Spicy Red Lentil Soup

It’s  healthy, delicious and easy to make…Spicy red lentil Soup (Good with smoked bacon too!)
·  80g  tandoori paste
·  50g tomato puree
·  50g sunflower oil
·  400g tinned diced tomatoes
·  250g coconut milk
·  150g dried red lentils
·  200g carrots, peeled and 10mm diced
·  200g celery, 10mm diced
·  200g banana shallots 10mm diced
·  1 large red chilli de-seeded and sliced
·  salt and pepper
·  600ml vegetable or white chicken stock

Heat a large saucepan with the oil to a medium temperature.
Sauté the diced carrots, shallots and celery with a little bit of seasoning. Always remember to season, especially soups,a bit at a time, as during the  cooking  and reduction processes the flavours becomes stronger and it’s easy to over season. Cook until the vegetables become transparent but not coloured.
Add the sliced red chilli, tandoori paste and tomato puree, cook for 3 minutes, add the dried red lentils and stir.
Add the tinned diced tomatoes and the stock, bring the soup to the boil, turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid.
Simmer the soup for 40 minutes over low heat.
Add the coconut milk, turn the heat to high, bring the soup back to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Use a ladle and scoop a third of the hot soup in to a food processor  and puree until smooth, add this back to the soup and stir. By blending only a third of the soup, this will ensure that your soup has a silky thick and creamy texture with some whole bits of carrots and lentils.
Serve piping hot. (Fresh crusty bread is great with it if you wish)

It’s yummy!

Love and energy,
Liz and Jessica x

Baked Chicken Parcels

Baked Chicken Parcels

This is a lovely way of cooking chicken, it keeps it moist and tasty – and best of all, once its in the oven, you have 20 minutes to yourself!

SERVES 4
Ingredients:
4 Chicken Breasts (1 per person)
2 Portobello mushrooms
16 tbsp (4 per parcel) of Vegetable/Chicken Stock (or Bouillon Powder made into stock – my personal favourite)
Salt and Pepper to season
4 tsp of Dried or Fresh Basil (1 tsp per breast)
Juice of half a lemon

You will need:
4 Large squares of either kitchen foil or baking parchment

To make:
1) Lay your 4 squares of foil / parchment onto the work surface, and place a breast on each one – they need to be laid diagonal in the centre.
2) Slice your mushrooms and lay a few slices on top of each breast.
3) Add basil, salt/pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice to each one.
4) Now you need to fold up one side of your parcel and make the two corners (top) meet, and scrunch together. Think of a large Cornish pasty shape – that’s the shape you’re looking for! Once you have one side and the top secured you are ready to add the stock.
5) With the remaining gap, spoon the stock into the parcel, and then secure by scrunching up the side. Your parcel should now be secure and have absolutely NO HOLES!
6) Once you have repeated this for each parcel, place all 4 onto a baking tray, and place into a pre-heated oven at about 200 degrees for 20 minutes (you can check by opening one side of a parcel to see if the meat is cooked, if in doubt place back in the oven for a further 5 minutes).

Serve with brown rice and green vegetables.

Love and energy,
Liz and Jessica x

Do you want to look like a healthy cow?

Healthy calves grow into healthy cows by drinking milk in its natural state just as nature intended.  Calves fed our pasteurized milk fail to thrive and their internal organs are sickly.  And dogs drink natural dog milk, natural horse milk is for horses…do humans need pasteurized, homogenized cows milk in order to be healthy humans?

Worldwide it is a minority of humans who consume milk after weaning, quite possibly because of a lack of enzymes to digest it.

Scientific papers do not support the notion of milk as a ‘perfect food’.  Indeed scientists have linked milk with health problems including intestinal irritation, allergic reactions, heart disease and an increased risk of some cancers.

As someone who carries out food intolerance and sensitivity testing and advice, I know many people have problems digesting milk and feel so much better without it in their regular diet.  How about going dairy free for a while and see if any unpleasant symptoms subside?  This is especially recommended with a cold and / or congestion.  Rice milk, oat milk, almond milk and coconut milk are healthy alternatives which you can try.

Love and energy,
Liz and Jessica x

Easy Peasy Butternut Squash and Chilli Soup

butternut squashes,food,produce,vegetablesThis is the perfect dish if you’re pushed for time and don’t fancy cooking. (Not to mention it’s filling and delicious – and healthy too. Winner!)

