WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

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

FESTIVE

SIMPLE SWEET POTATO CANAPES

Sides, Snacks, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Recipe, Gluten free, Dinner, Dips + Spreads, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

This recipe has been in my drafts for over a year now. I first experimented with it last December, and it was one of the first things I made on returning from two months living in New York, and living without much in the way of a kitchen. It was fun.

I love sweet potato. It actually concerns me more when someone says they don't like sweet potato than when someone says they dont like chocolate. There's nothng not to like, and there are so many ways you can use them. Roasted. Made into chips. Blended into desserts, baked good and other puddings. Added to smoothies. Curry. Risotto. You can literally do anything with them and they are pretty low maintenance. This recipe is super easy and is an effortlessly impressive option for a dinner party, a canape spread, a starter, a snack or a simple side.

INGREDIENTS

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes (preferably long and thin) (can also substitute for plain potatoes)
Coconut Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Himalayan Pink Salt
Fresh Thyme

TOPPINGS OPTIONS
Nut or Seed Butter (almond, cashew, sesame, macadamia, pecan, hazelnut)
White Bean Cream Cheese (Recipe Below
Homemade Cacao Chocolate Sauce
Avocado Cacao Chocolate Spread
Other spreads or condiments of choice

ELEVATE IT

Elevate this recipe with the adition of one or a selection of the following superfood and adaptogen powders:
Reishi
Turmeric
Shilajit
Cacao Powder
Wheatgrass
Beetroot Powder
Cinnamon
Sumac
Ginger
Charcoal

+ Sprinkle on top of the finished individual sweet potato discs and toppings, or blend into your chosen toppings.

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200c and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Start by washing and scrubbing the sweet potatoes, but don't peel them. Slice into thin discs discs (as shown in the photographs) - preferably no thicker than 0.5mm in height. Arrange on the prepared trays, drizzle or brush each one with a very small amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with the thyme and a little salt. Bake for 40-50 minutes - flipping halfway through - until the rounds begin to brown. Whilst they bake, make the white bean cream cheese, or prepare your own other choice of toppings.

WHITE BEAN CREAM CHEESE

INGREDIENTS

1 Tin White Beans (200g drained weight)
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1-2 Teaspoons Nutritional Yeast
1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/2 - 1 Garlic Clove (optional not essential)
A Few Drops Apple Cider Vinegar

METHOD

Simply place all of the cream cheese ingredients into a blender and blend on a high speed. Scrape down the sides and add a little more oil or some water if the mixture is too thick and needs some help blending smoothly. Blend for at least 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.

Once the sweet potato discs begin to brown and crisp up slightly (they will become crispier as they cool) transfer to a cooling rack. If serving warm, top immediately with your choice of toppings, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days before serving.

+ For savoury options using the white bean cream cheese, top with your choice of hemp seeds, linseeds and / or chia seeds, Savoury Qnola, greens (such as kale, spinach or fresh herbs), smoked salmon or flaked fish, shredded meat, chopped raw or roasted nuts and / or seeds, grapes, cranberries or other seasonal fruits, chopped or crumbled chestnuts and anything else you're in the mood for.

+ For sweet options using nut butter, tahini, chocolate spread or other sweet spreads / condiments, top with hemp seeds, linseeds and / or chia seeds, sweet Qnola, granola or other sweet cereals, fresh or dried fruits, desiccated coconut, cacao nibs or raw chocolate chunks, fresh herbs or spices, chopped raw or roasted nuts and / or seeds, chopped or crumbled chesnuts and anything else that suits your tastes.
 

7 WAYS TO EMBRACE THE HOLIDAYS FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN NEVER SWITCH OFF

Essentials, Wellbeing, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment

The holiday season – a joyous time, but one that has become potentially more stressful than I’m sure it was ever intended to be. If you’re not stressing about presents, sending cards, food shopping, prepping, cooking or where everyone is going to sit and oh god they need somewhere to sleep too, the chances are you’ll be one uncontrollable step ahead of yourself stressing about the aftermath. The tiredness, the mess, how many ways you can disguise the leftovers and how long its acceptable to keep eating them for, and on top of all that, the way you’re going to feel after days and days and days of eating. 

Christmastime should be centred around spending time with friends and family, spending time laughing and letting go, and spending whatever time you have left after that recuperating, resetting and reflecting. This time of year shouldn't stress you out or make you feel anxious, it's here for you to enjoy and it's an excuse to have as much fun as possible before the New Year begins and things start to get serious again. If you could remove yourself from the world and look down on everyone running around in an uncontrollable muddle, you’d find it uncomfortable to watch and highly unnecessary, when what people should actually be doing is having the time of their lives. Below, a few ways to embrace the holiday season, a few ways to switch off and a few ways to stay healthy:

Masticate Mindfully
If you stick to quite specific dietary requirements / choices and are worried about keeping in practice during the holidays, do your best to create a nourishing balance that isn't too structured and that you can enjoy, rather than completely depriving yourself of the foods on the table that you wouldn't usually eat. As soon as you make any rules and decide that you're not under any circumstances allowed even a taste of something you know you want, you turn into a maniac. And when everyone else around you is enjoying the things you want, you tend to become a hot mess of hostility and frustration, unable to focus on anything other than the smell, taste and texture of the very thing you're trying to avoid. So you have that little taste you disallowed yourself and since you tasted it you now have to finish it, and since you've finished one then the damage is done and you may as well have a few more, right? When you make rules, you end up eating a lot more of what you don't really want than if you'd focussed your attention elsewhere. Think about it this way: if you drop your phone and it smashes a little, you don't continue to smash it more and more just because the damage is already done. During the holidays, if you do indulge in something you'd usually steer clear of, enjoy it but don't let it turn into some kind of binge. One way to create a balance is to ensure healthier options are in sight too. Although it is hard to interfere with traditional recipes during the holidays, be bold with offering a healthier take on some conventional dishes and get involved. You'll be able to control a few contributions, meaning, if you want to, you can bulk your plate up with these, or you can simply enjoy a bit of everything. This, my friends, is balance. When we indulge, many of us treat it as a 'now or never' kind of opportunity. But instead of eating to the point of discomfort, enjoy what you want, when you want it, and rest assured that the opportunity to indulge isn't 'now or never', but is actually 'now, or tomorrow, or the next day'. There will always be leftovers, so focus on enjoying the meal, and more importantly the company, without getting hung up on how to construct your plate.
Try to make one meal a day - preferably breakfast or an evening snack - centred completely around fresh, natural ingredients. This way you can ensure your nutrient levels are high and there are plenty of healthy enzymes present to detoxify your body, meaning you can still enjoy the standard holiday fare knowing you won't feel too terrible afterwards. Having something light like a salad or a juice between indulging should help to counter any discomfort you may experience from eating foods you're body is no longer familiar with.

Humans not handsets
During the holidays, your phone stops being a vital part of your existence, and starts being some kind of technological Grinch. Unless you’re spreading Christmas cheer via whats app, looking up recipes or digitally capturing the best moments of the celebrations, use the time you’d usually spend ‘online’ having real conversations with real people and doing things you don’t always have the chance to see or do. 

Get Moving
Growing up, although constantly active, I dreaded Boxing Day walks as soon as Christmas Eve arrived. Now, perhaps since relocating to a bigger city, I cannot wait to get out into the fresh air and wonder aimlessly across the vast and chilly fields. During the holidays I don’t go to the gym but instead make time to do some gentle body weight workouts or yoga routines in my bedroom, if I feel restless. To aid digestion, circulation and to keep your body feeling fit, take a little time each day to stretch, walk or run – for meditative purposes as much as for fitness. It also helps to get family or friends involved so you don't miss out on the real fun. Try suggesting a new tradition like a pre christmas dinner walk or a gentle evening stretch down in front of a favourite christmas movie. This way you'll work up a healthy appetite and keep your body from shutting down completely as you begin to relax. Exercise also release endorphins and helps calm and settle the mind, so if there's a stressed host/ess in the family, it will do them (and everyone around them) the world of good.

But also slow down
It’s okay to take it easy. 

Fill your cupboards
If your main concern is not having enough healthy options at Christmas, my best advice is to stock your kitchen so that there will always be something nourishing for you to snack on. Whether you want raw chocolate on hand so you don’t end up eating the more processed alternatives, or whether you want superfoods on hand to ensure you have an easy, instant route to vital vitamins and minerals, making room for your favourite pantry staples in the kitchen, or in your luggage if you are travelling, is a simple step for a balanced holiday.

Discover
The holidays tend to free up a lot of time if and when you’re not working so much. Take up a new or temporary hobby that requires you to utilize a different part of your brain or exercise a different skill. Spending time on something new can open you up to things you may never have known you enjoyed had you stuck to your usual routine. It doesn’t have to be educational or especially enriching. Maybe learn a language, lose yourself in some terrible television, read a new book, do some art or discover some new music. 

Evaluate, congratulate, appreciate and formulate
As we near the end of another year, take time to reflect on all of the days you had in 2015, and learn to acknowledge and appreciate your achievements. I personally find it hard to naturally praise myself if and when I achieve something, as there is always something else on my to-do list and I never schedule in time to celebrate. I often end up realizing what an achievement something is when one of my friends or family bring it up and I’m like, “oh yeah, that, yeah I guess that is a pretty big deal”. Once you’ve concentrated on what you’ve accomplished in days gone by, you’ll find it easier to formulate new ideas and set intentions for the days to come. General winter wellness tips.
 

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

    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 LEFTOVERS ABUNDANCE BOWL WITH ORANGE TAHINI MAYONNAISE

    danielle coppermanComment

    This recipe came about as I frantically cleared my fridge before going home for the Christmas holidays. I had just co-hosted F.east - a supper club/film club which myself and my friend kicked off with a festive theme, so my fridge was chocka full of leftovers. This recipe is more inspirational than it is instructive. There’s really not a lot to it, but I want to inspire you all to face your fate with leftovers, and make each days ingredients more delicious than the previous. The key to keeping the same ingredients from becoming boring and monotonous is in the dressings. Chutneys and dressings instantly transform a meal and are the quickest thing to make. Each day after Christmas, experiment with different dressings, jams, chutneys and slaws to ensure the sight of sprouts and chestnuts doesn’t make you want to eat your stocking.

    INGREDIENTS
    Serves One

    3/4 Cup Shredded Chicken or Turkey (or other cold meat of choice)
    1/4 Cup Coconut Brussels Sprouts / Boiled Brussels Sprouts / Seared Brussels Sprouts
    1/2 Cup Leftover Roasted Vegetables (parsnip/carrot/sweet potato/beetroot)
    1/4 Cup Chestnuts, roasted
    1-2 Handfuls Fresh Spinach Leaves, or choice of other leaves
    2 Handfuls of Mung Bean of Alfalfa Sprouts, optional

    ORANGE TAHINI MAYONNAISE DRESSING (BEST EVER)

    3 Tablespoons Tahini
    Juice of Half Fresh Orange (zest, optional)
    3 Tablespoons Olive oil
    3 Tablespoons Cold Filtered Water
    1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
    1/2 Teaspoon Raw Honey or Manuka Honey
    1/2 Teaspoon Tamari or a Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
    2 Teaspoons Poppy or Chia Seeds, optional

    METHOD
    This is one of those recipes that is so easy it feels like cheating. Simply choose your ingredients (or find whatever you have leftover in the fridge) and combine them all nicely in a bowl. Start by arranging the leaves across the base of the bowl and then build it up with the meat and vegetables. You can also add pulses, nuts and seeds if you have them. 

    For the dressing, place all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bottle or a jug and stir continuously, adding a little more oil or water to thin it, depending on how you prefer the texture. 

    Drizzle the dressing over the salad and either serve like that, or take a few minutes to coat the salad ingredients in the dressing, tossing and mixing the meat and vegetables with your hands.

    Top with chopped nuts and seeds (even tastier if you toast them in tamari) and enjoy.

    STUFFED MEDJOOL DATES WITH CASHEW CHEESE AND BACON

    Snacks, Sugar Free, Brunchdanielle coppermanComment

    This recipe is a winner for anyone catering a festive event this time of year. These dates are real crowd pleasers (you can omit the bacon for an equally delicious vegetarian version, and even replace it with wilted chicory leaves). With so many flavours in just one small mouthful, people take a good few minutes to finish one, masticating on each element more than they realise, before commenting on its tastiness. The sweet, chewy texture of the medjool dates, combined with the creaminess of the cashew cream cheese and topped off with a smoky saltiness from the meat is a taste sensation like no other. Perfect as a lunch box snack (easy to pack and easy to transport), served on platters at a canapé event, served as snacks, starters or sides at an informal Christmas gathering or enjoyed as ‘afters’ - part of the cheese board or a cheeky evening snack.

    + I’ve also done this recipe with chestnut cream fillings instead of cashew cream which has worked really well. Simply blend 200g soft chestnuts with 1/2 tin solid coconut milk and a little coconut oil, until smooth. Add salt, tamari, garlic and nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour, or leave as it is for a subtly sweet, creamy alternative.

    INGREDIENTS

    20 Dates, pitted
    3/4 Cup Cashews, preferably soaked for 2-4 hours
    1/4 Cup Macadamia Nuts or Brazil Nuts (optional - or just another 1/4 cup cashews)
    1/4 Cup Water
    Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
    1/2 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
    1-2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
    1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
    1 Tablespoon Tahini, optional
    Fresh Herbs of Choice
    200g Organic Bacon or Good Quality Ham (use bacon if you want to cook the dates, and use ham if you want to keep them cold and uncooked).

    Optional:
    1-2 Shallots or 1 Tablespoon Onions (raw or cooked, either with work)
    1 Small Clove Garlic (caramelised with blend better - bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the clove becomes soft)

    METHOD
    Start by slicing your dates lengthways down the middle, careful to score them and not to slice the whole way through. You want them to open at a hinge, rather than cutting them into two separate halves. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and prepare the cashew cheese. 

    Place the cashews, water, macadamia or brazil nuts, salt, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice into a blender and blend on the highest speed. Stop to scrape down the sides, reduce the speed slightly and blend for another minute. Add the nutritional yeast, tahini and shallots if using and blend for a final time, for 1-2 minute, until the mixture is completely smooth. There’s nothing wrong with it being a little lumpy, it will resemble a feta or goats cheese sort of texture, especially once cooked, but i like the cheese to be as smooth as possible. Now, take a teaspoon of the cheese mixture and fill the dates with it. Depending on the size of your dates you may want to use more, or less. 


    Now prepare the bacon or ham. You can either wrap the bacon or ham around the stuffed dates, or you can dice the meat and add that to the cheese stuffing too - this works best in larger dates which you are able to almost close. If you are wrapping the dates, slice the bacon in half lengthways, take a date and place it on one end of the meat. Then carefully roll the date along the bacon, wrapping it up neatly until it is covered. Place it back onto the baking tray and repeat with the other dates. This method creates a much smokier flavour in the dates and the cheese as they catch and absorb the smoky flavour of the meat during the cooking process. If you decide to add the meat to the stuffing, simply dice it into tiny pieces, spoon it onto the cheese mixture and mix it in slightly to combine. Return to the baking tray and repeat with the other dates.

    When each date is nicely stuffed and wrapped, place them under the grill for 10-15 minutes, until the bacon is fully cooked. Turn the dates over after 5 - 10 minutes so they cook evenly. The dates and cashew cheese don’t need to be cooked through, so as soon as the bacon is done, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. Either serve warm on a sharing platter or as canapés, piercing a cocktail stick into the middle of each one to make them easier to eat, or serve as part of a cold buffet, with cranberry chia jam or homemade christmas chutney.

    + Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

    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, QUINOA AND BRUSSELS NUT ROAST

    Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment

    I am no vegetarian, but this nut roast… it’s quite something. Something - perhaps not something to replace the turkey and ham that’ll sit atop my table this christmas - but something never the less. I have never made or even eaten nut roast, so this was quite a blind baking session for me. I didn’t really know what it was supposed to taste like, or even look like, and it certainly isn’t the most beautiful thing you will ever make, but it is delicious. At least, this version is, even if i do say so myself. 

    Nut roast doesn’t look or sound particularly appealing, and although it is a traditional vegetarian option when it comes to roast/christmas dinner, it is very underrated in my opinion. It is just as delicious and flavoursome as stuffing is, and isn’t dissimilar in taste or texture, but the beauty of this nut roast is that it is crammed full of vitamins, nutrients and plant-based protein. Most nut roasts (and stuffings for that matter) are bulked out with breadcrumbs and flour, which can be strenuous on your digestive system, especially if you suffer from a wheat or gluten intolerance. These ingredients make the nut roast extremely bland and stodgy, so I wanted to rework this vegetarian crowd pleaser into something that would actually please a vegetarian, and a non-vegetarian for that matter. My recipe uses cooked quinoa and ground almonds instead to bind the vegetables, nuts and seeds, which are not only easier to digest but also exceptionally higher in protein, fibre and valuable nutrients. As the name suggests, nut roasts involve a lot of nuts. However, although nuts are incredibly nutritious and a great source of protein (particularly for vegetarians who can sometimes find it hard to get enough protein from their food), too many can also cause complications within the gut. For that reason, I have reduced the amount of nuts in this recipe, and increased the amount of vegetables.

    + You can experiment with your own combination of vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs in this recipe, and the great thing is that the more you add the better it tastes. I’d recommend prioritising the sweet potato, chestnuts, ground almonds and as many herbs as possible, as these are the foundations that make it all come together, but other than that, add what you like!

    Serve this as a vegetarian main, a vegetarian stuffing alternative or as a side to accompany meat dishes if you are feeding meat-eaters. It also makes the perfect starter as it isn’t dissimilar to seed & nut bread, so is brilliant with chutneys, soups, cheeses or as part of a canapé spread. I baked mine in mini loaf tins, serving one per person alongside the mains.

    INGREDIENTS

    1 Cup Quinoa
    1/2 Large Sweet Potato, baked
    20g Apricots or Dates, chopped
    60g Brazil Nuts, chopped
    30g Pine Nuts or Pistachios (any nuts will work), chopped
    1 1/2 Cup Ground Almonds
    3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
    1 Tablespoon Tahini 
    1 Red Onion
    40g Chickpeas, optional
    1 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
    1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
    2 Tablespoons Tamari
    1 Egg
    250g Chestnuts, chopped
    A Few Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
    A Few Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
    1 Cup Brussels Sprouts, shredded
    1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
    1/3 Cup Sunflower Seeds
    3 Tablespoons Linseeds
    1 Teaspoon Cinnamon or All Spice
    1 Teaspoon Sumac
    1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
    1 Teaspoon Cumin
    1 Tablespoon Fresh Sage, chopped

    Oil of choice, for frying/greasing

    METHOD

    Preheat the oven to 170c. 

    Start by blending the sunflower seeds, half of the pumpkin seeds, the herbs and the chickpeas in a blender or food processor until they resemble a bread crumb consistency. Transfer them into a large bowl and set aside.

    In a frying pan, sautee the onion, garlic, brussels and chestnuts in ghee, olive oil or coconut oil. Add the tamari and lemon juice and sear until the vegetables are completely soft. Place in a bowl then add the ground almonds chopped nuts eggs etc all flavours. mash and knead into a ball. press into a tin and bake. 

    Meanwhile, measure all of the other ingredients, apart from the egg, into the bowl with the ground seeds and herbs. When the vegetables are soft, add them to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon, mashing the ingredients with the back of the spoon to combine them. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and then stir it into the mixture thoroughly.

    When all of the ingredients are combined, press into a greased loaf tin, mini loaf tins or a muffin tray, to make individual single serving portions. Alternatively, to make canapés or to make vegetarian stuffing, form into 2 inch balls.

    Bake for 45-65 minutes, depending on whether you are baking a large loaf, or smaller individual ones - which will take less time to cook.

    RECOMMENDED CONDIMENTS

    PARSNIP APRICOT GINGER CHUTNEY

    1 Large Parsnip
    1/2 Large Cooking Apple
    1 Inch Chopped Ginger
    1 Cup Water
    Juice of Half an Orange
    1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
    1/2 Cup Chopped Apricots
    1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
    1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
    2 Teaspoons Agave or Coconut Palm Sugar
    2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
    1 Tablespoon Baobab or Maca, optional

    METHOD
    Place all of the ingredients apart from the chia seeds into a large saucepan, and simmer on a medium heat. Once the chopping and dicing is out of the way, chutney is easy work. Leave it to simmer and soften, checking occasionally to make sure there is enough water in the pan. Keep topping it up with cold water if the fruit begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. After about 20-25 minutes, check the fruit to see if it is soft enough. Add a little more water, then remove from the heat, transfer to a blender and blend for 5 seconds. If you prefer your chutney chunkier, don’t blend it. Pour into a bowl, jar or airtight container and stir in the chia seeds. Let sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, and when the chia seeds have swelled slightly, seal the container and store in the fridge. 

    Serve with the nut roast, or spread an even layer over the top and sprinkle with herbs or crushed chestnuts to garnish.

    TRUFFLE TAHINI DRIZZLE

    INGREDIENTS

    1-2 Tablespoons Truffle Oil
    6 Tablespoons Olive or Avocado Oil
    1/2 Teaspoon Tamari
    2 Tablespoons Tahini
    1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
    1 Clove Garlic, crushed
    Water, to thin (optional)

    METHOD
    Simply mix the ingredients together in a small bowl, or use a blender for a smoother result. Serve as a dip, or thin with a little water and serve as an optional dressing to drizzle over the nut roast.

    + This dressing is wonderful on salads too, and instantly transforms tasteless salad leaves and vegetables, making them creamy and delicious.

    Serve with Celeriac Brazil Nut Slaw.

      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

      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.

      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!