Snacks and Inbetweens

Pea and Mint Hummus

Pea and Mint Hummus

Pea and Mint Hummus

Now that one half (me) of the BHK is rocking Spain, things are going totally Med for a while.  Fresh, vital, packed with sun, light and easy. Tapas basically. Little plates of flavour explosions that tantalise and don’t make you feel like a stuffed courgette. Perfect summer fare.

This is a nice twist on your standard hummus, plenty of lemon to lift it and enliven and a good hit of mint. It looks so vibrant, everyone will want a dip!  The great thing about peas is they freeze brilliantly and a I used frozen peas here.  When frozen, they don’t lose much of their nutritional value or texture, so its all good.

A hummus twist

A hummus twist

In Spain, the hummus wave is really hitting.  We went out with out mate in Madrid, a cool area and all the bars were serving hummus.  It seems like all the cool kids were at the crudites.  I think hummus is such a staple now in the UK, its nice to give it a twist now and again, although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a well made ‘normal’ hummus.  I like mine nice and thick and creamy, with plenty of tahini.  I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.

*Warning* – my posts from Spain may get a little erratic at times.  I’m normally tucked away in one of the the few local bars that have wifi.  There is a heady atmosphere of shouting and laughter and I’m no doubt sipping a ferocious black coffee.

Give peas a chance;)

2016-05-09 17.23.45

The Bits – Makes one big bowlful

480g chickpeas

275g peas

1 tbs dried mint

1 big handful fresh mint (finely sliced)

150ml olive oil

4 tbs tahini

1 1/2 medium lemons (juice)

2 big cloves garlic (crushed)

1 teas salt

50ml chickpea cooking broth

 

Do It

Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz until nicely smooth, drizzle in the chickpea broth (or water) until you get the consistency you like.  Remember that the hummus will thicken up in the fridge.  Check seasoning and served with a crazy array of chopped vegetables, flatbread slices, oat cakes, whatever tickles your fancy really.

View from one of the local interent hubs/ bars

View from one of the local interent hubs/ bars.  Life’s a long beach!

Categories: healthy, photography, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Summer, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Gooey Choco Nut Cookies (Gluten Free and Vegan)

 

Choco Nut Cookies (Gluten free)

 

Here’s my best attempt yet at gluten free cookies.  There are many gluten free folk attending retreats at Trigonos (where I cook).  The people attending last weeks mindfulness course loved these cookies and to be honest, there was very little difference in texture between the normal cookies that I made. Chewy and gooey in the middle, with plenty of chunks of melted chocolate.  Quite a treat!

I use trail mix in these cookies, but you can substitute any dried fruits and nuts you like.  Xantham gum is something that most gluten free cooks will have around, it really helps to bind GF baked goods together. I don’t normally use it in the BHK, as it is like gluten in being hard to digest.  The difference in texture though is pronounced.  I never thought I’d say this, but Xantham has changed the way I cookie!

Simple, crispy, gooey (gluten free) cookies, we salute you!!!

Based on the recipe ‘Brazil Nut and Chocolate Spelt Cookies’ taken from ‘Peace and Parsnips’.  I made these cookies for Steve Wright on BBC2 Radio and he loved ’em!  Hear my full interview with Steve here.

Brazil Nut and Chocolate Spelt Cookies (from Peace and Parsnips)

Brazil Nut and Chocolate Spelt Cookies (Original recipe from Peace and Parsnips)

The Bits – Makes 8 cookies

Dry

1oog gluten free white flour mix (Doves Farm do a good one)

30g brown rice flour

1/2 teas ground cinnamon

100g unrefined brown sugar

1/2 teas bicarb of soda

3/4 teas baking powder

Large pinch salt

2/3 teas xantham gum

 

Wet

90ml vegetable  oil

1/2 teas vanilla extract

30ml water (splash more if needed)

 

1 big handful vegan dark chocolate (roughly chopped into chunks)

1 big handful of trail mix (or mixed dried fruits and nuts of your choice)

 

Do It

Preheat an oven to 180oc/ Gas Mark 4.

Sift all the dry bits into a large bowl.  Mix all the wet together in a measuring jug, make a well in the centre of the dry bits and pour in the wet, stirring as you go.  Mix in the chocolate and trail mix.  Things should come together, but still be a touch powdery (nothing like a cake mix for example).  Add a splash more water if needed to bind things together.

Make small balls, smaller than a squash ball, in your hands.  Press in some of the goodies (choc and nut) and place on a lightly oiled baking tray.  Press them down a little with your fingers to form a fat disc, they’ll expand in the oven, bear this in mind when spacing them out.  Leave a 5cm gap around each cookie.

Pop in the oven and bake for 11-13 minutes.  Ovens vary, if its a fan oven, check after 11, otherwise 13 minutes is good.  A little overbaking will make them crispier, but I like them gooey in the middle.  Remember, cookies are done when they have a crisp coat around them, they will be soft, but firm up on the cooling rack.

Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes and them transfer carefully to a wire cooling rack.  Eat as soon as cool enough to scoff!

Serve 

Have you ever made a cookie ice cream sandwich?  Go for it, especially when they’re hot.  Place on cookie into a bowl, spoon over some ice cream and place the other cookie on top.  WOW!

Foodie Fact

Eating small quantities of dark chocolate daily can help the heart, assisting blood flow.  It also contains several compounds that make you feel good, even the chemical that is released when we fall in love!  Flavanoids are also present that help to regulate blood sugar and it is packed with anti oxidants.  These are just a scattering of the incredible benefits of our favourite sweet nibble.

Working on the land yesterday at Trigonos.  Planting some Crown Prince Squash, one of my favourite varities.

Working on the land yesterday at Trigonos. Planting some Crown Prince Squash, one of my favourite varities.

 

Categories: Baking, Desserts, gluten-free, photography, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Cashew, Dijon and Spinach Biscuits (Raw)

Cashew, Dijon and Spinach Biscuits (Raw)

Cashew, Dijon and Spinach Biscuits (Raw)

A bit of crunch to a Raw diet, you can’t beat it. Things like these biscuits add a much needed bite to the gorgeous raw salads and soups that we are munching at the moment. We love ’em!

Jane and I appreciate a good oatcake, but these biscuits are something else!  Fat and dense with loads of flavour they are something quite substantial and of course, you have all the nutrients and enzymes still there so they fill you up even more.

These Cashew Biscuits are also green which is my favourite colour. Do you find this attracts you to certain foods? I know I like purple things, there is an ice cream in the Philippines called ‘Ube’ which is one of the worlds most amazing foods. I believe this is known as a tangent…….

Ube Ice Cream – a worthy summer tangent

You will need a dehydrator for these, or some say that you can put an oven on low heat and leave the door open slightly, although I don’t like the sound of this practice.  Dehydrators are relatively cheap and if you’re into this kind of thing, are a worthy addition to your kitchen arsenal.  They are basically a small hair dryer with a big plastic box attached, you can change the temperature on them, our’s goes up to 700C but we keep it below 45oC.  Keep it raw!  They are also handy when foraging, dry excess herbs for future use.  We have been making alot of mint tea, using a glut of apple mint and storing it in jars for later.

