Happy skin reboot: Day 1 -Fiesta salad

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Since I came back from Mexico I haven’t felt quite my usual self, my digestion hasn’t been the best, I have been feeling a bit sluggish, tired and my skin has been breaking out. I am a strong believer in always listen to your body, try to read the signals that is sending you and act consequently. That’s why last week I decided to go back to basics and to my old times friends: veggies!

I have been lucky enough to have been told about the super powers of vegetables since I was a little girl; before every meal my parents will make us eat a salad, day and day out, no exclusion. Even when I really didn’t want to eat it they were adamant I wasn’t going to eat my dinner before have eaten my plate of raw veggies. 30 years on I simply couldn’t be more grateful to my parents to have instilled in me this almost therapeutic relationship with vegetables. Whenever I don,t feel at my best I just go back to eat abundant, raw, vibrant veggies and I know they will do me wonders.

I know what you are thinking, salad = boring, but these my friends are not your iceberg lettuce and cucumber salads, these are flavoursome, crunchy, goodnes power house, epic raw salads which will make you feel vibrant, full of energy and especially will make your skin glow!

I would recommend eat at least one of this salad a day for 5 days, if you are still hungry after please feel free to eat something else, this not a deprivation diet, or one of those terribly sad detox programme.if I am still hungry I would normally have maybe some brown rice, sweet potatoes or some gluten free pasta. This little plan is about adding goodness, vitamins into your diet, is not about starvation.Just eating 1 raw meal a day I garantee you you will start feeling so much more energetic and vibrant.

This salad has been inspired by my recent holiday in Mexico. Is the only salad out of the 5 which is not fully raw but nonetheless is still packed with veggies goodness. I love eating this salad with super creamy avocado hummus and I find extremely filling and satisfying. I love to go absolutely crazy with the coriander as I adore it’s fresh fragrance but you can stick with an handful. That’s the beauty of these kind of meal you can use as much as you like of the ingredients to tailor it to your personal taste.

Ingredients:

1 can of mixed beans ( like red kidney beans, black beans etc…)

1 small can of unsweetened corn

1 cup of cherry tomatoes cut into quarters

1 red pepper diced

1/2 cucumber diced

1/2 red onion finely chopped

1 red chilli finely sliced

1 sliced avocado

a bunch of coriander finely chopped

For the dressing:

extra virgin olive oil

the juice of 1 lime

For the avocado hummus:

1 can of chickpeas

1 avocado

2 tablespoon of tahini

1 clove of garlic

the juice of 1/2 lemon

water if needed

salt and pepper to taste

To make the hummus: in a food processor blend all the ingredients until a smooth cream starts to form. Scoop it out and pour into a bowl.

For the salad: drain and wash the beans and the sweet corn and place them into a bowl. Add all the chopped vegetables and top with few slices of chilli and avocado. Dress the salad with olive oil and lemon juice and serve with the avocado hummus.

 

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Happy skin reboot: Day 2-Rooty fruity salad

 

I just love the colours of this salad, so intense and vibrant! the beetroot is definitely the super star of this salad, packed with potassium, magnesium, iron and folic acid, beetroot has also been proven to help healing acne and and cleanse the blood. It goes extremely well with the fresh orange, creating a tangy and sweet super food salad.

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Ingredients:

1 beetroot

1 carrot

1/2 parsnip

a bunch of rocket leaves

mixed salad leaves

1-2 radishes finely sliced

1 orange peeled and cut into segments

mixed sprouts

For the dressing:

extra vergin olive oil

Apple cider vinegar

the juice of 1/2 orange

salt and pepper

With a peeler sliced the carrot, beetroot and parsnip into ribbons and place them into a bowl. Add the rocket, the mixed leaves, the radishes, the mix sprouts and top with the orange segment.

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and pour into the salad.

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Happy skin reboot: Day 3 -Brussels sprout and cauliflower tabuleh

 

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I know what are you thinking, “raw Brussels sprouts, really??” But trust me once they are finely grounded down they actually taste really good, especially if combined with juicy cherry tomatoes, black olives and  crunchy spring onion. Brussels sprouts are also a power house of vitamins and minerals, they are very rich in vitamin c, manganese, potassium and even omega 3 fatty acids. Combined with equally goodness packed cauliflower they make this salad the perfect detoxifying, revitalising salad which will literally make you glow from inside out.

Ingredients:

1 cup of Brussels sprouts

1 cup of cauliflower florets

2 cups of cherry tomatoes cut in quarters

1/2 of cucumber diced

3 spring onions finely chopped

1 cup of chopped parsley

1/2 cup of chopped black olives

For the dressing:

extea virgin olive oil

the juice of 1 lemon

balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

In a food processor blitz the cauliflower florets until they assume a kind of rice consistency. Remove from the food processor and place in a separate bowl. At this point I add to my food processor the shredding blade and  blitz the Brussels sprouts until they are finely chopped.

Place all the chopped vegetable in a bowl, including the parsley. Dress the salad with a generous jug of olive oil, about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.

 

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Happy skin reboot: Day 4 -The queen of greens

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This salad is by all means the queen of greens! It’s highly alkanine, packed with vitamins, minerals, calcium, protein and so on. is just the perfect meal if you have been feeling a bit under the weather or you just want a boost of green goodness!

Ingredients:

1 or 2 cups of destemmed curly kale

a bunch of rocket

a bunch of watercress

1 cup of radicchio finely sliced

1 red or white chicory sliced

1 carrots finely sliced or spiralized

1/2 cucumber sliced

1/2 of avocado sliced

1/2 a cup of purple cabbage sliced

a handful of mixed sprouts

a handful of pumpkin seeds

a bunch of parsley

For the dressing:

extra virgin olive oil

apple cider vinger

the juice of 1 lemon

Start by massaging the kale ( so important!): chop the kale as finely as you can and place it into a bowl. Drizzle some olive oil and the juice of 1/2 a lemon and start massaging the kale with your hands for about 1-2 minutes until you can see that the leaves have wilted.

In a separate bowl mix together all the other veggies and add the massaged kale. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, chopped parsley and mixed sprouts.

For the dressing I would simply suggest to drizzle the salad with extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

 

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Happy skin reboot: Day 5 -Rainbow raw pad Thai

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This is probably my favourite salad out of the 5, so crunchy and the dressing is just to die for. Is literally a rainbow on a plate and just looking at these beautiful colours makes me smile!

Ingredients:

1 courgette

1 carrot

1 red pepper finely sliced

2 spring onions finely chopped

about 1 cup of purple cabbage finely sliced

2 or 3 radishes sliced

about 1/2 of butternut squash

a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds

chooped coriander

For the dressing:

3/4 of a cup of tahini

1 flat tablespoon of sweet miso paste

the juice of 1 lime

1 clove of garlic finely minced ( optional)

Start by makin the dressing: in a jar mix the tahini, lime juice, sweet miso paste, garlic and whisk well.

Place the courgette into your spiralizer and start making gorgeous spaghetti, do the same process with the carrot and the butternut squash. If you don’t have a spiralizer you can use a peeler and make ribbons.

Once all the vegetables are spiralizer and chopped place them in a bowl And mix them all together. Top with the chopped coriander and sesame seeds and generously drizzle the dressing.

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Beetroot and lentils burgers

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These burgers are literally my perfect mid week supper. I tend to make a big batch on Sunday afternoon and then freeze them so whenever I come home late from work or I am too tired to cook anything I just stick these in the oven, bit of salad, lots of hummus and I have got an extremely delicious, so satisfying dinner!if you want to go extra mile I totally recommend to serve them squeezed them between 2 pan fried portobello mushrooms, it looks incredible and taste amazing too!

As for the toppings please feel free to go completely crazy, the more the merrier! I love to have mine with a generous dollop of my kale and parsley pesto ( previous post), hummus, sliced tomatoes, sliced avocado and fresh lettuce. The result is a not only beautiful looking plate of food, but a super filling,veggie goodnes packed meal which will definitely make you glow from inside out!

Makes about 8-10 burgers

ingredients:

2 cups of cooked lentils

1 cup of cooked quinoa

2 beetroots peeled and grated

1/2 cup of buckwheat flour

4-5 sundried tomatoes finely chopped

1 tablespoon of milled flaxseeds + 3 tablespoon of water

1 small red onion minced

1 clove of garlic minced

1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder

the juice of 1/2 a lemon

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil for cooking

optional toppings:

sliced tomatoes

lettuce leaves

sliced avocado

hummus

my kale and parsley pesto

Preheat the oven at 180’degrees. Make the flax egg simply mixing the ground flax seeds with the water. Set on one side, it will acquire a gloopy and gelly consistency.

In a small pan heat up a tablespoon of olive oil, gently fry the chopped onion and the garlic until the have soften up and caramelised. Add the coriander powder and the paprika and cook for a further minute. Took the pan off the heat and leave it on one side.

Put the cooked lentils in a food processor and pulse briefly just to break them down, you don’t want a purée consistency. Transfer them into a bowl and mix them with the quinoa, the buckwheat flour, the flaxseed and the grated beetroot. Incorporate all the ingredient together and then add the cooked onion, the lemon juice and the chopped sundried tomatoes. Adjust of salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should stick together well but don’t be afraid of adding more flour. Shape into 8 or 10 burgers and place them on a baking tray covered with baking paper ( this is very important otherwise they will end up sticking to the bottom).

Bake the burgers in the oven for about 30-35 minutes and flip them halfway through.

While the burgers cook prepare your mushroom buns. Wash and destemmed the mushrooms. Place them in a frying pan with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. Fry them for about 5-10 minutes until they start to soften.

To serve place the burgers between the two portobello mushroom and top with your favourite  trimmings!

 

 

 

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What I pack for a long flight

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This is officially the last post of 2015 as I am off to Mexico for the next 2 weeks!! I can barely contain my excitement as I have been looking forward to this holiday for such a long time and because work has been so crazy lately I seriously can’t wait for some down time.

Now the part which I am the least excited about is airport + plane food. Let’s be honest here, airports or plane food is just so bad! I have found myself in the past where I was just absolutely starving and wondering through different airports cafes in the desperate attempt to find something not completely filled with oil, fat, preservative or all of them together.  I have learnt my lesson and these days I come prepare, these are my top tips for how to prepare for a long flight:

1 – pack LOTS of snacks, literally more than you could eat because as I say it always better to have more then less. There is nothing worse than to be famish and have nothing available to eat. My favourite snacks:

  • homemade energy balls
  • vegetable crisps by “the giving tree”
  • flaxseeds crackers by “inspiral”
  • carrots/ celery sticks
  • fresh fruit (apples, bananas etc…)

2- before getting on the plane buy a big bottle of water. The hair conditioning on plane is the worst enemy against your skin so you want to make sure you stay hydrated.

3- pack a main meal. If you are going on a long flight I would suggest you pack a generous main meal so you will full and satisfied until you reach your final destination. My favourite thing to take with me is pasta and I recently got addicted to this super easy parsley and kale pesto:

1/2 cup of pine nuts

1/2 cup of kale destemmed

1/2 cup of parsley leaves

1 clove of garlic

1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast

4 tablespoon of olive oil

the juice of 1/2 lemon

a splash of water if needed

salt and pepper

Just blitz everything in a food processor and use with your pasta of choice.

After I get all my food sorted I also make sure I pack some of my favourite skin care products to keep my skin happy during the flight:

1- my moisturise.  I love “balancing face moisturiser” from Balance Me as it’s quite light and absorbs quickly leaving my skin plumped up but not greasy.

2- face mist. I have recently bought ” Beauty Elixir” from Caudalie and I am totally hooked. It feels super cooling on your skin and it smells amazing. You can spray it on your face few time during your flight, it instantly make you feel relaxed and refreshed.

3- face oil. I personally love rose hip oil from Pai skincare, it’s great for combination skin or dark pigmentation. I only pack it if I am off for a long flight as I like to massage few drops on my face before go to sleep.

When I have got all the above sorted I feel I am ready to enjoy a long trip because I know that everything I will need is packed in my hand luggage on easy reach. More then ever when it comes to travelling is worth saying: ” fail to prepare, prepare to fail!”

Have a beautiful holidays everyone, can’t wait to see you all in 2016!

 

 

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Kale and mushrooms nut roast

IMG_0318I have to admit that I never had a nut roast before I made this one a couple of days ago, what did I miss! What I love about this flavoursome nutty loaf is that is filling, conforting but at the same time is packed with veggies goodness and doesn’t leave you feel sluggish afterwards. I decided to use a mix of pecans, walnuts and almonds but you can also use Brazil nuts or hazelnuts. As a special ingredient I have added an handful of porcini mushrooms as they have a strong wild flavour and an incredible meaty texture but if you don’t have them in hand you can totally leave them out.

This wonderfully cosy nut roast is obviously perfect this festive season  but I think is just a great dish to have any other time of the year too! Is the perfect recipe to whiz up on a Sunday and enjoy the leftover any other day of the week. I have been adding to my packed lunch and it taste absolutely great in salads or with stir fried veggies.

ingredients:

100 gr of pecans

100 gr of walnuts

100 gr of almonds

100 gr of brown rice flour

1 leek finely chopped

1 chopped carrot

4 shallots finely minced

4 minced cloves of garlic

2 cups of chopped chestnut mushrooms

1 handful of soaked and chopped dry porcini

1 cup of chopped cavolo Nero or kale

1/2 cup of chopped dry apricots

1 bunch of fresh rosemary

1 bunch of fresh sage

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

4 tablespoon of millet flax seeds mixed with 10 teaspoon of water

for the topping:

200 gr of vine tomatoes

chopped fresh parsley

Start by making your flax egg by simply mixing the millet flax seeds with the water and set aside until it reach a gloopy consistency.

In a food processor blitz all the nuts until they are crumbled but are not reduced to a flour. You still wants some crunchy bits.

In a frying pan heat up a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chopped shallots and minced garlic until they are soft and translucent. At this point add the chopped leeks, carrots and mushrooms (porcini included if using) and cook for a few minutes. Add the herbs, apricots and the chopped kale. Cook for a further 5 minutes until all the veggies have soften up. Adjust with salt and pepper.

In a bowl combine all the cooked vegetables, the crumbled nuts, the flax egg and the brown rice flour. Mix everything vigourosly. Place into a lined tin and pres down firmly to create a competition loaf. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.

Halfway through the cooking time place the vine tomatoes into a baking dish and put in the oven to cook for 30 minutes.

To serve slice the loaf and top each slice with the roasted tomatoes and chopped fresh parsley.

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Raw pecans and chocolate cups with raspberries filling

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Ingredients:

for the base

3/4 of a cup of pecans ground into a meal

1/4 of a cup of grounded oats

2 tablespoon of almond butter or nut butter of your choice

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1tablespoon of maple syrup or honey

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

a pinch of sea salt

for the raspberries filling

150 gr of fresh raspberries

for the chocolate layer:

3 tablespoon of coconut oil

3 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey

2 tablespoon of raw cacao powder

add the pecans end oats into a food processor until they form a flour. Add the remaining ingredients: coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup cinnamon and the pinch of salt and blitz again until a sticky dough forms.

Line a muffin tin with baking paper or use a silicon muffins mould.portion the dough into each muffin cups and press down until smooth. Place the tin in the freezer.

For the raspberries filling simply mash up the raspberries with a fork. You can add an teaspoon of maple syrup if you like it sweeter.

Place 1 teaspoon of the raspberries compote in the middle of each cups. Place back into the freezer.

For the chocolate sauce whisk the coconut oil with the cacao powder, maple syrup until no clumps remain. Pour the chocolate sauce on top of each of your cups distributing evenly.  Place the tin back in the freezer for at least 1 hour to allow all the ingredients to set. Take them out of freezer half an hour before serving and decorate with fresh raspberries or shredded coconuts.

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Christmas Crumble

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I have to admit I am not the biggest Christmas fan (I know what’s wrong with me?!) But if there is one thing I absolute love about Christmas is all the amazing festive food you feel you should make and more importantly, eat!

This crumble is the perfect healthy Christmas dessert, the cranberries and the apple just worked perfectly together creating a tart and sweet fruity compote, the mix of spices gives to the dish a gentle warmth and extra flavor. Even more delicious served straight from the oven with coconut yogurt or ice cream 🙂

Ingredients:

For the crumble:

1 and 1/2 cup of oats

1/2 cup of almonds

1/2 cup of pecans

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

3 tablespoon of coconut oil

1 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey

For the fruit compote:

6 red apples

1 and 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries

1/2 cup of dried sultanas soaked in warm water for at least half an hour

3 medjol dates

2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ginger powder

1 teaspoon of all spice

3 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey (or more, depend how sweet you like it)

Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees.

To make the fruit compote: peel and chopped the apples in bite size pieces, add them to a sauce pan on a low heat with the fresh cranberries (no need to chop them), soaked sultanas, all the spices and the maple syrup. Blitz the dates into a food processor until the become like a sticky paste or you can mash them down with a fork. Add the dates to the pan with the remaining ingredients. Cook down the compote for 15 minutes until the apples and cranberries are soft. Leave it on one side.

While the fruit compote is cooking in food processor blitz for a couple of minutes the almonds and pecans until the form a coarse flour, add in the oats and blitz again for literally 10 seconds just to break them down a bit.

Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl and add the melted coconut oil, the maple syrup and the cinnamon. Mix all the ingredients together so the oats and nuts are fully coated.

To assemble the crumble simply pour the fruit compote into a baking dish, spreading it evenly. On top add the nutty crumble.  Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the top is nicely brown.

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