The Mae Deli

Me and my mum are best friends. There is no one else on this earth that I would trust more than my mum. We do everything together, I ring her a few times a day and then we talk for hours. I feel so so grateful, and I’m so glad that we have this relationship. Maybe it’s me being an only child, having no brothers or sisters to play with, there’s no other choice really (and sorry dad, I love you but I don’t want to watch football or talk about sheds). 

Now that I’m away during the week and don’t see my mum as often, I find it quite hard. For one it’s because I can’t afford to go out to nice places like we do when we’re together, and two because I love to share experiences with someone else. Going to exhibitions or cool restaurants by yourself just isn’t as fun. There’s no one to ooh and ahh with, and laugh about daft art (we are fans of an art gallery to be frank).

I look forward to the few times a year when my mum comes to visit me in London for a day out. Obviously I plan the day around where we will eat, and we go from there. Typically a vegetarian or health foodie spot for some lunch then a must visit restaurant I’ve been eyeing up on Instagram for dinner. Probably involves some serious carbing or deep fried crispy goodness because, BALANCE people! 

Most of the time though I’m by myself, either I haven’t got any friends around, or no one else can afford to spend the money. For me however I spend all my money on food, occasionally clothes, but mainly food so it will include a detour to Wholefoods or Planet Organic too (my weakness). Staring at all the new things on the shelves makes me tick. Weird I understand, but we all have our ways.

Once in a while, I start to get sick of my food. I KNOW, bet you never thought I’d be saying that. But think of it this way. When you’re cooking just for yourself only for four to five days it’s not possible to buy a wide variety of foods, so the same thing day in day out, only altered ever so slightly tends to become the norm. Now you see, pretty boring. When I start to get these pangs for variety I take myself out for a little lunch date. Yepp, solo. If anyone fancies joining me, that would be rather lovely, as long as you don’t mind me instagramming my food before you can start eating it #issues.

So off I trot to a healthy hot spot that’s been lurking on my radar. I could swear that every time I tick one off the list, another two new ones get added. It never ends!!! But I’m not complaining. 

And when it’s variety I’m after a quick tube to Marble Arch is all it takes to reach The Mae Deli.

I’m sure there’s no need for me to explain if you’ve been on this planet for the last few years, or if you live on cloud cuckoo land I shall begin:

Opened up by the blogger wellness warrior that is Deliciously Ella and her husband Matt, The Mae Deli is a cafe where you can eat ‘Deliciously Ella style’ and obviously walk out like a glowing goddess, and they’ve even made it accessible for the non vegan crowd by providing a side of either chicken or salmon if you so wish. 

Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or even a sweet pick me up there is so much on offer here. The portions are generous so you won’t be leaving hungry.

For the three times I have visited I’ve always opted for the Mae bowl, a selection of four of the salads, dips or hot options that you can mix and match to your liking. Pretty good right! I can’t leave a review of anything else as I just haven’t tried them, there’s always a next time…

For breakfast, expect porridge, avo on toast, chia pots, coconut yogurt and granola, smoothies, juices and shakshuka. After your deli bowl maybe grab a matcha latte, turmeric latte, coffee or loose leaf tea, and if you’re feeling not so virtuous one of the sweet delights that tempt you on top of the counter.

Also available to buy are Deliciously Ella’s books, loaves of bread, bags of granola and the Deliciously Ella energy balls available in three flavours, cashew and ginger, cacao and almond and hazelnut and raisin (the last is my faveeee).

There’s plenty of seating, and downstairs feels a little like your best friends house cosy, warm and comforting. If you arrive at 1 or 7 (peak times!!!) beware you will probably have to queue but it’s definitely worth it.

When I say ‘Deliciously Ella’ you’re probably thinking all kale and quinoa. Of course they feature but it’s a hell of a lot better than that, the menus change seasonally but there’s always two dips on offer, obviously I’ve always gone for the hummus and if you don’t you’re missing out! Expect sweet potato dishes, warming curries rich in coconut milk, avocados galore, sundried tomato falafel 😻😻. There’s more inspiration to make you want to eat like this 24/7 than you could shake a stick at!! So go, right now if you can, your dinner will be delicious (apparently just like Ella).

