salad

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.


IMG_0243

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…


IMG_0252

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.


IMG_0244

0 Comments

FENNEL AND CABBAGE SLAW WITH CASHEW LEMON DRESSING

FENNEL AND CABBAGE SLAW WITH CASHEW LEMON DRESSING

Being a Czech I do love a cabbage based salad. I am sure I have mentioned it on this blog a few times. I will admit that if there is a bowl of freshly shredded cabbage I can’t keep my hand out of it. I love that crisp sweetness of raw cabbage. Unfortunately the sweetness disappears when cabbage is cooked.

Cabbage may seem to be one of the most boring, ordinary vegetables but as a member of the cruciferous vegetables it has shown some cancer preventing properties amongst many other health benefits. The anticancer benefits are only present when cabbage is eaten lightly steamed or raw. Forget the overcooked cabbage that was traditionally served by British grandmas alongside the ubiquitous Sunday roast (luckily I have never experienced that).

Raw cabbage salad is the perfect way to reap the vegetable’s health benefits and the beautiful sweet taste. Unlike many green salads this one will keep in the fridge for a few days. You may just have to add a bit of lemon juice to enliven it up.

I have added fennel and carrot, both vegetables I adore raw and, for a bit of sweetness, couple of apples. Tarter variety will work well to offset the sweetness of the other vegetables. Dressing is a creamy concoction of cashews, tahini and lemon, kind of a variation of mayonnaise. Chill in the fridge before serving. (PS will taste great with veggie burgers)

IMG_8651


FENNEL AND CABBAGE SLAW WITH CASHEW LEMON DRESSING

ingredients
half a medium white or green (not Savoy)
2 medium tart apples
1 large bulb of fennel
3 medium carrots

Dressing
1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 30min)
1/2cup water
2tbs tahini
1tbs maple syrup
3 tbs cold press olive oil
juice of 2 medium lemons
salt nad pepper

method
  • Using a food processor (or a sharp knife) shred the cabbage thinly. It will yield around 3-4 cups of shredded cabbage.
  • Next thinly shred the fennel and grate the carrot, and apples.
  • Mix all vegetables together and set aside while making the dressing.
  • To make the dressing put the cashews, tahini, water, maple syrup, olive oil and lemon juice into the food processor and process till smooth. Stir into the salad.
  • Season with salt and pepper.


IMG_8653
0 Comments

WARM BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PEPPER AND KALE SALAD

WARM BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PEPPER AND KALE SALAD

With some of my favourite veggies in the house I could not resist making them into this tasty butternut squash, pepper, onion and kale salad. How could you not be tempted by the gorgeous colours? You know this must be good for you. In my book every vegetables is a “superfood” it doesn’t have to come back from the depth of the Amazon forest to do your body good.

The sign of a tasty dish is when you find yourself having an argument with your husband over who will get to eat the leftovers. I won’t call it an argument it was more a case of “false” generosity:
“No, you have it’”
“No, that’s fine you can have it.”
This went on for a while and I know we were both thinking, “I really want it myself”….
In the end we did split the salad and treated it as a side dish rather than a main.

Make this salad ahead, it sure is perfect for a picnic or a take to work lunch. I can’t wait to serve this to my friends in summer whether its at a picnic or a garden party. I am sure it will be a hit. I may add some courgettes and aubergines to this mix too. Yum.


IMG_6658

WARM BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PEPPER AND KALE SALAD with miso dressing

1Tbs coconut oil
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
2 red bel peppers, cut into bite size pieces
1 onion, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
200g kale, torn into bite size pieces
juice of 1 lime
3 tbs miso paste
1tbs coconut nectar syrup (or other sweetener)
water (about 1/4 cup - 60ml)
2 tbs black sesame seeds

  • Place a roasting dish with the coconut oil into the oven for a minute or until it has melted.
  • Add your butternut squash and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Next add the peppers and onion. Roast for 30 minutes or until the squash is soft and starting to caramelise.
  • Steam the kale for 2-3minutes.
  • In a large bowl mix together the miso, lime juice, coconut nectar syrup and water (add more water if the dressing seems to thick). Add all the vegetables to the dressing, mix well to coat.
  • Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve. It is great warm or cold next day.


IMG_6654

0 Comments

RADICCHIO, GRAPEFRUIT, CELERIAC AND POMEGRANATE SALAD

RADICCHIO, GRAPEFRUIT, CELERIAC AND POMEGRANATE SALAD

When the idea for this salad came to my mind I knew it would look striking. I also knew that it would not be everybody’s favourite. My husband was definitely one who would not like the bitterness of the radicchio or the grapefruit. He doesn’t like either. My son loves grapefruit but even he was put off by the bitter taste of the radicchio.

I realise I am not selling this recipe too well but I absolutely loved it. And that is why I wanted to put it on my blog. There must be other fans out there, right? Yes, the radicchio and grapefruit bring quite a bit of bitterness to the party but the celeriac mellows everything out and the pomegranate and clementine juices together with maple syrup add sweetness that counteracts the bitterness. The salad definitely brightens up the winter table and challenges the taste buds.

The dressing is simply made of the fruit juices of the fruit that I used in the recipe. There is quite a lot of it, but it makes a nice drink too. I have used all the juices but you can use half and drink the rest. Something tells me it would taste nice as cocktail with a bit of bubbly.

Celeriac - not the prettiest veg in the box :)
IMG_5803

RADICCHIO, GRAPEFRUIT, CELERIAC AND POMEGRANATE SALAD

2 medium pink grapefruits
Half a celeriac (celery root)
1/2 medium head of radicchio
1 medium pomegranate
1 clementine
2 tsp - 1 Tbs maple syrup
salt to taste

Pink beauty :)
IMG_5809


  • With a sharp knife peel the grapefruit, remove the peel and the white piths. Remove the segments from the grapefruit, place into a salad bowl.
  • Squeeze the juice out of the “remains” of the grapefruit into a smaller bowl.
  • Peel the celeriac and grate coarsely. Food processor makes the job easier. I used spiraliser which made it a bit of a chore. Add to the grapefruit.
  • Finely shred the radicchio and add to the salad.
  • To prepare the pomegranate bash it with a wooden spoon, or against a chopping board. Than cut into half and squeeze out the seeds and juice into a strainer, catching the juice into the bowl with the grapefruit juice. Squeeze the juice of the clementine into the pomegranate and grapefruit juices.
  • Add half of the mixed juice (or all of it) to the salad and add the maple syrup. Mix well and enjoy.
0 Comments

ROASTED COURGETTE, BROAD BEAN AND VEGAN PESTO SALAD

ROASTED COURGETTE, BROAD BEAN AND VEGAN PESTO SALAD

Most of the courgettes that I have in the kitchen make it into a bowl of raw spaghetti with a variety of raw sauces. This time however I opted to cook them. I must have been inspired about last Friday’s lunch with a friend. We shared lovely Lebanese mezze and a massive dish of grilled veggies (including courgettes) and falafels.

Another summer vegetable, the broad bean was in my veg box. I find it the most wasteful vegetable in the world. It even rivals globe artichokes in the amount of waste it generates...You receive a big bag of bean pods, you pod the beans, cook them, pop them out of the tough (to me not very pleasant) skins and you are left with a handful of bright green beans and a mountain of waste... lucky we have a compost bin. You can’t deny the nutritional value of broad beans, it makes all the work worth it. A cup of can provide 44% of your folate! And 12.9g of protein. Other minerals and vitamins these little gems are rich in include iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, potassium and B vitamins.

The courgettes and beans do not posses any strong flavours and need something to lift them up. I chose pesto as it is great with any veg. My pesto maybe vegan but it sure is delicious. It is thick, nearly spreadable, cheesy from the nutritional flakes. Lemon juice just lifts it up a little. I really enjoyed this dish, it’s so full of flavour and so versatile. I had mine simply with some rice, but any grain or pasta will be great. The salad is perfect for a mezze style meal. The pesto is great on its own too. I can promise you won’t miss the parmesan.

More broad beans and courgettes in my veg box this week... I think I know what I will be making.


pestobeans-and-courgettes
ROASTED COURGETTE, BROAD BEAN AND VEGAN PESTO SALAD
serve this as a salad, mix in with some rice, pasta or quinoa, use as a topping for a jacked potato, in a sandwich... the possibilities are endless

Serves 2 as a main dish

2-3 courgettes (zucchini) (I used two rather big ones)
olive oil in a spray bottle
1-2 cups shelled broad (fava) beans
2 spring onions (scallions), white part thinly sliced
pesto
1 cup (packed) of basil
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
1tbs lemon juice
3 tbs cold press extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
salt to taste

broad-beans

  1. Cut the courgettes into bite size pieces. Place into a roasting dish and lightly spray with olive oil. Bake for 25min at 400 or until courgettes start to brown around edges. Set aside to cool
  2. Boil the beans for 2 minutes in water. Rinse in a colander with cold water. When cool enough to handle pop them out of the light green tough skins. Set aside.
  3. In a blender combined the pesto ingredients and process into a thick paste. It won’t be as runny as traditional pesto.
  4. Mix the courgettes, beans, spring onion with the pesto. Best served at room temperature.

0 Comments

WASABI KOHLRABI APPLE SALAD

WASABI KOHLRABI APPLE SALAD

After numerous bowl of courgette (zucchini) noodles I thought I should use my spiraliser on something else. Apples in a fruit bowl and a green kohlrabi in the fridge, I thought why not? Making apple noodles was very easy with a firm apple (not so easy when I tried it with a softer one...). The kohlrabi was easy until I got about 2/3 of the way and the spiky part of my spiraliser decided it didn’t want to cooperate any more. I did managed to get to the end with sheer determination... and without spiralising my own fingers...

Of course you could use a grater or one of those julienne peelers to prepare the kohlrabi and apple if you don't have every kitchen gadget going like I do. I love the long thin noodles spiraliser makes but the salad will taste fab whichever way it is prepared.

Apple and kohlrabi turned out to be a fantastic combination. The sweetness of the apple combined with the tart apple is a marriage made in heaven. The crucial thing is that the apple is tart and crisp. I have made this salad with a sweeter apple and it didn’t work as well.

Make the dressing first as the apple may discolour if left standing waiting to be dressed (or sprinkle with half the lime juice). You want to preserve the crisp colour of the salad. Garnished with black sesame seeds it looks quite striking. And will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Serve it as you would coleslaw, or with a hunk of soya and ginger marinated baked tofu.


kohlrabi-apple

WASABI KOHLRABI APPLE SALAD

1 medium to large kohlrabi
1 large firm apple, preferably tarter one
juice 1 lime
1-2 tsp wasabi paste (according to taste)
1-2 tbs water (or more if the dressing seems too thick)
1 Tbs tamari
1 tsp coconut sugar (or coconut syrup)
2 Tbs almond butter
black sesame seed for garnish

  1. Combine the lemon juice, wasabi paste, water, tamari, coconut sugar (or syrup) and almond butter to make a dressing.
  2. Peel and grate the kohlrabi. I used my spiraliser for this job but a grater or food processor will work great too.
  3. Next spiralise or grate the apple.
  4. Place together in a large bowl.
  5. Pour the dressing over the apple and kohlrabi and mix well.
  6. Garnish with black sesame seeds.

0 Comments

CAULIFLOWER TABBOULEH

CAULIFLOWER TABBOULEH

We have had glorious weather last weekend, apparently the UK is warmer than Spain! It was wonderful to be able to have lunch outside in the garden for a change. Yesterday we went to the garden centre and got some seeds and plants for our garden. Red and yellow currants, red and golden raspberries are in the ground, herbs in pots and flower seeds scattered. I hope the plants will survive our rather enthusiastic dog who has been digging holes all over the garden. Fingers crossed.

With the weather warming up there will be more salads and raw dishes appearing on our table. I though I would continue with the cauliflower theme from my last post and use this undervalued vegetable in another raw recipe, a herby cauliflower tabbouleh.

I love Mediterranean mezze (or bits and bobs as my daughter calls it) style eating. Many plates with gorgeous dishes, simple yet very flavoursome. Hummous, salads, olives, flat breads... Tabbouleh made from cauliflower is a perfect dish for a mezze spread. And if you are following a gluten free diet this is the recipe for you.

cauliflower-chopped
CAULIFLOWER TABBOULEH

ingredients
1 small cauliflower
1 large tomato (or 2 if you prefer)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3-4 cups of herbs (parsley, coriander and/or mint)
1 tbs olive oil
juice of 1-2 lemons (depends how lemony you like it)
salt and pepper to season

method
  1. Cut the cauliflower into florets. Place these into a food processor fitted with a blade, and pulse till the cauliflower is chopped small enough, resembling bulgur wheat. Place it a large bowl.
  2. Next finely chopped the tomato, I like to remove the seeds. You can do this in the food processor.
  3. Add the finely chopped onion.
  4. Next chop the herbs, I like to leave some of the herbs in larger pieces. Add to the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Add the olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.


cauliflower-taboulli
0 Comments

SWEET AND SOUR CAULIFLOWER PICKLE

SWEET AND SOUR CAULIFLOWER PICKLE

Cauliflower maybe one of the most underused vegetables around. In the UK it is usually prepared a side dish for a Sunday roast, and almost always smothered with cheese sauce. You may be able to find it in a vegetable curry in an Indian restaurant. Even in the vast number of my cookery books, cauliflower hardly features in 1 or 2 recipes per book.

This is a shame, as cauliflower is such an incredibly nutritious vegetable. This is hardly surprising as it is a close cousin to the more popular broccoli. Cauliflower has been link to cancer prevention, especially bladder, breast, colon, prostate and ovarian. Cauliflower, like all cruciferous vegetables, will boost your liver detoxification process helping to clear excess hormones or toxins out of your body. It contains many antioxidants, vitamin C, beta-carotene, querceting, rutin, kaempferol to name a few, these help to reduce oxidative stress. Cauliflower also contains anti-inflammatory nutrients that make it incredibly useful in maintaining our cardiovascular health. Sulphoraphane in cauliflower has been shown to help prevent overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori in your stomach.

I love raw cauliflower, I find myself stealing florets from my fridge for a snack but my very favourite part is inside of the stalk, a treat for the chef. Cauliflower pairs up beautifully with sweet and sour flavours and as I love anything pickled I came up with the following recipe. If you want to it on the day of preparation it will be more a salad, but leave it in the fridge overnight (or even 2 days) and you get a lovely pickled cauliflower, as is soaks up the sweet vinegar dressing.


cauliflower-pickle

SWEET AND SOUR CAULIFLOWER PICKLE

ingredients
1 tbs coconut sugar
3 Tbs cider vinegar
1 half red chilli, finely chopped
2 cups small cauliflower florets
2 small onions
2 small red onions
4-6 large green olives, sliced
2 tbs raisins or sultanas
1 tbs capuchin capers
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbs parsley

method
  1. In a medium size bowl combine the coconut sugar and cider vinegar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add in the finely chopped chilli.
  2. Slice the onions as thinly as you can into rounds. Add to the bowl together with cauliflower, olives, raisins, capers and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Chill for at least couple of hours or up to 2 days. Let it come to room temperature before serving.
  4. Just before serving, stir in the parsley.

0 Comments

SWEDE (RUTABAGA) CORONATION STYLE

SWEDE (RUTABAGA) CORONATION STYLE


As you may probably know by now I am not a big fan of swede (rutabaga) I only like it a little more than turnip (which is not much at all). Traditionally, here in the UK, it is used in a beef stew or as an integral part of the famous Cornish pasty (to confuse the matter they call it turnip in Cornwall). As a side dish swede is often served mashed together with carrots. In Finland swede is served as a creamy bake flavoured with maple syrup. I have tried making a vegan version of this but it still needs a lot more work.

Being faced with a humongous swede ( bigger than baby’s head!) I had to think. I really didn’t want this one ending up in a compost heap like the last one (sorry). Flavours of all vegetables deepen when roasted so this seemed like a good idea. To improve the rather bland swede I decided to spice it up and sweeten it and after roasting, drench it in a very similar sauce I used for my Coronation Chickpea salad.

I cut up the swede into 1/2 inch dice hoping for this to speed up the cooking time. Still it seemed to take forever... Was it all worth the effort? I have to say it was. I will admit I was secretly thinking what other vegetable would be suitable for this recipe, but I did enjoy the swede. The next day, however, I was for a major surprise, the salad was wonderful eaten straight from the fridge. Somehow the swede absorbed all the curry flavours, its texture improved it was trylly delicious. I ate all the leftovers for lunch. Will I rejoice next time a swede finds its way to my vegetable box? Probably not. But if it does I now have a way of dealing with it.


swede-salad
SWEDE (RUTABAGA) CORONATION STYLE

Serves 4

ingredients
3 cups swede, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1Tbs good curry powder ( I used Byriani mix)
1/2 tbs rapeseed oil
1 Tbs maple syrup
1/3 cup raisins
3/4 cashews
1/2 water
2 tbs mango chutney
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
salt
1/3 cup flaked almonds
1 small red onion
1/3 cup coriander
lemon juice to taste

method
  1. Preheat the oven to 210C. Place the swede, curry powder, oil and maple syrup into a roasting pan that will hold the swede in one layer. Mix all ingredients together so all the swede pieces are coated with spices evenly. Roast till the swede is soft, this may take 40-45min.
  2. While the swede is roasting soak the raisins in boiling water.
  3. Put cashews, water (you can use the raisin water), mango chutney and vinegar into a high speed blender. Process until smooth.
  4. Toast the flaked almonds in a dry pan till golden brown. Set aside
  5. Cut the red onion into fine dice.
  6. In a large bowl mix red onion, swede, cashew sauce and raisins.
  7. Garnish with almonds, coriander and add lemon juice to taste.
  8. Serve immediately or wait till the next day after, it is awesome straight from the fridge.

roasted swede
roast-swede
0 Comments

ASIAN NOODLE SALAD WITH PEANUT DRESSING

ASIAN NOODLE SALAD WITH PEANUT DRESSING

We have been experiencing an incredible heatwave. I don’t think I have ever managed to wear all my summer clothes in one season in the UK. Don’t get me wrong we do get lovely weather here it but it just never seems to last very long.

Last week the intense heat made it very hard to revise for my college exam, I felt like falling asleep every time I picked up my study materials. I must say it is a relief that this college year is now behind me. At the same time I can’t wait to start my final one in September.

This week it has been lovely to have some study free time, my last three days have been spent catching up with housework (like the massive pile of ironing - I think my son has a t-shirt disorder!!!), friends (my lush 4 hour breakfast yesterday morning) and my son"s activities to mark his last year of junior school.

Two nights in a row my son’s year put on a production of The Pirated of Curry Bean so I had to make sure he had some food ready for a quick after school meal before I had to take him back to school to perform the role of a naughty monkey from the island of Lumbago (in the sea of Sciatica...). I am not quite sure how he survived wearing his monkey costume (a thick fleece hoody) in this heat!

Chatting with my friend over our rather long breakfast yesterday, she suggested making pasta salad for last nights dinner. Of course I had to put a bit of a spin on the theme and came up with the recipe below. It’s filling but light, and provides plenty of energy for any performer. My monkey had two bowls before his show and another when we got back home. Success! I think this could become a staple as it is perfect for lunch boxes, picnics or as a part of a cold buffet.

asian-noodle-salad-peanut

ASIAN NOODLE SALAD WITH PEANUT DRESSING


Serves 4-6

ingredients
200g Asian noodles (rice, buckwheat, wheat...just not udon)
1 and 1/2 cups (or a punnet) sugar snap peas
2 medium carrots
1/2 cucumber
6 larger radishes
4-6 spring onions (depends on their size)
2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
juice of 1 lime
1/2 inch of ginger, chopped
3/4 cup organic smooth peanut butter
2-3 tsp vegan red curry paste
1/2 cup drinking coconut (or another dairy free) milk
2 tsp Bragg liquid aminos, tamari or shoyu
2 tbs black sesame seeds
fresh coriander to taste

method
  1. First cook your noodles according to packet instructions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Steam the sugar snap peas for about 2 min until crisp tender, cool them down in a bowl of iced water or under a cold running tap.
  3. Coarsely grate the carrots and put them into a large (very large) bowl.
  4. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, using a teaspoon scoop out the seeds and slice into lovely half moons.
  5. Halve the radishes (if large) and slice.
  6. Slice the spring onions on the diagonal.
  7. Add the cucumber, radishes, sugar snap peas and spring onions to the carrots.
  8. Add in the noodles and 2 tsp of sesame oil if using.
  9. Put the lime juice, chopped ginger, red curry paste, peanut butter, coconut milk and Bragg Liquid Aminos into a blender and process till smooth.
  10. Pour over the noodles, add the sesame seeds and mix well. Your hands are the best tool for this.
  11. Add the coriander just before serving.


0 Comments

NEW POTATO, ROASTED TOMATO AND CHICKPEA SALAD

NEW POTATO, ROASTED TOMATO AND CHICKPEA SALAD

Guess who’s back?! Yes, I am back online. We are still not connected but my clever techie hubby bought me a nifty device to get me onto to world wide web. Much appreciated! 1891 emails are slowly downloading...

