Cranberry and orange crushes

These brilliant little bites are made with good stuff and packed with flavour.  Fruity crushes feature cranberries, orange juice and orange zest, making them a refreshing alternative to some of the previous raw food bars and balls I’ve posted.

Cranberry and orange crushes_3

Let’s be honest, if you are in the mood for a four-finger Kit Kat or a bag of M&M’s, these are not going to do it for you.

However if you’re on a roll with healthy eating and want a brighter, more interesting snack, they are perfect. They’re quick to make and because they use store cupboard ingredients, you can make them as and when you fancy.

Cranberry and orange crushes_2

To make 10 balls (each containing around 110 calories) you will need:

  • 100 grams of cashew nuts
  • 50 grams of brazil nuts
  • 80 grams of dried cranberries
  • 40 grams of dates
  • A squeeze of orange
  • Zest from half a medium orange
  • Cinnamon for dusting at the end

To make:

  1. Blitz up all the dry ingredients.
  2. Then blitz up the fruity ingredients.
  3. Work the two sets of ingredients together by hand before adding a squeeze of orange and the zest. The amount of orange juice will probably depend on the consistency of the mixture. It needs to be firm and hold together. If crumbly add a little more juice, but not so much that the mixture becomes wet.
  4. Divide and roll in to 10 balls.
  5. At the end dust lightly with cinnamon before putting in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up.
  6. Store in a jar in the fridge and enjoy as and when you fancy a little something sweet.

Cranberry and orange crushes_4

Enjoy x

 

 

Saintly cinnamon and carrot muffins

If at first you don’t succeed…

…Then get obsessed. Give up a kilogram of oats, 8 eggs and 4 hours. Bake 43 muffins and force feed your loved ones. Over and over. Until you strike the jackpot.

And breathe.

Carrot_3

I saw a great recipe on the Glitter and Grey blog for spinach and chocolate chip muffins. The recipe really grabbed me, so I thought I’d have a bash. I decided to tweak it though, making it into a carrot equivalent. The result was ok, but it certainly wasn’t a crowd pleaser. My five year old squeezed honey all over his first one and said that was pretty good though.

I wanted to create something as tasty as carrot cake, but without the flour, sugar and frosted icing. Slightly ambitious I know.

However, with some patience and practice I have created a beautifully sweet, slightly spiced and moist fruity muffin. These saintly bakes also now feature extra honey, thank you Tobias.

Carrot_5

You will need:

  • 100 grams of greek yoghurt
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 grated carrots
  • Grated peel from 1 medium orange
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 200 grams of oats (I used gluten free)
  • 100 grams of raisins

Thank fully the process is simple:

  1. Put everything except the oats and raisins into the blender for a few seconds
  2. Then mix in the oats and raisins in a separate bowl
  3. Spoon into muffin cases (Use silicone cases to avoid sticking, there’s not a lot of grease in these)
  4. Put into pre-heated oven (180C fan or 350 F) for 15 – 20 minutes until a rich brown
  5. Leave on wire racks to cool

You will get 12 muffins from this recipe, each containing around 130 calories.

Carrot_4

I also made a batch of buttercream. A reward to my husband and son. They were truly impressed with the less saintly alternative muffin served with a generous topping of buttercream.

Carrot_8

The end result here is ultimately just a really tasty plate of cakes. Somehow, the thought, love and attention to get them spot on has made them something more special to me this week. For me this is how you take good ingredients, then carefully find the best way to serve them up with  masses of affection.

Mackerel with Sunshine Slaw

I really like this one. It’s a super healthy plate of crunchy raw vegetables topped with a simple piece of fish.

I’ve playing around with various yoghurt dressings for the coleslaw. With the final version featuring freshly squeezed orange and lime, I can happily now call this a Sunshine Slaw. It’s bright colours and zesty taste, make it a perfect clean spring salad.

mac2

For around 500g of coleslaw you will need:

  • 400/450g crunchy vegetables – made up of grated carrot, grated beetroot, finely chopped red onion and plenty of shredded red cabbage
  • 100ml natural yoghurt  – you may choose to add a little extra once you’ve tasted at the end
  • 1 tablespoon of oil – try safflower or olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • juice from half a lime – just squeezed by hand
  • juice from half an orange – just squeezed by hand
  • Seasoning (be fairly generous – but taste to make sure it works for you)

The full batch contains around 300 calories – not a fraction of a regular mayonnaise coleslaw.

