Mediterranean cream of tomato soup with garlicky toasts

Mediterranean cream of tomato soup

Tomato soup is one of the most delicious and comforting soups. But forget those canned tomato soups packed with preservatives and laden with sugar and sodium. This soup — made with canned tomatoes and tomato paste for convenience — gives you the rich color and natural sweetness of tomatoes, without any unwanted food additives, and it can be prepared in under 20 minutes.

The oregano and thyme have a natural affinity with tomatoes, and the addition of onion and celery creates a lovely balanced flavor. The garlicky toasts are a great accompaniment — their crunchiness complements the velvety texture of the soup, and the garlicky flavor enhances the soup’s Mediterranean flavors. We prefer to pan-grill the toasts in a large frying pan because it gives them a delightfully crisp, light texture. But you can also cook them under the oven broiler.

Here’s the recipe.

Gingered salmon stir-fry

Salmon stir-fry

We live not far from the Marlborough Sounds, at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s a majestic marine environment that offers an abundance of outdoor activities as well as a bounty of locally-produced foods. When we visit, we enjoy mountain-biking along the Queen Charlotte Track and kayaking in the pristine waters of the Sounds. We also enjoy eating the amazing Green-lipped mussels and arguably the world’s best salmon which are farmed in the deep, crystal clear waters.

The Sounds

We’ve been hankering to head to Marlborough this summer but haven’t had a chance, so when we spotted some gorgeous salmon fillets at our supermarket seafood counter that had been delivered fresh from the Sounds that morning, we figured that we could at least treat ourselves to a taste of the region in the meantime. As well as give ourselves a tasty way to get a hit of healthy omega-3s.

In terms of flavor and texture, this salmon is so good that when we do cook it at home we like to keep things simple and add just a handful of other ingredients to complement the salmon. For this dish we marinate it briefly in soy sauce and ginger before stir-frying in a dry wok (the salmon releases its natural oil during cooking so you don’t need to add oil first). We like to pair the mouth-wateringly moist and tender salmon with sweet, tender-crisp stir-fried green beans and yellow pepper, but you can also use snow peas and red peppers if you prefer.

Here’s the recipe.

Our most popular recipes of 2016

Well it’s been another year of feasting for us. From fragrant curries, comforting pasta dishes and rustic stews to warming soups, and super satisfying stir-fries, all washed down with a wine or cold beer. And not once have we counted a calorie, or worked out how many grams of fat or carbohydrate are in our meals. Yet neither one of us has gained any weight. In fact my jeans are actually feeling a little looser than they did this time last year.

But we’re certainly not surprised — it’s been like this for years now. And all we’ve been doing is simply eating how the world’s healthiest and longest living populations eat, plus we’ve been moving naturally as part of our everyday lives (which is another thing the world’s longest living peoples do).

Here are our most popular recipes of 2016. And we’re looking forward to cooking up lots more delicious and nutritious Mediterranean and Asian meals in 2017!

Italian Stew

Italian Stew with White Beans, Artichoke Hearts and Olives. A robust Italian stew with cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Wonderful served with crusty bread, polenta, pasta, rice or couscous.

Thai chicken soup

Thai Chicken Soup with Basil and Lime. A warming and delicately spiced Thai chicken soup accented with fresh basil and lime juice.

Cantonese chicken stir-fry

Cantonese Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry. Bite-size pieces of chicken stir-fried with red pepper, green beans and baby corn and coated in a glossy and flavorful Cantonese sauce.

Spinach and feta stuffed mushrooms

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms stuffed with sautéed spinach, garlic, oregano and crumbled feta, and baked until tender.

Potato and asparagus salad

Potato and Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing. An Italian-inspired salad with asparagus and chunks of potato coated in a lemony basil dressing.

Thai-spiced baked salmon

Thai-Spiced Baked Salmon. Succulent salmon infused with a ginger, lime, chili and cilantro dressing, and baked until deliciously moist and tender.

Tuscan chickpea and spinach fritters

Tuscan Chickpea and Spinach Fritters. Protein-packed chickpea fritters with spinach and rosemary. Delicious served as a fritter with salad, and they also make super tasty veggie burger patties.

