Food ideas for your New Year’s Eve party

PartyFood

Take the stress out of planning your New Year’s Eve party with these easy yet impressive tapas dishes from The Big Book of World Tapas by Julia Hartley.

Chicken Tikka Skewers
Makes: 24
Preparation Time: 20 minutes, plus 1–12 hours marinating
Cooking Time 15 minutes
Equipment: 24 x 10cm/4in skewers

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 140g/5oz each, cut into 48 x 4cm/11/2 in cubes
Mint & Yogurt Dip, to serve
2 lemons, cut into wedges, to serve

Marinade
2.5cm/1in piece root ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove
41/2 tsp tomato purée
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
juice of 1/2 lemon
250ml/9fl oz/1 cup natural yogurt
1 tbsp sunflower oil

  1. Put all the marinade ingredients together in a food processor and process for 1 minute until well combined. Transfer to a bowl, add the chicken and stir to coat. Leave to marinate, covered, in the fridge, for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
  2. If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat the grill to high. Put 2 cubes of the chicken on each skewer and put them on a grill rack above a grill pan. Grill the skewers for 15 minutes, turning halfway through, until brown and cooked through. Serve with the dip and lemon wedges.

 

PartyParmaHamArtichoke Hearts, Parma Ham & Sun-Dried Tomato Parcels
Makes: 24
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

12 bottled artichoke hearts, drained and halved
12 slices of Parma ham, halved lengthways
6 sun-dried tomatoes, quartered

  1. Put 1 artichoke heart half on each piece of Parma ham. Top with 1 piece of sun-dried tomato and roll tightly.
  2. Secure with cocktail sticks and serve.

 

 

 

PartyMeringuesRaspberry Meringues
Makes: 36
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

3 egg whites
85g/3oz/heaped 1/3 cup caster sugar
85g/3oz/2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
175g/6oz/3/4 cup crème fraîche
36 raspberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 130°C/250°F/Gas 1. Put the egg whites in a large mixing bowl and beat, using a whisk or hand-held electric mixer with a whisk attachment, for 2–3 minutes until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar and beat for a further 3–5 minutes until shiny and stiff. Gently but thoroughly fold in one third of the icing sugar, using a metal spoon, then fold in the remaining icing sugar.
  2. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and spoon the meringue mixture into 36 x 3cm/1 1/4 in circles, spacing them 2cm/ 3/4 in apart. Bake for 45 minutes, then turn the oven down to 70°C/150°F/Gas 1/4 and bake for a further 30 minutes until hard. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
  3. When ready to serve, top each meringue with 1 tsp of the crème fraîche and 1 raspberry. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Preparing Ahead: The meringues can be made up to 1 month in advance and stored in an airtight container.

For more tapas ideas to make your party truly spectacular, see The Big Book of World Tapas by Julia Hartley.

Interview With Christine Bailey: Author of Supercharged Juice and Smoothie Recipes

9781848992269Nourish Books: What is a super charged juice?

Christine Baily: That’s a very good question. The reason that we’ve chosen to do super charged juices and smoothies is because for a lot of people a juice is a great start to the day, it’s a great way of getting extra nutrients in, but a lot of people these days, even by doing smoothies and juices, will still be low in essential nutrients. We know that from a lot of the government surveys, and certainly as a practitioner myself I see that in the clinic a lot. The reason for doing what I call “super charged juices” is to just take that juice or that smoothie up to a whole new level with nutrient packed health boosting ingredients.

What I mean by that is that there are some foods that we term “super foods”; that’s a word that’s been used a lot, in fact, over used. What I mean by a “super food” is it’s one that is natural, it contains an exceptionally high nutrient density, and it also contains a lot of extra benefits, so it may well contain what we call plant nutrients or phytonutrients. It may contain a whole wealth of antioxidants as well.

But often they have extra special properties. I’ll give you an example: one of my favorites and one that I suppose a lot of people probably do know is Maca, which often comes as a powder form. The Maca is a traditional food that’s used in Peru, it comes from a tuber that almost looks a bit like a tulip, and it’s known as something called an adrenal adaptogen.

