Chorizo, butter beans & kale

 
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Weekday nights are usually an unfussy affair in my household. Lengthy recipes are replaced with quick and easy suppers that use few ingredients, after all, spending a long time in the kitchen following a busy day isn't always enticing. Sometimes, I just want to throw a few ingredients in a pan and be done with it 10 minutes later.
This combination of chorizo, butter beans and kale is one such recipe.

Ingredients (for 1 generous portion, multiply as required)
80g of a good quality spicy chorizo
2 shallots or 1 small onion, sliced
a tin of butter beans
1 clove of garlic, crushed
juice of half a lemon
1 bowl of chopped kale
freshly ground black pepper to season

Method:
Peel and slice the chorizo.
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chorizo and onion and let it cook for 5 minutes until the onion softens and the chorizo goes slightly crispy. There is no need to add oil to the pan since the chorizo will release some fat. Season well with freshly ground black pepper.
Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes.
Squeeze over the lemon juice, add the garlic and stir well to combine.
Stir in the kale, season again with freshly ground black pepper and cook for another minute until the kale wilts slightly.
It's ready to serve.

Oat and flax chocolate chip biscuits

Flax or linseeds are a favourite ingredient when it comes to a myriad of conditions. They help with detoxification, hormone balance, skin and gut health to name a few.
They also taste delicious in these guilt-free chocolate chip biscuits (any excuse right?).
These biscuits taste good enough to be a gift, but trust me, you aren't going to want to give them away.

 
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Ingredients (makes 12 biscuits)
100g oats
50g flax or linseeds (find this near seeds and nuts in most supermarkets, they look a bit like sesame)
60g coconut oil
75ml maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
25g of 85% cocoa dark chocolate

Method:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
In a food processor, coffee grinder, blender or smoothie maker, blend the oats and lin or flaxseeds until it reaches a flour-like consistency.
Put the oat and seed mix in a bowl and stir in the baking powder and sea salt.
In a small pan, melt the coconut oil and vanilla extract. 
Mix the oats, coconut oil and maple syrup together until well combined and let it stand for a minute. It'll have a slightly sticky consistency.
Chop up the chocolate to make chocolate chips and stir that into the cookie dough mixture.
Take a tablespoon of the dough, make a ball then flatten using the palm of your hands to form a biscuit. It should be 2-3cm thick. Repeat until no mixture remains.
Bake the biscuits in the oven for 10-15 minutes. They should be golden but slightly soft in the middle.
The next task: attempt to not eat the whole batch whilst they are still warm.

Cookie dough

During a recent trip to a market, I picked up a tub of cookie dough as a treat. It was delicious, but also incredibly full of sugar, the effects of which I felt for the rest of that day (think kid of E numbers).
Once the sugar rush subsided, I started thinking of ways to recreate the recipe using natural ingredients. This is the result.
It's still sweet, delicious, works well with added protein for that perfect after gym snack and causes no undesired side effects.
Plus, it's incredibly quick to make.

 
 

Ingredients to make 2 jars:
1 can of chickpeas
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 heaped tablespoons of peanut butter (80g approximately)
2 pinches of sea salt
75ml maple syrup
50ml water
50g of 85% cocoa dark chocolate
optional: a scoop of natural protein

Method: 
Blend all of the ingredients apart from the chocolate until smooth. This may take a small amount of effort dependant on the blender you have.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Stir the majority of the chocolate into the cookie dough mix and sprinkle any remaining chocolate pieces on top.
Refrigerate before serving.

What I learnt from Ocado

Over a week ago, I had the pleasure of joining Ocado for a corporate wellness day. The day, which included an expert-led nutrition talk and mini nutrition consultations by me, proved to be an insightful exercise and even threw up a few unexpected truths.
Here is what I learnt:

Having more energy is the main priority
The number one improvement requested by employees during the nutrition consultations was to have more energy. Most tend to flake out after lunch.

Men care about nutrition (tech guys included)
If you are a guy and reading this, advanced apologies. In the world of nutrition, 75% of my client base if female. Women are simply more likely to seek out a nutritional therapist and at a fairly young age too. 
In a corporate environment, however, 75% of talk and consultation attendees were male and over 30. Interestingly, a large proportion were from the tech department.

Sitting all day = snacking
Most reported weight gain after starting to work in an office. The reality is, most offices have a culture of snacking.
You are in front of a computer, you are bored and the answer almost always tends to be: snack time.

A realistic steady start
This was probably the most surprising finding of all.
Most employees know what a healthy diet is, it’s all over social media, newspapers, magazines and the like. It’s not exactly hard to find the information if you look for it but the very thing that most employees really wanted is a realistic, small start that they could implement without having to go on an impossible eating regime.

Luckily, realistic, personalised nutrition is my strong point. 
Find out more about the corporate wellbeing packages I offer here

Trout, greens, cashew mayo and cucumber

As recipes go, this trout, greens and cashew mayo combo was the one that got the most "wow this tastes amazing" comments during this food show season.
It's a simple, yet impressive, dinner that can be thrown together in 10 minutes so it was almost too good not to share.
The trout can be swapped for almost any other firm fish but do make sure it's a responsibly sourced one.

 
Trout with cashew mayo.JPG
 

Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 trout fillets
greens & peas of your choice (a mix of spinach and kale is ideal)
organic butter to cook
1 lemon

For the cashew mayo: 
1 cup of cashews, soaked in water overnight or for at least 2 hours
1 teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
100ml of water

For the cucumber:
1/2 cucumber, halved lengthways then sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1" piece of ginger, peeled and grated
a pinch of sea salt

Method
To make the cashew mayo, drain the cashews, put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water if required to reach the desired consistency. The end result should be thick and creamy, just like mayo.
For the cucumber, put all of the ingredients in a bowl apart from the ginger. Take the grated ginger and squeeze the juice onto the cucumber. Stir together until well combined.
To cook the fish, heat a pan on a medium heat, melt a knob of butter and cook the trout fillets skin side down for 3 minutes. Turn them over for another 2 minutes and set aside.
Add the greens and peas to the same pan, cook for a minute, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and season well with sea salt and black pepper.
To serve, divide the greens between two plates, place the fish on top, add a good dollop of the cashew mayo and finish with crunchy cucumber pieces scattered over the fish.