One bowl triple-chocolate brownie recipe

Are you ready for the only brownie recipe you will ever need? Because let me tell you my friends, THIS.IS.IT! There’s a time and place for ingredient restrictions, and calorie reduction… that time is not now. Diet culture has made us feel bad about our cravings, geez we’re humans. Sometimes we want chocolate, and chocolate is what we must have. Not a cardboard tasting substitute that only makes you crave the real thing more. So if you’re in the mood for something decadent, delicious AND easy, here’s the recipe you were looking for! The best part is the washing up is very minimal!

This recipe took place in one bowl which lends to its appeal because 9/10, I don’t bake because of the clean-up. 🧼 🧽 This recipe will give you yummy fudgy brownies that are as great the next day as they are when you first make them!

INGREDIENTS:
240g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoon coconut 🥥 oil
260g white sugar
200g muscovado OR light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
130g all purpose flour
100g unsweetened cocoa powder
200g roughly chopped chocolate, 3 different varieties are very important for this recipe (I probably used more because I didn’t like the eating quality of the vegan chocolate but in the brownies they’re delicious! *chef’s kiss*)

Look at those yummy pieces of chocolate 🤤

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 180°C
Lightly grease a baking pan. Line with baking paper and set aside.
Combine melted butter, oil and sugars together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk well to combine. If you have a handheld mixer, your ways shall be made straight 😂 Add the eggs and vanilla; beat until lighter in colour (another minute).
Sift in flour, cocoa powder and salt over the bowl with your egg, sugar + butter mix. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined.
Fold in all of the chocolate.
Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top out.
Bake for 25-30 minutes for or until the centre of the brownies are JUST set to the touch.

You can sub coconut 🥥 oil for any other oil EXCEPT olive oil which belongs in salads but not brownies 😂

Bad & Boochie

I’ve gone full steam ahead with my booch (kombucha that is), brewing. I am a woman obsessed, just ask my Mr! You’ll regularly see snaps of my successful (and not so successful) brews on Instagram. About a week ago I was at the grocery store with one of my friends and came up with the zany idea of second fermenting my kombucha with kale. Although this was a mix that I am VERY unlikely to repeat, I discovered through this experiment that a smoothie is a great conduit for probiotics. Instead of using water which is great and necessary for life (we beeeen knowing this periodt!) I decided to use kombucha which is full of good bacteria guaranteed to restore the balance of microbial flora in your gut and intestines, and also give you an energy boost.

If you want to do the same, keep on reading to find out what I used and why! A tip, when using kombucha as your smoothie base, do not use anything that has second fermented for longer than 3 days. Such brews will impart a slight alcohol tinge to whatever you end up whizzing. The process is pretty simple. All you have to do is ferment your kombucha, if you’ve never made the booch before, click on this link. I promise it’ll help you out. The fun part of booch making is hands down, the second ferment or commonly called 2F. You can go as crazy as you want with flavours. I always use fruit so that the microorganisms have something to feed on to give you delightfully crisp booch. I made three different flavours, the least successful being the kale but hey, you live and you learn. Also health isn’t always delicious haha.

What you’ll need: I juiced one pineapple and 4 grapefruit together (YUM) and then poured half of that juice into a separate cup. The other two flavours had the pineapple and grapefruit juice as their base with the addition of 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries for my blueberry flavour, and 4 kale leaves (that wreaked so much damage) 4 Pink Lady apples. and 4 jalapeño peppers, for my badly thought out lean green booch machine! I left these to ferment for 3 days and then used the kale booch in a smoothie that consisted of 4 (maybe more…) bananas to add some much needed sweetness, a half cup of frozen blueberries and 2 scoops of my Cotton Candy flavoured collagen by ‘Body by Wild’. The resulting smoothie was a pretty pink that was sweet yet tinged with the reminder of kale.

We all know the benefits of blueberries, they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamin C and I love the sweet yet tart taste that they imparted to this smoothie. As I approach my 30s, I’m ALL about antioxidants to ensure I protect my skin as much as possible. Antioxidants are what protect your body from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage your cells and contribute to aging (not necessarily a bad thing,) and diseases, such as cancer (definitely a bad thing!)

As for the bananas, aside from the sweetness and thic-ness that they provide. They’re also packed with potassium which helps support normal blood pressure, bone and muscle strength. As the third most abundant mineral in the body, potassium also helps the body in osmoregulation, fancy science word for fluid regulation. It also helps with sending of nerve signals and regulating muscle contractions. Add these benefits to what you’re already getting from drinking kombucha and you’ve got a superfood smoothie that’s filling enough as a snack and provides your body with all the nutrients it needs to stay as gorgeous as it is now for the long run.

How to Make Your Own Kombucha

Last month my boyfriend’s mum sent me SCOBY to start my kombucha brewing journey. Kombucha is fermented black tea loaded with probiotics and antioxidants. It helps improve your overall gut health and contains a high content of B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, known to increase energy levels and contribute to overall mental well-being. Its high vitamin B12 content is one reason supplements sometimes contain dry kombucha products. The gut-repairing function also plays a role in mental health. Depression is thought to be a symptom of leaky gut, specifically due to the way that bad gut permeability contributes to inflammation. A 2012 study published in Biopolymers and Cell examined kombucha as a functional food product for long-term space exploration. The ability of kombucha to regulate the “communication of the gut-brain axis” suggested it would be useful in preventing or minimizing the effects of anxiety and depression.

God alone knows how the boy got past Heathrow security with what is essentially a living organism, I’m glad he did though! I remember once making a shea butter mix for my mum that was taken away by airport security, it could also be because it was in my hand luggage and was a touch heavy even though it was in a small-ish jar, we will never know.

First things first, what the heck is SCOBY? SCOBY stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (damn look at me remembering that off the top of my head!) This is the essential ingredient that you’ll need for booch brewing. The SCOBY is a biofilm of cellulose that is produced by the bacteria and yeast during the fermentation process. The yeast and bacteria use oxygen to survive (like most living organisms) and will most times form on the surface of the brew and not the bottom, in order to be closer to the source of oxygen. My boy’s mum put the SCOBY in a recyclable plastic water bottle with a little bit of the starter tea which is a fancy term for the previous kombucha brew. As the SCOBY develops it might look bumpy or like an alien but that’s all very normal! The one thing to look out for is fuzzy white, green or black spots on your SCOBY which will tell you that your batch is contaminated, don’t be a hero and try to save anything. Bin the whole lot including the SCOBY.

A few tips on how to ensure that your bath doesn’t get mouldy:

  • Always include a sufficient amount of starter tea to the sweetened tea along with the SCOBY. I like to keep a cup or two in my brewing jar as I have a continuous brew and I just top up with fresh strong black tea.
  • Keep the kombucha brew away from other fermentation projects to avoid microbial cross-contamination. I’m not at the point where I have a lot of different ferments on the go, but this is an important one to remember.
  • Keep the kombucha brew in a warm environment. A temperature range of 25-29°C (75-85°F) will keep the kombucha culture active, the room where I keep my booch gets cozy very quickly and thus I end up with very active microorganism. Too low temperatures can cause the SCOBY to become sluggish and lazy, creating a less acidic environment that will welcome pathogens.
  • This one goes without saying: use clean containers and utensils at ALL times.
  • I was lucky with this one: use live SCOBY and starter tea.  Dehydrated or refrigerated SCOBYs are harder to reanimate, although I will say I was in Cape Town for about a week and a half, and during this time the SCOBY stayed in the fridge yet the minute I was ready to brew, it somehow just came to life.

