Tag Archives: cooking

Healing Garlic, Ginger and Butterbean Soup

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It’s mid December! Which means it’s cold outside (cue cosy jumpers, hoodies and scarves), party season is upon us and Christmas is just around the corner. Plenty to get excited about!

But with that excitement usually comes extra strain on our bodies and minds; lack of sunlight, indulgence in naughty foods and alcohol and excess stress over pulling together the perfect Christmas can all take its toll on us physically.

So if you’re feeling a little under the weather, this nourishing soup is the perfect pick-me-up.

Garlic boasts amazing antibacterial and antiviral properties, while ginger stimulates immune function and helps fight infection, as well as reduces nausea. Together they pack a mighty nutritional punch, and combined with onion (also a natural antiviral decongestant) these benefits are boosted even further.

On top of that, butterbeans are a fabulous source of B-vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, fibre and protein. And along with cashews, which are packed with eye, heart and blood healthy vitamins and minerals, they help give the soup a warming, creamy consistency.

Even more to get excited about, this dish is so easy to make!

Ingredients:

1 head of garlic

3 carrots

1 tin butterbeans, rinsed and drained 

2 red onions

4-6 inches ginger

3 spring onions (plus extra to garnish)

Handful cashew nuts

1 1/2 tbsp dried oregano

Pinch of paprika

500ml vegetable stock

50ml almond milk

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200°c.

Drizzle a little olive oil in a baking tray and add the carrot and whole garlic cloves. I left the skin on the garlic for added nutrients, but these can be removed before blending if you prefer. 

Coat well in oil, 1/2 tbsp oregano, paprika and a little salt and black pepper, then roast for 20-30 min until soft, shuffling and turning half way.

Meanwhile season the butterbeans with 1 tbsp dried oregano and black pepper. Roughly chop the red onion, ginger and spring onions. 

Sautée the red onions and ginger for 3-4 min, then add the butterbeans for another 5 mins. Finally add the spring onions, carrot and garlic for the last 2 min.

Stir in vegetable stock, bring to boil, cover and then reduce to simmer for about 5 mins.

Add to blender (I used an immersion blender) along with almond milk and pulse until soft and creamy.

Serve and garnish with chopped spring onion.

Enjoy, and embrace the healing feeling and delicious flavours, while those antibodies get hard at work fighting your physical corner!

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Healthy Cinnamon & Maple Syrup Popcorn 

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I’ve always loved popcorn, but couldn’t continue to justify pumping my body full of store bought, sugar – laden versions any more. 
When I first made it at home myself, I actually couldn’t believe how easy it is! Not only that, a 1kg bag cost less than £2.00… what a bargain!

And surprisingly, the corn is full of whole grains, fibre and antioxidants. Boom! (or should I say Pop!?)

Cheap, healthy and delicious.. can it really be? Well try the recipe for yourself and find out!

2-3 servings:

2 handfuls popcorn kernels 

1 tbsp coconut oil/ EVOO

For the topping:

2 tbsp coconut oil

1-2 tbsp ground cinnamon 

2-3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp xylitol (optional)

Method: 

Heat the oil for popping in a large saucepan. Add 2 kernels and place lid on top. Once the kernels have popped, the oil is hot enough and you can add the rest of the popcorn.

Replace the lid and wait until all the kernels have popped (or until there are 4-5 seconds between pops). Remove from heat and transfer to suitable bowl.

While the popcorn is cooling, melt the rest of the coconut oil in a saucepan and add maple syrup and xylitol (if using). Keep stirring until well combined, then add cinnamon and stir quickly.

A sticky mixture will form. Before it dries, pour over the popcorn and mix it all up, ensuring even coverage.

Sit back with your favourite film and enjoy (guilt free)!

Crispy Cauliflower Bites

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I recently discovered these bad boys, the same time my best friend was giving birth to her first child- what a momentous day.
Believe me when I say, these are one of the tastiest vegan foods I’ve had the pleasure of consuming.

Having experimented with a few flavours, I’ve found that this ‘curried’ version came up top. But it can of course be amended to include any herbs and spices you like.

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower

120g buckwheat flour

220ml almond milk

3 tbsp coconut oil (measured solidified)

3 tsp paprika

4 tsp ground turmeric

4 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

3 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt (I use pink himalayan)

2 cloves garlic (crushed/finely diced)

1 inch finely diced ginger (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 200°. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper and melt the coconut oil in the oven on the tray for a couple of minutes. Spread evenly.

