Raw beetroot, cacao and chilli brownies
These brownies are somewhat controversial; I’ve had mixed responses to them and they certainly divide the crowd, mainly due to the addition of hot chilli flakes. I think that the 3 main flavours compliment one another well, yet you can also taste (and see!) the beetroot, cacao and chilli individually. Raw cacao powder is made from cold-pressed cacoa beans, as opposed to cocoa powder which is made from roasting and grinding the beans. This ensures that the chocolate-y taste we know and love is there, but that the beneficial nutrients are not lost in the cooking process. With the combination of beetroot, nuts, dates and cacao powder, these brownies are very good for you but will satisfy your sweet craving or mid-afternoon slump. If you are not a spice lover, reduce the chilli content to your taste.
Makes 12 brownies
For the brownies:
200g cashew nuts
150 ground almonds
50g raw cacao powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
Pinch of salt
For the topping:
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
Prepare the beetroot by cutting off the leaves and stalks, and the knobbly bits at the top and bottom of the bulb. (Don’t throw the stalks away; reserve and use them for a soup or stir-fry). Chop the bulbs in half and place in the food processor (no need to remove the skin; just scrub off the mud!).
Add the cashews, dates, almonds, cacao powder, chilli flakes and salt to the beetroot and whizz everything together. The mixture will need quite a bit of processing; continue until everything is combined.
Push the mixture in to a 20cm by 20cm baking tray lined with non-stick paper.
For the topping, melt the coconut oil and maple syrup in a bowl (I put the bowl in the microwave on full power for 10 seconds). Stir in the cacao powder and mix together. Spread this mixture over the brownies.
Sprinkle the chilli flakes on top and leave to set for a few hours in a fridge or freezer. When hard, cut in to 12 pieces. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for much longer.
P.s. Don’t forget to checkout more of Alice’s yummy recipes on her blog (thoughtfulforkfuls.com)
Becoming a Yogi Pt. 4: The Barre Burn
As I walked into the Barre Concept class, the energy in the room suddenly became contagious. A warm, bouncy and excited sensation completely filled my body (if the sensation was visible, it would be that really fun pink kind of colour).
The lovely Amy Holly kindly asked if I’d had any experience, and I explained that I’d done ballet before but never something like this, but as soon as it started I knew it was for me.
Barre Concept is a low impact workout, meaning if you have any issues with loads of jumping, or have low blood pressure and feel woozy when moving really fast, but still want a sweaty total body workout, it’s for you. The small movements that Amy Holly sneakily adds in throughout the hour boosted the workout completely, targeting each different little muscle group, making it interesting, exciting and innovative. It’s the day after, and my legs feel like jelly!
Another thing I loved about Barre Concept was how strong and lean it made my muscles feel. As soon as you’d worked your ballet behind off, you would combat the tightness with dynamic moving stretches meaning you won’t be left with short little rock-like muscles, you’ll have long, lean beautiful bodies ready to arabesque and plié through life!
You may dislike the pace, or the music might not be your kind of thing but honestly when you throw yourself into it, it’s incredibly fun! One thing I am noticing more and more through this journey is that if I leave my silly self-restrictions, everything is one hundred million times better. Next time you’re trying something new, wrap your inhibitions up in a recyclable bag and chuck them away – you don’t need them! Throw yourself into it, and the best feelings and results will come.
If you want to have a lively workout, similar to a blend of a ballet class and a Jane Fonda workout, that gives you elongated and elegant muscles, try out Barre Concept!
Becoming a Yogi Pt. 3: Happy Hatha
Mundane Monday Morning.
Mondays don’t have to feel rubbish, but sometimes that slightly damp feeling you get come Monday morning just rains on your Sunday parade.
That’s how I felt today, anyway, but instead of wallowing all day I went to Yoga Open at 1:00pm.
The class was led by the gracious and inviting Meredith Gunderson, and as I left the studio, having finished the class, my whole spirits had been lifted.
“Rise up to the day!” Meredith chanted as we moved through different asanas – even in the first 2 minutes, I could feel myself exhaling that mellow mundane feeling, and inhaling a feeling of brightness, a feeling of excitement about the week ahead and the opportunites there are to take.
Different postures were peacefully introduced to us, whilst that ‘mini yogi posture checklist’ was ticked off with the help of the gentle reminders to keep tailbones down, sternums up to see the sun.
