Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Spinach brownies

Spinach brownies have now become my "go to" recipe. I've baked a batch of these for nearly every client I've worked on during this busy season, and to my delight, they have been well received by most!
Work has been very busy and tiring during these last few months, but I've always managed to fit in a little baking in here and there as a destresser, even baking till 1am on a one of my busiest working weeks! Anyways after posting this, it's sadly back to working away on my laptop. However, it's not all doom and gloom, a well deserved trip to Mauritius is 18 days away! Ahhhh, just can't wait :)
Note that I've got the horrible habit of just chucking all my ingredients in together without properly weighing them. Therefore, below are my best estimates of the ingredients used, adjust slightly according to your judgement. For example if the batter is too thick, add in a little milk. The aim is to have a "cake batter" like texture. Dark chocolate chips are optional but I find that they do really make these that much more special!

  • 150g fresh spinach, puréed,
  • 30 dates soaked and blended (more if you want a sweeter cake),
  • 40g coconut oil, 
  • 65g whole wheat flour, 
  • 30g cocoa, 
  • Handful of dark choc chips,
  • 1 egg,
  • Pinch of salt,
  • 0.5 tsp of baking powder,
  • 0.5 tsp of baking soda,
  • Drop of milk ( if necessary).
  1. Wash and drain the spinach. Blend with a couple of tablespoons of water until smooth. Soak the dates for a minimum of 20 minutes, throw away most of the water, keeping a little to help blend the dates to a smooth purée.
  2. Add in the egg and melted coconut oil and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, chocolate chips and a pinch of salt until it all comes together nicely.
  4. Spread the batter in a tin lined with baking paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees Celsius for about 20-30 minutes using a toothpick to test when ready.
Enjoy xxx

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Spiced Pumpkin cookies

It's sad to see that my last post was about 3 months ago! However, given that this is Audit's busy season, work has been ridiculously hectic. Spending most of my days on trains or at clients' sites, I've struggled to find enough hours in the day to squeeze in all the other things that I love! I still manage to fit in a couple of gym sessions in a week, where I finally managed to properly deadlift 90 kgs with good form woohoo! Also, I've acquired a new found addiction to pre-workout, it's the perfect supplement to give you that well needed bit of kick to start your workout.
Getting home late on most nights has led to a lack of inspiration in the kitchen. Sadly I could probably count the number of times that I've baked since my last post on my two hands, very unimpressed with myself.

As I'm settling into work life and getting used to constantly being on the go, I've noticed how easy it is to give in and eat a whole load junk! When you're stuck in an office for an average of 10 hours, stressing and trying to get your head round some figures, when your manager brings in loads of chocolates, biscuits and treats, what's to stop you?! Therefore, I've recently decided to start baking healthy and easy snacks perfect for nibbling whilst at work. I brought in some sugar free spinach brownies the other day which seemed to win everyone over!
With temperatures dropping really low recently and experiencing my first proper snow scene, I've been craving some spiced homely goodness. With a cupboard full of canned pumpkin, I played around with what I had in stock and ended up with some bad boy chunky pumpkin cookies. Although I used canned pumpkin, it tasted exactly like plain pumpkin purée so using that would be perfectly fine!

  • About 30 dates, soaked (or more depending on sweetness preference), 
  • 200g of pumpkin purée,
  • 1 egg,
  • 60 g whole wheat flour,
  • 120 oats, 
  • Good dash of cinnamon,
  • Pinch of salt, 
  • 0.5tsp baking powder, 
  • 0.25 tsp baking soda,
  • 50g raisins, dried cherries etc, whatever takes your fancy
  • Handful of dark chocolate chips and shredded coconut (optional but oh so delicious)  
1. Soak the dates in a little warm water for a minimum of 15 minutes, as they soften, drain some of the water keeping about 4-5 tbsps. 
2. Blend the dates up until you obtain a smooth sweet spread. Add in the egg and purée and combine until fully incorporated. 
3.Fold in the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt until it just comes together. Taste the dough at this stage and add in more date paste or sweetener of choice if you want a sweeter cookie.
4. Lightly fold in the raisins, chocolate chips and coconut.
5. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Drop tablespoons of the batter on the tray. Note that these cookies don't rise much so shape them according to the size you want them to be.
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 

I kept mine in an airtight box for 5 days and they still tasted as good. As soon as they were baked, my brother (AKA vegetable hater) grabbed two of them and ate them in no time at all! Success! Hopefully more posts to come as and when inspiration sparks! Xx

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Spinach pancake/wrap

Just a quick post for a long overdue recipe! Not too sure what to call these as it all depends on how much flour you add to the batter as well as how thin you spread the batter whilst cooking.
I kept mine quite wet which resulted in a slightly chewy yet soft cross between an American pancake and a wrap. I stuffed my main pancake with chicken curry and also made a few thinner pancakes which I filled with ham and light cheese, rolled up and served as 'sushi' pieces which were a delicious snack!

  • 100g spinach roughly chopped
  • 180 ml boiling water
  • About 90g whole wheat flour 
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Place the spinach in a large bowl, pour over the boiling water and leave to sit until cool.
  2. Once cool, blend the spinach up until liquid.
  3. Slowly stir in enough flour to make a thick  but pourable batter. It would probably be best to test fry some and then deciding whether to add more flour or not. Season.
  4. Pour a little of the batter on a hot and well greased frying pan, quickly spreading the mixture out with the back of a spoon. Once the edges dry up and the centre of the pancake  bubbles, flip and cook for a minute or two.
  5. Once I made enough pancakes, I quickly scrabbled up the rest of the mixture which went deliciously with some mackerel.
Enjoy x

Monday, 6 October 2014

Healthy crunchy banana, peanut butter oat cookies

This probably makes me sound sad but nothing beats coming home early from work to a big basket of overripe bananas! The perfect way to initiate a destresser baking session. I really like these cookies compared to most healthy ones that I have previously made as they don't required many ingredients and when baked and cool, turn out to be perfectly crunchy and hold their shape nicely.

Makes about 10 cookies
  • 1 large overripe banana
  • Half an egg, beaten
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp honey (more or less according to taste)
  • 10 tbsp porridge oats
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour or flour of choice 
  • 3 heaped tbsp of peanut butter
  • Optional toppings: 1 tbsp melted dark chocolate, desiccated coconut etc...
  1. In a large bowl, mash up the banana until smooth. Blend in the peanut butter, honey and beaten egg.
  2. Stir in the cinnamon, oats and flour until you obtain a thick batter/ wet looking dough.
  3. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and drop on spoonfuls of the batter, trying to form similar sized cookies.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
  5. When cooled, decorate if desired.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Food update for the week!

Hola! Sadly I've been unwell for the past week or so, crazy fever, cold, flu and so on, so my body has been exhausted. However, I don't seem to be the only one! It looks like a nasty bug is going around at the moment and everyone is getting hit in some way or another :(. Having filled up on fruit, herbal tea and lots of water, I'm finally feeling back on track, yay. But oh wait, I have 4 hours of exams tomorrow! Hopefully all goes well.

It has now been a month since I've started my job and my attitude towards food preparation has altered greatly! Daily 9-5s, trying to fit in seeing friends and the gym, I always find myself with hardly any time to devote in the kitchen. So having managed to whip up some quick dishes with what I had in store, I'm really pleased with the results! Recipes for spinach 'wraps', bulgar wheat salad, quick beef chilli/ stew and healthy crispy chicken bites will be posted as soon as possible, but for now a long night of revision awaits.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Chicken, carrot and lentil stew

This is just one of those very easy to put together dinners. Perfect for a week full of serious studying. I somehow was not ready for what ICAS had in store for me! A year's worth of University material covered in about a week studying for this qualification. Although challenging, learning all this material has made me even more exciting and eager to start hands on work with clients in the Audit department.


  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • About 6 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 0.5 tsp paprika 
  • Pinch of chilli flakes, optional
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon 
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 200g red lentils, washed
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, dissolved in about 1 litre of water
  1. In a large saucepan, heat up some coconut oil and fry the onion, garlic and cumin until fragrant and the diced onion has softened.#
  2. Add in the chicken cubes, lightly frying until opaque and just cooked through. Stir in the paprika, cinnamon and chilli flakes.
  3. Add in the chopped carrot pieces and leave to slightly brown for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Pour in the stock as well as the chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add in the red lentils and let the dish cook for at least 30 minutes on low heat, adding more water and stirring as required.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Chickpea frenzy!

My cooking mojo is finally back! Travels now feel like a distant memory, my new career has kicked off and I've finally had some time to myself to play around in the kitchen. I've gone back to that phase of focusing on one ingredient and just trying to make and create as many dishes as possible out of it. Today's focus was on chickpeas because they are so cheap and are also a good source of protein. I managed to make some pretty decent muffins as well as a great crunchy snack, perfect for catching up with the Great British Bake Off.

These muffins are packed full of fibre, low in fat and the chickpeas bump up their protein content. Makes about 10 muffins or 6 large ones.
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 50 g oats
  • 35 g desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50 g raisin 
  • 1 400g can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained and blended
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 egg
  • 70 g honey
  • 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 100 g milk
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds, optional
  • Small handful of dark chocolate chips, optional
  • Handful of sunflower seeds to top, optional
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, raisins, chia seeds and choc chips if using.
  2. In another bowl, mix the blended chickpeas, egg, honey, vanilla, and oil until smooth. Pour into the bowl of dry ingredients and roughly combine. 
  3. Slowly add in enough milk to form a cake like batter. Do not over mix.
  4. Spoon into muffin cases and top with sunflower seeds. Bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees Celsius until golden brown for around 15 minutes.
I have always seen pictures of these on Instagram but never really realised how easy they were to make! This is such a simple and easy to make snack, definitely worth the effort. You can spice them as you wish; salt and pepper, cinnamon, cocoa, curry and so on... Perfect movie munching snack or just as nice used to top salads and soups.

  • 400 g can of chickpeas, drained and dried
  • Seasoning, I used 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Once you have rinsed the chickpeas, drain and dry with paper towels. Completely drying the chickpeas is key and will reduce required cooking time. 
  2. You will find that most of the outer skins will fall off which is perfectly fine and will actually also speed up baking time.
  3. Place the chickpeas on a metal tray and bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Remove the tray, add oil and seasoning, give it all a good shake and bake for another 10 minutes.
Enjoy and hopefully I will be back to updating the blog on a weekly basis :)!