Mac1

To make the coleslaw:

  • Simply mix it all together and taste.
  • The seasoning and various elements of the dressing may need a little tweak at this stage because the vegetables, oil, yoghurt, vinegar we use are not all uniform. Just be guided by your palette and what tastes good to  you.

For the final plate:

For a small lunchtime salad serve around 100g of the coleslaw with around 80g mackerel per person. Simply pan fry fresh mackerel or serve cold mackerel. I tried and loved both but the cold mackerel option is definitely a quicker prep. If you buy pre-cooked fish just check the packet for any added extras. Most will contain some salt, but there’s no need for extra preservatives. You can easily buy this fish without.

The sustainability debate

Mackerel has been both on and off the recommended ‘fish to avoid’ list due to concerns about over fishing in the North East Atlantic. However since 2013 this fish has been on the ‘fish to eat’ list managed by the Marine Conservation Society. Line caught mackerel is by far the best way to source mackerel. Read more about the eco information.

The positive virtues of mackerel

As for the health benefits, mackerel is a widely recommended oily fish. It is rich in essential vitamins and minerals with both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. It also contains protein and the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10, which is associated to the elimination of cancerous elements from cells. Read more on the health benefits.

I hope you get time to try this sunny salad.

Market Day and a Strawberry Classic

I have been itching to post this one for a couple of days, however a ‘laptop meets floor’ incident has left me technically restricted for the back end of the week. I’m so clumsy it’s untrue.

As much as I love living in Gibraltar, escaping across the border does bring a certain sense of relief in the middle of my week. This week Finn and I went for a run on the beach and then walked back through the market in La Linea. It’s not a very salubrious town and the market is pretty simple, but the perfect place for fresh, well priced vegetables and fruit. This week I went without a list and paid the penalty of getting over excited. I struggled back over the border with more than I could carry and the pressure of working out a plan for all my purchases.

So I’ve free-wheeled a bit. I’ve played around with various fruity concoctions, including a lovely pineapple chutney a few stunning smoothies.

Strawberries_1

Fruit_1

Tomato_1

Market Man_1

The star of the market selection was the lovely fat strawberries. So I’m going to start with an updated version of a classic smoothie. I used goats milk and avocado in this one, both of which give a really creamy taste. The seeds are really not to be missed. They add crunch and texture which totally transforms the smoothie.

Strawberry_2

You will need:

  • 400g strawberries
  • 2 x banana
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 x tablespoon honey
  • 250g goats yoghurt
  • 10g toasted chia seeds and linseed (just toast in a dry pan for 5 minutes)

This makes 2 very generous smoothies (around 330 calories each) or 3 regular glasses (around 220 each).

To make:

  • Add everything except the seeds to a blender and whizz up.
  • Stir the toasted seeds through the smoothie and sprinkle a few on top.
  • Pop these in the freezer for 10 minutes before diving in with a spoon

Strawberry_3

Enjoy x

Garlicky mushrooms and herby greens

Here’s a simple yet wonderfully well balanced mid-weeker. Garlic, mushrooms, spinach and lentils make for such a warming bowl, but it’s the addition of tarragon that wakes up the flavour and makes this a complete dish.

garlicky mush_high res 1

Be brave with the garlic but be careful you get the right amount of tarragon. Just enough gives a hint of bittersweet, too much gives an aniseed flavour that overpowers the softer ingredients. The suggested measures below gives you leeway to add some more at the end if you want a bit more punch.

Things you might not know about tarragon…

  • Most tarragon we eat is French, the alternative being Russian tarragon which is less flavoursome.
  • Tarragon has a mild anesthetic property when used medicinally.  It also has sedative properties and can be used in tea as an aid for insomnia.
  • Herbalists sometimes use the herb as an digestive aid because of its ability to breakdown meat fats and proteins.
  • Fresh tarragon is one of the highest antioxidant value food sources among the common herbs. It is packed with vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin A as well as B complex vitamins such as folates, pyridoxine, niacin and riboflavin.
  • Tarragon is an excellent source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and zinc.

garlicky mush_high res 2

I’ve served this one with red carmargue rice. It’s got a good nutty flavour that works well with the mushrooms. It’s also adds a bit of crunch to the dish.

