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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Four Benefits Of Pumpkins

Pumpkin is just about everywhere this time of year, from a scary carved pumpkin in your window to celebrate Halloween to delicious sweet pumpkin spiced lattes served at near enough every coffee shop in the country. But did you know pumpkin has a wide range of health benefits and is a great food to include in your diet?!
I have to admit, I don't think I'd ever eaten pumpkin until last year. I always thought of the round orange vegetable as something you just carved at halloween and perhaps made a lousy soup out of with the remains....little did I know just how delicious and nutritious pumpkin actually is.

Pumpkin is actually within the same veggie family as cucumbers and butternut squash. It's one of the most popular field crops around the world both for it's flesh and it's seeds inside. Pumpkin is extremely nutrient dense, low calorie and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. It can be boiled, steamed, roasted and baked. I personally love to roast it with a little olive oil, dried herbs and sea salt then mix it into salads, quinoa bowls, rice dishes or even stews and curries. I recently mixed it into a spaghetti dish (recipe on my Instagram) with a mustard, lemon & olive oil dressing, toasted flaked almonds and wilted spinach - it was superb! If you're not convinced to try adding pumpkin to your diet yet, here's some more reasons why you definitely should -


Monday, 22 October 2018

Vegan BBQ Pulled Pork Burgers with Jack Daniels Sauce

My boyfriend and I visited a gorgeous pub recently that served the most incredible looking food from vegan burgers to proper English gluten free fish & chips and aromatic curries to pasta bakes. One thing I noticed on the menu was a Pulled Pork Burger, now of course I didn't even consider this option (being veggie!) but it caught me eye because I'd never thought to recreate this meal option Nourishing Amelia style before, until now.

This recipe for a vegan BBQ Pulled Pork Burger is absolutely the best vegan alternative ever. I used jackfruit (available in many supermarkets & health food shops) to create the pulled pork texture and flavoured it with the most amazing BBQ sauce from Jack Daniels. The flavours are irresistible, the texture is unbelievable and it's just so more-ish! I can't wait for you to recreate this meal at home yourself.

As I mentioned above, I used Jackfruit as the pulled pork substitute - it's completely vegan and gluten free! Then I used a BBQ sauce from Jack Daniels to give it a wealth of flavour. I used their Full Flavour Smokey barbecue sauce (which is vegan and suitable for coeliacs!) for extra smokiness and that gorgeous hint of J.D Tennessee Whiskey is so rich and luxurious tasting. I also found the texture of the barbecue sauce to be perfect for this recipe - sticky as BBQ sauce should be but also wonderfully smooth and heats well.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Sausage & Butterbean Bake

I don't know about you but I've felt the temperature drop a little in the last couple of days. The trees are turning, the days are becoming shorter and there's a real chill in the air. This season change has got me craving all the comforting meals for the colder nights and I've been having a lot of fun getting in my kitchen to come up with the best recipes to enjoy and to share with you too!

My latest creation that my boyfriend and I totally devoured last night is this Sausage & Butterbean Bake. I'm a huge fan of veggie sausages in the winter time, I just think they're great and super convenient option to base a meal around. I generally just cook them to serve either with something like a roast dinner or with mashed potato and greens but yesterday I was feeling inspired to make something a little different. This Sausage & Butterbean Bake was the result of that inspiration and I can tell you now I know it's going to be a staple for me this season!

The bake is absolutely the most warming & comforting dish. There's a stew style base made with chopped tomatoes, herbs & spices as well as some butterbeans added in there for more plant-based protein, fibre and an amazing consistency. You can combine the flavoursome stew with some veggie sausages (I used these ones from Quorn) to bake in the oven for an incredible meal in less than 45 minutes.

You could enjoy this stew simply as it is with some steamed greens as it's surprisingly filling or you could add some creamy mashed potato, crispy roasts or even some wholegrain rice. I personally served mine with mash which was just heavenly! I was certainly full and comfortably satisfied afterwards!

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Apple & Ginger Loaf Cake / The Bake-Off Bake-Over Week 5

This week on The Great British Bake Off was cake week - one of the absolute best weeks, right? Everyone loves cake, especially at the weekend with a cup of English Breakfast just can't beat it. Being gluten free, vegan and trying to avoid refined sugars it can be tricky to find ready-made cakes available to buy and the ones I've tried honestly haven't been so good, SO I like to make my own.

The bakers first task was to make a ginger cake, which instantly excited me because I adore ginger cake but have never actually made one myself. I knew I had to try and create a healthier, free-from ginger cake alternative for this weeks Bake-Off Bake-Over recipe! I'm pleased to say my attempt was a great success with this super tasty, light, fluffy Apple & Ginger Loaf Cake.

I'm beyond proud of how this free-from cake turned out! If you've ever tried to make a cake without eggs, butter and gluten free flour you'll know it's really tricky and almost always goes wrong. It's very difficult to create that light, fluffy texture but I did it with this recipe so well and I think it's the best gluten free, vegan cake I've actually ever taste.
Not only is the texture spot on but the flavours are mouth-wateringly delicious with just the right amount of warm ginger coming through along with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla. I chose to use apple puree in this recipe to not only help with the texture but add this incredible taste and natural sweetness to the cake which worked so well. I even added a bit of the apple puree over the top for extra yumminess. As you can imagine the flavours are so comforting and warm, they really make you feel so autumnal and this cake is unbeatable with a little bit of dairy-free custard or even warmed up with a dollop of ice-cream. Yum!

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Chocolate & Vanilla Raw Roulade / The Bake-Off Bake-Over Week 4

This week on The Great British Bake Off was dessert week and it was undoubtedly an episode that left every viewer craving cake! The show started as always with the signature bake which was to create their take on the classic roulade. Some of the flavour combination sounded out of this world and it inspired me to try to make my own free-from roulade. I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to do it but with much planning I succeeded in making this mouth-wateringly delicious Chocolate & Vanilla Roulade complete with sweet sponge and creamy vanilla filling.
This roulade recipe is actually un-baked which makes it pretty darn easy to throw together and means there's no risk of burning it in the oven! It may be unbaked but the sponge is just the best texture and the flavours are unbeatable. The whole recipe is free from gluten, dairy eggs, soya and refined sugar so it's suitable for so many. I actually made this for my sisters 21st birthday for the whole family to enjoy and everyone came back for seconds! It's the perfect decedent weekend sweet treat, it's ideal for celebrations and it looks pretty awesome too. I can't wait to see your recreations!

Be sure to check in next week to see what I recreate from The Great British Bake Off WEEK 5!

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Banana's are one of my absolute kitchen staples and I eat them pretty much every single day, whether that's for an energising snack, cut up onto porridge or a yogurt bowl, blended into a creamy smoothie or used in baking I always have to make sure bananas are in the house. As a true banana lover I'm really excited to be working with Fyffes, the number 1 importer of bananas and the leading marketer of organic & fair-trade bananas in Europe, to celebrate their 130th anniversary! I've always bought Fyffes bananas so I couldn't wait to get in the kitchen to come up with a delicious, nutritious recipe to celebrate this huge birthday of theirs. The recipe I've settled on is for these indescribably amazing Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins that are gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free.

I love to use bananas in baking because they add a truly wonderful flavour, natural sweetness and work as a great binder in vegan recipes...almost like an egg replacer. I always let my Fyffes bananas become really ripe before using them in baking as this brings out the natural sweetness even more and makes them super easy to blend into all the other ingredients. The banana flavour comes through so well in these more-ish muffins and is paired perfectly with the sweet chocolate chips. The texture of the muffins is so melt-in-your-mouth fluffy and light but tastes so decadent and satisfying at the same time. The muffins contain all natural ingredients so make for the perfect healthy mid-morning snack, afternoon pick-me-up or you could even enjoy one for a breakfast on the go.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Roasted Vegetable & Butterbean Stew

The weather is definitely turning, I'm feeling the chill in the air and I'm getting excited for all things Autumn/Winter! A delicious stew is one of my go-to dinners as soon as it comes into the colder months, I just find them so comforting and so utterly satisfying every time. A stew is the most easy meal to make, the ingredients are generally very cheap, they're full of so many nutrients thanks to the variety of ingredients and it's hard for them to go wrong so they're a winner for all.

I thought I'd share one of my newest stew creations with you today as it's a breezy day and I know most of us in the UK are probably craving a hearty dish like this!

 My roasted vegetable & butterbean stew is full of wonderful veggies like aubergine, courgette, spinach and red pepper which all provide different vitamins & minerals to help you feel your best and also fight off any illnesses that might start flying around at this time of year. It's flavoured with a mixture of dried & fresh herbs, some chilli flakes, fresh lemon and garlic and I added the butterbeans to make the stew super filling and for a hit of plant-based protein and all important fibre. You can serve this plant-based stew with anything you fancy really, I paired it with quinoa for this recipe because I love the two together but you could also choice brown rice, buckwheat or even a baked potato!


Sunday, 16 September 2018

Buckwheat Super Seed Bread (Gluten Free) / The Bake-Off Bake-Over Week 3

It's week 3 of my Bake-Off Bake-Over and it's probably the week I was most excited for....Bread Week! I was most excited for this classic GBBO week because I couldn't wait to share a free-from bread recipe here on my blog that everyone can enjoy, even those of us following a gluten, dairy or egg free diet.

The recipe I've opted for is this delicious Buckwheat Super Seed Bread recipe. I decided I wanted to share a proper loaf recipe instead of copying any of the fancy recipes from the show or sharing something generic like a banana bread that's just SO easy to make gluten free and vegan. I wanted to share something a little different! It can be tricky to find a good free-from loaf in supermarkets and it can be hard to make one yourself at home too, especially if you want to go with healthier ingredients but I'm changing all that with this winning bread recipe!

The bread is made using a combination of buckwheat flour and ground almonds which really work so well in this recipe, and you can find both of these ingredients in many supermarkets or in Holland & Barrett. I used chia seed and flaxseed to help bind everything together and give a lovely texture, and these paired with the mixed seeds (I used pumpkin and sunflower) give the loaf such a boost of nutrients! I also love the seedy texture, it's just the best for avocado toast!
I also used an ingredient called psyllium husk which is absolutely essential for this recipe as it acts like gluten would, helping to create that bread structure. Psyllium husk is a fab source of fibre too!

I love to make this bread on a Sunday ready for the week ahead! It's delicious as it is but I love to toast it and enjoy it either with loads of peanut butter and slices of banana, smashed avocado and tomato or dunked into homemade soup. Delicious!

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Raspberry & Coconut Tray Bake / The Bake-Off Bake-Over Week 2

It's week 2 of the healthy Bake-Off Bake-Over! This week on The Great British Bake Off was cake week with the first task being to create a delicious tray bake, which is what I have decided to make for my healthy recreation! I've opted for this sweet Raspberry & Coconut Tray Bake with a vanilla/coconut sponge topped with juicy fresh raspberries and extra sprinkle of coconut. The flavour combination is a dream!

This tray-bake is heavenly, the spongy texture is spot on and it's perfectly sweet. Of course the recipe is all gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free as all my Bake-Off Bake-Over recipes will prove no-one has to miss out an anything, even if you're following a plant-based diet OR have an allergies.

Next week is Bread Week on GBBO so be sure to check in next Sunday for my free-from bread creation! I can't wait!

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

My Fridge Essentials

I'm always asked what my kitchen essentials are, foods and products I absolutely must-have in my kitchen at all times and what I'd suggest buying if you're getting into healthy eating. So I'm putting together a series of blog posts talking about all my different essentials in the kitchen, starting with what I need in my fridge!

These are foods I like to keep in my fridge at all times so I can easily throw together a range of amazing meals and there's some snacky foods in there too.

