RECIPE – Gluten Free – Mediterranean Vegetable and Ham & Mushroom Pizzas

Nothing beats a homemade pizza. Not only is this a fun activity to do with your family or friends, but it also tastes 100% more delicious than shop-bought pizzas. Plus it is really quick!

This time I used a gluten-free ready made pizza base by B-free. You can make your own pizza base if you wish.

Ingredients

Mediterranean Vegetable pizza:

  • 1 pizza base
  • 2 tbsps tomato & herb pizza sauce
  • A handful of mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 courgette
  • 1/4 aubergine
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Ham & Mushroom pizza:

  • 1 pizza base
  • 2 tbsps tomato & herb pizza sauce
  • A handful of mozzarella cheese
  • 3 mushrooms
  • 2 slices of ham
  • 2 tsps black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven following packet instructions.
  2. Place each base on a foil-lined baking tray.
  3. Cover the centre of each of the bases with 2 tbsps of pizza sauce and leave some space uncovered at the crust.
  4. Cover the tomato layers with a handful of mozzarella cheese.
  5. Add ingredients to your Mediterranean Vegetable pizza. Chop up 1/4 courgette and 1/4 aubergine and layer onto the pizza, followed by 6 sun-dried tomatoes. Slice 1 red pepper and layer on top. Finish off with 1 tbsp of olive oil, all over the top of the pizza.
  6. Then, add ingredients to your Ham & Mushroom pizza. Wash 3 mushrooms, slice and layer onto the pizza. Tear 2 slices of ham into thin strips and layer onto the pizza. Finish off with 2 tsps of black pepper and 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  7. Bake in oven following packet instructions.
  8. Serve with side salad of green leaves and fresh tomatoes, with balsamic dressing.

And after baking…

Done!

I hope you enjoy this quick & easy recipe.

Sarah – X

RECIPE – Chocolate Raspberry & Pistachio Brownies

If you like your brownies extra chocolatey and super gooey, this is the recipe for you. Chocolate brownies with a crunchy outer layer and a soft centre, full of raspberries and pistachios.

What make these brownies unique is the natural sweetness from the raspberries and that extra crunch from the pistachios. Inspiration by Madeleine Shaw.

C6254104-B411-435D-9DEA-9A987B51FD5C

Ingredients

  • 75g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 128g dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 65g flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200g raspberries
  • 100g pistachios

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 160C fan or 180C conventional
  2. Grease medium tin with butter and line with parchment paper
  3. Weigh 75g butter and 128g dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl
  4. Heat butter and chocolate in microwave for 1 min or until melted
  5. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. Add 3 eggs and whisk
  7. Once the eggs are fully incorporated into the mixture, add 250g granulated sugar
  8. Add 75g cocoa powder
  9. Add 1/3 cup vegetable oil and mix well
  10. Once mixed, add 65g flour
  11. Add 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  12. Add a pinch of salt and mix well
  13. Add half of your raspberries (100g) to the mixture, along with half of your pistachios (50g) – we are going to use the rest later to sprinkle on top
  14. Mix well and spread your chocolate mixture evenly across the lined baking tin
  15. Sprinkle over the rest of the raspberries (100g) and pistachios (50g) and push them into the mixture slightly, ensuring the tops are popping out
  16. Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins

Your baked brownie should be crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle but not too soft it can’t hold together. The brownies harden with cooling.

A85BAB9C-E77B-4D0F-A0F5-5BD7AF255C78_1_201_a

Cut up into even squares and sprinkle over some raspberries and pistachios for presentation. Tastes good with some melted white chocolate drizzled on top.

I am now on TikTok!! You can find this recipe there as well: @foodnatic. Follow me for more recipe videos.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try and tag me in your creations on Instagram.

Stay safe. Lots of love,

Sarah – x

RECIPE – Moist Banana Bread

Banana bread, a classic treat which you can have for breakfast, as a snack or as a late night bite. I like mine super moist and with some walnuts for extra crunch.

19B8A6D2-DA0E-4BDF-B37B-FA0BB58FD232

Ingredients

  • 140g butter, plus a bit for greasing the tin
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 40g muscovado sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Sweet Freedom vanilla syrup
  • 2 very ripe brownish bananas
  • 85g chopped walnuts

For garnish:

  • Almond butter

Recipe

  1. Leave your 140g butter out to soften or add to a pan and lightly heat till softened
  2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4
  3. Grease a 2lb loaf tin with a bit of butter – I do this by placing a knob of butter on a sheet of kitchen roll and rubbing it over the inside of the tin
  4. Line the base and sides of the tin with baking parchment
  5. Start making your mixture: cream 140g butter and 140g caster sugar in a big bowl until fluffy
  6. Beat the 2 eggs in a small bowl and stir in slowly to the mixture
  7. In a separate bowl, weigh 140g flour and add some of it to the mixture and stir
  8. Fold in the remaining flour to the mixture and stir in 1 tsp baking powder, 40g muscovado sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla syrup and 85g walnuts
  9. In a separate bowl, mash the 2 bananas with a fork till softened
  10. Add the mashed bananas to the mixture
  11. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 30-40 mins until a skewer comes out clean – your skewer might still be a bit wet but this is normal 🙂
  12. Cool in the tin until ready for serving
  13. Chop into thick slices and serve with a spread of almond butter
1C482FD3-8B9A-4848-B176-390CCF512D6C

Share this recipe with family and friends and have fun baking! 🙂

Sarah – x

RECIPE – Flourless Easy Pancakes

With Pancake Tuesday coming up I thought I would brush up on my pancake making skills and made these delicious Oatmeal Banana Pancakes. I fancied making something different so went for a flourless recipe, using only 3 main ingredients: oats, banana and milk. So easy!

6F1B24FF-F9DF-423D-9AAF-136AA3C7EB4A

Ingredients

  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 60g rolled oats
  • 100g milk of your choice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Sweet Freedom vanilla syrup
  • 1 tsp coconut oil for frying
071EAB42-4D82-4657-A9E4-C47CA89F0592

For garnish:

  • Sweet Freedom chocolate mint shot
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds
  • Handful of raspberries

Recipe

  1. Mash the banana in a bowl and add the oats, milk, cinnamon and vanilla syrup
  2. Blend all ingredients in a food processor
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and leave on a medium heat
  4. When hot enough add the mixture to form a small circle
  5. Leave until hardened on the bottom and then flip the pancake
  6. Repeat with the rest of the mixture
  7. Garnish with Sweet Freedom chocolate mint shot, pumpkin seeds and a handful of raspberries538AD07C-F4E2-43A9-8FA6-4295BDD4D5A420D4E744-0AB8-4FEE-A5D1-A84FE127C6CFB33FEF4F-AA84-4F44-A50C-860901DF6D2EE95F9F8D-0B44-4AB3-AAC4-BC35208934F2721DD864-B188-4785-B25E-E81DC89C0A4693D878B9-65FE-47E1-B8D6-5A416F4B088D

Done!

Let me know if you try it out 🙂

Sarah – x

WELLBEING – How to Stay Positive

Life isn’t perfect. Sometimes things happen which bring you down and it can be hard to pick yourself up. However, if life was perfect how boring would that be hey?

How to deal with an issue

When you are feeling down about one thing, you can get trapped in a vicious cycle of negativity and start feeling down about several things which you weren’t really focusing on or putting a negative light on when you were in a good place. However, this can be avoided! Try just focusing on that one thing that brought you down initially and don’t drag other things into your negativity. Focus on that thing and think:

  1. How can you solve the issue or feel better about it? Ask for advice if needed.
  2. Remind yourself that it won’t be an issue forever and the bad feeling will pass or get better.
  3. Deal with the issue now and don’t try avoid it, otherwise it may affect you in a future and will be harder to deal with.

What to do when you feel sad for “no reason”

Occasionally, we feel low and we can’t pinpoint what is causing our negative vibe. Sometimes there is a specific reason so try work out what this is so you can deal with it. Other times, we feel like there is NO REASON WHATSOEVER and we just feel randomly sad… ANNOYING right?! However, there is a way to stop this negative vibe.

99% times I feel negative for no reason is because I am bored. My brain isn’t busy enough so it starts focusing on little things that I usually don’t have time to think about and they make me feel negative. So rule number 1 to stay positive = keep yourself a buuuusy bee! I roughly plan my day every morning to make sure I leave the house at least once a day and have something to do every day. This can be work, a hobby, calling a friend, carrying out sport/ exercise or seeing friends or family.

How to stop stress making you feel negative

Stress is also a massive cause of negativity. So, how to avoid or deal with stress?

