Avo hazelnut mocha: Sounds strange? Yep, strangely delicious

When it gets to afternoon I’m always torn between craving a huge, creamy latte and wanting something a bit more filling and chocolate-y. Today I really wanted a chocolate avocado smoothie, and really needed a little caffeine boost to wake me up for my pump class later. Avo or coffee…avo or coffee… In the end I decided to throw the two together.

AND IT WORKS.

I’ve just had the most luxurious and delicious pick-me-up afternoon snack ever.

If you think I’ve lost it, try this one out for yourself!

avo-hazelnut-mocha-1

AVO HAZELNUT MOCHA
Makes one mug

1 shot of espresso
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
Around 200ml hazelnut milk
1/2 tsp maca (optional)
1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
Agave nectar to taste

Throw all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Sweeten to taste with agave.

avo-hazelnut-mocha-2

Thermomix recipe: Rye and spelt bread with seeds

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-spelt-bread-seeds


RYE AND SPELT BREAD WITH SEEDS
Makes one loaf

INGREDIENTS
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

  1. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Weigh the rye grains into the bowl, add the fennel and coriander seeds and shred for 20 seconds / speed 10.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Winter breakfast: vegan cacao-hazelnut and banana-coconut super porridge

There’s nothing as comforting as a big bowl of hot porridge when I roll out of bed on a cold, dark winter morning – but it has to be of the clean variety, with some extra flavour and goodness.

I use Koko Dairy Free for my porridge; it’s a light and delicately flavoured coconut milk that doesn’t dominate the flavours and creates a creamy porridge. Throw in the banana with your oats at the start (a trick I learned from Deliciously Ella) – it breaks down during the cooking, adding more flavour and making the porridge wonderfully puffy. Plus, cooking brings out all the natural sweetness of the banana, meaning you don’t need to add sweetener.

Here are two of my favourite porridge recipes based on banana.


cacao-hazelnut-porridge

CACAO AND HAZELNUT SUPER PORRIDGE
Serves 1

Around 5 tbsp whole rolled oats
250ml Koko Dairy Free coconut milk
1 banana, sliced
1-2 tsp cacao or cocoa powder
A handful of hazelnuts, halved

Optional: A squeeze of agave nectar (if you like it sweet)
Optional: 1/2 tsp of maca and baobab for a little energy and Vitamin C boost

Put the oats, banana slices and coconut milk into a pan, cook to the desired consistency (add a splash of hot water if the porridge gets too dry). Add the cacao and optional ingredients, stir thoroughly, and serve sprinkled with a little extra cacao and the hazelnuts.


banana-cocout-porridge

BANANA AND COCONUT SUPER PORRIDGE
Serves 1

Around 5 tbsp whole rolled oats
250ml Koko Dairy Free coconut milk
1 banana, sliced
A handful of coconut flakes
A little cinnamon, to serve

Optional: 1/2 tsp of maca and baobab for a little energy and Vitamin C boost

Put the oats, banana slices, coconut flakes and coconut milk into a pan, cook to the desired consistency (add a splash of hot water if the porridge gets too dry). Add the optional ingredients and stir in well. To serve, sprinkle with a little cinnamon and add some extra coconut flakes for texture.

Healthy Christmas treat: orange and cacao energy balls

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.

cacao-orange-nut-balls

ORANGE AND CACAO ENERGY BALLS
(Makes around 20 balls)

60g oats
150g mixed nuts (I used the Brazil, cashew and walnut mix form H&B)
5 dates
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 😉 )

Raw banana bread nutballs: a delicious and healthy energy boost

I love banana bread. I could eat it for three meals a day – but that doesn’t exactly fit with my healthy lifestyle. So I’ve tweaked my recipe for nut energy balls – which have pretty much become my daily go-to snack for sweet cravings and pre-workout energy boosts – to add the flavour and goodness of banana and cacao to this clean and healthy treat.

banana-bread-nutballs

RAW BANANA BREAD NUTBALLS
(Makes around 30 balls)

125g whole rolled oats
200g mixed nuts (I use the broken cashew, brazil and walnut mix from H&B)
1 medium banana (100-120g)
4 dates
1 tbsp cacao or cocoa

Throw everything into a food processor or Thermomix and blitz until it forms a sticky dough. Roll into bite sized balls and store in an airtight container. 

They keep for up to a week in the fridge, but take them out of the fridge a while before you eat them as they’ll taste nicer when they’re not cold. 
Nom.

Fresh boost: melon, carrot and tangerine smoothie

Here’s a simple, light and refreshing smoothie for a healthy start to the weekend – stuffed full of bright orange things to add a bit of colour to this pathetic, grey London summer.

carrot melon tangerine smoothie

I don’t often have melon in the house because I’m intolerant to some of them (courtesy of IBS ruining certain foods for me) so I don’t get this kind of flavour combination very often. But it just works, and it has given my morning a happy boost.


MELON, CARROT AND TANGERINE SMOOTHIE
2 tangerines
2 medium carrots
1/4 cantaloupe melon
1 banana
1 small pear
150-200ml cold water, or a handful of ice cubes
1 tsp honey (optional)

Blend, sprinkle with chia seeds and enjoy! 🙂

Quick cheat: Healthy hazelnut butter nutella

Bu now I’m largely living without chocolate, sweets and processed sugar (aside from the occasional cake and emegency KitKat), but one thing I found really hard to give up is Nutella. Nutella is basically my crack. I can’t have a jar of the stuff in the house because I will eat the lot, with a spoon, in a day (or less).

In my search for alternatives I tried Deliciously Ella’s healhty nutella recipe and it was m delicious, but the joy didn’t last long because it went mouldy within a few days. I think that was due to the water being added to the nuts in her recipe. (I have since learned that water is the death of all nut butters.) 

So this time I tried a simpler approach, grabbed a jar or Meridian’s crunchy hazelnut butter, stirred in 2 tsp of raw cacao powder and some maple syrup (just adjust to taste depending on how sweet you like it) AND IT IS AMAZING. 

So there, I’m saved. I don’t have to give up Nutella and I’ve found a better, healthier version. With crunch. 

  
And I just happen to have some fresh, homemade German rye and hazelnut bread in the house…so that’s my meals sorted for the weekend!

Clean almond and cherry cereal bars: crunchy, sweet and dangerously addictive

As a frequent snacker I NEED cereal bars to get me through the day, but most of the bought ones are stuffed full of sugar and artificial flavourings and leave you hungry again after ten minutes.

Here’s an alternative to all that: super easy, homemade cereal bars with all the goodness of nuts, fruits and natural sweeteners that actually fill you up and also satisfy all your cravings for sweetness and crunch. Totally clean and oh so good.

almond-cherry-cereal-bars-1

Be warned, though: These are very addictive and it’s all too easy to munch your way through quite a lot in one go – but the ingredients pack a serious amount of energy.


ALMOND AND CHERRY CEREAL BARS

150g whole rolled oats
100g almonds
50g cashews
80g salted almond butter (or add a pinch of salt)
40g honey
100g dates
75g dried cherries
1/2 banana

 

  1. Spread the oats and almonds thinly on a baking tray and toast at 180°C for about 10 minutes. Give them a shake halfway through so they don’t burn on one side. Leave to cool.
  2. Meanwhile blitz the dates and banana in a food processor. Stir in the honey and almond butter until you have a smooth and very sticky paste.
  3. Chop the cherries and cashews roughly. Add to the toasted almonds and oats in a bowl, pour over the sweet paste and mix everything with a wooden spoon until evenly distributed.
  4. Line a brownie tin with greaseproof paper; make sure paper covers the sides as well so you can lift it out easily later.
  5. Pour the mixture into the tin and spread as evenly as you can with the wooden spoon, then press down with wet hands until the mixture is packed tightly. Leave to set in the freezer for about ten minutes.
  6. Once the mixture has set, use a sharp knife to cut into bars, squares or bites – whichever size you like. Wrap each bar in greaseproof paper and store them in an airtight container in the freezer.

They keep for at least two weeks – beyond that I can’t tell as a batch rarely lasts that long in my house…

Almond and cherry cereal bars

A sunshine smoothie to keep the summer going

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


Sweet summer smoothie

1 banana
90g mango
80g pineapple
150g white grapes
1 pear
1 peach
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.


Mixed whole grain bread with sunflower and pumpkin seeds

German mixed grain and seed bread

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.

German mixed grain and seed bread

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.

INGREDIENTS
150g strong white bread flour
100g whole grain wheat flour
100g whole grain rye flour
250g whole grain spelt flour
1 tsp bread spice*
100g banana
150g yogurt
150g sunflower seeds
50g pumpkin seeds
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
180ml water
2 1/2 tsp quick / easy bake yeast

 
TO MAKE THE BREAD

  1. Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Weigh the white flour and banana into the mixing bowl and chop the banana for 5 seconds / speed 4.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Eat a cheeky slice while it’s still warm for 100% bread happiness.

whole grain and seed love

* 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.