You'll always find at least one variety of fresh berry in my fridge but I like to have a selection to choose from. I eat berries every single day whether that's on top of my porridge, as a snack with some yogurt or simply to snack on straight from the punnet. Berries are absolutely loaded full of vitamins and minerals as well as being high in anti-oxdients, they're naturally sweet but actually have a low sugar content so make for a great snack to satisfy sugar-cravings during the day. I like to buy fresh berries seasonally but I also buy frozen berries too!

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Healthy Wagon Wheels - THE BAKE-OFF BAKE-OVER

The Great British Bake-Off is back for another series and I couldn't be more excited about it! This show is so popular every year with millions of people tuning in to see the bakers creating the most delicious looking treats. Every episode is always filled with amazing looking food, but it's never suitable for people like me following a free-from diet. I absolutely love seeing all the creations but it does leave me feeling a little sad I can't recreate the recipes at home...but that's when I thought, why can't I?

I know there must be loads of people feeling the same way I do so I've decided to start this new series on my blog called 'The Bake-Off Bake-Over' where every week I'll be choosing 1 recipe from the Great British Bake-Off to recreate at home....Nourishing Amelia style! Each recreation will be gluten free, vegan AND refined sugar free. This week I'm starting with Wagon Wheels!

The bakers on the GBBO had to make Wagon Wheels as their first technical challenge on this weeks bake-off which are a really classic treat you will remember from your childhood. Classically they consist of two biscuits with marshmallow and jam sandwich filling, covered in a chocolate coating...yep, pretty heavenly! But definitely not vegan or gluten free!

My spin-off is just as delicious but with a slight twist. I decided against attempting to make a vegan marshmallow and instead opted for a vanilla cream which is arguably more delicious, especially when combined with the sweet strawberry jam. The homemade gluten free biscuits are perfectly crunchy with a hint of vanilla and the dark chocolate coating is so smooth and rich. These Healthier Wagon Wheels may be made out of more natural ingredients and with less sugar but all the amazing tastes are still there. You have to try enjoyed with a cup of tea!


Monday, 20 August 2018

Berry Buckwheat Granola

Granola is one of my favourite things to make at home - it's just so easy to whip up, it's super cheap to make yourself and I love the variety of different flavours you can add to each batch. My latest granola creation is a little bit different because along with classic oats I've included buckwheat which adds an amazing crunch, contrast in texture and an extra hit of goodness. This isn't the best bit though, the magic ingredient has to be the Good Berries powder from The Good Guru which brings this wonderful berry flavour to the granola.  I've used the Good Berries product for a couple of years now, it's the best stirred into yogurt or porridge bowls but this granola has to be my favourite use for the superfood product. I can't tell you how deliciously sweet and fruity it is!

I normally add nuts, seeds and dried fruits to my homemade granola but adding the Good Berries powder brings so much goodness and naturally amazing flavour I feel like I don't need anything else in there. The superfood powder is a blend of five different berries with an array of health benefits. It's all freeze-dried to maintain the natural nutrients and sweet taste freshly picked berries have, as well as all the anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals too!


Monday, 6 August 2018

Potato Cakes with Herby Yogurt Drizzle (Vegan & GF)

This is such a simple recipe but one of my favourites for a mid-week dinner. Potatoes are undoubtedly one of the greatest foods out there - they're so versatile, so tasty and so filling as well. I'm always making things with potatoes whether that's homemade wedges, a jacket potato with yummy fillings or roast potatoes in the winter. The classics are all amazing but sometimes you just want a change, don't you? These Potato Cakes with a homemade herby yogurt drizzle are that welcome change you're after. Delicious as they are with a side salad, lots of veggies or perhaps a poached egg on top these potato cakes are a winning recipe that's bound to please the whole family.

This recipe is super simple with only a few ingredients but I guarantee you'll be overwhelmed with the outcome. I know after creating this recipe it's bound to be a staple on my meal plan for a long time! The first time I made these potato cakes I had a couple for lunch with a big side salad of fresh rocket, tomatoes and beetroot but next time I'm planning on having them for dinner with a poached egg on top as well as veggies like broccoli, corn on the cob, spinach and maybe some avocado.


Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Food For Friends - Brighton Restaurant Review

If you're a long time Nourishing Amelia follower you'll probably already know about Food For Friends restaurant in Brighton as I've talked about it a fair bit over the years I've been blogging. It was the first vegetarian restaurant I ever went to and although I've been to many more since then it still stands as my firm favourite. I've been back many times to sample the delicious dishes, indulge in the cocktails and devour the desserts. I was recently invited back to Food For Friends to review their menu and of course jumped at the chance!

Food For Friends is situated in the trendy and interesting South Lanes in an old but somewhat modernised building with a lot of character. It's perhaps smaller inside than you might imagine but in no way claustrophobic or pokey. The main room is filled with light thanks to the huge windows surrounding one side of the room - perfect for people watching too! I have to admit the decor appeared a little sad and dated when I visited this time around, it had lost some of it's elegant feel but it was still a lovely place to enjoy a meal.

When we walked into the restaurant we were greeted by a friendly waiter who seated us in the bar area for a few minutes before our table was ready. Once we were taken to our table we were given the menus and asked if we'd like some water - this is always a massive plus for me, if a restaurant doesn't offer water once you're seated I instantly get bad vibes. We also ordered two drinks that were a little more fun! We both decided on a mocktail as it was only lunchtime and I was instantly drawn to the Fizzy Fruit Cup - a seasonal mix of fresh fruit and purees topped with non-alcoholic prosecco....and yes, it was as good as it sounds and looks.

We ordered some starters to enjoy whilst we waited for our mains because 1. we were intensely hunger and 2. I can't ever resist the Food For Friends tofu starter! We ordered the Mirin Marinated Crispy Tofu with homemade sweet chilli sauce and the skin on skinny fries with aioli, both were absolutely divine. The tofu is something I order every time I go to FFF, I don't know how they cook it (I can only assume the chef has magical powers) but it's undoubtedly the best tofu I've ever had; the texture is spot on with a crispy coating and melt-in-your-mouth middle. The chips were also super tasty and wonderfully hot. 

