Posts Tagged With: superfoods

Super exciting news!! New Fantastic Fermentation Masterclass

Super EXCITING news!!ūüėĄūüĆě Brand NEW fermentation workshop announcement.

The amazing Janice from Nourished by Nature will be joining us for our Vibrant Vegan! Snowdonia ‚Äď Plant-based Cooking & Yoga Holiday

Are you interested in fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, kimchi, sourdough, sauerkraut etc? Very healthy and very delicious. You’re in for a real treat!! Here’s all the details:

 

Janice – Nourished by Nature

 

Janice’s Fantastic Fermentation Masterclass

We have never met anyone as passionate about fermented foods! A real Fermentista!! Janice is a macrobiotic health coach and writes the wonderful blog ‚ÄėNourished by Nature‚Äô, running regular fermentation classes in and around her Glasgow home.
We love Janice’s enthusiasm for healthy, seasonal and nutritious food, she is a real inspiration for us, and believes:

‚ÄúWe can all make a very positive difference to both our own lives/health, and also environmentally through minimising the negative impact we create from the foods we choose and how we source them.‚ÄĚ

Janice will show us how delicious fermented foods, made with simple techniques, can heal ourselves on every level and taste amazing! We’ll be sampling seasonal kraut, some fermented relishes/chutneys/dips and also some seasonal kombucha flavours!

 

Full info for our awesome Vibrant Vegan! Plant-based cooking and yoga holiday is HERE.

 

Trigonos, our venue Рa pretty stunning place to cook and be!  Lots of snow recently;)

 

We’ve already sold over half the rooms in the first week!!
If you have a booking form, please return it asap, we can only guarantee bookings once we have the forms. Otherwise…..

 

ūüėĄūüĆěBOOK YOUR PLACE NOWūüėĄūüĆě
By emailing info@trigonos.org
or calling 01286 882 388:)

 

Fermented food, delicious and very healthy!

 

To get a flavour of things, you’ll find lots of delicious fermented food recipes over on Janice’s blog HERE.¬†

We love the radish bombs, fermented tomato salsa and mushroom pate and coffee kombucha rocks!!  Plus, Janice makes the most incredible sourdough loves.

 

Categories: Cooking Holidays, Events, Fermentation, gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, veganism, Wales | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Dischi Volanti with Avocado and Kale Pistou, Broccoli and Slow-Roast Tomatoes

Dischi Volanti with Avocado and Kale Pistou, Broccoli and Home Sun Blushed Tomatoes

Dischi Volanti with Avocado and Kale Pistou, Broccoli and Slow-Roast Tomatoes

‘Dischi Volanti’ translates as ‘Flying Saucer’ and this dish is supernatural in loads of ways!¬† A dish that is easy to prepare, with ingredients that can easily be swapped and changed.¬† The basis is a vibrant ‘pistou’ (very similar to a pesto) made creamy and rich with avocados.¬† I¬†love this side of¬†plant based cooking, always looking for creative ways of adding richness and texture to traditional dishes.

WHAT ARE SUPERFOODS?

There’s a lot of talk about superfoods at the minute in the UK. In fact, its a buzz word all around the globe. I sometimes wonder what actually constitutes a ‘superfood’?¬† It used to be only foods with purely radiant health properties, but this seems to be getting looser nowadays.

Really all plant foods are ‘super foods’.¬† They all contain some form of incredible nutrition (except maybe Jerusalem Artichoke, beautiful when roasted though!)¬† The¬†huge advantage of a plant based diet is¬†very low cholesterol and¬†saturated fats along with a complete lack of animal protein.¬† All of this will result¬†in better health. ¬†I also think we need to look at the way our ‘superfoods’ were produced or grown, how they were transported, who profited from them…….¬† I wish things were simpler to fathom, but a¬†superfood to me has greater implications than just our own health.

