I am interrupting tonight’s studying to inform you that we have returned from our trip to Turkey, the serotonin levels have been boosted and I’m glad to be eating more than just peanut butter, rice cakes/rice, nuts, fruit/dried fruit and salad! Yes, that’s right- I survived a week in Turkey on a gluten free and vegan diet (both concepts are definitely not understood in Turkey). I feel quite proud of myself. I was expecting to lapse on the vegan front but I did not. So, I am almost 3 weeks into my strictly gluten free, vegan diet experiment and have never felt better. No more rogue stomach issues, headaches, runny nose etc. Furthermore, I had some blood tests done at my local surgery and not only have they come back looking healthy, but my doctor has stated that he’s happy for me to be eating a gluten-free vegan diet. I’m not committing to a vegan lifestyle yet though, who knows what challenges it will pose when real life resumes and I am back to working on a busy ward and trying to balance study life, as well as looking after the husband and everything else that makes up my life as I know it. Anyway, tonight I have a few confessions to make.
1. I love hummus. Seriously, how I missed it whilst I was away. My new favourite lunch is a nice big raw salad with hummus.
2. This hummus isn’t homemade. I know what you’re thinkingi but honestly, I can’t seem to get the balance of flavours and ingredients right.
3. I love BBC Radio 2. The husband informs me that Jeremy Clarkson once said that you know you’re in your thirties when you start listening to
Radio 2. But alas, I am merely in the latter stages of my twenties. What’s a girl to do.
On to my favourite subject, healthy food. Tonight, I was fancying something quite light, and void of garlic and onion (I overdid it with the garlic in last night’s meal). During my frequent internet breaks whilst studying I came upon this recipe from Vegan Yum Yum. It was just what I was looking for; I could use the head of broccoli I had lying happily in the bottom of our fridge, and other storecupboard ingredients. It’s a light pasta dish with a mix of flavours working together to make a subtle but tasty meal. And, no heavy pasta sauce. Perfect. I confess the picture isn’t the best but it gives you an idea.
Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli(courtesy of Vegan Yum Yum with some slight modifications, serves 2)
200g corn pasta (I used Dove’s Farm Organic Pasta Shells)
1 head of broccoli cut into small florets
6-8 oil-packed sundried tomatoes, sliced
1/4 courgette, sliced and quartered
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Cook pasta as per instructions.
When there is about 5 mins left before the pasta is done, heat the oil in a wok (medium-high heat) and add the broccoli. Coat in the oil and cook for a 1-2 mins. Add the tomatoes and chilli flakes. Toss together and leave alone to cook for 2-3 mins, toss again. Repeat this until the broccoli is tender but still retains enough bite and flavour.
Drain the pasta well, add to the wok and mix everything together. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and a bit more oil (if needed). Serve up and enjoy! It’s the simple recipes that sometimes taste the best, and this is no exception.