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Friday, 23 November 2018

Red Wine?

As a holistic nutritionist, I always advise my clients against drinking alcohol on a regular basis. Although a drink once in a while is OK, the cumulative effects of drinking wine and beer can take its toll on our bodies. My main concern from a holistic nutritionist’s perspective is how alcohol is known to prevent your body from properly absorbing vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, thus causing malnutrition. Not to mention the negative affects it has on your brain and nervous system, your bone health, mental health, speech, fertility, possible birth defects in women who are pregnant, and the list just goes on and on.

Some of my clients happily forfeit alcohol in a bid to follow a sober lifestyle; however, many complain that due to career demands, and social balance giving up alcohol completely would be very difficult. I do agree, and have always understood the notion that resisting alcoholic drinks in social situations such as a special occasion and when entertaining, can cause one to feel somewhat excluded from festivities.

I have always thought, what if there was an easy to access, British, retailer of alcohol-free drinks; drinks which looked, tasted, smelt and was just like the REAL DEAL. I was entirely delighted when I came across Azanti, a London based distribution company of a large range of de-alcoholised drinks. It was evident as soon as I sampled their drinks that the quality of their products was on par with high end wines. I was told that the dealcoholisation process retains all the natural flavour and richness of that found in its alcohol-containing counterparts, but with 0.0% alcohol remaining.

100% vegan, and 100% alcohol-free – it’s a win win!

We are living in a world where our meats and dairy are unfortunately hormone and antibiotic laden and where chronic diseases are on the rise, so I always advise people to try to stay as plant-based as possible, to include as many nutrient rich vegetables and fruits in their diets as the possibly can.  

I am truly passionate about plant-based cooking. I love teaching people that healthy cooking is super easy, fun and of course tasty for all the family.

So, let me share with you here two of my all-time favourite plant-based recipes, I added a twist to these by incorporating the Pierre Zero Grand Reserve red wine from the Azanti collection. The food ingredients for both recipes can be sourced from any local supermarket, the wine is available here.

Both meals are balanced, plant based, low in saturated fats (per serving) and ideal for the grown-ups and kids alike.

For my Slimming World readers, the SYN value for the Portabella Mushroom Fajita recipe per serving would be the equivalent of 1 TSP of coconut oil and 2 TBSP of red wine. The wraps, I believe are a Healthy Extra A/B.
The Tagliatelle Bolognese has a SYN value the equivalent of  1 TSP of olive oil and 1 TSP of red wine.

Portabella Mushroom Fajitas

You will need:
2 TBSP Coconut Oil
5 Portabella Mushrooms (sliced)
1 White Onion (sliced)
1 Red Bell Pepper (sliced)
1 Mango (cubed)
Fresh Coriander
1 TSP dry Thyme
Pink Himalayan Salt
1 TSP Ground Cumin
1 TSP Ground Coriander
1 TSP Smoked Paprika
Black Pepper
125 ML Pierre Zero Grand Reserve (from Azanti)
Wholewheat tortilla wraps

  1. Mix the sliced mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper in a zip-lock freezer bag with the red wine and set aside for mushrooms to really absorb the flavour of the Pierre Zero Grand Reserve.
  2. Heat a large wok style pan, add the coconut oil and let It melt to liquid.
  3. Add to this the onions and sautee until translucent.  
  4. Now add the red pepper and cook until they begin to shrink and become soft.
  5. Season with all of the ground cumin, ground coriander and smoked paprika and mix well.
  6. To this add the contents of the zip-lock bag (mushrooms, with the liquid)
  7. Cook on medium to high heat until the wine has evaporated and the mushrooms have cooked thoroughly.
  8. At this point add in the mushrooms and coriander and mix well. You can also add a little more salt here as well, but this is entirely optional dependent upon taste.

To serve…
Warm your tortillas up slightly for about 15 seconds in the microwave to soften them up a bit; fill with the mushroom-pepper mix and roll into a wrap!
I like to serve these up with some plain white butter beans on the side, and my four-ingredient homemade salsa (diced white onion, vine tomatoes, squeeze of lime and sprinkle of coriander).

Tagliatelle Bolognese

You will need:
2 TBSP Olive Oil
Tagliatelle pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
500 G plant-based mince (I like to use organic soya mince)
1 White onion (diced)
1 Carrot (diced)
3 Celery sticks (diced)
Fresh basil
1 Bay leaf
390 G Tomato Passata
Pink Himalayan Salt
Black Pepper
100 ML Pierre Zero Grand Reserve Red WIne

  1. Heat a medium sized saucepan on medium heat and add the olive oil and onions. Sautee until the onions are translucent.
  2. Now add the celery, and carrots. Mix well and cook until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Add to this the plant-based mince, and mix well.
  4. Now season the mixture with the salt and black pepper.
  5. Add in the Pierre Zero Grand Reserve red wine and stir.
  6. Add the Passata, torn fresh basil (I find this helps the release of the flavour) and the bay leaf. Mix well, and simmer on medium heat, stir now and again.

This Bolognese yields the best taste when cooked slowly and for longer. Ideally about 45 minutes, if you have the time.

  1. Boil your chosen pasta in a large saucepan containing boiling water for the length of time stated on the packaging. Once cooked, drain and serve.

To serve…
Ideally serve the pasta immediately after it has finished boiling and, as the Italians say, ‘al dente’, top with a generous helping of the Bolognese and perhaps with some chilli flakes for the spice lovers (not the kids!)
And finally, no pasta dish is complete without a slice of crusty bread, I personally love a crusty sourdough bun or a slice or two of granary baguette.

Happy cooking all! I hope you try these recipes and enjoy them as much as my family and I do… we would love to see how you get on so please don’t forget to upload your food pictures on Instagram and tag us too. Myself @serene.ibrahim and Azanti @azantiuk.

Serene Ibrahim
Holistic Nutritionist



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