Blackberry & Avocado Salad with a Gingery Dill Dressing


 

Summer has officially hit Cornwall and I’m about to vacate the county for Ireland. Typical. Not that I don’t love a jaunt ‘home’ but the temperature there never quite reaches the heights it does here and I always feel a slight chill even on the balmiest of days – who am I kidding, Ireland doesn’t do ‘balmy’. Of course, it’ll be great to see the folks, spend time with my Dad who has just finished his third round of chemo, and celebrate their ruby wedding anniversary … quite a milestone by anyone’s standards! Being the creature of habit that I am though, I always find it difficult settling into a new routine – that adjustment period shows me what a home bird I really am. I crave structure and being a writer means I can construct my own timetable – a luxury that is thankfully not lost on me. There’s nothing I love more than splitting my day into palatable little sections … most of which revolve around tea/snack/lunch/coffee breaks – in a way it’s bliss. Unless I’m working to a tight deadline.

 

Now that the book is ‘done’ (I’ve put it in inverted commas because I don’t think a book is ever really done but at some point you have to move on … plus there’s always bits and bobs that need tweaking) I now find myself in a weird limbo scenario and so my inclination is to return my attention to ‘Keep it Vegan’. To that end I’ll be doing a few little promo things here and there (another IrelandAM appearance is on the cards for the 7th July), as well as continuing to promote my more summery recipes – perfect for the coming months! Keep an eye on my twitter and instagram accounts for details.

 

And then there’s this blog. The place and vehicle that started this whole ball rolling. I already am feeling a lot more connected to this space than I have done in a long time … so much so, I’ve even dusted off the DSLR in a bid to regain my confidence behind the camera. Slowly does it though because it really would seem that I’ve forgotten how to use the damn thing – settings, schmettings.

 

Today was a salad day (nothing special but still… ) and so I thought it would be good practice to shoot something that didn’t have any time constraints or pressures. The focus still ain’t perfect but I think I’ve been able to achieve a slightly nicer quality to these shots than I have done in a very long while. Like I said, they’re a long way from being perfect but I won’t go down without a fight. And now for the recipe … creamy avocado, tart blackberries and not forgetting that gingery dill dressing, it really is a wonderfully simple seasonal salad with a difference.

 

what you’ll need

large handful of mixed lettuce leaves

6-7 blackberries

1/4 yellow pepper, finely sliced

1 spring onion, finely sliced

1/2 avocado, sliced

 

for the dressing

1 heaped tbsp dijon

1 garlic clove, grated

1 thumb-size piece of ginger, grated

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp hazelnut oil or evoo

1/2 tbsp agave

juice x 2 clementines

pinch of salt and pepper

15g freshly chopped dill

 

what you’ll do

Arrange the salad leaves in a shallow bowl. Scatter the sliced pepper around over the leaves, sprinkle over the spring onion and dot the blackberries about the bowl.

 

Separate the sliced avocado into a fan shape and place in the centre of the bowl.

 

Place all the dressing ingredients (apart from the dill) into a bowl and whisk vigorously until it emulsifies. Add the chopped dill and whisk to combine. Spoon generously over the salad, paying particular attention to the avocado.

 

Finish with a final scattering of roughly chopped dill. Serve.

 

 

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Tropic Skincare

 

I had intended to post this on Friday evening but I was too lazy to type and then the sun was out in full force on Saturday, which meant it was pushed back to today, Sunday. So, here I am, sitting in bed (even though it’s after midday, ahem) with a cup of tea and a quiet determination to actually write a blog post – no mean feat when your creative energies are at an all time low. I know I’ve banged on about it before but I’m feeling like a bit of slacker these days when it comes to this space but I’m hopeful my blogging will soon be reignited properly … I just think I need to take things slowly.

 

I’ve read posts before about bloggers hitting a creative wall – and in my case, it is often stunted further by the amount of uh-mazing food and lifestyle blogs that are springing up left, right and centre complete with professional-looking images and all perfectly curated for your perusal. Then again, this space was never about that. It was never about perfection, instead striving for honesty and a glimpse into my far from perfect world. Whilst I always want it to be a pleasant place to visit, I never sugar-coat where I’m at or how I’m feeling … integrity is everything to me. Anyway, you can see that my thoughts are currently quite scattered so let’s move onto the subject at hand – Tropic Skincare.

