Thursday, 31 March 2011

cashew cream with strawberries and a quick lunch

hi everyone! hope your week is going wonderfully, and you are looking forward to the weekend already...

i'm still doing well with the low-carb/primal/raw/wholefoods 'diet/lifestyle' that i'm exploring. i went out to pizza express last night, and had one of their salads minus the breadsticks that come with it (even though the smell of them is amazing, i actually didn't want to eat them - i just saw high sugar levels and days of feeling horrible sat on the plate, perhaps that's a form of self-hypnosis?!)

here's my latest eats:

♥  yogurt and fresh mint chopped vegetable salad with mixed green leaves and chorizo, and a mug of peppermint tea!

cashew cream with fresh strawberries! this was my first time making cashew 'cream' and it was suprisingly good and i will definitely be making it more often...

cashew cream recipe:

all i did was to soak a handful of cashews in some fresh water overnight. then in the morning i rinsed them off, put them in my blender cup, topped it off with a little water (to start) and then used the hand blender to smooth it into perfection - keep going until it is thoroughly pureed with no bits. i added water as i went, and a little drop of agave and vanilla extract - until it was just the right consistency and taste i was looking for! easy peasy and delicious.

things are super duper busy in our house at the moment - i'm sorting out plans for Australia this year, as well as writing my first book!! it's a little crazy, especially with the wet weather (great for our allotment, but not so fantastic when you need to walk the dog) - and i've also just released a new series on my YT channel about my journey with acne, and how i got rid of it (yippee!!) in a natural, holistic way.

i've also been watching a lot of the renegade health show for inspiration - they have SO much information and lots of great recipes (mostly raw or vegan, or both) - so if you've never caught an episode it's worth a watch.

currently listening to: gold forever by the wanted

ps. the grain free chocolate hazelnut biscuit recipe is still being edited to perfection, so hold on tight for that one!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

crunchy cranberry granola and boeuf bourguignon

howdy folks!

here are my latest eats:

calamari  - with chopped salad and mint garlic yogurt. i would eat this every day if i didn't believe in having a varied diet!

homemade granola - this happened by accident. i was supposed to be making soy flour cinnamon crisps, and they kind of crumbled totally, and so, instead of throwing it out i made granola my adding some cranberries, dessicated coconut, sesame seeds, linseeds, honey and sunflower oil. then i baked it again for about 10 minutes or so.

♥ this very tasty accident happened to be pretty low carb (yippee!), and i ate it with mashed banana for a post dog walk snack, and it was ridiculously good!

a working lunch. chicken mayonnaise with chopped salad, houmous and steaming redbush tea. oh and oatcakes for me, wholewheat roll for mum and butter for us both.

i've been craving boeuf bourguignon for a few days now - i basically wanted a tasty beef stew, and i figured the French probably had it sussed. boy, was i right! thanks to a recipe in Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking, which i managed to decode - this was so, so good. and then of course we had to watch julie and julia whilst we ate. just because.

thanks all so much for reading my blog, it's wonderful to be a part of the online foodie community! if you are ever wondering if you should start a food blog, my advice would be not to hesitate. the thing is, it doesn't even matter if no one reads it, it's just amazing to have a place where i can keep all my recipes + experiments, and it's awesome to journal all the things i create.

currently reading: how i gave up my low-fat diet and lost 40 pounds by dana carpender (i thought it might help my understand the nutritional grounding a low carb diet has, and i was totally right, because this book is full of evidence, studies and guides, a very handy book to have on the shelf! - expect a review soon)

Sunday, 27 March 2011

coconut flour pancakes and lemon lavender cream

good morning, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight! i hope you are all feeling fabulous and looking forward to this coming week...

the last few days have been awesome. i went to see my brother and his family on thursday, he's just come back from 5 weeks in Norway on training, so it was great to see him again. then on friday we celebrated swedish waffle day with our good friends, the Plants - they have 3 little boys, so it was really fun to make waffles with them! we had loads of toppings on the table, from jams to compotes, greek yoghurt to dark chocolate. it was a waffle feast!

and if you are wondering what i had (given i don't eat loads of carbs any more, and certainly don't go near white flour or sugar), well, you'll just have to wait - i made a beautiful version of coconut flour waffles with banana and peanut butter in, which we've now had twice, and they are amazing - i can't wait to share the recipe with you all!

