January is the month for cutting back on the excesses of Christmas and starting out as we all mean to go on. Resolutions are made to keep fit, eat less and keep off the booze. We asked five top Chester chefs to share their top tips on eating healthily and create a favourite dish to help us on our way.
Dave Ashton, head chef at Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel
Avoid milk and cream wherever possible. Soya milk, rice milk and almond milk are much better for you. It is a myth that all fats are bad for you, natural fats such as fats on meat, olive oil and butter are essential to a heathy diet. Saturated and man made fats should be avoided, Choose gluten free brown bread as much as you can. These are made up from complex carbohydrates which is far better for your metabolism. Gluten is much harder for your body to break down and therefore slows down your metabolism.Do not drink whilst having a meal. Water or other such drinks will dilute your digestion fluids making food take longer to break down.Avoid processed food and ready meals
Always read the label, if you can't pronounce ingredients don't but it. Your body does not know how to handle these added chemicals therefore playing havoc with your natural systems and throwing it into imbalance.as should food which is labelled as low fat. Replacing fats means added salt and sugar. Most importantly, eat as much fruit and vegetables as you can.
Seared Shetland salmon, bok choi, Oriental sauce and Menai mussels
Salmon skin on,180g portion
Menai mussels, 6
Bok Choi, 1
Chilli, 2g diced. Ginger, 2g diced
White wine, 30ml
Soy sauce, 20ml
Rice wine vinegar, 10ml
Asian fish sauce, 10ml
Cut the bok choi in half lengthways. Place a pan on a medium heat, add the olive oil and once heated add the bok choi flat side down. Cook until it becomes a light brown colour, turn over.
Add the mussels to the pan with the rice wine, place on a lid and cook until the mussels have opened from their shells. Remove the mussels, chill and remove from shells. Add the chilli and ginger to the pan. Reduce the vinegar until almost gone. Add the white wine, soy sauce and fish sauce to the pan and again bring to the boil.
In a separate pan add another small amount of olive oil and heat, add the salmon skin side down and cook slowly until the skin is crisp. Turn over and cook for one minute. Take salmon out of pan and leave to rest for 2 minutes.
Season the salmon with a little salt and place on your plate along with the bok choi. Heat the mussels back up in the sauce and drizzle over the top. You could garnish the plate with a little pickled sushi ginger, fresh coriander and a lime wedge.
To see the recipes from the other four chefs clink on the links below:
Daniel Beech, sous chef at The Chester Grosvenor Hotel
Ben Finchett, head chef at the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill at the Doubletree by Hilton hotel and spa
Joe Wright, head chef at Joseph Benjamin Restaurant and PORTA Tapas Bar
Paul Wright, head chef at Chester Racecourse