Moroccan Chickpea & Sweet Potato Stew

This stew is a great winter warmer. It is jammed packed full of anti-inflammatory ingredients to help keep colds at bay! You can make it on the hob or it works equally well in a slow cooker.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 small sweet potatoes
  • ½ cauliflower
  • 1 tins chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 tins tomatoes
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • Large bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for about 2-3 minutes
  2. Add spices and toss to coat. Sauté until onions become soft
  3. Peel and chop the sweet potato into 2” cubes. Add to the pan and stir well to coat with the seasoning
  4. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and stock. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
  5. Chop cauliflower into large florets. Add cauliflower to the pot and stir well
  6. Cook for a further 10 mins until the cauliflower is fork-tender
  7. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice
  8. Serve into bowls and top with fresh, chopped coriander
  9. If desired, serve with cooked brown rice or quinoa

Healthy Vegan Apple Crumble

It’s autumn and who doesn’t love an apple crumble?! This recipe replaces butter with coconut oil so that is vegan and uses Xylitol instead of sugar. I’m not a fan of sweeteners, however, in this recipe I’ve used xylitol as it is very sweet so you need far less of it than sugar. However,I would not recommend consuming large amounts of it.

Antioxidant rich apples can help to prevent heart disease, weight gain and reduce cholesterol

Ingredients:

Apple Compote:

  • 10 small cooking apples
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon

Oat Topping:

  • 230g oats
  • 50g chopped almonds
  • 55g xylitol
  • 85g coconut oil

Method:

To make the Apple Compote:

1.Place the apples and cinnamon into a pan with a little water and cook until softened and starting to break up

To make the Oat Topping:

1.In a large bowl mix together the oats, almonds, xylitol and coconut oil with your hands until it looks like breadcrumbs

2.Put the apples into the bottom of a heat proof dish, cover with the crumble mix and bake for 25mins at gas mark 4 / 180 or 160 if fan

Pumpkin, Red Pepper and Tomato Soup – Vegan & Gluten-Free

This is a great autumn soup, hearty and healthy. Pumpkin is in season and we are just coming to the end of British tomato season, this is a great way to use up and left over tomatoes. Pumpkins contain Vitamin A which aids vision, beta-carotene which plays a role in fighting cancer , fibre which can help you lose weight and help your skin and Vitamin C to help ward off colds.

Ingredients:

Makes 6 portions

  • 1 small pumpkin (or butternut squash)
  • 3 red peppers
  • 10 tomatoes
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tins chickpeas (or any beans you fancy)
  • 3 large handfuls of spinach

Method:

  1. Cut the pumpkin into chunks, about 2” in size, cut the peppers and tomatoes into quarters
  2. Place the pumpkin, pepper, tomatoes, spices and coconut oil into a large saucepan. Put a lid on the pan and heat the vegetables to allow them to caramelise slightly
  3. Add the stock and tomato puree and boil until the pumpkin is soft
  4. Using a hand blender roughly blend the soup so that there are still some chunky bits in it
  5. Add the chickpeas and heat them through
  6. Serve the soup and place a small handful of spinach on top of each bowl

Veggie Chilli

I’m not a big fan of meat replacement products as they are often highly processed, however sometimes it is good to use them if you are cooking a vegetarian dish for meat eaters. This recipe can be made without the meat replacement as it is packed full of goodness from the beans. Some meat replacements are not vegan so leave out if you are making this as a vegan dish. You can use any beans you like but kidney beans are particularly good as they absorb lots of flavour.

Kidney beans are a great source of cholesterol lowering fibre. The high fibre content also makes them a great option for diabetics as they help to prevent blood sugar spikes after eating a meal. Kidney beans are a great source of protein too.

If that’s not enough to persuade you to eat more kidney beans then how about the fact they contain high levels of vitamins and minerals including molybdenum, folate, copper, magnesium, iron and potassium.

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 1 tsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 chilli (to taste)
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp marmite
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • 1 tin black eyed beans
  • 200g quorn mince (optional)

Method:

  1. Slice the onion, finely chop the garlic and chilli
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and then add the onion, garlic and chilli. Cook until the onion softens
  3. Slice the mushrooms, carrots and courgette and add to the pan and stir well
  4. Cut the pepper into chunks and add to the pan
  5. Add the cumin powder, marmite, tomato puree and tin tomatoes. Stir well and reduce the heat and simmer
  6. Drain the beans before adding to the pan along with the quorn mince. Stir well and simmer for about 15 minutes

Avocado Chocolate Brownie – Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free!

These avocado chocolate brownies are always a winner! They are packed full of vitamins and minerals and are gluten-free and dairy-free. The brownies do contain maple syrup so try to avoid going all out and eating the whole tray in one go!

Ingredients:

Makes 9 (depending on size)

  • 1 avocado
  • 50g coconut oil (melted)
  • 120ml maple syrup
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 35g coconut flour
  • 110g cacao
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 50g pecan nuts

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C
  2. Whisk avocado until smooth
  3. Add the egg and whisk until well combined
  4. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and egg
  5. Combine the coconut flour, cacao and bicarb in a bowl and stir well
  6. Gradually add the flour mixture into the blender with the avocado mixture until well combined
  7. Roughly chop the nuts and stir into the batter
  8. Place in a lined tin and bake for 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
  9. Leave to cool and then cut into 9 squares

Lemon Truffles

These lemon truffles are a great healthy treat for when you are in craving something sweet. I make a batch and freeze them and then take a few out in a morning and they are defrosted by mid morning ready to eat.

Don’t like coconut? Simply roll them in something else such as rose petals, cacao or leave them plain.

As well as being a good source of energy and fibre dates are packed full of vitamins and minerals including: calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Combined with the almonds these truffles are a great way to boost your brain power!

Ingredients:

(makes 20, depending on size)

  • 125g raw almonds
  • 170g pitted dates
  • 2 lemons
  • 20g desiccated coconut

Method:

  1. Place the almonds on a baking tray and bake for 10mins at gas make 4/180C. Alternatively you can buy unsalted roasted almonds
  2. Chop the almonds in food processor
  3. Juice the lemons then add lemon juice and dates into the machine. Blend until they are all coarsely mixed
  4. Put the coconut into a small bowl
  5. Using your hands, form little balls
  6. Roll the balls in the coconut

Chicken & Sweet Potato Coconut Curry

As the cold weather draws in, this curry is a great comfort food. Sweet potatoes are packed full of nutrients, they are an excellent sources of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, manganese, iron and Vitamin B6 to name but a few.

Vitamin C is fantastic for boosting the immune system, which is ideal as the colder weather sets in. Sweet potatoes also contain iron which helps to boost energy levels and as a slow release carbohydrate they help to maintain blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full for longer.

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1” piece fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • 500g Chicken
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 100g spinach

Method:

  1. Slice the onion, finely chop the garlic and grate the ginger
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan, add the garlic and onions and fry until softened
  3. Add a splash of water and the ginger, cumin, turmeric, cardamom pods, tomato puree and Thai red curry paste to the pan and stir well
  4. Cut the chicken, sweet potato and mushrooms into bite sized pieces, then add to the pan. Stir well to coat with the sauce
  5. Add the tin of coconut milk and simmer until the chicken and sweet potato are cooked
  6. Chop the coriander and then add the spinach and coriander and cook until the spinach has wilted
  7. Serve with brown rice if desired

Blackberry, Courgette & Mint Muffins – Dairy-Free

Blackberries evoke fantastic childhood memories for me, from spending hours out in the fields picking them through to making blackberry and apple crumble with my gran. Somehow as a child my parents always bribed me to go on walks my telling me there would be blackberries to pick – I still to this day have no idea what they did when blackberries were out of season!

In my opinion you can’t beat picking something straight from a tree or bush and eating it. So unsurprisingly I still love blackberry picking and every year I have a fair few trips out standing in fields collecting blackberries. I find it  one of the most relaxing pass times, being out in the fresh air and eating fresh fruit, I think there probably still is a need to weigh me before and after entering a field/lane with blackberries in as I manage to eat as many as I pick!

As I’ve got older I’ve loved coming home and experimenting with blackberries from making blackberry gin to tweaking my crumble to make it healthier; and somewhere along the line of experimenting I came up with this seasonal recipe for minty blackberry muffins, with courgettes hidden in them!

These can be adapted to be gluten-free by using gluten-free flour. You can make them vegan by replacing the egg with apple sauce. I have made both versions of these muffins and tested them on some willing volunteers and they went down well. I just found that as I didn’t need them to be vegan using an egg instead of apple sauce was easier.

So why not go out and spend some time this weekend picking blackberries and making the most of the bumper crop we are having this year?

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 190g plain white flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 65g golden granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 90ml of melted coconut oil
  • 90ml of soya milk (or nut)
  • 1 egg
  • 90g grated courgette
  • 75g blackberries

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to gas mark 4. Place 12 muffin cases into a muffin tin (I use silicone muffin cases as I find the muffins rise better and you don’t need to grease them)
  2. Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, sugar, mint and a pinch of salt in a bowl and stir well
  3. In a pan melt the coconut oil and then add the soya milk, mix well. Add to the dry ingredients and stir well. When it has the consistency of very thick batter add the beaten egg and stir until combined well
  4. Fold in the blackberries and courgette
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, so that they are about ¾ full. Bake for 30 mins, until a skewer comes out clean
  6. Cool on a cooling rack

Bone Strengthening Smoothie

I’m loving being able to have green smoothies again, during the early stages of my pregnancy I couldn’t face green smoothies but really missed them! This smoothie is quick and easy to make as well as being delicious! The spinach provides a good source of iron and the lemon helps the absorption of the iron.

Apples, bananas and spinach all help to strengthen your bones. Apple skin contains the flavonoid phlorizin which may help to prevent bone loss associated with the menopause. Bananas contain high levels of potassium which slows urinary calcium loss associated with a diet high in salt. Whilst a single serving of spinach provides twice the RDA of Vitamin K, which is important for maintaining healthy bones.

Ingredients:

  • ½ a banana
  • ½ an apple
  • 1 handful spinach
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 250ml almond milk

Method:

  1. Peel the banana and remove the core from the apple
  2. Place all of the ingredients in a high speed blender and blitz until smooth

4 Ingredient Coconut Chocolate Bars – Vegan and Gluten-free

These bars are so quick and easy to make and hit the spot when you need a sweet hit. They are similar to a ‘bounty bar’ but without all of the added sugar!

There is lots of conflicting information about coconut oil at the moment, some say it is the best food ever whilst others think it is too early to say whether it lives up to its health claims. Personally, I use coconut in a number of dishes as I believe it is important to have some saturated fat in your diet and I don’t eat butter or red meat so I think it is ok to have a small amount of coconut for saturated fat. Whilst these squares are high in calories they are nutrient dense and I can’t eat more than one of these at a time so it is better than eating a sugar laden snack.

Ingredients:

(Makes about 15 depending on size)

  • 170g unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 100ml coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 100g 85% dark chocolate

Method:

  1. Place the desiccated coconut in a high-speed blend on the highest setting for 5 minutes
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a pan
  3. Add the coconut oil and maple syrup to the blender and blitz until well combined, the mixture should stick together when squeezed between your fingers
  4. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and place the mixture into the tin, press the mixture down firmly into the tin
  5. Place the baking tray into the freezer for about 30 minutes to set
  6. Once the coconut mixture has set cut it into squares
  7. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water and then dip the coconut squares into the chocolate until covered. Once coated in chocolate return the squares to the grease proof paper lined baking tray
  8. Place the chocolate covered squares back into the freezer to set. Once they have set place the coconut squares in to an air tight container and store in the freezer