Painkilling Recipes

  • 20 Jul 2011
  • Reading time 12 mins
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Everything you eat is either adding money into your health deposit account, or taking it away. By loading recipes up with anti-inflammatory foods you can switch off post-meal inflammation, which causes joint pains and aches as well as digestive pain and discomfort. You will notice the difference because, instead of feeling tired and deflated you’ll feel energised and alert.

Vegetarian options are included here, and meat eaters’ options are also included for some of the vegetarian dishes. Generally speaking, the recipes are designed for easy adaptation, as far as protein is concerned. Some of these dishes can be prepared in advance and frozen.

Chia and cinnamon oat pancakes with blueberry compote

These little pancakes make an interesting alternative to a traditional pancake or drop scone (Scotch pancake), replacing processed white flour with milled oats and chia seeds. The texture is a little coarser, but they are just as moreish and much, much better for you, being wheat free, low GL and high in antioxidants. If you cannot get hold of chia seeds, you could substitute ground almonds or flax seeds or simply use double the quantity of oats instead.

Serves 4 (makes 8 pancakes, somewhere between the size of a drop scone and normal pancake).

For the blueberry compote: 2 cups of blueberries or mixed berries and a dash of water; 1 tsp ground mixed spice or cinnamon, or to taste

For the pancakes: 45g (just under 2oz) oats; 45g (just under 2oz) milled chia seeds; 35g (just over 1oz) xylitol (or sugar); 1 free range or organic egg; 225ml (about 7½fl.oz) milk or non dairy milk; Virgin rapeseed oil for frying.

  1. First lightly stew the berries by placing the fruit in a small sauce pan with a tiny dash of water and the spice. You can add other berries too. Bring to a simmer, cover and leave to cook for 3 minutes, or enough to just soften. Taste and add more spice if desired. You could sweeten the mixture with xylitol or brown sugar if you feel it needs it. Reserve, with lid on, whilst you make the pancakes.
  2. Grind the oats with the chia into as fine a flour as you can. If your food processor leaves the mixture coarse, try a hand blender to achieve a smoother finish.
  3. Mix the xylitol into the flour.
  4. Whisk the egg and milk together and stir into the flour mixture to form a smooth batter. The chia absorbs liquid so it will thicken more than a standard pancake batter.
  5. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan then spoon in tablespoons of the batter, spreading each out into a rough circle and taking care not to let them touch. Do this in batches and cook each pancake for a minute or two per side to turn golden and firm up before turning. Press down in the pan to flatten and help them cook. Keep a dinner plate on hand to put the pancakes on as they cook, covered with a dish cloth to keep warm.

Serve with the stewed fruit.

Cook’s notes Allergy suitability: wheat/dairy/yeast free (if using non dairy milk)

Butternut Squash and Tenderstem Broccoli Salad

The bright colours of this salad are a good clue to its high ORAC content. Tenderstem is higher in antioxidants than broccoli and the orange butternut squash is an excellent source of carotenoids to help skin and eyes. This can be served whilst the squash is still warm or later, at room temperature.

Serves 3-4

Half a butternut squash, de-seeded and chopped into fairly thin slices (no need to peel unless you prefer to); 2 tsp dried oregano; 1-2 tbsp mild or medium (not extra virgin) olive oil, or virgin rapeseed oil, for drizzling; 200g (7oz) tenderstem; Around 100g (4oz) mixed leaves, like rocket, watercress, baby spinach and lamb’s lettuce; 2 tbsp roughly chopped sun dried or blush tomato pieces in oil, drained; 50g (1oz) walnut halves, roughly chopped Plus salad dressing - optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 225C/425F/Gas 7.
  2. Toss the squash in the oregano and a little oil to coat then place on a baking tray. Roast for around 25-30 minutes or until tender then set aside.
  3. Steam the tenderstem for around 3 minutes or until just tender then rinse in cold water to stop them cooking, and dry in a tea towel. Slice into sticks.
  4. Place the leaves in a salad bowl then add the squash and tenderstem. Throw in the tomato and walnut pieces then dress. 

Cook’s notes Allergy suitability: gluten/wheat/dairy/yeast free (depending on any marinade oil for the sun dried tomatoes)

Raw Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

This soup is similar in concept to a traditional gazpacho, yet with the addition of peppers and cayenne pepper to add more antioxidants and flavour, as well as avocado, which is an impressive source of carotenoids. The fact that it undergoes no cooking or heating means that it also retains as many nutrients as possible.

