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All shades of rouge

Think raspberries, radish, red cabbage and rice.


Raspberries

These tiny red, vibrant flavour bombs are one of the highlights of the the early Summer for me. Soft, tasty and packed full of goodness they are a brilliant fruit to add in to your diet.


Sweet and delicious - they make a great swap for a chocolate bar when you want a sweet snack.

They are popular because of their intense flavour and sweet juicy taste. They are a great source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These important nutrients have been known to help prevent a whole host of health conditions.



They are really easy to incorporate in to your diet. Here are few simple ideas in which you can add raspberries in to your diet:

  • Breakfast - sprinkled on your cereal or add to porridge while cooking to colour your porridge and allow them to break down and infuse with the oats.

  • Make smoothie bowls - using other fruits as well as raspberries

  • Eat them straight from the packet

  • Add them to salads for a sweet fruity addition - great with feta and green leaves

  • Add them to puddings (think raspberry and apple crumble or sponge

  • Warm slightly so they start to break down and then add to yoghurt like a compote


Fun foodie fact:

Did you know that raspberries come in many different colours - red, black, purple, and gold.



What are the benefits of eating raspberries?


Help prevent against stroke & heart disease

Raspberries because of the potassium and omega-3 fatty acids that they provide can help to prevent against stroke and heart disease as well as helping to lower blood pressure.


Good for healthy bones

Raspberries are also beneficial for healthy bones and skin as they contain the mineral manganese.


Good for healthy skin

Raspberries contain a lot of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital for collagen production. Collagen, a protein, makes up 75% of your skin. But as you age, collagen starts to decrease. spberries also contain Vitamin C, which is vital to collagen production, a protein that makes up 75% of your skin. As you age, collagen decreases, causing wrinkles and sagging.

Raspberries are loaded with Vitamin C, which may also help prevent and repair skin damage from the sun.


Disease prevention

Raspberries are one of the top sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants can help to protect cells from damage from free radicals. The damage these free radicals can have on cells can make them contribute to the aging as well as other diseases such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer's and other diseases.


Quick Eats: Raspberry and Apple Bircher Museli

This is a great little breakfast treat which almost feels like a pudding. You can use dairy or non-dairy substitutes to make this.

As the recipe says, great for the warmer summer month breakfasts but when it gets a little cooler again - you can just turn this in to a warming porridge. Best of both worlds.


Raspberry and apple are always a great combination - the sweetness of the raspberries with the crisp sharpness of the apples. To me, it's a match made in heaven.


Find the recipe here.



Radish


These are a wonderful diet addition. Crunchy, colourful and punchy in flavour.

They are a root vegetable and vary in shape and size from short and round to longer and narrow. Their skin can also come in many colours, similar to raspberries. The common colour you find in most supermarkets are the red variety, but you can also find pink, purple, yellow, black and white skinned varieties too.


As highly undervalued vegetable they are packed with goodness and can help and even prevent certain diseases.

Being the size that they are, they are great for dipping or eating with things like salty charcuterie.


Radish are from the brassica family (so the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc).



What are the health benefits of eating radish?

Shown anti-cancer benefits

Radish have been shown to have anti-cancer benefits which are as a result of two natural compounds that are found in the vegetable.

It is believed that these compounds help to slow or stop the growth of several types of cancer.

However, these compounds are generally depleted by cooking - so eating radishes raw is the best way to gain the benefits on offer from these compounds.


Help prevent against disease

Radishes contain a good amount of Vitamin C which is used to fight against free radicals in the body, preventing cell damage which can be a result of ageing, environmental toxins and also unhealthy lifestyles. It is also important for supporting healthy skin and blood vessels due to the role it plays in collagen production.


Perfect to add to a healthy eating plan

Very low calorie and with virtually no fat, they are a great vegetable to add to your diet and won't sabotage an healthy eating plan you are on.

Because of their strong nutrient profile, but being very low calorie, they're the perfect snack when the munchies come knocking.


