Sunday 25 September 2016

Whole lotta love

Published 08/02/2016 | 02:30

Pre-race chilli with sweet potato crisps
Pre-race chilli with sweet potato crisps
'Natural Born Feeder': Roz Purcell
Lamb mince wraps with mint yoghurt.
Mango, raspberry and coconut cheesecake.
Roz's 'Natural Born Feeder'
Tofee pops.
Roz Purcell enjoys her watermelon smoothie.

Health-conscious model Roz Purcell knows that wholefoods are not just good for your body, they tickle your tastebuds too. This week in LIFE, she shares delicious sweet and savoury recipes from her new cookbook, 'Natural Born Feeder'.

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PRE-RACE CHILLI WITH SWEET POTATO CRISPS

Serves 4.

This is what I always eat, served with rice, the night before a race or a long cycle.

You will need:

Coconut or rapeseed oil, for frying

1 large onion, chopped

1 large fresh red chilli, deseeded and chopped

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp sweet or smoked paprika

1 tbsp chilli powder

1 tsp dried oregano

450g minced beef or turkey

450ml red pepper passata

1 tsp hot sauce (optional)

200g tinned chickpeas or kidney beans, drained and rinsed (see Note)

Guacamole, to serve

Cooked fresh corn on the cob, to serve

For the sweet potato crisps:

2 large sweet potatoes, unpeeled

2 tbsp rapeseed oil or melted coconut oil

1 tbsp dried oregano

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Heat a little oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Saute the onion, chilli, garlic and spices for 5-6 minutes, until the onions are softened and slightly browned. Add the minced meat and stir to break it up. Reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for about 20 minutes, stirring now and then so the meat doesn't catch on the bottom of the pot and burn.

Add the passata and hot sauce, if using, and bring to the boil for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Add the chickpeas or kidney beans and simmer for another 5 minutes. While the chilli is simmering, preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas 6. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Slice the sweet potatoes as thinly as possible with a mandolin or using the slicing blade of your food processor. Place them in a large mixing bowl and toss them in the oil and oregano, then spread them out on the tray, leaving room between each slice to allow them to crisp up in the oven (you might need to use two trays if they are small). Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper too, if you want to give them a little kick.

Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the trays and turn over all the slices. Put the trays back in the oven and cook for 15 minutes more, keeping a close eye on them now to make sure they don't burn. Turn off the heat and leave the trays in the oven for 10 more minutes to let them dry out and crisp up.

To serve, ladle the chilli into bowls. Serve with a separate bowl of sweet potato crisps on the side, a bowl of guacamole and some cooked fresh corn on the cob, drizzled with a little melted coconut oil and dusted with paprika.

Note: This recipe is paleo if you leave out the chickpeas or kidney beans.

CHOCOLATE ORANGE MOUSSE

Serves 4.

It's actually easier to make this healthy version of mousse than the traditional ones. Get creative with flavours like raspberry, mint or chilli, too.

You will need:

Juice of 2 oranges

2 ripe avocados, peeled and stoned

2 tbsp honey or maple syrup, see Note

1 tbsp raw cacao powder

1 tbsp orange zest

Cut the oranges in half and squeeze out the juice, taking care not to break the orange shells and trying to keep them a nice shape. Scrape out any remaining flesh or pith to create four 'bowls'. Put the orange juice, avocado flesh, honey or maple syrup, and the cacao powder in a blender and blitz until completely smooth, with no trace of avocado. Spoon the mousse into the hollowed-out oranges and sprinkle over the orange zest.

You can keep these refrigerated for up to one day if you want to make them ahead of time. Put the oranges on a pretty plate or baking tray and serve.

Note: This recipe is vegan if you use maple syrup.

LAMB MINCE WRAPS WITH MINT YOGHURT

Serves 4.

Ireland has some of the best lamb in the world. Did you know that we've even coined a word - lambscape? We should take advantage of what's on our doorstep and embrace this truly organic meat.

If you saw me on Come Dine With Me back in 2012, you might remember this recipe. It's a healthier take on my best-loved dish from that night, which was sweet minced lamb in pitta with home-made relish.

For the chickpea wraps, you will need:

100g chickpea flour

110ml water

4 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 tbsp tapioca flour

1 tbsp coconut oil

You will need:

25g pine nuts

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

500g minced lamb

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

100g red onion marmalade

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Pomegranate seeds, to garnish

For the mint yoghurt, you will need:

200g unsweetened natural yoghurt

15g fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Start by making the chickpea wraps. Place the chickpea flour, water, rapeseed oil and tapioca flour in a medium-sized bowl and mix everything together until you get a thin batter consistency.

Melt the coconut oil in a crepe pan or a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Pour in a ladleful of batter and spread it evenly over the base by tilting the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until the edges start to lift up from the base of the pan. Slide the finished wrap onto a plate and repeat with the remaining batter (you should make four wraps). Set aside while you make the filling.

To toast the pine nuts, put a heavy-based, dry pan over a medium heat. Toss in the pine nuts and let them cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring to make sure they toast evenly. Pine nuts can burn quickly, so keep an eye on them. Tip the nuts out of the pan and set aside.

Heat the rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the minced lamb and garlic and cook, stirring continuously to break up the mince, for 5 minutes, until browned. Reduce the heat to medium and add the red onion marmalade, cumin and coriander and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir through most of the fresh parsley and the toasted pine nuts.

To make the mint yoghurt, just mix all the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.

To assemble, place a chickpea wrap flat on a plate and spoon about 5 tablespoons of the lamb mince down the middle. Drizzle with the mint yoghurt and scatter some chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds on top. Roll up the sides, or fold the wraps in half like a taco to eat.

WATERMELON SLUSHY

Serves 1.

Growing up, I would always get a slushy when I was left to my own devices. They're slightly worrying now when you look at all those day-glo colours, but I think my younger self would approve of this healthier version.

You will need:

550g watermelon chunks, frozen

125ml apple juice or coconut water

Handful of fresh mint leaves

1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup (see Note)

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Put the frozen watermelon chunks into a powerful blender along with the apple juice or coconut water, fresh mint, one tablespoon of honey or maple syrup, and the lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Taste and add another tablespoon of honey or maple syrup if you'd like it to be sweeter. Serve immediately and try not to get brain freeze!

Note: This recipe is vegan if you use maple syrup.

OAT PANCAKES WITH SWEET PEANUT SAUCE

Makes 4 small pancakes.

I won't lie, I eat these every second morning, but I never get tired of them. These pancakes work well with every sort of topping, and sometimes I throw a scoop of protein powder into the mix to shake things up a little. I make a huge batch of batter and store it in the fridge.

One of the worst mistakes I made was teaching my boyfriend how to make these - it's all he eats now and pancake batter is always everywhere! My secret for consistent, perfect pancakes is to use egg moulds.

For the sweet peanut sauce, you will need:

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp honey or maple syrup

1 tbsp peanut butter

For the oat pancakes, you will need:

50g gluten-free oats

30g protein powder (optional)

1 egg

1½ tbsp Greek yoghurt, plus extra to serve

1 tsp honey or maple syrup

½ tsp gluten-free baking powder

Coconut oil, for frying

To make the sweet peanut sauce, just melt the coconut oil with the honey or maple syrup in a small saucepan over a low heat, then stir in the peanut butter until it makes a smooth sauce. Set aside while you make the pancakes.

To make the oat pancakes, blend all the ingredients except the oil, in a food processor until smooth. I use my NutriBullet for this.

Heat a little coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan, then wipe it out with kitchen paper.

Add spoonfuls of the batter to the pan - it's a thick batter, so make small pancakes.

Cook for 2 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown and ready to be turned. Flip over and cook for 1-2 minutes more, until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve warm, with a drizzle of sweet peanut sauce or a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

TOFFEE POPS

Makes 20 cookies.

These toffee pops are everyone's favourite. If you make only one recipe, make these bad boys!

For the biscuit base, you will need:

220g ground almonds, plus extra for dusting

3 tbsp coconut oil, at room temperature

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 tbsp honey or maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla essence

Pinch of sea salt

For the caramel, you will need:

5 Medjool dates, pitted

2 tsp cashew or almond butter (see Note)

Pinch of sea salt

For the raw chocolate, you will need:

140g raw cacao butter, chopped

45g raw cacao powder

4-5 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 360F, Gas 4. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Start with the base. Put the ground almonds in a large bowl and rub in the coconut oil with your fingertips until it's like fine crumbs. Add the rest of the base ingredients. Mix everything together using your hands. It should be a wet dough. Sprinkle a wooden board or a clean surface with ground almonds.

Tip the dough out on to the board and knead it a few times to bring it together. Pat out the dough until it's 1.25cm thick, then stamp out 20 biscuits with a cookie cutter or the rim of a small glass. Place the cookies on the lined baking trays. Using your thumb, gently press a well into the centre of each biscuit, being careful not to press the whole way through. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden on top. The centre dip may rise a little, but don't worry, it will drop again when the cookies cool; if it doesn't, just gently press it back down. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, put all the caramel ingredients in a food processor and blend until it forms a smooth, chewy caramel ball. Using a teaspoon, fill the wells of the cooled cookies with the caramel, using your finger to gently press it down.

To make the raw chocolate, melt the cacao butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add the cacao powder, maple syrup and vanilla; remove the pan from the heat and stir until thoroughly combined. To finish, dunk the top of each cookie in the raw melted chocolate, place on a plate or tray and put in the freezer for about 15 minutes, until hardened. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to six days.

Note: This recipe is paleo if you use cashew or almond butter.

MANGO, RASPBERRY AND COCONUT CHEESECAKE

Makes 8 slices.

This cake is great: it can be kept in the freezer, so you'll always have a no-fuss dessert ready for when friends call.

For the filling, you will need:

450g raw cashews

250ml melted coconut oil

180ml maple syrup

Zest of ½ lemon

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 mangos, peeled and diced

For the base, you will need:

150g raw almonds

80g desiccated coconut

80g buckwheat groats

7 Medjool dates, pitted

1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways, seeds scraped out and pod discarded

For the topping, you will need:

250g fresh or frozen raspberries

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp honey or maple syrup (see Note)

Edible flowers, to decorate

Put the cashews in a small bowl and cover them with water. Soak for at least 5 hours or overnight.

Line the base of a 25cm springform tin with non-stick baking paper. Put all the base ingredients in a food processor and pulse until they are fully combined and have formed a thick dough that sticks together easily. This may take 5-8 minutes, depending on how powerful your food processor is.

Scrape into the lined tin and press down firmly using the back of a spoon to create an even layer over the bottom (you don't need to press it up the tin's sides).

To make the filling, drain and rinse the cashews and pat them dry - you don't want to get any excess water in the filling mixture.

Put the cashews in the food processor and blend with the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon zest and vanilla. Add the diced mango and blend again until it's completely smooth. It will have turned yellow at this point. Pour on top of the base, smoothing the top. Cover tightly with tinfoil and place in the freezer overnight (or you can keep it in the freezer for up to one week).

When you're ready to serve, make the topping. Put the raspberries in a small saucepan over a low heat. Once they have started to break down and release their juices, mash them with a fork and stir in the chia seeds and the honey or maple syrup. Drizzle the topping over the cheesecake and decorate with edible flowers.

Note: This recipe is vegan if you use maple syrup.

Special offer for LIFE readers: Get Roz Purcell's 'Natural Born Feeder' delivered directly to your door for €22 (includes free p&p within Ireland). Usual price: €27.99. To order, tel: (01) 500-9570 and quote 'LIFE magazine', or see gillbooks.ie/roz

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