What that means is that when we’re stressed, whether we’re very low in energy or almost quite hyper, this food has an ability to help our body become more resilient to the stress that we’re under, and it works at the actual brain level at the hypothalamus, without getting too complicated, and it can actually help our body adapt to the stress that we’re under.

Now, hey, who isn’t under stress these days? And actually just a small amount, less than a teaspoon of Maca, can have quite profound benefits to our energy levels, from coping with fatigue to helping with hormonal balancing. We can’t do that from just adding some vegetables and fruits – it’s just not possible.

The “super charged” element is to pick key foods that we know from the research have particular health benefits, and they’re packed as well with a wide range of nutrients to support overall health, taking a juice or a smoothie to completely new levels and, therefore, you’re going to get much more benefit than you would otherwise.

Nourish Books: That sounds fantastic. This book came about because you recognized that simple juices, un‑supplemented juices, don’t have all the requirements health-wise that you recommend as a nutritionist?

Christine: Absolutely, right, John. And I’m trained in functional medicine, and what we do is look at individuals; we look at their health history, we look at their signs and symptoms and we look at where there’re imbalances in their body, and quite often, we find them.

We may find that people’s digestive system is not working appropriately. They may have hormonal imbalances, they may have adrenal fatigue, they may have a thyroid issue, they may have high toxicity and their liver function isn’t working as well. And simply adding a juice or smoothie, yes, it’s going to help you, if you get the ingredients right and you keep the sugar down, of course, but it probably won’t be enough. And a lot of people don’t necessarily want to resort to supplements or have endless pills that they’re having to take every day – they want a natural way of doing it. This is where the super charged juices and smoothies started coming in.

I participate in national shows all over the country. I work with doctors here, I work with practitioners and I work with the public. We started playing around with adding certain key ingredients for people who needed something in particular, for example, we know collagen weighs in protein, which is readily available in powder form. We know how good that is for bones; we know how good that is for connective tissue, for joints, for skin, for hair, for anti-aging and for the gut. And simply adding those foods into those juices can help to readdress those imbalances in people’s body and bring them to a state of health where their body in itself can start working at a more optimal level – that’s how it all came about.

Nourish Books: It’s better to drink your supplements than to pop a pill?

Christine: Well it can be, and a lot of people don’t want to. I suppose the other thing is they don’t want to take the pills. Because I’m using foods and this is a key important thing, so I might add something like the Maringa leaves or we might add little SIE or goji or something like that. We’re using the whole food here, and that whole food has all the nutrient in it, all the vital chemicals, and all the antioxidants.

Taking an artificial supplement may just be one element. It doesn’t have all the other phytonutrients that that plant, that berry or that seed has. And they have them for a reason and they work in synergy with each other, so by having the whole food rather than just an extract can actually have a lot more profound benefit to your overall health.

And for example, I work with a lot of children and they can’t swallow pills and they don’t want to, if you can sneak it into a creamy delicious fulfilling smoothie, hey, which kid is not going to like that.

Nourish Books: I don’t know any.

Christine: I have three boys as well, as you know John, and they’re my guinea pigs. They love using my Vitamix, they love using the Nutribullet, they love using mangisa and I just let them go for it. And so I know that every juice has been tried and tested hundreds of times with these kids and many other children, because I run a lot of hands on days for children and they love them – absolutely love them.

They don’t know that it might be particularly good for their brain and they don’t really care. The mom might care and the father might care – they just know it tastes good.

Nourish Books: That’s so important. You mentioned that your process of developing recipes involves your family; tell me a little bit more about that?

Christine: Yeah, it always has to, because everyone’s taste is slightly different of course. But I’ll just share something with you: I’ve got three boys; one is a teenager the others are ten. And one of my twins actually has an autoimmune disease, which means that I’ve been very careful to find out what the potential triggers are and we’ve managed to completely heal him through changing his diet, through foods and through nourishing him.

