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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Avocado & Grapefruit Smoothie

The quest for beautiful skin starts on your plate” This was one of my first thoughts when I started this page 3 years ago and I still firmly stand by it, Feeding myself with nourishing and wholesome foods is crucial to keep my skin clear and happy A good skincare routine plays also an important role and I am so happy that I have recently discovered amaiaa facial oils which have made my skin feel and look extra radiant and glowy. Me and the lovely people at amaiaa share the same beliefs that beauty products shouldn’t contain harsh chemicals or toxins, because really, what’s on you it’s in you!  And we also believe that animal testing should be a thing of the past so all their products are cruelty free too! Their daytime and nighttime facial oils are a blend of 10 different oils and inspired by their ingredients I have created this Nourishing Avocado & Grapefruit Smoothie Bowl which has been my favourite combination lately!

Although this might sound a bit of a weird combination I promise it taste delicious! The avocado makes the smoothie super creamy and decadent and the grapefruit add a subtle sharp flavour. I have also added some frozen raspberries but you can leave them out or use other berries instead, although I think they go really well with the grapefruit. I like to keep my smoothie super thick so I can eat it with a spoon and top it with lots of different toppings to transform it in a more filling meal.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/2 avocado

1 frozen banana

1/2 peeled pink grapefruit

1/2 cup of frozen raspberries

Enough almond milk to blend

Toppings:

Fresh berries of your choice

Granola

Coconut chips

Nut butter etc..

Simply place all the ingredients for the smoothie in a blender and gradually add the almond milk. The less liquid you add the thicker the smoothie will be. Serves it into a bowl with the toppings of your choice.

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Nourishing Savoury Porridge Bowl with Miso Mushrooms & Kale

I know what you are thinking, savoury porridge sounds weird! Yes it does and I was totally sceptical myself until I made this super nourishing bowl and completely fell in love with it! It definitely reminds me a little of an Italian risotto but with a much creamier texture. For this recipe I have used White’s Organic Oats which have just the perfect nutty flavour and create the most perfect winter warming porridge. The trick to make this porridge super flavoursome is to cook the oats with vegetable stock and a little bit of garlic for extra flavour. Toppings on porridge are everything so I generously topped this savoury creation with the most delicious miso mushrooms, kale, avocado and some sesame seeds for an extra crunch.

If you have any leftovers you can totally eat them next day or so, just add it to a pan with some  hot water or milk and reheat it for few minutes.

Ingredients:

Serves 2

1 1/2 cup of White’s Organic Jumbo Oats

1 medium size carrot finely grated

2 garlic cloves crushed

A dash of olive oil

Roughly 2 cups of vegetable stock  + 1 cup of unsweetened cashew, oat or soy milk ( I found these are the ones that works best)

2 tbsp of nutritional yeast (adds a lovely cheesy flavour

Salt & pepper to taste

For the mushrooms & Kale:

200gr of muhsrooms of your choice sliced in half – I went for a mix of chestnut and shiitake mushrooms

1 garlic clove

A dash of olive oil for cooking

1 tbsp of brown miso paste

About 2 cups of finely chopped kale

Salt and pepper to taste

Some sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

1 avocado sliced or chopped into pieces

To make the porridge heat up the oil in large pan. Add in the grated carrot and garlic and cook for few minutes on low to medium heat. Add in the oats and cover them with the veggie stock. Keep cooking a low heat and gradually add in the plantbased milk. Keep stirring from time to time to make sure the porridge doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. I cook my porridge for a total of 15 minutes and at the end I have added in the nutritional yeast, salt & pepper to taste. For a savoury porridge I would recommend to keep quite thick (risotto style) instead of too runny.

While the porridge is cooking prepare the rest. Add the oil to frying pan and once hot add in the sliced mushrooms. Cook for few minutes before adding in the crushed garlic and the miso paste. Keep cooking the mushrooms until all the liquid has evaporated and they have reduced in size. Add in the chopped kale and cook for another 2-3 minutes. You want to keep the kale bright and green so don’t cook it for too long.

Serve the porridge while still hot topped with the kale and mushrooms, some chopped avocado, a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional).

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Chocolate Chip Banana Loaf

One of my favourite thing to bake has to be banana bread. It’s so simple to make but so moreish and naturally sweet with the banana. The addition of the chocolate chips makes it even more delicious and decadent! For this recipe I have used Vita Coco Original Coconut Milk which is so creamy and rich making it perfect for baking! I love to cut the loaf into slices which I then store in the freezer so I can pop one in the toaster whenever I crave something sweet. Although it’s totally delicious on its own I love to spread a thick layer of almond or peanut butter on top to make it even more indulgent!

For this recipe I have used spelt flour but please feel free to use regular white flour.

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

1 tbsp of  ground flaxseeds + 2.5 tbsp of water

1 1/4  cup of white spelt flour

1 cup of oat flour (just place some oats flakes into a blender and blend until you have a flour)

1 cup of ground almond

3 tbsp of baking powder

1/2 cup of coconut sugar

1 tbsp of vanilla bean paste

2 tbsp of maple syrup

3 tbsp of  Vita Coco coconut oil

3/4 cup of Vita Coco Original Coconut Milk

1 cup of chocolate chips + extra for decorating

3 very ripe bananas + 1 extra half for decoration (optional)

A pinch of salt

Preheat the oven at 175 degrees Celsius.  Line a loaf tin with some parchment paper.

In a large bowl mix the flaxseeds with the water and leave it onto one side for 5 minutes until it become gloopy.

In the meantime add all the spelt flour, oat flour, ground almond, baking powder, salt and coconut sugar to another bowl. Mix everything to avoid any lumps.

Once the flaxseeds mixture add in the 3 bananas and mash them really well. Add in the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste and Vita Coco coconut milk. Mix everything together.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix everything. Fold in the chocolate chips and keep mixing. Try not overmix the batter as it might result in a heavier consistency.

Pour the batter into the tin and place in the middle the half banana cut lengthways. Sprinkle some chocolate chips on top and bake for 1 hour.

Remove the loaf from the oven and let it rest in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove it from the tin and leave it on a cooling rack for at least 3 hours or even better overnight. Let it cool completely is super important so please don’t skip this step!

Slice the loaf into slices and enjoy!

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Parsnip & Leek Soup

Autumn is definitely upon us and so is soup season! Nothing beats a cosy bowl of soup on a chilly evening and I have been obsessed with this new combination! I absolutely love parsnips and I think they are actually so underrated! They are now coming into season here in the UK and I am definitely determined to make the most of them. They have a lovely sweet flavour and a creamy consistency, perfect for soups or mash. For this recipe I have used Provamel Unsweetened Soy Drink which is perfect for savoury dishes as adds a lovely creaminess to any recipe. What I love about Provamel Soy Drink is that is 100% organic, low in saturated fat and the soy is sourced from Europe making it  an even more sustainable choice.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 large parsnip

1 leek

1 white onion

2 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

Few rosemary branches

About 800ml of vegetable stock

1/2 cup of Provamel Unsweetened Soy Drink

3 tbsp of nutritional yeast

A glug of olive oil

Plenty of salt & pepper to taste

Optional: If you want to make soup more substantial you can also add in 1/2 can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans

Peel and chopped the onion very finely.  Chopped the leek as well into thin slices. Add them to a large pan with a glug of oil. Cook them on a low heat with lid on for 5-8 minutes until the onion starts to brown and caramelised. Peel and cut the parsnip into bite size pieces and add it to the pan together with the chopped garlic, bay leave, salt and rosemary branches. Add  a dash of veggie stock and keep cooking the veggies on a low to medium heat with lid on for 20 minutes.

Add in the rest of the veggie stock plus Provamel Soy Drink, nutritional yeast and a generous amount of black pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes until the parsnip is really soft and mushy

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