Eat Yourself Sleepy – The Power of Pistachios

pistachios

The humble pistachio has been an acquired taste for some of us for many years. At first, I was suspicious of the green slightly strange tasting ice cream but was always happy to sit with my grandparents shelling them and eating them straight from the packet. Now I love the ice cream and have discovered an even better reason to be eating them. Their secret superpower is their high melatonin levels mean they can actually aid sleep without having to take the pharmaceutical version. Obviously, I am not saying those who have been prescribed melatonin for their sleep patterns should drop it like a stone and switch to the natural version but it is an option for people looking for something anti-inflammatory and a natural to aid sleep.

I have scouted around for some recipes to inspire you all to eat more of them, but obviously, there is just the option of eating them straight out of the packet! For reference 18 pistachios equal 3mg of melatonin and the standard adult dose of pharmaceutical-grade melatonin is between 2mg and 10mg.

  1. Savoury Date & Pistachio Bites – an interesting take on a bliss ball – thank you to EatingWell for this little gem I haven’t tried them yet but this will be on the list of weekend treats for me to have a go at.
  2. Cherry and Pistachio Chocolate Bark – an easy treat which requires 50g dried cherries, 100g dark chocolate and 75g pistachios. Using either chips or a bar melt the chocolate over a bain-marie, make sure you roughly chop the pistachios and dried cherries. Once the chocolate is melted fold in the nuts (reserving some) and cherries and spread out on baking paper to set sprinkling the rest of the nuts on top. This will give you a double dose of melatonin due to cherries also containing high amounts.
  3. Fig, goat’s cheese and pistachio salad – figs are also fantastic for your body and for sleep this easy tasty salad could be an evening starter or a main just bump up the portions. Courtesy of Olive Magazine.
  4. Salsa di pistacchi (Pasta with Pistachio Sauce) – another tempting recipe from Olive Magazine this Sicilian recipe is perfect for a weeknight meal after a long day.

I hope I’ve given you all some inspiration – especially those of you who want to improve yours sleep, as with all things like this please consult your physician before changing your medication and remember don’t eat more than an oz/28g or so as it will have the opposite effect and keep you awake!

If you would like to grab a copy of my book and support my writing it is available in both print and kindle version check out the links below. Donate to your favourite charity when you buy my book using Amazon Smile!

5 Brunches You Could Enjoy Anyday

photo of brunch

Unless your routine extends into the weekend then quite often I find that breakfast and lunch tend to end up in one meal. The term Brunch originates in the late 19th century from a Margaret B. Wright of Oxford University used as slang and is first recorded in Lunch at Oxford and published in The Independent (New York) of Thursday 22nd August 1895. There is a strong belief that it was designed to cure one’s hangover. Today it remains the fancy affair it was originally described, with multiple courses and the addition of prosecco, an extra excuse for day drinking. If you fancy giving brunch a go but don’t fancy a trip to a restaurant or cafe here are 5 recipes to try at home.

  1. Kedgeree – a spiced rice dish with smoked fish, eggs and sometimes lentils as well this is an easy to prepare, a dish which is flavourful and satisfying

2. Half Baked Harvest’s Ultimate Spring Brunch Board – A sharing feast for those with lots of people to feed. A thing of beauty and something for everyone.

3. Curry-Avocado Crispy Egg Toast – Good Housekeeping has many brunch ideas this one caught my eye – you know you want to try it!

4. Frittata – Easy to do egg dish – there are vegan options out there for those who prefer.

5. Finally a luxurious option Tater Tot Waffles with Smoked Salmon and Caviar – enjoy something truly different – you could skip the caviar if it really isn’t your bag.

Enjoy your brunch whatever the day of the week and most importantly enjoy your time with your favourite people.

If you would like to grab a copy of my book and support my writing it is available in both print and kindle version check out the links below. Donate to your favourite charity when you buy my book using Amazon Smile!

Transport Cafe Breakfast

At some point in time nearly everyone has had breakfast in a greasy spoon or some kind of truck stop cafe where the breakfasts swim in grease and the coffee is frothy without a barista machine.

They have often been running for years with questionable hygiene and often have the same grey looking decor. The staff have either been their 5 minutes or forever but service with a smile has gone by the way side.

For those relying on tips, the smile is forced in the hopes their customers will take pity.

The Invasion of the Giant Jaffa Cake

So when Delicious magazine dropped on my doorstep this month it came with a recipe for a Giant Jaffa Cake – after showing my sister she decided it would be a more than appropriate birthday cake. Looking at the recipe I couldn’t say no – how hard could it be? The only challenge was making the jelly vegan or at least halal. Fortunately, the power of the internet provides when one is in need. A quick search and some halal orange jelly was on its way to me, I toyed with the idea of a fat-less sponge and then decided against it as they simply don’t last more than a day and I needed to make the sponge the night before.

The answer to the how hard can it be? Really not hard at all – even working with the jelly wasn’t a hard as I first thought it would be. I amended the quantities to 3/4 the recipe as my pan wasn’t quite big enough and ended up with a little jelly left over for the nieces and nephews.

If you fancy having a go yourself there are a number of sponge recipes you could use but I found the one offered by tastemade.co.uk is the easiest to use.

There are loads of different kinds of jellies out there so you are bound to find a version to suit your dietary requirements – I supplemented 100ml of orange juice in the jelly and added some zest to boost the flavour.

You will need either a frying pan that goes in the oven or a 24cm cake tin for the sponge and something a bit smaller for the jelly.

I have to say I wasn’t overly tidy with my chocolate and ended up laying it on a bit thick but the fridge will always sort that out for you!

Let me know what you think in the comments below or join the conversation at facebook.com/onlynomeswriting or twitter.com/nomeswriting

If you would like to grab a copy of my book and support my writing it is available in both print and kindle version check out the links below. Donate to your favourite charity when you buy my book using Amazon Smile!

Take Me To Bora Bora

The history of tea is long and complex, with many blends existing for hundreds of years. I had heard of the Island of Bora Bora in Polynesia but not of the tea when I came across it in a local shop.

After doing some research it seemed to be an intriguing blend, I had tried other red fruit teas with mixed results but I was assured it was definitely worth trying.

Opening the packet conjured up a beautiful fruity aroma and it looked beautiful as well. It is apparently best made as an iced tea so I used my infusion teapot, the smell as it was brewing intensified it was delicious the hibiscus bringing a truly unique note to the aroma. Adding a drop of CBD honey to the mixture not only added a little sweetness (it is naturally sugar and caffeine-free) but a soothing kick to my new favourite ruby red elixir.

I couldn’t wait for it to cool and had a cup of it hot, I was in love, the rest was lovingly stored in the fridge for the next day. The combination of Ingredients: Hibiscus blossoms, apple pieces, papaya cubes, currants, elderberries, blackcurrant, flavouring, freeze-dried raspberry and strawberry pieces, sunflower blossoms, cornflower blossoms create a truly unique flavour and its no wonder it’s named the King of Teas. If I had to describe a similar taste the closest I can get would be a bit like Vimto but I promise you its 10 times better for you and tastes even better.

(This post contains affiliate links so I will receive a small commission if you purchase any CBD Products via Kanalife.co.uk)

If you would like to grab a copy of my book and support my writing it is available in both print and kindle version check out the links below. Donate to your favourite charity when you buy my book using Amazon Smile!

Sushitos and Burritos

Several years ago on a trip to Amsterdam my friend and I happened across an unusual place, I saw the sign from afar – what on earth could a sushito be? As we ventured closer, curiosity and hunger took over. It was evident we had to give this fusion wonder a go. To find out more about Sushito’s story check out their website.

Fusion food can be a bit hit and miss and relies strongly on the chef mastering the combinations of flavours. There have been a couple of restaurant trips where I have been presented with some questionable offerings but not in Sushito. The concept of Mexican, Japanese and Hawaii sounds like it could either go really well or really badly, but when you are clearly passionate about food the love will shine through. Another great fusion restaurant I have had the fortune of finding was Moon Sushi and Fusion Food in Belgrade, sushi proves time and time again that it is versatile enough to influence a wide number of dishes – but it is still down to the skill of the chef to police the recipes.

The 1970s popularised fusion cooking and unfortunately did lead to a variety of bizarre combinations, the combinations of both east and west most notably Californian and Tex-Mex cuisines are firm favourites of some. Tex-Mex is (in my opinion) a slightly watered-down version of authentic Mexican food and Californian being a combination of a wide range of flavours. Yōshoku, a style of Western-influenced cooking in Japan, primarily consisting of Japanized forms of European dishes. Korean-Mexican is now a thing too.

Whatever your tastes there is almost definitely a combination out there for you – but as I have said before its not for everyone and certainly there are some truly warped combinations out there.

Kate’s favourite food is chicken wings where as Rachel loves Italian, whats your favourite?

Open Sesame: 5 Recipes For Sesame Seeds

These super seeds often found in oriental dishes is beneficial to your diet in lots of ways. They are packed full of nutrients and proclaim to aid weight loss. The nutty flavour is quite delicious, you can grind them into a paste to make tahini, used in a great number of dishes.

Here Are 5 Sesame Recipes

  1. Maureen Abood’s Lebanese Crunchy Sesame Biscuits are a yummy treat a great alternative to the sugary snaps – check out her recipe.
  2. Learn to make your own tahini with Inspired Taste’s recipe
  3. Rebel Recipes does a delectable Sticky Banana, Tahini & Walnut Bar
  4. Sweet Potato–Tahini Dip with Za’atar Courtesy of Alexandra Shytsman at Epicurious.
  5. The Hummus Bros make the best basic hummus recipe – it’s worth the time and effort I promise.

I hope you enjoy the recipes! Sesame is one of my favourite flavours and sesame snaps are a rare treat! What’s your favourite way to enjoy sesame? Let me know in the comments below or join the conversation at facebook.com/onlynomeswriting or twitter.com/nomeswriting.

Happy National Hot Dog Day

hamburger and french fries

Because we all deserve an interlude from the craziness that is life. I would like to wish the USA and Canada a very happy National Hot Dog Day!

Whilst I rarely indulge in a hot dog I do enjoy one occasionally and it’s usually me cooking them at home rather than ordering from a takeaway. There are plenty of different combinations and we could spend all day discussing which is superior but I prefer a simple mustard and gherkin combination, preferably a gluten-free bun and if the dog is kosher even better, a simple yet delicious snack. For those of you who like a bit of variety take a trip around the US and learn about how they do things, here are 5 combos for you to try at home:

  1. Jalapeno Cream Cheese and Green Tomato Salsa – add a little spice to your dog – why not try with vegetarian or vegan sausage.
  2. Mac and Cheese – true decadence comes from mac and cheese, enjoy this molten cheese dog overload after a few minutes under the grill.
  3. Mango Chutney – fruity and spicy an interesting alternative to Tomato ketchup.
  4. Mashed Potatoes and Gravy – turbocharge your dog – it’ll fill you up for the rest of the day.
  5. Poutine (Canadian dish made with French Fries & Cheese) – if you don’t know what poutine is you should go learn, it is the stodgy food of the gods and a side in itself for your dog.

I hasten to add that although hot dogs are very nice they are also not good for you. The processed meat contains high amounts of fat, and whilst one won’t kill you if you consume high amounts of processed meat it is likely to have a significant overall effect on your health. It is classed as a Class 1 Carcinogen by the World Health Organisation which makes for some disturbing reading. So with that in mind – enjoy your hot dog responsibly!

If you would like to grab a copy of my book and support my writing it is available in both print and kindle version check out the links below. Donate to your favourite charity when you buy my book using Amazon Smile!

2 Easy Mini Cheesecakes You Need To Make.

Inspired by an unfortunate incident I decided to look for a Biscoff cheesecake recipe. After much searching for a recipe that didn’t involve overnight chilling, I came across a very easy viral recipe using just 4 ingredients. Perfect I thought, then it got me thinking Nutella cheesecake could surely be made the same way. There was nothing for it – time to give it a go – it wasn’t a complicated recipe and they are perfect for the freezer. You can even make them plant based!

Ingredients (makes 5 mini cheesecakes)

  • 200g Biscoff Spread or Nutella (vegan or normal)
  • 250g of cream cheese (vegan if necessary)
  • 2tbsp butter (vegan if necessary)
  • Half a pack of ginger nuts (for the Nutella version) or same of Biscoff
  • 5 ramekins
  • Optional – crushed hazelnuts for Nutella or a few whole Biscoffs – small squirt of fresh spray cream

Method

  1. Melt the butter and put it one side to cool slightly.
  2. Bash the biscuits or pulse in mixer until fine add butter and mix.
  3. place base in ramekins, press flat and pop in fridge for 20 mins to chill.
  4. Beat the cream cheese and spread together until combined.
  5. Place the beaten mixture in the ramekins, tap lightly to settle air bubbles and return to the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
  6. Add the chopped hazelnuts or biscoff if using and enjoy.
  7. These are also freezable simply remove from freezer a couple of hours before you eat.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe, what’s your favourite cheese cake? Let me know on the comments below or join the conversation at Facebook.com/onlynomeswriting or Twitter.com/nomeswriting

If you would like to grab a copy of my book and support my writing it is available in both print and kindle version check out the links below. Donate to your favourite charity when you buy my book using Amazon Smile!

Spanakopita Pie Thursdays

There is a place in the UK that actually does #spanakopitathursdays and I think it might need to start one closer to home. Its flaky pastry goodness is delicious beyond words, although I have included a proper recipe I normally make it in a food processor with feta and leave out the spring onions and ricotta. It works just as well as the dairy is actually not essential to the recipe, if you wanted to pick another then a hard goats milk cheese or maybe an ewes cheese or sub the dairy cheese for firm tofu. Its simplicity should be celebrated because it is just so delicious and there’s rarely leftovers. Buy your phyllo its much easter and its possible to get vegan options very easily now.

Ingredients
Serves: 5 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1kg spinach, rinsed and chopped
  • 30g chopped fresh Dill
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten – or Equiv 2 egg flax egg replacers
  • 125g ricotta cheese
  • 250g crumbled feta cheese or firm tofu
  • 8 sheets filo pastry
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Method
Prep: 30min  ›  Cook: 50min  ›  Ready in: 1hr20min 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Lightly oil a 23cm square baking tin.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute onion, spring onions and garlic until soft and lightly browned. Stir in spinach and dill, and continue to saute until spinach is limp about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix eggs, ricotta and feta. Stir in spinach mixture. Lay 1 sheet of filo in a prepared baking tin, and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay another sheet of filo on top, brush with olive oil, and repeat the process with two more sheets of filo. The sheets will overlap the tin. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into the tin and fold overhanging filo overfilling. Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of filo, brushing each with oil. Tuck overhanging filo into the tin to seal the filling.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve warm – suitable for snacking, appetizers, starters so enjoy it when you like.

What’s your favourite pie? Let me know in the comments below or join the conversation at facebook.com/onlynomeswriting or twitter.com/onlynomesforyou

If you would like to grab a copy of my book and support my writing it is available in both print and kindle version check out the links below. Donate to your favourite charity when you buy my book using Amazon Smile!