Paneer Pitta

 

Paneer Pitta

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 226 grams Paneer blocks are usually 200-230grams
  • 1 Pepper chopped finely
  • 1 large Tomato chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp Dark soy sauce
  • 1 clove Garlic crushed or grated
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 3 drops Sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Ground pepper
  • Chilli flakes to taste or 1/3 tsp Mr Naga sauce if you like more heat!

Instructions
 

  • Chop paneer into cubes, fry in a little olive oil and stir occasionally to make sure all sides are crispy.
  • Remove the paneer, in the same pan add the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes or till the tomatoes and peppers are soft. You may need to add a little water. Start with 1/4 cup and add more depending on how thick you would like the sauce.
  • Add the paneer to the sauce, stir and cook on low heat for a further 5 minutes.
  • Serve with warm pitta bread and salad.

Nasi Goreng – Indonesian Stir Fried Rice

This recipe was inspired after a trip to Indonesia last summer. I fell in love with the different spice combinations used in Indonesian cooking and was surprised how easy the tastiest dishes are to make! This recipe for Nasi Goreng (Nasi = Rice, Goreng = Fried) has Balinese Peppercorns and Cardamom which I picked up in the spice market but you can use whichever variation you find in the supermarkets here.

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Nasi Goreng - Indonesian Stir Fried Rice

Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 5

Ingredients
  

  • 300 grams Easy cook long grain rice
  • 500 grams Chicken fillets diced
  • 600 grams Mixed stir fry vegetables
  • 1 medium White onion chopped
  • 1 tsp Fish sauce
  • Soy sauce to taste

Indonesian Curry Paste, grind together:

  • 3 Peppercorns
  • 3 Cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Sesame seeds
  • 2 inch Ginger
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 2 Green chillies deseeded
  • 1 Lemongrass outer stalk removed

Instructions
 

  • Wash rice, place in a pot with 1 tsp salt, 3 cups of boiling water and cook on medium heat till almost all water has evaporated. Turn heat to low and cover pot. Allow rice to steam for a further 10 minutes, adding a dash of extra boiling water if required.
  • In a wok, heat oil and add chopped onion. Cook till onions are slightly golden. Add chicken to wok along with Indonesian curry paste and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Add mixed vegetables to wok and stir fry, followed by fish sauce and soy sauce to taste. Add rice to mixture and stir fry for 2-3 mins.
  • Before plating up, fry eggs (preferably with runny yolk as it tastes much better!). If you don’t like fried eggs, you can always have it hard boiled or scrambled. Garnish with fresh coriander.

Spinach and Chickpea Curry

This plant based curry provides fibre and a lot of flavour! It is also FODMAP friendly for anyone following the diet for IBS. Remember to rinse tinned chickpeas thoroughly and stick to recommended portion sizes during the restriction phase of the diet. Using low fodmap veg alongside chickpeas and beans is a good way to do this! It’s important that this diet is only done under the supervision of a dietitian.

Low FODMAP Spinach and Chickpea Curry

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil or Rapeseed Oil
  • 400 grams Spinach chop or blitz in food processor
  • 1 tin Chickpeas rinsed thoroughly
  • 3 medium Tomatoes chopped
  • 4 Spring Onion green part only, chopped
  • 2 tsp Ginger chopped or grated
  • 1.5 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 handful Fresh Coriander chopped
  • 4 Mint leaves chopped
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Add oil, spring onion and ginger to pot, cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat till you can smell the ginger. Then add tomatoes, ground coriander and turmeric. Cook for a further 10 minutes.
  • Add spinach, either whole or chopped depending on your preference. Then add chickpeas and 1/2 cup water. Cook on medium heat for a further 10 minutes, uncovered. Add salt to taste.
  • Add fresh coriander and mint leaves.
  • Serve with roti or rice!

Butternut Squash Kebabs

One of my favourite snacks/meals growing up was a kebab roll. Simple and so satisfying. I recreated this childhood favourite into a plant based kebab. They can be prepared in advance and frozen too for a quick meal or snack!

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Butternut Squash Kebabs

Gutsy Dietitian
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 600 grams Butternut Squash Peeled and chopped
  • 1 tin Chickpeas
  • 2 slices Bread made into breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 Onion chopped finely
  • 2 tsp Ginger chopped finely or grated
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/3 tsp Garlic Pepper
  • 2 Green Finger Chillies crushed
  • 1/2 handful Coriander Chopped
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil or rapeseed oil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180degrees/gas mark 4. Place butternut squash into an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil till coated. Roast for 40 minutes till soft.
  • Once cooked, place the butternut squash into a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Once the mixture has cooled slightly, roll into 12 balls. Flatten the balls in hands or on oven tray.
  • To cook, either place back into oven for 15 minutes till crispy or put a small amount of oil into a pan and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with rolls, salad, cheese and chutney!

Finding happiness with Chronic Illness

When we think of being happy, many of us think of reaching the big life goals such as the perfect job, spouse, house, car and family situation. When we reach one goal, we are overcome with happiness for a short while till we strive for the next. Everything is to come one after another, THEN we will be happy. By meeting pressures put on us both socially and personally we can find this “happiness” and be seen as successful.

Throughout the years living with a chronic condition, I have tried my hardest to meet the goals above to be “happy”. If my disease prevented or delayed me from achieving any, a deep sense of sadness and failure entered my heart.

But what if in this crazy life, you find happiness in the most imperfect situation? If you were to tell people exactly what was happening, they would be sympathetic and maybe even cry for you. However in reality, the sequence of events and outcomes has just been so perfect (for you) that you can’t help but be happy and ready to tackle anything to come.

How is it possible to find even an ounce of happiness when you’re fighting a battle with your body? Well, here’s the thing. It’s not easy and it takes A LOT of learning. But here are a few ways chronic illness has helped me find it.

Finding the beauty in everything. Whilst I was in hospital one January it snowed heavily but luckily I had a bed beside the window. Lying in bed, I watched the beautiful glittery hills, when I finally went outside for a walk (attached to my feed which my husband kindly wheeled along for me) I stood outside in the snow wearing flip flops to feel the coldness and THAT felt beautiful. Nothing beats fresh air and the crisp coldness of snow. Would I have appreciated that if I hadn’t been indoors for a week? Probably not.
A walk in the park pain free, having the energy to have a cooking lesson with your mummy, being able to meet friends for last minute coffee dates are all so precious when you’ve spent the last 3 months curled up on the sofa or a hospital bed.

Learning true gratitude by realising what an amazing support network of family and friends you have. Living with a chronic condition is not fun and being around that person is sometimes not fun either. When you really are at your worst state, that’s when you know who the gems in your life are. Being brutally honest, in the past these situations have upset me as I focused on the people who weren’t around when I expected them to be. But that was just MY mistake. Remove expectations from absolutely everyone, even the person you were there for in their time of need. Now I know what some of you will be thinking, you shouldn’t be doing things for others and expecting something  in return. But in reality, what if you spoke to someone regularly whilst you were well and fun to be around, and then they didn’t keep in touch whilst you are unwell for months? It’s a much harder pill to swallow than any pill the nurse will give you in your hospital bed. But by letting it go, it will make you see those who ARE there for you in an amazing light and that appreciation will just fill your heart with love and joy.

Look after yourself. You may go through periods where you are not be able to do everything as before and that’s okay, take that extra nap/day off to heal your body and do not feel guilty about it. These days are not “wasted”, they are being used to help your healing. If there are negative people or environments you come across that may hinder your healing, respectfully limit them as much as possible.

Be honest when people ask you if you are feeling “better” but you are really having a rough day/week/month and have forgotten what better actually feels like. The fake “I’m fine” is not useful to you or your loved ones who want to help you, let them in and let out how you’re feeling. Chronic illnesses are more than often invisible, we may look fine but are far from it.

Be selfish. If you need a break, take a break. If you want to be left alone, be alone. Not worrying about what expectations other people have of YOU will free up so much time and energy you really need for yourself.

Realise that your story is unique. Don’t compare your life with other people, not even others with the same disease as each and every one of us has a unique story. We all have our individual gifts, strengths and weaknesses, it’s up to us to find them and work on them to better ourselves.

When you can, be the person that cares. Allow your experiences to help you grow as a person and be more empathetic towards people, even if you don’t fully understand what they are going through. Be part of someone else’s amazing support network. THAT is a goal far greater than anything materialistic we are guilty of trying so hard to attain.

Shehnaz Bashir RD