They say cats eat grass when they’re ill. Some believe cats eat grass to relieve sore throats. And I’ve also heard it’s a natural laxative … As for me, grass probably isn’t going to do it, but I know green’s what I’ve yearned for while feeling under the weather.
So, broccolini has been it. This broccoli-kai-lan hybrid has been around for a while, but it’s only recently that I’ve really come to love it. Light cooking produces a bright spring green colour and it has an easy-to-eat appeal, particularly when you’re feeling like baby-bites of food – it’s so tender that you can eat the entire stalk. It’s also high in vitamin C, A, and B6; calcium, iron, manganese, and potassium.
When fresh, broccolini needs little attention. On this occasion, I stir-fried it with a few crushed garlic cloves; then added some tinned straw mushrooms, as well as some pre-marinated honey-soy tofu for protein. Keeping things clean and simple, I paired the stir-fry with rice (sushi rice, my favourite) and finished it off with a sprinkling of cashews.
Voilà. Clean, simple, healthy food for humans.
As a rule, I try not to shop too far ahead – food-wise – in case plans fall through, or I change my mind. However, sometimes my desire for being prepared and organised overtakes! On this occasion, I’d bought ingredients for a cherry custard tart. Sure enough, plans fell through. A rich custard treat for one was out of the question, but I still had eggs that needed using …
My solution? A cherry clafoutis. A clafoutis is a French pudding, which has become one of my ’pantry’ recipes for quick and delicious; cheap and easy; low-fat and healthy. And the choice of fruit? Well, yes cherries are out of season, but I got some preserved ones for a steal at the supermarket!
Recipe-wise, there are a myriad of interpretations out there. Some that use two eggs, three eggs, six … varying amounts of milk, flour, and butter … and some recipes even call for ground nuts! Yum.
On this occasion I was looking for a recipe that used just a few eggs; ‘healthy’ enough to be enjoyed over several serves. But I also wanted a stodgy pudding to provide some winter comfort. This led me to Neil Perry’s recipe on goodfood, which sits in the middle of the road, clafoutis-wise. It uses three eggs and a cup of flour, perfect for my intent and purpose.
Here’s the result!
Recipe: Cherry clafoutis
Baby Carrot, Pistachio, & Spice Cakes
It’s been a while, but yesterday I felt the urge to bake again. My criteria? Something wintry-comforting, tasty, yet also healthy. Idealistic? Maybe. However, when it comes to baking I’m a determined lass. So I set out on an expedition via the World Wide Web … and a short while later, found a carrot cake recipe from skinnytaste.com. “skinnytaste.com?” “A ‘cake’ recipe with two tablespoons of butter?” I hear you say. I too was suspicious – and cautious about my expectations. However, cooking and baking is all about experimentation so …
I set to work, making one or three additions of my own (as per usual): chopped pistachios; nutmeg (to add depth of flavour) in addition to the prescribed cinnamon; and both chopped pistachios and cinnamon, in the frosting. Keeping ‘health’ in mind, I also halved the sugar. I then divided the mixture to create ‘baby’ carrot cakes, rather than one large cake.
The result? “Delicious” and “moist” according to my selected cake samplers. Voilà. A carrot cake recipe for when you’re craving something ‘bad’, but not too‘bad’.
Recipe: Super moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting