Posts Tagged With: vegetables

‘Meat vs Veg’ – Lee on T.V.

All images taken from ‘Meat vs Veg’ shoot, Summertime ’13

I made a TV program called ‘Meat vs Veg’, I have no idea why I haven’t popped it on the BHK yet, but here it is.  In all it’s glory!  It was nearly two years ago now and since then has been shown all around the world on a variety of food channels, but as yet, has not been shown in the UK.  Hopefully, it will be on soon.

It was a load of fun to make and the basic format was me against Mike Robinson, a top, and very meaty, chef; owner of the Pot Kiln Pub and an all around gentleman (unless you happen to be a deer that is).  We cooked for a varied group of people, two contestants per show, all with weird and wonderful tastes in food; some gourmet critics, others couldn’t tell a chicken wing from a sweet potato.  You will have to watch the program to see who won, Meat or Veg??!

Mike and I got up to all sorts of mischief around London, each show contained a ‘Street Challenge’ where we had to hit the streets and tempt people with our tasty morsels.  We cooked for women rowing teams, R and B models, animal volunteers, Battersea dogs home, aspiring theatre actors, music studio employees…….it was a wild time.

Mike and I were cooking everything live to camera and trying to be interesting at the same time.  Which is much more difficult than it may sound!  Making a TV program down in London was certainly a change from working up in North Wales.

Jane and I were in India recently and it was showing on a Nat Geo channel.  I even got recognized in a small village in the Himalayas, which was very strange and quite hilarious.  ‘Meat vs Veg’ is out there and it’s a light hearted food program, with stunning food and bags of laughs.  It highlights my ability to make a fool of myself in front of a camera (a talent I have honed since childhood).  Overall it was a great experience.

If you are in Serbia, Brazil, India, Hong Kong, Australia and probably a load more countries around the world, keep your eye out for ‘Meat vs Veg’ on your food channels and let us know if you manage to catch an episode.  I’m the tall hairy one, probably attacking Mike with a carrot or other root vegetable.  He deserves it!!!!!

Mike and I (trying to look tough)

Categories: Healthy Eating, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

World’s Best Kitchen Implement – Skrub’a Gloves!

Jane happily skrubbing!

Jane happily skrubbing!

A very lovely friend from Germany sent us the most fantastic present the other day, the like of which we have never seen before on Welsh shores! Introducing Skrub’a The Scrubbingglove  – a clever Danish invention in a pretty orange carrot design!

These wonder-gloves could not have come at more perfect timing (another wonderful synchronicity, thanks Nicole). You probably know that we are now lucky enough to be loving the weekly fresh local and organic veggie box grown by lovely Pippa and John down the road…. Such delicious, fresh and DIRTY veggies! Up until now the lowly washing up brush has been doing all the hard scrubbing work. But we find that still leaves little bits of dirt on the veggies, especially in the nobbles and bumps.

gloves

gloves

It was with delight and happy intrepidation that we donned the gloves for the first time, dunked the root veg and began skrub-ing them with our gloved hands. The gloves (very much like those exfoliating shower-mitts) were utterly perfect at getting into the grooves and pits of the most twisty of carrot.

It was a quick and unusually satisfying job, and at the end of it we had smiley faces and very clean beetroots. Not only that, but 50% of the vitamins in veggies are in the peel! So Skrub’a Gloves thank you very much, you are our new favourite kitchen implement!

Categories: 'The Good Life' | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sexy Tomatoes – The Tomato Stall

Sexy Tomatoes from The Tomato Stall

Sexy Tomatoes from The Tomato Stall

Every cook craves them, a sexy tomato stash!  Tomatoes can be the most wonderful ingredient on the planet or the most insipid, watery ball of red nonsense (aka most supermarket fodder).  Jane and I know our way around a tomato after spending plenty of time in Spain where we are surrounded by tomato plantations, normally growing toms for the Northern Europe market.

We have struggled in the early part of this year to get our hands on good produce and feel chuffed to have found the brilliant people at The Tomato Stall to supply us with fresh tomatoes; the most incredible oak smoked tomatoes and even a seriously kickin’ ginger chilli chutney.

The Tomato Stall have a wide range of products from ketchup to juice and I’ve chatted with Kelly over there at length about all things TOMS and they are seriously passionate about what  they do and the proof is in produce.  They grow many heirloom varieties, all additive free and mostly organic and all bursting with flavour and oh so juicy.

Beautiful bowl of Toms

Beautiful bowl of TOMS

We ate most of our bounty raw, like a box of chocolates, but way cooler.  There are so many colours; yellow, greens, speckled, vivid reds and even some they call black (more very dark green really).  The flavours of each variety were distinctly different; some sweeter, some more citrus; some meaty, some just exploded with juice.  With tomatoes like this it does seem a shame to cook them or tamper with the flavour, they are best served simply with maybe some extra virgin olive oil and a little sea salt.  That’s sounding like one of the worlds greatest salads!

