Rosemary Oat Apple Crumble with Maple Vanilla Cashew Cream

 

I have a friend staying with me at the moment who works on Saturdays selling apples at West Hampstead farmers market with Malcolm at Pippins Orchard, so we are lucky to have delicious fresh autumn apples in the fruit bowl on our kitchen table. I’m hoping to take a trip over to see them in action apple selling soon and will post some pictures on my instagram feed when I do.

After picking some fresh rosemary in my garden on Monday, I got the urge to try an apple and rosemary combination in the form of this crumble. I had debated whether to simply roast some apples with the rosemary but instead decided to do one of my healthy oat based crumbles with the rosemary blitzed through. I served the crumble with some maple vanilla cashew cream, a great dairy free cream alternative that is also amazing with fresh fruit or fruit compote and granola for breakfast. Recipes for both are below. 

Happy Apple Season!

 

Rosemary Oat Apple CrumbleApples

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rosemary Oat Apple Crumble
A healthy take on a traditional crumble. Apples are a fantastic seasonal staple and are a great source of quercetin, a flavinoid antioxidant which can keep the doctor away.
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Ingredients
1kg (2.2lb) organic apples
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
100g (3/4 cup) raisins
180g (2 cups) oats or gluten free oats
1-2 tablespoons (a large sprig) of fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
100g (1/2 cup) brazil nuts (or any other nut)
4 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons of maple syrup (or honey)
Instructions
Preheat your oven to gas mark 3/160c/325f
Core and roughly chop the apples. No need to peel if you are using organic apples as the skin provides lots of extra fibre. Mix with the raisins and lemon juice, then transfer to a pie dish and pop into the oven while you prepare your topping.
Add the oats, rosemary, salt and brazil nuts to a food process and blitz down a little using the pulse function until you get a coarse flour.
Add the coconut oil and maple syrup to the oat flour and process until the mixture starts to clump into a crumble like texture.
Remove the apples from the oven and scatter over the crumble mixture, distributing evenly. Return to the oven and continue to cook for a further 30-40mins until the topping is golden brown.
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Maple Vanilla Cashew Cream
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Ingredients
120g (1 cup) cashew nuts
250ml (1 cup) water
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup
Instructions
Soak the cashews for 2 hours in fresh water (you may need to soak for a little longer if you don't have a high powered blender).
Drain and rinse the cashews and add to a blender with the fresh water, vanilla and maple syrup. Blend until smooth.
Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.
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Cocoa Love Cakes

Cocoa Love Cakes

I must admit Valentines Day doesn’t usually register on my radar, but somehow I must have been channelling the official day of romance as my plans to make an everyday energy ball turned into something much more decadent, indulgent and heart shaped. Clearly feeling the love!

This started out innocently enough, with some regular oats and some toasted coconut getting blitzed in the food processor to make a ‘flour’. Then came the moment where I took things in a chocolate direction, wantonly adding a good hit of cacao powder; then to add a bit more texture and complexity I threw in some cacao nibs and goji berries, before bringing the mixture together with some raisins and juicy medjool dates. Initially the mix was a bit dry and didn’t look like it was going to come together, normally this isn’t an issue when you are using nuts such as walnuts or pecans as their oils get released creating a good sticky dough. I really wanted to keep this nut free for once so added some melted coconut oil, my thinking being that once refrigerated the little cakes would firm up nicely as coconut oil naturally solidifies once chilled. 

I’m so pleased with the result, definitely an indulgent little treat to share with a friend, lover or yourself any day of the year!

enjoy x

Cacao Love Cakes
Yields 8
Loved up energy balls, perfect for your valentine!
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Ingredients
100g (1 cup) oats (or GF oats)
140g (2 cups) toasted coconut flakes
A pinch of sea salt
6 tablespoons cacao powder
3 tablespoons cacao nibs
4 tablespoons goji berries
8 medjool dates
280g (1 cup) raisins
100ml (6 tablespoons) melted coconut oil
Instructions
Blitz the oats, toasted coconut flakes and salt together in a food processor (fitted with S blade) until you get a fine flour.
Add the cacao powder, cacao nibs and goji berries and pulse lightly to combine.
Next pit the dates and add them to the mixture along with the raisins and process until you get a loose crumbly dough.
Finally add the melted coconut oil and pulse until the mixture becomes sticky and will clump together when pressed.
Prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper and press the mixture into heart shaped cookie cutter moulds, pushing down and removing the cakes from the mould, they should hold together well.
Transfer to the refrigerator to firm up for up to an hour. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Could be frozen.
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Christmas Pudding Bites

 Christmas has definitely arrived in my house this week. I had been planning on holding out another week, but I blame Delia and Nigella! I’ve been catching up on some old Christmas specials on Good Food this week and all the spicy, cosy, twinkliness was too much to bear a moment longer. So my modest little tree is up and I’ve been adorning the place with fairy lights.

I also succumbed to a bit of proper Christmas baking at the weekend; I have a friend staying and we really got the urge to bake biscuits. Although I loved the making, the eating was not doing so much for me, as I woke up on Sunday with a real sugar hangover. I realised that I need to stick with some healthier sweet treats over the festive period and my mind has been whirring with ideas this week. Nigella has a Christmas puddini truffle recipe and inspired by that, I’ve come up with my own Christmas Pudding Bites, which only use dried fruits and nuts and a few aromatics along the way. They give all the right Christmas notes, with none of the saturated fat or sugar. The walnuts offer some excellent nutrition, including some essential omega 3 fats. These are quick and easy to make in a food processor and would make a lovely gift. I rolled mine in coconut for a snowball effect, but they could be luxed up further with a coating of dark chocolate: simply melt some good quality chocolate, dip your pudding ball in the chocolate then leave to set.

Christmas Pudding Bites

Makes 30 bite sized balls

Ingredients

12 medjool dates pitted

½ teaspoon of ground ginger

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of ground cloves

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

½ teaspoon of orange extract

a pinch of salt

1 cup raisins

3 cups (300g bag) walnuts (pecans would also work)

Up to ½ cup of desiccated coconut for rolling

  • Blend the dates, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla extract, orange extract and salt in a food processor to form a paste.
  • Add the walnuts and raisins and continue to process until you achieve a soft firm dough. 
  • For bite-sized balls, take a tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a ball in the palm of your hands and then roll in the coconut to coat lightly.
  • Alternatively press the mix into a small brownie tray, press some coconut on top, leave to set in the fridge then cut into squares. 
  • These treats can be eaten immediately but they benefit from a night in the fridge to firm up.

Chia Seed Pudding

November to me feels like a natural calm before the storm, a time to take care of ourselves and build up the reserves for the holiday season. Nurturing yourself in November will leave you feeling so virtuous by December, that you will want to keep it up. The result could be a less drastic start to 2012: January is not the best time for detox and deprivation, but more on that in the New Year. Follow my tips below and you could start December glowing and ready to party. 

 November action plan for health and vitality:

  • Embrace seasonal vegetables, such as squash and pumpkin: the flesh of these vegetables contains beta-carotene, great for skin health.
  • Get at least one portion of dark leafy greens a day: the phytonutrients in green foods are the secret to vibrant health.
  • Add in some essential fats: you might be thinking about that party dress, but this is not a time to follow a fat-free diet; get a good daily balance of Omega 3:6:9 from flax oil, walnuts, chia seeds (see recipe below) and olive oil. The essential fatty acids in these foods ensure the skin stays supple and hydrated and are essential for optimal cellular function throughout the body.
  • Eat whole: switch from white bread, rice and pasta to wholegrain. Wholegrain foods help sustain energy levels and increase your B vitamin intake.
  • Hydrate: keep up your fluids throughout the day with water and herbal tea; dehydration leads to sluggishness and dry skin.
  • Sleep: aim to get 8hrs a night. Commit to at least 2 early nights a week this month and see how amazing you feel.
  • Move it as often as possible: regular exercise keeps you energised and stimulates the lymphatic system. Good lymphatic flow will improve immunity to colds and flu.

The more often you do these positive things, the greater the likelihood that they will become regular habits by December. Feeling truly energised and well is a great motivation in itself, we are less likely to overdo it and pump ourselves full of stimulants, which ultimately only places greater stress on the body. Listen to your body this month, tune-in to that feeling of health and vitality, you will love it so much, that staying on track in the long-term will happen naturally.

 Chia Seed Pudding

Creamy rice or tapioca pudding has to be one of my top comfort foods. This chia seed pudding is a superfood alternative: it ticks the same boxes for me, but without the refined carbohydrates. It packs such a nutritional punch you can even eat it for breakfast, guilt free! You can find chia seeds in your local health food store. Chia is the seed of a flowering plant native to South America and is a fantastic source of Omega 3 fats and essential minerals. Left to soak in water, juice or milk the seeds swell and become gelatinous. They are also a good source of fibre and help maintain energy levels. The seeds can be added to breads and baked goods, but my favourite way to use them is in this pudding. Put a serving to soak before going to bed and have a quick and delicious breakfast waiting for you in the fridge when you wake up.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds
  • 250ml/1 cup of milk (I use Kara Coconut milk for a dairy free version)
  • A pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg and a few drops of vanilla extract (optional/to taste)

 Directions

  • Combine the Chia seeds and the milk well and stir in the spices.
  • Leave to stand, stirring occasionally until it forms a ‘pudding’ consistency. 
  • Top with fruit and enjoy.

 Topping ideas

  • For a simple breakfast version, add a handful of berries or a chopped apple or pear
  • For a touch of comfort, add 1 banana mashed with 1 tbsp of nut butter and stir
  • Chocolate and banana pudding: stir in a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder and top with sliced banana
  • Christmas pudding: soak some dried fruits in hot black tea until rehydrated, stir into the pudding with some chopped pecans or walnuts and a little orange zest.
  • For a simple classic pudding, add a dollop of sugar free fruit spread, stir and enjoy!