SPINACH & LEEK OAT PANCAKES

Happy New Year MCLers!

Right so this is it, calendars purchased, spines of new diaries broken in, planners looking… well, empty for January. Pretty sure it's a similar story for you all too where after a month or so of partying and indulging my body and wallet both are feeling the strain! This usually leaves me pretty depressed and wishing the month away but this year I intend to use January to enjoy quiet time, being at home, and a phrase I seem to keep using: 'just being'. My New Year’s resolution is to be content and happy in myself and to look after my body and mind so I can in turn, look after my two gorgeous boys. 

I'm going to do the 21 Day Detox which I am really looking forward to as this allows for exactly that. Reminding myself how to eat well, cook healthily and exercise regularly to get those endorphins soaring. I think this recipe is a good starting point for anyone, whether on a plan or not. The bright green discs definitely bring a smile to my face every time I have them. 

These pancakes were inspired by some savoury waffles that Madeline Shaw made. I read about them on the way to work one day and couldn’t stop thinking about them. I just had to try out my own take on a savoury flourless breakfast alternative.

I completely guestimated the ingredients and quantities and went with whatever I could find in my fridge so yes you’ve guessed it, another VERY versatile recipe that can be tweaked to your tastebuds and feeling that morning (or evening; these would make a great side with some fish, or as a base to be topped with a feta salad perhaps). You could also do a sweet version, maybe a weekend treat of orange zest, honey and cacao nibs for a guilt free jaffa pancake?! 

I had mine as bright green spinach and leek pancakes with a lovely coconut oil fried egg on top  for a fabulous breakfast!

SPINACH & LEEK OAT PANCAKES

The trick is to get the consistency of a pancake batter, one that will ladle easily into a pan yet keep its shape once there. Here’s a rough recipe:

  • 1 cup oats ground to a powder
  • 2 eggs
  • splash of almond or any nut milk (use this to loosen mixture and get consistency right)
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Then simply add ingredients of your choice. In this batch I used:

  • ½ leek
  • handful of spinach
  • 1 clove garlic
  • squeeze of lemon
  1. Whizz all ingredients apart from milk and oats in a food processor.
     
  2. In a mixing bowl, add oats and processed ingredients and combine.
     
  3. Add milk to reach correct consistency.
     
  4. Ladle into a hot pan which has been greased with coconut oil or oil of your choice.
     
  5. Cook for 2-3 minutes on on side then flip carefully and cook the other side. Serve warm. 

Here's to a super clean lean 2016! 
Until next time,
Mandy xx

 

CREAMY SPINACH STUFFED MUSHROOMS

I've got in touch with The Real Junk Food Project this week to see how I can help out with their amazing business venture where they intercept food from supermarkets and restaurants which would otherwise be thrown out despite being in perfectly good nick, and turning into delicious healthy meals. Their Pay as you Feel policy means everyone is able to enjoy a freshly cooked meal, rich or poor and take part in the fabulous community spirit which seems to exist at the cafe both with the volunteers and the customers.

I took inspiration from this ethos when looking in my fridge and seeing some sad looking spinach and some mushrooms which had seen better days. I didn't want to throw them out and wanted a veggie day so came up with these mushrooms. They're very basic but oh so tasty and could easily be a very satisfying main if you used large Portobello mushrooms (I had smaller portabellas in my fridge… I just ate more of them!) The smaller ones would also make a good starter. I put a slither of goat’s cheese on one to see what difference it would make. It added a lovely creamy dimension but for a clean meal, they taste just as good without.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pack portabellas or 4 Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 kg spinach, chopped
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • splash of almond milk
  • handful of parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp oats whizzed in processor
  • 1 tbsp nuts chopped in processor
mushrooms.jpg

METHOD

  1. Melt coconut oil in pan.
  2. Add garlic and leek and fry until soft.
  3. Add spinach and almond milk and wilt.
  4. Add lemon juice and mustard powder and season to taste.
  5. Take spinach mixture off heat.
  6. Spoon spinach mixture into mushrooms placed on baking sheet (mine are on a very used pizza stone, excuse the state of it!) 
  7. Sprinkle over mixed oats and nuts and season.
  8. Place in oven at 200°C for approx. 10 minutes.  
  9. Plate up mushrooms on a bed of leaves, peppery rocket works well against the creaminess of the mushrooms.
sauteed.jpg

Add another splash of almond milk to the pan in which you made the spinach mixture, add a squeeze of lemon and scrape up the garlicky leftovers. Use this as a dressing on plated mushrooms. 

Until next time,
Mandy xx

BLUEBERRY & ALMOND TART

At this time of year when the cravings set in for a hot winter pudding sometimes you just have to give in. 

Fabulous MCL blogger and baker Anna Vrakas of Nourish The Temptation has created this divine sugar, wheat and dairy-free Blueberry and Almond Tart so you can cosy up with a big bowlful and indulge innocently.     

It’s best served with yoghurt, whipped coconut cream or on those grey days when nothing else will do, a splash of custard! 

INGREDIENTS

For the filling: 
 

  • 400g blueberries
  • 100g almonds
  • 50g Sugavida Palmyra Jaggery  
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

For the pastry:    

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (soaked in the almond milk for an hour)
  • 75ml almond milk
  • 50g buckwheat flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp Sugavida
  • seeds of one vanilla pod

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

If you haven’t already soaked your chia seeds, add the almond milk and seeds into a bowl and leave them for an hour until they turn gloopy. Then split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Add these to the chia seed mix. 

In a bowl, sieve the flour and ground almonds then add the soaked chia seeds and start to combine the ingredients until you have a dough. To make it easier to roll out, place the dough into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. 

Put your almonds into a blender and blitz for a few seconds so you get chopped almonds, but not ground. Then throw these into a pan with the coconut oil and gently toss.

After a few minutes, add the blueberries and sugar substitute and gently cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes. Pour this into your pie dish and put it to one side so you can roll out the pastry. 

Sprinkle some flour on your surface, and start to roll out the dough. You’ll need to roll it out to about ½ cm thick. To make sure it doesn’t stick to your surface, I usually lay out a sheet of baking paper under the dough before I start to roll it out. 

You can then cut out any shapes you fancy using cookie cutters, then lay them over the blueberry mixture. Pop it into the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the topping gets crispy. Serve warm with creamy accompaniment of your choice.

 

 

GRAIN-FREE BUTTERBEAN BREAD

Soup season is upon us. A great way to smoosh up all those nearly off veg in the salad drawer, throw in some stock and herbs and create several healthy clean meals without much effort at all. Although not sure about you, but as much as I love a big bowl of steaming soup, whether it be a soothing chicken broth, a fresh pea or a spicy pumpkin soup, more often than not, the thing I love most is dipping a big hunk of bread into that bowl of goodness. Easier said than done when you’re trying to eat clean and stay away from too much gluten. Well, I think I have the answer here...

This butterbean bread is so versatile and you can try unlimited sweet and savory versions. In fact, the base of this bread is my bakewell tart recipe in the ‘MCL Everyday’ eBook which shows you how adaptable this recipe is. I added rosemary and garlic to my bread… see what you can come up with!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tin butterbeans (or cannellini beans or other white beans of your choice)
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g ground almonds
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g coconut oil melted
  • Tweaks of your choice: mine were a few sprigs of rosemary with a clove of garlic

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180° C
  2. Whizz all ingredients in a food processor
  3. Turn into a lined tin loaf and smooth top
  4. Place in oven for 50 minutes
  5. Check centre - knife/skewer should come out clean, if not, turn heat down to 160° to prevent top burning (or cover loosely with parchment paper) and check every 10 minutes until cooked through
  6. Leave to cool on a wire rack before removing from tin
  7. Slice as required

This bread keeps well for several days. Slice as required and toast in the toaster or under the grill as needed and spread with toppings of your choice.

Enjoy!
Until next time,
Mandy

STARTING YOUR CLEAN EATING JOURNEY

BACK TO BASICS

A friend of mine asked me for some healthy ideas for the kids’ dinners that can also be heated up again later when her husband gets home. So I said that I would help and also give her some cookery lessons as she feels unsure on how to prepare and use some of the ingredients.

It's very easy to forget the start of our own clean eating journey and how daunting cooking something new like quinoa can be.

No matter where you are in your own journey here are my top tips to get you off to a great start. We think its really important to get the whole family involved. 

  • Switch everything to wholemeal and wholegrain: the kids’ pasta, rice, noodles and bread. It’s just one shopping trip. Not expensive, not hard and will make a huge difference to their health. Don't make any excuses, they won't notice, I promise!
     
  • Buy more variety of vegetables and fruit. If you have them you will eat them.
     
  • Try new things. Don't be afraid to try new ingredients, cook new recipes or eat new food, if it doesn't work for you at least you have tried it.
     
  • Prepare in advance. I'm not one for batch cooking so instead I just cook an extra pot of lentils or freekeh when I cook dinner so that I have a good lunch planned. 
     
  • Store cupboard. Always have staples like tinned kidney and cannellini beans to hand for quick sides and lunches. Tinned tuna, olives & capers are also great to have at hand to add to dishes for extra flavour. 
     
  • Freezer. I've said it before and I'll say it again: frozen fish is ace. It costs less than fresh and cooks from frozen which means you’ll always be minutes away from something healthy to eat.
     
  • Make your own. I've never been one for pre-prepared and processed when it’s so easy to make your own pasta sauces, houmous or salad dressing. Find some of my recipes for dips here and you will wonder why you ever wasted your money on these. 

Keep up the brilliant work and remember, it's not our abilities that define us, but our choices.
Until next time
Ele x