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When life gives you lemons…

Posted by on Aug 4, 2016 in Beverages, Featured, Recipes, Special diet, Vegetarian | 0 comments

When life gives you lemons…

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Then find someone whose life has given them vodka. And have a party… Or something like that…

So we’re finally in our last ‘official’ month of winter. YAAAY!!  And on that note, I thought the perfect way to celebrate the coming of summer would be to write a post on lemonade, a sugar-free lemonade. A refreshing drink for when tanning on the beach or after jumping out of the swimming pool. The sugar replacement recipe I use is a mixture of half a teaspoon of stevia to one cup xylitol. I feel this recipe definitely works the best for me.

I have posted three recipes for my favourite types of sugar-free lemonades, but there are so many different variations out there, so feel free to take a bit of creative licence. These recipes below are for lemonade concentrates and should be mixed with your preference of either still or sparkling water. I advise sparkling, but that’s up to you. What I also occasionally do, is add a bit of gin, tequila, rum or vodka and turn it into a lemonade cocktails, which tastes amazing!

Lemonade 2

Classic Lemonade

Serves 4

8 lemons; squeezed

2 cups stevia/xylitol mixture

 

Combine both ingredients and stir. Then heat in the microwave at 30second intervals, stirring after each interval, making sure the stevia/xylitol mixture is properly dissolved into the lemon juice.

Mix with your choice of still or sparkling water to taste and add ice.

Lemonade 1

Strawberry, basil and black pepper Lemonade

Serves 4

500g strawberries

A handful fresh basil

2 Tbsp black pepper; ground

half a cup stevia/xylitol mixture

 

Add strawberries and stevia/xylitol mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the berries start to form a chutney like consistency.

Then add your basil, leaving a few leaves for garnishing, and black pepper. Cook for 5min more, then take off the heat.

Strain the mixture through a sieve and mix with four cups of your classic lemonade mixture.

Mix with your choice of still or sparkling water to taste, add ice and garnish with a grind or two of black pepper and a leaf of basil.

Strawberry lemonade 1

Cucumber and mint Lemonade

Serves 4

3/4 medium cucumber; peel left on

A handful of mint

 

Juice your cucumber, with the peel still on. Stir in your mint, leaving a few leaves for garnishing.

Add 4 cups of your classic lemonade mix and stir again.

Serve with ice and top with three or four mint leaves.

Cucumber lemonade 1

 

Cucumber lemonade 2

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Featured, Mains, Recipes, Sides, Special diet, Vegetarian | 0 comments

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

This Tuesday was, in fact, my first time ever making this recipe… I’d helped my gran a few times making something quite similar which included a creamy mushroom sauce (also a delicious recipe), but never this exact recipe, and I’ve been looking for excuses to remake it, every day since.

Who would have thought that such a simple five-ingredient recipe could encourage such strong feelings of love and comfort and joy all at once?

This recipe can be made in bulk, used as a meal all on its own, used as a side dish, or reheated the next day. My personal favourite, however, is serving it fresh, straight from the oven, with cheese still oozing out the sides.

It is also such a great option for Banters, vegetarians, and even just for someone trying to keep their eating clean. And the best part is you wouldn’t even guess it…

Definitely, a recipe to try this weekend!!

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Melanzane Alla Parmigiana

Serves 4

2 large aubergines, thinly sliced widthways

olive oil to grease the baking sheets

1 Tbsp of olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tsp of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tsp of dried oregano

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

Sugar to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

50g of Parmesan cheese, finely grated (optional)

150g mozzarella cheese grated

Pre-heat the oven on grill. Grease two baking sheets with olive oil. Lay the aubergine slices on the baking sheets. Place them in the oven and grill until they are golden. You can switch the baking sheets halfway.

While the aubergines are baking, in a large non-stick frying pan, fry the onion garlic and oregano until softening. Add a dash or two of water to speed this up.

Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and season with sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the basil just as you finish cooking the tomato.

Toss the two kinds of cheese together in a bowl.

In a medium casserole dish or loaf tin, spread a little of the tomato sauce, them a layer of aubergines, the tomato, then cheese, then aubergine, then tomato, then cheese etc. ending with tomato and cheese.

Bake this in the oven (drop the temperature to 180° on regular top and bottom heat setting) for about 40 – 45 minutes (depending on how deep the dish is). If the cheese starts to colour too much, cover it with foil.

