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Mood-boosting brunch

Make a mood-boosting brunch

4 MIN READ • 14th February 2024

The January slog might be over but if you’re still feeling the winter struggle, give yourself a mid-morning lift with a brunch specially designed to put a spring in your step

We’ve all heard the phrase you are what you eat, but chef Lauren Lovatt takes feel-good food to the next level with the recipes in her debut book Mind Food: Plant-based Recipes for Positive Mental Health (£20, Leaping Hare Press), which are specially designed using ingredients to change your state of mind. Here she shares a mood-boosting brunch recipe featuring oat fritters with nutrient and antioxidant-rich greens and grains, and is ideal as a breakfast or lunch dish.

Oats are naturally soothing and substantial and so they make a great meal to keep you going through the day. She recommends preparing the batter ahead of time so you can eat these fritters for a few days in a row, perhaps trying different flavour combinations each time – sweet or savoury. 
Your mood-boosting brunch: Oat fritters, windfall apple slaw and candied walnuts 
Time taken: 30 minutes 

* 175g gluten-free oats or millet flakes * 3 tsp baking powder * ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) * 275ml oat milk * 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar * Olive oil, for frying  

For the apple slaw: * 2 pieces of kale, washed * ½ tsp sea salt * 4 tbsp olive oil * 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar * 1 tbsp Dijon mustard * ½ tsp honey * 1 large apple, cut into matchsticks * 30g parsley, finely chopped * 200g celeriac, peeled and grated * 50g Rosemary Walnuts (see below) 

To serve: * 3–4 tbsp Sprouted Chickpea Hummus (see below) 
1 For the oat fritters, put the oats in a food processor or blender and blend into a ‘flour’. Transfer the ‘flour’ to a bowl, mix in the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda then add the oat milk and apple cider vinegar. Mix until well combined. 
2 For the apple slaw, strip the kale from the stems, break the leaves into small pieces and finely chop the stems. Rub the kale with a little of the salt and oil, then add to a large bowl. 
3 Add the rest of the oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard and honey and mix well. Add the apple, parsley and celeriac and toss to combine, finishing with the remaining salt. Crumble over the Rosemary Walnuts (see below) and set to one side. 
4 Heat a frying pan with a little olive oil and ladle in some of the pancake batter, spreading the mixture into rounds. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until you see little bubbles appear. Flip over and cook each fritter for another 3 minutes, until golden brown on both sides. 
5 Add a couple of fritters to each plate, top with Sprouted Chickpea Hummus then the apple slaw. Enjoy warm, then just relax. 

Rosemary Walnuts 
These walnuts are a great addition to sweet and savoury dishes and any mood-boosting brunch, crumbled over porridge, tossed through salad or as a portable snack. Activating walnuts makes a big difference to the taste and crunch, and you won’t believe how dark the soaking water becomes, showing there’s a lot of stuff on these mighty nuts that you can do without. 
Makes: 1 × 250ml jar 
Time taken: 1 hour 

* 200g walnuts, soaked far at least 1 hour, then rinsed well * 1 tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped * 2 tbsp maple syrup * 2 tbsp olive oil * ½ tbsp lion’s mane mushroom powder (optional) * ¼ tsp salt 

1 Preheat the oven to 150°C fan (170°C/325°F/Gas 3). 
2 Place the walnuts in a bowl, mix with the other ingredients and set aside while the oven preheats. 
3 Spread the walnuts out on a baking tray and bake for 40 minutes until golden. The long baking time gives a rich and deep roasted result. 
4 Leave the nuts to cool and then place them in a jar or sealed container and store for up to a couple of months. 

Note: activating means soaking, rinsing and then drying out a nut for optimum nutrition. 

Sprouted Chickpea Hummus 
Makes: 1 × 500ml jar 
Time taken: 40 minutes, plus sprouting time 3-5 days 
* 150g (generous ¾ cup * Dried chickpeas, sprouted if possible (see below) * 50ml chickpea water * 1 tsp white miso * 1 garlic clove, roasted * Zest and juice of 1 lemon * ½ tsp coriander * ½ tsp smoked paprika * ¼ tsp smoked salt or 1 tbsp smoked water * 100g tahini * 3 ice cubes 
1 Add the prepared chickpeas (see below) to a pot of boiling water and cook for 30 minutes, until soft. 
2 Cool the chickpeas then add to the blender with the rest of the ingredients, apart from the tahini and ice, adding a little more of the chickpea water if needed, depending on how thick you like your hummus. 
3 Once the hummus is smooth, add the tahini and the ice cubes to make it extra creamy and delicious.  
4 Drizzle with a little olive oil and store in a sealed jar in the fridge. This will keep for up to 1 week. 

Note: sprouted chickpeas are easier to digest and more nutritious. Sprout them in the jar – simply add 4tbsp of the seeds to a 1l jar with 1 cup of water. Leave the seeds to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight, then rinse them in a sieve. Place the seeds back into the jar with a piece of kitchen paper covering the top, sealed with an elastic band. Find an ambient place for your sprouting seeds, such as a shelf or out of direct sunlight. Repeat the rinsing process morning and evening, and within a day or two you will see the sprouts start to grow. For legumes, the tail of the sprout should not exceed the length of the bean, which will take 3-5 days. They’re a great addition to any mood-boosting brunch!

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