Antioxidants

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.

Gluten Free Beetroot and Chocolate Cake

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I first made this cake on a cold Autumn day in London. I wanted something rich, comforting, and of course with chocolate but still relatively healthy. I started researching recipes and found one that looked, and sounded delicious, a combination I had never thought of before, beetroot and chocolate! Luckily I had just been to the Notting Hill Farmers Market and bought a big bunch of beetroot so I decided to give it a go. I invited my neighbour Caroline over and we waited for it to bake in the oven, both curious to know the outcome. As it was nearly done, this beautiful sweet chocolatey smell started to take over the flat, and I knew it was going to be a good one! We both had a bite and were in heaven, it was a perfect balance of natural sweetness cut with the bitterness of dark chocolate. So I recently had some beetroot sitting in the fridge and decided to recreate the cake, but this time making a gluten free version using buckwheat flour.

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Buckwheat flour is a great gluten free alternative to whole wheat flours, also it is almost always organic as it grows very rapidly without the use of pesticides. It's high in protein which is great for vegetarians and vegans alike, and has a low glycemic index which means it slowly releases glucose into the bloodstream, which is beneficial for diabetics.

Beetroot helps reduce blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and also stabilises blood sugar. It is high in iron, which is great for women, as most women are slightly anaemic, and is also a great source of vitamin B6.

High quality dark chocolate and cacao are a great source of antioxidants, and mixing them with coconut oil super boosts your metabolism.

Do you need any more excuses to make this cake? I think not!

Recipe adapted from Green Kitchen Stories 

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Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup / honey
  • 70 grams good quality 70% dark chocolate, broken up into small pieces (I used Lindt 70% dark chocolate)
  • 2 cups grated raw beetroot (approx. 2 medium beetroots)
  • 3 flax eggs (1 ground flax egg = 1 tablespoons flaxseeds : 3 tablespoons water)
  • 1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons cacao powder pinch of salt (himalayan pink salt or sea salt)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.

Put the coconut oil in a saucepan on very low heat and add the maple syrup and dark chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate has melted and remove from heat.

Add the grated beetroot to the saucepan and mix well.

Whisk the flax eggs in a separate bowl and then add to the beetroot chocolate mix.

Sift all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and then add in the beetroot chocolate mix, stir well until all ingredients are well combined.

Grease a cake tin with coconut oil and add the shredded coconut to prevent the cake from sticking.

Then pour in the mix and bake for 20 - 25 mins. The colour of the cake would have darkened and the top will have some cracks on it.

Remove from oven, let rest, if you can resist, and enjoy!

Raw Chocolate Madness Pt. 2

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So I know it has been a while since my last post...I was hoping to post part 2 of my raw chocolate experience quite soon after the 1st part as I made them both on the same day. However I got caught up with work and then went on holiday for a month, then I got back, had a serious case of the holiday blues and dived head-first into crazy working hours.

Anyhoo now I am back in the swing of things I am finally ready to put up the second part of my experiment, this time using cacao butter instead of coconut oil. I made this version into more of a healthy chocolate finger-esque bar, you can use a mould to achieve any shape you want, so it's fun to play around with. I had an Ikea silicone ice cube tray on hand and decided to use that. Alternatively you can line a glass oven dish with parchment paper, or basically anything that is flat and has sides which can contain the liquid chocolate mixture!

P.S.Using cacao butter definitely takes raw chocolate taste up to the heavens, but if it's not easy to get a hold of coconut oil is a pretty good replacement.

This recipe is inspired the one on Eleanor's amazingly beautiful blog, Earthsprout.

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Ingredients

1/3 cup cacao butter

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

3 tablespoon coconut sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon maca powder

1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder

himalayan pink salt / sea salt

Crushed pistachio nuts (optional)

Method

Melt the cacao butter in a metal or ceramic bowl over a pot of hot water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.

Once melted remove from heat and sift the cacao powder, coconut sugar, maca powder and vanilla powder over the melter cacao butter and whisk together to combine. Then add a pinch of salt, this will enhance the sweet tones, and whisk away again, making sure all ingredients are well combined.

Pour out the mixture into the mould you are using, if you aren't using a silicone mould make sure to line with parchment paper. Sprinkle some crushed pistachio nuts on top, or whatever else you fancy, and pop in the freezer for 10 - 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Raw Chocolate Madness Pt. 1

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Yesterday I decided to finally try and make some raw chocolate, I had saved a fair amount of recipes and drooled over far too many photos of delicious and nutritious chocolate. According to my recipe research I knew that you can either use cacao butter or coconut oil to make raw chocolate, and since I had both on hand I embarked on a little experiment in The Vegetarian Treehouse Kitchen! I must confess that the finished product seems a lot more fancy and sophisticated than the process. There are very few ingredients required and once you have the basics down you can work with what you have on hand!

So the first test was with coconut oil, and the one thing I had in mind was the Chocolate Nut Butter Cups I had seen on The Whole Pantry App, so I read through the recipe and gave it a go. I changed it slightly according to what I had, i.e. tahini instead of nut butter, and I added in a few extra spices.

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Raw Tahini Filled Chocolate Cups 

These guilt free antioxidant packed beauties will melt in your mouth and work wonders for your skin, digestive and immune systems, as well as providing your body with all the essential minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc. Maca is the epitome of superfood, it balances hormones, promotes mental clarity, alleviates depression, migraines and anxiety while boosting your body with calcium, Vitamin B1, B2, C and E - the list is endless! So enjoy these guilt free deliciously nutritious treats knowing that you are nourishing your body with every bite!

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Ingredients (makes 8)

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 cup 100% pure cacao powder

1/4 teaspoon himalayan pink salt / sea salt flakes

2 1/2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons maca powder (optional)

tahini

cinnamon

handful of goji berries / cacao nibs for topping (optional)

Combine the cacao, salt and maca in a medium sized bowl, then add the melted coconut oil and honey and whisk well so there are no clumps.

Prepare some mini muffin cases (I used reusable silicone ones) and pour 1 tablespoon of the chocolate mixture into each case and place the moulds in the freezer for about 10 minutes or until firm.

Remove from freezer and spoon 1/2 teaspoon of tahini in the centre of each case, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top and place back in the freezer for another 10-15 minutes.

Once the tahini has firmed up slightly, remove from the freezer and top each chocolate case with 1 tablespoon of chocolate mixture, and goji berries or cacao nibs ,if desired, then leave to set in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Remember they are raw so serve immediately or store in the fridge until you're ready to eat them.

Enjoy!

Raw Grape Ice Cream

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I've had an obsession with frozen grapes since I was a little girl. Growing up in Dubai it would get really hot in the summer and I would usually pop a cup of grapes in the freezer and a couple of hours later I would have a deliciously refreshing snack. Living in Doha reminds me a lot of Dubai back in the day and I guess it triggered a memory of having frozen grapes. So I bought some red grapes, gave them a wash, removed the stems, popped them in a tupperware and put them in the freezer. Since the weather isn't very hot here yet I completely forgot about them and when I went to get some ice for my drink the other day I saw the grapes sitting there waiting to be eaten or better yet made into something. So I decided to experiment with them as I had quite a big batch and decided to make a dairy free, raw ice "cream" and best of all, without an ice cream maker!

Red grapes are packed with antioxidants, potassium and vitamin K, while cashew nuts are filled with heart healthy mono-saturated fats which help lower cholesterol. Since all these ingredients are raw, your body will be benefiting from all the nutrients this ice cream has to offer.

Ingredients (serves 4)

100g raw cashew nuts
180g frozen red grapes
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons raw honey or agave syrup

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until you have a nice smooth mixture.

Pour into a tupperware and place in the freezer.

After about an hour, once the edges of the mixture start to harden slightly, take out of the freezer and whisk vigorously with a fork to break up any ice crystals.

Put it back in the freezer and freeze until firm (at least 4 hours or overnight)

Enjoy you're deliciously nutritious raw ice cream!

Sunshine Juice

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I wasn't feeling well last week and the day I made this juice was the day I started to get better. Just looking into the glass and seeing all the beautiful natural colours lifted my mood and helped me be more positive! So I decided to call it the Sunshine Juice, because it felt like I was drinking up the summer sun with every sip, even though it was wet and windy outside.

Oranges are filled with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and protect your body from viral infections. Beetroots have a lot of antioxidants so they aid your body in fighting off any nasty toxins, and are high in iron which helps if your feeling fatigued. Kale is an anti-inflammatory and again an antioxidant. Carrots have a list of benefits, they are a great antiseptic, and rich in Vitamin A which assists the liver in flushing out toxins from the body. Cucumbers are a great source of B vitamins, Vitamin C (found in the skin, so please don't peel them!), and mostly made of water so are a great for keeping your body hydrated. Ginger helps the absorption of nutrients into your body and has a wonderful warming quality, which is probably why this juice reminded me of the summer sun!

sunshine juice

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 large oranges 6-8 curly kale leaves - stems removed 1/2 beetroot 2 carrots 1/2 large cucumber Big piece of ginger

Put all the ingredients into the juicer, let it work its magic and enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Daal

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I just whipped this up for lunch today with the few bits of food I had left over from last weeks shop and thought I would share it as it was so scrumptious! I find that when I'm limited on ingredients I'm obliged to get creative and most of the time surprise myself. This is essentially a vegan recipe but I had it with a bit of natural set yoghurt and dried mint.

Sweet potatoes have so many benefits, so here are just a few, they are rich in magnesium, iron, and Vitamin D, so your energy levels will increase and you are less likely to get stressed out! Red peppers are a great source of antioxidants, and Vitamin C which aids with the absorption of iron so the two ingredients work harmoniously well together.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil 2 cloves garlic (minced) 1/2 large sweet potato (thin slices) 1/2 red pepper (cubes) 2 teaspoons curry powder 1 teaspoon cumin powder 1 teaspoon ginger powder 1 teaspoon chilli powder 1 teaspoon turmeric powder 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar 1 cup tomato passata 1 cup boiling water 1 cup yellow split peas sea salt and black pepper to taste Chives

Heat up the coconut oil in a wok on low heat. Place the minced garlic in the pan and let cook for a minute, then add the sweet potato. Once the sweet potato is coated with the garlicky oil add the cubed red pepper and let it cook. Add the curry powder, cumin, and ginger powder and stir everything together and cook for 2 minutes. Then add half of the boiling water to the wok, and all the tomato passata, then the rest of the water. Now add the chilli and turmeric powder, brown rice vinegar, salt and pepper and stir it up (little darling....) Add the split peas, turn the heat up to medium and bring the broth to a boil. Then reduce the heat and leave to simmer (uncovered) for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally. When the 20 mins is up, cook for a further 5 minutes with a lid on, then turn off the heat and let it sit for a couple of minutes. And finally, serve with freshly cracked black pepper, chives. Enjoy!