It's just not Christmas without brussel sprouts! They really are a love them or hate them vegetable. I'm actually not that fussed either way, I can take them or leave them!
I think most of us, well certainly of a certain age, can remember soggy, bitter brussel sprouts at Christmas! Overcooked veggies are one of my pet hates!
Now I'm all for seasonal food and brussel sprouts are certainly seasonal. Since we don't eat turkey, or any other animal for that matter!! I like to include some sprouts with our Festive Feast!
I came across this recipe on the Food Matters blog and was intrigued to give it a go. I've certainly never considered sprouts as a salad ingredient but then I never considered kale as a salad leaf before until I tried it in Awesome Wild Rice Salad and now I'm hooked!
The key to using tougher greens in salad is to use enough dressing and pour it over your salad ingredients an hour or so before you serve it to soften them a bit, making them easier to digest.
This particular salad is packed with nutritious ingredients with a festive twist from the cranberries and nuts. It is bursting with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins from the radishes, carrot, beetroot and flat leaf parsley.
The dressing packs a real punch with good fats from the rapeseed oil, immune boosting and digestive benefits from the garlic and apple cider vinegar and a delicious sweetness from the maple syrup!
All in all this definitely ticks all the boxes on flavour and nutrition!
I hope you give it a go, it could just transform your opinion of brussel sprouts!
Here is the recipe.
INGREDIENTS for SALAD
1/2 bag (approx 200g) of brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
4 radishes, cut into strips
1 small raw beetroot, thinly sliced or grated
1 small to medium carrot, grated
seeds of half a pomegrante (optional)
handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
handful of pumpkin seeds to garnish (optional)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons rapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt, black pepper and a large pinch of cinnamon.
1. Give all your veg a good wash and cut the bottom off the sprouts.
2. I used my food processor to thinly slice the sprouts and grate the carrot and beetroot which is really easy but if you don't have one then just slice the sprouts as finely as you can and grate the carrot and beetroot.
2. Thinly slice the radishes then cut them into strips.
3. Pile your veggies into a large salad bowl, just use your hands to mix it all together.
4. Add the walnuts and cranberries.
4. Measure all the salad ingredients into a glass jar and give it a good shake.
5. Pour over the salad and mix well.
6. Garnish with pomegrante and pumpkin seeds.
BRUSSEL SPROUT CRISPS
This was another OMG moment this festive season when I realised that sprouts make damned good crisps!
I'm a huge fan of kale crisps, which are just delicious and so light and crispy and I've perfected the recipe here.
Brussel sprout leaves are a lot thicker than curly kale so need a bit longer in the oven at a higher temperature.
I've found that if you trim off the outer leaves from your sprouts, you can crisp them up, then oven roast the middle bits with other veggies like red onions, cubed butternut squash and parsnips or thinly slice them and use them in the Sprout Salad.
.It becomes increasingly difficult to remove whole leaves since they are so tightly packed the nearer the middle. Initially I just sliced the middle bits thinly but they didn't crisp up like the outer leaves did so if you want crispy leaves just use the bigger outside leaves.
Right so all you need to do is wash your leaves well and dry in a salad spinner. I also dried mine on kitchen roll. Put the sprouts in a bowl and drizzle over about a tablespoon of rapeseed oil and massage the leaves to make sure they are all coated in oil. Then tumble them all onto an oven tray, arrange in a single layer, season with seaweed flakes and/or Himalyan sea salt.You may need more than one tray since they need to be in a single layer to crisp up!
I love Mara Seaweed, they do a great range of Scottish seaweeds with great flavour and health benefits!
Right then put them in the oven at around 160C for 15 minutes, shake the tray and put them back it for another 10 minutes or so until nicely browned and crisp. Ovens vary a bit so just use these timings as a guide and keep an eye on your crisps to make sure they don't burn.
Although some of mine did look a bit brown, they still tasted delicious!
This really is a great way of using up extra sprouts over the Festive Season.
Even my husband Alastair, who hates sprouts, actually ate these and said they weren't disgusting! He went back for seconds so I know he liked them, he just didn't want to admit it!!
Anyway sprouts like all veggies are extremely nutritious so I hope you eat loads of them this Christmas! It's certainly easy with these delicious recipes!
. .....your health in your hands......
Today as Christmas is only a few days away I thought I'd share a really simple but rather delicious vegan carrot loaf. This really is good enough to serve to veggie guests on Christmas Day. The Mushroom Gravy just elevates the whole dish and it can all be prepared in advance and reheated which is perfect. The original recipe is from the lovely Trinity Bournes Conscious Kitchen Cookbook and I've adapted it a bit. I originally tried using raw grated carrot to save on cooking time but although the loaf tasted great, it didn't hold together very well so you really need to cook the carrots first.
The seeds are a mixture of sunflower, pumpkin and ground flaxseeds, all nutritional powerhouses and packed with good fats, protein, fibre and antioxidants.
I also added some walnuts for a bit of crunch and omega 3, rather crucial at this time of year when there is so much to remember and do, and walnuts as their shape suggests (they look like brains!) support brain function and memory!
If you have a wee pepper needing used up or a stray courgette, you can add them, just chop finely or grate the courgette and add to the mixture.
Another point to remember is to pack the mixture very firmly into the tin to aid the binding process, otherwise it may break up!
This loaf is also delicious served cold, as part of a buffet or sliced in wraps or pitta breads for a healthy lunch or snack.
So here is my loaf recipe
CARROT & SEED LOAF
INGREDIENTS Makes 10 to 12 slices
4 to 5 medium carrots (approx 400g), scrubbed and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 small red pepper, diced fine (optional)
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 heaped tablespoon ground flaxseeds or spelt flour
100g sunflower seeds, ground
100g pumpkin seeds, ground
50 g walnuts, finely chopped or ground
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped (optional)
big handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Steam or boil the carrots until soft. Around 15 minutes.
2. Blitz seeds and nuts in a food processor or use a pestle and mortar. Some large pieces is ok but you want the rest fairly finely ground. You can also use pre ground seeds.
3. Heat the oil in a large pan and gently cook the onion, garlic and pepper for 5 to 10 minutes.
4.Drain and mash the carrots and add to the onion mix.
5. Add the ground seeds, nuts and herbs and mix together.
6. Season with sea salt
7. Prepare a 1kg loaf tin (approx 20x10x6cm) by cutting a long strip of greaseproof paper and lining the tin with it so it overlaps either end.
8. Firmly press the mixture into the tin to make it stick together.
9. Bake in a preheated oven at gas mark 6 (200C / 400F) for approximately 45 minutes.
10. Cool, for 10 minutes, then gently lift from the tin by pulling the loaf out along with the greaseproof paper.
11. Cut into slices and serve.
This is a really delicious gravy packed with healthy ingredients. It can be made in advance and simply reheated.
Serves 6 generously or 8 small portions
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add the garlic and stir being careful not to burn it. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 mins. Add the flour and stir constantly, you want the flour to brown as it adds a nuttiness to the gravy. Add in the dried herbs, paprika, oat milk, miso paste and water; whisk frequently for a few minutes then add in the vinegar. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened. Grate in the nutmeg if using then season to taste and serve.
.....your health in your hands.....
I've had a lovely week, it was my birthday and I was spoilt rotten with flowers, chocolate and Prosecco, three of my favourite things!
I have to admit the after effects of too much chocolate and wine are not great but sometimes worth it!
So I thought I'd share one of my favourite healthy chocolate truffle recipes. These truffles are delicious, pretty much free of everything bad for you, incredibly quick and easy to make. In fact they are so delicious it's hard to believe they are packed full of healthy ingredients.
They are a perfect wee sweet treat to end a meal, and make a fabulous last minute Christmas gift for a health conscious friend.!
These truffles are vegan so dairy free, contain no saturated fat or added sugar. All the sweetness comes from the dates and coconut, both natural ingredients with health benefits.