then on saturday we went to our local market and health food shop, just me and mum, to browse around what they had. we have never done this together, so it was such a pleasure to stroll around in the sunshine and decide on the perfect brussel sprouts and the best purple sprouting broccoli.

and most importantly, i've seen near perfect sugar levels over these past few days, which is a MAJOR accomplishment... yey for the primal lifestyle, dr bernstein and monsieur robbins for your sage advice!

so, now onto my latest eats and treats:

coconut flour pancakes - these are so amazing!  (recipe here - i make a half mix for 2 people)

the main ingredient - i am seriously so loving this at the moment. even though it costs £5.99 for this tiny bag, you use half the amount of any regular flour because it's twice as absorbent... so it's kind of a good deal. anyway, it enables me to eat pancakes and waffles, so i'm a happy girl!

lemon lavender cream - this is literally whipped cream with a tiny teaspoon of my friends homemade lemon and lavender jelly. this is such a joy to eat, although definitely a once in a while treat...

sardine burgers with swede fries, brussel sprout hash and broccoli. yummy! a beautiful dinner. to make the burgers blend up a tin of sardines, an egg, a spoonful of oats, fresh herbs and some pepper - but i'll hopefully experiment with making these again so i can get a better flavour, texture and appearance...

have a wonderful day! and if you haven't yet visited my type 1 diabetes blog, then please pop on over to say hello and learn some more about living with type 1 diabetes :)

currently listening to: steam heat from the pajama game - what a great movie!

Friday, 25 March 2011

new favorite foodie: jessicalettucetomato.

so, in my never ending search for delicious inspiration and new recipes, i occasionally stumble across something tasty and beautiful. so today, i present to you: jessicalettucetomato.

the photography won me over, as well as the writing and general chit chat. she's really into good, wholesome food - and every dish looks like the perfect combination of restaurant chic and homely comfort.

here's some of her tastiest looking treats:

my fave recipes (ok, it was too difficult to decide, because they are all so tasty looking!):
smoked salmon and rosti eggs benedict with habanero dill cream
chickpea and grated carrot creamy salad
fig and prosciutto salad
pork belly with red lentils, radishes and edamame
black bean and sweet potato chili

hope you love it as much as i do! and if you want to check out my current favorite foodie blog reads, see my tasty blogs reel in the right sidebar.

ps. happy swedish waffle day!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

cinnamon peanut butter and prawn gherkin salad

well, hello! i hope each and every one of you is having a fabulous day so far - and that it will be and was as filled with glorious spring sunshine as mine.

today i met up with a friend for lunch; we indulged in a Waitrose salad bar tub (i'm certain they've got much smaller) whilst looking out over a river in the sunshine. the ducks were snoozing in the heat, and i'm sure i felt my freckles start rising to the surface...

anyway, thanks for the incredible response to my post about the primal lifestyle - i am loving eating this way, as it's totally tasty and i am never hungry, and although i don't prescribe to any one particular 'diet', i find this way of eating very beneficial to my health, and so an 80/20 principle will definitely be the way forward for me; at least for now...

so here are my latest eats:

egg scramble with mushrooms, bacon and brussel sprouts and a crispbread with swedish mustard (senap) 

prawn and gherkin salad with cream cheese and sesame seeds. this week i also hosted a 'jamie at home' party, which was really fun and i was able to pick up a few new bits for the kitchen - they're brilliant, and i will show you them soon, if you would like...

cinnamon peanut butter (literally just loads of cinnamon mixed in with peanut butter!) with some sliced apple - fantastic for a snack attack

roast chicken with salad and green leaves - the rest of the family also had crusty french bread with butter (thank goodness they eat it so fast so it wasn't lingering near me...)

is there anything as wonderful or more pleasurable than a hot chicken from a deli counter? i think not. they are always so succulent and juicy and full of flavour. plus, you can eat half, salve half and use the bones for stock... multipurpose too!

currently listening to: gold forever by the wanted

Monday, 21 March 2011

the primal diet : at a glance

like i mentioned in my previous post, i gain a lot of recipe inspiration from the fantastic primal diet and lifestyle community on the internet - it's been such a help to find low carb recipes to help me manage my diabetes better, as well as a great resource for nutritional information.

i first thought about a more traditional, return-to-the-roots kind of eating style once i had finished john robbins healthy at 100 (yes, i know i mention this book all the time!). in his book he looks at different cultures that thrive in their old age - he looks at the foods they eat and the way they live. and it struck me just how differently these cultures ate... some ate high fat, some ate lots of fruit, some ate fermented dairy - yet they all lived strong and energetic lives right up until their 'old age'.

it got me thinking about what sort of diet my ancestors would have eaten. our westernised society is so far removed from something 'traditional' - how was i supposed to know what sort of food and lifestyle my body would live to 100 on?

from then on, i did a lot of googling, from traditional english foods, to medieval cuisine, to finding the dates of overseas food importations, to the roman diet... i even got out my bible to flick through for some hint at diet advice (hum, well Jesus ate fish, bread and wine, so these must be ok?!?)

anyways, somewhere along the way i stumbled into the paleo / primal online community (and my goodness is it large!), who were all claiming better health and happiness whilst living this lifestyle, that seemed to have their ideals set firmly in a natural, wholefoods logic that appealed to me - and they didn't seem to be selling me anything either, which gave the community some sort of credibility.

so what is the primal or paleo diet?
well, it is a hunter-gatherer style diet based on the presumed diet of those living in the Paleolithic era (10,000 + years ago). it consists of food that can be hunted, gathered or fished - like meat, seafood, eggs, fruit, vegetables, spices, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, and herbs. it is also important with this diet to follow the lifestyle guidelines that match the diet plan, like getting good sleep, lifting heavy things, avoiding pesticides, etc (more info here)

there's a lot of information out there about the paleo or primal lifestyle, so instead of me waffling on about it, check out these delicious blogs for recipes, exercise and nutrition ideas:

final conclusion: 
so, i guess you might want to know if i will be following a primal or paleo lifestyle from now on? well, yes and no. i sort of already have started following it by accident, in that on my new diabetes diet i am  eating lots of protein and hardly any carbs. i think i'm probably 80% primal at the moment - and it does make me feel pretty good - granted i eat mostly vegetables, and not nearly as much meat as the other primal bloggers profess to enjoy.

the primal diet has also helped me to discover new recipes and ways of cooking particular vegetables. i also like understanding more about the nutrition side of it, so i'm more clued up when it comes to explaining the benefits of eating a low carb diet. (it's also helpful for those of you who are dairy free, gluten free, grain free, diabetic or wheat free, just fyi)

and finally, i think the paleo lifestyle is really very brilliant. i would highly recommend it as a sensible way of getting fitter and feeling better - it's very logical and easy to incorporate into your everyday life. more sun? check. more regular sleep? check. more time with family? check. walk around barefoot? check. go dog walking? check. weight lifting? well, maybe at some point.

what do you think? have you heard of or experimented with primal/paleo food before?

currenty listening to: l.i.f.e.g.o.e.s.o.n. by noah and the whale

Saturday, 19 March 2011

prune blueberry yogurt and dill egg salad

since switching to a low carb diet in order to manage my type 1 diabetes better, i have been feeling a lot more energetic and positive about my future health. my sugar levels are more even and easier to manage, which is quite a difficult thing to attain, so i am glad to say i'm getting there on that one! 

if you aren't sure what insulin dependent diabetes is all about, check out this living with type 1 diabetes video i created to help raise awareness of my life threatening disease (too dramatic?) or visit my juvenile diabetes blog.

and the great thing about eating low carb is that there's a million resources and recipes from different diets, but my favourite resources have been from the grain-free and primal diet tribes. i've mentioned a few things about the primal diet before, but never in depth - so, my next post will be full of information on what it means, and the research and blogs i've found about it...

i was worried (and so was everyone else) that eating low carb would mean that i was going to lose weight - which i really can't afford to do since i'm borderline on the bmi scale anyway. but that has not proved to be an issue, i am still the same weight as i always have been, which will be good news when i go and see my specialist next month.

so, here's my tasty latest eats:

greek yogurt with prunes (my new love!), fresh blueberries and sesame seeds

♥ egg salad with dill, pickled parsnips, tomatoes and gherkins. a little oatcake on the side with tasty butter.

more chocolate chestnut pancakes, they are delicious with homemade hedgerow jam and a great accompaniment to reading the new Elle

breakfasts lately have been a scramble of sorts: mushrooms, onion, garlic, bacon, spinach, herbs (dill mostly), seasoning, cheese, and leftovers (in this instance i had cheesy leeks from the previous night - yum!)

so, not no carbs - don't worry! i try to eat about 50g carbs a day, throughout the day. i have found this a big change, but it's definitely a tasty way to eat - my next step is to figure out how i combine all i've learned from dr bernstein with what john robbins has to say - that should be a fun thing to work on... (they aren't polar opposites, but we'll just have to come to some sort of compromise!)

currently listening to: anti d by the wombats (i love this!)

ps. avocado milkshakes - for real?! i have to try this...

