Posts Tagged With: avocado

Avocados – Friend of Foe! (plus all you need know)

rsz_avocado-friend-or-foe

FRIEND! *

Avocado on toast.  Who saw that craze coming?!  It has swept the UK and has placed the humble avo at the forefront of healthy eating and dairy alternatives.  But many are still a little sceptical about eating it regularly.  Surely one of our favourite exotic fruits in the BHK, avocados are a vegans dream when looking for a healthy dose of richness and a convenient spoonful of heaven.   Avocado is considered a ‘complete food’ due to its amazing nutritional profile.  We love them so much, we felt compelled to write a whole post about them where the glorious AVO takes centre stage…..

Finding a good, consistent supply of avocados in Britain is like the holy grail for a cook.  They can be so hit or miss.  Some are overly ripe, but generally they are as hard as bullets and sometimes never seem to soften up.  Its the avocado lottery and you’re never sure until you cut into one just what you’re going to get.  This makes sense, they are fragile guys, easily bruised and oxidised.  They’ve also come a long way and when we are in Wales (and not Spain, or somewhere else wandering the world) we treat them like rare and precious jewels.  Enjoying them accordingly.

My favourite avocadoes are in Mexico.  I camped in the Michoacan region, actually in a avocado farm and had memorable breakfasts, avocado feasts, sitting happily under a tree with a big spoon and smile.  I find it incredible that we’ve come up with a way to get them all the way to Wales, in tact and generally (most of the time) edible.

A LITTLE HISTORY LESSON

Avocadoes are actually classed as a berry, a tree in the same family as cinnamon and bay and are sometimes interestingly called an ‘Alligator Pear’.  They have been used by humans since as early as 10,000BC and are indigenous to Mexico and Central America, although are now grown all around the world; from Spain to Vietnam, the Philippines to Rwanda.  In Britain we only became aware of the avo in the 60’s when Sainsbury’s began stocking avocado pears.  This could explain the sudden rush from avocado coloured bathroom suites (which are actually coming back into fashion).

The avocado tree needs a climate without frost and little wind, although the Hass variety can put up with temperatures below zero.  The ‘Hass’ is now the most popular tree in cultivation, accounting for 80% overall, and each one is related to a single Mother tree, grown by a mail carrier named Rudolph Hass in California, 1935.  It is a very productive type and is known as a hybrid Guatemalan. Other varities include Monroe, Bacon, Zutano and Lula.  The word ‘Avocado’ comes from the Spanish ‘Aguacate’ which in turn comes from the Nahuatl ‘Ahuactl’ which was also used to describe testicles.  You can see why!

One of the largest avocado trees in Veracruz, Mexico

One of the largest avocado trees in Veracruz, Mexico

PACKED WITH BRILLIANT FATS AND THINGS TO MAKE YOU SHINE!

Avocado is a fruit, sporting one of the proudest pips going!  We get 75% of the energy from avo’s via fats.  They are also full of protein and dietary fibre.  Its a brilliant source of vitamins A, some B’s, C, E and K.  It also boasts a load of minerals; potassium, copper, zinc, iron and manganese.

Avo is a fatty fruit, something you don’t see very often.  These fats have put some people of avo, but I think awareness about good fats is spreading far and wide and avo’s are a brilliant source of health giving monounsaturated fats.  These account for around 63% of the overall fat content and our bodies love them.  Polyunsaturated and saturated fats account for the other 20 and 17 percent respectively.

Avocado oil also helps to fight harmful free radicals and assists in the absorption of several essential healthy nutrients like lycopene and beta-carotene.  Folates and Omega 3 Fatty Acids in avocado help to keep the brain healthy and help to combat Alzheimer’s.   Folates also help to reduce the risk of strokes.  Folic acid can also help during pregnancy, aiding the development of a healthy foetus.  Avocadoes also contain anti-oxidants that support the immune system and help revert premature aging as well as enzymes and nutrients that aid digestion by reducing inflammation.

HEALTHY HEART

The monounsaturated fats in avo’s contain oleic and linoleic acids.  These are fats that take care of our hearts, regulating cholesterol and helping to fight LDL (lower density lipoprotein) cholesterol and increasing HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol.   This is great news, as LDL leads to furry arteries, which inhibit blood flow increasing the risk of strokes and cardiovascular disease.  HDL is our friend and promotes a healthy cardiovascular system.

