We’ve all hated Brussels sprouts at some point in our lives, and I probably still would if it wasn’t for Hu Kitchen in New York. When I was living in the city a couple of winters ago, I spent a lot of time there in between castings or on my way home from shoots. I didn’t have a kitchen in my apartment so I stocked up on their pre-cooked ingredients most nights, and became addicted to their roasted Brussels sprouts – soft and caramelised on the inside, crispy on the outside. Roasted grapes add a rich, juicy flavour to this dish and bind the other ingredients together in a subtly sweet sauce.
250g Brussels sprouts
250g red grapes
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1⁄2 broccoli head, chopped into florets
60g chard or kale, chopped
1 quantity Basic Tahini Dressing (page 135)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For a creamy version
1 tin coconut milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4.
Arrange the Brussels sprouts, grapes and chestnuts in a large baking tray, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle with salt. Use a sharp knife to pierce the grapes slightly and then place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes.
Add the broccoli to the baking tray and roast for a further 15–20 minutes. When the broccoli is tender, the grapes are soft and caramelised and the Brussels are beginning to crisp, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the chard or kale for 10 minutes, until wilted. Stir the chard or kale into the tray, coating them in the juices of the roasted vegetables. Divide the vegetables among individual bowls or transfer to a larger dish if serving as a side. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and enjoy.
+ To make a creamy version, transfer the roasted Brussels, grapes, chestnuts and broccoli into a medium saucepan. Over a low-medium heat, stir in the coconut milk and heat until combined. Alternatively, you could do this in the oven, pouring the coconut milk over the roasted Brussels, grapes, chestnuts and broccoli and returning to the oven to heat through and combine for a further 10-20 minutes, at the same heat.
Enjoy as a warm salad, as a side for Christmas dinner or roasts, or serve with grains or psuedograins.
This hearty soup uses ingredients associated with the root chakra (page 326), which works to keep us grounded with the Earth’s energy and, when balanced, can increase confidence, energy and openness. Signs of a blocked or misaligned root chakra include short temper, lack of motivation, anxiety and general frustration. Eating foods associated with this chakra can help to release these emotions. Serve with Magic Vegetable 'Bread' Rolls (page 314), toasted Miracle Bread (page 314), or Crackers (page 178).
Serves 4 as a main, or 6 as a starter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil 1⁄2 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5g fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
3 large beetroots, peeled and chopped 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
600ml vegetable or bone broth (preferably homemade, page 315)
2 × 400ml cans (800ml) coconut milk
1 tsp dried thyme or lemon thyme
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1⁄2 lime
In a large saucepan or stockpot, heat the oil over a medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, garlic, ginger and coriander and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the beetroots, carrots and broth. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the beetroot is soft.
Allow to cool slightly, transfer to a blender (work in two batches if necessary) and add the coconut milk. Blend on a medium speed for 30 seconds and then increase to the highest speed for 10 seconds. Add more broth or water to thin the soup if it is too thick.
Return to the saucepan, add the thyme, season to taste with salt and pepper and add the lime juice, if using. Heat through, then divide among bowls and serve immediately.
Top with Nut Parmesan Sprinkle (page 313), a knob of Avocado 'Butter' (page 308), herb-infused oil (page 313) or a swirl of extra coconut milk.
Blend any leftovers with a can or two of chickpeas, to make a vibrant root- vegetable dip.
This recipe is perfect for low-energy mornings because, whilst it looks and tastes impressive, it is simple to prepare. The sweetcorn fritters stand in for conventional breakfast carbs and bring more nutrition to the table. For a very simple option, pair them with avocado or for something more extravagant, serve them with poached eggs, a selection of homemade dips, seaweed salad or greens and pickles or Sauerkraut (pages 316–317). Bacon, Coconut 'Bacon' (page 313) or smoked fish also make a nice addition.
Serves 4 (makes 6–8 fritters)
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional) pinch of salt (optional)
For the sweetcorn fritters
350g corn kernels, cooked and cooled 1 large egg (or 1 tbsp chia gel, page 81) 1 tsp ground or freshly grated turmeric pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying
60g buckwheat flour
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
small handful of fresh coriander leaves (or other fresh herbs) freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp shilajit powder, 1 tsp spirulina powder, 2 tbsp golden linseeds or chia seeds
First, make the fritters. Place 100g of the corn in a blender and add the egg or chia gel, turmeric, salt and oil. Add any elevate ingredients, if using, and blend on a high-speed for 30 seconds, until it forms a thick, creamy paste. Once smooth, transfer to a bowl, add the remaining corn kernels, flour, baking powder and coriander (or other fresh herbs) and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat a little oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and, once warm, spoon 3–4 large ladlefuls of batter – spaced apart to avoid them merging into one – into the pan. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon and cook for 1–2 minutes, until brown and crisp, then flip and cook the other side for 1–2 minutes, until crispy. Repeat until all the batter has been used up.
Meanwhile, scramble, fry or poach your eggs. Next, prepare the avocado: cut each in half, remove the stones, and either slice thinly, lengthways, and scoop out the flesh, or into a bowl and mash with the lemon juice and salt.
Add cooled fritters to packed lunches in the place of sandwich bread.
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.
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
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
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
120g Soaked Cashews
12g Nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp Apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Lemon juice
5 tablespoons Olive oil
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
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
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.
Chanterelle & garlic with white bean cream cheese
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.
HOW TO MAKE A POKE BOWL
If you don't live near the capital, the good news is it's simple to make your own poke bowl at home.
Freestyle it and throw together your favourite poke bowl ingredients, aiming for a variety of textures and flavours, and serve. Salmon, tuna, avocado, mango, pineapple, sesame seeds… the opportunities are endless.
Copy this for your Masterchef moment:
HOW TO MAKE DANIELLE COPPERMAN'S POKE BOWL
More a traditional recipe kinda gal and want to read your poke recipe, rather than watch it? Try Danielle Copperman's Hang Loose Poke style bowl. Perfect for summer evenings and lunches on the go. More healthy recipes are available in her cookbook, Well Being, £14.40, amazon.com.
Hang Loose Pokē-Style Ocean Bowl
250g brown rice, black rice, quinoa or millet
100g edamame beans
40g kale, spinach or broccoli, raw or steamed
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1 tsp lemon juice
100g grated carrot, beetroot or radishes
1 portion Quickled cucumber (page 316 of Well Being)
1 portion Pickled ginger (page 316 of Well Being)
2 tbsp sesame seeds
For the seaweed salad
15g dried hijiki or arame
1 tbsp tamari
1 tsp rice or apple cider vinegar
1⁄2–1 tsp sesame oil
1⁄4–1⁄2 tsp honey (optional)
1⁄4 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp sesame seeds
For the marinated enoki mushrooms
200g enoki, shiitake, chestnut or portobello mushrooms
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive, sesame or coconut oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp tamari
1⁄2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
For the baked nori crisps
6 sheets dried nori
2 tbsp sesame oil
Pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Danielle Copperman Poke BOWL
1. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the edamame beans and cook for 10–15 minutes, then drain (reserving the water), transfer to a small bowl, and set aside.
2. Return the reserved cooking liquid to the pan and bring to the boil again.
3. Add the kale, spinach, broccoli or other greens and cook for 5–8 minutes until the leaves are wilted or the broccoli begins to soften but still has some bite.
4. Slice the avocado in half, remove the stone and then score the flesh either into cubes or thin slices, lengthways. Scoop the flesh into a small serving bowl, sprinkle with salt, drizzle with lemon juice and then place in the fridge until ready to serve.
5. For the baked nori crisps, cut the nori sheets into sixths, to make six small rectangles. Place on a baking tray, brush with sesame oil and then sprinkle with the sesame seeds and a pinch of salt. Bake for 15–20 minutes, until crisp and crunchy.
6. For the seaweed salad, soak the seaweed in a bowl of water for 10–15 minutes, until it has tripled in size. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Drain the seaweed and rinse it under cold water, then add it to the dressing and mix or massage the seaweed in with your hands to coat with the dressing and top with sesame seeds. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.
7. For the marinated mushrooms, place all the mushroom ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10–20 minutes, until the mushrooms soften and the sauce thickens. Transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
8. When all your components are ready, divide the cooked rice or grain among four bowls. Tuck the edamame beans into one corner of each bowl. Do the same with the grated vegetables, greens, avocado, marinated mushrooms and Quickled Cucumber, and finally arrange the seaweed salad in the centre of the bowl.
9. Serve the Pickled Ginger on the side and either serve the nori crisps on the side or tuck 1 or 2 into each bowl. This recipe is vegetarian but I’d encourage adding either fresh sashimi, smoked salmon, cooked fish or seafood, soft-boiled eggs for a truer pokē experience.
Read the full article here.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
2 Medium Sweet Potatoes (preferably long and thin) (can also substitute for plain potatoes)
Coconut Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Himalayan Pink Salt
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 this recipe with the adition of one or a selection of the following superfood and adaptogen powders:
+ Sprinkle on top of the finished individual sweet potato discs and toppings, or blend into your chosen toppings.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
20g pine nuts
20g dates, chopped
40g chickpeas, mashed with a fork
large pinch of fresh parsley
pinch himalayan pink salt
For the Walnut Cream
130ml Water or nut milk
65ml Olive oil
Large pinch Salt
½ teaspoon Lemon juice
1 teaspoon tahini
Optional - garlic
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.
I've been on and off home turf the past couple of months but everytime I do stop by I head straight for the kitchen to regurgitate information and inspiration gathered during my time away. Some things are inspired by new places and new cultures. Some things are inspired by local cuisine. Some things are inspired by seasonal produce. And some things are inspired by me just having too much time to myself to think about fun new things I could try when I get home.
This recipe is mostly inspired by the fact that we are in peak pea season, with some influence coming merely from me having had too much time to think about the things you could do with peas. I've made pea and mint houmous in the past and I'm a huge dip lover in general, as they require next to no thinking at all, and pretty much the same amount of effort. Dips and spreads are one of my favourite things to make purely because they are so easy and customisable. You can disguise any ingredients you don't like the taste of by combining then with ones you do, and you can also invent your own new combinations by simply getting creative with whatever you can find in the kitchen (within reason).
I've been wanting to develop some good summertime recipes (although it has seemed pointless since it still feels like winter in the UK), but have been caught up in the waves of life, and by that I mainly mean work. June felt like the heaviest month. The energy was low and dull, the weather was grey and practically everyone I know was feeling totally depressed about the EU Referendum results. I honestly believe that the energy of others around you has a huge effect on your own energy, even the energy of people you don't know. But, I also believe that seasonal produce provided by the Earth exists to help us cope with certain times of the year, by providing us with what we need, when we most need it. Natural, life-rich produce has transferrable energy. It has so much to give, and all we have to do to attain it is consume it. I guess what I'm trying to say is, the peas are here to help. I had leftovers of this for breakfast this morning and the sun is currently out. It hasn't even rained yet today (!?). I'm feeling good about July already, and sending total Bye Felicia vibes to June.
180g Garden Peas (cooked)
200g White Beans, Butter Beans, Cannelini Beans or Chickpeas
70g Olive Oil
20g Filtered Water
30g Avocado Flesh
100g Sliced Courgette, sauteed (can also substitue for sauteed broccoli or cauliflower)
Large Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt - to taste
10g Fresh Spinach
1g Lemon juice
15g Macadamia Nuts (Pumpkin Seeds + Brazil Nuts would work well too)
6g Mint - optional but v v nice
1/2-1 Clove Garlic - optional (I am mildly allergic so I didn't include this but if you're into it I think it would be a sure)
If using frozen peas, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and add the peas. Simmer for about 5 minutes until soft, then strain and leave to cool. If your peas are pre-cooked and ready to go, start by sauteeing the courgette in a little olive oil and salt, over a medium heat. Meanwhile, blend the peas, your beans of choice, olive oil, water, salt, avocado flesh, tahini, spinach, lemon juice, nuts and mint and garlic - if using - in a high speed blender. Blend for about 1-2 minutes, using a tamper to get things moving properly. Keep an eye on the courgette and flip them as they begin to sizzle and brown. Once cooked well on both sides and soft in the middle, add them to the blender and blend for a further 1-2 minutes. Ideally, the blender should be able to run smoothly without the help of the tamper, as this will create the smoothest result. If it's really struggling, add a little more water.
Once you are happy with the texture, taste and season with extra lemon, garlic or salt, until you are happy with it. Transfer to a bowl or tuppaware and leave in the fridge to cool before serving.
To serve, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and either some chopped macadamia, sesame seeds or hemp seeds, dukkah or za'atar, to add a little crunch.
I’m incredibly aware that things have become quiet around here during the last couple of months. In fact - I’ll be real - make that the last year. It’s like I’ve been a terribly terribly unprepared parent, neglecting the fairly low maintenance first born in becoming completely tied up and overwhelmed with the bringing up the second. Thankfully, at only 22, I’m talking theoretically and about actual children of mine, but it's a pretty accurate comparison in my opinion. Qnola happened to me completely out of the blue and i was unprepared to say the least.
Almost 2 years in, i still work through the night, but i now have a help, which means i can finally start dusting off the recipes i’ve been recording since 2014 that never quite made it to the stage of being uploaded. there are some wonderful recipes buried deep inside my computer, along with valuable travel tips from my recent adventures of living in new york and travelling the world whenever i can. to start with though: a recipe just over a month late which i intended to post in time for pancake day, but which got intercepted by general life. in my opinion, and ok, in attempt to justify my lateness, one day is simply not enough time to give pancakes the praise they deserve, so let’s ignore last months hype and have pancakes whenever we want to.
As a child, i excelled in making pancakes and that was more or less the purpose of my life from the age of 8 to i’d say, well, the present day if you ask any of my friends who still demand a pancake party the morning after they stay over. These pancakes, though, are not like those from my childhood. I’m more conscious than i was then and have replaced the gluten, removed the dairy and injected these nourishing pancakes with antioxidants, healthy fats and plant proteins. I also made them as neutral as possible in flavour, meaning they work with both savoury and sweet toppings. Pictured here with savoury chicken salad and homemade nut and seed pesto, but enjoyed the leftovers with fresh lemon juice, thyme and coconut palm sugar.
100g Almond Milk
10g Olive Oil
150g Sweetcorn, cooked
10g Hemp Seeds
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
30g Quinoa, cooked
2 Eggs (can replace with chia seed gel or flax seed gel)
50g Buckwheat Flour
Fresh Herbs - optional
Simply add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend on a high speed. You can add your choice of fresh herbs or even spinach or kale to make these pancakes even healthier and more flavoursome. Once the mixture is completely smooth, heat some coconut oil in a large saucepan until it has melted, then take a large spoonful of the batter and create 3-4 small pancakes - as your frying pan space permits. Fry over a medium heat for about 1-2 minutes and then flip when the underside can be loosened from the pan. Flip and fry on the other side and re-flip if you want a crispier result.
Top with sweet or savoury toppings like coconut palm sugar and fresh citrus, homemade raw cacao spread, honey and coconut yoghurt, or pesto, houmous, raw/cooked vegetables, fish/meat or this dairy free chicken salad.
200g Shredded Chicken (This works best with tender meat generally from around the bone, but i used sliced chicken breast and it worked perfectly)
2 Egg Yolks
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
½ Clove Garlic, sliced
Small Handful Coriander
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Orange Juice
1 Teaspoon Lime Zest
1 Teaspoon or Pinch Nutritional Yeast - optional
30g Avocado (or soaked sunflower seeds)
½ Teaspoon Mustard - optional
20g grated apple
20g grate kohlrabi
20g grated courgette
chopped basil optional
chopped black or orange apricots
Start by blending the egg, oil, salt, garlic, coriander, citrus zest and juice, nutritional yeast and avocado (or soaked sunflower seeds) until smooth. Pour into a medium bowl, and stir through the grated fruit and vegetables (if using), the herbs and finally the chicken. When fully coated, top each pancake or serve as a side. Perfect for salads, sandwiches and picnics.
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.
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
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.
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.
(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
. 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.
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).
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
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
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
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
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
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.
F O C A C C I A . It's just fun to say. But it's even more fun to eat, especially when it contains absolutely no gluten, wheat, dairy or unnecessary additives or preservatives.
This is by far the easiest bread recipe I have developed
Bread is definitely one of those things that has to be just right. It has to grow, develop, proof and become all kinds of things from stretchy to doughy to twice the size of what it was when it began. However, in my opinion, as long as it is crisp, doughy and/or fluffy in some way, it's an instant pass. I love miracle bread for a crispy, crunchy bread. I love warm seeded rolls for my doughy bread needs. And I love this focaccia because it is the fluffiest bread to have come out of my oven.
Adding vegetables and fresh herbs to your bread may not seem the obvious thing to do, but it is all about getting those vegetable into as many meals or snacks as you can. You're not likely to eat a bowl of broccoli as a snack, but if you dice or blend it into a bread batter, you will, much more willingly. Play around with the vegetables you put into yours. You can also use carrot, beetroot, cauliflower, courgette or sun dried tomato. Just try to avoid anything too wet, as this will affect the texture of the bread.
I N G R E D I E N T S
2 Cups Ground Almonds
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Sumac
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary, chopped or kept whole
1 Tablespoon Fresh Sage or Basil, chopped
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
4 Tablespoons Buckwheat Flour (can also use ground almonds instead)
Himalayan Pink Salt, to taste
1/2 Garlic Clove, Crushed (optional)
3 - 4 Tablespoons Raw Sweet Potato, grated
1 Teaspoon Arrowroot
2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk or Yoghurt, optional (this will make the bread more moist, but it also works well and turns out fluffier without)
1-2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast, optional (to add a cheesy flavour)
Fresh Rosemary, to top
Sweet Potato Discs, to top
Flaked Almonds, to top
Crushed Garlic, to top
Himalayan Pink Salt, to top
1/2 Teaspoon Organic Raw Honey, to top
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, to top
M E T H O D
Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease a load tin or a flat baking tray or a heat proof dish with a little coconut oil.
Start by adding the eggs to your blender or food processor, followed by the ground almonds, dried herbs, baking powder, salt, arrowroot, oil and the garlic, coconut milk and nutritional yeast, if using. Blend until smooth, then transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Stir through the whole fresh herbs and grated sweet potato (i like to keep them whole as they add more flavour and texture to the focaccia, but you can also blend the herbs and the sweet potato into the batter - either will work). Pour into your prepared tin/dish, spreading evenly and ensuring the mixture reaches the sides. Now top with whatever you like. I used flaked almonds, fresh rosemary, salt and sweet potato discs.
+ For caramelised sweet potato, heat some oil and honey in a griddle pan and place the thinly diced sweet potato discs over the surface of the pan. Heat through and turn the discs over a few times, until they begin to brown and soften. Then lay them on the top of the focaccia batter. They will crisp up nicely in the oven.
Place in the oven and cook for 12 mins on 180. After 12 minutes, reduce the heat to 160c and cook for 20 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the depth of the dish you are using, so keep an eye on it as it bakes. Poke a knife into the middle of the loaf, and if it comes out clean, the bread is done. If it comes out with batter on, leave it in for another 10 minutes or so.
+ If the toppings are cooking or beginning to brown, cover with foil.
Let the focaccia cool before cutting into individual slices.
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
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
. Sunflower Seeds
. 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
Mayonnaise is another one of those things that, when you embark upon a healthier journey through life, you think, 'God, I'm gonna miss you'. I certainly did. Before i knew anything about food and the importance of feeding our bodies sensibly, I had mayonnaise with everything. I whenever I had it, it covered my entire plate, not just a small fraction of it as it was designed to have done.
This recipe seriously puts mayonnaise to shame. Homemade mayonnaise isn't actually that unhealthy, as long as you use organic, free range eggs and good quality oils. However, it takes a bit of effort. Shop bought mayonnaise is mainly just chemicals, emulsifiers, additives and colourings in a bottle. So, seriously, do not eat it. This recipe is made with actual, real ingredients. The main ingredient is avocado, which is high in protein, fibre and healthy fats. The texture of the avocado combined with the oil is even creamier than normal mayonnaise, and makes the egg yolk you find in conventional mayonnaise recipes really unnecessary. This recipe is ridiculously simple and quick. All you need is to ensure the avocados are so ripe they are almost inedible, and a blender which will do the work for you. No hours of hand whisking involved!
2 Ripe Avocados (preferably so soft that you wouldn't actually want to eat them on their own)
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
A Gentle Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
Organic Wasabi Paste (Biona), Fresh Garlic, Black Pepper, Capers, Nutritional Yeast
Slice the avocado in half, tap your sharp knife into the stone and pull it out. Score each half of the avocado vertically and horizontally and then gently scoop or squeeze out the flesh. Place the flesh into a blend or food processor along with the lemon juice, salt, apple cider vinegar and any other herbs or spices you choose to use. Blend on a medium speed. Gradually add the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add more and more, until the mixture combines. It should be blending smoothly and should become thick. As you add more oil, increase the speed of your blender or food processor. Blend smoothly for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides if you need to.
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!
(makes 10-12 large crepes)
220g Buckwheat Flour
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
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
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)
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.
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.
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
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
Cooked Puy Lentils
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.
I made this pie around thanksgiving, inspired to use yams. You could definitely chuck some shredded turkey in there to make it a proper thanksgiving pie, and making it a perfect solution for leftovers. The base is one i have experimented with before in sweet tartlet recipes. To make it savoury i just added extra salt and two of my favourite flavoursome ingredients: sumac and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast has been cropping up a lot lately which is good because it is a rich source of protein, and is vegan. People refer to it as ‘the vegan cheese’ because it has a nutty, cheesy kind of flavour. In my opinion it is a godsend, as i never thought i could live without cheese; but this satisfies my cravings. Just about. It is such a versatile ingredient to work with. You can eat it raw and simply crumbled onto salads, or work it into any baked good recipe. It particularly brought the flavour out in my Miracle Bread (which you should definitely try - very easy). Nutritional yeast boots the nutrient levels in any meal and is perfect for instantly adding flavour to something bland and uninspiring.
Next, the herb thats having a moment in all of my savoury recipes right now, sumac. This was introduced to me by my sister recently and is also to thank for its tasty nutritional boost. It has been used for years for its medicinal properties including being anti-fungal, rich in antioxidants and also anti-inflammatory. It is full of vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids, helping to prevent illnesses and cardiovascular disease. It has been proven to help remove free radicals from the body. Research also suggests that sumac is effective in helping with hyperglycaemia, diabetes and reducing obesity. It has a tart, slightly astringent kind of taste when eaten alone, but is also cheesy in its own unique way and brings something really amazing to any recipe it is incorporated into. Sumac is a berry which is dried and then ground, which is the form i use it in in my recipes. It sounds exotic but it is super easy to get hold of.
This tart requires quite some concentration. It isn’t difficult, but its a bit like a roast dinner; you need to time things well and keep an eye on a lot of things at once. To prep, you can start by dicing the greens and chopping the cauliflower and broccoli florets into a rice consistency and then set them aside. Also you can thinly slice the beetroot before you start the body of the tart, just to be organised. Once that’s sorted you just need to keep an eye on the sweet potato whilst you make the perfect savoury tart base.
Take time over this one - it should be made for a lazy lunch or to accompany a warm dinner. Savour it, and enjoy it in company; you wont be able to stop talking about the flavours as they come through one by one. You wont get bored, lets put it that way.
(Makes one large pie of 18-20 small tartlets)
150g buckwheat flour
150g ground almonds
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
30g coconut oil, soft
1 teaspoon agave
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon ground sumac
1 tablespoon nut milk or water
2 Large Sweet Potatoes, cubed
2 handfuls of kale
10 brussels sprouts, chopped finely
2 tablespoons original coyo or dairy free yogurt
1 raw beetroot, sliced
Handful of spinach (or greens of choice)
3 Cauliflower florets, chopped finely into a rice
3 Broccoli florets, chopped finely into a rice
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon ground sumac
6 Garlic Cloves
Preheat the oven to 170c.
In a large saucepan boil the sweet potato cubes until soft. Whilst they cook, make the base.
Mix all of the base ingredients in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form. When it does, form into a ball and wrap tightly in cling film. Leave to chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. (You can get away with leaving this step out if your dough is dry enough and seems to be moulding successfully).
Press the mixture into the bottom of a tart dish. Press the mixture down firmly with the back of a spoon, and at the edges of the tart tin too. Make sure the pastry is compact otherwise it will crumble.
Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, a little longer perhaps, if your pastry seems quite thick. Remove and set aside.
Whilst you wait for the sweet potato to get soft enough to mash, in a small saucepan heat a tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the garlic cloves, whole or halved, along with a splash of water, pinch of salt and drop of agave or raw honey if desired (this will caramelise them). Simmer for about 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it evaporates instantly. The cloves should brown a little and become soft.
When the sweet potato is soft enough put half in a bowl and leave half to drain in a sieve. Mash the sweet potato in the bowl until a puree forms. Press the sweet potato puree onto the bottom of the tart until the entire base is covered.
Next, slice your beetroot thinly, and layer several slices on top of the sweet potato puree, until the entire base is covered.
Now scatter a handful of diced, raw brussels (you can cook these if you like - either will work) on top of the beetroot layer. Do the same with your finely chopped kale and spinach, and any other leafy greens you may choose to use. Be sure to leave half your amount of greens for the top layer.
Now take the cubed sweet potato and the garlic cloves and fill the pie evenly. Scatter the remaining greens on top of the sweet potato, followed by the diced cauliflower and broccoli florets.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. I added Organic Coyo to make the tart creamier, but that is not essential. You could leave it out or substitute it for tinned coconut milk. Whisk continuously for about 2-3 minutes and then gently pour over the tart filling. You may need to rearrange the fillings to allow the egg to spread throughout the layers.
Bake for another 40-50 minutes. It may take longer depending on the amount of your fillings. To be sure it is cooked thoroughly, test the middle of the tart with your finger. If it feels jelly-like, it needs longer. Alternatively you can test it with a knife and if it comes out of the middle of the tart clean, thats a sure sign it is ready.
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.
(Enough for two chicken breasts)
1 Cup Ground Almonds
1-2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
2 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon Cumin
2 Teaspoon Mixed Dried Herbs
2 Teaspoon Sumac
2 Chicken Breasts, chopped
Ground Garlic/Crushed Garlic/Garlic Salt, optional
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.