MODEL MANGE TOUT

I am a full time model and nutritionist living in London, and will soon be launching a new range of gluten and grain free breakfast products. I work alongside the SBC to help change women's perspectives of eating the right way. My recipes are made using foods our bodies really need, but in incredibly delicious ways. I use only natural, wholesome ingredients and all of my recipes are free from gluten, grains, refined sugar and dairy. I want to prove that eating healthily doesn't have to be difficult, boring or expensive and that you can make even the most indulgent snacks incredibly nutritious with the right ingredients!

You Don’t Have To Be A ‘Juicer’ In Order To Juice

What started as a Hollywood craze that most of the general public rolled their tired little eyes at is fast becoming the most popular way to get healthy, quickly and easily. The predominant advantage that the modernised food market has over local, healthy produce is convenience. Ready meals, snacks and coffee shop lunches are quick, cheap and easy. Healthy eating requires more attention, more time and fresher ingredients and often means ‘splurging’ compared to what most people are used to spending at lunch time. With celebrities as common ambassadors of healthy living, most people assume that you have to tap into your life savings in order to improve your diet and begin to reconsider your lifestyle choices. However, like anything, if you’re serious about it, you invest in it. Your body is the greatest instrument you will ever own. It is the only thing you will ever have this much control over and you are the only person who decides how it is going to be treated. The food choices you make determine your body, your mind, your mood, and your inevitability to develop disease or to become unhealthy and unfit. Think about how much money you can easily spend on cocktails in one night, and cold-pressed juices suddenly seem relatively reasonable. Yes, okay, eating healthily can cost a little extra, if you’re stocking up on cold-pressed juices and superfood powders, but the thing is, you don’t have to. Making small changes to your diet can have incredible benefits. Merely replacing rice with quinoa (roughly £2-£3 more expensive than rice) can provide you with more energy, vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and fibre than you’d otherwise be achieving from a single meal. So now we’ve got the price issue out of the way, lets focus on ease.

Convenience food is easy and not a lot else. It is quick, which is where it gets the term ‘fast food’ from, and it is so readily available these days. On every corner there is a grab-and-go lunch chain and at supermarkets there are constant offers on microwavable ready meals. Okay, making raw spaghetti out of vegetables is of course a pretty arduous task which is an example of healthy food being too much effort. But take a look at juices and you’ll realise they are the health food industry’s answer to quick and easy. Not only are they just as convenient if not more so (no cooking, no preparation) than most ‘convenience foods’, they also consist of actual real, nourishing ingredients. Juices are concentrated concoctions of more than your 5 a day and are made fresh before being bottled for take-away. You can grab one on the go and in seconds have 10 times the nutrients circulating your body than you’d usually be able to retrieve from a single meal. Convenience foods, on the other hand, are, yes quick and easy, but don’t provide half the amount of nutrients or real goodness that juices do. London has only recently become home to some of the most innovative juice bars and health food eateries i know. There are now juice bars dotted all over London, and even places like Pret are selling nutritious greens juices. Some companies even deliver to your house, so it really couldn’t be easier.

The problem is that when people think of juices, they immediately think of a juice cleanse. They picture a lanky lady with a full face of make up on her way to the gym and they think, nah, I’m alright thanks, i’ll stick to my BLT. The truth is, you don’t have to be some kind of health fanatic and you certainly don’t have to embark on a week-long fast in order to enter a juice bar or enjoy a bottle of ‘drink your salad’. It may not seem like your style as you observe these health bunnies from the side lines, but it doesn’t have to be. You drink choice/regime - whatever, doesn’t have to define you. You don’t have to be part of a club and i promise, you don’t have to wear your gym kit everywhere you go. One of the main assumptions i want to discuss is that you don’t have to give up solid food either. This is often an obstruction people create for themselves, as they assume that drinking juice means drinking juice, water, herbal tea and losing touch with their kitchen completely. The idea of going one or three or five days without solid food is what puts people off. The thing is, drinking juice as well as eating normally has just as many positive affects, if not more. As long as you choose the right kind of juice, incorporating it into your current diet now and then can have incredible health benefits and can really support healthy cellular function and improve digestion, hair, skin, energy levels and moods.

I recently attended an early morning juice tasting discussion at The Detox Kitchen in London. Amongst all of us, we agreed that food should not be replaced by juices, but that juices should be added to current diets in order to instantly and easily increase a persons intake of vital vitamins and minerals. “We see juices as an addition to a healthy balanced diet, when enjoyed with other foods. They can have real health benefits, from better digestion, higher energy levels and brighter skin,” Lily Simpson, founder of the Detox Kitchen, says. I think it is important to incorporate a fresh, preferably vegetable-based, juice into your daily or weekly routine as often as possible. Depending on your goals, the less fruit it contains, the better. Fruit contains high levels of sugar and although this sugar is natural, it still has a similar affect on your body and your blood sugar levels as other sugary foods. To any total juice virgins, i would recommend to take it slowly and to start with juices containing small amounts of fruit such as apple or pear. I would then advise to substitute these with subtly sweet vegetables, such as carrot, beetroot or squash. And if you’re making these juices from home, you’ll be surprised to learn that some vegetables actually become sweeter once they’ve been juiced. Courgette, cabbage and brussels sprouts are wonderfully flavoursome ingredients to add to juices, although they may seem like the most unappetising. Combine ingredients you know and love, and ease yourself into making a heavily vegetable-based juice a major component of your diet. They help to cleanse and detoxify the body as well as to repair them after infection, injury or just after a workout. Juices are brilliant substitutes to snacks too. Drink them as fillers to stunt cravings between mealtimes. Drink them as boosters, to give you an instant energy hit before an important event or to see you through the journey home after work. Just one juice a week can have majorly positive effects on your health, digestion, skin, hair, nails, modes, energy levels, blood sugar levels and even weight maintenance, as they will keep your body satisfied with nutrients for longer.

JUICES IN LONDON:

The Good Life Eatery:
Thinking back to almost a year ago I think The Good Life Eatery was the first place I ever had cold-pressed juice in London. Having been in New York surrounded by juice bars, I’d returned to London having accepted there was just no equivalent. Then The Good Life opened, and everything changed. The Good Life Eatery is my favourite place in London. They have the food locked down, offer all of the right things, have the most intense juice combinations and most importantly, have a great vibe. Their greens juices come with or without fruit depending on how serious you are feeling, and their other flavours are incredibly refreshing and energising. I could quite literally spend the whole day here. But it seems I don’t need to, as they have recently announced their delivery service. (uh oh).

Imbibery:
Imbibery consist of two beautiful ladies who’ve practically brought all of New Yorks health secrets to England. Selling cold-pressed juices and a combination of nut milks, they have a flavour or form to accommodate any kind of need. With a wide variety of flavours, their juices are easy for anyone to incorporate into their current diet. The great thing about Imbibery is that they don’t work on a cleanse-only basis. You can order just one juice online and have it delivered to your home or to work. They also offer intense shots, such as ginger, turmeric and lemon - an even more concentrated combination of the freshest, most cleansing ingredients. See their website for their list of stockists.

Roots and Bulbs:
A brand, spanking new juice bar located in Marylebone, perfect for time-poor customers looking for some instant TLC. With an open fridge you can easily and quickly choose the juice that is right for you. They come in durable bottles which are easy to transport (although don’t leave them out of the fridge for too long) and are also available in small sizes - perfect for travelling. And, I know we’re talking about juice here, but, the coconut water. Just. Thank me later.

Canyon:
A tiny little corner of heaven located in Westbourne Grove, inside a slightly bigger corner of heaven, known as Joseph. I love everything about Canyon Juicery. The branding, the names, the colours and their entirely unique flavours. There’s nothing exciting about going to a juice bar and ordering exactly what you had last week somewhere else. The sweet potato blend is one i experimented with at home, and to find it in-store, ready made and done even better was great. Grab and go or order online for delivery to your door. The only downside to this place is that you are required to walk past rails of Joseph-selected clothes without breaking down in turmoil. Good luck with that.

Lovage:
East London - especially Shoreditch - has become stereotyped over time and now all anyone ever associates it with is the smell of stale alcohol, and people in what can only be described as fancy dress. If you can see past this, you’ll notice it is home to so many brilliant eateries nowadays, as well as innovative, independent shops and other creative spaces. I stumbled across Lovage recently and although their menu is petit, it is inventive and delicious. I had a greens juice sweetened with squash. Operating out of a window in the corner of a small building, there is nowhere to sit down and take time over your drinks, but it is perfect if you are passing by or in a rush.

The Juice Well:
Brand new and full of incredible in-house snacks, The Juice Well is the newest addition to London’s health food scene. With a large smoothie menu and the option to add extra super foods, they can pretty much tailor your order to your personal taste. The fridges are fully stocked with juices and dairy free milks, but what’s different about them is that they also offer things like chlorophyll water, lemon, pineapple or mint infused reverse osmosis H2O and concentrated shots of intense ingredients, like ginger, cayenne and lemon.

Prêt a Manger:
Definitely a more affordable juice option, and also even more convenient, as we all know we will be within walking distance to at least one Pret store wherever we are in London. Offering a selection of mixed fruit and vegetable juices, it is definitely a good place to start. No additives, no sugar, not preservatives. All real, all natural.

Crussh:
Crussh has been around for a while now and an the best thing about it is that you can more or less build your own juice or smoothie. They offer wheatgrass shots, an abundance of superfood boosters such as acai, vitamin c, omega 3 and bee pollen and a brilliant variety of fruit and vegetables to juice together as you wish. Not cold pressed, but again, quick and easy and incredibly high in fibre.