Thursday, 17 March 2011

jamie does: a cookbook review

some of you may have seen the jamie does series on television last year, and for those of you that missed it, check out the little extract from yt at the end of this post for a bit of a flavour of what you missed. i find other cultures so interesting, and so does jamie it would seem!

the book incorporates some amazing traditional recipes 'with a twist' from countries across the globe - including spain, italy, morocco, sweden, greece and france.

jamie does is therefore a healthy combination of recipes, using all sorts of different ingredients to create savouries and sweets, dinners and desserts. it's also a great place to turn to for ideas and inspiration when you are running low, as there are classic yet often forgotten flavour combos to find in it.

the thing that sold this book to me was the way the photographs capture the mood of each different place. they take photos of the people, the food, the markets, the plants & produce, the patterns, and of course the scenery. it's gorgeous.

as well as the wholesome sounding recipes of course:
♥ market salad with walnuts and rustic goat's cheese croutons
♥ arctic char parcels
♥ mi pescado a la sal (my fish baked in salt)
♥ m'hanncha with date sauce

each recipe is unique, and you would be hard pressed to find such a great, easy-to-cook compilation of european and north african recipes anywhere else! he also talks you through the flavours and ingredients of each country, and what you'd expect to find on their menus - very interesting and helpful if you ever go to that country...

and lastly, when i've actually cooked with these recipes, the results are always awesome and packed full of flavour. i've cooked the creamy mushrooms, crunchy swedish salad and a whole host of the swedish dishes for my foodbuzz party.

here's just a little preview of the series from the Jamie Oliver YT channel:

do check out my new food and travel page to see photos from all the places i've travelled over the course of this blog. i hope the list can keep growing...

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

chocolate chestnut pancakes

here's a quick recipe for you all to enjoy! and i know you will - do you know how i know? my brother's girlfriend asked for more of them :) , she never asks for more...

chestnut puree chocolate pancakes - sounds posh, doesn't it?

chestnut chocolate pancakes recipe
1 cup chestnut puree
1/2 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1-2 tbsp honey
1 heaped dsp cocoa
2 whisked egg whites

1. combine the chestnut puree with the milk and egg yolks until smooth.
2. sift in the flour, baking powder, honey and cocoa, and combine until all the lumps are gone.
3. gently fold in the whisked egg whites.
4. melt butter or coconut oil in a non-stick pan.
5. when it sizzles, add in spoonfuls of batter. when they are cooked around the edges, flip carefully for a few seconds on the other side.

i like making mid-size pancakes with this mix - they look beautiful stacked with cream and banana on top. you could also add some nutella, jam or honey on top. or even sprinkle on dark chocolate drops once you have ladled the mix into the frying pan or skillet.

oh, chestnut and chocolate are just made for each other!

i will be making these again tomorrow with the other half of the tin of chestnut...i can't wait 

currently listening to: unchained melody (now that's reminiscent!)

Sunday, 13 March 2011

chickpea pancakes and chocolate hazelnut biscuits

there's so much to share with you today - new foods and new recipes! even if they are in a slightly random order...

so after the surprising delights of a cauliflower cheese pizza crust, i decided to get to grips with chickpea pancakes - something that's been on my 'to cook' list for a while now, ever since i saw the idea mentioned on pure2raw (they are addicted!). chickpea pancakes are a traditional food of many southern european countries, and are known as socca, farinata, cecina, karantita, fainá, or panissa. 

so, next time i saw gram flour on the supermarket shelf, i purchased a bag. then to set about finding a recipe. i didn't quite have the right sort of pan for making it in the traditional way - although a wood fire is probably the best way to enhance the simple flavour of chickpea flour. so, i stumbled across a quicker and more pancake way of cooking them:

mix 1 cup chickpea flour with 1 cup of water, 1 tsp picante pimentón (or other smoked paprika) and 1 tbsp olive oil. keep mixing until all the lumps have gone. rest for 15 minutes. pour into a non-stick pan and fry as you would a regular pancake, until crispy. enjoy!

they make great accompaniments to meaty dishes (especially chilli con carne and broccoli!) or soups or salads, or any time you want to eat something 'bread-y'. they are really satisfying and contain few carbs, no gluten, no wheat and no dairy! and i don't need to tell you just how good chickpeas are for you, right?

you can try the socca with other flavourings instead of the paprika, but this is my favourite so far, as it so compliments the taste of the gram flour. you could try rosemary, chili, cumin, etc.

and now for a little breakfast:

bacon and eggs with spinach and mustard is the perfect way to start the day in a diabetic friendly way!

and let's end with the sweet:

♥ grain free and sugar free chocolate hazelnut biscuits - these were delicious! although i will need to experiment once more with the recipe i have scribbled down before i share it with you all. i can practically hear you all holding your breath...

i've been experimenting lots with using ground nuts in baking - this would be a great way for me to keep enjoying baked goods, but without using too many carbs. you could say it all started with the 5g of carb a  slice chocolate cake with black beans in it (it still fools everyone that eats it!)

currently listening to: you're beautiful by phil wickham

Friday, 11 March 2011

pomelo pieces and boiled eggs

have you ever eaten a pomelo? have you even heard of one? well i hadn't until i saw them in Lidl last month. i blatantly had to try one! they are basically a sweeter, larger version of a grapefruit, with a thicker skin (although that's kind of questionable depending on the variety).

they were selling in these mesh bags, just like you would expect to see in an Asian food market. and they lured me in with their tropical and exciting sounding name and bright colour. and the thing is, i really do NOT like grapefruit, so it was kind of a strange decision to make.

so, it sat there. in the fruit bowl. for days. until i decided to google it, and find out how best to go about eating it. thankfully there were a few sites available to help me out in my time of need. it turns out that you just need to segment it like an orange, then peel off the skin - which is really bitter, so it's worth doing. here's a great video on how to tackle a pomelo!

and thankfully i really love them! i really recommend you buy one if you see one and have never tried it.

pomelo segments with a boiled egg, toasted soldiers, and a cup of green tea.

homemade calamari with garlic mayonnaise, cucumber tomato salad and greens. and of course the sunday paper and a cup of rooibos!

greek yoghurt with raspberries (from the freezer) and flaxseeds. this is surprisingly filling for a morning breakfast...

if you are a follower of this blog and would prefer to receive updates via email, you can now easily just enter your address to receive the rss updates - the form is in the left hand column. then not just apples posts and tasty healthy recipe will just pop into your inbox whenever i post :)

and also, if you want to ask me anything, you can do so on my formspring account (there's already 354 questions and answers!)

currently watching: primal recipe for skinless gyoza by christian & chloe

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

cauliflower pizza crust and cottage porridge

so, how have you all been? thanks for the great response to my buckwheat pancake video - it was a lot of fun to create a cooking video, and i will definitely be doing more in the future; any requests, please let me know!

i've been loving the bright sunshine we've had the past few days, it's such a joy to see that spring is really  here now. and even though it's so so chilly because the sky is so clear, i don't seem to mind wrapping on an extra layer to go outside :)

cauliflower pizza crust - recipe found here - was really surprisingly good! both mum and i were really sceptical about biting into it, but it is actually tastier than a regular pizza crust - i just need to work on how i prepare the cauliflower before mixing it up as i don't have a microwave as the recipe calls for; so the crust kind of stuck to the sheet a little. but totally worth continuing to experiment with as there are no carbs!!

cottage porridge - mix together 2 tbsp prepared oat porridge, with 2 tbsp cottage cheese, half a mashed banana and a dash of cinnamon (to taste). sprinkle with flax/linseeds and enjoy! you could also add a little dried fruit, vanilla, nuts, fruit compote or honey to change it up. feel free to play around with the quantities too until you find a texture you love!

pumpkin pie without the crust or any sugar (just a little honey) - weird but pretty good with a little yoghurt or cream. it got gobbled up within a couple of hours nonetheless. how there is still so much pumpkin in the freezer i do not know!

currently watching: kimberly snyder's 'what's in my fridge' video