Sunday, 10 April 2016

A week in new recipes

I've started to think much more about the food we eat at home recently and am trying to make a conscious effort to be more healthy and sustainable in our food choices.

On the whole we are already a pretty healthy household - our diet is mostly vegetarian (with the occasional foray into seafood) and we prepare nearly all our meals from scratch - apart from the occasional shop bought pizza! However, I'm a sucker for sweet snacks and want to try and wean myself away from the refined sugar and onto more healthy snacks.

I'm also keen to cut down on both gluten and dairy, both because I think it will probably improve my day-to-day health, and for environmental reasons. I've watched a couple of documentaries about the food industry recently, including Cowspiracy, and it's hard not to want to make a change after listening to some of the facts about how the food we eat impacts the environment.

I've also recently been inspired by Rachel's 365 Recipes project. She cooks delicious and healthy plant-based food and her feed is a feast for the eyes. While I can't commit to trying a new recipe every day like Rachel does, I would love to boost the number of new recipes I try and experiment with using less processed ingredients in our meals.

So...I'm going to try and post a bit more regularly about our food choices and some of the recipes we try in an aim to capture the recipes for future reference, and encourage myself to keep cooking new things and move gradually to a better way of eating.

Here are some of the things we've been eating in the past week or two...

Clockwise from top left: Parmesan, parsley & paprika biscuits // Pea pancakes // Chocolate shortbread // Banana & blueberry bread

Parmesan, Parsley & Paprika biscuits
These were based on the Parmesan biscuits recipe from this book. Although not the healthiest of snacks we needed a savoury snack to counteract the leftover Easter chocolate. I added parsley to the cookie dough, but if making again I'd probably increase the quantities of parsley & paprika for more of a flavour boost.

Pea pancakes with roasted tomatoes, houmous & homemade ketchup
This recipe was very pleasing for me. The pancakes were from a recipe in this allotment cookbook and while we first had these a couple of weeks ago with roasted asparagus & feta there was enough mixture left over to freeze and use another day. Today was that day, and I enjoyed a delicious late brunch in the spring sunshine - the pancakes are delicious, and a great colour too!

Ben made the ketchup from a recipe found in this Hemsley & Hemsley book (a recommendation from Rachel) and it complimented the pancakes really well, especially when topped with lots of roasted seeds.

Chocolate shortbread
Ok, I know I said I was trying to be healthy and eat less sweet snacks, but this shortbread recipe is pretty low on sugar (let's not mention the butter) and I was making them to share with friends. Another one from the Cookie Magic book - it has a great variety of sweet & savoury biscuits!

Hemsley & Hemsley banana bread (with added blueberries)
Another one from The Art of Eating Well - this gluten free loaf uses natural sweeteners (maple syrup) and will make a perfect early morning snack for us to take to work for the next few days. The temptation to reach for shop-bought cereal bars in the morning needs to be curbed.

I really like the texture and taste of this bread, and will definitely be making it again!

Other recipes cooked but lacking photos include:
  • Hemsley & Hemsley Asparagus & Pea Quinoa risotto with mint & parsley oil (turned into Quinoa risotto balls the following day)
  • Hemsley & Hemsley Feta & Black bean burgers (cooked by Ben and served with Courgette Fries & Homemade tomato ketchup)
  • River Cottage quinoa salad with courgettes & onions

I hope to share more soon. I'm enjoying spending my evenings browsing recipe books at the moment. Tonight, we eat macaroni peas!