Posts Tagged With: miso

Detox Greens Soup with Welsh Miso, Ginger and Green Lentils

Detox Greens Soup with Welsh Miso, Ginger and Green Lentils

Detox Greens Soup with Welsh Miso, Ginger and Green Lentils

There is just the hint of winter in the air as we move through autumn and this slight chill always gets my soup bells ringing.  Here is a soup that ticks all of the autumnal boxes, tasty and utterly loaded with healthy things, even (almost) locally made Welsh Miso.

This recipe takes care of all of our seasonal fare on Tiger Mountain, all of them green and when simmered together for a time, transform into a tasty health elixir.  The flavours are hearty and comforting with a tinge of ginger and miso in the background to keep things interesting and offer a little Japanese style twang.

My Dad, John (aka the big yin, aka ‘heed’, aka Johnnie Boy) has been visiting for a week and he knows how to enjoy himself, Jane and I struggle to keep up!  We’ve had a week of wonderful times but lets just say that many of them were not exactly beneficial to the health.  Our wine rack is bare (a very grim sight) and our ale stores seriously depleted.  After waving Dad off at the station, we both decided that our bodies needed some kind of green wake up call and nothing comforts and revitalizes more than a decent bowl of soup.

The 'Big Yin' at Aber Falls, near bangor

The ‘Big Yin’ at Aber Falls, near bangor

Cabbage is the backbone of this soup, and a good cabbage is essential late autumn behaviour.  Not the most glamorous of ingredients but when handled with care, one of the tastiest and versatile veggies.  I love wrapping things in cabbage leaves and baking them, or even blanching the leaves and using them as an alternative to something like a spring roll.  One things for sure, in north Wales, we’ll never be short of cabbages, they love it up here and at work the other day (I cook in a retreat/ alternative learning centre), I had the privilege of tackling the largest cabbage I have ever seen.  Judy (farming genius and very much more) wandered into the kitchen bearing a green globe at least 2 feet across!!!!  I swear there must be something magical in the soil over there, we can hardly eke a Brussel sprout out up here!!!!  If you can’t get hold of a good organic cabbage, you may need to add a little more stock to the mix, your taste buds will be the guide…….

We have been building up to making our own miso for a while now, but are fortunate to have Welsh miso being produced almost on our own doorstep, give or take a few hundred miles, in the same country at the very least.  They guys at Source Foods seem like a very decent bunch and their products are top. We recently got hold of a pot of their hemp miso (thanks for forgetting it Helen!) and its a wicked addition to their fabulous fermented offerings.  They use all organic ingredients and without sourcing bits from Japan, which has been very unfortunately effected by the Fukushima tragedy.   Welsh Miso, quite randomnly, is our amazing stuff!

Miso adds unmistakable vitality and deliciousness, but comes with bags of sodium.  If you are serious about making this a detox soup, give your kidneys a break and take it easy on the miso, 2 tbs is enough.  There is however new research coming out that highlights the difference between salt and miso, they are handled differently and have different effects on our bodies.  Salt leads to higher blood pressure and for some miraculous reason, miso does not.  This is backed up by the rate of heart problems in Japan, where high levels of miso is consumed regularly.  We used light miso here, but you can use a darker variety, just use less.  See the ‘Foodie Fact’ below for more info on marvelous Mr Miso.

This soup falls into the bracket of ‘a meal in itself’ and we regularly eat it like a stew, without much liquid and plenty of lumps.  In this state, it will be wonderful with brown rice, but we find it filling enough by itself.

The Bits – For 6 good bowls

1 teas olive oil

1 teas toasted sesame seed oil

1 leek (finely sliced)

1 1/2  inch fresh ginger (finely diced or roughly grated)

2 celery sticks (finely sliced)

1/2 medium savoy cabbage

1 cup green/ puy lentils

1 small head broccoli (cut into small florets)

6 handfuls spinach leaves

600ml warm organic vegetable stock (use only water if you trust your veggies to be amazing)

1 teas dried rosemary

2-5 tbs light miso (to taste)

sea salt (if needed)

 

Drizzle of olive oil (optional)

The Bits all prep'd

The Bits – pre-prep

Do It

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat, drizzle in the oils and when warm add the leeks, ginger and celery.  Stir and fry for 4-5 minutes, until soft.  Add the cabbage, lentils, stock/ water and rosemary to the pan.  Bring to a boil and lower heat to a steady simmer, pop a lid on and cook for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are soft.

Add the broccoli and spinach, stir into the soup and pop the lid back on, cook for a further 5 minutes on a low simmer.  Stir in the miso to taste.  Pulse a few times with a stick blender, or add a quarter of the soup to a food processor and blend until smooth.

Pop a lid on and leave the soup to stand for a couple of minutes.  Miso is really like salt with benefits, it will enhance and deepens the flavours.

Definitely looks healthy!!!

Definitely looks healthy!!!

Serve

Straight away, add a little splash of olive oil for added richness.  If its a very special occasion (or a Tuesday) you could stir in 2-3 tbs of hazelnut butter to add silky creaminess.   Inevitably, Jane’s Easy Seeded Wholemeal Loaf, lightly toasted would be a belter of an accompaniment.

Foodie Fact

‘Miso’ is Japanese for ‘fermenting beans’ and miso can be made with any grain/ bean.  We used soya based miso here but you can find barley, rice, buckwheat, wheat, hemp seed….the list goes on.  Obvious what the miso is made of will alter the nutritional benefits but soya beans are normally used as a base in the process.

Miso involves fermentation, which of course means funky mould (or fungus if you will).  The fungus in question is the brilliantly named  ‘Aspergillus oryzae’ and its highly magic!  The key discovery made in the production of miso was how to keep these spores alive and transportable.  Miso on the move.  People have been fermenting foods in Japan and China for thousands of years (its also traditionally made in Indonesia and Korea), it was referred to as ‘Koji’ and they were well aware of the health benefits brought about by these amazing moulds.  This is the same process used when making sake, soya sauce tamari etc.

To make miso, you basically add the Aspergillus (or other sometimes other bacteria’s/ micro organisms are used) to soaked and cooked soya beans to get things started, this is in turn added to soaked and cooked grains/ beans and the miso is left to mellow and mature.  Miso comes in all sorts of shades and colours, normally white, red and dark brown, the fermentation process dictates the depth of flavour and colour.  Normally the darker the colour, the more intense the flavour, red and brown miso can be matured for three years and ‘Hatcho’ Miso, which is famous in Japan, is matured in 200 year old vats for three winters.

Buy organic miso when you can and ensure that no MSG has been added, cheaper makes will do this.  Miso is very nourishing and is a good source of fibre and protein, it is a very tasty way of adding legumes to your diet, 2 tbs of miso normally contains the nutrition of 2 cups worth of legumes.  The fermentation process of miso means that some of the beneficial chemicals present are already broken down by the magic fungus, giving our digestion a break and allowing our bodies to easily absorb all the goodness.   Misos main attraction, from a health point of view, is its outrageous list of beneficial anti-oxidants, our free radical scavenging friends.

We also just like the word ‘Miso’ and have decided that if another cat decides to move in with us, there are few appearing round our way, we’ll name it ‘Miso’.  Could we get away with calling a child ‘Miso’?!  Hmmm…..

Somethings we’ve cooked with our friend mighty Miso:

Mug of Miso

Sprouted Buckwheat, Onion and Miso Crackers (Raw)

Sava’s Elephant Garlic Flower Salad

Miso and Tahini Dressing

Black Prince Tomato and Coriander Soup (Raw)

Soup on the hob

Soup on the hob

Categories: Detox, Fermentation, Recipes, Soups, Welsh produce | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Sprouted Buckwheat, Onion and Miso Crackers (Raw)

Sprouted Buckwheat, Onion and Miso Crackers (Raw)

Sprouted Buckwheat, Onion and Miso Crackers (Raw)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Makes eight medium sized crackers.

The Bits

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

Do It

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

Just add......avocado?

Just add……avocado?

Serve

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

We Love It!

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

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: Healthy Eating, Recipes, Soups, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sava’s Elephant Garlic Flower Salad

Sava’s last lunch at the BHK

Here was this lunch offering, made by Jane and Sava.   A crunchy wonder, with bucket loads of veggies, topped with the ever intriguing, elephant garlic flowers.

