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What else we can do to naturally boost our energy?

I am so excited for this weekend as Maple & Fitz has a new sibling in town – Maple & CNM. I’ve had the pleasure of coming in as a guest speaker at the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) and now we will be serving Maple food at their brand new shiny school in King’s Cross.
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CNM is the UK’s largest training provider of natural therapies and believe in what we believe in at Maple, which is that good nutrition is fundamental to health. Following our feature recently on Sunday Brunch about Energising Foods, the experts at the CNM tell us more about boosting energy naturally. Try these DIY tips from my guest blogger, CNM.

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Boost energy levels naturally

Everyone gets tired. More often than not a few early nights puts things right. If you are feeling tired or flat all the time, however, and even routine daily tasks feel like a big effort, you may need to look at your diet and habits.
Make your habits more naturopathic

Of course we already know that smoking and significant alcohol consumption are not good for your health, so get help to quit if these are a part of your life you’d rather do without!

We are affected, too, by environmental pollution ranging from electro-magnetic radiation from our increasingly hi-tech lives, to traffic and industrial pollutants in the air we breathe. Cut down on your constant use of technology, and get outdoors for a walk in the park instead.
Stress is always debilitating, so identify and address causes so that your health is not sabotaged.

Do some exercise each day. A walk in the park at lunchtime is a good start or use the stairs instead of the escalator in the tube!
At night, institute a ‘winding down’ process which excludes screens (Netflix!) and might involve listening to relaxing music or reading a book. Be strict about regular sleeping hours, and remove communication devices and other distractions from your bedroom.

If you need a great excuse to take a relaxing 20-30 minute bath in Epsom Salts a couple of times per week, it’s that you can top up your levels of magnesium, an essential mineral for energy production.

Make sure that your mattress and pillows are comfortable, and that temperature and ventilation are good in your bedroom. A sprinkle of lavender essential oil on your pillow can help induce feelings of relaxation.

Look carefully at the chemicals contained in your personal care products, from shampoo to face products, to sunscreen, and opt for natural versions to keep the toxins you ingest to a minimum.

Address Your Diet

Our bodies can be put under severe stress from a less than wholesome diet. Eating a wide range of predominantly plant-based wholefoods, organic where possible, is the ideal.

Plant compounds can manipulate how our bodies function, so make sure you get enough of them. Increasing your intake of veg to at least 8 portions a day can help meet your daily needs of key helpers, such as B vitamins, magnesium and vitamin C levels, co-factors to make sure that your protein intake is used efficiently.

Make sure that your protein intake is sufficient. Protein is essential for every single cell in the body, including the production of your sleep hormone, melatonin. If you are vegetarian, your protein can come from nuts and seeds, pulses, legumes, quinoa and sprouted seeds and beans.

Keeping blood sugar well balanced throughout the day with meals that contain protein and healthy fats as well as carbohydrates can make a real difference to our energy levels over the course of the day. To combat sugar cravings, take half a teaspoon of cinnamon when you get the urge for something sweet or starchy. A handful of nuts is a much healthier source of fast energy than sugary treats.

Don’t forget to hydrate!

Even mild dehydration can cause us to feel below par. Aim to drink 2 litres of clean water a day. To increase hydration at the cellular level, add a little cucumber or celery to your jug of water, and sip throughout the day.

For some people, unexplained fatigue continues no matter how much rest is taken.
If underlying health problems have been ruled out, a naturopathic nutritional therapist can help you identify any food intolerances or nutritional imbalances which may be contributing to your tiredness. If so, there are many nutritional approaches which can help. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are also useful therapies to help you relax and re-balance.

Happy 2017 and we hope these tips help!

CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine) trains students for careers in a range of natural therapies, including Natural Chef, Naturopathic Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, and Naturopathy. Short courses in additional therapies are also available. To find out about CNM courses and locations, visit www.naturopathy-uk.com

Pack in those vitamins and minerals for those January Blues…

I had so much fun this morning with Tim, Simon, Kelly, Nick, Martin and Nick! It’s always intimidating to cook for celebs especially when Simon wants to know where the sausage went in our Vit D packed breakfast and Kelly wanted champagne to poach her eggs!

