Posts Tagged With: healthy eating

Banana Bread and Almond Pancakes with Maple and Peach Sauce (Gluten-Free)

Banana Bread Pancakes

Banana Bread Pancakes

This is a Sunday morning breakfast to savour jam packed full of flavour and wonderful nutrition. I love pancakes and banana bread, so thought combining the two sounds nice. It turns out they are all the range in the States and a staple brekkie for our trans Atlantic brothers and sisters.

We’ve made them vegan and gluten free, we can’t make things too easy now can we?!   This changes the texture of the pancakes and makes them much lighter.  We find ‘normal’ pancakes quite heavy in the morn and can only eat a couple, these pancakes are less stodgy only contain natural sugars.

Gorgeous Peaches

Oooh!  You peach!

The flours we used here were what we had in the cupboard.  You may also like to go for some buckwheat or coconut flour into the mix.  They will both work well, coconut flour especially adds nice body to the pancakes.

Gluten free recipes normally need a little more care in the handling.  In the pan, let them rest and only bother them when the edges are turning to a darker shade of brown and crisping up.  Loosen well with a flat spatula and elegantly flip in one motion (much easier typed than put into practice!)  These don’t take the abuse and dodgy, warm up flipping that a normal full gluten variety will.  Softly, softly…

A good little non stick frying pan is essential kit for this recipe. You don’t need oil in the pan for these pancakes, but you do need a forgiving bottom.

We used four peaches for our sauce, we love it on toast, mixed in baked stuff and stirred into smoothies. This kind of fruit puree/ sauce is never far away from the beach house fridge.

The Bits, in the mix

The Bits, in the mix

As a variation, you can use any berries to make a nice sauce.  You may also like to throw some walnuts, brazil nuts, chocolate chips….into the pancake batter.

The Bits – For 6 big pancakes
1/4 cup rice flour
2 tbs fine corn meal/ flour
2 tbs potato flour
½ teas bicarb of soda
½ teas cinnamon
¼ teas sea salt
350g firm tofu (drained)
2 bananas
2 tbs coconut oil
¼ cup coconut milk
1 teas almond extract
2 tbs ground flax/ linseeds (soaked in 5tbs water for 20 mins)
1 handful of almonds (roughly chopped)

Maple Peach Sauce
2 peaches (de-stoned and peeled if you like)
Maple syrup (to taste)

Do It

If you have a small blender or coffee grinder (or just plain old blender) blitz the flax seeds for a minute, try to make a nice, thick paste.

Place all the pancake ingredients, except the almonds, in a blender and pulse until smooth.  Scrapping the sides of the blender a few times to get it all incorporated.  Pour into a large bowl and stir in the chopped almonds, leave to sit for 10 minutes.

Warm a small non-stick frying pan on medium heat, make sure its hot.  Spoon in roughly 3-4 tbs of pancake mix at a time. They should be nice and thick, more a American style ‘hot cake’ than a Basque ‘crepe’. Spread out using a spatula and cook for 2-3 minutes until bubbles begin to rise, flip using a flat spatula and cook on the other side for 2 minutes.

Cover with a kitchen cloth and repeat until you have a mighty tower of pancakes on your hands.

While that is going on. Place your peaches in the, now clean, blender and blitz until smooth. You can have this sauce hot or cold. Add the maple syrup to taste.

Banana Bread Pancakes with Almonds and Maple Peach Sauce

Banana Bread Pancakes with Almonds and Maple Peach Sauce

Serve

Warm and lathered with the peachy sauce.

Foodie Fact

Bananas are said to be Malaysian in origin, where they spread through the Philippines and India where Alexander the Great noted them growing in the 4th century BC.

Bananas are packed with potassium, brilliant for maintaining low blood pressure.  Bananas are super sweet but have a low GI rating, they are rich in fibre which keeps the digestion ticking over and regulates the amount of simple sugar released into our systems.  They are also good sources of vitamin C.

There are hundreds of types of bananas, but they are mainly grouped as sweet or plantain style.  To get an idea of the sheer range and textural difference, I can recommend some time harvesting bananas in Nicaragua.  The best bananas in the world!

Categories: Breakfast, gluten-free, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Raw Food vs Cooked Food and The Power of Enzymes

Jane and I are very conscious of the power and cleansing attributes of a full-on raw food diet.  We have tried it out for the past two years for at least a month (normally stretching to two) and have felt amazing; energy levels through the roof, body and mind happy and content…..  Coupled with no alcohol, gluten or caffeine we were incredibly virtuous for a while and (almost) literally floated around in a state of exalted well-being.  It was nice.  We became converts by going through the process of learning to be more experimental with raw produce and the latent potential of the humble nut.  See more of our writing on the topic here Why Raw Food?  and more and even a little more (Raw Earth Month – Moving Back to Nature) for good measure.

The raw food movement does seem to attract a certain amount of food extremists, which puts alot of folk off.  Its not all about being super skinny and living a veg obsessed, semi monastic existence.  Jane and I do not fall into this bracket, we just love to experiment with foods and our bodies and really get a buzz from succulent, vibrant raw food dished.  Check it out!

The desserts are something truly heavenly, Raw Chocolate Brownie with Chocolate Icing  or Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake.  Even the inventive way that salads are used is something to get the taste buds whirling, think Sprouted Wheat Grain, Apple and Mustard Salad or how about a Crunchy Thai Salad with Green Coco Dressing?  OK, now I’m on a roll, how about a Raw Lasagne with Avocado and Lemon Ricotta?  In fact its probably best just to check out our Raw button in the tags section (top right of the page)….

Raw Vegan Lasage with Avocado and Lemon Ricotta

Raw – Vegan Golden Courgette Lasagna with Avocado and Lemon Ricotta

RAW FOOD VS COOKED FOOD

So the food can be inspiring and creative, but what about the health side of things.  Most fruits and veggies are best served raw, but those containing lycopene (tomatoes, red pepper and other reddish fruits and veg like watermelons, red guava etc) are best served, from a nutritional point of view, slightly cooked.  Lycopene is a very potent antioxidant.  When cooked, tomatoes for example, show a boost in lycopene levels.  The drawback however, and this goes for most vegetation, is that when cooked for lets say 30 minutes, the Vitamin C levels of tomatoes decreases by 30%.  Basically heat increases the rate of degradation of food or ‘oxidisation’, which is bad for foods and bad for our bodies (hence the name ‘anti-oxidants’ which help against it).  Boiling foods results in loss of valuable nutrients which leech into the water (more reasons to use it as soup stock!?)  The healthiest way to cook food is to gently steam them and not to overcook them.  Firm is fine.  This will preserve much of their nutritional value.

So its a bit of a balancing act really, gain lycopene and lose Vitamin C.  Some people say that Vitamin C is more prevalent in the plant world and we are better served to boost the lycopene levels, which is rarer.  ‘Raw food vs Cooked Food’ is a complex comparison and I’d say that mostly raw is best for optimum health (if that’s what you’re driving at).  We are still not sure of all of the benefits of raw food, but each year, science is discovering more reasons to get excited about salads and carrot batons!!!!!

Oven Baked Summer Squash filled with Buckwheat, Beetroot and Walnuts

Cooked – Oven Baked Summer Squash filled with Buckwheat, Beetroot and Smoked Tofu

Here is an interesting article I just read about the importance of enzymes to overall health, our bodies cannot thrive without them!

Importance of Enzymes

Enzymes are the sparks that start the essential chemical reactions our bodies need to live. They are necessary for digesting food, for stimulating the brain, for providing cellular energy, and for repairing all tissues, organs, and cells. Humbart Santillo, in his book, Food Enzymes, quotes a Scottish medical journal that says it well: “Each of us, as with all living organisms, could be regarded as an orderly, integrated succession of enzyme reactions.”

