Cauliflower Bites With Tahini Dip

Don’t these just look as awesome as they tasted?! They were demolished almost instantly. Just such a tasty snack for before dinner or as a starter and really easy to make with relatively few ingredients. I used rice breadcrumbs but you can use any breadcrumbs you may have at home.

Ingredients

1 cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 eggs
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt & pepper

Tahini dip:
2 tbsp tahini paste
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
Sprinkle garlic salt
Himalayan salt to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 180° and cover a baking tray with silver foil (you don’t have to but it keeps you from having to wash the tray!)

Break the eggs into a bowl and beat with the mustard, oil and some salt and pepper.

In another bowl add the breadcrumbs and spices and again some salt and pepper.

Dip each floret into the egg mixture then in the breadcrumb mixture and place on the tray and repeat until you finish them all.

Put in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Take them out about 5 minutes before they’ve finished cooking and sprinkle the parsley over the top.

To make the tahini dip simply mix all the ingredients vigorously, adding more water if it’s too thick, seasoning to taste, and top with olive oil, paprika and parsley.

Love & health,
Lauren

Moroccan Brown Rice

moroccan-brown-rice

The best thing about being half Moroccan is, by far, the food. Who doesn’t like Moroccan food? Moroccan grandmothers are renowned for their cooking skills and my grandmother was one of the best.

My mum grew up in the East End of London – you literally couldn’t find a bigger disparity between my dad’s upbringing in Casablanca and my mum’s in the East End! Pie and mash versus apricot chicken tagine, fish and chips versus almond couscous, bacon butties versus cinnamon and turmeric spiced rice, and so on.

But luckily for me, my mum is an amazing cook and learnt all the dishes from my grandmother when she met my dad and so I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up eating the most beautifully tasting food, not just thanks to my mum but also all my dad’s sisters.

I have learnt a lot of the dishes myself and although some of them are very intricate, there are also ways of incorporating the flavours and spices into everyday dishes like rice. Rice is a really hard thing to get right so I hope this post helps you perfect it.

I made this for our dinner alongside some other bits and Daniel and Braxton both love it. I hope you do too.

Ingredients

1 cup brown basmati rice
Enough purified water to cover the rice
1 tsp bouillon
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
Handful almond flakes
Handful sultanas
Himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste

Method

Put the rice in a saucepan and cover with water, but make sure the water comes up about an inch over the rice. I have a Brita kettle and usually boil the kettle first to pre-boil and purify the water, then pour it over once it’s boiled. Give it a mix and add the bouillon and wait until it starts bubbling. Once the bubbling starts, give it another mix, turn the heat down to low and put the lid on.

It will take about 20 minutes from here but you need to give it a stir every 5 minutes or so. If you see the water has gone down too much and the rice isn’t nearly ready, add some more water. The heat is down on low and the lid is on so the steam will cook it more than the water.

Once there is only a very tiny bit of water left at the bottom, after about 15 minutes, add the turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper and mix, then add the almond flakes and sultanas and give it another mix and leave the lid off until the water has disappeared but only just.

Serve straight away.

Love & health,
Lauren

Dairy Free Fish Cakes For Baby (& you!) & The Lowdown on Omega-3

Fish Cakes

Fish cakes are a great way to get omega-3 fatty acids into your baby. The body cannot synthesise Omgea -3 so it has to come from diet and oily fish is one of the best sources for it. I am totally on board with vegetarianism, I used to be a vegetarian myself until falling pregnant, but I do find that fish-based omega-3 is the best way to get omega-3 into our bodies. Apart from being good for the heart, joints and inflammatory diseases, it aids brain development in babies, helps with their behaviour and maximises their intellectual potential! Studies have actually shown that babies with higher amounts of omega-3 from early on have better concentration skills and read better than those whose omega-3 levels were very low.

Of course, as usual, please make sure your fish comes from trusted sources. The best way to ensure high quality salmon that is low in mercury is to obtain wild salmon or if it is farmed, make sure it is farmed ‘organically’ so it is left to grow and feed naturally even though it is technically farmed.  Abel & Cole offer an organic farmed range.

You’ll see I use buckwheat flour and almond milk in this recipe. As you are probably aware by now, I don’t like to give Braxton anything refined (flours, sugars etc). I don’t give him dairy so all my recipes are dairy and gluten free, but of course still unprocessed and using only natural ingredients. Don’t be fooled by the ‘gluten free industry’; they make gluten free foods that are just as processed and full of sugar as ones that do have gluten in them. The food still needs to be natural. I feel it is healthier for his gut to eat non-refined, only natural foods and if his gut is healthy then his immune system will be too. This will reduce the chance of eczema and auto-immune diseases as well as strengthen his immune system against every day illnesses and viruses. However, if you want to, you can use normal flour and normal milk in place of the buckwheat flour and almond milk. I would try and keep these recipes as dairy free as possible if you can. Where possible, please also try and use free-range eggs. They will have way less chemicals in them for your baby to be ingesting.

These fish cakes are one of the best things for baby led weaning as when you make them they last for a few days so it’s a few meals you don’t have to think about, and they are so easy for babies to feed themselves with. I break them into a few pieces and Braxton picks them up and eats them all himself – which means mummy can rush around the kitchen clearing up so she can use his nap times to actually rest!

Ingredients (makes about 6-8 patties)

1 salmon fillet
About 5 white potatoes, peeled and chopped
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 egg (free-range)
Half tsp mustard powder (optional, just adds a nice bit of flavour)
Half a lemon
1/5 cup almond milk
1 tbsp buckwheat flour
Extra virgin olive oil or Coconut oil
Black pepper and Himalayan salt

Method

Steam the potatoes over a pan of boiling water. Rub the salmon with some olive or coconut oil and when the potatoes soften, add the salmon to the steamer until it is totally cooked (about 7 minutes). Remove the salmon from the pan, take off the skin and put it to the side. Remove the potatoes and add them to a bowl.

Mash the potatoes in the bowl but leave some lumps so they are not totally mashed then set aside to let them cool.

Chop the parsley quite finely then flake in the salmon, add the cooled potatoes, almond milk, mustard powder, egg and squeeze in the juice of the half lemon. Mix very well then add the buckwheat flour and add some pepper and if you want (if not for young babies) add a sprinkle of Himalayan salt and mix again.

Take a clean plate and spread some buckwheat flour over the plate and put some in your hands then take a pattie size amount of the mixture and flatten into a pattie shape, the flour will help you do this without it sticking to your hands. Put it on a clean plate then repeat the process until the mixture is all finished and all your fish cakes have been made.

Heat some oil in a large frying pan and when it is hot, add a few of the fish cakes. You won’t be able to cook them all at the same time. Cook each one for 3-4 minutes on each side.

If you don’t want to eat them all within a few days, put some of them, uncooked, in the freezer and you can then defrost them at a later date and cook them.

I hope your bubbas enjoy these as much as Braxton did!

Love & health,
Lauren & Braxton

 

Cauliflower ‘Couscous’ with Sesame, Sweet Potato & Asparagus

Cauliflower Couscous

Who would have thought you could take a vegetable and turn it into a carb substitute? Sometimes we just fancy a bit of stodge for dinner, right?? Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable and by blitzing it in the Vitamix, we can turn it into a couscous-like consistency. You can pretty much add anything you like to it and, as usual, I’ve added whatever I already had in my fridge. This entire meal is plant-based and super healthy.

Ingredients

1 large cauliflower
2 sweet potatoes
Tsp coconut oil
A bunch of asparagus
About 8 chestnut mushrooms, chopped (or any mushrooms will do)
5th of a cup of water
Handful coriander
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Some sesame oil
1/2 tsp paprika
Handful sundried tomatoes
Himalayan salt & ground black pepper

Optional:
1/4 cucumber, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
Gluten free tacos
Halloumi – if not vegan

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Peel and dice the sweet potato then put them on a baking tray with a tsp coconut oil and some Himalayan salt. Once the oven heats up the coconut oil will be melted and you can pull out the tray and mix it around to make sure it covers all the pieces of the potato. Cook for around 20 minutes, or until soft.

Cut the cauliflower into florets and put them in the blender and blitz until a couscous-like consistency is formed. Leave to the side.

Heat some sesame oil in a pan and add the asparagus and mushrooms. Mix around then add about a 5th of a cup of water and add this so the steam will cook the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add a tiny bit more sesame oil then once hot, add the cauliflower couscous to the pan and turn the heat to medium. Mix around for 1-2 minutes then add the sesame seeds and let it all heat through. Add the coriander, paprika some salt and pepper and mix for another minute, then re add the asparagus and mushrooms and mix.

Once heated through, put it on a plate or bowl, remove the sweet potato from the oven and add it to the top.

At this point you can add all the optional extras to the top or put it all inside a gluten free taco or wrap and devour!

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren

Mixed Roasted Beets

Mixed Roast Beets

Excuse the quality of this picture. I made these at night so it was quite dark but they still look delicious – and they tasted delicious! This is such a simple side dish to make and so nutritious.

Beetroot are great antioxidants and help detox the liver and the blood, they are also high in many vitamins, including folate, so a great vegetable to eat when pregnant.

Ingredients

2 red beets
2 golden beets
2 chioggia beets
Drizzle of olive oil
Handful of thyme
Salt & pepper

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and prepare an oven tray with baking paper or silver foil.

Peel your beets and slice them thinly. Put them all in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and mix until covered.

Place on the baking tray and roast for around half an hour.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren

Roasted Butternut Quinoa Salad

Butternut Quinoa Salad

When people ask me what my go-to gluten free, yet easy to make, lunch is, I tell them quinoa. It takes around 10 minutes to make and you can either make it that day or the day before and keep a tupperware full in the fridge for a few days. You can also add to it whatever you happen to have in the fridge at that time. In order to make it a bit more filling, I added butternut squash to it this time. You can add some grilled halloumi too, if you fancy, I just wanted to keep this one dairy-free. Quinoa is such an amazing source of protein that you don’t need to add any meat or fish (you can if you want to – if it’s organic of course 🙂 ) But you don’t have to all the same. This will give you all the protein you need.

Ingredients

Quinoa (add as much as is needed for the amount of people you want to feed)
1 butternut squash
Half a cucumber
3 spring onions
2 fresh beetroot, steamed and chopped
Generous handful of cherry tomatoes
2 carrots, shaved into ribbons through a potato peeler
Handful of pine nuts
1 tbsp lemon juice
Pinch salt (I used Oryx desert salt here)
Black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Cook the quinoa as per the packet instructions. When it is ready, transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

While this is happening, peel the butternut squash and chop into bite-size pieces. Transfer onto a prepared oven tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for around 40 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spoon to make sure all pieces are coated by the oil.

While it’s in the oven, chop up your vegetables and add them to the bowl with the quinoa.

Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir well, then take the butternut out the oven and add to the top.

Serve straight away or wait until cooled and keep in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren

Easy Cheesy Green Pasta

Green Cheesy Pasta

I’m always looking for new dinner ideas – preferably ones that don’t take hours and are healthy and I got this idea from my Abel & Cole organic fruit and veg box and it’s the perfect veggie dinner option for the whole family, I guarantee they’ll all love it! I am using cheese in this recipe when we very rarely add dairy to our recipes. I get high quality, organic cheese and, if you’ve read our article about dairy, you’ll see that we strongly suggest limiting the consumption of cow’s milk products to once a week. During my pregnancy, I have chosen to have cow’s milk products once or twice a week. That way I am limiting my intake to ensure my gut and immune system stay strong (of course with the help of probiotics), but I am also not cutting it out totally, leaving the baby susceptible to intolerances when he / she is born.

Ingredients

Enough brown rice pasta for however many people you’re serving
Extra virgin olive oil
Handful of almonds, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup breadcrumbs (or a gluten free alternative)
1 head of broccoli
5 leaves of spring greens
3 small leeks or 1 large
150-200ml almond milk
Some grated mozzarella
A sprinkle of nutmeg
A pinch of chilli flakes
Oryx or Himalayan salt and ground black pepper

Method

In a frying pan, gently toast the almonds until just coloured. This should make your kitchen smell amazing! Put into a bowl and set aside.

Put the pan back on the heat and add a splash of olive oil, then the minced garlic, followed by the breadcrumbs and stir until golden. Set aside in a separate dish.

Cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

Put the pan back on the heat with a little more olive oil and add the broccoli and stir around for a few minutes before adding the greens and leeks. Cook these until they start colouring, then add a couple of tablespoons of water to help steam the broccoli. Add some salt and pepper and cook until the broccoli looks slightly coloured but crisp and not soggy.

Drain the pasta and leave in the colander then add the almond milk to the saucepan and gently heat. Add the nutmeg, then put the pasta back in, along with the vegetables, followed by the almonds, then add the mozzarella (gauge how much you need for it to melt and not be too sickly).  Stir everything really well.

You can either add the breadcrumb mix now and stir a little, or you can serve up the pasta into bowls and top them with the breadcrumb mix.

Serve immediately – it will be devoured!

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren