Recipe for success

Delicious dishes made with skin-friendly ingredients

Delicious dishes made with skin-friendly ingredients

Eat your way to happy, healthy skin with Paula's Mee's tasty and nutritious recipes.

Recipe for success

Delicious dishes made with skin-friendly ingredients


Banana and passion fruit chia pots

A ‘power breakfast’ like this chia seed pot is the handiest portable breakfast ever. There’s no cooking involved and little fuss. A tart passion fruit is a beautiful thing, especially when combined with a sweet ripe banana. It is also rich in vitamin C which contributes to the normal collagen formation of skin. Bananas are also a great fibre-rich prebiotic food that selectively feed the good gut bacteria and promote a healthy gut–brain axis.

MAKES 2 CHIA POTS

Ingredients

  • 500ml cow’s milk (almond milk if you are dairy-free)
  • 4 heaped tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 2 passion fruit
  • 2 tbsp toasted or plain flaked almonds

Method

  1. Stir together the milk, chia seeds, honey and vanilla extract. Let sit for 15 minutes while you shower or put on your make-up. Once the chia seeds have plumped up, stir it up and divide between two breakfast pots.
  2. Cover each pot with the sliced bananas. Cut the passion fruit in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and fruit over the banana, then top with the almonds.
  3. As you are on the move, put the chia mixture into two jars that have tight-fitting lids and keep upright if possible. Don’t forget your spoon!

Butternut squash and puy lentil salad with marinated feta

This makes a tasty lunch option. Tofu can be used instead of the marinated feta to make this dairy free if you like. A portion of butternut squash contains about 3g of fibre and even more potassium than a banana. It’s a very good source of antioxidants, vitamin C and beta carotene, the precursor of vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for the maintenance of normal skin.

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 small or medium butternut squash
  • 2 tsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 100g puy lentils
  • 200ml water
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp local honey
  • 200g marinated feta cheese

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly oil a baking tray. Cut the unpeeled butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash on the baking tray, cut side up. Mix together the regular olive oil and tamari and liberally brush the cut side of the squash. Bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes, until tender. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, put the lentils in a sieve and hold under a running tap for a few seconds to rinse off any dust. Drain and place in a saucepan with the water, garlic, bay leaf, bouillon and thyme. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook for 20–25 minutes, until the lentils are just tender. 
  3. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh using a large spoon, then chop into small cubes and set aside. If the squash is large, you can keep the leftovers in the fridge and use it in a soup the next day.
  4. When the lentils are cooked, drain off any remaining liquid and remove the bay leaf, then transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Make the dressing by whisking the extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, mustard and honey together in a small bowl. Add the butternut squash to the cooked lentils, then pour over the dressing and mix gently. Scatter the feta cheese over the salad and serve.

Salmon fishcakes with spinach and strawberry salad

This fishcake and salad combo is delicious and satisfying. If you like, you can substitute salmon for other fish such as tuna or crab. Salmon contains anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats and small amounts of zinc and selenium. Both zinc and selenium contribute to the maintenance of skin, hair and nails.

serves 3

Ingredients

Fish cakes

  • 300 g potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 400g fresh or tinned salmon
  • 4g/ 1 tsp olive oil
  • 100ml milk
  • 20g/ 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper for seasoning
  • 40ml/ juice 1 lemon
  • 9g/ ½ a bunch of fresh chives

Crumb coating

  • 4g/ handful of chopped parsley
  • 50g/2 small slices whole wheat/multi grain bread made into breadcrumbs in food processor
  • 30g/1 heaped tbs cornflour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4g/1 tsp rapeseed oil, for frying fishcakes

Salad

  • 160g rocket
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 160g strawberries halved
  • 24g/2 tbs pumpkin seeds

Olive oil dressing 

  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard 
  • 1 tsp honey and 
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • Black pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes until just soft. Drain and let them steam dry. If using tinned fish, drain well.

  2. Heat the oil in a pan, then add the milk and spring onions and cook for 3 minutes. Season well, add in the lemon juice and chives. Add the milk mixture to the potatoes. Mash well. Lastly, stir in the fish.

  3. To coat the cakes, add the parsley to the breadcrumbs. Place flour, egg and breadcrumbs onto separate shallow dishes. Shape fish into cakes on the corn-floured surface, then dip them in the beaten egg before pressing gently into the breadcrumb mixture. Chill for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Fry each fishcake for 5 minutes on each side or until they turn a crisp golden colour.

  4. Create the salad by combining the rocket, spinach, strawberries, pumpkins seeds and olive oil dressing. Season with black pepper. Serve the warm fishcakes with the salad

Marinated feta cheese

This can be used as part of the butternut squash and puy lentil salad or as part of a mezze platter.

Ingredients

  • 1 x 200g packet of feta cheese
  • ½ tsp dried herbes de Provence
  • ½ tsp dried thym
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Open the packet of cheese, drain and rinse. Pat the cheese dry with kitchen paper, then cut into small cubes.

  2. Put in a bowl and sprinkle over the herbs and chilli flakes. Pour over the oil and gently mix to coat. Store in a covered bowl or sealed container and use within four days.

Exotic Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

Instead of leaning too heavily on highly refined comfort foods, have a few refreshing antioxidant-rich nutritious treats that you can enjoy at any time of the day or evening. Strawberries, lime juice and exotic fruits like papaya are rich in vitamin C, a great antioxidant for the skin. Yoghurt contains healthy probiotic bacteria for the gut and B vitamins such as niacin and riboflavin which contribute to the maintenance of skin.

serves 2

Ingredients

  • 160g strawberries, halved

  • 400g/1 papaya, sliced after seeds discarded

  • 60g/1 small banana, sliced into 1cm-thick pieces

  • 30g/1 passion fruit, seeds scooped out of shell

  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 1 tsp honey

  • 250g natural or Greek yogurt

  • ½ tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Combine the fruit in a bowl with the lime juice and honey.

  2. In a separate bowl, mix the yogurt and vanilla essence together.

  3. Place a spoonful of fruit into a tall glass, followed by a spoonful of yogurt and repeat (don’t mix the layers). Serve immediately.

Paula Mee is a state-registered dietitian. She lectures on the MSc in Applied Culinary Nutrition in Technological University Dublin and provides a range of health and wellness services to the corporate and food industry. Recipes taken from Gut Feeling and Mediterranean Mood Food, both published by Gill Books.