Chop cauliflower into medium – small florets (it’s really up to you, I prefer them smaller as they go crispier).

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garlic, ginger,  salt and pepper. Ensure everything is combined nice and evenly.

Next, add the almond milk to a separate bowl and begin dunking a few florets of cauliflower. Once soaked, dip them into the flour until well coated and add to the baking tray.

Try double dipping some of them (milk-flour-milk-flour) which will create a batter – like consistency, giving a thicker, softer coating (the mix between crispy and soft is amazing).
Don’t leave out the tiny florets either- these are extra special as they work great for a super crispy coating.

Bake for 15 minutes before turning them over. Add more almond milk to any florets that might still have dry flour on them and bake for a further 15-20 minutes.

Serve up with your favourite vegan main and enjoy!

Big hit with the dog who lives off junk food

Fun, nutritous and delicious.. you can’t go wrong 🙂
P.S. I’d love to know if anybody has tried making a similar version of these? I’ve read great things about pan frying them..

Accompanying home made vegetable pattie with rocket

12/11/16 Update: just felt the need to add this – after I mentioned to my friend about making these the day she gave birth, she admitted she’d had total crispy cauliflower cravings throughout her pregnancy, and had visited the restaurant we first discovered it multiple times towards the end!

Needless to say I whipped her up a batch in a nice little food parcel with some houmous and salad, and she loved it!

Ahh, universe, how you continue to fascinate me so.💚

Finding ‘blog balance’ between my 2 favourite things

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Lately I’ve been wondering why I share more food moments than yoga moments on my blog.

Like both are my main loves in life, but I guess the balance of ‘want’ and ‘need’ between the two is quite rocky at times.

Most of my days lately have been spent in the kitchen. I mean literally, if I have just an hour free time I’m back in there, looking to throw something together that will help me to get me through another day.

Yoga is a deeper experience, executed mostly by, and with, myself, in a sacred space I have devoted to the practice.

Don’t get me wrong- I still practice every single day. And to a degree this is because it’s something I ‘need’.. but it is also merely a ‘want’, from my body and mind.

Whereas food is comparatively a huge ‘need’, as clearly it’s needed for survival. Even more so now being vegan, I need to make sure I’m always a step ahead of the eating game, and that meals and snacks are prepared and on hand as and when they’re needed.

I suppose with yoga being somewhat of a ‘private’ practice (aside from when I attend classes), I’m less inclined to ‘share’ my experiences on my blog.

But I love to inspire, and I want as many people as possible to experience this wonderful practice. So I will try to incorporate more yoga posts.

Cooking has been one of my main ‘exercises’ of late, and I do want to inspire healthy eating too. Yet again we return to that issue of balance… something I am also working on👌.

Peace and love yogis, chefs and fellow humans. I love you all, unconditionally.

Being Vegan Week 6: Is this level of excitement normal?

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For the past few weeks, I’ve literally been unable to stop thinking about food.

And it isn’t because I’m hungry… it’s because everything I’ve eaten has been so daym delicious, I’m always thinking about what’s coming next.

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Clearly I need to take some self control (yet again, even as a vegan it seems I can’t control my cravings for food… any food), but I just can’t help it.. and now more than ever, knowing that what I’m eating is not only helping preserve the planet (albeit it on a small scale), but is actually good me for, leaves me constantly searching for new recipes.

Since becoming vegan, literally most of my spare time has been devoted to the kitchen (or supermarket). And all the new tastes and flavours dancing over my tongue, and making me feel fantastic afterward (and not sluggish or ugh) are really making this an enjoyable feat.

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From sauces to ice creams to seasonings and dressings, I can’t get enough.

Today alone, I’ve enjoyed:

Banana, almond, coconut and chia smoothie for breakfast.

Almond butter rice krispie squares for mid morning snack.

Carob bar as an afternoon snack (first time trying, I’m not disappointed).

Brocolli with garlic, ginger and spring onion sauce and sesame brown rice for dinner.

Peanut butter cookies for dessert.

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And being unable to stop thinking about more food, despite my tummy already being satisfied, I couldn’t help but indulge in some blueberry and raspberry buckwheat pancakes. Now it’s safe to say I’m VERY full (2 tbps apple cider vinegar with warm water aiding my digestion).

