Diet

Eating for energy // steak + broccoli

Eaten alone, these are both still great choices for energy, each being a great source of iron and of B vitamins.

But eaten together they are even more powerful - broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamin C and the body absorbs iron better when it's taken with vitamin C. 

So by adding broccoli to our steak we get maximum energy benefits.

Rachel Redlaw The Food Healer steak and broccoli

And of course, it's also just a great-tasting meal.

First I toasted some flaked almonds in a dry non-stick pan and set aside to add at the end - just for a lovely crunch on top of the broccoli and for extra healthy fats. Don't use peanuts - peanuts are legumes rather than nuts and don't have the same health benefits as nuts!

I trimmed the ends of the broccoli and then put it into a pan of boiling water which I then immediately removed from the heat and let the broccoli sit for ten minutes.

I drizzled my piece of rump steak with a little soy sauce then cooked it on a very hot griddle pan for three minutes on each side (leaving it alone during that cooking time) and then rested it while I stir-fried the broccoli n a few sprays of cooking oil in  a non-stick pan with a little red chilli and a dash of soy sauce.

Note: I like my steak medium-rare to rare so do just cook your steak the way YOU like it!

I love the simplicity of this dinner and also just that magic of how things work together - this is a perfect pairing for energy.



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Yum talay (Thai seafood salad)

Sometimes I don't think what I do is really 'cooking'. Not 'proper cooking'!

I don't really weigh things out, it's never very precise, and you HAVE to taste and taste and see what tastes good to you. 

I see it as less 'cooking' and more 'faffing about playing with food'.

It's ALL about having fun and really ENJOYING making something good to eat - that's usually simple and quick too.

This recipe is a perfect example ... lots of playing and very little actual cooking. 

And it tastes really good.

I love seafood and I love hot and sour flavours - and the lemongrass and lime leaf makes this just really delicious - so full of flavour.

Thai seafood salad - let's get started.

I made a big bowl just for me - so adjust the quantities of course depending on how much you're making.


Here's a list of the ingredients I used, but read through the whole recipe and see where you might adapt or change according to what you've got and what you like.

frozen prawns and squid, defrosted

1 tablespoon demerera sugar plus 3 tablespoons cold water

1-2 birds eye chillies

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1-2 limes

1 carrot, peeled and julienned

a few slices of white onion

2 spring onions, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

1 stick of celery, chopped

1 stalk of lemongrass

1 lime leaf, torn to remove the stalk

extra wedges of lime, to serve


You can use any fish or seafood you like (or happen to have).  I always like to have prawns and squid in the freezer as it's just so easy then to make something to eat - and generally I have scallops too but not today. Defrost before using - seafood defrosts quickly in a bowl of cold water - then rinse with fresh cold water and pat dry on kitchen paper.

You need to cook the fish first before adding it to the salad - do this any way you like.

The quickest way for my prawns and squid to cook would be to drop them quickly into a pan of boiling water and cook for only about a minute or less ... I did do the prawns like this - they're ready when they've gone from raw grey to completely pink!

Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay

But I wanted my squid to have a bit more texture too it and I just like cooking it on the griddle and watching it roll up! (Yep, 'faffing about playing with food').

So I scored my squid tubes, opened them out and cooked them on a very hot griddle and squeezed lime juice over them as they cooked.

Once the fish and seafood is cooked, just leave to one side to add at the end.

The next part of playing with food is to make the dressing - I added one tablespoon of demerera sugar to three tablespoons of water in a little saucepan and brought it slowly to the boil, stirred to dissolve the sugar and removed from the heat to cool. You could stand the saucepan in some cold water in the sink if you want to cool it more quickly.

I pounded up two birds eye chillies (use 1-2 depending on your taste) then added a tablespoon of fish sauce and the juice of a really juicy lime, then the sugar/water mixture.

Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay

Stir it all together and taste - see if you need to add anything else. It might need a little more lime juice depending on how juicy your lime was! 

Do make this dressing to YOUR taste. I like it very spicy and very sour so use lots of chilli and lime, but you might prefer a sweeter dressing, so just taste and play and experiment.

Next - the salad.

Use what you like really!

I had carrot, some white onion, a couple of spring onions, a tomato and some celery - but you could use anything you like.

Very finely slice just the bottom third of a lemongrass stalk (having removed the tough outer layers) and also finely slice a lime leaf and add to the salad. 

If you can't get these then do make it anyway, but the lemongrass and lime leaf are SO GOOD do get them if you can! I'm lucky that my local supermarket sells them so hopefully yours does too.

Add the dressing to the salad, mix well, and tip out onto a plate or bowl and add the seafood

Serve with extra lime wedges to squeeze over.

Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay

And that's it!

One delicious, authentic, Thai seafood salad - easy and fun to make and very little actual cooking!



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Green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta

This is a really lovely dish from Rachel Roddy writing in the Weekend Guardian recently - an Italian warm vegetable sort of salad/stew with soft flavours of braised runner beans, tomatoes, olive oil, salt - all warm and beautiful on a summer's day served with some good bread.

I couldn't resist trying it immediately (nope, patience has never been a strong point of mine!) so I ended up making it slightly differently with the ingredients I had.

I still loved it and I'll be making it again, both the way I made it, and going back to try the original.

It's pretty much perfect in its simplicity just as it is, although would make a great accompaniment to any grilled / barbecued meats of fish too.

You'll find the original recipe HERE.

And because my local shop didn't have any fresh basil the day that I made it, and because I had fine beans rather than runner beans, I made some tiny changes to the flavours - without the basil it would need something so I also used a few slices of chilli pepper and some ground cumin.

If you have fresh basil, then omit the chilli and the cumin.

Note that you leave the dish to sit for an hour or two after cooking to be served warm, so factor that into your timings!

Or just eat it hot of course.

Or make it the day before you want it and reheat very gently to serve - I imagine the flavours will only get better when left overnight.

Here's how I made a big pot, enough for two.

You'll need: 

1 medium white onion, very finely sliced

salt

1/2-1 small red chilli, very finely diced

a couple of tablespoons olive oil (I used 20 sprays of my spray cooking oil and a splash of water when it needed it) 

equal quantities of green beans or runner beans, and ripe tomatoes - I think I used 200-300g of each (and use the very best tomatoes you can get hold of - ones with lots of flavour)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

a good chunk of Feta cheese to serve

Get the ingredients together

Get the ingredients together

Top and tail the beans and cut into small pieces

Top and tail the beans and cut into small pieces

Remove tough cores from the tomatoes and dice

Remove tough cores from the tomatoes and dice

Put the oil in a pan and when warmed, add the finely sliced onion and a small pinch of salt, and the chilli (if using) and cook gently over a low-medium heat until the onion is soft - if you use a spray oil like me, you'll need to add a splash of water or two as it cooks to prevent the onion burning. Cooking onions until soft always takes longer than I think it will - probably around 10 minutes.

Add the beans to the pan, stir well to combine with the onion, then cook - still stirring - for a 3-4 minutes.

Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta

Add the tomatoes, another small pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (if using) then cover the pan and leave for a couple of minutes. Uncover the pan and stir, then cover for another 4-5 minutes (have a look and stir if you like - and if you need a little splash of water add it - although the juice from the tomatoes should be coming out now as it has time to cook with the lid on).

Once the tomatoes are releasing their juice, uncover the pan and cook uncovered on a low heat, simmering gently, for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta

The beans will be really tender and the sauce lovely and thick.

If you have fresh basil add a handful of torn basil leaves now for a couple of minutes. 

Taste and see if it needs any seasoning, then remove from heat and allow to sit for an hour or two before serving warm with the piece of feta crumbled over and served with bread, if liked. 

 
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
 


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Simplest steak supper

I made this for supper last night after getting home from the theatre.  Needed something good, quick and that wouldn't be too filling.

And I had a steak in the fridge that needed using so wasn't going to waste it!

This was perfect, quick and full of flavour.

I drizzled the steak in a bit of light soy sauce and rubbed it with a squashed garlic clove.

Added a few sprays of oil to the steak and a good pinch of black pepper.and then left it for a few minutes while I prepared the other ingredients.

Rachel Redlaw simplest steak supper
Rachel Redlaw simplest steak supper
Rachel Redlaw simplest steak supper

This was as simple as slicing spring onions and red chilli, tearing off a handful of coriander leaves and getting a lime.

Then I put the griddle pan on to get really good and hot.

Cook the steak to your liking .... and squeeze over the lime juice as it cooks - I LOVE the sound of that sizzle!

And when cooked, rest for a few minutes then slice (discard garlic pieces) and add the coriander, red chilli and spring onions.

This one's super quick and super good,

Rachel Redlaw simplest steak supper
Rachel Redlaw simplest steak supper


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Simple sea bass supper

This is so good.  Sea bass is so soft and delicate, I like to cook it very simply but then add a delicious dressing.

I cooked the fish in my remoska for 20 minutes, with just a sliced spring onion, a crumble of a piece of stock cube, the juice of half a lime and a very little water, but you could cook it in foil parcels on a baking tray in the same way.

Rachel Redlaw sea bass and sauce
Rachel Redlaw sea bass in sauce

The sauce is the best!

