Top 5 healthy treats you need to try this winter

It’s cold, it’s raining, we’re coughing and spluttering! So it’s time to look after ourselves and add a health kick to our daily diet to fight the winter bugs.

At Brighton Road we love homemade goodness so we’ve put together five simple recipes and ideas for you to try today, from healthy chips to an immune-boosting infusion.

  1. Kale Chips

Cooked right, kale has wonderful texture and is full of flavour. Kale chips is a nutritious, really quick snack – my kids go nuts for it! Pick up a bunch and give it a try.

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Heat oven to 170ºC. Strip kale leaves from the stems (discard the stems) and rip into bite sizes pieces. Put in a large bowl with the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Put on a baking sheet and into the oven for about 5 minutes. Stir a couple of times during baking, until crisp at the edges. Keep a close eye on the kale as it can burn really quickly and then tastes bitter.

  1. Beetroot Dip

This versatile root is naturally sweet, making it ideal for roasting, in a smoothie and dips. This dip has the most amazing colour – who needs artificial colours when we have these natural beauties - and is rich in vitamin C, magnesium and iron.

  • 1 beetroot, peeled (wear dark clothes!)
  • Juice of ½ lemon, or 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1-1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Maybe some cooking liquid from the beetroot

Simmer beetroot for about 5-7 minutes. Gently fry garlic in olive oil with cumin until aromatic. Watch that the garlic doesn’t burn, as it’ll taste bitter. Put in blender, together with all other ingredients, apart from cooking liquid. Blitz, add some cooking liquid if too dry. Add a chunk of feta cheese, or a tablespoon of yoghurt, for a different flavour.

  1. Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin is great for use in soup, roasted, or mashed with other roots. Soups are perfect for winter, warming like a hug, providing great quick nutrition. You can even spice up its sweetness with cumin, chilli, coriander or lemongrass.

  • Wedge of pumpkin (about ¼ of a large pumpkin), peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped – optional
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes - optional
  • 1 stock cube
  • 2 large potatoes, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup milk – optional

Sweat onion and garlic until translucent, then add cumin, cook until fragrant. Add potatoes, pumpkin, stock cube and enough water to cover. Bring to boil and simmer until vegetables are soft. Whizz in a blender or with a stick, add milk if desired, then some chilli flakes to taste if that’s your thing – enjoy!

  1. Baked Apples (for four)

Apples come into their own in winter, having more flavour in the colder weather. Try our different varieties, let us know which is your favourite! Stew apple with oats for breakfast, put an apple in the car for a quick snack, in a lunch box, or play around with the below recipe, adding or subtracting ingredients according to taste, for a nutritious, warming dessert.

  • 4 big apples, granny smiths work best here
  • 1 tablespoon butter – leave out to soften
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut

Core apples, leaving a bit intact at the bottom so the filling doesn’t leak out, and put on a baking tray. Mix all other ingredients, and fill apples with it. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until soft, but watch they don’t spill out too much. Serve with cold cream.

  1. Citrus Soothing Infusion

Feeling throaty, can you feel a cold coming on? Citrus is the classic vitamin C booster, but also contains a compound called limonene, an anti-oxidant, found mainly in the pulp and rind. Drop by and pick up a bag of mandarins as a snack, have oranges and yoghurt for breakfast, or pick up carrot and ginger soup. You can also make this soothing infusion. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the spices, the important part is the lemon. If you already have a cold, be brave and add a clove of bruised garlic.

  • 4 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 4 slices lemon peel
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 6 cloves, bruised
  • ¼ cinnamon stick
  • 3 thin slices fresh ginger

Put the above in a coffee or tea plunger, add hot water and let stand for 5 minutes before drinking. If you don’t have either, you can halve the recipe and put straight into your cup, watching out for floating debris as you sip…!

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