Category Archives: BLOG

All Natural Homemade Plum & Strawberry Jam on Fennel Raisin Bread with Creamy Ricotta Cheese

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Breakfast is served!

Jam or fruit preserves are one of the simplest things to make. Basically you are just cooking fruit until it turns to mush (is that a technical term?!).

So anything you can buy in bulk at the farmers market or if you have some extra fruit lying around – get creative and make your own jam. No preservatives or additives when its homemade!

I happened to have some strawberries and plums in my fruit basket, plus I added a little orange rind and juice to give it a little tartness. I bought some Ricotta Cheese from the lovely Bedford Cheese Shop here in Williamsburg, BK, along with a delicious Fennel Raisin Loaf from Amy’s Bread.

IMG_7120Ingredients:

For one 8 ounce mason jar

1 plum

1 cup of strawberries

juice of 1/2 an orange

1 tsp of grated orange zest (rind)

2 tbsp of honey

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Instructions:

In a small pan over high heat add all of the ingredients and cook for about 20 mins, until it has a jam like consistency (ha! that’s easy enough)

Meanwhile add your mason jar to boiling water (lid included) to sterilize it. Remove carefully and pour jam inside, close and put in refrigerator over night.

* Note: for people who are used to store-bought jams, next time you are in the store read the label of your favorite brand. Check out the preservatives and amount of added sugar. Homemade will not taste as sweet but I promise you it is better for you. So you can experiment with each batch. If you want it sweeter you can add more honey or agave for example, if you want to be a purest don’t add anything. It’s up to you.

This should last in the fridge for a couple of weeks. But I say put it on everything! Toast, scones, ice-cream, yogurt, granola, or eat it straight out of the jar 🙂

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http://bedfordcheeseshop.com

http://www.amysbread.com

http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket

 

Summer Time White Gazpacho

 

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Well its definitely summertime in NYC. Hot and humid, that sounds about right. Even though it does feel a tad bit early this year- I’m not complaining!

When it’s hot and muggy out, my body craves cool, raw, clean and refreshing foods.

A dish that will help to remove toxins and clean the blood, giving an overall feeling of lightness and a cooling effect.

Smoothies, juices and salads are no brainers, but I feel like people often forget about soup. As lets face it, it’s usually served hot. But in hot climates such as Spain and many Mediterranean countries, cold soups are very common on the summer menu.

I like the idea of this “white” gazpacho, as it is full of protein and Vitamin E thanks to the almonds and gives an impression of richness due to the color and creamy looking texture.

So simple and easy to make, all of the ingredients are raw,  so you can just pop everything into a blender and lunch or dinner is ready in about 5 minutes.

 

Ingredients:

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1/2 cup raw almonds (if you feel you have trouble digesting almonds, you can soak them in bowl of water for 24 hrs, drain and then use)

Handful of fresh cilantro

Pinch of dried oregano

½ lemon juiced

1 cucumber, peeled

1 yellow pepper

1 garlic clove

1 handful of green grapes

1-2 cups of water (you decide how thick or thin you would like it)

Sea salt to taste

For Garnish:

Few slices of avocado

Sprinkle of sliced or crushed almonds

Sprig of cilantro

And drizzle of very good quality extra virgin olive oil

2+ servings

 

Instructions:

 This is the super easy part: cut up everything very roughly and pop into blender with water. Whizz away and you’re done!

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Good to Know:

Almonds are a very good source of vitamin E, manganese, biotin, and copper. Almonds are a good source of magnesium, molydenum, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and phosphorus. Fortunately, although one-quarter cup of almonds contains about 11 grams of fat, a sizable portion of it (7 grams) is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

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The BEST Veggie Burgers In Town!

IMG_2770My FAVORITE restaurant in Toronto is Fresh. It’s a Vegan restaurant and before you can say “ew cardboard and grass”- I can promise you this is the most amazing “healthy eating” you will find. Even my carnivorous partner and friends happily eat at this place.

I just spent 2 weeks in Toronto during the Toronto Film Festival and I think I ate there everyday (along with all the hollywood celebs in town! Some celeb spotting definitely goes on at this healthy joint!). Green juice for breakfast and everything else on the menu for lunch and dinner. Having a restaurant like this around the corner, with every item on the menu being super healthy,  makes it easy to eat well. You can basically order anything from the menu because you know it will be good for you. Unfortunately they only exist in Toronto (for now) so a great way to have easy access to healthy food quick, is to make it yourself and make extra so you can freeze it. My favorite veggie burger is made fresh there daily. I have recreated it at home, somewhat following the recipe, yet tweaking it a long the way. These burgers are BBQ ready and are actually vegan, however a sneaky slice of cheddar never hurt anyone 🙂 I’ve made about 6-8 out of this batch, so the rest I have wrapped individually and stored in the freezer. Just take one out a few hours before you are ready to eat and you’ll have fresh, homemade, HEALTHY, burgers ready to grill.

