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Want to work together or just say hi? For inquiries relating to recipe development, sponsored posts, creative collaboration and the like, use the contact form to the right or send me a note at rowena@v-curious.com. You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook too.

 

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V-Curious | Empowering you to feel great, through a simple and healthy approach to nutrition and food

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Collaborating with HQ Therapy - Healthy Eating Workshop

Rowena Humphreys

 

I run a supper club exclusively for female entrepreneurs and in the summer I was lucky enough to meet the awesome Melanie Cox. Melanie is a Humanistic Psychotherapist, TRE practitioner and recently founded the HQ Therapy Rooms. What a fortuitous meeting! 

Situated in the heart of Dalston, East London, HQ Therapy Rooms offer psychotherapy and counselling for a range of concerns. They have four rooms situated over two locations each a 2 minute walk from Dalston Kingsland Overground. 

In addition to the team of registered, qualified therapists, trained in a variety of approaches, a group of Visiting Practitioners are collaborating with the team to offer a range of complementary services including healthy eating workshops...and that's where I come in! 

On January 21st 2017 I'll be hosting a half day class all about empowering you with the information you need to make healthy decisions every day. Food is key to helping us feel good, maximising our wellbeing and staying healthy. We want to be healthy, but with all the messages that bombard us it can get confusing and we end up not knowing what 'healthy eating' actually means.

This half day session is about...

  • Cutting through that confusion 
  • Teaching you how to make good food choices 
  • Sharing through cookery demonstrations quick, easy and delicious meals
  • Planning meals that meet optimal nutritional needs

In this interactive class you'll taste delicious, healthy dishes and have the opportunity to ask questions in a small and supportive group setting (max 6 participants). We use the best possible ingredients – organic where possible.

You'll leave with...

  • Recipe handouts and useful information sheets to take home
  • A variety of skills necessary to understand how to cook a number of easy to cook, quick, healthy dishes
  • A sample one week meal plan
  • A belly full of oh so delicious food!

For more information and booking click here

Big thanks to Mel for joining the Female Entrepreneurs Supper Club and then for hosting my workshop in her lovely space!

Rowena x

 

A Guide to transitioning to veganism

Rowena Humphreys

 

Hi and welcome to my guide for transitioning to a vegan diet - here are my top 10 tips for going vegan. I was delighted to present these in person at the V-Delicious Festival back in April.

If you'd like to work with me on a 1-2-1 basis, I can help you transition and sustain the changes with coaching sessions, supermarket tours, cooking sessions and meal planning. Get in touch at Rowena@v-curious.com or find out more on my here

Enjoy!

Rowena x

1.       Keep an open mind - you'll be learning lots and your brain will be working over time to take in all the information that's available. Keep an open mind, learn about all the different schools of thought and take time to form your own opinions

2.       Research - there's so much information out there. Below is a comprehensive list of where and what you can use for your research

3.       Support - with so many groups and people out there there's really no end of support no matter what your interests and drivers below are my favourites

4.       Experiment - there's so much variety of plants out there that there's really no reason to get bored. Experimentation is key and with over 10,000 plants eaten across the globe think of the journey as one towards abundance rather than restriction.

5.       Get a repertoire of 10 recipes - most people have 10 "go to" recipes, think about what yours are, switch in plant based equivalents where you can and take the opportunity to learn new ones

6.       Plan - it's helpful to plan meals and snack in advance, just until you get on your feet. Things will feel more natural as you go along

7.       Give up cheese - as an ex-cheese-a-holic myself this was though and this was the hardest for to stop eating. Think about the flavour profile of cheese which is fatty and salty and try and switch in foods that give you the same type of hit e.g. avocados (fatty) and olives/capers (salty). 

8.       Give your taste buds time - taste buds take about 21 days to completely regenerate and so let them adapt and even if you don't like something the first time, try going back and trying it again a few weeks later. Taste buds change so be patient. 

9.       Don't judge - it's easy to judge others for their choices, especially if they don't align with yours. Remember that you didn't always think the way you do now and so go easy on people. Say your truth and say how it is for you but don't expect others to agree. Messages are much easier for people to take on board when they are non-judgemental and from the heart.

10.   Go easy on yourself - you might mess up from time to time, treat it as a learning experience - we can't be perfect because we live in an imperfect world. Do the best that you can and be happy that you are continually moving in the right direction. 

Let me know how you go! More to come soon!

Rowena x

 

Protein...When will our obsession end?

