Posts Tagged With: music

‘Discovering Vegan Cooking’ Workshop and Retreat 1st – 4th March ’16

Lee-Watson (2)

THE PLEASURES AND BENEFITS OF A VEGAN DIET ARE OPEN TO ALL.  THIS WORKSHOP WILL SHOW YOU HOW………

Join Jane and I for a rejuvenating and instructive healthy vegan cooking adventure in a wonderful lakeside retreat centre in Snowdonia.

As well as hands-on cooking workshops there will be optional yoga and meditation sessions as well as a music workshop and much more…….

The ideal Spring pick me up!

Jane getting to grips with an onion - Udaipur, 2/14

Trigonos is set in stunning lakeside grounds in the heart of Snowdonia

We’d  love to hear from you with any questions or contact the Trigonos team for more information and bookings.

Residential and non-residential places are available.

Trigonos

Plas Baladeulyn, Nantlle, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Wales, UK. LL54 6BW

Phone – 01286  882 388

Email – info@trigonos.org

We’re so excited about this course and can’t wait to welcome you to North Wales!

L+Jx

Walking near Trigonos, stunning views of Snowdon

Walking near Trigonos, stunning views of Snowdon

Categories: Healthy Eating, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Top Tips and Health Benefits of Juicing plus Kale, Beetroot and Green Pepper Juice Recipe

Beetroot, Kale and Green Pepper Juice

Beetroot, Kale and Green Pepper Juice

Here is your five a day in just a few gulps!  Juicing is the easiest way of supercharging your day and getting loads of shining fruits and veggies into your diet.

I love experimenting with new flavour combos in our morning juice.  What do we have available and will they sing together in a glass?!  This one is backed up by a hit of ginger and lemon (whole, the zest is awesome in many ways), apples, carrots and a handful of mint.  Its a feast and a massive wake up call to the immune system.  When you juice, you can forget about the need for expensive supplements, vitamin pills etc.  Nothing can compete with a fresh juice.  Juicing also helps in weight loss and makes you much sexier!!!

SUPERCHARGE YOUR DAY

Our favourite way to start any day is a glass of freshly made juice. It just seems to make perfect sense. Our bodies have just woken from (hopefully) a nice long sleep, when we have basically been fasting for many hours. We’re dehydrated and a little depleted, we need a serious boost of something nutritious and preferably, charged with vitality and vibrant flavours. Juicing is the easiest way to get loads of essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, enzymes etc) down the hatch, very easy on the digestion and we can feel the benefit soon after. Energy levels rise and we get a healthy glow about us.

The contents of this juice are a sign that things are really flying now this summer. You could call this our ‘Veg Box Nectar’, basically whatever we get from the farm in a juicer with a little consideration for overall flavour. Really though, all these sensational veggies and fruits cannot taste bad in a glass. There are probably a few guidelines to a good juice; go easy on the cabbage, turnip or swede, too much whole citrus (with pith on) can be a little challenging.

We always try to add greens, like Kale, Chard or Spinach, to our juices as they are the bodies best friend.  Greens contain so many amazing nutrients, not to mention things like protein, calcium, iron….the list goes on and on.  They also contain bags of chlorophyll which helps the liver detox and purifies and rebuilds blood cells, also helping with high blood pressure.  Eating a lot of greens regularly, daily if possible, is our number one suggestion for staying healthy and feeling amazing.

TOP JUICING TIPS

EAT YOUR FRUIT AND JUICE YOUR VEGGIES – As a basic rule, this works a treat.  Many fruits are high in sugar and unless they are packed with fibre, can make your blood sugar levels rocket.  Its best to drink a balanced juice, with sweet fruits as a sweetener and not a base.  Some root vegetables can also be high in sugar, worth bearing in mind.  Having said that, a pure fruit juice is an awesome treat!

PREP WELL – Get everything cut down to size and peeled (if needed) before you start.  This will make juicing a breeze. We always fill our juicer shoot up (wide funnel juicers are best) before turning the machine on, this is more efficient.  Wash up before you drink the juice, for some reason, this seems to make it less of a chore!?  Not juicing because of the washing up is a very poor show.

DON’T HANG AROUND! – Juices are highly perishable and are best drank as soon as possible to get maximum flavour and health benefits.

REASONS TO GET JUICY

INTENSE NUTRIENTS – Juicing condenses down produce into a glass, you can cram so much goodness into a juice.  One glass can contain 5 carrots, 3 apples, 1 lemon, 5 kale leaves…….whatever your imagination can come up with!  To eat all of those in one sitting would take a long time and lot of chewing….

DIGESTION – Juices take almost no digestive energy, meaning the body is getting loads of nutrients and expending very little in return.  That energy can be used for other things like replenishing and rejuvenating.

LOSE WEIGHT, LOOK GOOD – Juices can really help here, accompanied by a good, balanced diet (we’d of course recommend a vegan diet) and regular exercise.  The intense nutrient hit you get from juicing helps keep the skin shining and hair and nails strong, it will also help to make you feel and look younger.

WHICH JUICER?

There are two main types of juicers, cold press or centrifugal.  We have always used a centrifugal juicer and if they are well made and powerful, produce good results and extract plenty of juice (you can check this by pressing out the waste pulp – this pulp can be made into tasty burgers or muffins).

Centrifugal juicers basically extracted the juice using a spinning blade.  Cold press (or masticating) juicers normally extract more juice and at low temperature, maintaining all of the nutrient content.  They are quieter and can be used to make nut milks, however, they are more expensive.

We’ve tried out many juicers and our favourites are Sage.  They sent us a juicer over a year ago and its been brilliant since then.  Very well made, easy to clean and powerful.  They are not the cheapest, but if you are serious about getting into juicing, its well worth the investment.

First Summer Strawberries

First Summer Strawberries

BERRY NICE SUMMER:)

We just ate our first wild strawberries from the garden and they were so sweet.  The song ‘Summer Wine’ by Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra sprang to mind.  A classic with a proper retro video.  Lee knows how to wear a moustache!  A perfect tune for strawberry munching in the sun.  Jane and I have been playing it recently on guitar and it’s a cheeky tune that makes people smile.  The raspberries are coming at Trigonos and we’ve been inundated with gorgeous gooseberries (so sweet) and blackcurrants (potently purple).  This time of year is just one long celebration of sensational seasonal produce, even the cauliflowers are making an appearance!

FAT, SICK AND NEARLY DEAD

This documentary came out a while back and has influenced loads of people and certainly spread the good juicing word around the globe.  Going on a juice fast can have wonderful health benefits, incredible transformations, as highlighted by the personal stories in this film.  Some friends of ours are going to try it out, although a shorter version, it will be interesting to see the results.  Jane and I feel that juice fasts can be an incredibly cleansing and revitalising opportunity, although we’d not recommend carrying them on for too long.  Juicing does take fibre out of your fruits and veggies and we love fibre in the BHK.  Its essential for maintaining good health and digestion.

Along with a healthy balanced diet, juicing can be a brilliant habit to get into, the benefits of which are best experienced to be believed!!!!

Here’s a recipe for a seriously tasty juice, full of zing and good things:

The Bits – For 2

3 kale leaves (with stems)

3 large carrots (scrubbed)

1-2 inch fresh ginger (peeled – with a teaspoon is easiest)

2 large apples (halved)

1 large beetroot (scrubbed – with leaves if you’ve got any)

1 green pepper (deseeded and halved)

1 small lemon (whole)

Do It

Pop all into a high speed juicer, leaves first, then ginger and lemon.  The carrot and apple will flush everything through.

Serve

In your favourite glass (or jars if you are trendy, or poor, or both) with a smile.

Foodie Fact

Beetroots are in the same family as chard and spinach.  The beetroot leaves (greens) are exceptionally high in iron, calcium, vitamin A and C.

Many athletes are now getting into beetroots.  Apparently it lowers muscle fatigue and is of course, amazingly nutritious with huge amounts of beta carotene and a good hit of sugar to keep you well fuelled for a workout.  Beetroot is also ideal for detoxing, as it kick started the detox process in the liver.  Ideal for a morning juice.

TOP BEET TIP – If you have beetroot fingers, all purple, try rubbing some lemon juice over them.  This helps.  Or wear gloves in the first place.

