Posts Tagged With: high nutrients

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

Vibrant Gigglebean Stew (Raw)

Raw Vibrant Chickpea Stew

This may be the healthiest dish we have ever eaten.  I can only see stew this doing wonderful things for us and it tastes amazing (always a bonus).

I love the name ‘gigglebeans’, it’s is what Jane’s friend Alex calls chickpeas (or garbanzos, they have so many names!)  What ever we choose to call them, they are fine legume and a welcome addition to raw June at the Beach House.

We had tried previously to soak and sprout chickpeas.  I don’t think we have the heat here.  It has been a very strange season this year, our plants are not sure whether its winter or summer.  I know the feeling!  This may have affected the chickpea sprouts, as they don’t seem to like sprouting, they just swell up.  After soaking the chicks for 12 hours, we have discovered that they are delicious, even without a sprout.  It has been a revelation.  Nothing adds bite and vitality to a salad like a crunchy chickpea, jam packed full of nutrition and protein, they are a real gift from nature.  They are just like nuts, without the fats.

I am always compelled to add the flavours of India or North Africa/Middle East to a chickpea.  It just seems correct.  I have restrained myself this time as I am having a few days detox before raw June ends.  I feel quite amazing!  I have never been a fan of the word detox, but I’m really enjoying it.  I’ve dropped nuts and oils (fats in general) from what I eat and my energy levels have gone through the roof.  You wouldn’t imagine that, but it is true.  I went for a jog last night and I felt positively turbo charged.  I’m not sure if it is wise as a long term diet, but who knows.  I feel magic now.

This raw stew came together from the idea for a dressing.  It is definitely more of a stew, mainly due to the lack of leaves and the quantity of dressing.  The dressing itself can be used on most vegetables and you can add some olive oil and salt, if you are not having fun experimenting with the raw things.

In future I may add some fresh herbs to the dressing, a handful of mint of basil would be delicious.  But as I said, I’m trying to restrain myself at the moment and keep things relatively simple for the palate.

The combination of texture and colours here are a real feast for the senses, the flavours are light and understated, with the odd kick of chilli to liven things up.  Using apple cider vinegar here adds a nice tang to the dish. Overall a salad fit for any table and certainly fit for any body.

This will make a big bowl of salad, leftovers will get better in the fridge when left for a little marinate.

The Bits

We use the food processor for the grating

Stew – 1 cup grated swede, 1/2 cup chopped mangetout, 1 sweet potato (chopped), 2 cups sprouted (swollen) chickpeas, 1 cup grated courgette.

Dressing – 2 cloves garlic (one more if you are a garlic fiend), 1 inch of grated root ginger, 2 tbs apple cider vinegar, 1 apple, flesh of 1 orange, 1/2 cucumber, 1 red chilli (of your choice, be careful with the heat!), 2 tbs olive oil (optional), pinch of sea salt (optional)

Do It

Cover the chickpeas well with water, they will swell up to more than double their original size.  Leave for 12 hours then drain.  You can eat them now if you like, if you would prefer them softer, add more water and leave for a further 12 hours.

Dressing – Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor and blitz up well.  Stew – Arrange/mix the salad and dressing in a big bowl.

Serve

For the final, super healthy boost, top with a generous handful of sprouts (mung bean or green lentil would be great).

We Love It!

After eating this salad, we felt our bellies sing!  Such a vibrant thing and full of only goodness.  The chickpeas really fill you up and you are left with a deeply sated feeling after this, no need for dessert or nibbles between meals.

Foodie Fact

Chillis are originally from Central America and are such a mainstay of Mexican food.  I remember eating raw chillis with my ‘Huevos Rancheros’ most mornings there.  My body seemed to get used to their potent effects.

Spanish and Portugese explorers (conquistadors) were originally responsible for making the chilli a hit on the world stage.   Chillis are well reknowned for their medicinal and health benefits.

Chillis contain an impressive number of plant based compounds that help to prevent disease and promote health.  The spice in chilli, a compound named capsaicin, is a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-diabetic and lowers cholesterol levels.   Chillis are also rich in vitamin C, A and Beta-carotene, these help us counter the effects of free radicals created when the body is under stress or disease.

