This is my current favourite way to use tofu or tempeh. I adapted it from Ottolenghi’s more complex recipe. My husband is a tofu-hater so when he disappears for a few days I always cook this. Keep in mind that unfermented soya products contain digestion-blocking proteins that damage your gut. So DO make sure to buy the fermented forms for this dish: tempeh or fermented tofu (it will say on the pack).
If you don’t have a small-bowl food processor, chop the chili finely, crush the garlic and use a pestle and mortar to bash the caraway seeds about as much as you can before mixing with the other spices and oil.
This is gorgeous served with cauliflower/broccoli “rice”, konjac noodles or brown basmati rice.
350g trimmed French (or use runner beans cut in 6cm bits)
Salt and black pepper
200g non-GMO tempeh or fermented tofu, cut into bite size cubes
A few sprigs of dill (small handful), destalked and roughly chopped
Small handful fresh coriander, destalked and roughly chopped
For the sauce:
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 green or red chili, deseeded (optional)
2 slightly rounded tsp sweet paprika
1 tbs caraway seeds
1.5 tsp ground cumin
½ level tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
2 tbs + a little extra avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs tomato puree
250ml water or leftover vegetable-steaming water (full of nutrients!)
Optional: 1 heaped tsp honey or non-toxic sweetener e.g. Dr Coy’s Stevia Erylite or xylitol (from good health stores)
Himalayan or sea salt
For the sauce put the garlic, spices, chili and 2 tbs oil in the small bowl of the food processer and blitz to a thick paste. You might need a touch more oil to bring it together.
Heat a pan on a medium heat and add a teaspoon more of avocado/olive oil and stir fry the garlic-spice mix for 30 seconds.
Then add the tomato puree, 250ml water and bring to the boil.
Stir in the honey or non-toxic sweetener, lime juice, generous pinch (1/4 a level tsp) salt and a few good grinds of black pepper.
Add the tempeh, turn down the heat, cover and simmer while you prep the green veg.
Steam the French/runner beans for around 2-3 minutes until the colour changes very slightly and they are softened but still have a bit of crunch.
Finally, just before serving, stir the herbs into the tofu and sauce, pile on top of your rice and enjoy.
Why this is good for you:
Spices are a powerhouse of antioxidants that help rebalance your gut bacteria in favour of the good guys. The good guys helps digest your food, repair and maintain your gut lining every minute of every day, and reduce inflammation in you. This has massive implications for your immune system, your gut health and even your mood. Yes, anxiety/depression states always involve brain inflammation. Type the name of just one spice into medline (the scientific journal resource) and you’ll find hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies.
This is another fantastic and quick recipe by Chetna Makan. Again I’ve taken out the toxic refined cooking oil and swapped in the better-for-you coconut oil. I’ve also added onions to bulk it up and add even more goodness for your long-term health. I’ve increased the quantity of sauce too, as I love sauce.
200ml natural full fat yoghurt (for SC diet use home made full fat kefir or 24-hour SCD yoghurt)
1/2 level tsp Himalayan/sea salt
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ level tsp chilli or (the milder) cayenne
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
300g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3cm pieces
1 onion, finely sliced or chopped
1 tbs virgin coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
20g fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped (a handful of whole coriander will give you enough).
1.Mix the yoghurt/kefir, salt, spices and garlic in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces, turn until well coated, then leave to marinate while you prepare the curry base. If you are planning ahead you can marinate these in the fridge overnight too.
2.Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and cumin seeds, a splash (about 1 tbs) of water, cover with a lid or plate and cook over a medium heat for five minutes,until softened, translucent but not brown.
3.Add the tomatoes, then the marinated chicken and any excess marinade, mix well, then bring to a boil, cover and cook over a medium to low heat for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with the coriander.
Serve with :
Low carb/SC diet: 2 cups broccoli rice per person or 1 cup cauliflower rice and 1 cup steamed greens per person.
