Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Videos

Designer Coffee 2015

If giving up coffee seems dastardly difficult, try adding some octane for 2015 instead.

Here’s the blogpost with the original recipe, and below, a cheerful demo on my You Tube channel with music from Dublin band I ♡ The Monster Hero. Hit the subscribe button, and I’ll keep you informed. (I’ll do the research, so you won’t have to!)

 

 

½ large banana, frozen

1 cup / 250ml home-made or unsweetened almond milk

1 shot of espresso (optional)

2 teaspoons bee pollen*

1 tablespoon almond butter (we love Keen nutbutter)

1 Medjool date

 

*caffeine will interrupt the absorption of some minerals and vitamins, but them is the trade offs for coffee lovers!

 

Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Stealthy Marzipan

Fat is incredibly fashionable. Pope Francis, I concede. There really must be a god.

It turns out that all saturated fats are not equal. Each saturated fat has its own structure, and their individual differences influence the way they work in your body. (Scientists, look away while I mutilate your language).

Several saturated fats, called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are metabolized more like carbohydrates than fats, and quickly used for energy. Coconut oil is the best example, favoured by sporting magnates like Gordon D’Arcy. Pure palm oil is another, but tricky to find in its purest, unadulterated form. This is because pure palm oil is bright red and alarmingly whiffy. Commercial brands prefer to deodorise and bleach it, making it more palatable but at the same time, disfiguring the oil’s health benefits.

 

marzipan dark chocolate

 

Expect to get about 8g of MCT in one tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil. Butter will deliver 1-2g, and ghee around 4g. Bulletproof Coffee relies upon a distinctive MCT oil, which is pure diesel for our mitochondria at 14g per tablespoon. It is, of course, created in a lab with isolated extracts of coconut and palm oils, so hasn’t won a place on my virtuous pedestal. Nevertheless I’m interested in its cult following, and the impossibly delicious athletes thriving on it.

Coconut oil’s real deal lies with its immune-boosting compounds like lauric and caprylic acid. The predominant MCT in coconut oil is lauric acid, known for their mega antimicrobial, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Think Ninjago in a tub. Much of the research on lauric and caprylic acids have shown that many pathogens can be deactivated by these particular MCTs. These same MCTs are found it mama’s milk to give her baby the best start in life.

Snazzy, eh?

 

apricot kernel size

 

A Healthier Marzipan

I don’t like marzipan. Never did.

But real marzipan? You need apricot kernels for that (see photo of walnut, almond and apricot kernel above). Apricot kernels can be outrageously pricey, so most marzipan manufacturers will use cheap flavours instead.

Wait until you try this marzipan recipe, free from gunk and guilt. I’m so excited to share them because they truly are life-changing. Well, at least for yuletide.

Not that you need reminding, but apricot kernels are classed like nutmeg  – do not consume a packet! Our bodies cannot process large amounts of apricot kernels or nutmeg (in truth, humans don’t go beyond using a whisper of a taste. That’s because both foods are ridiculously strong. Try eating a whole apricot kernel, and I bet you’ll spit it out!)

 

 

Makes 20-30:

4-6 apricot kernels

4 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or powder

80g ground almonds

65g of 85% chocolate, to coat

 

Line a very small container with cling film.

Start by crushing the apricot kernels in a pestle and mortar.

In a saucepan, gently melt the coconut oil over a low heat. Stir through remaining ingredients using a fork to release any lumps. Don’t fret if it looks like wet sand – it doesn’t taste a thing like it.

Scrape this marzipan mix into your pre-lined container and let it set in the fridge before chopping into marzipan pieces (see photo below). Melt your preferred chocolate over a bain marie until gorgeous and glossy. Drop each marzipan into the chocolate and remove with a fork. They dry well on a wire rack with parchment paper underneath to catch any delicious drips. Store in the fridge, ready to impress unexpected carol singers. Fa la la la lahhhh

 

marzipan apricot kernels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Events, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

A Vegan Christmas, Dec 21st

This Sunday 21st December, in the Sunday Independent, I have a big spread on catering for vegetarians and vegans in the family. That’s right – no turkey or ham #WTAF

There’s pumpkin pie with cinnamon-roasted pecan crumb, parsnips chips with beetroot ketchup, plum & liquorice crumble with quinoa flakes, and red wine poached pears with star anise to name a few.

Merry Christmas folks! Here’s a sneak peek. Fa la la la lahhh …

 

 

Red wine poached pears with star anise

Serves 4-8

These look so impossibly gorgeous perked up on their plate, dribbling with boozy sweetness like Kathryn Thomas at 4 o’clock on Christmas Eve. What a dish, I say.

Do them one day in advance so that you can sit back and enjoy everybody else’s chaos. Devastatingly good with thick soya or oat cream.

 

poached pears vegan christmas

 

450ml dry red wine
3 tablespoons maple or brown rice syrup
1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1 star anise
4 firm, ripe pears

Bring the red wine, your chosen syrup and the juice of 1 orange to a rolling boil. Add the cinnamon, the cloves and the star anise, letting it simmer for 5 minutes while you peel the pears. I like leaving the stem intact and slicing the bottom of the pears to create a flat base. Gently place the peeled pears in your poaching liquid, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes. It’s useful to turn the pears every so often to ensure even colour.

Remove the saucepan from its flame, uncover and cool with the pears still upright. Once cool, cover and chill in refrigerator until dessert time. Remove the pears delicately from their liquid and leave at room temperature. Meanwhile, reduce the poaching liquid over a medium-high flame for 25 minutes, until the liquid is more viscous and slightly syrupy.

Serve the pears on individual plates, and drizzle with the licky-sticky poaching liquid, a dollop of yoghurt or cream, and some mortifying Christmas photos.