There is no wonder cure in foods, a harmonious approach to eating and nutrition is important,¬†a balanced diet is ever the way to proceed; rich in wholefoods, variety¬†and plenty of fresh, seasonal ingredients.¬†¬†We like to think that¬†the plant-based way is a ‘super diet’.¬† Ticks all the boxes for a healthy way of being.¬† Food can be our medicine after all!

In the BHK¬†we like to look close to home for our super magic wonder foods and find the sparkling health properties in what some may see as normal fruit and veggies. This dish highlights a few of these superstars; Broccoli, Rocket, Tomatoes, Kale…..to name but a small cluster of shiners.

REAL EVERYDAY WONDER FOODS

Broccoli ‚Äď probably one of the healthiest and tastiest vegetables. Grows like a dream in the UK and is available for most of the year. Packed with vitamin C, calcium, protein. It really is one of the most amazing things you can eat.

Kale ‚Äď a leafy green that is obvious a little en vogue at the moment, but rightly so. Its been making people shine for years and all our Holywood/ famous types are not averse to looking and feeling at their best. I guess they get some pretty good nutritional advice. Kale is high in iron, calcium, protein, vitamin C.

Rocket ‚Äď is one of natures best sources of calcium. I bet you didn’t read that on a milk carton! In truth, there are many better source of calcium in the plant world that milk. Milk is just a source of calcium, certainly not the source (as I was led to believe for much of my adult life). Good to know these things!

Avocado is of course not so local, but we wrote an article about it recently highlighting our love and appreciation for all things avo –¬†Avocado – Friend or Foe?!¬† It’s a treat.

Pistou is like pesto without the pine nuts, I’m taking real liberties here by calling this creamy, plant-based sauce a ‘pistou’ but I think you’ll agree that it works well whatever the name. You won’t find this type of pistou in the south of France, that is for sure! I thought about using blended cauliflower to add richness and that creamy touch, but avocado is easier and sensational (and green to match the colour scheme of the dish).

You can use shop-bought sun blushed tomatoes for this one, but we have plenty of tomatoes coming from the Trigonos farm and in our organic veg box at the minute and this is one way of making them shine.¬† The slow roasting process¬†does take a while in the oven, so maybe you’d like to whip a cake up or some muffins while the oven is one.¬† We made some Blackberry and Almond Flapjacks while our tomatoes were slowly drying out. Thin, tray bakes are perfect at a low temperature so are the ideal fit when drying out your gorgeous toms.

We would have used spelt pasta here, its our favourite at the moment, but we had a bag of Volanti left over from our Italy trip (seems like many lifetimes ago now) so decided to put it to very good use.¬† Also eating ‘Flying Saucers’ makes us feel like kids again, playing with Alphabet Spaghetti and the like.¬† Fun and games with serious flavours!

This dish will only take a short time to get together, the homemade sun blushed tomatoes do take a while in the oven, but otherwise its a matter of blending up the pesto and cooking the pasta.¬† That’s it!¬† It is ideal for people who are averse to green food and we know a few (naming no names‚Ķ…Dad).¬† This is a plate to get¬†everyone into the green revolution!

Recipe Notes

Try to leave your tomatoes in the oven for as long as possible after cooking has finished.  Ideally leaving them to cool down with the oven.  This really helps to get them dried gently.

If you are doing a load of slow-roast tomatoes, keep them in a jar covered with oil.  This means they will last much longer.  Even better if you flavour the oil with fresh herbs and a little garlic.

Some subs РBroccoli for runner beans, green beans, mangetout, snow peas.  Kale for spinach.  Rocket РWatercress.  Cashews РPine Nuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts

Slow-roasting in the Beach House Kitchen

Slow-roasting tomatoes in the Beach House Kitchen

The Bits – For 2

6 tomatoes (cut in half)

250g Dischi Volanti pasta (or pasta of your choice)

1 medium broccoli (florets cut in half, stem thinly sliced)

 

2 ripe avocados

2 handfuls kale (finely sliced)

14 basil leaves

2 cloves garlic (crushed)

1 lime (juice)

2 tbs nutritional yeast flakes (optional – for added savoury cheesiness in the pistou)

 

3 handfuls rocket leaves

 

Garnish

1/2 red chilli (finely diced)

1 big handful cashews (toasted is nice)

 

Slow-roasting tomatoes at Trigonos (you can see the scale goes up a little!)

