Category Archives: My Recipes

Broccoli and Avocado Salad with Pomegranate and Pumpkin Seeds

Broccoli and avocado salad

This salad is bursting with vitamins, healthy fats and superfoods. Just perfect for winter when we need to find appetising ways of eating salads despite the cold weather.

I like to add seeds to all manner of dishes as they are filled with minerals – zinc in pumpkin seeds. I almost always have a pomegranate in my vegetable bowl as it not only tastes wonderful and looks pretty, but is high in vitamins and antioxidants. I have yet to find a dish that is not transformed by the addition of a scattering of pomegranate seeds.

Have the salad ready while the broccoli is steaming gently. Once it is cooked – bright green and retaining some crunch – tip it onto the salad and eat it warm. Dressed simply with a glug of good quality extra virgin olive oil and you have another healthy fat added into your meal.

For four people:

100g mixed salad leaves
1 large head broccoli, broken into florets
1 large avocado – ripe but still firm is best
½ pomegranate, seeds removed
A handful of pumpkin seeds
A glug of good quality extra-virgin olive oil
A glug of good quality Balsamic vinegar – I use my most expensive one for dressing salads
Black pepper

Place the salad leaves on a large platter – I think serving salads in large serving dishes makes them so much more appetising than a bowl as all the ingredients can be seen clearly.

Dry toast the pumpkin seeds in a pan on a medium heat until they begin to pop.

Steam the broccoli florets until they turn emerald green and are tender enough to eat while retaining some bite. Keep an eye while steaming as broccoli quickly overcooks, becomes a dull green and loses its vibrant taste.
In the meantime remove the seeds from the pomegranate by cutting it in half and bending the peel back to loosen the seeds. Remove any of the membrane that may cling to the seeds as you remove them.

Cut the avocado into pieces.

Add the avocado, pumpkin and pomegranate seeds to the leaves on the platter. When the broccoli is ready, add it to the salad.

A glug of extra virgin olive oil and one of balsamic vinegar is next. Finish with a grinding of black pepper.

Festive Fruit Platter

Festive Fruit Platter From The Healthy Heart

To celebrate the third birthday of From The Healthy Heart it feels appropriate to feast on fruit rather than on cake.

Any fruit will do of course, but I do think that choosing a colour theme looks special. For this winter fruit platter I chose clementines, papaya (my all-time favourite fruit), physalis (Cape gooseberries) for a bit of pizzazz and raspberries for extra, contrasting colour.

Simply peel and cut the fruit into similar sized pieces. I like to leave the physalis attached to their papery skins as they look so elegant. They are divine dipped in dark chocolate, by the way, but that is a story for another day.

Now all you need to do is to put on the kettle for a pot of herbal tea.

Crunchy Beetroot and Carrot Noodles with Avocado Dip

Crunchy Beetroot and Carrot Noodles

This recipe is from a new cookbook called Spiralize! 40 nutritious recipes to transform the way you eat, written by Stephanie Jeffs and published by Pavilion Books. I don’t usually blog about other people’s recipes, but am making an exception today as I have written about the book in today’s blog post.

The dish is easy to make, gorgeous to look at and delicious to eat. So that gets it onto my ‘must repeat’ list. My kids loved it too.

If you don’t have a spiralizer, Jeffs suggests using a vegetable peeler although you will then get ribbons rather than noodles.

The recipe does not state whether or not to peel the vegetables. I did peel although no doubt I reduced the nutrient content by doing so. Next time I will try it unpeeled.

The recipe serves 1 so I used 4 times the beetroot and veg and 2 avocadoes. I did not use the coconut oil but it tasted delicious nonetheless.

For one person:

1 small beetroot
1 medium carrot
1 tsp coconut oil, warmed until liquid
1 pinch Himalayan salt – I don’t have this to hand so I used Maldon sea salt
1 ripe avocado

Preheat the oven to 170 C

Spiralise the beetroot and carrot – using blade 2 if you have a spiralizer. Spread the noodles on a baking sheet and drizzle over the coconut oil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until crispy and slightly browned. I kept mine in the oven for ½ hour.

In the meantime scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl and mash with a fork. Add a pinch of salt. Some black pepper won’t go amiss either. Nor would a squeeze of lemon, although these last two ingredients are not in the recipe.

Plate the noodles and serve along with the dip.

Quince and Apple Fool

Quince and Apple Fool From The Healthy Heart

In this season of overindulgence it is good to have a quick and easy way to eat something nutritious, tasty and sweet. It helps to prevent the temptation to guzzle another mince pie or to keep dipping one’s hand into the box of assorted chocolates while watching holiday television.

