Strawberry Nana Icecream

Strawberry Nana Icecream

We are still enjoying some warm weather here in beautiful co. Cork, so this week I am going to treat you to a really simple yet healthy “ice cream” recipe. And not too many words, promise! I’m currently writing this from my temporary outdoor office. God bless the inventor of laptops, is all I can say. Yay to flexibility and working from home. I just love this warm weather and can’t get enough of it so even though I am working, I’m grateful I can do so much of it from my own computer, outside, at home. Life is good.

If you haven’t yet tried “Nana icecream”, you are seriously missing out. You will need to be a little ahead of yourself to make this recipe, since the bananas need to be frozen for a couple of hours, at least. But once you get into the swing of chopping up your very ripe bananas (instead of throwing them out) and putting them in the freezer, you’ll have this yummy treat/dessert/breakfast/snack/whatever you want to call it, whipped up in no time. For those non-banana lovers out there, fear not, you can hardly taste the banana flavour, especially if you blend the frozen banana with another fruit or something like cacao powder, for a chocolate hit. Perfect for anyone who needs to be dairy free and feel like their missing out.

You will need as food processor or a good blender for this recipe.

 

Straightforward NutritionStrawberry nana Ice Cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Nana Icecream

Serves 2

3 medium sized bananas, peeled, chopped & frozen

6-7 fresh strawberries (depending on size), washed, hullled & halved

1-2 tbsp coconut milk

Fresh berries or edible flower to decorate with – optional

Place all ingredients into your food processor or blender. Note, a handblender won’t be strong enough for this job.

Blend until you have a smooth looking “ice cream”. Serve immediately in individual bowls. Savour a guilt free treat, while doing something good for your health.

This “ice cream” won’t refreeze so needs to be eaten straightaway. But, sure, where’s the harm in that?

 

 

Straightforward Nutrition

Straightforward Nutriton

Raw Lemon “Cheese” Cake – with Summer Berries

Raw Lemon “Cheese” Cake – with Summer Berries

 

This raw cake is surprisingly easy to make, tastes amazing and is naturally gluten, dairy  and refined sugar free. I kind of wish I could take credit for the recipe, but at least the pictures are all mine. Which of course means I had the pleasure of both cooking and eating it! Lucky me.

A while back I was contacted by two lovely ladies, who asked me if I (Straightforward Nutrition) would like to be part of their up coming giveaway competition, to win a fancy Ninja Blender, over on Instagram. I thought it sounded like lots of fun as well as a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded souls so I said, yes of course. Influxr is a website and an online community which is about connecting and inspiring each other to keep going on the journey to health, fitness and happiness. Inspiring, encouraging, motivating and empowering people to take control over their own health is very much part of what I do as a Nutritional Therapist, so being part of this competition was really a no-brainer. And the truth is we can not really achieve greatness all by ourselves. We need someone who got our back from time to time.

Who inspires you? Did you ever take some time and think about who YOUR everyday heroes are? There are so many things and people who inspires me every day to keep moving forward, to pick myself up when things are tough and who helps me grow and develop into an even better version of myself. I am blessed to have some amazing friends (you know who you are) but I have also found a lot of inspiration, particularly foodie and health related inspiration through various food blogs. You will find a selection of them here.

 

raw lemon cheese cakeraw lemon cheese cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having positive people in your life is another source of inspiration and something I am constantly consciously aspiring to be one of those. Why? Simply because positive people have more fun! It makes sense, doesn’t it? And the word to focus on here is consciously. You will at some point have to CONSCIOUSLY decide what it is you want (whatever that is). So go get it 🙂

Anyway, back to the recipe. If you have never tried a raw cake before, I urge you to give this one a try. They are incredible easy to make and taste great. No white sugar involved either. Or white flour for that matter, so this makes a perfect dessert for all your “free from” friends. Paleo friendly, coeliac approved and raw, vegan. Just don’t invite someone with a nut allergy though and you will be sorted.

 

raw lemon cheese cake

This giveaway competition was run over on Instagram, over the course of a week. Each day the contestants where given one main ingredient to create a dish around. The winning recipe was based using lemons as the star of the show. The lovely @orsomethingsweet came up with this winning combination. It’s a super simple wholesome cake recipe, just as we like it here on Straightforward Nutrition. A perfect way to celebrate that Spring has finally sprung. I’ve made some slight alterations to the original recipe, but very modest ones.

When styling and shooting this blog post I really realised that I want a cake stand.It would make for a way better photo along with my vintage cake knife, which I currently have put in a safe place – Out of sight, out of mind kind of a place, it seams…

 

raw lemon cheeese cake

 

Raw Lemon ‘Cheese’ Cake with Summer Berries

Serves 6-8 comfortably

Crust:

1 cup raw walnuts

1/4 cup dessicated coconut

6 medajool dates, pitted

Filling:

2 cups (200g) raw cashew nuts, soaked overnight

3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp vanilla extract

juice of two medium sized lemons + zest of 1 lemon

4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Make the crust first by placing walnuts, dessicated coconut and dates in your food processor. Blend until you have a sticky dough. To make this process a little easier, give the walnuts a whirl first on their own so they are crumbly before you add in dates and coconut. Line your cake tin with some cling film at the bottom. Take out the dough and press it firmly into your spring form.  Set aside.

To make the cashew nut filling, simply place all the ingredients in your food processor. If you have a strong blender, like a Vitamix, then use that instead for a smoother finish. But it will work OK in your food processor too. Blend and keep scraping down the sides as you go along. Once you have a smooth creamy mixture, it’s done. Add the cream to your base and then place the whole thing in the freezer for a few hours to set.

Remove the cake from the freezer about 30 min before serving and decorate with berries of your choice. I went for some carmelised lemons, strawberries and raspberries, but you can use anything you have to hand really. Serve with more berries if you wish. Store any leftovers in the freezer. That is if you have any left…

N.B. I used an 8″ spring form here. If you use a larger form or want a thicker cake, increase the quantities of the ingredients.

 

raw lemon cheese cakeraw lemon cheese cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Pancakes – for Pancake Tuesday

Banana Pancakes – for Pancake Tuesday

It’s Pancake Tuesday! Finally. What more do I have to say. Pancakes are really good any time of year, especially on a lazy Sunday morning. For the past few years I’ve had friends over to my house for Pancake Tuesday. It’s great to cook and share a meal with your best friends.

The Irish tradition is to serve them with some lemon juice and sugar. Or with Nutella. I used to be a eating-nutella-with-a-spoon-straight-out-of-the-jar kind of girl. These days I prefer to make my own hazelnut spread though. Then you can be sure that it only has wholesome goodness ingredients. No funny E-numbers or cheap vegetable oils.

Last year I made lovely spelt pancakes with butter milk and fried in butter. Super tasty, and really great if you can tolerate dairy. My body seems to be happier without dairy products though, so I have made these pancakes with Koko coconut milk, but use any plant milk you prefer. Keeping with the “free from” theme, I used brown rice flour. Rice seems to be the grain best tolerated by most people with sensitive digestive systems. It is actually possible to have nice pancakes without both wheat and dairy. I did add an egg, hence they are not egg free, or vegan. Personally I find to hard to achieve that proper pancake consistency without eggs, but if you have a great egg free pancake recipe, please share. I would love to hear about it 🙂

 

Banana pancakesRice flour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bananas add a lovely body to the batter and a subtle sweet flavour. No need for any extra sugar. To keep it really simple I mixed all ingredients with my hand blender, so no whisking.

I hope you and your family will enjoy them as much as we did in my house. No need to miss out on Pancake Tuesday, just because you are on a gluten and/or dairy free diet! If you prefer more crêpe style pancakes then these buckwheat crêpes may be what you are looking for.

 

Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

Makes about 10 pancakes

3 medium sized bananas, chopped – Preferably organic

1 egg – free range, preferably organic

5 heaped tbsp brown rice flour

80 ml plant milk of your choice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder, gluten free

coconut oil, to cook pancakes in

50g dark chocolate, melted, to serve

200g fresh raspberries, to serve

Add all ingredients to you your blender and blend until smooth. Let the batter rest for about 20 min. Heat your frying pan. Add some coconut oil to the pan and then add a small soup ladle of batter. Cook on medium heat. Keep an eye on this as you need the batter to set on top before you can flip it over, but you don’t want the pancake burnt in the process. Once the batter has just set on top, flip over and cook on the other side until golden. Repeat with the next ladle of batter.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over some hot water. To serve, mash a couple of raspberries and smear out between each layer of pancakes. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top. Serve immediately, while still warm. 

Happy Pancake Tuesday!

 

DSC_0718Banana Pancake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buckwheat Crêpes

Buckwheat Crêpes

I was really planning on posting a more “dinner” type of recipe this time, but with food blogging things sometimes just don’t work out as you intend. I try to eat what I cook and photograph. So anything I post may depend on what happens to be in the fridge. This time of the year it is also harder to use natural light for images, simply because it isn’t available for that much of the day. So timing is an essential part of the process. So instead of a nourishing bowl of warming food, I give you these lovely pancakes or crêpes. While planning, cooking and shooting a recipe for the lovely website Food&_ which I also contributed to back in the autumn, I also made these pancakes. They fit perfectly with the particular soup recipe, I have submitted to them.

Do you have food memories? Particular tastes, flavours and scents that triggers certain emotions? Pancakes for me is one of those loving comfort foods, holding some sweet childhood memories. I can remember almost always having pancakes when staying over at my grandmother’s. Her pancakes where so much nicer than my mother’s. (I hope I’m not going to upset my mammy too much now…)

There are two reasons for this, I think. One, my health conscious mother always used whole meal or added bran to the flour, whereas my gran did not. And then there was the flipping off course. My mother never cooked both sides of the pancake. I have no idea why not… I love mine turned and hate the sogginess you get if you don’t. If you use a good pan, flipping them isn’t really a big deal either. However I must admit that I have not yet mastered the art of turning pancakes / crêpes mid-air. Perhaps I need some more practice. What better excuse to eat more pancakes?

 

DSC_0593Bockwheat Crêpes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have changed the ingredients here from your usual wheat flour and cow’s milk. Often when I do food intolerance tests with people, wheat and/or dairy shows up as reactive foods. Once you start looking out for these two foods, you will be surprised how much they feature in a “Western style” diet. And pancakes are a typical food.

But once you start looking a little further, the transition to a gluten and dairy free diet does not need to be that difficult and it certainly does not need to be of sacrifice in flavours by any means. I also find that by going gluten and/or dairy free naturally lends to a healthier diet as you simply will have to eat more wholefoods (i.e fruit and vegetables) as they are naturally gluten free.

Eggs are an integral part of this recipe as I believe you can’t get that crêpe style pancake without it. If eggs does not float your boat or if you are intolerant, fear not, I have another recipe up my sleeve. But you will have to wait until Pancake Tuesday 😉

 

Buckwheat

 

I prefer using organic eggs, mostly because they taste better, but also because I know that they are free from antibiotics and the hens have a good life while producing the goods. I use buckwheat flour here. It is naturally gluten free as it is actually not a grain, but a seed. Buckwheat is closely related to the rhubarb plant. The seeds are small and triangular shaped. You can buy whole seeds too and use in cooked dishes. Both buckwheat flour and whole buckwheat is readily available in healthfood shops. Instead of cow’s milk I’ve used almond milk. You can make your own or these days it is available even in Supermarkets. Just keep an eye on the labels so your bought milk isn’t full of additives.

 

Buckwheat Crepes

Makes about 10 crêpes

2 eggs – preferably organic

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1 1/4 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla exctract

A pinch of sea salt

coconut oil, for frying

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and the milk together. Add the flour bit by bit while whisking. Keep whisking until you have a smooth batter. It will be pretty loose as this will makes thin crêpe style pancakes. Let the batter rest for at least 10 min. This will make your pancakes stay together a lot better. Heat your frying pan and add some coconut oil to it. Add a soup ladle of pancake batter and gently swirl it around, until you have a thin pancake. Once the batter has set on top, flip it over and fry until golden on the other side. Keeping the pan at the right temperature is the key to perfect pancakes. Personally I find somewhere between the mid and the highest temperature setting is just about right. Play around with it. It often takes two or three pancakes until you get it right.

I like eating my pancakes the classic Irish way with sugar and lemon, almost straight out of the pan (!). Since the white stuff is banned in my house I serve them with dark unrefined cane sugar. Simply delicious. You can off course serve them anyway you like.

 

Buckwheat pancakesBuckwheat pancakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruit & Nut Truffle Cake

Fruit & Nut Truffle Cake

Just incase one Christmas treat recipe wasn’t enough, here is a second one. I’m still making a few give-away treats, so just so glad I got all my presents bought early. Apart from making the last few presents I am all set for the holidays now. Just have to pack my suitcase and then I am ready to return to my roots for a few days. I look forward to spend some time with my family back in Sweden. Even though I have lived more than 10 years in Ireland now, I can’t get into the Christmas spirit in the same way here. Perhaps it is just the fact that it’s not cold enough. Not that I’m complaining (!) but it does not feel like “real” winter when it is 10 degrees and raining…

This recipes is from a Swedish cookbook I got as a present from my mother a few years ago. The book ticks all the right boxes to earn a place on one of my bookshelves (which are overloaded at this stage). The recipes are straightforward, using wholesome ingredients and with mouthwatering pictures. I really am such as sucker for good food photography! And cookbooks. At this rate I am afraid to count how many I have! Next year I won’t buy any. Or maybe just one. Or two… Select ones. Is it just me or is there other people like me who collects (cook)books?

So back to the recipe. This is a non bake fruit and nut “cake”. It is decadent, yet not too sweet and packed with goodness from all that fruit and nuts. Serve it as a treat with a cup of tea or coffee. Why not a slightly bigger slice as an alternative dessert for Christmas dinner? If you are looking for a gluten free alternative to the traditional pudding and trifle, then this is it. You can soak the dried fruit in some brandy/rum/whiskey and no one is missing out on the booze either 😉 To make it dairy free I have used coconut milk instead of cream. Either works fine. To get the most out of this special chocolate extravaganza, don’t skimp on the quality of the chocolate. Use at least 70%. Then ditch the tin of Cadbury’s Roses and indulge in something far more satisfying.

As the original recipe  is in Swedish, I have translated it for anyone who does not speak the lingo

 

Truffle Cake

Truffle Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruit & Nut Truffle Cake

Makes one bread loaf tin

 

400g dark chocolate – At least 70%

150 ml cup cococnut milk

1/2 cup hazelnuts – Toasted if preferred

1/2 cup walnuts or pistachios

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped

½ cup dried fruit such as rasins, figs or cranberries – Or a mix of all three

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Once the chocolate is fully melted add in the cream and stir until well combined. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until evenly coated. Pour the chocolate mix into a lined bread loaf tin and put it into the fridge for a few hours to set. Once the truffle has set take it out of the tin and cut into small squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. The truffle will keep for a week. If it lasts!

Recipe barley adapted from Catherine Shuck’s Mer Nauturligt, friskare, piggare, smalare – ny mat med lågt GI

 

Fruit and nuts

 

P. S. If you are looking for more ideas on homemade gifts check out these lovely suggestions from some of my favourite blogs.

Infused Syrup Gift Jars – from My New Roots

DIY Almond Butter with chocolate – from A Tasty Love Story

Christmas Granola – from Green Kitchen Stories