Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Arthritis Friendly Recipe: Healthy Microwave Potato Crisps

My jaw arthritis has been much better since I had my daughter (an upshot of all those pregnancy hormones) so I've been fighting the urge to make up for 5 years without crisps by eating all those packets I missed! Luckily, these easy potato crisps take minutes to make and only don't contain any oil or artificial flavours. They are a great healthy treat for kids too - my little one loves gnawing on the thicker slices . Try making them with slices of carrot or sweet potato for a change.

I find them easiest to make using a mandolin but a vegetable peeler also works well. If you have bad arthritis in your thumb joint, you might find a 'y' peeler better to hold.

The time it takes these to cook will depend on the thickness of your potato slices and the power of your microwave so you may need to experiment a little with the first few batches. I also find that they get quicker to cook with subsequent batches because the glass plate in the microwave retains heat.


Ingredients:
1 potato - that's it!

Makes 1 Serving

Slice the potato very finely using a vegetable peeler or mandolin. 

Place the slices on a sheet of non-stick paper or kitchen roll and pop in the microwave. Cook on high for about 2-3minutes until golden and crisp. Allow to cool before removing from the sheet.



Season to taste.

Optional flavourings:
BBQ - smoked paprika and garlic salt
Garlic and herb - garlic salt and dried mixed herbs
Sea salt and black pepper
Wasabi - wasabi powder,pinch of icing sugar and salt



Sunday, 26 October 2014

Winter Arthritis Diet Tips


For many of us, as the clocks go back, our arthritis gets active. Certainly for me, contrary to all scientific study, the winter always equals creaky joints and festive flares. So, with cold and flu season upon us and the weather suddenly getting just that little bit chilly, I thought I would post my favourite tips and recipes for helping keeping arthritis at bay all winter.

1. Eat a rainbow - the sun may be a distant memory but eating a wide, colourful range of fruit and vegetables is an excellent way to get plenty of inflammation fighting antioxidants. Think red tomatoes, orange carrots, yellow peppers, green brocolli and purple aubergines. Try this 5-a-day pasta sauce, bright pink beetroot risotto or colourful noodle soup.

2. Spice it up - conjure up the taste of exotic holidays with recipes rich in anti-inflammatory spices, Eat plenty of turmeric spiced curries and tagines or asian ginger salmon and stir fries.

3. Cosy comforts - shun heavy fat-laden winter dishes and instead try wholesome stews, soups and puddings. This healthy shepherd's pie makes a filling supper or try this easy one-pot macaroni and cheese. Finish with this lighter chocolate mousse or tasty rice pudding.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Arthritis Friendly Recipe: Turmeric Chicken Tagine

Turmeric is a really exciting spice for people with arthritis. It's been used in traditional and aryuvedic medicine for centuries to treat sore joints but is now also being investigated by scientists looking at the anti-inflammatory properties of one of it's constituent chemicals - curcumin. 

Turmeric goes brilliantly in curries but is also great in stews, soups or sauces. Try eating it in this easy, healthy tagine. The sweetness of the apricots, sweet potato and squash helps balance the slightly astringent taste of the turmeric whilst ginger and paprika add warm, punchy flavour.

I've recently starting using ginger and garlic that comes ready prepared in tubes. It's brilliant for when my hands are sore. You can get it in jars too but for me that is no easier than chopping it as I somehow have to get the jar lid off! You could also used ground ginger and garlic granules but the taste will be a little different.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breast fillets, sliced into chunks
350g packet chopped sweet potato and butternut squash
400g can chickpeas (225g drained weight)
1tsp garlic puree or 1 clove crushed garlic
1tsp ginger puree or thumb sized piece of ginger grated
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp tumeric
1tsp ground coriander
1/2tsp smoked paprika
4 dried apricots, cut into little pieces (I find this easiest with kitchen scissors)
300ml chicken stock
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon olive or rapeseed oil

Serves 4

Heat the oil in a medium sized casserole dish. Add the spices, garlic, ginger and chicken - gently cook for 5 minutes. Add the apricots, tomato puree, sweet potato and squash, chickpeas and stock. Bring the dish to a low simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken and vegetables are tender.

Serve with couscous.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Cooking with Arthur is featured in Waitrose Weekend

New Waitrose Weekend If you are popping past a Waitrose between now and Monday, pick up a copy of Waitrose Weekend (or you can download it for free on the app store). I'm featured in it talking about how I try to manage my arthritis and there are some great diet and lifestyle tips from experts too. It's all part of National Arthritis Week (12-16th October) and Arthritis Research UK's 'Pain Killer' Campaign which is trying to shine a light on what it is really like to live with daily pain and how you, your friends and family can all help cope with it.

For anyone, who has read the article and stumbled across the blog - welcome! Cooking with Arthur is my way of sharing all that I've learnt over 14 years of having arthritis and muddling on through in the kitchen. You'll find healthy, tasty recipes, tips and reviews of kitchen equipment plus a quizzical look at some of the myths around diet and arthritis. Feel free to browse around and let me know what you think in the comments section.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Arthritis-Friendly Recipe: 5-A-Day Pasta Sauce

Contrary to a lot of what you might have heard or read on the internet, there is no robust scientific evidence that cutting out the 'nightshade' vegetables (such as peppers, potatoes and tomatoes) has any benefits for people with arthritis. It's sometimes claimed that they are high in oxalic acid and the alkaloid solanine and that these chemicals might aggravate joint inflammation - neither of these claims are true. In fact, the nightshade vegetables are actually a fantastic source of anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants and phytochemicals 

This healthy pasta sauce recipe is packed with 5 different veg, including pepeprs and tomatoes. It is a wonderful vitamin boost if you are beginning to feel a bit run down with Autumn aches and pains. Better still, I'm yet to meet someone who doesn't like it - both my tomato-hating husband and 7 month old daughter will eat bowl after bowl of this - so it makes a good family meal.

You can use the sauce thinned down with a little stock as a soup (as pictured) or scoff it on pasta. Throw in a can of mixed beans and it also makes a good vegetarian chilli. You will need a hand blender or jug blender to make it but otherwise there is very little fiddly chopping involved - just cut the vegetables into whatever rough sized chunks you can manage. 


Ingredients:
400g tinned tomatoes
2 sticks of celery
2 medium carrots (if they are organic then you can skip peeling them)
1 red pepper
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
250ml water

Serves 4

Prepare the vegetables: cut the pepper, celery, onion and carrots into large, rough chunks. Peel the garlic.

Pour the oil into a large saucepan and add the onion. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until it begins to soften, then add the carrots, garlic and celery. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pepper, tomatoes and water. Bring up to a low simmer and cook, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and puree the sauce with a hand blender until smooth. Serve.


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