Monday, 8 January 2018

Easy Party Food Recipes For a Last Minute Party


Planning a last minute party and don’t know what to feed your guest? Don’t worry, when you’ve got us, there’s always a solution. Keep it simple by ordering our beautiful cheese and cold cut platters , or get a bit more inventive with these super quick and easy party snack recipes.

1. Turkey Pesto Sliders


 
Sliders are quite possibly one of the most versatile meals, and they always make for an excellent party snack. They’re easy to make, and can serve as quick finger food or a nice dinner. Combine the creamy pesto and cheese with the succulent turkey slices, and you’ve got an easy party snack right there.

Ingredients

• 6 L’Exclusif Whole Wheat Burger Buns (no. of buns depend on no. of guests)
• 6 slices of Turkey 
• 6 slices of processed cheddar cheese
• 3 tbsp. L’Exclusif Basil Pesto Sauce
• 3 tbsp. L’Exclusif Creamy Eggless Mayonnaise
• 2 tbsp. butter, melted

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat.  Split the L’Exclusif Whole Wheat Burger Buns and lay a folded slice of turkey on the bottom half of each bun.
2. Layer each bun with a slice of cheddar cheese.  In a small bowl, combine the L’Exclusif Basil Pesto Sauce and L’Exclusif Creamy Eggless Mayonnaise in a small bowl and mix until blended.  Spread a thin layer of the pesto mayonnaise on the inner side of the top half of each bun.
3. Replace the top bun over the cheese to assemble the sandwiches.  Brush the tops of the buns lightly with melted butter.  Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are warmed through.
4. Cut the burgers into half or quarters and serve them hot or cold.

2. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

 
Picture Courtesy: foodiecrush.com

Get that Mediterranean vibe in the air with this delicious version of hummus. The two-step spicy dip can go along with a variety of things – flatbread, veggies, crackers, you name it! This one is an easy appetizer to prepare and serve as a quick party snack.

Ingredients

• 2 cups cooked Healthy Alternatives – Organic Kabuli Chana
• 1 small roasted red pepper
• 1/2 to 1 clove of minced garlic or to taste
• 1/2 cup tahini (or 1/2 tsp toasted Healthy Alternatives – Organic Cold Pressed Sesame Oil)
• 1/4 tsp cumin or to taste
• juice of one large lemon
•  salt to season to taste
• 1/4 tsp pepper optional
• 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes optional, if you want a spicy option

Instructions

1.  Add the cooked chickpeas to a food processor and process until very creamy.
2.  Add the other ingredients and blend in well. Traditionally served with drizzled olive oil and   
 chopped parsley.

3. Pepperoni Pizza Bites

Picture Courtesy: dinnerthendesserts.com 

Pepperoni pizza needs no introduction of course. These bite sized versions of the juicy and delicious pepperoni pizza are everyone’s food-dream come true. This quick & easy party snack recipe can be really handy when you gotta throw a last-minute party.

Ingredients

• ¾ cup Healthy Alternatives – Organic Wheat Maida
• ¾ tsp. baking powder
• ¾ tsp. Healthy Alternatives – Fresh Cow’s Milk
• 1 Healthy Alternatives – Free Range Organic Eggs
• 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
• 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ½ cup mozzarella cheese
• ½ cup parmesan cheese
• Half a pkg. pepperoni
• Marinara sauce for dipping

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In one bowl, mix the Healthy Alternatives – Fresh Cow’s Milk and Healthy Alternatives – Free Range Organic Eggs, and set aside. In a second bowl, mix the Healthy Alternatives – Organic Wheat Maida, baking powder, salt, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper. Combine the wet into the dry ingredients and mix.
2. Add the pepperoni and cheese to the mix, and whisk it together. Spray baking spray onto two mini muffin tins, and using 1 tbsp. scoop, fill all 24 slots (or make 12 large pepperoni pizza bites)
3. Cook for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve it with marinara sauce.

4. Baked Garlic Parmesan Potatoes

Picture Courtesy: lecremedelacrumb.com

Fries are everybody’s weakness – it’s a fact! Nothing beats the absolute deliciousness of fried and baked potatoes and luckily, they’re not that difficult to make! If we could award the best-vegetable award, it would go to potatoes hands down. You need these  easy party snack, and you know it.