I love dates, they are deliciously sweet and although they are fairly high in sugar, they more than make up for it with the dazzling array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, supporting health on so many levels.
The walnuts and sunflower seeds add protein, fibre, minerals and omega 3 fats so these truffles can definitely be enjoyed guilt free!
Medjool dates are the king of dates and are sweet, caramelly and moist and are always my first choice. Deglet Nour Dates are also delicious. Lidl are selling them for £1 a bag just now and they are also pitted which saves you precious time! It's well worth having a few bags on standby. Some of the dates are really quite dry and need to be soaked before you can use them and they are never sweet or sticky enough, don't buy them!
You really need a food processor to make these. The dates need to be blitzed to a paste, although I guess at a push you could use a hand blender. Dates are so sticky though you would have to do it in batches and blitz the nuts and seeds first. Always make sure there are no stones in your dates, that could wreck your processor. Another point to note, for those of you lucky enough to own a Vitamix, don't use it for dates! They are just too sticky and there was a horrible burning smell from mine when I tried it
You have been warned!
If you have any sweet superfood powders like lacuma or maca, you can add a spoonful to up the health benefits even more. Chia seeds are also a good addition!
These truffles are best kept in the fridge to firm them up. I'm not too sure how long they will keep, ours are always scoffed within a few days, but I guess they would be fine for a week or so!
Preparation: 30 minutes
Makes: 20 bite size truffles
. ......your health in your hands......
We are big fans of home made burgers and have loads of fun making up different recipes with whatever ingredients we have to use up! I have to say ours are a far cry from the shop bought veggie burgers and meat lovers, veggies and vegans alike scoff ours with relish!
Haha I just made a wee joke! However relish goes really well with any burger in my opinion.! I'll have to post a relish recipe now!!
So with Christmas looming I thought I'd make a burger with a festive touch, in this case nuts and cranberries!
Now our family is divided when it comes to using fruit in savoury dishes, personally I really enjoy a wee sweet flavour to liven up a savoury dish and I also enjoy fresh fruit in a salad, al;so apple with red cabbage comes to mind as a winning combination but wishing to keep everyone happy I made half of the burgers with cranberries and half without and they were equally good.
I've been using a lot of quinoa recently, which quite rightly earns its title as a superfood, its a great source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids, high in magnesium, B vitamins, iron, zinc, vitamin E and fibre. It's also gluten free and thought to be the least allergenic of all the grains so plenty of good reasons to include it in your diet.
Cauliflower is in season just now and I'm a big fan of seasonal eating so I've been using it a lot too. Its a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes broccoli, kale and cabbage and has many of the same health benefits. Its a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins and fibre and like the other members of the cruciferous family, contains anti cancer compounds.
I'm all for cramming as much nutrition as I can into each recipe so another few favourites are tahini, packed with calcium and magnesium;
turmeric, beating drugs for just about everything from pain relief to reducing inflammation;
garlic anti fungal, antiviral and antibacterial and
walnuts, a great source of omega 3, supporting brain health.
So I think I can justify calling these Superburgers!
They are also packed full of flavour and texture, due to the nuts, with a lovely hint of sweetness from the cranberries and mango chutney!
They can be made in advance and kept in the fridge until needed and they are oven baked so no last minute faffing around with a smoking frying pan!
I used spelt breadcrumbs in mine but you can replace them with polenta for gluten free burgers.
These are also delicious served cold with salad or in a wrap or a pitta bread so any leftovers can be used for lunches or snacks.
They can also be frozen and reheated.
I hope you give these a go, these would work really well as part of a buffet spread over the festive period.
If you don't have quinoa then you could use a tin of drained chickpeas instead or a few cups of cooked sweet potato. The key to making decent burgers is for the mixture to stick together but not be too wet or too dry so that it falls apart. So just add extra tahini if they are not sticking or add more breadcrumbs or polenta if the mixture is too wet.
So here is my recipe.........enjoy!
