Top 10 Seasonal Staples

Here are a few things that are making a regular appearance  in my kitchen at the moment and why:

  1. Kale – ‘green-tastic’, so good for you, full of lots of  health and beauty enhancing nutrients, including magnesium which helps us stay calm and relaxed. Lightly saute in coconut oil then season with chilli, salt and lemon juice or de-stem and finely shred and massage with olive oil, lemon juice and salt for a sensational winter salad base. Add to green juices and smoothies and once you try kale chips there is no going back!
  2. Squash - sweet orange comfort and rich in beta-carotene. Roast and add to salads, soups and stews.
  3. Red cabbage - purple power food number 1 – shred finely and eat raw as the base for a a vibrant winter salad. 
  4. Beetroot - purple power food number 2 – there are so many ways to enjoy beetroot. Excellent in juices and full of stamina enhancing earthy flavours. Roast or grate it raw in winter salads or add to cakes, goes brilliantly with chocolate!
  5. Brussels sprouts - just making an appearance and deserving of some PR! Forget boiling, either roast in the oven with spices or shred finely and stirfry or eat raw as a slaw seasoned with olive oil, salt, chilli and lemon juice. Add some toasted nuts and cranberries for some seasonal flair. 
  6. Cauliflower - a member of the brassica family, contains indole-3-carbinols which help support liver function – a good idea as party season approaches! Pulse in the food processor to make cauliflower ‘couscous’, roast in the oven with cumin and salt or steam lightly then puree to make a deliciously light alternative to mashed potato. 
  7. Rainbow chard - who can resist it’s colourful charms. Chard comes from the same family as beetroot and is full of vitamins A, C and K. I like to finely shred and stir through a winter stew just before serving, this way it wilts while maintaining the vitamins and minerals and it’s glorious colours. 
  8. Spring Greens - de-stem a leaf, then blanch for 30seconds in boiling water. Lay out on a chopping board and use as a super healthy wrap.
  9. Pomegranates - full of antioxidants, great scattered over an Ottolenghi inspired salad and for adding a magenta bejewelled zing to seasonal desserts.
  10. Clementines - eaten by the ton in my house at this time of year. Vitamin C rich, natures perfect fast food. 

 

My shopping basket top 20

Planning a shopping trip this weekend and wondering what you might need to see you through the working week? My tip is to keep a permanent list of the weekly staples that form the core of your regular recipes and snacks. This helps to take the guesswork out of what you need to stock up on when you are shopping and ensures you always have something in the pantry or fridge to create a healthy meal.

I also recommend honing 2-3 ‘signature’ dishes that can be built from your core list (such as my quinoa super salad in last weeks’ post) to take the stress out what to have for dinner. Most simple supper recipes are flexible and can be tweaked according to what you have in the fridge; I don’t think I ever make the same dhal twice, but they all start out from the same core ratios of a cup of lentils + water and a chopped onion.

Wondering what my list looks like? Here are my top 20 regular shopping basket items that I always keep stocked up on:

1. Lemons: morning lemon juice and water. Also for making salad dressings

2. Onions: to form the base of soups and stews

3. Garlic: to add to salad dressings, soups and stews

4. Chilli: peps up soups, stews and dressings and also good in a spicy smoothie

5. Ginger: juice it or use it to add a gentle aromatic heat to curries and soups

6. Herbs: parsley, mint and basil: for packing a flavour punch to every meal

7. Avocados: this nutritious fruit makes a perfect snack and a delicious dip. You can also make an amazing chocolate mousse!

8. Organic cucumbers and carrots: great for juicing, salads and snacking

9. Seasonal fruits: for snacking and easy desserts

10. Brown rice: the perfect wholefood carbohydrate staple

11. Quinoa: a great protein rich seed for making super-salads

12. Tinned chick peas: for making homemade hummus, quick salads and throwing in stews

13. Lentils: the key ingredient to a comforting bowl of dhal

14. Almonds: great for snacking on and also for making homemade almond milk

15. Walnuts: great snack food, rich in omega 3, delicious salad topping toasted or raw

16. Pumpkin Seeds: for snacking and sprinkling on salads

17. Flax Seeds: aim for 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds per day, sprinkle on porridge or salads or add to smoothies

18. Olive oil: for heart healthy salad dressings

19. Herbal tea and green tea: for harmonious hydration

20. Dark chocolate: minimum 70% for a square or two of indulgence!

What’s in your basket?