3 simple recipes you’ll keep coming back to

 
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I really enjoy cooking, especially cooking for others. A lot of the time though, I’ll also be cooking for myself or preparing food in advance because I know there’ll always be times I’ll need to grab a snack and run back out the door. This means I’m way less likely to end up grabbing something rubbishy and expensive at a sandwich shop or cafe. It can admittedly take a bit of time to get into the routine, but you’ll always thank yourself when the time comes!
In my last article I gave ten tips for tackling the winter blues, two of which were

  • Reduce your caffeine intake

  • Avoid snacking on rubbish food

All well and good, but how about some concrete suggestions and alternatives?! A fine idea and reasonable request, dear reader. Allow me to oblige you…

Sunshine Drink

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Here’s a handy substitute for a caffeinated drink! I must credit my lovely housemate Heather for introducing me to this most glorious concoction. Last winter I was struggling to pull together the motivation to drag myself out into the dark, cold, damp and wintry Bristol night to walk my pal Jam Jam. Dear Heather threw a saucepan on the heat, sprinkled some mystical herbs in and muttered a quiet incantation. Into my Keep Cup the results were poured and out the door I went, clutching my warm potion close. But goodness, dear reader, this was no ordinary drink; spicy, invigorating and comforting; a nectar capable of brightening the grimmest of moods. Plus, it pretty much glows in the dark. And that’s cool.
Note: While you can absolutely use fresh ginger and turmeric for this recipe, I prefer using powdered as it means I can make a big pre-prepared jar of the mixture and then just scoop one teaspoon when needed (cinnamon, turmeric, ginger & cardamom with a little pepper)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 tsp* ground ginger powder (anti-inflammatory & anti-nausea)

  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric powder (anti-inflammatory & aids liver function)

  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon powder (anti-inflammatory & high in antioxidants)

  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom seeds (boosts metabolism & high in antioxidants)

  • Pinch ground black pepper (increases absorption of the medicinal compound in turmeric by 2,000%)

  • Milk or milk alternative (I’m an oat milk man)

  • Honey or agave/maple syrup to taste

  • Optional extras: dessicated coconut (I used to add coconut oil until I discovered it was as good for you as McDonalds consumed intravenously) or nutmeg

* When I mention tsp (teaspoon), I’m talking the official measurement rather than a simple teaspoon. If you don’t have a set you should a) get one and b) bear in mind that a traditional teaspoon is about a 3/4 measurement (very roughly)

Method:

  1. Throw all ingredients except honey/syrup into a pan on the heat

  2. Heat up slowly while stirring/whisking thoroughly

  3. Sweeten to taste with honey/syrup


Pete’s Homemade Hummus

Drizzle with some olive oil, sesame seeds and cumin to serve

Drizzle with some olive oil, sesame seeds and cumin to serve

Alongside peanut butter, hummus is my biggest go-to for a snack-and- dash (peanut butter spread on apple slices…!). It’s also great as a side with any kind of roast veg, or as a dip if you have friends over for drinks. I’d recommend buying bulk amounts of dried chickpeas rather than the canned ones for two reasons:

1) It’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly

2) The chickpeas have better consistency and more flavour

I usually soak a good load (say 500 grams) for 8 hours or overnight, rinse them (really important to avoid farts!), boil them all up with a teaspoon of turmeric and a pinch of sea salt, and then freeze whatever you don’t use immediately in tin-size quantities for use later. Chickpeas are fantastic as an addition to salads, stews and curries and provide all the protein you’ll ever need when eaten with a grain (rice, brown bread etc).

Ingredients:

  • Cooked chickpeas (roughly one can’s worth)

  • Two tablespoons tahini (this counts as the grain you need to form a complete protein chain with the chickpeas)

  • Half a lemon’s juice (sometimes more if it’s a small one)

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (ground if your blender is rubbish!)

  • Good old glug of olive oil. I mean a really good glug!

  • Salt and pepper

  • Water for consistency (I always like to be able to scoop my hummus without my carrot stick/crisp/nacho snapping!) If using canned chickpeas, they’re usually so squishy and full of water that you don’t need any more added.

  • Optional extras: beetroot, chilli, spring onion, paprika…get creative!

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender (or bowl if you have a stick blender)

  2. Add water or more olive oil as required to achieve desired consistency

  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and scoop up when required!

Hill Street Oat Cakes

Store in an airtight container to keep them crunchy!

Store in an airtight container to keep them crunchy!

I must credit Heather here again (thanks Heath!). I love bread. Adore the stuff. With so many incredible bakers in Bristol, I’m spoiled for choice. The only downside is, whenever I eat more than a couple of slices, my body starts producing rather antisocial smells…So I started looking around for vehicles to transport my hummus/cheese/peanut butter etc to my mouth. Et voila: oat cakes! But then I find myself shelling out a few quid for what’s essentially oats baked into a disc…plus all the plastic and packaging that they come wrapped in. And so, dearest of dears, I was delighted when Heather began knocking these guys out: the perfect parade float for my hummus!

Ingredients:

  • 225g Oats (avoid rolled/jumbo oats: the cheap ones actually work better!)

  • 60g wholewheat flour

  • 1/2tsp bicarbonate soda

  • 60g butter/margerine

  • 1tsp salt

  • 1/2tsp sugar

  • 60-80ml hot water

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 190C

  2. Mix together oats, flour, salt, sugar and bicarbonate of soda.

  3. Add butter and rub together until everything is mixed and resembles large bread crumbs

  4. Add the hot water bit by bit and combine until you have a thick dough. This can vary depending on the oat you use.

  5. Sprinkle out some extra flour and oats on a work surface and roll out the dough to 1/2cm thickness. Use a cookie cutter or glass to cut out your desired size of cake.

  6. Place the oat cakes on a baking tray and bake for approx. 20-30mins until golden brown.

  7. Leave on a rack and allow to cool before eating.

Got any bullet-proof, go-to recipes of your own you’d like to share? Get in touch and I’ll give them a whirl…and maybe even a share!