picisto-20130925141553-616492INGREDIENTS:

* You’ll need a food processor for this

  • 1 cup of mushrooms, cleaned
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 garlic clove
  • a handful of parsley
  • 1/4 cup each of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

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  • 1 tsp each of chili powder, curry powder, smoked chipotle powder and smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp corn flour

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  • 1/2 cup each of split peas, quinoa and barley
  • 1 1/2 cups of water or veggie stock for the grains

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook the grains. Give all of the grains a good rinse, then add to a pot and cover with the water/stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce and cook on low for about 20 mins or until the water is absorbed.
  2. Three step food processor process: chop the mushrooms, then the seeds and then the vegetables all separately.
  3. In a pan over medium heat add a splash of oil. Once hot add in the mushrooms + the spices and tamari. Cook for about 5-7 mins.
  4. Remove mixture to a large bowl, add in the corn flour and corn starch + the chopped vegetable mixture. S&P.
  5. Add the cooked grains to the mixture and stir together.

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6. Time to get those hands dirty! Set out 2 rectangles of parchment paper. Begin to form balls a bit bigger then a golf ball in between your (clean!) hands and once perfectly round, smush down carefully to form a burger patty. NOTE: if the mixture is too wet and sticking to your hands like crazy, add in a bit more flour, if the mixture is too dry and crumbling apart add in a bit of water.

7. Make about 6-8 patties. Place side by side on the parchment paper and place the other piece over top. Use scissors to cut in between (3 pieces) and fold over so you have 2 patties wrapped up together, but with paper in between so they don’t touch. These can be frozen for up to 1 month.

8. To cook, you can grill for 5 mins on each side or fry or even broil. The toppings are up to you! I like mine messy 🙂

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Check out my favorite restaurant in Toronto, Canada. www.freshrestaurants.ca If you visit make sure to stop there for brunch on the weekend- they make delicious Vegan Banana Pancakes with Real Canadian Maple Syrup (what else?!) Mmmmm…

Super Quick Curry- Yogurt Veggie Skewers with Coriander Rice and Cumin Spiced Dip

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Its 7 o’clock in the evening, just walked through the door and am starved! Don’t have the energy to make anything grand but not into ordering take-out either.  So I open the fridge to find a handful of veggies, greek yogurt and halloumi cheese.  Perfect.  Dinner will be ready in 10 mins!

I always keep a package of halloumi cheese in the fridge, it’s a great vegetarian substitute and it’s perfect on the grill.

If you don’t have a BBQ you can always bake these in the oven on about 220C/420F for about 10 mins.

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 4 wooden skewers, soaked in water so they don’t burn.
  • any grill-able veggies you have on hand: for example: 1 zucchini, 1 red pepper, 2 small eggplants, handful of mushrooms.
  • 125g halloumi cheese (there is low-fat available).
  • 1 cup of low-fat organic yogurt.
  • 1 tbsp curry powder.
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder.
  • 1 clove of minced garlic.
  • s&p.
  • 1 cup basmati rice (rinsed).
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander.
  • 1 tsp of freshly grated lemon zest.
  • 2 cups of water.
  • 1/2 head of red cabbage, sliced thinly to make cole slaw-like strips.
  • drizzle of olive oil.
  • drizzle of apple cider vinegar.

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. In a pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and then add in the basmati rice.  Turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 mins, until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked and fluffy.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, add curry powder, minced garlic, and S&p to 1/2 cup of the yogurt, mix well.
  3. Chop up your veggies and halloumi into 1 inch pieces.
  4. Add veggies and cheese to yogurt mixture and stir well.
  5. Take your wooden skewers and fit as many veggies and cheese as you can onto each skewer.
  6. Grill veggie skewers for about 5 mins (turning after 2-3 mins).
  7. Meanwhile add the cumin, s&p to the remaining yogurt.  This will be your dipping sauce.
  8. Slice the cabbage and drizzle olive oil and apple cider vinegar, add s&p, toss well.
  9. Once the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork and add in the chopped fresh coriander and grated lemon zest.

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Ready to plate up!

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NOT your boring Pasta Salad- to go!

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I LOVE pasta! I don’t care what anyone says 🙂 There is a time and place for it, this I will admit. Preferably lunch time, so you can burn off the calories from the carbohydrates throughout the day and as for place, pasta in pasta salad should have a supporting role. I like to have equal amounts of veggies as I do pasta, to keep a good balance of nutrients.

It’s finally summer here in London and a great way to get some fresh air, enjoy the sunshine AND save some money, is to picnic in the park for lunch. I have these great little BPA free reusable containers, with the fork and knife built in the lid, I just fill them up, grab a blanket and off I go!

Be creative with what you have. This was a mid-week lunch made with veggies I found in my fridge. Lots of different flavors will work, so you can substitute depending on what you have at home.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups dried good quality pasta, I like penne or fusili for pasta salads, cooked al dente
  • handful of sugar snap peas
  • 1 heirloom tomato (if you can)
  • 1 small head of endive
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • 1/2 can of artichokes
  • 1/2 tbsp of chopped fresh oregano (dried can be substituted)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 small garlic clove raw
  • 1/4 cup of grated good quality parmesan cheese (or a veggie substitute or for vegans, try some toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds)
  • drizzle of good quality olive oil
  • 1 tsp of freshly grated lemon rind
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper (you could also try some red pepper flakes if you want some heat)

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil for your pasta, cook for 10 min until al dente, drain and plunge into a bath of ice water to cool and stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
  2. Wash and chop all the veggies into bite size pieces, the peas I left whole.
  3. In a large bowl, add your pasta, fresh ingredients and lemon rind. Top with the parmesan cheese (or toasted seeds/nuts) and add enough olive oil and s&p to taste. Mix together well.

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4 steps and you’re done! Pack into lunch containers and head to your special spot for a healthy, homemade, inexpensive lunch under the sun.

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Quick & Easy Thai Yellow Curry for One.

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Being home alone doesn’t mean having cereal or take out for dinner. This quick and easy Yellow Curry is ready in about 20 min and packed full of fresh veggies. I always keep a jar of Thai curry paste in the fridge and a can of low fat coconut milk in the cupboard. All you need are the veggies and some brown rice and your’e ready for a deliciously spicy, healthy and hearty meal.

I love cooking, mostly for a large group of people, that way I can make many dishes and flex my culinary skills 😉 So when I am home alone, cooking just for myself, I’m not as inspired to create something amazing. Having simple ingredients on hand makes coming up with dishes for one simple and less labor intensive (hey, cooking for one means there is no one else to share the clean up!).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp of Thai Curry Paste (yellow, red or green)
  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • 3 baby eggplants, about 3/4 cup chopped
  • 2 heads of baby bok choy (or 1/2 cup of chopped cabbage)
  • 3 shitaki mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 handful of sugar snap peas (or green beans)
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 handful of  fresh Thai basil or regular basil will do
  • 1/2 cup of low fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of water or coconut water
  • 1 tbsp of tamari sauce (thats Gluten Free soy sauce)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced fine
  • Plus a portion of cooked brown rice for one (about 1/2 cup of brown rice, I used basmati, 1 cup water, simmer for about 15 min, lid on)

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INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. Wash and chop all of the veggies except the sugar snap peas, leave them whole.
  2. In a pan over medium heat, add the oil and curry paste. Cook for about 1 min.
  3. Add in all of the veggies except the peas and bok choy, plus the garlic and ginger. Stir and cook for about 3 min.
  4. Add in the coconut milk and water. Cook for about 5 min.
  5. Add in the peas and bok choy, cook for a further 2 min.

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At this point you can add a little corn starch to thicken it, as I water down my coconut milk to keep the fat content down, but you can thicken it back up if you prefer.

Heap some brown rice into a bowl and pour on the hearty veggie curry and you’re delicious dinner for one is ready! Much better than a bowl of Special K right?? 🙂

Baked Maple Syrup & Cinnamon Apples (minus the Pie) for Dessert

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Hot apples baking away in the oven with cinnamon and maple syrup…mmmm… Why go for the full fat apple pie when you can get all of the flavor with these “skinny” baked apples? Oh and did I mention it takes about 5 min to make?

Ingredients:

2 apples, skin on, organic

pinch of cinnamon

drizzle of 100% pure Maple Syrup

handful of raisins

handful of sliced almonds

1/4 cup of water

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Instructions:

Heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius/430 F

Cut the middle out of your apples with a sharp knife, and preserve a little “lid” for the bottom (so the juices stay inside).

Place in an oven proof dish.

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Top with raisins, a pinch of cinnamon, drizzle over the maple syrup (making sure to get some inside the apple) and sprinkle on the almonds.

Add the water to the bottom of the dish, so the apples don’t get stuck to the bottom (and you get more of a sweet syrupy sauce).

Bake for about 15 min, until apples are tender.

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Serve alone or with a little cream (5.5g of fat per 30ml serving) or you can do vanilla frozen yogurt. Homemade, simple and delicious.

Health Benefits of Apples:

“Apple polyphenols (anti-oxidents) are standout nutrients in this widely loved fruit. These polyphenols include flavonols (especially quercetin, but also kaempferol and myricetin), catechins (especially epicatechin), anthocyanins (if the apples are red-skinned), chlorogenic acid, phloridizin, and several dozen more health-supportive polyphenol nutrients. Apple is a good source of fiber, including the soluble fiber pectin, and it’s also a good source of vitamin C. Apple nutrients are disproportionately present in the skin, which is a particularly valuable part of the fruit with respect to its nutrient content.” http://www.whfoods.org