Raspberry, Pear & Chocolate Overnight Oats

IMG_20170421_091924_883I tend to go through phases with breakfasts. The porridge phase (okay, that one never ends), the pancake phase, the eggs on toast phase, the shredded wheat phase…and the overnight oats phase. This is one of my favourite variations on overnight oats. You’ll find plenty of recipes for them under the food section of the blog, though the combination of sweet pear, bitter dark chocolate (we’re using cacao, though if you really like things much sweeter you can either add maple syrup, or use a cocoa powder / hot chocolate mix instead), and juicy, sharp raspberries is amazing. Any overnight oats recipe is ideal for mornings when you know you’ll be in a rush, and short on time to make something. Continue reading “Raspberry, Pear & Chocolate Overnight Oats”

Pear & Chocolate Protein Smoothie

wp-1484842033994.jpgAfter the gym, if I need a snack instead of a meal, then I always opt for a smoothie. Usually a banana and chocolate smoothie, as I’m not generally a fan of tropical smoothies. However, pear and chocolate is one of my other favourite chocolate combos- and so that’s that we’re doing today.

I used a mixture of cacao and pea protein powders to give me both chocolate flavour and protein, making this suitable for vegans and those who can’t eat dairy- but a chocolate whey protein is also an ideal substitute for these ingredients.

Happy blending!

Ingredients

  • 1 large pear, chopped into small chunks, microwaved until tender, and stored in the fridge overnight (ALTERNATIVELY, you can use 80g of canned pears for ease; this also gives a smoother texture- but make sure that they are chilled. As these blend more easily than fresh pear, you could even freeze them to ensure a super-cold and refreshing drink)
  • 200ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1tbsp cacao powder (I used Seven Hills)
  • 1tbsp pea protein (I used Pulsin)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • OPTIONAL: 1tsp maple syrup (if you really have a sweet tooth; I personally didn’t add this), ice

Method

  • Into a blender place all of the ingredients, and simply blend until smooth. My blender isn’t too high-tech, and so there were still some pear chunks, but as I’m not fussy this was no issue for me! (If chunks are an issue, then see the “alternative” in the ingredients).

Christmas Porridge No.1: Hazelnut, Chocolate & Pear

wp-1481464521141.jpgChristmas breakfast is one of my favourite things about the entire day. In fact, of late I’ve been diving for my breakfast before my presents. My top picks are always either something involving eggs or smoked salmon (or both), shredded wheat with loads of toppings- or, more often than not, a bowl of porridge. But since Christmas is a time for making things that bit more special, I’ve decided to make three different- more luxurious- Christmas  porridges for you over the next week. This is the first one…

Hazelnut butter is a mega-luxury as it’s so expensive, and so as Christmas is a time for pushing the boat out a bit, I like to use it this time of year. Alternatively, you can use whole hazelnuts, which are much cheaper- just chop them, and add them as directed below. If your are treating yourself to hazelnut butter, then I highly recommend Meridian- nothing has matched theirs so far. Chocolate on Christmas morning is something I know many of us enjoy, but this chocolate flavour comes from cacao, making it super-rich and just that little bit better for you, as it is richer in antioxidants. If you aren’t a fan of bitter dark chocolate-esque flavours, then go ahead and add in 1-2tsp of maple syrup to sweeten. Finally, the pear means you get in one of your 5 a day, provides a little sweetness itself, and it works beautifully with both the cacao and the hazelnut.

Now, a little word on the egg whites…these are completely optional. I love egg white oats, and so I added them. The extra protein makes this a well-balanced breakfast, and you can’t actually taste them. The texture just becomes super-thick (which is something I like in my porridge), and your breakfast super-filling. If you’re sceptical then feel free to skip them, or even sub in protein powder if you’re into that. For more on egg white oats you can read my post and recipe here.

Let’s get going…

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of porridge oats
  • 1/2 cup freshly boiled water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1tbsp cacao
  • 1 pear- three thin slices put to one side, and the rest chopped into chunks
  • 1tbsp hazelnut butter (I used Meridian)
  • Pinch of each: cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice (just a little!)
  • OPTIONAL: 2 egg whites, frozen berries, maple syrup (I highly recommend adding the egg whites- this recipe works fine without the berries, but they do add a little colour, and you can read about the maple syrup in my intro)

Continue reading “Christmas Porridge No.1: Hazelnut, Chocolate & Pear”

January’s Salad: Pear, Pomegranate & Parsnip

If you read my Simple Side Salads for Salad Virgins (link here: http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/three-new-years-side-salads-for-salad.html ), then you’ll have been expecting this post. Each month I’ll be bringing you a salad using seasonal ingredients, and items you can find at any time in your local supermarket. The idea is that I get to eat a lot of salad, and you get to learn that salad isn’t just for summer (although I cant wait for the summer produce to be honest, because it means strawberries…), can be made cheaply, and is much more than just a few shreds of iceberg and half a tomato.
So, January. The month everybody traditionally hates. The only reasons I dislike January are 1) I can’t get into the gym for all the newbies, 2) Everyone is on a “detox”, or “cleanse”, 3) It rains all the time, instead of snowing. But other than that, I don’t mind the month of January. It means root veg like parsnips, sweet potato and swede, then pomegranate seeds, oranges, kale, and pears in food terms- all of which are great, versatile ingredients. This week you get to see why I love fruit in savoury salads; its a lovely contrast to root veg as its light, refreshing, and sweet. Plus it goes unexpectedly well with black pepper…
Ingredients
  • 1 conference pear
  • 1 large handful of kale
  • 1-2tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 1 medium parsnip, chopped into chunks (leave the peel on; most of the vitamins and minerals actually accumulate under the peel of fruit and veg, and so are lost when the skin is removed)
  • 1/2 sachet of easy cook lentils (I bought these at Asda; think like microwave rice, but lentils. It makes this salad super quick and easy), or 1/4 cup dried lentils, prepared according to packet instructions
  • Salt & black pepper, to taste
  • Lime juice, to taste
Add Ons…
  • 1 chicken breast, wrapped in foil and baked on 200*c for 30-40 minutes
  • 2 Quorn or regular sausages, grilled according to instructions
  • 100g chickpeas
  • 1/4-1/2 avocado (this goes especially well with the chickpeas)
Method
  • Wilt the kale in the microwave for approximately one minute, until softened slightly.
  • Microwave the lentils (if using the sachet) for 1-2 minutes, until hot. Whilst they’re warming through chop the pear, before tossing together the kale, lentils, pomegranate seeds, and pear chunks.
  • Place the parsnip chunks into a bowl and add a 3tbsp freshly boiled water. Cover with a plate and microwave for 2 minutes, or until the parsnips have steamed enough to be soft yet slightly firm, and release a sweet smell.
  • Toss the parsnips with the other ingredients, adding the lime juice, salt, and black pepper to taste. You can also add a little maple syrup to the parsnips for extra flavour before doing this.
  • Top with your preferred add-on to make it more of a meal, and enjoy!