Sunday, April 28, 2013

Good start to a Sunday

Hope you're all having a lovely relaxing start to your Sunday. The weather has turned a bit grey today it seems, none of the lovely sunshine yesterday *fingers crossed it comes back soon*.
I woke up quite early this morning, drank a big glass of water, 40mins of yoga and then sat down to watch cookery programs on tv with one of my favourite weekend breakfasts. A scone! Yey!

Today's scone (meant to be heart shaped but they always turn out a bit wonky when baked and end up looking triangular) is made with organic spelt flour, sweet sultanas, nutty ground flax seeds and goji berries. Did you know goji berries are also called wolfberries? What a cool name?!
I topped my warm scone with my all time favourite jam - Spanish peach. Amazing! And of course had to have a big cup of tea to enjoy it with it (flowery mug is optional but highly recommended).

- Side Note - Do you like my new plate? I picked up a couple of them the other day and am in love!

I'm going food shopping in a bit so I think I'll make a post on what I buy for the week. Nice to have a nose in other people's trollies don't you think? Hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Soft Coconut and Oat Cookies

Wah-hey! You made it through Monday, you deserve a treat for that! How does a soft and chewy coconut and oat cookie with a glass of milk sound? Oh yes! And you know what? You can totally tell yourself they're not too bad for you, they have no butter and contain a heart health fat. So enjoy!!

This a great little recipe that I picked up from a very cute blog (the pictures they have are way prettier than mine) and these were a huge success all round! For my 1st attempt I halved the recipe and I did fiddle around with quantities just a tad, but other than that I stuck pretty close to the recipe. I've had this jar of lovely organic coconut oil for a while and I wanted to put it to use for something other than just cooking (using it instead of olive oil etc.), so I was really excited to find a baking recipe with it. My coconut oil had solidified so I scooped it out into a measuring cup and let it melt in a bath of hot water until it was totally liquified.

So you start off with your dry ingredients in a large bowl; dessicated coconut, jumbo organic oats, organic white spelt flour, pinch of salt, baking powder and soft light brown sugar (set aside in a separate bowl). Then you have your wet ingredients; the melted coconut oil, a large organic free range egg and vanilla extract.

You start off by whisking together your wet ingredients along with the light soft brown sugar (I added a good bit less of this than the recipe stated, 100g was more than enough sweetness for me, but if you try this recipe out yourself maybe put in the full amount of sugar suggested first and then use less the next time if you'd prefer them less sweet), until the mixture is lighter in colour and fluffy. Slowly then add in your dry ingredients and combine. Don't over work the mixture as you don't want to lose all the air you just built up as the cookies won't have the right texture when finished. The half mixture made about 8 large cookies.

Dollop spoonfuls onto a baking tray and cook for 10-12 mins. I think mine took 11 minutes exactly and should just a tiny bit brown around the edges, but they're meant to be pale so don't worry if they look under done, they're not. You have to leave them for 10-15 mins on the tray as they are super soft and would just mush up if you tried to move them. After they've cooled a bit, move them to a wire rack until totally cool. These stored really well for 3 days in an airtight box and were so delicious! A great afternoon treat or a bit of after dinner indulgence.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Health Food Haul

I picked up a few new items to put into the pantry recently and thought I'd blog about them. Some are things I buy quite regularly and a couple are brand new to me and can't wait to try them out.

Myself and my mum popped into a Supervalu the other day (we were getting our car NCTs done and had a half hour to kill) and just as we were leaving I spotted this for just €1! Organic millet flakes cereal. This would be a brilliant alternative to porridge for those who can't eat gluten (although I have started to see gluten free oats around) but even if you can they'd be a lovely change. You can cook it the exact same way as you would porridge or make lovely granola, muesli or flap jacks with it, even add it into smoothies.

Keeping on the cereal theme, I love adding milled seeds to my breakfast it's a great way of adding extra nutrients to a meal. These lovely milled linseeds (also known as flax seeds), are filled with omega 3 fatty acids which help maintain a healthy brain, heart, joints and immune system. They're also full of fiber and research has shown links to preventing cancers. Most importantly they have a lovely nutty taste and you can pick them up pretty cheap in health food shops and supermarkets.

Aren't noodles delicious? My favourite I think have to be soba noodles. This brand you can find in a few big supermarkets (my local Superquinn stocks them) but you should be able to find them in Asian markets too. These lovely organic ones cook in about 3/4 minutes and are perfect in pretty much any Japanese inspired dish (I'm a little addicted to these with homemade teriyaki at the moment)!

Pastes like this one from Biona Organic are so handy to have on stand-by in the cupboard. When you don't know what to cook for dinner just add some of this to a stock with veg and tofu or with a dash of coconut milk to make delicious soups or sauces. This one has a really great kick of chilli to it and is perfect when you're not up for creating your own thai paste from scratch! I'd say you get 4-6 meals out of one tube, but I guess it depends how strong you want the final dish to come out but it's a great little item to have when you're just not sure what to make.

I know I post about it a lot, but I love making breads!! But of course to do so you need a constant supply of flour, one of my favourite (and easily available) brands of flour is Dove's Farm organic flours, in particular their strong bread flour and their white and wholegrain spelt flours. You do need to shop around and see where the best value is, I've seen the same flour range in price from about the €2.50 mark up to €4.50, and when you always need to buy more it really pays to get the best price. I was recently in Avoca in Monkstown to grab a bit of lunch when I spotted they stocked Dove's Farm Einkorn flour, I'd seen it on their website but couldn't find it in any shops I'd been in to, so of course I had to buy it. It's the earliest form of wheat as we know it and was first cultivated over 20,000 years ago, isn't that amazing?!! I think that's incredible. The flour is yellow in colour and I can't wait to bake a lovely loaf with it.

And last but not least in a MASSIVE bottle of agave syrup. I've normally only seen this sold in small bottles, so it was great to find one twice the size and for a good price. It's a really sweet syrup and has a lovely mild flavour, that you can use as a substitute for sugar or honey in desserts, coffee or for breakfast. I use agave all the time so I'm really happy I've such a huge bottle that will last me ages!

Let me know if you've tried out any of these items or if you have suggestions of what I should pick up next!