Nutrition – Christmas recipes

Tuesday 08 May 2018

I cannot believe that it is already December the 16th. This week I thought that I would focus on sharing a couple of recipes that would be really good additions to the Christmas fayre. Christmas is a time when there seems to be great pressure to over eat and indulge in rich foods that can sabotage the best of intentions. If your intentions, like many, are to try and eat well and healthily these recipes will be ideal. They are a little different from our normal day to day foods but are healthy and adaptable.

Warm Red Cabbage and Walnuts and dried Cranberries. (Serves 4)
2 tbsp of coconut oil or olive oil
450 grams/1 lb red cabbage (finely shredded)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp of fresh grated root ginger
pinch of dried chilli flakes
2 eating apples
3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp of tamari or soya sauce
1 tbsp of fresh lime juice
1 tbsp of xylitol
60g/2oz of walnuts
60g/2oz of dried cranberries
2 tbsp of fresh coriander leaves (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the cabbage, garlic, ginger and chilli and stir to soften the cabbage, about 3 minutes.
2. Wash and chop the apple into small chunks and stir into the cabbage with the vinegar, tamari, lime juice and xylitol and continue to heat through gently for another 3-4 minutes until the vinegar has been absorbed and the cabbage still a little crunchy. Check the seasoning to suit.
3. Take off the heat and stir in the walnuts, cranberries and coriander.
4. Serve. Good both warm and cold. Very good with cold meat, an omelette, or nut burger.

Oven baked pea and quinoa risotto. (Serves 4)
This is so simple but extremely tasty, We normally associate risotto with needing a lot of fuss and attention but this one is so easy and pretty bullet proof. I was given this recipe by a client of mine some time ago and use it regularly.

1 large onion peeled and diced
1 large clove of garlic peeled and crushed
1 tbsp of olive oil
150g/5oz of Arborio rice
150g/5oz of quinoa
1 litre/1 ¾ pts of vegetable stock
350g/12oz frozen peas
1 tbsp of fresh chopped parsley.

1. Preheat the oven gas 5 electric 160’C.
2. Fry the onion in the oil in an oven proof pan or casserole, cook until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and mix.
3. Add the quinoa and rice and stir to coat the grains in the oil. Pour in the hot stock, bring to the boil, stir once and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes without a lid.
4. In the meantime cook the peas in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and blend half of the peas in a processor to make a puree. Leave the other half whole.
5. Take the risotto out of the oven and stir in the parsley, return to the oven for 10 more minutes.
6. Take out of the oven, stir in the pureed peas and the whole peas and serve.

I serve this with some cooked salmon sitting on top but as you can imagine it would lend itself to many different accompaniments i.e. chicken, any type of fish or simply stir through some chickpeas to keep it totally vegetarian.

Now for a couple of sweet treats.

Spiced Roasted Fruits with Honey and Orange Sauce (Serves 4)

I used  this recipe at a cookery demonstration recently and it was very popular.
4 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 drops of vanilla extract
½ tsp of black pepper
zest and juice of 3 oranges
4 tbsp of clear honey
3 tbsp of xylitol
6 fresh peaches or nectarines
6 fresh figs
1 oz butter.

Note that if I cannot get these particular fruits I have made this using fresh peeled pears, some soft dates, and/or some plums that have been halved and stoned.

1. Preheat the oven gas 6 electric 200’C.
2. Tear the bay leaves and break the cinnamon sticks in half to release the oils, mix with the vanilla, star anise, pepper, orange zest and rind, juice and xylitol.
3. Prepare the fruit by removing the stones from the peaches and cutting the figs in half. Put the fruit in an oven proof shallow dish.
4. Pour the sauce ingredients over the fruit and dot with butter. Roast for 25 mins in the oven, basting regularly till the fruit is soft.
5. Serve warm or cold with live natural yogurt, cashew cream or coconut cream.

Chocolate Crunchies
This last recipe feels very indulgent but is actually full of natural goodness and can be cut into bite sized pieces and used as an alternative to the chocolates and sweets that float around at Christmas.

200g/7oz of dark chocolate broken into chunks
125g/4oz rough oatcakes
50g/2oz dried goji berries
50g/5oz walnuts roughly broken
50g/2oz pumpkin seeds

2 tsps of mixed spice
1 tsp of cinnamon
50g/2oz nut butter.

1. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over hot water, stir to speed up the melt.
2. Crumble the oatcakes. When the chocolate has melted stir in the nut butter and blend well.
3. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Spread into a shallow tin lined with baking parchment, level off and put in the fridge to set.
4. Cut and serve.

I hope that these recipes will be useful to you and if you try them that you enjoy the results.

Blog originally written by Caroline December 2014 – checked April 2020

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