Rowena Humphreys

 

Where do you get your protein from? This is something I get asked many times, by many people. So here goes, a catch all response that covers my most popular ways of responding to this question as well as some great resources that have helped inform my point of view and I often give to people when they want to know more.

I'm planning to update this from time to time to incorporate any questions/ queries/ comments I receive so feel free to leave them below.

First off there are so many sources of protein yet we are taught to think of animal based protein as the primary and somehow most superior form. However you can get protein from many sources including vegetables, lentils, beans, soy, nuts, seeds, non-dairy milk, the list is simply endless. A major advantage of plant-based proteins, from a health perspective, is that they don't come with the saturated fats, cholesterol and hormones commonly found in animal based proteins.  

When thinking about eating meat as an answer to satisfying protein in ones diets I like to ask "Where did the cow get their protein from?". Cows of course only eat plants (or grain) so why not skip the middle-man (or middle cow in this case) and go straight to the plants and eat what the cow eats? Plants (1).

Colleen Patrick Goudreau has more to say on this here in her excellent video - check out her podcasts here too!

Cows are big, muscly creatures and have no problem building muscly flesh but I think we've confused things. We think that in order to be like them, have their strength, develop their muscle and ultimately build our body, we need to eat them, rather than eat what they eat.

An average person, according to the World Health Organisation, needs around 0.8g of protein per kilo that you weigh (2). For me weighing about 62kg I need around 50g per day. That’s in fact not that much – that’s one cup of soy beans (17g), one cup of lentils (18g) and a good handful of cashew nuts (7g), not to mention all the other food that I eat that also has protein so you can see how easy it is to get more than you actually need - here's a great link to show you protein amounts in various plant sources . Unless you’re in starvation mode then it’s very unlikely you're not getting enough protein and if you do take on less your body becomes very efficient at recycling amino acids which is the building blocks of protein. 

Further to the above this inspiring and brilliant podcast from my hero Rich Roll and his interview with Dr Garth Davies is an absolute treasure trove of information and goes into depth on protein, the sources, how much we need and more important it's effects on our bodies. This podcast entitled "Our Misplaced Obsession with Protein: Garth Davis, MD on High Fat, Low Carb Diets & How to Separate Nutritional Fact from Popular Fiction" coincides with the release of Dr Davis' new book 'Proteinaholic: How Our Obsession with Meat Is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It'

In an ideal world I’d like to see us shift the debate away from protein and towards “how do you get your fibre?”- the majority of the UK population are still not eating their “5-a-day” and this is a more pressing issue for society as this lowers the risk of serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancer.

I hope you've found this helpful, 

Rowena x

(1) There are clearly other advantages including environmental sustainability and not participating in animal slaughter.
(2) I say "average" and so that doesn't include athletes, bodybuilders and children - I'll cover those in future posts

 

5 Easy Tips for Getting More Veg on Your Plate

Rowena Humphreys

 

Let's face it, eating more plants in the form of vegetables, fruits, nuts, grain seeds, herbs and spices is better for us all and with soooo much deliciousness and variety out there you'll never get bored.

Vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin C and potassium, they provide us with fibre to ensure a healthy gut and they can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

The beauty of vegetables, particularly when comparing them to meat and dairy, is that you can be 'full' with less calories, saturated fat and all without the hormones, antibiotics, saturated fats and cholesterol found in animal based foods. 

Having said all that, not everyone likes vegetables or knows what to do with them to make them the star of the plate, so here are some ways to get more vegetables on to your plate...

1. Substitute where you can - when making a spaghetti bolongnese for example substitute beef for Quorn mince or mushrooms, when making fajitas, think about switching the chicken for black beans, if you are addicted to cheese in a salad try switching it for creamy avocado and salty capers to get a similar flavour profile.

If you're used to having meat and cheese of course vegetables will taste different but herbs and spices are your friend and they will add heaps of flavour so don't be afraid to experiment!

2. If you're eating out, why not try the vegetarian or vegan option - you'll be opening yourself up to new ideas, new options and this could help inform your own recipes. If you're going for pizza try leaving the cheese off and asking for avocado and rocket to be added when it comes out of the oven. If you're going for Indian food, try a Dahl. Eating Thai? Try tofu. Give new dishes a try...Yes there will be some things you don't like but the same is true of meat based dishes so be open to simply giving things a chance.

3. Create a new menu repetoire - on average we all have about 10 "go-to" dishes that we continually recycle and turn to when we want to rustle something up. If you can build up 10 plant-based dishes you will find it so much easier to prepare, eat and enjoy a diet rich in vegetables, grains and beans. Try adding two new meals each week.  

