London taco fix: Taqueria

taqueria london
Beer battered fish tacos, refried beans, and an american guy nodding his head while giving us a thumbs up through the window. We were sold.

Having a half Mexican bf means I’ve tried “authentic” Mexican food from his home town. It isn’t like anything I’ve ever tasted anywhere else, but some of the dishes at Taqueria come pretty close. If you need a taco fix / looking for Mexican food in London, this is it.

mexican-peanuts

Complementary peanuts while we’re checking out the menu. The chilli lime seasoning is so moorish!

jamaica drink

Flor de Jamaica is aka hibiscus tea. Refreshing and sweet.

guacamole chips beans

Botana: who doesn’t love refried beans with crumbled cheese, guacamole, salsa and chips? I could snack on this all day! It’s quite large so share between 2-3 people.

pollack ceviche

The ceviche was a bit too sour for my liking

carnitas

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Le Cordon Bleu London – Gateau au Citron & Madeleines

Thursday’s practical was surprisingly relaxing and not too hard compared to some of the practicals we’ve previously had. Chef’s demo started off with a Gateau au Citron (Lemon pound cake), Madeleines, then the Gênes à la Pistache (traditional almond and pistachio cake). I was a bit disappointed to find out that the gateau au citron was actually a pound cake! Not very french…

pistachio cake madeleines Chef’s creations sliced up for us to try :) The madeleines were soft and buttery, fresh out of the oven. The texture of the pistachio almond cake was very light and fluffy. However, the cake had more of an almond flavour and barely any pistachio flavour which was disappointing since I love everything pistachio flavoured!  gateau au citron cut Above: chef’s gateau au citron sliced up.

During the demo we learnt that there are three ways that cakes can rise:
Mechanically – manually whipping and incorporating air, for example airating egg whites.
Biologically – using yeast
Chemically – rising agents such as baking powder.

Gateau au Citron gateau au citron le cordon bleu

The Gateau au Citron uses a chemical method (baking power), as well as steam released from the water in the butter and eggs to allow the cake to rise. Gateau au citron, aka pound cake actually originated in the UK and weighed a pound…according to chef.

The Gateau au Citron is composed of 3 parts: The cake itself, the lemon julienne garnish and the glaçage.

Everything was pretty straightforward and everything went well. Except for one thing… My excess parchment paper stuck onto the top of cake while baking!! Apparently, this happened to a lot of the students during the practical. So don’t forget to trim the top of the parchment down so it’s not too tall because once it goes in the convection oven, the paper will flap around and stick onto the cake batter. This caused a slight indentation on the surface of the cake. You can see where the paper got stuck on the right side of the cake :( gateau au citron

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Le Cordon Bleu London – Orientation Day

le cordon bleu london orientation

le cordon bleu london orientation Orientation day at Le Cordon Bleu London

Last friday was Orientation day at Le Cordon Bleu London. It was my first time visiting the school and I was surprised by how shiny and high tech everything was (not how I expected a traditional french culinary school to be!) I proceeded to join the line to get our fingers scanned and collected my le cordon bleu ID, uniform, schedules and an induction handbook. Once everyone had settled down, we had a welcome speech from the principle as well as a long mundane talk about fire drills, schedules, grading and attendance.

After the speeches, we were put into our basic patisserie groups and spent an hour or so touring around the school visiting the boulangerie, the demo rooms, the pastry kitchen and the cuisine kitchens. All the kitchens were spotless and decked out with shiny new equipment. The clean white demo rooms had flat screen TVs hanging from the ceiling with cameras pointing to the counter and a huge angled mirror on the ceiling. I’m not complaining because I know it’s to ensure that everyone has a great view but it felt a bit like a science lab!
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Le Cordon Bleu London – Basic Patisserie

le cordon bleu london entrance

le cordon bleu london entrance

Basic Patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu London

Last month, I was accepted into Le Cordon Bleu London’s basic patisserie course. I’ve been waiting impatiently for classes to start and it’s finally orientation day tomorrow!! I’m really excited and equally as nervous for classes to start. I’m looking forward to learning the fundamentals, mastering some french patisserie skills and meeting the other students. I’ve also heard that pastry school is very tough. It’s tiring, it’s fast paced and it’s stressful. There are also a few things that I’m really not looking forward to. Namely:

  1. Wearing ugly unisex kitchen shoes
  2. Hair nets. In primary school we used to make fun of the dinner ladies and their hair nets. Now I’m going to be one of them.
  3. Punctuality.  Ask any of my friends, punctuality is definitely NOT one of my fortes. At all. Apparently, If you’re 5 minutes late you can’t go in the class to watch the demo and you can’t do the practical. And if you’re late 5 times you get taken out of the course!!
  4. The Exams. I heard that you need to memorise all the recipes (And there are lots of recipes!) for the exams. I honestly think I have early Alzheimers. Tell me something and I’ll forget a minute later!
  5. Speed. We’ll be given a strict time limit in the practicals and exams so everybody needs to be relatively quick. I’m like a snail in the kitchen. My parents and boyfriend have probably almost starved to death waiting for me to finish cooking or baking!
  6. How fat I’m going to get because of the amount of sweets and pastries I’m going to be scoffing down.

