Raw Spiced Pumpkin Smoothie

If you guys indulged in pumpkin over the Halloween period THIS is the way to use up any leftovers. Pumpkins can be eaten raw to reap the nutritional benefits, are packed full of dietary fibre, vitamin A, zinc and is proven to help lower blood pressure. Being inspired by the heartiness of this Autumn vegetable, I added some comforting spices, including some fresh ginger – which is fantastic for detoxing the body and helps to improve absorption, ensuring that your body receives as many of the nutrients that you throw at it.

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Makes two spicy Pumpkin Smoothies

– 1 1/2 cups of raw pumpkin, roughly chopped & skinned

– One cup of milk (I used coconut but any milk is fantastic!)

– 1/2 teaspoon turmeric & nutmeg

– One teaspoon ground cinnamon and ground ginger

– One inch (about a thumb size) of fresh ginger

– One tablespoon of soya yoghurt (optional)

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Method

  • Simply add all of your ingredients to the blender and blend until well combined
  • You may wish to add some yoghurt to the smoothie if the spices are too intense!

Raw ‘Cookie Dough’ Truffles

I think it’s safe to say that everyone has had their fair share of over indulging on cookie dough..! I decided to make this recipe simply as I was craving some, but I wanted to avoid putting sugar, unhealthy fats and dairy into my body. These “cookie dough” truffles are made using chickpeas, honey & cocoa nibs (as well as a few other extras) – making them a much healthier alternative to your everyday dough mix. They’re high in healthy protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins & minerals – YAY! These are so good that everyone who tried them thought they were actual cookie dough truffles, so defiantly give these a go if you have a cookie dough weakness! IMG_9211

Makes around 15 truffles

– One can organic chickpeas (220g once drained), washed thoroughly

– 2 tablespoons manuka honey

– 2 tablespoons organic sunflower seed butter

– 2 teaspoons of organic vanilla extract

– One teaspoon of ground cinnamon

– ⅓ cup/80g of cocoa nibs or vegan chocolate pieces

Method

  • Begin by steaming your chickpeas for around 5 minutes, or until they’re nice and soft
  • In a food processor, add the steamed chickpeas and all other truffle ingredients (except for the cocoa nibs/chocolate pieces) and blitz until smooth
  • At the last minute add the cocoa nibs/chocolate pieces and give the processor another quick blitz, ensuring that the nibs are evenly distributed but not too finely chopped (you want that crunch..!)
  • Using a tablespoon, spoon the mix out and roll into a ball using your hands
  • Place onto a large, flat surface and place in the freezer for around 20-30 minutes, or until frozen

Truffle Coating

– One tablespoon of organic sunflower seed butter

– One tablespoon of honey

– 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil

– 3 tablespoons of raw cocoa powder

– One teaspoon of organic vanilla extract

Method

  • To make your coating, add the coconut oil to a pan and take it off the heat once melted
  • Add all other ingredients into the saucepan and stir until well combined
  • Line a flat surface/plate with some cling film
  • Take the frozen truffle balls out of the freezer and dip them into the coating mix. You will notice that the coating firms up quickly – this is due to the fact that the balls are nice and cold so you need to be quick to get them on the plate..!
  • Place into the fridge and allow to firm up again (this should only take 5-10 minutes)
  • Store in the fridge for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to a month. Enjoy!

Tarragon infused Polenta Chips with Mushroom & Avocado dips

These Tarragon infused Polenta Chips are honestly so crazily good I just HAD to share them! I had them first on my 22nd birthday at The Gate in Hammersmith – a beautiful & well-priced vegetarian restaurant in West London. From then on I totally fell in LOVE and I had to recreate them. The recipe is surprisingly simple, and really enjoyable to make. But first, before I delve into how to make these golden sticks of amazingness, let’s talk about polenta. Traditionally called “peasant food” in Italy, polenta has been around since the 17th century and has been a staple for many years due to its nutritional properties, affordable price & comforting nature. Polenta is low in carbohydrates and is packed full of vitamin A & C making it the perfect source for beta-carotene – a pigment thought to prevent cancer and heart disease. On top of that, polenta supplies long lasting energy, is incredibly easy to cook with (it reminds me a bit of couscous) and goes with just about anything. Quick word of warning however: do not buy polenta unless it is organic. Today’s corn is almost always genetically modified – so if you wish to stay away from the consequences of GMO’s (I will be posting an article on this sometime soon) then ensure you buy your polenta organically.

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Makes around 20 polenta chips

– 450ml water

– 450ml oak drink (however you can use pretty much any type of milk for this!)

-235g organic polenta (1 1/2 cups)

– One tablespoon dried tarragon (or any other dried herb)

– Salt & ground pepper to season

– Olive oil to grease pan

Method

  • In a large saucepan, add the water and milk to the pan and bring up to a light simmer
  • Turn the heat down to very low and, using a whisk, slowly add your polenta into the saucepan – whisking constantly to ensure that the polenta is evenly combined
  • Once all of the polenta is whisked in add the tarragon, salt & pepper
  • Using a wooden spoon, constantly stir the polenta until it becomes thick and stops sticking to the edges of the pan (this can take anywhere between 10-20 minutes depending on your polenta and/or the size of your pan)
  • Grease a large, wide baking tray with some olive oil and spoon in your polenta, ensuring that there is an even layer. You may notice that the polenta is sticky & perhaps slightly hard to manage. If this is the case, wait a couple of minutes for it to cool down and then press down with your fingers to distribute it

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  • Cover with some cling film and place in the fridge to cool for at least an hour or overnight
  • Once cooled, turn the oven to 220°, tip out the polenta onto a chopping board & cut into thin chips
  • Place back into oiled baking tray and ensure the chips have a light coating of oil on them

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  • Bake for around 30 minutes, or until a golden crust has formed
  • Eat simply with a bit of salt, or with some hot & cold dips!

How to make the Basil infused Mushroom Dip

– One organic onion, diced

– 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

– 50ml of almond milk (or any other alternative milk)

– 250g of mushrooms (I love using either Chestnut or Portobello mushrooms), sliced finely

– 1/2 tablespoon of dried tarragon

– A handful of fresh basil, chopped thinly

– Ground pepper to season

– A good drizzle of olive oil

Method

  • In a saucepan, add your garlic, onions and olive oil and fry on a medium to low heat until nice & tender
  • Add in your mushrooms, tarragon & pepper and stir for around 4 minutes (or until the mushrooms begin to brown slightly)
  • Then add in your milk and bring up to the boil & leave to simmer for around 5 minutes
  • Using a blender, blend up the sauce & serve in a small bowl with another drizzle of olive oil for dipping!

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Makes one small bowl of Simple Avocado Dip

– Half of one avocado

– Half the juice from one lemon

– Around 2 tablespoons of organic extra virgin olive oil

– Some salt & pepper for seasoning

– A small handful of fresh coriander (or any other fresh herb), chopped finely

– One teaspoon of organic wholegrain mustard (optional)

Method

  • Simply add all the ingredients into a bowl and mash with a fork until well combined
  • Serve with a light drizzle of oil on top!

The Ultimate Brain Power Smoothie

This Brain Power Smoothie (complete with avocado, banana, pomegranate & chia seeds) is packed full of all the nutrients your brain and body, need to guide you towards a healthy & nutritious day. Why is this smoothie good for your brain? Avocados in particular are rich in a fatty acid called oleic acid. Oleic acid is an omega-9 fatty acid that is especially important as it assists in building a coating of insulation, known as myelin, in your brain. This myelin helps to speed up how quickly you process information whilst, at the same time, the avocado’s monounsaturated fats ensures that a good amount of blood flow reaches the brain. In other words, avocado + you = brain power. On top of that, the antioxidant-rich pomegranate protects your brain against damages from free radicals; the bananas supply high levels of potassium to the brain which help normalise oxygen levels; and the chia seeds increase stamina & energy to the brain over long periods of time. Your brain will definitely thank you for this one..!

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Makes two glasses of brain powered goodness

– One ripe avocado

– One banana

– Seeds from half of a pomegranate (plus a little more for topping!)

– One tablespoon of chia seeds

– One cup of soya milk (around 230ml)

Method

  • Add all ingredients (minus a small handful of pomegranate seeds) into the blender
  • Blend until well combined and then add into tall glasses. Note: if the smoothie is too thick add some more milk, however if it’s too thin add some ice & briefly blitz to thicken smoothie
  • Place the left over pomegranate seeds on top for little bursts of juiciness & sweetness!

Roasted Chestnuts

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What would a crisp Winter evening be without that awesome aroma & sweet taste of chestnuts?! It wasn’t until a couple days ago that I really started to take an interest in these little tree nuts after a friend of mine had picked some himself & wanted to try his hand at roasting them in the oven. After a little research I found that not only are they incredible for digestion (due to their high fibre content) but they also help to stabilise energy levels, improve brain function (due to significant levels of vitamin Bs) and help to strengthen bones. What a nut..! Given the short amount of time it takes to prepare these nuts, I was pleasantly surprised with how moreish, sweet & creamy they were. I’d recommend these to anyone who wants a quick-ish snack, or for those who are simply just seeking a bit of comfort food.