Mustard is one of my favourite things to be found in a jar (horseradish also).   I will be making my own very shortly in the BHK such is my passion for the stuff.  Well made mustard also happens to be very good for you and has many health giving properties (see the Foodie Fact).

Biscuits, crunch, raw and YUM! Give them a whirl.

Makes 8 big biscuits:

The Bits

2 cups cashews (soaked overnight), 1 cup sunflower seeds, 2 cloves garlic (mashed up), 2 cups spinach leaves, 1/2 cup flax seeds (soaked), 1 celery stalk (chopped), 1/4 cup fruity olive oil, 2 teas dijon mustard, 1 teas salt, 2 tbs nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but will make them nice and cheesy), 1 teas dried sage, 1 teas cracked black pepper

Do It

In a food processor, blend your cashews first to form a thick paste.  Reserve the oil and add all other ingredients, begin to blend and add the olive oil gradually until the paste is sticky but not wet.  You will need to scrape down the sides of your FP and blend again to make sure all is combined well.  If it’s too dry, add a little more water, if it’s too wet, add more flax seeds.

Ready for the dehydrator

Ready for the dehydrator

Dehydrators differ, but ours does not have a non stick shelf.  We cut greaseproof paper into suitably sized squares.

Grab a decent sized ball of your mix with oiled hands, shape it a gauge the size (ours were around 6 inch discs, nice and chunky), place on your greaseproof square and pat down until you are happy with the size.  Use a cupped hand to push in any untidy bits and form a nice edge.

Pop in a dehydrator for around 12 hours on 440C, we left our’s overnight and in the morning, we had crunchy biscuits.

Cashew. Dijon and Spinach Biscuits (Raw)

Cashew. Dijon and Spinach Biscuits (Raw)

We Love It!

We can see ourselves eating alot of these and even, on occasion, replacing our oatcake habit with these green wonders.  They are alot more than a biscuit and from a nutritional point of view, are real powerhouses disguised as a dried up looking disc.  What a pleasant surprise.

Foodie Fact

Mustard seeds are related to Broccoli, the cruciferous family and there are over 40 different varieties of the plant, but they are mainly grouped into black (the spiciest), white and brown.

Brown mustard seeds (which are actually dark yellow in colour) are the acrid ones used in making Dijon Mustard.

Mustard has been shown to battle cancer and has lots of selenium, which helps with asthma and arthritis.  It also boasts plenty of magnesium which helps with sleep patterns, migraines and also good levels of omega 3 fatty acids.

Categories: gluten-free, Raw Food, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sprouted Buckwheat, Onion and Miso Crackers (Raw)

Sprouted Buckwheat, Onion and Miso Crackers (Raw)

Sprouted Buckwheat, Onion and Miso Crackers (Raw)

What a thing!  What a wonderful thing!  RAW CRACKERS have arrived with a crunch at the BHK!  We managed to pick up a dehydrator for half price which has inspired us to play with many ingredients in new ways, generally making them all crispy.

This crispiness is something you can miss when you go full-on raw (I believe it is known as mouth feel in some circles, but that sounds too technical for a humble cracker), the odd bit of toast, bread, crackers, oat cakes, you know the drill.  You fancy something to balance the crunch and zest of all the magic veggies and fruits you’re eating.  This is where the raw cracker comes into its own and this one boast not only dried onions (massive flavour here) but also brown miso for a cracker that tastes as stunning and moreish as anything dusted with chemicals and the like.

These buckwheat crackers were a real surprise, we had no idea they’d taste so dang good!  The only issue is not eating them all at once and they do take a good 12 hours to dehydrate.  Dehydrating is a great lesson in being prepared and most importantly patient.  You can’t rush the process, but the end result is normally more than worth the wait.  It’s best to dehydrate over night and then you just forget about whats going on until you wander down in the morning and find some crispy wonders awaiting you.

The dehydrator also makes soothing buzzing noise and warms a room quite nicely, just a couple of add- on benefits.  It actually sounds like your on a plane when you sit beside it, that gently humming and whistling, you can close your eyes and imagine your off to somewhere exotic to behave in wonderful ways.

Buckwheat is one of those things that we don’t eat enough of, we have to go to the health shop to get our hands on it.  When we have it around we love having a play with it using it as a substitute for grains in salads and stews.

Buckwheat is actually a berry (along the lines of quinoa) and has nothing to do with wheat etc, so its gluten free and great for the body/ digestion.  Buckwheat flour is also perfect for a full flavoured, dense pancake or flatbread.  We love wheat, but it generally doesn’t love us.  When you start giving things up on a raw diet, you really get to know your digestive system in a new way (promise not to get too graphic here!).  You also realise how much strain you have been putting it under and wheat/ gluten for us is a real drag on the belly and below.  Still, the smell of toast is something quite special and we’ll always nibble our way through a couple of slices.  It’s a pleasure-pain thing and the pleasure is well worth the gurgling insides.

There is something about miso that is quite special also, it’s got that healthy bacteria thing going on and just feels very, very right.  It is high in sodium, but it is used by the body in a different way to plain old salt.  Japanese people eat alot of it and Japanese people live for a long, long time and have significantly less disease than us Western varieties.   It could be the miso!?

We used slightly oiled baking parchment to dry these babies out, it works quite well, but in proper dehydrating circles, you’d use a special non-stick tray.  If you are gentle with a spatula, you should be able to get them off in one piece-ish.

Makes eight medium sized crackers.

The Bits

300g sprouted buckwheat, 1 1/2 tbsp brown miso (use more if you are using white or yellow miso), 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp fresh parsley (we didn’t have any), 1/4 onion (finely sliced), 2 tbsp boiling water, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes, 1 tbsp sunflower/ pumpkin seeds (optional)

Do It

Blend all together to a thick, spreadable paste.  You’ve got to love this raw food prep, its a blend-fest, but oh so simple.

Just add......avocado?

Just add……avocado?

Serve

We like ours with a crunchy salad, the contrast of textures is something to behold and its raw, and all the nutrients are there AND its superbly healthy.  How about lathered in avocado!!!!!  Its one of those raw/ vegan food no lose situations that we coming to love in the BHK.

We Love It!

Full of nutrition and raw crunch, we can’t wait to get started on a new batch.  Flax and sprouted oat next up….

Foodie Fact

Buckwheat is a berry related to rhubarb and sorrel, it helps to slow down the absorption of glucose after a meal making it good for diabetics.  It contains all of your amino acids, not produced by the body and also contains lysine and many minerals which are great for the immune system.

Categories: Raw Food, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 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

Green Leanie Smoothie

“The green leanie, lives on its back, the green leanie, loves chimney stacks, he’s outrageous he screams and he bawls, the green leanie, let yourself go…..ohhhhhhhhhh”  I’m sure Bowie would approve of such a smoothie.  He’s looking good for an oldie.

Here is a smoothie that really gets you flying in the morning.  Leave the espresso on the side and quaff one of these green beauts, you’ll be zinging ’til lunch.

When its early in the day and our bodies are just waking up, the last thing the want is a mass in the belly to digest.   That’s the good thing about a smoothie, its basically pre-digested!  Sounds disgusting, but is true.  The blender does alot of the work your digestive system would have done, meaning the nutrients are there to be had with very little effort.  Smoothies are a gentle way to nourish yourself, your body will love you for it.

I know what you’re thinking, another green smoothie!  But this one has a very different flavour and green happens to be my favourite colour.  I remember a massive advertisement campaign when I was a nipper, ‘a Mars (insanely sweet and rubbish chocolate bar) a day helps you work, rest and play’.  That seemed to be the nutritional advice heeded by many folk when I was younger.  Well heres a new one, highlighting our evolution as a species, ‘a green leanie a day will help shine, smile and basically feel a heck of alot better about everything’.  Not as catchy, but true enough for us.

A green smoothie per day is brilliant for you, ‘green’ meaning containing green leaves (ie kale, spinach, spring greens etc).  A good blender really gets to work on the fibre, breaking it down into easily absorbed particles.  They act as a blood toxifier, are high in enzymes and minerals and are low in cholesterol.  They are also full of chlorophyll, which makes your skin glow and flushes out baddies, like disease and toxins.

Enzymes are an important part of our diet, our body over time does not produce enough to replenish our system.  We use enzymes when digesting food and without the adequate level, do not absorb nutrients efficiently.  When you drink a green smoothie, you’re getting a shot of pure enzymes.

Smoothies are ideal for packing nutrients in, we need as many as we can get.  Following you’re five a day is fine, but you could always make it ten!  Why not?  The more the merrier.   In one smoothie we can fit in the nutritional equivalent of three vegetable based meals.  These smoothies contain no milk, just water.  Jane and I prefer them like this, they taste cleaner.  This is also the ideal type of smoothie if you fancy a bit of  detox.

So smoothies are the way forward for us all, it will take a little change in culture, but I can see smoothie bars being more popular than your corner cafe in the future.  The French will be sitting on boulevards sipping shots of wheatgrass and kale smoothies from elegant glasses.  This is the future…….

This combo arose out of one of our fruit bowls (we need more than one at the minute, we are munching loads of fruit) and the veg drawer.  The combination of bits in a green smoothie is wide and wonderful.

We love to serve our smoothies in nice glassware, show them some love, so does our lovely friend freeflowfoodie, a blog with amazing energy and of course, smoothies in funky glasses!

Green Leanie Smoothie

This makes a large blender full.  Good enough for breakfast and lunch.

The Bits 

1 handful of spring greens, 1 handful of spinach, 1 apple, 1 pear, 1/2 handful of mint leaves, 1 stalk of celery, 1 inch cube of ginger (finely sliced), 1 handful of chopped canteloupe melon cubes (any sweet melon really), 1 cup of clean water

Optional – Add bananas if you like sweet smoothie, add strawberries if they are in season, add fennel if you want to try something new (great aniseed kick there).

Do It

Blitz in a blender until smooth.  The better the blender, the better the smoothie.  It will be better broken down.

Serve

Straight into nice glassware or pour over a fruit salad/ bowl of cereal.

We Love It! 

The best way to start a day.  That’s it really.

Foodie Fact

Spring greens are actually young, tender cabbage plants, without the tough stem in the middle.  Spring greens are great veg for lowering your cholesterol, which is actually more effective when steamed.  When eaten raw they also contains sinigrin, a great thing for fighting the big ‘C’.

Categories: Blogs, Breakfast, Detox, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Raw Cream Cheese

Raw Cream Cheese

This is as good as cream cheese gets, raw wise. I have to say that calling it a cheese is a little off the mark. But it’s as good as the plant world can do and does have the gentle sweetness of the cashew nut.  It certainly boasts more health benefits than your average mozzarella.

We have found this buttery cashew cheese to be a very versatile little number, great to add richness to dressings and as a base for many different dips (the cashew hummus being a real star, watch this space for recipe)

By adding paprika here, you may be able to recreate something of the taste of cheddar cheese.  We have not tried this method out, but it sounds interesting.  You can also have a go with some probiotic powder and nutritional yeast flakes, but this seemed like a longer process.  Time is of the essence this busy summer time.  We have a garden to tend and a lazy cat to stroke!

This will make good sized bowl of lovely raw cheese to enjoy.

The Bits

2 cup of cashew nuts (soaked overnight), juice of a lemon, 1/2 teas good sea salt, 1 tbs good quality olive oil.

Do It 

Place all ingredients (not olive oil) in a food processor and blend until smooth, trickle in the olive oil gradually, it should take around 5 minutes.  You will need to stop and scape the mixture from the sides and start again, this ensures all is blended nicely.  This will keep well in the fridge.

Serve

As you would with any cheese.  We have just used it to make a raw caesar dressing.  It is dense and packed full of richness.  We have also mixed some honey into this cheese and served it spread on fruits.

We Love It!

This is another recipe that we will keep making, it as great base for greater adventures in the raw cooking world.

Cashew Nut Tree

Foodie Fact 

The cashew nut tree is native to the Amazon rainforest and was spread all over the world by Portugese explorers.  The cashew nut hangs of what are called ‘cashew apples’ or the fruit of the cashew tree.

Cashews are high in calories and packed with vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants.  They also contain high levels of dietary fibre which will keep you ticking over…..(for our American readers, this is how we Brits spell ‘fibre’, you may notice other spelling changes during the course of this blog.  We call an Ax and Axe for example).

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Black Olive Tapenade with Beetroot and Red Onion Salad

Beetroot and Red Onion Salad with Black Olive Tapenade

Tapenade is one of those things that we don’t eat enough of.  Everytime we have it, we say the same thing, “Why are we not eating more tapenade!”  It is delicious and is one of those classic summer dishes that reminds me of holidays in Greece and France.

I ate alot of tapenade at break times whilst picking grapes in Beaujolais.  We’d have it spread over warm baguettes, with local cheese and lashings of whatever wine was in the bucket (purely medicinal, it helped to dull the back pain you see).  I believe that the intense satisfaction I got from munching the tapenade pulled me through those back breaking times.  The wine was certainly nothing to get excited about, unfortunately.

This is a wonderful concoction of flavours that I’ve had a little play with (of course) and omitted the use of capers due to a forgetful moment at the shops.  The unique caper-ness has been replaced by the gorgeous sun-dried tomato.  Not a bad substitute!  I have also added raisins to add a little sweetness, the black olives can be a little bitter in these parts, Wales not being high on the olive producing charts.   The rest is fairly classic tapenade, forming a delectable black paste that can be spread or dipped as you choose.  I love this type of food, which is greater than the sum of its bits.

I normally think of Tapenade as being a Greek dish, but it actually hales from Provencal in France.  Traditionally this puree contains caper, anchovies, black olives and olive oil.  The French would normally serve it as an hors d’oeurve or stuff it into a steak.