Mediterranean chopped salad

Mediterranean Chopped Salad. A delicious medley of Mediterranean ingredients including chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers, cucumber, red onion and walnuts coated in an oregano-infused red wine vinaigrette, and served on a bed of mixed salad leaves.

Roasted vegetable medley with rosemary, garlic & lemon

Roasted vegetables

With Christmas just around the corner, this Roasted Vegetable Medley with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon makes a tasty alternative to traditional roast veggies to serve on the side of festive meals.

The beauty of these roasted vegetables is their simplicity — and there are a few tricks we’ve learned which guarantee great results. Start by cutting the vegetables into uniform bite-size pieces so that they’ll cook evenly, and then pat them dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture, which helps them roast up better. You need to provide ample oil so that the vegetables turn crispy during roasting. Not swimming in oil, but enough to coat all the vegetables well. We’ve found that it’s easiest to toss the vegetables with the oil mixture in a large bowl, using your hands to mix well, before transferring to a baking dish — one that’s large enough to fit the veggies in a single layer.

It’s best to serve these roasted vegetables piping hot straight from the oven to retain their crisp texture. However, you can roast them ahead of time and reheat them briefly in the oven to crisp up. Leftover roasted veggies (if there are any!) are great on pizzas, in pies, frittatas and quiches, stirred into risottos, pasta dishes and bakes like lasagnas, added to stews and curries, tossed into salads, blended into soups, or eaten straight from the fridge as a snack.

Here’s the recipe.

Infographic: The World’s Healthiest Diets

I was recently sent this interesting infographic about the world’s healthiest diets, and I thought I’d share it with you. It shows how the Mediterranean diet and the Japanese diet are very different when it comes to cooking techniques and seasonings, but both traditional diets share the same key nutrients which can help us to live longer and healthier lives.

The infographic explores the nutrients which make these diets so powerful, the dishes in which they can be found, and provides practical steps you can take towards healthier eating habits.

World's healthiest diets

Greek pita pizzas

Greek pita pizzas

As much as we love pizzas made with homemade dough, there are times when we want pizza but don’t fancy making dough from scratch. So over the years we’ve experimented with a variety of bread bases as alternatives to dough: English muffins (Ham, pepper & olive mini pizzas); flat-breads (Smoked salmon, feta & zucchini pizza); baguette (French bread pizza); and even naan bread (Indian-style naan pizza).

But one of the best instant pizza crusts we’ve used is pita bread. It’s a staple of many Mediterranean meals; from pita bread sandwiches to homemade pita chips served with dips and spreads. So using traditional Greek pita bread instead of the usual pizza base provides the perfect canvas for these Greek-inspired pita pizzas.

In this recipe, whole grain pita breads are spread with tomato paste and topped with a mix of simple Greek ingredients: sweet red peppers, red onion, kalamata olives, oregano, garlic, and crumbled feta (which browns beautifully in the hot oven).

These Greek Pita Pizzas make a deliciously healthy lunch or dinner. You can serve them with a side salad for a more satisfying meal, and they make great festive food served with a wine or cold beer.

Here’s the recipe.

Chicken, broccoli and mushroom stir-fry

Chicken, broccoli and mushroom stir-fry

We were planning on sharing this stir-fry recipe with you earlier, but three days ago our region in New Zealand was hit by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. Just after midnight we leapt out of bed when we felt our house shaking from side to side. We ran out on the lawn and the ground was swaying so violently that it felt like being on the deck of a ship in a storm. It was over in less than a minute, but that had to be the longest minute of our lives. Luckily we were far enough from the center of the quake that the damage around here has only been minimal, and at the moment we don’t have any running water. Here’s a photo of the wine section of our local supermarket after the quake:

NZ Quake

Unfortunately there has been much more extensive damage to those areas that were closer to the center of the quake. And tragically two people lost their lives in an area not far from us. So we count ourselves very lucky.

NZ quake

Anyway, better late than never, here’s our latest recipe, Chicken, Broccoli and Mushroom Stir-Fry.

Announcing our new cooking app, The MediterrAsian Table

The MediterrAsian Table

For the last three years we’ve been busily working on a secret project, and we’re excited to be able to finally tell you about it. Our first ever mobile app, The MediterrAsian Table, is now available for the iPhone and iPad (with an Android version coming soon).

