My Christmas Week On A Plate: Hope Pointing

A London-based personal chef and nutritionist, Hope Pointing has combined her love of food with healthy living to advocate a holistic approach to nutrition. From immune-supporting stir fries and warm salads and soups, to hearty winter breakfasts and festive entertaining ideas, here’s how she fuels up during those busy December weeks…

MONDAY

Breakfast: A large glass of water, an even bigger mug of breakfast tea and a vitamin D tablet is how I start my mornings. I drink my tea in bed whilst catching up on admin – nutrition consultations and food orders for the week ahead. Monday breakfast is baked oats, which I usually prep the night before. I always add some seeds to my oats – I like chia, flax and ground linseed for additional fibre and texture. I combine this with some milk, vanilla, cinnamon and an egg before baking in the oven for around 30 minutes. This recipe is so easy to adapt depending on the season – today I’m feeling festive, so I add cinnamon, blood orange and pistachio. I serve this warm with some thick Greek yoghurt.

Lunch: Mondays are always busy, so lunch is something quick and easy. I roughly smash some jarred chickpeas in a bowl with the back of a fork, until around half of them are lightly mashed. I love doing this as it means all the delicious flavours from the dressing can be absorbed – almost like a deconstructed hummus. I add lots of lemon zest and juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and dukkah spice. I also add three large handfuls of mint, parsley, chives and dill to this salad for some freshness and flavour. On the side, I have some of my seedy omega crackers, which I make a big batch of every week. They’re a great source of fibre, protein and omega fatty acids, great for scooping up the chickpeas. 

Snack: This afternoon, I have a raw millionaire’s shortbread. I’m big on snacking and have a sweet tooth, and am lucky that I have time to make sweet treats for my clients. These are delicious – made with a base of ground almonds, oats and flax and topped with a mix of medjool dates, orange and almond butter and 80% dark chocolate. They make a lovely festive gift, too. I often buy brown paper gift boxes and tie them with a red ribbon before giving them to friends and family.

Supper: Monday night supper is also something simple and quick – all I need is comfort after a busy day. Tonight is one of my staple recipes – shakshuka. I make a green version with lots of veg I have in the fridge. Eggs are a big part of my diet and I always try and buy the best quality – you really notice a difference in flavour.

Blood Orange Baked Oats
Mashed Chickpeas With Omega Crackers

TUESDAY

Breakfast: I often exercise in the morning, so it’s important that I replenish energy stores before a busy day in the kitchen. After working out, I try to focus my breakfast around protein, so I’m a big fan of eggs on toast with some kind of veggie side. This morning it’s smashed peas with lots of lemon, mint, salt and pepper and a soft-boiled egg on gluten-free Warburtons Tiger Bread. I am a coeliac and have a severe allergy to gluten, so have had plenty of time to test all the gluten free breads available – this is the best one out there, and it’s great toasted.

 

Lunch: Lunches normally consist of leftovers to ensure the fridge is kept tidy. On today’s lunch menu is Vietnamese rainbow rice paper rolls. These are a bit of a faff to make, but once you get the hang of it, are pretty easy. I fill mine with lots of different coloured shredded veg: red cabbage, rainbow carrots, spring onion, Thai basil, mint, dill and lots of baby spinach. I use a julienne peeler to speed through prepping the veggies before softening the pancakes in hot water, filling and rolling up. I make a simple miso satay sauce with almond butter, tamari, miso paste and some lime juice and zest to dip the rolls into, along with a sweet chilli style sauce. On the side, I have an edamame salad with mango, cucumber, chilli and lime. I love using edamame – having them in the freezer is a staple.

Supper: When I’m cooking for myself, I love simple one-pan dinners so I don’t have too much mess or washing up. I got back late from work this evening soaking wet from my cycle home, so I shove everything in a pan for a quick tagine to bubble away while I jump in the shower. I quickly sauté some onion and garlic before adding some Belazu Tagine paste. I add in chopped tomatoes, a generous dollop of rose harissa, a little balsamic, a teaspoon of veg bouillon powder, chickpeas, sliced dried apricots, chopped butternut squash and lots of salt and pepper. This tagine also works brilliantly with leftover cooked meat (especially turkey) or roasted vegetables, so it’s a great idea for Christmas leftovers.

Smashed Peas On Toast
Rainbow Rice Paper Rolls

WEDNESDAY

Breakfast: I wake up tired this morning and in need of a pick-me-up, so reach for some chocolate granola for breakfast. After all, it is December. I made this granola with TRIBE’s cocoa and sea salt pea-based protein powder, coconut oil, a touch of honey, vanilla paste, ground almonds, oats and mixed nuts. I have it with some natural yoghurt and chopped pears. I am trying to avoid buying berries at the moment as they are out of season, instead opting for seasonal fruits. Although this is a sweet breakfast, it has lots of protein and slow-release carbs to keep blood glucose levels stable throughout the morning.

Lunch: I love experimenting with new recipes and get most of my inspiration from Instagram. Today, I make a cross between a poke and a ramen bowl. I roast some aubergine wedges with tamari and sesame, add in some rice noodles, thinly sliced radish, spring onion and some steamed greens, and top with toasted seeds. I pour some miso soup into the base of the bowl to make an instant vegan broth – miso is fermented and great for your gut.

Supper: Dinner is braised fennel with a quick lentil salad. I always have some tinned Puy lentils in the cupboard for emergencies. I quickly roast some thick slices of fennel in the oven with plenty of olive oil and seasoning. I then make a quick dressing with some sliced Kalamata olives, chilli, lemon juice and zest, lots of fresh parsley, olive oil and seasoning. I stir half through the Puy lentils and then reserve the rest. I layer on the roasted fennel onto the lentil mix before pouring over the remaining dressing. I love this dish as it’s so easy to make, but looks quite fancy, making it a great option when entertaining for vegetarian guests. I finish my evening with a few squares of my cashew chocolates; made from 80% dark chocolate, coconut oil, cashew butter, salted cashews and a pinch of sea salt. They are a great lower-sugar alternative, making them slightly more nutritious than your average Christmas selection box.

Cocoa And Sea Salt Granola
Cashew Chocolates

THURSDAY

Breakfast: Today it’s turmeric scrambled tofu, one of my favourite winter breakfasts. I sauté lots of different veggies – today it’s red peppers, mushrooms, onion, ginger and garlic along with some turmeric, chilli and seasoning. I then crumble in some smoked tofu before finishing with nutritional yeast, a splash of tamari, lime juice and zest and lots of coriander and parsley. This recipe is packed with antioxidants, which are great for the immune system. It’s also a great breakfast option for the run-up to Christmas to get some veggies in early on in the day.

Lunch: In the winter, I love soup for lunch, and today’s is celeriac, apple and toasted almond. I top with a few toasted almonds for some crunch and serve with my speedy omega crackers. This recipe also makes a great starter for the festive period or as a lunch option alongside cold meats and cheeses.

Supper: I’m craving something sticky and sweet for dinner, so make a quick teriyaki stir fry with mushrooms, green peppers, carrots and lots of sesame seeds. Stir fries are great if you’re looking to up your veggie intake as you can easily fit four portions into one meal. For pudding, I have a couple of my Christmas cookies, which I made using really ripe bananas, ground almonds, oats, ground ginger, orange zest and some apple chunks. 

Celeriac And Apple Soup With Toasted Almonds
Christmas Cookies

FRIDAY

Breakfast: Friday means early morning run club, so I grab one of my oat blackberry muffins on my way out of the house – I keep a batch in the freezer and defrosted one last night. When I’m back, I quickly make some kraut on toast with a soft-boiled egg before heading off to work. This is the perfect post-run meal, packed with protein and carbs to help repair muscles. Fermented foods are also great to incorporate in December to keep the gut balanced.

Lunch: December means that pomegranate is in season and I take full advantage of this today, making pomegranate molasses marinated tofu, served with quinoa and peas. Frozen peas are seriously underrated – they add nutrition and fibre to your meals without the worry of having a fridge fully stocked with fresh vegetables.

Supper: During the week I tend to eat a lot of vegetarian dishes when cooking for my clients who are predominantly plant based, so enjoy eating more meat and fish over the weekend. Tonight, I have some sea bream that I pan fry in a really hot pan with olive oil and plenty of seasoning – lots of sea salt is the key to crispy skin. I serve with a generous heap of grilled vegetables – purple sprouting broccoli, asparagus and kale. For pudding, I have one of my tahini and chocolate puddles, which make a lovely festive gift. They are essentially a ‘puddle’ of melted dark chocolate with a teaspoon of tahini paste swirled through the centre and then garnished with rose petals, cranberries, candied orange and bee pollen. 

Kraut On Toast With An Egg
Pomegranate Tofu

SATURDAY

Breakfast: Saturday starts off with some experimenting in the kitchen – I whip up a Nutella-style spread with roasted hazelnuts, a mix of dates and apricots, cocoa powder, sea salt and chai spice. The result is a deliciously sweet and spiced spread that I layer onto homemade seeded bread that I have sliced in the freezer. When baking my own gluten-free bread I tend to opt for seed packed, denser recipes which I make in a big batch, ready to be sliced and then frozen so I can just grab a couple of pieces when I fancy.

Lunch: Butternut squash and sage risotto is on the menu today. I love risotto, and often make one on Boxing Day when I have leftover turkey stock, which adds so much more flavour than a stock cube. This recipe would also be great with some leftover, crispy fried turkey on top. For pudding, I have a slice of almond, orange and rosemary cake.

Supper: Dinner tonight uses up the remaining celeriac I have left from yesterday’s soup. I make a creamy celeriac mash with plenty of butter and bouillon powder; seasoned with plenty of salt and pepper, lemon juice and lots of grated parmesan, and serve with roasted shallots, haricot beans and kale. This tastes so indulgent whilst still packing in four portions of vegetables and legumes. Making the most of the oranges that are in season, I make a citrus fruit salad along with raspberries, pomegranate and a mint sugar syrup. Try this with your yule log or Christmas pudding – it also goes very well with a generous dollop of brandy butter.

Citrus Fruit Salad With Raspberries
Orange, Almond And Rosemary Cake

SUNDAY

Breakfast: Smoky BBQ beans are the perfect dish for a lazy morning. I make sure the beans are seasoned well before piling onto buttered toast and then finishing with finely chopped and toasted seeds. 

Lunch: Frittatas are a good way of using up vegetables, and today I roast a mixture of carrot, courgette, pepper, squash and tomatoes in a za’atar spice mix with some olive oil and seasoning. Once roasted, I add to beaten eggs with a generous grating of parmesan and lots of fresh parsley, dill and chives. I begin the cooking in a non-stick frying pan until the base is set, before finishing under the grill. I serve this with a mixture of steamed greens as I know I'll be having a big roast later on.

Supper: For me, Sundays are all about roasts. I was brought up in a family that always came together for mealtimes, especially on a Sunday. Today is a more of a simple version as I’m only cooking for two – simple roast chicken. I roast mine with orange, fennel and Dijon mustard with a little white wine, a version of a Nigella recipe that I’ve been making for years now. This creates its own gravy whilst cooking, helping to keep it super moist in the process. I have lots of roast veggies, sprouts and braised red cabbage. Pudding at this time of year has to be a crumble. My parents recently sent me back up to London with some apples from the garden, so I stew these with some blackberries I have in the freezer from a recent foraging session in Battersea Park. I make a really simple crumble topping with melted coconut oil, ground almonds, ground oats, maple and a little sea salt. I toast this separately before adding to the top of the stewed fruit. I serve this with lashings of vanilla bean ice-cream – the perfect end to the week.

Leftovers Frittata
Smokey BBQ Beans On Toast
Roast Chicken

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