Spring Clean Salad, with beetroot, walnuts and goat’s cheese!
A quick and easy lunchtime salad for a fresh and tasty, nutritious brain boost! This salad is a nutritional powerhouse with beetroot and walnuts supporting cognitive function at perimenopause and beyond.
- Mixing bowl
- Sharp knife
- Shallow serving dish
- 1 pack cooked beetroot ready to eat, in natural juices, roughly chopped
- 1 400 g tin chickpeas ready to eat, rinsed and drained
- 1 handful chopped walnuts
- 1/2 150 g goat's cheese log thickly sliced
- 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
- 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 lemon, for the juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tbsp parsley flat leaf, finely chopped
- sea-salt to taste
- black pepper freshly ground
- 1 handful rocket or similar to serve
- Begin by making the lemon dressing, by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. Whisk thoroughly together.
- Put the chickpeas into a small bowl and add the dressing. Thoroughly and gently, mix in the dressing to ensure all the chickpeas are well covered. Leave to one side.
- Put the chopped beetroot, finely sliced red onion and finely chopped parsley into the serving dish.
- Add the chickpeas and dressing to the salad dish. Give everything a good stir.
- Place the thickly sliced goat's cheese on top of the salad.
- Sprinkle over the chopped walnuts.
- Serve with the rocket tossed over the salad, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a final sprinkling of sea-salt and black pepper, to taste.
- Enjoy on its own or as an accompaniment to a fish dish. It goes particularly well with smoked salmon or smoked haddock and some crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Poached Eggs & Kale Brunch
Poached eggs on kale, with cherry tomatoes, avocado mash, garlic mushrooms and mixed seeds.
- 100 grams kale washed, drained and chopped
- 4 medium hens eggs
- 150 grams chestnut mushrooms wiped and thickly sliced
- 90 grams cherry tomatoes on the vine
- 1 whole avocado roughly mashed, leaving chunks
- 1 tbsp mixed seeds pumpkin, sunflower, sesame
- 1 tbspn olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 tspn sea salt
- 1/2 tspn ground cumin
- 1/2 lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 clove garlic peeled and crushed
- 1/4 tspn chilli flakes
- Turn the oven on low. As each ingredient is cooked, you can pop it in the oven to keep warm, apart from the eggs which need to be poached last and when everything else is ready.
- Put two plates in the oven to warm.
- Prep and measure out all the ingredients.
- Boil a kettle ready to poach the eggs and steam the kale.
- Break the eggs into four separate tea-cups. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to each one. Put to one side.
- In a small bowl, roughly mash the avocado, stir in the cumin, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, a scrunch of black pepper and the chilli flakes.
- In a small frying pan gently heat 1 tbspn oil and add the cherry tomatoes, cook on a low heat until slightly browned and softened, approximately 5 minutes.
- In a medium-sized frying pan, gently heat 1 tbspn oil, add the crushed garlic, a pinch of salt and the sliced mushrooms and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes.
- Place the kale in either a steamer, or large lidded pan with 2 tbsp of the boiling water. Bring to the boil, then immediately turn the heat right down and simmer on a low heat until the kale is cooked, approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Now, before you poach the eggs, take the plates out of the oven and put them on the counter.
- In a small shallow pan (which preferably has a transparent lid), add enough boiling water which will cover the eggs. Turn the heat to medium/high so that the boiling water is what I call a 'rolling boil' – just bubbling nicely – more than gentle, less than furious! Gently and swiftly, lower each egg into the boiling water, add more water to cover if needed, and put on the lid. You will need to watch the eggs so they don't boil over and you may need to adjust the heat. Fresh eggs will take only a minute or two for a firm white and a soft yolk.
- Just before the eggs are ready, turn off the heat and take off the lid.
- Arrange the kale, mushrooms, tomatoes and avocado onto the plates and as soon as the eggs are done, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, allowing them to drain over the pan for a few seconds and then carefully placing them on top of the kale.
- Serve, sprinkled with the seeds and seasoned with a pinch of salt flakes and a scrunch of black pepper.
- The perfect start to a lazy Saturday!
This brunch is nutritious, delicious and should keep you feeling nourished for at least a couple of hours. I sometimes serve it with toasted wholemeal spelt or sourdough bread, rubbed with a clove of garlic and drizzled with a little olive oil. But don’t kiss anyone unless they’re eating with you!
Golden Dahl Soup
I have always enjoyed a large bowl of dahl to accompany a curry. This soup is a variation on that side-dish, and brings it centre-stage! Warming and nourishing, it's like a bear-hug in a bowl. Perfect for comforting us through chilly autumn nights.
- Large saucepan
- Medium frying pan
- Stick blender
- 150 g dried red lentils
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 medium to large onion finely chopped
- 2 tsp cumin seed
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 3 tsp Bouillon stock powder or 2 – 3 vegetable stock cubes
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves stalks removed and finely chopped
- 1/2 fresh chilli (optional) very finely sliced
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- A few scrunches black pepper
- Put the lentils in a sieve and run cold water through them to rinse them clean.
- Put the washed lentils into a large saucepan. Add cold water to cover to about 3 cm depth above the lentils.
- Add the turmeric to the lentils and water and give everything a stir. Do not add salt at this time or the Bouillon or stock as salt will toughen the lentils and they will take longer to cook.
- Bring the water, lentils and turmeric to the boil and then reduce the heat, partially cover with the lid and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Whilst the lentils are cooking, melt the coconut oil in a medium-sized frying pan on a medium heat and add the finely chopped onion. Fry for about 5 minutes or until softened and slightly golden. Be careful not to let them burn.
- Add the cumin seeds and let them cook for a couple of minutes. Turn down the heat and add the tomato puree. Give the mixture a good stir and cook for another minute. Add a little water to the mixture if it becomes too dry.
- When the lentils are completely cooked and soft, stir in the Bouillon or crumble in the stock cubes.
- Allow the mixture to cool a little and then whizz to a smooth, soupy consistency with the stick blender.
- Scrape the contents of the frying pan into the cooked lentil mixture. Stir well.
- Leave to simmer, partially covered, for another 5 to 10 minutes to allow all the flavours to meld together.
- Season to your taste with sea-salt and black pepper.
- Serve in individual bowls, scattered with the coriander leaves and finely sliced chilli with chappatis or a chunk of your favourite bread.
Lentils are highly nutritious with many health benefits. They are cheap to buy, high in protein and fibre and low in fat and calories. They also count towards your recommended five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables! They contain a good source of phytoestrogens, which may help balance hormones at menopause.