Sugar-free baked beans

If you live in England, you must know that a full English breakfast is not complete without beans – baked beans, that is. If you’re going to brunch in England, and brunch right, you’ve got to have some of these with your eggs!

Now, the only brand you should be buying, my British friends tell me, is Heinz: nothing beats a tin of Heinz baked beans. The contents of which pack a whopping 9.8g of sugar per serving (1/2 tin or 200g). Even the reduced sugar and salt version has 6.7g of sugar per portion (1/2 tin or 200g)!

I never fully understood the concept of baked beans; we don’t eat a whole lot of beans in France. The first time I saw someone eating beans on toast (in my mind, the nutritional equivalent of carbs on carbs with sugar sauce), I did a double-take! However, I must admit, they have kind of grown on me – but I would rather eat them homemade to actually know what I’m eating.

I have really scoured the internet to find a proper baked beans recipe that I would find truly satisfying, and this one really did it for me (although I did tweak t a little). I love the strong tomato sauce, balanced with the sweetness of the rice malt syrup (all glucose sweetener) and the acidity of the apple cider vinegar. Slow-cooking really thickens the sauce and makes the beans perfectly tender. Make a big portion and keep in the fridge to enjoy, heated, at breakfast, dinner or as a snack. You can even freeze it in portions and keep for up to three months!

Serves 8

Ingredients:

2-3 tins cannellini beans

1 red onion, diced

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tin chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp rice malt syrup

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Coconut oil

Salt

Pepper

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the diced onions and cook for 6-8 minutes.

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2. Stir in the chopped garlic, tomatoes, rice malt syrup, apple cider vinegar and 400ml water, then tip in the beans. If using dried beans, make sure you’ve soaked them overnight and pre-cooked them for an hour in simmering water.

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3. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1½-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick sauce and tender beans.

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4. Serve the beans on toasted bread, with grated cheese, if you like, or as part of a complete full English breakfast.

5. Enjoy!

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Original recipe found here

Sugar-free breakfast granola

These past few weeks, I’ve often felt like eating cereal and muesli. I’m not sure why this is, because I rarely eat that kinds of foodstuff. Perhaps it’s because my housemates often have cereal in the cupboards and eat it for breakfast or as a snack, or maybe I’ve seen too many ads on television – who knows?

The fact of the matter is, however, that if you eat mainly sugar-free and are paying attention to the amount of added sugar in your food, buying cereal in a supermarket is close to impossible. I’ve taken strolls down the cereal aisle many a time, and few if any of the cereals I’ve seen have less than 15g of sugar per 100g serving, which basically adds up to almost 2 teaspoons of sugar per portion (the boxes recommend 40g servings, but who really respects those, huh?).

I quickly realised that, to satisfy my cereal craving, I’d have to make my own. I hence decided to make my own granola, cutting out the unnecessary sugars found in honey and dried fruit. Inspired by I Quit Sugar’s recipe for Coco-nutty granola, I made my own sugar-free homemade coconut and mixed nut granola, using, well, no sweetener. I decided to eat it in Greek yoghurt, which I eat without sugar anyway and adds a good source of protein to any breakfast or snack.

The result? Delicious – exotic coconut, crunchy oats, chia seeds and nuts, all mixing beautifully with the rich, greek yoghurt. I am totally bowled over by this recipe and will be keeping freshly-made granola in my cupboard from now on!

PS. I’m alright with the no-sugar version, especially with the sweet cinnamon and coconut, but you can add a sweetener, to taste, if you wish: rice malt syrup would be my choice, but honey would work just as well.

5 servings

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of rolled oats

1 cup of roughly chopped nuts (I used brazil nuts, hazelnuts and almonds)

1 cup of desiccated coconut

3 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

1 tsp of cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 130°.

2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

3. Cover a baking tray with baking parchment. Put the granola mix on the baking sheet and spread the mixture out evenly.

4. Cook for 20 minutes in the oven, turning mixture halfway through cooking time so it cooks evenly.

Here's my mix halfway through cooking - should be a bit darker and more golden when finished.

Here’s my mix halfway through cooking – should be a bit darker and more golden when finished.

5. Take out of the oven and let cool. This granola can be eaten as soon as it has cooled or be kept for up to two weeks in the cupboard.

6. Enjoy!

Scrambled eggs done right

Making the perfect scrambled eggs is a skill I believe everyone should master, because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love scrambled eggs? When done right, they make the perfect breakfast dish, whether you’re eating alone or trying to impress a friend.

I made these last weekend with some friend in the Cotswolds: we spiced these scrambled eggsies up with a little added nutmeg and paprika for an extra zing and served them with roasted tomatoes, smoked salmon and fresh baguette. They were a complete hit! (As you can see from my friend Robin’s face – he played a big part in cooking these and I think the recipe won him over!)

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Now, the main mistake I’ve come across when it comes to technique is that people try to cook scrambled eggs too fast, in a pan. To make the perfectly cooked but still lovely and moist eggs, the trick is to cook scrambled eggs slowly, over low heat, in a pot. When I make scrambled eggs for the whole family (7 people), they can take me anywhere from half an hour to 45 minutes. And they are totally worth it. For one person, count approximately ten minutes to prepare.

Another big rule for me: always cook scrambled eggs in butter. Over low heat, the less stable nature of butter doesn’t really come into play and other oils just don’t seem to sit right with eggs, giving them too strong a flavour or not allowing them to cook the way I like. For an added French touch, use salted butter. And don’t forget the crème fraiche!

Serves 1

Ingredients:

2-3 eggs

1 spring onion, chopped, or a handful of chives

1 tablespoon of crème fraiche

Salt

Pepper

Butter

1. In a mixing bowl, crack the two eggs and beat them for a minute, mixing the yolk and white of the egg. Add some salt and pepper.

