Healthy Living, Recipes

Oaty Apple Crumble


I am so pleased with how this recipe turned out!

Apple crumble has to be one of my all-time favourite desserts, and this is a great healthy version made with oats. The crunch you get from using walnuts means you can omit the butter and it’s much lower in sugar than other versions too. Let me know if you try it and what you think!



(for the filling)
Approximately 5 large apples
1 tsp cinnamon
(for the topping)
50g + 20g oats (or 50g oat flour + 20g oats)
50g walnuts
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 200’c.
2. Cut the apples into bitesize chunks (no need to peal if you don’t want to!). Add the cinnamon and place in a pan with a lid on a low heat. Leave to stew for 5-10 minutes.
3. Using a food processor, blend 50g of the oats until you have a flour (this can take a while!).
4. Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil in the microwave.
5. Once the oats are ground, tip the honey and coconut oil into the food processor. Mix together.
6. Add the additional 20g of oats, the walnuts and cinnamon and blitz it all together until the nuts are chopped. You should have a mixture that resembles a crumble topping.
7. Tip the stewed apples into a dish and cover with the topping. Pop in oven for approx. 20 minutes, or until the crumble topping has gone slightly golden.

IMG_0201Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or custard!

Nutritional info per portion
(based on above serving 6 people)
Calories: 218kcal
Fat: 10g
Saturated fat: 3.5g
Protein: 3.5g


Bara Brith

I made this for the European bread festival at Schuman last weekend, and it was very popular. Lots of people asked where they could buy it, and upon being told I’d made it, I promised them I would put it my blog. (It didn’t even last long enough for me to take a picture!)

Before we get started, it must be said that this isn’t a particularly healthy recipe, or one that I would normally post. While it’s low in fats, a lot of the calories come from sugar. This recipe is lovely for a sweet treat, but isn’t one you want to be having regularly, especially as it’s traditionally served with a spread of butter!

I’ll be working on a new healthier version of this recipe in the coming weeks – keep an eye out for it!

Now that’s out of the way, Bara Brith is Welsh ‘speckled bread’. It’s not really bread at all, more like a fruit cake, but one that is very special to me, given my Welsh heritage.

You need to start making this the night before, as ideally the fruit needs to soak in the tea over night.

350g self raising flour
150g muscovado sugar (or any brown sugar)
1 egg
300ml tea (you can mix it up here, but I normally use Welsh – or English – breakfast)
450g dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, cranberries and mixed peel work well)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest

1. Tip the dried fruit into a large bowl (it will expand), and pour the tea over it. Cover and leave it to soak overnight.
2. Preheat your oven to 160’c and grease a loaf tin lightly with butter.
3. Grate the orange to get the zest, then cut in half and squeeze  to get some juice. Sieve it to ensure there’s no pips!
4. Mix together the sugar, egg, honey, orange juice and zest.
5. Add this mixture to the bowl containing the fruit and mix well.
6. Gradually sieve in the flour and mixed spice, stirring in as you go.
7. The consistency of the mixture should be thick and drop slowly off the back of a spoon. If it’s too thick, slowly add a little milk until you reach the desired consistency.
8. Pour the mixture into the greased tin, and place into the oven. It will need around 1.5-2 hours. The top should look golden, and be firm to the touch in the middle.
9. Allow to cool, before slicing into 12-14 slices and enjoying with a nice cup of tea.

This is the one picture I do have…



Nutritional info (based on the above recipe yielding 14 slices):
CALORIES: 230kcal

Healthy Living

Eating well through Christmas

Those of you who follow my blog will know that ‘dieting’ isn’t something I encourage. I believe that short terms fixes produce short term results and short term results don’t lead to better health. For me, a healthy diet is about eating foods that are good for my physical and psychological health. Severe or permanent restriction of any food is not good for health; physical or psychological. So yes, the odd small bit of chocolate, cheese or ice cream is necessary to save me driving myself mad!

Now Christmas presents a problem. There’s food EVERYWHERE.  Every meal you’re served is at least double its normal size and comes with an extra 2 courses you’d never normally have. You’ve been given excessive amounts of chocolate, the alcohol cupboard is full and a cup of tea is ALWAYS accompanied with a mince pie (or two). How do you continue your healthy lifestyle through this minefield?! Well, here’s my top 10 tips on how you can manage your food and Christmas.

1. Make your goals realistic
If you’re someone who likes setting goals, make sure they’re achievable. For example; are you likely to get up at 5am on Christmas day to go for a run, or lose 5kg in the Christmas fortnight? Setting goals that you’re unlikely to achieve may make you feel negative and result in you ‘giving up’. If you’re trying to lose weight, aim to maintain your weight over the Christmas period and get back into setting an achievable loss of 0.5-1kg/week afterwards.

2. Always fill half of your plate with vegetables
This is something you should be doing anyway if you’re trying to lose weight, but remember this applies to Christmas meals too! Vegetables are low in calories and high in fibre. Psychologically, you’re still having a plate full but realistically you’re consuming a lot less calories than if half of your plate was filled with stuffing and roast potatoes.
Skip the skin! Avoiding the fattiest bits of a meal could end up saving you hundreds of calories. Try to limit your intake of potatoes or vegetables that are roasted in oil, gravy made with animal fat and opt for the leaner cuts of meat.

3. Stay hydrated
Start off your day with a large glass of water, and keep drinking more through the day. Being dehydrated can make you feel more hungry and increase the volume of alcohol you drink. Try alternating alcoholic drinks and water (see point 7).

4. Freeze leftovers
Sometimes it can’t be helped, cooking waaaay too much at Christmas is too harder habit to break. However, chances are if there’s stuffing balls left in the fridge they’ll be picked at between meals. Anything that can be frozen, freeze it so the temptation isn’t there.

5. Ration your chocolate or give it away
The thought of this as a child would have probably traumatised you. However, you’re not a child now…you’re a responsible adult! You have two options here; and one of them ISN’T eat it all in one go…!
If you’re one of those people who can have chocolate in the house and not munch your way through an entire box in one sitting, then great, make it last. If you’re not one of those people, then how about giving some of your chocolate to a worthy cause; a charity raffle, a church coffee morning, your post or bin men?!

6. Opt for lighter starters & desserts
The Christmas season often means numerous social outings, and that means food. Try to skip the nibbles and bread before the meal and opt for lighter starters like soup or melon and desserts like sorbet or meringue with fruit. You could even suggest sharing a dessert or just have a coffee. (Coffee and strong flavoured tea (like mint) can help take away the craving some people get for something sweet after a meal).
If you’re going to a buffet type do, consider eating before hand and fill up on a healthy, balanced meal. When you’re hungry you’re much less likely to make sensible, healthy choices about what you eat. Don’t stand near the buffet table either!!
Try to limit the ‘overindulging’ to a couple of days; a cheeseboard every night for a month will not give your waistline anything to thank you for.

7. Watch the alcohol units
Alcohol often seems to come hand in hand with Christmas. Remember that in terms of calories per gram, alcohol is second only to fat, containing 7 calories per gram (fat contains 9 calories per gram). That means that one glass of bubbly is likely to contain around 90 calories and a bottle of 4% beer around 100 calories.
Try to have set occasions where you won’t drink at all (drive there so you don’t have a choice)! And always try to lessen your intake; alternate between alcohol and soft drinks, ask for extra ice or dilute wine or spirits with diet mixers.

8. Make some healthy snacks
It’s not just meals that are guilty for our increased calorie intake. People tend to snack more through the Christmas period too. Try to stick to a maximum of one handful of nuts per day, and make some extra healthy options based on fruit and vegetables. Things like sliced carrot sticks and homemade hummus, roasted chickpeas or cinnamon spiced apple slices will mean you’re not left out but aren’t overdoing it on the calories. It may be worth looking at the timing of meals through the day too; are you snacking because you’re hungry (or thirsty), or just because it’s there?

9. Get in some exercise
Spending time with loved ones is an important part of Christmas. Make time for walks and family activities and you’ll be enjoying their company as well as staying active. Get up from the sofa and enjoy the crisp winter mornings, a 30 minute walk every morning will go miles in terms of helping prevent excessive weight gain over the Christmas period.

10. Choose indulgences wisely
Take some time to consider your options, for example, you could have dessert and canapes, just canapes, or just half a dessert. Make a conscious decision before you go about what you’re going to allow yourself and then think about why. Is it because you have another party tomorrow? Is it because you’ll want some mulled wine later? Thinking about this makes you more likely to stay on track.
It is hard saying no to everything everyone offers you, but staying in control of how much you say ‘yes’ to is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Another way of looking at this might be to tell yourself that you will allow yourself to say yes to every fourth treat. Then, practice different ways you can say no, for example; “yes it does look delicious, I’ll be sure to have one later” or “thanks, but I’ve just eaten” or simply “no, thank you”.

Try to change “I can’t” to “I don’t”. Saying this means you’re in control and much more likely to stay on track during the Christmas holidays.

Remember, you can’t do wrong, you can only make better choices.

Moderation is key.

Have a Happy Christmas!