Serves 2

1 red pepper, stalk, pith and seeds removed; 5 ripe tomatoes; ½ an average sized cucumber; 1 clove garlic crushed; Juice of a lemon; 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; 2 handfuls fresh flat leaf parsley, de-stalked; Pinch cayenne pepper; 1 ripe avocado, diced; Freshly ground black pepper; A little sea or rock salt

  1. Place the pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and cayenne pepper in a food processor and blend until smooth or fairly smooth.
  2. Stir in the diced avocado.
  3. Season to taste – you can add more cayenne if you want it to pack more of a punch.

Cook’s notes Allergy suitability: gluten/wheat/dairy/yeast free

Pumpkin Seed Pesto - for Pasta and Soups

This keeps in the fridge for 2–3 days and can be stirred through soup or pasta (make sure it is wheat-, gluten-, and dairy-free), or added to bean salads. It makes a pleasant change from the basil-and-pine-nut variety.

Serves 4

2oz (57g) raw pumpkin seeds; 2oz (57g) flat-leaf parsley leaves; 2oz (57g) basil leaves; 2 garlic cloves, crushed; 1 tsp Solo salt; 1 dessertspoon lemon juice; 3fl oz (90ml) pumpkin seed oil (roasted if you can find it) or the same quantity of pumpkin seed butter instead of the separate seeds and oil; 2oz (57g) grated Parmesan

  1. Place the pumpkin seeds in a small blender or food processor with the herbs, garlic, salt, lemon juice and Parmesan. Blitz until the mixture is blended but retains some texture.
  2. Add the pumpkin seed oil and mix until the pesto is an even consistency.

Note: There are many good wheat-, gluten-, and dairy-free pastas available from most supermarkets or healthfood stores – try Orgran Rice & Corn Pasta. It is best to get the spirals rather than the tubes as the tubes tend to fall apart when cooking. Cook the pasta according to the instructions (remembering not to overcook) and mix with Pumpkin Seed Pesto. Top with basil, pumpkin seeds and black pepper and serve with a Green Salad.

Patrick's Super Healthy Kedgeree

Can be made in advance. Not a kedgeree for purists, but no less delicious for it. We have gone for broke here by using plenty of high ORAC scoring spices and tenderstem. We have also replaced white rice with brown and reduced the proportion of rice to other goodies in a bid to keep the GL of the dish as low as possible.

Serves 4 180g (just over 6oz) brown basmati rice; Around 275g (10oz) (two medium) smoked mackerel fillet; 2 free range or organic eggs; 200g (7oz) tenderstem broccoli; 100g (4oz) frozen petit pois; 2 tbsp mild, medium (not extra virgin) olive oil, virgin rapeseed oil or coconut oil; 1 clove garlic, crushed; 1 large or 2 small onions, finely chopped; 1 tbsp mild curry powder; 1 tsp ground turmeric; Freshly ground black pepper; A little sea salt, if required; 4 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley; 2 lemons, halved

  1. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the pack then drain and keep warm until ready to use.
  2. Meanwhile, gently poach the haddock for around 4-6 minutes or until the flesh flakes easily when pressed. Carefully remove the fish from the pan and leave to cool. Then remove the skin and flake into pieces, picking out any bones that you come across.
  3. Hard boil the eggs in a pan of boiling water for 6 minutes then cool rapidly under the tap for a minute then set aside to fully cool before peeling and slicing into quarters.
  4. Steam the tenderstem and petit pois for around 3 minutes then slice the tenderstem into lengths of about an inch or couple of centimetres.
  5. Add the oil to a large saucepan and sweat the garlic and onion for a minute or so before adding the spices. Let them gently cook for a further few minutes, taking care not to let them burn, until the onions are soft and fragrant.
  6. Stir the cooked rice into the onion and spice mixture until evenly coated. Add the frozen petits pois and cook for another few minutes to let them soften. Gently fold in the flaked haddock, tenderstem, peas and hard boiled eggs.
  7. Season with plenty of pepper – you may not need any salt thanks to the salty smoked fish and the strength of the spices.

Add the parsley and carefully stir. Taste to check the seasoning and serve with a lemon wedge on each plate.

Cook’s notes Allergy suitability: gluten/wheat/dairy/yeast free - Can be made in advance

Hot Smoked Fish with Avocado

The avocado provides healthy monounsaturated fat, while the fish gives plenty of omega-3 oils – just don’t eat this more than once a week, to keep within your fat limit.