There are three types of enzymes: metabolic enzymes, digestive enzymes, and food enzymes.

Metabolic enzymes catalyze, or spark, the reactions within the cells. The body’s organs, tissues, and cells are run by metabolic enzymes. Without them our bodies would not work. Among their chores are helping to turn phosphorus into bone, attaching iron to our red blood cells, healing wounds, thinking, and making a heart beat.

Digestive enzymes break down foods, allowing their nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream and used in body functions. Digestive enzymes ensure that we get the greatest possible nutritional value from foods.

Food enzymes are enzymes supplied to us through the foods we eat. Nature has placed them there to aid in our digestion of foods. This way, we do not use as many of the body’s “in-house” enzymes in the digestive process.

This is important to remember. Dr. Edward Howell, who has written two books on enzymes, theorizes that humans are given a limited supply of enzyme energy at birth, and that it is up to us to replenish our supply of enzymes to ensure that their vital jobs get done. If we don’t replenish our supply, we run the risk of ill health.

In the Enzyme Nutrition axiom, Howell postulates that “The length of life is inversely proportional to the rate of exhaustion of the enzyme potential of an organism. The increased use of food enzymes promotes a decreased rate of exhaustion of the enzyme potential.”

In other words, the more food enzymes you get, the longer, and healthier, you live.

The key is to remember that food enzymes are destroyed at temperatures above 118 F. This means that cooked and processed foods contain few, if any enzymes, and that the typical North American diet is enzyme-deficient. When we eat this type of diet, we could well be eating for a shorter and less-than-healthy life.

This points back to the importance of eating raw fruits and vegetables because they are “live foods”; that is, foods in which the enzymes are active. The more enzymes you get, the healthier you are. And the more raw foods you eat, the more enzymes you get.

DETOXIFICATION

One of the roles of enzymes in the body is detoxification — breaking down toxic substances so that they are excreted and cannot build up to possibly cause harm. Although this is done by metabolic enzymes, research shows that enzymes found in the foods we eat — although not food enzymes — may help our bodies do this.

This has such potential that the U.S. Army is looking into it. The U.S. Army Edgewood Research, Development, and Engineering Center has isolated enzymes that neutralize chemical warfare agents. The center’s Dr. Joseph J. DeFrank believes the enzymes can be used to rapidly decontaminate facilities, equipment, and vehicles.

The Frank M. Raushel Research Group is looking at ways to exploit the properties of enzymes for a variety of chemical and medicinal uses. One project is studying enzymes that catalyze the detoxification of organophosphate insecticides.

Other research points in the same direction. Research at the University of California — Davis is showing that green barley extract may accelerate the body’s breakdown of malathion, an organophosphate insecticide used heavily throughout the world.

Six different experiments measured the ability of barley leaf extract to “detoxify” this insecticide. All revealed positive results.

Interestingly enough, one more test was run after subjecting the green barley extract to high heat. This, the researchers believe, denatured and removed the proteins. Detoxification ability was again measured, and this time, did not take place. This indicates that the detoxifying agent in green barley is an enzyme, and when heated, the enzymes are destroyed. It also points out that green barley extract is “alive” — that is, that the enzymes are intact.

This info taken from the AIM International Partners Magazine, July, 1997

 

If you fancy trying out a raw food diet, you will find loads of recipes on the B.H.K. and if you need any advice, just drop us a line.  The more raw food you can incorporate into your diet, the better.   With the sun shining on our beautiful little island, I can think of no better time to drop the wok and pick up the grater.  Go Raw!!!!!!(mostly)  But most of all, have fun and enjoy cooking and eating!

Categories: Detox, Healing foods, Raw Food, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Kala Chana Masala with Beetroot and Bok Choi

Jane on 'The Rock' - Karuna Farm, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu

Jane on ‘The Rock’ – Karuna Farm, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu

Finally, we post something!!!!  We have loads of half finished bits typed hurriedly in internet cafes, but have yet had the time and drive to actually finish one off!  

We’ve been in Indian now for three months and things have been thick with experience and too many foodie experiences to recollect.  Expect many Indian themed post soon, packed full of delicious and authentic recipes……. 

Kodai Kanal, Tamil Nadu 21st March 2014

Kodai is a little ex-British Hill Station (somewhere where the Raj used to go and cool off during the summer months).  Lots of little Anglo Indian stone cottages with lawns and chimneys, tea rooms and a beautiful lake.  We are staying on a farm, on a steep slope, with spectacular views over the plains towards Madurai.  It thick jungle, full nature and absolutely beautiful and best of all, we have a small kitchen to play in!!!!!

A random little post here, but we are half way up a hill in the middle of nowhere (Southern India). This recipe came together on our first night in Karuna Farm, in the green and verdant Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu. We have been sweating and meditating, sweating and yoga-ing, sweating and chanting our way through the early part of March in the Sivananda Ashram, outside Madurai. The temperatures soared, so it is magical to be up here in the mountains where the night air is crisp and the sunrises come on like an intergalactic firework show.

This is a spectacular little farm and we are witnessing many positive projects in motion. They are building earth ships, from recyclable car tyres and starting a permaculture project to supply the on-farm restaurant with some proper local produce.

On Sunday, Jane and I ventured up to Kodai Kanala (the main town). We walked through little villages, with many smiles greeting us, for 2 hours and then managed to catch a little rickety van the rest of the way to town (we’re quite remote here!).

Kodai is an old British hill station, with many rock built chalets and a large dollop of Christianity. It is now a popular retreat for Indian honeymooners and surprisingly few gringos on the streets.

Haggling at Kodai Market

Haggling at Kodai Market

Sunday is market day and we spent most of it wandering around and ogling the local produce. Non of it organic, but all of it vibrant and full of potential. Our accommodation, a nice little cottage in a banana plantation, actually has a kitchen!  The first time we’ve been able to cook, apart from random cooking classes and making spicy tea with the chai wallas.  I was so chuffed to be having a bash at the pots and pans again.  We filled our backpacks with veggies and fruits and have not looked back since.

Internet in India is tough and I must apologise for the lack of BHK activity in recent times. We have heads full of recipes and new ways of conjuring up tasty nibbles.  We can’t wait to share them with you all from HQ (North Wales, which seems like a million and one miles away).

WHAT IS KALA CHANA?

Kala Chana (also Desi Chana or Bengal Gram) are brown chickpeas, unprocessed and packed with fibre.   ‘Kala’ actually means black in Hindi and Urdu.  They have more of a robust texture than your average chicker.  This type of chana has been enjoyed all over the world for millenia, from ancient Rome, Persia and Greece, to Africa and Latin America.  It has been used in British cooking since the middle ages.

Chana is so versatile to a veggie cook, we can boil them, sprout them, roast them in the oven, make them into magic puree’s (like hummus) or even make desserts with them.

We love this rough chana, especially in a dish with full flavoured veggies like cabbage and beetroot. A lovely old lady was selling these bok chois, we couldn’t resist them. I have never seen them cooked in India, but you wouldn’t expect us to be traditional now would you??!!

This is a highly spiced dish, similar to chana masala in many ways. The spices are warming including cinnamon and cloves, making it very much north Indian fare. In the South we have been eating mainly coconuts and white rice, the staple down here. Generally lightly spiced bu heavy on the dried chilli.

This dish, served with a massive salad, made a wonderful change and we actually cooked it ourselves! I have to say our bellies have not felt this good in the 2 month India adventure.

