Monday, 18 July 2011

What's in my picnic basket

Hampstead Heath, our favourite picnic spot (when the sun is out!)

Although it seems that Summer is nearly over, without having really arrived, the idea of a picnic in the park always lifts our mood. In the middle of the week, I had it all planned in my mind.  One of the highlights in the picnic basket was going to be a mini frittata. But on Friday night I learnt that it would rain the whole weekend.  How frustrating, a Summer that longs for the sun!

Having cooked mini frittatas many times before, I decided to make them on Saturday anyway, and instead of a picnic in the park we had a picnic on the rug (so to speak). This dish is like a little ray of sunshine on a plate.

The ingredients minus spring onion
fill the muffin cases with the egg mixture
the baked mini frittatas
My mini frittata resting on a rocket nest.

Pea, feta and potato muffin fritatta

They are the perfect size for any situation. If you want a small lunch, you can have them with a side salad; if you have an unexpected guest, they are also a great solution.  It’s a good snack alternative, packed with protein and omega 3.

How I made it

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line your muffin tins with muffin cases.

I boiled 500g new potatoes with skins. When they were ready, I mashed them roughly. Then I beat together 6 eggs and mixed the potatoes, 100g peas, 1 spring onion sliced finely, 150g grated parmesan cheese (I also use feta cheese when available), a handful of shredded mint leaves (you can also use dried mixed herbs instead). Season with sea salt and pepper.

With a ladle, pour the mixture into the muffin cases, add a cherry tomato to each case, if you wish, and bake them for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve hot or cold with a salad

Some of the ingredients and their healthy benefits

Egg: is a fantastic and inexpensive source of protein. It contains Lecithin which helps the body to break down fat and cholesterol. Lecithin is also a source of the B vitamin-like, Choline which is necessary for the brain development, at pregnancy, and also a necessary nutrient in preventing fatty liver (Choline is an important neurotransmitter involved in many functions including memory and muscle control). It contains also Biotin, another B vitamin-like, which is very important for the digestion of fat and protein and essential for the health of hair, skin and nails.

Egg also contains an antioxidant called Glutathione which prevents the formation of free radicals. It is very rich in Omega-3 fats, which prevents diabetes, obesity and depression. Contains vitamin A and E, Folic acid and Lutein (an antioxidant in the carotenoid family that helps keep the eyes healthy and safe from oxidative stress).

Parmesan cheese: is an excellent source of protein, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, vitamins A, B2 and B12 and D. Parmesan cheese is high in sodium (so, careful with the amount of salt you add in your meals when cooking with it). Studies have shown that Parmesan cheese has the ability to promote the development of the "good" bacteria Bacillus Bifidus, which is responsible for the good maintenance of a healthy gut. Therefore pParmesan cheese is easy to digest. It doesn't contain lactose and so some people who are intolerant to dairy cheeses may be able to tolerate Parmesan cheese. Parmesan cheese is not only nutritious but a very enjoyable food. 

Peas (Pisum sativum): It is a source of protein, carbohydrate and fat. It is a mildly laxative. Strengths the splees-pancreas and stomach and harmonizes digestion. Peas contain B vitamins, Vitamin C magnesium, Vitamin K, potassium, iron and carotenes.

Potato (Solanum tuberosum): is mildly diuretic, lubricates the intestines, tones the pancreas. Potato reduces inflammation, relieving arthritis and rheumatism. It is a good source of vitamin C, minerals and enzymes. It is a great accompaniment to meat, as its rich potassium content balances out the high sodium content of the meat.

Till next week!

2 comments:

  1. This recipe sounds so good! I'm definitely going to try it.

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  2. Thanks Olga! I hope you enjoy it! There will be more recipes like this one to come.

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