Avo’s also contain something called beta-sitosterol, a plant based fat that reduces LDL cholesterol by blocking absorption from the intestines.  This improves the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol in our blood.  Omega 3 fatty acids are also present in the mighty avocado, which help to regulate blood pressure.  These polyunsaturated fats assist our heart in beating normally, reducing the risk of strokes and cardiovascular disease.

rsz_avocado-food-blog-tour-1_2

SPEEDY METABOLISM

These friendly monounsaturated fats also speed up our basal metabolic rate (BMR).  This is the rate at which we burn calories when at rest.  Calories keep us ticking over, repairing cells, keeping our body temperature regular, pumping blood.  Eating avocado regularly can actually help us lose weight, contrary to what many people think.  These fats make us less fat.

BEAUTY TIPS
Avocadoes can be mashed and made into a soothing face or hair mask, as well as a skin scrub.  Avocado oil has all kinds of magical properties, they are high in vitamin E which helps to eradicate free radicals and combat aging, promotes collagen growth and skin elasticity and hydrates the skin.  It can be used as a make up remover and is increasingly being used as a natural alternative in the beauty industry.

Beautifully rich avo's

Beautifully rich avo’s

TASTY AVO IDEAS

There are the obvious ones.  Mash them up with a fork and make your favourite guacamole style salad.  Spread them on toast (all the rage in trendy city cafes at the moment).  Add them to smoothies, make ice cream out of them, chop into salads and they are great added as a soup garnish (like they do in Mexico).  Try a Indonesian style avocado smoothie, coconut milk plus avocadoes, blended and then drizzled with chocolate sauce.  Wow!  I’ve even heard of someone baking them, but I am yet to get around to this.  Will we see a baked avocado in this years Great British Bake Off (a tv program to those reading outside of Great Britain).  I doubt it, although would be intrigued to hear Mary’s comments.  In Glasgow, I am sure someone has battered and deep fried one (how did that go btw?)

TOP 5 BEACH HOUSE AVOCADO RECIPES

Toasted Corn, Avocado and Basil Salad

Raw Courgette Lasagne with Avocado and Lemon Ricotta

Avocado, Apple and Coconut Breakfast Pudding

Avocado and Basil Cheese

Chard, Coriander and Avocado Smoothie

RIPEN WELL AND KEEP ‘EM FRESH

Avocados are best eaten when they have just a little give to them when pressed, although sometime a very ripe avocado is a thing of sheer beauty, this can be a gamble as they can turn very quickly into an over-ripe, blackened mush.  Do not buy avocados with blemishes or black dots on their skins.  They will ripen quicker when kept with apples and bananas, due to ethylene gas.  Some large producers and supermarkets use ‘ethylene rooms’ in order to ripen avocados quickly.

Once cut into, avocados can be kept in a fridge for a few days, best to either squeeze some lemon juice over them and store in a sealable container or wrap tightly in cling film.  Exposure to air is an avocadoes worst nightmare.  Avocadoes turn blackish brown due to their iron content.

The easiest way to peel a ripe avocado is to take out the stone and cut into quarters lengthways, then simply peel off the skin like a banana.  You can also scoop out the lovely fruit with a spoon.

Warning – avocado skins and pips can be dangerous to animals like dogs and cats, cattle, horses, goats and rabbits.  Be careful not to leave them hanging around or pop them into their feeding bucket.

SO FRIEND OR FOE?

You know the answer after all of that!  It’s highly conclusive, avocados are our supreme amigo!  Friend to the heart, brain, skin, eyes and tastebuds.  They help us maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure and make our skin shine.  They are a meal in themselves and surely one of the finest fruits to be found.  Love thy good fats and eat an avocado a day (keeps the grim reaper at bay).

PS – You have to try that Indonesian Avocado Smoothie.  Its sensational!!!!!

~ If you created the ‘Friend or Foe’ image, or know who did, please let us know and we’ll credit you.  Can’t find you online ~

Categories: Healing foods, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Recipes, Superfoods | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Chard, Coriander and Avocado Smoothie

P1000667

Quite a mad sounding smoothie, but we can’t get enough of it at the moment. It’s more of a breakfast pudding than a smoothie. You can drink it, but a spoon is probably the safer bet.

What we haven’t mentioned yet is that this smoothie is sweetened with banana, so its not all funky vegetal flavour, but actually well balanced and thick like beautiful green custard.

We experiment with all sorts of things in the blender and they normally work.  Kale is fine, some cabbages are hard to take (especially when sweetness is involved in the mix), asparagus is fine and spinach is a real hero, melding into all sorts of flavour combos.  Soaked nuts add dramatic richness, different milks are fun to play with and really anything that needs using up from the veg basket/ drawer can be smoothed out into something lovely and superbly nutritious.  It’s floppy leaf territory.

Recently we juiced a parsnip with excellent results.  Next up swede (rudabaga), which could prove quite a challenge.  Turnip juice sounds fresh and sweet……

I think  my body likes me even more when I give it a smoothie first thing, I can feel it smiling and appreciating the pureed magnificence.

Jane on a beach walk, near Bolunuevo, Mazzaron, Spain

Jane on a beach walk, near Bolunuevo, Mazzaron, Spain

The Bits – For 2

1 avocado (de-stoned), 1 bananas, glug of rice/ soya milk, 3 chard leaves (stems kept for a stir fry), handful coriander leaves (stems in or out)

Do It

Place all in a blender and blitz into a very thick smoothie.

Hands off!!!!!!!

Hands off!!!!!!!

Serve

We love it with a splash of milk on top, like a green pint of guiness, you can then mix the ‘head’ in with a spoon.  It also looks very cool (the importance of which is never underestimated in the BHK).

We Love It!

Thick and green, two things we always appreciate, add sweet to the mix and sold.

Foodie Fact

Coriander (or cilantro) hails from the Mediterranean and like all green things boasts an almost ridiculous amount of antioxidants.  It helps fight ‘bad cholesterols’ and has a brilliant range of vitamins.  Coriander  has one of natures highest levels of Vitamin K which helps us in so many ways, mainly assisting the bones in growth and repair.

Categories: Breakfast, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Smoothies | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Toasted Corn, Avocado and Basil Salad

The corn invasion is ON

The corn invasion is ON

The corn has come and it’s come in droves. I love corn, fresh corn on the cob is one of the finest things imaginable and it plays the lead role in this super salad supported admirably by some ripe Mexican avocado and fresh basil leaves (from the garden).

Back in the day (mid to late 80’s for the record) nothing said summer more than fresh corn on the cob; boiled almost to death and lathered with butter (maybe margarine, times were tough).  I remember the sweetness and laughing at everyone with corn in their teeth and realising that you were just as bad.  It’s all part of the fun, yellow teeth.

CORNY CORN

This superbly fresh corn can be eaten raw, I have been told that is not a good idea but this stuff is so succulent and juicy it is hard to resist.  Thankfully some made it to the pan on this occasion.

Anyone who has ventured to the lands of Latin America will know there way around an ear of corn or maize as it is known.  Corn is in many things, cakes, breads and of course, straight up roasted on braziers in the streets, which is the finest way to go.  Maize comes in all shapes and sizes and has been eaten for thousands of years, it was the main fuel for the Mayans, Aztecs etc…..  Maize even comes in different colours, you can get purple, black, blue, red and our personal favourite, pink.  Interestingly, all of the differing colours have their own unique health benefits.

Autumn is gradually fading to winter and the bounty of the last few weeks is subsiding, the last summer squashes are disappearing (too fast) and even the blackberries are off (blown by some pretty freaky storm action).  The time of the roots is nigh, but we still have a few treats up our sleeve before we get to the stodge-fest of winter.

We’ve incorporated a few more of our local veggie bits in here, but cannot resist a bit of avocado, it always ups the luxury stakes.  Some vegan creaminess to add to the carnival of crunch.

This is a simple salad, but magic combinations abound and the luxurious flavour is something to savour.  The basil adds its usual glorious fragrance to the show.  The lovely thing about a warm salad is the flavours are all THERE!  BANG…….

Serve as a main course, or bulk it up with grains like spelt or bulghur.

The Bits
Serves two
2 corn on the cobs (kernels removed), 1 avocado (2 if you’re feeling decadent), 2 small tomatoes, 1 small courgette, 2 handfuls of basil leaves, juice of 1/2 lemon, drizzle of olive oil, decent pinch sea salt and cracked pepper

Do It
Remove your kernels from the cob, stand up straight on a chopping board (thicker end down) and run a sharp knife down the cob, as close as you can to the base of the kernels. Use quick, sawing actions and the little yellow critters will just fly off.

