Monthly Archives

January 2017

Baking

Chocolate Orange Cookies

January 31, 2017

Chocolate. Orange. Cookies. Three words that can only mean one thing…. YUMMY!

I’ve been making gluten free cookies for a while now, and each time I play around with the flavours, try new ingredients and consequently tend to devour a whole tray of them before they’ve even had chance to cool… The main reason I experiment with gluten free baking is because a friend of mine is a coeliac, and there seems to be so many below average (and extremely expensive) treats in the supermarkets that I was sure I could create something tasty, and so that’s how these cookies were born.

This recipe is also suitable for vegans, so another box ticked if you have friends that prefer sweet treats totally cruelty free!

Although these cookies are chocolate orange, I’ve also added raisins throughout the dough. The cookies become more sweet and chewy with the addition of raisins but if you’re not keen (and prefer to make them just chocolate) then substitute the raisins for extra chocolate – 50g to be precise.

You will need:

  • 150g ground almonds
  • 100g raisins
  • 30g of dark chocolate (chocolate chips work fine too)
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of orange extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of maple syrup

How to make:

Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan) and line a baking tray. In a mixing bowl add all of the dry ingredients and stir together. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup and orange extract to a pan and melt together (or pop in the microwave for 60 seconds until dissolved). Pour into the mixing bowl and stir until a sticky dough ball forms, add 1 tbsp of milk if the mix is a little dry. Using a spoon divide the mix into 8-10 balls and flatten in your hand, pop on the baking tray and bake for 15-20 mins. Leave to cool and then munch away!

Sweet

Ginger & Date Bliss balls

January 16, 2017

Bliss balls are one of my favourite sweet snacks to make, they’re simple to blend together and when dipped in melted dark chocolate… oh my! I absolutely love sweet treats and I’ve been trying to find alternative ways of getting my ‘fix’ without reaching for the sweetie jar. I know that these still contain sugar, but as they’re naturally occurring I feel that they must be healthier than the processed treats you can buy in stores – but that’s my personal view.

Dates are natures candy!

I love dates, they’re gooey, sticky and taste like caramel. The problem I find is that many recipes call for a specific variety called Medjool, which although admittedly they do taste delicious, they’re also pretty expensive compared to other varieties. The cheaper alternatives aren’t quite as sticky so can prove more difficult to use in bliss balls, however I’ve discovered a great way to get around it! Simply soak the dates in hot water for a few minutes, drain the water and they become lovely and soft which makes them ideal for blending.

Here I’ve created a ginger nut inspired recipe, dipped in dark chocolate – it makes approx 20 which can be stored in the fridge for a week or so, longer if kept in the freezer.

You will need:

  • 150g pitted dates
  • 150g of mixed nuts (I used peanuts and cashews)
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp of flaxseeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 50g of dark chocolate

How to make:

Begin by pitting the dates and removing the stones, then pop into a bowl and cover with hot water. Add the nuts to a food processor and blitz until a rough fine crumb, add the chia seeds and flaxseeds and blitz again.

Drain the water from the dates and add to the processor, tip in the spices and blend together. Keep mixing for a few minutes, scraping down the sides until combined.

Using your hands, roll into small balls (just under ping pong sized I guess!) and lay out on a baking sheet. Pop in the freezer for a few hours to harden slightly. I melted 50g of dark chocolate with a pinch of ground ginger, drizzled over the balls and popped back in the freezer.

Store in the fridge or freezer, and try not to eat them all in one go!

balls1

 

spoonful

Breakfast

Chocolate Crumble Oats

January 11, 2017

Chocolate porridge is the best! It’s sweet, warm and delicious, just what we want on cold wintery mornings (or evenings!) and a perfect way to start the day. To make this porridge extra creamy, I’ve added a spoonful of coconut butter. If you’ve never tried it, you must! Coconut butter has a rich, velvety texture that tastes creamy and is amazing spread on toast, added in smoothies or simply eaten with a spoon!

The crumble topping is really easy to make and takes this dish to another level… I like to make the crumble for all different flavours of porridge, from apple and cinnamon to mixed berry and peanut butter. If there’s any left over, simply pop into a jar and use for sprinkling on top of smoothies or yoghurt.

Heres how to make my chocolate crumble oats…

 You will need:

  • 60g of oats
  • 30g mixed nuts
  • 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp of coconut butter (I used Go Nutrition)
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 250ml of milk

How to make:

Roughly chop the nuts and add to a pan with 10g of the oats. Gently toast the oats and nuts for a few minutes, making sure to stir frequently to prevent burning. When lightly brown, spoon out of the pan and set aside to cool.

