WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

Summer

Spa of the Week: Dharana at Shillim, India ~ For ES Magazine

Around the World, Commisions, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Natural Living, Pranayama, Review, Rituals, Summer, Sustainability, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Dubbed as “one of the most magical wellness destinations” in the world, Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa combines traditional therapies with advanced diagnostic technologies to help heal, prevent and transform.

The main pillars which underpin the Dharana wellness programmes at Shillim are preventative medicine, exercise, nutrition and dietetics, conflict resolution and spiritual wellbeing. The experts take time to look at both mental and physical health.

Tucked almost untouchably high up in the serene mountains of the Western Ghats, Shillim Retreat Estate and Spa is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is recognised as one of the world’s top biological diversity hotspots.

Just a few hours from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, Shillim is a majestic paradise that feels like another world. Surrounded by forests, valleys, rice fields, bamboo plantations and nature like you’ve never seen before (especially during monsoon season), arriving at Shillim you are immediately grounded and centred by the surroundings, before you’ve even explored the resorts amenities or wellness packages.

Personalisation and Programmes

Ahead of my visit, I filled in an in-depth questionnaire covering a range of physical, mental and emotional topics. The Dharana team then decipher each guest’s unique current state of wellbeing ahead of their arrival, ensuring they put together an appropriate and entirely personalised programme tailored to each guests needs.

Specific results-driven programmes, such as de-stress, sleep, ayurvedic panchakarma, art of detox, sustainable weight management and many more, are available, the best part about Shillim is being able to work directly with the doctors and dieticians to set and reach your own goals.

This makes everyone’s experience at Shillim unique, and is more effective in providing not only short and long-term results, but also education, knowledge and lifestyle tools to take away with you, to incorporate into life back home.

Treatments

The therapies at Shillim were unlike any I have experienced elsewhere. Situated in private villas around the resort, each separate room was inexplicably tranquil. Like everything at Shillim, the treatments selected for you are also highly personalised to your needs, but range from a combination of deep tissue massage, Ayurvedic herbal oil massages, synchronized abhyanga massage, Indian third-eye head massage and much more - all of which are carried out using seeds, flowers, roots and oils grown and produced locally.

The benefits of each treatment varies, but each one helps to balance and align the body and mind, which I definitely experienced, drifting in and out of levels of consciousness and coming out of each treatment feeling simultaneously refreshed, awakened, buzzing and zen.

Beyond the treatment room

Treatments aside, all other aspects of Shillim support its wellness programmes, from the environment in which you live and sleep, the nature surrounding your every move, the food (all of which is made fresh, to your needs and requirements, with local and on-site produce) and the other amenities.

The efforts to balance, heal and transform goes well beyond the treatment rooms, with opportunities to experience mental and physical therapies in the form of meditation, mindfulness, movement (think yoga, hiking and pilates), sound healing, clay therapy and much more. It is, as they say, a way of life.

Verdict:

The approach to wellness at Shillim is refreshingly different. It is non-invasive, non-restrictive and the opposite of intense.

It is inspiring, then, just how powerful it is, and how transformative just a few days can be. It has the perfect balance of seriousness (working with on-site doctors to assess your health and develop your goals) and serenity, and the traditional Dharana teachings are accessible, non-intimidating and realistic. 

You’ll leave feeling...

Inspired, refreshed, cleansed, detoxified and lighter, both mentally and physically. You’ll enjoy reduced tension and mental clutter from all the treatments, improved digestion and enhanced energy levels from the clean and nourishing foods, sharper focus and concentration from self-development and meditation, and so much more. With the support of highly knowledgable and experiences doctors, therapists and other practitioners, specific ailments may be healed and personal issues overcome, simply after just a few days of deeply transformational TLC. 

The best part is that during your stay you truly learn so much – about yourself but also about wellbeing in general - and you adopt tools to take away with you, meaning you will leave feeling empowered to take control of your own life and capable to live much more fully. 

Why You Need to Visit Mumbai During Monsoon Season ~ For Ecoage

Around the World, Commisions, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Natural Living, Review, Rituals, Summer, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Last month I had the last minute pleasure of visiting India, somewhere I had always dreamed of visiting but just never quite gotten around to planning. It always seemed a bit daunting and something that would require a lot of meticulous organization and prior preparations. So, when I was invited to visit one of India’s “most magical wellness destinations” Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa, I jumped at the chance of experiencing India by following someone else’s lead and itinerary. 

Tucked almost untouchably high up in the serene mountains of the Western Ghats, Shillim Retreat Estate and Spa is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is recognised as one of the world’s top biological diversity hotspots. Just a few hours from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, arriving the other side of the hectic traffic and manic energy of the city, Shillim is a majestic paradise that feels like another world. Surrounded by forests, valleys, rice fields, bamboo plantations and nature like you’ve never seen before (especially during monsoon season), I felt immediately grounded and centred by the surroundings even before exploring the resorts amenities or wellness packages.

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Pre-arrival

Ahead of my visit, I was asked to fill out an in-depth questionnaire by the team behind the resort’s life science wellness program, known as Dharana. The questionnaire explored a range of physical, mental and emotional topics, and I felt instantly more connected to myself and aware of how I was feeling and what I wanted to get out of my visit. Aside from that, the questionnaire is a chance for the Dharana team to decipher each guest’s unique current state of wellbeing ahead of their arrival, ensuring they can put together an appropriate and entirely personalised programme tailored to each guest.

Upon arrival

Upon arrival I was greeted by the entire Dharana team and introduced to everyone who would be taking care of me throughout the week, from my dieticians and doctors to the chefs and therapists. Our arrival ceremony then commenced, with a selection of welcome rituals, starting with energy clearing (using burning sage and a Tibetan singing bowl), followed by a detoxifying footbath of lemongrass, ginger and Himalayan pink salt. The entire experience was incredibly grounding and really helped me to ‘arrive’ and feel settled and present after the long journey, transitioning into a much slower and calmer state of mind and pace of living. 

During my stay

Visiting Shillim, guests have the chance to decide exactly what kind of experience they want, or need. The resort is separated, with the Dharana wellness program and accommodation sitting slightly apart from the main resort where the majority of the apartments, spas and restaurants are located for guests not enrolled in Dharana programs. This gives a sense of ease to the resort, in a way that health and wellness is not imposed upon anyone. But for those who are keen to heal, cleanse and detox, to work on self-development or to achieve weightloss goals, there are plenty of options for everyone. The main pillars of their programmes are preventative medicine, exercise physiology, nutrition and dietetics, conflict resolution and spiritual wellbeing. 

I was on a more wellness-oriented journey which started with some incredibly interesting and insightful tests and assessments looking at my physical and mental health, including traditional Ayurvedic and naturopathic analysis combined with advanced diagnostics technology, such as gene testing and Oligo scanning which help to establish what’s going on internally on a physiological level (for example, revealing nutrient, mineral and vitamin levels, as well as levels of metals and plastics found in the body). After these tests, the team curated a more detailed program specific to my needs and requirements, and the week's activities were focused around getting me physically and mentally back into balance with my natural state, whilst using preventative medicine and other natural remedies to cleanse and detoxify.

After our morning movement, we sat down to personalised breakfasts, created with our individual Ayurvedic types and dietary requirements in mind. Each morning began with a juice and the food was often a mixture of sweet and savoury dishes, all relatively small portions but with a lot of variety. It felt satisfying and filling but was at the same time light and incredibly nourishing.  

Throughout the day, myself and the other guests went about our own schedules, which involved a combination of movement classes, pranayama sessions, meditation sessions, hikes, nature workshops, foraging, crafts, pottery and clay therapy, sound therapy, local village tours, volunteering on local plantations and more - all accompanied by an abundance of on-site spa treatments and therapies everyday. We enjoyed a combination of treatments, from deep tissue massage, Ayurvedic herbal oil massages, synchronised abhyanga massage, Indian third-eye head massage and much more, all carried out using seeds, flowers, roots and oils grown and produced locally. The benefits of each treatment vary, and a combination of several treatments was key to overall wellbeing, to bring the body and mind back into balance.

Lunch and dinner each day was similar to breakfast; a combination of small portions of different dishes with mostly curries, dhals, grains and vegetables. All of the food is made on site using local ingredients, such as rice from neighbouring plantations, to vegetables grown on-site and fish from the forest streams. Everything was incredibly fresh and pure, but without feeling restrictive or too healthy. You wont find juice cleansing, raw foods or other fad’s at Shillim, but instead warming, nourishing and grounding foods based on the five elements of Ayurveda (water, air, fire, ether and wind), aimed at bringing the body back into balance. Each menu outlines the nutritional values of each meal, which is helpful and useful to know, but not something they are too fixated on. It is all about the ritual of eating and fuelling the body with functional foods to help it thrive and function fully. 

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Development and transformation

During my visit, I must say I felt several small transformations, some physically but mostly mentally. During several treatments, for example, I would find deep relaxation and many inspirational ideas began to flood to me. Other times, I felt moments of enlightenment - or realisation – and felt clarity in certain aspects of my life.

Physically, I felt lighter, more energised and deeply cleansed from the food we were eating. My digestion was smoother, and despite early wake up calls, I had consistent energy throughout the day. 

Being in nature, especially with non-stop monsoon downpours, was deeply grounding and cleansing. The staff mentioned how monsoon season is one of the most detoxifying times to visit India and I really felt the benefits of this, as if the rain was washing away mental and physical blockages and encouraging flow. The energy and the nutrients of the rainfall also felt incredibly nourishing and powerful, and I believe it helped with things like water retention and dehydration.Leaving ceremony and departure

On our last day, the team carried out a Shanti Homa and Dhyani ritual ceremony to mark the attainment of mastering the lessons of Dharana and adopting them as a way of life. It was amazing to bring our time to an end, celebrating the week with the staff and other locals. The ceremony is intended to cleanse negative energy and to attract peace and positive energy into ones life, helping to move things along when they seem difficult or stagnant.

Post-visit

For our arrival back home, we were given detailed prescriptions of Ayurvedic tonics and herbal remedies, aimed to pacify our needs and help us reach our goals. We were given a structured daily plan, outlining what to take and when, as well as dietary guidance for life, outlining what we should eat in line with our Ayurvedic types to enhance digestion, energy and overall wellbeing, and to prevent discomfort and disease. Having these remedies and this advice, alongside the daily rituals I had learned throughout my stay, I felt fully equipped to keep the regime up when I arrived home.

The traditional Dharana teachings are not inaccessible, intimidating or unrealistic. The rituals we picked up were simple and short to practice, and the foods and meal plans are focused around everyday essentials and mostly fruits and vegetables that are accessible almost anywhere, and which require minimal cooking and uncomplicated preparation. This kind of retreat is key to overall wellbeing, as you adopt tools and genuinely become educated about yourself and life in general, meaning you leave feeling empowered and inspired to take control of your life and live more fully, using natural resources and remedies and becoming more mindful about yourself and your surroundings in the process. It really is a way of life we should be exploring more and taking inspiration from in order to slowly and consciously adapt our own daily lives.

Wellness at Six Senses Kaplankaya ~ For Evening Standard

Commisions, Around the World, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Review, Rituals, Summer, Sustainability, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Just visiting Six Senses Kaplankaya offers an abundance of wellbeing, regardless of whether you then participate in any of their additional programs, packages or treatments. By that, I mean that the fresh air, the ocean, the warm weather and sunshine, the food made almost entirely from produce grown in the resorts own gardens and the untouched nature for miles is enough to calm to the mind, nourish the body, nurture skin, hair and nails and get squeaky-clean vitamin and mineral rich oxygen flowing throughout the body. However, if you want or need more, you will find exactly the thing (or things) at Six Senses Wellness Center; all with the guidance and support of in-house and visiting practitioners from around the world.

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The wellness center at Six Senses Kaplankaya (which, by the way, is one of the biggest in Europe) is built around a variety of theories and practices, from clinical and scientific methods, to more Eastern and spiritual approaches. At the foundation of what they do is the understanding that each one of us is different, and that each individual should be observed holistically and treated in an entirely personalized way. For this reason, the resort offers things like wellness screenings and bodpods which take a detailed snapshot of your current health and composition and which they suggest you do on day one of your visit, so that you can spend the following days enjoying the most relevant areas of the resorts programs and treatments.

Following that, you can either choose to embark on whichever one of their pre-designed packages or programs fits your needs, or to design your own completely unique schedule. The programs (such as mental detox, sleep and eat with six senses) offer a selection of different results; some being more psychological, and others being perhaps solely food-oriented. Depending on what you need, and also how you want to spend your time at Six Senses (since you may prefer to holiday rather than to detox, or to combine both in a more relaxed and flexible way), you can choose what is right for you with the support of some of the world’s most renowned practitioners to guide you.

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For those looking to detox

For those looking for an intensive program and a wholly detoxifying experience, the option is there to work on all areas of your health. You can enjoy tailored menus (which offer options designed with specific results in mind, such as better sleep, better digestion, general healthiness or detoxing and weight loss) and daily exercise classes or one-to-one sessions. For deeper work, the spa treatments and entire spa area (complete with hydrotheraphy, salt rooms, hammam and much more) are there to enjoy at your leisure. Practitioners are also on hand, offering things like deep tissue massage and body scrubs for physical detoxing, as well as more spiritual treatments which help to unblock negative or stagnant energy and to encourage positivity and a sense of clarity and happiness.

For those looking for some gentle cleansing

For those who want to enjoy the indulgences of the hotel whilst also doing a bit of work on themselves, you can take and leave whatever you wish, to ensure you create an enjoyable and relaxed experience that doesn’t feel to restrictive. You might not choose to follow a set diet and you might not wish to workout at all, but you can book in as and when you like for things like one-off classes (perhaps the gentler options like yoga and Pilates) and massages and other treatments. You can also opt for activities that feel more like a good time than exercise, such as swimming (in one of their pools or the crystal-clear ocean), water sports (like their catamaran-bicycles), local walks and hikes, cycling and classes like zumba. You’ll also find healthy options in all of the hotels restaurants, so if you want a salad or a green juice whilst also enjoying some wine and dessert, you can have it all!

For those looking for enlightenment

For the more spiritual or curious, and for those looking for a deep journey into the self, to take things one step further than a short-term diet or fitness program, and to equip you with rituals and skills to take away and apply to life back home, the resort offers all kinds of treatments and therapies to encourage relaxation, clarity, positivity and more. From energy healing such as sound baths, reiki, watzu (basically water shiatsu which I cannot recommend enough) and shiatsu, to meditation, chakra aligning and ayurvedic massage. They also run workshops and as part of certain programs supply gratitude notebooks, to encourage journaling and writing down whatever comes up during treatments or just generally during your stay. If you want to go even further, some practitioners even offer training for certain treatments, such as reiki, in case you want to learn the tools to practice on yourself (or others) in future.

As you can see, there is without a doubt something for everybody at Six Senses Kaplankaya, whether you want to do some deep detoxifying and self-development or prefer some serious relaxation with a side of green juice or yoga every now and then. Find out more about their programs and packages here.

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Wake Up Here: Danai Resort & Villas ~ For Suitcase Magazine

Wake Up Here, Wellbeing, Travel, Summer, Lifestyle, Commisions, Around the Worlddanielle coppermanComment
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A haven of relaxation on the island of Halkidiki, Danai Beach Resort and Villas marries modern comforts with all the charm of an authentic Greek retreat. 

Surrounded by lush pine trees and sandy beaches, and perched atop the rich, earthy cliffs that line the Aegean coast, Danai Beach Resort and Villas is one-of-a-kind, to say the least. While nature itself is enough to bring a sense of calm and tranquility here, Danai’s beautiful design and architecture, private beach cabanas, award-winning gourmet restaurants, top-of-the-range spa treatments and staff that will feel like life-long friends by the time you leave, invite guests to experience a whole level of relaxation.

Located in the remote Greek peninsula of Sithonia on the island of Halkidiki, Danai began life as a modest family home. Today it’s full of character, combining refined modern interiors and accessories with an authentic Greek aesthetic. Thick white pillars and marble floors, which feature heavily across the resort, are brought to life with bright bougainvillea, rattan accessories and antique furnishings.

As a family-run business, Danai is on a mission to make you feel at home. Staff operate across different areas of the resort, so you’ll often come across the same friendly faces again and again. This sense of community is what makes Danai so special, and once you’re welcomed into it so warmly, you’ll find it harder than ever to leave.

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Rooms

At Danai, the mantra is to never, ever “copy and paste” anything, which is why you won’t find two rooms or villas the same. Each abode is a canvas of whites and creams, bathed in natural light that pours through floor-to-ceiling windows. Yet as modern-chic as that might sound, bohemian accents and local, artisan-made ornaments enhance the character and charm of each space.

Some rooms boast private pools, while others flaunt impressive balconies overlooking the resort, its gardens and the sea. Opt for Guest Rooms and Suites if you’re visiting alone, as a couple or for a short time only (also perfect if you’re on a budget). Deluxe Suites (often with two bedrooms and ocean vistas) are ideal for those who want something a little more spacious, while Pool Suites are ideal for honeymooners who want a private dip. Alternatively, splash out on a Villa if you’re travelling with a larger group, for a longer period of time or if you’re expecting guests.

What’s for breakfast?

Pretty much everything you’ll find in Danai to eat is either sourced locally (from neighbouring farms) or produced on site – you can really taste the difference.

For breakfast, head to the terrace of the open-air Andromeda Restaurant, which, situated on the edge of the bluffs, is prime territory for gazing across the still morning waters. The breakfast spread doesn’t look unlike an art installation, featuring a selection of bread and baked goods, cheeses, cold meats and fish, a hot food station, traditional pastries and a build-your-own-bowl area, complete with fresh and dried fruit, nuts, seeds, cereals and granolas. Plus, the selection of freshly made Greek yoghurt and local honey – varieties include pine, blossom, thyme and more – are the best you will ever try. If nothing takes your fancy, order à la carte and enjoy eggs with a Danai twist.

How about lunch and dinner?

With three restaurants to choose from, you wouldn’t get bored if you dined within Danai at every meal time. Enjoy fresh fish, seafood and daily barbecue specials at The Sea Horse Grill – it’s the most authentically Greek of the restaurant options and situated in a secluded terrace by the beach. You can also order any time of day to wherever you’ve set up camp on the beach.

For a more modern take on Mediterrenean cuisine, try Andromeda Restaurant, situated among the impressive pine trees – it offers an al fresco dining option on warmer evenings.

For special occasions or as a treat, experience the award-winning The Squirrel restaurant, considered one of the principle culinary hot-spots of Greece. Its tasting menu spans French and Mediterranean fare, served in multiple courses and paired with wines from Danai’s on-site wine cellar.

Suite service is also available, and if you’re staying in one of the larger rooms or villas and have a large party or outside guests to entertain, the staff will gladly arrange a bespoke dinner party.

Further afield, local road-side or sea-side tavernas offer quintessential Greek cuisine in a slightly more informal environment. Get stuck in to trays of taramasalata and fava, and enjoy fresh and simple dishes, including grilled fish, seafood paella, mussels soup and some of the most decadent desserts of your life.

Is there a bar?

On a lower tier of the resort, just beneath the restaurants and edging closer to the beach, you’ll find The Philosophy Seaside Bar. Lounge in bamboo armchairs and cushioned benches as the sun sets, and later gather around the communal table at the bar.

If that’s not your vibe, Danai also boasts one of the best wine cellars in Greece. Enjoy a tour or a wine tasting session, or casually converse with the wine cellar’s passionate sommeliers to choose a bottle that suits you, then enjoy from the comfort of your room, balcony, patio or, better yet, the beach.

Amenities

Danai is the ideal place for anyone who wants to wake up late and follow a long, lazy breakfast with an even longer, lazier day on the beach. Although, there is more than enough to keep you entertained if you’d like something a bit more lively, or if you’re travelling with friends, family or young children.

Aside from the private pools, you’ll find a communal outdoor pool at the centre of the resort, as well as an indoor pool inside the spa area. You will also find a selection of spa treatments (including massages, facials and a nail spa), relaxation facilities, a state-of-the-art gym complete with a timetable of yoga, pilates and fitness classes (during the busier months), a private tennis court and table tennis. The concierge can also organise bike rental and external sports such as golf, horse riding, snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing.

As for watersports and beach activities, book out a private beach cabana or, for a more active day at the beach, enjoy access to paddleboards, catamarans, waterskis, canoes, banana boats, donuts, seabobs, windsurfing, and more. Go a step further and arrange a day out on Danai’s super yacht, known as The Bird. Available to rent for between four and eight hours with staff and catering (and the best Aperol spritz you’ll ever drink), The Bird is the most luxurious way to explore the coast. Discover hidden coves and stop by private beaches along the Sithonia coast and Mount Athos peninsula. (Shared yachts and speedboat tours are also available, departing from the private beach and heading Neos Marmaras or Mount Athos).

Danai also has its own quaint “high street” of boutiques, which you’ll pass by to get from your room to the restaurants and to the beach. Find clothing, accessories, holiday essentials, toys, gifts and more, from local, national and international labels.

If you fancy trying your hand at something new, too, perhaps dancing, painting or cooking, it’s useful to know that the team will gladly arrange a private instructor. Day trips and excursions are also available on request.

Things you should know

Nikiti is the nearest town to the resort. While Danai have drivers and The Bird, if you want to explore independently, hire a car. Enjoy walks in the hotel surrounds or, further afield, find a selection of towns and villages to explore within Sithonia, Kassandra and Athos.

Whether you’re on the beach or by the pool, if you’re prone to suncream-smeared sunnies or overheating, the beach staff are at your beck and call, popping by regularly to offer sunglass polishing and to hand out semi-frozen flannels infused with refreshing essential oils.

If you’re visiting for a special occasion, the staff are eager to get involved. They will enthusiastically curate a celebration or prepare a surprise to ensure your experience is unforgettable.

Within a short walk you’ll find

The beauty of Danai is its seclusion and the way it has pretty much anything you could need all in one place. Within a short walk, you can enjoy 320m of private beach and explore the resort’s farmland and herb gardens. Explore local nature trails, most of which are unofficial – so you almost have to pave your own path.

* Danai Beach Resort & Villas (www.danairesort.com/+30 2375 020400) offers junior suites from £375 on a B&B basis, based on 2 people sharing.
** Danai Beach Resort & Villas (www.danairesort.com/+30 2375 020400) will offer The Bird from 3,250€ for 4 hours and from 4,450€ for 8 hours.
*** Danai also has its own wedding planner.

Spring Summer Wishlist & Style Inspo

Essentials, Lifestyle, Inspiration, Monthly Essentials, Style, Summer, Sustainabilitydanielle coppermanComment

Whilst I don’t advocate buying new or more things, I like to take inspiration from current trends which then helps inform my shopping experiences in second hand shops, vintage stores and markets. Below you’ll find an edit of things I’m currently loving, either physically by making a few key investments, or from afar and for inspiration only.

I am so passionate about shopping responsibly and really want to encourage people to do the same. If you won’t use or wear an item more than 30 times, don’t buy it. We need to veer away from the disposability of the fast-fashion industry. Buy things that will last, and don’t fall into the traps of ‘seasons’ or ‘trends’ when buying for yourself. Take inspiration from these things, but don’t feel you have to buy all the new trends, because that basically means compulsive shopping and theres better ways to spend your time (and money). Instead, buy inter-seasonal pieces, things that you can edit and alter throughout the year by styling them differently. Invest in sustainable key pieces like your basics, your underwear and the essentials you wear most days, and then put a limit on how many new pieces you buy if there is something you really love and want.

I’ve included a selection of high street brands below but, mostly, you’ll find ethical, sustainable, second-hand and vintage brands. I hope these inspire your summer wardrobe with beachwear, holiday essentials, summer wedding guest options and more.

🌞

How To Spring Cleanse Your Life ~ For Ecoage

Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Wellbeing, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment
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Last week marked the first official day of spring, and with what might just be my favourite season of all approaching, I wanted to share some of the practices that I like to incorporate into my day-to-day routines during this seasonal shift, along with some tips for adapting to this transition from one season to the next.

Four times a year, we experience a shift between seasons, and whilst the actual exact shift usually passes unnoticed, when you really take time to pause and acknowledge it, and to tune into whats going on beyond your own little world, it will begin to bring your attention to just how interconnected everything is, and in turn, this will allow you to make more sense of your moods, thoughts, emotions, feelings, actions, experiences and the general behaviour of you and all other living things and beings around you. It’s quite fascinating, and you will come to learn that things going on around you are happening in your favour, and to support you. For example, different foods will grow in abundance depending on your local surroundings, as nature adjusts to the new season not only for its own welfare but to provide us and other living things with exactly what we need.

Spring is a time of cleansing, and when I think of Spring I think of detoxing, new beginnings, resetting and rebirth. It is a time of freshness and newness; a time of hope and anticipation; a time of faith and excitement as the warmest and brightest part of the year approaches. Having spent long wintery months in the shadows of gloomy weather and arctic temperatures, forced into hibernation, Spring brings with it this joyful and vibrant energy, and as our natural surroundings begin to flourish and bloom, our own cycles and energies do too. Or so they should. If you are not entirely in tune or in sync with the seasons and the natural cycles and phases of the Universe, the following practices are intended to help you to get there, by boosting your energy levels (bringing them in line with the energy of nature), boosting your mood (bringing it in line with the frequencies of nature) and cleansing your body and mind through food, movement and other rituals. Try a few of these practices to not only look and feel more thriving physically, this Summer, but also to let go of anything that feels heavy with negative energy, and to adopt a powerfully positive mindset, to attract all that you desire in abundance.

1. Food & hydration

In Ayurveda, the same way living beings have doshas, seasons do too. Spring is known to be the kapha season, which starts off somewhat wet and cold in March and develops to become still wet but much warmer between around June / July. In early kapha season, the world is slowly coming out of hibernation and things are beginning to awaken and reemerge with new life. Kapha characteristics are known to be heavy, slow and cool, so it is good to incorporate practices that make you feel light, active and warm, such as detoxing your diet, exercising regularly, eating warm foods and getting under the sun whenever it’s out.

During kapha season, when we want to adopt more vata and pita habits in order to balance the kapha energies, it is a good idea to cleanse internally, by really purifying your diet and detoxifying any internal build up. Luckily, spring’s produce supports this, providing us with light and hydrating ingredients that are high in vitamins and minerals to aid detoxification. As well, further cleansing can be done where needed, to gently purge and reset the digestive system (in other words, if you’ve never had a colonic, now could be the time).

Try incorporating some of the following ingredients into your meals and habits into your daily routines to cleanse from within and to eat as nature intended, with ingredients determined to support us this season.

Spring ingredients:

To eat in ways to support you during the spring, eat both seasonally available and abundant ingredients, but also be mindful to eat in ways that balance kapha energies. For example, avoid oily, greasy, heavy and dense foods, and instead opt for lighter and drier ingredients. Enjoy warm foods rather than cold or entirely raw foods, and favour rough, fibrous ingredients more than soft or smooth ones (such as banana and avocado).

Asparagus
Broccoli
Dandelion greens
Lettuce
Fennel
Spinach
Peas
Potatoes
Strawberries
Carrots
Green Beans
Garlic
Leafy herbs
Rhubarb

* Take into account also your own Ayurvedic constituency, as this will determine more personally what you need and also what you digest best.

As spring approaches, I would suggest a 3-7 day cleanse incorporating both spring produce and kapha balancing ingredients, with a daily eating schedule looking something like this:

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Hydration:

Start the day with two glasses of water (around 1 litre in total), on an empty stomach. Add a dash of fresh lemon juice, sliced cucumber, ginger root, turmeric root, a stick of activated charcoal or apple cider vinegar, to flavour the water but also to awaken the nutrients of it and add more nourishment to each sip.

Throughout the rest of the day, ensure you drink a minimum of 2 litres in total. Try to avoid drinking a lot during mealtimes, and instead be mindful to time it by drinking at least 1/2 an hour before a big meal. Small sips during or after a meal are fine, but it is preferable to drink a little while before eating if you can.

Breakfast:

Try to have breakfast after 10am, when your digestion is more active and energetic. If you get hungry before, try to enjoy a liquid meal, such as a juice or smoothie, or some plain, fresh or cooked fruit.

Lunch:

Try to make lunch your biggest meal of the day, and try to enjoy it between 12pm and 2pm, when the digestive system is most active and efficient. During a cleansing period, try to base your meals on raw and/or cooked (ideally not fried or roasted, but boiled or steamed) vegetables, whole or psuedo grains, and ethically sourced meat or fish. Foods like salads, soups, stews, kitchari, dahl, curries, or mixed vegetables are advisable. Try to avoid processed condiments or dressings, and select seasonal ingredients as much as possible, as they are in season for a reason!

Dinner:

Try to keep dinner relatively small compared to lunch. Try to eat by 6pm, as the digestive system is thought to slow between 6pm and 10pm. Base your meals on the same ingredients and ideas as lunch, and try not to snack before bed. Avoid rich or sugary foods and substitute with fresh fruit if you really crave dessert. Also enjoy herbal tea if you need something else later in the evening. Try to drink a small glass of water before bed (and take any relevant supplements such as probiotics before bed, too).

Snacks:

Try not to snack at odd times throughout the day, but instead snack directly after your main meals. Enjoy fresh fruits, raw vegetables, natural and wholesome dips (like houmous) and / or nuts and seeds. Also enjoy hot water (which is known to nurture the digestive system), herbal teas, coffee, cacao or other adaptogen drinks whenever you feel hungry. Light liquid ‘meals’ are also advisable, such as juices or smoothies.

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2. Movement

This season is a great time to get active. Emerging from the still and stagnant winter months of surrendering to home comforts instead of persevering, Spring brings a new energy of lightness, strength and resilience. With a sense of newness in the air, it’s time to start afresh, dust off your trainers and get moving.

Exercising regularly, even if thats just walking (aim for 10,000 steps a day if you’re not otherwise active), can help with the body and minds detox processes, and will also encourage circulation, digestion and lymphatic drainage. Not to mention, it will also increase mood, stamina, focus, concentration and positivity, so, you know, there’s really no excuse. It’s also interesting to know that as spring’s energy is associated with kapha characteristics, it is thought that living beings tend to have more strength and endurance around this time of year too, so it shouldn’t feel quite as much of a struggle as it does during the winter, when you generally feel more lethargic and sensitive.

Massage is another form of movement you can really benefit from at this time of the year, and a practice that further supports detoxing and lymphatic drainage. Try using a body brush before or after showering, and or indulge in self massage (either with lotion or oils). Even better, get a partner or friend to massage you, or treat yourself to a professional one. Focus on the neck, shoulders and back, as well and the legs.

3. Rest and recuperation

You’re gonna like this one. Getting enough rest, despite the fact we’ve basically been sleeping all winter, is still advised during early spring. Whilst the sun rises earlier, it is advised to go to sleep earlier and rise earlier too, to sync as closely as possible to the cycles of nature. So, I’m not about to tell you to enjoy your lie in’s, but I am going to suggest keeping an eye on your sleeping habits, and ensuring you get enough sleep and rest to aid physical and mental detoxing, and to ensure your energy levels are topped up (and, again, aligned with that of springs own energies). A nap here and there wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.

As well as sleeping enough, be sure to practice some grounding rituals, such as meditation or breathing / pranayama techniques. This is important as towards the end of spring can become quite an energetic and buzzy time, so feeling grounded, present and supported is crucial for keeping physically and mentally balanced and for remaining tuned in to yourself and all around you.

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4. Space

This section brings me to one of my favourite parts of spring. I can feel my desperation to clean, tidy and declutter bubbling away as I get restless towards the end of winter (having been feeling too overwhelmed or lazy to approach it), but as spring arrives, I immediately want to clear the air, make some space and get rid of things I don’t use or need anymore.

The infamous spring clean. It’s a tradition for a reason, and not one to be ignored. Regardless of whether or not you do it in spring, I think at least one annual purge of your possessions is crucial for sanity if not for sight. Rather than getting rid of a little bit here and a little bit there throughout the year, an actual appointment of sufficient time gets the job done much quicker and more efficiently (and less painfully, too). Over time, our belongings build up, and if we’re not constantly replacing things, then we’re constantly adding things, which, not always, but often means that old items get buried or forgotten.

A good old fashioned spring clean is crucial to refresh a space and to clear the energy, but it has also been known to benefit our own wellbeing too, enhancing productivity, positivity, concentration, motivation and peacefulness, reducing the stress and anxiety often brought on by tidying being another overwhelming task on our to-do lists.

It’s important to note that you should cleanse your space and belongings mindfully, though, and instead of throwing things away, finding ways to recycle them - either by giving to friends or family, charity, vintage shops or even selling them on sites like eBay, Depop and Vestaire Collective or at markets if you have the time and a little patience. Try not to let anything go to waste.

Another way to enhance your spring cleaning rituals is by smudging. Using sage or palo santo, or even incense or essential oils in a diffuser to clear any negative energy. Did you know, energy from arguments or other negative situations and occurrences can linger in the air or in areas of a room where they took place, and smudging is known to cleanse these ‘bad vibes’ and reset the energy. I love to smudge a few times a month, either after an argument or bad news, or if I’ve just had a stressful or frustrating day.

Finally, when cleaning after you’ve decluttered and tidied things away, choose your cleaning products with care. Opt for natural, non-toxic products from brands like method or ecover, or even make your own, using natural ingredients like bicarbonate soda, vinegar, oils and essentials oils. There are plenty of recipes for these online and in my book, Well Being.

5. Mindfulness

Finally, mindfulness, as always, is a powerful ritual to keep up during the spring. Practicing regular meditation, stream of consciousness (writing without agenda as soon as you wake up, before checking your phone, speaking to anyone or getting out of bed), positive thinking (writing down or simply thinking positive thoughts about the day gone by (if practising before bed) or the day ahead (if practising in the morning)) and / or gratitude (writing a list of things you are grateful for), will help to keep your energy positive and abundant, which will in turn attract experiences of the same frequency. Furthermore, as this season resembles new beginnings and new life, letting go of negative habits or relationships or removing yourself from negative, draining situations is crucial in order to open up new opportunities and to ensure you can attract what it is you truly desire. It is an exciting time and with just a little bit of extra focus and attention, it can be powerfully transformational, rewarding and fun.

Springshine Vegan Lemon Curd Crumble

Dairy Free, Gluten free, Recipe, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Sugar Free, Sweets + Desserts, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment
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I’ve always been a fan of crumble, and from a young age was obsessed with lemon curd, so I recently thought, why not combine the two and see what happens? The love child of this experiment developed into a beautiful lemon curd crumble; creamy and tart on the bottom, crisp and crunchy on the top. It is the ultimate flavour sensation, with its flavoursome fruit layer coupled with the creamy, coconutty crumble topping.

This recipe is bright in colour and vibrant with flavour, and reminds me of the first sign of sun in the spring, and the warmth and light of the summer. It is light, with sour and acidic notes, whilst also being incredibly refreshing. Using fresh lemons, it contains an abundance of vital vitamins and minerals. Lemon season starts roughly around late winter / early summer, and runs right through to the warmer months, and eating seasonally, you can rest assured you are getting in all the goodness that nature intended for you to have access to at this time of year.

I love serving this warm as a dessert, with either plant-based ice cream (I like soy, coconut or cashew) or homemade vegan cashew cream sauce or custard. You could also use single or double cream or plant-based cream or creme fraiche (I love anything by Oatly). I also love it chilled from the fridge, served with fresh or stewed berries, either as a breakfast, a snack or a chilled dessert.

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Components

For the vegan lemon curd

60g coconut oil, melted
juice and flesh of 4 lemons
zest of 1-2 lemons
100g honey, coconut sugar or other natural sweetener of choice
3-4 tablespoons arrowroot powder*
6 tablespoons soy yoghurt or solid coconut milk from a tin (can replace with other yoghurt of choice such as coconut, oat or almond yoghurt. Those who eat dairy can also use probiotic dairy yoghurt or double cream)

* If you are not vegan, you can use 3 eggs and 2 egg yolks instead of the arrowroot, using the same method as below).

For the topping
100g ground almonds
100g desiccated coconut
2-4 tbs honey
1 tbs coconut sugar
50g coconut oil
20g grated lemon zest

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Method

Preheat the oven to 160c. Lightly grease a heatproof oven dish with coconut oil or line with greaseproof paper.

Start by mixing the topping ingredients in a medium bowl using a wooden spoon, then crumble into breadcrumb-like clumps with your fingers. Place in the freezer to stiffen whilst you prepare the lemon curd layer.

To make the vegan lemon curd layer, measure the lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon flesh (removing the remaining flesh from the lemon skin using a metal spoon and / or your fingers), coconut oil and honey or other sweetener of choice into a medium saucepan over a medium to high heat. Immediately whisk in the arrowroot, adding 2 tablespoons first, then whisking until fully combined, before adding the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons gradually. If the mixture seems thick enough after 2-3 tablespoons of arrowroot, you don’t need to add the 4th tablespoon. Whisk again to combine thoroughly.

Continue to heat over a medium to high heat, until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble. It should become smooth, quite gloopy and glossy. During one of my test runs, a lot of the oil separated and sat on the surface, but if this happens, simply remove from the heat and whisk vigorously until the mixture comes together smoothly again.

Once the mixture has become thick and smooth, remove from the heat and whisk the mixture a final time to ensure it remains creamy and doesn’t separate.

Now whisk in the soy yoghurt or solid coconut milk (or whichever alternative you might be using), one tablespoon at a time, until smooth.

Pour the mixture into your prepared dish and then cover with the crumble mixture. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the crumble begins to brown and crisp.

Upside Down Apricot + Almond Cake

Dairy Free, Gluten free, Recipe, Seasonal, Sugar Free, Sweets + Desserts, Summerdanielle copperman1 Comment
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Inspired by a cake my mama threw effortlessly together last week in desperation to use up some of the plums from the tree in our front garden, this cake is super simple and seasonally delicious. It is one of the moistest, lightest cakes you have and will ever encounter, I'm sure of it. Most of the flavour comes from the natural juices and essence of the fresh apricots (you can also use peaches, plums, nectarines or other seasonal fruit of choice - it will literally work with anything; berries, banana, citrus fruits etc etc), which goes so well with the creamy, nuttiness of the ground almond batter.

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This is such a summery recipe and it feels so energising, refreshing and nourishing to eat the vibrant fruits that nature offers up this time of year. I am a firm believer that we truly need exactly what the Earth provides for us in certain seasons / situations. I have been craving juicy, hydrating fruits all summer - probably due to the dry, hot weather - and feel so grateful to have things like peaches, apricots and nectarines thriving in abundance right now. 

This is such a quick and easy recipe and I would seriously recommend it, especially if you have some over-ripe fruits to use up. All the ingredients, as always, are 100% natural and unrefined and thus dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free.

+ A quick note on sugar: my opinion is that all sugar is sugar, it is received very similarly by the body, however it does make a difference using coconut sugar as it's is higher in fibre and other vitamins and minerals than regular white sugar or other highly processed sweeteners. I also use almost half the sugar required in most similar standard cake recipes, so that's something.

Components

8-10 medium apricots (or a similar amount of other fruits of choice. I'd suggest roughly 5 peaches or nectarines, 8-10 plums, 4-5 oranges or lemons - also feel free to use a combination of several different fruits)
120g  ground almonds
3 eggs (replace with equivalent of flax or chia gel for vegan option, although I haven't tested this)
100g coconut sugar
140g coconut oil
25g water
65g buckwheat flour (can also use self raising gluten free flour or standard self raising flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, paste, powder or fresh vanilla pod seeds
Pinch of salt
+ extra coconut oil and coconut sugar, for greasing

Method

Preheat the oven to 170c.

Line a 9 inch cake tin (I like to use one with a removable bottom, for ease) with baking paper and grease with the coconut oil and sprinkle with coconut sugar (enough to evenly cover the entire base) and a pinch of salt. 

Slice your fruits of choice into flat disks, however possible. I sliced my apricots in half only once, and removed the stone, but for peaches and nectarines you might want to slice four times for thinner layers. Then, lay the fruit - open side facing down and skin side facing up - over the entire base of the tin. Cover as much of the tin as possible and fill any gaps with smaller slices of fruit.

Next, make the batter. Whisk all of the remaining ingredients together in a bowl or combine in a mixer or a food processor. Once smooth, pour the mixture into the tin, covering every inch of the fruit. Smooth to even out with a spatula or back of a spoon.

Bake for 40-45 mins, testing to see if the centre is cooked through by poking a knife or skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, it is ready, but if it brings a lot of raw looking mixture with it, leave it to bake a little longer. If the top begins to darken too much, cover with foil for the remaining time. 

Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Remove the cake from the tin and gently flip it upside down onto a large plate or cake stand. Carefully remove the baking paper, pressing it away from you as you peel it away, to avoid any pieces of fruit coming with it.

Leave to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes, then either enjoy warm or leave for longer and enjoy at room temp. 

I enjoyed mine with yoghurt (I like soy, almond, cashew or coconut, but you can also use natural probiotic yoghurt). You could also serve with vegan cream (I like Oatly). I also added a little fresh grated ginger, but it would also be nice with fresh herbs like mint, thyme or lemon verbena, depending on the fruits you've used.

+ Store in an airtight container either at room temperature or in the fridge. I left mine at room temperature and it lasted for 4-5 days.

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Summery Vegan Lemon Curd Tart ~ Vegan & Gluten Free Ofc

Dairy Free, Gluten free, Summer, Sugar Free, Sweets + Desserts, Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipedanielle copperman3 Comments
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Ah, this could be just about the dreamiest thing I've ever made. I thought it would be impossible to recreate a favourite of mine (and many's) - The Lemon Tart - using all-natural and vegan ingredients, but it wasn't, and that's why we're where we are today. First off, this post contains around 3 to 4 individual recipes in itself; not only a lemon tart but also a lemon jam, a lemon curd and a biscuity base you can use for all kinds of sweet treats, desserts, freezer granola (I'll explain later) or simply enjoy as a snack. 

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+ You can make this recipe into one big tart to serve sliced (right), or you can use smaller tart dishes to make individual tartlets (left). You can also make this into more a cheesecake pot if you don't have the right kind of tart dish, by filling small ramekins, small bowls or even glasses with some of the base mixture followed by the filling on top.

The Basic Biscuity Base

You can take inspiration from pretty much any recipe for a raw dessert when looking for a quick and simple base for a conventional dessert; whether you intend to make an entirely raw dessert or not. You can make a basic base for any dessert with pretty much any combination of nuts / seeds, coconut oil or butter and a little natural sweetener. I've given up using recipes as it is so easy to judge by eye how much oil and by taste how much sweetener you need to add to any amount of nuts / seeds for it to work as a base. The magic of a raw base like this is that the hard work is done by the coconut oil / butter and the fridge / freezer. It is so simple, and the result is always perfectly crunchy, creamy and crumbly. I use the same kind of recipes as the bottom layer for dessert pots, the base for cheesecakes and as an easy alternative to pastry shells - as I have done here.

+ You could make this tart on a more conventional pastry shell if you feel so inclined / prefer it / have more time and patience on your hands. The pastry from my recent Savoury Vegan Picnic Tartlets recipe would work amazingly with this filling.

Components

Makes enough for 1 medium to large tart dish, or about 8-10 small individual pots / tart dishes

200g raw cashews
200g raw almonds
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
3-4 tablespoons honey, medjool dates or other natural sweetener of choice (I find 3 tablespoons is enough to make the dough stick but add more depending on your taste preferences)

+ You can of course use a combination of any other raw nuts and / or seeds you have on hand. I love using pecans or walnuts, and sunflower seeds for a nut-free option.

Process

Simply add your nuts / seeds of choice to a food processor and blend until ground into a fine, crumbly consistency. With the machine still running, slowly pour in the coconut oil followed closly by the honey or other natural sweetener of choice.

The mixture should begin to clump after 30-60 seconds on a high speed. Add a little more oil if the mixture seems too dry and/or a little more honey or sweetener of choice if the mixture isn't sticking and holding together when you press it with your fingers of the back of a spoon or spatula. You want it to stick and hold a compact shape.

Now, cut a strip of baking paper almost twice the diameter of your tart dish (do the same for each small individual tartlet dishes if using). Lay the baking paper across the tart dish as centrally as possible, with the baking paper flat to the middle of the tart dish, and the ends of the laying long outside of the dish. This will help you to lift the tart out once it is set.

Next, transfer the base mixture into your tart dish or tartlet dishes, and use a spatula and / or your hands to spread the mixture evenly to the edges. Press the mixture down until it is compact, and use small handfuls to press some of the mixture up and around the sides of your dish too. 

The base should be about 1/2 cm - 1 cm thick at the base, probably naturally a little thinner around the edges. Transfer to the freezer to set whilst you make the filling.

+ Leftovers tip: You can use any leftover base to energy balls or bars, either rolling it up or pressing into bar moulds or even tuppaware boxes. You can also crumble it into a small container and leave it in the freezer to enjoy as an instant granola for breakfast.

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The Lemon Curd Filling

I have previously made an all-natural lemon curd recipe but it contained eggs and quite a bit of coconut milk which made it quite heavy and rich. This new versions is incredible, I'm genuinely smiling just thinking about it. 100% vegan / plant based and 100% natural and unrefined, you won't find the usual eggs, overload of sugar or butter that is traditionally used in conventional recipes / lemon curd products, or any additives, preservatives and weird thickeners or acidity regulators (err, sorry what?).

As mentioned in the intro, you get 3-in-1 with this recipe. The earliest stage of this filling makes the most delicious lemon jam, which can be used on toast, in yoghurt or enjoyed with baked goods. The next stage makes the perfect lemon curd, which can be used as a spread, a dip or a side for fruit salads or other desserts. And the final stage is your lemon curd tart filling, which could also be used as a slightly richer and creamier spread, dip or side for other desserts. The choice is yours.

Components

140g coconut oil, melted
juice of 6 lemons
160-180g honey, coconut sugar or other natural sweetener of choice
6 tablespoons arrowroot powder
6 tablespoons soy yoghurt (can replace with other yoghurt of choice such as coconut, oat or almond yoghurt. Those who eat dairy can also use probiotic dairy yoghurt or double cream)

Process

Measure the lemon juice, oil and honey into a medium saucepan over a medium - high heat. Immediately whisk in the arrowroot. Add 3 tablespoons first then whisk until fully combine, then add the remaining 3 tablespoons and whisk again.

Heat over a medium - high heat until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble. It should become incredibly gloopy. Also, during one of my test runs, a lot of the oil separated and sat on the surface, but if this happens it will all turn out fine, so don't worry.

As the mixture becomes thick and gloopy, remove the pan from the heat and whisk the mixture vigorously for 1-2 minutes (may need longer if your oil has separated slightly). The mixture should calm down and become a smoother more creamy looking texture. Return to a low-medium heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, whisking every so often to avoid any sticking and burning.

When the mixture is thick, smooth and glossy looking, remove from heat and then whisk in the soy yoghurt (or whichever alternative you might be using), one tablespoon at a time, until smooth. This will make the mixture thin a little but don't worry, it will set perfectly.

Pour the mixture into your tart base or tartlet bases, filling it up to come almost level with the edges of the base. This time, place in the fridge for about 1-2 hours to set fully.

+ Leftovers tip: If you have leftover filling mixture once you've filled your tart or tartlet bases, pour the remainder into a jar or container and store in the fridge. You can serve a dollop alongside the tart for anyone who wants extra, or you can use to accompany breakfasts (such as granola and yoghurt, fruit salad, spread on toast or on porridge) or other desserts.

Once set, slice and serve with an extra dollop of soy yoghurt (or you preferred alternative) and a side of fresh, seasonal fruit. Keeps for 1 week in the fridge. To keep for even longer, slice and store in the freezer; it thaws back to perfection in no time.

+ Decoration tip: You could try swirling an extra dollop of soy yogurt into the middle of the filling before setting, to create a marbled effect. You could also garnish with edible flowers, lemon slices or other fresh fruit of choice

CARAMELISED COURGETTE, PEA, MINT AND MACADAMIA DIP

Seasonal, Sides, Snacks, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Recipe, Dips + Spreads, Dairy Freedanielle copperman1 Comment

I've been on and off home turf the past couple of months but everytime I do stop by I head straight for the kitchen to regurgitate information and inspiration gathered during my time away. Some things are inspired by new places and new cultures. Some things are inspired by local cuisine. Some things are inspired by seasonal produce. And some things are inspired by me just having too much time to myself to think about fun new things I could try when I get home.

This recipe is mostly inspired by the fact that we are in peak pea season, with some influence coming merely from me having had too much time to think about the things you could do with peas. I've made pea and mint houmous in the past and I'm a huge dip lover in general, as they require next to no thinking at all, and pretty much the same amount of effort. Dips and spreads are one of my favourite things to make purely because they are so easy and customisable. You can disguise any ingredients you don't like the taste of by combining then with ones you do, and you can also invent your own new combinations by simply getting creative with whatever you can find in the kitchen (within reason).

I've been wanting to develop some good summertime recipes (although it has seemed pointless since it still feels like winter in the UK), but have been caught up in the waves of life, and by that I mainly mean work. June felt like the heaviest month. The energy was low and dull, the weather was grey and practically everyone I know was feeling totally depressed about the EU Referendum results. I honestly believe that the energy of others around you has a huge effect on your own energy, even the energy of people you don't know. But, I also believe that seasonal produce provided by the Earth exists to help us cope with certain times of the year, by providing us with what we need, when we most need it. Natural, life-rich produce has transferrable energy. It has so much to give, and all we have to do to attain it is consume it.  I guess what I'm trying to say is, the peas are here to help. I had leftovers of this for breakfast this morning and the sun is currently out. It hasn't even rained yet today (!?). I'm feeling good about July already, and sending total Bye Felicia vibes to June.

INGREDIENTS

180g Garden Peas (cooked)
200g White Beans, Butter Beans, Cannelini Beans or Chickpeas
70g Olive Oil
20g Filtered Water
30g Avocado Flesh
100g Sliced Courgette, sauteed (can also substitue for sauteed broccoli or cauliflower)
Large Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt - to taste
15g Tahini
10g Fresh Spinach
1g Lemon juice
15g Macadamia Nuts (Pumpkin Seeds + Brazil Nuts would work well too)
6g Mint - optional but v v nice
1/2-1 Clove Garlic - optional (I am mildly allergic so I didn't include this but if you're into it I think it would be a sure)

METHOD

If using frozen peas, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and add the peas. Simmer for about 5 minutes until soft, then strain and leave to cool. If your peas are pre-cooked and ready to go, start by sauteeing the courgette in a little olive oil and salt, over a medium heat. Meanwhile, blend the peas, your beans of choice, olive oil, water, salt, avocado flesh, tahini, spinach, lemon juice, nuts and mint and garlic - if using - in a high speed blender. Blend for about 1-2 minutes, using a tamper to get things moving properly. Keep an eye on the courgette and flip them as they begin to sizzle and brown. Once cooked well on both sides and soft in the middle, add them to the blender and blend for a further 1-2 minutes. Ideally, the blender should be able to run smoothly without the help of the tamper, as this will create the smoothest result. If it's really struggling, add a little more water.

Once you are happy with the texture, taste and season with extra lemon, garlic or salt, until you are happy with it. Transfer to a bowl or tuppaware and leave in the fridge to cool before serving.

To serve, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and either some chopped macadamia, sesame seeds or hemp seeds, dukkah or za'atar, to add a little crunch.

 

QUINOA CREAMED CHIA SEED PUDDING

Essentials, Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Free, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle copperman3 Comments

This is my new favourite. My new favourite several things. My new favourite breakfast. My new favourtite snack. My new favourite chia seed pudding. Hell, it's the best chia seed pudding I've ever made, and it's the best chia seed pudding you'll ever make, and I'm not even nervous to make that promise cos I know I can deliver.

Chia seed pudding comes in many forms. You can soak these tiny but powerful, simple but effective seeds in any liquid at all, and they will gel together to form a pudding within minutes. The simplest recipe would involve water, coconut water, or shop bought / ready made plant milk. Something a little more special would involve handmaking plant milk with less water to make it thicker and creamier, making the gel around the seeds creamier and plumper. And something even more spectacular (and even creamier and even more nutritious), would include making a cream out of cooked quinoa and plant milk. Let me elaborate:

Ingredients

150ml Plant Based Milk (I use oat, almond or cashew)
5g Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Bean Paste, Vanilla Seeds or Vanilla Powder
80g Cooked Quinoa, rinsed and cooled
1 Teaspoon Maca
30g Coconut Milk (the more solid part) (you can also experiment with 15g Avocado Flesh or Banana instead of Coconut Milk)
10g Sunflower Seeds
10g Coconut Syrup, Date Syrup, Honey or other Natural Sweetener of Choice
Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
25g Chia seeds

Optional
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon or Cardamom
10g Cooked Quinoa (to stir through before serving)
Fresh Cherries
Pink Grapefruit
Nut Butter
Tahini

Method

Simply measure out all of the ingredients, apart from the chia seeds, into a blender and blend on the highest speed for 1-2 minutes, until smooth. Add a little more salt or sweetener (and maca and any spices you are using) to suit your taste and blend again to combine. Once smooth, pour the mixture into a bowl, jar or tuppaware and weigh out the chia seeds into the same bowl. Stir or whisk with a fork to fully combine the seeds, and leave to absorb for 5 minutes. Stir again to ensure the seeds are fully coated in order to absorb the liquid evenly, and then set in the fridge for 10-20 minutes. Stir again (at this point, if you want to, add some leftover cooked quinoa if you want to bulk the pudding out a little more) and then leave in the fridge until ready to serve. Leaving overnight will make the seeds the perfect softness and plumpness, but you can enjoy after as little as half an hour.

Top with your choice of fruit, nut butter, tahini, extra spices and superfood powders, granola, qnola, nuts and seeds. Enjoy for breakfast, as a snack, stirred through smoothies, stirred through porridge or served alongside desserts.

SMOOTH SWEETCORN PANCAKES

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Free, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

I’m incredibly aware that things have become quiet around here during the last couple of months. In fact - I’ll be real - make that the last year. It’s like I’ve been a terribly terribly unprepared parent, neglecting the fairly low maintenance first born in becoming completely tied up and overwhelmed with the bringing up the second. Thankfully, at only 22, I’m talking theoretically and about actual children of mine, but it's a pretty accurate comparison in my opinion. Qnola happened to me completely out of the blue and i was unprepared to say the least. 

Almost 2 years in, i still work through the night, but i now have a help, which means i can finally start dusting off the recipes i’ve been recording since 2014 that never quite made it to the stage of being uploaded. there are some wonderful recipes buried deep inside my computer, along with valuable travel tips from my recent adventures of living in new york and travelling the world whenever i can. to start with though: a recipe just over a month late which i intended to post in time for pancake day, but which got intercepted by general life. in my opinion, and ok, in attempt to justify my lateness, one day is simply not enough time to give pancakes the praise they deserve, so let’s ignore last months hype and have pancakes whenever we want to.

As a child, i excelled in making pancakes and that was more or less the purpose of my life from the age of 8 to i’d say, well, the present day if you ask any of my friends who still demand a pancake party the morning after they stay over. These pancakes, though, are not like those from my childhood. I’m more conscious than i was then and have replaced the gluten, removed the dairy and injected these nourishing pancakes with antioxidants, healthy fats and plant proteins. I also made them as neutral as possible in flavour, meaning they work with both savoury and sweet toppings. Pictured here with savoury chicken salad and homemade nut and seed pesto, but enjoyed the leftovers with fresh lemon juice, thyme and coconut palm sugar.

INGREDIENTS
100g Almond Milk
10g Olive Oil
150g Sweetcorn, cooked
10g Hemp Seeds
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
30g Quinoa, cooked
2 Eggs (can replace with chia seed gel or flax seed gel)
50g Buckwheat Flour
Fresh Herbs - optional 

METHOD
Simply add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend on a high speed. You can add your choice of fresh herbs or even spinach or kale to make these pancakes even healthier and more flavoursome. Once the mixture is completely smooth, heat some coconut oil in a large saucepan until it has melted, then take a large spoonful of the batter and create 3-4 small pancakes - as your frying pan space permits. Fry over a medium heat for about 1-2 minutes and then flip when the underside can be loosened from the pan. Flip and fry on the other side and re-flip if you want a crispier result.

Top with sweet or savoury toppings like coconut palm sugar and fresh citrus, homemade raw cacao spread, honey and coconut yoghurt, or pesto, houmous, raw/cooked vegetables, fish/meat or this dairy free chicken salad.

CHICKEN SALAD

INGREDIENTS
Serves 2-4

200g Shredded Chicken (This works best with tender meat generally from around the bone, but i used sliced chicken breast and it worked perfectly)
2 Egg Yolks
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
½ Clove Garlic, sliced
Small Handful Coriander
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Orange Juice
1 Teaspoon Lime Zest
1 Teaspoon or Pinch Nutritional Yeast - optional
30g Avocado (or soaked sunflower seeds)
½ Teaspoon Mustard - optional

Optional:
20g grated apple
20g grate kohlrabi
20g grated courgette
chopped basil optional
chopped black or orange apricots

METHOD

Start by blending the egg, oil, salt, garlic, coriander, citrus zest and juice, nutritional yeast and avocado (or soaked sunflower seeds) until smooth. Pour into a medium bowl, and stir through the grated fruit and vegetables (if using), the herbs and finally the chicken. When fully coated, top each pancake or serve as a side. Perfect for salads, sandwiches and picnics.

SIMPLE AVOCADO, ALMOND AND COCONUT GELATO

Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipe, Paleo, Gluten free, Dairy Free, Beautydanielle coppermanComment

Eating Ice cream, for me, is usually a spoon in tub kind of activity, which is why you wont find an ice cream scoop in my kitchen. Pointless waste of space or what? A spoons a spoon and if scooping is all that needs doing, I think my current collection has all angles covered. Well actually, today I swayed more towards the ‘or what’ part of that sentence. It would have been nicer, neater and easier for me to get across the beauty of this simple, no-churn, no-ice-cream-maker ice cream with the help of an ice cream scoop. But, by default, I’ve accidentally proven that this ice cream - as well as being achievable without an ice cream maker (who actually owns one), and without dairy or refined sugar - is also achievable without an ice cream scoop. This is probably not very exciting for you because, I realise, for most people, the presence of an ice cream scoop in the cutlery drawer is not a big deal. But I’m basically making an excuse for my shoddy food styling, so just go with it, yh. It's Christmas after all. 

INGREDIENTS

2 Ripe Avocados
¼ Cup Almond or Coconut Milk (or alternative plant based milk)
6 Heaped Tablespoons Solid Coconut Milk
Generous Pinch of Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Paste / Extract / Powder / Seeds
1 Tablespoon Raw Honey / Coconut Palm Sugar / Agave / 2 Medjool Dates
2 Tablespoons Flaked Almonds
2 Tablespoons Hulled Hemp Seeds

Optional
2 Tablespoons Strong Coffee or 1 Teaspoon Coffee Powder
1 Tablespoon Ground Chicory Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Medicinal Mushroom Powder (Reishi / Shilajit / Chaga)
Handful Fresh Mint Leaves
Handful Fresh Mint Leaves and Cacao Nibs or Chunks of Raw Chocolate

METHOD

Simply blend all the ingredients except for the flaked almonds and hemp seeds in a high speed blender or food processor. If you are adding the optional flavourings, add them now too - apart from the cacao nibs or raw chocolate, which should be stirred gently through the main mixture before freezing. Blend on a high speed for 2-3 minutes until the blender runs consistently and smoothly on its highest speed. Taste, and add a little more sweetener, salt or flavourings to suit your tastes. Transfer to a deep container, bowl or a bread tin. Stir in the cacao nibs or chocolate, if using, or your choice of dried fruits, nuts, seeds, nut butter, berries or compotes (to create a raspberry ripple kind of taste sensation). You can enjoy instantly as it is, as a pudding / mousse / yoghurt kind of dessert, or freeze for around 4 hours (depending on the depth of your tin) or overnight to turn it into a rich, creamy ice cream. 
This recipe doesn’t require an ice cream maker as previously stated, which means the texture can be a little tricky to work with, and serving the ice cream requires organisation and a little patience. Remove from the freezer 1 hour before you wish to serve. Let it thaw at room temperature for 20 minutes, and then leave to thaw gradually in the fridge for 40 minutes. When ready to serve, simply scoop single portions into bowls and top with the flaked almonds and hemp seeds, to add protein and healthy fats, as well as texture and sprinkle-like excitement.

HOW TO MAKE PECANS, DATES AND RAW CHOCOLATE TASTE UNHEALTHILY TO-DIE-FOR

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten free, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

One evening in July 2015, my flatmates and I found ourselves all at home at the same time, for the first time since we'd moved house. We moved in the first week of July, and because these days everyone has multiple jobs and no spare time at all, we hadn't even found time to sit and eat dinner together since moving in. However, this particular Saturday night we decided to have a wild one. We pulled together everything our fridge and cupboards had to offer, made a meal out of mismatches, dusted off my projector screen and had an old school movie marathon (featuring movies so terrible they're brilliant). We were thinking about movie snacks before we'd even decided on dinner, but what is a movie marathon without some sweet thangs? Popcorn gets stuck in your teeth and is nutritionally substandard. Chocolate - dairy/sugar/emulsifiers. Raw Chocolate - good but slightly boring. Sweets - just no, not these days. Chewy Bliss Balls / Cookie Dough Bites - chewy, sweet and salty goodness with raw chocolate. All natural, gluten, grain, dairy and sugar free, antioxidant, fibre and protein rich, and filling in a clean way. Well, that's just about the only way to christen a new home in my eyes, so thats exactly what we done.

This recipe is just the kind of recipe we all need more of. It is quick. It is seriously inexplicably delicious. And I practically made it with my eyes shut. I was concentrating on dinner, catching up with my flat mates and thinking about what films we should watch, whilst the food processor did the hard work. I also didn't measure any of the ingredients thoroughly, and chucked in whatever I could find. This recipe, although I have more or less estimated the quantities that I used, should work just fine. As long as you have the nuts and buckwheat flakes as the foundations, the dates and the coconut oil to bind and bring everything together, and the superfood powders to flavour, you'll end up with something delicious. The quantities only really alter the texture, not so much the flavour. So, if yours turn out too soft or wet, add more buckwheat flakes. If they turn out too sticky, and so stubborn they won't blend, add a little hot water. If they're too sweet, add extra lemon juice and/or salt/tamari. And if they're not sweet enough, add 1/2 or 1 date more.

In my defence of this seeming like a lazy recipe (why don't I just try it again and give you the exact measurements? Sadly, I. Don't. Have. The. Time), even if I did have exact measurements, the end result may not suit your personal tastes. This way, you can take inspiration from my recipe and work with it until you have it just the way you want it. I'm here to encourage you to create your own delicious foods, by providing you with the foundations and leaving the flavourings up to you. We're all different, and not everybody, for example, likes raw chocolate (shame on you tho). 

SALTED RAW CHOCOLATE CHIP & PECAN COOKIE DOUGH BITES

INGREDIENTS
100g Pecan Nuts
2 Tablespoons Desiccated Coconut
200g Buckwheat Flakes
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (room temp
1/2 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
Tamari
6 Medjool Dates
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice or Zest
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Hot Water - if needed to help things blend
½ Tablespoon Lucuma Powder
1 Teaspoon Maca Powder
1/2 Cup Raw Chocolate (I like Ombar), chopped

METHOD
Start by blending the nuts into a flour - usually takes around 1 full minute. Then add the buckwheat flakes and blend for another 30 seconds. Next, add the dates (halved), then the rest of the ingredients, apart from the raw chocolate. When fully combined and dough-like, transfer to a bowl and stir in the raw chocolate, kneading with you hands to combine (work quickly so the chocolate doesn't melt). Break the mixture into small chunks, roll into balls, flatten into bar shapes, or roll out gently and cut with shaped cutters to make raw cookies. Arrange on a baking tray or a plate and place in the freezer. Leave for 30 minutes, to 1 hour and remove 5 minutes before enjoying. I like mine straight from the freezer, and as they melt they become a fudgey consistency. If you prefer yours softer, leave them out for 10-15 minutes before enjoying. I'm sure you can work it out.

+ If yours seem too oily, wet, sticky, salty, sweet or lumpy, see above for directions.

THE ONLY SALAD DRESSING YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE

Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

This week, despite the non-stop rainfall we are experiencing here in London, I've been embracing good, seasonal produce and have found myself in a cherry rut. My body clock feels so confused at the moment. I go to bed gently suntanned and wake up in a gloomy room from which I can see nothing but soggy grass and blustery drizzle. Recently moved house, I have been exploring my new local area, and one of the best fresh fruit and vegetable stores is just a few minutes walk for me. They have almost made a landmark out of the deepest, darkest cherries, positioned confidently in the doorway to greet - and entice - customers. If they don't make their way into your basket on your way in, you'll see them again as you leave, and you won't be able to go home without them. Every time I go to stock up on juice or dinner ingredients, they end up in the same place - first the basket, then in my mouth and soon all dinner plans are demoted.

This time of year (or any, really, for that matter), I don't plan many meals. If i'm having people over then a little more thought goes into it, but otherwise, I just fill my kitchen with anything I think looks good, and with things I know and love. This way, I end up eating a lot of random meals, but am constantly pleasantly surprised at how well they turn out. So whilst I might sometimes get sidetracked at the vegetable store and forget to buy what I actually went there for, it is often the meals made with no real structure but pretty much anything that happens to be in my fridge, that end up becoming my favourites. 

This time of year, I like to spend less time in the kitchen. There is little need to use the oven as an extra source of heat like I do throughout the winter, and comforting, warm meals are also less essential. For this reason, more of my meals are raw, cold or leftover. My blender, as always (somethings never change) still features heavily in my day to day routine - more than usual, in fact. And let me tell you, it's not only smoothies that come out of that thing, but also dips, soups, gazpachos and dressings. Yes, that's what happened to the cherries this week. Those that I didn't snack on during the (2 minute) walk home from the store, said goodbye to their sweet life as grocery store decoration, and went through what I can only imagine as hell, all for the sake of a delicious summer salad dressing.

Like I said, I'm not as committed to spending hours over a stove (ok, bit dramatic) during the summer, and making dips and dressings in a blender is the quickest way to add flavour and an abundance of accessible nutrients to a meal. If the sun does come out in England, a lunch, snack or dinner that takes just minutes to make is exactly what we all desire. Choose your flavours, your base ingredients, your seasoning and your herbs and blend everything together to instantly upgrade some raw vegetable crudités, a salad, a sandwich or some leftovers. Before this, there was pesto, houmous and mustard dressings. But this recipe is even simpler to make and goes with absolutely anything. Make a big batch, serve with everything and take to work, on long journeys, or as an offering to barbecues and picnics.

CHERRY, LIME AND TAHINI DRESSING
(serves around 4 people - covers a large salad)

6-8 Large Cherries
1 tablespoon Tahini
6 tablespoons Olive oil
½ lime juice
Salt or tamari

OPTIONAL
1 Teaspoon Mustard 
A few drops Apple Cider Vinegar
Pinch Wasabi Paste
2 Slices Fresh Ginger / 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
Pinch Fresh Mint, Basil or Coriander

METHOD
Slice your cherries in half and pull apart, removing the stone. Place in a food processor or blender, and add the oil, lime juice, tahini and tamari. Blend for 1-2 minutes, until entirely smooth. Add additional ingredients from the 'optional' list, if using, and blend for a further 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl or pour directly onto your salad. Serve with meat, fish, salads, raw vegetables, over vegetable slaw or with cooked vegetables (especially good over roasted cauliflower).
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

+ Featuring, thrown together salad of rocket, watercress, spinach, alfalfa sprouts, soft boiled egg, shredded chicken, roasted sweet potato, avocado, macadamia nuts, fresh basil and fresh tomatoes (topped with savoury Qnola - available soon)

SWEET POTATO, CHICKEN, AVOCADO AND QUINOA NORI ROLLS

Snacks, Summer, Lunch, Recipe, Gluten free, Dinner, Dairy Free, Brunchdanielle copperman1 Comment

You can't go wrong with anything that is rollable. Whether its fajita's, a quick tortilla lunch wrap, some homemade savoury crepes, burritos or sushi, there's something for everyone, and each individual has a unique way of filling, customising and rolling theirs to really make it mean something to them; or just to make it their own kind of tasty. Fajita's featured a lot in my house growing up, and as soon as there was a tortilla on each plate, everyone fell silent, concentrating on building their ideal meal. There's something so satisfying in combining your favourite things to create a few incredible mouthfuls that no one else will ever quite achieve in their own constructions, or experience to the full extent.

This recipe is - hang on, I'm about to say it again - one of my favourite creations. I was inspired by conventional sushi which, ever since moving to London from Bath (a small town where people would assume you'd just sneezed if you asked where to find some sashimi), I have been obsessed with. The recipe below isn't in keeping with many Japanese traditions, but it doesn't have to be. You can mix and match your fillings, and you don't have to use rice and raw fish. You can literally use anything. The seaweed has such a mild flavour that whatever combination of fillings you choose will work well.

It may not look like it, but this is such a simple recipe - which is always a bonus. Anyone who loves fresh food and vibrant flavours will appreciate that you can bung everything you love onto one nori sheet, roll, squeeze and enjoy instantly. If for whatever reason yours don't roll perfectly, this is not an indication of failure - it will still taste amazing. 

I love a recipe that you can really personalise, as I'm sure most of you do too. If you don't like an ingredient, you don't have to use it, and instead can combine all of your favourite ingredients in one meal. You can use any fillings you like here - I have simply provided a couple of my personal favourites. Where normal sushi uses rice, I've used Quinoa, as I find it more gently filling in comparison to rice, and it is also higher in protein and fibre, and in some cases, easier to digest. (It also suits anyone on a paleo diet). That's more or less the only similarity that these nori rolls have with traditional sushi. My fillings combine all kinds of cuisines. You could call them Confused Rolls. Whatever - they're delicious.

For vegetarians, you can experiment with a range of raw or cooked vegetables. I love using mashed or pureed sweet potato or beetroot houmous with the quinoa as it is a creamy, sweet way of binding the other ingredients together. I'd suggest cutting the vegetables into thin strips to make for easier rolling. Avocado, courgette, cucumber, red pepper, carrot, beetroot, kohlrabi, cabbage (or sauerkraut), spinach, kale and broccoli would be top of my list. Make sure you also throw in as many fresh herbs as you can too. Mint, parsley, coriander and basil add a refreshing flavour. You can also improvise with your own dips and spreads in the place of sweet potato or beetroot houmous. Try them with any kind of houmous, avocado puree or guacamole.

For a meaty version, experiment with either chicken - like I have below - or fish (cooked or raw). In the past, I've made these with locally sourced organic salmon sashimi which you can pick up from almost any fishmonger. Ask them if it is sashimi-grade, and ensure it is as fresh as it can be. Don't leave it in the fridge for a few days before you plan on making these - use it the day you buy it. 

You can either prepare your meat beforehand like i have below, flavouring it with honey, oil and lemon juice or you can keep it plain. It is best to use it cold as it will roll better and won't affect the shape of the nori rolls too much.

 INGREDIENTS
(makes around 14 rolls - perfect as a quick lunch, snack or starter)

1 Packet Plain Nori Sheets (like these)
1 Large Sweet Potato, mashed - or Beetroot Houmous (recipe below)
1 1/2 Cups Cooked Quinoa

FILLING OPTIONS
. Sliced Vegetables - I like kohlrabi, carrot, cucumber, courgette, cabbage, chopped spinach, beetroot or broccoli / cauliflower rice. With crunchier vegetables, slice them thinly lengthways.
. Shredded or Chopped Chicken (try marinating in Tamari, Ginger, Ground Coriander, Agave and Olive oil).
Flaked Fish (salmon or tuna), Raw Fish or King Prawns.

METHOD
Take one nori sheet at a time and lay it flat onto a dry surface. I use a sushi mat which helps, but it isn't essential. Spread a layer of sweet potato onto the nori sheet, in a rectangle. Don't let it get too close to the sides of the sheet. Next, spread a layer of quinoa on top, followed by the chicken or fish and your vegetables. Starting with the end nearest to you, being to roll. It can get really messy! Just go with it. I tend to almost fold the sheet in half and then roll it back towards me, tucking it into the filling as I go. I roll and re-assemble a few times to get the filling tightly packed. Squeeze the rolls with dry hands to ensure they become as compact as possible.

Once rolled, take a really sharp knife and wet it slightly. Holding the roll at one end, slice diagonally down the middle, careful not to put too much pressure on the roll or to tear the sheet.

Serve with an Asian Inspired dip, a salty dip or a sweet dip (recipes below).

BEETROOT HOUMOUS
(serves 4-6)
2 Tins Chickpeas
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
10 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic - optional
2 Small - Medium Cooked Beetroot, chopped
1 Tablespoon Beetroot Powder or 1 Extra Beetroot, chopped
3 Tablespoons Tahini
Juice from 1/2 or 1 Lemon (depending on your personal preference)
Himalayan Pink Salt or Tamari - to taste
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast - optional
1 Teaspoon Mustard - optional

METHOD
Start by blending together your chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast, tahini and mustard, if using. Blend on a medium to high speed, and add the water gradually. Once smooth, add the chopped beetroot and blend for a further 2 minutes. Add more water if it isn't blending smoothly. Serve instantly, or chill in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

SALTY TAMARI DIP
(serves 4-6)
1 Tablespoon Tamari
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sesame Oil or Avocado Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon or Lime Juice
1 Tablespoon Tahini, optional

METHOD

Simply combine all of the ingredients in a small small bowl, stirring with a fork to combine everything fully. Serve chilled. If the you leave the dressing to sit, or in the fridge for a while before serving, stir again before enjoying, as the oil, tamari and tahini tend to separate.

SWEET TAHINI DIP
(serves 4-6)
1 Teaspoon Tamari
2 Tablespoons Tahini
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Agave / Raw Honey /Date Syrup / Coconut Nectar
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Ground or Grated Ginger
Crushed Garlic - optional

METHOD
Simply combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl, stirring and mashing lightly with a fork, or use your blender if you want to get a smoother dressing and ensure there are no lumps. Serve as a dip for the nori wraps, or drizzle over the top.

WASTE NOT | STRAWBERRY TOPS

Summer, Recipe, Lifestyle, Drinksdanielle coppermanComment

As I sit and write this in the Bath countryside in which I grew up, I feel content. And - whilst I'm at it - I feel wildly grateful. I'm letting it be. Whatever it is. Sure, there are things I would change - like being able to tan the lower half of my left arm instead of sitting uncomfortably with it in a cast, in which it is gradually overheating. But you know what? That's all part of the plan. Being one arm less recently has, again, made me feel grateful. Not only for being blessed with two arms usually, but also for the people around me who've constantly been there to (laugh at and graffiti me) support me. They're good guys, really.

With all of my belongings sat in boxes in my parents garage, in the past 2 months I've learned that I feel most free and most grateful without any of them. It's funny how little you need, and how simple and uncluttered life becomes when you remove everything you've spent you're life collecting. You begin to appreciate anything you do have, which is pretty much where the whole idea of mindfulness comes from. Instead of focussing on what you don't have, what you want and what you wish for, you focus on what you do have, and over time none of the other stuff matters. 

Anyway, what have strawberry tops got to do with this? Making the most of things, and appreciating the less significant things in life, that's wot. We all love a good strawberry, especially this time of year. But we are all too quick to dispose of the leafy greens that sit beautifully on top of them. I know. There is no need for them, and no one has any desire to eat that part. I know. But this doesn't mean they can't serve a purpose other than satisfying our tastebuds. They really can. You'll also notice how much of the actual strawberry you waste by beheading them. There is perfectly juicy, flavoursome flesh going to waste here. It's really not on.

Here's what to do:

+ Freeze your strawberry tops and use them as ice cubes
+ Freeze your strawberry tops and add them to your smoothies - the greens on them are just as edible as the greens you are used to. Make sure the strawberries are organic, and make sure you have washed them well.
+ Use your strawberry tops to infuse a glass or jug of water, or add them to your water bottle
+ Barbecue or grill your strawberry tops and top them with nut butter for a warm snack. If you don't want to eat the green leaves, they will fall apart from the strawberry flesh with ease as they become more tender during the cooking process.
+ Use them as decorations to top cakes, scones, cookies or cupcakes
+ Mash your strawberry tops in with whole berries to use if you are making Eton Mess. Make sure the strawberries are organic, and make sure you have washed them well.
+ Add them to soups to thicken the texture and also to add a little sweetness. I imagine this would work well in tomato, carrot, sweet potato, squash, spinach or broccoli based soups. Make sure the strawberries are organic, and make sure you have washed them well.

CHERRY JAM AND CASHEW CUSTARD TARTLETS

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Recipe, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment
IMG_6778.jpg

I've been enjoying (term used loosely) a month of 'firsts' this June. The first time I've broken my left arm and, thus, the first time I've been in a cast for 6 weeks. The first time I've lived alone (peaceful but boring). The first time I've lived in West London. And I think (somehow!?), the first time I've ever used cherries in a recipe on here. It's all been wild, but it got even better with the impulsive bake that I got on last weekend. The results of which are detailed below.

It's hard for me to write this recipe. I feel I am selling it short, and that just one filling recipe for these DELICIOUS GLUTEN FREE TARTLETS isn't enough and just do them justice. Instead, I'll call it a suggestion. The rest is up to you.

As you think about all the ways in which you can fill your tartlets (of which there are many), you may also be interested in all the good that they're about to do you. Without any white flour, gluten, wheat, dairy or refined sugar, they are total do-gooders in the world of food/health/wellbeing/loving your bod, but also - above all else and the reason you're really here - flavour. They also embrace the seasonal showstoppers that are cherries. High in antioxidants, juicy but not-too-sweet sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals - it's obvious as to why the expression is 'cherry on top' and as opposed to any other fruit. 

My filling choice was dictated by two things. Seasonal produce, and all I accumulated in a minesweep of my parents kitchen (since waiting over a month to move in to our new apartment which is totally worth the wait, I am now completely the last leg of this couch surfing summer back home in Bath). The pastry was easy and honestly, if you only make part of this recipe, make sure it's the base. You can make it into biscuits for a quick snack, or into empty tartlet cases to enjoy with something as quick and simple as fresh berries. The cashew custard layer is even easier and contains just two simple steps - filling the blender, and operating the blender. And the cherry jam/coulis can be done simultaneously, whilst you work on the other parts of the recipe. 

.  OTHER FILLING SUGGESTIONS  .
Avocado Cacao Ganache
Chia Berry Jam
Salted Caramel
Coconut Cream
Honey & Tamari cover nuts and seeds

INGREDIENTS
(makes 10-12)
50g Coconut Oil
80g Buckwheat Flour
80g Ground Almonds
25g Coconut Palm Sugar
8g Arrowroot
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
35g Cold Water

METHOD
Preheat oven to 160c and lightly grease a muffin tray.
Start by whisking the dry ingredients (flour, ground almonds, coconut palm sugar, arrowroot and salt) together in a medium mixing bowl. Next add the melted coconut oil, stirring in with a wooden spoon. Once combined, gradually add the water. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface or some baking paper, at about 2cm thick. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

When you remove it from the fridge, roll it out onto a freshly floured surface, to become no thicker than 3mm. Cut, using a knife or your own cutters (i used basic round cutters). Place each circle into each hole of your muffin tin. Bake for 15-18 more minutes, checking halfway through. If one side is browning quicker, turn the tray around. 

Leave to cool before filling.

FOR THE CASHEW CUSTARD
(fills 12 - with some leftover to serve on the side)
1 cup cashews, soaked
1/3 cup cold water (or nut milk)
1 teaspoon honey or agave
vanilla
optional – ginger, rose, lemon, orange, mango, lime

METHOD
Simply add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend on a high speed for 2-3 minutes. Add a little more water if it is having difficulty blending, depending on the strength of your blender. Make sure it is as smooth as possible before filling your tartlet bases.

FOR THE CHERRY JAM
(fills 12 tartlets)
250g Fresh Cherries
½ Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

METHOD
De-seed the cherries and chop or tear with your hands. Place in a saucepan with the lemon juice and water. Bring to the boil and then simmer over a medium heat. As they begin to soften, add the chia seeds and stir to combine. If the chia seeds absorb the water too quickly, add a few extra tablespoons of water. Simmer until entirely soft.

.  TO ASSEMBLE  .
Take your cooked tartlet bases and fill them with the cashew cream. It doesn't matter which order you fill them in, you can start with the jam if you prefer. Repeat for each tartlet. Place in the fridge to keep cool (this will also make the custard thicken and set a little - making it richer), or serve immediately.

ALMOND, SWEET POTATO AND ROSEMARY FOCACCIA

Snacks, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Gluten free, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle copperman1 Comment

F O C A C C I A . It's just fun to say. But it's even more fun to eat, especially when it contains absolutely no gluten, wheat, dairy or unnecessary additives or preservatives.

This is by far the easiest bread recipe I have developed since cutting wheat and gluten and generally unhelpful ingredients out of my diet. I always enjoy the challenge of making something I love without using any of the main ingredients usually involved. Eton Mess without meringue was a tough one. Raw Rolo's was just ingenious and much simpler than it might seem. And bread has actually proven tastier when made completely 'not right'. In baking, there are a lot of rules, backed by a lot of science. Things must rise, things must proof, things must have specific consistencies and textures. That is according to proper chefs (I still don't class myself as a proper chef as I thrive off improvisation and hope rather than actual skill and years of practice). But in my kind of cooking, it's not about making something exactly right. It's merely about making something healthy, taste just as good, if not better than the unhealthier version of itself. And dare I say, I almost always succeed. Things may not have exactly the correct properties, but as long as they taste good, nourish from within and fill a gap where something we previously adored used to be, then thats all that matters.

Bread is definitely one of those things that has to be just right. It has to grow, develop, proof and become all kinds of things from stretchy to doughy to twice the size of what it was when it began. However, in my opinion, as long as it is crisp, doughy and/or fluffy in some way, it's an instant pass. I love miracle bread for a crispy, crunchy bread. I love warm seeded rolls for my doughy bread needs. And I love this focaccia because it is the fluffiest bread to have come out of my oven.

Adding vegetables and fresh herbs to your bread may not seem the obvious thing to do, but it is all about getting those vegetable into as many meals or snacks as you can. You're not likely to eat a bowl of broccoli as a snack, but if you dice or blend it into a bread batter, you will, much more willingly. Play around with the vegetables you put into yours. You can also use carrot, beetroot, cauliflower, courgette or sun dried tomato. Just try to avoid anything too wet, as this will affect the texture of the bread.

I N G R E D I E N T S

2 Cups Ground Almonds
3 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Sumac
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary, chopped or kept whole
1 Tablespoon Fresh Sage or Basil, chopped
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
4 Tablespoons Buckwheat Flour (can also use ground almonds instead)
Himalayan Pink Salt, to taste
1/2 Garlic Clove, Crushed (optional)
3 - 4 Tablespoons Raw Sweet Potato, grated
1 Teaspoon Arrowroot
2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk or Yoghurt, optional (this will make the bread more moist, but it also works well and turns out fluffier without)
1-2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast, optional (to add a cheesy flavour)
.
Fresh Rosemary, to top
Sweet Potato Discs, to top 
Flaked Almonds, to top
Crushed Garlic, to top
Himalayan Pink Salt, to top
1/2 Teaspoon Organic Raw Honey, to top
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, to top

M E T H O D

Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease a load tin or a flat baking tray or a heat proof dish with a little coconut oil. 

Start by adding the eggs to your blender or food processor, followed by the ground almonds, dried herbs, baking powder, salt, arrowroot, oil and the garlic, coconut milk and nutritional yeast, if using. Blend until smooth, then transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Stir through the whole fresh herbs and grated sweet potato (i like to keep them whole as they add more flavour and texture to the focaccia, but you can also blend the herbs and the sweet potato into the batter - either will work). Pour into your prepared tin/dish, spreading evenly and ensuring the mixture reaches the sides. Now top with whatever you like. I used flaked almonds, fresh rosemary, salt and sweet potato discs.

+ For caramelised sweet potato, heat some oil and honey in a griddle pan and place the thinly diced sweet potato discs over the surface of the pan. Heat through and turn the discs over a few times, until they begin to brown and soften. Then lay them on the top of the focaccia batter. They will crisp up nicely in the oven.

Place in the oven and cook for 12 mins on 180. After 12 minutes, reduce the heat to 160c and cook for 20 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the depth of the dish you are using, so keep an eye on it as it bakes. Poke a knife into the middle of the loaf, and if it comes out clean, the bread is done. If it comes out with batter on, leave it in for another 10 minutes or so.

+ If the toppings are cooking or beginning to brown, cover with foil.

Let the focaccia cool before cutting into individual slices.

SALTED VANILLA, RAW CARAMEL AND AVOCADO GANACHE (MALTEASER) CHEESECAKES

Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment

This is one of those recipes you need to brace yourself for. There are so many recipes out there, and in particular, so many healthy ones, that seem intimidating. No amount of raw chocolate or promised health benefits can persuade everyone to spend hours soaking nuts, de-fleshing coconuts or fermenting vegetables. Raw cheesecakes - a.k.a cheezecakes - are a good example of this, and were, about 6 months ago, something I self-categorised into recipes 'I'm relatively afraid of' / don't have time for. 

The thought of whacking open a fresh coconut (regarding you can actually get hold of one wherever you live), and remembering to soak your cashews the night before is definitely no encouragement. Before I'd made my first raw cheesecake, I found the idea of flying back to LA (where I'd first had a slice of raw, vegan food actually done well) to pick up a pre-made one more appealing than doing it myself. But, be assured, it isn't that difficult, it isn't even that time consuming and it is defilingly worth it.

Obstacle number one
Find a young, Thai coconut
.
Obstacle number two
Hack that coconut open without ruining your hand(s)
.

Obstacle number three
Soak your cashews
(not really an obstacle but something you have to think ahead with)
Min. 2-4 hours / Ideally 8 hours

 

Lining up your shit in preparation makes everything about raw dessert making so much easier and more enjoyable (not that there is anything particularly unenjoyable about making raw caramel and eating raw biscuity leftovers). Approach the situation with the right ingredients, the right equipment (you need a good blender and/or food processor) and plenty of confidence. Reduce the pressure you may have put upon yourself by knowing that if, for whatever reason, things don't go to plan, there is absolutely no way that anyone is capable of making fresh coconut flesh, creamy chocolate and a 'buttery' biscuit base taste bad. If it doesn't go right, just call it something else and eat it anyway.

T H E  B A S E 
(makes one large cheesecake. If you have any left over depending on the depth of your crust, use it to top the cheesecake, or to make a few miniature ones)

1 Cup Raw Almonds
60g Desiccated Coconut
50g Raw Cashews
200g Medjool Dates
1 Large Handful Walnuts
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract/Bean Paste/Fresh Seeds
Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon - optional
1/2 Cup Toasted or Activated Buckwheat Groats - optional (adds an amazing extra crunch to the base)

M E T H O D 

Place the desiccated coconut, buckwheat groats (if using), almonds, cashews and walnuts into a food processor, and pulse on a high speed for 1 minute, until they break down into a flour consistency with some small chunks. Add the dates, vanilla, salt, coconut oil and lemon zest, if using, and pulse for a further 1-2 minutes.

+ With the coconut oil, melted or room temperature will both work. If you are using room temperature, though, concentrate on scraping thin layers of it into the food processor, rather than adding great big chunks, as this will encourage the mixture to blend more smoothly and easily.

Once the mixture has become almost dough like, but still a little crumbly looking, transfer it into a dish (can be round or rectangular, or you can even use individual miniature moulds). Spread the mixture around evenly, then use the back of a spoon or your bare hands to press the mixture firmly into the base of the tin. Make sure the mixture reaches the sides, and make it as compact as possible to ensure the finished cheesecake won't crumble and break. As you flatten it, it will begin to look more like a conventional cheesecake base.

Place in the freezer whilst you prepare the fillings.

R A W   C A R A M E L   L A Y E R

5 Medjool Dates
3 Tablespoons Almond Butter
2-3 tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Maca
2 Tablespoons Agave
2 Tablespoons Nut Milk or Boiling Water (only if the mixture needs help blending in your blender)

M E T H O D
Making sure the dates are pitted, place all of the ingredients into your blender or food processor and begin to blend, beginning at a low speed, and gradually increasing. If the dates are breaking up instead of coming together into a paste, add a little more coconut oil along with some boiling water to help it to blend smoothly. Once smooth, scrape the caramel from your machines and spread it evenly or in clumps across your base. It is sometime nice to just dollop a bit here and there, as a full layer can be quite rich.

Return to the freezer whilst you prepare the cheesecake layers.

S A L T E D   V A N I L L A   L A Y E R

1 Cup Cashews, soaked
2 Cups Young Coconut Flesh, optional (can also use solid tinned coconut milk)
3/4 Cup Almond Milk (or other plant based milk of choice)
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt or Splash of Tamari
1/4 Cup Agave or Coconut Nectar (can also use raw honey or date syrup)
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil, soft but not melted
1 Teaspoon Nutritional Yeast, optional (to add a cheesy flavour)

M E T H O D
Start by blending the cashews, coconut flesh (or milk), almond milk, lemon juice and salt in your blender on a medium speed. Increase it to a high speed, and gradually add the agave and the coconut oil whilst the mixture is still blending (if your blender permits). Add the nutritional yeast, if using, and add a little more coconut oil if the mixture is clogging in the blender and refusing to blend with ease. Taste, and if you're happy with the flavours, scoop the mixture over your caramel studded biscuit base. Depending on your personal taste preference, you may want to add more salt, more sweetener or more nutritional yeast.
Once spread evenly over your base, return to the freezer whilst you make the chocolate layer.

+ NOTE. If you want to create a marble effect between the two layers, don't return the vanilla layer to the freezer. Set it aside in a cool place whilst you prepare the chocolate layer, but if you chill it, it will harden and you won't be able to stir it through with the chocolate layer.

A V O C A D O   G A N A C H E   L A Y E R
(you can also make a raw chocolate sauce to top your vanilla with, which with set to be crunchy. Simply follow my instructions for raw chocolate here).

1 1/2 Cups Cashews, soaked
The Flesh of 1/2 Ripe Avocado
1 Cup Almond Milk (can also use other plant milk)
1/4 Cup Agave 
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Powder/Seeds/Bean Paste/Extract
1/2 Cup Cacao Powder
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
2-4 Tablespoons Cacao Butter, optional / not essential (only if you want to make a really rich cheesecake)

M E T H O D

Start by blending the cashews, avocado flesh, almond milk, agave, vanilla and salt in your blender on a medium speed. Increase to a high speed, and when it has begun to become smooth, stop the blender and add the cacao powder. Blend again, and add the coconut oil whilst the mixture is still blending (if your blender permits). If you are using cacao butter, add this now too. Add a little more coconut oil if the mixture is clogging in the blender and refusing to blend with ease. Taste, and if you're happy with the flavours, scoop the mixture over your salted caramel layer. Depending on your personal tastes, you may want to add more salt, more sweetener or more cacao powder.

Take your fully layered cheesecake, and if you want to create a marbled effect, pour the chocolate layer evenly over the salted vanilla layer. Make sure the top layer finds its way to the edges of your tin. Take a teaspoon and gently begin to swirl and spread the mixtures into each other. Use the spoon end, not the handle end, and make gentle movements. Be careful not to smudge the two mixtures too much, or they will end up combining and you will just create a single coloured, light brown cheesecake, which will still taste delicious but won't look as impressive.

Top the cheesecake however you like! Use chopped nuts, chopped raw chocolate, cacao nibs, berries or even banana to create a banoffee taste sensation. I also shaved a little of the cheesecake flesh from around the edges to create flaked chocolate pieces.

Return to the freezer for at least 45 minutes. You can store in the freezer until 30 minutes before it is ready to serve. If it is for your own enjoyment and not for a particular occasion, id suggest cutting it into small portions and freezing them, so that you can have a freezer stocked full of healthy snacks/desserts.

Enjoy!

#modelmangetout  #atastierwaytomindfuleating @dcopperman