Thai Coconut Noodle Soup

can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this soup! It’s so lusciously creamy and the noodles addition just take this dish to the next level. The noodles are cooked in the creamy coconut sauce so the absorb all the gorgeous flavours making them even more delicious! It’s the perfect comfort food for when you want a super cosy bowl of goodness! For this recipe I have used Vita Coco Orginal Coconut milk which works so perfectly with all the Thai flavours and adds a subtle sweetened to the dish. For the veggies I have chosen tenderstem broccoli and shiitake mushrooms, but other great additions are packchoi or carrot ribbons. 

Ingredients:

Serves 2-3 people

1 white onion, finely sliced 

3 garlic cloves, crushed 

1 piece of fresh ginger (about a thump size) peeled and finely grated

1 tbsp of Vitacoco Coconut Oil + 1 extra tsp to cook the tofu

1-2 tbsp of Thai green curry paste 

400 ml of Vita Coco Original Coconut Milk 

2-3 cups of vegetable stock (depending on how creamy or runny you like it)

1 block of firm tofu (about 280gr)

About 200gr of tenderstem broccoli (packchoi is another great option)

120 gr of shiitake mushrooms

2 tbsp of soy sauce 

200gr of noodles of your choice – I have used rice noodles 

For toppings:

A generous handful of chopped coriander 

Sesame seeds 

Chilli flakes or fresh chopped chilli 

1-2 spring onions finely chopped 

Into a large pan add in the coconut oil. Once hot add the final sliced onion and the grated ginger. Cook on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until the onion starts to soften and become translucent. Add in the crushed garlic and cook for another minute keep stirring from time to time to prevent burning. Add in the curry paste and give it a good stir. Pour in the coconut milk and the veggie stock and let it cook on a low to medium heat for 10-15 minutes. 

In the meantime heat up the tsp of coconut oil in a large pan. Drain the tofu and slice it into cubes.  Add it to the pan together with 1 tbsp of soy sauce. Fry the tofu for about 8 minutes until it starts to go crispy on the outside. Remove the tofu from the pan and leave it onto one side. To the same pan add in the shiitake mushrooms and the tenderstem broccoli with the remaining soy sauce. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and the broccoli tender. 

With a hand blender blend the coconut broth until it’s super creamy and smooth. Add the noodles to the sauce and cook them as long as they require. Serve the noodle soup into each bowls and top it with the tofu, broccoli and mushrooms. Sprinkle with some fresh coriander, chilli flakes, sane seeds and some spring onions. Enjoy! 

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Vegan Omelette with Mushrooms & Kale

This omelette is by far one of the tastiest thing I made recently! I know I say this all the time but trust me, you got to make this! The chickpea flour combined with silken tofu create the fluffiest on the texture so close to a regular egg omelette! The filling options are obviously endless but I personally love creamy avocado, panfried mushrooms, kale and creamy cashew cheese. It’s a great breakfast/brunch dish or for whenever you want something super quick and delicious!

Serves 1 

Ingredients:

For the omelette 

1/2 block of silken tofu (about 150gr) Please don’t sub it with the regular firm tofu as it won’t work!

1/2 cup of chickpea flour (also called Gram flour)

1/2 cup of water 

3 tbsp of nutritional yeast 

1/2 tsp of salt 

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder (for color)

1 tsp of baking powder 

A dash of oil for cooking

For the filling:

1/2 avocado 

A squeeze of lime juice

Salt and pepper to season

For the mushrooms & Kale:

About 150gr of chestnut mushrooms sliced 

A generous handful of finely chopped kale 

1 garlic clove crushed 

A dash of soy sauce 

Other Addition:

Some cashew cream cheese or any other vegan cheese of your choice 

Place all the ingredients for the omelette Into a blender and blend util smooth and creamy. Let the batter sit in the blender for 5 minutes, this will help to thicken it up. Heat up a dash of oil into a large non stick pan. Once hot pour in the batter and try to create a round shape. Cover the pan with a lid and cook the omelette for about 5 minutes on the first side. Flip on the other side and cook for another 2-3 minutes. In the meantime in separate pan add a touch of oil and the crushed garlic. Cook the garlic on a low heat for only a couple of minutes. Add in the sliced mushrooms and chopped kale. Add the soy sauce and cook for 5-8 minutes on a medium heat until all the water from the mushrooms has evaporated.

Serve the omelette in a large plate. In a small bowl mash the avocado with a fork and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Spread the quacamole onto the omelette, add the mushrooms and kale and top it with some cashew cream cheese. Enjoy while still warm!

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Travel Guide to Namibia

For some reason Africa never made it to my travel bucket list. Mostly because of safety and health related reasons (predominately the malaria scare) I never really thought about visiting this so waste and fascinating continent. My recent trip to Namibia changed my prospective about Africa completely! Now I seriously can’t wait to visit other countries on this continent.

Sam got invited for a work trip in Windhoek and I decided to tag along so we ended up extended his trip so we could see more of the country. Please bear in mind that Namibia is so incredibly wast, what we saw was probably just a glimpse compared to what the rest of the country has to offer. But nevertheless I hope you enjoy my little travel diary 🙂 

Windhoek & Around : If Sam didn’t have his work meetings in the capital we definitely wouldn’t have spent so much time there (3 days). The city is extremely modern and in all honesty there is no much to see. We stayed at the Belvedere Boutique Hotel which was really lovely, situated in a quiet and peaceful part of the city.

 

In terms of vegan friendly restaurant I visited Klara’s Market which is a great spot for lunch and had few vegan options, a great juices and smoothies menu, dairy free milks and some delicious raw desserts.

The craft market cafe is another great spot for lunch. They have a big salad menu, freshly squeezed juices and the most delicious homemade iced roiboos tea. Downstairs you can also browse on all sorts of local crafts like bowls, adornments, decorations, souvenirs etc..

A great spot to have an aperitif at sunset is the Hilton Hotel Rooftop bar where you can see the whole city from above.

If you are coming or going to Windhoek I would highly recommend to visit the Gocheganas Private reserve (30 minutes drive from the City). It’s a private natural reserve with hotel facilities, spa, restaurant and pool. We only went for the day but I think it would be lovely to also spend a night there as the facilities are really great. We booked a game drive for the evening and we were in utter shock when we spotted a family of rhinos, followed by Giraffes, Zebras and lots of Springbucks. It was incredible as I always wanted to see Rhinos in their natural habitat and these gorgeous animals definitely didn’t disappoint! 

Etosha National Park: Although the Etosha National Park is very far from Windhoek (4-5 hours depending on where you are staying) we felt we had to see it as it’s the largest national park in Namibia and home to so many incredible animals. 

If you are planning to visit make sure to take a map and a tom tom with you as the road signs are basically non existent. We somehow managed to get lost and it took us way longer than we planned to eventually get there. Please also bear in mind that the actual park is incredible huge so it can take an incredible amount of time to drive from one end to the other.

We booked our accommodation inside the park and I would highly recommend it as you really get to experience being completely immersed in nature and it’s so much easier to book game drives. We stayed at the Halali Lodge which was a bungalows complex with a restaurant, a basic food shop and a pool. The lodges inside the national park get booked up really quickly so make sure to book your accommodation super in advance. 

The food at the lodge restaurant was pretty simple but the buffet had some vegan options (normally steamed vegetables and cous cous) which definitely made life a lot easier. For breakfast the options were definitely more limited (only fruit and toast) so it might be worth while to stock up on some cereal, muesli, dairy free milks etc before entering the park. 

We booked an early morning game drive (5.30 am start) while we were there and it was just so magical to see the sunrise above the savana. The sky in Namibia cal literally looks like it’s lit on fire at sunrise or sunset so make sure to stop to see this beautiful nature’s miracle during your trip! 

We were so lucky we saw a family of lions with 2 males, 2 lioness and 2 puppies. It was just priceless being so close to these incredible animals. I really don’t think I will ever find the words to describe what I felt but it really made the whole trip worthwhile. 

You don’t necessarily have to book a game drive to see the animals. We saw so many animals just  by driving by ourself around the park but the guides are normally very knowledgeable and they will take you to specific spots where they know normally animals congregate (usually water holes).

