Posts Tagged With: fruit

Summer Berries and Rocket Breakfast Salad (Raw/ Vegan

Summer Berries and Rocket Breakfast Salad

Summer Berries and Rocket Breakfast Salad

OK, it doesn’t have to be for breakfast, but it’s a beautiful thing to tantalise the palate and get the body singing in the AM.  This salad gives you plenty of nutrients to play with and a great detox kickstart.

We love the combination of sweet fruits and rocket (arugala to some), a contrast of sweet and sharp that will wake your taste buds up first thing.  We are watching the foods that we combine at the minute and diary and nuts with this salad would go some way to lessening the bodies ability to absorb all that goodness.  I find that its force of habit to stick seeds and nuts on breakfast, but have realised that if I don’t, I feel great after an hour, very full with bags of energy.  There is a noticeable difference.

‘Tis the time for berries and we are reaping the nature’s bounty with big smiles on our faces.  We have had this sort of salad with all sorts of berries and ran into some particularly splendid cherries recently which will live long in the memory.

Eating a berry salad is a little decadent some may say, no filler here, just berries and a little greenery.  But its a treat and we’re well worth it! Make it a Sunday morning treat instead of a waffle, or even a Monday morning treat instead of a bagel!  Whatever takes your fancy of course.

All berries are rammed with vitamins and all are ‘super’ foods, the also happen to be sweet and luscious.  Over doing berries is probably not good for you, but it’s that time of year when sitting in the garden and devouring a punnet of strawberries per person should be a national pass time.  We’ve earned them after enduring all that grey drabness.  Lets enjoy these open blue skies and toast them with some vivid red berry action.

Steering away from dairy and grains in the morning is good practice and they tend to slow things down, clog you up a little.  Fruits and greens are the perfect way to get things rolling in the right direction.

Serves two lucky fruits.

The Bits

1 cup strawberries, 1 cup raspberries, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup rocket leaves

(de-stoned cherries would be awesome!)

THAT’S ITS!

Do It

Wash all the berries and rocket, dry on some kitchen paper.

Summer Berries and Rocket Salad

Summer Berries and Rocket Salad

Serve

You can add some soaked chia seeds, which are great for the digestion.  The also have a gloopy, porridge-like texture to them.

We Love It!

5 star breakfast!  5 stars!

Foodie Fact

Raspberries are not only pink and fluffy, they help you burn fat quicker due a phytonutrient.  Raspberries belong to the rose family; as do apples, strawberries, apricots, plums, pears etc and are best bought organic as they have been shown to contain greater antioxidant levels, this means lots of vitamin C.   How cool!

Categories: Breakfast, Detox, gluten-free, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Nakd Bars (Raw)

Nakd Bars

My first look at a Nakd bar read:

Nature is nice 

Eatnakd.com

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

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

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

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

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

Get Nakd!

You’ll find all Nak’d things HERE.

The Beach House Nakd pot

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

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

Pineapple and Blueberry Juice

Pineapple and Blueberries make happy

This mornings juice worked out a treat.  The sun is out again, which is a rarity and always cherished.  All the windows and doors are open as the Beach House breathes in the warm air.  It has been a long cold winter, we need all the sun we can get!

There has been a pineapple ripening on the window ledge for weeks now, getting nice and sweet, waiting for just such a day; when we can close our eyes and outside, drift off with the birdsong.  Maybe imagine that there are palm trees swaying above us and pineapples grow freely in the next field.  Instead its a fuchsia bush and potatoes that grow, but I wouldn’t change it.

I had the good fortune to stumbled across some luscious looking  organic blueberries (unfortunately not from this island) which will complement our lovely tropical friend, adding their vivid dark colour and nutrients to proceedings.

I  started the Magimix up and here the rest is here:

The Bits

Half a pineapple chopped into chunks, two good handfuls of blueberries.

Do It

Stick it in the Magimix, blueberries first, followed by the pineapple.  We always juice like this, always dense and concentrated first, followed by something juicy/ watery.   You will get better extraction of juices.

Pineapple and Blueberry Juice

Serve

Your favourite wine glasses!

Foodie Fact 

To grow pineapples all you need to do is chop off the top and plant it!  It does take years to grow (which heightens my respect for the fruit) and very tropical conditions.  Our pineapple tops add a tropical flavour to our compost bin!

