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I am a massive foodie: I love eating at new restaurants, I love trying new foods, I love being impressed by foods that I already love, I love cooking and I love new food concepts… so where there’s food in my life, there’s lots of love too!
Earlier this week, the lovely Amelia Stewart from Cook First came to one of my yoga classes at Form Studios in Notting Hill. Amelia is a self-taught cook and baker, with a passion for simple, nutritious food and for reducing food waste. She turned up with a box of sweet, yet healthy, treats for me; Beetroot, Cacao Cookies (vegan, gluten, refined sugar-free) and Banana & Nut Muffins (gluten, dairy & refined sugar-free) – pretty much the definition of guilt-free eating! I absolutely loved both snacks, there were sweet, tasty and incredibly moreish (check out the recipes below).
Amelia explained that Cook First is based on the concept that cooking is a positive and productive creative medium through which to tackle challenges of life. It aims to empower people by teaching them to cook simple, nutritious meals, while also minimising food wastage. I asked Amelia to explain more:
‘Through my own experience I have developed a simple approach to achieving a healthy, balanced lifestyle and nurturing physical strength and mental wellbeing. Good cooking is key. It doesn’t require huge expense, culinary expertise or fancy kitchen equipment. It’s perfect for students faced with the challenge of self-catering, for young people embarking on their independent lives away from the comfort and convenience of home, or even busy professionals who are young at heart!’
For more information and delicious recipes, take a look at her website.
Beetroot, Cacao Cookies (vegan, gluten, refined sugar-free)
Packed full of goodness, beetroot brings a unique flavour to these simple, nutritious cookies. Perfectly paired with energising raw cacao, they make a delicious portable snack. This recipe yields about 16 small cookies.
½ cup coconut flour
¼ cup desiccated coconut
2 small beets (cooked and pureed)
1 tsp good-quality vanilla extract
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup of coconut oil (melted)
¼ cup of coconut sugar
¼ cup of pure maple syrup
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
Banana & Nut Muffins (gluten, dairy & refined sugar-free)
A perfect way to use up those rejected overripe bananas, these make a delicious and nutritious breakfast on the go, or are fab with a cup of afternoon tea. They are perfectly moist and have just the right amount of sweetness – and are so simple to bake! I like to use buckwheat flour as it’s gluten-free and easier to digest, but this recipe could also work with regular wheat flour.
½ cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground flaxseed
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp arrowroot powder
2 overripe bananas (mashed)
⅓ cup maple syrup (or runny honey)
3 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp smooth peanut or almond butter
½ cup coarsely chopped peanuts, walnuts or almonds – whichever you prefer!