Carrot cake inspired overnight oats

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Quick and easy overnight oats inspired by one of my favourite flavour combos, the mighty carrot cake! This will help keep you energised & feeling fuller for longer. The recipe can easily be scaled up to make a bigger batch, and will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Top Tip: Soaking grains, nuts & seeds overnight before eating them helps your body digest them more easily, while also making the nutrients more bioavailable. 

Ingredients (makes 1)

  • 1/2 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (can be substituted for buckwheat groat)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup OR 1 medjool date chopped up
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Optional add ins: walnuts, raisins, coconut flakes

Method

  • Add all the ingredients to a jar with a lid, stir to combine.
  •  Place in the fridge overnight to soak 
Photos by Claire Fulton Studio

Wholistic vs. Holistic, what's the difference?

I get asked this question a lot, as I refer to myself as a Wholistic Chef. Most people think that I just can't spell! However, it isn't a typo, there is a difference between the two words even though they are essentially quite similar! 

Holism is a term coined by philosopher Jan Smuts. His definition was that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts". Meaning it's best to focus on the overall picture as opposed to the individual details. It's usually applied to a much broader spectrum of themes and ideas, from philosophy to ecology.

Wholism sees the body, mind and soul (life force energy such as Chi in Chinese medicine, or Prana in Ayurveda) as the whole, and nutrition as one of it's parts. Instead of treating each organ as a separate entity, this view of nutrition sees the body as a fully integrated system. Understanding that there's usually more to illness than treating individual symptoms.

 T. Colin Campbell, PhD explains this in greater detail in his book Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition.

When I discovered I had problems with my liver, I realised all the different effects it had on the rest of my body. My hormones were completely unbalanced, I was feeling depressed, weak, achy, tired, and angry (and I was only 22 years old!). Once I understood how to heal myself through plant based nutrition, regular exercise, and meditation, I started to feel progressively better. I noticed the dramatic difference between how I felt after eating foods which were fresh and minimally processed (more life force energy), than foods which were heavily processed and essentially dead energetically. The minimally processed whole-foods helped heal the cells in my body, gave me more energy, and made me feel happy again. As an added bonus, it was nice to know that my food choices were having a less harmful impact on the environment.

Wholistic cooking looks at the bigger picture. It's about zooming out and consciously understanding that everything is connected: from the cells in our bodies to the ingredients we choose to fuel them with. 

Adas Quinoa with Vegan Yoghurt

This is my take on the Persian dish called Adas Polo, which literally means lentil rice. Growing up, this was one of my favourite meals so it is the ultimate comfort food for me. I've replaced the rice with quinoa and made a non-dairy yoghurt to go along side it. The combination of savoury and sweet tones are what make Persian food so unique and so reminiscent of home cooked meals enjoyed with my family.

Quinoa is a wonderful source of essential amino acids which makes it a complete source of plant protein. It is also high in minerals such as magnesium, zinc and potassium as well as fibre, and a group of antioxidants called flavanoids.

Lentils, like quinoa are high in plant protein, and are a great source of iron. They also contain folic acid, and Vitamin B-complex, which are essential for your body.

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After being brought up eating yoghurt almost everyday, I have now cut it out of my diet completely. So when I made this simple recipe it was a revelation, all the soothing familiar flavours came back to me and it was delightful! You can also add in one diced up cucumber to make a mast-o-khiar, which is the Iranian version of tzatziki.

This plant powered, protein packed dish is a definite winner, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Adas Quinoa Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 1/2 cups dried green lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups water (approx.)
  • 2 cups white quinoa
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • Pinch ground up of saffron threads, steeped in 3-4 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or any other oil with high smoke point such as safflower oil)
  • 1 large white onion, cut in slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/3 cup yellow sultanas/raisins Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt) and black pepper to taste
  • Sumac powder to taste (optional)

Vegan Yoghurt Ingredients

  • Handful of cashew nuts
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 6-8 tablespoons water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Dried mint leaves
  • Dried rose petals (optional)
  • 1 small cucumber, diced (optional)

Method

Pick over the lentils, making sure there aren't any stones and discarding any shrivelled lentils. Rinse and place in a medium saucepan along with approximately 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cover and leave to cook for 20 mins or so, until the lentils are cooked through. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium pan, add the chopped onion and cook on medium/high heat until they turn translucent, then reduce the heat to medium/low. Add the turmeric along with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Leave to caramelise, stirring occasionally, for approximately 25 mins. Then add the dates and cook for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and mix in the sultanas/raisins.

Rinse the quinoa, at least 3-4 times, this gets rid of the bitter taste. Drain in a sieve then transfer to a large pot along with the 4 cups vegetable stock, a couple pinches of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and leave to cook with the lid on for 15 mins. Once all the liquid has evaporated pour the saffron liquid over it, put the lid back on and set aside for 5 mins. Then using a fork gently fluff the quinoa.

Make the yoghurt by combining all the ingredients, except for the dried mint, rose petals, and cucumber if using, in a blender and blitz until smooth, adding more water if needed. Transfer to a bowl, taste to adjust seasoning and sprinkle with crushed dried mint and rose petals.

Add the lentils to the pot of quinoa and gently combine. When you're ready to eat, transfer to a large plate, cover with caramelised onions, dates and sultanas, then sprinkle a couple pinches of sumac, if using, over the top and serve alongside the yoghurt.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Chilli Overnight Oats

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I love overnight oats because they're quick and easy to make, are super versatile and you can take them on the go with you when you're pressed for time!

Now that the weather is cooling down I like to keep my internal body temperature warm by using ingredients that help keep my internal fire going. This recipe is filled with super boosted medicinal foods which support a healthy immune system to keep the seasonal colds at bay.

The use of cayenne pepper in this recipe is to activate the healing benefits of the turmeric while also making you feel all warm and tingly inside. Turmeric is a superfood root which is dried and powdered, the benefits of using it are numerous. For me the most important thing is that it reduces inflammation in the body. Inflammation is your body's response to injury which is great! However, our modern diets and lifestyles of eating highly processed sugars and dairy, drinking alcohol, feeling stressed etc can also cause inflammation in the body. Therefore by adding turmeric to our diets we can aid our bodies by reducing it's workload. It's not a cure all and it also helps to be more mindful of what we fuel our bodies with, both nutritionally and mentally.

Cacao is also a very powerful antioxidant, high in magnesium, which helps relax our muscles, hence why women crave chocolate when they are about to start their cycle. Please make sure that you use good quality raw cacao powder for this recipe as nutritionally it makes a big difference. Most cocoa powder you find in your local supermarket has been heated at very high temperatures which kills a lot of the nutrients. It is more expensive but a little goes a long way with so it's worth investing in some as it will last quite some time.

If you don't have all the ingredients don't worry, get creative and substitute some or leave others out. Or better yet why not try your hand at making your very own signature version?!

Ingredients
(Makes 1 large serving or 2 smaller servings)

  • 3 Tbs chia seeds
  • 3 Tbs rolled oats
  • 1 Tbs almond meal
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 Tbs goji berries
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 Tbs cacao nibs
  • 1/2 Tbs coconut flakes
  • 1.5 cup non dairy milk (I used sunflower seed milk)
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Method

Mix everything into a bowl or jar using a fork, making sure it's all well combined. Place in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 15-20 minutes. Enjoy! *This will last in the fridge for 2-3 days.

May Newsletter

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Hello lovely people!

I hope you're all well and happy. Just wanted to share a few things with you for May as well as some inspiring information that I've recently come across.

The VTH Kitchen will be closed until the

17th May. 

Group Cooking Class

The next group cooking class will take place on Friday 27th May from 11:30 AM - 2 PM at my location on the Pearl and will focus on breakfast, my favourite meal of the day! There are only 8 spaces available so please email me if you're interested and would like to reserve your spot.

May Product List

Here is the

link

for our latest product list.

I will be taking orders upon my return on 17th May.

*Please note the delivery (Pearl and West Bay area only) and pick up days are now Mondays, Wednesday's and Friday's only and it takes a minimum of 48 hours to process orders.