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Gluten and dairy-free Malva Pudding

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Baking, Desserts, Featured, Recipes, Special diet | 0 comments

Gluten and dairy-free Malva Pudding

Today in the domestic goddesses kitchen we have whipped up the most satisfying, gluten and dairy-free Malva Pudding.

Like many people today, Thekla has an intolerance towards gluten and dairy products. So she’s been trying to develop the perfect gluten and dairy free Malva pudding which doesn’t compromise on the fluffy, gooey, amazingness of the original recipe.

But for those of you who are lucky enough to be able to eat anything and everything, I’ve posted the original recipe just below as well.

Malva pudding 1

Malva Pudding (gluten free – dairy free)

Serves 8

1 cup of gluten-free cake flour

1 Tbsp of bicarbonate of soda

1 cup of sugar

1 large egg

1 Tbsp of apricot jam

1 Tbsp of vinegar

1 tbsp Orley whip or coconut oil

1 cup of almond milk

A pinch of salt

For the sauce:

½ cup of coconut cream

½ cup of almond milk

1 cup of sugar

½ cup hot water

½ cup Orley whip or coconut oil

A pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven at 180°C top and bottom heat no fan. Place rack in the middle of the oven.

Grease and oven-proof glass or porcelain casserole dish approximately 30cm X 20cm X 5cm.  Do not use an aluminium, enamel or any metal container.

Cut a piece of aluminium foil to cover it while the pudding is in the oven and grease it well with butter on one side.

In a bowl, sift all your dry ingredients together, this includes your flour, bicarb and salt.

In another bowl beat together your egg, sugar, apricot jam, coconut oil and vinegar until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Then beat your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients until well combined, then add your almond milk and fold this into your mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, cover with the foil greased side down and bake for 45 minutes, until well risen.

Remove the foil and bake for a further 5 minutes. If not sufficiently baked the dessert will not take up all the sauce making it stodgy inside.

When the pudding is almost done, heat the ingredients for the sauce, ensuring that you melt all the sugar.

When the pudding is done, remove from the oven and pour over the sauce. The pudding should soak up all the sauce. But don’t stress if there’s still a bit left over.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, though warm is best, with a little thin cream or a vanilla custard.

Malva pudding 2

Malva Pudding

Serves 8

1 cup of cake flour

1 Tbsp of bicarbonate of soda

1 cup of sugar

1 large egg

1 Tbsp of apricot jam

1 Tbsp of vinegar

1 Tbsp melted butter or coconut oil

1 cup of milk

A pinch of salt

For the sauce:

½ cup of cream

½ cup of milk

1 cup of sugar

½ cup hot water

½ cup butter

A pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven at 180°C top and bottom heat no fan. Place rack in the middle of the oven.

Grease and oven-proof glass or porcelain casserole dish approximately 30cm X 20cm X 5cm.  Do not use an aluminium, enamel or any metal container.

Cut a piece of aluminium foil to cover it while the pudding is in the oven and grease it well with butter on one side.

Sift the flour and the bicarb into a bowl and stir in the sugar.

In another bowl beat the egg very well and add the remaining ingredients (excluding those for the sauce) one by one, beating well between each addition.

Using a wooden spoon beat the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, cover with the foil greased side down and bake for 45 minutes, until well risen. Remove the foil and bake for a further 5 minutes. If not sufficiently baked the dessert will not take up all the sauce making it stodgy inside.

When the pudding is almost done, heat the ingredients for the sauce, ensuring that you melt all the sugar and butter.

When the pudding is done, remove from the oven and pour over the sauce.  The pudding will take up all the sauce.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, though warm is best, with a little thin cream or a vanilla custard.

A rainy day must have..

Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 in Chicken, Featured, Mains, Recipes, Special diet, Vegetarian | 1 comment

A rainy day must have..

When it’s cold and rainy outside, there is nothing like a good, old, hearty pasta to chase away those winter blues. Or for those slightly more deranged personal, who celebrate the coming of this awful season, who doesn’t enjoy a delicious plate of pasta no matter the occasion?!! And it really doesn’t get much better than this ultra creamy artichoke pasta..

This pasta sauce is absolutely delish just as is. But for those who enjoy the added meaty flavour, you can also add chicken breasts or some crispy, fried bacon goes really well with this sauce as well.

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Creamy Artichoke Pasta

Serves 6

 

500g of your favourite pasta, cooked according to packet instructions.

1 Tbsp of olive oil

4 chicken breasts or 1 pack diced bacon (optional)

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1/2 tin of coconut cream (or to taste)

1 tin artichoke hearts

 

In  a large pan on very high heat fry the chicken(until slightly browning but not cooked through and season with salt and pepper) or bacon until crispy. (If not using meat begin with this step) Add tomatoes and coconut cream and simmer.

Drain the artichoke hearts, slice them and add them to the sauce.  Simmer until all flavours have combined and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Drain pasta and return it into the pot. Add the sauce to the pot and stir until well combined.

Serve with a handful of your favourite cheese.

artichoke 4

The best healthy, comfort food!

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in Featured, Mains, My thoughts, Recipes, Sides, Snacks, Special diet, Vegetarian | 2 comments

The best healthy, comfort food!

Keeping fit and staying healthy is an extremely laborious task. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m exercising regularly and eating well, generally I’m in an all round great mood, because I’m feeling good about myself. But in saying that I wouldn’t say no to achieving the same feeling and results through working out only when I felt like it or eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to. What helps me to stay on track, when times are tough, is tricking my body into thinking its getting all the yumminess of a sneaky comfort dish and in so satisfying any cravings I may be having.

This quick and easy recipe encompasses all the delicious flavours of a great comfort food without all the unwanted side effects. It can be served as a starter before a meal or even as a meal on its own, its up to you. You can also fill your avocado with your choice of ingredients but I have listed the recipes for three of my favourites below as well. I always love a lot of dressing so what I like to do is to keep on filling the avocado with my chosen dressing as I’m eating it.

Apart from all the already stated health benefits of this dish, avocados also provide a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids to our bodies. One avocado alone contains about twenty minerals and vitamins essential to our well-being. Avocados are also said to help minimise damage done to our eyes through ultraviolet light, improve digestion and are a natural detoxification.

So eat up!!!

avo 2

 

Egg, Pepper and white balsamic vinegar Vinaigrette

Serves 4 (as a starter)

5Tbsp White balsamic vinegar, 2tsp sugar, 1tsp salt, 2Tbsp black pepper, 2Eggs(hard boiled), 2 Yellow,orange or red peppers, 1 1/2tsp Dijon mustard, 2Ripe Avocados.

*Use about half a cup of the dressing per half an Avocado.

Cumin flavoured Tuna Mayo

Serves 4 (as a starter)

1Can of Tuna, 1tsp cumin, 1tsp salt, 2Tbsp your choice of Mayo (I used Hellmann’s), 2Ripe Avocados.

*Use half a cup of filling per half an Avocado.

Sesame oil and coconut cream mushroom sauce

Serves 4 (as a starter)

250g of mushrooms (your choice), Half a can of coconut cream, 2tsp salt, 2tsp olive oil + 2tsp sesame oil (for frying up mushrooms), 2Ripe Avocados.

Fry up your mushrooms on a medium, high heat with the oil for about 5-7min. Then add your coconut cream, stir into your mushrooms for about a min and turn heat off. Wait for the mixture to cool slightly and fill the avocados.

avo 1

Juices for every day of the week

Posted by on Apr 18, 2016 in Beverages, Featured, My thoughts, Recipes, Special diet, Vegetarian | 0 comments

Juices for every day of the week

Juicing has a variety of different health benefits. Adding at least one different juice into your diet a day can improve your over-all health and well-being as well as act as a preventative for a variety of different diseases.

If you’re concerned with what to put into your daily juices, I have put together a few basic recipes below, all including health benefits of each food included, to get you started. Although a few pointers to remember when making your juices are :

  • Not to use to many fruits to your juices. (Even though they do taste a whole lot better they are high in sugar and increase insulin levels.)
  • Dark green, leafy veg hold the best health benefits. These include kale, cabbage and spinach but as they do make the juice slightly tougher to get down try adding either a handful of seedless grapes or an apple or two to improve the taste.
  • Adding some essential oils to your juices makes a great substitute for ones necessary intake of healthy fats and protein that you won’t get through the plain juice. You can include oils such as coconut oil, flax seed oil or fish oil.. etc.
  • Also remember to constantly change your juicing ingredients. Using the same ingredients everyday can cause the body to become allergic to those certain foods.

 

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Orange, Apple, Lemon, and Ginger Juice

1 Apple, 8 Carrots, 24g Ginger, 1 Lemon.

This juice is perfect for anyone wanting to reduce their water retention. Carrots are high in antioxidants and by juicing them you are a getting a concentrated form of their healing abilities.  These include balancing blood sugar, relieving congestion, working against inflammation and many more. A few benefits of ginger include improved digestion, improved blood circulation, and it acts as an anti inflammatory. Lemon juice also acts as an anti-bacterial force as well as helps stimulate your liver to flush out toxins such as uric acid. Apples are high in vitamin A and C and are a great source of fibre.

 

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Apple, Cucumber, Celery Juice

2 Apples, 4 celery stalks, 1 cucumber, 1 thumb ginger, 6 kale leaves, 1/2 lemon.

This juice is great for people just trying to curb their cravings and lose those few extra kilos. Celery is a great source of vitamin A and C and essential amino acids and is just a great way to promote an over all wellbeing. Cucumber is an excellent vegan-friendly source of calcium which helps to strengthen your teeth and bones and getting enough calcium also helps to retain bone density. Kale is rich in iron and helps to detoxify the liver.

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Apple, Tomato and Ginger Juice 

2 Apples, 2 Tomatoes, 1 inch of ginger.

Apart from the already stated benefits of ginger and apples, tomatoes are known to help reduce heart disease, reduce damage done by smoking this also includes second hand smoke as well as improves digestion and helps against constipation.

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Grapefruit, Beetroot, Cucumber and Red Cabbage Juice

3 Beetroot, 2 Cups Spinach, 5 sticks of Celery, 5 Carrots, 1 Lemon, 2 Apples, 1 Grapefruit, 1 Cup Red Cabbage.

The health benefits of grapefruit include helping to maintain a healthy heart, it is also known to help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer, and helps to fight skin damage caused by both the sun and pollution in the air. Cabbage juice is a great source of Vitamin U and is one of the most healing juices when it comes to repairing Ulcers. Spinach is also packed with protein and helps prevent bleeding gums aside from this, spinach can also fight a huge range of vision issues including cataracts and night blindness as well as stimulate hair growth. And lastly beetroot is great for skin inflammations such as acne and helps to eliminate blemishes. It also promotes hair growth and normalises blood pressure.

For more examples on what varieties of fruits and vegetables to use in your juices click on the link below.

A Mix And Match Guide To Making The Perfect Green Juice For You

Steamed Veg

Posted by on Apr 12, 2016 in Featured, Mains, Recipes, Salads, Special diet, Vegetarian | 0 comments

Steamed Veg

Steamed veg is something so simple, yet when done correctly, something so homey and comforting which hits the spot like no other foods really could.

This recipe is quick, painless and can be made in bulk and kept in the fridge. Apart from all that, steaming has proven to be the healthiest form of cooking vegetables as well as many other foods. Other health benefits of steaming include the maintaining of the foods minerals and vitamins, the colour and the structure of the food is kept, and steaming also does not require any oil.

* I recommend adding onions to your variety of vegetables. When steamed they lose all sharpness and become sweet and tender and add a unique flavour to the dish.

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Steamed Veggies

Serves 4

 

600g of veggies for steaming

broccoli, beetroot, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, sugar snaps, mange tout, pumpkin, carrots, cabbage, baby sweet corn, gem squash, pattypans, onions.. etc

2 Tbsp of olive oil

2 Tbsp of fresh herbs, chopped (basil, parsley, thyme, oreganum)

½ tsp of garlic, crushed

½ tsp of salt

(grated parmesan optional)

It is so important not to overcook the vegetables. Get your steamer ready. Place the harder veggies in the bottom layers and softest veggies on top. Steam until the veggies are still firm and crispy but cooked all the way through. When the veggies are ready their colour becomes very bright and a sharp knife will be able to just pierce through the veggies.

If cooking the veg in bulk or just ahead of time, slightly under cook the veg and while cooling, pop it into a closed container and let it rest. This makes sure that it is properly cooked without turning into a moosh or over cooking. If serving straight away toss it in the dressing and serve just like that or with your choice of protein.

 

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An apple a day keeps the doctor away

Posted by on Mar 15, 2016 in Breakfast, Featured, Mains, My thoughts, Recipes, Special diet, Vegetarian | 1 comment

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

Breakfast is a key factor in starting your mornings off the right way. It kick starts your metabolism and refuels your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to keep you alert and functioning throughout the day.

However, in saying that, refueling your body with all the wrong sorts of things in the morning can also leave one feeling drained and demotivated for the rest of the day. There is a reason it’s described as the most important meal of the day.

So on that note, here is our favorite breakfast recipe at the moment, cinnamon-stewed apples with crushed almonds and plain yogurt. Apples are an excellent source of vitamin C which has been said to reduce the likelihood of developing heart diseases and arthritis. The fructose in apples is also believed to increase uric acid productions which help with antioxidant activity. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, magnesium, fibre and protein and cinnamon is said to lower blood sugar and also reduce heart disease risk factors.

All in all this breakfast is a great source of energy, it tastes delicious and is super convenient as it can be made in bulk and kept in the fridge.

Apple and almond breakfast 1

 

Cinnamon-stewed apples with crushed almonds and plain yogurt

 

Peel and core your apples and chop them into eighths.

Stew them in a pot with a little water and cinnamon to taste until they are soft. Around 15min.

Serve with a few tablespoons of either plain yogurt or coconut cream and top with the almonds. The almonds can be either served raw or dry roasted, both ways are great!

 

Apple and almond breakfast 2

Roasted butternut, broccoli and barley salad

Posted by on Mar 11, 2016 in Featured, Mains, Recipes, Salads, Special diet, Vegetarian | 0 comments

Roasted butternut, broccoli and barley salad

Our salad of the week for this week is slightly different to our usual salad posts. Firstly because its base is barely rather than lettuce and secondly because it takes a bit longer than your ordinary salad. But in saying that there are a few tricks one can do to make this recipe a bit shorter. For example buying ready made sundried tomatoes, cooking the barley the day before or roasting the broccoli with the butternut.

Whichever way you choose to make it, this salad is absolutely delish and so rewarding. It’s also super-healthy, vegan and is even better the next day. It keeps for up to 3 days in the fridge and is great accompanied by a loaf of olive bread to soak up the leftover dressing.

 

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Roast butternut, broccoli and barley salad

Serves 8

3 cups of butternut, peeled & cut into smallish pieces

2 tsp olive oil

Pinch of salt

20 rosemary leaves, bruised (optional)

250g pearl barley

300g broccoli, cut into florets, don’t discard the stems, trim and cut into sticks

100g sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated and sliced

1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 cup toasted omega mix seeds (optional)

2 Tbsp small capers

15 black olives, pitted

½ Tbsp of fresh mint leaves, chopped

For the dressing

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp olive brine

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

1 tsp of sugar

1 garlic of clove, finely chopped

½ tsp of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Pre heat the oven on grill. Place the butternut slices on a baking tray and toss with olive oil and rosemary and pinch of salt. Roast for 20 minutes, or until tender and browning.

Boil the barley for about 25 minutes in salted water until tender.

In a separate bowl big enough for the whole salad, whisk the dressing ingredients together. Drain the barley and add it to the dressing.  Mix well and allow it to cool.

Boil the broccoli in salted water for a few minutes. You want it still be firm. Drain and rinse in cold water to preserve the colour.

Add the broccoli, butternut and all the remaining ingredients to the barley and toss together before arranging it on a platter.

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Five minute Pavlova

Posted by on Mar 10, 2016 in Baking, Desserts, My thoughts, Recipes, Vegetarian | 0 comments

Five minute Pavlova

I found this Pavlova recipe while browsing through old folders and just had to share it. It is so quick and so easy and is a sure crowd pleaser.

It so often happens, when preparing a meal for guests, that before we’ve realised, doorbells are ringing, people are arriving, We’ve only just finished making dinner and it suddenly dawns on us that we haven’t even thought about dessert. Most of the time we just leave it or occasionally we get someone to dash down to the store and buy a few tubs of ice cream or a few bars of Lindt chocolate. But with this simple, microwave pavlova recipe, those days are no more.

In the clip below, Meike Beck shows us how to make meringues. To make the pavlova all you do is use the exact same recipe just place your meringue balls closer together in the microwave so that they join and form one solid pavlova. The top it with your choice of fruit, toppings and cream.

 

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