This is one of my go-to post-swim breakfast smoothies that gets its awesome coniferous color from spirulina, a blue-green algae that I’ve been enjoying in my smoothies lately. Spirulina is touted for its high concentration of plant-based B12 and protein, making it a pretty cool supplement for vegans and vegetarians. Now, this could all be in my head, but I actually feel better for it – this spirulina smoothie after a swim seems to give me enough oomph to power through til lunch (including a pre-lunch CrossFit session as is my routine these days).
How does spirulina taste? Let’s be honest here: it’s an algae so it tastes a bit like seaweed and takes some getting used to. I’ve actually grown to like its flavor. Plus, this spirulina smoothie has a lot more stuff going for it: pineapple, lime, avocado… serve it in a salt-rimmed glass, garnish it with some flaked coconut and make an event of it.
This spirulina smoothie features prominently in the 7-Day Juice Feast. It’s made by juicing pineapple, apple, cucumber and lime then blending it with avocado and spirulina. Yep, you need a juicer and a blender for this one. But as the song says: it takes two to make a thing go right. And this spirulina smoothie is so so right. I’ve been using an Optimum 9400 blender and Optimum 600 Slow Juicer to get the job done and I can’t recommend them enough.
This is a new juicy creation I just had to share. It’s all about the tart grapefruit and spicy hot jalapeno chilli (be brave, folks). The juice is almost creamy and the concentrated flavour saturates your mouth – it’s incredibly satisfying, a breakfast in itself. The jalapeno is as good a wake-up call as coffee (really!) – you can use other chillies, red or green, to suit what’s available.
Consequentially, this juice is also great for hangovers.
Grapefruit, Beetroot and Chilli Juice
1 grapefruit, peeled
1in slice of beetroot
1 small carrot
1/2 lime, peeled
1/2 zucchini (or cucumber)
1 stalk of celery
1/2 jalapeno (or more depending on your taste and the spiciness of your chillis)
Put the lot through your juicer, pour into a glass (over ice if you like), and enjoy!
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, then you know I’ve become quite addicted to smoothies as of late. It all started with the detox, which got me into the habit of having a smoothie for breakfast every morning. And now, I can’t stop. I crave these smoothies. They taste great. They make me feel awesome. And I find smoothie-making as enjoyable as smoothie-eating – I get to start my day with a bit of creativity. It’s an experiment with ingredients and flavour combinations in my quest for the best ever fruit and vegetable blends!
I’ve been taking notes on the process and have decided to turn it all into an smoothie book (both electronic and print), due to be released in just a few weeks! I know there are loads of other smoothie books out there, but my smoothie recipes are a little different.
First, all of my smoothies are
Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free and Dairy-free
Fruit AND Vegetables: My smoothies aren’t all about the fruit; you’ll find lots of veg too, and not just the usual suspects. Look out for ingredients like beetroot and pumpkin, veggies that pack a supremo nutritional punch but are frugal, too.
Not a TotalSugar Bomb: In line with the above, my smoothies are nutritionally balanced; you’re not going to have a sugar crash within minutes of drinking one of these. They are designed for sustained feelings of awesomeness.
Healthy, wholesome and detoxing: My smoothies are free of soy, wheat and other common allergens. Instead, they’re full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and loads of other good stuff your body needs in an easily digestible form.
Dried fruits as sweeteners. I used dates, prunes and other dried fruit rather than syrups, sugar or other artificial sweeteners.
Reliant on real food rather than “superfoods”: You can make my smoothies without having to spend lots of money on chia seeds, bee pollen and other “superfood” supplements
Innovative combinations of ingredients and flavours. For example: pumpkin apple and ginger; double beetroot with apple and mint; pear and apple with cashew and cinnamon; strawberry and avocado with cashew and mint; melon, cucumber and avocado with mint and dates.
Vitamix not required. Although it helps to have a super amazing blender, it’s not necessary – most of these smoothies can be made with a conventional blender. The book also gives suggestions for blenders that don’t cost the earth but still make a great smoothies.
The book is coming out in just as a few weeks, both as an eBook and in print.
I’ll be giving away free copies to 10 randomly chosen subscribers. So what do you have to lose? You have only smoothies to gain!
Here’s a taste of what you’ll find in the book, a super seasonal smoothie recipe that I’ve really been enjoying lately: Pumpkin, Apple & Ginger. This smoothie just sings of autumn (and extreme tastiness). The pumpkin and cashews make it creamy, while the apple and ginger make it super refreshing.
Put everything into the blender and blitz on high for about 30 seconds (or as long as it takes to make a silky smooth blend). For those of you without a Vitamix or similar super-power blender, you can soak the cashews for a few hours or use cashew butter to make it easier on your blender.
Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.
You can use canned pumpkin here or make your own pumpkin puree: take a pumpkin, cut it in half, take out the seeds then put in a roasting pan cut side down. Bake at 375F/190C for 45-90 minutes (depending on the size of your pumpkin) until perfectly soft inside. Let cool then scoop the pulp into a blender and puree. You can freeze in small batches (I do this in ice cube trays).
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I invented this smoothie as part of the Clean Detox and it was good enough to deserve its own blog post. I love the combination of the fresh crisp apple and earthy beetroot. It also happens to be fiber-rich!
It’s not a very sweet smoothie, so add more prunes (or dates) if you’d like it sweeter.
1/2 raw beetroot
1cm piece of ginger
a few fresh mint leaves
~1 cup of ice
Add enough water to blend and blitz on high until silky smooth.
I got a big bag of watercress in the organic box this week. I don’t like watercress at the best of times, but yesterday afternoon I found myself craving a cold beverage and eager to try another green smoothie, but watercress was the only greenery I had in the house. Fruit, too, was running low – except for apples (the benefits of “Orchard Cottage”). I didn’t have many options, and so became the smoothie of randoms:
A handful of watercress
1/2 frozen banana
a few ice cubes
enough water to blend it to a fine puree in the Vitamix
Shock of the day: it was actually really damn good. I thought the watercress would overpower the smoothie but it didn’t at all. It added a subtle flavour akin to a cross between mint and parsley which worked really well with the apple. It also made my “green smoothie” properly green.
I should also note that this is my first time using apple in a smoothie: revelation. My new plan is to chop up and freeze a massive quantity of orchard apples, enough to supply me with numerous smoothies for many months to come.
Orchard Cottage is living up to its name at the moment. When I look out the window, all I see are a bundle of trees, branches dripping with ripe and ready apples. The mind reels with how to use them all.
Well, here’s an invention I came up with last weekend: apple pie ice cream, though I should really call it “apple crumble ice cream” because crumble topping is what I ended up using for the “pastry effect”. And indeed, that pastry aspect is essential – after all, one of the best bits of apple pie is buttery pastry. I would have used pre-baked shortcrust pastry, but I happened to have crumble topping stashed in my freezer and was feeling lazy, so I toasted that the oven for 10 minutes and went to town.
The crumble topping worked amazingly well, retaining its crispy texture even after being swirled into the ice cream. That said, I do want to try this again with proper pastry, something a little softer with more chew. Crumbled up cookies or biscuits could also work in a pinch.
As for the apples, those get stewed up with some spices – I use cinnamon and nutmeg – plus the magic ingredient, stem ginger, which gives it a spice kick and adds a further bit of texture to the whole mixture, which gets cooked up in a pan until the apples just start to fall apart. Depending on the size of your apples, you might not need all of the apple mixture, which is ok because you can serve the leftovers with the ice cream itself.
The ice cream base is a basic vanilla custard adapted from David Lebovitz‘s The Perfect Scoop. I toyed with adding cinnamon to the custard, too, but in the end decided to keep it simple and allow more of a contrast between the ice cream and spiced apples. I’m glad I did this.
One point that requires some finesse is the swirl. I’d be tempted to let the ice cream custard freeze for 30 minutes or so before swirling the apple in. Fresh out of the churn, the ice cream is still a bit soft, which makes for less of a swirl and more of a mix-in. Still, it’s good all the same.
Feel free to bump up the spices or add any additional spices that sing of apple pie to you (a bit of all spice might not go amiss).
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
¾ cup (150g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp butter
3 cooking apples (e.g. Bramleys), peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
100g stem ginger, diced
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
a splash of rum
½ cup crumble topping, cooked and crumbled pie crust, or crushed biscuits/cookies of your choice
Heat the milk, 1 cup of the cream, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
While that’s infusing, prepare the apples: melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat then add the apples, stem ginger, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook on medium heat until the apples start falling apart, but you still have some texture of the whole apple remaining. Taste it – you may need to add more sugar depending on the size of your apples. Add the rum if you like and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
Move on to the ice cream: Set a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the remaining cream into the bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Gradually pour the infused milk mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape this back into the saucepan and return to a low heat.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
Strain the custard into the heavy cream, add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. Leave to come to room temperature (you can speed this up by using an ice bath). Put this along with the cooked apple and crumble topping and leave to chill thoroughly.
Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When done, swirl in the cooked apple and crumble topping (use your discretion here – you may not need all of the cooked apple – I added about a heaping ½ full to mine). Put everything into a freezer proof container and give it a couple hours to freeze thoroughly before digging in.