The Yoga Open class follows a classic Hatha style of yoga, which allows all ages and abilities to come, pop their leggings on and de-stress – yogi style! Teachers vary, so all classes will be a little different, but generally Hatha yoga is like a warming mug of hot chocolate: it’s calming and feels wonderful (unlike hot chocolate, it doesn’t contain chocolate but you can grab a cacao smoothie on the way out if you’re feeling frisky)!
So come, de-stress, rid of those unwelcome feelings and get your Hatha on. You can view the class schedule here
A Chat with Alice Kabala: Veganism, Comfort Food and Seasonal Recipes!
If you’re looking for some veggie inspiration, look no further. Alice Kabala, the Chef at Great Shelford and food blogger, creates delicious, seasonal and healthy recipes. Feeling fancy and want to get in the kitchen? Check out her blog at Thoughtful Forkfuls. Haven’t got the time but have a growling stomach? Come to the Great Shelford studio to try a super yummy meal. Carry on reading for a quick insight into Alice…
What inspired you to become vegan?
A: I’ve been a vegetarian since I was about 6 or 7, and then when I moved out from home I started thinking more about the sort of impact that our diets have on animals, the planet, and different people. Vegetarianism started to make less sense to me because animals are still intensively farmed for the dairy and egg industry, and if I wanted to be an ambassador for animals and think of animal welfare, then I thought that I should go completely vegan. I also studied environmental science at university so that allowed me to become more aware about food sustainability and food security, and again choosing a lower impact dietary choice on the planet just seemed to make sense to me. It’s the amount of meat that we are eating all over the world that isn’t sustainable, and anyway which we can all help individually is very important.
What does a typical day, food wise, look like for you?
A: I snack quite a lot and frequently so I eat smaller amounts. Also, because I’m in the kitchen, I’m often tasting throughout the morning so when I get to lunch I’m not starving hungry. I usually start the day in Winter with porridge, but I’m feeling less like that now. I’ve actually started to become a green smoothie person which I never thought would happen but I like to throw in nuts, oats, different fruits, chia seeds, mint – different things just to make it more exciting. I will tend to choose healthy snacks, like carrots and hummus, dried fruit, those kinds of things. For lunch I will eat soup or a salad, whatever I’m making that day, and then for dinner again just something that’s different to the other meals I’ve had because I try quite hard to have a varied diet, so things like curry, stir-fry, fajita wraps, all different kinds of things.
Do you have any foodie inspirations?
A: I like Yotam Ottolenghi – he has some really interesting recipes for vegetarians and vegans. I generally admire and respect all of the big foodies out there who are advocating a more plant based diet. I think they’re very important in terms of glamourising veganism. Someone like Jamie Oliver who’s done loads of work with school meals and factory farming helps to raise awareness of these issues – whilst also being a very likeable character it really helps in terms of getting that message out there. In terms of specifically vegan chefs, I tend to use a lot of food blogs – sometimes the best recipes are from people who aren’t well known, but who have just set up a free blog.
What’s your go-to comfort food?
A: I like things in tortilla wraps, like falafel and hummus wraps or just beans and guacamole, because it reminds me of street food and being at festivals and I really love that way of eating. It’s messy and fun and good for a group of people for a more casual setting.
How did you come to work at Camyoga?
A: I was still finishing my degree and I was looking into what career I might go into and I originally wanted to stay within the field of food sustainability, but my main passion was cooking and I thought it would be great if I could do this for a living, whilst promoting a more sustainable way of eating if you’re cooking and people are enjoying it. So I just looked for job adverts online and found this one. I didn’t think there was a chance of getting it because I hadn’t had any professional kitchen experience but I applied, bought some falafels to the interview which went down well and I got the job.
Have you got anything you’d like to add to the menu in the future?
A: Not specifically, but I do like to challenge myself and try new things. I don’t tend to plan as such, I like to cook with the seasons, for example getting a vegetable box with the best veggies from that week locally, and being forced to create something with just those ingredients. We have these herbs that one of our clients brings in and they change weekly so we don’t know what we’re going to get. It’s nice to think, oh wow, we’ve got this so I’ll make that, and that sort of thing.
What makes you happy?
A: Listening to music, eating food, and being with the people I love of course.
Becoming a Yogi Pt. 2: Flow-ga!
I don’t know about you, but I love how yoga gives me freedom. A flow style yoga class gives me that sweet freedom whilst making me feel invincible. Yoga Flow Open class glided me through (hopefully) gracefully and freely.
