WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

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

CONDIMENTS

VEGAN AND NUT-FREE AVOCADO MAYONNAISE

Snacks, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunchdanielle copperman3 Comments
 

Mayonnaise is another one of those things that, when you embark upon a healthier journey through life, you think, 'God, I'm gonna miss you'. I certainly did. Before i knew anything about food and the importance of feeding our bodies sensibly, I had mayonnaise with everything. I whenever I had it, it covered my entire plate, not just a small fraction of it as it was designed to have done.

This recipe seriously puts mayonnaise to shame. Homemade mayonnaise isn't actually that unhealthy, as long as you use organic, free range eggs and good quality oils. However, it takes a bit of effort. Shop bought mayonnaise is mainly just chemicals, emulsifiers, additives and colourings in a bottle. So, seriously, do not eat it. This recipe is made with actual, real ingredients. The main ingredient is avocado, which is high in protein, fibre and healthy fats. The texture of the avocado combined with the oil is even creamier than normal mayonnaise, and makes the egg yolk you find in conventional mayonnaise recipes really unnecessary. This recipe is ridiculously simple and quick. All you need is to ensure the avocados are so ripe they are almost inedible, and a blender which will do the work for you. No hours of hand whisking involved!

INGREDIENTS

2 Ripe Avocados (preferably so soft that you wouldn't actually want to eat them on their own)
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
A Gentle Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt

+ OPTIONAL
Organic Wasabi Paste (Biona), Fresh Garlic, Black Pepper, Capers, Nutritional Yeast

METHOD

Slice the avocado in half, tap your sharp knife into the stone and pull it out. Score each half of the avocado vertically and horizontally and then gently scoop or squeeze out the flesh. Place the flesh into a blend or food processor along with the lemon juice, salt, apple cider vinegar and any other herbs or spices you choose to use. Blend on a medium speed. Gradually add the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add more and more, until the mixture combines. It should be blending smoothly and should become thick. As you add more oil, increase the speed of your blender or food processor. Blend smoothly for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides if you need to.

Serve cold as a condiment for meat, fish, raw vegetables, salads, crackers, gluten free toast, eggs, quinoa or buckwheat burritos, or as a dip for raw vegetables and sweet potato chips/wedges.

 

PUY LENTIL AND OLIVE HOUMOUS

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

Simply the best.

INGREDIENTS

100g Cooked Puy Lentil
1 Tin Chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup Olive Oil
50g Black Olives, pitted
Juice from 
1/2 Fresh Lemon
3 Tablespoon Tahini
1/4 Cup Water
Lemon Juice
1 Large Handful Fresh Basil

METHOD

Simply place all ingredients in your blender and blend for 2-3 minutes on a high speed. Add a little water if the mixture needs help to get going. Season to taste and enjoy.

BROCCOLI AND CELERIAC BRAZIL NUT SLAW

Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle copperman2 Comments

An incredibly refreshing, vibrant side of seasonal ingredients combined with a creamy, dairy-free sauce high in healthy fats and plant-based protein. This slaw is amazing served alongside other salads, plain protein sources such as salmon or chicken, served with quinoa or vegetable burgers and falafels, or enjoyed as it is. A perfect condiment for picnics in the summer or to refresh a warming meal in the winter - experiment with using whichever vegetables are in season. Celeriac adds the perfect crunch to this slaw, but you can substitute it for cabbage, kohlrabi or courgette throughout the summer.

INGREDIENTS

100g Brazil Nuts or Macadamia Nuts
1/2 Cup Water
Salt or Tamari, to taste
Tahini
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Nutritional Yeast
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
1 Tin Coconut Milk, solid
1/3 Broccoli, grated
1/2 Cauliflower, grated
1 Large Shredded Celeriac

METHOD

Start by making the slaw sauce. Place the brazil nuts into your blender with the water and blend on a high speed until smooth, for 2-3 minutes. Pour the 'milk' through a nut milk or jam straining bag into a jug, to strain it smoothly. Rinse the blender before returning the milk to it, along with the other ingredients. Blend on a high speed for a further 2 minutes. Taste, and season with more salt, garlic or lemon juice depending on your personal tastes. When you are satisfied with the flavour, leave to chill in the fridge temporarily whilst you prepare the vegetables. Grate the broccoli and cauliflower, and shred the celeriac in a food processor, with a mandolin slicer or with a large blade on your grater. In a medium bowl, combine the vegetables and pour the cheesy brazil nut sauce over them, tossing and massaging the sauce into the vegetables with your hands, to ensure everything is evenly coated.

Serve immediately. Will last 2-3 days in the fridge, but sauce tends to separate if left too lone.

QUICK CHIA SEED BERRY JAM

danielle copperman3 Comments

When most people think of jam, they imagine an arduous process involving sterilised jars and very precise temperature maintenance. With this jam, the chia seeds do the hard work. No wonder they're called super foods.


INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries or Cranberries (can use just one or a mixture of your favourites)
4 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Agave or Raw Organic Honey
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger, optional
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon, optional

METHOD

Start by melting the coconut oil in a medium saucepan. Add the berries and the water and stir on a medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, press the berries to burst them as they begin to heat, and stir to combine, using a gentle mashing motion to release all of the flavour. Add the chia seeds and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring every so often and adding more water if it seems to become too thick. Then add the vanilla, lemon or lime juice and sweetener, if using, stir a final time, and pour into jars or airtight containers.

MACADAMIA AND AMARANTH BREAD SAUCE

Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment

 

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Amaranth or Quinoa
100g Macadamia Nuts or Brazil Nuts
120g Ground Almonds
1 Tin Coconut Milk
1/4 Cup Water or Homemade Vegetable Stock
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Organic Stock Cube or 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
2 Bay Leaves
1 Onion or 2 Tablespoons Onion Seeds
4-5 Peppercorns
4 Cloves
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
Sprig or Fresh Thyme
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Clove Garlic
Olive oil, Ghee or Coconut Oil
1-2 Slices of Gluten Free Bread, or 1-2 Gluten Free Bread Rolls (or more almonds)

METHOD

Start by making the creamy sauce. Blend the macadamia nuts with 50ml of cold water. Blend on the highest speed for 2 minutes, until smooth. Pour the creamy mixture into a medium saucepan and add the bay leaves, onion (chopped roughly) or onion seeds, fresh herbs, peppercorns, cloves and garlic. Simmer on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, to infuse the milk.

Meanwhile, make the amaranth/quinoa base. In a large separate saucepan, add 2 1/2 cups of water to whichever you decide to use. I used amaranth as it binds to become a lot thicker than quinoa, but both will work. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 25-35 minutes. Keep an eye on it, as amaranth and quinoa have the tendency to suddenly absorb all of the liquid, so you may need to keep topping it up. 

Once all of the liquid has been absorbed and once the amaranth/quinoa has become completely soft (amaranth will take a little longer than quinoa), remove from the heat. Pour the mixture into a food processor or blender and blend for 20-30 seconds until smooth. Return to the saucepan and add the coconut milk, salt, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water or stock, and the stock cube or nutritional yeast. Simmer on a low heat.

Strain the macadamia nut milk mixture into a large jug, getting rid of the peppercorns, bay leaves, onion, garlic and the rest of the herbs. Pour the strained milk into the saucepan with the blended amaranth/quinoa and increase the heat slightly. Stir in the ground almonds and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. At this point, you can add the slices or gluten free bread or bread rolls, torn into small pieces. I made mine using only ground almonds which worked well, but for a thicker, lumpier end result, you might want to use some gluten free bread. 

Once the mixture has thickened, pour into a bowl or jug to serve. 

CHRISTMAS CHUTNEY

Snacks, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment

Chutney, like jam, is just one of those things that people think they will never see again once they decide to live healthily. Most people assume that cutting sugar out of their diet will be, firstly, impossible, secondly, miserable and thirdly, impossible. But in fact, it is easier than it seems, and you can still enjoy your favourite sweet treats with the help of natural sweeteners, provided by the Earth. Not only are they made without a lot of ingredients (and subsequent health threats), they are made with an abundance of extra nutrients, and have a much more positive effect on your body, mind and overall wellbeing. You don't have to deprive yourself of tasty, sweet treats, and you can enjoy these new-fashioned, nourishing recipes knowing they are doing you good.

This chutney is perfect on gluten free bread - such as miracle bread - or enjoyed with gluten free biscuits, burgers or crackers - like these savoury sweet potato biscuits, rosemary crackers and celeriac quinoa burgers. Made using seasonal, festive ingredients, this chutney is low in fructose, containing more vegetables than it fruit, and only a minimal amount of sweetener, mainly for preservative reasons. Delicious with a cheeseboard selection, stirred through salads or served with leftovers.

INGREDIENTS

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Large Green Apple
1 Red Onion
4 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
60g Goji Berries
4 Dates, pitted
80g Cranberries
2 Teaspoons Tamari
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon AllSpice
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Inch Fresh Ginger, grated
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Juice of Half a Fresh Orange
1 Red Pepper
1 Cup Water
3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
Seeds from 2 Cardamom Pods
1 Tablespoon Agave or Date Paste

METHOD
Chop all of the fruits and vegetables into small pieces, apart from the berries as they are small enough, then place them all in a large saucepan. Add the water and bring to the boil then simmer for 25-30 minutes. After 30 minutes and when the ingredients have softened, add the herbs and spices, apple cider vinegar, agave or date syrup, tamari, ginger and orange juice. Stir continuously and add a little more water if the chutney is beginning to stick to the pan. You can choose either to keep the chutney chunky, or to blend it for 5 seconds to make it smoother and more of a jam-like consistency. If you do choose to blend it, return it to the pan afterwards and add the chia seeds. If you don’t blend it, add the chia seeds and stir. 

When the chia seeds have expanded and become soft, pour the chutney into sterilised jars or into bowls if you plan to serve it immediately. Store in an airtight container or jar until to ready to serve. The chutney will last for weeks, and actually gets better over time.

Serve with Christmas dinner, salads, cold meats or cheese board biscuits.

CHESTNUT TAHINI FROSTING

danielle coppermanComment

This recipe is great for use on cupcakes, sweet loaves, biscuits or fruit. Making healthy frosting seems like an impossible task, but I have discovered several ways in which you can create it. This frosting closely resembles buttercream icing, as opposed to sickeningly sweet fondant icing, or the simple icing sugar and water method. It is incredibly creamy and the texture is smooth and thick - perfect for piping or spreading onto cakes. Add your own choice of spices or other flavours to match with whatever you are icing, or enjoy on slices of apple or other fruits. This recipe also makes a delicious spread for toast, or can be added to porridge in the place of nut butter to add some flavour.

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.

FOR A CHOCOLATE VARIATION

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
3-4 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/4 Ripe Avocado - optional

METHOD
Simply add all the ingredients to your blender and blend for 2-3 minutes.

BLACKBEAN HOUMOUS

Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment

I could never get tired of grazing. I love to snack and if theres any kind of dip in sight, I'm straight in there. Houmous is such a versatile dip and and something I was first introduced to by my father. My earliest memories of it are associated with Friday nights when he would come home from work a little earlier than usual, put on his favourite 'chill-out music' and crack open a tube of Pringles and a tub of trusty houmous. As well as this TGIF mood, I also associate houmous with other happy occasions, such as picnics, summer and having guests over. It was also my obsession during exam periods at school (a not-so-happy occasion), and I only wish i'd made it from scratch and experimented more with flavours then, as I would have gotten a lot more from it. This recipe not only uses protein-rich chickpea's which are a great source of natural energy, but also contains black beans (which contain yet more protein and aid digestion) and sweet potato (high in antioxidants and known to contribute to weight loss due it is high, high fibre content). So it may seem like a mere dip, a side to your meal or an afterthought, but in fact you're using an entire meals worth of vegetables in one dip. Well, what do you know? This houmous has become a concentrated source of wonderful nutrients.  There's almost no need for the rest of the meal, so rest assured that it is entirely acceptable to eat it on its own, by the spoonful. 


INGREDIENTS

4-5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tin Chickpeas, drained
1 Tin Black Beans, drained (can also use cannellini beans)
1/2 Sweet Potato, chopped and steamed (optional - if you omit, just increase the bean quantity by 1/2 a cup)
Small Handful Fresh Basil Leaves
1-2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons Smooth Tahini
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
1-2 Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
Handful of Fresh Basil or Rosemary

Optional
1 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast

METHOD

Start by steaming the sweet potato. After about 8-10 minutes, when it is soft, add it to your blender. Now simply place all of the remaining ingredients into a high speed blender and blend for 2-3 minutes. Add more salt or lemon juice to taste and your choice of herbs (I like fresh basil, fresh rosemary and dried sumac). Scrape down the sides as the beans have a tendency to fly high, and blend for another minute or so, until the mixture is completely smooth and as creamy as is absolutely possible.

GREEN SUNFLOWER PESTO

Snacks, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment

I know it’s a bold statement but my first homemade pesto - and not just homemade pesto but healthy, nutritious, dairy-free pesto - turned out to be the best pesto I’ve ever tried. Since experiencing this variation of pesto i have come to realise that normal shop-bought pesto is far too oily and bitty. Another thing i dislike about it is the inclusion of cheese which i try to avoid as i don’t eat much dairy. If i’m going to eat cheese it’s going to be a huge slice of locally sourced cheese covered in chutney. That would be worth it. But in pesto i think it is pretty unnecessary, especially when the option of nutritional yeast is available, which adds a nutty, cheesy taste similar to parmesan, but also boasts an abundance of nutrients and high levels of vegan protein, to entirely upgrade your pesto (and most other savoury recipes).
On top of that, many supermarket brands of Pesto use sugar and preservatives which are unnatural and can be detrimental to health. You also must be careful when choosing pesto to make sure it is made with natural oils such as extra virgin olive oil and not with artificial, hydrogenated fats such as vegetable oil. You’re safest and healthiest bet is to buy organic or local, homemade pesto, or make it yourself (its as easy as a smoothie)!

This pesto is a lot creamier than most brands of pesto due to the sunflower seeds and avocado i use. Sunflower seeds are an amazing base for sauces and creams and add a unique texture to this condiment. I also substituted pine nuts for pistachio nuts as i love their intense flavour and thought it would work well with the sunflower seeds. As well as basil I used a large handful of spinach leaves to increase the nutritional value of the recipe and also to thicken it a little. This pesto is incredibly healthy and is high in healthy fats (from the avocado, nuts and seeds), protein (from the nuts, seeds and nutritional yeast) and antioxidants (from the spinach, garlic, avocado, lemon, basil and spirulina). It also contains alkalising properties due to the use of lemon, leafy greens and spirulina and contains a diverse range of vitamins, minerals and fibre from all of the natural ingredients.

Enjoy as a spread, as a dip for vegetables or sweet potato chips, as a side or condiment for most meals including fish, meat or eggs, and incorporate into savoury sauces or soups for extra flavour. And throw out the Sacla.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 Cup Pistachio Nuts
Large Handful Fresh Basil Leaves
Large Handful Kale or Spinach, diced
1/2 a Ripe Avocado
1/2 Cup Avocado Oil or Olive Oil
Salt
1-2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
1-2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
Pinch of Spirulina (optional)

METHOD

Add the sunflower seeds, pistachios and a tablespoon of the oil to a blender and blend for 5 minutes. When the mixture begins to become smooth, add the avocado (best to chop it first), basil leaves, spinach or kale, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt, lemon juice and the rest of the oil (as well as the spirulina, if using). Blend again for a further 2-3 minutes until the mixture is smooth and all ingredients are combined. You may need to scrape the sides. I quite liked mine with a few chunks in it but if you prefer a smoother spread, continue to blend until you are happy with the consistency. Scrape from the blender into a bowl and season with more salt or lemon or spirulina or nutritional least until you are happy with it. 
Cover with cling film and store in the fridge. It may become slightly dark on the outside due to the avocado oxidising but just stir before serving and it will be absolutely fine

TAHINI PEPPERCORN SAUCE

Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment

You can make anything taste good with a little sauce. My sister once said “you can’t skimp on sauce” and for some reason this quote has stuck with me ever since. But I totally agree. There is nothing worse than ordering a meal or a salad or a burger, even, and it being delivered under-sauced. It probably has something to do with portion control, and quite rightly, perhaps, as many people don’t know when to say when with mayonnaise (people being, me). But, when does it become acceptable to go overboard on the condiments? When they’re healthy, wholesome and natural, that’s when. I always went overboard with things like bread or apple sauce with a roast or mayonnaise with sweet potato chips, but now I like to make sauce the main part of my meal, in an entirely acceptable way. There are more vegetables in my pesto than there are on my plate these days, but that’s the sheer beauty of natural, nourishing gastronomy. You get filled up by an unbelievably delicious amalgamation of the most nutritious ingredients. You can serve a kale, spinach and cashew nut pesto over your child’s pasta and they’ll have no idea it’s full of vegetables. Job done.

A sauce, spread, dip or dressing has the ability to completely transform an otherwise soulless meal. A salad, for example, which is where most people start when reconditioning their dietary habits, is instantly better with a little extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. This is what I settled for for so long, convincing myself actually, salad can be tasty. But then I discovered other natural oils, tahini, tamari, ginger and avocado, and have realised these ingredients will never fail you. A bowl of salad or warm vegetables with a knob of coconut oil and a twist of himalayan pink salt is probably the simplest way to do it. Mix the oil with smooth tahini, a dash of tamari, some ginger and a drop of agave and you’ve instantly got not only a delicious, vibrant mixture of freshly coated leaves or vegetables, but an even more nutritious one too. The thought of people disallowing themselves a little salad dressing kills me when I can think of a hundred ways you can make your own, if you just get to know the right ingredients. Yes, salad dressing is bad. It’s full of sugar, emulsifiers, thickeners, flavourings and additives and has little to no nutritive value at all. But make coconut oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, tahini, tamari, nut butter, ripe avocados, nuts, seeds, fresh herbs, sesame oil, fresh or ground ginger and agave frequenters in your kitchen and you’ll want to eat salad for the rest of your life. Protein-rich, high in healthy fats and abundant in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and micronutrients, you’ll find it hard to believe they can do you good. We’ve all had this conversation: “Why is everything that tastes good so unhealthy, and everything that’s good for you, just boring?” Honestly, I’m still coming to terms with this too, but it really is possible to eat delicious food that can do your body a million favours or more. It may cost a little more, it may take a little research, but your body and your taste buds will thank you in the end, and your mood, energy, skin and metabolic processes will instantly improve.

PEPPERCORN TAHINI

Everyone craves a steak now and then, I know that as a fact. I have vegetarian friends who have never eaten steak in their lives who, oddly, still crave it from time to time. And what is steak without peppercorn sauce? Well, its like a green juice without any vegetables, isn’t it?

Made conventionally with butter, cream, a little more cream and lots of seasoning, its hardly the epitome of clean eating. So I’ve developed and reworked this classic condiment, using coconut oil, coconut milk, tahini and organic mustard. Get your grass-fed meat or a bowl of hearty vegetables and you’re good to go. The most important thing to remember when reconditioning your dietary lifestyle is that there are no rules, and if you come across any, avoid them at all costs. Yes, steak would spring to mind first at the mention of peppercorn sauce in a word association game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it with other things. I poured mine over warm puy lentils, and imagine it tastes beautiful stirred through a warm green salad or quinoa, studded with pomegranate seeds or blueberries for extra flavour. Here’s to improvisation in the kitchen…

INGREDIENTS:

5 Tablespoons Smooth Dark Tahini
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil or Organic Ghee (safe for lactose intolerant eaters)
1/2 Teaspoon Peppercorns, ground
1 Teaspoon Peppercorns, whole
1 Teaspoon Onion Seeds (or onions if you prefer)
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
1 Clove Garlic, diced
1/2 Tin Coconut Milk, room temp (one part solid cream one part liquid), or COYO Natural Yoghurt
1 Teaspoon Mustard
1/2 Teaspoon Tamari
1 Bay Leaf
Chopped Tarragon
2 Tablespoons Hot Water
2 Shallots, optional (can also use onions)

METHOD:

Heat a little olive oil and coconut oil in a saucepan and add the garlic along with the shallots or onions, if using. Sauté until they start to become golden, then add the peppercorns, tamari, mustard, bay leaf, tarragon, onion seeds, nutritional yeast and mix until combined. Next, add the cream, gradually, along with the hot water and a little salt and/or extra nutritional yeast depending on your taste. Simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes until it begins to reduce and thicken slightly. Heat until it starts to bubble then remove from the heat and pour through a sieve into a serving jug to catch the peppercorns, bay leaf and shallots/onions, if using, to make the sauce smoother.

Store in the fridge for up to a week, but stir before serving as it will separate and may stiffen slightly. Enjoy hot or cold.

Photo credit | Tommy Clarke

COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM

Sugar Free, Vegandanielle coppermanComment

INGREDIENTS

2 Tins Coconut Milk from the fridge (strictly the solid part only)
1-2 Teaspoons Date Syrup

Optional Extras

2 Tablespoons Tahini
Fresh, Grated Ginger

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 tahini and date syrup and blend on a low speed until the ingredients are combined smoothly. Pour into a bowl or container and store 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).

+ Great served with desserts like rich chocolate torte or warm crumble.

RED PEPPER POURING HOUMOUS AKA THE NEW BBQ SAUCE

Snacksdanielle coppermanComment

Earlier this summer in June i attended my first Brai - that’s a barbecue to you and i. Brai is a South African term and translates directly to grill. Just 5 minutes into arriving at the Brai with my sister, I understood why they had their own name for it. It was not an ordinary barbecue. Ordinary barbecues at their best include marinated chicken, some hearty salads, corn on the cob and insanely unhealthy desserts. But more common barbecues, if we’re lucky enough to see the sun at all in England, consist of burnt 30%- meat sausages, plastic cheese in plastic films, rain, more rain and far too much alcohol. A Brai is an entirely different game. We had marinated shrimps the size of my hand, barbecued mackerel, turkey burgers, onglet steak, barbecued bone marrow, teriyaki salmon kebabs and much, much more. The food was brought out over the course of about 8 hours. This, i thought, was brilliant. No one was filling up on Walkers crisps with cheese and chive dip. People were pacing themselves and really savouring and appreciating each individual dish. The burgers were not ordinary burgers either. They were layered with fresh cheese, spinach and the best sauce i have ever tasted. That’s where this story becomes relevant to the following recipe.

INGREDIENTS
Halve this recipe for a single serving.

6 Tablespoons Tahini
1 Ripe Avocado
1 Tin Chickpeas or 4 Tablespoons Organic Houmous
6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Cup Water (Use only 1 tablespoon if you want a thicker houmous)
2 Large Peppers
4 Large Tomatoes
1 Teaspoon Tamari
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon juice

Optional:
A Few Leaves Fresh Basil

METHOD
Preheat the oven to about 180c. Cut the peppers into quarters and the tomatoes too. Place them in the same baking tray with a little olive oil or coconut oil, and salt. Roast in the oven for about half an hour, then turn the heat up to 200c and roast for another 20 minutes, until the peppers are soft to touch, the skin looks baggy, and the tomatoes are soft. Remove from the oven and run under cold water. When they have cooled, peel the skins off of the peppers as much as you can. Don’t worry about doing this for the tomatoes.
Place the vegetables into your blender with 1/8 cup of water, the oil and the garlic. Blend for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides, then add the remaining ingredients and the rest of the water, if you think it needs it. The water thins the mixture and helps the ingredients to combine as smoothly as possible. If you want more of a proper houmous dip (pictured below), leave the water out, although you may find you need it in order for the mixture to combine fully. If you want more of a pouring houmous, add as much water as you desire, and up the seasoning to maintain the flavours.
Serve as a dip for vegetables, crisps, sweet potato chips or as a side with chicken, beef or salmon. Pour over courgetti, salmon and ragu, add to sauces or soups, or stir through a quinoa/buckwheat salads.

GOJI AND TOMATO CHILI JAM

Snacks, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment

The nostalgia that this recipe triggers is almost unbearable. I remember a time when I was still at school - a stage in my life where a chocolate doughnut was acceptable at 11am. I always got away with eating terribly unhealthy food and people always used to joke about where I put it, as i never used to gain weight. As i grew up i began to think about diet a little more, but not nearly as much as i ought to have. In my opinion, there is not enough food education available to children and i never really thought about healthy eating. I never gained weight, so there was never much urgency in me becoming healthy. 
The memories that flood back when i think of chilli jam are embarrassing to say the least. Along with the discovery of alcohol came the side effect of ‘drunk munch’. Not only did it become acceptable to eat copious amounts of food just hours before you’d usually be waking up, it became almost mandatory. I grew up in the countryside, out in the sticks just outside of Bath. My best friend, Olivia, lived in town, so we always crashed at her house after a night out. I used to tell myself it was for convenience and ease, but looking back I’m beginning to think it probably had something to do with her mum’s homemade chilli jam. We’d get home, have some chilli jam, some cheese and some tea (a combination only acceptable/appetising when entirely under the influence) and put the world to rights.

+ Tomatoes are abundant in antioxidants and their rich, red colour indicates their high content of lycopene. Lycopene has been proven to protect against diseases such as prostate and breast cancer, and supports healthy cellular functions in the skin, reducing roughness and making the skin smoother and more vibrant. When levels of lycopene are high in the body, oxidative damage is reduced, which in turn reduces inflammation.

INGREDIENTS
Makes one medium jar of jam

200g Cherry Tomatoes
One Fresh Chilli, chopped
1-2 Teaspoons Chilli Flakes
100g Goji Berries
2 Red Peppers
1 Teaspoon Grated Fresh Ginger or Ground Ginger
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
Salt
1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup Agave, Organic Honey or Coconut Palm Sugar

Optional:
Grated Apple
Grated Fennel
2 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice

METHOD
Chop the tomatoes, chilli and peppers and add them to a medium saucepan with the goji berries and a splash of water. Leave them to simmer on a low heat, stirring continuously. After about 10 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients to the pan. Leave to simmer for about 20-30 minutes, stirring continuously so the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan. After about 30 minutes, you should be able to draw a line through the mixture with a wooden spoon. If the mixture is too wet, the line will disappear, so continue to simmer until the mixture thickens. 
Once it seems thick enough, you can either run the mixture through your blender to bake it smoother, or leave it as it is. It won’t be very chunky at all as the vegetables will have become completely immersed. 
Season to taste. If you like it a little sweeter, add more honey or coconut sugar. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

BRAZILIAN NUT BUTTER

danielle coppermanComment

Nut butter has a unique effect on people. I’ve witnessed it many times and know from experience exactly how it feels to taste your first spoonful of nut butter. Not Peanut butter, because that really isn’t nut butter at all. Peanuts are actually a legume and one i steer pretty clear of as they are exceptionally susceptible to certain moulds and fungi that are associated with the development of cancer. Yes, peanut butter is amazing and it brings back cheerful memories of primary school packed lunches and the first time you tried it with jam, but people only think that because they’ve never tried almond butter and frankly don’t know what they’re missing. I never loved peanut butter but i also never knew almond butter existed. This was ignorant mistake number one. I had never even thought of, let alone heard of almond butter, so as soon as i tried it i clung onto it and decided it was to be a permanent part of my life. This was ignorant mistake number two. I settled for almond butter without questioning where the macadamia or the cashew butter was at. I discovered an entire world of nut butters and seed butters and felt a pang of anger at the very thought of all those people who had no idea they existed. Having become familiar with home made almond butter which is incredibly easy, I set about making my own blends as an even more delicious version of the raw nuts themselves. It is the easiest thing to make and you can mix and match your choice of nuts and flavours. Add agave, desiccated coconut and/or cinnamon for a more flavoursome almond butter, or introduce crushed garlic and salt for a savoury option.

