Salmon baked on a bed of fennel, ginger and carrot

This is without doubt one of my favourite meals. It is my comfort food, my celebration food and my ‘home alone for the night so I get to cook whatever I like’ food.

It is a recipe that a gorgeous family friend made for me when I stayed with her in Switzerland and since that day over 6 years ago I have made it many many times. Often just as it was made for me, sometimes with subtle changes or additions depending on what is in the fridge.

This dish is easy, does not require many ingredients but manages to be healthy and absolutely delicious.

Begin by finely slicing fennel, carrot and ginger – julienne sticks works well. I like to add onion as well as it is one of my favourite vegetables. If you like chilli slice some up too.

Chopped Veg

In a pan or wok sauté the vegetables with some olive or coconut oil until softened. Add a dash of fish sauce, a few drops of sesame oil and some salt to taste.

Sauteed Veg

Once softened – roughy 5 minutes, place the vegetables in the bottom of an oven proof dish and lay the salmon on top skin facing down. Slide into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes – I like my salmon cooked through and flaking apart, adjust for your preference.

Ready to bake

I do however find that the longer it cooks the more delicious oils ooze from the salmon and caramelise the vegetables below, enriching the flavour.

mmmmm

In my opinion, it is best served on Jasmine rice – the fragrance accompanies so well. But for a paleo or grain free option quinoa or cauliflower rice would be delicious.

yum

Now white rice has been demonised recently and there has been a shift to brown but did you know white rice is the only grain without anti-nutrient factors?? Most grains contain phytates or oxalates that bind to minerals in the body, such as calcium, reducing their absorption. Brown rice, especially Australian grown has been found to contain high levels of arsenic so the occasion bowl of white rice is ok! Rice is also gluten free, and generally well tolerated. But it can have a high GI if eaten without fat and protein such as in this dish so make sure it is a balanced meal :)

Tonight I am making this dish, and may turn my jasmine rice into coconut rice… I may add some five spice to the vegetables whilst sautéing, and I may add zucchini as it softens and tastes delicious. But I will always keep the base the same and I implore you to try it that way first…

It is cooking right now, and my god, it smells delicious!

So why is this healthy?

Ginger is wonderful for our digestive tract. It is calming, warming and tonifying. Salmon is rich is omega 3 oils which are anti-inflammatory and good for brain function, and fennel helps with any abdominal bloating or pain. Onion helps boost our immune system, and our detoxification and methylation pathways, and carrots are rich in beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A.

For those who need quantities :) The veg will cook down so multiply the quantities per person

(Serves one)

  • 1 Carrot
  • 1/2 large Fennel bulb
  • 1cm sliced Ginger
  • A good glug of oil
  • 1tsp Fish oil
  • A few drops of Sesame Oil
  • Salmon – 1 piece per person
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Rice to serve
  • Coriander to garnish

I really hope you try this, I have eaten far more of this than I should – doesn’t look like there’ll be left overs! Its just too good….

M xx

Delicious Sweet Beef Casserole

With winter in full swing the yearning for slower cooked food creeps in… And one of my favourite casserole recipes also happens to be healthy, and super easy. It is a family recipe, passed down from my mother, and her mother, and is so simple, but overflowing with flavour that you will want to make this every week. One caveat – It does not photograph well!

It has a sweetness to it that satisfies even the pickiest eaters, but has no sugar added, nor packet mix base. With only 6 ingredients this won’t break the bank either.

Simply cut up an onion, 2 green apples – preferably granny smith, and toss them in a baking dish – I use our Le Cruiset. Soften them with some olive or coconut oil, and add in some raisins or sultanas – ideally organic and without sulphur preservatives. Once softened, stir through the curry powder, and allow to become fragrant – only takes a moment. Now the meat goes in – if you have time, brown it, if not add in the coconut milk (enough to cover), warm slightly on the stove, then stick it in the oven for 2-3 hours.

Apple, Onion and Sultanas    Pre oven

I like to put it in with the lid on. After an hour or so move the lid slightly off centre so some moisture can escape, and it will cook down, then with half an hour to go take the lid off all together if it is still too moist (Mine tends to be reduced enough so I skip this step). It will be browned and caramelised on top and totally delicious.(I have tried this in the slow cooker and it didn’t work nearly as well.. the higher heat means the fruit breaks down completely and the liquid reduces). The taste cannot be described. It is not like a curry, you would barely know it had coconut milk in it, and the fruit is no longer recognisable.. it is just delicious! If you are pressed for time this works very well with mince too…

Sweet Beef Casserole  IMG_6581

So how much of each should I use?

For 4 people:

1-2 brown onions
2 granny smith apples
50gm raisins or sultanas
3 tbsp curry powder
1.2kg meat – chuck steak or stewing meat works well
2 x 400ml tins of coconut milk
A dash of water if the meat isn’t covered with liquid

I like to serve it on a bed of jasmine rice, however it is also delicious on couscous or quinoa (or for a paleo option try cauliflower ‘rice’/‘couscous’ – recipe here). Pair it with some broccoli and voila!

If you have any chutney a dollop on top works very well, as does cucumber or banana mixed through natural yoghurt as a yummy side to stir through.

I promise you will want to make this again and again.

M x