A happy and healthy New Year!

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The holidays haven’t meant we’ve slowed down here at Capital Cooking – in between celebrating Christmas, running New Year’s events and planning for 2015, MD Imogen has just taken on the challenge of cycling from London to Paris for charity. Nothing too major then…

For all this activity, of course, plenty of energy is called for. Here, therefore, are some recipes designed to perk you up!

A particular favourite is this restorative, hearty and satisfying carrot and sweetcorn soup – it’s super simple, so have a go and enjoy! You could even notch up the garlic and chilli to fight off winter bugs.

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Carrot, Sweetcorn and Coconut Soup
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
ΒΌ tsp cayenne pepper
3 medium carrots
450g frozen sweetcorn
400ml milk
400ml tin of coconut milk
Chicken stock cube
Salt and pepper to season

In a large saucepan with a lid, heat the oil on a low-medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently for about 10 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and cayenne pepper and stir for a couple of minutes. Stir in the carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes more until just beginning to soften.

Add the sweetcorn, pour in the milk and coconut milk and bring to the boil. Crumble in the stock cube and stir well, then reduce the heat so that the soup is just simmering. Pop on the lid and simmer for 20 minutes, until the carrots are tender.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little, then liquidize in batches. Return to the saucepan, season with salt and pepper to taste and reheat gently. Serve in warm bowls.

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For a quick pick-me-up, perhaps a famously rejuvenating cocktail is in order – alcoholic or virgin as preferred! This Beetroot Bloody Mary from Hemsley & Hemsley is simple and bursting with flavour and nutrients.
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Beetroot ‘Bloody Mary’ by Hemsley & Hemsley:
Serves 8

sea salt
2 lemon wedges
3 x 500g bunches raw beetroot
1 bunch celery (about 9 sticks), plus extra to serve
50g fresh ginger, peeled
1/4 tsp each turmeric, cayenne pepper and freshly ground black pepper (adjust to taste)
1tsp English mustard
large pinch onion granules (optional)
large pinch garlic granules (optional)
juice of 3 lemons (about 6tbsp)
200ml vodka (optional)

1. First prepare the glasses with a salt and pepper rim. Mix some sea salt and pepper on a plate, then rub a lemon wedge around the rim of 8 high ball glasses; dip them in the mixture and twist to coat.

2. Wash the vegetables and top and tail, then halve the beetroot. If you have a juicer (see Kitchen Secret, above), juice the beetroot, celery and ginger in batches, then whisk in the turmeric, cayenne pepper, black pepper, mustard, onion and garlic granules, if using, and the lemon juice to taste.

3. Pour 25ml vodka into each glass, if using. Top with a few cubes of ice – not too many as you don’t want it too cold.

4. Top with the spiced juice, sprinkle with blac pepper and serve with a celery stick ‘stirrer’. For a non-alcoholic version, pour the juice over ice and finish as above.

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If you’re craving a treat (perhaps for with your morning coffee…) these flapjack-style quinoa bars will hit the spot, and leave you feeling good about it. Smugness is positively encouraged! Hint: They taste even better the next day.
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    Apple and raisin quinoa slices

, once more from Hemsley & Hemsley
Makes 18

20 minutes preparation
1h10 total time

150g quinoa
50g sunflower seeds
50g pumplin seeds
3x8g packs ground arrowroot (3 tbsp)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 large egg white
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
50g coconut oil, melted
50 g ground flaxseed
1/2tsp sea salt
2 apples, skins left on, coarsely grated
1 medium carrot, grated
150g desiccated coconut
75g raisins

1. Soak the quinoa in 300ml water the night before you plan to make these. Soak the sunflower and pumpkin seeds in 200ml water at the same time.

2. Preheat the oven to 190ΒΊC, fan 170ΒΊC, gas 5, and line a 20x30cm baking tray with baking paper.

3. In a food processor, whiz together the arrowroot, maple syrup, egg white, bicarbonate of soda, vanilla extract, cinnamon, coconut oil, ground flaxseed and sea salt. Rinse and drain the quinoa in a fine sieve, discarding the soaking water and add the quinoa to the food processor and blend again. Transfer to a large bowl. Rinse and drain the seeds and stir in with the remaining ingredients until well combined.

4. Spoon into the baking tray and smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.

5. Carefully remove from the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack. Slice into 18 pieces to serve.

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Ever,

Capital Cooking

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