Apricot Jam

Apricot Jam - http://BananaBloom.com #vegan #cooking #baking #apricots #jam

Apricot Jam - http://BananaBloom.com #vegan #cooking #baking #apricots #jam

Apricot Jam at breakfast in Turkey - http://BananaBloom.com #vegan #cooking #baking #apricots #jam

The breakfast at our hotel in Turkey was probably one of the best things about that place. On the patio overlooking the ocean we enjoyed fresh fruits, huge slices of soft tomatoes, olives, bread, and an impressive line-up of home made fruit preserves. The jams quickly became our go to on the breakfast table and by the end of our stay we’d tried our way through them all and concluded that – although they were all delicious – the apricot flavour was definitely our favourite.

Of course, I couldn’t leave without securing a recipe. Lucky for me the hotel staff were kind enough to explain their jamming method to me. Tried and tested (with my personal tweaks), I feel honoured to pass it on to you now. The recipe is simple but takes some patience and work. It’s worth every drop of effort.

Apricot Jam

500 g apricots
500 g sugar (I used a mix of 150g coconut sugar, 100g muscovado sugar, 150g raw cane sugar, and 100g white sugar)

Method
Clean and chop the apricots into chunky pieces. Place in a bowl and sprinkle the sugar over the fruits, mix and then cover the bowl with cling film. Let rest in room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.

Once your fruits have marinated in the sugar, place in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let it bubble for about 1-2 hours (until you reach desired consistency), keep an eye on it and stir it regularly so that it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan. Once you’ve reached a consistency that you’re pleased with, pull it off the heat.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and carefully lower your empty jar into it, boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the boiling water ans spoon the jam into the hot jar, screw the lid on and then tip the jar upside down to seal it in. Let sit in room temperature until completely cool.

Try it on freshly baked bread, spread with a thin layer of tahini topped with the apricot jam.

Vacation hiking to Alanya Kalesi

Alanya Castle in Turkey / http://bananabloom.com

Alanya Castle in Turkey / http://bananabloom.com

Alanya Castle in Turkey / http://bananabloom.com

Alanya Castle in Turkey / http://bananabloom.com

Alanya Castle in Turkey / http://bananabloom.com

meoncastlewall

Our most recent vacation was spent in Alanya, Turkey. A typical beach resort that attracts those who want to spend their days with splayed out on a towel, lifting a finger only to flip a page in the latest best seller. Being an on-the-go-fitness-loving kind of person, I enjoyed my vacation a bit differently though…

A good portion of it was spent splashing back and fourth in the hotel pool, practicing my yoga stretches, and taking long walks to explore the town. And then there was that day we decided to hike up the 250 metre (820 ft) high peninsula to Alanya Kalesi (Alanya Castle) in midday smouldering hot sunshine. The hike took us about 45 minutes (including a couple of pit stops for photos and fresh squeezed orange juice). The castle itself was built in the 13th century and is today an open air museum with magnificent views.

I have to say though, despite the 42C degree heat (that’s 108 degrees Fahrenheit) and being drenched in sweat from head to toe – literally – I think the hike was what I enjoyed most.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash / BananaBloom.com #vegan

Roasted Butternut Squash / BananaBloom.com #vegan

My favourite way to eat butternut squash is roasted in the oven with a mix of sweet and hot spices and a drizzle of coconut oil.

Roasted Butternut Squash / BananaBloom.com #vegan

Eat it as it is, served in tortilla bread, or over a cous cous salad. It’s a fantastic veggie to prepare a big batch of ahead of time for quick and easy dinners or lunch boxes.

Roasted Butternut Squash / BananaBloom.com #vegan

Roasted butternut squash
Yield: 2-3 portions

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 tbs coconut oil, melted
pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 – 1 tsp paprika spice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lucuma powder
pinch of chili powder
pinch of cinnamon

Set the oven to 200C / 390 F / Gas mark 5 or 6. Place peeled and diced butternut squash in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the spices and melted coconut oil over it and mix to coat all pieces. Spread the butternut squash on a baking tray and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Take the tray out after about 15 minutes and shake the pieces around so that they bake evenly.

Serve with rice, cous cous, salad or in tortilla bread. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Nike sneakers

Nike shoes / http://bananabloom.com #nike

Nike shoes / http://bananabloom.com #nike

Nike shoes / http://bananabloom.com #nike

Nike shoes / http://bananabloom.com #nike

I’ve always loved color pops in my outfits, and my sneakers are no exception to that rule.

My preference of walking whenever I can has naturally contributed to me scoping out comfortable yet stylish sneakers that I can wear on a daily basis. I’ve currently got a pair of Nikes for pretty much every occasion. There’s my gym sneakers, my walking sneakers, my running sneakers, my everyday work sneakers, and my party wedge sneakers with the disco swoosh.

And yet, I want moar! My next pair will have to be a new pair of proper training shoes, I’ve got my eyes on the Nike Free TR Fit 4.

 

Raw Carrot Cake Bites

Raw Carrot Cake Bites /  BananaBloom.com #carrotcake #rawfood #rawvegan #vegan

Raw Carrot Cake Bites /  BananaBloom.com #carrotcake #rawfood #rawvegan #vegan

Carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes, so I often find myself making variations (or healthy versions) of it. I had a bag of carrots that needed to be used up, so I took the opportunity to try an idea for raw carrot cake bites. They’re quite delicious and packed full of good stuff. And they’re even better dipped in raw chocolate!

Raw Carrot Cake Bites /  BananaBloom.com #carrotcake #rawfood #rawvegan #vegan

Raw Carrot Cake Bites
Yield: about 20 balls

1 cup dates
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice (or a mix of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamon)
1 cup shredded carrot
1-2 Tbs date syrup (or other sweetener), optional

Raw chocolate coating
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup cacao powder
1-2 Tbs date syrup (or other sweetener)

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until you get a sticky dough. Roll into balls and roll in shredded coconut.

If coating in chocolate, place the carrot cake bites in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Make the raw chocolate by mixing coconut oil, cacao powder and date syrup (or other sweetener). Using a couple of forks, roll the frozen carrot cake bites in the chocolate, place on parchment paper on a tray and return to the freezer to set.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge, or in the freezer if coated in chocolate.