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Pretty In Pink Smoothie Bowl

This heatwave we've been having in the UK has got be craving all the refreshing smoothies and sweet smoothie bowls. They're undoubtedly the best breakfast, snack or dessert on a hot day! I'm loving berry smoothie bowls the most at the moment that are jam-packed with anti-oxidants, a combination of fruity goodness and the most incredible colour. I also love to add a mixture of superfoods to my smoothie bowls for extra nutrients and flavour! I've been using superfoods from Indigo Herbs the most at the moment, they just have the best array of products to choose from and this recipe I'm sharing today features a few of my firm favours....including a very special product that helps create this amazing bright pink colour.

The base of this smoothie bowl is made with your classic frozen banana for super thickness and creaminess as well as a mixture of frozen berries. I used frozen strawberries and raspberries but really you could use anything you want - perhaps blueberries, cherries, pomegranate, blackberries!

Now onto the best part - the superfood powders! Now, superfoods definitely aren't essential for a healthy diet but they can help you add a boost of nutrients into your diet as well create a delicious taste. My new favourite product to add to smoothies is the Super Vital powder from Indigo Herbs which is the secret to this incredible colour. The Super Vital powder is a mixture of beetroot, baobab and acai which means it's brimming with antioxidants, it's high in vitamin C to promote a healthy immune system as well as potassium and vitamin also tastes delicious, which is of course the main thing.


Saturday, 21 July 2018

Turmeric Matcha Ice Cream Float

I'm a self confessed matcha obsessive, I drink matcha every day - I absolutely love the taste and how it makes me feel. However now the weather is warming up I haven't been craving my standard hot matcha with frothy oat milk, I've been reaching for an iced matcha latte instead. My iced matcha isn't any old iced matcha though, I've taken it to a whole new level with Pure Chimp's turmeric matcha powder, oat milk, a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream and drizzle of chocolate sauce! I don't do anything my halves.

I've been loving the Turmeric Matcha by Pure Chimp to not only get my matcha fix but a hit of anti-inflammatories too from the turmeric. You may know I've been on a real 'health comeback' mission lately and I feel like this matcha fills my body with so much goodness! The turmeric in this matcha adds such a depth of flavour, along with the cinnamon and ginger included in this mixture - I just adore it and it makes the tastiest iced matcha latte too. I add a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream and drizzle of chocolate sauce on the top for an indulgent extra that's so perfect on a hot Summer's day! Plus the smoothness of the ice-cream is a dream with the turmeric matcha flavours.

Matcha is amazing because it's one of the highest forms of antioxidants out there, which'll help you fight against the effects of UV radiation, prevent chronic disease and even help us to stay looking younger for longer. Matcha is also a great energy booster as it contains all natural caffeine, but fear not the caffeine in matcha is not the same as the caffeine in coffee. Matcha is absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream so shouldn't leave you feeling shaky or anxious. I know I personally feel naturally energised for a long period of time after a matcha and definitely notice my concentration improves.


Friday, 29 June 2018

5 Things I'm Doing To Keep My Skin Clear & Glowing

One of my biggest worries when I decided to come off the pill was the effect it might have on my skin. At around 15-16 years old (before I starting talking the pill) I used to get these horrendously painful spots all around  my jawline and chin, they were those under the skin type spots that you just couldn't do anything about and I became so self conscious. I'd always had very clear skin up until this point so suddenly having spots appearing and them being so painful wasn't much fun! I used to spend hours (literally) in front of the mirror trying to cover them up before even leaving my bedroom and I'd always have my hand in front of my face whenever I could to hide away from anyone who might be looking.

Today I have very clear skin and very rarely get any spots (touch wood). I think this change is due to cutting out dairy, eating a more whole foods diet but also taking hormonal birth control which no doubt had an effect. Now I've come off the pill I was concerned these spots might come back, which of course I really don't want! So I'm taking some steps in order to hopefully keep my skin looking clear, fresh and glowing.

Anti-Oxidant Foods
The food we eat absolutely has a direct impact on our skin and my diet is always the first thing I look at if I feel like my skin isn't looking it's healthiest. Getting those greens in is of course important but putting your focus on foods high in anti-oxidants is really going to give your skin the biggest oomph! Antioxidant rich foods can help to counteract the damage caused by pollution, stress or a poor diet and give your skin that little bit of love it could well be lacking. Foods such as blueberries, red peppers, sweet potatoes, broccoli, pomegranate and tomatoes are all amazing sources of these anti-oxidants.

Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are something I've been very conscious of making sure I get enough of during this time coming off the pill. Not only are they vital for female reproductive health but they're super important for healthy hair, nails and skin too! Your skin cells are surrounded by layers of fat that make up the cell walls, this layer incorporates fats you get from your diet and is absolutely essential for glowing, plum and healthy looking skin. Examples of these healthy foods would be nuts & seeds, oily fish, olive oil, avocados, etc.

Water is what our body needs the most to survive and it's also so important for healthy skin. Without adequate water intake daily our skin starts to look duller, pores will be more visible and wrinkles may begin to show. Getting enough water can also reduce the chances of breakouts as the concentration of oil in our skin is decreased. I like to add fresh lemon to my water for a hit of vitamin C which is not only an anti-oxidant so will help to promote radiant, blemish-free skin but the vitamin is also needed for the body to produce collagen which strengthens the skin.

Avoiding Sugar
I try to avoid refined sugar as much as I can and have started to keep even natural sugars to a minimum. Sugar is inflammatory to the body which causes collegian and elastin to break down in the skin! It can also be a cause of acne or rosacea. Foods high in sugar also tend to contain many artificial ingredients which won't be doing your skin any good at all. The worst culprits are things like packaged snacks, fizzy drinks, sweets, ice cream and white carbohydrates.

Invest In Skincare
High quality skincare is really important if you want glowing, healthy skin. Our skin absorbs up to 70% of what we put on it (that's a lot!), so want to make sure it's not absorbing nasty ingredients. I used to think high quality skincare meant a high price tag, but that's not the case! Coconut oil just by itself can be a wonderful moisturiser and I'm telling you, you won't find a better makeup remover than massaging coconut oil into your skin and wiping away with a damp flannel. I like to stick to more organic skincare with little to no alcohol, no parabens and free from fragrance.


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

10 Minute Tomato, Basil & Garlic Pasta

We all lead such busy, hectic lives full of long to-do lists, endless chores and work that needs to be done. It can be so easy to think we just don't have the time to cook healthy, nourishing meals and simply grab a ready-meal from the corner shop or stick some chips in the oven instead of cooking wholesome meals for ourselves but in reality eating healthily can actually be quicker, cheaper and of course more delicious than any of those seemingly convenient options.

Most of the meals I cook take no more than half an hour from start to finish. Don't get me wrong, I love to spend a long time cooking a meal as I really do enjoy the process and find it to be a form of relaxation, however my busy life doesn't always mean I have the chance to spend an hour + cooking away. One of my favourite and quickest recipes is this tomato, basil & garlic pasta that takes only 10 minutes to make from scratch! I wanted to share the recipe with you in a bid to prove how quick, easy, cheap and incredible healthy meals can be.

This recipe really couldn't be simpler! It even surprised me how quick it was to make a pasta sauce that's so full of flavour completely from scratch. The ingredients are all things you can pick up in your local food shop and they're all very cheap too! It's a simple sauce but it's bursting with rich, gorgeously fresh flavours and you can even adapt it to match your tastebuds - for example if you like spicy foods add some chilli flakes or if you like extra herbs add some thyme.

I love to eat this dish with spaghetti as my pasta choice but it would also be delicious with any other pasta type or even stirred into quinoa! It's a wonderful dish as it is but again, feel free to add to it as you wish with a veggie burger, some grilled fish or sausages perhaps.


Friday, 8 June 2018

Coming Off Hormonal Birth Control?

I've been taking hormonal birth control pills for 7 years now, excluding a short break a couple of years ago for a few months. I was first put on them after my diagnosis if PCOS to control my nasty symptoms and to get me feeling better again. I've had a bit of a strange time on the pill and now it's time to wave goodbye to the artificial hormones for good (hopefully)!
I really wanted to share my journey with coming off the pill because I know it's something a lot of women question for a long time and something women are perhaps scared about. I hope this little series gives you a bit of an insight into my experiences! Lets start at the beginning....

Why did I first take the pill and what reaction did I have?
I was first put on the pill by my GP when I was 16 years old, so I've been taking it for pretty much all my adult life so far. I originally starting taking the pill to manage my PCOS symptoms and I have to say, it did work. Before the pill I had pretty awful skin, my periods weren't regular and the pain I had every month was indescribable. This all changed on the pill - my skin cleared up, my period came every month without fail and the pain wasn't so intense.
I didn't have the easiest time when I first starting popping the pill though. I tried two varieties of the combined pill that made me feel so sick I couldn't sleep at night and I'd spend hours with my head over the sink trying not to throw up! Eventually I found one that did seem to suit my body a bit better and even though I still suffered with the sickness to begin with it died down. I stayed on this pill (called Yasmin) up until I was 21 years old when I decided to have a little break.


Monday, 21 May 2018

Currently Loving - Buckwheat!

When I first went gluten free I ate buckwheat all the time, it's naturally free from gluten and it's easy to digest so it made a great occupnment to lunches and dinners, or even made into a porridge for a delicious and filling breakfast. Recently I've rediscovered my love for buckwheat with it's slightly nutty taste, ability to really fill me up and it's wealth of nutrients that leave me feeling energised and happy!

Last week was Coeliac Awareness Week (yeah, bit late I know) so I wanted to share a little more about the grain (that's actually technically a seed) because it really was a staple in my diet after I was diagnosed.

As mentioned above buckwheat is actually a seed. It's naturally gluten free, high in fibre, high in protein and a lot easier on the digestive system than lots of grains out there. Buckwheat comes in a variety of forms such as groats, flour or even buckwheat flakes (like porridge!) and it really is worthy of its superfood title.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Easy Miso Marinated Aubergine & Quinoa

Marinating aubergine in delicious miso and baking it in the oven is so quick and so simple but creates the most gorgeous accompaniment to a dinner, main element to a tasty lunch with a big salad OR an incredible summer BBQ side dish. In this recipe I'm sharing with you today I've paired the sticky miso aubergine with a chilli & miso quinoa, mushroom & pak choi dish - the perfect pairing if you ask me!

To make this recipe even more quick & easy I used Itsu's Miso-Easy sachet which is a vegan, gluten free miso paste. I love to have these in my cupboard to add to stir-fries, soups, to make salad dressings and to drizzle over aubergine like I've done for this recipe.

The Miso'Easy is perfect to use on it's own or I like to mix it with a little lime juice and a touch of tamari to add a little more flavour. When baked in the oven the aubergine absorbs all the authentic japanese flavours so well, it becomes to tender and so flavoursome - trust me, it's game-changing!
The quinoa is also pretty fab, and I used the miso'easy sachet in chilli flavour for this which adds a delicious kick and pairs well with the mushrooms and pak choi for a true Japanese feel dish.


Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Stress, Sleep & Success - My Top Tips

A good night's sleep is undoubtedly one of the most important factors in leading a happy, healthy life. A bad night's sleep can cause you to feel irritable, you could lack concentration, feel uninspired and unmotivated, increase feelings of anxiety and inhibit success in your life. Personally I find how many hours sleep I get every night and the quality of that sleep to have a huge impact on my life, both personally and professionally. Without a solid 8-9 hours good quality sleep I become not only very fatigued but my mental health suffers too - my anxiety levels will rise, I'll become stressed much more easily and I can start to feel very down. This is a vicious cycle that's hard to break because when I feel like this I'll then have even more trouble sleeping, and the pattern carries on!

We all have a personal relationship with stress and how it affects us, but I think we can all agree sleep plays a huge role in reducing stress and increasing success in your everyday life. That's why I'm working with Tempur this month (Mental Health Awareness Month) to help you improve your quality of sleep and as a result hopefully lead a less stressful, happier, healthier life! We all know how passionate I am about opening up the conversations surrounding mental health and how much I want to help those who suffer with mental health problems, so I couldn't be more proud to be working with Tempur on this campaign. Especially as the brand are doing something phenomenally generous by donating £10 to The Mental Health Foundation for every Tempur mattress sold throughout really what better time to get an amazing new mattress?

Tempur offer the most amazing range of products such as mattresses, pillows and beds all made from NASA's unique (and scientifically created) memory foam to help you get a better quality of sleep every night. Ensuring every night's sleep is a peaceful one will no doubt help improve your quality of sleep once you're every aspect! I personally find when I have a long string of deep, incredible sleep filled night's with no disruption or discomfort I get more done in the day, I feel more positive, I'm instantly more productive, my creativity flourishes and I have mountains of energy to do all the things I want to.

Having a supportive mattress and comfortable pillows is of course key in getting a high quality night's sleep, but there are also certain tricks I find that help my sleep quality improve significantly and therefore decrease my stress levels throughout the day!

Read A Book
We all have busy lives which means our brains are just in overdrive all the time, so when it comes to bedtime you can't just expect your brain to quieten itself down suddenly as soon as your head hits the pillow. You need to calm it down with a little help! My favourite way to do this is by reading a good book - I try and stick to an easy read before bed, something that's not too complicated and definitely not a thriller. I find I get sucked into the little world within the book and therefore forget about all the worries, deadlines and stress in my life.

Herbal Tea
The action of making yourself a soothing herbal tea (I like peppermint) before bedtime is such a gentle, kind and calming motion and can really help you wind down before getting some z's. I like to do this and then grab my book to read a chapter or two!

Less Screen Time
It's so tempting to sit scrolling through Facebook or Instagram as you settle into bed, you may even think it relaxes you. But studies have shown the light from these screens really stimulates your brain and can massively reduce your sleep quality meaning you won't feel so fresh in the morning! Try switching off at least 1 hour before hitting the hay and notice the difference.

Complete Darkness
I really notice the difference in my sleep quality when I sleep in a dark room compared to a light one. Sleeping in a dark room helps tell the brain it's time to relax and get some shut eye, when it's light the brain has a harder job figuring out what's going on!

So, who's ready to get some amazing night's sleep and start conquering life in the best way possible?! Try my top tips this week, and get your hands on a new comfy pillow and maybe even a mattress from Tempur now to help in your effort to lead a happier, healthier, less stressed, more successful life!


Saturday, 5 May 2018

Raspberry & Coconut Sandwich Cookies

I was feeling creative in the kitchen a couple of days ago when this idea for coconut & raspberry jam sandwich cookies came into my head, so of course I got stuck right into making them! They were a complete experiment made up on the spot but they turned out amazingly well, and luckily I had written down all the ingredients/measurements so I can share the recipe with you!

These raw raspberry & coconut sandwich cookies are just divine - and pretty easy to make too! The combination of raspberry and coconut is truly one of the most delicious pairings, so sweet but light and refreshing at the same time. I love that they're raw cookies, meaning there's no baking involved (i.e no risk of burning anything!) and would definitely make a perfect summer sweet treat.

The cookies contain a wealth of healthy fats, which I most certainly feel like I need at the moment as my PCOS symptoms have flared up a little due to stress and tiredness. Healthy fats are also vital for healthy skin, shiny hair, strong bones, better brain function and I find they boost my mood too.


Thursday, 19 April 2018

Easy Vegan Potato Salad

Spring has most certainly sprung this week! The warmer weather is making an appearance, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and I'm finally ditching the winter coats for light jackets. The change in the weather and the turn of the seasons always makes me so excited for new food, new produce and seasonal dishes. Spring/summer food is my absolute favourite, because whilst I love winter warmers such as curries and stews you just can't beat pasta salads, BBQ food, fresh summer berries and all the other vibrant, zesty, delicious foods the season has to offer.

One of the best summer foods (in my option) is a fresh potato salad. It's just a classic, isn't it? I remember it eating it as child on picnics or with a family BBQ, I always loved it but didn't eat it for such a long time when I transitioned to a plant based diet because most potato salads you buy in the shop contain dairy. I've made a few vegan friendly potato salads over the last year or so but this recipe I'm sharing with you today is my tastiest, easier and cheapest yet!

The simple dressing (or mayo alternative) is made using tahini, lemon juice and olive oil - so all things you can easily find in your local supermarket, all natural and all super tasty. When combined it makes this delightfully fresh taste and creamy consistency that's perfect for potato salad. The spring onions, parsley and chives add the most wonderful flavours that all scream 'summer'!

I love to pair this potato salad with plenty of baby leaf salad, on the vine potatoes and either falafels or a veggie burger. It'd be a great BBQ dish and one to make on a light, warm evening to enjoy in the garden....maybe with a drop of white wine!


Friday, 13 April 2018

SIX Review | Brighton Restaurant

My boyfriend and I spent a couple of days in Brighton last week to celebrate our 2 year anniversary. Brighton is only about 20 minutes away from us but it's somewhere we both really love going to and we never tire of the interesting shops, cool market stalls, winding lanes, beautiful buildings and of course amazing eateries.

On the first night we were there we went for a meal at vegetarian restaurant Terre a Terre which was sublime, I literally couldn't fault it! Then for lunch on the day after we visited SIX - a restaurant on Western Road we'd visited once before and absolutely loved. It didn't disappoint the next time round and I really wanted to share the experience with you!

