It smells like memories

Whilst making dinner my partner put a plate of raw fish under my nose and told me to smell it, I look at him and said ‘it smells like fish’ he replied ‘it smells like memories.’

So it wasn’t just any old fish, it was smoked haddock from his dads family business which he had grown up eating, and the smell for him has lovely connotations. (Smells like fish to me)

It got me thinking about the notion of comfort food again – I made fish pie with a gluten free sauce topped with swede mash (recipe below), hardly the greasy pizza or stodgy meal we think of when we hear the words ‘comfort food’ however for him, it is comfort food because of the memories.

So when we are feeling low and we reach for that naughty treat, why does it comfort us? If we associate it with feeling low why do we find comfort in it? – so I know there are many scientific answers to those questions but I’m thinking that with a bit of will power we could change what we see as comfort food and therefore curb our cravings.

This change is going to require you to think about your food much more and make positive associations. It will also require you to make good food decisions. I’m not suggesting you try this when you are feeling low, actually quite the opposite.

Next time you are out for dinner with your friends or family, having a cosy night in with someone you love, catching up with someone over a coffee – make a good food choice – instead of focusing your mind on the cake or chips you would have preferred to order instead of your skinny latte or salad – focus your mind on the situation, be mindful of the atmosphere, the happy feelings you are experiencing, think about the memories you are creating.

By putting the emphasis on the situation, you will break the habit of craving that piece of cake or burger and start to crave the company you are in and the feelings you are experiencing.

This isn’t to say you never eat a piece of cake or what we have come to know as a ‘cheat meal’ ever again – it just means you are programming your mind to focus on the moment and perhaps, next time you have a food craving, it will be for that healthy choice you made which reminds you of the memories you made.

Ingredients:

Fish pie mix (or whatever fish you want to use)

1 small swede

250ml milk of choice

2 heaped tbs of flour (buckwheat for GF)

275g butter

1 clove crushed garlic

100-150g grated cheese

Handful of fresh parsley

Method:-

Peel and chop the swede into small pieces and place in a pan of boiling water, being to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until soft.

Place the fish in your dish, sometimes I like to add veg like broccoli and pees.

In a small pan melt 250g of butter, add flour and mix to a paste. Add the milk gradually stirring continuously, until you have a smooth thick sauce. Add more milk or flour if needed. Stir in the garlic.

Pour the sauce evenly over the fish.

Drain the water from the swede and mash with 25g of butter. Smooth the mashed swede over the top of the fish.

Top with cheese if using.

Place in the oven at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and started the brown.

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Spice up your life!

You don’t have to shimmy to the left or shake it to the right (but let’s not rule that out) to spice up your life and make sure you’re feeling good all year round.

The past couple of weeks have seen a drop in temperature and those dark nights are starting to draw in, have you noticed your mood change with it? Snoozing the alarm a little longer in the morning? Skipping the gym and having a few extra carbs at dinner time? Feeling low, irritable, depressed and lethargic?

If you answered yes to those questions, you might be one of those people who suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is when the weather changes, gets darker colder and wetter, and it has a negative affect on a persons mood. It is often referred to as ‘the winter blues’. There are things you can do about this, and recognising it is half the battle as often people don’t realise what it is they are experiencing.

If you think this might be affecting you, below is a great website which explains in detail what affects SAD, how to help yourself and where/when to seek other help.

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad.htm

If you’ve not got time to invest in the above reading, but want to get a kick start, here are 5 top tips to help yourself through the winter blues/SAD.

Get as much sunlight as possible – it may not be warm, but that doesn’t mean the sun isn’t there, so wrap up warm and go for a walk, take your coffee outside or get active in the outdoors. If you’re inside, open the curtains and blinds and let the light in. The sunlight will boost serotonin and vitamin D levels which will help you to feel happier and more energised.

Get regular exercise – regular exercise can increase endorphins, serotonin and other feel good brain chemicals, and if done outside you can get your daily dose of sunlight in too! Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise per day (walking the dog definitely counts!)

Reach out to people – let people know how you are feeling so they can make an effort to book things in with you. Then YOU make the effort to go, even if you don’t feel like it. You’ll feel less isolated and your mood will be boosted after time spent with loved ones.

Eat the right food and regularly – make time to start your day right with breakfast, get plenty of fruit and veg in and don’t skip meals. Avoid simple carbs like white bread, rice and pasta and refined sugar, swap them for wholegrain versions, oats and natural sugars found in whole fruits. This will help to keep your blood sugars regulated, fuel your body and eliminate that sugar crash.

Food rich in omega 3 such as oily fish and soya can also boost your mood and elevate symptoms of depression.

Minimise stress and make time for fun – figure out what it is that adds stress to your life and take steps to minimise the stressful effects. Balance it with things you enjoy doing or used to enjoy doing. It might also help to add some relaxation/ mindfulness techniques into your routine to minimise stress levels.

Adding spices to your food can help too, spices have numerous healing qualities and can help with many illnesses – this weeks recipe includes cinnamon and Nutmeg which are great for beating the winter blues!

Cinnamon helps to balance blood sugar levels, keeping you on an even keel and avoiding that sugar crash. It is also a great antiseptic which can help fight viruses, bacteria and infections – perfect to keep those winter bugs at bay! It is also said that just smelling cinnamon can boost cognitive function and memory.

Nutmeg – fights the effects of stress. It’s a clever spice that works with your body, it’s an adaptogen, so if you are feeling stressed it will aid in lowering blood pressure, conversely it can lift your mood and act as a stimulant if you are convalescing or over tired. It can also aid digestion and ease stomach aches and wind, it has anti inflammatory properties so is great for muscle and joint pain.

Apple and egg custard tart (GF)

Ingredients

Pastry –

200g buckwheat flour

1 egg

1/3 cup coconut oil (soft/melted)

1/4 cup honey or sweetener of choice

Filling –

2/3 cooking apples, pealed and sliced

3 tbs coconut sugar

1-2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbs lemon juice

1tsp vanilla essence

3 eggs

2 cups milk (of your choice)

3tbs honey

1-2tbs cornflour

1tsp nutmeg

1tsp vanilla essence

Vanilla Coconut cream to serve –

1 tin of full fat coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)

1-2 tsp vanilla essence

Method:-

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease a tart dish.

Put the flour in a bowl and add the egg and honey into the middle, mix in the flour gradually, once it gets too stiff add the coconut oil and bring together into a dough ball. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Remove from fridge and roll out to size of your pre-greased tart dish, line dish with pastry. If it crumbles, press into the dish instead, make sure there are no cracks otherwise your filling will run out.

Place in the oven for 10 minutes.

Place sliced apples in a bowl with the coconut sugar and lemons juice, toss to coat all slices of apple.

Layer the apples in the pastry, start in the middle and spiral them around until all the pastry is covered. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

In a bowl place the cornflour and whisk in egg and vanilla essence.

Heat milk, honey and nutmeg in a small pan and bring to the boil.

Remove from heat and gradually add to the egg, whisking constantly.

Pour mixture over the tart base.

Place in the oven for 20/30 minutes.

The coconut milk should have separates in the fridge, you will have the cream on top and the water on the bottom. Skim the cream off the top of the tin of the coconut milk. Mix with vanilla essence.

Enjoy!

Pain is subjective …

…but to the injured parties.

I was recently treated to a brand new bike and day one riding it – I fell off! It had been raining and the roads were wet, I slipped crossing the tram tracks and skidded across the road. Fortunately my dad was right, I am soft and squidgy and I do bounce! With some kind help from passers by and after a once over at A&E I was on my way to rest up with a few scrapes and bruises which were pretty painful but thankfully, nothing serious. However the most painful injury was the pulled muscle in my side – I was baffled as to why it hurt so much when there wasn’t even a bruise to show for it. After 4 days with my feet up, still very sore I got back on my bike – for someone else they may have been back in the saddle the next day, another may have been delicate for weeks. We all have different pain thresholds and no two people will feel pain in the same way.

This couldn’t be more true for emotional and mental pain. It’s easy to look in from the outside and dispute that someone is in actual pain because you can’t see the injury – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting, it doesn’t mean you would hurt in the same way in the same situation. That’s why the phrase ‘I know how you feel’ can be somewhat discomforting for people.

Mental health is something we are still not great at talking about – there is certainly less stigma than there used to be surrounding the subject, but it is still there. We are worried that we will be judged if we talk about having ill mental health, we feel vulnerable and often knowing how we are feeling is our biggest hurdle so articulating it to another isn’t easy.

  • On the flip side – supporting someone who is experiencing ill mental health can be scary too. Usually they have come to us because we share love for each other, so we don’t want to let them down buy getting it wrong. We worry about saying the wrong thing and not understanding what the other person is trying to tell us, and failing at being supportive. If someone has reached out to you, it’s because they trust you and feel comfortable being vulnerable with you, so don’t panic, you’re already doing well!
  • Here are my top 5 tips for supporting someone through their emotional pain:
    1. Listen without interruption. It’s really important when someone has been strong enough to speak out that their voice feels heard. Give them the space and time to speak before offering any words in return.
      Avoid words like ‘silly’ ‘stupid’ and ‘stop worrying’ – although it’s likely you disagree with the way the person is feeling about themselves (as it is likely they won’t have a positive self image at this time) that’s the way they feel so don’t tell them they shouldn’t.
      Use phrases like ‘that must be really difficult’ rather than ‘I know how you feel’ – everyone experiences things differently so even though you may have experienced the same situation, you can’t feel their feelings. It also feels like you are taking their feelings away from them by saying ‘I know how you feel’
      Tell them if you don’t understand but don’t expect them to explain. It’s ok to say, ‘I’ve not experienced that so I’m struggling to understand it, but it doesn’t sound like what you’re going through is very nice’. Don’t ask them to explain it again, it’s likely quite painful and they may not want to go over and over the same points. If the person is experiencing delusions/hallucinations/psychosis (this is not as common as depression and anxiety) acknowledge that they can see/are experiencing the delusion/hallucination but tell them that you aren’t, if it is distressing for them, shift the focus to something else.
      Don’t try and ‘fix’ their problems, or tell them to ‘cheer up’ they haven’t come to you for a solution – unfortunately it’s not that straight forward! They just need to feel like they’re not alone. Reassure them that you’ll always be there, perhaps offer help in seeking professional advice if necessary, and remind them that they have felt better before, so it is likely they will feel better again, in time.

    So, on to the yummy bit, and today is a all about chocolate – it was dessert week on the GBBO last night so I took the opportunity to create a heavenly chocolate dessert with loads of health benefits too! Instead of cocoa or chocolate I use cacao – it is the purest form of chocolate, it’s raw and unprocessed – winner! Cacao is great for us and is full of antioxidants, amongst other things it is full of magnesium which helps brain function, it is the highest plant based source of iron which keeps energy levels up and tiredness at bay and it’s a great mood elevator and natural anti- depressant so it’s good for those experiencing ill mental health. So instead of reaching for the chocolate full of processed sugars and nasties, why not whip up a chocolaty treat with Cacao!?

    This was my first attempt at this dessert and I didn’t have the right dishes to construct them in, hence their ‘rustic’ appearance – it didn’t stop them tasting great though!

    Black Forest Gateau Pudding:

    For the cake

    3 eggs

    1/4 cup olive oil

    1/4 cup honey

    1/4 cup coconut milk

    1/4 cup cacao powder

    1/4 cup coconut flour

    1 tsp baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    1 tsp vanilla essence

    Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk until combined. Pour into a pre greased/lined baking tray/ cake tin (you are going to cut circles from the sponge so you don’t want it to be too thick) approx 1 inch deep. Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.remove from oven once you can insert a skewer into the centre and it comes out clean. Remove from tin and cool on a cooling wrack.

    For the mousse

    Place a tin of coconut milk in the fridge over night so the cream separates from the water. Scoop the creamy bit off the top and add it to a pan with:

    2 tablespoons of coconut oil

    1 tablespoon of cacao powder

    2 teaspoons of honey

    Stir until smooth and then refrigerate for 1 hour so that it partially sets.

    For the cream

    Place a tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight to separate the cream from the water.

    In a bowl whisk

    Coconut cream

    2 teaspoons of honey

    1teaspoon of vanilla

    Place in the fridge

    For the cherries

    remove stalks and pops and place in a pan with a tablespoon of water – you can add sweetener (or alcohol) if you like but I think they are sweet enough. Boil until the liquid has almost evaporated and the cherries have softened.

    To construct :-

    Use a biscuit cutter (size of your choice/bowl) to cut out rounds to of the chocolate cake, you need two rounds of cake for each dessert.

    Put one round in the bottom of your dish, add a layer of cherries topped with a layer of mousse, allow to set in the fridge for an hour.

    Remove from the fridge and top with another round of cake. If you are eating them from the bowl, top with coconut cream and sprinkle with cacao powder to serve.

    If you are turning them out, turn onto a plate before topping with coconut cream and sprinkle with cacao powder to serve.

    Keep chilled until serving.

    Is it ok to comfort eat?

    In my last blog post I posed the question – is it ok to comfort eat?

    Fundamentally – no, we shouldn’t comfort eat, but hey, we do a lot of things we know we shouldn’t, so maybe there is a bit of wiggle room to compromise here.

    Comfort eating blurs the line between our need to eat and our emotional connection with food. When we are feeling good, we can enjoy food without feeling reliant on it to deal with our emotions. On the one hand, if you know you are eating to feed the way you are feeling rather than fuel your body, there is an element of control and as long as you don’t let yourself do it on a regular basis then it shouldn’t get out of control. And it easy to tell ourselves that it’s ok because it makes us feel better and therefore we will recover from whatever we are dealing with quicker. But strictly speaking, food should be about fuelling your mind and body, not fuelling your emotions, that doesn’t mean food can’t be tasty and enjoyable though.

    On the other hand, relying on food to make you feel better can be dangerous, if it is the only thing that you feel any satisfaction in then you can quickly become dependant on food to make you happy and therefore start over eating, which can be a slippery slope! And if you go down this path you are likely to end up trapped in a perpetual cycle whereby food is the only thing that makes you happy, but you are unhappy with the way you look because you’ve been over eating therefore you comfort eat because it makes you happy. If this is the case, and you can recognise it (often we don’t realise we are doing it) try to refocus your need for satisfaction in something else – anything that makes you happy will release the serotonin in your brain to lift your mood, exercise is great, learning a new skill/hobby or just spending time with friends.

    So how do we overcome this desire to eat in that moment of emotion? Because let’s face it, just about all of us do it, whether it’s treating yourself to a chocolate bar after a bad day or binging on a take away at the end of a long week, human beings use food as a reward…because it tastes good and releases serotonin in our brains which makes us feel good too!

    Having a list of ‘fake aways’ and healthier versions of my favourite comfort foods has come in handy and puts me back in control of my diet and my emotional connection with food. I like to think of it as having an ’emergency comfort food for healthy living’ file which I can turn to instead of reaching for the take away menu and share bag of malteasers.

    I make these healthier versions of the things I love and that make me feel better as part of my daily food intake and not as an addition. What I mean by that is, I make sure I have something for lunch and tea that I am looking forward to and I know will feel satisfying and don’t let it slip into addition meals or out of control snacking. And if I do make a batch of biscuits or cake, I allow myself a certain amount at a time and I try to make them for a reason, when someone is coming over is a good time because then you can’t eat it all yourself, you have to at leas share with one other! I have healthier recipes for pizza, ice cream, bread, naan bread, cakes, biscuits, even chocolate…you name it! (You might notice most of my emotional cravings are for carbs and something sweet, so I make sure that the carbs I’m eating, starchy and sweet, are clean carbs, non refined, whole grains and nothing is processed.)

    I’m not saying I kid myself that these things are ok to make and eat every night of the week – no! But when I feel like I really need something comforting, I have my ‘go to’ range of favourites which are much healthier than the standard version.

    Hopefully some of the recipes I’m sharing with you can go into your ’emergency comfort food for healthy living’ file.

    Clean Eating Spelt and Buckwheat bread (no yeast and vegan)

    Ingredients

    300g stoneground wholegrain spelt flour

    200g buckwheat flour

    1 tsp low sodium salt (I use pink rock salt)

    1 1/2 tsp baking soda

    300ml soy milk (mineral water or any other milk should also be fine)

    50ml olive oil

    fennel seeds for sprinkling (optional)

    Method

    1 Preheat the oven to 200C and line the baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Or lightly grease a baking tray (only lightly as the bread is already oily)

    2 In a bowl, combine both flours, soda and salt together until well mixed.

    3 Add milk or water and mix well until the dough forms, then gradually pour in the oil. Continue mixing with a wooden spoon or by hand, until the dough is moist and oily, but very pliable. Shape the dough into a smooth ball. The smoother you make it, the less lightly it will break when you cut it.

    4 Place the dough ball onto the baking tray and flatten it slightly to form a round shape. Cut a cross pattern or two parallel lines on it with a sharp knife, sprinkle with fennel seeds and bake in the oven for 30/40 minutes until turns golden and rises slightly.

    * The bread is quite dense and dry, due to the nature of the flours. It has a great flavour and the dryness can be combated with whatever you top it with e.g. butter, jam, PB etc.

    * When you thin the bread is done, pick it up and tap on the bottom, if it sounds hollow, it should be baked through. I had to leave mine for about 45/50 minutes before it was cooked all the way through.

    *Its great toasted!

    Dealing with grief

    Grief affects our mental health tremendously, and we all deal with it in different ways. There isn’t a right or wrong, or a quick fix. Often it feels lonely and never ending, grief is a sociable emotion and it often brings all the others along for the ride – fear, anger, sadness, happiness you name it, grief brings it. And grief doesn’t have to be about the passing of a loved one, we feel grief when we are dealing with loss of any kind. In this post, I’m sharing with you a recent experience in my grieving process in the hope that it may help someone else who is grieving too. (And if not, there’s a tasty pizza recipe at the end, so it’s win win all around!)

    I woke up yesterday morning with the best feeling, love – I wake up with this feeling every day but yesterday, my first thought as I dreamily entered the world of the conscious was – ‘I love this man’ – this was of course a thought about my partner still fast asleep next to me. It was so intense I wanted to squeeze his face until it popped (FYI – I didn’t, I just held it gently, which probably isn’t ideal for someone trying to snooze)

    Sadly, I had to get up and start my day so I put on my dressing gown, made my way downstairs and put the kettle on. As I did, the feeling I had woken up with changed, it changed to an ache, a longing for something that wasn’t obtainable. And suddenly, I wanted my dad to be right there, I wanted to pick up the phone and speak to him – but I couldn’t and I never can again. The man who started my whole FGB journey has not been with us for 5 months now and days like this hit me so often. I think about him everyday, but some days it’s easier to deal with than others. Today was a day that started with tears and sadness.

    Had it been a week end, or a holiday day, I may have given myself some space to feel these feelings, but I have a new job to go to and unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop even when you feel like it’s fallen apart. So I text my mum to tell her how much I missed my dad right then and that I love her, I took my coffee, and I got ready for work, the tears didn’t stop, the ache didn’t stop, but neither did my responsibilities so I got on with it.

    I did a few things which help me when I’m feeling emotionally pained – 1) I told people close to me, I told my mum how I was feeling and why.I don’t always do this, not because I feel ashamed or like I need to hide it, but because it’s my grief, not anyone else’s, and because it is a constant feeling I am living with. But in the times when it’s more, when I know it’s not just a painful moment, when it’s more than that, for me it almost feels like someone is looking out for me when I’m feeling vulnerable if I’ve shared the way I feel. 2) I thought about what I was going to do in the evening that would make me feel good – if you’re interested, it was have a hot shower then watch First Dates Hotel with some tasty food – which brings me on to 3) make something delicious for tea – working through emotions with food can be dangerous, but that’s a blog post for another day. I made gluten free, grain free pizza packed with veggies and topped with chicken and cheese. Recipe below.

    But the thing that really got me through was this…

    As I was cycling to work I was thinking about how I was going to get through the day without crying on everyone who I encountered or consuming vast amounts of sweets and chocolate. Then I remembered the thought I had woken up with, that intense feeling of love – which reminded me of something that happened at the celebration of life after my pops funeral service, the vicar (who is also a family friend) asked if he could read something before the band started.

    The poem he read is what got me through today, not because it took any of my pain away, or because it suddenly changed my reality, or that it made me think I’ll never have a day like this again, but because it reminded me that the feeling of grief I am experiencing can only be because of the amount of love I have for my pops and the amount of love he showed me while he was here.

    It will never be easy for anyone, and my way of dealing with it won’t work for everyone, but maybe, on the days you’re struggling the most these few words might help you too 💜

    Gluten free pizza base :-

    This is actually the same recipe and method as for the quiche I posted last week, it works great for either dish!

    Ingredients

    1 cup tapioca flour

    1/3 cup coconut flour

    1/3 cup olive oil

    1/3 cup water

    1tbs Apple cider vinegar

    1tsp/ clove garlic

    1 egg

    Salt and pepper to taste

    1tbs Mixed herbs (optional)

    Method

    Put all the wet ingredients (not the egg) in a sauce pan with the garlic and bring to the boil.

    In a mixing bowl add the tapioca flour, herbs (if using) salt and pepper and wet mixture and bring together with a wooden spoon.

    Allow to cool for 5 minutes and add the egg, mix to combine.

    Add the coconut flour and bring together to form a ball of dough.

    Roll out to the dough to the size of your pre greased pizza tray and then carefully lay your dough on it, if you want a thicker crust, just pinch the edges in to create one.

    Prick gently with a fork and bake in a pre- heated oven to 180 degrees for 15/20 minutes until the edges start to go golden.

    Spread whatever base you fancy on (tomato/BBQ/white sauce) And then add your toppings evenly over the base and top with cheese, pop it back in the oven for 25-20 minutes until the cheese is melted.

    Enjoy hot or cold.

    Back to work blues

    I’ve been back at work in a new job this week which is always going to be draining. Meeting new people, taking in new information and trying to make a good impression. We’ve all been there, whether it’s a new job, new hobby, starting a course, it is often more stressful than we anticipate or sometimes even realise. Even just going back to work after some time off takes its tole on your mind and body, so make sure you’re packing your plate full of a rainbow of veggies and protein, getting enough sleep and if you can, fitting in some exercise to boost your serotonin levels, relax and distress.

    Yesterday I got caught in the rain (no Pina Colada in sight though!) and after a full day at my new job, I turned up to teach 2 fitness classes looking a very sorry and soggy sight! Today, the weather didn’t do it for me either, it was cold and grey all day and the sun didn’t make an appearance at all, there’s only one thing to cure the back to work and end of summer blues, cake!

    To coincide with Bake Off’s cake week I baked a vegan, almond and cherry cake….it was amazing! Not only was it one of the easiest cakes to make, but it came out with a good rise, even bake, it was moist and had an incredible flavour! It got a thumbs up all round in my home and it certainly gave me that Tuesday night pick me up I needed.

    I used natural dried cherries instead of glacé to keep the processed sugars at bay and using ground almonds adds protein and good saturated fats, that along side the coconut oil – packed with good fats which can boost metabolism and coconut sugar which is packed with antioxidants and has a low GI, oh and don’t forget it’s vegan too (no dairy or eggs) this cake is up there with the ‘healthier cakes’ in my book. However, it does use regular white flour and there is a fair amount of coconut sugar in there, so it’s not in the ‘low calorie’ camp and I’d definitely say this is a treat cake, rather than a go to sweet fix.

    Enjoy!

    Ingredients:-

    • 200 g / 2 cups self raising flour

    • 150 g / 1 1/4 cups ground almonds

    • 200 g / 1 cup coconut sugar

    • 1 tsp. baking powder

    • 120 ml / ½ cup. liquid coconut oil

    • 300 ml / 1 1/3 cup soy milk

    • 2 tsp. almond essence

    • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

    • 200g dried cherries chopped

    Method:-

    Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.

    Mix all wet ingredients in a jug.

    Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry, start with a well in the middle and draw bits of the mixture in a bit at a time. (It will be quite a thick mixture)

    Place into a greased round cake tin and bake at 180 degrees for 40/45 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

    Remove from tin and turn onto a cooling wrack, allow to cool completely (it’ll be worth the wait!)

    Dust with glucose powder if you wish and enjoy with a cuppa!

    Bake off is Back and So is FGB!

    So, it’s been a while – I closed the café and had a few life hiccups getting in the way so I’ve had a bit of time out from FGB.

    Tonight is the first airing of this year’s Great British Bake Off, and it goes without saying that I am an avid watcher of the show. So what better time for me to get FGB back on the map and share some tasty tips with you all!

    I endeavour to bake up something yummy to indulge in whilst watching the show on a Tuesday evening so tonight I’ve done a double whammy and baked dinner and dessert!

    First up is a healthy quiche, made with coconut flour, tapioca flour, olive oil and egg, this quiche is lower in carbs and saturated fat than your usual and higher in fibre, and as a bonus it’s dairy and gluten free too! Coconut flour can boost your metabolism, it’s high in fibre, aids digestion and helps maintain blood sugar levels.(Make sure you use a milk alternative for the quiche filling if you’re keeping it moo free!)

    And for dunking in your brew, as it is biscuit week after all, I whipped up a batch of my mums favourites – Buckwheat flour shortbread biscuits. Made with buckwheat flour which is naturally gluten free and using coconut oil and coconut sugar these biscuits are packed with goodness. Coconut sugar has a low GI so it releases energy slower, meaning you won’t have that sugar crash you get with processed alternatives. Using coconut oil instead of butter gives these biscuits an added crunch and is a much healthier fat – it is high in healthy saturated fats which can boost fat burning, it also raises the ‘good’ cholesterol in your blood which has been linked to reducing heart disease.

    In true FGB fashion I got carried away and also knocked up some Florentines, plain digestives, milk chocolate digestives and milk chocolate and caramel digestives – all dairy free and vegan!

    I hope you had as much fun preparing for the bake off as I did, here’s delicious quiche, on me!

    Ingredients

    1 cup tapioca flour

    1/3 cup coconut flour

    1/3 cup olive oil

    1/3 cup water

    1tbs Apple cider vinegar

    1tsp/ clove garlic

    1 egg

    Salt and pepper to taste

    1tbs Mixed herbs (optional)

    Method

    Put all the wet ingredients (not the egg) in a sauce pan with the garlic and bring to the boil.

    In a mixing bowl add the tapioca flour, herbs (if using) salt and pepper and wet mixture and bring together with a wooden spoon.

    Allow to cool for 5 minutes and add the egg, mix to combine.

    Add the coconut flour and bring together to form a ball of dough.

    Roll out to the dough to the size of your lined and greased quiche dish and then carefully line the dish with the pastry.

    Prick gently with a fork and bake in a pre- heated oven to 180 degrees for 15/20 minutes until the edges start to go golden.

    Use whatever quiche filling you like – this one was vegetable so I used chopped pepper, mushrooms, onions, spinach, basil and coriander. Spread your ingredients evenly over the base.

    Whisk together 6 eggs (use more or less depending on how big your dish is) with your choice of milk, add salt and pepper and pour over your pastry. Top with cheese if you wish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until set.

    Enjoy hot or cold!