Nut & seed butter alternatives // Indigo Herbs *

Hiya! I hope you’re all well! I’m very excited to be sharing with you today the first of many posts I’ve written alongside a company called Indigo Herbs. Indigo Herbs is a health food company from one of my favourite places in the UK, set in the heart of Glastonbury in Somerset (if you’ve never visited, you definitely have to at least once! It’s the most unique town) They stock a wide range of organic Superfoods, high quality herbal powders, aromatherapy oils and Herbal Teas to name just a few. As someone who’s interested in health food and general health and well-being, I really love how informative their page is AND how great their prices are! It’s easy to spend a small fortune on health foods and as someone who used to work in a health food shop I know that before you know it you need a bank loan on just stocking up on good quality basic ingredients!

As I’m so passionate about wholefoods and health foods I was really happy to be able to work alongside Indigo Herbs and try out their range of nut and seed butters and share a whole host of different, easy recipes that literally anyone could do. I’m not the world’s greatest cook or baker but I really enjoy creating bakes in the kitchen (as long as it doesn’t take too long to clear up after as well) I love peanut butter I eat it with slices of apple, sandwiches, on toast, added into sauces or curries, mixed with porridge or brownie mixes or even straight from the jar with a big old spoon. Drooling at the thought I won’t lie. So I was super excited to be able to try this whole range; as a lot of it I hadn’t ever tried or used before. Plus I really LOVE the fact that their butters are all organic and raw so they’re still packed full of all the proteins, vitamins, minerals and nutrients and hasn’t been heat treated or lost in the process of making of them.

indigo herbs nut butter

So first of I’m going to start with the nut butters. I’ve tried almond butter before in the past but I’ve never had walnut butter or hazelnut butter.

Almond Butter:

Probably my favourite apart from the OG peanut butter. It’s rich, thick and creamy but not too sweet. High in Vitamin E, B Vits it’s a great source of dietary fibre and protein plus tastes great swirled through some brownies, banana bread or on a rice cake for a perfect afternoon snack.

Walnut Butter:

I had never tried (heard of) Walnut Butter until I tried this and I was actually really pleasantly surprised! I really like the taste of walnuts anyway I know some people find them quite bitter or like they kind of metallic/rancid taste to some of them which puts a lot of people off. I’ve found that the Lidl own brand ones are really nice and creamy tasting if the bitter taste you often can get puts you off! Nevertheless I was kinda expecting the familiar savouriness but it was creamy to start and had that bitter nut butter finish. Spread it generously on some toast and top with some berries and a drizzle of honey for a perfect, quick and different breakfast.

Hazelnut Butter:

If you’ve got a sweet tooth like me this’ll certainly be up your alley. It’s nice and sweet and speckled with those lush hazelnutty grains. Adding it to already chocolatey recipes like a breakfast cacao smoothie will be like you’re drinking a fresh glass of nutella in the morning. YUM.

Moving on from Nut Butters to their fellow seed butter pals (was I the only one who didn’t actually know this was a thing???) Maybe I just have my heads in the clouds but I didn’t realise what you could do with seeds other than sprinkle them on the top of some meals and bakes. But I’ve really enjoyed trying these, adding them to things I’ve baked or cooked and actually broadening my tastebuds.

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White Sesame Tahini:

This is deliciously creamy and is basically just milled sesame seeds until it forms a paste. You can add it to soups, as a salad dressing or if you’re as addicted to Hummus as I am this is a great tahini to use and it’s so simple to make. Just chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and oil, absolutely incredible if I do say so myself.

Black Sesame Tahini:

Just the same as white tahini but made with black sesame seeds. It’s rich in taste and in colour with a gorgeously glossy black shine to it. It’s full of B Vits, minerals and protein I love how it adds a really bold colour to bakes.

Sunflower Seed Butter:

This one I was most pleasantly surprised by it reminded me a little bit of peanut butter as it was smooth, creamy and sweet but much lighter and runnier in terms of texture compared to old faithful PB. Whether you use it for savoury or sweet cooking or baking, it adds a subtle creamy flavour. Perfect in cookies, hummus or in a dressing.

