Mediterranean Tofu Quinoa

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Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe. It’s been a while since I’ve even cooked a meal if I’m honest! I’ve been so busy lately, and even when I’ve been home and had a chance to cook, more often than not I’ve just thrown together a big salad or whipped out some rice cakes and the peanut butter jar (they’re best friends).

This was quite a departure from my usual quinoa cooking, which 99.9% of the time is this turmeric & ginger flavored one, but I can assure you I will definitely be making this again and again. Bursting with flavor, nutrition and also light and refreshing, this dish is perfect for a relaxed summer evening. I can already see myself making this for my family back home for a (fingers crossed) late summer BBQ on the terrace.

Ingredients – for 2 servings

  • quinoa (I used 190g as that’s what I had left and I wanted to finish off the packet)
  • fresh lemon juice
  • dried or fresh thyme
  • ca. 2/3 of a (400g net weight) packet of firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 small/medium courgette
  • 1 small/medium aubergine
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • ca. 6 sundried tomatoes (in olive oil, drained), chopped
  • olives, as desired, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • balsamic vinegar – to drizzle on top

 

Method

Chop the courgette, aubergine and yellow pepper into cubes, then place in a hot pan with olive oil. While this is cooking, prepare the quinoa (simmer for 10-15 minutes in salted water). Once the veg is done, place aside and cook the tofu cubes in a pan with a bit of olive oil and salt. When the quinoa is nearly done, sprinkle in the thyme, add a squirt of lemon juice, then add the chopped sundried tomatoes and sliced olives. Finally, stir in the veg and the tofu.

Serve garnished with fresh herbs AND (this is the best part): drizzle some balsamic vinegar on the top.

Simple, speedy, so delicious!

Enjoy

xoxo

Double Chocolate Chunk Brownies by Leitchy Creates

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Is there anything better than chocolate brownies? Double chocolate chunk brownies of course!! 

… Which is why I’m so excited to be sharing this recipe by my wonderful friend, gifted chocolatier, raw treats creator and boss lady Jordan Leitch from Leitchy Creates. If you’re in Sheffield, keep your eyes peeled for her stalls where you can buy her fabulous creations. For the rest of us, luckily her artisan chocolate boxes are available to order online. I’ve had two of them and they were both an absolute delight (trust me, I’m not just saying that because she’s my friend 😉 ) She also shares tons of inspiring recipes, so definitely go check her out! Hope you enjoy these brownies and have a wonderful day! xoxo

 

Morning morning! I thought I’d share a wonderfully indulgent, luxury, gooey, moist, fudgey, rich and all round incredible brownie recipe to get you through the week! These warm are some what magical! Drizzle them in nut butter and nice cream and you’ll be in a really magical wonderland! Trust me, these may be the best brownies you’ll ever make! Big statement I know and because I don’t know how wide your brownie pallet is, I’m going with may… But be sure to let me know if they’re the best! Because they’re certainly the best I’ve ever had!

INGREDIENTS – MAKES 16

1 can of butterbeans, drained and rinsed

220g ground almonds

80g buckwheat flour

85g raw cacao powder

2 pinches of salt

300ml hazelnut milk

60g coconut oil

100g almond butter

100ml maple syrup

100g coconut sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

45g raw chocolate, cut into chunks – I used Well and Happy zesty bar

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a square tin with parchment.

Pop the first set of ingredients into a food processor and blend until combined and smooth.

Pop the second set of ingredients into a small pan and place over a low heat.

Once melted and combined, pour the contents into the blender with the first set of ingredients and blend until smooth.

Add the chocolate chunks and pulse to combine.

Pour the brownie batter into the lined tray and level with a spactular.

Pop in the oven for 25 minutes – cooked through.

Remove from the oven and cut into 16 slices, leave to cool a little before removing from the tin and popping on a wire rack to cool fully.

Try warm with cinnamon nice cream!