If you're transitioning to a plant-based, vegetarian or vegan lifestyle think about introducing more days without animal based products and more days with just plants. I'm all for Meatless Monday's but I think we're capable of doing more so if you're currently doing one day without animal products how about increasingly this to two or three days? If you've gone without meat for lent, how about continuing for an extra week? You can find some delicious recipes online and these are my favourite sites Veganuary, Cooking on a Bootstrap, Oh She Glows and Post Punk Kitchen.

4. Batch cooking - I'm the first to acknowledge that we don't all have time to cook and when you are going without meat it can be tough to know what to cook so preparing dishes in advance can be really helpful. Try taking 2 hours aside on a Sunday afternoon and batch cooking for the week ahead - find 3 quick and easy recipes, make them up, fill your food containers with them and then freeze them for the week taking them out as you go along. 

5. Pre-cut and prepare - Another way you can save time is by getting some containers and filling them with pre-cut vegetables and popping them in your fridge. Alternatively you can buy them pre-cut veggies like these carrot batons from Sainsbury's. This is a great way to save time because if you're cooking up something in the week or simply want a quick snack, so can just grab what you need!

Habits, habits, habits...Overall remember that the way we eat is generally based on habits and that these habits have taken time (often years!!) to form and so they'll take time to change and unlearn. After about 3 weeks things should start to taste different and more familiar because this is the time it takes for tastes buds to regenerate and for us to create habits. Why not challenge yourself a little - take a look at your plate and have a go at making 75% of it from plants, if you're already doing that then try 85% or how about 100%?

Comment with your thoughts and successes below and enjoy!

Rowena 

Rowena is a Wellness Coach and through 1-2-1 sessions empowers people to adopt healthy, delicious habits. Rowena works with people showing them how to shop for health-promoting foods, cook up deliciously nutritious dishes and also create menu plans that together improve well-being. To find out more click on "Work With Me" above or contact Rowena@V-Curious.com

 

Lemon Cashew Cream

Rowena Humphreys

 
Photo Credit: Clean Food Dirty Girl (http://cleanfooddirtygirl.com/)

Photo Credit: Clean Food Dirty Girl (http://cleanfooddirtygirl.com/)

Yield: 1 cup
Time: 10 mins active time + 30mins - 4 hours soaking time for the cashews

  • 1 cup cashews (130g) soaked in 3 cups (709 ml) of water for at least 1 hour.
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (10ml)
  • 1 lemon's zest
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet, yellow miso
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock (60ml) OR /4 cup of extra virgin olive oil*

Soak, drain and rinse cashews - if you don't have much time then put them in a cup of boiling water for 30 mins, otherwise leave them in luke-warm water for about 4 hours. Ultimately you want the cashews to swell up and nearly double in size. Once they've swelled, place them in a food processor, along with lemon juice, zest, miso, nutritional yeast and salt. Put the mixer on high until they look like breadcrumbs - you will probably need to switch off the blender, remove the lid and push the cashews down from the sides of the blender using a rubber spatula. 

Once you have the 'breadcrumb looking' mixture and you've pushed everything down to the bottom of the blender, replace the lid and switch it back on. Slowly drizzle in the veg stock or oil and process until completely smooth. This will take about 2 -4 minutes depending on the strength of your blender - you can add this in one go or drizzle it in. By drizzling it in slowly you can chose your consistency so you may decide to add slightly less and have a more chunky consistency.

This is a super versatile recipe and I like to use this in recipes that suggest feta or goat's cheese. You can add herbs like basil or chives. You can spread it on bread, stuff pasta with it, refrigerate it until it hardens a little and then tear off chunks and drop into a salad. More recipes coming where I'll use this recipe :)

Enjoy and remember you can taste all my creations by joining a supper club or by contacting me directly for 1-2-1 cooking classes at Rowena@v-curious.com

Row x

*You'll see that I suggest water or oil and that's because I'm personally trying to reduce the amount of oil I consume. Oil is not a whole food (it’s the fatty part of what was a whole food) that is extremely dense in calories: vegetables normally have around 100 calories per pound, fruits about 300 calories per pound but oil has 4,000 calories per pound. Even with all those calories, oil contains little in the way of micro-nutrients. Valuable omega-3 fatty acids, sometimes, but virtually nothing else. An option for you, if trying to reduce oil could be to go half/half water/oil. Learn more here: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/oil/#sthash.nNzXfopQ.dpuf). 

