Friday, 28 February 2014

Like A Smoothie Virgin

Today was the first time in 3 weeks (!) I had a smoothie for breakfast! It's been a long 3 weeks...
But I've stuck to my cleanse, not cheated once and now it has got to the magical stage where I can start reintroducing foods back into my diet. Yay! Tasting that smoothie today was like tasting a smoothie for the first time all over again. I felt, giddy and overwhelmed and dare I say it? Like a smoothie virgin :) 

I've been thinking a lot lately (good lord everyone run for cover) about this blog and whether It's something that I want to pursue anymore. I began this little blog a few years a go now, and we've had our ups and downs. It started life as a journal, then became a hazy attempt at a food blog, then I pushed it into craft and d.i.y territory. But nothing ever seemed to stick, my little blog would always shrug it off as I got bored and moved on to the next idea that had my brain in a storm.

But the thing is, I don't want to delete it. I like blogging, it soothes me. So instead of ending it all, I think a change might be better. A fresh start. My little blog is about to grow up, so watch this space.

Happy Friday! x

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Don't Bin It! Roast It!

Let me guess, after you've used up all the florets on your cauliflower and broccoli you pop the stumpy stalk bits in the bin or maybe in your compost or give it to the dog... yes, Billy and Bitsy like eating vegetables.
I always used to throw the cauliflower stump away, until one day as I munched on the raw cauliflower I suddenly had a thought. 

Me and mum have always eaten the stump of the broccoli raw. I remember being little and standing on tip toes to watch her peel and chopping the vegetables for dinner. At the end, before she went out to the compost, she would roughly peel the broccoli stump so that she was left with the soft, sweet part and then cut it in half, giving half to me and crunching her half with a smile.

I loved the taste, it was peppery and sweet and it felt good on my teeth when I bit into it.
So the other day I had that thought in my head and I realised there probably wasn't anything wrong with the cauliflower stump either. So I waited until I had just the stumps left - I laughed when T opened the fridge and saw just two bare stumps and asked why I was keeping 'the rubbish parts' of the cauliflower and broccoli.
Well, I can tell you this; I will almost go as far as saying that the stumps MAY be even better than the florets.

All I did was trim off any really tough parts, but I left most of the skin on. I also threw in a few sprouts that needed using up.
Then chop it into big hearty chunks, smoother them in coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
I baked them in the oven at 200c for about 15 minutes, until the edges were starting to brown and go crispy.

You can see how the coconut oil has seeped into the veggies and, making them really sweet and tender.
So so SO moreish! I wanted to eat more! In fact, I was annoyed that now I have to wait until I've technically 'used up' another cauliflower and broccoli before I can roast the stumps again!

If you wanted you could roast some garlic with these too, and add some spices or lemon if you fancied. I personally like to keep this dish really simple, that way you can really taste the veggies, and believe me, they taste gooood. 

Happy eating! x

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

I LOVE Roasted Red Peppers

So I am loving how cauliflower is like a magic vegetable or something. It can just DO THINGS that no other vegetable can do, I think I really like it...and I think it's getting serious.

So this is a bit of a shove-everything-and-anything-into-a-bowl kind of recipe, following on from the Cauliflower And Kale Bites.
I took the idea of using cauliflower as a base and ran with it, adding this and that to make them hold together so they could be eaten as a veggie burger.
Now, trying to make a veggie burger when I can't include the usual; oats, flours and potato in slightly tricky. But never fear, I believe I may have done it. 

I will warn you, they hold together OK as long as you're not flipping them here there and everywhere. But because they're quite delicate I don't recommend using these on a BBQ. I used a cast iron skillet. They're quite soft so I think they're probably a similar texture to the american 'sloppy joes'.

For the ingredients...
These measurements are very loose, the only rule really is whatever you add needs to be chopped finely and try to keep the moisture low, we want dry vegetables! 

I used about half a large cauliflower
Large onion
Green pepper
Half courgette
Big bunch of kale or spinach
3 Cloves garlic
1-2 Tsp chopped fresh ginger root
Chopped tomato
Tsp chopped chilies
Tsp smoked paprika
Tsp garam masala
Tsp coriander
Large pinch salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 4 tbsp water
1-2 Floz water 
Coconut flour - enough to make a batter plus a bit extra
Handful mix seeds (pumpkin, sunflower etc)
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Righty ho...

In the same way as with the Cauliflower And Kale Bites, you'll need to finely chop the cauliflower, onion, pepper, courgette, garlic and ginger and spread it out on a baking tray and bake at 200c for about 5-10 mins until it starts to brown a bit.
Take it out and leave to cool slightly.

Whilst that's cooling....
Mix your flax seed with the water and set aside to form gel.
Mix the coconut flour with the water until it makes a thick batter - you won't need much coconut flour as it absorbs liquid quickly.

Now once the veg has cooled....
Strain it through a cloth - keep squeezing until you can't squeeze anymore....then squeeze again! You want as much water out as possible.

Put the cauliflower mixture into a bowl, along with the chopped spinach and kale and all spices and salt and pepper.
Add the seeds.
Give it a good mix - if it looks a bit wet you can add a dash of coconut flour to help dry it up
Now add the flax gel and mix well - the flax will help bind it all together.
Now stir in the coconut flour batter bit by bit until it's the right consistency.

Heat a cast iron skillet or frying pan on medium to high heat with the coconut oil.
Grab some of the mixture with your hands and form into burger shapes and fry for a few minutes on each side - until the sides are browned and almost burnt :)

And there ya go folks!
I ate mine with roasted red pepper, roasted and salted cauliflower stalk and homemade avocado pesto.

Happy cooking! x

Monday, 24 February 2014

Cauliflower and Kale Bites

It's day 17 on my cleanse and things are getting a bit...tiresome.
I torture myself with hours spent on Pinterest and pouring through my cook books, preparing recipes to bake when the cleanse is over. I honestly don't know how I have managed the strength to not eat any form of sugar for this long...anybody who knows me would think that robot Millie has replaced sweet toothed real Millie.
It's strange because although it's hard, really hard, it has become the normal. I'm surprised how quickly I adjusted, from little things like just pouring my coffee straight into my mug black, leaving no room for cream or sugar, to going food shopping and not even glancing at the potatoes or fruit.
The first few times I went food shopping I still wandered down the fruit isle, looking longingly at the bananas and berries, thinking why oh why did I not gorge on blueberries when I had the chance?!
But now it is acceptance. I breeze through the shop, only a basket because there's no heavy potatoes or tinned beans to buy, only light bags of spinach and kale. I actually get excited about buying the onions because they're the one thing that brings the most flavour to my meals.
But anyways, I shan't complain for much longer. My herbalist has suggested re-introducing foods soon, maybe in March! It will be such a happy day when I bake my first post-cleanse cake... :)

Well, lets get to this rather yummy recipe...

Cauliflower and Kale Bites

Ingredients - makes about 10 bite sized balls

6 oz Cauliflower
2 oz Courgette
1 Small red onion
3 Cloves garlic
Big bunch of kale
1 Tbsp chopped ginger root

2 oz Cashew cream (about 1 oz cashews blended with water to make 2 oz)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
Large pinch salt 
Large grind of pepper
Splash of water (About 3 tbsp)
2 Tbsp coconut flour
Squeeze lemon juice (About 4 tbsp)
1 Tsp basil
1 Tsp oregano
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp coriander
1 Tsp chili power or chopped chilies

First things first....
Pop your cashews into some boiling water and set aside.
Chop the cauliflower, onion, courgette, garlic and ginger very finely. Spread it our thinly on a baking tray and bake for 5-10 minutes on 200c - we don't want it to burn! When it starts to go a tiny bit brown take it out. Leave it to cool.
Whilst that's cooling.....
Drain your cashews (they should have softened slightly) and blend them with the coconut oil, salt and pepper, water, 1 tbsp coconut flour, and lemon - we want a thick batter consistency - you may need to add a dash more flour/water.
Put the cooled cauliflower mixture into a cloth - I use my jam straining cloth - and squeeze out all the water. You'll be surprised by how much water comes out!
Once strained...
Pop the cauliflower mixture into a bowl and mix in the spices and last tbsp coconut flour. Then stir in the cream mixture until it's all combined. Add in your kale now too - I chopped mine very finely so I could put it in raw.
Grab your baking tray.....
Scoop out the mixture and shape it in your hands - I rolled it into messy balls but you could make them into mini burgers too!
Pop them in the oven and bake at 200c for about 30 minutes or until browned and crispy.

Hope you enjoy! 
Happy eating! x

Thursday, 20 February 2014

I Love You Because You're Green

So It's day 13 of my cleanse...and I'll admit, I was getting BORED. And what would I usually do when I had a spare hour or simply needed cheering up? Yep you guessed it, BAKE. But no no no. Must be good. 
But I thought no, I shall not despair and descend into a blubbering mess or indeed madness...although I was close.
I decided to summon some of the enthusiasm I usually feel when it comes to devising new recipes and applied it to my cleanse.
And ta da! Healthy, satisfying and colourful broccoli soup with a cashew cream.

But oh I didn't stop there...

Say hello to the best little nugget-y thing ever... 
Spiced cauliflower and kale nuggets!
Although I'm not sure that I really want to call them nuggets...the word nugget makes me think of that greasy smell that hangs around outside KFC...URGH!
Hmmm, but what else can one call a just-bigger-than-bite-sized-crunchy-on-the-outside-slightly-softer-on-the-inside-textured-blob?
A savoury cake? A mini burger? 
Any suggestions would be most helpful!

Anyway, here's how to make the Broccoli and Cream soup.

Serves Two

4 oz Broccoli
1 Leek
3 Garlic cloves
Coconut oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
Black pepper
Big handful spinach
1-2 oz Cashew cream - depending on how creamy you like it

How to make Cashew Cream

This is a quick and easy recipe. All you need to do, is boil 1-2 oz cashew for a few minutes until they're soft.
Then blend them with water - add the water little by little until you reach the consistency you want.

For the soup

Saute the leek in the coconut oil, salt and mustard seeds.
When the leek starts to become soft add the garlic.
After a few minutes add the broccoli and stir so it's coated in the oil.
Add enough water so that it almost covered the broccoli and let it simmer until the broccoli becomes tender.
Now remove from the heat and add in the spinach, stirring so that it wilts down into the soup.
Add the cashew cream (leave 2 tbsps) and stir to combine before using a hand blender to half blend the soup - I don't like to blend it all as I like chunky soup!
Season with salt and pepper and serve into two bowls. Drizzle with the remaining cream and enjoy!

If you like the look of the Cauliflower and Kale Chunks then watch this space - recipe will be coming up next!

Happy eating! x

Growing Up

Our little garden is growing! :)

I can't wait until the herbs have grown big enough to be re planted into larger pots. I need to get some pretty flowerpots ready to line them up on the roof outside our kitchen window.
Hopefully one day T and I will live in a house with a little garden...or a big rambling garden! And I'll be able to grow sweetpeas and sunflowers and herbs that make the air smell nice. And maybe some vegetables too. 

Spring is coming! x

Monday, 17 February 2014

Day 10 - Spicy Vegetable Soup

This is one of my most favourite soups! I know sometimes the words 'vegetable soup' can sound boring, but I actually CRAVE this soup more often than I'd like to say...
It's wholesome, warm and spicy and because I don't blend it the chunks of broccoli and cauliflower are satisfying to eat.

It's one of those meals where you can throw everything into a big pot and let it bubble away and tastier by the minute.

And what's more it's sooo damn easy to make! 

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 Leek
1 Tin of tomatoes
4 Garlic cloves
Half courgette
2 Sticks of celery
Big handful of cauliflower
Big handful broccoli
Half cabbage
Big handful purple sprouting
Handful sprouts
Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger 
As many chopped chilies as you like!
1 Heaped tsp smoked paprika
1 Heaped tsp oregano
1 Heaped tsp garam masala
1 Heaped tsp cumin
Large pinch salt
Coconut oil

Grab your large, heavy pan.
Chop all vegetables into large chunks.
Saute the leek and celery in the coconut oil with the salt and spices for a few minutes.
Then add the garlic, ginger and tomatoes, simmer for a few minutes more.
Then all of the veg apart from purple sprouting (this doesn't take as long to cook) and add enough water so that the veg is pretty much covered.
Simmer away until the veg is almost cooked, then add the purple sprouting and simmer until tender.
You can blend half the soup and leave half chunky, if you wish to make it a bit thicker.

Yum yum YUM! 

Happy cooking! x

The Valentines Day

I'm not going to lie, I LOVE Valentines day. It's a day for treats and spoiling the people you love as well as yourself. And since red is one of my favourite colours I get to skip around in a world painted pinky red and surround myself with all the things that make me happy.
I would normally bake bake bake the day before, preparing a feast for me and T to gorge on. However as this year I'm on my very limiting cleanse, I did have to tone it down slightly *sigh*.
But we decided to kick it old school with a movie at the cinema and then spent the weekend cuddled up reading papers and eating soup :)

All the gorgeous flowers T bought me :) We ran out of vases and bottles so Oscar the teapot had his time to shine!

I baked T heart shaped spiced bean and spinach tarts, I'll be putting the recipe up soon because they're just so simple! I couldn't eat the pastry but I made extra filling for me.

I also baked T some gooey, messy heart, marz bar cookies! He loved them! They looked so neat and pretty but then in the oven they spread because of the caramel in the marz bar, doh! But T said they tasted better messy :)

Because I'm not eating sugar at the moment I knew I wouldn't be able to have any of the cookies *sigh* but I needed a foolproof way that would guarantee I wouldn't sneak a bite....hence the marz bar! 

I made T a card (first picture) and a doodle board full of little drawings.

Every time we go out and we have a coffee or any drink, I always take a photo. I started it right when we first got together. Sounds crazy I know, but now I have a photo album of all these memories that would have been forgotten. I love being able to look back and say 'oh hey remember that was when we were flat hunting and we popped into that tiny coffee shop'.

I made a huge dish of roasted veggies and homemade avocado and kale pesto.
I also made myself a little something to take to the cinema with me. I'm one of those gals that can.not. Sit in the cinema without something to nibble on. Normally it's a large popcorn, sweet AND salty (since popcorn is my favourite food EVER) but of course my cleanse wouldn't allow it.
So I made these...

They're really simple and easy to make! I'll pop the recipe up soonly. 
I call them Almond and Coconut Bites, because all they have in them is almond butter, ground cashews, coconut milk and dried coconut.

I wore my pretty little cropped red top with high waisted skinnies and a slouchy cardigan.

Me and T :)

I hope you all had a love filled Valentines! x