I first learned about the Hemsley sisters when they were guests on Radio Cherry Bombe last year, and it was love at first sound bite. Aside from becoming obsessed with their awesome British accents, I learned that Melissa and Jasmine stumbled into the world of food in an unlikely way. Older sister Jasmine became interested in the connection of food and health during her modeling career. Subsequently, in partnership with sister Melissa, HEMSLEY + HEMSLEY was born as a bespoke service to help people with their digestion and dietary issues. The two started doing catering jobs and cooking for private clients, launched a website, wrote a best-selling cookbook, and mostly recently, opened a cafe in London and published a second cookbook, Good + Simple. Phew – just writing that was exhausting.
Listening to the podcast, I was immediately drawn to the way they spoke about healthy food. It was inspiring and non-threatening – instead of shaming me about last night’s Mexican take-out, they made me excited to eat my next salad. And although their approach to healthy cooking is different from mine (they promote a good amount of meat-eating), we do have the foundation in common: promoting wellness through food. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that they are breath-takingly gorgeous and one can’t help but think that if we eat the same way they do, some of those good looks will transfer over – amiright?
Fast forward to last month’s Cherry Bombe Jubilee. During the conference intro speech, Cherry Bombe founders Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu urged everyone in the audience to turn to the person next to them and get acquainted. The room came alive as conversations flowed through the crowd. At that moment, I happened to be standing in the doorway where speakers lined up before taking the stage. Lo and behold, Melissa Hemsley turned to me with a big smile and said “Hello!” with her infectious British accent. Admittedly, I gushed as any proper fangirl would. The sisters were just as radiant, energetic and cool as I’d imagined them to be. Like the Spice Girls of the food world, if you will.
Since the brief encounter turned us into best friends (haha, just kidding) After the conference, I went home and immediately ordered their new cookbook. Good + Simple contains a wealth of everyday healthful eating tips as well as dozens of grain-, refined sugar- and gluten-free recipes, many of which are weeknight friendly. The book highlights new and brilliant ways to prepare basic ingredients like vegetables, beans, seeds and inexpensive cuts of meat. Featured here are their quinoa breakfast muffins, which contain no flour, sugar or dairy. I was initially drawn to this recipe because it utilized quinoa in a way I would never think to do on my own, which is what this whole cookbook series is about. Yes, these muffins are entirely grain-free and vegan, yet super delicious and satisfying. Even Rene, a self-proclaimed refined sugar addict, fell in love with this recipe. Lightly sweetened with bananas, maple syrup and raisins, these delicious muffins are perfect as harried weekday breakfasts, midday snacks, or after-dinner treats.
This recipe comes from GOOD + SIMPLE by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley (Clarkson Potter, 2016).
- 1 1/4 cups white quinoa, soaked in water for 8 hours or overnight
- 2 large bananas
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten OR 3 flax eggs*
- 8 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 4 tablespoons softened coconut oil
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- 2 ½ tablespoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice OR apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup black raisins
*To make 1 “flax egg”, stir 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds in a bowl with 3 tablespoons water. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, until mixture is thick and gummy like a beaten egg.
- Drain soaked quinoa, rinse, and drain again.
- Preheat oven to 400F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper muffin cups.
- Peel and roughly chop bananas and add to a food processor with quinoa and all the other ingredients except raisins, and puree until smooth. Remove the processor blade and stir in raisins by hand. Alternatively, mash the bananas and add to a bowl with the other ingredients. Mix by hand before stirring in the raisins.
- Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake for 30-35 minutes if using chicken eggs – or 35-40 minutes if using flax eggs – until muffins are firm to the touch and slightly crunchy on top. Remove from oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely; if eaten warm, muffins will stick to their paper liners.
- Serve muffins with fruit preserves, butter, mashed avocado, cheese, or nut butter. Muffins will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
I received this book as part of Penguin Random House’s Blogging for Books program.