Perfect poached eggs

poached eggs

Who doesn’t love an egg? Apart from vegans, obviously (sorry vegans). They don’t just taste good – they contain plenty of powerful protein, which will give you lots of energy and help your body to heal itself. Isn’t that egg-citing?

I’m not good at many things, but one thing I’ve become something of a master at is poaching the hell out of eggs. I’ve seen all of the tutorials on Pinterest and I’ve tried various techniques, but this way has proven to be the easiest and most successful. Together with the right timing, you should be left with perfect eggs with a wonderfully runny yoke. Life will never be better.

Perfect poached eggs

Ingredients

2 eggs (per person)
A pinch of sea salt
A generous glug of white wine vinegar

Method

Take a medium-sized sauce pan and fill it 3/4 full with water. Put it on the hob on a medium heat, and add the salt and white wine vinegar. Wait until the water just starts to bubble – you don’t want it too hot. Break your first egg into a teacup and place it into the water (the egg, not the teacup). The egg will stay together well if you don’t move it around too much, hence the placing. Repeat for the second egg.

When all of your eggs are in, mark your timer for 4 mins – this is the perfect amount of time for making sure the egg is cooked well while still keeping the yoke nice and runny. When the time is up, fish the eggs out with a spoon that has some holes in it (ideally) and drain as much water off as possible. Serve however you bloody well like, and enjoy!

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Homemade maple granola with nuts and seeds

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Late to the party as always, I recently got my hands on the Thug Kitchen cookbook. Have you heard of those guys? They’re awesome. I’m not a vegan by any stretch of the imagination, but the book is full of insanely delicious recipes – definitely worth a purchase.

This recipe caught my eye straight away and, even though it makes a big batch, I’ve already made it twice in two weeks. The kinds you can get from the supermarket often contain so much sugar and other nasty stuff, so making your own is a great way to keep a good eye on what you’re eating. It’s super easy, and the best part is you can add pretty much anything you like to it! I’ve adapted their recipe to suit my diet better (swapped out olive oil for coconut oil, dried cranberries for raisins etc.), so here’s my take on their brilliant breakfast staple.

Homemade maple granola with nuts and seeds

Ingredients

3 cups of whole rolled oats
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 chopped almonds
1/3 flaxseed
1/3 chia seeds
1/2 maple syrup
1/3 cup of coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla powder (I prefer the fancy Madagascan kind)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
A pinch of sea salt
1/2 raisins

Method

First things first, heat your oven to around 150 degrees Celsius (300 Fahrenheit) and line a big rimmed baking sheet with some parchment paper.

Pour the oats, various seeds and almonds into a big bowl and mix them all together. In a microwave-safe mug, melt the coconut oil (30 seconds should do it) and then mix in the maple syrup and vanilla powder. Pour the syrup-y oil all over the oat mix and give it a really good stir. You want to make sure all of the oats are good and covered.

Spread the oat mix all over the baking sheet, and stick it in the oven for about 40 minutes. Take it out every 10 minutes and give it a stir to make sure all of the oats get good and toasted.

When the time is up, take the tray out and stir in the raisins. Leave it to cool, and then pour it all into an air-tight container. It should last for up to two weeks, but I challenge you not to finish it in a few days. My favourite way to eat it is with Greek yoghurt, fresh berries and a dash of honey because IT’S SO GOOD. Enjoy!

My 5 Favourite Sweet (and Healthy) Treats

One of the biggest stigmas around healthy eating is that you have to deny yourself. I certainly used to think that. In my mind, being good meant cutting out anything that tasted good, especially if it’s sweet. Thankfully, this is not the case. We’re entering a golden age where there are a wide variety of treats available to buy that are not only delicious, but are also nutritionally beneficial. And that’s not even counting the ones you can make yourself. What a world!

At this point, I feel I should say that although these foods are healthy, they should be considered and consumed as “treats”. Too much of anything isn’t good for you, and natural sugars are still sugars at the end of the day. Enjoy them every now and then as part of a balanced diet, and you’ll be fine and dandy.

As someone with a powerful and all-consuming sweet tooth, I’ve made it my mission to try a number of the options available from fine establishments such as Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods and even the internet. Here are a few of my favourite sweet treats:

1. Pulsin Raspberry & Goji Berry Raw Choc Brownie

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These don’t have the same texture or consistency of a “normal” brownie, but they taste just as decadent. The richness of the raw cacao is perfectly balanced with the gentle zing of the raspberry. They’re vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and contain no added sugar or other nasty stuff. They also go perfectly with a cup of tea!

2. Buff Bake Protein Peanut Butter

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If you work out or need more protein in your diet, Buff Bake is the most delicious way to get it. Their range of protein nut butters is not only vast and incredible, but they’re also full of good stuff! Made with added whey protein, chia and flax seeds, they contain no added sugar and are also gluten free. I’ve tried a few of their flavours now (for research purposes, of course…), and I can safely say that they all taste amazing. They’re a little bit pricey, but totally worth it. I like to add a spoonful to a post work-out shake with a frozen banana – it tastes even better than a chocolate milkshake!

3. The Giving Tree Strawberry Crisps

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I love strawberries, but eating fresh ones on the go can be a little bit messy. Enter The Giving Tree with their lovely and convenient bags of freeze dried ones. There are no added ingredients – just beautiful strawberries that are dried whole. Each bag equals one of your 5-a-day too, so they’re definitely a better option than a bag of regular crisps. Add them to desserts or eat them on their own – the possibilities are endless!

4. The Raw Chocolate Co. Organic Raw Chocolate Raisins

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If chocolate is your weakness, you have to try these bad boys. Raw chocolate is so much more rich and chocolate-y than a bar of Dairy Milk could ever dream of being, and as a result it’s so much more satisfying. They’re also vegan, gluten free and kosher, so they can be enjoyed by all!

5. nakd Bakewell Tart bar

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I don’t know how they’ve done it (witchcraft?), but the clever folks at nakd have managed to make a raw fruit and nut bar taste EXACTLY like a bakewell tart – and it’s one of your 5-a-day! They have a wide variety of different flavoured bars available, but this one is definitely my favourite. All of their bars are made from 100% natural ingredients with no added sugars or syrups, and are also wheat, dairy and gluten free. In your FACE, Mr Kipling.

What are your favourite healthy sweet treats?

Porridge with hazelnut milk, raspberries, banana and coconut honey

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Porridge (or oatmeal, as our American friends like to call it) is a bit of a classic, isn’t it? So simple, yet so filling and satisfying. It’s taken me a very long time to realise that you don’t need to add a ton of sugar to make it taste good either! Turns out raspberries work amazingly well, as they basically turn to a pureé as you mix them in with the lovely warm oats, and the banana gives it a wonderful richness.

Regular honey or maple syrup make for perfect sweeteners but I was given this beautiful Coconut Honey from Ceylon Coconut Company, so I had to try it out. Have you tried Coconut Honey? It’s really quite something, and made from the sap of coconut blossoms. I’d say it’s more like a dark syrup than a honey really. I’ve tried to find this exact product online, but the closest I can get is this Coconut Syrup from Coconut Merchant (their stuff is amazing, so I have no doubts that it’ll be delicious).

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Porridge with hazelnut milk, raspberries, banana and coconut honey

Ingredients

1 cup of rolled oats (not the ground-up instant kind)
2 cups of hazelnut milk (pretty much any milk will work)
1 cup of fresh raspberries (keep a couple aside to go on top so that it looks pretty)
1 large/medium or 2 small banana(s)
2 tbsp coconut honey (or your sweetener of choice)

Method

Add your oats and milk to a saucepan, and warm up on a medium heat. Stir it occasionally. Meanwhile, chop up your banana into little chunks. You could always blend it or mash it up if you prefer a finer consistency.

As the oats start to absorb the milk, keep a close eye to make sure it stays nice and moist (sorry, I know people hate that word). When it’s reaches your desired texture, take the pan off the heat and stir in the banana. Once it’s well combined, add your raspberries and stir vigorously. Your aim here is to break them up so that the porridge is good and flavoured. Once it’s all mixed together and looking lovely, pour it into a bowl and add your coconut honey on top (you may want to add a little extra – just listen to your heart), followed by the remaining raspberries. Eat up while it’s hot and enjoy!

Cherry and Cacao Chia Pudding

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It feels like a bit of a cop out to post a chia pudding for my first recipe as they’re so easy to make but after having it for breakfast this morning, I knew I had to share it. With chia pudding, not only do you get all of the brilliant benefits of Omega 3, protein, iron and antioxidants, but you also get the smug sense of satisfaction that comes with preparing meals in advance. I had it for breakfast, but it could really be enjoyed any time.

There’s something very decadent about cherries, isn’t there? It could be because they’re slightly pricier than other fruit (although I got a great deal on mine from my local grocer), but I think it’s mainly because their flavour is so subtle and rich.They go so bloody well with cacao too. The fact that they’re also chock-full of health benefits is just an added bonus.

Cherry and Cacao Chia Pudding with Cacao Nibs and Coconut

Ingredients 

1 cup of fresh cherries (1/2 for blending, 1/2 for chopping. Obviously remove the stones.)
1/2 cup of chia seeds
1 cup of hazelnut milk (it’s amazing with the cacao, but any dairy-alternative would work)
1 tbsp of cacao powder
1 tsp of raw cacao nibs
1 tsp of desiccated coconut

Method

In a blender, mix together half of the cherries, the hazelnut milk and the cacao powder until nice and smooth. In a jar/some sort of appropriate vessel with a lid, add the chia seeds and pour the chocolatey cherry milk on top. Close the lid, and shake it like a polaroid picture. Pop it in the fridge and leave it for at least 3 hours. Overnight works too.

When you’re ready to eat the damn thing, open the jar (it should smell amazing in there) and decant the contents into a bowl (because so it’s easier to eat. You can keep it in the jar to save on washing up if you like). Fold in the lovely chopped cherries, and sprinkle the cacao nibs and coconut on top for texture and prettiness. Eat and enjoy!