Tag Archives: rapeseed oil

Healthy eating basics – Spring cleaning specials!

Your plate for life!

Your plate for life!

This lovely graph is the best I have found on healthy eating. I use it in every session of the Healthy Cooking Club, for it can be understood by all age groups – even adults get it!

What is Healthy Eating according to this plate? It really unites food that come under those three categories: SIMPLE/COLOURFUL/rich in HEALTHY OILS.

SIMPLE FOOD: The simplicity of this plate makes the basics of healthy nutrition clear and easy to grasp and no need to get bugged down in the details! All it says about drinking for example is that water is the only liquid you really need – though I would add one glass of wine every other day for optimal health (more on the “Lyon study” by Lorgeril et al. soon!)

To your good health!

To your good health!

COLOURFUL FOOD: The other important point is the large chunk given to vegetables: veggies of all colours and especially the brightly coloured ones that contain important vitamins and plant polyphenols which are the new buzz word in natural antioxidants. So the brighter the better: stock up on red beetroot, yellow peppers and blue aubergines! And of course bright oranges, purple berries and so on…

Include colours into your diet: also good for the mood!

Include colours into your diet: also good for the mood!

HEALTHY OILS: Fat is good! Eating healthy fatty acids will insure your brain stays nourished and alert, your nervous system tip top and your skin (nails and hair) hydrated and supple for years to come. A fat-free diet by contrast has very detrimental effects on memory for example but also on your looks! Water and lipids are essential nutriments to keep a glowing, young looking skin and it is important to choose those oils carefully. The Harvard plate advertises olive oil and canola oil – which is the canadian/american name for rapeseed oil- as the best to choose but I also swear by the virtues of Ghee and use it sparsely instead of butter. Another lean and very commendable dairy fat is the ubiquitous “crème fraîche”, used a lot in French cooking and much leaner and digestible than full cream. My regular readers will notice that “crème fraîche” does feature heavily on this blog!

To clarify the “fat” issue, I include a table that shows why rapeseed and olive oil are the best oils to use. And why you should keep coconut and palm oil for the beach!IMG_9071

Our diet contains far more Omega 6 than Omega 3 and it is this balance our diet needs to address. So the best advice seems to be to take fatty fish over meat anytime and to learn how to include sardines, haddock, salmon and sometimes swordfish or tuna in our weekly shop (in that order too!).

It is important as you see above to choose your oils carefully. Olive oil and rapeseed have a particularly good balance of Omega 3 to 6 and relatively little saturated fat. Coconut and Palm oil on the other hand are very high in saturated fat and should be used very exceptionally, if at all. They feature heavily in any processed or industrial cooking. A special mention goes to linseed (or Flaxseed) oil : its high Omega 3 content gives it superfood status ; but its taste makes it difficult to include into normal cooking routines! It is worth using a tiny bit of it though in vinaigrette and mayonnaise where its distinctively “green” taste is hidden by the other ingredients… Alternatively, use spoonfuls of flaxseeds in your granola or cereal – with the added benefits of cleansing your colon at the same time. Those seeds are a great help to keep your digestive system in tip-top conditions.

I hope I have brought you some easy basics to include in your spring-cleaning diet but above all : do not forget to enjoy every mouthful… Food prepared with love and shared with people you like nourishes much more than just the body. Make sure you eat in nice plates, use bright and pretty ingredients and savour slowly each and every spoonful. Never eat angry, tired or in bad company. Try to make each meal a peaceful and happy experience. Even if it is just stealing half-hour to go and eat a nice fresh sandwich in the park. In fact eating outside is also a part of the much praised “Mediterranean diet”: for everything tends to taste so much better and to be so much healthier when taken “al-fresco”! Here below I am enjoying a yogurt and berries breakfast on top of a terrace in Venice. I am not just eating : I am also taking in the spring sun, loving the beautiful view and enjoying the warmth of a cup of tea , all of that in the fresh air… Salute a tutti!!!

Enjoying a breakfast with a view!

Enjoying a breakfast with a view!