Buster takes in some sun

 

Categories: Breakfast, Garden, Healthy Eating, Juices, Organic, Raw Food, Recipes, Relax, Vegan, Wales | 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

Bitter Apple and Banana Smoothie


An improvised number, but a good one.

This was one Bramley apple that was hanging around and a nice ripe banana. A great combo of sweet and bitter to get the palate going in the morning.  If you’d like a real filling smoothie, add a handful of oats.  If you fancy a rich smoothie, add yoghurt.

So it’s a slice of bitter England meeting sweet Costa Rica.

This is enough for two cups of goodness.

The Bits

One chopped Bramley (cooking) apple, one banana, 2 cups of soya milk (or whatever milk you prefer), a blob of good yoghurt (optional).

Do It

Stick it all in a blender and give it a whizzzzzzzzzzzzz.

We Love It

It’s a good way to use our abundance of Bramley apples at the minute, there’s only so much apple pie you can eat!

Foodie Fact

The first Bramley Apple tree grew in Nottingham, England 1809 (how is this known!)  and is named after a butcher named Matthew Bramley.

Nottinghams finest!

Categories: Breakfast, gluten-free, Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Buzz Smoothie

The Morning Zing!

It’s called ‘The Buzz’ for a reason.  It’s a real lipsmacker!

This beats a double espresso buzz any day.  One glass and you’re de-fuzzed.  After drinking this concoction, the fruit sugars (fructose) and vitamins get to work and the morning coffee jolt seems a little beige in comparison.

It’s a vibrant looking number and bursting with citrus, sweet apple and carrot flavours.  Packed full of all the good stuff that you need in the morning to get you fired up for another day of life.  It’s a wake up call for the body and mind.

We don’t have a juicer (yet) so we blitz it all up in a food processor.  I imagine these ingredients will make an amazing juice, maybe you’ll need to throw in another carrot or so.

Organic fruit and veg will make all the difference in your juices and smoothies with bags more flavour and juice, even if they cost a few pennies more.  They will definitely have more nutrients in them, keeping your insides and outside in better condition.  After visiting a few shops in Spain, I feel fortunate that we have the choice of organic in Britain.  The carrots in this were particularly special, from Hootons Homegrown, Farm Shop on Anglesey (thats in Wales for global readers).  We are blessed with some amazing producers in these parts.

Enjoy responsibly, this is full-on juice!

This recipe will make enough for 4 glasses of what is more a chunky juice than a smoothie.  We keep some in the fridge for later, it’s so full of good things that it takes care of any mid-morning hunger pangs.

The Bits

All chopped into chunks – 1 apple (unpeeled), 1 carrot (unpeeled), 2 oranges, 1 grapefruit (a squeeze of lemon if you really want a hit!), 2 cups of filtered water (or 1 cup of water, 1 1/2 cups of ice)

Do It

Put it all in a blender and whizz it up.  Taste and add more water if needed.

We Love It!

The colour alone helps get my juices going.  We like the balance of sweet and acidic in this one.

Foodie Fact

Grapefruit (Citrus Paradisi or Paradise Citrus in Latin) is full of vitamin C.  On average, half a grapefruit contains 75% of your required Vitamin C for the day.  It also contains the super antioxidant lycopene.

Without getting to grim and technical, eating more grapefruit (and Organic fruit and vegetables) lessens your chances of catching things and dying in general.  Hooray!

The usual suspects

Categories: Breakfast, gluten-free, Juices, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Organic, Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

5 Minute Fig and Prune Compote

The 5 minute compote with figs, prunes and a bit more.  Prunes have always been so unfashionable, well not anymore.  At least in the Beach House, they are very cool.

This is really quick and easy, perfect for a busy lifestyle.  No stewing required and only dried fruit from the cupboards needed.  Just chop the fruit, boil the kettle, leave in a fridge overnight. Thats it!  Naturally sweet and zesty compote. Our kind of fast food!

I love the flavour of the rich figs and prunes with the lemon and tea balancing the flavours and sweetness nicely.  Figs always remind me of Morocco, where I ate them by the ropes length (you buy them thread whole onto a rough length of rope). I normally opted for a foot-long! I was doing a lot of walking at the time.

We use this compote mainly on muesli, but it goes great with yoghurt and seeds as a healthy dessert or even in a smoothie that needs a sweetness kick.

This compote is designed to be kept in the fridge, not jarred. But you could experiment, like most things, it will get better with age!

This recipe will make enough for a decent bowl full of sweet fruity goodness.  I added fresh plums here also, we managed to get some amazingly sweet local ones.  When chopping the fruit, we like to keep them nice and chunky.

