I have been running this blog for just over five years at this point, yet I feel like I still have really no particular structure for how and when to put out content in a more organised and orderly fashion… Maybe it is because this space doesn’t earn me any money directly. Indirectly sure, because it serves as part of my marketing strategy and is a continuation of putting my message and my voice out there.
Maybe my blogging often feels so hap-hazard because I don’t tend to have a longterm schedule of what to write when but much rather prefer to let my inspiration and creativity guide me… Then there’s of course finding the time to cook, test, style and edit photographs and recipes. And life gets in the way sometimes. Paid gig takes preference. Rest becomes important. Normal stuff. Life in general.
It’s been ages since I planned, cooked and styled some new recipes. I feel like I’ve been floundering about a bit over these past few weeks since the start of the year. Perhaps this is not entirely true but my blogging has definitely been an afterthought.
The recipe I am sharing with you here, is one that I adapted from one of my all-time favourite food writers and cooks, Emma Galloway. I simply cannot tell you how much I love her work and both of her cookbooks, My Darling Lemon Thyme and A Year In My Wholefood Kitchen is my all-time favourite books and the ones I use the most, if I want to follow a recipe.
During my late teenage years I used to use baking as a stress reliever. I used to take a night of from studying and then try a new recipe for a cake or some cookies from the classic Swedish book “ Sju Sorters Kakor” (“Seven Types Of Cakes”).
I don’t what it is about baking that feels like such a stress reliever. Sure you will hopefully get something nice and tasty at the end of it, but that’s not necessarily the main point when you bake with the intention of stress relief. It can be this opportunity to be present with the moment.
The reading of the recipe, weighing out the ingredients, mixing, observing the consistency forming, tasting (of course licking the spatula is compulsory!). Then keeping an eye on your cake or cookies or whatever it is you are baking, watching it patiently until you can see the rise and a heavenly aroma is wafting through your kitchen. And finally, when your baked cake has cooled (at least sufficiently for your mouth not to get scalded), tucking in, filling your senses with the magic that comes from mixing sugar, butter and eggs in suggested ratio and baked to perfection.
Some people say that baking is an exact science, but I am not fully convinced… Baking like anything else does allow us to learn from observation, a willingness to fail and a willingness to try. A bit like other things in life that are worth doing.
Blueberry Banana Muffins
(Slightly adapted from Emma Galloway’s original recipe)
Makes 8 small muffins
2 large bananas over-ripe, mashed
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup ( I have tried them without and then are more bread-like than cake-like then)
20g porridge oats
110g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
A handful of frozen blueberries
Preheat your oven to 170˚C. If you have a muffin tray line it with ten paper cases. If you don’t have a muffin tray you can place the paper cases directly on a normal flat baking tray.
Place ground almonds, porridge oats and baking powder in a large bowl and stir together.
In another bowl whisk together the mashed bananas with the two eggs, maple syrup, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Which until you have a smooth mixture.
Add the mixed dry ingredients to your wet mixture, mixing well. Add the frozen blue berries and give another stir to make sure they are evenly distributed.
Spoon the muffin mixture into the paper cases and fill about 2/3 up.
Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for approx. 35 min or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. They should have risen and golden looking.
Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. I know it is really challenging to wait, but unless you want to consume the paper as part of your muffin, I strongly recommend holding off until they have cooled completely. Then the paper case comes off a lot easier!
These muffins, since they are flour free are very moist. They store well for a few days in the fridge and they freeze well too. Great portable snacks or as a quick breakfast option.
Let the purple theme continue! And the smoothie one too, of course. Purple is my favourite colour. So of course it made total sense to create a smoothie that was purple. It seems like late summer / early autumn is the natural season for purple foods.
In the past few weeks I’ve foraged some wild blueberries / bilberries as well as blackberries from the hedgerows out the back of where I live. On my last few walks I’ve also spied some lovely damsons and lots of elderberries. If the weekend allows I think I will go ahead and make some of this, which will make a nice one to keep any colds and flues at bay as the weather shifts. This transitional time of the year is one when I’m most likely to get sick, so it may just be a good idea to stay on top of it!
You know, the idea for this smoothie came initially from creating something “hidden”. Not everybody enjoy drinking the colour green. So what I did was put a few green leaves with something that would blend them into another colour. I’ve mentioned before that blending red and green is usually not a brilliant idea. You might get away with a few leaves of spinach with beetroot as it is so bright, but if you’ve ever tried spinach and strawberries… you know what I am talking about.
In this smoothie it is the blackberries that are providing most of the purple colour, but the blueberries bring equal beauty in form of taste, colour and nutrients. And if you have some blackcurrants throw them into the mix too! All these berries are a great source of vitamin C which is a major contributor to a healthy immune system.