Chop your courgette, tomato and avocado into similar sized cubes.

Warm a frying pan and some oil, fry off your courgette and corn on a high heat until slightly charred. Leave to cool.

Place the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and add your corn and courgette, mix gently with your hands getting it all nicely combined.  You will now get wafts of glorious basil filling the air, mixed with that roast corn-ness!

Roast Corn, Avocado and Basil Salad

Roast Corn, Avocado and Basil Salad

Serve

Big bowl, scattered with abandon and flair (and a pinch of cracked black pepper).

We Love It!

An abundance of avocado and the beautiful sweetness of fresh, seasonal corn. This is a very satisfying salad.

Foodie Fact

Corn is not exactly a nutrient powerhouse unfortunately, but it is classed as a grain and therefore gets many brownie points.  When compared to other grains it has good levels of fibre, vitamin C and the B’s.  It is also low in calories if that’s your way.

Roast Corn, Avocado and Basil Salad

Roast Corn, Avocado and Basil Salad

Categories: gluten-free, Recipes, Salads, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Raw Vegan Lasagne with Avocado and Lemon Ricotta (Gluten-free)

Raw Lasagne with Avocado and Lemon Ricotta (Vegan/ Gluten Free)

Raw Vegan Lasagne with Avocado Lemon Ricotta, Red Bean and Walnut with Tomato and Basil Sauce (Vegan/ Gluten Free)

This is one of those dishes that really stands out.  A dish that just makes perfect sense and falls into place perfectly on the plate and palate.  All those yummy layers, one on top of another.

Meat eaters beware!  This is a ‘converter’, one fork-full and you’ll join the lighter side.  A dish that dis spells the ludicrous myths that vegetarians are merely ‘rabbit food’ munchers.

We have found vegan raw food presents a simple equation:

Raw Vegan Food = Shiny and Zinging Life of the Highest Order + Awesome, Creative New Flavours and Combinations

Granted its not the simplest of equations, but its a fine one non-the-less!  This dish is full, full, full of delicious flavour, nutrition and vegetarian protein power (see top 5 veggie sources of protein here).

Jane was typing whilst I made this and here is what I said about it, hot off the press:

“So good for you and tasty, I can see this stuff really catching on!  I see this as the future of food.  Its a simple as that.  Pasta without the carbs, supercharged full of colour and nutrition, all the flavours of Italy.  Fascinating combination of flavours only ever seen in vegan cooking, using all whole foods, nothing jarred – this is what we are going for in the BHK.”

Reading this back again, I completely agree with what my former self uttered.  This is the future of cooking (and non-cooking).  We all want the best for ourselves and raw vegan food gives us just that.  This is a trend that is actually positive for mind and body.  Can you imagine how much the National Health Service would save if we all decided to eat vegan raw food, or incorporate more of it into our diets.  We’d all live to 150 and hardly ever darken the door of a hospital or doctor.  We believe that nutrition and the food we eat is that important.  Call it preventative medicine if you will, but taking care of yourself and eating amazing food doesn’t sound like too bad a deal.  No compromise on taste either, just look at this wonder plate!

Semi-rant over for now, back to the recipe.  Its not totally raw this one, but could be very easily.  Because Raw Earth Month has now officially ended (yes we are using the odd light at night and the occasional square of chocolate is disappearing from the cupboard) cooked beans have re-entered our diets.  How I missed them.  I love a bean.  Without even thinking, I added red kidney beans to the ‘meat’ layer of our lasagne.  They are perfect colour wise and they add a great texture.  I also love them with walnuts, no idea why?

We are lucky to have a raft of inspirational friends and the original idea for this lasagne comes from the sparkling Sava over at Travel Butterfly.  Sava is a constant source of inspiration on many levels for us at the Beach House and some of her vegan/ raw recipes really hit the wonder mark.

This lasagne, and lasagne in general, has a few components to sort, it takes a little time.  Its well worth it though and would definitely be classed as a special occasion dish.  This dish has the whiff of wow factor about it, one that looks almost as good as it tastes (after all, food that looks better than it tastes is such a let down).  I am always interested to find that most people who don’t cook much still know how to make a decent lasagne.  Its quite a tricky and time consuming thing to get together, especially the art of a non-lumpy bechamel.  I generally think people are alot better at cooking than they claim to be!

Raw Vegan Lasage

Raw Vegan Lasagne

Good tomatoes here are essential.  We had some in our veg box this week and they blew us away, when I tried the sauce, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t added a sweetener to it.  That’s it reaction you need!  Gorgeous tomatoes are hard to find.  Some tomatoes just need a little love, leave them in a bowl, ripen them just like a fruit and sometimes they come good, at the very least, they will get better.  A chilled tomato is just no good.  There is a soup we made a little like this, found here.

If you are completely raw, we’d probably substitute the beans with more seeds and nuts.  Maybe a little dried apricot to bind things together.   I am sure you have your own ideas, as being a raw vegan really pushes your creativity to the limits.  We know how it is.

We use amino acids of tamari here because most soya sauce is just no good.  Soya is a funny thing and unless processed properly, can be of detriment to the body.  Tamari and something like Braggs Liquid Amino Acids are perfect replacements and tamari especially, even tastes finer.

We top this all off with some Nutritional Yeast Flakes.  I know we all don’t have them in the cupboard, but they are brilliant little flakes to add an almost cheesiness to dishes.  They have a unique savoury taste that must be tried to appreciate and are a vegan lifesaver.  For me, they are little like a vegan parmesan.  That intense!

A few other raw recipes that may tickle your tastebuds:

Black Prince Tomato and Coriander Soup

Crunchy Thai Salad with Green Coco Dressing

Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

Hazelnut and Lentil Hummus

 

Now, lets non-cook!

 

The Bits

Tomato and Basil Sauce
3 cups plum cherry toms, 1 cup soaked sundried toms (finely chopped) with ¼ cup of oil from the jar), 1 cup fresh basil leaves, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 clove crushed garlic (crushed)

Bean and Walnut Layer
250g red kidney beans (cooked) or 1 tin-ish, 1 cup of walnuts, ½ cup of pumpkin seeds (add bite), 2 x teaspoon Braggs Liquid Aminos (or tamari), Pinch of salt and pepper

Pasta Layers
1 gold courgette, 1 green courgette (or two green is fine)
Cut in half width-ways and finely sliced into layers

Avocado and Lemon Ricotta
1 ripe avocado (must be ripe), 250g firm tofu (drained well, save a few thin slices for the topping), 2 tbls olive oil, ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes, 1 small clove garlic (crushed), ½ lemon juice and zest, pinch of salt

Topping
Thinly sliced tofu, olives (finely chopped), sprinkled with Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Do It

This raw game is an easy one.  Just whack it in the food processor and voila!  Gorgeous Lasagne.

Tomato and Basil Sauce – Pop all in a FP and whizz until smooth.  Set aside and clean blender.

Bean Walnut Layer – Pop all in a FP and blitz until smooth but with lots of chunks (similar to mince I guess).  Set aside and clean blender.

Avocado and Lemon Ricotta – Pop all in a FP, blend until smooth.  Set aside.

Pop all in the fridge for an hour to chill and thicken up a little before the layering.

Raw Lasgane ready for stacking

Raw Lasgane ready for stacking

Make sure that you slice you courgette/ zucchini carefully.  You want them to be almost as thin as pasta sheets.  A mandolin is perfect for this, but a big beware here!  They love to slice fingers also.

Now to layer the beast.

On your chosen serving plate (a square one would be perfect), lay out your first layer of courgette. Depending on your chopping skills, you may need to put two layers of courgette (if wafer thin style).  Carefully spread on your bean and walnut layer and a thin layer of the tomato and basil sauce.

Next, add another layer of courgette, slightly smaller in diameter than the first, pressing down gently to make the layer stick.  This is mainly a presentation thing, you can see the layers better when they are not overhanging each other.  Once the layer is neatly placed, spread on your vegan ricotta.

First layer underway

First layer underway

The final layer, once more press down gently and arrange a nicely overlapping mosaic of your wonderfully sliced courgette, top with a layer of tofu (which can’t help but look a little like mozzarella), a good layer of tomato and basil sauce, sprinkle on your chopped olives and a good sprinkle of yeast flakes.  Top with some basil that you will no doubt have hanging around your glorious kitchen.

That’s it!  As simple or as difficult as you make it!  We think its medium in the ‘fiddle scale’.

Raw Vegan Lasagne with Avocado and Lemon Ricotta - A taste explosion waiting to happen.

Raw Vegan Lasagne with Avocado and Lemon Ricotta – A taste explosion waiting to happen.