INGREDIENTS
100g Raw Brazil Nuts
100g Raw Cashew Nuts

METHOD
Chop the brazil nuts in half and place them into a high speed blender along with the cashew nuts. Blend for 1minute on a high speed and then lower the speed to encourage the mixture to blend. After 2 minutes, scrape down the sides of the blender and stir the mixture from around the blade to renew it with less smooth parts. Blend again on a low to medium speed until the mixture begins to soften and the nuts release their oils. If your mixture is still dry and crumbly, i’d advise helping it along with a teaspoon of melted but cooled coconut oil, or flaxseed, grapeseed or avocado oil. If you added oil, blend a final time for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is moving smoothly around the blade and combining together. Scrape the mixture into a jar, pot or bowl and store in the cupboard or int the fridge. This blend is amazing added to smoothies, stirred through chia seed pudding, served on warm coconut porridge or enjoyed with cold salmon fillet or chicken.

SMOKED SALMON PATE

Sugar Free, Gluten free, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

Salmon is such a nourishing food. Growing up, i refused to eat fish, and it was only really when i first started to make educated, thoughtful changes to my diet that I began to eat it. Now, i am completely obsessed. Salmon is my favourite fish and luckily for me, is incredibly good for you. High in protein and even higher in essential omega 3 fats, salmon is an amazing source of essential vitamins, minerals and macronutrients. It really is an all rounder when it comes to food. As you’ll probably remember being told time and time again by your mother, it is ‘good brain food’, and that’s thanks to the omega 3 fatty acids. They also contribute to excellent cell renewal, which is what makes them improve your skin. Our bodies need these fats to protect our internal organs and to ensure our cells are doing exactly what they should be, and functioning optimally. Combined here with a combination of other nutritious ingredients, the beautiful flavour of the salmon is really brought out. Smoked salmon, of course, has a lot more flavour, but it is its texture that makes this pate work so well. What starts out as a slimy string of fish becomes a smooth almost butter-like spread, perfect for sandwiches or added to salads.

INGREDIENTS
Makes enough to serve 4-6 people - Lasts for weeks in the fridge.

200g Smoked Salmon, roughly torn
1-2 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice or Yuzu
2/3 Ripe Avocado
4 Tablespoons Tahini
2 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

Optional:

Nutritional Yeast

+ Can add crushed garlic, pepper, dill, capers, diced shallot, nutritional yeast.

METHOD
Start by blending the salmon and coconut oil in a blender, on a high speed. Blend for 1 minute, scrap down the sides, then add the tahini, lemon or yuzu and the avocado, scraping the flesh gradually so it is thinner and smoother. Blend for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides if you need to. Season to taste, add your extras and scrape into an airtight container or sterilised jar. Set in the fridge for about 20 minutes, or enjoy straight away. Spread onto crispy miracle bread with sliced avocado is my favourite. It is also wonderful spread inside chicory leaves. Top with herbs, nuts, seeds or even chopped fruit. Soft goji berries add a delicious flavour.

AVOCADO TAHINI CREAM

Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten free, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

Like guacamole; but better.

INGREDIENTS

2 Ripe Avocados
1 Teaspoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Smooth Tahini (can also use 1/4 cup soaked sunflower seeds)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Garlic Clove, crushed
1 Teaspoon Fresh Mint, optional
Fresh or Dried Chilli or Chilli Flakes
Pinch of Salt or a Couple of Drops of Tamari

METHOD

Chop the avocado and place into a blender. (When you halve the avocado, to easily remove the stone, tap a sharp knife into it until it is slightly embedded. Twist, and the stone should pop out easily. Also, be sure to scrape every last bit of flesh from the skin - the nearer to the skin, the darker the flesh of the avocado and the better it is for you).
Add all the other ingredients apart from the chilli and blend on a high speed for 1 minute. Use a spatula to scrape the blender clean, transferring the mixture into a serving bowl. Top with chilli, if using, and/or chia seeds, sesame seeds, chopped nuts, nutritional yeast or even goji berries, depending on what you are serving it with. 

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.