Baked Hake with Mediterranean Vegetables

RECIPE FROM CROÍ LEAD DIETITIAN, SUZANNE SEERY

This is a wonderfully light yet satisfying, healthy fish dinner. It is so quick and simple to make and there are plenty of substitutions you could use depending on what you have to hand. Hake has a delicate taste that’s not overpowering so can be a great fish for all the family.

Dietitian’s tip: It’s always a good tip to roast more vegetables than needed and use them in other dishes throughout the week.

Serves: 2 people

Prep time: 25mins

Nutrition value per portion: 400 calories; 37g carbs; 28g protein; 13g fat; 7g fibre

Baked Hake with Mediterranean Vegetables Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 x 125g fillets of hake (fresh or frozen)
  • 300g new baby potatoes
  • 1 medium or 2 small red onions
  • 1 large red/orange bell pepper
  • 1/3 of an aubergine
  • 1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
  • Plenty of chopped parsley (fresh or dried)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tsp of reduced fat spread
  • Black pepper

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180* C.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice the red onion into wedges and the pepper into chunks.
  3. Slice discs of the aubergine about 3 inches in thickness and score them with a crisscross design. Chop the clove of garlic and press the pieces into the crosses.
  4. Place all of the chopped vegetables onto a baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and place in the pre-heated oven for 25 mins.
  5. Meanwhile place the baby potatoes into a saucepan, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 mins or until cooked through.
  6. Wrap each fish fillet in some tinfoil, with a drizzle of olive oil, some parsley, black pepper and lemon juice if you wish. You could also add some crushed garlic if you like.
  7. Place the fish parcels into the oven 5-10 mins after the vegetables. You will know the fish is fully cooked through when it is white through and flakes easily. It will take about 15 mins.
  8. Drain the potatoes and add the butter and parsley.
  9. Serve and enjoy!
Hake

A message from Neil Johnson, Croí Chief Executive

To all our Croí community,

I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well in these very challenging times, and that you are also managing to cope with all the distressing and frightening news and stories we seem to be bombarded with on a daily basis. Remember, by following the advice and guidance from reputable sources such as www.hse.ie we will all come through this as a stronger and better community.

It has been over 3 weeks since we had to cease all our face-to-face programmes, classes and literally all our fundraising activities. The Croí Heart & Stroke Centre in Galway is now closed to visitors. Following the government directive, all the Croí Team are now working from home and on a daily basis are doing everything we can to support those who need us most at this time.

Our helpline (091-544310) is open Monday to Friday 09:00 -17:30 where you can call for advice or guidance from our health team and get to speak to a Nurse Specialist, Dietitian, Physiotherapist or Exercise Specialist. If you have a more general query or need general advice or assistance, any member of our team will gladly speak to you and if necessary collectively ‘Team Croí’ will do whatever we can to support or assist you. Even if it’s only for a chat because you or a loved one is feeling lonely or isolated, be sure to call us. Equally, you can email us anytime at healthteam@croi.ie.

On a daily basis, our team is updating reliable COVID-19 information and advice on our website, www.croi.ie and on our social media channels, @croiheartstroke. We are also generating very useful lifestyle resources and tips on such things as exercise, cooking, eating, stress management, etc.

With our changed way of working, the Croí building effectively became empty. As we are located so close to the hospital, we offered it to the HSE as a gesture of support in the fight against coronavirus. So from Monday, March 30th, the building is now being used as a regional contact tracing centre. Similarly, the Croí Apartments – our support accommodation centre which is normally made available to relatives of those in hospital receiving emergency cardiac or stroke care – can no longer be used for their purpose as visitors are no longer allowed in the hospital. Accordingly, we are making the apartments available to the ICU staff at Galway University Hospital who are on the frontline and who cannot stay at home with their families due to infection risks.

This national emergency is putting a strain on everyone and Croí is no different. COVID-19 is presenting serious challenges for us operationally and financially. Because we rely on our own revenue generating activity, all our income streams have effectively been decimated. To those who are still managing to make donations and pledges, we are hugely grateful. Our biggest challenge is trying to keep our team employed so that we can respond to the many needs of those we are here to support and also to be able to continue our work after the crisis . I must commend each and every one of the Croí Team who have risen to the challenge, instantly adapting to our changed environment and remaining 100% committed to our vision and purpose. I am proud to work with such a dedicated group of professionals.

They say that a crisis brings out the best in people and we are experiencing that right now. To our volunteers, donors, sponsors, partners and collaborators – each of you also facing your own challenges and uncertainties at this time – we offer our heartfelt thanks for your continued support and encouragement. We fully understand and appreciate that many of you are now unable to support us financially and this is likely to be so for a number of months to come. If, however, your circumstances allow and you are in a position to make a donation, please visit www.croi.ie/donate with the assurance that your contribution will immediately help those who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

With sincere and grateful thanks.

Stay safe and well,

Neil Johnson
Croí’s Chief Executive

Croí Supports Local Effort To Combat COVID-19

Local Heart & Stroke charity Croí is playing it’s part in supporting the HSE and Galway University Hospital in the fight against the Coranavirus.

“Like all charities, we are being severely impacted by the Coranavirus, both operationally and financially,” says Croí CEO Neil Johnson. “For almost three weeks now, we have ceased all face-to-face programmes and classes in the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre as many of the individuals we deal with are in the highly vulnerable group should they contract the virus. With all programmes ceased, we had an empty building which is adjacent to GUH, and we felt that it could be put to good use in the battle against COVID-19. We are delighted that the HSE are now using Croí Centre as a Contact Tracing Centre.

Furthermore, our Croí Courtyard Apartments will also be used in the current emergency. These apartments are part of our patient support services where we provide them free of charge for use by the families and relatives of those receiving emergency cardiac and stroke care in GUH. As visiting patients in hospitals is now not allowed, the apartments were not being utilised so we have offered them to GUH for use by ICU Staff on the frontline who need to stay away from their families as part of infection control,” Johnson added.

While the Croí building is now being used for other purposes, the Croí Health Team are still available and providing daily support to people living with heart disease, obesity, diabetes and recovering from stroke, through their telephone helpline (091-544310) and regularly updated information and resources on the Croí website (www.croi.ie) and across all Croí social media channels (@croiheartstroke).

Commenting on the impact of COVID-19 on Croí, CEO Neil Johnson says: “All charities are being hit very badly by the current crisis. For Croí we are no different, all our income lines have literally dried up at a time of greatest need for the supports we provide to those who are most vulnerable to the Coronavirus. We are heartened to still be receiving donations from some individuals and organisations who are in a position to do so. We know we will manage to get through this difficult period and we remain available to patients and carers to support them in whatever way we can.”

The Croí website (www.croi.ie) is regularly updated with the latest advice on COVID-19, along with practical guides and tips to help you achieve a healthy lifestyle.

If you need support, you can contact the Croí Health Team on 091-544310 Monday – Friday from 9:00am – 5:30pm or you can email us at healthteam@croi.ie.

Freezer Friendly Foods

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Making the most out of your freezer is a great way to keep a well-stocked kitchen while minimising food waste. A well stocked freezer also serves to reduce the frequency of supermarket trips.

Traditionally frozen foods have been viewed as processed or seen as less healthy, however, these days there is so much choice when it comes to frozen healthy food as well as many fresh foods which freeze surprisingly well!

Here are our top tips to healthy, freezer friendly foods and two useful kitchen skills explained.

Blanching:

Here is how to blanch vegetables before freezing. Blanching is a process in which you boil or steam vegetables briefly until they are partially cooked. It is an essential step before freezing many vegetables like starchy vegetables (such as potato, sweet potato, carrots and parsnips).

  1. Place the chopped vegetables in a saucepan of cold water.
  2. Put in on the stove over a high heat until boiling.
  3. Once boiling, remove from the heat and run under cold water to cool.
  4. Place the blanched vegetables into freezer bags or containers and place in the freezer.

Tray freeze:
Use this method for freezing your own fruit and non-starchy vegetables without them clumping together.

  1. Chop your veg and lay flat in one layer on a baking tray.
  2. Place in the freezer.
  3. Once frozen you can transfer to Tupperware boxes and pop back into the freezer.
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Frozen vegetables are equally as nutritious as fresh vegetables. Where they can differ is in texture with some being more suitable for freezing than others. Generally speaking vegetables with a higher water content don’t freeze as well and certain vegetables such as broccoli and asparagus can become stringy in texture. Aside from the usual: frozen peas, sweet corn and mixed veg, there are so many other vegetables that can be frozen to help make life that bit easier! Starchy vegetables (such as potato, sweet potato, carrots and parsnips) freeze best when blanched before freezing.

Diced onion:
A great idea for those who want to avoid the tears and save themselves from all that chopping! You can buy bags of frozen chopped onion and add to dishes as needed where they will quickly defrost while cooking.

Peppers:
Sliced peppers freeze very well and can then be thrown into a wok or saucepan as needed where they will defrost while cooking.

Stir-fry mix:
Whether shop bought or freeze at home, thinly sliced peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, sweet corn and beansprouts all work well.

Spinach:
While frozen spinach won’t make for a great salad, it works well in cooked dishes such as pasta, casseroles or soups.

Tomato-based sauces:
With or without vegetables, these freeze really well. Simply defrost and serve with chicken or fish for a heart healthy meal with minimal effort.

Fruit:
Berries freeze especially well as do grapes. Frozen berries can then be added into warm porridge, grapes can be eaten frozen and bananas added to smoothies.

Avocado:
While you can freeze avocados, it does change the texture of them. They are best used from frozen for sauces or smoothies rather than on toast, for example.

Fish:
Frozen fish is convenient, less expensive and just as tasty as fresh fish.  Salmon, cod, hake, plaice and prawns are just some of the options available to us. Try to avoid breaded or battered fish and instead opt for plain or lightly seasoned. You can bake it in the oven straight from frozen with lemon and herbs and serve with vegetables and potatoes for a delicious, heart healthy meal.

Lemons:
Pre-cut slices of lemons or limes can be frozen and then used to add to dishes such as baked chicken or fish. Lemon juice can be frozen in an ice-cube tray and the cubes added to dishes or to a refreshing glass of water.

Herbs:
Fresh herbs like parsley, coriander and mint can be easily frozen and cut as needed. Alternatively you can freeze them with a little water in an ice-cube tray. Fresh ginger can be frozen and easily grated into dishes as needed. Chopped garlic can also be frozen which is a great time-saver. Equally you can buy herbs and spices frozen, however it is generally more cost effective to do so yourself.

Potatoes:
Yes, potatoes can be frozen! It’s best to chop to your desired size and avoid using very large potatoes. Blanch them first then place them in the freezer. You can then microwave, fry, bake or boil them from frozen with reduced cooking time. A great idea to pre-prepare homemade wedges.

Rice:
It’s best to slightly under-cook rice that you intend to freeze as otherwise it can crumble. Use the tray freeze method to freeze in one layer in zip-lock bags which will then defrost in very little time and can easily be added to dishes as needed.

Bread:
While some of us freeze bread regularly, most of us defrost it by the loaf which then has to be used in a couple of days. To reduce waste why not store your bread in the freezer and defrost slices as you need them?

Beans and lentils:
You can make a whole bag of dried beans or lentils at once, let them cool and then divide into zip-lock bags and store them in the freezer. When you’re ready to use them, smack the bag on the counter a few times to loosen and add directly to whatever you’re making. For best results, under cook them slightly initially and they’ll cook a little more in whatever dish you add them to.

Home baking:
With more time at home, you may be finding yourself with more homemade treats like cakes, biscuits or buns. A great way to ensure you enjoy the treats in moderation without overindulging is to freeze some to have for later. This was you won’t feel tempted to finish them off while they are still fresh!

Meals:
Many soups, stews, casseroles, chilies, curries, burgers and meatballs (raw or cooked) and pancakes (defrost in the toaster) are all popular, freezer friendly meals. Milk, raw egg (not in its shell), butter, cheese and nuts can all be frozen as well.

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Foods to avoid freezing:

  • Cream-based soups
  • Fried foods
  • Vegetables with a high water content such as cucumber and cabbage
  • Fully cooked rice or pasta
  • Hard boiled eggs.

For advice on food safety while freezing please visit Safe Food.

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Aerobic Chair Workout At Home

Check out our NEW, seated exercise routine below!

Aerobic exercise, as described in our Aerobic Workout at Home page, is any exercise that uses your arms and legs for a continuous period of time such as walking, cycling and swimming. Aerobic exercise can also be performed from a chair. You can achieve the same heart rate rising mechanisms in this manner but for those who have functional limitations and/or chronic conditions such as HF or COPD it may be a better starting point for your exercise programme.