cinnamon

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.

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.

Peach, Maple & Cinnamon Rice Pancakes – GF

Rice pancakes & peachesA randomly acquired food rule I broke yesterday: Pancakes are reserved for weekends or holidays. Yeah right!

Well first up, what a silly rule and such a terrible way to live! To think about all those weekdays I’ve been missing out on my own personal pancake (well these are more crepe like) party. I suppose I’ve always associated pancake breakfasts with lazy weekends or scenes from American sitcoms where nobody’s in a rush to get to work. But these aren’t even time consuming. In fact, they’re quick, very quick, so I’m gonna make a point of eating these during the week in the hope of tricking myself! If this means I’m late for work then so be it, my pancake stack is worth it. I’m worth it!Peachy pancakes

As if being delicious isn’t enough, these are a great way to start the day and an excellent canvas for adding fruit and other delicious extras. I’m trying to eat less gluten so rice flour provides a tasty alternative  to wheat. These are a little heavier than they would be if you used almond or oat flour but the overall result is pretty satisfying. I love peaches, especially when they’re on the verge of over ripe. Yep, I reckon peaches are my favourite fruit and I love them even more with cinnamon and sticky syrup. These would work with any fruit really, dress them up or down, they’re easy going and accepting of most additions. Just be sure not to eat all your fruit before the pancakes are finished, like me! How can anyone in their right mind slice a ripe juicy peach and leave it alone? Peachy pancake process

These are just too simple not to make, enjoy them any way you want them. Be sure to break your own food rules and take some time over breakfast…..even if it makes you a few minutes late!

Peach, maple & cinnamon rice pancakes

(Serves 1)

50 grams rice flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 organic egg
1/4 pint coconut/almond milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
coconut oil, for frying
1 ripe peach, sliced
Maple syrup for drizzling

Method:

1. Combine the rice flour, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Place milk in a measuring jug, adding the egg and maple syrup.
2. Combine the wet and dry ingredients to form a smooth batter.
3. Heat the coconut oil in a pan and add a ladle of batter. Cook on each side for a minute and transfer to a warm plate. Repeat until batter is finished.
4. Arrange pancakes and peaches on a plate. Drizzle with maple syrup. Enjoy.

Spiced Carrot Muffins

Carrot spiced muffin

Do you randomly reminisce about mediocre food you were fond of as a younger you? I do, all the time but come to think of it, I think about any food, all of the time! Of late it’s been the ginger biscuits I made as a kiddo, usually when I was bored or avoiding homework. They were nice but I wonder, were they really that good? I’ve been thinking maybe it’s the nostalgia that makes food seem more appealing than it perhaps was?! In their defence, these ginger biscuits were pretty popular though, my family loved them for a good tea dunking. It’s just that there really wasn’t anything special about them, they were just biscuits. But they were the first biscuit recipe I nailed and gosh was I proud! See, it’s nostalgia. They were bursting with immense gingery goodness, probably because I usually doubled the suggested 1 teaspoon to 2, well 2 1/2 actually!

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to make some gingery baked goods for a while now. I just love ginger with it’s warm, rich, spicy yet sweet flavour provoking memories of a gloriously sticky ginger pudding smothered in creamy pale yellow custard. Even a fiery Thai or Chinese stir fry packed full of ginger just makes you feel warm and comforted. Yes, I think there’s something comforting about ginger and I love that it’s good for us too. In India, ginger is viewed as a complete wonder spice and this is good enough for me (being a huge fan of all things Indian).

I used an overly-heaped teaspoon in the muffin mix because I just love the flavour and it works fantastically with the pineapple, carrot and raisins. In hindsight, these could even take some more – so if you like ginger go for 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons. Definitely a match made in heaven. I’m thinking of making oatmeal with these flavours, kind of like an exotic carrot cake breakfast. I used honey and crushed pineapple to sweeten and to ensure it retained as much moisture as possible, plus I wanted to replicate the moist and sticky ginger puddings I loved so much as a kid.

Step by step

Alongside ginger I used a teaspoon of cinnamon,  another spice I am completely obsessed with. I use  both these exotic spices most days, even just a sprinkle on cereal, toast or porridge. A few years back in the middle of some hefty marathon training  I read that cinnamon is amazing for blood sugar regulation. Obviously, eager to gain a winning edge I started stirring heaps into my breakfasts, popping it into smoothies, sprinkling on honey toast, whisking through pancake batter and adding generously to my curries, North African dishes, well anything really. I swear this carried me through the long hard training and not once did I ‘hit the wall’ as they say in running jabber. Purely psychological? Maybe, but there’s something in it, quite literally. Whenever I google ‘cinnamon benefits’ it never ceases to amaze me (same for ginger) how healing these can be! I’m pretty mindful about generous health claims but the taste, aroma and colour of these spices just make you feel like you’re doing your body a favour.

These muffins are super blood sugar regulators and high in fibre too.  Full of wonderful flavour and texture, these muffins are an acceptable breakfast snack and even a worthy pudding contender – with a scoop of ice cream or  a dollop of custard. Are you sold yet?

Carrot spiced muffin
Sticky, sweet, spiced & fruity

What was the first recipe you mastered as a kid (or adult for that matter!)?

Spiced Carrot Muffins

(makes 10-12)

1 1/2 cups of wholemeal self raising flour
1 teaspoon of ginger
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
small handful of crushed walnuts
small handful of raisins
2 tablespoons of honey
1 cup of shredded carrot
1 cup of crushed pineapple
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg

Method:

  1. Sift all the dry ingredients together and combine well. Add the walnuts, raisins and carrot.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients and mix just enough to fully combine.
  3. Place in 10-12 muffin cases and sprinkle with oats.
  4. Bake at 175 ºC for 25 minutes.

Bake for 25 minutes at 175 °C.

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