Wednesday 16 September 2015

5 ways to brighten up your meals

When starting this blog, I debated whether I should write about my food fetishes. Admittedly, food is one of my (many) obsessions. "Do I have anything to contribute?"I wondered. There is a wide variety of information available.When I want to learn to make something, I google it, and find some useful recipes. without fail.

What is not so easy to find, is the tried and tested information – literally tried in someone’s (non-Masterchef) kitchen, and applied. Whilst it may be true that a slice of lemon in hot water is a good for us to start the day, how many of us get that right for periods longer than a week? More importantly, are we able to get our teenagers to adopt these healthy principles, and believe them so that they have a chance at having more healthy lives.

After explaining my food journey here, which basically involved losing a lot of weight, and then cutting down salt (high blood pressure) and then cutting down sugar (cholesterol and just wanting to stay healthy), there is one foodie truth I know to be 100% true. How do I know? This principle works with just about any diet that people adopt. Stop arguing with me, you know I’m right.

Adding vegetables to every meal, every day is never wrong. Just add the “right” vegetables.

True? Of course. Easy? Well, not really. We are just not used to doing this. And it does become quite time consuming. But vegetables are worth the time and effort.

We sat down at the beautiful table – crystal glasses tinkling, and silver cutlery reflecting the candlelight. (Thanks for the romantic gesture on book club night, Eskom.) We ate slowly, savouring every mouthful of food not cooked ourselves, and eaten with civilized conversations about our errant husbands and misbehaving children – with no interruptions, except for sips of wine (which are not interruptions, but welcome additions) wanting to draw out the evening. “My word Alison,” remarked Lisa, “I would eat a lot more vegetables if you came and cooked them for me every night.” They were absolutely deevine. Delicious. 

Ideas for adding vegetables to every meal: 

1. Vegetables can replace carbs – remember you can make anything with a cauliflower these days. Cauliflower wraps, cauli-pizzas, cauli-rice and baby marrow (zucchini) bread.

Better still – ditch the carb-sides completely. I learned this from my children. Encouraging them to eat the cauli-rice, they asked why we even had to have a version of rice with Chicken Korma. They preferred their food plain. It is not necessary to use carbs to mop up sauce. Replace with some veg.

2. Use vegetables where you would usually add cheese, or protein – like make a salad sandwich. Avocado or hummus with wraps; baby marrows, mushrooms and spinach with omelettes; tomat0, green pepper and onion relish topping for just about anything - fish, chicken breast, fillet, you name it.

3. Oven baked vegetables are often so much nicer than raw – think red and yellow peppers (which Alison bakes until they blister, and then she peels them – so yummy!), baby marrows sliced with a vegetable peeler, little baby onions, baby tomatoes…

4. Stir fry with different oils – try the nut oils for slightly different tastes. Add some simple herbs. Chives, coriander and origanum are my favourites. Grow them yourself, you wont run out.

5. Start your meals with vegetable dips instead of crisps – asparagus, cucumber and broccoli.

Still not inspired? Go to Alison’s house for dinner. Better still, I’ll share her famous recipe with you.

Aubergines in tahini and pomegranates

Other food posts here.

All my recipes.

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