Summer nights: The Joy of Seeds

I picked up a hankering for seeds from my best friend Heather. The taste of that seeded bread I couldn't get enough of in Berlin followed me right back to London, so that when I returned I realised I, like many before me, had finally discovered THE JOY OF SEEDS.

No, I am not Gillian McKeith incarnate, I just think seeds are amazing; they're little but they pack a punch. You can top off most meals with them and they'll add protein, vitamins, fibre and iron to your food without you realising they're there.

I've tried munching on all manner of seeds at my desk before and it's ended in what a stranger would think were drawers full of abandoned bird-feed.  However, I've found that by adding a handful of different seeds to my meals each day, I've begun to crave them and now miss anything that doesn't include a bit of seedy goodness. So if like me, you're not someone who's easily wooed by seeds at snack time, I suggest adding some to breads, salads, porridge, museli, flapjacks, roast dinner stuffing, burritos.... well, anywhere. Here's a few of my favourite seed-embracing recipes for summertime. Yes, they're super easy, but it's a start...

For another summer night dinner I made a giant couscous salad with sunflower seeds, which are a good source of vitamin E, protein, and minerals, and broccoli with sesame seeds, which are a great source of calcium, magnesium and iron. Along with these two recipes I served marinate aubergine, toasted wraps, salad leaves, beetroot hummus and homemade falafel.

Giant couscous salad with grated carrot, spinach, radish and sunflower seeds
Makes enough for 4

300g giant couscous
Olive oil
1 large carrot
Handful of washed spinach
Handful of washed radishes
Handful of sunflower seeds
Juice 1/2 lemon (optional)

Heat the giant couscous in a pan with a little olive oil, before pouring in around 500ml of boiling water. Allow to simmer for around five minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the mean time, grate the carrot, chop the spinach if it is a larger leaf and slice the radishes. Once the coucous is softer (it has a totally different consistency to regular couscous, so instead you're just tasting to see if it is no longer hard as opposed to fluffy), drain, allow to cool a little, and mix in a bowl with the vegetables and the seeds. Top off with some seasoning and the juice of half a lemon if you like it.

Broccoli, sesame seed and soy sauce salad
Makes enough for 4 as a side dish

One medium head of broccoli
1 tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp sesame seeds

Chop the broccoli into florets, and boil in salted water until just al dente. Drain, then back in the pan add the soy sauce and sesame seeds and heat for about 30 seconds, just so the flavours can mix at a high temperature.