Super Berry Blaster Smoothie

A super smoothie bursting with antioxidant powerhouses and high levels of phytochemicals (naturally occurring nutrients in berries that help protect cells from damage) with added benefits of coconut water, kale, chia seeds and avocado which include electrolytes, amino acids, iron, vitamin K, protein and good fats. An all round berry beneficial smoothie!

(Serves 2)

Ingredients
1 cup - Blueberries
1 cup - Strawberries
1 - Passion Fruit
½ cup - Blackberries
½ cup - Redcurrants
½ cup - Blueberries
½ - Avocado
4/5 large - Kale leaves (de-stemmed)
¼ cup - Goji berries
¼ cup - Chia seeds
400ml - Coconut water

1. Whizz all ingredients together using a powerful blender. 

2. Pour in to a jar or glass and garnish with a sprinkle of chia seeds and a slice of strawberry.

Shakshuka - Breakfast of Champions

Shakshuka - A North African inspired one-skillet recipe of eggs baked in a tomato and red pepper sauce spiced with cumin, paprika and cayenne with feta.
Perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner… all day, any day…. Shakshuka, as fun to eat as it is to say!

Ingredients
(Serves 3)

3tbsp - Olive oil
1 - Red onion (large, halved and thinly sliced)
1 - Red bell pepper (large, seeded and thinly sliced)
1 - Garlic clove (thinly sliced)
1 tsp -  Ground cumin
1 tsp - Paprika
1/8 tsp - Cayenne
400g / 1 can - Chopped tomatoes (with juices),
¼ tsp - Himalayan rock salt
¼ tsp - Black pepper
100g -  Feta cheese (crumbled)
3 or 4 - Eggs (large, free-range, organic)
1 small bunch - Coriander (chopped)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
3. Add onion and bell pepper and gently cook until very soft. Add garlic and cook until tender.
4.  Stir in paprika, cumin and cayenne, cook for another 1 minute.
5. Pour in chopped tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes. Add ½ of your chopped coriander. Stir in crumbled feta.

6. Carefully crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes.
7. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until eggs are just set - this should take roughly 8-10 minutes.
8. To serve, sprinkle with remaining coriander, black pepper and if desired, a little extra crumbled feta.

Nectar Cafe - The End of An Era

After coming home from my summer 2014 travels, I had realised my passion for healthy food and decided that after years of doing jobs that didn’t quite fit me, I would find myself a job I really enjoyed. Post Burning Man, I was all about the law of attraction (which FYI is totally legit) and created a specific vision of what I wanted. I envisioned a place where I would get to make super healthy, tasty food, where I could be creative in the kitchen, exploring new ingredients and learning more about their benefits. An environment where I felt useful, valued and excited and could progress into a leadership position. Preferably working with a small team of lovely people, in a convenient but nice location, maybe with some fitness perks – a gym or a yoga studio or something?
Well, I got back to London and almost instantly found exactly all of the above!

I landed myself a job with Nectar Café – Founded by Katia Narain Philips, a pioneer of the raw food movement, at the yoga and wellness group Triyoga, Camden.
Nectar Café serves nutrient rich food aiming to support a healthier lifestyle, with a menu of amazing vegetarian, plant based delights including cold-pressed juices, colourful salad bowls, smoothies, Vietnamese style summer rolls, soups, botanical crystal-infused herbal waters, nut milks, specially blended herbal teas and so on.

After just a few months of landing the role, I was promoted to Manager and Assistant Recipe Developer – This was my first management position and the first time recipes I had created were being sold to the general public. With the help of a fantastic team and creative, supportive leadership from Katia, Nectar Café grew bigger and stronger. We developed the menu and created new, colourful, dishes which gave me an opportunity to create, among other dishes, a vegan, Caribbean bowl which was definitely a proud moment for me.

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Nectar’s success and popularity lead to Katia and I teaching cooking workshops (which was definitely a highlight in my time with Nectar). Teaching some of the recipes I had created and a little food styling to our excited, happy ‘students’ definitely boosted my confidence and increased my passion for what I do. This experience solidified to me that I was heading in the right direction and was definitely on to something but also (though at the time a scary thought) I was ready for change.

After an amazing couple years at Nectar Café, it became clear it was time for me to fly the nest. The end of an era to say the least!

I needed to focus more on creating new recipes, learning and practising my food styling and photography, blogging, exploring some new exciting opportunities and to take a little down time to enjoy a nice, relaxed, carefree summer.
I’ll never forget my first real job working in food, the confidence it helped me build, the creativity it inspired, the knowledge I gained. I made so many great memories, worked with some of my best friends, made wonderful new friends, learned so much, created so much, have inspired and been inspired and I am truly grateful to have experienced it all from the very first day.
Wishing the new Nectar 2.0 team the best and brightest future!

If you’re ever in Camden and in need of some nourishing, I would highly recommend you stop by Nectar Café!

Taint Magazine Feature - Tropical Baked Cod with a Mango, Strawberry & Chilli Salsa

The lovely guys at Taint Mag asked me to put together a tasty summer number to feature in the lifestyle chapter of their ‘Gender Issue’.
I chose to make them this delicious, colourful and zingy Tropical Baked Cod with a Mango, Strawberry and Chilli Salsa.
A perfect summer stunner of a dish that is super healthy and packed with fresh flavours - mango, strawberry, coconut, fresh herbs, lime, peppers and succulent white fish.

I had such a fun day shooting at my home with the very talented photographer Bobby Monteverde (who shoots using a real film) and the results were beautiful!

Here are a few of my favourite outtakes from the shoot:

For the full feature and recipe, grab yourself a copy of
Taint Magazine #1 - The Gender Issue! 
www.taintmag.com

Below are some of my polaroid snaps from the Taint Mag Issue #1 Launch party at Box Studio in Shoreditch, London - July 2014

Left to right: Taint duo Niall Underwood and Anna Taylor, Me with my copy of the mag, Me and Bobby Monteverde

Left to right: Taint duo Niall Underwood and Anna Taylor, Me with my copy of the mag, Me and Bobby Monteverde

Left to right: Juia Keleher and Tobias Burraway, Diana Chire and Mary Ballantyne, Julia, Tobias and Me

Left to right: Juia Keleher and Tobias Burraway, Diana Chire and Mary Ballantyne, Julia, Tobias and Me

The Moo Man Screening at the European Commission Representation

On the 2nd of July, I was invited (on behalf of the lovely people at Food & Thought) by UNRIC (United Nations Regional Information Centre) and Cine-ONU  team to attend the screening of ‘The Moo Man’, followed by a live discussion moderated by a rep from the World Food Program at the European Commission Representation to mark the International Year of Family Farming.

Check out my article on Food &Thought here:
www.foodandthought.co.uk/the-moo-man-screening

A little more about Food & Thought:
Food & Thought are a North London food and drink online publication based in Crouch End. Inspired and influenced  by the instagram-foodie-generation, every week they post a whole host of lip-smacking articles from simple recipes to try at home to craft beer to street food reviews. Food & Thought like to keep it casual and tasty as well as seasonal with a focus on great, local produce. 
www.foodandthought.co.uk

Kale, Pomegranate and Pear Superfood Salad with Avocado and Pistachios

This zingy, colourful, raw vegan superfood salad is packed with nutritional powerhouses and bursting with summery flavours.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

Salad:
4cups Kale
3cups Red cabbage
1 Pomegranate
1 Red onion
2 Pears
1 Avocado
1/2cup Pistachio nuts
2cups Corriander (chopped)

Dressing:
1tbsp Homemade raw wholegrain mustard
- (2tbsp mustard seeds, 5tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1tsp raw honey) 
2tbsp Balsamic vinegar
3tbsp Olive Oil
1 Lime (juiced)

Method:
1. To make your homemade, raw wholegrain mustard, soak mustard seeds in apple cider vinegar and leave overnight. Mix with 1tsp of raw honey.

2. Prepare your salad ingredients - Roughly chop your kale, cabbage and coriander, finely slice red onion, cut your avocado and pears in to cubes (saving a few slices of pear for garnish) and de-seed your pomegranate. 

3. Using a large salad bowl, throw together all your salad ingredients. 

4. Whisk together your dressing and pour over your bowl of salad. Carefully toss your salad until nicely mixed.

5. When serving, garnish with a few slices of pear and crushed pistachio nuts - And pretty flowers if you like!

Interview: Q&A with Nom Foods founder Steph Croft-Simon

Nom Foods are an organic and ‘free from’ brand who’s products are packed with superfood goodness, 100% GMO free and ethically sourced ingredients.
Who doesn’t love guilt-free treats?!
I had a chat with founder Steph Croft-Simon to find out more about why she started the company and what exactly makes Nom products so special.

1. What inspired you to create Nom Foods?
I developed allergies in my early twenties while I was at university, around the same time that my Mum was diagnosed with cancer. As a family, we had always eaten a healthy diet, but it was at this point that we took more of an active interest in diet and nutrition. I cut out dairy, refined sugars and wheat from my diet and immediately saw that changes. I wanted to make free-from foods which were appealing to everyone, not just those with an allergy or intolerance. I chose some of my favourite superfoods and started developing recipes and products.

2. What makes Nom Foods special?
Nom Foods is special because our products are 100% organic, vegan and ethical. They taste good and also do good. We believe that you shouldn’t have to choose between taste, health and convenience. I knew from my own personal experience that there was a gap in the market for what we are offering and we are all about making it easier for people who are on specific diets.

3. What is a Nom Bar?
A nom bar is 52 grams of pure, organic, vegan, ethical deliciousness! Made without dairy or refined sugars and packed with superfoods like coconut oil, cacao nibs and cacao powder. It is a slow-releasing and convenient way to get some nutritious ingredients down you, while you’re on the go.

4. Tell me more about the new Nom Granola…
Nom granola is packed with omega 3, antioxidants and superfoods, like the bars. It’s also vegan, organic and made using ethically sourced ingredients. We pride ourselves on creating innovative products and being the first to use ingredients in different ways - e.g. our use of coconut oil in the bars which allows us to ditch the dairy.

5. How important is it to eat organic?
We believe it’s very important to eat organic, GMO free food wherever possible. Organic food is food which is produced using environmentally friendly and animal friendly farming methods and we believe that this way of farming and eating is best - not only for your body, but for the planet too! All of our products are certified organic by the Soil Association and we are very proud to display their logo.

6. Why is fair trade and ethically sourcing food so important?
It’s important because it means that as a brand, you’ve consciously sourced ingredients which aren’t necessarily just the cheapest, but ones which are doing some good - for the people who farm it, the environment etc. The fact that we ethically source ingredients not only means that we can maintain our integrity and stay true to our values as a business, but also that our ingredients have a brilliant story behind them. I also think that consumers are looking for more from food brands these days - there are lots of organic products on the market - but to say that we’re also using ethical ingredients adds an extra string to the nom bow!

7. What are three of your favourite ingredients?
Coconut oil, Cacao Nibs and Cacao powder. Good job nom bars contain them all!

8. Any nutritional secret weapons?
The wonderful coconut! Raw, Organic, extra virgin Coconut oil - for frying, baking, roasting chickens, spreading on toast - we use it for everything! Studies show it can boost immunity, act as an antibiotic and help regulate blood sugar levels. We also love raw coconut water for hydrating because it’s full of electrolytes and fresh coconut chunks as a snack!

You can find Nom Foods products at Planet Organic stores, Whole Foods stores, and lots of independent health food stores, cafes, gyms and delis! See www.nomfoods.co.uk for a full list of stockists and more info.

Tropical Green Smoothie

(Serves 2)

Ingredients
4/5 large leaves of kale
4 large leaves of spinach /  3 large handfuls of baby spinach
6 Strawberries
A large handful of blueberries
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
1 Banana
1 medium mango
330ml Coconut water

Optional: An extra sprinkle of chia seeds for garnish
 

Method:
1. Whizz all ingredients together using a blender. Add more of less of each ingredient according to taste.


2. Pour in to a glass, garnish with a sprinkle of chia seeds

The Benefits of Coconut Oil

Over the past few years, coconut oil has become a big deal among the health food community and more recently has made its way onto big supermarkets shelves too. The sweet-smelling tropical trooper is used for everything from roasting vegetables to smoothies to ‘bulletproof coffee’ as well as being used as a beauty product for smooth, soft skin and hair.
But what is it that’s got everyone so coco-nuts for this stuff?
Here's a list of my favourite benefits of coconut oil...
 

Hair, Skin and Nails

Coconut oil has become a key ingredient in beauty regimes, providing moisturising benefits for the skin, making an outstanding hair conditioner and helping to strengthen your nails.
Coconut oil is rich in vitamin E, antioxidants and a high level of lauric acid that helps revitalise your skin, leaving you feeling softer and looking younger.
A safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin, coconut oil delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin, keeping you looking healthy and youthful. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.
Coconut oil is said to be one of the best natural nutrients for your hair. It helps stimulate healthy growth and adds lustre, shine and softness to the hair. It is also highly effective in reducing protein loss, preventing hair breakage, split ends and dandruff.

Weight Loss
Coconut oil is said to reduce appetite and boost metabolism - by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby burning more energy. Containing short and medium-chain fatty acids that aid in taking off excessive weight, it is also easy to digest andhelps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system.
The best way to use coconut oil to aid weight loss is to have 2 tbsps daily - Ideally, 20 mins before mealtime is the best time to take your coconut oil as it will significantly reduce appetite and help you to feel full more quickly and be satisfied with smaller portions.

Digestion
If you suffer from poor digestion or tummy bloating try adding coconut oil to your diet. Coconut oil helps to improve the digestive system and has been found to prevent various stomach and digestion-related problems including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion.

Dental Health - Oil Pulling
Used primarily in Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling is an amazing oral detoxification procedure that is simply done by swishing oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. Oil pulling works by cleaning your mouth in a similar way that soap cleans dirty dishes. It literally sucks the toxins out of your mouth and creates a clean, antiseptic oral environment.
Many people swear by oil pulling as a cure for many dental problems and I have personally used it to relieve wisdom tooth pain and swelling and found it to be an absolute miracle worker. I would also suggest oil pulling as a hangover aid as it totally helps with that horrible next day dry mouth and unpleasant after tastes!

Which Coconut Oil To Buy:
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (Raw): Produced from organic coconuts, in an organic way, virgin coconut oil is derived from the milk obtained from fresh coconut meat, and not from copra, by processes like fermentation, centrifugal separation and enzyme action. Care is taken to use no or as little heat as possible in the extraction of this oil. Produced in this way, the oil tastes and smells best and is laden with antioxidants and medium chain fatty acids. It also has remarkable anti-microbial properties.