Delicious Baked Apples

The view from where I sit is a wintery wonderland. The snow is falling and the fields & trees are dusted with white! It was a perfect morning for my new favourite breakfast, and I thought I'd share it with you so you can enjoy this nourishing (easy-to-make) morning delight too. 

Over the last few weeks, with the weather being really cold, I was noticing that a raw, crispy cold apple had zero appeal to me. But I love apples! I found myself thinking about, and craving, a childhood  favourite of mine - baked apples. (It was one of the first things I remember making in home economics in school, aged about 11). But what I remember about that dish is a lot of sugar, in addition to the dried fruits, and that doesn't appeal to me in my adulthood, so I started dabbling and experimenting. 

I was so delighted with the result, not to mention super satiated and comforted. I'm on an apple-a-day kick now -keeping that doctor far away!

It's really easy to do and your kitchen will smell outrageously good! You can make them the evening before if you are up-and-at-'em, and even though they won't be warm, they still have a very comforting appeal.

Baked Apples:
What you need:
- An apple (or pear) per person* - a combo is nice. I recommend a crispy apple like Granny Smith which holds together really well when baked.
- coconut oil (virgin is best) or grass-fed ghee
- lemon juice (optional)
- ginger powder
- cinnamon powder
- (any other favourite baking spice you like)
- really good salt

optional extras:
- cacao nibs (unsweetened)
- raisins

you can have two each if you like, but it's quite filling, so pace yourself.
** I really love sharing food-energy with my honey, so I'm really into sharing two apples, rather than having one each, if that makes sense - so we both get to eat from the very same fruit which drank in the sweetness of the sun & rain. It's a topic for another day but food for thought. Share your meals with those you love.
How to:
(Prep time - 2 or 3 minutes, cook time - 20 minutes)
- Heat your oven to 350/375F (in that general range).
- Wash and slice your apples into eighths.
- Lay them in a baking dish that has sides.
- Put a little coconut oil or ghee over the fruit, it will melt so you don't have to be perfectly even with this.
- If you are using it, add fresh squeezed lemon juice (I kind of alternate, as I like it with and without)
- sprinkle with spices & a little bit of good salt
- if you like, throw in a sprinkling of cacao nibs (or raisins).
- Place in the oven, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Take out and shake/stir to distribute the oil/lemon and turn the apple slices. (If you forget this stage it's ok!)
- Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
(Generally it takes about 20 minutes altogether, but this will vary depending on your oven and how crispy you prefer your apples, if you cook your apples about 30 minutes they will be good for apple sauce, simply mush them with a fork. This is delicious too).

- Place into a favourite bowl and sit down to mindfully enjoy. 
- If you like, you can drizzle a little bit of full-fat coconut milk on top.

Apples and pears become even sweeter when they're cooked, so honestly there is no need to add sugar or honey, or any sweetener to this dish. Not only is this good for breakfast, but would be a good replacement for an apple-pie (and I bet would go very well with a good vanilla ice-cream if you wanted to present this as a more classic dessert). 

Why baked apples?
It is thought that a cooked apple is much more digestible and easy on the belly than a raw one. The sweetness brought about by baking, feels comforting and is a lovely replacement for baked-sweet-goods that are so commonplace for breakfast. Despite the sweet taste, they actually have a relatively low glycemic index and calorie count (especially compared to a muffin). Beginning our day with this gentle, moist, warming breakfast is a way of saying thank you to our hard-working digestive system. I believe it's a real gif-to-self to begin the day gently, with nourishment rather than forcing ourselves to wake-up with sugar and caffeine which can feel so punishing and shocking to the system, much like throwing an ice bucket over a sleeping person. These typical breakfasts also have a very high likelihood of making us crash later, and so the cycle continues. Additionally, when we eat a raw apple we are highly likely to do so while multi-tasking, whereas when you have a sliced, spiced, warm apple in a bowl you are more likely to have a mindfully enjoyed experience. That alone is a simple but important gift to self!
Let's be sweet and lovely to ourselves. It can start with the humble apple.


Nonnetta's Springy Green Herby Frittata 

Spring Green Herb Frittata
"I saw this recipe on Bon Appetite and it brought back some memories from my Turkmen childhood. After we moved to Russia, I don't remember my parents ever making this dish - I guess it was exclusively a Turkmen thing! (But they were very good at making shakshuka!) 
So I started researching and exploring variations on the theme, and I came up with this recipe... inspired by Iranian chef Kuku Sabzi (My Persian Kitchen), as well as by my own childhood and of course the season of spring!  I hope you'll enjoy." - Nonna 
- Olive or coconut oil (2 and 3 tablespoons, separately)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium leek, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 5 large eggs (pasture raised, organic, humanely raised)
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1½ cups finely chopped cilantro
- 1½ cups finely chopped dill
- 1½ cups finely chopped parsley
*Optional "stuffing" - if you want to roll it up as pictured below right, you can cook it slightly thinner and afterwards stuff it with pomegranate seeds, and some favorite shredded cheese or goat cheese. Makes a nice twist on the recipe.

How to:

- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 10" cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion, leek, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until very soft but not brown (about 10-12 minutes). Transfer to a plate and let cool. Wipe skillet and set aside.
- Whisk eggs, salt, baking powder, pepper, and turmeric in a large bowl then mix in onion mixture, cilantro, dill, parsley. Mixture should look thick and very green.
Heat broiler. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in skillet over medium. 
*If you'd like to roll it and stuff it, crepe style, use a baking sheet instead.
- Pour in the egg mixture, spread evenly across the pan with a spatula. Cover and cook frittata until bottom is just set (about 8-10 minutes). 
- Uncover and broil, watching carefully, until top is set (about 1-2 minutes). Let cool slightly, then slide out onto a platter. 
*If you're making it to roll up - remove it after you cooked it 8-10 minutes to the foil sheet, sprinkle some cheese or spread goat cheese, sprinkle some pomegranate and CAREFULLY start to roll it with the flat spatula first, supporting with foil and forming it as a sausage and then put it in the broiler for about 2 minutes. Let it cool, uncover the foil, cut it in small circles (image above).

I encourage you to check out Nonna's website here.
And please follow her on Instagram or Facebook - her work is really lovely.
Thank you so much Nonna! Bon appetite everyone!  



Savory African Sweet Potato & Peanut Butter Oatmeal

this one comes from Juicy Tuesday guest chef, Audrey Peterson, inspired by her African Peanut Stew (see under lunch and dinner)

Savory African Sweet Potato & Peanut Butter Oatmeal
Serves 2 to 4
"In an effort to bring some new flavors to the savory oatmeal I've been enjoying all winter, I tried my hand at adapting the stew recipe and I am happy to say my new Savory African Sweet Potato and Peanut Butter Oatmeal recipe is a really tasty and filling change from throwing fruit on top." - AP

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon ginger
1 clove garlic
1 cup steel cut oats
2 cups home made vegetable broth
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or ghee
Greens of your choice (a small bunch)
1 large or sweet potato, cooked, peeled, and mashed
¼ cup of chunky peanut butter

In a saucepan, sauté the ginger, then garlic in oil until soft and fragrant, but do not brown. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add the steel cut oats and bring to a simmer. Cook the oats according to the directions on the package. While the oats are cooking, sauté the greens in olive oil or ghee until soft, and set aside.

Once the oats are cooked, remove from heat and add the peanut butter, mixing it well. Then spoon in the mashed sweet potato, mixing it evenly. Top with the greens. You can add a poached egg, or use quinoa instead of oats for extra protein.
Take this fun short quiz  on the differences between sweet potatoes and yams.

Audrey Peterson is a writer and editor in New York City specializing in black history and culture.  She is always looking to explore and celebrate her twin West African and European heritages. Food is just one of the ways in which she does that.  For a taste of black history and culture in New York City, please visit Audrey's Facebook page -Gotham City Soul


Brocamole - guacamole with a broccoli twist (great for avo toast!)

