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Mojito Watermelon

This spiced up watermelon makes everyone’s favourite summer treat even better.

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 20.56.35Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 strips lime zest, sliced, plus 2 tbsp juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 small watermelon, rind discarded and sliced
  • 1/3 c. torn mint
  • Flaky sea salt

Directions

  1. Whisk together oil, lime juice, and sugar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Serve watermelon topped with dressing, lime zest, mint, and sea salt.
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Avocado Caprese Salad

Avocado Caprese Salad

This delightful summer salad is just a whole bowl of freshness.

Avocados are full of magnesium and potassium, they’re the nutrients that help reduce blood pressure. Tomatoes are filled with lycopene and help thwart colon cancer. Arugula and basil are antioxidants and helps with anti-aging and carry anti-cancer properties. And mozzarella…protein, calcium and just plain good.Avocado-Caprese-Salad-Foodiecrush.com-

 

To remove the pit out of the avocado, cut it in half and with one firm chop of a large, sharp knife, embedding the knife into the pit until it sticks. Wiggle the knife back and forth and twist the pit out of the avocado half while holding the half in your hand.  Twist and pull the sides apart. Cut the avocado into slices. Take a large spoon and scoop the avocado slices away from the skin and layer on top of the vegetables.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • ½ avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 3 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (I prefer the fruitiest, lightest flavored)
  • 1½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • generous pinch of sugar or dollop of honey
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Assemble the arugula, avocado slices and mozzarella in a serving bowl. Top with torn or slivered basil leaves. Whisk the extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl with the balsamic vinegar, sugar or honey and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and pour over the salad. Toss to coat and serve.
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4 Benefits of a Lunch Hour AWAY From Your Desk

4 Benefits of a Lunch Hour AWAY From Your Desk

In our busy, hardworking culture, it can sometimes be hard to step away from the desk to take a full lunch break. However, there are many benefits to taking a break and stepping away from your desk. Consider the following:lunch.at_.desk_Taking a picnic break helps boost your mood. By stepping outside, you get a chance to break up your day and enjoy some sunshine (if there is some) and boost your mood. It also helps re-center you and focus you for the rest of the day so that the rest of your tasks have your full attention and creativity.

It helps your health to not sit all day. Folks who have desk jobs or sitting jobs run a higher risk of long-term health problems due to a lack of physical activity. Taking a break to have lunch off site helps increase your daily steps and adds some variety to your physical routine.

Your brain needs the break. Even the most focused and hardworking individuals need time away to recharge their minds and refresh their creativity toward different projects, tasks, and information. Taking a lunch break away allows you to engage with other environments and people so that you have a fresh perspective when coming back to your work.

You will be more mindful about your food. Multi-tasking by eating lunch and working produces poor results in both. Your food does not have your full attention so that you are likely to eat more than you need, and by not giving your meal your full attention, digestion often suffers.

These were some of our favourite tips when it came from taking a lunch break. What are some of your favourite things to do during a lunch hour away?

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How To Make The Perfect Gin & Tonic

How To Make The Perfect Gin & Tonic

We all have our own ideas about what makes a great gin and tonic – whether it’s Gordon’s with a slice of lemon or Masons Yorkshire Gin with a wedge of lime

gin-tonic-sl-xNow, however, the question of how to make the drink perfectly has a concrete answer.

Drinks scientist Stuart Bale was commissioned to analyse the science of the ideal G&T.

He concluded that the perfect tipple should be 14 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume), which is usually about to one part gin to two parts tonic, once dilution from ice has been taken into the equation – though the exact amount of tonic to use depends on the strength of the gin.

And, although most bars in Britain serve their G&Ts in tall glasses, he believes that a large, wide glass – like the balloon glasses the drink is often served in in Spain – is actually the best way to appreciate the flavour.

“Eighty per cent of what you taste comes through your nose. A lot of the aroma and flavour compounds are carried by the bubbles, so the bigger the surface area, the more bubbles you get coming to the surface,” he explains.

