Where to find the best avocado in London (your pocket AvoCompass!)

pexels-photo-566566.jpegLike many millenials, when it comes to avocado, I’m basic[AF], and I’m not ashamed. I BLOODY LOVE THEM.

This cheeky ‘lil fruit was a game-changer in my recovery from an eating disorder, helping me finally enjoy food by beginning a new lifetime love affair with brunch. I actually don’t even think that’s an exaggeration! Plus it packs an amazing nutritious punch – in roughly 100g of avocado you get approximately 19g of fat (12g of these tend to be monounsaturated fats, with  only 4g of saturated fat).

Rich in minerals such as iron, copper and potassium and a good source of the B vitamin, folate, avocados also have more soluble fibre than any other fruit (or so I’m told!)

Before I break down the best avocado toast and similar avo-based-brunch spots in all corners of London, here are some cool facts about the avocado.

  1. The word Avocado comes from a Nahuatl Indian (Aztec) word “ahuácatl” meaning pexels-photo-849683.jpegtesticle. It is thought that the reference is either due to the avocado’s shape or the fact that it was considered to possess aphrodisiac qualities by the Aztecs
  2. Avocados were initially marketed by M&S as the ‘avocado pear‘ due to their shape. This had to be stopped, however, when some very wrong folk started serving avocado with custard (that’s one way to put me off!)
  3. Avocados are native to Central and South America, only popping up in the UK in the  mid-1900s. Sadly, our British rain and drizzle and cold means we can’t grow them well here… maybe we should all move to Mexico?!

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West

(let’s start here as it’s currently my local, but I’ve lived in North, East and South London too!)

Café Phillies I ama huge fan of their smashed avo, scrambled egg, smoked salmon and sourdough, but for veggies go for the ricotta and avo sourdough toast (and I always sub the poached egg for scrambled… personal preference!) This place is my all time favourite.

Ivy Brasserie – Kensington They have these all over the place, and I adore their brunch menu, lunch menu and dinner menu!

Darcie & May Green – cute little boat venues of the Aussie gem chain ‘Daisy Green’  near Paddington. So instagrammable.

Farm Girl – this Portobello Road beauty is absolutely gorgeous, and they have very instagram friendly frenchie-latte-art going on. Highly recommend, if you don’t mind a wait for a seat.

The Good Life Eatery – the one in Chelsea is always queue-worthy, so don’t be put off by the wait. Really delicious, super fresh food. Great smoothies and fresh juices too!

Central

The Riding House Cafe – This is such a great place to meet for casual coffees or cocktails but as with everything, brunch is my go-to of choice. Always popular and appropriate for literally whoever you’re meeting, not just health w*nkers 😉

Dalloway Terrace – this place features genuinely some of the BEST avocado toast I’ve ever tasted. Not to be missed. Plus the Bloomsbury group theme is great if you’re a nerdy Virginia Woolf fan like me!

AvoBar – Tucked away in Covent Garden, this place isn’t one I’ve tried I must confess but it’s top of my list and super well-reviewed… and not only can you get your avocado toast fix but it features tonnes of avocado inspired recipes (even desserts!) too!

Scarlett Green– one of many of the lovely Aussie Daisy Green cafes, this gem has just surfaced in Soho. Bottomless brunch is a GO.

The Good Life Eatery – As above, but central!

South

No 32 The Old Town – a very chilled but packed at weekends bar and restaurant, you have to try the avocado and tallegio toastie. I went for one of these every single weekend I lived in Clapham. #sorrynotsorry

Brick & Liquor – if you’re Tooting or Clapham based, this one’s for you! They have an impressive array of cocktails too (just saying!)

The Breakfast Club – if you don’t mind a queue, these are around all over London and the breakfast options abound, as you can imagine! Their pancakes are as good as the avo options too!

East

Palm Vaults – this place has cool Miami vibes with pinky-goldy-jungly decor. Anywhere that lets you pick avo toppings which include kale (*blissfulsigh* healthdreams!) and pomegrante among many others… I’m on side. They also have super health tonic-type lattes like beetroot, which you just gotta do for the ‘gram.

The Breakfast Club – see above

The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs – I LOVE THEIR COFFEE (genuinely some of the best in London!) AND NOW THEY DO AVO TOAST TOO! *dances*

Nude Coffee Roasters – ditto department of coffee and social affairsentry above basically. Not an extensive menu but delish avo toast and epic (but strong!) coffee.

Healthy Stuff – this Dalston baby mashes up their avo gooooood. Served simple with chili flakes and sourdough, with a drizzle of olive oil. Hits the spot.

North

Maison D’Etre – they’ve got your avocado, your bee pollen, your coconut chia pudding, it’s a health instagrammer’s delight. Super light, bright and airy conservatory style space tucked away at the back too. They’re on Canonbury Road for any Northernites.

Granger and Co – they have branches at the other compass points too, but I’ve only seen the Kings Cross one so this is tenuously placed in the North category 😉 Great juices as well as great food (I love the immunity shot!) and your avo comes on rye with lime and coriander… yassss. A good choice for non avo fans too.

Greenberry Cafe – a really nice and extensive healthy breakfast/brunch and lunch menu featuring your safe avo staple on Regent’s Park road.

Happy brunching!

Anywhere I’ve missed?! If you stumble across an epic avocado toast spot drop me a line or a comment below, I literally can’t get enough! Where are your fave places to get your fix?

B xoxox

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The Secret to Meghan Markle’s Pre-Wedding Glow…?

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So this week an email landed in my inbox from Rhiannon Lambert (her Rhitrition newsletter has all kinds of interesting nutrition nerdy news and tips so do subscribe!) linking me to an article in The Independent about Meghan Markle’s favourite smoothie. But the article misses out another favourite recipe of Meghan’s that she mentions in an interview with The Chalkboard, so scroll down to unearth this extra little royal gem!

It’s no secret that this gorgeous, smart, soon-to-be-royal was a fan of all things wellness before she took up with the Prince… and all fairytales need to feature magic and potions somewhere, right?!

Rhiannon Lambert, as I’m sure you all already know if you’ve been around this blog/insta a while, is an amazing Harley Street nutritionist (info on her book here) and in the article mentioned above, she breaks down the health benefits of the ingredients to Meghan’s go-to smoothie. The recipe Meghan claimed she uses can also be found in this article in Hello Magazine, but Rhiannon highlights how the protein powder could be improved to a healthier one, so I’m going to share a take on the smoothie that’s more in line with these Harley Street guidelines ❤

Meghan’s love of health was formerly shared with fans on her now-defunct lifestyle website, The Tig, but you can find some more goss about her healthy living and lifestyle philosophy in this Living Well With… Meghan Markle interview by The Chalkboard.

With the Royal Wedding coming up, I thought I’d experiment and give you a recipe made with these ingredients that you can blend up in time for the celebrations along with the bonus extra the Independent missed out… who knows, maybe we’ll get Meghan’s glow if we drink enough of it 😉

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  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein – Neat is a fave of mine, but see Rhiannon Lambert Harley Street nutritionist recommendations here!
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsps chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • *Blend all ingredients*… & then:
  • Top with some unsweetened dessicated coconut, 3 blueberries and a mint leaf or two!

 

A Duchess Honeymoon [Bonus recipe] (adapted from this interview) pexels-photo-1024992.jpeg

  • 1 frozen mango
  • Squeeze of fresh lime
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • (optional: 1/2 banana or 1 Satsuma and 1 small handful of spinach)
  • *Blend all ingredients*… & then:
  • Serve with a little pineapple and/or a cherry, and voila!
  • (Also optional to serve: small wedge of lime/lemon)

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There you have it – two royally delicious smoothies fit for a princess!

If you liked having a little nose at this, you may also enjoy this piece by Best Health Meghan Markle: The Beauty of Balance for a Future Princess where Meghan discusses her yoga practice.

xoxo

Grapefruit

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I love half a red grapefruit in the morning for breakfast, and some studies show it helps burn fat! I like to have mine with a couple of blueberries and strawberries for the additional nutrients ❤

The only thing missing from this breakfast above is protein, so it’s good to have a protein shake, or a scrambled egg, or some smoked salmon alongside if possible. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t but it makes the above the PERFECT breakfast instead of just damn good 😉

If you have fruit in the morning, what do you have?

B xoxo

Cacao-coconut oatmeal

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It doesn’t get much more indulgent (and still clean!) than this!!

All you have to do is serve yourself the same sized portion of oats you would for porridge… about 1/4 of a cup.

(Make sure your oats aren’t flavoured or anything! All natural here please darlings!)

Stir a heaped tablespoon of raw cacao powder (or sugar free cocoa powder) in to your oats. Fill the bowl with water (you can use almond milk if you prefer but water’s my preference) and stir until oats and powder have now made a chocolate shake looking mix.

Stir in a little honey or agave nectar to taste.

Top your cacao-oatmeal smoothie bowl with a sprinkling of coconut, and think about adding almonds, walnuts, pistachios, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or mint – whatever’s to hand! – to sex it up a little.

Chocolate for breakfast? Who wouldn’t?! And this way it’s totally guilt free!

Egg-free oven oat hotcakes & cinnamon-grilled pear

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I love these for something quick and a bit different in the morning.

To make the hot oatcakes, you will need…

1/2 cup of oats

1/2 scoop protein powder

1/4 cup of water.

Mix until a thick batter. Add a little more water if needed.

 

Stir in as much or as little cinnamon as you’d like and add a pinch of baking powder.

Pop onto a greaseproof paper-lined tray and bake in the oven at around 180 C (or maybe 200 if not a fan oven) for 7 – 2 minutes.

Your sliced pear can go in to, sprinkled with cinnamon, to warm.

Voila. Sooooo crazy easy. Serve with some berries, a drizzle of pure organic maple syrup or honey, and you’re good to go.

