Tropical ‘Nice Cream’ Brunch

Breakfast, brunch, Desserts, exercise, fitness, food, free from, fruit, Fruits, fun, Gluten Free, Healthy, Holidays, ice cream, nice cream, nicecream, plant based, quick, raw, recipes, smoothie, smoothiebowl, smoothies, summer, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian, what vegans eat, wholefoods

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.

Pineapple & Orange Sorbet!

#MeatfreeMonday, Desserts, exercise, fitness, Fruits, fun, Gluten Free, Healthy, plant based, recipes, summer, Vegan

Pineapple & Orange Sorbet

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

After lunch the other day, I really fancied something sweet yet healthy. I had a lot of fruit in the house but I wanted something cold as it was a hot day so I decided to make some healthy sugar-free sorbet! I am so glad that I did because it was so tasty and refreshing! This recipe is similar to ‘nice cream’ which uses banana as a base and creates the most amazing soft serve ice cream that to me actually tastes better than actual ice cream. What I like about this recipe is that it is so hydrating and refreshing. Using fruit this way is also a really good way of minimising any waste as you can just cut up any fruit that is on its last legs and freeze it in a sandwich bags which makes it perfect for smoothies or for sorbet. You could literally do it with all fruits, for example, kiwis, mango, blueberries, strawberries, apple etc. and then create all sorts of sorbet flavours. Kids will also love this recipe as it tastes great and they can get involved; it is also a great way of ensuring that they are eating a lot of fruit instead of processed sugars.

Ingredients:

  • 150g frozen pineapple chunks
  • 150g frozen orange segments
  • 150-200ml of water

Method:

1.   Firstly you need to freeze the fruit; so chop up the pineapple and peel and pull apart the orange. Place the fruit into freezer bags and put them into the freezer until they are fully frozen.

2.   This is so simple!! All you need to do is add the fruit and most of the water to a blender (I use a NutriBullet which is powerful and makes a nice smooth sorbet). Depending on the power of your blender you may not need all of the water so add it gradually. Blend the mixture until you have a lovely silky smooth texture and then transfer the sorbet into a bowl or a jar and enjoy!!

Get kids to make their own sorbets as it is a great way in getting them healthier. Let me know what sorbet flavours you come up with.

Blackberry, Orange & Hazelnut Brownies!

Baking, coffee, Desserts, Fruits, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

DSC_0028Makes: 9 (generous) portions
Preparation & cooking time: 35 minutes (including cooling time)

One of the most underwhelming and anti-climatic feelings in the whole world is when you buy (or make) a chocolate cake that looks so moist and chocolatey but when you bite into it, it delivers a dry and bland regular sponge flavour that just disappoints on every level! In my opinion, when you have a chocolate cake or brownie, you want it to have the most chocolatey flavour possible! If you share this feeling then this is the perfect recipe for you, as it really is so rich and chocolatey you do really need something to cut through the sheer chocolatey-ness (such as the blackberries in this recipe). I added in the orange zest and hazelnuts to this recipe as these are just classic flavour combinations that you just go so well with chocolate, but I wanted another element to it, a sharper more exciting element that will give you a slap around your face when you are eating it, and this is when I thought of adding blackberries. It may not be the most well known of fruits to be paired with chocolate, but for me they go together so well as the tartness of the blackberries really cuts through the chocolate and knocks your tastebuds for six when you have them in these brownies. There are two rules that I follow when I work with chocolate; 1) I always add a pinch of salt to the recipe when there is chocolate involved as the flavours really do intensify and makes the recipe even more chocolatey and 2) For the same reasoning, I will always use a shot of really good espresso to the chocolate mixture. Coffee and chocolate share a lot of qualities and when they are paired together the flavours are just taken to another level! As you can see from the picture, half of my brownies are coated in hazelnuts and the other half is not. I have only done this as my girlfriend does not like hazelnuts in brownies! If you like the combination then you can coat the entire mixture with hazelnuts or leave them off completely 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 75ml vegetable oil (plus a little extra for greasing)
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 80g light brown sugar
  • 170g self raising flour
  • 3 really heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 180ml almond milk
  • 50ml espresso
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • The zest of 2 oranges
  • 100g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • A handful of blackberries, roughly chopped

Method:

1.   Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a square baking tin (roughly 24cm) with a little vegetable oil and then line it with greaseproof paper to make sure that brownies have no chance of sticking.

2.   Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl) and break in the 200g of chocolate. Once melted, leave to the side to cool a little.

3.   Sieve the flour and the cocoa powder into a large bowl, then stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds and add these to the bowl along with the grated zest of one orange, 50g of hazelnuts and half of the blackberries. Mix in the oil, almond milk, espresso and melted chocolate until you have a silky smooth batter.

4.   Pour the batter into the prepared tin and then sprinkle over the remaining hazelnuts, orange zest and blackberries. Put the tin into the oven for around 20-25 minutes or until you have a lovely crust on the outside of the brownie whilst the middle is still deliciously gooey! Once the brownies are ready, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve them warm with some ice cream or a milkshake!!

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I hope you like this recipe and trust me if you have a craving for chocolate then look no further, I guarantee that this recipe will satisfy your craving instantly!

Spiced Orange and Chia Seed Cake with Coffee Ice Cream

Baking, coffee, Desserts, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

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Makes: 12 portions
Preparation & cooking time: 3 – 3 1/2 hours (including freezing time for the ice cream) 

Hi guys! This post is my entry for PETA’s Great Vegan Bake-Off 2014. I only found out about the competition a few days back and I immediately thought that I had to enter for two reasons. Firstly, I think that PETA is an amazing organisation that has done a brilliant job of educating numerous amounts of people on the important issue of the treatment of animals within our society and I am sure their efforts will be seen even more in the future and secondly, it has given me a chance to practice my vegan baking! Since becoming vegan, baking really hasn’t been my strong point, however, I hope that you like my entry, a spiced orange and chia seed cake with a coffee ice cream! I decided to go for this combination as I love the partnership of orange with powerful spices as I think they really compliment each other and I had to follow one of the main elements of my blog by adding a coffee ice cream with it. For those of you who haven’t had the combination of orange and coffee before, you should definitely give it a go as they really do go well together! If anyone enjoys vegan baking then click on the link above and enter a recipe, it is great fun and for a great cause. I hope you like the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Oranges
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 300g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon chia seeds
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Orgran No Egg (a natural egg replacer), (7 teaspoons egg replacer to 14 tablespoons of water)
  • Dairy free chocolate (for decoration)
  • 2 Frozen bananas (peel and slice the bananas before freezing)
  • 2 shots of the best quality espresso you can get/make

Method:

1.   Place 3 of the oranges into a large deep pan and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then place a lid over the pan, turn the heat down and leave the oranges to simmer for 2 hours. To check if the oranges are finished, slide a knife into the skin of the orange and if it goes in really easily and the inside of the orange has broken down then they are definitely done. Once the oranges reach this stage drain and leave them to cool in a colander.

2.   Whilst the oranges are cooling, you can prepare the ice cream. This is such a simple way of making really tasty (and healthy!) ice cream and it can be made into whatever flavour you fancy! Put the frozen banana slices and the 2 shots of espresso into a food blender and blend until you have a really silky smooth mixture. You can add whatever flavour you like to the banana base; I really like adding frozen berries to the mixture. Once the ice cream is silky smooth, pour it into a container, cover it with a lid (or cling film) and put it into the freezer. Simple!

3.   Once the oranges have cooled, slice each of them in half and remove any seeds. Roughly chop the oranges (skin an all!) and place them into a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth orange mixture. Preheat the oven to 160 C, then line an 8 inch (20cm) cake tin with grease proof paper and then grease with vegetable oil just to be sure that your cake will not stick to the tin.

4.   Put the orange mixture into a bowl and then place 450g of the mixture back into the food processor (you can then discard the rest, or keep it for another recipe) along with all of the dry ingredients (except for the chia seeds) and the 14 tablespoons of water and blend until you have a nice smooth batter. Once the mixture is smooth, mix in the chia seeds with a spoon. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and put into the oven for 1 hour – 1 1/2 hours. Check the cake every now and then to make sure that it isn’t burning. If you feel the cake is colouring too quickly on the top, cover the tin with tin foil for the remainder of the baking time. To check if the cake is done, pierce the cake with a skewer and if the skewer comes out clean (without and cake mixture on it) then the cake is done. Keep the cake in the oven until it has reached the point where the skewer comes out clean. Once the cake is cooked, place the tin on a wire rack and once the cake has cooled completely, remove the cake from the tin.

5.   Now you are ready to plate up! Take a generous slice of cake and place it in the middle of the plate, then put a nice spoonful of the ice cream on the top of the cake and top this with the zest of the remaining orange and some chocolate shavings!

I really hope that you like this recipe and give it a go! 🙂

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