January, eating well in pyjamas!


I LOVE January. Detoxing comes easily and relaxing in new Christmas pyjamas on the sofa seems like the fitting reward for staying in drinking green tea evening after evening.

Exercise is not a chore, it’s promoted everywhere and it’s what we DO in January to fight the festive flab. Besides, it’s chilly at this time of year so working up a sweat is a reward! But the true reward for me in January is that by detoxing and working out I can cook and eat as much food as I like – as long as it’s healthy.

Thick and creamy leek and potato soup, homemade bread, oat and honey cookies, vibrant green, slightly salty pea and ham soup, cheese straws with crispy bacon snacks, sherry and caramelised onion tart, roasted pumpkin puree risotto, fish pie with parsley sauce, porridge and nuts, ham with piles of garlic sautéed sweetheart cabbage, avocados on toast, oh I am in January heaven.

 

Sherry and caramelised onion tart

  • Line an 8 in tart case with pastry and bake blind.
  • 3 onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • A small knob of butter
  • A splash of olive oil
  • A good slurp of sherry or marsala
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt, pepper
  • Fresh chopped parsley,thyme or sage
– Thinly slice the onion with a sharp knife and mince the garlic.
– Gently heat olive oil and butter in a heavy based pan and chuck in the onions and garlic.
– Season well and allow to cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes.
– The onions will begin to go light and then slightly darker brown as the sugars come out and caramelise.
– Stir often, scraping the brown bits. Caramelising is good, burning is bad!
– Add the sherry and cook on for a further few minutes.
– Add the fresh herbs and taste, you may need to add a little more salt.
– Allow to cool. Beat the eggs and add to the cooled onion and place into the blind baked pastry case.
– Cover the top with grated parmesan cheese and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until crispy and brown.
– Delicious warm with salad or cold the next day as the flavours really mature

 

 

Oat and honey cookies

Makes about 15 cookies

  • 1.5 oz soft butter
  • 2oz soft dark brown sugar
  • Tablespoon runny honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 oz plain flour
  • Pinch of salt and baking powder
  • 6oz good quality oats
  • 2 oz chopped apricots

 

– Put the butter, sugar, honey and egg into a bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk.
– Sieve in the flour and baking powder.
– Add the oats with the apricots and combine well with a wooden spoon.
– Cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
– Form small balls of the mixture with a teaspoon, dropping them onto the greaseproof.
– Leave a good space between the cookies as they will spread and bake for about 10 – 12 minutes at 160C.
– Cool them slightly but I recommend eating them while still warm and gooey in the middle.

And if this is not working for you in January try highlights!