August is the best month for spending time making salad. So much fresh produce to use, form ripe tomatoes to herbs, lettuce and hot radishes.
But what to do with all your gorgeously ripe vegetables? A solid pasta salad, that’s what.
Pasta salad is literally the answer to every summer mealtime question – what to eat for lunch at the office? Pasta salad. What to eat on a busy Saturday? Pasta salad. What to bring to your friend’s barbecue? You guessed it.
Matcha is everywhere these days – from lattes to mochi (sweet Japanese treats), this vibrant green powdered tea has taken over the world.
I wasn’t always a fan. I am now; it’s a welcome alternative to coffee, and the perfect mid-afternoon way to refresh and reset. Iced or warm, I couldn’t imagine my life without it. But my first experience was less than pleasant; I remember the thick, watery liquid coating the inside of my mouth with cloying bitterness.
Let me tell you what a well prepared, good quality matcha is not:
A recipe that tastes phenomenal regardless of which vegetables are in season
A saucy dish that pairs well with any type of grain, noodle or flatbread
A magic sauce that’s basically as versatile as a curry paste
Well, then I’ve got the recipe for you. This tofu satay is zesty, mild, #healthyAF and achievable for the most beginner of cooks. You need practically zero knife skills, and a cheap blender will do the trick (and some pots and pans, obviously!).
I like this take on satay because it isn’t sweet and even the smallest of corner supermarkets will have what you need. Traditionally, satay sauce is made with brown sugar and is fairly complex on the ingredient front. There are lots of shortcuts you can take, which honestly don’t compromise on flavor at all. This is far from being a traditional version – the addition of coriander gives it a green color and fresh ginger a nice bite.
If you don’t have whole peanuts, peanut butter works too. If you don’t have fresh ginger or garlic, ground will work too. If you don’t have fresh chillies, dried will work too. But the sauce has an extra degree of magic if you use fresh ingredients.
The real magic of this recipe is that you can use any vegetable that’s in season. In the winter, you can use carrots, pumpkin or mushrooms. In the spring and summer, you can use courgette, aubergine or cauliflower.
When it comes to protein, this magic sauce will also work beautifully with chicken or prawns, chickpeas or a chicken alternative. I paired mine with tofu for a vegan-friendly option – if you choose tofu, a firm kind will work best. If you’re a fan of crispy, crispy tofu, I’d recommend shallow frying it ahead of time until all sides are crisp.
makes 2-3 servings, depending on how hungry you are!
For the sauce:
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger (unpeeled), quartered
2 big cloves of garlic
1 handful of peanuts (about 1/2 cup)
1 handful fresh coriander leaves, with stalks
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon miso
1/2 red chilli
1/4 to 1/2 cup of water
For the rest:
2 servings of your favorite vegetables, e.g. 1/2 head of broccoli, 1/2 aubergine, 5 large mushrooms…
1 block tofu, 1 tin chickpeas, 2 chicken breasts or other protein of choice
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
your favorite cooked grain (I had wild rice)
spoonful of coconut yoghurt
sprig of coriander
Heat the toasted sesame oil on medium heat and cook your protein along with your vegetable for at least 10 minutes to allow the vegetables to break down and the protein to cook on all sides. If you are cooking tofu ahead of time, cook the vegetables separately and add tofu at the end.
In the meantime, make the sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a blender cup (I used a nutribullet) and blitz until thick and slightly textured. Add more water if necessary – it should have the consistency of a thick pesto.
Once the vegetables have reduced, add the sauce to your pan and cook for 10-15 minutes. This will cook out the raw garlic and help the sauce thicken up. Feel free to thin out the sauce using water or coconut milk/yoghurt at this point to prevent it from sticking.
Serve with a side of grain, some extra steamed vegetables, a dollop of yoghurt and enjoy!
This recipe will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze. Best enjoyed within a 2-day window in my opinion!
I made this recipe in collaboration with FoodSpace; a website which allows you to save recipes, create shopping lists and links to your instacart account for a super streamlined experience! Check them out here: https://www.foodspaceapp.com
A while ago, I wrote a post about how to make the best gut healing oatmeal and, believe it or not, it’s the most popular post on the BARE. blog! I guess there are lots of oat lovers out there, just like me.
Things have changed a little since then, and I’ve experimented with way more combos (and so have many food bloggers). Oats are here to stay: they’re cheap, filling and super versatile. I’ve experimented with soaking and making my morning porridge even more digestible. I’ve made savoury porridge. And all the while, I’ve been finding ways to make oats a sustainable and planet friendly dish.
Oats are really fabulous if you live somewhere wet (check) and dreary in the winter months, where not much produce is grown (check). It’s also great if you’re vegan/vegetarian (almost check!) and like a bargain (check). And well – oats are recommended by many heart and diabetes associations, as well as being routinely recommended to boost fibre intake. In conclusion, we should all be consuming oats.
So, whether you already enjoyed my previous post or not, here are 5 further ways to supercharge your oats and be even kinder to your body and the planet!
soak overnight with lemon juice
Well it wouldn’t be my blog if we weren’t talking about good ol’ digestion. Oats are high in both soluble and insoluble fibre. The former absorbs water and lubricates your digestive tract, whereas the latter adds bulk and speed. In other words, you should be expecting better digestion. However, if you’re prone to bloating, there’s more you can do: soaking. It’s really simple – just add 2 parts liquid (water or milk!) and 1 part oats to a bowl and soak in the fridge overnight. You can add chia seeds for an extra fibre boost. And adding a squeeze of lemon before soaking reduces the amount of phytic acid in the oats, which may prevent your body from producing digestive enzymes. Some people claim it helps with bioavailability.
Hey team. It’s almost winter. And warm breads and pastries straight out of the oven sound so good right now.
Which is why my mum and I made this quinoa and buckwheat bread. My mum used to make this killer potato and feta bread from Delia Smith, and it’s freaking delicious, but I felt like something a little less potato-ey, y’feel me?
Buckwheat flour is super versatile and very affordable. It doesn’t give that weird spongyness that you get from ‘all purpose’ gluten free flours, which usually contain rice flour and various gums. And quinoa provides a nice chewy texture, just like potato. Add an egg, bake for 50 minutes (I know, it’s a while), and you’ve got yourself a fresh, fibre rich loaf. It was gone within minutes.
We added walnuts, red onion, rosemary and a few lonely olives we found in the fridge. If you eat cheese, feta or goat’s cheese would work a dream, with a drizzle of honey. This recipe has endless possibilities. Make it sweet with some chocolate chips or honey and a handful of oats!
Our fridge was stocked with an abundance of cheese, which would be the perfect complement to this bread, but hummus or smashed avocado would be delicious, too.
eco-conscious pointers for this recipe:
try to find local quinoa; I’ve seen English quinoa in health food stores before
try to use eggs from a local farm or market; they’re so much nicer, trust me
we used walnuts and olives because that’s what we had on hand. This bread is a great topportunity to use odd scraps of food, so go wild and empty your fridge!
we cooked a double batch of quinoa so we would have leftovers for the week, which means less electricity used for our next quinoa-based meals
this bread is a great side to lots of dishes, so if you’re roasting something, bake them both at the same time
75 gr dry quinoa
175 gr buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk of choice (we used oat)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 handful olives (about 10)
1 red onion, sliced
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 handful walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
Cook quinoa according to instructions until well cooked (we went for about 18 min) and drain under cold water to cool down
Mix quinoa, baking powder, flour, egg, milk, mustard, salt and pepper by hand until just combined. This is a sticky bread so don’t worry too much about it not holding together smoothly. It’s lumpy and that’s how it should be!
Add in olives, chopped onions, rosemary, walnuts and anything else you want to add (feta, seeds, sundried tomatoes…) and combine.
Before you run to wash your sticky hands, transfer to a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. We topped ours with the remainder of the onions and walnuts.
Shape into a flat-ish loaf. This bread won’t rise much, so its shape depends on your preference. If you like slim slices, flatten it more, almost like a focaccia, like we did. Make sure it si evenly spread to ensure even baking.
Bake into a preheated oven (170C, fan) for 50 minutes.
You could let it cool before eating but where’s the fun in that? We sliced ours straight away and enjoyed with delicious Prosciutto Cotto.
A warming bowl of porridge is so much more than a plate of food. Share it with a friend and it becomes a topic of conversation. Make it after a long day and it becomes a source of comfort. Let your imagination run free and it becomes a creative outlet.
Oatmeal, porridge, whatever you wanna call it. One thing: treat it like risotto.
Oats are like the perfect middle-ground between incredibly indulgent and incredibly nutritious.
I was probably born with a spoonful of oats in my mouth. Wherever I was, at home, at school, on holidays, oats always made an appearance. Except my oat consumption has changed drastically since those dairy and microwave days. I actually used to pour cornflakes on top of my porridge. That crunch was everything. Now it just comes in a different shape (i.e. spoonfuls of PB)!
It’s almost Valentine’s. Can you believe it?
Truth be told, I’ve never really understood it! I think I got a card, once. Nowadays, being in a strong and well-grounded relationship means that Valentine’s hasn’t got much significance for us. We have other meaningful times and milestones we celebrate! But I admire those who make a real effort on the day. Buy something nice, take their S.O. for a decadent dinner or better still, COOK FOR THEM!
Food gifts are definitely my favourite kinds of gifts; to cook for me or to gift me something edible speaks in my sorta love language. I’m so easy to please.
But taking me out can be.. complicated.
There you are, sitting in an outrageously expensive restaurant and staring blankly at the 3 mains on the menu. And there is nothing you can eat. Because you’ve been avoiding gluten and dairy and nuts and soy and sugar and and and— Sound familiar?
So. We all know how to prevent this scenario from happening.
a) phone the restaurant in advance and have a lengthy and frustrating conversation about your dietary restrictions (“no, I’m not allergic, it’s just that I’m avoiding it for the moment because…”)
b) cook at home.
Option b) generally wins for me!
I’ve spent some time (not that I mind!) looking for the best gluten + dairy free, real food recipes to cook for yourself or someone special (or print this out and hand it to them. Wink wink.) And I guarantee you’ll have a much better night than trying to eat around the croutons in your overpriced salad.
It’s late at night and I’m thinking about the whole30. I’m thinking about my first whole30 and how I’m still seeking #FoodFreedomForever. And I really feel like I need to take some thoughts off my chest after seeing how much attention the programme has had over the month of January!
I did the whole30 back in September. It didn’t have a happy ending, but it did have lifelong positive consequences. My gut wasn’t happy, but my soul was, and I am so grateful for the experience. I’m also proud I lasted the 30 days without a slip. I know I won’t be doing the whole30 exactly as it is outlined again, but I know that applying the core principles was essential to my mental success the first time around.
But there’s stuff we’re not talking about enough in this community. I still stumble upon whole30ers who just want to “lose weight”. Who think it’s ok to eat almond butter by the spoonful because it’s compliant. Or worse, who stuff dates with almond butter and are cool with that.
No. Don’t be cool.
If these behaviours don’t seem like red flags to you, please don’t stop reading. You need this.
#1. it takes a while to get ready and figure out your boundaries
Now that the festive season has well and truly started, it’s time to get down to business. Because no one ever starts eating Christmas-ey foods on Christmas day. Am I right? Work parties, annual dinners and special editions of your favourite brand names (Cheeselets have become Treelets. How can I resist?) are almost guaranteed to get you in the festive mood way before it’s time!
So, what’s your commitment this year? Is it to stay sugar-free? It totally should be, I promise it is SO much fun. And yes, more than once there has been a lot of cheese involved. Sorry not sorry.
Whatever your motivation, I can promise you that you won’t feel left out. It’s all about that mindset, after all. But really, this year will be my 21st Christmas without any sugar whatsoever, and I’m still standing!