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Yoga, Nutrition & Meditation.

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Blog

Welcome to Amber's wellbeing blog. Unearthing new health and beauty finds, discussing yoga and mindfulness, great healthy recipes and much more!

Filtering by Category: superfoods

Golden Porridge

Amber Macintosh

I am passionate about starting the day right with a good hearty breakfast. If you have been to one of my Better Breakfast workshops you will know that porridge, and the many variations that I experiment with, is a favourite. Here is my latest recipe, perfect for chilly Winter mornings.

TURMERIC, CARDAMOM, COCONUT & LEMON PORRIDGE - SERVES TWO

TURMERIC, CARDAMOM, COCONUT & LEMON PORRIDGE - SERVES TWO

Ingredients: Organic jumbo rolled oats, lemon zest, 2 cardamom pods, coconut milk, 1 heaped teaspoon of turmeric, 1 medjool date, 1 teaspoon of coconut sugar, 1 teaspoon of linseed, filtered water, pistachios and fresh raspberries

Directions: Soak your oats in the water from a can of coconut milk (put the solid part in a bowl, cover and refridgerate). Whilst the oats start to absorb the fluid and soften crush the seeds of two cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar, add these to the oat mix with a teaspoon of ground turmeric. Heat gently, adding filtered water to keep the porridge loose. When the oats have absorbed the fluid add a date broken up in little pieces, the zest of half a lemon and a tablespoon of the coconut cream - you can then set to one side. Leave to cool slightly whilst you toast a handful of pistachios in a non stick frying pan with a teaspoon of coconut sugar. The sugar will instantly melt and stick to the nuts and not the pan!

Serve into two bowls adding the nuts, linseed and fruit. This porridge is the most decadent, fragrant and perfectly delicious breakfast bowl!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

Benefits: Oats will fill you up till lunch, mop up excess blood fats and keep blood sugar stable. Cardamon calms the digestive system whilst turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory throughout the body. This porridge recipe is refined sugar, diary and gluten free, plus it's suitable for vegans.

 

Breakfast Bowl & Granola

Amber Macintosh

By way of follow up to last weeks Yoga & Wellbeing workshop, and for those that could not join us, here is the recipe for the Summer yoghurt bowl. This makes a complete breakfast but also a fantastic light pudding layered into pretty glass cups or trifle bowls.

Passion fruit coconut bowl with mango & buckwheat granola (serves 2)

Chop 1 mango into little pieces, squeeze over the juice of 1 lime plus zest, a tablespoon of maple syrup, and leave whilst you prepare the other ingredients, or leave over night if preparing breakfast the night before. Fold the contents of 1 passion fruit with 1 small 125ml tub of coconut yoghurt. You can now bowl up, starting with the passion fruit coconut yoghurt, then mango mix and top with buckwheat granola (recipe below). Keep doubling up the amount of ingredients if making for this for a dinner party pudding.

Options: I have added some more pictures for you to see how you can adapt this recipe using chia pudding or soaked oats instead of yoghurt, topping with a nut butter - all equally delicious as breakfast, an afternoon snack or pretty pudding. 

 

Granola - mix and match your way!

When buckwheat is baked it has a lovely crunchy texture that is a great alternative to nuts in granola and the tiny prism shape allows the sweet coating you create to surround each grain. Simply warm a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large roasting tray and toss in your chosen granola ingredients along with a good sprinkle of vanilla powder, spoon of honey or coconut sugar, ground ginger cinnamon and a pinch of salt. The base of this granola is buckwheat to which you can now add seeds of your choice, nuts if you wish, pistachio works beautifully in this, and bake for 10 mins on a very low heat or bottom right of the aga. Stir ingredients and bake again for another 10 mins. Leave out to cool and then add to a Kilner jar, with your choice of dried fruit.

Each time that you make a jar you can change up the base ingredients adding oats, different nuts or seeds and fruit, the choice is yours. Coconut chips and dried mango are lovely in Summer, dried blueberries and cranberries for Autumn, maybe extra cinnamon and dried figs for a Winter feel - you get where I am going with this, and the customisation gets all the family involved.

Note: Please don't forget that oils in nuts and seeds go rancid quite quickly. I advise making up small batches once weekly. Granola on top of porridge or yoghurt gives added texture, vital fatty acids and minerals. You can also blend down your granola to use as a healthy crumble topping, or to make eating nuts easy on the digestion if you suffer with IBS or gut inflammation.

Organic Superfood Chocolate Quinoa Slabs

Amber Macintosh

I recently opened an Instagram account to record the recipes I am creating for my Diploma in Culinary Medicine. A bit late to the party but I am a pretty private person and have mixed feelings about the way we use social media channels. One big positive for me is finding fabulous individuals that give me the inspiration to try new ideas in the kitchen, like these quinoa chocolate slabs on Nourishing Amelia's blog. I made some tweaks with my favourite superfood chocolate from Doisy & Dam and puffed vanilla quinoa from Qnola, the result is simply delicious!

Ingredients: 1 bag of Vanilla Qnola (link on my shop), 7 x40g Doisy & Dams bars, I used their mulberry, black sesame and spirulina. 1 tablespoon of organic maple syrup & 1 tablespoon of organic coconut oil.

Directions: Break up the chocolate bars and melt slowly in a bain marie. Add maple syrup and coconut oil toward the end and take off the heat. Tip in the puffed quinoa, stir and pour into a small but deep tin, lined in baking paper. Smooth evenly and allow to cool in the fridge for a couple of hours. Take out, cut into squares and store in an air tight container in the fridge, they will keep for a couple of weeks....you will eat them all before that! 

Notes & Tips: This recipe is gluten free, refined sugar free, diary free, and suitable for vegans. Vanilla Qnola does contain a mix of almonds and seeds so if you are nut free choose a brand that make puffed quinoa alone. Quinoa contains fibre and protein which balances the natural sugars in dark chocolate, making these slabs blood sugar friendly and suitable for diabetics. 

Protein Smoothies

Amber Macintosh

Protein smoothies are not just for gym bunnies and weight lifters but for anyone leading a busy, active lifestyle. I also think they are great for our kids, giving them an extra boost especially if they enjoy a range of team sports. On the days that I leave early for the school run straight to the yoga mat I am just not hungry enough to eat a big breakfast before I leave home. A protein filled smoothie makes a fantastic breakfast replacement and will also help to avoid snacking before lunch. I favour flavourless or vanilla pea protein as whether you are vegan or not plants are the best way to get a protein boost and are gentle on the tummy. Below is the smoothie recipe most requested by our Instagram friends.

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Ingredients:

cashew nuts (handful), cinnamon (good pinch), hymalayan salt (tiny pinch), 1 date, vanilla powder, paste or fresh pod (1 teaspoon), filtered water (1 cup), scoop of protein powder (I prefer Pulsin vegan pea protein), handful of organic jumbo oats.

That's it, just blitz in the nutri bullet or food processor, adding an ice cube on a sunny day. 

Amber's Favourite Chocolate Brownies

Amber Macintosh

I promised you the recipe and here it is! As many of you know I am studying Culinary Medicine with Nutritional Therapist, Author and TV chef Dale Pinnock - The Medicinal Chef. This allows me to follow up wellness coaching by designing recipes best suited to the needs of you and your family. I record my studies through Instagram (yes I bore people with pictures of food!) so I know the brownie recipe caught your eye. I have a vast library of healthy food books and work through 'alternative' recipe ideas, gradually adapting them for my family and also for those of you that might be gluten, diary or sugar free. The basis of this recipe comes from a book called A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones, a brilliant nutritionist and chef who worked in Jamie Oliver's team. My husband does not want a brownie made of black beans, beetroot or sweet potato - all of which he has been subjected to, not delicious or even edible! and my daughter hates the taste of coconut so making a brownie that suits them all has been tricky!! Therefore, I will give you a few options that make this vegan and/or free from and I encourage you to change it up as you see fit. Whilst this is certainly a flourless, healthier option it does use real chocolate and tastes indulgent and naughty!

Indulgent chocolate brownie with raspberry & pistachio

3 organic eggs or 3 tablespoons chia seeds

200g organic chocolate 70% 

150g coconut oil or unsalted butter

250g Coconut sugar

150g ground almonds

1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder

2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste

Heat your oven to 180C and grease a tin (approx 20cm x 20cm) with coconut oil or unsalted butter and line with baking paper. If your tin is not this size just curl up the baking paper half way. If you are using chia seeds and not eggs you will need 3 tablespoons mixed with 9 tablespoons of water to form a gel.

Pop a heatproof bowl over a simmering saucepan of water, breaking up the chocolate and mixing with the coconut oil or butter, stir until melted. Then stir in the coconut sugar followed by the eggs, one by one, or chia seeds and finally the vanilla, ground almonds and baking powder (most recipes would suggest that baking powder is only needed if using chia seeds but I also add when making this with eggs for extra lift). Just before pouring into the tray mix in half of the raspberries and pistachios.

Bake for 30 minutes and rest for 20 mins - this is important, don't be greedy and force is out whilst still gooey! Chop into individual portions and store in an airtight container, they should keep for up to a week, top with extra fruit and nuts when serving.

 

 

 

Chia seed benefits and uses

Amber Macintosh

It is very frustrating when great health foods hit the market and are quickly bashed by the press and even labelled as being useless to our health and wellbeing.  Whilst no health foods claim to be miracle cures their benefits do help those of us looking for a healthier lifestyle.  

Chia seeds are one such product, packing a big protein punch and providing us with three fatty acids alongside calcium and fibre. They actually contain more potassium than bananas, more antioxidants that blueberries and more iron than spinach.  They also naturally hold water so they make you feel fuller longer as well ask being extremely gentle on the tummy. They can be sprinkled on salads and lightly toasted with granola but most also make a wonderful alternative to oats for a super healthy porridge, fantastic for those going gluten free.  

We mix them with almond milk but it really could be any milk that you enjoy or even fresh fruit juice.  Leave to soak in the fridge for an hour or more, overnight if you prefer, and add to it anything you like to have with porridge.  Here I have added fruit and honey but you can also mix with yoghurt, add any dried fruits or mix with granola. Straight from the fridge it is a great cooling Summer porridge, the trainsformation from dry seed to thick porridge is amazing! Kids love it.