Guest Interview: Madeleine Butler + Cauliflower Couscous Recipe

I am so excited to present to you all my first ever gorgeous guest, Madeleine Butler.
I have been fortunate enough to be close friends with Maddy since birth. Some of my fondest childhood memories include Maddy and I cooking meals together and talking about how we were going to start up a café called the M&M café, when we were older.
One thing I always loved about Maddy was that she knew from a very young age that she wanted to be an actor, writer and director and she never let anything get in the way of pursuing that dream. Not even being diagnosed with type one diabetes, which (despite what she may say) she handles tremendously.
Maddy has just released a web series called In Transit which she co-wrote and acted in (I also got to play a small role) and I know it is just the first of many wonderful projects to come. Check out the In Transit website here.

So here is a little bit more about Maddy along with an amazing cauliflower couscous recipe which I cannot wait to try!

So tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, what are you passionate about?
I’m a writer/actor. Although most of the time I complain about writing, I couldn’t live without it! I’ve also always been passionate about what I perceive to be important issues and lately my main concern has become climate change.

How do you manage your meals when you are eating out, on set or travelling?
Good question… how about: I don’t! It’s pretty difficult and often, when on set or travelling, I take my own meals. When eating out I try to stick to foods that I’m familiar with, so I have more of an idea how to manage the meal. Sometimes, though, I just like to be adventurous and eat something different, but often I pay the price!

I imagine co-writing a web series and acting in it can get quite stressful, what do you do to help yourself relax?
Exercise always helps. I skip rope three times a week, for 30 minutes and that always calms me. Sometimes I try to look at the bigger picture to put things into perspective, reminding myself that whatever’s happening is not the end of the world. I think I need to improve that technique though, and use it more often!

What advice do you wish had been given to you when you were first diagnosed with Diabetes?
To trust myself and not be too hard on myself – it’s incredibly difficult to live with and everyday is a challenge.

What is (one of) your favourite:
Movies: The Court Jester
Books: The Book Thief
Blogs: HuffPost Green
Foods: Pumpkin

What is the recipe you would like to share today?

Cauliflower Couscous with Pumpkin and Goats Cheese

In a bid to avoid the bloodsugar spikes that couscous sometimes gives me, I took to this recipe which replaces the couscous with grated cauliflower. Inspired by Jules’s recipe from Stonesoup, this simple recipe contains some of my favourite ingredients and can be tweaked here and there to fit your preferences.

Ingredients

½ head cauliflower
A large chunk of pumpkin
1-2 brown onions
Goats cheese
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
White wine vinegar
Chilli flakes
Herbs

Method

1. Cut the pumpkin into 2-3cm pieces and roast in the oven at 180°C.

2. Chop up your onion and throw it into a non-stick frypan.

3. Grate the cauliflower using the large hole shredder side of a grater. When the onion is soft, add the cauliflower and stir it around every few minutes. The duration depends on your taste, I like the cauliflower still quite raw, so I leave it in for about 10 minutes. (There’s a lot of cauliflower, so it can take some time to all cook through.)

4. Once ready, place the cauliflower and onion in a large bowl. Cut up the goats cheese and stir it through. It will melt into the dish, leaving a lovely creamy taste.

5. When the pumpkin is cooked, add it to the bowl and mix. Pour over the lemon juice and a few dashes of the vinegar. Sprinkle over some chilli flakes and herbs (fresh herbs such as basil are best if possible).

Super Easy Protein Balls

These balls are so easy to make and you only need a bowl and a spoon to put them together!

Ingredients

4 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp almond butter
½ mashed banana
4 tbsp LSA or almond meal
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp goji berries
For rolling the balls in: chia seeds, cacao, LSA or coconut (optional)

Method

Mix tahini, almond butter and banana in a bowl until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients until a dough is formed. If you find the mixture is still quite wet add in some more LSA.

Take small pieces of the dough and roll them into balls. If you wish, roll the balls in some chia seeds, cacao, LSA or coconut. Store in the fridge or freezer.

