Pumpkin, ginger and cinnamon bread

Here I indulge my love of all things ginger! Don’t you love this warm colour and spice?! And it goes so well with pumpkin it would be a sin not to pair them… Here is your week-end recipe, just in time!

Libby’s pumpkin purée is a very ubiquitous ingredient in the UK and it is a great product to use when winter makes fresh fruit a bit more scarce… So this is a cupboard or pantry recipe, unashamedly quick and practical.IMG_2049

Ingredients list:

  • Eggs, 3
  • Libby’s pumpkin purée, 3/4 of a jar
  • Brown sugar, 150g
  • Rapeseed oil, 100ml
  • Self-Raising Gluten free flour mix, 150g
  • Bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp
  • Ground ginger, 1 generous Tbsp
  • Cinnamon, 1 Tbsp
  • Vanilla extract

Blend the eggs with sugar and pumpkin purée.

Add the oil, then the flour mixed with the bicarbonate.

Blend in the spices. I use a robot for that but you can make do with a hand whisk because all the ingredients are very easily blendable.

Pour the mix into a rectangular pan and bake for 30 minutes at 180°.

This is a lovely and light cake with lots of seasonal spices, perfectly suited to the winter and delicious with a cup of chai latte or coffee latte.

Because it is rather low in sugar and has no dairy in it, I will still call it a bread but it is as indulgent as it gets! The pumpkin purée makes it very moist and similar to a gingerbread. Just a nice, healthy twist on it…

NO butter, no dairy, no gluten! No fun?! Actually plenty of taste – As I said I DO love all things ginger…IMG_2007

 

 

 

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Blue smoothie for post-Halloween or Guy Fawkes night!

Recovery smoothie

Recovery smoothie

Ingredients list:

  • Kefir
  • crushed ice
  • Blueberries/strawberry mix
  • Spirulina (½ teaspoon is plenty for one glass)
  • Honey

I mixed this drink for myself one morning on holiday and loved it – so here it is, simple and very refreshing.

Mix the ingredients in the ration that you like but I have listed them above by order of recommended quantity.

Kefir is a fermented goat or cow’s milk drink and is wonderful for your digestive system and Spirulina is a powder made of seaweed that can help your energy levels and is beneficial for all sorts of thyroid or fatigue problems.

Shake and enjoy chilled.

Aubergine caviar – In praise of simple food!

“Caviar d’aubergine” or Aubergine dip is a traditional middle eastern dish and I love it everywhere and anywhere because it is super healthy and oh so simple to whip up. I can hardly believe I have not yet included it in this blog… For us, it always goes with our family size pot of hummous and lots of fresh veg and homemade bread to dip in.

I have been recently immersed in the excellent book by Dr Michel de Lorgeril “Le nouveau régime méditerranéen”- a well written, even humorous scientific essay-

IMG_7185 and I am loving the idea that simple, century-old recipes still hold the key to good health and longevity. Aubergine salad or dip is one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet and as such needs to feature in a balanced diet. So here it is : not a fad’ and not made of fancy expensive ingredients nobody has heard of – just authentic, simple and classic food.

 

 Ingredients List:

  • Aubergines, 4 medium size
  • Tahini, 3 Tbsp
  • Lemon juice,  of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Garlic cloves, 2
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper and smoked paprika to taste

Slice the aubergines in two halves, drizzle a little oil over and put them in the oven for 1h at 160°.

Once cooled, peel them and cut them up in chunks. Press them with a potato masher or put them through the food processor with all the other ingredients until you get a smooth cream.

Check the seasoning. It needs to be sharp and well balanced but not too pungent. One tip: cut each garlic clove in twos and removed the greenish shoot in the middle to take the edge off the garlic but still have a beautiful  flavour.

Serve with oatcakes or flat bread. Or just with cut up raw carrots and peppers if you are going Paleo!

A venitian market

A venitian market

Banana, pear, vanilla and cinnamon jam

I do not know about you but I personally love the combo of sweet banana and spicy cinnamon in anything from pancakes to waffles to milkshakes to ice-cream… The list goes on! So I was in a jaming mood the other day, preparing to go up North with a pot, and I thought up this jam recipe. Then realised Mrs Beeton had almost an identical one in her book : Great minds think alike!

I made it quite light in sugar because of the sweetness of the fruit so it probably will not last too long out of the fridge but then it does not HAVE to… Try it on toasted brioche or in my next batch of goat milk yogurt- See recipe here.

IMG_7217Ingredients list:

  • Bananas, 1 kg
  • Pears, 500g
  • Brown granulated sugar, 500g
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • Spices: Cinnamon 1 Tbsp and 1 Vanilla pod (scraped), 8 cloves

Peel and cut the fruit.

Put in the preserving pan, the pears, lemon juice and the sugar. Bring to boiling point. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the bananas and the spices and simmer at jam temperature for 20 minutes to half hour.

Pour boiling hot into clean jars and screw the tops before turning the jars upside down to sterilise from top to bottom. Wipe and  rinse the jars when cooled down.

Keep in a cool place until needed. Once open, it will not keep long …

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Avocado and kiwi frozen smoothie for radiant health

 

Just 3 ingredients and lots of ice...

Just 3 ingredients and lots of ice…

A cooling smoothie with an unusual savoury tang: The smooth avocado marries the tangy kiwi in a delicious if surprising combination.

Ingredients list:

  • avocado, 1
  • kiwi, 1 peeled
  • spirulina powder, 1 tsp (optional)
  • orange, 1 squeezed
  • ice cubes, handful

Blitz all of the above ingredients in your food processor ( mine is a Thermomix) and serve cold in an ice cream glass. I love it as a starter or anytime of day as a smoothie. It is also a great post work out recovery drink! Need to remember that next sunday as I attempt to run the Richmond running festival Half-marathon…

Be sure that, with or without spirulina, this sweet and savoury smoothie packs a big vitamin punch in a small size –  quantities above are per person.

You can source Spirulina powder in health shops. It is great for energy because it contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals as well as anti-oxydants. I can’t say I enjoy the taste of it of in small quantities in smoothies it does the job and provide even more green to your diet… The taste is fresh and clean so perfect to start the day feeling radiant with health and virtue!

Pure green energy

Pure green energy