Below are some recipes to help you get over or even try to beat the flu season this grey January month as we’ve featured dishes full of vitamin D, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, manganese and copper. Message me on twitter, Instagram or facebook if you have any questions! x Adria

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SMOKED MACKEREL & POACHED EGGS (gf, df)

Feature: Vitamin D
Serves 4

 eggs, 8
baby spinach, 60g, wash and dry
smoked mackerel, 400g

chives, 1 tablespoon, finely chopped
lemon, 2, zest and wedges

sea salt and black pepper to taste

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  1. Poach egg in gently boiling water (bubbles should look like champagne). Slowly swirl the water and gently drop the egg in the centre as close to the water as possible (chef’s tip: use a mug or small cup to drop egg). Poach for 3 mins. Remove with slotted spoon and pat dry.
  2. Wash and dry spinach and finely chop chives.
  3. Serve dish with a bed of spinach, mackerel and poached egg on top. Season with sea salt and pepper. Then garnish with chives, lemon zest and wedge.

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ENERGISING WARM GRAIN BOWL (gf, df, ve)

Feature: Magnesium and Manganese

Serves 3-4

250g Green lentils, soak overnight
1 tsp table salt
water

250g Buckwheat (kasha)
2 tsp table salt
200g Red onion, thinly sliced

2 Limes
200g Leeks, sliced, thinly sliced
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3-4 teaspoon Peruvian aji Amarillo spice

150g Cavolo nero, cut into bite size

Dressing
Juice from onion pickle
1/2 tsp Peruvian aji Amarillo spice

Garnish
2 tbsp Pomegranate seeds
2 tbsp Toasted pumpkin seeds

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  1. Soak lentils in cold water overnight. Rinse and drain. In a large pot add lentils, salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are very soft but still hold their shape, about 20-25 mins. If needed, top up with water so covered. Drain and set aside.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil with table salt. Add the buckwheat and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Quick pickle the red onions by rinsing in cold water and squeezing 2 limes on them. Set aside for 15 mins. When ready, strain juice from onions and mix juice with spice.
  4. Wash, remove stem and cut cavolo nero leaves.
  5. Sauté the leeks in oil and aji Amarillo until tender about 5 minutes. Add buckwheat and lentils to reheat for another 3 mins then add cavolo nero to lightly cook for another 1 min. Off the heat, toss in pickled red onions and add dressing as desired to give a deliciously tangy taste. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and pomegranates. Serve warm.

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Thai Lamb Curry (gf, df)

Feature: Iron and B Vitamins

Serves 2

Lamb rump (or any lean cut), 300g, cubed
Coconut oil, 1 tsp

Lamb Stock
Onion, 100g, roughly chopped
Carrot, 100g, roughly chopped
Celery, 100g, roughly chopped
Lemon grass, 1 stalk, halved lengthwise
Water, 250-250ml

Coconut oil, 1 tbsp
Onion, 1 or shallot, 3, thinly sliced
Ginger, 30g grated
Red curry paste, 1-2 tbsp
Coconut milk, reduced fat, 400ml,
Maple syrup, 1 tsp
Water or stock from lamb above, 200ml
Dark leafy Asian vegetable e.g. dao miu, choy sum, guy lan, 100g

Lemon balm or coriander, 2 tbsp
Lime, 1/2
Red chili (optional), 1, sliced

“Rice”
Cauliflower, 900g, grated, sautéed for 3 minutes
Coconut oil, 1 tbsp
Edamame, 80g, beans only
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

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Lamb

  1. Cut stock vegetables. Halve lemongrass lengthwise and bend and break fibre to release flavour. Dice lamb into 2 cm cubes. Heat oil and sear lamb off on all sides in a large stock pot for 5 mins. Remove lamb and set aside.
  2. Sauté vegetables in same pot the lamb was seared in and cook until clear for 5-10 mins.
  3. Add lamb back into pot with 3L water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 3-4 hours until lamb is tender and easy to pull apart (add more water if needed)
  4. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve. Remove vegetables setting the meat aside and reserve stock to add to curry.

Red Curry

  1. In a pot heat coconut oil on med-high and sauté onion for 5 mins. Add grated ginger and red curry paste and cook for another 2 mins.
  2. Add cooked lamb, coconut milk, maple syrup, and lamb stock and cook for an additional 20 minutes on low heat. Add a few pinches of sea salt.
  3. When ready to serve, add green vegetable and cook for another 2 mins.
  4. Serve hot in a bowl garnished with herbs, red chillies and lime wedges.