And for me it’s always been fundamental that whatever I give my children, because I love them so much, I want to nourish them, and I want to build them up. But I want it to be fun, I want it to taste good, I want them to enjoy foods and enjoy real un-processed food.

One of the ways of doing that is just get them involved in whatever I do, so if I’m developing a recipe, whether it’s for a book or a company, or I’m in the middle of writing a new course for people, I’ll get them to help out in the kitchen but also absolutely taste everything.

And they love it and I think one of the ways we can help our own children to develop a healthy lifestyle is to fundamentally learn how to cook, and understand how ingredients go together and how you would balance a plate. I think that’s just fundamental, so they’re all involved.

I do a lot of national shows and events here, we do a lot of filming here, and they would be in the background being my sous chefs; they’ll be handing out samples to the public – they absolutely love it and it’s the right experience for them for life.

Nourish Books: Sounds fantastic, I can’t wait to try some of these new juices, Christine, thank you so much.

Christine: I want you to try the chocolate smoothie with cauliflower. That is such an amazing combination that you wouldn’t think would work but it does. It tastes great and if your kids don’t like any vegetables, try it: it’s brilliant.

Nourish Books: And they don’t know there’s cauliflower in there?

Christine: (laughing) Not a chance. And of course, the benefits of a lot of these recipes are they’re simple to do. You don’t need to be a chef; you don’t need a degree in nutrition. I’ve done a little hard work for everyone. I have looked at all the ingredients and I’ve put them together for a reason.

That’s also why you’ll see in the book that we’ve actually labeled them, so we’ve said, “These we’ve selected particularly for MG, these we’ve selected for immune health, brain health, or stress, or if you just want to have more radiance; your skin, your hair, or your nails.” And hey, who doesn’t want that ‑‑ better than Botox or weight loss.

I’ve done the hard work for you and it is all nutritionally analyzed as well, so if you’re following a particular diet plan and you want to track fat, curbs, proteins or calories, that’s all done for you as well. It’s easy to follow, and we even give you a simple three‑day plan as well, if you want to just kick start your new year or a new healthy regime. It’s an easy book to pick up, follow and just reap the benefits of.

Nourish Books: Thank you so much. This has been informative. I very much appreciate it.

Christine: Lovely to speak to you John.

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All carbed out after Christmas? Then try this low-carb treat

LowCarbTiramasu

Tis the season to eat carbs. If you feel like you overindulged in the carbs this Christmas, look no further than The New Low-Carb Diet Cookbook by Laura Lamont. Here we have a the recipe for a delicious Raspberry Mocha Tiramisu. Served at a dinner party, these beautifully presented desserts look really impressive.

Raspberry Mocha Tiramisu

Serves: 2
Preparation time:15 minutes, plus 10 minutes cooling
Cooking time: 25 minutes

1 tbsp butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp agave nectar
1 heaped tbsp whole almonds, roughly chopped
35g/1 1/4 oz/1∕3 cup rolled oats
1 handful of raspberries
1 tsp instant coffee granules, or more to taste
1 tbsp warm milk
2 tbsp ricotta cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
25g/1oz dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, grated

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas 3 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan over a low heat, add the cinnamon and agave nectar and cook for 1 minute until the the ingredients have combined. Remove from the heat. Stir in the almonds and oats, then spread the mixture evenly over the prepared baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray.
  3. Divide the mixture between two large wine or dessert glasses and press down gently to make it firm. Squash the raspberries slightly with a fork, then put them on top of the oat base.
  4. In a bowl, mix the coffee granules into the warm milk, adding a little more coffee if you prefer a stronger flavour. Stir until the granules have dissolved, then leave to cool. Stir in the ricotta and vanilla extract, then beat together well to form a smooth,creamy consistency. Spoon the mixture equally into the glasses and sprinkle with the grated chocolate.

If you’re looking for a new approach to healthy eating and weight loss, nutritional therapist Laura Lamont’s The New Low-Carb Diet is the effective long-term answer.