Slow-roasting tomatoes at Trigonos (you can see the scale goes up a little!)

Do It

The slow roast tomatoes can be done well in advance.  Start the tomatoes off a couple of hours before you want to eat.  They take a while to dry well, intensifying the flavours.

Preheat the oven to 160¬įC / 320¬įF.¬† Place them skin-side down on a lightly oiled baking tray. ¬†Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. ¬†Place in the oven¬†for at¬†least an hour, checking after¬†45 minutes.¬†¬†Now press them gently with a fork or spatula to release some of the juices.¬† Turn¬†them over¬†and pop¬†back in the oven for 20 minutes¬†more. ¬†Turn the oven off and¬†leave the tomatoes in there until needed.

When your tomatoes are approaching deliciousness, blitz together the avocado, kale, basil, garlic and lime juice in a food processor.  Season with salt, pepper and nutritional yeast flakes if you have some.  Add a splash of water, until a thick, smooth sauce consistency is formed, roughly 50ml will do it.

Cook your pasta in a large sauce pan, remembering to add salt to the boiling water.  Three minutes before the pasta is ready, add the broccoli to the pan.  This will result in nice crisp florets.  Drain when the volanti is al dente and pop back into the warm pan.  Pour over the pistou and combine gently.  Stir in the tomatoes and rocket.

Serve

Serve immediately topped with a scattering of cashews and chilli, a drizzle of good olive oil for added richness and a nice green side salad with a racy dressing.

Dischi Volanti with Avocado and Kale Pistou, Broccoli and Slow-Roast Tomatoes

Dischi Volanti with Avocado and Kale Pistou, Broccoli and Slow-Roast Tomatoes

Foodie Fact

(I think we pretty much covered it above today.)

Snowdon yesterday looking stunning in the September sun

Snowdon yesterday looking stunning in the September sun

Categories: Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, Recipes, Superfoods, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apple, Melon and Mint Smoothie and the healing properties of Ginger

Apple, Melon and Mint Smoothie

Apple, Melon and Mint Smoothie

Here is our perfect style of morning pick me up. Bursting with vitality and flavour. We woke up to bright sunshine today with a little autumn chill in the air. ¬†We have been blessed this summer in the Beach House, I’ve had my shorts on twice and fleece of at least a handful of times. ¬†Its been a scorcher! ¬†September is normally one of the best months for sunshine, so we’ll be out in the garden come the morn, sipping smoothies and juices for most of the month (fingers and toes crossed). ¬†Its a beautiful time of year with spectacular sunsets (we have been posting loads of sunset shots over on Twitter).

We managed to get out hands on a nice ripe melon and with some apples and mint from the garden, whipped up this interesting combo of flavours. Sure to get your taste buds zinging in the morn.  We like a ginger pick me up most mornings and it creeps into many of our juices and smoothies.

Mint is running wild in our garden, we have an embarrassment of herbs leaping from all angles!  At the minute we have a couple of peppermint style varieties, very intense, some ginger mint (we used a little in the smoothie) and apple mint.  Apple mint is a lovely variety, with large soft leaves and mellow flavour.  It grows like a hyperactive teenager so we are welcoming it regularly to dishes in the BHK.

The apples we used are known as Bardsey apples, which all came from one ‘mother’ tree on the island of Bardsey, just off the Llyn Peninsula down the road. ¬†The apples are quite sharp and tart and tangy so they go perfectly with the sweet melon and ginger. ¬†Read more about the fascinating story of the Bardsey Apple here.

Apple mint from the garden (via Janes Mum and Dad in Stafford)

Apple mint from the garden (via Janes Mum and Dad in Stafford)

GINGER IS MEDICINE!

Most spices are not just packed with flavour, they also boast amazing health giving properties.  Ginger is one of the most potent examples of this.  I write about this a lot in Peace & Parsnips, there is a whole section dedicated to spices, how to treat them and their health benefits.  This is one of the many reasons why I love Indian, Persian, Middle Eastern etc foods, they are packed with spices that light up the palate and make our bodies shine.

A brief run through the amazing healing properties of Ginger:

Ginger has long been used in ‘alternative’ medicine to treat nausea (morning/ sea sickness), digestive complaints and cold/ flu.

The main active compound in ginger is called gingerol and it is a strong antioxidant and has power anti-inflammatory effects.

Ginger may have strong anti-diabetic properties, lowering blood sugars and heart disease risk along with many bacteria fighting properties, lowering the risk of infections.

Ground ginger has been shown to help with menstrual pain and it generally helps with digestion, especially chronic indigestion.

It is effective in treating exercise induced muscle strain, joint pain and stiffness, when used over a period of time.

There is also some evidence that ginger can reduce bad cholesterol levels, keeping our hearts healthy and that it contains substances that protect us from cancer.

Some studies suggest that ginger can improve brain function and help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The beautiful thing about ginger is its versatility and we pop it into a cup of hot water, with lemon, in the morning when we feel like being outrageously healthy.  It is the best way to start things off in the morning.

Now thats what I call a super food!!!!

rsz_p1230289

Beautiful mornings deserve beautiful smoothies:)

The Bits – For Two Big Glasses

3-4 handfuls chopped melon (honeydew, galia…nice and ripe)

3 handfuls chopped apples (tart variety)

1 kiwi (peeled and chopped)

1/2 handful chopped mint leaves (sliced)

2 tbs chopped ginger (or more depending on taste and purpose.  For a serious healthy pick me up, try 3-4 tbs)

Splash of water/ non-dairy milk

Do It

Blitz all together in a blender until smooth and lovely.  Add more liquid to thin to your favourite consistency.  If you leave it thick, its more like a pudding!

Apple, Melon and Mint Smoothie

Apple, Melon and Mint Smoothie

Foodie Fact 

There are over 25 varieties of mint and it has long been used to soothe the belly.

Categories: Healing foods, Healthy Eating, Peace and Parsnips, photography, Recipes, Smoothies, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Toasted Cashew and Green Pepper Pulao plus the healthy magic of Cinnamon

Toasty Cashews.  YUMAH!

Toasty Cashews. YUMAH!

Toasty cashews with sweet peppers and a raft of spices and fluffy rice.  Its all there.  Indians taking a staple dish way up there towards Nirvana and beyond!!!!!!

A simple rice dish (don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients) with some seriously tasty touches.  Toasted cashews are ever delicious.  Pulao is basically a side dish, but can really be a main course, something like a Biryani for example, with a few more veggies and a little more spice.  Pulao is like a toned down cousin of Biryani.  Just like all Indian food, flavours here are turned up to 11 and the possibility of spice combing are fully explored.  This may seem like alot spices to be putting into your rice, but they are worth it and if you are interested in cooking Indian food, you will find that all of these spices are used almost on a daily basis in your average Indian kitchen.

In India this March, above the Himalayan snowline in a family home.  Dinner time was a huge highlight (we could warm out hands over the rice)

In India this March, above the Himalayan snowline in a family home. Dinner time was a huge highlight (we could warm out hands over the rice)

A SPICY CONUNDRUM 

When you see the recipes for many Indian dishes you are immediately confronted with the sheer length and seemingly mind boggling array of spices in even a simple dish.  Do not fret, once you get them all together and start cooking more Indian food, your dhaba (spice rack) will become your best friend.  I always bang on about this, but keep your spices in sealed containers and preferably in the fridge (if you live in a hot place or your central heating is potent).  Don’t mix strong smelling spices with, like Hing (Asafoetida) with other spices, they’ll all be tinged with the funk of hing.  Get your spices ready, in one bowl if possible, before hand.  Then when the pan is hot and the spatula is flying, you can simply pour them in with no real fuss.  Bear  in mind however that some spices are better added earlier or later in the cooking process, depending on the dish/ spice.  Its a little complex really!  Being a bit organised with your spices beforehand saves you clambering around with slippy jars and unruly spice bags.

I’ve used brown rice and thrown some of my favourites, flax seeds in, but both are not exactly traditional.   If you use white rice, you could knock 10 minutes off the overall cooking time.

One of the main men in Nainital market.  Great onions.  India '15

One of the main men in Nainital market. Great onions. India ’15

The Bits

1 tbs cooking oil (vegetable/ sunflower etc)

400g brown rice

600ml light vegetable stock

1 green pepper (as finely diced as you can)

1 handful of cashews (chopped in half lengthways, like half moons)

2 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed up or finely diced)

1 large tomato (finely diced)

 

Spices

1-2 large red chilli (dried and cut lengthways, remove seeds for less heat)

6 green cardamom pods (split)

1 small cinnamon stick (2 inches long)

5 cloves

6 green cardamom pods (split)

1 teas cumin seeds

1 teas fennel seeds

¬Ĺ teas nigella seeds

1 tbs flax/linseeds

 

Optional Topping

1 handful toasted cashews

1 handful fresh coriander leaves (roughly chopped) – we didn’t have any (soz)

Fried Pulao - Just add a few tomatoes

Fried Pulao – Just add a few tomatoes for a super simple lunch treat

Do It

In a large saucepan, with a good fitting lid, warm the oil on medium high heat and add the green peppers, fry them for a couple of minutes before adding the cumin and nigella seeds, stir for a minute and then add the rest of the spices and garlic, stirring all the time.  Cook these for a minute and then it’s time to pour in the rice and tomatoes.  Combine all the ingredients well and leave to warm through for yet another minute.

Pour over the stock and turn the heat up a little until the rice is vigorously boiling.  Now place a well fitting lid over the rice and turn the heat down to minimum.  Leave to steam away for 40-45 minutes (white rice, know off 10 minutes cooking time).

While the rice is cooking, grab a small frying pan and on medium heat, add the cashews and toast them gently.  Tossing them about, getting them nice and coloured.  Toasty.  Gorgeous.  Dark golden.

Once cooked, have a peak, the rice should be nice and fluffy.¬† With a fork, being careful not to scratch your nice, non-stick pan (if you are lucky enough to have one), gently tease and fluff the rice.¬† If you like added richness, you can add a drizzle of oil here and coat the rice.¬† It gives nice shine and richness and would be condone by most Indian cooks I know, although they would probably add a good knob of ghee.¬† Pop the lid on and leave to sit for a few minutes before serving.¬† The final, fragrant mingle……

Side/Main Dish (just add spoons)

Toasted Cashew and Green Pepper Pulao – Side/Main Dish (just add spoons)

Serve

Pulao is an occasion.  Mix in most of the cashews.  Warm a platter and pile it in the middle, this makes for a lovely centre piece for any Indian feast.  Or you can line some tea cups with cling film and spoon the pulao into them, packing it down quite well.  Turn the cups over, onto the plate you’re using for serving and gently lift off the cup.  This will leave you with a very neat and professional looking pile of rice.  Scatter with some freshly toasted cashews and a little fresh coriander.

Foodie Fact

All these spices are so very good for you.  At random let me pick cinnamon, a serious, serious anti-oxidants.  So much so, that it should be offered in all pharmacies across the country to treat and prevent things like colds.  Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties, it can help to stabilise insulin and hormones and can even help against heart disease.

