Super Snack Tip : Asma’s Beet Brownies

Recipe taken from Psychologies Magazine (October 2015) 

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Serves: 6

Ingredients:
2 cans black beans, drained (approx. 480g)
80ml melted coconut oil
4 eggs
1 cup cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
4 tblsp beetroot powder
Seeds of one vanilla pod
12 dates
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

Step One : Preheat oven to 170oC. Grease the bottom of a 13 1/2 x 8 x 1 inch brownie pan with coconut oil.

Step Two : Add all the ingredients to a large food processor and blend until smooth.

Step Three : Spoon into the pan and bake for approximately 35 minutes until you can see slight cracking on the top, and it is springy to the touch.

Step Four : Leave to cool fully before cutting into squares.

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Trends & Facts : What should a balanced lunchbox for kids look like?

Article taken from Psychologies Magazine (October 2015) 

healthy lunchbox

Assuming allergies or intolerances are not present, this is a rough idea of what a packed lunch should include:

Carboyhydrates
Sandwiches made from additive-free, wholegrain seeded bread with real butter; wraps made with wholegrain or gluten-free flours; cooked quinoa; sweet potato wedges, mini buckwheat pizza bases.

Protein
Fill or top the above with full-fat organic cheese, nut butters, organic cheese, nut butters, organic meat or fish, hummus, free-range eggs.

Antioxidants
Create posts of your favourite veggie bites with tasty dips (raw carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and celery with tzatziki, tahini, hummus and guacamole). Smoothies are ideas for hiding veggies. Blend a banana, 2 teaspoons of cashew nut butter, a handful of spinach, a drizzle of maple syrup or good honey and a cup of dairy or non-dairy milk.

Calcium
Use full-fat organic yogurt of full-fat organic milk for milkshakes and smoothies. Remember, green vegetables, almonds, tahini and white beans are also good non-dairy sources of calcium.

Better treats
A small bar of good-quality, high-cocoa chocolate (try Oh So bars, a unique probiotic chocolate proven to support good gut flora), an oatcake with hummus or nut butter (check out Nairns range or Heavenly’s Wafer Wisps) or an oaty homemade flapjack or muffin. Try fresh and seasonal fruit – banana boats are usually a hit. Slice one in half, add peanut or other nut butter, and decorate with goji berries, cacao nibs and coconut chips. It’s nutritious, delicious and gets kids’ creative juices flowing.

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Gluten-Free Gnocchi with Roasted Butternut Squash, Brown Butter and Sage

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2019) and taken from Skinny Pasta by Julia Azzarello.

The addition of pomegranate seeds rounds off the sweetness of the squash and nuttiness of the butter with just the right amount of acid and tang. Plus, it’s a lovely colourful garnish to lift the dish.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
300g butternut squash flesh, cut into small chunks
2 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp butter
5 sage leaves, chopped
40g Parmesan cheese, grated
40g pomegranate seeds, to garnish

For the Gnocchi:
2 medium baking potatoes, scrubbed
1 egg, beaten
60-80g gluten-free plain flour, plus extra for dusting

 

 

Step One : First, make the gnocchi. Preheat the oven to 200oC / Gas Mark 6. Prick the potatoes with a fork and wrap them in foil. Bake for 1 – 1 hr 20 minutes, or until tender. Leave to cool slightly, for about 15 minutes, then scoop out the potato and pass through a ricer. You need about 400g. Mix in the egg and flour.

Step Two : Dust a clean worktop with flour. Divide the dough into four equal sized pieces. Roll each one out to a cylinder 20cm long, and cut into 2cm chunks. Make grooves on each piece using the back of a fork, then place on a baking tray dusted with flour.

Step Three : Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook in two batches or 1 minute, or until they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving some cooking water. Leftovers can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge, or freezer for two to three months.

Step Four : Preheat the oven to 200oC, Gas mark 6. Toss the squash with half of the olive oil and spread out evenly on a baking tray. Roast for 30-35 minutes.

Step Five : Put the remaining oil and the butter in a deep frying pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until browned and it smells nutty. Add the gnocchi and saute for 2 minutes more, then add the roasted squash, sage and a splash of pasta cooking water and toss together. Serve on plates topped with grated Parmesan cheese and pomegranate seeds.

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Pea and Orzo Risotto

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2019) and taken from Skinny Pasta by Julia Azzarello.

Orzo tends to be a bit starchier than other tiny pastas, so makes a lovely risotto. It is also easier than using Arborio rice, as you don’t have to stir it so vigilantly. The addition of pea shoots at the end gives it a sweet crunch.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
1 tblsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
300g orzo
100ml dry white wine
400ml vegetable or chicken stock
150g frozen peas
50ml single cream
50g ricotta salata or pecorino Romano, grated, plus extra for sprinkling
10g fresh mint, chopped
4 sprigs of tarragon, chopped
40g pea shoots, to garnish

Step One : Warm a large, deep pan, then add the oil and shallot and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Tip in the orzo and stir around for 1 minute more, then add the white wine. Once the wine has evaporated pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. The orzo should take about 9-10 minutes to cook, but keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Step Two : When it is creamy and cooked, stir in the peas, single cream, grated cheese and herbs and cook for 2 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with some extra grated cheese and the pea shoots.

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Chocolate Seed Soldiers

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2015) and taken from The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White.

These seed soldiers are excellent allies in the war against afternoon slumps. Practically jumming with energy, they will deliver a cargo of essential minerals to service your mojo alongside battery-boosting B vitamins. Goji berries are rich in iron, protein and vitamins C, E and A.

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Makes 20 generous servings

Ingredients:
1 cup (100g) pitted dates, chopped
1 cup (105g) milled sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup (180g) cashew nut butter
1/2 cup (80g) raisins
1/2 cup (65g) coconut flour
1/2 cup (125ml) maple syrup (not honey)
3 tblsp raw Cacao Nibs
2 tblsp goji berries , plus extra to decorate
Up to 1 tblsp Tamari or raw coconut aminos
130g dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids)

Step One : In a food processor (a fork and a temper will also work), combine everything except the dark chocolate and decorative goji berries. Spread it out over a parchment-lined shallow tin – the perfect size is 20 x 25cm, a little larger than the usual 20 x 20 cm square brownie tin. Place another piece of parchment on top of the base mixture, pressing down firmly with your fingers. Once the base is smooth, you can ditch the top parchment. Chill in the fridge.

Step Two : Meanwhile, slowly melt the chocolate in a bain-marie – a pot of simmering water, 2 1/2 cm in depth, with a heatproof bowl sitting on top where a lid might otherwise be. The contents of the bowl will gently melt from the steam of the water underneath. The trick is not to let the water boil or let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.

Step Three : Smother the chilled base in melted chocolate and parachute a couple of goji berries on top for colour. Refrigerate overnight. I doubt you’ll need an alarm clock to wake you in the morning.

Grain-Free Granola with Rosewater, Apricot & Pistachios

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies (June 2017) and taken from Nourish: Mind, Body & Soul by Amber Rose, Sadie Frost and Holly Davidson.

This decadent granola is served with fresh fruit (pomegranate seeds) and yogurt. It’s full of slow-release energy and is easy to make.

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Ingredients for 1 large jar:
50g raw coconut oil
80ml honey
85ml maple syrup
200g coconut chips
115g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
150g almonds, roughly chopped
80g sunflower seeds
80g pumpkin seeds
1 tsp rosewater
200g dried apricots, roughly chopped
2 tblsp hemp seeds
2-3 tblsp dried rose petals (optional)

Step One : Preheat the oven to 170oC / 330oF / Gas Mark 3 and line 2 deep-sided baking trays with baking parchment. Melt the coconut oil, honey and maple syrup in a saucepan until they start to bubble, then turn off the heat.

Step Two : Combine the coconut chips, pistachios, almonds and sunflower and pumpkin seeds in a bowl. Pour in the honey mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined There should be enough of the honey mixture to lightly coat the mix but, if you feel there is not enough, add more honey mix, using equal amounts of melted honey and coconut oil.

Step Three : Spread the mixture on the baking trays, making a layer that isn’t too deep, otherwise it won’t go crisp. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes so it turns golden and doesn’t burn.

Step Four : Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then sprinkle over the rosewater and scatter on the apricots and hemp seeds. Stir in the rose petals.

Step Five : Allow to cool and transfer to an airtight jar. Use within two weeks.

An Apple a Day

Article taken from Psychologies Magazine (March 2019)

The latest National Diabetes Audit found that there are 7,000 Brits under the age of 25 being treated for type 2 diabetes.  These simple tips from medical doctor Sarah Brewer’ can help lower the risk dramatically.
an apple a day

  1. Replace some carbs in your diet with healthy monounsaturated fats (in olive oil, avocados, almonds and macadamia nuts) and omega-3 fatty acids (oily fish and walnuts).  This can significantly improve glucose control, triglyceride levels, blood pressure and cholesterol balance in people with type 2 diabetes.
  2. A study involving 38,000 women found that those eating at least one apple a day were 28 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those eating no apples, while a recent analysis of five trials, involving a quarter of a million people, found that regular consumption of apples and pears is associated with an 18 per cent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
  3. Whether black, green or oolong, tea contains antioxidants that increase insulin sensitivity, supress appetite through the effects on hormones such as ghrelin and adiponectin and stimulate fat burning to generate heat and aid weight loss.  They also have beneficial effects on the liver to decrease glucose and fatty acid synthesis.