Wednesday, 26 February 2014

smile, you are loved!

hello lovely readers! i hope you are well, happy, smiling and feeling beautiful today.

today i've got a little bit of a mish-mash of images to share with you from the past week - a little bit of an insight into my world perhaps, and obviously some of my tasty eats:

breakfast of fried egg on sourdough, with sauteed savoy cabbage, tuscan kale and sweetcorn, with a tahini dill dressing. it is an unconventional breakfast, but 'twas very tasty! #dontknockittilyouvetriedit

i went for a walk with one of my lovely friends in Salisbury, the town i grew up in. it was a lovely sunny day, and perfect for a long 2 hour ramble across the fields, with views of the spire. she's just got a new dog, a very handsome 5 month black labrador, who is very well behaved and cute.

i'm loving being a little experimental with growing things. these are some indoor hyacinths that i have been growing in jam jars by the sink. they've done quite well, and smelt divine when they first opened! ps. this was first posted on instagram, yes, that's right, i now have an instagram account!

whilst on business last week in Bath, we stopped by Mission Burrito for lunch. i ate a salad with medium hot sauce and extra guacamole...

in 2014 my gorgeous mum has been visiting us each monday for dinner, we've tried to make it regular, so that we get a good catch-up and natter about life, the universe, everything. and more often than not i've been discovering notes in my laptop a few days later... it brings me such joy!

the best lunch ever from last week - thai vegetable curry, with avocado and beautiful pink radish sprouts.

so that's my interesting weekend. didn't i tell you it would be a little bit of a mish-mash?

and so to finish this post off, if you haven't already seen this, it's my latest youtube video (i'm nearly at 5,000 subscribers to my channel!!), which has been really popular so far, and so i thought you might like a sneak peek into my porridge making skills...

thanks for reading, and watching!

currently listening to: the rich roll podcast - i'm still addicted. i have been listening on my way to and from work, catching up on the 50something podcasts he's already done. there's so many fascinating guests on there, and it's rahter convincing me that a plant-based diet is the way forward for me.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

lunchbox week #07

you know, it's been a while since I shared some lunchboxes with you, so here are a few for your enjoyment...

leftover prawn curry with salad (cucumber, spinach, grated carrot, tomato, pepper)

squash soup with crispbread, figs and lindt 90%

homemade coleslaw, mixed salad leaves, topped with cucumber, apple, walnuts, peppers and tomatoes

salad of prunes, walnuts, cucumber, celery, salsa, spring onions, cooked chicken, peppers, finished off with some Belgian chocolate (that Pete brought back from a business trip #spoiledwife), and a Gala apple

courgette spaghetti with pesto, salad leaves, tomatoes and peppers, followed by an apple

coleslaw, mixed leaves, cucumber and houmous, followed by a plum and some pecans

thanks for reading! leftovers and quick salads are obviously the optimum lunchtime box for me - light but satisfying, and lots of nutrients. can also be made the day before, which is a real bonus, as i don't want to have to get up at 6am to make my lunch, i'd rather stay in bed!

currently listening to: an album from local band dlugokecki - i was given this as a gift on Valentine's day by the lead, and it's rather good. he actually sang 'I'm a Believer' as his last song, and this was the song Pete and I walked back down the aisle too after we had just got married!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

delicacies and delights of London: part 2

so, here's the much anticipated second part of my trip to London (catch up with the first part here)...

breakfast at my cousin's house was yummy (and a bit naughty) - mandarin with mum's homemade low-carb, gluten free granola and a little yoghurt, a piece of toast, mum's homemade almond brownie (divine!) and a cup of echinacea and raspberry tea.

we hopped on the tube, and went to Pimlico for a little browsing of a new neighbourhood that none of us had ever explored - and we'd heard good things about the charity shops there, as well as the cafes - what could be more perfect?

after picking up a couple of cute kids toys, and a new pair of boots for £8.25, we got back on the tube and headed for oxford street. not for the shops, but for a much anticipated visit to the new Vantra Vita Organic...

it's all vegan, lots of raw vegan food too, and all very delicious!

you can get a box or a plate, the box is £6.50 and you can fill it as high as you want, and the plate you pay for the weight. we went for the box, as it seemed like a better deal. and the food was so yummy. the chickpeas were my favourite, followed by the baby new potatoes...

we were all stuffed after demolishing our boxes, but tried our hardest to fit in some raw vegan cakes, of course! we tried one of each, strawberry, mango and chocolate.

i think my chocolate and raspberry was the best. very rich and smooth, on a bed of cocoa nibs. very yummy...

after our Vantra experience, we went to the V&A museum to browse their collections. then we went back to Le Pain Quotidien near Waterloo, for a final drink and bite to eat before we were to head back to my cousins for dinner before heading home...

Millie had a hot chocolate, and i had a glass of white wine and half of a quinoa and almond scone with ricotta and rhubarb jam. just the perfect bite after a long day's walking.

so that's our trip! it was so good to catch up with my cousin, explore some new places, share new experiences with my family and spend time in one of my favourite places.

thanks for reading! looking forward to sharing some yummy vegan lunchboxes with you soon...

currently listening to: another episode of the rich roll podcast - i'm addicted!

Monday, 10 February 2014

delicacies and delights of London: part 1

i've just come back from a weekend in London with my mum, visiting my gorgeous cousin Millie, and her new husband Nick. i took a good number of snaps to share with you all... there's so many this'll be a two-part post (the second will have the photos of our delicious lunch at Vantra - a vegan and raw restaurant! sneak preview on my facebook page)

 ♥ we went on the train up to London (pre-booked via megatrain to save a few pennies), and we were blessed with gorgeous views of the lovely English countryside, along with many scenes covered in floods of course.

i packed us a little lunch, leftover red lentil and sweet potato stew, topped with a little salad and some feta. my mum was very appreciative. and i was very appreciative of the delicious Honeybuns brownie she has brought with her to share!

we met at Waterloo, and it was so exciting to see her! we had the afternoon to walk a bit round London and have a natter in a coffee house somewhere. firstly though we stopped by the Real Food Festival, sampling delicious falafel, coq au vin and beautiful breads - definitely recommended for any foodie, and perfect for lunch (we'll go there for falafel next time for sure!)

we stopped by Le Pain Quotidien (the one by the South Bank Centre) - it serves chia and coconut milk pudding, quinoa scones, along with it's sugary French pastries and amazing hot chocolates :)

then we strolled along the Thames and took in the scenery...

we went to  Borough Market, as my mum had never been before, and strolled around the different stalls. we bought a naughty German cake filled with custard, marvelled at the mountains of colourful tomatoes on offer and tasted a little bit of each stand.

we stopped by a little German deli near to Neals Yard Dairy and Monmouth coffee, serving fresh pretzels, and all took our first ever bite of proper pretzel - deliciously salty!

we ended the day back at my cousin's beautiful flat, only 20 mins on the train from the centre of London, and she made us a delicious sweet potato, chorizo and egg salad. yummy!

so that's part 1! looking forward to sharing my Vantra Vitao experience with you in part 2...

currently watching: Kevin McCloud's Man Made Home on 4OD - i wish i had my own little house in the woods, makes me think of the girl who married a bear (gorgeous blog, well worth a read!)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

rustic apple and pear tarts, with a buckwheat and almond crust

hi everyone, i hope all is well with you and you have a huge smile on your face.

today i want to share a delicious recipe for a healthy dessert - it's gluten free, sugar free, wheat free, and very yummy indeed.

this all come about because the lovely Sainsbury's team contacted me and asked if i'd like to try some new varieties of apple and pears. and of course, i said yes! i love the opportunity to try new things, and also to create a new recipe...

the orchard assortment box arrives, and upon opening smells delightfully of an English orchard.

there are 6 varieties inside, 2 pears and 2 apples. and they look gorgeous! it astounds me that there are over 7,000 varieties of apple out there and over 3,000 varieties of pear, and shocks me that i've probably only tasted about a dozen....

so onto the tasting! i couldn't wait to try them all - i love my fruit raw usually, and that way you can get all the layers of flavour too. 

they were all delicious. i think though my favourite was the Cameo (bottom right), followed by the Rubens (top right). the Jazz and the Kanzi were sweet, fresh and zesty but not as exciting or new a flavour for me. 

the pears were yummy and they were both very different. the Sweet Sensation has a smokey flavour almost, with a melting flesh, and my favourite the Concorde (a combination of Conference and Comice pears) is crunchy and perfect.

what better to do with these apart from make some delicious homemade apple and pear tarts? i wanted to keep the flavours simple, really highlighting the fresh taste of these varieties. i also don't have heaps of time to bake, so it needed to be a quick and easy recipe too!

rustic apple and pear tart recipe
makes 1 large, or 4-6 small tarts

for the crust:
100g ground almonds
150g buckwheat flour
100g butter (or coconut oil)
zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
1-2tsp ginger syrup (from a jar of stem ginger)

for the filling:
2 apples, sliced thinly
2 pears, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp coconut palm sugar
2-3Tbsp unsweetened jam

1 egg, whisked for the wash
1 Tbsp pearl sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
a few fresh thyme leaves (optional)

1. start by combining the dry ingredients for the pastry. then rub in the butter, until if forms breadcrumbs. add in the egg, lemon and ginger gyrup, and bring together into a ball. pop this in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
2. combine the sliced apples and pears with the cinnamon, lemon juice, cornstarch and sugar.
3. bring the pastry out of the fridge and roll out one at a time into rough circles (divide the dough into as many tarts as you would like). spread the base with the jam, leaving an inch at the edge.
4. pile the fruit mixture on top of the jam, then fold in the edges. you can be as rustic or decorative with this as you like...
5. brush with egg wash, sprinkle with pearl sugar and thyme leaves. 
6. bake in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes, turn down to 160C and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

cook's notes:
- this pastry is so good! i can't recommend this enough to anyone who is on a wheat and gluten free diet, as it's so simple and tasty, it's also low carb and low GI, and very nutritious, what more could you want!
- you could fill this tart with any other fruit (just be careful of the water content of some), and also make it savoury with onions and cheese, or sweet pepper and courgettes.

i'll still be enjoying these apples raw on salad and maybe in my favourite apple sauce on porridge, but for now i can't wait to eat another of these delish rustic tarts!

currently listening to: the rich roll podcast - how have i not discovered this before?!