Archive for February, 2012

Five things

1. In our honey/syrup free Lent, date paste is our new best friend. Date paste is not the most attractive of  friends, but that is not what friendship is all about, after all. (Come to think of it, neither is friendship about blatant usage of another for your own enjoyment…but there…) I am delighted to annouce that I have now made chcolate using date paste (cacao butter- see this post for details, cocoa, and date paste) It is not as sweet- obviously, and I had to add more date sweetener, but WOW, it is still good, especially with Whole Earth peanut butter (sugar free, sweetened with….you’ve guessed it!) I mainly did for this for Alfredo but was more than happy to indulge alongside him. Amelia still loves the honey ones. Ellie still won’t touch either, but is happy enough without it. Isaac sums it up deliciously:- “oh YAY, Mum! Clock-Clock!”

2.For those who live in the UK, Aldi’s “Super 6” this week is fruit: Pineapples, pear bags, plums, lemons, apples and kiwi trays (8) for 69p. Blueberries for 89p (125grams)

3.Spring is here! ~I have seen the first daffodils- just in time for St David’s Day. Time to think about planting soon……

4. Dessicated coconut on fruit salad is delicious.

5. For carb-loving wheat-avoiders, potato, very thinly sliced on a mandoline cutter is an alternative to pasta;  Tuna “lasagne” tonight, honey. With date paste for dessert.

That’s all folks.

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Express Post: Easy Mediterranean Pate

Alfredo’s favourite ever pate.

  • 20 green pitted olives (or use stuffed ones)
  • 3 T walnuts (a large handful)
  • 2T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 a red pepper
  • Component parts, ready for blitzing

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food process until completely smooth, or leave a little texture if you prefer.

Finished article! Delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Walnuts and red pepper, a delightful match! They also feature in MY favourite pate- “Smoky Walnut Pate”, click for the recipe.

On green juice and kapotasana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I get yoga emails from a guy named Lucas Rockwood. He has a cool story- started as a sweaty overweight guy who could not get his hands past his knees and who lived off Red Bull, meat, pizza and the like…..and ended up as a very slim, uber-bendy bloke, who eats only plants and drinks lots of green juice, and loves it. He now lives in Thailand making a pretty packet with his yoga courses.

I like his emails because they are short and to the point, he doesn’t talk about chi and chakras, and he signs off , not with the traditional “Namaste”, but  “Stay Bendy” 🙂 

He often says things like “Coffee, meat and white carbs make you stiff” and “eating lots of greens helps your flexibility”, though never really offers much more in terms of “evidence”; just the thousands (literally) of people he has met and taught. But no “official studies” or anything….

So one day after Christmas, my body did not feel good. I had not loved it as I know how to  🙂  Tesco had loads of celery,cucumber and greens on the Reduced Shelf (It was not yet Jan 1st, so people hadn’t started dieting yet 😉 )  and I decided to just drink green juice for a day to give my poor digestion a break.

(I hasten to add, I do like drinking this, and I see no point in subjecting yourself to something you loathe just for the sake of “detox”, but there are a million ways to clean up your insides, like sweet, delicious fruit and water. More ideas in this post)

After one day of green juice, I was feeling better and pain-free and in the evening I decided to do some cheeky backbending. It had been 3 or 4 days since I had done any and I expected to be very stiff, so planned to take it slowly. Imagine my surprise when I was able to get further back than I ever have, with far more ease than I had ever experienced. (Yes, that merits an underlining, it does!)

I love personal anecdotal evidence  🙂 

P.S. No, obviously the girl in the photo is not me. But I can do that posture. It’s called Kapotasana- “Camel”. I nailed it in quite a short time, and I attribute it to  just 10 short minutes back stretching a day, and lots of clean food and water. That’s just my opinion  🙂

Namaste: The divine in me salutes, and reverences, the divine in you.

Namaste  🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunflower Seed Butter

I love Mother Nature’s “butters” to be found in nuts and seeds, via a trusty Mini Chopper, or food processor. I have posted instructions for Cashew, almond Nut butter, pistachio nut butter, sesame (tahini) and macadamias,…..but truthfully, all you need to know is this:

  • Don’t Soak your nuts
  • Can be made with unroasted nuts (this is how I do it) or by first lightly dry-toasting them in a non stick pan (Oils will be released more quickly if roasted)
  • Make sure your machine is very full, or once they process down a little, the blades will struggle to catch hold of the mixture
  • Be patient, and ready to stop and scrape the sides down periodically. Depending on type of nut/seed, you will need to process between 3-10 minutes.
  • If you are almost-but-not-quite there, you can cheat by adding a small amount of quality mild-tasting oil
  • Don’t add any liquid sweetener (if desired) until the end or it won’t work.

With these pointers you can make any kind you like: walnut butter, pumpkin seed butter, pecan nut butter, etc etc for a fraction of the price, less than 15 minutes work (washing up included) and with the added advantage of being able to do it unroasted (if desired) for maximum nutritional goodies.

For my sunflower seed butter, I did roast them first as I thought A. would enjoy it better like that, making it more similar to his beloved peanut butter. It is not altogether dissimilar to be honest.

Briefly…..

  • Dry toast 200grams of sunflower seeds in a dry non stick pan. Do it in batches if your pan is small. Stir/shake very frequently to avoid burning
  • Food process until oils are released. Okay I cheated with a tablespoon of oil at the end. Just trying to eke more life out of my machine.
  • I added 1/2 t salt at the beginning. I did not sweeten it- you choose.

I can confirm that this is GORGEOUS with mashed banana on sesame ryvita. I think it would be a lovely savoury based dip for celery and carrots too (whizzed with some tamari/soy sauce, and some other things…?)

Hurrah!

If you do this with UNroasted seeds, which I will try very soon (and add a PS on this post) it will not be a toasty-brown colour. Rather, a clay-like gray. Do not let this put you off (think- mushrooms!) but I just thought I would mention it.

Loving Leaves Loves Lisa Simpson!!

First, a story. I’ll keep it brief. (Not always my forte) A very good friend of mine (my husband!) is giving up wheat, yeast, sugar, honey, and dairy for a time. That’s no small task. He once had an intolerance test that screamed a big fat NO to all of these, and while he gave them up for a time to see if it helped his symptoms, it was very hard to sustain.

So, he has decided to have another crack at it. You know…for Lent  🙂 Anyone can do 40 days, right?

I am accompanying him on the journey, it’s all about solidarity.

It will be a bit difficult for me too: While I very rarely have sugar, I love my honey-sweetened chocolates on occasion; I don’t have much pasta nowadays but once in a while I enjoy it (wholewheat) ditto couscous/bulgur wheat. I stopped eating white bread a long time ago, and I don’t have wholewheat bread as much as I did (sometimes not for days at a time) because I suspect it is not my best friend anymore …but I do enjoy it sometimes, and I will probably find it hard not to have it “ever”…… of course wheat AND yeast rules out regular “breads” even gluten-free.   (Have you ever tried those yeast-free rye breads?  I did, once. Never again.)

I wrote for ideas to my lovely, talented friend Lisa Simpson. I initially met Lisa through our love for  raw plant foods, but now she is my friend because she is an amazing, spiritual, compassionate, inspirational person. 

Lisa , outside of her other profession, and family life, is a “raw vegan” chef/caterer;  she does the catering for detox retreats both at  idetox Holidays in Sussex and also some women’s retreats in a gorgeous country mansion in Yorkshire run by life-coach Clare Maguire both of which encourage people to love themselves better, and introduce more raw plant food into their diets. Lisa also does bespoke events, classes, coaching, and has a mail order service  of her home-made treats and dehydrated snacks.

Here is the link to her website/shop: “Raw Liberty” where you can buy guilt-free gorgeous chocolate, amazing kale chips (Lisa brought kale chips’ existance to my attention, oh blessed day!) and some other yummies. The carrot and onion flat”bread” is so good!  

So I asked Lisa for some inspiration for some wheat free/yeast free  recipes and of course she sent me a sample of her delicious pizza-style “flatbreads” , because that is the kind of thing she does. When I barely knew her, she sent me chocolate. As in, gorgeous, nurturing, healthsome chocolate. Like, just because. I knew we were meant to be friends after that  🙂

You will be quite astounded what can be done with raw fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, condiments, creativity and love. Check out some of the “Evoke Your senses” raw food photos on the retreat website, here.

What is my point? Only to say……this Lent will be a time of much creating, to help Alfredo through his cravings Gethsemane, as part of his experiment.

Creating, and serving always bring me a great deal of joy. Lisa has commented the same to me. 

Laws of the universe are like that….at times, different applications, but universal results  🙂

Here’s to a joyful Lent, and three cheers for inspirational friends!

Cruciferous Food Rush

A raw broccoli salad revolution has been started in Chester. My dear friend Melisa is behind it;  she takes it to work a few times a week, and now she has half her office making it too!  While reflecting on my good friend (the broccoli salad, I mean)  I re-read the original post of my raw broccoli salad.

Erm……what on earth was I on? It is SO LONG and I go on about the enzyme myrosinase for…well…quite a while.

Okay, so….Briefly 🙂

Myrosinase is amazing. Plant-life and their power to heal and strengthen us blows me away and  I am so grateful for these things (anyone who knows me, knows I mean that)

But let’s just get to the point here.

You have got make this bad boy, because it is RIDICULOUSLY good.

It is a food rush in a bowl. That’s what it is.

Melisa says she eats it in the cupboard at work, and she may even be serious.

So…

  1. Follow this link to the recipe
  2. Forgive the long-winded post
  3. Get some unroasted cashhews in soak, and
  4. Make some. You will not be sorry.

Raw Broccoli salad- Follow this link to wow your friends at the office  and treat yourself to a raw cruciferous food rush.

(And some myrosinase).

How to cook raw broccoli

Or should I say, how to “cook” raw broccoli; how to marinade it when raw, so it takes on a bright green appearance, softer, texture, and more palatable taste- alomost as if it had been blanched.Raw broccoli pulled straight from the head tastes a bit too sulphury-cruciferous for my liking; frankly, too RAW 🙂 But this genius trick transforms it, trust me. Nay, do not take my word for it, try it!

You simply marinade the florets in an ACID, SALT, and a FAT. (What do you mean, it doesn’t sound appealing?!) Choose one from each category:

FAT: Extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, toasted sesame oil, walnut oil, a mashed avocado(NB- will brown a little, even with some lemon juice), tahini etc

ACID: Lemon juice, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, white vinegar (eg white wine, apple cider,rice, etc)

SALT: sea salt, garlic salt, tamari/soy sauce

Note: No quantities. All you need to do is glug (liquids) and sprinkle (salt) a little as if you were dressing a salad (which you are) Proportions do not matter overly, apart from your personal tastes. (Toasted sesame oil and soy sauce make a lovely combination)

SO…..

  • Dress your broccoli florets with your fat/acid/salt.
  • Mix well using a fork, or even massage in with your hands (use a plastic bag over your hands if you don’t like the idea of squelchy hands on your oil-dressed food! You don’t? )
  • Leave for 1-2 hours, or overnight- all the better.
  • Enjoy in a salad of your choice.

BEFORE

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AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behold the greenness! It wow-ed my very raw-broccoli dubious husband. Here, it is featured in a delicious grain salad (with orange and cumin dressing) Recipe soon.

P.S This same principle works with kale also- the acid and salt break down the cell walls and make the leaves wilt down. The longer you leave them, the softer they become. Wilted kale salad is a favourite of mine, and Isaac eats it too. Nobody else, mind you. Baby steps 🙂

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