Recipe

Rhubarb & Strawberry Kombucha Fizz // Recipe ReDux May 2018

Rhubarb & Strawberry Kombucha Fizz // Recipe ReDux May 2018

Tune in for this month’s Recipe ReDux feature featuring probiotic cocktails and gut-friendly mocktails. This one is perfect for sunny Spring days!

Fragrant Hasselback Potatoes // Recipe ReDux March 2018

Fragrant Hasselback Potatoes // Recipe ReDux March 2018

My twist on the regular old baked potatoes. This Hasselback potato recipe is delicious, filled with the tastes and aromas of fragrant fresh herbs. Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, it's the perfect addition to any Sunday lunch or weekend braai.

Chewy Wholewheat Choc Chip Cookies // Recipe ReDux February 2018

Chewy Wholewheat Choc Chip Cookies // Recipe ReDux February 2018

Chewy chocolate chip cookies are just the best, particularly when they're fresh out of the oven and ready to be dunked into a cold glass of milk mmmmm. After a few failed attempts at baking bread this past month, I decided to resort to this amazing recipe that never disappoints! I'm so excited to share it with you...

Bright Beetroot & Red Cabbage Kraut // Recipe ReDux January 2018

Bright Beetroot & Red Cabbage Kraut // Recipe ReDux January 2018

Making your own fermented foods at home can seem a bit daunting, but it's really a piece of cake! This bright beetroot & red cabbage kraut is a pretty good place to start if you'd like to try your hand at DIY fermentation. Give your gut a boost with this vibrant probiotic condiment, a perfect addition to pretty much any dish!

Creating Your Own Healthy Homemade Condiments

This post was written by Eleanor Cains and edited by Katherine Mosquera from Mavens of LondonEleanor has written for various food and healthy lifestyle blogs and continues to work alongside Mavens of London to create immersive articles and blog content. Katherine has written and edited a range of articles from home and lifestyle, to food and fashion, and is currently a content creator at Mavens of London. This post was written in conjunction with Omo, a much-loved laundry and household cleaning brand, and contains a natural link relating to the contents of this post.  


With the myriad of amazing sauces and dips are available in most supermarkets today, there’s that all too easy tendency to purchase these store-bought varieties. But what if you decided made your own? In the process, you could reduce the salt and sugar content, and reap the health benefits using tasty natural ingredients. Whether it’s a nutrient-packed tomato sauce, lovely tzatziki made with gut-friendly Greek yoghurt, or a healthier Braai sauce recipe you’re looking for, I’m going to show you how to easily prepare them at home.

Tangy Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauces are a favourite all around the world and you can replace the store-bought version with this easy-to-make, healthy alternative. You can enjoy it on the side with homemade chips, or even gift it to someone - all nicely stored in a cute jar and finished off with a decorative ribbon perhaps? One thing’s for sure, you won’t be sacrificing any of the flavour with this awesome recipe. This sauce is so tasty that it’s easy to get carried away enjoying it, but be careful of the inevitable spills – if you don’t know how to remove ketchup from clothes, now would be a good time to learn, just in case!

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 chilli (deseeded)
  • 1 kg of tomatoes (tinned, or passata is ok too)
  • 200ml red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Honey (to taste, up to 30g)

Method

  1. Add the olive oil to a pan and gently fry all of the chopped vegetables until they have softened.
  2. Next, add the tomatoes and 250ml of water, leaving it to reduce by half before adding the vinegar.
  3. Finally, let everything simmer until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency. Whizz up in the blender and then strain through a sieve to finish the job.
  4. Once that’s cooled, you can store it in an airtight container or mason jar in the fridge, and it should last for up to three months or more.

Tantalising Tzatziki

Tzatziki is a staple condiment in Greek cuisine that’s packed with goodness and very quick to make. It’s great served with meat, fish and vegetables, and is a very versatile dip that you are going to LOVE! So simple to prepare, yet oh so tasty, and even good for keeping your gut healthy, as Greek yoghurt is a fantastic natural probiotic!

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 500g Greek yogurt
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 30g chopped dill or mint (or a combination of both)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

Method

  1. Start off by grating the cucumber and pass through a sieve to drain excess water.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together to make the sauce; and you're done! You can add a little red wine vinegar, pepper, extra herbs and even a pinch of salt to alter the seasoning.

Beautiful Braai Sauce

Barbecue sauce is often sticky with sugar, but you can make it with very little added, or remove it completely. There’s a natural sweetness in this recipe and your guests will definitely be asking for more the next time you fire up the grill.

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 sweet pepper
  • 500g chopped tomatoes (organic canned or fresh)
  • 40ml balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 30ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Honey (optional)

Method

  1. Chop the onions, garlic and pepper and fry in large based pan until everything has softened.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients and leave to simmer for around 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened sufficiently.
  3. Spoon the mixture into a blender and blitz to make a smooth sauce.

Notes

  • If the sweetness that comes from cooking the tomatoes, pepper and balsamic vinegar isn’t enough for you, you can add a little honey to taste. Honey will also help you get that stickier consistency that we all know and love when it comes to BBQ sauce.

So, that’s three easy to follow nutrition-packed condiment recipes. They’re not only healthier than a lot of store-bought versions, they’re delicious too. Why not give them a try!

Cinnamon Nut & Seed Sprinkle // my favorite sweet dukkah

My Take on Dukkah

Dukkah is a traditional Egyptian condiment that normally consists of a mixture of herbs and spices, nuts, and seeds, and is usually served with bread and olive oil (or hummus, yum!), with fresh veggies as a starter, or as an aromatic coating for meats before roasting or grilling. There are countless recipes for dukkah out there, and everyone seems to have their own take on the mix. Savoury dukkah is normally prepared with cumin, fennel, and coriander seeds, but some might even include things like mint or marjoram. I will be sharing my recipe for a simple savoury dukkah next week, but for now, I want to share this yummy Sweet Dukkah mix that has been gracing my bowls of warm porridge, yoghurt with fruit, and even as a topping for my peanut butter-stuffed Medjool date snack over the past couple of weeks :)

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Seed & Nut Goodness

Nuts and seeds are definitely unappreciated 'superfoods' (I've spoken a bit about almonds here before). They are nutrient-dense wonders, comprised of complex matrices of fat, fibre, protein, minerals, fat-soluble vitamins, phytosterols, and phytonutrients [1]. Large epidemiologic studies have associated daily nut consumption with a lower incidence of heart disease and diabetes, and some evidence has shown that in the context of an overall healthy diet, nut intake may have beneficial effects on inflammation, oxidative stress, and vascular function [1]. Seeds are also nutritional powerhouses, for example, the sesame seeds that I've included in this recipe are one of the highest plant-based sources of calcium. Including sufficient good-quality fats as part of whole foods, such as nuts and seeds, is great for our overall health! 