  1. Stay organised. Make a list of things you have to do and write down important dates in your calendar to make sure you don’t forget them.
  2. Plan out your weeks if you have a lot to do, to make sure you have enough time to do everything throughout the week and you don’t have to pack everything into one day. This will ensure all your tasks are spread out evenly throughout the week so you have time to rest as well.
  3. Mindfulness. Accept the fact you are stressed and think to yourself “I am stressed, but it is okay”. This will stop you getting more worked up about it leading to further stress. Relax, breathe and push through it. You will get everything you have to done and if you don’t it is completely okay! You are only human! Mindfulness is a key path towards a positive lifestyle.

KEEP ON SMILING PEEPS 🙂

larger-version-of-horse

Love, Sarah xx.

RECIPE – Miso Aubergine & Lentils

This is probably one of my most favourite recipes that I have ever made, so I am very excited to share it with you guys. Sweet miso & mirin aubergine topped with melted feta cheese and crunchy pomegranate seeds, on a bed of lentils and couscous. A plate that combines just the right balance of sweet with savoury, and a variety of textures that just work perfectly together.

  • Serves 4
  • Prepping + Cooking Time = 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bag Merchant Gourmet Puy Lentils
  • 200g couscous
  • Feta cheese
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • 4 spring onions
  • 4 baby corns
IMG-8867

Recipe

  1. Cut the aubergine in half and score in a criss-cross pattern. Place on a baking tray and drizzle over a generous amount of olive oil.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes till the aubergine has softened.
  3. Chop the aubergine where scored to form cubes, keeping the skin.
  4. Pour boiling water over your couscous and leave for around 5 minutes or until softened.
  5. Add some olive oil to a pan (ideally a grilling pan) and heat the aubergine.
  6. Meanwhile make your sauce by mixing your mirin, miso, soy sauce & honey, and heating in a pan.
  7. Add your sauce to your aubergine and ensure the aubergine cubes are covered in the sauce.
  8. Slice your babycorn in half and fry in a separate pan.
  9. Cook your lentils in the microwave for 45 seconds.
  10. Add the lentils & couscous to a mixing bowl and mix well.
  11. Plate up the lentils & couscous mixture, followed by the miso aubergine and babycorn. Top with a sprinkle of feta cheese, pomegranate seeds and chopped raw spring onions.IMG-8855

Enjoy!

Sarah – x

NUTRITION – Fibre

Did you know that most people in the UK don’t include enough fibre in their diet? Average fibre intake in adults is 19g per day, well below the recommended 30g per day.

There are 2 types of fibre: soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre dissolves in water in our bodies and helps lower our cholesterol levels, decreasing the risk of a stroke or cardiovascular disease. Soluble fibre also helps maintain blood glucose levels, decreasing the risk of diabetes or obesity. Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, absorbs water, increasing the mass of the stool and allowing it to pass through the colon more easily. Not consuming enough insoluble fibre can lead to digestive problems such as IBS, hemorrhoids, constipation or even bowel cancer.

I personally try and include nuts & seeds in my breakfast every morning, as they are both amazing sources of fibre! Let me know what your top tips are for making sure you are getting enough fibre in your day.fibre.jpg

Other foods rich in fibre

  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholegrain pasta, wholegrain bread & wholegrain oats
  • Veggies such as broccoli & carrots
  • Peas, beans & pulses
  • Raspberries, pears, apples, strawberries, figs & raisins

Enjoy these yummy foods rich in fibre!

Sarah – x

RECIPE – Veggie Sausage Pasta Bake

pasta bakePasta bake is such a comforting, tasty meal which is so easy to make and provides you with enough meals for the rest of the week if you are just cooking for yourself. I like adding a twist to my pasta bake and not just making your standard pasta with sauce and cheese. This time I made a veggie version with Linda McCartney chorizo & red pepper sausages, roasted vegetables, tomato & Philadelphia sauce and plenty of cheddar cheese.

I used gluten free pasta, however feel free to use durum pasta 🙂

Ingredients

  • 500g gluten free fusilli (or durum fusilli)
  • 1 pack of six Linda McCartney chorizo & red pepper sausages
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 courgette
  • A handful of chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 400ml tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Light Philadelphia/cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • A handful of grated cheddar cheese

pasta 1pasta 2pasta 3pasta 4Recipe

  1. Cook the fusilli according to packet instructions, around 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat the fan oven to 180 degrees Celsius for 5 minutes.
  3. Chop the courgette, red onion and mushrooms and add to a mixing bowl. Add oil and mix well. Spread the veggies evenly on a baking tray and roast in oven for 15 -20 minutes.
  4. Place the sausages on a separate baking tray and cook in the oven for 15 minutes, following packet instructions.
  5. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and leave aside.
  6. Make the sauce by heating the chopped tomatoes with the cream cheese in a pan. Add the spices and coriander, and heat till simmering.
  7. Pour some of the sauce onto the pasta and mix well.
  8. Place the pasta into a pasta dish. Add the sausages and veggies and top with the remaining sauce and grated cheddar cheese.
  9. Bake in the 180 degrees Celsius oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the top looks golden.
  10. Share with friends or family, or keep the leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 1-2 months.
pasta bake 2

Enjoy!

Sarah – x

RECIPE – Dairy free Gluten free Chocolate Pancakes

Craving some tasty chocolate pancakes but trying to avoid gluten and dairy? Here is the recipe for you!

This recipe can also obviously be altered to include normal flour and cows milk if preferred 🙂

pancakes

Ingredients

  • 100g gluten free flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 300 ml almond milk
  • Vegetable oil
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

For garnish:

  • Sweet Freedom chocolate mint shot
  • Triple Chocolate Curls
  • Handful of raspberries

Recipe

  1. Add the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder to a mixing bowl and stir till combined. Whisk in the eggs followed by the almond milk to create a smooth, thick batter. If using a blender, simply add all the ingredients to the blender and blend till the ingredients have combined.
  2. Heat a frying pan and add a splash of oil. Make sure the pan is hot enough and greased before adding the batter, to avoid sticking.
  3. Add a small amount of batter to create a small circle in the form of an American pancake. Quickly add some more batter on top if you would like a thicker pancake. Repeat this till you have used up all the batter.
  4. Stack the pancakes on a plate and top with a squiggle of chocolate mint shot, a handful of raspberries and a sprinkle of triple chocolate curls.

It is tricky at first to judge how much batter to add and at what speed to add it, but you eventually get the hang of it!

Let me know how it goes if you try out my recipe 🙂 !

Sarah – x

TRAVEL – Budapest

Budapest was on my bucket list for a while. With the prettiest streets, the coolest ruin bars, the cutest cafés, and not to mention the biggest thermal spa in Europe, it is definitely one to visit.

Where did I go?

Heroes Square

The first day we visited Heroes Square, we ironically could not even see the square because it had been taken over by a concert; the one and only…Sting and Shaggy! We had no idea Sting and Shaggy were going to be playing until the day we arrived and we were convinced it was just going to be a tribute act at first (lol). But to our surprise, it was actually them performing, so we had a FREE Sting and Shaggy concert only 15 minutes away from our flat the night we arrived which was IN-SANE. The atmosphere was great, everyone was having such a good time! And Sting and Shaggy are definitely one of the best performers I have ever seen; I 100% recommend!phone 1

The next day, when the concert had been cleared and there were no stages in sight, we went around the square to look at the tremendous statues which stand over it. Seven chieftains of the Magyars and other important Hungarian national leaders are the faces of these statues, which surround the Memorial Stone of Heroes.sam_1219

Grand Café Budapest

Our first sit-down meal was at Grand Café Budapest. When you walk in the café, the first thing that catches your eye are the massive loafs of fresh bread they have on the counter. They offer a slice of this Grand bread with every meal you order, which I think is amaaaazing. We visited the café in the morning and were therefore looking for something for breakfast, and the menu did not disappoint. They had great breakfast options which included British/ American style breakfasts, for example eggs and bagels, with a Hungarian twist such as adding Hungarian sausage to the eggs.sam_1250sam_1240

Grand Café Budapest is also home of the best latté I have ever tried (showed clearly by my face in the following picture)

sam_1246

Mazel Tov

Hands down the most beautiful restaurant I have ever visited. Fairy lights, hanging plants and so much natural light from the glass ceiling. What initially attracted us to this restaurant was their brunch menu, with modern British meals such as eggs and avocado. However the brunch menu was not available when we visited, which I believe was a blessing in disguise as it gave us the opportunity to try the authentic Jewish food they had to offer. phone-2.jpgphone 3

Széchenyi Baths

Széchenyi Baths are the largest medicinal baths in Europe. Medical studies have found that the baths potentially have curative properties for joint issues and inflammation! With city breaks, a holiday does not always feel like a holiday, as we try and pack as much activities into a day as we can and stay up later than we usually do, making us exhausted. Although it sounds ironic, this is why I think it is always important to find time to rest when on holiday, as city escapes like this can sometimes lead us to feeling more tired when we get back than what we did before we left! Therefore, a spa is always a great idea when there is not a beach or pool close-by (or if you are not the biggest fan of these), or if you are travelling during winter. The spa has indoor and outdoor pools. The outdoor pool was a gigantic, warm bath which had a water fountain in the centre spraying refreshing cool water. This pool was definitely my favourite. The thought of being in an outdoor pool wearing a bikini mid winter, when it was 5 degrees Celsius outside was beyond belief.phone 4

Szimpla Kert

Szimpla Kert is one of the most popular ruin bars in Budapest. Known for its funky décor and ‘wrecked’ vibes, it is a hotspot for backpackers and tourists. We visited Szimpla Kert for dinner and decided to go back for drinks later on. They offer a food menu during the day and evening which consists mainly of burgers, and at night it turns into a really cool cocktail bar. We met the most amazing people there and everyone agreed that it was the best place for a night out in Budapest.

Central Market Hall

Everyone who knows me knows I am the BIGGEST fan of food markets, so this was a place I was veeeery very excited to visit. Central Market Hall is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. The market has an impressive three floors of stalls, with a huge variety of food, clothes and souvenirs. I noticed the market had a lot of stalls that sold paprika, which is a staple ingredient in Hungarian cuisine.

sam_1276sam_1278sam_1281sam_1283

What did I eat?

Grand Café Budapest

I had eggs, potato and Hungarian sausage. It reminded of a smashed Spanish omelette or ‘Huevos Rotos’. It tasted delicious, however I personally find Hungarian sausage a bit too salty for my palette. My friend Racheal went for the bagels with poached eggs and cheese sauce, which came with Hungarian sausage and lettuce.phone 13

Mazel Tov

I opted for the chicken thigh fillet seasoned with secret spices which came with traditional matbucha salad, beetroot salad, parsley tahini and a freshly grilled pita topped with parsley and pomegranate seeds. The chicken was seasoned to perfection and the dips went so well with the main dish. Very filling as well!

Racheal went for the Shakshuka; fresh tomato sauce, pepper, onion and authentic spices cooked with egg, feta cheese and eggplant. All served in a traditional hot pan.

phone 7

Szimpla Kert

At Szimpla Kert we had some big, juicy BBQ burgers with a beef patty, cheese, lettuce, tomato and a dollop of BBQ sauce. YUM! I had sweet potato fries as my side and Racheal had onion rings. I think burgers are a safe bet on holiday if you feel scared to try the traditional cuisine. A worldwide meal known over all cultures…can’t go wrong!sam_1261

Central Market Hall

I picked up these goodies at Central Market Hall. Little chocolate truffles, filled with different flavoured chocolate, such as champagne chocolate or tiramisu chocolate. Cause who doesn’t love chocolate?!sam_1280

Random things I ate or saw

Lángos. A Hungarian food speciality, which is a deep fried dough topped usually with cheese and any other toppings you fancy such as ham, sausage, onions or tomato sauce. This was the first thing we ate the day we arrived. REALITY BEHIND TRAVELLING: We hadn’t eaten since breakfast and didn’t arrive to our final destination till the evening so we were STAR-VING. We needed something quick and filling and a massive savoury doughnut would do just the trick! I went for cheese, onion, cream sauce and Hungarian sausage as my toppings. It was sooooo good and I think everyone should try a Lángos if visiting Hungary.phone 14

Apricot doughnutsphone 8

These cool sausage bread rollsphone-9.jpg

We found so many cute little fruit stores which sold the BIGGEST fruit I have ever seen. I was so impressed with their size, I took an orange with me back to the UK (lol)phone 10

This was my last meal before leaving for the airport. A veggie wrap with cheese, lettuce, rice and beans. The warm cheese melted into the rice, turning into a sauce and making the wrap ten times tastier!phone 11

Budapest airport provides a great salad bar. You have the option of a small, medium or large salad bowl depending on the amount of toppings you would like in your bowl. They had a large variety of toppings available including chickpeas, hummus, egg, lentils, chicken, and a choice of sauces such as Caesar or balsamic. I went for a medium salad bowl and chose lettuce, lentils, carrots, egg, chickpeas, tomato, hummus and Greek dressing. You could have the salad in a takeaway bowl to take on the plane which I thought would be very handy. However, it wasn’t the best packaging design as my dressing leaked out of the container! I think salad bars should be more available in UK airports to provide people with a healthier option for lunch or dinner when travelling. phone 12

I hope you enjoyed this read,

Sarah – x