California Girl living in London, working model, practicing wife to a Pie Loving Husband, trying not to eat myself out of the day job.


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Hoxton Leeks with Caramelised Onions

A really nice alternative to cheesy leeks, this dish was inspired by a side I had at Hubbard and Bell last week. Their version was slightly more creamy but mine is just as tasty and still has a lovely la dente crunch sweetened by soft caramelised onion which help balances the falvours. 
These leeks would make an excellent side to steak or game or even to add something a bit different to your traditional Thanksgiving feast. 
Hoxton Leeks with Caramelised Onions

Serves 4
Total cook time: 45minutes
400g leeks, trimmed and cut lengthways into strips
1 large onion, thinly sliced
A few sprigs of thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
Heavy pinch of salt
1 tsp dried herbs
A tsp of honey
Grated Parmesan, optional topping
1. First caramelise the onions, by sautéing the onions over a low heat with 2 tbsp of olive oil, allowing them to sweat out. Sprinkle with salt, which draws out the water and helps sweeten the onions. Stir ever couple of minutes.
2. Keep your pan on a low heat and allow the onions time to slowly brown, adding the dried herbs and the honey halfway through the browning process. Don’t worry, as long as you cook them slowly and stir frequently they wont burn. 
3. Once your onions begin to turn that lovely honey colour, start preparing your leeks. Blanch leeks for about a minute in boiling water. In a separate pan, heat a tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat. Add the thymes and leeks and immediately turn the heat down to low. Sauté for no more than 15minutes, the leeks should just begin to colour. 
Plate up: top the sauté leeks with the caramelised onions. If desired, sprinkle with a little grated Parmesan and serve. 


PS If you have a mo, please pop along and vote for the Model Foodie for the UK Blog Awards #UKBA15. The public vote ends Dec 10 and, it goes without saying your suport would be greatly apprecaited. 


Mid Week Munch at Hubbard & Bell within The Hoxton Hotel, Holborn

A little bit of honesty for you, my dear reader. My super clean lifestyle hasn’t been as fresh as I normally intend to be. Call it pregnancy hormones or the sudden cold weather, but I’ve been a bit lazy and grabbed for the convenient rather then the whole. I think everyone has moments of weakness, especially when we’re tried. So, if you find yourself off track or already indulging in one too many Christmas goodies, try not to be too hard on yourself and start again with your next meal.
Sometimes it’s just the discovery of a new restaurant to get me excited and inspired about food again. Lucky for me, I live in London. There is always something popping up.
I had arranged to meet my gorgeous friend, Irena Tyshyna, for lunch at the Aveda Institute in Covent Garden and was on my way to meet her, when I was pulled into a little café called Holborn Grind. It’s super trendy with a tricolour of mixed salad that change daily and loads of lovely sandwiches and gluten free salty caramel chocolate brownies. Yum. No doubt, an excellent spot, but they were full. It was suggested that we try next door. Boy, was I glad they did.
The Hubbard & Bell is in the two month old Hoxton Hotel, Holborn, and with it’s mustard booths, Eames DSW chairs and raw iron fixtures, is a chilled combination of retro American diner meets Shoreditch. Irena and I sat at the bar over looking a very hectic kitchen, ordered their cold pressed super green juice and shared grilled leeks with caramelised onion, their cheese burger on a brioche bun and some truffle fries with parmesan and parsley.  Although we had to wait a bit, as the kitchen got backed up, the food was rich and delicious. I'll be posting my version of their leeks in the next few weeks. We’ll defiantly be back for a slightly cleaner lunch soon. 

PS If you have a mo, please pop along and vote for the Model Foodie for the UK Blog Awards #UKBA15. The public vote ends Dec 10 and, it goes without saying your suport would be greatly apprecaited. 


Apple Cinnamon Crisps for Clean Happy Snacking

Hands up, for all of you who can admit it’s snack time that is throwing you off your good clean eating habits. I feel ya, when you’re hungry mid afternoon or waiting for a tea mid morning, it can be all too easy to just grab something conveniently pre-packaged staring you down from behind the counter. So, here is a super simple (only two ingredients) snack to get you through the day nibbling nicely.

Apple Cinnamon Crisps

Just perfect for this autumnal time of year, these Apple Cinnamon Crisps are a super simple trick to make a super easy healthy snack.


Is there a nicer flavour combination than cinnamon and apple? 
2 apples
2 tbsp ground cinnamon 
1. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Pre heat your oven to 110°C/230°F. 
2. Thinly slice 2 apples with a Mandolin, sprinkle generously with cinnamon, coating both sides of the slices. Place in oven for 2 hours or until crisp. 


Happy Snacking.

Need more clean snack inspiration? Well, how about this list I came across on Pinterest. I had to share. There are some great options here too.


Real Juice with Madeleine Shaw and Philips #RealJuice

Who else is spending a small fortune in juice bars? I know £7 is a ludicrous amount to pay for a small bottle of juice, but these elixirs are so nutritionally dense and taste so refreshing, I can’t help myself. I’m addicted.
Juicing is the perfect addition to anyone’s diet, especially those who are new to clean eating and would like to have a healthier lifestyle without going through too many major changes at once. Juicing allows for better absorption of nutrients, enzymes and minerals as opposed to bottled juices full of additives and preservatives or even, believe it or not, eating the whole fruit and vegetable. This is why the healthy community is so mad for Real Juice at the moment. 