SERVES 4
Ingredients:
1 Large Butternut Squash (or two smaller ones)
1 Large White Onion
1 Litre of Vegetable/Chicken Stock (or Bouillon Powder made into stock – my personal favourite)
Salt and Pepper to season
Dried or Fresh Thyme (Add according to taste – 1 tbsp will probably be enough)
Paprika or chilli flakes – add as much as desired
Drizzle of Olive oil

To make:

  1. Chop the squash into smallish cubes (about an inch square) and chop the onion fairly finely.
  2. In a large saucepan, add a drizzle of olive oil, and cook the onion until soft, add the paprika or chilli flakes, thyme and seasoning. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add the Squash and cook for about 3 minutes
  4. Pour over the hot stock, and leave to simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the squash is soft (but not mushy!)
  5. Transfer the soup into a blender / food processor and whizz until smooth. Should be a nice silky consistency. (You can also use a hand blender straight into the pot.)
  6. Transfer back to the saucepan and reheat until hot enough to serve

Serve with a crusty wholemeal roll or for a change – try dipping in some toast!

Love and energy,
Liz and Jessica x

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne

Even non-vegetarians will love this!

SERVES 4

Ingredients:

1 Large White Onion
1 Garlic clove or 1 tsp of lazy garlic
1 Butternut Squash
1 Aubergine
1 Large Courgette
1 tin of Sweetcorn
1 tin of Chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp of Tomato Ketchup
1 vegetable stock cube or 2 tsps of Bouillon Powder
100 ml of cold water
White Lasagne sauce (1 Jar or equivalent of homemade)
Half fat Cheddar Cheese for topping
Dried Mixed Herbs
Salt/Pepper
Olive Oil (2 tbsps)

To make:

  1. Chop up the Aubergine, Courgette and Squash, add to baking tray, drizzle over oil and roast in oven (medium heat) for about 20-25 minutes (until cooked)
  2. Soften onion in pan, with drizzle of oil, add garlic
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, ketchup, stock cube and water, simmer for a couple of minutes
  4. Add the roasted vegetables to the sauce, with a sprinkle of herbs, stir and leave to cook for 10 minutes or so, until the sauce has thickened.
  5. Add the sweetcorn and add salt and pepper to season, give it a stir and take off the heat.
  6. Now you can start to build up the lasagne in a lasagne dish – I always start with pasta on the bottom to keep it together better, but it doesn’t really matter! Alternate with layer of pasta, your vegetable sauce and the white sauce, building up so the last layer is white sauce.
  7. Cover this with your grated Cheese, and add a sprinkle of pepper and mixed herbs (fresh basil is nice on top too)
  8. Place dish in oven (medium heat) for 30 minutes – until top is golden brown and bubbling.

Great served with a simple green salad.

Recipe supplied by Paul Hopper

Avoid the white stuff – Part 2

‘Avoid the white Stuff’ continues this month because I want you to feel guilty – you might be harming yourself whenever you eat sugar.

According to an article in the British Medical Journal sugar should be classified as a drug as it is harmful and addictive.  We naturally gravitate to sweet tastes as in nature this indicates nutritious food to eat.  Nature has no refined sugars and here lies the problem for us.  Refined sugars, so common in most processed foods including savoury items, contain no food value and can draw essential minerals from our teeth and bones as well as making us fat and lethargic.

Biologically we should be eating sugars in their natural whole food state, for example a whole apple or carrot.  Refined sugars convert very rapidly into blood sugar which gives us a quick fix burst of energy, rapidly followed by a drop leaving us, at best, looking for more sugar.

For long, slow release of energy and a healthier body eat whole foods as close to natural as possible.  The more sugar you eat, the more you want.  Try without for a few days and notice the difference in your body, that is, once you get over the withdrawal symptoms.

Remember, sugar is like an addictive drug.

For workshops helping you to live in health and vitality nicola@plusnutrition.co.uk

Food for Thought

For food to feed our body it has to be well digested.
Digestion starts in our mind with our thoughts of anticipation; the sight and smell of food stimulates our digestive system to initiate the process.

The smell of food will stimulate us – one way or the other.  The colour will tempt us if it is good or tell us to leave the food alone if it is bad.  If you buy ‘petrol station’ food or any processed foods, these stimulants or warnings will be largely missing so digestion will be compromised.  Have you ever had indigestion after a bought pre packed lunch?

If a food will last on a supermarket shelf for days, weeks or months longer than one would expect of food in its natural state, it is the added preservatives keeping it there.  Just think what these additives may do once they are inside you.  My advice, give them a wide berth whenever you can and enjoy healthy digestion of foods in their natural state and save some money too.

Love and energy,
Liz and Jessica x