 

Fig & Mozzarisella Spring Salad

Rowena Humphreys

 
Spring Salad.jpg

Yield: Serves 2
Time: 5 mins active time

Ingredients:

Mozzarisella
  • Three handfuls of watercress - a 100g bag should be fine
  • One handful of rocket
  • One handful of basil - about 20 leaves, torn up
  • Two figs - roughly chopped
  • One large tomato or 10 cherry tomatoes - roughly chopped
  • One pack Mozzarisella (rice based mozzarella) ripped up into pieces, if you don't have access to this you could use an avocado* instead - roughly chopped

Arrange the watercress, rocket and basil on a plate and then scatter the figs, tomatoes and Mozzarisella or avocado over the top. Once arranged simply squeeze half a lemon over the top and some freshly cracked blacked pepper and enjoy!

If you'd like to sample my cooking directly join a supper club or event here or contact me for 1-2-1 cooking classes at Rowena@v-Curious.com

Row x

* I suggest avocado if because it elicits a similar flavour sensation as 'cheese' in the way it has a smooth, fatty texture however unlike animal-based cheeses it does not contain any cholesterol which is great if you are following a low cholesterol diet. Animal-based cheese intake has been linked to a range of issues including lower sperm counts, higher inflammatory bowel disease risk, Parkinson’s disease, and cellulite formation - you can find out more at this non-profit website - http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/cheese/

 

Delicious Eggless Meringue Droplets

Rowena Humphreys

 

You may have heard of "aquafaba" meringues or chickpea meringues using the liquid from a tin of chickpeas (or other legume*) to make the meringue because "chemically" it's very similar to that of an egg white i.e. approx 10% protein which is suspended in water.

This recipe is adapted from the wonderful Wallflower Girl. The texture, colour and smell is exactly the same as egg white meringues and from what I can remember the taste is extremely close.

This recipe didn't work the first time - see below my "mistake" meringues and some tips to avoid these. Now....on with the recipe!

Eggless Meringue

Yield: Varies but creates about 40 droplets (given this you may like to half the recipe)
Time: 3 hours 5 minutes - 15 mins active - 1 hour 50 cooking + 1 hour oven cooling 

  • Water drained from a can of chickpeas* (I love Biona Organic) - approx 1 cup - Ensure that the water is not salted, otherwise you're going to end up with salty sweet meringues - which I can't imagine being a good combination!
  • 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat a fan oven 110c and line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Add the water drained from a can of chickpeas into a large bowl and use an electric hand-held to whisk for 5 minutes - it should more than double in size and it will quite quickly go white and foamy. I'm not sure if you can actually over whip this but I whipped it for 5 mins.

Add the teaspoon of lemon juice and whisk again for another minute. Slowly and gently start adding in the icing sugar - I put the sugar in to a tea strainer sized sieve and slowly added it. Continue to whisk until the mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. If you're using vanilla extract add it in here and then whisk again for another minute.

Glossy stiff peaks

Glossy stiff peaks

Scoop a heaped teaspoon of the mixture and drop it onto the greaseproof paper, as you drop it on to the paper flick the end of the spoon to make a nice little tip to the droplet.

This next part is key and it will vary depending on your oven so expect a little experimentation here on your part! Bake for 1 hour and 50 mins and do not open the oven at any point during this time. After the time is up, turn the oven off but leave them to cool in the oven for at least another hour and again do not open the oven. When I took them out of the oven the meringues were completely cool. That's it, you're all done! Now enjoy!

Storage: According to Wallflower Kitchen these meringues should keep for a couple of weeks in an air-tight container and can be frozen - I haven't yet tried either so I will update this in a week (if they last that long!).

Tips for avoiding mistakes...

The mistake meringues 

The mistake meringues 

Here's a photo of the meringues that didn't work I found that the weight of them caused them to collapse inside themselves. I think I left them in the oven about 20 mins too long plus the oven was too warm  - note that I left them in at 120c for 2 hours in my fan oven. Feel free to comment/send my your pics and I'd be happy to help you dissect the mistakes if you make them. Also happy to see successes of course.

* you can use other water from tinned legumes, but because of the colour I would say butter beans and cannellini beans would be best (not that I've tried though). I can imagine you'd get a rather strange colour if you opted for kidney bean or black bean water - though perhaps black beans could be cool for Halloween! 

