December 21, 2015

Star-Topped Mince Pies

there's only four more sleeps 'til Christmas, but I'm not counting... The smell of pine and wood fires, the feeling of cosy knitted socks and the sound of sprightly festive tunes played on many a repetition can only mean one thing: Christmas is here. And Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the taste of warming mulled wine, sparkling prosecco and a copious amount of mince pies. I kid you not when I say you can't just eat one of these. And Santa might want a little more left at the bottom of the chimney this year; after all, he's travelled all this way. 

This is by far, my absolute favourite recipe. Though I'm intrigued to try new and unusual variations on the classic mince pie (frangipane is my next adventure), Nigella's recipe wins hands down. Less is definitely more and when you have the most crumbly, mouth-watering, Christmassy bitesize mouthful to devour, there needn't be a thickly clad coat of pastry and a bubbling dam-bursting overflow of sweet mincemeat inside. Go gently and you'll be rewarded. 

With the last minute panic of Christmas shopping and food planning galore, decorations and a flurry of cards through the letterbox, it can be overwhelming to even consider home-baking mince pies. However, there's certainly no excuse for not having mince pies over the festive season (don't you dare buy store-bought varieties, it is a crime against Christmas!!) and this recipe will not only put you in jubilant spirit, but it can be done in a matter of minutes (ok, maybe a little longer) if you purchase some good-quality mincemeat as opposed to making your own. It's by far the best thing to indulge in over the holidays. 


December 05, 2015

Chocolate and Hazelnut Granola

nutella used to be my favourite treat as a child; slathered onto sandwiches cut length-ways or spooned, glossy, mountain-like, into my mouth straight from the jar. I've come to learn that having a hearty breakfast in the morning can begin your day with triumph and leave you bouncing with energy for the few hours to see you through to elevenses. Nutella, unfortunately, isn't one of them. As they say, breakfast should be eaten like a King (or Queen in my case) and I honestly believe that if you kick off in the right fashion, the rest of your day with follow suit. 

A healthy breakfast needn't be boring - you just have to open your mind to the endless mouth-watering possibilities there are. Recently, I have not been so inventive when it comes to the first meal of my day yet when your days are as choc-full of endless to-do lists, these are the times breakfast should take precedence. 

I hate to break it to you, but this recipe is no Nutella. However, it does add decadence to the mundane morning routine. The honey and cinnamon take the bitter edge off the warming cocoa powder and a pinch of salt ties up the sweetness and balances the flavours. Add in some roasted chopped hazelnuts, full of protein and some slow-release carbohydrates and you're on to a winner! Serve with sliced banana and fresh cold milk. 


November 21, 2015

Apple Crumble Tart with Salted Butterscotch Sauce
feeling autumnal? The cold's setting in and the leaves are delicately dropping from their boughs, falling in crunchy golden-orange piles upon the (almost) frosty ground. This time of year brings about visions of hot log fires, marshmallows melting, gooey and sticky, and brisk walks in the woods. But most of all, when you come home from a long day or a stroll in the fresh, crisp air, you want to indulge entirely and wholesomely in a comforting pie or tart - and that's where the classic British apple crumble takes a twist for the season.

Served with gooey, warm, butterscotch sauce and a buttery biscuit base (yes, I said it!), I can assure you that in one sitting, more than two slices each of this crumble tart will be devoured. And if you're feeling naughty, a spoonful of the butterscotch when no-one's looking is heavenly. Shh, no-one has to know!

When making the pastry, which simply melts in your mouth, lace it with citrus and vanilla, flavours that'll both warm and awaken the senses and when cooking the apples, be sure to dust over Christmassy spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. The muscavado sugar in this recipe makes for a rich caramel sweetness and the oaty topping adds crunch. Well, you're in for a treat. Take a look at my recipe for a winter warmer that'll be just perfect for this weekend below.


November 02, 2015

Nana Nice Cream

if you're anything like me and can't stand the sight and smell of a banana that's turning, then there are more ways than one you can use them for something delicious. I have always been one to enjoy a good banana bread, packed full of nuts and moisture; perfect scoffed with a cup of tea or toasted and lathered with butter. Yet, sometimes a loaf can be too heavy, too bread-y for the belly to stomach and so instead of throwing the bunch in the compost, use it for a fresh wake-up call the next morning.

For anyone who has a dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian diet, this one’s for you! A creamy, sweet and refreshing snack, dessert or breakfast delight that is quick to put together before you start your day, it's no wonder nana nice cream has become a substitute for frozen yoghurt and indulgent, rich Ben & Jerry's (though I can't deny that Friday nights in with a chick-flick pair nicely with this comforting companion). I used a Nutribullet to prepare my nice cream this morning, but a hand-held whizzer or food processor would do the job just as well. Peel your bananas as soon as they start to brown, slice them up and place in the freezer. Then, when you fancy, they’ll be ready to throw in the whizzer with a few added ingredients to start your day full of nutrients and goodness.

This is always best eaten as soon as it’s whizzed up – just add nuts, cacao nibs, chia seeds, honey, coconut, granola or any other toppings of your choice! 


November 01, 2015

Green Monster Smoothie

yesterday was fright night! And a day for injecting my body with a little TLC. As I crawled, zombified, from my bed, I decided that it was time for a little green monster smoothie to nourish my insides and get me back on the road to healthy eating pre-Christmas binge. Recently, kiwi and I have been best friends: sliced atop Greek yoghurt, scooped from it's hairy coat with a spoon and whizzed to a pulp in my most recent potion: a simple breakfast smoothie that'll get some goodness in you. 

I included a tablespoon of spirulina to add a burst of protein, much to my sister's disgust when she found out it was a blue-green form of pond algae. No complaints though. This went down without a grimace whatsoever. And luckily we didn't turn into pumpkins! 


October 17, 2015

Buckwheat Spiced Porridge with Cacao, Peanut Butter and Strawberries

i bought a coconut in Covent Garden, ready for cracking into this morning to re-hydrate and re-fuel so I was ready for the day ahead. The corkscrew came out, as did the screwdriver (which I have previously given myself a black eye with), but try as I might, I could not get into that coconut. I even joked that we might need the power saw. So this morning's foodie encounter had to be, much to my dismay, different. Saying that, I made something that almost everyone can enjoy without the guilt!

Both gluten free and vegan, this buckwheat bowl was spiced with cinnamon and ginger, laced with cacao coconut oil and drizzled with peanut butter and agave syrup. Add a sprinkle of quinoa pops, cacao nibs and chia seeds, plus a scatter of strawberries and you have by far one of the most indulgent but yet considerably healthy breakfasts on the planet. 
It takes a bit of planning and a few special ingredients but it definitely makes breakfast more exciting. Waking up to a little bit of deliciousness every morning certainly starts your day in a positive way and that, is the only way to start. 

Buckwheat is not wheat related but rather a plant based superfood that is rich in complex carbohydrates. It can be used in granola or sprinkled upon yoghurt to give some crunch, even ground to a flour for use in cakes and desserts. However, I soaked mine overnight in water, drained and rinsed it in the morning and whizzed it up with some almond milk, spices and maple syrup as an alternative to my usual porridge oats. 

If only I had my coconut water to go with it.


October 10, 2015

Orange, Carrot & Ginger Juice
Brie, Bacon and Fig Toast

sometimes it's easy to get carried away; overindulge and pull out all the stops for a breakfast that is decisively mouth-watering, entirely comforting and given a good kick with a freshly squeezed juice. 

The man flu descended upon our household this week. In full force, may I add. After five full days of what appeared to be Hurricane Avent, action had to be taken. With a supermarket sweep of hot ginger, tangy orange and bright crunchy carrots, I rustled up a round of fresh juice to pump in the Vitamin C and to both energise and clear congestion. For someone that is not a raw juice man, this went down like a spoonful of sugar. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and you have yourself a remedy to really sweat it out your system. Sounds delightful...

Being a Saturday morning, there were no excuses for an indulgent brunch, especially for said man and since the inside of my handbag had now adopted a strong whiff of creamy brie, it had to be eaten quickly so that it didn't waft it's cheesiness elsewhere. I can't complain except that walking down the street I now smell like Neal's Yard Dairy. With the bacon under the grill and the bread in the toaster, I readied my platter with sliced fig, oozing brie and a little butter. 

Add your favourite coffee, weekend papers and jovial company for the perfect start to a beautiful weekend ahead.


October 08, 2015

Coconut Chia Pudding with Passion Fruit Coulis

thursday is the new Friday, in my breakfast books anyway. When Wednesday has passed and we're on the home run, so very very close to the end of the working week, there's one day in between that we should really make the most of and this morning, I certainly made it worth getting out of bed for. 

I always have good intentions: positive thoughts, optimism brewing from within when I tell myself, "I will go to the gym tomorrow morning before work", but soon enough my alarm goes off and the willpower required to hop, skip and a-jump out of bed, tug on my gym leggings and grab a shake to keep me fueled up 'til lunch is near to nonexistent. And before I know it, I'm hitting the snooze button. Someone, please, tell me the secret! I'm an early bird; a lark up at the crack of dawn, even at weekends and cake-laden before most have bat an eyelid to the gentle rise of dawn. So why is it, waking a little earlier on a weekday is such a struggle? This morning was one of those mornings.

Peeling myself wearily from bed, I suddenly remembered what goodness awaited me in the fridge. Simple, unadulterated bliss. The iridescent glow that radiated from my face (predominantly from the gleam of fridge light interior) gave me away as a stream of human robots greeted me good morning in the kitchen, their eyes clocking on to the jars of sweet passion fruit pudding. It's a good job I made enough for four. Prepared the night before, when everyone was sleeping, this took minutes to throw together and looks so pretty, it's the ultimate petit dej to awaken the senses and brighten the beginning of your day. 

A mélange of tropical goodness, this creamy chia pudding is topped with passion fruit coulis and coconut shavings to give it a distinct flavour and rich aroma. With just six ingredients, it's a decadent quick-fix to slip in to your morning routine: Hawaii in a jar. 


October 03, 2015

Ginger, Lemon and Coconut Crunch Slice

when life gives you lemons, make a lemon tray bake (or a Gin & Tonic as the saying goes). However, on this day in particular, life was not giving me lemons, nor was it giving me a Gin & Tonic. I was mildly sedated on my sofa at home. Being cooped up all day is no fun at all... Even if the rain was cascading down the window panes and the wind was howling, whipping tree branches in all directions, leaves being plucked from boughs in successive motion, I didn't want to be here. I sometimes wish that I could be tucked under woollen blankets, with a roaring fire, marshmallows on sticks, oozing their sticky sugary gooey-ness into the flames and a mug of hot chocolate at my side to keep me warm when the weather is so atrocious outside. But this is England. And although these creature comforts can so easily be arranged, today was not one of those days.

To my dismay, I was stuck. Stuck at home, with nothing but sleep and tea to comfort me. I was, unfortunately, unable to make it out the house due to an ongoing injury that had left me bed-bound for a few days and so with withdrawal symptoms of the outside world, I gathered some baking books and settled down to draw inspiration for a much needed weekend bake (in between episodes of drowsy consciousness and torpid sleep). Not only that, but I could feel a cold coming on; a full on beast that I am point blanc refusing to give in to. 

Lemsip and Night Nurse might be the quick fix, but I've always preferred to tackle colds in a more natural way: essential oils, lemon, ginger and honey tea and of course, a good steam. But who could resist something just a little more delectable. Something to tickle the taste buds in a way that Strepsils can't. This might not cure your cold, however it'll lift your mood and give you a little pi-zang of energy that no over-the-counter medication can.

So, when the weekend finally rolled round - I made these.


September 16, 2015

Baked Eggs with Chorizo and Feta Cheese
baked eggs were unquestionable for a weekend brunch. I just can't resist a good egg at the weekend; whether that be boiled, fried, scrambled, poached or in this instance, baked. A somewhat indulgent breakfast that will take you a little longer to concoct, this recipe warms up the chilliest of days and makes you feel as if you're dining in a newfound brasserie from the comfort of your dining room. 

With a stick of chorizo in the fridge and a block of feta cheese, this mission was a no-brainer. The recipe also calls for spinach, but this is the one thing I cannot eat and so I've left this out purely for personal taste (I'll include it in the recipe for those of you who eat it like Popeye!). 

