Chilli, tamarind and parmesan courgetti

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

OK, so I’ve done something controversial. I’ve sat on the fence. While this recipe makes a feature of courgetti, it’s not paleo, or anti-carb. It’s here for it’s pure deliciousness, alongside faithful old spaghetti. Over the decades I’ve toyed with various iterations of my Go To telly comfort food, recently finding the 50/50 mix not only fills me more than the vegan version, it adds texture and a clean crunchiness to the sometimes heavy pasta only version. In fact, it got the thumbs up from several of my ‘it’s not a meal without 1kg of carbs’ male friends. For the record, a 70-80g pasta portion (as Italians take it, I’m told) appears to have none of the usual bloat infamy I’m prone to. If still unconvinced, though, there’s zero taste compromise with 100% courgetti; I do both. And left-overs as a salad the next day are incredible.

Chilli, tamarind and feta courgetti

Feeds 2

INGREDIENTS

1 courgette, grated or spiralled
140g spaghetti
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 dsp tamarind paste – I like the big tubs from Indian supermarkets
1 tsp dried crushed chillies
Feta, cheddar cheese or parmesan to taste.

Optional:

1 dsp sun dried tomato paste (or bought) – I do without if I don’t have in the fridge.
1/2 tsp turmeric – I add where I can due to its incredible health benefits.

METHOD

Prep the ingredients. Grate the courgette and cheese; chop the garlic and sun dried tomatoes.

Set the frying pan over a medium to low heat and add the oil. Put the spaghetti to boil – not the courgette!

Add the remaining ingredients (apart from the cheese) to the frying pan in the order listed above, cooking gently until they warm through and the garlic turns translucent. Be very careful not to burn the garlic or pesto (if using) here.

Remove from the heat and fold in the pasta, courgetti and half of the cheese. Transfer to heated bowls or plates and top with the rest of the cheese.

For me, this is comfort food absolute, hot or cold.

Seasonal Seducer: Courgette

Posted in: Uncategorized

MOST ATTRACTIVE FEATURES

Packed with fibre and low in carbs and calories, this green squash is a dieter’s best friend.

WHY WE FELL IN LOVE

1 whole courgette = just 18 calories and is made up of 94% water. Bring on the skinny comfort courgetti!

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.

 

Cacao nut energy bites

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

Another relentlessly popular snack worthy of a re-post. Packed with nothing but (seriously) good stuff, these were a crowd pleaser at a recent Lululemon event and an energy staple on my Tarifa Yoga Holidays. They’re even a winner at parties, in fact, energy bites are fast becoming the new chocolate brownie of cafes. Nutritionist colleague, Kate’s added her recipe to our Gather & Gather meetings and snack range. So much more productive than a sugar or crisp crash and burn ‘pick me up’. This is my version.

Energy-balls

I’m not a huge fan of overly ‘datey’ flavours so have given options for (wholesomely seductive) maple syrup and added a pinch of sea salt for a healthy take on salted caramels. Think: protein, fibre, antioxidants, no refined sugar, raw, coconut oil, dairy and gluten free etc etc. I’ve used cup measures to save scale faffing; they really are very easy.

Makes 15 balls or 20+ bites

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (6 tbsp) pumpkin & sunflower seeds
1 dsp linseed and / or chia, split 50/50
1.5 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp almonds or almond butter
2 tbsp maple syrup or 3/4 cup pitted dates, I find most people prefer maple syrup
2 tbsp dried cranberries – adds a tart sweetness… that’s not datey :)
1.5 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp maca (for added energy) – optional
Pinch Himalayan or sea salt
1 dsp desiccated coconut for coating – if making into balls

METHOD

Blitz seeds (including linseed / chia) and almonds until they resemble chunky breadcrumbs – around 30 secs. If using almond butter, add this with other ingredients after whizzing seeds. Sorry Vitamix, but I find Magimix infinitely more efficient on drier recipes.

Making-energy-balls

Add remaining ingredients and mix for a couple of mins until you have a sticky dough. Roll into pieces smaller than a golf ball and coat in the desiccated coconut set aside earlier.

Or for ease, you can press into a tray and slice into squares after chilling. Either way, put straight to the fridge to retain the shape.

They keep for a while so I make double quantities and store for pudding or as a snack to tide me through exercise. Indulgence doesn’t get more virtuous.

 

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.

 

Kale, ricotta & chorizo rosti

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

Kicking off the long promised Kale-fest (briefly interrupted by Valentine’s and Pancake Day) with a crowd pleasing brunch. Yes, healthy comfort food does exist. This recipe’s hearty and indulgent, yet packed with antioxidants, Vitamins C, A and K and cholesterol lowering goodness. Hail the Kale!

Crispy and robust, kale’s a natural bed fellow for rosti. Poached egg and avocado are a match made in heaven with the smokey chorizo, and the chickpea flour make these a gluten-free option packed with goodness. Veggies, you can drop the chorizo – the lemon ricotta and smokey paprika are already bursting with flavour. I also love these as a light supper with hung yoghurt and chimichurri. Note: you just use enough coconut oil to keep the rosti from sticking, no deep frying!

Kale,-ricotta-&-chorizo-rosti

Makes 14 fritters

INGREDIENTS

150g chickpea flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp turmeric (for gut health)
1 good tsp smoked paprika
3 lemons, juice of all, zest of 1
150g curly kale
100g ricotta
80g chorizo – I like the thin ‘cooking chorizos’
150 ml water
1 tbsp coconut (or olive) oil, for frying

METHOD

Chop chorizo into mini pieces, approx. 1cm cubed. Pre-heat frying pan, drop in chorizo pieces and dry fry for a couple of minutes, or until crispy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Mix ricotta with lemon zest and set aside. Sift flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. In stages, add juice of 2 lemons (retain the third for serving) and 150ml water. Beat into a thick batter, removing any lumps.

Add in the kale and mix with your hands – much quicker for breaking down the kale. You’ll also find the chunkier stalks pretty much pop out so you don’t need to painstakingly pick through removing them beforehand. I eat the smaller bits, Dolly (dog) eats the chunks. Really.

Heat a little coconut oil in a frying pan on a medium flame and dollop in 1 dsp of mix per fritter. You’ll need to press down lightly, ensuring there are no holes but don’t worry about a perfect edge; you’re going for rostis.

Fry for 2 mins on one side, or until reddish brown and 1 minute on the reverse. Don’t touch or move in between or they’ll mush as opposed to crisp.

Squeeze over the remaining lemon juice and eat right away. Ideal for instant suppers or snacks, you’re mix will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

 

Almond, orange & cranberry granola

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

You can’t go wrong with granola, loved by all and packed with nutty goodness, this is wholesome seduction at it’s best. The ideal start to your day, oats famously provide slow release energy and fibre, while the nuts and seeds are packed with protein, vitamin E, Omega-3 and minerals, magnesium and phosphorus. Even the coconut oil not only adds creamy deliciousness, but does wonders for your skin, hair and digestion (more info on why I fell in love here). As if that’s not enough, this recipe contains no refined sugar and, I think, tastes even better for it. Crunchy nut, creamy coconut and juicy cranberries; the perfect boxing day breakfast?

Granola

INGREDIENTS

3 cups oats – I like 2 of rolled oats and 1 of rye or buckwheat flakes
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup linseed
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pecans
1 tbsp almond or sunflower oil
1 tbsp coconut oil – you can also sub for sunflower oil
2 tbsp agave, honey or maple syrup
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 orange, juice and zest
1 cup flaked or desiccated coconut
1 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Warm coconut oil in a small pan until it becomes runny, then add in all wet ingredients: honey, agave, oils, cinnamon and orange juice plus zest.

In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients except for the coconut and cranberries. Stir in the syrupy oil and transfer to two baking trays, flattening out your mix to a 1 inch flapjack approx.

Cook for 25 – 30 mins, stirring a couple of times so the top doesn’t burn. Add in the coconut flakes around 10 mins before the end.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins before breaking up. You should have chunks of crispy, flapjack granola. Store in an airtight jar or container.

In winter I love this with Coyo yoghurt or Rude Health almond milk and a green shake. You can’t beat the tangy berry, crunchy granola and creamy yoghurt combo in summer, when fruit’s at it’s best.

Follow with my Mushrooms with poached egg & spicy sesame for a long, lazy brunch.

Watercress, avocado & passionfruit smoothie

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

Green shakes are a great start to the day, possibly none more so that those containing superhero, watercress. It does wonders for cleansing the liver and brightening the skin and eyes, amongst other things. The good news: veg shakes (genuinely) taste delicious… provided the fruit ratios and options are right! The passionfruit, cucumber and watercress give this recipe a refreshing tang, while the avocado, mango and almond milk make it creamy and filling. Frozen fruit not only adds to the creaminess, it makes more sense in winter.

Watercress,-avocado-&-passionfruit-shake

Feeds 1

INGREDIENTS

200ml coconut or almond milk – I like Rude Health
100ml coconut water or water
1 good fistful of watercress
50g / 1/4 cucumber
50g / 2 tbsp frozen mango
1/2 avocado
1 passionfruit
1/2 tsp spirulina – optional

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.

TIP

The beauty of shakes 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. You can add a scoop of whey (sweet and inoffensive) or hemp (not to everyone’s taste but dairy-free) 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.

From the streets: Bounce Natural Energy Balls

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

Bounce’s gluten, dairy and (refined) sugar free balls of protein and goodness have been kicking around in yoga centres, gyms and health shops for a while. But at nearly £2 a pop, I needed some convincing. Until I tasted the Coconut & Macadamia…

Bounce Energy Balls

Thanks to the lovely people at Bounce sending me a truck load of samples I’m now hooked.

A filling protein and energy hit for when you get caught out on the go surrounded only by crisps or Cadburys. This seems to happen to me a lot. On a recent cycle home I inhaled 1/2 kg of dry roasted peanuts. Bounce has since become a handbag staple.

Why I’m hooked:

  • 100% natural (not just a strap line) and made only with stuff that does us good
  • 42 filling grams of protein or fibre
  • Gluten, dairy and refined sugar free
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Under 200 calories
  • Winning flavours: Macadamia & Coconut; Spirulina & Ginseng; Peanut; Cashew & Pecan; Almond… I like them all!

£1.79 from Wholefoods, Holland & Barrett, Waitrose or health shops. Or you can buy boxes of 12 online at Bounce: £19.45.