Coconut Oil

Delicious & Nutritious Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse

raw choc mousse  

I've recently been getting my hands on some really lovely Hass avocados and I couldn't be happier! They are just so creamy and perfect for this recipe. I used to make this quite often back in London, but when I got to Doha I stopped as I couldn't find the right avocados, and trust me I tried, but not all avocados are created equal! So if you decide to make this recipe I would highly recommend using nicely ripe Hass avocados, they are usually more expensive but definitely worth it. This recipe calls for few ingredients therefore using the best quality ingredients really does make a big difference, and the end result is the most rewarding guilt and cruelty free deliciousness!

Avocado is packed with heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which help reduce inflammation. It is also high in fibre which helps stabilise your blood sugar levels. And it's one of the best source of plant based foods for female fertility as it helps balance hormones - I mean just look at it, it looks like a womb!

Raw cacao is high in magnesium, which relieves cramping, probably the main reason why women crave chocolate at that time of the month. It also is great for cardiovascular health as it has shown to reduce the likelihood of strokes & heart attacks.

So ladies this one's for you because you'll be doing your body a big favour by eating this. I don't want to exclude the men here either because they will definitely enjoy it, my husband doesn't like avocado and I've fooled him on several occasions with this recipe!

 

Ingredients (makes 2)

1 ripe Hass avocado (see notes above)

3-4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

3 tablespoons raw honey (maple syrup for vegan option)

1/2 cup almond milk (or non dairy milk of your choice)

1-2 tablespoons coconut butter/coconut oil (optional, it just makes the consistency creamier)

Toppings

Selection of fresh or frozen berries

Pecans or walnuts

Cinnamon powder to taste

 

Method

Place all ingredients except for the toppings in a blender and whizz until you have a nice smooth consistency, you may have to stop and give it a stir a few times depending on the size of your blender. It works beautifully in the magic bullet as it's got quite a small container.

Top with berries, nuts, cinnamon powder, a drizzle of honey and enjoy!

*You can also store it in the fridge for 30 mins to set for more of a mousse like consistency, I personally cannot wait that long and tend to devour it straight away!

5 Ingredient Delicious Chickpea Crepes

Socca

These are the most delicious, filling, easy and protein rich crepes ever! They're naturally gluten free, high in iron, magnesium and Vitamin B-6. These are all magnificent vitamins and minerals which your body needs to function well. Iron produces collagen which keeps your skin looking young & fresh, magnesium helps regulate blood pressure, and Vitamin B-6 aids in regulating your mood and appetite.

I first became familiar with them a couple of years ago through Yotam Ottolenghi's book Plenty  but was living in the UK at the time and couldn't find chickpea flour very easily, so I quickly forgot about them. It was only recently when I read through my copy of Sarah Britton's cookbook Inspired Plant Based Recipes for Every Season that I immediately put the chickpea flour which had been sitting in my cupboard for a few months, to good use! They are traditionally called Socca, in France or Farinata in Italy, and are made with olive oil, however olive oil has a very low burning point so coconut oil is used as an amazingly delicious and nutritious substitute. The toppings are very versatile, so you can use what you've got in the fridge, which is what I tend to do, and wrap them up into a simple and nourishing meal. They also freeze very well, so you can make up a big batch, freeze, then heat them up in the oven quickly when you need them.

As I've been hosting more group cooking classes recently, I'm very aware of using ingredients which are readily available in Doha. And chickpea flour happens to be available in almost all supermarkets here, it's really cheap too, which means you have more money to spend on other whole food items or perhaps a little present for yourself! So Doha people, this one is dedicated to you :)

Ingredients

(makes 4 large  crepes)

Chickpea Crepes (recipe from Inspired Plant Based Recipes for Every Season) 

1 cup chickpea flour (also called besan or gram flour)

Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Pinch fresh cracked black pepper

1 1/4 cup warm water

3 tablespoons coconut oil + more for cooking

Topping Suggestions

Beetroot hummus (regular hummus is also fine)

Carrots

Baby spinach leaves

Goats cheese

Guacamole

Cherry tomato salsa

Pesto

Method:

Sift the flour over a large bowl, then add salt & pepper, mix to combine.

Whisk in warm water and melted coconut oil and let sit for at least 30 mins. This will ensure the crepes hold together well.

Then heat up 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil in large pan over medium heat, once hot pour 1/4 of the mixture to coat the pan. Cook for 5-8 minutes on one side, until bubbles start to form and the crepe holds together well (patience is key here) then flip and cook for 2 mins on the other side, and repeat.

Add your toppings of choice and enjoy!

Spelt and Date Cookies

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It has been quite a busy week as we finally found a lovely apartment and moved in a week today. Of course the first thing to be unpacked and ready to use was the kitchen and I've been trying to understand the way the stove works as it's and electric stovetop and we had a gas stove in London so there have been many trials.You come across delicious looking dates almost everywhere you go here and I ended up buying a pack of amazingly soft medjool dates. When I got home I wanted to make something with them and had a look through a cookbook I bought a couple of years back called When Suzanne Cooks by Suzanne Husseini which is a great book filled with delicious Middle Eastern recipes. I have to say it does help being in the Middle East as the ingredients are easier to come by. I altered the recipe slightly to make it slightly healthier and to suit the ingredients I had at home so instead of white flour I used whole grain spelt flour and instead of butter I used coconut oil, and luckily it worked!

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Ingredients (makes about 2 dozen)

1 1/2 cups whole grain spelt flour 1/2 cup coconut oil 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 3 cups soft dates, pitted and chopped 30 grams 70% dark chocolate

Place the coconut oil, nutmeg and cardamom in a small saucepan and put on low heat until the coconut oil has melted, then set aside.

Put the flour in a large saucepan and place on medium heat and let it toast slightly, stirring constantly, this should take about 10 mins.

Then add the dates to the flour and combine until the dates start to soften slightly then add the coconut oil and remove from heat. Continue mixing well with a wooden spatula. Transfer the mixture onto a clean surface and knead slightly until you get a dough like consistency, then roll it out and if you have a cookie cutter cut the cookies into any shape you like and place onto a lined baking tray.

Melt the chocolate by placing a heatproof bowl/dish over a saucepan with hot water (make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl) and put the chocolate pieces into the bowl and leave them to melt. Once melted using a spoon, scoop out some chocolate and drizzle over the cookies.

Leave the cookies to set for at least half an hour and enjoy with a nice cup of mint tea or a coffee!

Gluten and Dairy Free Pancakes

pancakes

These pancakes are so easy to make you're never going to want to make them any other way. I've tried quite a few different gluten free pancake recipes, and this one was the simplest and most delicious, it was inspired by my friend Paul's cooking show This Dude Knows Food. I like to make them for brunch when I have my friends over and pile them high. Coconut flour is gluten free and high in fibre, which means a little goes a long way, and you'll stay full for longer! Linseeds/flaxseed contain a lot of Omega 3's which are good fats that help keep your heart healthy.

Ingredients (serves 4)

Pancakes 2 teaspoons linseeds 2 organic free range eggs 2 tablespoons coconut flour 1 banana pinch of sea salt coconut oil

Topping Pomegranate seeds Blueberries Pomegranate molasses Honey Honeycomb

Put the linseeds in a food processor/blender for about a minute, so that they get broken up (this is how you get the nutrients into your body). Then add the eggs, coconut flour, banana, and sea salt to the food processor and blend until all the ingredients have combined (about 30 seconds). If you find the mixture is too thick, add a drop of filtered water. Put your frying pan on medium heat, and melt a teaspoon of coconut oil on it. Then put a tablespoon of the pancake mix on the pan, I like to make them small as a little goes a long way. Flip the pancake over when small bubbles start to form on top and repeat until you run out of mixture. When you're done, top the pancakes with pomegranate seeds, blueberries, a few of drops of pomegranate molasses, a drizzle of honey, and if you are luck enough to have some, a small teaspoon sized piece of honeycomb. Enjoy!

Curried Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup

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I have started juicing a lot of vegetables lately and when I do, I save the pulp from the juicer, which is full of fibre, and try to reuse it. It seems like such a waste not to, and if you know me you will know that one thing I hate is wasting food. So the original recipe was made with carrot, fennel and ginger juice pulp but you can also make it with grated carrot, fennel and ginger too. I made this soup the other night for some friends and accompanied it with some delicious fresh Turkish bread from the shop up the road.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 medium butternut squash 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1/2 yellow onion (diced) 2 cloves garlic (crushed) 2 teaspoons curry powder 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon turmeric 2 carrots (grated) 1/2 fennel bulb (grated) 1 relatively large piece of ginger (grated) 1 litre vegetable stock (I use Marigold) 1/2 cup yellow split peas Chilli infused olive oil or olive oil & chilli flakes 6 stalks Tuscan kale/cavolo nero (de-stemmed) Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Peel and chop the butternut squash into small pieces, season with salt and pepper, place on a lined baking tray and pop in the oven for 20 mins. Get your largest soup pot and heat up the coconut oil in it. Then place the onion in the pot and let cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes, followed by the crushed garlic. Add all the spices and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the grated vegetables/juice pulp and leave to cook for about 5 minutes until the flavours infuse. Then add the vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and with a handheld blender, blend the soup into a nice smooth consistency. If you are using juice pulp I would recommend sieving out the soup into a large bowl after blending to avoid having pieces of ginger fibre in the smooth soup. Put the pot back on medium heat and add the yellow split peas, and salt and pepper to taste and then let cook for at least 25 mins. In the meantime de-stem the kale so that you are left with the leaves. Just before you serve the soup, put a pan on low heat and warm up the chilli infused olive oil/olive oil & chilli flakes and quickly cook the kale for approx. 2 minutes. Divide the soup up into bowls and place the kale on top. Enjoy!