This is DELICIOUS, and simple and fast at 15 mins cook time. Had it for dinner last week and SO enjoyed its warming aromatic spices. I swapped out the refined cooking oil in the original recipe by Chetna Makan for healthier virgin coconut oil which doesn’t mess with your metabolism. If you don’t like coconut oil you could also use avocado oil or at a push light olive oil. The first 2 oils are healthier.
You’ll find tinned no-added-sugar black eyed beans in health stores and Asian shops.
Serves 4 (I like to make this quantity to have some yummy leftovers for the freezer)
2 tbs virgin coconut oil
2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 big garlic cloves, peeled and grated or crushed
2½cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
400g tin chopped tomatoes
½ level tsp salt
¼-½ level tsp chilli powder or the milder cayenne (if you don’t like heat, leave out)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
300g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced (white button mushrooms will do)
400ml tin full -fat coconut milk (organic brands, especially if you have any digestive issues at all)
2 x 400g tins black-eyed beans, drained and rinsed (or make your own – soak overnight 200g black eyed beans and boil hard until tender).
1.Heat the oil in a pan, add the onions, 2 tbs oil and a tablespoon of water. Cover with a plate or lid (or tinfoil) and cook on medium heat until softened, translucent and no longer crunchy.
2.Add the garlic and ginger, cook for a minute, then pour in the tomatoes and cook on a low to medium heat for five minutes.
3.Stir in the salt and ground spices, followed by all the remaining ingredients, stir well and bring to a boil.
4.Cover, then leave to cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes. (If you have more time, cook it over over a lower heat for 30-40 minutes.).
Serve warm with:
SC Diet: squash wedges sprinkled with curry powder and roasted in the oven + 2 cups steamed greens per person – nice ones are broccoli, runner/green beans or cabbage/spring greens.
Medium carb: ½ cup cooked brown basmati rice (avoid for SC diet) + 2 cups steamed greens per person – nice ones are broccoli, runner/green beans or cabbage/spring greens.
Low carb (SC diet-friendly): broccoli rice or cauliflower rice (available frozen in supermarkets). Super simple how to cook instructions at https://www.annacollins.ie/cauliflower-rice/
Why this is good for you: Beans are a good source of protein while spices are powerful anti-inflammatories. Spices modify your gut bacteria in favour of the good, useful ones that control every (and I mean every) aspect of your health. Spices are more antioxidant gram for gram than any fruit or vegetable. Small quantities pack a powerful punch. Did you know that 1g turmeric twice a day is shown to reduce acid reflux (heartburn). Herbs and spices now have thousands (or maybe tens of thousands) of scientific studies confirming their actions on the human body. Whats not to like? A more interesting range of flavours in your meals AND massive benefits to your present and future health – digestive, mental, immune and so much more…
I can’t remember the cookbook these come from but my thanks to the amazing Emily and Patrick at Madawaska who produced these gorgeous bites using gluten-free oats. They didn’t last long. If you have the time and like a nuttier flavour, you can toast the oatflakes first like they did. I don’t bother. People really love these and they are super-easy. I did replace the bad-for-your-health margarine in the original recipe for a far healthier virgin coconut oil though.
Using non-dairy milks in these gives a much longer shelf-life in the fridge. The best plant milks have no toxic emulsifiers (carageenen, polysorbate-80, sodium carboxymethylcellulose) and no added sugar.
Makes 36 (enough to feed a small army!)
2½ rounded tbs cocoa powder
¾ cup maple syrup
¼ cup unsweetened non dairy milk (e.g. almond, coconut, hemp)
1/3 tsp vanilla extract (avoid vanilla “essence” unless you are OK eating gluten)
¼ cup virgin coconut oil
1½ cups fine gluten-free oatflakes (you can use normal porridge oatflakes if you eat gluten)
¼ cup no-added-sugar almond or hazelnut butter (if you are in peak health with no autoimmune conditions then no-added-sugar smooth peanut butter is OK to use)
1¾ cups dessicated coconut (divided into 1 cup and ¾ cup)
1. Mix the cocoa and syrup together in a saucepan, add the milk vanilla and coconut oil. Heat gently until liquified and stir to mix well, scraping the sides, being sure not to let it boil or burn. Cool mixture.
