Peach and Ginger Compote

Single Ingredient Simplicity 

Peach & Ginger Compote

Peach & Ginger Compote, with Sheep’s Yoghurt and Pecan nuts

An Indian Summer, and general warmer ‘Fall’ (that’s Autumn to you and me) here in California, means fresh stone fruit such as peach is still in abundance at farmers markets this time of year.   Perfectly ripe, soft, sweet, and crying out “eat me, cook me, don’t let me go to another home”.  The simplicity of devising a recipe based on a single item is the inspiration for this post.  Sometimes we worry so much about creating something so fancy and innovate we forget that using one ingredient as the star of the show is perfectly acceptable.

I had been messing around with a peach and egg scramble (trust me it works) for breakfast one day last week, but just not satisfied with the way both the stewed peaches, and the addition of ground cinnamon and ginger made the eggs look kinda brown and dull – quite frankly like something the cat brought back up.  So, to make the most of these beautiful peaches I decided to stew and then blend them, and then they could be added to a dish of choice without the whole thing looking brown and murky.  I ended up with this delicious compote.  The compote is no where near as sweet as a sugar stewed Jam but pleasantly sweet enough to serve as a wonderful topping to yoghurt or pancakes for a decadent breakfast.

The additional sweetener in this compote is entirely optional and depends on how you intend on using it, how naturally sweet your peaches are, and of course your health goals.  I suggest you give it a good taste first before decided to wang in some stevia, maple syrup or raw honey. Natural sugars – including those from fruit are still sugars, so go easy on the daily doses.  I use both fresh and ground ginger I this recipe, since fresh ginger is highly therapeutic, and ground ginger more reminiscent of the warming ginger flavour you would achieve from devouring a cookie.

Peach & Ginger Compote Breakfast Spread

Peach & Ginger Compote Breakfast Spread

I chose to serve mine for breakfast with organic Local sheep’s yoghurt and topped with a few pecan nuts. I also had a boiled egg to my spread, since I do need some extra protein with my breakfast for complete satiation.  To use up the remainder of the compote I whipped up some coconut flour & almond butter pancakes and used the compote to drizzle over them with a blob of yoghurt.  These pancakes were the best I’ve ever made if I do say so myself! If you want to see the photographic evidence you’ll have to check out my Instagram feed.

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

  • 2 medium sized ripe peaches, de-stoned, medium dice
  • 1/4 cup  /  60mls  (more as necessary) of water
  • tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • squeeze lemon juice, roughly 1/4 lemon
  • Natural sweetener to taste.  For example a couple of drops of stevia liquid, maple syrup, raw honey or palm sugar

Method

  • Place the peach in a small saucepan with the water and the fresh ginger, bring to the boil, then simmer until the peach softens.  During the simmering process you should regularly try to smash the peaches with a fork.  Add more water during cooking as necessary, you don’t want the peaches to fry or dry out.    After an initial 10 minutes add the ground ginger and cinnamon. The entire simmering and softening will take roughly 20-25 minutes depending on the ripeness of your peach.
  • Using a hand-stick blender (or other blender of choice) whizz up the peaches till smooth.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again.  Taste.  Decide whether additional sweetener is required.
  • Place in the refrigerator to chill before serving as desired (Though you could if you wanted eat it warm, I just have a thing against warm fruit!)

For complete Californian authenticity store in a glass mason or kilner jar.  Alternatively an old jam jar (particularly those gorgeous Bonne Mamman jars with gingham lids) will do.  Should keep for a week in the fridge.

Kale & Yam Hash, with Sunny Side-up Eggs

Hail for Kale 

P1030220

Kale & Yam Hash with Two Sunny Side Up Eggs

Yams, kale and sunny side-up eggs? I seem to have come over all American with my lingo.  Well since I’m spending some time in California at the moment (San Francisco) to be precise I thought it would be great to blog a recipe inspired by the amazing produce over here.

