Creamy superseed and coconut butter

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Relentlessly moreish, filling and self-righteously nutritious, almond butter has been one of my storehouse staples for many years. Slathered on toast, dolloped into smoothies or mainly, scooped from the jar pre or post training, yoga or surfing. This is the iPhone 6S to the 4, upgrade now. To retain the health benefits, I keep most of the ingredients raw, but toast 1/3 of the nuts and seeds for extra flavour.

Coconut-superseed-butter

Makes: A vat, you may want to halve measures

INGREDIENTS

400g almonds
200g sunflower seeds
150g pumpkin seeds
250g peanuts or cashews – both delicious, although peanuts are much cheaper.
3 tbsp coconut oil – in this recipe I use virgin / unheated for a stronger coconut flavour
Pinch sea or Himalayan pink salt

METHOD

In a 180 degree oven, lightly toast 1/2 the almonds and cashews until the edges start to brown with the centres remaining white when you bit in the middle. Approx. 6 mins.

Toasting gives a more intense nutty flavour. I like to keep some raw so as to maintain as many nutrients as possible, without compromise to flavour, but you can swap as you wish.

Using a Magimix or wide based blender:

This recipe couldn’t be easier: add all ingredients and combine.

After 1 min, stop and scrape down the sides.
If making a crunchy nut butter, remove 1/3 of the breadcrumb consistency nuts and set aside. If you like a smooth butter, there’s no need to do this.

Continue blending, scraping down the sides every minute or so, until the nuts release their own oils and the butter loosens – 6 mins upwards, depending on the power of your blender.
For crunchy, return the retained 1/3 of nuts to the finished nut butter at the end and combine lightly; be sure not to overblend or you´ll get a smooth butter.

Using a Vitamix or tall blender:

You’ll need to go more slowly and carefully so as not to clog and overheat the blades. Start with half the almonds and all of the oil (Vitamix seems to need liquid, annoyingly) and continue to add through the top hole as the nuts blend fully.

I go pretty slowly on a low number setting and scrape down the sides every 30 secs or so.

Spooning-nut-butter

Your nut butter will keep in sealed jars for several weeks, although I imagine it will be long gone before then; this has passed the taste test with countless people, it’s seriously addictive.

 

Banana, almond & cardamom pancakes

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

These pancakes are seriously delicious and filling. Plus they’re easy. I’ve deliberately kept the prep (and dishes) to a minimum for a fuss free Shrove Tuesday pudding / supper, or Wednesday AM post Pancake Day breakfast. Almonds are packed with anti-oxidants, Vit E, fibre, magnesium and protein and are proven to reduce insulin and blood sugar levels after eating. As you’d expect, these little delights are also seductively, yet wholesomely, gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free, and a great option for all you paleo people out there.

Banana, coconut & cardamom pancakes

Makes 8 – 10 pancakes. Feeds 2

INGREDIENTS

1 egg, whisked
1 banana, mashed
4 tbsp ground almonds
2 tbsp desiccated coconut – or sub for 1 tbsp almond
1 tsp baking powder
16 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed – optional
1 tbsp almond milk, sparkling water or water
1/2 dsp coconut oil

To serve

1 lemon
Creme fraiche, Coyo coconut yoghurt (I love this!) or greek yoghurt
Maple syrup

METHOD

Whisk eggs in bowl, add in banana and mash with fork. Add in remaining ingredients, apart from coconut oil and toppings, and stir. Set aside for a couple of minutes for the baking powder to activate.

Melt coconut oil in a frying pan and maintain a steady medium to low heat. Dollop in 1 dsp scoops of your pancake mix. Fry until browned, around 1 – 1 1/2 mins on the first side and 1 minute on the reverse.

Serve in a stack, alternating between a squeeze of lemon and yoghurt between each layer. Drizzle with (mineral rich!) maple syrup and eat. So good.

Tip

Cardamom’s a bit like Marmite so drop this if not to your taste, I love cardamom but don’t always include it. I find the easiest way to remove the seeds is to bash the pods in a pestle and mortar until the husks separate themselves and can be easily removed, allowing me to crush the seeds to a fine powder.

Click here for more info on Storehouse Seducer almonds.

The mug and plate in the picture are by South African potter, Wonki Ware. I hauled mine back in hand luggage (worth it!) but The Conran Shop has recently introduced a decent, and growing, range.

 

Cranberry & lemon amoretti

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, V, WF

Thanks to your calls to action post my supper clubs, fitness events and yoga holidays, this superhero stars again. Almost 2 years after I first shared the recipe, it really is a good one. True Wholesome Seduction: a super tasty snack that’s healthy, low carb and protein packed. These mini morsels are even vegan, dairy, gluten and refined sugar free and still somehow taste of un-compromised indulgence. Ideal for pre / post exercise; a (very buff) friend now keeps them at the ready for his relentless triathlon training hunger. Groan! If iron man fitness doesn’t float your boat, they’re perfect with coffee.

Cranberry-&-lemon-amaretti

Makes 10 – 12 amoretti.

INGREDIENTS

200g ground almonds, bought or home made (skin off almonds)
zest of one lemon
20g / 1 tbsp dried cranberries, rough chopped
2 medium egg whites
2 dsp maple syrup, raw honey or agave

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 150C. Mix almonds, lemon zest, almond extract and cranberries and set aside.

Lemon-zest-amaretti

Whisk together egg whites, agave and honey until you get soft peaks. Fold in almond mix. You should have a sticky dough.

Cranberry-amaretti-dough

Break off chunks and roll into pieces slightly smaller than a golf ball. Coat with icing sugar (optional) and place on greaseproof lined baking tray.

Cranberry-&-lemon-amaretti-dough-balls

Bake for 12 – 14 mins until lightly browned on top. With a knife, unstick the bottom and transfer to a cooling rack.

Cool before eating and store in an airtight container.

Eating out: The Good Life Eatery’s Top 5

Posted in: DF, Featured, LF, N, Reviews, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Lunchtime queues have been unavoidable since this shrine to LA and New York clean eating opened its doors 18 months ago. Brainchild of Yasmine Larizadeh and Shirin Kouros, The Good Life Eatery is a long time coming for the ever growing allergy friendly and fitness obsessed hoi polloi. True Wholesome Seduction, recipes include Red Velvet cake made without gluten or refined sugar that tastes better than ‘the real thing’ (trust me), skinny eggs royale (ditto), protein superfood shakes, detox salads and kale, kale, kale! We like kale.

Skinny-eggs-royale-on-sunflower-seed-rye

I may be a little obsessed with this place and as such, have worked my way through most of the menu. I’m pretty sure any of the Top 5 listed in this post will plead my case: click on the images and re-cap at the end.

Where The Good Life Eatery really gets my vote (apart from for its evidently passionate and ingredient savvy staff) is that while raw and vegan fare are standard, meat and eggs are also on the menu. Love an egg. You’re not out of place (or a pain in the ass) if you order a cappuccino, almond ‘mylk’ flat white or a Ninja Turtle avocado and spirulina shake to kick start your day. Hail non-despotic Good Life.

So-Clean-So-Fresh

Almond-milk-flat-white

While I’m not vegan, vegetarian or following a 100% raw diet, I eat a lot of plant based recipes,. I love the passion and relentless creativity inherent to this world. The traditional rulebook of “gourmet cooking” is thrown out; gluten, dairy and (refined) sugar-free are a given and honestly taste better than the real thing. In my opinion. And my dog’s apparently.

The-Good-Life-Eatery

Maybe I’m biased because I feel better when I avoid certain ingredients – sugar is an insatiable drug that instantly sucks me back in. Green juices, and Kale Lime Pie, (Oh yes!) not only satisfy my sweet tooth, they give me energy, make me happier and don’t pile on extra pounds to haul through chataranga. If you’re cutting out certain ingredients, want more energy, or just love food, give my Good Life Eatery Top 5 a go and see for yourself:

The Good Life Eatery Top 5

  1. Skinny eggs royale. The star of the show and the drool shot that pulled you in. As good as it looks.
  2. So Clean, So Fresh. Basically The Good Life bowl for brunch (remember those eggs?). And the most versatile salad staple. For a similar recipe try my Meanest, greenest (& meatiest) superfood salad.
  3. Ninja Turtle shake. Will turn you into a ninja. Obvs. 
  4. Dr Green Love or Drink Your Salad green juices. I can’t pick just one. 
  5. Raw cacao mousse. You’ll be amazed by how good this tastes, and it’s actually super healthy. Think: antioxidants, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, fibre etc. For a DIY version so easy a toddler could nail it, try my Raw Chocolate Orange Mousse.

There are also a multitude of other creamy protein shakes and tangy energy juices, along with excellent coffee. Every cake I’ve tried has been delicious: The raw cacao brownie bites are happily, without a whiff of date, and the banana muffin is suitably sweet and gooey yet feels like an acceptable breakfast.

Did I mention I was a little obsessed? Said love has seeped into my eating habits and I’m starting to feel so much better as a result. I have more energy, feel lighter and need less sleep – I normally live by the minimum 8 hrs a night dogma. Over the coming weeks I’ll blog my go-to recipes here.

The Good Life Eatery, 53 Sloane Ave, SW3 3DH.

Mon – Fri: 7.30am – 8pm. Sat: 8am – 7pm. Sun: 9am – 6pm.

 

Strawberry, almond & mint smoothie

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, V, WF

The lack of spring (entirely forgiven in light of the recent outpouring of unbroken, blistering sunshine) wasn’t all bad. UK cooler conditions caused a slower growth and more time for the plants to develop in the soil, equalling plumper, juicier, sweeter berries. Make the most of the 2013 vintage crop by blitzing and freezing to use in recipes throughout the year. And gorge on beach body smoothies in the meantime. This is a great breakfast option as the almonds and oats are not only good for you, they fill you up for longer. As with this recipe, unearth inspiration and berry buddies with our Gather & Gather friend, Niki Segnit’s indispensable Flavour Thesaurus.

Strawberry,-almond-&-mint-smoothie

 

Feeds: 2 as a breakfast or 4 as a dessert

 

Ingredients

1 tbsp / 12 almonds – I like skins on
3 tbsp oats
1 tsp cinnamon
12 strawberries
2 bananas
1 bunch fresh mint
1 dsp Sweet Freedom / Agave / honey
300ml rice milk (or cows milk)
100ml cold water 2 tbsp yoghurt, optional

Method

In a blender, blitz almonds and oats until they resemble a sawdust like texture. You’ll need to scrape down the sides after about 5 seconds and repeat.

Follow with remaining ingredients and blend till smooth. You can also add yoghurt for a thicker, more filling smoothie. If so, you may want to thin out slightly with some water or milk.

Not wishing to disparage the best of berries, but this recipe’s just as good without the strawberry or mint when your frozen stash runs out: nutty banana cream.

Click on the Seducer links to learn why your insides will love this recipe as much as your taste buds: Almonds and Strawberries.

Orange, almond & chocolate cake

Posted in: DF, Featured, S, SF, V, WF

This is one of my all time favourite recipes: uber moist; sophisticatedly sweet and tangy; distinctively almondy. A cake for grown ups. Commonly used in Spanish and Moorish cakes, almonds bring so much more to the party than Bulk Out Flour, and they taste better. They’re filling, good for us, moist in baking and gluten free. The swapping of sugar for Agave is a trick I’m a tiny bit pleased with. Options are also given for sugar and Stevia (saccharine barf) FYI, though my preference on both taste and waistline would be Agave.

You can lose the choc drops for a more traditional recipe which is also sugar and dairy free. This cake is so devoid of bad stuff, in fact, you can even use it as an energy and protein pick me up for fitness training. I’ve baked in tartan cups as a nod to Edinburgh’s Brew Lab inspiration from last week.

Orange,-Almond-&-Choc-Cake

 

Ingredients

3 medium oranges
4 tbsp Agave / 3 tbsp Stevia / 300g tbsp caster sugar
400g ground almonds
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp dark choc chips

For the syrup

2 oranges, juice of
2 tbsp Agave / 1 tbsp Stevia / 100g sugar

Method

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4. Grease and line a 25cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper. Alternatively, you can make 8 – 10 individual cakes with muffin moulds or ANTA ovenproof cups.

Clean oranges, cover with water in a saucepan, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 mins. Cut into quarters, removing the seeds.

Transfer to a food processor (retaining the peel!) and blitz with 4 tbsp of the Agave or 300g sugar for about 30 secs. Add almonds, eggs and baking powder and puree for a few seconds before scraping down the sides and blitzing again until smooth – approx. 10 secs.

Fold through the choc chips and transfer into your greased tin. Bake for 50 or so mins. If opting for the muffin-sized cakes, cook for 20 mins. A knife should come out moist. Set your cake aside in the tin or cups for 10 mins.

Making-Orange,-Almond-&-Choc-Cake

Bring the syrup ingredients to the boil and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken. Prick the cake/s all over with a skewer and pour over the syrup. Leave to soak up all the juices.

Once cooled, remove and serve on a plate, or directly from your ANTA cups. Dollop with double cream.

The almonds will keep this cake moist for several days. In fact, it will go moldy before it goes stale. As an added bonus, almonds are also a Seducer, check out their charms here.