Spring was a little slow getting going this year in SW France, a cool wind still threatening my seedlings! However a combination of some warm sunshine more recently and plenty of rain have now encouraged new shoots to show and we are picking young spinach leaves and peppery rocket already. Evenings still welcome warm drinks with both our bed and breakfast guests as well as our retreat guests loving the TWO recipes I’m sharing with you this month..

We love people to feel spoiled but always with a thought for our health. Early carrots and beetroots are delicious and earthy and full of the sweet taste that can replace the horrid refined sugars we crave in processed foods… so try this warm drink in the evening when you just need something a little sweet and, if you are having guests then treat them to these delicious black bean brownies – they won’t miss the sugar that is in conventional brownies, I promise!

Warming Carrot, Apple and Beetroot Juice

Not only is the colour awesome (and natural) the drink is amazingly nourishing for us. The highly concentrated natural sugars in fresh apple and carrot juice are so easily absorbed for instant energy! Not to mention vitamins B1, B2, B6. Beetroot (again satisfying that sweet craving) has been used as a detoxifier and blood purifier for centuries. It’s also full of iron and helps treat fatigue and anaemia. So lots of reasons to get the juicer out, dust it off make this delicious drink.

Juice 1 beetroot, 3 carrots and 2 apples, warm the juice slowly in the pan until just hot. Simply take a little time and sit and enjoy! I might add a little ginger.

Gooey Black Bean Brownies

2 tbsp chia seeds

400g can of black beans

200g ground almonds

200g (homemade preferably) apple purée

200ml unsweetened almond milk

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp honey (the more local the better at this time of year if you suffer with pollen related issues)

6 tbsp maple syrup

6 tbsp raw cocoa powder (mine is 100% raw)

a pinch of salt

Soak the chia seeds in 140ml of water for an hour.

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Simply line a square baking dish with baking paper and pour in your brownie mix. Bake at 180 degrees for about 40 mins. Leave them to cool in the tin before turning it out. Cut up as you wish!

Tip – overcooked brownies are dry! So cooking time is important as is leaving them in the tin to cool.