Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Butternut Squash, Courgette and Feta
4 Large red bell peppers
1 Cup quinoa
1/2 Butternut squash (medium size)
200g Feta cheese
3 Garlic cloves
1 Can chopped tomatoes
400g Fresh basil
2 Teaspoons paprika
2 Teaspoon salt
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
(Preheat oven to 200°C)
1. Prepare the peppers by removing the tops and scraping out the ribs and seeds. Set aside.
2. Peel and scoop out seeds from butternut squash, cut in to 1/2 inch cubes. drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, toss to coat.
Bake for roughly 20mins until slightly tender but still firm.
3. While the butternut squash roasts, you can make the quinoa. To cook your quinoa, rinse well and cook with two parts water. Bring to the boil and simmer for approx 10/12 minutes with lid on. Remove from heat and drain excess water.
4. Cut the courgette in to 1/2 inch cubes, roughly chop the basil, mince the garlic and crumble 3/4’s of the feta (saving 1/4 for topping later).
5. In a medium bowl, add the quinoa, butternut squash, courgette, garlic, basil and feta together with the can of chopped tomatoes and two teaspoons of paprika. Gently stir to combine.
6. Prepare a baking dish with just a drizzle of olive oil.
7. Spoon quinoa mixture in to the peppers and arrange in baking dish, making sure they sit flat. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35mins.
8. Remove foil. Sprinke the peppers with remaining 1/4 of crumbled feta and continue to bake for another 10mins.
Note: Garnish with basil and season with salt / pepper if desired. Simple side salad suggested.
Quinoa Salad with Honey, Mint and Lemon Dressing
2 Tablespoons organic honey
5 Sprigs of fresh mint (finely chopped)
2 Teaspoons sea salt
1 Tablespoon wholegrain mustard
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons za’atar spice blend
2 Cups organic quinoa
2 Red bell peppers
1 Medium cucumber
4 Spring Onions
250g Sugar snap peas
4 Cloves of garlic
1 Small bunch of coriander
1. Prepare the dressing - juice the whole lemon and combine with olive oil, sea salt, honey, mustard, za’tar spice blend and finely chopped mint.
2. To cook your quinoa, rinse well and cook with two parts water. Bring to the boil and simmer for approx 10/12 minutes with lid on. Remove from heat and drain excess water. Allow to cool.
3. While the quinoa cooks, steam your sugar snap peas for 3/4 minutes, they should still be bright green and quite crisp.
4. Dice up the cucumber and red pepper, finely mince garlic, finely slice spring onions and roughly chop the coriander.
5. In a very large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients. Add the dressing and toss gently to combine everything.
Note: If you desire, this also tastes great topped with feta or goat’s cheese!
Throughout the summer, I heard so many people raving on about the incredible health and beauty benefits of coconut oil, so I decided to have a little look into it myself…
Apparently the benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion, regulated metabolism and cholesterol level maintenance.
It is also said that coconut oil provides relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. These benefits can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and their respective properties, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and soothing qualities.
Coconut oil is said to be one of the best natural nutrients for your hair. It helps stimulate healthy growth and adds lustre, shine and softness to the hair. It is also highly effective in reducing protein loss, prevents hair breakage, split ends and dandruff.
Coconut oil is excellent for the skin as well - It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin.
A safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin, coconut oil also delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin, keeping you looking healthy and youthful. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.
Coconut oil contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that aid in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Furthermore, it increases the body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby burning more energy.
If you suffer from poor digestion or tummy bloating try adding coconut oil to your diet. Coconut oil helps to improve the digestive system and has been found to prevent various stomach and digestion-related problems including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion.
I bought myself a tub of Biona Organic Virgin Coconut Oil – Raw and have been adding 1tsp a day to meals, using on my dry and damaged hair and applying a small amount to my weather damaged skin in replacement to my usual moisturiser.
I can honestly say, I’m absolutely all for this tropical trooper!
My hair feels fantastic, my skin is clear and smooth and although can’t say I’ve seen any dramatic changes, my body feels pretty good too!
Aside from that, coconut oil tastes great when used as a cooking ingredient and is a great alternative to vegetable oils, butter or margarine.
More about which Coconut Oil I’m using:
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (Raw): Produced from organic coconuts, in an organic way, virgin coconut oil is derived from the milk obtained from fresh coconut meat, and not from copra, by processes like fermentation, centrifugal separation and enzyme action. Care is taken to use no or as little heat as possible in the extraction of this oil. Produced in this way, the oil tastes and smells best and is laden with antioxidants and medium chain fatty acids. It also has remarkable anti-microbial properties. This is one of the most respected and trusted varieties of coconut oil.
Brand: Biona - www.biona.co.uk/product-194-4.html
Coconut Chilli Chicken Ramen
300g Rice noodles
3 Chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons raw organic coconut oil
4 Cups homemade or low sodium chicken broth
4 Medium free range eggs
10g Toasted fine cut nori (Dried seaweed)
3x 10g Sachets of Organic miso instant soup (gluten-free, check label)
4 Spring onions
3 Cloves of garlic
2 Teaspoons all purpose seasoning
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (gluten-free, check label)
Handful of sesame seeds
1. Season chicken breasts with all purpose seasoning, half a finely chopped chilli and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, grill for roughly 8-10mins on each side.
Once cooked, thinly slice chicken breasts.
2. For the broth, finely chop 3 cloves of garlic and 1/2 chilli and add to saucepan with 2tbsp of soy sauce, 1.5l water and the 3 miso soup sachets. Add 4 cups of chicken stock, bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20mins.