Jane washing up sporting socks and sandals, our new look

Jane washing up sporting socks and sandals, our new look

Grating the veggies for the sauce (called a masala over here) gives the overall dish a smoother texture and helps to thicken things up. Of course, grating things unlocks the flavours of the veggies and means you don’t need to cook them for so long to get maximum flavour.

I will be volunteering on an organic farm and cooking in a vegan kitchen soon, settling down a little. I imagine they will have internet and should catch up a little with the backlog of recipes and posts that have accumulated on my little computer gadget. There are some crackers!
Namaste and Much Love,

Lee and JaneXXXXXXX

The Bits – For 2
2 tbs coconut oil (or cooking oil)
1 large beetroot (scrubbed and diced)
6 large leaves bok choi (plus their fleshly stumps, chopped)
1 large carrot (scrubbed and grated)
1 small potato (scrubbed and diced)
1 big handful cabbage (grated)

Masala
1 onion (peeled and grated)
4-5 cloves garlic (peeled and grated)
1 ½ inch ginger (peeled and grated)
3 tomatoes (grated, skins discarded)
2 teas garam masala (or spice mix of your choice)
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tea cumin seeds
1 teas black mustard seeds
2 tbs curry leaves
½ teas chilli powder
½ teas sea salt
½ teas black pepper

¾ cup chana daal (soaked overnight)

Brown Chana Masala with  Beetroot and Bok Choi

Brown Chana Masala with Beetroot and Bok Choi

Do It
Drain your chickpeas and rinse. Place in a small saucepan and cover with 3 inches of water, bring to a boil and simmer with a lid on for 1 hour (or until nicely tender).

Whilst they’re cooking, get your masala ready. In a frying pan, warm 1 tbs of oil, add the cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon stick fry for a 30 seconds then add the onions. Fry all on a med high heat for 5 minutes, until golden.

Add the garlic, ginger and beetroot, fry for 3 minutes, then add the carrots and cabbage. Stir well and warm through. Cook for 5 minutes and add the garam masala, chilli powder and tomato. Bring to a boil and cover. After 10 minutes cooking on a steady simmer, add 100ml water and stir, then recover. Cooking for another 10 minutes. The sauce should be nice and thick.

Now add the masala to the chickpea pan, there should be some liquid left in the pan. Stir in and thin out the sauce with more water if needed. Check seasoning, adding salt and pepper. Be heavy on the pepper, chana masala loves pepper!

In a small frying pan, warm 1 tbs oil and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves on medium heat. Let the splutter for 30 seconds and remove pan from the heat.

Once the chickpeas are warm through, stir in the seasoned oil and serve.

No lights in our cabin, but candles are better anyway.

No lights in our cabin, but candles are better anyway.

Serve
In these parts we’d be having rice and rice (with a side helping of rice!)  but tonight, in our own little cottage, we’re having one of Jane’s bonza raw salads; with grated beetroot, kohlrabi, peanuts, beetroot leaves, carrot, coriander and lots more market fresh bits (when Jane does a salad, the entire veg basket is used!)

Sunrise outside the kitchen window

Sunrise outside the kitchen window

Foodie Fact
Kala Chana is very high in dietary fibre, one big bowlful of this curry with give women almost half of their daily intake of fibre (men a little less than that).  These brown garbanzos are also high in protein and rich in minerals like iron, copper and manganese.

Kala Chana is one of the earliest cultivated legumes, remains have been discovered dating back 7500 years!  India is by far the biggest producer of chana in the world, Australia is the second, which I find surprising.

 

Categories: Curries, Dinner, Recipes, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Chard, Coriander and Avocado Smoothie

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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: , , , , , , , , ,

Why Raw Food?

This was written for our raw food time last year, but is a timely reminder of what we are putting ourselves through!!!! Fortunately, its all good!

Raw June is here for the Beach House.  Jane and I are going cold veggie (and fruit) for the entire month and we both cannot wait to get going.

It really has come around quickly this 100% raw/vegan June adventure.  We have both been working quite a bit lately and have had less time to plan for the big plunge than we would have liked, hence the lack of any ‘build-up’ posts.  As with most things, we’re going straight in there!

I have a strange excitement in the pit of my stomach and I don’t know why.  I know that I will feel alot better and have bags more energy, focus and vitality, but there is the feeling that this could be something very big in my life.  It could be a huge lifestyle change for the better, no matter how unconventional it is and no matter how many people call me a ‘weirdo’  (there have been quite a few already) I going for this new diet and looking forward to experimenting with my body and mind in a good way.  We are what we eat, well, we shall see.

The main reason for eating raw is that cooking kills nutrients in food.  Vitamin C and B are heat sensitive, enzymes are also destroyed when food is cooked, which are essential to the function of the body.  If enzymes are not replenished in the body, we can age quickly and loss health.  Raw foods have been used for years to treat ailments and illness, most famously by Dr Ann Wigmore,who set up the Hippocrates Health Institute.  The truth is that we are exposed to more pollutants than previous generations and our food has less nutrients, even organic food is grown on soil that is less rich than is was in previous times (normally due to bad farming techniques).

Ecologically, if we all ate more raw foods there would be a relief on the planets resources.  No cooking conserves energy, there is less packaging (hopefully non) with raw foods, there are no emissions created no processing, the waste is compostable and biodegradable, meaning no rubbish.

Below is the Raw Food Pyramid (thanks to the Almost Raw Vegan for this), this replaces the average diet with meat, dairy etc and will give you an idea of what we will be munching on in June.  We are eating no dairy, refined foods, wheat etc and no alcohol or caffeine.   Our diet will consist of many different types of salads, smoothies and juices and another host of interesting raw foods that you will seldom find, especially in the UK where raw food is still a relatively new thing.  In the States and Australia for example, raw food seems to be very popular.  Many people say that raw food will become the new vegetarianism for this generation, I have already seen restaurants with raw options on the menu.

We have always eaten alot of raw food, we just didn’t necessarily call it ‘raw’, just a salad or a smoothie. We will try and be as close to 100% raw as possible, but aren’t really too fussy about things.  We’ll still be drinking herbal teas and if our new lovely looking olive oil is not certified raw, we’ll still use it.  The same goes for nuts, seeds, dried fruits, pastes etc which are all borderline raw foods.  We love these items too much and deem their nutritional values to be too important to eliminate from our diet.

We hope to open a few people’s eyes, minds and palates to the joys of raw food.  Raw food is nutrient rich, meaning you don’t need to eat or digest as much.  When you are eating a bag of crisps, or packet of biscuits, the reason you are not getting full is because they are devoid of nutrients.  Your body needs the right fuel!  A raw diet puts that fuel in and makes it readily available.  We have had a few days almost raw already and the we have been buzzing!  I went for my normal jog and needed to extend it a little, up the mountain.  I couldn’t stop!  With raw food, your body needs less energy for digestion, which can be utilised in other beneficial ways.

The body has clearly define cycles or natural rhythms:

12pm-8pm  Digestion cycle

8pm-4am  Absorption cycle

4am – 12pm  Elimination cycle

The raw diet will help to cleanse our system of toxins and bring us into balance.  After gradually eating healthier for a number of years (we are not just diving in here, we have been eating well for a while now)  my body is quite sensitive to toxins and rich foods.  I sometimes get what is called a food ‘hangover’ after a cheese or chocolate binge, I will be glad to be free of them.  Raw food is devoid of toxins and packed with nutrients.  There is a popular raw slogan, ‘stop counting calories and start counting nutrients’.  It makes perfect sense to me that what we eat has a profound effect on our bodies and minds.  What we consume affects us on ways that we cannot see or know.  Raw food seems like a stepping stone for me to a greater understanding of my body and what makes me tick, what makes me truly happy.

Raw food will also free up so much time, as I mentioned we are both busy this summer with work, so not cooking will allow us to do other things.  The garden is definitely looking like it needs some TLC.

We will be taking alot of inspiration from our fellow bloggers of the cyber world and also have some good books.  ’Eat Smart, Eat Raw’ by Kate Wood being one of the main ones.  Written by a Brit for British folk, mainly important because we don’t have the plethora of fruits and veggies that many countries enjoy.  We also have the long cold, dark winters, where soup is our best friend and a chilled smoothie seems like a difficult proposition.

We will be supplementing our diets with a few superfood-type bits.   Jane picked up some Barley Grass at the health food shop and that is supposed to be super charged stuff.  We will also be drinking propolis daily, which is a bee resin with amazing properties.  We’ll be writing about it soon.  We will also be sure to drink plenty of water, as this seems to be important no matter what foods you are eating.  Become more fluid!  It is worth noting that many mineral waters are not organic and the best water you can drink is water that has been treated by reverse osmosis, this is pure H2O.  You should also not drink water, or any liquid with meals, as it affects digestion and absorption (diluting stomach acids).

So we are going out in a blaze of intoxication tonight.  We said we wouldn’t, but we are.  It is a relatively decadent evening with some smoked stilton with sparkling wine planned, followed by some of the finest chocolate I have ever tasted (post coming soon..).

Raw June, a time when we in the Beach House gain a greater awareness and respect for the foods we eat and the bodies we inhabit;  a time when we gain a new insight into the world of nutrition and the impact it has on us.

Jane and I are both very positive about all of this, which we feel is crucial, as our mental state has a more profound effect on our health than anything else.

Happy Days!

Categories: Detox, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Raw Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Crunchy Thai Salad with Green Coco Dressing (Raw)

 

Crunchy Thai Salad with Green Coco Dressing

Crunchy Thai Salad with Green Coco Dressing

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

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

Jane enjoying the slower life - Glynllifon Estate, Caernarfon

Jane enjoying the slower life – Glynllifon Estate, Caernarfon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bits

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

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

Do It

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

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

Serve

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

CRUNCH! and ZING!

CRUNCH! and ZING!

We Love It!

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

Foodie Fact 

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

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

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, gluten-free, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

HAPPY VEGETARIAN WEEK!

It’s my birthday today, I’m 35 years young and going strong.  It’s also the start of National Vegetarian Week  in Britain and in the Beach House Kitchen, we are doing some serious veg based celebrating.  Jane and I have thought about dressing up as life sized vegetables (Jane – a cauliflower, Me – a carrot) and wandering the streets of the village, chanting pro-veg slogans, but instead we had a cup of nettle tea and went for a stroll instead……..Anyway, great to see the ‘eat more veg’  message getting out there and a wonderful week to try those veggie dishes you’ve been putting off for an age.

I don’t have much time to post this week, but we have recipes coming out of our ears and are experimenting with many new ingredients and flavour combos.  Exciting times indeed.

The Observer Food Monthly was almost meat free this month.  The Observer being probably the best Sunday newspaper in Britain (if you’re into that kind of thing).  There are loads of great recipes and stories in this edition and even a devout French Chef creating menu’s where meat takes a back seat to veg.  Vegetables are the stars!  We always knew they’d get the limelight one day!  There’s even a section about pairing wines with vegetables, essential info there.

Its magic for us to see all this happening from half way up the hill, here in sunny Wales.  More veg is such a positive message and is really important to the way we eat, our general health and the well being of our wonderful planet.

VIVA VEGGIES!

Happy munching,

Lee and Janexxxxx

Categories: Special Occasion, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Top 10 Detox Foods

Great healthy info here from veglov.com

Top 10 Detox Foods

Top 10 Detox FoodsLemon
Lemons are a staple of many detox diets, and there is good reason for this. Firstly, lemons are packed with antioxidant vitamin C, which is great for the skin and for fighting disease-forming free-radicals. Furthermore, the citrus fruit has an alkaline effect on the body, meaning that it can help restore the body’s pH balance, benefiting the immune system. Try starting your day with hot water and a slice of lemon to help flush out toxins and cleanse your system.

Ginger
If too much fatty food or alcohol has caused problems for your digestive system, it may be worthwhile adding some ginger to your diet. Ginger is not only great for reducing feelings of nausea, but it can help improve digestion, beat bloating and reduce gas. In addition to this, ginger is high in antioxidants and is good for boosting the immune system. To give your digestion a helping hand, try sipping on ginger tea or adding some freshly grated ginger to a fruit or vegetable juice.

Garlic
Garlic has long been known for its heart benefits, however the pungent food is also good at detoxifying the body. Garlic is not only antiviral, antibacterial and antibiotic, but it contains a chemical called allicin which promotes the production of white blood cells and helps fight against toxins. Garlic is best eaten raw, so add some crushed garlic to a salad dressing to boost its flavour and your health at the same time.

Artichoke
If you have recently been overindulging in fatty foods and alcohol, adding some steamed globe artichoke leaves to your meals is a great way to help get your body back on track. Globe artichokes are packed with antioxidants and fibre and can also help the body digest fatty foods. On top of this, globe artichoke is renowned for its ability to stimulate and improve the functions of the liver – the body’s main toxin-fighting tool.

Beetroot
For those needing a quick health-boosting shot of nutrients, you can’t do much better than beetroot. Packed with magnesium, iron, and vitamin C, the vegetable has recently been hailed as a superfood due to its many reported health benefits. Not only is beetroot great for skin, hair and cholesterol levels, but it can also help support liver detoxification, making it an ultimate detox food. To enjoy its benefits, try adding raw beetroot to salads or sipping on some beetroot juice.

Green tea
While it’s not technically a food, no detox plan would be complete without regular consumption of essential liquids. Fluids are essential for keeping our organs healthy and helping to flush toxins from the body, and drinking green tea is a great way of boosting your intake. Green tea is not only a good weight-loss drink, but it is extremely high in antioxidants. Research has also suggested that drinking green tea can protect the liver from diseases including fatty liver disease.

Cabbage
Many celebs have resorted to the cabbage soup diet to help lose weight and get in shape quickly before a big event, however cabbage is not only good for weight loss – it is also an excellent detoxifying food. Like most cruciferous vegetables (including broccoli and sprouts), cabbage contains a chemical called sulforaphane, which helps the body fight against toxins. Cabbage also supplies the body with glutathione; an antioxidant that helps improve the detoxifying function of the liver.

Fresh fruit
Fresh fruits are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre= and are also low in calories, making them an important part of a detox diet. If you’re after brighter eyes and skin, shinier hair and improved digestion, try boosting your intake of fruit and eating from a wide variety of different kinds. The good news is fruit is easy to add to your diet, so try starting your day with a fresh fruit salad or smoothie and snacking on pieces of fruit throughout the day.

Brown rice
If you want to cleanse your system and boost your health, it is a good idea to cut down on processed foods. Instead, try supplementing your diet with healthier whole grains such as brown rice, which is rich in many key detoxifying nutrients including B vitamins, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous. Brown rice is also high in fibre, which is good for cleansing the colon, and rich in selenium, which can help to protect the liver as well as improving the complexion.

Watercress
Like most green herbs and vegetables, watercress is an excellent health-booster and detox food. Firstly, watercress leaves are packed with many vital detoxifying nutrients, including several B vitamins, zinc, potassium, vitamin E and vitamin C. Secondly, watercress has natural diuretic properties, which can help to flush toxins out the body. To reap the benefits of this nutritious food, try adding a handful of watercress to salads, soups and sandwiches.

 

Categories: Detox, Healthy Living, Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Golden Courgette and Basil Au Gratin (Vegan)

One giant golden courgette

This is a blockbuster bake.  Layers of golden courgette, chard, green cabbage, onion, tofu and mushrooms, all smothered in a creamy garlic, cashew and basil sauce.  Hows that!

This was loosely based on the traditional French dish ‘au gratin potatoes’, but without the cheese, milk, butter, flour or potatoes!  Its a healthy Beach House number after all.  I guarantee that no flavour is lost here, no enjoyment.  Just different flavours and ways of enjoying food.

We love a good bake, but generally they just turn into a cheese and fat fest.  All that oil and the incredible richness just makes us feel a little sleepy and bloated.  We fancied something baked and light and this dish hits that nail right on the head.

As usual, the local farm is producing some quite amazing veggies.  This dense courgette was over a foot long and weighed a couple of kilos, that’s a proper vegetable.  We thought about roasting it whole but then this little idea cropped up and we haven’t had baked anything for an age now.

Ready for a roasting

The tofu was added last minute, to give it a different texture and more luxurious feel.  Tofu has a certain cheesiness to it, like a vegetal haloumi. Viva tofu!   Our mate Pete gave us a fantastic tofu book from the 60’s, the entire history and different methods for producing the wonderful white stuff.  We shall be experimenting soon.  We forgot to add the sweet peppers here.  Red ones sliced thinly, that are unfortunately still in the fridge.  They would be a nice addition.  Next time.  This time, it still tastes quite amazing.

One of the best things about this dish is the leftover potential.  Tastes better the day after and is even delicious served cold.

This is an interesting little take on an old classic and with Autumn around the corner, its good to have some new ‘bakes’ up your sleeve.

This makes a large baking dish full, serves six hungry sorts:

The Bits

Layers – 1 giant golden courgette (or three normal sized courgettes/ zucchinis), 1 bunch of chard, 1 bunch of spring greens (aka dark green long leafed cabbage), 1 onion, 8 mushrooms (chestnut preferable), 1 block tofu (250g-ish, enough for two layers), 1 sweet red pepper, 1 handful of basil leaves

Sauce – 1 small onion, 4 cloves garlic (crushed), 1/2 cup cashews (soaked for 1 hour), 1 handful of chopped basil leaves, 1 handful of parsley, 1/2 cup soya milk (or nut milk), 1/2 cup filtered water, 1 big glug of olive oil,  sea salt and cracked pepper

Topping – 2 handfuls of roasted cashew nuts

Do It 

Sauce – In a decent blender, blitz up your cashews until a paste forms, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until a smooth liquid forms.  You may need to scape down the sides of the blender to get it all mixed evenly.

Layer of mushrooms

Layers – Slice all veggies thinly, not quite wafer, but getting there.  Remove any thick, chewy stems.  Add a little sauce to cover the base of your dish (a good thick rectangular baking dish, glass would be nice to see all the layers), begin the layering.  Start with the cabbage, courgette, mushroom, onion, pepper, chard, tofu, courgette sauce (repeat once more).  That will be three layers of courgette, it should be the last layer on top and will go nice and brown when baked.

Chopped Kale layer

The dish should be piled high, don’t worry it will cook down quite alot.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 mins (200oC) then remove foil and bake for a further 15 mins or until the top is nice and golden brown.

Yellow Courgette and Basil Au Gratin

Serve

Topped with roasted cashews, we ate ours with our leaf of the moment, a carrot top salad.  Rich bakes just crave for a nice crunchy salad.

We Love It!

Hearty winter fare, but light and healthy.  Like a normal bake but without the vast amounts of grease and fat.

Yellow Courgette and Basil Au Gratin

Foodie Fact

The gold in these courgettes makes it a great source of flavanoids, a wonderful thing.  They scavenge the body looking for baddies and make us look young and keep us disease free.  Courgettes are best stored in a plastic bag in the fridge, they dry out easily.

Categories: Autumn, Dairy/ Lactose Free, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Stuffed Courgette with Hazelnut and Peach

The Bits

Cooking is still a bit weird here after all of our raw escapades.  We are still eating mainly raw, with a few exceptions, when the produce and mood take us in a hotter direction.  I need to keep my hand in because of the work that I do.

I’ve always loved a stuffed veg, Mum used to make stuffed peppers back in the dark ages on the early 90’s.  Mum’s always been a bit of a maverick.  I remember the first time she made cheesecake, in the mid 80’s with cheddar cheese!  The family all came around to try this new found food.  We’ve come a long way since then.

This is a dish along the lines of the millions of other ‘stuffed’ dishes on cyber space, the only difference being, this is ours and its only semi-stuffed.  Recipes that spring to mind via what you have at hand are always my favourite.  Spur of the moment cooking, making the best of what you have.  This recipe goes against all of the food combining advice that we have been following recently, but we felt like living dangerously!

We are lucky to have brilliant courgettes at the moment from the farm and some sweet ripe peaches; combine that with a nut cabinet that never runs dry, mint growing wild like a madman in our garden and the ever-present cauliflower and you have the makings of a feast.

I decided to add the cauliflower to the cous cous, I love the subtle flavour that cauliflower gives off when steamed/ boiled.  It added great flavour to the cous cous.

Being very much an amateur cook, I make many mistakes, or as I call them, great opportunities to learn.  Cooking with an electric hob can be a real drag, but that is what we have.  I much prefer gas stoves, mainly for controlling the heat by eye.  When cooking the cous cous and cauliflower here, I forgot that the hob was still on very low and went off to do other things (drink tea), leaving the poor cous cous to overcook.  Oh well, this is ‘real’ cooking and it still tasted good, if a little soft and congealed.

The French beans here are optional and can be substituted with anything else green and is season.  Peas, spinach, broad beans etc would be grand.

We are an energy conscious household at the Beach House and don’t like turning on the oven unless very much necessary, namely, when we have lovely guests.  Otherwise, it’s all hob.  These courgettes could be blanched off in boiling water then thrown in a hot oven for a while, that would be nice.  We have opted for the simpler and more efficient method of re-using your frying pan.

This is an ideal seasonal summer lunch which oozes flavour.  All that sweetness and crunch with the bitterness of the olives.  You could even cook the courgettes on the barbecue if you fancy!

Peaches and Raisins

The Bits 

2 cup wholemeal cous cous (or brown rice, quinoa etc), 1/2 cauliflower (chopped finely), 1tbsp good veg stock, 1 large onion (chopped), 10 french beans (topped and tailed and chopped), 1 teas carraway seeds, 2 cloves garlic (minced/ finely chopped), 1/2 cup olives (sliced, we like the green ones), 1 ripe peach (finely chopped), 3 tbsp hazelnuts, 2 tbsp raisins (chopped), 2 tbsp mint (chopped), 1 tsp parsley (chopped), sea salt and cracked black pepper, 1 tbsp good oil, 4 courgettes (halved lengthways)

Chopped Cauliflower

Do It

Boil some water in a saucepan (follow quantities written on your cous cous packet, you will need a little less due to the water given off by the cauliflower) and stir in your stock, add your finely chopped cauliflower and cous cous, stir a little then tightly cover and leave off the heat to cook for 20 minutes.  Fluff cous cous with a fork and re-cover until needed.  If more water is needed, add now.

Heat your frying pan, add your hazelnuts and warm them through, lightly roasting them.  Allow to cool, chop up into chunks.

Then heat some oil in the pan, gently soften your onions for 5 minutes, until slightly golden; add carraway seeds and french beans.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, then add your mashed garlic, cook for 5 minutes more.

Gently soften your onions

Now add your mint, parsley and chopped hazelnut, stir for a minute to heat through, then add your cous cous and cauliflower, raisins, olives and peaches, with plenty of cracked pepper and some sea salt.  Combine well.  Be gentle with the cous cous here, you don’t want a mush!  Cover pan and keep warm.

In another large frying pan, heat some oil and on a low/med heat, fry your courgettes face down.  Allow them to colour for a few minutes then flip over, repeat this twice and the they should be cooked.  You don’t want to overcook the courgette, it should still have a little crunch in the middle.

Stuffed Courgette with Hazelnuts and Peach

Serve

Place two courgettes on a plate, leave a little space inbetween, spoon over your filling.  Pile it nice and high, finish with some of your chopped herbs.

We Love It!

This is a great dish, ideal for a light summer dinner.  The combination of flavours and textures here is something that delights the mouth (even with overcooked cous cous)!

Stuffed Courgette with Hazelnut and Peach

Foodie Fact

Cous cous is small balls of semolina flour, whole wheat cous cous is made with wholewheat flour and has higher nutritional properties.  Wholewheat cous cous  contains higher fibre and iron than the normal stuff, 1 cup gives you a third of your daily fibre requirement.

Categories: Lunch, Recipes, Summer, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Mood Foods – The Top Ten Happiest Vegetarian Foods

Moods.  What can we do?  Sometimes you’re up and then for no reason whatsoever, your down.  Can food help?  Most people realise that moods affect what we eat, but does it work the other way.  Do foods effect our moods?

There has been much research into the matter which has shown a link between moods and the food we eat.  A recent survey has shown that a large proportion (over 80%) of people felt better when they changed their diet.  Eating healthier makes us feel better inside and out.

From what we can tell this is down to serotonin, the happy chemical, produced in our brains.  Serotonin cannot be produced without tryptophan (an amino acid), so its a good idea to eat foods high in trypophan to make us happy.  Simple enough!?  Low serotonin levels are blamed for anxiety, cravings, mood disorders and IBS.   The concept of eating foods high in trypophan is similar to that of taking an anti-depressant like prozac.  Holistic anti-depressants.

Moods cannot be gotten rid of, but can be brought under control.  The extremity of the ups and downs can be lowered, meaning you feel more centred and grounded in a good place.  Eating and living well can be essential in maintaining not just our physical, but also our mental health.

Here are some vegetarian foods that can help:

Mung Beans

Top Ten Good Mood Foods

1) mung beans

2) asparagus

3) sunflower seeds

4) cottage cheese

5) pineapple

6) tofu

7) spinach

8) bananas

9) nuts

10) oats

Taken from the e-book The Serotonin Secret, Dr Caroline Longmore

Foods high in fibre, wholegrains and protein can also help boost moods.  Food with a low glycemic index, like oats for example will help the brain absorb all of these happy amino acids.  Tryptophan absorption is boosted by carbohydrates.

These foods should be combined with lots of clean water and fresh fruit and vegetables.  Eating regularly and not skipping meals also boosts our mental health.  A balanced diet is always the best way forward.

Happy jumpers

Foods that have the opposite effect are sometimes called ‘Stressors’, the main culprits are listed below:

Food ‘Stressors’

– Sugar

-Caffiene

– Alcohol

– Chocolate

– Wheat-containing foods

– Additives

– Dairy

– Saturated Fats

Provided by the food and mood project, backed by the mental health charity Mind.

A diet heavy in the ‘stressors’ can lead to all sorts of problems including anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, panic attacks, lack of concentration and unfortunately, many more…

Sugar has a powerful effect on our sense of well being, if we eat too much, we can get into a sugar rollercoaster, which is never nice.  Our blood sugar levels are all over the place and we feel drained and fatigued when the sugar is lessening and high as a kite when its peaking.

If you do over indulge, one of the worst things that you can do is feel guilty about it.  Feel great about it!  You have just treated yourself and you deserve it. Move on and make efforts to eat better and feel better, step-by-step, slowly slowly.  It’s a long road without any fixed destination.

Apparently we all have ‘triggers’, foods that can take us up and down.  This depends on you, have a little experiment.  If you are feeling a bit sluggish and down, think about what you have eaten that day or the night before.  Trends will inevitably form.  We found it really helpful to take the plunge and go for a full raw diet.  Our bodies became sensitive to what we ate and we learned alot about what makes us feel good and otherwise.  You don’t have to go this far of course, just cut out certaing foods for a period of time and see how you feel.

Eating well is one thing, but thinking well is another level completely.  Think positively, practice thinking only positive thoughts for 5 minutes at a time and build on that.  You will eventually develop a brilliant habit of a positive world outlook.   Add that to your new found passion for mung beans and you’ll be shining away for all to see.

For more information on mood foods, check out the ‘Mind’ site.  There is information here for Brits on how to contact dietitians and nutritionists to get started on a new diet plan and lifestyle.  You could also check out the website food for the brain.

Take it easy, have a handful of sunflower seeds and shine onX

 

Categories: Healing foods, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Nutrition, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 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

Willie’s Cacao Roasted Pepper and Chilli Harrisa with Caramelised Roots

Willie’s Cacao

I loved the sound of this recipe, it really fired my inspiration.  I was excited to give it a try, the combination of bitter cacao with sweet roasted peppers sounded like a wonderful thing.  

I have just come to realise that I have the wrong cacao, I have the chocolate cacao and not the cacao cacao that is needed (that’s the 100% variety).  With no new cacao (I love that word!) on the horizon I have decided to share this with you all, without even tasting it.  I am so confident it will be amazing, I just want to pass it on and hopefully you may give it a go.

Over to Willie…………… 

“I love chillies, but I don’t like them so hot that I cannot taste anything else. So I’ve added roasted sweet red pepper to this sauce to balance the heat of the chillies. However, it is always hard to judge how hot chillies will be as they vary so much. You can reduce the heat of the chillies in this recipe by deseeding about a third of them before using or, if you want the sauce quite mild, halve the amount used. This is a great accompaniment to oily fish, lamb and pork, including sausages. You could also serve it with a Moroccan tagine.”  (Or lovely roasted roots a la Beach House.)

Makes 600ml

16 long red chillies
4 large red peppers
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
150ml extra virgin olive oil
10g Madagascan Sambirano Superior 100% cacao
1 tbsp Cacao Nib Balsamic Vinegar, or good quality balsamic vinegar
Salt

Preheat the oven to 250°C.

Roasted Peppers (theshiksa.com)

Wrap the chillies in a double layer of foil and place on a baking tray. Put the unwrapped red peppers alongside them on the same tray. Roast in the hot oven for about 25 minutes, or until the peppers are slightly blackened and soft. Allow to cool slightly, then peel and deseed the red peppers. Remove the chillies from the foil, but leave whole, just removing any stalks. Put both the chillies and peppers in a blender or food processor and whizz to make a rough purée (don’t overwork; leave a little texture). Set on one side.

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan until they smell fragrant. Tip them into a mortar and crush with a pestle to a coarse powder.

Place the puréed peppers and the chillies in a large saucepan, add the powdered cumin and the olive oil. Bring the mixture to the boil over a medium heat, then simmer gently until the sauce has reduced by about a half. You will find the oil separates out. Remove from the heat, add the cacao, balsamic vinegar and salt to taste and stir until well combined. Spoon the hot harissa into warm sterilized jars, allow to cool slightly, then seal. This sauce should keep for at least 3 months in a cool place.

I would serve this beautiful harissa with some oven roasted roots; sweet potato, carrots and swede would perfect.  Imagine the colours!

Original post can be found here.

We will be trying this one soon, just need to get some of that lovely cacao and we’re off into the wonderful world of savoury chocolate cooking.  

Categories: Dinner, Recipes, Sauces, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Watermelon and Tofu Kebabs

The Bits

We don’t care if the weather is damn awful, we are having our summer!  These kebabs are pure sun food, to be eaten when it’s too hot to even consider a barbecue and all you want to do is have a massive chill (preferably in a hammock).  Serving suggestion – on a tropical beach.  They are easy on the eye, served cool and require very little effort.

Summer will not be reaching Wales this year, so we are making our own, using kebabs.  When you need to get a big fire on in mid July, you know you’re in trouble.  British people are famous for talking about the weather, well it’s no wonder, it’s a freak.

Watermelons are a fruit custom designed for summertime.  They are so thirst quenching, I like then best just at it comes and straight out of the fridge.  When living in Murcia,(+40oC in summer) Spain I used to use them as ice cubes (just cut into cubes and stick in the freezer).  We decided to add kiwi here and some amazing cucumber from the farm; purely for the colour contrast, we demanded sexy kebabs.  The not-quite-ripe kiwi also adds a nice fruity bitterness.

We marinated the tofu for a few hours in a classic style summer dressing, all basil and mint from the garden with tad of honey and lemon.  You can use goats cheese or feta and treat it in the same way.

Marinating Tofu

When you buy a watermelon, and you don’t have a family of ten, you have to get a little creative to use it all up.  We found out recently that you can actually eat the rind of the watermelon, cook it up into a stew.  Checkout our some favela cooking, Rio style.  Waste not, want not!  We bought a beastly sized thing and have been making it into soups, salads, smoothies and all sorts. This was our favourite experiment with the big pink globe.

Watermelon works surprisingly well with savoury dishes, its light sweetness blends nicely with fresh flavours, it is quite neutral really.  It certainly add colour to the plate, which is something we love in any food.

Please try these cooling kebabs in a hotter part of the world, we ate ours with our fleeces on (indoors) dreaming of swaying palm trees.  We have good imaginations, it nearly worked!

Remember your seeds.  Keep them, dry them out and roast them for a lovely little snack.  Pumpkin and watermelon seeds are delicious and very easy to collect and roast.  It seems a waste to chuck them in the bin.

Kebabs and the ‘Big Crunch’

Makes two big kebabs:

The Bits

Kebabs – 10 big chunks of watermelon (cubes), 10 chunks of firm tofu (marinated), 1 large cucumber (chopped into chunks), 1 kiwi (not quite ripe, peeled and cut in slices).  2 large skewers, we used metal.

Marinade – juice of 1/2 lemon, 6 fresh basil leaves (ripped up small), handful of fresh mint (chopped), 1 teas honey, 1 clove garlic (finely chopped/ crushed), pinch of sea salt, cracked black pepper (to taste), 1/4 cup of good olive oil.

Do It

Mix up your marinade in a bowl, toss tofu well and coat in the marinade.  Leave  covered in the fridge for a couple of hours.  When ready to serve, gather your bits and begin to make the kebabs.  Slide on your chunks in a regular order, we like the last one to be a kiwi.

Serve

Spoon over any left over marinade and serve on a nice platter/ chopping board.

We had ours with a nice ‘big crunch’ salad:

All chopped – 1 head chicory, 1 apple, 2 carrots, 1 orange pepper, 2 large mushrooms, 1 beetroot, 1 red onion(diced small), 6 large lettuce leaves, 1 handful of beetroot leaves, sprouted mung beans, golden flax seeds with our ‘Beach House Dressing‘ mixed in.  CRUNCH!

Watermelon and Tofu Kebabs

We Love It!

This is the perfect summer munch and a fine way to get rid of your excess watermelon!  One day, we will eat this in the sunshine…….

Foodie Fact

Watermelon are the ideal accompaniment to a sun scorched summers day.  They are originally from Southern Africa and are closely related to the squash.  They are full of electrolytes and of course, water.  They also contain alot of lycopene (super antioxidant) vitamin A and C and potassium.

Categories: Dinner, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 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, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Coconut and Almond Pad Thai (Raw)

Pre-dress – Coconut and Almond Pad Thai (Raw)

‘Tis a grey day in Wales and the streets of Bangkok seem a million miles away. There’s a little man, who moonlights as a pole dancing call girl (it is Bangkok) who makes the best Pad Thai, just off the hellish Kaosan Road. He whips it up in seconds, with his vivid painted blue nails and long fake eyelids.  It normally contains little dried shrimps and eggs, which we don’t add, but the rest of the ingredients are so simple and classically Thai. I can’t help thinking that making Pad Thai wouldn’t be such a bad way of making a living (preferable to moonlighting as a pole dancing call girl anyway!).

This type of Pad Thai recipe has been in my mind for a while and Jane just kick started me into getting it done.  I knew I wanted coconut in there somewhere, to make up for the flavours of shrimp, fish sauce and egg, but it needed something else.  I sought inspiration on the interweb and found a great recipe at the taste space food blog.  Just add almonds!  The missing ingredient had been found and I was off.  I always think of Spain with an almond, so mixing Spain and Thailand seemed like a very interesting proposition.

This is a taste sensation, as you would imagine from anything faintly Thai.  Thais food knows no mediocrity, over cooked veggies or insipid stews.  Its all fresh and POW! over there.  This is as Jane commented “real gourmet stuff!”  Not bad for a salad!

Pad Thai Vendor

I have added a few luxury ingredients that are not your everyday larder staples, but they are well worth the investment.  The tamarind is not necessary and if you have no almond butter, you can use peanut butter instead.  Tamarind is easy to find in most places and inexpensive.  Check out your local world food store.  If you can’t get your mitts on a fresh coconut, use pre-packed or I daresay desiccated will do.

For the salad itself, you will need a sharp knife and a French peeler.  Really, no cooks drawers are complete without one, so it’s a wise purchase.  You will save years of your life peeling things, they are so easy to use and in this recipe, double as an ace veg noodle maker.  Yes, no noodles here, just veggies.  Making it super healthy and crunchy.  You can use some kelp noodles as a base if you are in a rush, this salad does take while to get together.  Kelp noodles are really interesting and taste fantastic, not disimilar to a noodle.  They are also completely raw (aka good for the belly and body).  They are widely available and well worth an experiment.

The salad base will be good with other things like carrots, cauliflower and apples for instance. We have gone for something a little closer to home i.e. whats in the fridge.  We don’t like the dressing to be super sweet, but you may add a little more honey if you are a sweetie.

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

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

Chopped Ginger

Makes one big bowlful of good Thai lovin’:

The Bits

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

Salad/ Noodles – 1 large courgette (ribboned), 1 head of chicory (very thinly sliced whole), 1 red pepper (very thinly sliced, or julienne as they say in kitchens), 2 sticks of celery (ribboned), 2 handfuls of finely grated white cabbage, 1 big handful of sprouted mung beans (we used sprouting aduki beans also), 1 orange (peeled and chopped small), 1/2 a small coconut (chopped into small chunks), 1/2 cup smashed up peanuts (roasted if you’re not a raw one), 1 lime, heavy sprinkle of sesame seeds, 1 lime (for serving).

Dressing – 3 tbs tamari (or soy sauce), 2 teas honey (make runny by mixing in a little hot water), 2 cloves minced/ crushed garlic, 1 inch of finely chopped ginger, 1 chilli (finely diced),  juice of 1 big lime, 4 dates (soaked until soft), 1 tbsp tamarind paste (we chopped up, then mashed up whole tamarinds into a paste with a little warm water), 1/2 cup of almond butter (we make our own using soaked almonds and alot of blending, plus a little water.  You may use peanut butter here), sea salt (if you like, we don’t).