Tapenade is alot like pesto (see our ‘Hazelnut Pesto‘ post) in that it is a joy to behold sitting in the fridge door.  It just hangs around and marinates, getting better and better.  It goes well in so many things and mixed with some oil, makes for an instant wonder dressing.  The best part is that it has a gourmet flavour with very little needed in way of preparation.

The way you chop up your veg has a major effect on the presentation and texture of a salad.  Have a little think before you begin to chop about what type of effect you’d like to create.

If you spend a little more on good quality olives here, it is well worth it.  The black variety are normally a little cheaper and in their own way, just as good as some of their greener brothers and sisters.

The Bits

Tapenade – 1 cup black olive, 6 sun dried tomatoes, 2 cloves crunched garlic, 1/2 red onion, 1/4 cup raisins, juice of 1 lemon, handful of chopped parsley, sprig of rosemary, pinch of thyme and oregano, glug of olive oil, cracked black pepper and sea salt (to taste), glug of olive oil (if needed)

Salad – 1 nice red onion (thinly sliced), 4 small beetroots (cut into eighth’s), 2 cups of spinach (chopped), 3 carrots (grated), 2 stalks celery (chopped), 1 cupful of sprouts (we used green lentil sprouts)

Black Olive Tapenade in the mix…..

Do It

Tapenade – Add all ingredients to a food processor and begin to whizz.  As it becomes sticky, trickle in some remaining olive oil to create a beautiful, shiny puree.  Keep in a sealed container in the fridge overnight for maximum marination (new word for you there!).

Salad – We put the red onion and carrot into a food processor and grated, then chopped the celery, spinach and beetroot separately.

Serve

Thin out some tapenade by adding the same quantity of good olive oil and whisking well.  You can lower the amount of tapenade if you’d prefer a lighter dressing.  Pour the dressing over the salad and give a good mix in.

Place in your favourite salad bowl and top with a handful of green lentil sprouts (see our ‘sprout‘ post for how to sprout your own, its quite simple).  Then spoon on some tapenade.

We have also used it to flavour soups and stews and of course in post June days we’d have it lathered on some warm oat bread.

We Love It!

This tapenade has a great balance of bitter and sweet, with the beautiful silky texture of pureed olives.

Foodie Fact

Olives are one of the oldest foods known, dating back 7,000 years.  Black Olives are left to ripen for longer on the trees, green ones are picked earlier, they generally have a milder flavour.  Olives are a good source of iron (which helps to carry oxegen in our blood) and are low in calories with plenty of good fats.  They do however contain a decent amount of sodium and should be eaten in moderation if you’re keeping an eye on salt intake.

Twelve black olives provide 1.8mg of iron.  Interestingly women need 18mg of iron per day and men only 8mg.

Categories: Dinner, Dressings, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Lunch, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Raw Fruity Cereal

Sprouting Breakfast Salad

This mornings breakfast was very good looking (and tasting), I felt it deserved to be shared with the world.

Adding wheat sprouts to meals is great for us as it gives that sugary wheaty boast that we normally get from our muesli. The wheat sprouts are very easy to grow and have a nice soft, chewy texture.

Wheat has addictive qualities and the bread at work last night smelled amazing. This is probably why I opted for a sprouting breakfast.

I dislike using out of season produce, but it seems unavoidable at the moment.   Jane and I are always up for a bargain and visiting the shops, found some amazing berries from Spain on sale.  We love Spain, so we snaffled them up.  They were .30p a punnet!  Of course, they lack flavour and the magic of a seasonal berry (preferably ate straight off the bush), but we are not an island blessed with abundant fruit reserves.  I also thought that somewhere in the world, you may live in a land where the sun shines and fruit is always on the menu.  You may have a mango tree in your back garden! (We have a hawthorn and a couple of gnarled crab apple trees).

Raisins add a lovely sweet surprise to this awesome morning bowlful of happiness, you could used diced dates or figs.  Try soaking your raisins overnight, they become nice and plump and give off a nice raisin drink for slurping or using in cooking.

Wheat sprouts

The Bits

Enough for two decent sized bowls.

1 apple, 1 pear, 1 carrot, 1 kiwi, 1 large handful of wheat sprouts, 1 handful of blueberries, 1 handful of blackberries, 1 handful of raisins, soya milk.

Do It

Slice apple, pear, carrot and kiwi, we don’t peel anything (except kiwi).  Just wash or scrub them.  Use your creative flair and mix all nicely in your fanciest  bowl.  Mix some sprouts and raisins into the salad.

Serve

Use the rest of the sprouts for topping with the berries and some nice chilled soya milk (add as much as you would with your favourite cereal).  If I was having this for lunch and not watching my food combinations, I’d have some seeds with this.  Pumpkin and sunflower would be my choice.

Buster and I busy gardening

We Love It!

Its fruity cereal!  It is bursting with vitality and crunch and not as stodgy as our average muesli counterpart.  It also contains no fats, so the good nutrients can get straight into your system and get some morning work done.

Foodie Fact

Don’t throw the water away when you sprout wheat, it has many restorative powers.  You can even mix it with ground seeds and leave it for a day to make a sort of cheese.  It can also be used to make the drink Rejuvelac, which was created by Anne Wigmore of the Hippocrates Health Institute.

This mornings Beach House tune is by Panda Bear ‘Alsatian Darn’:

Categories: Breakfast, Healthy Eating, Music, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raw Carrot Dip

Raw Carrot Dip

It was time to wish Savannah goodbye and good luck for her trip to Spain, so we made her a beach house special raw lunch.  Over the last few days I have come to realise I LOVE preparing food raw.  It is a new found passion for me! It’s so quick, easy, the washing up takes two minutes, and I am learning about some amazing ingredients that make everything SO tasty.  Plus the herb garden herbs are becoming so bushy of late they are just perfect.

This makes a jam jar full 🙂
The Bits
3 large carrots, half an onion, chopped parsley, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp tamari, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 4 tbsp tahini, 2 tbsp water
Do It
Chop the carrot and onion (we used the grater blade in our blender which grated everything perfectly), put everything into the blender and blend for a couple of minutes and then have a little taste – YUM!
We Love It!
This adds a nice bit of richness to our salads and can be used for dipping or spreading on your favourite things.
Foodie Fact
Tahini has an incredibly high nutritional content, full of most of the vitamin B’s and calcium.  In most diets, calcium is taken in via cows milk which is not great for the digestive system, potentially leading to irritation and other difficulties.  Many people believe that tahini has the highest calcium content of any food.

Fresh coco and nut yogurt

We thought we’d add this little snack on, we made it as a fatty number to be eaten 3 hours after our sugary morning fruit salad and before dinner (see our Raw Food No No’s for why?)  We chopped up fresh coconut, a handful of mixed nuts (unroasted) and a good blob of soya yogurt.
Happy dippingX
Love, JaneXXXX

Sunshine lettuce

 

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Sauces, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Superfoods, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Raw Hazelnut, Rosemary and Lentil Hummus

Day two of raw June and I’m feeling good. We have been eating quite a bit of raw food recently, so I wasn’t expecting wonders. Later in the month, who knows, maybe I’ll be sprouting!

