Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Soothing thyme & rosemary tea

Yes, it's July. I know. But i just came back from Italy and after two days I started to get ill, a cold that slowly turned into a chest infection. No reason to panic, I am now on antibiotics (sometimes you just have to..) and hopefully I will be able to enjoy normal interaction with other people soon, as at the moment all my energy goes into trying not to cough into everybody's face.. 

In the meantime though, I really needed something to help soothe the cough and my painful throat.

As studies have shown that rosemary possesses anti inflammatory, antibacterial and anti fungal properties amongst others, and thyme contains compounds that might be helpful in respiratory infections, I thought these two ingredients should definitely end up in my tea!

I added them to my regular fresh ginger (anti inflammatory), lemon (vitamin C hit) and raw honey (antibacterial and anti fungal) concoction...

This tea that felt so soothing in my throat, was also incredibly delicious and smelled heavenly.

I knew I had to share this discovery with you. 
So if you find yourself in need of some TLC for your throat, give this a try and let me know what you think.

I hope you are enjoying this gorgeous summer day, 




Ribeiro-Santos R, Carvalho-Costa D, Cavaleiro C, Costa HS, Goncalves Albuqurque T, Conceicao Castilho M, Ramos F, Melo NR, Sanches Silva A (2015
A novel insight on an ancient aromatic plant: The rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.). Trends in Food Science & Technology, 45: 355-368.

  1. A. Fabio, 
  2. C. Cermelli, 
  3. G. Fabio, 
  4. P. Nicolet, 
  5. P. Quaglio (2007)
  6. Screening of the antibacterial effects of a variety of essential oils on microorganisms responsible for respiratory infections. Phytotherapy Research, 4: 374-377.

    Sasikumar, B. (2012) Rosemary. In K. V. Peter (Ed.), Handbook of herbs and spices,
    pp. 452e468.

    Shigeharu Inouye, Hideyo Yamaguchi, Toshio Takizawa (2001) Screening of the antibacterial effects of a variety of essential oils on respiratory tract pathogens, using a modified dilution assay method.Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy, 4: 251-254. 

Monday, 16 May 2016

Very Berry Smoothie

Hot weather. Frozen smoothie.
That's right, here's one more smoothie recipe for you! Quick to make in the morning, so you can have your refreshing, creamy breakfast on the go with zero effort.
Filled with antioxidants, protein and healthy fats, plus mint will give it a wonderfully refreshing kick. You gotta try this.



1 handful mixed frozen berries
1 handful fresh pomegranate
1 small frozen banana (you can omit this if you are looking for lower GI option)
1 large handful fresh mint
Half avocado
1 cup Almond milk 
1tbs cinnamon
1 heaped tbsp protein powder
1tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp ground linseeds (optional, but they would increase the smoothie anti-inflammatory power)

As always, everything goes in the blender. Whizz it up till creamy and enjoy right there and then, or take it away with you to have at work.

Have a fabulous week,



Monday, 9 May 2016

Peach & Banana Frozen Smoothie

In honour to the summer weather we have been enjoying throughout the weekend, I give you a creamy, cold, delicious smoothie recipe to enjoy for breakfast as the days get warmer.

It's got fruit, protein to keep you going for longer and sources of healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado (which also adds extra creaminess). I also like to add spinach to get some green goodness, but if you are just starting out then stick to the original recipe. If you choose to add linseeds like I do, you will get a nice boost of fibre to keep you tummy regular, and a plant based source of anti-inflammatory action. Not bad ah?

1 small frozen banana
1 fresh peach
1 handful of oats
1 tbsp protein powder
1 tbsp almond butter
1 heaped tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 avocado
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1tbsp ground linseeds (optional)
1 handful fresh spinach (optional)

You know the drill by now. Pop everything in your blender and whizz it up baby!




Monday, 2 May 2016

Pretty in Pink Beetroot Hummus

You might have noticed that I haven't posted anything in about a month. Reason being that I got ill, I was literally on the floor. I have never felt that exhausted for that long, ever. In addition to exhaustion I had a chest infection which meant I had to give up and take antibiotics. They really helped and slowly I started to recover.
So, forgetting this sad "oh poor me.." story, let's get back to the important stuff. Food!
During that month I had to find meals that were nutritious, but did not need any effort to make, as I simply did not have the strength.
And so this BEETROOT HUMMUS came into my life.
It's tastier to roast the beetroot yourself (better do it with its skin on to retain nutrients), however if you are in a rush you can buy the organic cooked ones.
This hummus is sweet and creamy, in addition to providing you with a protein punch thanks to the beans and tahini.
I had it with falafel for dinner, and vegetables sticks as a snack, but it's super versatile: you could cut a cucumber in thick round slices, and add a dollop of the hummus on top as a fresh and healthy canapé at a party for example. Or use it with some greens and sweet potatoes in a wrap for lunch.
Go crazy!

1 can butter beans
1 medium roasted beet
3 tbsp olive oil 
1 heaped tbsp of tahini
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

All you have to do is roast the beetroots in the oven at 200C for about 30-35 minutes till slightly soft (unless of course you have the already cooked ones). Let cool and peel them, before popping all ingredients in a food processor and whizzing it up for a minute. Not bad ah?

Enjoy your bank holiday,



Monday, 21 March 2016

Heavenly Gluten and Dairy free Tenerina Cake

What you see above is a typical chocolate cake from Ferrara. I tasted it last summer (without the reindeer decorations..) for the first time, during a wedding's brunch in that very same town. After the first bite, my whole face lit up with sheer joy and surprise! This cake was light, super chocolaty and moist. It was heaven.

I had the chance to try it again this winter when my gorgeous friend Silvia made it at her house here in London.  

I wanted to try a gluten and dairy free version of Tenerina to prepare during my family Christmas lunch, as both me and my cousin were not having either, but were surrounded by Panettone and Pandoro everywhere! My mother only had white sugar in the house,  however this Easter I will be experimenting with coconut palm sugar or other different, more nutritious alternatives to white sugar.

To my surprise, this gluten and dairy free version was a huge success with my whole family!

I used coconut flour which, in addition to being gluten free, is also high in fibre. And instead of regular milk I used unsweetened rice milk ( as I couldn't find my regular unsweetened almond milk in Milan) and swapped the same amount of butter for the delicious coconut oil. Worked like a charm.. I love using coconut oil in my recipes as it has antimicrobial properties and your body uses it straight away as energy rather than storing it as fat. 

But less talking and more cooking. Let's go!

200g dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp coconut flour
3 tbsp unsweetened rice milk
100g coconut oil
150g white sugar
3 eggs ( dividing eggs whites from egg yolks) 
Powdered sugar to decorate ( optional) 

Pre hear your oven at 180 degrees.
Melt your chocolate with the coconut oil on a low heat. Put it to the side to cool lightly, and in the meantime you can whisk your egg whites till you get stiff peaks and put to the side.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the go chocolate mix. Add your egg whites last, folding them in slowly in order to keep the air in. This will make the Tenerina cake nice and light when you taste it!
Pour the contents in a baking tin lined with baking paper and pop in your oven for 20-25 min. Check that the cake is ready by inserting a toothpick in the middle and making sure it comes out dry.
Let the cake cool for 5-10 min before enjoying it with your friends!

Have a delicious Easter :)




Monday, 14 March 2016

Warming spiced almond milk

It's Sunday morning...It's really chilly outside...And you've been so busy during the week, that you realise there is nothing for breakfast left..Nada. Except for leftover almond milk.
This is exactly what happened to me yesterday.

Did I end up freezing and hungry? I didn't.

Instead, I used a cup of almond milk and added some spices from the cupboard.
The result was a warming cup of deliciousness, that felt like a giant hug and kept me going for another couple of hours till I managed to grab some lunch.

Ready in 4 minutes.
So, about to cosy up on the couch and chill? Warm up with this spiced drink and relax...

INGREDIENTS (serves 1)
1 cup of almond milk
3 cardamom pods crushed
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 star anise
1tbsp of maple syrup

Bring the milk and spices to a boil, then simmer for 3 more minutes.

Pour in your favourite mug, add the maple syrup, stir and enjoy.




Sunday, 6 March 2016

Mussels and fries: welcome to Belgo

On Sunday I met up with two of my best friends, one of the Jean Louis, is a very talented chef whose suggestions on food spots to try in and around London I am always happy to follow.
Today I was in for a little treat.
You see, one thing that I miss as a Mediterranean girl is mussels. I live on mussels when I go back to Italy in summer. I love the texture, the smell and the different types of ways to serve them  you can choose from. 
Today Jean Louis took me to Belgo in Covent Garden ( there are other London branches) a Belgian food chain famous for its mussels and frites. I was sceptical. "Jean Louis are you sure? Can we trust having mussels here in London? Are they going to be as tasty and safe to eat?" Once again Jean Louis was right on the money..
For £13.50 I got a lovely steel pot brought to my table filled with the freshest, cleanest and tastiest mussels a la Provencale. That is, served with both sundries tomatoes, fresh plum tomatoes and basil.oh yeah. They were absolutely delicious. Mussels are served with double cooked fries, crispy and not greasy, light and tasty. 

And since I was in the mood for trying new things, I also got a started of duck croquettes served with pickled daikon salad. Oh my.. The croquettes were crunchy, light and the duck filling moist and tender. The daikon salad was smoothly tangy and just perfect and complemented the croquettes perfectly. It was £6. 

I also got a still water with lemon. As a Sunday treat, I happily spent £20 for good quality, mouthwatering food. I also saw mussels served in a way that was new to me: open mussels with a mix of spinach and cheese on top. Looked incredible!

And I'll tell you more, when I go back, because I will, I will not shy away from trying one of their warm Belgian waffles with ice cream for dessert. Looking forward to it.
The bottom line is that I am about to become a nutritional therapist, one that believes in eating fresh wholefoods 80% of the time, but that is against guilt and deprivation, supporting a healthy 20% of times when you just need to get out there and enjoy whatever types of food you might want to eat. Just make sure they are the best quality you can afford. Treat yourself right. Life is too short not to.x

Belgo (Covent Garden Branch) 
50 Earlham Street
London WC2H 9LJ