BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

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PANCAKES

Preparation & cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 8 medium sized pancakes

Over the weekend I really fancied something hot for breakfast. My breakfasts usually consist of a smoothie, or some fruit, or some oats but I wanted something different. I decided to make some blueberry pancakes as I had just been to the farmers market and bought some really plump and tasty blueberries. Pancakes are one of the best breakfasts going; I am really glad that I like them now because growing up I was never a massive fan of them. This recipe is really easy to put together, and although it is not the healthiest breakfast, I have made sure to add some good ingredients to provide a lot more in terms of nutrient value in comparison to a bog standard pancake recipe. Feel free to mix up the fruit that you use in the recipe; I have made them with raspberries and blackberries before and they have turned out amazingly! There are also so many toppings that you can use, I have included my two favourites in this recipe, but you can use whatever you like the most.

Ingredients:

  • 125g organic plain white flour (you can use the flour of your preference e.g. wholemeal etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • The zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, melted
  • 250ml of almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar
  • 75-100g of blueberries

PANCAKE COLLAGE

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature. You will need to cook the pancakes in batches and keep them warm in the oven until you have used up the batter.

2. In a large bowl combine all of the dry and wet ingredients (apart from the blueberries) together and mix quickly. Don’t over mix the mixture as you don’t want the baking powder to activate in the bowl, you want it to activate as the mixture goes into the pan giving you a lovely fluffy pancake. Gently fold the blueberries into the mixture trying not to burst them.

3. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add in a small amount of coconut oil. This recipe makes 8 medium sized pancakes. Use a medium sized ladle pour one ladleful of batter into the pan. If you are using a large frying pan you may be able to cook more than one pancake at a time. Cook the pancakes for around 2 minutes on each side. Flip the pancake over when the bottom has become nice and golden and bubbles are showing on the top of the pancake. Once the pancakes are cooked place them on a roasting tray in the oven to keep them warm. Keep doing this until you have used up all of the batter. Then serve them up when they are all ready and put the toppings that you like on top.

My two favourite toppings have to be lemon, sugar and cinnamon and then soya yoghurt, maple syrup and chia seed. Both of these are so tasty but you can use the topping of your choice. I would love to hear what your favourite toppings are so I can give them a try.

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Flaxseed: Flax seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are high in vitamin B1, dietary fibre, magnesium and phosphorus and also offer moderate levels of vitamin B3, B5 and B6.

Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is an excellent source of dietary fibre, calcium and iron.

Lemon: Lemons, like with other citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

Blueberries: Blueberries are a good source of dietary fibre, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin K.

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CHIA SEED PUDDING

#MeatfreeMonday, Breakfast, brunch, chia seed pudding, dairy free, Desserts, exercise, fitness, food, free from, fruit, Fruits, fun, General, Gluten Free, go vegam, health, Healthy, healthy food, meat free, meat free monday, nutrition, Snack

Chia seed pudding

Preparation & cooking time: 5 minutes (plus soaking overnight)
Makes: 1 portion

I had never tried chia seed pudding before, but I have noticed that it is becoming increasingly popular in health food stores and healthy cafes, so I decided to give it a go and see what all the fuss was all about. It was so easy and quick to put together, I guess the only drawback is that you have to leave it to soak overnight until you can eat it. It was really, really tasty and it was a new experience for me as the texture is a little unusual because the chia seeds swell and jellify. It reminds me a little bit of rice pudding but there is no downside of feeling guilty about eating it, which is always good. Chia seed pudding is great as a breakfast and it is a great way to start the day but it is also great as a snack.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 250ml of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • A dash of vanilla extract
  • Berries (e.g. strawberries, blackberries or any berry in season/that you like)
  • A mango, cut into small cubes

Method:

1.   In a jar or bowl mix together the chia seeds, coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract.

2.   Cover the bowl/jar with cling film and place in the fridge over night or for around 6-8 hours.

3.   The chia seeds will swell and will jellify leaving a thick textured pudding.

4.   Put the berries and mango over the top of the pudding.

There you have it! So quick, easy, tasty and healthy. I really hope you like it guys!

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.

Coconut milk: Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free so can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance. It is a popular choice with vegans and makes a great base for smoothies, milkshakes or as a dairy alternative in baking.

Maple syrup: Maple syrup is high in manganese and zinc.

Strawberries: Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C and a good source of manganese.

Blackberries: Blackberries are a really good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K.

Mango: This is a really delicious stone fruit that is native to South and Southeast Asia (it is definitely one of my favourite fruits). Mangoes provide a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.

PINEAPPLE RICE WITH MANGO SALAD

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Pineapple rice

Preparation & cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 4 portions

I was never a fan of including fruit in savoury food until about three years ago when my girlfriend made me some pineapple rice. I wasn’t optimistic when she said she was going to make it, but I was so surprised as to how much I enjoyed it and by the fact that my perception of having fruit in a savoury dish changed almost instantaneously. Since then I have been experimenting with adding fruit into different dishes and I have loved it. This recipe is a take on what my girlfriend made me three years ago along with the addition of the mango salad with a delicious Asian dressing. When you make a fried rice dish, it is always better to use rice that has been cooked and left to cool as you will get a much better consistency of rice. I always like to cook the rice the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight.

Ingredients:

For the rice:

  • 3 large handfuls of brown rice, cooked and cooled 
  • 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • A thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch of coriander, roughly chopped (stalks and all)
  • 1 medium-sized pineapple, peeled, core cut out and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 handfuls of broccoli florets, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 handfuls of cauliflower florets, chopped into small chunks
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

For the salad:

  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 3 ripe mangoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 a red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a clove of garlic, crushed into a paste
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • A pinch of sugar
  • A dash of toasted sesame oil

Pineapple rice 2

Method:

1.   Put a very large frying pan or wok over a high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add in the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, coriander (leaving a little to the side for garnish at the end) and pineapple chunks. Fry the ingredients for five minutes and be sure to keep stirring as you do not want any of the ingredients to burn.

2.   After 5 minutes, add the light and dark soy sauce to the wok followed by the broccoli and cauliflower chunks. Again, constantly stirring, incorporate all of the ingredients in the wok and make sure that all of the ingredients are covered by the soy sauce. Add the cold brown rice to the pan and fry and stir to get all of the ingredients combined together. Fry the rice for a further five minutes to get it nice and hot.

3.   When the rice is piping hot, turn the heat off and leave in the pan. You can now quickly make your salad. Firstly, put the spinach, lettuce and mango into a large bowl. Secondly, you can make the dressing; put the light and dark soy, chilli, garlic, lime, sugar, and sesame oil into a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Taste the dressing and check the seasoning to see whether it is well balanced. If it is too salty, add in a little more lime juice and if it is too spicy add in a little more sugar (just adjust it to your taste). Pour the dressing over the salad and using your hands toss all of the ingredients together.

4.   Tightly pack some rice into a small bowl in order to make a rice mound. Turn the rice bowl over onto a plate and carefully lift the bowl off (fingers crossed it will come off nicely and leave you a nice mound of rice). Then put a load of the mango salad around the rice and top with coriander.

There you have it guys, a delicious meal that will blow your socks off! There are so many amazing flavours going on in this dish. Adding the fruit to this meal really turns it up to a new level and it just wouldn’t be the same without it! 

VANILLA ‘NICE CREAM’ BREAKFAST BOWL

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B&V smoothiebowl main

Preparation & cooking time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 large portion

Here is another delicious nice cream breakfast bowl recipe for you today. They make such good, nourishing breakfasts getting you ready for the day ahead! The nice cream in this recipe is so good and is probably better than any vanilla ice cream that I have ever tried before! The good thing with making a vanilla nice cream is that you can literally put anything that you would like on the top as it will go with everything. I just can’t believe how simple, quick and delicious nice cream is and on top of all that it is healthy for you! You cannot go wrong making this! At the moment there are so many delicious fruits that are in season, so you can be as creative as you would like with the toppings. As I have said before in other recipes, use this as a general guide to create your own favourite versions with your favourite fruits and seeds etc.

Ingredients:

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract/paste
  • A handful of strawberries
  • A handful of blackberries
  • A handful of blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mixed seeds (sunflower, linseed, pumpkin)
  • The zest of 1 lime

B&V SB second

Method:

1.   Put the bananas, ground flaxseed, ground almonds and vanilla extract/paste into a blender with a tiny dash of water and blitz until you have a thick and deliciously smooth nice cream.

2.   Pour the nice cream into a bowl and in whatever decoration that you fancy arrange the rest of the ingredients on the top.

There you have it, a really healthy and quick breakfast that will leave you feeling amazing and energised! I hope you like it.

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Bananas: Bananas not only taste great but they are also a great source of vitamin B6 as well as a moderate source vitamin C, manganese and dietary fibre.

Flaxseed: Flax seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are high in vitamin B1, dietary fibre, magnesium and phosphorus and also offer moderate levels of vitamin B3, B5 and B6.

Almonds: Almonds are a nutritionally dense food rich in the B vitamins, vitamin E and the essential minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.

Strawberries: Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C and a good source of manganese.

Blackberries: Blackberries are a really good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K.

Blueberries: Blueberries are a good source of dietary fibre, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin K.

Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.

Sunflower seeds: As with nuts, seeds are a really great nutrient dense food that will provide so much when they are incorporated into your diet. Sunflower seeds are a great source of protein, dietary fibre, all of the B vitamins (B1, B3, B6 and B9 in particular) and they are an amazing source of vitamin E. They also contain high levels of dietary minerals including, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron and zinc.

Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, dietary fibre, vitamin B3 (niacin), iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. They also offer good levels of riboflavin, folate, sodium and potassium.

Lime: Limes, like with other citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

Tropical ‘Nice Cream’ Brunch

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Tropical Brunch

Preparation & cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Makes: Enough for 4 people

When the summer comes around and the weather gets better (which is quite rare in the UK!) all I want to do is eat fresh fruit as I feel so good, hydrated and energised for the day ahead. There is so little energy used in digesting and converting fruit into energy that you instantly feel better and more awake. My girlfriend and I recently went to Barbados, where the weather was absolutely amazing, and all both of us wanted to eat was fresh fruit! There was nothing else that made us feel as good as eating watermelon in the sun every morning for breakfast! Recipes like this are a really easy way to impress people whilst there is literally no effort in making it. If you put a dish like this in the middle of the table it will WOW people as it looks so colourful and appealing but it is also amazingly tasty! It is also a great way to get a wide variety of fruits, nuts and seeds into your diet which will give you a wide array of vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals. Use this recipe as a general guideline and not something that has to be followed meticulously as you can easily use any fruits , nuts and seeds that you wish. 

Tropical Brunch 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 small watermelon, cut in half, scoop one half out so you can use peel as a bowl and slice the other half into slices.
  • 1 honeydew melon, sliced
  • 1 large orange, sliced
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 2 mangoes, that have been frozen
  • 3 bananas, that have been frozen
  • 1 peach, cut into slices
  • A handful of raspberries
  • A handful of pecan nuts
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed seeds (pumpkin seeds, linseeds, sunflower seeds etc.)

Method:

1.   Put the frozen mango and frozen bananas into a blender and blitz together until you have a nice thick and velvety smooth texture. This will take a couple of minutes. If the blender is having to work overtime and is struggling to blend the fruit then add a little drop of water to make the mixture a little looser, but don’t add too much as you want your nice cream to be nice and thick.

2.   Whilst the nice cream is blending, you can prepare your dish. In a big flat bottomed dish place the hollow half of the watermelon and arrange the rest of the sliced fruit around the outside so that people can just grab pieces easily.