This was Savannah’s last meal with us and we wanted it to be special.  We rustled up a few different salads, dips and even a piquant beige guacamole.

Sava is originally from South London, but is currently masterminding world domination (Sava style) which means spreading love, happiness and vibrant energy to all corners of the world.  Sava is also an ace vegan chef and was the perfect house guest during this raw time at the Beach House.  We have spent most of our time sitting around talking about food and travel, two of our most favourite chat topics.  Its been a gas….

Sava has an brilliant travel website, all about travelling the world and living your wildest dreams.  Its called travel butterfly.  Sava has just returned from travelling around Central and Southern America and there are loads of wonderful tales, images and tips to be found there.

These garlic flowers have thick stems with a potent garlic punch (the whole house stank of garlic after chopping a few up).  The flowers seem edible, with small yellow petals.  One bunch has lasted us quite a few days as its best used sparingly.  Warning, if you are worried about garlic breath, do not approach these flowers (and stop worrying).

You may like to add some spirulina, wheat grass or barley grass powder to the topping if you are raw, or even if you aren’t, this would give you a serious boost.  These are three heavyweight contenders of the superfood world.  It is said that you can live on these green powders (the barley grass actually tastes of dried fish) but not even I will venture this far down the road of cleaning my internals up.  The barley powder we have is labelled as a ‘powerful’ food and should be eased into, you wouldn’t want to over do it (this all seems very tame compared to my tequila slammer days, but unimaginably healthier!).

These salads are always super easy to get together, we’ve made them per person so you can just have it yourself, or share with the people you really, really like.  This is a big salad and designed to be a main meal so there is a lot of ingredients in it.  We realise this goes against some of our ‘The Big Four Raw Food No No’s’ but we are trying to be good!  We topped it with the elephant garlic flowers so we could measure the amount we ate with eat spoonful, it also looked great.

Elephant garlic flowers

The Bits

Per person – Handful of baby corn, 1 carrot (chopped), handful of mangetout, 1 ripe tomato, 1/2 courgette (chopped), 1/2 apple (green and sour is best, chopped), 1 stick of celery, handful of cucumber (chopped), handful of cos lettuce (chopped), 2 teas linseeds, 1 handful of mung bean sprouts, 2 teas alfalfa sprouts.

Topping – Handful of elephant garlic flower (chopped), handful of sunflower seeds, splash of olive oil.

Elephant Garlic Flower Salad

Serve

Layered with a creamy Miso, Tamari and Tahini Dressing, topped with the chopped elephant garlic flowers.

We Love It!

Mainly because Sava made it and she is very lovely indeed.  The elephant garlic is amazing and well worth seeking out, it explodes in your mouth and adds a spot of romance to the plate.

Foodie Fact

Native Americans believe wild garlic to help against ailments such as high blood pressure, asthma and scurvy.

Our Morning Juice Routine

Is stuttering along.  We are still getting into the routine of a mid-morning juice.  I used to have  a nice jug of coffee, now its a yogurt pot full of fresh juice.  I know which one my body prefers (bit sometimes I miss that aroma).

Jane made a magic juice this morning with the trusty Magimix.  Simple and not really worth a separate post, its similar to a couple we have done before.  It was a zesty Apple, Carrot and Ginger.  The perfect balance of sweetness with a kick of ginger.  Here is Jane mid juice:

Jane making morning juice

We aim to be drinking at least one juice per day and are finding that we are not hungry in the mornings.  This would make sense, all of our nutritional requirements are being met, so the absorption cycle of the body doesn’t really kick in until 12pm.  That’s when we whip out the salads.

We plan on getting a 25 kilo bag of carrots from a farm down the road and really getting juicy next week.  Apparently, if you drink too much carrot juice, you actually turn orange.  Watch this space, will make for interesting pictures I’m sure.

Happy days aheadX

Categories: Breakfast, Friends of B.H.K, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Sauces, Side Dish, Superfoods, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Raw Emerald Soup

Raw Emerald Soup

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

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

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

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

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

The Bits

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

Do It

All goes into the blender and puree until smooth.

Serve

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

Miso and Tahini Dressing

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

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

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

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

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

The Bits

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

Do It

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

Serve

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

We Love It!

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mighty Miso

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

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