Gooey Chocolate Pots

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These little pots of goo are just devine, I have pulled them out at a number of dinner parties lately, as well as cooking one as a treat for myself after dinner, not that there is anything to feel guilty about in them, they are all full of goodness! This recipe isn’t my own, I used the recipe from the ABSOLUTELY AMAZING cookbook Hemsley & Hemsley, I wish I could take credit but I can’t. The book is written by two sisters on a quest for good health, and it is currently my favourite book, incredibly informative and so many delicious recipes. These girls use “whole, organic, nutrient filled, delicious homemade foods, free of grain, gluten, high starch and refined sugar”. Check out their blog here…. 

Made up of just 6 ingredients, the entire time they take to make (preparation and baking) is around just fifteen minutes! So you can whip these up at a seconds thought and be enjoying chocolate gooeyness soon after. With cacao and coconut oil, your body will be thanking you for devouring these, don’t feel guilty if you even have two!

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Ingredients (makes 4-5)

4 Tbsp Coconut Oil
4 Tbsp Cacao
4 Tbsp Date Syrup (or honey)
2 Eggs
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt

Melt the coconut oil in a pan over low heat.
Add the rest of the ingredients expect the eggs to the coconut oil once melted.
Add the eggs.
A gooey thick mixture should form as the eggs are slightly cooked form the residual heat.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 8-10 minutes.
Eat as soon as you remove them from the oven as the eggs can carry on cooking, meaning it won’t be as gooey!

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Brain Fuel Smoothie

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With a new semester starting and summer finally come to an end, I wanted to share this recipe with you to kick start your term with a brain food smoothie! There is a general assumption that as we age our mental health will deteriorate, but this doesn’t have to be the case. One of the easiest ways to keep on top of our brain health is to eats lots of antioxidants and omega 3! One of the main reasons behind ageing and brain deterioration is due to free radicals, and oxidants. Antioxidants prevent these pesky molecules causing damage, or at least delay the damage, to cells, especially in the brain.

This smoothie is packed full of goodness that will get your brain switched on! The main component is blueberries, which have been referred to as ‘brainberries’ by Steven Pratt, author of a bible of superfoods. These little berries protect the brain from oxidative stress, protecting you from age related conditions such as dementia, Parkinsons, and Alzheimer’s. Avocados are also wacked into this smoothie, which are almost as good as promoting brain health as blueberries! They promote healthy blood flow, decreasing the risk of hypertension, and as high blood pressure can lead to a decline in cognitive function, avocados are bang on for brain health. Pomegranate seeds are also added to this berry smoothie, which are again FULL of antioxidants. Studies have even know them to have potent anti-cancer effects, so get these down you!

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Ingredients (Makes around 500 mL)

2 Bananas
2 Pomegranates (use their seeds)
Cup of Blueberries
Half an Avocado
Splash of Water
Ice

Quinoa, Chickpea & Avocado Salad

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Quinoa, chickpeas, pomegranate, avocado, edamame beans, sunflower seeds with a tahini dressing- this flavoursome salad is fully loaded with an extraordinary amount of goodness! Chickpeas, otherwise known as garbanzo beans are delicious roasted here with a touch of paprika, adding a little spice to the salad.

Extremely high in protein, quinoa is the super food of this meal, and a great alternative to your regular grains. It can be slightly bitter when cooked- so I add in a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to give it a fuller taste. Its versatile and nutty flavour pairs perfectly with the dish. With all nine essential amino acids, you really can’t go wrong with this grain, and its a great dietary addition for vegans who struggle to get enough protein into their diet. I paired my salad with some grilled chicken for lunch, but feel free to emit this!

P1040853 P1040783Ingredients

400g Chickpeas (tinned or dried)
1/2 Cup Quinoa (1:5 ratio of quinoa to water to get it fully cooked)
300 g Edamame Beans
1/2 Seeds of a Pomegranate
1/2 Avocado (diced)
1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Tahini
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Lime

Add the chickpeas to a baking tray, cover with the paprika and half of the olive oil. Bake them at 180 degrees for 15 minutes, until they turn a golden brown colour.
Whilst the chickpeas are cooking, put your quinoa on. Add 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, to the boiling water (use the 1:5 ratio to know how much water to use) and quinoa, and cook until all the water has been soaked up. Should take around 12 minutes.
Combine the avocado, roasted chickpeas, cooked quinoa, sunflower seeds and edamame beans in a salad bowl.
Mix the juice of one lime, two tbsp of tahini and the rest of the olive oil to make the dressing.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and enjoy!

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Dark Chocolate Popcorn & Walnuts

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Air popped popcorn can be quite tasteless, and by covering it in a load of butter, this healthy snack takes a turn for the worst! Here is where this recipe fixes this… Its sweet as well as salty, and all together just delicious! This is an incredibly simple recipe that is a great alternative to microwave popcorn which is full of rubbish..  An amazing snack to take with you on the go.. just store in an air tight container and it will stay fresh for up to 3 days.

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Ingredients

1/4 Cup Popcorn Kernels
50g of Dark Chocolate, use over 75% if possible
1/2 Cup Walnuts
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

Melt the coconut oil in a pan, add the kernels and put the lid on.
You should be able to tell as it is when the kernels stop popping.. ensure you pay good attention to this as if you keep them on for longer they will burnt!
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over some boiling water on the stove.
Spread the air popped popcorn and walnuts on a piece of foil, season with salt and drizzle the chocolate over them.
Wait until the chocolate has hardened before eating.

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Walnut, Cranberry, Beet & Feta Salad

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This salad is simply delicious, all the flavour combine together perfectly, with the sweet flavours of the beetroot and feta being toned down excellently by the walnut. I got this idea for this salad while travelling the states, and finding the miracle shop Whole Foods. They have one of the largest salad counters I have ever seen, where you can take a box and fill it to your hearts content, which is where I can up with this idea. Since recreating it at home I have had it 3 days in a row, and haven’t got bored yet.. 

IMG_1016Another great thing about this salad is how colourful it is. A lot of people just think of lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes when they think of salads, but I want to show you that a salad can be fun and exciting and not dull in the slightest! I simply used some olive oil and pepper for a dressing, which is a great alternative to stay away from processed and unhealthy store bought salad dressings.

Ingredients 
(Serves 1)

2 Handfuls of Greens (I used a lot of rocket as it is my favourite)
1 Beetroot, Diced
1/2 Avocado, Diced
Small Handful of Walnuts, Crushed
Small Handful of Dried Cranberries
25g of Feta

Combine in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season.

Enjoy!

Crab Linguine with Brown Rice Pasta

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This is a great alternative to spaghetti bolognese, which is great if you are trying to cut back on your consumption of red meat, or just looking for some variation to a classic home cooked meal! The great thing about this dish is it shows that you can still indulge in pasta whilst skipping on the wheat and gluten rich pasta! The brown rice variety is a great alternative to your normal white/wholewheat pasta, and whilst it may be a little bit more difficult to find, it is so worth it, as it won’t leave you feeling lethargic or overly full afterwards. Crab is great for you as it is packed full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to keep your brain healthy! I paired this with a very simple salad to ensure I got some extra veg into the meal!

IMG_0939The dish has quite a pleasantly strong and sharp taste to it, with the bold flavours of the crab being dominant in the dish. I used a food processor to make the sauce, but if you don’t have one don’t worry, just chop everything up finely instead.

Ingredients

400g Crab Meat
2 Carrots
3 Spring Onions
1 Red Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
Handful of Fresh Basil
1 Tbsp of Fennel Seeds
1 Tbsp of Capers
1 Red Chilli
400g of Passata

For the Salad
A few Handfuls of Mixed Greens
1 Avocado Diced
1 Carrot Grated
2 Celery Stalks Chopped Finely

Place the carrots, garlic, red chilli, stalks of the basil, capers, onions and fennel in the food processor, and process until all finely chopped. 
Add to a pan with a dash of olive oil and fry for a couple of minutes.
Add in the passata, the juice of a lemon, 3/4 of the basil and crab meat, and reduce for 15 minutes. 
While this is cooking, put your pasta onto boil in salty water and prepare the salad. 

Serve topped with the remaining basil and season with salt and pepper.

 

 

Teresa Carles, Barcelona

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I recently visited Spain with a group of friends, staying in a gorgeous villa, with afternoons of volleyball, wonderful barbecues and sadly a bit of chemistry.. After these few days of relaxation, I spent two nights in one of my favourite cities; Barcelona. On the first day, we trailed the streets with not much of an indication of where to go, ending up at an awful, dingy cafe due to the fact everyone was too ravenous to carry on searching for the dream tapas destination we had in mind. Hence, that night I spent some time browsing the internet to have a solid food plan for the next day… and that is where I came across Teresa Carles. With hundreds of incredible reviews, plus an amazing healthy vegetarian menu I thought this place was too good to miss.  The atmosphere was buzzing, and so worth it regardless of having to queue for 30 minutes to get in. I can’t emphasis how worth the wait it was!

The menu is very simple, with a choice of two starters, five mains and three desserts. For me, the amount of choice was perfect, as too much to pick from is not always a good thing. (Completely off topic… but Barry Schwarts gives an excellent lecture on the Paradox of Choice.. for those interested!). There is another menu giving you more options, but the simpler menu gives you great deals.. with three courses only costing you 13 euros! They keep these selections for a week, and rotate to a new menu every week.. meaning you can never get bored here!

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As the first picture shows, I went for the beetroot soup to start. I was a little skeptical at first, with the soup being served cold, but it was absolutely incredible, and gave beetroot flavours I didn’t know existed! Teresa Carles claims the secret ingredient to making an soup delicious incredible, and even though this may be a little bit of a bold statement, I have to agree with them in this case.. who knew beetroot could be complimented by cumin?! The texture was light, not too thick; a great consistency for a hot summer day when you don’t want anything stodgy. Serving the soup cold was another great move, it kept it extremely refreshing.

Chickpea meatballs was an obvious choice for the main; I love meatballs.. of any sort. I was slightly disappointed with the portion size upon being served, but found out this was a case of my eyes being bigger than my belly; it was just the right amount without leaving me feeling lethargic. The meatballs had a harder exterior, with the softness of the inside coming through once bitten into. The sauce was similar to a thai green curry sauce, quite spicy and rich.. ridiculously tasty. I inquired about exactly what when into the sauce, but the waiter was very mysterious when it came to revealing the ingredients; so either this meant it was top secret or he has no idea.

photo 2-1Dessert was the winner. I could have eaten ten of these and taken more home. I chose vegan chocolate and pear cake, but I the base was more of a cheesecake bottom consistency, rather than a sponge. It consisted of nuts, oats, honey and pear, with a dark chocolate layer, topped with pear slices, free of any dairy or refined sugar! After devouring this desert I made it one of my life aims to be able to produce a desert that is this healthy and tasty at the same time.

Teresa Carles has certainty nailed it on the head when it comes to producing vegetarian healthy food, which will please even the toughest carnivores. There is no way you will be missing meat when you dine here. So on that note, I encourage anyone visiting or living in Barcelona, to visit this gem of a restaurant.. it completed my holiday, I only wish it was closer to Bristol!

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