Saturday, 13 December 2014

Basic Roast Vegetable Frittata

Eggs are such a versatile protein: you can boil, poach, scramble, fry, whisk, beat or bake them. Not to mention the countless dishes that couldn't work without the powers of egg. Here is a basic recipe for a roast vegetable frittata that could be altered in many ways to work as a great easy lunch or dinner with a simple salad on the side. 

You could add:
- fresh herbs e.g. rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil
- garlic (try roasting on the tray with the veg then just mashing)
- a different cheese e.g. fetta, ricotta
- a different mix of veg e.g. asparagus, grated zucchini, carrot, parsnip, etc
- change the size/shape e.g. make them in a muffin tin and these mini frittatas would be great for school or work lunches (in an insulated lunch box of course!)
- Line the base of a round flan tin with a few layers of filo pastry before pouring in the veg and egg filling and make a quiche

Basic Roast Vegetable Frittata

1 medium potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
Equivalent sized piece of pumpkin, peeled and diced into small cubes
½ red capsicum, cut into small wedges
¼ red onion, cut into small wedges
1/3 C cooked, finely chopped spinach (e.g. from 2 frozen cubes)
4 eggs
½ C skim milk
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 heaped Tbsp plain flour
2 Tbsp grated parmesan
Salt to taste
¼ C cherry tomatoes, halved
To serve:
Large garden salad
  1.     Preheat oven to 180°C and place potato, pumpkin, capsicum and onion on a lined baking tray and spray with a little extra virgin olive oil. Bake for around 20 minutes or until cooked through. Leave oven on.
  2.     Whisk eggs, milk, garlic, herbs, flour, parmesan and salt in a medium sized bowl or jug.
  3.     Spread baked vegetables and spinach on the bottom of a 20cm square baking tray, lined with baking paper. Pour over egg mixture and sprinkle with tomatoes (halved side up).
  4.     Bake for around 25 minutes or until cooked through and golden. Serve with salad

Serves 4

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Top 10 tips to lower your blood pressure

Have you just been told by your doctor that your blood pressure’s a bit too high? Don’t stress (really, that could make it go even higher!) because there is plenty you can do about it.

What does high blood pressure mean?

It means that it’s harder for your heart to pump blood around your body. In conjunction with high blood cholesterol (and the subsequent formation of fatty plaques inside your arteries) it could lead to blockages, heart attacks and strokes. But there are many risk factors and the tips below also cover some of these (such as being overweight, smoking, drinking to excess, having a poor diet high in salt and low in veg, having high cholesterol and being physically inactive).

  1.       Quit smoking- we all know it’s bad for us in just about every way possible (and is a risk factor for just about every disease). But I know it’s hard, so if you need help, chat to your GP or contact Quitline.
  2.       Cut back on the alcohol- aim for no more than 2 standard drinks per day and at least 2 alcohol-free days per week.
  3.       Stop stressing- identify the stressors in your life and find a relaxation technique that helps to combat them.
  4.       Increase the vegetable and fruit portion of your shop and cut back on the processed foods- the extra potassium will help counter the sodium in your diet (not to mention all the benefits of all the other nutrients!).
  5.       Swap refined, white and processed carbohydrates for wholegrains- such as grainy breads, oats, brown rice, barley, quinoa and bran-based cereals.
  6.       Get a healthy dose of heart-loving fats- from oily fish like salmon, tuna and sardines, olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocado.
  7.       Make takeaway a treat food- most takeaway foods are laden with salt and fat (usually far more than you would add if cooking it yourself). So embrace the homemade version! 
  8.       Get familiar with food labels- salt is used as both a flavouring agent and a preservative so you’ll find it in many staple foods (including breads and cereals). Aim for <400mg sodium/100g and opt for reduced, or no-added, salt sauces, stocks and tinned products where possible.
  9.       Make water your main drink- cut back on soft drinks, cordials and fruit juice (the whole fruit is so much better!). Add lemon and mint to flavour it, make it ice-cold with ice cubes, or rediscover tea.
  10.       Start moving- exercise doesn’t have to equate to hours slogging it out in the gym. It can be in short bursts and something you enjoy. Just try to get your heart rate up (and remember that every bit of incidental activity counts).