Slow cooked oxtail

slow-cooked-oxtailI recently bought some oxtail by accident (it’s vacuum sealed on the same supermarket shelf as the beef hearts I feed my cat). Stuck with something I’d never cooked before I decided to experiment with a casserole which turned out to be delicious!

Oxtail is the name commonly used for cow’s tail. It’s great for using in casseroles as the slow-cooked meat has a wonderful flavour combined with the bone marrow and other properties found in the tail (sounds a bit stomach churning but it honestly tastes really great!).

The consumption of oxtail renders similar health benefits as bone broth which is widely credited for boosting the immune system and digestive health. Oxtail is rich in minerals and  slow cooking it releases collagen/gelatin and amino acids including proline, glutamine and arginine that are thought to be particularly beneficial for gut health and integrity.

This recipe might look a bit fiddly but it’s super easy to make and the vegetables I’ve listed are a guide only. Casseroles are designed to tenderise tough cuts of meat and for you to use whatever vegetables and herbs that you have on hand. I’ve seen plenty of oxtail recipes that include thyme – I didn’t have any so didn’t include it but feel free to throw in a couple of sprigs and serve with whichever fresh herbs you like and have on hand. You could also substitute the onions with a leek or two.

Ingredients

  • Approx 2 kilos / 4.4lb of oxtail on the bone
  • 500ml / 2 cups good quality beef stock/bone broth
  • 250ml / 1 cup red wine
  • 4 medium sized carrots, roughly chopped into smallish chunks
  • 4 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 200g / 7oz mushrooms (I used button mushrooms) cut in halves/quarters depending on size
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves / teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves

Method

  1. Bring a heavy based frying pan to a medium to high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil then “seal” the oxtail (brown lightly on all sides). You will probably have to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Once sealed, place the oxtail in the bottom of the crock pot / slow cooker
  2. Clean the frying pan, again bring to a medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Fry the onion and garlic for a minute then add the celery and carrot for a couple more minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir through then add the beef stock / bone broth and red wine for thirty seconds or so and transfer the mixture to the slow cooker / crock pot. Place the bay leaves on top.
  4. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours
  5. Once complete, allow the casserole to cool sufficiently until it’s a reasonable temperature to handle (but not cold or it will set) then using rubber gloves remove the bone, excess fat and cartilage from the casserole
  6. Reduce the casserole over a low heat on the stove until it’s the desired consistency (around 10-15 minutes). Consume what you wish and freeze the rest in batches.

Serves 6

Chicken with fennel, tomato, eggplant, capsicum and chorizo

tomato-chicken-fennel
It’s winter in Australia and fennel’s in season making it a great time to enjoy this crunchy, slightly sweet vegetable.

Fennel is rich in fibre, is a good source of vitamin C and according to the World’s Healthiest Foods contains a unique combination of phytonutrients making it rich in antioxidants. One of it’s phytonutrients – anethole, helps the body block against a potentially strong gene-altering and inflammation-triggering molecule. This unique anti-inflammatory effect is thought to help the body fight against cancer.

Having recently returned from Spain I thought I’d try a Spanish inspired chicken dish with fennel, chorizo and plenty of vegetables.

This dish contains aubergine/eggplant which like the other vegetables in this dish is rich in antioxidants. One compound found in almost all eggplant varieties is chlorogenic acid which is one of nature’s most potent free radical scavengers, and is credited for its antimicrobial and antiviral qualities as well as helping the body lower bad cholesterol.

Yellow capsicum/(belle) peppers are extremely high in vitamin C and a range of other antioxidants – regular consumption of which is thought to help fight against the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Similarly tomatoes are rich in many of the same nutrients as capsicums/belle peppers and are one of nature’s highest sources of lycopene. Lycopene has been credited with for helping prevent hardening of the arteries (a major cause of heart disease) and for helping fight a range of cancers including prostate, breast, lung, bladder, colon, pacreatic and uterine cancer. Interestingly, the lycopene in tomatoes is more easily absorbable by the body when the tomatoes are cooked. Similarly, consumption with fresh basil aids lycopene absorption.

Chicken adds a good serve of protein and the chorizo adds a great flavour boost, however if you’re not keen on chorizo this can be omitted.