Categories: Breakfast, Detox, Healthy Living, Juices, Nutrition, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments

BEER! Is it vegan? If so, which ones.

A typically Black Dog greeting

 

The sun is out over Tiger Hill and Dad has just emailed me from our favourite pub in the entire world, the Black Dog in Whistable (Kent). Yes, its named after the Led Zeppelin song and the owner Mike is a thoroughly great publican and keeps a spectacular array of local ales, not to mention vegan samosas on the menu. So my mind has drifted towards the finest of British beverages…..BEER! (aka Real Ale)

Known as the ‘hammer of the gods’ I believe

Jane and I are not drinkers a la Ollie Reed (a British actor who famously claimed to have drank 106 pints in two days) but the occasional, proper glass of bitter, stout or porter is right up our winding country track. Wishy washy lager is a no no in the B.H.K.  We like beer with character and depth.  Ale with substance and meaning.  We don’t want to bloat up on ten pints of fizzy dish water, we are seeking that perfect, 1/2 pint of dark and potent nectar. There are a few breweries around us and a brilliant pub called the Snowdonia Park which brews all of its own beers in the cellar beneath the bar. You have to love that set-up!  An institution built on beery foundations.  It is also, sometimes conveniently, a campsite.   Their best ale is ‘Karmen Sutra’, named after the landlady.  A quirky name for a beer is much appreciated.

So the suns out and I’m wondering about beer……but wait, is it vegan? There seems to be a grey area around this and I’d like to attempt to clarify the question.

IS BEER SUITABLE FOR VEGAN?

Some, is the the best answer. The Camra website has some good info on this. Basically, the main ingredients of the vast majority of beers are very vegan; hops, barley, wheat, plants one and all. However, when it comes to clearing the beer of sediment, making it clear, many brewers use finings derived from the air bladders of the sturgeon fish (how random and disappointing is that!!!) These are called ‘isingas’ and draw the pesky yeast particles down through the beer.  Although these are not consumed in the final product, most vegetarians and vegans will opt out of non-veggie beer.

Beers can be sold unrefined, but they take longer to settle and can be slightly cloudy. Some pubs in the UK are now serving only ‘unfined’ beers. Vegans also need to keep an eye on honey, it can crop up in the production of some ales.  Some brewers may also use egg whites and gelatin in the brewing process.  The good news is that beers can be fined vegan-stylee, using seaweed!  How cool.

There is a directory of vegan UK beers below with some of my favourite names being Concrete Cow, Lizard, Fallen Angel, Wobble Gate and Why Not (?!) Which is a very good question, one I have posed myself many times before entering a pub.  One I may pose myself this evening.

Here’s a comprehensive list (you could even call it a database) of vegan beers from the good folk at Barnivore.  In fact, Barnivore is a one stop shop for checking all your vegan booze queries, including wines and liquor.  I love the fact that their commitment to booze have led them to research the beers of Nicaragua, Philippines and even France!

Local tipple.  Good stuff.

SOME POPULAR BRANDS OF BEER (NOT NECESSARILY GOOD ONES) THAT ARE VEGAN

Black Sheep Ale (Wahee!)

Goose Island (Waheeeee!)

Affligen beers (Hoorahhhh!)

Alhambra and Mahou Spanish Beer (Yeeesssss!  Fiesta!!)

Amstel (Hmmmmmmmmmmmm)

Asahi (Hmmmm, refreshing and points for being exotically Japanese)

Budweiser (Hmmmmmm.  Only in Wyoming.)

Aspall Ciders (Whoopp!)

Badger Ale (Double Whhooopeeee!)

Becks (Nostalgic nod of semi-approval.)

Black Isle, Isle of Skye (THANK YOU!  Thank you!!)

In fact, I’m only on ‘B’, I’ll be here all day.  There are more major brands listed below, but the good news is that most pubs will stock some vegan beers and you can always have a pint of Becks if you arm is being severely twisted.  Being vegan does not mean that you cannot be boozy.  Kale smoothies are wicked.  As is a tankard of tepid local ale!  We are British don’t you know!!!!!

Corona (plenty of lime please)

Pacifico (as above and very cold)

Peroni (if in Napoli, pleasant)

Fosters (Not if I was dying of thirst on a small antipodean island)

XXXX (See above but with much more conviction)

Bernard Beers (the absolute opposite of the past two comments.  Heavenly Czech nectar.)

Budvar (Fizzy yumvar)

Staropramen (Fueled my early 20’s misadventures.  Strong)

Stella Artois (no comment, except it can be decent if in Leeuwen.)

Conwy Ales (if you live in Wales, this is the finest of spring time news)

Birra Morretti (nice bottle and Italian, so brownie points)

Erdinger (!!!!!!!YES!!!!!!)

Kronenberg (who drinks beer in France.  Wine!)

Potentially, not everything these guys brew is vegan, but it seems like most.  Best checking with uncle Barnivore to be sure. 

I would say this, “vegans…..don’t be shy and ask at your local watering hole about vegan options.  The more we ask, the more awareness spreads and the more pubs stock vegan tipples.”  Many vegans I know provide their local pubs with excellent support and are a mainstay of their local public house.

VEGAN BEER!  Why not!!

Enjoy in moderation (or otherwise.)

Rainbow…..Dad, this ones for you big man!  Roberts still got it (never in doubt!)

Categories: Wales, Wine and Booze | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Beach House Radio – Our top choppin’ tunes

Some of our top tunes to chop to………..

rsz_p1170752

 

Categories: Music | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Parsnip and Millet Soup with Mustard Seed Oil


Parsnip and Millet Soup

Parsnip and Millet Soup

A simple and hearty soup to get this year of the B.H.K kicked off in substantial style. Sweet, nutty, with a good mustard poke in the oil.  Jane is inexplicably, sunning herself on the beaches of Spain (she’s back now actually) and has left me her to hold the windswept fort. Granted, in her last email she did seem apologetic. I realise I live the life of riley, but Jane is at least matching me with her Spanish countryside retreats. My Dad has popped over from Durham to make sure that I am behaving myself and filling me in on all the woes of Sunderland AFC this season (this is a pathetic football team that is constantly flirting with relegation and spends vast sums of money on very pants players) and the combined and glaring failures of England Rugby and Cricket. Sport is so dramatic! At least it is in our family.

Wales has welcomed me back into its arms with plenty of rugged weather, but it’s been lovely to have walks again though in the hills and catch up with some of our wonderful friends. North Wales in an amazing place to be, but it seems that winter is still very much here and making its icy presence felt. Snow is predicted over Easter (!?) It was 5oC this morning in the garden, with a cross wind biting my bones. I am now unable to cope with this kind of glacial behaviour. I have just landed from the downtown 35occ heat of Delhi. It’s quite a shock to the system. Still the fire is blazing away and there’s soup on the hob to thaw me out. Life is grand. Summer is coming…………..(or just a sight of the sun would be more enough!)

Some proper British veg

Some proper British veg.  We’ve missed a bit of parsnip

Anyway, enough of the engrossing weather update, let’s move onto the more weighty issue of thick soups that warm things up from the inside out. Soup that coats the ribs and tickles the taste buds. This is a bowl of hearty sup which only has a few ingredients and an interesting combo of flavours going on. With the millet and parsnips, there is plenty of carbs there to get things motoring. Dad and I had this for dinner with some toasted flat breads and it was nicely filling. We eat like horses, so there will be plenty for leaftovers.

Black Mustard Seeds - small, but packed with flavour

Black Mustard Seeds – they may look small, but packed with flavour

WE (heart) MILLET (muchly)
When are they going to start making keyboards with the heart symbol on them? Wouldn’t that be a beautiful thing, a huge, evolutionary leap forward. The ability to spread loving symbols at the push of a button.

They love millet in India, it used to be more popular than rice and has been eaten in many tribal areas for millennia. There are so many types over there; red, blue, white, big, small and slightly green-ish, they seem to change constantly from region to region (I show a keen interest in subtleties of millet variation when on holiday such is my dedication to the BHK cause!!!!!) Millet is superbly nutritious and naturally gluten-free. It also grows well in most places in the world and is cheap as chips to buy. We like to use it as a replacement for things like cous cous or bulghur wheat. More and more people are realising their intolerance to gluten and millet is a great replacement for other gluten-y grains. Millet is now getting wide spread support in India and is being planted instead of rice in many areas, which is good news, as rice is very thirsty and uses loads of water, plus the tastiest rotis (flatbreads) on the subcontinent are made with majority millet flour. I’ve tried black roti’s (see below) and recently had a deeply ochre puri (fried flatbread) that blew my marbles. Very different flavour and texture.  Like a dark and delicious frisbee.

Delhi 30-odd degrees, whizzing around in a Rickshaw with Dad and Jane, April '15 (A long way from he Beach House!)

Delhi 30-odd degrees, whizzing around in a Rickshaw with Dad and Jane, April ’15 (A long way from he Beach House!)

NAVDANYA
There is a fine lady name Vendana Shiva who we became aware of this trip in India, a fabulous environmental activist who travels the world and pioneers many new and visionary approaches to saving our poor Mother Earth. Vendana set up Navdanya an environmental education centre and farm which promotes the movement for biodiversity and organic farming methods. This is only one of the projects that the incredibly industrious Vendana has started, she is a real force of nature! We visited her restaurant in Dilli Hart, a market in South Delhi. The food is all organic and it acts as a huge store for organic seeds, pulses and spices. We brought a load of spices back to play with, many of them seeds so they last alot longer in the cupboard. Vendana is also very active in global seed harvesting which is becoming hugely important in many parts of the world in order to protect the diversity of crops and guard against the spread of GMO’s.  Read more about it here. This will increasingly become a major issue as indigenous species of plants all over the world are wiped out by unnatural GMO varieties, sold by multi national corporations, that are actually barren and wholly alien to nature. These GMO seeds work in tandem with poisonous pesticides and fertiliser tailored to enhance the growth of these specific seeds only and do not enhance the soil or local ecosystem in anyway. This is a hugely narrow minded approach to farming and nature in general. Nature is a vastly complex system of tiny systems working together in harmonious fashion, or it should be without our interference. GMO’s are a huge threat to the future of food and nature in general.  See Vendana Shiva talk more about this topic below and Navdanya’s hopes for 2015:

Back to soup-ville……I don’t feel the need for stock in this soup, cauliflower, millet and especially parsnip are packed with sweet flavours. The stock they make is seriously nutty and flavoursome, a little seasoning goes a long way.  Parsnips can be a little tricky to store, they have a habit of going slimy. I’d recommend sticking them in the fridge in a plastic bag.

Potatoes would be nice in this soup, but cauliflower is much lighter

Potatoes would be nice in this soup, but cauliflower is much lighter

Buster Watch – no sign of the little guy yet, a friend was feeding him in our shed a.k.a ‘The Buster Suite’. He has obviously found a better deal, but when he smells the kitchen kicking out curried aromas and clouds of fresh bread wafts, he’ll know we’re back. (PS – If you are new to the B.H.K, Buster is a semi-wild, punk of a cat that occasionally lives with us and brings us too many joyous cat based shenanigans). We hope he says ‘hello’ very soon. Little grey furball that he is.

I don’t know when we stopped putting music on the B.H.K, but we’d like to start again. Below is a tune that sums up the feeling up in our little windswept village, Carmel, at the moment. ‘Ghost Town’. One of Dad’s favourites by ‘The Specials’.

So we are back (well one of us is anyway) and the Beach House Kitchen in back in the flow and ready to bash some pots and pans together, make up some interesting food shapes with strange, fresh and appetising angles. I hope you all had a magical winter, I’ll be posting some pictures of our trip around Turkey, Spain and India soon. I’m off for a cup of Brickie’s tea with soya milk in it, a supreme luxury that I have deeply missed.

I think this summer is going to be rosy!

The Bits – For 4-6 Bowls

3 tbs cooking oil

100g millet

2 small onions (finely sliced)

2 medium sized parsnips (finely chopped)

½ medium sized cauliflower – roughly 250 grams (finely chopped)

2 teas Dijon mustard

2 teas black mustard seeds

1.5 ltr veg stock/ water

Sea salt and pepper (to taste)

Do It
In a large frying pan, a 1 tbs of your oil and when warm, add the onions. Fry for 5-7 minutes on a medium heat until they begin to caramelise, then add the parsnips and fry for another 5 minutes. Now for the cauliflower, add to the pan, stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the millet, Dijon mustard and stock/ water. Stir, pop a lid on and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the millet is cooked.

In a small frying pan, warm 2 tbs of cooking oil (rapeseed oil is nice) and add the mustard seeds, toss the seeds in the oil and fry gently for a minute, until they are popping. Set the oil aside.

Blend the soup in a food processor or use a trusty stick blender. Blend until smooth.

Parsnip and Millet Soup

Parsnip and Millet Soup with Mustard Oil- sorry about the naff photos, they will hopefully improve 

Serve
Serve piping hot, spoon over the mustard oil and serve with lashings of smiles.

Foodie Fact

Parsnips are actually indigenous to the Mediterranean and are normally harvested after the first frost.  It is a funny time of year in Britain, there is not much available from the land, so I have no idea how these parsnips came to be.  Soon the local organic farms will be back in bloom and fruit and we will be rich in delightful veggies.  For now, we scrape by.

Parnsips are high in sugar, up there with bananas and grapes.  They do however have great levels of dietary fibre, which lowers GI and are packed with anti-oxidants (poly-acetylene).   Parsnips are also rich in vitamin B’s, K and E, as well as minerals like iron, copper and potassium.

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Soups | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Blooming Marvelous! Garden Update

The Queen of Salads!

The Queen of Salads!

Well, well, well……I mean really.  We had a summer, a proper stint of sun.  We woke every morning expecting it to be sunny.  How rare, how brilliant!  The garden has appreciated the warmth and light, things are blooming like never before in our little mountain abode, we can’t keep up with the progress, most of the time just letting nature do its thing and appreciate what comes from that.  This generally hides our lack of discipline with gardening and confirms our inherent feeling that nature cannot be contained in a plant pot, or bossed around.  Our potatoes seem to appreciate the approach!

The Potato Patch

The Potato Patch

Courgette Flower

Courgette Flower

The Beach House Garden is quite big and wild, after not strimming for a while it was resembling a Welsh jungle and wild things lurked out towards the horse field.  Fortunately they were just frogs and the occasional mole, although the rabid sheep have been making unwanted appearances in the garden.  Feral lot that they are.

So this year we have some decent looking beetroots, rhubarb chard, cavolo nero and even courgettes coming along.  The herbs have gone wild (which we always enjoy) and as I said, we have three varieties of potatoes leaping from the ground at an alarming rate.  Come early August and freak storms permitting, we should have a reasonable bounty to play with in the BHK and share amongst our nearest and dearest.

'Erbs running wild

‘Erbs running wild

Raw Earth Month marches on bathed in sun and good vibrations.  I have to say, the food has been grand and we are trying our best to post more recipes.  Our month of total raw/ vegan-ness ended yesterday, no booze, coffee, consuming, chemicals, lights, washing machine etc for over a month now and going strong.  Once you start this and feel good about it, it’s always hard to get back off it.  I am sure one day a scone will come along and that will be it!  Until then we are thinking another two weeks are in order.  There are two bottles of cava primed for the closing ceremony, we’ll have a picnic in the back garden on the stone circle and eat sandwiches and a lemon drizzle cake (Jane’s favourite) and get slightly sozzled in the sun (hopefully).

Yellow Lilly's (I think) growing in the pond

Yellow Lilly’s (I think) growing in the pond

Cavolo Nero, Beetroots and Chard

Cavolo Nero, Beetroots and Chard

We are so lucky to have wild strawberries growing this year, if we can grab them before the birds take their share!  They are the sweeetest, fragrant little things.  Just one tiny strawberry can change your day, much better than their big brother variety.

Wild Strawberries

Wild Strawberries

My hayfever has taken a back seat now that Jane’s magical herbalist friend has sent some little sweet pills through.  I can now enjoy the garden without fear of pathetic dribbles and sneezing fits taking over.  Hoorah!  This has made a huge difference to my enjoyment of the dramatic transformations in these green and golden hills.

We are being battered by odd humid, tropical storms at the moment, but somewhere behind those grey clouds, there’s a sun waiting to get busy.

On a walk near the Beach House

On a walk near the Beach House

Some classic George (you saw this one coming surely!):

Hopefully you’ll be seeing some of our garden produce in our recipes very soon, there is nothing quite like cooking with your own veg.  I am lucky enough to be working at a wonderful retreat centre at the moment and cook with alot of veg grown on the land.  There is something intangible and whole heatedly enjoyable about cooking with such produce.  It makes all the difference and the flavours are spectacular!  Eating the stem of a rhubarb chard recently is a food experience I will never forget!

Enjoy the heat wave (while it lasts)!

Categories: Garden, Raw Food, Summer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Thai Mango and Coconut Purple Rice with Basil

I could have taken pictures of this dessert all night, but it was getting cold.

Thai Mango and Coconut Forbidden Purple Rice with Basil (Vegan)…..quite a mouthful this wonder dessert, in more than just the name!

If you love this magical dessert, you have been to Thailand and probably savoured it in a hectic street scene with a plastic spoon and big smile on your face.  It’s one of those experiences that etches itself on your memory, your first taste of sticky coconut rice is not easily forgotten.

The very mention of this desert and I’m weak at the knee; one foot in dessert heaven, its full of unspeakably good sweet stuff and awesome flavour combos. As you may gather, I quite like this dish, it’s up there with my top desserts of all time (ever) in the world.

I’m not a huge dessert fella, but sweet coconut rice topped with mango is something I’d swim to Thailand to try again.  Jane brought it all the way to the Beach House and it was a very pleasant surprise.

Jane made this ‘Forbidden Rice’ for one of our date nights (in). We are some of the luckiest folks you’ll ever meet and get much good luck/ news/ people crossing our paths and we felt like celebrating it all. I opened something fizzy and Jane disappeared into the bowels of the Beach House Kitchen to work her culinary magic spatulas, and what a feast we had. The Corn and Coconut Korma (recipe coming soon) was something to write home about (even though we were already home) but the dessert…………..I do a lot of the cooking in the B.H.K. and I also work in a kitchen for my sins, so to have a dinner presented to you with such care is a recipe for a magic night.

Purple rice (sometimes called black rice) was deemed so special, fragrant and nutty, it was only served to emperors in ancient China, hence the ‘forbidden’ moniker.  It was also popular in the fascinating Indian region of Manipur, where it is still served on very special occasions to much fanfare.  It is believed that all of the strains of this rice lead back to the Manipur region.  It is a glutinous rice and is grown in many different countries now, it is exceptionally nutritious (see the Foodie Fact) and has a distinct, full flavour.  This rice also makes for a very funky porridge.

The only problem is getting hold of the stuff, the real deal is hard to find.  Jane picked some up in Glastonbury, which is the heart of all things obscure and nutritious foodstuffs within the UK.  I imagine if you live in certain pockets of California it grows on trees there!  But generally, it may take a while to track down.  Our advise, persevere and bring this dessert into your life.   Of you can’t get black, go white jasmine instead.

This is an easy dessert to make and is perfect for when you fancy adding something a little exotic to proceedings; mango and coconut are a legendary pair and the coconut pouring sauce, quite literally, tops it off.

We had some pouring sauce left over and its been making cheeky appearances on all sorts of things, mainly bowls of muesli.

You may like to add a little jasmine thai rice to the mix, it turns a wonderful purple colour when combined with the purple/black rice.

A word on coconut milk: there is some real rubbish out there.  We have managed to find a little sustainable Sri Lankan project that makes the finest coco milk, it cannot be compared with the stuff you’ll find clogging most supermarket shelves.

MORE BEACH HOUSE DESSERTS TO TICKLE YOUR FANCY:

Raw Coconut Lime Cheesecake

Moist Almond and Olive Cake

Raw Chocolate Brownies

Raw Strawberry Tartlets

Sweet Coconuts and Happy Days to you allXXXXX

Makes enough for two very lucky folk

The Bits – For 2

1/2 cup black rice (or any rice you prefer really)

1 big handful of jasmine rice

1 can sustainable coconut milk

1/2 cup sugar (we used unrefined brown)

1/2 teas sea salt

1 ripe/ fragrant mango

Garnish

2 tbs toasted dried coconut (desiccated coconut will do)

Several leaves of basil (we forgot the first one, but it would be amazing)

Do It

Soak black rice for four hours or overnight to get nice and tender.

Cook all rice in a saucepan, cover with plenty of water and bring to a boil, simmer for 30 – 40 minutes or until tender but still with a little bite.  Drain, keep warm.

Pour coco milk (make sure you get all the cream from the bottom of the can), sugar and salt into saucepan and bring to boil, simmer for 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly.  Reserve a cup for pouring at this stage.

Add your rice to the saucepan, heat again gently to a boil, then simmer for 10 mins until it thickens.  Check sweetness.

Cut mangoes, this can be quite a fiddle, so heres a little example of how its best done by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone (we loved the name).   This will give you cubes, for the thin slices, just take off the skin at  the cubing stage and slice thinly.  Any questions, we are here to help on the mango hotline, Wales.

Next up toast your coconut in a small frying pan, medium heat for 5-8 minutes will do and this can be done well in advance, although warm is better.

Forbidden Purple Rice gets a drizzle

Forbidden Purple Rice gets a drizzle

Serve

In lovely shallow bowls (small servings are best as this is a very rich dessert), spoon in your purple rice, lay on your slices of mango (fan shapes look brilliant here) and offer the pouring sauce in a small jug.  The general sweetness of the dish will be enough for most.

Sprinkle on your coconut and basil leaves and serve warm and immediately.

We Love It!

You’ve seen the pictures, you’ve heard me get all excited, you imagine the flavours……..you know you’ll love it!

Foodie Fact

Purple/ black rice contains all of the 18 amino acids, which means that technically you can live on the stuff.  Great for dessert islands (small joke there)!  It is also high in iron, zinc, copper, caroten and several great vitamins.

It also contains anthocyanins, which make it black and are also found in blueberries and peppers.  This chemical mops up bad molecules and is a poweful anti-oxidant.

Purple/ black rice has also be touted as  the new superfood against the big C (cancer).

Tunes

Because music and food are the same thing, one in your ear, one in your mouth……

Two tunes this time from Beach House radio and both relevant to this incredible dessert.  Deep Purple ‘Child in Time’ for the deep purple of the rice and because it reminds me of the dawning or rock music in my world (I was around 10 years old in the back seat of a car when it hit me like bolt, you can wail and not be told off! IT’S ONLY ROCK AND ROLL.  If I could sing like Ian Gillan, I’d happily forgo my forbidden rice.

and a shaky clip from one of my favourite music bars in the world, the Adhere Blues Bar (just of the infamous and rubbish Khaosan Road) in Thailand (queue more wailing with a Thai accent).

Categories: Desserts, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Kale, Carrot and Apple Juice

Kale, Carrot and Apple Juice

Kale, Carrot and Apple Juice

The ultimate early morning kickstart! This juice will definitely get you wide awake and feeling wonderful.

The combination of kale and a whole lemon here (zest and all) make it a real eye opener, very different and refreshing flavour.  You can also use something like a savoy cabbage here which also has great flavour.  Who knew that cabbage juice could be so tasty?!

You will need a juicer to make this green and lean juice, and if you don’t have one, this juice is the perfect excuse to get one!

Jane and are glad to be back in the Beach House and eating our favourite foods.   After our experiences last summer with the raw food diet, we are planning another venture into crunch this year, probably starting in late June (after Jane’s birthday).  Last year we celebrated in a windy tent on the Pembrokeshire coastline with a salad and raw starwberry tart.  Delicious, but lacking bubbles!

If this doesn’t wake you up of a morning, then I would advice you go back to bed and try again tomorrow.

PS – This is serious detox territory too.

Make two glasses:

The Bits

1 apple, 2 handfuls of green leaves (savoy cabbage or kale), 3 good sized carrots, 1 inch cube of ginger, 1 lemon (whole)

Jane loving the juice!

Morning juice smiles

Do It

Pop all in the juicer, we add the lemon first, then ginger and normally finish with the carrot.  It is dense and juicy and seems to flush out any lingering bits.

Serve

Straight away with smiles.

We Love It!

Jane and I are not really morning people, our bed is normally the only warm place in the beach house!  But this juice will drag us out and with the ginger kick, wakes and warms!  Its a beauty.

Foodie Fact

Kale is one of natures most amazing gifts.  Kale helps the body detox, lowers the risk of the big ‘C’ and actually lowers cholesterol (I love these types of food).  Kale is packed with Vitamin K, C and A, Kale also has ‘unusually’ high levels of flavanoids and carotenoids which highly reduce oxidative stress (which is definitely not good for you).  Read more.

Tunes

I can think of no better soundtrack to this juice, Mungo Jerry:

Categories: Detox, Juices, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Punjabi Rajma Chawal – Red Kidney Bean Curry

Kitchen in a Punjabi Dhaba – http://alexbecherer.tumblr.com

A simple bean curry and very much a nutritious staple in India homes and especially the legendary roadside Punjabi Dhabas.  This red kidney bean curry has a fantastic full flavour and is easy and cheap to get  together (it’s also a super healthy bite).

Punjabi food is renowned as one of India’s finest.  Very rich and packed with spice.  Punjab is a state located in the North West of India, bordering Pakistan and is home to many Sikhs.  The Golden Temple in Amritsar is rightly regarded as one of the most awesome religious monuments.  The Punjab is a very arable region, meaning a great diversity of produce.

Punjabi dhabas are famous for their cheap, fresh and super tasty food.  They are basically an eatery, that have spread around India and the world.  Wherever there are Punjabis, there are Dhabas!  In a Punjabi Dhaba the food is always quick and plentiful with a constant stream of fresh rotis from the tandoor oven and top ups of all curries, relishes and rice dishes.  Its a great way to eat, a real food experience and you always leave with a full belly.

These Dhabas started to feed truck drivers originally and the range of dishes are quite standard from Chandigarh to Chiswick.  Dal Makhani is one of my favourites; a dark, rich lentil stew.  It will be here on the BHK soon (I can’t believe its taken this long!)

The Golden Temple at sunset

Chilling at the Golden Temple at sunset

For years I was disillusioned with kidney beans; I didn’t like the name or the way they were served (normally in an insipid tomato stew, aka the dreaded British style chilli con carne).  I was ten years old at that time and have come a long way round since.  This is one of the finest way to serve a kidney bean, the rich and spicy tomato sauce compliment the earthy bean well.

In India it can be difficult to get beans, but the rajma (kidney bean in Hindi) is easily found and consistently tasty with mounds of chawal (rice).  I cannot go long without a bean hit after all.

This is something that I have been whipping up after work recently and although the list on ingredients looks a little extensive, its actually a stroll once you get into the groove.  Instead of all the individual spices, use something like a Garam Masala mix or even a good quality curry powder.

We normally stir some soya yoghurt in just before serving to give that extra touch of richness.  The finer you chop or grate your vegetables the greater release of flavour.  The just disappear into the sauce.  Grating garlic, ginger, onions and even tomatoes is a great way of making an intense fresh sauce, much, much better than anything you can buy in a tin.

The Bits

2 tbs cooking oil (unrefined)

1 onion (grated/ finely chopped)

4 cloves garlic

2 inch cube of ginger (both grated/ crushed)

4 tomatoes (chopped finely/ grated)

1 teas fennel seeds

1 teas cumin powder

1/2 teas turmeric

1 teas coriander powder

1/4 – 1/2 teas chilli powder

sea salt (to taste)

For the beans

2 cups dried red kidney beans (tins can be used, but not as good)

4 cloves

3 cardamom pods

1 stick cinnamon (or 1 teas cinnamon powder)

1 bay leaf

Topping

1 handful torn coriander leaves

1 tbsp soya yoghurt (stirred in – optional)

Gorgeous spicy tomato sauce get down reducing

Gorgeous spicy tomato sauce get down reducing

Do It

Beans – Soak your beans for 12 hours in cold water.  Rinse well and cover with 2 inches of water and bring to the boil, add your spices and allow to boil, then lower heat and pop a lid on.  Leave to simmer for 1 hour, until they are nice and tender.  If the beans are falling apart slightly, no problem, this will help to thicken the sauce.  You can of course use tinned beans if you’re in a hurry.

Sauce – In a frying pan, add your oil and on a medium heat cook your onions until golden, then add your ginger, fennel seeds and garlic, give it another three minutes, now its time for your tomatoes and spices, stir well and bring to a gentle simmer.  Cover and cook until tomatoes are nicely softened, 6-8 minutes is fine.

Get your beans into the mix (we used our flash new slotted spoon here.  Hoorah!) add all the beans and 250ml of the cooking stock (more can be added if sauce is a little thick).  Heat through, a gentle bubble, for 10 minutes more and you’re ready to get Dhaba’d!

Punjabi Rajma Chawal

Punjabi Rajma Chawal

Serve

Stir in your soya yoghurt and pour over fluffy rice and a chapatti (if you are very lucky and have time, make your own!).  Coriander leaves scatter very well here.

We Love It!

Simple and full of the spices and aromas that make India cooking so tantalising and satisfying.  Heres to all those Dhabas out there!  Dishing up brilliant food for pennies and keeping the truck drivers of India rotund and smiling.  Much better than a Little Chef I can tell you!

Foodie Fact

Red kidney beans and beans in general are full of fibre (in fact they are the best source of fibre) that benefits not only the digestive system but also lowers cholesterol.  These beans are a virtually fat free source of protein,

We get alot of our foodie fact information from the comprehensive site W H Foods.  Whats in a  kumquat?  W H know these things.

Tunes

The thing I love about cooking all this Indian food in the Beach House Kitchen is the opportunity to share my favourite Indian artists.  Here’s the master Ali Akbar Khan and another mesmeric raja:

Categories: Curries, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Feta and Apple Quinoa Tabouleh

Feta and Apple Quinoa Tabouleh

Feta and Apple Quinoa Tabouleh

 

A very tasty tabouleh-like salad that is bursting at the seams with flavour, nutrition and texture.  It has everything we love in a salad, crunch, creaminess and a zesty kick to top things off.  Colour is also one of the elements that makes tabouleh salads like this stand out from the iceberg lettuce brigade.  I don’t mess around too much in the presentation stakes, but a salad like tabouleh, with good fresh ingredients just looks wonderful no matter what you do to it!  A tabouleh is the perfect way of showcasing amazing produce.

Quinoa (keen-wah) is a wonderful sprout/ seed, related to Kale and the fuel for many an Inca in times gone by.  I presume we all know what it is by now!  It seems to have been all the rage for many years and rightly so.  It has a great, strong flavour and is superbly healthy (see below, ‘Foodie Fact’) which is the main reason we have used it here instead of the traditional bulgur wheat.

Tri-colour tabouleh is a new one on us, Jane picked it up in Glastonbury.  It has a slightly fuller, earthy flavour than normal especially when roasted slightly before cooking (top tip!).  It initially reminded us of France, tri-colour and all, but it’s tabouleh heart is most certainly in the middle east, however the flavours here are quite European!?  A suitably confused dish, ideal for two nomads living on a green hill then (that’s us!).  Tri-colour quinoa seems to be a mixture of red, black and normal beige quinoa.

Tri-colour Quinoa

Tri-colour Quinoa

The ingredients here are changeable, please replace the cheese with tofu  if you are vegan; and use whatever is seasonal and looking good. As always, let your imagination run wild!

Midway stage of prep

Midway stage of prep

This recipe fills one very lucky salad bowl.

The Bits

250g tri-colour quinoa, 2 handfuls rocket, 1/3 cup roasted pine nuts, 1 cup pitted green olives,125g aged feta (cut into 2cm cubes), 6 cherry tomatoes (cut in quarters), 1 yellow pepper (chopped small cubes), 100ml good fruity olive oil, 1 small red onion (finely diced), 2 stick celery (finely diced), juice of 1 lemon, 1 handful chopped parsley, 1 handful chopped mint, sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Do It

In a saucepan, roast the quinoa on a medium heat until it is going slightly brown (5 minutes). It will pop a little, let it. Then cover with 1cm of water (thats 1cm above the quinoa) and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil and lower heat and cover. It will take 15 minutes to cook, then fluff up with a fork and set aside to cool.

