Thursday 17 May 2012

Asian Salmon

Yesterday, my husband Dean brought home three beautiful salmon fillet portions and asked me to make our ever so delicious Asian grilled salmon recipe. I learnt to make it many years ago from one of Jamie Oliver’s live demonstrations during a food festival. I adapted it and have cooked it this way ever since. It’s a mix of teryaki flavour with a  touch of Thai. It is sticky on the outside and keeps a juicy pink flesh inside. Even those who are not so keen on salmon cannot resist it. It’s also a great barbecue option – especially if you buy the whole salmon fillet. As an option you can use chicken instead.

The ingredients for the marinade
Put them all in a pestle and mortar

Bash it well and then add the tamari sauce

Put it on the fish

Marinade evenly

And let them marinade in the fridge for at least 1 hour

Take the fish out of the marinade mix and brush it with maple
Put them under a hot grill for 10 minutes
My Asian grilled Salmon
It's sticky and  juicy!

Asian flavoured grilled salmon


The quantities of the ingredients are for one whole salmon fillet (about 1kg) or 4 portions

2 sticks of lemongrass
3 garlic cloves
Thumb-sized fresh ginger
A bunch of coriander stalks
70ml tamari sauce
4 pieces of salmon or 1 whole fillet
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 large red chilli, sliced
3 spring onions, finely sliced
A bunch of coriander leaves
2 limes


Put the lemongrass, garlic, fresh ginger, and coriander stalks into a pestle and mortar and give a good bash. Add the tamari sauce and mix well. Then, rub the mixture all over the salmon and leave it to marinate for a minimum 1 hour, on a tray covered with a non-PVC cling film, if possible. 

Preheat the grill to its highest setting. Remove the salmon from the marinade, brush it with maple syrup and grill for 10 minutes.

Serve it sprinkled with chillies, spring onions, coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime.

We had it with green salad and grilled asparagus on the side.

The main ingredient and its healthy benefits

Salmon: is an excellent source of quality protein, potassium, selenium, vitamins B12 and D, and carotenoids. It contains high levels of the essential fatty acid Omega 3, which may help prevent cardiovascular diseases – reducing heart attacks and cardiac arrhythmias. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, improve brain function and memory. Research has shown that it’s also beneficial for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Till next week!

Thursday 10 May 2012

Saviour cake

I love savoury cakes. You can have them with any topping you like, take along for a picnic, or just have a nibble. You can adapt the recipe below with any nuts, seeds, vegetables or leftovers you like. 

So, for those of you trying to find a gluten-free/wheat-free healthy snack to make, this bread/cake doesn’t take much of your time. You can bake it at home and take it to work to have as a light lunch with some salad on the side. Nutritious, satisfying and it will give the energy you’ll need to burn at the gym or during a trying day.

My friend Caroline has been asking me for a gluten-free recipe, as she's been avoiding gluten and wheat in her meals, I am dedicating this one to her! 

The ingredients
Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl
And mix them together
Whisk the eggs, milk and yoghurt. Add the flour mixture,
then fold carefully without overmixing it
Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 40 min
My gluten-free savoury cake
It's delicious anytime!

Glute-free savoury cake with walnuts and prunes


250g organic gluten-free/wheat-free flour (I use Doves Farm).  
15g baking powder
150g soft goat’s cheese, cut into small pieces
80g walnuts, roughly chopped
100g unsulphured organic prunes, roughly chopped
4 free-range eggs
150ml olive oil
100ml organic milk
50g natural organic yoghurt
1 tsp salt
pinch freshly-ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180C, line a 500g loaf tin with baking paper.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, goat’s cheese, walnuts, prunes, salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until pale in colour. Then slowly whisk in the olive oil, milk and yoghurt.
Fold the flour mixture into the eggs mixture. Do not overmix.
Pour the batter into the loaf tin.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin.

I like adding some fresh herbs to my savoury cakes too but this time I had no fresh herbs left at home. If you want to add fresh basil or chives you won't regret it!
You can also make it using the same measures with plain or wholemeal flour.