Apricot Kernel Butter:

Y’know those stones inside an apricot turns out they actually have uses. Who knew? Apricot kernels are high in vitamin E so it’s great for skin, hair and nails (eat it obvs don’t use it as a shampoo…Well you do you but it tastes good and I would probably recommend not putting on your face or hair ha!) It’s also quite rich in vitamin b17 which is a component of cyanide so best not to eat the whole jar. But then so are a lot of fruit seeds like apple pips so best to avoid those too if you can! On Indigo Herbs website they state it tastes sweet, rich and a bit like Amaretto and I TOTALLY got that. I dolloped some on top of a slice of wholemeal toast and ate it in about 7 seconds. Gurt lush.

Hemp Seed Butter:

I don’t really know much about the flavours of hemp, eating it or using it in cooking or baking. It’s really good for you, it’s a complete protein full of all the essential amino acids perfect as an energy source if you’re veggie or vegan or just want that added protein in your diet. Described on their website as peppery and creamy and it couldn’t have been more spot on. I added this into salad dressings and slathered it on the top of a cauliflower steak for a really unique, umami flavour profile.

Pumpkin Seed Butter:

Last and but by no means least is pumpkin seed butter. This taste just like pumpkin seeds with that similar smoky earthiness flavour to it. I used mine to make a pumpkin seed pesto pasta which was divine but if you wanted a sweeter flavour add some honey, maple syrup or some cinnamon and other spices!

Just to reiterate this was a gifted post courtesy of Indigo Herbs and the lovely Claire but all the thoughts and opinions throughout are honest and genuine. I really hope you enjoyed this post as much as I loved taste testing these! I’m so excited to share more nutty and seedy butter recipes with you all very soon!

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Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you hadn’t already noticed I have a huge sweet tooth and is there a better way to spend an evening than sinking into the sofa for The Great British Bake Off semi finals this evening than in front of the fire with a big plate of gorg homemade cookies.

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These are a firm family fave and taste beaut cooled slightly straight from the oven when they’re all soft, warm and fudgy still.

They’re super simple to make and you could do it all in one big bowl so less washing up is always a winner. This recipe makes roughly 12 cookies. If you’re an ultra organised person this the type of thing you could make and then roll into a sausage shape and freeze and cut off a slice when you fancy a cookie (like you’d only have one???) Or even just have as cookie dough.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 125g softened butter.
  • 100g soft light brown sugar.
  • 125g golden caster sugar.
  • 1 egg.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 225g plain flour.
  • 200g chocolate chips/chunks/ a bar cut into shards.

HOW TO:

First off preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray.

Cream together the butter and the sugars until fully combined. I’ve used a combination of light brown sugar and golden caster sugar to give it that slightly darker colour and also to make the texture a bit gooey and fudgier.

To that add in the beaten egg and the vanilla.

Sift in the plain flour and then add in the chocolate chips. I actually used a dark chocolate because that is my favourite. Plus I really like the combo of the sweet cookie and the bitter dark chocolate. If dark chocolate isn’t your fav, once you’ve got the basic cookie recipe down you can swap things around to please yourself, like white chocolate and a cranberry, milk chocolate and fudge pieces, a swirl of nutella and some chopped hazelnuts, or one of my faves, a piece of dairy milk caramel shoved in the centre so when you bite into it you’ve got that delicious gooey middle. YUM.

Using a tablespoon I scooped up some of the dough and then using my hands, rolled it into a ball shape pressing it down on the top slightly as I did so.

Putting it in the oven to bake for about 8-9 minutes so they are still warm and soft in the middle. Leave to bake and set up in the oven a few minutes longer if you want a crispier bake and it’s golden around the edges.

I swear the time waiting for them to cool are almost as long as treadmill minutes??? I sprinkled them with some sea salt and served. Nigella who?!

cookies close up

What’s your cookie of choice?

MUCH LOVE. x

The Olive Branch, Wimborne.

I love going out for breakfast. Or going out for brunch. Or just going out to eat really. Ok I just like food a lot. I went out for a boujiee girly brunch with my mum and sister to a pub/restaurant called The Olive Branch actually owned by the Hall and Woodhouse chain. It’s set in the heart of Wimborne, Dorset just a short distance away from places like Poole and Bournemouth.

I’ve been here a couple of times now with friends and seperately with my mum and I really like that it’s got a really relaxed, friendly vibe and it doesn’t feel at like any other Hall and Woodhouse pub I’ve been to before. The menu caters for so many different dietary requirements whether you’re coeliac, vegan, vegetarian or just a bit of a fussy eater there’s plenty to choose from. Plus the decor is really cool. With it’s large garden to sit in, the laidback pantry area indoors with big tables and long benches perfect for gathering all your friends together for a cosy brunch on a Saturday morning. Or the more formal dining area and snug.

I really like that their breakfast and brunch menu’s are a little bit different to what you may usually expect to see. I decided to have their shakshuka and a yellow smoothie and it was lush. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and if I was out for breakfast or brunch I’d either go for something a bit different or something like pancakes or french toast but I haven’t had a shakshuka since I went to Redroaster in Brighton (read more about that here or even read about my WHOLE Brighton adventure here)

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This Middle Eastern dish is right up my street and I reckon I could probably eat it breakfast, noon and night. It consisted of three eggs delicately baked in a rich, spiced sauce made from tomatoes, chillies, pepper and onions topped with chili flakes and coriander. With two small batons of bread to dip in. You could add some spinach or feta for an extra £1 each or if you wanted to make this brunch plate vegan you could have swapped the eggs for some avo instead.

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Usually I’d have gone with a tea or a latte but I felt like something cold for a change and something refreshing and this one sounded perf. It was full of pineapple and mango hence the sunny yellow colour and it was fab on this warm day.

Wimborne has some great eateries and I’d recommend The Olive Branch if you’re looking for somewhere to please everyone!

Recreating seasonal hot drinks at home.

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I love hot drinks and have at least three cups of tea each day. To some that may seem like loads or to some it may seem like hardly anything at all. A warm drink is like a hug in a cup so when the Autumn/Winter months roll around, the red cups in Starbucks come out to play it can only mean one thing; seasonal drinks time!!

I love a gingerbread latte, the subtle warmth and spiciness makes me feel so cosy. Or a black forest hot chocolate puts me in the wintry mood instantly. In an effort to save money because those £3 coffee shop treats do add up!! I’ve decided to try and recreate these at home for a fraction of the price, you can make them just how you like them, to impress family, friends and guests at home plus you could put it in a funky travel mug for commuting to work or college.

Anyone who knows me knows that I adore TK Maxx/Homesense and they stock SO many gorgeous homeware pieces and such an interesting foodie section. I used to be a little bit sceptical of the food section in a TK Maxx, where was it all from? How long had it been there for?? But then I thought if I thought the same about foods in an actual Supermarket would I actually want to know that answer? Probably not!

They stock so many wonderful teas, coffees and so many syrups too. They have such a huge variety of them as well so you’re literally so spoilt for choice. Most supermarkets and even some coffee shops like Costa stock bottles of syrups you can add to your hot drinks to make them that extra bit more decadent.

I want to share with you a simple, easy way of making barista style drinks from home and you don’t need any fancy machinery. I got ya covered!

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So for a super rich hot chocolate I usually measure the milk out in the mug I’m using and warm it in a pan with a split vanilla pod and the seeds scraped out on the hob. Bring it to the boil and then add in 1tsp of cocoa powder and 40g of chopped dark chocolate shards per serving. Stir it all together off the heat and whisk it vigorously til it’s frothy on top. If you wanted to add a syrup you could pop one or two pumps into the bottom of your glass/mug/travel mug/shoe/I do not mind what container you use. Or you could put it straight into the milk before you warm it.

To make this extra decadent you could use equal quantities of cream and milk or if you want it extra chocolatey try using a chocolate milk with the same quantities of chocolate shards, cocoa powder and cream.