Place all ingredients in large salad bowl and gently mix together. Whisk up your lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl.

Roast off your pine nuts on a medium/low heat until getting golden. Keep an eye on them, they are precious these little fellows and burn easily.
When quite cool (but not cold) add your quinoa to the salad mix and combine gently together. Serve immediately to great plaudits and smiles.

Feta and Apple Quinoa Tabouleh

Feta and Apple Quinoa Tabouleh

Serve

Here we added a few more greens to finish (mint and rocket), we actually like it slightly warm, it brings it all to life and the olive oil will give off a very fruity aroma.  For us a tabouleh is a main course affair, definitely not a side salad.  This is a star and needs no trimmings!

Every angle covered here, another one for good luck!

Every angle covered here, another one for good luck!

Foodie Fact 

Quinoa is a great source of amino acids, the vitamin B’s and has the highest level of iron found in any grain.  It is also a great source of protien.  Quinoa is the only grain that contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs, the Incas knew this and called it the ‘Chisiya Mama’ – the mother grain.  The early Andean civilizations ate more quinoa than corn!  Quinoa is pretty much the complete food.

PS –  Its also gluten free. X

Tunes

What better way to celebrate cooking with some ‘tri-colour’ than with some Serge Gainsbourg, ‘Alor, voila!’:

 

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

Dark Chocolate Masala Chai

Dark Chocolate Chai

Dark Chocolate Masala Chai

This is luxury chai (tea in English).  Packed with chocolate and spice, I can assure you they don’t drink it like this Chandhni Chowk (Delhi)!  But it’s a luxury take on the classic Indian masala chai recipe.

I have been playing around with my masala chai recipe for years and this is the best.  We normally drink it without the chocolate, this is just something for a very special treat.  The recipe works very well by itself.

Masala chai is more a potion, an elixir, than a mere hot beverage.  Add fresh chocolate shavings to the mix and you have something rather special indeed.  I have heard rumours about adventurous folk even adding a glug of brandy or whisky to it, I can imagine that to be quite a thing!

Masala chai basically means mixed spice tea and is normally brewed in the milk, rather than adding milk later.  It normally contains black tea, but we also love it with rooibos (for those not sipping caffeine).  Tea from Assam is best due to its dark orange colour and robust flavour.  Darjeeling tea is best reserved for drinking black or with a touch of milk, after all it is the champagne of teas don’t you know (normally meaning more expensive and well marketed!)

Indians now drink the most amount of tea in the word, chai (tea) is part of Indian everyday life and chai wallah’s (like Starbucks but more low-key and infinitely better) dot every street side around the country.  Thats over 1 billion people hooked on the spicy sweet goodness of chai and its really all down to the Brits.  Tea has always been grown up near Darjeeling and Assam in the wet and wonderful northeast of India, but it was the Brits who began to plant it on an industrial scale and ship it back.  What a meddling lot we were!

Sweetening chai is a must and we like to use jaggery if we can get it or dark sugar.

Star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg……this is truly a magic potion and it tastes pretty darn magic too.  I love this combination of spices and if you can get them all fresh and whole, the chai will be much better for it.  Powders are decent, but a proper chai should be simmering for hours and all of those massive flavours infused.

We have used soya milk here because we like the taste, but any of your favourite milks will be fine.

Traditionally, chai should be taken from small tea cups or even glasses, definitely not big mugs.  Chai is to be slurped and enjoyed, made a fuss of and very much savoured.  The smaller the tea cup the better (almost espresso size), this also has the advantage of prolonging chai time.

Bring on the potion!

The Bits – Makes one large sauce pan full, enough for 8 small cups

Beach House Chai contains:

1 stick of cinnamon

4 star anise

6 green cardamom pods (crushed)

4 cloves

2 heaped teas grated ginger

1 teas all spice

3/4 litre of soya/ almond milk, 1/3 litre water

3 good black tea bags (assam preferable, loose leaf tea is alot better and more traditional)

2 heaped tbs jaggery/ dark brown sugar or sweetener of choice (chai should be served nice and sweet)

1 big handful dark chocolate (grated)

Many other spices can be added including fennel seeds, cumin seeds (very warming), peppercorns, saffron, liquorice or even rose….the list goes on and each area of India has a particular favourite.

Do It

Get the water boiling in a large saucepan, add all the spices and turn down to a rolling simmer, leave for at least 10 minutes for the flavours to infuse (longer is better).

Now add milk, bring to a boil and then add your tea leaves/ tea bags.  Stir in and help the tea infuse.  Bring back to the boil.  Leave until you are happy with your chai shade, deeper is better.  Stir in your sweetener and chocolate.

Taste and adjust sweetness.

Serve

Strain into little cups with plenty of slurps and great conversation.  A biscuit would be nice!

We Love It!

This chocolate masala chai adds a whole new level to the chai experience, its a dessert in a cup and with that amazing mix of spices is the perfect antidote to a grey March day.  Indulge!

Foodie Fact

Black tea is the oxidised leaf of the tea bush, if it wasn’t oxidised it would be green tea (which makes sense!)  Black tea has many health benefits and considerably less caffeine than coffee.  It has a high level of anti-oxidants, it boosts the immune system, helps the heart and even lowers the level of stress hormones.  What a grand cuppa!

Tunes

Making chai in your home, you need some real India rajas to get the spices flowing.  Here is the late and and sorely missed Ravi Shankar playing with his daughter Anoushka:

 

 

Categories: Recipes, Tea | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

greenPOWsauce! (aka Salsa Verde)

greenPOWsauce (or Salsa Verde)

greenPOWsauce (or Salsa Verde)

A simple and lip smacking sauce from our hombres in Mexico.  Salsa Verde is so fresh tasting, especially when lathered on a street taco in Mexico City.  Viva la verde!  Summer is on the way, we need to get these recipes gathered and prepared.  Here comes the sun……….

With a fridge full of amazing green herbs and lemons all around, making this was a real no-brainer.  I have played around with the spices here, but I think it adds even more punch and flavour to the sauce.

I was first introduced to this incredible, tangy number in a Mexican street stall lathered all over a street taco with lashings of raw chillis (normally after a few late night tequilas). The art of a good taco is in the balance of all the ingredients, but for me the salsa verde was always the most interesting component. How do they fit so much POW (followed instantly by a TWANG) into a sauce?! Later I found out and have been making variations ever since, normally potent concoctions with herbs, citrus and chilli as the core (and of course the essential tomatillos (green tomatoes).

The Verde is a super healthy affair also, making your own sauces cuts out the middle man, who usually enjoys adding scary sounding chemicals to sauces and no doubt bags of white sugar and other baddies.

Local lemons

Local lemons

This salsa is easily prepared and you may want to chop up your garlic, lemon rind etc depending on the potency of your food processor.  We think its best to mash it all up in a pestle and mortar (and hope you have time for this).  Here in Spain, our blender/f.p. is more of a smoothie maker and woefully under powered for the umph a salsa verde needs, you should be left with a vivid green sauce, all the bits well blended and together, mingling and sharing.

Due to the tomatoes, salsa verde doesn’t hang around to long in the fridge, its best eaten fresh poured over roasted veggies or in sandwiches/ tacos/ enchiladas/ burritos etc and we also use it in cooking as a sauce.  Salsa Verde will also grace any pasta, I wonder if they’ve thought of it in Italy yet!?

Tomatillos can be a little hard to get hold of outside Mexico, other green tomatoes work almost as well.

Happy whizzingX

Makes one decent size tubful

The Bits

4 large green tomatoes/ tomatillos, 1 tbsp capers, 1 ½ big handfuls of fresh coriander, 1 of parsley, 1 of mint, 1 teas roasted fennel seeds, 1 teas roasted coriander seeds, 1 teas ground coriander, 2 fresh red chillis (jalapeno?  Gauge how hot you like it), 3 cloves of garlic, 2 lemons (juice and zest), 150ml olive  oil, hefty pinch of sea salt

In the mix - Salsa Verder

In the mix – Salsa Verder

Do It

Pop all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz away until deep green and extremely tasty.  Or if you lead a life of leisure and want to do it properly, add garlic, seeds, capers, chilli and lemon zest to you pestle and mortar, add a little oil and get mashing!  Add this potent paste to your food processor with the other ingredients and blitz for 2 minutes.

Serve

Its very easy to just ladle this straight into your mouth!  We would however recommend it mixed in with roasted veggies and will zing up any rice dish.  Use it as a sauce and revel in the goodness.  Jane and I would also have it thinned out a little, as the perfect dressing for a lively salad.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

We Love It!

There is nothing like the bite and zing of a salsa verde, citrus and herbaceous with hints of spice.  It’s really, very healthy too.  The only sauce for a spring barbecue and salad session.  Why not start early this year!

Foodie Fact

All those green leaf herbs are superbly good for you, packed with anti-oxidants.   Tomatillos were originally cultivated by the Aztecs and contain more minerals than your average red tomato.

Tunes

The only soundtrack to salsa making, Santa Esmeralda – ‘Please don’t let me be misunderstood’ (bad miming and all!)

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

Ciambotta – Italian Butter Bean Stew with lots of Greens

From the top of Knicht - Snowdonia, Wales

From the top of Knicht – Snowdonia, Wales

We are just back in Wales, the home of the Beach House and arrived to a clear night and a million star welcome! Today has been fantastic, getting settled in again and unpacking the wine bought in France and Spain. We may need to build an extension to fit it all in!

After all the fussing about and sorting we decided to head to the hills, Knicht to be exact, a Himalayan looking mountain near Porthmadog. It is an impressive rocky peak and we knew we had a good day of scrambling and sharp climbs ahead. It turned out to be an awesome walk, with views of the Snowdon range and the Irish Sea. Knicht is surrounded by many small mountain lakes and we’ve made plans to return and camp up there soon. Jane and I are so lucky to live in such beautiful places. We are loving being back in Wales and of course a major part of that is the Beach House Kitchen.

We are getting re-acquainted with all of our cool kitchen stuff; spatulas, knives graters and Buster our semi-wild cat (who lives in the wood store).  We’ve been cooking up a storm with oat breads, hummus, fruit salads and lashing of proper cups of tea. Amongst this frenzy came the idea for his stew.

We fancied a change of taste, we do eat alot of spiced food and have talked of visiting Italy for an age.  We have also been eating far too much amazing cheese in France and quaffing the odd glass of vino, all in all, we feel a little jaded after two weeks or more on the road and this Ciambotta recipe heralds a step back to the food we really love; healthy, fresh, local and hearty.

This Ciambotta, I would imagine, is very un-Italian to most Italians.  But it looks very Italian in Wales I can assure you! We’re a long way from Milan! The colours and citrus of the dish, not to mention the vegan parmesan and hint of tarragon, make for an interesting take on the traditional Ciambotta; a dish normally cooked by Italian Mum’s to use up spare vegetables. There is nothing spare about these vegetable though, they are all in peak condition, as they should be. Jane has been searching high and low for good produce, it’s that time of year when all that seems good are the Jerusalem Artichokes (nothing wrong with that then!)

To make this recipe more Italian, substitute the parsnip and carrot for aubergine and courgette.  But we’re back in the B.H.K and the local veg is brilliant. We’ve also missed our friend the parsnip, they are as rare as vegans is Spain!

We used Winter Greens here, they are like cabbage leaves. Kale, Savoy Cabbage and the like would also be grand. Even Spinach would be cool, anything dark green and leafy. The Greens work well because when rolled up and chopped thin, they actually resemble something like pasta (gluten-free wa-hay!)

Bon Appetito!

 

The Bits – For 4 hungry folk

3 cups cooked butter beans

2 tbs olive oil

1 large onion (finely sliced)

1 stick celery (finely sliced)

2 large carrots (small cubes)

1 large parsnips (small cubes)

4 cloves garlic (finely sliced)

2 big handfuls of greens (whole leaves finely sliced)

1 big handful of cherry tomatoes

1 lemon (juice and zest)

3 bay leaves

2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoons dried basil

2 cups butter bean stock (cooking juice)

2 tbs vegan parmesan cheese (buy online and in selected shops)

Do It

Cook off your beans for 1 hour (bring to a boil then simmer with a lid). They should be nice and tender. Set aside, this can be done well in advance, you can store them in the fridge for a couple of days.

On a medium heat, warm 1 tbs of oil in a heavy based frying pan and begin to sweat off your onions (5 mins), when soft add your bay leaves, carrots, celery, parsnip and garlic, stir well and cook for 3 mins, then add your dried herbs and tomatoes, stir well and cook for 5 mins and then add your beans and bean juice. Turn the heat up and cook for 5 – 10 mins get it all nice and warm, the veggies should be getting soft and the bean juice reducing a little.

At this stage, pop your lemon zest and juice, parmesan cheese, greens and a glug of great olive oil into the mix, stir in and then pop a lid on and warm on lowest heat for 5 minutes.  If you need a little more sauce, just pop some bean stock in and heat through.

Serve

We topped ours with some fresh parsley and basil leaves and nothing else!  A little more parmesan on top, but that would be lovely.  It’s quite a hearty stew, but of course being Italian-ish, a good lump of bread may be in order.

In the Beach House we love stirring yogurt into stews to add some creaminess.

We Love It!

The lemon does it here and the pungent parmesan. We love this take on the Italian classic Ciambotta and are glad to be back in the land of the splendid parsnip. This stew is laden with glorious veggies, just the way we like ‘em.

 

 

Tunes

As always, we try and keep you abreast of Beach House tunes, now we’re back on the island (Britain) we are re-integrating with some cool youngsters Alt-J, nice beats and melodies off the ‘Awesome Wave’, here we are ‘Dissolve Me’.  Wicked!:

Categories: Dinner, Recipes, Stew, Wales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Green Leanie Smoothie

“The green leanie, lives on its back, the green leanie, loves chimney stacks, he’s outrageous he screams and he bawls, the green leanie, let yourself go…..ohhhhhhhhhh”  I’m sure Bowie would approve of such a smoothie.  He’s looking good for an oldie.

Here is a smoothie that really gets you flying in the morning.  Leave the espresso on the side and quaff one of these green beauts, you’ll be zinging ’til lunch.

When its early in the day and our bodies are just waking up, the last thing the want is a mass in the belly to digest.   That’s the good thing about a smoothie, its basically pre-digested!  Sounds disgusting, but is true.  The blender does alot of the work your digestive system would have done, meaning the nutrients are there to be had with very little effort.  Smoothies are a gentle way to nourish yourself, your body will love you for it.

I know what you’re thinking, another green smoothie!  But this one has a very different flavour and green happens to be my favourite colour.  I remember a massive advertisement campaign when I was a nipper, ‘a Mars (insanely sweet and rubbish chocolate bar) a day helps you work, rest and play’.  That seemed to be the nutritional advice heeded by many folk when I was younger.  Well heres a new one, highlighting our evolution as a species, ‘a green leanie a day will help shine, smile and basically feel a heck of alot better about everything’.  Not as catchy, but true enough for us.

A green smoothie per day is brilliant for you, ‘green’ meaning containing green leaves (ie kale, spinach, spring greens etc).  A good blender really gets to work on the fibre, breaking it down into easily absorbed particles.  They act as a blood toxifier, are high in enzymes and minerals and are low in cholesterol.  They are also full of chlorophyll, which makes your skin glow and flushes out baddies, like disease and toxins.

Enzymes are an important part of our diet, our body over time does not produce enough to replenish our system.  We use enzymes when digesting food and without the adequate level, do not absorb nutrients efficiently.  When you drink a green smoothie, you’re getting a shot of pure enzymes.

Smoothies are ideal for packing nutrients in, we need as many as we can get.  Following you’re five a day is fine, but you could always make it ten!  Why not?  The more the merrier.   In one smoothie we can fit in the nutritional equivalent of three vegetable based meals.  These smoothies contain no milk, just water.  Jane and I prefer them like this, they taste cleaner.  This is also the ideal type of smoothie if you fancy a bit of  detox.

