Drinks

BRITA Collaboration – Berry Fizz

IMG_2897

I was very excited to be asked by BRITA water filters to develop a series of healthy drink recipes for kids. I’ve used my BRITA filter every day for many years, and it is a product I really believe in.

BRITA has shared my three child-friendly healthy drink recipes with parenting websites and bloggers, who were invited to whip up the recipes themselves and publish their results. Some of the blogs that participated include Everything Mummy, The Ana Mum Diary, Whole Heartedly Healthy and Food for Kids.

Here is the recipe for my first BRITA drink, a berry fizz.

Not all fizzy drinks have to be unhealthy! This one is packed with flavor but without all of the sugar and other nasties in branded soda. The raspberries in this Berry Fizz are rich in anti-oxidants and vitamin C, and the Berry Fizz is sweetened just with maple syrup (or you can use honey instead if you prefer).

BRITA Berry Fizz

Berry Fizz

Ingredients

2 teabags of Cranberry-Raspberry tea, or any other berry-flavoured tea

200 ml BRITA filtered water

70 g raspberries, rinsed

50 ml maple syrup (or honey, if you are on the GAPS diet)

200 ml BRITA filtered water, carbonated using a home soda maker OR 200 ml soda water

Instructions

Boil 200 ml BRITA filtered water, and use it to steep the teabags in a pan that can go on the hob.

After steeping for 15 minutes, remove the teabags and add the raspberries and maple syrup. Bring to the boil on the hob, then simmer for 10 minutes stirring regularly.

Strain through a mesh sieve, cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve, divide the raspberry syrup into two glasses. Then top up each glass with the carbonated water (or soda water), about 100 ml or to taste.

Yield: 2 servings.

All photos in this post courtesy of Iris Worldwide.

Snacks

Mushroom chips

mushroomchips1

I love popping into my local Japanese supermarket and coming out with a complete impulse purchase. This week it was these very elegant yet substantial-looking mushrooms, labelled “Eringi”.

mushroomswhole

When I got home and googled Eringi, I realized these were the elusive King Oyster mushrooms (pleurotus eryngii) I had been looking for to make a recipe that caught my eye on the Nom Nom Paleo blog. Result!

After just a few minutes of prep using a mandoline, these went in the oven to cook until crispy. The finished chips deliver a very intense umami flavor. My mushroom-loving daughter was delighted with the chips, and I can confirm they made an unusual but delicious aperitif snack with a glass of wine.

mushroomchips2

Mushroom chips (adapted from a Nom Nom Paleo recipe)

2 king oyster mushrooms (about 200g) – or any other large mushroom such as portobello

1 tablespoon ghee, melted – or the cooking oil/fat of your choice

salt and pepper

Serves 2-4 as a light snack

Preheat your oven to to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and dry carefully. Cut each mushroom in half lengthwise, then slice lengthwise using a mandoline on the thinnest setting.

Place the mushroom slices on the baking sheet in a single layer. Brush lightly with the melted ghee, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

The chips will need about 60 minutes in the oven, but start checking after 45 minutes. When done, the chips should be completely crispy – there were a few slightly soft chips that I had to put back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove from the baking sheet and blot on some paper towel, then serve immediately.

Breads and crackers

Sesame seed crackers

crackerstack

Happy new year! I wish you all a happy and healthy 2015.

My kids just went back to school today, and I had a great day doing some baking while listening to Serial (which I highly recommend). The breads I am developing are still a work in progress. These grain-free crackers, on the other hand, turned out really well. They are tasty enough to eat plain but also perfect as a base for whatever topping you fancy: sliced avocado, bean dip, nut butter, etc.

Perfect for an after-school snack.

crackerrack

Sesame seed crackers (adapted from Elana’s Pantry)

300 g ground almonds

100 g sesame seeds (I used half black and half white)

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons olive oil

Makes approximately 80 crackers in two batches.

Preheat your oven to to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the ground almonds, sesame seeds and sea salt in a bowl.

Whisk the eggs and olive oil together, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix well. The dough will be very dry and crumbly. After initially mixing the dough with a spatula, I found it easier to work the dough with my hands until well blended.

Divide the dough in two half and set one half aside.

Place the other half of the dough on the baking sheet, and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out thinly between the two sheets of parchment paper. The dough should be evenly rolled out (check there are no holes!) and cover the entire surface of the baking sheet.

Remove the top sheet of baking parchment and cut into squares or rectangles with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.

Bake for 15 minutes, until firm and slightly browned. Cool, then carefully break apart the squares before serving.

Repeat with the other ball of dough, or refrigerate for up to five days before using.

 

 

Breakfast

Overnight chia seed porridge

chiaingredients

As I mentioned last month, I’ve been experimenting with some new breakfast ideas lately. This week, I decided to try eating chia seeds for breakfast. I’m sure you’ve heard of the superfood properties of chia seeds: they are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and a range of minerals including calcium. Chia seeds are also gluten-free and GAPS-legal, making them a great grain-free breakfast option.

To make the chia seed porridge, the chia seeds are simply mixed with coconut milk (or almond if you prefer) and a vanilla bean, and left to plump up in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, just remove the vanilla bean and give the porridge a good stir.

The porridge heats up in just a couple of minutes on the stovetop. I enjoyed mine with some sliced banana, honey, and chopped roasted hazelnuts.

chiahot

I also enjoyed eating it cold with some sliced mango.

chiacold

It has more of a pudding-like texture when eaten cold. I think it will make a fantastic breakfast in the summer months topped with some sweet and juicy fresh berries.

I am also testing a “to go” version, perfect for office workers or teens with early morning sports training. I made a quarter recipe of the porridge in a jam jar, then added bananas, honey, nuts and mango.

chiatogo

I am also planning to use chia seeds in some muffins I am working on, so watch this space.

Overnight chia seed porridge

1 400 ml can of coconut milk (or same quantity almond milk)

50 g chia seeds (I used white but black is fine too)

1 whole vanilla bean

optional toppings – any fruit, nut, seed, honey, maple syrup, etc

Serves 4 – portions may look small but the porridge is very filling

Combine the coconut milk and chia seeds in a jar with a lid or other closed container.

Slice the vanilla bean in half length-wise. Scrape out the seeds and add to the mixture, then add the pods as well.

Stir, or better yet close the jar and give it a good shake. Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, remove the vanilla bean and stir well. Heat up in a pan on the hob or eat cold as is, with whatever toppings you fancy.

 

Side dishes

Hemsley + Hemsley’s “Quicker Than Toast” Courgette (Zucchini) and Pumpkin Seed Salad

courgette

One of the great perks of (mostly) working from home is … lunch! My favorite lunch is leftovers, and I often cook extra in order to have some tempting leftover food in my fridge. But I am also partial to a quick and healthy recipe I can throw together if the mood strikes me. And this courgette (zucchini) and pumpkin seed salad recipe ticks all of the boxes for me. Made with ingredients I usually have to hand, it takes barely five minutes to put together – yes, “quicker than toast”.

This is my favorite recipe from Hemsley + Hemsley’s stylish and appealing “The Art of Eating Well” cookbook Do try it next time you are about to have toast for lunch. It is one of those simple recipes where the result is more than the sum of its parts.

courgette2

“Quicker than Toast” Courgette (Zucchini) and Pumpkin Seed Salad (adapted from a Hemsley + Hemsley recipe)

1 medium courgette, rinsed and wiped dry

1 small handful of pumpkin seeds, about 25 g

a few drops of balsamic vinegar

about 1 tablespoon olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Serves one lucky person

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan on the hob, giving the pan a shake from time to time, until the seeds are golden and crackling (about five minutes).

While the seeds are toasting, grate the courgette onto a plate. I use the coarse side of a box grater for this.

When the seeds are ready, tip them onto the courgette immediately – the heat from the seeds will soften the courgette slightly.

Toss with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Eat right away.

Breakfast, Eggs, Snacks

Breakfast Muffin Frittatas

frittatafork

Healthy breakfasts have been on my mind a lot lately. I have been working on quite a few new breakfast recipes for the blog. I have also been trying to shake things up at home with some new breakfast ideas since the new school year started. I even talked with Mark Forrest on BBC Radio about healthy breakfasts a few days ago.

I would love to hear from you about how you keep breakfast healthy and interesting – please do speak up in the comments section.

In the meantime, these muffin breakfast frittatas were a hit at home. I made these with some (leftover) roasted courgette and pancetta but any vegetable, meat or fish would work (as well as cheese for those of you who eat dairy). My kids brainstormed some combinations they would like, so next up will be peas + spinach and potatoes + salmon. I made them for breakfast but they would also work well in a lunchbox or as a snack on the go.

Breakfast Muffin Frittatas

8 eggs

salt and pepper

whatever fillings you fancy – I recommend about 2 cups of vegetables and 1 cup of meat or fish – prepped and chopped

ghee or oil

Makes 12 muffin frittatas

Preheat your oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Grease a muffin tin or silicone muffin tray with a bit of ghee or oil.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy and season with salt and pepper. Mix in your chosen fillings, then distribute into the muffin tin sections.

Bake for 20 minutes, then allow to cool for a few minutes before removing the frittata muffins from the muffin tin.

Breads and crackers

Cashew Nut Bread

cashewbread

One of the most common questions that I get asked by my GAPS patients is … “what about bread?”

I have been trying for months to develop a GAPS-friendly bread recipe. Finally, I remembered a delicious cashew nut bread that I made at a Gluten-Free baking workshop I took a few years ago at Leiths School of Food and Wine, taught by the delightful Adriana Rabinovich of glutenfree4kids. With a few adjustments and a bit of trial and error, I came up with this grain-free version. It is lovely with a bit of sliced avocado, or smeared with honey, or dipped in olive oil, or just eaten plain right out of the oven.

Cashew Nut Bread (adapted with permission from a recipe by Adriana Rabinovich)

200 g cashew butter

6 eggs

50 g ground almonds

50 g coconut flour

35 g milled seed mix (such as Linwoods milled flaxseed, sunflower and pumpkin seed mix)

1/2 teaspoon salt (a bit more if your cashew butter is unsalted)

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Makes 10-12 slices

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Combine eggs and cashew butter in a large bowl and mix well.

In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Fold into the egg and cashew butter mixture, then transfer to a lined, greased loaf pan. I use a 25 cm silicone loaf pan greased with ghee (which is casein free), but you could also use a bit of sunflower oil to grease the pan. Smooth the top of the batter with a fork for an even surface.

Bake for approximately 35 minutes, then cool on a rack before removing from the loaf pan. This bread is best eaten within 24 hours.