Mackerel with Sunshine Slaw

I really like this one. It’s a super healthy plate of crunchy raw vegetables topped with a simple piece of fish.

I’ve playing around with various yoghurt dressings for the coleslaw. With the final version featuring freshly squeezed orange and lime, I can happily now call this a Sunshine Slaw. It’s bright colours and zesty taste, make it a perfect clean spring salad.

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For around 500g of coleslaw you will need:

  • 400/450g crunchy vegetables – made up of grated carrot, grated beetroot, finely chopped red onion and plenty of shredded red cabbage
  • 100ml natural yoghurt  – you may choose to add a little extra once you’ve tasted at the end
  • 1 tablespoon of oil – try safflower or olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • juice from half a lime – just squeezed by hand
  • juice from half an orange – just squeezed by hand
  • Seasoning (be fairly generous – but taste to make sure it works for you)

The full batch contains around 300 calories – not a fraction of a regular mayonnaise coleslaw.

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To make the coleslaw:

  • Simply mix it all together and taste.
  • The seasoning and various elements of the dressing may need a little tweak at this stage because the vegetables, oil, yoghurt, vinegar we use are not all uniform. Just be guided by your palette and what tastes good to  you.

For the final plate:

For a small lunchtime salad serve around 100g of the coleslaw with around 80g mackerel per person. Simply pan fry fresh mackerel or serve cold mackerel. I tried and loved both but the cold mackerel option is definitely a quicker prep. If you buy pre-cooked fish just check the packet for any added extras. Most will contain some salt, but there’s no need for extra preservatives. You can easily buy this fish without.

The sustainability debate

Mackerel has been both on and off the recommended ‘fish to avoid’ list due to concerns about over fishing in the North East Atlantic. However since 2013 this fish has been on the ‘fish to eat’ list managed by the Marine Conservation Society. Line caught mackerel is by far the best way to source mackerel. Read more about the eco information.

The positive virtues of mackerel

As for the health benefits, mackerel is a widely recommended oily fish. It is rich in essential vitamins and minerals with both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. It also contains protein and the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10, which is associated to the elimination of cancerous elements from cells. Read more on the health benefits.

I hope you get time to try this sunny salad.

Garlicky mushrooms and herby greens

Here’s a simple yet wonderfully well balanced mid-weeker. Garlic, mushrooms, spinach and lentils make for such a warming bowl, but it’s the addition of tarragon that wakes up the flavour and makes this a complete dish.

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Be brave with the garlic but be careful you get the right amount of tarragon. Just enough gives a hint of bittersweet, too much gives an aniseed flavour that overpowers the softer ingredients. The suggested measures below gives you leeway to add some more at the end if you want a bit more punch.

Things you might not know about tarragon…

  • Most tarragon we eat is French, the alternative being Russian tarragon which is less flavoursome.
  • Tarragon has a mild anesthetic property when used medicinally.  It also has sedative properties and can be used in tea as an aid for insomnia.
  • Herbalists sometimes use the herb as an digestive aid because of its ability to breakdown meat fats and proteins.
  • Fresh tarragon is one of the highest antioxidant value food sources among the common herbs. It is packed with vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin A as well as B complex vitamins such as folates, pyridoxine, niacin and riboflavin.
  • Tarragon is an excellent source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and zinc.

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I’ve served this one with red carmargue rice. It’s got a good nutty flavour that works well with the mushrooms. It’s also adds a bit of crunch to the dish.

To make enough for a hearty bowl for one or two small portions with rice you will need:

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 fat garlic cloves or 3 regular – it’s good to go BIG on garlic with mushrooms
  • 100g mushroom
  • 100g spinach
  • 100g cooked lentils
  • 150ml veg stock (if using shop bought try the low salt Bouillon such as Marigold)
  • Tablespoon tarragon – but potentially more at the end of the cooking, see below

Serve it with:

  • 25g – 40g red rice – which doesn’t sound a lot, but the dish doesn’t need anymore or the rice will become the main event
  • Generous spoonful of natural yoghurt

It’s a doddle to make, here’s how:

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly in cold water then cover with water. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat slightly for around 20 – 30 minutes till the grains are squeezable in your finger tips.
  2. While the rice is cooking, add your oil to a pan on a moderately high hob, add the onions and garlic. Give them a good five minutes to soften right down.
  3. Add the mushrooms and lentils and keep on a medium heat for around 5 minutes until the mushrooms start to soften.
  4. Add the stock and turn the heat down, allow the ingredients to cook for up to ten minutes.
  5. Put the spinach and tarragon on top and wait for it to wilt into the other ingredients, stirring gently once or twice to help the process.
  6. Make a final check on flavours and season, maybe adding some more chopped tarragon either now or to the end plate.
  7. Things should come together around the same time. Drain your rice and give yourself half with a generous measure of the mushrooms and sauce.
  8. Finish with a big spoonful of natural yoghurt.

(A serving with 25g rice and yoghurt contains approximately 220 calories)

Once made you can cover and keep this one overnight to reheat on the second day.

I hope you enjoy this simple and nourishing bowl of goodness.

If you have time, read more about clean eating or take a look at my lifestyle principles to see how clean eating can be part of your daily world.

Big red pepper and tomato soup

Pimiento rojo grande!

I picked up some fabulous peppers yesterday. I’ve made a gorgeous soup, BIG ingredients and BIG on flavour. It’s both incredibly tangy and deliciously sweet.

This soup really does live or die on the ingredients. I think tomato soup in particular is pretty disappointing with watery, flavourless tomatoes.

Red pepper 6

To make the soup I used:

  • 3 large red peppers
  • 3 large beef tomatoes
  • Lots of fresh rosemary – as much as you like, I used about 2 very large sprigs
  • Lots of fresh basil – I used about 10 large leaves
  • A splash of balsamic
  • A splash of olive oil (up to a tablespoon)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Small white onion
  • Seasoning
  • A little stock – volume depends on how much liquid your vegetables creates and how thick you like the soup, I added around 200 ml.

Red pepper soup_3

To make:

  1. Place the peppers on an oven tray and pop into the oven as they are, at around 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Also put in a separate tray of sliced tomatoes with a drizzle of balsamic, some seasoning and lots of fresh herbs.
  3. Remove from the oven after about 20 / 25 minutes when the peppers are starting to char a little.
  4. While cooling fry up the onion and chopped garlic in a splash (maybe 3 teaspoons of olive oil).
  5. Then remove the pepper skins and seeds. The skin should just slide off.
  6. Add all the flesh, the tomatoes and any juices into your onions and garlic, add a little stock to cover the vegetables and keep on the heat (with a lid) for around 20 minutes until everything is soft (and smelling by this point delicious).
  7. Then simply blitz up, taste and season as you like.
  8. I serve mine with a ruck load more chopped herbs on top and very very hot.

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This makes around a litre. I pour around 300 ml servings (each with around 100 calories) into jars, so that I can just pull out one at a time when I want to eat. If you don’t want to eat them all in the same week, just pop a jar or two in the freezer.

Red pepper soup

It’s incredibly good for you and seriously makes you want to lick the bowl.

Enjoy