A fruit fool is a lovely way to eat some of our 5 a day. The only problem is that cream is definitely not on my table when I am trying to lower my cholesterol. I have therefore made my fool with yoghurt instead and I find it delicious. I always use Total 0% because it is the no fat yoghurt with the least amount of added sugar that I can find. One of these days I must learn to make my own!

Stewed fruit must be one of the easiest dishes to prepare. Stewed apple freezes really well which is just as well as we have a glut of apples each year and the freezer is full. In this recipe I have added quince as I adore its aroma and the taste. I encourage you to give quince a try if you have not yet done so. I get mine at a local fruit and veg shop as I have never come across this fruit in my local supermarket. The flavour of quince intensifies when it is roasted.

This dish is lovely as a healthy dessert or can be added to a bowl of muesli in the morning.

For 4 people (with leftovers):

2 quinces
8 apples – I use a sweet apple for this so that there is no need to add sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 unwaxed lemon
250g Total 0% yoghurt or other low fat yoghurt (check the sugar content)
1 pomegranate

Peel, core and chop the quince and apples. The quantity depends on how much fruit you have and how much you wish to make. I use a ratio of one quince to about 4 -5 apples. Place the quince in an oven proof dish and bake in a medium oven for about 45 minutes. Check it is soft with the point of a knife. Set aside to cool and then peel.

In the meantime place the chopped apples in a pot with two to three strips of lemon peel and a stick of cinnamon. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and cook on a low heat. After about 10 – 15 minutes the apples should be collapsing. Set aside.

Combine the apples and the chunks of quince and refrigerate until ready to use.

When you want to serve, simply add a tablespoon or two of yoghurt to each helping of fruit and mix together into a creamy, fruity yumminess. Add a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds for extra vitamins, a burst of colour and the contrasting texture and juiciness.

Guinea Fowl with Bramley Apples

Guinea Fowl wiith Bramley Apple From The Healthy Heart

This has to be the epitome of a glorious autumnal dish. It tastes gorgeous and I urge you to try it. If you have not cooked a guinea fowl before please don’t be put off. It behaves in the pot much like a chicken except that it has a better flavour. The Bramley apples and the onions cook slowly and collapse into a sweet, fruity sauce that will literally have you licking out the pot. That is the effect it has on me at any rate.

One guinea fowl will feed 4 people happily but if you want to you can cook a couple at once in a large casserole pot. Not only is this recipe utterly moreish but it is also low fat as a guinea fowl is not a very fatty creature – must be all that running around.

I usually serve this with a celeriac and potato mash run through with a slick of Dijon mustard. A heap of steamed, wilted greens is all you need on the side.

I usually make this dish a day ahead as I do believe that anything that has been casseroled tastes even better the following day.

For 4 people:
1 guinea fowl
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, roughly chopped
3 Bramley apples, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup (250ml) brandy – I don’t use the expensive kind but rather what I call my ‘cooking brandy’
1 cup (250ml) apple juice – I use a refrigerated,fresh apple juice from the supermarket, not a long-life kind
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock

For celeriac mash:

2 celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped
4 large-ish potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups semi skimmed milk
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Heat the olive oil in a large casserole and brown the guinea fowl on all sides. In the meantime chop the onions and apples. When the guinea fowl has taken on some colour add the onions and the apples to the casserole. You will need to push them to the sides of the guinea fowl so that they can soften a little.

Add the brandy and allow to bubble for a few minutes. I have long given up lighting the brandy with a match and much prefer burning off the alcohol by turning up the heat so that the liquid comes to the boil briefly. I once nearly came to harm when huge flames from brandy, lit with a match, leapt up towards my air extractor above the stove.

After a few minutes add the apple juice and the chicken stock. Stir to combine.

Cover the casserole with its lid and place in the oven for an hour.

To make the celeriac mash, bring two pots of water to the boil and add the celeriac and the potatoes to boil separately. It won’t take long because you will have chopped them into pieces. About 15 minutes should do but test with the point of a knife. Drain and set aside to dry off.

In the meantime put the milk in a small pot along with the garlic clove and bring the milk to the edge of the boil. Set aside.

Place the celeriac in a food processor along with the milk (remove the garlic clove first) and puree.
Mash the potato with a potato masher as it turns gloopy if you put potato in a processor. Add the mustard while you mash.