Unfortunately I’ve not taken the time to photograph much of this, as it’s been more of a cook it – eat it style, trying to perfect recipes etc. Plus experimental cooking doesn’t usually make for very appealing food snaps (I’ll add recipes soon enough).

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But over the past few weeks I’ve also enjoyed some gorgeous meals and treats, such as pad tai noodles, courgetti noodles and sundried tomato pesto, roasted butternut squash and chickpea salad, turmeric quinoa coconut curry, falafal, chickpea flour wraps, mushroom burgers, black bean burgers, sweet oat and rice krispie squares, raw chocolate brownies, gooey black bean chocolate brownies, mixed berry crumble, mint choc chip ice cream… not to mention all the amazing stuff I tried in Amsterdam last week!

Yup, I actually made it through 3 days in Dam as a vegan… not one churro, waffle or piece of cheese passed my lips.

Instead, I got to enjoy vegan cheese sticks, samosas, rice wraps, blueberry cheese cake, chocolate cake and ice cream, raspberry and white chocolate cupcakes, houmous salad wraps… most of which I did photograph..

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Turns out Amsterdam is a hot bed of vegan eateries (compared to my small town in the UK anyway). And the food is AMAZING!!

I’m truly grateful to be vegan right now. Sure it takes some effort and preparation, but if you plan ahead and always make sure there’s at least one healthy snack on hand, it’s thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding.

Embracing new flavours and ingredients, reworking my taste buds and retraining my body to enjoy vegan alternatives, has left me lighter (I don’t weigh myself but I’ve definitely lost weight), more energetic and generally happier. I’m also creating a whole new self.. I’ve begun a journey that I just know will take me to places I never imagined before,  in whatever form that may be.

And I cannot wait! Nor can I wait for breakfast tomorrow!! I’m thinking hemp seed and fruit smoothie, and possibly more buckwheat pancakes.

Nommm blessings and goodnight!

Spicy Tuna Pasta Bake

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Tuna pasta bake from scratch is ridiculously easy, and nutritious!

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Forget about those salt-laden, unhealthy jarred sauces, which the brands themselves have recently admitted are bad for your health and should only be consumed once a week max…. Using just tinned tomatos, tuna and a few herbs, you can turn dinner tonight into a healthy and tasty option for all the family (or just yourself if you’re a lone warrior).

With this version, I opted for chilli flakes to give it a little kick. Check the recipe below:

Serves 4:

2 tins tuna
3 tins chopped tomatos
400g pasta
1 onion
2-4 cloves garlic
Black pepper
Pinch of sea/pink himalayan salt
Basil or oregano (dried or fresh – both work)
Chilli flakes
Olive oil
Cheese of your liking to top

Preheat oven to 200 degrees (gas mark 6).
Finely chop the onion and garlic and add to pan of heated olive oil, fry gently for 5-10 minutes until soft and slightly brown. Throw in chilli flakes and herbs, add tomatos and heat through. Then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

In the meantime, get your pasta boiling and drain just before its cooked (it will finish in the oven).

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Stir tuna through the sauce (as chunky or fine as you like – it’s your meal!), add a dash of salt and a bit more pepper, tip in pasta and mix it all up. Then transfer to an oven proof dish and sprinkle the cheese on top.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.

Allow to cool for a minute, serve with side salad or garlic bread and enjoy!

Remember, you know what gets your taste buds going. You know if too much garlic will repeat on you (personally i love garlic too much to care), or if basil isn’t your thing. That’s why I encourage you to experiment and try things out, add or remove ingredients as you see fit and just enjoy the process!

Might I add, the garlic bread is obviously not a healthy option and merely a suggestion favoured by myself… but if you’re feeling rebellious, go for it!

Peace out cheffy’s 👍

Warrior Juice 2016

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The newest Warrior Juice to hit my clean diet this year: fresh carrot, orange and ginger juice.

This juice/ smoothie is packed with an array of magical healing properties for the body- and it tastes absolutely delicious.

Carrots are rich in fibre, vitamins potassium, iron and copper. They’re also mega high in beta carotene, which has been linked with cancer destroying attributes.

I do rave about ginger, but it’s just so tasty, flexible and good for us. Mainly due to its digestion promoting, anti nausea and anti inflammatory properties, ginger brings so much more to smoothies than just a spicy twang.

Oranges are also blessed with a high vitamin and fibre count.

