Generally we accept January as a time for healthy food, abstinence and exercise. So going with the flow this month’s recipes are to varying degrees on the healthy eating, clean-up-your-act spectrum.
The Cauliflower and Kale recipe is positively saintly whilst the Chocolate Orange Muffins appear as a concession to balance- any healthy eating initiative will only ever last if it’s sustainable so the odd treat is essential. Better homemade and low in saturated fat than shop bought, high in sugar, fat and processed.
And the fish curry is both healthy and a wake up call for tired January taste buds.
Rick Stein’s Cleansing Fish Curry
Without out wanting to fall into a gender trap, it’s possibly harder to persuade men to eat healthily than women. Fish curry is a great way to sneak a healthy dish under the wire.
This recipe featured in Rick Stein’s India series and his book of the same name. It’s really easy to throw together, fabulous with filleted monkfish, sea bass or snapper and a perfect for jaded palates.
Serves four to six
60ml vegetable oil
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely crushed
30 fresh curry leaves
2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
100ml tamarind liquid
2 green chillies, each sliced lengthways into six pieces, with seeds
1 tsp salt
700g snapper fillets cut into 5cm chunks
Boiled basmati rice
Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or karahi over a medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and fry for 30 seconds, then stir in the onion and garlic and fry gently for about 10 minutes until softened and lightly golden.
Add the curry leaves, chilli powder, coriander and turmeric and fry for two minutes, then stir in the tomatoes, tamarind liquid, green chillies and salt and simmer for about 10 minutes until rich and reduced.
Add the fish, cook for a further five minutes or until just cooked through, and serve with plain rice.
Kale and Cauliflower Salad
The truly virtuous may choose to eat this as the main event but I prefer to consider this deeply flavoured salad as a side dish to grilled meat or fish.
I’m always on the look out for kale recipes as I grow heaps in the garden and also it’s so full of flavour and so good for you. I found this recipe on a brilliant food blog called Love and Lemons – winner of the Saveur Reader’s Choice award – definitely worth checking out and bookmarking.
Preheat oven to 175°C.
3-4 cups cauliflower florets
one bunch of kale, destemmed (about 5 packed cups)
a few squeezes of lemon
a few squeezes of orange
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
¼ cup hemp seeds, toasted chopped almonds or pine nuts
a few add-on ideas: (choose 1 or a few to toss into the salad as you wish)
crumbled feta cheese
shaved parmesan cheese
dried currants or cranberries
chickpeas (or a protein of your choice)
roasted sweet potatoes (roast w/ the cauliflower)
a scoop of hummus or cashew cream
On a baking sheet lined with parchment, toss the cauliflower with olive oil, salt & pepper. Spread cauliflower evenly on the baking sheet and roast until golden brown (usually 20-30 minutes).
Tear your kale into pieces and place it all into a large bowl. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper and use your hands to massage the leaves until the kale becomes tender and wilted (the volume in your bowl will reduce by about half). Add a big squeeze of orange, a big squeeze of lemon, a bit of Dijon mustard, and use your hands to work it all together. Taste and adjust – if it’s bitter add orange, if it’s bland, add more seasonings.
What you add will depend on the bitterness of your kale (I find that I add different amounts each time). If it’s still too raw-tasting, let it sit for 20 or so minutes (at room temp), and the flavours will develop a little more.
Toss in the roasted cauliflower, a sprinkle of hemp seeds and some freshly cracked pepper. Add suggested add-ons according to your fancy.
Store extra kale salad in an airtight container in the fridge (it’s great for lunch the next day). If you’re new to kale salad, or if your kale is especially tough or bitter, try mixing in a few handfuls of softer baby salad greens.
Chocolate Orange Muffins
This is a recipe I developed partly because my son wanted to bake muffins and also because I wanted to upcycle the Terry’s Chocolate Orange festive legacy. I find the taste of most muffins both too sweet and refined, or too dense and dry, if made with bran or wholeweat flour. Using yoghurt cuts down on the need for fats whilst giving the muffin a wonderful consistency and texture. The orange is perhaps an illusion of health and could hardly count as one of your five a day but it’s darn tasty.
By general consensus these are the best muffins I’ve ever made and in my time I must, in all honesty, have baked thousands of muffins.
Makes around 9 big muffin and around 12 small. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180ºC.
½ clementine in segments
200g caster sugar sugar
75ml veg oil
250ml plain unsweetened yoghurt or half yoghurt/half buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g self-raising flour
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ a Terry’s Chocolate Orange (chopped into small pieces)
Put the clementine and sugar into a food processor, Kitchen Aid or similar. Pulse until the sugar and orange are combined. Add the oil, yoghurt, buttermilk, vanilla and egg. Mix until combined.
Sift the dry ingredients; flour, bicarb and salt into a large bowl. Add the chocolate orange – the pieces don’t need to be even, it’s quite nice to find a largish hunk of chocolate in your muffin – and stir.
Make a well in the centre and gradually add the orangey sugar mix. Mix gently without over stirring. The mix will be quite wet so don’t be alarmed.
If you enjoyed this post and know of anyone in need of a little healthy eating inspiration please ‘like’ and ‘share’ using the social buttons.