The Herb Diaries

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Immune Boost Lemon Ginger Juice

DSC_0377I am back – I have had the busiest 2 weeks ever and I am completely exhausted! After a very big weekend of birthday celebrations with my family and best friends, I then had to move house (which is not much fun without a lift in the building!) whilst trying to keep up to date with my half marathon training, yoga, work and the Tuja 30 Day Meditation Challenge I am doing… So it is very exciting to have a quiet looking week ahead of me and an apartment with an oven!DSC_0375DSC_0376This juice is a great recipe for when you are feeling tired and run down. The combination of vitamin C packed citrus fruits and tangy ginger are sure to clear your head and leave you feeling refreshed and energized.

Ginger is my absolute favourite addition to any juice – I love how fresh it tastes, and fresh ginger comes with so many amazing health benefits. Not only does it do wonders for your digestive system by improving how you absorb nutrients, but it can ease all sorts of stomach aches and stop you feeling nauseous. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties ginger will even help join and muscle pain and it is great drunk with warm water (maybe with some honey and lemon) – it is incredibly warming and soothing on a sore throat. Whilst the ginger cleanses your insides, the vitamin C from the lemon will give you glowing skin, a boost for your immune system and a happier sinus due to due to its anti-bacterial properties.
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Ingredients:

1 cucumber
2 sticks of celery
2 apples
2 clementines
1 lemon
Thumb sized piece of ginger

Method:

Juice all the ingredients, pour into 2 glasses and enjoy!


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DSC_0264Having had such a lovely week at home seeing all my friends and family, I am back in Paris, but sadly not feeling as fresh and rested as I might like…! I crammed a lot into my few days at home and with all the Christmas and New Year parties, lots of cooking, eating and travelling around, I feel like I hardly stopped to sleep! It was completely worth it though and I saw 2014 in with a whole load of my best friends, and feeling drained is a lot more bearable when you feel so lucky and happy.

On arriving back in Paris, I remembered that I no longer have the use of a juicer or an oven, and to top it all off, my hob has decided to quit on me! I can only think that this is a sign, and I need to embrace it by feeding my body with lots of salads and raw goodness. Luckily I managed to get some recipes photographed while I was at home, so I will share those while I am living off gazpacho, vegetable spaghetti and other raw treats.
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My big news before I get to the recipe is that I have signed up for the Paris Half Marathon in March! I will be running to raise money for La Fondation Motrice and you can see my page here. I have never done anything like this before, so I am really excited. I think it will be a great challenge for me, and I am proud to be running for such a good cause – La Fondation Motrice fund research for Cerebral Palsy, as well as forming a support system for sufferers and their families.

So the juice – I know it is not a very appealing colour, but it tastes so much better than it looks, plus it is extremely nutrient dense, and will literally flood your system with much needed vitamins and goodness, perfect for a good old January detox. Whilst juice lacks the insoluble fibre you get in a smoothie, it is absorbed much quicker by your body, leaving you healthy, energised and glowing.

Ingredients:
(makes one large glass, or two small ones)

1 cucumber
2 sticks of celery
2 carrots
2 tomatoes
2 big handfuls of kale
2 apples

Method:

Wash all ingredients thoroughly and then juice!
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My Favourite Brunch

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Living in Paris, it is very important for me to find healthy and exciting brunch ideas, because with three bakeries on my road alone, the temptation is crazy. The smell is incredible and the pain au chocolats will put anything you’ve ever tried in England to shame. Bread has never really been my thing, but since I have been here I find myself eating more and more of it. My favourite bakery near my apartment does a different “bread of the day” every day and I already love their buckwheat bread, but I was so excited this weekend to try their pain Baltik – a mixture of rye and whole grain, with the dark nutty taste of rye bread, but a far lighter, less dense consistency.

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You can make this brunch in the time it takes the kettle to boil, and thanks to all the healthy fats in the avocado and olive oil, it will leave your skin glowing, your hair shining and your tummy full and happy all day long. I first had this in London – I had just got the Eurostar from Paris, and as soon as I arrived my brother in law very sweetly took me out for breakfast! I think that time it was actually on sourdough bread, but I love all the seeds in this rye bread.

 

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Before I get on with the recipe I would just like to share the link for my friend’s blog. I met Sandra a few years ago when I spent the summer working in the South of France, and I have only recently found out that we have a lot of shared interests! If you have some time to look, her blog is  gorgeous – there are loads of healthy recipe ideas, stunning photos and great articles on positivity, wellness and self-care. Click here to see Sandra’s blog.

