A winter salad to ease the ‘Sunday Scaries’
I'm back in the stairwell office, clinging on to a golden thread of internet connection in a far-flung corner of Somerset in the UK. It's Boxing Day, which after all the excitement of Christmas, is giving me a Sunday-evening kind of anxiety.
Known as the “Sunday Scaries” in our house, it's the feeling of realisation that real-life is right around the corner.
And even if real-life is a job you love on an island you adore, it does come hand in hand with bills, admin and a hefty dose of domestic chaos.
The last few weeks have been packed with Christmas-prep and reality simply went on hold. School plays, gift shopping, Christmas lights, cooking up a storm, big family dinners, lots of wine …. It's been an amazing way to round off the year. But 2019, here we come.
To be honest, I've been thinking about 2019 for a while. I'm taking a new direction with Natural membership next year, so it's been taking some time to pull the details together.
The goal is to deliver membership benefits that help people take more significant steps to longer-lasting health, without triggering overwhelm.
Ultimately, we all know that if healthy habits are going to stick, they have to be fairly easy and have a level of flexibility that is so essential for modern life.
We've all got to get to grips with the fact that staying healthy in this environment takes work (so we've got to be willing to take ourselves off the back burner and prioritise our health), but there's a balance to that, too.
Given that life is life, we need strategies that are flexible.
I find that one of the biggest barriers to healthy eating is the idea that “healthy” equates to bland or boring.
I love healthy food, but as with anything, it's easy to get stuck in a rut.
For me, staying interested in the super-healthy stuff is easier when I'm connected to a steady-stream of recipe writers and outlets that have a constant string of new ideas.
That means Instagram, Facebook, browsing actual cookbooks (try the Chef Shop, they have some amazing options) and … the Waitrose magazine!
My favourite recipes always end up having a flexible list of ingredients.
You know what it's like in Bermuda, it's often hard to get the ingredients for one recipe in just one store, but when real-life kicks in, I don't have time to be driving to three different places. I'm sure you don't either.
This recipe started with Waitrose inspiration and then was adjusted based on what I had at home and what I could pick up easily.
I've given you suggestions for easy switches, too, in case that helps. (It's a winter-salad, so packed with seasonal produce that is easy to find at this time of year.)
But if you find salad too light for a chilly evening, just pop some sweet potato wedges in the oven. Either make your own or try the Alexa brand in the freezers at Supermart.
The recipe originally uses barley, but I switched it to quinoa for some more vegetarian protein.
I switched the feta to Tucker's Farm goat cheese but if you're vegan/dairy free, just add avocado instead.
People following the vegan version might also want to add a combo of walnuts and pumpkin seeds, rather than just walnuts.
If you use pumpkin seeds, try the roasted or spicy seeds by Eden Organic.
The Munchy Seeds would also work fine — just not the chocolate ones!
The combination of quinoa, walnuts and pumpkin seeds provides a significant amount of protein.
And if you're an all-out carnivore, there's no reason why you can't add some grass-fed beef or organic grilled chicken, too.
However, even if you're not vegetarian or vegan, having a few more plant-based meals in your world is probably a good idea.
The more vegetables/salad you eat, the lower your chance of colon and bowel cancers.
Veg and salad are also packed with the kind of antioxidants that boost your immune system in general and help to prevent premature ageing.
What's not to love? Give this recipe a try this weekend and let me know what you think.
Clementine, beet and fennel winter salad (serves 4 as a light lunch)
2.5 cups quinoa (brown rice or barley work fine, too)
1 quality stock cube (try Kallo from Supermart, either vegetable or chicken)
6 clementines (oranges are fine if that's what you have)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (could use lemon juice)
½ garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp honey (or maple)
2 tbsps fresh dill, finely chopped
2 small fennel bulbs, very finely sliced
4 small cooked beets, sliced
1 cup walnuts, chopped (or a combo of walnuts and pumpkin seeds)
Goat cheese (crumbled feta or Tuckers Farm) for 4 people, or 2 avocados, diced
Bermy Fresh sprouts (any!)
1, Cook the quinoa but ignore the instructions on the packet. Instead: soak for two hours before cooking (if you have the time, this helps to remove enzyme inhibitors.)
Rinse well and then cook in plenty of boiling water with an added stock cube (gives extra flavour.) Cook until tender — it will release its small little coil and look super pretty. Drain well and leave to cool.
2, Meanwhile, prep five of the clementines. Peel them and remove any extra white pith that you can. Slice them into discs.
3, Juice the sixth clementine. Combine the juice with the oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard and honey. Whisk together, stir in the dill, season with salt and black pepper if you like.
4, Either on one large platter or four small plates, add a base layer of the quinoa. Then add on the clementine and fennel and scatter on the walnuts/seeds.
If using crumbled feta or avocado, you can add it now. Pour over the dressing and toss lightly.
Then add the beets to the top, and if using Tucker's Farm goat cheese, add some dollops of that now. The reason you add the beets late is so that they don't bleed onto the clementines.
5, To finish, scatter with the BermyFresh sprouts. Serve straight away.
• The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the Managing Director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a Registered Dietitian. For details, please go to www.natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrifitandnaturalnutritionbermuda or instagram at @naturalbda