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The Food Of Love

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

You don’t need a special day to  win over your beloved with food. But, keeping it healthy can be challenging. To help you with that, the Health & Fitness Team brings you a few healthy recipes

It isn’t Valentine’s Day or any special occasion, but you want to set the mood with a scrumptious and healthy meal. Pitching healthy eating may not seem very romantic, but when you see the recipes and tips we have, you’ll be bowled over. And, you don’t even have to go through hours of prep work or visit crowded restaurants. Surprise your loved one with a romantic breakfast in bed or head out with a picnic basket. We have recipes for a three-course dinner, too!

DINNER DATE

Quinoa Salad

Chef Amit Bhatia, executive chef at The Chocolate Spoon Company Pvt. Ltd., gives us this appetizer recipe, which is both easy to make and extremely healthy!

Ingredients

80g quinoa, 10g corn, 10g black beans, 30g bell pepper, 10g cherry tomato, 5g spring onion, 2g mint, 2g coriander leaves, 50g lettuce, 10ml olive oil, 1 lemon, 2g roasted cumin seeds and salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Start by boiling the quinoa to cook it as per preference. Drain and cool the cooked quinoa and set it aside.
  • Boil the corn and black beans, and set this aside as well.
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and bell peppers into dices. Tear the mint, lettuce and coriander leaves and chop the spring onions.
  • To make the salad dressing, squeeze the lemon into a bowl and whisk in olive oil.
  • Season it and add to this crushed roasted cumin seeds.
  • Toss all the ingredients along with the dressing and serve cold.

Confit beetroot risotto with goat cheese, walnuts and wild rocket

This appetizing entrée, shared by chef Amit, includes a dose of brain-healthy walnuts and goat cheese, which is low in fat, calories and sodium, and rich in protein, calcium and vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients

60g Arborio rice, 100g beetroot, 5g onion, 10g garlic, 1 sprig thyme, 5g walnut, 5g wild rocket (or arugula), 10g goat cheese, 5g Parmesan cheese, 10ml cream, 5ml white wine, 5ml olive oil, 200ml sunflower oil, some celery, a little vegetable stock and salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • To make the beetroot confit, peel the beetroot and cut it into medium dices.
  • In a deep oven dish, mix the beetroot dices with salt, pepper, garlic cloves and the sprig of thyme.
  • Add sunflower oil till it just covers the tops of the diced beetroot and cover the dish with a silver foil. Place the dish in the oven and cook at 60 C.
  • After 30-45 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool. Drain the oil and separate the beetroot confit. Set half of the beetroot aside for garnish and puree the remaining half.
  • Roast the walnut and remove the skin.
  • To make the risotto, add a little olive oil to a hot pan and sauté chopped garlic, onion and celery. Add in the Arborio rice and sauté till it is coated with oil. Next, add a splash of white wine and allow it to deglaze. Finally, add some hot vegetable stock when the rice is almost cooked.
  • To this, add the beetroot puree and a little cream. Cook and adjust the consistency.
  • Check for seasoning and add a little Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve the risotto in a plate and top it off with beetroot confit, crumbled goat cheese, toasted walnuts and tossed arugula as dressing.

Banana Honey Parfait

Add some sweetness to your meal with a delicious parfait. This easy-to-make dessert comes courtesy London Taxi. Whip it up to surprise your Valentine.

Ingredients

2 egg whites, 10ml lemon juice, 250g honey, 300g whipped cream, 50g butter, 100g banana (puréed) and sugar

Method

  • Add honey to a pan and caramelise it. While still on the flame, add butter and allow the two to mix.
  • Add puréed banana to the mixture, cook for a while and let it cool.
  • For the meringue, whisk together lemon juice, castor sugar and the egg whites. Fold the meringue into the banana mixture.
  • Set the mixture in a parfait mould and let it set in freezer. Serve chilled.

A LOVE-LY PICNIC

We think a special picnic would go a long way to cultivate a romantic mood, especially if you’ve got blue skies and sunshine. You can’t pack just a bag with chips and sandwiches; you’ll need something more. Make your picnic a healthy one with a basket laden with goodies!

Sipping and dipping

It simply isn’t a romantic outing without a glass of bubbly and some delectable snacks. A cheese board with crackers and lavash would make an excellent low-calorie snack and you can opt for olives, a mix of nuts and some chutney to go along with it. Choose to sip on champagne, light white or dessert wines as they tend to have fewer calories than red wine.

Crunchy and chewy

For more sustainable food options, apart from salads and healthy sandwiches, opt for a burrito bowl with quinoa, baked falafel with whole-wheat pita and roasted tomato hummus, broccoli and spinach frittata or even a warm roasted vegetable salad. Old-school snacks such as popcorn, pretzels, nuts, pumpkin seeds would serve well as quick and simple snacks or as side dishes to the main food.

Sweet lovin’ 

While chocolate-covered strawberries are perhaps the standard conventional romantic fare (and they’re also healthy!), why not experiment with desserts? Strawberry s’mores, apple-spiced muffins, sheet cakes and gluten-free brownies are all delicious yet healthy treats for a romantic picnic. You can also opt for fresh fruit iced lollies or baked and set mousses.

BREAKFAST IN BED

Ah, breakfast in bed. All the movies tell us that this is a truly romantic gesture. Here’s how you can make it magical.

Smoothen it out

What better way to start out your day than with a delicious and healthy smoothie. Not only will it keep you feeling full, but it is also a scrumptious delight to binge on. Blend your favourite fruits — berries, bananas and even oranges — with a yoghurt base. And, if you’re feeling a tad innovative, use fruit-flavoured yoghurt along with the fruit. But don’t use the same fruit as is the flavour of the yoghurt. Substitute your morning coffee for a light blend or an English breakfast tea, and you will feel equally refreshed.

Eat up

Since breakfast is supposed to be the heaviest meal of the day, set up a varied platter. Whip up some easy and healthy options such as avocado on toast (use multigrain bread!), an oatmeal porridge with fruits and a fluffy vegetable omelette. Place it aesthetically in a huge tray to complete the Valentine’s indulgence.

Relishing refreshments

Mimosas

A sparkling fresh drink, mimosas are generally considered healthier than similar drinks (think cosmos!), but we have a delicious new mimosa recipe to make the bubbly drink even better. Typically a concoction of champagne, orange juice and orange liqueur, this is a fruitier version of the drink. Swap the orange juice for passion fruit juice and the orange liqueur for passion fruit liqueur to create a zesty version of the drink. Alternatively, you could opt for a mix of passion fruit juice and orange juice with a light white wine for a less bubbly version.

Ice lollies

Quick and easy, yet positively delicious sweet treats are ice lollies. All you need is a popsicle mould, your favourite fruits and a blender. A water-based frozen fruit dessert, ice lollies use no artificial sugar and rely on the natural sweetness of the fruit. Pick a fruit combination, such as that of strawberry and mango or watermelon and kiwi, and simply purée the fruits (separately, of course) in a blender. Layer the fruits in popsicle moulds and freeze for 4-6 hours or overnight, and they’re ready! A raspberry and coconut milk combination will have you glued to the stick, or go with a concoction of bananas, oranges, pineapples and spinach for a greener popsicle.

HEALTH HACKS

Banana and Oat Pancakes

Ingredients

2 bananas, 2 eggs, ½ cup rolled oats, ½ tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt

Method

  • Throw the peeled and chopped bananas, eggs, oats, baking powder and salt into a blender and blend the mixture thoroughly. Leave the batter to sit for 15-20 minutes.
  • Pour a ladle full of the mix into a heated non-stick pan and cook.
  • Serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit of your choice.

Healthy Hash Browns

Ingredients

4 cups shredded peeled baked potato, ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions, ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper, 2 tbsp cornstarch, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper and ¼ tsp onion powder

Method

  • Squeeze out and drain the water from the shredded potatoes once you have thoroughly washed them.
  • Combine potatoes, onions and bell pepper in bowl. Add the cornstarch, salt, black pepper and onion powder and toss well to coat.
  • Layer this potato mix in a well-oiled baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at about 250C for 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream.
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