Posts

Healthy and Indulgent Dark Chocolate Brownies

 

These brownies are a beautiful treat to reward yourself after an intense workout, a difficult day or for one of those days where you need some chocolate indulgence. Brownies are often associated with naughtiness but a healthy version of dark chocolate brownies made from scratch is both undoubtedly delicious and decadent. They have no refined sugars and they  contain healthy fats, fibre, protein, and antioxidants like  good quality dark chocolate. I had no dark chocolate in the house last sunday, so used dark organic cocoa powder instead and got them ready for the oven within minutes before the Master Chef finale !

Serves about 15

Time to prep: 10 mins

Time to bake :25-30 minutes

Ingredients :

28 g or about 5 ounces of high quality organic 60-70% cocoa dark chocolate

1/2 of organic coconut oil

2/3 of agave nectar

1/2 cup of ground almonds

A pinch  of maldon sea salt

1/4 cup of gluten free self raising flour or another type of flour you may prefer using

1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

2 organic free range eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon of bourbon vanilla essence

Method :

Preheat your oven to 180-195 degrees Celsius. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper, or spread some coconut oil well with a kitchen towel.Aim for a baking pan of about 8 inch by 8 inch

Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat, and stir gently. If using dry cocoa powder, then you can add it to the bowl with the other dry ingredients.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the agave nectar, almond flour, the gluten-free flour, Maldon sea salt, and baking soda. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten eggs, vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture. Beat for about under 2 minutes long and allow the batter to come together .At first it will seem like a thin  cake batter but do continue to beat it until it becomes smooth .Spread the mixture evenly in the tray and with a spatula

Add cocoa nibs/ dark chocolate chips to the top of the brownie mix once in the tray, and press in lightly.

Bake in the centre for about 30 mins or until the brownies have set

Cool on a wire rack once ready

Allow to chill for 1 hr before cutting if you wish or have them warm and gooey with a cup of tea

For nutty dark chocolate brownies, add chopped hazelnuts or almonds in the mixture before baking

brownie bake

Hoisin baked salmon with a vegetable stir fry and brown rice noodles

Special dinner on a tuesday night. I wanted to have a healthy dish that would be bursting with flavours, very quick to make, and had an asian influence to it. I spotted a jar of hoisin sauce that i forgot about. Hence this choice for my glaze. I very rarely used processed ingredients but sometimes it is what is accessible to us and it is still mostly made from scratch for a cleaner approach to eating 🙂 I also wanted to make the most of my freshly delivered Abel and Cole delivery!

Serves 2
2 pieces of salmon (Abel and Cole, sustainably sourced)
1/2 a pack of king soba, organic brown rice noodles ( gluten free and wheat free)
a bunch of spring onions
3 to 4 cloves of garlic
1/2 a lemon
a piece of ginger (peeled and chopped)
1 broccoli
other vegetables to include for your stir fry (oyster mushrooms/mange tout/carrots)
soy sauce or tamari sauce
honey
hoisin sauce (you won’t use much)
coconut oil to cook with .
sesame oil to drizzle on the noodles (I had none left, but did miss this added flavour)

For the hoisin glaze :

2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce/tamari sauce, juice of half a lemon or more. a teaspoon of honey or agave nectar. 2 cloves of crushed and fresh garlic. I also added a tiny teaspoon of coconut oil for some creaminess .(I use Tiana organic coconut oil, but there so many other brands available)

Method for the salmon
I marinated my salmon with the glaze for about 15 minutes, but the longer you do so, the more flavour it would have. Place it on some parchment paper or foil. Cook when ready, in a pre- heated ventilated oven (190 degrees) for 15-20 minutes.

For the stir fry:
1 small pack of random stir fry vegetables from Sainsburys, which had shredded red cabbage, mange tout and strips of carrots. I quickly steamed those with the broccoli. Heat some garlic and ginger in a teaspoon or less of coconut oil, and add your vegetables.Spice it up with chilli flakes or red chillies, soy sauce/tamari sauce/pepper to taste.I soaked about 5 dried oyster mushrooms I had, in boiling water, chopped them  into pieces and added them to the mix of vegetables. If you have got these at hand, do add them. But if not, don’t worry. You can also add fresh oyster mushrooms which are beautiful and nutritious ,add them to your stir fry at the end without soaking.

Noodles were cooked in boiling water only for few minutes so make sure not to overcook them. I left them in the water until ready to serve as they do stick very easily.

Serve sprinkled with spring onions (and a drizzle of sesame oil). Eat as soon as the salmon is ready and enjoy your dinner!

I recently discovered those Organic Brown Rice Noodles (King SOBA) that are both wheat free and gluten free.You may wonder why you would use those instead of the egg or plain rice noodles you may find from the supermarket. Well I absolutely love my Asian food, but often felt very uncomfortable after a meal and had always put it down to refined flours. I usually avoid refined flours anyway since i know that their nutritional value or fibre content is low in comparison to  other flours (be it spelt, wholewheat, buckwheat)
I recently did an IgG food intolerance test after registering as a practitioner with one of the labs I use. It  showed that i had an intolerance to wheat amongst other things, which explains the digestive symptoms I  have experienced after the consumption of particular meals. You may find that doing an intolerance test, clarifies a lot of uncertainties you may have. The other option can be an elimination diet, but requires determination and definitely support from your entourage.

Again for any recipe, tailor it to your taste buds and what you feel most comfortable eating. Just always try to include lots of green vegetables, a form of healthy protein, cook from scratch and make it fun. Cook with coconut oil as at high temperature, it does not oxidise into harmful molecules to the body (called free radicals) which are a consequence of several chronic health conditions. Asian cooking does involve cooking with groundnut oil, but try to deviate from it as soon as you can.

I did treat myself with the occasional  glass of red wine after a productive day and an intense workout at the gym.tuesday night treat