Raw Food

Crunchy Thai Salad with Green Coco Dressing (Raw)

 

Crunchy Thai Salad with Green Coco Dressing

Crunchy Thai Salad with Green Coco Dressing

So here we go again! Raw Earth Month at the Beach House Kitchen will see a huge influx of tasty salads and juices, its inevitable and we love ’em all!

An amazing friend of the BHK (Dodee over in Hawaii – see magical ‘Sacred Backyard Blog‘ here) said of raw food, ‘I’ve made the decision to feel good all the time!’ and how true that is.  Jane and I are buzzing around feeling ace, it’s day five I think and we are fully over our ailments brought on by a fairly intense ‘treat’ time in Dublin(Guiness-fest), lots of birthdays in a row (wine and cake-fest) and meals out (plenty of great rich food).  Our bodies are thanking us now and our energy levels are through the roof.  We are also enjoying the naturally slower life, with no lights and electrical appliances at nighttime.

Jane enjoying the slower life - Glynllifon Estate, Caernarfon

Jane enjoying the slower life – Glynllifon Estate, Caernarfon

I had some fairly strong caffeine withdrawal symptoms on day 2, pounding headache and no energy whatsoever.  After a good sleep, this passed.  Its amazing how the body adapts so quickly to things, good or bad and how sensitive you become when eating this wonderful raw stuff!  Happy days indeed.

Salad wise, we had some left over thai curry paste hanging around the  fridge that demanded a dish.  This salad has all the flavours of Thailand and more, when we’re raw we really like to make a fuss over our salads.

Jane and I love Thailand and on rainy afternoons in Wales we sometimes wonder how Bangkok is and our favourite little coast towns; how are those street food stalls doing without us!?  How is a our favourite juice guy near Kaosan Road?  How is the coconut curry man in Prachuap Kiri Khan?  At times like this, the tastebuds are going mental and they need something with the incredibly pungent and fragrant aromas of THAI.  Its unmistakable and I’d almost consider going back just for the food alone, but there are at least a 101 other countries I’d like to visit before I start re-tracing my steps in the global sand.

Nutritionally, this is a beast of a dish; with sweet potato, sesame seeds, peanuts, avocado, spinach, etc etc etc, the list goes on and with a punchy/ creamy dressing to finish things off, its a real main event salad.  When you decide to eat raw vegan, there is very little you can eat that will do you any harm, that’s one of the beautiful things about the lifestyle, pile it on a plate and know that its all good.  No baddies included.

This salad boasts quite a list of ingredients and was mainly dictated by what we had in, but you can very happily have a play with this one; veggies can be chopped and changed and any nut will do here!

Talking of chopping, if you can get them into thin, baton-like shapes, they work best here. The dressing clings to them and they look the part also.

ความสงบสุข
khwām sngb sukh (peacex)
Makes one large salad bowl full, enough for four hungry munchers.

The Bits

Salad – 1 carrot, 1 stick celery, 1/2 cucumber, 1 red pepper1/2 sweet potato (all chopped into thin batons), 1 cup rocket (arugula to some), 2 spring onions (finely chopped),1 red chilli (finely chopped), 2 cups spinach (finely chopped), 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved), 1 cup beansprouts (we used homesprouted mungers aka mung beans), 1 cup basil leaves, 1/2 avocado (scooped out with teaspoon), 1 lime (zest and juice), 1 tbs black sesame seeds, 1/2 cup raw peanuts

Dressing – 2 cup organic coconut cream (the creamier the better), 2 tbs green thai curry paste, 1/2 lime (zest and juice), 2 teas white wine vinegar, 1 handful basil leaves, 1 teas sea salt

Do It

Chop all hard veggie ingredients into long, thin batons leaving the avocado, nuts and basil leaves to the side for topping purposes.  Add all the rest of the ingredient and the hard veggies to a large salad bowl, mix in half of the dressing, combine well and sprinkle over the topping ingredients.

For the dressing, simply blend all together in a food processor.  The texture should be thick and ‘cling-y’ to get sticky all over on the salad.

Serve

Not chilled, but not quite room temperature, this is a good gauge for our salad temps.  To cold and you don’t get the flavour, to warm and you have wilting issues.  We always have a nice surplus of salad dressing in a bowl on standby.

CRUNCH! and ZING!

CRUNCH! and ZING!

We Love It!

Getting back into raw vegan ways is a serious blessing for body, mind and soul.  We are so lucky to both want to lead this type of lifetsyle, if one of us wanted chips everynight it just wouldn’t be the same!  This salad is a far from chips as you can get in the food world.  It’s a proper zinger!

Foodie Fact 

Sesame seeds are outrageously healthy, some say  they are the healthiest food in the world.  These wonder seeds have been with us for many thousands of years and are thought to originate in India, having been mentioned in ancient Hindu texts.

They are very rich in minerals, especially copper, iron, calcium and zinc.  So ‘open sesame’ and pop some in your diet soonXXXXXXX

Categories: gluten-free, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Raw Earth Month – What’s it all about?

We are running late on Raw Earth Month, the big day is now tomorrow (for a variety of mundane reasons).  I know Jane has already told you a little about what we’re up to, but here’s my take on the whole shebang.  Lee

The Beach House is going full-on this June – July (24th – 24th), its:

!………………RAW EARTH MONTH……………….!

We are rather excited about the whole dreamt up project.  It came like a bolt from the blue, we wanted to do another raw food month (because it makes you feel great and raw food is seriously interesting for the taste buds and from a nutritional point of view) so we took it to the next level, a huge step towards a more natural, peaceful lifestyle.

Raw Earth Month means:

–  A raw/ vegan diet only

–  No caffeine/ alcohol

–  No consuming

(not buying anything other than staple food)

–  No detergents/ unnatural chemicals

(i.e. toothpaste, washing up liquid, clothes washing detergent, shampoo, soap etc)  

–  Minimal use of electricity

(other than recharging computers, dehydrating, juicing, blending)

–   Minimal car use

(other than going to work and shopping on the way back)

–  1 hour internet use per day

–  No electric lights

(candles are allowed!)

–  No washing machine

(we are hand washing clothes in the bath)

–  Waste water to be recycled

(in the garden on our veg patch)

–  Use as much organic produce as possible  

(has been difficult this year with the wet, wet conditions)

–  Forage as much as possible

(nettles, elderflower, hawthorn, wild herbs, red clover, dandelion)

–  Composting all our waste and only buying packed produce when absolutely unavoidable.

Yoga, walking, meditation, gardening, playing music and smiling; definitely allowed.

We have loads of cool books to read about sustainability, organic/ biodynamic gardening, raw food, etc and are taking this month as a huge learning curve.  Jane is really getting into herbal remedies and potion making, with wonderful results (elderflower champagne anyone!!!!!)  We have both been super busy with work recently and are looking forward to this little window of peace.

Jane and I are also going to be making some music and this may appear on the BHK soon.  We may sing about red clovers and rosemary, we may not!

We’d love to hear your experiences of a similar lifestyle/ project and any advice is very, very warmly appreciated.

All in all, we hope to live the life we want to live, free from the troublesome add-ons of the modern world and co-existing within it.

VIVA RAW EARTH!x 

For more info on our Raw Earth Month, see here.

PS – I’ve no idea what we’ll do next year, maybe move into a cave or become wandering mendicants?!

Categories: Healthy Living, Raw Food, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Raw Earth Month – Moving Back to Nature

Raw Earth Month at The Beach House Kitchen

Raw Earth Month

RAW EARTH MONTH

at the Beach House

‘Raw June’ in 2012 was a whole month dedicated to eating raw food, with no caffeine, added sugar, or alcohol. It was an incredible month for me. The experience made me realise that I actually ENJOY eating raw food! After it had finished, it felt natural for us to continue with a big part of our diet raw from then on.

Not only did I develop quite a flair in the kitchen for whisking up quick, gorgeous salads, soups and sauces (I’m not a natural cook), we both became very at home with the basics of nutrition, combining foods, new foods, health foods – the days were long and light, the food was sunny, and bright, and so were we!

The other interesting thing for me was that I really connected a lot more with my body during that time. I listened to it more, and felt into my energy levels more often during the day. For the first time in my life, I was aware of the conditioning of my mind, telling me I was hungry just because I didn’t feel ‘full’ (despite eating bowls and bowls of the most nutritional food on the planet)! And my goodness, did I get a whopper lesson on the nature of cravings? Wheew! It was as if something happened in my brain and I suddenly over-night became an addict of chocolate, dairy, crisps and even fried chips! It was a great exercise of willpower for me, especially since my birthday also fell into the month of June….

The other day, while roaming Anglesey’s wild and beautiful coastal path on a gorgeous sunny afternoon, Lee and I started excitedly planning the next Raw Food month for this Summer.

Inspiration spiraled as we sparked off each other, and soon we were discussing not only how we could improve the way we eat, but also the way we live our lives in general. The way we impact our Mother Earth.

Mother Earth

I would say we live in a fairly environmentally conscious way; we are not huge consumers of material possessions, electricity, or water. We recycle and make compost for our veg patch, we don’t own a clothes dryer, microwave or TV, we make our own washing up liquid and toothpaste, I don’t wear make-up, I use cloth pads during my moon time…. But no way are we perfect! We still use some chemical cleaners around the house; we use laundry detergent, conventional soap, and I use conventional shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant. We both use our computers for hours each day, electrical appliances and lights are accidentally left on… that kind of thing.

So we have set an intention! For a whole month starting on the Summer Solstice Friday June 21st, we are going to be eating only raw vegan food and we are also going to live in a way that lowers our impact on nature and the climate.

This means we are going completely ‘chemical free’ in the home – we’ll be experimenting with home-made eco-cleaning products, laundry products and toiletries. We are cutting down our electricity usage by not using appliances or electric heating. We are also going to switch off our lights in the evening to become more in tune with nature’s circadian rhythms. We’ll reduce our petrol consumption to essential trips only, and limit ourselves to 2 hours of computer time per day. Our mobile phones will be off unless we’re working, and, last but not least we will not buy anything apart from food and essentials – so no shopping trips!

It was not easy for us to agree the finer points of this experience – because of course it does involve sacrifices to our normal way of living, and would not be a challenge otherwise. For example, there was a point in the conversation where I flatly refused to even do Raw Earth Month! It was when Lee brought up the topic of shampoo and conditioners. This was met by fiery resistance by me as my hair is unusually big, long, thick and DIFFICULT at the best of times, even with these wonderfully enriching chemically products in my life. The other thing I felt resistance about was hand-washing all our laundry, not using conventional laundry liquid, and disinfecting the loo. Other than that I’m excited to experiment and relishing the thought of no technology and evenings sat by candle light… Bliss!

Lee on the other hand had no qualms about giving up chemicals on his body and hair, but found the computer part challenging – and even managed to haggle me up from one hour (as initially suggested) to two per day! I do take his point that blog articles can take time to write…

I’m just hoping that we can learn some new life skills during this phase; hopefully lessons we will be able to integrate into the rest of our lifes forever. In our opinion, saving and conserving energy is something we will all have to do more in the future. We will have to turn back once more to Mother Nature, and work with her not against her. Lets get a head start!

Janexxxxx

Janexxxxx

and

Leexxxxx

Leexxxxx

For more info on raw food check out our posts from last year, June – July 2012.

Also see our page ‘Why Raw Food?

The ‘No Impact Man‘ has been doing things like this over in New York.

Categories: Healthy Eating, Inspiration, Raw Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Winter Zing Salad

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Winter Zing Salad

A salad for the lovers of all things green and healthy. A real cold buster! The winter zing will beat the heck out of all those winter blues and ailments that hang around at this time of year.  It’s designed specially to make you fly into Christmas time feeling superb!  All that decadent scoffing is just around the corner and our bodies need a helping hand.

It’s that time of year when salads should be eaten more, with the dark and gloomy weather, everyone is getting colds and run down. You just need to flip your head around a little here, salads are not just for summertime. Trust us, your body will thank you for this one.

We all need some food medicine sometimes and a boost, this salad boasts all of this and some funky green stuff to top it off.  I like the idea of using food for healing the body (mind and soul too), a preventive measure to illness, something that benefits the body and actually gives energy freely, without taking it away.  All ancient civilizations knew about this, especially the Indias, who through Ayurveda, have a complete method of food science created thousands of years ago! It is mostly still relevant today and modern science seems to be catching up!

Most foods we eat at this time of year are stodgy, rich and satisfying, it seems natural to be drawn to them when it’s raining and miserable outside. These foods are the exact opposite to what our bodies actually need, we end up feeling heavy and bloated, our bodies energy is mainly used to digest the food being eaten and not keeping us in tip-top shape, fighting bugs and all.

In wintertime the body needs a boost, an influx of nutrients, alkaline foods and a vitamin kick to keep them clean, light and healthy. With salads like this you’ll be the only one at work who doesn’t get that cold!

This bowl of goodness is basically lots of green leafy bits and other hard colourful veggies chopped up finely and given a wonder dressing. It is hearty and rich, with the addition of olives and a good glug of olive oil which gives plenty of fats to keep you well padded in colder climes. You can use different combos of hard veggies and leaves depending on what you have in the fridge, but this bowl works wonderfully. We have been experimenting extensively in the super zing salad field; too many baguettes and lumps of cheese in France has left us feeling in need of some quality salad time.

The idea here is to chop everything up into small chunks, so that you can get many different flavours on your fork/ spoon at the same time. Mingle the zing! You don’t want a mouth full of just spinach, you want it all mixed up and coated in your magic dressing.

Jane on the each with Robbie (the dog)

Jane on the beach with Robbie (the dog)

This recipe uses raw garlic, we love it and so do our nearest and dearest. You may want to moderate the quantity if pungent garlic breath is not you thing, although trust me, your body will thank you for the garlic buzz (it’s pretty powerful stimulant).

We topped this salad with some treats from the health food shop that you may not have in the cupboard. Nori and all of the seaweed family are just amazing for you and also add a distinct flavour to each dish they grace. For vegetarians, they are almost essential, the more green things in your diet the better and the seaweed family is full of chlorophyll and anti oxidants that make you zing and shine. As a substitute you could use wheat grass powder, spirulina or some finely chopped green herbs. Basil would be rather nice and is a special leaf.

The blob of miso on the side here acts as your salt for the meal, it is full of sodium but also many, many other goodies and cold fighting friends. You can regulate how much you fancy or need.

We are getting back into our food combining behavior and feeling all the better for it. Usually we wouldn’t eat dried fruits with this salad, but those fresh dates a too fine to ignore and of course add a lovely sweetness to proceedings.

Makes one large bowlful for one very lucky salad muncher.

A decadent salad for beating dark long days…….

The Bits

All veggies should be chopped into fine cubes (approx 2cm):

1 handful spinach leaves, 1 handful chard leaves, ½ cup brilliant green olives (pitted easier to eat), 1/3 cucumber, 1 gorgeous tomato (we used a black kumato), 1/3 head of broccoli and stem, 1 small carrot, ½ red pepper, 3 fresh dates (chopped), 1 tbsp nori sprinkles, 1 teas barley grass powder, 2 teas mixed seeds, small blob of brown miso (on the side)

Dressing – 1 garlic clove, 3cm sq cube ginger (both finely diced), 1 1/2 great olive oil, 1 tbsp coriander leaves (finely chopped), ½ tbsp lemon juice

Do It

Rinse all your veggies in a bowl of water, chop it all up into little pieces, we don’t peel anything unless absolutely necessary.

If you are presentation conscious, layer the salad (green leaves first) and top with olives, dressing and green sprinkles. Otherwise, mix all your veggies and olives in a bowl with the dressing and then top with your sprinkles.

Serve

Your finest salad bowl, although you could serve this salad in any pot or dish and it would light up your day.

Winter Zing Salad

Winter Zing Salad

We Love It!

Taste amazing, full of crunchy bits and many surprising flavours, one moment a date pops up, then a little miso, then an olive. This is fun food and always interesting to eat!

Foodie Fact

Cold busting 101:

Exercise, eat healthy, avoid excessive boozing, get some sun (if you can!!), treat yourself, relaxxxxxxxxxx, embrace the beauty of winter, get social and most of all, catch plenty of ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ’s.

Winter is a tough time for body and mind, eat more salads!

Categories: Ayurveda, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Superfoods | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Kumato, Piquillo, Butter Bean and Coriander Salad

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Kumato, Avocado, Butter Bean and Piquillo Salad

A salad to light up any table with a wonderful combination of strong colours and sweet flavours.  I know we always rave about our food, but we happen to like it!  This salad is a combo of all the things we adore in food; beans, sweet things, crispy veg and a tangy dressing.   It’s a hearty salad and ideal for a main course.

All ingredients are from the local market, grown by people who love their plants.  I swear you can taste the difference!

Piquillos are something new for us, I have never fully appreciated their potential to tantalise.  A proper taste explosion!  There is such a wide range of flavours that can be experimented with when marinating.  The process is the same with meat and veggies, peppers are ideal for the slow soaking process.  Really getting the flavours in there and becoming nicely tender.

