Well hello there and welcome 2014!! I don’t know about you, but I feel a huge sense of excitement around the beginning of this year, and that’s not got to do with the fact that we kick-started this year off with a very special holiday in the sunshine ; ) (lucky I know!) Seriously, I am feeling stupendously giddy at the thought of this fresh new year, and I have lots of plans and exciting things I have made the space to work on as this year starts to roll. The end of 2013 was a bit of a tricky time for me, and I actually drafted out a hugely personal and emotional post just before we left for our holiday which I planned to share with you about my decision to put the cafe on hold for a while. However upon reading it back on our return, I decided to leave the past year behind me and step forth and proud into 2014 with renewed energy, passion and goals, all of which are totally in line with The Nectar mission and I am able to share with so many beyond the cafe space. Hoorah!
So to kick off this year full of health, inspiration, friends, family, food, fun, growth, gardens and all things green and gorgeous, I have decided too share a ‘Smoothie-a-month’ with you, starting with my current obsession, my Matcha-green-tea smoothie. I am a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to my smoothies, creating something I love and making it everyday until I remember how many other combination of blendable ingredients there are! So I shall be posting my latest favourite smoothie recipes, as well as regular recipes from my home kitchen for you each month. Lets share in the smoothie-love and I’d love to hear some of your favourite smoothie recipes too!
This combination came out of my packing-up-the-cafe days, and whilst I packed and sorted, all that was left for me to eat was what I could find in the freezer or on the shelves. I’d emptied the fridge and there as no more fresh food and I needed something filling and tasty fast. I had frozen bananas, so I could make a smoothie I thought, but no juice, almond milk or coconut water to be found. So upon looking at the boxes full of superfoods, nuts, seeds and dried fruits, I began concocting what ended up being one of the most amazing tasting smoothies I ‘ve ever tasted. I like to think of myself as a bit of a pro at making something out of (seemingly) nothing, and this as defiantly one of those occasions where I could have easily popped over the road to the bakery and picked up a sourdough baguette or sticky flapjack, but no!.. I rustled this one up in less than 4 minutes and sat don on a pile of boxes to devour my new creation. Creamy, sweet, refreshing, a bit crunch and with mood-enhancing good-chemicals from the matcha and cacao, and brain-boosting good-fats from the hemp and chia, this is a go-go smoothie when you need a pick-me-up quick! It tastes like mint-choc-chip ice-cream in a glass. MmMmm! If you do have some fresh ingredients to hand, I would certainly try adding in some fresh mint leaves, a handful of spinach or a cup of nut milk in place of the water, however, the seeds really make this drink so creamy and the peppermint oil has an intense flavour so there’s really no need.
Matcha Green Tea
So what exactly is Matcha? It should be thought of as the superhero of all green teas, it contains 137 times the antioxidents of green tea and is naturally high in L-theanine which is the ‘feel-good’ amino-acid derivative, also found in cacao. It comes from finely grinding green tea leaves which have been grown under cover for their last two weeks before picking to concentrate the chlorophyll content, packing in all of the goodness to help us feel alert, focused and glowing from the inside out. As the leaves are carefully ground without heating, we consume the whole product when drinking rather than steeping it as you would if you use green tea leaves. Matcha has been traditionally used by Buddhist monks to improve concentration, alertness and focus during long days of meditation. In japan, students use it to help them stay alert during exams, and it is now becoming a popular drink in the West as a healthy alternative to tea or coffee, and as an antioxident rich supplement. I love using it as a superfood in cakes, granolas, bars and even chocolates too (think lovely green colour to all of these foods) and making a hot creamy drink out of it by whisking it with hot almond milk. Be sure to buy the best quality Matcha you can afford, as it does vary in quality (and on that note, it doesn’t come cheap but you only use a small amount). I buy mine from Vitalife Health.
Notes: If you like your smoothies extra sweet, pop in a date or two. Also, make sure you add just 1 drop of the peppermint oil, otherwise it could turn from refreshingly minty to inedible and eye-watering.. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
1 frozen banana
1 cup filtered water
1 tsp Matcha green tea powder
1 drop peppermint oil (or a handful fresh mint leaves)
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp cacao nibs
Grab you frozen banana from the freezer and place into your blender. Add the water and find all of the other ingredients from your shelf/cupboard/pantry/box and pop them into the blender. Blend until thick and creamy, pour into your favourite glass and enjoy the matcha-goodness, before whizzing around like a superhero or zenning out like a Buddhist monk, whichever takes your fancy.