Make your own raw chocolate mini Easter eggs

Make your own raw chocolate mini Easter eggs

Learn how to create your own bespoke raw chocolate mini Easter eggs for yourself or a loved one this April

Join Rebecca from vegan pop up Willow and Dove and me, Susan Hart nutrition coach to learn how make raw chocolate from 3 simple ingredients.

vegan chocolate egg

The Easter event will take place at my cookery school in West Bridgford, Nottingham on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 from 6:00 – 7:15 PM

  • How to create your own raw chocolate from scratch at home with minimal equipment and experience
  • The differences and benefits of raw chocolate over commercial chocolate
  • Customise your chocolate eggs with a variety of freeze dried fruits and nuts
  • Take home Easter Eggs in your own customised packaging PLUS mini starter kit to get you started creating your own chocolates at home

All this and lots of tasting too for £25.  click on our eventbrite link to book your place

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/make-your-own-raw-chocolate-mini-easter-eggs-tickets-33315663045

willow & dove chocWe welcome any questions you may have about the evening:

susan@nutrition-coach.co.uk  07946 301338

willowanddovecakes@gmail.com

and look forward to welcoming you this April.

Vegan pancakes

Vegan pancakes

pancake1Many of you began January as a vegan, because you wanted to support Veganuary, and I know thorough social media that many of you have continued.  And its on special occasions like ‘Pancake day’ that you think…hmm now what do I do?!

Well, I have the answer in my vegan pancake recipe.  This is a mashup of a ‘normal’ recipe and different recipes I found on the Vegan Food UK Facebook page.  I’d highly recommend this resource if you want some vegan inspiration

Makes 12 small pancakes and serves 4 people

IMG_0021100g or 1 cup of porridge oats

300ml or 1¼  cups of non dairy milk (I used soya milk)

50g or 1/3 cup wholemeal/coconut/gluten free flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon powder

pinch of salt

1 medium or 2 small ripe bananas

1 tbls chia seeds

rapeseed oil for frying

Don’t worry if your first pancake is a bit ‘pants’ it takes a while for the pan to warm up and for the oil to do its work.  But persevere, your second and subsequent pancakes will be fab!

  • Put all the items into a large bowl and blend them using a hand blender, or in a nutribullet if you have one. Blend until well mixed, you may need to add more milk or a splash of water if its too thick
  • The batter should be the consistency of slightly whipped cream.  The chia seeds will thicken it, if that happens as you’re making your pancakes just add another splash of water
  • Drizzle oil in a non-stick pan, and spread around with a paper towel. Heat on a medium setting.
  • I tried both a large frying pan and my individual cast iron pan, for me the individual pan worked best but it does take longer to cook all the batter
  • Pour in a small amount of the batter to make a small thick circle.

  • When the top starts to bubble (after about 1 minute), its time to flip! A spatula is easiest, but if you fancy your chances give it a toss!
  • Again cook for about a minute, pick the edge up and have a look to see if its cooked. When it’s nice and brown it’s ready. Woo-hoo!
  • When you cook the next pancake don’t add any extra oil but use the kitchen paper and rub the base of the pan, which will provide enough oil.

 

  • IMG_0101Serve straight away or stack the pancakes on a plate in a warm oven until you’re ready to eat.  They can also be made in advance, cooled and kept in the fridge or freezer to eat at another time

I like clementine segments and some vegan ice-cream  with mine.  How do you like yours?

Valentines raw food menu

Valentines raw food menu for two

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

IMG_9884Why not try something different this Valentine’s day and enjoy a light and energy giving ‘raw’ vegan meal.  Many of the water soluble vitamins are preserved and the dishes are bursting with fibre

I have devised a  light two course menu of courgette noodles (courgetti), with tomatoes and cannellini beans and for ‘afters’ peanut butter truffles.  The courgette is made using a ‘spiralizer’, although you can now buy them already prepared in many supermarkets. Eating courgettes this way means you can enjoy the romance and joy of pasta twirling without the carbohydrate overload.  The tomatoes add some great antioxidants and the beans are a good low fat protein source, and both are a great source of fibre.

The dessert is only slightly naughty; the peanuts provide protein and fibre, the rice is gluten free, the chia seeds are bursting with omega 3 fats and the sesame seeds are a valuable source of calcium.  Finally, the dark chocolate contains some nice mood enhancing endorphins.  Making it an ideal choice for Valentines day

 

Courgette noodles with tomatoes and cannellini beans

 

  • IMG_13812 large courgettes, spiralized (or ribboned with a vegetable peeler)
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil or virgin olive oil
  • Juice and zest of ½ a lemon
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes or ½ chilli de-seed and finely sliced
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tin of drained and rinsed cannellini beans
  • Sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves chopped

 

IIMG_2437n a large bowl mix all of the ingredients together – except the sesame seeds and fresh mint. Taste and add some salt and pepper if needed or a bit more chilli

 

Leave at room temperature for 20 minutes for the flavours to marry together. Scatter over the images-10sesame seeds and mint. Serve in a large clean bowl to share – visualise the spaghetti eating scene in the Lady and the tramp!

 

IMG_2450

 

 

 

 

 

For dessert some little bite sized chocolate lovelies!

Peanut butter truffles

 

IMG_1816100g wholenut crunchy peanut butter

10g wholegrain puffed rice – toasted, cooled and lightly crushed

few drops of Vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp Agave, Golden syrup or Maple syrup

½ tsp Chia seeds

½ tsp Sesame seeds

40g Dark chocolate

½ tsp Coconut oil

few grains of rock salt

 

Mix the first six ingredients together. Blend well

Line a tray with Clingfilm and shape the mixture in to small balls. Keep wetting your hands with cold water to stop the mixture from sticking to youIMG_1820

Leave the balls to firm up in for fridge for at least 30 minutes

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a pan over a bowl of hot water or microwave on high for 1 minute

 

peanut butter truffles

 

Remove the peanut balls from the fridge and dip each one in the chocolate. Place on the cling filmed tray to set. Crush a few grains of rock salt over the coated peanut balls.  Leave for a few hours for the chocolate to harden.  Then pop one in your beloved’s mouth and enjoy!

Food safety at Christmas

Food safety at Christmas

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t want to be completely bah-humbug about Christmas, but this might be the only time of the year when the fridge, freezer, hobs and ovens are groaning under the weight of food.

 

So I think its worth thinking about ways to keep the whole family ‘food safe’ over the Festive period. This is especially important if you have very young, old or infirm visitors.

You don’t want anyone sitting around your table to be one of the 30 people who die from food poisoning each Christmas

 So here are my top 10 tips:

Tip #1 – Sort out your fridge BEFORE doing your shopping; throw away half finished jars and bottles, turn scraps of vegetables in to soup and either eat over the coming days or freeze.  You can then put food straight in when you get back from the big Christmas shop. Try not to pack the fridge too tightly; cold air needs to circulate to cool your food.  Some items like beer, wine and vegetables can be kept in a cold garage, shed  or cool box until needed

Tip #2 – When buying your meat make sure none of the packaging has been damaged.  Place it in your trolley or basket away from other products.  When you are at the checkout wrap it in a separate carrier bag and transport it home as quickly as possible. To be extra safe you could put it in a cool bag in the boot of your car

Tip #3 –  Put raw meat at the BOTTOM of the fridge, so any drips don’t land on food that is ready-to-eat, such as cooked meats, desserts and salad items.

Tip #4 – Always wash your hands with warm water and soap, and dry them thoroughly, before handling food, and particularly after touching raw meat, poultry and vegetables

Tip #5 – Don’t wash your turkey (or any other meat) before cooking – harmful bacteria can splash onto work tops, clothes, dishes and other foods. Thorough cooking will kill any bacteria, so you don’t need to wash meat.

Tip #6 – Always clean and disinfect work tops, chopping boards, dishes and utensils thoroughly after they have touched raw poultry/meat.

Tip #7 – If your fridge doesn’t have an inbuilt digital thermometer then buy a cheap  fridge thermometer. Food in the fridge is best when kept between 1oC and 5oC.

Tip #8 – Check the dates on foods regularly and don’t eat foods past their ‘Use-by’ date, even though they might look and smell fine they may make you unwell.  ‘Best before’ is about quality not safety, so use your eyes, nose and taste to determine if you want to use it

Tip #9 – Eat leftovers within two days or freeze them. Only reheat food once, making sure it is very hot all the way through to destroy any food poisoning bugs . Chilled leftovers may be eaten cold if they have been stored correctly.

leftovers

 

Tip #10 – Make sure you defrost and cook your turkey in plenty of time. See my charts below

thawing-your-bird

how-to-cook-your-bird

If in doubt use a food thermometer.  The thickest part of the meat (for a turkey thats between the breast and the thigh) should be at least 70°C for two minutes. Any leftovers should be wrapped and stored in the fridge within two hours of serving

And finally, don’t forget to wash and scrub all your veg as they can also harbour bacteria and bugs

The video below highlights the potential risks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheats mince pies

Cheats Mince pies

mince pieThis is a recipe I made a few years ago when some unexpected guests arrived one Christmas and I needed to make some mince pies pronto! And your guests will never guess the ‘cheat’

It also great for vegan quests.  I have pimped up shop bought mincemeat but you can just open a jar and get cracking

So the cheat is to use wholemeal bread instead of pastry.  Its so simple, quick and easy and you can make as many or as few as you need.  I also keep a few frozen slices of wholemeal bread in freezer bags for those surprise visitors.  And 15-20 minutes later they are settled with a homemade mince pie and a cuppa (or something stronger)

One slice will make 2 circles and 2 star tops i.e. 2 complete mince pies.

So what are you waiting for get rolling!

Makes 6 mince pies

3 slices of wholemeal bread

6 teaspoons (120g) shop bought or homemade mince meat

2 tsps of your favourite tipple (brandy, rum, sherry etc) – Optional

1 cooking or eating apple washed, cored but not peeled

1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice

2 tsps oil

large pinch of sugar

extra cinnamon, mixed spice or nutmeg for dusting

pastry cutter1 pastry cutter 3″ or 78mm wide

1 star cutter

1 rolling pin

bun tin

 

Pre-heat the oven 220C/200C fan/gas 7.  Grease the bun tin using a small amount of oil and some kitchen roll

Using the rolling pin roll out and flatten each slice of bread.  Make it large enough so that you can cut out two circles and two stars*

 

Place the circles in the bun tins and press down so they line the tins.

Chop the apple in to small cubes or grate on a course grater

img_9116In a bowl add 120g of mincemeat, chopped/grated apple, cinnamon or mixed spice and alcohol (if using).  Mix together and spoon in to the bread cases

Using a pastry brush, brush the remaining oil carefully over the stars.  Place a star on top of the filled pies sprinkle with extra cinnamon and a few grains of sugar

img_9122Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-12 minutes until the tops look nice and toasted.  Eat hot or cold, either by themselves or with some soya cream or custard

They should be stored in an airtight container and will keep for 4 days

*The left over bread can be used to make bread sauce, homemade stuffing, make a shop bought stuffing go further or frozen until you decide what you want to do with it!

IMG_2168

 

 

Merry Christmas! 

 

 

 

Food waste

Food Waste

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

food-waste2In the run up to Christmas when we are all busy stocking up our shelves, fridges and freezer it’s perhaps worth bearing in mind that £17 billion worth of food is thrown away every year in the UK

We all have a part to play in that number, for instance shops and manufacturers generate 6 million tonnes of food waste annually, restaurants generate another 3 million tonnes and 33% of the food we buy is thrown away

But at the same time 8.4 million people in the UK who are too poor to eat and 4.7 million people go a whole day without food

food-waste-infographic

So what can you do to help reduce some of these statistics?

Food waste top tips

Tip #1 - understand the difference between use by, best before and sell by dates.  It could make the difference between using or throwing away food

use-by-dates

Tip #2 – go shopping with a list. It could not only reduce your food bill by discouraging you from purchasing BOGOF and other special offers but you will only buy what you need and help reduce waste

Tip #3 – Use the freezer to correctly store leftover food.  Place leftovers in freezer bags (clearly labelled with the contents and a date)

Tip #4 – Love your leftovers; veg can be made into a winter warming and cheap soup, stale bread can be turned into breadcrumbs, garlic bread or frozen, herbs can be added to bottled oil to create flavoured oils, potatoes can be cooked,mashed and frozen, ripe bananas can be broken into pieces and frozen ready to be added to smoothies or whizzed in a blender to make ice-cream

Tip #5 – Stalks, stems, outer leaves from veg and herbs can all be frozen ready to make homemade stock for stews, soups, risottos and sauces

Tip #6 – Ripe fruit can be cooked in a small amount of water and some cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch or two of sugar until soft and spooned over yoghurt, served with your favourite cereal or eaten with custard.  Any left over can be frozen flat in freezer bags

 

Tip #7 – Never go food shopping when you are hungry; it could encourage you to make impetuous buys

Tip #8 - Make your salad leaves last longer by putting them in a big bowl or tub, lay a paper towel or two over the top so moisture doesn’t settle on the leaves. Cover with a lid or some clingfilm and store at the bottom of the fridge.

Tip #9 – Practice portion control and don’t overload your plates with food.  Consider using smaller plates, bowls and glasses

Tip #10 – If you have left over food contact your nearest food bank, soup kitchen, charity or local church and let them redistribute it for you

 feed-bellies-not-binsWhat’s your best tip for avoiding food waste?

Chestnut, leek and cranberry terrine

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Christmas chestnut, leek and cranberry terrine – serves 2

IMG_4635This is a delicious and very festive recipe for all the vegans, veggies and non veggies gathered around the Christmas table.  Once cooked it keeps in the fridge for up to three days and freezers really well.  It is also really adaptable in that if you don’t like leeks you could use parsnips or carrots, and if you don’t like cranberry sauce you could use mango chutney.

The quantities can also be doubled or tripled depending on the number of guests.

 

 

If you have a favourite vegetarian show stopper then why not share it with?

 

1 tbls of reduced sugar cranberry sauce,

80g leeks – washed and cut into batons to fit the width of the loaf tin

1 tsp vegetable oil,

½ (50-60g) onion chopped,

½ tsp chilli flakes, 1 garlic clove, Salt & pepper

10g sage leaves , 5g thyme– finely sliced,

60g of cooked chestnuts (vacuum packed),

30g each of mushrooms (sliced), fresh spinach (washed), chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts, peanuts or cashew nuts), wholemeal bread,

Large pinch of mace or cinnamon

 

ingredients

 

  • Pre heat the oven 180C/160 fan oven/gas 4
  • Heat the oil in a medium pan and add the onions and mushrooms, cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes.  If the pan dries and the veg starts to stick add a drop of hot water.  Stir in the chopped garlic, sage, chilli and salt & pepper cook for a further 2 minutes then tip into a bowl.
  • In the same pan add a small amount of boiling water and cook the leeks for 4 minutes until soft.  Drain well and line  (width ways) the bottom and sides of a greased and lined (greaseproof paper) dish.   A foil container, the type takeaway food comes in is a perfect size.  Pack the leeks in tightly to cover the bottom.  Any left over leeks can be chopped and added to the cooked onion mix.
  • Put the spinach in a microwavable bowl (no need to add any water) and heat on high for 30 seconds just to wilt the leaves. Or place in a colander over the cooking leeks
  • Chop the chestnuts and hazelnuts.  This can be done by hand or in a food processor or nutribullet. whiz up the bread in the processor/bullet too.  Add them all to the bowl of cooked onion; add the mac/cinnamon and some of the leek water to bind it all.  Mix with a large spoon.
  • Place ½ of the chestnut mixture on top of the cooked leeks in the loaf tin; press down well with the back of the spoon.  Add a layer of wilted spinach.  Then spread the cranberry sauce on top of the mix. Repeat with the remaining chestnut mixture, pressing down with the back the spoon.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.  Remove the foil and loosen the sides with a spatula before turning out onto a plate.  Any left overs can be wrapped and frozen

 

IMG_0541

 

 

Now how tasty does that look!

 

 

*NB the terrine can be made, covered and chilled the day before

Celeriac and leek soup

celeriac-4Celeriac and leek soup with hazelnuts and crispy sage – serves 2

This warming soup is an ideal starter if you have a vegan or vegetarian guest coming for Christmas.  It can be made in advance and frozen.  Crisp the sage leaves and add the hazelnuts on the day though

In fact it is so tasty all your meat eating guests will want a bowl, but don’t worry the recipe can easily be double or tripled

vegan-xmas-poster-jpegMy vegan Christmas cookery class guests will be making it (along with chestnut and cranberry terrine and chocolate pots) on Saturday 10th December. I have a couple of places left if you’d like to join me

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Celeriac and leek soup with hazelnuts and crispy sage – serves 2

15g hazelnuts,2 tsp olive oil

100g leek

1 garlic clove

500ml veg stock

250g celeriac, peeled and chopped

200g floury potato (russet, Desiree, King Edward and Maris Piper.) chopped only

12 small sage leaves, salt & pepper to taste

Drizzle lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil

 

  • hazelnutsAdd the hazelnuts to a hot dry frying pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes until toasted, keep shaking the pan.
  • Wrap the toasted nuts in a paper towel and rub to remove the brown skin. Cool then roughly chop
  • Heat 1 tsp oil in the pan cook the thinly sliced leek on a medium heat for 5-6 mins. Add the chopped garlic and cook for another minute. Add the celeriac, potatoes and stock

celeriac-5

  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20-22 mins until the veg is soft. Using a stick blender blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning

 

 

  • celeriac-6Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and fry the sage leaves, stirring for 1 -2 mins until crispy. Drain on paper. Serve the soup topped with the toasted nuts and sage leaves. Finish with a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil (or you could add a splash of soya cream)

What to do with all those pumpkins!

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

What to do with all those pumpkins!

imagesWell Halloween has come and gone but we are still left with all those pumpkins and no clue what to do with them or why we should be eating them in the first place!  Pumpkin (or butternut squash and other squash’s)  is very low in calories (under 30 calories per 100g) and fat but high in vitamin A ,great for eye health, and fibre, brilliant at keeping you fuller for long and giving you good digestive health.

And during World Vegan Month it is an ideal vegetable to incorporate in to a healthy vegan diet.

The recipe ideas below are all vegan that is because not only are vegetables, seeds and beans nutritious they are also inexpensive.  Added to that the latest research has shown that eating a more plant based diet has numerous health benefits, such as a lower BMI (Body Mass Index), lower cholesterol levels, a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and certain cancers

IMG_1906A simple way to use pumpkin (or any other squash) is to make a soup.  First of all cut up, peel and de-seed your pumpkin and place in a lightly oiled roasting tray.  You can add some spice like chilli flakes, cumin, coriander or curry powder.  Bake for 30 minutes until soft. Meanwhile in a pan add about 500ml veggie stock, a garlic clove and two handfuls of red lentils, cook for 20 minutes until soft.  Add the roasted pumpkin, season with salt and pepper.  You can either leave it chunky or blend. Then finish with some chopped herbs like parsley or IMG_1919coriander.  This will serve two people.

Another idea is to use the roasted pumpkin in a salad, throw in some chickpeas and you have a fibre and protein rich vegan meal

A creamy risotto would also benefit from this brightly coloured vegetable. Just omit the hard cheese and it instantly becomes vegan friendly.

pumpkin-spaghetti

 

A warming and nutritious pasta dish from Lazy Cat Kitchen

 

vegan-pumpkin-pie

 

And if puds are your thing then why not make a pumpkin pie here’s a recipe vegan pumpkin pie – just substitute canned puree for the equivalent weight in fresh pumpkin (peeled and cut in to chunks and cooked in boiling water for 15 mins)

 

If you have a glut of pumpkins, don’t worry if stored correctly they can see you through the winter.

pumpkin-seedsAs well as the flesh, pumpkin seeds are also highly nutritious; they are low in cholesterol and sodium and high in *magnesium and zinc. These two minerals are great for bone and muscle health, metabolism and supporting your immune system.  They are also great for adding texture and crunch to a dish and they make a satisfying afternoon snack.  28g or a small handful is a portion size.

*Tip Foods that are high in fibre like fruits and veg, nuts and seeds are generally also high in magnesium

 

I’d love to hear what your best pumpkin recipe is!

 

images

Easter chocolate

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

IMG_0896Easter will soon be upon us and our love of chocolate can be indulged, but why should the children be the only ones to have a sweet treat.  Try these delicious  dark cacao coconut bites.  Fresh coconut is very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a very good source of potassium and Manganese, which are needed for good heart health and healthy bone structure.  The oats are high in soluble fibre which helps to regulate blood sugar and the flaxseeds which are a good source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids are good for heart health .

 

However a word of warning; coconut it is also very high in saturated fat so make only small bites and eat only eat one or two.  But enjoy!

Coconut bites makes 25, 45 calories each

1 cup (100g) raw grated coconutIMG_0947

¼ cup (50ml) coconut oil

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp ground flaxseeds

2 tbls golden syrup or argave

2 tbls unsweeteded cacao or cocoa powder

50g porridge oats

IMG_0927

 Now for the complicated bit!

Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly

Shape into bite sized balls (x25) or put into moulds and place in the fridge to firm up  – preferably overnight

 

You can then cover them in melted dark chocolate and put back in the fridge to set.  But they are equally delicious as they are

If all of that seems too much like too much hard work then invest in some really good dark chocolate.  conscious chocAt the moment one of my favourites is ‘Conscious’ chocolate; hand –made vegan chocolate bars http://www.consciouschocolate.com

Yum!