We will be switching to local tomatoes when the crops come in (hopefully in a few weeks) but have no issues ordering tomatoes from the Isle of Wight when they are this wonderful (did we mention that the oak smoked tomatoes are one of the best things to pass our lips in a long time!)  Great tomatoes are so difficult to come by on this island and these are grown in Britain and not giant plastic plantations in Spain or Italy.

If you are struggling to get your hands on good tomatoes in the UK, let Kelly know and they’ll send some to a farm shop near you.

We love to have the opportunity to spread the good word of passionate food producers who are doing things properly.  If you are crazy about food and would like to send us a sample of your produce, we’ll taste them and let you know what we think.  We may even stick them on the Beach House Kitchen.

PS – Tomato a fruit or vegetable?  It seems obvious, but still a little room for debate.  Tomatoes just don’t quite go in a fruit salad!

Categories: B.H.K Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Spring arrives in a blizzard – The Beach House Garden

Spring  hits the Beach House Garden

Spring hits the Beach House Garden – Dark and Gloomy

Well Spring is here and we’re hanging on in the middle of a blizzard. The Beach House is a sturdy little cottage, but the garden is looking anything but spring-like.

The whole of North Wales, and Britain in general, is getting a good covering of springtime snow.  This day last year the temperature was 21oC.  You may be British, or know Brits, we talk about the weather alot over here, mainly because we have such interesting weather!  You never know what to expect, which doesn’t help a novice gardener.

We have planted a few seeds already, granted very prematurely and they are doing well on racks beside the fire!  Rainbow chard is beginning to sprout and I fear for these little things when they are thrown into the garden, open to our mountain elements.  Maybe we will have an indoor garden this year!

Last years gardening adventures, in sunnier times

Last years gardening adventures, in sunnier times

It is so cold at the moment, even our semi-wild cat Buster has come inside, to shelter from the winds (see below).  Buster is our gardening companion and an expert at getting in the way.

Last years attempts at growing had mixed results (to say the least). Slugs had a field day in the very damp conditions and we became more a slug diner than a organic veg patch. We had some success with a variety of potatoes and the occasional leek, but really, most things flopped.  We have new strategies and fresh energy this year to quell those slimy critters and hide our plants from the wind.  Our green beans ended up mainly in the opposite field last time.

This year we are going for alot of beetroot, some leeks, many potatoes, some green beans and greeen and red leaves (rocket, raddichio etc).  We’d also like to grow some squash and plenty of kale and chard.  We’ll let you know how it all goes.

Thankfully, we have little expectations this year and even in this small garden patch, are now fully aware of the difficulties of approaching a ‘self-sufficient’ lifestyle.  There is so much to learn and only so many seasons left…

Hope you are all nice and warm and cosy wherever you are.

Buster checking out the bin

Buster checking out the bin

More from Buster (the worlds coolest creature)

More from Buster (the worlds coolest creature)

 

Categories: Garden, Spring, Wales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ang’s Quinoa and Roast Veggie Salad

A recipe here from a friend of the Beach House Kitchen.  All the way from sunny Auckland (New Zealand that is), Ang floats over some tasty bites over to the Beach House.  WE LOVE ANGx  

I met Ang in Barcelona, where she lived a tofu chuck away from a health food shop.  I needed some ‘health’ after being on the road for too long and eating out of dusty stalls.  Ang cooked up some amazing vegan treats and planted seeds that have now formed the BHK.  

We will be munching this soon and having tasted Ang’s cooking, just know that it will be very, very delicious indeed.  

Cheers AngX:

Ang sporting socks and deer

YUM!

Being a vegetarian on a low-FODMAP foods hasn’t been easy. No beans, chickpeas or lentils are allowed, but thank goodness for the almighty Quinoa.

I made some delicious quinoa and courgette fritters one night last week and had loads of quinoa left over, which resulted in this beast of a salad mixed together in a huge moroccan salad bowl – perfect for parties or BBQ’s.

-Cubed veggies, roasted (potato, pumpkin, carrot, courgette) with fresh rosemary and oregano
-Quinoa
-Baby spinach
-Feta
-Raisins
-Baby tomatoes

Dressing
-lemon juice
-dijon mustard
-basalmic vinegar
-olive oil
-S&P

Salads like this are so hearty and can be adapted in so many ways. Add olives? Avocado? Seeds? Make it your own 🙂

Ang’s Quinoa and Roast Veggie Salad

If there are any other friends of the BHK (thats all of you!) who would like to send us a recipe, we would love to hear from you and will most probably, depending on the deliciousness of the dish, put it onto the blog. 

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

Trio of Simple Organic Summer Salads

Aloe Vera Plant

Only naked and fresh veggies here!  Food for the sun.  When the produce is this good, you don’t want to mess with it too much.  The flavours of these veggies are amazing, we are so privileged to live in an area with some serious vegetable growing heroes living close by.

We are getting veg from two local farms over the hill and have recently been picking up a veg box from another farm.  We are suddenly inundated with incredible produce and can think of no better way of eating it than raw.  Bring on the salads!

Local food is fresher and contains more nutrients due to this, we also like to support these amazing folk who are dedicated to the land.  These salads are simple and contain only a few ingredients.  Its what you’ll find us eating most days.  Adding less ingredients to food makes the nutrients in food easier for the body to digest and use.

Our garden has taken a beating recently with the ‘summer’ storms, the wind is raging out there as I type these words.  Leaves whizz by at right angles and the rocket is blown flat to the ground.  The slugs have also had a field day out there, I can only hope they enjoyed what they ate.  We have been harvesting some lovely red potatoes and a little rainbow chard, but really, the garden had been a steep learning curve this year.  Next year, we are full of hope and fresh ideas to fortify our garden from these vicious Welsh elements.  Having spoken to local farmers, it has been the worst growing season for 20 years, so a meagre crop is understandable.  So we need some help!

Doing my best for the leeks

I’ve been working like a trooper of late, no time to cook food at the BHK.  I needed plenty of shiny food and nutrition to keep me going and Jane has stepped in and has been making the most fantastic raw food delights.  These salads, that we ate last night for dinner, were for me the pick of the bunch.  Simple and tasty with a wonderful dressing.

I have a habit of throwing things together and letting a little bit of experience and my taste buds sort out the rest, Jane is brilliant at following recipes and measurements.  This is important with some parts of cookery, namely baking and it would appear dressings.  This dressing was perfectly balanced, with the warm edge of mustard and a good amount of honeyed sweetness.

Thinly sliced veggies

Thinly Sliced Veggies

Some may call this a ‘carpaccio’, but really it’s just a stunning way to serve veggies as a salad.  Get your nicest plate out of the cupboard, some amazing veggies and slice thinly and arrange.  Viola!

The Bits

We used our one each of our local organic farms courgette, beetroot, broccoli and a organic yellow pepper.  Any combination of hard vegetables will do, if you are conscious of presentation, maybe mix up the colours a little.

Tomato and Basil Heaven

Tomato and Basil Heaven

For this you must have the finest tomatoes available.  These red/green tomatoes came with our veggie box and completely blew us away.  They grow in poly tunnels and god knows what else!  They are insanely tasty and needed just a few torn basil leaves which are blooming on the windowsill and a splash of olive oil.

The Bits

2 handfuls of amazing tomatoes, meagre handful of torn basil leaves, a splash  of great olive oil and sea salt and pepper if you must.

Carrots and Almonds

Carrots and Almonds

The sweetness of these carrots and almonds goes perfectly with the sweet mustard dressing.

The Bits

3 wonderful large carrots (scrubbed, not peeled), 1/3 head of broccoli (broken into little pieces, use the stalk and leaves), 1 handful of raw almonds, thinly sliced red onion and yellow pepper.

Sweet Mustard Dressing

Shake all ingredients together in an old jam jar, they are also handy to keep your dressing in afterwards.

The Bits

1 teas English Mustard, 2 teaspoons clear honey, 1 tbs lemon juice, 4 tablespoons rapeseed oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper.

There is so little work in getting these together, we hardly need a ‘Do It’ section.  More time to soak up some rays with your loved ones.

Serve

All veggies are best served at just under room temp, we used the dressing on the Carrot and Almonds and Thinly Sliced Veggies, the tomatoes needed no additions nonsense.

We Love It!

Magic veggies deserve to be eaten in all their glory i.e. naked and fresh!

Foodie Fact

Why buy organic/ local?  Food loses nutrition when shipped and kept, so the more local fresh food you consume the better for you and your community in general.  Organic veggies actually contain no more nutrients that conventionally grown, but they are clean and contain no pesticides (or poisons).  Organic practices enrich the earth and by not using chemicals and GM techniques, ensure the fertility of the earth for future generations.  Also, people who grow organically are normally lovely people to visit for tea!

Categories: Organic, Recipes, Salads, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Beach House Garden – Summer Update

The Beach House Garden

Well there has been little summer to speak of really. The clouds parted today, so I went outside and took a few pictures, but really this summer has been very strange.  Even the old timers down the farm say they cannot fathom what is going on.  The soil should be warm and it is cold and damp, meaning the plants don’t know what to do.

White Rose

Our lonesome Kori Squash and Rainbow Kale

We have had a few minor successes, mainly down to raiding our neighbours horse field for massive piles of poo.  It’s like magic dust. One sprinkle and the plants shoot up. The potatoes love this environment and sprang up, they are just starting to flower and we may have a look soon to see if we have any tasty little tubers.

The Potato Patch

Rampant Foxglove

 

 

After an epic battle with slugs and snails, we have managed to get one squash plant through the madness. We have been trying all sorts, beer traps, gravel and jagged rocks, I have been on many stealth nighttime missions to snatch them off our precious green friends. Sometimes it felt like a losing battle, but now things are established and semi-blooming, all these efforts seem worthwile. The squash is growing nicely and we hope to have our first Welsh kori squash soon. Beetroots, rainbow kale, runner beans and hannibal leeks are all holding in there.

The Beetroot Jungle

Flowering Succulents

We have also diversified in the herb garden, with some different types of thyme and our new favourite, ginger mint. A wonderful thing that has its own bed to go wild in. We have been loving wandering out to the herb garden and cutting our own fresh herbs. A real cooks treat (even in the howling gales).
We think it will be a late summer (we hope!) and in late September, we will be cooking with our first batch of Beach House Veg. We will keep you posted.

Beauty Beets

Kori Squash and Runner Beans

Tomato plants (hiding in the green cupboard)

 

Categories: Garden, Healthy Living, Organic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Indo Coco Curry (Raw)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bits

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

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

The Coco curry pre-mix

Do It

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

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

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

Indo Coco Curry (Raw)

Serve

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

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

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

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

‘The Dirty Dozen’ – The 12 worst foods to buy non-organic

Organic produce

I find it quite alarming that most fruits and vegetables grown that are not classed organic are covered with all sorts of chemicals which are of detriment to our health.  With long term exposure to such chemicals, namely pesticides, we can develop serious illness.  They cannot be washed off or peeled away, they absorb into the fruits and veg and then into our bodies.  The elderly and young are most effected by this.

I realise we cannot all be super healthy, uber organic munching beings.  We normally lead hard lives in a difficult situations and mostly live in very polluted cultures/societies, this relates to physical pollution (the air we breath, what we choose to eat and drink….) and also the mental pollution that we tolerate and consume via the media and skewed social norms that do not promote health, love and vitality.  Many of these social norms seem to be leading us away from happiness and our connection with nature and each other.

A few people have mentioned to me that man only developed into a sophisticated being (that’s what we are!?!) when he began cooking and eating meat in prehistory.  So why revert to a plant based diet?  I believe we have come a long way since then!!!!  We certainly have more choices than a caveman would, more science at our disposal and a better understanding of nutrition.  What we eat affects our entire being, it is not just fuel for the body to feed of, it can be an inspiration experience, a opportunity to be creative.  Food, and the enjoyment of it, is a life long passion that can brighten every day.  Eating food that is made with love is a huge step towards a healthy existence, this food must also be grown with care and love.

We will all get ill at some stage of life, this is for certain.  The choices that Jane and I are making now are not only based on a more vibrant lifestyle and a greater sense of vitality, but on putting a few extra miles on the clock.  Giving ourselves a better chance of enjoying our later years and experimenting with our bodies whilst we are young and in our prime(ish).

I may sound like a broken record here, but it is VERY important.  We are what we eat…….   Industrialised farming techniques and major pesticide corporations are definitely not your friend.  Moving to a vegetarian diet is a step in the right direction for the environment (plant based foods, on average, us five times less land and generate ten times less CO2 emissions than animal based foods).  It can also be a great choice healthwise.

The next major step that we face is trying to control our own food supply.  If we can take control of the food we buy and educate ourselves about how it is produced, we begin to change the way that we eat and view food in general.  We make a statement to the food producers that we will not tolerate substandard food that harms us and has little or no nutritional value or flavour.

Seasonal, organic produce has a greater concentration of nutrients, meaning less is more!  You only need a smaller portion and your body is satisfied.  Non-organically produce foods can have as much as 50% less vitamins and minerals present as organically grown ones.

If we accept rubbish produce, they will keep feeding us rubbish produce.  If we demand better, we will inevitably get better.  This is the wonderful power that us modern day consumers have.  Demand the best for yourself and the planet.  Most people take better care of their cars than their bodies!  Give yourself the best fuel possible and you will run on and on and……………

The way that we spend and direct out pounds/dollars/yen/rupees makes all the difference.  It is one of our greatest methods of influencing our societies which are increasingly controlled by large, profit hungry corporations/governments (the difference has become negligible).

This post is not designed to put anyone off eating vegetables and fruit!  It is a platform for information, produced by an independent research body, that will assist you in making an informed choice the next time you hit the market or shop.

I found the below information useful when trying to balance the cost of shopping organic with the potential moral and health factors of not buying certain organic produce.  The truth is, in our location, we cannot always buy organic, it is too costly and sometimes unavailable.  We don’t worry about some non-organic produce slipping onto our plate, life’s to short!  But we much prefer the ‘good stuff’, mainly due to the ethics of the people who decide to produce organically.  They are our kind of folk.

Below is a list of produce that you should try to buy organically, due to the high levels of pesticides used to grow them by non-organic means:

Fruits

Apples, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, strawberries

Vegetables

Bell peppers, carrots, celery, lettuce, all root vegetables.

And here are some foods with lower amounts of pesticides:

Fruits

Avocado, kiwi, mango, tomato, papaya, pineapple, watermelon

Vegetables

Asparagus, broccoli, corn, cabbage, aubergine, onion, sweet peas.

(Taken from the raw food book ‘Live Raw’ by Mimi Kirk)

I genuinely believe a good diet is one of the primary steps to making the world a better place to be and buying organic (or demanding organic!) is a choice well worth making.

