We’re a little late to the resolution table this year with Christmas and new year now a distant memory. Long gone are the parties, the carols, the copious amounts of food and drink that all allow for a season of pure enjoyment and indulgence. It is one of the few times of the year where it is deemed acceptable to eat your body weight in roast potatoes, bathe in gravy and eat more mince pies than should be humanly possible, and that’s all before you hit the eggnog.
Then January arrives and the purge begins.
Social media becomes (even more) saturated with images of avocados, kale and numerous variations on the ‘classic green juice’, posted by the health-tribe diktats prescribing unreasonable and often unfounded methods to achieve weight-loss and the generally unattainable, clean lifestyle.
Here’s where we would like to sprinkle a little bit of Beachspoke wisdom to the ‘new year, new you’ adventure on which you’ve probably already embarked:
A healthy lifestyle does not have to be punishing. It should not involve hours toiling in a gym or total abstinence from foods you really love and crave. Seek enjoyment from what you eat and the exercise you wish to take. Homemade meals made with fresh, local produce do indeed come with huge health benefits, but the occasional fish and chips down your local pub once in a while is fine too. Intense disco-themed spin classes may create endorphins for some but a long walk in the fresh air can be just as productive and rewarding for others. It’s adhering to the overused but often overlooked term of everything in moderation. Find you what love, harness it and enjoy it.
We have hunted high and low to deliver you some of our favourite holiday-ready recipes should you be in any need of inspiration this January that embody this very philosophy.
Food and wellbeing, like a holiday, should be an adventure and should always be approached and enjoyed as such.
Slow-Cooked Thai Green Curry
From: Simply Stephanie
This simple, slow cooked gem is packed full of goodness and flavour. Provided by one of our favourite food bloggers out there – Stephanie Lewis, this dish is a holiday staple. Stephanie is a healthy eating guru but what sets her apart from others is there’s total lack of the preach.
Warming and restorative in winter this classic can be cooked and prepped while you’re at work, ready to be packed and then reheated when you arrive at your destination. The fact that it’s been slow cooked also means the ingredients have had a decent amount of time to come to life and will be hassle free for the perfect night in.
X5 chicken breasts (cut into cubes)
2 tsp of Onion powder
2 tsp of chopped garlic
1 tsp of ground coriander
1 tsp of ground ginger
small knob of unsalted butter
x2 Thai green chillies
1 1/2 cans of coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
1 lemongrass stalk (break the stalk in half when you place in the pot)
4 kefir lime leaves dried
200ml of chicken stock
2 tbsp of green curry paste
2 tsp of fish sauce
1 thumb of fresh ginger sliced into matchsticks
A handful of fresh coriander to serve.
**additional options Steph advises throwing in chunky chopped green pepper/green peas or aubergine right at the end (be careful not to overcook them) for texture, she also advises adding thai aubergine however a lot of supermarkets don’t sell them. If you are planning far enough ahead you can buy these on amazon.
In a large pan with a knob of butter, 1 tsp of onion powder, ground ginger and 1 tsp of chopped garlic, fry and seal off your chicken until its nicely golden and cooked all the way through, add your thai green chillies (NOTE I do test how hot these chillies are aseach and everyone is different spice wise tailor the amount of chilli used to your tastebuds)
Separately in your slow cooker throw in all the rest of the ingredients, once the chicken is cooked and sealed scrape all the juices and chicken into the rest of the ingredients and cook on a low temp for 8 hours.
Serve the curry with fluffy Quinoa or rice. Serve with fresh coriander on top.
Cottage Pie with Cauliflower Mash
Our next favourite is a Hemsley & Hemsley, tried and tested twist on the classic Cottage Pie. ‘Cauliflower Mash’ may sound like one of the bland, healthy eating substitutes for the unbeatable creamy, delicious mash but we can assure you, this is actually as good, if not better. Admittedly you need quite a bit of butter (as you would with regular mash) but the creamy texture of the blended cauliflower accompanies the meaty filling perfectly.
This can also be prepped and cooked before you set off on your Beachspoke holiday, ready to be shoved in the oven on arrival. Turn on the fire, pour a glass of delicious Roberson’s Red and cosy up with this classic English comfort-food dish.
For the Cottage Pie Filling
500g of minced beef
1 tbsp of ghee or butter
1 large onion/leek finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced
1 medium courgette, finely diced
1 tsp of dried or 1½ teaspoons of fresh thyme (save some to garnish)
1 tsp of dried or 1½ teaspoons of fresh, roughly chopped rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp of tomato puree
250ml red wine
A small handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
350-400ml of hot homemade chicken, beef bone broth
1 large pinch sea salt
1 large pinch black pepper
For the Cauliflower Mash
2 small garlic cloves, peeled
2 large cauliflowers, remove outer green leaves
1 tsp of English mustard (for GAPS use mustard powder)
1 tbsp of butter to blend and 2 teaspoons of chopped up butter to top the mash
1 large pinch sea salt
1 large pinch black pepper
2 tsp of chopped chives or 1 finely sliced spring onion
60g of mature cheddar cheese, grated
Brown the mince in half a tablespoon of ghee and set aside.
In the same pan, add the remaining ghee and saute the onions, celery, courgette, carrots, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and gently fry for a further minute.
Return the mince to the pan and stir in the tomato puree and red wine. Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced.
Add the stock and simmer with the lid on for at least 30 minutes – we like to slow cook for up to an hour adding more stock or water if it’s starts to get dry.
Stir through the fresh parsley and taste for seasoning.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C and roughly chop the cauliflower into equal sized pieces.
In a saucepan steam the cauliflower and whole garlic cloves with just a few tablespoons of water, lid on, for 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Use a knife to check.
Remove the pan from the heat, drain any excess liquid and add the butter, grated cheese and mustard. Blend or mash until creamy and smooth. If it’s too sloppy or wet allow the mash to evaporate on a low heat.
Season to taste and add the spring onions or chives.
Take a large oven dish or individual dishes and fill to two thirds of the beef mixture, then top with the cauliflower mash. Use a fork to criss cross over the top and dot with bits of butter. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden. Finish with a sprinkle of chives or some fresh thyme leaves.