There is a farmers market to be found here on nearly every day of the week – with fresh produce like I’ve never seen before.  I know we love our farmer’s markets back in London (huge fan of Borough and Brockley – but wow to the range, size, colour and quality of the organic veggies available here.  Oh to have a year round climate like this…

Yam & Cavolo Nero

Yam & Cavolo Nero

I selected yams for this recipe, because I’d not cooked or tried them them before.  However it turns out that in North America they are basically just like sweet potatoes!  The African yam is a different vegetable though (confused?)

I then chose kale for my second vegetable (always good to get at least two veggies in at breakfast time) because Californian’s (and me now clearly) seem to have an obsession with it.  Kale can be found on just about every health conscious, vegetarian, locavore, organic, grass-fed, farm-table, pasture-raised menu going.  Local’s are well aware of this obsession and joke freely about it – I even saw someone walk down the street last week with a university style t-shirt saying KALE (instead of the university YALE).  For variety I selected cavolo nero – but if you can’t find that any kale (or beet greens, chard) would work just as well.

Since yams – just like sweet potatoes – are high in carbohydrates this would make a great post-workout meal.  Grating them means they will cook quickly – pretty important if you’re muscles are starving after a 90 minute strenuous yoga session.

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • Coconut oil (or ghee)
  • 1/4 onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium yam, peeled and grated (roughly 1.5 cups after grating)
  • tsp cumin
  • 6 kale leaves, chiffonade (see notes)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • Parsley to dress (optional)

Method

  • Heat a tsp of coconut oil at a low heat in a pan.  Add the onion and saute until softened.  Don’t allow the onion to brown.
  • When sufficiently softened add the grated yam, and cook, for approx 4 mins.  Keep the yam moving over the pan so it doesn’t stick. Add cumin, then add the kale.  Cook for a further 2-3 mins.  Once the kale has wilted, season, remove the mix from the pan and set aside.
  • Return the pan to the hob, adding extra oil if it has dried out.  Fry the 2 eggs, till the whites are cooked, but the yolks still runny.
  • Plate up with the hash on the bottom topping with the 2 eggs and a sprinkling of parsley.

Notes: 

Chiffonade is a slicing technique used for cutting herbs and flat leaf vegetables (like kale) into thin strips or ribbons. To chiffonade the kale, carefully remove the tough stems by slicing them out, then stack around 3 leaves on top of each other.  Roll up like a cigar then slice across the cigar (at perpendicular to the cigar) with your knife to produce ribbons.

Review: Paleo Granola by The Paleo Foods Co.

Dinosaur Snacking from The Paleo Foods Co. 

Paleo Granola Samples from The Paleo Foods Co.

Paleo Granola Samples from The Paleo Foods Co (this is not their final packaging btw!)

Just a quick post today to tell you about some Paleo Granola I was sent to review from The Paleo Foods Co (their full website is coming soon).  All their granolas are suitable for the Paleo diet – which means they are grain free and therefore gluten free.  The ingredients used are a range of nuts, seeds, raw unpasturized honey to sweeten and coconut – no oats which are usually found in granola – plus of course the extra flavourings such as vanilla, dried fruit and cocoa. All highly nutritious ingredients. Woot.

The flavours I tried were;

  • Honey & Pecan
  • Berries
  • Cocoa

I ate all 3 samples on their own as a snack, one of which on a very long plane ride from London to the USA.  I had planned to keep back at least 1 sample for a nutritious breakfast along with some non-dairy milk or yoghurt and some berries (what a treat that would have been) – however the US immigration had other ideas!  I didn’t realise you can’t take nuts or seeds through security so I munched up the final packet waiting in the customs line for fear of having it confiscated (I wasn’t going to throw it away!)

The granola itself had the perfect level of sweetness.  I really struggle with foods that are too sweet as they send my blood sugar levels (and appetite) crazy.  I find this especially problematic at breakfast time which is why I usually choose to eat a meal that’s high in protein with fat plus veggies.  This granola didn’t noticeably have that effect on me, plus it was uber tasty. My only criticism was that by the time I came to eat the 2nd and 3rd packs, the granola has lost its crunch. Maybe that was to do with the way I’d stored it, would be interested to see it in its final packaging which is now available.

The granola would be a perfect breakfast partner for COYO coconut milk yoghurt, for dessert on top of fruit or a crumble, or just snacked straight out of the bag.

I’ve read about on the internet, and now seen in real life some USA brands tackling this idea so it really is fab to see a new start up company flying the flag for a clean eating product like this in the UK.  Great logo too guys!

The granola is currently available to buy on-line from Red 23

With thanks to The Paleo Foods Co for the Samples.  All opinions in this review are my own, I was not required to write a positive review.  

Raspberry & Vanilla Raw Chocolates

Hand made chocolate instructions alert!

Raw Raspberry Chocolate | naturalkitchenadventures.com

Raspberry & Vanilla Raw Chocolates

I fell in love with the idea of using freeze dried raspberries when I assisted on desserts at Pure Taste Pop Up.   As well as being brilliant for adding flavour and for making desserts look super pretty, I couldn’t help wonder if they’d work in raw chocolate!

I’ve made raw chocolate before with coconut oil.  For that I follow an incredibly simple recipe that anyone can follow with not to much expense, or expertise, or equipment!  This time however I decided to be more adventurous and make use of cacao butter – the real stuff used to make commercial chocolate.  Cacao butter is the pure cold-pressed fat edible fat extracted from the cacao bean.  As well as being used for chocolate you may be familiar with it from its cosmetic use.  It’s creamy in colour, and solid at room temperature (kinda looks like soap) so works much better for raw chocolates if you want to keep them for any period of time outside of the fridge.  Cacao butter on its own actually doesn’t have much flavour.

The benefits of making your own chocolate are incredible.  Firstly you get to choose your own type and quantity of sweetener – enabling you to improve on shop bought chocolate which is usually made from cane sugar. Then you get the antioxidant benefits of using raw pure cacao too!

My cacao butter came from a health food shop – you can also buy it on-line.  You can usually find complete chocolate making kits online which include the cacao powder and butter along with instructions.  How helpful!

Here’s how I made mine;

Ingredients (makes 100g of chocolate – number of chocolates depends on the size of your moulds)

  • 100g cacao butter
  • 6 Tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1.5 Tablespoons of freeze dried raspberries
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla essence/extract
  • 3 Tablespoons of coconut palm sugar (or 2 Tablespoons raw honey).  Honey produces a softer, more truffle-like chocolate.

Method

  • Set up a bain-marie, and melt the cacao butter over a very low heat.  
  • Whilst the butter is melting place a pinch of raspberries at the bottom of each chocolate mould.
  • When the butter is completely melted stir in the cacao powder, and vanilla essence, adding enough sugar till you get the taste you desire.  The taste will be comparable to a rich antioxidant boosting dark chocolate – not a dairy milk chocolate!
  • Pour into the silicone moulds and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or fridge for 2 hours to set.  I like mine cold from the freezer.  They don’t store incredibly well at room temperature so keep them in the fridge or freezer (if you haven’t eaten them up in one go).  They will keep for a long time.

I have also tried adding the raspberries and vanilla (as well as a variation using ground cardamom and orange extract, plus one with sea salt!) using my coconut oil recipe which works really well.  For some reason the oil and cocoa quantities are in quite different proportions so make sure you follow the correct recipe whether you are using cacao butter or coconut oil.

If you can’t get hold of either then melt down some 70+% dark chocolate, add the raspberries, and vanilla (no need for extra sugar) and set in moulds as above.  Get creative with your chocolate!

TOP TIP:  If you can’t get hold of moulds for chocolate than cheaper ice-cube moulds work just as well.  Silicone ones are best.  You can also improvise with baking parchment, or film.

Lavender, Rosehip & Coconut Face Oil

Homemade Beauty

Healing Lavender

Healing & fragrant lavender

A while back I wrote a post about my natural beauty regime.  Since then I’ve been keen to have a go at making up my own products – in particular a moisturiser for my face – so have been doing a bit more research on what ingredients to combine which will suit my skin. This article is a great resource from which to start.  Or, If you want to do some more in depth research there is a fantastic book by Neal’s Yard on Essential Oils.  For my recipe I settled on Coconut oil (base oil), Rosehip oil (bonus oil) and Lavender oil (my essential oil).

Here’s a little more about my ingredients and why I chose them,

  • Coconut oil: The base oil.  I always have plenty of extra virgin coconut oil hanging about in the kitchen for cooking, and since I already know it works on my skin beautifully without any extras I decided to stick with coconut oil for my base oil.  Almond oil, avocado or grapeseed oil are also commonly used in natural products. If using coconut oil on your skin, always use organic, cold pressed extra virgin oil – it is purer and has a lovely coconut aroma.  True, it is more expensive, but a little goes an awful long way and if you compare it gram to gram of a pricey moisturiser it is an absolute steal.  Coconut oil is antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal – seems like a great start for something that goes on your face – helping to clear up acne, eczema and maintaining youthful supple skin.  I am a walking example of how it can help with eczema.  back in January I had a painful bout on my eyelids (lovely I know).  Daily use of coconut oil on the affected area sent it well and truly away (as well as making some amendments to my diet such as bone broth at that time).
  • Rosehip oil: The bonus oil – adds an extra therapeutic dimension to the moisturiser. Rosehip oil is extracted from wild rose – Rosa Mosqueta.  The hip is the fruit of the plant.  It contains fatty acids (omega 3,6,9), antioxidants, beta-carotene & vitamin C.  It’s known benefits are helping to keep skin supple, reducing signs of ageing and reducing scars particularly acne scars for example.  I choose rosehip oil because I have a number of scars on my face – some from the ridiculous acne I suffered in my early 20s and others from a road accident 7 years ago.  I wish I’d started using rosehip oil way back then instead of Bio oil (which doesn’t work by the way).  Since I’ve started using rosehip daily I have noticed a change in my skin for the better.
  • Lavender oil: The essential oil.  Lavender adds a gorgeous smell to the product, but also brings a multitude of therapeutic healing properties – such as antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral.  It can be useful in healing scars, and the anti-inflammatory properties can help sooth eczema, and acne.  Sounds like a great fit for my other oils in this moisturiser and perfect for my skin!  Pure lavender oil is also a brilliant natural product to use directly on insect bits – I tried this when I got eaten alive in Italy earlier this year.  It stopped the itching and brought down some of the inflammation.  Other oils such as tea-tree oil etc. can be wonderful in a home made moisturiser too. 

Bonus and essential oils are available from health food stores, or shops like Neal’s Yard Remedies.

Ingredients for Lavender Face Oil

Ingredients for Lavender Face Oil

Here’s my recipe for a small pot.  You can of course up or downscale these quantities to fit whichever pot or glass jar you have to hand.  Oh and the real lavender in these photos is just for show, it’s not in the recipe…

Recipe (Makes up 1 v small tub which will last a good few weeks), 

  • 1 tablespoon of organic extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp rosehip oil
  • 2-3 drops of essential lavender oil

Method

  • If the coconut oil is solid at room temperature, melt then allow to cool slightly.
  • Pour the coconut oil into a small container with the rosehip and lavender oils, stir till all oils are well combined. That’s it!
  • Storing the oil at room temperature is fine.  It should solidify however in warmer climates it will remain a liquid.
  • When ready to use pour (or scoop out if the oil has solidified) a drop into your hand, warm on the palm of your hand with your fingers, and massage into your face after cleansing in the morning and at night.

If you want to have a go at a simple product yourself I can also recommend this Olive oil, brown sugar and tea tree oil scrub recipe by Adura.  A great way to use up any pesky sugar you have lying around (you certainly shouldn’t be eating it 😉 )

With thanks to Nutiva for the organic extra-virgin coconut oil.  A great quality product which I also love to cook with.  Available on line and from health food stores, or shops like planet organic & whole foods.