Swakopmund: 

Swakopmund is a relatively sleepy seaside town with a mellow and chill-out vibe on the south west side of Namibia. After few intense days in National park (and a very long drive) we arrived in Swakopmund pretty exhausted so we took a full day to just relax, make the most of hotel spa, stroll around town and eat! We stayed at the rather swanky Strand Hotel which Sam’s client booked for us. It’s definitely on the higher price end of the scale for our budget so if we had to pay for it ourself we probably would have stayed somewhere else. But I have to admit it’s a beautiful hotel with ridiculously comfy beds and a lovely spa with plenty of amazing treatments (which they turned out to be relatively cheap). In terms of vegan food Swakopmund has actually quite few options which I was really impressed by! The first and definitely my favourite is Bits & Pizzas which has a full vegan pizza menu + 1 vegan dessert. The pizza was truly excellent, thin and crispy (as I like it) with delicious vegan cheese (not rubbery or gluey). It was also massive! So sadly I didn’t have any space for dessert.

 The second vegan is spot is a very homy cafe called Nature’s Path which is super small and super cute. The menu is completely vegetarian with plenty of vegan options. I had a delicious peanut butter African bean stew with brown rice, steamed greens and beetroots. Everything tasted really homemade, with little to no oil so it was by far the healthiest meal of the holiday! The food is entirely made from scratch upon order so it can take up to 30 minutes to arrive so don’t go there if you are in a rush!

The last restaurant we visited was Can Thai Asian restaurant which as pretty much any Thai restaurants had plenty of vegan options. I ordered a Thai green veggie curry with eggless fried rice and it was delicious! 

Swakopmund is right next to the Namibian desert so we booked a desert tour (with Charly’s tour). It was a lovely experience and I would definitely recommend it. It was my first time in a desert and I was just in awe of how big and vast it was. Our tour guides were really knowledgeable and manage to show us desert geckos, snakes and other small reptiles. It was also really fascinating to find out more about the desert eco system and how these creature manage to survive in such harsh conditions.

Sadly it was time to leave Swakopmund and head back to Windhoek to catch our plane back to London. I really wished we could have stayed longer! I definitely left Namibia with so much love for this beautiful country, I seriously can’t wait to come back! 

Few things I would recommend when visited Namibia:

1- Hire a car: Unless you are on tour a car is essential to travel around the country as public transports are basically non existent. Hire a 4×4 as at some point you will probably drive down some non pavemented road. And especially if you are planning to visit the Etosha National Park a 4×4 is needed. The mains roads are all in really good conditions and the whole country is extremely safe to drive around by yourself. I would suggest to arm yourself with a road map and ask the rental place for a tom tom as the road signs are pretty scarce.

2- Pack plenty of snacks + water when driving. Namibia is huge and scarcely populated.You can drive for over 100 km without passing a petrol station or a shop so make sure you have plenty of water with you especially considering the scorching hot temperatures.

3- Invest in a really good sunscreen. This might be a recommendations more for the ladies than for the boys but Namibian sun is merciless! The weather generally is super dry and the sun is just one the strongest I have experienced! I made sure I applies SPF50 4-5 times during the day and I smothered plenty of facial oil at night to prevent my skin to feel super dry.

4- Take some food with you. I wouldn’t call Namibia a very vegan fried country so if you are eating a plantbased diet it might be worth it to pack few things like snacks, breakfast muesli, dairy free milks etc.

MUST SEEN: Without the shadow of doubt the Etosha National Park. I never really been to a zoo (apart from when I was 8 and I went on school trip just to be horrified by it after 5 minutes) so for me see wild animals in their natural habitat was utterly priceless. It was overwhelming (in a good way) to see these incredible creatures roaming free and it was definitely worth getting lost for hours! 

If you want to see more of my Namibian Adventure check out on my Instagram page the highlight “Namibia”. Happy Travels!

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Creamy Porcini & White Bean Stew

This stew is so scrumptious and packed with flavour! By adding a little bit of soy cream it become super creamy and indulgent! The porcini mushrooms add a really hearty and rich flavour which goes so well wit the buttery texture of the beans. This stew is ideal for cosy nights in and it freeze perfectly well!

Serves 3-4 people

Ingredients:

200gr of dried haricot beans soaked in water for at least 6 hours or overnight

1 head of garlic

1 white onion finely chopped

A handful of dried porcini mushrooms

1 celery stick, finely sliced

A generous handful of cavolo nero roughly chopped

2 tbsp of soy or oat cream

1 tbsp of Schwartz dried parsley

Plenty of salt and pepper to taste

A generous dash of olive oil for cooking

Drain and rinse the soaked beans and place them in a large pan or if you want to save time a pressure cooker. Nestle the garlic in the beans and cover witrh plnety of cold water. If you are using a regular pan bring to boil then simmer on a low heat for 50-60 minutes until the beans are tender. If you are using a pressure cooker you wil only need to cook the beans for 20 minutes.

In the meantime soak the porcini mushroons in boiling water for about 15-20 minutes. Drain the mushrooms but reserve the water. Roughly chop the mushrooms.

Drain the beans and and place them into a bowl. Fish out the garlic bulb and squeeze out the garlic pulp.

To a large pan add the dash of oil and add the finely chopped onion and celery and fry on a medium heat for  5-8 minutes until the onion starts to soften and caramelised. Add in the chopped porcini mushrooms, beans and garlic. Add the porcini water until the beans are covered. Put the lid on and cook for 20-25 minutes on a low heat. Keep adding more porcini water if the beans get too dry. The beans should go really soft and creamy. Add in the soy/oat cream, salt and pepper, Schwartz dry parsley and the chopped kale. Mix everything together and cook for another few minutes. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and if you fancy some crusty bread.

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Pumpkin Soup

It wouldn’t be autumn without a good old pumpkin soup! How can something so simple can taste so utterly delicious!? It’s really all about the pumpkin or the squash I should say you are using. My favourite is definitely the Kobucha squash, the round one with a deep green skin and vibrant orange flesh. It’s just so flavoursome (way more than regular pumpkins) with a lovely chestnut note. If you can’t find it (farmers market or farm shops are always the best bet) you can totally use a much more common butternut squash but I would highly recommend to go the extra mile to find this gem!

Makes a large pot – enough for 3-4 people

Ingredients:

1 kobucha squash – if you can’t find other great options are a regular butternut squash or an onion squash

1 white onion finely sliced

3 garlic cloves crushed

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1 nut meg

About 1/2 litre of vegetable stock, depending on how runny you like the soup

Salt to taste

A dash of oil for cooking

Toppings:

I like to serve it with a dollop of unsweetened coconut yogurt, some pumpkin seeds and some crunchy chickpeas but even with a simple slice of toasted bread will be delicious!

Peel the squash, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Chop the squash into cubes.

Add the oil into a pan together with sliced onion. Cook the onion on a low heat for 8-10 minutes. You want to make sure the onion is really cooked dowm and caramelised, that will add lots of flavour to the soup. Add in the crushed garlic, chopped squash, the cinnamon stick and the bay leaf. Add a pinch of salt and just a splash of the vegetable stock to preventing the squash sticking to the pan. Put the lid on and cook down the squash for about 10 minutes. Add in the remaning vegetable stock and cook for another 20 minutes until the squash has completely broken down. Add in a generous grating of the nutmeg and add more salt if needed. Blend the soup by either using a hand blender or a regular blender until super smooth and creamy. Serve straight away with a drizzle of coconut yogurt, pumpkin seeds and crunchy chickpeas.

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Kale Salad with a Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing

This salad hopefully will convert any kale haters out there. Hey, I didn’t use to like kale as well! Actually I thought it was pretty awful, chewy, bitter, you get the drill. But when cooked or dressed in right way kale can actually be quite delicious plus is so good for us it’s totally worth to make an effort to eat it more, right? The key to eat raw kale is to make sure you massage it first so it will become softer and less chewy. This creamy garlic and tahini dressing is just perfect to counter balance the bitterness of this leafy green as it’s creamy, rich and indulgent. Please don’t skip the roasted garlic as it really transform this dressing into something utterly delicious!

Ingredients:

Serves 2

3-4 cups of finely chopped and destemmed kale

A pinch of sea salt

1 apple

1/2 cucumber

A handful of walnuts (pecans will work as well)

A sprinkle of chilli flakes (totally optional)

For the dressing:

1/4 cup of smooth and runny tahini

2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar

2 tsp of white miso paste

2 tsp of maple syrup

Enough water to thin it out until it reaches a “dressing” kind of consistency

2-3 roasted garlic cloves

Place the chopped kale into a large bowl and add the pinch of salt. With your hands start massaging the kale by slightly scrunching the kale leaves. Keep massaging until you see that the kale leaves are starting to wilt and become softer.

Leave it onto one side while you are making the dressing.

To roast the garlic simple place the cloves onto a baking tray in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes until super soft. You should be able to squish out the pulp very easily.

I sometimes roast the whole garlic bulb so I can use the rest for pasta sauces or pesto.

To make the dressing add all the ingredients into a bowl apart from the water and with a fork mash down the roasted garlic. Gradually add the water and keep mixing until you achieve a creamy and runny consistency.

Toast the walnuts in a hot non stick pan for few minutes until they start to brown.

To assemble the salad: chop in small pieces the apple and the cucumber. Add them to the large bowl with the massaged kale. Pour over the dressing and give it a really good mix. Sprinkle the walnuts on top and the chilli flakes (if using) and enjoy! I also like to add some crunchy chickpeas when I want to make it more filling, find the recipe here.

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How I Balanced My Hormones

Around the age of 24 I stopped the contraceptive pill which I was taking on and off for almost 10 years. My hormones went absolutely mental (can you blame them?) resulting in skin deep hormonal cysts all around my chin and jaw. I won’t bore you too much with all the different things I have tried in the following years (you can read more about it here), In this post I want to share things which after so many trial and errors I believe have helped to put my hormones back in their original balance. Looking back I can now see how my body was just screaming for help, my hormones were all over the place after so many years of messing about with them with the contraceptive pill and my diet and lifestyle were definitely not supporting them.

Please note that this is purely my personal experience, hormonal issues and skin issue are so infinitely complexed that is virtually impossible that one protocol will work for everyone. A lot of the improvements I made are purely down to try things myself and experimenting with my diet and lifestyle. I wish I could give you the magic formula but sadly there isn’t one. What has worked for me might not necessarily work you ( I know we have heard it so many times but it’s so true!)

It took me years to figure out a lifestyle that support my hormones, wellness and beauty and I am still learning every single day! Looking after yourself to feel your best in a way that works for you is definitely a journeys as our body change with us as we go through different phases in life. There are no quick fixes or short cut when it comes to balance your hormones, it definitely took me lots of time, patience and self love to get where I am today.

So let’s start!

DIET:  The first change that I made to my diet was to cut out dairy products. There are a lot of research that link dairy consumption to acne. Dairy cows are treated with artificial hormones that affect their milk supply, researchers suggest that those hormones may throw your hormones off balance when you consume milk products. This could trigger acne. There is also the theory that the growth hormones already in milk naturally aggravate acne no matter what. I personally saw a huge improvement when I finally ditched my beloved parmesan, my skin was still breaking out from time to time but my spots were fewer and not as inflamed as they used to be. You definitely need to give it some time before you can see any improvement, I kept a food dairy for about 2-3 months and that really helped to identify other triggers like refined sugar.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, which rapidly raises blood sugar levels. When blood sugars rise, insulin levels also rise to help shuttle the blood sugars out of the bloodstream and into your cells.Insulin makes androgen hormones more active and increases insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This contributes to acne development by making skin cells grow more quickly and by boosting sebum production.

Cutting out refined sugar from diet and reducing the amount of sugar in general I was consuming (maple syrup, honey, dried fruit, confectionery products etc…) was definitely game changing. Also thanks to my food dairy I could really see that my spots were much worse when I went on the occasional sugar binge. Being very careful with my sugar intake definitely served me in that period of my life when I was trying to clear my skin, I am now much more relaxed and flexible and I definitely don’t deny myself the occasional vegan donuts, croissants etc..

On the other hand I gradually started to increase significantly my intake of vegetables, especially leafy greens which are jammed packed with vitamin A, essential for collagen production.

Making sure that my diet is abundant with vegetables is essential to keep my skin clear. I am sure I don’t need to tell you that vegetables are loaded with vitamis, antioxidants and minerals which are essentially the best beauty food out there.

Another focus of mine was to increase my intake of healthy fats like avocado, nuts & seeds. I particular pay attention to those high in omega 3 like chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds. Not only they form part of the skin structure but they also have anti-inflammatory properties. High levels of omega-3 have been shown to plump up the look of the skin as well as the quality, by reducing inflammation as well as supplying the building blocks for healthy skin cells. In addition, omega-3 suppresses a hormone produced by the liver called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which can in turn reduce spots and blemishes.

GUT HEALTH: The gut includes everything from the mouth all the way through to the anus – it’s responsible for absorbing nutrients, housing both helpful and harmful bacteria and excreting waste. Making improvements to the digestive system has been scientifically shown to improve skin health, immune function, mood, and energy levels. The first step in healing your gut and skin is to make sure that your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs through a diet including a variety of coloured plant foods. Fruits and vegetables are the richest sources of nutrients, and should make up the foundation of your diet. Other foods to include are whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts & seeds. To give my digestive system the best chances to work efficiently I also incorporated a daily probiotic into my routine. Overall I knew I had to cut out the processed/junk food from diet and I try my very best (hey, we are all human) to focus on whole, unrefined plant-based food as much as possible. That was probably one of the main reason why I eventually transitioned to a plantbased diet.

SLEEP & STRESS: These 2 normally go hand in hand as when we are under stress we tend to not sleep enough or to sleep really badly. Stress increases the amount of oil your skin produces, which can clog pores and cause breakouts. I saw first hand the terrible effect that stress can have on my skin. I had a period of my life when I was in a job which I hated and which it was causing me so much stress, the result was my skin being constantly inflamed and because I was so stressed I was also eating really badly and not sleeping properly and that made everything even worse! I actually ended up quitting that job because it was literally making my life a living nightmare but there are obviously other less drastic way to manage stress, like yoga, meditation, breathing exercise, spending time in nature etc…

REDUCE CAFFEINE: Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant and can be really hard on our adrenal  glands and can also disrupt our sleep. So if you are looking to support your hormones try to reduce your caffeine intake an maybe drink more herbal teas instead. I now try to have coffee only 2-3 times a week maximum and I like to consider it more like a treat than a regular habit.

SUPPLEMENTS: These are the supplements which after lots of research I decided to include in my routine, but please do your own research on the matter too!:

Zinc: Zinc has excellent anti inflammatory properties and it help to fight the bacteria that cause acne or breakouts.

Vitamin D ( from October to April): Healthy levels of vitamin D help make sure we’re producing adequate levels of insulin, one of our blood sugar regulating hormones. Since I live in the UK and I follow a plantbased it’s important for me to supplement with Vitamin D regardless of my skin.

Vitex or Agnus Castus: Studies have shown that Vitex is the best herb available that can balance the hormones during the menstrual cycle. If you like me see your spots getting worse before and during your period this supplement can definitely help.

EXERCISE: it helps to promote restful sleep, helps reduce stress. Vigorous exercise can add stress to our body so don’t over do it! I was never a gym kind of girl ( I actually always hate any kind of sport with a passion) but exercise has proven time over time to be extremely beneficial for my skin. When I consistently work out my skin is clearer and my hormones seems to be more in balance. I think the key to make exercise a routine is to find a type of workout that you love, there is really no point in doing something that you hate as you won’t stick to it! I personally love high intensity work out, they are relative short (normally 30-45 minutes) they are fast paced, you sweat like there is no tomorrow and at the end you feel like an olympic champion 😉

SKINCARE & ENVIROMEMTAL TOXINS: lots of products out there that we use on a regular basis contains xenoestrogens which are basically man made chemicals that act like natural estrogens create all sort of havoc with your own hormones. Some example of xenoestrogens are BPA, parabens, pesticides. It was definitely a slow process but I gradually switch mostly a natural skin care/body/hair routine, start using natural cleaning products, buying organic produce as much as possible, not buying plastic water bottle anymore, storing my food in glass containers instead of plastic and in general trying to avoid packaged food as much as possible (although that’s definitely an hard one!).

PATIENCE: This is probably the hardest part. You got to arm yourself with the biggest bag of patience because there aren’t (at least in my personal experience) overnight miracles. I believe when you give your body the best support to heal it will fight its battle to the end. Our bodies want to be healthy, they want to thrive in wellness and sometimes we need to accept that the process will take its time. It took me years to finally relatively balance my hormones (still getting the odd spots here and then) and during this journey I have learned  so much about myself and my body more that I ever would have imagined. Our bodies are incredibly beautiful and I firmly believe they know before we do, sometimes we just need to take a step back and simple listen. I have learned to love myself, my skin and my body beyond my physical appearance. I stopped wearing makeup for about 6 months (still wearing it today in very special occasions) to teach myself how to love my skin for what it is , flaws included. It was a frustrating and liberating process at the same time but so worth it! Ultimately my acne taught has been an incredible teacher, it taught me to look after myself, to look after this vessel which wether I like it or not will carry me around for the rest of my life, it taught me to be kinder to myself, to be humble, to practice gratitude and to love myself unconditionally.

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Miso Noodle Soup with Crispy Tofu

This soup is just the perfect meal when you feel a bit run down or you want something super comforting but still packed with goodness. The ginger and the Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients Red Miso paste add a real depth of flavour to the broth which makes it so flavoursome even by itself. I love adding tenderstem broccoli and a mix of mushrooms to this soup but other quick cooking veggies like pak choi or green beans will work too. The crispy tofu compliment the soup beautifully and it makes also very filling. For the marinade I have used a new combination of soy sauce, Waitrose Cooks’ ingredients Ponzu Sauce and maple syrup which create the most delicious sweet and sour flavour. Don’t forget to top everything with plenty of fresh coriander, spring onion and if you like it hot some fresh chilli.

Serves 2-3 people

1 white onion- peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves -crushed

1 thump size piece of ginger – finely chopped or grated

2 tsp of Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients Red Miso paste

1 1/2 litre of vegetable stock

About 200gr of mixed mushrooms of your choice ( I have just bought a pack of exotic mixed mushrooms) sliced in half

200gr of tenderstem broccoli

200gr of noodles of your choice – ( I used buckwheat soba noodles)

1 block of firm tofu (about 300gr)

3-4 tbsp of soy or tamari sauce

1 tbsp of  Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients Ponzu sauce 

1 tbsp of maple syrup

2 tbsp of sesame seed oil for cooking

To sprinkle on top:

Fresh chopped coriander

A couple of finely chopped spring onions

Few fresh chillies

A sprinkle of sesame seeds

A squeeze of lime

To a large pot `add 1 tbsp of sesame seed oil and once hot add in the finely chopped onion. Fry the onion for few minutes until it starts to caramelise. Add in the chopped ginger and crushed garlic and keep coking for few minutes stirring from time to time to prevent the garlic from burning. Add in the miso paste, mix again and pour in the vegetable stock. Put the lid on and let the broth cook for another 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime prepare the tofu. Slice the tofu into thick slices and place in large plate.  In am bowl add in the 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of Ponzu sauce and maple syrup.Mix everything together until you have a smooth marinade. Pour the sauce on the tofu and toss them around so they get all nice and coated. Heat up 1 tbsp of sesame seed oil in non stick frying pan. Once hot add in the sliced tofu and cook onto each side for few minutes until crispy. Remove the tofu from the pan and leave it onto side. To the same pan add in the tenderstem broccoli and sliced mushrooms and add another dash of soy sauce. Cook with the lid on for another 5-6 minutes until slightly tender but still a bit al dente, make sure the water from the mushrooms is all evaporated!

To serve: Fill up the 2 bowl with the miso broth, add in the noodles, mushrooms and tenderstem broccoli. Top each bowl with 3-4 tofu pieces. Sprinkle some chopped coriander, sesame seeds, chopped spring onion, chilli flakes on top and drizzle with some lime juice. Enjoy!

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Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta

Pumpkin and squash are definitely my favourite autumn vegetables! They are so versatile as they work so well in sweet and savoury dished. This creamy and cheesy pasta is most perfect meal to make at the end of a long day. The sauce is incredibly creamy, decadent and feels so indulgent and yet so healthy. For this recipe I have used Provamel Unsweetened Almond Drink which adds a lovely creaminess and subtle nutty flavour to the dish. What I love about Provamel Almond  Drink is that is 100% organic and the almonds are sourced from Europe making it  an even more sustainable choice.

Serves 2 people

Ingredients:

About 1/2 butternut squash/pumpkin

1 white onion

2 garlic cloves

The juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp of apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp of smoked paprika

1/4 tsp of turmeric powder

3 tbsp of nutritional yeast

3tbsp of Provamel Unsweetened Almond Drink

Plenty of salt and pepper to taste

A glug of oil for roasting

Pasta of your choice to serve

For the crispy chickpeas:

1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tsp of turmeric powder

1 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp of smoked paprika or chilli powder

A glug of oil

A sprinkle of salt

For the crispy chickpeas simple place them on a baking tray, sprinkle all the spices and add the oil so they get all nice and coated. Bake them in the oven for 30 minutes until crispy on the outside.

Peele and chopped the butternut squash into bite size pieces. Add them to a roasting tray and drizzle with some olive oil and and a sprinkle of salt.

Roast in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes, until the butternut squash is soft.

While the butternut squash is cooking peel and finely chopped the onion and add it a small frying pan with a touch of oil. Fry the onion on a low to medium heat for 5 minutes until it starts to caramelised. Add in the crushed garlic cloves and cook for another minute.

Once the butternut squash is cooked add it to a blender together with the onion and garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar smoked paprika, turmeric powder, Provamel Almond Drink, salt & pepper. Blend until completely smooth and silky. Add more Almond Drink if needed.

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain it and put it back in the pan and pour in the butternut squash sauce. Mix everything together and top with some crunchy chickpeas (if using)

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Double Chocolate Baked Donuts

I’m officially obsessed with these mini double chocolate donuts! They are so fluffy, chocolatey and I seriously can’t stop eating them! They are completely gluten free and I am so pleased that the consistency is still airy without being too dry or crumbly. To make them even more indulgent I have dipped them in MIA 75% cocoa melted chocolate which is so rich and velvety, perfect for baking or just on its own.

I love that MIA source the ingredients, manufacturer and even package their chocolates in Africa and by doing so they give greater benefit back to the communities. This creates more jobs on a continent where a single income can support an entire family.  So celebrate chocolate week in style and do good at the same time!

Ingredients:

Makes about 8-10 donuts

1/2 cup of oat flour (just place some oats into a blender until you have a flour)

1/2 cup of buckwheat flour

3/4 cup of ground almond

1/2 cup of coconut sugar

1/4 cup of raw cacao powder

2 tbsp of ground flaxseeds

1 tsp of baking powder

1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda

A pinch of salt

3/4 cup of almond milk

1/4 cup of plain soy yogurt

3 tbsp of melted coconut oil

For the glaze:

100gr of MIA 75% cocoa Chocolate

A handful of cacao nibs or chopped nut to sprinkle on top (optional)

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

In a large bowl mix together the oat flour buckwheat, ground almonds, coconut sugar, raw cacao powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the almond milk, soy yogurt and coconut oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together until you don’t see anymore flour. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes, don’t mx again as you want to keep the fluffy consistency.

Gently fill the donut moulds with batter, don’t overfill it as they will rise during the baking. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. I have used mini donuts moulds so I only baked mine for 13 minutes. Leave the donuts in the tray for 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack for another 20-25 minutes.

While the donuts are cooling melt the Mia Chocolate on a double boiler. Dip the donuts into the melted chocolate and sprinkle them with some cacao nibs (if using). Let the chocolate cool down for another 10 minutes and enjoy!

 

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