Ingredients

  • 600g/1.3lb chicken thighs, cut into chunks around 4cm/1.5 inches in size
  • 1 medium sized chorizo, finely sliced
  • 1 x 400g tin/14 fl oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 punnet 250g/ 9 oz cherry tomatoes OR 1 x 400g tin/14 fl oz can of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium sized fennel bulb (the white part), finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized eggplant/aubergine – roughly 300g/10.5 oz
  • 1 medium to large yellow capsicum/(belle) pepper
  • 1 Spanish (red) onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Generous handful of fresh basil leaves

Method

Notes: if you are making this whole dish in a single pan then you will need a very large, deep and heavy based frying pan. I don’t have one so start everything off in a large frying pan then transfer to a big pot.

  1. Heat a pan to a medium-high heat and then add a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the chicken in batches (so as not to overcrowd the pan) until golden brown then set aside
  2. Clean the pan and bring to a medium heat then add a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes until they start to turn translucent
  3. Add the fennel and chorizo and cook until the chorizo starts to brown
  4. If the pan is starting to dry, add another tablespoon of olive oil (or a little water if you prefer) then add the eggplant/aubergine and capsicum/(belle) pepper and cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables have started to soften
  5. If necessary, transfer the vegetable and chorizo mix to a big pot, then add the crushed and cherry tomatoes and chicken then simmer for half an hour
  6. When ready to serve, stir through the fresh basil leaves

Enjoy alone or with some brown rice or your favourite grain (cauliflower cous cous /rice works well too).

Slow cooked beef and barley soup

slow_cooked_beef_barley_soup
This recipe makes a delicious hearty winter soup that’s rich in protein and fibre and is substantial enough for an evening meal.

Barley is a good source of trace minerals manganese, molybdenum and selenium. Manganese supports healthy bone structure while molybdenum plays an important role in helping the body detoxify acetaldehyde, released as a by-product of yeast, funghi and alcohol metabolism. Selenium aids cognitive function, boosts the immune system and supports fertility in both men and women.

Barley is one of the oldest consumed grains in the world. It’s high in dietary fibre, providing food for “friendly bacteria” in the large intestine and its dietary fibre is high in beta glucan which helps lower bad cholesterol and protect the body against heart disease.

Cooking the vegetables together in a single pot using low heat preserves many of their nutrients and makes a wonderfully balanced meal with a good serve of beef to add plenty of protein.

To make the barley more easily digestible by the body I like to soak it overnight (see notes under Preparation) but if you’re short on time this step may be skipped.

Ingredients

  • 500g/18 oz chuck steak or slow cooking beef (use a good quality, grass-feed beef)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 100g/3.5 oz kale
  • 1 x 400g tin or 1 x 14 fluid oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 100g/3.5oz pearl barley – thoroughly rinsed
  • 500ml/1 pint bone broth or beef stock
  • 375ml water/13 fl oz water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation

If you have time, soak the barley overnight (or for up to 24 hours) with a teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (if you some available). This will help neutralise the phytic acid and make the barley easier for your body to digest (for further information refer to Dr Weston Price). Once complete, drain and rinse thoroughly.

Method

  1. Heat a heavy based saucepan to a medium-high heat then add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the beef in batches (so as not to overcrowd the pan) until brown all over then set aside
  2. Clean and heat the pan again to a medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes until they start to turn translucent then add the carrot and celery and cook for another minute or two
  3. Add the beef back to the pan along with the crushed tomatoes, bone broth/stock and water and bring to a simmer then transfer to the slow cooker/crock pot
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours then add the barley and kale and cook for another 2 hours
  5. Serve sprinkled with your favourite chopped fresh herbs

Serves ~6

Snapper with capsicum, olive and caper salsa and wilted spinach

snapper-salsa-spinachThis is a delicious, light and tasty dish that’s easy to prepare and bursting with nutrition. Here are some of the health benefits.

Capsicum/belle peppers are rich in vitamin C and contain an abundance of carotenoids. Cartonoids are antioxidants that help the body fight free radicals, boost the immune system and if consumed regularly through diet help protect the body against cancer and heart disease.

Capers are high in antioxidants and are an excellent source of the flavonoid rutin which strengthens capillaries and support healthy blood circulation.

Olives are rich in a diverse range of phytonutrients noted for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, some of which are unique to olives. One special unique quality of olives is that they contain properties that have been shown to act as anti-histamines at a cellular level, which is particularly beneficial for those suffering from allergies.

Basil contains unique antibacterial qualities that have been linked to helping inhibit several species of pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant commonly used antibiotics  (types of bacteria that can cause infection).