So if you need a healthy breakfast boost, a stomach-safe hangover aid, or just something to help promote healthy digestion, give this juice a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Just chop and blend, according to your taste:

Carrots
Oranges
Ginger
Fresh apple & pear juice

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For added health benefits, you can try adding radish, avacado seed, flax seed etc. The strong orange and ginger taste usually gets rid of any bitterness that might normally be present.

I’ve experimented with different consistencies and found that when a much higher carrot count is used, it’s quite fibrous, but still refreshingly delightful. The orange can sometimes have a bite so I tend to use max. one orange per serving.

They keep in the fridge for about 3 days. So I prepare all mine for the days ahead (usually one for breakfast, after a pint of water). Once the hard work of ready – making is done, you can sit back every morning during whatever your routine may be, sip on this delicious Warrior Juice and and feel your empty stomach absorb all the great stuff!

Peace out warriors

Healthy Spicy Chorizo Pasta

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Another quick and healthy dish, this chorizo pasta is filling and nutritous (and delicious).

Ingredients (serves 4):

Virgin olive oil
Sliced chorizo
400g tinned tomatos
1 red pepper (chopped)
2 handfuls spinach
2-3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
Cayenne pepper
Chilli powder/flakes
Black pepper
Wholegrain pasta

All you need to do:

Sautée the peppers and onion for 4-5 mins until the onion is yellow. Add garlic for another 2-3 min.

Pour in tomatos and chorizo, add spices, simmer on low heat for 5 mins. Throw in spinach for a further 2 min. Add cooked pasta and stir through. Serve immediately.

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Don’t forget to store your leftovers for lunch at work, etc ✌

Coconut-Curried Veg (Undercover)

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Dont like vegetables much, but want to live healthier? Give this easy-peasy dish a go.

If you’re looking for an ‘easier’ way to consume more vegetables, but battle with how boring it can seem, I’d like to share one of my own quick and easy tacts that can help make eating greens healthy, tasty and even fun.

One could call it a vegetable curry, but I prefer ‘curried vegetables’. Just because most curries take specific and precise amounts of spices and cooking technique. Whereas this here is a loose, almost homage, curry – based dish.

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My motivation was actually from attempting to up my vegetable intake but being unable to withstand the (sometimes) bland taste of greens. Now I’ve come to realise I can eat (and enjoy) any vegetable if it’s combined with some more exciting ingredients. And if chopped into tiny bite size pieces, you might even convince the kids to give it a bash too!

This is one of my favourite ‘curry’ dishes, for which I throw in brocolli (again!), green beans and spinach as my main veggies. It’s so delicious and simple to make, and I often take the leftovers to work with a fresh naan or chapatti.

Ingredients:

•1-2 inch grated/ground ginger
•4 cloves garlic, chopped/ground
•1-2 large yellow or white onions, chopped
•Curry paste of your choice
•400g coconut milk
•1-3 Tsp cayenne pepper
•1-3 tsp ground turmeric
•Half head of brocolli
•Handful green beans
•2 handfuls spinach
•Olive oil
•Coriander (to season)

Simply:

Brown the onions with the spices for roughly 5-6 mins in a deep(ish) frying pan. Add the garlic and ginger for 3-4 mins until aromatic.

Stir in coconut milk and curry paste, and reduce heat to a simmer.

Throw in brocolli for 3 mins, followed by the green beans and finally the spinach. Serve and top with the coriander.

In total the veg should take 6 minutes: 6 for broccoli, 4 for green beans and 2 for spinach.  Try not to overdo the vegetables as they can not only lose their flavour and become rubbery, but they’ll also lose their nutrients. And then you’re just eating empty greens.

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Depending on your taste buds, you could also add more spices or fresh chilli to the veg, for an extra hot kick.

Stir all in well to ensure even coverage. If you find you need a little more ‘juice’ you can add water and a little more curry paste. Or if it needs thickening up, a dash of cream.

And voila. Easy, nutritous and delicious!

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Those ingredients listed are rough measurements but experimentation is key.  You can combine any veg/spices of your choice and even substitute coconut milk for tinned/fresh tomatos if you prefer. The key is to get those spices penetrating well enough to make you forget you’re even eating (healthy) greens, and really get that heated, aromatic ‘curry’ feeling going on.

Serve with rice, naan, chapatti, or whatever you like.

Peace out my loves, and good eating.