Tag Archives: watercress

Arise & Shine Detox with a Berry Smoothie and Watercress & Sweet Potato Soup

I’ve finished the Arise & Shine 4-week Cleanse 28. WOW! I’m now 8.5kg lighter and I have spent the last few weeks feeling revitalized, energized, more focussed and sleeping like a baby. It’s amazing to get back into all my pre-Zoe clothes but what’s even more amazing is just how do-able the diet was. I’ve only ever done a detox when I’ve been able to ignore other people’s meals and I’ve been able to concentrate solely on what I was doing. But this time, I had to buy food for Peter and Zoe, make Zoe’s meals and sit with her as she ate them. Sounds impossibly hard but it actually wasn’t. I think because the benefits were so obvious, I was able to keep my mind on those as I went about the daily feeding of a little girl (and sometimes her father!)

It was a great feeling winding up the detox. On my last day, I swam 60 lengths and sat is a steam room for a few minutes and then in a wonderful jacuzzi. I lay in the jacuzzi thinking about how I could do a massive spring clean to our home (cleaning seemed to be a big thing for me during the detox!) I found myself leaping out of bed early the following morning and starting clearing the shed and the storage cupboard. Peter (who’s a hoarder) and Zoe (who’s little and therefore a hoarder, too) were shocked by the mounds of clothes, toys and general paraphernalia that piled up to go off to friends’ and charity shops. There was a fair amount of pulling items out and emptying bags to look through them – but the end result is awesome! Our shed now has room for the bikes and you can actually get to the gas meter in the cupboard!

I made a fruit-only smoothie that morning. It’s very simple – you simply use banana to add thickness and creaminess. You can either make the apple juice yourself in a juicer or buy it. (I was too busy dragging 4 different prams, a cot, a toddler bed that Zoe’s never used because she’s much keener on the double bed in her room… out of the shed to juice the apples myself!) Later on, I made the watercress soup and sat drinking it, thinking about how I was going to persuade Peter to get rid of the questionable shirts in his cupboard…

Berry Smoothie

Preparation time 1 minute     Serves 2 – or you can just keep it all to yourself

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Ingredients:

  • 300g/10½oz frozen berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, red currants
  • 1 large banana
  • 500ml/17fl oz/2 cups freshly-pressed apple juice
  • 1 tsp acai berry powder (optional)
  1. Put the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.

Watercress & Sweet Potato Soup

Preparation time 5 minutes     Cooking time 15–20 minutes     Serves 2

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Ingredients:

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 150g/5½oz watercress
  1. Heat 4 tablespoons filtered/bottled water in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and steam-fry for 2 minutes, then stir in the garlic and steam-fry for 30 seconds, stirring frequently, and adding a little extra water if needed. Add the sweet potato and stir-fry for another 3–4 minutes then pour in 500ml/17fl oz/2 cups boiling filtered/bottled water. Cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 10–15 minutes until the sweet potato is tender. Add the watercress, then either transfer to a blender or food processor, or use a stick blender, and blend – either until smooth and creamy or until roughly blended, depending on how you like it. Serve hot.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Japanese Hotpot Soup


This wonderfully delicious recipe is from Beverly le Blanc’s new book, The Big Book of Soups. This book is literally brimming with an incredible variety of soups for all seasons and all occasions – whether you’re looking for a light soup for lunch outdoors on a summer’s day, or a thick, creamy, comfort-soup for when the weather turns cold and rainy.

I love this soup because it tastes great, and is full of nutrient-dense ingredients. Watercress is a true superfood – containing more than 15 vitamins and minerals, including more calcium than milk, more vitamin C than an orange and more iron than spinach! Shiitake mushrooms have been used as both food and medicine in Asia for thousands of years and is currently used in Japan to treat many conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome. And kombu (in the dashi) is packed with minerals and phytonutrients that help detoxify your body and relieve many ailments.

