Author Archives: Monica

Bike Tour Packing List

Packing for a Bike Tour  I recently returned from a 4-week bike tour through France and Spain, carrying all of my own kit and camping along the way. Some people have commented that they can’t believe I travel so light, while others have said “how the heck do you fit all that on a bike?” You can fit a surprising amount of stuff on a bike. Of course, the heavier the bike, the harder the journey. Here is a list of what I took with me.

Essentials:

Bike Accessories:

  • Panniers (I use Ortlieb – they really are the best, waterproof, durable, simple but perfect design)
  • Frame bag
  • 2 Waterbottles
  • Headlight / Tail light
  • Bike computer for recording mileage / speed (mine is a Cateye Enduro 8)
  • Bell
  • Bike lock
  • iPhone mount (I used a Quad Lock and can’t recommend it enough)
  • Bungee cords
  • Fuzzy dice (or some other trinket on your bike deliver mojo and lift your spirits – I had a little pendent from my sister, and collected stickers from the places I visited along the way)

Bike Tools:

  • Air pump
  • Patch Kit with Tire Levers
  • Spare Inner Tubes
  • Chain Lube
  • Bicycle Multi-Tool

Camping Gear:

Camp Cooking Gear

  • Backpacking Stove (I adore my MSR Pocket Rocket)
  • Fuel for stove (bring extra in case you have a hard time finding the fuel you need en route)
  • Lighters for the camp stove
  • Cooking pots (I have Snowpeak’s Multicompact Titanium Cookset which I love.)
  • Mug
  • Cup (Nérac cups are great! And versatile!)
  • Utensils: Folding knife, spoon, fork (or Spork!), wine bottle opener
  • Coffee making stuff (I use the Hario V60 plastic 1-cup coffee dripper, in which case, don’t forget filters, too!)
  • Washing up liquid and quick dry towel (REI’s are handy)
  • Tea Towels (Good as napkins, or mini picnic blankets, or to dry dishes, or anything! You will always find uses for them!)
  • Water “tank” (Handy at the campsite. I just used a 2L plastic bottle which you can crumple and uncrumple as needed – top tip from Mike! But Platypus also makes nice collapsible water holders.)

Cycling Clothes

  • Helmet
  • T-Shirts (I went for a merino wool t-shirt and tank top over cycling jerseys which are more versatile for off-the-bike shenanigans)
  • Cycling Shorts (at least 2 pairs)
  • Underwear (Icebreaker Merino Wool Underwear, it’s expensive but so good! I recommend at least 3 pairs.)
  • For the ladies – Sports bras (2)
  • Socks (Smartwool Merino Socks for me)
  • Cycling gloves
  • Clippy Cycling Shoes
  • Merino Wool Long Sleeve Short (for cooler days)
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Waterproof Over-Shoes

Camp / Town / Beach Clothes

  • Pair of shorts
  • T-shirt
  • Flannel shirt
  • Fleece
  • Hat
  • Walking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Bathing Suit

Personal Items

  • Watch
  • Sunglasses
  • Eyeglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Lip Balm

Toiletries

  • Quick Dry Towel
  • Washcloth
  • Soap / Shampoo
  • Deoderant
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss
  • Toilet Paper (You will want this!)
  • Wet wipes
  • Skin Cream / Moisturiser
  • Nail Clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Vitamins / Medication / etc
  • Ear Plugs
  • First Aid Kit
  • Ibuprofen
  • Anti-Chaffing Balm (You will want this.)

Important Documents

  • Wallet
  • Driver’s License / Passport
  • ATM Card
  • Credit Cards
  • Cash
  • Travel tickets

Gadgets & Travel Goodies

  • Phone (which also serves as camera)
  • iPad + Case
  • Phone / iPad Charger
  • Universal plug adapter
  • USB Battery Pack (For charging on the go. I use an EasyAcc Classic 10000mAh Power Bank which gives me about 2-3 iPhone charges.)
  • Personal Locater Beacon (I use a Spot Gen 3)
  • Spare batteries for electronics, headlamp, bike lights, etc
  • Guidebook (France en Velo was my friend)
  • Notebook
  • Pens

Food

I obviously topped this up as I travelled – French markets are the best! But these are the staples I tried to always have on hand. 

