Home-made Granola

This has been on my to-do list for the longest time and last week I finally got around to making it. Result? Simple, cheap and tasty. Granola (aka CEREAL people) is an easy breakfast option and also versatile for snacking as it’s lightweight and packed with good calories. You don’t need to cover it in sugar either to get a sweet boost as the honey and banana coating are sweet enough, plus if you add fresh fruit to the mix there’s just no way to go wrong. I’ve read other people adding a variety of fruits in the cooking stage so why not mix it up and see what happens!

IMG_2328


 

Home-made Granola

Prep time: 10m         Cooking time: 30m

Ingredients

Half a cup of at least 3 different types of nuts you like – I chose hazlenuts, whole almonds and brazil nuts
Half a cup of rolled oats
1 ripe banana (I only had frozen bananas so I left one to defrost and mashed that up)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of almond butter
2 tablespoons of honey

Method

Line a small baking tin with grease-proof paper and pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Roughly chop the nuts so they’re at least half their original size, if not a quarter depending how big or small you prefer. I tried putting them in the mini-blender but it turned the nuts more into powder than small pieces.

Put the nuts into a large mixing bowl along with the oats. In another bowl, mash up the banana and add the almond butter, honey and melted coconut oil. Mix well and add this to the dry nuts and oats.

IMG_2329IMG_2330

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ensure all the dry ingredients are coated in the wet mixture. Pour evenly onto the grease-proof baking paper that you have lined a baking tin with. Bake in the oven on a low heat for about 30m, making sure to STIR every so often so that it doesn’t end up as one big flat slab. Stirring also helps the underside cook rather than having a crispy top layer and soggy bottom.

Once the oats and nuts have cooked and hardened to your liking, remove from the oven and leave to cool. Then put the granola in a sealed container and refrigerate until needed. Serving suggestion – Greek yoghurt, honey and berries!

IMG_2336

Happy Galentine’s Day!

Hands up those who are Parks and Rec fans (ALL hands should be up!!) Then you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say Happy Galentine’s Day – the day of the year when we gather up all our girlfriends to show our love and appreciation for each other! ❤

Now this is usually meant to be celebrated on February 13th but seeing as though that was a Friday this year and we were all working, we decided to have our Galentine’s brunch yesterday in Paris. The girls picked a trendy spot in the 2nd arronidissement called Lockwood which was really easy to get to. (I admit their website is lacking quite a lot in information which is a shame because it is a perrrfect brunch/coffee-shop spot, which also comes with an underground bar serving cocktails and tapas in the evening which I hope to experience with The Boy very soon!)

Arriving at 2pm, there was still plenty of seats remaining but mostly just tables for two or bar stools which wasn’t really going to work for our group of 5. However we kindly asked them to put two different tables together which wasn’t a problem. Next came the hardest task of all – choosing what to eat! Their menu was simple but had our mouths watering just reading it, and I have to say everything was very decently priced considering how big our portions ended up.

IMG_2366

I chose the avocado toast topped with a poached egg, tons of rocket and a balsamic reduction, served alongside beetroot hummus, feta sauce/mayonnaise and a smattering of crushed peanuts. And of course bacon. Always bacon. It was absolutely divine. Hannah had the same as me, Margot too but chose smoked salmon instead of bacon. Eleonora and Michaela opted for the sweeter side, with a stack of banana and blueberry pancakes served dripping in maple syrup (and bacon). My latte was served in a gorgeous letterbox-red teacup and saucer, while the other girls drank white wine (CAVEAT: this being their cheapest wine, it ended up costing 40 euros which we weren’t aware of in the beginning, having not been given a wine list or told of the extravagant price. Apparently glasses are sold for 8 euros a pop so have a think if it’s worth it!)

IMG_2377 IMG_2378

IMG_2374

The décor was modern whilst remaining warm and the hobbit-sized stools were actually so comfortable to sit on. One of the staff members asked if someone from our table would be willing to take a photograph with a coffee cup for the shops’ Instagram, so if anyone wonders where Hannah’s modelling career kicked off you heard it here first. The place was very chilled out with great music playing overhead and I’m itching to see what the bar aspect has to offer.

IMG_2369 IMG_2371

IMG_2370

Hannah did the most thoughtful thing and gave us all a Galetine’s card with our Parks and Rec person on the front and a beautiful personal message inside. Thank you Hannah!! Even if everyone does think I’m a meanie like April 😛 it was a wonderful moment to spend with my best girlies and I had the evening to do something special with The Boy too – don’t worry, I didn’t forget it was actually Valentines Day! I cannot stop thinking of that amazing meal though. I’m currently writing this post with only a cup of coffee inside me, yet I do have toast, avocados and eggs in the kitchen…

IMG_2383

Gros bisous!

Fresh Chilli-and-Lime Coated Chicken

I’m not a huuuuge meat eater, I eat like a vegetarian most of the time but when meat is on the menu I definitely can’t resist. Using my new best friend, the mini-blender, and a bunch of random ingredients in my fridge that happened to combine perfectly, I made for myself and The Boy these roasted chicken legs with a chilli and lime dressing, served with brown rice and broccoli. It was a night of simple and easy cooking that gave a lot in flavour.

IMG_2290

I can’t even remember the last time I had chicken before this but I for sure need to re-create this recipe soon! If you guys want to try it out here’s what I did:


Fresh Chilli-and-Lime Coated Chicken, with Brown Rice and Broccoli

Prep Time: 15m    Cooking Time: 40m

Ingredients

2 chicken legs (or breast or thigh etc)
1 small broccoli
Bunch of coriander
Juice of 1 lime
2 fresh green chillies (more or less depending on how hot you can take it!)
2 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the rice: in this case I had frozen rice in the freezer from the last time when I made way too much so I just defrosted and heated it up in a pan. Otherwise, I normally use the ratio of 1 cup of rice per 2 people, cover with 2 cups of water and cook on a medium heat for 20-30m.

Method

Set the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and pre-heat for 15m.

Remove the coriander leaves from the stalks and place in the blender, along with the juice of the lime, chopped-up chilli and garlic, the oil and seasoning. Blend until you have a paste. Place your chicken pieces in an oven-safe dish and pour the paste over them, covering well. Naturally some of the mixture will slide off in the cooking process but it’s no biggie, I just scoop it up and serve alongside when it’s all cooked.

IMG_2288

Cook the rice accordingly; for the broccoli I personally prefer a crunchy, hard texture rather than a sopping wet, overcooked veg. All I did was wash the broccoli, remove the stalk, cut off the florets and place them in the pot of rice (once the rice was thawed and fully heated up) with a cover on for 5m until serving. This still heats them up whilst leaving a perfect bite.

And dinner is served 🙂

IMG_2292

Raw Speculoos and Chocolate tart

The sun is shining for once in Paris and the skies are a perfect blue. February has gotten off to a good start. I can’t wait for spring to come around and enjoy some real beautiful weather!

Last week in my post about self-motivation I mentioned that I had made a raw tart so I’m here to give you guys the recipe and hopefully you will experiment yourselves with it. It’s not as sugar-free as I wanted because I didn’t have any nuts in the cupboard to make the base from, however I did have a pack (or two..) of those crunchy, cinnamon-y Speculoos biscuits so I just decided to use them. I’d been itching for so long to get this tart on the road, at that point I would’ve used anything!

IMG_2235

Biscuits in the mini-blender

As I said this was the first time I’d ever made a raw dessert and although having read blogs upon blogs about the ingredients generally used, I wanted to use some different methods and see how it turned out. In the end, the result was a winner. For example, mejdool dates are a favourite for this kind of thing in order to really bind the dry ingredients together for the base as well as had a hit of sweetness. However, I’m not prepared to spend 1 euro per date (why are they so expensive?!) so for this recipe I used regular dates which I sliced, boiled in water to soften and then blitzed in the blender.

IMG_2072 IMG_2073

And it worked perfectly. I didn’t feel like I was compromising on taste or texture at all and I was able to use up these dates that were just lying in my fridge untouched. That’s what this blog is all about really, trying and testing new ways to make great food.

OK here’s the recipe!


Raw Speculoos and Chocolate Tart

Tart base

Prep time: 20m

15-20 Speculoos biscuits
1.5 cups of dates
1/4 cup of shredded coconut

Put the biscuits in a mini-blender/food processor and blitz until they turn into a fine crumb. Place into a large mixing bowl.

Slice the dates in half, removing and discarding the stones. Place in a saucepan with about an inch of water and put on the stove for 10m. Mix every so often. Once all the dates are softened, pour out the remaining water and put the dates into the blender. Whizz until it turns into a smooth paste, then combine with the biscuit-crumb mixture.

Once it has been mixed well, smooth out the paste into a a cake tin and pop in the fridge for about an hour. Line the tin with plastic wrap if necessary – this will make it easier to remove at the final stage.

IMG_2237
Chocolate top layer

Prep time: 5m

In a small saucepan, melt 2 heaped tablespoons of cold-pressed coconut oil, then add 2 1/2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder. Stir until all the powder combines with the oil. Add honey to sweeten as required. Pour over the biscuit base and gently smooth the top.

Place back in the fridge to harden for about another hour. At this point you could decorate the chocolate layer if desired – frozen berries, chocolate chips, shredded coconut or even roughly chopped Speculoos biscuits will all embed nicely in the chocolate once it starts to set.

This tart was extremely decadent – the spicy, cinnamon-y crumb goes so well with the strong, bitter cacao. Perfection with a cuppa.

IMG_2244I hope you guys try this out, it tastes so good you wouldn’t believe how simple it is to make.

Bisous!