10 reasons breakfast is a must
Is it an old wives tale, or is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Perhaps your mother always made you eat hot lumpy porridge in the morning, so as soon as you escaped her clutches, you developed the coffee and cigarette habit in college, and ever since then breakfast was a bagel... at lunchtime.
But it’s actually true, breakfast can make or break a diet, because breakfast helps set the tone for the rest of the day. If you’re one of those people who think skipping breakfast is a good way to lose weight... think again.
Here are the top reasons why you should definitely eat breakfast, every day:
1. Break the fast. Ever think of what "breakfast" means? Your body responds to not eating for hours and hours by slowing down it's metabolic rate. By eating breakfast, you wake up your metabolism and get your engine humming, burning those calories you need to burn to lose weight.
2. Eat more, weigh less. Researchers have repeatedly shown that people who eat breakfast have a better chance of losing weight, and keeping it off. When you skip meals, you’re so hungry by lunchtime you'd eat an entire cow! Research carried out at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh has shown that eating breakfast cereal in the morning helps aid weight loss.
3. Are you interested in doing better at work and school? Don’t be a bed head... breakfast helps wake you up. Studies show that people who eat breakfast are more alert and do better on tests than people who skip breakfast. Conversely, a hungry child can be apathetic, disinterested, and irritable when confronted with difficult tasks. Breakfast is the key." No doubt adults need breakfast as much as kids do.
4. Breakfast is your chance to eat the foods you may not eat the rest of the day.You can have whole-grain cereal and berries with non-fat milk - here is your fibre, folic acid and calcium in one easy-to-grab bowl. Low-carbers need to go very easy on grains, so opt for the highest-fibre brand you can find. However, why not indulge instead in the typical eggs and lean bacon breakfast most other eating plans frown upon?
5. Skipping breakfast makes you grouchy. Studies show that people who eat breakfast tend to be in better moods (when I’m hungry - watch out!). Breakfast gets you started on the right track for the day. If you start out with a healthy breakfast, then you set the mood for lunch. You're more likely to choose something reasonable for lunch if you’ve paid some attention to your breakfast choices.
6. Cancel the Danish or sugared doughnut first thing in the morning - they cause a blood sugar dip a couple of hours later. You’ll be desperate for something to perk you up, and are more likely to grab another high-sugar refined carb, for a quick sugar rush.
7. Breakfast makes your machine run better. Get yourself on a schedule with a healthy breakfast, and you’re ready to take on the world.
8. If you’re a parent, set a good example. By skipping breakfast, your kids will think it’s not important. Breakfast doesn' have to be a big affair, but don’t wimp out... make it a habit, and your kids will be way ahead of the game too.
9. Don’t eat dessert for breakfast. If you think a cereal bar with 30 grams of sugar is a breakfast item, then think again. Some cereal bars contain nearly as much sugar and fat as a regular chocolate bar.
10. One more word about labels... if it says, "Nutritious," it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. Cereal manufacturers are experts in marketing, using words that send a message of health, but unless you read the labels, eat at your own risk. Kids’ cereals often have more sugar than sweets. Protect your kids from getting hooked on these cereals... they’ll get used to all the sugar, and will want only pre-sweetened cereals.
Whatever your diet you follow... breakfast is one meal you don’t want to miss.
source: The Guardian
The Power of Peppermint
Did you know that peppermint is also an age-old herbal medicine that has been used to treat a wide range of abdominal woes? The oil extracted from the peppermint plant contains a host of compounds, but the most abundant and perhaps the most pharmacologically important is menthol.
Peppermint can temporarily allay itching caused by insect bites, eczema and other lesions, including the rash of poison ivy. Peppermint tea can be used as a mouthwash for babies with thrush (yeast in the mouth) or for reducing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, especially for women who want to avoid stronger medications.
