Food & Lifestyle Blog

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Mae Deli by Deliciously Ella

The highly-anticipated opening of The Mae Deli has finally arrived and the deli opened its doors in the heart of London's Marylebone earlier this week. For those of you who haven't heard of Ella Woodward (have you been hiding under a rock?), she is the Instagram sensation with 653,000 followers, the author of the number one best-selling book on Amazon this year as well as the successful blogger behind The name "The Mae Deli" is an acronym of Matthew (Ella's fiancé) and Ella.

As soon as I stepped foot inside the deli, I could sense the warm and welcoming atmosphere of this gorgeous and cozy setting. Both Matthew and Ella were present and I was fortunate enough to have a lovely chat with one of my all-time healthy inspirations!

The food is based on the Deliciously Ella philosophy, using natural ingredients free from wheat, dairy and refined sugar. The breakfast menu ranges from smashed avocado on rye toast, to healthy bowls of porridge, chia pudding, bircher muesli, açai bowl and coconut yoghurt, as well as a variety of toppings such as toasted seeds and coconut chips.

For lunch and dinner, the mix-and-match concept of Mae bowls allow you to choose from a selection of nourishing plant-based dishes, with options such as maple roasted sweet potatoes, pecan sprouts, miso and sesame glazed aubergine, lemon quinoa, edamame brown rice, pesto broad bean dip and turmeric cauliflower.

For dessert, there is an array of healthy sweet treats, including freshly baked pecan brownies, coconut truffles and power balls made from hemp, chia, flax, almonds, dates, cranberries, goji berries and cacao. I had a brownie and it tasted so incredibly indulgent! 

The fresh juices are all organic and cold-pressed to retain the nutrients and the smoothies are loaded with ingredients such as almond butter, hemp, cacao and oats, on top of fruits and veggies, to up the nutritional content and make them more filling. I had the Green Glow which had such a wonderful creamy texture and tasted delicious!

I also purchased a bag of the toasted coconut, maple and raisin granola, which I can't stop snacking on!

The Deli is located at 21 Seymour Place. Go and check it out - I'm sure you'll love it as much as I do!


Friday, 11 December 2015

Açai Berry Overnight Chia Oats

Here is the recipe for my açai chia oats - the ideal breakfast that balances nutritious superfoods with sweetness and satisfaction for the tastebuds!

1 mashed ripe banana
Handful of mixed berries
1 tbsp açai powder 
2 tsp chia seeds
3/4 cup oats 
1 tbsp Hi-PRO smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup coconut milk

1. Mix all ingredients together and stir well. 
2. Place in the fridge and leave to soak overnight. 
3. In the morning, stir again and top with fresh fruit of choice (try pomegranate kernels, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries).


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Caramelized cinnamon pears and figs

1. Pre-heat oven 180 degrees.
2. Melt coconut oil on a baking tray in the oven.
3. Slice pears into wedges, slice figs in half and pit the medjool dates. Add blackberries, pecans and pine nuts.
4. Toss in freshly squeezed lemon juice and lots of cinnamon. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle a pinch of coconut sugar.
5. Put pears in the oven on a low heat, covered in tin foil.
6. After 25 mins, remove tin foil, and add the rest (figs, dates, blackberries, pecans, pine nuts) to the oven tray. 
7. After a further 15 mins, remove tray from oven and add to a serving plate. Sprinkle with lemon juice, cacao nibs, more cinnamon and dessicated coconut.


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Healthy Reece's Peanut Butter Cacao Carob Cups

My healthy Reece's Peanut Butter Cacao Carob Cups make the most scrumptious guilt-free dessert or the ideal mid-afternoon pick-me-up bursting with superfood powers from the coconut oil, coconut sugar, cacao and carob powder.

Here is the recipe I'm sure you've all been dying to get your hands on!

Ingredients (makes 8 cups) :
8 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp cacao powder
3 tbsp carob powder
5 tbsp sweetener of choice - I use half coconut sugar and half maple syrup but agave nectar works too!
1/2 cup organic peanut butter
4 drops vanilla essence
3/4 tbsp honey

1. Melt the coconut oil in a frying pan on a low heat. Stir in the cacao powder, carob powder and your sweetener of choice until it forms a liquid consistency.
2. Place 8 cupcake cases on a lined baking tray.
3. Add 3/4 tbsp of the melted chocolate mixture to each cupcake case.
4. Place in the freezer for 12-15 mins while the chocolate hardens.
5. Meanwhile, put the peanut butter, vanilla essence and honey together in a bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds on a low heat and then stir well.
6. Add an equal amount of the peanut butter mixture to each case then put back in the freezer for 8-10 mins
7. Add 1 tbsp of the remaining chocolate mixture to each case with any toppings you like: try fresh blueberries, dried goji berries, raw cacao nibs, dessiccated coconut or sultanas! Put in freezer for 15 mins.
8. Enjoy!!


Monday, 23 November 2015

Chocolate Chia Oats

2 tbsp chia seeds
3/4 cup oats
1 cup almond milk
A splash of coconut milk for creaminess
1 heaped tbsp raw cacao powder
Optional: 1 mashed banana, vanilla essence, pinch Himalayan salt

Simple - just throw everything together in a bowl, let it sit for 10-30 mins, and decorate with your choice of toppings - in the photo above I used passion fruit, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, almonds and raw cacao nibs.


Monday, 16 November 2015

Two days in Barcelona

During my spontaneous two-day city-break to Barcelona last week, I managed to encompass a huge variety sight-seeing and other activities. My friend and I stayed near the The Placa de Catalunya. We wandered down Las Ramblas, experienced La Bouquería food market, covered the Gothic Quarter on foot, went to the Picasso Museum, had dinner at a tapas restaurant, bought ice-cream from a street-stall during our walk back to the hotel, and went to a bar to get a taste of the nightlife that the city had to offer.

Day 2 began with an açai bowl and a superfood smoothie at the trendy Flax & Kale. We then had the chance to get to know the city's metro system on our way to la Sagrada Família, Gaudi's seminal masterpiece, a breathtaking but unfinished cathedral illuminated by the blue and orange glow of the stained glass windows, and I learned that the construction is expected to be finally completed in 11 years. This was followed by a long walk up the mountain that is Parque Güell for a spectacular view of the whole city, before catching the bus back to Las Ramblas for lunch. We walked along the waterfront and through the narrow alleys and winding streets where we found many hidden gems of cafés and boutique shops, before heading to the airport for our flight back to London!

I would say that the higlight of the trip was feasting our senses in La Bouquería food market with a vibrant display of colourful fruit, fresh vegetables, ice-cream parlours, nuts, seeds and spices. I particularly appreciated the cosmopolitan vibes all over the city and I can definitely see myself living here as part of my year abroad. 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Barcelona: Flax & Kale

On my spontaneous two-day trip to Barcelona earlier this week, I couldn't leave the city without squeezing in a visit to Flax and Kale, a health-focused, trendy "flexitarian" restaurant, meaning it's nearly-but-not-quite veggie. The cosmopolitan vibes reminded me of somewhere between New York and London whist actually being located just off Las Ramblas. 

The menu is almost entirely plant-based, without feeling at all restrictive, and explores some delicious raw options as well as plenty of gluten-free alternatives. I ordered the açai bowl (of course!) with housemade Brazilian chestnut granola crumble, hemp seeds, banana, blueberries, agave syrup and goji berries.

As for the drinks, the juices are all cold-pressed, in order to preserve the maximum nutritional value of their organic ingredients and the smoothies are packed full of superfoods ranging from maca to spirulina. I opted for the Tropical Superfood smoothie made from coconut milk, frozen banana, papaya, mango, pineapple, mac and goji berries, which tasted like a fruity, melt-in-your-mouth ice-cream.

Whilst the price is higher han some of the local tapas bars, I believe that it is perfectly reasonable considering the top-notch quality of the all the fresh produce.

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, celiac or anything else - I can't recommend this gem in Barcelona highly enough!


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

How to make Chia pudding

What is a chia pudding? It is simply chia seeds mixed with your choice of liquid (my favourites are coconut milk and almond milk), flavourings (such as cinnamon, vanilla or a spoon of peanut butter) and potentially some berries or mashed banana. Chia seeds, when mixed with liquid, form a gel-like substance which turns the mixture into a “pudding” after soaking for a couple of hours.

Chia puddings are one of the best snacks as they are so easy to make, super nourishing for your body and of course they taste delicious! The nutritional content of chia seeds is high due to containing plenty of fiber, protein, calcium, potassium, antioxidants and omegas. They also boost your metabolism and keep your energy levels balanced due to their combination of vitamins and minerals.

Here are some of my favourite chia pudding combinations to inspire you to get creative! I usually use unsweetened almond milk milk as the liquid in my puddings but you could substitute for any other milk that you wish, from coconut milk to oat milk to hemp milk.

Chocolate chia pudding
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup almond milk
1tsp cacao
1tsp carob
Pinch of cinnamon

Vanilla chia pudding
2tbsp chia seeds

1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2tsp vanilla powder

Açaí chia pudding
2tbsp chia seeds

1/2 cup almond milk
1tsp açaí berry powder

Matcha chia pudding
2tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup coconut milk
1tsp matcha powder

How to do it?
1. Stir the ingredients together in a jar.
* Place the jar (covered) in the fridge and let it stay there for at least 1-2 hours until the liquid is absorbed.
* Take the jar from the fridge, stir again, then serve with your choice of toppings: berries, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, honey, peanut butter... And enjoy!


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

What it's like to run a HALF-MARATHON

About six months ago, I signed up to participate in the London Royal Parks Half Marathon, which took place last Sunday. Due to my spontaneous personality, I usually jump at every opportunity that pops up in life (such as skydiving at the age of 14!) So of course, when I found out about the upcoming half-marathon in my hometown and the chance to do something as crazy as running 21km (13.1 miles), I decided to rise to the challenge!

The thing about a half-marathon is that it is not only physical fitness and stamina that is required to finish, but also a strong mind and lots of self-discipline. All the hours that I had put into training in the lead-up to the big day were worth it to feel the indescribably rewarding sense of achievement, pride and joy when I crossed the finish line. My initial goal had been just to finish the half marathon - run, walk, hop, dance or crawl! But I ended up running for the entire duration of the race, without slowing down to walk at all!

When I arrived at Hyde Park on the big day I stretched my legs, walked to the start-line, jogged on the spot to warm up, and then the race officially started! 
I was in awe at the unique ambience and sense of empowerment that laced the air, as I admired all the vibrant colours scattered throughout the streets and the countless cheers! I was moved and inspired by the positive vibes surrounding me within this stampede of runners.

The first mile was done and dusted faster than seemed possible, so completing another 12 miles definitely appeared attainable! The next mile felt slightly longer than the first, and from then on, my mind began conceiving a series of strange and entertaining thoughts to keep me occupied, such as: 
Free water!
Three miles done - only ten more to go!
The sooner I finish, the sooner I can eat some well-deserved left-over Oreo birthday cake sitting in my fridge at home...
Free Lucozade!
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other!

OMG cheerleaders!
More free water!
Keep shuffling up the hill

Running downhill never felt so good - thanks gravity!
Free Jelly Tots - I'll take two thanks!
I can probably run another marathon after that sugar rush!
My legs are crumbling, this was a bad idea
6 miles only? It must be marked wrong
8 miles - I feel invincible!

Free banana!

I've never sweat this much, not even in Bikram Yoga or Barry's Bootcamp!
10 miles already? Nearly there!

12 miles - I think I'm having a heart attack but pick up the pace - the faster I sprint the last mile the sooner I can eat something

600 metres to go!
My knees will give out at any moment

Just keep swimming! (from Finding Nemo)
200 metres left!
I can see the finish line!
Just a few more steps
Soooo close now
I made it!!

It goes without saying that my favourite part was experiencing that relief and elation at completing something so incredibly huge and challenging. There are so many reasons that I believe everyone should attempt such an endeavour at some point in their life - even if it is just a 5km fun-run! Do it to raise money for a worthy cause, do it for the challenge, do it to feel accomplished, do it to prove to yourself that you're stronger than you thought, or do it just because you enjoy running for fun! Personally, I wanted to fundraise for charity, whilst seeing if I could complete something that had previously seemed so unattainable, having been a regular runner for a few years.

Congratulations to anyone else who participated - I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did


Friday, 2 October 2015

How to make: peanut butter and banana overnight oats

These peanut butter and banana overnight oats make a dreamy, creamy dessert-for-breakfast, with the sweet flavours of the PB and honey and a thick pudding consistency.

1/2 cup of oats
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/2 mashed ripe banana
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tsp raw honey

Stir all the ingredients together and leave in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, layer it with toppings of your choice - I use raspberries, cacao nibs, dessiccated coconut flakes and a little more PB (because there's no such thing as too much PB!)


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Mediterranean Roasted Veggies

Roasted vegetables are one of my favourite side dishes and a brilliant way to add nourishment to any meal. 

Here is the recipe for a really classic tray of delicious roast veg:

1 courgette
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 sweet potatoes
1 aubergine
3 carrots
2 large mushrooms
2 leeks
2 shallot onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp coconut oil
Salt, pepper, herbs (I like rosemary and thyme)

1. Remove the outer layer of the onion.
2. Chop courgette, peppers, sweet potato, aubergine, carrot, mushrooms, leeks and onions into pieces roughly the same size.
3. Remove the outer layer of the garlic and chop into 4 chunks.
4. Scatter all vegetables, onion and garlic on to a large roasting tray.
5. Add your oil, salt, pepper and herbs and mix together thoroughly using your hands so that everything is coated in some oil.
6. Bake in the oven for around 30-40 minutes until cooked through and slightly charred.



Thursday, 27 August 2015

Going Loco for the Coco[nut]

Coconuts are such an incredibly versatile superfood and the health benefits are endless! There are so many ways to enjoy its goodness, whether it be to consume the raw fruit, munch on dessiccated coconut chips, lather coconut oil on your skin/hair, sip on the milk or drink coconut water.

Coconut oil is made of anti-inflammatory, medium-chain fatty acids which in moderation are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, increase circulation, heal viruses such as influenza and manage cholesterol levels. Coconut oil is also known to assist with increasing metabolic rate, and is thought to help with managing a healthy weight and provide more energy to the brain. The lauric acid in coconut oil is a powerful anti-microbial fat that kills bacteria, viruses and yeast. 

Coconut oil can be used in cooking and baking as it is heat stable, unlike oils such as olive oil. This means that it is suitable for cooking at high temperatures without the risk of it denaturing and going rancid, and creating dangerous free radicals. Coconut oil is also essential for creating raw desserts, due to being a solid at room temperature. It also makes a deep-conditioning hair mask - smooth it into your hair, plait it and sleep with it in overnight, and when you wash your hair in the morning it’ll be a lot softer and more manageable with a beautiful smell. Coconut oil is also beneficial for conditions such as eczema and makes a great moisturiser for very dry and sensitive skin.

Coconut water is the liquid extracted from young coconuts, and it's a true superfood in my opinion as it's so nutritionally rich. I use coconut water as a post workout drink as it's a powerful natural isotonic that fights dehydration quickly by replacing fluids, electrolytes and minerals lost from sweating. It's also sugar free, boosts energy and endurance and helps to repair damaged muscle tissue so it's the perfect natural alternative to a regular sports drink. It's antibacterial so it's useful in treating tooth decay and digestive issues, as well and colds and flus.

Desiccated coconut is just the dried flesh of coconuts, so it contains all of the benefits of coconut oil, but with the addition of carbohydrates, proteins and fibre - perfect sprinkled on top of porridge, smoothies, desserts or pancakes!

Coconut milk/cream adds a depth and creaminess to curries and soups, without the need for dairy products, and is also wonderful in vegan desserts and baking.

Friday, 21 August 2015


What is a superfood? Superfoods are plant based foods which contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in a  concentrated form. 

Why do I use superfoods? The simple answer is because they taste great and provide me with a burst of nutrients. They are ideal as a way to supplement a balanced diet and ensure all my nutritional requirements are met, by blending them into smoothies or sprinkling them over cereal, porridge and salads. It is not always easy to obtain all the nutrients you need from food alone, so one solution is to follow the natural route and consume superfoods, as opposed to taking extra vitamin tablets.

Some of the most powerful superfoods include: Acai, Spirulina, Maca, Cacao, Chia seeds, Baobab, Hemp, Wheatgrass, Goji berries.

My favourite of all the superfoods, acai berries are famous for being rich in antioxidants, as well as vitamin E and essential fatty acids.

Spirulina is a freshwater algae, which is made up of 60-70% complete proteins and comes in powder form. It sustains energy and helps to keep blood sugar balanced, whilst offering a source of iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, selenium and zinc.

Maca is a root vegetable found in the Andes of Peru. It can help boost metabolism, energy and focus as it supplies the body with essential vitamins and minerals: magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamins B, C and E. In its natural powder form, maca is made up of 10% protein containing 20 amino acids, and is bursting with fibre. 

Cacao is the pure unprocessed version of cocoa. It's the sort of chocolate we should all be consuming, as it doesn't contain the sugar, dairy, processing, heat damage and additives that destroy the nutritional value. Cacao is rich in various minerals, including copper, magnesium, chromium and zinc as well as essential fats and carbohydrates. Cacao also contains 20% of the RDA of iron per ounce serving, as well as sulfur which helps to form strong nails and hair.

Cacao has 4 times the level of antioxidants than green tea and has 600 antioxidants in comparison to blueberries which have 40. Great for colds and flus, cacao also contains high levels of vitamin C for immune functioning and protecting against illnesses. Cacao also promotes cardiovascular health such as lowering LDL cholesterol, protects from environmental toxins and may reduce the risk of some cancers. 

Use cacao powder in raw desserts, baking, or to make raw chocolate sauces, blend into smoothies, stir into oatmeal porridge and use the cacao nibs in place of chocolate chips.

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a fantastic source of cell-strengthening omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and protect the skin from sun damage. Chia seeds are a wealth of plant based nutrition, with the fibre promoting satiety, the amimo acids promoting a healthy weight, improved mood and improved sleep, and the other minerals being great for overall health. 

Create your own chia-seed pudding by combining a scoop of chia seeds and enough almond milk to cover and leave in the fridge to soak overnight while the seeds form a gelatinous outer layer, for a perfect detox snack, dessert or breakfast.

Known for its immune boosting properties, baobab contains six times more vitamin C than oranges gram per gram, and is rich in iron to boost energy levels.

Hemp seeds are high in protein and omega fatty acids, ensuring healthy hair, skin and nails. Hemp hearts also contain high levels of many trace minerals such as potassium, magnesium and copper and vitamins D and E.

Bursting with chlorophyll and antioxidants, wheatgrass has a rather strong grassy taste. It is filled with fibre and vitamin A, which contributes to glowing skin and strong, shiny hair.

Goji Berries
These nutritionally dense berries are a complete source of protein, containing 18 amino acids, and are packed with Vitamin C. They contain more carotenoids than any other food and have 4 times the antioxidant level of blueberries. In addition, they contain vitamins B and E, calcium, zinc and 16 times the iron level of spinach. They also promote blood circulation, improve eyesight and support optimal organ function. Finally, goji berries have natural anti inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties that boost the immune system.

These superfoods are all nutrient packed additions to a healthy and balanced plant based diet and should be consumed in moderation. Other superfoods which you can eat in greater quantities as a part of meals and alongside your fruit and vegetables include raw nuts and seeds, avocados, quinoa, buckwheat, oats, millet, coconut, tahini, hummus and tempeh. 
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