Tuesday 28 October 2014

Nissa La Bella

When a best friend moves to the South of France indefinitely, two things spring to mind:
1) How many times is it acceptable to fly out to see her in a month?
2) How can I move out there too??!

The first time me and the girls could get away was last weekend. We got a really early flight to Nice which meant touching down just as the locals appeared for croissants and coffee (stereotype, me?)

It was the first time I'd been to the South of France, and I can't wait to get back to Nice. It's beautiful.

After breakfast we made our way to Monaco for lunch (as one does on a Friday...)

I'd take Nice over Monaco any day, but that's another story...

If you're only in Nice for a short stay and you love food, wine & a good bit of culture, I'd recommend doing the A Taste of Nice food & wine tour. I had one of the funniest days of my life, weaving in and out of bakeries, restaurants and food markets in Nice Old Town.

Our guide, Gustav was a top bloke. We were serenaded at lunch by an 88-year-old local man named Jo-Jo, who sang the Nice anthem with so much vigour we thought he was going to collapse. He took two kisses on the cheek as payment, and has imprinted himself on our memories forever!

When you're with your best friends, everywhere feels like home - I know I'll be back for more, Nice!

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Banana & Coconut Loaf

First up, apologies for the shoddy quality of these pictures - they were taken in a hurry on my phone, but trust me, look past the graininess and run with me on this one; it's possibly the best cup of tea accompaniment in the world.

It's clean, comforting and sweet enough to satisfy your cravings, making it an ideal snack and pick me up for winter's arrival. 

To make 10 slices, you'll need;
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 2 ripe, mashed bananas
  • 50g raisins 
  • 20g dates (about 4 dates)
  • 50g cashew nuts
  • 20g Meridian 100% peanut butter
  • 55g ground almonds
  • 30g oats
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • Desiccated coconut to sprinkle on top
You could easily swap out the cashews for pecans / almonds / a nut of your choice, and the raisins for other dried fruit - I was just using what I had in the cupboard.

Pre-heat the oven to 180.

Crush your cashew nuts (or lightly chop them, depending on how chunky you want your pieces), and mix with chopped raisins and dates. 

In a mixing bowl, add this mixture to your bananas, eggs, ground almonds, oats, coconut oil and peanut butter. Mix the batter until everything is blended.

Line a baking tin with coconut oil, and pour your mixture in. Sprinkle your coconut (lavishly) on top. 

Cook in the oven for 20 minutes. The outside should be crisp and golden, the inside moist and cakey. 

It's the nicest alternative to cake I've tried so far!

PS - this recipe is really similar to the oat and peanut butter bars I made last week - it's the ground almonds in this that give it its cake texture.

Date Night: Grey Goose Martini Masterclass @ Harvey Nichols

Last night James and I discovered our favourite type of Martini - wet and stirred, with an olive to garish. I'll be honest, I don't think I've ever ordered one before, but after last night's masterclass, I'm definitely going to try ordering one like a pro...

We were invited for an evening of cocktails & canapes with the Grey Goose clan at Harvey Nics to celebrate the arrival of Grey Goose Boulangerie Francois - a kitch, seemingly innocent 'bread delivery van' - that's actually the world's most intimate Martini bar!

A 'wet' Martini is, if I'm not mistaken, made with more vermouth than vodka (or gin), so gives it a slightly sweeter taste. Garnished with an olive, we both agreed it was a good palette cleanser (because everyone knows cocktails and palette cleansers are synonymous), and our favourite out of the three variations we tasted.

The cute, artisan camionnette is outside Harvey Nichols and open for Martini making from 12 - 8pm and runs from tomorrow (22nd) to Sunday 26th October - it's well worth a visit!

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Clean Oat & Peanut Butter Bake Bar

Two of my nearest and dearest, Anna & Hannah, are keen oat / quinoa / breakfast-bar bake queens, and on Sunday I fancied making a batch myself for snacking on throughout the week, or as a quick-fix breakfast to take to work with me.

They turned out preetty d-lish, especially for a first go when I wasn't paying too much attention to quantities...

I used;

  • 2 x handful cashew nuts
  • 1 x handful pitted dates
  • 2 x handful raisins 
  • 2 x tablespoons peanut butter (I use Meridian 100%) 
  • 50g oats (or there abouts...)
  • 1 banana (mashed)
  • 2 x tea spoons raw coconut oil (I use Biona) 
  • 2 x eggs 
1. Chop up your cashew nuts, dates and raisins, as finely as you can be bothered to (you could use a blender but I wanted mine quite chunky). 

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped cashew, dates and raisins with coconut oil and 'massage' with your hands. 

3. Then add your eggs, oats, PB and mashed banana.

4. Spread the mixture into a baking tin and put in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

It tasted really nice warm (I couldn't wait until it had cooled down), but it was also lush with a cup of tea in work this afternoon. When you get a mouthful of unexpected peanut butter it's literally like heaven...

Now the rest of them are just waiting for me in the fridge.. it's torture!

What's your favourite oat bake? 

Saturday 11 October 2014

Comforting Winter Smoothie

I think the phrase under the weather was made for the past week. Basically everyone I know has been a victim of windy, wet October the past few days, including yours truly.

I was feeling really grim earlier so whipped this up to try and combat my cold - it tasted lush so I wanted to share it!

You'll need:

  • 2 x handfuls of spinach
  • 1 x banana, chopped
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of wheatgrass
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of spirulina 
  • 1/2 avocado 
  • Frozen berries: raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, blackberries
  • 4 x strawberries, chopped
  • Coconut water 
  • Unsweetened soya milk
  • Dessicated coconut to top
  • Chia seeds to top 
Of course you can substitute out the coconut water (I only buy it when I'm feeling flush as I think it's a little pricey!) for standard tap, and the soya for almond, it's up to you.

It's creamy, fruity, really filling and brimming with so many nutrients.

Hopefully it bullies off my sore throat before tonight, I'm out for a friend's birthday - fingers crossed!
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