Gluten free

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

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.

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!

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.

5 Ingredient Delicious Chickpea Crepes

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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!

Mini Gluten Free Cookies

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These cookies were a result of making lots of almond milk for orders of my weekly specials and not wanting to part with the leftover pulp, after all it's an excellent source of fibre! So I decided I would dehydrate it on the lowest setting in my oven for 12 hours as I would be left with raw, almond meal. Everything was going to plan, until about 10 hours in, I wanted to heat up my lunch in the oven, so removed it from the oven while I turned up the heat, warmed up my lunch put the pulp back in. About 5 mins later, I started to smell toasty, sweet almonds and realised what I had done! The almond pulp was now golden brown, a couple minutes longer and it would have burnt. So I took it out the oven, let it cool and whizzed it up in the food processor, resulting in a toasted almond meal. I decided to test it out by making cookies, and I'm so glad I did!

Luckily the recipe is quite versatile and can be made with normal almond meal/flour without having to go through the whole ordeal I did.

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Ingredients (makes 20)

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

1/3 cup buckwheat flour or brown rice flour

6 tbs coconut butter or tahini

1 1/2 tbs date syrup or sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup)

6 tbs cashew milk or 4 tbs almond milk

Optional fillings:

Jam

Dark chocolate pieces (70-85%)

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Method

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius, and prepare a parchment lined baking tray.

Mix the almond meal and buckwheat flour in a medium sized bowl. Then add the coconut butter, date syrup, and cashew milk, and combine until you have a cookie dough consistency. If it's too dry add more milk!

Spoon out roughly 1 teaspoon of dough, roll it into a ball, and place on baking tray. Continue until you run out of dough. Then either gently press down on the dough ball with the back of a fork to flatten leaving a nice imprint. Or use your thumb to gently press down on the dough ball, making a round indent in the centre, and fill with optional filling.

Pop in the oven and bake for 12 mins, turning the baking tray halfway through to brown the cookies evenly. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Enjoy with a nice cup of herbal tea!

Mushroom, Courgette, and Broad Bean Frittata

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This is great recipe to whip up when you want something comforting, filling and nutritious. It's a lovely warming meal on a cold winters night, and great served cold with a simple green salad for lunch or even at a picnic. The veggies can all be substituted with whatever you have at home but I found that this combination was a winner!

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Ingredients (serves 6)

1/2 tbs coconut oil

1/2 a medium onion

1 medium courgette - chopped into quarters

3 cups of chestnut mushrooms - chopped into quarters

1/2 cup fresh or frozen broad beans

1 tbs paprika powder

3 spring onions - greens only, roughly chopped

handful of dill - roughly chopped

4 eggs (preferably organic free range)

1/3 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)

Himalayan pink salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

Heat a large non stick pan over medium heat, add oil and let it heat up, then add the diced onion half. Cook until the onion browns slightly, stirring occasionally.

Add the courgette, and cook for about 5 mins. Then add the mushrooms, and paprika, stir to combine, and cover with a lid for about 3 mins. Add the broad beans, stir and cover for 5-8 mins, or until the mushrooms have reduced in size.

Crack the eggs in a bowl, whisk together with the almond milk, then add the chopped spring onion greens, along with the dill, salt and pepper.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the pan, reduce heat to low and cover. Let cook for 10 mins, check firmness, and flip the frittata. I placed a plate over the pan by holding the plate with one hand and the pan with the other, slowly turning over the frittata and cooking the other side for 3-4 mins.

When cooked all the way through, cut and serve with a simple green salad, and some gluten free bread or crackers.

Enjoy!

Lemony Swiss Chard Soup

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Sometimes all you need is a big hearty bowl of soup, especially during the winter, and this is the one to try. Well it's not exactly freezing in Doha, it's about 20 degrees Celsius, which is cold compared to the scorching 50+ degrees in the summer months!

A lovely friend of mine, Lana, introduced me to a supermarket which stocks some pretty fresh produce from the Levant region, so I've been quite lucky recently with finding fruits and veggies I wouldn't normally have over here. The other day I came across some beautiful Lebanese Swiss Chard stalks just waiting for me to scoop them up! I bought them and they sat in the vegetable bowl on my kitchen counter for a few days as I debated between making dolma (stuffing them with a herbed rice) or soup. I finally decided soup would be the best option given the minimal prep required, and so I tried to recreate a recipe an old colleague had told me about a while back which sounded delicious. I didn't have all the ingredients but decided to work with what I had at home, I replaced potatoes with butternut squash and green lentils with black-eye peas, also fresh coriander with coriander powder. So work with which ever ingredients are easier to get your hands on. Either way, you will have a lovely warming bowl of soup to savour!

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Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups black-eye peas, rinsed
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups swiss chard, sliced
  • 2 tsp sumac powder himalayan pink salt (sea salt is fine too) & black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbs ghee (can be replaced with coconut oil for Vegans)
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs coriander powder

Method:

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot on medium - high heat. Then add the onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until they soften slightly. Stir in the black-eye peas and pour in the vegetable stock. Bring the broth to a boil and add the butternut squash, swiss chard. Season with sumac, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn the heat down and let simmer, covered, until the squash and peas are cooked, approximately 20-25 mins. While you're waiting for the soup to cook, heat the ghee in a small pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and cook for about a minute, then stir in the coriander powder, and remove from heat once the aromas start being released, about 30/40 seconds. Once the peas and squash are nearly done, add the garlic and coriander,and cook for 5 minutes, or until the squash and peas have cooked through. Just before serving add the juice of one lemon, and taste to check seasoning, add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed. Cut up the left over lemon into wedges to serve on the side and enjoy!

Quick and Easy Chocolate Mousse

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This is the easiest chocolate mouse recipe ever! I made it this morning after waking up too early and was instantly blown away. It requires minimal prep which basically involves putting a can of coconut milk in the fridge over night. By putting it in the fridge the coconut milk turns into a beautiful thick cream. I always make sure I have a can in the fridge in case I want to use it for coconut ice cream, quick desserts, smoothies, porridge etc. Make sure your coconut milk doesn't have anything other than coconut milk and water in it though as some have thickening agents and other nasties, so always read the label!

This is a nutritiously delicious way of getting your daily does of healthy fats, which help improve brain function, and works wonders for your skin! Cacao is a powerhouse of antioxidants and also helps alleviate anxiety and headaches. So eat this knowing you are doing your body and taste buds good.

This recipe is for one but can easily be doubled etc.

Ingredients (makes 1)

  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cacao powder / cocoa powder if you can't find cacao easily
  • 1 teaspoon date syrup / sweetener of choice
  • Crumbled walnuts (optional)

Method

Place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight or for at least 4-6 hours.

Take it out when ready and turn the can upside down and open. This is in case any of the coconut milk hasn't solidified.

Scoop out 2 tablespoons of the thick coconut cream and place in a small bowl.

Then add the cacao powder and date syrup and stir it up until all ingredients are well combined.

You can top it with nuts or even fresh berries.

Finally, enjoy!

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!