 

Full disclosure – I was kindly sent these items by Chelsea at Tropic Skincare who asked would I be interested in checking out their range. Rather fortuitously I had just squeezed the last drop out of my Argan Oil so was definitely in the market for a new face oil – cue, the Organic Elixir Oil of my dreams. I’d heard good things about this oil (and indeed the range) before and I’m pleased to say it matches the online hype. I’ve been slathering it liberally over my face and neck, twice a day now for well over a week and it is simply glorious … if you have dry skin like me, you will be wowed.

 

 

Even if I hadn’t been gifted the oil, I suspect I would’ve coughed up the £30 anyway because I’m always happy to invest in a quality moisturiser, particularly when it’s as natural as this one – I won’t bore you with the ingredients list but suffice to say, it’s impressively simple. It absorbs quickly into the skin and is the perfect base for applying make-up … I often have dry patches that are worsened by make-up application but I’ve seen a massive improvement even in the short space of time I’ve been using the oil. Equally, it’s rich enough to be used at night, which means you don’t have to buy a separate product thus saving ‘dem pennies … great news for those of us who are on a meagre budget but still want great skin.

 

The concealer and brush have also been welcome additions to my routine. I would recommend the concealer for a daytime look, as it’s quite light, giving a nice natural coverage. The (cruelty free) make-up brush has become a bit of staple too now that I’ve swapped my ‘Winter’ blush for a more summery bronzer … the slanted style is terrific for highlighting cheekbones and is super soft – I doubt anyone would know it’s ‘vegan’.

 

For me though, it really is all about the elixir – I honestly can’t get enough of it. Nothing more to say other than ‘two thumbs up!’

 

 

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My YouTube Channel

 

I thought it was time for a YouTube update. Whilst I don’t upload as much as I would like (editing seems to take forEVER!) I’ve been trying to invest a bit more of my creative energy into this little channel. Quick ‘n’ easy recipes work best for this medium (in my opinion) – then again, I’m basing that purely on my own short attention span when it comes to online recipe vids. So, because of that, I’ve attempted to keep the dishes straightforward but would love some feedback on whether you would indeed like more involved recipes – totally open to suggestions so fire away.

 

My aim is to upload one video a week … they’ll vary between the book and blog with a smattering of super healthy dishes – and not so healthy because, hey, that’s life. I’m really excited about building this platform not only because YouTube has a growing vibrant community but also because I happen to be an obsessive viewer myself. In case you’re interested a few of my favourite channels include Mr.Kate, BeautyCrush, Alli Cherry, Niomi Smart, Nutrition Stripped and Shameless Maya … oh, and, of course, I love Mr.Oliver’s wonderful FoodTube channel too.

 

My latest recipe is for Homemade Hazelnut Milk but there’s also a recipe for my Carrot Cake Bites and Macaro-no Cheese on the channel too – enjoy! And before I forget, please do ‘like’, ‘subscribe’ and ‘share’.
 

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Virgin Pina Colada


 

So, I can’t actually remember how long it’s been since I last blogged – maybe a month, maybe more? My excuse is that I’ve been in the depths of book no. 2 and couldn’t come up for air, let alone a blog post and am only just getting back to normality after submitting my manuscript on Sunday. Now though, I’m ready to ease myself back into the swing of things with a simple but delicious smoothie … it’s the long drink I needed after pouring myself into my latest cookbook, which is due for release in January 2016. Yep, it feels like an age to me too. After writing ‘Keep it Vegan’ I felt an enormous weight had been lifted off my shoulders but that short-lived relief was quickly followed by an insurmountable dread that nobody would like or buy it. Thankfully my fears were unfounded but that doesn’t make releasing this one into the ether any easier – in fact, it feels as if more hinges on this publication being a success. Go figures.

 

With that said, I am so excited to reveal bits of the book to you guys, however, at the moment even the title is under wraps. What I can tell you is that I am over the moon with how it’s shaping up … the images are simply stunning, and I think there’ll be a little something for everyone – vegan, omni or otherwise. As ever, my recipes will be super straightforward (old habits die hard) with a good balance (gluten-free alongside sugar-filled is my style) and plenty of scope for you to adapt them to suit your needs and tastes. These are dishes I truly love to make myself, and although many were created especially for the book, they’ve now become regular features on my weekly menu too. Very few of the recipes are time consuming and, perhaps more importantly, I’ll be offering up tips on how to make your vegan lifestyle that wee bit easier with the inclusion of some non-foodie chapters outlining my approach to veganism. In a way, I write my books with me in mind – that may sound odd, but I kind of feel if I wouldn’t buy it, then why should I expect anyone else to. It’s also my only way of staying true to myself … something that is really, really important to me.

