Banana flapjacks with peanut butter, pecans, raisins and dark chocolate

Could the title for these flapjacks get any longer?

I suppose just banana flapjacks would do, but then you’d be missing out on all the yummy details. And of course it’s alllll in the details!!

These flapjacks are common-place in our household. Whenever too many bananas are blackening in the fruit bowl, I always rotate between cookies, banana bread and these flapjacks. All handy snacks to have throughout a busy week. Fulfilling, healthy and full of wholegrains, natural sugars from fruit and lots of healthy fats and protein from nuts and seeds. A good dose of cinnamon is always thrown in, helping to balance out your blood sugar and adding some warmth and sweetness.

Photo 08-01-2018, 15 17 18

The original recipe comes from BBC Good Food, the Feelgood flapjacks. This recipe has banana and apple for sweetness, dried apricots and raisins and some mixed seeds. I omit the added maple syrup/honey as I don’t believe it is necessary and just add in some plant based milk instead. I also don’t add as much dried fruit, and make up the weight with extra nuts and on this occasion some dark 85% chocolate. It just felt necessary and was totally delicious.

 

The recipe is super easy to adapt depending on what you have to hand, or what flavours you prefer. Add in extra spices such as cardamom, nutmeg and ground ginger for a gingerbread kick, use anything from dried prunes, apricots, cherries, dates, cranberries or figs, and use your favourite nuts or seeds, toasted in the oven before to release all their flavour. Substitute some of the oats for desiccated coconut to go down a tropical route, or use any puffed grains to add some varying texture.

Photo 08-01-2018, 15 19 10

It’s time to boil the kettle, I’m thinking a rooibos with some oat milk, and have a moment of peace with your flapjack. To dunk or not, that’s up to you, and extra peanut butter spread on top? I won’t tell if you don’t!!

Banana flapjacks with peanut butter, pecans, raisins and dark chocolate

Ingredients

  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp plant-based milk
  • 3 large (or 4 small) overripe bananas
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 250g rolled oats
  • 85g raisins
  • 100g pecans
  • 85g dark chocolate (85%) chopped into small chunks

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan. Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Put the pecans on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 5-10 minutes until toasty and browning slightly. Leave to one side to cool down.
  3. Place the butter, peanut butter and milk in a large sauce pan. Peel the bananas, put in the pan and mash well until quite smooth. Place on a low heat and stir until melted. Add 100ml of hot water to the pan and stir well until mixed, and take off the heat.
  4. In a separate bowl, put the oats, cinnamon, salt, raisins and chopped chocolate. Chop the pecans roughly and also add to the bowl, mix everything together.
  5. Tip the dry ingredients into the saucepan, and mix well until everything is well-coated and you have a fairly wet mixture. Tip into the tin, press firmly and level the surface.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until firm and a golden brown colour on top. Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  7. Once cool cut into 12 chunks and store in a Tupperware in the fridge for up to 1 week.

I hope you make these and enjoy them as much as I do. I’m sure it won’t be long until your bananas are on the turn, in fact buy extra at the shop just so you will be flapjack ready any day soon!

With love and flapjacks

X

 

A pot of liquid gold

Hands up who likes nut butter.

Hello my fellow friends.

Hands up who spends a fortune on nut butters, seemingly weekly because you can’t just have the one variety in your cupboard and a teaspoon always is a permanent feature propped up in the jar.

Still there?

I was wandering round planet organic the other day killing some time and obviously ended up facing a row upon row of nuts and seeds in jars, swiftly followed by tea the other lover in my life (I seriously need to find myself a boyfriend). The varieties are endless, every nut or seed is on offer, some chocolatey –  a riff on Nutella – others spiced up, some raw, some roasted, the list goes on and on and on. People are becoming more innovative in their flavour creations, no longer sticking to just sea salt, trying to cater for their audience of evolving tastebuds. Beautiful packaging sure is a feast for the eyes, but turn your gaze to the price tag…  just walk away, swiftly.

However much I love a little splurge on new products to test out and try, when prices are rattling up to £12 for a piddly little jar, that’s one indulgence too far. So I tend to use my aisle perusing as a source of inspiration. Gather my thoughts and *mind journal* new tastes and flavours to have a play around with come the weekend.

