Parragon Book Buddy – Casual Cooking – Go On, It’s Healthy

Parragon Book Buddy – Casual Cooking – Go On, It’s HealthyToday I would love to share with you a new cookbook that I received from Parragon Books – “Go On, It’s Healthy“. This 192 pages cookbook has a wide range of delicious recipes to help you enjoy a wholesome, nutritious diet, every meal of the day. Wake up with a vibrant recipe from Rise & shine! Or knock up a sustaining small meal with Smalls, sides & shares. Whip up a quick and healthy snack with Snack attack, or a nourishing family meal with What’s for dinner? Finally, finish off with a light sweet treat with All things sweet.

“Go On, It’s Healthy” is the perfect cookbook for anyone looking for healthy meal options. In addition to mouth-watering recipes this cookbook also contains a lot of top tips which will help you to determine what a healthy diet really is and how to incorporate it into our everyday life and interesting facts about common ingredients we use in everyday cooking.

I found a section about making healthy swaps particulate helpful – I knew that I can replace golden syrup with honey, but I had no idea that to reduce sugar intake I can also replace them both with a rice malt syrup (it is a fructose-free sweetener made from fermented cooked rice). This is just an example of a clever swap we can make in order to improve our eating habits and take them to a “healthy level”.

We all have different requirements when it comes to our diet. I might want a reduced fat recipe but someone else might be more interested in a reduced sugar or a high fibre meal. “Go On, It’s Healthy” takes this into account; if the recipe falls into one of these five categories:

  • Reduced saturated fat
  • Reduces sugar
  • Reduces calorie
  • High protein
  • High fibre

…it will be clearly marked as such.

Parragon Book Buddy - Casual Cooking – Go On, It’s HealthyThis actually makes your decision about recreating each meal much easier. To add a bit extra, each recipe has a clear count of calories, fat, saturated fat, fibre, carbs, sugar, salt and protein, so if you follow the recipe to the letter, you know exactly what you ate in terms of nutrition value.

I didn’t have the chance to cook anything from my new book as yet but I love the selection of different healthy meals in it. When I do get the time to cook this properly I think I might start with an Indian spiced slaw, followed by the turkey & rainbow chard roll-ups going on to some wholemeal banana flatbreads bites and finishing with what I consider to be a fantastic looking superfood chocolate bark 🙂

Casual Cooking – Go On, It’s Healthy - Indian spiced slawCasual Cooking – Go On, It’s Healthy - turkey & rainbow chard roll-upsCasual Cooking – Go On, It’s Healthy - wholemeal banana flatbreads bitesCasual Cooking – Go On, It’s Healthy - superfood chocolate barkOne thing you can be assured off is that as soon as I have created some of these they will be posted on my blog for you to read about and maybe if you’re tempted you will cook them too.

…Yummmm, I am basically drooling already.

Do you have any top tips when it comes to healthy cooking?

Do you use any clever ingredient swaps to help assure you and your family are getting all the necessary nutrition they need and deserve?

Parragon Book Buddy – Casual Cooking - Go On, It’s Healthy***
Casual Cooking – Go On, It’s Healthy
ISBN 978-1-4723-8487-4
Published by Parragon Books Ltd in 2015
Part of Love Food
Number of pages: 192
RRP: £9.99
Paperback; perfect bound

*I received this book for free from Parragon as a part of my Book Buddy pack.
**All pictures in this post are from “Casual Cooking – Go On, It’s Healthy” cookbook.

Mauritian Potato Salad and your chance to #win a trip to Mauritius

Discovering new foods is fun but trying it in its natural environment is even better. Tourism Mauritius is running a competition where you can win a luxury 7 days holidays to… Mauritius! All you have to do is to fill out a short quiz and enter your details on Mauritius c’est un plaisir Facebook page, but hurry as the competition entry ends on 27th April.

As a teaser, I received a food pack to give me an idea of what is Mauritian food. Within my lovely goodie pack was a cookbook, a Mauritian cookbook. I have to admit the dishes look simply delicious, so light and fresh and very summer like. I started my experiments with a Mauritian Potato Salad.

Mauritian Potato SaladThe original recipe comes from Shelina Sunshine on the plate, by Master Chef Winner Shelina Permalloo. I did amend the recipe slightly but only in so far as halving the volume of the original ingredients as I didn’t have a need for an 8 person serving.

Ingredients:

  • 200g potatoes, King Edward preferred; unpeeled
  • 2 carrots; unpeeled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 spring onions; chopped
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 1tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1.5tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 3/4tsp sea salt

Method:

Place the whole potatoes and carrots in a large pan of water over a high heat and bring it to boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add eggs and simmer for further 15 minutes. Remove the eggs and set aside. Drain potatoes and carrots and leave to cool.

Peel the potatoes, carrots and eggs. Cut the potatoes and carrots into 1cm slices and quarters the eggs lengthwise. Place in a large serving bowl and sprinkle with spring onions.

In a small bowl mix together all remaining ingredients and then add them to your salad stirring ever so gently. Finish with some extra fresh ground pepper and serve.

That’s all she wrote. Easy peesy and you have a lovely salad on your plate.

Mauritian Potato Salad from Shelina Sunshine on the plateHave you ever travelled to Mauritius?

Did you ever have the chance to taste any Mauritian dishes?

Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts and Parmesan Cheese

Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts and Parmesan CheeseHigher temperatures, more sunshine and warmer weather in general is very conducive to swopping bulky meat for some light veggies. Lately we have been experimenting a little with some new vegetarian dishes, inspired mainly by our “Eat Your Greens” cookbook from Parragon.

The cookbook, as the name would suggest, is focusing on greens. It covers everything from light bites, via might mains to a bit on the side; in addition it has an extensive green juice section. Every recipe has a clear picture of what your final dish should look like as well as detailed instructions on how to prepare it, including preparation and cook times.

We have tried a few different recipes from this cookbook so far and they were all truly delicious. So today I would like to share with you the Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts and Parmesan recipe.

The recipe will serve four as a side dish or two as a main course. You will need 20 minutes to prepare it and a further 20 minutes to cook it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large broccoli
  • 6tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2tsp sea salt
  • 1/2tsp fresh ground pepper
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Few handfuls of toasted pine nuts
  • 25g Parmesan cheese shavings
  • Lemon wedges to garnish

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C.

If you have unroasted / untoasted pine nuts, you might want to pop a few handfuls onto a small baking dish and pop them into the oven for a few minutes… just a few minutes as we don’t really want to burn them just toast them slightly to help release all the natural oils inside and that wonderful aroma from toasted nuts.

Wash and cut the broccoli into single florets.

Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts and Parmesan Cheese in the makingPlace your broccoli into a large bowl; add oil, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and gently toss around to assure even coverage.

My Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts and Parmesan Cheese in the makingSpread out in a large roasting tin.

Cover tightly with foil and roast at the bottom of the earlier preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the foil and leave them to roast with no cover for a further 10 minutes, turning them around mid-time.

Keep a watchful eye to make sure that your broccoli do not brown too much.

Remove from the oven and tip into a shallow, pre-warmed serving dish and with any cooking juices you might have in the roasting tin drizzle them over the top.

Sprinkle with pine nuts and lemon zest; add slithers of Parmesan cheese; garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

This was the first time we have had broccoli served this way and I have to admit we all loved it!

My Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts and Parmesan CheeseDo you like broccoli?

What is your favourite way of serving it?

***
Food Heroes: Eat your Greens
ISBN 978-1-4723-6450-0
Published by Parragon Books Ltd in 2014
Part of Love Food
Number of pages: 128
RRP: £6
Paperback; perfect bound

*  I received this book for free from Parragon as a part of my Book Buddy pack.

What’s Cooking – Fresh Mushroom Soup

What’s Cooking – Fresh Mushroom Soup

I love mushrooms. I think my love for them has its roots in my childhood as every year we would go camping to the woods and one of my favourite activities (in addition to swimming and rolling on a sandy beach by the lake) was mushrooming. Every year we would come home with a car boot filled with dried mushrooms ready for the winter season.

My mum would often cook mushroom soup but it was always based on those dried mushrooms we had picked during the summer. So without even noticing it, it turns out I’ve never had a fresh mushroom soup… until now.

Ingredients for Fresh Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

  • 300g mushrooms
  • 500g potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 2l stock, I used a chicken stock from Knorr
  • 1 Knorr Garden Herbs Flavour Pot
  • Salt (optional)
  • Cream (optional)

Method:

Chop the mushrooms, potatoes, onions, and carrots into small cubes of your desired size.