———————

5 Minute Fig and Prune Compote

The Bits

3 fresh plums (pitted and chopped, you may like to take the skins off)

4 dried figs (chopped)

6 dried apricots (unsulphured are best, chopped)

6 big fat prunes (chopped)

zest of 1 lemon (ribbons is best)

1 cup of hot black tea.

 

Do It
Make two cups of black tea (no milk!), one for you, one for the compote. Then leave to cool slightly while you chop the fruit and peel the zest off the lemon (use a good French peeler, so much easier, you could waste years of your life peeling spuds and zest!).

I now put it all into a tupperware dish, pour in the slightly cooled tea (removing the tea bag), allow to cool, then pop lid on and into the fridges.

That’s it!

Serve

Yoghurt, cereals, seeds, on top of cake, in a smoothie…………………………..

 

We Love It!

A good dose of natural sweetness and plenty of fibre from the prunes and apricots, leave the belly sweet and full.

 

Foodie Fact

Prunes are historically good for getting things moving down under. ‘Regularity’ I believe is a commonly used term.  That will be the high soluble fibre content.

Back in the olden days (that’s the ’80’s by the way) prunes seemed to be almost medicinal, something you ate with a degree of suffrage.  But they are delicious and contain rare phytonutrients and beta carotene (in the form of vitamin A) which have a huge benefit on your inner workings, cells, brain and all.

Categories: Breakfast, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Recipes, Salads, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Rhubarb Triangle

I admit to getting nostalgic about rhubarb.

It would be fair to say that, for large parts of my childhood, I was raised on rhubarb.  Times were hard, no one had heard of mangos!  I used to have a den near a rhubarb patch and would regularly eat the stuff raw and probably covered with soil.  I have many great memories of Mum’s rhubarb crumbles with custard.

I was interested to learn about the ‘Rhubarb Triangle’ in sunny Yorkshire (England). It’s a 23 sq km triangle, but during the rhubarb boom years of the early 20th century, was a whopping 78 sq km. We’ve just gone off crumbles (and rhubarb)! Why?  It is such a star of the British food world, with a unique bittersweet flavour and is full of nutrients (packed with Vitamin A, B and K).

Rhubarb is a native of Siberia, which explains to some extent why it thrives in this triangle of Yorkshire. They produced what is called ‘forced’ rhubarb, grown in large sheds and at one time, Yorkshire produced 90% of the world’s output. North Yorkshire Rail used to have a special rhubarb train running daily, carrying on average, 200 tonnes of the tasty stalk. It even reached the markets of Paris.


In 2010 the rhubarb triangle was given a P.D.O. (Protective Designation of Origin), like wine and cheese, normally on the continent (but increasingly more so in Britain, our produce is finally getting some respect).

The rhubarb is kept in well fertilised fields for two years, then shown a little frost and put into the warmed ‘forcing’ sheds. They then begin to sweeten up, converting stored carbohydrate into sugar.  The rhubarb grows to around 2 feet in length and they are picked by candle light, as the rhubarb stops growing in light.

Forced winter Rhubarb is bright crimson and more tender than the outdoor summer variety. By March the harvest is over.  Wakefield Council are still running an annual Forced Rhubarb Festival in February.  If you’re interested?

Rhubarb is doing ok, but took a big hit after WW2 when more exotic fruits (I know its not specifically a fruit) became fashionable. The pineapples and mangos etc in Britain are rubbish! Terrible. What are they treating fragile papayas with to make them last the journey from Central America? It is mental that we eat these fruits regularly on this grey island.  They are inherently tropical.   I don’t expect a good pint of bitter in Costa Rica!

Rhubarb however is local, delicious and picked by candlelight. Romantic, red and ravishing (sort of)…..drop the kumquats, support your local rhubarb bunch and eat more crumbles!

Expect more rhubarb action soon at the B.H.K. or check out the ‘Rhubarb and Custard Cake’ recipe below.

Categories: Local food | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Mum’s Blueberry and Cranberry Granola

My Mum’s name is Carol and we are alike in many ways.  We are both good sleepers and enjoy nothing more than a wee lie-in and a lazy breakfast, at our leisure, normally stretching way beyond lunchtime.

