Burritos are an incredible invention. They make it acceptable to have a million forms of carbs in one meal, as well as, for that matter, a million types of food in one meal. You can literally add anything to a burrito, the same way you can with fajitas. The wonderful thing about a tortilla wrap is that you can pile on as much of absolutely anything you like and tailor it to your needs. Burritos also bring out a sense of certainty in a person. No matter how much you manage to fit into your wrap and no matter how creative you get, you will, with great determination, be able to eat it. Whether it is in a dignified manner, well, that’s another story.
My version of a burrito is much lighter than one you might find at a street food vendor, and doesn’t leave you feeling positively comatose or full of regret upon completion. I have replaced the refined ingredients with, of course, natural ones which promise to love and nourish your insides, and consequently your outsides. You won’t feel bloated, and you won’t be prone to developing greasy, spot-studded skin after just the first bite. I have replaced white rice with cauliflower rice, and refried beans with tahini puy lentils or black beans. I have included one of my favourite guacamole recipes and a simple salad full of flavour and texture - but not too much to take the attention away from the meat. You can add whatever you like to yours, and you can experiment with your own fillings, but the essentials are of course the meat, the rice, the guacamole and the refried beans. Oh, and the sour cream, but we’ll use Coyo for that…
250g Buckwheat Four
1 Large Egg
1 Tablespoon Psyllium Husk Powder
Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
Coconut Oil, for frying
whisk all together then ladle into a frying pan lightly greased with coconut oil. i experimented with about 3mm thick and even thinner, but the thinner ones were more crispy which meant they didn’t fold well (just what you need for a burrito). the thinner ones i broke into pieces and they made really good tortilla chips for guacamole and salsa.
Keep about 3mm thick, heat on medium heat for 5 minutes each side. It will feel spongy inside, so keep cooking if it feels a little raw.
+ To make TORTILLA CHIPS simply pour about half the amount of mixture into the saucepan and spread it around so that it coats the entire base of the pan, but is extremely thin. Cook in the same way as above, but for a little less time. Keep flipping, and when each side it toasted nicely and beginning to brown, set aside on a plate to cool. As it cools, it will become even crunchier, and after about 5 minutes you can break it into rough pieces or chop into triangles to recreate Dorito like Tortilla Chips. You can sprinkle coconut oil, desiccated coconut, nutritional yeast, turmeric, cumin or any other spices you desire on top to add flavour.
+ You can even use the above recipe to make naan breads. Simply keep the mixture to nearer 1 - 1.5 cm thick, and cook as directed above. I would add crushed garlic, ground almonds and desiccated coconut to the top wet layer and either fold the mixture over itself or add a little extra mixture to cover these additional flavours.
OLIVE OIL GUACAMOLE
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Lime Juice
2 Ripe Avocados
I don’t like onions which is why I don’t put them in guacamole. I don’t stick to any general rules when it comes to guacamole at all, no chopped tomatoes either. I prefer it smooth and all the more creamy, but you can add chopped tomatoes, raw or spring onions and garlic if you wish. A refreshing variation is to add diced fennel before or after the blending process, which I strongly approve of.
Simply add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. If you like a few chunks, blend only for about 2 minutes.
FENNEL, SPINACH AND KALE SIDE SALAD
1 Bulb of Fennel
3 Large Handfuls Fresh Spinach Leaves
1 Handful Fresh Kale Leaves
You can add absolutely anything to this salad. The spinach and kale are the base and the fennel adds a refreshing flavour and a juicy, crunchy texture. Drizzle with lemon or lime juice. Enjoy in or beside your burritos.
WARM TAHINI PUY LENTILS
3 Tablespoons Tahini
150g Puy Lentils, Cooked
Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
2-3 Tablespoons Water or Almond Milk
Place the lentils and salt into a small pan on a low heat. Add the water or nut milk and stir to combine. Simmer and stir this way until the lentils become soft and begin to form more of a paste. Remove from the heat and stir through the tahini. Pour into a bowl and serve as an alternative to refried beans.
1/2 Large Cauliflower
Leftover Fennel, optional
I love this recipe as it is so simple. Everyone is always amazed when i serve it and they always agree it is much more flavoursome and of course far less stodgy than conventional rice. Simply chop the cauliflower and place it in a food processor or blender. Blend on a medium to high speed for as little as 30 seconds, depending on the sizes of the chunks of cauliflower - it may need longer. When it has become a rice/cous cous consistency, either warm gently in a saucepan, frying pan or microwave, or transfer to a bowl and serve raw.
