This dark, crusty rye bread has become my absolute favourite over the winter. For the rye half I use whole rye grains and shred them in the Thermomix instead of milling them finely, but you can also use wholemeal rye flour if you can’t get the grains. And, as always, if you’re not working with a Thermomix just grab the ingredients and make the bread by hand!
RYE AND SPELT BREAD WITH SEEDS
Makes one loaf
250g rye grains
1 tsp fennel seeds*
1 tsp coriander seeds*
250g spelt flour
2 1/2 tsp quick (easy bake) yeast
150g seeds (I use a mix of sunflower, pumpkin and linseed, or whatever I have available)
2 tsp salt
1 generous tbsp honey
420ml lukewarm water
TO MAKE THE BREAD
Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
Weigh the rye grains into the bowl, add the fennel and coriander seeds and shred for 20 seconds / speed 10.
Add the spelt flour, yeast, seeds, salt, honey and water and mix for 4 minutes / kneading (interval) mode. Shake the dough out into the loaf tin, gently smooth it in to fill the tin evenly, and leave to rise in a warm place for around 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C.
Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes at 200°C. Remove from the tin immediately, peel off the baking paper and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Storage tip: If kept in a plastic bag or sealed container the bread can go mouldy after a few days. To prevent this, wrap the loaf into several layers of clean dish towel – then ideally store it on a wooden table or in a bread box made of untreated wood. This way the excess moisture in the bread can escape and won’t cause any mould. Because this type of bread is quite dense and moist, with a thick crust, it keeps up to a week when stored this way.
* Or use 1tsp bread spice, which you can buy in German shops or make at home: Finely grind up 2 tsp caraway seeds, 2 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp anise and 1 tsp coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar and store in a clean jar.
As the selection of fruit on offer in the shops starts to look a bit bleak, I’m going back to my winter staple: oranges. So, of course, it wasn’t long until they found their way into energy balls. This combination of mixed nuts, orange peel, cacao and a hint of cinnamon works perfectly as a little warming winter snack in the run-up to the festive season – think chocolate orange or jaffa cakes without all the sugar and with added goodness.
ORANGE AND CACAO ENERGY BALLS
(Makes around 20 balls)
150g mixed nuts (I used the Brazil, cashew and walnut mix form H&B)
10g cacao (or cocoa)
Grated peel from one orange
20g maple syrup
Blitz everything in a strong food processor or Thermomix until it forms a sticky dough. Roll into bite-sized balls and enjoy. If you’re feeling fancy you can roll the balls in cocoa powder or chopped nuts.
They keep for at least five days in an airtight container in the fridge. (Beyond that I can’t tell, they don’t last that long in my house 😉 )
Apologies for the lack of recipes in recent weeks! Life’s been a bit crazy. In happy news we adopted a tiny stray cat who is very pregnant and also a little whirlwind, so I’ve spent the past two weeks chasing after this new troublemaker and helping her settle into her new home. Then I caught some mystery virus that put me to bed for days with a fever and no appetite, and the resulting lack of exercise and healthy eating triggered my IBS pretty badly…
Anyhow I’m back on my feet and the first thing I made was a summery smoothie to recharge myself with vitamins and happy feels. This one’s all sweet and creamy and generally wonderful.
Sweet summer smoothie
150g white grapes
3 tbsp oats
200ml coconut milk (I use Koko Dairy Free)
Blitz everything, sit in the sun and enjoy.
For quick and easy portioning of mangoes and pineapples, I freeze them in bite-sized chunks to chuck into smoothies as and when needed.
As a German living in the UK I’ve found the only way to have decent bread in my life is to make my own. I tried using a breadmaker for a while, but whatever recipe I used (from the book that came with it), I always ended up with light-as-air, soft-crusted, doesn’t-really-feed-you kind of loaves that I could as well have bought in the supermarket and that have become the terror of my British breakfasts.
My live saver arrived on my 30th birthday in the shape of a Thermomix and it has changed – well, if not my life then certainly my kitchen, my eating and most of all my bread-making. Because I’m finally equipped with the kit and the recipes to make German bread just like the ones I grew up with – and all without having to spend a fortune at posh delis or markets.
Here’s the recipe for one of my favourite breads, using a combination of wheat, rye and spelt for a more interesting flavour and texture, and a wonderfully firm and crusty crust. You can vary the amounts – half/half spelt and white works very well – but don’t use more than one quarter rye as you’ll end up with a very collapsed, dense bread.
MIXED WHOLE GRAIN BREAD WITH SUNFLOWER AND PUMPKIN SEEDS
I’m giving you the recipe for ready ground flours as they’re easier to come by in the UK, but you can also buy whole grains and grind them in the Thermomix, in batches of up to 250g, 1 minute / speed 10.
Weigh the white flour and banana into the mixing bowl and chop the banana for 5 seconds / speed 4.
Add the whole grain flours, yogurt, seeds, salt, sugar, yeast and water and work into a dough for 3 minutes / kneading (interval) mode. Shake the dough out into the loaf tin, gently smooth it in to fill the tin evenly, and leave to rise in a warm place for around 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C.
Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes at 200°C. Remove from the tin immediately, peel off the greaseproof paper and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Eat a cheeky slice while it’s still warm for 100% bread happiness.
* You can buy bread spice in German shops or make your own: Finely grind up 2 tsp caraway seeds, 2 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp anise and 1 tsp coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar and store in a clean jar.
Peaches and strawberries are two of my summer favourites, so of course I had to throw them into a smoothie together. And guess what – yep, liquid heaven. Made with a handful of oats and some coconut milk for a full breakfast, this is an incredibly creamy smoothie full of gently sweet flavours, almost crossing over into milkshake territory. In short, totally yum.
STRAWBERRIES AND PEACHES SMOOTHIE
2 small peaches
1 small pear
a handful of red grapes
100ml coconut milk
Throw everything into a blender (I use a Thermomix) and blitz until smooth.
Optional: To make the smoothie more filling (for example to have it for breakfast), add 3 tbsp oats and an additional 100ml coconut milk
I love tarka dal but if you’re doing it properly it just takes forever to cook. I usually make a huge bowl when I’m cooking curry anyway and freeze it in small portions for an occasional treat. Here’s a quick and tasty red lentil dip that reminds me of the flavours of a nice, comforting bowl of dal but is a lot quicker to make. It’s also a bit lighter and tastes great with veggie sticks or spread on crunchy lettuce hearts. A perfect addition to the lunchbox!
This is a recipe for Thermomix, but you could also make it with a blender or food processor – see alternative instructions below.
CURRIED RED LENTIL DIP WITH DILL
(Makes 3-4 portions – depending on how hungry you are!)
100g celery, in pieces
A small red chilly (fresh or dried)
125g split red lentils, rinsed and drained
2 tsp vegetable stock
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp medium curry powder
freshly ground black pepper
5 spring onions, in chunks
a handful fresh dill, with stalks
Recipe for Thermomix:
Chop the celery and chili for 5 seconds / speed 5.
Add the lentils, water, stock and spices. Simmer for 25 minutes / 100°C / speed 2 – keep an eye on it as the lentils can rise up a bit when the water starts boiling.
Add the spring onions and dill and puree gradually on 2-4-6-8 until you have a smooth paste.
Without a Thermomix:
Chop the celery roughly, chop the chili finely and fry both in a little olive oil until soft.
Add the lentils, water, stock and spices, bring to the boil and simmer for 25.
Put everything into a food processor, add the spring onions and dill and blitz until smooth.
This is it – the treat to end all treats. The dessert no other dessert can live up to. The ultimate bowl of chocolatey indulgence.
And best of all: it’s raw, vegan, dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, and full of beautiful ingredients that are good for you. All it takes is an avocado, a handful of dates and raspberries, some cocoa and a dash of almond milk. And it takes about two minutes to make. See, it’s the all-round perfect treat!
THE ULTIMATE AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
1 ripe avocado, flesh scooped out (about 150g)
a handful of raspberries (about 40g, can be frozen)
2 heaped tsp cacao powder
50ml almond milk
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy. Eat and be happy.
Raw cacao is the secret to the wonderful chocolatey-ness of this dessert
You can adjust the lightness and creaminess by the amount of almond milk – use less for dark chocolate style, and a bit more for a lighter chocolate flavour. You can also adjust the sweetness by adding a few more dates or a squeeze of agave nectar. I like this dessert when it’s not too sweet so the flavour of the cacao and raspberries comes through better.
And if you want to enjoy this as a drink rather than a dessert, just up the almond milk to around 250ml and you’ve got the best-ever healthy chocolate shake!
I have to admit I don’t usually go for green when it comes to smoothies because green smoothies always seem to be a bit of a gamble. With fruit, I’ve found you can throw in pretty much anything and the combination will work. When you start experimenting with spinach, kale & co., however, things can quickly get nasty if you don’t get the right balance.
But I haven’t given up on the green smoothie. It’s a learning process – as pretty much everything featured on this blog – and with a little bit of experimenting I found the first green smoothie that works for me. BECAUSE IT ACTUALLY TASTES NICE! I think it’s all down to the tropical goodness of mango and pineapple…
TROPICAL GREEN SMOOTHIE
2 handfuls fresh spinach
200-250ml light coconut milk (I use Koko dairy free)
Throw everything into a blender (I use a Thermomix) and blitz until smooth.
Today’s mid-day run through sunny London was hot, sticky and sweaty, leaving me with a craving for something super-fresh. My first impulse when I got home was to drown myself in a bucket of ice water, but luckily a punnet of blueberries in my fridge came to my rescue and a new smoothie flavour was born. It was the perfect lunch.
APPLE, KIWI AND BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE WITH FRESH MINT
1 green apple (something fresh and crisp, I used Granny Smith)
A handful of red grapes
Two handfuls of blueberries
3-5 fresh mint leaves (depending on how minty you want it)
200ml light coconut milk (I use Koko dairy free)
Throw everything in a blender (I use a Thermomix), blitz until smooth and feel ultra refreshed.
I’ve been blissing out on healthy / raw / vegan alternative sweet treats for the last few months and these are my absolute favourites. They taste just like cookie dough, but with all the naughty bits removed.
After experimenting with nuts and dates for low-guilt, high-energy treats to have as snacks before my workouts, I tried something new with these, adding rolled oats for a more dough-y texture and dried cherries because, well, mmmmh cherries! And if you don’t roll them in white choc drops they’re probably healthier, but cherry and white chocolate is too good a combination and should not be sacrificed for the sake of calorie counting.
So, get ready for blissballs!
Makes about 20 bite-sized balls
90g rolled oats
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
75g dried cherries
40g maple syrup
20g agave nectar (or skip the agave and use 80g maple syrup altogether)
50g white chocolate drops (optional…but oh so good)
TO MAKE THE BALLS
Blitz the oats, almonds and cashews in a food processor until they are a fine, floury consistency.
Add the cherries, salt, vanilla and sweeteners and blitz again until the mixture starts to form a dough.
Form into bite-sized balls and roll in the chocolate drops. Or, for the perfectionists, if you stick the choc drops in with the point side and keep rolling gently until they’re fully submerged you get the polka dot effect.
Keep in the fridge (if you manage to not eat the whole batch at once.)