Spiced Leek & Sweet Potato Soup

Apologies for not posting in a while. I’ve been busy making countless cookie jar gifts and various balms in the run up to the festive season. These are just from today…

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Anyway, after a productive day of jar layering and labelling, I realised that the school run was looming, we had a parents evening appointment and the church prayer meeting, and I hadn’t thought about dinner. It had to be quick, it had to be nutritious and it had to be warming; it’s freezing today in the North West!

I sliced two large leeks and sautéed in a saucepan with some coconut oil and a couple of cloves of garlic. After a few minutes I threw in two diced sweet potatoes leaving the skin on. A teaspoon of ground coriander, one of madras curry powder, salt, pepper and a couple of dashes of lemon juice provided the seasoning. When the spices had had a couple of minutes to cook out I added some stock, tossed in a good handful of frozen spinach and left to simmer until the sweet potato was tender.

Meanwhile I roughly chopped some cavalo nero, sprinkled it with rapeseed oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin seeds and a little ground coriander.

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Spread the greens out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 160oC for about 10-15 minutes until crisp.

I love using my nutribullet to blend soups, it makes them beautifully silky smooth.

To serve I mixed some non fat Greek yoghurt with chopped coriander, salt, pepper and a little lemon juice and put a dollop on top of the soup, added a little mango chutney for sweetness, topped with the cavalo nero crisps, some more coriander and some finely chopped red chilli. We enjoyed a little treat of peshwari naan to dunk too. Delicious.

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Enjoy!

Cacao nibs and peanut butter Nutriblast

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If you haven’t heard the hype about Cacao Nibs where have you been hiding? Apparently high in magnesium, flavanoids, potassium and antioxidants these bitter little chunks of goodness are the most raw form of chocolate you can get. You can read more about the benefits here.

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Now, I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned on here that I’m on a bit more of a health kick than usual, trying to replace a few lunches a week with an additional nutriblast (I usually have one for breakfast). I’m allowing myself to add in a couple of ingredients I wouldn’t usually add to make it a bit more substantial and fill me up until we have dinner with our four year old, which is generally around 5pm.

In this blast I added the following:
20g cacao nibs
20g unsweetened peanut butter
100g spinach
80g frozen banana chunks
100ml milk of your choice (I had to use cows as had run out of almond)
Top up with water to the max line.

Blast for thirty seconds and enjoy. If you want, and I’ll probably do this next time, put the cacao in the cup first and grind to a powder using the milling blade before adding the rest if the ingredients and swapping to the extractor blade. It just makes it a little smoother.

Rich Chocolate and Beetroot Bundt

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HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and are ready to face 2015 with renewed vigour.

With an abundance of post-Christmas chocolate lying around at home, I decided to remove the temptation and share the love at church today with a very rich and indulgent chocolate and beetroot cake. Beautifully moist and studded with chunks of dark chocolate, this is bound to prove popular with kids and adults alike.

A lot of recipes call for cooked beetroot, but thanks to the pulversing powers of the nutribullet I used raw.

Here’s how to do it. Scrub a whole beetroot and weigh out 180g of it.  Cube and put in the nutribullet along with three large eggs.

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Blend until pulverised.

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In a bowl or blender mix 200g plain flour, 250g light brown soft sugar, 100g  good quality cocoa powder, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste before adding the beetroot and egg mixture, and 200ml melted butter. You’ll end up with a lovely rich mixture like this.

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Chop 100g of good quality dark chocolate (no higher than 70%).

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Mix into the batter before spooning into a greased bundt tin which has been sprinkled with cocoa powder to stop the cake sticking.

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Bake for 35mins at 180oC or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for ten minutes before turning out.

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For the icing steep a few cubes of the leftover beetroot in some vanilla syrup (water or milk works fine if you don’t have syrup to hand), then add the liquid to icing sugar to make a thick pink drizzle. Pipe over the cooled bundt.

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It went down well at church this morning.

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Nutribullet green Thai curry paste

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As you may have noticed from recent posts I LOVE MY NUTRIBULLET! I use it daily for breakfast smoothies but am finding more and more uses for it. One of my favourites is making fresh green Thai curry paste.

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In my paste I use tiny Thai chillies, garlic, onion, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, ginger, lemongrass, frozen spinach for an extra hit of goodness, a large bunch of corriander (cilantro), fish sauce and rice wine vinegar, oh and of course salt and black pepper.

I literally throw all the paste ingredients into the nutribullet, some of them frozen, add a splash of water to help it along a bit and blitz it up.

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Once blitzed, cook out the paste in a saucepan with coconut oil for a few minutes before adding in a can of coconut milk. Let it simmer, stiring regularly, for about half an hour, then add in veggies of your choice.

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On this occasion I added baby corn, red pepper and courgette, but you can add pretty much whatever you fancy. I add the veg at this point because I like them crunchy, but you could add them earlier if you wish. After a couple of minutes add some prawns in. They’ll only take a couple of minutes to cook. Check the seasoning and add in some fresh lime juice to make all those amazing flavours sing. Serve with steamed basmati rice and sprinkle with chopped coriander. Although not traditional Thai cuisine we also had naan bread. Yummy!

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Coffee with coconut oil & butter (bulletproof coffee)

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When an American friend told me he had put butter and coconut oil in his coffee I had visions of an oil slip in the Atlantic…oily puddles drifting around on an ocean of black coffee did not sound appealing, but I was intrigued, so I gave it a go. If you want to know where the idea of so called Bulletproof Coffee came from check out the link here or Google it.

I filled the short cup on my Nutribullet up to the max line with freshly brewed coffee then added in a couple of teaspoons of organic, unrefined coconut oil and one of good quality butter (by all means add more if you want). I blitzed it for a few seconds,  then gave it a taste. The first thing that surprised me was the colour, it looked a lot lighter in colour than I had expected.  Plus, it wasn’t oily, just very creamy with a subtle coconut undertone.

I’ve since tried it with just coconut oil, and it works pretty well. The only difference really was the lack of frothy head.

This is definitely not an every day kind of coffee in my opinion, being high in calories but low in nutrients. Personally I’d rather spend my calories on a green smoothie, but give it a shot (no pun intended) and let me know what you think!

Pick-me-up smoothie

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I’m doing battle with a cold/swollen glands in my throat at the moment and was in need of a real vitamin packed pick-me-up this afternoon. Think plenty of vitamin C and anti-oxidents. So with that in mind I set about making a concoction in my Nutribullet. I threw in two clementines peel and all, a thumb of ginger, juice of half a lemon, and the seeds of half a pomegranate, a teaspoon of Manuka Honey and a glug of ice water.

The result was surprisingly good. Tart, as you’d expect, but the honey took the edge off it, and no doubt it packed a vitamin loaded punch. Just what I need today.

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Nutribullet breakfast blast

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I recently discovered the joys of the Nutribullet after my juicer broke down. As much as I love juicing, the hassle of cleaning the machine afterwards is not appealing at all. I wanted something simpler and easy to clean. Although not strictly a juicer (it’s marketed as an extractor), the Nutribullet came to my rescue. So unbelievably quick and easy with minimal clean up, I still feel like I’m getting all the benefits of juicing with the added perk of the fibre still being included, as the pulp is filtered out with a juicer. You can still use raw veggies and the Nutribullet will pulverise them into delicious smoothies, even if they’re frozen!

I’ve used beetroot, broccoli, apples, avocado, berries, spinach, banana and carrots all with great results. This morning I had spinach, frozen blueberries, strawberries and half a banana with a piece of fresh ginger to give it some bite, all topped up with coconut rice milk. A perfect pre-workout pick-me-up.

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Aside from the fact it will literally blend anything (nuts and seeds included), the cup and blade are the only things that need cleaning! Perfect on so many levels. I’d highly recommend if you’re looking into buying a smoothie maker or juicer.

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