Ok, no room for modesty on this blog today – holy moly was I happy with myself this morning when a teaspoon of this creamy, chocolatey delight made it into my mouth! As far as I’m concerned healthy breakfast ideas need to be made multiple times over and enjoyed for their healthy, healing, nutritional value.
As per my instagram post at breakfast I listened to an amazing raw food lecture by David Wolfe yesterday where he shared the fact that there is a proven synergy between chocolate (the number one antioxidant food in the world – 15 times higher than blueberries and THIRTY times higher than red wine!) and berries. When these foods are combined the efficacy of the antioxidants actually getting into your blood is doubled if not tripled. I decided to listen to David and give my body a dose of what it no doubt needs – a beautifully easy and healthy breakfast idea that is also an antioxidant powerhouse! Any excuse for a chocolate hit will do.
Let me preface this by saying I love chocolate and I love it dark. If you struggle with the intensity of rich chocolate perhaps start this recipe with less cacao and see how you go. In any
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice) (this portion was edited to add more liquid 5/13)
1/4 cup berries (I used frozen in the mousse)
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 tablespoon good quality, raw cacao (in my case, heaped)
1-2 heaped tablespoons greek or natural yoghurt (or CoYo)
1 heaped teaspoon maca powder
2 teaspoons rice malt syrup or stevia to taste
Optional toppings: a dollop of yoghurt and fresh berries (not optional in my book 😉
Throw all ingredients into your blender/Thermomix and blend until smooth. I like mine really, really thick and smooth so I let it run for a good minute or two. Given it’s lack of liquid it will now be pretty thick. I poured mine into a glass and popped it into the fridge for 20 minutes to let the chia seeds soften (easier on your digestion).
I am seriously really looking forward to your feedback so please share!
Last week I posted a photo on my instagram feed and my Facebook page of one of the easiest dishes of all time and it attracted a little attention (seriously not worthy of it’s lack of effort!). It almost feels like cheating putting this up as a recipe. But hey, if it helps you create a pretty (and pretty impressive looking) dish then isn’t that the main thing?! I am not going to go through the entire dish today because the hero here is the quinoa side. Quite clearly you can see what we have here is a piece of baked salmon on beetroot quinoa with a big dollop (oh how I love the dollop) of dairy free basil pesto.
This recipe makes enough for the side you see in the photo, so one portion. For those of you who don’t know this already, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Cooked quinoa freezes beautifully. I always have a sweet and a savoury quinoa serve in my freezer ready to go. Simply whip it out on the day you need it and let it defrost (it defrosts quickly). To reheat just add a little more stock (if savoury) or a little milk etc (if sweet). Or water of course. You would never know it had been frozen.
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (you will need to use quinoa cooked in stock for this recipe I feel, it needs the extra oomph)
1 heaped teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/3 cup raw beetroot, grated
If you are cooking the quinoa from scratch throw the lemon rind in during the cooking process. If you’re using frozen quinoa like me here, put the cold quinoa in a small saucepan with a little stock and the lemon rind and heat gently. Just before serving stir through the grated beetroot. The colour of the quinoa quickly stains the entire dish.
And that my friends, is it!
About five months ago I started eating sardines, for the first time in my young (ish ;-)) life. I wasn’t fed them as a child and they’re certainly not appealing on face value so I was happy to keep them at arms length. Irrespective, there is little fish in my diet. I eat a piece of farmed salmon once a month and canned wild red Alaskan salmon every couple of weeks. I eat the farmed salmon purely to give me variety, not because of it’s nutritional value (of which I believe there is little?) and because it is likely to have a lower mercury content than a lot of non-farmed, large fish. I wrote a post about my fish intake here, but if you’ve not got time to take a look at that I rarely eat fish because of it’s mercury content and terrible trouble with heavy metals in my system.
Why then would I starting eating sardines you may ask? Well it’s simple, and goes a bit like this: big fish eat smaller fish eat smaller fish eat smaller fish…got it?! On that basis, BIG fish have a high mercury content because of all the smaller fish they’ve consumed (I will not touch tuna as a result). Little fish, like sardines and anchovies have a lower mercury count and are therefore a healthier option for those of us needing to be extra special careful. And other sweeteners? Sardines are one of the highest sources of Omega-3, are an excellent source of B12, a rich source of Vitamin D and packed with protein. That’ll do me!
It was during a visit to my local organic store Plump
that I discovered the organic sardines and a recipe kindly shared over the counter by a very helpful staff member (not sure I’ve got it 100% right but it’s pretty good regardless, if I don’t mind saying so myself).
