WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

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

Snacks

Almond & Adaptogen Ananda Mouthfuls

Dairy Free, Gluten free, Recipe, Snacks, Sugar Free, Sweets + Desserts, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle copperman2 Comments
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I love to make some variation of these simple snacks every few weeks, and they're especially convenient if I am traveling a lot. I love to take them with me for the journey, and if i have the facilities where I am staying abroad, I always make them if I am staying somewhere for a while, as they are super easy to make and provide functional nutrition in an instant. They are high in protein, healthy fats, fibre and essential vitamins and minerals, and are a delicious way to incorporate a dose of your favourite adaptogens and / or tonic herbs if you want other ways to use them. Depending on the adaptogens you use, these mouthfuls have a host of physical and mental health benefits, and the bonus is that they taste like chewy caramels. Enjoy!

Components

50g gluten free oats (or cashews)
50g ground almonds (or whole almonds)
A generous pinch of salt
1 tbs vanilla vegan protein powder (i use The Welle Co or Innermost Health)
1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon
150g medjool or other soft dates (pitted and halved)
1.5 tablespoons coconut oil (soft, or melted)
60g almond butter or cashew butter, or a mixture of both

Optional adaptogens: (use one or several of the following, or add your own preferred adaptogens or tonic herbs)

1/4 teaspoon pearl
1/2 teaspoon ashwaganda
1 tablespoons tocorionels
1 tablespoon cacao
1 teaspoon he shou wu, cordyceps, reishi or chaga

Method

Start by blending the oats, ground or whole almonds, salt, protein powder, cinnamon and adaptogen powder of choice in a food processor, on the highest speed, until they form a fine, flour-like consistency. 

Next, add the dates and then blend again until the mixture becomes doughy and perhaps even forms a large, sticky ball. 

Next, add the coconut oil and the nut butter and blend a final time. The mixture should be smooth, sticky and doughy and may even begin to form a doughy ball. It should not be wet or paste-like. You should be able to handle it with your hands and it should hold together when you press or squeeze it.

Finally, roll the mixture into balls, or form into bars, (using individual moulds or pressing into a dish or loaf tin and then slicing into individual bars once they have set) and store in the fridge or freezer. I keep some in the fridge for an instant snack, and some in the freezer as they will keep for much longer, and take just seconds to thaw.

Salted Peanut version

Components

50g gluten free oats
80g roasted peanuts
Pinch of salt (don't use if your peanuts are already salted)
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract, or vegan or whey protein powder
250g medjool dates
50g peanut butter (could also use other nut butter)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, room temp

Optional adaptogens: (use one or several of the following, or add your own preferred adaptogens or tonic herbs)

1/4 teaspoon pearl
1/2 teaspoon ashwaganda
1 tablespoons tocorionels
1 tablespoon cacao
1 teaspoon he shou wu, cordyceps, reishi or chaga

Method

Start by blending the oats, peanuts, protein powder and adaptogen powders of choice in a food processor, on the highest speed, until they form a fine, flour-like consistency. 

Next, add the dates and then blend again until the mixture becomes doughy and perhaps even forms a large, sticky ball. 

Next, add the coconut oil and the nut butter and blend for a final time. The mixture should be smooth, sticky and doughy, and may even begin to form a doughy ball. It should not be wet or paste-like. You should be able to handle it with your hands and it should hold together when you press or squeeze it.

Finally, roll the mixture into balls, or form into bars (using individual moulds or pressing into a dish or loaf tin and then slicing into individual bars once they have set), and store in the fridge or freezer. I keep some in the fridge for an instant snack, and some in the freezer as they will keep for much longer, and take just seconds to thaw.

Cacao version

Components

50g gluten free oats
100g walnuts (can also use almonds or cashews, or a mixture)
4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract or vegan or whey protein powder
Pinch of salt
250g medjool dates
50g almond butter (can use other nut butter too)
2 tbs coconut oil

Optional adaptogens: (use one or several of the following, or add your own preferred adaptogens or tonic herbs)
1/4 teaspoon pearl
1/2 teaspoon ashwaganda
1 tablespoons tocorionels
1 tablespoon cacao
1 teaspoon he shou wu, cordyceps, reishi or chaga

Method

Start by blending the oats, walnuts or other nuts, protein powder and adaptogen powders of choice in a food processor, on the highest speed, until they form a fine, flour-like consistency. 

Next, add the dates and then blend again until the mixture becomes doughy and perhaps even forms a large, sticky ball. 

Next, add the coconut oil and the nut butter and blend for a final time. The mixture should be smooth, sticky and doughy, and may even begin to form a doughy ball. It should not be wet or paste-like. You should be able to handle it with your hands and it should hold together when you press or squeeze it.

Finally, roll the mixture into balls, or form into bars (using individual moulds or pressing into a dish or loaf tin and then slicing into individual bars once they have set), and store in the fridge or freezer. I keep some in the fridge for an instant snack, and some in the freezer as they will keep for much longer, and take just seconds to thaw.

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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Updated Raw Tamari + Avocado Brownies

Gluten free, Dairy Free, Recipe, Snacks, Sugar Free, Sweets + Dessertsdanielle coppermanComment
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This was one of the first and most popular recipes I posted back in 2014 when I first started my blog. I don't even know how, since the pictures were awful, the ingredients list quite overcomplicated in parts, and the method really not as straightforward as it could have been. I've simplified the recipe and perfected the method (since now I am familiar with the power of food processors, when back in 2014 I apparently was not and attempted these in my Vitamix - which is also possible but just not the most straightforward or sensible approach IMO. 

These are my favourite things to keep in the freezer as they don't freeze fully but instead stiffen to become the perfect chewiness; sort of caramelly and fudgy. They are super easy to make and are high in fibre, healthy fats, protein and powerful adaptogens like cacao and maca - which enhance energy levels, reduce stress, balance the nervous system and regulate hormones (and moods y'all). I actually prefer these to baked brownies as they're less sickly and are are filling in a less uncomfortable way.

Ingredients

100g nuts or seeds (I tend to use cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds - either just one or a combination of several (you could also use gluten free oats)
1 tablespoon maca
200g Medjool dates (or standard dates, as long as they are soft)
1 teaspoon coconut sugar or natural syrup of choice
1 tablespoon nut butter - preferably smooth (almond, cashew, peanut, hazelnut, pecan or macadamia all work well)
30g coconut oil - at room temperature (could also use cacao butter, melted)
5-6 tablespoons raw cacao powder (use more or less to suit your tastes)
1-2 tablespoons tamari (could also use soy sauce, or replace with a pinch of salt, to taste)
50g avocado flesh (as ripe as possible)

To top

1 tablespoon cacao nibs, crushed nuts or seeds, cacao powder, salt or fresh orange zest.

Method

Start by measuring the nuts or seeds into food processor. Blend on a high speed Blend until it forms a flour-like consistency similar to ground almonds. Next add the remaining ingredients, except for those you plan to use on top and blend for a further 1-2 minutes. The mixture should become crumbly and should eventually form into a smooth, doughy ball. If it remains crumbly, check to see if the mixture sticks together when you press it with the back of a spoon or a spatula, and it will still work.

Transfer into a container, tray or small individual moulds (cake tins work well). Use the back of a teaspoon, tablespoon or small spatula to press the mixture into the base of whatever you decide to use. Ensure the mixture is compact and smooth it down to avoid any gaps. 

Top with toppings of your choice or, like me, leave au naturale. Place in the freezer for a minimum or 1-2 hours, and store them hear until ready to serve. I keep mine in the freezer for weeks and slice mouthful sized pieces off every now and then when I need a little something.
 

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.
 

YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THESE CHESTNUT BROWNIES

Seasonal, Snacks, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

So, although it's practically sunbathing weather compared to most Decembers in the UK, winter is coming, and more importantly, (in the words of Coca Cola) the holidays are coming. Silently, alongside public Christmas light displays, Starbucks' red cups and pumpkins and chestnuts filling my local grocery store, winter is unfolding and I have an underlying suspicion that it's just gonna come out of nowhere and hit me in the face with blue lips, frozen toes (no matter how strong my sock game), and some seasonal illness for good measure. My response will be these seasonal brownie bites, inspired by the abundance of chestnuts this time of year - definitely not one of those ingredients you come across in a recipe that makes you think 'where on earth?!'.

These brownie bites are perfect as a sugar-free snack with full-on chocolate vibes during the winter, and would be well received making an appearance at duvet days, movie nights, cocktail or dinner parties, wrapped as a gift to give or kept in the freezer when the boxes of Celebrations and balls of Chocolate Orange begin to get a bit much.

INGREDIENTS

makes 8- 10 small brownies or 1 dish around 9 x 5 in

FOR THE CHESTNUT BROWNIE LAYER

170g medjool dates
80g chestnuts
90g raw almonds
70g raw walnuts
20-25g raw cacao powder
25g coconut oil - melted
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 Teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
10g coconut palm sugar or natural sweetener of choice - optional

ELEVATE IT

1/2 Teaspoon of some or all of the following:
He Shou Wu Powder / Maca Powder / Chaga Powder / Reishi / Shilajit / Cordycepts / Mucuna / Ashwaganda

FOR THE CHESTNUT CARAMEL LAYER

100g chestnuts
2 tablespoons almond butter or tahini
25g coconut oil - melted
65g dates
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup plant milk or water
1 teaspoon honey, coconut syrup or other unrefined sweetener of your choice
1 tablespoon maca

FOR THE CHOCOLATE LAYER

250g cacao butter (or coconut oil) (can also use half cacao butter + half coconut oil)
150g raw cacao powder
40ml coconut syrup or other unrefined sweetener of choice
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

+ Can also use store-bought dark or raw chocolate bars. I like Ombar.

METHOD

Start by making the brownie layer. place the almonds, walnuts and chia seeds into a food processor and blend until they form a flour like consistency, similar to breadcrumbs. next, add the chestnuts and blend again for 30 seconds. then add the dates, cacao powder, coconut oil, himalayan pink salt and coconut sugar, if using. blend for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the mixture comes together to in a slightly sticky dough-like consistency. make sure the mixture is smooth and that there are no large chunks of nuts involved, as this recipe tastes so much better when the mixture is completely smooth.

Once blended, either place into a cupcake or mini loaf tin tray (i use this one) or into a standard loaf tin or baking tray (around 9 x 5 in). Using trays with individual mini sections will be easier to handle, but you can use a larger tray and simply cut into individual pieces once set. Whichever you use, spread the mixture on the bottom of the tray/tray sections, making it about 1 to 1.5 cm in height. Place in the freezer to set.

Whilst the brownie layer sets, make the chestnut caramel layer. In a cleaned food processor or your blender, pulse the chestnuts for 20 seconds until they begin to break down into small pieces. Add the dates, almond butter or tahini, coconut oil, vanilla, syrup of choice and maca, if using and then continue to blend until smooth - about 1-2 minutes should do it.

Once the bottom layer is beginning to set and firm to touch, spread the chestnut caramel layer on top until the entire base is covered. Smooth evenly to ensure a more level finish to coat with the raw chocolate.

Return to the freezer and set for about 1-2 hours, or overnight. Unfortunately this step is necessary in order to easily coat the brownies in the chocolate layer. If you can't wait, follow the following step for drizzling the melted chocolate over the bars instead of dipping the bars into it.

Once set, start making the chocolate. Leave the brownies in the freezer until you have made the chocolate. bring a small pan of water to the boil and then set a heatproof bowl over the top. Add the cacao powder, cacao butter or coconut oil (or combination of both), salt and sweetener of choice to the bowl and whisk as the mixture melts together. Once combined, remove from the heat but leave the bowl over the water to avoid the chocolate cooling and thickening too quickly.

Remove the brownies from the freezer and remove from the tins carefully with a knife or cake slice. If you used a large dish, slice into desired sizes. Set each individual brownie onto a cooling rack with a layer of baking paper on the surface underneath the rack. One by one, add a brownie to the chocolate mixture and, working quickly, use a fork to turn the brownies through the mixture until fully coated. *You could alternatively keep the brownies on the rack and pour or spread the chocolate mixture over them, but I find this method a little messier. Sprinkle each one with chopped pecans or hazelnuts, Qnola or himalayan pink salt before the chocolate has fully set. You can also experiment with drizzling a second layer of chocolate over the smooth chocolate layer, and if you have leftover chocolate you could double dip, for a thicker, crunchier outer coating.

If the cooling rack fits, place it in your fridge or freezer once each brownie has been coated. If it doesn't fit, wait for the chocolate to set slightly at room temperature, and then transfer the brownies onto smaller plates or to tuppaware.

+ store in the freezer, and remove 5 minutes before serving.

SYRIAN-INSPIRED ROSE WATER, HONEY, PISTACHIO, COCONUT, LINSEED AND BUCKWHEAT NOLA

Snacks, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipe, Paleo, Gluten free, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

I'm not the first person to point out that I have a thing or two for breakfast. Not just the act of eating in the morning, but breakfast things. All the breakfast things. So, when I was asked to develop a collection of recipes in support of Unicef Next Generation's #cookforsyria campaign, I thought of coming at it from two angles. The first being a general food angle, which would have been a natural progression for most people, and the second being a breakfast angle, an angle only a breakfast brand owner would generally let lead her decision making. Owning a breakfast brand and running a general food blog, I often come from both angles when making most decisions these days. I wanted to create something new and interesting for my blog here, but also wanted to bring Syrian to a more traditionally Westernised concept. Breakfast, and more specifically, granola. In Syria, breakfast is more commonly a spread of savoury foods such as cold meats, cheeses and spice-rich vegetable sides and dips. They havn't been quite as brainwashed over there as we have in terms of cereals being an essential part of a nourishing breakfast. They keep it simple and they aren't afraid of eating something they'd usually enjoy for dinner first thing the next morning too.

Never the less, cereals are easy, once made, and make for instant and effortless breakfast which I'm aware a lot of us need, a lot of the time. Would be nice to enjoy a Middle Eastern feast before work but that's just not something we can all make time for, so instead... If Syrian Cereal was a thing, I think this would be it. The whole situation is like a fresh, crunchy rose garden in a bowl. Disclaimer: it's less painful and thorny than it sounds, promise. It's safe for everyone, and due to the lack of oats and other stuff, that includes people with paleo, vegan and ceoliac dietary restrictions.

This recipe is sweetened lightly with honey - a popular ingredient in Syrian desserts - and is flavoured naturally with pure, refreshing rose water which is available from most health food stores. Pine nuts feature in a lot of Syrian dishes, most commonly savoury ones, but I wanted to incorporate them for added crunch and for the unique creamy, nutty flavour you just don't get from other nuts. Pistachios are popular in most Middle Eastern recipes, and as well as adding extra bite to this recipe, they make it look pretty good too IMO.

INGREDIENTS

35g honey or other alternative natural sweetener
12g rose water
30g coconut oil
6g vanilla extract / paste / powder or fresh seeds
45g pistachio nuts, sliced in half
50g pine nuts
40g desiccated coconut
60g untoasted coconut flakes
35g sunflower seeds
20g golden linseeds
2 teaspoons chia seeds
20g raw buckwheat
25g flaked almonds
2g himalayan pink salt

ELEVATE IT

1 Teaspoon maca powder
1 Teaspoon chaga powder
1 Teaspoon ground cardamom
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 150c.

Start by measuring the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Then add the remainging ingredients and stir vigorously to ensure all dry ingredients are coated. The mixture won't clump together like oat granola but if coated properly, it will form subtle clusters once baked. Season to taste and add any herbs or spices to the mixture, but if the using superfoods and adaptogens like maca and chaga, add these after the cooking process to retain the most of their benefits.

Spread out evenly on a baking tray and bake for 20 mins, stirring gently after 10 minutes as the edges tend to cook more quickly.

+ Store at room temperature.


#CookForSyria is a nation-wide fundraising initiative curated by Clerkenwell Boy and SUITCASE Magazine. The month-long campaign focused around Syrian cuisine will encourage everyone from the UK’s top chefs to people at home to cook and raise money in aid of UNICEF’s Syria Relief fund via Next Generation London (UNICEF’s youth branch). This month, we're supporting the cause and raising awareness by developing and promoting a collection of exclusive recipes inspired by traditional Syrian ingredients.

If you make this, be sure to tag us and the organisations involved, and use #cookforsyria in your captions. You can also donate to the cause here.

 

CARAMELISED COURGETTE, PEA, MINT AND MACADAMIA DIP

Seasonal, Sides, Snacks, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Recipe, Dips + Spreads, Dairy Freedanielle copperman1 Comment

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.

INGREDIENTS

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
15g Tahini
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)

METHOD

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.

 

QUINOA CREAMED CHIA SEED PUDDING

Essentials, Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Free, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle copperman3 Comments

This is my new favourite. My new favourite several things. My new favourite breakfast. My new favourtite snack. My new favourite chia seed pudding. Hell, it's the best chia seed pudding I've ever made, and it's the best chia seed pudding you'll ever make, and I'm not even nervous to make that promise cos I know I can deliver.

Chia seed pudding comes in many forms. You can soak these tiny but powerful, simple but effective seeds in any liquid at all, and they will gel together to form a pudding within minutes. The simplest recipe would involve water, coconut water, or shop bought / ready made plant milk. Something a little more special would involve handmaking plant milk with less water to make it thicker and creamier, making the gel around the seeds creamier and plumper. And something even more spectacular (and even creamier and even more nutritious), would include making a cream out of cooked quinoa and plant milk. Let me elaborate:

Ingredients

150ml Plant Based Milk (I use oat, almond or cashew)
5g Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Bean Paste, Vanilla Seeds or Vanilla Powder
80g Cooked Quinoa, rinsed and cooled
1 Teaspoon Maca
30g Coconut Milk (the more solid part) (you can also experiment with 15g Avocado Flesh or Banana instead of Coconut Milk)
10g Sunflower Seeds
10g Coconut Syrup, Date Syrup, Honey or other Natural Sweetener of Choice
Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
25g Chia seeds

Optional
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon or Cardamom
10g Cooked Quinoa (to stir through before serving)
Fresh Cherries
Pink Grapefruit
Nut Butter
Tahini

Method

Simply measure out all of the ingredients, apart from the chia seeds, into a blender and blend on the highest speed for 1-2 minutes, until smooth. Add a little more salt or sweetener (and maca and any spices you are using) to suit your taste and blend again to combine. Once smooth, pour the mixture into a bowl, jar or tuppaware and weigh out the chia seeds into the same bowl. Stir or whisk with a fork to fully combine the seeds, and leave to absorb for 5 minutes. Stir again to ensure the seeds are fully coated in order to absorb the liquid evenly, and then set in the fridge for 10-20 minutes. Stir again (at this point, if you want to, add some leftover cooked quinoa if you want to bulk the pudding out a little more) and then leave in the fridge until ready to serve. Leaving overnight will make the seeds the perfect softness and plumpness, but you can enjoy after as little as half an hour.

Top with your choice of fruit, nut butter, tahini, extra spices and superfood powders, granola, qnola, nuts and seeds. Enjoy for breakfast, as a snack, stirred through smoothies, stirred through porridge or served alongside desserts.

COCONUT MACA MACAROONS

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

Easter treats for ya! A cross between cornflake crispy cakes, rice crispy cakes, and those cute little easter nests we all used to make in junior school. These are, ofc, gluten, grain, dairy and refined sugar free, and involved highly nutritious ingredients such as golden linseeds, sunflower seeds, flaked almonds, cacao nibs, pure cacao powder and maca.

Hi and bye.

INGREDIENTS
Makes roughly 20-26 macaroon domes / balls, depending on size

50g Cacao Powder
120g Coconut Oil
30g Coconut Nectar, Raw Honey, Date Syrup, Maple or Natural Syrup of choice
50g Cacao nibs
20g Sunflower Seeds
20g Golden Linseeds
200g Desiccated Coconut
30g Flaked Almonds, sliced (can also use coconut flakes)
5g Maca Powder
5g Bee pollen (optional, if you have it)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste, Seeds, Powder or Extract

Optional
Goji Berries or Other Dried Fruit, for a rocky road kind of vibe

METHOD

Start by weighing out and mixing the cacao nibs, sunflower seeds, linseeds, flaked almonds, desiccated coconut, maca and bee pollen, if using, in a medium bowl.

Next, weigh out your cacao powder, coconut oil, natural sweetener of choice and vanilla in a saucepan. Melt over a medium to low heat until the powder combines with the other ingredients and everything is dissolved and smoothly incorporated.

Remove from the heat and pour over the dry ingredients. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon to carefully but quickly stir the mixture, coating all of the dry ingredients completely. Mix for about 2 minutes in order to combine every last nib and every little seed, then place in the fridge for 5 minutes to set briefly. Once the mixture begins to stiffen, it will easier to form into balls. If you want to make bars, you can work with the mixture without having set it, if you have suitable bar molds.

For the balls / domes, take a small handful of the mixture and form it into a small ball in the palm of your hands.

Arrange on a baking tray or a plate, and repeat until all of the mixture is used up. Place in the freezer for at least 20-30 minutes to firm up, and then enjoy.

+ Store in the freezer for as long as you can resist them for.
+ Use or create leftovers on purpose to freeze in clusters to make raw granola. Simply serve with almond milk or on smoothie bowls or yoghurts.

RAW CHOCOLATE GALAXY FUDGE BARS

Snacks, Sugar Free, Vegan, Recipe, Paleo, Gluten free, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

This weekend was almost like any other weekend, although not quite. Breakfast and/or brunch are major parts of most of my weekends, but this week a Juice Cleanse from Raw Press turned up on Friday, and like all genuinely healthy foodstuffs and drinkstuffs, these things go off. It couldn’t wait until monday.

So Saturday was kinda sad. I didn’t brunch, hell i didn’t even eat. But I was full in other ways. Full of nutrients, vitamins and surprising amounts of energy, and full of overplanned ideas about what I’m going to eat first on monday.

Then I was also full of guilt because my sister,  whose birthday happened to fall on day two of my juice cleanse, and whose gluten intolerance is much more serious than mine, was coming over for the evening and i hadn’t made her a cake. With a food blog centered around a hatred for gluten and miraculous ways in which to create things without it, this was the one day of the year that she deserved one of my gf creation the most.

Thankfully, with a pretty well stocked kitchen (rule one, guys), i managed to wing a no-recipe, use-whatevers-in-the-cupboard creation in under 10 minutes because as well as being unprepared i was also late and my sister likes to avoid telling us her ETA until it is about 30 minutes away so i had to act fast.

Proof is in the pudding though (literally) that it is possible to create truly delicious and truly madly deeply nourishing provisions quicker than you can get to the nearest shop to buy standard ones.

I do have a few disclaimers for this recipe though. It contains more natural sweetener than I would usually use, mainly because I had different kinds of guests with different kinds of tastes on this particular evening (inc. a boy with a very boyish diet). My relationship with dates, which never really took off, has almost entirely diminished mainly because of how sickly i find them. I have also been rethinking my relationship with nuts, as, although they have tremendous health giving qualities, i find them quite rich and indulgent and difficult to digest. These foods are healthy, but in a world where fad diets are frowned upon, they have ironically become faddy themselves. Because they are healthy, people assume it’s okay to eat them as if they’re going out of style. But, dates and natural sweeteners, although more nutritious, still have the same affect on our blood sugars, glucose levels and insulin responses as refined sugars. And too many nuts can be tough on the system, especially if they are not prepared properly. So, by all means embrace them and replace the nutritionally void alternatives, but be mindful of quantities and frequency of consumption.

That being said, this is far healthier than artificial, shop bought cakes which, as well as refined sugar, contain a hideous selection of other hideous ingredients like hydrogenated fats, margarine, white flour, colourings, flavourings and preservatives. You can reduce the amount of natural syrups used in this recipe, although I have a feeling the texture might suffer a little.

I’ve done this recipe in grams as I’ve been testing new recipes for Qnola products and I’m just in that frame of mind. When developing recipes for big-scale production, you have to work in grams even with liquids in order to percentagise the recipe, to scale it up or down as painlessly as possible. I’ve also provided ml and tbs, just in case.

INGREDIENTS
Makes 12 Large or 24 Medium

50g Hazelnuts or walnuts
60g Ground almonds
60g Flaked almonds
100-120g (about 8 tablespoons) Coconut Nectar or natural sweetener of choice (to taste)
4g Salt or Tamari
6g (1 tablespoon) Vanilla bean paste powder or extract
100g Cacao nibs
45g Cacao powder
12g Maca
8 Dates (soaked in boiling water for 1 minute)
20g (2 tablespoons) Coconut Oil, melted
30g (2 tablespoons) Almond butter
50g Coconut Milk Powder or Coconut Flour
1 Teaspoon Reishi Powder, optional
1 Teaspoon Chaga Powder, optional
1 Teaspoon Lucuma, optional

METHOD
Start by pulsing the nuts, including the ground almonds, and the cacao nibs in a food processor.

Once the ingredients begin to come to a fine flour consistency, add the salt, vanilla, cacao powder, maca, mushroom powders or other superfood powders if using, coconut flour, syrup of choice and almond butter and blend for another 1-2 minutes, first on a low speed, and then a higher speed for the last 30 seconds.

The mixture should begin to thicken and stick together when you pinch it between two fingers.

Next, add the dates. Remove the pits and place in a small bowl, then cover with about 1-2 inches of boiling water. Soak for just 1 minute and then squeeze gently to remove as much liquid as possible before adding to the food processor.

Blend for another 1-2 minutes on a high speed, scraping down the sides and breaking the mixture up if it forms a tight, doughy ball. In order to get the smoothest consistency, break the ball up a couple of times and blend further until you are happy with it.

To set, choose a baking tin or dish, a muffin tin or something like mini loaf tins. I scattered the bottom of my dish with cacao nibs and pressed the brownie mixture onto it. This adds a subtly crunchy base layer to the brownies. You could also add crushed nuts to make a quick, simple cheesecake variation, or you can leave them au naturale. Press the dough into your mould/s as compactly as possible. You can decorate the top with just about anything. I like using cacao powder, maca and coocnut flour to create a galactic effect, as well as chopped nuts, almond butter drizzle and, of course Qnola.

Once complete, place in the freezer to set for at least 30 minutes. Remove 5 minutes before you plan to serve / enjoy.

+ Store in the freezer for as long as you can resist eating them.

SMOOTH SWEETCORN PANCAKES

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Free, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

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.

INGREDIENTS
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 

METHOD
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.

CHICKEN SALAD

INGREDIENTS
Serves 2-4

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

Optional:
20g grated apple
20g grate kohlrabi
20g grated courgette
chopped basil optional
chopped black or orange apricots

METHOD

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.

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.

COCONUT PALM AND SALTED ALMOND DUSTED TOFFEE APPLES

Snacks, Sugar Free, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

I arrived in New York October 23rd. People were already in fancy dress. People's dogs were already in fancy dress. Halloween in the USA is no joke. It is real.

A brief timeline of my first few days in the city:

Settled into my friends apartment in East Village.
Ate at Dimes too many times. Ate at Hu Kitchen too many times.
Saw too many dogs dressed in tutu's.
Said Hola to my agents, had new digitals taken and began a marathon of castings.
Regretted bringing so many jumpers because the weather here is currently tropical.
Said goodbye to my laptop as my flatmate bathed it in lemon and ginger tea. Was forced to take a break from my usual work, so between castings and meetings, made some healthy toffee apples.

Toffee apples are everywhere right now as Fall celebrations like Halloween and Bonfire Night arrive. I was never very fond of them as a child, they were too tough to get into, and the reward for hurting teeth, cutting lips and getting sticky hands wasn't tempting enough for me. They just aren't that good. There I said it. But what I came up with in my friends apartment on the rainiest Fall afternoon, using organic coconut sugar instead of refined sugar, no dairy and the juiciest organic apples, kind of changed my mind about a few things. Particularly my opinion on toffee apples. These ones are much less sickly, much more nutritious, much more flavoursome and the coating is slightly chewy, as opposed to the solidified shards of toffee commonly found coating shop bought options. And if you're worried about people (kids) not liking a healthier version, my flatmate and her boyfriend polished these off in under 2 days, blissfully unaware of what ingredients went into them. They probably don't even know what coconut palm sugar is. So go with it, no one will know...

INGREDIENTS
makes 4-6

1 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
250ml Cold Water
1 1/4 Cups Almond or Coconut Milk
Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice - optional
4 Small - Medium Apples of choice (I used Granny Smiths)

+ You will need a selection of bamboo sticks, kebab sticks or lollipop sticks.

TOPPINGS (estimate the amount required depending on which ingredients you choose, and how much you want to coat the apples)

Chopped Salted Almonds (or any nut/seed of choice)
Golden Linseeds
Chia Seeds
Cacao Powder
Maca Powder
Chopped Cacao Nibs
Granola or Qnola

METHOD

Start by boiling the water in a medium saucepan. As it begins to boil, stir in the coconut palm sugar, and let the mixture boil on a high heat for 2-3 more minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce to a medium heat, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer here for 10-12 minutes, stirring constantly as it can stick to the pan or burn easily. Keep a close eye on it, watching it thicken, and continue to simmer until it becomes darker brown in colour, thicker and begins to reduce slightly. To test whether it is done, take a teaspoonful and rest it on a plate to cool. As it cools it should become even thicker and should be slightly tough to touch. If it is still sticky and runny, continue to simmer and allow it to thicken even more. Once you are happy with the consistency and once it begins to set more solidly, remove the pan from the heat.

Now you need to work relatively quickly as the toffee will cool rapidly. Lightly grease a plate or a baking tray with coconut oil. Take one apple at a time and insert whichever sticks you are using through the middle of it. It shouldn't go all the way through to the other side, but deep enough to ensure it won't slip out. Now, carefully tilt the sauce pan to one side, dip the apple into the toffee mixture, and turn the apple repeatedly to coat it evenly. Lift it out of the toffee and continue to turn it above the mixture, to let any excess drip off. I recommend scraping the bottom gently, to ensure it doesn't stick too much to the plate/tray that you place them on. As the toffee begins to stop dripping, place the apple on your prepare surface, and repeat with the other apples. You can either leave the apples bare like this, or roll them through the toppings of your choice. I chopped some salted almonds finely and placed them in a medium bowl, then gently rolled the apples around in the bowl until the almond dust stuck. If it is easier, you can top the apples by taking a handful of your toppings and pressing it into the toffee coating.
Once coated, or if you are leaving them bare, place the apples in the fridge to cool and set a little more, for around 1 hour. The longer you leave them, the better.

+ These will last for around 2 weeks in the fridge or in an airtight container.
+ You can also use this toffee recipe to make individual toffees. Instead of coating apples, simply allow the toffee to cool a little, and then take teaspoonfuls of the mixture and mould it into individual shapes, or fill chocolate moulds with the mixture, and set in the fridge.

HOW TO MAKE PECANS, DATES AND RAW CHOCOLATE TASTE UNHEALTHILY TO-DIE-FOR

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten free, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

One evening in July 2015, my flatmates and I found ourselves all at home at the same time, for the first time since we'd moved house. We moved in the first week of July, and because these days everyone has multiple jobs and no spare time at all, we hadn't even found time to sit and eat dinner together since moving in. However, this particular Saturday night we decided to have a wild one. We pulled together everything our fridge and cupboards had to offer, made a meal out of mismatches, dusted off my projector screen and had an old school movie marathon (featuring movies so terrible they're brilliant). We were thinking about movie snacks before we'd even decided on dinner, but what is a movie marathon without some sweet thangs? Popcorn gets stuck in your teeth and is nutritionally substandard. Chocolate - dairy/sugar/emulsifiers. Raw Chocolate - good but slightly boring. Sweets - just no, not these days. Chewy Bliss Balls / Cookie Dough Bites - chewy, sweet and salty goodness with raw chocolate. All natural, gluten, grain, dairy and sugar free, antioxidant, fibre and protein rich, and filling in a clean way. Well, that's just about the only way to christen a new home in my eyes, so thats exactly what we done.

This recipe is just the kind of recipe we all need more of. It is quick. It is seriously inexplicably delicious. And I practically made it with my eyes shut. I was concentrating on dinner, catching up with my flat mates and thinking about what films we should watch, whilst the food processor did the hard work. I also didn't measure any of the ingredients thoroughly, and chucked in whatever I could find. This recipe, although I have more or less estimated the quantities that I used, should work just fine. As long as you have the nuts and buckwheat flakes as the foundations, the dates and the coconut oil to bind and bring everything together, and the superfood powders to flavour, you'll end up with something delicious. The quantities only really alter the texture, not so much the flavour. So, if yours turn out too soft or wet, add more buckwheat flakes. If they turn out too sticky, and so stubborn they won't blend, add a little hot water. If they're too sweet, add extra lemon juice and/or salt/tamari. And if they're not sweet enough, add 1/2 or 1 date more.

In my defence of this seeming like a lazy recipe (why don't I just try it again and give you the exact measurements? Sadly, I. Don't. Have. The. Time), even if I did have exact measurements, the end result may not suit your personal tastes. This way, you can take inspiration from my recipe and work with it until you have it just the way you want it. I'm here to encourage you to create your own delicious foods, by providing you with the foundations and leaving the flavourings up to you. We're all different, and not everybody, for example, likes raw chocolate (shame on you tho). 

SALTED RAW CHOCOLATE CHIP & PECAN COOKIE DOUGH BITES

INGREDIENTS
100g Pecan Nuts
2 Tablespoons Desiccated Coconut
200g Buckwheat Flakes
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (room temp
1/2 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
Tamari
6 Medjool Dates
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice or Zest
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Hot Water - if needed to help things blend
½ Tablespoon Lucuma Powder
1 Teaspoon Maca Powder
1/2 Cup Raw Chocolate (I like Ombar), chopped

METHOD
Start by blending the nuts into a flour - usually takes around 1 full minute. Then add the buckwheat flakes and blend for another 30 seconds. Next, add the dates (halved), then the rest of the ingredients, apart from the raw chocolate. When fully combined and dough-like, transfer to a bowl and stir in the raw chocolate, kneading with you hands to combine (work quickly so the chocolate doesn't melt). Break the mixture into small chunks, roll into balls, flatten into bar shapes, or roll out gently and cut with shaped cutters to make raw cookies. Arrange on a baking tray or a plate and place in the freezer. Leave for 30 minutes, to 1 hour and remove 5 minutes before enjoying. I like mine straight from the freezer, and as they melt they become a fudgey consistency. If you prefer yours softer, leave them out for 10-15 minutes before enjoying. I'm sure you can work it out.

+ If yours seem too oily, wet, sticky, salty, sweet or lumpy, see above for directions.

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.

CHERRY JAM AND CASHEW CUSTARD TARTLETS

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Recipe, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment
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I've been enjoying (term used loosely) a month of 'firsts' this June. The first time I've broken my left arm and, thus, the first time I've been in a cast for 6 weeks. The first time I've lived alone (peaceful but boring). The first time I've lived in West London. And I think (somehow!?), the first time I've ever used cherries in a recipe on here. It's all been wild, but it got even better with the impulsive bake that I got on last weekend. The results of which are detailed below.

It's hard for me to write this recipe. I feel I am selling it short, and that just one filling recipe for these DELICIOUS GLUTEN FREE TARTLETS isn't enough and just do them justice. Instead, I'll call it a suggestion. The rest is up to you.

As you think about all the ways in which you can fill your tartlets (of which there are many), you may also be interested in all the good that they're about to do you. Without any white flour, gluten, wheat, dairy or refined sugar, they are total do-gooders in the world of food/health/wellbeing/loving your bod, but also - above all else and the reason you're really here - flavour. They also embrace the seasonal showstoppers that are cherries. High in antioxidants, juicy but not-too-sweet sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals - it's obvious as to why the expression is 'cherry on top' and as opposed to any other fruit. 

My filling choice was dictated by two things. Seasonal produce, and all I accumulated in a minesweep of my parents kitchen (since waiting over a month to move in to our new apartment which is totally worth the wait, I am now completely the last leg of this couch surfing summer back home in Bath). The pastry was easy and honestly, if you only make part of this recipe, make sure it's the base. You can make it into biscuits for a quick snack, or into empty tartlet cases to enjoy with something as quick and simple as fresh berries. The cashew custard layer is even easier and contains just two simple steps - filling the blender, and operating the blender. And the cherry jam/coulis can be done simultaneously, whilst you work on the other parts of the recipe. 

.  OTHER FILLING SUGGESTIONS  .
Avocado Cacao Ganache
Chia Berry Jam
Salted Caramel
Coconut Cream
Honey & Tamari cover nuts and seeds

INGREDIENTS
(makes 10-12)
50g Coconut Oil
80g Buckwheat Flour
80g Ground Almonds
25g Coconut Palm Sugar
8g Arrowroot
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
35g Cold Water

METHOD
Preheat oven to 160c and lightly grease a muffin tray.
Start by whisking the dry ingredients (flour, ground almonds, coconut palm sugar, arrowroot and salt) together in a medium mixing bowl. Next add the melted coconut oil, stirring in with a wooden spoon. Once combined, gradually add the water. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface or some baking paper, at about 2cm thick. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

When you remove it from the fridge, roll it out onto a freshly floured surface, to become no thicker than 3mm. Cut, using a knife or your own cutters (i used basic round cutters). Place each circle into each hole of your muffin tin. Bake for 15-18 more minutes, checking halfway through. If one side is browning quicker, turn the tray around. 

Leave to cool before filling.

FOR THE CASHEW CUSTARD
(fills 12 - with some leftover to serve on the side)
1 cup cashews, soaked
1/3 cup cold water (or nut milk)
1 teaspoon honey or agave
vanilla
optional – ginger, rose, lemon, orange, mango, lime

METHOD
Simply add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend on a high speed for 2-3 minutes. Add a little more water if it is having difficulty blending, depending on the strength of your blender. Make sure it is as smooth as possible before filling your tartlet bases.

FOR THE CHERRY JAM
(fills 12 tartlets)
250g Fresh Cherries
½ Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

METHOD
De-seed the cherries and chop or tear with your hands. Place in a saucepan with the lemon juice and water. Bring to the boil and then simmer over a medium heat. As they begin to soften, add the chia seeds and stir to combine. If the chia seeds absorb the water too quickly, add a few extra tablespoons of water. Simmer until entirely soft.

.  TO ASSEMBLE  .
Take your cooked tartlet bases and fill them with the cashew cream. It doesn't matter which order you fill them in, you can start with the jam if you prefer. Repeat for each tartlet. Place in the fridge to keep cool (this will also make the custard thicken and set a little - making it richer), or serve immediately.

ALMOND, SWEET POTATO AND ROSEMARY FOCACCIA

Snacks, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Gluten free, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle copperman1 Comment

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 since cutting wheat and gluten and generally unhelpful ingredients out of my diet. I always enjoy the challenge of making something I love without using any of the main ingredients usually involved. Eton Mess without meringue was a tough one. Raw Rolo's was just ingenious and much simpler than it might seem. And bread has actually proven tastier when made completely 'not right'. In baking, there are a lot of rules, backed by a lot of science. Things must rise, things must proof, things must have specific consistencies and textures. That is according to proper chefs (I still don't class myself as a proper chef as I thrive off improvisation and hope rather than actual skill and years of practice). But in my kind of cooking, it's not about making something exactly right. It's merely about making something healthy, taste just as good, if not better than the unhealthier version of itself. And dare I say, I almost always succeed. Things may not have exactly the correct properties, but as long as they taste good, nourish from within and fill a gap where something we previously adored used to be, then thats all that matters.

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
3 Eggs
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.

RECIPELESS | THE FOUNDATIONS OF A GOOD PESTO

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

 

LEMON, ACAI, BEETROOT AND BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle copperman3 Comments
 PHOTO CREDIT: RITA PLATTS / LOUIE WALLER

PHOTO CREDIT: RITA PLATTS / LOUIE WALLER

Here's one for the weekend. There is no day more fitting than a Sunday, to upload a recipe dedicated to cheesecake. A healthy, raw, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, grain free, and dangerously nourishing cheesecake, to be exact. 

This cheesecake is too good for words, and when I try to describe it to someone it comes out more in some kind of expressive facial dance combined with approving noises. There's really no way for me to put it into words. You won't understand until you've tried it yourself.

I recently met Rita and Louie through Rita's agent, who was interested in setting us up as three innocent girls with an unconditional love of good food, styling food and photographing food. Needless to say, we got on extremely well and spent an entire day positioning crumbs strategically, and eating enough cheesecake/eton mess/savoury muffins (recipes to follow) to feed an entire picnic party. It was a good day.

Since it's Sunday, you might be planning to spend the evening preparing food for the week ahead. You might be soaking some quinoa, making chia seed pudding to store in the fridge, or batch cooking stews or curries to chill or freeze, to have on hand as an instant meal for when you're short of time. I think this weekend, though, you should ignore your structured schedule, soak some cashews, de-flesh a coconut and concentrate on preparing to make this tomorrow. (It requires about 2 minutes to whack open a coconut and pour some water over a few handfuls of cashews, so if you are really serious about your week ahead, you could easily do this as well as prepping your usual meals). 

This recipe doesn't require any cooking, so once the prep is prepped, its a pretty easy and instant process from there. The food processor and blender will do the hard work for you (i remember making cheesecakes when i was younger, bashing away with a rolling pin for what seemed like hours, to crush a packet of digestive biscuits into a suitable base). The hardest part about this recipe is waiting for the cheesecake to set, but if you pre-occupy yourself with licking the blender clean, you'll hardly notice the time pass.

The base is made from nuts, coconut and dates, and is naturally sweet. As it sets in the freezer it develops into a crunchy, biscuity texture, which is hard to believe when it is in its blended phase. The fillings' main components are soaked cashews and coconut flesh. The two ingredients combine perfectly together to create a rich, creamy, mousse-life consistency. The coconut flesh adds some kind of airy bounce to the texture, whilst the cashews make it creamy and thick. Free from dairy, rich in protein, healthy fats and antioxidants and bursting with fresh, natural, vibrant colours and flavours, there is really nothing to stop you from making this.

+ If you have a nut allergy, try making the base with buckwheat groats, sunflower and hemp seeds, and the filling with coconut flesh, pine nuts (actually a seed, safe for most people with nut allergies) and solid coconut milk or the flesh from 1 avocado.

RAW BISCUIT BASE

INGREDIENTS
(makes one large cheesecake. If you have any left over, use it to top the cheesecake, or to make a few miniature ones)

1 Cup Raw Almonds
60g Desiccated Coconut
50g Raw Cashews
200g Medjool Dates
1 Large Handful Walnuts
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract/Bean Paste/Fresh Seeds
Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon - optional
1/2 Cup Toasted or Activated Buckwheat Groats - optional (adds an amazing extra crunch to the base)

METHOD

Place the desiccated coconut, buckwheat groats (if using), almonds, cashews and walnuts into a food processor, and pulse on a high speed for 1 minute, until they break down into a flour consistency with some small chunks. Add the dates, vanilla, salt, coconut and zest, if using, and pulse for a further 1-2 minutes.

+ With the coconut oil, melted or room temperature will both work. If you are using room temperature, though, concentrate on scraping thin layers of it into the food processor, rather than adding great big chunks, as this will encourage the mixture to blend more smoothly and easily.

Once the mixture has become almost dough like, but still a little crumbly looking, transfer it into a dish (can be round or rectangular, or you can even use individual miniature moulds). Spread the mixture around evenly, then use the back of a spoon or your bare hands to press the mixture firmly into the base of the tin. Make sure the mixture reaches the sides, and make it as compact as possible to ensure the finished cheesecake won't crumble and break. As you flatten it, it will begin to look more like a conventional cheesecake base.

Place in the freezer whilst you prepare the fillings.

ACAI, BEETROOT AND BLUEBERRY LAYER

INGREDIENTS
(makes one large cheesecake. If you have any left over, use it to top the cheesecake, or to make a few miniature ones)

1 Cup Coconut Flesh (If you can't get hold of this, you can work without it, but it creates the perfect texture)
2 Cups Cashew Nuts, soaked for at least 2-4 hours, preferably all day or overnight
1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
3/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract/Bean Paste/Fresh Seeds
2-4 Tablespoons Agave, or natural sweetener of choice (to taste)
120g Fresh Blueberries - not frozen
2 Tablespoons Acai Powder
2 Tablespoons Beetroot Powder (can also use grated beetroot if you don't have the powder - or omit the beetroot altogether)

+ You can also experiment with flavours here, using unsulphured apricots, fresh mango, lime juice, avocado or goji berries instead of blueberries. 

METHOD
(Allow about 45 minutes setting time, or leave in the freezer until ready to serve and transfer to the fridge 20-30 minutes before serving).

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend for 2-3 minutes. Use a tamper if you have one, to help the mixture to blend. Add a little more coconut oil or nut milk if the mixture is too thick and lumpy. Scrape down the sides after 3 minutes, and blend for a further 1-2 minutes on the highest speed of your blender, until the mixture is entirely smooth. It should resemble the consistency of custard or creme fraiche. 

Once smooth, pour the mixture over your prepared base. You can mix in some chopped fresh berries or goji berries, or simply lay some chopped berries/fruit along the base before covering with the mixture. Make sure you leave enough room for the top layer.

If you want to make a 3 layered cheesecake, return to the freezer and proceed with the top layer. If you want the make a marbled affect cheesecake, don't place this layer in the freezer. Set aside whilst you prepare the top layer.

LEMON CREAM LAYER

1 Cup Coconut Flesh (If you can't get hold of this, you can work without it, or try using 1 cup solid coconut milk instead)
2 Cups Cashew Nuts, soaked for at least 2-4 hours, preferably all day or overnight
1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
3/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract/Bean Paste/Fresh Seeds
2-4 Tablespoons Agave, or natural sweetener of choice (to taste)
Juice of 3 Fresh Lemons

METHOD
(Allow about 45 minutes setting time, or leave in the freezer until ready to serve and transfer to the fridge 20-30 minutes before serving).

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend for 2-3 minutes. Use a tamper if you have one, to help the mixture to blend. Add a little more coconut oil or nut milk if the mixture is too thick and lumpy. Scrape down the sides after 3 minutes, and blend for a further 1-2 minutes on the highest speed of your blender, until the mixture is entirely smooth. It should resemble the consistency of custard or creme fraiche. 

If you are making a 3 layered cheesecake, remove the cheesecake from the freezer and pour this top layer over the berry layer. Return to the freezer and allow to set for at least 45 minutes. 

If you are making a marbled affect cheesecake, pour this mixture on top of the berry layer, ensuring you cover the berry layer entirely, and reach the edges of the tin/dish. Then, use a teaspoon to gently swirl and spread the mixtures into each other. Be careful not to smudge or spread or stir too much, or you will just end up with a pale purple cheesecake, which will still taste delicious but won't look as fun. Make small, gentle movements and don't over do it.

Return to the freezer and set for at least 45 minutes. You can store the cheesecake in the freezer until you are ready to eat it, and transfer it to the fridge 30 minutes before serving, to allow it to soften slightly.

+ Store in the freezer for months, before or after serving. You can make it in advance and store it before a big event, or simply keep any leftovers in the freezer, so as not to waste any.

SILKY SMOOTH MANGO AND COCONUT FLESH YOGHURT

Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

This recipe is something special. I'll admit now that if its yoghurt you came for, you won't be satisfied with this post. This kind of yoghurt is no usual kind of yoghurt. It is creamier. It is tastier. It is dairy free. It is quick to make. It is easy to make. It is not a massive palaver to make. And it is D-licious. Unlike conventional homemade yoghurts, this recipe doesn't require a yoghurt making machine, nor does it demand that you sit, wait and watch for hours, monitoring and altering temperatures as the yoghurt develops the perfect live cultures and probiotics. Although these probiotics and doses of good bacteria are incredibly good for you and your gut, many processed, shop-bought yoghurts contain additives, chemicals, sugars, flavourings and emulsifiers. That is one reason why I prefer to make nut yoghurts instead. The other reason is because they taste almost too good to be true..

For anyone who is trying to cut dairy out of their diet, but who is bored of coconut yoghurt or fed up of nut milks, a nut-based yoghurt like this is the perfect option. Nut yoghurts are creamier, thicker and more fulfilling than normal yoghurts. I don't eat dairy because I personally feel more tired when I do, and notice a considerable difference in the condition of my skin too. This kind of yoghurt is high in protein and healthy fats, which means it keeps you feeling full of energy for longer, and also contributes to healthy cellular activity, skin, hair and nails. This recipe is incredibly quick, easy and stress and mess free. It makes a perfect breakfast either on its own or with toppings (see below for suggestions) and also makes a brilliant dessert, similar to a mousse or a cold custardy pudding. It requires only a few ingredients, and it is one of my favourite things to make if I have fruit that's on it's last legs. The riper the mango, the better this recipe will turn out as it blends much more smoothly and is generally juicier. You can also try using banana, stewed apple, normal or blood oranges or other fleshy fruits like melon, in place of the mango. You can even increase the quantity of liquid you use too, if you want to make more of a smoothie or pouring yoghurt for cereal or fruit. Go bloody nuts with it.

+ Retrieve the coconut flesh from the coconut the evening before, and soak the cashews whilst you sleep, so that when you wake up bleary eyed, you can leave the hard work to the blender.

+ Make a large batch and store it in the fridge for up to 1 week. This makes the perfect instant grab & go breakfast, and also travels well if you want to take it in a container to work.
 


INGREDIENTS
(makes 2 portions)

The Flesh from 1 Young Thai Coconut
1/2 Ripe Mango

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Fresh Vanilla Seeds
3 Tablespoons Coconut Water or Nut Milk
Pinch of Salt
1 Large Handful Soaked Cashew Nuts
1 Tablespoon Melted Coconut Oil


METHOD
 Simply place the cashews into your blender along with your liquid of choice, and blend on a high speed for 2 minutes. With the blender still running, gradually add the coconut oil. Add a little more coconut water or nut milk if the mixture needs help running smoothly, then chop the mango and scrape the flesh from around the stone and add to the blender, along with the remaining ingredients. Blend for a further 2-3 minutes, adding more liquid if you think it requires it (this really depends on how thick or runny you'd prefer the finished product).

Once smooth, pour into a bowl or some tuppaware/a jar to store in the fridge.  

+ Serve with poppy seeds, chia seeds, Qnola (Beetroot or Ginger create amazing flavours and add the perfect texture) chopped nuts, fresh berries or fruit (more coconut flesh or mango works well).