One jar I’ve always been tempted by, but gawk at the price tag for, the royalty that is the macadamia butter. We’ve all picked up a packet in the supermarket, wondering why on earth they cost so much, a pack of almonds or cashews are so cheap in comparison, so I’m sure that they are quite often overlooked.

When living a more plantbased lifestyle it’s necessary to get enough protein and fibre throughout your day, usually in the form of nuts, legumes and grains. The majority of these are grown abroad in sunnier climes as the UK just isn’t suitable. I’m sure you all know about the recent concerns in places like California who grow almonds in abundance but due to recent droughts and the sudden clean eating craze they’re struggling to keep up with demand. They’re not the only country. Of course we can’t be self efficient by just relying on our own local produce, we have such worldwide varied tastes now that meat and two veg just won’t cut it. I feel by varying the type of nuts and grains you buy, is one way of helping and not putting as much pressure on the countries already struggling. Instead of almonds and quinoa next time try pecans and millet, or walnuts and amaranth, pumpkin seeds and spelt. There are so many options available for us now we should all be making the most of it.

So back to the macadamias, perhaps another reason why we aren’t stocking up on them is the queries of how high in fat they are. We still believe that fat is bad, low fat= good. Friends and family still comment saying, ‘no I don’t eat nuts they’re really high in fat’, ‘avocados they will make me fat’ and ‘I only drink skimmed milk because the fat is bad for me’. When introduced into a balanced diet, all these plantbased fats are incredible for our skin and health, we just need to keep in mind ‘in moderation’. Fats keep you satiated and tell that part in your brain that that food was good. Its so important too if you’re eating lots of vegetables, these fats unlock all the fat soluble vitamins and minerals, so you can reap all the benefits.

So let me break this down for you. Macadamias are high in monounsaturated fats (the GOOD ONES) found in abundance in avocados, olives, olive oil, nuts and whole milk. Research has proven that eating plenty of these fats helps to reduce cholesterol, prevent heart disease, and diabetes. As with all nuts, macadamias are high in fibre, both the soluble and insoluble kind, meaning happy digestion!! They also contain a whole host of valuable vitamins and minerals, manganese, thiamine, copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and vitamin B6, all which help the body to thrive.

That’s one good nut.

Photo 12-01-2017, 10 22 37.jpg
Golden and toasted after a few minutes in the oven

 

Macadamia butter works well in both sweet and savoury food, it is also a great substitute for butter. Now I’m not sinning butter, it’s golden lusciousness never fails to make me happy when slicked on toast, but sometimes we need to change things up a bit. And I know there are some of you out there that don’t like butter (it’s a mystery to me) but this will sit nicely on your toast, swirled into your porridge or mixed with ginger, lime and soy to make a creamy Asian salad dressing.

Photo 12-01-2017, 10 22 24.jpg

Sit the little pot of nut butter in the fridge where it will keep for a while, probably a few months, but seriously will it last that long? I highly doubt it, you will be finding every opportunity you can to crack open the jar. The other day I paired it with mango and date syrup on top of pancakes, we may be in the middle of winter here in the UK but for those few moments I was transported to a tropical paradise. I do like to keep as seasonal as possible with my produce but sometimes we just need that little bit of sunshine in our mornings.

Photo 12-01-2017, 10 23 56.jpg
Almost there… this is the stage where it forms a big clump and you think the nut butter will never go thin and silky. Just hang on, macadamia butter is only moments away.

 

Macadamia butter

Ingredients

  • 1 packet macadamia nuts
  • Pinch of sea salt

Method

  1. Set the oven to 180C. Open the packet of macadamias and tip them all out onto a tray or in a roasting dish so they sit in a flat layer.
  2. Put in the oven, until they smell toasty and they have tinged brown on the edges. Don’t let them burn.
  3. Once out of the oven, put the nuts in a food processor and set to a high speed. Leave the food processor on until a smooth creamy paste has formed. It doesn’t take very long with macadamias due to the high fat content, but scrape the sides down as necessary.
  4. Add a big pinch of nice sea salt, and whizz for a few minutes more.
  5. Transfer into a clean jar and store in the fridge.

 

How do you use your nut butters? Are they just for breakfast and eating with a spoon or do you use them in savoury dishes too. Think satay, creamy salad dressings, dipping sauces, a substitute for tahini in hummus. Please do comment with your thoughts and ideas, I’d love some new inspiration as always!

Happy blending, you nutty lot!

X

 

Beet tahini balls

When I was little, toast or cereal was the only thing on the cards for breakfast. Well thinking about it, it was almost always a big bowl of cereal. Toast was one of those things that sounded great beforehand, crisped and bronzed, slathered well with salted butter and a thin slick of ruby jam, BUT in reality a soggy piece of white loaf spread with flora and overly sweet strawberry jam. Nah never did it for me.

So bowl of cereal it was to break the fast. My eyes always shone at the sight of some Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, Shreddies, Rice Krispies or come winter warm Shredded Wheat or Weetabix with a sliced up banana. Now my mum was always a Sugar Puffs gal. If you’re new to the British cereal aisle, you’ll find them under the name of Honey Monster Puffs, a puffed wheat sweetened with sugar and honey. IN FACT, looking at the nutritional breakdown on the packet, containing 5 types of sugar, there are certainly better options out there.

photo-10-01-2017-09-59-40

(On tasting these bars, my mum remarked how they are similar to Sugar Puffs, I’m hoping on a much more wholesome scale, but I will definitely take that as a good thing.)

Between me and my mum we’re both BIG fans of a good muesli bar (I’m not including my dad here because it’s near impossible to tempt him with a healthier treat, he’s only down for proper brownies and chocolate). I’ve attempted many in the past, and it really is hard to find a good one. Some granola bars are just way too dry, other ‘no-bake’ muesli bars too crumbly and fall apart, some using way too many dried dates or a big glug of maple syrup. I always return to the Muesli Bar from Green Kitchen Stories (on their desserts apps), they keep really well in the freezer and transport without turning into a mass of crumbs. If you fancy a baked bar, this Feelgood flapjack is lovely, just on the right side of sweetness, dipped into a cup of milk, crumbled on top of some yogurt or spread liberally with nut butter. Totally satisfying and moreish.

Now this recipe from Golubka Kitchen has been on my radar for quite a while now. Remember Rice Krispies Squares? The Rice Krispie snack glued together by a mass of marshmallows, this is slightly reminiscent of them. Gloriously magenta in colour, they use blended cooked beetroot to lend a slight earthiness as well as the mega hue. Oats and puffed brown rice make them more sustaining as a snack, and tahini and hazelnut butter lend a richness as well as a good dose of plant based protein. I added a handful of raisins for chewy nuggets, another of sunflower and pumpkin seeds for crunch and some cacao nibs for that 4pm much needed cacao hit.

photo-10-01-2017-10-09-58

Note: The bars are best kept in the freezer and will keep there for a good few months, just take them out a few minutes before serving to soften. I have eaten some straight out the freezer but at room temperature is the best way to enjoy them. They are sticky and gooey and everything you want in a little snack bar. If you’re feeling fancy, drizzle with a little dark chocolate or some raw chocolate, i just rolled mine in whizzed up coconut flakes. The choice is yours.

photo-10-01-2017-10-10-23

 

Beet Tahini Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 small beetroot, cooked (I roasted mine whole in its skin in foil, then peeled. However use vacuum packed if you can’t get fresh beets)
  • 1/2 cup soft dates, pitted
  • 1-2 tbsp plant based milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups wholegrain puffs (I used brown rice, try buckwheat, quinoa)
  • 1/2 cup tahini (try to use a brand such as Meridian, its much thicker)
  • 2 tbsp other nut butter (I used hazelnut sunflower seed butter but anything else will work)
  • Handful cacao nibs
  • Handful sunflower seeds
  • Handful pumpkin seeds
  • Handful raisins
  • Large handful of desiccated coconut or coconut flakes

 

Method

  1. Make sure the beet is peeled, then chop up and put in the food processor with the dates, 1 tbsp of milk, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Whizz up to form a smooth paste, and add more milk if it is struggling and still lumpy.
  2. Tip into a large mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients except the desiccated coconut.
  3. Mix well to form a sticky mixture, if it’s too wet add another handful of oats or if i’ts too dry add a little more milk. It needs to come together in one big clump.
  4. Form into little rounded mounds, akin to a coconut macaroon. I find this easier by wetting my hands with water first. Sprinkle the coconut out on a plate and roll the balls in the coconut until evenly covered.
  5. Place on a few plates in the freezer for at least an hour to set, then transfer to a Tupperware where they will keep in the freezer for a few months.

