Roasted Tomato and Sweet Potato Dip

Summer is just around the corner and that means picnics, barbeques and all manner of outdoor parties! The problem with going to so many of these events is that the food on offer can often be quite calorific! So, to avoid your waist-band increasing over the next few months, it’s a great idea to whip up your own dishes and dips to take with you. This doesn’t have to be a time consuming task and you can easily create a small selection of things to bring with you in under an hour. My Roasted Tomato and Sweet Potato Dip is just the thing for those summer days spent outside and goes well with practically everything!

Tomatoe and sweet potato in the same dish is a powerful fruit-veg combination. They are both full of antioxidants as well as their own range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. A fun fact about tomatoes is that certain aspects of their nutritional value actually improves as they are cooked! When tomatoes are heated in the cooking process, the amount of lycopene, which is a chemical compound contained within, is increased. This beneficial compound is known to be effective in protecting the body against cancer and is also just useful for all round health!

So to get your summer off to a healthy start, gather the following ingredients:

8 vine tomatoes
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 spring onions, chopped
A large handful of coriander
2 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 Tbsp. of honey
Salt and pepper

roasted tomato and sweet potato dip2So to get started, pre-heat your oven to 180C and roast the tomatoes until the skins start to peel away (which should be after about 15-20 minutes). You should then remove the skins and allow the tomatoes to cool. In the same oven (even at the same time!), peel and bake your two sweet potatoes. I advise creating a few holes in the potatoes with a fork before you place them in the oven. The sweet potatoes will take a bit longer to cook than the tomatoes and you should give them about 25-30 minutes. After this time they should be adequately soft. Once they are ready, remove and allow to cool.

Once the tomatoes are cooled, peel away the skin and discard. Then you can place the tomatoes, chopped spring onions, coriander, olive oil, honey and salt and pepper into a food processor. Once the sweet potatoes are cooled, cut into chunks and add to the mix. Whizz until mixed well – close to the consistency of a puree. And voila, you have a gorgeous, easy dip to serve to your family or guests! Cut some chunky rye, spelt, wholewheat bread and top with the dip. Delicious!

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Red Velvet Soup

When it comes to getting lots of nutrients into one dish, soup is the perfect way to do it. Within reason there’s no limit to how much goodness you can blend into any recipe and you can also mix in supplements without compromising the taste! Choosing to prepare soup is also a great way to make a lot of food with minimal fuss – which is perfect when you’ve got many mouths to feed at dinner time! This tasty dish takes just five minutes to prep for and a further 40 to cook, meaning you can easily make it fresh in the evening. My eight year old calls this his “favourite meal in the whole wide world” and he can easily polish off seconds and then thirds if there’s any left! To see what all the fuss is about and make some yourself, you’ll need the following ingredients:

red velvet soup grassrootsandgrains12 tbsp. of unrefined virgin coconut oil
1 & 1/2 tsp. of cumin seeds
1 & 1/2 tsp. of black mustard seeds
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp. of fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp. of turmeric
2 tsp. of ground cumin
Pink Himalayan salt
2 cups of chopped tomatoes
8 cups of veggie stock
2 cups of red lentils, rinsed
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 a lime, freshly squeezedred velvet soup grassrootsandgrains3
1/2 tsp. of agave nectar
1/4 cup of chopped coriander, to garnish

To begin, heat the coconut oil at medium heat in a large pan and add only the mustard and cumin seeds. Sauté the contents of the pan until they begin to pop and then quickly include the onion, ginger, turmeric, ground cumin and a pinch of the salt. Continue to sauté for a further two or three minutes and then chuck in the two cups of chopped tomatoes and an additional quarter tablespoon of salt. Now give your ingredients a quick stir and continue to sauté for another two minutes.

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Now you can include your first half cup of veggie stock and cook until the liquid is reduced by approximately a half. When you can see that this has happened, it’s time to add the red lentils and stir well before adding the remaining seven and a half cups of stock and the cinnamon stick. Next you must turn the heat up to bring your concoction to the boil and then lower the heat again before covering and allowing to simmer for a good 30 minutes.

