Thursday 23 January 2020

Recipes: Spicy Prawn and Chickpea stew with roasted garlic potatoes

Junior doctor and best-selling author, Dr Hazel Wallace, is back with a new book that bridges the gap between mainstream medicine and nutrition.

Hazel Wallace released her debut book, Food Medic
Hazel Wallace released her debut book, Food Medic
Food Medic
Food Medic Fry Up

Dr Hazel Wallace hails from Co Louth and last year, the talented Irish woman, who is also a qualified personal trainer, took the healthy living world by storm with her debut book, The Food Medic, which offered her qualified, no-nonsense food, nutrition and fitness advice.

Her second book, The Food Medic for Life, takes Hazel's journey a step further with practical tips and advice and 115 new recipes to inform the food choices we make every day.

Closing the gap between conventional medicine and nutrition remains Hazel's goal. Her new book is divided between recipes for both busy days when you are 'fuelling up' but also for those lazy weekends when time in the kitchen with friends and family can make the most of 'powering down', offering longer recipes to enjoy and impress.


I made this recipe for my sister and brother-in-law and we finished all four portions between the three of us, mopping up the remaining sauce with some crusty bread. Trust me, it's seriously more-ish. It's also a great make-ahead dish for work, or to have ready in the fridge for after work. I love it served with prawns, but it would also taste amazing teamed with chicken, chorizo or butternut squash.

Serves 4


1 tbsp olive oil

1 white onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, grated

1 tbsp tomato purée

2 x 400g tins of tomatoes

1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

½ tsp salt

1 tsp brown sugar (optional, but it does enhance tangy tomatoes)

½ tsp chilli flakes (optional)

Handful of pitted black olives, chopped


4 sundried tomatoes, chopped (optional)

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

300g cooked prawns, peeled

Handful of spinach

Fresh basil, to serve (optional)



500g new potatoes, quartered

1 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Salt and black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/gas mark 7. First prepare the potatoes. Place them in a pan of boiling water and parboil for 7-8 minutes. Drain well, transfer to a roasting tray, then toss them with the olive oil, garlic and a little salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, until crisp and golden.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the onion and garlic on a low heat, stirring from time to time, until almost translucent. Stir in the tomato purée, then add the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Add the red pepper, dried herbs and salt, and the optional sugar, chilli flakes, olives and sundried tomatoes if you wish. Mix well, then simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the sauce has thickened.

3. Once the sauce thickens, stir in chickpeas and prawns and let them warm through for just 3-5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, until the leaves have wilted.

4. Sprinkle with the fresh basil (if using) and serve with the roasted garlic potatoes.



Food Medic Fry Up

There is nothing I love more at the weekend than making a really awesome brunch. A traditional fry-up is often devoid of vegetables - well, you might get a spoonful of beans or a grilled tomato - and tends to be focused on eggs, sausages and bacon served up with toast or hash browns. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with that selection, I think a fry-up can be taken up a notch in terms of taste and nutritional value with the addition of a few veg. The quantities in this recipe can easily be multiplied, depending on how many mouths you have to feed.

Serves 1


1½ tbsp oil or butter

¼ red onion, thinly sliced

5 tenderstem broccoli tips

Handful of button mushrooms, halved

Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 slice of rye or sourdough bread

1 or 2 free-range eggs (depending on appetite)

30g feta cheese (optional)

¼ tsp chilli flakes

Salt and black pepper


1. Place a tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, fry the onion for 1-2 minutes, until soft.

2. Add the broccoli tips and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, until golden. Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving plate.

3. Toast the bread.

4. Meanwhile, put the frying pan back on a medium heat and add ½ tablespoon of oil. As soon as it is hot, carefully break in the egg, then lower the heat and fry until the white is translucent and the yolk is cooked to your liking. I like mine runny, so I usually cook it for 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the egg to a plate.

5. Place the vegetable mixture beside it, then crumble the feta on top (if using). Sprinkle the chilli flakes over the egg and eat with your buttered toast.




I love quiche - it's like breakfast and lunch and dessert all in one. It's also a great way to play around with ingredients and flavours, and to use up leftover vegetables in the fridge. For a vegetarian version, replace the bacon with sundried tomatoes, and the Gruyère with a vegetarian alternative.

Serves 8-10


250g white spelt flour

½ tsp salt

120g unsalted butter or coconut oil, chilled and cut into small pieces

2-3 tbsp water, plus extra if necessary

1 tbsp olive oil

100g smoked streaky bacon, sliced

2 onions, finely sliced

300g mushrooms, thickly sliced

150g spinach

3 free-range eggs

150ml single cream or coconut milk

3 garlic cloves, crushed

Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

40g Gruyère cheese, grated

Salt and black pepper


1. Put the flour and salt into a bowl or food processor. Add the butter and rub in with your fingers, or process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the water and bring together with your hands until you have a smooth ball of dough. If it is too crumbly, add a little more water just a few drops at a time, being careful not to overdo it. Flatten the dough into a thick circle, wrap it in cling film and chill for 20-30 minutes, until cold but still pliable.

2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400ºF/gas mark 6. Line the bottom of a 24cm tart tin with baking parchment. Roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of floured cling film, then use to line the prepared tin. Cover and chill for 15 minutes in the fridge, or 5 minutes in the freezer. Prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork.

3. Line the pastry case with baking parchment, fill with baking beans or rice and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the parchment and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, put the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the bacon, onions and mushrooms and fry for 6-8 minutes, until the bacon and mushrooms are golden and the onions have softened. Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Remove from the heat and drain off any vegetable liquid (this can be saved for use in soups and stews).

5. Put the eggs into a large bowl, add the cream, garlic and most of the parsley and season well with salt and pepper. Pour into the baked pastry case and top with the bacon mixture and the cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, until golden and set. Top with the remaining parsley and serve immediately.


● Sneak veggies into your diet - grated carrot or courgette in porridge, and blended fruit and vegetables in smoothies and juices.

● Snack on fruit and vegetables instead of biscuits and cakes.

● Use salads as the perfect opportunity to get a wide variety of vegetables in one meal.

● Omelettes and stir-fries are awesome vehicles for veggies, particularly leftover veg.

● Sweet potatoes count as one of your five-a-day.

● Swap half your meat dish for veggies - chillis, stews, casseroles and curries are great opportunities to include more vegetables.

● Slurp on soup. Add whatever you like to the mix - carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips and more. Either leave the soup chunky so it's more like a stew, or blitz until smooth (especially if you have fussy eaters to feed).

● Make your own pasta sauces with tinned tomatoes - this not only counts as one of your five-a-day, but also reduces the salt and sugar content that you would find in a ready-made sauce.



I know many of you reading this might be concerned about the reported link between red meat and cancer. Maybe you have read about it in the papers or online, or heard about it in a documentary. The problem with sensational headlines in the media is that they never tell the whole story, and they use over-the-top statements to grab people's attention. In one online newspaper, within the space of one week, I came across two conflicting headlines: 'New cancer alert over eating just one steak a week' and 'Why red meat can be good for your health'. They were published one day apart. No wonder people are confused.

What are antioxidants?

While 'antioxidant' has become a bit of a buzzword, I think many people are hazy about what it actually means, so here goes. Various nutrients and enzymes, such as vitamins C and E, minerals such as zinc and selenium, phytochemicals such as beta-carotene, and enzymes such as glutathione, are all considered antioxidants because of a shared type of property that they exhibit. Basically, they prevent cell damage caused by unstable molecules in the body known as 'free radicals'.

Antioxidants combine with and neutralise free radicals, thereby preventing them from causing damage. This is thought to be important because cell damage caused by free radicals has been linked to ageing and degenerative disease.

However, this is not true of all antioxidants, and some studies show benefits only in test-tube experiments (as opposed to the human body), but the research is growing and some very exciting findings are being made.

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