WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

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

COMFORT FOOD

CHAGA CHAI ALMOND MILK WARMER

Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipe, Drinks, Dairy Free, Business Storiesdanielle coppermanComment

 

The Winter Solstice - the shortest day of sunlight and the longest night of the year - occurs at 4.49am on December 22nd this year. The term 'solstice' derives from the Latin word 'solstitium', which means 'Sun standing still'. The day after Winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days, leading up to the summer solstice in June. To celebrate elongated and (hopefully) brighter days, a friend and I have organised an offering of medicinal lattes, tea infusions and a candlelit meditation, followed by a sharing style, bring-a-bowl floor feast for our closest friends, friends of friends and family members. We wanted to bring people together at this busy time of year, where stresses can overpower and disrupt living in the moment at a time that’s supposed to be joyful. Often, as the year comes to an end, panic kicks in about not having achieved enough in the last 365 days, whilst what we should really be focussing on is all that we have accomplished. I’m looking forward to sharing this special moment in our annual cycle with new and old acquaintances, without any sense of time or urgency. In MT Wolf’s song, Burgs, the speaker points out that when we entered this world, we did so with great awe and such wonder. We arrived wondering what it was all about and what our time here was going to be like, but as we became comfortable, we began to wonder more about ourselves - our jobs, our to do lists - forgetting what we came here for. The chance to be here happens briefly, so spend more time taking it in, as well as the people here with you, and enjoying your time here, rather than stressing about it.

I’ve been adding medicinal mushrooms (not as illegal as they sound) to my food and drink for years now. They bring a powerful energy and interesting flavour to things like smoothies, lattes, porridge and savoury meals. They combine with other ingredients to enhance their nutritional benefits. In this recipe I use chaga, which is an adaptogen containing deeply cleansing antioxidants. As an adaptogen, it can help to alleviate stressful feelings and anxiety by balancing the body’s various systems, energizing systems that are fatigued, and quieting those that are overactive. Combined with healthy fats and protein provided by the almond milk, this makes the perfect evening remedy to sooth the soul, calm the mind, and encourage good quality rest.

INGREDIENTS
Serves 2

1/4 Teaspoon Chaga Powder (I also like to use Shilajit)
1 Teaspoon Cardamom Pods
1/2 Inch Fresh Ginger
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Seeds, Powder or Bean Paste
2 Cups Almond Milk (or other plant based milk)
1/2 Teaspoon Raw Honey, optional

METHOD

Set the almond milk in a small saucepan over a low to medium heat. Add the vanilla, ginger, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks and heat, stirring constantly, for 10-20 minutes. The longer you simmer, the more the flavours from the spices with infuse the milk. Add the honey towards the end if you want to add some sweetness, then whisk with a hand whisk or an electric whisk (I use this one) to create a frothy texture. This isn't essential, but it is nice. Remove from the heat, transfer to glasses or mugs and serve warm or enjoy chilled over ice.

GRAPE, ORANGE, ALMOND AND WALNUT CRUMBLE

Essentials, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

I recently discovered that I love red grapes. I don’t eat much fruit, which, before I ate healthily would have been a shameful confession, but which now is more a way of life I am neither proud nor ashamed of, and which is a natural progression of a low sugar diet. 
Although grapes are available all year round thanks to global farming and other agricultural plus's, I feel like at the moment they everywhere. Maybe I’m just noticing them more since I ate almost an entire bag of them on a road trip to upstate New York. Since then, grapes went from being something I never particularly fancied in my lunch box at school, to something I had great plans for.

Before now, grapes were just something I was told to eat by my mother as they were good for me, and as one of few things that fell into this category that I actually enjoyed eating, I obeyed. However, I’ve never found them very exciting, and since making my own grocery store decisions, would always choose berries or other fruits over grapes. As a child, freezing grapes was about as experimental as it got (seriously tho, try it). We never cooked them or added them to meals, rarely added them to baked goods or made desserts with them, and definitely never thought about making them into refreshments. Grapes were grapes. Easy, instant, ready to eat. No hassle. But I’ve completely complicated things since rekindling my love for them. Let me introduce you to, roasted grapes. I’ve been roasting bunches and bunches of em since I returned from New York, and I want the world to know that until you roast a grape, you haven’t given it a proper chance in life. 

And until you make a crumble out of roasted grapes, you haven’t given yourself a proper chance in life.

INGREDIENTS

Topping
½  Cup Buckwheat Flour, Oats or Buckwheat Flakes
1 Cup Ground Almonds
1/4 Cup Desiccated Coconut
½ Cup Walnuts
4-5 Tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar / Pure Maple Syrup / Dates or natural sweetener of choice
Generous Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cardamom (not essential if you don't have it)
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil - soft / room temp
½ Cup Flaked Almonds or Chopped Nuts of Choice
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds / Milled Chia Seeds / Milled Flaxseeds

Fruit Layer
4 Cups Red Grapes
1-2 Oranges
¼ Cup Water
½ Cup Chopped Dates / Apricots - optional
Juice of ½ a Lemon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract / Paste / Powder / Seeds

Optional
1 Teaspoon Acai Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Beetroot Powder
4 Tablespoons Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Cacao Powder or Cacao Nibs to top

METHOD

Start by cooking the fruit. Preheat the oven to 200c. Arrange the grapes, oranges and dried fruit, if using, in an oven proof dish and drizzle with the lemon juice. Pierce and roughly mash the grapes using a fork and then place in the oven for 45 minutes. Stir a couple of times to evenly cook the grapes, and after 30 minutes, drain the juices. Save in a jug as the juice makes an instant and delicious sauce to serve with the crumble (and other desserts).
Whilst the fruits cook and begin to soften, make the topping. Blend the walnuts and desiccated coconut together in a food processor, on the highest speed, until they form a rough flour. Transfer into a medium mixing bowl and add the buckwheat flour (or oats or buckwheat flakes, if using), ground almonds, coconut palm sugar, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and flaked almonds or chopped nuts. (Ground cardamom is sometimes quite hard to find, but this recipe will work perfectly well without the spices - they are just there to add flavour). Stir to combine, then add the coconut oil, breaking it up into small pieces and rubbing it into the dry ingredients with your hands. Massage gently until everything is combined and the mixture resembles dough-like breadcrumbs. Remove the fruit from the oven once it has softened and reduced a little. This is the time to stir in the chia seeds, along with any other superfood powders, coconut milk or almond butter, if using. Then arrange the crumble layer, evenly spreading out spoonfuls of the mixture to cover the fruit completely. Press down gently with the back of a spoon or a spatula to make the crumble compact, as this will encourage it to bind and crisp up nicely. Return to the oven and cook for a further 30 minutes, until the topping is brown and becoming crispy, and the fruit layer is bubbling and jam-like.

Top with extra walnuts, flaked almonds or other nuts and serve with probiotic yoghurt, coconut yoghurt, coconut milk, almond milk, cashew cream, cashew custard, the preserved juices from the grapes, almond butter, tahini, cacao powder, fresh basil, mint or thyme, grated raw chocolate or grated orange zest. Get creative.

TURMERIC AND MUSTARD CREAMED CORN

Snacks, Sugar Free, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Recipe, Gluten free, Dinner, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

Sweetcorn was something I would have eaten every day of my life when i was a child if i’d had any kind of power or control over my own decisions as a 6 year old. However, leaving my life in the much more capable hands of my mother (and father, but hmm not so much where food was involved - my mum still doesn’t know about our detours ‘thru’ Mcdonalds when it was his turn to pick me up from gymnastics on a saturday morning), I had a positively varied diet and am obviously grateful that i wasn’t forced to live off of tinned vegetables until i learned to cook. 

When i did learn to cook, and when i started my blog, sweet corn was absent. I swayed away from tinned foods and also those higher in sugars, and didn’t respect sweetcorn for its nutritional values as much as some other vegetables - like dark, leafy greens and sweet potatoes. However, this summer changed everything. I found myself in a dark bus station, transferring from one chicken bus to another, somewhere along the Guatemalan border, tired, hot, and hangry. When you’ve been on a bus designed to accommodate a quarter of the amount of people crammed onto it, gloria gaynor blasting throughout (who am i kidding, that bit was great), with only a mint from the driver to munch on (cute, but not quite sufficient), let me tell you the first thing you need after finding space to breath is a corn on the cob. i didnt know it at the time. But standing there waiting, as if she knew i was on that bus you know, on a torn apart pavement was a woman, with a smile, and a corn cart. (These things exist). Damn, that woman was serving all kinds of corn - sprinkled with lime or lemon or chilli salt or pepper, hot sauce or mayonnaise (ok maybe not). But it was everything. My friend and I abandoned our belongings - gigantic backpacks containing most of our lives - as if nothing else in that moment mattered other than getting us some of that corn. well. we got it. and damn did we love it. life was sweet, and in this moment, crouched atop our luggage eating juicy boiled corn with our hands, i knew these golden kernels of goodness were back in my life for good.

When i returned home i kept up my sweetcorn obsession, adding it to my lunch bowls, broths and other meals, as well as using it as a base for dips and soups. But since the winter is a coming, and my body is craving food not just for its energy but also its warmth, i needed to work it into a more comforting dish i could cuddle up with. this recipe is deeply warming and genuinely soothing. i love that food can do that to you. it hits every spot in the body that needs hitting. Now that we’re well into the season of making no plans to socialise whatsoever, spending time in the kitchen should become less of a chore and more a way to pass time between new series/christmas movies and online gift shopping, and to warm you up if the heatings not cutting the chill.

INGREDIENTS
Serves 2 as a main meal, 4 as a side.

400g Cooked Sweetcorn
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1/2 Cup Almond Milk + 1 Tablespoon to make Bean Paste
5 Tablespoons Solid Coconut Milk Fat / Cream
1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
2 Tablespoons Tahini
8 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Coconut Oil (can also use ghee or butter if not vegan/dairy-free)
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/3 Tin Cooked Cannellini Beans (any soft white beans)
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast - optional
1 Teaspoon Reishi or Shilajit Mushroom powder - optional

METHOD

Start by making the bean paste/puree. Take your white beans and strain and rinse them in a sieve. Tip them into your blender or food processor and then add 6 tablespoons of your oil (save the other 2 for cooking), 1 tablespoon of your almond milk and 1 tablespoon of tahini. Blend on a medium - high speed for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. It should be runny, relatively thick, but not lumpy.

Next, cook your corn. If it is on the cob, boil the whole cobs for around 10-12  minutes and then use a sharp knife to cut away the kernels. If you are using frozen, boil for 8-10 minutes until it is juicy and soft. If you are using pre-cooked tinned corn, follow the instructions below.

In a separate saucepan to your corn, combine the remaining oil (or butter), the remaining almond milk, the coconut milk, salt, nutritional yeast and reishi or shilajit, if using, and mix with a wooden spoon. Stir over a medium - low heat and gradually add the cannellini bean mixture, stirring constantly. Once the sweetcorn is cooked, drain the water and add the corn to the milk mixture. Stir constantly and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the mustard, to taste, starting with a little amount and building up the flavour as you desire. Simmer for a further 10-12 minutes, to allow the mixture to thicken.

Serve hot with cooked quinoa, cubed avocado, shredded spinach and alfalfa sprouts, or other green vegetables - raw, boiled or sautéed. Add a source of protein such as chicken breast or salmon fillet. Also enjoy cold stirred through a salad, cold quinoa or other pseudo grains, or served as a side to any savoury meal. It is delicious added to mashed avocado on gluten free toast, served with eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast, stirred through soups or served as a cold side, I imagine, at a barbecue or picnic.

Why you need white beans to up your all-natural carbonara game

Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipe, Gluten free, Dinner, Dairy Freedanielle copperman8 Comments

Since changing my diet and cutting out wheat, gluten, grains, and any heavily processed carbohydrates, I've been surprised at how little I have missed certain things I thought I would struggle horrendously without. I always loved pizza. I always, always loved carbonara. Needless to say, I've always been fond of cheese. And I even went through a phase where I'd get home from school and make a huge bowl of pasta with cheese and baked beans, as a snack. A pre-dinner before my dinner. So to say goodbye to my favourite Italian dishes seemed a crying shame, but I soon became more excited by making spaghetti out of vegetables, and pestos and sauces out of natural ingredients.

This recipe is a cut above all other veggie pasta dishes, and tastes so much more like the real thing, and in my opinion, so much better than it, too. It all began when I was in the kitchen making an insanely good soup, surrounded by brilliant ingredients all not really knowing what they were there for, what they were doing or where they were gonna end up. If ever a vegetable or a legume could look unsure of itself, it was at this moment, in my kitchen. The ingredients were not familiar with one other, and no one was feeling confident about how their time spent together was going to end up, but something happened in that blender that should have happened a long, long time ago. 

I've made carbonara sauce before, but I wanted to make a new version without using coconut or nuts - as I find coconut milk can be quite rich sometimes, and I've also been trying to reduce the amount of nuts I eat recently, because I went a bit overboard for a while. The beans in this recipe make it a good source of protein, and the lack of thick, processed cream or real cheese make it lower in bad fats and completely free from dairy, unlike most shop bought sauces and conventional recipes. The beans, combined with the oil and water, create a wholesome, flavoursome creaminess, even tastier than what would be achieved with real cream, and the nutritional yeast creates a mild cheesy flavour - essential in any pasta dish. This recipe is entirely gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, grain free, nut free, vegan and vegetarian. You can enjoy it plain (pictured above), with fresh herbs, or with your own choice of vegetables, meat, fish or seafood.

+ You can also omit the pasta entirely, and enjoy the sauce on its own as a simple White Bean Soup, served hot or cold as a gazpacho.

INGREDIENTS
serves 3-4

320g White Beans / Cannelloni Beans
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Cup Water (can also use almond or coconut milk for an even creamier sauce)
4-5 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1/4-1/2 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
Pepper, to taste
Small Handful Fresh Basil Leaves
180-200g Gluten Free/Buckwheat/Spelt (not gluten free)/Black Bean/Mung Bean/Edamame Pasta or Regular Spaghetti

OPTIONAL SAUCE FLAVOURINGS
1 Small Clove Garlic, crushed
1 Teaspoon Mustard
Handful Fresh Basil
1-2 Tablespoons Homemade Dairy Free Nut Pesto
Pepper, to season

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS
Handful Fresh Basil
Sauteed Mushrooms
Roasted Chestnuts
Fresh or Raw Spinach, Watercress or Rocket
Fresh Cherry Tomatoes
Roasted Vegetables
Organic Bacon
Grilled/Shredded Chicken
Flaked/Smoked Salmon

METHOD

Start by blending together the beans, olive oil, water, nutritional yeast and salt. Blend for 2-3 minutes on the highest speed your blender can reach. Meanwhile, bring a medium pan of water to the boil and, once boiling, add your spaghetti or whichever type of pasta you are using. Add a little salt and a dash of olive or coconut oil to reduce the risk of the pasta sticking together (this can be quite common with gluten free pasta's, depending on which alternative you go for). Once the sauce is blended and has become a smooth consistency, taste it to check you are happy with the flavour and texture. Add more nutritional yeast if you want it slightly cheesier, more salt (and pepper) to season, more water if you want a thinner sauce, and any extras from the Optional section of the ingredients list. (If you want to add bacon, don't blend this into the sauce. Simply fry or grill the bacon, cut into small pieces and set aside to stir through the pasta, once it is cooked).
When you are happy with your sauce, and when the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta, return it to the pan and stir through the sauce. At this point, add your bacon or any other toppings of your choice. Heat through for a couple of minutes then serve. Finish with a little extra olive oil, a sprinkling of salt and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice.

+ You can also use the sauce recipe as an alternative to cheese sauce, which you can use in a healthier lasagne or pasta bake.

THE BROWNIES PROMISE

Snacks, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle copperman8 Comments

I call these gratitude brownies. Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, sugar free and nut free, these brownies not only make you feel grateful for all of the ingredients they contain that enrich life here on earth, but also for every single thing going on in your life at this moment in time. You could call them stress-releif brownies, you could call them break-up brownies, you could call them holiday-blues brownies. What i'm trying to say is, no matter what life is throwing at you, making (and then demolishing) a batch of these brownies will make none of it matter. You'll instantly feel grateful for all the good in your life, focussing on everything positive (predominantly, the brownies that sit before you), and momentarily leaving behind any bad/negative thoughts/issues/situations. It's like these brownies take your problems and pack them away into an insignificant little box never to be found, creating more space for you to dwell on the positive aspects of your life. I guess you could call them feel-good brownies, but thats a little generic. Name them as you see fit. Today, these are Easter brownies. And also it's-so-grey-outside-lets-brighten-things-up brownies.

INGREDIENTS
Makes 10-12 large brownies, or enough batter to split between two tins for thin brownies.

300g Coconut Oil
120g Cacao Powder
Pinch of Salt
4 eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract, Bean Paste or Seeds from Fresh Pods
200g Coconut Palm Sugar 
2 Tablespoons Agave
200g Buckwheat Flour
1 Teaspoon Maca
1-2 Tablespoons Brown or Golden Linseeds, to top

+ These brownies are incredibly decadent and dense. They aren't fluffy or cake-like, and once chilled in the fridge they stiffen and begin to resemble fudge. For a cakier, lighter version, use less coconut oil and use ground almonds and dates, instead of buckwheat flour and sugar. I'll develop a precise recipe for these in the next couple of weeks.
 

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease a heat proof dish with a little coconut oil. (You can line the tin with baking paper, but if the mixture sticks to that, it isn't as fun to salvage and is extremely frustrating to separate the paper from the brownie).

Start by melting the coconut oil in a large sauce pan over a low-medium heat. Whisk in the cacao powder, vanilla, maca and agave. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour and salt. In another bowl or a wide mouth jug, whisk the eggs with the sugar until completely combined. When the coconut oil and cacao has dissolved and come together, remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then, whisk the sugar and egg mixture into the chocolate, working quickly to avoid allowing the egg to cook in the warmth of the chocolate. Next, add the flour, a few large tablespoons at a time, and whisk constantly. When everything is combined, pour the batter into your prepared tin and bake for 30-45 minutes. I like to take mine out when the middle is still a little gooey, as they will continue to cook as they cool, and this will leave the middle incredibly chewy. If you cook them for too long, they may end up too dry.

+ I prefer these cold having been chilled in the fridge. Serve with coconut cream or top with avocado cream, almond butter or tahini frosting.

+ This recipe fills an entire tin about 5cm deep. I made large brownies then cut them in half as they are so rich and dense it was almost too much. You could simply halve the mixture to make your brownies flatter/thinner, or split the mixture between a couple of tins. Alternatively, use a larger tin, or shallow baking trays with high sides, and make really flat brownies to serve canapé style. (see picture above, with almond butter topping)

CELERIAC AND CHESTNUT TAGLIATELLE CARBONARA

Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle copperman3 Comments

This is a bold statement to make but i'm going to go ahead with it anyway. This, my dear friends, is better than pasta. Maybe, dare i say it, even better than courgetti. 

INGREDIENTS

1-2 Medium Celeriac
2 Tins Coconut Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt or Tamari
1/4 Teaspoon Mustard, optional
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
4 Tablespoons Water
2 Tablespoons Tahini
2-3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
Ground Black Pepper
Fresh Herbs of choice - I like rosemary, tarragon, parsley or basil
100g Chestnuts, pre-cooked or roasted in olive oil

+ Can also use this brazil nut cheese recipe for the sauce. 

METHOD

Start by preparing the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the salt, pepper and garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes before adding all of the remaining ingredients. Simmer over a very low heat whilst you turn your attention to the celeriac tagliatelle. Cut the earthy, soily and bumpy outer edges of the celeriac off and discard of them. Cut the celeriac in half if it is large, or slot the entire thing into your spiraliser. + If you don't have a spiraliser (you should) use a julienne peeler, or a normal peeler to make fatter, flatter pasta ribbons. When the celeriac is all spirallised, add it to a pan of water and steam for a few minutes to soften it. Keep an eye on the sauce, stirring constantly and adding water if it is thickening or sticking to the pan. Add the chopped chestnuts and stir through, then either arrange the celeriac tagliatelle across the number of bowls you have to serve, and pour the sauce equally over each portion, or add the sauce to the saucepan and stir it through the celeriac pasta before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs, nutritional yeast and a drizzle of olive or truffle oil. 

SUPERFOOD MINCE PIES WITH DAIRY FREE CREAMS

Snacks, Sugar Free, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment

An incredible recipe for the perfect gluten, grain, dairy and sugar free mince pies. This recipe uses the most amazing gluten and dairy free pastry I have ever made, and the filling is a unique caramelly take on traditional mince meat. I was never a fan of mince pies growing up and always hated sultanas or currents in anything, picking them out excruciatingly from anything I found them in. This recipe doesn’t use conventional, high sugar dried fruits, but instead combines antioxidant rich super foods such as goji berries and dates with fresh blueberries. The dates make the texture of the filling incredibly caramelly, and the berries release a delicious flavour into the mixture which is absorbed by all of the other fruits as they cook.

+ Get ahead of yourself and make the dough now, which you can freeze or which will last in the fridge for a couple of days before you need to cook it.

INGREDIENTS
Makes 18 (base and top)

For the Crust
250g Buckwheat Flour
50g Ground Almonds
4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, room temperature
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
2 Tablespoons Creamed Coconut Bar, melted (not essential, but delicious)
4 Tablespoons Agave, Date Syrup or Maple Syrup
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda

For the Filling
4 Apricots, chopped
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Powder, Extract or Fresh Seeds
6 Dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 Green Apple, chopped
30g Goji Berries, optional
125g Fresh Blueberries
Handful Dried Blueberries, optional (can substitute for other dried fruit)
The Juice of half a Fresh Orange (and zest - optional)
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Mixed Spice
1/2 Teaspoon Tumeric
1 Teaspoon Fresh Grated Ginger or Ground Ginger
1-2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Maca or Ginseng, optional

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 160c. Grease a muffin tin with a little coconut oil.
For the crust, place all of the ingredients but only half of the flour at this point, into a food processor or high speed blender. (To melt the bar of creamed coconut, simply fill a bowl with boiling water and place the sealed bar inside. Let it sit until the water has cooled enough for you to put your hands in it and then massage the bar to quicken up the melting process. Once melted, snip the corner with some scissors and measure out two tablespoons). If using a blender, add the wet ingredients first so the flour doesn’t clump around the blade, and blend on a high speed for 20-30 seconds. If the mixture isn’t completely smooth this doesn’t matter, just make sure the coconut oil is more or less combined. Transfer to a bowl and continue to mix the mixture, adding the remaining flour, until it is completely combined. Add a little more flour if it seems too sticky and wet, or a little more agave if it is too dry. Knead and fold the dough over itself on a floured surface, using the warmth of your hands to melt any small lumps of coconut oil that might remain. Roll the dough out until it is about 3mm thick. This pastry is easiest to work with freshly made and warmer rather than colder, so there is no need to store it in the fridge. The pastry is also a slightly unusual texture, both dry and doughy at the same time, so i find the best way to roll it out without it crumbling/breaking/sticking to the surface is to press down with the rolling pin, rather than just rolling and dragging. Work with it gently. Use a round cookie cutter to make you individual crusts, and use a thin, wide, sharp knife to separate the dough discs if they have become slightly stuck to the surface. Lay each circle into the muffin tin. Leave the leftover dough for the toppings. Bake for 6-8 minutes until the crusts begin to brown, but aren’t cooked through. Whilst they cook, prepare the filling.

For the filling, simply place all of the ingredients apart from the chia seeds into a medium saucepan on a low-medium heat. Stir constantly and burst the blueberries with the back of a wooden spoon. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, and add the chia seeds just before you take the mixture off of the heat. Take a tablespoon and fill each pre-baked crust. 

Roll out the remainder of your dough and use a cookie cutter (a star, a christmas tree or holly leaves work well but you can use a round one to make a sealed pie). Take each shape and arrange it on top of the mince mixture. Return to the oven and bake for a further 10-12 minutes, until the pastry is turning a golden brown.

To serve, dust with buckwheat flour or ground desiccated coconut, and serve with coconut cream, runny almond cream or with an extra dollop of mince meat if you have some left over.

'SINGLE' ALMOND CREAM

Ingredients
1 Cup Soaked Almonds (or cashews, macadamia and brazil nut work well too)
1/3 Cup Water
Vanilla, optional
Agave, optional
Himalayan Pink Salt, optional

Method
Simply blend the almonds and water together on a high speed for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve or, even better if you have one, through a nut milk bag or jam strainer. Return the strained mixture to the blender and add your flavours or sweetener of choice, if using. If the mixture is too thick for you, add a little more water to thin it. Blend again and then transfer to a serving jug. Pour over warm or cold puddings, over your breakfast or even into savoury dishes.

GINGER COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM

Ingredients
1 Tin Coconut Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Grated Ginger or Ground Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Agave or Date Syrup

Method
Simply add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth - this will only take a few seconds. Transfer into a jar or container and set in the fridge for 1-2 hours until ready to serve

    TAHINI REISHI HOT CHOCOLATE

    Sugar Free, Drinks, Breakfastdanielle copperman1 Comment

    As kids, you don’t tend to drink much tea or coffee (unless you are my cousin who used to drink milky tea from the age she could use a beaker). In cafes, you always go for the juice, the soft drink, the milkshake or, if you’d been really good, a hot chocolate. Hot chocolate was something i never became addicted to. I craved the smell now and again, and the whipped cream and marshmallows on top, but once they were gone and the drink began to cool, I soon lost interest. There are a number of factors to think about when ordering a hot chocolate, or things can turn out terribly wrong. Is it made with milk or water? Is it made with powder or real chocolate (i.e. is there going to be a soggy clump of chocolate powder at the bottom of my cup)? DOES IT COME WITH CREAM? Even as a child i preferred to make my own. I loved making them at home with my mum and my sisters, my tiny heart skipping a beat if my mother answered “yes” to “did you buy baby marshmallows?”. 

    This recipe is a highly nutritious variation of a traditional winter favourite. There are (apologies in advance) no marshmallows, no ‘squirty cream’ and no processed sugar or pre-blended chocolate powder. You may think you know hot chocolate, but this, my friends, is another story. If this drink could only be one thing, it is loving. It will love your body and it will make you, in turn, love everything. Cacao releases happy hormones, increasing positivity and boosting your mood. Maca, as well as adding a butterscotch/malteaser flavour to the drink, is also a mood booster which helps to balance hormones and increase energy levels. Tahini is high in protein which helps repair any damage inside the body. And ghee or coconut oil are anti-inflammatory fats high in antioxidants, helping to boost the immune system. The coconut milk makes this drink rich and creamy, and will provide you with far more nutrients and considerably less hormones, chemicals and antibiotics which you risk consuming from shop bought cow’s milk products. Add natural sweetener like agave, date syrup or coconut blossom nectar to counter the bitterness of the cacao, and your choice of herbs and spices to infuse the milk. It may seem strange to use herbs you might be familiar with using in savoury cooking, but herbs and spices have a host of health qualities, and adding them to a bedtime beverage can do wonders to your sleeping patterns. Sage has been proven to naturally promote sounder sleep due to its sedative properties, and reishi (a herbal mushroom available in powdered form), has been referred to as ‘natures anti-stress antidote’. So, if it’s been a long day and you need to unwind, sleep it off and wake up well, you know what to do…

    INGREDIENTS
    (makes 1-2 servings)

    2 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder (can also use 20g solid raw chocolate)
    1 Tablespoon Smooth Tahini or Cashew/Almond/Macadamia Butter
    1 Tablespoon Maca
    1/4 Cup Water
    1 Cup Coconut Milk or Homemade Almond Milk
    1 Teaspoon Agave, Coconut Palm Sugar or 1 Tablespoon of Creamed Coconut
    1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil or Organic Clarified Ghee
    Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
    1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    4-5 Fresh Basil Leaves or Rosemary Sprigs, optional
    1/2 Teaspoon Reishi Powder, optional
    Tumeric, optional
    Chili Flakes, optional
    1 Cinnamon Stick, optional

    METHOD

    Pour the milk and water into a medium saucepan. Stir on a medium heat until it begins to simmer gently, then whisk in the cacao powder, tahini or nut butter, maca, agave, coconut oil, salt and your choice of herbs and spices. If you are using creamed coconut, place the sealed bar in a bowl of boiling water for 5-8 minutes, to melt it before adding it to the pan. If you are using fresh herbs, chill flakes or cinnamon sticks, simmer for 15 minutes and sieve the mixture before serving, to separate them. When the cacao and tahini (or nut butter) have dissolved, remove from the heat and serve. Top with homemade coconut cream.

    COCONUT CREAM

    Ingredients:
    1 Tin Coconut Milk
    1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
    1/2 Teaspoon Agave or Date Syrup (may not need it as the drink is probably sweet enough)

    Method:
    Simply add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth - this will only take a few seconds. Transfer into a jar or container and set in the fridge for 1-2 hours until ready to serve.

    + It is best for make this in advance and store it in the fridge. However, you can spoon the mixture straight into the drink too, as it will all melt together in the end.

      PUMPKIN CHICORY LATTE WITH COCONUT CREAM

      Sugar Free, Drinks, Brunchdanielle coppermanComment

      Ever since I discovered Starbucks, Winter became even more exciting to me. I would await their limited edition Christmas menu, eager to get my freezing cold hands on a paper cup of sugary cream (with a hint of coffee). The gingerbread latte, toffee nut latte, eggnog latte and the almond hot chocolate are delicious, warming drinks especially for busy people constantly on the go. I used to order the toffee nut latte and would quickly go about eating the cream - encrusted with toffee sprinkles - before it had a chance to melt. This recipe, however, calls for homemade coconut cream which, in my opinion, is much tastier than the ‘squirty cream’ we all remember from out childhoods. This cream is thicker and doesn’t taste of the confinement of a metal can (or nitrous oxide). It is smoother, creamier and has a mild coconut flavour which is extremely tasty, but for those of you who don’t like coconut, it melts deliciously into the rest of the drink in no time, so you’ll hardly notice it once it’s dissolved. 

      Chicory - most commonly known as a leafy salad vegetable - has been curated into a tasty caffeine-free coffee alternative. It is roasted and ground into a granule-like consistency, and once hot water is added, dissolves into a nutty, earthy, warming, nourishing drink. Chicory has even been proven to aid digestion, so this drink is perfect enjoyed first thing in the morning to get your body working smoothly, and to satisfy your coffee cravings.

      INGREDIENTS
      1-2 Tablespoons Ground Chicory (available in most health food stores including Holland & Barrett)
      1 Teaspoon Maca
      1 Teaspoon Vanilla
      1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
      1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
      1 Teaspoon Coconut Palm Sugar
      250ml Pumpkin Milk (choose method below)

      Nut Milk Options:
      1 Cup Almonds soaked
      1/2 Cup Toasted Pecans (or nuts of choice)
      Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
      250ml Water
      1/2 Cup Pumpkin, chopped and raw
      3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds (optional)
      or
      250ml Shop Bought Almond or Coconut Milk
      3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds (optional)
      1/2 Cup Pumpkin, chopped and raw

      METHOD
      Start by making the pumpkin juice. Take your chopped pumpkin and juice it. If you don’t have a juicer, blend the pumpkin with 1 cup of water until smooth. Sieve the liquid to remove any large lumps of pumpkin, and set aside the juice. (If you used a juicer, set aside the juice whilst you make the milk)

      For the nut milk, place your soaked almonds, toasted pecans, salt, water and chia seeds into your blender. Blend on a high speed for 2-4 minutes until smooth. Pour the liquid through a jam straining bag or a nut milk bag, into a jug. Then transfer the milk back into the blender, adding the pumpkin juice. (If you are using shop bought, pre-made almond milk, simply blend together the milk and the pumpkin juice). Blend for 1-2 minutes until everything is smoothly combined. Pour the milk through a sieve into a medium saucepan and add the ground chicory, maca, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and coconut palm sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon, simmering on a medium heat, for 12-15 to infuse the milk fully. When the chicory has dissolved and the flavours have combined, sweeten to taste and serve.

      TOP WITH
      A Generous Dollop of Coconut Cream (recipe below)
      Toasted Pecans
      Chia Seeds
      Cinnamon
      Coconut Palm Sugar

      COCONUT CREAM

      1 Tin Coconut Milk from the fridge (strictly the solid part only)
      1 Teaspoon Date Syrup

      METHOD
      Spoon the solid part of the coconut milk into a blender. Save the liquid for making smoothies, porridge or chia seed puddings, don’t let any into this recipe. Add the date syrup and blend on a low speed until the ingredients are combined smoothly. (You can, alternatively, place both ingredients into a bowl and mix, whipping vigorously, to combine the two). Pour into a bowl or container and place in the fridge to harden for 1-2 hours. Serve either in scoops (will need 2 hours to set) or as a double cream alternative (no need to set).

      HOT TODDY

      Sugar Free, Drinks, Brunchdanielle coppermanComment

      I first tried a hot toddy at a festival in Wales, in a tent, at a temperature below freezing. One sip and I soon forgot about my frozen feet and was in perfect harmony. This recipe does’t call for alcohol but as it’s christmas, you should feel very free indeed to add it in yourself (rum, whiskey or bourbon). This recipe is an excellent remedy for the winter months, containing immune boosting orange and medicinal ginger. One essential piece of advice for staying healthy this time of year is to always have a drink with you. Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and hot, herbal teas to keep you warm, as well as fresh herb and spice concoctions to cleanse your body, nurture your immune system and flush out any toxins. If you have a cold or a sore throat, this recipe is soothing, warming and healing and promises to get you back in good health immediately. The cayenne pepper may seem a little outlandish, but this spice has been used for generations in treating ailments, such as flu, colds, migraines, headaches, heartburn, sore throat, tonsillitis, nausea and much, much more. It is an incredibly cleansing and detoxifying ingredient, so to get the most out of your toddy, be sure to include it. It is also known as a circulatory stimulant, which heats the body and kick starts the digestive system. Combined with honey, lemon and ginger, this drink is the ultimate detoxifying beverage, perfect to keep you functioning throughout the winter, or to relieve symptoms you may already be experiencing as an effect of the cold weather.

      INGREDIENTS
      Makes One

      1 Teaspoon Raw honey
      1/4 Cup Fresh Ginger Juice (see METHOD for a blended alternative, or use whole grated ginger to infuse the drink and then sieve it)
      1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
      1/2 Cup Water
      1 Tablespoon Fresh Orange Juice, optional
      Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
      1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
      1/2 Stick Cinnamon
      1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
      2 Cloves
      1 Star Anise
      Handful of Cranberries, to serve

      METHOD

      If you are making the ginger juice, start by juicing a few inches of fresh ginger, or if you don’t have a juicer, place the ginger and the water into a blender and blend until smooth. When your ginger is juicer or liquidised, transfer to a medium saucepan. Add the other ingredients and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, to ensure all of the flavours from the spices are absorbed. Add more sweetener if necessary, or more lemon if the mixture is too sweet. You can also add freshly squeezed apple juice for a sweeter drink. Add the alcohol, if using, and simmer for a further 5 minutes, then sieve the liquid into a jug and serve instantly

      SWEET POTATO AND JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE PORRIDGE

      Brunch, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

      This winter, I have become reacquainted with porridge - a traditional breakfast option popular across the nation, but so underrated in my opinion. For me, it's not about the porridge (that's just oats and water, or milk at its best). It's about the flavours and the toppings. I have experimented with grains (using my favourite psuedograins like quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat), dairy free milks (which make it a hundred times creamier than water), fresh spices and herbs (i love cardamom or rosemary and basil) and toppings, such as fresh berries, compotes, almond butter sauces and much more. Today I decided that, seeing as it was nearer lunch time than breakfast by the time I woke up, i would have a go at savoury porridge. I used to be obsessed with risotto, and was eager to make a simpler, easier variation of it using gluten free oats. At lunch time, it's harder to find time to spend on cooking, and conventional risotto involves a lot of preparation and a lengthy cooking time. Here, I used a few of my favourite autumnal vegetables such as sweet potato and jerusalem artichoke. The artichoke brings a richness to the recipe and the sweet potato provides the perfect texture, and subtly sweetens the dish.

      + Perfect as breakfast, lunch or dinner, and delicious enjoyed hot or cold. Make extra and chill or freeze the leftovers for later on in the week/month.

      INGREDIENTS
      1/2 Cup Water
      1/2 Cup Coconut or Almond Milk
      1/3 Cup Oats
      60g Baked or Steamed Sweet Potato
      1 Tablespoon Fresh Dill
      A Few Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
      1/2 of 1 Jerusalem Artichoke, grated
      1 Teaspoon Nutritional Yeast
      1 Teaspoon Tamari
      3-4 Tablespoons Grated Sweet Potato
      1-2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds

      Optional Extras
      Peas
      Garlic
      Tahini
      Mustard
      Chunks of roasted sweet potato or squash

      METHOD

      Start by cooking the oats. In a large saucepan, heat the oats and the water together. When the oats begin to plumpen and the water is dissolving, stir in the coconut milk and the sweet potato. I prefer using steamed sweet potato, but grated with create just as much flavour. The cooked sweet potato makes the porridge thicker and more creamy. Stir the porridge constantly to break down the large chunks of sweet potato, and add more water if you think it is needed. Add the grated jerusalem artichoke, dill, rosemary, nutritional yeast and tamari, along with any of your other chosen ingredients (peas work well for a filling lunch dish). Simmer for 10-15 minutes, adding more water or milk as you think is needed. The porridge should resemble a risotto more than a porridge, due to the thick, creamy sweet potato sauce.

      TOP WITH
      Truffle or Avocado Oil
      Grated Beetroot or Jerusalem Artichoke or Sweet Potato
      Tamari Toasted Seeds
      Chopped Avocado
      Poached or Halved Soft Boiled Egg
      Fresh Herbs of choice
      Homemade Spinach or Kale and Nut Pesto
      Tahini

      PUMPKIN PIE AND A POP UP

      Sugar Free, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle copperman6 Comments

      My first and only experience of pumpkin pie up until now was at my best friends house around the age of 13. With an american father, Thanksgiving is a big deal in their house, but I’d never really celebrated it before. At an awkward age of growth spurts and secondary school I almost didn’t even try the pie and tried to turn down the offer politely. It didn’t look especially appealing and i’d never tried it before, so naturally assumed it couldn’t be that special. Thankfully, her mother persuaded me and just one mouthful of that warm, homemade pie has remained a vivid memory in my mind ever since. I think a section of my brain is dedicated entirely to food, and times or occasions associated with certain foods. Sometimes i can even remember a conversation or event simply because i remember the food we were eating, or the restaurant we were in at the time. I can still see that pumpkin pie, fresh out of the oven, sitting on the countertop and can still smell the warmth of its spices. The sheer brilliance of pumpkin pie makes me wonder why it has taken me this long to attempt it myself. It is brilliant enough made with cheap pre-made pastry or shop-bought in festive packaging, but is even more brilliant if you make it by hand, with fresh pastry, and make it without any unnatural ingredients. So if you like that cream, the sugar and the buttery base, look away. You’re not going to like this version. Well, you’re not going to like the sound of this version, but if you do decide to trust me, you’ll realise it tastes just the same, if not better, than what you’re used to. 

      Before changing my diet i enjoyed baking brownies and rice crispy cakes on a regular basis - in fact, so often that i knew the recipes backwards, upside down and read with my eyes shut. I’d mastered two very amazing recipes, and they were easy, so making a pie seemed like an impossible task - some kind of art form i was certainly incapable of and which was definitely out of my league. But since i now use vegetables in baking and know how to make pastry with nuts and without gluten, I felt it was about time i revisited that moment in my best friends kitchen, embraced this seasons most delicious ingredients and made that classic holiday favourite, with a lot of things taken out, but with a whole lot of other good things added. 

      It’s hard for me to remember exactly how mama coleman’s pie tasted, but to me this one is all that a pumpkin pie should be. The base is different, as it is not real pastry. It is made without butter and with no flour - just nutritious nuts and nourishing coconut oil. Where most pies (especially shop bought pies) taste smooth and artificial, the base of this pie is crunchy, nutty and flavoursome. The filling is amazing, especially for people who are intolerant to gluten or just generally don’t desire the feeling of fullness that comes as a side effect of eating cakes. The filling is so smooth and light and, made with coconut oil and coconut milk, is a kind of creaminess you just can’t find in normal, artificial desserts. If theres one thing you make this winter, let this be it. Far better than chocolate, far better than mince pies and far better than the pumpkin pie you had last year. With this recipe, you can have your cake/pie/cheesecake/vegetables and eat them, all at once. Blissfully unaware that you are eating your way through the holidays to a healthier New Year, thanks to all the vitamins and minerals in pumpkin which will keep your immune system in check this winter. Eat up, it’s basically medicine. You neeeeeed it.

      INGREDIENTS

      Crust
      1 Cup Walnuts
      1/2 Cup Pecans
      1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
      1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, room temperature
      1/3 Teaspoon Salt
      1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
      2 Tablespoon Agave or Date Syrup
      1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

      Filling
      2 Cups Pumpkin, chopped (squash will work too) (if you haven’t the time or patience, buy some organic pumpkin puree from a local health food shop)
      2 Tablespoons Agave or Date Syrup
      1 Tablespoon Coconut Palm Sugar
      1/3 Teaspoon Salt
      1 1/2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
      1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
      1/2 Tin Coconut Milk (the solid part only)
      4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
      1 Egg
      2 Teaspoons Maca, optional
      1 Teaspoon Lucuma, optional

      METHOD

      Heat the oven to 200c.
      Start by roasting the pumpkin for the filling. Remove the skin and place in a roasting dish with a little splash of olive oil or some coconut oil, and roast for 25-35 minutes. It needs to be as soft as possible.

      Crust
      Once the pumpkin is cooked, reduce the oven temperature to 160c.

      Blend the nuts in a food processor or blender until they become a fine flour consistency. Pour into a medium bowl and add the flour, salt, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix together with a wooden spoon, then add the coconut oil, combining with your hands. The mixture should begin to form a dough. Make the dough into a ball and it should hold its shape. Take a round baking tray or cake tin, roughly 20cm in diameter (you can also use a rectangle dish if you don’t have a round one) and grease the bottom and the sides with a light coating of coconut oil. Press the dough into tin, making the base no more than 1cm thick, and making sure to press the dough around the sides too. Use a fork to pierce the dough in the middle, and bake for 15 minutes, until it begins to brown, and until it is dry to touch.
      Whilst it bakes, make the filling.

      Filling

      + TIP: Pumpkins with paler skins generally taste nicer and have a smoother less stringy texture when cooked. Look for crown princes or any with a greyish/blueish skin.

      Take the cooked pumpkin and place it in your blender or food processor along with the rest of the filling ingredients. I strongly advise using the egg and also maca if you have it, as the egg provides a vanilla-y flavour and a smooth texture and the maca adds an incredible malty caramel flavour. Blend all of the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth. Add a little more coconut milk or oil if the mixture needs help getting smooth.

      When the base is cooked, leave to cool for 5-10 minutes and then pour the filling mixture into it. Spread the filling evenly across the pie base, ensuring it reaches the sides too. Return to the oven and cook for 40 minutes, until the middle of the filling is firm to touch. If it is still quite wet or gooey to touch, leave it to cook for a little longer until you can be sure it is cooked through. The top should begin to brown and crack a little, and you should be able to stick a knife in the centre and bring it out clean. 

      Let cool for at least 20 minutes. I prefer it from the fridge as the filling becomes a wonderful consistency, but it is also delicious enjoyed warm. Serve with coconut yoghurt or coconut cream, fresh berries or a warm berry compote.

      + Save the Seeds 
      Pumpkin seeds also carry a lot of nutrients, so don’t throw them away. They are high in protein and fibre and also contain tryptophan which is a chemical compound that triggers happiness and positivity and reduces stress. Pumpkin seeds also contain anti-inflammatory properties and essential vitamins and minerals. Toss them in coconut oil or olive oil and your choice of natural sweetener and spices, or use nutritional yeast, tamari and dried herbs and spices to make a quick a savoury snack.

      BLEND AND PRESS POP UP

      I am excited to announce that next weekend i will be popping up and taking over Blend and Press in Neals Yard. I will be running an exclusive Model Mange Tout brunch menu, and i will be there from 10.30-1.30pm. Pop in and say hi, and choose from my nutritious gluten, grain, dairy and refined sugar free menu. I will be serving Cacao Chia Porridge with Almond Sauce and berries, Sweet Potato Cashew Pudding with Christmas Qnola, Cranberry and Rosemary Compote and Toasted Chestnuts, and Buckwheat Pancakes with Coconut Cream, Tahini and Cacao Sauce.

      Prices start from £4.95. Hope to see you there! Come in, keep warm and wake up well!

      CHOCOLATE CREAMS - EIGHT WAYS AND COUNTING

      Snacks, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment

      FOR THE CHOCOLATE

      10 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
      8 Tablespoons Coconut Oil or Cacao Butter
      Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
      1-2 Teaspoons Coconut Nectar or Sweetener of Choice
      1-2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk, solid (for a slightly milder, creamier chocolate)

      METHOD

      Melt the chocolate ingredients in a medium saucepan on a low heat. Use a whisk to combine everything and when all of the ingredients have dissolved and come together, remove from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes. Take a chocolate mould and pour a little chocolate mixture into each one, filling it half way only. Place in the freezer to allow to set for 15-20 minutes. Leave the remaining chocolate mixture in the pan, and if it sets you can always re-heat it quickly for the top layer. Meanwhile, choose and make your filling from the suggestions below.


      F I L L I N G S


      APRICOT COCONUT CREAM

      100g Dried Apricots
      2 Tablespoons Water
      1 Bar of Creamed Coconut
      Pinch of Salt
      3 Tablespoons Coconut Milk, Solid
      1-2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

      METHOD

      Place the apricots and water into a high speed blender or food processor and blend on the highest speed for 2-3 minutes. When a paste is beginning to form, prepare the creamed coconut by leaving it sealed in its plastic pouch and sitting it in a small bowl, a mug or a jug of boiling water. As the water cools, massage the bar firmly to help the middle to melt. Once it has melted, add it to your blender or food processor, along with the salt, coconut milk and coconut oil. Blend for a further 1-2 minutes, until a thick, pale orange paste forms. 

      Take your prepared chocolate bases from the freezer and arrange a small amount of the cream mixture in the centre of each chocolate. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Then, pour it over the cream filling, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


      GOJI COCONUT CREAM

      1/2 Cup Goji Berries
      1 Bar Creamed Coconut
      1 Tablespoon Filtered Water
      1/4 Cup Coconut Milk, solid
      1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil, melted

      METHOD

      In a small bowl, soak the goji berries in boiling water (enough to cover the berries) for 5 minutes, to soften them. Drain, and then place the goji berries and filtered water into a high speed blender or food processor and blend on the highest speed for 2-3 minutes. When a paste is beginning to form, prepare the creamed coconut by leaving it sealed in its plastic pouch and sitting it in a small bowl, a mug or a jug of boiling water. As the water cools, massage the bar firmly to help the middle to melt. Once it has melted, add it to your blender or food processor, along with the coconut milk and coconut oil. Blend for a further 1-2 minutes, until a thick paste forms. It should become a beautiful peachy, orange colour.

      Take your prepared chocolate bases from the freezer and arrange a small amount of the cream mixture in the centre of each chocolate. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Then, pour it over the cream filling, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


      DRIED BLUEBERRY CREAM

      1/2 Cup Dried Blueberries
      1 Teaspoon Acai Powder or Ginseng (optional)

      1 Bar Creamed Coconut
      1 Tablespoon Filtered Water
      1/4 Cup Coconut Milk, solid
      1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil, melted

      METHOD

      In a small bowl, soak the goji berries in boiling water (enough to cover the berries) for 5 minutes, to soften them. Drain, and then place the berries and filtered water into a high speed blender or food processor and blend on the highest speed for 2-3 minutes. When a paste is beginning to form, prepare the creamed coconut by leaving it sealed in its plastic pouch and sitting it in a small bowl, a mug or a jug of boiling water. As the water cools, massage the bar firmly to help the middle to melt. Once it has melted, add it to your blender or food processor, along with the acai or ginseng powder, coconut milk and coconut oil. Blend for a further 1-2 minutes, until a thick paste forms. 

      Take your prepared chocolate bases from the freezer and arrange a small amount of the cream mixture in the centre of each chocolate. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Then, pour it over the cream filling, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


      WHITE CHOCOLATE AVOCADO TRUFFLE GANACHE

      INGREDIENTS
      1/4 Cup Raw Cacao butter
      1/2 Ripe Avocado
      2-3 Tablespoons Coconut oil, melted
      1 Tablespoon Coconut Blossom Nectar, Date Syrup or preferred sweetener
      1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
      1/4 Cup Cashews, soaked for 4 hours
      1/2 Creamed Coconut Bar, melted
      Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
      2 Tablespoons Plant Based Milk (almond or coconut work well)

      METHOD
      Start by preparing the creamed coconut by leaving it sealed in its plastic pouch and sitting it in a small bowl, a mug or a jug of boiling water. As the water cools, massage the bar firmly to help the middle to melt. Once it has melted, add all of the truffle ingredients to your blender or food processor and blend on a medium speed until a smooth paste begins to form. (Use 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to begin with, and if the mixture seems to thick to blend properly, add the remaining tablespoon to help it along). You don't want the mixture to be too wet, so if it is having difficulty blending, use a spatula to scrape down the sides and help clear the blade area slightly. Continue to blend until the mixture is completely smooth. Scrape the mixture from the blender and arrange a small amount into the centre of your prepared chocolate bases. Press down firmly before pouring over the remaining melted chocolate from earlier. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


      TAHINI CHESTNUT CREAM

      INGREDIENTS
      1 Cup Chestnuts
      1/4 Cup Water
      2 Tablespoons Tahini
      1 Tablespoon Agave, Coconut Palm Sugar, Raw Honey or Date Syrup
      Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt

      METHOD
      Simply add all the ingredients to your blender and blend for 2-3 minutes.
      Take your prepared chocolate bases from the freezer and arrange a small amount of the cream mixture in the centre of each chocolate. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Then, pour it over the cream filling, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


      TAHINI CARAMEL

      INGREDIENTS
      4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil 
      4 Tablespoons Tahini
      2 Tablespoons Solid Coconut Milk
      2 Tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar, Coconut Blossom Nectar or Agave
      A Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt or a Teaspoon of Tamari
      1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Ground Vanilla
      2 Tablespoons Almond or Cashew Butter
      1 Teaspoon Maca or Lucuma, optional

      METHOD
      Simply place all ingredients into a small saucepan and stir continuously until everything has dissolved, whisking to break up any lumps. Bring to the boil for 2-3 minutes, and then reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, cautious not to let it burn. Let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes before spooning onto your prepared chocolate bases. Then arrange a small amount of the caramel in the centre of each chocolate. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Pour it over the caramel filling, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


      APRICOT / DATE / GOJI CARAMEL

      INGREDIENTS
      2 Cups Unsulphured Apricots or Dates
      3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
      2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk, solid
      1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Seeds
      A Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
      1 Teaspoon Maca
      4 Tablespoons Almond Butter or Cashew Butter

      METHOD
      Simply place all of the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on a high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides to collect any escaping ingredients, and add water or nut milk if the mixture needs a little help to get moving. Blend for another 2-3 minutes until a thick paste begins to form. It must be as smooth as possible as you don’t want lumpy caramel. Scrape the caramel from the blender and spread evenly over the centre of your prepared chocolate bases. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Then, pour it over the caramel layer, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


      QUICK RAW CARAMEL

      INGREDIENTS
      2 Tablespoons Almond Butter, smooth
      Generous Pinch of Salt
      1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
      2 Tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar (or a syrup)
      1/3 Cup Coconut Oil, melted on a low heat
      1-2 Tablespoons Almond Milk or Coconut Milk (or warm water)

      METHOD
      Simply blend all of the ingredients together in a high speed blender for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Add more water if you'd like the caramel thinner. This caramel won't be gooey like the heated version, but if left to set in the fridge, it hardens and becomes melt-in-the-mouth amazing. Scrape the caramel from the blender and spread evenly over the centre of your prepared chocolate bases. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Then, pour it over the caramel layer, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.

      + Store in the freezer until 5 minutes before you are ready to eat/serve them.

      CANNELLINI WHITE BEAN AND SWEET POTATO QUISOTTO

      Vegetarian, Lunch, Dinnerdanielle coppermanComment

      November is here and, like most November’s, you’re probably cursing its premature arrival, certain that we should still be in October. November is a stressful month for many reasons. The weather gets colder, the days get darker, christmas gets closer and before you know it, the year is already over again. This means more colds, more early nights, more last minute shopping and get-together plans and more New Years Resolutions. It depends which way you look at it. Let’s forget all of that for a moment and think about the fact that food has never tasted so good, duvets have never felt so comfortable and staying in is far more enjoyable than going out anyway. This is the perfect time to wrap up indoors, to get creative with this seasons most nourishing foods and take time to make truly great food for you and your loved ones. Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year in terms of fresh produce. Everything is so hearty, earthy and flavoursome and I love cooking with soft vegetables and soft fruits, making everything into warm, nourishing concoctions.

      Now, although the weather is unusually warm for this time of year, there is still a sense of urgency to rush into the house after a long journey home and slam the door in the face of darkness. I mean, I started my journey home from one part of London at 3pm the other day and by the time I’d gotten back over ground, it was pitch black. The nights are chilly and the darkness makes me feel like we are living under some kind of winter blanket, even though I’m not wearing gloves yet. All I want to do is get into the kitchen and straight back out of it so I can enjoy some wholesome, homemade food from the comfort of my bed or on the sofa. There is nothing more soothing than a bowl of steaming goodness, like a hearty soup, a thick, creamy risotto or nourishing stew. And with any one-pot recipe, you can just keep adding to it. You can add spices and herbs, homemade stock or broth, spinach or kale that may look like it’s seen better days. In a one pot, everything combines into a unique amalgamation of flavours, food groups and most importantly, nutrients, so cram as much in as you can, and be sure to make enough for leftovers for times when hibernation seems more appealing than cooking. 

      This recipe is similar to my Crown Prince Quinoa Sotto - something I made over a year ago now, when I first started this blog. This recipe is quicker and easier though, as it doesn’t require cooking the sweet potato or pumpkin separately. You literally add everything to one big pan and let it all simmer together. Risotto was my favourite meal before i changed my dietary habits, but it always made me feel uncomfortable afterwards - too full to move and not especially nourished. This recipe doesn’t use cream, cheese, butter, sugar or processed risotto rice like most recipes do. It uses coconut milk, fresh herbs and quinoa, making it high in fibre, protein and low gi sugars, and low in starchy carbohydrates, grains, gluten and dairy (absolutely free from them, in fact). Enjoy playing around with this recipe, as there is always room to add more. I always add greens like spinach, diced broccoli or grated courgette as they cook down and become so soft you hardly notice them. 

      INGREDIENTS

      1 Tin Cannellini Beans
      1 1/2 Cups White Quinoa
      1 Tin Coconut Milk
      1/2 Cup Water
      1 Medium Sweet Potato (or pumpkin, squash or beetroot)
      1 Handful Basil, Sage or Coriander
      1-2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
      Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt or 1 Teaspoon Tamari
      120g Chickpeas
      2 Cloves Garlic
      1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
      2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
      3 Tablespoons Tahini
      1 Teaspoon Cumin
      1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil
      1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Chilli or Chilli Flakes

      OPTIONAL EXTRAS
      Cooked Puy Lentils
      Peas
      Spinach
      Kale
      Diced Broccoli
      Grated Courgette

      METHOD

      Start by making the quinoa as this is your base. Use a large saucepan leaving space for you to add and build, and cover the quinoa in twice its amount of water. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and leave it to simmer. 
      In a blender, blend the chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the tahini until smooth. This is a quick houmous recipe which adds a delicious creaminess to the sauce. You can also use shop bought organic houmous if you have it. Once smooth, set aside.
      When the water is draining away from the quinoa and it is more or less cooked, add the 1/2 cup water, the coconut milk (solid and liquid), the cannellini beans, grated sweet potato and fresh herbs and stir to combine. Keep on a low-medium heat, stirring constantly and adding water or plant milk if the mixture is becoming too thick. Add the salt or tamari and the nutritional yeast, then stir in the houmous and coconut oil. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, adding your extra vegetables of choice. When everything is soft and all of the flavours have simmered nicely together, remove from the heat, season one last time and serve. 
      I like to serve mine with a dollop of coconut milk or cashew nut cream, or sprinkled with baked basil or kale chips for extra crunch. My Savoury Qnola, which will be available in the New Year, is also delicious on top.

      BLACK BEAN SPAGHETTI WITH VEGETARIAN RAGU

      Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle copperman1 Comment

      Today I found myself walking past Planet Organic trying to think of something I needed, to give myself an excuse to go inside. I do this a lot, and every time I go to a health food shop for one thing, I exit with at least 4, and sometimes this doesn’t even include the thing I went in for in the first place. They are dangerous places, even more so when you’re hungry, or, like I was today, feeling creative and easily inspired.

      On my way to the till having picked up what I needed, I passed through the pasta isle. I used to eat pasta almost every day when I was at school. I would come home from school ravenous and make a bowl of pasta with cheesy baked beans. I know. Grim. But it tasted incredible. But since changing my diet, I haven’t had pasta once, and to be honest, my body doesn’t crave it. I admit my eyes do sometimes, as well as my nostrils. If i see a saucy pasta dish on a TV advert or walk past an Italian restaurant which smells as if it is actually built of basil and cheese, then I almost begin to miss it. However, in my opinion, it is always the sauce and the toppings that give a pasta dish any flavour at all. This is why I love making courgetti, because it is the same texture as regular spaghetti and doesn’t taste of much at all. The only difference is it isn’t doughy - other than that it tastes, in my opinion, just the same once it’s covered in sauce. The important thing is to keep the sauce relatively healthy too, monitoring your use of cream, cheese and processed meats. The recipe below is completely dairy free, vegan and vegetarian.

      Like most things in the shops, ‘healthy’ pasta is likely to contain a lot of ingredients you don’t recognise and these are ultimately things your body wont recognise either. All sorts of flours, stabilisers and emulsifiers may be present, amongst other ingredients. Most of these products are also high in starchy carbohydrate and sugar, and really aren’t that good for you at all. I tried Quinoa Spaghetti about a year ago now and loved it, but it still filled me up a little too much and although it was gluten and grain free, still felt quite stodgy to digest. So when I walked past Black Bean Spaghetti today, I had to investigate the packaging further. There were two ingredients: Organic Black Beans (92%) and Water (8%). This sounded instantly better than what surrounded it on the shelf as it was made for completely natural ingredients. No flour, not additives. Just beans and water. I was completely sceptical about putting it in my basket but felt so inspired that I had to give it a go. The store was out of turkey mince and I knew I had a fresh cauliflower at home, so I enjoyed mine with Cauliflower Ragu. Such a winner.

      INGREDIENTS
      A Packet of Black Bean or Edamame Spaghetti (ExploreAsian), or Homemade Courgetti
      6 Medium-Large Tomatoes
      15 Small Tomatoes
      Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
      2 Handfuls of Spinach Leaves (or kale), chopped
      1 Large Garlic Clove, chopped or crushed
      1-2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
      1/2 Teaspoon Salt
      A Few Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
      1 Teaspoon Dried Mixed Herbs - Oregano, Sage and Thyme work well
      1/2 Large Cauliflower (you can also use quinoa instead which makes a delicious high protein vegetarian ragu with the same texture and consistency)

      METHOD
      Start by making the sauce as the courgetti will only take a few minutes and the black bean pasta only needs about 6 minutes to simmer. Chop the tomatoes into small chunks and pour a teaspoon or so of olive or coconut oil into a saucepan. Once melted, add the tomatoes to the pan followed by the basil leaves and the garlic. Stir in the spinach or kale along with the nutritional yeast, salt, dried herbs and other seasoning you may like to use. Cook over a medium to low heat for about 20 minutes. 
      Meanwhile, chop the cauliflower and make it into a rice consistency. Doing this will add texture to the sauce (as well as more vitamins and nutrients) and resembles the texture of mince meat very closely. Start by chopping the cauliflower edges into small pieces and place in a food processor or blender. Take the stalks and the tougher inside of the cauliflower and dice finely before adding to the blender. Blend for about 10-20 seconds. You only need to pulse it briefly as the pieces will break up instantly and you want to avoid making it into some kind of puree. 
      Once the sauce is reducing and becoming thicker, add the cauliflower rice or ‘mince’ to the sauce pan and stir until evenly coated. Simmer for another 15 minutes in order for the cauliflower to become a tiny bit softer and also to absorb the flavours of the sauce.
      Now make the ‘pasta’s’. Boil about 2 cups of water in a saucepan and then add the black bean spaghetti. I used about 1/5 or 1/4 of the packet for one serving. Simmer for 5-8 minutes, depending on how you prefer your pasta cooked. I like mine al dente so I drained mine after about 6 minutes. 
      Take your spiralizer or julienne peeler and start making the courgetti. You don’t really need both - i basically bought a courgette in case i really didn’t like the black bean pasta. But i did, so in the end i used both which obviously increased the variety of nutrients. I used just under half a courgette, peeled into spaghetti with my julienne peeler. You can also use a whole courgette if you don’t have/want black bean spaghetti, or you can leave the courgetti out if you just want to use the black bean spaghetti.
      Place the courgetti into a bowl and drain the black bean spaghetti. Add this to the courgetti and mix to combine with your hands. Give the sauce one last stir and season before pouring over the ‘pasta’s’. I recommend string the sauce through the pasta to coat it evenly. Top with a little nutritional yeast or organic cheese if you are not dairy intolerant, and add chopped pine nuts or seeds for extra flavour and texture and to further increase the nutrient content.

      NUTRITIOUS NUTELLA

      Sugar Free, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

      Trust me here. Do this right, and you will eat nothing else for months. The perfect spread, quick snack, healthy dessert or booster for smoothies. And mandatory with pancakes.

      INGREDIENTS

      100g Cacao Butter
      50g Cacao Powder
      3-4 Dates
      1 Tablespoon Agave, Organic Raw Honey
      Salt
      Vanilla Extract
      2 Tablespoons Tinned Coconut Milk
      Handful of Cashews
      Handful of Almonds
      Handful of Hazelnuts
      2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
      1 Teaspoon Lucuma or Maca Powder

      + For a Chocolate Orange Variation add Cold Pressed Essential Orange Oil or Fresh Orange Zest

      METHOD

      Melt the Cacao Butter in a metal or glass bowl sitting on boiling water in a saucepan. As it begins to melt, gradually whisk in the cacao powder. Once completely melted, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before pouring into your blender or food processor. Add the dates, agave, salt, vanilla, coconut milk, nuts, coconut oil and orange oil if using and blend for 2 minutes, until smooth. If the mixture seems too thick, doughy or dry, now is the time to add some warm water. Add a tablespoon at a time and blend again, checking to see the mixture improve in texture.

      When you are happy with it, pour and scrape into a bowl and serve immediately with pancakes or any kind of dessert, cake, biscuit, fruit discs or on seed bread. You can also use this spread as frosting on cakes, and for a brilliant summer time dessert, slice a banana lengthways, stuff with the chocolate spread, and top with hazelnuts. 

      TOMATO, RED PEPPER AND COCONUT SOUP

      Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Brunchdanielle coppermanComment

      It’s soup season. We are so far into soup season it hardly seems like i will ever eat anything other than soup again. I've almost forgotten that food exists in its solid, fresh and raw form - this soul food has taken over my kitchen and nothing makes it onto my plate or bowl without passing the blender. 

      This soup is incredibly high in antioxidants and is alkalising and soothing to the digestive system. Deep red vegetables contain phytochemicals which are substances found only in plants that help fight disease. Tomatoes and red peppers are essential to health and are high in lycopene, a phytochemical that helps reduce the risk of several cancers. It is important to incorporate a multicoloured mixture of fruit and vegetables into your diet, as each different one contains different antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which in turn provide their own different benefits. Getting a mixture of fruit and vegetables into your diet will mean your body receives a mixture of benefits. Some vitamins and minerals are even known to be more easily assimilated and absorbed by the body when consumed alongside others. 

      INGREDIENTS
      1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
      Olive Oil, for roasting
      4 Large Tomatoes, chopped
      1 Red Pepper, chopped
      200g Cherry Tomatoes
      1 Tin Coconut Milk
      2 Large Cloves of Garlic
      1 Tablespoon Sumac
      As much Chilli as you can handle
      2-3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
      30g Fresh Ginger, sliced
      Juice of 1 Lemon
      Tamari, to season
      Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, to top.

      METHOD
      Preheat the oven to 170c. Pierce the skin of the tomatoes several times and chop the pepper roughly then place on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, sesame oil or avocado oil and salt. Place two cloves of garlic on the baking tray too and roast for about 30-40 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Meanwhile, halve the cherry/baby tomatoes and heat them in a saucepan to simmer them into a thick sauce. Add a little oil and water and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down and begin to resemble a paste.
      Remove the large tomatoes and the red pepper from the oven and place the vegetables in a bowl of cold water. Now do your best to peel the skins off - otherwise your soup will be bitty.
      Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and then add the roasted vegetables and garlic, the sumac, chilli, nutritional yeast, ginger and lemon juice and stir until combined. Add the coconut milk next; i used a little less than the entire tin and used the leftover in a smoothie, but add as much or as little as you want depending on how thick, rich or creamy you want it to be. Bring to the boil momentarily and then reduce the heat back to medium, or a little lower. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Let cool briefly once everything looks soft and like it has amalgamated. Transfer into a blender and blend until smooth. You can leave it unblended if you want a chunky soup, or just blend it for 1 minute if you want it somewhere in the middle.

      Season with salt and pepper or tamari, and drizzle with olive, sesame or avocado oil. Enjoy with rye bread (toasted twice) or my popular Miracle Bread and top with a spoonful of solid coconut milk and toasted nuts or pumpkin seeds.

      A SHED YOU WILL WANT TO LIVE IN

      Travel, Review, Lifestyle, Dinnerdanielle coppermanComment

      Tucked away on a roadside in Nottinghill is not much more than, well, a shed. What caught my eye was the beautiful, cosy garden patio covered in fairy lights and foliage in front of the building. It looked like a tiny house in Italy until i took a closer look and realised there was a menu on the wall, and a damn good one at that.

      This was a one off in terms of how our usual dinner plans go. We had never heard of The Shed, we hadn’t been recommended to go there and we hadn’t read any reviews about it. So it was a pleasant surprise, once we’d finished a good 8 sharing plates of mind blowing food, to find gushing reviews of it online when we got home. A very happy coincidence, and perhaps the most successful impulsive dinner choice I’ve ever made.

      Inside, the atmosphere was intimate and cosy, and as it was a Saturday, it was humming with hungry locals. They all obviously knew what to expect because there was a sense of excitement among the place. We, on the other hand, had to be talked through the procedure and then wait patiently, half expecting to be disappointed.

      The menu is divided into Mouthfuls, Slow cooking and Fast cooking. Each heading is quite self explanatory, but this was a new breakdown of food for us, so it took us a while to order. They recommend that you share each plate, which is small, or order more than one per person if your companion is not a sharer. We ordered 6 to begin with, between two of us, and got stuck in to each dish as and when they arrived, tasting each unique, flavoursome dish and salivating over them together. Each dish was different which kept our tastebuds amused and satisfied, but also seemed to send them into overdrive, as we ended up ordering two additional plates. We couldn’t stop.

      The dishes were controversial combinations of amazing ingredients, including chorizo puree on giant asparagus, and cured pollock with lemon mayonnaise and marigold. The fantastic menu changes daily and is made up of Sussex produce sourced from the owners’ youngest brother (whose roots are firmly planted in Nutbourne, as a farmer) and other local suppliers. “Growing, foraging, great cooking and great company have always been the order of the day, and this ethos has been brought to life at The Shed”; by three extremely talented brothers.

      "RESERVATIONS AND WALK-INS ARE WELCOME AT THE SHED, SO LONG AS YOU’RE READY TO ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES, JUMP ON THE COMBINE HARVESTER AND GET STUCK INTO SOME HARDY EATING, DRINKING AND MEMORY MAKING".

      Well, that just about sums it up.

      SWEET CURRIED QUINOA WITH MINTED AVOCADO AND BEETROOT SLAW

      Snacks, Lunch, Dinnerdanielle coppermanComment

      Tonight most people will be having a TV dinner and/or eating take out from their laps. For me take out night was usually friday night - the one night of the week when my father was allocated dinner duty. If he was feeling incapable of fajitas from a step-by-step kit or an easy spag bol, he’d be straight on the phone and the next thing i knew we were speeding home from the Indian with a hot, smelly bag of steaming deliciousness balancing between my feet, whilst i tried to feed him our free loyalty popadoms as he drove. Many of you are probably somewhat healthier and if takeaways do exist in your life my guess is they’re from the Wholefoods hot food counter or maybe a fresh sushi bar. I still love a take away now and then - mainly when i return home as theres just something about a cosy night in with your family, some movies and some comfort food. Not all take aways are bad though, only stereotypical things like greasy chinese, pungent indian, unappetising kebabs and burger bar pizza's. But nowadays, you can do takeaways much more virtuously, and can pretty much have any kind of food, from any kind of place, delivered to your door. So many places offer delivery now and with apps like Quiqup, you practically never need to cook again. Or go out, for that matter. (this could get very dangerous indeed). I learnt this particularly during my visit to New York where i stayed with 3 guys who hadn’t cooked in months, thanks to Seamless. But for those of you who disagree entirely with the concept, make your own version of take out food (the idea of quick take-out instead of arduous cooking is lost here completely) like a chinese with vegetable rice instead of white rice, an indian without the naan bread, or some kind of hippy pizza made from vegetables and quinoa (more on that another time). Tonights recipe is inspired by indian curry. It is not a curry though. It is simply a spiced, korma infused side dish as well as one of the quickest things you will ever make.

      I went through a phase of making healthy curry a lot a few months ago and alternated between coconut milk green thai with prawns, and sweet potato korma with chicken, prawns or grilled aubergine and greens. It is really easy to make healthy curry as long as you don’t make lazy curry, i.e. using additive-laden ready made sauce. Instead, use fresh ingredients, lots of fresh vegetables and herbs, unprocessed liquids like coconut milk and organic meat. The recipe for the quinoa in this post however is less like a ‘saucy’ curry and more like curried rice - or curry infused quinoa. It almost reminds me of paella, or how i’d imagine it to be if the Indians were to rework it. As this recipe is relatively dry compared to normal curries it would work brilliantly cold, stirred into a salad as well as serving curry purposes. A flavoursome recipe perfect with added chicken or as a side to pretty much anything. I imagine it tastes amazing maybe added to a broth or stirred into soup too. I enjoyed mine with the following sides which are both refreshing and flavoursome in very different ways. The slaw was almost like a chutney and the minty avocado puree replaced what used to be cucumber mint sauce or creme fraiche on my plate, back in the day.


      SWEET POTATO CURRIED QUINOA WITH GRILLED AUBERGINE

      INGREDIENTS
      Serves 2-4

      1 Cup Cooked Quinoa
      1 Roasted, Boiled or Steamed Sweet Potato or Squash, chopped
      Pinch of Salt
      1 Tablespoon Sumac
      1-2 Teaspoons Garam masala
      1 Teaspoon Cumin
      Curry Powder (optional/to taste)
      Ground Coriander
      Fresh Coriander
      Pinch of Ground Ginger or 1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Ginger, grated (optional)
      2 Tablespoons Solid Coconut Milk
      Handful of Spinach or Kale, wilted/sauteed
      Water

      METHOD

      Start by cooking the quinoa in double its amount of water (in this case, 2 cups water). Bring to the boil then reduce to simmer for 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Once the quinoa is fully cooked and has absorbed all of the water used for boiling, leave the quinoa in the pan. Add the sweet potato to a blender with a little water and blend until a paste begins to form. It doesn’t need to be fully pureed and be sure to leave some of the cooked sweet potato aside if you would like a few whole pieces in the curry. Transfer the paste into the pan with the quinoa and add the spices, salt and coconut milk. Mix with a fork or a wooden spoon and combine the sweet potato entirely so that the quinoa is evenly coated. On a very low heat, re-heat the quinoa and add some water if you think the mixture needs thinning. If you are scared of making it too runny, don’t be, as the quinoa will continue to absorb the water if you heat it for long enough. Mix constantly until everything is combined and add the wilted greens if you are using them. Alternatively, dice the tops of some broccoli florets into the pan too to increase you green intake for the day. Leave on the heat until everything is combined and hot enough to serve.

      I would suggest adding diced chicken or turkey or even prawns to this recipe to make it more of a meal. Alternatively you can add more vegetables or increase the amount of sweet potato used. Serve hot and remember to save any leftovers, because there is quite simply nothing like coming home to cold curry in the fridge, or having a delicious ready meal waiting for you when you can least be bothered to cook.


      BEETROOT, COURGETTE AND CARROT SLAW

      INGREDIENTS

      1-2 Tablespoons Mustard
      3 Tablespoons Coconut milk (tinned, at room temp)
      2 Raw Beetroots
      2 Carrots
      1 Cup Cabbage
      Pinch of Salt
      1 Teaspoon Sumac
      1-2 Teaspoons Lemon juice

      METHOD
      Simply grate all of your vegetables or shred them in your food processor. Place them together in the same bowl and mix and toss to combine. Add the salt, sumac and lemon juice and then mix again before spooning in the coconut milk and the mustard. If the coconut milk is especially stiff you may need to mash it gently with your fork before mixing it into the vegetables. Mix until the coconut milk and mustard have blended completely into the vegetables and until everything is combined and fully coated. Add a tablespoon of water if you think the mixture is too thick and dry. It really depends on what consistency the coconut milk is at when you use it. 


      MINTED AVOCADO

      INGREDIENTS

      1 Ripe Avocado
      2 Tablespoons Water
      A Splash of Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
      1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
      1/2 Grated Carrot or Courgette
      Large Handful of Fresh Mint Leaves
      Pinch of Salt

      METHOD:
      Simply pace all of the ingredients into a blender and blend for 2 minutes until completely smooth.

      This dip is a smoother version of mashed avocado or guacamole and is more like a cream than most other dips. This side is extremely refreshing and is perfect for a curry dish or something spicy and flavoursome if, like me, you are a former condiment addict. I used to love creme fraiche with curry or fajitas for a cooling taste sensation.

      + Also delicious with kale chips, sweet potato chips, courgette chips, raw vegetables and raw crackers as well as on homemade seeded toast. It is so versatile and because it doesn’t have an overpowering flavour, it would work well served with sweet things too, instead of whipped cream.