Place the mushrooms into your cooking pot, add the stock, flavour pot and mix well. I used 2 Knorr stock cubes to make 2 litres of stock (the packaging would advice 4 cubes for this amount of water but I didn’t want my soup to have too strong chicken flavour).

Bring up to a gentle boil and cook for 20 minutes.

After this time remove any scum (if there is any) and add all remaining ingredients.

Cook for further 40 minutes.

After this time you are ready to serve.

Fresh Mushroom Soup in the making

I actually cooked my soup in a Redmond Multicooker (you can read all about it here). If you have one too the cooking instructions are as follows: Chop the mushrooms, potatoes, onions, and carrots into small cubes of your desired size. Place mushrooms into the bowl, add stock, flavour pot and mix well. Close the lid. Press “Menu” button to select “SOUP” program. Use “Hour/Min” and then “Cooking Time” buttons to set the time of 1 hour. Press “Start”. 40 minutes before the program finishes, re¬move the scum, add vegetables and stir well. Cook until the program finishes.

This is a really light and tasty soup. I think it would work pretty well with a veggie stock, but I simply didn’t have any. Depending on the type of stock you are using you might want to check the salt level and maybe add some if needed. For me it wasn’t necessary as the two cubes of chicken stock had more than enough flavour so I could skip adding any additional salt.

What’s Cooking – My Fresh Mushroom SoupWhat’s Cooking - Fresh Mushroom Soup.

The soup can be served “plain” or with added cream (much better in my opinion).

If you decide to add cream I would suggest adding it just before serving to each bowl; this way your remaining soup will last longer in the fridge.

If the lumps are going to be a problem for you, such as if it is for young children then a quick blast with a blender and bingo you have a type of cream of mushroom soup.

What’s Cooking – Fresh Mushroom Soup.What’s Cooking - Fresh Mushroom Soup

Do you like mushroom soup?

If not, why not? what‘s wrong with you?

What’s Cooking – Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Today I would love to share with you a recipe for Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup. This recipe comes from “The Superfood Kitchen” cookbook by Parragon Books.

What’s Cooking – Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

What are superfoods you might ask?

Well, superfoods are nutrient-rich foods considered to be especially beneficial for your health and well-being.

“The Superfood Kitchen” cookbook is packed full of recipes helping you get the most out of your food. You can pick from breakfast, lunch and snacks, main courses as well as the essential desserts and baking selection. Each one of the 50 recipes included in the book have clear indications of its calories and other nutritional values.

I started my discovery of this cookbook with their Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup recipe. We totally loved this soup and I am confident you will enjoy it as well.

So, let’s get cooking 🙂

This recipe will serve 4. You will need 10 minutes to get things ready plus an additional 35 minutes of cooking time.

Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup - Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 2 red peppers; deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 onion; finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove; finely chopped
  • 300g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 2tbsp cold water
  • 1.2 litres vegetable stock (homemade obviously the preferred option)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh Basil (optional)
  • 250g fresh tomatoes; finely chopped (optional)

Method:

Put the oil, water, peppers, garlic and onion in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 5-10 minutes.

Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

If you are using fresh tomatoes this would be the perfect time to add them then cover with a lid and simmer for additional 10 minutes.

If not… Then still just cover with a lid and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Add tinned tomatoes and stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Serve garnished with fresh basil if you choose to use it.

Optionally you can add the fresh basil into the soup together with the tinned tomatoes and stock; it will change the final taste of the soup (not sure if it will make it better… I would guess the basil taste to be more pronounced, we didn’t cook it this way so I can’t comment with authority).

What’s Cooking - Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

So, why this soup is so special?

All peppers are rich in vitamins A, C and k, but red peppers are simply bursting with them. Antioxidant vitamin A and C help to prevent cell damage, cancer and diseases related to aging and they support the immune function. And best of all one serving is less than 100calories 😉

What are your favourite superfoods?

***
The Superfood Kitchen
ISBN 978-1-4723-6454-8
Published by Parragon Books Ltd in 2014
Part of Love Food
Number of pages: 128
RRP: £8
Paperback; perfect bound

*I received this book for free from Parragon as a part of my Book Buddy pack.