Spices are our natural friends and the more spices you can add to your food, namely cook plenty of food from India or the Middle East, the healthier you will no doubt be.¬† Imagine the cumulative effects of eating decent amounts of cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves, cumin, coriander…………….you‚Äôll live a healthy life until you‚Äôre 200 (with some decent karmic conditions along the way).

JUST ADD SPICEX

Jane in Norbulingka Palace, Dharamasala, India '15

Jane in Norbulingka Palace, Dharamasala, India ’15

Categories: Curries, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Side Dish | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Raw Asian Buckwheat Stew

Sprouting Buckwheat

This is not exactly Asian, not your average back street Shanghai fare; we lack some ingredients but do our best in the hills of Wales!  This recipe boasts all the flavours you would expect from a classic Asian dish, with the raw touch of sprouting buckwheat and the richness of cashews.  It really is a revelation that this food tastes so good cold and is so satisfying.  Who knew?

We live quite remote, the nearest decent shop being 30 mins drive.  For a cramped island like ours, 30 mins is quite a distance.  If you can believe it, there are no fresh fruit and veg markets in the entire area.  It is strange, we are quite unique.  We therefore use what we have locally, there is a shed over the hill that sells the occasional organic vegetable, at this time of year, local produce for sale is quite sparse.  Hence we make do and blend!

We have been missing our Thai curries, stir fries etc, so this was my attempt at adding a new set of flavours to this Beach House raw June.  I like adding cucumber to dishes, it freshens and lifts things.

These recipes are known as ‘living food’ due to the sprouting going on. ¬†Anything sprouting is full of life and nutrients and is serious super fuel for your body (and mind/well-being…..).

Sprouting buckwheat has a lovely bite to it and reminds me of a fuller quinoa in flavour.  It tastes and looks like a grain, but is gluten and wheat free.  It can also be blended up into a lovely porridge (more of this to come).  Buckwheat sprouts well and only takes a couple of days.   The technique is simple enough, soak for 24 hours in fresh water, drain and wash, leave for 24 hours, drain and wash etc.  Until sprouts begin to appear.  It  is then ready to eat.

This stew has a lovely rich feel and is very satisfying, which you need on the grey island (Britain) were it is currently summer/winter in just one day. ¬†The storms may rage outside, yet we are warm inside and dreaming of the East….

The Bits

Veg Р1 large tomato, 1 small onion, 1/3 cucumber, 1 carrot, 1/2 red chilli (check for heat)

Sauce – 2 cloves garlic, 2 inch cube of ginger, juice of 1 lime (finely chopped zest if you like a real tang), 2 teas honey, 3 tsp sesame oil, 2 tbs tamari (or light soya sauce)

Stew – 2 cups sprouting buckwheat, 1/2 cup whole cashews,

Topping – 1 1/2 cups chopped green beans, 2 teas sesame seeds, handful of broken cashews

Mid blitz aka carnage

Do It

Add all veg and sauce bits to the blender blend to a fine salsa like mix, taste check for balance of flavours, then add your stew bits and pulse a few times to break up the buckwheat and cashews slightly.  Not too much, you need a little bite there.  Chop up your greenbeans and scatter on top in any fashion that takes your fancy (we normally mix half into the stew).

Serve

Finish with a few sprinkles of sesame seeds (we were out of stock here) and some broken cashews.

Raw Asian Buckwheat Stew

We Love It!

This beats a sloppy Chinese takeaway any day of the week!  Bursting with vitality and nutrients, this is one of our favourite raw recipes thus far.

Foodie Fact

Buckwheat is one of the most complete grains globally and contains all eight essential amino acids (meaning you can basically live on it!).  It is great for diabetics as an alternative to sugary wheat and also alkalizes the blood.  Buckwheat even boosts the brain, it contains high levels of lecthin and 28% of the brain is made of lecthin which also purifies the blood and actually soaks up bad cholesterol.  Wonder food!

Categories: Detox, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Lunch, Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Superfoods, Vegan, Welsh produce | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 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

Wonder Pulp – Aloe Vera Juice

I’ve heard loads of people talking about the benefits of Aloe Vera Juice, in fact, I nearly had a job selling the stuff! ¬†The only problem is that I knew very little about it. ¬†This was until we were given a bottle of the wonder pulp. ¬†It is made by Pukka; organic, ethically sourced, comes in a nice glass bottle, we thought we’d give it a go.

Pukka Aloe Vera Juice

The Aloe plant originates from Northern Africa and it has been used in herbal medicine since the 16th century BC. ¬†The flavour is what you’d call an acquired taste (you can flavour it with juices etc) but you’re not drinking this for a Dom Perignon moment. ¬†This is all about getting you feeling good from the inside out. ¬†Having said that, Aloe Vera is also amazing when rubbed on the skin and has incredible healing effects for burns, scars and many skin conditions like eczema. ¬†You get used to the flavour and it does have a very soothing texture and quality.

The Aloe Plant looks alot like the Agave plant, the famous succulent (that’s a type of plant) that is used to make tequila. ¬†So technically you are drinking a distant cousin of raw tequila. ¬†That’s about as ‘rock and roll’ as the health food industry gets really! ¬†You ain’t going to look like Keith Richards drinking this stuff (which is surely a good thing).

Some technical info:

Pure Aloe Vera juice can be extracted by cutting the leaf, collecting the juice and then evaporating it. When used for drinking, the juice provides many benefits.  This is due to the fact that it contains 12 vitamins (including A, B1, B6, B12, C and E), 19 amino acids and over 20 minerals, with most of these being essential to the body.

Aloe Vera Plant

In Ayurveda, the Indian health system, Aloe Vera is known as Kumari (‘The Princess’) because of its positive effect on the menstrual cycle and female reproductive system. It is also known for its ability to cleanse the liver and protect the digestive system by reducing intestinal inflammation.

With ‘Raw June’ coming to the BHK, we are stocking up on all things healthy, revitalising and nutritious, it seems like Aloe Vera juice ticks all of these boxes and then some. ¬† ¬†This bottle of Pukka Aloe Vera Juice now graces our fridge door shelf and we will soon be taking a few teaspoons a day to give us a boost, especially in the first week of the Raw diet, which we hear can be tough.

Just to clarify that we are in no way health experts and all of the medical claims above are exactly that, claims.  It is difficult to prove these things conclusively.  

Categories: Ayurveda, B.H.K Reviews, Detox, Healthy Living, Juices, Nutrition, Organic, Raw Food | 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

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

Omega Seed Sprinkles

Or what my Dad calls ‘bird food’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bits

Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseeds and flax seeds

Do It

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

Cool fully and keep in a jar.

We Love It

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

King Quinoa Burger (Vegan)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bits

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

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

Do It

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

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

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

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

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

Serve

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

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

We Love It

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

Foodie Fact

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

Pickled Part

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

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

Sprout! The evolution of the mung

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

Sprouts!

Mung bean sprouts this time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bits

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

Filtered water

Do It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serve

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Panamanian Bean Mix (Good name for a band)

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

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

9) Oats ‚Äď Are technically whole grains, but get their own section in these parts.¬† Britain, this windswept little island, has been fuelled on the stuff since early man first landed here.¬† I don‚Äôt think any¬†food better sums up our predicament and history.¬† The oats in porridge acts as central heating for your body, one bowl in the morning and you‚Äôll be simmering all day.¬† Eating oats is good for those with high cholesterol. ¬†Whole grain oats are one of the best sources of soluble fibre, which, in addition to lowering cholesterol, helps keep blood sugar levels under control.¬† No peaks and troughs, just plain sailing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heart of the 'root

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

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: