Food & Lifestyle Blog

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Golden Turmeric Tonic

Introducing my latest obsession: this Golden Tonic, A.K.A. "The Best Turmeric Latte Ever". This is actually a direct quite from a happy customer who tried it! OK, so it was my sister, but she works opposite Whole Foods so has tasted her fair share of them!

This magical drink hits the spot every time and is bursting with health benefits, not to mention unbelievably delicious. Make it in the morning to warm up your palette and kickstart your body's detoxifying systems, or sip on it in the evening for a calming drink to help you sleep better.

Both the ginger and the turmeric carry powerful anti-inflammatory properties, whilst the cinnamon stabilises blood sugar levels. The nutmeg is known to detoxify the kidney and liver, and the raw honey has been glorified for it's digestive benefits. Stirring in a dash of coconut oil boosts the omega-3 content, and adds to the incredibly smooth melt-in-your-mouth texture.

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1.5 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp raw honey
1/2 tsp date nectar (or maple syrup)

1. Warm the almond milk in a saucepan but do not boil.
2. Stir in the spices, then the coconut oil, then the honey and date nectar.
3. Whisk together (I used a wired whisk) to create a frothy foam.
4. Pour into a mug and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon.


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Top 11 Madrid Brunch Spots

As I am coming to the end of 4 months living in Madrid as part of my Uni Year Abroad, I thought I would share with you just 11 of my many, many favourite brunch spots. I wanted to do a "Top Ten List" but I really couldn't cut it down any further - each of the following is a complete gem in its own unique way! As well as working in an office from Monday to Friday to improve my Spanish, I came here on a mission to try out as many brunch places as possible and discover the depths of the thriving healthy food scene in Spain's wonderful capital city.

1. Federal Café
This Australian-style restaurant is hands down one of my favourite places here in Madrid, so much so that I have been for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner multiple times! The place is bright and spacious with modern decor and large communal tables. You will not be disappointed!

What to order: Shakshuka - baked eggs with tomato sauce in a skillet

Tip: Get there early to avoid the queue as it can get a little crowded, especially on the weekend.

Plaza de la Comendadores 9 (Malasaña)

2. Perrachica 
Another one of the trendiest brunch spots (also fabulous for dinner) with a gorgeous ambience, delicious menu and great location. They always have an eclectic music playlist in the background, from Édith Piaf to Cat Stevens. It is part of the Larrumba restaurant group, all of which are highly recommended!

What to order: Latin-style Eggs Benedict which is served on Arepa, a simple and succulent Venezuelan cornbread (I just ask for mine without the ham).

Tip: Reserve a table in advance or expect to wait in line!

Calle Eloy Gonzalo 10 (Quevado)

3. Pum Pum Café 
A reasonably-priced 4-course brunch with gluten-free and dairy-free options - this place was made for me! The exposed brick walls create a cosy yet chic atmosphere and each dish is presented beautifully, not to mention delicious with unique flavoured breads such as pistachio zucchini bread. There is an international atmosphere and you can usually spot the Aussies, Americans and Europeans. 

What to order: The Weekend Brunch Special (just 10 Euros) will leave you full until dinner, featuring granola with yoghurt, fresh fruit, a perfectly-poached egg on avocado toast, orange juice and great coffee!

Calle Tribulete 6 (Lavapiés)

4. Magasand
Set in a well-designed, trendy space with communal tables and lined with magazines to flick through, Magasand is reminiscent of a New York healthy hotspot, serving filling and well-portioned dishes made from high quality ingredients, and offering something for everyone, from roast beef bagels to Brazilian Açai smoothie bowls.

What to order: the "Hot Vegas" sandwich (vegan) in rye bread, with hummus, tofu, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, chipotle, spinach and red onions.

Calle Columela 4 (my favourite)
Travesía San Mateo 16
Calle Tomás Bretón 52

5. Fit Food
Whether you're after a vibrant nutrient-dense smoothie made with the latest superfoods, a turmeric latte with cashew milk and agave nectar, or a cold-pressed green juice, Fit Food is THE place to head to for the health-conscious foodies. The staff are all super friendly and they also offer 3-5 day juice detox packages.
I was lucky enough to work just down the road from here so it became part of my daily routine to grab a matcha latte on my way to the office, as well as healthy snacks throughout the day, from raw almond cookies to cacao energy balls.

What to order: Açaí Peanut Power Ball - a blend of açai, banana, peanut butter and cacao powder, topped with nutty granola, fresh fruit and desiccated coconut.

Calle de Génova 25 (my local and the best)
Calle Serrano 98
Calle Augusto Figueroa 28
Calle Velázquez 39

6. El Jardín de Salvador Bachiller
I can't emphasise how much I adore this place, from the moment I stepped foot into the secret garden four stories high, I felt like I was in a mad-hatter tea party, just like something out of Alice in Wonderland. The menu is not extensive but everything they serve is fantastic, so be sure to leave room for dessert.

What to order: Chocolate pancakes

Tip: make sure you eat in the rooftop garden (not just the top floor restaurant)

Call de la Montera 37 (Sol/Gran Via)

7. Ojala 
Quirky place with fun décor that enhances the atmosphere, including a sand-pit seating area downstairs. The general vibe is very cool, the service is excellent, the food is wonderful and not too expensive.

What to order: the Mediterranean platter, with corn bread, hummus, guacamole, poached egg, arugula salad and sliced avocado. 

Calle San Andres 1 (Malasaña)

8. Celicioso 
I first discovered Celicioso when I was in Marbella last summer and was over the moon to discover they have two locations in Madrid, both of which I walk past everyday on my way to work! This cute bakery/café is a celiac's dream, perfect for anyone intolerant/sensitive to gluten like myself, as well as those with no dietary issues at all! They also offer many dairy-free, sugar-free and vegan options, with all kinds of sweets, cakes, pastries and savoury dishes such as spaghetti and veggie burgers. The window display catches my eye every time, with the vivid colours and beautifully decorated cupcakes and themed seasonal desserts. 

What to order: Macaroons, Key Lime Pie, Banoffee Cake, Walnut Brownie... 

Calle Barquillo 19 (Chueca)
Calle de Hortaleza 3 (near Gran Via)

9. La Bicicleta Café 
This edgy, hipster café is like a little slice of Brixton-meets-Hackney-in-Madrid. Stop in for a good quality coffee, avo-toast, a Spanish omelette or late night drinks.

What to order: Avocado on toasted sourdough with fresh tomato spread

Plaza de San Ildefonso 9 (Malasaña)

10. Hanso Café 
The friendly baristas know how to make the best "café con leche". The large interior windows are ideal for people-watching in the trendy neighbourhood of Malasaña, which is blossoming with similar speciality coffee shops and quirky brunch spots. 

What to order: Red Velvet Latte (with oat milk for extra creaminess) and giant Matcha Waffles with caramel sauce

Calle del Pez 20 (Malasaña)

11. Cereal Hunters
The ultimate find for any self-confessed cereal aficionado like myself - I love cereal so much I named my Instagram blog after it @cerealandpeanutbutter ! They offer more than 120 different types of cereal from all over the world, as well as more than 10 types of milk and a fabulous selection of toppings, from M&Ms to dried banana chips. The concept would not be complete without the décor, featuring photographs from nostalgic films and the largest collection of cereal boxes in Spain, some of which are over 25 years old!

What to order: Cocoa Pebbles with hazelnut milk (if you're after a Nutella-flavoured bowl), Reese's Puffs with strawberry milk (for that peanut-butter-jelly feel).

Tip: Don't be afraid to go crazy with the toppings! 

Calle de Mejía Lequerica 14 (Alonso Martínez)

What's your favourite thing to have for brunch? Have you tried any of these? Do you have any other recommendations? Let me know on Instagram @cerealandpeanutbutter


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

How to make Indian Lentil Dahl

Lentils are a delicious source of vegetarian protein and fibre, plus they are incredibly cheap, easy to cook and will keep you feeling full for a while. 

These fantastic pulses work well in soups, stews and curries. Last week I didn't have many ingredients at home for dinner so needed to make do with what was in the cupboard and I just had to share the result with you: Indian Dahl.

1 cup (200g-250g) red lentils, pre-soaked for 2-8 hours
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne powder or chilli flakes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
Optional extras: mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas

Place lentils in a pan covered with cold water.
Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, add the turmeric and coconut oil and stir well.
In a separate pan, melt the coconut oil and fry the onion, garlic, tomatoes and remaining spices (cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne/chilli).
Stir the fried mixture into the lentils and add lemon juice.
After 15-20 mins of simmering, remove from the heat. 
Serve with a side of rice and green veggies for a warming, balanced meal.

Let me know if you guys make it, or if you have any other favourite Indian inspired dishes! 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Cinnamon, Spice, and all things Nice!

I'm a huge fan of flavours and my favourite meals always contain a number of delicious herbs and spices, which can enhance your meals in terms of warmth, flavour, scent and taste.

There are numerous delicious spices that offer a whole host of nutritional benefits so I am going to share 5 of my favourites, which I use pretty much every day.

This extremely aromatic spice works equally well in both sweet and savoury dishes. If you get sugar cravings, make cinnamon your new best friend! It helps to control blood sugar levels and improve resistance to insulin, plus its packed full of antioxidants. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties make it valued as a natural food preservative. I have it almost every morning, whether in my porridge, pancakes, smoothie or granola!

I add turmeric to absolutely everything, from curries to stir-frys to smoothies to porridge! This superfood has been famous for it's health properties for thousands of years, including its anti-inflammatory and antioxident goodness. The curcumin, which gives turmeric its vibrant orange colour, helps to fight free radicals in the body that can damage cells. It regulates the liver function and acts as an antacid for stomach ulcers. In addition, it is amazing at keeping the skin looking young and fresh, while also helping to combat more serious inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema. 

Cayenne Pepper
This super spicy powder is famous for its detoxifying properties and its fiery colour makes every dish look gorgeous. It's not so much about the flavour as the heat that this brings to each dish - a small pinch goes a long way! With anti-irritant properties, it relieves joint pain, plus it stimulates the digestive system by increasing the enzyme flow which aids in metabolising food and eliminating toxins. Use it to give a kick to curry, chilli, spicy pasta dishes and even hot salad dressings.

Paprika is used both for its delicious flavour and for its bright red colour. This magical spice contains Vitamin E, essential for healthy blood-vessel function, as well as beta-carotene and iron, which are powerful components to make your skin and hair glow. Paprika tastes wonderful sprinkled in pasta dishes, onto of salads, over eggs or into homemade hummus.

Cumin is an important part of Middle Eastern and Indian cooking. I love incorporating ground cumin into my curries and stews, and find it works best in more hearty, wintery dishes. Not only is its warm, earthy taste completely unique, it also hosts an array of health benefits. Studies have shown that the consumption of cumin helps to balance blood blood sugar levels, so it is particularly beneficial to those with Diabetes. Cumin also has a fantastic effect on digestion, as it stimulates the production of pancreatic enzymes and helps your body to absorb nutrients more efficiently, plus it is incredibly high in magnesium and iron, among other vitamins.
I would highly recommend buying all 5 of these spices if you don't already own them - they taste magical and you will reap the health benefits!

What are your favourite herbs/spices and how do you use them? Let me know in the comments below! 

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Australia: a healthy cafe guide

After over a year of fantasizing, dreaming and planning, my housemate Emma and I set off for a month of travelling around Australia! We started off in Melbourne, then headed to Sydney and then made our way up the East coast towards Cairns via Byron Bay, Brisbane, Rainbow Beach, Fraser Island, Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays, before spending a few days relaxing in Hong Kong on our way back to London! 

One of the many things I have been looking forward to in Australia is the massive craze of health-focused restaurants with gluten-free and vegan options, that I have found mainly through following other Instagram foodie accounts.


I was constantly hearing about how Melbourne has the highest ration of breakfast café to person so made it my mission to check out the quirky and hipster brunch spots as I could in the few days I spent there, and my favourites were Mr Mister, where I had a poached egg quinoa salad breakfast bowl, and Combi, where I got the Dragon Fruit Bowl: dragon fruit blended with mango, banana and coconut water, topped with watermelon balls, sliced apple, strawberries, crispy coconut, chia seeds, cranberry, goji berries, activated caramelised buckini and garnished with passion fruit, and to drink I went for the "Velvet Cacao": raw cacao powder, cacao nibs, coconut flesh, cinnamon, banana, raw chocolate protein powder and house-made almond mylk.


Bondi Wholefoods - The menu here exceeded my already high expectations with my favourite dish being a fluffy stack of superfood mesquite vanilla vegan PANCAKES with a decadent "white chocolate" sauce, zesty orange cashew cream, topped with tropical fruit and sprinkled with crushed pistachio nuts and a dehydrated orange round!

Speedo's Café - I got the "Pink Pittaya" smoothie bowl with gluten-free granola and vegan blueberry doughnut. I drank the "Peanut Nutter" smoothie: almond milk, peanut butter, maca powder, banana, dates and cinnamon! I also tried the vegan burger with a chickpea, flax and sesame seed patty in a wholemeal bun which was fantastic.

Centre Point Tower - a revolving restaurant on the top floor of the tallest building in the city with the most fantastic views - but beware, it's rather pricey!

Byron Bay

With its hippie chilled-out vibe and it's vast choice of trendy cafés specialising in açai bowls and avocado toast, Byron Bay was one of my favourite places in Oz.

Bay Leaf Café - I had the most delicious avocado on gluten-free toast with a poached egg, watercress, lemon and sea salt, washed down with a tall glass of ginger kombucha. The "Humble Apple Crumble" is a scrumptious drink based on oat milk, frozen bananas, apple and spices, topped with housemade granola. But what I loved the most here was the "Spiced Golden Milk" - this balanced and nourishing drink consists of a traditional Aryuveda Turmeric paste made with a blend of spices to help unlock turmeric's powerful healing qualities, made with coconut oil and almond milk.

Dip - I feasted on Wild Rice Porridge with apricots, dates, poached pear and oat milk.

The Top Shop - I enjoyed an antioxidant-rich açai bowl topped with cacao nibs, dessicated coconut, fresh berries and granola, while Emma went for a warming porridge with blueberries, chopped banana, cinnamon and maple syrup (which obviously I ended up finishing!)

Orgasmic - Found my own little slice of Israel in the middle of Byron Bay, and ordered hummus, salsa, baba ganoush aubergine dip, falafel, lettuce, Israeli salad, cabbage, sauerkraut, tabbouleh, tahini and pita bread.


Sol Natural Foods - I got the Turmeric Smoothie Bowl with fresh ginger, cinnamon, banana, coconut, maple and housemade almond milk, topped with kiwi, strawberries, buckinis, shredded coconut, mixed seeds and edible flowers!


Paleo Cafe - This gem was right opposite my hostel (Gilligans), and everything is free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar, making life a lot easier for people with intolerances like myself! I enjoyed flicking through their Paleo recipe book whilst munching on a slice of walnut banana cake and sipping a maca berry coconut smoothie, or tucking into an açai bowl topped with maple-nut granola, raspberry coulis, flaked coconut, banana coins and blueberries, and drinking either a matcha latte, or a chai latte with natural spices, tea leaves, honey and coconut milk.

Grill'd Burgers - I got the "Veggie Vitality" burger made from a quinoa, beetroot, sweet potato and spinach patty, with avocado, golden pineapple, grated carrot and cos letttuce, served in a low-carb "super bun" which is free from gluten and grains and high in protein (made with almond flour and coconut flour), and a side of zuccini fries.

YOMG - While I'm not usually a fan of frozen yoghurt, this fro-yo bar offered an assortment of dairy-free flavours including banana-cinnamon which I just could not pass on! Plus it's all about the toppings...

Lilypad Café - On my last day in Cairns, I ordered the shakshuka here - eggs, spicy tomato, chickpea, spinach and panfried tempeh, with sautéed potatoes and gluten-free seeded toast.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my healthy finds around Oz. Let me know if you guys have tried any of them, or if you have any other recommendations leave a comment below!

Eli x

P.S. Thanks to @sophiapw_runs, @freshlysnapped and @sarahmalcs for some of the suggestions!
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