Tag Archives: healthy eating

Sweet Potato Sliders

sweet potato and pulled pork sliders

This weekend, I really fancied an open-faced sandwich, but had no bread in the house. I shuffled through the cupboards and found a bag of sweet potatoes and decided to see what sweet potato ‘bread’ tasted like. Stay with me… it was pretty good.

I brushed an oven tray with olive oil and grilled them for 20 minutes on each side.

And topped with some mashed avocado, broccoli spouts and pulled pork that I had in the fridge. A simple, yet filling lunch, so these are definitely getting added into my lunch repertoire!

sweet potato and pulled pork sliders 2

What you need:

1-2 large sweet potatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

Any desired toppings – the sky’s limit here! Anything you would normally put on toast, from sweet to savoury, you can put on these sliders!

A large baking tray

Baking brush

How to make it:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  2. Slice the sweet potatoes into 1 cm slices
  3. Brush both sides of the sweet potato slices with the olive oil
  4. Put the tray into the oven on the highest shelf and bake for 20 minutes or until they are soft and slightly browning.
  5. Take the tray from the oven and turn the sliders over and bake for another 20 minutes or until they match the texture and colour of the other side.
  6. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes.
  7. Top with your chosen toppings and enjoy!

The Easiest Frittata Recipe

easy-frittata-hot-out-of-the-oven

Aside from their significance as a major plot point in the Harrison Ford – Rachel McAdams film, Morning Glory, frittatas are one of those recipes that everyone seems to have their own little twist on. And why not? Their versatility means that even the newest of cooks can make a lovely frittata.

What you need:

At least 10 large free-range, organic eggs (the more eggs you use, the denser the frittata will be – no bad thing!)

Vegetables of your choice – I chose 1 cup of collard greens and 1 tomato for my version

Protein of your choice – I used 1 cup of diced chorizo in this recipe, but have also liberally used shredded pork, chicken and beef, as well as many varieties of cheese in the past

Chopped herbs of your choice – I used 1 sprig each of fresh thyme and rosemary

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Non-stick pan

Oven

How to make it:

1.  Break all the eggs into a bowl and beat them together, until all the yolks and whites have combined.

2. Add your chopped veg, protein and herbs to the egg mixture and stir until everything is combined.

3. Turn on your oven to 175C.

4. Add the olive oil to your non-stick pan, making sure that there is a light coating of oil across the pan and turn on the stove to low-medium heat.

5. Pour the frittata mixture into the pan, stirring so that all the veg and protein ingredients are evenly distributed. Use the tomatoes to create a nice pattern on the top of the frittata.

6. Leave to cook for 5 minutes or until the edges of the frittata start to crisp up.

easy-frittata-cooking-on-the-stove

7. Remove the pan from the stove (not forgetting to turn it off!) and place it into the warm oven. Let it cook for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the frittata is firm to the touch and there are no runny areas around the top.

8. Remove from the oven. Using a pallet knife or something similar, lift around the edges of the frittata so that it is easy to slide out of the pan, on to a plate.

9. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

easy-frittata-ready-to-serve

Food is food – nutritious, cheap and tasty.

dsc_0001

This week, a prominent doctor in the UK talked about the need to reduce the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable intake recommendation because it was ‘unrealistic’ for low-income families to achieve this. She says that lots of families may struggle to afford the recommended amounts and that “many children are being brought up with a culture of not having any fresh fruits and vegetables at all.”

I was shocked when I read this headline (which was repeated across multiple websites) and decided to dig deeper into the story. What she is actually says, is that “in the consultation with patients, it’s vital that GPs sometimes need to tailor the advice to the family in front of them. That may be starting with one or two portions a day and building up to the five portions a day.”

My frustration with this misleading story (tailored advice is a good thing) reminded me of a quote I recently read in a profile of Jamie Oliver.

“It’s quite British, this association with having any degree of thought or love of food being upper class or middle class or whatever you want to class it up as. That’s not the rest of the world. On my travels, the best food has come from the most economically challenged areas.”

It’s easy to understand why there are such strong class associations with food in the United Kingdom – classism persists across all areas of life. It’s really quite remarkable. Even still, there has been a lot of great work by the likes of Jamie Oliver, Jack Munro and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to make food and food preparation more equalitarian and accessible.

It’s remains true that the more fresh fruit and veg you eat, the better for you.

So here are the million pound questions:

How can we continue to spread the message that eating well needn’t cost a lot?

That it is possible to get your 5 to 7-a-day without breaking the bank?

What role do supermarkets play in this? Schools?

I don’t have all the answers, clearly.

What I know, is that it’s our role as nutritionists and health professionals to present simple, easy to understand messages of food and health to our patients and clients. To teach them tasty and nutritious food can be inexpensive.

This lovely warm chickpea and bacon salad (47p per serving!) is a great example of cheap, tasty and nutritious.

Chestnut and caramelised apple and pear pancakes


I’ve been on a massive pancake kick recently. It’s probably because I associate pancakes with the comfort food of my childhood and right now, I seem to like the idea of getting a bit of comfort through food. Analyse that how you will.

Other foods in my comfort food list include French toast, macaroni cheese, spaghetti, roast chicken, chocolate cake, reuben sandwiches, guava duff and conch fritters. Every time I eat any of these foods, I get a burst of nostalgia and craving for the comfort of family and friends. What feelings do comfort foods give you?

I’m sure there’s lots of science behind why we choose particular foods as our designated comfort foods – the dopamine hit that these carbohydrates, fats and sugars give us, along with the soothing levels of satiety, probably give us the first hint!

Do salad or fruit ever factor into someone’s definition of comfort food? I would like to meet you if this is you!


As part of my pancake kick, I’ve been trying to create more nutritious versions that give you all the comfort with all the healthy benefits. And I love these chestnut pancakes. Adapted from an old recipe for Italian chestnut flour crepes, I love topping them with caramelised fruit. Recently, I’ve been doing a mix of pears, apples and plums – generally going for whatever is seasonal.

What you need:

Pancakes

150g chestnut flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 large free-range eggs

250ml organic whole milk

Caramelised fruit

2 small apples / pears

a pinch of cinnamon

a tab of unsalted butter

How to make it:

  1. Sift the chestnut flour and the baking soda into a medium sized bowl.
  2. Crack the eggs and separate the egg yolks and whites, adding the yolks into the dry mixture.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they are frothy.
  4. Slowly fold the milk into the dry mixture, then add the egg whites.
  5. Fold the mixture until the wet and dry ingredients are combined. Do not over fold!
  6. Leave the batter to stand for at least 10 minutes so the milk and baking soda have enough time to interact.
  7. Chop the fruit into small wedges.
  8. Put a small non-stick pan on the stove on low-medium heat and add a tab of butter.
  9. Once the butter starts to bubble and go brown, add your fruit and cinnamon.
  10. Stir your fruit occasionally and remove from heat once it has gone soft and a bit sticky.
  11. After ten minutes has passed, put another non-stick pan for your pancakes on low to medium heat so it has time to warm up.
  12. Once your pan is warm, use an ice cream scoop to drop the batter in. I like to make pancakes on the smaller side so they are easier to flip.
  13. Once bubbles start to form on the edges of the pancakes (normally after a minute or so), flip them over. Chestnut flour tends to cook a bit faster than wheat flour so you’ll need to keep a close eye so they don’t burn. I learned this the hard way!
  14. Once you’ve made all your pancakes, top with fruit. You can also add raw cacao  and enjoy!

Clean eating? Healthy eating? What about nutritious eating?

hampstead heath

There’s been a lot of chatter in the media this week about the end of ‘clean eating’, with many disavowing this term, saying that it has led to a rise in disordered eating and anorexia.

The denouement of the majority of these pieces tend to call for moderation and for more healthy eating.

I will always applaud anything that helps people get to grips with what and how they eat.

BUT.

It seems to me as health professionals, that we’re suffering from terrible reductionism when it comes to advocating for better quality eating. On one side, there are those that are demonising whole food groups  (i.e. ‘all wheat/sugar/dairy/etc/etc is bad’) and the other side, proclaiming the answer is to simply eat a healthy, balanced diet. Both extremes are very reductionist and don’t offer the nuance that people need. But nuance doesn’t sell newspapers / magazines / books, doesn’t it?

What if you don’t know what eating healthy actually is and what it means for you? What if you’ve picked up the first Deliciously Ella book because everyone was talking about it and you thought it might teach you a few healthy eating tips and tricks? Are you now a part of the clean eating brigade (how I hate that term)?

I’ve discussed this topic before on the blog. The rise of the concept of clean eating isn’t a bad thing. Becoming more aware of what you put into and onto your body is good – we could all benefit from mindfulness when it comes to the way we eat. And with everything, there will always be individuals who have no brakes and take advice and concepts to their limit.

