Saturday, 2 August 2014

Quinoa, Spicy Lemon Chicken and Kale Crisps with cucumber yoghurt

I loved rice. White rice, spice rice, coconut rice, any rice.

Until I met quinoa (pronounced: KEEN-wah). Pretty much the same amount of calories as brown rice but....higher in fibre, protein, iron (for immune- building), magnesium (for healthy bone-building), and zinc (for flu- fighting). It also contains niacin which reduces cholesterol.

I included kale in this recipe as well. It's a member of the cabbage family, a detox food and also reduces cholesterol levels. The spectacular thing about kale is it has more iron than beef per calorie!

So, this recipe has 4 parts: the quinoa, the kale crisps, the lemon chicken and the cucumber yoghurt. These are all the ingredients you'll need:

(serves 2-3)

For the quinoa:
1 cup of quinoa
pinch of salt

For the kale crisps:
150 grams of kale
olive oil
salt and pepper to season

For the chicken:
500g of chicken breast fillet
10 mint leaves
1 red chilli
1 tablespoon of light soya sauce
1/2 teaspoon of honey
the juice of half a lemon
4 cloves of garlic
a handful of cashew nuts
salt and pepper to season

For the cucumber yoghurt:
1/4 of a cucumber
150ml of 0% fat greek yoghurt
salt and pepper to season

Let's start off with the kale. Heat your oven to 200 C.

Give it a good rinse and tear it's leaves into bite- sized pieces. 

Drizzle some olive oil over the leaves and give them a quick toss with your hands to make sure the oil gets onto all the leaves. Put in the oven for 12 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure they do not burn (aka turn black. A brown colour is good).

Whilst the kale is in the oven, measure 1 cup of quinoa and rinse it if you want to get rid of the slightly bitter taste that quinoa naturally has. 

Add the quinoa as well as 2 cups of water to a saucepan. 

Cut up a portion of ginger roughly, into 3 or 4 pieces and add to the quinoa with a pinch of salt. 

Bring the quinoa to boil, and then reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes. When the quinoa is done, it's texture shouldn't be much harder than the texture of brown rice, and the grains will have puffed up a little bit.

Remove the ginger pieces from the quinoa before serving.

On to the chicken.

(Don't forget to check to see if your kale crisps are done!)

Chop up your chicken breast fillets into smaller pieces. The smaller you cut the fillets, the more marinade it'll absorb. 

Remove the seeds from your chilli and chop it finely, as well as your mint leaves. Crush your garlic cloves and then throw all 3 of these ingredients in with the chicken. Add the honey, soy sauce and lemon juice, and a dash of salt and pepper. Give everything a good stir.

Heat up a pan with some oil and it's time to cook your chicken! It should only take about 8 minutes for your chicken to be cooked, depending on how big your chicken pieces are (i've kept mine pretty big). Add a few cashew nuts to give some crunch.

Now all that's left to make is the cucumber yoghurt. Simple!

Grate your cucumber..

...and add it to the greek yoghurt with a pinch of salt and pepper. Give it a stir....

...and there you have it! Eat with the kale crisps to tone down the strong taste of the kale, and with the quinoa and chicken for a creamy texture. 

Add some freshly chopped mint to your chicken and sprinkle chia seeds on your quinoa if you like, and you have a delicious meal to enjoy!

Blueberry, strawberry and chia seed muffins

If the texture of chia seeds (especially their gel-like look and feel when they come into contact with liquid) is putting you off this superfood, the best thing to do with them is to use them in your baking.

My new healthy and favourite bake: blueberry, strawberry and chia seed muffins. These muffins are sugar- free, full of nutritious wholemeal flour and are packed with fruity goodness and healthy chia seeds.

So, what you'll need:

(serves 12)
2 cups of wholemeal flour
3/4 cup of skimmed milk
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1/3 cup of honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
a pinch of salt
1 banana
a handful of blueberries
8- 10 strawberries
2 tablespoons chia seeds

First of all, preheat your over to 180 C.

Measure out and combine the milk, oil, honey, egg and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl.

Then sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt into a medium- sized mixing bowl.      

Gradually add the sifted flour mixture into the large mixing bowl holding the other ingredients. Stir thoroughly each time. 

Now, we turn our attention to the fruit and seeds. 

First up, mush up your banana. 

Then add the mushy banana to your batter.

Now wash the fruit.

Halve the blueberries and chop the strawberries into 5-6 pieces. 

Throw the fruit into the batter...

...add the chia seeds....

...and then give it a good mix!

Grease a 12- hole muffin tray with a little bit of olive oil. Then spoon the mixture equally into the 12 holes.  This should be about 2 tablespoons of mixture per hole.

If you want to see bright bursts of blue and red on the tops of your muffins, try ensuring your second spoonful of mixture has more fruit in it than the first spoonful for each hole. 

Bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the middle of a muffin.

Don't be alarmed if your muffins look rather's just the brown wholemeal flour. 


You have your healthy, fruity, fibrous treat all ready for sharing and eating. 

The lovely fruity inside of your healthy muffin.

Let me know how this recipe went for you :)