Strawberry Santas

This post was a lot of fun to put together – the strawberry Santa’s looked so cute we had to think twice about eating them!  However, taste them we did, and we really enjoyed the combination of strawberries and the thick greek yoghurt we chose to make them with.  This is a classic example of trying an alternative to the traditional, we could have used the usual whipped cream, but when thick yoghurt works just as well (and already thick and tasty with no need to prep or add sugar) we didn’t feel we were compromising on taste.

Enjoy your food this Christmas, enjoy the coming together to prepare it, and take care all you good food and nutrition lovers!

Strawberry Santas

Ingredients

  • Strawberries
  • Thick yoghurt, Cream cheese, Whipped cream
  • 1 Date

Directions

1. Wipe your strawberries dry and remove the green stem.
2. Slice the strawberries two thirds up from it's base.
3. Either use a piping bag for accuracy, or spoon about a table spoon of thick yoghurt (or cream cheese/cream if using) onto the cut end of the largest strawberry piece. Place the other strawberry piece on top as Santa's hat.
4. Dab some yoghurt on top of Santa's hat, and along his belly to act as buttons.
5. Roll two tiny balls of date between your fingers and add to Santa's face to make his eyes.
6. Place on your serving platter, and enjoy!

Kumara Rosti with Avocado and Smoked salmon

This is a simple and tasty take on the classic christmas blini. It is nice and quick to whip up and full of healthy fats and carbs!

Kumara Rosti with Avocado and Smoked salmon

Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups orange or gold kumara
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 packet smoked salmon
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Wash the kumara and then grate and squeeze out any extra liquid. In a large bowl place the grated kumara and eggs, season and mix well.
2. Place small spoonfuls of kumara mixture on a baking paper-lined tray and then flatten until about 1cm thick. Spray with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.
3. Slice avocado and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning.
4. Top the crispy kumara rosti with avocado and smoked salmon and enjoy!

Labneh

Labneh is traditionally a Middle-Eastern style spread made from a small number of simple preparation steps.  It is made from unsweetened greek yoghurt, so it’s already hitting that ‘healthy’ button, and then marinated in oil and whatever herbs and spices you fancy.  We marinated ours in garlic as well as olive oil, which means we have some lovely garlic oil to cook with once the labneh is gone!

Labneh, as we have found, can have many uses.  You can use it in place of ricotta or cream cheese for most of their uses, and is lovely on toast in the morning (especially if you have added lemon juice to the marinade), smeared onto crackers, and even stirred through pasta for a simple, creamy style, pasta dish.  It is well worth hunting down that muslin to make this dish!

Labneh

Ingredients

  • 1 Litre unsweetened plain yoghurt
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley

Directions

1. Place a metal sieve over a large mixing bowl. Lay 2-3 layers of muslin over the sieve. Have an elastic band or piece of string handy.
2. Keeping the yoghurt in it's container, add the salt and mix thoroughly.
3. Pour the yoghurt mixture onto the muslin, gather the muslin ends around the yoghurt and tie tightly with the elastic band or string.
4. Cover the yoghurt and bowl completely before placing in the fridge. This prevents anything dropping into the whey (if you want to use it later), or the yoghurt taking on any flavours from the fridge.
5. If you want a soft spreadable cream cheese allow it to sit and drain out it's whey for 36-48hrs. If you want a much firmer dip leave it for 72hrs. Basically, the longer you leave it the firmer it will become. You can check firmness at any time.
6. Once ready, crush the garlic, chop the parsley and have the olive oil and a glass container for storage on hand.
7. Remove the labneh from the muslin wrap. Pour some olive oil over your hands and separate off a golf ball size amount and then shape into a ball. Place in the jar with a little extra oil.
8. Repeat this process until you have a layer of balls in the bottom of your container. Sprinkle over some garlic and some parsley, and a little more oil for good measure, and then keep adding labneh balls until finished.
9. Make sure the labneh is coated in oil, seal tight and then store in the fridge. If the balls are quite soft they will probably keep for a week or two. Harder labneh can be stored for a month.
10. Enjoy on a cracker, or stir through pasta, then use any remaining garlic oil to cook with!