Enjoy,

Leitchy xx

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Chocolate Covered Pitaya

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Pitaya, also known as dragon fruit, is without doubt one of my favorite fruits ever. (Big statement). It feels like such a treat anytime I have it, which is, unfortunately, quite rarely. I remember the first time I tried it, on a trip to China a few years ago, and being utterly fascinated by its appearance and taste. Since then, it’s always had a special place in the (large) part of my heart dedicated to food. Then, last summer I discovered dried pitaya, at an unforgettable food market in Aix-en-Provence, where my boyfriend and I stocked up on lots of wondrous things for our journey home, including passionfruit cubes and dried aloe vera [no idea that even existed].

Recently I had the pleasure of feeding my dried pitaya passion due to a little collaboration with Koro Drogerie, a German healthy food start-up that also ships to the UK. When I saw they stocked this delicacy, the path ahead was clear.

Now, when I opened the packet and got the first floral whiff of pitaya, I could have happily just sat down and devoured the half-kg packet then and there. It’s just so good! But, I decided to savor it slowly instead, and do something special with it. And, in the process, I discovered I that it actually tastes really good with chocolate! (What doesn’t, after all?). So, one evening, when I didn’t feel like working on my dissertation anymore, I decided to make myself some chocolate covered pitaya – currently my favorite not-at-all-guilty pleasure.

It’s super simple and barely even a recipe, but I wanted to share it all the same, as it’s so satisfying and also a pretty cool thing to offer when you have people around. (If you’re willing to share that is) 😉

Ingredients:

  • Dried pitaya – as much as you want
  • Dark chocolate (or any chocolate you like; I used my go-to 85% from Lindt) – I used about 4 squares for the amount pictured
  • Sesame seeds (use black ones if you want to use white chocolate)

Method:

Melt the chocolate (I did it in the microwave, even though you’re not really supposed to?), use a spoon to cover half a piece of dried pitaya in chocolate, sprinkle sesame seeds on both sides of the chocolate-covered end, place on a sheet of baking paper and repeat until you’ve choc-ified all your pitaya. Leave the chocolate to set. [It was super warm in my room so I ended up putting them in the fridge, which apparently gives the chocolate a bit of a dull appearance. But that doesn’t bother me as, let’s be real, I’m just going to eat it all myself anyway 😀 ].

BONUS: If you happen to check out the Koro website and see something you like, use BLUEBERRY5 to get 5% off 😉

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

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Oaty Bowls of Goodness

 

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Oats are one of my ultimate comfort foods. I used to regularly have overnight oats for breakfast with mashed banana and hemp protein – but after making my first smoothie bowl I never looked back 😀 Since then I’ve been indulging in my love of oats later on in the day, as a quick, warming dinner or the perfect post-workout lunch.

They are full of comforting carby goodness and are wonderfully versatile! It’s so easy to switch things up a bit, adding different ingredients to the porridge, or playing around with toppings.

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As people have been asking me more and more, I thought I’d share with you how I make my oat bowls – from the basic recipe to what goes into the nut buttery sauces I’ve started using.

Basic recipe:

  • 70g whole oats
  • 1 cup liquid (usually a mix of almond milk and water)
  • pinch of salt

This will make a very thick, stodgy porridge – which is just how I love my oats. If you know you prefer a thinner, more runny porridge, you’ll want to add more liquid. You can also modify the quantities to make more or less, as desired, but this is the basic ratio I use.

Flavor fun:

  • adding a tsp of vanilla extract
  • looseleaf tea – I love rooibos and/or honeybush – maybe my South African roots coming through 😉  Depending on how coarse the tea is, you can get a slightly gritty texture, so you might want to grind the tea into a finer powder
  • cacao powder
  • turmeric, ginger & cinnamon
  • maca (I’ve also previously uploaded a recipe for Maple Maca Oats)
  • lucuma – I use this sometimes to naturally sweeten the porridge a bit, as I don’t want too much sweetness in the oats if I’m using a sweet topping; you could, at this stage, also, however, add maple syrup, another sweetener of your choice, or even some mashed banana to the oats
  • protein powders – I use hemp or brown rice protein if I want an extra protein punch

