Cashew Nut Roast

My food and health group friends tucked into this last week, which is a great alternative to meat.  Cashews are a great nut, and contrary to popular belief can actually help you lose weight!  Yes, you heard right.  If you want to look at the many reports, simply google ‘cashew nuts for weight loss’ and you will find that many studies have been done to support this theory.  There are many benefits of eating cashews for people, especially those with diabetes, eye, heart and blood related issues.

Although I am not a vegetarian, I enjoy this as a substitute.  I have reduced my meat intake  to three times a week, and have found that I have extra energy and lost a few pounds in the process, which is no bad thing. So give it a whirl.

 

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Ingredients

250 g of cashew nuts
The two end slices of a loaf of bread (that no-one likes eating) – Wholemeal gives a better consistency
1 medium onion chopped
100g mushrooms chopped not sliced
250 ml of hot vegetable stock
1 tablespoon marmite
1 heaped teaspoon of mixed herbs
A little Olive oil for frying

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

First fry the onion and mushrooms in a little olive oil.  Fry gently until the onion has softened.  Remove from the heat.  In a food processor blitz the cashew nuts until fine.  Put into a large mixing bowl.  Then blitz the bread in the food processor until it turns to breadcrumbs, then add to the cashew nuts in the mixing bowl.  Also add the onions and mushrooms.  In a measuring jug get the hot stock and add to it the marmite and mixed herbs.  This will allow the marmite to melt, you can help it along by stirring it with a spoon.  Once melted add the liquid to the mixing bowl. Mix all the ingredients together well.

Place the mixture into a lined loaf tin. Cover the top with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the tin foil and cook for a further 5-7 minutes until golden on top.  Leave to cool.  If you do not allow the mixture to cool, the dish will collapse.

This is so tasty if left to eat the following day. I like to slice and eat it cold or you can slice and fry it. This is great with a salad and most vegetarians and meat eaters will give it the thumbs up.

Busy Bee!

Just a quick note to say that I have not fallen off the edge of the planet, just been super flat out on projects that are time consuming but worth it.

I seem to be forever writing away, working on a novel and of course my food writing both for magazines and for future books.  Filming is also at its height, with this being one of our busiest points of the year, so there is no rest for the blessed!  On top of this, I have scripts to write, voiceovers to do, my website and social media to maintain, run my online retail plus be a wife and mum.  We all know what home domestics entails…

So I hope to stick a few new recipes up and start sharing my cookery book reviews, in the next few days.

Have a great weekend.

Emily.

 

 

Pesto Pasta

This is a pasta dish that hits the spot and is ready in next to no time.  You can use any pasta you like, but I like the fusilli twirled pasta for this, as the sauce gets stuck into the grooves with it.

This dish is reasonably healthy too and is cost effective, especially if you grow lots of basil like myself.  I also like the fact that most of this is store cupboard ingredients, and so is great for making when you are stuck with knowing what to cook.

 

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Ingredients

  • 2 Bunches of Basil – remove the leaves from the stalks
  • 100ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Seasalt – a couple of good pinches
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove
  • 50g Pine Nuts
  • 3 Large Tablespoons of Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Pasta of your choice (80g per person)
  • Vine cherry tomatoes on top to decorate (optional).

Boil your pasta to the packet instructions.  Whilst it is cooking you can make the pesto sauce.  In a food processor place all the ingredients except the tomatoes and blitz until fairly smooth.  You may need to stop a couple of times and go around the edge of the bowl with a spatula.  Leave the pesto to rest a few minutes, you will see that it will thicken slightly.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return it to the warm pan.  Do not put the saucepan back on the stove.  Place the pesto in with the pasta and mix well, ensuring it is all fully coated in the pesto mix.

Serve in bowls and add some vine tomatoes on top.

 

 

 

 

 

Low Calorie Section

I have added a new section that I am adding to my site called ‘Low Calorie,’ as I am being asked by people almost on a daily basis, to give them recipes and ideas to eat healthier.

I would like to stress at this point, that although the recipes are ‘low calorie’ I do this with health, rather than weight loss in mind.  Many will enjoy a loss of weight naturally when they eat well and ditch the junk.  Just testing some of my recipes over the last week, I have lost well over half a stone in weight, yet I do not feel deprived.  It is important to eat well and make sure that you get the right calories in your body for your height/sex/age/weight and activity level.  With that in mind, I have a few useful suggestions for you.

 

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First I purchased a pedometer quite cheaply from Argos for around £14.00.  It simply straps to your waist and you can forget about it and get on with your day.  I always aim for 10,000 steps per day but often it will end up being 12,000.

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Second, I placed the nutracheck app on my phone, which enables me to find out what my calories should be.  It also allows me to check food calorie/fat levels and I can add the food either from a bar code scan or manual input.  I also get control over how much weight I may wish to lose, whether I wish to stay at my weight or if I want to gain some weight.  It gives me lots of useful data and some of which has been surprising.  Simply swapping dairy yoghurt to a soya alternative reduced my calories by quite a substantial margin.  The biggest shock was that I really enjoyed the soya version, and do not find it in any way a sacrifice.  The next myth I wish to dispel is that fruit and veg are ‘free food’.  I need to be clear that they DO contain calories.  For instance 1 large banana is around 92 calories, whereas a nectarine is 36 calories.  Little swaps and changes can make a huge difference.  The app also gives you information on how many of your 5 a day you are eating, plus how much water you have drunk and still need to drink!

Third, I purchased a good set of digital scales as portion control is the biggest issue many people have.  Weigh out 30g the recommended amount of Special K cereal, and be truthful as to whether or not that is the amount you usually place into your bowl?

To be healthy and to lose weight is not rocket science.  What it does require is discipline and commitment.  Exercise (even brisk walking) and eating well, will not just help you shift a few pounds but will make you feel more alive and well.

Over time, I shall be giving you some recipes for low-calorie foods to help you.  These will be rough calorie guides and of course depends on your portion sizes.

Here is to health for 2016!

Tomato Soup

This went down a storm in my cookery demo this morning, and is a favourite soup in our house.  Quick to make and utterly delicious as well as not costing you much, so you cannot go wrong.  Always try to buy premium canned tomatoes where possible.  You can also substitute a couple of items should you wish.

 

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Ingredients

1 Can of tomatoes ( I use a real good quality brand)
Glug of olive oil
1 Onion finely chopped
1 Garlic clove crushed
Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Sugar
400 mls of vegetable or chicken stock
200 mls of milk
Handful of fresh basil leaves
(Optional) Good dollop of creme fraiche or a swirl of cream

In a medium saucepan add the olive oil, onion and garlic and sweat gently until the onions go translucent looking. Add the tomatoes, sugar, stock and pepper then cook gently with a lid on for ten minutes. Then add the milk and basil leaves and continue to simmer for five minutes. Then use a food processor or hand blender and whizz until you have the consistency you like. If too thick for you, just add a little hot water from your kettle to loosen it. You can also put it through a sieve to get an extra silky smooth soup. Eat this as it is, or add some creme fraiche or cream.