It is getting hot hot hot here in Ireland at the moment; I can't quite believe it! So with all the sunshine nice-creams are naturally on my mind... give these two gorgeous simple recipes a try to cool you down on a hot day!
Lately I have become completely addicted to Bounce energy balls, and in particular the Macadamia and Coconut flavour. They've become my go-to snack in the afternoon and I'm always tripping out of the office on a lunch time to stock up in Holland & Barratt.
So I thought I'd have a go at making my own. I checked the back of the pack and I picked out what I thought were the essentials for flavour and consistency and this was the result.
I'd love to know what you think.
SERVES: 8 small balls
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 0 minutes
100g macadamia nuts
40g cashew nuts
1 tbsp sesame seeds
4 tbsp coconut flour
Dessicated coconut (+ extra for rolling)
1 tbsp rice malt syrup
1 tbsp coconut cream
1. Put the macadamia nuts and cashews in a food processor and blitz until they're a fine powder or paste, at at least until you have no big lumps left.
2. In a bowl, mix together the nuts, sesame seeds, two tablespoons of the flour and the dessicated coconut until well blended.
3. Add the rice malt syrup and coconut cream and combine. You should get a paste which you eventually feel able to pick up and roll with your hands. If it's not the right consistency add more flour if it's too wet: this is why I started off with only 2tbsp to begin with, but don't be afraid to add more! I didn't find the balls tasted floury at all. If it's too dry, add more coconut cream.
4. When you've got a big paste ball rolling in your hands, divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each into a ball. To decorate, I chose to roll half of mine in dessicated coconut.
5. Eat and enjoy! I think these little guys will last a while in the fridge or even do well frozen and popped on top of desserts, but I couldn't tell you just yet because I ate all mine straight away :)
Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that this was my second attempt cooking with carrageen seaweed. I picked it up on holiday when I went to Doolin Caves on the west coast of Ireland (which are amazing by the way), though I subsequently realised Wild Irish Sea Veg is stocked in a lot of places in Ireland, including Dunnes. My first attempt was with a savoury meal as the packet said "goes well with seafood" but it proved a lot trickier to make something edible (or photo friendly!) from than I expected!
Carrageen is a seaweed that for many years small seaside communities in Ireland have gathered from the rocks near their homes, drying and bleaching it and then selling it on as a setting agent. It is cheaper than gelatine and has its own unique, subdued flavor of the sea.
I should also say that I did some research on carrageen whilst preparing this post and my goodness, there are some scary things written about it! Wellness Mama covers it on her blog, which attracts some interesting comments. However most of what I read seemed to relate to the extract, not the raw seaweed itself. Carrageen extract is sometimes added to things like nut milks to thicken them, and can cause stomach irritation. I am rather hoping that using the raw seaweed, and not eating it regularly, doesn't have the same effect. I didn't experience any negative side effects anyway.
So for my second go, and with the advice from the producers themselves, I opted to use the carrageen as a natural gelling agent in these traditionally Irish Orange and Lemon Carrageen Puddings. I was worried it wouldn't set as the recipe suggested it should start to gel quite quickly during the cooking process, but it worked perfectly overnight and has a delicious zingy citrus flavour to it!
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 25 minutes plus chilling overnight
- 1 cup of carrageen seaweed
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 3 cups milk, or the soy, rice, or oat milk of your choice
- Juice and zest of one orange
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
1. In a small bowl or Pyrex cup, add warm water to the carrageen. Allow it to soak for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, put the milk into a saucepan and bring it carefully to a simmer. Put aside a teaspoon of the orange zest to use as a garnish: then add the carrageen to the milk, along with the rice malt syrup and rest of the orange and lemon zests, stirring frequently. As the milk and carrageen mixture starts to thicken (the recipe said it would do so pretty quickly, though mine didn't so don't panic!), add the lemon and orange juice.
3. Keep stirring frequently for about the next twenty to twenty-five minutes. Be most careful never to allow the milk to boil, as that will destroy the carrageen's gelling properties.
4. At the end of 20-25 minutes, strain the milk mixture into a jug, discarding the used carrageen and cooked zest, and pour the pudding mixture into dessert bowls.
5. Allow them to set at least overnight before serving. Garnish with the remaining orange zest.
Two of my favourite recipe books - Natural Born Feeder by Roz Purcell and Hemsely & Hemsley The Art of Eating Well both use maca in their recipes.
I avoided it for a while, thinking it was another powder I could do without. But I eventually caved! I'm so glad I did.
The big thing for me is always taste when it comes to picking ingredients. I've been put off trying baobab so far because friends said it tastes disgusting! But with maca it's a hit. It adds a caramel or butterscotch type flavour to your dish which I love.
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 10 minutes
30g (1/3 cup) gluten free oats
300ml (1/3 cup) almond (or other plantbased) milk
1tsp maca powder
1tsp chia seeds
1tbsp coconut oil (optional)
Berry topping (totally optional!)
5g pomegranate seeds
Dried edible petals
1. Add the oats, maca powder and chia seeds to a small saucepan or milk pan. Pour in two thirds of the milk and place the saucepan over moderate heat.
2. Stir the pan continuously. The porridge will thicken quickly as the oats soak up the liquid. I have to admit I barely ever remember to measure the milk, so the important thing is to measure your oats (30g per person I think is loads, it always expands so much more than you expect!) and then just keep adding milk or even just water until you get the consistency you want. If you want a more creamy porridge, add that tablespoon of coconut oil.
3. Pour the porridge into a bowl and add your toppings of choice. I chose berries, but you could also use things like cinnamon, flaxseeds, desiccated coconut and almond butter.
For the fruit I heated up the raspberries in a small pan until they started to go squidgy, just to change up the texture. I actually added the strawberries from frozen, I like them as they melt in the hot porridge! Enjoy!
I am completely obsessed with sushi and was lucky enough to go to Japan last year with work. Being able to have incredible, freshly made sushi which didn't break the bank was absolute heaven for me and I would love to go back again.
So back in London, every week I go to my Spanish lesson (still very early days but hopefully one day I'll be good enough to write a blog or two in Spanish!) I always treat myself to an onigiri from Wasabi. They're so simple but so delicious and the perfect snack.
I've tried sushi making before and I think we all know it's an art. So when I spotted onigiri on my Instagram feed, and as they're one of my favourite snacks anyway, I thought this might be a good entry level starter.
I'd bought some brown sushi rice and whilst it's a bit of a faff to prepare, with lots of soaking and waiting around, it's absolutely perfect once it's done. I'd suggest if you want to make these prepare the rice the day before and keep in the fridge. Otherwise if you're doing them after work like I was, it becomes a bit of an all night affair!
SERVES: Makes 5-6 good size onigiri
PREP TIME: 20 minutes + sushi rice soaking and cooking time (check packet instructions)
COOK TIME: 0 minutes
- brown sushi rice
- 4 sheets nori
- 1 cooked salmon fillet
- toasted sesame oil
- black and white sesame seeds (for decoration)
- paprika (for decoration)
1. Cook the sushi rice according to the packet instructions.
2. In a bowl, flake up the salmon fillet and mix with sesame oil and a few white sesame seeds if you'd like. Onigiri fillings are often made with pickles, or teriyaki, mayonnaise or soy sauce, which aren't ideal for yeast-free. This one is just simple salmon and sesame oil.
3. Once the rice is cool, get a bowl of warm water and dunk your hands in to wet them completely to make sure the rice doesn't stick to your hands. With your hands, scoop out a portion of the rice: I'd suggest a decent handful for a good size onigiri.
4. Make a rough ball with the rice and push a hole in the centre, to make room for the filling.
5. Spoon a little of your salmon mixture into the hole, as much as you can get in! With your fingers, push it firmly in.
6. With a wet hand, scoop out a little bit more sushi rice and press this on top of your first half with the filling, to completely cover and surround it.
7. Shape your onigiri into pyramids, using one hand to cup the bottom and the other to to pinch the top of the rice into a point. With wet hands you should be able to mould the rice quite easily.
8. Repeat the process as many times as you can - I got 5 onirigi out of this much rice.
9. Cut nori sheets into thick strips to wrap around the bottom of the onigiri, in the traditional way. Alternatively you can use a whole nori sheet to wrap your onigiri completely (I have to say I haven't mastered the best way to do this, without the handy Wasabi packet to show me how!).
10. Enjoy! I put these in a tupperware in the fridge and ate them over the next 24hrs. The sushi rice will make the nori go a little soggy, so you could always wrap just before eating.
I must add I am hugely indebted to Steve at Steve's Kitchen for his video on YouTube which showed me how to make and shape these onigiri. If you've not done it before, check out his video as it demonstrates the technique I am explaining in writing.
When I first ventured onto Instagram to change my eating habits one of the first accounts I found was Jess at Choosing Chia. The perfect person to learn the perfect chia pudding recipe from! Her clever ways with this amazing ingredient and gorgeous pictures and really influenced me from the start.
Chia seeds have become one of the most popular 'super foods' out there and with protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and omega 3 who can be surprised. They're said to be great for your skin, for digestive health (yeay!) and for boosting your energy and metabolism. So that makes them an ideal breakfast ingredient in my book.
A big thank you to Nourishing Amelia too, who posted a pudding similar to this which inspired me.
PREP TIME: 10 minutes + 1 hour (or overnight) for soaking
COOK TIME: 0 minutes
- 40g (1/4 cup) chia seeds
- 115ml (1/2 cup) almond milk
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 1tbsp sweetener of choice (maple syrup, honey or rice malt syrup)
- 1tbsp cacao powder
- Granola and pumpkin seeds to serve
1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes until the mixture starts to gel, then re-stir.
3. Let it sit for an hour (sometimes I'm impatient and do less, but best to allow for maximum soakage!) or overnight in the fridge.
4. When you've done your soaking, divide the mixture into two, and stir through your tablespoon of cacao into one half.
5. Serve in a glass, layering the cacao and vanilla one after the other. Top with whatever you want - mine here is Maria Lucia Bakes fruit-free granola and pumpkin seeds.
Drum roll please... This was my first real recipe! I wanted to try and recreate Gü Chocolate and Vanilla Cheesecakes, but without all the added sugar. This is full of good stuff instead, I'd love to know what you think.
PREP TIME: 20 minutes + chilling (c.30 minutes)
COOK TIME: 0 minutes
30g granola (I used Planet Organic)
2 tbsp almond butter (I used Pip and Nut Coconut Almond)
150g vanilla yoghurt (I used Coyo)
1tsp Vanilla essence
You will need two small dishes / ramekins, I use the Gü dishes!
1. Blitz together the granola and almonds in a food processor until they are crumbs
2. Add the almond butter and mix to stick the crumbs together. Press half the mixture into each of your dishes to form a cheesecake base
3. Add a layer of yogurt on top, smooth it flat and then pop in the fridge to chill
4. In a saucepan, melt the topping ingredients together without letting them boil. Once combined transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for around 30mins (pop in the fridge to speed this up if you want!)
5. Once the topping is getting firmer i.e. no longer a hot liquid, pour it over the yogurt layer splitting equally between the two dishes.
6. Leave to chill in the fridge until the topping is set
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 0 minutes
- 1 orange (peeled)
- 1.5 limes (peeled)
- 1/2 banana (frozen)
- 250ml almond milk
- 2cm ginger (peeled)
- 12 spinach leaves
Throw them all together in a food processor and blitz!