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.

 

Raw chocolate & Cointreau mousse

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

No refined sugar options seem to be the latest health trend consuming the nation, so what to do at Christmas? Super creamy and chocolate rich, this is seriously delicious; your taste buds will feel in no way cheated – I can’t quite stress this enough! Thanks to the lack of nasties and abundance of good stuff (vitamins, minerals, unsat fats etc), it won’t leave you in a food coma or relentlessly scrambling for the Quality Street bucket. It also takes 10 mins to make, tops. Although not obligatory, the addition of Cointreau comes highly recommended.

Raw-chocolate-&-cointreau-mousse

Feeds: 6 – 8

INGREDIENTS

2 avocados
2 tbsp cacao powder
4 tbsp / 100g cashew nuts
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
300ml water
1 tbsp Cointreau or juice and zest of 1/2 orange

METHOD

Blitz all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix until smooth and creamy. Transfer to small glasses or bowls and set aside in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. Beware, it’s pretty rich; chocolate shots are probably the way to go…

Easiest Christmas ever. Ho ho ho.

Coconut & cumin mung bean thoran

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

Mung beans can have a bad rep, often associated with flower-powering, free-loving, sixties stoners. This is a little unfair, I feel. When cooked, mung beans are as versatile as a toddlers bowl of penne pasta, with enough bite to woo the most discerning Italian. They’re also insanely good for our digestion. In fact, this thoran (a traditional recipe wouldn’t have garlic) was developed specifically for my lethargic Indian stomach by Keralan (medicinal) chef, Raheem – Delhi belly’s just one Indian holiday affliction apparently. Packed with cleansing and anti-bloat ingredients, this is my go-to skinny stomach smoother. It’s also a supper club and yoga holiday favourite; I’m yet to feed it to anyone who doesn’t go back for seconds, hence blogging it here.

mung-bean-thoran

Feeds 4 – 6

Ingredients

200g mung beans
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 tsp mustard seeds
4 tsp cumin seeds
2 red onions, chopped
4 – 6 cloves garlic, chopped, depending on your taste
100g spinach, chopped
6 tbsp desiccated coconut
½ tsp turmeric
Salt to taste, I like Himalayan pink or sea salt

Method

Soak mung beans overnight. When ready to cook, set to boil until tender yet still with a bite. Add salt when water comes to boil, not before. Set aside.

In heated coconut oil, fry mustard seeds over a medium heat until begin to pop. Follow with cumin, garlic and onion, turn up the heat and sauté until onions turn translucent and start to brown.

Tip in desiccated coconut, followed by mung beans and turmeric. Fold through spinach, cook for a couple of mins and serve. I like this as a light supper or lunch, just as it is, or alongside other salads or my Prawn, coconut & tamarind curry.

Tip: It’s said that turmeric loses it’s medicinal powers (anti-bacterial) when burnt or overcooked, always add at the end of a recipe.

 

Coconut & mushroom scrambled eggs

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

Crunchy yet creamy; seductive yet wholesome; filling yet bloat free; these are scrambled eggs as, I’d hazard a guess, you’ve never had them. I’m addicted. Knowing my appreciation for his native nut, and Wholesome Seduction, #ChefRaheem of Old Harbour Hotel in Kerala worked his magic on countless coconut incarnations for ‘Madam’. Every one created with health and healing in mind. Raheem’s an artist and doctor all in one. And my unfailing inspiration.

Coconut-scrambled-eggs

Feeds 1

INGREDIENTS

1 dsp coconut oil
2 eggs
Dash coconut (or cow’s) milk
Salt and black pepper – I like sea or Himalaya pink salt
½ carrot, grated
1 tbsp mushroom, or spinach. Or both.
1 tbsp desiccated coconut

Optional extras:

1 tbsp spinach, finely sliced
1 dsp cabbage, finely sliced – I like this for added crunch
¼ onion

METHOD

On a medium flame, set coconut oil to heat in a frying pan. Meanwhile whisk eggs with milk and salt. Set aside.

Sauté carrot and mushroom (+ any other optional extras) in the hot coconut oil for 1-2 mins – you want the veg to remain crunchy.

Add whisked eggs, stirring until cooked and fluffy. Add in most of the desiccated coconut, remove from the heat immediately and serve.

Top with the remaining coconut and a side of roasted tomato or toasted rye bread. I like Village Bakery for taste and because there’s no added yeast (yeast = bloat and lethargy for me).

ChefRaheen-and-Vineetha

Click here for why I fell in love with coconut oil and here for the best ones to buy

From the streets: Coconut oil

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

Wholesome Seduction has featured a few recipes containing coconut oil recently so I think it’s time to explain my (and the UK’s) latest love. Apart from transforming sweet potato wedges into sticky and crispy comfort food, the health benefits of this miracle fruit (botanically a drupe) are so extensive, fitness gurus are eating the oil by the dessert spoon. Literally.

Virgin-Coconut-Oil

For the full lowdown find out why I fell in love here. Think metabolism boosting, energy sustaining, bacterial and viral infection fighting and apparently, weight loss!

There are countless raw or virgin varieties available in wholefood shops. Unfortunately, at £10 a pop they don’t come cheap. There’s now a ‘cuisine’ (non raw / refined) option for a fiver which makes sense if you’re cooking.

What’s the difference? In all honesty, I attribute most of the (crazy £10!) cost to marketing and fashion. South India’s awash with palm trees and the smell of dosa (a kind of breakfast pancake staple) being fried in coconut oil. A year’s supply wouldn’t even set Amma back a tenner. Having said that, there is something in the raw / virgin tag line.

Refined vs. raw coconut oil

Virgin-vs-Refined-coconut-oil

All coconut oils are refined as the oils need to be extracted from the whole fruit; raw has just been less so. As goes with the raw argument, such foods are said to retain higher levels of their nutrients and antioxidants. The (more) refined version doesn’t alter the medium chain fatty acids so still ticks all the virtues that make this a Storehouse Seducer.

I stock up on £2.50 tubs of KTC, an Indian brand, when I can get them. Note: KTC (above) is more easily found by the bottle but given the oil sets outside of tropical climates, not ideal as it can’t be poured. #globalsalesstrategy #fail

Since I sub other oils for coconut wherever taste is either improved or uncompromised, I go through quite a bit so use two types: Raw for energy balls, shakes and spreading on toast, and KTC for scrambled eggs (yep), roasting and frying kale and fritters. The good news: many dishes taste infinitely better. When cooked, coconut oil has a creamy flavour and adds a crispiness that would turn the local chippy green with envy.

KTC: £2.50 from Asian shops and Tesco World Food aisle. Biona and Lucy Bee: £9.95 from Wholefoods or Planet Organic. Biona Cuisine: £4.95 from Wholefoods. Amazon also has slightly cheaper bulk buying options and rumour has it Lidl plan to get in on the cut price action.

 

Some more coconuts:

For the purpose of this post, I’ve focussed on the oil, but actually, so extensive are this drupe’s merits, it comes in every imaginable incarnation: dairy free ice cream (amazing), yoghurt (ditto) and of course, the water celebrities practically bathe in.

CoYo

Invo-Coconut-water

All of them at prices requiring a conversation with the bank manager. Who’d have thought this stuff grows on trees?

 

Storehouse Seducer: Coconut oil

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

MOST ATTRACTIVE FEATURES

This one’s a keeper like no other. Said to boost energy levels and metabolism (cue: calorie burn) and promote thyroid health and weight loss (tall order…). It can fight bacterial, viral and fungal infections including candida; there’s even evidence to suggest the effect of Alzheimer’s may be reduced and type 1 and 2 diabetes improved.

green-coconut

Athletes and fitness freaks dollop it in their shakes for sustained energy levels. And beauty experts smother it on their skin and hair to combat skin conditions and maintain glossy locks. Coconut oil is indispensible inside and out it seems.

WHY I FELL IN LOVE

By no means a new kid on the block, coconut oil won South East Asian hearts centuries ago. Catching on to the countless virtues, it now seems there’s not a health or fitness savvy man or woman in the UK who can live without their daily fix.

Prawn, coconut & tamarind curry

Posted in: DF, S, SF, WF

A healthy, tangy and creamy curry to help you on your way to summer body. That’s right, curry needn’t be laden with ghee and consumed only in the early hours. In fact, the spices and coconut oil in this recipe are even good for your gut. I’ve used prawns for a potentially wider appeal, but I also make this with any white, sustainable fish as a less extravagant mid week supper.

Prawn,-coconut-&-tamarind-curry
Feeds 4

INGREDIENTS

2″ piece ginger
2 red chillies
4 cloves garlic
6 tsp coriander seed, toasted and ground
1 tin tomatoes or 6 ripe tomatoes

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 onions
3 tsp tamarind paste
1 dsp Agave syrup
1 x 400ml can coconut milk or coconut powder if you can get it.
1 tsp sea salt
500g raw, shelled, uncooked tiger prawns or white sustainable fish, deboned.
1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

METHOD

In a blender, blitz ginger, garlic, chillies, tomatoes and coriander seeds to make rough paste. Depending on how many I’m cooking for, I often leave half aside at this point to make a fresh curry another day. If you’re going the whole hog, however, use the lot.

Heat coconut oil in heavy based pan, chop onions and fry on medium to low heat until they’re translucent.

Add your tomato paste to the onions and cook for 5 mins, stirring intermittently. Follow with tamarind, Agave, coconut milk or powder and sea salt. Cook on a medium heat for 10 mins.

Check for seasoning, put the prawns or fish into the pan, stir and cook gently for 3 – 4 mins, or until meat is cooked through.

Serve with brown rice, roti or wholemeal paratha and chopped coriander. I also like this on it’s own for supper, effectively as a chunky soup… when carb baby needs curbing.

Coconut-powder

Tip: Tinned coconut milk can vary widely in flavour from the real thing, often altering the curry considerably. Even if fresh coconuts were readily available in the UK, however, I’m not about to start tackling them. So, I was very pleased to come across coconut powder in the world food isle, which somehow tastes far more authentic. You just add to the curry, diluting with water to your taste. Frozen roti and paratha are pretty easy to come by in most supermarkets too.

Tip: Don’t throw away coriander stalks. Instead, keep in the freezer to add a clean, freshness to other curries. See Spring lamb with apricots & chilli for example.

 

Travel pick: Holy cow

Posted in: Travel, Uncategorized

This month is a significant one for me; five years ago I popped my India cherry. And my holidays have never been the same since. Each year I try to break away from my spiritual addiction and fail. Since April 2008 I’ve back-packed (kind of), boutique hotel’d and eaten my way from sand and dust suffocated Rajasthan to tropical India’s most southern, sticky, coconut fringed tip.

Mumbai, India

I’ve stepped bare foot and cashmere wrapped onto the world’s most demonstrative declaration of love, the Taj Mahal; and breakfasted on Masala dosa with my benevolent, cattle class neighbour on India’s celebrated railway.

Indian train timetable

I’ve been served tea by our fawning butler, immersed in Munnar’s tea plantations and 1950’s rose gardens; and eaten Coorgi pork with Arabica coffee estate owners (and my hands).

Munnar tea plantations

Munnar's tea pickers

Coorg. Coffee drying.

Rehydrated on road side tender coconut surrounded by monkeys and wild elephants and contracted dysentery in Old Delhi. Served me right; even Hippy Mum was more discerning.

street food: Old Delhi & Coorg

Old Delhi

Cleaned (the dorm!) toilets, eaten off the floor, chanted and yoga’d away the controlled with military precision hours in an Ashram.

Ashram

I’ve ridden on elephants and fed them turmeric rice (gut goodness). I’m slightly partial to elephants. Apparently the females are the calm ones which I’m sure we’ll all agree is unusual.

Indian elephants

Gawped in wonder at Udaipur’s breath taking lake palaces, street murals and washing Ghats.

Udaipur Lake palace & washing ghats

Hobbled, dysentery fevered, around the blue city of Jodhpur, its Red Fort, Ganesha’s and innumerable scabby and bony Holy cows.

Jodhpur & Ganesha

And `shed a tear for the wives who threw themselves onto their Maharaja husband’s funeral pyre.

Funeral pyre wives

I’ve recuperated in the sand city of Jaisalmer and nearly thrown up again at the site of the refuse collecting pigs capacity to inhale ANYTHING.

I’ve papped the entire local population of 15th century Hampi (again with the cows), escaping the sweaty, lack of AC on the night train for Bangalore’s slick hotels, roof top bars and Victorian parks. Once more photographing the entire, camera spellbound population; laughing and being touched by the unaffected warmth of almost every one of them. Minus the cows.

Holy cow

Hampi children

I’ve bought yoga gear in Mysore, stretched it in Goa and scootered my way from Bollywood star hangout, to Goan sausage stall, to samosa beach hut.

Goa beach

Goa samosa breakfast

Yet no-where has drawn me back quite like Kerala and Fort Cochin, which somehow manages to tick every chic, cultural holiday box. So strong is the bond, in fact that I may have returned upwards of 14 times. Annihilating my never go back in favour of seeing the world decree. Find out why soon. To be continued…

Anzac biscuits

Posted in: V

In honour of Anzac day next week (25th April), and of our Gather & Gather brand launch, my very talented Kiwi colleague and chef, Tony has somewhat altruistically shared his closely guarded recipe. Thank you land of Antipodeans!

Anzac Biscuits

Takes: 15 mins. Makes: 15 biscuits

 

Ingredients

85g oats
85g coconut
100g caster sugar
100g plain flour
110g unsalted butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate soda

Method

Preheat oven to 180C
Combine oats, coconut, sugar and flour and melt butter.
Stir bicarb with 50ml of hot water and add to dry mix, followed with the melted butter.
Roll your dough to the size of golf balls and press to 1″ thick.
Bake on a lined tray for 20 mins and Bob’s your uncle.

Anzac biscuits were originally sent by wives to Australian & New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) abroad because the ingredients didn’t spoil easily. So you too can enjoy yours way beyond the 25th!

Gather & Gather talent

Pre joining us at Gather & Gather, Tony worked with Wholesome Seduction food guru and Favourite Places owner (see The Tapa Room or the new Kopapa), Peter Gordon. #yesthisiswork Sorry, gloating is so vulgar but I couldn’t resist.

Anzac day remembers Australia and New Zealand’s major casualties of the First World War.

Fort Cochin: Chic, tropical India & chai

Posted in: Travel

Unable to withstand yet another day of bone chilling, sludgy (Spring!) London snow, I’ve fled to my Indian home: Fort Cochin in Kerala. Via a quick eating fest in Bombay. Here’s a snapshot to tide you over until full disclosure when I’m back on UK soil.

Fort Cochin, Kerala, India. Wholesome Seduction.

 

Bombay: Taj Palace & Tower hotel; Cafe Mondigar; Paan.

Bombay. Taj Palace & Cafe Mondigar.

Paan. Bombay, India.

 

Fort Cochin, Kerala: Art cafes, Indian Biennale, boutique hotels, street food and my Indian family.

Kashi Art Cafe. Fort Cochin, India.

Vineetha & Kashi.

Street Art: India's first Biennale

Chai & Gujarati sweets

Relaxation. Fort Cochin, India.

Old Harbour Hotel, Cochin. India. Wholesome Seduction.

Masala Dosa & Gujarati sweets

My Indian Family: Vineetha & Emily.

Vineetha and Emily: My Cochin family. And my Keralan cooking gurus. I promise to share…