You can either make dashi yourself (see below for the recipe) or you can buy it ready-made from Japanese stores or from the internet. Just in case you need some instructions because they might only be in Japanese(!) you normally dissolve 2 teaspoons powder in 1.25l/44fl oz/5 cups water. You can get vegetarian versions, made without bonito (fish flakes). This recipes also uses another very Japanese ingredient, daikon, which is a long white crunchy vegetable from the radish family, with a light, peppery punch similar to watercress.

PREPARATION TIME 20 minutes, plus making the dashi     COOKING TIME 30 minutes     MAKES about 1.25l/44fl oz/5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 400g/14oz watercress, any thick stalks or yellow leaves removed
  • 280g/10oz thin rice noodles
  • 2l/70fl oz/8 cups Dashi (see below) or prepared instant dashi
  • 10cm/4in piece of daikon, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 750g/1lb 10oz salmon fillet, small bones removed, and fish cut across the grain into 1cm/½in thick slices
  • 12 shiitake mushroom caps
  • 280g/10oz firm tofu, drained and cut into 12 cubes
  • 200g/7oz enoki mushrooms, stalks trimmed
  • salt
  • tamari soy sauce, to serve

To make Dashi:

  • 25cm/10in piece of dried kombu
  • 10g/¼oz/²⁄³ cup bonito flakes
  1. To make the Dashi, put the kombu and 1.4l/48fl oz/5½ cups water in a saucepan and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Bring to the boil, uncovered. As soon as it boils, skim the surface, then add the bonito flakes. Skim the surface again, if necessary. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the dashi into a large bowl and use immediately. Alternatively, leave to cool, then store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Freezing isn’t recommended for more than 2 weeks as it will lose much of its flavour.
  4. (To make Vegetarian Dashi omit the bonito (fish) flakes in the above recipe. Instead soak 8 dried shiitake mushrooms in 1.4l/48fl oz/5½ cups hot water for at least 30 minutes. Put the mushrooms and the soaking liquid in a saucepan. Add the kombu and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Slowly bring to the boil, uncovered. As soon as it boils, skim the surface, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Strain through a muslin-lined sieve, and use the dashi as above.)
  5. To make the soup, bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, and bring another saucepan of unsalted water to the boil. Boil the watercress in the salted water just until the leaves wilt, which will be almost instantly. Drain and immediately rinse under cold running water, then drain again and set aside. Meanwhile, boil the rice noodles in the unsalted water for 6–8 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until tender. Drain and immediately rinse under cold running water and set aside.
  6. Put the dashi in a saucepan, cover and bring to just below the boil. Meanwhile, mix together the daikon and chilli in a small bowl and set aside. Just before the dashi boils, reduce the heat to low, add the salmon and shiitake mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes or until the salmon is cooked to your liking. One minute before the end of the cooking, add the tofu and enoki mushrooms and simmer until the enoki are tender. Season with salt.
  7. Divide the noodles into bowls and top with the salmon. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the watercress, mushrooms and tofu into the bowls. Ladle the dashi over them and serve immediately with small bowls of tamari soy sauce and the daikon and chilli mixture on the side.

Vegetable Tonic Juice

This is a brilliant juice, again from Christine Bailey’s Juice Diet. Utterly jammed with protective antioxidants, this is surprisingly delicious – tasting slightly like a juice-version of a gazpacho, with the garlic and tomatoes. You can buy tomato or vegetables juices ready-made in health food shops but this is so simple to make and miles better in terms of nutrients and taste.

Watercress and spinach provide iron and vitamin C for energy and stamina, while the medley of veggies is packed full of protective phytonutrients. Garlic contains powerful detoxifying and immune-boosting compounds, and is a powerful antibiotic, helping to clear infections, especially in the digestive tract, and is an effective decongestant, useful in the relief of cold and cough symptoms. Brilliant for winter-time!

gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Makes enough for 1 person

Ingredients:

  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 large handful spinach and watercress leaves
  • 2 carrots
  1. Juice all the ingredients and mix well.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 107kcal • Protein 5g • Carbohydrates 18.7g [of which sugars 17.1g] • Fat 1.9g