To make a white hot chocolate just don’t add the cocoa powder and substitue the chocolate for white chocolate instead. If you’re aiming for mad gainzzzzzz try using a skimmed milk or oat or coconut mylk with a scoop of chocolate/unflavoured/vanilla protein powder and some chocolate and cocoa powder.

If you’re like me and are lowkey obsessed with the black forest hot chocolate, use your normal hot chocolate and add a pump or two of

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Ok so this was the one that I was most looking forward to because it is super simple to get a frothy coffee at home. Without any technical thingymibobs and you can totally show off to your guests with your fancy pants coffee. If they want a ultra tricky macchiato with camel milk welllllll you’ve come to the wrong blog but I can teach you a simple way to make a latte.

So not too dissimilar from the hot chocolate, I pour milk into the cup/mug/glass whichever receptacle of choice measuring out how much I’ll need. I usually fill it about 3/4s full. I love a milky coffee.

I boil the kettle and add a teaspoon of coffee granules into a mug. At that point if you want any sugar, syrups, jazzy bits etc now is the time to add that in. Fill the cup about a third full and mix it altogether making sure all the coffee granules have fully dissolved and it’s smooth.

Going back to the milk bit,  you can either warm it up in the microwave first or wait to shake it up first. I actually then put it into a protein shaker or the breville active blender (use some sort of bottle or container with a lid that can also go in the microwave) and shake the milk up for about 30 seconds until its grown frothy and bubbly on top.

If you’ve warmed up your milk first you can then shake it up and pour it into the glass or if you haven’t you can then warm your shaken up milk in the microwave until hot.

Pour the milk straight into the glass and then quickly pour the coffee on top of that. Careful not to knock out any of the lovely froth. If you want to make better coffee art then I do, as you pour the coffee, pour it narrowly down one side of the glass and then filter it off into the middle and it’s supposed to make a heart shape.

 

If you want to get your hands on some syrups or extras or even find some great places to get some teas/coffee granules/syrups other than supermarkets, tea shops or the OG TK Maxx I’d recommend:

Next Day Coffee

Discount Cream

The Protein Works

Skinny Mixes

Verde Coffee

Cardiff Sport Nutrition

Syrups and Stuff

You can also try Amazon or just using food essences or even more naturally with herbs and spices, I love popping in a cinnamon stick. So yum!

MUCH LOVE. X

Best Brownies EVER.

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I won’t lie, these are the only tall, dark and handsome things on the internet you’ll ever really want and need in your life right now. They’re sweet, they’re rich and they’re bad for you but above all, they defo won’t let you down or ghost you like Reece from tinder might do. (No offence to any Reece’s from Tinder). I actually discovered these from my Mum who usually sticks to a Jamie Oliver recipe with her twist on it. Obvs that recipe was before he turned all melodramatic about 2 for 1 pizzas and whether or not a vimto has one or more sugars in. This recipe is certainly not the healthiest, not a pinch of superfood in this and it’s so delicious.

I am not one to toot my own horn but this recipe is quickly becoming my go-to for impressing people with my fine kitchen skillz.  Because I want to be a bit of a Rahul from Bake Off about this all and I want you all to actually like me and be my friend consider this my way of baking this for you…kinda. The method to these are a little bit different to any of the ways I’ve baked brownies, or any other baked good for that matter, so even though it might seem a little bit mental…stick with it. k?

browniesss

 

You will need:

  • 250g butter,
  • 1tsp coffee granules,
  • 200g dark chocolate,
  • 80g cocoa powder,
  • 65g plain flour,
  • 1tsp baking powder,
  • 4 eggs,
  • 360g caster sugar.

HOW TO:

First off, line a square tin or any shaped tin of your choice, with parchment paper or grease it with butter and preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

Then I put the butter into a microwave safe jug or bowl and heat it for 30 seconds at a time until it is fully melted. You could do this on top of the stove or even in a bain marie if that is easier for you. To the melted butter add the coffee granules you don’t taste the coffee element by adding this it just helps to enhance the richer, chocolate flavour. Add your chopped chocolate to this mixture at the same time as the coffee too, letting it mingle with the hot butter, leave it for about 2 minutes or so and then come back and stir it all together until it has all melted and is a smooth, glossy chocolate liquid. At this stage it’ll still be really warm so you could either put let it cool somewhere, place it in the fridge for short intervals making sure it’s not in there too long in case it’ll set. I actually use the very unorthodox method of putting the plug in my sink and putting cold water in. Just enough water that it comes up to where the chocolate mixture is in the jug, allowing no water actually into the mix.

Whilst that is cooling I crack the eggs and put them in a stand mixer, if you don’t have one of these you could use a hand whisk it might just take you a little longer but think of the muscles you’ll be using! Slightly ironic thought that for a brownie recipe but hey. To that I add in the sugar. If you want a richer, fudgier, more of a molasses taste, I’d suggest using a darker or demerara sugar. I used caster sugar.

I mixed it for about 5 minutes or so until the eggs and the sugar were lovely and combined and plenty of air was whipped through so it had pretty much doubled in size.

When the chocolatey, buttery mixture was cooled whilst the mixer is on a slow speed Ioured in the chocolate a little at a time careful not to knock any of the air out and gradually added more and more until it was all fully combined.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder a little at a time, folding it through gently.

Once it’s all fully combined you can pour it into your prepared tray or if you wanted to jazz it up a bit and add chopped fruit like cherries or some crushed nuts, oreos, peanut butter cups (shout out to Reece from Tinder we knew we wouldn’t have seen the last of you just yet) or a handful of pretzels now is the perfect time to mix it through or push some into the top of the batter once it’s in the tray.

I baked it between 20-25 minutes, checking it halfway with a skewer. I found to get that extra crackly top is once it’s out of the oven, hold it about 8 inches above a cooling rack and drop it down on the surface several times. My dog wondered what on earth I was doing but it helps to crack the top surface (of the brownies not your kitchen work tops).

Leave to cool and then cut into little chunks. ENJOY. ❤

 

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Look at that crackly top tho?????

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I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

MUCH LOVE. x

Dinner at Zizzi’s.

Italian food is one of my favourite cuisines, I wouldn’t be surprised even if it was one of the UK’s favourites when eating out. Most High Street’s in Britain will have at least one Italian place! I for one could 100% live off of pizza, pasta, breads and gelato, I mean if it wasn’t for the fact I’d wake up the size of a house of course. I’ve mentioned before how when I’m going out to eat, I live for looking up the best places to go and eat on Tripadvisor, usually I’d opt for somewhere that’s an independent place or somewhere that does a bit different.

However out of all the chain restaurants, Zizzi is honestly one of my absolute favourites. By the way this is not a sponsored post in the slightest, I just really want to sing their praises! They have a really fun, authentic and fresh menu serving really exciting foods for a whole host of tastebuds. I love that their vegetarian AND vegan menu has more than one option each and is all such delicious food. Oh and did I mention at the moment (until the 28th of October I thiiiiink???) they have a cracking 3 course meal offer for £15.95. How amazing is that?! Me and mum went their for a leisurely lunch and I’ll share with you here what we had.

So me and mumsypops actually went to Zizzi in Dorchester’s Brewery Square. It’s a really cool new food quarter and cinema section so it’s perfect if you’re planning on a cinema night and you’re spoilt for choices with some fab dining spots. We had our pooch with us so couldn’t sit inside the restaurant but the kind servers were really accomodating and let us sit in the outside eating section.

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This was my starter and doesn’t it look delicious and carby and like you could eat a whole bucket of them right now???? They’re called Little Soul Breads and they were incredible. They’re little dough balls of heaven, topped with garlic and salt, baked until they’re crusty on top and like a little soft fluffy cloud in the middle. We had a choice of dips but went with a garlic butter and a white bean and basic pesto. DIVINE.

pizza zizzi

 

So obvs if I’m going out for pizza and see something with goat’s cheese on it, I’ve pretty much already decided on that in my mind! So when I saw this goat’s cheese, mozzarella,  caramelised onions, a sprinkling of pine nuts and juuuuust a bit more cheese and basil.It was amazing. I love the fresh saltiness the goat’s cheese adds combined with the tangy sweetness of the caramelised onions it was really well balanced.

