Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Candied Pecans

Yahoo, I've crossed another one off the 2010 recipes list! I've been meaning to make this one for ages, and how glad am I to have been able to eat it finally! These are so delicious, I challenge anyone to make a batch and not scoff at least half of them that day...

The recipe was brilliant, though I put my cooked nuts on baking paper instead of a plate, so i knew that it wouldn't stick at all. And I used mostly pecans, and only a few walnuts. I find it really difficult to locate a store that sells walnuts that aren't rancid...in fact i'm not sure i've ever had walnuts that aren't slightly off tasting. So, the pecans are definitely my favorite nut for this recipe. I love love love the maple/cinnamon combination, it just works so perfectly.

You can find the Candied Nuts recipe over at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, my most favorite new healthy blog find.

Monday, 25 January 2010

A Sweet Treat: Carobio

Yep, this is another of my little odes to particular food cupboard items. This time its a new found favorite, and a very naughty treat, Carobio.

I saw this on the shelves at the health  food shop and just had to try it. I've never actually tried anything with carob in it before, and i guess i was looking for an option that looked appetizing and not tooo health-foodie. So, Carobio was an obvious choice.

And I have not been disappointed at all by it, in fact I think I'm rather addicted. It tastes so good on hot toast, and it melts in the most delicious way, so it's almost like eating melted chocolate-y carob. It's really rich and flavoursome too, and though it's obviously NOT chocolate, it does have the same texture and depth.

As for health benefits, I don't honestly see that there are any, apart from that it's a great alternative for those who can't eat cocoa or dairy.

In comparison to other chocolate type spreads it doesn't fair too badly per 100g:
Protein - 7.3g Carobio, 6.4 Nutella, 4.6 Green&Blacks
Carbs - 42.5g Carobio, 56.4 Nutella, 53.7 Green&Blacks
Fat - 46.1g Carobio, 31g Nutella, 36.4 Green&Blacks
kcal - 592 Carobio, 530 Nutella, 559 Green& Blacks

The ingredients list reads quite well; vegetable oil and fat, corn syrup powder, carob powder (15%), hazelnuts (13%), soy powder, soy lecithin, vanilla. This is the same percentage of nuts as Nutella, but way more carob/chocolate (about twice as much).

And in the carob vs chocolate debate, I am definitely on the fence. Carob has no caffeine in, but cocoa has flavonoids and stearic acid. Carob is alkalinizing, but chocolate is acidic. Carob has a tenth of the fat of chocolate, and way more vitamins too. Plus there's no fermentation process involved.

I suppose I'm still on the hunt for a low GI chocolate spread that tastes really good and is practical too. Perhaps literally melting dark chocolate might work, or making my own ganache with dairy free cream and agave? That sounds really good doesn't it?! Yum.

Well, I will definitely enjoy finishing the jar, but I won't allow myself to buy another one, it is after all ludicrously expensive, and a one-off treat. It's like spreading gold on toast.

Oh, and it's vegan by the way. And organic.

Friday, 22 January 2010

gluten free pizza

this was another of the items on my 2010 recipes list: gluten free pizza.

i've wanted to make it for a while, because i was convinced that somewhere along the lines i would be able to eat more of it or something?! anyway, as it turns out, there's such a ridiculous quantity of carbohydrate in just one slice, that 4 slices are still WAY too much, and I had pizza fatigue as usual.

mind you, it was delicious, even though i should have stopped at 2 slices and put it back in the fridge. i need to try a buckwheat crust, which would have significantly less carbs in it. and i've found a recipe at (you guessed it) nutrition kitchen for a buckwheat pizza crust. the toppings we had were lovely, piled high with roasted red peppers, tomato, mushroom and pesto. and a small sprinkling of cheese...i must try some dairy free cheeses in the future too, as we are trying to reduce the amount of dairy we eat, significantly.

anyway, here is my first attempt at a healthier pizza:

i guess i'll just have to keep on going with the whole pizza idea until i acheive perfection, and i will persevere... it's my mums favorite food, so i'd like to eat pizza with her sometimes, that'd be nice.

for those of you that want to know what flour i used for the base: it was Doves Farm Gluten Free Bread Flour, and the recipe was on the side of the packet...which is now in the rubbish bin, oops. But it definitely had a lot of oil in it, and i think it was a hot milk mix. it was a pleasure to mix up by hand. i would make it again for like a picnic or something where i only eat 1 bit!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

breakfast brown rice pudding

i made some brown rice pudding yesterday evening, and saved half of it for breakfast this morning, and it really is rather yummy. i never thought it would be so creamy and gooey, but am very thankful to say it is. and for breakfast it tastes way better with some extra cinnamon and organic soya milk. and a side serving of fruit smoothie and green tea with lemon.

the recipe that i followed was from Fran's House of Ayurveda, and called Brown Rice Pudding, oddly enough! the things i changed were...i used vanilla rice milk instead of almond milk and i totally omitted the ghee. plus the recipe took much longer to cook than it stated in the recipe, it had to simmer for almost two hours until it finally went goopy. but, it was worth the wait, dairy free and low Gi, this rice pudding was delicious!

i have found another brown rice pudding recipe too which i might try. but they've definitely got too much carbs for anything other than breakfast i think. i'm going to the shops today to find some ingredients to make some more items on my 2010 recipes list!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

nutrition kitchen

i don't often post about other blogs on here, i guess that's partly because there aren't a whole lot of super accessible healthy blogs out there that i've found yet...you know, the type where you want to cook everything and know it'll  be good for you. i hope that's what this blog will become eventually.

so, when i found the whole life nutrition kitchen a few weeks ago i was sooo happy! i wanted to wait a while to see whether new posts were regular and as equally yummy as the ones that had gone before it. and i;m happy to say that they are most definitely very tasty looking and healthy too! this will be a regular read for me now...

i've already added their flourless almond cookie recipe to my 2010 recipes list, but i defiinitely want to add some more...
  • quinoa salmon burgers
  • raw cinnamon sunflower truffles
  • candied walnuts

  • chocolate agave frosting

  • thai coconut fish sticks

  • cashew cream

  • dairy free, sugar free strawberry coconut ice cream

  • nori rolls with sticky brown rice

these recipes are interesting and just sound so gooood, i mean dairy and sugar free strawberry and coconut ice-cream...it just doesn't get any better. of course this means i ought to get an ice-cream maker, but i'm sure it was about time anyway!

go to http://www.nourishingmeals.com/ for loads more tasty and healthy recipe ideas! and if you know of one similar that i haven't found yet please let me know ♥

Monday, 18 January 2010

baking with teff flour: lovegrass pancakes for breakfast

you must all know by now just how obsessed i am with pancakes for breakfast, i don't think there's any happier way to start the day. and if done right should not be a big messy time-consuming, unhealthy thing.

in fact, my healthy pancakes that i've made before are a saturday regular in this house, and occasionally a monday or thursday or sunday too!

but today i want to share something totally new to me, and hopefully to some of my lovely readers too. i stumbled upon an article the other day about new superfoods for 2010, and on it was this grain called teff (or lovegrass ♥). it caught me eye because it's low gi, gluten free and has an awesome nutrition profile! so, i went straight on to ebay and bought a 100g pack of brown teff flour from the spiceworks - highly recommended company as the delivery was super speedy - i also brought some hemp flour but haven't tried it yet.

the obvious way to try out a new type of flour, for me anyway it's pretty clear, is to make pancakes, as you can really tell the texture and flavour of the flour quite easily. plus they are simple to make, and not so much effort if it turns out that the flour is horrible.

well, i made scotch/american pancakes instead of my regular 3/4 size ones. i added 1 egg, 130ml organic soy milk, 100g brown teff flour, 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder and a drizzle of agave nectar (that was just fear that it wouldn't taste nice, so i thought it ought to have a tiny bit of something sweet just in case! so not necessary though). add them in that order to a measuring jug and keep stirring with every addition.

heat up a large based, non-stick frying pan to a medium-high heat, with some oil in - i used grapeseed oil which worked pretty well. make sure it's spread around the entire pan very well or else the pancakes will stick. cook three at a time, wait until they bubble and flip over.

the verdict:
 - YUMMY AND DELICIOUS! this is such a tasty flour, with some real depth of flavour, it's perfect for cold, wintry mornings. it would taste great with fruity toppings (honey fried apples,mmm), maple syrup or honey. add some spices or raisins to the mix for a scrumptious treat. my mum decided that some dark chocolate chips would really compliment the flavour, and that could be true, but we didn't have any in the cupboard yesterday...(ps. always add the choc chips after pouring the batter into the pan to ensure even distribution)

the teff flour got the thumbs up from mum, and so we'll be keeping it in the store cupboard from now on if we can find a cheap place to buy lots of it - http://www.naturallygoodfood.co.uk/ seems to be a good option for UK customers. i've seen that waitrose sell teff flour mix, which is unfortunately mostly corn starch and only 30% refined teff plus loads of other unnecessary additions...i won't be buying that. i've yet to check out my local health food store, and the biggest supermarket near me to see if they have any.

there's also some tasty healthy pancake recipes to be found online...

Monday, 11 January 2010

river cottage everyday: a review

some of you might already have realised just quite how much i love river cottage, and wish i actually had enough money to replicate such a project and live a self-sufficient life, but for those of you that don't, you do now!

River Cottage Every Dayi went round to babysit at a friends house yesterday, and on the side they had a copy of hugh fearnley-whittingstall's 'river cottage everyday' cookbook. it is AMAZING! you know you're going to adore a book when it has a really good 3 page breakfast introduction about the importance of exciting breakfasts, and making time to actually eat it properly - as part of this years resolution, that i sort of started last year, we now make a time for breakfast and eat together, we also decide what we'll have the night before, so if buckwheat needs to be pre soaked or a whole wheat pancake batter needs to be made we have already done it, but also that we are starting our day in the most exciting way...french toast, pancakes, swiss muesli, granola, yum yum.

there's also a little chat about why you should eat unsulphured apricots instead of the orange sulphured ones. something that really needs to catch on, and i'm so glad that hugh is on that train. the unsulphured ones taste SO much better, honestly.

most of the book is supremely healthy, without being obviously so. i love how most of the recipes include wholewheat instead of plain white, and how he uses honey instead of loads of sugar, and advocates fruit as a fantastic sweetener. all the meals seem really balanced, and quite low-carb. he's not really a big cheese person, but he does love meat, and a good proportion of the book is given over to it. however, he has a whole section for vegetables too, and has loads of yummy and interesting ways to cook up veg that won't take too long.

his love of seasonal food is catching, and his everyday cooking ideas are practical as well as delicious. some of the recipes i'm adding to my 2010 recipes list are:
 - nut butter: he recommends spreading it on toast with bananas on top
 - tabula kisir: this is a sort of tabbouleh, a recipe i've wanted to learn for ages, as it's so tasty
 - broad bean hummus: interesting idea, and a slightly english-ified version of the original, he also makes his own flatbreads, which would definitely go well with it. i can't wait to try it!

there's also some really interesting packed lunch ideas, that are actually very different from the standard, as well as pretty healthy! so, i'll be trying these out soon for sure. here's my lunchbox mixes to try:
 - hard boiled eggs, cold boiled potatoes, tinned sardines, cooked green beans, olive oil
 - french beans, cold chicken, toasted blanched almonds, with garlic, honey, mustard dressing
so basically more interesting potato or chicken salads.

if you haven't read through it yet, i highly recommend it for a supremely interesting read, with loads of practical recipes too! i'll just have to hope for a copy of my own for my birthday ♥

Thursday, 7 January 2010

healthy buckwheat apple waffles

well this was another of the recipes on my 2010 recipes list, and i definitely think i'll be perfecting this as the year goes on, but this is at least a start to the low everything waffles.

i did a lot of research on healthy waffle recipes and my favorite was a spiced apple wholewheat waffle recipe over at recipegirl (i also liked this and this)

so, i tried it out, obviously slightly amended -as always- due to what i had in stock and that the consistency seemed a little off when i had mixed everything together.

Here's what i used for 2 people:
1 large egg
1/3 cup filtered water
1/3 cup soya milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 small Gala apple chopped into tiny cubes (or grated)
1 cup flour (a mix of buckwheat, wholewheat, plain, gluten free)
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves)
1/3 tsp baking soda
sprinkle of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

i mixed all the wet ingredients, and then added the dry. pop it into the waffle machine, and this made 4 yummy waffles, which tasted delish with honey, but would also be scrumdidlyumptious with maple syrup.

i've now tested it with pear instead of apple, which was lovely, especially when i added a few dark chocolate chips too. wowee!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

sild on rye and breakfast soup

i've been playing with a new camera, which means that my pictures will be of much better quality (though i still don't know all the amazing things it can do!) and hopefully all the food looks as delicious as it does in real life: which is really the important thing.

so, here am I, sharing a few things i've eaten in the last few days:

 - sil on rye with salsa: which is raw swedish fish and probably an acquired taste (though it's almost certainly completely different to what you think) on rye bread which is another acquired taste; but both 100% delicious!

- breakfast soup: i wish i were the actual genesis of this idea, but i can't be, even though i haven't seen it in cookbooks or on the net. basically i put frozen mixed fruits in my blender with a half cup soaked almonds some water, some agave nectar, some linseeds and sesame seeds and vanilla extract. i processed it until smooth, then served in soup bowls with sprinkles on top. it was miraculously filling and fabulously fresh and yummy!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

buckwheat porridge

the first new recipe of the year, because i was absolutely sure that it wouldn't fail and would taste absolutely scrumptious. plus i found a packet of organic buckwheat at waitrose for only 99p so I thought it wouldn't matter so much if it went horrendously wrong.

then i went on a mad mission all around the internet to find somewhere that would give me a buckwheat porridge recipe, and i found two main types: the soak and process or the boil. and because i don't have a food processor (at least not at the moment) i went with the boiling method! i was convinced after i saw this beautiful breakfast photograph of it, and so this is the recipe i went with.

for 2 people
  • take 1/2 cup buckwheat groats and soak overnight, or for at least 20 minutes

  • once soaked, drain off the liquid and rinse well. then add the groats and 1 cup of water to a saucepan. add your chosen spices and dried fruits, i used 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, a couple drops of vanilla extract and a 1/4 cup organic sultanas.

  • lay the table all nicely so you can really appreciate your breakfast, no matter how early it is or groggy you feel

  • boil until all the water has gone, and it looks like this:

  • serve with sliced fresh banana, organic soya milk, honey and a cup of green tea with lemon

i would definitely give this recipe a massive 5 stars because we've had it every morning since!!

ps. 1 down, 51 to go!
pps. check out other healthy breakfast recipes!

healthy recipes to try in 2010

ok, so you know i was trying to come up with 52, one for each week of the year? well, i just couldn't get that many...and yes i trawled all my files, folders and cookbooks! instead i got halfway, and i have decided to keep a list on my wall to add to when i think of something else, which then allows for me to write on recipes that my favorite bloggers come up with...

anyways, here are the ones i came up with:
and the following from nourishingmeals.com (check out this nutrition kitchen post)
and the following from the healthy indulgences blog:
UPDATE 2011: Although I didn't complete all of these recipes in 2010, I did enjoy trying out the new ones I did. And I can only hope I can create the others in 2011...

Saturday, 2 January 2010

my hopes and wishes for 2010

i do hope that all of you enjoyed the holiday season, and that this year brings you all the happiness and joy that you deserve!

i had a fantastic time this christmas, and got to share all sorts of wonderful food and laughter with the people i love most. is there anything better in life? i may be 22 but i don't think there'll be anything better than that.

anyway, so this year is blatantly going to be amazing! i'm excited for it, and looking forward to taking on every challenge that comes to me. my main aims include building my own business and branching out, paying off debts and finally getting my own dog. but the more exciting aims, and the ones that will keep me going throughout the year no doubt are: to have flowers in the house always, to make and perfect one new dish each week (more of this to come!) and to make more of my own clothes (which i've already started - have a look on my other blog alissa loves)

so i'm currently sat writing my 52 new recipes for 2010, which is pretty difficult and involves browsing through all my cookbooks and my recipe folder. actually it's not difficult, it's just long, as i have a few criteria to follow...mainly that all these recipes should not be healthy baked goods, rather a more branched out and healthier selection of vegetable, salad, breakfast, traditional, contemporary, raw, vegan, etc, etc, recipes.

i've already got quite a selection, but i do reckon that my evening might be a long one as i've only got 14 on the list and its just quarter past eight. hey well, i can't think of a more pleasant way to spend the evening. of course, i'll let you in on the list, and you'll get to check out my trials and tribulations this year by reading right here on this blog!

can i tell you a secret. there's an amazing cafe in chichester called cafe paradiso which is a vegetarian restaurant with some really delicious and nutritious food. i went there when i went to the theatre recently and i really could have eaten everything on the menu! yum yum.

oh, and a massive thank you to the lovely person who gave me a fantastic cornbread recipe! very much appreciated, and i can't wait to try it out.