Happy eating my loves

X
(I apologise for the lack of photos, they seem to have all gone from my phone, well at least there’s a mystery so you just have to go to find out for yourself) 

Black truffle and chilli hummus

No matter how much I love cooking and want to cook at home, there comes a time when it’s necessary to let your palate experience new flavours, and also myself get inspired. Recently my imagination hasn’t been too wild. Usually I have ideas springing up left right and centre. New concepts I’ve seen on blogs, or on restaurant menus, ways of preparing ingredients I’ve not tried before. I have my little notebook for the MUST COOK things, and dishes to also recreate. 

At the moment, there seems to be nothing happening in that creative side of my brain. Maybe it’s a change in season,but I seem to be stuck on the same day to day bandwagon. Typically one that involves, avocado, sweet potato, hummus, tomatoes, salad, quinoa. Peas if I have them, because they are just the tastiest little morsels. Neither my mum nor my dad like peas so I was never fed them as a child. There was a pea ban in our house. How very wrong. I like to think that now I’m making up for that over the past few years by eating them possibly everyday. (Aaaandddd sneaking them into the food I cook for my parents, mum no longer ‘hates’ them, RESULT!!) 

Don’t get me wrong, that situation ain’t too bad. Anything that involves hummus just gets elevated to, ‘that’s what I’m talking about’, flavour town!!

Guilty!! I’m having to declare that i dont always make my hummus. But who can carry a food processor round in a suitcase? If there’s anyone out there willing to show me how I’m open for ideas. Until then, bought it is. I always try to buy the best quality one I can find, preferably organic, using rapeseed or extra virgin olive oil and no added nasties. The ingredients list should say: chickpeas, tahini, garlic, salt, olive oil. And not much else. 

‘Is that all that goes into hummus?!?’ I hear you cry. Why yes. It’s so simple, can be whizzed up in minutes and by adding different spices, herbs, vegetables you can change the flavour up. Not getting bored of it now are we!

I was having a good scrolling marathon on Instagram the other day, when I saw a post from a cafe I’ve recently visited in London called Saladpride. I’m always racking my brains and Pinterest trying to think of new combinations, hoping for that winner. I think I may have found it.

Not from my mind, so maybe I shouldn’t be taking full responsibility, but I’m sure it’s not a world first, everyone takes ideas from other people that’s how we develop and expand.

Truffle and chilli hummus. 

I love how your attention was swiftly diverted back to this post. 

After spending my weeks holiday in Croatia, obviously I picked up a jar (or two) of truffles. One black and one white. Mixed with other mushrooms, the black one with olives and capers too and the white with cream and Parmesan. Anyone else thinking spread the White one on avo on toast, or is it just me?!?!

I added a good few dollops of the black truffle paste into my hummus, it gives a deep earthy flavour, and a good pinch of chilli flakes for a nice warmth. You’ll want to add this to your hummus flavour rotation, even if you only ever make it plain, please change that today. Get your your food processor and give it a whizz!!

I’ve realised that we probably don’t all collect food items from abroad and truffle paste might not be something you can find on your bog standard supermarket shelf. Perhaps substitute some of the oil with truffle oil instead. Don’t overdo it though, truffle is powerful stuff!
Black truffle and chilli hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (preferably organic and the can bpa free)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 heaped tbsp of tahini 
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 tbsp rapeseed oil or EVOO
  • 1 – 2 heaped tsp of black truffle paste
  • Good pinch of chilli flakes
  • Cayenne to sprinkle on top

Method

  1. Drain your chickpeas and rinse them before putting in the food processor
  2. Peel the cloves of garlic and put in with the chickpeas and the tahini
  3. Blend until everything is fully combined and no longer chunky
  4. Add all the other ingredients and blend again till really smooth. Add water a little at a time until it’s at a dollopy consistency and add a couple of pinches of sea salt, more truffle and/or chilli if you wish. 
  5. Scrape into a bowl to serve, sprinkle on extra chilli flakes and some cayenne if you like a kick and a drizzle of some more oil
  6. Serve as a dip with crudités, crackers, pitta, roast sweet potato wedges, with your salad, on a burger, sandwich, or as I do eaten with a spoon. 