 

Radish, Cucumber, Miso Salad

Rowena Humphreys

 

This one is easy, quick, delicious and just happens to be gluten free too!

Radish, Cucumber, Miso Salad

Yield: Serves 4
Time: 15 minutes, active, mainly chopping

Radish Cucumber Miso salad

Salad:
4 small Lebanese cucumbers
2 medium carrots, peeled & julienned*
10 radishes small, thinly slice (I use this mandoline to slice mine)
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (white are fine but black contrasts nicely) - get them from Sainsbury's in the Asian food section here

Sesame Ginger Miso Dressing:
2½ tablespoons white miso**
1½ tablespoons hot or warm water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon finely grated, peeled ginger
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
½ teaspoon tamari sauce (or soy sauce if you're not gluten intolerant)

Slice off the very top and bottom of the cucumber and run the cucumber through a spiralizer with the wide ribbon blade, cutting the noodles every 12-15 inches. I don't have a spiralizer, so I took a vegetable peeler, anchored the tip of it in the centre of the cucumber and the slowly peeled in a circular motion. When the ribbon reached about 10cm in length I stopped and restarted with the remaining cucumber/s.

Mix the cucumber ribbons or slices with the radishes and carrots. If you want you can add soy beans for an extra portion of vegetables.

In an empty jar place all the dressing ingredients, then pop the lid on and shake vigorously - this is the easiest and quickest way to make a dressing if you ask me! Now taste the dressing - what do you think? If you want it sweeter add a little more maple syrup, If you'd like it saltier add a squeeze of lemon to enhance the flavours. Adjust it to how you like it - recipes are an art not a science and art is very much down to personal taste so let yours guide you.

Toss the dressing with the vegetables, use as much as you like - any left over dressing will keep in the fridge for a few days. 

Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top, eat and enjoy. To come and try the food I make visit one of our supper clubs here

Row x

*  'Julienned' means cut into long thin strips, similar to a matchstick but you don't have to cut them this way, try using a potato peeler to create ribbons instead if you like. Try out different things
** White miso is delicious and a kitchen staple for me. It's available from most supermarkets in the UK and online here. This miso is made from soybeans that have been fermented with a large percentage of rice. The actual resulting color can range from white to light beige, and the miso has a definite sweet taste

 

Raw Nutella Truffles

Rowena Humphreys

 

Let's face it, who doesn't like a quick, healthy and more delicious version of Nutella - minus the additives and preservatives?

Yield: 10 good sized balls - about a tablespoon serving
Time: 5 mins active time + 1 hour to firm up in the fridge

  • 1/3 cup of hazelnuts (no skins)
  • 1 Tbsp of raw cacoa nibs
  • 6 medjool dates (these are the plump and meaty ones)
  • 1 Tbsp of raw cacoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp of maca powder
  • 1 Tbsp of maple syrup

First put the hazelnuts into a food processor (this is the one I own here) and chop until they are fine - you want them to be finely chopped but not a flour consistency. Then add the cacoa nibs and give the food processor a few pulses, the nibs will still be in little chunks which give these truffles a great crunchiness to them.

Now add the dates, cacoa powder, maca powder and maple syrup and blend until the dates are broken down and the mixture has combined. Start spooning out about a tablespoons worth of the mixture and rolling them into balls. I find that because this mixture is sticky if you run your hands under water the rolling is much easier and you get less wastage.

Once you've finished rolling the truffles, pop them into the fridge for an hour to firm. When they come out you can eat them as they are or roll them in coconut, cacoa or how about edible glitter? These make a lovely little gift too if you box them up with a little ribbon.

Come taste other delicious treats yourself by joining my London supper club here

Row x

 

Smoky Chickpeas

Rowena Humphreys

 

Deliciously smoky chickpeas, a quick, healthy, delicious snack that goes perfectly on a salad - or with a beer!

Yield: 1 healthy sized bowl
Serves: 2-4 depending on how hungry you are & whether you're willing to share!
Time: 20 mins (mainly inactive time)

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp of Liquid smoke (I but this one here)
  • 1 Tin of chick peas 

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees (electric fan oven)/350 Farenhite/ Gas Mark 4. 

Throw everything into a bowl, mix and coat all the chickpeas well. Place the chickpeas on a baking tray, drizzle any left over oil in the bowl over the chickpeas (I hate to waste these delicious flavours!). Bake for 18-20 minutes. 

Check us out on Instagram at @VCuriousSupperClub to see more of what we bake and eat!  (If you don't use Instagram you can see see our yummy photos here)

Row x