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Sesame Rolled Falafel Bites

September 10, 2013

Falafel.
It’s healthy, it’s easy and it makes a fantastic side to any dish. These bite sized morsels make delicious snacks too. Let’s get started!

Sesame falafel bites recipe

Falafel Bites

  • 500g Chick peas
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbsp sundried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • Seasoning

First step to fantastic falafel is to drain and thoroughly dry your chick peas. This helps the mixture bind better.

Chickpeas falafel

Falafel ingredients recipe

If you’re lucky (lazy like myself) you can roughly chop everything and chuck it into the food processor. If you’re doing things by hand then use a potato masher to blend the chickpeas into a rough paste and be sure to chop the onion & parsley very finely before combining.

Falafel recipe blender

Sun dried tomato isn’t a conventional falafel ingredient but it adds a bit of tang to an otherwise very mellow food. A squeeze of lime is another great way to add some zing! Okay, so you’ve got yourself a smooth paste which you need to shape into little balls and roll in sesame seeds. You can fry these for extra crunch, or to keep it healthier place them on a foil tray with some flavoured oil. I used coconut oil to enhance the nuttiness.

falafel sesame bites

Give these about 30 mins in a 200c oven. Yummy, spicy falafel awaits you!

Falafelbitesesame

Following the zing theme, I whipped up a super simple mango salsa to accompany my falafel bites. The fresh mango works beautifully with the cumin & parsley flavours.

Mango Salsa

  • 1 mango
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1tsp fresh parsley
  • Pepper

Chop everything very finely and mix it up. A big burst of juicy flavour to be best friends with your falafel in seconds!

Mango salsa for falafel

Power Muffins

May 14, 2013

I’m not a very middle-of-the-road kind of person, I like to do something properly or not do it at all. I’m the person who’s either the designated driver or choosing their cocktail by how much alcohol is listed, the person who’s either eating grilled chicken and veg or ordering every number off the menu of the local Chinese. Moderation is lame; it always compromises one thing whilst not completely satisfying the other.

So it’s pretty special when I find something middle-of-the-road to get me excited. I’m talking Power Muffins. These incredible little creations are the birth child of another blog and I am seriously happy they’ve entered my life.

Power Muffins

  • 5 ripe bananas
  • 130g whole oats
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g dried cranberries, chopped
  • 100g Pecans, chopped
  • 100g sunflower seeds
  • 5tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5tbsp manuka honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

So, what’s so great about them? They’re delicious and nutritious: made with 100% all natural, non processed ingredients and packed full of fibre, healthy fats and vitamins. And the bad? Well y’know, they are still muffins, let’s not pretend eating these bad boys every day is allowed. *sigh*

Power Muffins oats

Power Muffins almond flour

Oats are about as processed as this recipe gets. Unlike their cousin white flour, oats are a complex carb, meaning more stable blood sugar, a better energy source and less hunger pangs. Hoorah! Ground almonds also substitute flour in this recipe, replacing it with healthy fats and zero bloating.

Power Muffins cranberries

Power Muffins pecans

Power Muffins sunflower seeds

The nuts, seeds and cranberries make these muffins fiberous, naturally sweet and give them a little protein hit too.

Power Muffins manuka honey

I’ve used Manuka honey, which is apparently the super-food star of this show. I’ve been told how this stuff has crazy antibacterial properties, a higher concentration of vitamins and a lower GI index than other honeys, meaning a more gradual source of energy. Frankly at £8.00 for the cheapest jar it better be good. I can believe the antibacterial hype, it definitely has a slight medicinal taste to it. Of course you can use regular honey but hey, this recipe is meant to be powerful!

Okay, so time to make some muffins! Pre heat your oven to 170 degrees.

1. Peel and mash the bananas, then add the olive oil, honey, cinnamon, baking powder, soda and salt. At this point you’re going to have a really unappetising mixture, but give it a really good mix until combined.

Power Muffins mashed banana olive oil
(Trust me it smells SO much better than it looks)

2. Gently mix in the ground almonds and oats. Follow this by folding in the cranberries, pecans and seeds.

3. Spoon into greased muffin moulds and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.

Power muffins mix

They’ll come out dense and soft with a crunchy topping.

Power muffins recipe yum dim sum

Power Muffins Yum Dim Sum recipe

Oh God they taste so good. Think super gourmet nutri-grain with more love put into it.

Yum Dim Sum Power muffin recipe

Make these immediately. I’ve already forced a pile on my grandparents and will be taking a batch to my next meeting. (I told you I wasn’t very good with moderation.)

Chinese Spring Onion Sauce

March 17, 2013

Whenever me & Mr Yumdimsum head over to China town, our platter of meat is always accompanied by a simple little sauce that blows our minds. It’s drizzled over your soya chicken and the flavour is just incredible. As we’re saving for a holiday we’ve not been to China town in what feels like forever (*whimper!*) so to soothe our withdrawals Mr Yumdimsum whipped up a batch of our very own spring onion sauce!

Spring Onion Ginger Sauce

  • 1 bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • Half a cup of peanut oil
  • Big pinch of salt

Put the spring onion, ginger and salt in a bowl. Heat up the oil in a pan until really hot (peanut oil has a high burning point so don’t worry) and then pour it over the contents of the bowl. Leave to rest until it has cooled to room temperature. It’s ready to go!

Spring onion ginger sauce Chinese style

This is so easy to make. The nuttiness of the oil, the spiciness of the onion and the freshness of the ginger all mix together perfectly to make a seriously tasty sauce. I promise you, a spoonful of this stuff over plain grilled chicken will turn your meal from boring health food into a party in your mouth!

Spring onion Chinese sauce

Chinese spring onion sauce

Chinese spring onion ginger sauce over grilled chicken

Just be sure you’re supplied with gum should you be venturing out in public after! 😉

Bitter Gourd Tea

January 1, 2013
Bitter Gourd lowering blood sugar tea cover

I found this in the Chinese supermarket and I’ve never heard of it before. I’m a big fan of Chinese teas and drink green & jasmine daily, both for the taste and the health benefits. The fact that this one claims to lower your blood sugar got me curious and so I had to try it. At £1.39 for the box I could buy now, research later!

 

Bitter Gourd blood sugar lowering tea

Bitter Gourd blood sugar lowering tea bag

 

There’s an endless array of faddy ‘health’ teas out there with false claims about weight loss & detoxing. It’s about wading through the bullshit to get to the facts. Whatever tea you choose, there is not a single tea bag in existence which is going to magically transform you into a svelte, fighting fit specimen. The right teas can however add numerous benefits to your health over a long term period. For example green tea, along with containing the highest concentration of antioxidants of all the teas, contains thermogenic properties. Thermogenesis is the process of heat production, which in turn boosts your metabolism. Consuming green tea in large quantities can therefore contribute towards a more active metabolism, aiding weight loss & preventing weight gain.

 

Bitter Gourd

So first of all, what exactly is a bitter gourd? Technically a fruit but it looks like a cucumber’s ugly brother. It’s found in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean where it also goes by the name of Bitter Melon. It’s never become popular in the West, but in its native countries bitter gourd is eaten like any other vegetable. It’s a shame we don’t consume more of it, as bitter gourds are packed with interesting stuff. Along with all the vitamins and nutrients you’d expect to find in a fruit or vegetable, there are the chemicals which attribute themselves to lowering blood sugar. For the chemistry geeks, these go by the names of momordin and charantin. I won’t pretend to be an expert in how they do it, but these chemicals have a hypoglycaemic effect on your body (a decrease in blood sugar).

 

Lower Blood Sugar

Some readers may be thinking, “Okay, bitter gourd lowers your blood sugar, so what?” Well here comes the sciencey bit that I do know about! Sugar (glucose) is a key energy source for your body. Insulin regulates the levels of sugar in your blood by preventing the metabolism of fat (more energy) when blood sugar becomes too high. That’s right, when your blood sugar spikes your body stops burning fat! Lots of sugar tells your body that there is an excess of energy available and that no more is needed, so the insulin (also known as the fat-storing hormone) causes you to store fat, rather than burn it up. Helloooo weight gain!

This is precisely why sugary foods are far more harmful for weight loss than fatty foods. More successful weight loss comes from avoiding these spikes and where bitter gourd tea comes into play with its blood sugar lowering properties. It seems from research that a number of diabetes organisations and sufferers endorse bitter gourd tea as an aid to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.

 

Bitter Gourd lowering blood sugar tea

 

lowering blood sugar bitter gourd tea

 

Taste

I’m going to be honest: it tastes weird. Not necessarily bad, it’s not repulsive, but at the same time it’s not in the slightest bit delicious. Imagine a kind of fousty roast dinner; that’s what bitter gourd tastes like. It is literally like drinking watered down stale gravy. Usually tea is something you associate with being sweet but this is very savoury. Remember, do not put sugar in this- it will completely cancel out the entire point of your drinking it.

 

Precautions:

Everything comes with a precaution nowadays. Whilst no one is expecting you to consult a doctor before making yourself a cuppa, bitter gourd tea does come with a few warnings. I suppose this is something reassuring as it’s further testimony to the effectiveness. I’ve read a number of warnings that you mustn’t guzzle loads of this tea as it runs the risk of lowering your blood sugar too much. Super low blood sugar is no one’s idea of a good time; a self induced hangover without the fun part? No thank you! Stick to 1 or 2 cups per day.

 

I’ll give bitter gourd tea a fair trial and come back to you in the future on my final verdict! If you fancy buying some for yourself, you’ll locate it in Chinese & Indian supermarkets along with online.