Sunday 22 January 2012

Healthy seafood suppers to get fit quick

Healthy midweek meal #1 - lemon couscous with griddled courgette and chilli prawns on a bed of spinach
Back in December it seemed like I had subscribed to the “seefood” diet – in other words, any time I spotted some appetising morsel, I would immediately feel the need to stuff it in my mouth.

I was tired of counting the calories in every ingredient in every meal, tired of denying myself from testing out the tempting treats on offer at food festivals, and tired of waking up at 6am most mornings to drag my weary body to the gym in the hope of staying slim. In short, I felt exhausted, mentally and physically.

So like most people at the end of the year, I overindulged – even achieving the rather impressive feat of consuming two of Outsider Tart’s baseball-sized carrot and cream cheese whoopie pies in two days. My feeding frenzy climaxed at Christmas, in a haze of gooey chocolates, juicy roasted meat and crunchy amaretto tiramisu.

But oddly enough, it seems that after a few weeks of decadent dining my sweet tooth had crumbled away. As I watched the fireworks light up London’s Southbank to ring in the new year, I resolved to return with a bang to healthy eating. So now I’ve swapped wine for water, rejected loaves in favour of fishes, and filled up on my daily dose of fruit and vegetables. Admittedly we’re less than a month into 2012, but so far clean living feels good – my mind feels refreshed and my body feels lighter.

In the old days I would succumb to the beckoning call of the chip shop after a long day in the office, but in this new era I’ve created two fish and seafood suppers to leave me feeling just as satisfied. No only are they rich in protein and iron, but they’re cheap as chips to make and can both be served to the table in less time than it takes the pizza to be delivered to the door!

Note: The quantities used in both recipes are a rough guide only – feel free to alter the amounts depending on what you have in stock. I always keep some inexpensive smoked salmon trimmings in the fridge and king prawns in the freezer for moments like this.

Lemon Couscous with griddled chilli courgette and prawns on a bed of spinach (photo above, serves 1)
100g courgette
1 tbsp olive oil
50g dried couscous
115g king prawns
50g spinach
juice & zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp chilli flakes

1. Grate the zest of 1 lemon into a bowl with the dried couscous. Pour in just enough boiling to cover the grains, then place a towel over the bowl and leave to soak for 10 minutes.

2.  In another bowl mix together the prawns with half the lemon juice, half the olive oil and half the chilli flakes (depending on how spicy you like you food!). Add salt and pepper to taste and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

3. Whilst heating up your griddle pan, slice your courgette into semi-circles around half a centimetre thick. Lay out on the hot pan, sprinkle with the rest of the chilli flakes and leave to grill for around 10 minutes. Don’t forget to turn the pieces over halfway through to ensure they are seared on both sides.

4. Add the prawns to the griddle pan and leave for a minute whilst the marinade bubbles away, before turning off the heat. By now your couscous should be cooked – pour in the other half the lemon juice and the rest of the olive oil, and use a fork to mix everything together and fluff up the grains. Season to taste.

5. To serve, place your spinach into a bowl, spoon the couscous into the centre and then scatter over the courgette, prawns and any remaining marinade.

Wholewheat pasta with creamy smoked salmon sauce and greens (serves 1)
Healthy midweek meal #2 - wholewheat pasta with smoked salmon, grated courgette, wilted spinach and leek
20g leek
65g courgette
100g spinach
2 tsp grated parmesan cheese
65g wholewheat fusilli
40g fat-free yoghurt / creme fraiche
65g smoked salmon trimmings

1. Boil the wholewheat pasta in a pan of salted water with the lid on for 10 - 15 minutes, until it is al dente (still has a slight crunch when bitten into).

2. Slice the leek into thin half-moons, and place on a medium heat with a dash of olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes or so until soft and translucent. Add the spinach and turn the heat down to the lowest setting.

3. Whilst the spinach is slowly wilting in the pan, grate the courgette. Add this to the spinach and leek mixture and stir around with a wooden spoon until everything is combined.

4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain away most of the salted water, retaining around 50ml in a separate cup. Add the greens mixture to the pasta and stir in the fat-free yoghurt and half the grated parmesan. Flake in the smoked salmon trimmings, and mix everything together, adding the reserved salted water a dash at a time until the sauce has a creamy consistency. Season to taste, place in a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very tasty recipe - I wouldn't have put lemons and courgettes together but it works very well. Anyone I've served this too has really enjoyed it.