Nourishing a pregnant body. Part 2

Slow cooked foods are a wonderful thing for both pregnant and breastfeeding women to eat. Food that is slowly cooked over time, especially when it contains bones and lots of vegetables is highly nourishing and easy for the body to uptake the nutritional value and to digest. This lamb shank recipe contains bone marrow which is rich in spingolipids, which are specialized fats that protect cell membranes against environmental insults and that are critical components of the brain and nervous system & support optimum development.

Slow Cooked Turmeric Lamb

Ingredients

Serves 6-8 (otherwise there will be leftovers!)

  • 2 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4-6 lamb shanks, frenched.
  • 750g lamb shoulder, trimmed, diced into 3cm pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic*
  • 1 onion or 2 shallots*
  • 3 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)*
  • 2x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups of vegetable stock
  • 3 cups Kale or spinach or combination – roughly chopped
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 2-4 carrots, chopped.
  • 1/3 cup (45g) slivered almonds (optional)
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

*Omit garlic and onions if cooking for a breast-feeding mum.

Method

  • I use my big Le Creuset pot for this, you could also use a slow cooker.
  • Finely chop garlic & onion then set aside
  • Heat 1/2 of the oil in the pan & brown lamb in 2-3 batches depending on size of pan. Set aside.
  • Cook onions & garlic with spices in remaining oil until fragrant and onions have softened
  • Add lamb, tinned tomatoes and stock, ensuring lamb is well covered.
  • Cook in oven on 140-150degrees for minimum of 90 minutes. 2-3+ hours is best. Alternately cook in your slow cooker,
  • With 20 minutes to go, add carrot & zucchini.
  • Just prior to serving, add chopped kale and stir until kale has wilted.
  • Serve on steamed brown rice/cauliflower rice with almonds and fresh coriander sprinkled over the top.

lamb

Eggs

IMG_3410

Chicken eggs are the most commonly eaten eggs and they supply all essential amino acids for humans, thus making them a complete protein source.

Eggs also contain other vitamins and minerals including vitamin A (retinol) Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin,) Vitamin B9 (folic acid,) Vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Whilst found in lower quantities than in red meats, eggs may also be a source of CoQ10 (depending on how they are prepared.) The egg is one of the few foods to naturally contain vitamin D.

All of the egg’s vitamins A, D and E, are in the egg yolk, as is just under half the protein content and most of the other nutrients. The egg yolk also contains all of the choline, which is an important nutrient for development of the brain. This makes it particularly important for women who are planning on becoming pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding as it contributes to healthy foetal brain development.

Unsurprisingly, the diet of laying hens can greatly affect the nutritional quality of the eggs that they produce. Pasture raised & truly free range hens which forage largely for their own food also tend to produce eggs with higher nutritional quality than standard factory and cage raised eggs.

So when choosing your eggs, organic and truly free range is best. Your local farmers market is also a great place to buy your eggs as you can ask the seller about the conditions of his or her chickens. If you have your own chickens- lucky you!


Easy Fritatta

This is one of my go to recipes for lunch when I am hungry & I don’t have anything prepared. It takes 20 minutes max including cooking time.

  • 6-8 eggs from happy hens
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow capsicum, finely sliced
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Dash macadamia oil or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves, washed
  • Optional: cheese such as1/4 cup finely chopped haloumi, feta or some freshly grated parmesan

Note: anything goes here, you could add some mushrooms, chopped broccoli, fresh herbs, olives, sun dried tomatoes, leftover roast veggies or whatever else you have handy.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. In a pan, sauté your veggies over high heat for a few minutes until soft, stir through spinach leaves & cheese.
  3. Pour into a fritatta pan or a 20cm baking dish, lined with baking paper
  4. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and add a little oil or almond milk to combine
  5. Pour egg mixture into pan and spread evenly.
  6. Place in oven & bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Serve with a green salad.

fritatta

Shakshouka – Moroccan Egg Tagine

Adapted from Plenty by Yottam Ottolenghi

Tagine’s are wonderful for cooking slow cooked stews and curries but they can also makes this delicious breakfast (or lunch or dinner) dish.

Shakshouka, meaning ‘all mixed up,’ is a staple in many North African and Middle Eastern countries.

For the basic recipe, the eggs are cooked in onion, tomatoes, peppers and spices such as cumin and paprika. Depending on who is making it, Shakshouka may also contain lamb mince, hot green chilli or spicy sausage. The dish is usually both cooked in & served out of a cast iron pan but it also works really well in a tagine, which is how I made it. This way, you can just make 1 big dish rather than a few smaller pans.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 eggs, free range and organic if possible. (depending on the size of your pan.)
  • 1 small red chili, chopped
  • 1/2 small Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 medium red capsicum, sliced into small strips
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes, canned or fresh (or use tomato passata)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Moroccan spices- use what you have. (Combination of paprika, cumin, coriander seeds & cayenne pepper)
  • Pinch salt
  • Fresh parsley & coriander, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil and dukkah to drizzle/sprinkle on top

Optional: Choose either;

  • 2-3 rashes of bacon, diced
  • 1 small spicy sausage chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chicken or any other leftover meat.
  • 200g minced meat

Method

  1. Using either your tagine or a fry pan with a lid, brown off the bacon, sausage or mince. Once cooked through, pour into a small bowl. If you are using some leftover meat that has been cooked, omit this step.
  2. Sauté onion, capsicum and chilli in some oil in your pan until fragrant then add a pinch of salt. Usually 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic & moroccan spices and stir through.
  4. Add your protein (sausage, bacon, chicken or mince) along with the tomatoes and stir through.
  5. Cover and cook on low heat for 12-15 minutes, stirring a few times.
  6. With a spoon, make 4-6 wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle the egg yolk with a little salt and pepper, cover with the hood and cook on low heat until the egg whites settle and firm but the egg yolks stay slightly gooey. Do this to your liking- I prefer my yolks more well cooked whilst my husband likes his really soft. Take care not to overcook though as they will continue to cook after you remove the pan from the heat. .
  7. Serve eggs in the tagine sprinkled with some fresh parsley and coriander, a little drizzle of olive or avocado oil and some dukkah spices.

Total time: prep and coking 25-30 minutes.

Number of servings: 2-4 (depending on how hungry you are!)

tagine

 

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