Chocolate Almond Butter

Where did December come from?! This year was plodding along at a seemingly reluctant pace, and now all of a sudden it’s the last month of the year, the final chapter of 2014.

Exactly this time last year, we we’re packing our suncream and insect repellant, ready to embark on 3 months travelling around Sri Lanka and Indonesia. It feels like yesterday but also like forever ago.

Fast forward a year and I’m sat in thermals in front of our fire, with a big mug of coffee, planning recipe ideas and watching the frost melt away.

This delicious spread is the perfect way to break into the Christmas spirit. Use it as a spread, filling in baked goods, or go crazy and eat it straight out of the jar.

Because if Christmas isn’t a good excuse for a little indulgence, then what is?!

Chocoloate Almond Butter

 

Chocolate Almond Butter

INGREDIENTS:

200g almonds
70g dark chocolate (use 85% cocoa if possible)
1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)
1 tablespoon organic cocoa powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt

METHOD

Add almonds to a food processor and blend for 6-8 mins. Keep stopping to scrape down the sides.

While the almonds are mixing, melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in a pan over a low heat. Add the chocolate mix to the almonds. Add in cinnamon, cocoa and salt.

Keep mixing the almonds until they reach your desired consistency. I like them a little crunchy still, so this took around 10 mins. For a smoother paste, it can take up to 16 mins. Do this is steps so as not to burn out your processor.

Once you have a paste you are happy with, pour into an airtight container and store in fridge. If you want to keep the butter quite runny, keep outside the fridge, and stir before each use.

Chocolate almond butter

Chocolate almond butter

Date, Apple and Walnut Loaf

The sky was so clear last night, I’ve never seen so many stars scattered across the night-time curtain of dark blue. Then, when the sun rose, there was a crisp, silver blanket spread over the city. Blades of grass turned into silver swords, puddles into mirror like circles. The mist sitting so heavily along the canal. The first frost of winter.

The condensation on the inside of our boat’s windows had frozen, and we could see our breath, it was so cold. Thankfully we have a brilliant wood burner, and it soon melted away any trace of winter.

Date, Apple and Walnut Loaf

This loaf is just what you need this time of year, run home, heat yourself up a nice mug of Chai, and cut yourself a hunky bit of this tasty loaf.

If you can resist, leave this to sit overnight, as it tastes even better the day after.

Date, Apple and Walnut Loaf

Date, Apple and Walnut Loaf

INGREDIENTS:

200g pitted dates
70g dried cranberries
90g unrefined light brown sugar
200g wholemeal flour
50g coconut flour
100g chopped walnuts
1 apple (peeled and cut into small cubes)
1 egg  (use 1 mashed banana if you want to make this vegan friendly)
25g mixed seeds (I used sunflower and pumpkin)
3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon all spice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon sea salt
Sprinkling of sesame seeds

METHOD

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 (180 C)

Grease and line a loaf tin.

Chop the dates and cranberries and add to a saucepan with the apple pieces. Add 4 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 15 mins. It should form a paste. If you need to you can mash it a bit with a fork.

While the dates are cooking, melt the coconut oil in a pan. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix the flours, walnuts, seeds, baking powder, spices and salt.

Add the melted coconut oil to the date-apple paste, along with the sugar, and egg (or banana), mix well.

Mix the wet with the dry, until just combined (don’t over mix)

Spread into your loaf tin, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake for approx. 50 mins (or until a knife comes out clear of mixture)

Let the loaf sit for 15 minutes then turn out onto rack and leave to cool.

Date, Apple and Walnut Loaf

Parsnip, Ginger and Chickpea Soup

C arrived home last week with a big grin on his face. When I asked him what he was so happy about, he emptied his pockets and produced three big parsnips. “I’ve brought you some parsnips” he announced. As it turns out, they were the first vegetable his colleague had managed to grown in his veggie patch. His colleague had brought them into work and dished them out to everyone.

I, however, did not share C’s excitement. I’ve never really understood parsnips, feeling like they don’t really add much to anything, and lack the flavour that so many other roots have going for them. But you can’t say no to free food, so I decided to give them a second chance.

Parsnip, Ginger and Chickpea Soup

This soup can easily be adjusted to whatever is left in your veg basket. For me, that was some ginger, a carrot and a potato. I threw in the chickpeas add some extra protein and fibre. I love the heat that the ginger gives it, warming you up from the inside out.

This is a nice and quick recipe. Good for those days when you just want to put your feet up in front of the fire. You can chuck this all in the pan, and relax.

Parsnip, Ginger and Chickpea Soup

I served this punchy soup with a nice focaccia bread. I cut out the cheese from this recipe.