3.   Once the nice cream is nice and smooth, spoon it into the hollow watermelon bowl and top it with the seeds, raspberries, pecans and peaches. I really like to grill the peaches as it gives them such a good flavour but if you are following a raw diet then you don’t have to do this.

That is it! Just put the bowl into the middle of the table and watch everyone dig in and really enjoy themselves!

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

From now on, I am going to provide nutritional information along with my recipes to help me further my own knowledge and to hopefully help you understand what and why foods are good for us. By using this nutritional information you can start creating your own meals with the understanding of the composition of foods and what different foods will do for your body enabling you to get a really good balanced diet. I will deliver this information on an ingredient by ingredient basis detailing their composition and attaching links to a separate page where the benefits of all of the vitamins and minerals will be listed. I hope that you find this information helpful and that it plays a good role in the understanding and improvement of your diets.

Bananas: Bananas not only taste great but they are also a great source of vitamin B6 as well as a moderate source vitamin C, manganese and dietary fibre.

Mango: This is a really delicious stone fruit that is native to South and Southeast Asia (it is definitely one of my favourite fruits). Mangoes provide a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.

Watermelon: Watermelon is such a good fruit to eat on a hot day; for me it is one of the most refreshing fruits to eat as it is so hydrating. Watermelon, as you can probably tell by its name, has a high content of water (around 90%). It is also a good source of vitamin C and it is low in fat and sodium.

Honeydew melon: Like watermelon, honeydew melon is a really refreshing fruit and is made up of mostly water. Similarly, it also is a good source of vitamin C.

Oranges: As with most citrus fruits, oranges are an amazing source of vitamin C and they are also good sources of folate.

Apples: Apples are a significant source of dietary fibre with modest vitamin C content.

Raspberries: I love raspberries and I am just grateful that they are healthy for you! They are a great source of vitamin C, manganese and they are among the highest known in whole foods for dietary fibre (this represents 6% of their total weight).

Peaches: Peaches taste really nice (especially when grilled like in this recipe) and they contain diverse essential nutrients, however, they offer no significant values. They are a moderate source of vitamin C, vitamin B3 and vitamin E.

Pecan nuts: Nuts in general provide so many health benefits when included into your diet. Pecan nuts are a great source of manganese, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B6. They are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats as well as being rich in omega-6 fatty acids. The list continues! They are also a moderate source of vitamin B2, B5 and B6. Including nuts into your diet can really have great effects as you can see from this copious list of vitamins and minerals that they contain.

Sunflower seeds: As with nuts, seeds are a really great nutrient dense food that will provide so much when they are incorporated into your diet. Sunflower seeds are a great source of protein, dietary fibre, all of the B vitamins (B1, B3, B6 and B9 in particular) and they are an amazing source of vitamin E. They also contain high levels of dietary minerals including, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron and zinc.

Linseeds (Flax): Linseeds or flax seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are high in vitamin B1, dietary fibre, magnesium and phosphorus and also offer moderate levels of vitamin B3, B5 and B6.

Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, dietary fibre, vitamin B3 (niacin), iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. They also offer good levels of riboflavin, folate, sodium and potassium.

Banana and Chocolate Breakfast Bowl

Breakfast, food, free from, Fruits, Gluten Free, Healthy, quick, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian, what vegans eat, wholefoods

Breakfast bowl

Preparation & cooking time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 bowlful

This type of recipe has become my go-to breakfast recently! Since I have started to eat these in the morning instead of cereals etc. I have felt so much more energised and ready for the day ahead. You can pack so many good ingredients into these that will give you energy for a really good amount of time. It is a really good opportunity to use superfoods *(flaxseeds, chia seeds, cacao etc.)* and is such a great way to incorporate them into your diet.

Ingredients:

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1 heaped teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon ground almonds
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, linseed etc.)
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • A small handful of raspberries
  • A few gratings of orange zest

Method:

1.   Place the bananas, cacao powder, ground flaxseed, ground almond and vanilla extract into a blender and blend until you have a lovely smooth texture. You may need to give the blender a jiggle to get everything started. This should take a few minutes. Scrape down the sides of the blender if needs be as well.

2.   Place the smoothie into a bowl and then decorate the top with the raspberries, mixed seeds, chia seeds, and orange zest. You can be as creative as you like at this point. I like the look of making lines with the chia seeds and mixed seeds but you can make circles etc.

I hope you like this 🙂

* Flaxseeds are one of the richest, natural sources of the omega-3 fatty acid Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) which is great for brain power! This essential fatty acid is not naturally produced in the body so must be sourced from food. Flaxseed is also a great source of calcium which is needed for the maintenance of normal bones and teeth. It also contains Iron which is important in the formation of red blood cells and the transportation of oxygen in the body.

* Chia seeds are another great source of omega-3 fats which contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.

* Cacao rich in calcium, iron, vitamin C and magnesium to help normal energy-yielding metabolism.

Healthy Herb & Avocado Salad

#MeatfreeMonday, exercise, fitness, Fruits, Gluten Free, Healthy, Herbs, plant based, raw, recipes, salad, Sauces, Side Dishes, Snack, summer, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Herb & Avcado Salad

Preparation & cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes: 2 large portions or 4 portions as a side dish

 This is my second raw recipe in a row! It is definitely a way of eating that I am really enjoying and increasingly using it within my everyday diet. The good thing about eating raw food is that there is so little preparation time to actually make the food. Eating more raw food in your diet is great because you will be getting all of the nutrients and goodness from the fruits and vegetables without losing or damaging them (which is a side effect from cooking food). If you are interested in learning more about this way of eating there are lots of books out there and current eating plans such as raw til 4 which embraces a raw diet until 4pm (also let me know and I will write some posts expanding on this). A lot of people have had great success in terms of health, energy and wellbeing following a raw plant based diet.

Salad was a meal that I didn’t really understand (or appreciate) growing up and I generally associated it with a big bowl of iceberg lettuce and not much else, which really doesn’t do a proper salad any justice! The first time that my mind was changed to understand that a salad could be the focal point of a meal instead of an afterthought side element was when my parents made a delicious Jamie Oliver recipe. The salad had everything! It was a salad filled with grilled peaches, nuts, rocket, herbs, crumbly cheese, parma ham and a honey dressing. This was a really big point in my food life and how I perceived salads! For obvious dietary reasons, I now would not eat the salad that I had back then but there are elements that I take and use in every salad that I make. I realised that adding fruit to salads could brighten up everything along with herbs and with the added crunch of seeds and vegetables you can create a dish that covers all flavours and textures! The next time you are going to make a salad, be as experimental and creative as you possibly can and I am sure that you will be so happy and also have a new way of thinking towards a bowl of salad!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large handfuls of spinach (roughly 250g), washed
  • 1/2 a cucumber, thinly sliced
  • A hanful of ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • A large bunch of basil
  • A large bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • A hanful of mixed seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc.)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1.   Firstly, make your dressing. There is a general rule of thumb that I follow when I make a salad dressing and that is to always keep the ratio of 3:1 of oil and an acid (e.g. for this recipe I used 3 tablespoons of oil to one tablespoon of lemon juice). This ratio generally gives you the perfect balance of subtlety and zinginess for the dressing. Once you have the base sorted you can add all of the herbs and spices that you would like to the dressing. Now add in the garlic, cumin seeds and a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning if necessary and leave to the side until the salad has been made.

2.   Now you can put together your salad. In a large bowl toss together  the spinach, herbs, cucumber and tomatoes. Once all of the ingredients are nicely combined, neatly place the avocado on top of the greens. Then scatter the seeds and spring onion over the top of the salad. Give your dressing a good stir and then take out the clove of garlic. The garlic will leave a really nice subtle flavour to the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

I really hope you like this recipe and that you are excited to be creative with your salads.