Serve

Immediately.  The salt will gradually release liquids in the lasagne, which are very tasty, but don’t look the best.  This lasagne can be sliced as usual and the layers will stay intact and look amazing.

We Love It!

A dish in the locker that will impress friends and family for many years and make us look very clever indeed when actually its leisurely walk in the park.

The flavours mingle and merge in some form of Italian perfection and you will be amazed at the reaction from meat-eaters.  Try it!  They love it too!

Foodie Fact

Courgette (zucchini to some) is a summer squash, they are said to have originated in Mexico and come in all shapes and sizes.   Courgettes are very low in calories and have no cholesterol or fat, the peel is full of dietary fibre and it is also a good source of vitamin A and has high levels of heart friendly potassium.

Jane's been making dollies out of wheat again.  This is Trevor.

Jane’s been making dollies out of wheat again. This is Wild Johnny.

Categories: Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Special Occasion, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Avocado and Basil Cheese

Avocado and Basil Cheese

Avocado and Basil Cheese

The idea for this little wonder came from the venerable Paul Gayler, a man who is a top, top chef and also creates magic vegetarian food.  We had his book out of the library ‘Pure Vegetarian’ and it was refreshing to read such inventive vegetarian dishes created by a chef who is not actually vegetarian himself.

I wrote down quite a few of the recipes, but this one stuck in my mind and I’ve been going on about it ever since, ‘Jane we must make that avocado cheese’ was becoming a daily muttering as I opened the fridge.  Finally, I got around to it and it was worth the wait.

Somethings are just meant to go together, and creamy cheese, avocado and lemon is a match made is tasteville.  I added some Basil because we have a profusion (I have no idea where Jane is getting it all from!)

Preparation is simple here and for a vegan alternative, try it with well drained firm tofu or even cashew cheese.  If you are not a huge fan of feta, try ricotta instead.  You’ll be downgrading the flavourful, salty tang of the feta, but the most important thing is that you try this recipe!  In fact, it could be called more of  technique, mashing avocado with different delicious ingredients.  Hmmmmm, this could become a hobby of sorts.

Here it is, in all its glory and simplicity.  Green cheese!

The Bits 

1 avocado (Haas is best), 1 block of tofu or feta, 1/2 lemon (juice only), 10 basil leaves (finely shredded), 1 tbs nutritional yeast flakes (if using tofu)

Avocado cheese in the mix

Avocado cheese in the mix

Do It

Two ways- for a chunkier finish to the cheese, place all ingredients in a bowl and mash together using a masher or a fork.  This is a nice hands on way of getting it together.

Alternatively, for a smoother cheese, pop all ingredients in a blender and whizz up until well mixed and all is green and smooth.

If you are using tofu or ricotta, you may need to add a pinch of sea salt to the mix.

Tip – When scraping out the avocado (this is true for most fruit and vegetables) make sure to scrape out the parts closest to the skin, if you can, use the skin.  This is where the highest levels of nutrients are found.

Serve

We had ours simply lathered on celery sticks but I’m eating an oatcake now drowned in this glorious creation and it seems really good on anything.  Use in salads or on pan fried/ steamed vegetables.

Avocado and Basil Cheese

Avocado and Basil Cheese

We Love It!

This will be a regular in our fridge this summer, it will not keep for long with the avocado turning brown quickly, but it wont last long anyway!

Foodie Fact

There are always odd facts and advice about food.  Avocado got a bad name previously for having high fat, but its good fat, natural fat.   These fats regulate your blood sugar levels and boost levels of good cholesterol.  Avos contains all of the amino acids which are absorbed into the body via the high fibre content of avocado.   They are also high in carotenoids which are high in vitamin A (and normally associated with carrots) A is a great vitamin for protecting the body.

Categories: Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 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

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

Raw Emerald Soup

Raw Emerald Soup

A creamy raw soup that is deep green and delicious.  This is raw food at its finest, a lovely texture and flavour and also packed full of nutrients.  It is thick and filling.  This is the perfect soup for a nice lunch in the summer garden.  No emeralds are used in this recipe!  This soup is so vividly green it must be good for you.

Savannah and Jane made this one last night and they both commented on how easy it is to prepare.  It’s funny in raw food that the ingredients list normally outweighs the preparation list.  It’s quick.  There is also less washing up to do!

Raw food is dense in nutrients and I am eating less for meals.  One bowl of this and I was well sated.