Toppings:

  • fruit – I always love having some berries on top, fresh or frozen, warm or cold; you can also slice up some banana, or add any other fruit you’ve got at hand
  • chia jam – I heat up 150g frozen berries (usually blueberries & raspberries) with 1 tbsp chia seeds and ca. 1.5 tbsp maple syrup, till you get the perfect gloopy, jammy mix (ca. 10 min. on medium heat)
  • crushed nuts – great for an extra crunch; I love using walnuts and pecans
  • nut butter – if you’re a nut butter addict like me, this is essential! Peanut butter, walnut butter (!), hazelnut, almond … or, why not go for a seed butter – I’ve found pumpkin seed butter goes really well with strawberries on porridge
  • sauces – my go-to sauce is mixing 1 tbsp (or more 😉 ) of nut or seed butter with almond milk and maple syrup, adding cacao powder if I want a chocolatey, nutella-like vibe, or maca, for some unique, warming goodness
  • chocolate – what could be better than a square or two of your favorite chocolate melting into the hot oats?

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(Lazy) Method:

Pour your oats into a microwave-proof bowl, add a pinch of salt, and whatever you want to flavor it with, such as cacao powder, lucuma, rooibos tea and vanilla extract, stir, add the liquid and then pop into the microwave. I put it in for 1.5 minutes, so no time at all! While that’s cooking away for you, chop up some fruit or whatever you’re topping the oats with, and whip up a quick sauce, e.g. almond butter, maca, almond milk and maple syrup – just stiring all the ingredients together, tasting along the way, until you get the desired sweetness and balance of flavors and the consistency you’re going for.

As you can see, the options are literally endless!

Hope you enjoyed reading about how I make my oats, and let me know what your favorite ways of having porridge are!

xoxo

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Feel Good Fact: Oats are a great way to get more heart-healthy fiber, and are high in manganese. A diet high in fiber has also been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

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Pea Shoot Crepes

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Crepes are something I never ever liked making. Pancakes, sure! But crepes? I had the prejudice that they’re super fiddly and will surely end in a scrambled mess. And since going plant-based, I honestly hadn’t given them a thought. Until, that is, I found a brilliant and super simple recipe by the inspiring James Wythe from Healthy Living James.

Having had great success with his these sweet ones, I decided to make a savory version, so I would be able to indulge in my newfound love of crepes at any time of day! The result: fabulously green, soft crepes that went so well with the hummus spread inside, the cherry tomatoes adding a burst of freshness and some smokey paprika for a bit of heat. Delicious and also an easy way to get in some more greens!

So let’s get started:

Makes: 4 medium-sized crepes

Ingredients:

  • 95 g flour (I used wholemeal spelt, but others, e.g. buckwheat, will work too)
  • 260 ml water
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • salt
  • 2 large handfuls pea shoots (washed and thoroughly dried)
  • oil for cooking (I used olive oil)
  • optional: hummus to fill (a nice pesto or tapenade would be good to, though, I can imagine!), cherry tomatoes and some some hot smokey paprika for on top

Method:

  • Mix together the flour, water, salt and ground flaxseeds, then add the pea shoots and purée till all green!
  • Heat a bit of oil in a non-stick pan and pour enough of the batter in to cover the base. Cook until done and then flip. (Be patient with this, as they are delicate if you try to turn them over too soon. I had to learn this the hard way when I made the sweet version!)
  • Once they’re cooked, fill them with your filling of choice. I had them with hummus, topped with cherry tomatoes and some hot smokey paprika.

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

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Feel Good Fact: Pea shoots are super nutritious, being high in vitamins C and A as well as folic acid.

Fudgy Feel-Good Squares

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Sweet, sticky, chewy, gooey... these little caramel-y squares are my new favorite indulgent treat! Great to have in the fridge to offer friends* or, of course, to sink your teeth into whenever you feel like a little pick-me-up 😉 You get the caramel-like flavor of the dates and maple syrup, which, with the hint of vanilla and cacao, is utterly irresistible. The walnut butter adds to the luxurious texture, enhancing without competing against the flavors.

Consisting of nourishing, wholesome ingredients, these sumptuous squares do more than just taste great – they provide a steady source of energy, which won’t cause blood sugar levels to skyrocket and crash, like more processed, refined options. A treat for your the tastebuds and a pretty nutritious, fueling snack… win-win situation, right?

*Side note: I tested this on a friend who is highly allergic to peanuts. Even though I used no peanuts in this recipe I was suddenly gripped by the fear that traces of the lethal legume had somehow gotten into into the mix, as, let’s face it, my place is a peanut allergy sufferer’s worst nightmare. Luckily I was just being overly paranoid and she was perfectly fine, giving them the thumbs up without landing in the emergency room 😉

Makes: 12 small squares

Ingredients

  • 10 Medjool Dates (ca. 200 g); pitted
  • 1 tbsp walnut butter**
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • some ground vanilla bean (or a drop or two of vanilla extract)

** If you don’t have this on hand, the recipe should definitely work with other nut butters, but the flavor will, of course, vary. Walnut butter is very subtle, so it blends in well with the other ingredients. I like to use the raw organic 100% walnut one by Sun and Seed.

Frosting:

  • 2 tbsp walnut butter
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp unsweetened almond milk
  • optional: crushed walnuts to sprinkle on top

 

Method

Once you’ve pitted the dates, process them in the food processor and mix together with the other ingredients (I like to do this by hand, as it easily forms a really nice, sticky, but perfectly workable, play-doh-type mix). Press down onto a plate with your hands and shape into a rectangle (a knife works well to smooth the top and clean up the edges), cover and place in the fridge while making the frosting.

For the frosting, simply mix together the ingredients and then spread onto the date base. At this point you can decorate by sprinkling some crushed walnuts and raw cacao powder, or whatever else you fancy, on top.

Now, either place back in the fridge or in the freezer to fully harden up. [I didn’t have any space in my minuscule freezer, which is bursting with berries, so I had to just pop the plate back into the fridge. The frosting stayed soft, but, surprisingly, I was able to cut squares without making a mess. If you do freeze before slicing, I’d store them in the fridge after, to get the best, stickiest, fudgiest consistency 🙂 ]. They should last a few days (or longer in the freezer) if you can keep them that long!

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

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Feel Good Fact: Dates are rich in dietary fiber and contain powerful antioxidants, both of which are important contributors to a healthy diet.

 

Purple Sweet Potato Pancakes

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I’m back with more purple goodness! 😀 (click here to check out my purple sweet potato falafels and find some information on the nutritional benefits of purple sweet potatoes).

Due to requests I received on Instagram, I’m sharing these purple sweet potato pancakes with you here. They’re adapted from the Sweet Potato Pancakes by Deliciously Ella and reflect my undying love for these vibrant tubers.

Quick to make (especially if you cook the sweet potato before you actually want to make the pancakes) and oh so satisfying, they are especially irresistible with walnut butter and maple syrup – I can’t even begin to describe how good they were, so you’ll just have to try them yourself 😉

Ingredients:

  • 1 small cooked purple sweet potato (mine was 240g, peeled)
  • 160 ml almond milk (or 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • ca. 4 heaped tbsp wholemeal flour of choice (I used spelt)
  • coconut oil for cooking

Method:

Once you’ve peeled, boiled or steamed, and chopped your beautiful purple potato, purée it together with the other ingredients, except for the flour. Take a few seconds to admire the gorgeous mix, then stir in the flour, adding enough so that the mix holds together well. (I first only used 2 tbsp and my tester pancake was too delicate when I cooked it, so I added more to the mix. It’ll definitely be a very thick mixture, so don’t be surprised if you’re more used to a liquid pancake batter! If you’ve tried any of my other pancake recipes, you’ll know I like my pancakes thick and stodgy 😉 ).

Then simply heat some coconut oil in a pan, spoon in some of the mix, shape into circles, and cook till done (they only take a minute or two on each side).

Stack and drizzle with walnut butter (I used this one and can’t recommend it enough!) and maple syrup for utter pancake perfection!

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

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Purple Sweet Potato Falafels

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Having read about their health benefits in connection with the Okinawa diet, purple sweet potatoes have been the object of my curiosity for many months now (for more on this scroll to the very bottom). Once I finally got my hands on these elusive tubers I knew I wanted to make something special. Inspired by the sweet potato falafels from the MaE deli and a sweet potato falafel wrap from Crussh, I set out to create my own, and thus, these purple patties of pure perfection (or so I claim) were born.

These sweet, starchy gems are so satisfying with their soft mushy texture and the lovely flavors of the coriander, garlic and hint of chili coming through. And – as all my recipes 😉 – they’re quick to make (especially if you cook the sweet potato beforehand). Perfect for when you want to try something a bit different, without spending ages at the stove.

So let’s get right to it!

Ingredients:

  • 200 g cooked purple sweet potato
  • 200-230 g chickpeas (drained, rinsed)*; my carton was 380g before draining
  • ca. 2 heaped tbsp flour (I used wholemeal spelt)/ as much as you need to bind mix
  • salt
  • chili powder
  • half a 30g bunch of fresh coriander, chopped (the rest you can sprinkle on top)
  • drizzle of garlic-infused oil**
  • coconut oil, for cooking

* I take the skin off the chickpeas as they’re easier to digest that way, but feel free to skip this step if that’s not something you’re concerned about. (Although, I have to say, there’s something strangely satisfying about popping out the chickpeas!)

**If you don’t have this you should be able to just use regular olive oil and some fresh, crushed garlic. I use it as an alternative because I sadly don’t tolerate garlic (or onion) very well, and infused oils seem to be less problematic, the critical components not being soluble in oil. (See here for more information if this affects you too.)

Method:

Mash the chickpeas in a large flat bowl with a fork (or use a food processor, but don’t over-process; they should still be crumbly and a bit chunky), add the sweet potato and mash as well (or again, if you’re looking for less manual labor just purée – I was lazy and wanted to avoid cleaning another piece of equipment, but it didn’t take very long at all). Add in your flour and season with salt and chili, before adding the chopped coriander and a drizzle of garlic-infused oil into the gloriously purple mess. Mix together with your hands (yes, they will get purple!)

Now, the fun part: roll the mix into evenly-sized balls. I made 11, but this will obviously depend on the size you prefer. I also flattened mine a bit at the end, as I didn’t want them perfectly round. Next, simply heat some coconut oil in a pan and cook the falafels on both sides for a few minutes. It’s basically just about warming them up and getting a bit of a crisp on the outside.

 

Serving suggestion:

While the falafels are sizzling away in a pan, cook some buckwheat noodles (the ones I use by King Soba only take 5 minutes) in salt water. A minute or two before they are done, add in some courgetti or other quick-cooking veg. Drain and serve with your lovely purple falafels. Drizzle with a nice oil, or create a quick little sauce by combining tahini, honey or maple syrup, lemon juice and water. (I used this lovely black tahini, by Sun and Seed, as it contrasts so nicely with the purple!). Finally, sprinkle with white sesame seeds and more coriander to finish off the dish.

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

 

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Feel Good Fact: Like their orange cousins, the purple sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber and vitamins. Additionally they contain anti-inflammatory anthocyanins (notably also present in blueberries 😉 ), which are linked to heart health and improved eyesight, to pick out some of their benefits.

Interesting Fact: Purple sweet potatoes made up a large part of the traditional diet of the Okinawa Japanese, whose life expectancy was among the highest in the world, with a lower occurrence of heart disease and certain types of cancer (e.g. breast cancer and prostate cancer). For more on the traditional Okinawa diet check out this short, informative video.

 

Turmeric & Ginger spiced Quinoa

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This is one of my absolute staple dishes that I make all the time. It’s so incredibly simple, yet I thought I’d share it since I just made some and it honestly makes me feel great every time I eat it. It takes literally 2 minutes to prepare, 10 to cook and all you’re left with is one pan to clean – almost faster than shoving a pizza in the oven 😉  It’s a very useful little dish to have on your radar for when you’re feeling lazy, uninspired or simply have no time but still want a warm and nourishing meal. I like making a big pot of this and taking some to uni throughout the week, having it as it is or adding whatever else might be in my fridge that needs eating. It would also make a great side dish as part of a larger spread for guests (I’m thinking with some falafel, hummus, salad and roasted aubergine for summer, or a warming chickpea stew in winter…mmm), and you can easily snazz it up by adding some pomegranate seeds, for example, like in the picture below.

Serves 2:

Ingredients

  • 200g quinoa, uncooked
  • ca 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ca 1/2 tsp ground ginger (or even better: grate some fresh ginger)
  • veg of choice (I’ll usually go for some combination of carrots, peas, bok choy, broccoli and flower sprouts)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Add the quinoa to a pan and cover with water (sorry for not being more helpful about the quantity here – I just eyeball it. But if you add too little you can always add more while it’s cooking and if you add too much you can drain it after, so you can’t really go wrong! You’ll get it juuust right 😉 ). Add salt and pepper and the spices (feel free to add whatever else your heart desires, like some chili, or coriander is also lovely in this) and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the quinoa is soft and fluffy and no longer has that grainy center. Depending on the veg you choose you’ll be adding it in the beginning (the carrots for example), or in the last few minutes (the peas, bok choy or flower sprouts). Once everything is cooked, stir in the coconut oil – this is so important as it makes the quinoa wonderfully silky and it really brings out the flavor. It also increases your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from the lovely veggies.

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

 

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Feel Good Fact #1: Both turmeric and ginger contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds and are said to have anti-cancer properties.

Feel Good Fact #2: Quinoa is a great source of plant protein – 100g uncooked (as is the serving size here) containing around 13g – and dietary fiber. Both should help keep you full and provide you with slow releasing energy.

Maple Maca Oats

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I’d like to share  with you this super simple but decadently delicious recipe for a hot, nourishing and sweet bowl of oaty goodness (as what could be better on a cold winter’s day?).

The first time I made this I was actually planning on venturing into the wild world of savory oats, but ended up impulsively reaching for some of my favorite ingredients in an almost trance-like state, and, before I knew what hit me, I had devoured the bowl in a matter of seconds (it’s that good). The maca and maple syrup work so well together, giving this a really uplifting and satisfying sweetness, while the coconut oil adds a luxurious silkiness to the dish and really brings out the flavors. It’s just a very honest, happy bowl, if that makes sense 🙂

Usually I prepare this as a simple lunch or dinner for when I know I’ll want something warm and wholesome, but don’t have the time or energy for cooking and cleaning up, but this would obviously also make a great breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 50g whole oats, uncooked
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds*
  • brown rice milk (ca. 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 heaped tsp maca powder
  • maple syrup to taste

* These are for the sake of adding some extra nutrition, so if you don’t have any around, leaving them out won’t change the taste 😉

Topping ideas:

  • crushed walnuts
  • raisins
  • nut butter (especially peanut or almond butter)
  • berries
  • chia jam

Pour the oats, ground flaxseeds and maca into a bowl and add enough brown rice milk so that the oats are completely covered (you can adjust the amount of liquid depending on whether you prefer your oats more or less stodgy; I tend to just eyeball it), cover in clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight, or for a few hours at least. The next day, simply heat up the oats (I do this in the microwave but you can of course also do this on the stove), stir in the coconut oil, drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy!

Feel Good Fact: Besides being rich in vitamin C, maca, a root native to Peru, provides iron and copper and is said to help alleviate mood swings. (Placebo or not, I personally find it puts me in a good mood – even just the smell of it makes me happy!)