New Low Carb Diet recipes

Groundbreaking recipes for healthy, long-term weight loss

The New Low-Carb Diet by Laura Lamont
Find out more, and get free postage on all UK orders

 

The best foods to give you a Post-Christmas pick-me-up

Apricots

Try these wonderfoods to beat the January fatigue. To beat tiredness you have to consume all the nutrients you need including protein, B-vitamins and an array of minerals. By incorporating some of the following foods in your diet you can perk yourself up the natural way.

Apricot – As their bright orange colour shows, apricots are rich in beta-carotene. They have been prominent in Indian and Chinese folklore for 2,000 years. These fragrant stone fruits are bursting with nutrients, and are delicious eaten fresh or dried.

Beetroot – A powerful detoxifier and blood purifier, the root vegetable beetroot is rich in many nutrients crucial for immunity. It’s deliciously sweet yet low in calories, and its high natural sugar content is excellent for reviving flagging energy levels.

Tuna – A member of the mackerel family, tuna is rich in healthy oils and immunity-boosting minerals. Popular sources of protein, such as meat and hard cheese, are often high in fat. Yet high-protein foods keep you going longer before flagging energy levels send you in search of a snack. Tuna is an excellent high-protein, low-fat option, providing more protein than even the healthiest meat. Lean sources of protein are key for anyone who’s physically active, as they prevent slumps in energy without sending calorie intake soaring. The best choices are albacore, skipjack or yellowfin tuna.

Pine nut – Full of protein and minerals, these aromatic kernels can aid the prevention of disease. They are perfect with pasta, in stir-fries or salads, or as an energy-boosting snack. The small edible seeds of the pine tree, pine nuts are lower in fat content than most other nuts, which means they’re a brilliant choice for weight conscious athletes who need to get plenty of muscle-building protein and joint-friendly essential fats in their diet without overloading on calories.

The feast of the one fish – an easy Christmas Eve meal

FishChowder

It was the night before Christmas and all through the house not one person wanted to be cooking. This great slow-cooker recipe for Salmon & Sweet Potato Chowder, mixes the tradition of fish on Christmas Eve with the convenience of an easy to prepare one-pot dish from Beverly LeBlanc.

SALMON & SWEET POTATO CHOWDER

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes, plus making the stock (optional)
COOKING TIME: 4 hours 20 minutes on LOW
SERVES 4

15g/½oz butter
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp plain white flour
125ml/4floz/½ cup Fish Stock, weak Vegetable Stock or ready-made stock
750ml/26fl oz/3 cups milk
280g/10oz sweet potato, diced
2 bay leaves
1 long strip of lemon rind, pith removed
1 tbsp dried thyme
¼ tsp salt, plus extra to taste
700g/1lb 9oz boneless, skinless salmon fillets, about 2.5cm/1in thick, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 smoked streaky bacon rashers
freshly ground black pepper
finely chopped parsley leaves, to serve
smoked or sweet paprika, to serve

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the celery and onion and fry, stirring, for 3–5 minutes until the onion is softened. Sprinkle over the flour and stir for 2 minutes to cook out the raw flavour. Pour over the stock and bring to the boil, stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming. The mixture will be very thick and paste-like.
  2.  Slowly stir in the milk. Add the sweet potato, bay leaves, lemon rind, thyme and salt, then season with pepper. Cover and bring to the boil, then pour the mixture into the slow cooker.
  3. Cover the cooker with the lid and cook on LOW for 4 hours until the sweet potato is tender. Gently stir in the salmon, re-cover and cook for a further 20 minutes until the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to high. When hot, grill the bacon for 2–3 minutes on each side until cooked and crisp. Drain well on kitchen paper, then chop very finely. Wrap in foil and keep warm.
  5. When the salmon is cooked, remove and discard the bay leaves and lemon rind, and add a little more salt and pepper, if you like. Sprinkle with bacon, parsley and paprika and serve.

If you’re looking for more delicious slow cooker recipes Beverley LeBlanc’s I Love My Slow Cooker is a must have for your kitchen.

I Love My Slow Cooker

More than 100 of the ever recipes

I Love My Slow Cooker by Beverly LeBlanc
Find out more, and get free postage on all UK orders

Top tips for beating Christmas stress

destressBlog

Although Christmas is supposed to be a time for relaxation and enjoyment it can often be a time of stress, because you are trying to make it perfect. Here we give you the best de-stressing tips and exercises from Mike George’s You Can Relax and Overcome Stress to help you get through the big day.

Silencing the Buzz

Free-Floating anxiety is, for many of us, a constant companion. We may have become so used to hearing the background buzz of worry that we do not even acknowledge its presence. This visualisation exercise is designed to help you identify this hum, and banish it – at least temporarily, until the next time worry starts to invade your outlook.

  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Imagine that you are walking down a path in a serene forest. Soon, you come across a clearing. Walk slowly to the centre of the glade and sit down.
  • As if from nowhere, animals surround you. They mean no harm, but each represents a concern. The larger the animal, the greater your anxiety. For example, a fleet-footed gazelle may represent a work deadline, a roaring lion, trouble with a relationship.
  • In one part of the glade is a beehive. Bees swarm near by, making the hum of free-floating worry.
  • Gently, touch each of the animals. As you do so they quieten and disappear into the forest. The only sound left is the buzz of the bees.
  • Imagine all your tiny worries one by one entering the hive, until the glade is silent. Your worries are still, your concerns will be dealt with another day. All around is peace.

Emotional amnesty: a 3 stage declaration

Make a list of ten people or situations that are undermining your ability to relax by provoking negative emotions. Using the following procedure, attend to these one at a time, perhaps devoting a few evenings to each one. However, do not spend too long trying to sift the rights and wrongs: remember most situations have a shared cause.

Set aside time in the evening. Relax in a chair, eyes closed. Empty your mind; let go of your preoccupations one by one. Imagine a pitch-black night. Think of this interlude as a watershed in your life, an empty pause between phases.

Summarise the essence of the problem to yourself. Conjure up the issued in visual form if possible. Resolve that you are going to be able to contemplate this image in the future without emotion.

Declare peace with the situation. It is no longer a grievance or source of anxiety. Imagine a jagged blip on a screen being levelled to a continuous line.

Day-to-day karma

Meditate, once a week, on the virtues of someone you know. Begin with someone you like, then try the same exercise with someone for whom you have negative feelings. The next time you see these people, try to recall all the good things that you found in them.

Make a positive gesture of kindness in an unexpected encounter. If you bump into someone you know in the street, offer to help them carry their shopping, or buy them a coffee so that you can talk for a while. Don’t let time be your jailer.

Offer gifts spontaneously. The next time you go on vacation, buy lots of small presents without having specific people in mind. Carry a few around with you to give away on a whim.

Prepare kindness if you have a meeting planned with someone whom you have never met before. Give them a gesture of appreciation for the time they have set aside for you. For example, you might arrive at a meeting carrying refreshments.

For more ways to destress, read You Can Relax and Overcome Stress by Mike George. 

Make Your Own Chicken Ravioli for a Saturday Night Dinner

Fresh pasta taste better if you prepare it yourself. Making fresh ravioli is a great technique to learn and can turn out to be a brilliant and enjoyable way to spend your Saturday afternoon with your family and friends. You can stuff your ravioli with all kind of fillings. In this case, Marcus Bean suggests a spinach and chicken one.

 

Fresh egg pasta

Makes 500g/1lb 2oz

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes resting

400g/14oz/heaped 3  cups pasta flour, plus extra for dusting

4 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt

1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing

  1. Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  2. Pour the eggs into the well. Gradually whisk the flour into the eggs, a little at a time, then add the oil and start to mix the ingredients together with your hands until you have
    a soft dough.
  3. Knead and pull the dough for about 3 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Lightly oil a bowl, add the dough, then cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least
    30 minutes.
  4. Roll out the dough to about 0.5mm on a floured surface or use a pasta machine.

