food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

kale and pistachio pesto by food to glowNow that the shorts and flips flops have been tucked away for another year, I feel safe to resume my kale-centric posts. Although my Instagram feed is pretty much a 365 devotional diary to this heartiest and most nutritious of vegetables, I have inveigled kale into just a few warmer weather posts – e.g. my Greens and Beans Breakfast Tostados back in June.

But, seeing as my garden is almost invisible under a crunchy carpet of leaves, I feel I can be a bit bolder and once again declare my love for this cringingly-trendy {as in no longer trendy}, crinkly and fringy super-vegetable. Continue Reading

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baked chocolate wontons by food to glowNational Chocolate Week has come and gone and, despite promising another chocolate recipe for you last week, it never happened. But, it is never too late to post a healthy chocolate treat recipe, is it?

Much has been written in the past few years about the benefits of chocolate. In fact, far from being something to avoid, chocolate has over 40 health benefits. But, while there are a few good examples, the food and confectionary industry has hijacked the the more headline-grabbing findings to promote their far from healthy food products. It seems that anything with a sniff of dark chocolate – and especially cacao – is labelled healthy, good for you, helps fight heart disease, improves your mood, ups fertility, yada yada. Look closer, however, and you might find that most of these so-called healthy chocolates contain plenty of added sugar {in various guises}, added fat, calorific or nutritionally empty fillers, as well as serving sizes that perpetuate our tendency towards ‘portion distortion.image of raw cacao by food to glow

Today’s recipe errs mostly on the side of healthful, being modest in serving size, minimally and naturally sweetened, containing filling and healthy fat and protein, and with a whack of beneficial cacao. It gets better: they are also crisp on the outside and gooey in the middle. A win-win situation if ever I saw one.

wonton wrapper

Wonton wrapper: the size you need for this recipe is 3.25 x 3.25 inches.

The bought wonton wrappers I use are small and fairly innocuous in the scheme of things {see right image}, but here is recipe to make your own. I might try making a batch with chestnut flour, or at least spelt flour, and see how I get on. Here is a gluten-free recipe that depends on a specific proprietary flour blend. If you have a favourite wonton dough recipe – whether traditional or gluten-free – do let me know. Most brands are just flour, water, egg and a little salt {very few will use free-range or organic eggs, I imagine}.

If you aren’t making your own, look in your supermarket freezer section or a  Chinese grocer and pick up a pack of the small ones for this recipe. As you only use about 12 of these wrappers per batch – unless you get carried away – you may want ideas for the rest of the packet.

Leftovers can go savoury. These little crackers look great, as do these steamed wonton ideas over at foodrepublic.comThis oddly titled but interesting article will spark your own ideas of what to do with these floppy little tiles of dough. I have in the past pushed oiled wonton wrappers into mini muffin tins to bake into brilliant little crispy cups. The baked cups can then be filled with sweet or savoury fillings. Eating one-bite treats is much more fun and convivial than knife and fork food.

And making and eating this one-bite treat is definitely fun.

Baked Chocolate Wontons  Most recipes of this ilk call for frying. This is so not necessary! Who needs the added complication and calories of frying when baking is just as good. A great little after dinner nibble. Make them up ahead of time and keep in an air-tight container, baking just before you wish to enjoy them.  50g (1/2 cup) pecans, toasted in 180C/350F oven for eight minutes 1 heaped tbsp raw cacao powder or best-quality cocoa, plus a little extra for serving 2 pitted Medjool dates OR 3 Deglet Nour dates 2-finger pinch of salt ½ tsp vanilla powder or extract 1 tbsp coconut oil, as liquid OR milk {plant or dairy} 12 small wonton wrappers, with a few more just in case Palmful of evenly chopped dark chocolate Extra liquid coconut oil or melted butter/rapeseed oil for brushing wontons  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with parchment/wax paper {preferably unbleached}.  Put everything but the dark chocolate and extra coconut oil in a food processor or blender {I use my Froothie}, and blend until smooth or almost smooth – your choice.  Spoon a teaspoon of the mixture into each wonton and top with a piece of chocolate. Brush a little water around the outer edge and pull edges over to make a triangle, or make other shapes if you like. I made a variety of shapes for you to choose from: ‘purse’, cylindrical and triangles.   Brush each wonton with melted coconut oil, rapeseed oil or melted butter and place on the lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Serve hot with extra cacao powder, or a mix of cacao and unrefined icing sugar. Spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and even five-spice are all lovely to add to either the wontons or in the dusting garnish.  Note: A serving would be three-four wontons per person.  Variation: use a small banana instead of dates  Quick variation: halve dates and place a piece of chocolate and pecan on each half; wrap in a wonton and bake!