Food Revolution Summit

It's the Food Revolution Summit again, sign up to access free interviews with leading health and nutrition experts. 

https://foodrevolutionsummit.org/

 It will be running until the 8th May so don't miss out your chance to gain free access. Today will be the 5th day of the summit but you can still listen to replays from the 1st and 4th day.

Help Raise Money for Syria

This Friday 6th May Aspire Katara Hospitality and Qatar Charity are teaming up to raise funds for Syrian's stuck in Aleppo. 100% of cash generated from customers dining at the list of restaurants will go to the campaign, here's the

link

to the Doha News article for more information.

*Just a side note, please be mindful of how much food you order and if you cannot eat it all then take it away and either save it for another meal or give it to someone who would appreciate it. It's a great shame to let food go to waste when there are so many people in this world who do not have access to food on a regular basis.

Articles worth reading

How 'Ugly' Fruits and Vegetables Can Help Solve World Hunger

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/03/global-food-waste-statistics/

8 Tips For Easier Plant Based Meals

http://www.straightupfood.com/blog/2012/06/30/8-tips-for-easier-plant-based-meals/

Your Easy Guide To Buying Organic Produce

http://foodmatters.tv/content/your-easy-guide-to-buying-organic-produce?utm_source=SocialSwaps+&utm_medium=FoodMattersFacebook&utm_campaign=FM

Super Smoothie Bowl

Now that the weather has started to heat up in Doha, I've switched from warming bowls of porridge to smoothie bowls. I prefer my smoothies in a bowl because it stops me from slurping it all up in one go, which can be quite a shock to the system. My theory is that by eating my smoothie one spoon at a time, I give my body some time to digest it slowly. Plus I like decorating my bowls to make them a feast for the eyes as well as my body. It really doesn't matter what you add to the smoothie so long as you have a good high speed blender, I used my magic bullet and it works just fine!

I like to add a mixture of fruits and vegetables and generally try not to add fruits which have a high glycemic index just to keep my blood sugar levels in check. If you do add banana or mango for example, try to add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder to help stabilise blood sugar spikes.

On another note, I'll be hosting a group cooking class at the end of this month focusing on healthful breakfasts, click here for more information.

Finally here's the recipe for my super plant powered smoothie bowl filled with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, blood cleansing, gut friendly ingredients. This is guaranteed to boost your morning with nourishing, healing goodness!

Ingredients(Serves 2)

Smoothie

  • 1 fresh young coconut, water and meat
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric
  • 1 small beetroot
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • Zest of 1/2 a lime
  • Juice of 1 lime

Optional add ins: 2 tablespoons maca powder | 2 tablespoons acai powder | 2 tablespoons Lucuma powder | 1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder

Suggested toppings: 1/2 cup VTH Nutty granola | 1 cup dices strawberries | 2 teaspoons chia seeds | 2 teaspoons hemp seeds | Raisins

Method:

1. Blend the smoothie ingredients, along with the superfood powders if using, in a high speed blender until you have a smooth consistency. 2. Pour into a bowl, and add the toppings. 3. Enjoy the super powerful benefits of this smoothie bowl!

Healing Savoury Turmeric Pancakes

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The past two weeks have been quite intense for me as I've been recovering from a concussion. I've been feeling rather nauseous followed by migraines, shoulder and neck pain so as a result I've been eating and drinking as much turmeric, ginger and cacao as possible to help heal myself naturally. As I was feeling much better today I was inspired to make us some savoury pancakes for brunch and decided to add in some turmeric, as a precautionary measure for the pain, and I'm pleased to say that they ended up tasting great (husband approved) so thought I'd share them with the world!

If you haven't heard of all the incredible healing properties of turmeric here's one example. It's a great anti-inflammatory and has been used in many cultures for hundreds of years due to these specific effects which are caused by the chemical curcumin, that gives it the prominent yellow pigment. Recently studies have shown that it's just as effective as taking synthetic anti-inflammatory medication and when combined with black pepper it's bioavailability is boosted making this wonderful golden spice much more potent and effective in healing the body.

So here's a quick recipe which is 100% plant based, gluten free and wonderfully healing. You can get inventive with the toppings and add whatever you have at home. we had left over mung bean curry from dinner last night so decided to use it again, this can be substituted with cooked lentils, chickpeas or left out completely and enjoyed simply with the avocado and cherry tomatoes.

        

 

 

 

Ingredients (Makes 6)

Pancakes

  • 3 flax "eggs" (1 flax "egg" = 1 Tbs ground flaxseeds : 3Tbs water)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Couple pinches Himalayan pink salt
  • Pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

Toppings

  • 1 ripe Hass avocado, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Cooked mung beans/lentils (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Make the flax eggs by combining the ground flaxseeds with water in a bowl, stir to get an even consistency and place in the fridge to set (about 10-15 mins).

Heat up your pan (preferably a non toxic non-stick pan like these) on medium - high heat.

Combine all the pancake ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Once the pan is nice and hot pour a ladle full of the mixture into the pan, using the back of the ladle to spread the batter out making it nice and even. Leave to cook for 3-4 mins, then flip and cook for another 2 mins. Repeat until you've finished all the batter.

Heat up the coked beans or lentils if you're using them. Pour 1/2 the lime juice and a pinch of salt to the thinly sliced avocado . Put the chopped cherry tomatoes in a small bowl along with the rest of the lime juice, sesame oil and a pinch of salt & pepper.

Add a little bit of each topping to your pancake and fold it over for a fancy looking crepe or add A LOT of each topping and eat it messily (my preference).

Enjoy!

February Newsletter: Self-love

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Hello!

I hope January was good to you and that February has welcomed you into it's loving arms. This month is all about self-love, more than ever! We must love ourselves first before we are able to fully spread our love to those around us. This is the time to nourish ourselves and look out for own well being and happiness, something which is easily put on the sideline. Here are some ideas on how you can do that this month:

Qatar National Sports Day

This is a great excuse to be outdoors and get active, there will be a lot of different activities going on around town. I'll be starting my day by practising

Swasthi yoga

with Vishnu at 8:00am at the Sheraton Hotel, free of charge.

Here's a

link

with a lot of the activity details for tomorrow!

Shakti Circles: Miraculous Relationships

The second edition of the Shakti Circles will take place on Saturday 20th February from 4 - 7pm. Wala'a and I will be showing you how colour and food are effecting your relationships. Exploring how they effect your overall vibration to attract love, miraculous relationships with yourself and others including attracting your soulmate.

This workshop will include: - Meditation - Color exercises - Energy clearing - Food for love - Dinner made with love by me!

It will cost 350 riyals per person. Please email me to book your seats, we only have 12 spots for this one, so book early to guarantee your spot!

Recipe

Cook for yourself and your loved ones, I just posted a very comforting curry recipe, why not give it a go?! Here's the 

link

.

Products

Get yourself something from my product range to nourish your body with healthful treats as an alternative to processed factory made snacks. I've added a couple of new items such as a pink sauerkraut, which has a multitude of healing properties filled with natural probiotics which work wonders for your gut.

Here's the

link

for the new product list.

Articles

Some interesting articles I've been reading recently:

A Gut Feeling: How the bacteria inside us influence our weights, our immune systems and our brains.

12 Questions Answered Regarding Vitamin B-12

Understanding Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change

Lots of love from the treetops!

Saba xx

Chickpea coconut curry with seasonal greens

This is a deliciously comforting meal to keep you warm in the winter months, my definition of comfort food. It is inspired by my  Iranian culture and travels to Sri Lanka & India. It's also 100% whole food plant based made with nothing but pure goodness. I've recently started an online course in plant based nutrition with the Center for Nutrtion Studies founded by Dr. T Colin Campbell and it is such a joy to enhance my knowledge of this lifestyle. It has also influenced my food choices, I'm eating more greens than usual and using a lot less fat. The studies in this field are absolutely incredible and it's so interesting to see how much research has been done in the field of plant based nutrition, especially in relation to chronic diseases. I would suggest reading Whole by Dr. Campbell or watching one of his many talks online if you're curious to know just how much our diet affects our health.

Anyhow moving on to the recipe!

The rice and tahdig, crispy Persian rice literally meaning bottom of the pot, are made in a rice cooker. I've found that this is the most foolproof, and fuss-free way of making it without burning the rice. However if you don't have a rice cooker you can also use a non stick pot, preferably a non toxic one like the ones Green Pan make. Follow the instructions to cook the rice as stated below, then when it comes to making the tahdig, make sure you cook the rice on low heat so that it doesn't burn. I admit this is quite an art and gets better with experience and much easier if you use a rice cooker!

The greens can easily be replaced with whatever is in season in your part of the world.

(Serves 6) *Use organic ingredients where possible

Curry

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric, diced or 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, diced or1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 6 plum tomatoes or 3 vine tomatoes, diced
  • 1 kohlrabi, skinned & diced or 1 medium potato
  • 4 teaspoons coconut butter
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, I used brown chickpeas
  • 4 mustard leaves, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 6 spinach leaves, chopped

Coconut Rice & Tahdig

  • 4 cups brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups dried shredded coconut (unsweetened, organic)
  • 8 cups water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or another high smoke point oil)

Coriander vegan "yoghurt"

  • 1 cup fresh coriander, leaves and stalks
  • 2 handfuls cashew nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Apple cidre vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
  • Pinch of sea salt & black pepper 1/2 cup water

Method

1. Rinse the rice a couple times, strain and place in a rice cooker, add the 8 cups water, dried coconut and salt and leave to cook, approximately 30 mins.

*If you don't have a rice cooker please read the notes above.

2. While the rice cooks, add the tablespoon of coconut oil to a medium sized pot and on medium/high heat until the oil melts. Add the diced onion and let cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic, turmeric and curry powder, stir to combine let cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Then add the diced tomatoes, reduce heat to medium/low and allowing the tomatoes to reduce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally add the kohlrabi/potato, coconut butter, chickpeas, and enough water to cover the ingredients by half an inch or so. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.

3. Once the rice has cooked through, gently scoop the rice from the edges of the pot towards the middle to form a pyramid shape. Make 5-6 holes in the rice pyramid by gently poking the back of a spatula through to the bottom of the pot. Pour a small about of the melted coconut oil into each hole, and leave to cook for another 15-20 mins, this is how you get the crispy rice.

4. Add the chopped spinach and mustard leaves to the curry, cover the pot and let cook for 5 minutes, until wilted. Stir to combine, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the flavours to settle.

5. In the meantime place all the "yoghurt" ingredients in a blender (I used my magic bullet), and blend until smooth. 6. Take most of the rice out the pot, except for the bottom layer touching the base of the pot, and using a wooden spatula gently cut and flip over the thin crispy bottom layer.

7. Serve up the dish and enjoy! **This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days and usually tastes better the next day as the flavours infuse further.

Fauxtella Warm Chocolate

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I wrote this recipe as a guest post for www.pantry.qa they are an awesome online family run business based in Doha which provide the local residents with lots of wonderful health and wellness products, while 30% of their profit goes to different charities such as Happy 4 Life. They also stock a selection of my homemade nut/seed butters, granolas etc. Here's the post:

With all the cold weather in Doha lately, I've been drinking lots of hot (well, warm) chocolate to keep me snug. This is not the type which is laden with milk and processed sugars, this hot chocolate is 100% plant-based and is guaranteed to give you an excellent boost of nutrients as it's bursting with superfoods. In order to preserve the superpowers of the superfoods, especially the maca, this hot chocolate, is more warm rather than piping hot. The other advantages being that you don't have to wait until it cools to consume it, and you're very unlikely to burn your tongue!

The fauxtella is already sweetened with 100% pure date syrup, therefore I don't feel I the need to add more sweetener, however you can add your sweetener of choice to the blender with everything else if you would like it slightly sweeter. This is a delicious and nutritious way to keep the winter bugs at bay and an excellent excuse to have chocolate - need I say more?

Ingredients: (serves 2)

2 tablespoons VegetarianTreehouse fauxtella (can be replaced with 1.15 tbs cacao powder & 1 tbs almond butter)

1 tablespoon refined coconut oil

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon maca powder

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of Himalaya pink salt / Celtic sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Method:

- Bring one cup water to a boil in a kettle.

- Add all ingredients to your blender, including hot water and blend until combined.

- Pour the mixture into two separate mugs, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top and enjoy!