Ingredients

• 3-4 large potatoes, sliced into wedges
• 4 tbsp. Healthy Alternatives – Pure Olive Oil
• 2 tsp. salt
• 2 tsp. garlic powder
• 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
• ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
• Optional: fresh parsley (or cilantro), ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.
2. Place potato wedges in a large bowl. Drizzle with Healthy Alternatives – Pure Olive Oil and toss to coat. In a small bowl, whisk together salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle potato wedges with shredded cheese, tossing to coat, then sprinkle with the seasoning mixture.
3. Place potato wedges on prepared baking sheet in a single layer with the skin-sides-down. Bake for 25-35 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender and golden. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and dressing for dipping.


5. Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Puffs

  
Picture Courtesy: pinterest.com

Sounds a bit complicated doesn’t it? Well don’t fret, it’s not! With this recipe, you can have some seafood gourmet for your party in no time and with no effort! This is an easy party appetizer to prepare and is going to leave your guests asking for more.

Ingredients

• 3 oz. smoked salmon
• 4 oz. goat cheese
• 8 oz. cream cheese
• ½ lemon juiced
• 3 tbsp. fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste
• 1 pkg. puff pastry thawed
• 1 Healthy Alternatives - Free Range Country Egg beaten

 Instructions

1.Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spread out each thawed puff pastry sheet on your work station and cut 2 inch circles from the sheets. Place the circles onto a lined baking sheet. Brush the puff pastry rounds with beaten egg and bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
2.Meanwhile in a food processor, combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, smoked salmon, lemon Juice, dill, and salt and pepper. Process the mixture until smooth then spoon it into a piping bag or a large zip-lock bag with the corner cut off.
3.Store the salmon mixture in the refrigerator until ready to use. Pipe a heaping dollop of salmon and goat cheese mixture on each puff pastry round. Garnish with a tiny sprig of dill and serve immediately.

Hosting a party has never been easier, don’t you think? Send those party invites now and head over to your nearest Nature’s Basket  store to get the essentials!

Have enough time on your hands and you’re ready to whip up something even more special for your guests? Check out recipes of all kinds here  to help you choose the perfect dish!

The Ultimate Gingerbread House Recipe


The tradition of baking gingerbread houses can be traced all the way back to the 11th century in Europe. No doubt, something so delicious and beautiful was bound to become everyone’s favourite around the world in no time! A ginger house recipe filled with so much fun is sure to unite everyone. So this December, gather the kids for an exciting Christmas party and make the ultimate Christmas gingerbread house together with our special recipe!

Ingredients 

For Gingerbread
• 600 g. of Healthy Alternatives – Organic Wheat Maida
• 4 tsp. Healthy Alternatives – Organic Ginger Powder
• 200 g. dark powdered jaggery
• 2 tsp. baking soda
• 7 tbsp. golden syrup
• 200 g. unsalted butter

For Decoration
• 200 g. bag flaked Healthy Alternatives – American Almonds
• 2 egg whites from Healthy Alternatives – Free Range Organic Eggs
• 500 g. icing sugar, plus extra to dust
• 125 g. pack mini chocolate fingers/sticks
• Generous selection of sweets and candies of your choice & colour theme
• 1 mini chocolate roll or dipped chocolate flake
• Few edible silver balls

Template (for house) 

Instructions

1. Heat the oven to 200 C. degrees. Melt the butter, dark powdered jaggery, and syrup in a pan. Mix the Healthy Alternatives – Organic Wheat Maida, baking soda and Healthy Alternatives – Organic Ginger Powder into a large bowl, then stir in the butter mixture to make a stiff dough. If it won’t quite come together, add a tiny splash of water.
2. Cut out the template (download it from the ingredients list). Put a sheet of baking paper on your work surface and roll about one quarter of the dough to the thickness of two 5 rupee coins.
3. Cut out one of the sections, then slide the gingerbread, still on the baking paper, onto a baking sheet. Repeat this with the remaining dough, re-rolling the trimmings, until you have two side walls, a front, a back wall, and two roof panels. Any leftover dough can be cut into Christmas trees or other decorative items if you like.
4. Pick out the most intact flaked Healthy Alternatives – American Almonds and gently poke them into the roof sections, pointy-end first, to look like roof tiles. Bake all the sections for 12 minutes or until firm and just a little darker at the edges.=
5. Leave it to cool for a few minutes to firm up, then trim around the templates again to give clean, sharp edges. Leave it to cool completely.
6. Put the egg whites in a large bowl, sift in the icing sugar, then stir to make a thick, smooth icing. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium nozzle. Pipe generous snakes of icing along the wall edges, one by one, to join the walls together.
7. Use a small bowl to support the walls from the inside, then allow it to dry, ideally for a few hours. Once dry, remove the supports and fix the roof panels on. The angle is steep so you may need to hold these on firmly for a few minutes until the icing starts to dry. Dry completely, ideally overnight.
8. To decorate, pipe a little icing along the length of 20 mini chocolate fingers or sticks and stick these lengthways onto the side walls of the house. Use three, upright, for the door.
9. Using the icing, stick sweets around the door and on the front of the house. To make the icicles, start with the nozzle at a 90-degree angle to the roof and squeeze out a pea-sized blob of icing.
10. Keeping the pressure on, pull the nozzle down and then off – the icing will pull away, leaving a pointy trail. Repeat all around the front of the house. Cut the chocolate mini roll or dipped Flake on an angle, then fix with icing to make a chimney.
11. Pipe a little icing around the top. If you’ve made gingerbread trees, decorate these now, too, topping each with a silver ball, if using. Dust the roof with icing sugar for a snowy effect. Lay a winding path of sweets, and fix gingerbread trees around and about using blobs of icing.

*Your gingerbread house will be edible for about a week.

So there you have it – a classic gingerbread  home to nibble on as you count down the days to Christmas! Get your ingredients immediately & make the best gingerbread house for this Christmas! Visit the Nature’s Basket online store or head to your nearest Nature’s Basket outlet!

Do you know what else you need to have the ultimate Christmas experience? Some warm, sweet eggnog to wash down the tasty gingerbread! Check out our easy-to-make eggnog recipe  and bask in the happiness!

Homemade Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipes


Picture this – a cold winter morning, you’re sitting by the window with your favourite book in your hand. You know what you need to complete this beautiful dream right? A delicious rich hot chocolate. When that sweet, warm hot chocolate milk touches your taste buds, something magical happens.
So skip the premade mix this year, and try out not one, but three amazing homemade hot chocolate drinks with three different types of milk! With these exciting vegan friendly hot chocolate recipes at your disposal, you’re sure to be spoilt for choice!

1. Classic Hot Chocolate

Picture Courtesy: bustle.com 

Let’s start with the basics, in a not-so-basic way. The classic hot chocolate needs no introduction, and because we believe in #HealthyAlternatives, we’re making this cup of happiness vegan friendly. After all, everyone deserves the sweet joy of a classic hot chocolate drink with almond milk!

Ingredients

• 4 cups Healthy Alternatives – Almond Milk 
• 2 tbsp. Healthy Alternatives – Organic Sugar
• 1 Healthy Alternatives – Organic Cinnamon Quill
• 2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 6 ounces Cacao Chocolate
• Pinch of salt

Instructions

1. To a medium saucepan, placed over low heat, pour in the milk, sugar, cinnamon stick and vanilla extract. Heat it until a very gentle simmer and take the saucepan off the heat.
2. Allow it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard it.
3. Create a double boiler by setting a stainless steel or glass bowl over a saucepan filled with simmering water. Add the chocolate to the bowl and heat until the chocolate is melted.
4. Place the steeped milk over medium low heat, and pour in the melted chocolate; whisk until completely incorporated and the mixture is hot. Add a pinch of salt.
5. Divide it between mugs and top it with some vegan whipped cream, and sprinkle it with chocolate powder.


2. Lavender White Hot Chocolate


The unique blend of white chocolate and lavender extracts makes the Lavender White Hot Chocolate drink perfect for when you need to relax and pamper yourself. Enjoy this aromatic treat with some flaky croissants and fresh strawberries to make it even more special.

Ingredients

(For milk)
• 2 cups Healthy Alternatives – Soy Milk
• ¾ tsp. lavender buds/lavender extract
• 2 tsp. vanilla extract

(For white chocolate)
• 2 cups cocoa butter
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• ½ tsp. vanilla extract
• ¾ cups coconut oil

Instructions

1. First prepare the white chocolate. Boil water in a small saucepan, place a heatproof bowl to create a double boiler and add the cocoa butter.
2. Allow the cocoa butter to melt fully, and then add the coconut oil. Keep whisking the mixture with a metal whisk or a fork.
3. Once both ingredients have melted, turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract and sugar. Using an electric whisk, blend all the ingredients until fully combined and smooth.
4. Your white chocolate is ready. You can keep it in the refrigerator or keep it aside while you prepare the milk.
5. To prepare the hot chocolate milk, add the soy milk, vanilla extract and lavender extract/buds in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let it simmer till the milk is full of flavour. Strain the milk through a fine mesh to leave the lavender buds out.
6. Add the white chocolate to the hot milk and whisk rigorously till its fully blended. Serve it in mugs with vegan whipped cream and sprinkle with lavender buds (optional).