Our house move went really well, I have great admiration to the removal men who tirelessly lifted and shifted all our stuff (it was a lot of stuff!!!). While packing I was careful not to overload the book boxes (there were lots of them) but they carried 2 at a time!!! The physicality of their job is unbelievable. I was tired just watching them.

My new wall hanging:
chicken

My first week in the new house had lots of ups but a few very overriding downs. Second day in our house I went down with some stomach bug which left me in bed for a whole day. This was accompanied with a rather painful acute tooth infection. I spent over 4 days on painkillers, something I hate to do, they left me unable to speak coherently and rather sick to my stomach. Finally (after the Bank Holiday) I got to see my dentist who put me on very strong antibiotics. Yuck! But believe me I was in so much pain that I was ready to take anything! These horrible things made me feel absolutely knackered, with a headache and nausea. But guess what, the pain is gone! Now I am awaiting an appointment for a dental surgery to remove the partially erupted wisdom tooth that has been causing me so much trouble!

Even though I was going through the above c..p I have been enjoying the new house. We all do. Especially now that everything has been unpacked and assigned its new space. We are eagerly waiting for the new turf to settle to fully enjoy our new bigger garden. Especially since the weather has been so fabulous! Hopefully next year I can claim a patch to start a kale plantation!

Another highlight of the last 2 weeks (yes we have been in the new house 2 weeks today!!!) was meeting
Eric Brent, the man behind the fabulous HappyCow.net, who came to visit our annual VegFest in Bristol. It was fabulous to meet the man in person and I hope I can keep providing HappyCow with more recipes. I was planning to take a photo with him but somehow my painkiller fogged mind forgot! I think this could give me a good excuse to travel to San Francisco!!

potatochikpeaberbere

NEW POTATO, ROASTED TOMATO AND CHICKPEA SALAD
I made this for a friend who came to lunch. Easily doubled to serve four.
Serves 2

ingredients:
8-10 new potatoes, cut in halves
6 medium tomatoes (plum tomatoes are great)
1-2 tsp Berbere spice mix (or Cajun)
2 cloves garlic
1/4tsp dried thyme (1 tsp fresh)
pinch of salt
1 tin of chickpeas
4 spring onions
juice of half a lemon (or to taste)
100g (3oz) baby spinach or other green salad leaves
2 Tbs fresh coriander, chopped.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain and place into a large salad bowl.
  3. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, place in a small baking dish (no need to oil it), sprinkle with the Berbere spice, thyme and salt. Place the 2 unpeeled garlic cloves next to the tomatoes.
  4. Bake for 20min, shake the dish halfway through.
  5. Next add the chickpeas to the tomatoes, shake to coat with the spices and any tomato juices. Bake for further 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the garlic, gently squeeze the soft garlic flesh into the bowl with potatoes. Add the chickpeas to the potatoes, mix together to coat the potatoes with the spices and tomato juices.
  7. Let the potato and chickpea mix sit for about 30 minutes.
  8. When ready to serve, place spinach leaves into larger salad (pasta) bowl, top with the potato chickpea mix, squeeze some lemon juice over and sprinkle with coriander. Enjoy.



0 Comments

CRUNCHY FENNEL AND APPLE SALAD

CRUNCHY FENNEL AND APPLE SALAD

All this week I have been working on my food diary assignment for college (not quite finished yet). As our house move is nearing I have also made a insignificant attempt to start packing. So far I have managed what you could call a drop in the ocean. To my horror I will have to repack several boxes as I have used the wrong size for books... The removal man has spoken!

Yes I am slightly overwhelmed with the task ahead, the fact that I only have one weekend free of college this month is amplifying my panic. Stress and panic are not good for my IBS so I am downing barley grass each morning (YUCK) and try to focus on the positives ahead. I have calculated that August might be the month I will finally relax, and believe me I am very much looking forward to that.

My food diary assignment has been a very fascinating endeavor indeed. It has been rahter tedious but a great eyeopener. I have analyzed couple days of my diet and my conclusion has affirmed that apart from vitamins B12 and D, there is nothing missing from my plant strong food. B12 and D I take as supplements. Eagerly I am waiting for some sunshine to get vitamin D the most natural way. Unfortunately we are having a freaky kind of spring down here so the drops have to step in for now.

My mum-in-law said to me: “Seeing how much you eat I am surprised you are not bigger.” Yes I like my portions big however my food diary confirms that even I eat large volume my calories are well under control. It’s all good and confidence boosting! Yes, plant strong diet does your body good. I do wish plant based diet could also make me more efficient in packing....


fennel-apple-salad

CRUNCHY FENNEL AND APPLE SALAD
This is a very yummy crunchy refreshing salad. No apologies for using lemon/miso combo as a dressing again, I am loving it! Any leftovers will keep till the next day you may just have to add more lemon juice to it as cucumbers loose water and dull the flavour.

Serves 4 as a side salad

ingredients
1 fennel
1/2 large cucumber (about 220g, 1/2lb)
80g radishes
1 large apple
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp of white or yellow miso (I used live miso)
1-2 tsp date syrup

method
  1. Slice the fennel, cucumber, radishes and apple into very thin slices. You can use a food processor, box grated or a Japanese mandolin. Of course sharp knife will do too! Put all the veggies into a large bowl.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Add to the salad bowl and mix well.
  3. Enjoy.

0 Comments

KALE AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH MISO

KALE AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH MISO

Does the world need another massaged kale salad recipe? Without a doubt!!! One can’t have enough kale. Even my kids have fallen under its spell. They love Brendan Brazier’s sour cream kale chips, but they also love this salad.

Couple weeks ago I invited a friend over for dinner and made this salad to accompany our mains. My friend watch with amusement as my husband, kids and I fought over the last portion. She proclaimed we were a weird family. I take it as a compliment.

We are all aware of the superior nutrition kale possesses, there are countless articles circulating on vegan websites. It is packed with minerals, vitamins, protein and fibre. When you massage, chop or chew kale you release the fantastic isothiocyanates. These are very potent cancer fighters and help your liver in its hard daily task of detoxification. Pair kale up with the other ingredients in my recipe and you have a dinner of champions.

kale

Now the practical bits. Any white or yellow miso will do great in this recipe (just don’t use brown). I have recently discovered live miso paste in my favorite health food shop chiller. When I opened the lid slight steam (or is it smoke?) seemed to have risen from the jar. The miso was extra zingy and strong, but delicious. If you are a miso virgin you may want to start with the less extravagant version.

Lemon and lime work equally well here. I use whatever is in the fridge. If I have both, I will choose the lime. To make this recipe fully raw, use 1 Tbs of raw agave instead of the 2 Tbs of mirin. I prefer mirin, it had the right amount of sweetness and is a natural partner to miso. They are from the same country after all.

One last note. If you do find you are fighting your loved ones over the last bite, just double the portion. Vegan is about love after all.


IMG_5907

KALE AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH MISO
Serves 4

ingredients
1/2lb (200-250g) kale, stalks removed, shredded
1 heaped Tbs yellow (or white) live miso
juice of 1 lime (or small lemon)
2 Tbs mirin
3 spring onions (scallions)
1 large avocado

method
  1. Place the kale in a large bowl. Add the miso, lime juice and mirin.
  2. Massage the kale and the dressing ingredients together for about 2 minutes. The kale will collapse and the dressing will coat all the kale leaves.
  3. Slice the onions thinly and add into the onions.
  4. Peel the avocado and remove the stone. Cut the avocado flesh bite sized pieces and stir through the leaves.

0 Comments

PINK QUINOA SALAD

PINK QUINOA SALAD

Last weekend at college we learned about phytonutrients and superfoods. I feel that we have only scratched the surface, there are thousands of phytonutrients, some have been well researched and some have not yet been discovered. What a fascinating subject!

My college friend put on her Facebook page: “After a whole weekend at college the conclusion is: just eat your fruit and veg!” I couldn’t have said it better. And as our lecturer pointed out we should aim for 10 and everything over that is a bonus.

The bad thing about phytonutrients? They all come with rather complicated names and I have to learn and remember them for my upcoming exam. Together with biochemistry, all vitamins and minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, orthomolecular nutrients... Yes I shall be busy over the next 3 weeks...

Quick nutritious recipes should get me through it! Just like this pink quinoa salad. You must admit it looks fabulous. It tastes great too. I will try to post as much as my study schedule allows me.


pink-quinoa-salad

PINK QUINOA SALAD
Sushi seasoning is sold in bottles in Japanese sections of Asian shops or supermarket. I use it to season sushi rice (of course) it takes the guess work out, perfect balance every time. It tastes great as a dressing too, it may need a bit of vinegar or lime juice if too sweet for your palate. I used cider vinegar, but rice wine vinegar would be fantastic too.

Serves 4

1 cup quinoa
1 large carrot
1 medium beetroot
3 spring onions
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tbs capers
small handful of parsley
2 Tbs sushi seasoning
1 Tbs cider vinegar

  1. Rinse the quinoa well. Bring a medium pan of water to boil (about 1litre), add the quinoa and cook for about 15min. Rinse under running cold water.
  2. Coarsely great the carrot and peeled beetroot. Place in a salad bowl.
  3. Slice the spring onions into thin rings.
  4. LIghtly toast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan, take care not to burn them.
  5. Add the onions, sunflower seeds, quinoa, capers, parsley to the carrots and beetroot..
  6. Season with the sushi seasoning and vinegar.

0 Comments

YELLOW CARROT SALAD

YELLOW CARROT SALAD

Kids seem to get a kick out of quirky and unusual things. Yellow carrots, therefore, were a big hit. I was a bit worried they may not taste good, as it was the case with the beautiful stripy aubergines I bought a few weeks ago. Glad to report yellow carrots delivered on taste.

Even though I bought them from the supermarket, where all the fruits and vegetables seem to be of uniform shapes and sizes, the yellow carrots were wonky and gorgeously misshapen. Just the way veg should be.

yellow-carrots

I wanted to accentuate the sunshine colour of the carrots and adding a yellow pineapple seemed the best way to do. It turned out to be a perfect choice as it not only looked great but everybody loved the gorgeous sweetness and freshness of this simple salad.

It was served as a part of a mezze meal. My friend was just at the tail end of a detox so I wanted to serve fresh, easy, uncomplicated food. Apart from the carrot salad we had my raw courgette dip (
http://www.plantstrongliving.co.uk/blog/files/cd27fb3b34f77fee3058fa84c453ae2d-72.html ), beetroot falafels (/www.plantstrongliving.co.uk/blog/files/ac326fc7e745955899b46d24741566c2-108.html ) , olives, lots of raw veggies to go with the falafels, tahini dressing and spicy patatas bravas (those I forgot to photograph... will make them again soon). It was freezing outside but we sure were eating sunshine :)

yellow-carrot-salad

YELLOW CARROT SALAD

ingredients
4 large yellow carrots
1/2 medium pineapple
2 large oranges

Using a box grater finely grate the carrots.
Cut the peel and the core off the pineapple and chop into small bite size pieces (about 1 - 1.5cm)
Mix the carrots with the pineapple and add the juice of 2 oranges.
Serve. This salad will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.


0 Comments

GRANDMA HANA’S SAUERKRAUT SALAD

GRANDMA HANA’S SAUERKRAUT SALAD

It is the 1st of January 2013. The first day of the new year. After a night of celebrating many of us are making new year’s resolutions. Weight loss will and exercise will be at the top of the list for sure. The papers are already rating diets and introducing new ones. Manhattan diet anyone? This morning I have received an email suggesting I hold a detox party!

Eating healthy shouldn’t be reserved only for January. It should be something we simply just do. I have a big appetite. My mum in law asked me how come eat as much as I do and don’t put weight on. It certainly is the foods I choose to eat, and the foods I choose not to. And I don’t always have a New Year’s Eve buffet in front of me.

So for a healthier 2013, let’s eat real food. Cook from scratch more. Eat more raw foods. Let’s realize our health is in ours hands. Move, smile, love more and stress less. Make time for yourself, the people you love. Make choices right not only for you but for the planet. Live with compassion. Be a part of the big picture.

And if you have over indulged the last week or so, try my grandma’s cleansing salad. Three ingredients, minimum effort and it is incredibly healthy. One of the salads ingredients is the super sauerkraut. It only contains 27 calories per cup, while being full of Vitamin C and probiotics. What a perfect start to the new year!

Saurkrautsalad

GRANDMA HANA’S SAUERKRAUT SALAD
You may notice carrot in my salad, this was part of the sauerkraut that I bought from my Polish shop. If you can, get some unpasteurised raw sauerkraut to get the beneficial bacteria. If you can’t find it you can use sauerkraut from a jar too.

Serves 4

ingredients
3 cups sauerkraut
2 medium apples, diced
1 medium red (or sweet white) onion, finely chopped

method
Just add everything together and enjoy.
0 Comments

COURGETTE SALAD WITH TOMATO SALSA DRESSING AND WALNUTS

COURGETTE SALAD WITH TOMATO SALSA DRESSING AND WALNUTS

Another great study weekend, this time we had our first client clinic. We observe, take notes, discuss, learn. What an amazing experience! I can’t wait till this is my job. Helping people and doing it through diet is a fabulous way to make a living (I can’t ever get tired about talking about food and nutrition!).

What struck me with our clients, and it is true with so many of us, was the lack of fruits and veggies in their food diaries. I am sure we all think we are eating quite healthy. However upon a closer look it may not be so. It is not uncommon to go through the day with one token banana and not much else on the 5-a-day front. A cheese or ham roll, packet of potato crisps and a can of cola is a very typical take to work lunch. Unfortunately this is not going to do a whole lot for your body. Out of a bag side salad sitting next to a ready meal for dinner is nothing to get excited about either.

I am lucky to be at home for lunch, this enables me a bit of planning and thinking about what I eat. Today it was leftover vegetable soup, couple slices of rye bread, an apple and an orange. I also sneaked in few kale chips. I do tend to cook soup in larger batches, freeze or just keep it in a fridge for a few days. I don’t see cooking for myself as a waste of time, cooking for one is cool, I can eat whatever I like. I can eat all the things rest of the family may not go crazy for. It may just be a sweet potato baked in the oven with some spicy greens and chickpeas on top. In my eyes, that is heavenly. And when I am pressed for time, I will have a hummus, grated carrot and seed wrap, or an avocado, lime and spring onion wrap with a bit of cayenne for some kick.

At college, everybody makes an effort to bring a very nutritious lunch. We are, after all, studying nutrition. There are quinoa salads, flasks of soup, pots of hummus, leftover veggie curries, lentils, rye breads. Everybody carries boxes of nuts and dried fruits, kale chips, fruits and veggies. We all plan ahead to ensure we eat well. It is all about getting into the habit and finding a little bit of extra time to prepare some yummy, healthy and portable dishes. Your health is surely worth extra few minutes a day.

This salad takes minuted to make and carries an amazing zing that is sure to wake up your taste buds.

courgette-salsa-salad

COURGETTE SALAD WITH TOMATO SALSA DRESSING AND WALNUTS
Make sure you to add the walnuts in just before serving. If left sitting in the lime juice they will taste rather unpleasant.

Serves 4 as a side salad but will do nicely for 2 as a “raw pasta” dish

ingredients
2 medium courgettes (zucchini)
1 medium beef tomato
pinch of salt
2 spring onions
1/2 red chilli
juice of 1 lime
1/2-1 Tbs agave syrup (to taste)
handful of coriander (cilantro)
1/2 cup walnuts

method
  1. Using a swivel peeler cut the courgette lengthways into long ribbons. Leaving the centre part with seeds behind. Place the ribbons in a bowl.
  2. Next make the dressing. Cut the tomato into quarters, using a sharp knife remove the seeds and skin. Dice the tomato finely, place into a small bowl and add a pinch of salt.
  3. Finely chop the chilli and spring onions and add to the tomatoes together with lemon juice and finely chopped coriander.
  4. Add the dressing to the courgettes and let sit for about half an hour in the fridge.
  5. Just before serving add the walnuts.

0 Comments

THE BIG 40 - ROASTED ROOT VEG AND PUY LENTIL SALAD

THE BIG 40
ROASTED ROOT VEG AND PUY LENTIL SALAD

“Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed.”
Charles M. Schultz

The big 40. Yes, I have joined the club last Sunday. I had a few pre-birthday drinks with my gorgeous girlfriends the previous weekend and this weekend was spent with family. Many women do seem to worry about turning 40, we all say :“it’s down hill from now on...”. I feel, however, that I am the happiest I have been. I have a great family, wonderful husband, two amazing kids who are my ray of sunshine everyday. I have got some fabulous friends and am working toward my goal of becoming a naturopathic nutritionist. I wouldn’t change any of this for being younger.

When you turn 40 you should:

  • Look after yourself even more. As we age we do need to ensure we eat well and move even more than before. Antioxidants plenty! Natural cosmetics! No junk!

  • Surround yourself only with people who are good for your soul (this may be hard at work, but in your personal relationships it is a must). Be there for your friends, call them, text them, hug them, feed them, laugh with them...

  • Find time for yourself everyday, it can be a cup of tea and a few chapters of a good book, a walk with the dogs or a spot of meditation. Anything that relaxes you is a good thing.

  • Spent time with the people closest with you. A glass of wine with your partner, shopping trip with your daughter or the latest Bond movie with your son are moments to treasure forever. Cook and eat together, dance and laugh everyday. Appreciate every minute.

  • Have goals. They may be small or big. Whether you want to run a marathon or learn to samba make sure you enjoy working towards them. Learning keeps us young.

  • Think before you speak. You don’t have to always speak wisely, but your words should never hurt.

  • Realize that wearing stilettos will not make your night out any more fun... they may just make your feet hurt like hell!

  • Enjoy the healing power of food (and enjoy my recipes)


roast-roots-puy-lentil


ROASTED ROOT VEG AND PUY LENTIL SALAD

Serves 4 as a main dish salad

ingredients
250g (1 cup) Puy lentils
1 large parsnip, cut into matchsticks
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 tsp rapeseed oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs ras-el-hanout (or Moroccan seasoning)
1 whole garlic bulb
3 Tbs cider vinegar
3 spring onions, finely chopped

method
  1. Cook the lentils in 3 cups of water for about 25-30min. Lentils should be soft but still holding their shape.
  2. Let the lentils cool.
  3. While the lentils are cooking put the parsnip, carrots and sweet potatoes, mixed with 2 tsp of rapeseed oil and the ras-el-hanout, on a baking paper lined tray. Add un-peeled garlic cloves to the tray.
  4. Roast for 25-30 min at 200C oven. Take care not to over cook the garlic cloves.
  5. Add the roasted vegetables to the lentils.
  6. Squeeze the garlic flesh out of the skins, mash them into a smooth paste. Add the vinegar combine togeher and add to the lentils.
  7. Mix in the spring onion. Serve warm or at room temperature.


veggies ready for the oven
roated-roots
0 Comments

CELERIAC AND PEAR SALAD WITH CASHEW LIME CREAM

CELERIAC AND PEAR SALAD WITH CASHEW LIME CREAM

This study weekend we more or less scratched the surface of our body’s biochemistry. Everybody’s head was spinning. Complicated it is indeed but also unbelievably fascinating. As I comfortably sit here writing this blog thousands of biochemical reactions are happening in my body. DNA is zipped and unzipped, transcribed and copied, proteins are formed, enzymes are working hard at speeding up chemical processes, energy is being produced and stored... We are quietly unaware of the amazing work happening beneath the surface.

To do all this efficiently your body needs the right type of fuel. Just like a car. Luckily the damage may not happen as quickly as when you put unleaded into your diesel car. It is never too late or too early to make improvements to our eating habits. Healthy balanced diet will make for a healthy efficient body. That’s what I keep telling my kids (and they occasionally make that pretend yawn when I do! GRRR!).

Getting kids eat a balanced diet can be a challenge at times. My son did mention one of his friends survived school camp eating plain pasta and chips (oh and one chicken leg). As I have mentioned in my previous blogs my daughter is not great with her vegetables. Therefore I jump for joy whenever she takes liking to something she previously didn’t like or refused to try. She helped me make todays recipe. During the preparation I encouraged her to try the pear (she always “hated” pears) and the celeriac (she has never even attempted to try it). To my surprise she exclaimed she loved the pears! And indeed she ate a whole one the very next day. The celeriac was not such a raving success but when dipped into the cashew cream it went down rather well. I am happy to say she ate a portion of the salad with her dinner. Another step forward:)

celeriacpearsalad

CELERIAC AND PEAR SALAD WITH CASHEW LIME CREAM

The recipe for lime coriander cashew cream will yield more than you need (it is difficult to process smaller amounts), it will keep in the fridge for couple of days, great as a topping for a soup.

Serves 4-6 as a side salad

ingredients

250ml (1 cup) cashews soaked in water for at least 30min.
125ml - 160ml (1/2-2/3 cup) water
juice of 1 and 1/2 limes
handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1 small celeriac (celery root) - or as in my case half of a very big one, peeled
2 asian pears (or any other pears that are not too soft), peeled
salt and pepper

celeriacpearsalad2

method
  1. First make your dressing. Drain the cashews from their soaking liquid. Put cashews and 125mo (1/2 of water) into the blender. Blend till smooth. If the mixture is too thick add more water.
  2. Transfer the cashew cream to a bowl and add the lime juice and coriander. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare your vegetables. You can just grate the vegetables in a food processor or using a box grater. I used my mandolin to slice the celeriac into super thin slices and julienned these with a knife. The pear I sliced with a knife and julienned. :)
  4. Mix with some of the dressing. I used about 2/3 of the quantity.
  5. Chill until ready to serve. The salad taste even better the next day.

0 Comments

SALAD WITH MANGO AND CHIA SEED DRESSING

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY MAY START WITH A SALAD

Yesterday I posted an article from The Independent on my Facebook page that criticised the governments efforts (or lack of) to tackle the obesity crisis. The predictions are staggering, by 2050 some 50% of children are expected to be obese or overweight and in the same year the annual cost of obesity is predicted to be £50bn. Year 2050 may seem like a distant future but we need to do something now so these numbers never come true.

Today I saw a disturbing article about the rise of breast reduction surgeries (funded by NHS) on girls under 16, the youngest being 11. These are not cosmetic surgeries, NHS is not that generous, these procedures are due to obesity. These girls are suffering serious back pains and apparently cannot exercise due to their large bust. I do find this outrageous and can’t but get angry at the people who have failed these girls and allowed them to get into this kind of situation.

A recent study at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California shows that obese children have a raised risk of gallstones. The risk is 4x larger for the moderately obese and 6x for the extremely obese. My aunt used to suffer with this painful condition that has always been associated with adults not kids. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, especially children.

I do strongly believe we have to assume personal responsibility for what we feed our kids. As for the government, maybe taxing the processed, sugary and fatty foods would be a good start. The money made from these taxes should be put into companies who supply healthy food, the fruit and vegetable growers and the companies struggling to produce and sell healthy options in market flooded by cheap junk. The money should also go into education of both adults and children. Maybe that way we can avoid health tragedies.

When it comes to personal responsibilities, salad is always a good start, especially one with dressing made without any refined oils. I constantly try to come up with oil free dressings and finely feel like I struck gold with this one. It is slightly French inspired (I used some fine Dijon mustard). The oil replacement? Chia seeds soaked in water, the jelly like mixture makes a great emulsifier similar to oil. And since chia seeds are an amazing source of good fats they will also boost the absorption of fat soluble vitamins from your veggies.

Chiamangosalad


SALAD WITH MANGO AND CHIA SEED DRESSING

I love using broccoli stalks, it makes me feel great about reducing waste but they are very delicious indeed. You can substitute julienned kohlrabi for the broccoli.

Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side salad

ingredients:
salad
1/2 a red leaf or dark leaf lettuce
1/3 of medium red cabbage (about 2 cups)
3 stalks of broccoli
half a medium red onion
1 mango

chia seed dressing
1 Tbs chia seeds
60ml water
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 tsp agave syrup
2 Tbs sherry vinegar


cgi

method
  1. First, make the dressing. Soak the chia seeds in water for about 10min. You should end up with jelly like texture, it kind of resembles frog spawn :)
  2. Add rest of the ingredients, stir thoroughly until well emulsified. Set aside.
  3. Make the salad.
  4. Wash the lettuce and tear into bite size pieces.
  5. Shred the red cabbage as thinly as you can, I used a knife but a food processor or mandolin will work great.
  6. Next peel the broccoli stalks and cut off any hard ends, cut the stalks into thin matchsticks (julienne).
  7. Slice the red onion as thinly as possible.
  8. Peel the mango, cut the mango cheeks away from the stone and slice very thinly.
  9. Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing and serve.
0 Comments

MAGIC ONIONS AND KACHUMBER

MAGIC ONIONS AND KACHUMBER

It would be hard to imagine cooking without onions. They are a based of so many dishes lending great flavour but there is so much more to the humble onion. We are constantly bombarded with the latest exotic superfoods like goji berries, macca powder, chlorella... the onion may look rather ordinary and unimportant.

Onions are one of my food superheros. They may not be trendy and exotic but they rightly deserve their superfood label. Onion cell walls contain alliinase, the enzyme that is released by chopping or crushing. The alliinase than catalyses the release of organosulfurs, hence the sulfuric acid smell and tears when we chop onions. The onion uses this as a protection agains herbivores. These chemicals are what makes onions so special.

The above mentioned compounds are what makes onions such a great cancer fighting food.
Dr Fuhrman in his book Super Immunity (a must read!!!) states that “epidemiological studies have found increased consumption of allium vegetables is associated with lower risk of cancer at all common sites.” The numbers he mentions are staggering, just 80g portion of onions 7 times a week has provided these stats:
56% reduction in colon cancer
73% reduction of ovarian cancer
88% reduction in esophageal cancer
71% reduction in prostate cancer
50% reduction in stomach cancer.
Amazing right?

redonions


Onions are not just a cancer fighter, they have antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. They are rich in chromium that helps to balance blood sugar. Onions are the richest dietary source of quercetin (not in white onions) which may just reduce your hay fever or asthma symptoms, but can also raise the good HDL cholesterol and ward off blood clots.

The best thing about onions? Apart from being delicious they are cheap as chips and very available (no excuse!). I know that not everybody likes to eat them raw but in this Indian recipe they mellow out while they meld with all the other flavours creating a delicious salad/salsa/relish type concoction. Serve it traditionally with curry but is fab with veggie burgers, burritos or even on top of a veggie chille.


kachumber

KACHUMBER

ingredients
1 large tomato
2 red onions (medium) or 1 large
1/2 cucumber
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
juice of half a lime
2 Tbs coriander leaves

method
  1. Deseed the tomato and chop quite fine (think salsa). Put it into a medium bowl.
  2. Next chop the onion and cucumber into roughly the same size pieces as your tomato.
  3. Add the salt, cayenne pepper, lime juice and coriander leaves (I like to leave these whole).
  4. Rest in the fridge for half an hour for the flavours to develop. Bring to a room temperature before serving.


0 Comments

KALE AND MANGO SALAD

KALE AND MANGO SALAD

As I am writing today’s blog my kids are working on a word search from the brilliant Summer Plant Strong Challenge from Rip Esselstyn (of Engine2 Diet). You can go on Rip’s website and print out the activity sheets. The activities include colouring, word search, scavenger hunts and kid friendly recipes from some fab plant strong chefs.The first week focuses on plant strong protein, week 2 on calcium and week 3 on the importance of sleep (I so hope this will make my kids go to bed a bit earlier). More weeks of activities to come.

This morning we went to do our weekly shop, my daughter had her first scavenger hunt sheet and looked for all the green veggies and fruit on the list. We bough most of what was on the list and are eating and ticking our way through it. Another challenge for week 1 was to find a kale recipe and of course make and eat it. My son suggested massaged kale and mango salad, I am sure he saw a similar recipe on tv. I was happy to go with the idea. Massaged kale is one of my favourite ways of eating this queen of greens. It went down really well, my son had a double serving.

Why not try this challenge too? It may inspire your kids to try new fruits and veggies. And while you at it check out Rip’s website too. Fab recipes to try. The link below will lead you to the week 3, link to weeks 1 and 2 are on the same page.

http://engine2diet.com/the-daily-beet/plant-strong™-summer-kids-series-week-3-plus-tips-for-teens-by-teens/

kalemangosalad

KALE AND MANGO SALAD
My mango was very yummy but rather stringy that prevented me cutting it into perfect dice. Still it didn’t take away from the flavour.

Serves 4

ingredients
200g kale, stalks removed, leaves shredded
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 small red onion (I used 1/4 of medium red onion), sliced very thin
1 large mango
3 Tbs sunflower seeds


method
  1. Place the kale into a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and salt. Rub the leaves between your fingers, a bit like making pastry. Do this for about 2 min, the kale will collapse and feel more tender. The salt and lemon will help tenderise the kale.
  2. Cut the cheeks off the mango, cut the flesh into bite size dice. Toss with the kale leaves. Squeeze the flesh that is left on the stone over the kale, you should get a good amount of mango juice to dress the salad.
  3. Add the onions and seeds. Toss and serve.
0 Comments

BEETROOT AND ORANGE SALAD

BEETROOT AND ORANGE SALAD

Every Monday deserves a big news in the field of medicine. The one that stands out today is the breakthrough in treating obesity, a “flab jab” (to steel a tabloid headline) or, in a more scientific language, a somatostatin vaccine. This article explains how the jab works:
http://www.news-medical.net/news/20120709/New-somatostatin-vaccines-promote-weight-loss.aspx

We all know the obesity problem is out of control and there is a part of me that thinks this jab may not be such a bad idea. There are many people who, for whatever reason, will not (even though I am sure they can) change their lifestyles. A jab seems like a very easy solution to a very serious and expensive problem that is spreading through many countries around the world.

The other and much louder part of me believes that this is an utter madness. This jab is promoted (by many newspapers) as a way to stay slim on a junk food diet. I am sure that eating diet of junk food without the weight gain will appeal to a lot of people. This will ensure a huge profit for the company making the vaccine and by default to fast food outlets and processed food manufacturers. You may be able to eat rubbish and not put massive amounts of weight on, maybe even stay slim (the mice this was tested on lost 10% of their weight). However, as we know, being slim does not assure person’s good health. If you choose eating a junk food high calorie dense diet the chances are you will be malnourished regardless of your weight. A weigh loss jab surely won’t change this.

In the words of Dr Mark Hyman:
“We can’t medicate our way out of a bad diet.” And he is right, medication is not the answer. Medication has further implications, it is always toxic. For example diabetes medicine increases the risk of dying from heart problems and statins (the cholesterol lowering medication used to reduce heart attacks) increase Type-2 diabetes. This is a vicious circle. I am sure we will find negative side-effects to the above mentioned jab in due course. Instead of waiting 10 years for this jab to be approved just eat yourself to health (and healthy weight ) instead.


beetrootandorange


BEETROOT AND ORANGE SALAD
This salad has an outrageous colour and fresh, fruity flavour. You can use shop bought already pre-cooked beetroot, they tend to be bigger so use about 8.

ingredients
12 baby beetroot
2 oranges
2 small red onion
2 celery stalks
salt
handful of walnuts

method
  1. First prepare your beetroot. Scrub them clean but keep root ends intact. Cook beetroot in boiling water for 20-30min till tender. Cooking time will depend on the size of your beetroot.
  2. Let the beetroot cool down, slip of the skin and cut of the root and stalk ends. Cut each beetroot into 6 wedges. Place in a bowl.
  3. Next segment the oranges. Using a sharp knife (serrated knife works well too) cut off all the peel including the white pith. Holding your orange in the palm of your hand over the beetroot cut segments away from their skins. When you have removed all the segments squeeze the juice from what is left from your oranges.
  4. Thinly slice the red onion and add to the beetroot.
  5. Remove strings from the celery stalks and slice quite thinly. Add to the salad.
  6. Season with salt (optional) and pepper.
  7. Place the salad in a serving bowl and top with the walnuts.
0 Comments

THREE BEAN SALAD

THREE BEAN SALAD

As a response to my Mediterranean Diet post my friend R send me a link to a research that shows legumes are the reason Med Diet is more successful than others. This makes so much sense. We already know it is not the olive oil right? I felt inspired to put a three bean salad together to serve to our family visiting over the weekend.

Legumes are fantastic, not just because they are a powerhouse of nutrition, but for their versatility. There is so much you can do with them, add to salads, makes into soups, stews and sauces, they are (especially lentils) fabulous in curries and make a great base for burgers and loafs. I can’t get enough. They are also great for your budget, legumes are cheap, especially if you buy them dry! I always have dried for when I have had time to plan my meals and tinned for impromptu dinners.

These colourful pebbles are a fantastic source of protein. They also contain calcium, zinc, iron and selenium. They are regarded as one of the top anticancer foods but also very effective in lowering the bad cholesterol. We all need to eat more legumes! And if you experience flatulence as a side effect of eating beans just start slowly with more easier to digest mung beans. Another good tip is to cook beans and lentils with a pinch of asofetida (as they do in India) or a piece of kombu (common in Japan), this should make them easier to on your tummy.

threebeansalad

THREE BEAN SALAD
Oil free recipe.

I used tinned beans (or tetra packed ) for this salad. You can cook your own but it is a bit of a hassle if using different types of beans. You would have to have 3 pots on the go at once as they tend to have different cooking times.

This recipe makes a large batch, will easily serve 6-8. Keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days.

ingredients

8 vine ripened tomatoes (small to medium, not cherry, plum are great)
1 tin butter beans (or canellini)
1 tin chickpeas
1 tin red kidney beans
1 medium red onion
1 red pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 Tbs cider vinegar
Handful of basil leaves

method
  1. First preheat the oven to 190C. Place quartered tomatoes in a single layer in a baking dish lined with grease proof paper. Bake for 20 -30 min until the edges of tomatoes start caramelising. Remove from oven a let cool down.
  2. Drain all your beans and place into a large bowl.
  3. Cut your onion finely, I used my mandolin to cut thin slices.
  4. Cut up the red pepper into 1 cm dice.
  5. Add your onions and peppers to your beans, mix together taking care not to break up the beans (butter beans tend to be more delicate than others).
  6. Make the dressing: In a blender or food processor whizz together the tomatoes, cider vinegar and the garlic till smooth. Season with some salt and pepper if you wish.
  7. Pour the dressing over your beans and mix well. Add torn basil leaves and stir through the salad gently.
0 Comments

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.


0 Comments

The Diamond Jubilee/Coronation Chickpea Sald

Jubilee-Banner

THE DIAMOND JUBILEE/CORONATION CHICKPEA SALAD

The whole of UK will be enjoying an extended four day weekend to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen’s coronation took place on 2nd June 1953 (she came to throne in February of the previous year). Sixty years on the throne deserve a recognition, many celebrations are planned including street parties all around the country. And of course we celebrate best with some great food (and drink) in hand.

Probably the most famous dish, from the two Coronation Banquets in 1953, is the Coronation Chicken. The recipe was created by Constance Spry and Rosemary Huyme. Constance suggested to make curried creamy chicken and Rosemary (the chef) executed the idea. For months now Coronation Chicken inspired dishes have been on the shelves of supermarkets, you can choose from the traditional chicken, veggie rice version or a Coronation dip. There even is a coronation ice-cream in an ice-cream shop in London.

I felt inspired and created my own plant based version of the famous dish. As in the original version I used a curry powder. When I made curries I blend my own spices but the generic curry powder taste is what makes this recipe traditional as that is what they would use in 1953. Just make sure you use a good quality one, I get mine in an Asian shop. You can also use a good curry paste.

The original version is mayo heavy and I didn’t want to just open a jar and replace the regular mayo with a vegan one. Therefore a tofu/cashew dressing was born, the quantities given make more than you will need but it tastes great and you will find other uses (great with new potatoes). The salad ingredients can be easily doubled to make enough to feed a crowd, it makes a great potluck dish.

Here is to the Queen who just keeps going with seemingly boundless energy through the ups and downs she has encountered in the 60 years on the throne. I will be raising a glass of Pimm’s to her health.

IMG_2465

CORONATION CHICKPEA SALAD
salad:
1/3 cup (60g) wild rice
1/2 Tbs rapeseed (canola) oil
1 small to medium red onion, finely diced
2 tsp mild curry powder
1 Tbs tomato puree
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
2 Tbs water
2 Tbs raisins
6 dried apricots, cut into roughly raisin size
4 spring onions, white part only, finely sliced
handful of toasted flaked almonds
handful of fresh coriander chopped

the dressing:
1/2 cup (60ml) water
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1/2 pack of Mori-Nu silken tofu (about 170g - 6oz)
1 heaped Tbs mango chutney
good pinch of saffron
2 Tbs lemon juice
pinch of salt

method:

  1. First cook the rice in 1 and 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30min. Drain and cool down. Set aside.
  2. In a frying pan heat the oil, gently saute the onion until tender but do not brown, about 10 min.
  3. Add the curry powder and cook for 30 seconds. Next add the tomato puree. Stir together.
  4. Add the chickpeas and 2 Tbs of water to the frying pan. Season with salt. Cook gently until the water is evaporated and the chickpeas are coated with thick curry paste. Let the chickpeas cool down.
  5. When the rice and chickpeas have cooled down place them into a bowl and add the rest of the salad ingredients.
  6. To make the dressing blend all the ingredients in a blender till smooth. Pour some of the dressing over the salad, mix well. The salad should be very creamy. You can overdo the dressing a bit, it thickens in the fridge. Chill.
  7. Decorate with some almonds and coriander. Enjoy.
0 Comments

MORE FRUIT AND VEG Part 3: Salads - WATERCRESS, FENNEL AND ORANGE SALAD Part 2: Salads

MORE FRUIT AND VEG
Part 2: Salads
WATERCRESS, FENNEL AND ORANGE SALAD

There is no denying that salad is the most obvious way of getting some veggies and fruit in your diet. Unfortunately there is this idea of utter torture associated with salads. In many people’s minds dieting equals torture and dieting equals salads.

There are some horrid salads out there, the other day I was served such a salad, alongside my veggie burger in a restaurant. It consisted of big pieces of ice berg lettuce, thickly sliced white onion and one thick slice of tomato...That was it. I was not impressed and will not be visiting that restaurant again.

Growing up in Czech Republic the salad option was very limited when I was a child (things have improved now...), we had a cucumber salad, lettuce salad, tomato salad usually dressed with vinegar/water/salt/sugar or kefir. There were also lots of mayonnaise heavy salads and my Dad still likes to dress his veggies that way. Nostalgically I still make the sweet and sour cucumber salad but I have widened my horizons substantially.

Talking about progress I remember when my grandma returned from visiting her brother once, his daughter married a Frenchman and influenced (somewhat) my aunt’s salad preparation. My grandmother was horrified when she saw my aunt placing lettuce leaves into a tea towel and swinging the bundle furiously over her head like a lasso, creating an impromptu salad spinner. Also the shock horror when she dressed it with oil, mustard and vinegar!!! My granny was not impressed...I was intrigued.

I admit not all salads I make are an amazing culinary experience, sometimes I just pile lettuce leaves on my plate alongside a portion of my main dish. I am happy with that. Great sweet lettuce doesn’t even need dressing on it at times. Other times I want something a bit more exciting. Something that will wake up my taste buds. Like this watercress, fennel and orange salad.

WATERCRESS, FENNEL AND ORANGE SALAD
If yo want to make this salad ahead keep the watercress separate from the rest and combine just before serving. The orange juice will cause the delicate watercress leaves to wilt quite quickly.

ingredients
1 medium fennel
1 half of a medium red onion
1 pack of watercress, any thick stalks removed
3 oranges
1 Tbs olive oil

watercressorangesalad

method
  1. First, prepare your fennel, remove the thick outer layer, cut the bulb in half and cut out the hard core at the base. Slice the fennel as thinly as you can, I used my mandolin for that job.
  2. Slice the onion in the same fashion.
  3. Using a sharp knife ( a large bread knife works great too) to remove the orange peel and pith of 2 oranges. You can either segment the orange, or just cut into pieces. My orange segments looked rather small so I decided to cut the orange up, segmenting just wouldn’t work.
  4. To make the dressing juice the third orange (mine was small, you may only need half an orange if it is large), add salt pepper and the spoon of olive oil. Stir well.
  5. Combine the watercress, onion, oranges and fennel together, dress with the dressing and serve.
0 Comments

CZECH STYLE CABBAGE AND APPLE SALAD

CZECH STYLE CABBAGE AND APPLE SALAD

There is something very exciting about eating seasonal produce. It is so exciting to get first asparagus, spring/summer greens (collards) or green pointy cabbage (also known as hispi). I have grown up eating lots of cabbage, mostly braised sweet and sour style, or fermented (sauerkraut) but than Czech restaurants came up with the idea of serving cabbage salads as a side to pretty much anything. Cost effective but very delicious. I am not sure how this craze started but these salads spread like garden weeds, even now lots of Czech restaurants will adorn your plate with one or two different cabbage salads. Usually one is made with white cabbage the other one with red.

I have always wanted to recreate a good cabbage salad and finally cracked it. The sweet and crisp cabbage, juicy apple, spring onion for a bite. Simple yet tasty, quite frankly you can’t go wrong with cabbage/apple combo. The best thing is this salad is even better the next day, the cabbage collapses a little, soaks up the dressing. I find myself a new favourite.

The key is to slice the cabbage finely, I used a sharp knife because I wanted nice long pieces. Food processor with slicing (not shredding ) attachment will do the job. The apples were professionally cut by my son. I sliced them into thin discs and he proceeded in cutting them into matchsticks. If you have a hard time finding the pointy (hispi) cabbage use regular white cabbage or even red cabbage, they will work great in this salad.
applecabbagesalads

CZECH STYLE CABBAGE AND APPLE SALAD
This salad will keep in the fridge for about 3 days.

Serves 4-6 as a side salad or a part of a buffet style meal

ingredients
220g (1/2lb) spring pointy (hispi) cabbage, thinly shredded
2 juicy eating apples, cut into thin matchsticks
2 spring onions, white parts only, finely chopped
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs sweet freedom syrup (or agave)
salt

method
Just mix all ingredients together, let sit for at least half an hour. Serve.

0 Comments

RUNNER BEAN SALAD WITH RAW TOMATO DRESSING

RUNNER BEAN SALAD WITH RAW TOMATO DRESSING

The other day I made my butternut squash edamame and peanut butter stew for my friend. Kids had noodles with tofu and veggies instead. They are not keen on spicy food (my son is starting to discover it slowly) and I just wanted to make sure they get fed. While tucking into my stew I did my best to entice my son to try some. He just said: “But I don’t like butternut squash!” Yes I knew that but I still insisted that he should give it a go. His reply was: “You don’t like raw tomatoes and nobody makes you eat them... it is the same with butternut squash and sweet potato for me.”

Now nobody likes as “smarta..e”. Right?! Kids always seem to have an answer and yes it did make a lot of sense. The role of us parents is to outsmart our kids while we can ( I quiver realising this will not be possible for much longer). Therefore I came up with a bullet proof strategy (or so I think). My last bulgur wheat salad recipe had raw tomatoes in it. And today I made another raw tomato recipe. All this in hope that if I start eating my food nemesis my son maybe more likely to confront his or at least will have to come with another smart argument whilst trying to avoid it. I will let you know if it works.

Today the tomatoes didn’t quite cooperate the way I wanted them too. I had a plan and they were having none of it. First I cut a cross into the skin, than poured boiling water over them, left them for a minute, cooled them in cold water and NOTHING. The skins would not come off!!! So I decided to change my plan and just deseeded and blended them rebels skin and all which resulted in a rather yummy dressing for my runner beans. My son loved it, my husband didn’t even notice he was eating raw tomatoes (yes he doesn’t like them either...) and I proved a point! Job well done.

runnerbeans1

RUNNER BEAN SALAD WITH RAW TOMATO DRESSING

serves 4 as a side salad

ingredients
300g (about 3/4 lb), sliced thinly on the diagonal
4 small to medium tomatoes (mine were about the size of a smaller round plum)
1 clove of garlic, sliced
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs water or use another Tbs of oil
salt and pepper to taste

method
  1. Put the beans into a steamer basket and steam for about 4 min or until tender but still with a little bit of a bite. Place cooked beans into a bowl of iced water to cool and stop cooking. Set aside.
  2. In a blender process the rest of the ingredients until you get a thick smooth sauce.
  3. Toss the beans with the dressing and serve.


runnersalad
0 Comments

BULGUR WHEAT SALAD WITH CRUNCHY VEGGIES AND HERBS

BULGUR WHEAT SALAD WITH CRUNCHY VEGGIES AND HERBS

Couple days ago, Daily Mail ran a poll on their website. The question asked was: Is a vegan book aimed at children appropriate? (Unfortunately I am unable to find the exact words from the website but this is close enough) When I added my vote to the tally, there was about 10% more people convinced that veganism shouldn’t be taught to children.

The article that started this poll was a review of Ruby Roth’s new book
Vegan is Love. I must give the usually judgmental DM a credit for a well balanced article. There was a quote from Nicole German, an American dietician, who deemed the book dangerous, leading to possible malnutrition in the young impressionable children. Rest of the article was however very reassuring (quoting the likes of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) about the safety and health benefits of a well planned vegan diet for children.

Finally the tide seems to be changing and plant based/vegan diets are getting the recognition they deserve, with more and more research confirming their benefits in preventing and even reversing many chronic diseases. Of course not every vegan diet is healthy, chips and Oreos are vegan too.

There were number of comments that followed the article, one especially disagreeing with veganism being promoted to children and calling for charges to be pressed against parents whose child suffers through their negligence. In this case the legal system should brace themselves, there are plenty malnourished obese kids around who suffer by being fed low nutrition calorie dense fast foods. Most vegan parents know far more about nutrition than the average parent, simply because they have to. Yes there are few stumbling blocks, like vitamins B12 or D (in our climate) but there are easy to deal with. In my opinion a plate of lentils with brown rice and veggies on the side is a much healthier meal than Big Mac with chips any day!

As far as the book goes I am planning to order it very soon for my children, we have Ruby’s previous book That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, which is a fantastic way to introduce kids to the way animals are treated in today’s food production. Since I started to take dairy out of my diet, I decided not to impose the same decision on my kids. I do cook vegan dishes but if they want a cheese sandwich to take to school I wan’t going to argue. I wanted them to make their own decision. After reading the above book both of them decided to be “more” vegan. They still want to have the option of eating a pizza at friend’s house or at a party. And I will respect that but in a way wish they were never introduced to dairy in the first place.

Amazon US allows to have a peek at some of the pages of the book and from what I saw there is nothing I wouldn’t want my children to know. Such knowledge will lead to a more compassionate way of living. It is a shame that this book is most likely going to end up in vegan/vegetarian households only, it should be in every library and read at schools.

The original article:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2131090/Ruby-Roths-new-childrens-book-Vegan-Love-sparks-outrage-graphic-images-unhealthy-diet-message.html


BULGUR WHEAT SALAD WITH CRUNCHY VEGGIES AND HERBS

This salad is very lightly dressed just with lemon juice and tiny bit of olive oil, if you want a stronger flavour you could add a tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar. I like to be able to taste all the veggies and herbs without being over powered by dressing.

Serves 4 as a main dish salad.


bulgursalad2

ingredients
180g (1 cup) bulgur wheat
375ml (1 and 1/2 cups) just boiled water (or vegetable stock)
1 tin chickpeas, drained
2 medium beef tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 small kohlrabi, peeled and finely diced (about 1 cup)
8 radishes, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 large lemon
heaped handful (1 cup ) smixture of parsley and mint, finely chopped (I used ration 3-1 parsley to mint)

method
  1. First cook the bulgur wheat; put the grain into a large bowl, pour over the just boiled water (or stock). Cover with cling film and let sit for 10-15 min or until all the water is absorbed.
  2. Add the drained chickpeas to the hot bulgur wheat. Season with salt and let cool down.
  3. In the meantime chop all your vegetables.
  4. Mix all the ingredients into the cooled bulgur-chickpea mixture. Mix well.
  5. Serve :)

0 Comments

Kitchen Gadgets

ASIAN STYLE CARROT AND CUCUMBER SALAD

My husband, like most men I know, loves gadgets. He does have an excuse, it is part of his job to know about the latest technical marvels, but I suspect he would know the latest iPad features even if he worked as a shoe salesman. I am not saying that gadgets leave me cold, I could not imagine life without my iPhone, after all it has been used to shoot my blog photos but the gadgets I really love are those I can use in the kitchen.

My favourite kitchen appliance is my Vitamix mixer, those who have it will agree that this unbelievable machine quickly becomes a part of the family. Not only it makes super smooth smoothies but it will make nut milks, nut butters, hummus, soup and much more. Just make sure to keep the turbo button off when introducing a hot tomato soup to it, from my own experience, it makes kitchen look like a CSI crime scene. Vitamix may be a rather pricy gadget but well worth the investment.

Tomorrow should be the day I welcome my new eagerly awaited dehydrator. I can’t wait to use it, but I do promise not to forget my old friends for the new one. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great kitchen helper. Take my olive/cherry pitter, without it I would be covered in cherry juice or chasing escapee olives around my kitchen.

Another old favourite of mine is my julienne peeler, it easily juliennes carrots, courgettes, cucumbers and other veggies to make perfect stir-fries or salads. It did a great job helping me make todays recipe, Asian inspired cucumber and carrot salad. One problem with the julienne peeler is that there will be some vegetable wastage, you will have bits of carrots left over, save them for soup or stock, I fed them to my dogs for a crunchy treat. You will also be left with the seedy watery middle part of cucumber (pop it into a green smoothie). All worth it for the perfect uniform strands of veggies. If you don’t own one of these magic gadgets you can also just grate the veggies on a box grater or in a food processor. Japanese mandolin would do the trick beautifully.

julienne peeler
juliennepeeler


ASIAN STYLE CARROT AND CUCUMBER SALAD
Taste and adjust your dressing as you go, depending how much you like wasabi use less or more. Rice vinegar is quite mild but if you are replacing for another vinegar you may have to use less. You can also replace the sweet freedom syrup with palm sugar or stevia.

ingredients
4 medium carrots
1 large cucumber
5 spring onions
1-2 tsp wasabi powder
1 Tbs sweet freedom syrup (or agave)
2 Tbs light soya sauce or tamari
5 Tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs black sesame seeds
1 Tbs white sesame seeds
2 Tbs chopped fresh coriander


carrotcucumbersalad

method
  1. Using your julienne peeler cut the carrots and cucumbers into long strips. It takes a bit of practice but after a while you will become a pro.
  2. Cut the roots and the dark green part of the spring onions. Cut the onions lengthways into thin strips.
  3. To make the dressing mix the wasabi, syrup, soya, vinegar and sesame oil. Taste and adjust the flavours.
  4. Poor the dressing over the vegetables, add the sesame seeds and coriander.
  5. Serve as a part of an Asian inspired meal.
0 Comments

SPINACH, BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND OVEN DRIED TOMATO SALAD

SPINACH, BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND OVEN DRIED TOMATO SALAD

The beautiful fresh baby spinach in my organic vegetable box just called out to be eaten in a salad. Tender crispy sweet leaves came straight from the field.

Like other leafy greens spinach is a nutritional giant. It is full of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, but over all tastes fabulous.The baby leaves are so sweet that even kids like it. I love adding spinach to my kids smoothies, they can’t even tell it is in their glass, especially when you add some dark berries that hide the green colour. This salad however hides nothing. It looks like a rainbow.

Unfortunately I am not a fan of fresh tomatoes (I can’t stand the seeds surrounded with that jelly like juice) , however I do love them cooked, sun dried or oven dried, the concentrated flavour is irresistible. Lucky for me, the almighty antioxidant lycopene is more available from cooked tomatoes so it is a win-win situation. The concentrated tomato flavour goes incredibly well with the sweet roasted butternut squash, add red onions for bit of a bite and seeds for some crunch. Perfect lunch I say!

butternutspinach2

SPINACH, BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND OVEN DRIED TOMATO SALAD
To make the balsamic vinegar glaze (syrup) just place about 125ml (1/2cup) vinegar in a small sauce pan, bring to a boil and cook till reduced and syrupy. You can also buy already prepared balsamic vinegar glaze, just beware of added sugar.

