Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Leeks: the perfect detox solution for the New Year

For anyone embarking on a detox diet this January, eating in-season British leeks can help play a part in ridding the body of harmful substances while also contributing to weight loss.

According to the British Leek Growers’ Association, leeks are ideal for detoxing because they contain potassium, folic acid and vitamin C. Leeks can also help reduce cholesterol levels and rid the body of uric acid, created after ingesting certain foods. Too much uric acid can cause gout and kidney stones.

As well as the perfect detox, the versatile leek is full of anti-oxidants and rich in iron, vitamin B6, folate and vitamin C to keep winter colds and sore throats at bay. Packed full of health benefits, the leek is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments including gastrointestinal problems and insomnia. And, for New Year dieters focused on weight loss, don't forget an average serving of leeks (80g or one leek) contains just:

• 17 calories
• 1g protein
• 0.6g fat
• 2.1g carbohydrate
• 1.4g fibre

To find out more about the health benefits of leeks visit the British leek website http://www.britishleeks.co.uk and try out some of the delicious, healthy leek-based recipes developed by a host of leading British chefs, food writers and bloggers on behalf of the British Leek Growers Association including:

• Food blogger – Dominic Franks
• Nutritionist – Dr Sarah Schenker
• Food Writer – Jane Hornby
• Chef – Sophie Wright
• Chef – Rob Rees
• Chef – Larkin Cen

Tim Casey of the British Leek Growers Association said: “New Year’s resolutions often fall by the wayside because they are too costly, too time-consuming or too expensive. Yet every year more than eight out of ten of us make them. Our simple, nutritious and detoxing recipes are easy to prepare, won’t cost the earth and should make sticking to this year’s resolutions easier than ever.

January detox recipes from the British Leek Growers’ Association

Minted Leek and Pea Soup with Braised Lettuce

Prepared and ready to serve in minutes, this delicious creamy soup can be eaten warm or served cold depending upon the season.

Makes : 4 servings
Preparation Time : 10 minutes
Cooking Time : 20 minutes

1 1/4lb Medium leeks, trimmed and finely chopped
2 Little gem lettuce hearts, roughly chopped
20 Mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Light and mild olive oil
20 oz Vegetable stock
9oz Frozen peas
Light sprinkling Sea salt and ground black pepper
8oz Quark (Marscapone is a good substitute)

To Garnish Sprig of mint and leek twist

1. Lightly sweat prepared leeks, lettuce and mint with the melted butter and oil until softened.
2. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes. Add the peas and seasoning and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste.
3. Blend until smooth with the quark. Return to the pan and warm until just warmed through but do not allow to boil.
4. Serve garnished with mint and leek.

Nutritional Information: Approximate values per serving
Energy: 170 Kcal, Carbohydrate: 15g, Fat: 5g

Warm Puy Lentil and Beetroot Salad with Balsamic Leeks

A great low fat detox dish packed full of lively flavour and zing! Use the best available balsamic vinegar to give a smooth syrupy flavour to the salad so there’s no need to add oil.

Makes : 4 servings
Preparation Time : 30 minutes
Cooking Time : 5 minutes

4oz Puy (Green) Lentils, rinsed
1 cup Vegetable stock
5oz Cooked beetroot, diced
2oz Sun blush semi dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1oz Pitted black olives

1 tbsp Ground sea salt and black pepper
Balsamic vinegar (best available)
10 oz Leeks, halved lengthways and cut into even 2cm lengths
3oz Romanesco or cauliflower florets

1. Simmer the lentils with the stock for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and combine with the chopped beetroot, tomatoes and olives. Season and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.
2. Steam leeks and florets for 5 minutes or until just tender. Carefully place onto lentil mixture and drizzle with more balsamic just before serving.

Nutritional Information: Approximate values per serving
Energy: 150 Kcal, Carbohydrate: 23g, Fat: 2g

Leek, Mussel and Prawn Hotpot

A really delicious robust dish, which is also a healthy option too!

Makes : 2 servings
Preparation Time : 10 minutes
Cooking Time : 10 minutes

2 tsp Light and mild olive oil
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp Lemon grass paste
12oz leeks, trimmed and sliced into ¾ " rounds
1 lb Mussels in shells, rinsed and scrubbed
1/2 lb Shell on prawns
1 1/2 cups Boiling water or fish stock
3oz Low fat soft cream cheese

2 Tbsp Ground sea salt and black pepper
Fresh chopped parsley

1. Lightly saut̩ the leeks, garlic and crushed lemon grass in the oil to soften. Add the mussels and prawns and cook over a medium heat for 2 Р3 minutes until the mussels open. Pour over the stock, cover and simmer for 3 minutes.
2. Drain stock and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in the cream cheese, seasonings and parsley along with the leeks and seafood. Heat until just simmering.
3. Serve with crusty bread

Nutritional Information: Approximate values per serving
Energy: 260 Kcal, Carbohydrate: 11g, Fat: 9g

Leek and Pear Tart 

When you can’t choose between a dessert and a cheese course, this is a scrumptious solution!  The tart offers a complementing combination of sweet and savory ingredients and is the ideal way to finish a meal. Choose ripe pears and an individual round of full flavored Welsh Goats Cheese.

Makes 1 8” tart to serve 4

Preparation Time  20 minutes

Cooking Time  25 minutes

Oven Temperature  425 F


9oz Chilled puff pastry

2  Medium size leeks, trimmed, washed & finely shredded
4 Tbsp Butter
½ tsp  Ground cinnamon

2  Ripe pears

3oz Goats’ cheese

Freshly grated nutmeg and ground cinnamon


1.    Roll out pastry and cut into a 8” round using a plate as a template. Rest on a baking sheet.

2.    Gently sweat the shredded leeks in the butter for 2 -3 minutes to soften but not brown. Season with cinnamon and top pastry round leaving a 1cm clear rim.

3.    Peel the pears, quarter, core and slice and place on top of the leeks. Dot with cubes of goats’ cheese and sprinkle with nutmeg and pepper.

  1. Oven bake until the pastry has risen and the cheese is bubbling. Serve warm.
Source:  British Leek Growers’ Association

No comments: