I love this time of year, and I’m a huge fan of summer and all the wonderful fresh fruit and vegetable options you can enjoy. It’s a great time to eat lighter healthier food and there are no excuses even over the holiday period.
I remember as a young girl Christmas was always spent at my Polish grandmother’s house. She worked extremely hard and held down 2 jobs to make ends meet, and she was also an amazing cook and never bought anything from a packet. Everything we ate was home made, natural and bursting with goodness and each meal was prepared with lots of love and care. The food wasn't complicated it just focused on simplicity and purity.
The secret is to keep it real, keep it simple and keep it fresh and you’ll have success every time you cook! I have lots of Christmas favourites that I'll be making over the holidays for my family and friends popping over and I hope you enjoy making them over these holidays.
This is a dense and moist fruit cake with a high ratio of fruit, which means I don’t need to use any extra sugar in the recipe. I’m also using ground almond meal which replaces traditional white refined flours that make up most store bought cakes. The almond meal is also gluten free and adds moisture so I just need to add a small amount of heart healthy olive oil. I love the combination of vanilla, orange and cinnamon in recipes and my Christmas cake is the perfect recipe to marry the flavours together. Serve in small portions after Christmas lunch or dinner or warm it up and serve as a pudding with vanilla bean custard or thick natural yoghurt and orange blossom honey.
OK, here they are ! my purely delicious fruit mince pie recipe. I’ve tried to cover most bases such as gluten, wheat and dairy free which is why I’ve given you a few pastry options. My favourite pastry to make these lovely pies is the oatmeal shortcrust. It has a lovely crunch and wholesome sense of purity which I love. They last for days (up to 1 week) and they are perfect to complement your nutritious Christmas feast. The oats are low GI and provide good fibre for digestive health, whilst the almond pumps up the amino acid and vitamin E profile that will help nourish your immune system.
I love making this strawberry crumble, it takes just a few minutes to create and can be served cold or warm with coconut sorbet or a dollop of thick organic yoghurt.
For this salad, I’ve used a delicate micro-green salad mix, which are a combination of baby lettuce and herbs that are harvested when they are very young. They add an amazing flavor and marry perfectly with baby spinach, ripe figs and delicate jewels of pomegranate.
I love my sweet potatoes, especially oven roasted with generous amounts of cinnamon and a little sea salt. You don’t need to do too much to prepare them – they practically make themselves and the final result is truly delicious !
It’s time for a little skinny dipping over the holidays so I’ve given you my favourite healthy dip recipes just in time for new year celebrations. There are 4 purely delicious dips to choose from and what I love about them is that they are easy to make and much healthier then store bought versions. They all keep for about 4 – 5 days in the fridge, any leftovers are perfect to serve along side summer salads, dollop over steamed vegetables or pan roasted salmon or use as a sandwich spread in place of butter.
My citrus salad is purely delicious and I love eating it for breakfast or creating it as a luscious dinner party dessert for good friends. You can enjoy on it’s own or topped with natural organic yoghurt.
I couldn’t resist posting my favourite recipe of the moment made from simple roasted baby carrots served on a bed of fresh made hummus and scented with a hint of pomegranate. You’ll notice that I don’t add the traditional garlic or cumin to my hummus recipe – the reason is that I find it really over powers the wonderful fresh flavours in the dish. What you really want to taste is the freshness of citrus, carrot, pomegranate with mild overtones of sesame. This is purely an amazing meal and I hope you enjoy making and eating it as much as I did.
When I was working as a pastry chef, making gingerbread was part of our weekly production schedule. We used to make the most amazing gingerbread houses glued together with chocolate or royal icing. They were so big that you could almost walk through one of the doors and sit down inside them.
Feel like a healthy chocolate fix ? Well you just can’t go past these delicious chocolate truffles. They take around 10 minutes and make a great healthy and sustaining snack. Perfect for outdoor activities such as long bike rides, hiking, sailing, picnics, long walks on the beach or a healthy dessert to have with coffee.
Poured over a warm Christmas pudding or fresh strawberry trifle, or served as egg nog with an added touch of brandy a dusting of nutmeg
Christmas isn’t Christmas without a traditional pudding. I love the fragrant aroma of cinnamon, vanilla, orange and nutmeg infused into plump sun-dried fruits then finished off with a home made proper egg custard poured over the top. This is a recipe I designed especially for YOU ! It features in the December issue of Women’s Fitness Magazine and it needed to fit into the healthy chef philosophy and be Purely Delicious !