Granola is always a key munch at these indulgent occasions.  We like it so much that Mum has started to make her own.  Heres what Mum has to say:

“Hello cooking companions,

Blueberry and Cranberry Granola

225g Rolled Oats, 15g soft brown sugar, 45g Wheatgerm, 2 tbsp Maple syrup (or Honey), 55g Millet flakes, 2 tbsp sunflower oil, 1 tbsp Sesame seeds, 2 tbsp orange juice, 2 tbsp Sunflower seeds, 2 tbsp flaked Almonds, 50g dried Blue berries, 50g dried Cranberries, 10 bashed up Brazil Nuts (if you’re feeling flush!)

A delicious toasted Muesli, this is made from a tempting mix of grains, nuts, seeds and colourful red and blue berries.
Stirring Maple syrup and Orange juice into the mix helps to keep the oil content down making this version much lower in fat than most ready made Crunchy cereals.

Makes 500g

Pre heat 160c – 325f gas 3

1 – In a large bowl mix together Oats, Wheatgerm, Millet flakes, Sesame and Sunflower seeds Almonds, Dried Berries and sugar.  Stir until mixed well.

2 – Put the Maple syrup, Orange juice, and oil in a small jug and mix together. Pour this mixture slowly into dry ingredients stirring to ensure that the liquid is evenly distributed.

3 – Spread mixture evenly over a non – stick roasting pan.  Bake for 30 = 40 mins until golden brown.

4 – Remove from the oven and leave to cool.  Store in a air tight container for up to two weeks.

Serve with milk, fruit or yogurt..

Lots of good thoughts coming your way

Mamxxxxx”

Enjoy lazy breakfast and carefree days (this granola will help!)XXXXXX

Mum's hut (but she lives in a house really)

Categories: Breakfast, Friends of B.H.K, Recipes, Relax, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orange and Apricot Rooibos Salad

Get off to a flier!

This is a quick recipe, like a compote, perfect for a morning citrus buzz or desert option.
It will keep your muesli interesting and is actually best on its own.  I like it chilled.

The Bits
Small handful of dried apricots (unsulphured if poss. and halved), 2 good oranges (cut into segments, the less pith, the better), 2 cardoman pods (well bashed), long ribbons of orange zest, 1 cup of rooibos tea (we used vanilla rooibos), small handful of sunflower seeds, 1 teas of your favourite honey.

Do It
Make a cup of rooibos, leave to infuse a little, put all bits in a tupperware and pour over still hot tea. This gets the infusion going, Stir. When cool, put in the fridge overnight.
Serve
With a blob of creamy greek yoghurt, can go on muesli or is great, chilled by itself. The liquid is a refreshing juice.  We had it with a dash of cointreau on pancakes.  I imagine it would go very well indeed with a nice slab of chocolate cake.  Hmm.
We Love It
It’s the right kind of colour for a morning pick me up! Great sweet and citrus double act.
Foodie Fact
Dried apricot are a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as dietary fibre and have the wonder antioxidant Lycopene in full effect.  Try to avoid the ones treated with sulphur dioxide, they will have the bright orange colour.  It can cause a nasty reaction for people who are sensitive to sulphur, especially those who have ashtma.

Categories: Breakfast, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Infusions, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Apple Mull Steamer

Apple juice made by local kids

If you live on the grey island, it’s probably snowing where you are.  This is the ideal tonic for a chill, we’ve been spiced up on this all winter.

It’s an intense cordial that glows with the spices of distant lands (as you look out at the grey drizzle).  We will normally have a cordial in the fridge and it will change with the seasons.  I’m looking forward to something elderflower soon………

Heres a ‘steamer’ of pure Beach House loveX

The Bits

One bottle of good quality cloudy apple juice.  Glass is best in this situation (you can re-use it) or use a corked old wine bottle (clear glass looks very cool).

Zest of a lemon (or orange) in long slices, not chopped.

2 star anise, one stick of cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1 bashed liquorice root, a finger of ginger in large chunks, a little splash of good vanilla essence.

1 large tablespoon of honey (or to taste)

Do It

Pour the apple juice into a pan, add all ingredients.

Bring to a steam, close to boiling, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes (or longer, the flavours will only get more infused), do not boil, leave to cool.  Wash bottle well.

When cooled, pour back in bottle, I like to add all the bits into the bottle also. Keeps well in the fridges for a week, but won’t last that long!

Serve

Use it like a cordial, with hot water.  Or take it to the next level with a glug of dark rum.

We Love It

Its gives the body a big warm hug and if drank with rum, this potion will send the most stressed mind to a blissed out place of calm.

Foodie Fact

You’ll get a big kick of Star Anise in this mull.  It has been used in China and India to treat disorders of the nervous conditions.  Cloves are powerful!  Not just in flavour.  they are anti-oxidant, anti-flammatory, anti-septic, as well as calming and warming.  Ahhhhhhh

Categories: Infusions, Recipes, Relax | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The B.H.K Awards – Top 15 Seasonal Superfoods (Winter)

Beat those dark winter nights. Blow away those frosty morning blues. Hah! These foods give your body a super kick and are packed full of a feel good vibes. Spring is getting closer, but these beauties will help you across the dark season finish line.

Everybody seems to love a ‘Top 10’.  So surely a ‘Top 15’ is better?!  I was looking into healthy eating and came across several sites claiming to have the definitive selection of ‘Top 10 Superfoods’. I don’t know who or when the term ‘Superfood’ was created, but I like it. It simply suggests food that is super packed full of goodness.

Superfoods come into their own in the busy modern world, when we don’t always have time to prepare meals. They can be grabbed and munched, giving a nutritious boost.  This is especially important during winter when the sun retreats early and the cold can chill you to the bone. It’s a strenuous time for body and mind.

I’ve compiled my own Winter ‘Top 15’ (better than 10) below. The criteria are simple. Is it tasty? Is it also super healthy? Do we eat it regularly? Is it local(ish) and seasonal? I haven’t added things like spirulina, goji berries, wheatgrass etc, although they are very healthy they don’t have the delicious-ness. They are just not your everyday hero.

Our selection will inevitably change towards summer, expect another instalment.

All of these contenders are packed with goodness and if eaten with other healthy bits and some regular exercise, will keep you shining all winter.

15) Red Wine – Dodgy start you may say.  Well yes and no.  I’ve managed to stem the tide of wine in recent years.  Everything in moderation.  Grapes provide vitamin C, vitamin  B1 and vitamin B6–red grapes also contain powerful phytochemicals (especially  phenolics) that may help decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. These compounds are housed mostly in the skin of the red grapes, which gives red wine its colour. Resveratrol, found in the skins of red fruits has been shown to have anti-oxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory activity.

14) Green tea – Not exactly a local crop, but this brew has a serious ‘feel good’ effect in the mornings.  Green tea contains polyphenols, which may reduce heart disease, cancer and stroke risk. Green tea also supports brain health and memory, likely due a key compound in green tea called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a flavonoid. EGCG is thought to boost the immune system and prevent tumors. Aim for at least two cups daily.

12)  Whole grains (whole wheat, barley) – Bread and beer, not healthy really, but ever so British.  Two of the myriad of uses for the humble, yet essential whole grain.  Whole grains help stabilize blood sugar and insulin and may protect against heart disease. They include all three parts of a grain kernel: the bran, germ and endosperm. Whole wheat flour, brown rice and barley are all whole grain foods. Look for the words “whole grain” on the label, and the word “whole” immediately before the name of the grain in the list of ingredients.  Contrary to popular perception, the benefits of whole grains go well beyond fiber and fiber’s role in digestive health. Whole grains contain vitamins B and E; the minerals magnesium, selenium and zinc; phytonutrients; that appear to work together in powerful ways.

Panamanian Bean Mix (Good name for a band)

11) Beans –  A staple.  Anybody who knows me, understands my passion for these little beauties.  A fabulous source of vegetarian protein and fibre, two nutrients that help you stay full and satisfied.  Important to feel fully sustained in winter.  The protein and fibre in beans also tempers the rise in blood sugar that occurs after a meal, which can help stabilize mood. The fibre in beans helps keep you regular. Beans are low in fat and a good source of magnesium and potassium, nutrients that work together to lower blood pressure and keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Added bean bonus: They’re cheap and when growing add vital nitrogen back to the soil.

10) Pumpkin – Orange veggies are all loaded with Vitamin A, vital in the winter when the sun is so shy. We are lucky to have two different varieties growing locally to give us some variety.  Pumpkin is loaded with nutrients that will help your heart, bones, eyes, and skin shining.  Beta-carotene and potassium are the two standouts here: Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that helps rejuvenate skin, protect your vision, and may even reduce risk of arthritis. Potassium is a mineral involved in lowering blood pressure and maintaining healthy bones.  There is nothing sweeter than a well roasted pumpkin?

