The Italian Blog

 

I’m writing this from a small village in the Cinque Terre off the Ligurian coast of Italy. It is high season and tourists from all over the world are squeezing themselves into every restaurant in the main square here in the town of Vernazza. Many restaurants are fully booked several nights in advance and although the hills surrounding the town are steep and restaurants located on many levels, requiring you to work for your supper, it does not seem to put anyone off. Needless to say it is unbelievably beautiful. Breathtakingly so. I simply had no idea. Continue reading “The Italian Blog”

Breakfast musings

I’ve talked about habits in the past. Like how to incorporate new behaviour into your everyday life and make it stick. Great morning routines, such as meditating or eating well, can really change how you carry on your daily business. Meditation calms the inner chatter and enables you to focus on tasks at hand or for new ideas to hatch. Changing your diet for the better is another surefire route to a better quality of life as it fuels your energy, nourishes your cells, fills you up (but not uncomfortably so) and help you stay satiated for longer.  Changing daily habits therefore has the potential to rock your universe in more ways than one which is welcome news. Continue reading “Breakfast musings”

Super quick Pesto ‘Pasta’

glutenfree pasta and pestoI used to be the world’s biggest pasta lover. Weren’t we all? Pasta was the staple, the go-to and the ultimate comfort food. A quick and easy friend who mixed well with anything.  It was a mutual love affair.  As with lots of yummy things there is an underbelly and the boring thing about refined carbs is that, unfortunately, the more you consume, the more you crave. It’s like a bad cycle that never ends.

These days I still crave the satisfying feeling that only a dish of pesto pasta and a salad can give you but I recreate it into my new vegan, gluten free version which is surprisingly tasty. It’s quicker than cooking regular pasta and the vegan pesto recipe uses nutritional yeast which is an excellent cheese substitute in savoury vegan dishes should you want to avoid dairy. I don’t rule out dairy completely myself but love to experiment with vegan substitute to see how it compares and nutritional yeast is a great way to include in your cheesy dishes if you have chosen the dairy free road. You can find it in most health food stores as well as online.

The good news is that you avoid the pasta pot belly by consuming only veg and grains that are actually good for you and your digestion.  Here is the low-down on the nutrients from my favourite menu items;

  • Courgettes – contain potassium (good for lowering blood pressure) and vitamin C which strengthen your immune system.
  • Basil – good source of magnesium, vitamin A (good for eyes) , anti-bacterial.
  • Pine nuts – vitamin A, C, Magnesium, iron, can aid weight loss due to feeling full faster.
  • Olive oil – great source of monounsaturated fats, anti-oxidants and vitamin E.

This lunch or dinner dish is simply jam packed with nutrients and healthy fats to re-charge your body and mind. Add veggies of your choice, such as steamed broccoli, tomatoes and peppers. It looks lovely and will add a crunch to your dish.

Quick and Easy Pesto ‘Pasta’ (serves 1)

Courgetti

1 large courgette, julienned or spiralized

Vegan Pesto

1 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup pine nuts

4 cloves garlic

1/3 nutritional yeast

Salt + Pep

How to:

Stick all ingredients in your food processor or high speed blender. Be prepared to stop the machine occasionally to scrape the mixture off the sides until you have the consistency you like. I prefer a slight crunch to my pesto instead of a fine puree but that is entirely personal. You do what works for you.

Slightly wilt the courgetti in a pan of boiling water (but with heat turned off). No longer than 2 minutes, then drain, toss and pour the pesto over the warm vegetable noodles. Add your vegetables of choice (broccoli, tomatoes, peppers or spinach for example) once the noodles have been thoroughly coated in pesto. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

birgitta signature

 

 

Warm Kale Salad with Green Beans

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Sometimes, on a cold and rainy day, a plate of raw vegetables is just not on the agenda. End of story. Still, you want to stay lean, green and crunchy and in less than 10 minutes. Top tip? Steam a few of your veg, not all. In this salad, the kale and the green beans were gently steamed for a short time only and then mixed in with the non-cooked veggies, creating a warm mixture that feels more palatable when it’s grizzly outside. Continue reading “Warm Kale Salad with Green Beans”