Mix the potato and the pureed celeriac in a bowl. Add a little more milk if you need to.

Partridge Breast with Pan-fried Pear and Walnut Pesto

Partridge Breast with Pan-fried Pear and Walnut Pesto From The Healthy Heart

This time of year is wonderful for lovers of game. Luckily I am a great enthusiast of these low fat birds. Small they may be, yet they have a wonderful depth of flavour. I usually buy whole partridges for the pot, but this week I came across packs of partridge breasts in my supermarket. I think that autumnal fruits and flavours go well with this bird and so I have used pear and walnuts and a side order of roasted beetroot and butternut. All in all this makes a very satisfying meal. If you want to add some carbs you can roast a few baby potatoes in olive or cook up a pot of wholemeal pasta and mix the walnut pesto into it.

For 4 people:
4 partridge breasts
4 pears
1 small jar walnut pesto
1 tablespoon olive oil
Black pepper
Balsamic vinegar – use the best quality you have
A few sprigs of oregano

Begin with preparing the pears. Slice each pear into 6-8 thin slices. Place the pears in a heated non-stick pan. Keep an eye so that they don’t burn. When the one side is tinged with colour, turn over for a few minutes. You want each side to take on a caramel colour. Remove and set aside.

Wipe out the pan and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Heat and add the partridge breasts. Keeping the heat on high, sear the breasts for 1 minute on each side. Then turn down to heat and cook more gently for a further 5 minutes, turning to cook equally on both sides. Add a splash or two of good quality balsamic vinegar to the pan and swirl around so that the meat gets a slick of balsamic glaze. Finish with a grinding of black pepper.

Arrange the pear slices and partridge breast on plates and add a spoon of walnut pesto as well as a sprig of oregano or thyme if you prefer.

I like to eat this dish with a helping of roast root veg. You will need to make this in advance. Simply peel and chop a selection of beetroot, butternut, peppers, red onion and chestnut mushrooms. Place in a roasting dish, anoint with olive oil and cook at 200 C for an hour.

Rice Noodle Chicken and Prawn Stirfry with Lemongrass, Stem Ginger and Chilli

Rice Noodle Chicken and Prawn Stirfry with Lemongrass, Stem Ginger and Chilli

Oh what a joyful mouthful this dish offers. It has a lovely contrast of textures from silky noodles to crunchy nuts, and so much flavour from lemongrass, chilli, spring onion, ginger, lime and coriander. Get out your wok! Lowering cholesterol never tasted this good.

You can make this into a vegetarian dish by omitting the chicken and prawns (and fish sauce) and using tofu instead.

For four people:

1 tablespoon Rapeseed oil
2 chicken breasts, sliced
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 lemongrass stalks, peeled and thinly sliced
6 spring onions, sliced
½ ball stem ginger
4 sachets of straight to wok rice noodles
50g almonds, finely chopped
¼ savoy cabbage, shredded
1 courgette, julienned
A good glug of Fish sauce
A good glug of Tamari sauce – Clearspring do a gluten free version if you are avoiding wheat
150g peeled and cooked prawns
A small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
1 lime, cut into quarters

It might seem that there are many ingredients and stages to this dish but if you do your prep in advance it all comes together. Stir frying is only stressful if you are still trying to chop your ingredients when you are trying to cook.

I like to start by chopping my nuts and giving them a brief toasting in a dry pan so that they take on some colour but do not burn. Set aside.

Heat the rapeseed oil in your wok. When it is hot add the chicken strips and keep moving them around until they take on some colour and are cooked through (no pink inside). At this point you can remove them from the wok.

Now add the chilli, garlic, lemongrass, spring onion and stem ginger. Stir briefly to release fabulous aromas – a minute or two.

Add the savoy cabbage and courgette and continue cooking for another couple of minutes.

Add the fish sauce and tamari (or soy sauce if your prefer) and stir to combine.

Add the prawns to heat through as well as the cooked chicken strips.
Add the rice noodles to warm through.

Garnish with the toasted almonds, chopped coriander and lime wedges.
Serve immediately with green tea.

Smoked Salmon with Rainbow Beetroot

Smoked Salmon with Rainbow Beetroot From The Healthy Heart

This week I came across bunches of rainbow beetroot in a high street food hall. Usually I only find these colourful beetroot at a Farmer’s Market so I popped these happily into my shopping basket.

