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!

Sun dried tomato and cashew nut pesto

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

Delicious with just about anything, this is a grazing plate and BBQ’d burger’s best friend. But given our monsoon weather, maybe opt for the slathered over toasted sourdough, avocado and / or bacon option. The ‘clarted over courgetti’ (or pasta) variety makes a regular appearance on my instant healthy supper table. With jamón and cold meats; stirred through tomato dishes to give them, well… more. I’m sure my tips are superfluous, I doubt anyone’s a stranger to pesto. Add parmesan if you want but the flavour’s so good, it really isn’t necessary. This lasts for weeks, I make a big batch ensuring I’m never without.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 13.34.36

INGREDIENTS

200g sun dried tomatoes
2 tbsp cashew nuts
4 tbsp olive oil – I use the oil from the tomato jar.
1 tsp dried red chillies. Or 1 tsp Kema Kulo if you have it.
1 clove garlic – optional.
Pinch sea or Himalayan pink salt
1/2 tsp turmeric – untold health benefits

METHOD

Add all ingredients to a blender, Magimix or Vitamix and blitz until you a have rough paste. Basically as you would pesto.

IMG_3644

Store in the fridge in an airtight jar or container for as long as you would sun dried tomatoes. My guess would be you’ll eat it long before it goes off.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

 

3 things for a happy, healthy new year

Posted in: Uncategorized

Don’t diet this new year, feel healthier, happier and springier with my top wholesomely seductive tips. Xmas-Excess and the cold, shorter days leave me desperate for a re-charge. My body’s creaking through yoga and cycling, even dog walking’s less springy. This time last year I blogged The Anti-diet. The Wholesome Seduction way of life that’s bursting with flavour and makes us feel and look our best. Without dieting. I live by this, mindful of 3 key things:

Hail the Kale, Bench cafe.

EATING IN. EATING OUT. EXERCISE.

Anyone who’s attempted to cut out certain ingredients, detox or just eat more healthily, will know this isn’t always easy when on-the-go in the UK – Nope, crisps and chocolate aren’t part of our #eatclean menu.

The bottom line: We need to be prepared. Most of us are super busy so having a bank of quick and easy recipes is key. Over the coming weeks, I’ll blog my Top 5 green breakfasts, brunches, suppers and packed lunches. Including recipes for entertaining, along with my favourite clean, green eats restaurant, The Good Life Eatery.

And because how we feel is about more than what we eat, I’ll share workout wear to inspire, nip and tuck even the most lethargic and style conscious amongst you.

In the meantime:

Here are some of my go-to recipes and products for feeling healthy and cutting down on the stuff that makes us feel like we’ve been hit by a truck:

From the streets: Rude Health dairy-free milks and Coconut oil and Coyo yoghurt.

Recipes: Watercress, avocado & passion-fruit smoothie, Sticky sweet potato wedges, Broad bean & cashew pesto, Quinoa, feta & toasted seed salad, Orange, almond & chocolate cake, Cranberry & lemon amoretti (yes, these count!).

 

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.