Sweet Potato and Ginger Cookies

Life is too short to eat bad food.

I’m not one for diets, I am a firm believer in everything in moderation. I am lucky that I enjoy healthier foods, so eating a bit greener isn’t a big deal for me.

Now, I know what you’re all thinking. “Cookies?? I’m supposed to be doing [insert latest diet trend here] for January. I can’t eat cookies” – well my friends, you can.

 

Sweetpotatocookie

These cookies are loaded with soothing ginger (perfect to kick that winter cold out the door), vitamin packed sweet potato, and immune boosting coconut oil.

This recipe is quite loose. Use different flour / omit oats if you wish.

Sweet Potato and Ginger Cookies (V)

Makes 6 – 8

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium sweet potato (peeled)
220g self-raising wholemeal flour
80g jumbo oats
80g unrefined brown sugar
2 tablespoons grated ginger
3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon ground flax
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon each ground ginger / cinnamon (for roasting)
Large pinch nutmeg
Zest from 1 orange
Couple of drops of vanilla extract

 

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6 / 200 oC

Cut the peeled sweet potato into chunks and place on a lined baking tray. Toss in a small amount of melted coconut oil, the ground ginger and cinnamon. Roast in oven for approx. 45 mins (or until very soft).

Once cooked, remove and set to one side to cool.

Turn oven down to Gas Mark 5.

In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, bicarb, spices and grated ginger. Mix well.

In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil over a low heat and stir in the sugar. Keep stirring until the sugar starts to dissolve.

In a bowl, mix ground flax with 2 teaspoons water and leave for 5 mins.

Mash the cooled potato into a puree. Add to the sugar mix with orange zest, flax mix and vanilla. Whisk well.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until you get a dough type mixture.

On a lined baking tray, drop spoonfuls of the dough, evenly spread out.

Bake for 10-15 mins, until the edges start to brown.

Remove from oven, leave to cool for 5 mins before placing on a cooling rack to complete cooling.

Sweetpotatocookie2

sweetpotatocookie3

 

Holy Smokes Harissa

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2015, can you believe it? A new chapter, page 1 of 365.

Christmas has passed in a whirl wind, as it always does, and it already seems like forever ago. We had a much-needed couple of weeks rest and relaxation, and obviously there was gluttonous amounts of feasting and drinking. It would be rude to assume that one shouldn’t feast! I’m really looking forward to this year, I know everyone starts out with lots of resolutions and overly positive thoughts, but I’ve got faith in 2015. It’s gonna be a good’n.

I took some time away from cooking over the festive break, let my mum take the reins while I was her trusty guinea pig. However, I couldn’t keep totally away from the kitchen, but it was nice to not feel any pressure to be creating things when I just wanted to rest.

Harissa

This harissa was one of the winning concoctions in my kitchen a few weeks ago. I love harissa, the heat it packs, and the fiery bomb it sets off over your taste buds. It is pretty expensive in the UK, and I get through it pretty fast, so I decided to try making my own.

And boy, is it good. Fiery as hell good.

Holy Smokes Harissa

Makes 2 small jars

INGREDIENTS:

10 red chillies
10 red birds eye chillies
15 garlic cloves
1 red onion
1 red pepper
5tsp – coriander, cumin, caraway seeds
80ml extra virgin olive oil

METHOD

Roast spices in a dry frying pan for a few minutes, until you start to smell their aroma. Tip into a blender and blitz into a rough powder. Put into a bowl and set aside.

Roughly chop the chillies, pepper and onion. You can de-seed the chillies if you wish, however I prefer to leave the seeds in for a better kick. Add all to blender including the olive oil and blitz until you get a rough paste. You may need to do it in batches depending on the size of your blender / processor.

Cook paste in a frying pan for 10-15 mins, until it becomes slightly sticky. Stir often, and continuously near the end.

Mix in the spices, and a generous pinch of salt.

Remove from heat and put into air-tight jars. Will last for roughly 2 weeks.

Harissa

Harissa

 

 

Kabocha Squash and Nut Balls

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.

 

When I first tried kabocha, I was truly amazed. I couldn’t believe the difference in taste, compared to the wider known butternut squash. Why were people eating butternut, when there was this denser, tastier, more wholesome beauty kicking about?! It honestly felt like Christmas had come early for my tastebuds. I could not wait to run home and get creating with my new best (food) friend.

These balls would be great to whip up a big batch, ready for a hungry crowd, as an appetiser, or with some accompaniments for a larger meal.

Kabocha Squash and Nut Balls

Kabocha Squash and Nut Balls (V) (GF)

Makes 10-14 balls

INGREDIENTS:

½ large Kabocha squash (peeled and deseeded)
200g mixed nuts (I used pistachios and walnuts)
100g dried cranberries
Smoked paprika
Fresh thyme and rosemary
2 teaspoons ground flax seeds
1 tin chickpeas or cannellini beans
Sesame seeds (to roll balls in)
Sea salt / black pepper

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C

After you have peeled and deseeded the squash, chop into chunks and place on a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil, paprika, herbs and salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 mins, until soft.

Once roasted, leave squash to cool for 15 mins.

Add the cooled squash to a food processor, blend until you have a paste. Add flax seeds, beans and cranberries and blend until you have reached a fairly smooth consistency.

Add the nuts and blitz for 10 seconds.

Scoop out the mixture with your hands and roll into balls.

Rolls the balls in the sesame seeds, and place on a baking tray lined with parchment.

Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins, until the sesame seeds are slightly golden.

Kabocha Squash and Nut Balls

Kabocha Squash and Nut Balls

Kabocha Squash and Nut Balls

 

Jerk Sweet Potato Stew

There was a time, back when I didn’t have much interest in food, that I could not handle my spice. I mean, even a korma was too much for me. I’d steer well clear of anything with even a hint of chilli in.

Fast forward to a few years later and I love it. I love it a bit too much sometimes. I have a bad habit of making eye watering dishes, which we then both struggle to eat without following each mouthful with a pint of water.

jerk sweet potato stew

This dish turned out to be one of those times, I may have got a little bit over excited with the seasoning, more is more, right? However it was still packed full of flavour, and a great hearty dish to warm you up on these long, cold evenings. Go on, spice up your life.

Jerk Sweet Potato Stew (V)

INGREDIENTS:

1 large sweet potato (peeled and cubed)
1 aubergine
1 onion
Handful green beans
1 clove garlic
1 tin butter beans (rinsed well and drained)
1-3 tablespoons jerk spice (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 tin coconut milk
Salt and Pepper

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5 / 190 C

Dice the onion and garlic. Fry onion for 5 mins until translucent, add garlic and cook for 2 more mins.

Add jerk seasoning and stir well. Add sweet potatoes and make sure the potato gets coated in the spices. Fry for 2-4 more mins.

Add mix into large casserole pot. Cover with the coconut milk.

Cook in oven for 25-30 mins.

Add chopped aubergine and beans into the pot. Cook for a further 10 mins.

Serve in bowls with crusty bread, or over quinoa.

jerk sweet potato stew

jerk sweet potato stew

Spiced Apple Juice with Rum

The annual Christmas Market has arrived in Bath. 200 wooden sheds fill the streets, bursting with Christmas gift ideas. It gets so busy, it’s a bit hard to handle some times. But I love to walk around and check out the stalls, browse the gifts and see what is on offer.

Every year one of the hotels sets up an ‘apres ski bar’ outside their reception. A little wooden chalet adorn with all things a la montagnes! It’s so snug in there, seats covered with sheepskin rugs and cosy blankets to snuggle up in. It makes me miss my winter seasons in the alps so much.

Two friends and I decided to pop in here for a drink last week. Upon entry we saw people drinking beer from huge glass wellie boots, and mulled wine from big wooden bowls. As soon as you walked through the door the smell of cinnamon and cloves hit you.

The smell stayed with me, and while I was walking home I started thinking about other Christmas drinks. Anything with rum is a safe bet for me, especially the spiced variety. Conveniently I knew I had some back at the boat. I swung by the supermarket and headed back to the boat to practice my mixology skills.

This drink is the perfect winter warmer. Easy to make a large batch, and a great addition to any Christmas party. It can be served with or without rum.

Spiced Apple Juice with Rum

Spiced Apple Juice with Rum

INGREDIENTS

500ml organic cloudy apple juice
70ml spiced rum (I used Captain Morgans)
1 orange
1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons Christmas Spice Mix (I combined ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, juniper berries and all spice)
2 teaspoons unrefined brown sugar

Spiced Apple Juice with Rum

 

METHOD

Add the apple juice, cinnamon sticks, sugar and spices to a saucepan and stir well. Turn on to a low heat.

Slice the orange and lemon and add 2 slices of each to pan.

Keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.

Remove from heat and leave to cool down slightly.

Split the rum (if using) between two wine glass, slowly pour in the warm juice.

Garnish with more orange.

Spiced Apple Juice with Rum

 

Spiced Apple Juice with Rum

 

NB: This recipe is a surefire way to polish off a bottle of rum in no time!

 

 

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

Wild Blackberry Oats with Toasted Almonds

OK, So I’m kicking off the blog with something nice and simple, but delicious nonetheless!

I’m a big fan of anything Oat-y, but especially porridge. I love that warm fuzzy feeling you get as it works it way from your mouth to your stomach. And the way it can heat your body from the inside out. I love it!

Autumn has come around all too quickly, as it always seems to. However this does mean one thing, WILD BLACKBERRIES! They are everywhere along the canal, I sit at the back deck with a tuppawear and snag them off as we drive past, collecting big hoards of them in no time. There’s something a little smug about picking your own wild fruits and vegetables.

 

This recipe is a simple, but a greatly enjoyable way to make sure you start your day off with a bang!

 

 Wild Blackberry Oats with Toasted Almonds

INGREDIENTS:

Large handful of oats (Certified gluten free if you can get them)

250ml Almond milk (any nut milk works well with this)

15 Large Wild Blackberries

Scattering of toasted almonds

Flax seeds

 

METHOD

First off, lightly toast your almonds in a dry frying pan for a few minutes, shaking occasionally to avoid burning them.
Mix the oats and blackberries together in a non-stick saucepan. Add in the almond milk (You could soak the oats overnight if your prefer) Turn on the hob to a low heat, and stir the milk into the oat mixture. Stir often as to break the blackberries up slightly, this will release their juice and turn your porridge a lovely pink colour.
Cook for 6-9 mins (depending on how gooey you like your porridge), add more milk if necessary.
Once oats have absorbed the milk and plumped up, pour into a bowl and scatter with your toasted almonds, and sprinkle with flax seeds. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 20.46.36

 

PS Apologies for the basic photo, I only had my phone to hand at the time!