Nutty Porridge

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Some days, only comfort food will do. After an alarmingly early morning wake up call to drop off my son at the coach for his school trip to France, I returned home ravenous. Perhaps it was the early morning darkness, the cold, damp air and slight trepidation that my eldest was going abroad without me? Whatever it was I needed stodge.

I don’t know about you but in my book there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of hot porridge. Growing up in Sweden, porridge WAS breakfast. These days I don’t put jam in the middle like I used to and I use almond milk instead of cows milk, but apart from that it still makes me feel that all is well in the world. And porridge can be bastardised to whatever mood you’re in –  some days I swap oats for brown rice or quinoa depending on what I feel like and what’s left in the fridge. But when I do use oats I tend to buy gluten-free flakes from the supermarket – I prefer to stay mainly gluten-free as it just seems to work better for me. Today’s recipe has lots of nuts and seeds included too – I love the feeling of getting through all the good stuff without really being aware of it. As most of it is ground up it just becomes part of the porridge. Here’s my Nutty Porridge recipe for you this Monday morning. Have a great day! X

Nutty Porridge:

Serves 1

1 cup gluten-free oat flakes

2 tbsp ground nuts + seeds (almond, brazil nuts, cashews, sunflower and pumpkin seeds)

1/2 tbsp ground flax seeds

1 LARGE tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tbsp ground chia seeds

1 small apple, grated

3-4  walnuts

Flaked almonds

Cook porridge according to package instructions. When done stir in 1 large tablespoon of coconut oil until dissolved. Add the ground nuts and seeds, including the ground flax seeds and chia seeds (I keep a jar of ground nuts in cupboard – when it runs out I just re-grind more so that I’m always ready to add to smoothies or porridge). Grate an apple finely and add to the porridge mixture, top with milk (I use almond but do whichever you prefer), walnuts and flaked almonds. Top breakfast with all nutrients you need for the day ahead. X

 

 

Swedish Pea Salad with Feta and Walnuts

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Greetings from sunny Sweden. We have returned to our roots for a few precious weeks and are delighted by the beautiful weather, warm waters (relatively), pregnant berry bushes and the never ending light. It’s good to be back. This morning my daughter decided to investigate edibles from the many trees and bushes featuring in our amazing garden and stopped by the green peas. They were still flowering beautifully and I had brought much bloom into the house in the days prior but it was the pods that seemed to take my daughters fancy and she asked me what we could do with them. I suggested including them in a salad and she agreed. We spent the afternoon shelling the peas (most of them tiny but perfectly formed) and working out which to use and which to discard. In the end we had a bowl of tiny, green pearl sized peas. We were ready for action. As our holiday fridge is tiny we had to make do with whatever was in it – in other words, we had to be creative.

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We found rocket, feta, a bit of cottage cheese, walnuts and cashews, a yellow pepper, charlotte onions and some oil and vinegar. Sea salt and black pepper was added as a final touch and the salad ended up being fresh, crunchy and tasty, including veg from our garden, lovingly prepared by my daughter. Bliss.

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The end result was utterly delicious….

 

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Our Swedish sunrise…

 

 

Electric House

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As a fruit and veggie lover I generally don’t tend to associate eating out with healthy food. Great tasting food, yes, quality meat, yes, but not necessarily fresh, organic, interesting veggies mixed in a way I’d perhaps prefer if I was cooking at home. Now I know many restaurants and pubs go to great lengths to have local, seasonal produce to serve with their dishes but I am talking about your average meal out, without too much planning or research. The truth is it’s often tasty but not so healthy.

To me, therefore, the concept is quite contradictory – the point of eating out is perhaps exactly that you don’t care about nutrition, on that particular occasion, but rather want to enjoy the flavours of that which you don’t eat every day.

Fast forward to yesterday, however, when I was taken to Notting Hill’s Electric House Restaurant by kind friends. The menu was positively brimming with yummy combos of vegetables that you could team with fish or meat but happily have on its own too. For me it was an eye opener of what eating out could be like when you have a menu match!

Here are some interesting dishes and combos from Electric House’s menu that can be recreated at home:

  • chilled asparagus soup
  • raw vegetables, walnuts, blue cheese
  • watercress, radish, sugar snaps
  • bibb lettuce, avocado and crab
  • grilled tomato, peas, avocado
  • spinach, grilled fennel, grilled asparagus
  • broccoli, carrots, caper berries, almonds
  • beetroot, runner beans, walnuts
  • avocado on toast, poached egg

Most of the vegetable dishes were no more than £7 and the portions were very generous, utterly simple and delicious. Definitely not just a small side. I had a piece of grilled salmon with green beans, coupled with a spinach, grilled fennel and asparagus salad. As I’m staying off gluten and starchy things at present, this was my menu made in heaven and just as filling as if it had been served with rice/pasta/potato. There was no way on earth that I was going to be able to finish all of it and in fact, none of us could. And we all like to eat – a lot! As it is a members club you have to know someone who can take you, but if you get the chance to go I can highly recommend the food and the ambience – when we left close to midnight the place was positively jumping. Enjoy your Saturday, everyone! X

 

Monday Lunch Shake

Get your bod and mind in shape by consuming a yummy lunch shake, brimming with fresh fruit and veg, nuts and seeds. If you work from home this liquid lunch is easy peasy to shake up – but even office bound peeps can prepare this in the morning and bring with. It will infuse system with much-needed nutrients and fats.

From this.....
From this…..

 

....to this!
….to this!

As I’m always on the hunt for things to put in my juices and smoothies I recently came across a Raw Green Protein Powder, by Purple Balance, that I now add to my drinks.  I have chosen the raw vegan version but there is also whey (derived from milk) varieties should you prefer that instead. There are also various flavours to choose from and many brands that you can get from reputable health food suppliers but  look for natural ingredients as much as possible. I also add an extra teaspoon of Spirulina that add B6 (immune system and cognitive function) and B12 (for heart and nervous system) to ensure my shake produces maximum effect!

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Monday Lunch Shake

5 romaine Lettuce leaves

handful of blueberries

handful of raspberries

1 ” piece of ginger root

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cucumber

2 bok choi leaves (mainly the dark green leaves)

1 tbsp ground nuts (walnut, almond, brazil, cashew, sun flower seeds, pumpkin seeds)

1 tsp chia seeds

1 tbsp ground flax seeds

2 tsp raw green protein powder

1 tsp spirulina

1 cup almond milk

1 cup coconut water

Blend, blend, blend…. Enjoy! x