Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Everyone seems to pull a incredibly unimpressed face when I mention avocado mousse. They seem to imagine a green guacamole type dessert that doesn't sound particularly appetizing, but, they couldn't be more wrong. The avocado simply works as a thickening agent creating a vegan alternative to a chilled chocolate pudding or mousse. The dessert is particularly smooth in texture and the intense chocolaty flavour will deter you from ever going back to the original. The dessert is made with purely natural ingredients so with only four more days of Healthy January to go, why not hold out and give this tasty treat a go.

You will need 

2 ripe avocados 
Half cup of coconut milk 
Half cup of raw (or regular) cocoa powder
6 tbsp Honey (may need more - add to taste)
Small handful of desiccated coconut 
2 tbsp Raw Cocoa Nibs 

What to do...

First, you will need to peel, de-stone and blend the avocados. I find using the hand blender the easiest.

In a separate bowl, gently whisk the coconut milk and cocoa powder until combined. Add the avocado and honey to the mix and whisk again until incorporated. 

You can now add your desiccated coconut and cocoa nibs before piping the mixture into the glasses or dishes you plan to serve it in.

Once piped, refrigerate overnight for best results or alternatively for a minimum of four hours. I like to serve the mousse with something a little tart and fruity on top - frozen mixed berries or orange or grapefruit segments work really well.  

Friday, 9 January 2015

Mixed Berry Frozen Yoghurt

I don't know about you but I'm beginning to seriously struggle through healthy January. I'm in need of a little something sweet but am determined to steer clear of chocolate and all other unhealthy sweet things. In order to satisfy my cravings I'm making an essential tub of mixed berry frozen yoghurt that I can scoop and enjoy when I feel the urge to annihilate the contents of the biscuit tin. For this particular fro-yo, I've substituted the the sugar for honey therefore using nothing but natural sugars - the healthier, the better.

You will need...

200g Frozen Berries
8 tbsp Honey
Juice of half a lemon 
500g Natural Greek Yoghurt
5 tbsp any fruit liquor (Limoncello, Cointreau or Creme de Cassis work best)

What to do...

First you will need to make your berry compote. To do so, put the frozen berries, 2 tbsp of honey and 1 tbsp lemon juice in a saucepan over a medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to the boil, turn off and allow to cool.

Once the berry compote has cooled, you can make the frozen yoghurt. Empty the yoghurt into your mixing bowl, add the remaining lemon juice and honey and stir. Add the fruit liquor of your choice and stir well. The alcohol keeps the yoghurt from freezing over completely. 

Empty the mixture into the container you will be freezing the yoghurt in. Add the berry compote next and keep stirring to a minimum to create an almost rippled effect.

Pop the lid onto your container and freeze overnight. Scoop and enjoy as a delicious sweet yet healthy snack.

If you somehow manage to get fed up of eating your frozen yoghurt as a sweet treat you can add a few scoops to your blender with some orange juice and a banana for a delicious smoothie. 

Once the yoghurt is covered properly, it lasts at best for two weeks in the freezer.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Healthy Option Pancakes

After realising that you have somehow managed to eat triple your body weight in Christmas goodies, one must vow to eat healthily and possibly to restrain from indulging in any desserts or treats for the entire month of January. As you prepare to return to the office, you find yourself thinking of the boring, chocolate-free breakfasts and lunches you're going to have to prepare for the coming weeks. But, hold on, what if you could somehow manage to eat healthily without sacrificing too much flavour at all? This month, I am going to share a series of recipes for healthy alternatives to meals and treats that will leave you wondering how you ever found eating healthily that difficult at all.

First up is the 'New Year, New Me' Pancake, something that my gym-crazed brothers eat on a regular basis. I once turned my nose up at the thought of these three-ingredient-oddities, but, after working up the courage to try one, will never go back.

For one portion of these tasty pancakes, you will need...

1 medium sized ripe Banana
4 tbsp Porridge Oats
2 tbsp dessicated coconut
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Egg
1 tbsp Raw Cocoa Nibs (optional)

What to do...

Simply break your banana in three, throw it into a cup and mash using the back of a fork. Add the egg to the cup and combine the ingredients. Stir in the cinnamon, oats, coconut and nibs and you're ready to start cooking.  

Melt a teaspoon of coconut oil in your pan over a low heat. Using a ladle, spoon your mix into the hot pan. My brothers go for one whopper pancake whereas I like to make three separate smaller ones. The mix should cook off like regular pancake batter, so, once you see that one side is done, flip them over to cook evenly.

How I like to serve them....

The banana can make these pancakes quite sweet so I like to pair them up with something a little tart. First, I stack them, then I plonk a dollop of home-made grapefruit curd on top followed by another dollop of Glenisk natural, organic, Greek-style yoghurt. I then throw on some segmented orange and top it all off with a few dried cranberries and dessicated coconut. 

Take my word for it.

To make these pancakes gluten-free, simply leave out the porridge oats when making your pancake batter.

If you don't trust me and find the thought of banana and egg together totally revolting, why not try this second recipe for gluten-free pancakes. These will work out a little more expensive but they're worth it.

For one portion, you will need...

1 Egg 
2 tbsp coconut flour
4 tbsp semi skimmed milk
1 tsp maple syrup
Pinch of baking powder

What to do...

Whisk the egg, milk and syrup until combined. You can do this by hand - it only needs a little whisking,

Sift the flour and baking powder into the wet mixture and whisk again. 

Once combined, melt a teaspoon of coconut oil in your pan and spoon the mixture in allowing it to cook evenly on both sides.

Stack your pancakes up along with toppings of your choice and enjoy!