Time to slow down and enjoy the season?

Hopefully we now have sunny days urging us to think more about Mediterranean style eating?  By this I mean eating in a relaxed manner, preferably with good company; and savouring the flavours of fresh food.  How you eat at every meal can dramatically alter your digestion.

So out with eating on the hop or at your desk, watching TV, reading, having an argument or simply not enjoying the food.

In with pleasant aromas, convivial conversations or fond memories, enjoying textures and attractive crockery or flowers on the table – making eating a sensory pleasure.

It has been suggested (Julian Baggini, Welcome to Everytown a journey into the English mind) that us English are very out of touch with good eating, in both the quality of food and our eating styles.  We have lost (or maybe never had?)  the social function of food.  Excuses are easy in a fast life but just maybe it is time to slow down a little, enjoy some simple pleasures and find new ones.  And benefit from better digestion and vigour, leading to more productivity.  Win Win !

nicola@plusnutrition.co.uk

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Asparagus & Bacon

Serves 4

  • 500g plump asparagus  Its nearly in season
  • 4 ripe vine tomatoes
  • 12 thin rashers of streaky bacon (optional but hey you can work in off!)
  • 1 tsp organic honey
  • 16 small new potatoes preferably Jersey Royals that will be around soon!
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • couple of packets of baby leaves or rocket salad
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/fan 180C. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and discard. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer in a baking tray with sides. Cut the tomatoes in half widthways, nestle them in with the asparagus, season with sea salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roll each bacon rasher into a tight roll (if large, first cut in half crosswise), and arrange in the tray. Drizzle the bacon rolls with the honey and bake for 20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and the bacon is crisp.
  2. In the meantime, boil the potatoes until tender. Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, some sea salt and pepper in a large bowl until blended. Toss the salad leaves in half of the dressing, and arrange on a large serving plate
  3. Drain the potatoes and cut in half. Gently toss them in the rest of the dressing, and arrange on the plate with the asparagus. Tuck in the tomatoes and bacon…
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Spicy Red Lentil Soup

It’s  healthy, delicious and easy to make…Spicy red lentil Soup (Good with smoked bacon too!)
·  80g  tandoori paste
·  50g tomato puree
·  50g sunflower oil
·  400g tinned diced tomatoes
·  250g coconut milk
·  150g dried red lentils
·  200g carrots, peeled and 10mm diced
·  200g celery, 10mm diced
·  200g banana shallots 10mm diced
·  1 large red chilli de-seeded and sliced
·  salt and pepper
·  600ml vegetable or white chicken stock

Heat a large saucepan with the oil to a medium temperature.
Sauté the diced carrots, shallots and celery with a little bit of seasoning. Always remember to season, especially soups,a bit at a time, as during the  cooking  and reduction processes the flavours becomes stronger and it’s easy to over season. Cook until the vegetables become transparent but not coloured.
Add the sliced red chilli, tandoori paste and tomato puree, cook for 3 minutes, add the dried red lentils and stir.
Add the tinned diced tomatoes and the stock, bring the soup to the boil, turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid.
Simmer the soup for 40 minutes over low heat.
Add the coconut milk, turn the heat to high, bring the soup back to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Use a ladle and scoop a third of the hot soup in to a food processor  and puree until smooth, add this back to the soup and stir. By blending only a third of the soup, this will ensure that your soup has a silky thick and creamy texture with some whole bits of carrots and lentils.
Serve piping hot. (Fresh crusty bread is great with it if you wish)
It’s yummy x

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