Thursday, 15 May 2014

Chia pudding (benefits of eating chia seeds)

    New addition coconut chia pudding.

The tiny superfood chia seeds know. As "Indian running seeds" are native to Mexico and said to be used by the Aztecs, Mayans and Incans. Coming from a plant in the mint family available in both white and black seeds, they are a great source of healthy omega-3 fats, protein, fibre and packed full of calcium, manganese and phophorus.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain health whilst calcium, manganese and phophorus all help maintain healthy teeth and bones. Phophorus also helps the body synthesize protein to enable cell and tissue re growth. 

These little gems are beneficial to diabetes suffers or those at risk of the disease, by slowing digestion and preventing blood sugar spikes. They can also help promote a healthy heart by improving blood pressure and increasing healthy cholesterol.

Lastly and for some of us most importantly chia seeds are great for ensuring a healthy diet by stabilizing blood sugar levels and fighing insulin resistance which can cause an increase in belly fat. The amino acid tryptophan is also found in chia seeds which can help regulate your appetite, improve your mood and also you sleep patterns. 
They also absorb vast amount of water making them a great tool against dehydration when exercising. 

For a gulten free ingredient which has more calcium than a glass of milk, more antioxidants than blueberries and more omega-3 than salmon..why wait?!
Start including chia seeds in your diet for a healthy inside and out.

But how can I add these tiny seeds to my diet I hear you ask?!.....easy.
Try sprinkling on salads, adding into smoothies creating chia pudding or adding to porridge. Why not push the experimental boat out and make grain free chia crackers.

I tried my first chia seed experience by creating a plain old chia gel/pudding. I made the gel by using :
2/3 cup chia seeds
2 cups liquid (use coconut milk, almond milk or water depending in your preference) 
I used 1 cup water and 1 cup milk as it's what I had in.

My second recipe is coconut chia pudding (first photo):
5 tablespoons Chia seeds
400ml (reduced fat) Coconut milk 

Mix in a bowl with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes and set in the fridge before eating.

All you do is mic together well and allow to sit for at least 10minutes but preferably    over night to soak up the liquid. 
Then add whatever dried fruit/nuts/yogurt you like.

I made layers adding sunflower seeds, figs and dates, cashews and topped with cacao nibs for extra anti oxidants and shredded coconut then drizzled with agave syrup.

A healthy delicious easy peasy snack, breakfast or pudding.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Clean Homemade Granola

Store bought granola although you might think is a healthy breakfast option. Most are actually very high in sugar, contain unhealthy fats and oils and are packed full of fillers and unneccessary extras. 

The idea of eating clean is all about making your own food using natural nutrious ingredients. Using that principle I decided to make my own granola. Use it's easy to go to the shops and boy it but as said most store varieties are full of rubbish. I also find it doesn't always include all the things you like. Some may be with nuts some with dried fruit. Making your own gives you the freedom to create a granola including all the things you love.

For my first attempt at homemade granola I used the more familiar oats variety. Next time I will be substituting in some quinoa for added nutrients and protein. When choosing oats for granola, pick 100% ruled oats. Don't choose the instant or quick cook varieties as these are unhealthy alternatives which have been over processed and have a high-glycemic value. 

When choosing an oil there is a wide variety available. I was going to opt for coconut oil as it's nutritious and adds a good flavour. However my local mini supermarket didn't stretch to this option, luckily instead it had almond oil another great highly nutrious variety. I would steer clear of oil olive as it will leave a strange musty taste to your granola.

Now for the additions; I choose pumpkin and sunflower seeds as they are nutritious and delicious ;) I also added mixed nuts from peanuts, almonds, cashews and hazelnuts. I also included a small amount of dried fruits but be careful as these will push up the sugar content. If possible look out for unsweetened varieties. 

To sweeten the granola, avoid using any highly processed sugars such as white sugar. The best option would be agave syrup but maple syrup or a good natural honey would work perfectly. 

