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Creamy Cashew and Chia Seed Pâté

Let’s face it, if you are in the know-how, there are much healthier things to spread on your toast or oatcakes in the morning than margarine, let alone butter…such as a homemade plant-based pâté.

Why not make something that tastes great but also gives you a fabulous nutritional boost to start your day.

This pâté is made using heart-healthy cashew nuts, packed with monounsaturated fats, copper and magnesium, which are great for bone health; teamed with brilliant Organic Black Chia Seeds, which are rich in Omega 3 and 6 (needed for good cell health, brain and nerve function). They also contain good levels of fibre and protein.

Creamy Cashew and Chia Seed Pâté
Makes 3 medium pots
Preparation time 12 hours soaking plus 5 mins

200g/ 7oz cashew nuts
4 tbsp Black Chia Seeds
3 tbsp sunflower 1 tsp salt
Black pepper (to taste)
1 tsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 sprig fresh parsley
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
3 tsp zatar spice (optional)
1 tsp salt
Black pepper (to taste)
Sprinkle cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 tsp lemon juice (or to taste)

1. Place the cashews, chia seeds and sunflower seeds in a bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak overnight.
2. The next day, mix in the rest of the ingredients apart from the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Blend with a stick blender until thick but textured. Now add in the final three ingredients to taste.
4. Spoon into pots and allow to chill, before spreading on quinoa crackers or bread!

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No-Knead and Wholesome Homemade Bread

Spelt Bread
Spelt Bread

Homemade bread really is amazing. It’s addictive too. Once you start making it, it’s hard to go back to buying loaves from a shop. Now I’m at home all the time, we have retired the bread machine and have been doing more ourselves.

I often make my Focaccia Bread with the help of the Magimix, or bake two straight loaves of half white half wholemeal and knead the dough by hand.

But if you want homemade bread but find the kneading and double-rising process too time consuming, I have the answer.

My mother in law Jean has kindly given us a fantastic bread recipe, which produces a lovely loaf in less than an hour. It uses spelt flour; doesn’t require kneading and is only left to rise in its tin, once. Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed, just impressed!

Jean’s Spelt Bread
Makes one medium-sized loaf
Preparation/cooking time less than one hour

450g/ spelt flour*
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp salt
½ sachet easy blend yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
400-450ml lukewarm water
2 tbsp seeds for topping, eg sesame

1. Mix together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle with a wooden spoon.
2. Mix in the water and oil and stir to form a smooth, wet dough.
3. Spoon wet dough mix into a well-oiled bread tin. Top with seeds.
4. Cover and set aside somewhere warm to rise. The bread won’t rise a lot, usually just reaching the top rim of the tin. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 220C/Gas Mark 7.
5. Bake for 25-30 mins. Remove from tin. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped. If it doesn’t, return to the oven for a few minutes, out of the tin.
6. Cool on a wire rack.
* You can use standard bread flour too.

Kale and Walnut Pesto

Kale is such an amazing food. I’ve recently been eating lots more of it, after my friend Ruth told me about ‘massaging’ it with olive oil. If you haven’t tried this, do give it a go! Here is a link to an article about it from the Huffington Post.  Kale is so fabulous – containing vitamins A, C and K as well as minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. A cup of fresh kale has only about 40 calories but packs almost three grams of protein.

So I thought I’d try making a pesto or dip with raw kale, as another way to enjoy this super-green. Enjoy stirred through warm pasta, or spread onto some lovely wholemeal bread.

Kale and Walnut Pesto or Dip

Makes one medium pot

2 handfuls of chopped kale
4 tbsp walnut pieces
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 tsp sea salt
Pinch black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
12 cherry tomatoes or 6 medium tomatoes, chopped

Place all ingredients together in a high-speed blender, like a Nutribullet and blend until smooth or a consistency you like is reached. Taste and add more seasoning if you need. If the pesto/dip is too thick, add more oil, or a splash of plant milk if you prefer. Enjoy!