 

Spinach & chicken ravioli with tomato sauce

Serves 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus making the dough and sauce

Cooking time: 20 minutes

1 recipe quantity Fresh Egg Pasta

a little flour, for dusting

Tomato Sauce

For the stuffing

2 tbsp olive oil

400g/14oz minced chicken

100g/3 oz spinach leaves

40g/1 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 eggs

40g/1 oz strong cheese, grated

2 tbsp chopped chives

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Roll out the pasta on a lightly floured work surface to a thin rectangle about 0.5mm thick, or use a pasta machine.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat.
  3. Add the chicken and fry for 4–5 minutes, stirring, until browned and cooked. Leave to one side to cool.
  4. Rinse and drain the spinach, then put it in a saucepan with just the water clinging to the leaves.
  5. Put over a medium heat until softened, then drain and tip into a bowl to cool slightly.
  6. Add the chicken and the remaining stuffing ingredients to the bowl and mix until combined.
  7. Spoon into a piping bag with a small, plain nozzle and pipe small round piles about the size of a cherry in lines over half the pasta, leaving about 4cm/1 in gap between each one.
  8. Dampen between the filling, then fold the other half of the pasta over to create a top sheet, carefully sealing between the ravioli and making sure you don’t create any air pockets.
  9. Press out the ravioli, using a 4cm/1 in pastry cutter, pressing together the edges to seal.
  10. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over a high heat, add the ravioli, in batches if necessary, and return to the boil.
  11. Simmer for about 6 minutes until just tender. Drain well.
  12. Meanwhile, put the tomato sauce in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring just to the boil, stirring to make sure it is heated through. Add the ravioli and toss together to serve.

Chicken-The-New-Classics-by-Marcus-Bean To enjoy other tasty and delicious chicken recipes take a look at Marcus Bean’s Chicken

 

 

Get yourself party ready the celebrity way with this juice detox

JuiceDetoxBlog

The Christmas season is not the easiest time to stay healthy. With endless parties, meals out and social gatherings how can you make sure you look your best? Look no further, try these juices for a pre-Christmas detox, to give you radiant skin, shining hair and more energy. Popular with models such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and celebrities from Jennifer Aniston to Gwyneth Paltrow, juicing is the way to go. The best part is they are so easy; all you need is a few ingredients and a juicer, and – voilà – a delicious healthy treat. With the added bonus of vitamins and minerals for defence, you can avoid the December burn-out and lessen the effects of that inevitable Christmas cold.

So replace each of your meals with one of these juices for two days to feel and look amazing at your Christmas party.

Morning Berry Basic

2 large handfuls raspberries
2 apples
1 orange
1 teaspoon spirulina

This is a fruit-bowl classic with the addition of raspberries and some spirulina for an extra health kick. To avoid green lumps, shake the spirulina in a jar with a little of the juice before mixing it in with the rest.

Great for boosting your energy, detoxing your body and adding shine to your skin.

Orange Winter Crumble

2 oranges
2 apples
1 handful blackberries

A festive treat, this blend of orange juice with the traditional winter mixture of apple and blackberry used in pies and crumbles.

Great for boosting your energy and immunity and for adding shine to your skin.

Green Pines

1/2 pineapple
3 sticks celery
1 large handful watercress

This is a very cleansing juice with rich, peppery undertones supplied by the watercress.

A great all rounder this juice will improve your energy, immunity, digestion and your skin, as well as giving you great detox results.

Beet Basic

2 beets (beetroot)
2 carrots
1 apple
1 orange
1 stick celery
1/2 inch (1cm) ginger root

A supreme energy-lifting, cleansing and immunity-boosting blend.

JuicesAppIf you want to get more out of your juices, then try the Big Book of Juices and Smoothies for 365 delicious, health-optimizing recipes or download our Juices app from iTunes

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The immunity-boosting benefits of Cranberries

CranberriesBlog

Cranberries are the perfect winter superfood for fighting off a cold, and this delicious cranberry crush recipe will help you enjoy all the health benefits that this tangy red berry has to offer.

The humble cranberry is packed with anti-bacterial properties and antioxidant vitamin C, everything you need to ward off a cold or the flu. If you have can’t find fresh berries then you can buy dried or frozen berries, juice or extract instead. For maximum benefit drink a glass of cranberry juice or take 800mg of extract a day – or better still drink one cranberry crush.

CRANBERRY CRUSH
serves 2

200g (7oz) cranberries
juice of 2 oranges
juice of 1 grapefruit
2 medium bananas
ice, to serve

Whizz all the ingredients together in a blender, top with the ice and serve in tall glasses.

 

If you want to know more about immunity-boosters, read The Top 100 Immunity Boosters by Charlotte Haigh

5 Healthy Food Tips To Beat Seasonal Depression

Some nutrients have a direct effect on our emotions helping us fighting seasonal distress and mood changes, which can appear during this time of the year. Adding to your diet foods that are reach in selenium, B vitamins and protein will help you to improve the way you feel and cheer you up from the seasonal downs.
Here some suggestions from Janet Wright from The Top 100 Health Tips:

Avocado
A low-fat diet really can get you down! This creamy fruit provides healthy fats, which raise serotonin levels and keep you happy.
Scientists have found people are more relaxed after a higher-fat meal, and even feel less pain. Some fat is also necessary for the body to absorb nutrients that can improve your mood, such as vitamin E. No wonder people eat junk foods when they’re feeling low. Avocados are the healthier alternative: instead of saturated fat, they provide healthy monounsaturated fat. They are rich in tryptophan, along with vitamin B6 and folate, which helps the body turn tryptophan into the feel-good chemical serotonin.

Sea Vegetables
Sea vegetables, or seaweeds, best known for their use in Japanese cuisine, contain an unrivaled range of nutrients that promote emotional health and keep the brain alert. They contain a wide range of minerals: magnesium helps to relieve stress-related symptoms, such as heart palpitations; calcium helps to stabilize moods; and iron provides energy to the many people. The wide range of sea vegetables now available is rich in iodine, which supports thyroid function. A slightly underactive thyroid, which is fairly common, especially among women, often causes depression and lethargy before any other signs lead to diagnosis.

brazil nuts

Brazil Nuts
Can a few nuts really be the answer to depression, for some people?
This tasty snack contains a rare source of a mineral that can protect against depression and anxiety. In fact brazil nuts are the richest source of a mood-boosting mineral called selenium. People whose diets are deficient in this have been found to suffer depression, anxiety, and fatigue, and to feel better when they eat selenium-rich food. The harmless Brazil nut contains other mood-enhancing nutrients, too, such as magnesium, which soothes stress and anxiety. Just a couple of brazil nuts are enough to meet most people’s selenium levels.

Oysters
Famed for putting a sparkle back in your sex life, these molluscs are also packed with omega-3. That’s partly because they’re so rich in zinc, along with practically all the other minerals we need for good health. Packed with nutrients, oysters act as a general health tonic, as well as enhancing sexual well-being. They are a very rich, low-fat source of omega-3 fatty acids, which make us feel happier and livelier by supporting the brain’s healthy functioning. They are also full of b vitamins, essential to mind and mood.

Milk
Many women become irritable, forgetful, or depressed before a period starts: the well-known symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (pms). A glass of milk can be the simplest answer, as it contains many nutrients that lift and stabilize mood. It is rich in calcium and vitamin d, which together have been found to reduce or even prevent pms symptoms. As with other animal foods, it’s best to buy organic because it contains up to 70 percent more omega-3 oils, which help the brain to function.

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Janet Wright, The Top 100 Health Tips

Find out more health tips in Janet Wright, The Top 100 Health Tips

 

 

Saturday night in with Slow-Cooked Beef Burritos

BurritoBlog

From Beverley LeBlanc’s I LOVE MY SLOW COOKER

Get them started first thing Saturday morning for the perfect slow-cooked supper for all the family with these delicious Beef Burritos from Beverley LeBlanc’s I Love My Slow Cooker.