  • Stuff sack to keep all the food in
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Individual spices (stored in film canisters)
  • Porridge oats
  • Quinoa and/or bulgur wheat
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Coffee & tea

Things I wish I had brought:

  • Clothing line for drying stuff
  • A few bin bags and packing tape for packing my bike for the ALSA bus in Spain
  • Picnic blanket
  • Air pillow (maybe?)
  • Camp chair (ThermaRest’s chair kits are pretty cool)

Optional Extras

This is stuff I didn’t bring but I could see being useful, especially in cooler climates.

  • Cycling Long-Tights
  • Waterproof Trousers
  • Fall/Winter Full-Finger Gloves
  • Skull Cap
  • Snood
  • Trousers for wearing off the bike
  • Binoculars
  • More bike repair stuff, that I probably wouldn’t know how to use (bicycletouringpro.com has an epic list)

Touring Bike: Jamis Nova

No Knead Bread with Seeded Crust

No Knead Bread with Seeded Crust

This is by far the most popular bread recipe that I make, with a crispy beautiful crust on the outside and a soft moist crumb on the inside. It is also one of the easiest breads you can make. As the title suggests, no kneading is required. Just a little time, a few ingredients and a cast iron pot. Start this bread the night before you want to eat it.

No Knead Bread with Seeded Crust

Ingredients

    • 470 grams strong white bread flour*
    • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
    • 10g fine sea salt
    • 350 ml water (warm or cold, just not boiling hot)
    • A bit of oil for coating a bowl
    • mixed seeds (I use poppy and sesame)

Tools needed:

  • mixing bowl
  • paper towels
  • spoon (or your hands)
  • cast iron pot with a lid
  • oven

Method

  1. Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and water in a mixing bowl using your hands or a spoon (it should look like a shaggy dough ball). Cover with cling film (or a plate) and let it rest for 12-24 hours. After 12-24 hours, the dough will have risen and filled the bowl.
  2. Flour a work surface and “pour” the dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface – I use a spatula to scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl.
  3. Gently stretch out the dough into a flat squarish shape. Fold the dough into thirds as you would a letter, then fold it again into thirds in the other direction. This should give you a little folded up parcel with a seam – rest the dough with the SEAM SIDE DOWN on the work surface for about 15 minutes.
  4. While the dough rests, clean and dry your bowl.
  5. Oil the inside of the boil and spread it around with a paper towel. Put your seeds in the bowl and tip the bowl around so that the seeds cover the inside of the bowl.
  6. Place the dough into the bowl with the SEAM SIDE DOWN.
  7. Let the dough rest for about an hour or so.
  8. About half an hour before you’re going to make the loaf, put your cast iron pot and lid into the oven and turn the oven up as high as it goes (mine maxes out at 220 C). Let the oven heat up for about 30 minutes so that it’s good and hot (and the pot too).
  9. When the oven is ready, remove the cast iron pot from the oven. Remove the lid.
  10. Take your bowl with the dough in it and rotate it around to loosen the dough from the seeds. Now be brave and quickly flip the dough out of the pot into the hot cast iron pan (ideally it will land with all of the seeds facing upwards but don’t despair if it catches on the side of the pot and looks a mess – this bread is very forgiving).
  11. Put the lid back on the pot (be careful, it’s hot!) then put the pot into the oven.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the lid, turn the oven down to 200 C, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the top is nicely golden brown.
  13. Remove from the oven, remove the bread from the pot, and let it cool (ideally for at least 40 minutes) before slicing. (Or rip into it straight away – it’s all good!)

* You can also use wholemeal flour here, or a mixture of white and wholemeal, but the rise might not be dramatic.

Related posts:

Camping at Manzac Ferme, Dordogne, France

 I’m currently in the midst of a big long bike ride across France (see hashtags #franceenvelo and #tothemoon). Eight days and 450 miles into it, I feel like my legs deserve a rest. So it was convenient that I had just landed in Dordogne, one of my favourite regions in France for its woodland, enchanted lakes and overall quiet feel. Dordogne is also home to Manzac Ferme, one of the best campsites I know of. I’ve been wanting to write about Manzac for a while now, years in fact, because I’ve been coming here since 2012, when I first discovered it en route to Gascony, that first road trip across France that’s totally changed my life for the better. Manzac was part of that journey. 

    
The two things that first attracted me to Manzac Ferme was that it’s adults only (which sounds a little risqué but really it just means no kids) and dog-friendly. It’s also small – just 10 pitches, 5 for caravans, 5 for campers. Each pitch has its own private little nook, with a couple tent pitches situated right on the river. It also has free campsite-wide wifi, super clean facilities, and nice hot continuous showers (no push button hell). 

  

Manzac is also a top spot for walking – there are plenty of walks that leave right from the campsite taking you to some magical places in the Dordogne, including this little spot on the lake that is home to my ultimate dream house.

 
But what totally makes it for me are the people – George and Margaret run the place and they are the nicest people ever (I came two years ago over my birthday and they had my over for a glass of rosé to celebrate – bliss! – and this year they’ve been sharing some of their garden lettuce with me – little gems, my favourite!). Their son, Laurence (aka @lozula), was also here on my first visit and I’m so glad I got to meet him – he is a hugely talented photographer with a popular travel blog Finding the Universe. So, naturally we had a lot of common ground to connect on, and he’s even let me guest post on his blog from time to time. 

  
Coming here on bike is a little goofy. Manzac is really a place you should come and hunker down in for a week or two (indeed some guests come and stay for months!). A car is also handy to get you to the rest of the Dordogne and some of the villages like nearby Nontron and Piegut-Pluviers, both of which have stellar markets. But at the same time, for a cyclist, Manzac is such a welcome respite from the usual municipal campsites I’ve been pitching in for the last week, and George and Margaret are getting to feel like old friends now so it’s nice finding a bit of familiarity on this road trip that’s been otherwise totally full of the new and unexpected. Plus, no kids and free wifi to your tent (and a power lead, if you need it) – pure bliss in my world. 

  

Manzac Ferme
00 33 (0)5 53 56 31 34.    
info@manzac-ferme.com
Manzac, 24300 AUGIGNAC, France

Indian Masterclass with Alfred Prasad

Alfred Prasad Indian Masterclass

Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending an Indian cookery masterclass with chef Alfred Prasad at Cookery School at Little Portland Street, part of Great British Chef‘s #gbccookschool line-up. Alfred received a Michelin star at just 29 years old for his work at Tamarind restaurant in London (he’s now pursuing his own restaurant empire). Naturally it was a thrill to have the opportunity to learn more about one of my favourite cuisines from this talented chef.

Alfred Prasad

Better still was that the evening was entirely vegetarian – Alfred grew up in Chennai in southern Indian. In his father’s family, vegetarian cooking was paramount and so his appreciation of vegetables started at an early age while spending hours in the family’s vegetable garden, tending ingredients destined for the dinner table.

Alfred Prasad Masterclass

For just a three hour class, the menu was lavish:

  • Kanchipuram Idli
  • Gunpowder Idli (a revelation!)
  • Pav Bhaji (vegetable curry served on toasted brioche buns)
  • Masala Dosa
  • Chaat
  • Malei Kulfi (pistachio ice cream)

The big highlight was definitely learning to make idlii and dosas, two Indian art forms that I have long admired but have always seemed too complicated to make on my own. Alfred made it definitely seem doable. We all had a go at making our own doses and most of us (myself excluded!) got it on the first try (I did manage it on the second try, however).

Making Dosas with Alfred Prasad It’s also worth mentioning that Alfred is the nicest guy! Friendly, approachable and an excellent teacher with fascinating stories to tell. It was a real pleasure learning from him.

Alfred Prasad Masterclass

Alfred Prasad Masterclass

Alfred Prasad Masterclass

Alfred Prasad Masterclass

Thank you to Great British Chefs and to Cookery School at Little Portland Street for the excellent evening. And thanks especially to Alfred Prasad for his top notch tutelage. I’m now off to order an idli maker and buy some urad dal: my breakfasts will never be the same!

You can get all the recipes and learn more about Alfred Prasad by downloading this Alfred Prasad e-Book from Great British Chefs.

Summer Drinking: Mirabeau Rosé

Mirabeau Rosé Wine

I never was much of a rosé drinker until I went to Gascony and Kate Hill showed me the way. Nowadays it’s my go-to wine of choice for a first drink on a warm summer evening. As such, I was very grateful to receive two bottles of Mirabeau Rosé from Provence, a region I generally favour for rosé as the style tends to be dry and crisp (I can’t stand that sweet stuff). These two bottles did not disappoint.

I’m still honing my wine tasting skills and since my good friend Mr. Neil isn’t here to fill in, I’ll let the producer provide the tasting notes:

Mirabeau Classic Rosé: A vibrant pink, classic Provence rosé whose generous fruit charms the senses immediately with a heady mixture of wild strawberry aromatics, red cherry and raspberry flavours. Surprisingly elegant and balanced on the palate, the Classic offers a delicious fresh acidity combining with the generosity of fruit, leaving a sumptuous lingering finish.

Mirabeau Pure Rosé: Strawberry notes appear first, closely followed by raspberries and white cherries, before the merest whisper of that most elegant of fruits, rhubarb. The acidity is crisp and integrated and the fruit provides an element of textural fruitiness that enables this wine to be drunk as an aperitif as well as with food.

The Pure was my favourite of the two – it seemed to have a little more going on and was particularly enjoyable on its own sans food. Both bottles were delicious, very easy drinking. I will definitely be returning to them again for future summer barbecues to come.

Mirabeau is available in Waitrose, online and in independent wine retailers and more than 40 markets around the world. You can follow Mirabeau Wine on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

 

Optimum 9200 Blender Giveaway Worth £429

Froothie Optimum 9200 For those of you who’ve been lusting after a Vitamix or a Blendtec, listen up because I’ve got something even better. I’ve been using the Froothie blenders for the last year and can officially say I’ve retired my Vitamix. These blenders are fantastic. The Froothie Optimum 9400 is basically identical to the Vitamix in form and function but is far more powerful, and the Optimum 9200 is even better. I’ve grown to love its 3-speed setting and especially its timer (I hit the 35-second timer to make my smoothie and then walk away and get up with making tea, tidying up, whatever). I use it at least once per day, always for my morning smoothie, and sometimes again if I’m making soup, hummus or even my own spice blends (you can’t beat homemade curry powder). Fresh juice blitzed with oats and @naturya chia seeds for a creamy #vegan #breakfast #smoothiebowl. #froothie Slow roasted vegetable soup. @blueberrynutrit recipe made with parsnip, carrot & sweet potato. Blitzified in the #froothie. Garnished with berbere. Eaten with gusto! Homemade chilli powder. Tempeh chilli essential. (Used the #froothie #optimum9200 to blend it up - worked well!.) @froothie @froothieuk Today's blend: Apple, pineapple, cucumber, celery, lime, avocado, spinach, and chia seeds from @naturya. This rocked! Made with the #froothie #optimum9200 #optimum600 The generous folks at Froothie have kindly given me an Optimum 9200 to giveaway in celebration of National Vegetarian Week, starting today and lasting until May 24th. If you read this blog, then chances are you’re probably already pretty jazzed about vegetarian food. But if you’ve felt your jazz waning, then this week is a good opportunity to bump start your vegetable mojo, and what better way to “rev” it up than by adding an awesome piece of kit to your kitchen that will enable you to create all kinds of blitzed vegetable creations! share-logo

A few details about the Optimum 9200: The Optimum 9200 next generation blender is a commercial-grade super blender designed for longevity, versatility and BRAWN. Stronger, faster and more powerful than a Vitamix, the Optimum 9200 will set you up to make amazing soups, the silkiest smoothies, super smooth dips, nut butters, ice cream and more. This is the best blender you’ll ever use and the last blender you’ll ever need. Once you try it, you’ll wish you’d had it all your life. A few features you’re going to love:

  • Crushes ice in seconds
  • Easy to use, with three speeds, three timer settings and a pulse button 6 blade assembly creates a vortex that will suck your ingredients down and make blending a breeze
  • Super easy to clean and maintain by simply blending water in the jug at high speed

The Optimum 9200 retails for £429 but will be on sale for £349 during National Vegetarian Week. Visit Froothie’s website for details. Getting my blender soup on with @blueberrynutrit's recipe for slow roasted vegetable soup. #froothie #vegan Enter below using Rafflecopter – there’s loads of ways to submit entries! (Open to UK residents only, unfortunately, so sorry to my international friends!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Submit even more chances to win by entering Froothie giveaways on these awesome blogs:

You can also enter the Optimum 9200 giveaway on Facebook – simply like and share this post to enter. It’s giveaways a-go-go around here! Good luck and happy blending!

Healthy Vegan Shamrock Shake

Healthy_Vegan_Shamrock_Shake

My friend Emily has been making (and enjoying!) my Shamrock Shake recipe from my book, Smarter Fitter Smoothies. And since today is St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it was about time I share this healthy vegan smoothie on the blog for all the world to see.

I’m not sure what it says about me that I am so nostalgic for a milkshake made famous by a certain fast food chain whose name begins with “M” and ends with “s”. But there you have it. And there’s no need to feel bad about drinking this “milk”shake – it’s totally vegan, relatively low in sugar and full of healthy vitamin-rich greens (the smoothie gets its green color from spinach). Feel free to toss in some avocado for an extra dose of creamy green goodness.

Healthy_Vegan_Shamrock_Shake-2

Healthy Vegan Shamrock Shake

  • 1 ripe banana (preferably frozen, ~120g)
  • 1 cup spinach (~50g)
  • A few sprigs of fresh mint
  • 2 dates
  • 10 cashews (~10g)
  • a few ice cubes
  • water, nut milk or coconut milk for an uber rich Shamrock Shake experience

Combine everything a blender (I use a Froothie Optimum 9200) with enough liquid to blend and blitz until smooth. Garnish with a couple fresh mint leaves if you’d like.

215 Cals, 5g Fat, 44g Carbs, 4g Protein, 5g Fiber

Image credit: Emily L.W. Kern

Chestnut Flour Pasta

Chestnut Flour Pasta

I don’t get to see my sister, Stephanie, very often, maybe once per year if I’m lucky. So when we do get together it almost always involves an extended adventure, usually in the form of a road trip. One year it was New Orleans, another year, the Pacific Coast Highway. In November 2010, the road took us to Italy for a long, mostly leisurely drive from Rome to Bologna over the course of ten days, taking in as much as we could along the way.

Pian di Marte ospitalita rurale

One of our stopping points was Pian di Marte, a farmhouse-style agriturismo in the Umbria countryside where we had one of the best meals of our lives. In fact, it was our first meal outside of Rome and we hadn’t yet gotten used to the whole course-after-course-after-course thing that Italians are known for. That pasta was merely a “first” course was unknown to us (particularly as we’re vegetarians so used to pasta being the main event).

Morning at Pian di Marte

So at Pian di Marte, when we received our pasta course – homemade chestnut pasta with pine nuts, butter, rosemary and cavolo nero – we really went to town. And it was easy going because the dish was incredible. The pasta, made with chestnut flour, was hearty, nutty and unlike any pasta we’d had before. I’m not one for “whole wheat” or “spelt” pastas – they’re usually gritty and fall apart. But this chestnut pasta stood on its own and was a perfect match for the earthy rosemary and kale. Served alongside local cheeses and homemade bread, I don’t deny that we were in carbohydrate heaven, and we almost didn’t mind that we left little room for the three surprise courses to follow. The pasta was the stuff of instant legend.

Really amazing pasta

Thus began a quest to recreate the famous Pian di Marte chestnut pasta, and in the years since Stephanie and I have tried several times to relive the magic in our own kitchens.  After two so-so attempts with “chestnut pasta” recipes found on the internet, Stephanie finally had the bright idea to ask Pian di Marte how they made the pasta on their Facebook page. Turns out, the recipe has been on Pian di Marte’s blog all along, where they called it Tagliatelle con farina di castagne, zucca e salsiccia. (Note to self: if looking for a recipe based on a meal had in a foreign country, search for the recipe in that country’s language!)

Making chestnut pasta

The secret, we found, is in the flour. Look for Italian chestnut flour (farina di castagna) which is finely ground and suitable for pasta making. A pasta maker makes things easy, but you don’t need one – we made this by rolling out the dough with a rolling pin as thin as possible, and then slicing into ribbons with a pizza wheel.

Drying chestnut pasta

The dough is versatile, and makes delicious spinach and ricotta ravioli. But don’t go too crazy – you don’t want to overpower the great flavour of the pasta. Our favourite way with this pasta, in the Pian di Marte style, is to serve it simply with some lightly sautéed garlic and rosemary, a glug of good olive oil and a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts.

Chestnut Pasta

This recipe makes quite a lot of pasta but you can easily dry most of it and keep it on hand for the coming weeks. 

  • 400g chestnut flour
  • 200g whole wheat flour
  • 200g Italian ’00’ flour
  • 6 eggs
  • a pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Combine the flours on a large clean table and form a well in the middle of the flour pile. Break the eggs into the well, add a pinch of salt, mix together with your hands and knead for about 3 minutes, until you get a soft, pliable dough. Cover the dough with a cloth and leave to rest for half an hour.Making chestnut pasta
  2. Chestnut pasta dough
  3. Roll out the pasta dough as thin as you can (using a rolling pin or a pasta maker) then cut into whatever shape you’d like – I like thin ribbons, or squares or rounds for ravioli. If you’re not using a pasta maker, a pizza slicer is a handy tool for this.
    FreshPastaMaking
  4. If you’re not going to cook it straight away, dust the pasta with semolina or flour and drape it over a rack to dry.Drying chestnut pasta
  5. Or cook the pasta immediately in a pot of boiling, salted water until al dente (4-5 minutes).

Also seen on Great British Chefs.

Mango Chilli Sorbet

Mango Chilli Sorbet

I recently had the pleasure of going to the latest supper club at The Vegetarian Cookery School in Bath. The theme: Indian Thali, hosted and prepared by the VCS’s awesome chef divas, Rachel Demuth, Jo Ingleby and Helen Lawrence.

It’s been ages since I’ve been out for Indian, and this was some of the tastiest, freshest and most interesting Indian food I’ve had in a long time: masala dosa, sambar, chutney, homemade paneer, peshwari naan and some new discoveries such as masala vada and khadi. (Rachel Demuth’s blog has a full recap of the evening with some amazing recipes).

One of the meal’s highlights came at the very end, and made me feel super glad I saved room to enjoy dessert: mango chilli sorbet. Tart, refreshing and with just a touch of heat from the chilli, this type of dessert is my favourite way to end a meal.

Beautiful Dessert

 

I’ve tried making mango sorbet at home but have never managed to make it taste like the mango sorbets and ice creams you get in Indian restaurants. So I picked Helen’s brain after the supper club, and she told me her secret: Kesar mangos! This yellowish variety of mango is popular in India and is what gives the mango-sorbet-of-my-dreams its characteristic flavour.

Fresh Kesar mangos are not easy to find in the UK, but tinned Kesar mangos are. And so, Helen’s parting gift to me was a big ol’ tin of pureed Kesar Mangos, offered on the condition that I make mango sorbet at home and write about it. So here I am.

Kesar Mango Pulp

The tinned Kesar mangos did not disappoint. They’re already sweetened (ingredients: mango, sugar, citric acid – nothing scary), so all I needed to do was blitz it in the Vitamix with some lime juice and ginger juice, mix in a finely diced red chilli, then churn in the ice cream maker. Pretty awesome.

The result was everything I hoped for. Arguably, I could have chopped my chillies a tad finer as they were detectable as “bits” in the sorbet, but this effect sort of grew on me – I liked the texture, and the sensation, like little pockets of heat encased in frozen mango awesomeness.

Mango Chilli Sorbet

5.0 from 2 reviews

Mango Chilli Sorbet
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 8
 

A refreshing sorbet, recipe courtesy of Helen Lawrence from The Vegetarian Cookery School in Bath. Kesar mangoes are the best in this, but if you can’t find fresh ones, use tinned (omit the honey and sugar if the tinned mangoes are sweetened). To make ginger juice, grate fresh ginger and then use your hands to squeeze squeeze out the juice.
Ingredients
  • 85g light soft brown sugar
  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled & stoned (or 1 850g tin of sweetened Kesar Mangos)
  • 3 tablespoons ginger juice
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded & chopped
  • 100ml limejuice
  • 50ml honey

Instructions
  1. Place the mangoes, ginger juice, chilli, lime juice and honey into a blender (I use a Froothie Optimum 9200) and puree until absolutely smooth. Add the sugar and buzz again until mixed.
  2. Transfer the puree into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturers instructions. Freeze.
  3. When ready to eat, take the sorbet out of the freezer about ten minutes or so before you’re ready to eat it – this will make it much easier to scoop!

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 85g Calories: 111 Fat: 0.3 Carbohydrates: 29.1 Sugar: 25.5 Fiber: 1.3 Protein: 0.5 Cholesterol: 0

 

I am submitting this recipe to the dairy-free Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge hosted by Kavey Eats.

Smoothie Bowls: Put Away The Straw and Get Out The Spoon

Smoothie Bowl

In this follow-up to Emily’s previous post on chia pudding, I present to you another discovery inspired by our seasonal meanderings: the smoothie bowl.

The concept is nothing new, indeed, I’ve been “eating” my smoothies with a spoon for months. But last February, fuelled by visions of pudding, marmalade, and sheep yogurt, we decided to try serving our traditional breakfast smoothie in a bowl. This was a total smoothie breakthrough! Not life-changing, but definitely smoothie-changing. Why? It’s all about Garnish Potential. A smoothie bowl maximises space for toppings, and also turns your smoothie into something that mentally might seem like a snack into a meal in itself.

A smoothie bowl should be thick and creamy (lest your garnishes sink to the bottom!). You can achieve this a number of ways. Great thickeners include:

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Rolled Oats
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Psyllium husks
  • Thick yogurt

If you’re using seeds, grains and/or psyllium husks to thicken your smoothie, here’s a hefty tip: blend the smoothie for 20 seconds, then let the smoothie “rest” for a few minutes (this gives everything a chance to absorb the liquid), then blend again for another 20 seconds. The transformation is kind of insane – it goes from being a sort of thick but slightly grainy smoothie into something that’s almost like super smooth pudding. This might not suit everyone’s tastes, but for me it makes the smoothie seem more substantial. This is healthy emotional eating!

It also helps to use a good blender if you can – I’ve been working with the Froothie Optimum 9200 which is pretty dang powerful and also has a “20-second” button which is handy.

Smoothie Bowl

However you like your smoothies, I challenge you to try serving your next smoothie in a bowl and eating it with a spoon – you can do this with fresh juices, too. Think about it as an opportunity to slow down and really savor the awesome blend you’ve created. After all, digestion begins in the mouth, so it’s worth taking it slow.

Here’s my go-to smoothie bowl that I have for breakfast on most days.

Pineapple and Lime Green Smoothie Bowl

My favourite smoothie bowl toppings for this blend are berries, oats and coconut flakes, but anything goes – see my 16 Ways to Garnish a Smoothie for inspiration.

Serves 1

  • 1-inch slice pineapple
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • handful of spinach or other greens
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/2 banana
  • 5g flax seeds (~1 tsp)
  • 5g psyllium husk (~1 Tbsp)
  • Garnish

Blender Method: Chop all the veg into chunks and add to the blender with the cucumber and pineapple at the bottom. Add a splash of water and start blending; add more water as needed to get it blending but you should use very little, otherwise your smoothie will be a little insipid (you can also use coconut water or other liquid of your choosing). Blend for 20-seconds, let it rest for a few minutes, then blend again for another 20-seconds. (You can add ice cubes to the second round of blending if you’d like to cool it down a bit.) Serve in a bowl garnished with smoothie bowl toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

Juicer / Blender Method: Juice the pineapple, lime, spinach, celery and cucumber (I use an Optimum 600 Slow Juicer). Add the juice to a blender with the banana, flax and psyllium. Blend for 20-seconds, let it rest for a few minutes, then blend again for another 20-seconds. (You can add ice cubes to the second round of blending if you’d like to cool it down a bit.) Serve in a bowl garnished with smoothie bowl toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

More smoothies that would work well as a smoothie bowl: