British singer Sam Smith picked up quite a load of hardware this time last year at the Grammy Awards. But shortly after he unpacked those Grammys, the singer, who last night won a Best Original Song Oscar for Writing’s On the Wall, embarked on a health journey after he met with nutritional therapist Amelia Freer and promptly dropped 14 pounds on her plan of clean, simple food. All told, Smith has lost nearly 50 pounds.
Freer’s work with Smith and before that, with Boy George, thrust her into the spotlight and her first book Eat. Nourish. Glow. became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
I learned of Freer a couple years ago from Boy George’s Instagram account. Scattered among the outrageous selfies were totally delish photos of smoothies, salads, soups and other clean eats. Boy George is even featured in Freer’s latest book, Cook. Nourish. Glow. He contributes a vegetable side dish and raw soup recipes for the book and says, “I love food and I love cooking. Amelia has taught me the foundations of healthy eating so I can still enjoy my food whilst keeping healthy.”
While her first book was more of a guide and offered a couple dozen recipes, her latest book is a big hardcover with 120 recipes. Her dishes don’t cut out entire food groups but they are somewhat lighter on grain, gluten, processed sugar and dairy. She keeps real life in mind and makes sure that the recipes are fairly quick with a concise list of ingredients.
“I do not support an obsession with healthy eating at all — it’s just about eating real food and understanding what it can do for our health,” she writes in the introduction. She really wants people to get comfortable in the kitchen, so she prefers the term “food assembly” to describe the act of preparing a quick, nourishing meal.
Here’s a flavor-packed spin on a favorite healthy staple —turkey burgers! — which kicks things up with harissa paste and sun-dried tomatoes.
- For the burgers:
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons harissa paste (find it at specialty markets or make it yourself)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Coconut oil
- To serve:
- 1 head gem lettuce, leaves separated
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into slices
- 2 vine tomatoes, sliced
- Dijon mustard
- Mix the ground turkey, shallots, garlic, herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and egg yolk together in a large bowl. Add the harissa paste, season well with salt and pepper and mix again.
- Using your hands, divide the mixture into four and press into patties, roughly 1 inch thick. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- When you are ready, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove the burgers from the fridge and lightly grease a nonstick baking sheet with a touch of coconut oil. Arrange the burgers on the sheet and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.
- Serve the burgers on a bed of the lettuce leaves with the sliced avocado and tomato on top of each one. These are particularly lovely with a dollop of Dijon mustard.
Are you comfortable trying new recipes like this in the kitchen? —Gail