Tag Archives: dates

My breakfast smoothie

Seriously, like we need another picture of a green smoothie. But, nevertheless, here is mine.

But I wanted to share this because I think it’s so nice, it’s healthy but it’s not so scary that it alienates perfectly ordinary people, like me and you. I absolutely love it and will either have it first thing (after my mad Italian woman habit of lemon and psyllium husks in hot water), or after I’ve had a ‘proper’ breakfast and at about 11am. Depending on what time I have it I will vary the ingredients. I don’t add spinach if it’s too early because WTF am I turning into? But. My big discovery is frozen spinach. The one you get chopped up in ‘pods’. This way you don’t have bags of fresh spinach going off in the salad drawer (yuk) mocking you; it’s always fresh, and adds a nice cold element to the smoothie.

There are three key ingredients, to my mind, to make this smoothie really nice and friendly. And those are the almond butter, the cinnamon (who would have thought I’d become obsessed with cinnamon?) and the dates which must be those lovely expensive medjool dates. I buy mine from the market and £3 worth last me, easily, all week. I would probably also add banana as a must have. Remember that if you don’t fancy a whole banana, you can freeze it, chopped up in pieces, in a box in the freezer to add to subsequent smoothies.

So this is my basic smoothie:

One and a half medjool dates, two if you like

One banana, nice and ripe if possible

One teaspoon of cinnamon – don’t skimp on this

A big old tablespoon of almond butter

Handful of blueberries

200ml or so of almond milk or milk of your choice. I fill it up to the ‘max’ on my Nutribullet container. If you like a thicker smoothie add less, if you like it runnier add more etc.

You can blend it up now for a minute or so until smooth. But, if you want to ramp up the nutrient content you can add any, or all, of the following.

quarter of a teaspoon of spirulina

half a tablespoon of linseeds

big pinch of hemp seeds

1-2  tablespoons of oat flakes

some kefir if you culture it – I add two tablespoons

a pod of frozen spinach

The spirulina makes everything go really green. Don’t be scared. And you don’t have to add it if you don’t want to.

Just remember to blend until really smooth. I do it for about 30-45 seconds in my Nutribullet.

This fills you up for, ooh, maybe 30 minutes. Seriously it doesn’t fill me up for long in that ‘full up’ way. But I do feel REALLY good after drinking it. Until I pollute my body with a cappuccino. Sssh.

 

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Date and ginger biscuits (gluten, refined sugar and dairy free)

I haven’t gone gluten, or dairy free. I am incredibly fortunate that I can, thus far at least, eat what I want. And I do. Last night I stuffed my face with cheesy Wotsits (I love a flourescent food stuff sometimes). Today, for the first time in eight years, I went into a supermarket and bought a loaf of white sliced and we had toasted sandwiches for Sunday lunch.

But generally, I do eat really well and also, I do like to try new things and double-also I like to have a little biscuit or something every day, and it kinda helps, now that I’m no longer 19 years old and seven stones, to think of my health ‘n’ stuff.

(Whilst I’m vaguely on the subject of healthy eating, has anyone else noticed that saying you’re on a ‘whole food plant based’ diet seems to have replaced saying “I’m vegan”? I’m not saying this recipe is vegan btw, because it’s not – it contains eggs – but I’ve noticed this phrase a lot lately..)

So I found these in Hugh F-W’s new book Light and Easy (which thus far I really like although have only tried a few things). They are choc-full of good-for-you ingredients, have no refined sugar, no dairy, no wheat, no gluten and although they absolutely won’t be to everyone’s taste, they are to mine and also my youngest loves them (incredibly). They are not overly spicy or gingery, and make a great little snack when you need a treat. But are also – thanks to the fibre and protein – rather satisfying and sustaining.

You need:

200g pitted dates

15g peeled ginger, roughly chopped

2 eggs

250g ground almonds (this is not a cheap biscuit recipe..)

a quarter of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

One and a half teaspoons of ground Chinese five-spice

Pinch of salt

Flaked almonds for topping if you so wish

What you do:

Oven to 170C. Baking parchment or magic carpet type sheet onto a baking sheet.

Put the dates and ginger into a food processor. Not a blender, but a processor (it’s sticky and if you put this in a blender I wouldn’t want to be you cleaning up afterwards). Whizz up for a couple of minutes until the mixture is really sticky and everything is evenly chopped up. This is also the time you realise you have bought unpitted dates as the processor will start making an awful sound and then start smoking.

When the mixture is all mixy, then you add the eggs and process again until you get a nice sloppy mixture – takes seconds really. Now add all the other ingredients and pulse for a few times until everything is, how can I put this? Mixed. You will have a very sticky dough. Either drop spoonfuls onto the tray or wet your hands slightly, roll into a ball and then flatten – which is what I do. I make mine about 5cm wide. They don’t really spread out so you can pack them fairly tight – but not touching – onto a baking tray. Top with flaked almonds if you so wish (this is my addition).

I bake mine for 15 minutes and this is plenty. Hugh says 20. They should be golden but not too dark and have a ‘slight give’ in the middle. I can lift my straight off the tray, with my hands, onto a wire rack to cool.

That’s it. Eat and feel virtuous.

Toffee apple apple crumble

I have become slightly obsessed with this apple crumble. It appeared in Good Food magazine in October (I cannot find a link to it on line) and my photograph doesn’t do it justice. But it’s one of those puddings that, once served up, I itch to eat and cannot be bothered to really photograph.

I have made this a lot recently and my partner says it tastes really Christmassy. I agree, but it only really started tasting Christmassy as we got into late November…

The ingredients for the underneath bit:

100g raisins

100g pitted soft dates, chopped up

85g light muscovado sugar

3 tablespoons of dark rum (I have also used sherry or marsala)

25g unsalted butter

1 teaspoon of mixed spice

Zest and juice of one lemon

4 Bramley apples, about 800g in total, peeled and cored and cut into wedges or rings

The ingredients for the crumble topping:

125g plain flour (I mix a bit of wholemeal flour in there too)

100g unsalted butter

50g light muscovado sugar

3 tablespoons of jumbo oats

25g flaked almonds

What you do:

Heat the oven to 190C.

Put everything for the underneath bit, save for the apples and lemon juice, into a pan and cook on the hob until the butter has melted and the sugar is syrupy and it looks nice. Then toss into the pan (once off the heat) the apples with the lemon juice, mix around until all coated and put in a suitable oven proof dish. I use a Le Creuset thing that is approx 20cm square.

To make the topping I put the flour and butter into a food processor and go past the fine breadcrumb stage and pulse until big clumps form. Then I stir in the sugar, oats and almonds. Spread this on top of the fruit mixture. At first it will look like you don’t have enough mixture but don’t panic as it all works out. Cover with foil and then * put it into the oven for one hour in total, but for the first thirty minutes keep the foil on, then whip it off to let the crumble brown, for the last thirty.

Leave to stand for about 10mins before serving with custard or cream or ice cream or all three. Oink, oink.

It’s delicious and wonderfully comforting and warming. I hardly make crumble any other way now, although I might find it all a bit much come the spring time.

*note: you can easily make this a few hours ahead, assemble, cover with foil and then put it in the oven as you sit down to main course.

Apologies again for the not great pic…