Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Can that healthy food be made edible?

Sadly, that which is good for you doesn’t always taste good for you.

Although babies will happily slurp up unsalted food, vegetables and unsweetened milk, as soon as the kids are initiated into the wonders of junk food it is a totally different story.

The family meal at the dining table is largely a thing of the past, so here you are as an adult. You like Maccas, pizza, chips……… etc. You are heading straight down the road to Fat City.

Not to mention the expense.

And guaranteed: if you were forced to eat vegetables which you considered horrible as a kid, the miracle did NOT happen, and you still consider them horrible.

So how do you get the healthy stuff that you “hate” into your diet? Easy.

Ever had a cold, where you lost your sense of taste and smell temporarily? Did you notice that you still liked the same foods and found the ones you don’t unpalatable, even though you couldn’t taste anything?

The magic word here is TEXTURE. We largely eat for texture, so if you can change the texture of the foods you don’t like, you can go a long way towards introducing them into your diet.

Take vegetables, seafood and pulses as three items essential to good health that you may not like, and mash them. Hmm, different story now.

Any vegetable can be mashed, and I am here to tell you that even the Brussells Sprout has a total makeover as a mashed veg. The teaspoon of butter you add is a small reward for eating such a healthy little guy. And make sure you season mashed vegetables if you want to enjoy them.

Notice that lots of people who don’t like seafood will eat prawns? Different texture again. Prawns are crisp. A great way to eat fish without knowing it is to buy a really mild one, such as monkfish, and turn it into Thai Fishcakes. I’m sure I can dig up a recipe……..

Lots of people don’t like pulses (chick peas, dried beans etc.,) but with a bit of processing it is a totally different story. Hummus, falafel and the like are really easy to do, EVERYBODY likes them and you can get a big part of your day’s protein in one snack.

500g monkfish fillets, cut into chunks
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 kaffir lime leaf or 1 strip or lime zest, shredded very finely
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (leaves and stalks)*
1 egg
1 tsp palm or brown sugar
½ tsp salt
3 or 4 spring onions sliced thinly into rounds
Cooking oil for shallow frying.

Put all but the spring onions and oil into a food processor and process until pasty and smooth. Stir in the onions. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Using wet hands, roll tablespoons of the fish mixture into balls and fry until golden and cooked through. Serve with sweet chilli sauce.

*I’m only just learning to like coriander. If you don’t like it, use flat-leaf parsley. If you like the recipe amd make it again – add little bits of coriander at a time to build it up to the full amount – it does make the recipe.

1 can chickpeas*
2 tablespoons tahini paste
4 crushed cloves garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
Juice of one lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt to taste (1 tsp is my taste)
Paprika to garnish.

Easy one here. Drain the chick peas, but reserve the liquid. Put everything else into a food processor except for the paprika. Process until smooth. IF NEEDED, add some of the reserved liquid until the texture is creamy. Put in a bowl, sprinkle with paprika and dip anything you like in.
*down the track you can soak and cook your own chick peas, but this is an excellent recipe anyway


  1. I enjoy a good hummus, actually there isn't a fish i enjoy, seafood either. It's partly the texture. What an awesome idea to smash things though to change the texture, never thought of that before :)

  2. I also have a good beetroot hummus recipe which I am going to put up soon when I have a spiel about root vegetables.
    Shame about the seafood, I also detest a fishy taste, so have to disguise it well. Maybe you could share the recipe with somebody who might like it and taste a tiny bit......