Recipes: Jerusalem artichoke soup | Fish pie

Dale Pinnock's fish pie. Picture: Contributed

Dale Pinnock's fish pie. Picture: Contributed

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WHAT you consume can have a direct impact on how you feel, says nutritionist and author Dale Pinnock

I believe and stand by the fact that nutrition is a very powerful part of the healthcare picture. Diet can be a very effective therapeutic tool in its own right. The food that we eat directly influences the internal biochemical terrain of our body. Nutrition can, in many ways, be seen as medicinal.

A drug, after all, delivers its effects by influencing the internal biochemical happenings within our body. So, with that in mind, to dismiss nutrition within the healthcare picture is at best irresponsible, at worst insane.

However, nowadays we have the opposite problem, too. There are many who will completely dismiss any kind of modern medical practice and swear blind that broccoli will save our souls. They feel that no matter what is going on, diet will be the answer. Having studied this at undergraduate and postgraduate level now, I would truly love this to be the case. But it is not.

Diet doesn’t have all of the answers all of the time. But, in virtually every circumstance, diet will have an influence. It is this fact that I build my work around. I want to show you the real picture, whether it is bright and hopeful, or somewhat bleak. Then I want to show you how best to apply that information to real life.

• Pinnock is the author of the new series of books, Eat Your Way to Better Health, which includes Diabetes, Anxiety & Depression, Digestion and Heart Disease, £14.99 each, Quadrille, extracted here

JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE SOUP (DIGESTION)

Let’s start with a little warning. When you first try this soup you may think I have played an evil prank on you. Because initially it may seem like digestive warfare has broken out and you will feel bloated and gassy after you have eaten. But what you are experiencing is a massive feeding of the good bacteria in the gut which will cause the bacterial colony to grow and strengthen. The long-term benefit of this is that bloating will ease and many aspects of digestion and digestive health will improve. Another odd thing: these vegetables are not artichokes and have nothing to do with Jerusalem.

SERVES ONE TO TWO

1 large white onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

sea salt

500g Jerusalem artichokes, skin-on, chopped

500ml vegetable stock, plus more if needed

chilli oil and chilli flakes, to serve (optional)

METHOD

1. In a large saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil, with a pinch of sea salt, until the onion softens. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and enough stock to cover. You can always add more if the soup is a little thick, but watery soup is just like gruel.

2 Simmer gently for around 20 minutes, until the artichokes have softened. Blend into a thick, smooth soup, adding more stock if you would like it thinner. Serve with a drizzle of chilli oil and a sprinkle of chilli flakes (if using).

FABULOUS FISH PIE (ANXIETY & DEPRESSION)

This is feel-good food at its best. The fact it is packed with important nutrients for the nervous system is a huge bonus. But it tastes so good that will be the last thing on your mind.

SERVES TWO

2 1/2 large sweet potatoes

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 tsbp olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

200g low-fat soft cheese

100ml vegetable stock

2 tsp wholegrain mustard

400g fish pie mix

10g dill, roughly chopped

METHOD

1. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them. Place in a saucepan, cover with boiling water and simmer for around 20 minutes, until very soft. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.

2 Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil, with a pinch of sea salt, until the onion softens. Add the soft cheese, stock and mustard to the pan and mix well over a medium heat. Add the fish pie mix and simmer for 10 minutes, until most of the fish is cooked. Add the dill and mix well.

3 Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Mash the sweet potato into a smooth mash, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

4 Top the fish with the sweet potato mash and bake at the top of the oven for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the top of the mash is starting to get crispy.

LOW GI CHEESECAKE (DIABETES)

I love a good cheesecake, but the amount of sugar you find in most is horrific. This version has an incredibly low GI. With an almost savoury base and a filling that is sweetened with stevia, it is a pud that ticks all the right boxes.

SERVES FOUR

75g mixed nuts

65g rough oatcakes

20g coconut oil, melted

350g cream cheese

350g mascarpone cheese

2 tsp stevia

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 punnets of blueberries

METHOD

1 Place the nuts and oatcakes in a food processor and grind to a coarse texture. Add the coconut oil and process again until well mixed.

2 Press the mixture into a 23cm springform tin and place in the freezer, while you work on making the filling.

3 Mix the cream cheese, mascarpone, stevia, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract together in a bowl and mix.

4 Remove the springform tin from the freezer, cover the base with the filling and smooth the surface. Top with the blueberries and refrigerate for three to five hours.

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