Salted Maca Caramel Vegan Ice Cream Introducing the ultimate healthy ice-cream recipe for everyone to enjoy, whether you are intolerant to dairy (like me), or even completely vegan. This is such an easy treat to whizz together and doesn’t require an ice-cream maker, food processor or any fancy equipment – just throw everything in the blender and add your toppings!

If you’re a fan of salted caramel (which is loaded with refined sugar and offers no nutritional value), you NEED this Maca Ice Cream in your life! Maca root has been growing in the Peruvian Andes for thousands of years and has a sweet malty taste. It’s famous for its nutritional benefits – it boosts energy, aids in hormone regulation, and contains over 20 amino acids.

This recipe is sweetened with just 1 ripe banana and a squeeze of date nectar, which is my natural sweetener of choice since it is low GI and is a source of minerals including iron and magnesium. To enhance the sweet flavours even more, a little sea salt goes a long way.

I could seriously eat this stuff straight from the blender, and to be honest… I sometimes do!Salted Maca Caramel Vegan Ice Cream

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 large frozen banana (wait until it’s over-ripe before freezing)

1 tablespoon cashew butter (can replace with any nut butter)

3 tablespoons maca powder (myvitamins)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 scoop vanilla vegan protein (I used MissFits Nutrition: get £5 off with my code CPB5 on their site!) – can replace with 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon date nectar (Beloved Dates)

2 tablespoons cacao nibs (Bioglan UK)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until fully combined. You will need to scrape down the sides a couple of times to ensure it is fully blended.
  2. Once blended, stir in the date nectar and cacao nibs.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and add toppings – I love a sprinkle of homemade granola (try my Nutty Cinnamon Granola or Banana Nut Crunch Granola) or a few pieces of my 3-Ingredient Raw Chocolate.

Salted Maca Caramel Vegan Ice Cream Salted Maca Caramel Vegan Ice Cream

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Banana Nut Crunch Granola

This is seriously one of the best recipes I’ve ever made. I’ve said that before, but this time, just take my word for it. My dad has been obsessed with Banana Nut Crunch (a sugar-loaded but admittedly delicious cereal) for as long as I can remember. I set out to create a healthier alternative and this masterpiece was the result. It’s 100% free from added sugars (not even maple syrup or date nectar), and is instead sweetened with just two ripe bananas – and by the way, the whole family went BANANAS for this!

Banana Nut Crunch Granola

If you’ve tried my Nutty Cinnamon Granola, you’ll know I’ve got the whole Homemade Granola thing down. And if you haven’t tried it yet – well, what are you waiting for?

From a nutritional standpoint, it provides a source of both soluble and insoluble fibre from the jumbo oats, and a boost of protein and healthy fats from all the nuts and seeds. What’s more, the cinnamon has been proven to keep blood sugar levels stable, and if you add a handful of berries, you’ve got an entirely balanced meal.

This breakfast treat takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish, and the best part about this recipe is that it will make your whole home smell like Banana Bread!

Banana Nut Crunch Granola

I could literally snack on this all day long. My favourite ways to enjoy it include on its own with a splash of my 2-minute Pecan Milk, sprinkled generously over an Açaí Bowl or a Post-Workout Chocolate Milkshake, or as a topping on my Healthy Chocolate Mousse.

Açaí Bowl with Banana Nut Crunch GranolaMakes one large container of granola

Ingredients:

2 cups jumbo oats

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

1/4 cup chopped brazil nuts

2 tablespoons flaked almonds

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)

2  over-ripe bananas, mashed (wait until they turn dark brown with black spots)

Optional: 1/4 cup dried banana slices, 1/4 cup raisins

Banana Nut Crunch Granola

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Combine coconut oil, mashed banana, cinnamon and ginger in a bowl and stir well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well.
  5. Pour the mixture onto a lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven, turn it over and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then add in the dried banana and raisins if using.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Banana Nut Crunch GranolaBanana Nut Crunch GranolaBanana Nut Crunch GranolaBanana Nut Crunch Granola

Banana Nut Crunch Granola

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Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower looking all charming

Yesterday I moved back to London after the most sensational six months living in Paris, so today’s blog post is quite different to my usual ones, but this seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect on my experiences and share the highlights with you. I’m working on a separate post about my favourite healthy brunch spots in Paris so stay tuned for that too!

Parisian architecture

The perfect corner shot in Saint Germain

 

Writing this blog post has encouraged me to go through hundreds of photos, think about events that occurred, the memories that I made and people that I met – allowing me to relive some of the most special moments. I can genuinely say that I did not take the opportunity for granted, and appreciated every little thing, from my internship at a luxury interior design PR firm, to living in my own adorably French rooftop apartment in the heart of the Marais. I came to feel like a true Parisian as I got to know the character of each arrondissement (district) and tried to fit in and live like a local.