BEEF BURRITOS

Serves: 4
Preparation time:20 minutes
Cooking time:10 hours on Low

4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp sunflower oil
700g/1lb 9oz skirt steak, halved lengthways, then quartered
450g/1lb tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 red peppers, halved lengthways, deseeded and coarsely chopped
4 tbsp passata
1 tsp hot pickled jalapeño chillies, or to taste
several coriander sprigs, leaves and stalks separated, with the stalks tied together
1 bay leaf
8 flour tortillas
salt and freshly ground black pepper

FILLINGS (OPTIONAL)
coarsely grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
pitted black olives, sliced
skinned and deseeded tomatoes, thinly sliced
shredded cos lettuce

1. Put the garlic on a chopping board, lightly sprinkle with salt and use the tip of a knife to crush into a paste. Transfer the paste to a small bowl and stir in the oregano, paprika, cumin, ground coriander and oil. Use your hands to rub the mixture all over the pieces of steak, then season with salt and pepper.

2. Put the tomatoes, peppers, passata, pickled chillies, coriander stalks and bay leaf in the slow cooker and top with the pieces of steak.

3. Cover the cooker with the lid and cook on LOW for 10 hours until the meat is very tender. Remove the steak from the cooker, wrap in foil and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf and coriander stalks. Re-cover the cooker to keep the sauce warm.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Wrap the tortillas in foil and heat in the oven for 10–15 minutes until hot. (Alternatively, wrap in cling film and warm in a microwave on HIGH for 30–45 seconds.)

5. Use two forks to shred the steak, then stir the meat into the sauce and season with a little more salt and pepper, if you like.

6. To assemble a burrito, spoon the beef filling down the centre of one tortilla, using a slotted spoon. Add any or all of the toppings, if you like, and sprinkle with coriander leaves. Roll up the tortilla, then repeat to make 7 more burritos.

7. Serve hot.

If you’re looking for more delicious slow cooker recipes Beverley LeBlanc’s I Love My Slow Cooker is a must have for your kitchen.

I Love My Slow Cooker

More than 100 of the ever recipes

I Love My Slow Cooker by Beverly LeBlanc
Find out more, and get free postage on all UK orders

6 Super Foods To Fight Your Winter Cough

Age-old theories about the healing properties of food are now being proven by scientific research and winter is the perfect time to put them into practice. Here Paula Bartimeus suggests some effective home remedies to prevent and alleviate the symptoms of a nasty winter cough.

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Paula Bartimeus, The Top 100 Healing Foods

Carrot
Because they are the richest sources of beta-carotene that contribute a good level of Vitamin A, carrots make an excellent choice to help the body fighting cold infections.

Horseradish
Since the Middle Ages horseradish has been used as anti-bacterical, diuretic and stimulant. It is effective when cut or grated and its oils are released, being a rich source of vitamins, calcium, iron and magnesium, which have natural antibiotic properties that can help to overcome respiratory tract infections such as coughs and sinus congestion.

Lemon
Being a good source of vitamin C and with their antiseptic properties, lemons are widely renown as by far the best natural remedy for alleviating sore throat and flu if squeezed in hot water with added honey.

Sage
Thanks to its nutritional properties, sage is ideal to relieve coughs and rheumatism, and strengthen the nervous system. This versatile herb is recommended in ancient theories for its healing properties and is indicated to mitigate sore throat and mouthwashes to combat gum inflammation.

Ginger
Widely used in African, Chinese and Indian cuisines, ginger makes an excellent choice to include in food or made into medicinal tea. Stimulating circulation, it is excellent for alleviating coughs and fever caused by colds or flu.

Honey
Used everyday as a sweetener and natural replacement for sugar, honey is extremely rich of vitamins and substances that speed up wound healing and fight superbugs. Honey is a good source of vitamins, minerals and amino acid improving the blood system and being a powerful source of antibiotic properties. If you add hot water and lemon you can use it as a protective antioxidants to ease the symptoms of cold and cough.