Seasonal main meals, side dishes and snack ideas.
If you are new to cooking or you're just out of ideas of what to eat, why not follow our Move it and Lose it recipe page to accompany our 12 week workshop. We endeavour to provide you with seasonal recipe ideas to help you add simple healthy meals and snacks to your diet.
Week 1 (January) - The Leek
The leek is part of the Allium family and is very closely related to onions, garlic and chives. Rather than forming a bulb like the onion, it grows as long cylindrical bundles of leaves. Leeks are thought to be native to central Asia and have been cultivated there and in Europe for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans revered the leek and its beneficial effect upon the voice. Leeks contain a good amount of kaempferol, which is shown to help protect our blood vessels.
Leeks have a milder taste than an onion and are used in many dishes either has the main event or for flavouring. Most of the leek can be used however the white and lighter green parts are preferred; the darker portion tends to have a tough texture but can be used in stocks for flavourings.
Popular dishes include leek and potato soup and cock-a-leekie soup, however leeks can be enjoyed simply sautéed or used in salads. Our recipe this week is Chicken, leek and Dijon casserole.
Week 2 (January) - Spring Greens
Spring greens are most closely related to curly kale and collard greens, however it is considered to be closer to wild cabbage. Like kale, the central leaves do not form a head or form a very loose one. Spring greens are very tolerant to winter weather and are grown primarily in northern Europe, making them a perfect choice for this time of year.
Spring greens are particularly rich in vitamin C, folate and dietary fibre. Vitamin C is an important due to its role in boosting immunity and by helping white bloods cells function better. So increasing the amount you eat could keep those nasty colds away.
Spring Greens are great for side dishes and in stir-fries. Our recipe for this week has a spicy twist to warm you up using chilli and garlic. Why not try Spring Greens with garlic, chilli and yoghurt.
Week 3 (February) - Carrots
The carrot is a very versatile root vegetable and wasn’t always orange, up until the middle ages all carrots were purple. However across the channel in Holland some patriotic growers bred an orange carrot in tribute of King William I of Orange.
We’ve all heard that old adage carrots help you see in the dark and this is partly true, they’re very high in beta-carotene, which is important to maintain good eye health.
Carrots are great eaten raw or cooked and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. This week’s recipe is a favourite of mine and is great to warm you up over the winter months- carrot and coriander soup.
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Week 4 (February) - Savoy cabbage
Savoy cabbage has a very distinguished look with its heavily textured, crinkled leaves. Its outer leaves are its toughest, these help to protect the cabbage throughout the colder months. These also tender to be darker in colour in comparison to the inner leaves that are much paler due to the lack of sunlight.
Considered the most versatile of all cabbages, its texture and flavour can supplement soups, stews and salads. Savoy cabbage works well with thyme, sage, caraway, onions, garlic and dill. It also takes on stronger flavours such as bacon and cheese as it tends to act like a sponge and soak up all the lovely flavours.
This week’s recipe is braised savoy cabbage with bacon and crème fraiche
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Week 5 (February) - Cauliflower
Cauliflower is in the same family as broccoli, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts and collard greens. Cauliflower contains high amounts of vitamin C, as well as good amounts of vitamin K, B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous. It’s also high in fibre giving 10% of your daily needs.
Consuming enough fibre may help prevent digestive conditions like constipation, diverticulitis and IBS
Cauliflower is used in many dishes or as an accompaniment and more recently has been used in place of grains and legumes. These new and inventive variations include cauliflower rice, cauliflower hummus, cauliflower mash or even cauliflower pizza crust. Our recipe for this week is spiced cauliflower with chickpeas, this is great eaten as a snack and is really simple to prepare and cook.
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Week 6 (Febraury) - Brussels Sprouts
A bit like marmite, you either like ‘em or hate ‘em, however whatever your stance these little green balls of goodness they are still a culinary Christmas favourite. Brussels sprouts like many other cabbage species are native to the Mediterranean region, however their name may derive from their cultivation in the late 13th century near to Brussels in Belgium. Brussels sprouts grow in temperature ranges between 7-24oC and are harvested between September and March.
Brussels sprouts contain high amounts vitamin C, K and A also there is moderate amounts of folate, vitamin B6 and dietary fibre. We need folate in our diets for the production and maintenance of new cells and for preventing changes to DNA.
