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Gourmet enthusiast Farah Sawaf's culinary tips

Palestinian-Lebanese gourmet enthusiast Farah Sawaf has set up culinary website Cooking with a Manicure, offering busy women simple recipe ideas

Farah Sawaf
Image Credit: Supplied picture
"To ensure you don’t snack on fast or sugary food, buy and prepare healthy snacks for the week that you can take to work or keep in your bag," suggests Farah.

KEEP STORE CUPBOARD BASICS… There are three staples you should always have: virgin olive oil; fat-free Greek yoghurt – it’s great in salad dressings, dips or accompaniments to main meals; and lemons – nothing goes to waste with this fruit. Use the juice for cooking or in tea, and the zest for baking or dressings.

INVEST IN QUALITY APPLIANCES… A hand blender and a sandwich press are musts. I love Cuisinart’s sandwich press. I use healthy ingredients to rustle up quick, nutritious and easy snacks for the family. The Bamix hand blender is the Ferrari of the blender world. 

PREMAKE FAMILY FOOD…My favourite family recipe to make in advance is lightly breaded baked chicken breast escalopes. Simply season chicken breasts, dip in flour, egg and top with crumbs, before baking until golden brown, then cool before freezing. They take two minutes to defrost in the microwave and can be served with salad for a quick meal, or cut into strips to be dipped in honey or ketchup for the kids’ lunches or an after-school snack.

TAKE A SPOONFUL OF HONEY…Manuka honey is my number one super food recommendation for women. It contains more active ingredients than regular honey, including anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, providing tonnes of antioxidants. Studies have shown it helps with your skin, hair and even your mood. Every morning, I take a spoonful with a few raw walnuts. Milk and Honey boasts a large selection.

PREP HEALTHY SNACKS… To ensure you don’t snack on fast or sugary food, buy and prepare healthy snacks for the week that you can take to work or keep in your bag. On a Saturday, I buy celery, apples, almonds, grapes, snap peas, string cheese and yoghurts, all of which I put in Ziploc bags in the fridge and then grab-and-go every morning.

FRIDGE MUST-HAVE… Always keep eggs in your fridge. They are so versatile and a quick, easy and healthy way to create a number of dishes, from a veggie omelette to a ten-minute homemade quiche or just scrambled eggs on toast.

GET KIDS EATING VEG… I have a great dish called the tri-pepper crunchies, which looks good and tastes great. To make it, mix together half a cup each of chopped orange yellow and red peppers and onion with a tub of low-fat cream cheese. This can be stored up to three days in the fridge and is good on toast, crackers crispbreads or rusks and makes an easy after-school snack.

SAVING SALTY DISHES…A common cooking mistake is adding to much salt, which is why it’s always better to under-salt and add at the table. If you over-salt a dish, just add more ingredients to the dish while cooking to dilute the salt.

SUMMER SALAD DRESSINGS… Having pre-made jars of dressings will make eating salad easier. My favourite is one for chicken salad: mix half a cup of lemon juice with honey, Dijon mustard and 2tbsp of olive oil. Another one that works on all salads is to mix half a cup of olive oil with bateel date vinaigrette and fresh orange juice – simple but tasty.

SPICE UP RICE… Inject some fun into rice by adding vermicelli. Sauté half a cup of vermicelli in a little vegetable oil, pour in two-and-a-half cups of water and bring to the boil. Add two cups of rice once boiled and simmer uncovered until done.


Sign up and win

For more recipes ideas and tips, visit Sign up to be a member of Cooking with a Manicure and you could win a free manicure at NStyle.