From nutritional healthy coach, Madeleine Shaw

Juicing for me is a way of life. It is amazing how a juice can fix a 4pm slump, cure a hangover or fuel you through a workout. Whilst it might seem like a convenient option to grab a bottled juice when on-the-go, fresh is definitely best due to the higher levels of nutrients it contains.

So, when Philips got in touch about their ‘Campaign for Real Juice’ and offered to send me their Viva Collection Juicer to try along with 6 unique juices designed by the ever inspirational Madeleine Shaw, I was more then happy to oblige. The aim was to show how juicing at home can easily become part of your every day, and boy did it. 
The Pie Lovin Husband and I have been making juices almost every day since the arrival of our Viva Juicer and we’re both establishing it as a happy addition to the morning routine.
For me, the most welcomed benefit has been the improvement in my skin. I don’t think it’s ever been this clear without being on a full detox. Juicing has also helped me get over the pregnancy slumps, I’ve been suffering in the afternoon and I am now sleeping much better at night. I don’t know for sure but I feel like this new juicing habit has helped to balance out my pregnancy hormones and I feel much more like myself. All good things. 
As for the Philips Viva Collection Juicer, it’s a little centrifugal wonder machine, blitzing through beetroot, ginger and carrots in no time. It’s deceptively powerful. It’s super compact and clean design mean that I am happy to leave it on the kitchen counter top. Perfect for city living and people on the move. 
Granted centrifugal juicer aren’t as nutritional as a cold press juicer, but it produces a very impressive yield (the waist is super dry) in no time at all and even makes quick work of leafy greens. No more picking half pressed spinach out of the filter. Retailing at £70, it will pay for itself in no time.
Our favorite Juice of the six sent to try was the Classic Cleanse. An all around general crowd and liver pleaser:
Classic Cleanse

3 medium carrots
1 beetroot
1 green apple 
2 stalks of celery.
Thanks Philips and Madeleine Shaw for this awesome little juicer and inspirational week of healthy habits. Sponsored post.

To Celebrate with Red Velvet Cake

It’s my Birthday. Hooray. Never one to adopt a bah humbug attitude when it comes to birthdays, I believe life is worth celebrating and that includes getting older, wrinkles and all. Besides, ‘growing older is a privilege denied to many.’ Anyway it is a time to reflect, improve and set goals for the year to come, plus you get to make birthday wishes! What's not to like about that. This year, my wish is a simple one, but I'm sure you can guess.
With copious amounts of champagne off the table, I decided the try my hand at a Red Velvet Cake. Last time I attempted Red Velvet, you could have bounced the bloody thing off the wall. So, instead of experimenting I’ve trusted the ever fabulous Harry Eastwood’s recipe. It’s healthy-ish for a cake. The ingredients included a beetroot, rice flour and almond flour, but still it contains quite a bit of caster sugar and nutella. So, again healthy, with a big emphasis on the -ish. I have no intention of eating ‘perfectly’ on my birthday. This is a model's day off treat!

Here is Harry Eastwoods fabulous recipe from Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache:
Red Velvet Cake

Serves 12
Total time: 1 hr 20 minutes (Pre time 35 min / baking time 30 min /presentation 15min) 
3 medium free-range eggs
180g caster sugar
200g topped, tailed, peeled and finely grated beetroot
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out
180g white rice flour
180g ground almonds
2tsp baking powder
1tbsp good-quality cocoa powder
1/4tsp salt
284ml buttermilk
1tsp red food colouring paste (I used a natural food colouring, but didn't get that great red colour)
For the filling:
6tsp Nutella or other chocolate spread
For the icing:
2tsp vanilla extract
170g icing sugar
2tbsp water
1/4tsp cream of tartar
White of 1 medium free-range egg
Small pinch of salt
120g Hazelnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3 and lightly brush the base and
sides of the tins with vegetable oil.
2. Line the bases with baking parchment and lightly grease again.
3. Toast the hazelnuts for the sides for 10 minutes on a baking sheet. Recommended to set a timer so you don't forget they're in there. Once toasted, chop them up finely and set them aside for later.
4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk up the eggs and sugar for 4 minutes until they are light and fluffy. Next beat in the grated beetroot, as well as the vanilla seeds from the scraped-out pod. Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt, and whisk until well combined.
5. Finally, add the buttermilk and red food colouring. Whisk well to make sure that the elements in the bowl are well introduced.
6. Divide the mixture evenly between the three tins and place them in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.
7. When the cakes are cooked, remove them from the oven, unmould and place them on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Peel off the paper and sit them underside up to cool quicker.
8. Use this time to make the icing. Place all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl over a pan of boiling water. Stir with a clean metal spoon for 2 minutes exactly to dissolve the sugar. 
9. When the mixture is warm and the 2 minutes are up, remove the bowl from the heat and beat with a hand-held electric whisk. Whisk for 9 minutes until cool. The mixture is ready to use when it's standing up like snow-covered Swiss peaks. 
10. When the cakes are cold, spread 3btsp of the Nutella or other chocolate spread between the first and second tiers of the cake, then another 3tbstp between the second and third tiers.
11. Cover the whole cake with the icing, and pat on the toasted, chopped-up hazelnuts. Serve on a cake stand if you have one. 
This cake keeps for 2 days in a tin or other airtight container.