Clean eating blog

LLCH-JAN14-25-EditMany New Year resolutions include healthy eating and exercise. However, the rainy evenings and cold winds kindle cravings for warm apple pie and custard in front of the fire. If you’re determined to stick to your 2014 diet plan, then why not have a dabble with the new ‘clean eating’ trend? Simplifying your diet to natural and unprocessed ingredients is very much in line with our commitment to using the freshest of local ingredients.

Eating whole foods like vegetables, whole grains, free-range meats, diary products, nuts and seeds epitomises the ‘clean eating’ process, also known as the ‘paleo’ or ‘caveman’ diet. Removing refined sugar and complicated carbohydrates like white bread and pasta is crucial to the plan and most importantly cooking your own dishes will ensure you know exactly what’s going into your body.

Creating simple but flavoursome dishes is key to sticking to the plan. To inspire you, Head Chef Mike Hendry has put together a delicious recipe mixing artichokes, mushrooms, samphire grass and fresh, seasonal halibut. Artichokes have a high-level of antioxidants but also lower cholesterol. Halibut is a fish with low fat content, which will prepare you for the summer months on the beach. When frying fish, Mike recommends using Welsh rapeseed oil as it prevents burning and doesn’t add strong flavour to the food. On a health level, it has less saturated fat than cooking oils and it is a rich source of vitamin E.

See below Mike’s healthy recipe:

Pan-fried halibut with oyster mushrooms, artichokes and samphire grass.

Ingredients

One fresh fillet of halibut  (available from your local fishmonger)
100g of fresh samphire grass ( available from any good fishmongers or local farmers’ markets)
110g traditional artichokes  (although an unusual ingredient, they’re available from most supermarkets)
75g oyster mushrooms, although shitake mushrooms will work just as well
50ml fish or vegetable stock
Welsh rapeseed oil
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to season

Equipment

  • One saucepan
  • One Spatula
  • Two frying pans

Method

  • Place a saucepan on the hob, fill it with boiling water and add a little Anglesey sea salt. Peel the skin off the artichokes, and ensuring the water is boiling; lightly blanch the artichokes in the pan until tender, this will take minutes at most. The shorter the cooking the better
  • Put another saucepan on the hob and add a desert spoon of rapeseed oil. Brown the artichokes in the saucepan over a medium heat until they become a lovely warm colour and then add the oyster mushrooms. In order to keep the mushrooms nice and moist, add the stock
  • At the very last minute add the fresh samphire grass. This often overlooked ingredient goes perfectly with fish, is full of minerals and zesty flavours, but it should always be washed thoroughly with fresh water beforehand
  • Add rapeseed oil to a separate frying pan. When it gets smoking hot, put the halibut into the pan. Cook for three minutes on each side until the flesh is golden brown. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • To present, place the mushroom, samphire grass and artichoke mixture into the middle of a warmed plate. Then put the freshly cooked halibut on top

The ultimate chocolate fondant to spice up your relationship

LLCH-JAN14-50Like Charles M. Schulz famously said: ‘All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.’ Although Valentine’s Day is a traditional celebration of love, here is a chocolate fondant recipe to inspire the romance in you at any time of year.

The classic chocolate fondant is the king of all desserts: it has a reputation for pure indulgence, and rightly so! Combining high quality chocolate, butter and cream, this pudding is hot with a luxuriously soft centre and a rich chocolate flavour.

If you’re planning on serving up a treat for your other half and are unsure how to finish your three course extravaganza, the chocolate fondant is a perfect accompaniment to any romantic menu.

Not only will your date be left impressed, but some experts believe that chocolate may have intrinsic aphrodisiac qualities due to the stimulant phenylethylamine and the serotonin-building chemical tryptophan found within it.

Many of the most sensual menus end with this delicious dessert, so make yours a roaring success by recreating this at home. This precious recipe from our Head Chef Mike Hendry will be a perfect finale for any lavish romantic dinner.

This recipe will feed five people so you can save some for later or even freeze the fondants for another day.

Equipment

1 glass bowl
1 saucepan
1 mixing bowl
1 whisk
5 x moulds
1 baking tray

Ingredients

80g caster sugar
120g minimum 70% dark chocolate
100g unsalted Welsh butter
2 whole free range eggs
2 yolks
20g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
whipped cream to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Then pour boiling water until it fills a third of the saucepan. Turn the heat down until the water reaches a constant gentle simmer on the hob over a medium heat
  3. Place the broken pieces of dark chocolate and the butter together in a glass bowl, and then carefully lay the glass bowl into the saucepan, taking care the hot water stays underneath the glass bowl
  4. The chocolate and butter should gradually melt. It is important not to hurry this process. Once they have melted, take the bowl off the heat
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, yolks and whole eggs together until the mixture has doubled in volume
  6. Add the sugar and egg mix slowly into the melted chocolate and butter
  7. Then add the flour and cocoa powder into the same bowl and mix all together
  8. Pour into individual moulds, leaving a space for them to rise slightly and then place the moulds onto the baking tray
  9. Bake the chocolate fondants for 8-10 minutes at 180C
  10. Taking them out of the moulds, rest each fondant in the centre of the plate and serve immediately with cream on top