I am working in a kitchen at the minute and its the middle of ‘silly season’, so its hard graft. I am finding no problems with the energy and when I eat healthy I find I need less sleep (which is a real help in the catering industry). It does have its advantages, I wont be missing cooking this month that’s for sure!  I am also surrounded by temptation, nice looking chips and slabs of cheesecake. It’s a good test. Most of my colleagues think I’m mad, but I’m used to this (for one reason or another). I am definitely eating less and not feeling hungry, I don’t even fancy a coffee anymore, which is rare behavior.

Many people comment that raw food sounds ‘boring’. This recipe is anything but and I find most raw food to be fascinating in its complexity and creativity alone; never mind the health benefits.

This is a real gourmet raw hummus. I thought I’d start as we mean to go on. It contains a lot of ingredients, but it is much more than a dip. This will be the main part of dinner tonight, with an orange, sweet potato and red cabbage salad.

It is rich with the nuts and oil, but does not have the smooth texture of a normal hummus. The flavour is a knockout though and like with alot of health foods, you have the piece of mind that it is doing your body good and providing you with some super nutrients.

We used sprouts here due to the fact that our sprout corner is going mad. At the minute we have a variety of receptacles holding all sorts of seeds and beans. We’ve mung bean, sunflower seed, buckwheat, wheat grains, quinoa and green lentil all in various states of soak and sprout. The mung beans are a staple here, but most of the other ones we’ve either tried and failed with or are completely new to. It’s a great little experiment and the right weather for sprouts. We found it difficult in the winter to get them going and our airing cupboard seemed too warm. Now we have the happy medium of summer (ish) temperatures in Wales.

Sprout Central

We have been soaking our nuts overnight, this helps to release the enzymes and nutrients.  They are also softer, better for blending.  Hazelnuts are one of the good nuts, peanuts, pistachios and brazil nuts are not goodies.  We will still be eating them though, just a little less than before.

It’s worth spending a little more on a good almond milk, the cheaper varieties are thinner and not as creamy.

So here’s our first attempt at a raw hummus:

The Bits
1 cup of hazelnuts, 1 cup sprouting green lentils, 1 cup sprouting chickpeas, 1 handful of dried rosemary, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (evoo), juice and zest of 1 lemon, 1 tbs raw tahini, 1 tbs flax seeds, 2 cloves of garlic chopped, salt and pepper if you like (I used a dash of Braggs Liquid Aminos instead, it contains naturally occurring sodium and loads of good amino acids).


Do It

This is the easy part, put it all into a blender and blitz until smooth, roughly five minutes should do. If it is sticking or dry, add water as you are blending. This should loosen things up.

Serve

Great as a dip of course, or with a salad. We will be mixing it into chunky chopped vegetables tomorrow.

We Love It!

We Love sprouts!  So anything they are in, we are happy about.  This recipe is bursting with flavour, the hazelnuts and rosemary work together so well.  It has a nice creamy, richness to it, but is low if fat.  Hoorah!

Foodie Fact

Sprouting Chickpeas (Garbanzos/ Giggle beans to some) are packed full of protein.  They contain more protein than milk!  Many vegans and raw food types are asked about how they add protein to their diets, the truth is protein is available in many plant based foods.  Nuts and seeds mainly, but sprouts are also a good source.

Chickpeas are full of carbs, but low in fat.  A small serving of chickpeas contains around 50% of your daily Vitamin C requirement.

Raw Hazelnut, Rosemary and Lentil Hummus

Categories: Dinner, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wild Garlic (Ramson) and Walnut Pesto

Ruth’s hand mid forage

Another hedgerow classic via our Beach House brother, Dan. This recipe was originally taken from the great book, ‘Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me’ by the brilliant Dennis Cotter. I haven’t read it, but will hopefully be acquiring it soon.

This is a cracking little recipe, nice and quick to get together and you gain the infinite pleasure of cropping your own bunches of wild garlic (or ‘Ramson’ in some parts of the world), that are free and absolutely delicious.

The amazing thing about pesto, like most good things, it gets better with age (to a point!). An overnight stay in the fridge and POW, the flavours leap out at you.

We will be trying it tonight with almonds (we have a walnut shortage) and mixing it into some wholewheat penne. Yum!

Thanks and hugs to Dan and Ruth for their constant inspiration.

The Bits

100g wild garlic leaves, 50g shelled walnuts, 200ml olive oil, 40g Parmesan, salt, pepper

Do It

Add all ingredients to a blender and give it a good blitz.  A small food processor is best here, like the ones you would use to grind coffee.

Wild garlic and walnut pesto

Serve

We have pesto spread thinly on toasted oatbread, or mixed in with wholewheat pasta.

Foodie Fact

Interestingly China in the largest producer of garlic in the world, at 13 million tonnes of the stuff, followed closely by India (800,000 tonnes), then comes Egypt and South Korea.  France is not even in the top ten!

Dennis Cotter is an Irish veggie chef who owns the ‘Cafe Paradiso’ in Cork. His cookbooks and approach to all things veggie cooking are always fresh and very delicious.

Heres a link to a great little garlic producer in Scotland, the really garlicky company.

Categories: Dressings, Foraging, Friends of B.H.K, Local food, Recipes, Sauces, Snacks and Inbetweens, Wales, Wild food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sunbeam Fruit Salad

Blooming great rhododendrons. It’s finally May!

The perfect fruit salad!?

Impossible to tell really, but it certainly hit our spots.

This is not what you would call a seasonal wonder, more a bargain basement bonanza!!!  This is a salad for when you have a glut of fruit that needs eating soon.  Its totally OTT and befitting of my birthday weekend, when excess is embraced.

This fruity number is very delicious and perfect for this morning in wonderful Wales.  It’s a glorious day, full of sunbeams, the birds are singing and Buster (a cat) is lounging in the herb garden.  Everybody is out in their gardens, wondering what on earth to do.  You realise the importance of our sun when it is hidden behind grey clouds for many months.  When it returns, it has an incredible effect on people; they go outside, they begin to re-connect with the light (sun).  We all start shining!

We have this type of salad most mornings, a mixture of fruit and vegetables topped by a thick smoothie.  It keeps us going for most of the day, brimmed full of goodness.   Jane and Mum went shopping this weekend (Mum was visiting for my birthday, which was an amazing time, the best birthday I’ve had since I was 9 years old and organised a mass football match on the local park and had a cake shaped like the FA cup) and chanced upon some amazing bargains in the fruit section.  Organic blueberries, apricots etc for 20p a pack!  Its capitalism gone mad!    We have not seen fruit like this for many, many months and their return has a similar effect to the return of our beautiful sunshine.

