Spring is springing and Sunday brings one of my favourite days of the year – right up there with my birthday – Daylight Saving. I love the clocks going forward, bringing lighter evenings and the promise of warmer days ahead. The move into spring, and the approach of the Easter break, is particularly pertinent this year as Lockdown 3 slowly (very slowly) starts to ease.
This year of lockdown has felt like an endless round of home-cooked meals to replace those that might usually have been eaten elsewhere – lunches for school kids, and for workers who usually grab something on the go, celebration meals which might have been marked with a trip to restaurant, picnics (although small ones are back on the menu, as it were, from Monday). I even miss service stations! But there’s nothing better than home cooking if we want to age well. We get to control the amount of sugar, salt and additives in our meals, and the creative process of cooking genuinely nourishes our souls while we nourish our bodies.
Annabel and I are passionate about kids learning to cook and have tried to instil a love of cooking in our children. I read a brilliant quote by Michael Pollan recently, ‘The decline of everyday home cooking doesn’t only damage the health of our bodies and our land but also our families, our communities, our sense of how our eating connects us to the world’. So true.
But even Michael Pollan must be feeling a little jaded about home cooking after a locked-down year of thinking ‘what shall I cook today?’. With that in mind, I’ve rounded up the best Easter/Passover/spring-y recipes from the blog to make the endless what-to-cook-now a little easier over next week’s bank holiday. They’re at the end of the blog – do let us know your favourites in the comments.
AGE-WELL UPGRADE MASTERCLASS
I know you work hard to create a life that helps you age well. You’re committed to healthy longevity: you want to live vibrantly, stay sharp and enjoy life to the full. That’s why you’re here.
I’m always on the lookout for simple ways to help you make your age-well lifestyle choices even more effective, so I’ve put together some of my favourite strategies with the latest scientific research into nutrition for a brand-new free masterclass. It’s packed with simple tweaks to help you upgrade your own age-well project.
The masterclass is on Monday March 29th at 7pm BST (but don’t worry I’ll record it and send you the link if you can’t make it). Tickets are completely free and available through Eventbrite – link below.
I’ll have a few giveaways too. Do let me know if there are any questions you’d like me to answer – pop them in the comments below. See you there!
VEGETABLE AND TURMERIC MUFFINS – Serves 4
This recipe comes from The Age-Well Plan and is perfect for an eggy Easter weekend brunch. Eggs are a fantastic source of choline, an essential nutrient which plays a role in DNA synthesis and the production of acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter involved in memory, cell structure and cholesterol transportation. All vital to helping us age well. Deficiencies of choline are rare, but oestrogen helps the body produce this nutrient so post-menopausal women may be more likely to have low levels. I’ll talk more about this on Monday evening.
Lockdown means I can’t pop round to Annabel’s with plates of food for her to photograph (she’s the visual genius who’s snapped every Age-Well recipe for the last seven years). I did have a go at photographing these myself but they didn’t look great. Rest assured they taste great though – bright yellow eggy, savoury muffins which make use of almost any vegetables you have lying around.
- 650g well-chopped vegetables. Try a mix of finely chopped pepper, grated carrot and courgette, sliced mushrooms and spinach
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 8 eggs
- 2 tbs chopped soft herbs – basil, tarragon, parsley, chives all work
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 50g grated parmesan
- Butter or olive oil to grease the muffin pans
Pre-heat the oven to 190C. Grease a muffin pan – I usually get 10 muffins out of this mixture but it slightly depends on the mix of vegetables I use.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the garlic for 30 seconds before adding all the vegetables. Cook gently for 10 minutes until they’ve wilted down and released lots of liquid. Leave to cool. Beat the eggs, stir in the herbs, turmeric and all but a couple of teaspoons of the parmesan. Add the veg mixture, squeezing as much liquid from it as you can. Stir well and divide between the prepared muffin cases. Sprinkle over the last of the parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
OTHER EASTER/PASSOVER/SPRING-LIKE RECIPES ON THE BLOG
Easter lamb with tahini salsa – your Sunday roast, sorted
Kimchi stir-fried rice with jammy eggs – jammy eggs go with everything (as does kimchi)
Kale shakshuka – eggs and more greens than you can shake a stick at
Perfect lentil salad – this keeps really well in the fridge, so make plenty for all those lunches…
Farro, watercress and mushroom salad – mushrooms are a source of choline and the bright green dressing on this salad makes it perfect for spring
Raspberry and almond ‘Bakewell’ cake – I know raspberries aren’t in season yet but this is lovely and almondy – a bit like a traditional simnel cake
Sticky toffee pudding cake – our best-ever dessert cake. My children haven’t ever noticed that it’s ‘healthy’….
Photo: Caroline Attwood on Unsplash