp dried chilli flakes – optional
1 tsp sea salt
Black pepper, good grind

Method

Preheat oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. Half butternut lengthways – skin stays on. Remove seeds and cut at into 1.5″ thick semi circles.

In a bowl, mix by hand with remaining ingredients. Transfer to a baking tray, placing skin side down where possible.

Bake for 30 – 40 mins, till flesh is soft and skin slightly blackened. Charring is key for smoky, salty skin and to avoid toughness.

Pile on a platter for dinner party awe, served warm or at room temperature, with roast lamb or chicken. Or store in the fridge to add to salads or wraps  – so good with feta, hummus and rocket!

P/4 semi-circles: Kcal:128, Pr: 3.6g, Carb: 23g, OWS: 12.1g, Fat: 3.4g, Sat Fat: 0.4g, Salt: Trace

 

Hummus

Posted in: DF, Featured, S, SF, V, WF

As much a staple in my fridge as a pint of milk, hummus is a protein, sesame and pulse packed powerhouse of instant filling wonder. A perfect partner for chicken, sweet potato, feta or oatcakes.

Hummus

Prep time: 10 mins.

Ingredients

1 tin chickpeas or 300g dried, soaked overnight
150ml water (take from chickpeas if cooking from dried)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemon, juice of
1 tbsp tahini
150ml olive oil – you can sub with part water, I like the olive oil flavour
1 tsp sea or Himalayan pink salt

Method

If using soaked chickpeas, boil until soft but not mushy. Set aside a few to top on your hummus at the end.

In a food processor or Vitamix, blitz all ingredients until you get a rough puree. Scrape down the sides and blend again until smooth. If using a Vitamix, you can use the puree setting and leave it to do it’s work. If you double the quantities, though, you’ll probably need to use the plunger mid way.

Test for salt, lemon and tahini – adding more to your taste, if required and transfer to a jar. Top with a few whole chickpeas, some paprika and a drizzle of olive oil. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Tip: I never tire of hummus with my Sticky sweet potato wedges (so good!), with Quinoa, feta & rocket salad or slathered over chicken in a wrap (shawarma) or salad.

 

P/dsp: Kcal:104, Pr: 2.9g, Carb: 4.9g, OWS: 0.2g, Fat: 8.2g, Sat Fat: 1.1g, Salt: 0.3g

P/100g: Kcal: 248, Pr: 7.0g, Carb: 11.6g, OWS: 0.5g, Fat: 19.7g, Sat Fat: 2.7g, Salt: 0.9g

 

The Anti-diet: Fresh, naturally

Posted in: Uncategorized

By this I mean made by you. Or your granny / the local deli / anyone not advocating the use of ingredients you’d expect to find in a science lab. As this blog eulogises, food is our fuel. I have a sneaking suspicion our growing girths and ever more vociferous food intolerance grumbles, can largely be attributed to the unpronounceable nasties poured into our ready-meals.

Seasonally Seductive Variety

Our bodies like variety. And by eating seasonally, you automatically tick the balanced diet manifesto. At the very least, you’ll never unwittingly consume horse in your beef burgers again.

Horse Burgers

And don’t get me started on salt, fat and sugar. It’s now common knowledge that many ready meals contain over half our recommended daily allowance of the former in a single serving. As a result, salt has become a swear word when in fact, our bodies need it to function.

It’s like this: Our heart is a muscle. Our digestive tract and limbs, amongst other things, are controlled by our muscles. Without salt, said muscles can’t move (hence cramp). If you’re not living off packaged loaves or processed food, you can probably scratch this one off your worry list.

Caravan Coffee, Exmouth Market, London.

By the same token, coffee houses such as Monmouth, All Press and Caravan (pictured), don’t do skinny milk. Because lattes weren’t invented with watered down, processed lactose. Coffee and the sweet, velvety cows milk are perfect partners. Enjoy them as they’re meant to be – in a smaller cup as opposed to a 32oz Venti bucket.

Pick and MIx. Love Hearts.

And what is the deal with sugar? When did we Brits develop such a super saccharine tooth? Most Rhubarb crumbles are now sweeter than Pick ‘N Mix with even ready meals and low fat foods typically loaded with sugar. It’s no wonder obesity and diabetes are on the increase, hence the press recently turning into our most vociferous saccherophobe (sugar hater). sugar demon taking such a beating by the press of late. On current trends, by 2050 half the UK adult population will be obese. We currently stand at 1/3. Nice.

For the record, the legendary J. Sheekey’s still flies the flag for our tangy British crumble favourite, complimented with the silkiest, vanilla bean speckled crème Anglais. #drool

JSheekey Oyster Bar, London.

“But I don’t step foot in my kitchen before 9pm”, I hear you groan. Without wishing to sound like Martha Stewart, soups, stews and salads can be super quick to prepare. The key is to make bigger batches for the fridge or freezer.

Next week I’ll blog some key recipes that can be mixed and matched for a week of almost instantaneous post work suppers and office lunch boxes, putting into easy practice what must seem like Anti-diet overload! In the meantime, click on the Seasonal Seducers and recipes for Wholesomely Seductive eating that’s a way of life, as opposed to a starve v. binge battle.

For more Anti-diet tips click on the Tag on the right, or type Anti-diet into the Search box at the top.

All Anti-diet posts have been approved by nutritionist and Gather & Gather colleague Kate Taylor, find her on Twitter @kate_t85