Top tip – I have been making these beauty salads for a while now and if there is one tip that I would offer to you lovely people it is this, use a clean board.  Sounds obvious, but the slightest hint of garlic or onion on a board can spell disaster for the subtle flavours of your fruits.  We have a separate board for all things fruit.

If you think that mixing fruit and vegetables in salad is a little weird, perhaps it is, but it is delicious.  Carrots are very sweet and celery has a lovely mild flavour.  They both add real bite to proceedings.

The Pear and Peanut smoothie topping recipe will follow on the next post.  This makes enough for two massive bowls.

Bumble bees get busy with bluebells

The Bits

We used our selection of fruit and veg here, but you can of course have a play and use what is in season or any good stuff that you can get your hands onto.  Mix in seeds/ nuts for added crunch and texture, a citrus fruit to add a little tang, the addition of flax seeds really helps your digestion:

2 apricots (de-pipped and diced), 1 big handful of blueberries, 1 apple (diced), 1 pear (diced), 1 orange (peeled and diced), 2 kiwis (peeled and diced), 3 carrots (chopped), 2 sticks of celery (chopped), 1/2 handful of roasted sunflower seeds, 2 tbs flax seeds, 1/2 handful of roasted hazelnuts, 1 handful of chopped mint (chopped)

Do It

Grab your favourite salad bowl, chop all bits up into your favourite shapes, mix then all in gently and top with your smoothie (see next post).  Serve liberally with smiles.

Serve

In bowls of the size that befit the mouths to feed.  In the Beach House, this means big bowls!

The Sunbeam Fruit Salad

We Love It!

Really, what’s not to like here!  The perfect way to start the day.

Foodie Fact 

Blueberries are a sign from nature that snacking has always been OK.  They are one of the original grab and go foods!!!!  Served straight from the bush.  I am so glad to have these back in my life, they are real burst of incredible nutrition.  I love their dark colour, it adds brilliant contrast to any dish it touches.

They contribute amazingly to our health, that dark purple colour is thanks to some wonder pigments that are full of antioxidants.   They contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants in the plant world.  They limit free radical activity and actually regulate our blood sugar levels.

Categories: 'The Good Life', Breakfast, Garden, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Organic, photography, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Snacks and Inbetweens | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Homemade Ricotta with Wild Garlic and Mint

Wild garlic and mint

I realise that I write regularly about making my own cheese.  It is something that I am quite fascinated by.  I have tried yoghurt and using live cultures etc, but it is difficult, especially due to the fluctuating temperature of our cottage (we only have a wood burning stove for heat) and the temperamental weather (British weather is utterly mental).  Live cultures etc don’t seem to like this, they are sensitive sorts.

Making ricotta requires non of this effort.  It is a fail safe method of making your own gorgeous cheese.  Not complex or pungent, but super smooth and creamy.  Every time.

This is a simple technique.  I would advise you seek out good quality, organic milk for best results.  Once you try it, you will not want to go back to the shop bought variety.  This is a real homemade treat that takes no time at all and actually saves you money.

I have mixed a few fresh herbs in here.  We had just picked some wild garlic, we took a wrong turn on Anglesey and ended up driving through a field of the stuff! The mint is beautiful looking, grown by the good people at Hooton’s Homegrown.  I walked into the kitchen this morning and was greeted by the wonderful aroma of these two and could not resist combining them with the cheese.

Ricotta means ‘recooked’ in Italian and is a so versatile.  It goes well in savoury and sweet dishes.  I love it with some warm oat bread and honey and it makes a delicious base for pasta sauces, we have also used it with dark chocolate for dessert (see here).   This ricotta recipe is excellent as it can be stirred directly into warm pasta.  It is basically a great thing to have in the fridge.

I am sure that this is one of those cooking techniques that you will use again and again. You can even make paneer, just use the same method but use a semi skimmed milk (the ricotta uses whole milk).  See a recipe here on the brilliant Kolpona cuisine blog.

There is no waste here.  After the curds have formed, drink the whey.  This is packed full of good protein.  It’s the same stuff those muscle bound freaks buy for inflated prices (and biceps!).  The whey can also be used in cooking, its great in stews, soups and even breads.

Cheesecloth had always eluded me.  I had heard of this mythical fabric but never owned any.  I have resorted to all sorts of strange methods to compensate for it.  I mentioned this to Jane and in her ever thoughtful fashion, she bought some in a little shop somewhere in Yorkshire.  I am now the proud owner of a metre square.  Thank you honey!

The Bits

1 litre of good whole fat milk (makes enough for a decent sized ball), juice of 1 lemon or 2 tbs cider vinegar (or any distilled vinegar), 1 teas sea salt, 1 handful of wild garlic, 1 handful of fresh mint, 1 piece of muslin/ cheese cloth.

Homemade ricotta with wild garlic and mint

Do It

Heat the milk in a pan gently until it is steaming and small bubbles are forming around the edges, do not boil.  Add the lemon juice of vinegar, then stir a couple of times to mix.  Take off the heat and leave for 5 minutes, allowing the curds to form.  Line a medium sieve with your cheese cloth and place over a bowl.  Gently pour the milk/ cheese through the sieve and allow to drain.

Making the cheese

The longer you leave it to drain, the drier the cheese.  Think about what you would like to us it for.   I recommend leaving it for around 10 minutes.  Cool and cover, place in the fridge, it be good for around a week.

When the cheese is fully dried, chop your herbs finely and mix in with the cheese.  If it is proving to be too dry, mix in a little olive oil to get things lubricated.  Taste the cheese, add more salt if you like.

Using vinegar will give a cleaner flavour, lemon will make it slightly lemony.  Again, it depends on how you would like to use the cheese.

Serve

We had ours mixed into roasted root veggies, with our Sprouting Spring Salad.

Roasted root vegetable

Foodie Fact

You can use goats milk for the ricotta, it will be more tangy.  In Italy they use alot of sheeps milk, which is very smooth and creamy and of course the famous buffalo milk, which is equally as good.  It is fun to experiment with different milks.  I have to say, I like the ricotta we get from local Welsh milk.

Calon Wen Milk

Pickled Part

You can’t beat a crisp dry white wine with a fresh cheese like ricotta, something to cut through that awesome creaminess and get your palate sparkling.  We had a lovely Chilean Sauvignon Blanc which worked a treat.

Categories: Local food, Organic, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Wales, Welsh produce, Wild food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Sun & Oat Loaf

Oat Loaf

So while the baking of the ‘Almond and Olive Oil’ cake was going on, I decided to fill the oven. Why waste all that heat.  I whipped up our staple of ‘Sun and Oat Loaf’.

Normally I would just use oats, we are limiting the amount of gluten we eat, but this one was for Mary’s birthday meal and I know that Mary likes her bread.  So this is a compromise.

This little loaf is really easy to get together and toasts up a treat, an ideal substitute for other loaves.

You can add anything to this loaf to flavour it, we have tried beetroot (of course!), dried fruits and nuts, apple and cinnamon, spices etcetc……..

If you are gluten-free, this works well with polenta replacing the flour.  Even gram flour is ok, but it can get a little dry (although still very tasty).

