Beetroot & Bougainvillea

A shock of pretty purple bougainvillea is an invitation to spring that seamlessly matches today’s breakfast bowl. The magenta hued smoothie is the quintessential boost of nutrients that we often lack in the early spring days after a cold winter.  This metabolism booster is loaded with vitamin c, fiber and minerals such as potassium and manganese that are good for your bones, liver and kidneys. I’m already dreaming of the bougainvillea courtyards that I will see this summer, hopefully even much sooner as I’m travelling to Venice in under a month! I’m ready to transition to silk pants and light-weight flats and leave my chunky knits hanging in the back of the closet. Now, more than ever I feel like I’m lacking in vitamins and need a constant boost of goodness and a punch of colour to start the day!

Have an amazing weekend darlings!

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Boosting Beetroot smoothie bowl

  • 1 large beet (leave skin on, remove ends, wash well)
  • large chunk of ginger
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 banana (to add thickness)
  • 1/2 cup or less oat milk

Garnish: avocado, toasted almond flakes, herbs of choice

Roughly chop all vegetables and blitz into a smooth texture in blender. For a thicker consistency, add less milk or substitute it for quark if you desire an even more thicker bowl.Garnish with avocado, toasted almond flakes and herbs of choice. I used thyme, oregano and lemon balm.

For a beetroot juice, use water instead of milk and leave the banana out. For a zest of freshness, you can add 1/2 an apple instead

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Crispy Clove Butternut Squash

These butternut squash chips are great for the holidays as they are sweet, super crunchy infused with a hint of christmas flavours. I ended up eating all the chips by myself, that really gives an indication of their deliciousness! The key is to crisp them up in the oven and cook them until golden brown in colour. It’s important to have an incredibly sharp knife as the hardest part about this recipe is cutting the butternut into thin slices as it is so dense in texture. If it’s too difficult, try to half the squash first and cut 1/2 circles instead. These chips contain the skin and seeds as they add great flavour. I particularly love the seeds, they are perfect once a little burnt and dry!  The chips have a hint of christmas spices, where the ground clove, nutmeg, honey and garlic make them just right for the end of November. Additionally, they make a great base for a salad or a side dish and taste divine with some salty feta, chives and purple carrot shavings with toasted earthy walnuts.

Crispy Butternut Squash Chips

1 medium-sized butternut squash
Wash the butternut and remove ends. With a shard knife, cut thin slices and leave the seeds in.
Preheat oven to 150°C (air circulation mode)
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place each butternut squash slice in rows so they do not overlap. Leave them to dry at room temperature for half an hour. Place them into the oven for 45 minutes without any oil and turn them over halfway.
Marinade: 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 cloves grated garlic, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoons runny honey
1 teaspoon ground clove, 1 teaspoon ground fresh nutmeg, pinch salt/pepper
Take the butternut out of the oven. In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, honey, lemon juice and the spices. Brush the marinade over each slice and place back into the oven for about 30 min. Take the butternut squash out and turn over and brush more marinade on top. Place back into the oven for 30 min.

Once the chips are looking ready, place the oven into grill mode for last 5 minutes to give them an extra crisp. Make sure they don’t burn though!

Garnish: Purple carrot shavings, toasted walnuts, ground green pepper, feta, chives
Remove the butternut squash from the oven. Ready to plate: add a few chips on the bottom. Grate some purple carrot shavings on top. Add some toasted walnuts and ground green pepper on top. Sprinkle some feta and chives on top.

Aromatic Hasselback Carrots

These beautifully thin uniform slices makes these carrots a showstopper dish. The hasselback technique allows the vegetable to have a lovely crispy surface as you marinade them every ten minutes intensifying the flavour as it seeps into the centre. Hasselback carrots make a lovely side dish, incorporated into a salad or beautiful on their own. I think yellow and purple carrots are more beautiful in colour than the basic orange ones, but any will do! The hasselback technique is classic with potatoes, butternut squash and really works with any veggie you prefer! These carrots have a lovely aromatic garlic lemon infusion topped with thinly sliced brussel sprout leaves, chives and toasted hazel nuts. The fresh nutmeg adds a little touch of christmas, which gives a subtle earthy taste to the palette. Along side the carrots, I served some creamy avocado with hummus, lemon juice and fresh chives. I could totally see myself serving this to my girlfriends over lunch as it works perfectly for vegans and vegetarians aswell. In terms of my husband, I would serve the carrots next to a delicious steak or lamb shanks. Ps. Aren’t these new plates gorgeous? They are finally arrived from Italy and I couldn’t be more happy with the result!

