Chocolate Chilli Overnight Oats

Choco chilli oats.jpg

I love overnight oats because they’re quick and easy to make, are super versatile and you can take them on the go with you when you’re pressed for time!

Now that the weather is cooling down I like to keep my internal body temperature warm by using ingredients that help keep my internal fire going. This recipe is filled with super boosted medicinal foods which support a healthy immune system to keep the seasonal colds at bay.

The use of cayenne pepper in this recipe is to activate the healing benefits of the turmeric while also making you feel all warm and tingly inside. Turmeric is a superfood root which is dried and powdered, the benefits of using it are numerous. For me the most important thing is that it reduces inflammation in the body. Inflammation is your body’s response to injury which is great! However, our modern diets and lifestyles of eating highly processed sugars and dairy, drinking alcohol, feeling stressed etc can also cause inflammation in the body. Therefore by adding turmeric to our diets we can aid our bodies by reducing it’s workload. It’s not a cure all and it also helps to be more mindful of what we fuel our bodies with, both nutritionally and mentally.

Cacao is also a very powerful antioxidant, high in magnesium, which helps relax our muscles, hence why women crave chocolate when they are about to start their cycle. Please make sure that you use good quality raw cacao powder for this recipe as nutritionally it makes a big difference. Most cocoa powder you find in your local supermarket has been heated at very high temperatures which kills a lot of the nutrients. It is more expensive but a little goes a long way with so it’s worth investing in some as it will last quite some time.

If you don’t have all the ingredients don’t worry, get creative and substitute some or leave others out. Or better yet why not try your hand at making your very own signature version?!

Ingredients (Makes 1 large serving or 2 smaller servings)
3 Tbs chia seeds
3 Tbs rolled oats
1 Tbs almond meal
1 tsp cacao powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1.5 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbs goji berries
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 Tbs cacao nibs
1/2 Tbs coconut flakes
1.5 cup non dairy milk (I used sunflower seed milk)
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Method
Mix everything into a bowl or jar using a fork, making sure it’s all well combined.
Place in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 15-20 minutes.
Enjoy!
*This will last in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Super Smoothie Bowl

img_4699-1
Now that the weather has started to heat up in Doha, I’ve switched from warming bowls of porridge to smoothie bowls. I prefer my smoothies in a bowl because it stops me from slurping it all up in one go, which can be quite a shock to the system. My theory is that by eating my smoothie one spoon at a time, I give my body some time to digest it slowly. Plus I like decorating my bowls to make them a feast for the eyes as well as my body. It really doesn’t matter what you add to the smoothie so long as you have a good high speed blender, I used my magic bullet and it works just fine!

I like to add a mixture of fruits and vegetables and generally try not to add fruits which have a high glycemic index just to keep my blood sugar levels in check. If you do add banana or mango for example, try to add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder to help stabilise blood sugar spikes.

On another note, I’ll be hosting a group cooking class at the end of this month focusing on healthful breakfasts, click here for more information.

Finally here’s the recipe for my super plant powered smoothie bowl filled with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, blood cleansing, gut friendly ingredients. This is guaranteed to boost your morning with nourishing, healing goodness!

Ingredients (Serves 2)

Smoothie:

1 fresh young coconut, water and meat
1 inch fresh ginger
1 inch fresh turmeric
1 small beetroot
2 cups frozen raspberries
Zest of 1/2 a lime
Juice of 1 lime

Optional add ins:
2 tablespoons maca powder
2 tablespoons acai powder
2 tablespoons Lucuma powder
1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder

Suggested toppings:
1/2 cup VTH Nutty granola
1 cup dices strawberries
2 teaspoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons hemp seeds
Raisins

Method:

1. Blend the smoothie ingredients, along with the superfood powders if using, in a high speed blender until you have a smooth consistency.
2. Pour into a bowl, and add the toppings.
3. Enjoy the super powerful benefits of this smoothie bowl!

Healing Savoury Turmeric Pancakes

IMG_3601

The past two weeks have been quite intense for me as I’ve been recovering from a concussion. I’ve been feeling rather nauseous followed by migraines, shoulder and neck pain so as a result I’ve been eating and drinking as much turmeric, ginger and cacao as possible to help heal myself naturally. As I was feeling much better today I was inspired to make us some savoury pancakes for brunch and decided to add in some turmeric, as a precautionary measure for the pain, and I’m pleased to say that they ended up tasting great (husband approved) so thought I’d share them with the world!

If you haven’t heard of all the incredible healing properties of turmeric here’s one example. It’s a great anti-inflammatory and has been used in many cultures for hundreds of years due to these specific effects which are caused by the chemical curcumin, that gives it the prominent yellow pigment. Recently studies have shown that it’s just as effective as taking synthetic anti-inflammatory medication and when combined with black pepper it’s bioavailability is boosted making this wonderful golden spice much more potent and effective in healing the body.

So here’s a quick recipe which is 100% plant based, gluten free and wonderfully healing. You can get inventive with the toppings and add whatever you have at home. we had left over mung bean curry from dinner last night so decided to use it again, this can be substituted with cooked lentils, chickpeas or left out completely and enjoyed simply with the avocado and cherry tomatoes.

IMG_3605

Ingredients (Makes 6)

Pancakes
3 flax “eggs” (1 flax “egg” = 1 Tbs ground flaxseeds : 3Tbs water)
1/2 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/2 cups water
Couple pinches Himalayan pink salt
Pinch of cracked black pepper
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

Toppings
1 ripe Hass avocado, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of fresh parsley
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Cooked mung beans/lentils (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Make the flax eggs by combining the ground flaxseeds with water in a bowl, stir to get an even consistency and place in the fridge to set (about 10-15 mins).

Heat up your pan (preferably a non toxic non-stick pan like these) on medium – high heat.

Combine all the pancake ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Once the pan is nice and hot pour a ladle full of the mixture into the pan, using the back of the ladle to spread the batter out making it nice and even. Leave to cook for 3-4 mins, then flip and cook for another 2 mins. Repeat until you’ve finished all the batter.

Heat up the coked beans or lentils if you’re using them. Pour 1/2 the lime juice and a pinch of salt to the thinly sliced avocado . Put the chopped cherry tomatoes in a small bowl along with the rest of the lime juice, sesame oil and a pinch of salt & pepper.

Add a little bit of each topping to your pancake and fold it over for a fancy looking crepe or add A LOT of each topping and eat it messily (my preference).

Enjoy!

Chickpea coconut curry with seasonal greens


This is a deliciously comforting meal to keep you warm in the winter months, my definition of comfort food. It is inspired by my  Iranian culture and travels to Sri Lanka & India. It’s also 100% whole food plant based made with nothing but pure goodness. I’ve recently started an online course in plant based nutrition with the Center for Nutrtion Studies founded by Dr. T Colin Campbell and it is such a joy to enhance my knowledge of this lifestyle. It has also influenced my food choices, I’m eating more greens than usual and using a lot less fat. The studies in this field are absolutely incredible and it’s so interesting to see how much research has been done in the field of plant based nutrition, especially in relation to chronic diseases. I would suggest reading Whole by Dr. Campbell or watching one of his many talks online if you’re curious to know just how much our diet affects our health.

Anyhow moving on to the recipe!

The rice and tahdig, crispy Persian rice literally meaning bottom of the pot, are made in a rice cooker. I’ve found that this is the most foolproof, and fuss-free way of making it without burning the rice. However if you don’t have a rice cooker you can also use a non stick pot, preferably a non toxic one like the ones Green Pan make. Follow the instructions to cook the rice as stated below, then when it comes to making the tahdig, make sure you cook the rice on low heat so that it doesn’t burn. I admit this is quite an art and gets better with experience and much easier if you use a rice cooker!

The greens can easily be replaced with whatever is in season in your part of the world.

(Serves 6)
*Use organic ingredients where possible

Curry
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch fresh turmeric, diced or 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 inch fresh ginger, diced or1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
2 teaspoons curry powder
6 plum tomatoes or 3 vine tomatoes, diced
1 kohlrabi, skinned & diced or 1 medium potato
4 teaspoons coconut butter
2 cups cooked chickpeas, I used brown chickpeas
4 mustard leaves, de-stemmed and chopped
6 spinach leaves, chopped

Coconut Rice & Tahdig
4 cups brown basmati rice
2 cups dried shredded coconut (unsweetened, organic)
8 cups water
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or another high smoke point oil)

Coriander vegan “yoghurt”
1 cup fresh coriander, leaves and stalks
2 handfuls cashew nuts
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon Apple cidre vinegar
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
Pinch of sea salt & black pepper
1/2 cup water

1. Rinse the rice a couple times, strain and place in a rice cooker, add the 8 cups water, dried coconut and salt and leave to cook, approximately 30 mins.

*If you don’t have a rice cooker please read the notes above.

2. While the rice cooks, add the tablespoon of coconut oil to a medium sized pot and on medium/high heat until the oil melts.
Add the diced onion and let cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic, turmeric and curry powder, stir to combine let cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
Then add the diced tomatoes, reduce heat to medium/low and allowing the tomatoes to reduce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Finally add the kohlrabi/potato, coconut butter, chickpeas, and enough water to cover the ingredients by half an inch or so. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.

3. Once the rice has cooked through, gently scoop the rice from the edges of the pot towards the middle to form a pyramid shape. Make 5-6 holes in the rice pyramid by gently poking the back of a spatula through to the bottom of the pot. Pour a small about of the melted coconut oil into each hole, and leave to cook for another 15-20 mins, this is how you get the crispy rice.

4. Add the chopped spinach and mustard leaves to the curry, cover the pot and let cook for 5 minutes, until wilted. Stir to combine, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the flavours to settle.

5. In the meantime place all the “yoghurt” ingredients in a blender (I used my magic bullet), and blend until smooth.
6. Take most of the rice out the pot, except for the bottom layer touching the base of the pot, and using a wooden spatula gently cut and flip over the thin crispy bottom layer.

7. Serve up the dish and enjoy!
**This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days and usually tastes better the next day as the flavours infuse further.

Fauxtella Warm Chocolate

I wrote this recipe as a guest post for www.pantry.qa they are an awesome online family run business based in Doha which provide the local residents with lots of wonderful health and wellness products, while 30% of their profit goes to different charities such as Happy 4 Life. They also stock a selection of my homemade nut/seed butters, granolas etc. Here’s the post:

IMG_0863

With all the cold weather in Doha lately, I’ve been drinking lots of hot (well, warm) chocolate to keep me snug. This is not the type which is laden with milk and processed sugars, this hot chocolate is 100% plant-based and is guaranteed to give you an excellent boost of nutrients as it’s bursting with superfoods. In order to preserve the superpowers of the superfoods, especially the maca, this hot chocolate, is more warm rather than piping hot. The other advantages being that you don’t have to wait until it cools to consume it, and you’re very unlikely to burn your tongue!

The fauxtella is already sweetened with 100% pure date syrup, therefore I don’t feel I the need to add more sweetener, however you can add your sweetener of choice to the blender with everything else if you would like it slightly sweeter. This is a delicious and nutritious way to keep the winter bugs at bay and an excellent excuse to have chocolate – need I say more?

Ingredients: (serves 2)

2 tablespoons VegetarianTreehouse fauxtella (can be replaced with 1.15 tbs cacao powder & 1 tbs almond butter)

1 tablespoon refined coconut oil

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon maca powder

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of Himalaya pink salt / Celtic sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Method:

– Bring one cup water to a boil in a kettle.

– Add all ingredients to your blender, including hot water and blend until combined.

– Pour the mixture into two separate mugs, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top and enjoy!