SIX is like no restaurant I've been in before. The decor is classy, ambient and relaxed with luxurious and quite romantic feel. The menu is full of all different dishes from their incredible breakfast bowls to burgers (including a super tasty vegan burger I had on my last trip), pasta dishes, buddha bowls, pancakes and the most insane drinks you could imagine - nutella lattes, natural smoothies, refreshing juices, brunch cocktails and a wide range of tea and coffee. The menu is full of dishes everyone can enjoy with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options as well as meat and fish too. Almost all their fresh fruit and veg is grown organically and delivered fresh each morning which makes such a difference to the quality of their food and shows how much care they put into each dish.

We were welcomed into the restaurant and shown to our table by the window looking out onto Western Road which I loved (I'm such a people watcher!) and were given our menus. We were also brought over a jug of fresh water infused with fruit & mint - a nice touch! I do have to say, it did take the waitress a fair amount of time to come and take our drinks order which is a real bugbear of mine but when she did I ordered a 'Youthful' juice made up of carrot, apple, orange and ginger. I thought I'd try something a little different to what I'd normally have and I'm glad I did, the juice was fresh, thirst-quenching and delightfully zingy with a natural sweetness from the apple and orange.

It took me a while to decide what I wanted to eat as there's just so much amazing choice on the SIX menu, but eventually I opted for the Vegan Breakfast which is described as - A natural treat of Portobello Mushroom, hash brown, sautéed purple potato, vine cherry tomatoes, avocado, beetroot hummus, falafels and sourdough toast (with complimentary baked beans on request). I of course got the beans and I also asked for a poached egg...kind of defeating the point of a 'vegan breakfast' but I thought it would go deliciously with everything else!
My boyfriend order from the main menu and he got the Organic Hot Buddha Bowl, a dish of organic steamed black venere rice topped with organic vegetables and you could choose a sauce between spicy red chilli pepper sauce or light spicy coconut & chilli-garlic sauce - he went for the red chilli pepper. There was also a variety of topping options - crispy marinated tofu, marinated organic chicken or wild seabass fillet - he went for the crispy marinated tofu! We also ordered a side of french fries, because why not?!

It took a little while for our food to come which was a little annoying as the restaurant was very quiet, but knowing everything is cooked fresh from scratch I did expect to wait a little longer. I also never mind waiting a little longer for freshly made meals!
When our meals did come they didn't disappoint and were 100% worth wait. Both our meals looked so ascetically pleasing (definitely Instagram worthy) with so much vibrant colour and the most delicious smells coming from each plate. I couldn't wait to get stuck into my Vegan Breakfast (...with an egg) - and obviously the first thing I did was try and get that yolk porn shot, unfortunately it was a bit of a fail as the egg yolk was cooked solid but it tasted great nonetheless. The gluten free bread was super impressive, I mean you really couldn't tell it was gluten free at all! The purple sweet potato was dreamy, the beetroot hummus was so flavoursome and the falafels were to die for. All the flavours complimented each other so well and the dish was so filling. When I was half way through my meal I noticed the hash brown was missing...I'm not too sure whether this is because it was gluten free or whether they'd just forgotten it but in a way I was quite pleased, I think that extra addition would have been a little too much!

My boyfriend buddha bowl looked so fresh and vibrant with the fresh pack choi, broccoli and radishes. The black rice was cooked to perfection (I tried a bit) and the tofu was cooked really well, nicely crispy with tons of flavour. The one bit of constructive criticism my boyfriend did have was that there was too much rice, he'd have preferred a little less rice and more veggies but apart from that the meal was faultless.  We both also devoured the fries....we were in chip heaven!

After our mains we had a look at the dessert menu for a little something sweet and decided to order this incredible vegan gelato sundae type thing which was unreal. There was creamy vegan chocolate and strawberry gelato served in a glass with fresh berries, figs and a raspberry coulis..yum yum!

 The meal cost a little more than your average lunch out but personally I'd prefer to pay that bit more for a good meal full of nourishing goodness, amazing portion sizes, a good range of dishes on the menu plus a delightful atmosphere and room to sit in. I think the value for money is fab and no doubt I'll be making my third visit sometime in the near future!


Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Black Bean, Avocado & Lime Wraps + BFree Sandwich Spa

After being diagnosed coeliac a few years ago I've obviously followed a completely gluten free diet since then, which all in all I've found okay but it doesn't come without it's challenges. Thankfully within that time new brands have started appearing and more gluten free offerings have become very readily available! One of my absolute favourite brands for gluten free goodies is BFree Foods, they just do the best free-from tortilla wraps, pitta breads, loaves of bread and now even pizza bases too. Their products have been staples in my food cupboard for a long time now so I'm excited to be collaborating with them on this blog post to show you a quick, delicious and super yummy Black Bean, Avocado & Lime wrap recipe and also to tell you about their recent exciting project - The Sandwich Spa, a one of a kind salon come deli where sandwiches and wraps come with a side order of a beauty treatment to combat specific wellness issues!

I was lucky enough to be invited down to The Sandwich Spa earlier this month where I got to experience the unique concept first hand. I was really intrigued to hear about the spa packages and just how a beauty treatment could complement a wellness-enhancing wrap or sandwich!
I arrived at The Sandwich Spa on Pall Mall in London at about 12:30 - timed perfectly so I could enjoy a gluten free lunch, and was instantly impressed with the gorgeous location. The sandwich spa was done up beautifully inside with fresh flowers, neutral decor and a fresh, relaxing feel - just what you want from a spa, right?

Monday, 26 March 2018

Mini Egg Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse

Easter Sunday is this week, which just seems crazy to me...I swear it was Christmas only a few days ago? I love Easter because it feels like the arrival of Spring with the daffodils in full bloom and the pastel colours everywhere, I love that it means spending time with family and of course I adore the food. To me, Easter food should always be indulgent - it should satisfy your taste buds completely, taste heavenly delicious and of course on Easter Day chocolate should always be consumed, it's mandatory.

This new recipe for Mini Egg Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse pots ticks all those boxes, all whilst actually being a slighter healthier version with no refined sugar, no dairy and no gluten either. All the ingredients in these creamy mousses are plant based but the taste isn't compromised because of these, they're sweet, rich and unbelievably more-ish. The mini eggs on top, made from ground almonds and dyed with natural food colourants, add a bit of Easter decor and taste yummy too!

The mousse is made from all ingredients you can find in your local supermarket such as dark chocolate, almond milk, dates and peanut butter (top tip - use crunch for an extra something special). You simply blend everything together, add to pots and set in the fridge for a few hours to create the mousse texture! Then you can top with the cute mini eggs, which you can make any colour you desire. I made a purple, a bright orange and a green - I used berry powder, turmeric powder and greens powder to dye the marzipan eggs but you could also use beetroot, spirulina, coffee, saffron, etc.

These mousse pots are a great recipe to make with kids or to serve up on Easter Day! They'll keep in the fridge for 3 days too, so don't worry if there's any left over....although I highly doubt there will be.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Homemade Almond Milk Recipe

Almond milk has been a staple item in my fridge for such a long time, way before I went totally dairy free and ages before it was 'cool' and trendy! I just really love the taste, the texture and how it makes me feel plus it makes the perfect bowls of porridge and cups of coffee ever.

I've always bought ready made almond milk from the supermarkets, it's perhaps a little pricey but it's convenient and making my own never even crossed my mind. I didn't even know it was possible to make your own almond milk at home until recently, I thought it would require fancy equipment and a lot of wrong was I! It turns out making your own nut milk is so really easy, requires very little equipment (anything you have to buy is super cheap) AND as you'd expect the homemade stuff tastes a lot fresher, more natural and so much more delicious.

I used Indigo Herbs almonds in this recipe as they're 100% organic (the best for making nut milk) and Indigo Herbs are a brand I know I can trust. All their products are premium quality with nothing weird added, ever. Their almonds made the most yummy tasting milk that was subtly sweet, pure and fresh. You can buy almonds (as well as all sorts of other goodies) from Indigo Herbs here -

The nut milk bag I used was this one -

Being around 50% lower in calories than your standard cows milk and completely cholesterol free this almond milk is a worthy addition to any fridge!


Monday, 19 March 2018

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

One of mine and my boyfriends favourite meals is gnocchi. We love it with a red pesto or a delicious green pesto and loads of veggies or it's great with a veggie burger, some quorn chicken pieces stirred in or a fillet of salmon. We always buy ready made gnocchi (this brand) but the other day I decided to get create and make my own vegan, gluten free sweet potato gnocchi! Honestly I expected it to go very wrong and be a total disaster, but it was a success! Thankfully I wrote down the full recipe so I can share it with you.

The great thing about this recipe is that although it sounds very fancy and impressive when you say you've made your own gnocchi (a great dinner to make when you have friends over!) it's actually an incredibly easy, quick and cheap recipe. You can jazz it up with any spices or herbs that you like and it should keep in the fridge for a few days too!


Thursday, 8 March 2018

Berry Coconut Chocolate Bombs

I recently had my parents over to my new house for a meal, which of course meant I had a lot of fun in the kitchen putting together a delicious dinner for them. I made a masala curry followed by lemon sorbet with fresh raspberries & honey toasted almonds, as well as Berry Coconut Chocolate Bombs for an extra something sweet with a post-dinner coffee. They went down so well I just had to share the recipe on the blog!

These Berry Coconut Chocolate Bombs are like little balls of heaven. They're almost like bounty style truffles with an added bit of sweetness (and pretty pink colour) from the berry powder. Not only did they make a yummy after dinner treat but would also make a delightful homemade gift for this Mothers Day.

The middle of these chocolate bombs is a mouth-watering combination of desiccated coconut, coconut milk, maple syrup and some berry powder (which you could always leave out if you don't have any!) which when blended together make something so tasty, especially encased in a dark chocolate shell! Biting into these chocolate bombs is something quite magical, seeing that gorgeous pink colour through the centre makes the sweet treat exciting and real food for the eyes, not only the stomach. They're vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free but so moreish, indulgent and rich with every bit of flavour and texture you want in a sweet treat.


Monday, 5 March 2018

Creamy Leek & Spinach Pasta (Vegan)

I've always loved a creamy pasta dish with the mouth-wateringly smooth texture and comforting flavours. Following a dairy free diet you might think I can no longer enjoy such delights, but that's where you'd be wrong! Recipes such as this Creamy Leek & Spinach Pasta satisfy that creamy pasta craving whilst only containing plant based ingredients, yes that's right, this dish is vegan friendly!

The creamy sauce is made using soaked cashews, butternut squash and nutritional yeast (as well as a few other little ingredients) which when combined together make this magically creamy and rich cheese like sauce which honestly I could eat by the spoonful! I adore the addition of leeks and spinach too, I just find they work so well with the creaminess of the sauce and add a welcome freshness to this fairly rich recipe. When stirred into cooked pasta it becomes major comfort food but each mouthful is full of so much nutritional goodness that'll leave you feeling on top of the world.


Saturday, 17 February 2018

Hummus Spiced Tofu (Inc. Recipe Video)

Hummus and tofu are two of my favourite things ever, but I've never tried combining the two....until recently! This recipe for hummus spiced tofu using Zest & Zing's Hummus Spice product is one of my most simple but most delicious recipes to date.

Tofu has this wonderful ability to be able to absorb flavours so well, so by marinating cubes of delicious tofu in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil and the heavenly Hummus Spice blend really worked amazingly. Once baked in the oven the pieces of tofu turn beautifully crispy and the smell will be enough to make your tummy rumble!

The hummus spice from Zest & Zing is made up of garlic, sea salt, lemon, cayenne pepper, parsley and olive oil and really does recreate that famous hummus taste we all love! It works so well in this recipe but is also a dream cooked with vegetables like aubergine or courgette and can be sprinkled on pitta bread or crackers for a boost of flavour!

Try this tofu recipe as a high-protein, savoury, plant-based snack, a yummy edition to a salad or serve as a tapas dish with things like salsa, olives, pitta bread and cherry tomatoes.

Recipe video -

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