Resolve to be good: Skye Gyngell's healthy recipes for a happy New Year

Now the New Year's excesses are done, it's time to think about eating more healthily – but that doesn't mean giving up on flavour, says Skye Gyngell

Once the New Year festivities have passed, it is the perfect time to start thinking about eating food that is a little healthier – though, as the weather is still so very cold, it is important to feel nurtured by the food you are eating.

The recipes here are both comforting and good for you without, I hope, feeling like a duty or a chore.

Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 8605 3627, petershamnurseries.com

Chicken soup

I often make this soup at home in both summer and winter. It's a favourite with my children and feels like a meal all on its own. It needs nothing else as an accompaniment – except perhaps a second helping!

Serves 6

To poach the chicken and create the stock
1 whole chicken
2 fresh bay leaves
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of thyme
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp whole black peppercorns

For the soup

1 tsp olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 thumb of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 red chilli
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small bunch of coriander, well rinsed, stalks and leaves chopped
1 small bunch of mint, leaves only, finely chopped
The juice of one lemon
150ml/5fl oz light soy sauce
100g/31/2oz rice noodles, broken into one-inch pieces

Rinse the chicken under cool water, removing any fat from the cavity as you do so. Then place into a saucepan large enough to comfortably hold all the ingredients. Scatter over the peppercorns, and other ingredients and add enough water to cover the bird entirely. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat until the water is just simmering. It is important that this stock does not boil, as it can become bitter. Simmer for an hour then remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Strain the liquid from the pot in which you have poached the chicken, discarding the vegetables and herbs but retaining the liquid as stock. Remove the skin from the chicken, and shred the flesh using your fingers. Set aside.

Rinse out the pot in which you have cooked the chicken and return to the stove. Place over a medium heat. Once the pot is warm, add a teaspoon of oil and the carrots and onion. Turn the heat to low and sweat the vegetables for 20 minutes or until they are just tender. Now add the ginger, chilli, garlic, herbs and lemon juice. Cook for a further five minutes then add the stock, chicken, soy and noodles. Turn the heat to low and cook for a further 10 minutes or so to allow the flavours to meld. Serve in warm soup bowls.

Brown rice with carrots and spinach

I know the thought of brown rice makes many people's heart sink – gluggy, boring and bland. But I have always loved pulses and grains so this is a dish that I am drawn to. I think you will find that when all the other ingredients are stirred through, it is quite delicious and satisfying

Serves 6

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into one-inch chunks
200g/7oz short-grain rice
200g/7oz spinach, rinsed wellto remove any grit
50ml/2fl oz mild extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
100ml/31/2fl oz light soy sauce
The juice of one lemon
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch of basil, leaves only

Place the carrots in a pan and add enough cold water to just cover, then add a good pinch of salt. Place over a medium heat and cook until just tender – this will take about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the carrots are cooking, rinse the rice well under running water and place in a heavy-based saucepan. Cover with enough cold water to come one-inch above the rice, add a pinch of salt, place a lid on the pan and simmer for 35 minutes – the rice should be tender, but still have a bite. Check the water every now and then while the rice is cooking, for it may need to be topped up from time to time.

Once tender, remove from the heat and, if necessary, drain off any excess water. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach has just wilted. Now simply add all the other ingredients, stir well to combine and serve.

Baked sea bass with ginger, chilli and coriander

Eat this sea bass with nothing more than a small bowl of jasmine rice. The rice will absorb the sauce in which the fish has been cooked and the sea bass will be tender, aromatic and comforting. Ask your fishmonger to gut and scale the fish.

Serves 6

1 whole sea bass, weighing about 11/2kg/3lb
1 thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into fine batons
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 small bunch of coriander, leaves only
200ml/7fl oz light soy sauce
200ml/7fl oz water

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Rinse the sea bass under cool running water, to ensure any residual blood is cleaned away from the cavity.

Lay the fish on a clean board and, using a sharp knife, make three incisions right down to the bone on both sides. Then lay the fish on a rack.

Place the rack in a baking tray and scatter over the ginger, chilli and coriander. Mix the soy and water together in a bowl then pour gently over the fish.

Cover tightly with foil and place on the middle shelf of the oven and roast for eight to 10 minutes or until the flesh is cooked right down to the bone (the flesh will no longer be translucent).

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before carefully moving on to a warm plate. Spoon over the liquid from the baking tray and serve.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map