Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Chocolate-Cherry Overnight Oats | Michaela Cooks

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I love sweet things. I could eat dessert all day if there were no consequences. Unfortunately, there are consequences so I'll just have to deal with developing my own little ways to make healthy breakfasts taste like an ooey gooey dessert!

Cherry Compote | Michaela Cooks

After more technical issues than I’d care to admit, I’m finally back with another recipe and this one was definitely worth the wait! I’ll maybe get used to the technical stuff behind blogging in the near future, until then, enjoy the recipe :).

I love all things sweet (hell, I love all things savoury too!) and this compote is no exception. Sweetened with dates rather than added sugar, I feel a little better adding it to things for that delicious cherry kick. Don’t get me wrong, I do eat foods with sugar in them and I am pretty partial to a big slice of cake more often than I probably should, but I’m also not ignorant to the effects sugar has on the body. As a result, I am trying to cut down on the added sugar in my life. Sweetening foods with fruit allows me to add the sweetness that I want whilst still adding other benefits, such as dietary fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Now that I’ve convinced you (and myself) that this is a healthy recipe, let’s get right to it so you can begin topping everything you eat with it!

Yields: Approx. 285g of compote. I filled an old 285g jar that I had saved and sterilised.


4 cups of halved, pitted cherries (I used two of the 425g punnets of cherries to yield approx. 4 cups)
125ml (or half a cup) of water
3 large pitted dates
Juice and zest of half of a lemon
1 tbsp cornstarch


1. Roughly chop your dates into quarters and place in a small bowl or glass. Pour 2 tbsp of hot water over the dates and let soak for 15 minutes.

2. In a separate small bowl or glass, dissolve the cornstarch in 2-3 tbsp of water. Add the lemon juice and zest to the cornstarch paste. Set aside for later.

3. Throw the cherries and remaining water into a pot and bring to a boil. Stir until the mixture has reduced slightly, before bringing it down to a simmer.

4. Blitz the dates and water mixture in a food processor to form a thick paste, add this to the cherries and mix well.

5. Add the lemon cornstarch mixture to the cherries, stirring until fully combined. Cook until the compote thickens. A couple of minutes was fine for the consistency that I like, but if you prefer a thicker, more jam-like consistency, then carry on cooking for nearer 5-7 minutes.

6. Whilst still hot, pour into a sterilised jar. When cooled, store in the refrigerator for up to a week. I also like to freeze the compote in an ice cube tray for up to a month. This allows me to easily split the compote into portions, even when frozen. To defrost, leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Best served warm over oatmeal or cheesecake. See my Overnight Oats recipe to see how you can transform your standard oatmeal breakfast into a delicious, healthy breakfast dessert.

Question time: How do you feel about added sugar? Do you take note of it? 

Take care,

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup | Michaela Cooks

 Some say that soup and summer don't go hand in hand with another, but I respectfully disagree. A somewhat sweet, fresh vegetable soup is welcome in my life year round and this one is no exception! I pinched the idea for this recipe from my boyfriend, he's become quite the chef since leaving the family home! His carrot and sweet potato soup is delicious, but I can't help but think that my addition of fresh herbs really boosts the flavour.

One of my favourite things about soup is that it isn't really a science, you don't have to weigh your ingredients out exactly like you do with baking, you can alter it exactly to your tastes! So now that this recipe post has told you that there is no real recipe, let's crack on with the recipe, shall we?

Serves: 4-6 people, depending on their appetite!

2 large sweet potatoes
7 large carrots
750ml of vegetable stock (for a thinner soup, increase this to 1 litre)
1 brown onion
1 large clove of garlic (or 2 small), crushed
Sprinkle of sea salt and pepper
A few sprigs of rosemary
2-3 tbsp of olive oil


1. Preheat your oven to 180° (I have a fan oven, so adjust your oven accordingly if you are not using a fan oven).

2. Peel your sweet potatoes and carrots before dicing them into medium-large cubes. Try to keep the size of the cubes as uniform as you can.

3. Spread the sweet potatoes and carrots out on a roasting tray (or two!) and drizzle with some of the olive oil. Sprinkle some sea salt and pepper over the vegetables and give the roasting trays a shake to toss the vegetables in the oil, salt and pepper. Tear up two or three sprigs of rosemary and scatter over the top of the vegetables. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

4. When your timer has around 10 minutes left, finely dice your onion. Drizzle the rest of your oil into a large soup pot and toss the onion and crushed garlic in, cooking until the onions have softened.

5. When the vegetables come out of the oven, pick out the roasted sprigs of rosemary from your roasting tray and toss the sweet potatoes and carrots straight into the soup pot. Give the vegetables a good stir to evenly distribute the onions and garlic. By this point your kitchen should be smelling fragrant and your mouth should be watering!

6. Pour the vegetable stock into the soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes.

7. Remove from the heat and allow your soup to cool slightly before blending with a hand blender or in a food processor. I like my soup smooth but feel free to leave your soup chunky if you prefer!

8. Serve with some toasted bread and a sprig of rosemary, then try to resist going back for seconds, thirds and fourths!

This soup keeps in the fridge for approx. 3 days but can be frozen and kept for 4-6 weeks. To defrost, leave in the fridge overnight.

Question time: What is your favourite soup combination? Are you a summer-soup-avoider or are you like me, enjoying soup all year round?

Take care,

Watermelon Refresher | Michaela Cooks

The UK has recently experienced the warmest weather I can remember in my 22 years here. This, of course, calls for a refreshing treat to share with your friends as you complain about how hot and clammy it is (right?)! If you learn anything about me from my blog posts, it will be that I love mint in my drinks. I put it in juices, smoothies and cocktails; my life is permanently inspired by a mojito hahaha.

Serves: 3-4 people

1/2 of one medium watermelon
3 or 4 mint leaves
1 lime
150-200ml sparkling water


1. Roughly chop your watermelon and set aside. Don't worry about picking the seeds out, you'd be there for days!

2. Roll the lime between your hand and the kitchen counter to loosen up the juices. Juice the lime and pour the juice into a blender. A nice, juicy lime should yield approx. 1/4 cup of juice.

3. Add 2 of the mint leaves to the blender and blitz with the lime juice. I pulse the blender for a few seconds at a time until the mint leaves are barely visible.

4. Add the watermelon chunks to the blender and blend until smooth.

5. To serve, half fill glasses with crushed ice and pour the watermelon juice over the top. Stop when your glass is around 2/3 full and top with the sparkling water. Give it a stir and enjoy your new favourite summer drink!

Change it up! If you like this drink, you'll love these ideas!
- Add a shot of gin to the glass before adding the watermelon juice and sparkling water, who said cocktails had to be awful for you?
- Pour the juice into ice lolly moulds and freeze for a few hours. Fresh fruit ice lollies are one of my favourite ways to cool down in summer!

Question time: What did you get up to in the heatwave? Were you out enjoying the sun or sitting in the shade wishing for cooler weather? Or did you spend the sunny days at work and have thunderstorms on your days off (I expect this is the case for most)?

Take care,

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