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Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Pesto & Vegetable Rice Dish


Summer is starting to make an appearance which is getting me so ready for all the light, fresh summer dinners! While I love a spicy curry and a substantial stew there's nothing quite like summer dinners. I'm talking potato salads, homemade veggie burgers with lightly spiced potato wedges, pasta salads and so much more.

My favourite thing though is definitely pesto! I've always loved pesto pasta so much and since becoming more experimental with my cooking I've starting incorporating homemade pesto into more dishes...like this wholesome & scrumptious pesto & vegetable wholegrain rice dish. It's everything you could ask for in a spring/summer meal - it's fresh, it's filling, it's flavoursome and it's SO delicious.


Making your own pesto might sound like a lot of faff but really it couldn't be simpler. It's just a case of blending together a few ingredients that can all be found in your local shop! It tastes just incredible too - far better than any of that shop bought stuff and cheaper too.
I love to make a big batch of my pesto to keep in the fridge and add to dishes like pasta (of course) but also salads, boiled new potatoes, quinoa, roasted vegetables and meals like this rice & veg recipe too. It just goes so beautifully with so many different combinations...a true staple!

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Thursday, 2 May 2019

Bath Eats - Gluten Free & Veggie Cafes/Restaurants In Bath


I've just got back from a 4 day getaway in the beautiful city of Bath and I was so impressed with the cities foodie offerings that I just had to write a blog post about my experiences!

I'm always a little nervous about the food options when visiting new places as my dietary requirements are kind of extensive. I'm gluten free, dairy free and I don't eat meat! Often there aren't many restaurants or cafes that will cater to my needs, and the ones that do often only have one or two dishes for me to choose from. However, I had done my research into Bath before we visited so I was feeling pretty hopeful we'd find some yummy places to eat...and I wasn't disappointed!


FOOD

Cosy Club
A few people recommended Cosy Club for meals whilst in Bath and I'm so glad they did. Cosy Club have a few different restaurants dotted around the country, but sadly none around West Sussex (where I'm from) so I hadn't actually heard of them before. Cosy Clubs describe themselves as 'relaxed dining, drinking and lounging in a special setting with a dash of nostalgia' 'from a lazy breakfast to a family lunch or night out in your glad rags, were set apart by the character of our team, the opulence of our design and the excellence of our menus' - and I'd 100% agree with it all.
Admittedly I originally picked Cosy Club because I thought my boyfriend would like the pub style feel and quirk interior, but once I researched their menu I was thrilled to see they had both a gluten free menu AND a vegan menu - so that decided it, we had to pay them a visit! In fact, we visited the restaurant twice over the 4 days we were in Bath.


We visited the first time for dinner. It was a warm evening and we were seated on the balcony/terrace outside which was complete with heaters and cosy blankets if we were to get cold - a nice touch I thought. We were seated by a super helpful gentleman who couldn't do more to help me with my dietary requirements - he got me both the gluten free menu and vegan menu then sat down with us to go through all my options, he even went to the kitchen to double check a few things. There was actually loads of dishes I could've had including gluten free fish and chips, a superfood bowl and a Thai curry. In the end I settled for the Thai veggie burger - a spicy quinoa burger with edamame beans, pan choi, roasted peppers, coconut sauce and sweet chilli jam, served in a gluten free bun with fries on the side. I was mega excited because it's rare there's a veggie burger on a menu that's also gluten free, let alone served in a gluten free bun WITH chips!
The service was quick which was fab as they were super busy and I was hangry! It arrived and I was assured again that it was all gluten free and vegan. When I took my first bite I was totally blown away by the delicious flavour, I'm sure you know a lot of veggie burgers can be quite bland or sometimes dry but not this. The gluten free bun was also superb and the fries were out of this world. I demolished every last bit of the meal and could have quite easily eaten it all over again!

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Saturday, 20 April 2019

Vegetable Crumble - GF & Vegan


One of my absolute favourite desserts is a fruit crumble. I've always loved baking it and also eating it, of course! So, the other day I was meal planning for the week and wanted to make something a little different...that's when I came up with this idea for a savoury take on a crumble - a vegetable crumble!



If I'm honest I didn't know how this would turn out, but I was more than pleasantly surprised! The filling is made from a mix of amazing fresh vegetables such as baby potatoes, courgette, leek and more, then it's topped with an amazing savoury crumble with oats, flour and herbs.
This is such a perfect meal both for cold evenings as it's pretty hearty but it's also perfect for those warmer Spring/Summer evenings as it's super fresh. You can even switch up the veggies for whatever is in season at the time or add in some vegan chicken pieces or beans for extra protein.

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Thursday, 11 April 2019

My Healthy Cupboard Essentials


Back in September last year you might remember I wrote a blog post titled 'My Fridge Essentials' were I shared my most-loved and most-loved products in my refrigerator. I thought I'd carry the theme on to this blog post and tell you about my store cupboard essentials!

I have to say, my cupboards are absolutely jam-packed full of foodie products...probably more products than I actually need but all that I use! I've narrowed it down to my top 10 cupboard essentials. These are items that I use the most frequently, that I include in many different recipes and that are always on my shopping list.


Chopped Tomatoes
I use tinned chopped tomatoes all the time and they're constantly on my shopping list. They're perfect for whipping up a quick pasta sauce with some onion, garlic, basil and spinach, I use them when making curries, chillis and stews, they're an essential ingredient in spag bol and I even use them to make soups. They're super cheap too!

Lentils
I always have both dried red lentils and tinned green lentils in my cupboard at home as they're a real staple in my diet. I like to use lentils in dishes such as lentil bolognese, lentil shepherds pie, curries, stews and even thrown into salads.

Tinned Beans
I like to have a selection of tinned beans in my cupboards. As they're ready cooked they're such a staple for quick, nourishing, plant based meals or to blend into homemade dips. My go to's are kidney beans (for chilli, obviously!), butter beans (great for soups and dips), cannellini beans (the best for stews) and black beans (I like these in chilli). I like to make sure I have different types of beans regularly to provide me with different nutrients.

Nuts
I eat nuts every single day and they're an important part of my diet. I'm all about those healthy fats and nuts are a great way to dose up on those! I often use nuts in my baking, I top them onto my porridge or yogurt bowls or I simply snack on them. My favourites are cashews, walnuts and almonds.

Sardines
Tinned sardines may sound like a strange cupboard essential but honestly, I swear by them for optimum hormone health and treating PCOS. Sardines are so cheap, they're absolutely loaded with nutrients and they're a sustainable fish choice as well. I tend to buy the sardines in tomato sauce then grill them on toast with a little mustard.

Brown Rice
I'm sure rice is a staple in most peoples cupboards, and I'm certainly no exception! I personally prefer the taste of brown rice and it's far more nutritious than white rice, which is an added bonus. I have rice at least twice a week and find it pairs so well with so many meals. Of course I enjoy the grain with curry, chilli and stews but I also love to make rice salads, buddha bowls and even risotto type dishes. I also normally have a couple of pre-cooked rice packets on hand, ready to chuck in the microwave if I really need them!

Buckwheat/Quinoa
Another two grains I always gave in my cupboards are buckwheat and quinoa. I used to be totally obsessed with quinoa - it's really tasty with a delicious nutty flavour and it's high protein too, but now I'm more of a buckwheat gal. Buckwheat is tastier in my opinion and has a nicer texture! I sometimes use buckwheat instead of rice when I want a grain with a little more protein and that's a bit easier on my digestive system. I often batch cook buckwheat too and store it in the fridge, ready to add to salad bowls for lunches throughout the week. You can also make both quinoa and buckwheat into porridge which is so delicious!

Oats
If I don't have oats in my house then I just don't feel right! I eat oats pretty much every day of the week whether that's making them into porridge for breakfast, chucking a handful into a smoothie for extra energy or using them in baking for recipes such as healthy fruit crumble, granola bars or cookies. Oats are a true staple in my diet and I simply couldn't be without them!

Stock Cubes
I didn't used to use stock cubes very regularly but I've become a little obsessed recently after putting a half a cube into my rice as it cooked and tasting the difference! Stock cubes add so much flavour to grains like rice, quinoa and buckwheat if you pop one into the water as your grains cook! I also use stock cubes when I make homemade soup, lentil shepards pies, bolognese and other dishes like these.

Olive Oil
I know coconut oil is 'the' oil to cook with but I'm all about the extra virgin olive oil! Don't get me wrong, I love coconut oil and use it in baking and raw treats but I much prefer olive oil for cooking savoury dishes. Olive oil has a far nicer flavour to it and in my opinion works better in savoury cooking. There's absolutely nothing wrong with cooking with olive oil, in fact it's really brilliant for your health - the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest, don't you know!




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Monday, 25 March 2019

Roasted Vegetable & Chilli Pasta


You asked for more meal ideas, so today I'm brining you this recipe for delicious roasted vegetable & chilli pasta.

Meals like this are my absolute favourite. They're filling, satisfying, full of goodness and perfect for batch cooking for lunches or extra dinners for the week ahead. I particularly like this meal cold the next day with a side salad for lunch!


I adore the combination of veggies I used in this dish, but a really fab thing about this recipe is that you can customise it to suit your tastes. I roasted red & yellow peppers, aubergine, red onion and courgettes but you could also do cherry tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, broccoli or any of your fave veggies. I also desperately want to try this dish with some tofu or with a veggie burger, that would be such a perfect meal!

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Saturday, 9 March 2019

Blueberry & Banana Muffins


There's something so comforting about a freshly baked blueberry muffin and a cup of tea. It's a classic treat that I'm sure all of us have enjoyed at some point in our lives! I have happy memories of coming home from a long day at school to juicy, sweet blueberry muffins at home. They were an occasional treat but one I always longed for! Since changing my diet to be entirely gluten and dairy free I haven't been able to indulge in this favourite treat of mine....that was until I came up with this recipe.

I have created muffin recipes before which have always been delicious, but I've never quite got that muffin texture quite right. It's taken a fair bit of trial and error but I've finally mastered it!


The texture is light, fluffy and moist with the perfect amount of crumble. The flavour is sweet but not sickly and the blueberries bring juicy bursts of joy to each mouthful! I've been enjoying the muffins as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea or they're truly amazing slightly warmed up with a scoop of dairy free ice-cream or drizzle of your favourite nut butter.
All the ingredients in these muffins are super healthy too so they could make a fab grab-and-go breakfast option for busy mornings. The combination of the oats and the banana will fuel you and give you loads of energy, the blueberries provide a lovely dose of antioxidants and the dash of cinnamon can help to balance out your blood sugar levels.

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