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Holiday activities and food (HAF)

Tower Hamlets' Healthy Holidays guide

Download our Tower Hamlets' Healthy Holidays guide for Summer 2021 which contains ideas, information and inspiration for staying active and eating well.

Falafel burgers

This is a great healthy recipe with lots of space to get creative with flavours – and it also offers some great chances for young ones to get involved in the cooking process by mixing the ingredients and shaping the burgers.

Note: If you have a food processor, save even more time by adding all the chopped ingredients, the chickpeas and the spices to your machine and blitzing them into a coarse paste and skipping to step 2

Makes 4 small burgers

Falafel burgers plated

Ingredients

  • 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • A pinch of fresh flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (optional)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1.5 tbsp sunflower oil

Falafel burgers

  1. Drain the chickpeas and pour into a bowl with a little kitchen roll to make sure they dry out. Meanwhile chop your red onion into a small dice (it doesn’t have to be perfect) and chop a clove of garlic by removing the skin, bashing it with the side of your knife and slicing it thinly. If you are adding parsley, you can roughly chop that now too.
  2. Tip your chopped ingredients and your chickpeas into a large bowl with your cumin and ground coriander (your recipe will still work without the spices, but they’re nice for flavour). Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, crush the mixture into a mouldable paste.
  3. Form them into individual burgers – the mix should divide equally into four, and each burger should be roughly 2cm thick
  4. Heat 1.5tbsp of sunflower or vegetable oil in a frying pan large enough to fit all four burgers. Once at a medium-high temperature (hot enough for your burgers to sizzle but not so hot that your oil is smoky) gently place your burgers in the pan and fry for three minutes on each side until golden and warmed through (turn the heat right down if it feels like they are browning too quickly). Once cooked serve in folded tortillas or bread rolls and add your favourite extras – they go great with fresh sliced tomato or grated carrot.

Toasty tortilla pockets

Toasty tortillas plated

These tortilla pockets are a great way of packing loads of healthy ingredients into a delicious lunchtime meal. You can change which vegetables you include to get all of your child’s favourites in there - and if you want to turn these into pizza pockets for a treat you can add a sprinkle of a melty cheese like mozzarella at the assembly stage.

Makes 4 tortilla pizza pockets

Ingredients

  • 2 wholemeal tortillas
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • ½ tsp olive oil, or cooking oil
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 3 tbsp sweetcorn
  • ½ large field mushroom
  • ½ tsp Sugar
  • ½ tsp Paprika (optional)

Toasty tortillas

  1. Mix your tomato puree in a small bowl with 1 tsp of olive oil (cooking oil will also work) a pinch of salt and sugar, a little black pepper and a pinch of paprika (optional). Once combined, add 1 tsp of water to make sure the paste is smooth and spreadable.
  2. Next chop your large field mushroom, your red onion and your red pepper into slices – they should be thin but they don’t have to be perfect. Once sliced mix them in a bowl with the sweetcorn, a pinch of salt and pepper and a pinch of paprika (optional). You can also add a little fresh parsley if you have some to hand.
  3. To assemble your pizza pockets, first spread the tomato paste to cover one side of your tortilla right the way to the edges. Next spoon in half of your vegetable mixture into one side of your tortilla and fold it in half to make a semi circle – the paste should help this stick together.
  4. Place the pockets into a frying pan with no oil on a low heat – this will give the insides time to cook while the outside toasts up. Once the face down side has become crisp and golden (this should take about three minutes), flip your tortilla and cook for a further 3 minutes on the other side. Slice the tortillas in half and serve with a salad.

Chickpea and cauliflower curry

Cauliflower curry plated

This is a comforting coconut-based curry that has plenty of scope for adaptation. You can add a teaspoon of chopped chili at the same time of the ginger if you want some extra heat. Alternatively experiment with other vegetables alongside the cauliflower like mushrooms, aubergines, or a handful of spinach added at the end of the cooking process.

Makes two portions

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 20g root ginger, peeled (use a spoon to rub off the skin)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 14g fresh coriander (optional )
  • 1/2 cauliflower
  • 200g tinned chickpeas
  • 200g tinned coconut milk
  • Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)

Cauliflower curry

  1. First prepare your ingredients- slice your onion thinly and chop up your ginger into a small rough dice. Break your cauliflower into small florets and drain your chickpeas. If you have fresh coriander, separate the leaves from the stalks and chop them both separately.
  2. Heat 1.5 tbsp of cooking oil in a frying pan and cook the onion on a medium heat for five minutes. Once the onion is softened and slightly browned, add your fresh ginger and spices and cook for another minute on a low heat (you can also add your chopped coriander stalks at this stage if you have them).
  3. Add your chickpeas and cauliflower, stirring to coat them in the spices, then pour in your coconut milk and a 30ml splash of water. Season with salt and pepper, then cover the pan with a lid and cook over a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes until your cauliflower is cooked through and tender (if your sauce becomes too thick you can always add a touch more water).
  4. Once the sauce is the right consistency and the cauliflower is cooked through, you can add a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of coriander leaves if you have them. Serve with rice or flatbread.

Vegetable and rice stir fry

Stir Fry Rice plated

This is a lightning quick, healthy recipe that you can have ready to go in less than 15 minutes. The wonder of stir fry recipes are in their adaptability, so you can always change the vegetables (or add meat/seafood) dependent on what you have available.

Makes 1 portion

Ingredients

  • 1/2 microwavable rice pouch
  • 1/4 sweet pepper
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp sweetcorn
  • ½ field mushroom
  • ½ tsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Stir Fry Rice

  1. First prepare your vegetables – thinly slice the onion (it doesn’t have to be perfect) and chop the mushrooms, peppers and spring onion down into small chunks – they should be a similar size, but they don’t need to be exact.
  2. Next heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, then fry off your sliced onions, mushrooms, peppers, spring onions and sweetcorn at a medium-high heat. After 3 minutes add your spices and a tsp of soy sauce, then continue to fry your ingredients for a further two minutes.
  3. While your pan is still hot add your rice (no need to heat it up in the microwave) and a splash of water (around 50 ml will do). Continue to stir fry until all the clumps of rice are broken down and cooked through (this will take around 5 minutes). Serve with a scatter of sliced spring onion on top.

Fish cake

Fishcakes plated

Tuna is a great source of protein and essential vitamins, and oven baking instead of shallow frying makes these fishcakes a great healthy lunch option.

This is a good recipe to make the day before if you know you will be short on time – just prepare steps one to four, then leave covered in your fridge overnight and pick up where you left off.

Makes 4 fish cakes – 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of tuna
  • 3 potatoes – approximately 300-350g
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1tsp tomato puree
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Plain flour

Fishcakes

  1. Chop your potatoes into roughly 2cm chunks, put them in a small saucepan and cover them with cold water. Season with a pinch of salt, bring the pan to the boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, slice up the spring onion, drain the tuna and keep both to one side.
  2. Once you can poke through the potatoes with a spoon, drain the water out and leave them to dry in a colander or sieve for five minutes. This is important as it will make sure your fishcake mix isn’t too wet later on.
  3. Next make the mix - place your potatoes in a large bowl and add the tuna, spring onions, tomato puree, a pinch of salt and the cumin and paprika (both optional). Mash the ingredients together with a wooden spoon until fully combined, then stir through 2tbsp of plain flour. To test its consistency, scoop up a spoonful of your mixture and hold it upside down over the bowl – if it stays on the spoon your mixture is ready. If it falls off, add another tbsp of flour until the mixture is firm and mouldable. If you have time, leaving the mix to chill in your fridge for at least half an hour will also help the fishcakes to hold their shape in the oven.
  4. Once firm enough, coat your hands in a little plain flour to stop the mixture sticking and shape it into four fishcakes, placing them on to an oven tray with baking parchment as you go (if you don’t have any baking parchment to hand you can use 1 tsp of oil spread across the base of your baking tray to make sure your fishcakes don’t stick). Brush the tops of each with a little oil, and place on the top shelf of your oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve up with a cucumber salad.