Homemade: The Energy Boost (cherry chocolate smoothie/beets, greens and orange salad/marzipan truffles/aubergine curry with maple roasted chickpeas)

Sometimes we get to the mid week and want to give up. I’ve been there. Wednesdays have always been my least favourite day mainly because you’re knackered from Monday and Tuesday but still have over two days to go. Eurgh. These recipes are for days when you need a pick-me-up so in order words a Wednesday. You’ve got a smoothie to get you going, a delicious salad to pick yourself up at lunchtime, some truffles for a treat with some protein added in and a luxurious aubergine curry to wind the day down. Perfect.

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

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This recipe is simple yet effective. You’ve got the sweet tones from the banana and cherry, the protein kick from the nut butter and plant milk, the extra vitamins from the spinach and the flavour boost from the cacao. All in all, it’s one of my go to recipes in the morning. Pour it in a bowl and top with anything you want and it’ll feel like a nourishing breakfast.

Serves one

1 banana
2 handfuls of frozen cherries
1 handful spinach
1 tbsp nut butter (I use almond or peanut but anything works)
2 tsp cacao powder
200ml plant milk (I use almond or oat)

Simply place all ingredients in the blender and blend. If you’re blender is less powerful then add the milk a little bit at a time.

Beets, Greens and Orange Salad

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I can’t get over how good this salad tastes. It is seriously one of my favourite recipes I’ve created and I urge you to give it a go. The crispy roasted beets paired with the juicy orange was always going to be good but the toasted almonds and the dressing just tops it off. The best part is that it’s easy to make – whip it up in the morning before you go to work and enjoy!

Serves one
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (or 180 fan ovens)

2 beetroots, sliced and halved
1 orange, sliced, peeled and halved
1 handful rocket
1/2 tsp coriander seeds (or coriander)
1 handful almonds, chopped
25ml olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 tsp cumin
2 tsp tomato purée
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

Place the sliced beetroots in a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Meanwhile, grind the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar and pour this over the top of the beetroot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 20-30 minutes. Five minutes before they are done add the almonds and cook for a further five minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by mixing the olive oil, lemon, tomato purée, cumin and cayenne pepper together. Season.

Place the rocket, oranges and cooked beetroot together and mix. Drizzle over the dressing and serve.

Marzipan Truffles

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I am a huge fan of marzipan and I’m delighted I’ve discovered a vegan version. I originally made it for my Hot Cross Bun recipe but it tasted so good I couldn’t just leave it for that. So, I rolled it into balls and smothered it in dark chocolate. What’s there not to love. These are a really fun recipe to make and a little bit messy so I imagine it would be fun to get all the family involved!

Makes 18-20 truffles

200g ground almonds
175g dates
1 and 1/2 tsp almond essence
1 tbsp maple syrup
80g dark chocolate, melted
Pinch of salt

Blend together the ground almonds, salt and dates in a food processor until broken down. Add in the almond essence and maple syrup and pulse until a ball starts to form.

Break away parts of the marzipan and roll into bite size balls. Once rolled, cover the balls in the melted dark chocolate (this is the messy part) and place on a plate covered with greaseproof paper.

When all the balls are covered place them in the freezer for an hour to set. After this, they can be stored in the fridge.

Aubergine Curry with Maple Roasted Chickpeas

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Aubergine is one of my favourite vegetables so I decided to place it at the centre of a delicious curry. Alongside this you get the roasted chickpeas which quite honestly make this dish something extraordinary. Served alongside brown rice this meal is not only nutritious but is also damn comforting.

Serves four
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (or 180 for fan ovens)

1 tsp mustard seeds
1 red onion, diced
1 aubergine, cubed
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp coconut cream (place a can of coconut milk in the fridge and scoop off the cream on top for this)
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper

Serve with brown rice

Mix the chickpeas with some oil, the paprika and maple syrup and season with salt and pepper. Put on a baking tray and roast for 20-30 minutes.

Fry the mustard seeds in a drizzle of oil until they start to pop. Add the onion and fry for five minutes until fragrant. Add the aubergine and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Throw in the garam masala, turmeric, salt and pepper and stir until the veg is coated. Fry for a couple of minutes and then add the tins of chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the coconut cream and allow to simmer for another couple of minutes.

Dish up with the rice and scatter with chickpeas and enjoy!

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