Equally, there will always be charlatans who peddle bad advice. Rather than blame the clean eating bloggers and instagrammers, surely asking people to take some agency around what they put into their bodies isn’t a big ask? Just as we ask people to educate themselves in other areas of their lives (finance is an area that comes to mind), it is not outrageous to expect people to give themselves a broad education into the benefits and drawbacks of the food they feed themselves and their families and to look at what they see on TV and in newspapers and magazines with a critical eye.

I firmly believe that we need to start thinking about food in terms of how nutritious it is. ‘Healthy’ is such a empty, almost meaningless term. Nutritious – the vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fats in food – is more meaningful and has tangibles that can be referenced.

And what about flavour? Nutritious and flavourful aren’t mutually exclusive. Just as there’s pleasure in eating rich, indulgent foods, there’s also a lot of pleasure in eating nutritious, flavourful foods. The pleasure of eating these foods should ideally last from the moment of anticipation when you first put it in your mouth through to the lovely feeling of satiety when you’ve finished the meal.

Oh, one last thing. Get rid of the guilt. Enjoy the food you do eat and find pleasure in the making and eating of nutritious, flavourful meals.

Sweet Potato & Dukkah Crisps

sweet potato crisps

We’re into the dog days of summer and the weather has gotten exceptionally warm here in London. No complaints here – I adore hot weather and any opportunity to spend some time getting some vitamin D.

Happily, my enforced furlough at work has coincided with this heatwave and I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen, playing around with new recipes and ingredients.

Last week, I tried the Beetroot Crisps recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new book, It’s All Easy. It wasn’t successful for me, so I made my own twist on the recipe. I knew it was successful when I got a text from M telling me they were ‘the bomb’. 😊

sliced sweet potatoes with dukkah

What you need:

2 large sweet potatoes, washed. (don’t bother peeling them – the skin has loads of nutrients!)

4 tbsp dukkah spice blend

4 tbsp olive oil

Sea salt

A mandoline

sweet potato crisps just out of the oven

How to make it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 175C.
  2. Place your mandoline over a small bowl and use it to make circles of sweet potato. Slice up both sweet potatoes.
  3. Use a baking brush and brush 1 tbsp of olive oil over a large baking tray.
  4. Place the sweet potato circles on the tray, making sure they are evenly spaced and don’t overlap.
  5. Brush 1 tbsp olive oil over the sweet potatoes, making sure they only have a light coating. Too much olive oil and the sweet potatoes won’t crisp up.
  6. Take 2 tbsp of the dukkah spice blend and sprinkle it over the sweet potatoes.
  7. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the sweet potatoes.
  8. Place the tray into the top shelf of the oven for ten minutes.
  9. After ten minutes, move the tray to bottom shelf of the oven.
  10. Take the tray out of the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.
  11. Transfer to a bowl and repeat steps 3-10 with the rest of the ingredients.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon, Date & Cashew More Balls

date, cashew, seed and cinnamon balls

I made these very moreish date, cashew, seeds and cinnamon balls on Saturday and needless to say, they were almost all gone by Monday morning. Hence the name, more balls – you know, because you want more!

They’re a really nice variation on the date bars I usually make and seem to hold their shape better too. Perfect for picnics, lunch boxes and post-workout snacks!

What you need:

25 medjool dates, pitted (I really like the Ocado own brand dates – they’re really good quality and inexpensive)

100g cashew nuts

50g sunflower seeds

50g pumpkin seeds

3 tablespoons cinnamon

1 blender (I prefer to use my Magimix to break down the dates and seeds)

How to make it:

1. Add the cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon into a blender and pulse until the mixture is crushed and blended.

2. Drop the dates into a blender and pulse until they are combined.  It’s super important to stop before the dates turn paste-like, as this will make it much harder to roll the mixture into balls.

3. Add the dates to the dry mixture and combine with your hands until the wet and dry ingredients are fully combined.

date, cashew, seed and cinnamon mixture

5. Wet your hands slightly (this makes the dates less sticky), take some of the mixture and roll it into golf sized balls.

date balls and mixture

6. You should be able to make about 20 – 25 more balls from the mixture, depending on how generously you size the balls!

7. Take the rest of the cinnamon and dust it over the top of the finished more balls and enjoy! They should keep for about 5-7 days, if covered, but I bet they go faster than that!

date, cashew, seed and cinnamon more balls