Cauliflower Rice

  1. Grate cauliflower fleurets in a cheese grater or chop by hand into small rice-sized grains.
  2. In a pan sautéed “rice” with coconut oil for 3 mins. Mix in edamame and season with salt and pepper. Serve with curry.

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Spirulina Cashew Tahini Dip (gf, df, ve)

Feature: Copper

Makes 1 bowl

200g cashews
2-3 tsp spirulina
50g tahini
1/2 tsp cumin
1 lemons, zest and juice
1 lime, zest and juice
1/2 tsp activated yeast flakes*

100-150 ml hot water
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Sesame seeds (optional)

*optional, gives a cheesier taste

Crudité
Carrots, celery, cucumber and/ or peppers, cut into sticks

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  1. Preheat oven 180C. Toast the cashews on a pan/tray for 5-10 mins until golden and fragrant (optional)
  2. Soak cashews overnight or min 4 hours in cold water. Rinse and drain.
  3. In a food processor blend cashews, spirulina, tahini, cumin, lemons and lime zest/juice, and yeast. Blend until smooth add tahini and hot water as needed until desired consistency achieved. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve with vegetable sticks.

English black kale obsession from Staples British Farm!

Did you know that kale is one of the oldest brassicas proudly sitting alongside cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower?  The vegetable we know today is more than 2,000 years old and until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables eaten across Europe.  At Maple & Fitz, we buy our kale from the Lincolnshire farmers here in the UK and work with farmers such as Staples British Farmers.  Here’s George Read who oversees their 100% self sufficient farm which uses green electricity from a bio gas, as well as using that energy to provide heat, refrigeration and fertiliser. Now that’s what I call impressive!fistfist fistokayokayokay!

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There are different types of kale, but our favourite kale at the moment is the deliciously earthy but sweet and fragrant cavolo nero.  Cavolo nero, also known as black kale is fresh, crisp, chewy and maintains it’s structure quite well when heated making it super versatile to cook with!

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So hopefully I’ve sold you on cavolo nero based on its taste and texture but if not, here are some great health benefits too such as:

  • preventing heart disease and cancer with its high content of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
  • boosting strength and immunity since it’s packed with calcium and iron, and vitamins A and C and
  • supporting skin and eye health.

If you love black kale already or want to give it a try, I’ve shared a cavolo nero pesto recipe here and a great immunity boosting salad recipe here. Give them a try and let me know what you think! Otherwise, come in and try our yummy Jack’s Brother saladJack’s Brother salad featuring black kale.

Protecting and healing our winter skin

When I met Elsie and Dominika, the girls behind Clean Beauty Co., I immediately fell in love with them and their desire to change the way we look at beauty products. Similar to what we believe in at Maple & Fitz, Dom and Elsie are changing what we put on our bodies (instead of what we put into our bodies), one all natural recipe at a time. Experiencing their DIY beauty workshops hosted at our eatery I was certainly tempted to eat many of their beauty ingredients (whoops). Now that’s what I call CLEAN beauty.

Today marks the first cold day in London and I am sure my friends back home are starting to battle the great white north in Canada too! Here are Clean Beauty Co.’s tried and tested remedies for protecting and healing our dry winter skin.

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Olive Oil – Rich in antioxidants and many healthy fatty acids, it isn’t just good for your taste buds, but also great for your skin. Dab a thin layer under your regular moisturiser to enhance the nourishment or put together a face scrub of sugar, olive oil and honey for an exfoliating and moisturising treat.

Oatmeal – Not just for your winter porridge, oatmeal is a great addition to any beauty routine due to its high protein content, protecting the skin against water loss, maintaining moisture. It is also anti-inflammatory, so relieves itchiness and unpleasant sensations of dry, flaky skin. Put a cup of oats into a muslin cloth bag (or muslin cloth, tying it closed with a hair tie) and pop into your bath. The water will become lovely oaty milky texture, and it will get to work immediately on soothing your winter skin.

Milk – For those non-vegans, your ordinary organic whole milk is a great natural exfoliator and moisturiser. The lactic acid helps peel away dead skin cells and promotes the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Mix half a cup of milk with a half a cup of rosewater for a luxurious milky body wash guaranteed to leave you silky smooth.

