Beef and noodle salad bowl

Umami is a recent flavour discovery that I've been experimenting with.
Translated from Japanese, it means "pleasant savoury taste" and pleasant it is.
For this recipe, I used umami paste to flavour soba noodles. Crunchy vegetables add vitamins and minerals and complement the meaty flavour of beef.
In case you are vegetarian, the beef is easily left out.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
100g soba noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
1 beef steak
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 spring onions, sliced
100g sugar snap peas, sliced in half lengthways
leaves from a small handful of parsley
sea salt and black pepper to season
2 tsp of sesame seeds to garnish (optional)

For the umami dressing:
1 tbsp Clearspring umami paste with ginger
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey or maple syrup

Heat a griddle pan over a high heat.
Season the steak with black pepper and sea salt on both sides.
Cook the steak on each side for 3 minutes and set aside to rest.
To make the umami dressing, whisk together all of the ingredients until well combined.
In a large bowl, mix the noodles, parsley leaves and sliced spring onion with the dressing.
Divide the noodles between two bowls, top with the sugar snap peas, carrot and sliced steak and sprinkle over some sesame seeds (if using).

Flattened chicken, slaw, beans & kale

When it comes to good nutrition, variety is an important aspect.
A diverse range of vegetables and fruits, especially those with different colours, deliver a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
This latest recipe includes 4 kinds of vegetables, alongside chicken breast for protein and tons of flavour. After all, variety is the spice of life.

If you are in the Derbyshire area on the 2nd and 3rd of September then drop by the Chatsworth Country Fair.  I will be in the cookery demo theatre, showing you just how easy it is to make this dish.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
2x chicken breasts
1x tin of black beans
3x spring onions, sliced
1x chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp of desiccated coconut
juice of 1/2 lime
2x large handfuls of kale leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon

For the slaw:
1/4 of a red cabbage, finely sliced
1 carrot, grated
1 tbsp of peanut butter
1 tbsp of water
1 tsp each of honey & tamari (or soy sauce) juice of 1/2 lime

Put the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of cling film and bash with a rolling pin until flattened to 1" thick.
Heat a griddle pan on a high heat and cook the chicken on each side for 3­-4 minutes.
To make the beans, toast the coconut in small pan on a medium heat for 3 minutes. Put the beans, chopped chilli, spring onions and coconut in a bowl. Season well with sea salt and black pepper, squeeze over the juice of half a lime and stir to combine.
Put the kale in a separate bowl, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and "massage" to break down the kale leaves.
For the slaw, whisk the peanut butter, water, honey, lime juice and tamari until well combined. Pour over the cabbage and carrot and stir well to combine.
To serve, divide the beans, slaw and kale between two plates and top with a chicken breast.

Beetroot and orange salad

Nutrient boosts don't come in prettier packages than this beetroot and orange salad.
It isn't all about the looks so let me reassure you that this dish also tastes amazing.
The peppery rocket combines so well with the sweetness of the beetroot and oranges. Toasted pistachios bring a welcome crunch and the cinnamon dressing adds acidity to balance the flavours.
There are plenty of vitamins and minerals to make you feel good too: vitamins A, C, K, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium and copper are all in this colourful salad.
Tuck in and feel the glow.

Ingredients (Serves 1)
1 orange, peeled
1 medium beetroot, peeled
large handful of rocket
2 tablespoon of pistachios

For the dressing:
1.5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup

To toast the pistachios, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, put the nuts on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
To make the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together until well combined.
Thinly slice the beetroot and orange. Combine with the rocket, drizzle over the dressing and top with the toasted pistachios.

Vegan nut free pesto, pasta and spring veg

It is meat free Monday again for which I have a lovely vegan recipe.
Pasta and spring vegetables are enhanced by a vibrant nut free pesto. Lemon and basil are such a great combination to add flavour to delicate spring vegetables.
The pesto uses sunflower and pumpkin seeds instead of nuts, the flavour and texture of which are very similar but if you have a nut allergy then you are still ok to eat this.

In case you are wondering: I am a nutritionist and I do eat pasta.. once or twice a month. I tend to stick to whole wheat, organic versions made from 100% durum wheat. 
Whatever dish pasta is used in, I make sure it is balanced out with vegetables. This means that if I am eating a bowl of pasta, close to half of that bowl should be veg. 
Unless you are coeliac then pasta isn't that bad for you in moderation. Yes, it is a source of carbs but it's how much you eat that matters.

Ingredients for 2

20g basil leaves
juice of half a lemon
grated zest of a 1/4 lemon
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of water
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Spring veg pasta:
180g organic, whole wheat pasta
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
a large handful (40g) of spinach
150g frozen peas

To make the pesto, put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until combined. Pesto should be coarse so don't blend it too much.
To make the pasta, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and bring a large pan of water to the boil.
Put the cherry tomatoes on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes, until soft.
Cook the pasta for 10 minutes or until it is al-dente then drain it.
Cook the frozen peas on a medium heat in your pasta pan. You just want them to defrost and warm up. 
Add the pasta and spinach to the pan with the peas and stir in 3 tablespoons of pesto.
Heat it through for a minute, stir in the tomatoes and it is ready to serve.
Divide the mixture between two plates.