I hope these will brighten up your snacking or on-the-hoof breakfasts.

With love

X

 

Matcha comin’ right ‘atcha

Photo 16-11-2016, 10 16 11.jpg

 

I have only one, but one very special magic trick.

No cutting people in half or cards up my sleeves, this magic trick is one that i’m sure no one else performs.

You guessed it. Making packets of matcha powder disappear.

WHAT?!?

Let me explain if I may. Twice now I have bought a larger packet of matcha powder that has mysteriously gone walkabouts. Those things aren’t cheap I’ll have you know, so the last thing I want is to be losing them.

A while back now I had made my favourite matcha latte, and put the packet of matcha away…now maybe i’m lying and left it on the side or possibly  put it in one of our many cupboards,but where it is now lodging is a mystery to me.

I asked my mum and dad and both of them are no wiser than I am. I did blame my dad that he threw it away thinking the packet was empty, he’s just an easy target.

But still no clue.

In an annoyed ploy I set out to buy another packet of matcha, hoping that inevitably as soon as the new matcha arrived, hurrah the old one would be living right beneath my nose.

So the new one arrived I opened it, but still no sign of Mr older matcha.

Then again after making my matcha one day, the next time I came to look for Mr new matcha, what had happened? He’d disappeared too.

In a big tantrum I blamed my mum, dad, the cat, but no one had a clue where the second had disappeared to.

Piling everything out the cupboards we looked everywhere that it could possibly be. The tea cupboard, the cereals, my cupboard (I don’t even know whats in there except chocolate), the nuts, dried fruits. EVERYWHERE.

My mum swore blind she hadn’t seen it, until I spied a silver sachet in the tea overflow cupboard. Of course we didn’t think to look in there. And of course she’d forgotten that she’d put it in there with all the other teas.

DUH

So we solved that one.

But still no sign of Mr old matcha.

Well, after all of that I recently have been on a matcha latte kick.

 

Photo 16-11-2016, 10 16 25.jpg
The model ready for his closeup

 

I am a serious tea drinker. As I’ve already mentioned we have a tea cupboard and a tea overflow cupboard, in the literal sense that every time you open the door all the boxes flow out and fall on your head.

Everyday I have my green tea for a needed caffeine hit after I’ve eaten my breakfast (anyone else get headaches if they don’t have a cuppa?), if i’m lounging around then I’ll probably have a second and get a bit buzzy. Always a mint infused tea after lunch, another with my afternoon snack and one or two if i’m still feeling peckish after dinner. Phew that’s a lot of tea.

Its so cold here in the UK, if I haven’t got warmth from sunshine the very least I can have is a hot tea and a fluffy jumper.

I always seem to hit the 11-11:30 lull. Not hungry enough for a proper snack, but not full enough from breakfast to keep going another hour until lunchtime. The perfect time for a matcha latte then.

No excuses needed.

Frothy creamy dairy free milk whizzed up to make a pastel hue of green, that will brighten any misty grey day.

 

Photo 23-11-2016, 11 09 01.jpg
Whisk it, whisk it real good!

 

Matcha is nothing new however. Maybe it is to us in the west, its enjoying the ride on the wellness train just like quinoa and açai. But it does have a lot of history in japan, particularly with Buddhist monks.

Let’s go way back.

I mean way way way back to 1191.

The zen Buddhist, Eisai introduced the ground tea leaves, aka matcha, to Japan. Him and his fellow Buddhist monks used to drink matcha in the afternoon to prepare them for their meditation. Matcha is said to bring clarity to the mind, maintain a level of sustained energy and helped them to remain more centred and focused.

So it worked for the Buddhist monks, what’s the benefit for those of us not spending all day meditating?

It does boast quite a few health benefits, when prepared correctly. The first, high in antioxidants. Found in most brightly coloured fruit and veg, dark chocolate and green tea, vital to fight off diseases, cancers and UV radiation, basically all environmental strains that our bodies shouldn’t be exposed to. Whilst green tea is high in antioxidants, matcha has 137 times the amount so something worth adding to your diet.

Second, it helps to put you in a state of calm. Maybe its the process of making the matcha, frothing up the tea with hot (not boiling) water then frothing the milk and pouring one into the other. But studies have found that L-theanine the amino acid which helps you RELAXXXX and also slows the release of caffeine in the body, is found in matcha powder, in fact in most tea however it is most concentrated in matcha. Time for some zen then.

We all know green tea contains caffeine, if you’ve ever drank it at night and struggled to drift asleep you’ll know well enough. Matcha contains only a third of the amount of caffeine as your regular coffee and only a little more than a cup of green tea around 24mg-39mg. Giving you alertness without the crash and burn only an hour or so later.

Dosing you up with around 3.25mg of calcium, 1.85mg of vitamin C, 274mg of protein and 20.5mg of potassium, it outweighs all the other well known ‘superfoods’ such as acai and goji berries. (But we all know the term ‘superfood’ is a load of BS, don’t we?)

Finally, I’m not going to go into all that detoxing the body rubbish, we have a liver and kidneys for that. But it’s said to help with a clearer complexion. Obviously eating a healthy diet of lots of fruit and vegetables wholegrain carbs and healthy fats will help with that, but women in japan have been using matcha as a face mask for YEARS. (As well as putting matcha in anything and everything, READ: matcha Kitkats, matcha Oreos…). Now doesn’t it seem that most Japanese women have beautiful porcelain skin, it might just be in their genes, but i’ll drink matcha to that!

 

 

Now on to the recipe.

FINALLY

So I like to use this matcha powder. It’s premium grade, you can buy cheap matcha powders usually bulked up with loads of sugar, colouring and milk powder (hello starbucks), but not overly expensive as we all have to look after those pennies. Choose one that’s right for you, there are loads and loads out there.

Make sure to seal the matcha packet every time you use it, keep it out of sunlight and in a cool and dark place. Light causes the tea to oxidise, meaning a lot of the benefits are leached out of the tea.

Also a note on the type of milk to use. You can use dairy milk, or soya milk, oat milk is my favourite for flavour and frothing abilities (particularly the brand Oatly, the even do foamable!!!), however rice milk, coconut, almond, cashew all is good here. The Rude Health milks taste amazing with the matcha as they are slightly sweet. BUT you just don’t get a good enough froth. And what’s a latte without some froth eh?

Photo 23-11-2016, 11 08 56.jpg

Photo 23-11-2016, 11 10 21.jpg

Photo 23-11-2016, 11 11 39.jpg
Wait for it…waittttt for itttt…..

If you have a milk steamer, all the better, but I use one of the handheld milk frothers they’re really cheap and do the job nicely. Traditionally matcha is made in a bowl and whisked up with a bamboo whisk, I would  like to own one of these but I have no space, something from my kitchen cabinets would have to be removed to make space for it. Sad. Times. So maybe not as traditional, but if you have one go ahead and have a proper tea ceremony.

Matcha Latte

Ingredients

  • 1/2 – 1 tsp matcha powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup of boiled – but left to cool slightly – water

Method

  1. In your cup whisk your matcha in the hot water until frothy.
  2. Meanwhile, either in the microwave or in a pan on the hob, heat your milk until steaming but not boiling.
  3. Whisk the milk until it is really frothy, then pour into the matcha.

As simple as that.

If you like, add a little grating of nutmeg, or for a touch of sweetness if your taste buds are begging for it add some raw honey, maple syrup or rice malt syrup. However if you’re using a plant based milk I don’t find it necessary.

 

So zen up your life, have a moment of calm and centring. No need to think of everything on your to do list, just sit and sip your warm cuddley matcha.

Enjoy and breeathhheeeeee

X

Anyone else, notice the amount of times I said the word matcha. OH there goes another one. Its such a good word, and FUN FACT: the word matcha comes from the two words in Japanese, cha meaning tea, and ma meaning powdered. So literally powdered tea.

Get telling all your friends I’m sure they’ll be well impressed.

(Ha good luck with that!)

 

 

 

 

A winning fridge forage

photo-20-10-2016-13-42-07

DISCLAIMER: I’ve never been to Italy. Sad times, I KNOW! Every year when we’re looking for somewhere to go on our summer holidays, I put Italy on the top of my list. I’m not really fussy on where, Rome, Florence, Venice, Lake Garda, Sorrento, Bologna (new LOVE after watching on Rick steins long weekends), anywhere, as long as pasta, gelato and and lots of eating is involved. I’m there.

So before you start shouting at your screen I have had no experience of truly authentic Italian food on Italian ground. I’ve eaten some UHMAZINGGGGG Italian food in restaurants here in the UK, but I feel they’re hard to come by, usually catering for our British tastebuds. Find somewhere which sources it’s ingredients from across Italy, then you’re onto a winner.

So, this recipe is by no means Italian. I drew inspiration mainly from everyone’s love of pesto pasta, the highlight of a students diet, and the fact I had a big bunch of basil in the fridge that needed using up. That’s the way I tend to work when I’m cooking for myself or on a Friday night for a fridge clear out.

Photo 20-10-2016, 13 42 34.jpg

I’m a big fan of courgetti, first of all it’s a chance to use my spiraliser. I still get mesmerised by the twirling of green curls coming out the other end. Second of all, eating a dish of solely pasta I find too heavy. If the sauce is meat based I tend to go for just courgetti, sauté it in a pan with a big spoon (or two) of sauce until steamy and bubbling. If I’m opting for a vegetarian or vegan meal I like to do half courgetti, half spaghetti.

Photo 20-10-2016, 13 44 50.jpg

In terms of the type of pasta I like brown rice spaghetti or spelt spaghetti. There are so many alternative pastas on the supermarket shelves nowadays you just have to find one you like. There’s varieties made from beans like chickpeas, black beans and mung beans (sounds weird, but so so good) and some others from our favourite pseudograins like quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth. If money is an issue for you or you have no health food shops nearby, go for the whole grain version. It’s sold in the majority of supermarkets nowadays, as I said in the last post getting more fibre into our diets is so important, whole grain pasta is the one for the job.

I’m really sorry if the majority of my recipes use a food processor. I can’t tell you how much I miss it when I’m away from home, definitely my hero of the kitchen appliances! The pesto for this recipe can be made by finely chopping everything by hand, it will take a hell of a longer time than whizzing in the food processor, but it’s still achievable. If you seriously can’t be arsed by all means grab some pesto from the shops. No it won’t be as full of goodness as the homemade one is, I don’t think it will taste as good either. BUT follow the ‘better than’ idea. If by not making the pesto yourself you won’t cook and will just order in a pizza, then of course buying the pesto and serving up a hearty dish of courgette, peas, herbs, rocket and tomatoes is the best option.

So get cracking, it doesn’t take long to whizz up at all. Completely full of veggie goodness and can be vegan if you decide not to put some Parmesan shavings on top, but I couldn’t resist. I’m sorry to all the vegans out there but I just love cheese. SO. DAMN. MUCH.

photo-20-10-2016-13-42-12

 

Pesto courgetti pasta with roasted tomatoes

This served around 2 people

Ingredients

For the pesto

  • 1 big handful of basil
  • 1 big handful parsley
  • 1 small handful pine nuts
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp olive/rapeseed oil
  • 2 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast (for that savoury depth that you don’t get from cheese) otherwise use a good grating of Parmesan
  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)

For the pasta

  • 1 courgette (as straight as possible)
  • Spaghetti ( I don’t know how much here, I always make too little or too much. Just judge it by how hungry you are)
  • 2 handfuls of frozen peas
  • Rocket
  • Parmesan

For the roast tomatoes

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive/rapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. For the roast tomatoes. Turn the oven to 170C/150C fan. Slice the tomatoes, smaller cherry ones in half and larger tomatoes into quarters so they are in even size chunks. Put into an oven proof dish, I prefer ceramic rather than metal because the tomatoes cook more evenly and are less likely to burn. Drizzle over some oil and a good pinch of salt. Place in the oven for around 20 to 30 mins until they are caramelised on the edges and slightly shrivelled. Put to one side.
  2. For the pesto. Place all the ingredients into the food processor and whizz until you get a paste. Check for seasoning, maybe add more lemon or nutritional yeast/Parmesan, whizz again then slowly drizzle in some water until you have the right consistency for a pesto. It should coat the back of your spoon.
  3. Fill a large pan with boiling water, add your chosen spaghetti and cook according to the pack directions with a good pinch of salt.
  4. Meanwhile, setup your spiralizer so its on the finer noodle setting, and spiralize your courgette. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a julienner or a regular peeler. Or try this kitchen hack: sit your box grater on its side with the course grater facing up. Grate the courgette horizontallly against the teeth so you get long strands of courgetti.
  5. Put a large frying pan on a medium heat and add your courgetti and frozen peas. Heat them through, but keep stirring so they dont catch, until the courgetti has softened has the peas have cooked.
  6. Scoop all your pesto in with the courgetti with a scoop of the pasta cookng water and leave to warm through.
  7. When the pasta is cooked drain it and add to the frying pan along ith the roasted tomatoes, a few handfuls of rocket and  a big squeeze of lemon. Mix well then divide onto plates, drizzle with extra oil and a few shavings of paremsan.

Get twirlinnn’

X

First things first

I want to talk about breakfast.

Now I am a breakfast person. I like to wake up early in order to have a little peace in the morning, some time for me, and devour my little creation. My masterpiece (aka breakfast) changes from day to day, you won’t find Crunchy Nut Cornflakes in my bowl, no no no! We’re all about nutrient density peopleeee!

So before breakfast starts, I have my little ritual. It tends to differ slightly if I’m away from home, but if I’m not working or don’t need to rush out the house I usually like to wake around 7:30. Then its time for my warm water, lemon and ACV (apple cider vinegar BTW). If there’s one thing I recommend everyone does, that will make you feel that much better, is drinking a large glass of this first thing in the morning. Overnight your body starts to become dehydrated, so get some H2O down ya. It does a lot of good. Whilst you are asleep your body rests and repairs, now when ACV and lemon come along they kick your digestion into gear and the juices start churning.

Another thing I’ve recently added to my morning routine is a quick 10 minute yoga sequence, or if i cant be bothered, a good old stretch. You know that feeling when you wake up and your head feels a bit stuffy and you just can’t roll out from under those covers (I live in the UK, I’m always bloody FROZEN), just quickly throw off those covers-go on grin and bare it- then hang upside down, follow a little sun salutation or just take a few breaths in downward dog. If you want to supercharge your morning, flow into wildthing or wheel, that’ll get you going for FO’ SUREE!

I understand you were expecting a breakfast recipe, it’s coming don’t worry. BUT FIRST…. PROBIOTICS. None of that coffee business for me. I wish I was a coffee drinker, they all look so cool, but no its some tummy loving I need.

Now, boys and girls comes the thing we’ve all been waiting for. And today I’m bringing you ‘drumroll plooiseeee’….. PORRIDGE. Or oatmeal for you a bit further west across the Atlantic.

10616747_333861190122614_937763795_n

Alright, alright I know you’re thinking, is that it?! Ok, it can be boring, it can be stodgy and lumpy, it can also have no nutritional value, just drown it in golden syrup and well, there you go. But porridge doesn’t have to be. Correction: it shouldn’t be and from now on, never will be.


I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. But when such a simple thing can taste SO DAMN GOOD, I want to give you one of my favourite porridge recipes, a bare bricks recipe that you can use as a guideline for creating other flavour bombs. I’m telling you, BOMBS! If you don’t like one thing on there change it for something you do like. You can alter the fruit depending on what’s in season. You can go as fancy pants as you wish, or as minimal. You’re the one who’s eating it, not me. And if you’re a porridge-o-phobe, you can’t stand the smell or taste, maybe this will change you for good.

Or you still hate the stuff? And if that’s you, eat an omelette!

11055989_422365871272892_1677131704_n

NOTE (on the ingredients): This is a banana version of the porridge, which lends a nice sweetness without you having to add any sugar or sweetener. Spiked blood sugar levels first thing in the morning is most definitely what we don’t want here.

Porridge oats: I like to use rolled oats (preferably organic) for a quicker cooking porridge, sometimes half rolled, half jumbo which leads to a chunkier texture. For a lovely nutty flavour use rye or spelt flakes or for the gluten free, you can substitute brown rice flakes, quinoa flakes, or buckwheat flakes.

Chia seeds: Teeny tiny packs of nutrients, these chia seeds add some protein and omega 3 to your porridge. It’s important to pair some protein with your breakfast to keep you sustained for longer. If you don’t have chia, you can use linseeds, flaxseeds, sunflower or pumpkin. They also add a nice crunch.

Fruit: Adding fruit is not necessary for porridge, however it makes it that bit creamier and sweeter as i mentioned before. Also it gives you a larger bowlful, WINNING!  If you don’t want banana, grate in half an apple or a pear. Or if you want a less sugar first thing in the morning grate in a small carrot, courgette, add in some mashed cooked sweet potato or butternut squash. If it’s a plainer porridge you wish for don’t add any fruit at all and let the flavour of the oats shine through.

Milk: Personally I prefer a plant based milk, but only if it’s unsweetened, I would rather it didn’t have any added things like carageenan or emulsifiers (however we can’t always escape these sort of things and have to go for the best option) but please don’t use soy milk. If you are more inclined towards some dairy, try to go for organic and whole milk too. It’s the fat in dairy which makes all the vitamins and minerals available for our bodies to use. If you have none left in your fridge, go on and use all water, it won’t be as unctuous, but perhaps stir through some coconut oil, yogurt or nut butter for some added YUM!

Spices: Again, not completely necessary, they add a certain je ne sais quoi?! Cinnamon makes the porridge sweeter, and is brilliant for balancing your blood sugar levels. But why not experiment with ground cardamom, ground ginger, turmeric (don’t knock it till you try it), vanilla or nutmeg.

10950535_775931865815634_1244542184_n

Ingredients:

40g or 1/3 cup of porridge oats

1 tsp chia seeds

125ml or 1/2 cup water

125ml or 1/2 cup milk of your choice

1/2 banana

1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon (I love the stuff so I add loads, but it’s up to you, just taste and adjust)

pinch pink Himalayan salt

 

  1. The night before, put the oats and chia seeds in a bowl and mix them together. This will ensure the chia seeds don’t go into a big clump. Add the water and the milk of your choice to the oats, mix, place a plate over the top and leave to soak overnight.
  2. In the morning, mash the 1/2 banana in a saucepan, add the soaked oats and chia seeds along with all the liquid, the cinnamon, and the pink Himalayan salt. Mix together, clamp on a lid and turn up the heat to medium-high until the porridge starts to bubble.
  3. Give the porridge a stir to make sure it’s not sticking, turn the heat down to low and put the lid on a tilt.
  4. Leave to bubble slowly, like little pops of lava, until thickened to how you like. This can take however long you have, 5 minutes for when you’re in a rush, 15 minutes or even 30 minutes, cooked really slowly to retain all the goodness in the oats to make the softest creamiest porridge you’ll have ever tasted.
  5. Add more milk if necessary. Sometimes I want a looser consistency so add a bit more milk, other times i want it stodgy, stand a spoon in it sorta stuff.
  6. Leave to settle with the lid on for a minute or two off the heat whilst you prepare your toppings, then tip into a bowl.
  7. Bring out your creative side, decorate THE ULTIMATE PORRIDGE how your little heart desires, and then take a quick pic for Instagram. Everyone will say how they hate people who take pictures of their breakfast, don’t listen to them, they’re just jealous that they’re not eating it.

Toppings: I advise some nut or seed butter or some yogurt for some protein, and because PEANUT BUTTER. If you don’t like the texture mix it into the porridge when its finished cooking. ^EPIC

Sprinkle, with nuts, seeds, coconut, dried fruit, fresh fruit, fruit compote, more milk, cacao nibs, bee pollen, yes and nut butter.

For that extra sweetness (I don’t think it needs it, but sometimes we all need a little sweet touch) drizzle with maple syrup, date syrup (HELLO CARAMEL), rice malt syrup or raw honey.

Seriously you can go crazy. Have a #moretoppingsthanporridge morning.

Enjoy my loves!

10748035_752585308146966_975506839_n