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!

'BALANCED' GREEN JUICE

Whenever I go away, which, this summer, has not been as often as I’d have hoped, I love using up all of the fresh produce in my house which would otherwise go off in my absence. I either make a salad or a mixture of quinoa, protein and vegetables to take with me whilst travelling, or I use everything up in a juice. This usually results in quite spontaneous and otherwise unusual combinations, but today a happy accident occurred. “What?”, you might wonder. Kohlrabi, green chard, cucumber, broccoli, lime, spirulina and acai juice - that’s what.

By referring to it as balanced, I mean this juice has a perfect balance of sweet and savoury flavours. Sometimes a green juice can be too pungent and earthy, but many people prefer to have them without fruit, so those that do contain fruit are usually too sweet. It is sometimes hard to find a happy medium. The kohlrabi in this recipe is where the extremely subtle sweetness comes from, and the cucumber balances out the strong, hearty flavour of the chard.

As well as its balancing flavours, the ingredients in this juice have balancing properties too. This combination is amazing for cleansing and detoxifying your body, has incredible benefits for glowing skin and will also elevate your energy levels, thanks to all the superfoods involved. Add ginger and turmeric to provide an instant boost to your immune system and to really cleanse the body. Turmeric also reduces inflammation, making it a great ingredient to incorporate into your morning routine. Acai berries are extremely high in antioxidants - even higher than blackberries and blueberries. This is what makes them great for your skin and is why acai is often used in natural beauty products. It is often referred to as the “Beauty Berry” because it contains so many compounds that make the body both look and feel better, from the inside out. Its combination of antioxidants, amino acids and omega fatty acids slow premature aging and general wear and tear by boosting immune and metabolic function and removing destructive free radicals from the body. The combination of vitamins, minerals and omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids improves the appearance and texture of skin, hair and nails. This tiny berry also contains more grams of protein than an egg, so wake up with acai and you’ll be unstoppable! Kohlrabi is high in dietary fibre and is similar in taste to broccoli stems. It is refreshing, crispy and sweet and contains a multitude of vitamins and minerals, essential in ensuring healthy cellular functions and metabolism. It is high in vitamin c (higher than oranges) as well as antioxidants, supporting immunity, reducing inflammation and protecting the body against many diseases. The green chard and broccoli are the darker greens in this recipe and the greens that you can strongly taste. They are amazing at cleansing the body and are high in fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. They also aid weight loss as they keep you feeling full and also control hunger. They are a good source of calcium which is great for people who don’t/can’t consume dairy products like milk, and they are high in beta-carotene which protects your skin and contributes to growth and repair of the body’s tissues. The benefits of green vegetables are literally endless. All ingredients in this juice are beneficial to your skin, hair, nails, digestion, metabolism and immunity - so, drink up!

INGREDIENTS:

1 Kohlrabi, chopped
1 1/2 Cucumbers, chopped
Small handful of Broccoli Stalks
3 Large Handfuls of Green or Rainbow Chard
1/2 Lemon or Lime Juice
1 Teaspoon Superfoods of choice (I used acai, spirulina and wheatgrass)

METHOD:

Gradually add each fresh ingredient to your juicer then chill the juice or blend it with a little ice. Transfer to a blender, add your superfoods of choice, and enjoy.

QNOLA IN SEPTEMBER

THE WEBSITE IS NOW LIVE

To see in the end of the summer and to console those post-holiday blues, I’ve decided to finally launch www.qnola.co.uk. The website is now live and is yours to do with what you will. Educate yourself on the benefits of each ingredient involved in Qnola, browse the recipe section for inspiration on how to bake with or incorporate Qnola into other meals, read the blog pages and browse the store. Find out more about each flavour of Qnola, choose whichever blends sound suited to you, and place your pre-order now.

We are currently operating a pre-order service online, whereby customers place their order, we process it, and they’ll be ready for dispatch with our first delivery in October. You will be notified when your order has been despatched and is on its way to you. So stock up on coconut yoghurt, nut milks and berries, and wait patiently by the front door. The online shop offers 200g pouches of Qnola rather than the small pots, to ensure they travel safely and also to give customers a larger quantity of Qnola to last them a whole week, if not longer, depending on how often you plan on eating it. These pouches should last up to 10 servings, depending on what you choose to enjoy your Qnola with, and will last for up to two months, if re-sealed appropriately. Finally, Qnola delivered straight to your door! Keep updated on the website for exclusive limited edition flavours, collaborations, exciting giveaways, new products and an upcoming breakfast delivery service.

I am also extremely excited to announce that there will soon be more stores stocking Qnola across the UK. Frame Yoga will be stocking regular and large pots of Original Qnola, and the Cacao & Cashew and Ginger & Goji Berry flavours will soon be available at other stockists across London. Further south of the country in my hometown, Bath, you’ll soon be able to get your hands on some Original Qnola too, in independent coffee shops and a wonderful healthfood store.

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I N S T A G R A M : @dcopperman | T W I T T E R : @QnolaUK | F A C E B O O K: Qnola
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KEEP IN TOUCH: danielle@qnola.co.uk

PEPPERCORN TAHINI

You can make anything taste good with a little sauce. My sister once said “you can’t skimp on sauce” and for some reason this quote has stuck with me ever since. But I totally agree. There is nothing worse than ordering a meal or a salad or a burger, even, and it being delivered under-sauced. It probably has something to do with portion control, and quite rightly, perhaps, as many people don’t know when to say when with mayonnaise (people being, me). But, when does it become acceptable to go overboard on the condiments? When they’re healthy, wholesome and natural, that’s when. I always went overboard with things like bread or apple sauce with a roast or mayonnaise with sweet potato chips, but now I like to make sauce the main part of my meal, in an entirely acceptable way. There are more vegetables in my pesto than there are on my plate these days, but that’s the sheer beauty of natural, nourishing gastronomy. You get filled up by an unbelievably delicious amalgamation of the most nutritious ingredients. You can serve a kale, spinach and cashew nut pesto over your child’s pasta and they’ll have no idea it’s full of vegetables. Job done.

A sauce, spread, dip or dressing has the ability to completely transform an otherwise soulless meal. A salad, for example, which is where most people start when reconditioning their dietary habits, is instantly better with a little extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. This is what I settled for for so long, convincing myself actually, salad can be tasty. But then I discovered other natural oils, tahini, tamari, ginger and avocado, and have realised these ingredients will never fail you. A bowl of salad or warm vegetables with a knob of coconut oil and a twist of himalayan pink salt is probably the simplest way to do it. Mix the oil with smooth tahini, a dash of tamari, some ginger and a drop of agave and you’ve instantly got not only a delicious, vibrant mixture of freshly coated leaves or vegetables, but an even more nutritious one too. The thought of people disallowing themselves a little salad dressing kills me when I can think of a hundred ways you can make your own, if you just get to know the right ingredients. Yes, salad dressing is bad. It’s full of sugar, emulsifiers, thickeners, flavourings and additives and has little to no nutritive value at all. But make coconut oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, tahini, tamari, nut butter, ripe avocados, nuts, seeds, fresh herbs, sesame oil, fresh or ground ginger and agave frequenters in your kitchen and you’ll want to eat salad for the rest of your life. Protein-rich, high in healthy fats and abundant in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and micronutrients, you’ll find it hard to believe they can do you good. We’ve all had this conversation: “Why is everything that tastes good so unhealthy, and everything that’s good for you, just boring?” Honestly, I’m still coming to terms with this too, but it really is possible to eat delicious food that can do your body a million favours or more. It may cost a little more, it may take a little research, but your body and your taste buds will thank you in the end, and your mood, energy, skin and metabolic processes will instantly improve.

PEPPERCORN TAHINI

Everyone craves a steak now and then, I know that as a fact. I have vegetarian friends who have never eaten steak in their lives who, oddly, still crave it from time to time. And what is steak without peppercorn sauce? Well, its like a green juice without any vegetables, isn’t it?

Made conventionally with butter, cream, a little more cream and lots of seasoning, its hardly the epitome of clean eating. So I’ve developed and reworked this classic condiment, using coconut oil, coconut milk, tahini and organic mustard. Get your grass-fed meat or a bowl of hearty vegetables and you’re good to go. The most important thing to remember when reconditioning your dietary lifestyle is that there are no rules, and if you come across any, avoid them at all costs. Yes, steak would spring to mind first at the mention of peppercorn sauce in a word association game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it with other things. I poured mine over warm puy lentils, and imagine it tastes beautiful stirred through a warm green salad or quinoa, studded with pomegranate seeds or blueberries for extra flavour. Here’s to improvisation in the kitchen…

INGREDIENTS:

5 Tablespoons Smooth Dark Tahini
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil or Organic Ghee (safe for lactose intolerant eaters)
1/2 Teaspoon Peppercorns, ground
1 Teaspoon Peppercorns, whole
1 Teaspoon Onion Seeds (or onions if you prefer)
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
1 Clove Garlic, diced
1/2 Tin Coconut Milk, room temp (one part solid cream one part liquid), or COYO Natural Yoghurt
1 Teaspoon Mustard
1/2 Teaspoon Tamari
1 Bay Leaf
Chopped Tarragon
2 Tablespoons Hot Water
2 Shallots, optional (can also use onions)

METHOD:

Heat a little olive oil and coconut oil in a saucepan and add the garlic along with the shallots or onions, if using. Sauté until they start to become golden, then add the peppercorns, tamari, mustard, bay leaf, tarragon, onion seeds, nutritional yeast and mix until combined. Next, add the cream, gradually, along with the hot water and a little salt and/or extra nutritional yeast depending on your taste. Simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes until it begins to reduce and thicken slightly. Heat until it starts to bubble then remove from the heat and pour through a sieve into a serving jug to catch the peppercorns, bay leaf and shallots/onions, if using, to make the sauce smoother.

Store in the fridge for up to a week, but stir before serving as it will separate and may stiffen slightly. Enjoy hot or cold.

Photo credit | Tommy Clarke.

BUILD YOUR OWN BUCKWHEAT BURRITOS

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…

BUCKWHEAT BURRITOS

250g Buckwheat Four
1 Large Egg
1 Tablespoon Psyllium Husk Powder
Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
750ml Water
Coconut Oil, for frying

METHOD:
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

METHOD:
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

METHOD:
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

METHOD:
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.

CAULIFLOWER RICE

1/2 Large Cauliflower
Leftover Fennel, optional

METHOD:
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

CACAO AND CUMIN RAGU

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.

INGREDIENTS:
Serves 4-5

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

Optional
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).

METHOD:

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.

SERVE WITH:

Buckwheat Burritos

Olive Oil and Lime Guacamole

Fennel, Spinach and Kale Salad

COYO (Instead of creme fraiche).

Cauliflower Rice

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.

LEMON, AMARANTH AND RASPBERRY HONEY CAKE

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).

INGREDIENTS:
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

TO GLAZE:
The Juice of Two Lemons
2 Tablespoons Raw Organic Honey or Raw Agave

METHOD

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.

METHOD:
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.

RED PEPPER POURING HOUMOUS

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.

INGREDIENTS:
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

Optional:
A Few Leaves Fresh Basil

METHOD:
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, YUZU AND TAHINI PATE

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.

INGREDIENTS:
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.

METHOD:
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.

TOMATO AND GOJI CHILLI JAM

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.

INGREDIENTS:
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
Salt
1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup Agave, Organic Honey or Coconut Palm Sugar

Optional:
Grated Apple
Grated Fennel
2 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice

METHOD:
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.