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2. In a pot over the stove, melt some butter. Make sure it doesn’t brown over the heat: if you need to, swirl the butter in the pot off the stove while it melts. Turn the heat down.

3. Add the eggs to the pot and cook them slowly. Use a wooden spoon to continue turning the mix in the pot so it doesn’t start forming too rapidly.

4. When the eggs start to form chunks, keep on turning with a wooden spoon, being careful to scrape the bottom and the sides. Add a spoonful of crème fraiche at this time, as well as the chopped spring onion or chives.

5. When the eggs are cooked but still moist, take them off the heat. Serve with some buttered toast and any other accompaniment you fancy: smoked salmon goes very well with these, but so will bacon or beans and other roasted or fresh vegetables!

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6. Enjoy!

Banana, almond and goji berry porridge

This recipe isn’t strictly sugar-free, as are most of the other recipes I’ve posted: bananas pack quite a sugary punch, and so do the goji berries, a dried fruit. However, if eaten with an otherwise low-sugar diet, I don’t think half a banana and a handful of dried berries will hurt.

On the plus side, this porridge is chock-full of energising foods – this breakfast is definitely perfect if you’re off to a very busy morning and need a good energy boost!

Serves 1

Ingredients: 30g oats

225ml milk (oat, almond, dairy – my favorite is almond milk)

1/2 tsp vanilla powder

Half a banana, cut into slices

1/2 tbsp of goji berries

10 almonds

1. Heat oats, vanilla powder and milk of your choice in a pot over medium heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Take off the heat, pour in a bowl and add banana slices, almonds and goji berries.

3. Enjoy!

Avocado toast

Don’t be frightened by the fat content in avocados! They are not bad for you: quite the contrary! The fat contained in avocados is considered healthy fat, helping to reduce triglycerides and increase good cholesterol.

Avocados are also often considered a superfood because they are a great source of nutrients, including vitamin K, folate, vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. It also contains twice as much potassium as a banana, vitamin, niacin and riboflavin.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-health-benefits-of-this-incredible-superfruit.html#ixzz3T3lFD9uW

Another perk of having avocado for breakfast: it is very filling. It’ll definitely keep you going well until lunch!

Personally, I love eating avocados, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just as a snack! It’s probably a family thing: homemade avocado dip is a family meal staple! My four sisters would probably confirm this fact, I think we’re all pretty obsessed with how yummy avocados are. I’m fairly sure my 12 year old sister Mathilde could LIVE on them! But that’s another story.

Here’s the recipe, enjoy!

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 small, ripe avocado

1 lemon wedge

Salt

Pepper

1 egg

Cayenne pepper

1 small radish, cut into thin slices

Two slices of toast (your bread of choice – personally, I use homemade seeded bread)

image11. Cut avocado in half and pit. Mix avocado flesh with the juice from a large lemon wedge, salt and pepper and mash.

2. Meanwhile, heat some coconut oil in a pan, and when hot, fry egg. Salt and pepper to taste, and add cayenne pepper if you feel like a spicy kick.

3. Spread avocado mash on two slices of bread.

4. Place radish slices on on piece of toast, fried egg on the other.

5. Enjoy!

Cacao nib and blueberry porridge

Porridge is the only other quick and easy breakfast meal which can actually keep me full until lunch. However, unless you use your imagination, it can get boring pretty quickly. If you step outside of the box, though, it can come in an infinite number of variations, starting with the milk you use. The taste will change completely if you use milk, almond milk, rice milk, hazelnut milk or oat milk for example (I am personally not a big fan of soy milk, so you won’t see much of it on my site).

Cooking with spices can also give a new lease of life to your same old, daily porridge: ever tried adding cinnamon or vanilla powder (my two favorites)? How about apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice, chai spices, cacao powder, ginger or nutmeg? If you switch it up, you can come up with an infinite number of different porridge recipes!

And finally, there are about a billion toppings you can choose: any fresh fruit, dried fruit, cacao nibs and seeds will do. Bananas, apples and berries go particularly well with porridge, in my mind. It’s that simple to make an old dish new again: choose your milk, spice and topping, and you’re good to go! Here’s one of my current favorites:

Cacao nib and blueberry porridge

Serves 1

Ingredients:

30g oats

225ml milk (oat, almond, dairy – my favorite is almond milk)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

A handful of blueberries

1/2 tbsp of cacao nibs

1. Heat oats, cinnamon and milk of your choice in a pot over medium heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Take off the heat, pour in a bowl and add blueberries and cacao nibs.

3. Enjoy!

Bacon and egg “cupcakes”

I LOVE breakfast. I mean, seriously, I’m one of those people who goes to sleep earlier at night because I’m that excited for breakfast the next day. And as they say, it is the most important meal of the day.

Having a good, nourishing and healthy breakfast is paramount to having a good day, and for me, milk and cereal just doesn’t cut it. Only two meals will do it for me in the morning, and eggs and bacon is on top of the list.

Now, eggs and bacon is a classic, and it is absolutely my favorite thing in the world. NOTHING beats a fried egg sunny side up with two rashers of bacon and a slice of buttered homemade bread. Except maybe these: bacon and egg cupcakes. I discovered them about a year ago, in Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar cookbook (a book which has changed my life), and they are delicious. Plus, it’s a nice way to spruce up an old, classic breakfast. Try them out, you absolutely will not regret it!

Bacon and Egg “cupcakes”

Serves 6

1.Preheat your oven to 200° celsius.

2. Line each cup in a muffin tray with bacon, break an egg in each and cook for about 10-15 minutes.

3. Sprinkle them with cheese or herbs a few minutes before taking them out to add a nice finishing touch.

4. Enjoy!