Oct 2015

BEETROOT SALAD WITH PARSLEY GARLIC DRESSING, WALNUTS AND RADISH SPROUTS

BEETROOT SALAD WITH PARSLEY GARLIC DRESSING, WALNUTS AND RADISH SPROUTS

Sometimes it seems to me that it is very difficult to sell the idea of healthy food to some people. Somehow healthy food has a reputation of being bland and boring. Can food be pleasurable, tasty and healthy at the same time?

Christ Wark (chrisbeatcancer.com), in one of his podcasts, said that when he was going through his most intense healing period he began to see food as fuel rather than pleasure. He was focused on flooding his body with nutrition, eating for the sole purpose of healing his body. And he ultimately succeeded. Yes, eating the same salad or glass after glass of vegetable juice day in day out may become repetitive and boring but also in a way comforting.

When you switch from processed, over-salted, over-enhanced foods to healthy as nature intended nutrition you will, over time (this may take just a few weeks), learn to appreciate the true flavour of food. I like to tell my clients to imagine what the healthy food is doing in their body. Or in fact any food. We all know that eating a donut won’t bring any benefit to your health, there is no nutrition in a donut (unless you count artificial vitamins and minerals added to the flour). Eating a plateful of vegetables, on the other side, will flood your body with minerals, vitamins, enzymes and phytonutrients. If you can imprint this into your mind your choices may just become easier.


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Let’s practise with my beetroot salad:
Beetroot:
rich in folate and manganese, supports liver detoxification, anti-inflammatory
Parsley:
rich in vitamins and minerals, diuretic (supports kidney detoxification), anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory
Garlic:
vasodilator (beneficial for cardiovascular health), anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiviral, anti-cancer, source of selenium
Walnuts:
rich in vitamin E, omega 3 fats, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, rich in magnesium, cooper, manganese, biotin and molybdenum, lower LDL cholesterol
Olive oil:
anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, protection from cancers of the digestive tract, can slow down growth of harmful bacteria (i.e. Helicobacter)
Radish sprouts:
anti-cancer, rich in minerals, vitamins and enzymes, aid liver detoxification, source of phytoestrogens
Cider vinegar:
helps regulate blood sugar balance, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, helps break up mucus, aids digestion

If you are a beetroot lover like me you will adore this recipe. And as you see it will love you back. I already made it twice this week…


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BEETROOT SALAD WITH PARSLEY GARLIC DRESSING, WALNUTS AND RADISH SPROUTS
Serves 2-4 (4 as a side salad)

10 baby beetroot or 5 medium size (any colour)
1 large clove garlic
handful of parsley (about 2-3 tbs chopped)
4 tbs cider vinegar (I use non pasteurised)
3 Tbs cold press extra virgin olive oil
few walnut pieces (about 1 tbs)
handful of radish (or broccoli sprouts)

  • Clean the beetroot, cut of the stalks but be careful not to expose the flesh as this will cause the beetroot to bleed out into the cooking water. I leave the roots intact.
  • Boil in water for about 30min (this will depend on size) till beetroot is tender.
  • Drain the beetroot, let cool. When cool enough to handle slip the skins off. Cut into bite size wedges.
  • Arrange the beetroot wedges in a single layer in a shallow bowl.
  • Next make the dressing: crush or finely chop the garlic clove and chop the parsley. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil and vinegar with a pinch salt. Stir in the garlic and parsley.
  • Pour the dressing over, scatter with walnuts and place a mound of sprouts in the middle.


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CZECH SAUERKRAUT SOUP

CZECH SAUERKRAUT SOUP

Today I went to my favourite local Polish shop. Lech, the owner is so friendly, my kids love him (and it’s not just for the free lollipops he gives them). Of course I was the only non Polish person there. I did get few puzzling looks for speaking English as the entire clientele seems to be from Poland :) I tend to shout Thank You in Polish very loud when I am there.

I love going to the Polish shop, here I can impress my kids with being able to translate what’s written on the packets (I grew up on the Czech/Polish border) and of course I can get certain groceries that are the same or very close to some of the foods I grew up with. Pickled gherkins and sauerkraut are always on the list.

I was complaining to Lech that there aren’t any Czech food shops around and he, bless him, offered to get me some Czech groceries via his friend who is driving to Slovakia. How very nice! That’s what I call customer service.

My friends, just like my cooking, come from different countries. And as much as I love to explore foods from around the world it is always comforting to have something that brings me back to my roots. Sauerkraut soup is definitely one of those things. Yes, it is an acquired taste if you are not used to sauerkraut. My husband loves it (he has been converted to more than just Czech beer) however my mother-in-law was less than impressed when I put a bowl in front of her the other day. She however likes my other Czech offerings so I won’t hold this one against her :)

In true international spirit I used Czech dried marjoram (the best in my opinion), Hungarian paprika (legendary), Polish sauerkraut and Devon grown Riverford potatoes. They all came together into a very familiar taste of home. This soup is one of my favourite quick lunches, not only because I love it, but mainly because I always have all the ingredients on hand.

If you want to keep the soup gluten free, as I often do, just omit the flour and leave the soup more of a broth consistency. When I fancy thicker, more goulash soup, consistency I add flour at the beginning to make a roux. As you know I tend to use very little or no oil in my recipes. You could go totally oil free but I believe that cooking the paprika in oil brings out the flavour and 1 tbs between 4 portions amounts to almost nothing.

Please make sure you don’t use your best (and expensive) raw sauerkraut from a health food shop. A jar (or a bag from the Polish shop) is perfect here. If you are a sauerkraut novice use just 1 cup and drain it (or even rinse it). I love it full on!



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CZECH SAUERKRAUT SOUP
The added flour will help thicken the soup, you can easily omit this as I very often do for a more broth like soup and of course to make the recipe gluten free. They are equally delicious.
variation:
Add some sliced vegetarian sausage or cubes of smoked tofu to make the soup more substantial.

Serves 4 (or 3 hungry people)

1 tbs rice bran oil (or organic rapeseed)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1tbs paprika
1 tsp caraway
1 tsp dried marjoram
1tbs flour (optional)
4 cups vegetable stock
3 medium potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1-2 cups of sauerkraut
1 clove garlic

The one without flour
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  • In a large sauce pan heat the oil and add the onion. Sauté gently till translucent.
  • Add the caraway and paprika and cook for a few seconds in the oil.
  • Add the flour and cook for about 30 seconds stirring constantly (you can omit the flour for a thinner soup)
  • Add the stock. If using flour add a small amount fist while stirring to combine with the flour, than add rest of the stock.
  • Add the potatoes, bring to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 20minutes.
  • If you are not used to the flavour of sauerkraut than add just 1 cup and drain if first. I cut through it with a knife or scissors to avoid long strands of cabbage in my soup. If like me you love sauerkraut add 2 cups. I don’t even bother to drain all the liquid…
  • Let the soup simmer for further 5 minutes.
  • Before serving add crushed clove of garlic, stir into the soup.
  • You can serve some sourdough croutons on top, I just eat it on its own :)


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