A very HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. I hope that you saw in the new year in style. I tend to opt for more relaxed, low key affairs on New Years eve so that I can wake feeling as fresh as daisy on the first of January. I am always impressed by those who are able to take part in the Hyde Park New Year’s Day run or those who decide to enter the freezing waters surrounding Britain, which is becoming increasingly more popular as the years roll by. Typically my family go on a good long ramble and play board games in front of the fire. This year we’ll be playing a lot of ‘Pucket’, which was given to me this Christmas. It’s hugely addictive and really good fun and I’ve turned into a little demon playing it, much to the annoyance of my siblings. You can purchase your very own board here.
As is often the way we all start the year with many good intentions, whether that be to exercise more, drink less, eat more healthily, read more, achieve more (* delete as appropriate) but as the months go by some of our good intentions begin to wane. I thought that I would lend a hand however on the eat more healthily part. I can bet that we’ll be seeing numerous detox diets and health programmes in the papers and magazines this coming weekend. I do think it is good idea to cleanse the body but to bear in mind that it is January and it is cold and therefore we do need those hearty dishes now and again to fill our bellies. Pulses, vegetables and fish is a great way to start off the year and to only eat meat products a couple of times a week – avoiding too much diary is also a sensible way to crack on with the year.
I thought this recipe would be a great one to kick off the year with as you may already have all the ingredients in your kitchen waiting to be thrown together. It’s incredibly quick to prepare and can be eaten hot or cold, on its own or accompanied by some white fish or a crab cake perhaps. Tasty and packed with goodness, it’s definitely a feel good dish. Helen who runs the website ‘Well-Being Secrets’ has written an in-depth piece on the benefits of broccoli here, which is both fascinating and highly informative, so have a read. For those who had a ridiculously large night and are feeling a little worse for wear, might I suggest the health regime starts tomorrow and you tuck into some of these little beauties instead – see here.
Broccoli, White Beans and Lemons with Red Pepper Flakes
adapted from the December 2013 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine
3 large tbsp of olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
3 anchovy fillets packed in oil
1 lemon, washed and finely sliced (pips removed)
225g broccoli, chopped into small florets
5 stems of fresh thyme
2x400g tins of cannellini beans, rinsed
salt and pepper
generous pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tbsp parmesan, finely grated (plus a little extra for grating on top)
1. Gently heat the oil in a large deep pan and then add the garlic, lemons and anchovies, stirring occasionally to help break up the anchovies. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the broccoli florets and thyme and stirring into the juices from the lemon.
2. After a further 5 minutes add the cannellini beans and water and stir into the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer allowing the flavours to blend together for a further 5 minutes.
3. Add the parmesan and stir into the ingredients and place a lid on the pan and take off the heat.
4. Turn out onto a serving dish and sprinkle with red pepper flakes (chilli flakes could also be an option here in fact) and an extra scattering of fresh parmesan.