Food & Lifestyle Blog

Sunday, 27 March 2016

26 grains

If you think porridge is boring, you obviously haven't been to 26 Grains. Having been meaning to check out this spot in Neal’s Yard in the heart of Covent Garden for ages, I finally made my way there for breakfast this morning and can truly say my perception of porrige will never be the same! 

The experience proved just how versatile a bowl of porridge could be, from sweet to savoury, it can be transformed into a lip-smackingly delicious bowl of nourishment, bursting with flavour and colour!

The cafe is a tiny space yet effortlessly stylish with wooden benches, communal tables and vibrant green plants dotted around. 

The concept is simple: 
1. Start by choosing a grain, such as oats, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, spelt, flaxseed and rye, cooked through a variety of nut milks od coconut milk. 
2. Add your spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom or ginger. 
3. Finish with a few natural toppings including nuts, fresh fruit, homemade compotes and granolas.

After a difficult decision, I opted for the "Nordic Spice" - coconut milk oats, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, seeds, raisins, grated apple, cacao crumble and maple syrup. The combination of flavours was utterly phenomenal plus the presentation was certainly "instagrammable"!

My friend chose the coconut brown rice and black tahini - coconut milk short grain brown rice, toasted coconut, cacao nibs, black tahini, date syrup and lime. Of course I had to taste hers too and it was equally scrumptious and gorgeous.

I definitely recommend this little treasure for both porridge-lovers and porridge-sceptics alike! 


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

How to make your own Granola

When people used to tell me they made their own granola, they immediately reached a new level of domestic goddess in my mind. That was until I realised that anyone can whip up a big batch of this breakfast goodie in about half an hour!

The crunchy texture of the toasted oats and chopped nuts, together with the sweet flavours of tropical coconut, maple and cinnamon undertones, make this the most scrumptious breakfast treat ever if I may say so myself!

 To make one large container of granola:

2 and a 1/2 cups of oats
1/2 cup of ground almonds
1/2 cup of almond flakes
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup of flax seeds
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
1 cup of sultanas
4 tbsp of coconut oil
3 tbsp of maple syrup
3 tsp of cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
2. Melt the coconut oil on a low heat on the stove with the maple syrup and cinnamon until it dissolves into a smooth liquid.
3. Add all the dry ingredients (except the sultanas) to a large bowl, and mix together. 
4. Pour the sweet liquid into the bowl and keep mixing.
5. Spoon the mixture onto a lined baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes at 180 C, opening the oven every 10 minutes so that it bakes evenly and doesn't burn. 5 minutes before it the end, stir in the sultanas.
6. Remove the tray from the oven and allow it to cool so clusters form, before storing it in an airtight container at room temperature to keep it crunchy.


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Chocolate Zoats Baked Porridge

If you are yet to try 'Zoats', it's time to jump on the band-wagon. Although I am fully aware that adding courgette (zucchini for the 'Z') to a bowl of porridge sounds totally bizarre at first, I have discovered that it actually tastes incredible whilst enhancing the creamy texture.

Needless to say this dish is ridiculously good for you - free from refined sugar, dairy and wheat, it packs in green goodness from the courgette, and the hidden chia seeds to increase the protein and omega 3 content.


3/4 cup oats
1/2 courgette (zucchini) grated
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp carob powder (or double the cacao)
2tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp liquid sweetener (maple syrup/agave/honey)
1 cup almond milk of choice
1/2 a banana
1. Pre-heat oven to 180C.

2. Combine all ingredients except banana in a bowl and mix well.

3. Transfer to stove and cook on a low-medium heat for 3 mins.

4. Chop the banana and stir through half.
5. Transfer to an oven-proof dish and decorate the top with the remaining banana.

6. Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy!


Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Ultimate Banana Bread

Nothing says “comfort” like a straight-from-the-oven loaf of banana bread, and this one is incredibly decadent, spongey and super moist. It is naturally sweet thanks to the over-ripe bananas, with undertones of caramel from the date nectar and maple syrup, and a slight spice from the cinnamon. It works perfectly as breakfast, spread with some peanut butter or even on it's own as an afternoon pick-me-up. Like the vast majority of my recipes, it is free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar, and is made from healthy and wholesome ingredients - what's not to love?

4 over-ripe bananas
1 cup ground almonds
1.5 cups gluten-free flour (I recommend buckwheat or brown rice flour for the texture)
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp date nectar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp melted coconut oil + extra for greasing
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
Optional add-ins: 2 tbsp chia seeds, 2 tbsp cacao nibs, handful of raisins/sultanas, handful of blueberries/raspberries.

1. Start by pre-heating the oven to 160C and grease a loaf tin with coconut oil. 
2. Whisk the eggs, maple syrup, date syrup, coconut oil and vanilla in a large bowl, then mash the bananas with a fork and add them to the bowl. 
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, ground almonds, salt, cinnamon and baking powder.
4. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir well. 
5. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and allow it to bake for 50-60 mins.
6. Allow the bread to fully cool (30 minutes) before removing from the tin.
7. Best served with a thick slab of peanut butter and a drizzle of honey.

I’d love to know what your favourite banana bread add-ins are? Do you like yours loaded with blueberries, crunchy peanut butter, dark chocolate chips, walnuts and pumpkin seeds? Or do you prefer this simple, classic loaf just the way it is?

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