This amazing "Brocamole" (as the name suggests,  guacamole with a broccoli twist!) recipe comes to us from my friend and music cohort Daryl who avacado1whipped this up & served to us at Record Club last month.  It's sooooo good, oh my gosh, really, you don't even know really know broccoli is in it, so if that's an ingredient you are trying to feed to fussy eaters, this is your magic bullet! It's great for breakfast, lunch, snack-time or as a party dip!

Take it away Daryl...

"'Tis the season, that's for sure. Whether you celebrate the end-of-year holidays or not, it always seems to me that the last weeks of December quickly become jam-packed with events, parties, errands and all the work that we all still need to get done.


Some nights, I just want to sit back with a book, my favorite relaxing music and something healthy and comforting. Which suits this recipe perfectly.


Just like the name suggests, Brocamole is a mash-up of two of my favorite things-broccoli and avocado. I've nicked and adapted the recipe from Nigella Lawson's recent book Simply Nigella. I have no shame about this, because she did the same from a restauranteur friend of hers.


The easy, creamy spread makes a perfect dip for get-togethers, which is how I first came to make it. But it's just as delicious as an accompaniment to crunchy, crusty bread and the relaxing evening I described above."
       - Daryl

Makes approx. 2 1/2 c
1 head broccoli


1/8 - 1/4 c olive oil

1 ripe avocado
2 scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
small bunch cilantro


1 green Thai chile

juice of 2 limes
sea salt, to taste
* Trim the florets from the head of broccoli, and cook them in a big saucepan of salted boiling water for about 3 minutes (until crisp-tender).


* Drain and plunge straight into ice-cold water. Once the broccoli is cold, drain very well and tip into a food processor, adding the oil as you process to a thick puree. Add the oil a little at a time until you get the consistency you want.

* Halve the avocado, remove the pit and then spoon the flesh into the processor. Add the scallions, too, along with most of the cilantro. Roughly chop the chile and add it, along with half the lime juice, and puree again. For a hotter dip, use the seeds as well.

* Taste to see if you want more lime juice and add salt to taste.
* Serve in a bowl, sprinkled with the remaining cilantro, or on really good toast, as detailed above. 
Storage note:
Unlike guacamole, this actually keeps pretty well in the refrigerator for a couple of days.


Daryl Kovalich is a freelance writer and creative director, an all around nice guy and a great contributing regular Record Club guest. 


If you love this recipe, and want to know more about  Nigella Lawson, listen to this lovely episode of

Bon Appétite podcast with her as a guest.  I think she's quite charming!


Quinoa Miso Porridge

I love a savoury breakfast, and miso is so nourishing.  It's great to use up extra quinoa (cook more than you need at dinner time) and flavour it up with a little ghee and miso, maybe some turmeric, black pepper (and maybe even some tahint or crushed nuts and seeds).  My favourite miso is red bean miso, it's the most flavourful.

You will need:

Approx a cup of cooked quinoa (red, white, black, whatever you can find) per person for a nice substantial brekky.

Also:  ghee or coconut oil, miso paste, turmeric, black peppe, a little water or herbal tea

Maybe also:  chopped chives, a fewcrushed walnuts, sunflower seeds - and any spices you fancy.

(no salt needed, the miso is salty enough)

How to:

In a saucepan, melt a little ghee or coconut oil (about a teaspoon per person) and if they appeal to you , throw in some chopped chives.  After they have wilted just a little, add a little water or herbal tea, some turmeric and black pepper and then throw in your cooked quinoa and stir in all the goodness together - once it's warming up stir in a little tahini if you like.  Stir while holding over a low flame, just 'til warmed through (don't let it stick, add more water if needs be).

(Boil the kettle at the same time)

In your bowl add about a tablespoon of miso and just a little boiled water, just enough to stir the miso and melt it some.  Add your quinoa and stir well to distribute the miso nicely.

If you so choose, add your nuts and seeds, pinches of favourite spices... jazz it up to fit your mood!

Sit down to eat, smile, chew well, breathe....