Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

I whipped this up after my long run on Sunday and it hit the spot perfectly on a chilly January day. I tend to get very cold very quickly after a long run, and it isn’t uncommon for me to turn blue if I don’t have a shower immediately, but this served as an all-in-one recovery drink and a warm blanket, meaning that I didn’t have to wait for nourishment until after I’d showered.


I made it with whole dairy milk because we had some on a short date in the fridge, but it could quite easily be made with scrummy non-dairy milk, too. Equally as easy, and n doubt just as tasty, for vegans and milk-lovers alike!

Protein recovery hot chocolate

1 scoop protein powder (we use pea protein which is GROSS on its own, hence the need to dress it up)
1 mug milk
1 tbsp hot chocolate powder (I use Green and Blacks, which is vegan, but any will do)
Half a banana (optional)

  1. Heat up the milk in a mug in the microwave for 2 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, blend the protein powder, chocolate powder and banana with 100ml of water
  3. Add the warm milk to the blender and whizz to combine
  4. Pour back into the mug and pop in the microwave for another minute until hot



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I dream of being one of those people who makes their own nut butters. We always have a massive 1kg tub of peanut butter in the cupboard, as well as cashew butter and tahini. It’s becoming an expensive habit. The one thing that stops me from living my dream of endless nut butters (almond butter, I’m mainly thinking of you here) is our lack of food processor. A while back I worked out that it would cost more to buy a food processor than it would to buy a year’s worth of peanut butter, and so that idea was put to bed along with my almond-buttery dreams.


But as luck would have it, I recently discovered completely by accident that pumpkin seeds are perfectly blendable with only a stick blender. A few minutes and a rather large amount of seedy dust later, I had my very first batch of homemade seed butter. This recipe is based on a spread that my Dad uses on his sarnies every day: pumpkin and hemp seeds with some flax for texture. It’s a bit grainier than the shop-bought stuff, but I guess the addition of extra oil (or indeed a food processor) would solve that problem very quickly. This literally took 10 minutes from seed to squidge. Well worth the effort!

Pumpkin and hemp butter – makes one small jar

150g pumpkin seeds
50g hemp seeds
3 tbsp flax seed
1/2 tsp salt
Oil (I used extra virgin olive oil but hemp oil would be ideal)

Toast the seeds in a large pan on a medium heat until they begin to pop regularly – you can see the pumpkin seeds splitting and the oil bubbling from them. Pour into a jog or bowl with the salt and 2 tablespoons of oil and blend until it turns into a paste. This took me a couple of minutes. Keep adding more oil until it gets to the consistency that you prefer. Spoon into a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge. I have no idea how long it will last but I’m guessing a couple of weeks!20150723_153835

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When we do our weekly online shop I inevitably envisage a relaxing Sunday evening sitting around the table with a bottle of wine and a lovingly-prepared veggie roast dinner. I optimistically add leeks, Savoy cabbage, sweet potatoes and a whole number of other Sunday-roastesque ingredients to our virtual basket, looking forward to what will surely be a feast. But then Sunday evening comes and I never quite have enough time for that couple of hours in the kitchen, with a glass of wine to accompany some slow and indulgent weekend cooking. Instead I’m often tired and lazy from all the running, as well as a little fooded-out from all of the indulging that has taken place in the previous days. In reality I rarely feel like cooking up a veggie shepherd’s pie or a nut roast, and a number of times I’ve ended up turning my Sunday dinner ingredients into this amazing stew. The first time I put its deliciousness down to the fact that, at that time in a busy weekend, anything quick and easy will taste like the best meal that ever happened. But then I did it again, and for the second time I found myself rejoicing at this quick and healthy stew was actually more enjoyable than the product of any massive cook-off that I could muster. This Sunday saw the third instance of me being ‘too tired’ to cook a big meal, and when I sat down to the first spoonful of this meal I decided it was worth sharing with the world.


Bar some cabbage and leek-chopping it’s relatively easy to prepare, and can be left for 20 minutes or 2 hours (and probably more – it’d do fine in a slow cooker) to cook up, depending on whether you’re starving hungry or eager to sit in the garden with a Sunday evening G&T while you work up an appetite. There’s not much to it other than a bunch of veggies and some herbs/spices, making it a simple and gloriously healthy choice for the end of a treat-filled weekend…but the tahini added at the end gives it an amazing creaminess and indulgence, which to me turns it from a normal veggie stew to a delicious treat. This recipe would probably serve 4 with some bread on the side, or 2 large portions and a smaller one for lunch the next day. We ate it all between two of us and spent the rest of the evening groaning on the sofa. It was worth it.


Tahini-Beany Stew

2 leeks, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
Half a savoy cabbage, finely chopped
4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, cubed
2 tins beans (a combo of borlotti, cannellini, chickpeas or butter beans all work)
2 carrots, chopped
Veggie stock
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 large Tbsp tahini (or more – add liberally!)

1. In a large casserole dish, fry the leeks in olive oil on a low heat with the lid on. When they’re soft, add the ginger and garlic with the sweet potato, carrot, rosemary and chilli. Put the lid on and sweat for a few minutes while the kettle boils.

2. Add enough stock to cover the veggies and bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. After about five minutes add the beans, stir and leave to cook with the lid on for another five minutes or so.

3. Stir the cabbage into the dish and maybe add a little more water if it’s getting a bit dry (you can make it as soupy or as non-soupy as you like). Now you can leave it, with the lid on, for as long as you like: if you like your cabbage bright green and just-cooked, 5-10 minutes will do fine. If you like your cabbage soft and slurpy, leave it for 20 minutes or more!

4. When you’re just about ready to eat, dollop in the tahini and stir gently. Turn off the heat and let it melt into the stew.

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I woke up this morning with a headache and it was pretty much downhill from there. It’s not that there isn’t enough food, but my body is clearly having issues with the lack of protein and vitamins. I’m eating plenty, but still I feel hungry, tired, depleted, down and unable to focus pretty much constantly. I burnt my hand twice within one minute on a hot oven and was strangely unable to navigate passing pedestrians while in town earlier. It’s like being drunk, without the enjoyable prerequisite of having ingested something tasty.

I feel as if I’m constantly wishing my time away, always waiting for the next meal, and above all, for Saturday morning. I hate that. I’m also trying to navigate an increasing sense of guilt as my work falls behind and my training slumps at the wayside. After an hour of walking today, I simply couldn’t find the energy for the hill session that was planned, and fair enough too; I’m secretly hoping to find enough power to get 16 miles in on Friday (and have budgeted for extra biscuits on that day), and there’s no way that I’ll manage that with the calorie deficit that I’m currently battling. Every single kilojoule of energy counts; another lie in and an afternoon nap have helped to bolster my stores.

Strangest of all, it got to 6:30 this evening and I couldn’t face the thought of cooking and eating anything at all. Knowing that more carbs were ahead – even in the form of my favourite basmati rice – was more of a burden than a relief. As it happened, tea was pretty tasty this evening, helped along by my trusty jar of value peanut butter.

Today’s total spend: £1


#BelowTheLine recipe of the day – Rice bowl* with chick peas and peanut butter, 44p

Serves 2

1 cup basmati rice (32p)
100g mixed veg (10p)
100g frozen broccoli (9p)
1 tin chick peas (33p)
Half tsp garam masala (2p)
2 tsp peanut butter (2p)

Warm up a large pan with the frozen veg and chick peas so that they thaw slightly. Add the rice and the garam masala, then pour in 2 cups of water. Bring to the boil, stir briefly, cover and then turn the heat right down and leave WITHOUT TOUCHING OR STIRRING for 25 minutes. After 25 mins turn off the pan and leave to sit for 5 minutes. Serve into bowls and then stir in the peanut butter.
*Known as rice bowl in our house, but generally termed pilaf 😉

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Today has been much better. I haven’t been as hungry or as thirsty (one strange aspect of yesterday that Daniel and I both noticed), but I’ve found it hard to get warm and concentration switched off outright at 2pm. I had a bit of a shuffle around with the budgeting, and am feeling a little more hopeful that I’ll be able to sustain myself well for the next three-and-a-bit days (and counting).

Two saviours: peanut butter and porridge oats. One provides taste, the other substance, and plenty of good energy to boot. Porridge is about the cheapest thing that I bought at the weekend, and a substantial 40g of oats comes in at under 4p. Paired with the remaining half banana from my breakfast this makes for an excellent mid-afternoon snack, and even gave me enough of a boost to get out for a 10k run this afternoon. I just hope I won’t regret that later.

The secret for me appears to be a really substantial breakfast – again, porridge and peanut butter is an absolute Godsend here – and a second cup of tea mid-morning, which keeps me going until lunch. Then if I eat my lunch mindfully (i.e. pay attention to the food rather than the article I’m reading or the latest amusing thing on Twitter) and slowly, I can just about make it through to a porridgey snack at 3:30. Yes, I can do this.

Today’s total spend: 92p

IMG_20150428_191514#BelowTheLine recipe of the day – Broccoli ‘Pesto’ with Spaghetti, 25p

Serves 2

200g frozen broccoli florets (18p)
1 garlic clove (2.5p)
1 tsp white wine vinegar (1p)
Homegrown basil (free)
200g frozen mixed veggies (20p)
200g spaghetti (8p)

Cook broccoli and then blend with garlic, vinegar, basil and a little bit of water from the spaghetti. Stir into spaghetti and mixed veggies. If you have room for oil in the budget this would be wonderful stirred in, too!

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During my wheat-free week we had planned to have an easy tea of veggie burgers with homemade chips one night. I took my favourite vegan veggie bean burgers out of the freezer and realized that, of course, they’re coated in breadcrumbs! I was frustrated, tired and hungry, and for once didn’t fancy cooking, but I got my blender out, had a look through the cupboards, and came up with probably the second best veggie burger I’ve ever tasted. The best veggie burger I’ve ever tasted is this one, and I’m not even going to try to compete.

Now, chickpea burgers have been done time and time again. It probably all started with falafel, and then I imagine there was the falafel burger, and then the chickpea burger which was sort of like falafel but not quite. This burger, admittedly, is sort of like falafel but not quite, but it’s the not quite of that description that remains the important factor. This veggie burger is nutty, crunchy, burgery and delicious! Try it and see!

Wheat-Free Chickpea and Spinach Burgers
Makes 4 large burgers

1 tin chickpeas
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 slice of wheat-free rye bread, such as Biona
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder (or to taste)
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper

1. In a blender, whizz the onion and garlic, then transfer to a large bowl.
2. Now whizz the chickpeas until most (but not all) are in pieces, then add the spinach and whizz for a couple of seconds so that some spinach is shredded while some remains leafy. Add to the bowl with the onion and garlic.
3. Finally, whizz up the bread and add this to the bowl too.
4. Add the tahini and lemon juice and stir everything together. Now add the egg and all the spices. Season well with salt and pepper.
5. Using damp hands, shape the mixture into patties. You can freeze them as they are now, or leave them in the fridge for later if necessary.
6. When ready to cook, bake at 200C for about 30 mins, turning halfway through cooking.

These burgers are delicious in a bun, or served with brown rice and salad. They also work well served cold in a lunchbox the next day!


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My main breakfast stable is always porridge, so during my wheat-free week I didn’t have to struggle at all in the mornings. However, muesli is one of my favourite afternoon snacks, and most  appear to contain wheat in some form. Spelt is actually an ancient form of wheat, so even my favourite spelt muesli, which doesn’t list wheat on the ingredients list, was off the cards for the 5 days that I managed to abstain!!

This muesli is quick, and can be adapted to suit all diets and tastes. I love dates and walnuts, so I used these as the main fruit and nut combination here, but I love roasted peanuts in muesli, as well as dried apple or fig. The choice is yours!

Toasted Oats Muesli
Makes 1.5 large jars

3 cups jumbo oats
3 cups plain rice puffs (I like Kallo)
1/2 cup flaked almonds
3/4 pack packed dried dates (or 1 cup chopped dates), chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

1. In a large wok or pan, toast the oats with the salt and cinnamon. This takes about 8 minutes. The oats should turn a golden colour; take off the heat when some oats turn darker brown!

2. Put the oats in a large bowl and toast the almonds for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Add to the bowl with the oats.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

This muesli stores well in a large jar or container for a few weeks!

What are your favourite muesli ingredients?

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