08 October 2015
Healthy crumble? Yes please! Olivia Wollenberg set out on a mission to create the perfectly nutritious dessert/brekkie (and well, for any time of day actually) that doesn’t compromise on taste, and boy did she succeed. A girl after our own heart, Olivia loves baking and creating new flavour fusions for her crumbles (which happen to be stocked in the coolest department store in London, Selfridges BTW) as well as providing us with wonderfully healthful recipes on her blog. Enjoy as we chat to the lovely lady behind Livia’s Kitchen about all things sweet and scrumptious!
OLIVIA’S DAY ON A PLATE
I am the biggest oats fan! I love them! So I couldn’t think of anything better than starting my day with a big bowl of porridge! I love oats so much that I don’t always feel that I need to top my porridge with many other things, and often I don’t if I am short of time. Just a bit of chopped fruit and nut butter stirred in is perfect for me. If I am too short of time to make porridge, or if I am having a crumble craving I love to have my banana, coconut and cacao crumble – such a great grab and go breakfast and is so nutritious it sets me up for a busy day ahead!
Lunch usually involves a big salad made from ingredients such as kale, guacamole, carrots, beetroot and quinoa and then I always add Chicken, tuna or prawns to it.At the moment I am going through a stage of loving all thai spices and flavours so I dress my salad with fresh lime juice, and top it with lots of hot chillies and chopped coriander.
I’ll always fancy something sweet, often straight after lunch, but I try and hold off for a few hours. By 3/4pm it is the time when I absolutely NEED something sweet. With all the baking that goes on in my kitchen, it is very rare for there not to be something lying around that will satisfy my sweet cravings! I love having raw brownies, granola bars, and flapjacks at this time of the day. My recipes you see on my blog are just a few examples of treats I snack on! Of course sometimes I will just go for a piece of fruit or a few dates, but I much prefer a few bites of one of my snacks.
I mostly always have something warm and hearty for dinner. After what is usually a cold salad for lunch, I feel I need a warm meal in the evening. I love meals like quinoa stir-fries, quinoa coated chicken, and brown rice risottos.
AFTER SPENDING A STAGGERING FIVE YEARS STUDYING NEUROSCIENCE AT UCL, WHAT WAS IT THAT MADE YOU WANT TO CHANGE CAREER PATHS COMPLETELY AND GET INTO THE FOOD INDUSTRY?
Although I absolutely loved studying neuroscience and still do enjoy reading up about new findings, I realised that pursuing the career of academia wasn’t for me. After 5 years I really wanted a change and entering the world of business was an attractive option for me since it allows you to work on your own time and interact with and meet the most fascinating people. The world of academia was a little too enclosed for me and I didn’t feel like I was able to engage with people like I wanted to. It was a combination of reasons that brought me into this industry. Firstly, being diagnosed with all my food intolerances. Secondly, having visited LA and seeing how huge the healthy food movement was there, and thirdly being a very keen cook and lover of all things food related.
YOUR CRUMBLES ARE FAST BECOMING A STAPLE AMONGST HEALTH FOODIES AND WE CAN TOTALLY SEE WHY! WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON CRUMBLES SPECIFICALLY?
Crumble is my absolute favourite dessert of all time. At the beginning of last year I was diagnosed with lots of intolerances and I found it difficult to find desserts I could actually eat. So I was insistent I had find a way of recreating my all time favourite dessert, the crumble. I played around with different crumble toppings and found that oats and nuts worked really well. I then experimented with different fruits and decided what flavours complimented the topping and soon after my 4 core flavours were chosen!
WE’RE SUPER EXCITED TO TRY YOUR CHRISTMAS CRUMBLE, IT SOUNDS SO BEAUTIFULLY FESTIVE AND DELICIOUS. WHAT’S YOUR ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE FLAVOUR OF CRUMBLE THAT YOU’VE CREATED?
I genuinely find it hard to choose a favourite flavour crumble. I’m quite traditional when it comes to flavours though so if I had to choose I’d probably say my Apple, Maple & Maca. Maca is also one of my favourite superfoods and I love the twist it gives this traditional flavoured crumble.
SELFRIDGES STOCK YOUR CRUMBLES WHICH IS JUST SUCH AN INCREDIBLE ACHIEVEMENT IN ITSELF! WAS THERE A DEFINING MOMENT WHEN YOU REALISED THAT YOU’D ‘MADE IT’ IN THE HEALTH WORLD?
I find it quite difficult to answer this question because I personally don’t feel i’ve quite ‘made it’ in the health food world yet. I think I have so much more to offer and want to make a bigger stamp on the health world than I already have.
YOU ARE THE ABSOLUTE QUEEN OF SWEET TREATS – YOUR BLOG FEATURES SOME OF THE MOST MOUTHWATERING HEALTHY PUDS OUT THERE! WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR LOVE FOR HEALTHY BAKING? AND WOULD YOU SAY IT’S A CASE OF PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT?
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with food intolerances that I discovered my love for healthy baking. Because the choice of sweet treats/desserts were so limited I felt I had no choice but to make my own healthy version of desserts. I’m not so sure its a case of practice makes perfect. I still make baking errors and certainly not all my ideas work! I’m very much someone who just throws something together, not following a recipe and see what the outcome is like. I aim to create really simple recipes so that people who would never usually call themselves bakers will have a go at them and see how easy they are.
AND WHERE DO YOU FIND THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WONDERFULLY CREATIVE BAKING INVENTIONS?
More often than not I will decide what to make by thinking about an unhealthy dessert, or one that I can’t eat due to my intolerances, and then try and recreate it in a healthier way. I find it really exciting and I love replacing the original ingredient with a healthier one and when it works its so satisfying! There are some days more than others when I feel particularly creative and just love to be in the kitchen with several mixing bowls and I act somewhat like a crazy scientist mixing away at interesting concoctions. When one thing works, it inspires me to go on to do something else straight after.
IF YOUR INSTAGRAM IS ANYTHING TO GO BY, YOU ARE A MAJOR COURGETTI FAN (JUST LIKE US!) BUT WHAT WOULD YOU SAY YOUR ULTIMATE GO-TO MEAL IS?
Wow. One meal to choose is hard. I really love roasts. Like a roast chicken with delicious roasted veggies such as sweet potato, squash, and courgette. I also absolutely love brown rice risottos.
DO YOU HAVE ANY VICES (WE ALL DO!)?
Of course we all have vices! No one is perfect. One vice I do have is that I sometimes find it hard to delegate tasks to others. I realised this was more prevalent when I started to my own business. Letting someone else take control of an aspect of my business, I have to admit was quite scary. But it’s essential, otherwise you come to a point where you feel you are going to burn out. You just can’t do it all. I’m still learning to get better at delegation but have improved immensely and couldn’t lead a successful business without my two full time employees.
WERE YOU INTERESTED IN HEALTHY EATING PRIOR TO DISCOVERING FOOD INTOLERANCES AND HAVING TO OVERHAUL YOUR ENTIRE DIET AND LIFESTYLE?
If I’m being completely honest, no. I was very much a sugar and white carb monster and loved the conventional cakes and sweets. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed that my eyes were completely opened and I really did have to completely change the way I ate. But I wouldn’t change my new way of eating at all.I feel so much better in myself and being pain free is amazing. Of course I’m only human and sometimes would love to have a slice of doughy pizza but the pain that follows just makes it so not worth it.
YOUR KITCHEN MUST HOLD AN ABUNDANCE OF TASTY GOODIES – WE BET IT’S A COMPLETE FOODIE HEAVEN! WHAT ARE YOU TOP FIVE MOST-USED INGREDIENTS THAT YOU JUST COULDN’T LIVE (WELL, COOK) WITHOUT?
Coconut oil – I honestly couldn’t live without this. I’m actually a little obsessed with it! I use it every day in both my cooking and baking. I don’t only use it in cooking/baking though but also as a body moisturiser and an over night conditioner for my hair. I just love how versatile it is as a product and is so good for you not only internally but externally.
Oats – Just as I couldn’t live without coconut oil I don’t think I could live without oats either. I have them everyday without fail either in their simplest form as porridge or in my baking. Jumbo oats, rolled oats – i’m not fussy!
Maca – By far my favourite superfood! If I could add this to every meal I would try to in some way. I love the caramel taste it gives and the fact it gives me more energy is a bonus!
Medjool dates – Such a great binder as well as natural sweetener in baking these are like little juicy gems. They really can transform a recipe so I always make sure theres plenty in my cupboard! I prefer medjool dates because they tend to be a lot softer and juicier than other types of dates.
Coriander – Lately I have become very keen on coriander! I’ve noticed that it seems to creep into most of my savoury dishes and my salads mainly consist of coriander leaves.
EXERCISE IS OF COURSE A VERY IMPORTANT ELEMENT WHEN LIVING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE – WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WAYS TO WORK OUT?
I love a bit of cardio and a particular favourite of mine is doing spin sessions at Psycle in London. It’s a great workout and the team there make it so much fun. I also really enjoy doing body combat classes at my local gym too. Both forms of exercise are really great all over body workouts.
AND AFTER A DAY OF RUNNING AROUND SEEING TO ALL THINGS CRUMBLE, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WAYS TO WIND DOWN?
I’m so busy at the moment that I find it extremely hard to switch off but one way I do try and wind down is by seeing my friends. They always make me smile and laugh and it may sound a bit cliche but laughter really is the best medicine.
WE’RE SO EXCITED TO SEE HOW LIVIA’S KITCHEN GROWS EVEN FURTHER – WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU AND THE BRAND?
There’s so much coming up at Livia’s Kitchen – I’m just so excited for you to see! Look our for YouTube videos where I will be giving everyone a little taste of whats its like to work here at Livia’s Kitchen. We’re also currently working on a new product which will hopefully be released in the next few months. It’s very different to crumble and I absolutely love it! I can’t wait to share it with you all but for now my lips are sealed.
To find out more about everything going on with Livia’s Kitchen, check out there website here: http://liviaskitchen.co.uk