Serves 2

2 fillets hot-smoked salmon or trout; 2in (5cm) stick of cucumber, cut into bite-sized pieces; 1/2 ripe medium-sized avocado; juice of 1 lemon; 1–2 tsp chopped dill or chives; 1–2 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley black pepper; Solo

  1. Skin the fish and remove any bones, then flake into chunks. Place in a salad bowl with the cucumber.
  2. Halve the avocado and cut one side into bite-sized pieces. (Leave the stone in the leftover half and drizzle this with lemon juice to prevent discoloration, then cover and place in the fridge for future use). Add the avocado to the bowl along with the lemon and herbs.
  3. Season with pepper and Solo and gently mix together.

Thai Style Vegetable Broth

This soup is packed with flavour and phytonutrients, and, even better, tastes brilliant.

Serves 4

4 thin slices ginger, cut into thin matchsticks; 2 cloves garlic, cut into thin matchsticks; 1pt (570ml) vegetable bouillon (Marigold Reduced Salt provides the best flavour for the soup base); 1 head pak choi, finely shredded; 2 shitake mushrooms, sliced; 1 carrot, cut in half lengthways, then thinly sliced at a horizontal angle into half-moons; 5 spring onions, sliced thinly at an angle; 2oz (57g) firm tofu, cut into 1/2in (1cm) cubes; 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

  1. Place the ginger and garlic in a saucepan with the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 3 minutes.
  2. Bring the pan back to the boil and add the prepared vegetables and tofu. Season with the tamari, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2/3 minutes.

Fast and Easy Seasonal Stir-Fry

This is a healthier, lower-fat version of stir-frying. Versatility is the name of the game here. You can make this steam-fry with sauces ranging from Chinese to Indian; throw in cauliflower and sugar snaps one night, carrots and mushrooms the next; use tempeh on Monday and chicken on Sunday – in short, anything goes. This is the perfect fallback recipe, using whatever’s in the fridge and store cupboard for a truly tasty meal.

Serves 2

Protein-rich foods 312g (11 oz) tofu, or tempeh cubed or 2 medium chicken breasts, off the bone and diced or 142g (5 oz) filleted fish, cubed

Vegetables Spring onions and garlic, then choose from carrots, broccoli, courgettes, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, runner beans, water chestnuts, mushrooms, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and so on, ensuring there’s enough to fill half your plate.

Seasonings Thai: a handful of chopped fresh coriander, 1 teaspoon green curry paste, and a dash of coconut milk

Chinese: 1 teaspoon tamari (or soy sauce), 2.5cm (1 inch) finely chopped ginger, and 2 cloves crushed garlic

Indian: 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon cumin and 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric

Japanese: ginger, tamari or soy sauce, teriyaki or yakitori sauce (try Kikkoman’s, available in supermarkets)

  1. Steam-fry onion and garlic in your chosen seasoning. Add protein-rich food and stir-fry until cooked.
  2. Add your chosen vegetables, stir-fry briefly, then add a tablespoon of water and clamp on the lid. Steam until vegetables are cooked but still crunchy.


Soft, sweet and sticky Mediterranean flavours, delicious served warm or cold with meat, fish, cheese or quinoa. The bright colours demonstrate the dish’s high phytonutrient and antioxidant content. You can add a glug of red wine or balsamic vinegar to the mixture whilst cooking if you wish.

Serves 6
8 tbsp olive oil (I like to use half medium/mild oil and the other half extra virgin, for the best flavour); 9 cloves of garlic, sliced; 3 red onions, thinly sliced into wedges; 6 red, yellow and/or orange peppers, thinly sliced lengthways; 350g (just over 12oz) cherry tomatoes; 150g (just over 5oz) decent olives (eg Kalamatan. Use pitted if you prefer); Couple of teaspoons of dried oregano (or fresh would be even better, if you can get it); Freshly ground black pepper; Freshly torn basil leaves to garnish

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan (as big as you have got, to let as much of the ingredients as possible sweat on the base of the pan) and gently sweat the garlic and onions for around 10 minutes to soften.
  2. Add the peppers, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes before adding the tomatoes, olives and oregano.
  3. Simmer, covered, for a further 45 minutes until the tomatoes have burst and produced a wonderfully sticky, gloopy sauce amidst the soft vegetables. Season and scatter with basil.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook’s notes Allergy suitability: gluten/wheat/dairy/yeast free (depending if the olives are stored in vinegar or not)

Can be made in advance Suitable for freezing