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Serves 4

I ate a lovely, warming, filling brunch of huevos rancheros (or mexican ranch-style beans) in a Chiquitos restaurant near the O2 in London recently. This was in preparation for my ascent to the top of the O2 – that’s right, you can climb it to a viewing

Delicious, spicy mexican style ranch eggs.  Guaranteed to perk you up in the morning

Delicious, spicy mexican style ranch eggs. Guaranteed to perk you up in the morning

 platform mountaineering style and get fab views of London City and the river on a clear day (we got lucky with the weather)! Awesome fun, and the breakfast set me up a treat!

I digress!  This is my own home-cooked version that I have only just got round to making 2 weeks later because I’ve not had time to soak and boil my beans!

This is a well-balanced brekkie plate with plenty of fresh anti-oxidant-rich veggies for fibre and vitamins, black beans for muscle-building protein and a bit of a kick to wake you up for the day.  Who said hot breakfasts had to be bland, unhealthy, stodgy and full of saturated fat?! Black beans are high in fibre (aids weight loss because it fills you up, and boosts the health of the gut), low in fat, and contain a decent amount of iron (important for building red blood cells and preventing anaemia), folate (important for red blood cells and transport of oxygen to the muscles and prevents spina bifida in unborn children), magnesium and potassium.

If you have to get the dried black beans that need soaking I would recommend preparing more than you need as you can always freeze them once cooked for easy use at a later date.

INGREDIENTS:

BLACK BEANS

400g black beans, cooked (use canned pinto beans, drained, if you cannot find black beans)

200ml vegetable or chicken broth, made with ½ a 10g stock cube

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

 

THE SALSA

Black (turtle) beans. High in fibre and carbohydrate but low in fat.  Contain iron, folate, magnesium and potassium.

Black (turtle) beans. High in fibre and carbohydrate but low in fat. Contain iron, folate, magnesium and potassium.

1 large red onion, chopped (185g)

1 large red pepper, chopped (145g)

1 clove garlic, minced (4g)

1 can chopped tomatoes or 4 fresh tomatoes, finely chopped (400g)

1 can of sweetcorn kernels (160g)

1 tbsp. jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

2 tbsp. fresh coriander or cilantro, chopped

2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

salt, to taste

 

4 tortillas (40g each)

4 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Soak the black beans in cold water overnight (24 hours). Place in a large saucepan, cover with double the amount of water, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and leave to cook for at least 2 hours or until the beans are softened but not breaking apart. Add more water if it starts to dry out. Drain and leave to cool.
  • To make the salsa, stir the tomatoes, red onions, red pepper, sweetcorn, coriander or cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, minced garlic, and salt to taste, together in a bowl until well blended. Cover, and refrigerate until needed (at least 1 hour).
  • Place the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook 1 minute until light brown. Mix in the black beans or drained pinto beans if using these instead, the broth and 1 tbsp. jalapeno pepper. Simmer until beans are heated through (about 5 minutes). Turn off heat, and keep warm.
  • Preheat oven to 190°C / 375°F / gas mark 5. Place tortillas on a baking sheet with greaseproof paper underneath. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until warmed through and softened.  Alternatively, heat in microwave on full power for 30 – 45 seconds.
  • Poach or scramble the eggs and cook to desired firmness.
  • To assemble huevos rancheros, place a tortilla on each plate. Top each tortilla with black bean mixture, a layer of salsa, and an egg (or ¼ of the scrambled eggs). Serve immediately.

 

Healthy, nutritious and perfect for brunch

Healthy, nutritious and perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch or tea

SUGGESTIONS

– Add 1 inch of chorizo, chopped into small squares = additional 68 kcal / 285 kJ

 For a main meal, per portion:

–       Add 20g of grated cheddar cheese = additional 83kcal / 347 kJ

and/or

– 50g of shredded roast chicken (instead of the eggs) = 89 kcal / 372 kJ

– 50g of shredded roast pork (instead of the eggs) = 91 kcal / 381 kJ

– 50g of shredded roast beef (instead of the eggs) = additional 110 kcal / 460 kJ

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

per whole recipe

 Energy                         1495 kcal / 6255 kJ

Carbohydrate              229.7g

Fat                               38.2g

Protein                         64.2g

Total sugar                  53.3g

Saturates                    12.0g

Fibre                            48.4g

Salt                              8.4g (check canned beans for added salt)

 

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

per serving (if serving 4)

 Energy                         374kcal / 1565 kJ

Carbohydrate              57.4g

Fat                               9.6g

Protein                         16.1g

Total sugar                  13.3g

Saturates                    3.0g

Fibre                            12.1g

Salt                              2.1g (check canned beans for added salt)

 

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If you love food and hate the idea of wasting anything then I am starting a series of ‘Waste Not Want Not’ blog posts, in honour of the ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ national campaign to get people shopping and cooking smart to prevent food waste and save people money.

In the UK the average household throws away £480 of food waste per year (£680 for a family with 2 children) and almost half of this is estimated to be food that we could have eaten. The foods we waste the most are vegetables, fruit, drinks and bakery items such as bread and cakes.  A lot of the wastage is down to either preparing too much food and having to throw it away or buying too much food in the first place.

The Love Food Hate Waste website has some brilliant ideas, including recipes and ways to store food better, to prevent waste and save us all money.

Here are my suggestions for something that tends to sit in the fridge for a long time in our house….the humble jar of mint sauce (please note, this is not the same as mint jelly – mint sauce is more of a vinegar-based dressing usually used with lamb).

A zesty, tangy way to use up courgettes

A zesty, tangy way to use up courgettes

1. Courgette and mint salad
Serves 2-4

  • Trim the ends off 1 courgette and grate it lengthways into wide(ish) strips.
  • Thinly slice 4 spring onions. 
  • Make a dressing out of 1 tsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar, 2-3 tsp. lemon juice (fresh or bottled), fresh black pepper and a tsp. of mint sauce. 
  • Mix courgette into the dressing. 
  • You could add bits of diced red pepper too. 

 

 

A delicious warming, low fat dish

A delicious warming, low fat dish

 

2. Pea, Mint and Ham Soup

Serves 4

This is a recipe I have previously posted on Relish Health’s blog (September 2013)

Pea Mint and Ham Soup

 

 

 

3. Yogurt and mint dip

Mix 4 tbsps of low fat plain or greek yogurt with 1 tsp of mint sauce, 1 tsp lemon juice, ¼ – ½ tsp of ground chilli powder and a handful of coriander chopped fine. 

Use this as a salad dressing for tinned chickpeas mixed up with diced spring onions, red pepper, and shredded roast chicken or as a dip for falafel or samosas.  If you want to have a thinner sauce, blend – it will go a nice shade of green.

 

4.  Mix 1/2 – 1 tsp. of mint sauce into a portion of fresh or frozen garden peas to serve as a side to your sunday roast.

 

5.  Mix 1/2 – 1 tsp. of mint sauce with 1/2 – 1tsp of melted butter or olive-oil based spread. Dress some boiled new potatoes with this mixture and serve with your sunday roast or on the side of some baked or grilled white fish (haddock, cod, bass, bream, etc.)

 


Figs are high in fibre, which prevents constipation and reduces cholesterol,  and potassium, which helps to regulate bloodflow

Figs are high in fibre, which prevents constipation and reduces cholesterol, and potassium, which helps to regulate bloodflow

This is, essentially, a plug of my breakfast from this morning but it was delicious, balanced and healthy fulfilling all major food groups!  Figs are a really good source of fibre so great for lowering cholesterol and preventing constipation (sorry, perhaps not the best breakfast topic but an important one none-the-less!). They also contain a good amount of potassium which can help to keep the blood pressure normalised – potassium is found in most fruit and vegetables in varying quantities so if you’re eating your 5-a-day then you’re probably getting enough potassium.

If you can’t find fresh figs then you could use dried ones but the texture and flavour of fresh figs is definitely more subtle, sweet and fresh. If you wanted to substitute the cinnamon pancake for an American-style plain or lemon flavoured one that would work just as well or you could make your own thin (English or French-style) pancake.  To keep the calories similar just make sure the weight of the pancake is no more than 65g and that you don’t use too much fat when cooking – 1 tsp. of oil or butter in a hot pan should do.

INGREDIENTS (per person)

1 american style cinnamon pancake (65g)

2 tbsps of reduced fat creme fraiche or low fat greek yogurt

2 sliced fresh figs

1-2 tsp. of flaked or chopped almonds (or about 6 whole)

1 tsp runny honey

pinch of ground cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

There’s not much to it really! 

*  Lightly toast the pancake if you’ve bought a pre-prepared one (mine were from the Asda bakery counter, but any other brands would do or you could make your own – don’t use too much fat to cook them)

*  Layer the creme fraiche or greek yogurt on top (mine was reduced fat creme fraiche at around 50kcal per 2 tbsps)

*  Layer the sliced fresh figs in an attractive manner on top – or simply chuck them on!  Fresh figs can be pricey but if you look out for them around autumn (fall) time then they are a bit cheaper – I got 4 for £1

* Throw the almonds over the figs, drizzle the honey on top and sprinkle the cinnamon over everything

* Serve and enjoy – mine was wolfed down in less than 2 minutes!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(Per pancake)

Energy                  455  kcal / 1904 kJ

Carbohydrate    43.2g

Fat                          22.8g

Protein                 7.6g

Sugars                   28.0g

Saturates             8.5g

Fibre                      3.5g

Salt                         0.08g