Frittata with Red Capsicum, Chorizo & Tomatoes
via Eat Drink Paleo
1/2 cup of full fat cream or milk if you allow dairy (if not, just add an extra egg white for volume)
1 chorizo sausage, make a small incision and peel the skin off)
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 large red capsicum (aka pepper), diced
1 Roma tomato, sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, peeled and diced finely
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ghee or 2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
Heat a large frying pan with a little ghee or 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Slice half of chorizo sausage into small disks and chop the other half into small cubes. Fry the round slices on both sides first, remove to a plate with some paper towel.
Chop and slice onion, garlic, and capsicum. Add to the same frying pan with a little more ghee or olive oil and the rest of chopped chorizo sausage. Cook on medium heat until softened, add paprika and stir.
Whisk 5 eggs with cream and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Make sure onion and chorizo mixture is spread evenly before pouring the eggs over the whole surface.
Place tomato slices and pre-cooked chorizo slices on top. Make a little well in the middle and crack the last egg, keeping the yolk in tact. Cover with a lead and cook until the top layer of the omelette is 80% cooked. Take the lead off and leave on the heat for another minute or so. You know it’s ready when most of the egg mixture is cooked through, it’s ok if it feels a little undone on the top as it will keep cooking on your plate.
Grind some black pepper and scatter a few fresh basil leaves before serving.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serving suggestions: Serve with a side of avocado & tomato salad or some grilled asparagus or zucchini. If you have a frittata after a work-out, I recommend to make some sweet potato hash browns or grilled pumpkin. You can also add some pre-cooked sweet potato to the base. And remember, omelettes and frittatas are not just for breakfasts!
Frittata is an Italian-style omelette filled with various ingredients. We have these omelettes most mornings in our house because they’re delicious, nutritious and fast to prepare. To me, a frittata is like a pizza of Paleo world – there are dozens of variations to choose from.
The secret to a good frittata is to pre-cook the base ingredients and make those super tasty with spices, herbs, onion and garlic. The whole egg mix needs to cook slowly on medium/low heat until 90% done, the rest will cook once you turn the heat off. If you cook it for too long, the frittata will become slightly porous like Aero chocolate. Flip one half over the other or slice into triangles. It goes without saying but make sure you use free range eggs, organic if possible.
Prawns steamed in beer
350ml Cisk Pilsner
500gr raw prawns with shells on
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tsp chopped parsley
Pour the beer into the base pan of a steamer and bring to a simmer. Season the prawns, drizzle with olive oil and place in the steamer basket with the lid on.
Cook for five to eight minutes. Top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges and mayonnaise.
Pork sausages with beer and onion gravy
600ml Hopleaf Pale Ale
8 pork sausages
700gr onions, sliced thinly
2tbsp sunflower oil
1tsp plain flower
600ml beef stock
½ star anise
2 fresh bay leaves
To make the beer and onion gravy, heat the oil and butter in a heavy based saucepan. Add the onions and sugar and cook over low heat for 45 minutes until caramelised. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute.
Stir in the beer, beef stock, star anise, cloves and bay leaves and boil until reduced to a rich sauce. Remove the star anise, bay leaves and cloves and season with salt and pepper.
Fry the sausages and serve with the beer and onion gravy. You can also serve with mashed potatoes.
Chocolate and beer cake
225gr unsalted butter
65gr unsweetened cocoa powder
215gr plain flour
80gr ground almonds
360gr caster sugar
1½tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
160gr sour cream
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a cake tin.
Simmer the beer and butter in a medium sized pan over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder until fully combined.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking soda and salt together and stir to combine.
In a medium bowl, hand-beat the eggs and sour cream, then stir in the warm chocolate mix.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and gently fold in the wet mix with a rubber spatula until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
Spring lamb in a pistachio rocket crust
Roasted in a nut and herb crust, the lamb keeps very succulent. It is served here with a three-bean salad (broad, borlotti and butter beans with parsley, and an oil and lemon dressing) and simple bużbież roast potatoes. This dish is a herb-lover’s delight.
Leg of lamb
150g green pistachios, shelled
50g pine nuts
50g grated Parmesan
2 garlic cloves
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp milk
3 tbsps olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper and sea salt
Preheat oven to 220°C. Cooking time: for a medium-cooked joint, allow an average of 15 minutes for every 500g, plus 15 minutes more. Usually 75-90 minutes is enough for a 1.5-2kg joint.
Peel the garlic, and rinse and spin dry the rocket.
Place the pistachios, garlic, pine nuts, grated Parmesan, rocket and a little seasoning in a food processor and grind to small breadcrumb size. On the slowest setting, drizzle in one or two tablespoons olive oil until you have a thick, semi-dry pesto.
Beat the egg yolk and milk together.
Dust the lamb joint lightly with some seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Then, using a pastry brush, coat it with the egg mix.
Press the pistachio pesto firmly onto the lamb. Drizzle over a soup spoon of olive oil.
Place in a roasting tin and bake for around 75-90 minutes depending on the size of joint and your preference – rare, medium, or well done. Cover midway through with foil to prevent the crust from browning too much.
When cooked, rest for 10 minutes covered with foil. Carve and serve with light spring vegetables of choice.
Strawberry balsamic mint cheesecake
Mint gives a lively and complementary pop to the heady sweetness of the balsamic strawberries, turning this three-cheese, baked dessert into a surprising showstopper.
300g plain digestive biscuits
180g unsalted butter
220g soft cream cheese
250g thick, plain Greek yoghurt
2 tbsps cornflour
2 eggs, beaten
200ml single cream
1 tsp quality vanilla essence
250g mascarpone (or ricotta for a lighter option)
3-4 tbsps single cream
Balsamic strawberry compote
450g fresh strawberries
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsps balsamic vinegar
2 tbsps water
Sprig of mint, chopped (and more to garnish)
Icing sugar to dust
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 22-24cm spring-form tin.
Base: turn digestive biscuits into very fine crumbs in a food processor, or place them in a strong plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
Melt the butter gently and stir in the crushed biscuits coating them thoroughly.
Press the biscuit mix into the base of the tin and bake for about 10 minutes until just turning golden and slightly firmed up. Remove from oven and cool. Turn up the oven to 200°C.
Filling: using electric beaters, whisk together all the cheeses, cornflour, vanilla essence and the yoghurt. Then add the cream and beaten eggs a little at a time until the mix is well combined, smooth and thick. Set aside.
Strawberry compote: rinse the strawberries, then quarter them lengthways and place in a saucepan with the balsamic vinegar, caster sugar and water. Heat to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the strawberries are slightly tender but retain their form. Remove the strawberries with a slotted spoon to cool, then add some chopped mint to the liquid in the saucepan and simmer until reduced to a syrup. Set aside to cool.
Place three large spoonfuls of the cheesecake filling into a blender, add two tablespoons of the cooked strawberries and blend till smooth. Return the mix to the rest of the cheesecake filling and combine well. This adds flavour to the filling, which is now a pastel pink colour.
Pour the cheesecake filling onto the cooled base and bake for around 40-45 minutes, covered with foil, until firm around the edges. The centre should be stable, but slightly wobbly; it firms on cooling and may go down a little if it’s risen. Remove from the oven and cool completely. For a firmer cheesecake, chill in the fridge for a minimum of three hours.
Remove the cheesecake from its tin and place on a serving plate or cake stand. To top, whisk the marscarpone, adding a few tablespoons of single cream to loosen and make it spreadable. Cover the cheesecake with the topping, roughly.
Arrange the strawberry compote on top and then pour over the balsamic-mint syrup, letting some dribble down the cake. Garnish with more mint and fresh strawberries if desired. Dust with icing sugar. The cheesecake keeps well for around two to three days chilled, covered, in the fridge.
Note: the base and filling (without topping) can be made ahead and frozen.
Roasting the cherry tomatoes first and keeping them whole in the quiches gives you a little packet of full flavour mid-bite. Polenta in the pastry gives a firm, crisp texture.
2 large eggs, beaten
180ml single cream
200g feta cheese, cubed and a little crumbled
Cherry tomatoes – around 25 to 30
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
A good handful of fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper
A grating of Parmesan
For the pastry
140g plain flour
110g unsalted cold butter, cubed
A pinch of salt
2-3 tbsps cold water
Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease with butter eight to 10 mini quiche tins (approx. 8cm in diameter) or one large tin of 22cm.
1. Make the pastry, ideally in a food processor. Pulse the butter and flour. Drizzle in the water slowly, on pulse setting, until the pastry binds. Tip out on a floured surface, knead lightly into a smooth ball, wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
2. Wash, pat dry and lay out cherry tomatoes on baking paper on a metal baking tray. Drizzle over some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with large crystal sea salt. Roast the tomatoes for 30 minutes, turning once, until they are slightly caramelised. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C.
3. Meanwhile, beat together the eggs, milk, cream and season with fresh ground black pepper. Add some chopped basil to the milk-egg mix. Set aside. Roll out the pastry and line the tart tins.
4. Place three tomatoes and a few cubes of feta into the pastry tart cases. Carefully ladle in the egg mix until it part covers the tomatoes, leaving 3mm at the top of the cases. Crumble over some feta and grate over some Parmesan.
5. Bake for around 20-25 minutes until risen and lightly golden on top. Remove, cool tins on a wire rack for a few minutes, then turn out. Garnish with basil.
Serve hot, warm or cold, with a crisp green salad as a starter.
Silky rice pudding with white chocolate and lime
6 tbsps pudding rice
900 ml semi-skimmed milk, plus extra for mixing
Grated zest of 1 or 2 limes
100 g bar white chocolate
1 dessertspoon lime juice
Put the rice and milk in a heavy-based saucepan and cook very gently on the stove top with a heat diffuser, or in a low oven, until the rice has absorbed all the milk and is completely soft.
Add the lime zest while the rice is still hot to extract all the fragrance.
If the rice remains sticky, stir in a little more milk. Break up the chocolate and stir into the rice. When completely melted and blended, stir in the lime juice.
Spoon the rice pudding into one large dish or individual serving dishes and, when cool, garnish with curls of white chocolate and grated lime zest.
4 pork medallions, about 1 cm thick
4 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Large pinch dried red chilli flakes
Sweet chilli sauce and mango chutney-flavoured mayonnaise to serve
Trim every bit of fat and sinew from the medallions, put them between sheets of clingfilm and beat them out with a meat mallet or rolling pin until they are really thin; then cut them into strips about 1.5 cm wide.
Mix all the remaining ingredients together, pour them into a shallow dish and add the pork strips, turning them so they are well coated with the mixture.
Leave to marinate for about 30 minutes.
While the meat is marinating, put 12 bamboo skewers in water to soak.
Thread the pork strips on to the skewers.
Cook the pork on a barbecue for about three to four minutes each side, brushing them with the remaining marinade, until they are slightly charred.
Alternatively, cook them on a very hot, lightly oiled griddle pan.
Serve with rice and a crunchy iceberg lettuce and radish salad, together with sweet chilli and mango mayo dipping sauces.
Apple and mincemeat tart
2 large green apples
250 g plain flour
Pinch of salt
125 g butter
1 egg yolk
450 g mincemeat
Beaten egg to glaze
Icing sugar for dusting
Peel, core and slice the apples into a pan, add a tablespoon of water and cook gently until the apples are soft, then allow them to cool.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter.
Mix to a dough with the egg yolk and a little ice-cold water and knead lightly until smooth.
Cut off and reserve one-third of the pastry and wrap it in cling film, then use the rest to line a 23-cm tart tin.
Chill both the reserved pastry and the lined tin in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Spread the apples evenly into the tin and top with the mincemeat. Roll out the reserved pastry and cut it into strips to make a lattice, using the beaten egg to stick the strips to the edges of the tart.
Brush the lattice with beaten egg and bake for about 25 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.
Dust the tart with icing sugar and serve either warm or at room temperature with cream or custard.
Rack of lamb with minty garlic crust
and lyonnaise potatoes
4 tbsps dried breadcrumbs
2 tbsps chopped mint
1 clove finely chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
2 x eight-rib racks of lamb
6 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut in 5-mm slices
2 large onions, sliced
1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves, or 1 tsp dried thyme
20 g butter, melted
Mix together the breadcrumbs, mint and chopped garlic and season well with salt and pepper. Add enough olive oil, so that the mixture is well moistened and holds together. Trim off any excess fat from the lamb, press the breadcrumb mixture over the skin side, coating it evenly, then put the racks into a lightly oiled roasting tin, breadcrumb side up, and put to one side.
Put the potatoes into a pan of lightly salted water, bring to the boil and cook for two minutes, then drain them. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and fry until just starting to soften. Stir in the thyme and a pinch of sugar, lower the heat and cook gently until the onions are very soft.
Preheat the oven to 400ºC. Brush a baking dish with melted butter and put in a third of the potatoes, spreading them evenly, then spread over half the onion and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with another third of potatoes, the rest of the onions, some salt and pepper, then arrange the remaining potatoes on top. Brush with melted butter and put the dish in the oven.
When the potatoes have been cooking for 20 minutes, put the lamb in the oven and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender when tested with a sharp knife and the lamb is done to your liking. Take the lamb out of the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes, and turn up the oven temperature to brown the potatoes if necessary.
Carve the lamb into chops and serve with the potatoes and some spring vegetables.
Me Olive, Herb and Parmesan Loaf
Butter for greasing
75g stuffed olives
75g pimentos (bottled red peppers)
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp chives finely chopped
125g parmesan, grated
350g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp each salt and black pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
2 eggs, beaten
300ml buttermilk or plain yoghurt
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Egg wash made with 1 egg and a little cold water, beaten
Springs of thyme, slices of pimento and flakes of sea salt for topping
8. Cool the loaf in the pan for at least 10 minutes and then turn it onto a rack to finish cooling. Slice and serve.
This is a Recipe especially made for the period of lent. Originally, it is an Orthodox recipe but I adopted it and forming it as ' Malji tar-Randan'.
8 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups red or white wine (I used sweet Mavrodaphne)
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped finely
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the mixing paddle, beat the sugar with the oil and wine on medium high speed for about 5 minutes.
With the mixer running, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet until a smooth dough forms. Add the chopped almonds and incorporate well.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and gently knead. If the dough is still very sticky, you can add a bit more flour. Allow the dough to rest a bit before shaping.
To shape the cookies, pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a walnut. Roll out a cord or thin tube of dough about the length of a dinner knife. Fold in half then twist two times.
If you’d like, you can also roll out the dough into ½ inch thick sheets and use a cutter to shape your cookies.
2 cloves garlic
2 green peppers
8 small tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Peel and slice the onion and garlic. Rinse the remaining vegetables, trim and slice them. Rinse the herbs. Combine everything in an oven-proof dish. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil (about two tablespoons). Toss a little more to ensure even coating.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. At this point the vegetables should be cooked but not colored, and there should be cooking juices at the bottom of the pan.
Remove the foil and bake for another 30 to 45 minutes, keeping an eye on the progress, until the cooking juices have evaporated and the vegetables have taken on a nice roasted aspect.
Remove the sprigs of herb, and serve immediately, or at room temperature, or cold. It gets even better the next day and the day after that.
Ful tan-Nanna (Grand Mother’s Broad Beans)