Spiced Eggs with Spinach and Avo Mash

This recipe would be great for breakfast, lunch or dinner and only takes around 10 minutes to make! I put this together last night with whatever ingredients I had left in the kitchen hoping for the best and it ended up being delicious! I got the inspiration for rolling the eggs in the spices from one of Jessica Sepel’s recipes. I promise you this does taste a lot better than it looks and it is ridiculously good for you.

Ingredients

2 free range organic eggs
Half a large avocado
2 big handfuls spinach chopped with the stalks off
3 big spoons of sauerkraut
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 large squash cut into small pieces
Zatar spice for rolling the eggs in
Cherry tomatoes to garnish (optional)

Method

Pop the two eggs into boiling water. If you like them soft, leave them in for about 7 minutes, or up to 10 minutes if you like them harder. Once the eggs are done, scoop them out of the boiling water, making sure the pot is still turned on and leave the eggs to cool in some cold water.

While the water is still boiling throw the spinach and squash in for about 40 seconds then scoop out, put into a strainer and run cold water over it. The great thing about this is you don’t need to wash the spinach or squash as the boiling water will get rid of all the dirt.

Put the spinach, squash, avocado, tahini, sauerkraut and seeds into a bowl and mix together, making sure the avocado is mashed up.

Lay the zatar spice out, peel the eggs then roll them around in the spice. Put the eggs with the avocado mash and garnish with some cherry tomatoes if you wish. Enjoy!

Choc Tahini Balls: Only equipment needed is a bowl and a spoon


I got the inspiration for this recipe after trying Claire from The Wellness Project’s recipe for healthy nutella. I found it made a dough like consistency so thought I would have a crack at making it into balls. I put raspberries in the middle of these balls but they would also taste great with blueberries, almonds or macadamia nuts. The great thing about this recipe is you can play around with how much natural sugar you want to add to it. I like mine quite bitter so I only put about 1 tablespoon of honey and a few drops of stevia but if you have a bit of a sweet tooth you can add more stevia to it. I wouldn’t put more than one tablespoon of honey in it though as it can become too sticky.

Ingredients

¾ cup tahini (I find the dough is firmer if you refrigerate it first)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cacao
2 tbsp LSA or almond meal
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp honey
Around 15 berries or nuts
Desiccated coconut for rolling the balls in

Method

Mix the tahini, cinnamon, cacao, LSA, chia seeds and honey in a bowl until combined and a dough like consistency is formed. If you find it is not forming a dough add more LSA.

Take little pieces of the dough, roll them into little balls, then flatten them into circles. Place the berry or nut in the middle of each circle then close the dough around it and roll into balls. You will find the dough will be quite soft so try to be very gentle with them.

Spread the desiccated coconut onto a chopping board and roll each ball in it until completely covered.

Place the balls into a container and place in the freezer for at least an hour.

It is best to store these in the freezer until you want to eat them so they stay firm. You can also keep them in the fridge, however, you may find that they will soften a bit.

Choc, Berry and Coconut Pancakes

This pancake recipe is a great variation to the banana pancake recipe I posted a few weeks ago. It is one of my new favourites as it includes some of my favourite foods: coconut, berries, cacao and, of course, chia seeds.

Ingredients

6 blueberries crushed
4 strawberries thinly sliced
5 raspberries chopped up into tiny pieces
2 eggs
1 tbsp coconut milk
1 ½ tbsp shredded coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cacao
1 tbsp honey or your choice of sweetener
1 tbsp chia seeds

Method

In a bowl place the eggs and coconut milk and whisk until combined. Then add the rest of the ingredients and stir until all combined.
Heat some oil in a pan then cook large spoonfuls of the mixture until the edges start to go dry, then flip over and cook the other side until golden brown.

They taste great served on their own or, if you are obsessed with coconut like I am, serve with a dollop of Coyo.

Want whiter teeth, clearer skin and more energy? Give oil pulling a go!

Image courtesy of m_bartosch/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual that was used for detoxing and is something that has recently become quite popular in the modern world.

Oil pulling is done by swishing some form of organic cold pressed oil like sunflower oil or coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes before spitting it out. When you swish the oil around it pulls out the bacteria that sits in your mouth. This has a very powerful detoxifying effect on the body as our mouth is home to billions of bacteria, fungi and other toxins. Dr. Bruce Fife has written a whole book on this ritual and you can read more about it in detail here.

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking it sounds gross and crazy and weird right? I have to admit I felt very strange doing it for the first couple of days, but now I’ve been doing it for about 12 months and it feels completely normal to me. I am definitely reaping all the benefits: my teeth are whiter, my head feels clearer, my gums look and feel a lot healthier and I no longer have the urge to kill leading up to that time of the month.

The main benefits of oil pulling include:

·         Whiter teeth
·         Healthier gums
·         Prevents bad breath
·         Decreased PMS symptoms
·         Decreased headache symptoms
·         Clearer skin
·         Increases your metabolism
·         It has been known to decrease allergies
·         Better sleep

I have also heard stories of it curing ulcers and rashes. I even read one story about a man who went back to his dentist to get a scheduled root canal and it was no longer needed as he had been oil pulling for 3 months!

How to Oil Pull

It is best to oil pull in the morning on an empty stomach as soon as you wake up. Drink a glass of water first then put about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, coconut is probably best as it has a more pleasant taste than others. Swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes, I usually do this while I am in the shower or getting ready for work, then spit it out. Make sure you do not swallow the oil though as it will be full of toxins from pulling out all the bacteria.

So why not give it a try? You really have nothing to lose!

I would love to hear your feedback on it as well, so feel free to leave me a comment.

Fried Chicken and Pesto Pasta

Ok, so technically this recipe is not actually fried chicken or pasta, but it’s much healthier for you and tastes way better in my opinion. This was a request from my friend Vicky who wanted a healthy alternative to her favourite foods: pesto pasta and fried chicken. I got the recipe for the chicken from Jessica Sepel’s amazing website, seriously check it out she has so many great recipes. Also it is quite surprising how similar the zucchini tastes to pasta!

For the pesto I usually buy a good quality brand from my local organic store. You can also get some great brands in the fridge section at the supermarket; just make sure you check the ingredients first to make sure they are all natural. If you would prefer to make it yourself Jamie Oliver has a great recipe here. The zatar spice used for the chicken should be available in the spice section of the supermarket or health food store and is made up of mainly sumac, thyme, sesame seeds, marjoram, oregano.

Serves 2

Ingredients

skinless chicken fillets
¼ cup zatar
Grape seed oil for cooking
5 zucchinis (only 4 if they are large)
5 heaped tbsp pesto (you can use more or less if you want to)

Method

Spread the zatar onto a board then roll the chicken breast in it until all sides are completely covered. Heat some oil in a pan and cook the chicken on both sides until completely cooked through. This usually takes about 5 minutes on each side depending on how thick the fillet is. Once cooked leave aside.

Using a vegetable peeler peel very thin strips of the zucchini until you get to the seeded part. Repeat this on each side with all 5 zucchinis.

Heat some oil in a pan then toss the zucchini. I like mine quite crunchy and raw so I toss it for about 3 minutes. If you want it a bit softer toss it until you reach your desired texture. Once it is done take it off the heat and tip out any excess moisture.

Now add in the pesto and mix around until combined.

Cut the chicken into strips to serve with the zucchini pasta and hey pesto! You have a healthy version of fried chicken and pasta!

Note: the chicken and pasta are also great as separate dishes as well.

Cabbage Leaf Burritos

I love this recipe as I have a massive weakness for Mexican food but always feel very bloated and sick after eating it. This dish, however, always leaves me feeling extremely satisfied and using the cabbage leaf as the wrap gives it a nice added crunch!

Serves 6

Ingredients

6 large whole green cabbage leaves
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1kg organic grass fed beef mince (lentils also go great in this recipe if you want a vegan dish)
Small bunch kale chopped into small pieces
2 zucchinis grated or thinly sliced
1 carrot grated
2 tomatoes diced
2 shallots thinly sliced

To serve (optional)

Mashed up avocado
Natural Greek yoghurt
Cheese of your choice

Method

To prepare the cabbage leaves place them in a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes or until they are quite soft, then place them on some paper towels to dry. If you do not have a steamer you can boil the cabbage leaves for about 5 minutes,  just make sure you keep an eye on them so they don’t break.

While the cabbage leaves are drying, heat some grape seed oil in a frypan then add the onion and garlic and stir until the onion starts to brown. Add the mince, breaking it up into tiny pieces, then stir until the mince is mostly brown. Then add in the kale, zucchini, carrot, tomatoes and shallots and stir for another 3-5 minutes.

Making sure the cabbage leaves are completely dry, serve the meat mixture into each cabbage leaf with a dollop of avocado, Greek yoghurt and a sprinkle of cheese if you wish. Then wrap the cabbage leave around the meat by folding the thick stem part over first, followed by the right side of the leaf then fold the top part over and finish off by folding over the left part.

There you have it: a delicious, healthy burrito. Enjoy!

Cacao Almond Butter Balls

These almond butter balls are amazing! I got the idea for these from Lana Purcell’s recipe for Raw Cherry Bombs which are also just as delicious!

Ingredients

¾ cup cacao powder
¼ cup LSA or almond meal
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ cup soft pitted medjool dates
3 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp coconut oil
Around ½ cup almond butter refrigerated for at least 1 hour
Desiccated coconut for rolling the balls in

Method

Put the cacao powder, LSA and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until combined. Now add the dates, honey and oil, then blend until it forms a dough like consistency.

Take little pieces of the dough, roll them into little balls then flatten them into circles. Place around ¾ of a teaspoon of the almond butter into the middle of each circle then close the dough around the butter and roll into balls.

Spread the desiccated coconut onto a chopping board and roll each ball in it until completely covered.

Place the balls onto a plate or tray and refrigerate.

I find they taste best if you wait about an hour for them to chill. Make sure you store any you don’t eat straight away in the fridge.

Note: try to resist eating too many before bed as the cacao can keep you up all night.

Eggplant and Sweet Potato Mini Pizzas

I came up with the idea for this recipe after speaking with my friend Vicky who is currently living in London. She was telling me she has been living off frozen pizza and microwave dinners and asked if I could come up with an easy healthy recipe that is also comforting for the colder months.

So Vicky here is the recipe for mini pizzas. Now you have no excuse to be eating frozen pizza!

You can use whatever toppings you like on these. I mixed it up a bit and found that goats cheese, tomato, pesto, green olives, grated zucchini, chives and avocado all tasted great with the sweet potato and eggplant bases.

Ingredients

1 very round sweet potato
1 very round eggplant
Grape seed oil
olive oil
Toppings of your choice

Method

Pre heat the oven to around 250 degrees.

Cut the sweet potato into 3cm thick circles and the eggplant into 3.5cm thick circles.

Heat some grape seed oil in a pan then cook the sweet potato on one side only for about 3 minutes until the cooked side has softened a bit. Then do the same with the eggplant but only cook for about 2 minutes.

With a small but sharp knife slice a circle around the edge of both the eggplant and sweet potato bases but only slice about 1cm deep. Then take a metal spoon and scoop out half of the eggplant and sweet potato from each piece, making sure there is a 1cm deep hole in each base.

Place the bases on a flat baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven and put your desired toppings on each pizza base then place in the oven.

Cook the eggplant pizzas in the oven for 15 minutes then remove. The sweet potato pizzas take a little longer to cook so leave in the oven for 25 minutes.

Serve with some avocado or fresh herbs sprinkled on top and enjoy.

Note: You can skip the second and third step and just cut the slices smaller, however I find that you are able to put more toppings on the pizzas if you include these two steps.