Chilli heat is measured by ‘Scotville Heat Units’.  Your average sweet pepper will get a 0,  tabasco sauce rates at 2,ooo-5,000, a mexican habanero weighs in at 200,000-500,00, but the hottest chilli in the world is the Naga Bhut Jolokia (or Ghost Pepper) rating at a whopping 1,041,427.  Not surprisingly, the NBJ has been used in manufacturing weapons, being placed in hand grenades and pepper spray!

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Detox, Dinner, Dressings, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Lunch, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Side Dish, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rainbow ‘Slaw and Rosehip Tea

Beets and 'Rots

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

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

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

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

The ‘Slaw

The Bits

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

Do It

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

Serve

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

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

The Tea 

Clipper Rose hip (and Hibiscus)

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

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

Buy the Rose hip tea here:

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

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

http://www.clippergreenroom.com/

Foodie Fact

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

Rosehip November/ April

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

Miso and Tahini Dressing

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

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

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

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

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

The Bits

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

Do It

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

Serve

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

We Love It!

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mighty Miso

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

The Buzz Smoothie

The Morning Zing!

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy responsibly, this is full-on juice!

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

The Bits

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

Do It

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

We Love It!

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

The usual suspects

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

The 5 Minute Fig and Prune Compote

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bits
3 fresh plums (pitted and chopped, you may like to take the skins off), 4 dried figs (chopped), 6 dried apricots (unsulphured are best, chopped), 6 big fat prunes (chopped), zest of 1 lemon (unchopped), 1 cup of hot black tea.

Do It
Make two cups of black tea (no milk!), one for you, one for the compote. Then leave to cool slightly while you chop the fruit and peel the zest off the lemon (use a good swivel headed peeler, so much easier, you could waste years of your life peeling spuds!). I put it all into a tupperware dish, pour in the slightly cooled tea (removing the tea bag), allow to cool, then pop lid on and into the fridges.

Serve

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

We Love It

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

Viva prunes!

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

Omega Seed Sprinkles

Or what my Dad calls ‘bird food’.

Not really a recipe, but a necessity for our kitchen and definitely a Beach House Favourite.  These sprinkles will crunch up any salad, yoghurt, cereal, bread, etcetcetc there are so many uses for these wonder seeds.  I normally nibble them, sparrow-like, throughout the day.  They are a lot cheaper than nuts and have bags of energy, nutrients and omega oils.

Seeds are one of those things that, if eaten regularly, are best bought in bulk.  The small packs you are likely to find are normally quite costly.  Have a look online, you can get bulk bags of seeds, rice, pulses etc and the delivery is normally free (if it’s over a certain amount).  Order for a month.

It saves so much time and resources, when you consider the driving to the shops and time wasted standing aimlessly pondering a desirability/cost = happiness equation for a packet of Moroccan spices.  I do this.

I struggle with British supermarkets on many levels, but the myriad choices of everything is incredible.  I go into a cold sweat as I approach the muesli section!  We are such a refined consumer society.  I can tell you, it’s very different in Spain!  No muesli for a start.

If I ever have the distinct displeasure of visiting a hyper-market environment, I go into some sort of consumer trance.  Like a zombie, occasionally grabbing a shiny product.  I do like wine sections though.  It’s like travelling, in bottles.

These sprinkles will work with most seeds and if you feel like nuts, stick a few in.  The linseeds and flax seeds don’t add a huge amount of flavour, but are very, very good for you.  They are all toasted together to give a richer flavour and add a bit of crunch.

You can blend these seeds up, add a dash of water and make a brilliant seed butter (this is a real winner).

You will need a frying pan full of seeds, just enough to cover the bottom.

The Bits

Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseeds and flax seeds

Do It

Heat the frying pan on a medium to low heat, add the sunflower and pumpkin seeds first (or larger seeds/nuts).  Heat and toss for around ten minutes, keep them moving, don’t hurry them.   Then add the flax and linseeds and heat for another couple of minutes.  They may pop a little and will darken in colour.  The key is not to burn them, if they are getting too hot and dark, tip them onto a large plate and spread them out to cool.

Cool fully and keep in a jar.

We Love It

They go on anything and are a great, nutritious snack on their own.

Foodie Fact

These little gems are packed with super omega oils and energy.  Russia is the leading producer of sunflower seeds globally.  One sunflower head contains hundreds of seeds.  They are full of energy in the form of poly unsaturated fats and mono-unsaturated fats which can lower cholesterol.  They have one of the highest levels of complex vitamin B group and vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant)…….These little beauties are will keep you shining.  Put them on everything!!!!

Categories: Budget, Dairy/ Lactose Free, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Salads, Snacks and Inbetweens, Superfoods, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

King Quinoa Burger (Vegan)

I love quinoa.  The Incas ate it!  It has a full, nutty taste and is super healthy.  I thought it would make an interesting burger/ falafel/ patty……etc…whichever shape you fancy.

The terminology of veggie food can be so mis-leading and unneccessary.  It’s a grey area.  Is something shaped like a burger, really a burger?  Mos people would say no?  We can buy sausages, burgers (that are a field mushroom or lumps of roasted peppers), bacon (made of god knows what?) etc.  Do vegetarians really want to eat bacon?  Things that taste like meat?  I don’t.

I think the global veggie community should get together and re-brand all of these dishes.  Come up with some new, interesting terminology.  Leave the burgers for the mincemeat crowd.  I like the name ‘chunk’.

Whatever we call this, it is very tasty, satisfying and healthy.  This is the King of veggie burgers!  Even better, it’s vegan and gluten-free also.

We were having a ‘date night’ in the Beach House (there aren’t many places to go around here, so we have in-house dates) so I went all out on the accompaniments.

This is a hearty burger, packed with chickpeas and the sweetness from the potatoes.  This recipe will make at least 6 big burgers/ patties and many little falafels.  The only difference between these is how you want to form them with your hands.  Whichever size fit.  Be gentle here, you don’t want to play with them to much.  Quick dip in flour, patted into a nice shape and straight into the hot oil.  The one quick, clean flip.  This will ensure a nice burger, that doesn’t fall apart.  It will turn out nice and crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle.  YUM!

The Bits

2 cups of cooked quinoa (1 cup dry quinoa), 1/2 cup of oats, 1 cup of cooked chickpeas (or one can), 1 cup of chopped and roasted sweet potatoes, 1 red onion (chopped), 3 tbs chickpea (gram) flour, 1 1/2 teas smoked paprika, 1 teas ground cumin,  3 cloves of chopped garlic,  2 inch ginger (chopped finely), 1 lemon zest (finely chopped), 2 teas mixed herbs (or preferably fresh and chopped rosemary and thyme), 1/2 cup of chickpea (gram) flour (for dusting), 1 small glug Linghams sweet chilli sauce (optional), 3 tbs olive oil, s +p.

You may want to go all out with this one, add a couple of handfuls of grated cheddar cheese.  But beware, that will be a mega-burger!  Not for the faint hearted.

Do It

Soak and cook off your chickpeas (or open the can), pan fry your chopped sweet potatoes until nicely coloured, set aside.  Cook quinoa. Boil a kettle and pour water over until covered by 2cm of water (cover and leave for 10 minutes).  Put all of these and the rest of the ingredients in a blender, add oil last.  Pulse blend for a few burst, you want around half smooth, half chunky.  Put into a bowl and stir.

Get a plate and cover it with a good layer of chickpea flour.  Warm a pan on medium heat, oil should be just about smoking, make sure the base of the pan is well covered with oil.

Take the required amount of mix in your hand and fashion a burger/ patty/ falafel.  Give it a good covering of flour, dust of excess and drop into the pan.  Work quickly and gently, get them all in the pan at a similar time (it’s easier that way).  Use a flat spatula, this will mean easier flipping and less battering to the burgers.

Fry for around five minutes per side, until golden and crispy.  Remove and place on kitchen paper to remove excess oil, cover and keep warm until serving.  For a normal shaped frying pan, you’ll need a couple of batches here.  The falafels will take lot of work, it would be easier to deep fry them.  That would be amazing!

The mix keeps well in the fridge and will be better and easier to work with if prepared the day before.

Serve

We had ours with homemade hummus, onion marmalade, wilted swiss chard and spinach (with a drop of garlic) and pan-fried potatoes with Jerusalem artichokes (pinch of paprika).  It all went a little restaurant-y.

You could have it in bread (or flat bread for the falafels) with a nice relish or yoghurt dressing and salad.  Maybe even some chips (American friends, this means french fries)!

We Love It

Date nights are ace!  Our food, music, atmosphere and no taxis afterwards!  Packed full of goodness, this is a super tasty burger-type creation.

Foodie Fact

Once called the ‘gold of the Incas’  quinoa gives ‘complete protein’, meaning all of your amino acids.  It’s also full of lysine, which helps tissue growth and repair.  Quinoa has unusually high amounts of manganese and magnesium, the list goes on here.  Quinoa is a real deal superfood!

Pickled Part

We drank a light, young Primitivo, which was full of sweet berries.  It went down a treat with the sweetness of the potatoes and chickpeas and wasn’t over powered by the spices or hummus.  Make sure your wine isn’t too light, especially when dealing with spicy or creamy dishes.  You need good acidity and fruit to conquer these strong flavours.  A medium white would have been fantastic, something like Pinot Gris or Gewurztraminer.  I love German wine, especially with spicy foods.

Categories: Healthy Eating, Recipes, Vegan, Wine and Booze | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homemade Goats Cheese with Wild Garlic

Goat's Cheese Recipe With Wild Garlic

I love Goats.  They are far superior to sheep.  More character, a little like their cheese.  I became aware of this love affair in Laos…..it’s a long story.

‘Eat Weeds’ (http://www.eatweeds.co.uk/) inspired me here.  It’s a great little website all about living from the land and getting out for the odd forage.  All you need to know about wild eating.  They regularly send me emails and this recipe reminded me of how easy this cheese is to knock-up.

The first time I made Goats Cheese was when I volunteered to help on a farm in Central Laos.  It proved to be very simple and deliciously creamy.  This method is almost as good, without the super fresh, still warm milk of the farm.

The Kids

We would milk, feed and clean the goats out before dawn, with the afternoons free to spend under the blazing sun, hacking down banana trees for feed. After around five hours hard graft, between three of us, we normally produced only four small blocks.  This experience really developed my appreciation of cheese!

The blocks were normally whisked off to the farm restaurant to be served to bus loads of tourists.  Sometimes we did manage to sneak a chunk ourselves and with a fresh baguette (which are amazing in Laos), it made all of the shovelling shit worth while!

With the lads on the farm

For this recipe, if you can get your hands on wild garlic, lucky you.  Otherwise use bulbs.  Goats milk is fairly easy to come by in the shops.

If you like eating weeds, subscribe and get the Classic Wild Food Collection.  It is free and packed with info on what to do with weeds and plants (and how you can eat them).

Bon Fromage!

The Bits

1 pint of raw goat’s milk, ½ lemon (juiced) or 2 caps of cider vinegar, 25g ramsons/wild garlic (finely chopped)***, sea salt

***An alternative to wild garlic would be one clove of minced garlic and a handful of roughly chopped parsley.

Do It

Pour goat’s milk into a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Remove from heat immediately.

Add lemon juice a little at a time until the curds separate from the whey.  Curdling.  It will begin to resemble very off milk.

Pour the pan of curds and whey through a fine muslin cloth, making sure that you collect the whey. Leave to drip for a few hours. You can refrigerate the whey for a couple of weeks, and use it in your sauerkraut recipes, in soups, stocks or as a refreshing drink. Whey is super full of minerals, and an excellent digestive.

Next tip cheese into a bowl and add the finely chopped ramsons and few pinches of sea salt, then stir until the ramsons and salt are thoroughly worked into the cheese. Taste saltiness and adjust accordingly.

Put the cheese back into the muslin and twist into a ball. Put on a slanted board with a big weight on top (always a bit of a balancing act), and leave for a couple of hours. The salt draws more moisture out of the cheese making it firmer.

If you can resist eating it, this cheese will age nicely.

Serve

Baguette! (warm)

Foodie Fact

Whey is a super-dooper food.  It’s packed full of protein, meaning that people who would like to be one big lump of muscle (mass) take it as a high cost supplement.  It’s free with this cheese.  The proteins in whey can be used easily by the body.

Whey is very low in calories and full of anti-oxidants that boost the immune system.

The end product

Categories: 'The Good Life', Foraging, photography, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Travel, Vegetarian, Wild food | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roots Soup

Local Roots

“Goin’ back to our ROOTs”.  Beetroots.

This is a sweet winter wonder.  Vibrant and choc-a-bloc with goodness and power.  This soup will add some sunshine groove into any grey day.

I lived in Brixton, London, for a while and loved the energy of Caribbean culture and the vibrant market.  This soup reflects all those happy vibes and memories.  The sweet potatoes, yams and cassava were always abundant down there, which gave me new roots to explore in the kitchen, leading me to this soup.
The recipe includes sweet potato, the rest are very local (I walked to buy them from where they grow!) and a few spices from far flung lands.  The chilli, paprika and all-spice give the soup some strong Caribbean flava!
This is a mixed-up root soup, which for me, sums up all that is good about this little eclectic island.  We have many different roots!  It also gives me a chance to put on some reggae tunes and boggie while it bubbles.
This will make one big panful, around 4 big bowls.  I like cooking in bulk, save it or freeze it.  Saves time and the elec/gas bill.

The Bits

1 large potato, 3 medium sweet potatos, 1 medium beetroot, 1 small swede, 1 medium pasrnip, 1 red onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp all spice, 1/2 teas cinnamon, 1 teas chilli powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 teas turmeric, 1.5L veg stock.

Do It

Onions and garlic are sliced and all other roots are chunked (peel them only if you like skinless, skins are full of goodness).

Glug of oil and fry onions on medium heat, soften then add the garlic, leave for a couple of minutes, then add all the roots.  Make sure you have a nice big pan for this, your roots need room.  Fry until they start to colour a little, then add the spices, cook and stir until well coated and coloured, then add the stock.  Leave for 30 minutes, partially covered, to simmer (try not to boil, it takes away some flavour).  Add more water if needed (lost to evap.).

When all is very tender, get a hand blender (or cool and put in a food processor) and blitz it up nice and creamy.

Serve

We had it with a dollop of creme fraiche, because it was hanging around the fridge, otherwise, have it how you like it!  With good tunes on.  You must dance a little after eating this soup, even if you’re wearing your slippers.

We Love It

This is true soul food (’cause it makes you feel mighty fine). The vibrant colour and the deep sense of well-being post slurp makes this soup a champion for any season.

Foodie Fact

Botanically speaking the sweet potato is a tuber.  They really are the finest root (brave statement for a Brit!) mainly because they’re so damn good for you.  Sweet pots are low in calories, packed with starch (which are introduced into the blood stream slowly, which is good) and flavanoids (powerful antioxidants).   Best of all, they’re orange.

Sweet Tuber

Sweet Tuber

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Recipes, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Homemade Peanut Butter

I’ve been buying expensive organic peanut butter for years.  It’s well worth having in the cupboard, it adds great flavour and nutrients to a whole host of dishes and snacks.

Recently it struck me, why not make my own?

So I peeled a bag of monkey nuts and realised peanut butter can be made by anyone with a blender (or pestle and mortar and lots of time) and some nuts.

It’s this simple:

The Bits

2 cups of roasted peanuts (unsalted)

A pinch of salt

Do It

Get your blender with a blade on, add peanuts (I warm and colour them slightly in a frying pan beforehand, not necessary).  Pinch of salt or spoonful of honey (if you’re a sweetie).  Blend until creamy.  Takes around 5 minutes.

If you’re feeling like getting really in touch with your P.B., you can mash them up in a pestle and mortar.  This takes a while and is much messier.

We Love It

Mix in into curries to give a new dimension of flavour and glowing finish, especially Thai style coconut curries.  Cor!

Foodie Fact

Peanuts are actually a legume!  They are often called earth nuts and are high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.  They contain good amounts of dietary protein, essential for growth and development and resveratrol, which is a super antioxidant.  A handful of peanuts per day will provide you with a large amount of your required minerals, proteins and vitamins.  Wonder nut!

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

Sprout! The evolution of the mung

Heres something that could change your life.  Maybe extend it a little also.

Sprouts!

Mung bean sprouts this time.

These little wonders are a gift from nature. They are packed with nutrients, very, very good for us and best of all, easy and cheap to prepare at home.

My sprouting guru is a wandering flautist named Yanny, he is in his late 70’s and fit as a fiddle.  Yanny even sprouts on his travels in hotel rooms and in backpacks.

There are a few companies selling sprouts in the U.K. at inflated prices. They need not be a costly ‘health’ food.  They can add an incredible range of flavours to salads.

Many prices in ‘health’ food shops are appalling, some necessary, but many seem to go against the ethos of the ‘good life’, where money (you would hope) plays a secondary role to living well and helping others.

We are fortunate to have many good people living around us, giving us inspiration and positive examples of methods and practices that are sustainable, meaning that we can move away from the mass food movement (Tesco’s et al) or prohibitive ‘Health Food’  Shops.

You don’t need to spend a small fortune to eat healthy.  All you need are sprouts!  Mung beans are the easiest, but once you get into it, there are so many avenues of sprouting joy.

So head to the hills, of your windowsill and start sprouting.

The Bits

Mung beans (any variety works well, we used the green ones)

Filtered water

Do It

Acquire a receptical (see the evolution of the sprout), a spare plastic tray (recycled normally), a large water bottle with vents cut into it (be creative) or a proper sprouter.  I was so lucky to pick up a sprouter from a charity shop for two quid!  They should not be costly bought new.

The important thing is that the sprouts get air and are not in direct sunlight, they also need to be kept warm.  Optimum conditions will result in a quicker sprout.

The evolution of the sprout (tray, to bottle, to sprouter)

Soak the beans in filtered water for 24 hours, empty water and place in your sprouter.  Keep them damp for the next 48 hours and then leave them dry (rinsing regularly if you can).

After a couple of days, they should start to sprout.  Younger sprouts are sweeter and large sprouts have a fuller flavour.  Experiment on which you prefer.

You won’t get them all to sprout, so try to sort out the hard un-sprouted beans.  They can be a little crunchy and some hard as rocks.  Beware.

It’s as easy as that.  They keep well in the fridge.  Once one batch is finished, get the other one started and you have a rolling harvest on your hands.

Serve

Put them on anything, of course salads are best.  If you are feeling decadent, or need a serious boost, mix up an unadulterated sprout salad.  ZING>

Foodie Fact

Mung beans are one of the most cherished foods in Ayurveda, full of vitamins, minerals and vital veggie protein.  They are said to balance all three doshas (making you more stable and relaxed) and make absorption of nutrients easier.  When sprouted, very high levels of Vitamin C become available (rising by 60%).  Most importantly, Mung Beans contain a low quantity of the sugar molecule that make you fart!

It is simple, if you avoid speeding buses and eat more sprouts, you’ll live longer.

PS – Yanny is a wood sculptor, this video show the life of a true artist and dear soul:

Categories: 'The Good Life', Ayurveda, Healthy Living, Raw Food, Salads, Superfoods | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Liver Detox – ‘The Flush’

Medicine

This is more food as medicine, as opposed to tasty biscuits.  Read no further if you’re looking for a cake recipe!  This is definately not delicious in that way.

It’s probably a little late now, after the time of festive excess, this recipe would have been perfect.  Still ‘The Flush’ is a magic little potion handed to us by Jackie a lovely local nutritionist and colonic therapist.

It will stimulate your liver into detox mode and get rid of some built up toxins etc. It also gets bags of raw garlic into your system (see Foodie fact).  It is a real help for people suffering from Candida and other intestinal imbalances.  If you feel like you need a full detox, you will need to get on a proper course of treatment with a qualified nutritionist and maybe have a colonic or two!  Extreme flushing.

‘The Flush’ should be taken on an empty stomach, preferably first thing in the morning.  You may eat fruit afterwards (tomatoes, cucumber, avocado) but no other solids for five hours.   It’s busy working on the digestive system.  Drinking several cups of detox, ginger, fennel or peppermint tea will help this.

We tried this for a while and found it made you feel well flushed and invigorated afterwards.

The Bits

1 glass of organic apple juice, 1 peeled lemon with pith still on, 1 tbs (work up to 4) cold pressed olive oil, 1 pinch cayenne, 1 pinch cinnamon, 1 (work up to 3) cloves of raw garlic, thumb size piece of ginger root

Do It

Pop it all in a blender until smooth.  Each day work up to the max. amounts of olive oil and garlic, depending on your progress (and what your belly is telling you).  It’s best to do this for a week and then take one week off.  Then repeat this cycle if you’re cleansing your liver for the first time.

You can build up to doing this every morning for six weeks.   If so, not only do you deserve a massive pat on the back, but your liver and digestive system will thank you in their own special way.

We Love It

It will give you a greater sense of well-being and give your hard-working liver a break.

The garlic will pack a punch and probably leave your breath quite fragrant, but who cares, its good for you.

Foodie Fact

Packed with phyto-chemicals that help against c*****r, heart disease and infections.  Humans have always love garlic for its flavour and medicinal values.

When garlic is crushed, allcin is formed, which actively reduces cholesterol and keeps you coronary bits nice and clean. It also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.

I could go on here……but lastly it’s one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, the list goes on.

Forget about garlic breath, get it down you!!!!!!!

Have you tried Elephant garlic?  Beastly!

PS – We are not in any way qualified to offer any medical advice whatsoever. 

Categories: Breakfast, Detox, Healthy Living, Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Panamanian Bean Mix (Good name for a band)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heart of the 'root

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

Sweet Cashew Nut Butter

This is another Mum special.

I love nut butter.  It’s a delicious and easy.  Dairy free and as good as cream or butter, but much, much healthier. You can follow this recipes with peanuts and almonds.  Any other nuts?  Probably (let us know).

Organic cashews are already nice and sweet, you may exclude the honey unless you are a real sweetie.

The Bits

1 cup of cashews, 1/2 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of honey

Do It

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  Store in a sealable container, will keep nicely for a week.

Serve

Spread on toast, added to cereal or even added to tea!  I like to use nut butters to add a little extra to sauces, roasted veggies or soups.

We Love It

Any recipe with three ingredients (one being water) is fine by me.  Its a great little tub to have in the fridge, adding a bit of richness and luxury to vegan foods.

Foodie Fact

Cashews are rich in healthy monounsaturate fats, that help to keep the heart and blood vessels healthy.  They are also rich in energy, antioxidants, minerals (zinc, copper, selenium) and vitamins (vitamin B-5 and 6, riboflavin, thiamine).  They are high in calories and health promoting phyto-chemicals.

Cashews are surprisingly from the same family as the mango.  When eating nuts, I often think how precious they are.  One whole fruit from the cashew tree only produces a single nut.

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Raw Food, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Magic Morning Lemon Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hit List

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

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

Pumpkin and Almond Tagine

Tagine Market

I love Morocco, the sleepy mountain villages and endless desert sands.  I always made time for the local spice markets, checking out the intoxicating mix of aroma and colour.  I shipped many bags of the stuff back to Spain, running the gauntlet of some very suspicious customs officers and barking Alsatians.  Apparently my bag smelled like a vagrant (must have been the intense cumin?!)

The variety and freshness of these spices make a tagine.  It’s a bit like Guinness and Ireland, something is lost when eaten anywhere outside of its Motherland.

Add fistfuls of dried fruits, olives and ras el hanout and you have a perfect expression of Morocco’s incredible produce.  This is one of those evocative dishes that can sum up the spirit and atmosphere of a diverse country, on one platter, better than a lengthy commentary or travel article.  It’s basically Morocco on a plate.

Having said all of this, due to financial constraints (being a skint traveller), I rarely ate in decent restaurants during my stay there and have had better Moroccan food in London than Marrakech!  My Moroccan diet mainly consisted of triangles of manufactured cheese, handfuls of figs and the ubiquitous flat bread.

However, I was lucky to meet some truly amazing and hospitable folk, who invited me into their homes (the finest place to sample true culture and food worldwide).  I especially remember a chap named Khalid, staying in his family home in Taroundant made me understand the importance and pride attached to the traditional of the tagine.

I met Khalid in a spice market and immediately realised he was the kindest of sorts.  He showed me around the old city for days, but one afternoon he took me, with a big gang of friends and family, to an oasis where we sat under a fig tree and shared a delicious lunch.  We ate straight from the dish, with hunks of bread and greedy hands.  It contained a few spices, vegetables and a whole lot of care and pride.  It was not a tagine strictly speaking, we cooked it in a heavy pan with a good lid, as we do in the B.H.K (we’re tagine-less, hence the generic tagine pot picture), but it’s almost as good.  Only the name changes, its called a ‘Gimb…….’ something or other.  The results are very similar, but you just lose some of the mystique and authenticity.

Tagine is named after the earthenware dish used in the cooking.  The dish is normally cooked slowly and captures all the condensation, making the dish moist.  It’s an easy and healthy way to cook vegetables.

This recipes is slightly more complex than Khalids, and not completely traditional.  It’s another one of my Mum’s favs.  We are lucky here that we have a wonderful organic farm, just over the way, that grows brilliant pumpkins.  Good pumpkin is as important, as the spices.  Use fresh spices and keep all opened spices in a cool place in a tightly sealed container.  Being tagines-less at the moment we opt for a thick bottomed pan or a casserole pot:

Makes one big tagine or pan full, enough for four.  Like all stews, it is better left a while in the fridge to infuse and serve the next day.

The Bits 

Handful of dried apricots (chopped into large chunks), juice of one lemon (add rind finely chopped for more zing), 1 inch root ginger (chopped), 2 tbs tomato puree, 3 cloves garlic (chopped), 2 tsps smoked paprika, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin, 2 cardoman pods (split or bashed), 2 tsps ground cinnamon, 1 small pumpkin (chopped and roasted, skin on), 1 carrot (chopped into chunks and roasted), 1 tin chickpeas (drained), 5 tomato’s skinned and chopped (or a good tin of chopped tomatoes), 1 tbs honey, handful of fresh coriander (chopped), 2 red peppers (roasted and chopped), salt and pepper, handful of unpeeled roasted almonds.
(If we could get hold of some ras el hanout, we may substitute that for all the spices except paprika.  A handful of pitted olives can add an extra tang to the dish.  Especially good when feeding carnivores for a bigger flavour.)
Do It
Start by frying off you pumpkin chunks, carrot and pepper in a pan with olive oil.  Cook quickly, until coloured nicely, then set aside in a covered dish.
Heat the olive oil in a casserole and stir in the lemon juice, tomato puree with the spices.  Season with s/p.
Add chopped tomatoes, pumpkin, carrots and peppers, cover the dish.
Cook over a very gentle heat, stirring occasionally for about 20-30 mins.
Stir in the almonds, apricots, ginger and garlic and cook for another 15 mins.
When the pumpkin is good and soft, add the chick peas giving a good mix.
Cover and cook about 15 mins until everything is tender, then stir in the honey.
The tagine should be checked regularly and water topped up if required.
Serve
With an extra splash of olive oil, the chopped coriander and a generous dollop of creamy yoghurt and a scattering of almonds and seeds.  Accompanied traditionally by a nice warm flat bread or cous cous.  We made it gluten-free and opted for some quinoa.  ‘As you wish, you are free’ as many of my Moroccan friends would say.
We Love It
Moroccans make some of the finest stews, they are so blessed with amazing local ingredients.  As I said, this is really Morocco on a platter and that makes it a glorious thing.  It’s the perfect winter stew, bursting with spice, flavour and bright colours.
Foodie Fact
Pumpkin, and most very orange veggies, are packed with the important anti-oxidant beta-carotene, which is converted by the body into Vitamin A.  It’s also a good source of fibre, Vitamin C, K and E and loads of different minerals.   Even its seeds are packed with goodness, especially omega 3 fatty acids.
The big orange beauty is a member of the cururbitaceae family, making it a relative of the cucumber and can grow to be 25 kgs in weight.

The Djem El Fna, the mad Market Square in Marrakech

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Dinner, gluten-free, Lunch, photography, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seabuckthorn – The Wonder Berry

Wonderberries

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

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

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

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

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

Some info. via Ecosphere:

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

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

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

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

http://seabuckthorn.co.uk/

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

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

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

Buy the bush in the U.K.:

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

A view of Spiti Valley, India

Categories: photography | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: