Month: August 2013

Beet, Apple, Lemon + Spinach Smoothie

Fresh fruits & vegetablesMy Mum donated some beets to yours truly that a friend had gifted her from their veggie garden – that’s the nicest, I need these friends! Anyway, I just love making things with produce grown in someones garden and then passed along for others to enjoy. Whenever this happens I always end up cooking something really random, it definitely gets the creativity flowing! Take marrows, although I like them I wouldn’t usually buy them but if someone gave me a marrow from their garden, well firstly I’d be honoured but mainly I’d have fun making something tasty out of it…albeit random!Delicious red smoothie

Growing vegetables full stop is too impressive to me but I did actually have my own patch in our garden as a kid – potatoes, onions, carrots and strawberries, funny the things we remember. I’m totally feeling inspired to start a little growing myself but I need to get Russ to build me a few planting boxes first. I’ll start small, maybe simple salad leaves, onions etc, this isn’t a random list but what people tell me are the easy growers. I know I’m going to love it purely gaged on the weirdly high level of enjoyment I get from cutting parsley I grow myself. It’s true, I hope I don’t sound too weird!

I’m right bang in the middle of a juicing phase so of course I was going to make a red smoothie. All I needed was a small leap of faith and I’d be there! Yes, I put beetroot in the Vitamix, hoping and praying that it wouldn’t stain. It didn’t, phew! Now I’m safe in the knowledge that I can pulse my beets without fear of stainage! That’s good news, because beets combined with the right ingredients are gooood juiced up. I shared it with Russ because sharing is caring and this is his favourite so far. It was pretty delicious but I still prefer the meaner greener smoothies.Red smoothies process

Sweet, smooth, earthy and zingy – it definitely perked me up after! This is an energising and cleansing beverage for any time of the day, with three servings of freshness and a good protein boost from the chia seeds. A smoothie juice with a winning edge.

Do you grow your own veggies? What’s the easiest to grow?Delicious red smoothie

Beet, apple + spinach smoothie

(serves 2)

1 beet, peeled & chopped
! apple, chopped
2 large handfuls spinach
1/2 frozen banana
juice of 1 lemon
4 ice cubes
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Easy, Vegan, Dairy Free Cheese Sauce

Easy dairy free cheese sauce & brown rice pastaSo I was googling ‘vegan cheese sauce’ like you do and this came up, which was handy because it’s a damn good recipe. The not so good is I lost an hour (and a half) again in a sea of foodie blogs whilst making myself super hungry.You know how it is, one recipe leads to another, one bookmark leads to a folder full…..anyway I’m so in love with this woman’s fantastic blog. ‘Oh She Glows’ was one of the first food blogs I came across (back when I had lots of time!) and she has the most amazing, creative and delicious recipes here. The photography is far too good and the recipes life changing.  It’s websites like this that change people’s perspectives on vegan/vegetarian food – this woman is a true trailblazer.

Dairy free cheese sauce & pasta

I was never mad on macaroni or cauliflower cheese so I don’t even know why I was looking for a cheesy recipe! Maybe it was for my lasagne, yes I think it was. Anyway, it’s known as comfort food for a reason, it is pretty comforting and today’s rain with greyest of grey cloud made me want this so bad, so I went to my bookmark folder and pulled this gem out. I also wanted to have a good base cheese sauce up my sleeve as it’s pretty versatile.Cheese sauce process

This cheese sauce has no cheese so the cheesy base flavour comes from the mustard and nutritional yeast. Being English I had to use English mustard (the burning nostril kind) over dijon and it worked really well. I can see why nutritional yeast is such a versatile, god sent ingredient – it really does taste like nutty cheese but with no nasties. Does life get any better. Seriously, it’s ramped with B vitamins and folic acid so is fantastic health wise. Also high in protein, fibre and gluten free. It’s a good news day because it’s also the only reliable plant food source of vitamin B12, just one more reason to get on the case. Glad that NY and I are finally together, see I’ve evened acronymed it because it’s become an essential store cupboard item for me.

We enjoyed this with brown rice fusilli and some kale stirred through. They always say the simple things are the best, well this is simple and it’s the best. What more could I ask for on a dull, rainy day?

Nutty. Cheesy. Creamy. Nourishing. Comfort food. Job done.

What’s your favourite way to use nutritional yeast in meals?Dairy free cheese sauce & pasta

Easy vegan, dairy free cheese sauce

1 tablespoon dairy free spread
1 tablespoon rice flour
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1/2 teaspoon onion & garlic powder
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon english mustard

Method:

1. In a small pan over a low heat melt the butter. Meanwhile in a seperate bowl whisk the flour & milk together.
2. Add the milk mixture to the pan, stirring continually over a low heat.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and keep stirring until sauce is thickened – about 5 minutes.
4. Serve over your favourite greens or with copious amounts of pasta.

Apple, Blackberry + Triple Coconut Crumble (GF + Vegan)

Apple & blackberry coconut crumbleGosh, this morning’s workout was full on, I’m aching already and it’s not even lunchtime! I’m completely addicted to circuits and now that I’ve roped Russ into partaking it’s way more fun. It’s like our own little morning work out party – except it’s just us at the party, am I sad? But it’s so much fun designing your own routine in the sadistic knowledge that you’re going to inflict it onto someone else (Russ!) and of course me! The thing is I wouldn’t workout nearly as hard if he wasn’t there kicking some butt too. Goodness knows what the neighbours must think as they pretend not to see us both jumping around in skimpy clothing first thing! Oh well, they shouldn’t be looking in! Of course we workout separately too but these living room circuits are a full on but fun way to jump start the day a couple of times a week! At this rate I reckon I could give Jillian Michaels a run for her money! Anyway, after Sunday circuits we went to Russ parents for tea and cake with the family which wasn’t too shabby either. We left with a big bag of apples. Apples galore!

Aren’t apples pretty? I seem to making a lot of ‘appley’ recipes lately and now Russ’ grandparents have just gifted us a massive bag of them from their garden, which means I’m making more apple dishes this week. It’s so sweet of them, they’re the loveliest people ever so I couldn’t let their fruit, given with such love and kindness go to any waste. The bonus is it’s still blackberry season so I took ten minutes to go pick some to jazz up my coconut extravaganza! Blackberries give a fabulous colour to any dish and they seem to be sweeter than ever this year so I’m eating my fair share.Apple & blackberry coconut crumble,

Apple crumble was my favourite pudding by miles as a kid. Actually, it still is and this didn’t disappoint at all. The crumble has the most delicious creamy coconut flavour which goes too well with the fresh apple and blackberry combo. I used coconut oil, flour and desiccated just because the urge was just too much, three forms of coconut in one dish is a rarity for me so I had to cash in. We devoured ours with cashew cream and take my word for it, this takes it to a whole new level.Very simple process

Apple, blackberry and coconut crumble (well this one anyhow!) is so good it should be bad for you, but it’s really not at all. Quite the opposite in fact, this is packed full of goodness and healthy fat from the coconut ingredients and the majority of sugar derives from the fruit. Apples too are a good source of fibre and regulate blood sugar as a result of the phytonutrients they contain. Added to this, scientists are getting quite interested in the humble apple as they seem to have some undiscovered health benefits, watch this space. For now at least, we can say this dessert regulates blood sugar, provides a steady source of energy and is packed full of heart and mind healthy coconut fats. I think I’ll be eating this for breakfast it’s that healthy.

Delicious apple & blackberry crumble

By the way I have to say once again, crumble + cashew cream = another level (the same level as heaven)! What was your favourite dessert when you were younger and is it still the same?

Crumble & cashew cream + yum,

Apple, blackberry & triple coconut crumble

(serves 4)

5 large cooking apples, cores removed & sliced roughly
1 cup water
1 tablespoon stevia (or your choice of sweetener)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup blackberries
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons coconut oil

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven to 200ºC.  Add apples, water, sweetener & spices to a pan and simmer over a low heat for 10-15 minutes.
2. In a separate bowl combine the flour, desiccated coconut, coconut oil & maple syrup stirring with a fork. It should resemble a crumble mixture. Adjust flour or coconut oil to achieve a crumbly texture.
3. Add the blackberries to the apples and transfer to an oven proof 10-12″ square dish. Spread the mixture out & place crumble mixture on top evenly.
4. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown & bubbling. Serve with ice cream or cashew cream!

Spinach, Butternut Squash + Lentil Curry (GF + Vegan)

Lentil, squash & spinach curryI’m convinced I was Indian in a former life, seriously! I should have been born Indian though because I love all things Indian and of course it’s my favourite food ever. This particular dish is my number one. Everyone has a certain dish they love and are pretty proud of, this is mine. My beloved spice tray is one of my most prized possessions ‘cos without it there is no curry! I’m going back to India this Christmas and I plan to get fully involved with some Indian cookery classes to brush up my curry skills and make me feel like a pro! To me, this curry is too delicious, it’s my curry and of course in my head it’s the best but still, I’d be nervous to give this to my Indian friend! I hope they’d rate my favourite curry creation. Roll on December, I’m excited and eager to learn some fabulous recipes to bring home and use for years to come.Simple & quick process

Curry is comfort food. Lentils are comfort food. So you can only imagine how comforting this lentil curry is. It is very, don’t take my word for it  though, just try it yourself!Pappadums & curry

I love how something so delicious can be so immensely healthy too. This dish is packed full of healing spices including turmeric, coriander and cinnamon. The lentils, squash and spinach provide an almighty helping of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants too. Lentils may be small but they pack a nutritional punch – full of B vitamins, cholesterol lowering fibre, protein and iron. Lentils have endless health benefits, are easy and quick to cook and fill you up, not out! These are perfect for those watching their weight as they satiate, regulate blood sugar and are very filling too. Lentils get a bad rap but I really don’t know why as they give a smooth creaminess to dishes and with a little less cooking time a harder texture to other dishes such as burgers. Lentils of any variety are a staple for me, definitely a veggies best friend. Curry, pickles & India

I’ve been making my own curry for over ten years now and I usually just a play around with a pretty basic recipe. I used to try different recipes but over the years I’ve always come back to this for it’s simplicity, flavour and overall deliciousness. Indian is probably the simplest yet healthiest food to make – once you have couple of the basic spices you’re set to go. This particular dish uses only ground spices for ease with very few overall ingredients in comparison to other curries but feel free to add coconut milk, yoghurt or cashew cream for a creamier curry. I usually dollop the lentils with a heaping tablespoon of the creamiest cashew cream.

This is a dish I crave lots. It’s too too good served with basmati rice, pickles, salad, eggs, papadums and chapatis. I must say though, after I’ve piled my plate sky high it doesn’t look the neatest dish out but it sure does taste delicious!Lentil and the rest!

Spinach, butternut squash+ lentil curry

1 tablespoon ghee (or coconut oil for vegan recipe)
1 small onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaped cup butternut squash, cubed
1 cup dried red lentils
1/2 can tomatoes + 1 can water
salt + pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric, coriander, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, chili + 3 teaspoons garam masala
6 nests frozen spinach (2 handfuls of fresh is fine)
handful coriander, chopped

Method:

1. Heat the ghee over a low heat in a non stick pan. Add the onion & fry gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic & cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add the squash, lentils & tomatoes to the onions, stir through. Add the spices & simmer on low for 30 minutes. Be sure to add a little more liquid if required.
3. Add the spinach & chopped coriander & cook for a further 5 minutes.

Note: If adding coconut milk be sure to adjust water quantities.

Chocolate Coconut Cream in an Almond + Oat Crust, with a Strawberry Sauce (GF + Vegan)

Chocolate pieBirthday time! Not mine though, it’s my niece Chloe’s second birthday so me and the boy are heading over for a little party and some cake with gifts in hand. I’ve just realised not only did I miss her actual birth, I missed her first birthday too, oh the guilt! You guessed it I was outta the country, I suppose you can’t make everything all of the time especially when you can’t seem to stay still for too long! Anyway, I’m here for her second which is the main thing and armed with Peppa Pig paraphernalia and more importantly – chocolate coconut cream in an almond and oat crust. Ummmm. Oh, and the strawberry sauce of course. It’s all a bit of a mouthful, but a delicious one at that!Slice of chocolate pi

Sheer peer pressure is the reason I made this. Well maybe that’s not 100% true but there was a lot. It was my Sister and Mum, they saw this chocolate cream pie and fell in love at first sight! I kinda saw their point so I said I’d make it and what a good decision that was because it’s amazing. Of course, I wanted some for myself and of course I ate the first slice. I said I’d bring the pie to the party for communal tasting but I didn’t mention there’d be a cheeky slice missing! Ooops, I’m sure no one will notice. This may be one for the adults but we’ll see how it goes down with the kiddies, if there’s any left!An easy as pie process

Clearly, something this good just had to be inspired by the wonderful blog, ‘Oh She Glows’. The only deviation was to use 200 grams of chocolate rather than the suggested 340 as it just seemed like such a lot! Definitely a good call as the finished pie was still extremely rich and chocolatey, just perfect.Chocolate pie + strawberry sauce

I’m not a technical kinda cook, more a comfort food, make it up as you go kinda girl but this looked so good I just had to try it. I had visions of a crumbling crust and a floppy innards ‘cos for some reason I don’t trust myself with pie crusts or things that have to set. However, I’m pretty inspired because this worked out so well, the crust set perfectly with the first slice popping out with real ease. Me and my Mum had to hold back from just eating the pie crust alone the aroma was so good. Come to think of it I had to try really hard not to drink the coconut cream before filling the crust too. I’m glad I didn’t because the chocolate cream set to perfection and had the dreamiest, richest and creamiest of flavours, decadent stuff. The oat and almond crust makes this absolutely gluten free and the coconut cream, vanilla & vegan chocolate make for a simple, healthy and dairy free filling. Miles tastier than any other chocolate pie I’ve ever had and it’s 100% void of wheat and dairy – yes it is possible and here’s the proof.Chocolate pie & strawberry sauce

Although the process looks full on, it’s in fact very simple and can be whipped up in no time. 15 minutes baking, 2 hours in a freezer and you’re done, just don’t forget to take it out! I had no problem here, I couldn’t get the thought of eating this chocolate coconut pie outta my head let alone forget about it!A slice of pie

Chocolate coconut cream pie

(12 slices)

crust:
3/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup oats

coconut filling:
1 can coconut milk, chilled overnight
200 grams dairy free milk/dark chocolate, broken
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

strawberry compote:
500 grams strawberries
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons maple syrup
i teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

Preheat the oven to 175 ºC + grease a 12′ pie dish. Place almonds in a blender & pulse to a bread crumb texture. Add the remaining crust ingredients (apart from whole oats) & pulse until a dough forms. Now add the oats & pulse so that the oats are fine but retain some texture. The dough should stick together when squeezed between your fingers. Process for longer if this is not the case.

Sprinkle the crust mix into the pie dish evenly. Starting from the middle, push down firmly with your fingers until the pie crust is compact. The more compact, the better.Prick with a fork 5 times & bake for 15 minutes. Remove after baking & allow to cool.

To make the sauce, mix the cornstarch with some water to form a paste & place in a small pan. Add the remaining sauce ingredients & simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove the coconut cream from the can taking care to separate the cream from the water. Add cream & chocolate to a pan over a low heat, stir until nearly dissolved. Take off the heat & pour into the pie crust. Transfer to the freezer for 2 hours or until set. Keep chilled & serve with the compote. Pie can be frozen for up to a week.Enjoy.

 

 

Kale, Avocado, Mango + Pumpkin Seed Salad – Vegan

DSC_6751I was never the kid who hated greens, there was no need to twist my arm or bribe me to eat them ‘cos I really liked them, a lot. I still do but these days I love drinking them too, something a younger me may have turned her nose up at!  I love every vegetable and fruit out there, there’s not one I don’t like! So I’m not choosy or picky in the slightest aside from the meat part, but just being a vegetarian I’m seen as a little fussy by friends and family! It’s a shame because there’s so much I do eat and I’d never turn my nose up at fresh, whole, natural foods. I need some vegetarians in my life! I was talking to Russ the other day about how I don’t know any other veggies (aside from him) which is weird because when travelling it felt like every second person I met didn’t eat meat. I have my theories but anyway I’m currently on a mission to find fellow vegetarians!KAMPS Salad!

Greens have got to be one of the cheapest vegetables in town and in my opinion the most delicious and versatile too, what a bonus. They make a great alternative to regular salad leaves especially if you massage them with an oil/citrus dressing. There’s so much variety too so I think I’ll try some collards in the next salad bowl. In the meantime I’ll maintain my love affair with Kale with this winning combination of flavours. This raw salad is so simple, fresh, clean and nourishing, it’s definitely a feel good recipe. It’s great as a quick snack and would be perfect with some wholegrain rice or quinoa for a more substantial meal. I dressed mine up to the nines with some cashew cream, just because I’m adding this to everything these days!Kale, lemon & sa

I’m eating this combo a lot at the moment, so much so I’ve named it KAMPS – kale, avocado, mango, pumpkin seeds!Ingredients- KAMPS

The sweet mango with the creamy avocado mixed into the lemon flavoured kale is something special. We all know Kale is the king of greens but avocados are the queen of fruits and truly shine in terms of their health benefits too. They’re excellent for heart health and are full of healthy plant based fats which actually lower cholesterol. Avocados are superb for regulating blood sugar levels and high in fibre too, making them one of the healthiest foods in town. Gosh, kale, avocado and pumpkin seeds in the same dish is pretty nutritionally impressive.

Did you eat your greens as a kid? Are you surrounded by lots of other vegetarians?Kamps & cashew cream

KAMPPS

(serves 2 as a side or 1 as a meal)

3 large handfuls kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 avocado, chopped into cubes
1 small mango, chopped into cubes
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Method:

1. Wash the kale leaves & massage them with the oil, lemon & salt. Set aside.
2. Prepare the mango & avocado. Transfer kale to serving bowls and dress with remaining ingredients.
3. Eat alone or dress up with quinoa, brown rice, rye bread & plenty of cashew cream!

Simple 2 Step Cashew Cream – Time to Ditch the Dairy!

Unadulterated cashew creamDelicious, nutty & creamy, no wonder it’s a vegan staple but you don’t have to be a vegan to get involved with cashew cream, I’m not and I love it! It’s perfect for those who follow a dairy free diet and crave a deliciously heavy dessert cream or perhaps a replacement for sour cream with a Mexican meal. The thing is, to call it a replacement is a disservice because it really is better than any single, double, whipped, sour or clotted cream I have ever had. It really is true. It’s super versatile too, I pour this on desserts, dress curries and tacos, stir through pasta, as a dip, on fruit, into ice cream, as a frosting or  just a dollop on cereals. This trumps dairy any day and I urge you to give it a go because it’s also gluten free, soy free and free of nasty hormones that so much dairy contains. Furthermore, it’s nourishing and spectacularly good for you with a taste that’s so creamy it’s hard to believe.Cream of cashew!

Of course it’s good for you too. Cashew nuts are high in heart protective monounsaturated-fats and lower you’re risk of heart related illness. They’re super high in copper and magnesium aiding bone health too. Cashews are filling and wont cause weight gain like sugar laden reduced fat creams. I promise, I eat this cream a lot and it’s a satisfying and nourishing way to beat cravings.Simply cashews

It’s so simple too, soak the cashews overnight, drain and add the few ingredients to the blender. That’s simplicity. All you need to do is adjust the water quantity for the consistency you desire. For desserts I prefer a thicker whipped cream but for sauces I aim for a pouring consistency. The cashews need to be un-roasted and personally I buy cashew pieces as they’re half the price –  it’s all heading for the blender in the end!

Cashew cream in two easy steps

An added bonus is you can enjoy this in a savoury or sweet version? It can be sweetened up with maple syrup and vanilla for the most delicious dessert cream. The choices for savoury are endless and one of my favourites is roasted garlic and sun dried tomatoes,  it’s pretty special but I’m pretty happy with these unadulterated versions. I swear it’s impossible to make this without eating a heaping tablespoon of dripping cashew cream straight from the blender. I challenge you!

Here is the basic recipe. Have lots of fun mixing it up!

Cashew cream in a mason jar

Cashew cream

1 cup cashews
1 cup, water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sweet version

1 cup plain cashews
1 cup water
2 tablespoons maple syrup or your favoured sweetener
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

Method:

1. Soak the cashews overnight in water.
2. Drain the cashews and add to the blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Note: Adjust water quantity for desired consistency.

Caramel Maca Chocolates – GF + Vegan

Caramel chocolatesAs a kid (and adult!) I had a big thing for white and golden caramel chocolate, especially Caramacs, Milky Bars, white chocolate mice, well white chocolate anything really. I’m just a fiend for white and gold chocolate full stop but the thing is it’s just so sweet, my taste buds must have matured or something! A lot of commercial white chocolate is rammed full of sugar and trans fats so the plan was to make some myself. Plus I was also looking for an excuse to use my heart shaped silicone chocolate moulds!Chocolate making!

These aren’t really like traditional white or golden chocolate because they contain lucuma and maca – they’re Peruvian superfood chocolates! The lucuma provides natural sweetness in maple/caramel tones and the maca gives a malty cereal flavour making them great additions. Both are super healthy for you, so this chocolate is turbo charged with a natural sweetness and a lot of goodness.

Maca, also known as the Peruvian ginseng is an adaptogen which basically means it helps the body to adapt to particular stresses, allowing it to deal with these and adapt naturally. In my opinion this is what makes maca a superfood but of course there’s more to this wonderful root from the radish/broccoli family. It’s rich in protein and B vitamins which is helpful for vegan diets and it’s renowned for it’s positive effects with regards to endocrine hormones balance, fertility issues, mood balance, osteoporosis, skin conditions and as an overall energy tonic. I must start adding this to my smoothies more often.

Sweet and fragrant lucuma is pretty special too and is a fantastic sweetener that doesn’t actually raise blood sugar levels. How that is even possible, I do not know! Derived from the subtropical fruit of the lucuma tree, this powder contains 14 essential trace elements including potassium and calcium and is rich in B vitamins. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, regenerative and has been shown to aid skin repair and wound healing. I’m in.Simple & vegan chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t think making chocolate from scratch was for me being super easy to buy and a lot cheaper too. However,I wanted to make something that was actually good for me, dairy free, with less sugar, contained maca (don’t ask me why!) and of course would make use of my love heart moulds. So I found this recipe on the Sunfood website which looked really easy and is also supercharged with healthful ingredients, like maca. It wasn’t only simple, it was very quick too -just a case of melting the cocoa butter and adding the remaining ingredients before transferring to silicone moulds for the freezer. See- 5 minutes tops. I found I didn’t need as much lucuma (I used just 4 tablespoons) but you can pretty much gage quantities as you combine the ingredients. The key is to create a consistency that’s not too thin but also not overly thick so it can’t be poured into the moulds with ease.I also added two tablespoons of sweetener and a tad more vanilla than the original recipe for a softer flavour.

Easy process for a superfood chocolate

The taste was quite a shock at first as they’re nothing like my Caramac memories but fear not these are delicious in their own spectacular superfood way. Like shop bought chocolate these had a very creamy taste and texture but the flavour is much less sweet with malty cereal undertones. Satisfying. Update: I’ve just eaten another and it tasted better than the first, they’re very moreish! Although I thought ‘do it yourself’ chocolate wasn’t for me, I am ever so slightly converted, mainly because it’s so easy, the results are pretty good and you can control the sweetness levels and flavours too. The plan is to make a darker coconut variety next, or peanut butter, or spiced orange……..

What’s your favourite chocolate and do you make your own?Heart shaped chocolates

Caramel maca chocolates

(makes 20 small chocolates)

1 cup cocoa butter
4 tablespoons lucuma
1 tablespoon maca
vanilla pod, deseeded
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon agave nectar

Method.

1. Melt the cocoa butter over a very low heat until no solids remain.
2. Transfer to a bowl & add the remaining ingredients, mix until smooth.
3. Transfer mixture to silicone moulds or paper cases. Freeze for 30 minutes. Remove from the moulds before the chocolates reach room temperature.

Grain Free Coconut, Apple + Cinnamon Muffins – GF + Paleo

DSC_6649Panic over! I thought I’d run out of coconut flour but  I managed to scoop just enough out (just) to make these amazing muffins. Yes, they really are amazing because they’re grain free and low sugar but taste delicious! Of course I was too happy to make a muffin with all three of my favourite ingredients – obviously coconut flour was involved but so were my over lovers, cinnamon and apple. I just love these two together, what legends.A lot of eggs!

That’s exactly what I thought too: such a lot of eggs! The thing is coconut flour isn’t like those other grains, it sucks up any fluid put it’s way and these eggs help to bind the mixture which creates a moist yet low carb muffin. The apple and cinnamon just transport these to another level for me and the honey adds just the right sweetness. I’ve been eating them all week and they are goooood, just sweet enough, deliciously spiced with cinnamon, nicely light but still moist with apple and raisins.A lot of muffins!

What’s more is they’re wholesome, natural with endless selling points: grain free, low carb, high in medium chain fatty acids (they’re good fats and the ones the body doesn’t readily store but would rather use as energy), blood sugar regulating, fibre rich and a protein kick to boot. Are you’re sold yet? These didn’t last long because they’re the perfect snack and tick off all of the criteria from my snack wish list: easy to transport, delicious, healthy, low carb/high fat, contains at least one form of coconut, cinnamon friendly and a provider steady energy. Job done.A ray of sunshine!

These light and tasty treats are perfect with an afternoon cup of tea. They’re healthy enough to go with breakfast too, really they’re just screaming out ‘healthy snack’ for any time of the day!

What’s your ideal afternoon snack?Deliciously moist coconut muffin

Grain free coconut, apple + cinnamon muffins

(makes 10-12)

5 eggs
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 apple, grated
1/4 cup nut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
handful raisins
1 tablespoon honey

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 ºC. In a mixing bowl, whisk (or blend) all the ingredients (apart from raisins) thoroughly ensuring a smooth batter.
2. Fold through the raisins & allow to stand for 5-10 minutes. Line a muffin tray with paper cases & spoon 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each case.
3. Bake for 15 minutes until the muffins are brown & not too soft to touch.
4. Leave to cool before removing & storing.

Sun Dried Aubergine Bake + Italian Kale Salad – GF

“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself” ~Rita Mae Brown

I’m not having a bad day or getting deep on you, I just love this quote, well quotes generally. It’s one of many I’ve been reading whilst I should be working. I do this a lot! But I need  inspiration every now and then and this is just a reminder that it’s OK to make choices slightly outside of the box or against the grain. It’s all about keeping strength in the face of social conditioning because let’s face it at some point we’re all subject to societal expectations. Not that I’m making any radical choices right now (although that depends on your idea of radical!) but occasionally I do feel the pressure to do things a certain way and I need to reality check when this happens. I don’t want to be in a box anyway! I usually just search quotes on a certain subject and lose myself in a sea of inspiration. I guess I just love random, out of the blue musings, such a great way to distract my mind from a mundane task or worry that I’m headed down wrong choice lane, wherever that may be. At least making an aubergine bake is definitely not down that lane!Aubergine bake italian style

I don’t often cook Italian food  but when I do I wonder why I don’t make the effort more! This really is gorgeous, especially with this mediterranean inspired kale salad. Lately, I’m just loving this massage your food malarkey, it gives the kale a much softer taste and texture as a result of the oil and lemon infusing their magic. I think I’ll be manipulating my kale a lot more! Of course any salad would work well with this, I’m just looking for more excuses to get more kale in to my meals and as I should be.Italian kale salad

Kale is a complete powerhouse of nutrients and has got to be one of the healthiest veggies on the block. Check this out: 1 cup of this humble green veggie provides 1327% of our daily vitamin K needs, now that’s powerful stuff! Let’s just take this fact as an indicator of it’s superiority in the healthy foods arena as it also contains impressive levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, tryptophan, copper, iron, calcium and fibre. Of course there’s more, it’s jam packed full of anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory nutrients too, wow! Apologies for the science lesson but I’m just writing a quick note to myself: eat more kale! Slice, griddle, assemble & bake!

So the bake, well I call it bake but I’m sure there’s a pretty Italian name for this. Anyhow, this recipe is really simple (just slice, griddle, assemble and bake!), unbelievably tasty and full of vitamins and phytonutrients. Apparently, aubergines contain nasunin, an important free radical scavenger that helps protect brain cell membranes, I know – scientific stuff and I’m not one to turn down a brain boost! This is a great alternative to lasagne, especially if you’re looking for a lighter option as it’s very low in carbs. However, I cannot eat this without bread, it’s just one of my  rules.

Delicious aubergine bake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to quotes, what’s your quote of the day?

Sun dried aubergine bake

(serves 2)

2 aubergines, sliced lengthways 1/2 cm thickness
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 sun dried tomatoes, chopped roughly
1/2 teaspoon red chili
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
salt & pepper
1 can tomatoes & half can water

generous sprinkle parmesan (vegetarian), grated

Italian kale salad

2 handfuls fresh kale, stalks removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 fresh tomatoes
1/2 red onion, sliced finely
handful olives, chopped

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 ºC. Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil, charring on both sides in a griddle pan over a low heat. This will need to be done in batches.
2. Meanwhile lightly fry the onion & garlic in a pan over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (except cheese) and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
3. Spoon a little mixture into an oven proof dish. Arrange one layer of the aubergine & repeat with a thin layer of sauce. Repeat until all slices have been used. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven 5 minutes before the end to add the cheese.

Note: It’s important to griddle the aubergine prior to baking to soften them, plus a griddle effect looks nice too. I’ve never assembled this without pre-cooking them but I guess this would be fine as long as the total bake time is extended.

Salad:

1. Place the kale & chopped onion in a bowl or on a chopping board. Combine the oil, lemon & salt in a small bowl. Massage the dressing into the leaves & onion mixture for 3 minutes.
2. Place on serving plate and dress with remaining ingredients.

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