2.In a separate bowl combine oats, peanut butter together using your hands. Pour in tht cocoa mixture and add 1 cup coconut. Mix well with your hands.
3.Roll dough into 2.5cm balls. If the mix is too wet you can add more oatmeal or roll the balls into the remaining coconut. They will be somewhat sticky but will harden as they cool. Put on a try and store in the fridge.
I wanted to make them stick really well together so added some more oatflakes I had whizzed to a flour in my mini food processor. Oat flour is stickier than oatflakes. I probably didn’t need to do this but liked the result.
Why these are better for you: Although these contain carbohydrate (sugars) from oats and maple syrup they are healthy when you eat them in moderation. Raw cocoa is full of antioxidants. Virgin coconut oil is a great source of easy to digest medium chain triglycerides that can be burned by your body directly for energy instead of being stored as fat. Oats contain soluble fibre that feeds beneficial bacteria. Maple syrup is essentially sugar, but it does contain some minerals – unlike refined sugar, which is just empty calories. The protein from peanut butter and the fat from coconut keeps you fuller for longer, reducing the tendency to binge you can get from eating low fat low protein high sugar products.
Cocoa is a spice with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers – hurray!!
Like gluten grains, peanuts are high in “lectins” – proteins that are hard to digest and can overstimulate your immune system if you have an autoimmune condition (e.g. hypothyroidism, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, arthritis),
If you’re dairy sensitive, one of the things you might miss is a sprinkle of Parmesan here and there. I LOVE this recipe for vegan Parmesan from Angela Elliot’s raw vegan cookbook “Alive in 5”. One of my favourite uses is on top of garlic braised asparagus. I soften 2-3 sliced cloves of garlic on a pan with a tbs extra virgin olive oil and same amount of water until softened. Then I add a bunch of asparagus, cover with a lid/plate, and gently cook for a few minutes until the asparagus has gone bright green. This means it’s done. Dish up and sprinkle with the “Parmesan”. Yum!!!
1 cup raw pine nuts (or half and half pine nuts and hemp hearts, which are more economical than pine nuts and give a creamy texture)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast powder/flakes
1/2 a level teaspoon of Himalayan salt
1 level tsp dried oregano.
Combine the nuts/hemp hearts, yeast, salt and oregano in a mini food processor or electric coffee grinder and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Keep this in an airtight glass jar in the fridge until you need it.
This is a FANTASTIC cranberry sauce and I normally don’t like cranberry sauce. The original is FULL of sugar, which you’ll know from my many social media posts and newsletters, lowers your immunity and makes you inflamed. So here I swap it for xylitol or erhtyritol. This will keep in the fridge for a week or the freezer for a month. If you want to make this more than a week in advance without freezing, sterilize your jars and lids by boiling for a few minutes. Lift out carefully and place on a (not cold!) surface. Pour the cranberry sauce in while hot and put on the lids.
1 cup (230ml) port
6 cups cranberries
1/2-1 1/2 cups erythritol (such as Dr Coys stevia erylite) or xylitol from health shops – add 1/2 cup initially and if you want more sweetness once the cranberries have popped, add more.
2 tablespoons finely chopped or finely grated orange zest (approx 2 medium oranges, organic if possible)
Splash of cointreau (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whole Spices Try 6 star anise, mace, 8 cloves, 1 blade of mace (or 1/2 teaspoon ground), 1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of ground nutmeg
If there is any one of the spices you don’t like leave out, but the mace and star anise are non negotiable
1.Large pot, add port and (if using) cointreau and bring to the boil.
2.Add cranberries and let cook, stir till they begin to pop, add 1/2 cup erythritol/xylitol, salt, preferred spices and orange zest.
3.Stir till erythritol/xylitol dissolves, cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. More cooking releases more pectin which helps set the sauce.
4.Give it a big stir and leave to cool then into jamjars and away you go.