So smoothies are the way forward for us all, it will take a little change in culture, but I can see smoothie bars being more popular than your corner cafe in the future.  The French will be sitting on boulevards sipping shots of wheatgrass and kale smoothies from elegant glasses.  This is the future…….

This combo arose out of one of our fruit bowls (we need more than one at the minute, we are munching loads of fruit) and the veg drawer.  The combination of bits in a green smoothie is wide and wonderful.

We love to serve our smoothies in nice glassware, show them some love, so does our lovely friend freeflowfoodie, a blog with amazing energy and of course, smoothies in funky glasses!

Green Leanie Smoothie

This makes a large blender full.  Good enough for breakfast and lunch.

The Bits 

1 handful of spring greens, 1 handful of spinach, 1 apple, 1 pear, 1/2 handful of mint leaves, 1 stalk of celery, 1 inch cube of ginger (finely sliced), 1 handful of chopped canteloupe melon cubes (any sweet melon really), 1 cup of clean water

Optional – Add bananas if you like sweet smoothie, add strawberries if they are in season, add fennel if you want to try something new (great aniseed kick there).

Do It

Blitz in a blender until smooth.  The better the blender, the better the smoothie.  It will be better broken down.

Serve

Straight into nice glassware or pour over a fruit salad/ bowl of cereal.

We Love It! 

The best way to start a day.  That’s it really.

Foodie Fact

Spring greens are actually young, tender cabbage plants, without the tough stem in the middle.  Spring greens are great veg for lowering your cholesterol, which is actually more effective when steamed.  When eaten raw they also contains sinigrin, a great thing for fighting the big ‘C’.

Categories: Blogs, Breakfast, Detox, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Raw Fruity Cereal

Sprouting Breakfast Salad

This mornings breakfast was very good looking (and tasting), I felt it deserved to be shared with the world.

Adding wheat sprouts to meals is great for us as it gives that sugary wheaty boast that we normally get from our muesli. The wheat sprouts are very easy to grow and have a nice soft, chewy texture.

Wheat has addictive qualities and the bread at work last night smelled amazing. This is probably why I opted for a sprouting breakfast.

I dislike using out of season produce, but it seems unavoidable at the moment.   Jane and I are always up for a bargain and visiting the shops, found some amazing berries from Spain on sale.  We love Spain, so we snaffled them up.  They were .30p a punnet!  Of course, they lack flavour and the magic of a seasonal berry (preferably ate straight off the bush), but we are not an island blessed with abundant fruit reserves.  I also thought that somewhere in the world, you may live in a land where the sun shines and fruit is always on the menu.  You may have a mango tree in your back garden! (We have a hawthorn and a couple of gnarled crab apple trees).

Raisins add a lovely sweet surprise to this awesome morning bowlful of happiness, you could used diced dates or figs.  Try soaking your raisins overnight, they become nice and plump and give off a nice raisin drink for slurping or using in cooking.

Wheat sprouts

The Bits

Enough for two decent sized bowls.

1 apple, 1 pear, 1 carrot, 1 kiwi, 1 large handful of wheat sprouts, 1 handful of blueberries, 1 handful of blackberries, 1 handful of raisins, soya milk.

Do It

Slice apple, pear, carrot and kiwi, we don’t peel anything (except kiwi).  Just wash or scrub them.  Use your creative flair and mix all nicely in your fanciest  bowl.  Mix some sprouts and raisins into the salad.

Serve

Use the rest of the sprouts for topping with the berries and some nice chilled soya milk (add as much as you would with your favourite cereal).  If I was having this for lunch and not watching my food combinations, I’d have some seeds with this.  Pumpkin and sunflower would be my choice.

Buster and I busy gardening

We Love It!

Its fruity cereal!  It is bursting with vitality and crunch and not as stodgy as our average muesli counterpart.  It also contains no fats, so the good nutrients can get straight into your system and get some morning work done.

Foodie Fact

Don’t throw the water away when you sprout wheat, it has many restorative powers.  You can even mix it with ground seeds and leave it for a day to make a sort of cheese.  It can also be used to make the drink Rejuvelac, which was created by Anne Wigmore of the Hippocrates Health Institute.

This mornings Beach House tune is by Panda Bear ‘Alsatian Darn’:

Categories: Breakfast, Healthy Eating, Music, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pear, Swede & Tahini Salad

Image from ‘How stuff works’ via the brilliant ‘Affairs of Living’ blog

A quick and easy salad using the humble swede and giving it quite a special dress.

Now I call a swede, a turnip, turns out I’m confused (and wrong).  Some people call it rutabaga (which is the best name by a mile) or Swedish turnip, apparently it goes by many names.  In the North East of England, a swede was a turnip.  At least in the 80’s it was!

Swede is one of my favourite roasted vegetables, so sweet. I always remember it being mashed with potato for Sunday dinner and this is still my favourite mash.

This is a very different recipe from that of my childhood mash up days, but I have changed quite a bit in the last 25 years!

This salad is crunchy and the addition of pumpkin seeds means extra crunch.  This crunch says to me that the food is fresh and alive. I just felt like giving the humble swede a little light for a while.  It’s so often overlooked.

ELEPHANT GARLIC

Now I understand Elephant garlic flowers are hard to come by.  I did not know they existed.  Hooton’s (our local farm shop) have a selection for the time being and it is a fascinating thing.  The stems (or trunks) have a hot, intensely garlic flavour.  Like wild garlic, but elephant-like.  (They may actually be called Elephant Ear Garlic.)

We sliced all of the veg/pear in a food processor, something I don’t normally use, I was surprised how easy it was.

The Bits

1 medium swede (peeled)

2 ripe pears (cored)

2 celery sticks (chopped)

Handful mangetout (hand chopped into chunks)

1 handful of elephant garlic flowers and stems (chopped – our ingredient of the moment) or wild garlic

1 handful raisins

1 handful pumpkin seeds

1 handful sprouted mung beans

Black pepper

 

Dressing

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 tbs light tahini

1 tbs light molasses

Pinch nutmeg

Pinch sea salt

Splash of water (to thin)

 

 

Do It

Put the swede, pear and celery into the food processor, roughly chop up your mangetout and garlic flowers.  Arrange in your finest salad bowl, stir in pumpkin seeds, raisins and sprouts.

For the dressing add all bits to a deep bowl and blend together with a hand blender.  The molasses will take a while to get involved, you may need blend for a while.  If the sauce is too thick, water down a little.

 

Serve

When you’re ready to serve, pour over the dressing and sprinkle a few more sprouts and seeds.  Remember that with salads, height is good. A stacked up salad looks very cool indeed.

 

We Love It!

I love combining fruit and veg in salads and this salad pays homage to the humble swede.  It is a delicious veg raw and I am surprised that people don’t use it more often.

 

Foodie Fact

Swede is full of vitamin C and dietary fibre.and dietary fibre.  One cup of swede gives you 50% of your vitamin C requirements.

Because we like to share at the Beach House, here is ‘Youth Lagoon – 17’. We listen to this when making salads:

Categories: Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Beach House Radio – Summers Day

It’s a stunning day at the beach house today. The sun is out in all its glory and the birds are loving it, singing their hearts out to the bees, who are hanging around the place.

It’s a day for sitting in grass, trying to avoid the internet (bar this little thing) and getting outside.  Maybe plant a few seeds and the jungle of a garden needs a strim…….probably just have a sit down with a book though, maybe some chilled Yogi tea to ease into the summer feeling (see next post)……..

Here are some tunes that catch the sun in our hearts…

Stand by Me – Playing For Change

Toots and the Maytals – Pressure Drop ’72

Alexander – Million Years

The Gay Lads – Young Gifted and Black

Ravi Shankar and Phillip Glass – Meetings Along The Edge

Van Morrison – Sweet Thing

Eugene Paul – Pie In The Sky

Jim White – The Girl From Brownsville Texas

Zap Pow – This Is Reggae Music

Jungle Book – Bare Necessities

Categories: Music | 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, Infusions, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Lunch, Organic, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Superfoods, Tea, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beach House Tune

A dreamy Beach House tune to cook to…………

Categories: Music | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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