Thursday, 22 September 2016

Beef and barley stew

This is the perfect recipe to use a cheaper cut of meat. The longer cooking time will make the meat tender and delicious.

1 tbsp sunflower oil
900g stewing beef, cut into large chunks
2 medium onions, sliced
5 carrots, sliced into chunks
1 tsp mixed herbs
100g pearl barley
850ml beef stock
6 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
1 small knob of butter
3 spring onions (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pot. Cook the beef for six minutes until brown on all sides.
2. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and add the onions, carrots and herbs to the pot, then cook for about five minutes until softened.
3. Return the meat to the pot, stir in the pearl barley, pour over the stock, then bring to a simmer.
4. Sit the chunks of potato on top of the stew, cover and simmer for about one and a half hours until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender.
5. The stew can now be chilled and kept in the fridge for two days, then reheated in a low oven or on top of the stove. Remove from the oven, dot the potatoes with butter, scatter with spring onions and serve.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A healthy heart in your fifties and beyond

Your children are independent and official retirement is looming. Now’s the time to focus on longevity, building the foundation for another 30 to 50 years of good health!

1. If you’ve neglected yourself until now, it’s never too late to change. Studies of people over the age of 45 found that three things could add 12 or more years to your life: stopping smoking, eating lots of vegetables and fruit, and increasing exercise. This applied even if they began after 50, so start today.

2. Make your age a motivation to exercise, not an excuse. Find something that’s fun, and mentally and socially satisfying – an active social life helps you to manage emotions and stress, and to stick to good habits. Join a walking group, or take dancing, yoga or Pilates classes (learning new things also boosts mental health).

3. Have those test and screenings. Make them fun, too – take a book and reward yourself afterwards with something to look forward to, even just a cuppa with a friend.

4. Finally, think positively about growing older. Try smiling even if you don’t feel like it – it tells your brain you’re happy and can trigger feel-good hormones. Being positive not only reduces stress, it motivates you to make healthy behaviour changes. Studies have shown an upbeat attitude can add more than seven years to your life.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Whole-wheat vegetable quiche

A tasty and healthy quiche makes a delicious lunch for work or a light supper on a warm evening.



500ml whole-wheat flour
125ml butter
80ml water
Pinch of salt

1 tub plain smooth cottage cheese
1 egg
½ carton cherry tomatoes, chopped
Handful of baby marrow
1 round piece of feta cheese crumbled

Heat the oven to 180ºC.
2. For the pastry, use your hands to rub the butter into the flour and salt until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add enough water to bind the mixture into a dough and allow to rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
4. Roll out the pastry and line a greased pie dish with it. Bake blind for 10 minutes and remove from the oven.
5. Whisk the eggs, cream and milk together and season with salt and pepper.
6. Scatter the tomatoes, baby marrow and feta cheese over the pastry base and pour over the egg mixture.
7. Bake for 40 minutes or until the egg has set.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A healthy heart in your forties

You’re in a high risk zone for a heart attack, life’s more stable, but you’re now part of the “sandwich generation”, caught between your children and aging parents. In women, declining oestrogen levels can raise risk of heart disease as this hormone helps keep arteries elastic. Men and women are more prone to develop abdominal fat now, and type 2 diabetes, and both are associated with cardio-vascular disease.

1. Quit smoking!
If you’re still puffing, it’s now vital to stop. Benefits will kick in immediately – within a day your risk of heart attack or stroke will start to drop, within three months your blood circulation will improve, and within about five years your risk of heart disease will be as much as for a non-smoker.

2. Get moving!
If you’ve let healthy eating or exercise slide or never started, get going – but consult your doctor first and start slowly. Do things you enjoy – gym, swimming, walking, golf…

3. Address that stress
Balance it with relaxing activities, and if you’re putting in ridiculous hours at work, cut back. You’re no use to your family or anyone if you’re incapacitated or dead from a heart attack or stroke.

4. Check-ups are now essential
Besides having your blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol tested regularly, include an annual stress electrocardiogram (ECG). And be alert to the signs of a heart attack and get help immediately, even if it’s a false alarm.

Signs can range from the classic ones of acute pain in the chest, left arm or jaw and shortness of breath, to just chest, neck or back discomfort, shortness of breath and sweating. In women, signs can be abdominal pain, palpitations, dizziness, fainting, fatigue and swollen feet – easily mistaken for indigestion, anxiety attacks, hormone swings or tiredness.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Muesli and yoghurt

We all need a healthy breakfast option. Roast your oats, seeds and nuts over the weekend and store to make this a quick and easy breakfast to have before work.

Get a combination of oats, seeds and nuts and roast in the oven at 160ºC for five to ten minutes. Allow to cool and transfer into an airtight container to store. For a healthy breakfast pour some into a bowl and top with plain yoghurt and fresh fruit. This will fill you with energy for a healthy start to the day.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A healthy heart in your thirties

Your career is peaking, you may be starting a family and it can be difficult to find balance. You’re still not at high risk for a heart attack, but not as low as in your 20s:

1. Healthy eating
This is more important than ever. Get the family on board, introducing them to veggie pizzas with less cheese, water-down fruit juice instead of fizzy drinks, etc.

2. Involve them in exercise
Run, kick balls and walk together. Exercise may seem to take time from an already over-filled life, but it will make you more energetic, confident and productive.

3. Fight that stress!
Adrenaline and cortisone, two major stress hormones, can constrict blood vessels, raise blood pressure and make vessels prone to blockages. Exercise will help counter this, as will connecting with friends, meditating, relaxing with music and watching comedy on TV.

4. Get enough sleep
Five hours or less a night can double your risk of heart attack and stroke, so aim for six to eight hours. Go to bed and get up at the same time, and if you have young children, nap when they do.

5. Reconsider your contraceptive methods
If you have a family history of heart problems, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, hormonal contraceptives like the Pill may raise your risk of a heart attack and stroke. Ask your gynae about different options.

6. Go for check-ups!

Have your blood pressure and cholesterol measured every six months to a year and more frequently if you have high risk factors.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Honey-glazed chicken wings

Use this tasty glaze to make your favourite chicken pieces extra tasty.

500g chicken wings
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
3 tbsp honey, melted
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 180ºC.
2. Arrange chicken wings side by side in shallow baking dish.
3. Sprinkle wings with oil, salt and pepper.
4. Combine honey, soy sauce, garlic and tomato sauce and pour over wings.
5. Bake for 45 minutes, then grill for five minutes to make them crispy.
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