The blogosphere is awash with traditional ideas for this coming Friday night, 14th Feb; this post includes a heart-healthy dinner and dessert recipe, and an altogether lighter approach to the evening!
Taking time to appreciate a special person in your life can be a delicious and rich event to savor in itself. But all too often, we seem to associate ‘I love you’ with ‘I must go on an obscenely indulgent empty-calorie binge this evening – like, I must really lose the plot!’. A little confusing on the face of it, but it’s the sugar rat within you craving an excuse to ‘legitimately’ go to town under the guise of something that’s constructive; “I’m eating these 2 tubs of cookie-dough ice cream drowned in hot chocolate sauce with vat of wine, to cement my loving relationship”, you might say to yourself. Whatever happened to a simple kiss? (FYI the IndiaTimes website suggests that kissing can burn up to 120 calories per hour!)
HOWEVER, DON’T FEAR – in partnership with my friends at Waitrose, I’ve mustered up this delicious heart-healthy romantic meal for a lighter, but no less indulgent Valentine’s Day! This entire spread should take c. 30 minutes to prepare in total, it’s easy to make, and more importantly it’s not going to ruin your good run of healthy form, or jeopardise your lovely warm heart ! Here’s the detail…
A Healthy Heart For Valentines
1) MAIN COURSE:
a) Griddled Yellow-Fin Tuna Steak with Mango and Avocado
Yellow-fin tuna ticks the all-important ‘lean protein’ box, sporting additional omega fatty acids as well as being utterly delicious, if I do say so myself! The sauce is what makes this dish though; it’s an exotic salsa of avocado and juicy mangoes, which transform an otherwise somewhat mainstream fish dish into significantly more exciting! It involves a fair bit of time spent chopping all the salsa ingredients but the tuna takes a mere 3 minutes to grill medium-rare! All in, production time is c. 15 minutes, and it weighs in at 365 calories with healthy fats (just 1.5g saturates) and some exotic-tasting natural fructose from the mango.
2 Keitt mangoes, peeled, stoned and cubed
2 x ripe avocado, peeled, stoned and cubed
½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
½ x 20g pack fresh mint, roughly chopped
½ x 25g pack fresh basil, roughly torn
½ x 20g pack fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Juice of 2 limes and grated zest of 1 lime
4 yellow-fin tuna steaks (900g total weight), about 2cm thick, from the fish service counter
1 tbsp olive oil
Place the mango, avocado, chilli, herbs, lime juice and zest in a bowl and season. Mix together and set the salsa aside.
Meanwhile, place a griddle or frying pan over a high heat. Brush the tuna steaks with the oil and season. Place them on the griddle and cook for 1-1½ minutes on each side for rare, or 2 minutes on each side for medium.
Serve with the salsa, lime wedges and a bag of Waitrose Red Butterhead Salad.
b) Quinoa Bean Salad to accompany the Tuna:
The perfect accompaniment to the Tuna; quinoa is a seed which provides all 9 essential amino acids (a complete protein – great for veggies), plus it’s cholesterol-free, very low sodium, and it’s almost always organic! Beans are also a fantastic and filling source of high quality vegetable protein with very low saturated fats. The Kidney beans are a great source of cholesterol lowering fibre. The moral of the story is include beans in your diet if you can!
150 grams of white quinoa
1 tin of kidney beans (in water).
1 tin of chick peas (in water).
1 tin of Lentils (in water).
1 pack of shelled edamame beans
c. 25 grams of fresh mint,
c. 25 grams of fresh basil
c. 25 grams of fresh coriander
Juice from 2 limes
90g Pine nuts
1/2 x 375g steamed broccoli
A small sprinkle of Goats cheese or Feta (optional).
1. Boil the quinoa.
2. Steam 1/2 a broccoli, let it cool off. Cut the broccoli into smaller pieces and throw it into a large bowl.
3. Empty each tin of beans and lentils into a sieve and give them a quick rinse.
4. Put all the beans into the bowl with the broccoli along with the remaining ingredients – pine nuts, edaname beans, herbs and pomegranate.
5. Add the lime juice.
6. Finally (optional) add a small sprinkle of feta or goats cheese.
7. BON AP!
a) Frozen Berry Landscape with a Molten Dark Chocolate Lava
This is my healthy take on one of my all-time favorite desserts, served at Le Caprice restaurant; theirs is ‘Frozen Summer Berries with Hot White Chocolate Sauce’. Given its spine-tingling deliciousness, I have a suspicion that it’s packed full of butter, cream, sugar and other naughty ingredients! Regardless, you can’t make a Valentine’s dinner without a scrumptious dessert, so this is my healthier heart alternative. To top the winter berries, I’m using 85% Lindt chocolate which has no cholesterol, is very low in sodium, is high in dietary fiber and iron. Each person’s consumption from this dessert should range to c. 210 calories, plus a mere 40 calories for 150g of the berries (which are packed with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants).
Empty a bag of Waitrose Frozen Berries onto a plate.
Within a ‘water bath‘, break the squares of Lindt 85% cocoa chocolate apart, and keep stirring it. Add some unsweetened almond milk if the consistency looks too much like cement! It is crucial to keep the stirring going though.
Pour the molten chocolate over the icy berries and serve!
b) Berry Frozen Yogurt
1. Allow the fruit to defrost slightly at room temperature for about 1 hour.
2. Place in a food processor with the yogurt, honey and mint leaves, and whizz until smooth.
3. Scrape into a rigid container or 6 ramekins and freeze for an hour or more, until firm. If freezing overnight, place in the fridge for an hour before serving to soften.