Having something warm for breakfast other than a fry-up or porridge intrigued me. Ok, so french toast and pancakes are pretty damn good too but this was just a little different. It takes a bit of prep and if your belly's rumbling, the wait is undeniably a test of endurance. However, for those that like a good "dippy egg", this pan-baked indulgence satisfies those needs with the eggs nestled delicately between the creamy, cheesy mishmash. 

No breakfast is complete without a good cup of Joe and freshly squeezed orange juice, so whilst this is baking in the oven, get your beverages ready and your sourdough in the toaster.


September 07, 2015

Fig, Hazelnut and Chia Breakfast Bowl

wake up to a bowl of Monday morning but, no ordinary Monday morning. One that will make Monday marvellous, make it magnificent, magical and moreover, worth jumping out of bed for! Sometimes it takes a little more to face Mondays but I promise you that if you have a delicious breakfast to prepare, that's quick to throw together, that 6am wake up call won't feel so bad after all.

I like to mix up my breakfasts so I don't get bored and this was a little delight to put together, let alone eat. I went into Waitrose this weekend in search of some passion fruit and came out with figs, so I had to find something creative to do with this gorgeous fruit. My daily breakfast fuel usually consists of plain Greek yoghurt which fills me up til elevenses and as I had a bag of hazelnuts in the cupboard to replace my standard toasted almonds, whipping breakfast together in next to no time was pretty straightforward. 

So next time, when you don't want to pull the covers from your face and the snooze button seems in easy reach, remember to embrace Mondays instead with a wholesome healthy breakfast.


August 31, 2015

Boozy Mascarpone Marble Cake

rainy days are for staying inside, curled up on the sofa with homemade cake and a cup of tea in hand whilst you enjoy your favourite novel or classic movie on the set. Blankets are highly recommended but cosy jumpers and oversized scarfs will do just fine and a dash of warming liqueur would slip down quite nicely too in fact. The rain last night was relentless, battering the window panes and hammering upon the roof so loud that the usual delicate pitter-patter that would so occasionally soothe me to sleep was long forgotten in my startled slumber. Not to mention the fuse blowing so I was creeping around in candlelight, toes cold numb on the tiled floors. I'd like to think that this was quite exciting, however ensuring that the contents of your fridge-freezer were still edible by morning (mainly for a highly-coveted cake creation) was a feat in itself. 

However, we made it through the storm and so over peanut butter on toast (of course!), I pulled out my stash of baking books to inspire today's bake. Carrot cake, hummingbird cake, walnut loaf, banana bread; I just didn't feel like any of it and besides in this weather, tea was an essential requirement to pep me up. Earl grey tea and honey loaf - perfect, except you had to soak the tea and honey overnight for which I did not have time for (this bake will happen soon though)! So I came across a recipe that fit the bill but that I fancied alternating just slightly to make it that little more exciting for a bank holiday Monday. 

It had been an absolute age since I last made a marble cake and although I went for the traditional "chocolate and vanilla" batter mix, a slip of the hand and in fell the Baileys...whoops! So here's my take on what I like to call my "Boozy Mascarpone Marble Cake". Adding mascarpone gives the batter a rich and indulgent flavour that you'll need on a day like today. I'd give it a whirl if I were you.


August 29, 2015

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies with Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunks
dreams are made of peanut butter, salted caramel and chocolate. Marshmallows and candy floss can take a day off - they are overrated anyway. I had wanted to make these refined sugar and gluten free cookies for so long, I thought the day may never come. The quest for falling upon the ultimate organic salted caramel chocolate was, well, near impossible here in the UK and so I trawled the internet, the likes of Holland & Barratt, Planet Organic, Wholefoods, independent delicatessens and raided cupboards in sheer desperation for the holy grail of raw sweet goodness. And eventually, when I came across something remotely similar to what the recipe called for, I pounced.

Now, I feel like I'm cheating you if I tell you these are "healthy". Though the recipe calls for sugar-substitutes, we are still using chocolate, albeit containing high-quality cacao and organically certified ingredients. So even though these are the better-for-your-belly alternative to your regular Dairy Milk, remember that willpower is required to prevent you from scoffing the lot. Really? Us? Eat the lot? Ha!

Recently, I fell off the exercise/healthy-eating band wagon and I feel awful for it. But I think I full on face-planted for these cookies. It's going to take me a while to pick myself off the floor, let's be honest here. Three of my favourite things jumbled into one mouthful of yum, how could i say no? They take next to no time to make, you just need to take a trip to your local wholefoods store for a few kitchen-cupboard basics. You'll pay a little extra for some of the refined ingredients, but believe me, they will last you! 

So, what are you waiting for? 


August 24, 2015

Peanut Butter

spread the love! I'm talking the love for peanut butter; that delicious i-could-eat-you-absolutely-anywhere spread. The please-don't-compare-me-to-marmite sort of spread. I mean, how could you when it's entirely irresistible?! AND there is absolutely nothing to hate whatsoever!? 

I recently asked my Dad to purchase some peanut butter in the weekly shop and was shocked to discover that he had committed the number one crime, an absolute sin to peanut butter lovers. He bought Sunpat. GASP. Yes, with all those E numbers and artificial flavourings. How could he... Now, I have to say I'm rather picky when it comes to my peanut butter, but who in their right mind would eat Sunpat on toast?

If you're going to eat peanut butter, you have to do it right. Peanuts and salt. That's literally it. An American told me just that in fact and we have been sharing recommendations across our desks at work for the last nine months now. At 4pm daily, the waft of peanuts fills the office from our desks and we have a banana and rice cakes at the ready to fuel our bodies for our evening gym sessions. Packed with protein, peanut butter is a hidden gem. However, it is also packed with saturated fat so moderation is key! Difficult I know when this stuff is addictive. 

This recipe is a slight variation on peanuts and salt but I like to think of it as an indulgence rather than an everyday afternoon snack. Save it for the weekends, when, as you throw open the garden doors and have your newspaper tucked under one arm, you can enjoy the last of the summer whilst eating your toast and peanut butter. Pure and utter satisfaction.


August 10, 2015

Cherry, Almond and Yoghurt-Topped Toast

just when you thought breakfast couldn't get any better, along came the crème de la crème of weekend delectables... with a cherry on top (literally)! I kid you not, this was DIVINE. Sacrificing my much-loved working week breakfast favourite of yoghurt, blueberries, honey and almonds, I constructed something so glossy and irresistible that many wouldn't dare combine: toast and yoghurt. Toast and yoghurt? Yes, that's right - an entirely odd (yet entirely delicious) amalgamation of what should, in most people's minds, be two separate morning dishes.

When I was younger, one of my favourite books was The Very Hungry Caterpillar. A classic children's novel, I know. And that caterpillar ate everything. "On Saturday, he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice-cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake, and one slice of watermelon." (Carle, Eric. 1969. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. UK: Hamish Hamilton.) Now I may not have eaten as much as him, but if the very hungry caterpillar liked cherries, then I was sure I would too. Trips to the local grocers became ever more frequent as I begged my parents to buy two, then four, then six pounds of cherries on each subsequent outing, most of the bag disappearing before we'd even reached the front door. 

So when once again, we had cherries in the house, I made sure I enjoyed them as best possible. Admittedly, pitting them took a while but it made that breakfast so mouth-watering it was worth waiting for. Stick a slice of wholegrain granary bread into the toaster and toast until it's browned evenly, then stand in a toast rack until cool. This is one of my best tips for crunchy toast, otherwise it ends up soggy on your plate from the condensation. Once cool, spread Greek yoghurt on top, throw over your pitted, halved fresh cherries, drizzle with honey and scatter with toasted flaked almonds. Grab yourself your morning coffee and you're set for the day. 


May 04, 2015

Moelleux au Chocolat avec le Caramel Salé

miam! Two words: Salted Caramel. Need I say more for mouths to start watering? I have no doubt in my mind that even if it weren't for Nigella drizzled in the sugary elixir on the cover of Stylist magazine back in 2011, people would still be demolishing it in spoonfuls straight from the jar (as one friend confessed to me this weekend after I gave them a jar of my home-made caramel salé a while back). 

So, it seems, that if you add the rapturous joy of caramel to any sort of dessert, you might just get more takers than usual... I was making these for a dinner party I hosted and wanted the perfect volcanic explosion of molten chocolate-caramel lava oozing from the epicentre. If you wanted to make these a little quicker, you can buy pre-made salted caramel in lots of supermarkets which works just as well. And I must say, I had a jar in the fridge which I was tempted to use but instead I took it out only for the regular "caramel-tasting breaks" which were highly required to stop me from reaching for the home-made stuff! Be prepared for what this golden liquid will do to your usually sane mind; do not let it's trickery fool you.

