Do you ever end up trying something new because you are stuck with some leftover food and don’t want it to go to waste? I strongly dislike food waste as it is both a waste of money AND resources. In my younger days, I had an aversion to eating the same food more than one day at the time, but having to eat on a budget kind of sorted that issue out…
I came upon this dessert more by chance as I ended up with a bunch of egg yolks after my first meringue making experience. I can’t believe I had actually never made meringues or curd for that matter, before! Both classic desserts and both pretty easy to make. Though if you don’t have an electric beater, like me, I’d suggest you try this lemon-lime curd recipe first.
Once left with my egg yolks and not being sure what to make of them, I went scouting for ideas amongst my many cookbooks. I struck gold with Susan Jane White‘s The Extra Virgin Kitchen! Susan Jane White is a funny, witty cool Irish food writer and The Extra Virgin Kitchen is her debut cookbook.
I have a kind of love-hate relationship with it as the fonts used in it makes the book somewhat hard to engage with… But the few bits I have tried so far have been delicious indeed. So I think I’ll have to revisit it again soon.
You’ll only need five very basic ingredients for this recipe. I’d even go so far to guess that you’ll have them all at home the majority of time so I dare you not to try it sooner rather than later…
The quality of eggs is something I never compromise on. I may not buy everything I eat organically, but eggs I certainly will. There is no comparison in both flavour and colour when you cook and eat eggs from happy hens which are truly free range and get to spend their life outdoors, picking at grass, herbs, worms and whatever else hens eat. I’m super lucky as I can get my eggs from an organic farmer up the road and I’ve seen what a happy life his hens lead. No wonder the eggs taste superior! Their positive energy comes through the food, for sure.
Extensive antibiotic use is a massive problem in the poultry industry. And I recently read an article about the worries that most of the antibiotic resistance we currently see in humans is due to a consumption of animals / animal products made from animals raised on excessive antibiotic use. Not good. Not good at all.
So choose your animal products with care. In doing so we naturally end up eating less, leaving more room for a colourful varied diet made up of mostly plants.
Maybe one day I’ll have my own hens. At the moment it’s not practical due to present circumstances such as, a lot of dogs, foxes roaming around and my bird phobia…
You will have this dessert made in about ten minutes, but you will be preoccupied with it for all of those ten minutes.
Lemon – Lime Curd
Serves 2-4 depending on how much you want to give everyone(!)
6 egg yolks – ideally organic (or home-rared)
5 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp raw clear honey
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime
Carefully separate out your egg whites from yolks. I usually do this by cracking the egg carefully and then shifting the yolk from one piece of the shell to the other as I let the egg white fall into a small bowl. Set your egg whites aside and place your egg yolks in a small saucepan.
Add in the coconut oil, the honey and the lime and lemon juice. On a gentle heat keep stirring your mix with a whisk. The coconut oil will gradually melt and so will the honey. Keep whisking until you have a golden smooth mix.
You will have to keep up this whisking for approx eight min. This step is important. As soon as you begin to see little bubbles on top keep a close eye on consistency as the curd will begin to thicken.
Once your curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove it from the heat immediately, before it splits. Pour it into small glasses or bowls and then set aside in the fridge, once it’s cooled a little, to set.
Serve with fresh berries. You can add whipped cream, Greek yoghurt or marscapone cheese if you are that way inclined too.
Recipe slightly adapted from Susan Jane White’s book The Extra Virgin Kitchen
Valentine’s is upon us again. I never got a chance to write a Valentine’s post last year due to some incredibly stormy weather and subsequent power cuts, which lasted for days, so I’m going to have a stab at it this year instead.
I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about this whole conundrum… On the one hand I think it’s a nice idea with a day prompting you to do something extra nice for that one special person in your life. On the other hand I feel it has become such a big commercial hype, it has lost any appeal or value. And shouldn’t we take time daily to show our love and appreciation for those in our lives that matters anyway? On any given day? Oh and the whole thing (i.e commercial hype around this ONE day) can easily make anyone who happens to be single feel totally inadequate, sad and even like there’s something wrong with them because they happen to NOT be in a relati0nship at this time. To ME that sends out an entirely wrong message.
A good few years ago (five to be precise), I was dating an absolutely gorgeous guy, beautiful to the core. He wasn’t a great guy for presents or cards or anything at Valentine’s, yet during the short time we had together he gave me one of the greatest gifts of all. He gave me the amazing gift of allowing me to be completely and utterly myself. Even though, I would considered of myself to show up as me and to go my own way (most of the time at least), he allowed me to do that in our relationship too.
I was able to be true and authentic to who I am because I felt safe, loved and trusted that it was going to be Ok to be vulnerable and show sides of myself which I might have been reluctant to show for fear of being rejected or judged. (Like we all tend to do, especially when we don’t know someone all that well) It was a blessed gift to get and I’m grateful to now hold that experience in my heart.
It’s made me think though, that in today’s world, with all the talk of Authenticity and being true to ourselves so we can live our lives fully, yet the never ending snap shots we see of other peoples’ lives through social media and the “compariso-nitis it brings; we need to do two things:
1. Love ourselves with compassion and unconditional whole-heartedness. And if we don’t already do so we need to keep working at it. For if we can’t love ourselves for all that we are (and are not) then how can we let someone else in? Creating a space for self-love and a feeling of self-worth hold the key to opening so many doors.
2. Allow or hold a space for others to be authentic to who THEY are. Allow them to feel loved and safe enough to be vulnerable without being judged. Perhaps this is what’s called unconditional love…?
Maybe Brené Brown puts it better in her TED Talk. I don’t know, but I do think she’s on to something, after a decade of research into it.
It’s all to easy to try to change others, whether they are partners, friends, work mates or family members. If we DO care about them, then giving them the gift of allowing them to BE who they truly are (as opposed to who we would like them to be) is probably the most amazing gift we can ever give. And you know, this is actually easy enough to do. Being present and truly listen to someone is so rare these days, so by giving your full attention to a conversation with someone dear, you can simply make that person shine in their own right. Somehow we are often aware of those people who are naturally good listeners because they tend to make us feel good when we are around them. Thing is, we may not be aware that it’s their listening skill which is what sets them apart. Beauty is though, we can all learn or improve this skill. We simply need to practice active listening a little more.
I’m just going to throw in a caveat here; if you discover that you are trying to change someone because you don’t like who they truly are… Then set them AND yourself free. No need to be hanging around people who doesn’t bring out the best in you. And if cutting ties is not an option, then at least limit the time you spend with them…
Self-love. Something so incredibly important but so incredibly hard. The definition of the word is: care and regards for ones own happiness and well being. Can someone wise out there tell me WHY we don’t see attending to this very need, as important as it actually is? And please don’t get self-love mixed up with arrogance and self importance. Often (in my experience) people who show up with those kinds of traits have the least amount of self-love. Because when you care for and value yourself the need to make others feel inferior is simply not necessary.
Being comfortable in our own skin, being happy and content in our own company and making choices based on self compassion seems to come easier to some than others. I came across this little list of 10 things you can start doing to bring more self-love into your life. Worth a look.
In the name of LOVE I challenge you do so something to this weekend to show yourself how much you care about you. Then share the love far and wide! But start showing yourself some love first.
OK enough of ramblings, I better share this recipe with you too. I went for a floral theme of roses (of course!) as to many of us they are the symbol of love. I happen to like the taste of rose too. But if you don’t, feel free to leave it out. Or substitute with some orange zest and a little freshly squeezed orange juice instead. These little sweet treats may look complicated but they really aren’t. All you need are a couple of ingredients and food processor. So whether you decide to do something nice for yourself this Valentine’s or if you want to treat your lover, you can do it Straightforward Nutrition style! <3
Rose Infused Marzipan Bites
Makes about 15 bites
200g whole almonds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp dried rose petals – optional
1 tbsp rose water – you can substitute for equal amounts of lemon or orange juice
2-3 tbsp maple syrup, depending on desired sweetness
50g 70 % dark chocolate
some dried rose petals for decoration – optional
a sprinkle of bee pollen, for decoration – optional
Start with grinding the almonds into flour. I usually use a blender for this but you can use your food processor too. Half ways through grinding the nuts add the dried flowers.
Add your ground almonds + flowers, maple syrup, vanilla extract and rose water to a food processor and blend until you have a sticky dough.
Make small balls from the dough and then chill them in the fridge to harden up a little, for an hour or so.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over warm water. Roll each ball in the melted chocolate until well coated. Let them set a little on a lined tray before you sprinkle some rose petals and bee pollen on top to make your treats look extra pretty!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge. The marzipan will last, I mean keep… for a few days in the fridge. These treats are vegan (without bee pollen) and gluten and dairy free.
This recipe has sat in the draft section for some time. Turns out posting it now, is good timing still, because it could easily work as a nutritious addition to your menu over the holiday season.
You may have heard of chia puddings by now. You may even be a big fan of them. If you haven’t you are missing out of one of the easiest, nutritious snack/dessert /breakfast ever! I remember a few years ago when these tiny little seeds appeared on the shelves in the health stores and no one had really heard of them, let alone knew what to do with them… These days they are big news! Turns out they are a good source of plant based omega 3 essential fats. They are also high in fibre, potassium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus.
The seeds come from a desert plant, Salvia Hispanica, grown in Mexico and these tiny super seeds apparently featured on the menu of the famous Aztec warriors. In fact the word “Chia” supposedly means strength. When they first appeared this side of the world one of the many marketing claims was how it could help with weight loss. This may be true in some sense, but of course it’s highly unlikely that it would help anyone shed pounds all on its own. Weight loss is a lot more complex than just take one magic substance, unfortunately and the sooner we stop buying in to that concept the better (But that’s a topic for another day…)
I think in those early days, no one really had any clue how to eat them or how to make them taste nice. Thing is they swell a lot in any liquid you leave them in, and when they do, turns out they don’t look all that appetizing… The very first time I tried chia seeds it was a tsp of seeds soaked in plain water, just swallowed down. Not the most exciting thing I’ve ever eaten to be honest. Obviously times has moved on – enter Chia Pudding! I’m not sure who originally came up with the bright idea of serving the little guys this way but let’s just say it’s genius! Their ability to gel makes for a nice consistency and when you eat them in this way they can actually help with constipation rather than hinder it.
I have tried lots of different types of chia puddings at this stage but using a good quality full fat coconut milk is by far my favourite. It even reminds me a little of the Christmas dessert we have back home, rice pudding, well actually more like the cold version of rice pudding; Ris á la Malta.
Here you have a slightly healthier version made with just two ingredients: Chia Seeds and Coconut Milk. I’ve chosen to top this pudding with some winter spiced berries. Here I used the blackberries we picked back in the autumn. Grateful for the abundance back then and for the freezer now! If you, like me, live in the Northern Hemisphere where berries are not in season, then use frozen ones. I’d imagine blackcurrants or blueberries could work to. And if you live some where were it’s berry season, well then make the most of it and use fresh ones!
Coconut Chia Pudding – With Winter Spiced Berries
For the chia pudding:
200 ml full fat coconut milk – organic if possible
2 tbsp chia seeds (whole seeds)
For the berry compote:
1 cup blackberries – fresh or frozen
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1-2 star anise (depending on size of the star)
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
To make the pudding; mix coconut milk and chia seeds together in a small bowl. Make sure it is well mixed together and stir a few more times over the next five min, to remove any lumps, as the seeds start to absorb the liquid. Then move to the fridge and let it set over a few hours.
To make the berry compote; place the frozen (or fresh) berries in a small sauce pan. Add in maple syrup, ground cinnamon. Gently toss the berries in the maple syrup and spices until evenly coated. Add in the star anise. Bring it slowly to a simmer and let it simmer away for about 10 min until fruit is soft and the compote is fragrant.
Serve the chia pudding in small bowls with topped with the warm spiced berry compote.
N.B This dessert (or even breakfast!) is very filling and not very sweet. You can omit the maple syrup if you are looking for an even lower carbohydrate load.
P.S. I hope you don’t mind me throwing in a picture from the beautiful autumn we had. Worth a reminder of brighter days to come as the longest day of the year fast approaches.
We’re turning one! A little over a year ago this food blog was born. It all started with an idea that it would be so much more fun to cook, photograph and blog about the food I cook in my own kitchen and the type of food I recommend to my clients. Getting a brand new website built last year brought it’s own challenges but has it been worth it? Oh yes. And I hope you think so too.
I’m delighted to have so many people stopping by here each month, a few 1000 of yous now (!) And even more people over on Instagram. Heading for 10K now. This time there was about 500. How things change. So many things has happen this year. So many opportunities opening up. Guest blogging, cooking demos, online programmes (in the pipeline) and new friends. I’m so grateful.
Anyway. To celebrate Straightforward Nutrition’s blog first blogiversary I have teamed up with Waifair.co.uk to give one lucky reader here the opportunity participate in a Giveaway on the blog.
If you want to be in the draw to be given a £150 voucher to spend on kitchen appliances over on their site, this is what you need to do:
I believe sharing is caring and that we can all learn from each other to lead healthier and happier lives, so to be in the draw Leave a comment below, on this post, about the ONE Change you have made to help you live a healthier life. This could be anything from a change in habit or mindset to making shopping lists /menu plans or what ever it is that you have changed in order to live a healthier life and that you found made a profound difference.
I can’t wait to hear what brilliant changes you have all made! Please note the draw will close on Nov 20th. So do drop us a line before then.
**N.B Unfortunately this competition is only open to Irish & UK residents. I hope I will get an opportunity to run another giveaway in the future for the rest of you.**
I was tossing with the idea of making something savory as to celebrate with but somehow I just felt it would look a little weird sticking a small flag on a slice of pizza… Maybe next year!
These little lemony paleo muffins were actually featured as the recipe of the month on my old website, a long way back. And there wasn’t a pretty picture to go with it then either so what better excuse to make them again. If you like lemons, poppy seeds and want to bake something Paleo and gluten free, chances are you will like these muffins.
As far as gluten free go and baking with almond flour these are very easy and does not have an ingredients list the length of your arm, which is so often the case with gluten free baking. Gluten free baking is an art in itself, and I with confidence, hold my hand up, declaring it’s one I have yet to master. You really need to know what you are doing and, cooks like me which often just “add a little of this” and “a little of that” do better when strictly adhering to someone elses tried and tested recipe.
Almonds are a great source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and vitamin E. They are also a good source of unsaturated fatty acids as well as protein. If you make your own almond meal from whole almonds, leaving the skin on, you will get plenty of fibre too.
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Makes 8 small muffins (they are seriously filling so no need to stuff yourself)
1/4 cup of oil of your choice – I normally use a nice fruity olive oil but I’d imagine melted coconut oil would work well too.
3 tbsp of clear runny honey – Local & Organic preferably
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice
2 1/2 cups of almond flour – 250g of whole almonds will yield this amount when ground
2 tsp poppyseeds
1/2 tsp of baking powder
A pinch of salt
Lemon zest of one lemon, finely grated
Preheat your oven to 180C. Place eight small muffin cases in a muffin tray. Or use an ordinary baking tray if you don’t have one.
Start by separating the egg yolks from the egg whites. Leave the yolks in one bowl and the egg whites in another one. In the bowl with the egg yolks, add honey, lemon juice, oil and vanilla extract and mix together well. Add in your dry ingredients and mix until you have a stiff batter.
Now proceed to whisk your egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. I normally do this by hand as it is such a small amount. Try using a large bowl so you can get plenty of air in . Or use electric whisks and spare yourself a work out. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Taking care to make sure it gets well blended but try not to be too heavy handed as the air from the egg whites is what will make your muffins nice and fluffy.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cases, filling them to about 2/3. Bake for about 20 min in the oven. After 10 min place a sheet of tinfoil loosely on top to prevent the muffins from burning while they finish baking. They are ready once a scewer comes out clean. Keep a close eye as they get too dry very easily if left in for too long.
Place the muffins on a wire rack and allow too cool completely before tucking in. Any leftover muffins will keep for up to a week if kept in a cool dry place in an airtight container.
Don’t forget to leave a comment below about The One Change you have made to make it easier to live a healthier life, to be in the draw for £150 to spend on some useful kitchen appliances to make you cooking easier!
And thank you for stopping by over the past 12 months 🙂