The app features over 150 simple, delicious and nutritious Mediterranean and Asian recipes, plus hundreds of variations. But it’s much more than just a cooking app, it’s also a complete healthy living guide based on how the world’s healthiest and longest living peoples eat and live. And it’s all contained within a beautiful, streamlined interface that’s intuitive and easy to use.

Join us in celebrating the launch! Download The MediterrAsian Table from the App Store, and tell your friends and family the good news.

About The MediterrAsian Table

The centerpiece of the app is the collection of over 150 Mediterranean and Asian recipes, including stir-fries, pasta dishes, curries, stews, sushi, soups, salads, sandwiches, appetizers, side dishes, and desserts. This collection is a mix of new recipes (many of which we’ve been cooking and enjoying for years, but hadn’t photographed or published before), as well as the very best recipes from our website and blog (with extended headnotes, plus added variations and serving tips).

Here are just some of the delicious new recipes:

New Recipes

All the recipes in the app have an accompanying full screen photo. And these photos look so vivid and detailed on the high resolution iPhone and iPad screen that it feels like you can almost reach in and grab the food! The recipes are also really easy to follow, with step-by-step recipe instructions that can each be tapped to mark as complete.

Recipes

Shop, cook and eat better

Having this collection of recipes on a mobile device makes them so easily accessible. You don’t even need an Internet connection. But it’s the functionality of the app we love the most. The automated shopping list function, for example, makes planning and shopping for meals a breeze.

With one tap, the ingredients for any recipe are added to your own personal shopping list. This list can be viewed by recipe or by grocery aisle, and it’s automatically updated every time a new recipe is added. When you go grocery shopping, simply tap each item in the shopping list to cross it off.

shopping list

It’s also really easy to attach a note to a recipe. If you’ve ever jotted down notes in the margin of a cookbook you’ll really appreciate this feature.  And if you find that you’re cooking a certain recipe again and again, you can add it to your own favorites collection so it’s always easily accessible.

Favorites

A simple and practical guide to following the world’s healthiest diet

A growing number of scientists, doctors and dietitians believe that a MediterrAsian diet — which combines the best features of the Mediterranean diet and Asian diet — is the world’s healthiest diet. We’ve been following a MediterrAsian way of eating for over a decade and a half, and over that time we’ve immeasurably improved our health and wellbeing. We’ve also learned lots of valuable lessons on how to incorporate Mediterranean and Asian eating and lifestyle practices into our hectic Western lives.

In the app we guide you through the simple process of setting up your own MediterrAsian kitchen. We show you exactly what foods to stock in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer (you’ll probably be surprised by how many of these foods you’re already familiar with). We also introduce you to the preparation and cooking techniques you’ll use most often, and share lots of practical tips on how to save time in the kitchen.

Kitchen

There’s also a 4-week MediterrAsian meal plan which includes breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for a full month. You’ll find there’s no counting calories, or fat grams, or carb grams, or anything like that. You’ll be eating delicious well-balanced meals that are naturally moderate in calories yet very filling (so you won’t get hungry), and also rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and amazing health-giving antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Nothing is set in stone with this plan, and there certainly aren’t any strict rules and regulations. In fact, it’s up to you if you want to follow the plan to the letter, or just use it as a blueprint to give you inspiration.

Plan

Another big feature of the app is the MediterrAsian 101 section where we show you how to easily (and joyfully!) mimic the traditional dietary practices of people who live in Mediterranean and Asian regions of the world. This section includes the ‘MediterrAsian Pyramid’ which is a simple at-a-glance guide to eating and living the MediterrAsian way. We also outline some highly effective ways to slip moderate daily physical activity into your everyday life, without having to formally exercise. We also reveal lots of simple ways you can mimic the relaxed, less stressful lifestyles of people from traditional Mediterranean and Asian cultures.

MediterrAsian 101

How to eat and live well the MediterrAsian way

You don’t have to move to the Mediterranean region or Asia to enjoy the wonderful tastes and incredible health benefits of a MediterrAsian way of living. All you have to do is apply these same simple principles in your own life. And The MediterrAsian Table provides you with practical advice and recipes to help you do just that.

We hope you enjoy it!

Download from the App Store