 

Classic Hasselback Roasted Carrots

Purple, yellow carrots (any colour will do)
Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel the carrots & place on cutting board with chopsticks on either side. Make thin cuts as far down as the wooden spoons will allow.
Marinade: 2 tablespoons grated garlic, lemon zest, 3 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp melted butter, 1 tsp ground fresh nutmeg
Mix the marinade ingredients together and brush generously over each carrot and place into oven for about 45 minutes or until golden and crispy.
Add more marinade
Keep brushing more marinade over the carrots every 10-15 minutes as this helps them crisp. Just before serving add the oven to”grill” mode for a few minutes to give them that last kick. Add some maldon salt/black pepper as soon as they come out of the oven.
Garnish: Finely chopped brussel sprouts, chives, ground black pepper/salt/ lemon zest, toasted nuts
Optional: Avocado, hummus, chili flakes, lemon juice
Ready to serve: Garnish each carrot with finely chopped brussel sprat leaves, finely chopped chives. On a hot pan (no butter needed), toast some hazel nuts (some broken/some whole) in a bit of salt until they have turned a slightly darker colour. Add the nuts on the carrots and finely sprinkle some more black pepper, lemon zest and salt if needed.
Optional: Serve the carrots with a sliced avocado that has a scoop of hummus inside, along with lemon juice, chives & chili flakes

That first sip of tea, in silence.

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ahhhh mornings, you either love them or hate them. As most of you know by now, I love early mornings as it gives me fulfillment, the feeling of having accomplished a lot before the rest of the world awakes. I love the mood in the mornings, the quietness, having a good nights sleep behind me and feeling excited about that first sip of warm tea. The sight of the steaming fog from the tea cup is a calming routine that I never miss out on. What is your perfect morning? The beauty of mornings is that they’re the perfect time to set the intention for the day and let your mindset to visualize the goals without rush. Nature is also at its most charming then, as it is wide awake when the rest sleep.

Waking up early in the countryside is therapeutic for the mind, the air still a bit damp from the moisture in the nights air, the way the forest smells earthy and fresh and the pause of life when the rest of my family is still tucked in bed. One morning I decided to have breakfast at our broken pier that was destroyed by winters movement of ice. Despite the distortion, I actually love the way it looks, the tainted pale colours that have been faded by the sun and the exposed rocks from under the pier grow wildlife in between all the imperfections. I made one of my favourite vegan toasts with spinach and creamy avocado. Bella decided to join me for a morning swim as I sat on the edge of the pier in my pj’s taking that first sip of the earl grey in the midst of perfection, in my eyes at least. The more of age I become, the more I appreciate these surroundings, unspoiled by human nature.

To make the toast: Toast some rustic country-style loaf. I used a granola spelt bread that is a bit sweater in taste. Then just sauté some spinach in olive oil with a clove of grated garlic, a bit of nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add Avocado on top, chopped parsley and a drizzle of lime juice.

 

 

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Vegan Beetroot Hummus & Sweet potato toast

 

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‘Vegan Beetroot hummus’

I had a few roasted beets left over from last nights cooking and I was anyways going to make some hummus this morning and thought I would give a beet hummus a go. Well, I’m sure you can all agree with me that the colour alone is spectacular but the creamy flavour with garlic and lemon is quite something. It obviously makes a great dipping sauce for anything really, but I particularly loved it with these sweet potato avocado toasts. To make the toasts, you can either toast or grill some thin sweet potato slices or in my case, I first placed them in a toaster and then grilled them to get the lovely lines without any oil. Make sure to let them cool before adding toppings. Then you add some spinach leaves, avocado, green chili and nectarine slices on top. Sprinkle some black pepper and add a dollop of beet hummus and serve with boiled eggs. This colourful breakfast is healthy and different packed with delicious strong flavours.

Hummus Ingredients

  1. 2 large roasted beet roots
  2. lemon zest of 1 lemon
  3.  1/2 juice of lemon
  4. 2 garlic cloves
  5. 1 can (mostly drained) cooked chickpeas
  6. 1 tbsp tahini
  7.  1/4 cup olive oil
  8.  salt/ pepper
  9. parsley
Directions
1. Roast beets: Preheat oven to 200C. Remove steam from the beet root, scrub well but leave the skin on. Place into a foil with a bit of oil on top. Wrap and place into the oven for about an hour until tender. Leave to cool on the side when ready.
2. Place the cooled and roughly chopped beet into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add remaining ingredients into the processor except for the oil and blend until smooth.
3. Drizzle olive oil once all the other ingredients are smooth.
4. Taste and adjust seasoning and if the consistency is too thick, I added a bit of water.
5. Garnish with parsley and a little drizzle of olive oil.
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Fresh Green Raw Tarts

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A while ago my friend and I decided to test a new non-baked tart recipe that has a base made from a mixture of nuts and seeds. It’s a great substitute from traditional pies and the divine green filling is creamy with an explosion of summer herbs. The combination is really fresh, but actually very energy rich and filling from all the good fats. The raw tart is a great summer treat, vibrant in colour and delicious in flavour! There is a hint of garlic in the background, a crunch from the occasional cashew or almond and a stong basil that makes it so refreshing.

Base ingredients

  • 4 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 4 tbsp flax seeds
  • 4 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 dl almonds
  • 2 dl cashews
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch salt/ ground black pepper

blend all the ingredients in a good processor until a paste texture. It doesn’t matter if the nuts are not completely smoothie, a little texture makes it interesting. Also I didn’t really measure the ingredients properly so you can play around with the amount of nuts/seeds you prefer.

Green Filling

  • 1 avocado
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 cups basil
  • 1 cup mint
  • 1 tbsp pesto mixture
  • Handful of parmesan cheese (avoid this for the vegan version)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 handful almonds
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt/ground black pepper

Blend in a food processor until a smooth paste. Make sure the consistency is not too liquid like as it needs to hold its form.

Directions

Prepare the base for the tarts. Line the pie trays with butter and press the nutty texture into the bottom of each tray. The actual recipe skips this following part of placing the base into the oven: Place into the oven for about 20 minutes (180 celsius) until they receive a bit more colour to the surface. I find it gives the seeds/nuts a nice touch and solidifies the texture together. However if you wish to keep the procedure purely raw, skip this part.  Remove from oven and let it cool. Meanwhile make the pesto and once the nutty bases have cooled, scoop the green goodness on top. Place each tart tray into the fridge to set for about half an hour. Serve with more lemon juice and a pinch of salt/black pepper if needed.

 

Hot & Sweet Asian Stew

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Friday Lunch?!

This Asian stew has a kick of heat to it but the sweetness balances the combination beautifully, giving the dark broth some hearty flavour. This dish is simple and quick to make and you can purchase the ingredients from a good basic Asian market. It is suitable for a vegan diet and if you prefer a more fulfilling outcome, add some glass noodles, mushrooms, chicken, tiger prawns or beef to the mix. However, I like the simplicity of this combination, no fuss, light and full of greens that works well for lunch or dinner.

This healthy recipe sort of built upon itself and around my love for spinach-like leaves and ebamame beans. Pat chun vinegar is a great sauce to have in your pantry, I believe it is that ingredient that gives the broth its flavour. It has a unique sweet taste to it and it works in a variety of dishes. I often add it to sauces, stews, marinades, cold dressings for salads/burgers or a dip for dim sum and has become a staple vinegar in my cooking. The perfectly boiled egg is a must in this dish, it just works well with the soft chunky tofu and hotness from the shiracha.

ingredients

  • Long leaf spinach
  • small paksoi or tatsoi
  • Ebamame beans
  • Soy rich tofu (lovely and soft in texture)
  • 1 egg (7 minutes boiled for soft yolk)
  • 3 large garlic grated
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • butter for cooking
  • About 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • About 1 tablespoon extra hot shiracha sauce
  • About 1 tablespoon Pat chun sweetened black vinegar sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • Black pepper
  • Lime juice

Directions

In a sauce pan add a dollop of butter and gently cook the garlic and ginger. Add in the ebamame beans, chopped spinach and tatsoi. Stir around until slightly golden. Add in the water, the sauces (soy sauce, shiracha, pat chun vinegar) and mix well. Add in the cubed tofu, be gentle as it breaks easily. let it simmer slowly until the sauce reduces. Check for flavour.  Serve with a 7 minute boiled (refrigerated) egg so it is soft in the center but the white is solid. Garnish with ground black pepper and a squeeze of lime juice.

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Avocado & Quinoa Mush

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Easy Delicious Breakfast gluten and dairy free

Starting your morning right. This quinoa and avocado mush is a perfect substitute for porridge in the mornings. I love it when the perfectly cooked quinoa is still warm, a bit salty and the ripe avocados are blended well into the grains. It is very important to wash the quinoa before cooking them as it can taste a bit like soap if you skip this process. This breakfast is packed with protein, good fats and it will start your morning just right. This bowl is nourishing and healing and the variety of toasted seeds and nuts, give great crunch and taste.

 

 

Sprout & Avocado Sourdough Toast

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9am.  The temperature is -25 C today and I’m sipping on my morning tea enjoy a healthy and refreshing avocado toast, indulging in every single bite. I’m looking outside the frosted window while I squeeze some lime on these colourful delights. This toast makes you feel good and I probably do not even need to mention about its health benefits because it is packed with all things fabulous. This toast is designed for a good start to the day.

Each bite is a bitter-sweet experience as it tastes so good, but the sadness of the toast getting smaller is unbearable! (yes, not dramatic at all!) I have mastered the perfect balance in this toast, with a touch of heat from the dried chili, pepper and olive flakes and acidity from the lime. The sprouts add that needed bitter crunch and the chives add a lovely refreshing earthy flavour. Have a fabulous healthy morning!

Ingredients

  1. 1 Large Ripe Avocado
  2. 1 tsp Lime Juice
  3. 1 tsp chili flakes (I used a mixture from Italy that had olives in it too)
  4. 1 cup Sprouts
  5. 2 toasts of Crusty Sourdough Rye Bread
  6. 2 tbsp Chives
  7. Pinch of Maldon Salt
  8. Ground Black Pepper

Fork the avocado onto the toasted bread (that has to be cool and crispy after toasting) and sprinkle your favourite sprouts on top. Add the spices, chives and a splash of lime juice in the end.

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