Channelling my inner ballerina at work

Having already spent the first half of my Year Abroad in Madrid, I knew what it was like to move to a new country and how to settle in, so when I arrived in Paris is January, I was excited to immerse myself in another culture, to sink my teeth into the rich diversity, to stroll the streets aimlessly and of course to enjoy the French cuisine. I fell deeper and deeper in love with this magical city with each day that passed by and constantly discovered hidden gems.

Blue door in Le Marais

My favourite door in Le Marais

As a foodie, let me clarify that French bakeries offer SO much more than the baguettes and pain au chocolats that we hear about on the other side of the Channel; even a gluten intolerance could not prevent me from the occasional indulgence in the delights of a freshly baked croissant, still hot from the oven. However, to my delight, frogs’ legs and snails proved less common in reality than in the British imagination!

Macarons

Macarons make me happy

 

So here is a little round-up of the very best spots and some things I will never forget:

The stunning Haussmanian architecture, wide tree-lined boulevards, cobblestone courtyards, colourful doors that make me have to stop for a photo, live music in Le Marais on Sundays, strolling the streets of Saint-Germain, the charming artists’ village in Montmartre, climbing the spiralling staircase of the Sacré-Cœur, brunching on repeat, sipping cocktails in the garden of the Mandarin Oriental, soaking up the sunshine in Place des Vosges, balconies spilling with flowers everywhere you look, the gorgeous fountain in Place Saint Sulpice, throwing dinner parties with friends where I made my Chocolate Chip Blondies, weekend rituals at Café Oberkampf and its recently opened sister Café Méricourt, spotting Nôtre-Dame from the other side of the river, finding props for my blogat the coolest concept store Merci (ceramic bowls are the latest obsession), the pond in my favourite park Jardin de Luxembourg, the queue at L’As du Falafel (worth it every time), people-watching from Café de Floré, lunch at Alcazar, the weekend flower market on Île de la Cité, cosy cups of coffee at La Caféothèque, the impressive dome ceiling at Galeries Lafayette, hunting for the freshest fruit and herbs in Bastille Market, picnics by the Seine, rainbow coloured houses on Rue Crémieux, boulangeries and patisseries on every street corner, sunny summer evenings spent with good friends and a bottle of Rosé, cute window shutters, a visit to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs for the new Dior exhibition, hotel terraces and rooftops bars that became part of my routine, tea at the Plaza Anthénée, peony season when Paris was in full bloom, the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Bois de Boulogne, the spectacular view of the City of Lights from the Le Perchoir du Marais, delicious açaí bowls at Love Juice Bar, the fairground in the Jardins des Tuileries, the famous Hotel Costes, matcha lattes at Café Kitsuné looking out over Jardin du Palais Royal, avocado toast at Season, admiring the 20,000 sparkling lightbulbs in the Eiffel Tower, the impeccable fashion sense of French men and women, Café Marly overlooking the Louvre, the whole roasted cauliflower at Miznon, tacos and cocktails at Candelaria, my local food market Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, hanging out by Canal Saint Martin, drinks at Le Comptoir Generale, the fun vibe at Café Oz rooftop club which is as close to my university life at Paris gets, the Balenciaga exhibition at the Musée Bourdelle, proudly showing my family and friends around my hometown when they all came to visit, and waking up before my alarm clock went off and enjoying a pretty pastel sunrise outside my window.

Sunset on the Seine

Watercolour sunsets over the Seine

It would be lie to say there were no challenges – there were definitely a few differences that took getting used to. Firstly, there was the issue of the language, but even though I could barely order a cup of coffee when I arrived, with time and practice my French is without doubt the best it’s ever been – and probably the best it ever will be, for that matter! Anther challenge was that most shops, banks and Post Offices in Paris close on Sundays, and often Mondays, which I found quite frustrating. Then there were more than a couple of near-death experiences when I forgot to look in the opposite direction when crossing the road! I also had to adapt to the fact that EVERYONE smokes – I seemed to be the only person in Paris without a cigarette constantly in my hand.

Paris views

Spot the Eiffel Tower

 

Looking back on my time in Paris, I can genuinely say that I’ve never felt as independent as I have in the last few months and I can only hope that I continue smiling just as much during the next year, although let’s be honest, my final year of university in Nottingham cannot compare to the life-changing year that I have just experienced. As I begin to adjust back to my “old” life and return to uni in September, I feel that I will never be quite the same person I was one year ago. The time flew by so quickly, yet so many things happened. I’m so grateful for all the wonderful memories I’ve made this year, which I will cherish forever. Thank you to everyone who’s been a part of this journey in one way or another!

