Watercress salsa verde.

Watercress is in season right now (April) and it’s one of those foods brimming with nutrients. You can easily squeeze it into your diet in place of regular lettuce or rocket, where it brings a lovely peppery flavour. It adds a lovely bite to smoothies and juices and is surprisingly mild in soups.

What I want to share with you this month is a lovely sauce you can whip up in a flash and use to perk up white meat, pork or fish.

Here is an example paired up with pork.

Pork medallions with watercress salsa verde
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS
2 pork medallions
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 anchovy fillets
15ml capers, rinsed
30ml fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
15ml fresh basil leaves
good handful of watercress
freshly ground black pepper
30ml extra virgin olive oil
15ml lemon juice

METHOD
Preheat grill and grill the medallions for 15 mins, turning halfway.
To make the salsa verde, place the salsa ingredients in a mini food processor and blitz until the sauce is well combined. You can also do this by hand by chopping everything very finely and mixing it together with oil and lemon juice. Serve a dollop of the salsa on top of each medallion.

(Taken from ‘The Hybrid diet’ by Patrick Holford)

Castagnaccio

Castagnaccio is a popular Italian winter cake made with chestnut flour. There are many variations to this cake according to which Italian region you visit, however this recipe has been taken and adapted from the book ‘Pausa Pranzo’ written by my amazing talented friend (and chef!) Stefano Arturi.

Chestnut flour is a great nutrients dense option as chestnuts are rich in complex carbohydrates (which are digested slowly giving you even energy levels), vitamin c, potassium, copper and magnesium.

Ingredients:

-250g chestnut flour
-500ml of coconut milk

-2 tsps vanilla essence
-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil (plus a little extra to sprinkle on top before baking)
-1 cup (100g) of pine nuts
-50g of raisins (soaked in water for 15 min)

-2 tsps chopped rosemary
-2 grated apple
-zest of 1 orange
-4 tbs maple syrup
-pinch of salt

Mix all the ingredients (except from a tablespoon of pine nuts and the rosemary) in a large bowl. Pour the mixture in a greased baking tin and top it up with the pine nuts the rosemary and a little extra olive oil.

Bake in the oven at 180C for 30/40 minutes or until the surface starts to dry up.

This cake has no yeast, so it won’t raise at all.

Traditionally this is not a very sugary dessert and the taste is quite strong. If your kids are used to very sugary treats, they might need to try it a couple of times and develop a taste for it before they get to like it!

 Please notice that if you are allergic to nuts this flour might not be suitable for you.

Summer drinks

Summer parties are often filled with sweet, alcoholic drinks that can lead to weight gain and unbalance your blood sugar levels.

If you are trying to avoid sugar and alcohol, it’s not always easy to know what to drink instead without feeling deprived.

Here you are a few delicious and refreshing alternatives for you to try.

 

Strawberry lemonade

Serves 8

2 litres water

8 squeezed lemons (around 280 ml)

1/2 -3/4 tsp liquid stevia (try NuNaturals)

250g strawberries, sliced

In a large jug combine water, lemon juice and stevia. Simply stir in sliced strawberries and serve over ice.

 

Cucumber, mint + lemon fizz

Serves 6

1.5ltr sparkling water

half a sliced cucumber

10 mint leaves

1 sliced lemon

Put all the ingredients in a large jug, chill and serve.

 

Sparkling cherries

Serves 2

4tbsp Cherry Active (you can buy this in any health food store)

500ml sparkling water

Add sparkling water to the Cherry Active and serve with ice.

 

Garden Sour

Seedlip Garden (a distilled, non-alcoholic drink*), 50ml

Cloudy apple juice, 35ml

Lemon Juice, 15ml

Cider vinegar, 5ml

Sprig of rosemary & thyme

You might have heard of Seedlip, it’s a premium distilled non-alcoholic drink. The price may make you wince (it’s no cheaper than buying alcoholic spirits) but it’s hot news this year and making an appearance in all the top bars!  Find it at www.seedlipdrinks.com

 

Sparkling kombucha

Kombucha is a healthy alternative to sparkling soft drinks known for being full of naturally occurring vitamins, acids, and beneficial bacteria.

You can make your own kombucha – to be honest I haven’t tried yet….as you know I am pretty lazy when it comes to kitchen experiments- or you can buy it ready made in pretty much all the health stores out there.

 

Cheers!