Braised puy lentils, roast chicken, chimichurri

A high protein, nutrient dense and tasty dinner for when salad isn’t warming enough.
It’s great served warm and equally keeps well, making leftovers a great option for lunches on subsequent days.
In case chicken isn’t your thing, you can pretty much top the lentils with whatever you like. A baked sweet potato or some roasted cauliflower are equally delicious additions to this dish.

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Cod, watercress sauce, crispy garlic & curry leaves

Although I’m usually left to my own devices to come up with suitable recipes for cookery demonstrations, one food festival organiser specifically asked me to present ketogenic dishes.
As an appreciator of carbs, this isn’t what I would naturally cook but for the sake of balance, and given the science behind the keto diet, I rose to the challenge.
The premise of the ketogenic approach, for those of you that aren’t familiar, is a high fat, high protein, very low carb, sometimes with short periods of fasting that gears the body to burn fat for fuel instead of sugar.
Research links this way of eating with better blood sugar control, improvements in certain disease states and weight loss (search for “ketogenic diet in pubmed.gov if you are interested in the exact science).

This beautiful fish, watercress sauce and crispy garlic recipe isn’t just low carb at below 12g of carbs per portion, it’s also super high in nutrients and big on flavour.
If you aren’t particularly bothered about the carbs then it works really well with a few new potatoes added, the fish is easily substituted with some firm tofu for a vegan version or you can cook the fish in coconut or rapeseed oil for a dairy-free alternative.
It makes a delicious dinner however you chose to amend it.

 
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Ingredients (feeds 4)
For the watercress sauce:
100g of cashews
2 large handfuls of watercress (60g)
2 large handfuls of spinach (60g)
one handful of parsley (10g), both the leaves and stalks are ok
250ml of hot veg stock or hot bone broth
zest & juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 teaspoon of good quality sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the crispy spice mix:
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
2 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons of dried curry leaves
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of black onion seeds

For the fish
Good quality, organic butter
4 cod loin pieces
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the charred tenderstem
320g tenderstem broccoli
Rapeseed oil
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method:
Boil 1/2 a kettle of water.
Put the cashews in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak until you prepare the rest of the ingredients. This will soften the cashews and ensure they blend easier.
Use some of the boiling water to make the stock, if using.

To make the charred tenderstem:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Put the tenderstem on a baking tray. Season with sea salt and black pepper, drizzle with some rapeseed oil and roast for 15-20 minutes until the stems have softened and the edges of the crown are slightly crispy.

To make the sauce:
Drain the cashews and pop in a blender with the remaining sauce ingredients.
Blend until smooth.
It should retain some heat from the hot stock or bone broth but it can be heated gently on a low heat. Just avoid bringing it to a boil since that’ll turn the sauce brown.

To cook the fish:
Add a knob of butter to a frying pan on a medium heat.
Season the fish with sea salt and black pepper.
Put the fish in the pan and only turn it once the edges have changed to opaque white. Flip it over and cook it for a couple more minutes.
Set aside & keep warm.

To make the crispy spice mix:
Put the coconut oil in a small saucepan on a high heat.
Drop in the garlic, followed by the curry leaves 10 seconds later then the cumin and black onion seed.
Remove with a spoon once the garlic slices start to turn golden.
Drain on kitchen paper.
Be careful not to burn the garlic/ spices. It cooks very quickly.

To assemble: add a ladle of sauce, place the fish on top, the broccoli on the side and sprinkle over some of the crispy spice mix. Drizzle over some of the coconut oil that was used to cook the spice mix if desired.

Miso salmon noodles, crispy duck egg

This recipe really doesn’t need a lot of blurb or a long introduction.
It’s tasty, nutritious and you can cook it in less than 15 minutes.
Switch the duck egg to a hen’s egg if desired.