If you are not using an oven, you can cook this in a pan.  Just get a good-sized frying pan with a nice glug of oil, heat on medium, add mix and spread well, cook for 15 mins on one side and the go for a mighty flip (which is tricky!) or just stick under a grill (low heat) and cook until golden.

The Nantlle Valley, our back garden view

Here goes the oven variety…..

The Bits

It really depends on how big you’d like it.  We use a standard sized loaf tin and this recipe half fills it for a decent small loaf.

2 1/2 cups of oats, 1 1/2 cup of wholewheat flour, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 teas bicarb of soda, 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds, 1 cup of soya milk (or your preferred milk for richness, just water is fine), s+p, extra water as needed.

Do It

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix up with a wooden spoon. Give it a good few twists of black pepper and some real elbow love (that’s a good stir).

Add warm water as the mix stiffens, you should be left with something resembling dry, sticky porridge.

Well oil your favourite loaf pan, or cake tin, depending on your preferred bread shape. Spoon in mix and push well into all corners of the tin. Scatter a few sunflower seeds on top and press them in.

Cook at 180oC for around 30 minutes. The middle should still be slightly underdone and the outside nice and crisp and golden.

Leave on a wire rack to cool.

Serve

As you wish. We recommend it warmed in the toaster with a large bowl of homemade veg soup.  The crumbly texture of the bread means that sandwiches are not easy, but can be achieved with great balancing skills and care.

We Love It!

Oat bread seems to compliment our rough, mountainous landscape perfectly. Warmed with a little honey, it is a heavenly thing!

Foodie Fact

Oats actually lower cholesterol and are a brilliant fuel for our bodies.  They also act as central heating for our bodies on cold days.

Beetroot Oat Loaf

Categories: Baking, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Melon, Avocado and Mint Smoothie

Delhi Melon

We had a good looking melon on the windowsill for a while, what to do……get it in a smoothie.  Gwen and Dan were vising the Beach House and this went down very nicely one good breakfast time.
It’s fresh but rich, light and green.  Its a mellow combo.
Makes enough for four glasses of goodness.

The Bits
1/2 honeydew style melon, 1 avocado (doesn’t matter which type, they’re all nice), 1 sweet apple, 1 stick of celery, handful of mint leaves, 1/2 peeled cucumber, 3 cups of soya milk (milk of your choice), add yoghurt for richness (not needed).

Do It
In a blender, blend.

Serve
Deserving of your finest glasses and bestest friends!

We Love It!
This is a rich and refreshing smoothie that has a lovely subtle flavour.

Foodie Fact
Avocado will not only keep you nice and fat (in a good fat way), it also has many vitamins and minerals. Lots of monosaturated fats here and vitamin K which keeps your bones solid and blood well-clotted.

FRIEND

Categories: Breakfast, Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sweet Onion Hummus

Sweet onions (with a touch of celery)

This is a staple wonder paste at the B.H.K.  I make hummus at least once a week and in my many experimentations with pulverized chickpeas, I can say that this is our fav.
It is nice and simple, lightly spiced and has the lovely sweetness of well-stewed onions.  Not your conventional hummus and I don’t like to use loads of oil, I use the chickpea cooking juices and this makes the hummus lighter and lower in fats.

After tasting this recipe, the hummus from your local supermarket will seem salty and stodgy in comparison, and expensive!

We make a big batch that lasts us a few days.

Gigglebeans in the sun

The Bits
Approx. 3500g dried chickpeas (soaked for a day, then cooked in slightly salted water on a low heat for at least an hour until tender. You can use canned, but their texture is not quite as good), 2 onions (organic if you can, finely chopped), 1 teas cumin, 1/2 teas coriander seeds, 1 teas paprika, 1 teas turmeric, 1 teas thyme, 1 teas rosemary, 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), 1 cup of olive oil, 1 big tbs dark tahini, zest and juice of 1 lemon (unwaxed of course!), s + p.
Do It
Good glug of oil in a frying pan, gently fry onions for 10 mins, season, then cover and lower heat.  Do not colour, gently cook.  Leave for 45 mins, stirring occasionally, then take off lid and add spices and herbs, cook for 15 mins more until golden and most of the juice has gone.
Take your cooked and cooled chickpeas and place them in a blender (you can do this by hand, but you need big muscles), add onions, garlic, lemon and tahini, season with s+p.  You should add around 1 to 2 cups of the chickpea cooking liquid here, use more later to make smoother.
Begin to blitz, adding a steady stream of olive oil as you go.  Stop regularly, taste, adjust seasoning, add more lemon, spice, s+p etc, get it just right for you. Remember that the flavours will come together when left in the fridge for a while, getting more intense, also the texture will stiffen so make it a little runnier.  A splash of water or chicpea stock is recommended to lighten your hummus.  You  know how you like it!  I like to be able to taste the lemon and tahini over the spices.

Oatcake anyone?

Serve
On anything!  Warm pitta of course, I normally finish it with another glug of olive oil and a dusting of paprika, maybe some sesame seeds if you’re feeling flash.

We regularly have it as a side with a main dish, it adds great richness and creaminess to anything it touches, especially when added to stews (normally just before serving).

Foodie Fact
The mighty Garbanzo (U.S.), Giggle bean (Germany) and Chick pea (other places) is a super legume. It is incredibly versatile, makes great flour and very good for us. What a natural beaut!
Chick peas are full of fibre, they actually lower our cholesterol and are full of antioxidants.  They are colon friendly having a lot of insoluble fibre. Love your colon!

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Eating, photography, Recipes, Sauces, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rainbow ‘Slaw and Rosehip Tea

Beets and 'Rots

Today the sky is the deepest of greys, the washing nearly blew away and Jane poured a pint of water all over her computer.  We both held the stricken machine in our hands, then noticed the water pouring out of the side with the plug still in the wall…the penny dropped…we placed it in-front of the fire and thanked our lucky stars for not getting frazzled.

We put on some Vashti Bunyan and started to make lunch……….

Out of this peaceful state came this wonderful combination of vibrant colours and flavours.  The salad is an old friend from past summer days, the beetroot, carrot and orange is a tantalising combination and packed full of good things.  Preparation could not be easier, this is a real raw food delight.  The tea is fairly straightforward also!

From a potential near-death experience, to a rainbow lunch and ‘Rosehip November’ (in April).  Happy days at the Beach House.

The ‘Slaw

The Bits

1 large beetroot, 1 large carrot, 1 large chunk of butternut squash (optional, just increase the carrot by one), juice of half an orange, handful of chopped coriander.

Do It

Grate all veggies, we used a hand grater, or plug-in your food processor.  I appreciated the exercise actually.  I peeled the beetroot and the squash.  Squeeze in the OJ and throw in the greenery.  Add the finely chopped pith of the orange for even more of a citrus POW!  Mix up and leave at room temp for a while, let the flavours mingle a little.

Serve

We made a lunch out of it with some toasted leek oatbread (recipe soon to appear on the blog) and cucumber raita.  This is a versatile ‘slaw that will brighten up any plate.

We spiced it up with a couple of pinches of Ras El- Hanout spice and a splash of olive  oil.  Our raw life starts in June, why not live dangerously for a while!

The Tea 

Clipper Rose hip (and Hibiscus)

It’s a Clipper Tea.  An organically grown infusion, fruity, with a deep colour and plenty of vitamin C.  The good people of Clipper are in all of our supermarkets in the UK and always good value.

They use unbleached bags and have an awesome range.  Their black tea is a winner with a splash of soya milk (and lashings of honey, B.H.K style).  We have also tried the tasty Dandelion and Burdock Tea, which took us back to our childhood days, drinking the fizzy sweet version out of glass bottles in bracken, near streams.

Buy the Rose hip tea here:

http://shop.clipper-teas.com/teas/fruit/organic-rosehip-infusion

And check out the new Clipper Green Room, for offers on the range of teas and loads of top giveaways:

http://www.clippergreenroom.com/

Foodie Fact

Rose hip has been used for years for its health properties, the fruit of the Rose is especially good for the joints.  The Vikings used it on long sea voyages to ward off scurvy, its packed with Vitamin C.  It also contains most of the B vitamins and the mighty vitamin K, with antioxidants and rich fatty acids surely making this a real superfood.

Rosehip November/ April

Categories: B.H.K Reviews, Infusions, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Lunch, Organic, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Superfoods, Tea, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel with Aioli


I am so inspired by you all, fellow food bloggers and good people of blog world.
I was just reading a brilliant veg blog (www.impeccabletasty.blogspot.co.uk) and came across an old friend.  An orange, falafel shaped friend.
This is a favourite from my days with Leon down in old London town. A great substitute to the fried and sometimes dry chickpea versions of falafel.  The sweet potato makes the falafels moist and hopefully slightly caramelised and gooey in the middle. Delicious!
With a creamy aioli, a little green salad (adding avocado here is a nice touch) and warm bread of your choice (we used to wrap it in a wholemeal pitta with some gherkin slices) and you have a form of food perfection on your hands. Yum.
For the source of this inspired bit of meddling, see the Leon Cookbook (www.leonrestaurants.co.uk), it’s packed with all sorts of deliciousness.
One thing, this is not really falafel and the aioli is not really aioli. They are healthier versions and I dare say, even tastier!

Do It

Lifted straight from the Leon Cookbook

2 medium sweet potatoes (orange inside), around 700g or 1 1/2 pounds in total

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 small cloves of garlic, chopped, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, 2 big handfuls of fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped, Juice of half a lemon, a scant cup (120g) gram /chickpea flour, a splash of olive oil, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees (220C) and roast the sweet potatoes whole until just tender – 45 minutes to 1 hour. Turn off the oven, leave the potatoes to cool, then peel.

Put the sweet potatoes, cumin, garlic, ground and fresh coriander, lemon juice and gram/chickpea flour into a large bowl. Season well, and mash until smooth with no large chunks. Stick in the fridge to firm up for an hour, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When you take it out, your mix should be sticky rather than really wet. You can add a tablespoon or so more of chickpea flour if necessary (the water content of sweet potatoes varies enormously).

Reheat the oven to 400F/200C. Using a couple of soup spoons (put a well-heaped spoonful of mix in one spoon and use the concave side of the other to shape the sides) or a falafel scoop if you have one, make the mixture into falafelly looking things and put them on an oiled tray. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until the bases are golden brown.

Makes about 18 falafel, enough for 4 – 6.

Aioli……simple as……greek yoghurt (soya yoghurt will do nicely for vegans), dash of water to thin out (double cream style), squeeze of lemon, cracked pepper and salt, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp of dijon mustard, splash of olive oil, mix well with spoon, preferably leave in the fridge overnight.

Serve

See above.

We Love It!

Leon are lovely people with even lovelier food.  These falafels are a modern classic.  This recipe can also be made with purple sweet potatoes (if you can your hands on them).  Keeps things interesting!

Foodie Fact

Sweet potato are ace sources of beta carotene.  When eaten with a little fat, our bodies are much better at absorbing this vital nutrient.  Although they are potatoes (although a totally different family from your average spud) the sugar in sweet pots absorbs slowly into our blood, giving them a surprisingly low G.I. (Glycemic Index) Rating.

Sweet Pots are one of the vegetable worlds finest Vitamin A providers.  Sweet!

Falafel kisses to you allX

(PS – Thanks to the good folk at Impeccable Taste blog for the above falafel photo, which is far better than any photo I could have taken.)

Categories: Baking, Dinner, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Lunch, photography, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Miso and Tahini Dressing

A punchy little number with a good health kick to it.

This makes for a nice thick dressing with a tangy flavour like no other.  The first time I read the recipe I knew it would be an interesting flavour and it’s turned out to be a real favourite at the B.H.K.

It goes perfectly with roasted root veg and potatoes, maybe with a veggie sausage thrown in.  We have it as a substitute to a classic meat-based gravy, good served hot or cold.

I use brown miso paste but experimenting with different miso would work well also.

Warning!  This can get quite salty so use sparingly and taste before serving, balancing flavours accordingly.  Use more date and lemon to balance the saltiness.

The Bits

1 tbsp Brown Miso Paste, 2 tbsp Soya Sauce, 2 tbsp Tahini, 2 tbsp olive oil, 4 dates, 1 squeeze of lemon juice, 2 tbsp filtered water, 2 tomatoes, 1/2 onion (or leek, a mellow white onion would be best here), 1 clove garlic.

Do It

Put all ingredients into a blender and whizz until a smooth sauce is formed

Serve

As a dip, over a veggie burger or sausage, or as a dressing.  We had it cold mixed into roast vegetables and also as a beetroot and carrot salad dressing.

We Love It!

This dressing has a rich almost alcoholic flavour.  A great substitute to a sherry gravy!   Healthy food that tastes amazing, you can’t beat it!

Foodie Fact

This dressing has some great raw components, packing a real health kick.

Miso is fermented soya beans, which can have grains (ie rice or barley) added for different flavours.  Fermentation is possible due to nifty micro-organisms that have been used in this way in China and Japan for thousands of years.  Food fermented using these micro-organisms are referred to as ‘Koji’.

You may have tried Miso Soup, but Miso has many other uses and is a healthy substitute to salt.

Young Miso is normally white and darkens the longer it matures, which can be years.  The longer the fermentation, the stronger the flavours.  Miso is available in many colours including green and red.

Miso is high in sodium, but does not affect our system the same way as normal salt, having less impact on blood pressure etc.  After tests is Japan, scientists still do not fully understand why this is the case.

Miso is full of antioxidants (like manganese and zinc) and like other soy based foods it contains the super phyto- nutrient antioxidants (phenolic acids).  Miso is also a good source of dietary fibre and protein and benefits the digestive tract.

Mighty Miso

Categories: Dressings, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Sauces, Snacks and Inbetweens, Superfoods, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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