Recipes and Nutrition
SARDINE: T H E Y O U T H - R E S T O R I N G F I S H
The nutritional benefits of oily fish like sardines are so massive that, when I eat them, each mouthful feels as though it’s doing me good. If you imagine all the oils concentrated in the flesh of these fish, those are the very oils that you need for your skin. Loaded with omega-3s, essential fatty acids that have to be obtained from the diet as the body can’t produce them itself, sardines are known to help promote collagen production, keeping the skin looking plump, smooth and hydrated. The nutrients in sardines offer a host of other benefits, including improved heart health, enhanced brain function and more stable blood sugar levels. They have been shown to help boost the metabolism and decrease inflammation, as well as minimise sebum production and reduce the congestion that leads to blocked pores – making sardines a bit of a miracle worker for the whole body. Nutrients include selenium, which helps to protect the skin from UV light and to repair damage caused by the sun – just the thing after a long summer. Sardines are also a rich source of vitamin D, essential for healthy bones and teeth and good for mental well-being. This vitamin is otherwise obtainable only from sunlight, making a food source particularly important during the colder months when there is less sun. So if it’s dark and chilly outside, tucking into a plate of vitamin D-rich sardines should put a smile back on your face – especially when you think of all those wonderful skinbenefiting omega-3s getting to work!
I keep tins of sardines in my cupboard to have as a simple snack – great on toast with a sprinkling of sea salt and cracked black pepper. While they’re lower in mercury than other sea fish, it’s important to buy wild-caught sardines and opt for those packed in water or oil, rather than brine – you can always add the salt later. Even better, buy them fresh from your fishmonger. Bursting with flavour, they need very little to enhance them – just a few herbs and a squeeze of lemon.
280 Calories per serving
1. Place the flour in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of water and knead together to make a dough. (Buckwheat can be quite sticky so you may need to add more flour.)
2. Roll the dough into a tube and slice into four sections. On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, roll each piece out into a flatbread about 3mm thick.
3. Heat a little coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add a flatbread and cook on each side for 2–3 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate and cook the remaining flatbreads in the same way.
4. Meanwhile, cook the sardines. Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan and add the sardines, parsley and lemon juice. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through (see tip below).
5. To assemble, place slices of radish on top of each flatbread, top with a sardine and serve with extra parsley sprinkled over and a wedge of lemon.
The only downside of cooking fresh sardines is that they will stink your house out! To avoid this, simply cook outdoors on a barbecue.
• Fatty acids:
-All nine essential amino acids
Juicy sun-ripened figs remind me so much of summers spent in Majorca, where the fruit grows everywhere. I hated figs as a kid; my only experience of them was in dried form in the processed filling of fig rolls – a favourite of my dad’s – or something dried that you ate to make you go to the toilet. Of course, as a child I didn’t care about the importance of ‘being regular’. Oh, how things have changed since then! These days you’re able to buy fresh figs much more easily, especially in southern climes. I have a few glamorous friends – mentioning no names – with places abroad that have quite amazing gardens with fig trees growing in them. You don’t need to be glamorous to have fig trees, of course, and you don’t even need fig trees – just a good supplier. Figs are full of fibre, so I don’t feel guilty about eating the sweet fruit because it will flush through me in a day, and anything that moves through the body really quickly, allowing it to absorb other nutrients more efficiently, is always good. Anything that flushes through the system also helps to detoxify the skin, making figs excellent for treating skin conditions like psoriasis or acne. In addition to the roughage they contain, the fresh fruits provide natural sweetness, making them a brilliant way to sweeten dishes as an alternative to refined sugar.
230 Calories per serving
Good for detoxifying the system, figs add a touch of natural sweetness, providing a healthier alternative to processed sugars, which can be detrimental to your skin.
1. Break the burrata or mozzarella into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl with the figs. Add the rocket and mix well to make sure everything is evenly distributed.
2. Dress at the last minute, drizzling over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a zigzag motion and scatter over basil leaves to serve.