Breakfast

Uplifting - Frozen breakfast smoothie

Frozen berries – straight from the freezer – is an obvious go to for a virtuous detox beginning to the week. We’ve packed this full of heart healthy ingredients, and choose ripe, speckled bananas for maximum flavour here. Bee pollen is a bit of a super food, although if you struggle to find it, substitute a teaspoon of raw honey.

Recipe by Claire and Matt Thomson

400g mixed frozen berries, or other frozen fruit

1 very ripe banana, peeled and roughly chopped

3 tbsp almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds

2 tbsp oats

100g plain yogurt or dairy free yogurt (optional)

400ml milk or unsweetened almond or oat milk

1 tsp bee pollen or honey to taste (optional)

  1. Place the all the ingredients a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses to serve.

Get ahead for the week - Seed and nut granola

Making homemade granola is a gratifying and practical task. Make this seed and nut rich version in bulk and you’ll be able to liberally add it’s this heart healthy properties in conveniently at breakfast; over yogurt, on porridge or fresh fruit, mixed into your muesli, or simply enjoying a bowlful with milk. It’s even a possible pudding treat.

Recipe by Claire and Matt Thomson

Makes one large jar:

1 – 2 tsp ground cinnamon (depending on taste)

50g pure maple syrup or runny honey

3 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil

250g rolled oats

150g nuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts, roughly chopped

50g sunflower seeds

50g pumpkin seeds

200g dried apple, roughly chopped (or use raisins or dates)

Pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas mark 2 and line a baking tray with parchment paper
  2. Warm the cinnamon, oil, sweetener together in a large pan.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients apart from the dried fruit and stir until completely coated, then spread out evenly on the lined baking tray, sprinkling over a little salt to taste.
  4. Bake the granola for 25-30 minutes or until the mix is completely golden brown and crisp throughout, rotating the tray ½ way through so it bakes evenly.
  5. Remove the tray from the oven and allow it to cool, then stir in the dried apple, breaking the granola up to your prefered size as you do, before storing in large airtight jar.

Brunch

Easy - Savoury vegetable pancakes

These little fritters are incredibly speedy to throw together. Perfect served as an impromptu brunch this is a great recipe to use up any leftover vegetables you might have in the fridge. They eat brilliantly with any of the following; chilli sauce, plain seasoned yogurt, cottage cheese or tomato salsa for example.

Recipe by Claire and Matt Thomson

Makes one large jar:

1 – 2 tsp ground cinnamon (depending on taste)

50g pure maple syrup or runny honey

3 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil

250g rolled oats

150g nuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts, roughly chopped

50g sunflower seeds

50g pumpkin seeds

200g dried apple, roughly chopped (or use raisins or dates)

Pinch of salt

150g self-raising flour

300g courgette, coarsely grated and squeezed dry (or use pumpkin or squash)

3 eggs

50ml milk

100g yogurt or sour cream

50g cheese, coarsely grated or crumbled

1 small bunch of dill, parsley or basil, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Vegetable or olive oil to fry

  1. Put the flour in a bowl and whisk in the eggs, yogurt, cheese, herbs and the grated vegetables.  Season with pepper and a pinch of salt.
  2. Fry heaped tablespoonfuls of the batter in a film of oil in a hot pan for about 2 minutes until the bottom has firmed enough to flip over and fry on the other side for another 2 minutes. When cooked put on a warm plate covered with a cloth.
  3. Fry the fritters in small batches until all the mix is used up.
  4. Serve with your favourite condiments or accompaniments.

Lunch

Light summer lunch - Peach, basil, mozzarella and rocket salad

This is the perfect light lunch, a classic Italian combination that is easy to throw together in a home or work kitchen, or even at a desk. It is important to use ripe peaches, or other seasonal fruits such as melon, pears, plums, figs, oranges or berries to get the maximum flavour. The dressing works very well made ahead.

 

Recipe by Claire and Matt Thomson

For the dressing;

1 small shallot or ½ small red onion, very thinly sliced

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

For the salad

2 ripe peaches, quartered (or use other seasonal fruits)

3 x 125g buffalo mozzarella balls, torn into bite sized pieces

3 big handfuls of mixed rocket and baby spinach

Small bunch of basil or mint, leaves picked off

50g whole almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds

100g prosciutto slices (optional), torn into strips

Seeded crispbread to serve (optional)

  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together, season to taste and put to one side until later..
  2. Arrange the peach and mozzarella on a plate and drizzle with half the dressing. Scatter the rocket, nuts and herbs over the top and season to taste with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange the prosciutto over the top if using and drizzle over the rest of the dressing.
  4. Serve with the crispbread on the side if using.

Desk power lunch - Grain, salted kale, toasted seed and roasted vegetable salad

Grain salads have become increasingly popular in recent years for good reason. The opportunity for whole grains as a nutritious and textured base along with heart healthy seeds, and they work very well made the night before. Rubbing salt into raw kale softens the leaves a little, keeping the flavour

Recipe by Claire and Matt Thomson

200g barley, spelt, quinoa or wheat grains

2 bunches kale, leaves stripped off and roughly chopped

Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

600g assorted root vegetables (carrots, beetroot, parsnips or sweet potato), peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces

1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped

50ml olive oil

40g mixed seeds  (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, nigella, poppy)

½ lemon, zest and juice

A generous handful of rocket, radicchio or flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7
  2. Cook the grain in 1.5L of salted water with a big pinch of salt until tender, but still chewy. Depending on the variety, they’ll take between 30-45 minutes to cook (quinoa takes a bit less time).
  3. Toss the chopped vegetables, seeds and onion on a baking tray with 2 tbsp of olive oil,  salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until cooked through and coloured.
  4. Rub the kale with a pinch of salt with your fingertips for 30 seconds, then put to one side
  5. Drain the grains well, plucking out the bay leaf. Transfer to a bowl and mix in 3 tbsp olive oil and the lemon juice and zest.
  6. Give the kale a bit of a squeeze in a cloth to remove excess water and salt
  7. Stir the roasted vegetables and kale through the grains and check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Then top with the chopped leaves or herbs.

Energy boost - Rainbow summer noodles with miso

Miso brings deep satisfying savoury elements to this raw vegetable and noodle salad, and the various components can be assembled in no time at all once prepared.

Recipe by Claire and Matt Thomson

1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger

2 tbsp sunflower oil

2 tbsp white miso paste (or use light soy sauce)

2 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar

2 tbsp sesame seeds

200g dried noodles (or use ready cooked) – use wholemeal if possible

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and thinly sliced

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1 baby gem lettuce, thinly sliced

A small bunch of coriander or mint, roughly chopped

  1. If the noodles aren’t cooked then cook to packet instructions, drain and cool with cold water then drain again. Toss through 1 tsp of oil to stop them sticking.
  2. Mix the miso paste, vinegar, sesame seeds, the ginger and 2 tbsp oil and season to taste. Put to one side
  3. Top the noodles with the vegetables followed by the dressing and the herbs.

Dinner

Speedy Healthy - Brown Rice Bowl with Roasted Broccoli and mushrooms

This recipe is loosely based on bibimbap, a Korean dish that translates as mixed rice. More commonly nowadays this dish might well be referred to as a “rice bowl.”

Recipe by Claire and Matt Thomson

300g short grain brown rice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil

1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets

1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated

1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths

400g mushrooms, sliced or quartered

4 tbsp sunflower seeds

1 tbsp cider, white wine or rice vinegar

Sesame oil, to serve (optional)

Chilli Sauce to serve (optional)

Marinated or smoked tofu, roughly chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 5.
  2. Boil the brown rice with twice its volume of cold water and a big pinch of salt for 20–25 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t boil dry, adding a bit more boiling water, if required
  3. Toss the broccoli, mushroom and spring onions in 1 tbsp of the oil, salt and pepper, then roast in the oven for around 5 minutes until just beginning to cook and char a bit, toss through the seeds and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. You want it the broccoli still have a fair bit of crunch.
  4. Rub a pinch of salt into the carrots and put to one side
  5. Squeeze excess liquid out of the carrots, and add 1 tbsp of the vinegar.
  6. Spoon the rice into bowls then top with the broccoli, the mushroom mix and the carrot, and serve the tofu, chilli sauce and sesame oil on the side to your liking.

Hearty - Chicken and spinach pie with wholemeal crust

It’s pretty tricky to beat a pie for mid week dinner! Pies are also a fantastic dish to prepare beforehand, and can use up leftovers such as roast chicken. For the pastry, we’ve used wholemeal flour here, although you could use plain flour too, and the addition of grains to the filling is healthy, economical and delicious. You can always use shop bought butter pastry for this pie too, although we’ve made this one extra healthy by replacing butter with oil.

Recipe by Claire and Matt Thomson

250g wholemeal flour, plus more for rolling and the sauce

140g very cold virgin olive or coconut oil (helps the pastry stay flaky

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

200g spinach, washed and dried

300g chestnut or button mushrooms

250ml chicken stock

400g of cooked, roast or poached chicken, skinned, pulled off the bone and roughly chopped

200g cooked barley or quinoa

2 tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)

1 egg, beaten

  1. Mix 125g of the cold oil into 250g of the flour and ½ tsp salt with fingertips or food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add about 3 tbsp of very cold water until the dough just comes together, then knead very gently until just incorporated. Try to not over knead the dough.
  2. Shape the dough into a flattened disc, wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge while making the filling.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
  4. Cook the mushrooms in the remaining oil and ½ tsp salt and cook for 2 minutes more. Add 2 tbsp flour and cook for 1 minute
  5. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil and reduce the liquid until thickened to coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Add the cooked chicken pieces, spinach, grains and mustard (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pour into a pie dish.
  7. Roll the pastry to about 1cm thick rolling in one direction only. Cut out the pastry to size – so that covers your dish, and then lay it on top. Cut around the side of the plate to remove excess and then crimp the pastry at the edges to seal the dish, cut a small air vent then brush with the beaten egg. At this stage the pie can be refrigerated for later.
  8. Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes (45 if the filling is cold), or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked.
  9. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Midweek meat free - Bulgur wheat pilaf

This is equally good served as it is or with some simple grilled chicken or fish if you’d rather some additional protein. If you can manage to allow the bottom of the pilaf to brown a little you get additional textures and flavours.

Recipe by Claire and Matt Thomson

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

4 tbsp olive oil, plus more to serve

300g coarse bulgur wheat (use wholegrain if possible)

400g tin tomato

½ tsp ground cinnamon or allspice

1 small sweet pointed cabbage, core removed and roughly chopped

Small bunch of mint, dill or parsley – roughly chopped

Salt and black pepper

Yogurt to serve (optional)

Chilli flakes to serve (optional)

  1. Soak the bulgur in water for 10 minutes, then drain well
  2. While the bulgur is soaking cook the onions in ½ the olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the spices, ½ tsp salt and the tomato, and cook for 10 minutes to thicken.
  3. In a large lidded pan fry the cabbage in the remaining oil until just coloured, then add the drained bulgur wheat. Add the tomato and 400ml water and bring to the boil. Then cover and simmer gently over a low heat for 15 – 20 minutes, until the bulgur is tender and the water has been absorbed. Check the seasoning adding salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste.
  4. Serve the pilaf topped with yogurt (if using), drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with the herbs.

Curry Night Vegetarian - Cauliflower Jalfrezi

Jalfrezi means ‘hot fry’, and is best described as a kind of Indian stir-fry.  Onions, peppers and tomatoes with spice and green chilli combine to make up many different kinds of jalfrezi.  I’ve used cauliflower here, but you can replace it with diced chicken or prawns.

Recipe by Claire and Matt Thomson

1 small – medium cauliflower, cut into florets

1 tbsp curry powder

½ tsp chilli flakes or powder

2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 cinnamon stick

2 onions – thinly sliced,

3 cloves of garlic – finely sliced

A small thumb sized piece of ginger, skin on and grated

Vegetable oil to cook

1 lemon

2 peppers (any colour) – deseeded and sliced

½ a tin of chopped tomatoes

Sliced fresh green chillies to serve (optional)

Salt and pepper

  1. Mix the cauliflower together with the curry powder, chilli flakes, ½ the mustard seeds and ½ a tsp salt
  2. Using a blender, blend ½ the onion, the garlic and the ginger to a paste with juice of ½ a lemon
  3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil to a saucepan over a moderate to high heat.  Add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and the remaining mustard seeds and fry for 30 or so seconds.  Lower the heat to moderate and add the remaining sliced onion and fry for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add the onion puree and fry over a moderate heat for about 10 minutes to condense the flavours.
  4. Add the sliced peppers, another ½ tsp of salt and the cauliflower.  Cover the pan and continue frying over a moderate to high heat for 15 minutes or so until the peppers and cauliflower have softened and cooked through and the mix is beginning to caramelize a little in the pan.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes more.  Add a tiny splash of water if the mix is getting too dry and beginning to catch.  Check the dish for seasoning, adjusting with more salt and pepper if you like.
  6. Squeeze in the rest of the lemon juice and sprinkle over the chopped fresh chillies (if using).  Serve with plain rice or Indian flatbreads, some seasoned yoghurt (plain yoghurt with a little salt to taste) and jarred pickles