I will include a link at the bottom of this post to give you a lot more thorough information on everything you need to know about brewing kombucha. In this post I’ll share my recipe. Please note, you can grow your own SCOBY from store bought kombucha provided that it is unflavoured and unpasteurised. All you have to do is follow these instructions on The Kitchn 🙂

What you’ll need:

  • SCOBY + a generous amount (2 cups minimum) of starter tea or already fermented raw and unflavoured kombucha.
  • A clean brewing jar, my boy got me a 3.5l jar from Pick n Pay (for my South African friends)
  • 12 black tea bags
  • 200g white sugar
Finished tea ready to brew!

Place your SCOBY with the starter tea in your jar. In a pot measure 3 litres of water and bring to the boil. Place all 12 tea bags and the sugar in the water and allow to brew. I leave my bags in right up until I’m ready to pour it into my brewing jar. This means I end up with a very strong booch brew. If you wish, you can brew the tea for 5 minutes and remove the tea bags. Once the tea has cooled, pour it into the brewing jar, cover with muslin cloth and your lid and let the SCOBY do its thing. You can allow your tea to ferment anywhere from 7-14 days, this is called the first fermentation. I then begin my second ferment (where all the fizz can multiply) on day 8, at this point you can choose to flavour the booch that you’re going to bottle. Removing it from the jar that contains the mother SCOBY, slows the fermentation down and will keep you from ending up with kombucha vinegar. My first ferment, I whizzed up 500g of frozen strawberries with the juice of 1 orange and half a lemon and poured about 100ml at the bottom of each bottle and then topped up with kombucha. I then placed these bottles in a corner hidden from the sun and started drinking after 3 days.

Baby SCOBY growing from my first batch, time for a SCOBY hotel…

This time I made a green tea and lemon syrup by combining 6 unfermented green tea bags with 3 cups of sugar, the juice of one lemon, and water. Let the whole lot simmer for 30 minutes. Once the syrup had cooled down, I poured a generous quantity at the bottom of each bottle and topped up with my kombucha brew. I prefer the Tetley tea bags as its green tea in its best and purest form (not sponsored ha-ha). It has just the right taste of earthiness but is mild and doesn’t overwhelm the taste buds. I do have doubts as to whether I’ll be able to taste the green tea in this brew as when I tasted the syrup, the flavour was quite mild. Experimenting with flavours is my favourite part of the kombucha making process and I can’t wait to see…taste what I brew next!

Helpful links:

Cultures for Health

Dr. Axe

The Cultured Foodie

Honey, honey how you thrill me: overnight oats recipe

For the past two weeks I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting. My eating periods are from 12-8 but I have had exceptional days where I’ve pushed my eating window out a bit later to 14 and on one special day 16 (which was more forced than anything.) One of the things that I enjoy about intermittent fasting is the fact that it’s made me a lot more conscious of the things that I do eat. I know to be more mindful of what I put in my mouth because I want it to fuel my body and sustain it for those periods when I’m not eating. In terms of my CrossFit performance it has also helped me in choosing those meals that won’t leave me feeling sluggish or heavy during a workout. 

One of my favourite things to eat for breakfast or delayed breakfast if you do intermittent fasting, is oats. Oats keep me fuller for longer and you really can create any flavour component you’re after by adding in different ingredients. I go through phases where I enjoy oats & then I hate them & then I love them again. I’m currently in the love phase and this morning found myself craving oats. The creamed honey by Eat Naked is what makes these oats spectacular  in my opinion!

Here’s my goji berries and nuts overnight oats recipe, you’re going to love it!

For this recipe you will need:

  • 80g of oats (instant oats work best.)
  • 200ml of milk or milk alternative
  • 25g of unsalted butter 
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey (my favourite, Eat Naked creamed honey 🍯 smells RIDICULOUSLY yummy too!)
  • Nut & seed mix (goji berries, cashews, walnuts, pecans and sunflower seeds.)

In your bowl put your knob of butter with your milk and oats and stir. Heat in the microwave for a minute or until the oats cook through. Tip: if you’re doing overnight oats you can used traditional rolled oats, let them soak in the milk + butter & then heat it in the morning when you’re ready to eat. Give the whole thing a good mix and then add a tablespoon of your raw honey and a generous sprinkling of your nut mix. 

Benefits of the ingredients

Oats: Oats are a timeless favourite. As a child I’d have it plain with brown sugar added to it. Oats contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan which is responsible for keeping you fuller for longer when you’ve tucked into a yummy bowl of oats. They can also help in improving blood sugar levels.

Goji berries: I first became aware of these on the tv show ‘You Are What You Eat.’ Gillian McKeith would rave about these and rightly so. These berries pack a punch. They provide support to the immune system, help in preventing liver damage and also improving depression, anxiety and sleeplessness. I always use raw nuts in my oats because salted nuts drastically up your sodium content and we’re all trying to live healthier lives so best we avoid it!

Honey: I love this honey soooo much, it smells like one of my favourite shower gels by LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics ‘It’s raining men.’ Coincidentally both of these products contain honey that is harvested in the most sustainable & ethical manner possible. Raw honey contains antioxidants which help in protecting your body from cell damage, it can help with digestion and if you’re feeling ill, it can soothe that achy throat. What I love about Eat Naked honey aside from the delectable taste and smell, is the packaging, it’s fun, playful and very tongue in cheek. I’m all for serious brands that don’t take themselves too seriously. Creamed honey is a revelation! There’s something about this honey that had a caramel like undertone to it that I loved. The company is local to South Africa which means my carbon footprint is lowered by being able to source such a great product locally. I was even able to use the honey as a face mask and my skin is glowing!  If you’re trying to kick a nasty addiction to sugar, honey is a great replacement. Maximise how much you get out of honey by buying it raw.

Unsalted butter: In moderation, unsalted butter is a welcome addition to your oats. It’s rich in your fat soluble vitamins A, E and K which is involved in calcium metabolism and a low intake has been associated with cardiovascular disease. It also contains butyrate which has anti-inflammatory properties and is helpful in preventing weight gain. 

So there we have it; my yummy honey, how you thrill me oats! What do you enjoy putting in your bowl of oats? 

You Don’t Know Guac

In the past six months I have begun a process of reintroducing animal protein into my diet. No matter how clean I was eating, no matter how many juices or smoothies, there would always be this lingering feeling of tiredness, coupled with training, I could no longer ignore the fact that unfortunately my plant-based diet wasn’t doing me any favours. I’m exploring how sticking to a mostly paleo diet will benefit not only my training but my well-being. The other day I got home and wanted a potato salad but of course most potato salads are laden with mayonnaise, swimming in the stuff and I hate that. I want to see if I could make a dressing that would deliver on taste and perhaps even add nutrient value to my salad.

Introducing my guac dressing!

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I love avocados, how I fell in love with a man who doesn’t, I will never understand. This dressing is simple, takes less than 10 minutes to make and if you’re partial to avos, is also super yummy! Here’s what you’ll need:
– 1 large avo, flesh scooped out
– The juice of 1 lemon
– ½ teaspoon of garlic
– A glug of olive oil (or any oil that you prefer the taste of)
– Salt and pepper to taste
Place all your ingredients except for the oil in your blender and add a tablespoon or two of water to get the churning started. With the motor still running, start pouring in your olive oil for a smoother consistency as well as more of a dressing as opposed to dip texture. Once you’ve got a consistency you’re happy with stop and place the whole thing in a jar.
This keeps for a week refrigerated and in my experience works best with fish and seafood. In my salad, I will confess to it being horrible, although that may have also been due to not cooking the potatoes properly and encountering ridiculous chunk of raw potato. Not at all appetising.
This will be my go to until it runs out and then I’ll move on to something new. Do you have a favourite salad dressing recipe or are you a shop bought kinda gal/guy?