All posts filed under: For Health

The New Black: Smoothie Bowl

I’ve been making smoothies  and juices on and off for a while now. Most of us have. We’ve bought into the fad that juices were the way forward to a ‘healthier you’. And in many ways they are: I wouldn’t consume the variety of vegetables and fruits as often as I do were it not for my blender. It really is a helpful way of getting all your nutrients in throughout the day. I think some time last week I left the house with 3 different bottles filled with either fruit or vegetables juiced down to a pulp: breakfast, lunch and a ‘protein power smoothie’ for after the gym. Yes I’m on it! If there is any set back with this, it’s with the opaque bottles. After my hard work colour co-ordinating  and blending turmeric, orange and carrot, it looked more like ‘sundown’ than sunrise yellow through the dim lens of the bottle.  Then it becomes a tad boring sipping kale juice through a straw everyday, which is sad really because most of us eat with our eyes first. …

Chocolate Bark with Bite

  If you manage to make this sweet treat last a week, you did better than me. It’s unbelievably satisfying to eat and easy to make. Plus I think  it’s probably the healthiest chocolate bar(k) you’ll ever find, which makes it even harder to resist gobbling up?! So what gives this bark its ‘bite’? No it’s not the crunchy nuts or tangy cranberries trapped in the pool of chocolate like a welly caught in quick sand (terrible analogy). It is in fact ginger. You could add finely chopped crystallised ginger to this recipe which was my original plan. However I didn’t need a lot so I opted for Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate (60% cocoa) with ginger. It’s awesome all by itself even before I started melting and shaping it. This should take you no more than 30 minutes to prepare and that includes cooling time: I simply chucked it in the freezer which speeds up the hardening effect. Then once you’ve slipped it off the baking sheet, either with a knife or preferably by hand, …

10 second Fig Ice-cream

I can’t remember when I first tasted a fresh fig, but I know that since that day there has been no going back. I grew up eating a lot of dried fruit: dates, bananas, and figs. Bananas soon got banished and picked out of every cereal bowl it showed up in. Frozen bananas on the other hand was just genius lurking in the pews: gone are the days of blackened fruit spoiling your fruit  bowl or attracting fruit flies or bread recipes. Now I can have ‘fresh’ bananas whenever I want them. Frozen bananas or any fruit make amazing fruit smoothies, but also desserts as this recipe demonstrates: you don’t have to use the dates, but because I love the caramel swirls like taste of figs in the dairy version of fig ice-cream, I needed something to substitute that. I love the rich pink colour the figs give to this ice-cream, half of eating is with the eyes as they say. Quick, healthy, raw and ready in minutes!

7 Recipes to Beat Bloating

    I know I’m not the only one who has experienced the ‘bloated feeling’, when your tummy is stretched, puffy, uncomfortable and feels like a permanent rubber dingy round your waist. It often follows a big weekend of eating badly or late into the evening or some other festive occasion. But for some people, bloating is more than an occasional inconvenience. If your stomach or tummy often feels bloated, it could be due to several things besides excessive wind and constipation. Funny, I was always told as a child to chew my food properly and to drink peppermint tea and water, I wish I knew then what I know now that these are some of the aids to reducing bloating. Medical advice is always advised if this appears to be your experience over a sustained period of time, but for many other people, there are moderate changes and intelligent ways we can incorporate ‘Bloat Beating’ foods into our diets and hopefully avoid the need for medical intervention. This week I will be sharing with you 7 recipes …

Delicious Peanut Flax Granola

Rome was not built in a day, neither was Granola, or so it seemed. The secret to good granola is to cook it slow and low! I learn from my mistakes very quickly! The first time I made this, I put the oven on so high, the granola cooked to a crisp; rather than throw all my hard work away, I grimaced and ate the bitter cereal the rest of the week. Never again. Top tip: after 20 minutes in the oven, take it out and turn the mixture, making sure to push the granola from the edges inward toward the middle. Then place it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove and stir it one final time before returning it to the oven for the last 10 minutes: a total of 40 minutes! Long wait but the reward is so great; your breakfasts (or even snacks) will leave you feeling so satisfied. You can thank me later…enjoy!

Crispy Sweet Potato Chips…Every time!

I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy crispy sweet potato chips until now. Sweet Potato has a very high water content which is why it can’t naturally achieve the crispy status of a regular chip…without some help from its little friend corn starch. The key to achieving ultimate crispiness is to eliminate moisture, so make sure you pat the potato sticks dry before adding the corn starch and seasoning and more or less toss them straight into the oven soon after that with only a drizzle of oil.

Tasty Tofu Burgers

To get the best results from the recipe, try to use the firmest tofu you can find. You can always replace the egg with 1/2 cup of ground flax seeds as this acts as a good binder to the mixture. These burgers can be grilled as well. The most important thing besides the taste is that they hold together well; the finer you chop up the nuts and mushrooms the better.  