Our recipe this week is Brussels sprouts with bacon and chestnuts
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Week 7 (February) - Kale
You may have noticed a certain theme with this month’s weekly produce and if you haven’t I’ll let you into a little secret. They are all part of cabbage family, and this week’s vegetable is another closely related cousin. Most of these are hardy and grow throughout the winter, kale is actually best in January but can be harvested from September through to April.
Kale is very nutrient dense and contains high amounts of Vitamin K, A and C as well as good amounts of manganese, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Vitamin K plays a vital role in blood clotting, bone health and heart health, however deficiency is rare but can still occur in people with severe malnutrition or malabsorption.
This week’s recipe is Chicken and Kale Stir-fry. Why not try making kale crisps by baking it in the oven until dry or adding blanched kale into salads for that extra crunch.
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Week 8 (March) – Celeriac
Celeriac is a less well known root vegetable, closely related to celery, parsnips and parsley. Its origins are in the Mediterranean and belong to the same plant family as carrots. Celeriac has a strange appearance, looking like a misshapen turnip with lots of little rootlets. Although you can buy celeriac all year round, its peak season is from September through to April.
Celeriac has a plentiful supply of vitamins, minerals and fibre. You can find vitamins B6, C and K along with minerals such as phosphorus, potassium and manganese. Celeriac may benefit heart health due to its high potassium and vitamin K content. Potassium has been linked to lower risk of health issues, such as stroke. Vitamin K may reduce heart disease risk by preventing the build-up of calcium in blood vessels.
This week’s recipe is a healthier take on the classic French dish celeriac rémoulade.
Information from: https://bit.ly/2NAKYPQ
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Week 9 (March) - Parsnips
Parsnips, closely related to the carrot and parsley, are native to Europe and were frequently grown by the Romans. However they have been introduced throughout the world due to being able to survive during winter months. Parsnips have a distinctive sweet flavour, which is enhanced following a hard frost.
Parsnips are and excellent source of important nutrients, include vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. Furthermore, they also provide us with a plentiful amount of anti-oxidants, helping to prevent oxidative stress and decrease damage to your cells. Folate or Folic acid (Vitamin B9) helps to make DNA, repair DNA and produce red blood cells. You can only get folate from your diet as your body does not store it for a rainy day. Not eating enough can lead to deficiency causing anaemia.
Parsnips are very versatile when it comes to eating them and can be used a number of ways. This week’s recipe is spiced shepherd’s pie
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Week 10 (March) - Purple sprouting broccoli
Purple sprouting broccoli is a cruciferous plant and is in the same family as cabbage and cauliflower. Broccoli has been growing in the UK since the early 18th century. There are many important health benefits purple sprouting broccoli, one notable point is that it contains the phyto-chemical sulforaphane, thought to help prevent cancer and provide resistance against heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes.
Purple sprouting broccoli is in peak season at the moment and is a great addition to your diet. Packed full of vitamin C and containing good sources of carotenoids, iron, folic acid, calcium, fibre and vitamin A.
This week recipe is a quick and easy side dish or snack- purple sprouting broccoli with almonds.
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Week 11 (April) - New potatoes
New potatoes are in season between April and July and are the young potatoes of their fully grown counter parts. They are harvested early in the season before the leaves above ground start to dry and wilt. They tend to be sweeter because their sugar has not yet converted into starch, making them a great choice for salads. Not all small potatoes are new potatoes. If you can rub the skin off with your thumb, you’ve found yourself a new potato.
Potatoes can be an excellent addition to your diet providing they are consumed in moderation and you make sure you select a healthy cooking method. Baking, boiling and steaming are better ways to cook the potato than frying them.
Our recipe for this week is baked hasselback new potatoes with oregano
Pic from: https://bit.ly/2V0aO2h
Week 12- Cucumbers
Spring starts to welcome in many delights, especially to the garden. This week we will be looking at the cucumber. Cucumbers are low in calories and are extremely easy to add to your diet. They are 96% water and could aid hydration. It is preferable to eat a cucumber unpeeled as the skin contains more of the fibre, vitamins and minerals. Cucumbers have a good source of vitamin K as well as small amounts of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and manganese.
Vitamin K is important for blood clotting, which helps to heal wounds properly. There is also some evidence it may keep bones healthy as well.
Cucumbers can be enjoyed eaten raw and in salads or sandwiches, they also work well being pickled and eaten as a side with a goulash. This week’s recipe is creamy dill and cucumber salad.
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