Bootylicious Berry Smoothie

12963794_10154141186774571_2117300014501066370_nThe Bootylicious Berry Smoothie, otherwise known as ‘Peanut butter & I-don’t-think-you’re-ready-for-this-jelly’ is an amazing breakfast option, but also works as a post workout shake, or an afternoon pick me up!

Bootylicious_CD_Cover

It’s so simple to make too. You can do it with or without protein powder, whatever your preference.

You need: a blender, and then…

2 tbsps organic natural peanut butter, honey, 1/2 banana, frozen raspberries, approx 3 tbsps oats (and 1/2 scoop natural soya protein powder, optional).

Along with maybe 1/4 cup of water, blend your peanut butter half banana, 1 handful of frozen raspberries, oats and optional protein powder until smooth. Take of the lid and check consistency – you can add more water at this stage if needed. You could even use almond milk if you really want, but that’s not my jam.

Add a little liquid if needed, and a teaspoon of honey to taste. Blend, and serve!

You can add chopped nuts, a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut or raw cacao, or a couple of fresh raspberries and some mint to garnish ❤

This is a new favourite for me, and a happy blending accident. Some of the best recipes come from improvisation!

Spicy spinach scramble

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I love this breakfast option – it’s great to start your day with protein, and the spinach gives you plenty of nutrients. Bread selection will make or break the healthiness of the dish – go for a good rye or wholegrain, and don’t have bread too often. The one pictured here is the walnut cob from Sainsbury’s as a weekend treat!

For 1 person, you should beat 2 eggs, and start to scramble them in a frying pan. Your pan should be prepped with as little olive oil as possible or half a tsp coconut oil. 

Add in around 2 handfuls of raw spinach (make sure if you haven’t bought ready-washed that you run it under the tap first!) and shake a little cayenne pepper into the pan. Less is more when it comes to this, I find. Chop 1/4 – 1/2 a fresh, red chilli and add to the pan. Keep scrambling ; )

The fresh chilli is great Vitamin C and for boosting immunity. Some suggest it helps raise the metabolism too. The cayenne adds an extra kick if you like the spice.

I like my scramble firm, but it’s personal preference of course, so once done, serve on your unbuttered wholegrain/rye toast, with spinach on the side.

You can also add red bell peppers, watercress, or asparagus too, to mix up your brunch.

Enjoy.

 

 

Quick protein mug cake

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You will need:

1 egg

1/2 scoop natural protein powder (my preference is the Nature Valley Soya Protein Isolate one from Holland and Barrett)

1/4 tsp baking powder

Drizzle of honey or pure maple syrup (just make sure it’s 100% natural! None of those ‘desert’ syrups / golden syrups)

Dash of water / almond milk

Beat your egg, and mix in all of your other ingredients thoroughly in a mug you’re happy to put in the microwave. Whisk briskly with a fork until smooth (some lumps are normal!) and like cake batter. Microwave for approx. 3 minutes. 

Once your microwave cake has risen, tip your mug upside down and you’ll have an instant sponge.

Serve with clementine slices and a sprinkle of cinnamon, some lemon zest or a smear of peanut butter.

 

 

 

Love that Body chocolate shake (protein powder free)

12801307_535229466651547_8913664360817129029_nA lot of you like the idea of a healthy shake that can double as a quickie breakfast, pre or post workout snack, or something to sip on mid afternoon to keep those office biscuit cravings at bay. So many of you have been asking for recipes that fit these criteria that you can make confidently without protein powder – and still get that great taste.

We’ve been doing a little taste-testing and concluded that this is the best of the bunch!

It’s a useful one to whip out if you’re staying with friends or relatives who don’t have protein powder in the house, or if you don’t tend to buy and use protein powder generally. I was never a shake fan at all before I discovered making my own natural protein shakes. Just remember to use them as part of a healthy balanced diet – they shouldn’t be used consistently as meal replacements.

For the Love That Body Chocolate Shake, you will need:

1/2 ripe banana

1/4 cup or 3 generous tablespoons of natural yoghurt (greek yoghurt adds too much of a tang; you ideally want natural yoghurt with live cultures. I like the Yeo Valley one. You should try to avoid fat free varieties as they often have added sugars and flavourings. A little good fat is not bad for you!)

1 heaped tsp raw cacao powder (if you’re in the UK, you can find this at Holland and Barrett. This Choc Chick Organic Raw Cacao powder is my personal favourite!)

Optional – 1 tsp organic honey or agave nectar

1/2 cup of water (if you want it to be milkier, you can use almond milk here, but you may be surprised how great it tastes with just water… try it out for a lower calorie version)

Blitz your ingredients in a blender and serve!

This mason jar is from Paperchase, and I like to have my shake with a handful of fresh raspberries, but you can vary and have it with strawberries, a sprig of mint, or even add a little chilli into the mixture for an extra kick.

What are your favourite healthy shake recipes?