Raw cacao & almond pralines

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

Woo your Valentine with chocolates which aren’t only devoid of bad stuff, they’re packed with goodness, and The LOVE Drug. As an added bonus, these insanely tasty little morsels take all of 6 minutes to make (I’ve timed it); freeing you up for some extra loving.

Praline-centre

In it’s raw, unprocessed state cacao’s loaded with antioxidants, iron, zinc (said to increase testosterone, stamina and libido..!), calcium and potassium. Cacao also helps produce the body’s happy hormone, seratonin and there’s the Love Drug: Phenylethylamine is said to mimic the feeling of being in love. Minus the drama. And if that doesn’t float your boat, there are always the almonds. Apparently the aroma induces passionate thoughts in women – Samson’s strategy with Delilah…

Makes 25 chocolates (depending on your mould)

Ingredients

1/2 cup cacao butter or coconut oil
2 1/2 tbsp raw cacao
2 tbsp maple syrup or agave
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp macadamia butter. Optional but makes the chocolates sweeter and creamier.

Cacao-pralines

raw-cacao-pralines,-lace

Method

In a bain-marie (bowl placed with a pan of simmering water) very gently melt the cacao butter. Stir in the cacao powder, removing any lumps, followed by the maple syrup. Take care not to boil or over heat or you’ll obliterate the fantastic health benefits of raw cacao.

Check for sweetness and consistency, adding more maple syrup for a sweeter tooth (remember the nut butter will also sweeten). As you’d expect, cacao thickens, butter  adds gloss and thins out.

Pour into moulds or ice cube trays and freeze for 30 mins. Transfer to a fridge to store. Eat. See, quicker than a desperate dash to the garage for Dairy Milk.

For any of you balking at the price of cacao (it isn’t cheap): It packs such a punch, that very little goes a very long way. I’ve had my bag for at least 6 months and I make a LOT of energy bites and chocolates. So, it’s quite possible that gram for gram, it’s cheaper than Cadbury’s.

 

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.

 

Pea, kale, fennel & smoky bacon soup

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

If kale really isn’t your thing but you want some of its (biblically proportioned) health benefits, stick it in soup. While the freshness of the pea in this old classic is retained, the antioxidant, fibre and nutrient dense kale adds a meaty, heartiness which is perfect for fresh spring days and, should you so wish, summer slimming prep. Soup’s also surprisingly quick: this takes 15 mins.

Pea, kale, fennel & smokey bacon soup

Feeds 4-6

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
4 rashers smoked bacon – optional, the fennel seed gives this lots of flavour
1 onion, chopped
3 tsp ground fennel seeds
500g frozen peas
1 ltr Boullion or chicken stock
200g chopped curly kale, stalks retained
Sea salt and black pepper

METHOD

Set 1 dsp of the oil to heat, then fry bacon until it starts to brown. Remove and set aside. Add remaining oil, followed by onions once hot. After a couple of mins stir through ground fennel seeds.

Once onions have started to turn translucent, add in kale, then stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins. Add peas and chopped bacon and simmer for a further 5 mins.

Remove from the heat and blend. I use a hand blender for ease and minimal washing up.

Return to the heat, adding salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

 

Kale superfood salad. And Dolly.

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

Quick, packed with flavour, antioxidants, iron and filling energy, this is my year round Go-to recipe. When rubbed with olive oil, salt and lemon, raw kale breaks down into a super delicious (honestly) and meaty salad leaf; rocket now seems pretty insubstantial by comparison. Sesame & rosemary spice was made for this, the chilli meatiness sticks to the leaves and is seriously tasty. Use as a base for any of your favourite toppings for lunch, supper or take-away.

Superfood-salad

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

Base

1 good handful kale, chopped
1 dsp olive oil
Squeeze lemon juice
Pinch Himalayan pink or sea salt
2 dsp Sesame, rosemary spice – optional but worth the effort!

Optional toppings

1 tbsp cooked quinoa = complete protein, fibre + all essential amino acids.
1/2 avocado, chopped = potassium + heart healthy unsaturated fats.
1 dsp feta, crumbled = calcium flavour kick with reduced lactose (I’m addicted).
1 cooked chicken breast, chopped = filling lean protein.
1 dsp hummus = great sub for meat protein or Middle Eastern deliciousness with chicken.

And some more

Goji berries = sweet tanginess + antioxidant and skin loving beta-carotene.
Rocket leaves = peppery green crunch.
Sticky sweet potato wedges, chopped = low GI filling sweetness
Poached egg = #addictedtoeggs
Balsamic vinegar = adds a tangy sweet contrast to the nutty and creamy salad.

Kale-&-Dolly

METHOD

Using a large bowl, rub the olive oil, salt and lemon into the kale. As you do so, the volume will reduce by half and the stalks pop to the surface – there’s no need to painstakingly remove beforehand.

It’s up to you if you want to include in the salad or discard; Dolly eats mine as I’m prepping. #wholesomeseductiondog

Top with the Sesame & rosemary spice, followed by any other ingredients from the list. The flavours all complement each other, so you can add as many or as few as you like. It goes without saying that you may want to reduce quantities if opting for all eight…

This recipe tastes even better on day two, so make a big batch for instant eating.

For something similar without lifting a finger, try The Good Life Eatery’s Good Life Bowl.

 

Super smoothie bowl

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

I’ve been having green shakes most mornings since January and am now a convert. They’re quick (I put most ingredients into a hand blender jug the night before), deliciously creamy and clean tasting and have done wonders for my digestion, skin, energy levels and reducing bloating. I stick to a base recipe, swapping in extra ingredients for energy, detoxing, immune boosting or alkalising. Tip: Avocadoes transform shakes into creamy sweetness, are a great source of unsaturated fats and are loaded with skin soothing vitamin E; I rarely sub these out.

granola

Feeds 1

INGREDIENTS

150ml coconut, almond or brown rice milk – I like Rude Health
150ml coconut water or sub 50/50 milk and water
100ml water – leave this out if making a smoothie bowl
50g / 1/4 cucumber
50g / 1/2 banana, frozen if possible
1 good fistful of curly kale or spinach
1/2 avocado

Optional extras:

1 dsp parsley – for cleansing the liver, flushing out toxins and water retention.
1/2 tsp maca – for energy
1 kiwi (I chop the ends off but keep the skin) – 1 kiwi contains more than your RDA of Vit C!
1/2 tsp spirulina – for antioxidants, magnesium, iron, B vitamins and calcium.

Making-green-smoothies

METHOD

Put all ingredients in the order listed above into a blender and blitz. I use a stick blender for speed and minimal early morning washing up.

Drink from a glass or transfer to a bowl and top with Almond, orange & cranberry granola and / or bee pollen.

Super-smoothie

TIP

The beauty of green smoothies is that, once you have the fruit to veg ratios sussed, pretty much anything goes. Swap ingredients depending on what’s in the fridge, in season, your hunger levels or dietary requirements.

Nut butters and milks are filling and protein packed, although OD’ing probably won’t help your waistline; I tend to use more coconut milk. You can add a scoop of whey (sweet and inoffensive) or hemp (dairy free but possibly not to everyone’s taste – grainy) protein powder for a low fat hit that fills you up all morning.

I like Pulsin protein powders as (I’m told) they don’t skimp on the quality of ingredients.

Seasonal Seducer: Aubergine

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

Most attractive features

This berry (yup) is a great source of fibre, B1 and B6. It’s an impressive antioxidant and, it’s purple. I quite like purple.

Aubergine-Seasonal-Seducer

Why I fell in love

First off, there’s the way it looks on our dishes. A splash of purple in a sea of green. But it has more to offer – dietary fibre, B1, B6, potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, folic acid… and nasunin. Nasunin is one of the most potent antioxidants and free-radical scavengers out there. So we’re talking cancer fighting, cholesterol lowering and diabetes managing. And it’s purple. I really do like purple.

Seasonal Seducer: Cranberry

Posted in: Uncategorized

Most attractive features

Apart from its tart, tanginess? This little powerhouse is packed with anti-oxidant Vit C, so a key immune booster to help stave off winter colds and flu. And lucky for us, it’s not hard to come by: Drink it; make it into a jelly to serve with meat and game; or pop the sweeter, dried version into your cereal.

SeasonalSeducerCranberry

Why we fell in love

Thanks to its anti-bacterial properties, this berry’s most famous for its warrior skills against a certain urinary infection. It’s said that the condensed tannins help prevent bacteria sticking to the urinary tract. There’s now even preliminary evidence to suggest our festive berry may help protect us from stomach ulcers in the same way.

So you see, a cranberry’s not just for Christmas.

Tomato & parmesan pesto

Posted in: LF, S, SF, WF

Serves 20 (1 dsp per person)

Despairing of UK tomatoes outside of summer (utterly devoid of flavour), I’ve accidentally come up with a solution, which has since become a permanent feature in my fridge. And miraculously, it’s only 39 calories per serving. Taking on board your unerring requests for quick, healthier dishes for people who “don’t cook”, I’m spreading the joy.

Ingredients

500g cherry tomatoes
10 sun dried tomatoes
20g parmesan, chopped
2 anchovies, chopped
1 tbsp basil leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt & black pepper

Method

  1. Blitz all ingredients in a blender. That’s it.
  2. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze. We do 50/50.

Drizzle over fish, chicken or salad; dollop on sweet corn fritters; stir through pasta, or use as a marinade. Basically, anywhere you’d use tomatoes.

Tip: mix with natural yoghurt or crème fraiche for a lighter, creamier option.

39 KCALS PROTEIN 0.8g  FAT 3.5g  SAT FAT 0.6g  CARB 1g OwS  0.9g  Salt 0.2g

 

Sweet-corn fritters, 2 ways

Posted in: DF, LF, SF, V, WF

Sweet corn fritters are fast becoming the new sourdough toast of coffee shops. Both sweet and savoury, we like to serve them as a DIY brunch for everyone to dig in and help them-selves: Bacon, guacamole and salsa or crème fraiche, maple syrup and berries. Smiley, happy people.

 

Makes 10 fritters

 

Ingredients

2 fresh corn on the cob, kernels removed
2 large eggs
1 tbsp rice flour
½ tbsp polenta
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp sea salt
Freshly ground Black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying – coconut oil is delicious, and good for gut health!

 

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients except the sweet corn and 1 egg, together in a bowl.
  2. Add sweet corn and mix.
  3. Whisk egg white only of the retained egg and fold into mix thoroughly.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan on a medium to high heat. Dollop 1 tbsp of mix per fritter into the hot oil.
  5. Cook on a medium to high heat for 2 mins on the first side and 1 min on the second. Or until browned.
  6. Serve immediately or keep warm in a pre-heated oven.

You can also make the mixture in advance and keep in the fridge or freezer. Ideal for a fuss free Sunday breakfast or last minute supper.

Tip: Swapping the rice flour and polenta quantities around gives you a yellower, denser fritter. We prefer the higher rice flour option as it maintains a lighter texture.

Seasonal Seducer: Sweet corn

Posted in: Uncategorized

MOST ATTRACTIVE FEATURES

Excellent quantities of antioxidants, Vitamins C, B3 and A, protein, fibre and folic acid. And it’s low GI. This old timer’s bursting with charm.

WHY WE FELL IN LOVE

Impressively, cooked corn retains its antioxidant activity and although Vit C levels diminish, folic acid actually increases – great news for fritters, soups and stir-fries.

Indispensible the world over, from South America to Spain and India to the UK. There’s a reason we’ve remained faithful to Mr Green Giant so long.