Coconut Oil – Yes, yes, we’re never too far from giving our buddy Coco a shout out, but with good reason. High in fatty acids, this oil is rich and will nourish where your water heavy moisturisers can’t reach. Get a pot, lather all over, rinse in shower and you’re done. Or have a go at making our favourite Fuss-Free, the all-round beauty balm made of coconut oil, rosehip and jojoba.

Honey – This antioxidant, antibacterial, humectant wonder is one of the best natural moisturisers. High in Vitamin E, honey penetrates deep into the skin’s layers, providing long term moisturisation. Melt equal parts beeswax, honey and olive oil for a one-time use balm, focusing on dry areas like legs and elbows. Wash off in the shower.

In Winter, nourishing from the inside is just as important as from the outside, so make sure all of these foods are present in your diet to maximise on their healing properties.

P.S. The Clean Beauty Co ladies are launching their book soon too (CONGRATULATIONS!). Here’s a sneak peek of the cover….

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Cooking for Mel C, Stephen Merchant and Aisling Bea!

I’ve just had one of the most busiest and fun weekends! With my hubby’s hotel opening in Kingston, we spent the entire Saturday tasting the restaurant’s new menu (yum).  Then it was onto Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch on Sunday starting with hair and makeup at 6am then cooking for singer Mel C  and comedians Stephen Merchant and Aisling Bea.  For Sunday Bunch, Jodi, our Head Chef and I presented 4 delicious gluten-free pulse dishes to celebrate the International Year of Pulses as declared by the United Nations.

We love pulses because they are so many ways to enjoy them, but also because they are an inexpensive, low-fat source of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals which will contribute towards long term food security around the globe.  They can even contribute towards 1 of your 5 of day.

Pulses are seeds in a pod and includes beans, lentils and dried peas and are all gluten-free.  You can purchase them dried which you would need to soak overnight then cook, or for a quick fix, you can buy them pre-cooked from a can. The delicious recipes I presented on the show are below and please message me @adria_wu if you have any questions and tag us @mapleandfitz with your homemade versions. I look forward to hearing from you.

You can also download a printable PDF version here. maplebuttons_pulses-01

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Black Dahl Shakshuka

BLACK DAHL SHAKSHUKA (gf, df)

Serves 6

250g black lentils (soaked min 12 hours)
4L cold water
1 tbsp cooking salt

2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp ground cardamom

2 tbsp olive oil
220g onion (1 med onion), diced
1 large red pepper, diced
24g garlic (6 cloves), diced
65g ginger, peeled, grated
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 tsp powder)

1200g canned chopped tomatoes (3 cans)
200-400ml water

1 tsp of flaked sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

6 eggs

fresh parsley to garnish

1. Soak lentils in cold water overnight. Rinse and drain. In a large pot add lentils, salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are very soft but still hold their shape, about (40 minutes to 1 hour). If needed, top up with water so covered. Drain and set aside.
2. Toast spices on high heat for 30 secs, take off heat and set aside.
3. Heat olive oil on medium high heat and sautee onions & red pepper for 5 minutes, then add garlic, ginger, bay leaf and cinnamon and cook for another 2 mins. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 hour until thick and creamy. Add water as needed to resemble a salsa consistency. Season with sea salt and pepper.
4. Add lentils and cook for another 30 mins. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180F.
5. Use a spoon to make wells in tomatoes, crack in eggs them and bake in oven for another 20-30 mins or until the whites are cooked.
6. Garnish with parsley.

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Chickpea Flour Tacos

CHICKPEA FLOUR TORTILLA (df, gf, ve)
Serves 4

600g pumpkin, cubed, roasted
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp flaked sea salt

200g red bean (soaked for min 12 hours)
4L cold water
1 tsp cooking salt

1 tsp olive oil
140g red onion (1 small onion), chopped
10g garlic (3 cloves)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp chili powder
(or more if you like some heat!)
140g tomato paste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp flaked sea salt
1 tbsp or more water

Slaw
100g white cabbage, sliced
100g red cabbage, sliced
5g fresh coriander, chopped
40ml rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice, zest
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp flaked sea salt

Tortilla
300g chickpea flour
3 tbsp activated yeast flakes
500-550ml water
1/4 tsp cooking salt
olive oil for cooking

Garnish (optional)
1 small tub sprouted lentils (or see below to sprout your own pulses)

1. Preheat oven to 220F. Roast cubed pumpkin with olive oil and sea salt for 25-35 mins until cooked and some browning.
2. Soak the beans in cold water overnight then rinse and drain. In a large pot add beans, salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until cooked about (40 minutes to 1 hour). If needed, top up with water so covered. Drain and set aside.
3. Heat olive oil in pan, sautee onion, garlic and spices for 5 minutes, then add tomato paste and cook or another 2 mins. Allow to cool for 10 mins then blend in food processor into dip-like consistency (add 1 tbsp of water at a time as needed). Mix with beans.
4. Mix rice wine, honey, lime zest and juice. Toss cabbage and coriander in pickle marinade. Do a quick pickle for 20 mins or refrigerate overnight.
5. Sift flour into a bowl, add yeast and whisk water until consistency like pancake batter.
6. Heat a non-stick pan with oil. Ladle mixture onto pan to form tortillas about the size of your palm for mini tortillas, or full pan for regular size.
7. Assemble tortilla with beans, pumpkin, slaw, and garnish with sprouted lentils.

How to Sprout Lentils
1. Rinse seeds. Soak 8-14 hours away from extreme heat/cold.
2. Rinse again with fresh cold water in strainer. Leave in strainer with bowl underneath to catch dripping water. Cover with cloth and store in dark environment (cupboard or oven). Sprout for 1-2 days (tail should be the same length as the pulse or longer).
3. When ready, rinse seeds and serve. Otherwise, store in refrigerator and rinse every 24 hours in refrigerator.

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Rosemary Lentil Risotto

LENTIL RISOTTO (gf, df, ve)

Serves 6-8

200g white beans soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
4L water

650g lentils (green and/ or yellow), soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
6L water
1/2 tsp cooking salt

2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
200g white onion (1 med onion), chopped
1 sprig rosemary, leaves only, chopped
1/2 tsp flaked sea salt

50-100ml vegetable broth
50-100ml hazelnut milk (optional or use more broth)
black pepper to taste

Kale Pesto (optional)
100 g cavolo nero black kale, stems removed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 lemons, juiced and zest
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil/ hazelnut oil
1/4 tsp flaked sea salt

Garnish (optional)
50g crushed hazelnuts

1. Soak lentils overnight. Wash lentils well, drain and rinse until water runs clear. Set aside. Repeat the same for white beans.
2. In a large pot, cover white beans with water and cook for 60 mins until very soft centre.
3. Cover lentils in cold water and add salt. Bring to boil and simmer for 20-25 mins until cooked through but not mushy. Drain and set aside when cooked.
4. Meanwhile heat the olive oil cook onion, garlic, salt for 5 minutes. In blender or food processor, blend white bean mix until smooth. Return mixture to sauté pan, add chopped rosemary; add hazelnut milk (or broth) 50ml at a time while stirring to achieve a creamy consistency. When reached a sauce consistency reheat cooked yellow and green lentils with the sauce.
5. Make pesto by blending all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
6. To serve, place bean trio on plate, drizzle with pesto, and garnish with crushed hazelnuts.

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Salted Caramel Gluten Free Brownie

BLACK BEAN BROWNIE (gf)
Makes 1 tray or 12 squares

400g black beans, cooked, drained and pureed
250 g avocado, puree
60-100ml water

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
100g dates, pitted or raw sugar
200g dark chocolate (raw if desired)
100g milk chocolate (raw if desired)
5ml vanilla extract

4 medium eggs

170g ground almonds
170g raw cacao powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda

Salted Date Caramel:
170g dates, pitted or raw sugar
50g almond butter
5ml vanilla extract
5g flaked sea salt
50g hot water

1. Preheat oven 180C. Line a 23cm square tin with parchment paper.
2. Blend all salted date ingredients in food processor until smooth and set aside.
3. Blend black bean and avocado in blender until smooth adding 60ml of water to start. Consistency should resemble a dip. If too dense, add more water 1 tbsp at a time.
4. Melt oil, sweetener, dark and milk chocolate over a water bath.
5. Remove from heat and let slightly cool before mixing in black bean and avocado mix and add vanilla extract
6. Whisk in one egg at a time.
7. Sift ground almond, raw cacao powder, and bicarbonate soda and mix evenly. Add wet mixture to dry.
8. Assemble the 600g brownie batter in lined pan. Swirl in the caramel and finish off with rest of brownie batter.