Back home, I simply roasted them on an oven tray at 180 C for about an hour. Test with a sharp knife from time to time to see when they are cooked through as time needed depends on the size of your beetroot. Leave them in their skins to roast and then slip the skins off while the beetroot is still warm. Too hot and you burn your hands, too cold and the skins are more difficult to remove. Yes, it is a bit like Goldilocks – at the right temperature it all works well.

Slice the beetroots into thin slices. They are so delicious that they need no adornment. The salty, rich flavour of the smoked salmon is a perfect foil for the sweet, earthy taste of the beetroot. I love the pink, orange, red colour scheme.

Eat with a slice of wholemeal, or even better, a dark rye.

Tumbet

Tumbet - From The Healthy Heart

One of the best bits about travelling is finding new dishes which can be attempted back home. On a summer holiday to Majorca we discovered this vegetarian dish on almost every menu. It is often served as a starter course but it goes very well as a side dish to the main course. Having enjoyed many variants of this during a two week stay, I had to give it a go in my own kitchen.

Tumbet is similar to a ratatouille in that it contains aubergine, courgette, peppers and tomato sauce. Rather than being served as a stew, however, it is layered and much drier than its French relative. It also contains potato. One of the tastiest versions we ate appeared to have stewed the vegetables in olive oil but I think it is more authentic to bake the vegetables separately. As we are trying to reduce cholesterol, I have baked the veg without oil but feel free to toss the veg in olive oil if you wish.

This is one of those dishes that can be prepared in advance with the final baking done when you are ready to eat. I made a large tray full as it is very tasty eaten at room temperature the next day or even gently reheated.

For 4 people – with leftovers:

4 large potatoes – sliced the thickness of a pound coin.
4 aubergines – sliced in rings
4 large courgettes – sliced in rings
4 red peppers – seeded and cut into large chunks

For the tomato sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 large jar passata
1 small tin or tube of tomato paste
Black pepper

Slice the veg into slices. Place each type of veg on a separate oven tray lined with non-stick paper. Heat the oven to 180 C and bake each vegetable until soft. The times will vary, the potatoes taking longer.

In the meantime make the tomato sauce. Gently heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Chop the onion and sauté gently until soft, add the garlic, chopped and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Now add the passata or 3 tins of chopped tomatoes. Add the tomato paste and cook slowly until you have a thick sauce. Season with black pepper.

When all the components are ready you can layer the veg in a flat-ish casserole dish or ovenproof dish and prepare for the final baking.

Brush the bottom of the dish with a little olive oil and then layer as follows:
Potato slices, courgette slices, red pepper chunks, aubergine slices.
Now pour over the tomato sauce.

Place in the heated oven until hot.

Serve with a green salad as a light lunch or as a side dish with grilled fish or chicken.

Elephant Garlic and Potato Frittata with Smoked Paprika

Elephant garlic and Potato Frittata with Smoked Paprika

Having recently visited The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight, my kitchen is full of new varieties of garlic. New to me, that is. A huge bulb of Elephant Garlic has been awaiting use and added a gorgeous flavour to a potato frittata. It was one of those Sunday lunch situations when there was not much in the fridge except for eggs (always) and quite a number of cold roast potatoes left over from the roast chicken the night before. That chicken, by the way, had inside its cavity a bulb of smoked garlic which suffused the meat with a lovely gentle, smoky garlic-ness. But I digress.

Elephant garlic is a revelation to me. The huge cloves are gentler in flavour than their smaller relatives. I simply sautéed them very slowly, sliced, in olive oil, added the potatoes, sliced, and then added both to a bowl of beaten eggs. Into a hot pan and briefly under the grill. The final flourish was a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
A green salad on the side was all that was needed for a simple and satisfying lunch.

For 4 people:

2 -3 cloves Elephant Garlic – of course you can substitute ordinary garlic or order online
3-4 cooked potatoes, sliced
Olive oil
8 large eggs – preferably organic
¼ cup milk
Sea salt
Smoked paprika

Slice the garlic thinly and sauté slowly in a little olive oil. Slice the potatoes and place on top of the garlic and continue to cook slowly until the potatoes colour a little.

Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk. Add ¼ cup of milk and whisk to combine. Add a pinch of sea salt.

Heat a little olive oil in a pan that can be put under the grill – I use a stainless steel one – and add the egg mixture. Keep tipping the pan while gently lifting the edges of the frittata so that uncooked egg can run underneath. When the egg is nearly set, sprinkle the frittata with a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Place the pan under a hot grill to set and brown slightly.

Serve with a green salad and some wholemeal, crusty bread.