Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Roast sweet peppers with pine nuts and oregano

Roast peppers are not just delicious. They are full of essential antioxidants. One reason why people living in southern France live longer and healthier than elsewhere is simply down to diet and to products such as the colourful capsicum! They should be on the diet of everyone over the age of 18! Here is a wonderful recipe to get you started.

You will need:
8 red peppers
200ml olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, cut in half and bashed
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
4-5 rosemary sprigs
½ tsp coarse sea salt
1 tbsp demerara sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
200ml balsamic vinegar
150g very fresh goat’s cheese, such as Bouton d’Oc, crumbled
12 basil leaves, torn
80g pine nuts, toasted


1 Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Cut the peppers in half lengthways and remove the seeds and stalks. Heat a roasting tin on top of the stove and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cut peppers, garlic, lemon zest, rosemary sprigs and coarse sea salt. Cook this for 2-3 minutes on top of the stove, then add the sugar and oregano and place in the preheated oven.
2 Roast the peppers for 8-10 minutes, until they are just beginning to soften, then remove from the oven and pour in the balsamic vinegar. Put the tin back on the heat on top of the stove until the vinegar is reduced by half. Tip the peppers into a bowl and cover with cling film. This makes the peppers steam and finishes the cooking process. Also, if you prefer the peppers without the skin, the steaming makes them easier to peel.
3 Remove the peppers from the bowl, then strain the juice and flavourings through a fine sieve. Add a little more oil to make a dressing. Season the peppers, add the dressing, goat’s cheese, basil leaves and toasted pine nuts, then serve with a nice glass of Cotes du Rhone which is also excellent for your health and well-being!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Scallop Carpaccio

Scallop carpaccio with celery leaves makes an exciting lunch and does not even require cooking!

Enjoy a very light first course of simple, fresh flavours. The scallops are uncooked, so if ever there’s a time for sparkling freshness, this is it.

For each person
2-3 large scallops, white part only

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
A squeeze of lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil
A small handful of celery leaves (from the centre of a head of celery)
½ small spring onion, finely sliced

Cut off and discard the raised white rectangle of muscular flesh on the side of each scallop — it will make them tough. Quickly rinse the scallops and pat dry with kitchen paper, then slice them wafer thin — a properly sharp knife is useful here. Arrange either in a circle or randomly on a small plate. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt flakes, then squeeze some lemon juice over the top and add a few splashes of olive oil. Scatter with a few celery leaves and spring onion, then add a few grinds of black pepper and serve with a nice glass of cool white ComtĂ© Tolosan.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Current and oatmeal cookies

We are in the heart of winter and in need of additional snack supports! It is all too easy to purchase those additive laden products from the supermarkets. Why not make your own healthy and nutritious cookies instead with this easy to use recipe!

You will need:

275g soft butter
3g salt
275g fine cane sugar
210g flour
9g baking powder
80g oatmeal
2 eggs
140g currents


Work butter and salt together, add sugar and sift in flour with baking powder first then the oatmeal. Mix in eggs and then the currents. If the dough becomes very soft place it in a cool place for a while. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Using a teaspoon place the cookies well apart and flatten a little. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes at 200 degrees. Should be golden but still soft in the middle.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Anti-Ageing Lunch

Sprouted alfalfa is the patron saint of youth and it requires absolutely no cooking to eat. My mother sprouted them for years in her own kitchen long before any one else heard of their restorative health value. These baby shoots are densely packed with nutrition, working out cheaper and tastier than popping a daily multivitamin pill. Alfalfa is flush with more vitamin C than a smug bowl of oranges. This is the vitamin that keeps skin luminous and supple, and feeds barrel-chested immune systems. There's also calcium to help strengthen bones and teeth, and immodest amounts of antioxidants to chase toxins away. Simply add to salads and sandwiches and remember they are easy to sprout yourself on a sunny window sill at home.

Anti-Ageing Lunch

The sulphur content of garlic and red onion may help to keep joints supple by aiding the production of synovial fluid. This is the balm that bathes bones and squeaky joints. Included is some chilli to boost circulation, and unpasteurised cider vinegar for its deluge of alkalising minerals and probiotics.

Pomegranates and red grapes are famed for their anti-inflammatory anthocyanins and cholesterol-lowering resveratrol, both of which you should court if you're on the other side of 40. And finally, avocado is useful for its vitamin E and beta-sitosterol, making it an age-old remedy to ageing skin and arteries.

You will need:

1/2 tablespoon unpasteurised cider vinegar

1 small garlic clove, crushed

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1/4 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

Large handful of alfalfa

Handful of pomegranate seeds or red grapes

1/2 tin chickpeas, drained

3 fresh figs, halved (depending on season)

1 avocado, peeled and diced

In a tall glass, whisk the unpasteurised cider vinegar, the crushed garlic, the extra-virgin olive oil, the finely chopped red chilli and red onion together with a fork. This is your supersonic anti-ageing dressing. Pour over the alfalfa sprouts and let the flavours socialise while you prep the remaining bits and pieces. It's important the sprouts are left for a while to soak up the dressing.

Split the pomegranate in half carefully with a knife. Tear into random segments, and gently pick the juicy baubles out of their pith. If you're using red grapes, cut them in half and de-seed them before sprinkling on top of the salad. Tumble in the chickpeas, the halved fresh figs, and great big chunks of avocado. Toss gently, and serve alongside some iced green tea and lemon unless with all that healthy stuff you might prefer a nice cool glass of sauvignon blanc.