Sweet Spiced Christmas Quiona salad

This is a lovely recipe to start the festive feeling! It has the sweet spiced flavours of christmas and is a fun and different take on the classic fruit salad.

Sweet Spiced Christmas Quiona salad

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 22 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 orange (juice and zest of two plus 1 whole)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 carton strawberries
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • 1 handful flaked almonds
  • greek yoghurt

Directions

1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a sieve and add along with the 3/4 cup of water to a pot.
2. Add in the spices, juice and zest of one orange and honey, then cover, and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit with the lid on for another 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and then add the juice of one more orange.
3. Whilst the quinoa is cooking slice strawberries into quarters and cut up one more orange.
4. Mix together the quinoa and fruit and sprinkle over mint leaves and sliced almonds. It is delicious by itself or served with greek yoghurt.

Spiced Lamb Meatballs and Turkish Flatbreads

This is a great family fun recipe or fantastic for entertaining. People can enjoy creating their own flatbreads exactly how they want them. It is full of flavour and a fresh and yummy dinner option.

Spiced Lamb Meatballs and Turkish Flatbreads

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 packet turkish flatbread

Meatballs

  • 400g lamb mince
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 egg

Garnish

  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1g capsicum
  • 1 packet feta
  • handful of fresh parsley and mint
  • greek yoghurt

Directions

1. Mix all meatball ingredients in a large bowl, roll into small balls and then bbq or pan fry in a good non stick pan for 5-10mins until cooked through.
2. Using a vegetable peeler slice cucumber into strips long ways and slice red onion and capsicum.
3. Cube feta cheese and then finely chop parsley and mint (however mint can be left whole if leaves are small enough).
4. When serving up, use a turkish flatbread as the base, add your meatballs and vegetables, garnish with feta, mint and parsley and finish with a dollop of thick greek yoghurt.

4 Ingredient Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potato

At The Nutrition Room we always get asked for easy and quick lunch ideas. This recipe can be made in as little as 5 minutes and only has four ingredients that are quick, cheap and simple to grab for work. If you don’t have a microwave handy at work then you can cook the kumara in the morning before you go, as this is just as nice cold as it is warm. It is a good mix of protein, fibre rich carbohydrate and good fats and adding a side salad can make it a great well balanced meal. Healthy and yummy food doesn’t need to be complicated!

4 Ingredient Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potato

Serves 1
Prep time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium kumara
  • 2 tablespoons light cottage cheese
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 1/4 avocado (diced)

Directions

1. Using a fork prick 4-5 sets of holes into the kumara. Place in the microwave and cook for 4-5 minutes or until soft to touch.
2. Mix together spinach and cottage cheese and dice the avocado.
3. When the kumara is cooked, cut in half and squash down with a spoon. Scoop the cottage cheese and spinach mixture onto the kumara and sprinkle over the avocado. Season to taste.

Carrot Cake Bliss Balls

These bliss balls are a great way to get another vegetable into your day!

Carrot Cake Bliss Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 orange
  • 2 Medium carrots (peeled)
  • 1/3 cup canned pineapple pieces
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

1. Place the dates in boiling water and allow them to soak whilst putting the rest of the ingredients together.
2. Place the oats in a food processor and grind into a coarse flour.
3. Zest the orange, and add along with 1 tablespoon of orange juice to the oats.
4. Grate the carrots and add to the oats. Then add the rest of the ingredients (including the drained dates). Process until mixture has come together.
5. Using wet hands, roll into balls and then roll in desiccated coconut to finish. Makes around 40 balls depending on their size.
6. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Quinoa and Almond Cake

This recipe is a great option if you are avoiding dairy and wish to increase your plant based protein, and why not do this through baking!  It has a lovely light and nutty texture and you can play around with the fruit decoration (tinned pears also look particularly pleasing in a fan on the top!).  This is yet another recipe that works with minimal sugar.

