Fit for my Fork

Fit food, fit body, fit mind!


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A Gluten-Free Diamond Jubilee Part 1

I feel for everyone standing along the Thames today watching the river pageant and flotilla for the Diamond Jubilee. It is absolutely pouring rain here. :(

At least any picnickers among the tens of thousands of spectators probably have a nice Coronation chicken sandwich to comfort them as they wait for the Queen to arrive on her float.

Coronation chicken was a dish devised in 1953 to mark the Queen’s coronation. An ‘updated’ version with ginger and lime was created in 2002 for the Queen’s golden jubilee, and now that we are celebrating the diamond jubilee, I’m sure both recipes have been packed into thousands of sandwiches around the country as people celebrate at street parties and in London along the banks of the Thames.

I love coronation chicken. It’s creamy and spicy and sweet all at once. It’s used mostly as a sandwich filler now, but the original coronation chicken was served with rice.

I whipped up some coronation chicken for our picnic yesterday and it was a hit! With containers of coronation chicken available all over the place (it is very popular over here), it isn’t necessary to make your own, but it’s an easy recipe and it tasted fantastic.

If you are avoiding gluten for health or dietary reasons, this recipe is gluten-free if you make sure your ingredients are as well. I don’t have a gluten intolerance but I find gluten makes me really bloated sometimes. I feel much better if I include less of it in my diet. With all the other tasty goodies going around this weekend, I thought I’d post a couple gluten-free recipes for those that want to or have to avoid it, since it is likely to be pretty prevalent in the jubilee celebrations!

Coronation Chicken

Adapted from this recipe in the Guardian

Ingredients (makes about 2 1/2 cups)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 4 steaks
1/2 tsp cinnamon or a cinnamon stick
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp-size piece of peeled fresh ginger

2 tbsp mango chutney (Patak’s is gluten-free, be sure to check label)
3 tbsp greek yogurt
3 tbsp mayo (Hellman’s is gluten-free, or you can make your own)
1 tbsp curry powder (we used hot!)
1/2 tsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
small handful chopped dried apricots, sultanas, or raisins (or a combination)
handful chopped fresh coriander

Add the cinnamon, salt, pepper, bay leaf, tumeric, and fresh ginger to a pot of simmering water. Poach your chicken breasts in the water for 15-20 minutes depending on their thickness. If you are using chicken breast steaks, they should only take about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together all other ingredients in a large bowl.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the hot water and allow to cool. Also remove the hunk of fresh ginger from the pot. Shred or chop the ginger and chicken and add them to your sauce ingredients.

Toss all ingredients together until the chicken is well coated.

Serve with rice, in a sandwich (with gluten-free bread), or over a bed of greens.

As you can see, mine doesn’t have coriander (also known as cilantro) in it, but I would recommend adding it if you have some handy. 

With extra slivered almonds on top for additional crunch.

It’s really hard to make coronation chicken look appetizing, but trust me when I say it tastes absolutely delicious!

I made two batches of coronation chicken – one with dried apricots and one with raisins. I can’t decide which I prefer and both are good, so just use whatever you have in your cupboard.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another gluten-free Diamond Jubilee recipe. I’m really excited for that one (even more so than the coronation chicken!) and I hope you’ll like it!


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Meals with your Dirty-Eating Partner

Don’t be put off by the title – Dubsy doesn’t really eat dirtily, and if you don’t ‘eat clean’, I don’t actually think you eat dirtily either. I was just trying to think of the opposite of ‘eating clean’, so for the case of this post, he eats dirty!

(Picture Source)

If you live with – or at least cook with – your partner, you are probably very familiar with making compromises when it comes to meals. And if you’re not the compromising type, you might also be used to having regular disagreements over ingredients.

Dubsy and I have finally figured out how to make both of us happy, and even though he eats a lot of things that I don’t – and I eat a lot that he turns his nose up at – we are making it work for us. I like to eat clean, with a Primal focus (which means fewer starches and grains and more protein) and Dubsy eats… well, nearly everything.

I won’t lie, finding out what works for us took a while. Dubs questioned my food choices when I gave up regularly eating pasta and bread and I balked at packaged sauces with sugar as a main ingredient. But we are a household that cooks our meals from scratch every night (with the occasional help from Pataks or some frozen vegetables) so altering our menus to suit both of us wasn’t actually that difficult.

(Picture Source)

Here’s what I’ve learned about keeping the peace in the kitchen:

  • Be willing to compromise. Like any kind of relationship, the way you deal with dinner requires some give and take. Decide what’s important to you, and then decide what isn’t such a big deal. We rarely rely on things like bottled sauces, but when we do, I try to find the one with the least amount of sugar if there are no sugarless ones available. I also look for those that have only natural ingredients. A few grams of sugar in a pasta or barbecue sauce is not the end of the world so this is an example of something I am willing to compromise on.
  • Replace things you don’t want to eat with ones you do. I don’t have pasta often anymore, so if we are having spaghetti and meatballs, I have meatballs and broccoli instead. I used to love broccoli with tomato sauce, so this doesn’t feel like I am giving up much because it tastes really good! If we are having carbonara, I make myself some courgette noodles. It might take a little bit more work, but if it means you can avoid kitchen squabbles, it’s definitely worth cleaning one extra pot or pan.
  • Sides are an easy way to make sure you all get what you want. If you make the main focus of your meal something that you both agree on eating – for example, grilled chicken with a homemade marinade – then you can accompany it with a few sides you can mix and match. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for your or your partner’s lunch the next day.
  • Meal planning is your friend. We make a list every week before we go shopping, and on it we list our dinners, including the day we are having them (more about this in another post). Then there is no guesswork involved when it comes to cooking in the evening. Originally we started doing this for budgetary reasons, but it works really well in other ways too. If you give your weekly menu a bit of thought prior to shopping, it means you will have the ingredients on hand to ensure both of you are satisfied with every meal.
  • If you want to add more vegetables to your meals, make them vegetables your partner also likes. If you eat three meals a day, there are two meals other than dinner in which you can include the ones they don’t. If your partner hates broccoli, for example, don’t bother cooking it at dinner – steam it for lunch or throw it into an omelette for breakfast. But, if your partner loves broccoli, then this is a safe side to regularly include at dinner time.
  • Don’t be afraid to modify your favourite recipes. A lot of recipes can be modified without losing too much of what you already know you love. Experiment, add in extra servings of vegetables, leave out or replace ingredients you don’t want, swap a pre-made sauce or mix for one you can make yourself (Google for recipes similar to what you are trying to replace) or, if possible, make half the meal to the regular recipe, and half to your liking. This isn’t always possible, but sometimes it’s as easy as leaving off the topping.
  • Be creative with your lunch. I eat lunch at work, so obviously this means Dubsy doesn’t eat the same things I do at this time of day. I love taking things like meatloaf muffins, quinoa, salads, hummus, and so on – these are things Dubsy isn’t a big fan of, and if I eat them at lunch time, we don’t have to worry about trying to include them in our weekly dinner planning.
  • Try new recipes. By cooking something in a different way or having it in a new dish, your partner may discover they actually love (insert something you like eating here). Don’t be afraid to try something new because you never know, it may become a regular thing on your dinner plate!
  • Be willing to put in the time. Whether it’s meal planning or cutting up extra vegetables, eating well and eating the way you want to eat can take a bit of extra time. If you make a little more preparation part of your plan, it will go a long way to making sure you’re both happy. I’m not talking about hours here – it might be as small as peeling and chopping a few extra carrots to cook for yourself later in the week or cooking an extra chicken breast one night for you to eat the next while your partner indulges in something you’d rather avoid. That said…
  • Make it easy on yourself and your partner. Don’t like chopping veggies? Buy pre-chopped or frozen. Don’t have a salad spinner or can’t be bothered to chop and wash a head of lettuce? Buy pre-washed. I have lazy days sometimes, and if it’s easy for me to make poor choices because the better ones involve more effort, then chances are I will. So make it easy to eat well!

Most importantly, talk to your partner about how you would like to eat at dinner or any other shared meals. They may think you’re crazy, but if you show you’re dedicated to eating a specific way and that you’re willing to put the time and effort in to make sure their meals aren’t changed very much, cooking things you can both agree on can be reasonably painless.

I can’t stress how important compromising is, and even though I already wrote about it above, I want to talk about it again. I have stopped getting bent out of shape over additives in things that are included in our meals in very small amounts (for example, one pre-packaged ingredient in an otherwise homemade sauce). Dubsy has acquiesced to sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes on most potato-occasions. We still make a lot of the same meals we used to, but I modify recipes or serve my portions with extra vegetables instead of pasta or rice.

Every family and couple are different and you need to find out what works for you. There are tons of great recipes out there to suit any and all diets and lifestyles.

Any change to dietary habits can be difficult to accommodate at first, but it does get easier with a bit of practice. Eventually it will become second nature when you’re standing at the stove. Don’t give up!

Any tips you’d like to share for keeping everyone in your family happy at dinner time?

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