I have such a sweet tooth, if I go out for dinner, I am mainly thinking about going out for dessert. Pudding is my absolute favourite and if I could eat it for every meal without getting diabetes or piling on the pounds then I totally would. Judge me if you want, but who would say no to Crème brûlée or ice cream for breakfast?! So I was super buzzing for us to have our puddings. To be honest by this point we were both feeling quite full but because we already ordered it at the beginning we had it anyway. Such troopers aren’t we!?

zizzi ice cream

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So me and Mother dearest both decided to get ice cream. You can even see her in the top image helping with the shots for the ‘gram. CUTE. Mum got the chocolate sea salt, coconut chocolate ripple and the raspberry and mascarpone ripple. I went for the chocolate sea salt, raspberry mascarpone ripple and the honey seasalt and mascarpone. Each one of these was so rich, flavourful and smooth. I wish they would sell me a tub of the chocolate sea salt one, it was bliss! I love the combination of saltiness and sweet.

I am a huge fan of Zizzi as you can tell by this blogpost of appreciation! I’m so keen to get back to one so I can check out their recent menus. They’re always sprucing them seasonally oh and, did I mention they have a great selection of cocktails, mocktails and funky soft drinks! Sooooo shall I book a group table for us or do you want to?

 

Homemade Cornbread.

So as I mentioned in my post yesterday as seen here I made and ate cornbread for the first time and it was actually really good. I’ve often seen people on American films and sitcoms eat this with their meals and have always been a bit curious as to what it actually is and what it tastes like too. To be honest if you were like me and hadn’t tried it before it’s like a dense cake is the best way to describe it I reckon. Eating this made me live out my dream of being a old woman from one of the southern states of America, I pictured myself sitting on a rocking chair on a porch in Alabama, spitting into a bucket and stroking one of my many wild pet cats. We’ve all got dreams right?!

Anyway aside from that mad tangeant, I would really recommend giving this a go. It’s a bit different and something I, and none of my family members had really tried before, it’s also a really conversation starter if you serve this up over the dinner table with a big feast of tex mex food.

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As you can see from the above image, which looks like its a screengrab from a crap documentary series filmed off of a potato, it’s a proper dense little side dish. It looks like a cake, smells like cake but has that faint polenta/sweetcorn aroma to it and went really with the savoury chilli flavours.

If I’ve managed to sell this recipe to you and you fancy giving it a go yourself, it’s so easy to do. You literally just mix wet ingredients into the dry ones. Pop it in a lined tray and bang it in the oven. DONE.

To make this you will need:

  • 125g plain flour.
  • 125g cornmeal or polenta.
  • 140g caster sugar.
  • 1 tsp salt.
  • 3tsp baking powder.
  • 1 large egg.
  • 235ml of milk.
  • 80ml vegetable oil.

HOW TO:

I wish I could ramble on in this gap for ages how technical I found this but I’m not the greatest cook in the world and I found it so easy there’s literally 0 room to go wrong.

I measured out all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and then mixed them all together until they were nicely combined.

Adding in a pinch of salt and the egg, I mixed until it formed a paste like consistency.

In a jug, I measured out the milk and the oil adding that to the dry ingredients until it came together like a smooth cake batter.

I popped it in the oven (which was set and preheating obvs at 200 degrees C) It took about 25 minutes to fully cook through and I left it to cool before serving.

I did see online that some people eat theirs hot or with honey or topped with butter but we had ours plain. Similarly you could add in some cheese, chives, spices like paprika or even some small bacon bits to give it a bit more punch and flavour.

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Once again, I am not impressed with the photo quality of these. I did take them with my phone and usually it works out really well but these look like I took them with a disposable camera on holiday in 1976 or something?! Anyway I was well happy with how these turned out. Considering it was my first attempt and no one was violently ill or thought they tasted gross!? That’s a win in my book!

Also, so sorry these posts are coming out later and later each day, I may have been watching Crime documentaries all evening before I realised I didn’t actually schedule a post for today. One of these days I might be an organised little sausage when it comes to these blogging shenanigans.