Brunch at Strut & Cluck

If you’re anything like me, your weekday breakfast often consists of eggs or avos – so by the time the weekend rolls around, I’m in the mood for something different. That’s where Strut & Cluck step in. Originally just specialising in dishes featuring the turkey, they’ve branched out to a menu which really showcases Eastern Mediterranean flavours, which they’re known and loved for.

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You’ll find Struct & Cluck on a prime spot on Commerical Street, literally around the corner from Shoreditch High Street overground station. It’s got a glass-fronted exterior which looks into a brightly lit room. It’s filled with rustic wood tables, exposed light bulbs and hanging plants. The now-classic East London look and definitely something I’d love for my own flat.

I went post-gym class at the Adidas Studio and met up with my sister. She ordered the hand-pulled turkey shawarma, which is topped with a fried egg and served with dates, pine nuts, tahini on top of a pita.

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I went for the classic shakshuka, two eggs cooked in a pan with tomatoes, peppers, onions, chilli and chorizo, served with a warm pita for scooping. My eggs, unfortunately, were served undercooked, but the staff took the dish away no problem and gave me a free coffee as an apology.

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It’s a calm little oasis in the heart of Shoreditch – a perfect spot to rest your legs and refuel after a morning of touring East London.

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Strut & Cluck, 151 Commercial St, London E1 6BJ

*Main photo courtesy of Strut & Cluck

 

 

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Gousto | Recipe subscription box review

As much as I love cooking, I hate coming up with a meal plan for the week. I’m a creature of habit and every week I’ll eat risotto, a quinoa salad with salmon, and a pad thai. So last week I decided to trial Gousto.

Imagine having someone else sort out your weekly shop and deliver it right to your door, and all you have to do is cook it! There’s tonnes of recipe box subscription services out there – and that’s hardly surprising as they’re such a great concept because they’re perfect for busy people who still want to eat well. AND they’ll get you out of your cooking rut in no time.  So what makes Gousto different?

  • You can choose up to four unique recipes
  • There’s a new menu every week (and there’s tonnes of recipes online)
  • The menu is spilt into: quick & easy, discover, veggie, low calorie and family friendly
  • You can pick the delivery date and how frequently you’d like it
  • The vegetables are organic and seasonal, and the meat and fish are responsibly sourced

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My Gousto box arrived last Monday morning with plenty of ice packs to keep the food chilled along with a list of the ingredients and three meal cards. The meals are all written up on colourful recipe cards with a photographs to help guide you.

I shared the meals with my mum and we opted for all Asian inspired dishes…

Chicken katsu curry

Indonesian veggie nasi goreng

Thai crab rice

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So, all the meals I choose all included rice and only the katsu curry came with wholegrain rice. Personally I would love it if you could pick your ‘carb’ type as I would have opted for wholegrain for all my meals. The same goes with their pasta dishes, as in the past I’ve had their spicy haddock linguine and if I could have picked wholegrain pasta, I would have. My only other small niggle with Gousto is that the timings can be off as it does not take 8 minutes to pan fry a plump chicken breast.

All my meals came with plenty of veggies and I also loved that on the recipe cards they had the calorie breakdowns. Which is so handy for me as I could  easily add them to My Fitness Pal.

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All the recipes I tested were delicious and packed full of flavour (they don’t skimp on herbs, spices and other seasonings) – and not to mention that they were dead easy to make. All your past recipes can be found on the MyGousto section on their website. Even if you don’t want to sign up to Gousto, you can get a handful of their recipes online.

I won’t lie, it’s expensive, but you’re paying for the convenience and to many people, myself included, value that a lot. Gousto may not be the best option for veggies as you pay the same as meat eaters. My vegetarian meal  however went so much further than the ones with meat or fish, the portion was huge in comparison, so it may not be quite such bad value as it sounds.

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If you want to order a box from Gousto click here, where you’ll get a £25 off your first order if you use my code ANNA221576. If you opt for the 3 meal box it will only cost £9.99! Mad value for money.

 

 

How to make your own Trail Mix

I first signed up for Graze on a whim, back when I was at University and I wanted to try new snacks, with ingredients I never even heard of. I was sick of taking the same old apple and almonds into the library and I really needed some variety.

These days I’m no longer signed up to Graze, but I still pick up a box every now and again from my local Sainsburys – I can’t resist their salted fudge and peanut cookie snack box. I’ve recently started to make my own trail mixes at home and they’re dead easy to make. You simply need to combine any of your favourite nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and sometimes even something a little sweet – and voila!

Now, trail mixes often get a bad rep, and true, their often high in far and sugar – but our bodies actually need both these things to function. I think a good quality trail mix, in moderation, should be part of a healthy diet. They come in handy if you’re sacrificing your lunch break for the gym and need a boost of energy, fast.

My basic recipe consists of..

  • 1 cup nuts
  • 1/2  cup seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened fruit
  • some ‘fun stuff’ – 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, 1/2 cup popped popcorn.

This usually yields between 4-5 cups, and I recommend a serving size of 1/4 cup.

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There are no rules for trail mix, just combine whatever sounds good! But here are a few of my go-to mixes:

A firm favourite – almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, goji berries, dark chocolate

Basic – almonds, raisins, dark chocolate chips

Energy boosting – walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dates

Simple – hazlenuts, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, dark chocolate chips

Tropical – cashews, brazil nuts, dried mango, banana chips, coconut flakes.

 

Healthy Carrot Cake

I get my love of carrot cake from Scott and one of the reasons I adore it is because it’s so moist. This favourite bake of mine has been tweaked in various ways to make it a little healthier.

I’ve opted for wholegrain flour instead of white flour and instead of sugar I used naturally sweet mashed banana and pure maple syrup, and I’m using coconut oil to lock that moistness in.

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I refuse to have carrot cake without a cream cheese forsting and for this healthier verision I’m adding coconut milk and maple syrup. You’ll be amazed at the cloud-like forsting it makes.

You’ll need… 

For the cake:

  • 200ml coconut oil
  • 1 large rip banana (mashed)
  • 125ml maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 225g wholegrain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 275g grated carrots
  • 40g shredded coconut

For the frosting:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (chilled overnight)
  • 150g cream cheese
  • 1 lime (zest only)
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup

 

Prep Time: 30 minutes (not including time to cool)

Cook Time: 1 hour

Preheat the oven to 160°c and line a 8 inch round cake tin with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, mix the oil, banana, maple syrup and eggs until totally combined. Then mix in all the remaining cake ingredients and spoon into the prepared tin. Bake for 1 hour or until springy when pressed lightly. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minute before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Now to make the frosting… Scoop the thick white layer of the chilled coconut milk into a mixing bowl, leaving the liquid behind. Whisk with an electric mixer until it becomes thick and creamy (liked whipped cream).

Then add the cream cheese, lime zest and maple syrup and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes whilst you’re waiting for the cake to cool.

When the cake is cool spread the frosting over the top and then serve!

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Peanut Butter Protein Bars

These protein packed granola bars taste great, and only contains 6 ingredients – most of which you should stash in your kitchen already! These bars are wholesome and clean, and are incredibly easy to make and an inexpensive option to the shop-brought brands.

If you’re buying granola bars from the shop they’re most likely full of refined sugar and these bars are made with 100% pure maple syrup instead.

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This is a base recipe I use for all my protein bars and I love adding a cup of fresh raspberries to the mix.

You’ll need…

  • 1 cup unsalted almonds
  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured protein powder
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Chill Time: 10 minutes

Start by toasting your oats and almonds at 180°c for 10 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.

Put your dates into a food processor until only small bits remain. Then combine with your oats, almonds and protein powder.

Warm the maple syrup and peanut butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Stir and add the oat mixture making sure the dates are disperse throughout.

Once thoroughly mixed, transfer into a square baking dish lined with baking paper and press down until flattened. Cover with more baking paper and let it firm up in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Remove the bars from the pan and chop up in bars and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

I’ve decorated mine by simply melting 2 squares of 80% dark chocolate and drizzling over the top.

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Meal Prep Sunday | What I’m Eating This Week

I can’t remember the last time I wrote one of these posts – It’s not because I’m not meal prepping, I’ve just gotten into a rut with my lunches and keep having the same thing over and over again. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have my Thai Prawn Noodle Salad.

With the weather getting bitterly cold I’m ditching the salads and saying hello to a Brown Rice and Prawn Jambalaya, and this Green Soup with Feta and Pumpkin Seed Croutons. Both are from Jo Pratt’s Cookbook, In The Mood For Healthy Food. It’s like my bible, if you haven’t got a copy, I’d seriously suggest going out and buying it.

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The Green Soup is a perfect winter recipe and it’s relativity light. It uses Sumac (a herb I’ve only heard of recently) and adds a spicy flavour to the Croutons. This Soup is packed with green vegetable goodness and the Croutons are a necessity – salty, crunchy and moreish.

This recipe make’s around three portions, and if I’m having a cardio day I’ll have it with a slice of rye bread.

You’ll need…

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup peas
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large handful of mint

And for the Croutons… 

  • 100g feta cheese
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sumac

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Preheat the oven to 200c. Line a baking tray with non-stick grease proof paper and sprinkle the feta, pumpkin seeds, olive oil and sumac.

Pop the croutons in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the feta is just starting to turn golden in places. Remove from the oven and leave to one side to cool.

Meanwhile, make the soup. Heat the olive oil in a pan and and the onions, fennel and garlic and gently cook for about 5 minutes until softened.

Stir in the leeks, courgette, kale, peas. Cook for a further 10 minutes.

Then add the stock and mint and gently simmer.

Remove the pan from the heat and using a hand-held blender, blitz the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and serve the the feta and pumpkin seed croutons.

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4 Ways to have Porridge

It’s September, which means it’s officially Autumn so I can start having porridge again for breakfast. It’s warning and indulgent – low in calories but high in fibre and protein, so what’s not to love?

I love topping it with fruits and nuts and it’s a great way to start a cold day in London. To create the perfect porridge I use the 2:1 method – 2 parts milk, 1 part oats.

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Banana, Raisins, Peanut Butter and Cinnamon 

Banana

Blueberries, Sunflower Seeds and Honey

Blueberry

Raspberries and Coca Nibs

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Strawberries and Maple Syrup 

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