Wishing long and healthy lives for you allXXXXX

Categories: 'The Good Life', G.M. Food, Healthy Eating, Local food, Nutrition, Organic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Vibrant Gigglebean Stew (Raw)

Raw Vibrant Chickpea Stew

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bits

We use the food processor for the grating

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

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

Do It

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

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

Serve

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

We Love It!

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

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

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

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

Black Olive Tapenade with Beetroot and Red Onion Salad

Beetroot and Red Onion Salad with Black Olive Tapenade

Tapenade is one of those things that we don’t eat enough of.  Everytime we have it, we say the same thing, “Why are we not eating more tapenade!”  It is delicious and is one of those classic summer dishes that reminds me of holidays in Greece and France.

I ate alot of tapenade at break times whilst picking grapes in Beaujolais.  We’d have it spread over warm baguettes, with local cheese and lashings of whatever wine was in the bucket (purely medicinal, it helped to dull the back pain you see).  I believe that the intense satisfaction I got from munching the tapenade pulled me through those back breaking times.  The wine was certainly nothing to get excited about, unfortunately.

This is a wonderful concoction of flavours that I’ve had a little play with (of course) and omitted the use of capers due to a forgetful moment at the shops.  The unique caper-ness has been replaced by the gorgeous sun-dried tomato.  Not a bad substitute!  I have also added raisins to add a little sweetness, the black olives can be a little bitter in these parts, Wales not being high on the olive producing charts.   The rest is fairly classic tapenade, forming a delectable black paste that can be spread or dipped as you choose.  I love this type of food, which is greater than the sum of its bits.

I normally think of Tapenade as being a Greek dish, but it actually hales from Provencal in France.  Traditionally this puree contains caper, anchovies, black olives and olive oil.  The French would normally serve it as an hors d’oeurve or stuff it into a steak.

Tapenade is alot like pesto (see our ‘Hazelnut Pesto‘ post) in that it is a joy to behold sitting in the fridge door.  It just hangs around and marinates, getting better and better.  It goes well in so many things and mixed with some oil, makes for an instant wonder dressing.  The best part is that it has a gourmet flavour with very little needed in way of preparation.

The way you chop up your veg has a major effect on the presentation and texture of a salad.  Have a little think before you begin to chop about what type of effect you’d like to create.

If you spend a little more on good quality olives here, it is well worth it.  The black variety are normally a little cheaper and in their own way, just as good as some of their greener brothers and sisters.

The Bits

Tapenade – 1 cup black olive, 6 sun dried tomatoes, 2 cloves crunched garlic, 1/2 red onion, 1/4 cup raisins, juice of 1 lemon, handful of chopped parsley, sprig of rosemary, pinch of thyme and oregano, glug of olive oil, cracked black pepper and sea salt (to taste), glug of olive oil (if needed)

Salad – 1 nice red onion (thinly sliced), 4 small beetroots (cut into eighth’s), 2 cups of spinach (chopped), 3 carrots (grated), 2 stalks celery (chopped), 1 cupful of sprouts (we used green lentil sprouts)

Black Olive Tapenade in the mix…..

Do It

Tapenade – Add all ingredients to a food processor and begin to whizz.  As it becomes sticky, trickle in some remaining olive oil to create a beautiful, shiny puree.  Keep in a sealed container in the fridge overnight for maximum marination (new word for you there!).

Salad – We put the red onion and carrot into a food processor and grated, then chopped the celery, spinach and beetroot separately.

Serve

Thin out some tapenade by adding the same quantity of good olive oil and whisking well.  You can lower the amount of tapenade if you’d prefer a lighter dressing.  Pour the dressing over the salad and give a good mix in.

Place in your favourite salad bowl and top with a handful of green lentil sprouts (see our ‘sprout‘ post for how to sprout your own, its quite simple).  Then spoon on some tapenade.

We have also used it to flavour soups and stews and of course in post June days we’d have it lathered on some warm oat bread.

We Love It!

This tapenade has a great balance of bitter and sweet, with the beautiful silky texture of pureed olives.

Foodie Fact

Olives are one of the oldest foods known, dating back 7,000 years.  Black Olives are left to ripen for longer on the trees, green ones are picked earlier, they generally have a milder flavour.  Olives are a good source of iron (which helps to carry oxegen in our blood) and are low in calories with plenty of good fats.  They do however contain a decent amount of sodium and should be eaten in moderation if you’re keeping an eye on salt intake.

Twelve black olives provide 1.8mg of iron.  Interestingly women need 18mg of iron per day and men only 8mg.

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Dinner, Dressings, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Lunch, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Fair Hill Salad with Vegan Hazelnut Pesto

Local veggies

We live at 1 Bryn Teg (aka the beach house), Bryn Teg translates to English as ‘Fair Hill’.  I call it tiger mountain because of the stripes, but it doesn’t seem to be catching on in these parts.

So Fair Hill it is and this salad reflects what is growing near our little home.  Things are beginning to come into season and our local farm shop’s shelves are beginning to fill (thankfully).  We bought what they had and this delicious salad was born.  The combination of flavours worked surprisingly well with the pesto and it was even better the day later after having a good marinate in the fridge.

Broad beans (Fava beans) are special in any salad, they add a unique, nutty texture.  Texture is one of the key ingredients to a brilliant salad and ingredients should be selected accordingly.  Limp leaves are not the way forward!  Fresh and crunchy is the key, something that is exciting to in the mouth and on the taste buds.

We have been discovering the art of salad making this raw month.  Ingredients and dressings take on a completely different flavour when combined and subtle changes in flavouring can make all the difference.

Making a vegan pesto is tricky, without the pungent cheese, you just cannot recreate that unmistakable flavour.  I think this is a decent attempt, matured cheese is something that vegans just have to give up on.  You can buy those yeast cheese flake things, but I am wary of anything labelled as yeasty and cheesy.  I just don’t like the sound of them.

You do end up using quite a bit of herb in the pesto, but it is well worth it.

The Bits

Salad – 1 cup shelled broad beans, 3 handfuls of chopped sprouting purple brocolli (leaves as well), 1 sweet potato (peeled and grated), 1 courgette (1/2 grated, 1/2 cubed)

Pesto – 4 cups basil leaves, loosely packed, 1 cup fresh parsley, 1 – 2 tsp honey of your choice, 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, 1/4 – 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 cup hazelnuts (soaked overnight, drained and rinsed) 1 – 2 clove (s) fresh garlic, minced

Do It

Salad – Separate your broccoli florets from the stems and leaves, chop up.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

Pesto – Chop the basil and parsley until reduced to 1 cup basil and 1/4 cup parsley, blend all ingredients except hazelnuts until smooth.  Add hazelnuts gradually and continue blending, adding more olive oil as needed for desired consistency.  Check seasoning.

Thin down the pesto a little and mix into the salad.

Serve

Dress with a few of the brocolli leaves and a few more spoonfuls of the thick pesto.  Maybe a few leaves of parsley or basil if you are feeling extravagant!

Raw pesto salad

We Love It!

The glory of pesto!  Mix it in yoghurt for a tasty side dish, thin with oil for a dressing, mix with hummus to make the finest hummus ever!  It really is one of the finest things you can have lurking around the fridge.

Foodie Fact

Sometimes referred to as the horse bean (!), broad beans like all legumes are a high in protein and low in fat.  A really meaty legume!  They are packed with vitamins, fibre and have a high iron content.

Fair Hill Salad with Vegan Hazelnut Pesto

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Dinner, Dressings, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Local food, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian, Welsh produce | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 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 – 1 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: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Detox, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Lunch, Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Superfoods, Vegan, Vegetarian, Welsh produce | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Beach House Dressing

Beach House Dressing

We are in love with this.  It is going on or in most things that we are munching on at the moment.  Like most Beach House recipes, its super easy and quick.

Jane and I are both missing big flavours, I normally use a lot of spice in my cooking and they are lacking in our current diet.  Jane, of course, adores chocolate.  The sensual experience of raw eating is totally different, but this is a very creamy and more-ish dressing to go with the crunch of our salads.

The quantity of each flavour depends on your palate, maybe you like it sweet, maybe you like slightly sour.  Have a play here.  The flax seeds add a nice crunch and the garlic a little heat.  If you are not a huge fan of raw garlic (its fiery) omit the garlic.  It will make a great dressing.

We make alot of this, it keeps well in the fridge and I’m sure will soon become on of your ‘house’ favourites.

The Bits

Makes a decent bowlful

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (evoo), 1 tbs tahini, 2 cloves garlic (crushed, optional), 1 tbs good cider vinegar, 2 teas agave syrup or honey, 1 tbs flax seeds, 1 teas braggs liquid amino acid (or a pinch of sea salt).

Do It

Add all the ingredients to a bowl and bled together with a fork.  Taste, adjust flavour according to taste.  We like ours quite tangy, so we add a little more vinegar, but there should be a good balance of sweet and sour over the creamy tahini.

Serve

You can douse it on vegetables, salads, it would be amazing on new or roasted potatoes (leave overnight in a fridge and let the flavours mingle and soak).

We Love It!

We can’t stop making this and devouring it, smothered on whatever it takes!

Foodies Fact 

Apparently cider vinegar increases memory and concentration, which we need  quite desperately.  Cider vinegar contains over 90 substances and is actually less acidic than coca cola.

The glorious colours of raw food

We thought you might like to see what we actually put this dressing on.

Above is a picture of last nights dinner, served with the ‘Beach House Dressing’.  Jane’s ‘Traffic Light Salad’ with a delicious ‘Butternut Squash and Seaweed Salad’:

Diced butternut squash and courgette, grated carrot and red onion, topped with diced cauliflower and nori (soaked overnight).

Happy crunching!

lee and janeX

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Dressings, Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Raw Green Thai Soup

Thai soup – in the mix

Here is a classic Thai soup, only this time served cold.  This is without doubt the finest chilled soup I have ever tasted.  You just have to look at what goes into it to realise that it is going to be a taste sensation!  Coconut, lemon grass, chilli, lime and ginger.  That’s the taste of food heaven.

If there is any food which mirrors a country, it is Thai.  Vibrant, colourful and unique.  The combination of ingredients and fresh, fresh flavours make my mouth water.

Jane and I met not far from Thailand (well the Philippines, but close enough!) We both love Asia for many reasons, but the people and food really stand out. Thailand cannot be beaten for food.  A bold statement, but anyone who has visited and trawled the street food and markets will agree.  Great food made simply but with super fresh ingredients.  The soups alone are almost alchemical, their vapours can revive the soul and the flavours dance in your mouth like a dragon.

Thai’s love food. In a way that us pretentious Europeans cannot comprehend. My friend Toum took me to a local market in a suburb of north Bangkok and I have never seen such care taken in the selection of produce. I was chided for holding some green leaves the wrong way round and generally made to feel clumsy with my food handling and that I had much to learn in the respect and treatment of food.  We carried our vegetables home as if they were newly born babies.

You can see the real identity  of countries and cultures coming through in what they eat.  Most Thais eat very well, regardless of social standing.  In fact, they seem to eat the same things, in the same places.  Namely the street.  There is a movement towards a more westernised capitalist  culture in the upper and middle classes, but all done in a very Thai way.  I can never see the big mac taking over from the pad thai.

This will be very refreshing come summer (it is coming I hope), the flavours are as intense and fragrant as you would expect from things Thai.

Bangkok Street Food

The Bits

There’s lots of bits in this one, but that’s what makes it so very tasty!

6 mushrooms, 6 tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, 1 cm fresh ginger (or 1cm galangal if you can), 1 lemon grass stick, 1 red chilli, 4 dates, 6 lime leaves, juice of 2 limes, bunch of coriander, 120g fresh coconut chopped, 125g spinach, 1 apple, 2 tbsp tamari

Do It

Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender and keep your finger on the button until all the herbs have been blitzed.

Raw Thai Soup

Serve

In a big bowl with a few sprouts and coriander leaves on top, a whole heap of love, and the biggest spoons you have!

We Love It!

It is such a taste explosion and takes us back to happy memories of a wonderful land (just one spoonful of this and we now want to go back!).  This is authentic thai, without the jars of paste.

Thai Lotus Flower

Foodie Fact

So essential to Thai cookery, coriander (celantro to some) is actually native to the Mediterranean and is rich in anti-oxidants that help against heart conditions.  It also contains high levels of vitamin C and many different minerals.  It  is one of the richest sources of vitamin K and has a very high vitamin A content.  Quite a herb!

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Worlds Smallest Potato

Found in a bag of Hooton’s new potatoes.

This may be a record!

The Worlds Smallest Potato

How best to cook this?

Categories: photography, Welsh produce | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sunbeam Fruit Salad

Blooming great rhododendrons. It’s finally May!

The perfect fruit salad!?

Impossible to tell really, but it certainly hit our spots.

This is not what you would call a seasonal wonder, more a bargain basement bonanza!!!  This is a salad for when you have a glut of fruit that needs eating soon.  Its totally OTT and befitting of my birthday weekend, when excess is embraced.

This fruity number is very delicious and perfect for this morning in wonderful Wales.  It’s a glorious day, full of sunbeams, the birds are singing and Buster (a cat) is lounging in the herb garden.  Everybody is out in their gardens, wondering what on earth to do.  You realise the importance of our sun when it is hidden behind grey clouds for many months.  When it returns, it has an incredible effect on people; they go outside, they begin to re-connect with the light (sun).  We all start shining!

We have this type of salad most mornings, a mixture of fruit and vegetables topped by a thick smoothie.  It keeps us going for most of the day, brimmed full of goodness.   Jane and Mum went shopping this weekend (Mum was visiting for my birthday, which was an amazing time, the best birthday I’ve had since I was 9 years old and organised a mass football match on the local park and had a cake shaped like the FA cup) and chanced upon some amazing bargains in the fruit section.  Organic blueberries, apricots etc for 20p a pack!  Its capitalism gone mad!    We have not seen fruit like this for many, many months and their return has a similar effect to the return of our beautiful sunshine.

Top tip – I have been making these beauty salads for a while now and if there is one tip that I would offer to you lovely people it is this, use a clean board.  Sounds obvious, but the slightest hint of garlic or onion on a board can spell disaster for the subtle flavours of your fruits.  We have a separate board for all things fruit.

If you think that mixing fruit and vegetables in salad is a little weird, perhaps it is, but it is delicious.  Carrots are very sweet and celery has a lovely mild flavour.  They both add real bite to proceedings.

The Pear and Peanut smoothie topping recipe will follow on the next post.  This makes enough for two massive bowls.

Bumble bees get busy with bluebells

The Bits

We used our selection of fruit and veg here, but you can of course have a play and use what is in season or any good stuff that you can get your hands onto.  Mix in seeds/ nuts for added crunch and texture, a citrus fruit to add a little tang, the addition of flax seeds really helps your digestion:

2 apricots (de-pipped and diced), 1 big handful of blueberries, 1 apple (diced), 1 pear (diced), 1 orange (peeled and diced), 2 kiwis (peeled and diced), 3 carrots (chopped), 2 sticks of celery (chopped), 1/2 handful of roasted sunflower seeds, 2 tbs flax seeds, 1/2 handful of roasted hazelnuts, 1 handful of chopped mint (chopped)

Do It

Grab your favourite salad bowl, chop all bits up into your favourite shapes, mix then all in gently and top with your smoothie (see next post).  Serve liberally with smiles.

Serve

In bowls of the size that befit the mouths to feed.  In the Beach House, this means big bowls!

The Sunbeam Fruit Salad

We Love It!

Really, what’s not to like here!  The perfect way to start the day.

Foodie Fact 

Blueberries are a sign from nature that snacking has always been OK.  They are one of the original grab and go foods!!!!  Served straight from the bush.  I am so glad to have these back in my life, they are real burst of incredible nutrition.  I love their dark colour, it adds brilliant contrast to any dish it touches.

They contribute amazingly to our health, that dark purple colour is thanks to some wonder pigments that are full of antioxidants.   They contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants in the plant world.  They limit free radical activity and actually regulate our blood sugar levels.

Categories: 'The Good Life', Breakfast, Dairy/ Lactose Free, Garden, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Organic, photography, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

The B.H.K Garden Photos – Spring and Seeds

We hit the patch. 4 types of potato in furrows, blue, white, red and knobbly.

April in the B.H.K. garden has seen much activity.  Mainly we have chopped wood for next year, but we managed to squeeze some gardening in also.  

We are following organic practices , with a little biodyamic thrown in (new moon and all).  The veg patch has been turned several times, with piles of local horse manure from the adjacent field and four different types of potato have been planted.  Pete at Trigonos Farm, Nantlle, kindly donated the seeding potatoes (some just sprung to life in our veg basket!).  We have blue, red, white and knobbly.  One day I will learn the names of them.

The front garden is full of herbs and four different types of latin american bean.  We hope for great things from the latin bean patch this year.

We also expect lots of flowers, some wild strawberries and the regular marjoram infestation.  The slugs are happy, but we plan on trapping them in underground cups with beer in.  Slugs like beer!  Get them tipsy and they seem to lose interest in plants.  Probably opting for a kebab instead.  

The newts have returned to the pond and the frog spawn seems to be wriggling even more.  Bring on the frogs!

We have a dodgy looking gang of sheep hanging around our back wall, but we have reinforced the defenses and hope to keep them out this year.  Apparently they like to walk along the walls and eat all things green.  The are also very dim and noisy.  

Breaking news – beetroots, green beans and leeks are rumoured to be on the way.

We are keen amateurs at best in the garden, any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Here’s hoping for zero food miles soon! 

Happy plantingX

Beach House herb garden circa April '12

Our seed trays (formerly traffic cones)

Jane puts her back into the spuds

The local beige tree frog

Happy cook with the sun on my face.

Categories: 'The Good Life', Garden, Healthy Living, Local food, Organic, Wales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

‘Uglies’ – The Jerusalem Artichoke

Sweet Uglies (after a hair cut)

I know Celeriac is sometimes called the ugly one, but surely the Jerusalem Artichoke takes this title.  All those knobbles, lumps and hairy bits!  We affectionately call them ‘Uglies’.

These ‘chokes’ are delicious though and have been a staple in the B.H.K. all winter, with Hootons Homegrown offering a cheap and constant supply.  Although they grow in abundance in the U.K., they are a rarely used veg.  I have been eating them with glee, without really knowing much about them.  Were they from Jerusalem?

The Jerusalem Artichoke is regarded as one of the finest tubers, faintly mushroomy in flavour, sweet and nutty.  When roasted they caramelise and when boiled make a great mash, treat them like a potato, with the exception that they are amazing raw.  Grated or chopped on salads they can add great crunch and go best with something salty.

The name is completely misleading, the Jerusalem Artichoke is not from Jerusalem or an artichoke!  They actually hail from North America where they were cultivated by Native Americans and are sometimes called a ‘sunchoke’ or ‘earth apple’ which are far cooler names.  They are the root of a plant belonging to the same family as the sunflower, the ‘Jerusalem’ maybe comes from the Italian word for sunflower ‘girasole’.

A word of warning.  These tubers store the carbohydrate inulin, which is a good source of fructose.  However, the inulin cannot be broken down by the body causing flatulence and potential discomfort.  This explains alot!  In the 17th century, a disgruntled English gardener was quoted as saying:

which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men.”

They are sometimes used as cattle feed.  In Germany they make a liquor from the root called ‘Topi’.

The ‘uglies’ should maybe called the ‘windies’, either way, they are coming to the end of their season in Britain and are well worth the risk of a little after dinner wind!

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