 

Okay, so enough waffle and onto the drink. If you really wanted to, you could totally pop some rum in this and turn it into a more grown-up affair but in my opinion it actually makes for a refreshing change to its usual boozy counterpart. Come Summer I am all about the pineapple, and try to secrete it into just about anything … salsa is a current top fav. Here though, it takes centre stage and rightly so – all we need now is for that predicted heatwave to hit.

 

what you’ll need

250g fresh pineapple, chopped

1 banana

100ml coconut cream

100ml coconut milk

1 large medjool date, stone removed

few ice-cubes

 

what you’ll do

Place all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until completely – for an even smoother finish, pour it through a fine mesh sieve.

Divide between two or three glasses and garnish with some pineapple. Serve immediately.


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Gluten Free Banana Bread


 
Oh hai! Suffice to say this book writing business is overtaking everything at the mo, hence the lack of recipes on the blog – it seems every time I have a good idea I feel compelled to save it for the publication. I can’t even claim this one was intended for this space, as it was originally created for the current issue of WED Mag (go buy it!), along with two other equally delightful dishes. Call it laziness or just my eagerness to share but this borrowed (from, er, myself) recipe is all I have to offer right now … although I have two blog posts lined up for the very near future (you loving that vagueness?) that I hope will make up for my persistent peasoupeats neglect.

 

This particular Banana Bread recipe is (no lie) an absolute lifesaver thanks to its gluten and (refined) sugar-free status … in fact, you could go as far as to say, it’s good for you – disclaimer; it’s probably not ‘good for you’. Moist, crumbly and ridiculously delicious, it flies in the face of everything you have ever thought about gluten free goods, which, let’s face it, are often bemoaned for their dense, stodgy texture that taste more like sand than cake – not appealing, not now, not ever. So, even if you think gluten free isn’t your thing, I urge you let this banana bread change your mind because healthy eating or not, this recipe officially ‘rules’.

 

what you’ll need

130g Gram Flour
70g Ground Almonds
1 tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder
½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
Pinch Salt
2 Ripe Bananas
3 Medjool Dates
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tbsp Coconut oil
70g Raisins
30g Flaked Almonds

 

what you’ll do

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare a medium-sized loaf tin by greasing it with a little coconut oil.

 

Place the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a bowl and whisk together.

 

Soak the medjool dates for 10 minutes in warm water.

 

Meanwhile, mash the bananas with the back of a fork to form a smooth puree.

 

Remove the stone from the dates and place in a small chopper or hand blender along with the maple syrup and blitz to form a thick, sticky paste.

 

Melt the coconut oil in a small pan on the hob … this will take mere seconds, be sure not to let it boil.

 

Whisk the pureed banana, date paste and melted coconut oil together, along with two tablespoons of water, until thoroughly combined.

 

Stir the raisins into the flour, ensuring they are evenly dispersed. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the banana mixture. Fold gently until everything is combined before transferring to the loaf tin. The batter will be quite thick so spread it out using a spatula before sprinkling over the flaked almonds.

 

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin. Place on a cooling rack for a further 30 minutes. Cut into thick slices and serve.

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The Fresh Vegan Kitchen … Corn Chowder


 

I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to be able to follow a recipe instead of creating one. In the midst of this book writing business, receiving this gorgeous offering in the post was a welcome relief and meant I could forget about my own creations for at least one meal. Although they probably don’t know it, the writers of this heavenly vegan cookbook were the first ‘real-life’ vegan cooks I ever encountered. Four years almost to the day, I was booked into a raw cookery class at Saf in Shoreditch (sadly now closed), which was led by the magnificent David Bailey who was accompanied by his lovely wife Charlotte. A newbie vegan at the time (I was about a year into my journey ) this was a real eye opener for me and I learnt so much… and tasted some pretty incredible food in the process – so you could say I’m already a bit of fan girl when it comes to this duo. Since then they’ve gone on to win awards for their scrumptious street food (keep an eye out for their WholefoodHeaven van at festivals) and, of course, release a wonderful cookbook.
 

Not only is it a stunning book to simply browse through but offers a range of dishes from the very basic (dips, dressings and soups) through to more adventurous fare that all have something of an Asian twist. I went for something moderately easy to begin with in the form of the New England inspired Corn Chowder … mainly because my fridge and cupboards are pretty bare right now so it was a bit of a make-do situation. I’m rather ashamed to say I had to use (don’t judge!) canned (cough) sweetcorn and I didn’t have any coconut milk (or stock) to hand either, however, despite my embarrassing modifications it was still a resounding success.
 

What I’m most excited about getting my chops around next is the Hot Aubergine Salad, which looks sensational, with the Churros a very close second. Hot, crispy, sugary goodness – you’re talking my language! What I love most about this book is the balance it strikes between uber-healthy recipes and more indulgent dishes that don’t shy away from things like flour. There’s something for everyone whether you’re raw, gluten-free or, like-me, dabble in a little bit of everything. It’s easy-going flair is its biggest selling point … I predict it’ll be a book I’ll come back to again and again. In a nutshell, it’s fuss-free food, full of flavour that will inevitably put a smile on your face.

 

Corn Chowder

adapted from The Fresh Vegan Kitchen

 

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small carrot, chopped

200g sweetcorn kernels

4 salad potatoes, roughly chopped

1 tsp hot sauce

juice 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup soya yoghurt plus more for serving

salt and pepper

 

for the herby croutons

1 slice of bread, cut into 1cm squares

1 tbsp olive oil

1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped

 

Method

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan and saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sautee for 3-4 mins, then add the carrot and sweetcorn, season and saute for another minute or so.

 

2. Cover the saute mix with water (about 1ltr) and add the potatoes. Season generously, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 15-20mins, until all the vegetables are tender.

 

3. While the soup is simmering make the croutons. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Put the bread in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and rosemary. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10 mins until lightly golden, moving the croutons around every couple of minutes. Set aside.

 

4. When the soup is ready transfer to a blender and pulse until smooth. Return the soup to the pan, stir in the yogurt (or coconut milk), lemon juice, generously season and reheat for 10-15 minutes over a very low heat.

 

5. Divide into bowls and garnish with a few reserved sweetcorn kernels, sliced radish, spring onion and not forgetting the croutons, which I served alongside .

 

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Easter Chocolate Orange Loaf

 

I am in such a blogging rut right now. Any good ideas I have are being poured into the book, which leaves very little to spare in terms of blog posts. I know things will settle down after my deadline but I can’t help but feel this space needs some much needed (and long overdue) TLC. I’m in the mood for a Spring clean – a yearly spruce up, if you will, although I can’t guarantee it’s all going to happen overnight. An image overhaul is definitely in order and I really want to make it easier for you guys to navigate your way around the site… I am fully aware my categories are confusing and totally outta control – seriously though, have you seen how many I have listed on the sidebar? Talking of control, I need to find a way of letting go of my daily control-freak ways a little, as it’s not only hindering my work but also my happiness. Truth be told, I poured over these images for an hour and half, tweaking this and that, and I’m still not satisfied with them. It was my first time using a DSLR for a while and I’d practically forgotten how to effectively use the settings – not to mention the light was piss poor, hence their ‘intentionally’ moody demeanour, ahem. I’m not sure how often bloggers talk about their photography woes but when you’re bombarded with brilliant images on an hourly basis, one can’t help but feel like any offerings I might be contributing to the internet’s growing library of incredible food shots fall somewhat short of the mark.

 

Or course, great food photographs aren’t the be all and end all of a good blog – I hope! I like to think the recipes and occasional (read negligible) witty repartee also go some way to making a blog, erm, ‘good’. Personally, I return to blogs that are open and honest, and don’t try to be something they’re not. I’m no professional photographer (heck, I’m not even sure I qualify as an amateur one) so recipes are where I can make up for bad lighting, poor composition and anything else that makes an image just okay. This Chocolate Orange Loaf is what I’ll be chowing down on over the next few days … and f.y.i. the frosting is not optional. Yup, it’s a total, unashamed sugar-fest because hey, it’s Easter and I don’t ‘eat clean’ all the time anyway. Frankly, I think we’re all becoming a wee bit obsessive about every (single, itty-ibtty)  morsel that passes our lips, so take this recipe as a defiant stand against the ‘nutritionalistas’ of the world that have left us feeling ashamed for even thinking about a slice of the good stuff – or bad, as the case may be. Besides, I think portion control is much more effective than shunning all these so-called ‘naughty’ foods, which is why you’ll notice this is baked in a pretty small loaf tin and contains about the half the ingredients of a similar recipe. I figure this way I can have my cake and eat it, innit.

 

Look, I’m as guilty as the next person of using the ‘clean eats’ hash tag when promoting my wares on places like instagram and twitter, so you could say I’m perpetuating this fixation we have with ensuring everything we consume has some nutritional value – heads up, this loaf has none. Whilst I’m all for making healthy choices, I really don’t see the harm in having an all singing, all dancing chocolate loaf now and then… yes, I know there are great alternatives out there, and I partake in those too, but sometimes only cake (this kinda ‘hooray for cake’ cake) will do. If you’re of the same mindset, then read on for the recipe. If not, then there are plenty of raw/gluten-free/sugar-free recipes on the blog too. Either way I wish you all a very HAPPY EASTER – here’s to occasional, but necessary, full-fat, gluten-filled, sugar-laden treats.

 

Oh, and if you’re wondering where those gorgeous printed napkins are from, head over to the Tori Murphy website to oggle (perchance to buy) more of her incredible designs – I’m officially obsessed!

 

Ingredients

120g plain flour

70g sugar

30g cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 banana

45ml olive oil

120ml plant milk (I used homemade hazelnut milk)

1 tsp orange extract

 

for the frosting

3 tbsp vegan margarine

100g icing sugar

1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp orange extract

 

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees celsius.

Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb together in a large bowl.

Mash the banana and whisk together with the oil, plant milk and orange extract until smooth.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently fold until everything has fully combined.

Transfer to a greased 71/2 inch loaf tin, tap it firmly on your worktop to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake for 30-35minutes.

Whilst the loaf is baking make your frosting by whisking together the margarine, icing sugar, cocoa and extract until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.

Once baked, allow the loaf to cool on a rack before removing it from the tin. Let is cool completely before adoring it with the chocolate frosting … I like to roughly spread it over the top of the cake using a spatula.

HAPPY EASTER!!

 

 

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Meat Free Week Menu

Okay, okay, so I’m a day late to the game but hopefully just in time to inspire your meat free meals for the rest of the week. I’ve delved into the ‘peasoupeats’ archives to come up with a varied menu that should (fingers crossed) cover all bases… from soup to salads and even sushi, there’s a little bit of everything but do let me know what your favourite is. Personally, I’m all about the Sweet Potato & Pearl Barley Stew but that’s probably because I haven’t fully transitioned from my winter diet yet – yup, still craving that warmth! The pearl barley is certainly lighter than rice but has that ‘stick to yer ribs’ quality that I’m so loving right now. If you’re currently getting yourself in shape for summer though, the Noodle Salad for One is a super option – filling yet light and full of flavour. Anyway I’ll let you decide – there are six recipes to choose from and they’re all pretty delicious and, as ever, super easy. Happy ‘Meat Free Week’ everybody!

 

Humdinger Hummus Sandwich
 
Possibly the perfect lunchtime sammie crammed full to the brim with hummus, sprouts, avocado and more. I’m a total bread/carb fiend so this is my ideal midday scenario and best of all it takes minutes to make. Om nom nom.
 

 

Lentil salad
 

Summer is creeping up on us and soon I’ll be bemoaning the fact I didn’t get in shape sooner. When I do finally get into the swing of things though, I’ll be relying on salads like this to see me through … tasty, filling and seriously simple to make.
 


 

Spiced Lentil Soup
 

Another mainstay in my kitchen, this spiced lentil soup is the ultimate comfort food. Make a big batch tonight for a go-to pot of yumminess throughout the week … #meatfreeweek sorted.
 


 

Sushi
 

Fill it with whatever you fancy or stick to this grated carrot, peashoot & pepper version – either way, this is a sure-fire weekend winner for when you have a little more time to play in the kitchen. Get yourself a bottle of sake for a full-on Japanese evening experience and say ‘cheers’ to going meat-free!
 


 

Sweet Potato & Pearl Barley Stew
 

Yes, the weather is warming but that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave stodge. This pearl barley stew is a huge favourite of mine because it feels indulgent whilst still managing to retain some healthy credentials – who says comfort food can’t be good for you, eh?
 


 

Noodle Salad For One
 

I like to make the most of my solitary meals and this one features frequently – hence it’s addition here. It was originally commissioned for Marcus Samuelsson many moons ago and it still gets a great reception to this day… I hope y’all enjoy it too!
 

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Supercharged St.Patrick’s Day Smoothie


 

Shamrock day is almost upon us so I’m flexing my green smoothie muscles in preparation. Several years ago this green hued elixir would’ve been of the beer variety but now that my drinking days are pretty much behind me (one cider and I’m anyone’s … no lie) I’ve diverted my attention to a drink that is not only good for you but renders you hangover free the following day – hurrah! I’m actually going to be in Ireland for St.Paddy’s this year, albeit it briefly … we actually fly back to Cornwall on the day, which probably explains why the flights were so much cheaper, hmmmm. Having grown up in the Emerald Isle (not to mention living in Chi-town for a while) I am all too aware of the importance of this celebration for Irish folk but in recent times it has almost passed me by. Honestly, had it not been for the internet I probably would’ve forgotten the date altogether – I hang my Irish heritage head in shame. So, this year, I vowed to be a little ahead of the game and seeing as this supercharged smoothie is most likely what I’ll be ‘cheers-ing’ with, I thought it only too appropriate to make it into some sort of blog post.
 
I can already sense the collective cucumber revulsion so let me assure you right here, right now, that whilst the cucumber is indeed a crucial component to the drink, it doesn’t leave an overriding ‘cucumbery’ taste- that’ll be because we’re going to peel and de-seed the sucker. Ditto the fennel. I realise many people also have an aversion to this wonderful ingredient because of its strong aniseed overtones but a mere slice will merely lift the drink not overpower it so I urge you to keep it in.
 
Being a total green smoothie convert and having made it my mission to refine the combination of veg versus fruit to ensure a perfectly balanced smoothie, I am only too happy to report that this one in particular is possibly my favourite. Not too sweet, not too sour, it’s a beautiful blend of all that’s good for you and all that tastes, well, yummy. Still on the ‘green smoothie’ fence? Give this a whirl and then come back to me. In the meantime…
 

May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks.
May your heart be as light as a song.
May each day bring you bright, happy hours that stay with you all the year long.

 

what you’ll need

1 x 3 inch piece of cucumber, peeled and de-seeded

1 small slice of fennel

30g curly kale

1 x kiwi

1 x medjool date

juice 1 blood orange

1 heaped tsp hemp powder

1 tsp chlorella powder

100ml filtered water

 

to serve

passion fruit seeds

sliced cucumber

 

what you’ll do

put everything in a blender and blitz until smooth.

serve immediately topped with a slice of cucumber and some passion fruit seeds

 
 

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Easy No-Bake Granola Bars

 

Where has this week gone? I feel like I’ve got absolutely nothing done and all of a sudden we’re being hurtled back into another weekend… ugh. Thankfully, I have had some precious time to spend in the kitchen creating this and that for the forthcoming book. These no-bake granola bars were a second attempt because the first batch were a bit too crumbly for my liking (I instagrammed them for posterity though!) so it was immediately back to the drawing board, which quickly resulted in me adding more nut butter and coconut oil – and hey presto, they came out perfectly. My Husband was so taken with them he wanted to bring the lot into work… unfortunately for him I still hadn’t yet snapped the little blighters for the blog so he’ll have to make do with a weekend’s worth of nutty, chewy bars at his disposal. I’m certain he won’t be complaining.

 

You could easily play about with the add-in’s … it would be great with goji berries and pistachios too. It’s such a stupidly simple recipe to whip up and (aside from refrigeration) would make a terrific last minute option for bake sales and the like. They’ve already been put on the snack rotation list here and, in my humble opinion, equal bliss balls in their nummy nutritional greatness – I’m going to have so much fun creating variations and already have my sights set on a full-on cacao version complete with nibs. Yep, this one is definitely a keeper.
 

what you’ll need

150g oats

1/2 tbsp maca powder (optional)

30g almonds, roughly chopped

30g sunflower seeds

30g pumpkin seeds

30g raisins

2 large medjool dates, chopped

30g desiccated coconut

30g chocolate chips

1 ripe banana

4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

3 tbsp peanut butter

2 tbsp cashew or almond butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 tbsp agave

pinch salt

 

what you’ll do

mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

 

mash the banana and whisk in the melted coconut oil, nut butters, vanilla extract and agave until completely smooth. pour over the granola mix and stir to combine.

 

line a brownie tin and tip the sticky granola into it, flattening to the edges with the back of a spatula.

 

refrigerate for at least 6 hours. cut lengthways into long bars and then halve each one – you should get about 16 bars from each batch.

 

tip: melt some dark chocolate chips and drizzle over the top before cutting. refrigerate for about 30 mins before serving.

 
 

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