Rosemary Carrots, Apples and Maple Balsamic

I’ve been so excited to see all the autumn vegetables and fruits (check our Maple & Fitz Autumn Menu here)! And who doesn’t love roasted root vegetables – crispy on the outside and sweet and fluffy on the inside.   I picked up these beautiful carrots with the tops still on and paired them with some crimson red radicchio and endives leaves. With carrots, I often like to leave the green tops on when they are served as a side dish to a savoury roast beef or chicken. However for salads, I’ll trim the tops and cut the carrots down to a manageable bite size.

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The other star in this salad is the golden delicious apple. Did you know that there are over 7,500 types of apples? Growing up in Ontario, Canada where there are many apple orchards, apple picking is a very popular autumn activity. So when I think of fall fruits the apple immediately comes to mind – hot apple cider, cinnamon apple pies, apple loaf cakes, apple chutneys … For this salad, I’ve grilled some sliced apple and added a sprinkle of cinnamon to help bring out some great autumn flavours.

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Ingredients
1 bunch small carrots (about 12)
1 tbsp rosemary, leaves chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 granny smith apple
1 tsp olive oil
a pinch of cinnamon and salt

½ large red radicchio, leaves torn
1 red endive, separated leaves
2 cups red cabbage, sliced

Dressing
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Wash, trim and halve (or even quarter) the carrots. Coat in olive oil and rosemary. Line baking tray with parchment and roast carrots for 15-20 minutes until cooked.
  3. Wash and core the apple but keep the skin on. Slice and toss in olive oil and a pinch of cinnamon and salt. Heat grill pan on high heat and grill the slices for 3-4 minutes on each side until grill marks are visible. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the radicchio, endive and cabbage for the salad.
  5. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake well. When ready to serve toss the leaves with the dressing and add in the carrots and apples at the end.

Why should I choose healthier snacks?

How often do you have a delicious but nutritious snack or treat during your break from a long day at work?

So often, we find ourselves busy, tired, stressed, rushing, and constantly on the move. But when have you actually stopped to think about that raspberry muffin or that chocolate croissant you quickly grab in the morning while you’re on the go? Is it good for your body? Is it nutritious? Or is it simply just empty calories?

It’s always important to know what you’re eating, what’s in it, and what the nutritional benefit is for you. Most common snacks we have on the go are made with processed carbohydrates and packed with sugar where companies remove fat and insert sugar instead, and most of us have been eating huge amounts, often unknowingly and often without being conscious of the health implications. At Maple & Fitz, we are devoted to ensuring that even our sweet tooth cravings are healthy, nutritious, and good for our body (except for our Signature Salted Caramel Brownie!).

So what are the most common snacks that we unconsciously opt for at our local café or chain coffee shops?

You know ’em. Muffins, Croissants, Pastries, Donuts, Cake slices, Brownies, Cookies, Cinnamon rolls, Granola bars … often packed with all sorts of sugars, processed carbohydrates and stabilisers.

Replace those with protein rich natural snacks that contain fibre.  Protein and fibre help us feel fuller for longer and help manage our cravings.  For example, our Matcha & Pistachio Energy Balls are made with almonds, chia seeds, Medjool dates, tahini, matcha, pistachios and a pinch of sea salt – no artificial additives or refined sugar/ carbohydrates.

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And what are the most common bottled drinks we grab in a rush?

Cola, Energy Drinks, Fruit Juices, Shakes… These are packed with sugar!

Replace those for raw cold-press juices, healthy smoothies, and nut milks.

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So why are processed sugars and refined carbohydrates bad for you?

One word – Insulin, a hormone released to transport glucose (sugar and refined carbohydrates) in our body. Excess insulin in response to high blood sugar is followed by a crash in blood sugar levels and when it’s too low, our brain is starved of it’s primary fuel and you can experience symptoms such as tiredness, craving stimulants, irritability, anxiety, and brain fog.

The recommended daily amount of sugar is less than 5% of our overall calorie intake, roughly 30g  / 7 teaspoons = 1 can of cola.

Studies have shown the effect of sugar on the human brain and it has been proven to be 8 times more addictive than cocaine!

Adria, Founder at Maple & Fitz talks about her TOP FIVE healthy snacks on the go.

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  1. Green juice (no fruit, cold-pressed lasts up to 3 days)
  2. Toasted spiced nuts and seeds (regularaly change up the spices for more variety)
  3. Nut butters or hummous with crudité (pre-cut and pre-portion at the start of your week so you can easily grab-and-go!)
  4. Poached or soft boiled egg (perfect post-workout)
  5. Homemade granola (super low natural sugar, because natural sugar is still sugar!)

So next time you find yourself rushing to work in the morning, think twice about what you’re putting into your body and how it’s going to affect you throughout the day.

Happy snacking!

 

The secret to my mother in law’s samosa recipe…

Turmeric and it’s super healing anti-inflammatory properties is all the rage right now – from Turmeric Spiced Latte, Golden Milk, our own Maple & Fitz’s Bunny Run.  One of my favourite turmeric dishes however is this savoury and spicy chicken recipe which comes from my lovely mother-in-law who had it passed down from three generations before her. Traditionally, this mix was used to make the family’s homemade chicken samosas, but I’ve updated it for a more modern and healthy version to include dark leafy greens, healthful grains and tarragon instead of parsley. Generations of women will tell you that their secret samosa filling is the best because of their unique homemade garam masala mix. Finding a great garam masala mix can take time, sure you can buy the supermarket brand but if you want something truly special, check out local middle eastern and indian shops to find unique blends.

maple and fitz

Serves 6
INGREDIENTS
350g barley
2.5L water and salt generously
2 chicken breasts, 400g

MARINADE
6 garlic cloves
2 lemons, juiced
5cm piece ginger, grated
1/2-1 tsp garam masala
10g turmeric
1/4-1/2 tsp chilli powder
300ml water

2 pinches of salt
60ml olive oil
1 red onion, halved and finely sliced
1 bunch tarragon, chopped
150g cavolo nero, stems removed, bite sized
100g hazelnuts
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

  1. Boil water then add barley and simmer with a lid for 25-30 minutes until the barley is al dente. Drain excess water.
  2. Combine marinade ingredients in a pot. Heat pot and cook chicken breast on medium heat for 15 minutes covered.
  3. Once chicken is cooked, remove from liquid and shred with two forks.
  4. Reduce marinade liquid on low heat until a paste is formed. Take off heat and add olive oil.
  5. Add cooked chicken, sliced onion and chopped tarragon to the paste. Mix well and set aside.
  6. Meanwhile boil a large pot of water with a generous pinch of salt. Add cavolo nero and blanche for 2 minutes. Immediately drain when cooked and cut into bite sized pieces.
  7. Lightly crush the hazelnuts, leaving some whole.
  8. Combine barley, chicken and cavolo nero. Season with salt and pepper and serve with hazelnuts.

 

Saying Goodbye to Anonymous Food

Summer, sunshine, parks, picnics, and the first order of business before heading out to enjoy the beautiful weather is to make certain you’ve packed your strawberries. That’s right, it’s strawberry season, and this summer we’ve decided to make buying strawberries all the more fun and sustainable by working with our local farmer Hugh Lowe.

At Maple & Fitz, we are saying goodbye to anonymous food sources and saying hello to healthier, better tasting, and socially responsible strawberries whose source can be traced and trusted.

At Hugh Lowe Farms, local to London since 1893, strawberries are sustainably grown to be the freshest and best tasting fruits on the market. After all, taking good care of our environment is a priority, and Hugh Lowe Farms is dedicated to enhancing wild life, all at the same time while reducing energy use, promoting efficient water use, and reducing the need for pesticides.

Supporting local production is all about supporting the local community. We at Maple & Fitz are committed to mindful eating, to ensure that what we eat is not just beneficial to our cravings, but to everyone involved in the process. For that reason, we strongly advocate Hugh Lowe’s role in supporting agricultural communities, protecting local jobs, and substituting imported fruit for local production.

THE HEALTH BENEFITS

So what are the health benefits for you? There’s loads!

Hugh Lowe strawberries are picked at the highest maturity period, requiring no overseas transportation. As a result, the fruits have way higher nutrient density for the amount of calories they contain. They’re rich in vitamins and minerals, and full of antioxidants to prevent illnesses. You’ve also got a friendly dose of vitamin C which is great for your immune system and eyesight!

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A WIMBLEDON CLASSIC

This Wimbledon season, we introduced a healthy twist to the championship’s classic soft red fruit. During Finals weekend, we spent our afternoons at Paddington Central’s Wimbledon screening to share our nutritious approach to the classic treat. It is said that nearly 28,000 kilograms of strawberries are eaten at the tournament each year! Naturally, we opted for Hugh Lowe’s locally sourced strawberries and served them with coconut yogurt rather than cream, as well as some toasted seeds for added protein.

Wimbledon Final_10-7-16 (116)   Wimbledon Final_10-7-16 (118)

We collaborated with Mission London and Work Well Being to create some delicious treats for Wimbledon watchers as well as to teach them how to make the signature dish at home. We also brewed an extra special raw cold-pressed lemonade with alkalizing water and cayenne peppers. Sounds nice and refreshing, right?

It’s been one crazy week, and we can only depend on fresh fruit to to take the edge off a restless summer day.

Wimbledon Final_10-7-16(146)

 

Training for better running!

We’ve recently spent a lovely Sunday morning with one of our most favourite super people – Tameka Small.  We love working out with her whether it’s at Psycle London or with the Nike Training Club.  Her energy is infectious and she makes working out fun so when we signed up for our Maple & Fitz team Colour Run, we couldn’t think of a better trainer to help us prepare.  Below are Tameka’s 5 key moves for better running and how you can benefit from them.

To be better at running you need to do more than just run! Strength training is a great way to not only help develop muscular strength and endurance, but also to improve your technique through having a stronger core and running posture. Doing this type of training around 3 times a week (depending on your fitness level and goals) can really compliment your running programme. As well as strength training, stretching and rolling out tight connective tissue can also help recovery and reduce some injuries associated with type of tightness.” – Tameka

1. SQUAT AND REACH

SQUAT REACH

Stand with feet a little wider than hips, toes pointing forward. With weight in heels, sit back into a deep squat. Power up through your heels returning to standing. 15 – 20 reps x 3.
PROGRESSION: You can add a small weights like a bottle of water.
BENEFITS: Brilliant for building strength, in glutes, hips, hamstrings and quads. The addition of the reach activates back, shoulders and core.

2. SKATERS’ LUNGE

SKATER

Stand with feet apart. Cross your right leg behind your left leg. As you bend leg lower your body down into lunge position, reaching down with your opposite hand to touch inside your left foot. Step or jump to the other side and repeat. 15-20 reps x3.
PROGRESSION: You can take larger and more dynamic lateral jumps and challenge your balance.
BENEFITS: Great for leg strength, especially moving laterally will help strengthen stabilising muscles especially in legs to assist in correct knee alignments and posture for efficient running.

3. REVERSE PLANK

reverse_plankSit with your legs straight out in front of you, placing your hands on the ground just behind your hips. Rotate your hand out, fingers facing the direction of your toes.  Slowly lift your hips up off the floor raising your chest up.  Keep your gluten tight as you look up to the ceiling, lengthening your arms and spine. 30-60 seconds.
PROGRESSION: You can lift one leg to challenge your core.
BENEFITS: A very effective core exercise strengthening hips, glutes, abs and lower back. It also works on opening your chest, strengthening your running posture.

4. HIP FLEXOR STRETCH

 

hipflexor_long

Kneel with one knee bent in front and the other behind on the floor. Slowly lower your hips down, tilting your pelvic, by moving your body forwards and then lifting your chest up, reaching your arms back. 30 -60 second each side.
PROGRESSION: To increase the stretch, reach your arms overhead and back to gain a deeper stretch from hip flexors to chest.
BENEFITS: Helps to open up the hips increasing hip flexibility. This also helps with better range when performing squats and also running posture as tight hips may sometimes cause pelvic tilt and back pain when running.

5. IT BAND ROLLING

roll

Prop yourself up with the foam roller on the outside of your thigh. Support this leg by bending your top leg over in front. On your elbow and supporting hand, use you bent supporting leg to roll your thigh forwards and backwards on the roller. Remember not to spend too long rolling on each area, especially if areas are very extremely painful, 30 up to 60 seconds moving in each area.
PROGRESSION. If you need more intensity, stack both legs on top of each other so both legs are off the ground and the top legs is adding a little pressure to the bottom rolled leg.
BENEFITS: The IT band (iliotibial band) is a long band of connective tissue running down the outside of the thigh crossing the outside of the knee and inserting at the top of the tibia. Its main function is to stabilise the knee during running. Tight IT bands are very common with runners and can be the case of knee injuries.