Other places to visit for quick and easy personalised juices and smoothies, visit Nama Foods Notting Hill, Natural Kitchen, Planet Organic, Wholefoods, Blend and Press and The Juicery (a beautiful spot in Marylebone to sit, relax and enjoy a nutrient-rich juice or smoothie when you’re in less of a rush).

Read the full write-up of our Detox Discussion here.

PURA VIDA SOCIAL CLUB

Haven’t been here in a while…


Working day and night to locate the last remaining seeds of Quinoa on the planet so i can finally launch Qnola’s online shop has left me very little time to update my blog. If i do get time to cook i can’t guarantee i’ll know where my camera is and to be quite honest, no one feels inspired to cook anything if there’s no visual encouragement. So, there’s very little point of me doing it i’m not going to do it properly.

But as of today (new week, fresh start) I am going to make a conscious effort to find more time to upload a selection of recipes i have been working on recently. The summer arrived and i hardly even noticed, with my head buried under ten thousand pots of Qnola, so i am yet to stop and embrace it (by which time the sun will have buggered off prematurely, no doubt). My favourite BBQ and picnic recipes will be up soon enough, including wonderfully creamy ice cream and an Eton Mess like no other. In the meantime, I have an incredibly exciting announcement to make, and you’re hearing it here first.

Pura Vida Social Club is the newest addition to London’s expanding array of health and wellness events. Most people when they hear ‘health and wellness event’ will imagine rows of stackable chairs in a humid conference room or seminars delivered blandly to a multitude of knowledgeable people, followed by highly opinionated discussions. Pura Vida Social Club, on the other hand, is a different kind of event altogether. With live music, crafts, discussions, activities, food and drink, Pura Vida Social Club is like someone has taken Shambala and concentrated the best parts of it into a chic East London warehouse.

The launch of this fortnightly, festival-vibe event will take place on July 16th. When I first went to view the venue my hopes weren’t especially high as I climbed an eerie stairwell, but I was reassured instantly as the doors swung open to reveal an incredibly vast space filled with beautiful Danish furniture, complete with a bar stretching from one wall to another. Tickets for this event are now on sale …



“PVSC will provide a night of sensory exploration with spirit, substance and style, bringing together like-minded people for an evening of food, music, craft and conversation for the mind, body and soul”.



The launch event will feature an arrangement of wholesome, nourishing food and drink, as well as a selection of tantalizing cocktails to see you through the evening in true festival style. Ticket prices include four savoury food options created by The Detox Kitchen and Xochi Balfour of The Naturalista, followed by two ‘sweet’ options made by myself. Punch Foods will also be providing us with secret ingredients, and drinks will be concocted by the Imbibery juice experts. All food will be made using 100% natural ingredients and will be free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar.



Following this, you will have to chance to take part in open discussions, workshops and craft activities such as jewelry making, mandala painting and talisman workshops. Don’t ask me much about these as I couldn’t give you answers; just go with me here and embrace the excitement of not knowing (what DO i sound like!?).



There will be live music from folk singers, acoustic legends and DJs on the night, along with an astounding sound bath performance, which, again, i know very little about. I have only been promised that it will send my body into a new state of relaxation and enlightenment and, well, I don’t think i’d mind that at all… For more information on who will be playing, follow the link at the bottom of this post.



The whole vibe of the evening will be incredibly chilled and laid back and you won’t have to take part in everything if you don’t want to. With music into the night and a bar within eyeshot, we encourage you to find a spot among the cool interiors, make yourself comfortable, eat, drink and just relax.



Tickets are available now at https://billetto.co.uk/events/50287, so gather your friends and come along for an evening of incredible food (if I do say so myself), music, art, crafts and general laid-back mingling. Don’t feel alienated if you aren’t familiar with the activities and workshops mentioned above, it is all going to be incredibly new to me too. The interiors alone are enough to make you relax whilst you’re overdosing on nutrients, but once the sound bath begins, you’ll completely forget you’re in a warehouse off The Kingsland Road.

BLACK BEAN PASTA AND COURGETTI WITH VEGETARIAN RAGU(S)

Today I found myself walking past Planet Organic trying to think of something I needed, to give myself an excuse to go inside. I do this a lot, and every time I go to a health food shop for one thing, I exit with at least 4, and sometimes this doesn’t even include the thing I went in for in the first place. They are dangerous places, even more so when you’re hungry, or, like I was today, feeling creative and easily inspired.

On my way to the till having picked up what I needed, I passed through the pasta isle. I used to eat pasta almost every day when I was at school. I would come home from school ravenous and make a bowl of pasta with cheesy baked beans. I know. Grim. But it tasted incredible. But since changing my diet, I haven’t had pasta once, and to be honest, my body doesn’t crave it. I admit my eyes do sometimes, as well as my nostrils. If i see a saucy pasta dish on a TV advert or walk past an Italian restaurant which smells as if it is actually built of basil and cheese, then I almost begin to miss it. However, in my opinion, it is always the sauce and the toppings that give a pasta dish any flavour at all. This is why I love making courgetti, because it is the same texture as regular spaghetti and doesn’t taste of much at all. The only difference is it isn’t doughy - other than that it tastes, in my opinion, just the same once it’s covered in sauce. The important thing is to keep the sauce relatively healthy too, monitoring your use of cream, cheese and processed meats. The recipe below is completely dairy free, vegan and vegetarian.

