Hands up who resorts to super-fast rather than super healthy meals once the kids are at school? I always make an effort with healthy home-cooked family dinners and their breakfast/lunch, but then I end up stuffing down a quick bagel and coffee on the run, a sandwich or soup + crisps for lunch and a cheeky mid afternoon chocolate or cake boost. So far, so unhealthy. Until this week when I overhauled my unhealthy daytime habits with this fab new cookery book I’ve fallen in love with. Turns out with a bit of extra effort, it’s possible to make healthy, tasty food when I’m on my own too. Converted.
3 healthy recipes that’ll transform your day
1. breakfast – carrot cake porridge
180g rolled porridge oats
270ml almond or rice milk
Small handful of raisins
1 tsp ground cinnamon or 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice, plus extra to serve
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, to serve
Put the oats, milk, raising and cinnamon (or mixed spice) into a pan with 550ml of water on a medium-low heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the porridge is thick and creamy,
Stir in most of the carrot and orange zest. Serve with the remaining carrot, zest and pumpkin seeds scattered on top.
2. elevenses – blueberry & Banana Muffins
100g rice flour or white spelt flour
80g ground almonds
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 very ripe banana, peeled and mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
120ml rice milk
100ml maple syrup or honey
Pinch of seasalt
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan?400F/Gas mark 6 and line a muffin tray with paper cases.
Combine the flour, ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl combine the banana, vanilla extract, milk, maple syrup/honey and blueberries. Stir into the flour mixture. Divide the mixture between 6 muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes (test by inserting a skewer then see if it comes out clean). Cool on a wire rack.
3. lunch – butternut squash & kale warming salad
300g quinoa, rinsed
I small butternut squash, deseeded and cut into 1cm slices (no need to peel)
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
80g kale, rinsed and dried tough stems removed and roughly chopped
2 corn cobs or 150g sweetcorn, drained and rinsed
Handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
5 tbsp smoked paprika & tahini dressing (see books for details)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a saucepan (with a lid), cook the quinoa as per pack instructions. Allow to cool.
Place squash on baking tray, coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil abd season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then stir in the kale and roast for a further 15 minutes until the squash is golden and cooked through.
Meanwhile, cook the corn cobs in a pan of boiling water for 6 minutes – Fearne suggests you oil, salt, pepper and griddle them (but for ease I chose not to) Cut the corn from the cob with a knife.
Add parsley into the quinoa and put on serve with the squash, kale and corn. Add dressing and garnish with the remaining parsley.