Makes a delicious Christmas snack

– A large handful of chestnuts (this quantity depends on how many you are serving for, I would suggest using one large handful of nuts per person (around 6-8 nuts)

– Some ice for steaming the oven

– A sharp, small knife

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees
  • Using your knife, cut small criss-crosses onto each nut

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  • Add to a roasting tin and bake in the oven for around 20-30 minutes until tender, or until the skins begin to open up. Add a handful of ice cubes as you begin to bake to introduce a bit of steam into the oven – I tend to think this makes them a little more tender
  • Place into a large bowl and enjoy! Be careful though – they’re super hot when they come out the oven..!

Morrocan Style Quinoa Salad with Orange & Butternut Squash

Everyone loves a fresh, citrus infused salad every now again and this quinoa salad in particular really hits the mark! Made with only a few ingredients, this salad is all about worshipping butternut squash – a root vegetable packed full of antioxidants and phytonutrients – the perfect accompaniment on an Autumn’s day. This wheat-free, dairy-free & vegan-friendly salad has notable levels of vitamin B6 (important for the function of both the immune & nervous systems), potassium (vital for bone health), as well as high levels of beta-carotene (a pigment found in plants & fruits which our bodies convert to vitamin A – making it very good for eye health, immunity & overall health). I love the infusion of orange with the butternut squash; the nuttiness & crunchiness you get from the cashews; as well as the little bursts of sweetness & freshness achieved from the peas & mint. A fantastic combo that your body will love!

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Make one large bowl of quinoa salad

– 1/2 cup of quinoa and/or bulgar wheat

– 1/2 teaspoon of organic ground ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper & ground coriander

– Rind from one organic orange

– Handful of washed mint, chopped finely

– 1/3 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small pieces (around 1 cup)

– 1/4 cup cashews

– 1/4 cup peas

– Olive oil for dressing

Method

  • Begin by placing the chopped butternut squash into a steamer and steam for around 20-30 minutes or until tender
  • Add the rinsed quinoa/bulgur wheat into a pan with some cold water. Bring up to boil and allow to simmer for around 10-15 minutes until tender (ensure you read package instructions as they may have different timings)
  • In a pan, heat all of the spices through for about a minute, or until an aroma begins to fill the air
  • Add the cashews and gently fry off in the pan to lightly fry
  • Add the steamed butternut squash, orange rind, cooked quinoa & peas and stir for another 3-4 minutes until the peas appear cooked & you can smell the orange infusion
  • Add the chopped mint and serve with a light dressing of olive oil. Enjoy this fresh & perfectly zesty salad!

The Healthiest Mint Cocoa Chip Milkshake

Mint chocolate chip is probably my most beloved milkshake/ice cream flavour. I remember as a kid always craving a nice big cup of mint chocolate chip ice cream on a summer’s day – sweet, indulgent, creamy & refreshing all at the same time..! With this in mind I wanted to recreate this childhood classic in the healthiest & most nutritious way that I could. I never thought I would admit to this but I think this vegan, sugar-free & dairy-free version wins top place for the best mint chocolate chip milkshake I have ever had – partly because it’s super good for you, but mostly because it’s just SO delicious. The benefits of this milkshake? It’s high in dietary fibre, copper (an essential trace mineral that helps your body to use and absorb iron to form red blood cells), antioxidants and potassium, as well as vitamin B6, magnesium & manganese. I decided to use oak milk due to its creamy consistency and also due to its high levels of folic acid (vital for synthesising & repairing your body’s DNA). Do bare in mind however that any type of milk works perfectly for this milkshake. You’ve got to give this milkshake a go!

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Makes two indulgent milkshakes

– 6 dates, de-seeded

– One cup of oat mlik (or any other alternative milk)

– One tablespoon of raw cocoa powder

– 2 tablespoons of cocoa nibs

– A large handful of fresh mint, washed

– ¼ cup almonds

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Method

  • This method is super easy – just add all of the ingredients into a blender and blend for around 2 minutes or until nice and smooth
  • Serve in two glasses and indulge on a totally guilt-free, dairy-free, sugar-free & delicious milkshake!

Delicious Vegan Burgers with Carrot & Seed Ribbons

When I was making my transition to a plant-based diet I fell head over heals in LOVE with vegan burgers. Packed full of flavour, texture, depth & wholesomeness these gorgeous little patties are such a winner. They’re very simple to make (you literally just pop all the ingredients into a food processor and let it do its thing) and they’re incredibly healthy, comforting & nutritious too! I decided to couple these burgers with some carrot ribbons – which look incredibly sweet & elegant and yet are insanely straightforward to make. I made mine with mixed beans, however they can be substituted for just any of the various varieties of beans. Despite their small size, beans are rich, incredibly high in nutritional value, and very good for your gut. They have low cholesterol levels, are high in antioxidants & fibres, and help regulate functions in the colon. All-in-all they’re a fantastic substitute to meat and, in my opinion, taste just as good!
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Makes around five vegan burgers

– One can of organic, mixed beans (around 220g once drained), washed thoroughly (ensure that you buy a can that does not have any added sugars/salts)

– ½ teaspoon turmeric, mustard seeds, cumin, cayenne pepper, coriander seeds (don’t worry if you don’t have all these spices, it’ll still taste good!)

– Pinch of sea salt

– Zest from one organic lemon

– A large handful of fresh mint and/or coriander

– A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

– Two heaped tablespoons of chickpea flour (may require more) – Note: you can use any other type of alternative flour

– One tablespoon of coconut oil (for frying)

Method

  • In a large frying pan, fry the spices for a minute or so, or until they release their aromas
  • Place spices into a pestle & mortar and grind until well combined, then add to food processor

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  • Place all other burger ingredients except for the chickpea flour and coconut oil into the food processor and blend until well combined
  • Using a tablespoon, scoop roughly two tablespoons of the burger mix onto your hands and shape into a ball (if your hands get too sticky apply some chickpea flour onto your hands before handling each ball)
  • Dust a large plate with the chickpea flour and press the balls down until they resemble a burger shape (see below)

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  • Coat each burger in flour
  • In a hot frying pan, add your coconut oil and burgers and cook for around 15-20 minutes – or until a golden crust begins to form on either side

 Carrot Ribbons

– One large carrot, washed and peeled

– A large handful of omega seeds

– A good drizzling of organic sesame seed oil

Method

  • Using a peeler, begin to peel the carrot lengthways so that you get nice long, thin strips of carrot – be careful towards the end of your fingers..!
  • Place strips into a bowl and add the seeds & oil, stirring well until equally distributed
  • Serve with your vegan burgers and enjoy with a squeeze of lemon!

Kale & Cashew Smoothie

Sometimes the best smoothies are those that are kept super simple. This smoothie is all about KALE KALE KALE. This superfood is best consumed totally raw as it ensures that all it’s healthiness and goodness is retained to its best ability – making it the perfect leafy green to add to your smoothies. Kales nutritional properties are fantastic way to naturally detox due to it’s high levels of fiber that help to stimulate the liver. I have added cashews as it provides a creaminess and nuttiness to the smoothie that helps to balance out the slight bitterness from the raw kale. To add a little texture I have added some cocoa nibs as they are a great source of energy & antioxidants, as well as a few dates to provide some natural sweetness. This is a fantastic smoothie for morning as it provides your body with everything it needs to kick-start the day..!IMG_8988

Makes two glasses of creamy/nutty/kaley/healthy goodness

– A large handful of organic kale, washed

– One cup of almond milk (or any other milk)

– A large handful of cashews (approximately 30g)

– 2 dates, pitted

– One tablespoon raw cocoa nibs

Method

  • Add all your ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth (you may need to soak your cashews for a couple of hours before hand if your blender is not so powerful (Top Tip: if you decide to soak your cashews, soak them in your milk beforehand)
  • Serve in a glass and enjoy!

Mixed Berries, Lime & Mint Smoothie

IMG_8978Although Summer has been and gone, I thought I would share one of my favourite refreshing drinks that (in my opinion) is suitable all year round! Mint and lime is such an awesome combination, and when coupled with those zingy & zesty berries it creates an absolute taste sensation. In order to balance out the zingyness from the lime, blueberries, strawberries & raspberries, I added a spoonful of soya yoghurt – but of course this is up to you. This smoothie leaves you feeling detoxed and refreshed, and contains fiber, potassium and vitamin A. It is also high in antioxidants and ellagic acid (a compound with anti-cancer properties) – making it the perfect drink to aid digestion and body cleansing.

Makes two glasses of berry delightfulness

– A large handful of fresh mint leaves, washed

– The juice from half a lime

– 300g of mixed berries, washed

– One cup of cold water

– A large spoonful of soya yoghurt or any other yoghurt (optional)

Method

  • Simply add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until well combined
  • Top with a piece of lime and mint. Can be served with ice to make it even more refreshing!