You don’t have to have this on bread (gluten free or otherwise), but it’s definitely a great combo and is pretty much the only time I eat this beautiful sprouted bread/toast (which is by ‘Pure Life’ by the way, you’ll find it in the fridge of most health stores in Australia).
1 slice of toasted bread of choice
1/2 can organic sardines
Approximately 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
A good handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
A good handful of parsley, roughly chopped (note, I used rocket in this photo, had run out of parsley damn it)
1 spring onion, finely chopped
A heaped teaspoon (or two) of capers, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon harissa paste or a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Roughly mix the harissa through the sardines, not mushing them completely but enough so that the harissa assimilates. Mix through the remaining ingredients and tumble over a piece of toast. Grab a knife and fork, turn the TV off, put the newspaper away, and enjoy a mindful, relaxed and very easy lunchtime treat.
P.S if my friendly Plump recipe sharer has any tips/alterations to this recipe I’m all ears! Thank you for sharing!
Who doesn’t know about cashew nuts?
Well, cashew nuts are the kidney shaped seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, the fruit of the cashew tree which is native to the coastal areas of northeastern Brazil. This nut, which as I mentioned is actually a seed, is jam packed with nutritional content. Containing a significant 5 grams of protein per ounce and high levels of the essential minerals iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper and manganese.
Some of you may be deterred from eating nuts due to their high fat content? And it is true, cashews are relatively high in fat (12 grams per ounce, with 2 grams being saturated fat). But it is a “good fat”, due to the agreeable fat ratio in the nut (1:2:1 for saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated, respectively, which scientists say is the ideal ratio for optimal health).
And even with the relatively high fat content, cashews are considered to be a ‘low-fat’ nut. Cashews contain less fat per serve than other popular nuts, including almonds, walnuts and pecans. The advice from this end though, as with any food or indulgence, consume mindfully and with moderation in mind.
So let’s talk about how this little nut can benefit our bodies in a big way.
Reduce the risk of heart disease.
It is the fatty acid profile of cashews that contributes to our good health. Phytosterols, tocopherols, and squalene, all constituents of fatty acids, all serve to lower the risk of heart disease.
Cardiovascular and Circulatory Health
The cashew contains no cholesterol, which is a rarity for such a great tasting treat! As such, cashew nuts are a healthy fat food for those wanting to foster cardiovascular health and those with heart concerns. High levels of monounsaturated fatty acids mean they also help support healthy levels of good (HDL) cholesterol, imperative to healthy heart function.
The cashew’s high magnesium content also takes the credit for its healthy heart qualities. One ounce will contribute to 21% of your daily recommended intake of this heart healthy mineral, which also protects against high blood pressure, muscle spasms, migraine headaches, tension, soreness and fatigue.
Magnesium also works with calcium to support healthy muscles and bones in the human body.
Reduce the signs of aging
Cashews have a high copper content, too, meaning they assist the body in utilizing iron, eliminating free radicals, developing bone and connective tissue, supporting and regenerating joints, and producing the skin and hair pigment melanin.
So how about we just eat some cashews then! My dear friend and mentor Jo Antoun has created a delicious way to prepare them into bite size treats. I find that having a few of these balls on hand is a smart way to moderate my nut consumption (rather than sitting and devouring a whole bag of nuts) and a handy between meals snack. I also recommend making a big batch and freezing them for last minute guest arrivals. Here is the recipe for her Lemony Coconut Cake Balls.
2 1/2 cups raw cashews
1 1/2 cups raw shredded coconut
2 tablespoons raw honey
Juice of 2 lemons
Rind from 2 lemons
Desiccated coconut (optional)
Using a lemon zester, peel the rind from the lemons and then juice them. Into a blender, place just the cashews and process until they are a fine powder. Then add the lemon juice, rind, honey and shredded coconut to the blender to combine. The resulting mixture should be tacky and moist. Roll into bite sized balls with your hands. Coat in desiccated coconut (optional) and pop in the fridge. Simple, yet effective.
So now I’ve got you crazy for cashew nuts, you might like to experiment with them (and a multitude of other nuts) in different ways. You can find many a nut based recipes in A Nourishing Kitchen:
As promised, today on the blog we share a recipe contributed by our inspirational March Guest of the Month, Lola Berry. This scrumptious Roast Chicken is a recipe from Lola’s beautiful new cook book, The 20/20 Diet Cookbook. As the weather cools here in the South, there’s no better time to be sharing a tummy and kitchen warming roast chook. Who doesn’t love a roast for goodness sake? Thank you Lola for sharing the love with us today, I’m so looking forward to a long roast lunch.
You will need:
1 x 1.5kg chicken
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 thyme sprigs
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 brown onion
1 pear, cored, finely diced
1 lemon, quartered
1 red onion, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups of water, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until quinoa is cooked (it triples in size and sprouts little ‘tails’).
Heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Sauté the onion for 2 minutes or until translucent. Add the pear and cook until it begins to soften (about 4-6 minutes). Remove from the heat.
In a large bowl place the pistachios, cranberries and cooked quinoa. Fold through the onion and pear combo and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the chicken cavity, pressing firming. Finally, pop the four lemon quarters and thyme sprigs in.
Place the carrots, celery and red onion in the baking dish (this will become the ‘trivet’, which elevates the chicken so it cooks evenly). Pop the stuffed chicken on top. Rub the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil into the chicken skin and give it a generous seasoning with salt and pepper (this will help it become crispy). Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees C and roast for 1-1&1/4 hours or until the skin is golden and the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh with a knife point. (If the juices are pink, roast for another 10 minutes).
Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with the trivet vegetables (or a side of your choosing) and some stuffing, and I promise you everyone will be coming back for seconds!
I thought I’d highlight one of the ingredients I reach for most often. Yogurt isn’t just for breakfast or a quick snack; it has limitless possibilities. If you wrap it in cheesecloth and let it drain, you’ll end up with creamy, delicious yogurt cheese (labneh), to which you can add herbs, spices, or citrus zest for a savory spread, or berries and honey if you’re after something sweeter. Unsweetened plain yogurt is the perfect base for many dips, and a favorite component in a wide range of soups and grain bowls. I’ve included a list of my favorite yogurt recipes below. Enjoy! xo – h
Lentils folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil: This recipe, from Lunch at the Shop: The Art and Practice of the Midday Meal was a big hit when I initially posted it. It’s great on many fronts, fast and easy!
Pomegranate Yogurt Bowl: We’re on the cusp of pomegranate season, so keep this in mind. A simple breakfast bowl made with Greek yogurt, fresh pomegranate juice, puffed quinoa cereal, toasted sunflower seeds, and honey.
Labneh Recipe:How a package from Jaipur, India inspired lots of yogurt-straining, labneh-making.
Mast-o-Khiar Yogurt Dip: The prettiest dip in my repertoire – my take on the Iranian preparation of Mast-o-Khiar (yogurt and cucumber). I use lots of fresh herbs, dried rose petals, toasted walnuts and a pop of added color and tartness from dried cranberries.
Fresh Mint Chip Frozen Yogurt: A luscious fresh mint frozen yogurt recipe from the wonderful Sprouted Kitchen cookbook.
Herbal Rice Salad with Peanuts & Salted Garlic Yogurt: An herb-packed rice salad recipe with peanuts, toasted coconut, a strong boost of fresh lime, and salted garlic yogurt. A recipe to keep in your back pocket.
Mung Yoga Bowl: The kind of bowl that keeps you strong – herb-packed yogurt dolloped over a hearty bowl of mung beans and quinoa, finished with toasted nuts and a simple paprika oil.
Other yogurt recipe inspiration!
– Cantaloupe and Mint Yogurt Pops (Sprouted Kitchen)
– California Yogurt Bowl (Quitokeeto)
– Turkish Style Vegetables with Yogurt and Green Chile oil (Ottolenghi)
– Frying Pan Yogurt Flatbreads (Anna Jones)
– Naz’s Aash-e Reshteh for Norooz (A beautiful version of one of my favorite soups)
A few last thoughts: When it comes down to something as straightforward as purchasing or sourcing yogurt, the only thing that matters is finding a good source or brand. That slick-packaged, synthetically sweetened stuff at the supermarket isn’t what you’re after. Look for fresh organic yogurt rich in live active cultures, or if you’re more ambitious, try making your own. The live cultures in yogurt help maintain an optimum balance or microorganisms in the digestive tract. This supports healthy digestion, strengthens the immunes system, and provides a host of other benefits.
This is a favorite grab-and-go breakfast. You stir a generous spoonful of chia seeds into vanilla-spiked yogurt, and then top everything off with smashed berries, and a bit of something crunchy – toasted nuts or popped quinoa are both great options. It takes two minutes tops. The chia seeds plump overnight in the refrigerator, and you have a delicious, creamy, (seemingly) decadent parfait at the ready in the morning. It’s perfect for days when you don’t have any time to sit for a proper breakfast, and still want something A+ for the road.