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Let's Get Creative

I'm repeating myself a bit here, but there are so many delicious ways that you can enjoy this slightly sweet cinnamon nut and seed sprinkle :) Here are just a few of my favourite suggestions:

  • Top your morning bowl of porridge with a handful of this dukkah, a drizzle of honey, and half a chopped up apple for a warming breakfast
  • For warmer weather, enjoy this sprinkle as a topping for a bowl of plain yoghurt with fresh fruit
  • Add some extra crrrrunch to your peanut butter and banana toast with a tablespoon or two of this dukkah sprinkled on top
  • Stuff one Medjool date with a teaspoon of peanut or almond butter, place some of this sprinkle on a small plate and roll the open (stuffed) end over it so that the nut butter sticks to the dukkah (such a delicious snack)
  • Or better yet, just enjoy a handful of it as a mid-afternoon snack :)
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Recipe Time

Total time: 40min

Ingredients

  • 200g hazelnuts
  • 200g almonds (or any other nuts)
  • 200g sunflower seeds
  • 200g sesame seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey (or maple syrup)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 110˚C.
  2. Meanwhile, roughly chop up the hazelnuts and almonds (either by hand, or using a food processor) and place them in a mixing bowl. Add the sunflower and sesame seeds, along with the cinnamon, olive oil, and honey to the bowl.
  3. Mix everything together well to combine and spread over a lined baking tray. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, removing the tray and mixing the sprinkle around halfway.
  4. Allow to cool completely after removing from the oven. Break up pieces that have stuck together and store in a clean, airtight, glass jar for up to 2 weeks.

References

[1] Ros E. Health Benefits of Nut Consumption. Nutrients. Jul 2010;2(7):652-82. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/

Spelt Tacos with Scrambled Eggs & Greens // Recipe ReDux December 2017

Taco'bout a crazy year!

As 2017 comes to a close, it's fitting that this month's Recipe ReDux prompt could pay tribute to a year filled with adventure, challenges, highs, and lows. When I read the topic for December I thought it would be best to whip out one of my favourite cookbooks released during the course of 2017. It was a close call, but out of all of the books that I got my hands on this year Izy Hossack's (i.e. the 'new Nigella') newest cookbook 'The Savvy Cook' (find it here and here) is definitely one of my faves!

Grab a Book and Cook - We’re playing a little party game at the end of 2017: Grab your nearest cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 201, 17, 217 – or any combination of the number ‘2017.’ (Of course, please don’t forget to credit the original recipe and change enough of the recipe to make it your very own)
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The Savvy Cook

Izy's book is a wonderful place to start for those wanting to eat more plants, learn to cook from scratch, and students who are living on a tighter budget but want to eat healthy, effortless food. There are over 150 different vegetarian (with vegan and gluten-free adaptations) recipes to choose from in the book, and they're all really flexible, with Izy giving tips and ingredient swaps that you can make if you don't have all of the necessary ingredients on hand. My favourite part of the book? What's my favourite aspect of the book? Well, actually there are two main things that I LOVE about it:

  1. There's 'no fad diet' nonsense in the book, which is super refreshing. Izy doesn't use any expensive superfoods or coconut oil, and doesn't go on about eliminating 'toxins' and refined sugar. Having said that, she does use a whole host of amazing flours, vegetables, grains, legumes, flavourful pastes, herbs, and spices that will provide you with 'sensibly-healthy' nourishment.
  2. There is an awesome leftovers emphasis in the book, with little boxes dotted underneath each recipe with some of the ingredients you may have left after making the recipe. These boxes refer you to a 6-page layout towards the end of the book, where you can find other recipes that make use of the ingredient and not let it go to waste

On that note, why not read my post on food waste to get an idea of how much food we actually throw away unnecessarily, and for 10 Tips on how to Reduce Food Waste in your Home.

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Tacos with a Twist

Ok, onto the recipe. After paging through the book, and visiting pages made up of every possible combination of the numbers 2, 0, 1, and 7, I settled on the recipe for Tacos: Scrambled Egg, Pea, Onion & Basil. In the true spirit of the book (using what's in your fridge and pantry), I ended up making a recipe very different to the original BUT largely inspired by each of the elements that Izy uses in the book. 

Instead of heading out to the shops to buy soft tortillas, I used spelt flour that I had on hand to make these AMAZING, easy 5-ingredient spelt flatbreads by Oh She Glows (seriously, if you want to make flatbreads/wraps/tortillas from scratch with minimal effort then this is the recipe for you). I also substituted most of the greens in the recipe, using broccoli and rocket that I had available in my fridge instead of the peas and basil in the original recipe.

This is definitely one of my new favourite recipes! I hope that you enjoy it.

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Make sure to check out some of the other recipes shared by other bloggers for this month's Recipe ReDux by clicking on the image below. Oh, and do yourself a favour and get your hands on Izy's book, 'The Savvy Cook', for other delicious ways to use tacos and some amazing recipes!

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Recipe

Spelt Tacos with Scrambled Eggs & Greens

Serves: 2

Total time: 30min

Adapted from: Izy Hossack - The Savvy Cook

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup broccoli (alternatively, use any leftover cooked veggies in your fridge)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 small soft tortillas, warmed (I used the Oh She Glows recipe for homemade spelt flatbreads)
  • 1 handful grated or cubed cheese (I used Swiss Raclette here)
  • 2 handfuls fresh rocket
  • Salt & black pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Roughly chop the broccoli and spread over a lined baking tray. Drizzle with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, until cooked and slightly charred.
  2. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a bowl and, using a fork or whisk, whisk them together with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a pan and, once hot, pour the eggs and cook. Stir them frequently to scramble, and cook to the texture that you prefer. Remove the eggs from the heat when done.
  4. Divide the charred broccoli, rocket, and eggs among the warm tortillas and topped with grated or cubed cheese.

Classic French Toast with Berry Compote

What is French Toast?

French toast is a dish that is traditionally made using bread soaked in eggs and milk, which is fried in a pan until golden and crispy. Although the earliest known reference to this dish (pain à la romaine) is found in the Apicus, a collection of recipes that can be traced back to the Roman times, a more popular history behind the dish is that it was created by European cooks during medieval times [1]. Instead of throwing away rather unpalatable stale bread (pain perdu in French, which literally means lost bread), they were able to revive it into a delicious, moist, protein-rich meal. Another theory behind French toast is that it was actually a dish enjoyed by the wealthy. In this case, it was actually made using expensive ingredients like white bread with the crusts cut off, spices, and was topped with honey and sugar [2]. Either way, it has become a rather popular dish that is enjoyed in different ways, both sweet and savoury forms, by people throughout the world [3].

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Bread, glorious bread...

Ok, so let's talk about one of the main ingredients used to make French toast - BREAD. I know that this is going to a bit controversial, having been on the gluten-free bandwagon myself, but please hear me out. The humble loaf of bread has become synonymous with words like ‘unhealthy’, ‘inflammatory’, and 'processed' over the years. It has been right at the top of the 'red list' of many popular diets, being made up of mostly carbohydrates. Gluten, found in bread, has also been blamed as the cause of many health ills, so it’s no wonder that so many of us have banned bread from our diets! The reality is, however, that unless you experience incredible discomfort when you eat gluten-containing foods or have been diagnosed with coeliac disease by a medical professional, there is nothing wrong with eating bread. 

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Let's talk about sourdough

Having said all of this, I am a firm believer that there is a difference between a loaf of locally produced artisan sourdough and mass-produced white bread. If you are able to budget for a tasty, lovingly-produced sourdough loaf made with top-notch ingredients, it'll be worth the splurge. Your tummy may be better off, particularly if you find that regular bread makes you feel uncomfortable. Disclaimer: this isn't necessarily evidence-based, just what I have experienced with my own tummy troubles :)

Whole grains, and loaves made using freshly milled whole grains, tend to be higher in fibre and micronutrients than white bread found in the supermarket [4]. In fact, a number of observational studies linked higher cereal fibre intake and lower type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease  risk [4]. Sourdough is prepared over a number of days by fermentation using naturally-occurring lactobacilli and yeast species. It has been shown to elicit a lower glycaemic and insulinaemic response than regular bread made using baker's yeast in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance, most likely due to the presence of lactic acid produced during fermentation and the reduced availability of simple carbohydrates [5, 6].

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Recipe time!

Now onto the recipe. This is a very traditional, simple recipe for French toast that requires very little cooking skills and no fancy equipment. All you need is a good frying pan, a spatula, and whisk, and you're good to go. If you find that gluten-containing bread (even sourdough) doesn't agree with your system, feel free to substitute the slices the bread with a good quality gluten-free loaf :)


Recipe

Serves: 2

Total time: 20min

Ingredients

For the French toast:

  • 4 slices of good-quality sourdough
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (dairy, almond, cashew)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp olive oil

For the berry compote:

  • 1 cup blueberries OR mixed berries
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water

Method

For the French toast:

  1. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a shallow dish.
  2. Place the slices of bread in the egg-milk mixture to soak it up for a few minutes. Turn over the slices of bread to allow the other side to soak up what is left of the mixture.
  3. Meanwhile, head up 1 tsp olive oil in a non-stick pan on the stove over a medium-high heat. Place each of the slices of bread in the pan, leaving some space between each slice.
  4. Cook for about 5 minutes, until golden brown on one side, before flipping over each slice and cooking for a further 5 minutes (until golden brown and cooked through).
  5. Serve with plain yoghurt, berry compote, cinnamon, and chopped nuts.

For the berry compote:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer.
  2. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, squishing the berries with a fork to release the juices and making sure to mix every now and then.
  3. Remove from the heat and serve with the French toast. Alternatively, store in a clean glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.

References

[1] The Origin of French Toast

[2] The Nibble - French Toast History

[3] Where does French toast come from?

[4] Venn B, Thies F, O'Neil C. Whole Grains, Legumes, and Health. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2012. Available from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jnme/2012/903767/ [Accessed 26 November 2017].

[5] Maioli M, Pes GM, Sanna M, Cherchi S, Dettori M, Manca E, Farris GA. Sourdough-leavened bread improves postprandial glucose and insulin plasma levels in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance. Acta Diabetol. 2008;45:91-6. Available from: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00592-008-0029-8.pdf [Accessed 26 November 2017].

[6] Stamataki NS, Yanni AE, Karathanos VT. Bread making technology influences postprandial glucose response: a review of the clinical evidence. British Journal of Nutrition. 2017;117:1001-12. 

Pesto Pasta // Recipe ReDux November 2017

It's Recipe ReDux time ladies and gents!

This month's topic is an interesting one:

Naturally Colored Holiday Treats and Trimmings – Holiday feast season is upon us. But there’s lots of room on the table for brightly-colored, nutritious foods. Show us your sweet or savory, naturally-colored holiday fare.

I actually have a couple of other recipes that I really wanted to share for this post, but have had such trouble finding time to prepare AND photograph them with the sun setting so early here in London. I'm sure I'll get the hang of this lack of natural lighting soon, but for now this will have to do :)

This recipe wasn’t exactly the most creative one that I’ve ever developed, but it is definitely one of my favourites. There is nothing like a classic bowl of pesto pasta, with the green goodness of basil, strong Italian cheese, and comforting pasta. Pesto pasta doesn’t quite fall into the category of ‘holiday fare’, but I think that this colourful take on pesto pasta makes for a great quick meal. It can be whipped up with ease over the festive season, when you actually just can’t face spending much more time in the kitchen. This take on pesto pasta includes a whole lot of delicious extras, including olives, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, and Buffalo mozzarella, and this actually makes it a very flavourful, and rather well-balanced meal. YUM!

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Helpful Recipes

If you want to make your own pesto from scratch, why not try out my recipe for Homemade Pesto with Basil & Baby Spinach. It’s a really easy one that can be whipped up in a flash to help you add more greens to any meal :) And if you would like to prepare your own chickpeas from scratch, this post should help you out a bit.

I hope that you enjoy this nourishing bowl! I sure do love it...

While you're at it, why don't you head over to the current Recipe ReDux page to see what other wonderful creations have been shared this month? 

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Recipe

Serves: 2

Total time: 15min

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked wholewheat / brown rice penne
  • 2 Tbsp basil pesto
  • 1/2-1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups baby spinach / rocket leaves
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/3 cup olives, sliced
  • 1 large ball of Buffalo Mozzarella
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to the boil. Prepare pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside when al dente (cooked).
  2. Place the pasta back into the empty pot. Add the pesto, chickpeas, baby spinach, olives, and cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and mix everything together well.
  3. Divide between two bowls. Tear the Buffalo Mozzarella apart and divide between the bowls.

Reality in the Midst of Perfection // Salted Caramel Overnight Oats

Ok, so things don't often get very personal over here on Taste & See. In fact, I prefer that this space be one where I can share knowledge, tips, and recipes with others without divulging too much about my personal life and emotions. Today's post was just going to be one with a delicious new recipe that I absolutely love, but whilst I was putting the post together I had something on my heart that I felt the need to share, something that is relevant to SO many of us.

Instagram vs. Reality

Instagram and social media as a whole can be amazing. Through my blog and its social media pages, I have had the amazing opportunity to meet new and interesting people (both in person and through online communication) that have inspired me, encouraged me, and supported the work that I share. Social media has allowed me to reach brands, businesses, and individuals that I otherwise would never have connected with, and has supported my education in the field of nutrition through the exposure of many inspiring expert practitioners, researchers, and game-changers in the field. On the flip side, Instagram and the Internet has become a place where comparison, insecurity, and feelings of 'not being enough' have had a chance to take root in my heart at times, draining me of inspiration and the ability to share things out of the fear that my work will not be interesting or relevant enough for others to read.

Earlier this week I watched an Instagram story by Anna-Belle (She Said)who gave an honest account of some of the challenges that she has been facing over the past few months that haven't necessarily been evident in her Instagram feed, blog, and online presence. Her raw honesty about her struggles with fear, rejection, and depression was very inspiring, and her desire to remind her followers of the reality that social media isn't always a fair reflection of the personal battles that all of us face got me thinking a bit about my own journey of using Instagram as a space to share my blog and my story. Over the past year and a bit my life has been dotted with moments of great celebration AND times of grief, fear, and difficulties. Taste & See's Instagram feed tends to be a place where I share moments, items, people of great beauty and inspiration, and snippets of truth that I want to share with others. Just like most other Instagram users, it's important to remember that the things that I share make up a very small part of my life - often only the highlight reel.

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Over the past two weeks I have been sharing the exciting things that I have experienced whilst moving to a new country, exploring a new city, and starting an exciting new MSc course here in the U.K. But it's important for those of you who have spent time following my journey thus far to know that social media is just a snapshot of a much bigger picture. Behind the scenes, just to share a few examples, there are moments of: 

  • Fear and anxiety: I have had moments where I have had to deal with a fear of the unknown in this new adventure, anxiety related to having to meet new people and make new friends, and a fear that I may not cope with or be enough for the very intense academic course that I will be completing over the next year.
  • Missing family & friends back home (already!): It's only been two weeks since waving goodbye to South Africa, but there have been moments where I have missed family and friends already! This week my husband and I had to face the fact that we won't be able to travel home to South Africa for the wedding of two of our dearest friends, and after a Facetime session with my family during the week I had a good cry because I miss them. 
  • Feeling 'BLEH': I have had to navigate the healthcare system here in the U.K., and despite the fact that I needed to see a doctor the week that we arrived here I had to wait out a week before I could medical assistance with something that made me seriously unwell and uncomfortable. Needless to say, I have had to deal with feeling 'BLEH' all week long. I haven't been able to exercise comfortably and have needed to rest most of this week, despite wanting to be active and able to be busy busy busy.

Now I'm not sharing this to gain any sympathy, the reason I am doing so is just to highlight that it's important to scroll through your Instagram and Facebook feed knowing that what you see in your newsfeed is most likely not going to be the raw difficulties that others deal with on a daily basis and that there is no reason for you to be comparing your WHOLE life with someone else's highlight reel. 

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Building A Supportive Community

By the time this week came to an end I was exhausted and feeling a bit overwhelmed, but then I came across this Instagram post and caption shared by Nutritionsprout (you'll remember her from this post I shared last year).

When we are struggling with something in our heart, be it disappointment, work challenges, fear, comparison, frustration, health challenges - a ‘medicine’ that I like to use and ( often forget the effectiveness of it ) is to speak it out loud, speak about whatever is bothering you. Tell a friend, tell a loved one, pray about it, but don’t harbor it in your heart. It is like drinking a fresh glass of water, it’s one of the single most refreshing acts you could do - it cleanses you from the inside out.

It reminded me how lucky I am to have many different people that I can share things with - both the ugly moments (my struggles, frustrations, and challenges) and the highlight reel (my moments of celebration, beauty, and joy). I realised that instead of struggling with these feelings on my own, the best thing to do would be to talk about them, pray about them, and let them out of my heart. I took a step back from Instagram to spend time in the present, instead of scrolling through my newsfeed. I also took time to make note of all the things that happened during the week worth celebrating - the joyous engagement of a dear friend, a good end to another friend's BIG project, inspiration and encouragement through voicenotes and phone calls from my family and some friends back home, the new people I got to meet and interact with at church and in class this week, and the fact that my husband was able to leave the office earlier than 7pm yesterday allowing us to have a good evening together.

After taking a step back, I realised that it's really fine not to be perfect, not to go outside and exercise if your body needs rest, not to be the best wife and friend ever and not to be ok all of the time. What is important is to do the best you can where you're at and to take comfort knowing that there is a community surrounding you (whether big or small, near or far), to support you, listen to you, and encourage you even when things are a bit overwhelming. On that note, I would like to encourage all you ladies who are reading this to head over to this Instagram page and give it a follow. Whilst you're at it sign up for their newsletter here. Glow is a platform in the making that is going to be launched very soon, put together by two amazing ladies that have a vision for the space to become one with community and support at its core.

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Finding Peace in the Midst of Perfection

This turned into quite a hefty blog post, sorry about that :) I just really want to encourage those of you who might be feeling a bit 'imperfect' about your own situation/body/circumstances/health (the list goes on) to take time to work through those feelings by doing some of these things that really help me when I am feeling pretty overwhelmed.

 

1. 'Switch off' for a bit

Delete the Instagram/Facebook/Twitter apps from your phone for a bit and go offline for a little while. We can sometimes spend hours mindlessly scrolling through our Instagram feed, absorbing snapshots of other people's lives without participating in the here and now.

 

2. Unfollow if necessary

Clean up your social media feeds and unfollow/unfriend people and accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, whether it be your circumstances, diet, physical appearance, or lifestyle. It's not worth being connected to people and pages that leave you feeling sad, unsatisfied, or bad about yourself.

 

3. Talk to someone, pray, let it out

As mentioned in the quote by Nutritionsprout, acknowledging what you are feeling and sharing it with people who care about you can be the best medicine (just like drinking a fresh glass of water). Don't harbour things in your heart if they are eating you from the inside out, bring them into the light even if you just sit down and pray about them/say what them out loud/write them down on paper.

 

4. Practice gratitude 

Whether you write it down or say it out loud, practicing gratitude and thanksgiving really can remind us of all the good things that we already have in our own lives, in the lives of people we love, and in our communities. Thanksgiving reminds us of the small blessings that many of us get to wake up with each day, whether it is the ability to walk or even just the warm bed we get to sleep in.

