Posted by Jo on Nov 14, 2011
The last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle. What does one do in a time of crisis? Well if you are me (and my immediate family), the answer is eat….and drink buckets of tea. There have been an array of recent meals that deserve a mention on my rather rookie nutri blog. The first of which I am going to mention was a spectacular pasta puttanesca crafted by six girls in a cottage in Gloucestershire.
We rented Kites Nest Cottage for a weekend out of London and a long overdue girlie eat-drink-walk-eatmore-drinkmore-fireworks-bonanza. We indulged on a delicious cake left to us by the proprietors of the cottage (recipe to follow because it was delightful), two pub lunches and one evening meal crafted by our fair hands – admittedly it may sound like a joke that it took 6 of us to make a plate of pasta but in fairness we were already 6 bottles of wine down when we began the puttanesca making!
It started with Ackers* on the caper crushing, Melly on the garlic chopping, Jinky (me) picking parsley and making the salad, Newmo shaving parmesan and Kitty and Lulu labouring with anchovies, olives and table laying. And it ended with a sigh and a groan as the belts were loosened and glasses were raised and shortly after we demolished 6 Gu chocolate pudding pots…..natch.
I must admit that capers (and olives actually) are new (er) foods in my dietary repertoire. Still not ones I pick up regularly but puttanesca sauce is a good choice from a nutritional perspective and here’s why:
- It’s low calorie – no butter, no cream so in that sense it’s a good pasta choice if you are choosing from a menu or eating in and watching the waistline. NOTE: It wasn’t low calorie this time due to copious pre dinner snacks, gallons of wine and chocolate puddings but in principle (and isolation) it’s a safe choice.
- Anchovies are high in those heart friendly Omega-3 fats which are widely reported to benefit our overall health. If you are not an anchovy fan, you could replace anchovies with salmon or tuna (although less Omega-3 in tinned tuna) or omit fish altogether (0 omega-3).
- Tomatoes are high in lycopene – an antioxidant which has anti-cancer properties and Vitamin C – benefitting our skin and immune systems. You can use fresh or tinned depending on what is to hand.
- Olives are often recognized for their oils. Whether you consume them whole or as oil, they provide many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. As with any oil, they are high in calories, so quantity is key. 1 tbsp provides about 120 calories, so just keep that in mind. Olives are a good source of fibre and Vitamin E.
- Capers are quite high in salt (as are anchovies) so make sure you drain them before use. Once crushed they release a distinctive mustard-y like flavour and are high in antioxidants.
*’Made in Chelsea’ inspired nicknames introduced courtesy of a round of silly drinking games