SUPER QUINOA & CAULIFLOWER BURGERS
Ingredients Makes 12 decent sized burgers
1 small cauliflower, broken into florets and steamed or boiled until soft
1 cup uncooked quinoa (approx 200g), rinsed well
2 cups vegetable stock (500mls), Kallo organic is good
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 courgette or a carrot, grated
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 or 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 heaped tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon tamari
2 level teaspoons ground turmeric
1 to 2 tablespoons mango chutney
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 cup of spelt or wholemeal breadcrumbs plus extra for coating.
1 cup of polenta for gluten free option plus extra for coating
1. Rinse quinoa well under cold running water to remove the bitter saponin coating. Add to pot with 2 cups of hot vegetable stock. I stock cube makes 500 ml which is about 2 cups. Bring to boil, then put the lid on, simmer gently for 12 to 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa cooked.
2. Break cauliflower into florets and steam or boil for 10 to 15 minutes, until cooked.
3. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the garlic and grated courgette and cook for another few minutes.
4. Add the turmeric, tamari, tahini and mango chutney and stir to combine.
6. Turn the heat off.
5. Drain the cauliflower, add it to the pan and mash it with a potato masher. Mix well.
6. Add the quinoa a cup at a time and mix well.
7. Mix in the chopped walnuts and cranberries.
7. Add the breadcrumbs or polenta.
8. Season with sea salt and black pepper, taste and add more mango chutney or tamari, if you like.
9. The mixture should hold together, if its too wet add more breadcrumbs.
10. When the mixture has cooled a bit, take big spoonfuls, shape into burgers and coat in breadcrumbs or polenta. You should get around 12 to 15, depending on how big you make them!
11. Put on lightly greased oven trays and bake in the oven at 200C for around 30 minutes, until nicely browned, turning halfway to brown both sides.
...your health in your hands.........
I had another OMG moment this week when I finally got around to trying out this 2 ingredient chocolate mousse!
Why is it magical, you may ask?
Well one of the ingredients is the liquid from a tin of butter beans!
Yes you read that right !! It's called aquafaba in foodie circles and literally translates as bean water!
A rather smart french chef noticed that bean water had a similar consistency to egg whites so he whipped it up and Voila, it formed perfect peaks exactly like egg whites!
Now this is very good news for vegans and folks with an egg allergy!
Meringues, macaroons and the most deliciously light chocolate mousse are now on the menu!
Now I was a bit sceptical and thought the bean water would impart a beany taste but it didn't at all!
I thought I'd start with the simplest recipe I could find and it doesn't get much simpler than this chocolate mousse and I have to admit, it is absolutely delicious, fluffy, chocolatey, light and airy!
You really have to try it out, it's truly magical!
I used a bar of dark chocolate with orange but you could use any good quality chocolate. I'm thinking that chocolate mint would be a great and I'll be trying that next!
So impress your friends and family with this most delicious and healthy dessert this Christmas!
Oh I forgot to say, you can use the butter beans in Broccoli, Spinach & Bean Soup so nothing is wasted. I detest food waste and this is a great way of using everything!!
So here is the recipe........enjoy!
MAGICAL CHOCOLATE MOUSSE Makes 6 small or 4 medium dishes
1 100g bar of chocolate, preferably 60 or 70% cocoa solids
1 or 2 tablespoons sweetener, maple syrup or brown rice syrup (optional)
liquid from a tin of butter beans or chickpeas
pinch of sea salt
1. Break the chocolate into pieces and put into a glass bowl. Put the bowl on top of a pot with some boiling water. Keep the water on a gentle simmer and stir the chocolate occasionally until it's fully melted.
At this stage you can add sweetener, if you prefer a sweeter mousse.
Put aside to cool
2.Put the liquid from the beans into a bowl, add a pinch of sea salt and whisk until peaks form. I used my mixer but a hand whisk or a hand blender would also work but will take a little longer. You need the mixture to form stiff peaks. A good test is to turn the bowl upside down and the mixture should stay put! If it slides then its not stiff enough!
3. When the chocolate has cooled a bit, gradually add spoonfuls of the whisked bean mixture and gently fold it into the chocolate. You want to keep as much air as possible to keep the mousse light and fluffy so don't be tempted to beat it too hard. Just be patient and take your time.
4. Pour into nice glasses or ramekin dishes and decorate with cacao nibs, grated chocolate, lemon or orange zest or chopped nuts!
Chill in the fridge for an hour or so.
5. Serve and enjoy!!
...........your health in your hands............
This quinoa brittle is just the bees knees and the cats whiskers and I love it.
You seriously need to make this!
Now quinoa isn't something that you would normally associate with a sweet dish but I'm discovering that it's extremely versatile as well as extremely nutritious!
It certainly earns the title of superfood Its an excellent source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids, high in magnesium, B vitamins, iron, zinc, vitamin E and fibre. It's also gluten free and thought to be the least allergenic of all the grains so plenty of good reasons to give it a go!
I came across this recipe on The Minamilist Baker Blog, which I love!
I've always been a big fan of those wee sesame snap bars and these reminded me of them, but are way more nutritious.
Admittedly they are not sugar free but more than make up for it with all the other ingredients, and this is a treat after all!
I was so intrigued by this recipe and I had all the ingredients so I made it at 11pm on Saturday night!
I have to admit, I wasn't disappointed, this is seriously addictive!!
It's crispy, crunchy, nutty, nutritious and naturally sweet!
What's not to love?
A few points to note, quinoa has a protective coating of saponins which taste bitter so you really need to rinse it well before using it. I rinsed and drained mine in a sieve, then blotted it on kitchen paper then dry toasted it to remove any moisture, before proceeding with the recipe.
I also replaced some of the nuts with sesame seeds, which I love. They are a great source of calcium and magnesium, which most of us are deficient in and are also alkaline and a good source of protein and fibre.
Chia seeds are also a favourite of mine, another superfood, and high in protein, fibre and minerals and so easy to add to so many dishes.
So without further ado, here is the slightly modified recipe! If you make it, and why wouldn't you?? please leave a comment!
......your health in your hands......
I've just come home from a fantastic wee pre Christmas break to New York with 3 of my lovely girls and we had a fabulous time! So now I'm in the mood for Christmas and will be posting lots of lovely, healthy, recipes to see you through the Festive Period and beyond......!
So I'm kicking off with this delicious Christmas Chocolate Crunch recipe.
This is a real family favourite at any time of year but is ideal to have in your freezer for any unexpected guests over Christmas! The cinnamon and mixed spice gives it a lovely festive flavour and its so easy to make.
This is a really useful recipe: make a batch, break it up and keep it in the freezer. It can be served straight from frozen! It may taste decadent, but the ingredients are all very nutritious!
Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, oatcakes provide fibre, seeds and nuts provide protein, minerals and good fats. Goji berries boost the immune system and cinnamon is useful in controlling blood sugar. Coconut oil boosts metabolism and lowers the GI of any food it's cooked or eaten with so this is most definitely a treat you can eat guilt free!!
Here is the recipe, enjoy.....
200g (7oz) dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, broken into chunks
1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)
125g (41/2oz) rough oatcakes
50g (2oz) goji berries ( soaked for 10 mins to soften, then dried)
50 (2oz) Brazil nuts, hazelnuts or walnuts, roughly chopped
50g (2oz) pumpkin seeds
2 tsp ground mixed spice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1. Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil, stirring occasionally, in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
2. Put the oatcakes into a mixing bowl and crumble into small pieces. Stir in the goji berries, nuts, seeds and spices.
3. Stir the nut butter into the melted chocolate and mix until fairly smooth. Stir the chocolate mixture into the remaining ingredients, making sure the ingredients are evenly coated.
4. Spread the mixture over a baking sheet and put in the fridge or freezer to chill and harden. Break into shards or cut into rough pieces when set, ready to serve.
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