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.
This morning while making breakfast I found a leftover barbecued peach from last night’s BBQ sitting in the fridge. It looked a bit sad and not particularly inviting, but I hate to throw food away so I thought I’d try to integrate it into my breakfast – which was supposed to be spelt bread with almond butter (both homemade) and jam.
So I took the burnt skin off the sad little BBQ peach, sliced it up and stuck it on top of my almond butter bread. With a few coconut flakes sprinkled over the top to make it look a bit more inviting.
And I can’t even tell you how good it was!
I eat fresh fruit on bread a lot (as a healthy alternative to jam), but so far nothing compares to the sweet, soft goodness of the barbecued peach. I guess I’ll be loading the BBQ with a view towards breakfast from now on.
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.)
It’s Saturday and I’m stuck at home with a cold when I was meant to be out for a long run around sunny Regent’s Park. FML etc. So to cheer myself up I made another batch of energy balls.
After last week’s mixed nut balls rolled in coconut flakes, I tried for a more minimal flavour this time, using only almonds and cashews, less of the dates and cacao, and rolled the balls in ground pistachios. The result was a beautifully nutty, lighter and less sweet type of blissball.
ALMOND, CASHEW AND PISTACHIO ENERGY BALLS
(Makes around 15 balls)
80g almonds (soaked in water overnight and drained)
80g cashewS (soaked in water overnight and drained)
4tbsp almond milk
1 tbsp cacao
1/2 tsp good-quality vanilla extract
100g pistachios, ground or chopped, to roll
Put everything except the pistachios in a food processor and blitz until you get a slightly crunchy paste.
Shape into little balls and roll in the pistachios.
Time for another clean food recipe because I’m enjoying this stuff so much at the moment. I’ve mostly given up chocolate, biscuits & co, without even making a conscious effort to do it. But a handful of nuts or a quick smoothie for a snack just make me feel so much better – especially on workout days. And even more so if cacao is involved. Cacao makes everything better…
So here’s my new favourite snack format: blissballs!
NUT CHOCOLATE ENERGY BALLS
100g almonds (soaked in water overnight and rinsed)
150g mixed nuts (soaked in water overnight and rinsed)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cacao
4 tbsp almond milk (or any other nut milk)
1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
Coconut flakes, to roll
Put everything in the food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste. (Or, if you prefer a bit of crunch, stop blending before it gets too smooth.)
Refrigerate for half an hour or so; this will make the mixture easier to roll.
Shape into balls and roll them in coconut flakes.
Bliss out on blissballs!
Stay tuned for more blissballs – I’m on a roll with these babies 😉
Well, I’m not sure how skinny they actually are, but un-iced, these cupcakes contain no fats other than those that naturally occur in the other ingredients. So that makes them pretty skinny in my book. They’re also largely courgette based so they must count as at least one of your five a day. See, they’re practically healthy!
Light, chocolatey, delicious, and probably one of your five a day.
Makes 15 cupcakes
100g shelled pistachios
180 light brown muscovado sugar
120g self-raising flour
60g cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
For the icing
100g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
50g cocoa powder
50g shelled pistachios
TO MAKE THE CUPCAKES
Preheat the oven to 170°C and line two muffin tins with 15 paper cases.
Peel the courgettes and grate them finely.
Grind the pistachios in a food processor or mill until they are are powdery. The finer they are ground, the better the cake.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until they are pale and fluffy. Beat in the courgettes and ground pistachios, then beat in the flour and salt until well combined. The mixture will be quite drippy.
Spoon the mixture into the cases, filling them no more than two thirds. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
For the icing, beat the cubed butter until fluffy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Beat in the sifted cocoa and keep beating until everything is creamy and well combined. Spread the icing evenly on the cupcakes.
Crush half the pistachios and leave the other half whole. Sprinkle them over the cupcakes and leave to set for a bit.
This delicious recipe is adapted from Harry Eastwood‘s chocolate and courgette cake as published in Waitrose Kitchen.
I needed a birthday cake for a friend who can’t eat gluten. I’d never tried any gluten free baking but did remember a cake my granny used to bake when I was a kid. The recipe uses finely ground hazelnuts instead of flour, so it’s perfect if you want to avoid gluten. And the hazelnuts combined with cocoa powder also give the cake a wonderfully deep flavour and a light, moist texture.
You can make this cake with pretty much any kind of creamy filling and fruit. The original recipe uses whipped cream mixed with a type of conserved berry that’s widespread in Germany but not available in the UK, so I chose blueberries and cream cheese instead. (Can’t go wrong with cream cheese frosting and blueberries!)
Gluten free and with extra flavour thanks to the hazelnut-cocoa base: The perfect alternative.
The butterflies and leaves are cut out of icing using Lakeland icing cutters. I was going to make flowers originally, but then just really liked the idea of butterflies nibbling on clusters of blueberry-flowers.
For the frosting
60g unsalted butter, softened
200g full-fat Philadelphia
200g icing sugar
300 g blueberries
1 tbsp blueberry jam
A handful of blueberries
Green and yellow icing
Leaf and butterfly icing cutters
TO MAKE THE CAKE
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease two 20cm diameter cake tins lightly with butter.
Beat the butter, adding the sugar until the mixture becomes creamy. Beat in the vanilla essence, then gradually add the beaten eggs until the mixture is well combined.
In a separate bowl mix the finely ground hazelnuts with the cocoa and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture and fold in gently.
Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of each cake comes out clean.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING AND DECORATION
Place one cake on a cake stand, cover with the blueberry jam and spread a layer of blueberries on it.
Beat the butter, Philadelphia and icing sugar into a smooth cream. Spread half of the cream over the blueberries and smooth out evenly up to the edges. Top with the second cake and spread the remaining cream cheese mixture on top, again smoothing it out evenly. Stick the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the cream to set a bit.
In the meantime, cut out a selection of different sized leaves from green icing and butterflies from yellow icing. Arrange them on top of the cake with small clusters of blueberries.
For extra prettiness, push a line of blueberries into the cream layer around the side of the cake.
Icing cutters are cheap, and one of the simplest ways to make impressive decorations.
Making the most of the season’s berries while summer lasts!
The summer bake-a-thon continues! With English produce finally arriving in the supermarket, I’m in a rush to make as much of the berry season as I possibly can. This week’s quick and easy summer muffins are super light and juicy, stuffed full of whole raspberries and melt-in-your-mouth white chocolate chunks. And with low-fat yogurt replacing most of the butter in the recipe, they’re practically skinny! =)
INGREDIENTS Makes 14 cupcakes
80g unsalted butter, softened
100g light brown soft sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g natural low-fat yogurt
300g self-raising flour
120g white chocolate, chopped
7 extra raspberries
50-80g white chocolate
TO MAKE THE CUPCAKES
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two muffin tins with 14 paper cases.
Cream the butter, adding the sugar until it becomes fluffy. Gradually mix in the eggs and beat well. Beat in the yogurt and vanilla extract.
Sift the flour over the mixture and stir in until just combined. Finally, fold in the whole raspberries and the chocolate chunks.
Spoon the mixture into the cases, filling them no more than two thirds. Cut the remaining raspberries in half and put one half on top of each cupcake with the sliced side facing down. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Once the muffins are cooled completely, melt the chocolate (for example by blitzing it in a cup in the microwave for 2 x 20 seconds). Fill the melted into a small freezer bag, snip one corner and use this ingenious device to drizzle the muffins evenly with as much chocolate as your heart desires. (They might not be so skinny after all.)
If you leave some chunks of white chocolate sticking out at the top, your muffins will get a delicious, almost caramelised crust.