Archive for May, 2011

Raw Broccoli salad II (The Cumin One)

I think I might create a splendid array of different raw broccoli salads. Here is number two. It was gorgeous to look at  (And equally tasty, which is why we ate it so quickly and forgot to take a photo.) The bright green of the marinated broccoli, red pepper, purplish red onion, the white sesame seeds….I just love the colours of nature! If you have not read how amazing broccoli is, do so here, in the Raw Broccoli Salad number 1 post.

For the salad, we used: 

  • 1 head broccoli, broken into very small florets
  • A chunk of red onion, diced (quantity, to taste)
  • half a red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/8 cup sesame seeds
  • A handful of flaked almonds (optional)

For the Dressing-Marinade:

  • 1/8 cup extra virgin Olive oil
  • 1 1/2  T toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 t ground sea salt
  • 1/2 T honey
  • 1/2 t  soy sauce/tamari
  • 1 medium garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 t cumin

Pour the marinade over the salad, and mix well. Leave the salad, covered in the fridge for a good few hours, at least. The cumin is the magic ingredient; that, and the sesame oil. Do not omit! 

We ate it over the top of green pasta (wholewheat pasta + mashed avocado, pinch of salt) and it tasted amazing! So if you want to eat your salad solo, and you have a spare avocado, and you want to add that into the salad, I am sure you would not be sorry. (Three types of fat on your salad, anyone? Anyone?)

Photo to follow, when we make it again. Which we definitely will.

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“If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right”

This has not been photoshopped. It really is that green.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Enough Said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Living off only plants, or mainly plants, feels amazing. If you are not having fun eating plants, or maybe your children aren’t…maybe you are not doing it right. Try tweaking.
 
  • Change the packaging (Part I) This can really work for children. My daughters used to moan about their Ikea cupfull of green smoothie every day, despite it tasting really sweet and fruity. Without changing anything in it, I put it in a wine glass …and they were more interested. I put it in a glass with a straw, and it now disappears before I even sit down. Bingo. Who would have thought it?  It can work for adults too. One lady I know of missed drinking alcohol at fancy do’s, until she realised that one of the things she missed was holding a long-stemmed glass; she now always drinks her freshly squeezed juice cocktails in a  wine glass, and is completely happy.
  • Change the packaging (Part II) If you don’t like green leaves, blend them with fruit! If you don’t like the taste of your green smoothie, use more fruit, or milder leaves, like baby spinach, or lambs lettuce. If you are not keen on salads, package them in amazing home-made plant-based dressings. Don’t like beans or pulses unless there is lots of meat floating in it? You just need to find that magic mix of spices and herbs.
  • Eat more desserts.Yes, seriously. Get on a crusade to find desserts which satisfy your sweet tooth and have only wholesome clean ingredients in. There are plenty out there. Get Googling. Banana softserve with cashew butter caramel sauce. Brazil Nut “Cookies and Cream”.  “Raw” cheesecake. Here are two links to get you started:

Raspberry ganache Fudge Cake

Raw Mango cheesecake  

I can vouch how amazing both of these taste. The kids loved them too. (Both are free from dairy, and refined sugar. “Agave nectar” in these recipes can be replaced with unpasteurised honey if desired)

And of course, the dessert supreme in the mediterranean- fruit. No kitchen appliances or washing up required. (Some  people would say- “Never eat fruit after a meal, it will kill your digestion!” I would say- if that bowl of berries is instead of a sticky toffee pudding, don’t sweat the small stuff, and knock yourself out with your bowl of berries)

So get creative. It makes you feel good. Go forth, eat more plants, and be happy!

A horrifying realisation, and Peanut Butter Cups

I was filled with a kind of horror last night when I realised…(I am pretty slow- it has taken me a month)….I have turned into someone who photographs her lunch! And here’s the worst…..I don’t want to stop doing it, either! I used to find it highly irritating to find people doing these “Hey, you want to know what I ate today?” And now I am doing it. Kind of….Though I like to think I put a different slant on it, but you know what? Maybe I am kidding myself.

My “About” section is pretty sketchy. I just started this as a way of waxing lyrical about the food I enjoy, without having to directly irritate people I know by doing so. Thankfully I have two or three people in my life that allow me to get poetical about the things I have discovered, and they happily share in my ardour. But not wanting to overstep the mark, I decided to start this blog.

While I confess that I do look at the stats, and I like to get a comment, I mainly use this is a way to:

  • Express myself. Sometimes I just eat something that I love and feel the need to share it. Albeit with a screen. Sad, I know.
  • Record plant-based recipes that have been successful with all, most, or even just one member of the household. That’s because I am sick of scraps of paper, and this is as good as index cards, and I can put photos in.
  • Pass it on….I would love to think that even once in a while, someone will try some of this stuff, or similar things, instead of some of the junk that is out there, and enjoy it. Or make some changes which help their health and well-being.

So there it is. And here is a quick recipe. A big hit with my peanut butter loving daughter. The chocolate is my version made with honey and coconut oil. Did I mention my peanut-butter-loving daughter “HATES coconut”? She loves this chocolate though, so it can’t taste too overpoweringly of coconut. If you were not into peanuts, fill with raw almond butter or cashew butter. They are mini, like my Bounty Bar Bites. And full of coconut oil goodness, ditto ditto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mini Peanut Butter Cups (makes 10-12)

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, room temperature (abt 30g)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder (abt 15-20g)
  • 1/4 cup unpasteurised honey  (abt 50g)

Then, for the filling…..

  • 1/4 cup no added sugar/salt peanut butter (or alternative nut butter)
  • 2 pinches coarse sea salt, slightly crushed
  •  1teaspoon unpasteurised honey (for the filling). Or was it 1Tablespoon? Great. I’ve lost my card. Just taste test. Depends how sweet you like it.

Instructions

  • Melt the coconut oil in a bowl, placed in a pan of hot water
  • Once melted, with the bowl still in the pan to keep it warm, add the cocoa powder and the 1/4 cup of honey, and salt. Stir well, because the honey will sink down to the bottom of the coconut oil
  • Using a teaspoon, cover the bases of 10 mini silicone cases with the chocolate mixture
  • Put in freezer for 10-15 minutes
  • Meanwhile, keep your pan of chocolate mixture covered with a lid so it doesn’t set
  • Mix 1/4 cup of nut butter, with the honey and crushed sea salt.
  • Remove your chocolate bases. They should be firm enough to continue.
  • Take small balls of the filling, and using slightly damp fingers, flatten into a plump little disc shape on top of the bases.
  • When all your mixture is divided up, use the remaining chocolate mixture to cover the nut butter filling.
  • Chill in the fridge…….or freezer, if you are very impatient.

As previously mentioned, coconut oil is hard in the fridge, but pretty soft when left out. Failure to keep refridgerated will result peanut butter cups of a spoonable texture. Just so you know.

Ice Cream for Breakfast

Once I read this blog post called “This post will change your life” . I suspect the author, a very creative, raw-plant loving vegan, erred on the side of dramatic to ensure herself some extra clicks….because it didn’t change my life as such….but OH, what a discovery! And let’s face it, daily lives are composed of minutia, among other more lofty components, and sometimes, all it takes is a wee little something like this to delight your day. I love it. The earth brings forth everything we need for the body to be healthy, and to feed the inner self.

And ice-cream feeds my soul.

But it has to be the right type.

Because my soul, I believe, is made up of my inner self AND my body; and to truly nurture the inner self on every level, you must do the same with it’s other half; the body. Sorry if that is too metaphysical for you. But I believe it 🙂

For that reason, I have all sorts of recipes for ice creams made with vitamin, mineral, and healthy-fat laden nuts, all of which are heavenly…..but this is just the winner, because it’s a one-ongredient ice cream! One. Plus, whatever else you care to add. It’s fat-free (for those who are bothered), it is picked off a plant, it is sweet, creamy and akin to an Italian style soft serve, and you could whip it up before your spot on the sofa gets cold.Or before your sun-lounger cools down. My friends, I give you: The Banana Soft serve Ice Cream!

I love you.

You see, ripe bananas have a wonderful natural sweetness, but I really do not love the texture by the time they reach that stage. So I tend to use them in smoothies. Mashed on home-made wholewheat toast with a sprinkling of seeds is also nice….but this is just….special. Look at that creaminess! When your bananas are nice and sweet, you know- the skin is nice and speckled-  slice up plenty, and freeze. (If you just freeze them in a bag, of course, they will freeze into one hard brick-like lump. Freeze them spread out on a plate/tray, on parchment paper for example)

When you fancy a cheeky fat-free ice cream moment, just take out, say 20-30 slices. Put into your food processor and blitz. If you do not have one, I highly recommend that you get one! I use this mini chopper; it does the trick, it is small, and costs less than £20.

At first, it will just be lots of frozen separate particles of frozen banana; it will look like it won’t get there, but carry on; stop and give it a mix if need-be.  Be patient!  (It’s noisy. It’s worth it)

Suddenly when you are thinking “when will this ever come together?”  it will transform into celestial creamy ice-cream. The whole thing takes about 5 minutes, what with stopping and mixing in etc

 

Of course you could add some honey, or maple syrup….though really, it carries its own sweetness because you have waited till the bananas are nice and ripe and have developed plenty of natural sugars. The banana flavour is present, though not overpowering. It was, however,  sniffed out by my affirmed banana-hating daughter, though I personally, really do not find it tastes too strongly of bananas. My dad tried this and was so blown away by the texture and creaminess that he asked me twice “are you SURE you haven’t added anything like cream to this?”

Here are some variations, most of which I have tried.

  • Add a medjool date into the food processor for caramelly-fudgy moments (The ice cream in the picture has a date in, as you will see)
  • Add in a handful of frozen raspberries or blueberries. Or fresh.               Frozen “yoghurt”. Now I cannot remember if I did it with fresh or frozen. I think it was frozen raspberries…
  • Add in some walnut chunks and a droozle or two of maple syrup.
  • Add in some liquid sweetener (honey etc) and some unsweetened chocolate/carob powder. I have not tried this, so I do not know how you would get along with proportions, but just taste-test happily.

If you want to get fancy, add in some vanilla seeds and/or some raw nut butter. I have also found the frozen slices are just delicious to eat on a hot day. The texture is so unctious and creamy. It’s like a tiny ice cream slice. And no washing up. Bonus.

I have some slices in the freezer right now, for later. Nothing like a little soul nurturing on a rainy Thursday evening, wouldn’t you say?

Update: Look how you can dress this baby up, follow the link.

Green Pasta, two ways.

Today we had green pasta, and “green pasta” for lunch. The first, is a firm family favourite, SO easy, and really delicious. My youngest daughter asked if she could have it for breakfast sometimes! 🙂  It is simply wholewheat pasta, with a mashed avocado sauce. (maybe a pinch of salt got in there too…)  Then make a little plate up with your favourite raw veggies, and lunch is served. Cherry tomatos, olives, sugarsnap peas, carrot sticks, cucumber, etc Of course, if you do not get on well with wheat, substitute for buckwheat soba noodles, brown rice noodles or something similar. But please, wholegrain. Let us reverence the avocado 🙂  But seriously, try this. The easiest most delicious pasta sauce, and so very good for you. Of course, if you want to get fancy, get fancy. You could use this as a creamy base for all sorts of flavours. But my children love it in it’s bare naked greenness, nothing added.

I really love this dish too sometimes, but today my fridge was a bit too full of courgettes, and I decided to go for a raw veggie lunch, so I whipped up some courgette spaghetti with my julienne slicer. And the “pesto” sauce on top consisted of the following, blitzed in the food processor :

  • 1 courgette. (another one. My fridge had a lot of courgettes)
  • 2 big handfuls of basil
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1-2 pinches of salt
  • The tiniest bit of extra virgin olive oil. So tiny I probably shouldn’t have bothered, but still…

 

You can serve courgette spaghetti steamed or raw. Mine was raw. I massged in a little salt and left it to sit for a bit and it lost a bit of it’s… turgidity? turgidness? Anyway. It got floppier. The longer you leave it the floppier it gets. It was so delicious!

So there you have it. Green pasta, and “green pasta”. The whole thing was done by the time the pasta cooked, so that was a bonus. And there is truly, nothing on earth, like a green lunch!

Courgette and Avocado Dressing

This is for all you gardeners out there. Or friends and family members of gardeners. Or just courgette lovers. The courgette glut will be upon us before too long and it is time to start collecting recipes! They are high in water, low in calories, rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, the heart friendly mineral potassium, anti-oxidants, fibre (in the peel) and when eaten raw, lots of wonderful enzymes.

Here is a nice easy and delicious dressing to top your big leafy mid-day salad of abundance. You will need a big salad; think leaves, chopped bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, grated carrots, celery, corn, sugarsnaps, red onion, cucumber, or whatever takes your fancy. Now for the dressing.

You will need: 

  • 1 medium courgette (zucchini)
  • 1 smallish avocado
  • 1/2 a spring onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (optional)

First, grate the skin off your courgette, and add the skin gratings to your salad. Chop your courgette roughly and blitz in your food processor with everything except your avocado. These quantities may need to be doubled for a larger food processor.

Your courgette may not be completely homogenized but that is alright. Once you add in the avocado, and blend again it will become a beautiful green, creamy dressing. By all means if you are feeling oleic-acid-hungry, add in a droozle of extra virgin olive oil to this dressing; I did not on this occasion.

You may not have nutritional yeast; add a little something else to lift the flavour if you wish. If you like acidity, a squeeze of lemon or lime. Some red pepper flakes? Some fresh herbs? Go forth, create, and enjoy!

“Cheezey” Popcorn

Except this contains no  whey, vegetable oils, maltodextrin, and calcium caseinate, MSG, autolyzed yeast extract and enzyme modified cheeses like your regular yukky artificial cheese powder contains.

The “cheese” flavour (actually, I have no idea why I put it in inverted commas, because it really does taste cheesey) comes from a natural form of yeast called NUTRITIONAL YEAST. It is an inactive form of yeast (unlike bakers yeast) that is cultured; if you want more details about how this is done, the wikipedia article on it is good. It is very rich in B Vitamins, and according to wikipedia, it is a complete protein too, which was happy news that I did not know about. So it is affordable, nutritious, and a perfect natural condiment, with no wierd stuff.

And yes, it tastes like cheese. At least, it does to me, and many other people. My cheese-fanatical daughter (whose first word was “cheese”) first tasted it on popcorn and rolled her eyes with a “mmmmmmmm, that is SOOOO good!” She also likes to shake it on her risotto. So there, while it may not be to everyones taste, I always think a cheese-loving child is the test of fire, and in my house at least, it passed.

It is sold in the UK in most health food stores by the company Engevita, and when you open the tub, it is small powdery flakes of a yellowish hue, about the same colour as polenta. When I use it as a sprinkle, I grind it in my spice grinder to a fine powder, 1/3 cup of Nut.Yeast  to 1/4teaspoon seasalt (optional). And here it is on popcorn.  Which you can probably barely see. But i shall put it in, to break up the text 🙂

Of course, it doesn’t stick that well unless you used something like an oil spray, but we don’t mind, we just throw lots on and there is always some left at the bottom of the dish to dip into. There are lots more ways to use this in your kitchen creations, so more will be be featured in the future.

Meanwhile, be happy in the knowledge of nature’s abundance, there are wonderful flavours and textures out there to be enjoyed which will also nurture you, and add to your energy, not sap it. It’s never-ending! It’s so exciting! I love it! Enough exclamation marks. That was accidental. It must be all this abundance…..

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