I really do hope you make this one. I’ve made many a variety of hummus (is there a plural, hummi???) but this one beats them all hands down.

Happy dipping!!

X

A sexy sultry salad

I’m starting to believe that I can convert any ‘salad-phobe’ to be a plant lover. LETTUCES UNITE!

No I’m not starting a new superhero team made of vegetables high in antioxidants which fight free radicals (however sounds a pretty good concept, any takers?) 

Maybe that’s a rather strong statement. But why should it be. Vegetables shouldn’t be an afterthought, who was it that said meat should always take the limelight.

I’m becoming a big lover of having friends or family over and throwing a dinner party. I don’t know what it is that excites me most about them, planning the menu, shopping,  or spending all day cooking to then be rewarded by making people smile. I’ve discovered I am a giver and a feeder. So beware.

When I was younger I would spend hours watching episodes of Nigella Lawson. Even then I used to dream of having a larder, even a fraction of the size of hers, and I would be happy. Little titbits of pointless kitchen gadgets, mismatched crockery and findings from travels, unknown ingredients from far flung stretches of the world, god knows what else she keeps hidden in there. I reckon I’d enter and never leave. She is a bit of a flirt, that’s what makes her even more entertaining. Never have I seen someone pour frozen peas out of a packet like Nigella does, and who knew that dressing gown clad and sleep crusted eyes of early mornings, whilst flipping out pancakes for the whole street could be made sexy. Well somehow she manages it. 

Every episode seemed to result in a dinner party, typically with different people every time (that woman must have TONNES of friends, I don’t know where she must find them), and it was always performed with such ease and calm. She held the dinner parties that one can only dream of, with no mess and washing up either, that’s a bit of a mystery to me the word home economist springs to mind. I think it’s from all that time spent watching Nigella, ever since I’ve been trying to hone my hostessing skills. 

It doesn’t always go to plan, yes I have cried many times over a failed pavlova or some dry lamb. The food isn’t the be all or end all though, it’s about spending time with loved ones and having a good old chat and giggle. That’s what I really love about them.

I’m starting to learn the best ways for staying calm when cooking for the masses (well anymore than three people), things I’ve only learnt by making mistakes and going wrong in the past. First, always cook things you know and like, stick to easy help yourself dishes like a big one pot and a big salad platter (keep on scrolling for a recipe), and don’t go too out there. I wouldn’t advise serving granny and grandad a raw vegan burger experiment or a massaged kale salad (it will get stuck in their teeth), serve crowd pleasing food but make sure the flavours are BIG and  BOLD.

I like to base a menu on a certain cuisine, and try and stick to a theme, but a curry night or something with a Moroccan influence is always my fall back. This is where this salad steps in. It would go perfectly alongside a tagine, or some slow cooked meat such as lamb, or as part as a buffet or mezze. Even add some form of protein like chickpeas or halloumi and you’ll have a lovely light but filling salad.



This is perfect for if you grow your own vegetables and have a glut, of beans (any type will do, runner, string, French, broad beans), squashes, courgettes, aubergines, any late summer veg will fit in perfectly here. I used a mixture of runner beans, French beans and broad beans and butternut squash but don’t feel like you have to stick to that. I made enough to serve around four people, but it could easily be scaled up to serve a crowd or make to keep in a Tupperware for desk lunches throughout the week.

