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Showing posts from 2018

Fruit and Seed Coconut Flapjack Bars

The summer break means lots of snacks required to feed hungry children! I wasn't sure if these could be deemed a true 'flapjack' as they don't contain the traditional triumvirate of oats, butter or golden syrup; however, my daughter bit unto one and declared them to be exactly like a flapjack so who am I to argue?

These soft and chewy bars are free from grains, nuts and refined sugar. They are quite sweet though in light of the dried fruit and banana - hence their popularity with the kids. Pulse mixture minimally in the food processor for a more coarse textured bar (which I prefer) or more thoroughly for a finer textured bar without whole seeds.

Substitute the sultanas for raisins or unsweetened dried cranberries, or feel free to add a handful of chocolate chips to make a variety of bars to last the summer long.

Fruit and Seed Coconut Flapjack Bars
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free
Makes 16
1 cup (85g) unsweetened dessicated c…

Paprika Za'atar Spiced Chicken with Summer Salad and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Not exactly a snappy title but this is actually the much-edited, pared down version - the original title exceeded the title word limit! It's hard to convey the precise nature of some recipes in just a handful of words. This one is lemony and punchy with smoked paprika as well as Middle Eastern za'atar spice. It also works well on the barbecue, weather permitting, instead of baked in the oven.

Serve alongside salad of choice but this quick Summer Salad I rustled up with a quick forage in the fridge, works very well. It combines sweet summer nectarines (could be substituted with peaches) set against creamy avocado, peppery watercress and crunchy fine beans (don't overcook them) and a light but zingy lemon, honey and poppy seed dressing.

PS The lemon is a special one - brought back as a memento from my sister's wedding where it served as a whimsical place setting. Such happy memories...

Paprika Za'atar Spiced Chicken with Summer Salad and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Sweet Potato and Sardine Fish Cakes with Yogurt Dip

I made a new friend. She likes to be stroked and sits on my doorstep calling for me to come out to play. Some days she sits by my kitchen window watching intently while I tackle various kitchen chores. Some days she even tries to squeeze past my legs at the front door when I'm on my way out and I have to give her a stern talking to about respecting boundaries! My friend is a cat. Then two weeks after her first visit and daily presence, she abruptly stopped visiting. I miss her. These sardine fish cakes are an ode to my fleeting feline friendship.

Serve as a light lunch alongside a big salad, as a starter or just as a filling snack between meals.

Sweet Potato and Sardine Fish Cakes with Yogurt Dip
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free
Makes 4 cakes (serves 2 as a starter or light lunch)

175g (approx 1 cup) mashed sweet potato flesh (microwave a medium sweet potato, peel and mash)
1 tin (90g drained) unsalted sardines, drained and m…

Hazelnut Centre Sweet Potato Chocolate Truffles

In a parallel universe, these might have been called a Ferrero Rocher - gooey chocolate encasing a whole hazelnut centre and exterior clad in toasted chopped hazelnuts. But thereafter the similarity ends with the ambassador's treat. There is no wafer shell nor refined sugar (or fancy gold wrapper that can be fashioned into a toy ring should the urge arise to spontaneously propose). On the plus side they contain a hefty portion of sweet potato, containing fibre, potassium and beta-carotene.

They are naturally sweetened with dates and the sweet potato. Enjoy them coated in either toasted hazelnuts, unsweetened dessicated coconut or rolled in unsweetened cacao/ cocoa powder. They are also delicious covered in melted dark chocolate and allowed to set, creating a crunchy case for the soft truffle-like centre.

Hazelnut Centre Sweet Potato Chocolate Truffles
(AKA Sweet Potato Ferrero Rochers)
Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined Sugar-free
Makes 20 truffles

325g cooke…

Apple and Carrot Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Over the weekend I helped my daughter bake a tea loaf called Bara Brith - neither of us had come across this unusual sounding loaf made with tea and absolutely LOADED with sugar and dried fruit. Needless to say, it went down a storm and apparently we are baking another one this weekend! It got me thinking how I could make a slightly healthier version

- a fraction of the dried fruit
- stripping out all the refined sugar
- adding masses of grated carrot and apple

The children loved this as much as the high sugar version - hurrah! I also added some chopped walnuts for a bit of texture. Feel free to increase the amount of raisins (any other mix of dried fruit) to taste but remember the apple and cinnamon already add sweetness.

The texture of this loaf is quite dense and high in moisture owing to the amount of fresh fruit/veg. Once sliced it can be lightly toasted under a grill and smeared with butter or dairy free equivalent in much the same way as a conventional tea l…

Honey Mustard Salmon and Supercalifragilistic Slaw

Many a day I dream of how easy life with children would be if I were Mary Poppins - the effortless tidying up for one and who wouldn't want a bottomless pit of a handbag. Then there's her perfect juxtaposition of stern yet kind as opposed to my total lack of dignity in the manic scarper for a timely school run. Well, if all else fails, I can at least be commended for attempting to feed my children healthy food!

With the onset of summer comes a waning desire to spend any length of time toiling over a hot stove. Yesterday I made a slow cooker beef casserole for dinner but in the context of the sun shining and the shedding of coats and scarves, it felt more than slightly incongruous, gastronomically speaking. Step forth this lazy Salmon 'n' Slaw.

The kids absolutely love salmon, especially covered in the sticky honey mustard glaze (the idea unashamedly pinched from my sister who makes a delicious ham glazed with this mix). The slaw is smothered in a creamy and zesty lime…

Sweet and Savoury Grain-Free Nori Granola

The best cinema popcorn was always the sweet and salty. Likewise a sprinkle of sea salt is like fairy dust on chocolate. So mixing up the umami saltiness of nori and tamari with a touch of maple syrup in this granola is not such a weird combination! To be transparent, this recipe veers more to the savoury side so don't expect a sugary granola cluster waiting to be doused in milk for breakfast. It works best sprinkled on plain yogurt, soup or salads.

Sweet and Savoury Grain-Free Nori Granola
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free
Makes 1 tray (approx 3 small jars full)

50g (1/3 cup) hulled hemp seeds
50g (heaped 1/3 cup) raw unsalted sunflower seeds
50g (1/3 cup) raw unsalted almonds
50g (1/3 cup) raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
15g (1 1/2 tbsp) black sesame seeds
15g (1 1/2 tbsp) white sesame seeds
3 sheets nori seaweed, torn into approx 1/2 inch pieces
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1- 1 1/2 tsp shichimi togarashi (Japanese spice mix) - depending on how spicy y…

Raw Miso Carrot Soup

Arguably as simple as making a savoury smoothie really. This raw soup (served chilled) is so quick to make. Perfect for lunch or scale up the recipe and serve small bowls of it as a light and refreshing starter.

Raw Miso Carrot Soup
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free
Serves 1 as a main or 2 as a starter

2 medium (approx 220g) carrots, peeled, trimmed and roughly chopped
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp (30ml) miso paste
2 tbsp (30ml) tahini
3 tbsp (45ml) fresh orange juice
100-150ml filtered water
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste if needed

Optional garnish: spiralised carrots, sesame oil, coriander leaves, pinch of chilli flakes, additive-free furikake (or sub sesame seeds and some crushed nori seaweed)

1. Blend all ingredients together in a high powered blender, starting with 100ml of water and adding extra to thin it down if consistency too thick. Adjust seasoning if required with …

Whole Orange and Butternut Squash Breakfast Muffins Revisited

It was two years ago that I first published this recipe and a lot has changed in that space of time. All else aside, my little blog continues to chug along - admittedly at glacial pace and with, at times, so few page views that I am led to wonder why I bother. Except I know that the reason I bother is because this is my dream and it's what I love. What is there left in this life without dreams to nurture and creativity to channel? So on I go. 

I'm revisiting some oldies but goodies so as not to forget about these recipes. Sometimes us oldies need to know that we're still loved.

I've tweaked this recipe ever so slightly from the original and added more accurate measurements and a pinch of nutmeg but in essence it's the same super easy muffin recipe, that uses a whole orange - skin, pith and all, and plenty of butternut squash. Enjoy.

Whole Orange and Butternut Squash Breakfast Muffins
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Refined Sugar-free
Makes 12


Apple and Leek Meatballs

An absolute doddle to make. The little pieces of apple add a hint of sweetness while the sauteed leeks give it a boost of flavour. Serve on top of a heap of shredded veg, salad or whatever sides you like.

Apple and Leek Meatballs
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free
Makes 12, Serves 4

500g minced pork (could use chicken or turkey)
1 small eating apple (approx 105g), peeled, cored and finely diced
1/2 medium leek, washed, dried, halved lengthways and finely sliced into half moons
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp olive oil (or other cooking oil of choice)

1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
2. Gently sautee leeks with a pinch of sea salt until soft and fragrant - do not brown them. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius (approx 390 farenheit) and line a baking sheet with parchment.
4. Add all remaining ingre…

Raw Coconut Bounty Bars

There are various national coffee shop chains in the UK that still refuse to acknowledge that dairy and gluten intolerances/ allergies are a very real thing. In the half a dozen plus local coffee shops (I live in the very unhip suburban sticks) there is only ONE coffee shop that actually sells DF and GF baked goods. In some cases there isn't even an alternative to dairy milk, resulting in a rather joyless black cup of basic coffee to accompany the empty side plate bearing the mirage of a muffin/cake/cookie,  rendering the entire experience a near zero-calorie (zero-fun) experience.

Yes,  I know how unhealthy random snacking on treats is and I should be glad of the enforced redemption from sugar laden goodies but sometimes it's just nice to know the choice is mine.

Last week I ventured to London, invoking all sorts of nostalgia for the pre-children me, where, with my rose-tinted glasses, I was impeccably dressed, had a dazzling career and lived life with such gleeful freedom. I…

Shaved Purple Brussel Sprout Salad

The purple variety of brussel sprouts is slightly sweeter than its more common green brethren (which apparently also makes it more attractive to pests like slugs, making them a nuisance for farmers to grow). The leaves are also packed slightly looser than their green counterparts so require less cooking. In light of this, plus the fact that the beautiful colour fades with cooking, I decided to devise a raw recipe for them.

 I stumbled upon this stalk of loveliness while grocery shopping and couldn't resist. It transpires that the bright purple/ red hue is a result of anthocyanin flavonoids which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Raw brassicas can be hard on the digestive system so a firm massage with salt and lemon juice will help to wilt and soften them as well as infuse flavour. The dressing is full of bold Asian flavours and sweet citrus which a sturdy salad like is fully compatible with.

Don't forget that the sprouts need to be very finely sliced/…

Nut Butter and Jelly Chia Mousse

Belated Valentine's Day wishes to the old and young, singles and couples. May love fill your days and your days be full of those you love.

This recipe can be made with either almond butter or peanut butter. I like it with strawberry jam (St Dalfours is a no sugar variety if you haven't the time or inclination to make your own) but again, the choice is yours.

It's packed with good fats from avocado, fibre from chia seeds and natural sweetness from dates. Top as creatively as you like - I used some melted chocolate, freeze dried strawberry pieces, crushed almonds, cacao nibs and dried edible rose petals.

Nut Butter and Jelly Chia Mousse
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free
Serves 2

1/2 large, pitted and peeled ripe avocado (approx 80g without skin and stone)
1/2 cup (75g) raw unsalted cashew nuts, soaked in filtered water for 6 hours/ overnight and drained
2 large soft medjool dates, pitted (30g), pre-soaked and drained if hard
2 tbsp (20g) chi…

Sweet Chilli Hasselback Aubergine

I've been gazing admiringly at pictures of hasselback potatoes - a very fancy looking roast potato meets baked/ jacket potato hailing from Sweden. Then I discovered a slightly sad aubergine lurking in the refrigerator drawer and wondered whether I could possibly give him a hasselback makeover!

 Aubergine alone can be slightly squashy and bland so I've added a punchy sweet chilli glaze (NomNomPaleo has a great additive-free sriracha recipe that takes a mere 20 minutes to make).

Serve as a vegetarian main or as a fancy schmanzy side dish. Can also be served cold.

Sweet Chilli Hasselback Aubergine
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free
Serves 2 as a side

1 medium aubergine, washed, dried and halved lengthways
2 tbsp raw honey (or maple syrup if vegan)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp tamari (or coconut aminos)
1 tsp GF fish sauce
1-2 tbsp sriracha, to taste (great recipe here)
1 tbsp sesame seeds

To garnish: sesame seeds, pinch of chilli flakes, small handful roughly c…

Lime Smoothie Sorbet Bowl

Part smoothie. Part sorbet. All sorts of refreshing zinginess! So what if it's raining/ sleeting/ snowing/ blowing a gale outside. One can still dream of residing in tropical climes...

Lime Smoothie Sorbet Bowl
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free
Makes 1 large bowl

Big handful (1 packed cup) baby spinach, washed and dried
1/2 medium courgette (approx 3"), frozen in slices/ discs
1/4 medium ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
Handful (1/2 cup) frozen mango chunks
1/2 a lime
1 medjool date, pitted
1/4 tsp matcha green tea powder
1/2 - 3/4 cup unsweetened dairy free milk, as needed (I use coconut)

Optional garnishes of choice:
lime slices, hemp seeds, dried edible flowers, extra lime zest, nuts, seeds, dairy free yogurt, unsweetened granola, cacao nibs etc

1. Zest lime before cutting (less messy). Set aside.
2. Cut lime in half. Reserve half for another recipe and peel the remaining half.
3. Add spinach, avocado, frozen mango and courgett…

Roast Beetroot, Red Chicory, Kale and Hazelnut Salad

A smorgasbord of vibrant colours - glorious greens, ruby reds and glowing orange, flecked with pops of creamy hazelnut orbs.

Roast Beetroot, Red Chicory, Kale and Hazelnut Salad
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free
Serves 2 (scale accordingly)

2 medium beetroots, washed, no need to peel
1 head red chicory, leaves separated
1 clementine, peeled and segmented (and membrane removed if you have the patience - for purely aesthetic reasons!)
handful (approx 1/3 cup) toasted hazelnuts
small handful flat leaf parsley, roughly torn
100g kale, stalks removed, washed and dried, torn into pieces
1 tbsp EVOO
big pinch sea salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

Maple Mustard Dressing (makes approx 1/4 cup):
2 tbsp (30ml) EVOO
1 tbsp (15g) dijon mustard
1 tbsp (15ml) lemon juice
1/2-1 tbsp (10-20g) maple syrup, to taste
pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius, 360 degrees farenheit.
2. Loosely wrap beetroot in foil …