Strawberry & Cashew Oatmeal

Honestly, you can’t get a better meal than a balanced one. That’s why I think that this strawberry and cashew oatmeal is the perfect start to the day. It’s got protein (the cashews), wholegrains (oats), 1 of your 5 a day (strawberries) and fibre! I think that the cashews and strawberries go so well together because the cashews provide both a creamy texture and taste. For me, it tastes like a healthy, vegan alternative to strawberries and cream, so why not give it a go and give yourself a guilt-free nutritious treat for breakfast?

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Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 50g of oats
  • 200ml of cashew milk (or another non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)
  • A pinch of salt
  • A few cashews (around 5-10)
  • A handful of strawberries (Around 5)
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup (optional)

Method

  1. Add the oats, milk, vanilla and salt to a pan and place over a medium heat. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes depending on your desired consistency.
  2. Once the oats have cooked, place them into a serving bowl.
  3. Roughly chop the cashews and then slice the strawberries in half. Top your oatmeal with the cashews and strawberries. Drizzle with maple syrup for sweetness.

 

Wholewheat Farfalle with Tomato Sauce & an Egg

Whenever I go to Spain, my grandmother always makes me a traditional Spanish meal called ‘Arroz con tomate’. Every child who has grown up in Spain will know about this and will undoubtedly have eaten it many times after a long day at school. ‘Arroz con tomate’ is simply white Spanish rice, covered in tomato sauce and topped with a fried egg. Using this dish as my inspiration, I decided to create a healthier alternative. I swapped the white rice for wholewheat pasta, in order to bring more fibre and protein to the dish. The use of wholewheat pasta also makes the dish more filling, so you won’t be hungry straight after the meal, and you won’t need to serve yourself huge portions! I kept the tradition of the tomato sauce, but instead of a fried egg, I decided that it would be nice to top the dish with a poached egg. I not only did this because it is a healthier alternative to frying an egg, but I also much prefer the taste and texture of poached eggs.

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Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 80g of dry wholewheat farfalle pasta (Other small pastas like penne or fusilli are a great alternative too)
  • 800ml (3 cups) of water & another 800ml (3 cups) of water
  • 3-4 tbsp’s of tomato sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of vinegar
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Pour 800ml (3 cups) of water into a pan and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, then add the dried pasta. Cook until al dente, which should be around 8-10 minutes (this varies according to the type of pasta you have bought, so I would check the back of your packet).
  2. Once the pasta has cooked, drain the pasta but keep a few tablespoons of the pasta water, as the starchy water will help to bind the tomato sauce to the fusilli.
  3. Heat the tomato sauce in a pan with the remaining pasta water over a low heat. Once it has heated up (or if you can see small bubbles forming), gently fold in the cooked pasta. Once the mixture has combined, you can take it off the heat.
  4. Fill up another pan with the other 800ml (3 cups) of water and the vinegar. Bring to a simmer, then with a spoon, create a ‘vortex’ in the water by mixing the water clockwise. Crack your egg into the water. It should take around 3 minutes for the egg to poach, but you should check every minute by taking the egg out of the pan with a spoon and gently pressing your finger on the yolk to see if it is your desired consistency.
  5. Place your pasta in a serving bowl, then add the poached egg on top. Season with salt and pepper, and enjoy.

Banana & Yogurt Oatmeal

When I was younger, my mum would often make me and my siblings bowls of banana with yogurt and honey for dessert. This inspired me to combine this recipe with oatmeal, as I thought it would make an exciting breakfast option, but also give me an excuse to eat dessert first thing in the morning! The yogurt provides a refreshing contrast to the sweet banana and honey, whilst the banana also enhances the creaminess of the yogurt. Although I love my mum’s traditional recipe, I chose to use agave syrup instead of honey as it provided a more neutral flavour that didn’t overpower the taste of the oats and bananas.

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Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 50g of oats
  • 200ml of almond milk (or another dairy free milk of your choice)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbsps of dairy-free yogurt (I used soy yogurt, but coconut yogurt works just as well)
  • 1 tbsp of agave syrup (or another sweetener of your choice, such as honey or maple syrup)

Method

  1. Place the oats and almond milk into a pan and simmer over a medium heat. The mix should be regularly stirred so that the oats don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the mixture has thickened to your preferred consistency (which can take between 5 to 10 minutes depending on your preferences), take the mixture off the heat.
  2. Slice the banana into slices, and then put your oatmeal into a serving bowl.
  3. Top your oatmeal with the banana slices and yogurt, then drizzle with agave syrup. If you prefer your oatmeal cold, then you can place it in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

Fig & Chestnut Overnight Oats

When the temperature begins to drop, everybody begins talking about ‘winter warmers’ for breakfast, such as hot oatmeal, poached eggs and pancakes. They can all be great options, but sometimes you just need something cool and refreshing to wake you up in the morning. Overnight oats are the perfect option because they are eaten straight out of a cold fridge, yet they are still filling and comforting. I’m also a fan of eating overnight oats in the winter because you can eat them ‘on the go’ without having to cook anything in the morning, so if you’re in a hurry after oversleeping (which often happens to me because I find it so hard to wake up when its dark outside!), you can still have a satisfying and nutritious meal without spending ages in the kitchen before work.

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Ingredients

  • 30g of oats
  • 2 tbsp of coconut yogurt (soy yogurt can be used instead)
  • 150ml of non-dairy milk (I used Alpro coconut milk, but any will do)
  • 1 fig
  • 5 cooked chestnuts
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup

Method

  1. Place the oats into a serving bowl, then add the yogurt and non-dairy milk. Then, combine the mixture before putting the bowl in the fridge, so that the oats can absorb the milk and soften up overnight.
  2. In the morning, prior to serving, slice the fig into quarters and roughly chop the chestnuts.
  3. To finish off, add the fig and chestnuts to the oatmeal, then drizzle with maple syrup for sweetness.

Mediterranean style scrambled eggs

You say brunch, I say scrambled eggs! Nothing beats scrambled eggs on toast when you’re looking for convenience, nutrition and comfort.

Before I went lactose-free, I used to love the traditional British silky smooth scrambled eggs made with butter, or even sometimes crème fraîche or cream. So when I ditched the dairy, I had this conundrum – how could I make great scrambled eggs without using dairy? The obvious choice would be to use dairy substitutes such as vegetable butter, or soy cream, but I am not a fan of using substitutes as they very rarely taste like the real deal, and I much prefer finding new and improved methods of making my favourite dishes.

However, my problem was solved when I spent a summer in Spain. My grandmother offered me a plate of scrambled eggs. I apologised and said I couldn’t eat them because they would have dairy in them. She looked at me with surprise and told me that in Spain, they very rarely ever used dairy products in their scrambled eggs. Looking at the plate skeptically, I took a bite, and was surprised to find that the eggs tasted creamier and smoother than I was used to despite the absence of dairy products! I begged her to tell me how she made them, and I was shocked to discover that the only real differences were that the eggs were cooked in olive oil and that they were cooked over a low heat for less time, resulting in a silky texture. So now I’m going to show you how you too can make the ultimate batch of scrambled eggs.

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Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning
  • 1 slice of wholemeal seeded bread (Optional)

Method

  1. Whilst you wait for your frying pan to warm up to a low heat, whisk both the eggs together in a bowl. Then, if desired, toast your slice of bread.
  2. Add the olive oil to the pan and once it’s gained some heat, add the whisked eggs.
  3. With a spatula or wooden spoon, make circular motions throughout the pan, so that the eggs don’t stick to the bottom and overcook. Keep doing this without stopping so that you can get the smooth finish.
  4. Once the eggs no longer appear to be a liquid and you can see that some parts of the egg are beginning to solidify, take the eggs off the heat.
  5. Make sure not to keep the eggs inside the pan for too long as even if the pan is no longer over the heat the eggs will continue to cook because the pan will still be warm. Quickly scrape the scrambled eggs onto a plate or onto your piece of toast, then season with salt and pepper.