Good to support a healthy digestive system

Radishes contain a hearty level of fibre which helps contribute to a healthy digestive system.

Fibre plays an important part in digestive health as it helps move waste through your intestines.

It has also been linked to helping to manage blood sugar levels and aiding in weight loss and lowering cholesterol.



What can I do with radishes?

Radishes can be roasted, eaten raw, sliced, diced, shredded. They are so much more than just a root vegetable to be eaten in salads.


Here are a few simple ways to incorporate radishes in to your diet from the healthline website:

  • Add thin radish slices to sandwiches.

  • Make a radish dip by pulsing 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup chopped radishes, one minced garlic clove, and a splash of red wine vinegar in a food processor until smooth.

  • Add a few grated radishes to your favourite slaw.

  • Give tuna salad or chicken salad pep and crunch by adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of chopped radishes.

  • Coarsely chopped radishes give tacos zesty crunch.

  • Top your steak or burger with grilled radish slices.

  • Use radishes as a healthy crudité for dips.

  • Pickle them like you would cucumbers.


But what do I do with the radish greens?

Don't throw away the leaves! There are many health benefits found in radish leaves and they can also be tasty.

You can mix them with other green leaves like rocket, kale, spinach or other similar leaves. You can lightly cook them in a little olive oil and garlic too.



Quick Eats: Roasted Garlicky Radishes

This is a really delicious way to make the most of these yummy root vegetables. Anything using radishes also looks very pretty too!


The roasting takes away some of the spicy pepperiness allowing their sweetness to come through and of course anything topped with garlic butter is always a winner (at least in my books!)

This recipe has very few ingredients and allows for lots of substitution should you need.

  • 450g radishes

  • Butter or you can substitute for ghee, coconut oil, or even olive /avocado oil.

  • Sea salt – if you can get flaky sea salt it's even better.

  • Ground black pepper

  • Garlic - use 2 fresh garlic cloves - or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder if you don't have fresh

  • Parsley - or can use chives, dill, if you don't have fresh you can use dried or miss out the herbs completely.

For the method and full recipe - click here.



Red Cabbage

Red cabbage is another brilliant veggie to have in your diet!


Why?

What's not to love; It's tasty, low calorie and loaded with nutrients.


It's from the brassica family - so a little like radishes, is it part of the same family that includes broccoli, kale, cauliflower etc.


It has high levels of vitamin A, C, K and B6 and is a great source of fibre too.


Fab foodie fact: Red cabbage is one of the foods that offers the highest level of antioxidants per unit cost! (what better reason to get it on your plate!)


It's great to be eaten raw or cooked. Cooked its delicious, slowly braised with orchard fruits like pear or apple to add that little extra sweetness - and raw it makes a great and vibrant addition to a yummy slaw or a tasty salad.


Quick Eats: Mexican Red Cabbage and Sweet Corn Slaw


One of my absolute favourite dishes - this is like a tasty mouth explosion.

Crunchy red cabbage, marinated with the tangy lime, fiery jalapenos, sweetness from the corn and slightly pepperiness of spring onions all jumbled up with the aromatic scent of fresh coriander.


You can add or remove what ever you don't want to include to suit your personal taste.


Click here for the full recipe and method.



Rice

The odd one out in this list of rouge however it is by no means, less important.


Rice supports one-half of the world population (predominantly East and Southeast Asia) as a stable food that they are completely dependent upon. A huge 95% of the world's rice production is eaten by humans.


The reason behind this is because it is a starchy, high-calorie food which is very low cost making it accessible to all and a vital staple in many diets.


There are thousands of varieties of rice - but generally they are classed in to long or short grain.


Long grain vs short grain - how do I know which is the best rice to use when cooking?

There are actually long grain, medium grain and short grain rice varieties.


Long grain rice varieties are those like Jasmine and Basmati which are the ones which are longer and thinner in their appearance. When long grain rice is cooked, it stays separate and fluffy and is perfect for using with things like curries.


TMedium grain rice varieties - of course have a kernel length and width in between long and short grain rice varieties. They are varieties like Arborio rice which is often used for risottos or puddings and are semi-sticky and tender in their texture when cooked.


Short grain rice varieties are those like sushi rice. Their kernel is shorter and fatter and they are the stickiest when cooked.


Whole or refined grain?

In addition to the different kernel lengths, there are both wholegrain and refined varieties of rice.

These are often as a result of processing.

Brown rice would be considered as wholegrain - as it is intact whereas white rice, has been processed through being milled and polished.


When it comes to deciding which type of rice you should eat, here are a few facts to allow you to make an informed choice.


Wholegrains are those which have not been processed so in the case of rice - they contain three edible components; the bran, germ and endosperm. It tends to be brown in colour hence wholegrain rice is known as brown rice. However you can also get whole grain rice in black, purple and red varieties.

Because of the multiple layers of the grain, wholegrains take longer to cook and are much nuttier and chewier in texture and taste than the white counterparts.


The white grain however has been what is known as milled and polished. This however removes the majority of the natural vitamins and minerals and fibre meaning that the white versions often have Vitamin B and iron added back in and are labelled as 'enriched'. However they only have a very small amount of the original quantity of these nutrients added back in.


Tell me more about Wild Rice?

Wild rice is also a whole grain. However it isn't actually related to rice. It's more expensive and has a much stronger flavour - but because it cooks in a very similar way to rice, it is referred to as rice.


It contains a higher level of protein compared to regular rice and a lot of other grains. Even though wild rice isn't regarded as a rich protein source, it is however a complete plant protein, meaning like quinoa, it contains all nine essential amino acids.


Wild rice is very high in antioxidants which may help to reduce the risk of many diseases and also protect against ageing.


It is a great substitute for potatoes, pasta or normal rice. Some people eat it alone or mix it with other grains.


It can be added to all sorts of dishes including soups, salads, casseroles and more.





Food Hack: How to cook different types of rice

Image - cookandkate.com

Each type of rice, has a different cooking time - this correlates generally to whether they are whole grains or not.


White rice: wins hands down when it comes to short cooking times. It takes about 15-17 minutes to cook a cup and then needs to be left to stand for a few minutes.


Brown rice: takes a little longer to cook brown rice - boiling for 30ish minutes and then leaving it for 10 minutes at the end to stand.


Wild rice: this is the slowest 'rice' to cook because it takes 45-60 minutes to fully cook. It can be helpful to cook more than you need at once (similar with brown rice) and then freeze as leftovers to use for meals at a later date.



How best to cook rice:


Rice is simple when it comes to cooking. Water, rice and maybe a little bit of salt. You can always add extra flavour to the rice as it's cooking by cooking it in stock (or just adding a stock cube to the water.)


White rice - is a simple 2 to 1 ratio of water to rice. So two cups of water to one cup of rice.

Use this method here of how to cook the perfect white rice.


Brown rice - it's pretty fail safe - boil it in excess water for the beginning and then finish off steaming the rice. Ideally it's 6 cups of water to 1 cup of rice. Sounds a lot - but it will boil off.

Use this method to cook the perfect brown rice.



Wild rice - 3 cups of water to one cup of rice.

Use this method to cook the perfect wild rice.



Quick Eats: Easy Egg and Bacon Fried Rice

Image from olivemagazine.com

A really simple mid week supper or lunch. Perfect if you have some left over rice to use.

This is a very minimal ingredient list too.

Best of all it only takes 20 minutes to whip up.


Where the recipe calls for a rice pouch - you can either cook your own rice and let it cool and dry out on a plate and then use it once dry - or you can use left over rice from a previous meal and then add it in to the dish.


Use this tasty recipe from Olive Magazine to get your midweek Chinese 'make at home take-away' fix.



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