Pea & Mint Soup

Pea & mint soup is the perfect Summer soup, light, fresh and full of flavour.  It makes for a great light meal or starter. Peas are full of fibre which helps you feel full and regulates blood sugar levels so you don't have blood sugar crashes and crave sugary foods. Peas are also a good source of minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. Mint is a digestive aid and is a really easy herb to grow in your own garden even if you only have space for a couple of pots.

Pea+Mint+Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, for frying
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large potato, scrubbed and sliced
  • 1L vegetable stock
  • 500g peas, fresh or frozen
  • 2 handfuls fresh mint, chopped
  • Sea-salt and black pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and fry until the onion has softened. Add the potato and vegetable stock and some seasoning, bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the peas and mint and cook for a further 3 minutes, no longer, as you want to keep the vibrant green colour.
  3. Puree the soup using a stick blender, taste and add further seasoning if necessary.

 

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

The thought of jam cookies bring about warm childhood memories. This version is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and grain-free but still managed to pass the kiddy taste test. These little nuggets of joy are the perfect treat to have with a cup of tea or coffee when you are craving something sweet. I used a homemade raspberry jam made with unrefined sugar to spoon into the centre of the cookie, you could also make your own chia jam if you are looking for a lower sugar option. Health foods shop also stock low sugar jams that are sweetened with fruit and natural fruit juices.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175g ground almonds
  • ¼ tsp bread soda
  • Pinch of sea-salt
  • 2 tbsp raspberry jam

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3.
  2. Lay a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray.
  3. Whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup & vanilla extract.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the ground almonds, bread soda and sea-salt together.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients & stir to combine.
  6. Scoop tablespoons of the mix into your hands and shape into balls.
  7. Place these down on the prepared baking sheet and using your finger make a small indent in the middle.
  8. Spoon a tiny bit of jam into each indent, then transfer to the oven to bake for about 10 minutes or until golden. 
Jamthumbprintcookies.jpg

Healthy Flapjacks

This is a healthier version of the usual flapjack you can find in most shops and cafes. Flapjacks are seen as a healthy option, while many still contain lashings of sugar, golden syrup and margarine. This version is based on rolled oats, raisins, flaked almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut oil and sweetened with mashed banana. They are wheat-free and dairy-free and make a perfect addition to kids (and adults) lunch-boxes.

Ingredients:

  • 250g rolled oats
  • 125g raisins
  • 75g flaked almonds
  • 100g sunflower seeds
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 150ml coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
  2. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.
  3. Mix the oats, raisins, flaked almonds and sunflower seeds together in a bowl.
  4. Add the mashed banana and stir through.
  5. Pour over the coconut oil and vanilla extract and stir well.
  6. Tip the flapjack mix into the prepared cake tin.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Rhubarb & Oat Crumble

Crumble is a great dessert to feed a crowd. I like to make mine with an oat & almond crumble topping and vary the fruit to whatever is in season. Rhubarb is one of my favourite versions, I've thrown a handful of strawberries into this one too for good measure and perfect for this time of year when strawberry and rhubarb are in season for a short while. Enjoy it as it is or maybe with a little cream or coconut cream for those with dairy intolerances, you could also sub the butter in the topping for coconut oil.

rhubarb+oat+crumble

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 900g rhubarb, trimmed and chopped into small chunks
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 handful strawberries, hulled and quartered

Oat & almond topping:

  • 175g rolled oats
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 125g butter, melted

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
  2. Place the rhubarb into a ceramic ovenproof dish with the orange juice and vanilla extract. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile to prepare the topping mix the oats, ground almonds and coconut sugar together in a bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir to combine.
  4. Remove the rhubarb from the oven and stir through the sliced strawberries. Scatter the oat topping over the top of the rhubarb, then place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly golden on top.

 

Mini Asparagus & Herb Frittatas

These mini frittatas make the most of the local asparagus season. They are perfect for breakfast and lunches on the go. Serve them with a simple green salad for a tasty and nourishing meal.

Serves 6 (individual frittata per person)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 asparagus spears
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 8 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Sea-salt & black pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Lightly grease and line a 6-hole muffin tray with small squares of baking paper. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and garlic and fry for a minute.
  3. Chop the asparagus stalks, leaving the tips to top the frittatas. Add the asparagus to the frying pan with the onion and garlic. Continue frying until the asparagus has softened. Set aside to cool.
  4. Whisk together the eggs and natural yoghurt. Add the chopped herbs and season to taste.
  5. Once the fried mix has cooled tip it into the egg mix and stir well to distribute the vegetables and herbs.
  6. Pour the mix into the prepared cases, transfer to the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until lightly golden and cooked through.

Chocolate Coconut Bites

These little bites of heaven are a play on the 'Bounty' bars I grew up eating. This version is a little healthier of course but is rich & flavoursome with addition of dark chocolate & real pieces of coconut.

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 240ml coconut milk
  • 60ml coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea-salt
  • 225g desiccated coconut
  • 400g dark chocolate, 72% cocoa solids

Method:

  1. Grease and line a 20cm square tin.
  2. Whisk together the coconut milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and sea-salt. Once well combined add the desiccated coconut and beat together.
  3. Pour the coconut mix into the prepared cake tin and transfer to the freezer for at least 2 hours. Take out of the freezer at this point and cut into bite sized bars. Freeze again for a further 30 minutes.
  4. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, being careful to not allow the chocolate to burn.
  5. This is the messy part; cover the coconut bars with the melted dark chocolate. You can apply two thin coats of the chocolate for a more even finish if you wish.
  6. Once covered, transfer to the fridge to set.

Berry Smoothie Bowl

This smoothie works best at the height of Summer when these berries are in season. Although you can enjoy it at anytime of year using frozen berries. A good tip is to freeze fresh berries during the Summer when you can buy local and then use them as you want during the colder months.

Ingredients:

  • 75g strawberries
  • 75g blueberries
  • 75g raspberries
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 150ml almond milk

Toppings:

  • Blueberries
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Bee pollen
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Cashew nuts

-Or your own combination of superfoods, nuts, fruit & seeds.

Method:

  1. Place the strawberries, blueberries, avocado, banana and almond milk into a blender.
  2. Pulse until smooth, then pour into a serving bowl.
  3. Scatter with your choice of toppings and enjoy.

Plum & Chia Pudding

This is a great nutritious breakfast which you can prepare the night before and take with you on the move. Chia seeds are full of protein, fibre and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Plum&ChiaPudding

Serves 1

Ingredients:

Chia pudding:

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Plum Sauce:

  • 3 plums
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

To Decorate:

  • 1 plum, sliced
  • 1 tsp desiccated coconut 

Method:

  1. Mix the chia seeds, coconut milk and vanilla extract together in a jar or glass. Leave to sit in the fridge overnight to set.
  2. To make the plum sauce add the plums, maple syrup and a splash of water to a small saucepan. Leave to simmer for about 5-10 minutes over a low heat.
  3. Leave the sauce to cool before using it to top the chia pudding once it has set.
  4. Add the extra plum slices and desiccated coconut to decorate. 

 

Brilliant Beet Juice

Beetroot is one of my favourite juice ingredients, I love it's fresh, sweet and slightly earthy flavour. Yes it can stain your hands a little but it is contains a powerhouse of nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, manganese, folate & fibre. The betalin pigments which give beets their bright pink/purple colour also help to support detoxification pathways in our bodies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium beetroot, trimmed and scrubbed
  • 3 carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
  • 3 celery sticks
  • Knob of ginger, about 2 inches

Method:

  1. Slowly pass all of the ingredients through the juicer.
  2. Pour into glasses and serve

Rye Sourdough French Toast

This is a perfect recipe to follow when you want to to whip up a tasty and seemingly indulgent brunch with minimum effort. You can even use bread which is a little crusty as soaking the bread will help to plump it up again.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices rye sourdough bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Splash of almond milk
  • Coconut oil for frying
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • Maple syrup, to drizzle

Method:

  1. Whisk together the eggs, coconut sugar, vanilla extract and almond milk.
  2. Soak each slice of sourdough one at a time.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat.
  4. Add the slices of bread and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  5. You can warm through the banana slices in the pan towards the end.
  6. Then serve the warm banana on top of the sourdough french toast, drizzle with a little maple syrup & enjoy.

Grilled Artichokes With Aioli

When you are lucky enough to have fresh globe artichokes available near you and in season, there is nothing better than simply cooking them on the grill and serving with a delicious homemade aioli. It makes for a stunning sharing platter to begin a meal or as part of a larger mezze style dinner.

Ingredients:

Artichokes:

  • 3 artichokes, trimmed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

Aioli:

  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 250ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea-salt and black pepper, to taste

Method:

Artichokes:

  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water and the squeezed lemon juice.
  2. Cut the artichokes in half lengthways.
  3. Place the artichoke halves into the bowl to prevent browning.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to the boil.
  5. Cook the artichokes for about 15 minutes over a medium heat.
  6. Meanwhile begin heating a grill pan or barbecue.
  7. Drain the artichokes and brush with a little a little olive oil.
  8. Grill the artichokes for about 10 minutes or until lightly chargrilled and cooked through.

Aioli:

  1. Crush the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt.
  2. Whisk the garlic paste, egg yolks, dijon mustard and cider vinegar together.
  3. Add the oil a little at a time, whisking constantly.
  4. By the time all of the oil has been added you should have a thick, glossy mayonnaise.
  5. Taste and add more salt, black pepper or vinegar as necessary.

Sunshine Smoothie

This is a really nourishing smoothie which is perfect for mornings when you want something that is quick and easy to make. It contains good fats from the coconut milk and milled flaxseed to help you feel satiated. Bee pollen is a true containing most nutrients required by humans, such as free amino acids, B-vitamins and Vitamin C, D and E.

Sunshinesmoothie.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 250ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp milled flaxseed
  • 2 tsp bee pollen

Method:

  1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into glasses and serve.

Chocolate Raspberry Peanut Butter Cups.

There is something about the appeal of those ubiquitous American peanut butter candies which crosses age-gaps and borders. With this recipe I set out to make a slightly more healthy, darker chocolate version with the addition of raspberry to cut through that stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth quality of peanut butter.

chocolate+raspberry+peanutbutter+cups

Ingredients:

  • 170ml coconut oil, melted
  • 120g cacao powder
  • Pinch of sea-salt
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 6 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 punnet of raspberries, (about 24 raspberries)

Method:

  1. Line a mini muffin tray with mini muffin cases.
  2. Pour the melted coconut oil over the cacao powder and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the sea-salt and maple syrup and continue to whisk.
  4. Pour a drop of the chocolate mix into each of the muffin cases, enough to cover the bottom of the case. 
  5. Place the tray into the freezer for about 5 minutes or until firm.
  6. Remove the tray from the freezer and spoon a small piece of peanut butter on top of the chocolate base.
  7. Place a single raspberry on top of the peanut butter layer.
  8. Pour a thin layer of chocolate over each case to cover the raspberry and peanut butter centre.
  9. Transfer to the freezer to set for at least 30 minutes.
  10. Remove from the freezer and serve immediately.
  11. Top with a few flakes of sea-salt or a little freeze dried raspberry powder drizzle if you wish.
chocolate+raspberry+peanutbutter+cups
chocolate+raspberry+peanutbutter+cups

Beetroot Hummus

I am a huge hummus fan, any variety, any time of day. I think people can be daunted at the thought of making it themselves at home but it really is super easy and quick to make. All you need is a food processor or stick blender to whizz all of the ingredients together. Tahini (sesame seed paste), is the only ingredient you might not be able to find in your local store but it is becoming more readily available these days, from large supermarkets to health food shops and deli's. 

beetroot+hummus

Ingredients:

  • 2 small beetroot , roasted and cooled
  • 400g tin chickpeas
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, blend until creamy.
  2. Taste and add seasoning as you wish. If the hummus is too thick, add a little more olive oil or lemon juice until desired consistency is reached.

Blood Orange Spelt Sponge With Figs

This cake is a beauty, give it a try & feel free to substitute whatever fruit is in season. It's a basic sponge recipe with the addition of a little blood orange. I used maple syrup instead of the usual caster sugar and spelt flour instead of plain white flour. In doing this I increased the nutritional content a little. Even though I know a slice of cake is never really going to be a health food I always try and sneak in extra goodness where I can.

Ingredients:

  • 225g butter, softened
  • 200ml maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 blood oranges, juice and zest
  • 225g spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Filling/topping:

  • 250ml double cream, whipped
  • 75g pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 3 fresh figs, sliced
  • 1 blood orange, peeled and segmented

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
  2. Grease and line 2 x 8-inch cake tins.
  3. Whisk together the butter and maple syrup.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.
  5. Add the blood orange zest and stir through.
  6. Sift in the spelt flour and the baking powder.
  7. Add the juice of the blood oranges and mix well.
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch.
  9. Leave the tins to cool on a wire rack, then remove the cakes from the sandwich tins. 
  10. Lay the first layer on a plate and spread with a layer of whipped cream. Lay some fig and blood orange segments on top of this.
  11. Place the next layer of cake on top carefully.
  12. Spread some more whipped cream over the top of this and arrange the remaining fruit on top.

Quinoa & Oat Granola

Now that the weather is a little more mild my attention has shifted from warm bowls of porridge to lighter bowls of goodness, containing grains, fruit and yoghurt. I love experimenting with different combinations of grains, seeds, nuts and dried fruit to make the kind of granola which is tailored to your own taste buds. It's also an amazing way of using up all those random nut and seed packets you might have sitting in your cupboards. The recipe below is more of a guideline to show you what I used for depending on what was in my cupboards but feel free to use whatever is in yours and put your own stamp on it.

quinoa&oatgranola

Ingredients:

  • 100g quinoa flakes
  • 200g rolled oats
  • 100g cashew nuts
  • 75g sunflower seeds
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 125g raisins

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the quinoa flakes, oats, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, desiccated coconut and ground cinnamon. 
  3. Melt the coconut oil and honey together in a small saucepan over a low heat.
  4. Pour the melted ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Tip the mix onto the prepared baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden.
  6. Leave to cool, then lastly stir in the raisins. Ready to serve however you wish, perhaps with some sliced fresh fruit and yoghurt or a splash of nut milk.
granola-7.jpg

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes you just need the crunch of a good cookie. On this occasion I was craving something chocolaty but a little healthier than the shop bought sugar-laden variety. The result was this recipe which is free from refined sugar, gluten and dairy but still tastes really good and provides that all important crunch.

Chocolatechipcookie

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp bread soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea-salt
  • 100g dark chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
  2. Lay a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. 
  3. Mix together the coconut oil and maple syrup.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract, whisk together gently.
  5. Place the ground almonds, bread soda, sea-salt and chocolate chips into a separate mixing bowl.
  6. Pour over the wet ingredients and mix together well.
  7. Scoop small balls of the cookie dough using an ice-cream scoop.
  8. Place these on the prepared baking tray and flatten with the back of a spoon.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Leave to cool on a wire rack before enjoying.

 

 

Banana & Coconut Pancakes

These delicious pancakes are quick to make & weigh in pretty well on the healthy scale. They are gluten, grain and dairy-free.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Coconut oil, for frying
  • Blood oranges, peeled & sliced
  • Maple syrup, for drizzling

 

Method:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Spoon a little coconut oil into a frying pan & heat gently over a low heat.
  3. Once the oil has melted, scoop small ladles of the batter into the pan. Watch the pancakes at this point as they burn easily.
  4. Flip them over once ready. When they are golden and cooked through, serve immediately with sliced blood oranges & a drizzle of maple syrup.