 
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Ingredients for 1 (multiply as desired)
100g of udon noodles
1” piece of ginger, peeled, sliced then cut into matchsticks
3 spring onions, sliced
3-4 shiitake mushrooms (substitute with 2 portobello mushrooms if desired), sliced
a handful of kale, torn
1/2 red chilli, sliced
1 salmon fillet, cut into bite-sized chunks
black pepper to season
rapeseed oil to cook
1 duck egg (I used a Clarence Court duck egg from Sainsbury’s).
sesame seeds and fresh coriander to garnish (optional)

For the miso sauce:
2 heaped teaspoons of miso (I used Clearspring Yutaka organic miso paste, Sainsbury’s)
juice of half a lemon
1 heaped teaspoon of corn flour
50ml of water

Method:
Bring a pan of water to the boil. Drop in the noodles and cook according to packet instructions (approximately 10 minutes).
Whilst the noodles are cooking, make the rest of the dish.
To make the sauce, whisk together the ingredients until well combined.
Put a frying pan a medium high-heat, add a good splash of rapeseed oil, the ginger, spring onion, mushrooms and chilli and cook for a minute.
Add the kale and salmon and cook for another minute until the salmon is cooked on the outside. Season with black pepper.
Drain the noodles, add to the pan with salmon and stir. Pour in the sauce and cook for 30 seconds to a minute until the sauce has thickened.
Transfer to a pasta bowl and keep warm until you cook the duck egg.
Wipe the frying pan clean with a paper towel, add a splash of rapeseed oil and return to a medium-high heat.
Crack in a duck egg and cook until the edges start to go brown and crispy.
Put the duck egg on top of the noodles and garnish with sesame seeds and fresh coriander.

Charred tenderstem broccoli

This is one of those recipes that I’m particularly excited about for so many reasons.
Yeah, it’s broccoli and no I haven’t lost the plot so just hear me out.

Health:
Broccoli is a genuinely healthy veg that we could do with eating way more of, well by that I mean more consistently, on the daily, as opposed to overloading with a giant plate of it once in a blue moon.
Broccoli is full of fancy sounding compounds such as indole-3-carbinols, glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, caretonoids and many more. The thick and thin of it is that these compounds are incredible for human health.
Some boost detoxification, others help to balance hormones, support eye health and the digestive system amongst others. Pretty impressive for a humble plant.
There is also a decent amount of various vitamins and minerals in there.
On a more anecdotal note, it’s the one vegetable that produces the biggest health improvements with my clients. Note that variety is always key and there is of course a lot more that goes into nutrition protocols than just broccoli.

Access
We grow a lot of broccoli in the UK (thank you Lincolnshire), in fact when you consider the various types, sprouting, calabrese (the traditional heads of broccoli) and broccoli sprouts, there isn’t a season that isn’t right for growing at least one of them. Sprouting broccoli, for example, does particularly well during winter when the traditional forms aren’t available.
As such broccoli is a cheap and nutritious British veg that scores pretty high on sustainability.
Having said that, do check the packaging for the origin since a lot is still imported from abroad, especially the calabrese variety which doesn’t grow year around in the UK.

On the whole, broccoli is cheap and nutritious so there is no excuse for not eating it more often.
Obviously, boiling it to death will ensure the majority of vitamins are lost, therefore stir-frying, cooking it into sauces or roasting it is the best way to handle this veg for maximum nutrients.

My favourite is “charred” tenderstem or sprouting broccoli.
It’s basically roasted broccoli where you allow the edges to char ever so slightly, giving it some crunch and extra flavour.
It’s super simple and quick to do.
Pair it with any evening meal or stick it in a wrap alongside goat’s cheese, tomatoes and rocket.

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Ingredients for 2:
200g of tenderstem or sprouting broccoli
rapeseed oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of chilli flakes

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Wash the broccoli and trim the very ends off (just to get rid of the woody bit where it was cut during harvesting).
Lay the broccoli on a roasting tray, drizzle with some rapeseed oil, season with sea salt and black pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes.
Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the stalk is fully cooked and the head is slightly charred.
Enjoy.