 

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Ingedients:

Serves 2

2 avocados

2 big handfuls of rocket

2 slices of your favourite bread

juice of one lemon

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

 

Method:

Wash the rocket then mix with chopped avocado, a drizzle of oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Spoon onto a slice of bread, pouring over any lemony oil left in the bottom of the bowl, and tuck into the simplest (but most delicious) breakfast/brunch/lunch!

 

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Coconut Granola with Nuts, Seeds and Raisins

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Ever since I started to change my eating habits, I am loving breakfast more and more. I have never been one to skip it all together, but I used to grab a quick piece of toast and run. Now I like to wake up a little bit earlier and take the time to make something delicious and healthy. Smoothies are great because they are super quick and packed full of goodness, and pancakes are my favourite at the weekend when I’m not in a rush, but I wanted to make something a bit different, but still speedy, to give me some variety during the week.

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I used to like granola, and now I absolutely love it! I can’t believe I didn’t realise sooner how easy it is to make,  and how much better it tastes when it is homemade. You can make it with whatever combination of nuts, seeds and dried fruit you like – I could only get raisins but I am busy thinking up more exciting combinations for next time. Since this recipe contains so many different types of nuts and seeds, each mouthful is packed with Vitamin E, Vitamin B, iron, calcium, selenium, plus lots of healthy fats.

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Ingredients:

2 cups of oats

1 cup of mixed nuts (I used cashews, almonds, hazelnuts and brazil nuts)

1 cup of mixed seeds (I used sunflower and courgette seeds)

1 cup of raisins

1 tbsp of coconut oil

1 tbsp of agave syrup

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Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Put the nuts and seeds in a blender and pulse once or twice to break them up a little. Melt the coconut oil and agave, then stir in the nuts, seeds and oats. Once they are all evenly coated, spread the mixture onto a baking tray and put in the oven. They will take about 10 minutes, but make sure you check them regularly and mix them around so none of the mixture burns. 

When the granola is ready, transfer onto a plate to cool and then add in the raisins. Store in an airtight jar. Serve with nut milk and berries or sprinkled on top of your smoothie.

 

 


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Beetroot, Ginger and Cucumber Juice

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I went back to England this weekend and found our garden full of apples. There were so many that my mum had to borrow her friend’s juicer as a way of using them up before they went bad. This was really exciting for me, since I am still researching all the different types of juicer before choosing which one to buy. My best friend came over to see me on Friday night, and as soon as she was up on Saturday morning she was out collecting apples

Our juice making got off to a bit of a dodgy start, with a lot of brown foam, and even a bottle that just tasted like water! (It looked like apple juice and tasted like water – if anyone has any idea what happened here please tell me, because my whole family are so confused!!) By the third attempt we has sussed it out and the apple juice was delicious, but whilst we had the juicer there I had to try and make my favourite juice, so that I could share the recipe with all of you.

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It is a combination of two of my favourite juices I have found out here in Paris (although I have had a bit of a guess at the ingredients so I can’t be sure how accurate it is). The first is the Purple Power juice at Sol Semilla – mine and Rosie’s favourite vegan restaurant in Paris. The second is a delicious cocktail at Le Comptoir General – a very funky bar just off the Canal Saint Martin – which is a mixture of vodka and a very cucumbery purple juice.

So this is my best guess at what a mixture of the two would taste like, and I think it is yum. It is good enough that I am definitely going to have to get a juicer! The beetroot and apples taste like autumn, and the cucumber makes it so refreshing, but the ginger is my favourite because it is so spicy and warming. I really love spicy food, but you might want to use less ginger if spice isn’t your thing.

 

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Ingredients:
(Serves 2)
1 cucumber
2 carrots
4 beetroots (peeled)
4 apples
Thumb sized piece of ginger

Method:
Wash/peel/top and tail fruit and veg as necessary and pass them all through your juicer. Cucumber straight out the fridge makes the juice very cool and refreshing.
 
 
I would really love to know what juicers you are all using and what you think of them, before choosing one myself, so please comment and let me know!


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Buckwheat Porridge with Homemade Cinnamon Hazelnut Milk

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My sister keeps telling me that I need to stop posting sweet recipes and start doing some proper savoury meals! I am working on it for her, and have  a few ideas in the pipelines, so I promise soon you will start to see a little bit more variety!
 
Until then, here is my new favourite breakfast recipe. Buckwheat is a fairly new discovery for me, but once you are introduced to a new ingredient it suddenly pops up everywhere.I first discovered it in my favourite vegan restaurant in Paris, but under it’s french name, sarrasin. Since then I have found that my local bakery makes the best buckwheat bread, and my flat-mate Rosie was brought up being fed it by her Russian nanny (but she knows it as kasha). I now have buckwheat flour in my cupbaords, and this porridge recipe shows how versatile it is, making it such a brilliant pantry staple.
 

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The main advantage of buckwheat is that it is completely gluten free. Gluten puts a lot of strain on the digestive system, even for people who aren’t intolerant to it, so it is good to give your body a rest sometimes. Buckwheat is high in dietary fibre, and slows down the rate of glucose absorption, making you feel fuller for longer by preventing dramatic changes in blood sugar levels, and it contains all 8 essential amino acids, making it an awesome source of nutrients for non meat eaters.

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Ingredients:

Serves 2

1 cup buckwheat
2 bananas
1 tbsp ground flax
1 cup raisins
2 cups of your favourite mixed seeds and dried fruit
1 cup hazelnuts
1 tsp cinamon
Agave/almond butter (optional)
 
Method:
For the hazelnut milk – soak the hazelnuts overnight then blend with 2 cups of water and the cinamon. Strain and put in the fridge.
For the porridge – Boil the kettle, then pour two cups of boiling water into a saucapan with the buckwheat and raisins.Keep stirring, adding hazelnut milk bit by bit, until the buckwheat is cooked. This should take between 15-20 minutes. Never let the buckwheat run out of liquid, whether it is water or milk. When it is almost ready, slice one banana into the pan with the buckwheat and add the ground flax.
Separate into 2 bowls, top with sliced banana, dried fruit and seeds, plus a drizzle of agave or almond butter if you like.


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Blueberry Pancakes with Agave and Goji Berries

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I have had such a busy weekend, seeing friends and doing a LOT of cooking. I have spent two days going to all my favourite markets, stocking up on lots of ingredients and trying out loads of different recipes. I have been using my flatmate as the tester, and she said that a few recipes I tried on her this weekend were some of the best things I had ever made!

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I have never thought that pancakes could be healthy so even I was a bit skeptical making these, but they could not be more delicious or easier to make. They were so good when I made them yesterday morning that I had to make them again today. They are the perfect Sunday brunch, and since the weather is really starting to turn in Paris, it was really nice to have something warm rather than my usual smoothie.

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With pancakes it can be tricky to know when to stop – they are so moreish, and sometimes my eyes are just bigger than my stomach! But the beauty of this recipe is that they are so filling. Even if you happen to overindulge, all the ingredients are completely natural and will be doing wonders for your body.

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I find that regular pancakes don’t actually taste of much, and that people one really eat them as an excuse to eat vast amount of Nutella. Despite my initial worries, these turned out so well that I would quite happily have eaten them plain. They are surprisingly sweet and warm, but the cooked blueberries are pleasantly sharp and juicy – the contrast is delicious!

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Blueberries are a well known superfood, packed full of vitamin C, manganese and fibre, but most importantly, they are one of the the most antioxidant rich foods in the world. The bananas will give you a real potassium boost , whilst the oats have cholesterol lowering properties. Cinnamon works with your body to slow down the rate of digestion, which helps you feel fuller for longer, and helps maintain a steady blood sugar level.

I chose to top my pancakes with goji berries, almond butter and a squeeze of agave syrup, but you can change it to suit you, with bananas, fresh berries…..

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Ingredients:

2 cups of oats

1/2 cup ground nuts (I used almonds)

1 cup water

1 tbsp ground flax seeds

2 bananas

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups of blueberries

Agave syrup

Dried goji berries

Almond butter

Coconut oil

(More banana, blueberries, strawberries)

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Method:

Blend bananas, oats, flax, water and ground units until a smooth, thick batter forms. Stop blending and stir in the blueberries. Heat some coconut oil in a frying pan, and spoon the mixture into the pan (I did one big spoonful per pancake). Cook both till both sides of the pancake are golden brown, then drizzle with agave, almond butter and goji berries before serving.

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