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Profiteroles with ice cream and hot chocolate sauce

profiteroles

profiteroles with ice cream and hot chocolate sauce
The other day my boyfriend and I were at our local supermarket and he picked up a little box of profiteroles to put in the basket. I thought, why don’t I try making them for us instead?! When I told him he gave me the, er, I don’t think that’s such a good idea face. But what’s the worse that could happen, I thought? If it doesn’t work I’ll just come back and buy some soggy store bought profiteroles.

I always assumed that profiteroles were really hard to make. I’m not completely sure why, since I originally had no idea how to make them. I just assumed that something so delicate and delicious must be hard to make. But I thought I’d challenge myself anyway and try to make something new. Turns out, they were really easy to make and a complete hit with everyone!

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Cranberry pumpkin seed granola

cranberry pumpkin seed granola

cranberry pumpkin seed granola Granola is one my favourite things for breakfast and snacking. I could munch on it all day long. Its crunchy(I love everything crunchy!), flavourful and delicious on top of everything!

granola with yogurt

I couldn’t find a granola recipe that didn’t use cups full oil and maple syrup, so I decided to experiment myself, and I came up this delicious,wholesome cranberry pumpkin seed granola to share with you guys. I have made a few batches, switching up the different fruits, nuts and seeds but this cranberry pumpkin seed granola has become my go-to recipe. cranberry pumpkin seed granola recipe

This has less oil and maple syrup than regular packaged granola, so it doesn’t come out in clusters. It’s a ‘loose’ granola that is crunchy, nutty and full of flavour. It’s so much healthier and tastier than the store bought stuff. Feel free to switch out the cranberries and pumpkin seeds for whatever fruits and nuts you like. Flaked almonds or hazelnuts with dried coconut works well too!

I chose pumpkin seeds as they are high in Iron (highest iron content of all seeds), rich in omega-3 and antioxidant vitamin E. They are also high in oleic acid which helps to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol in the blood.

cranberry pumpkin seed granola jar

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10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

10 healthy breakfast ideas

10 healthy breakfast ideas
Breakfast foods are my favorite and sometimes it’s the only thing that gets me out of bed! If you’re trying to get a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning, consider waking up just a little earlier to prepare a healthy breakfast, as the benefits of eating a hearty meal in the morning far outweigh a few minutes of sleep.

Here are 10 of my favorite healthy breakfast ideas. Some take a few extra minutes in the morning, and some can be prepared the night before.

10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Oatmeal

1.Oatmeal

I love waking up to a wam bowl of oatmeal topped with honey, fruits and nuts. I never knew there were so many benefits to eating oats until recently… They help lower bad cholesterol, they’re high in fiber, they keep you full for longer and contain tonnes of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Packaged oatmeal usually contains a lot of sugar so I like to make mine on the stove              with jumbo rolled oats. I prefer rolled oats since they contain the whole grain that’s full of nutrients. The number of toppings I can think of are endless but my current favorite is sliced bananas + dessicated coconut + almonds and a drizzle of honey. Yum!

greek yogurt parfait

2.Greek Yogurt Parfait

Throwing a greek yogurt parfait together is just as quick as pouring milk over a bowl of sugary cereal so there’s no excuse to not make this instead! This healthy breakfast idea packs in a bunch of protein, nutrients and healthy carbs. Greek yogurt has almost twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt but with fewer carbs.

I love my greek yogurt with berries, seeds and a drizzle of honey. Berries are my favorite since they are full of antioxidants and apparently they’re great for improving memory (I really need help in that area!!). Use whatever fruits, nuts and seeds you have on hand. If I have time, I’ll make a melon yogurt bowl. However, if I know I won’t have time in the morning, I’ll wash and slice my fruits the night before.

granola

3.Granola

I’ll eat granola by itself, with yogurt, or with milk and fruits. Usually, I’ll wash and slice my fruits the night before. So all I have to do in the morning  is dump the granola and fruits in a bowl, sprinkle some almonds and chia seeds on top, eat, and be out the of the door in no time!

One of my favorite combinations is greek yogurt mixed with diced apples, honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a handful of homemade crunchy granola. So good!! As well as having this as a healthy breakfast, I’ll have it as a snack during the day too!

omelette

4.Eggs

This picture really doesn’t do eggs any justice, but trust me, they’re tasty and good for you (one of the most nutritious foods in the world!). Eggs are full of vitamins and minerals, they contain all 9 amino acids and are protein rich. What more could you ask for in a healthy breakfast?!

I’m really not fussy when it comes to eggs. I’ll have them poached, fried, scrambled.. whatever! But if you want an even more nutritious, healthy breakfast, you can make an omelette and add any veggies that you have on hand. I like spinach, tomato and mozzarella in mine :)

protein pancakes

5.Protein Pancakes

If I have time in the morning, I’ll whip up some pancakes. They taste amazing, they’re low in carbs and packed full of protein which keeps you full for longer. Sometimes I’ll have these as a post work-out treat, too :)

So far, carrot cake protein pancakes are my favorite. I know carrots in pancakes sound weird but it tastes just like carrot cake …but in pancake form. However, if you don’t like carrot cake you can replace the carrots with blueberries, dark chocolate chips or bananas.   cottage-cheese-pancakes

6.Cottage Cheese Pancakes

I really don’t like the taste or consistency of cottage cheese, but when they’re blended up in these cute little pancakes they taste so damn good!

Cottage cheese is low in carbs yet high in protein and calcium. And if you’re not a fan of oatmeal, you can still get the benefits of oats blended up in these pancakes. The perfect healthy breakfast!

Just blend two eggs, 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, a tsp of vanilla extract together and cook like silver dollar pancakes. I like to top mine with bananas, blueberries and maple syrup. Did you know real maple syrup is actually good for you?!

healthy toast fruit

7.Whole grain bread with nut butter and fruits

Whole grain bread is a lot more nutritious than whole wheat bread since it isn’t refined. It contains all the fiber, iron and B vitamins that whole wheat doesn’t. Whole grains are also more filling, which is great for breakfast, keeping you full until your next meal.

I like my bread topped with peanut butter, blueberries/bananas and a sprinkle of chia seeds. Did you know peanut butter is high in good fats and packed full of nutrients? (I sound like such a nerd!) I’ve also recently become obsessed with chia seeds and have been sprinkling them on everything. Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, fiber and omega-3. 3½ tablespoons contain the same amount of omega-3 as a 32-ounce piece of salmon. So if you don’t eat much fish this is a great way to get your omega-3.

overnight oats

8.Overnight Oats

If you’re an oatmeal lover like me and still want to eat oatmeal when it’s boiling hot in the summer , or if you’re in a hurry in the morning (or lazy) – this is the perfect solution! All you have to do is dump everything in a container and stick it in the fridge the night before and you’ll have a glorious serving of overnight oats waiting for you in the morning :)

If you don’t have any fresh fruits on hand, you can use frozen fruits. I actually prefer my oats to be soaked overnight with frozen berries, since they will thaw and the fruit juices will soak into the oats. Super yummy!!  Kath Eats has an amazing selection of delicious overnight oat recipes.

smoothie

9.Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to get your fruits and veggies in the morning! They’re so quick to make, especially if you have your fruits and veggies pre washed/sliced and measured out the night before. The only annoying thing about making smoothies is washing the blender after!!

I’m not a fan of eating dark leafy greens for breakfast, so blending them up in smoothies is the perfect way to sneak them into my food! If you add a handful of dark leafy greens like kale or spinach to your usual smoothie mix, you won’t be able to tell they’re in there. I promise! Typically, I like to add berries and bananas to my smoothies for a sweeter, creamier texture.

blueberry quinoa muffins

10.Quinoa Muffins

Quinoa muffins are not only quick and convenient for breakfast, they’re also super rich in iron, vitamin B2, protein and fiber.

So far, blueberry quinoa muffins with chia seeds are my favorite, but you can replace blueberries with dark chocolate chips, bananas, or any seasonal fruit really. As well as having these for breakfast, they’re great on the go and I sometimes have them as a pre workout snack, as quinoa helps to boost energy levels.

Hopefully I didn’t bore you too much with my nerdy nutrition facts but, inspired you to eat a healthy breakfast instead!! I have to admit, I don’t always eat healthy, especially if I’m out. But, when I’m at home I like to start my day with a healthy breakfast and hope you will too :)

Emily x

Three minute yogurt melon bowl

yogurt melon bowl

yogurt melon bowl Yogurt melon bowls are so cute I wish I had thought of them earlier! They are perfect to satisfy that summer sweet tooth, amazingly refreshing and healthy (hello bikini body) at the same time, great for a snack or breakfast. Best of all, it only takes three minutes to make and there are no dishes to wash after!! Is this idea genius or what?!

I love this recipe since you can switch it up using different flavoured yogurts and toppings. I used greek yogurt for some protein in the morning, topped with strawberry compote but you can use any yogurt you have on hand and honey, or preserves instead! I also topped the yogurt melon bowl with chia seeds, pumpkin and flaxseeds for an extra nutritious breakfast :)

If you’re craving something sweet and refreshing you have to try this!
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Blueberry Quinoa Muffins with Chia Seeds

blueberry quinoa muffins

blueberry quinoa muffins with chia seeds
Move aside regular blueberry muffins. HELLO protein packed blueberry quinoa chia seed muffins. These quinoa muffins make for amazing snacks since they are packed with protein and are healthier than the usual blueberry muffin.

Quinoa muffins have a bit more bite to them, they’re slightly denser but are full of flavour. Quinoa is a complete protein so it keeps you fuller for longer and great as a post work out snack / on the go breakfast.

I added some chia seeds to my batter as they soo good for you (high in omega-3s, antioxidants, great for healthy hair skin and nails the list goes on…) but of course this is optional and if you don’t add them in it won’t change how amazing the muffins taste.

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