If you want to whip up a dessert to impress, that's quick, easy and well, let's be honest, won't last long on your dinner table, this is the one to pick. Serve hot, straight from the oven, with a scoop of the very finest vanilla ice cream or a splash of double cream. 


April 12, 2015

Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart

rhubarb is a tough to be imaginative with at times; it's long fleshy petioles sprouting from allotment grounds at an alarming rate leave you left with plenty of crop, but a trifle less ideas. Usually I am baffled with how to use these ruby red, tall, slender stalks in my baking but the arrival of spring sunshine made me crave summer fruits in copious quantity. I am a blueberry / raspberry / strawberry / cranberry fiend so pairing them with punnets of juicy pink raspberries seemed just right alongside the blue skies and golden sunlight cascading upon the concrete blocks of London. 

The dough was super easy to make and after worrying that it might not have that delicate sweetness (that in my opinion, all "sweet" doughs should have), I secretly added a little more sugar if only to complement the sharp tartness of the rhubarb. This dessert was by and large, an alternative to the standard British crumble that we all love dearly; that we cram into our mouths even though we know that our full Sunday roast has been quite sufficient. The pudding that is "justified" by our morning runs or gym workouts; our cheat meal of the week. 

I could not wait to photograph this bake since the wonderful Prunelle Grise was kind enough to give me some beautiful French linen tea towels on my last visit, which I am exceptionally grateful for. I wanted to use all of them in one go but of course, less is more and simplicity is key... A special thanks to Madame Prunelle for these beautiful gifts! 

Without further a do, put your feet up, grab a slice of tart and relax. After all, it is the weekend. 


April 03, 2015

Feta Cheese, Pepper & Courgette Frittata

cheese will give you nightmares...or so they say! I once used to babysit a boy who, before bed, would insist upon a bedtime snack of cheese and grapes. On occasion, I would succumb to his persistant pleading; my reasoning was at least it wasn't chocolate or sweets! But every so often, I would remind him of this cheesy myth if only to deter his requests for more. If anything, he always slept better and my secret to a soundful sleep was kept up my sleeve until he'd grown old enough to look after himself.

Over the years I have become a cheese thief; sneaking a slab of brie when no-ones looking or crumbling a brilliant blue atop a hot griddled burger (adding a little extra before anyone sees!). So when all the fridge had to offer was eggs and cheese, one simple meal came to mind.

I had the ultimate pleasure of rustling up this beautifully vibrant frittata for a girl's night in. Just my sister and I on a quest to eat healthily post-gymathon. In fact, it was so delicious that we had to stop ourselves from devouring the lot in one sitting!! I served it up with an avocado, radish and cucumber salad dressed lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Good enough for lunch and dinner, serve hot or cold! The perfect colourful picnic platter for warmer days to come. If you want a healthy quick-fix of a meal, there should be no stopping you! Take a look at the recipe below...


March 18, 2015

Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Cake

oh my - this cake. Dare I say more. Flour-less, light and beyond perfection, this is the perfect dessert to marry up with a summer's day (even if we're not quite there yet!). I went a bit overboard and tried to cram all the batter into one fluted cake tin. I wouldn't recommend this... I just wanted the beautiful fluting! Much to my dismay however, we had to cut it from the tin. It tasted just as good though.

I have a thing for almonds. We go back a long way. Well, since flaked almonds became a regular in the weekly shop to top my yoghurt and blueberries in the morning for breakfast. I'd toast them, grind them, sprinkle the roasted remains from my Moulinex on top of honey drizzled yoghurt and since then we've got on like a house on fire. They're my staple snack to take to work and keep in my emergency snack tin, which seems to invoke plenty more "emergencies" than need be just so I can sneak a handful before anyone notices. Someone once told me I may have been a squirrel in a previous life. It's entirely possible. So, almonds, here we are again, making this cake entirely gluten free. 

Make this and if you blink, it might all be gone!


March 14, 2015

Morning Super-food "Granola"

porridge has sent me into the throes of breakfast creation since I can no longer face another morning of sitting down to a bowl of oaty broth (my boyfriend likes to call it "horse food") to keep me going until lunchtime. I know I shouldn't belittle my staple breakfast that really, you can do just about anything with, but my palette needs to savour something different, especially now we've approached the weekend.

Granola, on the other hand, can also get the bad press - too much sugar, too much fat (I like to remember however, that not all fat is bad for you, ahem avocados, nuts). So I really pulled this recipe back to basics. I wanted to keep all my ingredients as raw as possible so that this fell into the healthy category. I've recently used hemp plant protein in smoothies and juices to give me a little kick after a workout, but had not yet tasted the seeds themselves. Packed with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats, these little cherubs of nourishment also have a high fibre content and approximately 30g of protein per 100g. 

Don't forget the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds (pronounced chee-ah as I found out this week) and flaked almonds, toasted for that extra crunch that all you cereal lovers crave, plus a dash of cinnamon. This spice sweetens just enough to make you feel like you're gobbling a treat! And what's more, this takes five minutes to throw together. All the super-foods in this will make you superbly energetic and give you a better equipped body to start the day in the right way. Store in an airtight container and serve with smashed raspberries and Greek yoghurt or almond milk.


March 08, 2015

Egg & Soldiers

how do you like your eggs in the morning? I like mine with a kiss. Boiled or fried, I'm satisfied...as long as I get my kiss! My Sunday morning routine goes a little bit like this: wake up, run, come back and whip up a filling breakfast to keep me going right up until the Sunday roast comes out. Although this really is as simple as simple gets, it's a great staple breakfast that, done to perfection, is one of my favourites. 

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, with enough to cover the entire egg. I then use an ice cream scoop to dip my egg in and out of the water to get it used to the temperature change and avoid cracking. When you're ready to rock and roll, place your egg in the boiling water for 6mins. Grab some bread and pop it in the toaster and then serve with ground salt and pepper for dipping.

Happy Sunday everyone! 


March 07, 2015

Peanut Butter Cookies

I'm nuts about nuts. Full stop. There is nothing better in the world for snacking than a handful of roasted almonds or a spoonful of peanut butter. And what's more, this "butter" is so easy to make (check out my recipe for homemade Almond Butter), you won't want to buy store bought jars after you've tried it yourself. You simply roast your nuts (if you like that rustic flavour) and whizz them into a paste. 

Now, although us Brits haven't yet adopted the idea of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, there are still endless way to enjoy it: spread on toast and lightly mash a banana on top for a protein hit or stir into porridge in the morning as a substitute for honey. Me, sometimes I just like eating it straight from the jar...

I wanted to take this classic peanut butter cookie recipe up a notch; the brown sugar gives them an almost caramel-ly flavour and the addition of nutmeg spices things up. Even if I like mine plain, crisp and golden that shouldn't stop you dipping yours into dark chocolate and sprinkling with pulverised peanuts before demolishing them in seconds. There's nothing like feeling a little bit All-American at the weekend!


March 01, 2015

Multi-seed Banana Bread

time is never on our side I have decided; it slips too quickly through our fingers when we need it most and draws out long and hard when you really wish it would pass by in the blink of an eye. I took some time out of blogging to focus on a few other ventures in life (work, running - yes, I took this up with some training for the London Zoo 10km last September - and moreover focusing on me for a little while). I wouldn't say that's the hugest crime, right..? 

Saying that, I am now very much ready for returning to blogging and inspiring you with the bakes I fit in around my London lifestyle. This particular creation came about purely from the browning bananas in the fruit bowl. I have an inane dislike for bananas once they start to turn, much against my Dad's mutterings of "they're absolutely fine", "they won't kill you", you know the spiel... Simply put, he would eat anything unopened that's passed it's sell-by date by at least a decade.

I also wanted to add something nutritious to this bake since I'd just come back from a 15km run, so I grabbed what we had in the store cupboard: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed. Et voila! Grab a handful of each and sprinkle copiously over the top prior to placing in the oven. 

The bananas keep this loaf lovely and moist, whilst the seeds give it a little extra crunch! Enjoy toasted with a smothering of butter and a cup of tea to give you a sweet pick-me-up. Go bananas with this recipe!