Like most things in the shops, ‘healthy’ pasta is likely to contain a lot of ingredients you don’t recognise and these are ultimately things your body wont recognise either. All sorts of flours, stabilisers and emulsifiers may be present, amongst other ingredients. Most of these products are also high in starchy carbohydrate and sugar, and really aren’t that good for you at all. I tried Quinoa Spaghetti about a year ago now and loved it, but it still filled me up a little too much and although it was gluten and grain free, still felt quite stodgy to digest. So when I walked past Black Bean Spaghetti today, I had to investigate the packaging further. There were two ingredients: Organic Black Beans (92%) and Water (8%). This sounded instantly better than what surrounded it on the shelf as it was made for completely natural ingredients. No flour, not additives. Just beans and water. I was completely sceptical about putting it in my basket but felt so inspired that I had to give it a go. The store was out of turkey mince and I knew I had a fresh cauliflower at home, so I enjoyed mine with Cauliflower Ragu. Such a winner.

INGREDIENTS:
A Packet of Black Bean Spaghetti and/or Courgetti
6 Medium-Large Tomatoes
10 Plum Tomatoes
Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
2 Handfuls of Spinach Leaves (or kale), chopped
1 Large Garlic Clove, chopped or crushed
1-2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Herbs (Rosemary, Oregano, Basil and Mixed Herbs)
1/2 Large Cauliflower (you can also use quinoa instead which makes a delicious vegetarian ragu with the same kind of texture and consistency)

METHOD:
Start by making the sauce as the courgetti will only take a few minutes and the black bean pasta only needs about 6 minutes to simmer. Chop the tomatoes into small chunks and pour a teaspoon or so of olive or coconut oil into a saucepan. Once melted, add the tomatoes to the pan followed by the basil leaves and the garlic. Stir in the spinach or kale along with the nutritional yeast, salt, dried herbs and other seasoning you may like to use. Cook over a medium to low heat for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the cauliflower and make it into a rice consistency. Doing this will add texture to the sauce (as well as more vitamins and nutrients) and resembles the texture of mince meat very closely. Start by chopping the cauliflower edges into small pieces and place in a food processor or blender. Take the stalks and the tougher inside of the cauliflower and dice finely before adding to the blender. Blend for about 10-20 seconds. You only need to pulse it briefly as the pieces will break up instantly and you want to avoid making it into some kind of puree.
Once the sauce is reducing and becoming thicker, add the cauliflower rice or ‘mince’ to the sauce pan and stir until evenly coated. Simmer for another 15 minutes in order for the cauliflower to become a tiny bit softer and also to absorb the flavours of the sauce.
Now make the ‘pasta’s’. Boil about 2 cups of water in a saucepan and then add the black bean spaghetti. I used about 1/5 or 1/4 of the packet for one serving. Simmer for 5-8 minutes, depending on how you prefer your pasta cooked. I like mine al dente so I drained mine after about 6 minutes.
Take your spiralizer or julienne peeler and start making the courgetti. You don’t really need both - i basically bought a courgette in case i really didn’t like the black bean pasta. But i did, so in the end i used both which obviously increased the variety of nutrients. I used just under half a courgette, peeled into spaghetti with my julienne peeler. You can also use a whole courgette if you don’t have/want black bean spaghetti, or you can leave the courgetti out if you just want to use the black bean spaghetti.
Place the courgetti into a bowl and drain the black bean spaghetti. Add this to the courgetti and mix to combine with your hands. Give the sauce one last stir and season before pouring over the ‘pasta’s’. I recommend string the sauce through the pasta to coat it evenly. Top with a little nutritional yeast or organic cheese if you are not dairy intolerant, and add chopped pine nuts or seeds for extra flavour and texture and to further increase the nutrient content.

- THE SIX FLAVOURS OF QNOLA - AVAILABLE SOON ONLINE AND IN SELECTED STORES -

- THE SIX FLAVOURS OF QNOLA - AVAILABLE SOON ONLINE AND IN SELECTED STORES -

QNOLA PRESS LAUNCH AT THE DETOX KITCHEN

So.

Finally Qnola is materialising and becoming more than just a mysterious Instagram regular or something you hear about but can’t actually see - or pronounce for that matter. At the beginning of this week I held a launch event to celebrate the first exclusive stockist of Qnola - The Detox Kitchen. We held the event at the newest Detox Kitchen location on the cobbled streets of London’s Kingly Street. I organised a Qnola Breakfast Spread for people to pop in to and enjoy en route to work. I made five of the six official flavours of Qnola, for guests to enjoy with The Pressery’s Almond Milk, Coyo Coconut Yoghurt and some homemade Sweet Potato Cashew Pudding – a ModelMangeTout favourite. We served it all on a long table for people to tuck in to as i wanted to create a relaxed sharing vibe. I always loved laid-back weekend breakfasts with the whole family around the table, and believe it is so important to take time over your morning meal, whenever possible.