The Yoga Flow Open classes rotate teachers, which means it’s refreshing and reviving each time. The class gently allows individuals to move at their own pace, find their natural movement and range of mobility – with the use of props and modifications, you can devise a gentle and calming practice OR a more invigorating, heated practice.
It was a scorching hot day, but the natural movement of air in the studio combined with some cooling style of breathing allowed my previous stress from the morning to melt away slowly.
The class I went to was instructed by Laura Hughes who led the class beautifully, making sure if anyone had any injuries that she needed to be notified of. I’m pretty sure all yoga teachers are lovely, but at Camyoga there is a real sense of genuine interest and passion for yoga which leads the students to feel the embrace of trust much easier in a class.
The class focused mostly on the key, essential asanas of a yoga flow, and having a teacher there to remind you of the “mini yogi posture checklist”, as I like to call it, (stuff like navel drawn in, tailbone down, etc) is super helpful as it really helps you to move deeper into your practice. We also focused quite a lot on different Mudras (hand gestures) that had different benefits and feelings attached which further helped to deepen the entire practice. If you’re more into a solely stretching style class, this one may not be for you but I encourage you to try it as it lifts your spirits and feels exhilarative as you twist, glide and rock your way through the hour.
Overall, I loved this style of class – the flow followed by some gentle seated postures was the perfect afternoon pick me up, so if you’re feeling like you want a lively lunch hour, bring a packed lunch and go flow-ga!
5 Ways to Sneak More Veggies into Your Diet
We all know that vegetables are great. And we all know we need to eat more of them, but there are only so many salads you can munch on in a day and so many carrot sticks you’re willing to chomp on – so how can you get more vegetable goodness into your daily diet enjoyably and easily?
Even if you are a plant based powerhouse yourself, maybe you know someone who needs a little convincing before they join the veggie tribe, or maybe you have a child who will not eat anything green. Here are 5 ways to sneak more veggies into your diet without you even noticing!
Don’t fancy cooking yourself? Our Chef Alice makes fresh dishes every day, so you can simply pop in for something yummy and even take it with you if you’re in a hurry!
Becoming A Yogi
Yoga teaches us to calm the mind, and draw our attention inwards. In return, we get paid through the amazing feelings of energy, gratitude, self-love, peace and other pretty great thoughts and feelings (uhh, not to mention strong lean yoga machine bodies). But it takes hard work, dedication and devotion to your practice and I have decided: I’m Esh, sixteen years old and so ready to surrender to the gorgeous practice of Yoga. So here’s my journey to becoming a yogi.
Wearily, I stepped into the studio ready for my first Iyengar Yoga class. At Camyoga, there is a massive variety of classes to suit everyone, and the best thing is to try a little bit of everything and stick with the ones that move and groove how you like. Coming from a self-confessed Vinyasa-flow-freak, Iyengar Yoga was pretty different, but wonderful.
At the beginning, you take your props (e.g. blocks, pillow and chair) and take a relaxation however you like (for example, laying in reclined Baddha Konasana). This instantly helps you to rid of your inhibitions, and open up to the practice. The props help to deepen and further the practice, and as I walked out I could feel my tailbone tucking down, sternum lifting up – it’s a feeling of openness, not just in your body but also in your mind as you feel more free. Even drinking my mango smoothie afterwards felt different!
Iyengar yoga not only can ease your daily life (for example, if you fancy doing a yogi squat in the middle of Parker’s Piece, you may find yourself sinking into it happily) but also your own yoga practice (in a fast paced yoga flow class, injuries will be prevented because you now know the best alignment). It can be suited to everyone and help improve whatever you do for a living or how you go about your day.
So whether you’re a Jivamukti junkie or an Ashtanga addict, I can safely say give Iyengar a try to further your knowledge and precision of alignment.
Courgette noodles with mint, almond and sun-dried tomato pesto
It’s been a while but I’ve finally got the spiralizer back out of the cupboard! We have had an abundance of herbs delivered by one of our very generous clients today, and I decided to use them in my favourite way: pesto. Using courgette instead of pasta is great if you’re cutting out gluten from your diet, or even if you just fancy a lighter alternative to the Italian staple. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can create flat courgette noodles by using a vegetable peeler and just peeling off strips off the courgette. The mint, almond and sun-dried tomato pesto might seem quite thick, but as you start to combine it with the courgette, moisture is released from the vegetable so you don’t want the mint, almond and sun-dried tomato pesto any runnier or it’ll become too wet. In this vein, it’s important to dress the courgettes noodles just before serving as it doesn’t keep well at all and if it sits for too long, you will end up with a pile of water at the bottom of your bowl!
For a more substantial dish, the pesto works wonderfully served hot with real spaghetti. I would use 300g spaghetti for this amount of pesto, and combine it with around 400ml of the cooking water from the pasta to loosen up the sauce a bit. For some greens, 300g peas instead of the tomatoes is always a winner with pesto and pasta.
Finally, feel free to play around with the ingredients. Pesto is a great way to use up any herbs you have lying around, and you could use any nut or seed (instead of almonds) and any citrus fruit (instead of lemon). For an Asian twist, you could use peanuts, coriander and lime, like in this quinoa recipe.
Serves 4 hungry people
For the pesto:
60g sun-dried tomatoes (or 40g dried, re-hydrated with hot water and then drained after 20 minutes)
Zest (2 tsp) and juice (75 ml) of 1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic
90g extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
For the rest:
300g cherry tomatoes
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C. When hot, toast the almonds on a baking tray for 10 minutes and then remove.
- Whilst the almonds are toasting in the oven, it’s time to spiralize! 1200g courgette makes around 900g of courgette noodles (or ‘courgetti’), but hang on to the discarded bits- you can thrown them in a soup or grate them in to a salad.
- To make the pesto, simply blend all the ingredients in the food processor, wiping down the sides regularly. It takes a while to grind the almonds to a smooth paste so be patient.
- Chop the tomatoes in to quarters, and roughly chop the extra mint. Combine it all (with your hands!) in a big bowl until everything is incorporated. Enjoy!
Chanting – The Sound of Yoga
Contrary to belief, Yoga is not just about flexibility and postures. Chanting and mantra recitation have accompanied yoga practices for thousands of years. So, what benefits can chanting bring?
- Your energy increases and your mind becomes sharper
- A study by Dr Alan Watkins [senior lecturer in neuroscience at Imperial College London] showed that while chanting, our blood pressure and heart rate drop to its lowest in the day. Doctors say that even listening to chants normalises brain wave patterns, adrenalin levels and lowers cholesterol levels.
- You feel vibrant and flowing with creative ideas
- You gradually become more in tune with every thing in life
- Neuro-scientist Marian Diamond from the University of California found that chanting helps block the release of stress hormones and increases immune function. It also keeps our muscles and joints flexible for a long time
- Chanting can build your confidence and releases your inhibitions
- Chanting is fun, easy and always available to you (and hey, it’s free!)
- Using chants as part of our exercise regimen, helps facilitate movement and flow of the body during exercise
- Chanting removes blocks and connects us directly to the heart, leading us to experience a natural harmony with the world around us
The overall experience is like a meditation with voice. You will leave feeling free, energized, uplifted and joyful for the day, week or weekend ahead.
If you’re keen to give it a go, why not try one of our chanting workshops this June, there are three to choose from. Maybe you’ll even become addicted and want to take them all
It’s National Cookie Day today, guys. As far as we’re concerned, whoever came up with that concept deserves a medal.
We felt we just had to share this yummy peanut-ginger-sesame cookies recipe with you. We admit this is not our own recipe, it’s from one of our favourite vegan cookbook “Veganomicon”, which you should totally check out if you’re looking for delicious vegan recipes. Don’t be put off by what looks like a long list, it’s really straight-forward and these bad boys are totally worth it!
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening, softened
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 1/4 cups sugar (plus additional sugar for rolling)
1/2 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces candied ginger, diced finely
1/3 cup each white and black sesame seeds (or just use 2/3 of one kind)
Here’s how to do it:
– Preheat the oven to 175C, grease 2 cookie sheets
– Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon -> set aside
– Cream shortening (light and fluffy) with whisk, approx. 3 mins
– Add peanut butter, rice syrup, sugar, soy milk, and extracts -> continue beating until creamy (4-5 mins)
– Stir in flour mixture (with spatula or wooden spoon)
– Add chopped candied ginger -> stir until forms very firm dough (can use hands)
– Roll tablespoon of the dough into small balls
– Roll each ball in sesame seeds and a little sugar, place on cookie sheet (leave 1 1/2 inches between each cookie)
– Flatten balls slightly and bake for 10/11 mins (if you prefer them less chewy and firmer, bake for 14 mins)
– Remove from oven, cool and finally: hide from the cookie monster!!!
Enjoy!!! Love to here your feedback on these. Give them a go