Serves 2 as a main dish salad (4 as a started or side dish)

ingredients
450 (1lb) butternuts squash, prepared weight (peeled, seeds removed)
1 tsp olive oil
oven dried tomatoes (see below)
1 small red onion (I used about 1/4 of a medium large one)
2 Tbs pumpkin or sunflower seeds (or mixture of both)
100 g (3 1/2 oz) baby spinach leaves
oven dried tomatoes (see below)
Balsamic vinegar glaze to drizzle (about 1 Tbs of balsamic ) or use just balsamic vinegar.

Oven dried tomatoes
4 medium vine ripened tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil

First make the oven dried tomatoes.
Preheat the oven to 120C.
Use the 1 tsp olive oil to grease the bottom of the baking dish big enough to fit the tomatoes in one layer.
Place the tomatoes in your baking dish and season.
Bake for about 2 hours (or longer if needed), you are looking for texture of sunblushed tomatoes, they should loose most of their moisture but still be soft unlike sundried tomatoes.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

The salad
method
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Cut up the butternut squash into bite sized pieces, place on a non stick baking tray, add the oil, using your hands coat the butternut squash pieces with the oil. Surprisingly 1 tsp will do the job. Season with salt and pepper if you wish.
Roast for about 20 min or until the pieces start to caramelize and are cooked through (pierce with a knife). Remove from the oven and let cool.
Slice the red onion as thinly as you can.
Preheat a frying pan, add the seeds and toast them, take care not to burn them. Let them cool down.
In 2 large bowls place the spinach leaves, top with the rest of the ingredients and toss lightly. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar glaze.


0 Comments

MIGHTY 4 SALAD

MIGHTY 4 SALAD

Everyday we are advised to eat new exotic superfood, acai or goji berries, chia seeds, noni juice, Indian gooseberry and many others. How did the generations before manage to survive without these?

No I don’t dispute the health benefits of the above foods, but in my opinion all plant foods have their own super powers. The quick and simple salad I put together today is made of everyday ingredients and according to studies can protect you heart and eyes, lessen tumour growth, help reduce blood pressure, lower risk of asthma and help regulate your blood sugar.

What are these mysterious superfoods? The humble beetroot, apple, celery and walnuts! Combined together in a refreshing salad dressed only with raspberry vinegar. There is a reason why I don’t use any oil in this salad. The walnuts are rich in Omega 3 oils, the kind we all need to get more off. Olive oil, on the other hand, is rich in Omega 6 oils and we tend to have far too much of these in our diets. We need some fats to absorb vitamins from our veggies efficiently, in this salad the walnuts take care of that rather efficiently. Perfect balance.

You do have to put up with the beetroot colouring the rest of your food pink, no surprise there. If you don’t have raspberry vinegar any other fruity mild vinegar will work well. White balsamic would be great. The apple should be crisp and juicy, not too sweet, it needs to offset the sweet mild beetroot.

beetapplesalad

MIGHTY 4 SALAD
I used 1 large beetroot that I cooked till soft (about 45 min) you can use precook beetroot, as they are usually small I would use 3. There is no need to be too precise with the ingredients if you like more apple add more apple...The recipe can be easily doubled, tripled....

Serves 2

ingredients
1 large beetroot
1 large juicy apple
2 celery stalks
handful of walnuts
2 Tbs raspberry vinegar
salt and pepper

method
  1. If using raw beetroot, wash it well but don’t cut of the ends as this would expose the flesh and make the colour leach out. Put in a saucepan cover with water, bring to a boil, and cook till soft. Large beetroot will take about 45 min.
  2. Cool the beetroot and peel, this skin should slide off easily. Cut into 1/2 inch dice.
  3. Cut the apple into 1/2 inch dice.
  4. Using a vegetable peeler or knife remove the strings from the celery stalks. Slice quite thinly.
  5. In a dry frying pan toast the walnuts, take care not to burn.
  6. Mix all ingredients together, dress with the raspberry vinegar, season with a pinch of salt and plenty of fresh black pepper.

0 Comments

FENNEL, ORANGE AND DATE SALAD


Nigella says: “When I am in the kitchen I am happy.” I do wholeheartedly agree. I so love to spend time in the kitchen when there is no rush, when I can indulge in long list of ingredients and processes. However these days are a bit of a luxury (that’w what makes them special).

On the other hand I love using just few ingredients and making a dish in minutes. Sometimes simplicity is the king. So what can you make with just three ingredients, namely fennel, orange and dates? A salad I say. I love the sticky ultra sweet dates with juicy oranges and the crunch of fragrant fennel. Raw fennel is a real revelation, it is rather sweet you could easily think this salad is a dessert. And it may come as a surprise but a portion of this salad will give you around 10% of your daily calcium. Tasty and good for you.

IMG_0914

FENNEL, ORANGE AND DATE SALAD
The dates I used are the big juicy Medjool dates, if using the smaller variety you will need to increase the number by half.

Serves 4

ingredients
2 fennel bulbs
2 -3 oranges
6 Medjool dates

method
  1. Peel any damaged layers of the fennel, cut of the tough stalks and cut out the core. Cut into pieces about 1/2 inch (1.5cm). Put into a large bowl.
  2. Zest 2 oranges, add the zest to your fennel.
  3. Using a sharp knife ( I find a serrated bread knife works great) peel of the orange peel and the white pith. Cut into bite size pieces. I try to match the size of the fennel. Collect any juice and add together with the oranges to your fennel.
  4. Now cut up the dates (again similar size) and add to the bowl. Add pinch of salt (optional). Toss together.
  5. The juice of the oranges will self-dress the salad however if your oranges are not very juicy add the juice of the third orange to dress the salad.
  6. Let it sit for about half an hour for the flavours to develop.
0 Comments

KALE, APPLE AND PECAN SALAD


On Tuesday my Riverford delivery man, together with my veg and fruit boxes, unloaded the extra 4 bags of kale I ordered. As I found out I was not the only “kale freak” that week, another customer ordered 8 bags of the curly green. We discussed my plans to freeze some, and how to make kale chips that he vowed to try. Starting the kale revolution right at the source!

True to my plan I put two bags in the freezer. I steam them first for 3 minutes and quickly cool down in iced water, straight into freezer bags and quickly into the freezer. These will be great when the kale season draws to an end.

I do like kale in many ways and recently I fell in love with eating it raw. Massaging kale was a very new concept to me, but as soon as I saw it on Food Network’s Arti Party I felt inspired. Kale deserves a bit of a spa treatment and it surely benefits a great deal from it. Massaging it tenderises the leaves, leaving them much more palatable. Actually it did bring back memories of eating wild sorrel when I was a child, kale massaged with lemon juice has a very similar taste.

kale-and-pecan

KALE, APPLE AND PECAN SALAD

  1. The honey pecans are fabulous, you can also use maple syrup to make these. I was a bit worried none would be left for the salad as they kept disappearing ...
  2. I actually like this salad made with just lemon (hence the wild sorrel association), but you can use a small amount of olive oil to soften the flavour.
  3. The beauty of this salad is that it keeps unlike tender salad leaves dressed with lemon (or vinegar), you can keep it in a fridge for couple of days.

Serves 2 (nice hearty portion)

ingredients

200g (about 1/2pound of kale)
juice of 1 small lemon
1/2-1 Tbs olive oil (optional)
pinch of coarse salt
1 medium apple, thinly sliced into half moons
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
20 pecans
1 tsp honey

method
Strip the kale of the tough stalks.Wash and dry in a salad spinner. Shred into strips.
In a large bowl combine the kale, lemon juice, salt and olive oil if using.
Now get your hands in, massage the kale between your fingers for about 2-3 minutes. It will collapse to less than half of its original volume.
Add the onion and apple and toss together.
Let sit for about 20min, the onion will soften beautifully in the dressing.
Now make the pecans, heat a small heavy bottom frying pan, add the pecans, toss them around for 1 minute. Add the honey (maple syrup) and gently caramelise together. This will take about 2 minutes. Take care not to burn the pecans! Tip them onto greaseproof paper and let cool. They will be glossy and gorgeous.
When pecans are cool add them to your salad and toss together. Enjoy.
0 Comments

QUINOA AND BULGUR WHEAT SALAD


There is no doubt Type 2 diabetes is sweeping the world, as I learn at college yesterday, there are about 180, 000, 000 cases worldwide. 90% of those are Type 2 diabetes. As Type 1 means a lifetime insulin injections, Type 2 can be, in most cases, prevented, managed and even reversed.

I was always aware that this is a very serious condition, but my lecturer opened my eyes to just how serious it really is. Complications are numerous, heart failure, stroke, loss of feeling to extremities (which often lead to amputation), kidney failure and loss of eyesight. Photos of leg ulcers and gangrene would put anyone off. These are risks everybody should be aware off.

Unfortunately people are still in denial, just google Paula Dean and diabetes, the queen of American high calorie high fat cooking, who still will not admit her diet could have anything to do with her diagnosis. On the other hand, doctors like Neil Barnard, John McDougall or Michael Klapper have had amazing results treating this disease with diet only for many years.

Where the “western diet” and fastfood chains go diabetes Type 2 follows. China and Japan are seeing rise of cases. I think we have to take a step back, take a long look on our diet and lifestyle and act. Prevention is always better than cure.



QUINOA AND BULGUR WHEAT SALAD
I have cheated here and bought a pack of quinoa and bulgur wheat mix, very convenient. You can mix your own, half and half, 4-2 whatever you fancy. In that case however cook the grains separately, drain and mix together. I am not a great fan of raw tomatoes but I can imagine a few halved cherry tomatoes would go wonderfully with this recipe.

I have used dairy free Plamil mayo, which is more tart in flavour that regular mayonnaise. Red peppers are from a jar, preserved in brine not oil.

quinoa

ingredients
250g pack of quinoa and bulgur wheat mix
2 roasted red peppers, from a jar
3 Tbs of dairy free mayonnaise
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 carrot, grated
1 small red onion, finely chopped
half a cucumber, chopped into 1cm dice
15 olives, halved
2 Tbs parsley

method
  1. Cook the grains according to package instruction. My mix took only 10 min. Drain, rinse under cool running water. Make sure all water drips out.
  2. For the dressing, in a blender (or small food processor) blend together red peppers, mayo and vinegar, pausing to scrape the sides.
  3. Mix the dressing into your cooled grains.
  4. Add the carrot, cucumber, olives and parsley.
  5. Serve as it is, or mix with green baby leaves.

0 Comments