Quinoa and Almond Cake

Serves 16
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flaked quinoa
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 orange (zested)
  • 1/2 tin of pear slices (or other fruit eg. frozen berries)

Directions

1. Place the quinoa flakes in a bowl and add the boiling water, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together, then add the oil in a stream whilst continuing to whisk. Keep whisking whilst adding the sugar.
3. Combine the almond meal, vanilla essence and orange zest with the quinoa.
4. Add the egg mix to the quinoa mix and combine to form a batter.
5. Pour the batter into a well-lined 23 cm cake tin (line it so that the paper prevents the batter from seeping through if you are using a spring-form tin).
6. Slice the pear pieces in half and arrange them in a fan on top of the batter, or simply scatter frozen berries over the top. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar over the top of the cake.
7. Bake at 180 degrees C for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

 

Salmon and Asparagus Fettucine

This dish is a lovely ‘rich’ pasta without the heavy cream sauce.  The salmon, garlic, lemon and parmesan gives it its distinct flavours, and using fresh seasonal asparagus is a real treat. Get all the ingredients for this delicious meal in store at Raeward Fresh!

 

Salmon and Asparagus Fettucine

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 500g salmon fillet
  • 1 white onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 drizzle oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 400g fresh fettucine pasta
  • 2 lemons (zest and juice)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Season the salmon fillets and cover with tinfoil and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. Set aside.
3. Place a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
4. Chop up the onion, crush the garlic and cut the asparagus in two, trimming the ends. Cook the onion in a frying pan with a drizzle of oil, until translucent. Then add the garlic and asparagus, heat through for a further two minutes to soften slightly.
5. Add milk to the pan and bring it to a light simmer, then add the frozen peas.
6. Put the fresh pasta on to cook for 3-4 minutes.
7. Add the lemon zest and 3-4 tablespoons of the pasta water to the sauce to help thicken it. Then drain the pasta and add to the sauce.
8. Reduce to a low heat and add in all the egg yolks, taking care to immediately stir through the sauce (if you do this too slowly, or the heat is too high you may risk curdling the dish). Continue to allow the dish to warm through for a few more minutes.
9. Add the lemon juice, and again stir this through relatively quickly.
10. Flake the salmon into good bite-sized pieces and carefully fold through the pasta and season.
11. Garnish with grated parmesan.

Tandoori Inspired Chicken and Capsicum Skewers, with Turmeric Rice

With capsicums back in season this is a great recipe to try. It’s colourful and vibrant and has plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants from both the capsicums and tomato.

Tandoori Inspired Chicken and Capsicum Skewers, with Turmeric Rice

Serves 4
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 white onions
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (+ 1 tablespoon for the paste)
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (+ 1/2 tsp for sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon ground chilli (optional for those who like heat)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt (+ 1/2 cup for sauce)
  • 500g chicken tenderloins
  • 3 red capsicums
  • 1 lemon (for the sauce)
  • 8 skewers

Directions

1. Rinse the rice through a sieve until the water runs clear.
2. In a pan, cook off the chopped onion in a little oil. Add 1 teaspoon of the ground cumin and 1 clove of the crushed garlic, and cook through for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the rice, mix well and then add 1 teaspoon of the turmeric, mix through and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
4. Add 4 cups of water to the rice, cover and cook on low for 20 minutes.
5. Whilst the rice is cooking; in a bowl mix together the remaining cumin, garlic and turmeric, along with the paprika, chilli, finely grated fresh ginger, tomato paste and yoghurt.
6. Cut up the tenderloins so that they are roughly two inches long, and slice the capsicums to match their size.
7. Add the chicken and capsicum to the yoghurt spice mix, and using your hands, completely coat them in the paste.
8. Thread the chicken and capsicum pieces onto 8 skewers, then set under a grill to cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (you may need to check a piece to make sure).
9. If you wish to make the sauce, mix together the juice of 1 lemon, ½ cup natural yoghurt and ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika.
10. Serve the skewers over the rice and drizzle the sauce over the top.