The inspiration for this soup came from the brilliant raw food book ‘Eat Smart, Eat Raw’ by Kate Wood.  It is written specifically for raw fooders in the UK.  It is fast becoming our raw food recipe bible.

All vegetables here are grated beforehand to make it easier to blend.

The Bits

These bits are per person:
4/5 carrots, two large handful of spinach, 1/2 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 apple, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 tbs miso paste, 1 tbs flax seed oil (we used rapeseed oil), 1 teas dried seaweed, 300ml water.

Do It

All goes into the blender and puree until smooth.

Serve

Mix mung bean sprouts in and scatter on top with some freshly chopped parsley and I added a scattering of sunflower seeds.

Foodie Fact

Spinach is full of iron:  two out of every three women in the UK are iron deficient.

Categories: Healthy Eating, Lunch, Raw Food, Recipes, Soups, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ang’s Avocado and Mango Salad

Lovely Ang with cake and coffee

This one has floated all the way over from New Zealand.  That’s a long way for a recipe to float.

Big hugs and thanks to my ace mate Ang for this one.  Ang was a resident of Barcelona, but has recently left Catalonia for her native island, New Zealand.  In our topsy-turvy world of hopping around the place, I haven’t seen Ang in way to long, this salad reminds me of the amazing healthy food (and warm cookies) that she used to whip up in Spain when I visited.

This is exactly what we are looking forward to eating this month of raw-ness.

Ang is one of the most thoughtful and loving people I’ve met (not to mention rather amusing).  So here is ‘Ang’s Avocado and Mango Salad’ in all its glory, just like Ang, it’s fruity and sweet:

Try this one on for size – 

2 avocados
1 mango
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 small onion
1/2 red capsicum/pepper

Dice all of the above into tiny cubes and mix with a dressing made of the following:

1/4 cup oil
2 tbsp lime juice
Clove of garlic, crushed
Fresh red chilli, finely chopped
S&P

Enjoy!
I make this to take to parties or picnics but always leave a portion at home because it’s even better the next day.

This is adapted from a recipe in my beloved ‘The Essential

Vegetarian Cookbook’ by Murdoch books ISBN 0-86411-510-5 in which you also use chopped roma tomatoes, black beans, corriander and rocket.

Do you have a raw recipe we could try?

Ang’s Avocado and Mango Salad

Categories: Friends of B.H.K, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Lunch, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apricot, Avocado and Kiwi Smoothie

Apricots

Today’s smooth one came out rather nice. The richness of avocado and the zing of kiwi, with the touch of sweetness from the apricot. A well-balanced cup of goodness.

Jane and I had just taken a long walk down to Trigonos Organic Farm in the nearby Nantlle valley.  It has been an absolutely stunning day in the hills.  We popped down to see Pete and the gang and also managed to pick up some delicious little onions, carrots and potatoes.  Pete grows some really interesting, rare varieties.

Down on the farm, Trigonos (taken in April with snow on the hills)

It is all go down there at this time of year, as it is in our own garden and we are picking up many tips from the wise bunch at Trigonos.  Today we learnt to always water your seedlings at night, especially when sunny.  There seems so many do’s and dont’s when it comes to gardening, I have just been sticking seeds in pots and the earth and hope for a bloom.  We shall see…

Nantlle Valley and a black pony

So smoothies.  We needed something filling, I was shooting off to work , so this is a nice thick one, reminiscent of a milkshake with its creaminess, but without all that fat.  Avocados are excellent for this, creaminess without the cow.  I’m sure all vegans will agree!

Happy blending!

The Bits

Makes enough for two cups:

1 avocado (seeded and scooped out), 4 apricots (de-stoned), 2 kiwis (peeled and quartered), 1 cup of soya milk (or milk of your choice)

Do It

In the blender, blitz for a short time until smooth.

Serve

In the nicest glasses available, will also make a delicious smooth topping for a fruit salad or dessert (ie CAKE!), you may need to add a little something sweet to the mix, maybe honey or dates would be nice.

Foodie Fact 

Avocados are technically berries and are sometimes called alligator pears.  They contain a wide range of vitamins and fat (good fats, they’re full of fibre), which is actually a good thing for raw foodist.  We will be needing alot of avocados in a few days (see raw June)!  Avocados actually help your nutrition absorption by up to 300-400%.

Apricot, Avocado and Kiwi Smoothie

Categories: Desserts, Garden, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Local food, Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies | 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

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: