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Vilma, reporting live from London

Almond & cashew energy balls

These energy balls are such a treat, a perfect snack when you’re feeling tired.

To make 20 energy balls, you’ll need:

1 cup of dates

1 cup of oats

1/2 cup of almonds

1/2 cups of cashews

1 tbsp vanilla powder

3 tbsp raw cocoa powder

3 tbsp coconut oil – melted

Simply blend all ingredients until the mix forms a sticky dough. Roll into balls and decorate with milled roasted almonds.

Nut free sunflower seed – apricot energy balls

These energy balls are such a great nut free alternative. They are not too sweet and roasted sunflower seeds adds a lovely crunch to every bite.

To make 20 – 25 balls you’ll need:

1 cup of sunflower seeds

1/2 cup of oats

1, 1/2 cups of dried unsulphured apricots

3 tbsp raw cocoa powder

3 tsp cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 180C and roast sunflower seeds for 10 mins or until they start to turn golden brown. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for 30 mins.

Next blitz all ingredients in a food processor for about 3 mins until sunflower seeds start to release its oils and the mix starts to form a sticky dough.

Roll the mix into balls and enjoy! Keep your energy balls in an airtight container in the fridge. They will stay fresh for about 2 weeks.

Simple hazelnut – cocoa energy balls

These hazelnut energy balls are a dream! Hazelnuts and oats are high in magnesium, which helps prevent heart attacks and strokes by relaxing blood vessels, aiding the heart muscle and regulating blood pressure.

This recipe uses 5 simple ingredients and will make approx 25 – 30 energy balls:

2 cup of oats

1 cup of hazelnuts

2 cup of dates

6 tbsp raw cocoa powder

6 tbsp coconut oil – melted

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Roast hazelnuts for 8 mins. Take out of the oven & rub off most of the skin. This is important as hazelnut skins can add bitterness.

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until the mixture forms a sticky dough.

Roll into balls and enjoy! Store these energy balls in an airtight container.

Stuffed pumpkin


Pumpkin is so versatile and this autumn inspired recipe will provide a satisfying meal for six.

You’ll need:

1 medium pumpkin, about 1kg

500g lean minced beef

4 cloves garlic – peeled & minced

Dullop of extra virgin olive oil

1 red onion , peeled and finely chopped

2 tomatoes – chopped

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

chilli flakes, salt, freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup of basmati rice

200g dried apricots

50 g shelled pistachio nuts

1 cup of water

Preheat the oven to 230ºC/450ºF/gas 8. Cut the lid off the pumpkin and reserve it. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and keep them to one side. You can make a lovely snack from seeds by rosting them with chili, salt & red pepper. Make the hollow where the seeds were a little bigger by scooping out some more pumpkin flesh. Chop this pumpkin flesh. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Pour in a splash of olive oil, then add the chopped onion and garlic and fry for about 3 mins. Then add the minced meat, pumpkin, tomatoes, seasoning and half the rosemary. Cook gently for 15 minutes or so until the pumpkin has softened and minced meat has cooked (but not browned).

Meanwhile, mix extra virgin olive oil with cinnamon, nutmed, chilli powder & salt and then rub the inside and outside of the pumpkin with it. Place the pumpkin in the oven and cook for 20mins.

Whilst the pumpkin is baking, add water, rice and dried apricots to the pumpkin mix and mix thoroughly. Bring the mix to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes (no longer or the rice will end up overcooked later).

Take the pumpkin out of the oven. Tear off a sheet of tin foil that’s large enough to wrap the pumpkin in a double layer and lay on top of a baking tray. Place the pumpkin on top and spoon the meat & rice mixture into it, then place its lid back on. Wrap it up in the foil and bake in the oven for about an hour. The pumpkin is ready when you can easily push a knife into it. Bring it to the table and open it up in front of everyone to marvel at. Scoop out the filling and cut the pumpkin wall down as you go.

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Beetroot brownies (gluten & refined sugar free)


These beetroot brownies are a treat! Gooey middle with nuts and a firmer outer layer smothered with sweet icing & crunchy hazelnuts make these brownies a perfect afternoon treat.

Beets are naturally sweet so you’ll be able to use less natural sweetner than usual.

For the brownie base you’ll need:

500g beets

4 tbsp chia seeds soaked for 10mins in 8 tbsp of water

2 ripe bananas

9 tbsp raw cocoa

4 tbsp honey

5 tbsp melted coconut oil

1 cup of buckwheat flour

100g hand chopped hazelnuts (roasted, skin removed)
Icing:

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp raw cocoa powder

2 tbsp almond butter

Start off by cooking beetroot skin on in boiling water (nothing added). Cook for about 30mins, remove from the stove, drain (save a little bit if water for later) and leave to cool.

When the beets have cooled, puree them with a little bit of beet water until a smooth mix has formed. Add the beet puree and mashed bananas to the rest of the brownie base ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Pour the brownie dough into a cake tin and bake for about 30mins. Take out of the oven and leave to cool.

To make the icing mix together all ingredients and leave in the fridge for 30mins to firm up. Spread the icing over the cake and garnish with hand chopped roasted hazelnuts. Enjoy!


Slow cooked Moroccan lamb

This is such a warming winter recipe. Cinnamon amd dried apricots give the lamb such a lovely & fragrant taste you’ll absolutely love it.

To serve 6 you’ll need:

1 tablespoon cumin

2 teaspoons coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 kg trimmed boned lamb shoulder, cut into chunks

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cups water

1 cup dried apricots

2 large tomatoes, chopped

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1/2 lemon – peel grated & rest of it sliced

2 tins of chickpeas – drained

Start by grinding all spices in pestle & mortar. Add lamb and toss to coat. Next coat the lamb in olive oil. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add lamb to skillet and cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally and adding 2 more tablespoons oil to skillet between batches, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to slow cooker or a pot.

Add onion and tomato paste to drippings in skillet. Reduce heat to medium; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

Add water, apricots, tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, ginger, lemon peel & sliced lemon and cook on low heat until lamb is tender. When meat is ready, stir in drained chickpeas and leave to cook for another 30mins. It will take about 8 hrs in a slow cooker or 5 hrs when cooked in a pot.

Epic gluten free upside down banana cake

This vegan upside down banana cake will blow your socks off.

For the cake filling you’ll need:

2 1/2 large ripe bananas

1 apple – peeled, cored & cubed in small pieces

6 tbsp coconut oil – melted

1 tbsp cinnamon

2 cups of oat flour

Icing:

1 tbsp coconut oil – melted

1 tbsp cinnamon

6 tbsp maple syrup

1 1/2 large ripe bananas – sliced

Start off by making the icing. Simply simmer maple syrup, coconut oil & cinnamon in a small sauce pan until it starts forming bubbles all around. Pour the icing into a lined baking tin and spread it evenly. Then layer sliced banana on top. 

Preheat the oven to 150C.

To make the cake base, mash the banana with a fork and add in the rest of the ingredients. Make sure the cake base is neither runny nor thick so it will cook properly. Mix thoroughly and spread over the cake base.

Place the cake in the oven and bake for 30mins at 150C. Increase the heat to 220C and cook for another 5-10 min until the cake starts to brown slightly. Poke the cake with a fork and it’s ready when the fork comes out clean.

Take the cake out of the oven, place a plate on top and turn upside down so that banana icing is facing up. Remove the baking paper & enjoy!

30 minute wholesome dinner recipe

I love cooking wholesome and healthy food. And it really doesn’t have to take hours to make. You can make this ginger & lemon salmon roast with lemon rice and mushroom-tumeric gravy all in 30 minutes.

For the salmon you’ll need:

4 fillets of salmon

Salt & chilli flakes

For the salmon sauce:

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

1 thumb sized ginger

1 red onion

1 tbsp dark soya sauce

For rice:

1 cup of rice

2 cups of water

A splash of extra virgin olive oil

Salt

1/2 lemon

For the mushroom sauce:

200g mushrooms

1 red onion – chopped

1/2 bulb of garlic

1 tbsp ground tumeric

1/2 tbsp chilli flakes

300g creme fraiche

1 cup of water

2 tbsp buckwheat flour

Start off by making sauce for the salmon. Simply blitz all ingredients in a blender, add to the oven dish & mix in a splash of extra virgin olive oil.

Next prepare the salmon. Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the salmon skin up and sprinkle it with salt & chilli flakes. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top and place the salmon in the baking dish, add some rosemary on top and leave in the oven for 20mins to cook.

Moving on to rice. Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Add 2 cups of water, a splash of extra virgin olive oil (this ensures the rice doesn’t stick together), salt and lemon. Bring the rice to boil and keep on a high heat until the water evaporates and small bubble-like holes start to form. Reduce the heat to the smallest setting, put the lid on top and keep it simmering for 10mins. Once the rice is ready, squeeze the lemon and fluff up the rice.

To make the mushroom-tumeric gravy start off by frying onion and garlic with salt & chilli flakes. As soon as the onion has caramelised, add mushrooms and fry them for about 5 mins. Next add tumeric and flour and stir well so that the flour coats all the ingredients. Fry for about 3 mins until the flour starts to brown. Add water & creme fraiche and leave the gravy to simmer for about 5 mins.

That’s it! This will make 4 servings.


Sauce for the salmon:


Rice:

Reduce to simmer on low heat:


Mushroom – tumeric gravy:

Pumpkin-apple chutney (refined sugar free) 

This pumpkin chutney is a dream. It works perfectly with any cheese or just on its own on a toast.

To make 2 jars you’ll need:

1/2 pumpkin – peeled and cubed in small chunks

2 red onions – chopped

Dullop of extra virgin olive oil

2 apples – peeled, cored & grated

1 tsp cinnamon

3 shakes of chilli powder

1/2 tsp cardamon

6 tbsp honey

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 thumb sized ginger – grated

1 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp coriander

Start off by frying onions in a dullop of olive oil. Once onions have caramelised, add all spices and fry for about 2 mins. Next add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on a very low heat for about an hour or until pumpkin starts to fall apart.

Take off the stove and pour in sterilised jars. Voila!

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