Virgin Passion Strawberry Daiquiri

Another wonderfully hot day in London. I woke up with a bright clear blue sky before me. As the days are getting longer, the sense of urgency and frantic busy-ness which comes with city life is slowly being replaced with a casual, ‘we-still-got-time-ness’. Summer is finally here and with it comes my favourite part of the day: warm summers’ nights.  I love it with a passion: I enjoy being outside with friends and family watching the sun take the slow roll down the western sky, leaving a warm breeze in its path. It’s a reflective time of the day. Yes warm summers’ nights: it almost feels like the day will never end which is why this sunset coloured drink is a perfect accompaniment. The fresh tangy taste of the passion fruit will revive anyone trying to hang on to the last few hours of the night to finish some good conversation or activity. It takes minutes to create, you can even prepare the ingredients before hand to save you time. As an alternative to water, you can use coconut or sparkling water. Angostura Bitters, …

Street Food Series: Elote w/ Chipotle Mayo

  Elote, is Spanish for Corn on the Cob, or should I say corn on a stick as on the streets of Mexico where this recipe originates from, the husk of the fresh corn is pulled down to form a ‘handle’ making it easier for all the butter and juices to run down your hand and drip from your elbow. Before you overreact, let’s be real; this is what makes street food so delicious right? The mess, the impatience, the flavours and most of all the condiments. Where would street food be without the ‘side dishes’. In fact this is what separate’s Elote from all other ears of roasted corn: you combine a blend of lime juice and butter, which is no surprise to many of us. But then here come’s mayonnaise and Cotija anejo (a mild flavoured Mexican cheese with a crumbly texture) which transforms the corn from a snack to a meal as the mayonnaise soon becomes a dipping sauce and the tangy cheese just melts between the honeycomb of the corn, forming gooey puddles along the cob. …

Roasted Sweet Potato w/ Tahini Garlic Sauce

The best part of making this dish was pulling out the tray of sizzling fresh herbs and olive oil, from out of the oven; it was like being hit in the face with a bunch of Sage and Thyme. It was with great excitement really, because I didn’t know what to expect: I had never combined these potatoes with this sauce before; this isn’t some glorified version of chips with fake garlic sauce from Mr Chippy on the High Street, oh no. All fresh. All real tasty. I tried the Tahini Garlic Sauce in salads during the week, and it worked very well. I think it should also work with other roasted vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower. The sauce can stay fresh for 2-3 days only, in fact the garlic will become more pungent over time. Let me know what combinations you have tried recently (a photo would be nice!)

Street Food Series: Watermelon Brain Freeze

This week marks the beginning of my Street Food Series. It just seems like a timely topic to explore as the temperature in London has been rising steadily. I’m already a huge fan of markets whether they be food, flower or bric-a-brac. Food Markets in London tend to be located off back streets and down narrow alleyways or ironically behind corporate buildings and High Street shops; this is quite telling as Food Markets in general are counter this culture – there is no uniformity, no two markets are the same. You can go to an Indian Food Festival and not one stall will sell the exact same dish, in exactly the same way…I find heaps of inspiration from these places. I also love the hustle and bustle of it all, you can strike up a conversation with just about anyone as you wait in the queue for a Mango and Almond Lassi. And there is no shame in asking a complete stranger: “What’s that your eating?” To start the proceedings, I thought I would just share with you a very …

West African Peanut Stew

  Thick, thin or soupy. Depending on where you are, peanut stews can be found across the whole of West Africa. This is one dish I really wanted to get right, it had to be as authentic as I could possibly get it without having to grind the peanuts to make butter myself. This dish is usually made with chicken, but as someone who is attempting but failing badly to wean off meat, I thought I would try and make this with vegetables. The question was, which vegetables to use and to combine. My choice was based on several factors: texture, colour, and combination. As I would be missing meat, I had to make up for that with giving the stew something to chew on. No one likes over-cooked discoloured vegetables, well I don’t and so I needed vegetables that could hold their form, or at least help thicken the stew. I decided against courgettes for that very reason: they tend to get very watery when cooked and lose both colour and texture. Aubergines on …

Coconut & Lime Rice

  Some recipes come to me with clear intentions, others by inspiration and still others by accident. This was definitely an accident. It started off as a simple coconut rice dish until I decided that the garnish (being limes) could work just as well as an ingredient. And it really did; just a hint of lime in this rice gives the rice a very refreshing taste. You might want to try grating some of the lime rind in rather than just stirring in the juice, it’s entirely up to you. But be brave and see what interesting combinations you can make. This rice goes really well with the Peanut Stew which I made practically minutes before. But I’m sure it would go well with any hearty stew or meat you want to have with it.  

Moist Vegan Cornbread

  This recipe makes a really dense, crumbly vegan cornbread that is quite moist and really easy to make. What I love the most about this recipe is that it combines a bunch of nutritious ingredients without spoiling the traditional taste and texture you expect from cornbread. I first made this recipe at a friend’s house and was surprised at how quickly it baked in the oven; try to let it cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and removing it from the dish, to avoid it crumbling too much. I thought I should leave you with some useful insights into the health benefits of some the ingredients 5 Facts About Coconut Oil: Very high in lauric acid (bacteria destroyer!) Rich in anti-oxidants (strengthen ability to fight disease and infection) Contains natural microbial and anti-bacterial agents Improves metabolism and prevents fatigue Improves cholesterol levels 5 Facts About Maple Syrup: Contains manganese and zinc (strengthens bones) Contains 54 different antioxidants Helps with inflammation 1/4 cup contains more calcium than the same amount of milk 1/4 cup contains more …

Caribbean Pumpkin Fritters

This is what you could call a golden oldie. I love the bright yellow hue that the pancake mixture has when you mix all the ingredients together. And the smell of the warm pumpkin spices could have you licking from the bowl. Again I was left with the issue of what to do with the abandoned piece of pumpkin I had left over from the first dish I made. And soon realised that I hadn’t made anything sweet with any of the gourds I had bought. I wasn’t in the mood for a cake, I wanted something really quick but could still fit into the dessert category. And then I remembered pumpkin fritters, made effectively the same way that banana fritters are made and served with a hearty savoury main meal or on its own with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. The key to this recipe is the roasting on the pumpkin. It really doesn’t take any more than 30 minutes and in the meantime you can get all the other ingredients ready so that all …

Spicy Pumpkin Parcels

What to do with left over pumpkin? Especially if you’ve bought a whole pumpkin like what I did, there is always going to be something left. Besides soups and throwing it in the oven, there are numerous creative recipes that can be made with this gourd. These spiced pumpkin parcels are the best example of this: once I baked them I threw a few of them straight into the freezer for those days when I really don’t feel like cooking anything. The pastry has a hint of turmeric powder in it just enough to compliment the flavour and colour of the spicy pumpkin filling. Another optional extra was that I placed two small spinach leaves at the base of the pie, for no other reason than I had some extra spinach lying around in the fridge! Once the parcels have been made they really take no time to bake in the oven and appear on your plate.                    

Gluten Free: Pumpkin Falafels

For this recipe I used the Kabocha Squash for its sweet nutty flavour. I have always found falafel a little dry and so I thought the addition of squash to the recipe would give it a smoother texture. The last night I truly enjoyed a hot falafel wrap was during one of my trips around New York last year with a friend. I don’t normally eat from street vendors, but this one was surrounded by massive signs which read: “As recommended in the New York Times” as well as having an extended queue of customers, I took a risk. They were really nice and what I liked was the unexpected crunch of the coriander seeds. This falafel can be baked or fried, I chose to fry them slightly in shallow oil just to release some of the flavours from the spices and give it that crunchy texture. And then I finished baking them in the oven. Enjoy them with a nice fresh salad or in a wrap with your favourite dressing.  

Coquina Squash Gnocchi with Sage Butter

I have to admit, the first time I made Squash Gnocchi it was a bit of a failure. I didn’t stick to any recipe and simply went by my ‘feeling’. I ended up with Gnocchi which resembled mis-shaped dumplings that had lost their way. All the effort I had made in getting the fine groves into each of the pieces with my newly purchased gnocchi board were wasted because I failed to pay closer attention to the ratio of flour to pumpkin/ potato. With this recipe the dough cannot be very sticky, that was actually the hardest part of this dish, because I felt like I was forever adding flour to the mixture: I was afraid I would lose the bright orange colour of the pumpkin by diluting it further with flour. However when it came to rolling it out, I found that this time round the gnocchi pieces held their shape. I think it’s also because I laid them to rest for an hour before shaping and boiling. As it boiled, I found the bright zesty …

P is for: Pistachio Pesto

I snack on a bag of nuts about once a week, normally roasted or raw almonds. That was until I came across these healthy snack bars that combined flax with hemp and sunflower seeds and honey to make a crunchy nutritious snack to satisfy my midday cravings for something sweet. And of course after a few bites my mind started wandering as to how to make my own nut/seed bars and what kind of variations I could come up with: peanut bar? coconut bar? And then bizarrely a contradictory thought came to mind: “Can I be bothered?” I know it doesn’t make sense given the whole drive behind this website, but really this was one wheel I didn’t feel the need to reinvent. That was a sure reminder that my goal is not to cook anything and everything in sight LOL. But as my mind laid to rest the thought of creating nut bars…the thought of creating dishes incorporating nuts was coming into view…and was slowly edging closer to me like a freight train. And …

Spiced. Pistachio. Chilled. Latte

  Don’t worry, you read it correctly. I didn’t think I would see these words all in the same sentence either. But it’s real: Pistachio Milk is the next big thing following Almond, Oat and Rice as substitutes to dairy milk. Its one of my favourite’s to add to cereals, porridges or just to enjoy on its own. I find that it also lends itself to exotic flavours more than other whole nuts, partly because of its earthy green, yellowy, brown colour and also because it crops up in some many East Indian recipes both savoury and sweet. I also love a good latte, especially Chai Latte’s and so creating this recipe with Pistachio’s is really a play on the flavours and spices of Chai tea. I served this chilled and as mentioned in my previous post, try to soak the nuts for at least 6 hours or more, the longer you soak them, the silkier the taste. Enjoy!