Turmeric Chai

With Autumn well and truly here and Winter on the way, this is the perfect time to collect a few warming, nourishing recipes to get you through the next few months. Spices are the key to creating meals and snacks that have medicinal properties and can make a big difference to the way you feel. This turmeric chai recipe blends spices that enhance digestion, warm the body, and decrease inflammation (the main cause of most diseases, aches and pains). Give it a try, and ideally drink this 3-4 times per week to keep your immune system healthy and your body warm and well!

INGREDIENTS

(serves 1)

  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of pink salt 
  • 1 tsp coconut oil or ghee (optional – the fats enable turmeric to be absorbed more effectively)
  • 1 tsp honey to sweeten

METHOD

  • Add all spices, milk and optional coconut oil or ghee to a pan 
  • Bring to a simmer and leave simmering very gently for 3-4 minutes
  • Remove from the heat, pour into your favourite mug, stir through the honey and top with cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Ayurvedic Advice: This recipe reduces vata, and is best taken during Autumn and Winter, or for excessive vata symptoms. 

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Plum & Berry Tarts

With easier-to-digest spelt flour, 100% plant-based ingredients, seasonal fruits and warming Cinnamon spice, these sweet autumn treats are easy to make, and perfect for serving hungry guests. Enjoy them with a cup of tea, or pack a couple to bring on a blustery Autumn walk!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ cups spelt flour
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp stevia or coconut sugar 
  • 5 ripe plums
  • Handful of fresh or frozen seasonal berries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 190C
  • Add flour, coconut oil and sugar to a large bowl
  • Use your fingertips to rub the ingredients into a breadcrumb-like texture
  • Form a dough with the mixture and roll into a ball 
  • Pop in the fridge for 30 minutes
  • Meanwhile, roast the plums for 15 minutes, then blend them with cinnamon to create a jam consistency
  • Turn the oven to 180C
  • Roll out the dough from the fridge and cut into small circles 
  • Line a muffin tin with coconut oil, and place each circle into the tin, using the shape of each hole to mould the dough
  • Bake for 15 minutes
  • When they’re golden brown and firm, remove them from the oven and leave to cool
  • Fill with the plum and cinnamon mixture and top with seasonal berries

Enjoy!

Chai & Chocolate Energy Balls

Full of fibre, antioxidants, plant based protein, warming and digestion-boosting spices, and slow-release carbohydrates, these delicious energy balls are beneficial for the Ayurvedic Vata dosha (referring to someone who mostly feels cold, fragile, with dry skin and aching joints, but also during the Vata season of Autumn). They’re easy to make and seem to go down well with everyone who tries them! They’re definitely a new favourite at our house, and this recipe makes enough to share at get-togethers or upcoming October events. 

INGREDIENTS

(makes 20)

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 handful dates (soaked to soften)
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp chai spice (equal parts cinnamon, ginger, all spice, and ½ the amount of cardamom, cloves and nutmeg)
  • ½ bar of good quality dark chocolate + 1 tsp coconut oil

METHOD

  • Add all ingredients other than the dark chocolate + coconut oil to a blender or food processor
  • Whizz to create a firm ‘dough’
  • Roll into bite-size balls
  • Melt the dark chocolate + tsp coconut oil and coat each ball with the melted mixture
  • Place in the fridge to set

Enjoy!

Plant Based Beetroot Chocolate Muffins

beetroot muffins.jpgSeasonal and completely satisfying, these chocolatey, gooey muffins are made with healthy ingredients and are SO easy to make. Suitable for most diets – including gluten free if you swap the spelt flour for gluten free flour – and entirely plant based. Beetroots are full of iron, potassium, fiber and vitamin C – they’re also great for boosting circulation and helping increase physical exercise performance and endurance, so perfect for a post-workout snack. Give these a go, and use up any beetroot that might be hiding at the back of the fridge!

INGREDIENTS

Makes 15 muffins

  • ½ cup spelt flour or flour of choice
  • 1 large fresh beetroot
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup ground flax
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½. Tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 flax ‘egg’
  • 2 tbsp stevia or coconut sugar
  • 1 cup milk of choice

METHOD

  1. Create your flax ‘egg’ by mixing 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsp warm water and leaving to soak for 10 minutes
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  3. Chop the beetroot into bite size pieces and steam the until soft
  4. Add the beetroot to a food processor or blender with a splash of milk to create a puree
  5. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and soda, cocoa, flax, sugar and flax ‘egg’
  6. Melt the coconut oil and add to the mixture along with the beetroot puree
  7. Add the rest of your milk and mix to create a thick chocolatey batter
  8. Add roughly 2 tbsp mixture per muffin case
  9. Place in the oven on the middle or bottom shelf and bake for 15-20 minutes. They’ll be fragrant and springy to touch when done.

Enjoy!

Fig & Pesto Flatbread

fig bread.jpgWith September being fig season in the UK, this is the perfect time of year to get creative with the sweet, jammy and delicious fruit. Baked into cakes and crumbles, and used as an accompaniment to sharp cheeses, figs are great with both sweet and savoury dishes. This recipe is a satisfying savoury flatbread ideal for sharing on late Summer evenings and early Autumn nights.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 packet activated yeast
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup warm water
  • pinch of good quality salt
  • tsp herbs of your choice (optional)
  • glug of olive oil for kneading
  • 2-3 large figs
  • 2 tbsp good quality pesto (or make your own)
  • Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh basil leaves (optional)

Method

  1. Add the water, yeast, honey and 1 cup flour to a large mixing bowl
  2. Mix until bubbles start to form and leave for 20 minutes to work its magic
  3. When the mixture is bubbly, add the rest of the flour, herbs and salt, and mix to create a soft dough
  4. Pour a little olive oil onto a clean surface or chopping board, and knead the dough for 3-4 minutes on it (add more spelt flour if the dough is too wet or sticky)
  5. Leave the dough in a large covered bowl for 30-40 minutes to rise (it doesn’t have to be left for very long as we’re making a flatbread not a loaf, but leaving it to rise a little will create a softer, puffier flatbread)
  6. When you’re ready to bake, pre heat the oven to 200C with a dish of water in the bottom of the oven (this stops the dough from drying out when cooking)
  7. Roll the dough out as flat as you want it to be, and place on a baking tray in the oven for 5-10 minutes depending upon how hot your oven is
  8. Once you’ve park baked the dough, remove from the oven and add your toppings, slicing the figs thin so they’ll caramelise, and spreading the pesto as thick as you like. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the top.
  9. Place back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes, again depending upon your own oven’s power.
  10. Remove from the oven, top with torn fresh basil leaves, slice and serve!

Enjoy

 

Simple & Small Spelt Flour Taco Shells

taco shellOn our recent trip to the West coast of America, we discovered just how much LA seems to love tacos right now. The Tex-Mex tortillas and spicy fillings, abundance of eclectic options and absolute deliciousness were a regular appearance throughout the trip, and when taco Tuesday at Diabolo in Silverlake arrives, devouring 2 tacos and a margarita for $13 is no problem at all. (We actually lost track of the days and thought we were going in there for ‘Wine Wednesday’, but this turned out to be a very happy mistake…)

Since then, making a really good mexican feast is something I’ve been working on in bits and pieces. This week I experimented with a healthier spelt flour recipe and it
worked! Crispy, healthy, small enough to handle, delicious and most importantly pick-up-able taco shells! Yes you could of course buy your own, but there’s something incredibly satisfying and fulfilling about making your own from scratch, and kneading dough is a therapeutic practice in itself. Give these a try and come back for the chilli recipe next week.

INGREDIENTS

(makes 9 mini taco shells)

  • 2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of good quality salt
  • herbs or spices of choice (chillis, sage, cumin, coriander, a bbq etc)

METHOD

  1. Add the flour, salt, herbs & spices and bicarb to a large bowl and whisk to combine
  2. Add the water and olive oil and mix until everything starts to stick together and form a dough
  3. When you’ve formed a dough (you may need to add a little more water, oil or flour depending upon how dry or wet the mixture seems), place it on a flat and lightly floured surface, and knead for a few minutes
  4. Once the dough is easy to handle and not too sticky, wrap it up and place in the fridge to cool for half and hour. This could all be done well ahead of time so you’re ready to cook straight away when needed.
  5. When you’re ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 200C
  6. Grab a muffin tin and turn it upside down, grease the bottoms of the cups (these are going to help form the shape of the taco shells)
  7. Take the dough from the fridge and roll it out until it’s quite thin
  8. Cut circles out of the dough that are a little larger than the bottom of the muffin tin circles (I used a wine glass which worked well, but a large mug or tumbler would be great too).
  9. Slightly stretch the dough circle out in all directions and place it over the muffin tin base, mould it around the shape –  when it’s done it should look like a little basket or cup
  10. Once you’ve done this with all the dough circles. lightly brush with olive oil or an egg wash (which’ll make it sort of shiny) and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes
  11. When they’re done, remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes, then remove and use as crispy mini taco shells for your mexican feast!

Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

Windfall Apple & Plum Chutney

chutney11If you have an overflow of apples or have been given some by a friend, this recipe is the perfect way to use a lot of them in one go. Deliciously tangy, naturally sweet and a great accompaniment to curry, cauliflower bites or cheese, this chutney recipe is simple yet really satisfyingly similar to the shop bought brands. If your apples are bruised or almost overripe, use this recipe to make the most of them.

INGREDIENTS

Makes roughly 2 + 1/2 jam jars full 

  • 5 apples (medium or a mixture of large and small)
  • 3 plums (or substitute for another apple or seasonal fruit)
  • 1 red onion chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar or 1 tbsp jaggery
  • 1 tbsp grated or sliced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine

METHOD

  1. Add the olive oil, mustard seeds and onion to a large pan and heat until sizzling
  2. When the onion has softened, chop the apples and plums into bite size pieces and add to the pan along with the ginger and chilli flakes
  3. Stir to coat everything
  4. Leave to cook until the apples have softened, then add the apple cider vinegar, wine and sugar / jaggery
  5. Stir well and leave to simmer on a low heat for roughly 45 minutes or until the liquid has reduced significantly and the apples have completely softened. Stir roughly every 10 minutes.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring the chutney into clean jars
  7. When completely cooled, store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberry, Plum & Pear Cake

cakealmondA celebration of seasonal and sweet ripe fruits, this cake uses a combination of spelt flour and ground almonds to give it a springy sponge-like texture. The abundance of fruit used in this recipe means you can really cut down on the amount of sweetener or sugar you might usually use. Try it this week or save for your next Summer party – perfect with ice cream or a warming cup of tea.

INGREDIENTS

(serves 8-10)

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 ripe plums
  • 2 ripe pears
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup + a little more of your choice of milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (optional)
  • 1 cap vanilla extract
  • chopped almonds

METHOD

  1. 2cakealmondPre-heat the oven to 175C and line or grease a medium-large baking tin
  2. Chop the pears and plums into small pieces and add them to a large bowl along with the blueberries
  3. Add the spelt flour and almonds, baking soda and powder and optional coconut sugar
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla extract, then add to the other ingredients
  5. Mix briefly to combine everything
  6. Melt the coconut oil if it’s solid, and add this to the bowl
  7. Add the greek yoghurt and mix everything, If it seems very thick and is difficult to mix, add a little more milk – try to create a thick batter consistency
  8. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and top with the chopped almonds
  9. Bake for about 45-50 minutes
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool

Enjoy!

 

 

BBQ Cauliflower Bites

cauliflowerWhilst in LA, cauliflower seemed to be on the menu everywhere, mostly in the form of deliciously spiced, salted and roast bites. A vegan alternative to ‘chicken wings’ is the easiest description of this recipe, and it really does work well as a savoury side dish. Couple this with curry (featured in the picture to the right), eat it alongside salads or chillis, or make them as a starter to dip in chilli sauce or mint yoghurt.

The most effective way of cooking this cauliflower recipe is in the oven, but if you fancy popping them on the BBQ itself, place them over direct heat and close the lid on the bbq if you have one.

INGREDIENTS

serves 6 as a side or starter

  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 2 tbsp brown rice flour (you could also use spelt or corn flour, or ground oats if you can’t get your hands on anything else)
  • 1 tbsp each of: paprika, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, oregano and optional lemon zest
  • A big pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 large glug of olive oil

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C or get the bbq fired up
  2. Break the cauliflower into bize-size florets and place them in a large mixing bowl
  3. Sprinkle in the spices, seasonings and brown rice flour
  4. Add a large glug of olive oil
  5. Mix well to coat all the cauliflower pieces
  6. If you’re using the BBQ, place them over direct heat and close the lid. Cook until they’re charred and slightly softened
  7. To cook in the oven lay the cauliflower florets and any spices left in the bowl onto a baking tray and bake for roughly 30-35 minutes. Check on them every 15 minutes. They’re done when they’re slightly charred smelling delicious.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Ayurveda Inspired: Your Summer Stay-Well Tips

From an Ayurvedic perspective, the qualities of Summer (as we recognise it in the west anyway) are hot, intense, sharp, humid, transforming, bright, dynamic, and fiery. These qualities are also some characteristics of the ayurvedic Pitta dosha. 

agniPitta energy is hot, intense, sharp and fiery, and emotionally, a person holding pitta qualities can also present as irritable, dominant, able to get tasks completed efficiently, work as a good leader, but can also succumb to their short temper easily. Predominantly pitta people usually have light blonde or red hair, pale skin that burns easily in the sun, strong hunger pangs and strong digestion, and a love for spicy foods, intense experiences and challenging physical exercises. We all have some pita energy within us, and different seasons, weather fronts, times of day, foods, social interactions, and environmental changes can either increase or decrease the amount of pitta energy present at any one time.

If you’ve been feeling ‘hot and bothered’ recently, more irritable than usual, or perhaps particularly focussed and able to complete tasks quickly, you may have a higher than usual level of pitta energy within you right now. (Whilst our unique mind / body pitta1signature or prakriti – meaning ‘nature’ – stays the same throughout life, our everyday self can of course feel different from moment to moment – this is known as your vikruti – your current state).

Want to know hot to cool off when you’re feeling hot-headed? Want to calm irritability and inflammation? Want to know how to work with the elements of nature throughout the Summer to stay balanced and well? Below you’ll find a few specific articles I’ve written for other websites and online magazines on how to use ancient ayurvedic wisdom (along with a few holistic herbal recipes) on a modern Summer’s day.

Ayurveda Inspired Summer Self Care

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10 Ways To Cool The Pitta Dosha

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Summer Supergreens Salad

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Summer Season & Pitta Power

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Mitochondria-Enhancing Summer Meal

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Pitta-Balancing Cucumber Dip 

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Supplemental Summer: Getting More From Good Weather

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WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT MY APPROACH TO AYURVEDA AND HOLISTIC HEALTH? CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO A PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH MYSELF AND ELLEN CARR FROM Being Change.

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