Recipes & Food Tips
We're serving up a section packed with ideas and inspiration, from tasty recipes to portion-control tips and batch cooking advice.
Remember maintaining a healthy weight is important, especially when you get older. Eating either too little or too much can have detrimental effects on your health and wellbeing.
Carrot & Corriander Soup
Blueberry & Lemon Bundt Cake
- For the stew
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 25g/1oz butter
- 750g/1lb 10oz beef stewing steak or beef skirt,
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 175g roughly chopped onion
- 150g/5oz carrots, cut into large chunks
- 2 leeks, roughly chopped
- 200g/7oz swede, cut into large chunks
- 150ml/5fl oz mulled wine
- 500ml/18fl oz beef stock
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the dumplings
- 125g/4½ oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 60g/2½ oz suet
- Water, to make a dough
- To serve
- Mashed potato
- 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 - 3 hours before cooking, soak the beef in the mulled wine.
- When ready, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Remove the beef from the mulled wine. Move the mulled wine to the side ready to use later.
- Coat the beef in the flour ready to fry.
- Heat the oil and butter in an ovenproof casserole dish and fry the beef on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until brown, continuously turning the beef in the pan.
- Add the garlic and all the vegetables and fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the mulled wine, stock and herbs, then add the balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cover with a lid, transfer to the oven and cook for a minimum of 2 hours.
- Add the suet and enough water to form a thick, not too sticky, dough.
- With floured hands, divide and roll the dough into small balls.
- After two hours, remove stew from the oven and place the balls on top of the stew. Return to the oven without the lid and cook for a further 20-30 minutes until the dumplings have expanded and have a golden top.
- Serve with the mashed potato and a bundle of fresh veg.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley to finish.
- 1tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 knob of butter
- 450g carrots, washed and sliced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1tsp ground coriander
- 1.2 ltr vegetable stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Sour cream
- Gently fry the onions, carrots and garlic in a large pan with the oil and butter for 4 minutes until softened and slightly opaque, add the ground coriander and stir.
- Pour the vegetable stock into the pan and bring to the boil. Cover the pan and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or so until the carrots are soft.
- Remove from the heat, add the fresh coriander and carefully blend the soup using a hand blender or a food processor.
- Add a good dollop of sour cream to the soup and mix through.
- Once in the bowl and ready to eat, add another dollop of sour cream and a good helping of black pepper.
- For the cake
- 250g unsalted butter,
- softened, plus extra for greasing the pan
- 250g plain flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 225g caster sugar
- Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
- 4 large free-eggs, at room temperature
- 80g fresh blueberries
- To decorate
- 100g caster sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 80g fondant icing
- A sprinkling of sugar crystals
- You also need a 2.4 litre bundt tin
- Heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.
- Butter the inside of the bundt tin using your hands ensuring you get right into the corners. Sprinkle a generous helping of flour and tap around the tin ensuring it is fully covered, removing excess flour from the tin.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
- In another large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest ideally with an electric whisk until the mixture is very pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well, then with a metal spoon slowly fold in the dry mixture, taking care not to mix the air out of the batter.
- Carefully pour the mixture into the greased and floured bundt tin and smooth the top, now add in your helping of blueberries, pressing them lightly and evenly into the mixture.
- Bake for a good 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- For the topping: grate the zest of a lemon and place to one side. Squeeze the juice from the lemon and mix with the fondant icing. You may need to add more fondant icing or a very small amount water to create a thick consistency.
- When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven, poke holes all over the surface and leave to cool for 20 minutes. Then turn the bundt out of the tin onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- For the topping, drizzle generously with the fondant and leave for a few moments to set.
- Finally take the zest and sugar crystals and sprinkle on to your cake.
Know your portion sizes
Eating the right proportions of each food group in your daily diet is tricky but essential for a healthy heart and body. Check out our suggested guide for how much food you should be serving with each meal and how many portions you should be eating a day.
Lean meat, chicken or fish 80g = Deck of cards
Jacket potato 180g = Computer mouse
Cereal 30g = Handful
Butter or Spread 5g = Teaspoon
Olive oil 11g = Tablespoon
Pasta or rice 150g = Tennis ball
Bread, rice, cereals and potatoes
These foods give you energy so it's important to eat them with every meal. Try wholegrain varieties, such as brown rice and pasta, as they contain vitamin B and fibre which is good for digestion.
Fruit and vegetables
Make sure you're getting your 5 a day, frozen, canned, juiced and dried varieties all count. Fruit and vegetables should make up a third of our diet.
Milk and dairy foods
Milk, cheese and yogurt are great sources of calcium. Try to have three servings a day and opt for lower-fat varieties which contain less saturated fat for a healthier option.
Meat, fish, eggs, beans and nuts
These provide us with lots of protein which is important for a balanced diet. Try to eat a portion with two of your daily meals. Fish should be eaten at least twice a week, a combination of white and oily fish is ideal.
Batch Cooking & Freezing
Batch cooking is a great way of saving money and making your meals go further. It's ideal if you live alone and want to make a hearty meal last for several days.
Cook up a big batch of your preferred meal, leave it to cool and then transfer a couple of portions into freezer-proof containers. If you're making your meal in a casserole dish, make sure you wrap it up securely in cling film before freezing. Note down the cooking date on the container so you have an idea of how long it's been in the freezer for.
Most foods can be frozen for around 6-9 months. When re-heating, make sure the food is piping hot throughout before serving. Freezer-suitable recipes include shepherd's pie, cottage pie, stews, spaghetti Bolognese, chili con carne and many more.
Soup is a nutritious and healthy lunch-time option. Cook up a large batch and freeze five different portions which can then be eaten during the week.
Age UK say
"Let's not forget the importance of a good diet. It's easy to slip into bad habits, especially if you're just cooking for yourself, but a balanced diet will ensure you have what you need to stay well. Include a good range of foods, such as wholegrain cereals, and milk and cheese for calcium, and aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. A balanced diet will increase your energy levels and help keep you fit and healthy."