Pan-Fried Salmon, Lentil Dhal and Peanut-butter yoghurt with blueberries: Indulgent health food

The Daily Mail is particularly good at the odd health slogan. Some of my favourites include: ‘a mind is a terrible thing to waste and a waist is a terrible thing to mind!’, or ‘he who indulges, bulges’, and my personal favourite ‘If you let the cake control, you’ll look like a cinnamon roll’. While I’m not particularly motivated to avoid food based on either these slogans or the dismally contradictory “health” articles that follow the headlines, I do listen to my singing teacher. She has practically begged me to spend two weeks giving up alcohol, singing and talking in order to finally rest my voice after 3 years of singing almost every day. While I was being this quiet and anti-social, I thought I might as well use the opportunity to try and quell my addiction to chocolate and be a bit healthier for all of to weeks. While I’m never going to turn into a seed eating, yoga loving, alcohol abstainer, I have to admit that I do feel better and will hopefully keep the daily yoga up, [purely because I quite enjoy the satisfaction of finally being able to do a plank for 3 minutes without collapsing…) However I don’t think I would have ever been able to cope with these two weeks if I hadn’t still been able to eat tasty food, while still healthy. Finding partially smoked salmon fillets in sainsburys, I used some of the money I’d saved on booze from the fortnight and created the following dish. The peanut butter yoghurt was a no-brainer for me, I adore peanut butter (have you heard it’s healthy) and mixed with greek yoghurt, it tastes like an indulgent pudding.

Pan-Fried Salmon, Lentil Dhal, serves 2

  1. For the Dhal: Sweat 1 onion and 2 cloves garlic in 1tsp coconut oil and a pinch of salt. Add 1tsp each of; ginger, cumin, turmeric, coriander and chilli powder. Add 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes, 1tsp sugar, 100g red lentils and vegetable stock to cover. Simmer for 15-20mins, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, take the salmon out of the fridge at least 1/2 hour before cooking. Heat a pan, add the salmon, flesh side down for 4-5mins. Flip and cook skin side down for 2-3mins, until skin is crispy. Place on top of the dhal, skin side up and scatter with coriander leaves.


Peanut butter yoghurt, serves 1

  1. Heat 1tsp peanut butter in a bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Mix in 170g greek yoghurt and (optional) 1tsp sugar. Top with blueberries.


The Daily Experiment

The Daily Experiment
Bacon care of business
Opened the fridge once again today to a hopeless mismatch of assorted leftovers and random ingredients. Spotting the pancetta pieces I had bought earlier for one of these sorts of occasions my first thought was a cassoulet. This was quickly discarded due to the lack of sausages or beans… So instead I decided on a lentil hotpot; potatoes, lentils and bacon – I could go from there. First I pan fried the bacon pieces till golden. While waiting for this I got bored so opened the spice cupboard, added a few juniper berries, coriander seeds, pinch of mixed spice, salt and pepper.

When brown, I added a spoonful of honey, the lentils, found some red wine, a beef stock cube and hot water, thyme I found in the fridge and a bay leaf. It smelt pretty good by this point so I poured it straight into an ovenproof dish. To finish I sliced up some potatoes thinly, layered them up on top of the dish, drizzled over walnut oil, salt and pepper and put in the oven at 140oC for about an hour.


At this point I turned the soundtrack of Matilda loud was singing somewhat un-tunefully when my mum came in with a bowl of apples she’d just picked from outside the house, the only thing our pathetic excuse for a garden comes up with….. (Although to be honest the hopscotch and climbing wall sometimes makes up for this). Just because I never like to see food go to waste (and she told me to use them) I decided to experiment with baked apples. I cored them, placed them on foil and filled the centres with what I found in the cupboard. This turned out to be honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sultanas, pumpkin seeds, pinch of salt and the last dregs of a bottle of amaretto that looked like it had been around before I was born. I wrapped them up, cooked them on high for about 20mins and they came up quite mushy, but delicious nonetheless with a bit of vanilla ice cream.