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Catherine Ann x

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Food, Glorious Food... The Super-Duper Beautifying Feast!

Hello and welcome to Catherine Ann’s super duper beautifying feast! Take a look around! The tables are groaning under the weight of broccoli-based dishes...

Sorry. I’ll stop. Cooking just gets me a little over-excited, that’s all.

I’ve been working very hard to find you guys some tasty recipes which include all the beautifying and health-giving vitamins we talked about the other day. Also, a member of my family has been put on a low-cholesterol diet for the next few months, so I’ve tried hard to make them healthy in that way, too.
So why not try...

Just chop up all sorts of raw veg nice and small and mix them in with the juice of half to one lemon and a few tablespoons of olive oil. Try grated carrot, shredded cabbage, chopped celery and a few florets of broccoli. If you use all these ingredients, you should be getting vitamins C, E, A, B vitamins and iron. That’s the entire list from the previous post!

This is one of my favourites for the summer, really simple to make. Chop up tomatoes, red peppers and cucumber and pour on just a little olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.

 I adore a Chinese takeaway, but of course there’s all that MSG involved... and is it me or has a Chinese become ridiculously expensive? Here’s how to make that famous egg-fried rice at home, including all your vitamins and minerals!

Cook some of your preferred rice in a large pan. I generally use brown as it contains lots of fibre and has a good texture, but you can use whichever you like. The instructions on the packet are usually pretty clear, but a general rule is to use 2:1 cold water:rice. Rice will double in size when cooked, so I use half a cup per person. Think about how hungry you are, then halve it. It should take around half an hour for brown rice, but less for white. Check the packet—I’ve been stung before!

While your rice is merrily bubbling away, chop up some vegetables  nice and small. You can use anything you like, but have a check on the “What Makes You Beautiful” post for some ideas.

With a tablespoon of sesame, olive or vegetable oil, place the veg in a wok or frying pan, starting with what takes longest to cook, e.g. carrots and broccoli. You could also add some crushed garlic, ginger or Chinese Five Spice... or anything you like, really—it’s your dinner!

Once the rice is cooked, add it to the pan alng with the veg and stir around for a few minutes. Then beat an egg in a bowl. Push your rice and veg to one side of the pan and pour the egg onto the other side, till it begins to set like scrambled egg. Mix everything together and stir0fry for another few minutes before serving.

OK. It may not be the prettiest veg, but ugly food can make for a beautiful body. Those tiny trees contain vitamins A and C, as well as folate (which is a B vitamin) and some iron and calcium. Two florets of broccoli count as one of your five a day. Sorry to disappoint you all, but it’s a pretty useful veggie. So why the reputation? If you come from an Irish background like I do, where the tendency is to... 


...then it might be the texture you’re not too keen on. If that’s the case, you can steam or stir-fry broccoli so it still has a crunch. You could also try making soup!

Soup is really easy once you follow the basic soup principles. You need to start by dicing any veg you like very small. It should really include onion. Soup should be started by sweating onions in a saucepan (this is when you add butter or oil and put the lid on, checking occasionally till they’re soft). Next add in all your other veg along with enough boiling stock or water to cover them. Your ingredients should include some sort of starchy food such as potato, sweet potato or even pasta. This is also a good time to add some kind of herbs (see below). Once all the vegetables are cooked (test them by poking with a fork. If they’re cooked, they’re cooked. If they’re not, they’re probably not), you can either enjoy straight away or whizz in the blender for a nice creamy soup.

Not sure what to put into your soup? Think about what you’ve eaten in restaurants or out of a packet. Old favourites are favourites for a reason! Tomato and basil (also great with red pepper), carrot and coriander, and leafy veg tends to go well with nutmeg. Experiment till you find your party piece. Nigella Lawson combines peas with a few tablespoons of pesto, which is always a favourite in my house! Just remember that whatever you cook, once you’ve added some seasoning it will definitely taste OK. Be brave. Go forth and soup!

Can I just say something about cabbage? Cabbage is good. Cabbage is one of those leafy green vegetables we should be eating every day. But there are certain things one should do with cabbage, and certain things one shouldn’t.
·         OK: to add cabbage to soups, especially if there’s some left over at the end of the week.
·         NOT OK: to advertise Minestrone soup and replace the pasta with cabbage. What.
·         OK: to serve shredded cabbage as a nice vegetable to add colour and health-giving properties to the Sunday roast.
·         NOT OK: to boil cabbage for an hour and serve it up with mashed potato. This is the most texture-less thing ever and I feel it is seriously damaging the Irish tourist industry.
·         OK: to munch on raw cabbage, particularly before bed (did you know it helps you sleep?)
·         NOT OK: to forget to wash off the slug pellets first. 

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