Monday, 11 June 2018

Arthritis Friendly Recipe: Sweetcorn Curry

Curry is a popular dinner in our house - the little people are especially keen on it.  I probably make some kind of arthritis-friendly but highly in-authentic curry twice a week. Daal is our go-to but I also like to make healthy twists on traditional British curries like korma or masala. This curry recipe is a new favourite and probably the quickest and easiest curry recipe you will ever make. Sweetcorn is blended with aromatic spices to make a thick, creamy but surprisingly healthy sauce. I sometimes add a handful of cashews before blending and omit the butternut squash to make a richer, no-chop curry. 

Both ginger and turmeric are traditional arthritis remedies as well as tasty curry ingredients - you can read more about their efficacy here and here.


300g chicken breast or thigh pieces (or you can use Quorn pieces)
198g tin of sweetcorn (165g drained weight)
150g diced butternut squash (I used frozen ready chopped - see my tips on cutting squash here)
1tbsp mild curry powder
1tsp turmeric
1 onion, roughly chopped
1tbsp rapeseed oil
1/2 chicken or vegetable stock cube
200ml coconut drinking milk (the thin kind in a carton not the tinned type)
1tbsp natural yoghurt
Thumb sized piece of ginger, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed

Serves 2 adults and 2 small people

Heat half a tablespoon of the oil in a casserole dish or large saucepan and fry the chicken or quorn pieces until just cooked through.Tip out on to a plate and put to one side.

Using the same pan, add the other half-tablespoon of oil and then sweat the onion, garlic and ginger until softened. Add the curry powder and turmeric and cook for a minute or so. If it is all getting a bit dry in the pan add a splash of water.

Tip in 2/3rds of the can of sweetcorn, the butternut squash, half stock cube and coconut drinking milk. Bring the pan to a simmer and cook until the squash is soft - about 10-15 minutes. Use a stick blender to puree the mixture until it is smooth.

Add the remaining sweetcorn, chicken pieces, yogurt and baby spinach leaves. Cook until the spinach has just wilted and then serve. 

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Arthritis Friendly Recipe: Healthy Cookie Dough Bites

I say healthy cookie dough bites but I think I should probably be honest and admit that they are 'healthier' rather than downright healthy! I hate it when recipes for claim to be more than they are - at the end of the day this is still a sweet treat and still high in sugar but it's a darn sight more nutritious than a spoonful of traditional cookie dough and everything in moderation, right?

There are lots of recipes on the internet for so-called 'healthy' cookie dough bites but most contain a lot of fat (usually from peanut butter) or coconut oil. Peanut butter is great in moderation but there are better, less inflammatory fats for arthritis out there. Equally, I'm not yet sold on the health benefits of coconut oil, I prefer rapeseed (canola) oil for cooking. So, I've used cashew nuts here and not so many as to make the bites a calorie-bomb. I've also added soy protein powder to make them a more sustaining snack. Feel free to substitute whey protein or use all oats instead (which is what I do when I am happy to share these with the kids) . Finally, I sometimes add inulin powder to these to increase the fibre content of the bites and act as a prebiotic. Totally optional but fun if you like tinkering with random ingredients like a mad (food) scientist.

150g dates
30g cashews
30g soy protein powder (see notes above)
50g oats
1 tsp vanilla extract
25g 85% cocoa dark chocolate - finely chopped

Makes 9 bites

Soak the dates and cashews in cool water for one hour before making the bites. Drain them really well and then blend until smooth with the vanilla extract (I used a hand blender as I hate cleaning the food processor...).

Stir the oats, protein powder and dark chocolate. If the mix is too wet add a more oats and if it is too dry add a tiny bit of water.

Take walnut sized blobs of the mixture and roll into balls. You can eat them immediately or keep them in a cool place for up to three days. I stash some in the freezer so I can grab one whenever I fancy it for my handbag.

NB: these are gluten and dairy free if you use gluten free oats and dairy free chocolate (which almost all 85% cocoa chocolate is). Do check protein powder packets carefully if you have an allergy or intolerance as some have added ingredients that may not be suitable for your diet. If you need to make these nut-free, sunflower seeds are a good substitute for the cashews.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Arthritis Friendly Recipe: Avocado Vegan Scones

Bare with me on this one!!! I haven't completely lost the plot over the last year - avocado actually makes a great, healthy substitute for butter in these easy, arthritis friendly, three ingredient scones. They are also dairy-free and vegan so great if you or your friends and family can't have milk products for whatever reason.

Avocados are high in fat but it's the healthy monounsaturated kind. They are also a good source of bone friendly vitamin C and B group vitamins. I find avocados easy to cut and scoop even with sore wrists as long as they are very ripe. I use a stand mixer to make scones as I find that easiest and it cuts down on the amount of 'help' my kids try to give me - something about the pale green dough seems to be irresistible to little fingers...


225g self raising flour
150ml dairy free milk (or you could use soy yoghurt for an even richer scone)
50g (half a small) avocado

Makes 8 small scones or 4 large

Mash the avocado with the yoghurt. Add the flour and mix until just combined - don't over work.

Place the dough on a floured board and pat out with your hands until it is about 2cm thick. Cut out scones using a sharp cutter. Repeat with the leftover dough.

Bake for 15-20 minutes (it will depend on the size of your scone) until well risen and golden.

Like all scones these are best eaten on the day they are made. You can freeze leftovers and  revive them in the oven though.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The Missing Year

Well hello there! Long time no see.

I've written and rewritten this post several times as I've tried to figure out what it is I want to say after such a long absence .

Around this time last year our second child was born after a difficult and traumatic pregnancy, including me spending the last trimester away from my family as an inpatient in the local hospital. Our baby was born premature and then caught a very serious infection after coming home and ended up back in ICU. We're lucky that they are doing well now and things are much more settled for our whole family but I have spent the last year just being happy that we are all together and, frankly, not thinking very much about my arthritis or cooking.

A  few weeks ago though I couldn't remember the recipe for one of my favourite meals (this one) and ended up looking it up on the blog. I started browsing all the recipes I have posted over the years and muttering to myself that I could do better. At around the same time, my arthritis has started grumbling - I'm long overdue going back on medication and chasing after two small children takes its toll. So this is my tentative step back into the kitchen - and back to 'Cooking with Arthur'.


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