I am now on Facebook with a newly revamped page at Travelsaroundmykitchen. Join me or “like” my page if you want to know more about healthy eating or share in the chats. You can google it or copy and paste this link:


GF banana bread – Spring clean specials!

With spring comes spring-cleaning and a renewed desire to shake the cobwebs away, clean up your act, de-clutter your life!

To take it one step at a time, I have decided to dedicate the next few posts to clean living and feel-good recipes.

Here coconut oil cream was used in place of rapeseed

Here coconut cream was used in place of rapeseed oil

First, choose to do one healthy thing or genuinely “good for you” action every day: today I sorted out my linen cupboard and threw any old towel or sheet to recycling! Tomorrow, I tackle my desk and office corner… Tough, but really good for the soul!

Now, a treat with this simple banana bread recipe:

IMG_8980Ingredients list :

  • Black, ripe bananas, 3
  • Egg, 1
  • vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon
  • Rapeseed oil, 3 Tbsp or 50 ml
  • Honey, 3 tbsp
  • Date syrup, 3 Tbsp or treacle
  • Baking powder, 1 tsp
  • Bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp
  • salt, 1 pinch
  • cinnamon, 1 tbsp
  • Coconut ( or almond) milk, 160 ml
  • GF flour blend, 150g
  • ground almond, 100g
  • oats, 50g

Mix the flour, almond and oats. Add the bicarbonate and baking powder.

Beat the egg in the coconut milk, add the oil, salt.

Mix it all in a wide bowl and add the crushed bananas, cinnamon, honey and date syrup. Date syrup or grape syrup are really great products and you should be able to source them in middle eastern groceries or oriental corner shops. But if you can’t find it just replace that with another couple of spoonfuls of honey or even treacle if you want a spicy taste.

Bake for one hour at 150 degrees. This bread has a cake-like indulgence – whilst remaining more virtuous than cake- and a moist, melting texture.

Serve sliced for breakfast, with or without a spoonful of yogurt. This recipe was inspired by the Minimalist Baker  .


My wild oats and funky seeds flapjacks

To get some healthy snack ready for school pick up is sometimes tricky and the offer of biscuits not always what I want to give my children… These flapjacks make a delicious alternative and they are quick to rustle up – plus they keep very well in a metal box.Ingredients list

  • Rapeseed oil 100ml
  • 50g butter
  • Treacle 1 tbsp
  • Porridge oats 200g
  •  Agave syrup 2 tbsp
  • Muscovado sugar 50g
  • Mix of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts and sesame seeds 150g or there about
  • Handful of dried raisins, apricots or cranberries
  • Golden linseeds, a one tbsp

Sadly, there is still a bit of butter in this new recipe, but only little and without it it seems the flopjacks do not hold and you get crumbs instead of bars in the lunch box…

Melt the butter and oil in a medium pan.

Put all the dry ingredients together 
in a big bowl, then pour in the melted butter and mix while adding the 
agave syrup and the treacle. Use a warm spoon to spoon out the treacle easily: just dip the spoon in boiling water a few seconds and use immediately!
Spread into an oiled tray so that you get 
a depth of about 1 cm. Put in a hot oven at 180〫for about 20min. The edges 
must look brown and crispy before you take it out. Let it cool down 
then cut big squares with the tip of a knife. Enjoy with a cup of tea … 

Nutrition notes:
Oats are very good at lowering your cholesterol and are a superfood, especially for active children. The agave syrup is a healthy option because its low glycemic load means that your glucose
levels won’t shoot up too quickly, so no hunger pangs straight after
and more long term energy. You can replace the seeds with fruit and nuts but some linseeds will be very kind to your colon and help your overall digestion. And it is a good way to get your chicks to eat their seeds! The butter is a bit of a trade-off but children need its vitamin A and fatty acics- in limited quantity…

If you want to know more about healthy eating for children and are looking for an Easter holiday activity for under 14, do contact me. I am soon launching The Healthy Cooking Club for children! Do join in for funky and healthy cooking classes.

This blog is supporting the Restaurants du Coeur and the fantastic work they are doing in France at the moment! Do go and support them at http://www.ensemble-pour-les-restos.fr/, where all the best posts are put together.