WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

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

Dinner

Savoury Vegan Picnic Tartlets

Dairy Free, Dinner, Gluten free, Lunch, Recipe, Seasonal, Snacks, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment
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Since the sun has finally decided to stay out long enough for the chance of al fresco dining, I've got the perfect recipe to liven up otherwise predictable picnic / barbecue fare. I first tested and shot these recipes in Autumn, hence the roasted grapes, brussels sprouts and chanterelle mushrooms. However, I figured they're still relevant because they're so incredibly customisable. If you've read the introduction of my book you'll know I am all about encouraging people to have a flexible and adaptable approach to cooking. Many people are terrified by this idea, however, I find being open to free-styling in the kitchen is more enjoyable and results in more creative and more personalised dishes.

The gluten free pastry shells in these recipes are the same, and there are two cheesy base options; one made from cashews and the other, a nut-free alternative made with white beans. But the rest of these recipes - the fillings and flavours - are entirely adaptable. Each season, try something new. For now, here are a few summer-inspired suggestions:

Roasted Courgette & Asparagus
Roasted Aubergine & Spinach
Roasted Cabbage & Fennel
Pea & Mint
Roasted Carrot & Garlic
Roasted Tomato & Basil
Or sweet options, with smashed berries, jams / marmalades (ideally homemade / handmade and made with natural ingredients without added sugar or additives) nectarines, figs, apricots and other seasonal fruits.

+ Or for summery alternatives for the below options, simply replace grapes with cherries, brussels with cabbage and chanterelle mushrooms with mushrooms currently in season.

The Basics

Depending on your fillings, I think the easiest way to make these is to start by making the pastry shells and the cream cheese fillings first, setting them aside whilst you prepare your chosen fillings. If roasting your fillings, it may save time to roast the fillings first, whilst you prepare the pastry dough and the cream cheese mixture. If you are not roasting your fillings, I would begin by making the pastry shells first, and preparing your cream cheese mixture and toppings of choice whilst the pastry shells bake.

Makes 1 medium tart, 6 medium - large tartlets, or 10-12 small muffin tin tartlets. The images show medium-large tartlets

The pastry

Components

80g Almond flour
90g buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp Salt
20g coconut oil, room temp (not melted)
1 teaspoon Dried rosemary
5-6 Tbsp Cold water
Sesame or onion seeds - optional

Process

Preheat the oven to 170c.

In a medium mixing bowl, use a spatula to combine all of  the dry ingredients.

Next, add the oil and mash and stir using a fork to form a crumbly texture.

Next, gradually add the water. Add 4 tablespoons first and then 1-2 more tablespoons if the mixture seems too dry or crumbly and isn't forming into a dough easily.

Once doughy, form into a compact ball and then break into sections, depending on how many tart trays you are using and depending on the size of them. Grease the trays lightly with a little coconut oil and then press the mixture down firmly into each tin, spreading evenly along the base and pressing up the sides too. The mixture should be around 5mm thick.

Place the pastry shells into the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 mins, until beginning to brown. Leave to cool before filling.

The Cashew Cream Cheese

Components

120g Soaked Cashews
40ml Water
12g Nutritional yeast
Salt
Pepper
1/2 tsp Apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Lemon juice
5 tablespoons Olive oil

Process

Combine all the cashew cheese ingredients in a high speed blender and blend for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Pour into a bowl or container and set aside or chill in the fridge whilst you prepare the fillings.

The white bean cream cheese

Components

1 tin white beans (200g drained weight)
50ml extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoons natural salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1⁄4 teaspoons lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
20g coconut oil (melted) or extra olive oil
2 tablespoons hot water

Simply add all the ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl or container and set aside or chill in the fridge until needed. 

Assembling the tarts

Roasted grape, brussels and hazelnut with cashew cream cheese

8-10 large brussels sprouts (or chopped cabbage)
200g red grapes, roasted (could also use fresh figs)
A pinch of fresh rosemary - to garnish
Hazelnuts or walnuts - to garnish

Process

Preheat the oven to 200c.

Slice the brussels into quarters, lengthways - so you have a few discs rather than wedges. Pierce the grapes as best you can with the tip of a sharp knife and then place in a baking tray, keeping the grapes and brussels at separate ends if possible. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and then bake for 45 minutes, until they begin to shrink and soften.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before assembling into the base of your pastry shells and before topping with your cashew or white bean cream cheese mixture.

When ready to assemble, simply place a few teaspoons of the roasted grapes and brussels into the base of your pastry shell, then top with your cashew or white bean cream cheese mixture. Smooth the mixture and then top with extra roasted grapes and / or brussels. 

Serve immediately or allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

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Chanterelle & garlic with white bean cream cheese

Components

200g chanterelle mushrooms (or other mushrooms), sliced
4-6 whole or chopped cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 tablespoon miso (optional)

Add the oil to a saucepan and once heated, add the garlic. When the garlic begins to brown, add the mushrooms and miso and stir to combine. Sauté over a medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to soften and the mixture begins to caramelise.

Allow to cool slightly before assembling into your pastry shells and before topping with your cashew or white bean cream cheese mixture.

When ready to assemble, simply place a few teaspoons of the mushroom and garlic mixture into the base of your pastry shell, then top with your cashew or white bean cream cheese mixture. Smooth the mixture and then top with extra sauteed mushrooms and garlic mixture and / or nuts, seeds or herbs of choice. 

Serve immediately or allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

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Meat-free Mushroom & Walnut 'Meatballs'

Vegetarian, Vegan, Dinner, Recipe, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment

I've never been much of a meatball eater, but for some reason I felt drawn to try my hand at a meat-free version of them this week. Although I occasionally eat meat (only really chicken and fish), I love discovering dishes that use innovative plant-based ingredients to replicate meaty or meat-based products. Whilst I don't mind tofu or tempeh, nothing feels as rewarding or tastes as good as using fresh ingredients in their whole form to make something entirely new and innovative from scratch. For this, I turn to mushrooms. Their rich, earthy and meaty flavour and juiciness add a deep flavour to any dish they are used in, and I find they make offer a really flavoursome alternative to meat, unlike tofu and tempeh which don't taste of much at all. 

These mushroom 'meatballs' are full of flavour (with the help of fresh and dried herbs) and cook to the perfect texture; juicy and chewy in the middle, crisp on the outside. I stirred them through an simple homemade basil and tomato pasta sauce and served them with gluten free spaghetti, but you could also use shop-bought sauces, red or green pesto or serve them with your favourite homemade sauce. I've left recipes for homemade passata and sundried tomato pesto from my book, below.

Components

Makes 10-12 'meatballs', serving 2-4 portions

300g chestnut or button mushrooms, sliced (you can use a selection of any kind of mushroom - portobello would also be nice)
50g walnuts (can also use other nuts or seeds such as almonds or pumpkin seeds)
50g gluten free oats
8 tablespoons ground almonds
50g sun dried tomatoes
1 handful fresh spinach
1 egg, whisked (you can omit this for a vegan option; the recipe will still work without it)
1 garlic clove (optional)
About 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
A few leaves of fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried herbs (I like oregano and thyme)
4 tablespoons buckwheat flour (or other gluten free flour)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds or ground chia (optional)
1 teaspoon tamari (optional)
Pinch of salt (you could use celery salt if you have it)
2-3 tablespoons coconut or olive oil, for frying and greasing

Elevate it
20g Black or green olives
1/2 teaspoon Reishi powder
1/2 teaspoon Shilajit powder

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c.

Start by slicing the mushrooms a few times lengthways and then cut them in half down the middle. In a frying pan, fry the mushrooms and garlic (if using) in 1-2 tablespoons of your chosen oil. Fry for around 5-10 minutes until the mushrooms soften and begin to brown and caramelise slightly. Meanwhile, start making the base for the 'meatballs'.

Measure the walnuts and oats into a food processor and pulse until they become a flour-like consistency. Add the ground almonds, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, egg, fresh rosemary, fresh basil, dried herbs of choice, tamari (if using), ground flaxseeds or chia (if using) and a pinch of salt and blend again until the mixture forms a thick paste. 

Once the mushrooms are done, transfer just over half of them to the food processor, and reserve the remainder on a chopping board to cool. Blend a final time, for about 30 seconds, until the mushrooms combine into the paste. Scrape the mixture into a medium mixing bowl.

Dice the remaining mushrooms into small chunks and stir them through the pastey mixture. Then add the buckwheat flour (or other gluten free flour) and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to combine.

Grease a baking tray with a little oil and then form the mixture into small balls, the same size you'd expect from a standard meatball. Place them a little apart on the baking tray.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until brown and crisp on the outside. 

Add the 'meatballs' to your desired sauce or serve as you wish. They are quite falafel-like, so could also be enjoyed added to salads or served with houmous as a snack.

+ Alternatively, you could flatten these into burger shapes and either bake in the oven or throw on the barbecue. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Components

80g sun dried tomatoes
60g fresh tomatoes (any size, roughly chopped)
1 handful fresh basil leaves
80ml extra virgin olive oil
50g almonds or cashews
1 tsp lemon juice or 1⁄4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 crushed garlic clove
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
pinch of salt
pepper

Method

Blend the sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, nuts of choice, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, garlic, nutritional yeast and salt in a high speed blender or food processor until smooth but still slightly chunky. If you'd prefer a smoother consistency, simply blend for longer until you are happy with it. Season further, to taste.

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Passata

Serves 2-4

2 red peppers, chopped
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1⁄2 white onion or shallot, chopped
1–2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
60ml water or stock (or unsweetened plant- based milk) 
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
handful of fresh basil leaves
1⁄2 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
Pinch of salt
Ground black pepper

Method

Arrange the red peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Roast for 25–30 minutes, until the vegetables become soft and the peppers begin to darken at the edges. Heat 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the chilli, if using, and sauté for 4–5 minutes. Add half the roasted vegetables. Put the remaining vegetables in a blender, add the water or stock and nutritional yeast and blend on a high speed for 20–30 seconds, until smooth. Pour into the pan with the chilli and whole roasted vegetables and heat through. Season to taste. When you are happy with the flavour, either add the cooked pasta to the pan to coat it in the sauce, or divide your pasta among bowls and pour the sauce over the top. Garnish with basil, a drizzle of the remaining extra virgin olive oil and an extra sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add black olives, flaked tuna or anchovies and spinach to the sauce for a puttanesca-style pasta dish.

Honeyed Miso Puy Lentil, Beetroot + Walnut Salad

Dinner, Gluten free, Recipe, Vegetarian, Winterdanielle coppermanComment

I experimented with this recipe a few weeks ago when I was really feeling for something warm, earthy, grounding and comforting. I'm not always in the mood for pulses as I find lentils, chickpeas and beans quite starchy and rich, but sometimes something within me really craves something within them; perhaps protein, perhaps their many other vitamins or minerals, or perhaps even their association with certain chakras. Lentils (reddish/brown or generally dark in colour, like puy or beluga) are thought to help sooth and support the root chakra, and in some cases (usually depending on their colour) are believed to open up the heart chakra (green lentils) and solar plexus chakra (yellow lentils).

This dish is best served warm but can also be enjoyed cold, as a side or stirred through salads. I made this with friends and, although I don't tend to eat dairy, or animal milk products in general, we made an option with fresh, organic goats cheese. If you are vegan or, like me, avoid animal milk products, of course you can easily leave it out, or replace it with vegan cheese, sauteed tofu or tempeh, grilled or sautéd paprika smoked cauliflower, houmous or a spoonful of coconut milk or coconut yoghurt, or anything else you fancy that adds a similar kind of tangy, saltiness to counter the subtle sweetness of the dish.

COMPONENTS

200g puy lentils, cooked and strained
2 small beetroots
1 teaspoon brown miso paste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons organic / raw honey (or other natural sweetener of choice)
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons lemon juice
A few drops of apple cider vinegar
1-2 chopped dates (could also use raisins or dried apricots)
Salt + pepper, as desired

To Top (optional)
A handful of raw walnuts
1/2 teaspoon walnut oil
A pinch of fresh lemon thyme, thyme, majoram, rosemary or other fresh herbs - to top

PROCESS

If you've got raw lentils, start by cooking them as per the packet ingredients, for roughly 20-30 minutes (ideally in stock rather than plain water - and even better - if you have time - soak them for a few hours before cooking).

Once the lentils are cooked, or if you are using pre-coked puy lentils, measure them into a medium saucepan with the olive oil and set over a medium heat.

Add the chopped beetroot, nutritional yeast, miso, honey, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and chopped dates and sauté for 5-10 minutes, until all of the ingredients are combined and everything is coated evenly.

Taste and season by adding more nutritional yeast, miso, honey and / or lemon juice to suit you preferences. Season further with a little salt and pepper as desired.

Transfer to a serving bowl or distribute into individual bowls and top with a drizzle of walnut oil, the chopped walnuts, fresh herbs of choice and goats cheese or other alternative - if using.

Finish with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive or walnut oil, honey or lemon juice (or for extra flavour, make a double portion of the miso-honey dressing, and drizzle on top or serve on the side).

Enjoy this as a side dish to main meals, or with other vegetables. We enjoyed it with roasted cauliflower and broccoli and baked salmon. You could, of course, eat it alone as it is a filling and nutritionally dense dish as it is.

A toast to Well Being

Dinner, Drinksdanielle coppermanComment

Last week, we celebrated the launch of my book, Well Being. Friends, family and other familiar faces gathered for a lock in at Lululemon's regent street store, and we washed down canapés made from recipes in the book with a toast of my favourite botanical aperitif by Kamm + Sons (or non-alcoholic gin and tonic option from Seedlip). Kamm + Sons is made from 45 natural botanicals. It is sweetened with manuka honey and infused with herbs, spices, fruits, berries, nuts, peels, barks, roots, leaves and flowers, including ginseng, grapefruit peel, hibiscus, elderflower, goji berries, fennel seeds and echinacea.

It is my all time favourite drink and is so simple to serve. Whilst there are several concoctions on their website if you want to get fancy, all it takes to wet my whistle is tonic, sparkling water or coconut water, fresh lime and a selection of fresh herbs (such as mint, thyme, rosemary or cinnamon sticks). Below is the drink we served on the night; needless to say there were only empty bottles by the end of it.

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COMPONENTS
Serves 1 

1-2 measures of Kamm + Sons botanical aperitif
200-250ml tonic, sparkling water or coconut water (depending on the size of your aperitif measure)
1-2 sprigs of fresh herbs (pictured here with mint)
1-2 slices of lime
Handful of ice

PROCESS

Simply pour your measure of Kamm + Sons into a glass, then top up with your choice of tonic, sparkling water or coconut water. Stir with a spoon or cocktail stirrer, then add the ice and garnish with the slices of lime and fresh herbs. 
Serve chilled.

Where to buy Kamm + Sons
 

Cauliflower coconut soup

Dairy Free, Dinner, Lunch, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winterdanielle coppermanComment
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Whilst the rest of the world is apparently into blending cauliflower into smoothies, I'm keeping it savoury and, IMO, just as it should be, by blending it into a soup. To be honest though, you could definitely get away with adding some frozen banana and extra liquid to this for a sweet, creamy smoothie - if that's your jam give it a go and let me know how that turns out for you.

I've always been big into soup and this time of year its not only perfectly fulfilling simplified nourishment, it's also warming and comforting - two very important factors when its snowing outside and you're back at home for Christmas with parents who like to ration the heating regardless. This recipe is so simple, and blending roasted cauliflower with rich coconut milk makes for the creamiest end result. To be honest, you could use pretty much any vegetables in place of or as well as cauliflower. I don't tend to like potatoes in soups as they become too thick and starchy for my liking, but by all means add them in if you want to bulk it out a little. I think it would work well with sweet potato too, but i'll let you be the judge of that.

Nutrition: Cauliflower is highly detoxifying and cleansing and is known to improve digestion. As always, these nutritional benefits are general, and this may not ring true with you. I personally find cauliflower often affects my digestion for the worst, but I occasionally eat it anyway. The point is that unless the rest of your lifestyle is aligned and balanced, your digestion is not going to become flawless as a result of one individual ingredient. Cauliflower is also thought to be high in essential vitamins and minerals, however, depending on many other aspects of our individual lifestyles, these vitamins and minerals may not be bioavailable for all of us. Don't eat this purely for its nutritional promises, enjoy it and if it makes you feel good, enjoy it again, and again and again.

+ I don't cook with onion or garlic as I have mild sensitivities to both, which is why they are included here as 'optional'. I don't personally feel they are essential for adding flavour do this dish, but if you'd prefer, roughly follow the below measurements. 

Components

Serves 2

4 tablespoons olive oil, coconut oil or ghee
200g cauliflower (can also half this quantity and use 100g potato, sweet potato, celeriac or other vegetables of choice)
1 tin coconut milk
300ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
A few sprigs of fresh thyme, lemon thyme or rosemary
Salt + pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic - ideally roasted whole for a more smoky flavour, or if not raw and crushed
1 small - medium white onion, chopped
50g chickpeas (optional)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (optional)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Process

Preheat the oven to 200-220c. 
Slice the cauliflower into individual florets and any difficult areas to cut, just slice into smaller, flatter pieces. Place in a large bowl and add 3 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt. Toss in the oil to cover and then pour out and arrange onto a baking tray.
Roast for 35-45 minutes.

Once the cauliflower begins to brown and soften, remove from the oven. If using garlic or onion, heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and add both, stirring continuously for 4-5 minutes until they begin to brown. 
Transfer the cauliflower to a high speed blender and add the garlic and onion, if using. Add the remaining oil if you didn't use it to cook the garlic and onion, along with the stock, nutritional yeast and fresh herbs of choice. If you're using chickpeas, add those now, along with the apple cider vinegar and cinnamon, if using. 

Blend on a medium to high speed for 1-2 minutes until smooth, then transfer to a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the coconut milk and season to taste, then heat through and serve instantly.

Top with a drizzle of olive oil, flax oil, chia oil or avocado oil or add a knob of coconut oil or ghee.
Drizzle with raw honey or wheatgrass oil (see below).
Top with savoury qnola, hemp seeds and crushed nuts.

+ You can also use this soup chilled as a dressing for salads or as a hot or cold dip for vegetables or bread.
+ You can also stir it through pasta as a creamy pasta sauce. Simply add it to a pan of cooked pasta, heat through, and serve with an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast, or cheese if you aren't vegan or dairy intolerant.
+ You can also turn this into a risotto-style dish by simply adding cooked brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat or millet to the soup and cooking until the grains absorb some of the liquid.

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Wheatgrass Oil

Components

1 teaspoon wheatgrass powder (can also use spirulina)
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or other oil such as nut, chia or avocado oil)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Adaptogen powders of choice (optional) (i like pine pollen or he shou wu)

Process

Simply add all of the ingredients to a small measuring jug, a mug, a glass or a jar and whisk with a fork or a small whisk if you have one. Season to taste the drizzle over the soup or use on salads, vegetables and to top other meals.

 

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.
 

SYRIAN-INSPIRED STUFFED BABY AUBERGINES WITH TWO-WAY QUINOA AND WALNUT CREAM

Seasonal, Sides, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Recipe, Gluten free, Dinner, Dips + Spreads, Dairy Free, Brunchdanielle coppermanComment

This is quite possibly one of my favourite recipes, but I might just be saying that because it is one of my only recipes in the past few months. I know, I know, I'm a shocking excuse for a blogger, but I got other real things to deal with, like running a start up (ongoing), shooting music videos in Ibiza (october) and relocating to Berlin to train for 200 hours non-stop to become a Strala Yoga Guide (current). Never the less, I do have so much content saved up to share with you guys and I'm finally organising ample time to do so - so please bear with me and stay intrigued :) In the meantime, here is another syrian-inspired recipe I created to support my friends at Suitcase Magazine, who are part of Unicef Next Generation's #cookforsyria campaign, running throughout November. To help raise awareness, and ultimately funds, I developed a series of recipes, and it is now time for these Syrian-inspired stuffed aubergines with two-way quinoa, crushed chickpeas, pine nuts, medjool dates and a tahini walnut cream sauce to shine.

INGREDIENTS

Base Ingredients
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (cook in vegetable stock, nutritional yeast or plain water)
10-12 baby aubergines or 5-6 large aubergines
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch himalayan pink salt

For the Smokey Muhamara Quinoa
30g tomato puree
4 tablespoons olive oil
30g walnuts
3g paprika
1g turmeric
2g cumin
1g cinnamon
0.5-1g chilli powder
5g raw honey
2 tablespoons tahini
3/4 cup of the cooked quinoa and stir in the
40g pine nuts
20g dates, chopped
large pinch of fresh parsley
40g chickpeas, mashed with a fork

For the Plain Quinoa
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1g turmeric
20g pine nuts
20g dates, chopped
40g chickpeas, mashed with a fork
large pinch of fresh parsley
1g cinnamon
pinch himalayan pink salt

For the Walnut Cream
100g Walnuts
130ml Water or nut milk
65ml Olive oil
Large pinch Salt
½ teaspoon Lemon juice
1 teaspoon tahini
Optional - garlic

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180c. Halve your aubergines (slicing lengthways) and if using baby aubergines feel free to leave some of them whole. Brush the sliced sides with olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of himalayan pink salt and place in the oven for 30 minutes. (The cooking time will depend on the size of your aubergines, but baby aubergines will need no longer than 40 minutes, and larger aubergines should be perfect after 40-50 minutes. Keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when the inside flesh has become soft and juicy).

Meanwhile, prepare the filling and the walnut cream. If you haven't already cooked your quinoa, cook it now. Use roughly 1/2 cup raw quinoa to 1 cup water or stock, which will make roughyly 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.

As your quinoa cooks, make the tomato and walnut muhammara-style paste. In a small herb blender / nut grinder, measure the tomato paste, olive oil, walnuts, paprika, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, chilli powder, honey and tahini and blend until a smooth paste forms. Set aside until your quinoa is cooked.

Next, make the walnut cream. Simply add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend for 30 seconds on a low speed, and then for 30 seconds on a high speed. Scrape down the sides and continue to blend until the mixture forms into a smooth, thick liquid. The timings will depend on the power of your blender. Once you are happy with the result, pour into a jug or a serving bowl and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Once the quinoa has cooked and absorbed all of the liquid, rinse and drain completely. Divide the mixture, placing half in one bowl and half into a separate bowl. Stir the tomato and walnut paste into one bowl using a fork, mixing and mashing to combine. Stir through the pine nuts, dates and mashed chickpeas and set aside. To the other bolw of quinoa add the olive oil, turmeric, pine nuts, dates, chopped, chickpeas, pinch of fresh parsley, cinnamon and salt, mixing and mashing to combine.

Check your aubergines if you haven't already, and remove from the oven once they are cooked through. Use a teaspoon to gently scroop some of the flesh aside to make space for the quinoa. Don't remove the flesh, just push it to the sides of each aubergine half. Now, spoon the separate quinoa mixtures into the aubergines. (If you have mixture left over, offer it on the table or save it for another time).

If you want to serve the aubergines heated through, return to the oven now for 10 minutes. Alternatively, serve as they are (the quinoa will have cooled down completely but the aubergines should still be warm), or place in the fridge if you plan to serve them chilled.

When ready to serve, drizzle a few teaspoons of the walnut cream over each or some of the stuffed aubergines, or alternatively, offer the cream alongside the aubergines for people to help themselves to. Serve these as a side offering to meat or fish, or as a main meal with fresh salad.

+ Store aubergines in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
+ Store walnut cream in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

 

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.

SWEET POTATO, CHICKEN, AVOCADO AND QUINOA NORI ROLLS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

METHOD

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

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

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

RECIPELESS | THE FOUNDATIONS OF A GOOD PESTO

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Gluten free, Dinner, Dairy Free, Brunchdanielle coppermanComment
pesto.jpg

There are times when I have made exceptionally good food by simply clearing out the fridge, using what I know will work but what I know isn't textbook stuff (or cookbook stuff). Some of the greatest meals I have had are down to impulsive improvisation, and involve me throwing unlikely ingredients together and hoping for the best. Really, thing's can't go that wrong. If you're baking or attempting a recipe with a little science involved, then maybe. But with things like dips, sauces, spreads, goodness bowls and quick and easy lunches or dinners, there really are no major rules, and no major risks when it comes to making things up with whatever you have to hand. 
A few secrets to successful recipeless improvisation:
Mindfully stocked cupboards and fridges
Creativity
Imaginative Determination
Openness
Confidence
And Hunger.

Welcome to my first example

We have blenders to thank not only for smoothies and soups, but more recently dips, spreads and nutty goodness. You know how nowadays, we're all like "there's an App for that". Well, when it comes to the kitchen, it's more like "there's a way to blend that". I'll admit to getting carried away and sometimes ruining a perfectly acceptable solid/3D meal, but most of the time, if I enjoy a food enough, I will use it in any way that I can, and that definitely means I will somehow make it into either a dip (like pesto or houmous), a soup, a dressing, a sauce, a drink or a pudding. You just gotta know your ingredients, know what to add what not to add, and I guess have a lot of trust in your blender. 

Pesto brings back certain memories for me. It never played a huge part in my childhood - always seemed very Mediterranean in comparison to our crustless, white breaded ham and cream cheese sandwiches (which our dad used to cut into heart shapes for us much to our junior-self's embarrassment). However, when I met Lamont, one of my best friends from secondary school (who was later nicknamed Sacla' - read on to find out more), things in packed lunch and after school snack land changed drastically for me. Her parents owned a deli in town named Goodies (what a great name?). After school we would stop by the deli, ravenous and ignorant to the fact that the store was only about 1/2 a meter wide and full of dignified customers waiting patiently. We'd bustle into the deli, hang our by the cured ham and take in the smell of real proper olive oil and antipasti essentials whilst Martha (or Sacla' if thats easier for you to keep up with) found out from her mum if there was anything going spare. Pesto was always involved in this excursion, not to mention in every single sandwich or homemade quiche that my culinarily developed friend ever brought to school with her. And so developed the nickname. She was branded Sacla' by a bunch of boys in our friendship group (who clearly just did not understand pesto like she or we did). 

Although I think she has since reduced her intake of pesto (probably ever so slightly), every time I hear the word or slide a dollop of it onto my place, I will think of her, and all the good times at Goodies.

Anyway. The real point of this post: blenders are great, and pesto is delicious. But one thing pesto isn't is difficult. Nor does it have to be unhealthy. There will be no parmesan cheese (unless you want there to be), and more goodness in the form of dark green vegetables and healthily fatty nuts and seeds than any other pesto you have had before. Dips and spreads are hands down the easiest, most flavoursome and most crowd-pleasing way to make anyone in the world eat some form of vegetables (in most cases, without them even knowing it). 

There is no real recipe here - just a few helpful guidelines on how to make the perfect pesto without fail every single time. Hurried, indecisive lunch time after hurried, indecisive lunch time I'd find myself making pesto in answer to all of my hungry confusion, usually using whatever i could find in the kitchen. The fridge and the cupboards between them usually permitted great things to happen and no matter what I used, it always tasted pestoey, and always tasted goooooood. Whether I made it with spinach, kale or watercress, and whether I used brazil nuts, cashews or sunflower seeds, I was always left with a winning combination. But writing out pretty much the same method and on very slightly different recipe for each one seemed pointless. So, instead, I've outlined the foundations of a successful pesto below, along with my favourite combinations and flavour suggestions. There is no need for you to write down what you use just so you'll remember for next time. You should make it differently each time. It will always work, it will always taste good, it will always be nutritious, and it will just keep exciting you. Off you go now.

+ And be sure to make far too much than you need, because you can store it in the fridge to use for breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners for up to 2 weeks, and too much pesto in this place is not a depressing matter.

T H E   F O U N D A T I O N S   O F   A   G O O D    P E S T O
(for one pretty large portion)

1 Handful Nuts or Seeds
1 Large Handful Basil Leaves
2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Handful Green Leaves
Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt or a Splash of Tamari
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon or Lime Juice
Nutritional Yeast, optional
1/2 - 1 Clove Garlic

+ If the mixture seems to thin / runny, add a few more nuts or seeds.
+ If the mixture is too thick / chunky, add more oil, or a little boiling water (cold water will not combine with the oil and the consistency will be ruined
+ If the mixture is too bland for your personal taste, add more salt, garlic, lemon juice or nutritional yeast (can also use cheese if you are not dairy intolerant / vegan

T H E  N U T S  &  T H E  S E E D S

.  Almonds
.  Cashews
.  Sunflower Seeds
.  Walnuts
.  Pistachios
.  Brazil Nuts
.  Pumpkin Seeds
.  Pine Nuts
.  Chia Seeds
. Hemp Seeds

M Y   F A V O U R I T E   C O M B I N A T I O N S

.  Spinach and Sunflower Seed
.  Brazil Nut and Cavelo Nero
.  Cauliflower Leaves and Almond
.  Watercress and Brazil Nut (I love Watercress as they support local farmers and their products are 100% organic)
.  Kale, Pumpkin Seed and Cashew
.  Basil, Sunflower Seed and Walnut
.  Broccoli and Mixed Nut
.  Basil, Pistachio and Parsley
.  Roasted Red Pepper and Basil
.  Sun Dried Tomato, Cashew and Basil
.  Avocado Pesto Cream (just add 1/4-1/2 Avocado to your usual pesto recipe, and maybe a little more oil)
.  Rosemary, Basil, Watercress and Sunflower
. Walnut, Spinach, Basil, Avocado and Tahini Creamy Pesto
. Sunflower, Pumpkin, Ground Flax, Watercress and Spirulina Basil Pesto

 

COURGETTE AND SPINACH CREPES

Snacks, Vegetarian, Lunch, Gluten free, Dinner, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle copperman1 Comment

When i was a child, i thought that pancakes literally came from heaven. i made them every weekend and used to dowse them in maple or golden syrup, peanut butter, or sugar and lemon. It began to be less about the pancakes and more about the toppings.

They are delicious, and the best thing about them is how easy they are to make. I used to make 3 ingredient crepes which just involved whisking the mixture and pouring it into the pan. As my tastebuds and nutritionally hungry mind have developed, i have found ways of making these pancakes with as many ingredients as possible. And by that, i don’t mean artificial additives. I add fruit and vegetables to my pancakes these days, and substitute white flour and cows milk for creamy nut milks and nutritious, fibrous, high-protein seeds (amaranth, millet, buckwheat, quinoa) or their flaked versions. I also add as many super foods as possible, and only sweeten the pancakes with natural, unrefined syrups or coconut palm sugar. Although these green crepes are savoury and i don’t use any sweetener at all, you could very easily make them sweet, as the crepes themselves have a very neutral flavour, and don't taste as spinach-y as they look! You could top them with fruit, natural syrups of your choice or raw nutella, but I prefer these for lunch or dinner, topped with vegetables, salad, tahini and other dressings.

Happy pancake day! 

INGREDIENTS
(makes 10-12 large crepes)

220g Buckwheat Flour
3 Eggs
2 Cups Coconut Milk or Almond Milk
1 Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil, melted
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
2 Large Handfuls Spinach or Watercress
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil Leaves
1 Cup Courgette, grated or spiralled
1/2 Teaspoon Spirulina or Chlorella
1/2 Teaspoon Charcoal Powder, optional
Coconut Oil, for frying

METHOD

Simply place all of the ingredients into a high speed blender. Add the milk and the eggs first to avoid the flour becoming a lump and clogging the blade. Blend on a high speed for about 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and becomes a pale green. Once completely smooth, heat a heaped teaspoon of coconut oil in a frying pan. When it has melted, pour the crepe mixture directly from the jug of your blender (less washing up!) and spread the mixture out evenly across the pan by moving and rotating it gently. Don't use too much mixture at once of the crepe will be too thick and cakey. Pour in enough to cover the middle of your pan, leaving about 2 inches between the edges of the pancake and the sides of the pan. Then spread the mixture to make it slightly larger, and thinner. Cook for about 3 minutes, then flip with a spatula and cook on the other side. The pancake should begin to brown and crisp ever so slightly at the edges. You may need to flip it over several times to get it exactly right and cooked through.

Repeat until you have used all of the mixture, or store any leftover batter in the fridge, in a jug covered with cling film or an airtight container. I'd advise you to cook them all at once though, so you'll always have the foundations of a healthy snack, breakfast, lunch or dinner, when you're short for time.

+ Serve with Chanterelle Pate, Tahini Avocado Cream or simple mashed avocado, Carrot Sesame Dressing, Red Pepper Houmous, Pure Tahini and fresh or steamed vegetables. These are also amazing with Pea Houmous, Bean Slaw and Celeriac Broccoli Slaw.

CARROT SESAME DRESSING

INGREDIENTS

2 Carrots, grated
Juice of 1/2 Orange
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon or Lime Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Tamari or pinch of salt
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil 
1 Tablespoon Cold Water
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger or fresh ginger, grated
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric or 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh turmeric
2 Tablespoons Goji Berries, optional (can substitute for 1/2 teaspoon honey)

METHOD

Soak the goji berries, if using, in a small bowl in just enough boiling water to cover them. Let sit for 5 minutes, to soften. Place all of the other ingredients into your blender, adding the goji berries once they become soft, and blend together on a high speed for 2-3 minutes, until the carrot is no longer lumpy, and the mixture becomes smooth and thin.

Season to taste.

+ Thicken with tahini if you want a thicker dip/dressing. Or blend 1/2 ripe avocado in with the rest of the ingredients.

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.

ALMOND, PAPRIKA AND COCONUT CRUMBED WEEKEND CHICKEN

Lunch, Gluten free, Dinner, Brunchdanielle coppermanComment

It is what it is. It's chicken, and even if it's not the weekend, this will make you feel like it is. With not hydrogenated fats or deep frying involved, and no wheat or dairy either, this chicken is a nourishing alternative to a popular fast food take away choice. Enjoy with avocado mayonnaise, salad, sweet potato wedges and some homemade dairy free slaw.

INGREDIENTS
(Enough for two chicken breasts)

2 Eggs
1 Cup Ground Almonds
1-2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
2 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon Cumin
Salt
2 Teaspoon Mixed Dried Herbs
2 Teaspoon Sumac
2 Chicken Breasts, chopped
Ground Garlic/Crushed Garlic/Garlic Salt, optional

METHOD
Chop the chicken into strips just over an inch wide. In a small to medium bowl, whisk the eggs together with a fork until combined. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Take one piece of chicken at a time and dip it in the egg mixture first. Meanwhile, heat some coconut or olive oil in a pan/griddle pan. Coat the chicken in egg entirely before then dipping it into the dry mixture. Roll the chicken in the crumbs thoroughly until evenly coated. Gently transfer to the pan which should be hot and repeat this process until all of the chicken is coated and in the pan. Fry on a medium heat for about two minutes before flipping to cook the other sides. Keep cooking until the crumbed outside begins to brown and become slightly crispy. Cut a strip through the middle to see if it is fully cooked before removing from the heat and serving.
You could use turkey for an even healthier, leaner variation or even salmon or cod. I would recommend maybe using a fillet of fish and coating it whole before baking in some oil in the oven. It will taste better than if you were to fry it. You could do this with the chicken too if you aren’t short of time.

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.

DISHOOM | THE DISHIEST PLACE IN LONDON

Travel, Review, Lifestyle, Dinner, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

Let me introduce to you a brand new brunch; the kind where a white dusty bloomer is replaced by warm, crispy naan and any sight of a builders tea is enriched with a hundred spices you can’t pronounce the name of. Upon entering Dishoom – a sixties style Bombay diner off a little Shoreditch (or soho) side street - a multitude of aromas swarm towards you, possessing you so much that you momentarily forget how to say ‘table for two please’. Dizzied by the spiced air and in awe at the effortless, inimitable interiors, my good friend Charlotte and I followed our waitress to a comfy cushioned booth glowing in the morning sun. The waiters are incredibly relaxed (so we got on very well here, bleary eyed on a Sunday) and imply the most popular dishes, without imposing on your decisions. My word of advice is to trust them; you will thank them later.

We go instantly weak at the knees at their description of the chai latte and take them up on the offer whilst we scan the menu in confusion. Naan bread at 10am in the morning? Spiced tomato relish at 10am in the morning? Green chilli omelette? At 10am in the morning? We thought we’d got it so wrong, having more or less professed in the art of hunting down london’s top brunch spots until now. However, we stuck it out - gave it a chance - mainly because we trusted the décor, the chic gold lamp that sat between us, and the look on fellow customers’ faces as they saw their Bun Maska swerving through the restaurant towards them, eyes gleaming as they envisaged it bathing in their perfectly cooled chai, just moments away from being drowned in warm, chocolately spices. 
Our chai arrived and we both closed our eyes in slow motion as we took a sip, reopening them with a synchronised ‘hmmm’, before ordering a bowl of nutty house granola and a baked egg naan roll. We weren’t sure what to expect but as soon as the granola came we knew the egg naan would not disappoint. It was hands down the best granola I’ve ever eaten; perfectly roasted, perfectly sweetened and spiced to, well, perfection. The buttery crunchiness went hand in hand with the creamy chai, and the table was emptied before the egg naan arrived. We were half expecting some kind of multicultural Indian French toast but were pleasantly surprised after our sweet starter to receive a savoury serving of eggs, tomato and fresh coriander wrapped in thin, baked naan bread. The ingredients were so fresh and the naan was so light and crispy and evident in every mouthful it had been cooked just seconds before delivery. Never before have i tried a naan bread so thin yet so chewy and somehow able to melt in your mouth.

not our brunch but the sort of thing you can expect to walk past as your enter the restaurant in the AM.

I soon returned to Dishoom for dinner having eyed the menu and noticed pretty much all of my favourite foods, as well as a signature house dahl which needed to be done. There is always a queue and due to inevitable popularity you cant book on weekends. However, with a serious selection of cocktails and small plates, no one could feel too put out waiting at the atmospheric bar, in a huddle of excited customers in happy-weekend-mode. I had a chilli, rose and pomegranate martini which sounds ominous but really Hit. The. Spot. The dinner itself is definitely worth the wait if only for the green coriander chutney which I always have to order thirds of. A sweet tangy companion for the gigantic masala prawns and dry chargrilled chicken tikka, and a perfect dip for a fish cluster or okra fries. The abundance of flavours and spices are strong and mind-blowing at the same time, it’s almost impossible for your taste buds to keep up, and ordering small plates to share you get the bonus of dipping and mixing one juicy dish with another. The dinner was much healthier than the breakfast, with plenty of protein dishes, a few vegetarian options and sides of curried greens. Just go easy on the rice, you order several plates to share and I would honestly say you don’t really need it. If anything, get the garlic naan, which is thin, light and seemingly easy on the metabolism, and perfect for mopping. 
I will warn that you get so caught up in a frenzy of making your way around each dish and experimenting with mixing and making all sorts of different, flavoursome combinations that you kind of forget you’re eating and that your body has a limit. Every time i have eaten here for dinner i have sat back with a sigh having tried almost everything with everything, twice, and then realised that my stomach isn’t so impressed with my behaviour. Everything is so new and all the flavours are so different that it is almost like a game rather than a mealtime. The portions are really valuable sizes and with lots of protein you get full quickly. Thankfully they only have two ‘sauce’ curries on the menu whilst everything else is chargrilled and dry so nothing if too rich or creamy (apart from the dahl) to leave you feeling sluggish at all. What you feel is satisfaction, if also a little over-indulgence. 
To finish, cinnamon ice cream is recommended or coconut sorbet on a stick, if your mouth is too on fire for a hot chai. Alternatively, a Lassi is a fitting choice, and ultimately sooths the mouth, which would otherwise be buzzing all night long.

Shoreditch is my favourite of the two, more spacious and atmospheric than the Soho restaurant, and has a bigger bar area for your weekend wait. 7 Boundary, London, E2 7JE.

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.