A glorious vision of health and beauty with citrus spiced salmon…

Dearest darling reader,

How are you? How’s your day going? Ready for your 3 day weekend? Well of course you are…God bless the Bank Holiday in all it’s brief-respite-from-work-even-though-it’s-guaranteed-to-rain loveliness. We’re British and we’re used to doing things in a state of perpetual change when it comes to the weather because if we didn’t go out every day with sunglasses, an umbrella & a set of snowshoes in our bags, frankly, we’d never leave the house.

The sun appears to have departed these shores to be replaced in residency by a polar wind – pop up only I hope – so this post comes to you from the hands of a lady wearing several more layers than you’d hope for in May, who can currently be found in that slightly overwhelmed, definitely overfed state that arises post-birthday. Or more accurately, post-week-long-and-eating-out-every-day-birthday celebrations.

I love it, I love any excuse to go and eat out and normally J and I don’t have to look very far to find one.

It’s someone’s birthday? Great!

You had an excellent ,meeting at work? Ace!

Oh look, it’s Tuesday? Woo-hoo!

The plus side of all this feasting is that you get to travel the world on your plate without the need for excess baggage fees or learning to sleep upright – I’ve been to India at Dishoom, Italy via Polpo, Britain thanks to the Soho Hotel, Peru through Lima and Japan by way of Shackfuyu this week alone – but the downside is the mysterious & unfathomable shrinking of one’s waistband followed by a general feeling of utter lethargy and the craving for something fresh, healthy & reinvigorating.

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This is where today’s delightfully cheeky little dish comes in – something that you can eat with sheer gusto knowing that it’s every bit as good for you as it tastes. Luscious, fat-on-your-fork flakes of salmon are smothered with a marinade that combines a citrus kick with the faintest hint of floral and served alongside a juicy pineapple salsa, coconut oil roasted sweet potato half moons, sweet & nutty red rice and creamy hunks of avocado, it’s the perfect dish for getting back on the culinary straight and narrow…

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Step into the wonderful world of wholegrains with a chicken, chickpea & bulgar wheat one pot wonder…

It’s interesting how much our tastes and eating habits change as we grow up. When we’re young, we eat what we’re given by parents, family & friends. We learn to love and loathe certain ingredients. We embrace or become wary of different cuisines by the reactions we see around us. We’re defined by the contents of our lunchboxes in the playground and our first-flat-fridges when friends come round for dinner.

My beloved mum who never met a vegetable she didn’t want to start a meaningful relationship with and who placed great importance during my and my sister’s childhoods on eating well balanced meals around a table together was also famous among my friends for always having a tin of mini chocolate bars in our cupboard and this approach of ‘everything in moderation’ is as deeply embedded in me from her as my love for Rhett Butler & strawberry milk.

Something that I’ve recently tried, subsequently loved and which I’m sure my pre-teen self might have wrinkled her nose at are wholegrains. I know, I know, you get that I like them because I talk about them a bit.

Okay a lot.

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Alright, all the time but I can’t help it – there are so many benefits to these tiny nuggets of loveliness that I become impassioned on their behalf whenever they come up in conversation. Like Frodo Baggins or Oliver Twist, wholegrains might appear on the surface to be the quiet, unassuming underdog but overlook them at your peril because like our pointy-eared hobbit or Cockney, jazz handed orphan, there’s much more to them than meets the eye.

Simple, healthy & filling? Check.

An average cup packing a whopping 33% dietary fibre? Check.

Helping to reduce the risk of strokes, diabetes & heart disease? Check.

Wholegrains add bulk to a quick dinner meaning you feel full on less calorie intake, make the perfect next-day-leftovers lunch and greedily absorb whatever flavours you want to drizzle or drench them with and this one pot recipe is an excellent example of this.

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Sausage & beans styled up and made even more comforting than you remember…

Comfort food is blissful. It’s dreamy. It’s big platefuls of loveliness wrapped in a cosy blanket of warming-from-the-inside-out, don’t-wanna-move-from-in-front-of-the-fire deliciousness and on those cold, dark days when it seems the sun has truly abandoned us, it’s all you want to eat. Let’s get real here though and admit that sometimes comfort food comes at a price especially if it’s laden down with cream or butter as things like golden, flaky pastry, pillowy mashed potato or rich, smooth sauces often are. This, my friends, is why the particular dinner we’re making today is a winner in more ways than one.

Adapted from a recipe originally found on the sweetsugarbean blog – www.sweetsugarbean.com/2012/01/for-your-hibernation-sausage-white-bean.html – this is everything you could want from a winter warming dish with nothing to feel guilty about so go on, I give you not only my permission but my blessing to pop on your pyjamas, pour a demure, beneficial-for-the-heart glass of red and get ready to make something that requires only a few ingredients but smacks them out of the ballpark with the flavours of ripe tomatoes, juicy sausages and fragrant thyme making it just perfect for mopping up with warm crusty bread.

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