9) Oats – Are technically whole grains, but get their own section in these parts.  Britain, this windswept little island, has been fuelled on the stuff since early man first landed here.  I don’t think any food better sums up our predicament and history.  The oats in porridge acts as central heating for your body, one bowl in the morning and you’ll be simmering all day.  Eating oats is good for those with high cholesterol.  Whole grain oats are one of the best sources of soluble fibre, which, in addition to lowering cholesterol, helps keep blood sugar levels under control.  No peaks and troughs, just plain sailing.

8) Olive oil – Reminds me of my other home in Spain.  My heart generally resides there, as my body does the rounds.  The freshly pressed oils of Murcia are hard to come by here, but with our uber consumerist ways, good olive oil is easy to find.  One of the best types of fat you can opt for in your diet.  Olive oil helps to protect against heart disease and cancer. Recent research shows that heart-attack survivors on a Mediterranean diet had half the death rates of those on an ordinary low-fat diet.  Nice to know.  Spaniards do eat a lot of fish, which keeps them healthy, but normally drink like one too.  However olive oil is also high in antioxidant activity.  Is there nothing this golden amritar is not capable of?!

7)  Crucifers (broccoli, kale, cabbage) – This family thrives around here.  They are so tasty and versatile.  Trigonos (our organic veg farm) grows the finest red cabbage and kale imaginable.  In fact, all of their vegetables are rather special.  Cruciferous vegetables contain indole alkaloids that may help prevent the big C.  They are high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  Foods from the cruciferous and cabbage family (including broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards and turnips) may help bolster memory as you age.  Something I need help with right now!

6) Tomatoes – Grown in a local poly-tunnel.  We are so blessed to be surrounded by die hard green fingers.  These wonderful orbs contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant shown to help stimulate the immune system and protect from certain cancers, especially prostate. Lycopene is more highly concentrated in cooked tomato products including tomato paste, passata or tomato sauce.

5) NUTS (Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews etcetc)Generally, limit yourself to a handful of nuts per day.  But what a handful!  Nuts are so precious.  They are not local, but are one of our favourite treats.  Adding a dose of almonds daily helps the intake of key nutrients, lowering the intake of dietary detractors like trans fats, excessive sodium, sugars and cholesterol. Eating nuts may help protect against heart disease and inflammation, enjoying 11 walnuts daily reduces total cholesterol by up to 4 percent.  Walnuts also look like a brain, so are good for your brain (Ayuvedic wisdom).  They are a rich source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a compound called ellagic acid that has been shown to reduce artery-forming plaque.  Love NUTS!

4) Leeks – It goes without saying that this gorgeous Allium would crop up.  We are in Wales after all.  Regardless of that fact, leeks are one of my favourite vegetables.  Packed with flavour, vitamins, minerals and flavanoid anti-oxidants.  They are low in calories and contain both soluble and in-soluble fibre.  They contain lots of folic acid, essential in DNA synthesis and cell division.   Vitamin wise the are packed with A (hooray) and C, which not only protects against infections, but also harmful free radicals.  Wear your leeks with pride!  So much tastier than a rose (not to mention a thistle).

3) The Cuppa (Tea) – Another tea?  Why not!  The elixir of the B.H.K.  Without it, we’d be lost and flaccid. The caffeine content in tea is useful for stimulating alertness, mood and motivation, but is also a rich source of the antioxidant called catechins. Studies suggest that catechins protect the artery walls against the damage that causes heart disease and prevents the formation of blood clots. It also does wonders for the spirit on a dark winters day.  Avoid drinking too much milk, try a slice of lemon or drink good quality tea black.  It’s one of those things that will grow on you.

2) Dark Chocolate – The finest of news.  Believe it or not, chocolate is a healthy treat, as long as you choose wisely. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants that have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and boost overall heart health. Choose chocolate that is at least 70 percent cacao or cocoa to optimize the antioxidant power and health benefits. Dark chocolate may even boost your mood. The rich taste and sensuous mouth-feel of a decadent piece of dark chocolate may be to thank (remember the Flae advert Brits).  Just don’t eat a whole bar. Our favourite is Green and Blacks.

1) Beetroot (or beta vulgaris) – King Crimson!  The dark purple avenger!  Anything that comes out of the dark soil this colour, is bound to be packed full of good.  The pigment that gives beets their super-beautiful fuschia depth (betacyanin) is a powerful cancer-fighting agent. Beets’ potential effectiveness against colon cancer, in particular, has been demonstrated in several studies. Beets are also particularly rich in the B vitamin folate (see above) and the mighty vitamin C.  If you’re lucky enough, use the leaves.  They are higher in vitamin A and anitoxidants than the root.  We roast them up, put them in cakes, pickles, pies…..They add amazing hues of purples and pinks to anything they touch (including your chopping board) and generally brighten up any day.  Truly our winter king.

So Beetroot is the winner.  What drama!  I wonder who it will be in the summer (strawberries).

Heart of the 'root

Categories: Ayurveda, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Nutrition, photography, Superfoods, Tea, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Magic Morning Lemon Water

I have always known that a glass of hot water and lemon is a good idea first thing.  It just feels right (especially after a whiskey the night before).  I thought I’d read into exactly why and was pleasantly surprised.

A glass of hot(ish) water and lemon will stimulate your digestive system, the potassium in lemons will help to give the brain and nervous systems a wake up call.  The vitamin C boosts the immune system and reduces the signs of aging by purging toxins from the blood.  The citric acid, when metabolised, will help lower your bodies acidity.  Most of us are too acidic (in many ways!).

Lemons are high in pectin fibre, which helps fight hunger pangs.  They help to stimulate the liver into producing more bile, which aids digestion, helping against heartburn and indigestion.  Your peeing rate will increase, flushing out more toxins.

The fructose is lemon will give you a gradual sugar kick.  Fructose levels are relatively low in fruit and vegetables and release sugar into the blood slowly (a low glycemic index), so its better than most other sugar***.

Fresh lemon will help to beat chest infections and has been known to help with allergies and asthma.  You will be more chilled, Vitamin C is one of the first things to be depleted by a stressful life.

Most of all, it starts the day of with a zing!  A real citrus wake up call.

As of this very day, I will almost definately, be drinking this every morning (maybe).

Remember – use the lemon peel.  Its bursting with flavour and it’s such a waste to just use the juice.

***However, there is an increased use of high fructose corn syrup in processed foods.  We can end up eating too much fructose, which can be a problem.  Fructose is processed in the liver and avoids the normal appetite stimulators.  This means that we feel like scoffing more and put on weight.  If the liver processes too much frustose it begins to form triglycerides which may lead to heart disease.  Diabetes is another potential concern.

The Hit List

HFCS is found in processed cereals, sweets (candy), soft drinks, ice cream, tinnned fruits, cakes, even some cough syrups.  Thankfully its used less in Europe than the U.S.A, but its still there and ever increasing.  It’s a cheap way for big business to sweeten food.  Stay away from food wrapped in plastic and you are on the right track.      

Categories: Breakfast, Healthy Living, Infusions, Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seabuckthorn – The Wonder Berry

Wonderberries

In late 2010 I was walking around the Himalayas, up in Spiti Valley and stumbled upon the little NGO named Ecosphere in Kaza, ran by Ishita.

I have many fond memories of my time up there and Ishita has recently been in touch, reminding me of the amazing jams that they make from the Seabuckthorn berry.

I’d never heard of it before and was please to see that it had some ‘wonder’ food qualities, bags of Vitamin C and E and tastes nice on toast.  It’s not just jam, there is a whole range of products made from this brilliant little berry.

Seabuckthorn has been used for centuries, the Greeks named the bush ‘glittering horse’.  It made good horse feed.  According to legend, seabuckthorn leaves were one of the preferred food of Pegasus.  It was used as a folk medicine throughout the Roman Empire, Mongolia and Russia.  The oil of seabuckthorn was used by the armies of Genghis Khan, apparently making them stronger and more agile.

Considering this, seabuckthorn is surprisingly native to England also. Mainly growing around the South East Coast and found in the slightly less romantic setting of motorway hedges.

Some info. via Ecosphere:

The Seabuckthorn berry (‘Hippophae Rhammonides’), popularly known as the ‘Wonder Berry’ easily fits this category due to its unique composition of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and essential fatty acids usually only found separately from different plants and sources. In the high altitude regions of the Trans-Himalayan belt, nature has endowed Seabuckthorn with properties that are worthy of calling this fruit ‘an ambrosia fit for the gods’. The natives of these regions have utilised the wondrous nutritive properties of this superfruit for centuries and continue to do so till date.

Seabuckthorn is known to contain 10 different vitamins, 24 trace elements/ mineral compounds, 18 amino acids, proteins and many bioactive substances. It is also one of the richest known sources of Vitamin C in the world, containing almost 4-100 times more Vitamin C than lemon. Seabuckthorn is on top of the list for vitamin E, beta carotene and flavonoid content and contains omega 3,6,7 & 9 oils essential to our health and well being.

http://www.spitiecosphere.com/organics_seabuckthorn.htm

Seabuckthorn can also be grown in the U.K.:

http://seabuckthorn.co.uk/

Here is an interetsing article from the forager guy on Hugh Fearnley’s programmes:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/jul/13/how-make-sea-buckthorn-fizz

Seabuckthorn and Champagne.  Why not!  It’s certainly come a long way since Genghis Khan.

Buy the bush in the U.K.:

http://www.hedgesdirect.co.uk/acatalog/sea_buckthorn.html

A view of Spiti Valley, India

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Ensalada de Kami – Coconut and Peanut Salad

Ensalade de Kami

This salad will shine all over the mid January slump.  Peanuts for energy and coconuts to remind you that Pina Coladas do still exist.

It comes straight from Panamanian jungle, via Jane’s lovely friend Kami.  Jane popped over to see Kami for a couple of weeks recently and came back all shiny and radiant, all down to Kami’s raw food and salads.

The fruits aren’t quite as good as Panama in North Wales, but we have continued the trend and I must say that a day started with this salad is a brighter place to be!

Lovely and crunchy, an interesting mix of veggies and fruit, with a smooth peanut and coconut sauce, its tastes amazing and will get your system buzzing first thing.

This is a versatile little number, you can also use it as a conventional salad for lunch or dinner.  We make a job lot in the morning and it keeps us going until late,  sometimes making two days dressing in advance (saves on washing up!).

This is most definitely a Beach House favourite.

Makes two big bowls.

The Bits

We tend to use what we have fruit and veg wise, it can change daily, but here’s an idea.

1 orange, 1 apples, 1 pear, 2 large carrots, 1 stick of celery, chunk of cucumber, bit of exotic fruit as a treat(we used a bit of pineapple today, or papaya, mango etc..) all diced into pleasant shapes of your liking.

For the sauce – 3 tbsp coconut milk, 2 tbsp organic peanut butter, 1 orange, pith off and chopped, 1 apple, 1 large carrot, both chopped, dash of water (to get it going)

Treat version – Sometimes some chopped walnuts, or finely diced dates (not too many).

Do It

Easy as pie…….

Chop up the fruit and veg.

Add all the sauce bits to a blender and pulse up, leave it a little chunky if you like.

Pour over salad and mix in.

Serve

We put it into our finest big bowl and enjoy looking at it all day.  I sometimes add a little muesli and yoghurt, or roasted sunflower seeds add even more crunch and energy.

Makes a great side dish to a slightly exotic main course, Thai or Indian food for example.

We Love It

The odd sweet burst of a date and the all over fresh crunchiness and vitality.

Foodie Fact

We stay clear of bananas with this one, sugary fruit and acidic fruit ferments in your belly, which is bad for people with sensitive stomachs.

In Ayurveda, fruit is meant to be eaten before a meal, never after or with, as it putrifies (nice word) in the stomach.  Sugary fruits also react with cereals, but sometimes, I live dangerously!

Thanks Kami

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

Super Spinach Smoothie

A shot of pure green goodness

This smoothie will kick any day off with a natural sugar hit and good dosing of iron to wake you up and feed your sleepy body.  Sweet and smooth with an iron fix.

It is so simple and quick to make and is Janes favourite morning booster.  You won’t be craving biscuits for elevensies either, the banana will see you through!

The Bits

1 1/2 bananas per person (ideally, I have two because I’m like a sloth in the morning)

2 tbsp coconut cream

Two good handfuls of spinach

A splash of water (to get it all blended nicely)

Need balast?  Add a handful of oats.

Do it

Stick it all in your blender and whizz until smooth.

Serve

Jane eats it from a bowl with a spoon, topped with some finely sliced veggies, celery is nice.  I glug from a glass, which is scrapped out after with a spoon.

We Love It

Its so easy and nutritious and its very green!

Foodie Fact

Spinach is famous as a good source of iron, but surprisingly not as good as much as most beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.  Even a dried apricot has more iron!.

Bananas are packed with natural fruit sugar (frustose), the highest of any fruit by a jungle mile.  This is still relatively low compared to most maufactured sweet foods.  They are great for the digestive system, with lots of fibre and also rich in Vitamin C and Potassium.

Categories: Breakfast, gluten-free, Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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