However, a Monday morning is never going to be chilled, especially at a popular deli in central London full of people on their way to work. So I put together some take away goody bags for time-poor guests to enjoy from the comfort of their desks or on the journey to work. A pot of Original Qnola sat inside accompanied by The Pressery’s Almond Milk, Coyo, Aduna Baobab Powder, The Chia Co Chia Seeds and Organic Super Blends’ Superfood Powders - surely one of the most nutritious, revitalising take aways of all time.

The Detox Kitchen is the first official stockist of Qnola and they are now selling single serving sizes of the Original flavour at their Kingly Street Deli. Pots cost £3.75 and can be purchased with fresh almond milk, soy yoghurt or coconut yoghurt for an instant, on-the-go breakfast. Or you can take a pot away to enjoy at work or at home. I like it as a dry snack to satisfy midday cravings or with fresh fruit, berries and yogurt for breakfast.

Follow @thedetoxkitchen and @dcopperman for updates on new flavours, limited edition products, stock updates and giveaways. Also hashtag #Qnola if you upload images of your Qnola breakfast - I’d love to see what you enjoy yours with.

The Qnola Online Store will be live within the next month, where you will be able to purchase all 6 flavours of Qnola. I also hope to confirm further stockists over the summer.

EDIBLE SUNSCREEN

In this weeks issue of Stylist Magazine, I was asked to recommend some of the most powerful and protective natural foods for a story on how you can get skin protective properties from your diet. Below is a vibrant salad recipe full of flavour and texture. It is incredibly fresh and would be perfect served as a side at a BBQ this summer. The secret to a good salad is to bulk it up and to use as many different flavours, colours and textures as possible, in order for it to become delicious and exciting, instead if bland, boring and tasteless (like most stereotypical salads). Many people tend to use large amounts of leaves and very little else when making salads, but the more vegetables you add, the more nutrients you can obtain and the more variety of flavours you’ll be able to enjoy. Try to get at least 6 or 7 vegetables into your salads (including leaves of your choice) in order to get a diverse combination of flavours, nutrients and, ultimately, benefits.

RAW DETOX SALAD:

INGREDIENTS:
2 Large Handfuls Raw Spinach, chopped finely
1 Large Handful Raw Kale, chopped
8 Large Brussels Sprouts or 1/2 Cup Cabbage, diced finely
1 Courgette, peeled lengthways into thin, flat pasta-like strips (or using a julienne peeler for a spagetti effect)
1 Cup Broccoli Florets
1/2 Cup Cauliflower Stalks
1/2 Sweet Potato or 1 Carrot
1 Raw Beetroot
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 Avocado
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
1/4 Cup Raw Almonds/Macadamia Nuts/Walnuts
1/4 Cup Pomegranate Seeds

METHOD:
Start by chopping all of the vegetables. Dice the spinach and chop the kale. Massage and pinch the kale to make it softer and to break down the cell wall a little bit, making it easier to digest. This also releases a lot of it’s goodness and makes the nutrients easier to absorb.
Next, dice the brussells (or cabbage) and peel the courgette. Alternatively you can grate the courgette or use a julienne peeler). Place these ingredients into a large bowl and toss to combine.
For the broccoli and the cauliflower, chop the tops of the stalks off to separate them. Dice the tops finely into a tiny rice-like consistency and add to the bowl. Now finely chop the stalks and add those too (or save them to have as a snack). Mix the ingredients together with your hands to ensure they are combined. Arrange on a large plate or in a serving bowl.
On top of this, grate the sweet potato or carrot and the beetroot (or use a julienne peeler for a crunchier result). Add the chopped red bell pepper and lastly place large chunks of soft avocado on top. (You can also mash the avocado into a purée with lemon juice and serve as a dollop on top of the salad, or as a side).
Finally, add a sprinkling of chia seeds, some pomegranate seeds and the chopped nuts. Serve with a dressing of choice (I like olive oil with tamari, lemon juice and tahini) or use the recipes below which are also made using skin protective ingredients.

DRESSING:
3 Tablespoons Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Sesame Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Tahini
1 Teaspoon Fresh Ginger, chopped
1 Teaspoon Juice of a Fresh Pink Grapefruit
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice and Zest
1/2 Teaspoon Spirulina
1 Teaspoon Organic Agave
1 Tablespoon Tamari
1 Clove Garlic, crushed

METHOD:
Place the ginger, garlic, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and lemon zest into a pestle and mortar and grind until soft and broken down. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, just ensure you chop the ginger and garlic as finely as possible and mix in the juices and zest together with them in a small bowl. Transfer to a small bowl and add the rest of the dressing ingredients. Mix the ingredients with a fork to break down any large pieces and to thoroughly combine. Season to taste and add water if the dressing needs thinning. Pour evenly over the salad or serve on the side.

`RED PEPPER HOUMOUS:
1 Tablespoon Tahini
1 Tin Chickpeas
1/2 Soft Avocado
Salt or Tamari, to taste
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Raw Almond, Grapeseed or Avocado Oil
2 Chopped Red Bell Peppers
1 Teaspoon Cumin
The Juice of 1 Lemon

METHOD:
If you want the houmous completely raw, use raw organic oil and do not roast the peppers. If you aren’t especially fussed, start by baking the peppers at 175c for 10 minutes. This will make them softer and they will blend more smoothly, but raw peppers will also work well.

Once the peppers have been roasted or if you are using raw peppers, place in a food processors or a blender with the lemon juice and oil. Blend for 1-2 minutes until a paste begins to form. Now add the rest of the ingredients and blend on a high speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides if need be. Add more oil if the mixture is too thick and slightly lumpy still and add more lemon juice, salt or tamari to taste. Blend until all the ingredients are fully combined and completely smooth, before transferring to a bowl to serve.

It’s all well and good me telling you these foods are amazing for you, but I want you to know exactly why and how they can benefit your skin this summer. Below are some brief notes on how each ingredient used in the salad supports healthy skin and helps reduce damage caused by UV radiation from the sun.

Courgette:
Anti inflammatory and full of antioxidants, which counteract the damage caused by free radicals (as a result of sun damage).

Dark Leafy Greens such as Kale, Spinach, Brussells, Cabbage, Parsley: These are good sources of antioxidants such as luetin, polyphenols, carotenoids and zeaxanthin which stunt cell growth that may have been triggered by UV radiation damage. This helps them to protect the skin from sun damage. Eating green vegetables has also been proven to help prevent the reappearance of skin cancer too.

Yellow, Red and Orange coloured fruits and vegetables such as Sweet Potato, Carrot, Lemon Zest, Red Bell Peppers:
Rich in carotenoids these foods help to reduce sunburn intensity. They are also rich in the antioxidant lycopene which has been shown to reduce UV-induced free radicals. Red Bell Peppers also contain the antioxidant capsiate, which decreases UV induced skin damage and inhibits the occurrence of inflammation from sun exposure.

Chia Seeds and Nuts:
High in essential fatty acids and omega 3 these ingredients have incredible anti-inflammatory properties and can help protect cells from free radical damage. Ultimately this helps protect the skin against sunburn, keeping skin fresh, renewed and protected.

Cruciferous Vegetables such as Broccoli and Cauliflower:
These are full of essential antioxidants which fight free radicals caused by sun damage. These foods are also linked to cancer prevention and have been proven to increase the skins ability to protect itself from cancer.

Citrus Fruits such as Lemon and Grapefruit:
These contain a potent ingredient called limonene, which is associated with lowering the risk of skin cancer.

Pomegranate Seeds:
Incredibly rich in free radical fighting antioxidants (particularly polyphenols), which strengthen the skins upper layers, increasing its resistance to harmful UV rays. They help to inhibit hyper-pigmentation too and can even enhance the sun protection factor of sunscreens!

Spirulina:
Spirulina contains a carotenoid called astaxanthin which is very powerful and has been shown to protect the skin and eyes from UV radiatio

EASY GREENS

I’ve come to realise, as someone who wouldn’t go near a broccoli floret a couple of years ago, that eating your greens can actually be enjoyable. As children, we are constantly nagged to clear them from our plates, which could explain why people tend to develop a begrudging attitude towards them in later life. Anyway, like all things, I think it is important to cook, prepare and dress your vegetables in a way that allows them to become as delicious as possible, and to bring out their incredible flavours. If you are given something as a child and you decide you don’t like it, the chances are you wont be inclined to give it a second chance. If you were brought up, for example, eating frozen broccoli simmered into a mush, you probably dealt with it in order to earn your dessert but mentally vowed never to eat it again. I was brought up on perfectly good broccoli but just didn’t like the texture of it. However, as i grew up, I realised you didn’t have to eat vegetables the same way everyone else does. You can eat broccoli in so many ways, for example raw or wonderfully al dente, and it will quite frankly change your life. I’ve had the strangest remarks from people whilst eating raw broccoli but just because we’re not brought up to eat it that way and because it isn’t advertised as a raw snack, it doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious and perfectly acceptable. I use raw broccoli as a dipper for houmous and other homemade dips. I also love to saute broccoli or boil it ever so slightly which makes it incredibly juicy yet crunchy at the same time. And with the right dressing you can take it all up a notch.

Last week I was completely spoiled by Riverford Organic who delivered an entire box of fresh, vibrant, organic vegetables to my house. I accepted the box with very wide open arms and ran it down to the kitchen eager to rummage through it. I found so much amazing produce. The carrots were brighter than the sun, my selection of leafy greens were tough and rich in colour and the plum tomatoes were enough to prove that tomatoes are in fact a fruit. As always, i went straight for the greens. Dark, leafy greens especially have major health benefits and i personally notice a huge improvement in my skin and metabolism when i incorporate them into my daily diet. Green vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are an excellent source of fibre and are an important nutrient in weight loss and maintenance, because they keep you feeling full and help to naturally control your appetite. Leafy greens that contain beta-carotene, such as collard greens, spinach, and Swiss chard, contribute to the growth and repair of the body’s tissues. Green vegetables are also rich in vitamin E and C, which work to keep skin healthy as you age. This vitamin also helps protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays and can help to reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

INGREDIENTS:
Pointed Cabbage
1 Tablespoon Tahini
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Tamari
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Ground or Diced Fresh Ginger
1 Clove Garlic, crushed or diced

METHOD:
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Cut the hard end of the cabbage off and chop the leaves at about 1 inch wide. Turn these diced strips horizontally to yourself and cut again, roughly down the middle. Place in the water and boil for 5-10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a bowl, put all of the ingredients together and mix with a fork or a tablespoon. Mix and mash slightly at the same time to release the flavour from the garlic and the fresh ginger, if using. Drain the greens and place on a plate, then pour the nutty tahini dressing all over them. Top with chia seeds and serve with other vegetables (tomatoes or avocado go really well with this) or as a side dish to a main.

GLUTEN, GRAIN AND DAIRY FREE QUINOA SCONES

Summer is, believe it or not, just around the corner. Having had one full day of sun over the bank holiday weekend, having actually sat on a beach and having acquired some of the most impressive sunburn of my life, i am more or less in the mood for summer. Yet, on a more miserable day during MAY (come on sun, move yo ass) I found myself lacking confidence in any kind of warmth this summer. So, to keep my spirits high I decided to work on a healthy gluten and grain free scone recipe, because, after all, a summer’s not a summer without some afternoon tea. You may be thinking nah, pina coladas and barbecues do it for me, but that’s if you’re island hopping around Bali. For now, whilst you wait for the sun and count down the days until your holiday, stock up on berries and dairy free yogurt and bake some scones. These scones are dairy, grain and wheat free and contain no sugar whatsoever. Made from quinoa flake flour and coconut yogurt, they have a unique crunchy texture and can be enjoyed sweet or savoury. Healthy barbecue and picnic recipes coming soon - I didn’t want to be too optimistic…

INGREDIENTS:
1 3/4 cup quinoa flakes, ground into a flour (you can use oats if you aren’t fussy about eating grains)
1 1/4 cup (150 g) buckwheat flour, chestnut flour or quinoa flour
3 tsp arrowroot
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp (75 g) extra virgin coconut oil, room temperature
4 tbsp almond butter or cashew butter
1 cup coconut yogurt
1 Large Apple, grated or 1 Small Sweet Potato, grated (optional)

OPTIONAL:
Savoury:
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1-2 Cloves Garlic, crushed or whole (I recommend roasting a whole garlic and adding whole cloves to the dough)
Handful Fresh Basil or Rosemary Leaves
Handful Kale or Spinach, diced
Sweet:
2 Tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar or Agave
1/2 Cup Raw Cacao Chunks (or chopped raw brownie)
2 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Nibs
1/2 Cup Medjool Dates, chopped

METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 230c and place a baking tray inside to heat.
Start by mixing together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Leave the optional flavours until the end. Cut the coconut oil into tiny cubes then add to the flour mixture along with the nut butter. Use your hands to combine the ingredients until the mixture becomes almost like breadcrumbs. Add the coconut yogurt or dairy free yogurt of choice and apple or sweet potato if using. Stir in the yogurt with a wooden spoon until it becomes to dry. Use your hands to knead the dough together so it become compact and can hold a ball shape. If it feels too dry add some more yogurt and if it feels too wet add a little more flour. Now either leave the dough plain of add you flavours/herbs/spices of choice. Knead these added ingredients into the dough for 2-3 minutes until everything is combined.
You can either flatten the dough onto a floured surface or you can simply form the scones into slightly flattened balls. If you roll the dough out to flatten it, leave it to at least 1-2 inches in depth before using cookie cutters to make it into individual circles. Then place them on the heated baking tray, making sure to line it with greaseproof paper first. I formed mine into flattened balls in my hands which made the scones bigger. Simply break a bit of dough off about the size of the palm of your hand and form it into a vague ball, flattening it slightly. Place them onto the baking tray and glaze with either dairy free nut milk, water or some whisked egg mixture. Bake for 15–18 minutes depending on the size of your scones, or until they become crusty and slightly golden on the outside.
Serve with homemade pesto or houmous if you made yours savoury, or as they really should be served - with homemade compote/coulis/jam, smashed berries, fruit and thick coconut yogurt, coconut milk or homemade cashew pudding.

HOLY KALE

INGREDIENTS:
2 Large Handfuls of Fresh, Organic Kale (leaves separated from stalks)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
Pinch of Salt
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Nutritional Yeast, optional
5 Tablespoons Ground Almonds
Dried Herbs/Spices of choice

METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 150c.
Place the kale in a large mixing bowl and add the oil, salt and lemon juice. Mix with a wooden spoon or use your hands, until all of the kale is evenly coated. Now add the ground almonds and any other spices or herbs you fancy. I’d recommend paprika or basil and mixed herbs. Toss the leaves constantly through the dressing and use your hands to massage the leaves and to ensure they are evenly coated. Do this for about 2 minutes.

Lay some greaseproof paper down on a baking tray and arrange the kale evenly, trying not to overlap any leaves. Bake for 8 minutes, then reduce the heat to 100c and bake for a further 10-15 minutes. Be sure to check them regularly to ensure they don’t burn. Some leaves will be thinner or smaller than others meaning they will cook and crisp more rapidly.

RAW CHOCOLATE COATED COCONUT DIGESTIVE BISCUITS

I recently had a conversation with my make up artist on a shoot about how good crunchy food is. Sometimes, we agreed, we don’t even crave sugar or food at all, we just want something to munch on. Biscuits are the devils. Made predominantly from butter, sugar and flour they are so simple yet somehow so incredible. The perfect snack and the perfect accompaniment for a hot drink. I was recently back and forth in emails giving health advice to a full time teacher who complained that it’s all well and good eating healthily and taking leftovers for packed lunch, but there is no escaping the staff room and the morning break-time snacks. I came up with this recipe as a simple and portable snack to make at home and take to work if office snacks are hard to turn down. I also think it is a great idea to have these in a jar or to make fresh for guests, so that you have something to offer them that you can enjoy with them. The look on my grandmothers face when i turn down the offer of a biscuit with my tea is so painful, I needed to come up with something.

I made these for a group of guests over the weekend whilst I was moving house and they are completely gluten, wheat, dairy, grain and refined sugar free. I made mine similar to chocolate digestive biscuits, but you could easily make the biscuit and leave it plain as there is plenty of flavour from the vanilla, salt and coconut palm sugar. You could also add ground ginger for a healthy gingersnap variation, or a mixture of spices to make chai biscuits - amazing with hot drinking cacao. If you want more of a proper cookie, add chopped chunks of raw chocolate to the mixture and leave them about 1cm in depth instead of flattening them down. You can top yours with cashew cream instead of icing, or stick two biscuits together with a spoonful of cashew cream in the middle to make a delicious cookie sandwich.

INGREDIENTS:
½ Cup Coconut Oil, room temperature (will not work if melted)
¼ Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1 Teaspoons Organic Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Almond Butter
1 Cup Buckwheat Flour (or ½ Cup Buckwheat Flour and ½ Cup Chestnut Flour)
2 Tablespoons Water

FOR THE CHOCOLATE:
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil or Cacao Butter
3-4 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
1 Teaspoon Agave
Pinch of Salt

METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 175c.
Use an electric whisk to beat the coconut oil until it softens and becomes slightly fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure the coconut oil becomes a good soft consistency before continuing. Next add the sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon and beat again for 1-2 minutes. Add the almond butter and whisk again until everything becomes completely combined and the mixture becomes light and fluffy. It will look darker in colour than usual biscuit or cake batter but this is just the caramel colour of the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is combined and gradually add the water, before whisking one last time. Now, taking a wooden spoon, add the flour bit-by-bit and mix gently but thoroughly. When all of the flour has been added, give the mixture a final vigorous beat with the spoon before taking a tablespoon of the mixture at a time to flatten in your palms. If the dough is too wet and sticks to your hands, add a little more flour. You can also use a rolling pin and a circle cutter (or any shape for that matter) to separate into biscuits, but i always get frustrated when the dough sticks to the surface. I made the tablespoon of dough into a ball and then used the heel of my hands to gently flatten it into a circle. Grease a baking tray with a little coconut oil before arranging the uncooked biscuits.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the edges begin to brown slightly.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. They must be completely cool before you add the chocolate or things will become extremely messy. If you are leaving them plain however, eat the straight away whilst they are still hot with a glass of almond milk or a cup of herbal tea.

FOR THE CHOCOLATE:
In a small bowl, melt the coconut oil in a microwave, or melt it in a small saucepan on the hob. Remove from the heat and whisk in the raw cacao powder until it is fully dissolved. Add the agave and salt and stir to combine. Leave aside for 5-10 minutes to let it thicken slightly. Now, take a pastry brush or something similar and brush the melted chocolate onto the cooled cookies. If you do not have a pastry brush you could try using a spatula or just dunking one side (or both - it’s entirely up to you) into the bowl of chocolate. Place them onto a plate and put them in the freezer for 2-3 minutes to set. Repeat this 3 or 4 times depending on how thick you want the chocolate layer to be. You could even sandwich two biscuits together, painting both flat sides with chocolate 2 or 3 times before finally pressing them together. Then leave them in the freezer to stick.