Do It

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

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

Mix the dressing into the salad, gently does it, some of those ribbons are quite fragile and look great when served whole.  Dish up with a big smile and be prepared for some yummmmmssss!

Coconut and Almond Pad Thai (Raw)

Serve

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

We Love It!

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

Foodie Fact 

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

Now for a blast of Thai blues from my favourite bar in Bangkok, the legendary ‘Adhere Blues’ bar:

 

Categories: Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 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: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mug of Miso Soup

 

Mug of Miso

A really quick one here, one for a busy body that needs a happy mind.  I have just indulged in a steaming mug of miso and I thought it worth sharing, mainly due to the ease of making that is far out balanced by the enjoyment and sustenance you get from this mug.

I love miso in all its many forms, colours and prep styles.  This however is my favourite, plain and simple.  I was raised in the Philippines and we used to go to a Japanese restaurant called ‘Takayama’s’.  My Dad has always been a very cool chap and he used to let me order.  I was 10ish.  I used to love this responsibility and normally order a decent concoction of bits and pieces.  I still remember the fist time I had a bowl of miso, the thing I thought for many years was egg (tofu), the thinly sliced spring onions and of course, the intensely flavoured stock.  I love stock and miso makes the worlds finest stock.

This is a little something you can rustle up in less that a minute, it is very nourishing and makes the perfect snack for the fleet footed modern lifestyle.

If you’re lucky, you have a bag of dried seaweed in your cupboards.  If not, no worries, its great without it.

Fills one of our big mugs, about a pint.

The Bits

Per mug- 1 tbs of your favourite miso (we used brown rice miso, it has a lovely earthiness), 2 finely chopped mushrooms, 1 finely chopped spring onion, 1 teas chopped ginger, 2 teas dried seaweed, dash of soya sauce, boiling water.

Do It

Add the miso to you mug, add a little just boiled water, stir in.  Then add the rest, add a dash of soya sauce, taste, add more if it needs a little more a salty tang.  Cover with a saucer and leave for a minute to get itself together, and cook the mushrooms a little.

Serve

You could even add some thin rice noodles here, just make sure they’re cooked!

We Love It!

A revitalising and nourishing cup of happiness.

Foodie Fact

Miso is a Japanese condiment, a paste normally made soybeans or barley, rice or wheat.  It has magical properties, that it gains from the fermentation process.  The colour and flavour depends on the ingredients and techniques used.

Miso contains high levels of sodium, so bear that in mind before you start ladling it in!  Miso is low in saturated fat but rich in vitamin K, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamin-B complexes, protein, copper, manganese and zinc.

Miso can help to detoxify the body, the microbes present line the intestines and it also contains many enzymes (which we are always going on about!).

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 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, Dairy/ Lactose Free, Detox, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Indo Coco Curry (Raw)

One bright day in June (the bright day in June), our picnic spot, above Beddgelert

So the raw food lifestyle is continuing in the Beach House, this is a good sign.  We have been feeling good and loving experimenting with raw foods, so we are rolling on raw well into July.

Our aim is to eat a lot of raw food, but soon start cooking again.  I cook alot at work, but its not the food that excites me, it seems a strange idea getting the pots and pans out again at home.  The oven, instead of the food processor.  I’m sure it will happen gradually and at the right time.  I still haven’t drank a coffee or any wine, again, it just seems like a strange thing to get back into now.  Those of you who have been on a raw diet will know how I feel.

It has been an atrocious June for weather, we’ve had a fire on most nights and the rain and wind has lashed down on our poor little seedlings.  Even with this wintery weather,  Jane and I have been perfectly happy with salads and cold food.  I think a full raw food diet (ps – when I say diet here, its not like a weight loss diet, just what we are eating) in winter is a possibility, whereas before I would have not considered it.  No hot soups!

One spoonful of this curry and we both exclaimed “This is the best yet!” Which is always a nice thing to hear about something.  This coconut curry has a lovely sweetness, the smooth richness of the creamed coconut and the gentle warming hint of garam masala.

We have not been eating a great deal of spice of late, the raw diet it not overtly anything really (bar amazingly healthy food). This dish added so much needed spice back to our lives.

I think this curry is a real winner this summertime. Raw food is, of course, perfect for a sunny day (which are rare in these parts, but hopefully on their way).  Summer is the ideal time to dabble with raw food and this Coco Curry would make an interesting salad to serve as a side dish at a barbecue or take for a picnic to a beauty spot.  It keeps well and is nice and quick to get together.

If you’re not a raw one, this will go very nicely with something like a cold rice salad.  You can even heat it up!  The flavours will still be amazing.  It can be thinned down for a lovely soup (just add a little stock or water)  and used as it is for a dipping and spreading.

The original inspiration comes from the brilliant British raw food book “Eat Smart, Eat Raw’ by Kate Hill, but I have dabbled with the recipe to bring it more into line with our taste.  That means more spice, more garlic, more ginger……..we like a big and bold flavour in the BHK.

Cauliflower can be used as a substitute for rice in the raw food world.  You just need to chop it up very finely, or stick it in a food processor, and it resembles rice but without the stodge factor.

The serving here is enough for four strapping individuals.  Jane and I saved some for lunch the next day.

The salad base, as you can see, we like ours chunky!

The Bits

Sauce – 1/2 tin of organic coconut milk, 1/2 a big avocado, 4 dates (pitted), 4 tomatoes, 1 carrot, 1 medium onion, 2 tbsp tamari (or soya sauce), 1 tbsp garam masala, 1 tbsp turmeric, 1/2 red chilli, 1 inch cube of ginger, 2 cloves garlic, 150ml water.

Salad/ Filling – 3 tbsp raisins, 2 handfuls of green lentil sprouts, 1/2 handful of chopped coriander (with a little saved for topping), 2 handfuls of spinach, 2 sticks celery (finely chopped), 1 carrots (finely chopped), 1/2 cauliflower (finely chopped), 1 handful of mangetout, 1/2 butternut squash (chopped into little cubes), the rest of your avocado.

The Coco curry pre-mix

Do It

Salad – We use a food processor, because it is so easy.  You lose the individuality of hand chopping, but it saves alot of time, especially when you’re eating raw foods and most of your days could be spent peeling and chopping veggies.  Most of these contraptions have a chopping and grating blade as standard that can come in very handy.  However on this occasion we hand chopped, just to be awkward!

So, put carrots, celery and cauliflower in food processor.  Chop up your butternut squash and avocado into small chunks and mix all of these with the other ingredients in nice big bowl.

Sauce – Chop all vegetables into manageable chunks for your food processor.  Ginger, garlic and chilli should be finely chopped.  Put it all into the food processor and give it a whirl.  Make sure you hold the lid down firmly to begin with, if its a small one like ours, it tends to jump around a little.

Indo Coco Curry (Raw)

Serve

Sprinkle on left over coriander, raisins and grated coconut (dessicated coconut is fine).  We ran out of coriander and forgot the coconut!  It would look grand though, you’ll just have to use your imagination.

We rarely have time for presentation touches as we are such scoffers!  In the bowl, quick pic then get stuck in!  Tends to be the order of eating affairs in the Beach House.

You could try it with some cauliflower rice (see above), it makes for an interesting change.

Foodie Fact

You may have heard that coconut is full of fat, well it is, but they are great fats!  Avocado, nuts, seeds etc do contain a high proportion of fats, but they do not harm your body like the fats in processed foods or donuts!

The fat in coconut does not raise your cholesterol levels like saturated fats in animal products.   It is actually the most health-giving oil available, you can buy coconut oil for cooking.  The make up of the fats is similar to mothers milk, the lauric acid (a fatty acid in mother’s milk) has antibacterial qualities.

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Dinner, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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