Piquillos are little red Spanish chilli peppers, which are spicy in a soft way. To make our marinated peppers, we roast them off first, get a little colour on them, and pop them in a jar and cover with olive oil and a drop of honey.  Herbs and spices can be added, we like them nice and simple.  Seal well and leave for a few days, longer if you can, and enjoy on all salads, sandwiches or served straight up as a nibble/ tapas treat.

Kumatos are a real star.  A type of tomato grown in these Murcian parts, dark green (or called black by some!) and full of a vibrant sweet flavours.  Very fruity indeed.  I did not fully understand the wonder of tomatoes until I visited southern Spain.  They grow all around this region, unfortunately mostly in longs bags in massive plastic covered farms.  These beauties came from an old mans back garden and you can taste the love!

Salads like this deserve a decent plate to be served on, not stacked up in a bowl.   This adds a little theatrical joy to the dining experience.  Get your largest, finest plate and spread the gorgeous ingredients out in a haphazard, indulgent fashion.

I like to serve the salad with warm butter beans, it brings the flavours out even more.  If you use warm beans, serve straight away, things can get limp.

Time for the assembly…..

Makes one large plate of salad, good for two as a main serving.

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The Bits

5 medium kumatos (or the best tomatoes you can get your mits on), three large handfuls of chopped swiss chard, 2 cups of cooked butter beans, 1 cup chopped piquillos, 1 avocado (chopped into chunks), 1 handful of fresh coriander,

Dressing – 3 tbs great olive oil (or use the oil from the piquillos, even better), 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt and cracked pepper to taste.

Do It

Lay your chard out onto the plate and pop the rest of your bits evenly on top, leaving the coriander until last.  Drizzle with a little dressing and keep some on the side for people who love their tang!

P1180656

Kumato, Butter Bean, Coriander and Piquillo Salad

Serve

Centre stage maybe with some crusty bread and lashings of olive oil.

We Love It!

Rich and sweet, just like us (not!)  A real gourmet salad treat.

Foodie Fact

Piquillos are traditionally grown in northern Spain and are full of vitamin C  (comparable with a citrus fruit).  They are also rich in many other vitamins and are generally served in Spain stuffed and roasted.  They’re great stuffed with cream cheese and herbs.

Categories: Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Carrot Top Salad aka The Perfect Packed Lunch

Carrot Top Salad

So what does a mostly raw food dude take to work for lunch?  A carrot top salad of course!  The most complete salad we can muster.

This Carrot Top Salad is a good example of my daily packed lunch, nice and quick to prepare and bursting with good textures and flavours.  Its one of my favs.  You may have noticed the distinct slow down in Beach House posting recently, I’ve been working like a donkey. I need all the energy I can get and this salad is a serious hit of nutrition, flavour and vitality. I feel fully charged after lunch and light as a feather. Non of those post lunch slumps with this salad.

To make this you need carrot tops.  To find those you need to go get some real food, most supermarkets won’t sell carrots with the tops on and if they do, god knows where they’ve been and what  the poor green things have been exposed to along the way.  Go local and find some earth loving types, normally living in peace and happiness somewhere in the middle of a field and ask them which way to the carrots.  It should’t take long.

Carrot tops are delicious and full of nutrients, especially chlorophyll.  They can be a little bitter, thats the potassium, so at least you know its some good stuff.  They make great juice and can even be crushed and used as a mouthwash.  They contain a lot of vitamins etc not present in the carrot (like ‘K’ for example).  They can be hard going and a little chewy on their own, thats why they are best in this salad.  They’re not as sweet as the ‘root’, thats where all the sugar and water goes.  So much food is thrown away nowadays and much of these we can re-use or munch on.  Please, give these little green beauts a chance!

Glorious local toms

To the salad….I basically combined the fruits, veg and seeds available into a massive salad, stick it in a container and have a jam jar full of dressing (that lasts a few days).  I make enough salad for at least two days (excluding the apple, normally added in the morning) and hey presto! LUNCH.

This is a huge salad by general standards, alot goes into it and it’s designed to be a hearty meal. The Carrot Top definitely cannot be termed as a ‘side salad’, this is the main attraction.  A word of warning, this takes quite a bit of munching.  You need to build up some decent jaw muscles to attempt such a salad.

There are constants in my salad world; dark green leaves make up the majority of it, lots of hard vegetables cubed (for crunch), seeds (lots)and the occasional dried fruit makes an appearance and also a nice easy, tangy dressing.  Then that’s me off, for another day in the office/ kitchen/ restaurant/ field/ bridge tunnel or wherever else the money lies!

We have decided to head off to Spain for a few months over the winter months and all the pennies are needed for time in the beautiful Mediterranean sun. Expect some real bright beach posts soon, until that time comes in mid October, its work and salad time for me.

Just for your information, I also scoff two pieces of fruit and a bowlful of nuts and seeds all washed down with a cup of green tea and lots of water.  You’ll be glowing afterwards, safe in the knowledge that this lunch time you were very kind to your body.

The only reason we can eat like this is due to Jane and I’s passion for healthy foods.  We have buckets of fine pulses and seeds filling up our kitchen.  We buy all this stuff in bulk normally and have it to hand.  We are lucky.  If we are not at home, travelling around etc, it can be tough to get anything like the real ‘Carrot Top’ together.

Kale takes a bath

This makes two large pots of salad, good for two lunches at least.

The Bits

Salad – 1 apple (or pear), 2 carrot, 1/2 cucumber (pickled or not, I like either), 1 courgette, 1 beetroot (all cubed), 2 handfuls of carrot tops (finely chopped), 2 big handfuls of beetroot leaves or green cabbage or kale (chopped), 1/2 handful of raisins, 1/2 handful of pumpkin seeds, 1/2 handful of sunflower seeds, 1 handful of mung bean sprouts, 1/2 handful of chopped mint leaves, 1/2 handful of chives, 2 teas barley powder/spirulina (optional, specialist things from health food shops that are full of zing), handful of cherry tomatoes (whole)

Beetroots on the board

Dressing – Juice and zest of half a lemon, 1/3 cup good olive oil, 1 teas honey, 1 clove garlic (minced), sea salt, cracked pepper.  Or just make a whole jam jar full and shake it up when you need it.  I normally carry it around in my bag.  If you friends laugh at you for carrying dressing around with you, they obviously don’t understand the importance of salad.

Do It

Gather all you ingredients in your largest salad bowl and get you hands in there, give it all a good mix up.  Separate into your containers and pop the lids on and into the fridge.  You are now well lunch’d up and ready to go.

Packed up and ready to go.

Serve

After a good mornings graft, eat with a large spoon and be happy in your munching.

We Love It!

Turning something that many would deem as waste into a tasty dish is just grand.  We love the crunch and texture of these salads, each mouthful is different.

Foodie Fact

Carrot tops can also be made into a brilliant tea, great for purifying the blood and kidneys.  They also used to be used as a fashion accessory:

“In the reign of James I, (1603)  it became the fashion for ladies to use flowers, fruit, feathers and the like to decorate their clothes. Picture showing carrot leaves in a hatThis was amusingly extended to the use of Wild Carrot flowers and its feathery leaves and stalks to decorate their hair, hats, sleeves, dresses and coats. The lacy green foliage  was especially fashionable during the autumn months when the leaves took on a reddish coloration.”

For more carrot facts like this, visit The World Carrot Museum

 

 

 

Categories: Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Raw Power Balls

Apricot Sesame and Tahini – Raw Power Balls

These are real super fuels, if you need power and energy, look no further.  These Raw Power Balls are like duracell batteries for the body.

We love a good raw bar.  Nutty or seedy.  Carob or crunch.  Nak’d and Nine Bar are just a couple on sale in the UK which are perfect when you fancy a treat but don’t want to eat a load of junk.  Making them yourself however is a lot more fun and allows your creative side to get busy.

These little balls pack a serious punch, tasty and like rocket fuel, your energy levels and vitality will leap when you try them.  We experiment with this recipe all the time and they are the perfect snack for a long day walking up steep hills (and then down again).  I eat them at work and they keep me rocking all day.  The measurements are rough here, they don’t need to be exact, handfuls are accurate enough.  This is a simple, quick snack that serves as a tasty last minute treat.

Packed with nuts and date, you need to take it easy with this type of snack.  They are very filling and packed full of sugar, hence the power.  Too many and you’ll negate any benefit gained from all that raw goodness (by getting fat!).

They don’t need any preparation, but the dates and nuts will be better for a soak.  They swell up and even taste better. They become softer and easier to blend.  Soaking will also release many of the useful enzymes and nutrients that are otherwise closed off to the body.  If you do decide to soak your bits, keep the juice, date juice is lovely and sweet and the nut juice is packed with nutrients.  We add it to juices, stews or soups.

You may also like to make these into a truffle.  Heat up some chocolate (in a bowl above a pan of steaming water) and roll you power balls in them until well coated.  Place on a tray, covered with baking parchment and stick them in the fridge.  Once the chocolate has hardened, they are ready to be enjoyed.  That’s surely a treat worthy of a special birthday walk or even a dessert in its own right (just make the balls slightly bigger).

On a wander, seeing some flowers.

Here are a few of our favourite Power Ball flavour combos:

The Bits

Makes six decent power balls

Basic recipe:

1 handful of good dates (we like medjool, soaked for 2 hours), 1 handful of almonds (soaked overnight), 1/2 handful of cashews (soaked overnight)

Dark Chocolate Orange

2 heaped teas cacao powder, 3 teas orange blossom water or 2 teas orange zest, 1/2 handful of raisin (soaked) 

Apricot, Sesame and Tahini

3 teas sesame seeds, 2 teas tahini, 1/2 handful of dried apricots (soaked and chopped)

Walnut Apple Pie

1 handful dried apples (soaked), 1 handful of walnuts (replace almonds), 1/2 teas cinnamon

Lemon Cardamom

2 teas lemon zest, 2 teas crushed cardamom seeds

Coco Choco Mint

1/2 handful of fresh coconut (blend first), 2 teas cacao powder, 2 teas finely chopped mint leaves

Vanilla Cashew

1 teas vanilla extract, use only cashew nuts

Very Berry 

1 handful of dried cranberry, 1/2 handful of dried blueberry, 1/2 handful dried cherries, 1 teas vanilla extract

Seedy Wonder

1/2 handful sunflower seeds, 1/2 handful pumpkin seeds, 1/4 handful sesame seeds, 1/4 handful poppy seeds

Ginger Bread

1/2 teas all spice, 1/2 teas dried ginger, 1 handful of pecans (replace almonds)

Maple Fig and Lavender (CAUTION – very sweet!)

1 teas maple syrup, 1/2 teas dried lavender, 1/2 handful dried figs (soaked and chopped)

Peanut Butter 

2 teas peanut butter, 1 handful of raw peanuts

The list goes on…………..like kids in a sweet shop……

Do It

The technique is always the same.  Put it all into a food processor, blitz until smooth (or chunky, you decide).  Get your hands in there and roll out a decent sized ball between your palms.  That’s it!

Place in the fridge for a while to make them firmer and a little less sticky.  They last for a long time in a sealed container in the fridge and can even be frozen and munched at a later date.

Chocolate Orange – Raw Power Balls

Serve

Preferably on top of a peak or in a forest somewhere far away from anywhere.

We Love Them!

Better than a biscuit and full of only raw goodness.

Foodie Fact

Dates give you a hefty dose of protein and fibre.  They are also high in calories, essential when wandering around the countryside (or city for that matter).  They are also a good source of Vitamin B and you’ll even get a splash of C thrown in as well.

Sun on flowers, taken on a walk in the woods

Categories: Desserts, Raw Food, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Little Bird Raw Food Cafe, Auckland

No I have never been to the Little Bird, but it may be worth the flight.  I am as close to Auckland as I am to Windhoek, but my friend Ang lives in Auckland.  Ang emailed this morning and as usual, got some inspiration twanging.  This is such a magic idea, a raw food non-bakery.  The range of non-baked goodies look like a delight and Im assured that the macadamia macaroons are awesome (they chuffing well sound it).

The Little Bird is definitely a place that reflects our belief about super food and feeding ourselves (and loved ones) only the ‘good stuff’.  The folks at Little Bird offer some great info on their ingredients, many of which you will see used in the BHK regularly.

Non-baked goodies

So heres a link to the Beach House Kitchens new favourite bakery, which we’ll hopefully visit one day.  Until then, I’m sure Ang will help us sample the menu.  If you’re in Auckland, or passing through, heres the address – 385 New North Rd, Kingsland. Ph 550-7377, let us know about those white chocolate truffle things.  Wow!

I feel a raw tart coming on.

Shiny Megan, founder of the Little Bird Non-Bakery

 

Categories: Cakes, Raw Food, Treats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Avocado, Coconut & Lime Cheesecake

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This is just one of those recipes that comes along, out of the great blue yonder, that catches the eye and demands to be made.  This floated by via a recommendation from Yolanda at the wonderful Byzantine Flowers blog.  There are millions of recipes hovering around out there, but only a small minority grab me and really get my creative juices flowing.  I like something a little bit different, something challenging and new.  When I saw that this cheesecake had either kale, beetroot leaves or spinach in it, I knew I’d discovered a new dessert for me to play with.  I’m strange like that!!

MERCI CHEF!

We are in veggie heaven at the moment after helping chef strim his garden.  To be honest it was more of a wild field than a garden and due to our combined efforts in helping tame his jungle, chef gifted us a serious glut of amazing vegetables from his pristine veg garden (you can see where his priorities lie!).

Chef lives way up in the hills and has a fantastic garden that he and his Zimbabwean wife, Estele, take magnificent care of.  Estele is a natural with the good earth and can grow things that just shouldn’t grow in these temperate parts.  Chef is a proud frenchman and quite handy with a strimmer and mandolin.  Thanks to them we are now the proud owners of literally bin bags full of incredibly sweet spinach, fiery mint, intense chives, vibrant cabbage and some of the most vivid carrots.  You may be seeing more of these ingredients soon (maybe in desserts?!)  I have never tasted spinach this sweet (see below), the seeds came from chefs sister in the Loire Valley in France.  Ideal dessert spinach I’d say.

Raw desserts normally have a lot of components, but they are easy to get together and require a lot less messing around than normal baking (its not going to sink, burn, crumble, split……etc), it just sits there on the plate looking sexy.  I’ve never used pumpkin seeds in a base before and I think they taste even better than nuts.  Less fat, more flavour.  Seed bases are a winner.  The filling is rich and bright green (the spinach doing its thing) and you won’t believe that cream cheese wasn’t added.  It’s so smooth and creamy.

Who needs flowers

In the bright, green future, we’ll all be eating these!

Here’s the recipe with a few Beach House additions.  I stuck with handfuls, rather than exact measuring, here because its so straightforward and we love getting our mitts involved in cooking!!!

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Avocado, Coconut & Lime Cheesecake (raw, gluten-free, vegan, yum!)

Avocado, Coconut & Lime Cheesecake

The Bits – 6 little cheesecakes or one large one

Crust

4 big handfuls pumpkin seeds

2 big handfuls dates (pitted and soaked in warm water for an hour)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 teas tahini

Pinch sea salt

 

Filling

2 avocadoes (peeled and stoned)

3 big handfuls spinach leaves (washed)

2 handfuls dates (pitted and soaked n warm water an hour)

125ml (1/2 cup) water/ water from date soaking

3 tbs lime juice

2 tbs coconut flakes/ desiccated

1 tbs coconut oil (melted)

1 tbs maple syrup

1 tsp lime zest

Pinch of sea salt

The pumpkin seed bases

Do It

Using a food processor, pulse the pumpkin seeds, dates, vanilla, tahini and salt together until they start to clump into a ball.  Place in the fridge for an hour to firm up.

On a chopping board, using your hands, press the ball down into a flattish sheet (approx 1.5cm thick).  Then take a cake/cookie cutter and cut circles.  Roll up the leftovers and make another smaller sheet, repeat this until most of the base mix is used (eat the rest.  Yum!)

In the mix

Get all of your filling ingredients in your food processor/ blender and blitz up until nice and smooth.  Place you cake/ cookie cutter over your bases and spoon in a good layer of mix, using the spoon, even out the mix and make sure it meets the edges (giving you a nice looking, clean edge).  Gently pull off the cutter, your cheesecake should look splendid.  If not, be more careful with the next one!  Repeat until your mix runs out.

As I mentioned, the base can be rolled up into little balls and snacked on at a later date, so no waste here.

Please feel free to play with sizes and shapes.  We used this cutter as it makes for a decent dessert size and was handy.  The original recipe was more of a cupcake size.

Serve

They don’t last long, for many reasons, the avocado doesn’t help (so creamy!)  Serve them immediately with thin slices of lime, bits of coconut or as we did, a sprinkle of coconut flakes and a few pumpkin seeds.

We Love It!

People look quite disgusted when we tell them we’ve been making desserts with spinach in.  Hopefully they’ll read this post and have their minds changed, even better, they’ll actually try it for themselves.  Vegan desserts are the future, next week, garlic beer! (joking)

Foodie Fact

Coconut oil is an excellent substitute to cooking oils and especially butter.  It has been heralded as a ‘superfood’ and it certainly is.  The benefits of coco oil are many, for example, it can even be rubbed into your hair and skin giving amazing nutrition to both. Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, but they are mainly lauric acid, which actually helps repair the heart and arteries.  These fats also contain micro-biological qualities that fight bad bacteria and fungi in your guts, they also help you absorb many vitamins and minerals.  I could go on here……..I’m sure you get the idea.  Eat more cocos!

Categories: Desserts, Raw Food, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Black Prince Tomato & Coriander Soup (Raw)

Something like a Black Prince Tomato

These little toms are mind-blowingly tasty and light up this fabulous raw soup recipe.  We believe they are called Black Princes, but cannot be sure.  If they are Black Princes, they originated in Siberia but we picked them up from the wonderful John and Pippa in the small village of Bethel (a couple of valleys away). They are stunning tomatoes to look at, purple and dark green inside and mottled with emerald patches on the outside.  The most surprising thing about these tomatoes is that they have been grown organically in Wales (the land of the shy sun).  How is this possible?  I put it down to great expertise and poly tunnels, 20 years of growing experience also helps!  We are so very grateful to the brilliant Pippa and John for eeking out the best of the conditions of this, the wettest and worst summer on this grey island for over 100 years.  Can you imagine what they’d do in Spain!  Jane and I are almost addicted to these little gems, even scoffing them like popcorn whilst watching a samurai movie recently.

So whats all this about a Black Prince anyway? 

Well, the Black Prince (apart from just having the most epic name of any tomato we have encountered) is one of the most popular black tomatoes in the world (more dark green than black to be honest).  These toms are classed as an heirloom variety in the U.S. (see the foodie fact below) and have a wonderful deep, rich and fruity flavour.  The Black Prince is known as a ‘true Siberian tomato’, which makes it perfect for growing in cooler climates like our little grey island.

They say an Indian summer is coming to these parts, having experienced a couple of these myself in India, I am not sure that this is an accurate description of the potential weather situation.  We can however hope for some late summer sun which makes for a perfect raw soup climate.  But raw soups are not just for the summertime.

One of the things we both struggled to imagine prior to our month of raw food eating in June, was sitting down in front of our fire in mid-December, all wrapped up warm with thermals on and tucking into a cold soup with a salad.  We now know that this would work out just fine.  Although the temperature outside is chilly, the effect this kind of soup has on body and mind is seriously rejuvenating and they are absolutely jam packed full with the vitamins etc. that your body needs come the darker months.

This soup really does the black prince toms justice, it’s refreshing and not shy of a few flavours.  Whether you feel like sparkling some more, or are getting over a good old-fashioned beer garden adventure, this soup will get you zinging in all the right places.

Recipe Notes

The juice in the recipe replaces a traditional stock.  We have been experimenting with this juicy method and have had some brilliant results in mainly raw soups and stews.  No stock can live up to the vibrancy and freshness of a raw juice, especially for a chilled soup like this one.  We picked only the freshest flavours here and the combination of the tomatoes, peppers, oranges, chilli, coriander and ginger……well you can imagine!  With all those colours in a bowl, expect fireworks!

We like to use a little of the orange zest, it gives it even more pizzazz. The dates are essential to balance the saltiness of the miso.  You could use agave syrup or the like if you fancied, but there is something wonderful about adding dates to savoury food.  Avocado is perfect in soups, but does mean that it must be eaten within a day.  The avos add creaminess without the cream and are a great little raw food trick.

If you don’t own a juicer, just buy some fresh carrot juice instead.  You could also use the same quantity of water, but it would be slightly lacking.  You may also omit the sprouted mung beans and still produce a wonderful bowl of happiness, we just had a glut of them to hand.

Black Prince Tomatoes

This recipe is enough for two big bowlfuls with ample seconds.

The Bits

10 ripe black cherry tomatoes (or the best cherry tomatoes you can get your hands on)

3 ripe tomatoes (the bigger variety)

1 avocado

1 big handful mung bean sprouts

250ml carrot and celery juice (that’s roughly 4 large carrots and 1 stick celery)

1 big handful chopped coriander

1 yellow pepper (chopped)

1 tbsp flax oil (or good olive oil)

2 tsp miso paste

2 cm cube ginger (finely chopped)

1 clove garlic (mashed)

1/2 red chilli (or 1/2 teas chilli flakes)

Juice of 1 orange (with half the zest)

3 finely chopped dates

 

Do It

Make your juice first and then placed all ingredients in a food processor.  Blitz and add the juice gradually.  We think a minute or so is enough, maintain a few chunks, a longer blitz means a smoother soup.

Pre-blitz

Serve

Just not quite chilled and with a good handful of freshly chopped coriander (cilantro) as a topping and a scattering of sprouted mung beans.

We Love It!

Our favourite raw soup yet!!

Black Prince Cherry Tomato and Coriander Soup

Foodie Fact

In America ‘heirloom’ veggies are all the rage.  The Black Prince is an ‘heirloom’ fruit, which basically means that they are pure seeds and have not been touched by any GM crops.  At local markets in Britain, it is great to see people growing our indigenous varieties again, all mis-shapen and knobbly, with real flavours and textures.  Many people are single handedly keeping these varieties in existence and passing on these heirlooms to future generations.

Categories: Local food, Raw Food, Recipes, Soups, Summer, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

Salad Shirazi

Farm fresh veggies from our friends at Trigonos, bring on the salads!

Salad Shirazi is one of my favourite Persian salads and very easy to get together and prepare.  This salad seems to be ubiquitous from Delhi to Tangiers, hard vegetables chopped up small with onion and some lemon juice, herbs if you are lucky or decadent or both.

We used some lovely veggies from the farm and added a little courgette because it is that time of year.  The mint came from the herb garden and our little taste of Persia was complete.

 

This salad adds the ideal fresh crunch to rich cuisine and went perfectly with our Persian Aubergine Stew, but is perfect as a salad in its own right.  The fresher the produce, the better the salad.

The Bits
3 medium sized cucumbers, 3 small firm tomatoes, 1 courgette, 2 small sweet onions, 3 tablespoons good olive oil, juice of 1 lemon or lime, 1 handful of fresh mint (chopped, dried mint will do), sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Do It

Cut tomatoes, cucumbers, courgette and onion into small cube-ish pieces and place them in a salad bowl and gently mix.  Add salt, pepper, mint, olive oil and lemon juice, mix well.

Salad Shirazi

Serve

Slightly chilled with smiles.

We Love It!

CRUNCH!

Foodie Fact

Salad is good for you.

Categories: Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Raw Strawberry Tartlets

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Raw Strawberry Tartlets

This is a variation on our Raw Summer Berry Cheesecake that was SOOOOO GOOD we thought we would do it again… only adding some different ingredients to make it tastier and a little more interesting (and smaller!).  One for the sweet tooth and can be eaten on a raw food diet too.  Try it, it’s amazing!

It was a beautiful sunny day so I put on my shorts, went in the garden, felt super-summery, and then decided to surprise Lee with a beautiful treat for when he got home from work.  The strawberries were farm-fresh, juicy, and looked oh so irresistible in the fridge, and the result was a delightful delicate mix of this rich nutty sticky base with it’s thick creamy sweet fruity topping. Such sunny decadence!!!

I just love raw food preparation and cooking. It’s quick, there is very little mess or washing up, and I really feel like I am learning so much about how to combine the ingredients and flavours. It’s so incredible how tasty these blends of foods can be and how versatile these ingredients are – the topping in this recipe is unbelievable!  Tahini never tasted so good.

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Raw Strawberry Tartlets

The Bits

Base

200g dates

200g soaked almonds

Large handful sultanas

Large handful cashew nuts

A shake of cinnamon

A shake of ground (or chopped ginger)

 

The delicious creamy topping

1 large banana

Juice of one lemon

3 tablespoons tahini

8 dates

 

Topping

Chopped strawberries

 

Do It

So here’s how it’s done!

Base – Blend the ingredients for the base in a food processor. Make little balls with the mixture and squash flat to make little round mini-bases. This took the longest out of everything because the mixture gets so sticky. Make as many bases as you want, any size or shape you want! Worth persevering with your sticky fingers for the end result 🙂

Topping – Blend everything together and smooth the lovely thick mixture on to your bases. Throw on some chopped strawberries, or any other fruit you may have that looks beautiful; and serve straight away.

You can keep the base and topping separate in the fridge and they will keep well for a few days.

Only add the fruit just before serving for the freshest taste imaginable!

 

Serve

We like it all left out of the fridge, at room temperature.  Served in the garden and eaten with teaspoons (to prolong the happiness).  Normally with a nice cup of Rooi-al (Rooibos tea with almond milk) or Rooi-soy (with soya milk).  The perfect little summer treat.

 

We Love It!

This is so simple.  The most delicious dessert and minimal effort…leaving more time for eating!!!

 

Foodie Fact

Strawberries are actually native to Europe, and technically a ‘creeper’.  Nothing evokes summertime in Britain more than the coming of the strawberry.  Strawberries are very high in vitamin C, our anti-oxidant friend and vitamin B. They also contain plenty of vitamin B and E and have good levels of mineral content.  They are also full of phyto-nutrients that are brilliant for the body, they fight diseases and other nasty things.  Oh, and they are low in calories.

Enjoy!!

Jane x

Categories: Desserts, Raw Food, Recipes, Summer, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Nakd Bars (Raw)

Nakd Bars

My first look at a Nakd bar read:

Nature is nice 

Eatnakd.com

Want to look better, feel better and help the world? Replace over-processed foods with nourishing wholefoods and get ready to be happy. This satisfying slice of goodness is a great place to start. Hope you love it as much as we do! Nature is nice.

That was just the wrapper! I was sold. It didn’t matter what they tasted like, I loved the whole ethos behind these raw fruit and nut bars.  They come in an awesome range of flavours, like cocoa orange (our favourite), ginger bread (lee’s favourite), cocoa delight (jane’s favourite), cashew cookie (just plain lovely) and pecan pie (rather nice also).

Nakd bars are a lovely raw nutritious treat that we’d like to champion a little.  These goodies are simply made by mooshing nuts and fruit together.  The bars are chewy and crumbly and the cocoa flavours are intesly chocolaty.

Nakd are a great success story and are now in many supermarkets and high streets around the UK.  What an excellent option to other processed sweets.   Nakd bars contain no hidden nasties and are packed with nutrients.  They are vegan, wheat and gluten free, there is very little reason to not munch on one.  They even have the new ‘Nakd Oatie’ range which are all under 100 calories per bar, perfect nibbles to compliment a bikini body.

We can be outdoors types when the mood (and weather) takes us, Nakd bars are the perfect treat to have packed in your bag.  They are full of energy and are nice and little.  It seems they are becoming a favourite with many endurance athletes, who push the human body to the extremes.  Extreme challenges need extreme fuel and that’s what Nak’d bars give your body.  They are super charged and super tasty!

Get Nakd!

You’ll find all Nak’d things HERE.

The Beach House Nakd pot

Categories: B.H.K Reviews, Raw Food, Treats, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Beetroot and Apple Raita

Beetroot and Apple Raita

The perfect accompaniment to the ‘Hippy Daal’.  This sweet, crunchy, fruity raita salad is the ideal side dish to spicy rich food, also great as a salad in its own right.

This is a really nice twist on your normal raita recipe. Absolutely nothing wrong with the original recipe, but when you have amazing beetroots and apples in the bowl, you just have to play with flavours!

Of course we love beetroot at the BHK, for the most part, we live on the stuff.  We juice it, chop it, grate it……our table is incomplete without a little purple plate or two.

I like using the apples here, because I would normally sweeten my raita, but with these apples it doesn’t need it.

Jane and I on the beach today, enjoying the a little bit of sun (too rare).

The raita will look great if you try and chop all components in an even way.  Squares work well!  Circles more difficult, but very impressive!

Make sure your yoghurt isn’t too thick, water it down if needed.  Otherwise you could have a sticky mess on your hands.  The fresh mint makes this dish, so do try and get some together.  It is really easy to grow and we have found it saves alot of hassle (and money) to have some planted outside or on a window ledge.  If given space, it will spread like wildfire and you’ll never have a fresh mint crisis again (you’ll also have an endless supply of amazing mint tea).

The Bits

1 medium sized beetroot (peeled or scrubbed and chopped), 1 sweet organic apple (chopped), 1/2 cucumber (chopped), 1 small courgette (chopped), 1/2 teas ground cumin, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1 handful of chopped fresh mint (chopped), 150 ml of yoghurt (we use soya, greek/turkish would be amazing)

Do It

Add all ingredients to a bowl and give it a good stir.

Beetroot and Apple Raita (Raw)

Serve

Leave for at least an hour before serving, let the flavour’s gather.  Serve as you like, traditionally with a stonking curry or as we like, as a main course salad with some green leaves.  Add nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts) to make it more of a meal of it.

We Love It!

Creamy, spicy, fruity and what a crunch!  Difficult to find anything wrong with a raita.

Foodie Fact 

Mint is high in fibre and magnesium.  It is very high in vitamin A and folates and also packs some serious vitamin C.  It also helps with all sorts of stomach issues.

Categories: Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Rich Tomato and Basil Soup (Raw)

Tomato and Basil

Here’s one for when you are in a little bit of a hurry and you need something quick and tasty. Cold soup is a funny one for most people, it can be difficult to get your head around. Cold soups are served all over the world and I can think of many delicious recipes from Spain. It is very much a cultural thing, in Britain we have diabolical weather, which means we normally need a little warmth in our bellies. Soup is so sustaining and comforting, I don’t see why cold soup cannot have the same effect.

We managed to get our hands on a decent amount of lovely tomatoes, rare in these parts and this soup really did them justice.  The tomatoes really make this dish and without gorgeous tomatoes, you will struggle to get much flavour.  It’s all about tomato here!

Raw food is nutrient dense, which means alot of ingredients.  It is not your average soup, which normally relies heavily on a decent stock, its really just one big savoury smoothie!

This is a recipe that has the added richness of an avocado. I love the way that raw food uses things like avocado to add creaminess to dishes, surely better than a blob of clotted cream (no!?). But I must admit, clotted cream is definitely better on a scone.

We added on green chilli here, to add a little mexican style zing to proceedings.   It is optional of course.  If you’d like it richer, add more avocado, you can never get enough!

So dust off the blender and give this one a whirl. The perfect summer soup, refreshing and filling.  You can heat  this if you like, it will be nearly as nice!

Makes two big bowlfuls:

The Bits

8 tomatoes (medium size, chopped into 1/4’s), 1/2 sweet red pepper, 8 sun dried tomatoes (finely chopped/ mashed), 2 cloves garlic (minced, crushed etc), 1/2 medium sweet onion (Spanish are good, finely chopped), 1 big handful of chopped basil leaves, 1 avocado, pinch of good quality sea salt, 1 green chilli (very optional), olive oil for a drizzle

Tomato and Basil Soup (Raw)

Do It

All in a blender and pulse until a nice chunky texture is formed, add water if needed to thin out slightly.

Serve

We topped ours with sprouts (no surprises there then!) and a couple of basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil maybe?

We Love It!

Nice and rich and refreshing, a great way to use glorious toms!

Foodie Fact

Basil is regarded as the ‘king of herbs’ and is a holy plant in many cultures.  Basil originated in Iran and India.  Basil has many anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties, it contains exceptionally high levels of beta carotene, vitamin A, iron and a whole host of other good stuff.

Categories: Raw Food, Recipes, Soups, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Coconut Pad Thai Salad with Almond Dressing

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‘Tis a grey day in Wales and the streets of Bangkok seem a million miles away. There’s a man we know, who moonlights as a pole dancer (it is Bangkok) who makes the best Pad Thai, just off the chaotic Kaosan Road. He whips it up in seconds, with his vivid painted blue nails and long fake eyelashes.  It normally contains little dried shrimps and eggs, which we don’t add, but the rest of the ingredients are so simple and classically Thai.

This type of Pad Thai recipe has been in my mind for a while and Jane just kick started me into getting it done.  I knew I wanted coconut in there somewhere, to make up for the flavours of shrimp, fish sauce and egg, but it needed something else.  I sought inspiration on the interweb and found a great recipe at the taste space food blog.  Just add almonds!

This is a taste sensation, as you would imagine from anything faintly Thai.  Thai’s food knows no mediocrity, over cooked veggies or insipid stews.  Its all fresh and POW! over there.

Pad Thai Vendor

For the salad itself, you will need a sharp knife and a French peeler.  Really, no cooks drawers are complete without one, so it’s a wise purchase.  You will save years of your life peeling things, they are so easy to use and in this recipe, double as an ace veg noodle maker.  Yes, no noodles here, just veggies.  Making it super healthy and crunchy.

KELP NOODLES?

You can use some kelp noodles as a base if you are in a rush, this salad does take while to get together.  Kelp noodles are really interesting and taste fantastic, not disimilar to a noodle.  They are also completely raw (aka good for the belly and body).  They are widely available and well worth an experiment.

The salad base will be good with other things like carrots, cauliflower and apples for instance. We have gone for something a little closer to home i.e. whats in the fridge.

The kitchen is still full of the aroma of this intense dressing and the salad not only tastes wonderful, but is a rather sexy little number to boot!  It’s a looker.

This is the perfect summer salad to impress your friends (if they need any further impressing) and to treat your nearest and dearest to a taste of Thailand with a twist.  It is ideal served as a main course, but could also make a super side dish or starter.  Basically, you need to try this, however its served!

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Coconut Pad Thai Salad with Almond and Orange Dressing

Coconut Pad Thai Salad with Almond & Orange Dressing

The Bits – One Big Bowlful

I know this looks like a hefty amount of ingredients, but don’t fret, its easy peasy really….

Salad/ Noodles

1 large courgette (ribboned)

1 head chicory (very thinly sliced whole)

1 red pepper (very thinly sliced)

2 spring onions (finely chopped)

1 stick celery (ribboned)

2 handfuls finely grated white cabbage

1 big handful sprouted mung beans (we used sprouting aduki beans also)

1 orange (peeled and chopped small)

1/2 small coconut (chopped into small chunks)

1/2 cup peanuts – roasted is nice if you’re not a raw one (crushed)

1 tbs sesame seeeds

1 lime (wedges for serving)

 

Dressing

3 tbs tamari (or soya sauce)

2 teas sweetener (agave, brown rice syrup etc)

2 cloves garlic (minced/ crushed)

1 inch ginger (finely chopped)

1 chilli (finely diced)

1 big lime (juice)

4 dates (soaked until soft)

1/2 cup of almond butter (we make our own using soaked almonds and a lot of blending, plus a little water.  You may use peanut butter here)

Sea salt (if you like)

2016-08-01 12.32.53

We love Thailand! Would be the perfect backdrop for this Pad Thai

Do It

Ribbon and chop all your salad bits and get them into a lovely big bowl.  To ribbon easily, keep your fingers out of the way and bring the peeler down in smooth, firm motions.  Flip the veg regularly to ensure it is evenly peeled and by the end, you should be left with only a little slither, which can be sliced and tossed in also.  Reserve a few of the peanuts, sesame seeds and coconut for serving later.

In a blender, add all of your dressing ingredients and whizz up for a few minutes until a smooth texture has formed.  Taste it and adjust accordingly, normally the decision will be, sweeter or not?  It may need a little more lime, use the lime reserved for serving.

Mix the dressing into the salad, gently does it, some of those ribbons are quite fragile and look great when served whole.

Dish up with a big smile and be prepared for some yummmmmssss!

 

Serve

Sprinkle a few peanuts, coconuts and sesame seeds and finish with a little twist of lime juice.

 

We Love It!

WOW.  A really stunning salad.  Jane said it was “more than lovely,  INCREDIBLE!  This salad is genius…..”

 

Foodie Fact 

Pad Thai is one of Thailand’s national dishes.  It has been served in Siam (Thailand’s old name) for thousands of years, but was made popular by president Luang Phibunsongkhram in the 1930’s.   He wanted to lower the consumption of rice in Thailand, which was making good money being exported, and therefore promoted Pad Thai as being proudly Thai and virtuous.  He set about educating the nation in making rice noodles, especially the under privileged, training them to sell Pad Thai dishes, selling them in small cafes or from street carts.  This may have something to do with the amazing array of Thai street food in modern day Thailand.

Now for a blast of Thai blues from my favourite bar in Bangkok, the legendary ‘Adhere Blues’ bar.  They don’t serve Pad Thai, but they do serve up some serious blues chops…

 

 

Categories: Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Summer Chili (Raw)

Summer Chilli

“The aroma of good chili should generate rapture akin to a lover’s kiss.”
Motto of the Chili Appreciation Society International

It is chilly here!  But not in the good way, we thought we’d flip that and add a spicy chili to get some heat back into our sleepy Welsh village.  I know I keep on going on about the weather, but it is a bit of an issue.  We need the sun!

Chili is the epitome of soul food and I love the heated variety in all its forms, it was probably one of the first things I became passionate about cooking.

Chili is a dish that originated in the south of America, probably Texas and they are mighty proud of their dish down there.  I wonder what they would think of this, beef-less/chilled version.  I think I’d probably have to leave the state.

Chili originated, like most good soul food, in poorer homes and was made by scraping together ingredients that were available.  This raw chili was made with a similar sentiment, but we just happen to have loads of veggies and raw food bits.  The principal is the same.  Make do and make very tasty.

There are so many options to play with here if you are not raw.  I would definitely like to see some sweetcorn in here somewhere, but it needs cooking.

This raw food is addictive, in the sense that when you eat cooked food, you feel quite rubbish.  Your belly complains (swollen and windy) and your energy levels are low.  You become very sensitive to foods and this isn’t a bad thing, but it can be a challenge when travelling and socialising.  You can come across as some kind of nutter!  It has certainly made us more aware about what we are putting into our bodies and who our real friends are!

This sauce can be warmed up and poured over roasted veggies, which sounds delicious!  The beauty of these raw things, are their simplicity.  Whack it all in a blender and you’re off, leave it in the fridge and heat it later.  A very easy dinner and something a little different.  If you heat it to just over warm (seems to be a decent enough gauge) you will not kill all the good stuff either.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from the raw cookbook, ‘Live Raw by Mimi Kirk’ and a mighty vibrant read it is.

The Bits

Sauce – 1 cup of sun dried tomatoes (soaked for two hours to make tender), 2 cups of tomatoes (chopped and organic), 1/2 cup of carrots (chopped), 1 sweet yellow pepper, 1 small chilli (check the heat  there), 2 cloves garlic (crushed), 2 tbs tamari (or soya sauce for non-rawers), 1 tbs of each evoo (e.v. olive oil), apple cider vinegar (white wine vinegar will do), agave syrup (or sugar) and chilli powder, then 1 teas cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, fresh cracked pepper, 1 handful of chopped coriander leaves.

Chunky Bits – 1 cup sprouts (mung beans, aduki beans, or green lentils something nice and fat, we mixed them up a little), 1/2 cup celery, 1/2 sweet potato, 1 courgette, 1 sweet red pepper, handful of chopped mushrooms

Do It

Chop all of your chunky bits into funky shapes, set aside in a big bowl.

Add all sauce ingredients to a blender and whizz away until smooth.

Pour sauce over base (we were a little stingy with ours, it should look more like a stew really) and mix together.  Ideally, leave in the fridge for a while to let the flavours get together.

Rare blue skies –  salvaging some of our plants after another summer storm

Serve 

We would normally have an avocado on this, but had none.  Next time.  This would be great with some corn bread or tortillas (if you have a dehydrator handy) and would also be amazing with sour cream (raw cashew cream is very good indeed) and of course, loads of cheese and coriander.

We Love It!

Just the spice and fuel we needed in our lives this windy, wet summer.

Foodie Fact

It’s a fruit!   A gift from the Mayans and Aztecs, native to Central America and then shipped around the world by those dodgy conquistador types.  Tomatoes are low in fat and cholesterol and are full of good things.  They contain lycopene, that is a super antioxidant that protects your cells and also your skin (from the sun).   They are also rich in vitamin A and C and have great levels of potassium.  When picking tomatoes to eat, the redder the better.

Categories: Dinner, Raw Food, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Cashew Hummus (Raw)

Raw Cashew Hummus

Here’s a quick little pot of goodness, so rich and so healthy. I love making hummus, mainly because it is so easy and tastes so much better homemade than out of a plastic tubs from a plastic shops.  You can get to play around with the flavours and really tailor your hummus to your taste.  And as we all know, hummus is important!

This hummus requires a little preparation, you do need to soak the chickpeas and cashews overnight, but its well worth it.  It’s healthy hummus.  Most hummus has alot of fat, due to the large amounts of oil used, this hummus uses a little oil (possibly none) and loads of raw cashews and chickpeas that are jam packed full of good things.

The chickpeas just need to be plump (and well rinsed) to use.  They don’t need to sprout, if they do, that’s a bonus!

You can make this with just cashew nuts (just double the quantity of nuts) but I like it with the chickpeas.  It’s slightly more traditional and after a night in the fridge, it takes on a lovely ‘cheesy’ quality.  ‘Cheesy’ is the best way I can describe it, basically, it matures nicely and gets more flavoursome.

Cashew are a real gift from nature, one nut grows on the end of a fruit (called a cashew apple, see below) and they’re really difficult to harvest.  The tree gives off toxins, it doesn’t want to let go of its precious nuts!

Cashew apples growing in Wat Suan Mok Monastery, Thailand

This will make a decent tubful:

The Bits 

1 cup cashews (soaked in filtered water, they will swell a little overnight, rinsed), 1 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight in filtered water, rinsed), juice of 1 lemon, 3 nice tablespoons of tahini (unroasted is milder, roasted is full on), 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 teas cumin, 1/2 teas paprika, pinch of rock salt, a little water/  oil to form a nice paste.

Do It

Place all ingredients in a sturdy blender, blend until smooth, adding water/ oil if needed.  You may need to stop a couple of times and scrape the mixture back into the centre.

Serve

As you like your hummus, we had ours on chicory leaves, which make a great little ‘boat’ for dips and the like.  They also look cool.  In a warm wrap is something quite special!  We suggest topping it with a little more oil, especially if it’s been in the fridge for a while.

We Love It!

This hummus has added lovely richness to our raw salad meals.  Always a brilliant addition to add a different texture to the plate.

Foodie Fact

Although high in fat, cashews boast mono-unsaturated fats, meaning in moderation they’re good for you.  Cashews are packed with soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and numerous health-promoting phyto-chemicals that help protect from diseases and the big ‘C’.

 

Categories: Raw Food, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Kiwi ‘Slaw with Orange and Mint Dressing

Kiwi ‘Slaw Base

We realise that we may be at risk of becoming a salad blog.  Not so much a kitchen as a place for leaf munching.  We are happy enough with this.

Eating salads up here, in the cold hills, is a little like eating a roast turkey dinner on a tropical beach; slightly incongrous, considering the rain is lashing down outside and we’ve been living in a cloud for the summer (what summer?!).  Still, these colourful bowls of goodness bring the sunshine to our table and some much needed colour and vitality to our lives.

The flavours here work wonderfully.  ‘Slaw is so underrated, just because its grated, doesn’t mean it can’t actually be an amazing salad that takes centre stage for a while.  I love the way that slaw absorbs all of the dressing and marinades so well.  It is also the idea stuffer and stacker, due to the grated part. It is easy to handle and won’t topple a sandwich, or stick out all over the place.

The thinking behind this recipe was maximum POW! flavours and colours. It’s a crunchy slaw with a tangy, creamy dress and if you can’t locate a kiwi, stick some pineapple in instead.  Swede is a revelation in salads and must be liberated from it’s ‘granny’ vegetable bracket.  It has a lovely, mellow and sweet flavour when eaten raw and goes great in salads.  It’s also cheap, which is never a bad thing.

The dressing here is quite special and is actually more of a sauce.  The lovely flavours of orange and mint really come through.  It has a rich texture and flavour and coats the slaw beautifully.

This is all put together using the magic of a food processor (they really are magic!  Even if they have a terrible name….process….food….it’s a bit robotic!?)  If you don’t have one, you will have to chop all the dressing bits up very finely and mix together and hand grate the salad.  A little bit more effort, but wow, how you will enjoy the spoils of your toils!

This is enough for one big bowl, you may have some dressing left over, it goes well on most things, even as a dip.

Kiwi ‘Slaw with Orange and Mint Dressing

The Bits

The dressing/sauce – 1/2 cucumber, 1 plump clove of garlic, 1/3 cup evoo (extra virgin olive oil), 1 kiwi (peel and chopped), juice 1/2 lemon, 2 oranges (peeled and chopped, minimal bitter white bits), handful of mint leaves, handful of parsley, 1 teas caraway seeds, 2 teas smoked paprika

Salad – 1/2 swede, 3 carrots, 1 courgette, 1/2 cucumber, 1 kiwi (peeled and chopped into little chunks), 1 big handful sunflower seeds (roasted taste better, but of course aren’t raw), smaller handful of flax seeds

Do It

Make dressing.  Add all ingredients to a food processor and whizz up for a minute of so.  Remove any stringy orange pieces, if we were being very restauranty, you could even strain the dressing.  But we like chunks.

Give the FP a rinse out and put your grating blade on.  Grate the swede, carrot and courgette and then chop up your kiwi and cucumber finely.

Mix all nicely together in a big salad bowl and that’s it!

Serve

Top with a few thin slices of whole kiwi as a nice touch and maybe a sprinkle of seeds and ‘erbs.

We Love It!

It’s the kind of salad that your makes your taste buds and body sing.  The kind of food we like to eat, real ‘soul’ food.  You can feel it doing you some good and its a real looker too.

Foodie Fact 

Kiwis are your vitamin C friend.  Just one of these emerald delights has 120% of your daily ‘C’ requirement.  Scientist cannot figure it out, but kiwis protect our DNA, making us less likely to develop illness.  If that wasn’t enough goodness, these little beauties are also full of dietary fibre.  They also look very cool.

Categories: Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Roast Corn and Avocado Salad

Roast Corn and Avocado Salad

Roast!  You did read this correctly, I cooked something.  Hooray!  I think roasting a corn on the cob is a pretty decent way to announce your re-entry to the cooked world, especially when its incorporated in a beautiful salad like this.

This salad has the richness of the avocado with plenty of crunch, the citrus dressing lifts the whole dish.  The smoky corn is the real star though, such a different range of flavour’s when you begin heating food again.

It’s great to have corn back in our diet, raw corn is inedible due to the cellulose that our bodies cannot break down.  Cooked corn looses alot of its minerals and vitamin C, but frozen cooked corn retains most of them.  No idea why!?

I’ve a quite important meal to cook next week and I thought I needed to get my dusty pots and pans out again and give the heated world another bash. Get my roasted eye in!

It’s Sunday and we felt like trying something different, using the ingredients we have strooned around the kitchen.  This Roast Corn and Avocado Salad went perfectly with the fruity Kiwi and Orange Slaw that I rustled up.  Sweet and creamy meeting zesty and crunchy in a mouthful of pure happiness.

I’ve eaten roasted corn on the streets of most countries I’ve visited around the world, it is a ubiquitous source of sweetness and satisfaction to most of the globe.  The smell of roasting corn wafting off a little charcoal brazier is such an evocative smell for me.

Corn is such a versatile plant, I am particularly fond of maize tortillas and polenta in all forms is always a wonder to feast on.  It is such an interesting veg to eat, all those little rows of sweet kernels attached to a funny looking stick.  Like natures answer to a lollipop in bright yellow.

Beauty Basil – What a gift!

We’ve been eating a little muesli and yesterday I scoffed a macaroon (which was amazing).  We’re getting back into a little baked/ cooked foods, but still want to keep the majority raw.  I should also mention that a couple of dark chocolate bars have gone missing from the cupboard, chief suspect, Miss Jane.

We have tried out some raw chocolate and it is absolutely delicious, it does lack the ‘bite’ of a good dark chocolate, but has bags and bags of cacoa goodness.  Very deep flavours and would be perfectly acceptable as a substitute, if it wasn’t so darn expensive.  One truffle is the equivalent to one bar of decent dark chocolate.

Here’s a step back into the cooked world for us, fair enough only a baby step.  But as my Dad says “life is a compromise….”

The Bits

Salad – 2 corns on the cob, 1 avocado, 2 stalks of celery (finely chopped), 4 big handfuls of spinach, 2 handfuls of fresh broad beans (de-podded), 1/2 handful of freshly roasted pumpkin seeds, 1/2 handful of ripped basil leaves.

Dressing – Juice of half a lemon, 1/3 cup of amazing olive oil (we actually used good quality Welsh rapeseed oil), 1 tbs white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Do It

Add all dressing ingredients to a bowl and whisk until combined.  That’s it!

In a frying pan, heat some oil to just smoking and add your corn on the cobs, roast for five minutes, turning regularly, giving them an even colouring.  A little charring is definitely not a bad thing.  Place a lid on and continue to turn regularly until well coloured (5 minutes more should do), add your pumpkin seeds at this stage to get a little roast.  Take pan off heat and leave to cool with lid on.

Line your finest salad bowl with spinach leaves, the chopped celery and broad beans.

Get your cobs out, stand them upright on a chopping board and with a sharp knife, cut down the cob (starting at the base of the first row of kernels).  You’ll need to keep it slow and steady to ensure your running the knife along the base of each kernel.  If your knife is not super sharp, use a gentle sawing action as you go (watch your fingers!)  Move the cob around and start on the next few rows.  It will take a few cuts to get all the kernels off.  If you like, cut onto a tray or shallow bowl to ensure the kernels don’t go flying off.

Cut avocados in half, take out the seed and spoon out the lovely green flesh.  Try and get the avocado to look like fat shavings, or anyway that you think looks good.  A teaspoon is the best implement for this.

Arrange the avocado and corn on top of the salad and finish off with the basil and spoon on your dressing.

Roast Corn and Avocado Salad

Serve

This is good enough as a main course, it’s a very flavourful and satisfying salad.  The ideal summer lunch.  I don’t know why, but I think this would go nicely with a quiche.

We Love It!

Those roasted pumpkins seeds enhance anything they touch.

Foodie Fact

Corn (or maize) has been grown for thousands of years by the people of the Americas.  Corn is low in saturated fats and cholesterol, it contains good levels of thaimin and folate and plenty of dietary fibre (for your old friend the colon).

Categories: Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Side Dish, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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