It's this one, it's a Jamie recipe and I adapted it a bit with mango for my fish tacos but as the mango I had wasn't soft enough I used kiwi fruit as in the original version.

Cut a green chilli in half lengthways and peel and halve a kiwi fruit, then cook in a hot dry frying pan for a couple of minutes each side until charred. 

Blend with a handful of coriander leaves, the juice of a lime and a splash of water. 

Please do try this, it's SO good!

Rachel Redlaw sea bass in sauce
Rachel Redlaw sea bass in sauce

I had a quick stir fry of green vegetables (topped with a squeeze of lemon) to go with the fish and the dressing, and this is now my current favourite dinner.

 
Rachel Redlaw sea bass in sauce
 

You know when you make something new and then just keep making it all the time?

Yep, it's like that.



Easy-peasy kinda-kedgeree

The other morning I really, really fancied kedgeree. But not having any fish in the house, I made a vague approximation - just chilli and garlic, leftover rice, a couple of rashers of grilled bacon and a boiled egg. Added a few drops of soy sauce and done ...

And it was surprisingly good!

Kinda kedgeree

Kinda kedgeree

Cheat's kedgeree

Cheat's kedgeree

I've still got a hankering for kedgeree though, and today made this 'cheat's version' - it couldn't really be simpler, especially if you use tinned tuna, or already-cooked leftover fish like the sea bass I had.

This makes a really good + quick meal - perfect for brunch or a simple supper.

For two, you'll need:

4 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal

0.5-1 tsp dried chilli flakes

2 tsp curry powder

Some hot cooked rice - you choose how much! 

Cooked white fish or a tin of tuna

2 eggs, boiled for 8 minutes, run under cold water to stop them cooking further and then shelled

Parsley and lemon wedges, to serve

Cook the spring onions in a frying pan with a little oil or butter (I'm using 20 sprays of my 1-cal spray oil plus a tiny splash of water) with the chilli flakes and curry powder.

Cook for a minute or or - don't let them stick or burn, add more oil or water if necessary.

Stir in the rice - and add the fish. Cook, stirring, until it's all hot through.

Turn out onto plates, adding an egg each and some chopped parsley (if you have some) and lemon.

It might be the 'cheat' version, but it's still really good! 



Soy steamed sea bass (or other white fish!)

This dish is too good not to share right away, but next time I make it I'll take some better photos and come back and change them! 

It's because I used cod fillets and they broke up when cooking - it still tasted delicious though I do prefer it with sea bass.  

This dish is a favourite Tiniest Thai Diet recipe - there's no fat at all used in cooking it.  It's a great 'diet' dish too as no-one would guess that you were on a diet if you served them this. 

I made it at a recent supperclub and everyone loved it!

Soy steamed sea bass Rachel Redlaw

What makes it special is the dried porcini mushrooms that gives a lovely sort of earthiness to the flavour, and then the bacon just goes so well with the fish.

It's super-easy to make too - to serve two you'll need: 

a small handful dried porcini mushrooms

1 rasher smoked back bacon, trimmed of any excess fat

2 spring onions

2 tsp sugar

4 tablespoons dark soy sauce

2 fillets of sea bass, or other white fish

Rachel Redlaw soy steamed sea bass
Rachel Redlaw soy steamed fish

Put the dried mushrooms into a small bowl of warm (not hot) water and leave to soak for about 15-20 mins. I never measure the amount of water but it's probably half a mug or so.

While the mushrooms soak, dice the bacon and slice the spring onions. I don't know why I sliced them in rounds today as I prefer the look of them sliced in long thin strips - like here when I made this the last time!

Rachel Redlaw soy steamed fish

When the mushrooms have soaked, drain and keep the liquid. Throw away any really tough mushroom stalks and slice the rest.

Add the sugar and soy sauce to the mushroom liquid and mix.

I use my beloved remoska (honestly, one of the best presents I've ever asked for - I must have had it over ten years and use it every week) for cooking the fish, but a pan with a well fitting lid (or foil) over a low heat would work well. You want to poach and steam the fish gently, just barely a simmer.

Put the fish in whatever pan you're using, pour over the liquid mixture and add the bacon, spring onions and mushroom pieces.

Rachel Redlaw soy steamed sea bass
Rachel Redlaw soy steamed fish

Cook gently for about 20 minutes, turning the fish carefully once (more carefully than I did as I broke up the fish) and add a splash more water if it's needed.

Rachel Redlaw soy steamed sea bass
2 fillets of sea bass, or other white fish

Serve with rice.

I made a quick vegetable stir fry today too if you're wondering what's in the bowl in the dark picture! 



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