Spinach is well known for being rich in iron but it’s also an excellent source of magnesium and folate and just one cup serve (which is slightly less than that used in this recipe) contains almost 1000% of the RDI of vitamin K, which is plays an integral role in optimal bone health.

Snapper and other white fish fillets provide a good source of lean protein.

INGREDIENTS

Fish

  • 4 x 180-220g (roughly 7 oz) snapper fillets with skin on (or you can use any other similar tasting white fish fillets)
  • 2 x tablespoons ghee or if you prefer you can use grape skin oil (both have a high smoke point)

Salsa

  • 1 x red capsicum/belle pepper
  • 1 x green capsicum/belle pepper
  • Half an onion (I like to use red/Spanish onions)
  • 1 tablespoon small capers
  • 50g / 1.75oz pitted black olives
  • 1.5 x tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5 x tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Good handful of fresh basil leaves (around 15g/half an oz)

Spinach

  • 200g/7oz baby spinach leaves
  • 1 garlic clove finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

METHOD

Salsa

  1. Place the capsicum/belle peppers under a medium-high grill until the skin starts to turn black. Turn until blackened on all sides then place in a plastic bag (ideally a sealable plastic sandwich-type bag) for 10 minutes or so and allow to cool. You can achieve the same effect by cutting the capsicums/belle peppers in two, removing the seeds and placing on a bbq (skin side down) for around 10 minutes.
  2. Finely chop the onion, capers and black olives and place in a bowl then cover with the red wine vinegar and olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper
  3. Once the capsicums/belle peppers are ready, remove from the plastic bag and peel off the skin. Remove the seeds from the middle and roughly chop then add to the salsa mixture
  4. Finely chop the basil and mix through the salsa

Fish & Spinach

  1. Bring a stainless steel frying pan to a high heat. Once hot add the ghee or grape seed oil then add the fish, skin side down. It will want to curl up so if possible add a fish weight (the same effect can be achieved by pressing the fish down with a heavy stainless steel).
  2. Allow to the fish to cook for a couple of minutes until you can see it’s cooked almost half way through then turn and cook the other side for a couple of minutes
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the spinach by bringing a separate frying pan to a medium high heat.
  4. When the fish is almost ready, add the the olive oil to the pan and fry the sliced garlic for 30 seconds or so then add the spinach and flash fry until it’s wilted (this shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds to a minute)
  5. Season the spinach with a little salt and pepper

Transfer the spinach to 4 plates, place the fish on top and top the fish with the salsa. If you prefer, this dish works nicely on a bed of steamed green beans or with a mixed leaf green salad.

Serves 4

 

Pulled beef and black bean chilli

pulled-beef-blackbean-chilli
This is a versatile dish that’s guaranteed to please the whole family.

I like to cook it in the slow cooker but it works just as well in a pan on the stove, you simply need to allow plenty for the meat to tenderise so that it melts in the mouth.

I make the chilli with either black beans or red kidney beans which are a great source of fibre and an excellent source of the trace mineral molybenum, which helps the body detoxify sulfites. They’re also an excellent source of folate which is essential for pregnant women, particularly in the first trimester. However, if you’re paleo you can omit the beans as the dish does work without them.

Ingredients

  • 600g or approx 1.3 lb chuck steak or slow cooking casserole beef diced into chunks around 5cm or 2 inch square
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red capsicum/red bell pepper
  • 1 medium to large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups (half a litre or 1 pint beef stock or bone broth)
  • 1 x 400g tin or 12 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin or 12 oz can black beans/red kidney beans OR 250g or 9 oz cooked black beans/red kidney beans
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika

Method

Note, I soak and cook all pulses and legumes myself in order to make them more digestible. Refer to the Dr Weston Price foundation for more information on the benefit of this process. Instructions are at the end of this recipe. If you don’t have time simply used tinned/canned beans.

  1. Bring a frying pan to a medium-high heat and add a little olive oil then cook the beef for a couple of minutes on each side until nicely browned (it’s likely you’ll need to do this in 2 batches so as not to overcrowd the pan). Transfer the meat to the slow cooker/crockpot or set aside
  2. Again, bring a frying pan to a medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil then cook the onion, garlic and capsicum/bell pepper until the onion is just starting to brown and the vegetables are soft
  3. Add the stock, crushed tomatoes, cumin, coriander and paprika and allow to simmer for a minute then transfer to the slow cooker along with the meat and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Alternatively, transfer the meat back to the pan and simmer for ~3 hours until the meat is tender and falling apart. If cooking in a pan, you may need to add some extra water during the process if the chilli starts to dry out
  4. If using a slow cooker, once complete transfer the chili back to the frying pan and add the beans then cook for 10 minutes or so until it’s reduced to the consistency you like. If cooking on the pan, once the meat is nice and tender, pull it apart using a knife and fork then add the beans and cook for a further 10 minute.

Serve with some thick natural yoghurt (or sour cream if you’re more of a traditionalist) and plenty of fresh coriander either on a bed of brown rice or with some warm soft tacos.

Serves ~ 4 people.

Preparing and cooking red kidney/black beans

For both red kidney and black beans, soak for 12 hours in plenty of filtered water with a little acid medium (a generous tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar work well). Once the process is complete rinse well.

To cook, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and allow to boil for 10 minutes then simmer for around half an hour for black beans or one hour for red kidney beans. Test to ensure they’re cooked and if necessary, allow to simmer for a little longer.

If you prepare a large batch you can freeze portions for later use.

Fish tacos

fish-tacosAs a student living in Mexico back in 1999, I recall how delicious the fresh salsas were and how they could transform the simplest dish.

This recipe is adapted from one made by my host mother. Rather than serving it with heavy fried food it works beautifully with soft corn tortillas, thick Greek yoghurt and a nice light white fish.

Health benefits

Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, a pigment that gives them their vibrant red colour. Lycopene is rich in antioxidants, supports good heart health, has been credited for fighting against a range of cancers including breast, colon and lung cancer, is beneficial for those suffering asthma and has been linked to stroke prevention.

Capsicum/bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C (most highly concentrated in the red variety). They have been linked to helping reduce bad cholesterol, manage diabetes and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities that have been credited for their cancer fighting properties.

Garlic and onions are great for the immune system, limes are wonderfully alkalising and good for digestion and chillies are said to help fight infection and also reduce inflammation.

White fish provides the body with good quality lean protein while avocado compliments by providing a good dose of healthy fats. Spread some good quality thick greek yoghurt on your tortillas and you’ll also give your body a serve of nourishing probiotics.

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless firm white fish fillets such as sea bass, flathead or other similar fish of your choice – approx 800g / 1.75 lb
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Large handful coriander/cilantro leaves around 15g / 5oz
  • 1 cup good quality natural greek yoghurt
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 capsicum/(bell) pepper -I prefer to use yellow or green but red will work fine too
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 medium sized red chilli, seeds removed
  • Half a red onion
  • 1 clove garlic/ 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1.5 tbs olive oil
  • 50g/1.75 oz pitted black olives (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

For the Salsa

  1. If using a food processor, add the onion, garlic and chilli until finely chopped then add the tomatoes for a few seconds until they’re reduced to small chunks but ideally not completely smooth. Remove and drain using a sieve until the excess moisture is removed. Alternatively you can finely chop all the ingredients by hand, again drain using a sieve to remove excess liquid.
  2. Chop the avocado into small chunks and add to the mixture
  3. Stir in the lime juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of cumin and season with salt and pepper
  4. Chop two thirds of the coriander/cilatro leaves (approx 10g or a third of an ounce) and mix through

The Fish & Corn Tortillas

  1. Heat the BBQ to a medium to high heat. If you prefer you can cook the fish in a frying pan and the tortillas in a char grill pan or according to packet instructions.
  2. Sprinkle each of the fish fillets with a little cumin, season with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil
  3. Brush the tortillas with on each side with the remaining olive oil
  4. Cook the fish on the BBQ or in the frying pan for a couple of minutes each side and the tortillas on the BBQ or char grill pan for around a minute each side or until they just start to turn brown

To Serve

Enjoy the tortillas spread with plenty of natural Greek yoghurt, stuffed with the fish and salsa and topped with black olives and the remaining coriander/cilantro leaves.

For those on a paleo/low carb dinner, simply omit the tortillas.

Vary the salsa by adding fresh corn (from a single corn cob) or add extra chilli if you like things hot

Serves 4

 

Moroccan Fish with Preserved Lemon and Dukkah

baked-white-fish-dukkah-preserved-lemon
I’m loving Moroccan flavours with fish at the moment, they transform a light and healthy meal into a dish with the most amazing flavour.

Preserved lemons are used commonly in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine, made by rubbing the rinds of whole lemons with salt and leaving them to pickle in brine, lemon juice and spices for at least several weeks (often a lot longer).

I recently ran out of my own home made preserved lemons so bought some handmade ones from a good providore. They weren’t cheap but tasted excellent so were definitely worth the investment, plus you really don’t need to use a great deal to transform the flavour of any dish. Try to avoid buying mass produced preserved lemons from the supermarket as they just won’t taste the same.

Dukkah is also used commonly in Moroccan and Middle Eastern dishes and is made by grinding a variety nuts such as hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds with sesame, cumin and coriander seeds. I’ll be posting a Dukkah recipe shortly but if you don’t have time to make your own, there are plenty of good options available from quality health food stores. I’ve tried the About Life dukkah made here in Sydney and it’s excellent.

Ingredients

  • 2 x fillets of your favourite white fish approx 180-200g / 6.5-7 oz
  • 1 x fresh lemon
  • Roughly a quarter or 2 tablespoons of preserved lemon
  • 4 tablespoons dukkah
  • A large sheet of aluminium foil roughly 40cm/6 inches

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Lay out 2 squares of aluminium foil roughly 20cm / 8 inch each side
  3. Slice the fresh lemon into thin slices and place half on each of the foil squares to create a bed for each of the fish fillets
  4. Place the fish on top of the lemon beds and fold the foil back on itself to create a parcel for each of the fillets
  5. Roast for approximately 15 – 20 minutes (this works for fillets approximately 2.5cm /1 inch thick so adjust according to the thickness of your fillets and how well you like your fish cooked)
  6. Remove from the oven and test to ensure the fish is cooked to your liking. If not return to the oven for a couple of minutes
  7. Once cooked, remove the fish and lemon from the foil and place on two plates, drizzling any excess lemon juice from the foil parcels over the fish
  8. Chop the preserved lemon into small pieces and arrange over the fish then sprinkle with the dukkah and serve

Serves 2

This dish goes beautifully with my rocket and cauliflower cous cous salad.

BBQ Steak with BBQ Vegetable Salad

steak-bbq-vegetable-salad
What better than steak on the BBQ in summer?  Steak with BBQ vegetables of course!

I love this dish as it’s another one that’s quick and easy to make with very little prep time and a relatively short cooking time.

For cooking steak on the BBQ opt for a good quality premium cut – I choose eye fillet, known in the UK as fillet steak and in the US as beef tenderloin. Always choose grass fed and grass finished beef, it tastes better and is much better for the animal and better for the planet.

Beef steak is an excellent source of protein and is high in B12, zinc and iron and the iron is steak is highly absorbable by the body.

BBQ with your favourite vegetables – here I’ve suggested capsicum (belle pepper) and eggplant (aubergine) but zucchini (courgettes) work really well too, as does broccolini drizzled with some chilli oil.

Ingredients

  • 2 x eye fillet steak fillets – approx 150g – 200g / 5.5oz – 7oz each (these instructions are for fillets around 3cm or 1 ¼ inch thick)
  • 1 medium sized eggplant/augergine
  • 1 red capsicum/belle pepper
  • 1 yellow capsicum/belle pepper
  • 80g / 3 oz rocket/arugula
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons good quality balsamic
  • Salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Heat the BBQ to a high heat (for most BBQs you’ll need to allow at least 5 minutes to heat)
  2. Slice the eggplant/aubergine into slices approx 1.5cm or just over half an inch thick and drizzle with a little oil
  3. Cut the capsicum/belle pepper into chucks approx 2cm or ¾ of an inch thick and also drizzle with a little oil
  4. Place on the BBQ – the eggplant will need to cook for approx 10 minutes each side until golden brown. The capsicum will need to cook turning several times for about 12-15 minutes until lightly charred but not too black
  5. Season the steak on both sides and drizzle with a little olive oil olive oil (it should be lightly covered in oil all over)
  6. Place the steak on the BBQ and cook for approx 3 minutes each side then turn and cook for an additional 1.5 minutes each side for a medium-rare steak or an additional or 2-3 minutes each side if you prefer it more cooked.
  7. Remove the steak from the BBQ, cover in foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes
  8. When the vegetables are done, remove from the BBQ
  9. Cut the cherry tomatoes in two and place in a large salad bowl with the rocket/arugala
  10. Mix through half the capsicum/belle peppers and eggplant/aubergine (place the other half in the fridge, it will keep for several days and make a delicious marinated-style vegetable addition to your salads)
  11. Mix 1.5 tablespoons olive oil and 1.5 tablespoons balsamic, drizzle over the salad and mix through well
  12. Serve with the BBQ steak

 

Serves 2

Baked blue eye fillet with baby tomatoes and olives

baked-blue-eye-tomato-olivesThis dish has to be one of my favourite ways to enjoy fish. I make it with blue eye trevalla – a fish that’s widely available in the Southern Hemisphere, with a firm white flesh and a delicious mild flavour. However the recipe will work with pretty much any good-eating white fish so is adaptable for whatever’s available locally.

Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene – a phytonutrient that’s rich in antioxidants. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a study by Cornell University in the US in 2002 found that cooking tomatoes increases the body’s ability to absorb lycopene and also increases total antioxidant activity. In fact, the study found that amongst the different cooking times tested, the longest cooking times rendered the highest increases in lycopene and total antioxidant levels – great in this dish where the tomatoes are roasted for around 45 minutes.

If you’re not keen on olives, you can leave them out. The tomatoes and white wine will add enough flavour during cooking process as will garnishing with fresh parsley leaves prior to serving. Personally however, I find the olives add a delicious, intense flavour boost to the dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 x 400g – 500g / 14 -18 oz fillet of blue eye (or any other firm white fish) – or two smaller fillets
  • 150g /5 1/4 oz mixed baby tomatoes (I choose cherry tomatoes, baby roma and yellow tomatoes)
  • 12-18 pitted black olives (depending on size and how much you like olives)
  • 5 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Choose an overproof dish that your fish will fit snuggly into – I choose a smallish lasagna dish
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius or 300 degrees Fahrenheit – allow to heat for 10 minutes
  3. Season your fish fillet and place it into the dish
  4. Arrange the tomatoes and olives over the fish and around the dish
  5. Mix the white wine and olive oil and drizzle over the fish and tomatoes
  6. Tear the parsley leaves from the stalks and place the stalks around the dish
  7. Cover  the dish with foil, place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until the fish is cooked through
  8. Remove from the oven and turn the temperature up to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit
  9. Leave the fish to rest and return the tomatoes to the oven. Roast for an extra 10 minutes
  10. Chop the parsley leaves (not too fine – quarters to eighths should be sufficient)
  11. Divide the fish between 2 plates, drizzle with the juices from the dish and cover with the tomatoes
  12. Top with the chopped parsley

This dish is delicious served with a green salad dressed with a lemon vinaigrette

Serves 2

 

Sesame crusted tuna salad with tamarind dressing

sesame-crusted-tuna
This tuna salad is another one of my mid week staples.

It’s light, tasty and can be made in around 15 minutes so is perfect as a healthy after-work meal when you have little time or energy to cook.

Fresh tuna is rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids which promotes heart health and is particularly beneficial for those with high blood pressure. It’s an excellent source of high quality protein and contains selenium – an essential mineral that plays an important role in supporting the body’s immune system. Sesame seeds are loaded with minerals and also contain a good amount of selenium, making this a great dish to help the body maintain optimal health.

I’ve paired it here with a light salad and tamarind dressing but it also works well with a garden salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized fresh tuna steak
  • 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad

  • 3 cups mixed lettuce
  • 1/2 avocado
  • generous handful of coriander/cilantro leaves
  • 1 lebanese cucumber
  • generous handful of cashews

Tamarind dressing

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (should be about the juice of one lime)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoon rice malt syrup
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind puree

Method

  1. Make the salad dressing by adding the ingredients to a small glass jar with a lid and shaking well
  2. Place the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl and keep the cashews set aside
  3. Mix the sesame seeds on a plate and season with a little salt and pepper then coat the tuna steaks with the mixture
  4. Bring a heavy based stainless steel frying pan to a high heat and add the olive oil
  5. Fry the tuna steaks for a couple of minutes each side so that they are seared. If you prefer your tuna cooked through, cook for around double the time but keep an eye on the fish as cooking time will depend on the thickness of the tuna steak and you don’t want to over-cook
  6. While the tuna is cooking, pour the dressing over the salad (you may not need the whole lot so be careful not to overdo it) then split between two bowls and sprinkle the cashews over the top
  7. Once the tuna steaks are cooked to your liking serve immediately

Serves 2

Note: as tuna is a large fish, it’s generally recommended to not consumer more than two serves a week due to the potential risk of mercury contamination.