Thursday, November 24, 2011

Steamed Spinach in Tahini Sauce

It was at a dinner party with girlfriends not too long ago that I came across this particular ensemble of ingredients. It is simply genius to add, in this case, a sauce on the bottom of a pile of steamed spinach. It gives the vegetable a whole new meaning. Anyway, one of my bigger supporters said that I definitely needed to work on this recipe. It has been a challenge I must admit, but I believe that I have more or less nailed it now. 

I used a tahini made out of unhulled sesame seeds, which leaves quite a strong flavour. If you prefer, go for the "normal" tahini made out of hulled sesame seeds. The result will be just as good. The sauce makes enough to serve 4-6 people so triple the amount of spinach if you want to use all of it now. Otherwise just keep it in the fridge for another meal.

Steamed Spinach in Tahini Sauce
1bag/80g/3 handfuls fresh spinach, washed
1tbsp tahini
2tbsp water
1tsp soy sauce
1tsp honey
sesame seeds to serve

Bring water to the boil in a medium sized pan. In the meantime mix tahini and water in a small bowl with a spoon. Once completely combined, add the soy sauce and honey and stir until you have a smooth sauce. Transfer half onto a serving plate and set aside.

Add the fresh spinach into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and transfer to the serving plate on top of the tahini sauce. Sprinkle sesame seeds all over the spinach to finish it off. Serves 2

HEALTH BENEFITS of Spinach: Spinach is an excellent source of iron, making it a perfect substitute for red meat. It is low in calories and virtually fat free, a good source of omega-3 (!), a very good source of calcium, magnesium and a couple of B-vitamins. All which are vital for weight-management and/or weight-loss. Make sure the cooking/steaming time is below 1min, only to make sure that you do not loose any of the essential nutrients. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fat & Sugar Free Banana Bread

Unlike the ordinary fat and sugary banana bread, this Fat & Sugar Free Banana Bread is actually healthy enough to eat for breakfast. Two slices with a hot cup of tea or coffee, whatever you prefer, and you are ready to go. I am using greek yoghurt as oppose to normal plain yoghurt to opt the protein content here and the milled flaxseeds and walnuts bring the essential omega 3's. 

Fat & Sugar Free Banana Bread
3 small very ripe bananas
6 soft dates
1 medium egg
1dl fat free greek yoghurt
2dl wholemeal flour
1tbsp milled flaxseeds
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp salt
1/2dl walnut kernels, crushed by hand into smaller pieces

Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF and line the bottom of a medium sized non-stick bread tin and set aside.  

Mix all wet ingredients, including dates, in a food processor and all dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Transfer the banana mix/wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add in the walnut kernels. Pour the mixture into the prepared bread tin. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30min or until firm.    

This Fat & Sugar Free Banana Bread is best served cold and is delicious for days ahead. Bring a couple of slices to work and/or give to your children as an afternoon snack. For those of you who like a breakfast on the go, this is your answer to a healthy one. Bring with you from home and grab your hot beverage at your usual place , and forget about the "breakfast-" muffin, bar, and croissant available. 

HEALTH BENEFITS of Banana: Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium. Potassium plays a role in the formation and function of the muscles and helps us convert carbohydrates, protein and fat into energy. For these reasons alone, the mineral is particularly important to those who are looking to shed a few pounds. Potassium regulates body fluid and is often very low in the overweight person where salt is a main ingredient in the diet and where excess fluid is being carried around.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Smoked Salmon on Rye

This week I am sharing with you my no1 favourite lunch. It is not only healthy, nutritious and delicious but insanely quick and easy to prepare as well. There are only a few ingredients encountered in this Salmon on Rye Sandwich, so there is no reason why you shouldn't have the time to prepare it. I promise that you won't be disappointed. On the contrary in fact. I believe that you will be amazed about how such simple food can be so tasty. I've had it for lunch three times already this week, but that is only because I am currently addicted. You can obviously have this Smoked Salmon on Rye Sandwich for dinner as well. Perfect for when you come home late and want something to eat as quick as possible. This will keep you off the frozen dinners or not so healthy (to put it nicely) take-aways. 

Smoked Salmon on Rye

2-3 slices/about 50g smoked salmon
2 slices rye bread (proper german no wheat "vollkorn")
red onion, thinly sliced
big handful pea shoots, rocket or fresh spinach

Toast the rye bread on high so it almost gets a bit crunchy. Top with the smoked salmon and thinly sliced red onion and finish off with fresh salad on the side. Serves 1

HEALTH BENEFITS of Rye: If you haven't tried rye yet it is about time that you do. You most probably eat wheat in any form each day so it would only benefit your health if some of that is exchanged to rye or any other grain for that matter. Rye is more nutrient dense and contains less gluten then wheat. Less gluten means easier digestion which in turn means that the food is less likely to stay for a long time in your body and cause weight gain, discomfort, tiredness and so on.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Best Ever Italian Tomato Sauce

My husband has heard this many times before and is probably tired of hearing it again but the best pasta I have ever tasted was at a low key restaurant located by the beautiful lake Como in Italy. The reason I keep talking about this particular meal I guess is because I am astonished by how such a simple dish can taste so good. We are talking simple as in tomato sauce with spaghettini and I am left wondering why it has taken me well over three years to have a go and try to reconstruct the tomato sauce myself. Is it because I don't like the looks of anchovies, because I never have it at home, or because I can't deliver the complete scenery with lake Como in it? Who knows. The beauty with the anchovy in this recipe is that it completely dissolves in the juices from the tomato sauce leaving only the salty taste behind, as oppose to the not so appetising looks of the fillets. 

Best Ever Italian Tomato Sauce
4 small vine tomatoes, cut in wedges
1tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed and chopped
3 thin anchovy fillets, finely chopped
small handful of fresh parsley

Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan on medium heat and fry the tomatoes, for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat and allow the tomatoes to get soft and mushy. Now add the garlic and the anchovies. Stir to make sure that the anchovies dissolves properly and then leave to simmer for a couple of minutes before turning the heat off. Chop up the parsley and scatter on top. Serves 1

Serve with spaghettini (very thin spaghetti) for the ultimate experience, or if you are a bit carb shy, go for quinoa, buckwheat noodles, or brown rice. 

This sauce is perfect for whenever you need a tomato base. Don't let the anchovy scare you off. As mentioned it only brings a delicious salty taste, a saltiness that anyone can find themselves craving for. 

HEALTH BENEFITS of Tomato Sauce: Scientific research has shown that tomatoes are even healthier once cooked. The lycopene is more readily absorbed by the body in processed tomatoes such as canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and sauce, and even ketchup. The lycopene promotes the health of the heart, lungs and eyes, it protects the cells from the damaging effect of free radicals and enhance the function of your immune system. Lycopene-rich foods has also shown to inhibit the risks of getting prostate cancer.