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Cherry Cucumber and Celery Salad

Cherries are one of my favourite fruit. Ironically and somewhat sadly, the cherry tree in our garden has just been diagnosed terminal by a tree surgeon. But to be honest, despite the prettiness of the pink blossom, in all the years it didn't once bear any fruit. These cherries are clearly not from our tree!


Serve this alongside roast duck, in a big colourful platter for a barbecue accompaniment, or just with a sprinkle of toasted nuts for a simple lunch.


Cherry Cucumber and Celery Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free
Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side


Ingredients:
1/3 medium (100g) cucumber
1 stick celery, chopped
100g cherries, pitted and halved
small bunch (16g) coriander, roughly chopped
handful of rocket/ watercress leaves
1/2 tbps rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
big pinch sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Instructions:
1. Slice cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out watery seeds, before slicing into half moons.
2. T…
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Cashew Chicken Stir-fry 腰果雞

Cashew nuts are contentious in our household - they elicit strong and conflicting feelings. Basically, my daughter is allergic to them and the rest of us LOVE them. Cashew Chicken 腰果雞 was one of my mum's standard dishes when we were children and I love it as much now as I did then. What better time to post this recipe than when I am about to get a taste of the real deal when I see my mum this week!

Like most stir-fries this is a very quick meal to throw together once all the chicken and veg have been prepped. Feel free to use coconut aminos instead of tamari if not soy-tolerant but do adjust for taste as tamari is saltier.

Anyhow, allergies schmallergies - it doesn't pose a problem: I just dole out a portion just prior to adding the nuts at the end. Problem solved.


Cashew Chicken Stir-fry 腰果雞
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free
Serves 3-4


Ingredients:
1 tbsp coconut oil
400g skinless, boneless chicken (breast or thigh) cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small…

Happiness Project Four Tendencies, Bullet Journals and Children

A few posts back I reviewed my experiences with Bullet Journalling and how it has changed my life, organisationally speaking. You can read it here. On embarking on my second journal I approached it with less no-frills function as I had when just starting out, and with a little more flair and personality, now that I know what does and doesn't work for me personally. Check out my lovely Year At a Glance page which includes all the school holidays, birthday and bank holidays neatly colour coded for ease of organisation, ahem, 'at a glance'.



I am without a doubt an 'Upholder' personality, according to The Four Tendencies devised by Gretchen Rubin, in her book The Happiness Project. I can't recommend this highly enough if you haven't read it - in a nutshell all people fall into one of the Four Tendency categories:
 Upholder (adhere rigidly to inner and outer expecations); Obliger (adhere to outer expectation but not inner expectations); Rebel (resists all expecta…

Fennel Strawberry and Mint Summer Salad (with optional Smoked Mackerel)

Strawberry season is well and truly in full flow. Supplies are having their annual uptick, heralding the imminence of Wimbledon amongst other British seasonal landmarks. Prices plummet while the quality rockets - the basic price mechanism from school level Economics kicks in in earnest. Plus, the best thing is strawberries grow within our local area so even carbon footprint guilt is entirely eradicated. What's not to love?

The sweetness pairs naturally with fresh mint, again abundant in the garden at this time of year. And my love for the more complex aniseed flavour and crunch of fennel carries on. I've used red butterhead lettuce mostly because I had it in the fridge but any delicate flavoured lettuce with a soft texture eg lambs lettuce, will also work.

Pair this with flakes of salty smoked mackerel for a rounded lunch in the sun or serve as a side salad for a summer barbecue.




Fennel Strawberry and Mint Summer Salad (with optional Smoked Mackerel)
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Da…

Chilled Spinach and Avocado Summer Soup

The day before was declared the hottest day of the year. Then yesterday was declared the new hottest day of the year. And now today is anticipated to supercede the temperature of yesterday. Phew! Nothing for it but a chilled soup that requires no cooking.


Chilled Spinach and Avocado Summer Soup
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free
Serves 1 (or 2 as a starter)


Ingredients:
Baby spinach, 1 large handful (50g), washed and dried
Basil leaves, small bunch
Mint leaves, approx 15 leaves
Celery, 2 small sticks
Courgette, 3" piece (60g)
1/2 small ripe avocado (40g), peeled and pitted
1" piece lemongrass, bruised
1/2" piece ginger, peeled
1/4 lime, peeled
big pinch chilli flakes
2 tbsp Nutritional yeast
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 - 3/4 cup water or cold stock/ broth, depending on desired consistency

Optional garnish: chilli flakes, pomegranate arils, mint/ basil leaves, furikake (sesame seed and seaweed sprinkle), sesame oil

Opt…

Easy Chocolate Mini Baked Doughnuts (or is it Donuts?)

Does anyone, except a former English Literature and Linguistics student, care about the nuances between doughnut versus donut? Thought not!


These little one-bite mini versions are simple but chocolatey. Feel free to glaze with a simple coconut oil + high cocoa content chocolate concoction if in the mood for something more decadent. Sprinkles also always an option.


Easy Chocolate Mini Baked Doughnuts
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free

Makes approx 25 mini


Ingredients:
1/4 cup (35g) sifted coconut flour
1/4 cup (25-30g) unsweetened cocoa powder, or cacao
1/2 tsp baking powder
big pinch sea salt
3 tbsp (50g) coconut oil, melted
4 medium eggs
2 tbsp unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/2 ripe medium banana
optional 1-2 tbsp honey, agave or maple syrup

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius, 350 degrees farenheit.
2. Lightly grease a mini doughnut tin with coconut oil (or use silicone doughnut pan).
3. Combine coconut floour, cocoa (or cacao) powder, bakin…

Instant Pot Mexican Mince

Every day when my daughter comes home from school she regales me with details of her school lunch that day down to the exact flavour of yogurt. One of her favourites is 'Mexican Mince' (the fact it is accompanied by a pile of nachos in high probability contributes to this enthusiasm!).


Raw Brownie Bliss Balls (Nut-free, Dried Fruit-free!)

Has it escaped anyone's notice that bliss balls invariably are a concoction of mushed together nuts/ seeds and dried fruit? And, especially in commercially prepared versions, they veer heavily towards the dried fruit camp - which means in essence it's simply a ball of sugar, albeit 'unrefined'.


Warm Mushroom, Fennel and Olive Salad

There's something slightly treat-like about having something warm in my salad. Probably to do with the fact that it involves more than just chopping up raw vegetables, piling them in a bowl with a drizzle of random dressing type condiments, before diving in with just a fork. So you could argue this is a salad of self-love - spending that little bit of extra time to make the day a smidge more special.


Marinating the fennel mellows out the strong liquorice flavour and the addition of juniper berries adds a fresh citrusy scent. The crunchy fennel contrasts against the earthy pan-fried mushrooms; the olives add another good pop of umami savouriness and a smattering of pumpkin seeds provide texture as well as some satiating good fat.

The honey mustard dressing is best drizzled on at the table and brings everything together with a delicate orangey sweetness.


Warm Mushroom, Fennel and Olive Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free
Serves 2
 Ingredients:

Mar…

Bullet Jounal Review

I am a stationery addict.

There. I have said it out loud. Ever since I was a little girl I would collect, curate and derive infinite joy in owning a treasure trove of bright and beautiful inks, pens, pencils, paints, notebooks, paper, stickers and so on. Art shops trumped TopShop, no contest.


When other girls were painting their nails and playing with makeup I was arranging my colouring pencils. Not much has changed. Makeup is still pretty 'meh' to me, whereas a shiny new set of brush pens makes me all tingly inside.

I still own much of my original paint and pencil sets from way back when - another characteristic of mine is both my hoarder instinct (a source of much discord in our home) and my careful (bordering on obsessive) regard for my possessions.

So I will leave it to your imagination the level of excitement when the concept of Bullet Jounalling floated into my field of awareness! That was back in October - over 6 months ago - and once I started I haven't missed a si…