As for the lime versus lemon dilemma, Mr Bale sits strongly in the lemon camp: “Lime is very fashionable now, but most gins have lemon peel in the mix, so why would you put lime with it?” However, he admits that sometimes, a G&T tastes best with a garnish that contrasts the botanicals in the gin, rather than one which mirrors them exactly.

 

As for ice, he recommends plenty of it, because if the temperature of a drink is low, the carbon dioxiode molecules which create the bubbles find it harder to escape, meaning your drink will stay fizzier, and more aromatic for longer. “So keep your tonic in the fridge too,” he says.

 

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The Perfect Cucumber Sandwich

The Perfect Cucumber Sandwich

Yes, we really will consider the best way to make this simple summer sandwich. I make no apologies for the fact, because, when done right, this simple classic really is fabulous.

The whole point about cucumber sandwiches is that, unless done really well, they can be really dull.28352_l

The cucumber

Peeling is mandatory, in case some pesky fibre creeps in and ruin the refined taste, remove the seeds and allow some of the moister to seep out by laying the slices on a piece of kitchen roll.  You can also sprinkle a small amount of salt over the cucumber pieces to help but take care not to over salt.

The bread

A soft white, the softer the better, is the order of the day – this is definitely not the place for chewy sourdough or wholesome wholemeal. It should almost melt in your mouth once you cut the crusts off, but not quite.

The butter

Although a school of thought concedes you could use mayonnaise instead, there doesn’t seem much point: butter and cucumbers are a winning combination. As any experienced sandwich maker will know, it also acts as a handy seal between filling and crumb, protecting the latter from any dampness that threatens to make it soggy.

Some use salted butter, but most people specify unsalted, with good reason, this is one place where its creamy sweetness comes into its own in contrast to the salty, refreshing slices of cucumber.

Seasoning

No further salt required, obviously, after treating the cucumber, but pepper is very welcome. White pepper is preferable here: it delivers the same spicy hit as black pepper, but without the accompanying aromatics, which compete with the cucumber for flavour.

Extras

Some use chopped mint in the sandwiches, which seems to be a popular choice in the States. It is an excellent partner for cucumber – I’d say together they sum up the taste of a British summer – but again, too dominant here.

Soft cheese is a timeless accompaniment and works well with the crunch of the cucumber.

Quarters v triangles v fingers is quite a debate, the only thing to say is that fingers, the most time-consuming and dainty of the lot, are the most suitable here. Press the sandwiches down firmly as you cut: it will make them neater. And where a cucumber sandwich is concerned, neatness is really rather important.

The perfect cucumber sandwiches

(Makes 9)
1/2 cucumber, peeled
Salt
6 thin slices of good white bread
Unsalted butter, at room temperature
White pepper

Cut the cucumber into slices as thin as you can make them, and put in a colander or sieve. Sprinkle lightly with salt (don’t go overboard) and leave for 20 minutes. Taste to check you haven’t oversalted them: you can rinse them at this point if so.

Lay out a few pieces of kitchen paper on the work surface, place the cucumber slices on them, and pat dry with more paper.

Lay out the bread and butter each slice generously. Arrange the cucumber on half the slices, overlapping each round, and sprinkle with ground white pepper. Top with the remaining slices.

Pressing down firmly, cut the crusts off, and then cut into neat fingers, triangles or quarters of roughly equal sizes. Serve immediately, with good tea.

Cucumber sandwiches: are you a fan, or are they a silly Victorian affectation that deserves to go the way of the top hat and the whalebone corset? And if not, what do you like to do with this most refreshing of summer crops?

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Fondant Fancies – Give it a go!

Fondant Fancies- Give it a go!