Crammed with different colours, textures, and flavours. will add beauty to any dinner spread

 
Green beans and spiced squash salad

Ingredients

  • Big handful French beans
  • Big handful of runner beans 
  • 2 large handfuls of broad beans (I used frozen, if using ones in the pods you’re going to need a lot of pods!!)
  • 1/2 a large butternut squash
  • Ras el hanout
  • Tbsp ghee, coconut oil or rapeseed oil
  • Punnet of cress
  • 1/4 pomegranate
  • Rose petals

For the dressing

  • 1/2 lemon 
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp sumac

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees or 180 degrees fan
  2. Peel the butternut squash half, and scoop the seedy centre out if using the bottom half. Chop into 2cm cubes, place in a roasting tray along with the ghee (or coconut or rapeseed oil), sprinkle with salt, pepper and the Ras el hanout
  3. Place in the oven for around 30 mins, stirring to make sure they don’t stick, until slightly caramelised on the edges and soft all the way through. Leave to cool
  4. Trim the French beans and chop in half, then steam until tender but still with a bite. Leave to cool
  5. Trim the runner beans and slice on the diagonal 1cm wide, and steam again until just cooked and leave to cool
  6. If using frozen broad beans pour boiling water over them, leave for a couple of minutes then pour away the water. Peel the broad beans and put to one side. If you have broad beans in the pods, take the broad beans out of the pods, then follow the same process as before. The fresh broad beans may need steaming briefly if you find them too raw
  7. Add the roast squash, broad beans, runner beans and French beans to a large bowl. Add the cress and sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds
  8. For the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients and pour over the salad. Toss together, and if you want to be cute sprinkle over rose petals

Get in on that mingling cress action


I challenge you to find someone who doesn’t enjoy this salad, perhaps at your next dinner party. Serve in abundance, and follow Nigellas lead, make it a sexy one!

X

Superfood sprinkle (or Unicorn dandruff)

When I first started eating this way, so called ‘superfoods’ kept appearing on all the blogs that I was reading, on my Instagram feed so therefore in my shopping basket. Like most other people I believed all the hype and that these mysterious powders were completely necessary to become a happier and healthier person. Obviously, having never even heard of such things like maca, lucuma and  ashwaghanda until the past couple of years, I felt they were the things missing from my life. 

Now having read a lot more, feeling a little wiser and more ‘in tune’ with my body I now know that’s not the case. They may add some interesting, sometimes questionable flavours but we can obtain all the nutrients we need just by eating foods in their whole forms, things that come from the ground, from trees and plants.

I’ve read a really  interesting post recently by a nutritionist called Laura Thomas about the truths of coconut oil. Along the same sort of lines as the powders, we used to cope just fine without coconut oil before, so why has it suddenly sprung up on all of our kitchen work tops. For some of you reading it, it will be a kick in the gut. Basically the myths have been debunked and SPOILER ALERT, it’s not the wonder product we all thought it was. Obviously it is a hell of a lot better for you than hydrogenated and trans fats, just remember everything in moderation. Don’t be throwing your jars of the stuff out the window, it tastes lovely. You can still roast your veg in it, use it as a moisturiser at night time or as a butter substitute in baking, just don’t go crazy. Have a look at the post here, i recommend a little read.

Back onto the powders, sorry for the detour. Having had a tester of the majority, they do taste rather funky. Some are pretty good, but others I’d prefer not to eat just because of the supposed ‘health benefits’. For example spirulina, seriously does anyone actually like the seaweedy flavour. Maybe in savoury dishes but stay away from my smoothies please. JUST PLAIN WRONG. Also baobab, I don’t want to make my food taste like a Refresher. I’ve read all about it containing more vitamin C than oranges, maybe if your serving size is the mass of a large orange then yes there will be more vitamin C. When comparing the 10g serving size to an orange, guess who comes out top? Of course the orange with three times more vitamin C than baobab. Stop throwing the cash around and get your chops around some old fashioned citrus, much cheaper and tastes miles better. 

I’m not shunning all superfood powders. Açai is pretty fine. Where would we be without the açai bowl, the most popular street food snack in Brazil that’s recently hit our shores and caused a shockwave. Eating ice cream for breakfast (or lunch and dinner if you really must) how can you possibly say no. It is a berry, so promoting low sugar and high in antioxidants, if you do fancy forking out a bit of money açai is a good one to go for.

And then how about our old friend cacao. It may not be proven that it’ll help with cardiovascular health, stick to the dark stuff, and I’m sure like me you’re more than happy to take the risk for the occasional few squares. Or add a spoon into your porridge for a hot chocolatey vibe. If the supposed health benefits aren’t true, you’ll still be given a caffeine boost, and a little pep in your step first thing in the morning is nothing to complain about. 

How about maca, ooh controversial. The marmite of the supplements world. Some love it others hate it. I can take it or leave it to be truly honest, it tastes lovely but it’s not something that I’m frequently reaching for. Apparantly used by the Incas to prepare them for battle, providing a caffeine shot and a boost to your libido, but I’ll leave that for you to find out. I personally don’t feel any benefits from it, apart from the malty flavour it adds. Nice in porridge, but would rather stick to plain old cinnamon. Thanks.

Store it in a jar, jars are just too cute not to


So nowadays I would rather eat whole foods such as fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and whole grains, rather than all these fancy supplements, which also cost a bomb! If you genuinely like the flavour then of course use them.

Pumpkin seeds, WHOLEfoods that you can grab at your local supermarket


So onto the reason we’re all here, my Superfood Sprinkle. Not full of expensive unpronounceable powders you’d expect to see in a chemistry lab, now we’re talking about things you can find at your local Tesco. Superfoods: real foods that sure are super. Sprinkle it on anything and everything that requires a touch of fancy, my favourite is on breakfast things like porridge, toast, yogurt. Or even nibble on it as a snack.

Sunflower seeds ready for their close up

 

Maybe I’m now contradicting myself, ^^ I just said not full of expensive superfoods, I suppose there may be three. BUT that’s just cos I like them. Bee pollen, cacao nibs and goji berries, it’s up to you whether you choose to use them. Bee pollen, yes is expensive however you don’t use much at once so cost per use isn’t too bad, also it’s so aesthetically pleasing and I’m all about that pretty Instagram #breakfast shot. I CANT RESIST. Goji berries, add a little hint of sweetness without being sugar bombs and then cacao nibs are just the crunchiest munchiest things. So addictive. Add to a trail mix, use as a smoothie topper, mix in with dark chocolate chips into cookies YES PLEASE! They’re pretty versatile, so trust me they won’t be something that you use once and then sits in the cavern that is the back of your cupboard.  I like to buy these sorts of things from Amazon because it’s a lot cheaper than places like Wholefoods, and Holland and Barrett. 

So simple, can be made even quicker in a food processor, but a chopping board, knife, bowl and spoon will do the trick just nicely. It looks super beautiful and will make you feel super beautiful. I thought the bowl looked rather trippy (no it’s not the hemp seeds affecting me) and that’s why I’d like to call this my unicorn dandruff. Appetising I know, but it’s from a unicorn so it’s MAGICAL. 

Pretty trippy stuff


Superfood Sprinkle

I tend to use what’s on the go in my cupboard so feel free to substitute with other nuts and seeds or leave some out to keep the cost down. Think of this recipe as an idea, I won’t judge if you want to chop and change things around, as it will taste scrummy no matter what the outcome.

Ingredients

1/4 cup of each of the following:

  • Hemp seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Goji berries
  • Ground linseeds/flaxseeds
  • Bee pollen 
  • Cacao nibs
  • Desiccated/flaked coconut

Then

  • 2 tbsp açai powder (it makes it a pretty colour)
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • Good sprinkle pink Himalayan salt

Method

Either:

  • Tip all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until it’s a texture that you like. Anywhere between dust or gravelly chunks, it’s up to you. 

Or

  • Leave it chunky, mix everything together in a bowl and that’s that. However I prefer it chopped up that way you get a bit of everything in every bite 

Or

  • Chop the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts and goji berries up by hand, then mix with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl

Then

  • Transfer to a jar and store in a cool dark place, or the fridge if your kitchen is quite warm


Get sprinkling my lovelies, 

Enjoy!

X