Some of the ingredients and their functional benefits

Goat’s cheese: is a good source of calcium and protein. Goat's milk has a more digestible fat and protein content than cow's milk - that could be the reason why some people who are intolerant to cow's milk can tolerate goat's milk. Goat's cheese also provides magnesium, potassium and vitamin A.

Prunes (Prunus domestica): are high in antioxidants, and are a good source of vitamin A and potassium. They are very rich in fibre and help increase the absorption of iron; this may be related to their vitamin C content. Prune juice is used as a natural laxative, making it a common remedy for constipation. 

Walnuts (Juglans regia): have great nutritional value and are very rich in serotonin. Walnuts are also rich in Omega 3, which may prevent heart diseases by lowering triglycerides and reducing plaque formation. They contain a component of vitamin E (Gamma-tocopherol) that provides antioxidant protection.

Till next week!

Thursday 3 May 2012

Pesto Presto

Fresh basil
Make a good batch of homemade pesto, leave it on your fridge and you won’t regret it! Pesto is one of our family’s favourite additions to a quick meal. You can add it to cooked pasta, soups, casserole, spread on your toast and grill, mix with avocado, to boost an extra vitamin B6 into your system, or eat with some celery and powdered rosemary, as they work synergistically against indigestion. 
I have made a wild garlic pesto here, but this classic recipe with basil deserves a special mention.

The ingredients
Put the basil leaves with the pine nuts, garlic and salt
in the mortar
Grind down until becomes a paste. Add the olive oil and keep
Finally add the pecorino cheese and mix well
My pesto di Liguria!
While the lasagne sheets are boiling...add 5 tablespoons of
 pesto in a large frying pan 
Add 4 tablespoons of the pasta water and warm up
When the pasta is ready, remove them from the water
and put them into the pesto sauce
Mix gently
Now it is ready to eat. Enjoy!
Pesto di Liguria
Serves 4


1 large bunch of small-leaved basil about 80g
40g pine nuts, toasted
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
100ml organic extra-virgin olive oil
60-70g pecorino cheese or parmesan, freshly grated
Coarse sea-salt to taste


Put the basil leaves in a mortar (you can make it in a blender but I find this way more therapeutic) with the pine nuts, garlic cloves (I like grate them)  and salt and grind down until it becomes a paste. Add the olive oil slowly and continue grinding until the mixture becomes smooth. Finally, add the cheese and mix well. Taste and season if necessary.

Some of the ingredients and their functional properties

Basil (Ocimum basilicum): also known as holy basil, or Tulsi in India, is well used by traditional healers. In India and Africa, people rub the basil leaves against their skin to repel insects. Basil is loaded with carminatives (gas dispelling phytochemicals) and, like the mint family, basil is traditionally used to settle an upset stomach. Sweet basil is better used as a tea for indigestion, colds, flu, fever, headaches, nausea, cramps, kidney and bladder problems. Basil contains lots of antioxidants and activities that are known to fight pneumonia. Its medicinal properties include anti-pyretic (anti-fever), carminative, stimulant, diuretic and nervine. Basil is also known to act as preventive against Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

A recipe by Dr. Michael Tierra that will be effective for most fevers: 30g of basil leaves to 600ml of water simmered for 20 minutes with 3 powdered black peppercorns per cup.

Garlic (Allium sativum): is one of nature’s first known medicines. It helps to prevent the common cold due to its antiviral properties. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. It is packed with antioxidants and contains antibacterial properties.

Pecorino Cheese: a hard cheese made from sheep’s milk. It is a very good source of protein, calcium, vitamins B2 and B12. Universities in Italy announced the result of a six year study confirming that Pecorino cheese has anti-inflammatory properties. It can protect against cardiovascular diseases due to high amounts of CLA (conjugated Linoleic Acid), which reduces fat, preserves muscle tissue and inhibits tumour growths on the skin, mammary glands and stomach.

Till next week!
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