EEEEK! Anyone else feeling their shorts are a bit tight after the summer fun we’ve all had!? Foodie Mama is definitely feeling the pinch in more ways than one! So September is devoted to ways to regroup, recharge and reduce!
Diet? What Diet?! Five delicious healthy lunch ideas for the foodie mama who’s always rushing about:
1. Soup! An absolute life-saver when you are reluctantly slogging through a month of healthy eating. Cram in those five-a-day, make it in batches and freeze serving sized pots to grab at a moments notice. My new faves are cold cucumber and avocado and Spanish Gazpacho (see below).
2. Seedy crackers. A pack of wholegrain ryvita or the delicious wholemeal crackers you can buy in Ikea are a nutritious and filling ‘on the go’ lunch fix. Top with low fat cream cheese, smoked salmon and capers or tuna, spring onion and lemon mayo. Or try my favourite (pictured), which is fresh tuna, kalamata, coriander, aioli and a good squeeze of lime.
3. Grain-tastic salads. Leave the lettuce behind and instead make a big batch of good-for-you grains to get you through the week and keep you sparky. Top nutritional fixes are quinoa, pearl barley, amaranth (mix with couscous) and gluten free buckwheat. A simple dressing of fresh lemon, olive oil and some herbs does the job, but of course there are zillions of other exciting additions (cold chicken, sun blush tomatoes, olives, leftover roasted veg, some pesto, torn up parma ham, feta). For more grainy ideas and health tips take a peak at Grains are Good which you can pick up in Fishwives or online at www.bookdepository.com
4. Sushi and sashimi. In this country there’s no need for you to dig out your rolling mat – just buy it!
5. Noodles in a jar – thin rice noodles cook in a matter of minutes and the wholegrain ones contain a bit more of the good stuff. Pack some into a jam jar with nutritious enoki mushrooms, beansprouts, mangetout and some Chinese cabbage and pour over boiling water. After a minute, drain, sprinkle over a sachet of miso soup and top up with more boiling water. When the noodles are soft, it’s ready to eat!
A batch of Gazpacho made especially for Luis Fonsi
I’ve been trying to rustle up a bit of a ‘latino’ air in our house, having become hooked on the popular ‘Despacito’ that’s hit the charts recently. As well as swinging my rather over sized salsa hips at any opportunity I’m also totally indulging in this well known Spanish soup as it’s quick to make, super healthy and can easily be tarted up with a shard of crisp parma ham or some prawns to serve as a lovely summery starter – perfect for our warmer climes! Now’s the time to make it too as all the veggies needed are in season over in Australia and are tasting fab. So get in the kitchen mamas and sway along to the song whilst you chop!
Ps, I sometimes buy my fruit and veg from Open Taste as they have a great seasonal guide, they always arrive super fresh and you can buy in bulk, which is cheaper for making big batches.
This is great served really cold in shot glasses on a warm summer’s evening. Alternatively serve in bowls with some cooked and peeled prawns, dressed with lemon and oil, and topped with chopped blanched almonds.
Makes 1 litre
– ½ large cucumber, roughly chopped
– 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
– 3 ripe vine tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
– ½ small red onion, chopped
– 2 thick slices of day old rustic white bread, torn
– 2 small cloves garlic, chopped
– 2 ½ tbsp olive oil
– 2 ½ tbsp good quality red wine or cider vinegar
– pinch sugar
– 400ml good quality tomato juice
– Tabasco, to taste (optional)
- Put the cucumber, pepper, tomatoes, onion, bread, garlic, oil and vinegar into a bowl, with some salt and pepper and stir together. Leave to marinade for 4 hours or overnight. Blend in a liquidiser or processor until completely smooth, then add the tomato juice and taste for seasoning, adding a splash of Tabasco if you like. If you want to use a stick blender for this then add the tomato juice before blending.
- To freeze: Pour into a container, cover, label and freeze
- To defrost: Overnight in the fridge
- To serve: In small glasses or bowls garnished with chopped blanched almonds or cooked and peeled prawns dressed with lemon and olive oil.
This month I’ve been cooking from…
Round to Ours by Laura Jackson and Alice Levine (published by Quadrille). It’s an entertaining bible put together by two stylish and inspiring Supper Club Sisters from London. Having read the intro I felt like I’d like to definitely join in on one of their trendy soirees, possibly becoming best friends with both lovely ladies (sadly I quickly remembered that I’m actually old enough to be their aunt or possibly even their mother!). Emphasis is firmly placed in the ‘supper’ camp (think warm and cosy lighting, jam jars of blooms, tea towels as napkins but all done in a really tasteful ‘oh this old thing’ type of way!). As well as including notes on creating the mood, table decorating and flowers, this quirky book even gives you suggestions for music playlists that will get the evening off to a good start (as well as some cracking cocktails). Menus are varied enough that you’ll definitely find something that suits – Mexican fiesta, low and slow, DIY Thai, canapés for a crowd and Summer garden party. And recipes are really exciting too. We loved the Pistachio Koftas with harissa yogurt, burrata with asparagus and nigella seeds and Blackberry ice cream with ginger biscuits (obviously consumed when not on diet..cough cough!)
Foodie Empire Alert!
The masters at The Providore have just opened their exciting new flagship store in Downtown and you must go and check it out. Bakery, restaurant, cookery school and retail..it’s a food lover’s Aladdin’s cave. Try their amazing selection of homemade sandwiches and salads as well as the Providore coffee while you are there as it’s made by pro’s, it sorts you out for the day and even better they’ll sell you the beans, ground coffee or pods to take home too! Their state of the art new cooking studio has tons of exciting classes coming up from Indian to Vietnamese and some guest celeb chefs too!
Kids’ Pizza Parties
Ever wanted to know how to hand stretch a pizza without making a whopping great hole in the middle? No? Ok, well maybe your kids might! Mega Dad Jamie Oliver has 5 kids of his own and so he has made sure his restaurants Jamie’s Italian, dotted about the island, are super kid friendly. Not only do they have a new kids’ menu offering a great selection of healthy but comforting dishes such as Secret Seven gnocchi with seven veg sauce, basil and mozzarella but they have also offered to take on our revolting shrieking kids and make pizzas with them too! Birthday party..sorted!
High Tea at a Low Table
There’s obviously no way I’d be interested in this as I’m now a healthy eating goddess. But I thought it would be rude not to share that the Mandarin Oriental are offering a rather indulgent afternoon tea at the moment. From 4 September to 1 October you can enjoy lobster tartare with red grape, foie gras terrine with fig and the most delectable selection of cakes and other treats at their Axis bar and lounge. With Marina Bay as your backdrop, it’s hard to beat this as a special treat for someone you love.