Gingerbread waffles and pancakes

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Christmas is fast approaching so I'll keep this one short and sweet, but I just HAD to share with you this recipe as it's a perfect batter mix for both waffles and pancakes and so festive!




 Rich and spicy like a ginger cake and crispy on the outside like a gingersnap these give you the best of both worlds and basically taste like Christmas, they are super moreish and I have to say plenty of recipe testing went on as I couldn't stop eating them!





They would be great for Christmas morning as can be made in advance and freeze brilliantly, so you just have to pop in the toaster after father Christmas has been, load up the toppings and have a perfect breakfast with minimal prep on the big day.

If you really want to go to town use a festive cookie cutter to create Christmas pancakes and serve on a platter for your family to enjoy.


The recipe is vegan, gluten and dairy free so should suit most dietary requirements. If you are paleo you could sub the rice flour for more buckwheat flour. I know buckwheat is still a bit of a grey area but it's technically a seed, and well it's Christmas so totally fine ;)



Ingredients:

Dry
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
 pinch of salt
2 tsp ground flax seed
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger powder
pinch of mace

Wet
2 heaped tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 tbsp date syrup

Method:
you can do this in a blender or by hand
1. give the dry ingredients a quick mix
2. In a separate bowl mix together the wet ingredients until combined
3. Add the wet to the dry and blend/ whisk until you have a lump free mixture like a thick cake batter
4. leave to rest for 5 mins, if after this time it is too thick to pour add a couple more tbsp of almond milk

For waffles: lightly oil your waffle maker with coconut oil and ladle in the mix, I cook for around 4 mins but every waffle maker is different so keep an eye on your first one!

For pancakes: lightly oil a frying pan with coconut oil and spoon in your mix into 1 tbsp circles, when bubbling and slightly firm on the edges flip and cook the other side. Gingerbread man cookie cutter optional!





whole roast squash soup with rock salt seeds

Wednesday, 23 November 2016





As we head into winter and the temperature cools my body starts to crave soup, stews and copious cups of herbal tea. We've been having some particularly gloomy and wet weather in the UK at the moment so it's been the perfect time to get cosy indoors and curl up with a warming bowl of soup.

The idea of this soup came about when I had little energy to do things in the kitchen and I needed something quick to prepare but was big on flavour and nourishment. I literally didn't have the strength to chop up a squash so put it in the oven whole and the experiment paid off! It roasts beautifully and so much easier to scoop out the soft flesh once it's cooked. If you are into your batch cooking you can do a few at a time while you have the oven on for something else and keep the roasted squash flesh in the freezer for recipes that call for 'pumpkin puree' or making more soups. 



Things get even easier if you have a soup maker as you can just throw everything in and let it get on with it for you! I used the Cuisinart Soup Maker Plus which is great as you can saut√©, simmer and blend all in the same container which saves on the washing up and is less time consuming than standing over a pan and stirring. Always on the look out for ways to save time and energy in the kitchen! 

I use Kuri squash for this recipe at the moment - mainly because I keep getting them in my organic veg box! A butternut squash or pumpkin would work equally well. If you are roasting more than one try and buy similar sizes or cut any huge ones in half so they roast in a similar time. 

Roast squash and sage are such a winning combination it's something that I return to time and again, the bone broth adds nourishment (feel free to sub for veg stock to make it vegan friendly) and the cashews make this soup even more smooth and creamy and add a little plant based protein as well to make it more substantial and filling.  



Ingredients:
1 Squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 leek, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp sage
800ml chicken bone broth (or veg stock) 
50g cashews
salt and pepper to season

Toppings: Goat yoghurt/ coconut yoghurt and pumpkin seeds. 

Method:

1. Put the cashews in a bowl covered in cold water with a pinch of salt and leave to soak (ideally for around 1-4 hours but no longer) 
2. heat oven to 180 C - when at temperature put the squash in a baking tray and roast for around an hour or until soft when stabbed with a knife. 
3. Once roasted leave to cool. When you can handle it scoop out the flesh and reserve the seeds from the middle. 
4. In a soup maker (or pan) saut√© for 5 minutes the leek and garlic in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Slow stir occasionally if using a soup maker.   
5. Add the roasted squash flesh, bone broth (or stock) and sage. Heat on high for 3 minutes until boiling then simmer for around 15 minutes. 
6. Drain and rinse the cashews and add to the soup. 
7. Blend until smooth - 2 minutes speed 2 with a soup maker

This recipe will make 3/4 portions so stick a couple in your freezer and you'll have a lovely bowl of soup ready for those days where you don't have time (or energy) to prepare something. I hope you enjoy it! 



Rock Salt Seeds (optional):
 1. rinse the seeds you have saved from the middle of the squash until they are clean of stringy bits!
2. Add to a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and a good covering of rock salt 
3. Roast for around 15 mins at 180 C - keep an eye on them as they will catch quickly. 

These seeds will keep in an air tight container for a few days and are great for adding to soups or salads throughout the week. 

Cuisinart UK kindly sent me the Soup maker Plus to create some recipes. 



I'm back!

So my plan to blog every couple of weeks went well didn't it? I actually can't believe its been so long since I last posted. My illness got in the way (it has a habit of doing that) and as the weeks went on I decided to put all my focus into getting better and come back to blogging when I had the energy.

Good news!

I've come on absolute leaps and bounds in the last year or so. My energy levels are on the up and symptoms have become much more manageable to the point where i've been able to get back into most aspects of normal life. I still have the odd bad day and I am not 'cured' by any stretch of the imagination but I am continually amazed and grateful that I have responded so well to treatment and self-experimentation!

People often talk about a jigsaw when explaining ME/CFS management - with no cure its all about finding what personally makes you feel better or life more manageable. From complete diet overhauls to small lifestyle tweaks my jigsaw pieces have slot into place and I continue to try new things and learn every day.  I'm so glad I now have the energy to share the ups and downs of my recovery and what has worked best for me.

If you want to have a peak at what I've been up to recently head over to my health Instagram where I post much more regularly.

J x



What does ME feel like?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Today is International ME Awareness day. Inspired by Action For ME's thunderclap awareness campaign 'what does ME feel like?' I wanted to give an insight into what ME feels like for me.

Imagine the worst flu you've ever had combined with a head thumping, vom-inducing hangover, whilst feeling like this you've been forced to run a marathon with no training. Each morning you wake up feeling exactly the same (or worse) and have to repeat all over again.

 Unlike flu or a hangover this isn't something that goes away. If someone has ME they are likely to be feeling like this every day indefinitely. Symptoms fluctuate daily and worsen following any physical or mental activity - this is called post exertional malaise (PEM) and is a horrible trademark of the condition. This payback usually hits 1-2 days after the event making it very hard to realise if the activity you are doing is causing damage at the time. For me I can have a worsening of symptoms if I do a few hundred extra steps in a day or read a few pages of a book, for those more severely effected trying to sit up in bed can have knock on effects for days.

I find the overwhelming fatigue very hard to explain as pre-illness I've never experienced anything like it. This isn't 'feeling tired all the time' or even feeling 'knackered' or 'exhausted' which I know I used to say all the time - well now I know the true meaning of the words! At my worst I struggle to get out of bed, I physically cannot find the energy to move my arms or legs, it feels like I've grown 10 times heavier in the night and I'm unable to move myself. This feeling continues throughout the day, my 'concrete body' as it's become known has to drag itself around the house. Some days getting downstairs feels like an impossible task, other days a short walk outside is my limit. When I think about having to stand up and go to another room it can feel as though I'm being asked to run 10 miles, and then my body aches as though it has done just that.

The fatigue isn't just physical either, I've found it harder to come to terms with the mental exhaustion and reduced cognitive function. Since being ill I have struggled or found it impossible to do mental activity such as reading, writing emails and texts, listening to music or the radio, anything that requires a bit of thinking, even talking some days! Sometimes having a conversation can feel like I'm speaking a different language, having to concentrate so hard on what is being said, effectively translating in my head then working out my response. I struggle to find words and have to stop mid-sentence, I also use completely random words at the wrong time which can often bring a bit of humour to a bad day. All these symptoms are referred to as 'brain fog' and it feels exactly like that.  A hazy, fuzzy cotton wool filled brain struggling with the most basic mental tasks that I wouldn't have even consciously been aware I was doing previously.

As well as the fatigue on a daily basis I'll have flu symptoms, unrefreshing sleep, headaches, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, multiple sensitivities (light/smell/sound and food) and heavy aching muscles. For a full list of symptoms have a look at my information page.




Jo x

Coconut Pancakes

Saturday, 9 May 2015

I spend far too much time looking at food on Instagram, waaaay too much time. Pancakes are my latest love and i'll spend many a happy hour marveling over peoples towering pancake stacks. There are loads of gluten and dairy free recipes out there but I found many that I tried were quite tiring to make with lots of fiddly ingredients and the added hassle of having to stand and flip.

So I've created a back to basics pancake recipe that is SO EASY to make, honestly I can be eating pancakes in less than 5 mins when I get these on the go.

The ingredients are also super simple and after a few goes you wont need a recipe at all!



To serve two: makes about 8 pancakes

Ingredients
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
2 tbsp of buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder (use gluten free if needed)
2 tbsp of desiccated coconut
2 - 4 tbsp coconut milk
coconut oil for frying

Method
  1. Turn on your oven to a low temperature (this will be used to keep the pancakes warm) 
  2. In a bowl mash the bananas with a fork. Add in the eggs and whisk well. 
  3. To this mixture add in the flour, baking powder and desiccated coconut and mix.
  4. Add 2 tbsp of coconut milk and mix to form a thick batter, add more milk if needed. 
  5. In a frying pan heat 1 tsp of coconut oil then add dollops of batter, about 2 tbsp per pancake. 
  6. When the pancakes start to bubble flip them over.
  7. Store in a plate in your warm oven while you make the next batch
If you are energy challenged like me you may wish to have a quick rest after step 4!

To save time and energy you can also just make one massive pancake - just fill the base of your frying pan with the mixture and you'll have a tasty breakfast in no time.


I'd love to hear if you make my coconut pancakes, happy cooking.

Jo x


Salted caramel porridge with sticky oranges

Sunday, 19 April 2015




Porridge season may be coming to a close but I had to share this recipe with you. I think I may have reached the pinnacle of my porridge making career with this one!

I use dates a lot in my cooking, they develop into deep sticky caramel flavour when heated and are a great natural sweetener. The salt in this recipe offsets the sweetness brilliantly making sure it's not sickly, salted caramel is such a winning combination.

My salted caramel porridge with sticky oranges can be made in less than 5 minutes and is super healthy but tastes oh so indulgent - enjoy!



Ingredients

1/2 cup of porridge oats (I use gluten free but normal are fine)
1 cup of almond milk
1/2 tsp maca (optional)
1 medjool date cut into small chunks (if you have a sweet tooth feel free to use more!)
1 pinch of sea salt
1/2 large orange cut into thin slices
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp rice malt syrup (can use maple syrup/ honey etc)

Method

  1. In a pan heat the porridge oats, almond milk, maca, medjool date and sea salt. Use a low heat and stir until thick. Alternatively heat in the microwave - I do this on low energy days! 
  2. Meanwhile in a frying pan heat the coconut oil, then add the orange slices. Turn occasionally until brown. 
  3. Pour the porridge into a bowl, top with the oranges and drizzle with the rice malt syrup
I'd love to hear from you if you give this a go.

Happy Sunday,
Jo x

 
 

Orange, Cinnamon and Raisin Hot Cross Buns

Sunday, 29 March 2015



As Easter fast approaches I wanted to make some gluten and dairy free treats to enjoy! These hot cross buns are really easy to make, made from healthy wholesome ingredients and most importantly taste like the real deal. In my experience, with some gluten free baking it feels like something is missing but these actually taste like hot cross buns!

to make 14 buns

Ingredients:
450g Gluten free bread flour (I use Doves Farm white bread flour)
2 tsp Xanthan gum
Zest of an orange
1 tbsp quick yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
100g raisins
100g currants
200ml plant milk ( I used almond)
150ml water
50g maple syrup
40g coconut oil
2 eggs
50g brown rice flour for the cross
Rice malt syrup and orange juice to glaze

  1. Mix together the gluten free bread flour, yeast, xanthan gum, orange zest, salt and spices in a large bowl. You can also give it all a quick blitz in a food processor if you prefer. 
  2. Add the eggs, almond milk, water, melted coconut oil and maple syrup into the bowl of dry ingredients. mix well. 
  3. Stir in the raisins and currants. 
  4. Cover the mixture with some greased cling film and leave to rise. Mine was in the airing cupboard for 2 hours. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 180'c. Line a large baking tray and grease with coconut oil (or similar) spoon out the mixture into hot cross bun shapes, cover and leave to rise again for around 30 mins. 
  6. To make the crosses mix the brown rice flour with 50 ml of cold water. put the mixture into a sandwich bag and cut a 1 cm hole in the corner - use this to pipe on the crosses. 
  7. Bake in the oven for 20 mins.
  8. To make the glaze heat equal parts rice malt syrup and orange juice until reduced slightly, brush the sticky mixture onto the hot cross buns as soon as they come out of the oven.  

The hot cross buns are best served warm and eaten on the day although they will keep for a day or so in a air tight container. If you do this I'd pop them in a warm oven for a few minutes to heat them through.



I started daydreaming about all the variations I could make... if you give any of these a go please get in touch and tell me how they taste!

  • Cacao and orange
  • Apple and cinnamon
  • Date and pecan 
  • Pistachio and cranberry
These are super easy to make vegan if you are that way inclined - just swap the eggs for some apple puree or other egg replacer. 

Enjoy!

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