COYO COCONUT YOGHURT OR SOLID COCONUT MILK
This recipe is inspired by my aunty claire, who just a few days ago made the best ragu i’d ever tasted. Slight lie, as, of course, only your own mothers homemade ragu or lasagne is the best, but, my auntie came closely behind at second place. When we asked her her secret, she said ‘cumin’. When we nodded and continued eating she added ‘and high percentage dark chocolate’. That stopped us in our tracks, forks just inches away from our mouths. We pondered it for a moment and then decided, yes, wow, how genius is that, that really works. We loved it all the more once we knew it had chocolate in it, and i immediately wanted to get home and master a recipe for cacao mince - my own dairy-free superfood take on such a traditional dish.
Ragu is the ultimate comfort food. I remember when i first moved away from home i would make myself vegetarian ragu at least once a week. It was easy, quick and is so warming in winter months. The flavour the cacao adds to this recipe is a deeply comforting one. It adds a unique richness to the meat, and although you wouldn’t expect it to work with a sauce of tomatoes and red peppers, it really does. It somehow disappears amongst the other ingredients, bringing all of the flavours together to make a dark, creamy sauce, filling it with unique flavours. Cacao has the ability to bring out the true flavours of foods that it is combined with, which is what makes this dish different to just about any other dish you have ever tried.
This recipe is fairly straight forward, however I would advise you take quite a bit of time over it, giving it your full concentration in order for it to become as delicious as it can. It will only take you about forty minutes to perfect the meat, but the longer you leave it to cook and simmer, the more the meat will absorb all of the important ingredients. And if, like me, you are going to go all out and make an entire Burrito Spread, allow another hour or so to prep the sides, and really excel in the buckwheat burrito department.
3 Tablespoons Cacao Powder
1 Tablespoon Cumin
10 Medium Tomatoes
2 Pointed Red Peppers (Bell Peppers will work well too)
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
4 Tablespoons Water, as and when
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Handful Fresh Basil Leaves
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Tamari
1 Tablespoon Onion Seeds or 1 Onion, diced (I don’t like onions but there’s no reason why you can’t chuck some in to increase the flavour)
1 Teaspoon Sumac
3-4 Sage or Bay Leaves
1/2 Cup Shaved Broccoli
2 Large Handfuls Spinach Leaves
3 Cloves Garlic
400g Good Quality Organic Minced Beef or Turkey Meat
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1 Small Glass Red Wine
1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock (I personally think the nutritional yeast does the job of a stock cube, so this isn’t essential).
Pour the olive oil into a large pan and add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, broccoli, salt, tamari, nutritional yeast, onion seeds, lemon juice, spinach and chopped peppers, and simmer for 20 mins on a medium heat. Remove from the heat, let cool momentarily and then transfer into a blender. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes, until more or less smooth, then return to the pan. Add the mince, cumin, cacao powder and all of the other ingredients and simmer for 30-40 minutes on a medium to low heat. After about 20 minutes, place a lid covering the pan 2/3 of the way and continue to simmer until the meat has absorbed most of the liquid.
+ You can make this more quickly if you are in a rush, and can merely simmer the sauce with the mince until the meat if cooked through. However, the longer you leave it, the more flavoursome the meat will become, and the less runny the sauce will be.
COYO (Instead of creme fraiche).
Courgetti, Black Bean Spaghetti or Gluten Free Pasta
Quinoa or Buckwheat
+ Save any leftovers in the fridge to take for lunch, adding to a salad or enjoying with quinoa and avocado.
Last weekend in Bath I took my mother dear to a new coffee shop which apparently had been the talk of the little town for months. Bath is full of independent shops, cafes and eateries, and thankfully, to this day there is still only one Pret a Manger to its name. Don’t get me wrong, with its green juices, boiled eggs, kale chips and raw nuts, Pret is quickly becoming my favourite fast food coffee chain, but, there is nothing quite like a family-run cafe with irreplicable (is that a word?) character.
Bath’s finest cafes are cosy, welcoming, beautiful and unique, but of course, they’ve never heard of almond milk or dairy-free baked goods. Their produce is local and fresh and the food is always amazing, but until Mr Twitchett and his Roundhill Roastery came to fruition, the coffee was instant and the milk choices, satisfactory. It’s easy to find milk sourced from the local farmers, which is of course delicious in so many ways, however, if you are detoxing, giving up dairy or completely intolerant to it, your only option is going to be soy. Again, nothing wrong with that, but once you’ve tasted nut milk and are aware of such creamy, flavoursome concoctions of nutrients, there will always be a pang for it. Cue, Society Cafe.
As I ordered our almond milk cappuccinos at the counter of Society Cafe in Kingsmead Square, a slice of Lemon, Polenta and Pistachio cake with exquisite beauty caught our eyes. I ordered it without giving it a thought and we sat in awe after our first mouthfuls, painfully vowing that we would wait to continue once our coffees had arrived. It was amazing, and straight away I wanted to create a grain-free, dairy-free and sugar-free version, using coconut milk and raw organic honey instead of butter and sugar. So thats what I done did.
+ I used amaranth instead of polenta as it is similar in physical features and I thought it would taste almost the same, and create a similar texture. I kept mine raw and I liked that the texture was quite bitty and crunchy, but boiling it first will soften it, making the cake smoother. Amaranth is a seed, similar to quinoa (you could probably use quinoa instead of amaranth, raw or gently boiled, if you don’t have amaranth). Amaranth is a complete protein, is full of vitamins and nutrients and is exceptionally high in fibre.
(Guide to Bath coming soon).
Makes one large cake. Halve measurements if you want to make several small cakes or really tiny ones, in ramekins.
200g Soft Coconut Oil
150g Organic Raw Honey or Raw Agave
200g Ground Almonds
250g Amaranth, raw or boiled in water for no longer than 5 minutes, to soften
1 Teaspoon Organic Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Psyillium Husk Powder
3 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
The Zest of 2 Unwaxed Lemons
Handful of Whole Raspberries or Blueberries, optional
The Juice of Two Lemons
2 Tablespoons Raw Organic Honey or Raw Agave
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Beat the coconut oil and honey together in a medium bowl, using an electric whisk. In a separate bowl, mix the ground almonds, amaranth (raw or briefly boiled), baking powder and psyillium husk together. Beat 1/3 of the dry mixture into the coconut oil and honey, then beat in one egg. When combined, add another 1/3 of the dry mixture and another egg and beat until combined. Now add the final 1/3 of the dry mixture and the final egg, along with the vanilla extract, and whisk until fully combined. Stir in the lemon zest and pour the mixture into a tin or ovenproof dish, greased lightly with coconut oil.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, juice the lemons and pour the juice into a small bowl, with the honey or agave. Mix together until combined.
Remove the cake/s from the oven and let cool before removing the cake from the tin and placing it gently onto a plate. Stab gently at the surface of the cake with a fork and pour the lemon and honey mixture over the cake. Watch it soak into the cake, then leave in the fridge until ready to serve (it becomes even more dense, chewy and moist in the fridge thanks to the coconut oil), or serve right away. I enjoyed it with Buckwheat Yoghurt (recipe on the Qnola website soon), but cashew cream or coconut yoghurt will suffice. And the frosting below isn’t mandatory, but it is certainly advised.
OPTIONAL WHITE CHOCOLATE & AVOCADO FROSTING:
100g Cacao Butter
2 Ripe Avocados
1 Tablespoon Raw Organic Honey or Raw Agave
1/2 Cup Cashews
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest (or juice, for a stronger lemon flavour)
+ You can also used creamed coconut instead of the Cashews and Raw Honey or Agave.
Place the cacao butter and cashew nuts into a food processor or blender and blend for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Now add the avocado, scraping at the flesh to gradually release it from the skin so as not to overwhelm the blender with large chunks. Add the sweetener and lemon zest and blend for another 1-2 minutes, until everything is combined and the mixture is smooth and a whipped consistency. Spread onto your cooled cake/s. This icing is prefect for any cake, and works especially well on cacao cake, banana bread and blueberry muffins.
+ If you don’t like lemon flavoured things, this cake works just as well without the lemon, and this frosting is delicious on the plain vanilla and berry sponge.
Earlier this summer in June i attended my first Brai - that’s a barbecue to you and i. Brai is a South African term and translates directly to grill. Just 5 minutes into arriving at the Brai with my sister, I understood why they had their own name for it. It was not an ordinary barbecue. Ordinary barbecues at their best include marinated chicken, some hearty salads, corn on the cob and insanely unhealthy desserts. But more common barbecues, if we’re lucky enough to see the sun at all in England, consist of burnt 30%-meat sausages, plastic cheese in plastic films, rain, more rain and far too much alcohol. A Brai is an entirely different game. We had marinated shrimps the size of my hand, barbecued mackerel, turkey burgers, onglet steak, barbecued bone marrow, teriyaki salmon kebabs and much, much more. The food was brought out over the course of about 8 hours. This, i thought, was brilliant. No one was filling up on Walkers crisps and cheese and chive dip. People were pacing themselves and really savouring and appreciating each individual dish. The burgers were not ordinary burgers either. They were layered with fresh cheese, spinach and the best sauce i have ever tried. That’s where this story becomes relevant to this recipe.
Halve this recipe for a single serving.
6 Tablespoons Tahini
1 Ripe Avocado
1 Tin Chickpeas or 4 Tablespoons Organic Houmous
6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Cup Water
2 Large Peppers
4 Large Tomatoes
1 Teaspoon Tamari
1/2 Teaspoon _Lemon juice
A Few Leaves Fresh Basil
Preheat the oven to about 180c. Cut the peppers into quarters and the tomatoes too. Place them in the same baking tray with a little olive oil or coconut oil, and salt. Roast in the oven for about half an hour, then turn the heat up to 200c and roast for another 20 minutes, until the peppers are soft to touch, the skin looks baggy, and the tomatoes are soft. Remove from the oven and run under cold water. When they have cooled, peel the skins off of the peppers as much as you can. Don’t worry about doing this for the tomatoes.
Place the vegetables into your blender with 1/8 cup of water, the oil and the garlic. Blend for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides, then add the remaining ingredients and the rest of the water, if you think it needs it. The water thins the mixture and helps the ingredients to combine as smoothly as possible. If you want more of a proper houmous dip (pictured below), leave the water out, although you may find you need it in order for the mixture to combine fully. If you want more of a pouring houmous, add as much water as you desire, and up the seasoning to maintain the flavours.
Serve as a dip for vegetables, crisps, sweet potato chips or as a side with chicken, beef or salmon. Pour over courgetti, salmon and ragu, add to sauces or soups, or stir through a quinoa/buckwheat salads.
Salmon is such a nourishing food. Growing up, i refused to eat fish, and it was only really when i first started to make educated, thoughtful changes to my diet that I began to eat it. Now, i am completely obsessed. Salmon is my favourite fish and luckily for me, is incredibly good for you. High in protein and even higher in essential omega 3 fats, salmon is an amazing source of essential vitamins, minerals and macronutrients. It really is an all rounder when it comes to food. As you’ll probably remember being told time and time again by your mother, it is ‘good brain food’, and that’s thanks to the omega 3 fatty acids. They also contribute to excellent cell renewal, which is what makes them improve your skin. Our bodies need these fats to protect our internal organs and to ensure our cells are doing exactly what they should be, and functioning optimally. Combined here with a combination of other nutritious ingredients, the beautiful flavour of the salmon is really brought out. Smoked salmon, of course, has a lot more flavour, but it is its texture that makes this pate work so well. What starts out as a slimy string of fish becomes a smooth almost butter-like spread, perfect for sandwiches or added to salads.
Makes enough to serve 4-6 people. Lasts for weeks in the fridge.
200g Smoked Salmon, shredded
1-2 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice or Yuzu
2/3 Ripe Avocado
4 Tablespoons Tahini
2 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
+ Can add crushed garlic, pepper, dill, capers, diced shallot, nutritional yeast.
Start by blending the salmon and coconut oil in a blender, on a high speed. Blend for 1 minute, scrap down the sides, then add the tahini, lemon or yuzu and the avocado, scraping the flesh gradually so it is thinner and smoother. Blend for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides if you need to. Season to taste, add your extras and scrape into an airtight container or sterilised jar. Set in the fridge for about 20 minutes, or enjoy straight away. Spread onto crispy miracle bread with sliced avocado is my favourite. It is also wonderful spread inside chicory leaves. Top with herbs, nuts, seeds or even chopped fruit. Soft goji berries add a delicious flavour.
The nostalgia that this recipe triggers is almost unbearable. I remember a time when I was still at school - a stage in my life where a chocolate doughnut was acceptable at 11am. I always got away with eating terribly unhealthy food and people always used to joke about where I put it, as i never used to gain weight. As i grew up i began to think about diet a little more, but not nearly as much as i ought to have. In my opinion, there is not enough food education available to children and i never really thought about healthy eating. I never gained weight, so there was never much urgency in me becoming healthy.
The memories that flood back when i think of chilli jam are embarrassing to say the least. Along with the discovery of alcohol came the side effect of ‘drunk munch’. Not only did it become acceptable to eat copious amounts of food just hours before you’d usually be waking up, it became almost mandatory. I grew up in the countryside, out in the sticks just outside of Bath. My best friend, Olivia, lived in town, so we always crashed at her house after a night out. I used to tell myself it was for convenience and ease, but looking back I’m beginning to think it probably had something to do with her mum’s homemade chilli jam. We’d get home, have some chilli jam, some cheese and some tea (a combination only acceptable/appetising when entirely under the influence) and put the world to rights.
+ Tomatoes are abundant in antioxidants and their rich, red colour indicates their high content of lycopene. Lycopene has been proven to protect against diseases such as prostate and breast cancer, and supports healthy cellular functions in the skin, reducing roughness and making the skin smoother and more vibrant. When levels of lycopene are high in the body, oxidative damage is reduced, which in turn reduces inflammation.
Makes one medium jar of jam
200g Cherry Tomatoes
One Fresh Chilli, chopped
1-2 Teaspoons Chilli Flakes
100g Goji Berries
2 Red Peppers
1 Teaspoon Grated Fresh Ginger or Ground Ginger
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup Agave, Organic Honey or Coconut Palm Sugar
2 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice
Chop the tomatoes, chilli and peppers and add them to a medium saucepan with the goji berries and a splash of water. Leave them to simmer on a low heat, stirring continuously. After about 10 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients to the pan. Leave to simmer for about 20-30 minutes, stirring continuously so the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan. After about 30 minutes, you should be able to draw a line through the mixture with a wooden spoon. If the mixture is too wet, the line will disappear, so continue to simmer until the mixture thickens.
Once it seems thick enough, you can either run the mixture through your blender to bake it smoother, or leave it as it is. It won’t be very chunky at all as the vegetables will have become completely immersed.
Season to taste. If you like it a little sweeter, add more honey or coconut sugar. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
This is something I made up in a moment of pesto desperation. Unusually, there was no spinach in the house and although conventional pesto recipes don’t require it, basil and oil just wasn’t enough this time. I chucked in a few veggies here and there and what became of it was delicious, but it wasn’t pesto. The texture is creamier and thicker - it’s more like a dip - but the flavour is amazing. If garlic and basil end up in the same blender, nothing bad is going to happen.
+ With added cauliflower this dip is incredibly nutritious. Cruciferous vegetables are among the best of a great bunch and have been referred to as ‘super-veggies’. And for good reason. They are high in essential vitamins, fibre and disease-fighting phytonutrients and are classed as an antioxidant vegetable group. Also, somewhat surprisingly, cruciferous vegetables are good sources of substantial protein as well as omega 3!
Makes one dip shared between 4
1/2 Small Cauliflower, chopped finely
1/2 Ripe Avocado
2 Generous Handfuls Fresh Basil
1 Small Handful Fresh Parsley
1/2 Cup Pine Nuts
1/2 Cup Raw Cashew Nuts
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
3-4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
+ Extra Virgin Olive Oil is best enjoyed raw, whilst plain Olive Oil is best for cooking as it has a higher smoking point.
Start by placing the nuts into a blender and pulse for 1-2 minutes until they become a little finer. Now add the cauliflower, basil, parsley, oil, garlic, lemon or lime juice and pink salt and blend again. Scrape down the sides after about 30 seconds as i find the cauliflower tries to escape a little. Blend of another 30 seconds, then carefully scrape the avocado in. I like to think of avocado as a kind of butter. It is the same consistency (if you get a fresh, ripe one) and it is just as creamy. So instead of spooning the entire half of the avocados flesh into the blender, break it down so it’s easier for your blender. Take a teaspoon and scrape away at the flesh so that it comes out in small shavings. You can always cut it into chunks before adding to the blender, but if you only have a basic blender, this technique will make its life much easier, and your pesto dip much creamier.
Blend for another 1-2 minutes until the dip becomes thick, creamy and most importantly, smooth.
Enjoy any time of day - with eggs, stirred through salad, quinoa or added to sandwiches, as a snack with raw vegetables, or as a side with your main course at dinner time.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.