Why this is better for you: Cutting the sugar helps your body take a break from its inflammatory and immunity-upsetting effects. Sugar causes your lymphocytes (infection-fighting white blood cells) to become lethargic for several hours. that means your immune defences are down. Did you know that cranberries feed a friendly bacteria in your gut called akkermansia mucinophilia. This clever little creature trims and helps maintain the healthy mucus layer inside you, helping bowel health. And bowel health is essential for EVERYTHING – from getting into remission from autoimmune conditions, to getting improved digestive health, skin, immunity and even mental health. Spices are a powerhouse of antioxidant power – they help reduce inflamation AND lower disease-causing microorganisms inside your gut and systemically.
This is one of the ONLY ways I enjoy eating liver and it IS delicious provided you don’t let it overcook and go tough. If you have someone in your house who struggles with acne this could be a game changer for them. Liver is high in preformed vitamin A (retinol), which can have miraculous effects on reducing those micro-skin infections known as acne. Read more about health benefits at the end of this post. P.S. Don’t be tempted to use dried sage – it just won’t be nice. Nigel Slater says dried sage belongs in the bin, and I agree.
300g lambs liver
20g rice flour/gluten-free oat flour
Freshly ground black pepper
1 heaped tbs (2 heaped dsp) chopped fresh sage
2 tbs chopped parsley to garnish
200g onions, sliced or roughly chopped
2 oranges, organic if possible
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
4 cups of broccoli florets, peas, green beans or runner beans
Optional: some diced steamed Swede turnip of some (low carb) konjac/shiritake noodles (these are available in Asian shops and are also sold as “zero noodles” in some health store chains). Alternatively use rice noodles or 100% buckwheat noodles.
Mix 1 tbs chopped sage, the flour, a generous pinch of salt and about 1/4 level tsp black pepper together in a largish bowl.
Cut liver into thin strips about 5cm long and toss in the flour
Roughly chop the onions.
Using a serrated knife, peel, halve and slice one orange.
Zest the other orange and squeeze the juice.
Heat the oil in frying pan, add onions and cook, stirring for 4-5 mins until softened. Remove the onions from pan and reserve.
Add the liver to the pan. Toss over a high heat for a further 3-4 mins until slightly browned and still very pink in the middle (it will keep cooking as you add in the rest of the ingredients).
Reduce the heat, stir in the rind and juice of the remaining 1 orange and the onions and allow to heat thoroughly for 1 min.
Serve immediately garnished with the prepared orange slices and chopped sage/parsley.
Why this is good for you: or your skin health and immune system.
Vitamin A (liver is the richest natural source) helps vitamin D work in your body to enhance your immunity to infections. Whether its flu, covid, the common cold or acne – they are all infections. Liver, or other rich sources of vitamin A can be a game changer for you if you have acne. A note of caution: don’t take supplements of retinol (animal source vitamin A) if you are likely to become pregnant or are already pregnant. It’s perfectly safe for baby if you eat liver once a week though.
Did you know that people with hypothyroidism have altered vitamin A metabolism. These folk may need to eat liver or a supplement of retinol (active vitamin A) to have skin that heals normally and isn’t dry and flaky. Liver is a rich in choline, an essential nutrient that has largely fallen out of our eating patterns since we moved away from organ meats. Choline deficiency causes non alcoholic fatty liver disease and muscle damage too. Organic eggs contain a little choline and raw nuts/seeds contain some but organ meats like liver and kidneys are by far the richest source. Liver is rich in iron too and the vitamin A helps your body use the iron properly – how clever is that!!
I thought up this one day while casting around for a healthy mixer or stand-alone summer drink. It is YUM and seems to go down well with folks not into “healthy stuff”. A good substitute for normal high sugar or toxic zero calorie mixe, I must admit it also nice with a shot of vodka or gin. Ginger helps detoxification and is highly anti-inflammatory for your whole body (especially your digestive system).
For a super quick version, drop the xylitol/erythritol syrup and just use stevia drops but I think the flavour is better, more rounded when the syrup is in there.
If you are on a keto diet you can still enjoy this – just use stevia/erythritol instead of xylitol.
For 4 servings:
1 big thumb of ginger, juiced (if you don’t own a juicer make fresh ginger tea with 1 mug boiling water, 2 thumbs of ginger, finely grated, cover and leave until cool, strain and use as per ginger juice)
Juice of 2 large lemons, strained
3 heaped tablespoons of xylitol or Dr Coys Stevia Erylite sweetener (a blend of stevia and erythritol)
100ml filtered water to make the syrup
Stevia drops to taste (products should contain stevi/steviol glycosides and NO toxic additives e.g. sucralose, aspartame, saccharin)
1 litre of filtered or sparkling water
Optional: a few sprigs of mint to garnish
1. In a small saucepan combine the xylitol/erythritol/Stevia Erylite with 100ml filtered water and boil till dissolved. Allow to cool.
2. In a big jug, combine the syrup with the lemon juice, ginger juice or cooled ginger tea.
3. Dilute with your water of choice and if you have them, add a few sprigs of mint.
Why this is good for you: Although this is a lovely summer refresher, its also a therapeutic drink because both lemon and ginger are powerful supports for your immune system and your liver detox systems. There are hundreds of high quality peer reviewed studies on ginger in relation to alleviating various health conditionSome of the research focusses on gingers ability to reduce inflammation in your joints and digestive system as well as helping reduce nausea in pregnant women. Reductions in nausea, inflammation (in the brain and stomach), supporter of detoxification (i.e. headache reduction) – I wonder could this be the next “hangover cure”…..Ginger, like many spices,is anti-viral and helps modulate gut bacteria in favour of the “good guys”.
I adapted this from a recipe by Raymond Blanc to include more greens and a little less stodge. It makes a lovely, gently flavoured dinner. Even my husband, who says he doesn’t really like meals that involve broth, likes this one.
In my newsletter last month (to people who subscribe for FREE via my website www.annacollins.ie), I talked about why chicken broth can help prevent wrinkles. To make this even more nutritious you could make the following meal using home-made chicken stock (made by boiling organic chicken bones in water and a dash of apple cider vinegar) instead of the water in the recipe. Or use chicken pieces on the bone instead of fillets. I like to make a four-person amount and reheat thoroughly for another dinner later in the week
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into bite-sized chunks (about 2cm thick)
1 small (Swede) turnip, peeled, cut into bite-sized cubes
4 small organic chicken legs, 2 breasts on the bone cut in two, or failing that, 4 fillets (but chicken with bones is better)*
6-8cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 large heads broccoli, cut into florets
Optional extras: (NOT for SC diet): 100g 100% buckwheat noodles/rice noodles (soak in boiling water 5 mins, drain and refresh in cold water until ready to use at the end).
Tamari sauce (this is a gluten-free soya sauce)
1. In a large saucepan cover the turnips and carrots with boiling water and boil for 10 mins.
2. Add the whole chicken fillets, garlic, ginger, making sure all just covered with water and cook (simmer) for 15 minutes.
3. Add the broccoli and cook for a further 5 minutes.
4. Check that the chicken is cooked. When it is done
5. Divide the cold cooked noodles between 4 large bowls. Cut up the chicken fillets into bite-sized slices if you can be bothered.
6. Ladle in the rest of the ingredients on top of the noodles and chicken
7. Provided you are NOT on the SC diet you can add tamari sauce to taste. For SC diet just add more salt and pepper.
Variation (not for SC diet!):
For a mostly vegetarian version, add 100g cubed fermented tofu or tempeh, cut into bite-sized cubes at the same time as the broccoli, and use chicken stock or a chicken stock cube (provided you are not a purist vegetarian!)
Why this is good for you Swede turnips, carrots and all orange fruits and vegetables are a rich source of carotenoids such as beta carotene. Eating a diet rich in beta carotene and other carotenoids found in green, red and purple vegetables will give your skin an attractive golden glow, according to a study of university student who increased their fruit and veg intake for a few weeks. Beta carotene is also important for clear skin, excellent eyesight and helping prevent wrinkles and digestive problems. The list of its activities is endless so I won’t bamboozle you with more details! Broccoli is a great source of folic acid, which helps daily repair and maintenance of your stomach and intestines. It’s also rich in indole-3-carbinol, which helps your liver get rid of the hormone-disrupting chemicals that can cause low thyroid, hair loss and dry skin.
Did you know that organic/free range chicken bones, boiled, yield a powerhouse of immune supporting nutrients like proline and collagen, which help heal your gut? Naturally reared chicken (organic) is better because intensively farmed chickens have high levels of toxins (heavy metals) inside their bones. These toxins are released when you boil the bones for a long time to make soup. Gut healing is important on a day to day basis because every 72 hours you shed your single-cell thick gut lining. Without lots of repair going on constantly, your ability to keep that gut lining working properly declines. Result: poor nutrient absorption, increased tendency to food sensitivities and autoimmune symptoms(e.g. hypothyroidism). You also increase your risk of sepsis (a life threatening condition that can occur with viral and other infections). So really, keeping your gut in tip top shape is one of the most important keys to great health.
Do you love warm, spicy drinks? I do and love the idea of chai but dont really like the sugar laden, condensed-milk builders tea type on offer in Indian restaurants. Traditionally chai is made from tea, spices, sugar and condensed milk. No exactly a vitality-boosting beverage. I swapped the tea for naturally caffeine-free rooibosch tea which (unlike traditional tea) doesn’t blocknutrient absorption. I sweeten it without sugar and use a non-dairy milk instead. This tea aids detoxification due to the spices – quite a nice thing to do at this time of year if, like me, you ate (and drank) a bit more than was good for you during the holidays.
I’ve included a simple chai recipe you can make on the spot, and also a chai blend you can mix up and keep in an airtight container somewhere dark. Always keep your dried spices in a dark place in an airtight container to avoid loss of potency.
If you like your tea black, substitute water for the milk. I fyou like it made entirely on milk, feel free to do that but bear in mind almond milk can split when you boil it for a long time so coconut (or dairy) milk will give you a better consistency at the end.
To serve 2:
1 1/2 cups (about 350ml) water
1/2 cup milk of your choice – cow, unsweetened almond/coconut
2 rooibosch teabags or 3 heaped teaspoons loose rooibosch tea
6 cracked cardamom pods
½ cinnamon stick, crumbled
grating of fresh nutmeg
Optional sweeteners: stevia drops (or xylitol/erythritol)
Put the spices, water and tea into a saucepan, bring up to the boil, turn down and simmer, covered with a lid, for 1-15 minutes. Add milk and sweetening to taste.
Posh Chai Blend to use again and again I adapted this from a lovely Fortnum and Mason blend my nephew gave me. But using South African Redbush (rooibosch) instead of normal tea enhances the health benefits.
6 heaped dessertspoons loose rooibosch tea
3 cinnamon sticks, broken up with your hands (make sure it’s the real Ceylon cinnamon, which looks like rolled cigars. The cinnamon that looks like rough bark is only Cassia cinnamon, which doesn’t have the health benefits)
1 heaped teaspoon cracked coriander
20 cracked cardamom pods (bash whole coriander seeds and cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar for a minute)
1 level teaspoon ground ginger
2 star anise if you have them, broken up
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
To serve 1:
3/4 cup 9about 180ml) water
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk
1 dessertspoon posh chai blend
Stevia drops (or xylitol/erythritol) to taste
Why this is good for you: I love to make meals and drinks that contain spices. Did you know that spices stimulate your body to make more antioxidants? The spices themselves also help reduce numbers of disease-causing bacteria and increase numbers of friendly ones. This is very relevant if you would like to maintain fantastic vitality and health as you go through life. Spices help protect you from almost all chronic diseases. The more different types you take in, the better.
Tannins in tea bond to nutrients in your meals and prevent you absorbing these precious nutrients. Tea is also naturally high in aluminium, which is a toxic metal. Green tea is interesting because if you make it the traditional way you reduce the tannins a lot and aluminium significantly. Green tea also contains epigallin catechate, a powerful protector against cancers, premature ageing and much more. That’s why its OK to drink a couple of cups of green tea a day if you make it the traditional way. To make green tea the traditional way pour boiling water on leaves, infuse 1 minute, throw away water then use fresh boiling water to brew the tea for 5 minutes.