Parsnip, Ginger and Chickpea Soup

INGREDIENTS:

2 parsnips
1 carrot
1 medium potato
1 onion
Thumb size piece of ginger
1 tin chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
Sea salt + pepper
1 organic vegetable stock cube (or Bouillon)
1 litre hot water
METHOD

Peel and chop the onion, parsnip, carrot and ginger. Saute the onions slowly in a medium saucepan, until they turn slightly golden. Add the ginger and cook for a few minutes.

Add the rest of the veg and cook with the lid on for 5 mins. Add a little water if necessary.

Mix the stock cube into 1 litre hot water. Add into soup.

Cook until all veg is soft and tender. Once soft, blend soup with a stick blender.

Add chickpeas, and salt and pepper, and cook for 15 more minutes.

Check for seasoning, add some ground ginger if you would like more heat.

Serve with warm foccacia bread.

soupandfocaccia2

Parsnip, Ginger and Chickpea Soup

Blueberry Chia Jam

Now, this isn’t your run-of-the mill jam recipe. It’s simple and doesn’t involve any cooking. My kinda jam!

I’m not a massive toast fan anymore, so tend to not eat too much of this fruity, sticky treat. I like a dollop of it on my porridge now and again. But since making this recipe, I can’t stop eating it, thickly spread over a good bit of toasted bread!

Blueberry Chia Jam

My mother informed me that it should be called a ‘conserve’ and not a jam, as the sugar content this recipe is low/ non-existent. But jam just has a better ring to it really, doesn’t it? Plus I didn’t even know what a conserve was until she told me.

This jam is so easy to make, refined sugar-free, and contains a whole load of minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.

 

Blueberry Chia Jam

INGREDIENTS:

150g blueberries
2 tablespoons Chia seeds
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon Agave (optional)

METHOD

Add blueberries to a blender and blend until you have a paste. Scrape blueberry mix into a bowl.

Add the chia seeds and water. Mix well for a few minutes, making sure the seeds are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Add agave if using, and mix again.

Add to a jar / container and refrigerate overnight.

By the morning, the seeds will have swollen and your jam will be ready to rock!

Keep refrigerated in a sealed jar, and consume within 4-5 days.

Blueberry Chia JamBlueberry Chia Jam

 

Roasted Aubergine Cabbage Rolls

I love the colours that autumn brings. The bright oranges and reds, the endless pink skies. But it’s been a little wet of late, and it is getting to me. It gets to my bones and makes me ache inside. But I am lucky to be able to come back to the boat, get the fire roaring and snuggle up in front of it. Our wood burner packs some heat, and in no time I’m sat in a vest with the windows open, fanning myself with an old magazine.

This recipe is a great alternative to a good old Sunday roast, or just when you need something warm and comforting to see you through these long winter nights. It’s really easy to make, and you can play around with the herbs and spices to fit the flavours to suit your needs!

Unfortunately, we both enjoyed these so much, they barely even touched the plates. Hence the no ‘end result’ photo. But hey, use your imaginations, and serve these little beauties with whatever you wish!

winter on the boat
winter on the boat

Roasted Aubergine Cabbage Rolls

Makes 4-6 Rolls

INGREDIENTS:

2 Aubergines
2 Courgettes
1 Red Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Tin Cannellini Beans (rinsed)
1 Savoy Cabbage
Fresh Thyme / Rosemary
Other dried herbs such as Majoram
1 tsp Cumin
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil (for roasting)

Roast Aubergine Cabbage Rolls

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5 (190 C)

Peel the onion. Roughly chop with the courgette into large chunks. Slice aubergine down the middle.

Place in a baking tray with the garlic cloves. Drizzle with oil and scatter your herbs and salt and pepper. Toss all veg in the herbs to get an even coating, but leave your aubergine flesh-side down in the tray.

Cover with foil, and roast in the oven for 35-40 mins, or until the courgette is soft.

Once cooked, leave to cool on the side.

Place a shallow pan of water on the hob to boil.

Discard the first outer layers on the cabbage. Then peel off 6/7 leaves, be careful not to break them. Add them to the boiling water and steam (covered) in the pan for 5 mins. Drain and rinse them with cold water.

Once cooked, carefully remove the thicker parts of the cabbage spine with a knife (just the lower thicker section). Leave to one side.

Scrape the aubergine flesh out of the skin, and into a food processor. Add the roasted courgette, onion and garlic. Add cumin / cayenne pepper if desired. Blitz in food processor for 30 secs. Add to bowl and mix in cannellini beans.

Lay cooked cabbage leaves on a board and add a large spoonful of the vegetable mixture to the centre of the leaf and starting at what was the stem-end, fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage to enclose the filling. Place the cabbage rolls side by side, seam-side down, in a ovenproof dish.

Bake (covered) in the oven for 35 mins. Serve on a bed of mashed sweet potato, with a big, warm helping of gravy.

Roast Aubergine Cabbage Rolls

Chocolate Quinoa Crunch Bars

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” 

OK, I love these little things. Like LOVE them. So much so that I contemplated not sharing the recipe, I wanted these little bad boys all to myself. But where’s the fun in that? Plus, sharing is caring, right?

These beauties are so easy to make (especially if you cook the quinoa the day before), and super charge an otherwise dull lunchbox! They are ready after an hour or so, and because you are using a high percentage dark chocolate, you don’t even need to feel guilty about going back for another one, and another, and another…

Chocolate Quinoa Crunch Bar

Chocolate Quinoa Crunch Bars

Makes 6-8 Crunch Bars – For a larger tub / tray, double up all ingredients. (I used a tuppawear 8″ X 6″)

INGREDIENTS:

250g Organic Dark Chocolate (I used G&B’s 90% cocoa)
125g Quinoa
100g Dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
100g Mixed chopped nuts (I used almonds, pecans and walnuts)
2 ½ tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

 

Chocolate Quinoa Crunch Bar

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark ½ (120 C)

Line a tuppawear or tray with cling film.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, cook the quinoa for 12 minutes (cooking times may vary so double check the instructions on the pack). Once cooked, drain the quinoa and spread in a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 45 mins (or until quinoa has dried out, make sure you stir regularly)

Once quinoa has dried out, heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a large frying pan. Add the quinoa, and fry until crispy (be careful not to burn). You want the quinoa to turn a nice golden brown colour and be crispy to touch.

Once done, remove from pan and transfer onto kitchen roll. Set aside to cool.

Melt 200g chocolate and 2 tablespoons coconut oil slowly in a saucepan over a low heat. As soon as the chocolate and oil have melted and combined, remove from heat.

Add cooked quinoa, chopped nuts and cranberries to the melted chocolate. Mix well.

Spread the chocolate mixture evenly across the tray, pushing it into all corners, making sure the nuts are evenly distributed.

Cool in fridge for 1 hour.

After an hour, melt the remaining chocolate and coconut oil with the maple syrup, pour over the top of the bars. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Refrigerate for 2 more hours, or overnight if possible. Enjoy, guilt free!

 

Chocolate Quinoa Crunch Bar

Mango, Pomegranate and Lemon Balm Salad

Today started off miserable as hell. I’ve heard some loud rain, but this was something else. Living on a (metal) boat, when it rains it feels like the world is ending. The rain pummels on the steel and makes such a racket all I want to do is hide under the duvet and make a nest! However, after an hour, the clouds cleared and it became such a beautiful, sunny autumn day. As if it had never rained at all. The sky turned that crystal blue, and it almost felt like summer again.

Hamfolly Narrow

 

So I felt today deserved a shining salad, (to be honest, I think everyday deserves a salad!) packed full of colour and flavours. Let’s pretend that summer is still here, let’s eat lunch in the garden… in a coat.

Mango Pomegranate and Lemon Balm Salad

Mango Pomegranate and Lemon Balm Salad

 

Mango, Pomegranate and Lemon Balm Salad

INGREDIENTS:

1 Mango (peeled and de-seeded)
1/2 Pomegranate
Handful of Lemon Balm leaves
7 Cherry tomatoes
Red chilli (optional)
Cos or Romain lettuce
Rocket
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Chilli flakes (optional)

METHOD

Slice up your peeled mango into 1cm cubes. Slice the tomatoes in half and add to a mixing bowl with the mango. If using, dice and de-seed chilli and add to bowl.

Scoop the seeds from the pomegranate, removing all the white membrane. If you have excess juice, pour this into a separate bowl. Add seeds to mixing bowl.

Roughly chop the lemon balm, and add to the bowl with the rest of the salad.

In the bowl with the pomegranate juice, add a dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and the chilli flakes if using. Mix well.

Serve salad on a bed of Cos and Rocket leaves. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy!

Mango Pomegranate and Lemon Balm Salad

Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon and Cardamom

Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon and CardamomOK, So I know halloween has been and gone, but Autumn is still alive and kickin’, and that means pumpkin in all it’s glorious forms!

So technically this ‘Pumpkin Pie’ is actually a butternut squash pie, but that just doesn’t sound quite as good. But the squash gives a slightly better flavour and texture than the pumpkins that are around at the moment.

This pie was inspired by a good friend of mine over at Happy Hearted Kitchen and also from one of Tom Hunt’s recipes. It’s not too sweet, so if you’re not a huge sweet fan, fear not, for I think this suits most peoples taste.

Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon and Cardamom (GF)

INGREDIENTS:

For the crust:
200g pitted dates (I used Medjool)
150g Oats (use certified gluten free if possible)
Handful crushed walnut pieces (or other crushed nuts)
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
1 tablespoon Maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the filling:
1 large Organic butternut squash
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
50g unrefined light brown sugar
6 cardamom pods
2 tablespoons Maple syrup
100ml Almond milk
1 egg

 

Method

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C

Peel and cut the squash into small chunks. Place on a baking tray, and sprinkle with the cinnamon, ginger, sugar and cardamon pods. Drizzle with maple syrup. Cover with foil and roast for 30-45 minutes (or until soft) Be careful not to colour the squash.

In a food processor, mix the oats, walnuts and dates until starting to combine and stick to the sides. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon and melted coconut oil, blend until fully mixed into a sticky consistency.

Grease and line a pie tin with baking paper. Take your dough mixture from the processor and push it around the tin with your hands, filling all the gaps, spreading it around evenly.

*Now, if you prefer your crust a little crunchy, you can pop your crust in the oven for 10 mins before adding the mixture. I prefer mine softer, so missed this step out*

Remove the squash from the oven and place in a food processor. Blend until smooth and allow to cool. You can mash the squash if you prefer.

In a bowl, mix the blended squash, egg and milk until fully combined. Add mixture to the pie tin on top of the crust.

Cook for 25-30 mins. If you have pre-cooked your crust, the cooking time may be less. Check back after 15 mins, to avoid burning the crust.

Serve with a dollop of ice-cream and drizzle with maple syrup.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon and Cardmom

 

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

Avocadosmoothie

OK, So I know I just did a breakfast post, but I felt this little marvel needed sharing straight away, and it’s not technically just for breakfast!

I love avocados, they are packed full with vitamins, fibre and healthy fatty acids! They also contain 35% more potassium than a banana.
I try and combine them into most meals, but with the weather turning colder, it’s becoming harder to find those perfectly ready-to-eat ripe ones that are plentiful in the warmer months. I’ve had a few sat in the veg basket for while now, which just don’t seem to want to ripen, but in this smoothie they blend perfectly.

Avocadosmoothie3

It is super quick to make, and will keep you going until lunchtime.
This smoothie is pretty thick, and could even be served as a pudding.

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 Avocado
1 Banana
1 heaped tablespoon organic cocoa powder
200ml Almond milk (use more for a thinner smoothie)
1tsp Agave or other sweetener (optional)
Handful hazelnuts (optional)

METHOD

Scoop the flesh out of half the avocado. Peel the banana. Add to blender with the cocoa, almond milk, hazelnuts and Agave if using. Blend for 30 seconds, or until smooth. Serve immediately, over ice if desired.

Avocadosmoothie22

Coconut Pancakes with Pecans and Almonds

I’m pretty ‘pro’ breakfast, hell, I get excited about breakfast as I’m falling asleep at night. So many great options to begin your day, I just don’t get why some people skip it.

The Spanish have a old proverb; Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. And I sure won’t argue with that.
Pancakes are one of my favourite breakfasts, I love creating the batter, whisking it until light and fluffy, but mostly I like them because it feels like I’m eating cake for breakfast! Who wouldn’t want that? I prefer the American kind, thick and fluffy. And replacing regular flour with Coconut flour gives them that extra kick, and starts your morning off with a bit of OOMPH!

This recipe is a little bit loose, and a bit of guess work, if you wish to add more flour to thicken them up, then do, likewise if you’d rather thin them out a bit.

 

Coconut Pancakes with Pecans and Almonds

INGREDIENTS:

200g Organic Coconut Flour
2 Eggs
200ml Almond Milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 tsp coconut oil (to fry with)
Pinch unrefined brown sugar (optional)

Small handful of Almonds and Pecans
A drizzle of Agave

Coconutpanacke

 

METHOD

Add the flour and bicarb to a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour and add eggs. Mix well. Slowly pour in almond milk while whisking continuously. Add more flour to thicken if desired.

Pancakewhisk

Place frying pan on hob and turn to a medium heat, once hot, add coconut oil.

Use a ladle to dollop mixture onto frying pan, wait a minute or so before adding another dollop to prevent the pancakes from combining.

When the edges start to change colour slightly, and bubbles are forming in the middle of the pancake, flip. Wait 1 minute, and remove the pancake onto a plate.

Once all of the pancakes are cooked, sprinkle over the almonds and pecans, and drizzle with Agave (or Maple Syrup)

CoconutPancakeSteam

pancakesfinished

Start your day like a king!