Recipe: (very adaptable)
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped raw nuts (no salted or roasted varieties)
1/4 cup raw seeds
1/2 dried fruits (preferably unsweetened) banana chips & shaved coconut pieces would also work well
2tbsp Almond oil/healthy cooking oil 
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract 
1tsp Cinnamon

Pre heat your oven to 190c
Combine all the ingredients and spread onto a baking tray.
Bake for 10 minutes until light golden brown.
Cool and store in an air tight container to last for several weeks... If you have the will power not to eat it everyday!

Serve it either plain with milk or topped with plain Greek yoghurt and red berries or any fruit of your choosing.

"TinaTin" Restaurant Moscow

Elegant Georgian Restaurant in Moscow                              Score: 4.5/5
Address: Moscow, st. Plyushchikha, 58, pp. 1a Tel: +7 985 761 66 36

Part of the Ginza project collection, I have to start by saying this may be the finest restaurant I have been to in a long time in terms of both the décor and fresh Georgian dishes.

If you love cosy, yet chic environments, which are both light and airy but secluded and intimate this is the restaurant for you.

Decorated to a “T” with large wooden tables, relaxing sofas, armchairs with printed cushions and of course the obligatory candles to perfect the ambience. The journey up the circular staircase, lit by white candles on each step in either large clear glasses or small decorative lanterns, leads you to different areas of the restaurant. It is as though you are being guided through a lovely large Georgian house with a mezzanine balcony allowing you to glimpse each floor. The style is what I would describe as elegant comfort and is exactly what I love.
The table setting
The staff are gracious, helping serve the food to share, adding to the homely feel. We opted for the Georgian classic starters of  Lobio "Harkaliya"(Whole beans, fried with onions, spices and greens) and the Assorted Pkhali (Tender medallions of beets, spinach, green beans, cabbage, seasoned walnuts). The translation of this is slight off as they are more like a dip/pate style but you can happily eat them without needing bread. They were fresh and full of flavour, I particularly loved the spinach Pkhail.
Lobio Harkaliya - 380 Roubles & Assorted Pkhali - 390 Roubles

Alongside the classic Georgian starters with chose the Khachapuri Adjara. This dish was on  another level, simply amazing! I love the concept of this, which is actually a bread (not your typical pastry) and is meant for tearing, sharing and dipping. It looks great and is hard not to love, although obviously not for those on strict diets. For those who agree with the 80/20 rule this is definitely one to treat yourself with and it won’t let you down.
Khachapuri Adjara (Boat of Pastry with cheese "Suluguni" & Egg)-440 roubles
After much deliberation and a little advice from the waitress, I chose the Red mullet at home, fried to a crisp  (710 R) for my main. In her words the red mullet is a better choice  “if you want to try something different”. To be honest, from the English translation of the dish it’s not what I expected and wouldn’t be my normal choice. It lacked some flavor and although I’m glad I tried it, if I was to go again I would choose something different. 

Барабулька по-домашнему,
обжаренная до хрустящей корочки

I also sampled the lamb shashlik Skewers of lamb flesh (930 R), a Georgian staple. The meat was again full of flavour and tender, I would recommend this especially if it’s your first time trying Georgian food.
Шашлык из мякоти ягненка

Our kiwi and cucumber home-made lemonade was very light and refreshing and it was great to see such a large range of interesting flavours including blackberry and basil.

Overall this restaurant is a winner in my books. Personally I find it very hard to discover restaurants that leave you in awe, the perfect atmosphere for both a meal with a group of close friends or a romantic meal for two.
I would definitely go back to Tinatin’s and encourage others to visit. Whether you live in Moscow or are just passing through, it offers an English menu and inviting atmosphere to make you feel welcome.
Everything about Tinatin comes together to create a unique atmosphere of home comfort and Caucasian hospitality. It’s a restaurant with a sense of home, you will not want to leave!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Bob Bob Ricard Restaurant

Score: 8/10 

Are you looking for somewhere a bit different? Old fashioned American glamour meets Russian extravagance. This is the kind of restaurant you go to where you feel you've gone back in time to a different era and a different location. Even the staff are suited and booted in 1920's style outfits adding to the ambience and standing out from your average restaurant. Unfortunately, when I visited this place the bar was being re-done so I didn't get the pleasure of experiencing it but the restaurant itself is a must visit for its uniqueness and atmosphere. You feel scheduled and intimate with your guests and there are added touches such as the"press for champagne" button to add interest to the meal and really impress during a date. 
The menu is a mix of Russian classics and European influences. You can have traditional "Zukuski"(Russian canapés) with cold Vodka shots, or  opt as we did for Oysters. There is also a list with a variety of both fish and meat starters, we also chose the Seabass Ceviche to start.  If you are really pushing the boat out and looking for the Russian experience, they offer the choice of Caviar, "Petrossian" which is only available in the UK at Bob Bob Ricard helping explain the rather heavy price tag for this delicacy. 

Overall the food was good - however the beef mains were not to the quality of a high class steak restaurant. The seared Fois Gras was delicious but I feel with the meat and Fois Gras Crouton is was a bit too heavy/fatty as a meal. Fois Gras in my opinion is better eaten separately, spread on toasts for example, rather than eaten with red meat. 
 Seabass Cerviche with Avocado: made with cucumber, tomato, coriander, jalapeño pepper and lime.
 6 Oysters Mitterland - grilled with parsley and garlic

 Beef Onglet: 28 Day aged Scotch Beef, with caramelised onions and green peppercorn sauce 
Fillet Medallions Rossini: 28 Day Aged Scotch Beef with seared Fois Gras, Fois Gras crouton & Truffle Gravy.
Overall, this restaurant is a little gem in the centre of London which can be easily missed if you aren't searching for it. The atmosphere, decor and added extravagance all make it an experience not to be missed. If you are a fan of Russian cuisine or enjoy good fish and meat dish you will definitely find something you like on the menu. It is a great place to come on a date, to impress or to bring those interested in trying an opulent Russian dining experience.

Monday, 18 March 2013

The Famous 8 Plaited Bread

Finally I've attempted Paul Hollywoods 8 breaded plait and yes I now feel the pain that the contestants on Great British Bake off felt with the whole "8 under 5, then under 1".

I have to be fully honest now and say, I fell at the first hurdle of plaiting so decided to bend the rules. (Sorry Paul) I ended up just plaiting it without following the correct method.... rules are for breaking right.  
However, I will write them in below in case any one wants to give them a try. Please let me know if you actually managed to do it.

  • 500g - Strong White Bread Flour
  • 10g - Salt
  • 2 x 7g Fast Acting Yeast
  • 20ml - Olive Oil
  • 340ml - Water (at room temp)
  • 1- Beaten Egg, mixed with a pinch of salt for glazing
  • Put the Flour into a mixing bowl then add the Yeast to one side and Salt to the other (as the salt can kill the yeast)
  • Add the Oil and mix
  • Add 3/4 of the Water and bring together with your hands.
  • Work in the rest of the water, then knead the dough 10 for minutes until silky and very stretchy.
  • Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl - cover lightly with cling film and leave to rise for an hour until doubled in size.
  • Punch down the risen dough- empty onto a floured worktop and mould into a ball

  • Divide into 8 equal pieces, using your hands roll each piece into a thin sausage shape           (about 40cm long)
  • Lay strands onto a floured worktop - like an octopus and tack the ends together onto the worktop with your thumb.
  • Number them 1 > 8 and plait following the sequence below:
  • (please note every time you move a strand, the order of the numbers with revert to the original 1>8 sequence) - think this is where I went wrong.

Step 1: Place strand 8 under strand 7 then over strand 1.
Step 2: Strand 8 over strand 5
Step 3: Strand 2 under strand 3 then over strand 8
Step 4: Strand 1 over stand 4
Step 5: Strand 7 under stand 6, then over strand 1
Repeat from step 2 until all strands are plaited.
Then tuck the ends under the loaf to neaten.

  • Set the loaf on a floured baking sheet and leave to rise at room temperature for an hour till doubled in size.
  • Brush with egg and sprinkle with salt, then bake in the oven at 200'C for 20-25minutes, until golden brown.
 Make slices and top with Banana or Cinnamon and Sugar, then put under the grill until caramelised. 

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