Purple Smoothie with Hidden Greens
1/2 cup of blackberries – fresh or frozen
1/2 cup blueberries – fresh or frozen
a handful of green leaves like kale (stems removed) or spinach
1/2 small avocado
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp pea / hemp / rice protein
1/2 tsp ground caramom – optional, but delicious!
250 ml coconut water or plant milk of choice
Place all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth.
Serve with your favourite toppings.
Feast your eyes on the purple delight.
And feel the nourishment spreading throughout your body!
I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for the longest time ever! And I’ve also wanted to share a red cabbage recipe here forever… The funny thing is when you do food blogging though is that there’s so much timing involved. At least if you are trying to keep things somewhat seasonal. This means that sometimes I don’t get to act on the ideas I get, or end up trying things, even shooting the recipe and then never getting around to publish it, because life gets in the way or perhaps I’m not organised enough. Or maybe it is a combination of both??!!
I don’t know when my love affair with red cabbage started, but somewhere along the way it did. Now, for me it is a seasonal vegetable and one I tend to mostly enjoy Autumn – Winter – early Spring time. I’ve never tried growing it myself for I think three reasons. One, I don’t have much space and each head takes up a lot of space. Two, they take ages to grow (and that’s hard if you are low on patience). And three, every year around this time we seem to get an infestation of little butterfly larveas that eat anything that belongs to the cabbage family. At the moment it’s particularly bad and they’ve eaten a lot of my precious kale. So if you happen to have some tips on how I can kindly ask them to go and snack else where, please share!
This recipe may sound like an unlikely combination but it actually covers all the different taste elements in one bowl and it’s also a visual delight! Apparently most people don’t eat enough of blue / purple foods and in this bowl you get two different types straight up.
Blueberries are tasty little nutritional power-houses. Their blue plant power comes from the phytonutrient anthocyanins which have been shown to improve both memory and eyesight. They are of course delicious on their own as a simple snack, perhaps paired with a few walnuts for extra brain power potential, or on top of the morning smoothie / porridge / granola. Or you can be a little bit more “out there” and add them in a salad like I’ve done here.
Red Cabbage is one of my favourite winter vegetables. (Ok, ok, I hear you it’s still summer!) It reminds me of Christmas in Sweden and having cooked red cabbage with the Christmas ham. One of the first natural healing remedies a learnt about in college was the healing power of cabbage juice for stomach ulcers as it is rich in the amino acid glutamine as well as the cancer protective phytonutrient indole-3-carbinole. Cabbage is also rich in vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 (important for a well functioning nervous system), calcium, magnesium and manganese.
Savoy cabbage, the beautiful green leafy head one, is very popular here in Ireland and a staple part of the national dish “Bacon & Cabbage”. I will admit that it has taken me some time to really get into the swing of cabbage love, but just as with beetroot, I’m a total convert these days. If not just for the great health benefits it brings, but for the beauty if the colour alone!
If I’m cooking green cabbage I like to steam or blanche it quickly so that the colour just pops and turn out to be a really bright green. With red cabbage my preferred way of eating it is slowly cooked with spices, red onion, apple and a little bit of red wine vinegar. But that’s a little bit too wintery for now…
You can keep this salad entirely raw if you like, but personally I prefer red cabbage cooked hence I am doing it here. However with this salad the finely shredded cabbage is cooked in the oven for just 15 min so it is more heated through than “cooked”. It does soften in and takes away that “rawness” that I’m not super fond of. But do as you please, this recipe is flexible enough to make sure this seemingly odd combination will still work for you!
Red Cabbage Salad with Blueberries & Coconut
Serves 2 generously
1/2 a head red cabbage, outer leaves removed and finely shredded
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup dried coconut flakes – if you buy untoasted ones you can choose yourself if you want to toast them or not
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme – optional
Heat the oven to 180°C. Remove any damaged outer leaves of the head of cabbage. The shred it finely. I prefer using a cheese slicer, but if you don’t have one of those you can use a mandolin. If using a mandolin you may need to cut the cabbage into wedges. The trick is to get it as shredded as finely as possible as it makes for a much nicer texture, in my opinion at least!
Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl and add the olive oil. Gently massage the oil into the cabbage with your hands with some kind squeezes.
Then place the cabbage on a baking tray. Scatter it out evenly and then add the rosemary and lemon thyme (if using). Bake in the oven for about 15 min until warmed through and soft. Make sure you toss it about a few times in between to ensure even roasting.
*Note* If you want to make this salad entirely raw, then skip the oven step.
Once cooked, place the warm cabbage in a serving dish, drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it, add the blueberries and the coconut flakes.
Serve, enjoy, and give your brain a boost at the same time!
Want to add more colour to your life and plate? Download the Rainbow Bowl Ebook and get creative!