Baked Chocolate Wontons

  • Servings: 3-4/ 12 pieces total
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Most recipes of this ilk call for frying. This is so not necessary! Who needs the added complication and calories of frying when baking is just as good. If you are making these for a small gathering, first of all double or triple the recipe. But also make them up ahead of time and keep in an air-tight container, baking just before you wish to enjoy them. Oh, and the filling would be nice on pancakes, waffles, toast and slices of fruit. For vegans, use phyllo pastry cut into little squares and layer about three together per wonton.

I made my mixture a bit nubbly but, if you have a high-speed blender like I have, process to a ‘cream’ if you like. 

50g (1/2 cup) pecans, preferably toasted in 180C/350F oven for eight minutes

1 heaped tbsp raw cacao powder OR best-quality cocoa, plus a little extra for serving

2 pitted Medjool dates OR 3 Deglet Nour dates

2-finger pinch of salt

½ tsp vanilla powder or extract

1 tbsp coconut oil – as liquid, OR milk {plant or dairy}

12 small wonton wrappers, with a few more just in case

Palmful of evenly chopped dark chocolate

Extra liquid coconut oil or melted butter/rapeseed oil for brushing wontons

baked chocolate wontons1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with parchment/wax paper {preferably unbleached}.

2. Put everything but the dark chocolate and extra coconut oil in a food processor or blender {I use my Froothie}, and blend until smooth or almost smooth – your choice.

3. Spoon a teaspoon of the mixture into each wonton and top with a piece of chocolate. Brush a little water around the outer edge and pull edges over to make a triangle, or make other shapes if you like. I made a variety of shapes for you to choose from: ‘purse’, cylindrical and triangles.

4. Lightly brush each wonton with melted coconut oil, rapeseed oil or melted butter and place on the lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Serve hot with extra cacao powder, or a mix of cacao and unrefined icing sugar. Spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and even five-spice, are all lovely to add either to the wontons or in the dusting garnish.

Note: A serving would be three-four wontons per person.

Variation: use a small banana instead of dates

Quick variation: halve dates and place a piece of chocolate and pecan on each half; wrap in a wonton and bake!

baked chocolate wontons by food to glow

kimchi burger by food to glowAlong with the nut loaf and the veggie lasagne, veggie burgers have long been the butt of anti-vegetarian jokes. These have also been the claggy, yet somehow throat-stickingly dry, offerings of unimaginative restaurants attempting to cater for their non flesh-eating patrons.

For years vegetarians ate these sad excuses for meals: nut loaves that disintegrated on the fork, requiring mashing up with the ubiquitous side of peas in order to ‘catch’ it; the burger patties mimicking the shape of their meaty brethren but failing oh so miserably in the taste department – unless you like heavily-salted cardboard. Such nasty meals were penitence for shunning the norm. A hail Mary for the culinary sinner. Continue Reading

chocolate and pear quesadilla by food to glowIf you live in the UK it will not have escaped your notice that it is #NationalChocolateWeek. Not that most of us need an excuse, especially considering that we in the UK collectively gorge on 660,900 tonnes of the stuff each year. No doubt this is small beans {cacao beans} compared to the US, what with it apparently snaffling almost half the world’s chocolate supply – at an astonishing rate of 100 pounds a second. That’s a helluva lot of KitKats…

I’m not quite sure why we need a whole week celebrating chocolate, but at least it is a nice distraction and has made social media less about navel-gazing and more about face-stuffing. My Facebook feed is currently one long scroll of chocolate-related links. The added bonus is that pictures of chocolate creations tend to be nicer to look at than those of green smoothies and kale what-not {guilty, m’lud}.

I’m not always one to get on a bandwagon, but even a blogger of healthy food can get onboard with chocolate. Otherwise I would be missing out on some seriously impressive heart-protecting and cancer fighting polyphenols {see my Chocolate and Beetroot Cake recipe for a run down on all the known benefits}.

And so, even with my tempered and tame sweet tooth, I enjoy the occasional chocolate treat. Whether in the form of a snapped off square of dark chocolate after dinner, a ‘neatened edge’ from a tin of Fudgy Aduki Bean Brownies made for work, a spoon of melt in the middle chocolate fondant proffered by a dining companion, chocolate is not off limits at food to glow. Granted we don’t often have bars of the stuff lying around for casual snacking{although sometimes a 2-for-1 Lindt or Green & Black’s falls into the shopping cart. Oops.}, but I do keep some cooking chocolate and a tin of cocoa powder for making healthier versions of popular chocolate recipes. But mostly I like to do my own thing. And today’s recipe sees me doing just that.

My Chocolate and Pear Quesadillas are more an idea than a recipe. Nothing needs to be exact. It’s not  baking, after all. I came up with it as a sweet, fairly healthy treat for anyone off to uni – like my daughter – who wants a quick dessert, snack, or even breakfast – made with stuff they might already have or could easily get.chocolate and pear quesadilla by food to glow

Normally when I am making something sweet I will have a couple of bites and that’s fine. I save the rest for the family. But the first time I made this I managed to scoff a whole quesadilla and call it breakfast. Very un-food to glow of me! I did make more later. And I did share. :-)

I used Clearspring Fruit Puree for this recipe, but any fruit puree or pure fruit spread – like those from Sunwheel – will do just fine. Even sieved applesauce is good. As for the fruit, thinly sliced pear, apple, banana, pineapple or chopped plums or cherries would be fab – whatever goes with your spread. You can also make this in a hot pan rather than a George Foreman-type contraption.

I’ve got another easy chocolate recipe later this week for you. But funny thing is, I didn’t write down the measurements {true!} so will have to make another batch.

Ah, the life of a recipe developer. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

chocolate and pear quesadilla by food to glow

Chocolate and Pear Quesadillas

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

Use tortillas, chapati or even pitta bread to encase the fruity, chocolatey filling. But watch out – they’re hot! Please allow the quesadilla to cool a little bit before eating. If enjoying this for breakfast, perhaps add some protein by spreading on a little nut butter before the fruit spread. Or add a side of yogurt. 

2 flour tortillas {the white-wholemeal, ’50-50′ ones are good here;}

4 tbsp fruit spread or puree {applesauce works if sieved of extra moisture, or use less}

1 small pear, thinly sliced

40g dark chocolate, finely chopped {use vegan chocolate if you like}

Cocoa powder, to serve – optional

1. Heat a non-stick pan/cast iron pan to medium-hot, or heat a George Foreman type of grill pan.

2. Spread 2 tbsp of fruit puree on each tortilla. Sprinkle over half of the chocolate. Lay half of the pear slices on one half {see image}. Fold over to enclose the filling, pressing a bit to seal the edges.

3. Place the crescent-shaped tortilla on your pan and heat until the chocolate melts, flipping halfway if using an open pan.

4. Cool slightly and cut in half to serve. Sprinkle with a little cocoa powder and extra fruit if you like.

A Few More Chocolate Recipes on Food To Glow:

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Chocolate-Almond Butter Bites

Chocolate-Chestnut Truffle Cake

- see my Index or search bar {to the right} for more…

And Some Chocolate and Fruit/Vegetable Recipes From Others:

Courgette and Chocolate Brownies – The Botanical Baker

Dark Chocolate and Rhubarb Brownies – Utterly Scrummy

Pear and Chocolate Brownies – Ren Behan

chocolate and pear quesadilla by food to glow

slow-baked apple pie granola by food to glowIf you were to peruse my recipe index you would be forgiven for thinking that I am obsessed with breakfast, and granola. The former is true, but the latter, to be honest, is not.

My granola-making efforts are largely for my daughter who, eating grilled kimcheese as happily as waffles or pancakes, is much more egalitarian in her breakfast food choices than me. I favour savoury breakfasts and will rarely eat granola except if feeling “hormonal” and in need of something sweet to nibble on. This is currently top of my list. I am loving the crunch of the grains and nuts and the slightly soft and chewy tang of fresh garden apple. Not quite a bar of chocolate or tray of cookies but it will do for most of the time.

I wish I could say I was inspired to make this granola after being hit on the head by a falling apple, a la Newton. My inspiration was much more pedestrian. I was merely collecting the wind-fall apples littering my garden and thought, “a ha, granola.” I guess that was a eureka moment of sorts because I acted on it immediately, racing into the kitchen and corralling the simple ingredients onto the worktop. My other “a ha” moment was remembering the pots and sachets of organic 100% fruit puree I had recently been sent from Clearspring. I had a hunch that I could use them instead of added sugar in the granola. My hunch proved correct. DSC_0109

However, my idea of sweet is probably divergent to the vast majority of humankind. Dark chocolate is plenty sweet for me. Yes, I am a bit of a weirdo. So, that being acknowledged, do feel free to add extra sweetness, shown as options in the recipe. You will still get a compelling tang from the fresh apple in amongst the usual and expected sweet. Rachel being a normal person, and not like her Mum, wanted the granola a bit sweeter so I added a touch of sucanat and sorghum molasses, the latter smuggled in from my last trip home to Florida. Dark treacle will do.

Have you had any recent “eureka” moments in the kitchen, or garden? 

slow-baked apple pie granola by food to glow

Slow-Baked Apple Pie Granola

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The slow-bake is key to this Apple Pie Granola. Because of the moisture content of both the fresh apple and the fruit puree, the granola needs the ‘tlc’ of a lower temperature and a longer bake. Once pulled from the oven you will be rewarded with an intensely fruity cereal that’s perfect for eating straight off the tray, topped with milk, stirred into yogurt, or even as a topping for a no-bake crumble with stewed fruit.

I have included optional added sugar in case the fruit and/or fruit puree isn’t sweet enough for those who may be eating the granola. Or, you could leave it out and let others add sweetener to taste.

1 tbsp + 1 tsp neutral oil or coconut oil – divided use

1 small apple or pear, cored and small dice

100g apple or pear puree OR smooth unsweetened applesauce {I used Clearspring Organic Fruit Puree}

2 tbsp raw sugar – optional

1 tbsp sorghum molasses, date syrup, dark treacle or honey – optional

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground clove or nutmeg

50g nuts and seeds

100g barley or rye flakes {or oats}

100g whole oats

 

1. Preheat the oven to 140C; line a baking tray with parchment paper.

2. Toss the apple pieces with the 1/2 tsp of oil.

3. Heat the sugar, and syrup {if using}, fruit puree and remaining oil in a medium-sized saucepan until liquid. Sprinkle in the spices and fold in the grains and nuts/seeds. Mix well.

4. Tumble onto the lined baking tray and top with the diced apple or pear.

5. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every fifteen minutes. Cool on the tray and decant into a storage container. Use within seven days.

Note: Because of the inherent moisture content of this way of baking granola, I don’t recommend making a bigger batch as it will go soft. But if you chose to do this in a dehydrator then go ahead and make as big a batch as you like!

Disclosure: I was given some products to try by Clearspring, but was neither paid nor expected to write about them. I only feature products I actually use and love on food to glow. Always.

 

grilled shiitake kimcheese by food to glowFact or fiction for you: munching out of a box of cereal on the sofa; curled up with the cat; the latest Netflix series glowing before you; ice cream/wine/bag of sweets on standby {delete as applicable}. Sound familiar? Even if only once in a blue moon?

This may seem like a harassed mother’s idea of bliss. All that time to yourself. The TV remote in YOUR hand. No incessant, “mummy, look at this!” Just you, your show, your cereal and a disinterested cat.

But for singletons, students, those whose partners are frequently away, or whose children go to an ex-partner for the weekend, the lure of the no-cook meal gets old. And fast. One or three Lean Cuisines in and you can fall either way: searching out real food but that’s quick and for one; or the other way: processed foods and takeaways.

Katie Schmidt of the wonderful whole food blog, Whole Nourishment, has invited me and a few other whole food bloggers to contribute to her week-long series, Cooking For One. It ‘s only a guess but I don’t think that cereal features very highly.  Continue Reading

turmeric and lime salmonEvery week, twice a week, I post new recipes. I have done this for about three and a half years, and I don’t think I have ever had a tweaky post of a past recipe. But, confession time: this is a re-working of an old post. A freshening up of a family favourite.

Sometimes dishes are too good to let them languish in the twisted labyrinth of one’s archives. This is such a recipe. But with a small change that makes a big difference: fresh turmeric.
Continue Reading

beetroot and tomato soupNearly everyone and everything says that autumn has arrived: my flame-red Virginia Creeper climbing up the garage; the carpet of crispy oak leaves on my sad excuse for a lawn; excitable foodies on Twitter going pumpkin latte-mad; pull-out newspaper supplements with food porn shots of, yup, pumpkins.

I am ready, finger poised to flip my figurative calendar over to October, but Edinburgh has not got the memo. It is in point of fact warmer and drier this past week than it has been most of the summer. I nearly put on shorts but hadn’t had the foresight to make sure my legs were fit for public viewing (ahem).

So, here I am, outside in a loose t-shirt, squinting into a lowering retina-searing sun, writing about hot soup. Continue Reading

roasted balsamic and date syrup figs by food to glowThis time of year – despite the falling temperatures and falling leaves – is a favourite time for me as a cook, and glutton. And figs are one reason why.

Beautiful, black Turkish figs – with their soft, edible dusky-leather jackets, and their tiny crunchy seeds – are my favourite fruit of autumn. I know this sounds a bit poncey, but eating one transports me back to the garden of a house we stayed at in southern France. It was a beautiful, sprawling house, isolated from the rest of humankind and overlooking a heat-hazed valley, checkered with fertile plots and poky wee villages. The best thing about this house – other than the bracingly cold pool – was the overhanging fig trees, with fruit so ripe we would find them smashed on the path each morning; useless to us but bliss for the birds. We managed to snaffle a few before they dropped, but even just the scent as we passed under the heavily-burdened boughs was heavenly. Since then I have greedily bought up ripe figs when in season trying to briefly experience a glimpse of that wonderful family holiday. And then it rains…

Continue Reading

 

pad thai crepes by food to glowThis weekend we found ourselves in the big, blue box that is Ikea, returning some unneeded items (and not picking up meatballs, before you ask). I was initially surprised at the snaking queues, and the depressed-looking teens trailing after nearly-as depressed-looking parents; their carts piled high with bright rugs, huge frames and angle poise lights. Then I twigged: these kids were getting sorted for the start of the English universities. And you can’t start uni without the obligatory shuffle around the cavernous temple to flat-pack.  Continue Reading

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