Jun 2012

OLIVE OIL AND THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET

OLIVE OIL AND THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET

Last Saturday I attended a day of talks organised by my college. One of the segments was a cookery demonstration and a talk on the Mediterranean Diet. My friend and I were watching in bit of a dismay as the chef poured lashings of olive oil on her fennel and orange salad (about 2Tbs per 1/3 of a fennel bulb) and than fried couple of fillets of sea bass in a very generous pool of rapeseed (canola) oil. My friend confronted her about the amount of oil she was using. Her response was: “ I never count calories and we need fat and olive oil is a healthy fat!”

Every week we read articles about the benefits of Mediterranean Diet. We are informed that eating a diet high in veggies, fruit, fish and olive oil is the best way to protect ourselves from heart disease and cancers. Olive oil is hailed as the secret to long life and good health. Are these claims right?

Dr Dean Ornish states that the benefit of olive oil is only due to replacing the more saturated fats in person’s diet, this of course will bring some benefits. Just by replacing (weight for weight) butter with olive oil you will see lowered cholesterol levels. This is not due to the magic powers of olive oil but just merely thanks to abolishing the butter. Dr. Ornish promotes rapeseed oil as a much healthier option especially for its Omega 3 content. Still it is a high calorie food.
http://www.pmri.org/publications/newsweek/The_Great_Olive_Oil_Misconconception_Dr_Dean_Ornish.pdf

Drs Esselstyn and McDougall advise against the use of all oils and Dr Fuhrman allows around 1TBS of oil a day provided you are healthy weight, in good health and active. He advises against oil consumption if trying to loose weight. The Pritikin Longevity Centre recommends keeping oil consumption to 1 teaspoon a day.

When doing my research on the matter I came across the fascinating world of Monasteries on the Greek Mount Athos. The male population of monks have surprised experts by their incredibly low prostate cancer rates (about 1/4 of of the international average),further cases of lung, bladder and bowel cancers are non existent; so is heart disease and Alzheimer’s. The monks eat a diet rich in plant foods; fruits, vegetables, rice, pasta, soya and pulses. They eat twice a day and meals last only 10min leading to calorie restriction. They strictly observe
3 non dairy/no olive oil days in a week. Dairy is rather rare to the island as no female animals (except for cats) are allowed on the monastery premises. The monks observe weeks of fasting when only vegan diet is consumed. They eat fish on feast days only, i.e Christmas. They get by on very little sleep as the day starts at 3am with an 8 hour long service. Their everyday routine doesn’t change, it consists of prayer, silence and work (the monks are as self sufficient as possible). Their are cut off from news from the outside world which in my opinion contributes to further calmness of mind and non existence of stress.

We may not all choose to live like monks on Mount Athos but we could all do with adopting their way of eating. As for oils I used them sparingly, some days (like the monks) we have none at all, others I may have use 1/2- 2 Tbs in my cooking (this is to serve 4). I do prefer to get my fats from seed, nuts and avocados.

To find out bit more about the olive oil controversy have a look at this very informative article from the Pritikin Longevity Centre:
http://www.pritikin.com/your-health/healthy-living/eating-right/1103-whats-wrong-with-olive-oil.html


artichokeandpotato

SUMMER STEW OF GLOBE ARTICHOKES AND POTATOES
To prepare the artichokes you need the patience of a Mount Athos monk. It is not an easy task at first but once you get a hang of it, believe me, it will get easier. Just have a large bowl for all the cuttings, you will end up with lots of remains to put on your compost heap. There are some great step by step guides on the web. All the effort is well worth it, fresh artichokes are delicious and so different from the jarred ones ( which I equally love).

Serves 4

ingredients

4 large globe artichokes
2 lemons
400g (just under a pound) of small new potatoes
500ml homemade vegetable stock (or light bought vegetable stock)
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 large cloves of garlic
1 cup peas or broad beans

method
  1. First prepare the artichokes. Fill a bowl, that will hold the artichokes, with water and juice of a lemon (this prevents artichokes from going brown). Depending on the length of the artichoke stalk cut some off leaving about 2 inches. Pull off the outer leaves of the artichokes, when you see light more tender leaves using a sharp knife cut off the top half of artichoke, scoop out all the choke (purple and light green feathery strands) until you are left with the heart. Cut off any remnants of the tough leaves on the outside of the heart. Peel the stalk. When working with the artichoke rub any cut (exposed) area with lemon to prevent browning. When finished place the artichoke into the lemon water before proceeding with the next one.
  2. Cut the artichokes into 4 pieces lengthways.
  3. Clean the potatoes, halve the larger ones, leave the smallest one whole.
  4. In a large lidded pan heat the veggie stock, add juice of half a lemon, the artichokes, potatoes, bay leaves, thyme and garlic. Bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer covered for about 20min or till tender.
  5. Add the peas (or shelled broad beans) and cook for further 2 min.
  6. Serve with some crusty bread to mop up the lemony stock.

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Rhubarb ice cream

RHUBARB ICE CREAM

This weekend was marked by my son’s 10th birthday. He was very excited about getting into “double figures”. He celebrated hard and it might have taught him a very important lesson.

Nobody expects kids sleepovers to be a subdued affair but I didn’t expect three 10 year olds to be capable of staying up more or less all night. There might have been couple of hours of sleep somewhere. When I went to take breakfast orders my sons face said it all...yes he looked terrible.

The day after sleepover morning he woke up with a sore throat and a very raspy nearly asthmatic cough. The lesson he learned was that child’s body is just not meant to got on so little sleep. It is as if his body panicked due to the stress of lack of sleep and the result was contracting an opportunistic infection. This may be just a theory but I am sure to remind him how he felt before every sleepover. Now he is on lots of vitamin C rich fruits and veggies and early nights.

This recipe is for one of mu son’s favourite ice-creams. Like me he loves rhubarb. My husband and daughter are not keen on it at all. Rhubarb is one of those love it or hate it foods. My grandma loved rhubarb however one day after eating a jar of rhubarb compote she ended up in agony with pain caused by kidney stones. Yes, rhubarb can cause kidney stones so if you do have a tendency to get them it is advisable to stay away from the pinky stalks.

Of course rhubarb needs sweetening, otherwise if will not be very pleasant. It would be actually be rather disgusting. When making this recipe I started with 4 Tbs of coconut palm sugar, but eventually had to increase it to 6. Taste as you go. Frozen ice cream will taste less sweet than the mixture before freezing.

rhubarbice-cream

RHUBARB ICE-CREAM
Don’t forget to soak your almonds overnight!

Makes 4-6 servings.

ingredients

350 g (12 oz) rhubarb
6 Tbs of coconut palm sugar (also sold as coconut nectar)
2 cups of water
250ml (1 cup) of raw almonds
375 ml (1 and 1/2 cup) of water

method
  1. Soak the almonds in water overnight.
  2. Cut up the rhubarb into half inch pieces, place into a small sauce pan with the coconut palm sugar and 2 Tbs of water. Bring to a boil and cook after the rhubarb is falling apart and you get a thick compote. Let it cool way down.
  3. While your rhubarb is cooking make the almond cream: Drain the almonds put them into your blender. Add 375ml of fresh water and process till smooth. Pour the cream into a cheese cloth and squeeze out as much as you can. Discard the almond meal (or save for making dehydrator cookies)
  4. Mix the cooled rhubarb compote with the almond cream. For best results chill in the fridge before putting into an ice-cream maker.
  5. If using an ice-cream maker follow the manufacturers instructions, all makes are different.
  6. If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, put the mixture into a container and place in your freezer. Every 2 hrs remove out of the freezer and whisk thoroughly to remove any ice-crystals (electric whisk works best). Repeat this until the ice-cream freezes.
  7. Remove from the fridge for 20min before serving.
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MEXICAN LAYERED CASSEROLE

MEXICAN LAYERED CASSEROLE

When you are constantly trying to come up with new recipes things can get a bit heated in the dining room. I am talking about feeding kids. They can be tricky customers. And sound creatures of habit, they like to eat what is familiar. Mum’s experiments can get rather a cold reception. Sometimes they just look at a dish in front of them and say YUCK. I just keep trying and it seems to be paying off at times.

Only last week my daughter ate (not happily but ate) a portion of miso dressed kale. Normally she only likes kale chips. After years of trying to persuade her she finally started to eat avocado this week, she will only eat it with raspberry or strawberry vinegar but it is going down. She is particular about her carrots they have to be raw not “wet”(meaning cooked). Pineapple she consumes in huge amounts provided it has been made into a smoothie. Even cherries and apricots get a seal of
approvement but only if “smoothified”... Peppers disappear into tomato soup and butternut squash into my mac and (no) cheese. It does take a lot of concocting but there is always a way.

Last night I was expecting the “Yuck I am not eating that” at dinner time. And yes those were the first words she uttered when she spotted the casserole dish. Honestly all she could see was the tomato sauce on top! I served her up one stripy wedge anyway. After tasting it she smiled and said: “Yummy! This is one of the best things you have ever made!” My son gave it 10/10. Two super endorsements! I thought this could be a kids pleaser but never imagined it would be this successful. Even the spinach layers disappeared!



image1


MEXICAN LAYERED CASSEROLE
I used shop bought refried beans. You could make your own but it is a weekday and I know kids adore the taste.

As my kids are not keen on too spicy so I made half of the casserole with added jalapenos and half without. I marked one side of the casserole dish so I didn’t make a mistake of mixing it up, the dish will turn when you layering it. Imagine the look on their faces if they bit into a jalapeno!!!

ingredients
tomato sauce
1 Tbs olive oil or 60ml (1/4cup) water
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tins of tomatoes

spinach tofu layer
220 g (1/2lb) frozen spinach, deforested (or use lb of fresh)
250g (1lb 1oz) tofu
1 tsp dried onion
1/2 tsp dried garlic
2 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
salt and pepper to taste

jalapeno peppers
8 soft corn tortillas
1 tin of refried beans
vegan melting cheese on top (optional)

method
  1. First make the sauce. In a sauce pan heat the oil (or water) and saute the onion till soft.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  3. Add the spices, cook about 30 seconds.
  4. Next add the tomatoes, season, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 30minutes.
  5. Next make the spinach layer.
  6. Put spinach, tofu, nutritional yeast flakes, dried onion and garlic, salt and pepper into a food processor. Process till quite smooth (it will resemble ricotta cheese).
  7. Now layer the casserole. Make sure that you use a deep round casserole dish that will fit the tortillas snuggly. First put some tomato sauce on the bottom. Layer: tortilla, 1/3 refried beans, tortilla, 1/2 spinach with tofu, tortilla, tomato sauce topped with jalapenos, tortilla, refried beans, tortilla, spinach with tofu, tortilla, tomato sauce with jalapenos, tortilla, beans, tortilla, tomato sauce with jalapenos. Top with vegan cheese if desired (I like it with or without)
  8. Bake at 180C. Bake it covered for the first 20min and than uncovered for 15min.
  9. Let sit for 10min before serving, you will get better layers. Serve with a crisp salad and some avocados (or guacamole).

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SUPER VEGGIE STEW

SUPER VEGGIE STEW

Last week I got asked by two different people about protein. Everybody seems to be concerned about getting the right kind protein and enough of it. When I am asked where do I get my protein from I like to answer with the classic: Where do gorillas get their protein? (and hippos, giraffes, elephants, rhinos....)

How much protein do we really need? If you are following UK or USA daily allowance you should be eating about 0.8g per 1 kg of your ideal body weight. Requirements are higher for children, pregnant and lactating women. World Health Organisation sets their daily allowance much lower at 0.45g per 1 kg of your ideal body weight. This means that about 5% of your calories should come from protein. I suppose you could shoot for somewhere in the middle.
Remember human breast milk is 5% protein!

What kind of protein do you need? We have been told for years that animal protein equals high quality protein and vegetarian sources are somewhat inferior. This is not so. According to Janice Stanger, Ph.D. (The Perfect Formula Diet): “Your digestive system is designed to break down all the proteins you eat into amino acids before you absorb the food in your intestines. This is true for both plant and animal protein.” These amino acids are than stored and put together when needed. Very clever our bodies. As long as you getting all your amino acids it doesn’t really matter what source they come from.

Can you be protein deficient? This is incredibly rare in the Western society. You could lack protein if you only eat refined carbs... If you eat varied diet, are not hungry, feel well, maintain healthy weight than you are getting enough protein. Unfortunately typical Western diet is far too rich in (animal) protein which makes it rather hard on your kidneys. Other implications? I would say read The China Study (Dr Colin T. Cambpell) all is explained there.

What are my favourite protein sources? Green veggies, legumes, grain, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, millet, nuts and seeds.... Did you know that nearly half of calories of green leafy veggies come from protein? The recipe below has around 33g of protein in you add 2 cups of cooked quinoa you can add another 16g (brown rice 10g). The quinoa version gives you around 12g per portion (more if you like your portions big).


sweetpotatospringstew

SUPER VEGGIE STEW
Serves 4

1 Tbs olive oil (or 60ml - 1/4cup of water)
1 large onion, chopped quite finely
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 inch of ginger, grated
1-2 red chilli, finely chopped
3 large portobello mushrooms, cut into bite size pieces
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut pieces
1 tin of tomatoes
1 tin of black beans
375 (1 and 1/2cups) of vegetable stock
200g (about half pound) of spring greens (collards), tough stalks removed and leaves thickly shredded

  1. In a large saute pan heat the oil or water and saute the onion till soft. Next add the garlic , chilli and ginger and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the mushroom, cook till softened (if using water add some more if mushrooms start sticking).
  3. Next add the potatoes, tomatoes, black beans and the vegetable stock. Cook for about 20 minutes till sweet potatoes soften.
  4. Add the spring greens and cook for further 5 minutes or till the greens are tender.
  5. Serve with cooked quinoa or brown rice.
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CURRIED CHICKPEA BURGERS

CURRIED CHICKPEA BURGERS

You know the drill. It has been a long day you don’t fancy cooking and the take way menus are calling to you. You order more than you need, spend more than you should, wait nearly an hour, eat more than you intended, fall onto the sofa and complain about being stuffed. At that precise moment you make the ground breaking decision that you won’t ever make the same mistake again. Until....

Couple weeks ago I decided that we treat ourselves to an Indian take-way, we were in the vicinity of a greatly popular Indian restaurant so we popped in to get some curries to accompany our Saturday movie. When we got home and opened the bag I noticed that at the bottom of the take-way bag was roughly a centimetre of oil. It must have leaked out of the containers and looked extremely unappetising. I was glad the curry came in a very sturdy plastic carried bag.

It does amaze me how many people eat take-aways several times a week. Kebabs, pizzas, burgers, curries and the UK’s most popular Chinese take away is a big business. Instead of dialling the number or getting into your car to get to the nearest take-away restaurant we have to put on our aprons and start cooking healthy delicious meals at home. We have to involve kids in food preparation too, this recipe is brilliant for that. My fusion curried burgers are much better for you than any take-away.

curryburger

CURRIED CHICKPEA BURGERS

If you don’t want to end up with a large piece of garlic or ginger in your burger make sure you chop the garlic and ginger before putting them into the food processor.

No oils added.

Makes 6 burgers

ingredients
85g (1/2 cup) brown rice
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 tin chickpeas
1 red chilli
1 inch ginger, peeled, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
pinch of asofetida
salt
2 Tbs mango chutney
1 Tbs tomato paste
handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped
25 g (1 oz) of breadcrumbs
Whole wheat burger buns or pitta pockets


method

  1. Cook rice according to the package instructions, let it cool down.
  2. Put the following ingredients into your food processor: chickpeas, onion, red chilli, ginger, garlic, spices, mango chutney and tomato paste.
  3. Process together until well chopped but not smooth.
  4. Add the rice and pulse together few times till mixed through.
  5. Put the mixture into a large bowl, add the coriander, cashews and breadcrumbs.
  6. Shape the mixture into 6 burgers. The mixture is rather wet but if you wet your hands between each burger they do come together very well.
  7. Place the burgers onto a greaseproof paper lined baking sheet.
  8. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
  9. Bake for 25-30 min in a 180 oven, turning the burgers halfway through.
  10. Serve in a bun or a pitta pocket (I enjoyed mine wrapped in lettuce leaves). Garnish with your favourite sauces and toppings.

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHICKPEA SALAD

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHICKPEA SALAD

A whole week of revision. On Saturday I have my final Biomedicine exam therefore I have been buried in books and lectures, making notes and tables, drawing pictures. By now I can draw a mean neuron!

When I am this busy it would be easy to eat rubbish, but I can’t and don’t want to do that. When it comes to grabbing a sandwich I get bored very quickly. Even I love hummus there are only so many hummus wraps I can eat. Taking a break to make a quick, nutritions and delicious lunch will only enhance one’s study performance. Another break to take dogs out will clear head and refresh the brain for further info intake.

Enough talking here is the recipe before I get back to infectious diseases and other delights...


butternutsuqashchickpeasala

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHICKPEA SALAD
This can be served hot straight from the oven or at room temperature. Whatever you do wait till you are ready to eat before you add the spinach. T

serves 2 as a main dish salad, 4 as a starter

700g (about 1 and 1/2lb) butternut squash (it was a half of a large one)
2 medium red onions
1 Tbs of olive oil
1 tin of chickpeas (no salt added)
2 tsp sambal oelek
1 Tbs rice vine vinegar
2 tsp brown rice miso
200 g baby spinach leaves

method
  1. First preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Peel and deseed the butternut squash, cut into larger bite sized pieces.
  3. Peel the onion and cut into chunks (each onion in about 8 pieces)
  4. Put onions, butternut squash and olive oil into a medium size roasting dish, toss together and place in the oven
  5. Roast for 25 min than add the drained chickpeas and roast for 10 more minutes.
  6. In the meantime combine the sambal oelek, vinegar and miso together.
  7. Remove the vegetables and chickpeas from the oven and toss with the dressing. Place on top of spinach leaves and serve.


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CNM - Heatlhy Living

CNM - Healthy Living

Come along to CNM Bristol HEALHY LIVING day event on Saturday 23rd of June. Lots of great talks and cookery demos. Meet some interesting people and get inspired.

CNM Bristol Open Day A5 Leaflet v4 final low res


1 CNM Bristol Open Day A5 Leaflet v4 final low res

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A BOOK REVIEW: FEEDING YOUR VEGAN INFANT -WITH CONFIDENCE by Sarah Hood

A BOOK REVIEW: FEEDING YOUR VEGAN INFANT -WITH CONFIDENCE
by Sandra Hood

Veganbook

At the last Bristol VegFest I was approached by the Vegan Society and asked to write a review of the above book on my blog. My kids have passed the infant stage but I was happy to have a read and learn.

Being a parent is a difficult task, you are trying to do the best for your children while being bombarded by heaps of different information (and misinformation). Things get even more complicated when you decide to bring your child outside of the perceived norm, i.e. vegan. Undoubtedly you will encounter countless opinions and a large number of these will not be very positive. The best thing a person can do is to have as much information as possible. Sandra Hood’s book is a perfect place to start.

This book contains all the information you will need to give your baby a great start in life while feeling very confident about it. Sandra Hood doesn’t overwhelm you with information yet she manages to cover a whole range of topics. She starts with the very visual food pyramid which will always be a great reference to rely upon. I am seriously thinking about making it into a poster to be hung up on my kitchen wall! There is not only information on what and how to feed your infant but also what to feed yourself before conception and during pregnancy.

The style of the book is very approachable and not preachy, there are plenty charts that make it easy to navigate through the most important information such as nutrients and their sources or weaning time tables. I loved the advice on what to do outside home, it can be a battlefield when your children go to parties or friends’ houses for tea.

It was invaluable to read other parent’s experiences, a fantastic way to be reassured that sticking to one’s believes will bring success. Hearing from parent’s who “have been there and got the vegan T-shirt” is the best way to get on the way.

In my opinion this book is fantastic for anybody who wants to bring up healthy vegan baby in today’s world. As the title suggests, reading this book will give you the confidence to do so. Should you need more information there is a list of further recommended reading and useful addresses.

Of course there are some recipes included, a great place to get you started. I have mentioned that my children are not infants anymore but we managed to find recipes suitable for any age. Today is Sunday and we felt it was the perfect day to try out the pancake recipe. Everybody loved them, drenched in maple syrup and accompanied by some lovely strawberries.

PANCAKES
(Feeding your vegan infant-with confidence, Sandra Hood)

makes 12x4” pancakes
(I made smaller pancakes, using a tablespoon, we made 24, enough to serve 6)


IMG_2622

ingredients
300g flour (mix of wholemeal and unbleached white)
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbs ground flaxseeds
2 Tbs rapeseed oil
500ml non-dairy milk (I used Kara coconut milk)

method
Mix the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add the oil and milk and stir thoroughly. Cook in a lightly oiled pan for 2-3min on each side.

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WHEATBERRY PILAF WITH ROASTED TOMATO DRESSING

WHEATBERRY PILAF WITH ROASTED TOMATO DRESSING

This isn’t an advert for Merchant Gourmet, but it could be. I just love their products. They sell the best puy lentils, my daughter’s favourite whole wheat giant couscous, their sundried tomatoes are full of flavour and not preserved in in oil. Every Christmas I buy their chestnuts and I even used their products in a gift basket for a friend’s birthday.

The latest product I spotted was a box of wheatberries. If you are wondering, wheatberries are the whole kernels of wheat that are milled into flour.They are similar to spelt or barley and can be used interchangeably in recipes. Wheatberries are high in fiber, about 6g per 1/4 cup, they are incredibly filling. They are chewy which makes them perfect food to practice mindful eating as it will you take a while to get through them. This is a good news because it means that you will probably end up eating less.

My wheatberries were paired up with some gorgeous green veggies and a dressing made out of oven roasted tomatoes and garlic. Isn’t it amazing how roasting tomatoes concentrates the flavour? This recipe has no fat added.

wheatberriepilaf


WHEATBERRY PILAF WITH ROASTED TOMATO DRESSING

Serves 4

ingredients
tomato dressing
6 medium tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic unpeeled
2 sprigs of thyme
Tbs of fresh oregano

pilaf
200g (1cup) wheatberries
1 litre vegetable stock
8 runner beans
1 bunch of asparagus
1 courgette
couple handfuls of peas

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking dish with some baking paper. Halve the tomatoes and put into the baking dish, cut side up. Roast for 10min.
  2. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves to the tomatoes and roast for further 20min.
  3. Next cook the wheatberries in the vegetable stock. Mine took about 30min , just read the package instructions as you may have a different product.
  4. Prepare your vegetables. Slice the runner beans diagonally. Snap the woody end off the asparagus and cut them in half. Cut the courgette in half lengthways and slice diagonally.
  5. In a large saute pan heat about 125ml (1/2 cup) of vegetable stock. Add the beans, cover with lid and cook for 2 min. Next add the asparagus and cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 min (depending on thickness). Last add the courgettes and peas and cook for 1 min. Vegetables should be tender and all the liquid should be gone.
  6. For the sauce, place the tomatoes and garlic squeezed out of its skin in a food processor. Whizz up into a smooth sauce. Taste for seasoning and add the chopped oregano.
  7. Mix the cooked wheatberries with your vegetables and serve with the dressing on the side.


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COURGETTE BREAKFAST MUFFINS

COURGETTE BREAKFAST MUFFINS

Last week I have fallen a victim to a horrible virus. It started on Monday evening, my legs seemed to weigh a ton, my head was about to explode and I felt incredibly tired. I thought a good night sleep would make things better. That didn’t happen, I couldn’t sleep much and woke up feeling drained. The headache was still there, and I spend most of the day half asleep on the sofa only to wake up for the school run.

As I found out later I wasn’t the only one who got attacked by this mysterious illness. Several of my friends and even the young man at the supermarket checkout complained about the same symptoms. I am glad to report that headache is gone and I don’t feel like I have kettlebells attached to my legs any more.

The day when I felt the worst all I craved was peanut butter and banana toast. My brain was asking for carbs and refused anything else. Sometimes you must listen to what your body is asking for, within reason of course. Therefore I ate fruit salads, potatoes, pastas and peanut butter and banana sandwiches to get my energy levels up.

Feeling better I wanted to utilise the UFO I found in my veg box . The UFO, as I discovered, was a bag of broad (lima) bean tops. I have never used them before, so I though I would try them in a quick blender soup. It didn’t work out that well. Now I don’t have anything against the taste of wheat grass but I don’t want a whole soup bowl tasting like it. Yes, the broad bean tops experiment was a disappointing failure. I am glad to report that my next experiment was much more successful. Healthy breakfast courgette muffins. Great for breakfast on the go but they will work served with a cup of tea in bed as well. (Hint to my kids...)


COURGETTE BREAKFAST MUFFINS

If you cannot find unsweetened apple sauce make your own: peel and core some apples, place them into a small sauce pan with few tablespoons of water and cook until soft, add more water if needed. Push the apples through a mouli. 3 medium apples will yield half a cup.


Makes 12

ingredients
225g (1 and 1/2cups) fine wholemeal flour
1/2tsp bicarb (baking) soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
50g (1/3 cup) coconut palm sugar
1 medium courgette(zucchini)
185ml (3/4 cup) almond milk (or another dairy free milk)
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
80ml (1/3 cup) unsweetened apple sauce
a handful of raisins
a handful of chopped walnuts

courgettemuffins

method
  1. In a large bowl combine the flour, bicarb of soda, baking powder and coconut palm sugar.
  2. Finely grate the courgette, place in a tea towel or a cheesecloth and squeeze out the liquid. Add to the flour mix.
  3. In a smaller bowl mix together the almond milk, apple sauce and vinegar.
  4. Add the wet mix into the dry mix. Combine well, do not over mix.
  5. Stir in the raisins and nuts.
  6. Put the mixture into 12 muffin cases.
  7. Bake at 180C oven for about 20min or until golden brown. They should spring back when you touch the top.


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