Rainbow row Rue Crémieux

Rainbow row Rue Crémieux in the 12th arrondissement

 

Ivy clad buildings

Ivy clad buildings on Rue Vielle du Temple

Pink coat

Rocking my new pink coat

Window shutters and pretty balconies

Window shutters and pretty balconies

City of Lights

City of Lights

Paris Metro

The Métro: probably my least favourite thing about Paris

Le Hibou

Typical Parisian brunch at Le Hibou

 

Retro Mini at Merci concept store

Retro Mini at Merci concept store

Zadig & Voltaire

Zadig & Voltaire in a real-life dolls’ house

Avocado Toat

The best avocado toast

Hôtel de Ville

Stunning architecture at Hôtel de Ville

Place des Vosges

The breathtaking arches in Place des Vosges

Bastille Market

Fruit shopping in Bastille Market

Jardin du Palais Royal

Autumn approaching in Jardin du Palais Royal

Photoshoot

Photoshoots at work

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Place des Vosges

Red-brick buildings in Place des Vosges

Place Saint-Sulpice

Place Saint-Sulpice when my family came to visit

La Coulée Verte

Paris in full bloom on La Coulée Verte

Coffee

Coffees and catch-ups

The view from the Sacré-Cœur

The view from the top of the Sacré-Cœur

Tree-lined boulevards along the Seine

Tree-lined boulevards along the Seine

 

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Let me start by saying that I’m currently based in Paris for 6 months and am having the time of my life. I live in an adorable (read: tiny) flat and I absolutely love it. HOWEVER, my only complaints are:

a) I don’t have an oven.

b) I don’t have a food processor.

Whilst I enjoy going over to my friends’ apartment to bake desserts using her oven whenever I get the opportunity, sometimes I get the urge to create a delicious sweet treat right then and there, without schlepping the ingredients half-way across Paris and carrying the finished product home in tupperware. So I’ve had to experiment with recipes which require no equipment but my own hands (and perhaps a bowl and a fork for mixing).

My most recent kitchen creation: these Raw Brownies with a Salted Caramel Frosting. They are unbelievably tasty, so beware – you won’t be able to stop at just one! The best part is that they’re genuinely healthy, rich in protein, fibre, minerals and antioxidants from the cacao, PLUS they’re free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar, and suitable for vegans. The scrumptious frosting is so simple to whip together and is, quite literally, the icing on the cake!

Raw Protein Brownies with Salted Caramel Frosting

Ingredients:

For the Base:

1 cup ground almonds

1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use MissFits – use my discount code CPB20 for 20% off)

1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (I use myvitamins – use my discount code ELI25 for 15% off)

3/4 tablespoon peanut butter

1/2 tablespoon almond butter

3 tablespoons almond milk

2 tablespoons date syrup

3 tablespoons dark chocolate (or my 3-Ingredient Homemade Chocolate), broken into small chunks

1 tablespoon hazelnuts, roughly chopped

For the Salted Caramel Frosting:

2 heaped tablespoons cashew butter

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 tablespoon maple syrup

 

Method:

1. Add all Base ingredients to a bowl and mix very well, using a fork or even your hands.

2. Press into the base of a lined cake tin.

3. Add all Salted Caramel Frosting to a bowl and mix very well with a fork.

4. Spread the topping over the base and place in the freezer to set for a minimum of 2 hours, or the fridge for longer.

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I get asked a lot how I make my my chocolate mousse! It’s become a total staple in my diet and let’s be honest, who can resist dessert for breakfast when it’s this delicious AND good for you?!

This homemade healthy chocolate mousse is silky smooth, chocolatey and an all-round crowd pleaser! It looks and tastes so much like a standard chocolate mousse that if you didn’t know any better, you’d never guess there was a hidden ingredient…

But before I let you in on my secret ingredient, let me promise you that you will NOT taste it in your chocolate mousse.

Please welcome to the stage one of my favourite foods ever – you guessed it: AVOCADO!

Avocado has been sneaking its way into healthier desserts over the last few years and with good reason – they’re packed with essential heart-healthy fats (great for glowing skin, hair and nails), contain more potassium than bananas, and are loaded with fibre and a huge range of vitamins. Health benefits aside, they provide a rich creamy texture unrivalled by any traditional chocolate mousse ingredients – healthy or not.

Top tip: make sure you wait long enough for your avocado to be very ripe and soft so it blends easily into the mousse and goes totally undetected.

This tastes amazing with my 3-Ingredient Homemade Chocolate broken into chunks on top, alongside a handful of fresh berries and a sprinkle of my Nutty Cinnamon Granola for an added crunch.

 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 very ripe avocado (flesh)

1/4 cup cacao powder

3 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon honey (can replace with maple syrup)

1/3 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Optinal: 1/8 lemon, juiced

Toppings of choice, such as: cacao nibs, raspberries, my 3-ingredient Raw Chocolate Bark, chia seeds, dried mulberries, peanut butter or my favourite Nutty Cinnamon Granola.

 

Method:

1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend just until a smooth thick consistency is reached.

2. Transfer to two small bowls and chill until ready to serve. Cover with your favourite toppings!


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