Whether you put fondant on your fancy or fancy in your fondant, jam in place of buttercream or miss out the marzipan, these innocuous-looking mini-cakes can be tough to get right, but we all love a challenge right!

raspberry-petit-fours

For the sponge:

225g self-raising flour
225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
1 lemon, grated rind only
4 free-range eggs

For the buttercream:

250g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar

For the marzipan topping:

3 tbsp apricot jam
200g marzipan

For the icing and decoration:

1 kg white fondant icing
150ml water
Food colouring (any colour)
Flavouring (any flavour)
100g dark chocolate

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Grease and line a 20cm/8in square tin with parchment paper.
  • For the sponge, beat together all ingredients and tip into the tin. Bake for 40 mins. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
  • For the buttercream, beat together the butter and icing sugar until smooth.
  • For the topping, heat the jam and sieve it into a bowl. Brush on top of the cake. Roll the marzipan thinly, cover the cake and chill it again in the fridge.
  • Cut the cake into 25 equal squares. Cover four sides of each square with the buttercream and pipe a blob into the centre. Set in the fridge for 20 mins.
  • For the icing, churn the fondant in a mixer and gradually add water, flavouring and colouring. Melt the chocolate and put in a piping bag. Set aside.
  • Put one cake on to a fork, dip into the icing and set on a cooling rack with parchment underneath. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Repeat. Leave to set out of the fridge.
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Decadent Layered Savoury Cheesecake – for your Cheese Board

Decadent Layered Savoury Cheesecake – for your Cheese Board

Recipe

We’re not prescribing exact quantities, it depends on how many you are going to serve.

We used a ring mold, about 8 cm in diameter and layered the ingredients starting with the blue cheese and ending with the fig compote. We then removed the ring mold and served the cake with the wine.

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We used:

  • creamy blue cheese
  • dates, sliced finely
  • cream cheese (plain) , or cottage cheese for a lower fat option
  • walnuts
  • fig compote with pine nuts (use preserved green figs, preserved sweet ginger or even lemon marmalade)

Start with a thin layer of blue cheese (pat down bits to meld together if you can’t cut the exact size to fit mould). Then layer the sliced dates over, followed by a thick layer of the cream cheese, the walnuts, another layer of blue cheese and finally the compote.

This savoury layered cheese ‘cake’ is the perfect for most occasions.  Enjoy!

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ORANGE, TURMERIC & GOJI BERRY BLEND WITH CHILLI

ORANGE, TURMERIC & GOJI BERRY BLEND WITH CHILLI

This simple, delicious smoothie deserves some serious attention. And here’s why:

You know how orange juice gives you that sugar rush and potentially knocks your blood sugar levels out of balance?
Blended oranges are a lot gentler on your system, they release their sugars slowly – meaning you have more energy for longer without unbalancing those blood sugar levels.

Using as much pith as possible means that we are taking all the medicinal compounds of the orange (up to 5 times more vitamin C and bio-flavonoids essential for vitamin C absorption).

Orange and Goji Blend

Combining them with goji berries, which are rich in beta carotene, protein and vitamin C (among many other nutrients), ensures that you boost your immune system as well as taking care of your eyes and nervous system. Adding a little bit of oil to your blend ensures that your body is able to absorb carotenoids and use them right away.

Finally, fresh turmeric is one of the most powerful immune boosting, anti-oxidant packed medicinal-foods and is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and totally health and life promoting.

Can you see how a simple smoothie just turned into a mega medicinal powerhouse?

Besides all this nutritional richness, the color is pure sunshine and, as you might already know, drinking sunshine makes you totally happy. Tested and proven.

Enjoy and start introducing this amazing blend to your daily or weekly smoothie menu:)

 

Ingredients

(serves 2-3)

700g peeled sweet orange with extra pith (no rind)

250ml spring or filtered water

15g fresh turmeric

60g organic goji berries

1 punnet of raspberries (optional)

2 TBLS olive oil

1/4 tsp cayenne powder or fresh chilli of your choice

 

Method:

Peel the oranges, leaving as much white pith as possible (all the goodness is in the pith, baby!) and add to your blender or nutribullet. Roughly chop turmeric and blend with goji berries, water and chilli. Blend till all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add raspberries and olive oil, whiz gently and serve.

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