Prepare the porridge by adding the remaining ingredients to the pan, simmer for 5 minutes and keep stirring until thick and creamy. Spoon into a bowl and top with the crumble and some fresh fruit. Enjoy!

chocolate-oats-1

Savoury

Spiced Red Lentil Soup

January 10, 2017

Only the pure in heart can make a good soup – Ludwig van Beethoven

January is the time for curling up on the sofa with a big bowl of steaming hot soup, feeling warm and snuggly. It’s like central heating for the soul! As I can’t eat onions (who knew they’re in pretty much everything?!) I struggle to find any ready made soups from the supermarket as onion tends to be a staple ingredient. So I’ve started to make my own soups, and so far I’m loving the flavours.

There’s also something satisfying about making your own soup, blending it together and heating it up in a pan for lunch the next day with a few slices of warm buttered toast. It fills you up without feeling sluggish after and is a great way of sneaking in left over vegetables that may otherwise have been thrown out at the end of the week.

This soup will last in the fridge for up to 5 days, making the perfect dish to take to work, and it really couldn’t be any simpler.

Here’s how I made it…

You will need:

  • 250g of carrots (approx 2 large carrots)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 200g dried red lentils
  • 1.5 litres of stock (I used beef stock but vegetable will work great too)
  • 20g of fresh finger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper to season

How to make:

Prepare the carrots and red pepper by roughly slicing into coin sized pieces, boil the kettle to make the stock (if using a stock cube) and set a pan on a medium heat. Add the vegetables, stock and red lentils to the pan, stirring together.

Next thinly slice the garlic and ginger, and add to the pan with the rest of the spices. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes or until the carrots are soft.

Leave to cool slightly before adding to a blender (I use my NutriBullet and blend in batches) and blend until smooth, or use a hand blender in the pan whilst still warm. Serve hot with toasted bread and butter!

soup2-insta

Breakfast

Pear & Ginger Oats

January 5, 2017

Overnight oats are one of my favourite breakfasts to make, they’re so easy to mix together the night before and grab a jar of them before heading out of the door in the morning. I usually exercise at 6am and after I’ve got showered and ready for work, I simply top the oats with fresh berries and seeds and munch away while I’m sat at my desk.

There’s so many different flavour combinations that it’s no wonder overnight oats have become my staple breakfast! I like adding grated apple and cinnamon, or if I’m in a chocolate mood (more often than than not…) I’ll add a heaped teaspoon of raw cacao powder and a spoonful of peanut butter – so good!

This recipe is made with conference pears (any type will work fine though) and ground ginger for a lovely spiced  ‘gingerbread’ hint. I’ve also added chia seeds for an extra protein boost and it also creates a slightly different texture compared to just using oats alone.

You will need:

  • 45g of oats
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1 pear (peeled and grated)
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger (or 1/2 tsp if you prefer a more intense spice)
  • 1/2 tsp of maple syrup
  • 160ml of milk (I used coconut milk from a carton)
  • 1 tsp of flaxseed (optional)

Peel and grate the pear into a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and stir until completely combined. Leave in the fridge overnight and enjoy chilled for breakfast. Top with more pear, fresh fruit and a sprinkle of flaxseed.

pear-oats-insta-1

Smoothies

Beetroot & Cacao Smoothie

January 2, 2017

Oh hello 2017! January is the month when most of us decide to set new goals for the year ahead, feel more conscious to eat healthier and set aside time to become more active. A few of my aims for this year is to experiment with more flavours, ingredients and try out new things in the kitchen. So, my first recipe of 2017 is this delicious beetroot and raw cacao smoothie bowl…

It might seem like a slightly strange flavour combination, but trust me, it tastes awesome! The beetroot adds an earthy tone to the smoothie but when blended with the intense flavour of raw cacao it creates a luxurious velvety taste that’s crammed full of goodness. You can add a little more liquid if you prefer to drink it from a glass otherwise the texture will be more like soft scoop ice-cream, yum!

You will need:

  • 100g of cooked beetroot (in natural juices) – I used the vacuum packed beetroot
  • 1-2 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 heaped tsp of raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp of oats
  • 1 tbsp of greek yoghurt
  • cup of milk (I used coconut)

How to make:

Simply add all of the ingredients to a blender and whizz together until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl (or glass) and top with your favourite fruit, granola and nuts. Enjoy!

beetroot-cacao-2