Gingernut biscuits

I made falafels that ended up looking like ginger nut biscuits and then I wanted ginger nut biscuits so I had to make these. After looking at a few complicated recipes online, I decided just to make my own super easy recipe so here goes! These are the perfect mix of crunchy and chewy – enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • 50g vegan margarine
  • 150g muscovado (or dark Demerara) sugar
  • 25g vegetable oil
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 3tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp all spice
  • Dash almond/soya milk (around 1 – 2 tbsp)
  • White sugar, for rolling

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a tray with baking parchment
  • Put all the dry ingredients (save for the white sugar) in a bowl and mix
  • Mix together the margarine, oil and muscovado sugar
  • With your fingers, mix the margarine/sugar mixture into the flour to form crumbs
  • Add a dash of milk (not too much!) until the mixture starts to stick together. It shouldn’t take more than 2tbsp milk to bind
  • Make walnut sized balls of mixture and roll in the white sugar. Place on the baking tray and press down with a fork.
  • Make sure the biscuits are placed evenly apart (they spread during cooking) and place in the oven. Cook for around 12 minutes (a little more if you like them very crunchy)
  • Once cooked, remove and leave to cool before eating. Enjoy!

 

Vegan french toast

If you grew up eating french toast on the weekends as a special treat, you’ll know what a treat it is. If you’re vegan there’s no reason to miss out – I prefer this version to the non-vegan version too. It’s also ideal if you have some bread that’s a little past its best as you won’t be able to tell at all with this! Perfect with mixed berries and maple syrup on top 🙂

 

Ingredients:

  • 1tbsp maple syrup
  • 240ml almond milk
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 slices bread (sourdough works well – not too soft)
  • Coconut oil
  • Toppings of choice (works well with anything you’d usually put on pancakes)

Method:

  • Mix all the ingredients except the bread in a mixing bowl
  • Heat a tsp coconut oil in a frying or griddle pan
  • Dip the bread slices in the mixture for a couple of seconds – you don’t want them totally drenched
  • Once the pan is hot (before the oil burns) place the slices of bread in and cook until browning on one side (around 3 minutes in a hot pan)
  • Using a spatula, flip the bread to cook the other side
  • Top with desired toppings and serve up!

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Chocolate cornflake cakes

An Easter classic, these can be made in no time at all and are great to made with kids! They’re also vegan and gluten free, if need be, so perfect little treats even for family dietary requirements! They can be made with most breakfast cereals, but work best with cornflakes, rice crispies or bran flakes. I use mesa sunrise, a gluten free cereal that I love. Top with mini eggs to make them super Easter-y.

Ingredients:

  • 50g coconut oil
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 1tbsp syrup (I use coconut nectar)
  • 1tbsp cacao powder
  • 100g cornflakes (or other cereal)

Method:

  • Place the cupcake moulds in a cupcake tray, or another dish if you don’t have one.
  • Put the coconut oil, broken up dark chocolate and syrup in a bowl. Heat in the microwave, stirring every 30s until it is all melted.
  • Once melted, pour in the cereal and mix until all the cereal is coated.
  • Spoon into the cupcake cases and pour over any remaining melted chocolate mixture when done, then top with whatever you’d like (I went for silver and chocolate balls).
  • Place in the fridge to set.

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Almond biscotti

These little biscuits are something you should always have in your cupboards at home or desk at work. They’re small, satisfying and healthy, and go perfectly with a cup of coffee for mid-morning slumps. The almonds make them filling, while the slow-release carbohydrates mean you also get energy. Most importantly though, they taste great (and are suitable for vegans)!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups flour of choice
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (muscovado works well)
  • 1/2 cup dates chopped (approx 10-15)
  • 3/4 cup whole almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2tsp almond essence

 

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients
  • In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients slowly, mixing with a wooden spoon as you go
  • The mixture should become very hard to mix.
  • Form a ball with the mixture. It should stick together easily. If it cracks, add a little more water. If it is too gloopy, add a little more flour.
  • On a floured surface, roll the mixture out into one or two long sausages.
  • Flatten the sausages slightly and scour diagonal cur marks into the tops with a serrated knife (to cut through the almonds). Do not cut all the way to the base.
  • Cook the sausages on a tray for 20-30 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Cut the sausage into individual biscuits and lay flay on a tray. Cook for another 20 minutes until browning and hard.
  • Let cool and enjoy!
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Scour the sausages diagonally so they look a bit like French baguettes

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Enjoy with a delicious cup of coffee!

Gooey chocolate cake

This recipe is totally vegan but for anyone who’s not vegan, don’t be put off – the gooey interior will please any dessert lover, and it’s rich enough to only need one slice (although who would stop at that). The recipe is also super easy and requires minimum ingredients, dishes and time. The best!

Ingredients:

  • 180g dark chocolate
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 70g flour
  • 3 heaped tbsp cocoa
  • 150g dark sugar (Demerara, golden caster or muscavado)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vanilla essence
  • 230ml almond milk
  • 5tbsp sunflower oil
  • 100g pecan or walnuts (optional but recommended)

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • Melt 150g of the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of water
  • While it’s melting, add all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix
  • Warm the almond milk slightly and add it, the oil and the melted chocolate to the bowl with the dry ingredients in
  • Chop the remaining 30g of chocolate and pecans and mix in (the mixture will start off quite liquidy but start to solidify as it cools)
  • Pour into a lined cake tin and cook for 20 minutes.*

*This leaves a slightly gooey centre – if you prefer it more gooey or solid, adjust the cooking time by 2-3 minutes more or less (depending what you like). Remember it solidifies more as it cools.

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This cake is the perfect dessert when you’re short of time but want something to please everyone

Protein cookie dough

When you just want something that tastes unhealthy, looks unhealthy and is just the right amount of decadent, this one is for you.

It needs no more introduction: peanut-butter protein cookie dough

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 50g peanut flour
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 100g honey
  • 100g peanut butter
  • 60g 70% (or more) dark chocolate (chips or finely chopped)

Method:

  • Pour all the ingredients except for the chocolate in a blender
  • Start slowly and then increase blending speed to mix
  • If you would like peanut butter swirls add the peanut butter at the end and blend slowly, or hand mix in
  • Fold the chocolate pieces into the mix
  • Refrigerate

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Blackberry protein sponge

This cake uses some strange ingredients that you might not usually associate with cakes, but once you taste it you’ll see why! The chickpea keeps the cake moist without becoming dense and the blackberries give it a pleasant tang that stops it being too sweet or bland.

If you are vegan, the whole cake can be made vegan by using egg substitute and vegan protein (although be aware – vegan protein absorbs more liquid, so you may need to add a splash of water or almond milk). As it is, this cake packs in a huge amount of protein and important fibre so definitely constitutes a very healthy treat.

You can make this into one large loaf using a loaf tin or alternatively you can make 2 small round cakes, which you can stack together like a Victoria sponge cake. I use cashew cream and homemade blackberry jam for the filling.

I would 100% recommend you pick your own blackberries for this – not only is that free but also they taste amaaaaazing and you get the gratification of working for your dessert. Now is the season and they’re everywhere so have a forage!

Macros (cake only): 270cals, F: 12g, C: 24.2, P: 15.5

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Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml honey (may need less with sweeter protein powder)
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 100ml almond milk
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 100g vanilla/unflavoured protein
  • 100g self-raising wholemeal/white flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 150g – 200g blackberries

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C (160 fan)
  • Blend together all the liquid ingredients with the chickpeas until smooth (a couple of minutes)
  • In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients to blend
  • Fold in the dry ingredients into the chickpea liquid mix
  • Add half the blackberries and mix (it should be easy
  • Pour into a deep greased tin, preferably with a removable base (or two shallow round tins for filled sponge) and place the remaining blackberries on top
  • Cook for 35-40 minutes if in shallow tins or 45 minutes if in loaf tin. Check with cake prodder to see if it comes out clean. This may take an hour to cook in a deep tin
  • Remove from the oven; keep in tin and let cool on wire rack. Remove from tin when cooler and leave to cool further on the rack. Do not cut until at room temperature.
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If you sandwich the cakes you should level off the lower one using a bread knife

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Spread on the jam and cashew cream thickly, leaving some space at the edges

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Sandwich and enjoy!

Chocolate protein truffles

This recipe is a staple that should always be found in your fridge if you’re into fitness or love chocolate. The only problem is, as soon as you make them, they’re basically gone straight away, especially if you have sisters! But at around 30 calories a bite, you can make a few batches and not feel terrible if you eat them all (been there, done that, no regrets).

Per ball – P: 4.1g, C: 0.6g F: 1.4g, 30 calories

Ingredients:

  • 120g protein powder of choice*
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 50g ground almonds **
  • 150-200ml almond milk
  • Honey/agave/maple syrup (optional, to taste)

* I use nutristrength chocolate whey isolate. You can use vegan protein but you may have to use more milk. Salted caramel and various other proteins work really well here too! Experiment and let me know what you come up with.

** If you like peanuts, peanut flour created smores truffles – SO GOOD

Method:

  • Mix the dry ingredients together make sure they are well blended.
  • Add the milk slowly, mixing as you go. I usually use around 170ml with whey protein. You may not need the full 200ml
  • Add the honey/sweetener at this point and mix in
  • You should get to the consistence where it is extremely hard to mix but not dry.
  • Wet your hands and grab small (walnut sized) balls of mixture and roll into a ball (the mixture, not you)
  • Pour cocoa powder onto a chopping board/flat surface. Roll the ball in it using your palm.
  • Store in the fridge (best when eaten cold).

Enjoy!

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My daily routine

 

I have been asked many times what I usually eat in a day, how often I workout, what I do when I workout etc etc. At first I wasn’t going to write it – I don’t eat anything special. My diet isn’t an insight into how to get abs or the ‘perfect’ diet, so why would anyone want to see it? But then I thought, that’s why I’m going to write it – my diet isn’t a miracle worker, but then healthiness isn’t a miracle. It requires hard work and dedication, but you also need to have fun. Unless you’re training and eating to compete, ‘clean eating’ just isn’t sustainable or fun enough to contemplate doing all the time (at least for me). So if you’re reading this to find some miracle, you might as well stop. But I hope you don’t, because this is what a real person with real cravings and a real life eats. If you think that it’s filled with superfoods, hours of cardio and no cake, think again!

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I try to run about 4-5 times a week, either on the track or on the treadmill before a workout (photo by @mattlincolnphoto)

Daily diet: I don’t have a standard diet that I stick to everyday – my diet switches up daily and, like most people, I go through phases of eating really healthily and then have days when I eat probably (a lot) more than I should. But that’s balance, and that’s the ethos I live by. I base my diet on vegetables, but enjoy fish, quorn and complex carbs too. I try to limit animal products (except for eggs) and don’t eat meat.

Sleep: Sleep is a huge part of my life. I sleep 8-8.5h per night, although if I had my way it’d probably be more like 9.5-10h. I am a koala bear and can sleep at pretty much any time, anywhere. Sleep is so so important and stops you craving sugary snacks when you hit an energy slump in the afternoon. It also means you can train hard – it’s always so difficult if you’re sleep deprived. A good sleep routine helps me. I usually go to bed by 10, and am asleep before 11pm 🙂

Exercise: My workouts vary from day to day, and I try to mix up the parts of the body worked. I start most workouts with a 2km run or a 15 minute steep incline (8-10%) walk. This is to warm up my legs (especially needed in the winter) and increase my heart rate. This is all the cardio I do unless I got to track to train with the athletics club! I go for 2km in under 8 minutes, but of course everyone will vary. I workout abs twice a week at least, legs/butt I leave to running and arms/shoulders/back twice. Any remaining workouts are usually at the running, boxing or classes to mix things up a little. Sometimes I do full body workouts, which follow a Barry’s Bootcamp style (run, circuit, run circuit etc.). These are amazing if you want to burn fat, as they incorporate weights and cardio.

Supplements:

BCAA – Branched chain amino acids. These are three of the nine essential amino acids in humans and help muscles recover and grow after exercise. They may help reduce fatigue and DOMS in athletes. However, BCAAs probably aren’t required if you get lots of protein in your diet.

Protein – Similar to BCAAs, protein supplementation helps fix minute tears in muscle fibres after exercise. Having protein shakes is really useful if you’re not going to eat in the 45 minutes after exercise, as this is when protein is most needed by the body. I mostly use vegan protein, as whey, whilst it is absorbed more easily into the body, may not be as good for you in the long run (another post entirely)! I love strippd vanilla pea and hemp protein and am also a massive fan of Nutristrength whey isolate, which is kind on your stomach and really natural even if you’re lactose intolerant. Use FLORA15 if you’d like 15% off!

Multi-vitamins – I take multi-vitaminseveryday. They’re useful if you’re vegan or have a restrictive diet, although most people should have enough of the vitamins in their diet in general if you eat a variety of foods!

Ginkgo – Ginkgo has been used as a supplement for thousands of years in China. Whilst I’m wary of anecdotes about the wonders of traditional medicine, gingko has been widely researched and shown to slightly boost memory and cognitive speed. It may improve circulation (much needed for me) and increase energy levels.

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BCAAs, protein, snack bar and some other essentials I take to the gym

Day 1:

Breakfast: Smoothie bowl (check out some of my favourite recipes here and here) topped with muesli and crystallised ginger.

Lunch: Wholemeal pitta filled with vegetables I roasted over the weekend (squash, parsnip, carrot, tomato, kale), tomato paste, chilli flakes and mozzarella. Plain yogurt for dessert.

Snack: A protein bar/shake and some BCAAs after my workout.

Dinner: Homemade sweet potato and chickpea curry with Pollock

Dessert: Protein banana nice cream (food of the gods)

 

Day 2:

Breakfast: Bowl of chia and oat protein pudding (half chia and oats, mixed with almond milk or water and protein powder).

Snack: Slice of homemade beetroot chocolate cake

Lunch: Sourdough toast, ½ avocado, 2 scrambled eggs, polenta

Post-workout snack: Grenade carb-killa protein shake, BCAAs

Dinner: 2 egg omelette, quorn chicken pieces, kale, tomato

Pre-bedtime snack: cereal and crystallised ginger with coconut and protein powder.

 

Day 3:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (2) on homemade protein toast

Snack: Apple and peanut butter

Lunch: Kind bar and protein shake (I was full!)

Dinner: (LOTS of) Homemade veggie lasagne with apple crumble for pudding

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Apple crumble! I could eat this all day everyday ❤

I hope you find that useful, and don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have. Remember, being healthy is not a miracle and it’s not a diet. It’s got to be a sustainable way of living, and one that you enjoy doing!

How Sweet (potato) It Is

The sweet potato is a bit of a misnomer – it is, in fact a tuber, part of the root system that contains nutrients for a plant. Therefore sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients that are essential for humans, including vitamins A, B5, B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and carotenoids (the nutrient that gives them their orange colour). Carotenoids and vitamin A are essential for good eye sight, and also contain lots of antioxidants, essential for repair of the body and the prevention of cancer. A large sweet potato contains more than 100% of your RDA of vitamin A and fewer calories than a white potato. It’s also high in vitamin C, slowing ageing and maintaining skin elasticity. What’s not to love about this miracle vegetable?

Here are some recipes to keep your sweet potato addiction interesting. Enjoy!

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Sweet potato fries/wedges:

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
  • Scrub one large/2 small sweet potatoes to remove dirt (no need to peel)
  • Chop into fry shapes (either thick wedges or thinner slices for fries)
  • Drizzle on olive oil, salt, chilli flakes, paprika and black pepper and mix to coat
  • Put on a baking tray and roast until golden, about 40-45 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
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L to R: Avocado and tahini, almond butter, egg with chilli flakes, cashew nut butter

Sweet potato toast:

  • Scrub one small to medium sized sweet potato
  • Cut into the thinnest slices possible (1/4-1/2 inch thick)
  • Place in a bowl, cover and cook in the microwave for 5 minutes
  • Remove and place into a toaster until cooked through and brown at the edges (this may take 2-3 times)
  • Top with topping of choice – both savoury and sweet work well

 

Sweet potato and chickpea curry:

  • (Peel and) chop one large sweet potato and boil until tender
  • Chop one onion and a clove of garlic
  • Fry in some oil, and mix in 1tsp turmeric, 1tbsp garam masala, a pinch of chilli flakes and 1tbsp ground coriander
  • Drain one 400g tin of chickpeas and add to the pan
  • Add 100-200g spinach and put a lid on the pan to wilt the spinach
  • Once wilted, add the drained sweet potato to the pan and mix

 

Sweet potatoes are versatile, cheap and delicious. Anywhere normal potatoes are used, try switching to sweet potatoes. They’re easily cooked in the microwave, on the hob or in the oven, so can be used in all sorts of recipes!