3. Peppermint Hot Chocolate

 
Picture Courtesy: 30seconds.com 

Bring in the Christmas spirit with this special Peppermint Hot Chocolate. This hot chocolate recipe is always a winner with the kids and grown-ups alike. No one can resist the perfect balance of minty freshness and sweet cocoa. Add a candy cane along with it, and you’re good to go!

Ingredients

• 2 cups Healthy Alternatives – Coconut Milk
• 1.5-ounce cacao dark chocolate, chopped
• 2-3 tbsp. powdered sugar (depending on preferred sweetness)
• Pinch of salt
• 2 drops peppermint extract/peppermint drops

Instructions

• In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over medium-low heat. Turn off the heat once the milk is simmering.
• Add the chocolate, sugar, salt, and peppermint extract to hot milk. Whisk until everything is combined. Serve it in mugs, top it with frozen coconut whipped cream and add a candy cane stick (optional).

So which one’s going to be your go-to vegan hot chocolate mix recipe for those midnight  cravings? Just make sure you get your essential ingredients before time & make the best hot chocolate for your friends & family this winter season! Get them at Nature’s Basket !

Want more mouth-watering hot chocolate recipes? Try out the Spiced Hot Chocolate  recipe to cozy up on a chilly winter morning!

4 Unique Hummus Recipes


What’s better than hummus? FOUR different types of hummus. That’s right! Our beloved go-to dip from the Middle East isn’t just versatile when it comes to what it goes with, but also with its own taste. Now, one can never really get bored of the original hummus, but for days when you want to twist it up a bit, you can try these 4 unique hummus dip recipes.

1. Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus

Picture Courtesy: pinterest.com

The flavour of cilantro mixed with the spicy jalapeno creates a beautiful fusion, and it’s definitely the
first choice for cilantro lovers. You can prepare this hummus recipe with ease at your home.

Ingredients

1 pkg. Healthy Alternatives – Organic Kabuli Chana
¾ cup chopped cilantro
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1.5 tbsp. tahini
¼ jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. salt

Instructions

1. Puree the Healthy Alternatives – Organic Kabuli Chana, cilantro, lemon juice, tahini, jalapeno pepper, garlic, cumin, and salt in the blender or food processor using long pulses until the mixture is fairly smooth and slightly fluffy. Make sure to scrape the mixture off the sides of the food processor or blender in between pulses.
2. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. Garam Masala Hummus


Picture Courtesy: minimalistbaker.com

The blend of this traditional Indian spice with the ingredients of hummus is so beautiful, we bet even   the British will come running back to India. This is a unique hummus dip recipe for the spicy food lovers.

Ingredients

1 pkg. Healthy Alternatives – Organic Kabuli Chana
3 small cloves of garlic
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
¼ tsp. sea salt
3 tbsp. Healthy Alternatives – Pure Olive Oil
1 tsp. garam masala

Instructions

1. Add all the ingredients except the olive oil and garam masala to a food processor and blend until it is smooth. While blending, add olive oil through the spout. Once blended, add garam masala 1/4 tsp. at a time until you reach your preferred level of flavor. Adjust the seasonings to your preference.
2. Sprinkle it with more garam masala and toasted sesame seeds when serving. It will last in the refrigerator for a week.

3. Pumpkin Hummus

Picture Courtesy: wideopeneats.com

It’s Winter, which means an overdose of pumpkin pie, pumpkin juice, pumpkin spiced latte…and now pumpkin hummus! The slightly sweet flavour of pumpkin coupled with cinnamon makes this hummus dip the perfect autumn dip, though after tasting it you’re going to want it all year!

Ingredients

• 1 pkg. Healthy Alternatives – Organic Kabuli Chana
• 1 cup pumpkin puree
• 1/4 cup tahini
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• 1 clove garlic
• 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

Instructions

1. Mix all ingredients in the food processor or blender.
2. Serve with your choice of side dish and enjoy!

4. Smoky Chipotle Hummus

Picture Courtesy: recipesclub.com

This creamy, warming, seasonal, and slightly spicy hummus is too good to be true, and definitely too good to share. If you like your food spicy, this hummus dip is ideal for you.

Ingredients

1 pkg. Healthy Alternative – Organic Kabuli Chana
5 cloves roasted garlic
½  lemon juiced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tbsp. tahini
½ cup Healthy Alternatives – Pure Olive Oil
Sea salt and pepper

Instructions

1. To roast garlic: Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees. Slice off the top of garlic head, exposing the individual cloves. Drizzle with Health Alternatives – Pure Olive Oil and wrap it in an aluminum foil. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cloves are soft.
2. To make hummus: place all the ingredients in a food processor or a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

Want some more flavours to experiment with? Choose one of the L’Exclusif Selection hummus flavours  from our online store or head to your nearest Nature’s Basket  store! You know what they say – hummus where the heart is…, or maybe that’s just us.

Want more recipes which are healthy and easy to make? Check out our article on healthy budget food  for some ideas!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Switch to Greek Yogurt



When thinking about healthy super foods, there are some items like green tea or brown rice which are on every nutrition expert’s list. But then there are the hidden gems which are often missed out on. We’re going to talk about one such underrated hero of the health-world today.
Greek yoghurt is like any other yoghurt, except that it has probiotic cultures, it is lower in lactose, and has twice the protein content of regular yoghurt.  Now you might ask what are the health benefits of Greek yogurt? It’s because Greek yoghurt goes through an extra step of processing, where the excess water, lactose, and minerals are drained out. What’s left is a rich, creamy yoghurt with less sugar. But wait, the best is yet to come.
At Nature’s Basket, we turn healthy into tasty with our exciting L’Exclusif range of flavoured Greek yoghurts. Also check out our healthy Greek yogurt recipes below – 

1. L’Exclusif Greek Yogurt - Alphonso Mango Flavour



Get your fix of summer delights any time of the year with this Alphonso Mango flavoured Greek yoghurt. Our favourite way to enjoy this particular yummy flavour is a glass of cold mango smoothie in the morning. Start your day early with this easy and healthy Greek yogurt recipe and you’ll be set for whatever comes your way throughout the day.

Ingredients
• 1 cup L’Exclusif Alphonso Mango Greek Yoghurt
• 1 banana
• Ice cubes (as required)

Instructions

1. Add all the ingredients in a blender and process until the smooth.
2. Have a fresh and healthy start to the day!

2. L’Exclusif Greek Yogurt - Kiwi Flavour


What’s better than having a bowl full of healthy Greek yoghurt? Having a Kiwi flavoured Greek yoghurt of course! Kiwi itself is considered a superfood by health experts, thanks to its nutritionally dense nature. It’s packed with minerals and vitamins that help with weight loss, digestion and asthma, and when combined with the rich Greek yoghurt, you truly get a wholesome nutritious deal.
Have a Kiwi-Pineapple Greek Yoghurt parfait any time of the day. This Greek yogurt recipe is sure to  get you the much-needed freshness and strength back into your system.

Ingredients

• 2 cups L’Exclusif Kiwi Greek Yoghurt
• 1 cup granola
• 1 cup pineapples (chopped)

Instructions

1. Take a mason jar and alternate layers of the L’Exclusif Kiwi Greek Yoghurt, granola and chopped pineapples.
2. Freeze it overnight and enjoy a quick pick-me-up any time of the day or have it as a go-to breakfast.  

3. L’Exclusif Greek Yogurt - Peach & Apricot Flavour


In this Greek yoghurt flavour, L’Exclusif beautifully combines the sweet and tart flavours of peaches and apricots to give a well-balanced tangy taste. This summertime fruity flavour is perfect for your dessert recipes or even as a stand-alone yoghurt bowl to binge on. You can even turn this yoghurt into frozen treats. Who knew popsicles could be so healthy? Check out this easy Peach and Apricot Greek Yoghurt popsicle recipe to treat yourself on a sunny day –

Ingredients 

• 1 cup L’Exclusif Peach and Apricot Greek Yoghurt
• ¾ cup low-fat milk
• 1 cup peaches and apricots (chopped)

Instructions

1. Place the L’Exclusif Peach and Apricot Greek Yoghurt and the low-fat milk into a blender and blend until smoothly combined. Mix the chopped peaches and apricots into the blended mixture and pour it into 6 popsicle molds.
2. Lower the popsicle sticks into the mold and place it in the freezer for 4-6 hours (until completely frozen). Once frozen, enjoy them whenever you want by placing the molds under warm water for a few seconds and removing the sticks carefully.  

4. L’Exclusif Greek Yogurt - Blueberry Flavour



Once again, we have a power-packed yoghurt selection for you. The flavourful blueberries with their special antioxidants combined with the health benefits of Greek yoghurt is all you need to keep yourself fit and fine this new year. While we know that the temptation to finish this Greek yoghurt all on its own is too strong, you can even turn your everyday pancakes into a super-healthy and mouth-watering breakfast dish with the L’Exclusif Blueberry Greek Yoghurt. Here’s a simple recipe –

Ingredients 

• 1 cup L’Exclusif Blueberry Greek Yoghurt
• 1 large Healthy Alternatives – Free Organic Egg
• ½ cup Healthy Alternatives – Quinoa Flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
•½ cup fresh blueberries

Instructions

1. Mix the L’Exclusif Blueberry Greek Yoghurt and egg in a medium bowl until blended and smooth. Add the Healthy Alternatives – Quinoa Flour and baking soda and stir until the dry ingredients are mixed in. The batter will be thick.
2. Preheat a griddle or large pan to medium heat. Spread a scoop of pancake batter and dot blueberries or bananas on top of each pancake. Cook for about 3 minutes or until golden brown, then flip and cook the other side for about 2 minutes, until it is golden brown too. Repeat the same with the remaining batter. Serve with additional fruit and/or syrup. 

5. L’Exclusif Greek Yogurt - Strawberry Flavour



Everyone’s favourite winter fruit is here to steal the show with this healthy Strawberry flavoured Greek yoghurt. This very berry yoghurt can be the perfect healthy substitute for your strawberry desserts. No more feeling guilty for having that one extra piece of strawberry cake. We’ve got something even better for you in store with this easy Greek yogurt recipe. It tastes just like your favourite cheesecake, and it’s healthy! Best of both worlds, right?

Ingredients 

• 1 cup L’Exclusif Strawberry Greek Yoghurt
• ¾ cup low-fat cream cheese
• 4 tbsp. powdered sugar
• ½ tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 cup fresh strawberries (chopped)

Instructions

1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and L’Exclusif Strawberry Greek Yoghurt with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
2. Pour the smooth cheesecake cream into a serving bowl and top it with fresh chopped strawberries. Refrigerate it until ready to serve. You can enjoy this healthy cheesecake dip with some graham crackers, pretzels, vanilla wafers, or whatever sides you desire.

So, are you ready to bask into this big non-fat Greek celebration? In 2018 we say, a cup of Greek yoghurt a day, keeps the doctors away! Get your favourite L’Exclusif Selection of Greek yoghurt at the Nature’s Basket store and start the year healthy!

Want to know more about all the superfoods you should have in your diet? Check out this article about these must-have Super Foods.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Traditional Christmas Desserts Around the World


While Christmas may not be a universally celebrated festival, Christmas desserts are definitely universally loved. This festival brings everyone together, and no one can resist the sweet joy of holiday treats. Every country has their own way of celebrating this beautiful holiday, which means unique desserts all around the world. The more, the merrier after all! Let’s take a small Christmas culinary journey across the world to see what everyone’s baking.

(* - recipe available)

1. The Danish Risalamande*

Picture Courtesy: daringgourment.com

This festive rice pudding, called Risalamande in Danish has been a beloved dish in Denmark for centuries. An extremely popular Christmas dessert in the region, it’s ideally served on Christmas Eve following dinner. The base is a typical rice pudding, but what sets Risalamande apart is the toppings added to the base pudding. Some chopped almonds and whipped cream, served with a topping of silky fruity sauce turns this simple dish into an elegant and delectable Christmas dessert.

2. Netherland’s Banketstaaf 

Picture Courtesy: worldmarket.com

Banketstaaf, as the name suggests, is a Dutch pastry roll typically eaten around the holidays. The pastry is meant to have a flaky exterior with a dense and flavourful interior, filled with almond paste and festively decorated with frosting and cherries. To make the most of this delicious Christmas treat, pair it up with coffee or tea on a cold morning.

3. British Treacle Tart*

Picture Courtesy: southernliving.com

This appetizing traditional British dessert is a children’s favourite. The tart is a buttery shortbread crust filled with molten golden syrup, breadcrumbs and lemon zest. Served with a scoop of vanilla whipped cream and some golden syrup trickling down the tart, this dessert’s strength is its ultimate simplicity. Isn’t your mouth watering already?

4. The French Yule Log Cake

Picture Courtesy: oxforddictionaries.com

This festive dessert originally hails from France, but is now a beloved item on the menu everywhere. It is made with a rolled-up sponge cake and chocolate butter-cream filling, bedazzled with mini forest critters, chocolate shavings and foliage. It’s beautiful, scrumptious, and it screams Christmas. With this holiday treat on the table, no one would want to miss your Christmas dinner party.

5. Austrian Linzer Cookies*


The well-loved smaller version of the celebrated Austrian Torte dessert, these Linzer cookies are a favourite amongst all households during the holiday season. They come with a fruit filling, traditionally seedless raspberry jam, sandwiched between two soft and buttery cookies and dusted with powdered sugar. Not only do they taste absolutely delicious, they look gorgeous as well. The best part? They’re much easier to bake than it looks!

Feel like baking some Christmas desserts on your own after reading about all these mouth-watering dishes? Find some of the recipes in our Easy Christmas Dessert Recipes article!

Get the ingredients you need to have the perfect Christmas pantry at Nature’s Basket now.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

5 Easy Dessert Recipes for Christmas


Christmas without desserts is like a birthday without any cake. But all of us aren’t born Master Chefs, so here are 5 super-easy dessert recipes to get you into that much awaited Christmas spirit!

1. Risalamande 

Picture Courtesy: nemlig.com 

Risalamande or Risengrød is a classic Danish take on the simple rice pudding. This is a traditional dessert pudding served during Christmas dinner, and it even has a little game dedicated to itself. One typically hides a whole almond in one of the servings of the dish, and whoever gets the bowl with the whole almond gets a prize! Are you ready to serve this fun and easy Christmas dessert to your guests? We know it’s a yes!

Ingredients

• 200 g of Healthy Alternatives – Varaichi Tandul/Rice
• 800 ml. of Healthy Alternatives – Fresh Cow’s Milk
• 50 g powdered sugar
• 1 vanilla bean (scraped)
• 75 g Healthy Alternatives – American Almonds
• 300 ml whipping cream

Instructions

1. Place the rice in a heavy bottomed saucepan along with the milk and the scraped vanilla pod and seeds. Stir well to combine until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Cook for around 30 minutes over a moderate heat until all of the milk is absorbed, stirring occasionally to ensure the rice does not catch.
2. Once cooked, remove the vanilla pod and leave the rice to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, set aside one whole almond for serving and use a sharp knife to finely chop the rest.
3. Once the rice has cooled, mix through the chopped almonds. Lightly whip the whipping cream in a separate bowl and gently fold it through the rice pudding.
4. Place the single almond in one of the bowls and spoon over the rice. Once the bowls are filled, swap them round a few times until you can no longer remember which dish contains the almond.
5. Serve the pudding cold, topped with fruit compote. Don’t forget to buy a prize for the person who finds the almond!

2. Cinnamon Bun Muffins

Picture Courtesy: somethewiser.com 

Begin your Christmas morning with these mouth-watering and healthy cinnamon rolls. With this Christmas sweet on your plate, it’s sure to be a Merry Christmas!

Ingredients

Muffins:

• 1 cup blanched almond flour
• 2 tbsp. coconut flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• ¼ tsp. sea salt
• ¼ tsp. grapeseed oil
• ¼ cup Healthy Alternatives – Organic Honey
• 3 large Healthy Alternatives – Free Range Organic Eggs
• 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Topping:

• 2 tbsp. Healthy Alternatives – Organic Honey
• 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
• 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil

Instructions

1. To make the muffins, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, blend together grapeseed oil, Healthy Alternatives – Organic Honey, Healthy Alternatives – Free Range Organic Eggs, and vanilla extract.
2. Blend the dry ingredients into the wet and scoop a scant ¼ cup at a time into lined muffin cups.
3. To make cinnamon topping, combine Healthy Alternatives – Organic Honey, cinnamon, and grapeseed oil in a small bowl. Spoon the toppings onto the muffins.
4. Bake the muffins for 8-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool muffins for 2 hours then frost it with cream cheese frosting (optional).

3. Treacle Tart 

Picture Courtesy: bonappetite.com 

This is a traditional British Christmas dish, loved by everyone for its sugary crusty deliciousness. The tart is a buttery shortbread filled with golden syrup, breadcrumbs and lemon zest. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla whipped cream, pour some syrup over the tart, and you’ll be everyone’s favourite Christmas chef without a doubt.

Ingredients

Pastry:

• 225 g Healthy Alternatives – Organic Wheat Maida
• 110 g butter (chilled and diced)
• 1 Healthy Alternatives – Free Range Organic Egg (beaten)

Filling:

• 450 g maple syrup
• 85 g breadcrumbs
• Pinch of ground ginger
• 1 lemon (zest)
• 2 tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions

1. In a bowl, rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg with a knife, then knead on a clean, lightly dusted work surface to form a smooth dough.
2. Use the dough to line a loose-bottomed tart tin, prick the base all over with a fork and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190 (C).
3. Line the pastry with parchment paper and weigh down with rice or ceramic baking beans. Bake the pastry blind for 10-15 minutes, remove the paper and rice/beans and return the pastry case to the oven for a few minutes more, until light golden-brown.
4. For the filling, mix together the filling ingredients in a bowl and pour into the pastry case. Return to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Drizzle some maple syrup over the tart. Serve hot or cold with vanilla whipped cream.

4. Austrian Linzer Cookies

Picture Courtesy: bakingthegoods.com

Always a children’s favourite Christmas sweet – this Austrian specialty has a fruit filling sandwiched between two soft cookies dusted with powdered sugar. You can bake as many as cookies as you want, in unlimited shapes and designs. All you need is these ingredients, your oven mitts, and some holiday spirit!

Ingredients 

• 150 g softened butter
• 50 g powdered sugar
• ½ tsp. vanilla extract
• 2 Healthy Alternatives – Free Range Organic Eggs
• 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
• ½ tsp. ground cloves
• ¼ tsp. nutmeg powder
• Pinch of salt
• 150 g Healthy Alternatives – Organic Wheat Maida (sifted)
• 150 g raspberry jam/preserve
• 75 g finely ground Healthy Alternatives – American Almonds
• 75 g ground Healthy Alternatives – Finest Hazelnuts
• 1 tbsp. rum (optional)

Instructions

1. Beat the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy and add the spices, egg yolks and rum (optional). Mix the nuts and flour in a little bowl and add to the dough. Combine everything and quickly shape the dough into a disc. Cool the dough in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees (C) and roll out the dough to about 3-4 mm. Cut out different Christmas themed shapes using Linzer cookie cutters. Bake the cookies for about 8 Minutes, take them out and let them cool.
3. In a little bowl, mix the jam with the rum (optional) and spread this jam on the bottom half of your cookies. Dust the lattice-part of the cookie with icing sugar. Top the jam-half with the upper half and store the cookies in metal tins.
4. These cookies get better with time and should rest at least a week in the tins.

5. Flourless Chocolate Cake

Picture Courtesy: vikingrivercruises.com

This moreish chocolate cake will tempt even Santa to come and join in on the festive feast. The
Christmas dessert menu can never be complete without the Christmas cake. Nobody can resist a good cake, after all!

Ingredients

• 200 g of unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
• 200 g L’Exclusif Dark Chocolate Baking Bar
• 1 tbsp. strong coffee
• 6 large Healthy Alternatives – Free Range Organic Eggs
• 250 g castor sugar
• 70 g cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (C). Grease a 20 cm. spring form cake tin with a little butter and line with greaseproof paper.
2. Rest a medium heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water on a medium-low heat. Break in the chocolate, roughly chop, and add the butter, then allow to melt, stirring occasionally until smooth and glossy. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat, stir in the coffee and set aside to cool slightly.
3. Separate the egg yolks and whites between two large bowls. Whisk the egg whites for 1 to 2 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Add the sugar to the yolks and beat for 7 minutes, or until pale. Sift in the cocoa powder and 1 pinch of sea salt, then gently fold to combine.
4. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture, then gently fold through the egg whites until smooth. Transfer it to the prepared tin and place it in the hot oven for around 1 hour, or until the inserted skewer comes out clean.
5. Allow it to cool completely before serving with a dusting of cocoa powder and fresh berries (optional).

‘Tis the season of joy and desserts, and now you’re all set for a sweet, sweet December! Don’t have all the ingredients? Get them here at Nature’s Basket!

Winter calls for warm, lip-smacking drinks and a classic hot chocolate is on the top of that list. Check out our recipe for a unique Spiced Hot Chocolate and try it yourself!