I also posted a dairy-free / vegan chia breakfast bowl a couple of years back, it’s posted here, for those of you who’d prefer the alternative. Enjoy!
I’m lucky to be the occasional recipient of Josey Baker experimentations. The other day Josey handed me a still-hot loaf of 100% einkorn bread – substantial, fragrant, a dark brown crumb with a craggy top-crust. It smelled like a great brewery – all malt, and grain, and warmth. And it begged to be treated right. The first question to come to mind was slicing strategy…the consensus was: 1) Allow the bread to cool completely. 2) With this loaf – not too thick, not too thin. Not to digress too much, but when it comes to toast, the thickness or thinness of the slice is key. Some breads lend themselves to a thick slab – Blue Bottle Cafe (in downtown San Francisco) cooks an egg-in-the hole of Acme’s pain de mie. Perfect. There are other breads I like thinly sliced and extra-toasted – Josey’s rye comes to mind, also Anna’s Daughters’ Rye – a beautifully distinctive local bread. Once this was sorted, Josey got on with his afternoon, and I started thinking about what I’d eventually put on the bread. Silvena Rowe’s book had been in my bag for a few days, I was reading it when I was on the bus, or waiting on a coffee. So I started paging through, and settled on a beet spread I knew would be beautiful – the sweet earthiness of the roasted beets accented with toasted walnuts, chives, dates, a bit of booziness, and a swirl of creme fraiche.
Silvena has written a couple of other books I have in my library – I suspect a good number of you might find them inspiring as well. I first purchased Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume: Cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean, and then Orient Express: Fast Food from the Eastern Mediterranean.
The beet caviar was a nice accompaniment to the einkorn, and I imagine it would be brilliant as a spread or dollop on just about anything – from toasted pita, to a harvest soup. A swirl would be nice in risotto, or as part of a mezze spread. Enjoy!
If you have bourbon or vodka on hand, you can use one of those in place of the cognac.
4 medium beets, washed and trimmed
5 plump dates, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons cognac (bourbon, or vodka)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 tablespoons creme fraiche, plain yogurt, or sour cream
lots of freshly chopped chives
Preheat the oven to 400F with a rack in the center. Puncture the beets with a fork a few times, and roast for an hour, or until the beets are completely tender when you test by cutting into the center with a knife.
In the meantime, gently heat the cognac in a small saucepan. Place the dates in a glass bowl, and, when just hot, pour the alcohol over the dates. Jostle around a bit, and soak for at least 10 minutes.
When the beets are cooked and cool enough to peel, remove the skins and chop into cubes. Place in a food processor with the dates, cognac, and garlic. Puree until the texture is to your liking – I left a bit of texture here, but you can go smoother if you prefer.
Transfer to a serving bowl before adding the lemon juice, walnuts, and salt. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve swirled with the creme fraiche, and finished with chives.
Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 60 min
I honestly think the one meal I miss the MOST since being diagnosed with a wheat intolerance about seven years ago is a beautiful fresh salad roll or sandwich. The whole combo of fresh multi-grain bread and beautiful fresh salad (and ham off the bone if at Christmas time) was hard to beat. But when ingredients are omitted from your diet there is always a silver lining…if you just take the time to think outside the bread bin/box. I have become very sensitive to my body’s daily fuel requirements and it’s clear to me that I need good quality protein in at least two of my meals each day. Eggs (or ‘magic bullets’) and I have a very close relationship and are my very favourite protein source. So I would like to share the recipe for my anti-bread salad wrap. Don’t blink or you really will miss it.
Give two eggs a really good whisk or beat. Finely chop a heaped teaspoon of parsley and mix into the eggs with a little salt and pepper. Heat oil (I use coconut oil) in a small omelette pan. Once the pan is hot pour in the eggy mixture and whirl it around the pan. As the edges are just drying, with your spatula drag the mixture into the centre allowing the wet egg mixture to fall to the sides. Do this around the pan until it looks almost cooked. Then flip the omelette over and cook the other side, for about 1-2 minutes. Turn onto a plate and lay along one end your chopped salad ingredients. Then very carefully roll your wrap up, cut in half and hey presto – an eggy wrap!
You can add whatever salad ingredients you like but I suggest the following are essential additions: chopped cherry tomatoes, avocado, herbs (heaps and any!), rocket or spinach.