PROTEIN plays a very important part in our bodies. It is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage and skin. In fact our hair and nails are mainly compromised of protein and protein keeps our cells in good shape.
It helps your body repair tissue, it enables effective oxygenation of the blood, aids with digestion, and regulates our hormones. Protein also plays an important role in helping us stay in shape through aiding in speedy recovery after injury or exercise, reducing muscle loss, building lean muscle, helping maintain a healthy weight and curbing hunger.
Our bodies need 20 different amino acids, we create 11 of them (non-essential amino acids) but we must get the other nine from food (essential amino acids).
Animal protein, meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs are complete proteins in that they provide all nine of the essential amino acids. However, many people today have adopted alternative protein diets, in that they choose to eat less or no meat and have turned to other protein sources such as legumes, peas, beans, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens such as broccoli and kale.
Not all of these alternative protein sources contain all nine of the essential amino acids. This is why it is so important to eat a variety of foods to get all nine essential amino acids.
When doing meal planning try to mix it up. I opt for fish twice per week, a few days I will have dried peas or beans and the other days animal protein. I still enjoy dairy but in small amounts and not every day. Yoghurt is a great source of protein, but enjoyed naturally with some local honey. I also opt for bread made with high protein flour like spelt and I enjoy a good variety of nuts and seeds but no peanuts. So you can enjoy good health through good food!
Lamb meatballs in yoghurt sauce with fresh herbs
1 lb ground lamb
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 cup roughly-chopped parsley
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
1 tbs full fat plain yoghurt
1 medium onion, chopped
4 sprigs fresh French thyme
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tbs olive oil
1 cup full fat plain yoghurt
¼ cup chopped mint, dill and tarragon
½ tsp salt
Place lamb, 2 chopped onions, parsley, garlic, cinnamon, allspice, one tbs yoghurt, salt and pepper.
Process until mixture comes together.
Form the lamb into about 12 to 15, 1½-inch meatballs.
Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan, pan fry meatballs until brown and cooked, drain on paper towels.
If there is an excess of oil in the pot, pour off most of it.
Place pan on heat, add the chopped onion, and thyme, cook for a few minutes stirring well until onion is lightly browned and translucent, add stock, bring to a boil, cook for a few minutes.
Add the meatballs back to the pot, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Combine yoghurt with fresh herbs and salt.
Spoon yoghurt onto meatballs when serving.
Oven roasted chicken in Cuban mojo
2 lbs chicken thighs or leg and thighs, separated, washed
1 orange cut into 8 wedges
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch chadon beni
⅓ cup fresh orange juice, preferably sour
1 tbs orange zest
⅓ cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbs minced garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tsp salt
Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels.
Place all the ingredients for the marinade into a blender or food processor and process.
Pour marinade over chicken and cover well. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 400F
Place chicken skin side down in shallow baking dish, add remaining marinade and orange wedges.
Roast for 30 minutes. Turn chicken, spoon drippings over, continue roasting for another 20 minutes. Chicken should be dark golden in colour.
Serves 4 to 5
Grilled jerk shrimp with festival
2 lbs, medium sized shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 tbs good quality wet jerk marinade
1 tbs fresh French thyme
1 tbs olive oil
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg beaten
½ cup water
Coconut oil for frying
Combine shrimp with jerk marinade, thyme and olive oil.
Let sit for about ten to 15 minutes, in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile make the festival
Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder in a mixing bowl.
Stir together egg, and water.
Add to flour mixture and knead well to a smooth dough, dough will be firm.
Divide dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into 4-inch logs with tapered ends.
Heat oil and fry festival for about 6-8 minutes until golden and puffy.
Drain on paper towels.
Now heat a grill pan, add shrimp and grill until opaque and slightly curled, this will take just a few minutes.
Remove and squeeze on lime juice.
Serve at once with festival and cole slaw.