To make enough for a hearty bowl for one or two small portions with rice you will need:

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 fat garlic cloves or 3 regular – it’s good to go BIG on garlic with mushrooms
  • 100g mushroom
  • 100g spinach
  • 100g cooked lentils
  • 150ml veg stock (if using shop bought try the low salt Bouillon such as Marigold)
  • Tablespoon tarragon – but potentially more at the end of the cooking, see below

Serve it with:

  • 25g – 40g red rice – which doesn’t sound a lot, but the dish doesn’t need anymore or the rice will become the main event
  • Generous spoonful of natural yoghurt

It’s a doddle to make, here’s how:

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly in cold water then cover with water. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat slightly for around 20 – 30 minutes till the grains are squeezable in your finger tips.
  2. While the rice is cooking, add your oil to a pan on a moderately high hob, add the onions and garlic. Give them a good five minutes to soften right down.
  3. Add the mushrooms and lentils and keep on a medium heat for around 5 minutes until the mushrooms start to soften.
  4. Add the stock and turn the heat down, allow the ingredients to cook for up to ten minutes.
  5. Put the spinach and tarragon on top and wait for it to wilt into the other ingredients, stirring gently once or twice to help the process.
  6. Make a final check on flavours and season, maybe adding some more chopped tarragon either now or to the end plate.
  7. Things should come together around the same time. Drain your rice and give yourself half with a generous measure of the mushrooms and sauce.
  8. Finish with a big spoonful of natural yoghurt.

(A serving with 25g rice and yoghurt contains approximately 220 calories)

Once made you can cover and keep this one overnight to reheat on the second day.

I hope you enjoy this simple and nourishing bowl of goodness.

If you have time, read more about clean eating or take a look at my lifestyle principles to see how clean eating can be part of your daily world.

One egg wonders

I bought these lovely little pans on Monday and have spent the week making dinky dishes for the children and I. I’ve made some mini tapas style dishes and lots of mini omelettes. In fact once I started down the egg path there was no turning back. We’ve loved these hot from the pan and sometimes left to cool and eat as a tortilla.

pans_1

The great thing about eggs

Eggs are quite incredible really. Each little 70 – 80 calorie egg contains 13 essential vitamins and minerals plus antioxidants. They also contain every type of B vitamin, including choline, which is really valuable for healthy brain function. We’re supposed to have around 300ml choline a day. One egg provides a third of this in one small calorie hit.

They’re also an excellent source of high-quality protein. Importantly they contain the essential amino acids in the right ratios, so our bodies can make full use of all the protein in them.

Ultimately a single egg will fill you up more than the equivalent calorie intake in most other foods and work harder to give your body the important stuff it needs.

I am all over the goodness of eggs this week!

Making a good omelette

My technique for a great omelette is to use the hob to cook the bottom and the grill to finish the top. I use a non-stick pan on a high heat with a little oil (I used coconut oil for these recipes). For me a good omelette should be nicely crisp and brown on the bottom with a soft and fluffy (not rubbery) texture inside. Don’t underestimate the importance of mixing up the egg thoroughly before you cook it. Giving it a good whisk with a fork combines the egg yolk and white but also traps in air to give the omelette a little rise with the heat.

The great thing about these mini pans

These pans are perfect because they allow you to pack everything you need into one dish that retains its heat. You don’t suffer the consequence of an oversized omelette that won’t fold without breaking, or one that needs so many eggs to fill the pan that the omelette is over facing to eat.

Here’s the top 3 from the week:

1, Courgette, carrot and super seeds

I love grated vegetables, I sneak them in all over the place. I like the texture and the way they allow for an even distribution of flavour.

carrot and courgette_2

To make these gorgeous omelettes you will need:

  • A teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 1 large free range egg
  • A generous tablespoon of grated carrot,
  • A generous tablespoon of grated courgette
  • A tablespoon of red onion (grated or chopped finely)
  • Some pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and a teaspoon of paprika for the top
  • Seasoning
  1. Mix the ingredients really well (I like to add some black pepper at this stage too).
  2. Add to your pan with hot oil when ready and allow the egg to cook for around 3 minutes.
  3. Check the bottom, once it is brown and you can see that the bottom half of the egg is cooked, transfer to a hot grill.
  4. Allow the omelette to cook for 2 – 3 minutes before sprinkling the topping ingredients.
  5. After around 5 further minutes under the grill you should see the seeds turn colour and the egg should now be firm.
  6. Serve on its own or with lambs lettuce / other soft greens.

2. Smoked salmon and greens

The classic combinations in this omelette make it fail safe. Such a lovely plate, best served with a simple soft salad.

Smoked Salmon

You will need:

  • A teaspoon of coconut oil
  • A large free range egg
  • 50g smoked salmon
  • Around 30g spinach
  • Chopped coriander and mint for the top
  • Squeeze of lime
  • Seasoning

To make a start, wilt your spinach in the pan to reduce the volume before mixing the ingredients together. Then follow the same approach as above, but don’t add the squeeze of lime and fresh herbs until the very end.

3. One for my babies – simple spanish omelette

My children adored these for tea this week. It’s a great way to get a good mix of fat, protein and carbohydrate into their plate. I don’t think the picture does justice to how good these smelt and tasted. Perhaps the empty plates would have been a more fitting way to sell these in.

spanish omelette

For 2 little omelettes you will need:

  • 2 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of chopped potato (I cooked earlier in the day so it was quicker to cook)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of roasted pepper (I roasted a whole pepper earlier in the day then peeled back the skin to use the flesh I needed)
  • 2 tablespoons of cheese grated for the top

Follow the same technique, but it’s the cheese you’ll add on at the grilling stage this time. A sprinkle of coriander would be great at the end, it’s just not something my children like to eat.

A good egg is a great egg. However a poor quality egg or a badly cooked egg can be enough to turn your stomach. I hope these 3 one pan wonders have reminded you of the glory of a simple egg done well.

Overnight oats – Clean eating goodness

I love breakfast, I have always loved breakfast. I have vivid memories of weekend breakfasts growing up. I remember Alpen with full fat goats’ milk, croissants with strawberry Bonne Maman jam and the weekly comic strips in the Funday Times. It always felt like the easiest time of the week – eating what we wanted and pottering before the day found any momentum or pace.

Breakfast is a time when we don’t use food to comfort us or make amends for a bad day. It’s the time where we get in gear and prepare ourselves for the day ahead. The day is untouched and is there for the taking.

I’m smitten by overnight oats. I like the concept or preparing my breakfast peacefully in the evening so it’s good to go first thing. (Breakfast time is more chaotic when you have a one year and five year old in tow).

I’ve put together a trio of tried and tested options, but there are so many more taste combinations to try. The pots here major on fruit, but for more crunch try pecans, almonds, flaxseeds or chia seeds.

Trio overnight oats_2

Trio_2

Please note the following recipes make quite small pots. These work for me before the school run and are equally great for people trying to exercise some portion control. I would literally double the ingredients for a more hearty breakfast.

Pumpkin and Apricot – Top of the pots

I make this one the most, it’s my fall back, fool proof option – particularly when tired. The flavour balance is great and it’s got a good crunch too.

Apricot and Pumpkin

What goes in?

  • 20 grams oats
  • 10 grams pumpkin seeds
  • 20 grams unsulphered dried apricots
  • 50ml milk of choice
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

For this one I put half the oats in a pot, then the seeds and fruit. I follow with the milk and cinnamon before covering in clingfilm.

This small pot contains approximately 190 calories

Carrot and cranberry – The vitamin C goddess pot

This is absolutely stunning. I use the orange juice to soak the oats rather than soya or milk. It’s got a lively fruity flavour. The chewiness of the cranberries and crunch on the carrot give great texture to the pot.

Vit C Goddess

What goes in?

  • 20 grams oats
  • 20 grams dried cranberries
  • 20 grams grated carrots
  • 50ml squeezed orange juice (and consider grating some rind on top too)
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

For this one I mix everything together then sprinkle cinnamon on top, cover and put into the fridge.

This small pot contains approximately 162 calories

Zingy plum puree

The lime and ginger give this one a little kick. I love both ingredients, be as liberal or frugal as you want when adding these to the pot.

Plum puree

What goes in?

  • 20 gram oats
  • A sliced plum – I used yellow plums but you can use whatever is best quality and ripe
  • Good squeeze of lime
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger
  • 50ml milk of choice
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey

Put the plums, ginger and lime in a pan, heat on the hob until the plums soften. It should just take around 2 – 3 minutes. Then place these in the bottom of your pot, top with the oats and milk. Then cover and leave overnight. Pour the maple syrup over the next morning before eating. Sublime.

This small pot contains approximately 140 calories.

These pots are a cereal mixers delight, the combinations are endless. They epitomize clean eating at its finest and taste fantastic…

..I really hope you enjoy.

Super seedies – Clean bake

I’m hot on the heels of the Ginger nutters I posted last week. I’m not sure these surpass, but they’re certainly in the running. These ones are really crunchy and nutty, a completely different flavour impact to the previous.

superseedy1

I like the whole ball concept – they’re more of a little nibble than an actual snack. They’re also a bit more guest friendly and look pretty cool in a glass jar or bowl.

I’ve increased the nut ratio and combined with both prunes and flaxseed (linseed), making them a good digestive aid if that’s in order.

Prunes are really high in fibre and a great source of vitamin k and beta carotene. I’m not sure these small little balls of loveliness alone can help u-turn our ageing, but a diet high in beta carotene can only be a good thing. It protects and fixes the damage of free radicals on our cells.

Linseed is renowned for its wondrous ways. It too has anti-oxidant qualities, it is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids (the ‘good’ fats) and is packed with fibre.

At the end of the day these balls offer a better type of snacking. They are good for you and keep you fuller longer than an equivalent empty calorie option.

superseedy3

To make 9 20g balls will need:

  • 40g prunes
  • 30g dried unsulphered apricots
  • 30g raisins
  • 20g almonds
  • 20g brazil nuts
  • 40g cashews
  • 10g linseeds
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup

What to do:

  • This time I just whizzed everything up at once rather than the dry ingredients first. The balls are far more textured this time. I think it’s down to personal preference.
  • Once blitzed you can weigh out (or guesstimate) 20g balls and shape.
  • Then pop in the fridge for a couple of hours. I keep these in a jar in the fridge.

Each 20g ball contains around 90 calories.

Hope you enjoy

Ginger nutters – Clean bake

It’s raining here in Gibraltar today. It doesn’t happen very often, so I quite like it. I’ve been for a wet run with Finn Dog, collected the boys from rugby and then turned into Debbie Domestic in the kitchen.

I’m all over the ginger at the minute. I’ve made the boys a ginger, carrot and apple loaf for later and made some clean eating raw food balls, packed with raw ginger.

ginger balls_2

So first the cake…

Is the cake clean eating? No, it’s got vegetables, fruit and good spices in which is pretty wholesome, but it is made with wheat flour and lashings of butter. However the kitchen smells amazing right now and I’d rather them eat that than open a boxed cake later on or a soulless frozen desert. There’s some conditioned and deep rooted maternal desire to get the approval of your brood with food. This kind of pudding warms hearts and makes me feel good to give.

Will I feel like I am missing out? Will I secretly cry inside as they crack into the ginger loaf and ladle with custard? I honestly won’t. It’s been so many years now since I ate anything like that, I just don’t want, need or miss if from my life. I am not depriving myself. I made choices that ultimately make me feel good not just when I eat or after I eat, but each and every day for life.

Here’s a link to the cake recipe

And now the Clean eating Ginger nutters

For 9 20g balls, you will need:

  • 70g dates
  • 30g dried cranberries
  • 40g dried coconut
  • 40g cashew nuts
  • 20g fresh grated ginger
  • A teaspoon honey
  1. Whizz up the nuts then remove from the processor
  2. Blitz up the remaining ingredients
  3. Remove and then with your hands work together the ingredients
  4. I then weighed out the 20g balls and shaped on a board
  5. They need an hour in the fridge to firm up
  6. Each 20g bar contains approximately 55 calories

ginger balls_1

I promise you these are gorgeous. They are a perfect sweet and spicy nibble.

Date and Berry Frubars

God damn delicious.

Last week I posted the recipe for Apricot and Cashew raw food bars. They were really good, but I’m pretty sure that these ones are better.

Date and Berry_1

Date and Berry_2

To make 5 bars you’ll need:
80g dates
55g cashew nuts
30g raisins
5g dried cranberries

Each bar contains around 125 calories (between 30 – 35g)

  1. Blend up the nuts in a processor until fine.
  2. Take them out and whizz up the fruit.
  3. Then mix them both together. You need to get your hands in and mix them up properly.
  4. Press into a loaf tin or just shape them on a board using a pallette knife. (I just shape them on a board).
  5. Refrigerate them for a couple of hours, then chop into 5 and wrap each individually in cling film. Pop back in the fridge.

Fab, I’ll get some more of these up next week.