3. While the broth simmers, cook the rice noodles, slice the spring onions and boil the eggs (using your method of preference).
4. Combine noodles, spring onions and an egg to your serving bowl, pour over 2/3 cups of broth. Place a handful of seaweed and the chicken on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Add a couple of slices of chilli for decoration if you wish.
Pumpkin, Banana and Peanut Butter Dessert
2 Cups dairy free vanilla yogurt
1/2 Small pumpkin
2 Generous tablespoons organic peanut butter
1/2 Cup fresh orange juice
1/2 Cup water
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
1. Use a large strong knife to cut the pumpkin. Cut the 1/2 pumpkin in to 8 parts. Scoop out seeds and stringy bits. Peel skin off each section.
2. Put pumpkin chunks in to a pan of boiling water and cook until soft (roughly 20mins). Drain and let cool for 10mins.
3. Combine the pumpkin chunks with all other ingredients in a food processor/ blender. Mix until smooth.
4. Scoop mixture in to serving glasses and refrigerate for 2/3 hours before serving.
5. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and add a chocolate wafer if desired.
Mangosteen - Queen of Fruits
I tried Mangosteen for the first time a few weeks ago and it is quickly becoming one of my new favourite fruits!
In my opinion it tastes like a cross between a grape and a lychee and is delicious by itself or as part of a fruit salad.
Grown mostly in South East Asia and also in tropical South American countries, the super fruit Mangosteen is known for its unique appearance, flavour and amazing health benefits.
Legend has it that Queen Victoria offered a reward of 100 pounds sterling (or some sources say knighthood) to anyone who could deliver to her the fresh fruit - This is apparently where the nickname ‘Queen of Fruits’ came from.
Rich in antioxidants and nutrients, it is claimed that this fruit is effective in lowering the risk of various diseases, mainly due to the presence of antioxidants.
The most prominent antioxidant in mangosteen is xanthone - It is due to these xanthones, that mangosteen has antibiotic, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Another of the mangosteen’s health benefits is its effect on the cardiovascular system. It is believed to be effective in preventing diseases, like, arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, kidney stones, cataract, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, neuralgia and the list goes on!
It is also said that this fruit can be effective for weight loss, treating depression, aging, skin diseases and allergies.
Now that sounds like one hell of a Super Fruit to me!
Poached Egg, Smoked Salmon and Kale with Guacamole
1/2 leaves of Kale
1 slice of bread (my choice is gluten free with grains)
Asparagus (optional side)
Cracked black pepper
For poached egg
1tbsp rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
1tsp sea salt
While suffering from a really severe hangover, I came up with this tasty little number that absolutely cured me.
Quick and easy to make!
1. Finely chop kale. Chop ends off asparagus. Put the greens into boiling water for 3/4mins. While they cook, toast the bread.
2. Layer the toasted bread with guacamole, then add the kale followed by a few slices of smoked salmon.
3. Poach the egg - fill a deep pan with 4/5 inches of boiling water from the kettle. Bring it to a light simmer over a medium heat, add a pinch of sea salt and 1tbsp of rice vinegar. Crack the egg into a cup and gently pour it into the water in one fluid movement. Leave to cook for roughly 3-4mins.
To check whether they’re done, remove one carefully from the pan with a slotted spoon and give it a gentle push with a teaspoon. If it feels too soft (use your instincts), put it back in for another minute or two.
4. Once the egg is cooked, pop it on top of the salmon, kale and guacamole tower. Add the asparagus to the side.
Add some cracked black pepper all over.
And that’s it!
Wild Red Rice Salad with Butternut Squash and Pomegranate
3 cups wild red rice (or any other grain of your choice)
1 butternut squash
1 large red onion
4-5 large leaves of kale
feta or goat cheese (optional)
6 Tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1. Preheat oven to 190°C/ 375°F. Cook the rice - usually takes around 40mins. While rice is cooking, peel butternut squash and remove the seeds. Cut into cubes then put on a large sheet pan. Drizzle olive oil over the butternut cubes and sprinkle with salt.
Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the squash is tender.
2. While the rice cooks and the squash bakes, thinly slice the kale. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate. Make the dressing by combining the dressing ingredients above in a small bowl and whisk. Finely chop the red onion. Crumble up the feta or goat cheese.
3. Remove squash cubes from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Assemble the salad by first combining the rice with the dressing in a large bowl. Then add the butternut squash, kale, onions and pomegranate seeds. Toss very gently until just combined. Finish with a sprinkling of cheese.
Hello! I’m Mica Francis-Angel
I love to cook, eat and take photos of the food I cook and eat.
Since I’m already one of those annoying people who regularly post photos of their meals on Facebook and Instagram, I decided I may as well go all the way and begin this blog where I can share all of my favourite food, recipes and places to eat with you all.
Growing up in a single parent household, I began cooking when I was 8yrs old to help out at home - My poor dad and brother had to endure a good few years of boring, bland Tuna Pasta dishes!
Over time, I began to enjoy cooking more and more, learning new recipes and developing them through lots of experimenting.
In the past couple of years I’ve taken more of an interest in my health and wellbeing which in turn has changed how I eat and the way I look at food - I now try to eat vegan three days a week, have a mostly gluten-free diet and try to eat raw foods as much as possible.
Eating well gives me such a boost and since changing my diet my body and my mind feel better than ever! This is the feeling I want to share with others through this blog.
“Look after the roots of the tree, and the fragrant flower and luscious fruits will grow by themselves. Look after the health of the body, and the fragrance of the mind and richness of the spirit will follow.” - B.K.S. Iyengar