 

5. Go for a walk or take time to stretch

This seems like a silly one, but for me walking or stretching are two things that help me to change switch off a bit and clear my head when I find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed. They may or may not help you, but I don't see any harm in giving them a try.

 

6. Celebrate relationships and small victories

Take time to remember the conversations, interactions, and special moments that you have shared with people over the past few weeks. Celebrate those relationships and know that you are loved by those people (I mean why would they want to hang out if they didn't care about you??). Be aware of your own successes, no matter how small, and take time to acknowledge your capacity to love, serve, and contribute in within your sphere of influence.

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Recipe Time (finally!!)

Sooooo now it's time for me to share this delicious recipe with you. It is one of my new favourites, a real treat on days when I am craving something filling and slightly sweet. The overnight oats recipe is pretty standard, but salted caramel sauce makes the recipe absolutely amazing.


Recipe

Serves: 1

Total time: 15min

Ingredients

For the Overnight Oats:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 apple, grated
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp honey/maple syrup
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 Tbsp warm water

Extras:

  • Crunchy granola
  • Pecan nuts
  • Almonds
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds

Method

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large enough jar or bowl. Mix together and place in the fridge overnight.
  2. In the morning, make the salted caramel sauce by whisking together all the ingredients. Whisk in an extra tablespoon of warm water if you would like a runnier sauce.
  3. Remove the soaked oats from the fridge and mix everything together again, adding in 1 Tbsp of the salted caramel sauce while you mix.
  4. Serve the oats with the other half of the salted caramel sauce poured over the top as well as any other extra toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

#gamechangers // Inspiration from The Little Table

Meet The Little Table...

Get ready for some beautiful photographs, a delicious recipe, and words of wisdom from someone who has recently embarked on a journey of holistic health, using food as medicine and changing lifestyle habits one at a time. I first came across The Little Table on Instagram a month or two ago and absolutely fell in love with each and every beautiful photograph that was shared. A couple of weeks ago I reached out to her to ask if she would like to be featured in the Taste & See #gamechangers series and lucky for us she was more than happy to share a bit about her story with us, as well as a yummy recipe for rhubarb and strawberry crumble.

After discovering that she needed to make some changes after being diagnosed with PCOS, The Little Table started her Instagram account as a way to document her health journey and share inspiration along the way. Although she is at the beginning of her journey in health and wellness she has a whole lot of tasty recipes and nuggets of wisdom to share. Grab a cup of tea, find somewhere comfy to sit, and enjoy reading our Q&A here on the blog. Oh, and don't forget to check out The Little Table's Instagram page afterwards, it's amaaaaazing! 

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Tell us a bit about who you are?

I'm a 26-year-old, freckled brunette that loves travelling, going for bike rides and cooking. I currently work as a freelance graphic designer.

 

When & why did you decide to start your Instagram page?

I started my Instagram account about a month ago as a way of motivating me to keep my health journey on track. I also enjoy playing around with photography so I thought it would be a nice way to combine the two.

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What triggered your personal journey with food, health, and nutrition?

I recently found out that I had PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome), which meant I had to start making some changes to my lifestyle and include a lot more healthy food and exercise to manage it. Along with that, I discovered that I have some gut and digestion-related issues which I can only manage through eating gluten-free foods and minimising my dairy and sugar intake. It felt like a double-whammy at the time but I'm slowly learning how to change my feelings and habits around food and turn it from a negative into a positive.

 

What resources have been valuable as you have learned more about cooking, healthy eating, and nutrition?

I have been finding LOTS of health bloggers from around the world whose stories and recipes are really motivating. I'm a huge fan of Jessica Sepel because she teaches you so much about nutrition and how everything is really interlinked with regards to food, exercise, stress and all that you surround yourself with. Her recipes are freaking fantastic too! I've also really enjoyed reading Amelia Freer's books as well as Xochi Balfour (The Naturalista). All of these women are great sources of healthy inspiration for me for pretty much the same reason in that they talk more about a holistic approach to living a healthy lifestyle, one that doesn't only centre around food.

 

What are some of your favourite Proudly South African food products and companies?

Soaring Free Superfoods is definitely one of them because they've opened up a world of delicious ingredients to me that I never even knew about. I'm also a huge fan of UCook. Their recipes are so tasty and they make cooking dinner so easy when you feel like you have no time on your hands.

 

What are your top tips for staying healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally?

I feel like I'm still trying to figure that out myself :) But I would definitely say that having a good support structure has made everything a lot easier for me. Also, not being so hard on yourself. I feel like we can spend a lot of time and energy criticising ourselves rather than embracing out unique minds and bodies. It's a hard road, and one I'm still at the beginning of.

 

What is your favourite go-to meal after a busy day?

Paneer Korma all the way!

 

What is your favourite recreational activity, or rather what do you enjoy doing to wind down?

Riding my bike and baking! We live in a really lovely neighbourhood with a street lined with rows of trees and a great park so riding our bikes in the area really feels like a bit of an escape.

 

What is your all-time favourite special treat?

Maynards Gummy Bears :) They taste like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - well to me at least :)

Recipe time!

Now this is the best part of today's Q&A: The Little Table has been sweet enough to share a recipe for her gluten-free, dairy-free rhubarb and strawberry crumble :) YUM! I can't wait to try it, in fact, I am off to buy ingredients right now to make it sometime over the weekend.

*All images shared belong to The Little Table


Recipe

Total time: 1h

Ingredients

  • 5 cups chopped rhubarb and strawberries
  • 3 tbsp rice malt syrup (or maple syrup)
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 C and grease a large enough baking dish with some coconut oil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped fruit and rice malt syrup and mix till well incorporated. Pour this into your baking dish.
  3. In another mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, almond flour, chopped almonds, coconut sugar and coconut oil. Mix thoroughly with a fork so that the coconut oil is evenly distributed among the rest of the crumble ingredients.
  4. Top the fruit with your crumble and bake in your preheated oven for roughly 45 mins until golden and crisp. Serve with some dairy-free ice cream.

Notes

  • Enjoy with some dairy-free ice-cream or whipped coconut cream :)

 

Savoury Buckwheat Crêpes with Exotic Mushrooms // Recipe Redux August 2017

Savoury Breakfast?

I often lean towards eating 'sweeter' breakfasts - think oats with berries, smoothies, or banana flapjacks. We all know that less sugar in our diets is good for us though, so there is definitely room for improvement in terms of incorporating more savoury breakfasts into the mix more often. This month's Recipe Redux theme got me thinking a bit more about some of the savoury breakfast tastes and textures that I enjoy, and how to incorporate them into something absolutely delicious.

Rise and Shine with a Savory Breakfast - The trend of protein-packed breakfasts is catching on…and back-to-school time is looming. This month, show us new healthy takes on eating savory or dinner-inspired dishes for breakfast. Think egg burritos, beans, and rice, or maybe even pasta?

I have wanted to buy these exotic mushrooms from Woolworths for a very long time but just hadn't had the time to think about how to use them until I read this month's topic. After doing a bit of brainstorming I thought that I'd love to create a savoury pancake with the exotic mushrooms as a filling. I really wanted to do a proper write-up on these delicious mushrooms, but have been caught up in a whole lot of admin that needs to be sorted out before our big move. I will have to do one at a later stage though :) Mushrooms are super interesting and full of goodness. 

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Anyway, I hope that you all enjoy this recipe. It is really simple to make, and the savoury buckwheat pancakes are such a winner. You can make them and enjoy them with pretty much any filling that your heart desires :) Please also make sure to check out some of the other Recipe Redux recipes for this month by clicking on the image under my recipe.

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Recipe

Serves: 2

Total time: 25min

Ingredients

For the pancakes:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt & pepper, TT
  • Olive/coconut oil, as needed to cook

For the filling:

  • 400 g mixed exotic mushrooms (or normal button mushrooms), chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt & pepper, TT
  • Feta cheese, optional

Method

For the pancakes:

  1. Add the egg and almond milk to a mixing bowl and whisk together.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, as well as the leaves from the sprigs of thyme to the wet mixture. Whisk together.
  3. Sift the buckwheat flour into a separate bowl. Slowly add the flour to the wet mixture, whisking as you go to avoid forming any lumps. Whisk until smooth and set aside for 10 minutes whilst you prepare the filling (below).
  4. After allowing the mixture to sit, heat some oil in a non-stick pan over a medium-high heat. When hot enough, add enough crêpe batter to form a thin layer on the surface of the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the crêpe has cooked enough to hold when flipped.
  5. Flip the crêpe over and cook for a few more minutes, until nice and golden.
  6. Repeat until all of the batter has been used up.

For the filling:

  1. Heat up 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan along with the leaves from the fresh sprigs of thyme, as well as some salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Allow the mushrooms to cook until they have softened and cooked sufficiently. Remove the pan from the stove.
  3. As an optional step, crumble some feta cheese over the mushrooms and mix together.
  4. Serve the mixed mushroom filling in the buckwheat crêpes and enjoy whilst still warm.

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Spicy Coriander & Chilli Hummus // and some BIG news

Back To the Basics

Sometimes I can't believe the things that we do to make food and eating SO complicated. I promise you, three years ago I didn't want to touch chickpeas because they were being pushed as bad for us due to their carbohydrate content and the anti-nutrients that they contain. Three years along the line and this same narrative is being played out, just by different parties, but the thing is that legumes are actually an amazing (affordable) inclusion in a well-balanced diet. They contain loads of beneficial dietary fibre, which our gut can benefit from, and if prepared correctly they may be more than fine for your tummy to handle. 

Something I did when I started including more pulses and legumes in my diet was to introduce them little by little, to get my tummy used to them. Legumes are very in high FODMAPs, specifically galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), and can cause gassiness and bloating in many people, but these symptoms can vary from person to person. By introducing legumes little by little, starting with 1/4 cup a day for a few days and increasing the amount slowly from there, I found that my tummy was able to adjust to consuming more legumes quite well. As already mentioned, the way in which we prepare legumes can make a big difference, for example tinned lentils contain less GOS than boiled lentils. This is because GOS is water-soluble (meaning it can 'dissolve' in water) and leaches out of the lentils during processing and storage.

I have done a couple of posts on legumes throughout this year including this one that will teach you how to prepare & cook dried legumes properly, and this one which takes a look at what legumes actually are and the pros and cons associated with eating them. Give them a read if you haven't done so already.

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First Things First...

I have some BIG news to share. It has been on my heart to share this for a while, but I felt that I needed to have all my ducks in a row before putting it out there and letting all of you know. My husband and I are going to be moving to the United Kingdom at the end of this month to start a whole new (unexpected) adventure. A couple of months ago an opportunity, that was just mind-blowingly cool, presented itself to us and after spending a lot of time weighing up the pros and cons and figuring out if it was the right path for us as a couple and each of us as individuals, we have decided to jump in and grab it with both hands. I have been given the chance to change my path slightly and complete a MSc Human Nutrition at the University of Surrey, which is located in Guildford, a little town in Southern England (just South of London). I will thus no longer become a #RD2BE, but will be working towards becoming a registered nutritionist. For those who are a bit confused as to what the difference will be between becoming a registered dietitian and a registered nutritionist, this resource by the BDA explains things quite well.

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Just as a summary, here are a few basic differences in terms of the role that nutritionists and dietitians play.

Nutritionists work in all non-clinical settings such as in Government, food industry, research, teaching, sports and exercise industries, international work in developing countries, media and communications, animal nutrition and NGOs.

There are some nutritionists employed within the NHS working alongside Registered Dietitians. Nutritionists often work freelance as consultants.

Nutritionists work with people who are well, without any known existing medical conditions, to prevent disease.

They cannot work with acutely ill hospitalised patients or those living in the community requiring therapeutic interventions without supervision from a dietitian.

Dietitians work in the NHS and in private clinics. They work with healthy and sick people in a variety of settings. Dietitians can work in the food industry, workplace, catering, education, sport and the media. Other care pathways they work in include mental health, learning disabilities,community, acute settings and public health.

They often work as integral members of multi-disciplinary teams to treat complex clinical conditions such as diabetes, food allergy and intolerance, IBS syndrome, eating disorders, chronic fatigue, malnutrition, kidney failure and bowel disorders.

They provide advice to caterers to ensure the nutritional care of all clients in NHS and other care settings such as nursing homes, they also plan and implement public health programmes to promote health and prevent nutrition related diseases. A key role of a dietitian is to train and educate other health and social care workers.

They also advise on diet to avoid the side effects and interactions between medications.

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Although my path is changing a bit, I am excited to see where Taste & See goes in this next year. Believe it or not but the blog turned 1 year old on Tuesday this week! 1 August marked the day that I shared my first post (this Easy Overnight Oat recipe, which is still a favourite) and made the blog public for all of you to read. Over the past year I have learned so much, and as mentioned in the beginning of this post the way that my eating and relationship has changed over the past year has been amazing. I have learned to love ingredients that I would never have cooked with before, have re-learnt to love carbohydrates again (having actually come to fear eating things like oats, legumes, and rice), and have met so many amazing people through this platform. So thank you for all of your support, and for giving Taste & See a chance :) The best is yet to come.

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Spicy Coriander & Chilli Hummus

Now onto today's recipe. I have fallen in love with making Pick Up Lime's hummus recipes from scratch (seriously, check out this, this, and this one if you want a few go-to hummus recipes). Sadia prefers to use whole food fat sources instead of loads of extra oil that is usually called for in hummus recipes. She uses more tahini than normal as the main source of fat in the recipe and adds a little bit of water instead of extra oil to make the hummus creamy and delicious. This recipe of mine was created out of the blue when I needed to use a whole box of coriander that was about to go off. For coriander haters, I'm sorry, I have learned to love it and this is one of my favourite recipes. For coriander lovers, enjoy :) 


Recipe

Serves: 6

Total time: 10min

Adapted from: Pick Up Limes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 x 400 g can, drained and rinsed well)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp tahini (plus an extra 1-2 Tbsp for a creamier hummus)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 handfuls of fresh coriander (adjust according to your taste)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method

  1. Place all ingredients except for the chickpeas in a food processor. Blend on high until well combined.
  2. Add the chickpeas and blend on high. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides.
  3. Process until the chickpeas are well blended and a smooth consistency is achieved. Add a bit of extra water if necessary to loosen up the hummus a bit.
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Mushroom 'Risotto' Stuffed Chinese Cabbage

Phew, what a week! It's been a busy and emotion-filled, but wonderful week for me. I have some BIG news coming to the blog next week, just to keep everyone up to date with the happenings here at Taste & See HQ, but for now, let's just say that my head can't stop thinking about the large number of to-do lists that I need to complete in the next month.

Risotto time!

If you read my last blogpost you would have seen that I tried out an awesome Munching Mongoose bag last week. As promised in the last post, I said I would be sharing a DELICIOUS recipe that I made using some of the ingredients that we received in our bag. Of all the produce that I found inside the bag, the Chinese cabbage was definitely the one that daunted me the most. I mean what do you do with Chinese cabbage?!?! After doing a bit of thinking I remembered making the most delicious stuffed Asian cabbage rolls last year in cooking class, and I thought why not try something like that. I took a look at what I had in the fridge and found butternut (in the bag that week), some cooked quinoa, mushrooms, a half-used bottle of wine, and Asagio cheese (also in our bag of goodies). Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is what I came up with (with a bit of help from Paola // Cravings in Amsterdam) :) I hope you like it!

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Recipe

Yields: 8 stuffed cabbage rolls

Total time: 1h

Adapted from: Cravings in Amsterdam

Ingredients

For the 'risotto':

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 300 g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt, TT
  • Black pepper, TT
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 200 g plain yoghurt
  • 40 g grated Assagio cheese

For the cabbage rolls:

  • 8 large Chinese cabbage leaves

For the butternut purée:

  • 2 cups butternut, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream
  • Salt, TT
  • Black pepper, TT

Method

For the risotto:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the mushrooms and onions are soft.
  2. Add the wine and quinoa to the saucepan. Cook until most of the wine has evaporated.
  3. Add the yoghurt and Assagio and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the cabbage rolls:

  1. Place the large Chinese cabbage leaves in a steamer basket. Steam for 10 minutes, or until the leaves are soft but not too wilted.
  2. Remove the leaves from the steamer one by one, patting them dry with a paper towel. Stuff each of the leaves with about 2-3 tablespoons of the 'risotto'. Tuck the sides in, roll up the cabbage leaf, and tuck in the ends. Repeat for all the leaves.

For the butternut purée:

  1. Place the diced butternut in a steamer and steam for 10-15 minutes (until soft). Whilst the butternut is busy cooking, heat up the olive oil in a small pan and sauté the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add the steamed butternut, sautéed onion and garlic, coconut cream, and a pinch of salt to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Notes:

  • The butternut purée and risotto make for delicious leftovers, so don't worry if you make a bit too much of each.
  • This recipe is a time-consuming one, but it really is delicious. If you are pressed for time why not just make the butternut purée, or the 'risotto'?

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Sage

This month's Recipe ReDux topic was a bit topsy-turvy for me as it is the middle of winter here in South Africa, and all I feel like eating is a warm bowl of soup:

Beat the Heat with the Slow Cooker/Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker. Whether you go slow or fast, just don’t turn on the oven. Show us how to keep the kitchen cool by using one of these appliances: Slow cooker, instant pot, pressure cooker. 

I used my slow-cooker alright, but I just couldn't bring myself to create a 'cool' dish. Nevertheless, this creamy pumpkin soup is delicious and can be enjoyed warm with some crispy sourdough toast, or chilled with some fresh coconut milk swirled into it depending on the season that you're in. After tasting the Woolworths Pumpkin & Sage Soup I had to develop a recipe that was just as delicious. I love the creaminess of the soup, as well as the delicious pairing of pumpkin and sage. My take on it differs somewhat in that it is dairy free and homemade, and hey, I don't think I did too bad a job :) I topped off my soup with some toasted sunflower seeds (rich in Vitamin E, which is great for your skin) and crispy sage (an absolute treat), but you can top it off with crispy croutons, some cooked rice, some pumpkin seeds, or even some grated Parmesan.

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Pumpkin - what's so special about it?

Pumpkin is pretty delicious, nutritious, and versatile in terms of its culinary uses. Pumpkin is a type of squash that is usually round, with a smooth, ribbed skin that is usually yellow to orange in colour (with a few interesting exceptions). Inside, a pumpkin is usually hollow with a whole lot of cream coloured seeds that are coated in a stringy orange flesh. Pumpkin is technically a fruit in that it contains seeds, but in terms of its nutritional value and common culinary uses, it is more like a vegetable. Pumpkin can be enjoyed in soooo many different ways. In many parts of the world, it is used to make sweet dishes such as muffins, pies, and pancakes. It is also commonly used to make soups, roasted, or as a base for creamy curries. Pumpkin seeds are really tasty, and its flowers can also be stuffed, battered, and fried.

In terms of its nutritional value, pumpkin is pretty great. It is nutrient-dense, which means that it contains a whole lot of good vitamins and minerals with relatively few calories. Pumpkin is very high in beta-carotene, which gives pumpkin its colour, is a very powerful antioxidant and is converted to vitamin A in the body. Some notable vitamins and minerals that can be found in pumpkin (per 100 g) include:

  • 4992 IU Vitamin A (100% DV)
  • 4.7 mg Vitamin C (8% DV)
  • 230 mg Potassium (7% DV)
  • 0.1 mg Copper (5% DV)
  • 0.1 mg Riboflavin (5% DV)

The health benefits associated with pumpkin are mainly those related to the micronutrients that it contains and the fact that it is a good old fruit/vegetable (we know that they are great for us). The beta-carotene found in pumpkin can help promote your immunity, keep your vision in top condition, and keep your skin healthy. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is great for keeping your heart healthy, and the fibre, vitamin C, and potassium found in pumpkin can assist in improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

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Make sure to check out some of the other July Recipe ReDux posts that are up by clicking the image below :)

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Recipe

Serves: 4

Total time: 5h 15min

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500 g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 150 ml coconut cream
  • Salt & pepper, TT
  • 1 Tbsp cornflour (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp water (optional)

To top:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fresh sage leaves
  • 2 Tbsp butter/coconut oil

Method

For the soup:

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the diced onion and the sage and cook gently for about 15 minutes.
  2. Whilst the onions and sage are cooking, add the chunks of pumpkin, honey, vegetable stock, and coconut cream to your slow cooker. Season with some salt and pepper, but don't add too much of either as you can adjust the seasoning later.
  3. When the onion and sage is ready tip it in too and mix everything together. Put the slow cooker on low and cook for 5-6 hours.
  4. When it is ready use a hand blender to purée everything until the soup is nice and smooth.
  5. As an OPTIONAL step if you want to thicken the soup a bit, mix together the cornflour and water and stir into the soup.
  6. Taste the soup and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

For the toppings:

  • To make the crispy sage, heat the coconut oil/butter in a pan. Place the sage leaves in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until the leaves become nice and crispy.
  • To toast the sunflower seeds, place them in a pan on the stove over a medium heat. Toss the seeds every now and then to prevent burning and allow for even toasting.

References

[1] Jennings K. Pumpkin Nutrition Review - What Is It Good For? Authority Nutrition; 2016. Available from: https://authoritynutrition.com/pumpkin-nutrition-review/.

[2] SELF Nutrition Data. Pumpkin, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt Nutrition Facts & Calories. 2014. Available from: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2601/2.

Let's Talk Gut Health // Green Monster Smoothie Recipe

Let's Talk GUT HEALTH!

A couple of weeks ago I hosted the first Taste & See event at my little apartment in Johannesburg. I was a bit nervous to step out and do something like this, but I am so grateful to everyone who attended the event and to those who played a role in making it happen :) The idea behind the event was to share a variety of gut-related evidence-based information with everyone who attended the event alongside some food that promotes gut health. 

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I'll start off with a BIG thank you to each of the sponsors who were generous enough to donate some of their delicious, healthy snacks and treats for the guest's goodie bags:

  • Eat Naked honey & peanut butter squeeze packets are a favorite of mine, so it was great to share some of their products with the event attendees. This is a company that promotes good, healthy eating habits, conscious eating, and superior, authentic ingredients that are good for you. Eat Naked pairs up with African Honey Bee (AHB), a network of local South African micro-beekeeping businesses that produce superior quality honey AND support rural South African communities. Their limited edition creamed aloe honey is definitely my favorite, but take a look at some of their other products if you're interested :)
  • Leafy Greens // Antonia's Real Food was kind enough to share a few bottles of their gut-loving kombucha with us. I absolutely LOVED the variety of flavours of kombucha, which included the likes of Pineapple & Basil and Kiwi & Lavender. If you have a chance to drive out to Muldersdrift you must visit Leafy Greens. It is a lovely rustic cafe that draws inspiration and flavours from all of the organic produce that is grown right on the farm. I love their food mission "...to bring people back to a life lived in harmony with nature by eating living foods. To eat simply again and rediscover the joys of unprocessed ingredients. To savour the beauty of each fruit and vegetable, and to bring out their full flavour and health benefits."
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  • Just Peachy has a range of dried fruits and healthy snacks, free from preservatives, chemicals, and added flavourants. I had the opportunity to taste some of their dried wild berries, CocoPine cashews, and dried mango at a local supermarket a week or two before the gut health event, and thankfully Just Peachy's founder, Kymn, was generous enough to share a variety of their products with us. YUM!
  • And finally, there were a few Wholesome Kitchen bestsellers that were included in the goodie bags. Each guest received a sample of the Ancient Grain Porridge, which features the likes of teff, oats, millet and amaranth in their "whole grain" form, which makes them more nutritionally beneficial than highly processed and refined modern cereals. There was also a sample of the classic All-Rounder Granola, which tastes good with pretty much everything.
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Ok onto the breakfast :) We enjoyed a delicious Green Monster Smoothie (which will be shared at the end of this post for anyone that would like to try it out) sprinkled with some All-Rounder Granola, and then the gut-health talk began with a basic introduction to the digestive system and the gut microbiome (which has a huge role to play in our health and wellbeing). Believe it or not, but our gut microbiome plays a number of important roles in our bodies including:

  • Assisting the digestion of food components in our GIT
  • The synthesis of vitamins including some of the B vitamins and vitamin K
  • Protection from harmful microorganisms by maintaining the integrity of our intestinal mucosa
  • The stimulation of our immune system
  • Communication with our brain, along the gut-brain axis

We then discussed probiotics, prebiotics, the effect of nutrition on gut health, and the relationship between gut health and our brains before continuing with our delicious brunch :)

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After a delicious brunch of Ancient Grain Porridge (full of gut-loving fibre, which works really well to keep your tummy moving), a variety of fresh fruit, kombucha, tea, and coconut-date balls, we continued with the talk. We discussed topics that included leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, and fermented foods. It was wonderful to have input and questions from each of the guests, which included Ankie from Wooden Spoon Kitchen who had a fair share of wisdom to share with us too (you can check out some of her yummy recipes here when you get the chance). 

All in all, I am so happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone and organised this event. It was really special to spend the morning with a group of ladies that were eager to learn more about nutrition and gut health from an evidence-based perspective. I will definitely look into organising another event in the next month or two, so just send me an email if you would like to be updated if I do organise anything or if you have any ideas for the topic of the next event :) 

Oh, wait, before I forget here is the recipe for the Green Monster Smoothie that we enjoyed at the breakfast :)


Recipe

Serves: 1

Total time: 5min

Ingredients

1 banana, frozen
1/4 cup milk of choice
1/4 cup kefir
1-2 Tbsp peanut butter (SF)
1 large handful of baby spinach
1 Tbsp chia seeds
Handful of ice, as needed

Method

  1. Place all of the ingredients into your blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Add ice blocks for a thicker smoothie, and more liquid for a runnier smoothie.