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After 30 minutes the lentils should be tender so you can now add another quarter tablespoon of the Pink Himalayan salt and leave to simmer again for another five minutes. Now you can remove the cinnamon stick and stir in the juice of your lime and the agave nectar. Then it’s time for the fun part, blending it all up! Pour the entire contents of the pan into your blender and blitz it until it’s smooth.red velvet soup grassrootsandgrains6

You can now serve into bowls, garnish with the chopped coriander and enjoy!

The combination of everything in this recipe will do great things for your energy levels as well as providing many other health benefits. Red lentils in particular are often spoken of as a super food with anti ageing properties. They are incredibly rich in protein and fibre as well as containing high levels of manganese, iron, potassium and vitamin B1. Including red lentils in your diet is a fantastic way to lower cholesterol whilst also maintaining blood sugar levels.

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As we already know, turmeric is brilliant for the system and cumin, coriander and ginger are also amazing ways to give the body a subtle boost. The chopped tomatoes included in this recipe bring a happy dose of lycopene to the table which research suggests prevents many types of cancer.

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Grass, Roots & Grains Veggie Burgers

So the snow has fallen in abundance in London causing the schools to close and all four of my children to be at home! My kids are so active and into every sport imaginable, therefore chaos is the norm in our house. For this reason it’s not very often that the six of us are all together at the same time so what a treat it was to be snowed in! I relished the opportunity to get them all cooking together in the kitchen and that’s where this week’s recipe was born.

My kids are definitely lovers of veggie burgers. They’re the kids who order them at burger restaurants, at pool side cafes or even birthday parties and I’m so proud of them for it! Eating a wholesome veggie burger is like getting an injection of so many nutrients rather than cholesterol and saturated fat. So it was a unanimous decision – we would make their favourite and my speciality, Grass, Roots & Grains Veggie Burger….served, of course, with a side of sweet potato chips and green peas!

If you’re getting ready to make this dish at home yourself then first you’ll need to raid the supermarket for the following ingredients:

125g or 3/4 cup of whole-wheat couscous
100g or 1/2 cup red lentils
1 tbsp. whole meal flour
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 a bunch of coriander
1 courgette, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 tablespoon, tahini
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Sea salt and black pepper

Once you have gathered the necessary ingredients you can begin by putting all of the couscous into a bowl and pouring 200ml of seasoned boiling water over it. A simple bouillon is perfect for this and will really flavour the couscous. Quickly mix together before covering and placing to one side.P1050292

You can then rinse your half a cup of lentils and place in a pan with 300ml of water and bring to the boil. After about twenty minutes in the pan, the lentils should have become soft so it’s now time to drain and chuck them into your food processor. Now is also the time to include the diced onion, carrot, courgette and tomato along with all of the spices and herbs, flour and tahini.

Once all of your ingredients are blended together you can remove the mixture from the blender and add it to the bowl of couscous that you prepared earlier. You must now mix the two concoctions together vigorously with your hands. As soon as your couscous combination is ready, you can wet your hands and have some fun moulding the mixture into burger shapes. With the amount of ingredients used you will have enough burger mix to make four burgers, or alternatively you could make more slightly smaller burgers.P1050299

Your burger patties can now be added to a frying pan with a tablespoon of coconut oil and cooked for three or four minutes on each side. As soon as they’re ready you can pop them out of the pan and into wholemeal baps. Garnish in any which way you like and enjoy!

The combination of vegetables inside these burgers is a great mix and provides a generous amount of nutrition in each portion. Tomatoes are an amazing source of antioxidants, especially lycopene which protects the body from those nasty free radicals. Courgettes are also prized for their antioxidant values as well as their high potassium count which is great for your blood pressure. Similarly onions and carrots are rich sources of vitamins and nutrients, especially beta-carotene for the latter which helps maintain your vision.

Although the burgers are technically cooked, the amount of time they are heated for will allow for lots of nutrients that are normally lost through cooking at high temperatures to remain.

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