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Delicious detoxing? I’m teaching raw food recipes on 23rd Jan

2 Jan

I'm teaching a raw food detox class at Books for Cooks on 23rd January

If you are anything like me at the dinner table around Christmas time, you’ll have an extra chin, even more rolls on your stomach (and back…), two large love handles and big bags under your blood shot eyes by now.  Sounds gorgeous doesn’t it?  Um, well, no… However – it just so happens that not only am I about to embark on a serious detox to get rid of those unwanted bits but I’m also teaching a raw food/detox preparation class at the wonderful Books for Cooks, here in London, on 23rd January.

Books for Cooks is Notting Hill’s famous specialist cookbook shop, crammed with thousands of tasty titles and equipped with a squashy sofa for cookbook junkies in need of a long read. Cookbooks are put to the test in their café at the back of the shop, while cookery classes take place in the demonstration kitchen upstairs

The class will be based on an international selection of raw food treats using organic ingredients in season at the moment.  I also throw in some of my extra strong opinions on nutrition and living the good life.

1. a green smoothie 
2. raw spring rolls
3. raw som tam salad
4. raw sushi
5. various raw mexican salads
6. raw cauliflower couscous
7. raw chocolate

Of course the menu may change slightly as we get closer to the 23rd, however, essentially, I can promise I’ll prove that a raw food detox doesn’t have to be dull, worthy and a royal pain in the backside to make and live by.

So – to book, click right here.

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Raw chocolate Christmas pudding deluxe

23 Dec

Raw Christmas feast for twelve carnivores? What do you think their opinion of a six course raw menu would be? Exactly! So the hypocrite in me gave them what they wanted; turkey mince balls, cranberry chutney, chestnut souffle and a mountain of roasted vegetables. At least until dessert.The raw foody in me then managed to sneak in a raw chocolate Christmas pudding without anyone noticing it was raw. Usually traditional Chrissie puddings seriously clog up your digestive system – you’ll find this one does the opposite!

 

THE INGREDIENTS
200g organic dried apricots
300g raisins
100g prunes
10 delicious caramel-like medjool dates
2 pods of vanilla
a pint of freshly juiced apple juice
3 grated carrots
2 grated apples
a healthy dash of cinammon
150g ground almonds
100g chopped hazelnuts
100g chopped pecan nuts

HOW TO MAKE IT
1. Soak the fruits, vanilla, cinammon and carrot in the apple juice, in a covered bowl, for three days
2. Blend as best you can – roughish texture is still ok
3. Add chopped nuts to mixture
4. Spoon mixture into small pots as in the pic above (I use recycled yoghurt pots)
5. Make the raw chocolate to the recipe here
6. Cover with a generous layer of liquid raw chocolate and refrigerate before serving. Yum.

It tasted delish and with all those dried fruits in there, also gave everyone a good digestive clean out the next day! Just two of the benefits…

TIP
I had loads left over, so rolled the mixture into balls, coated them in left over raw choc and then coconut. They last for ages and make yummy late Christmas presents for lovely neighbours.

Raw cherry chutney! It exists!

25 Aug
raw cherry chutney exists and it is delish

raw cherry chutney exists and it is delish

I found this recipe for cherry chutney on renegadehealth.com during a bout of insomnia while i was fasting and have only just had a chance to make it. Don’t ask why I was perusing food websites at midnight – I was feeling, let’s say, peckish on day four of eating nothing but clay and pysllium husks… Anyway – I digress – cherry chutney. 

I’m always looking for raw flavour-filled treats to pep up my alfalfa salads and having eaten my way through a zillion variations of raw pestos decided it was time!! It also helps that cherries are in season…The other brilliant benefits of this chutney – are that it is super healthy, nutrient intact and perfect for serving to my non-raw mates with some extra strong cheese.  Here is the original recipe from Katrina Blair’s recipe book. My edited version is below it.

The ingredients
1 cup cherries
Small handful raisins
3 tbsp chopped onion
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp tamari (a wheat free soy sauce flavour)
1 1/2 clove garlic
1 inch ginger
1 tbsp curry
Dash of fennel, mustard seed, cardamom, cumin, garam masala, cinnamon all ground

How to make it
Blend or use a food processor!

THE HYPOCRITE’S VERSION (with ingredients on hand and for once, no blending)

The ingredients
1 punnet of stoned cherries
1 finely chopped red onion
3 tbspns of apple cider vinegar
handful of raisins
1 tbspn honey
2 tspns of cinnamon, cumin, garam masala

How to make it

I just put everything into a bowl, stirred it all up and let the already juicy cherries absorb the flavours for about 30mins.

How to eat it
I had it with an avocado and baby spinach salad. If wasn’t feeling worthy, I would have liked to have eaten it with a big chunk of a strong goat cheddar (definitely not cow)…

Raw pesto is besto

15 Aug

 

enjoy your raw pesto with your other raw favourites

enjoy your raw pesto with your other raw favourites

Being a BIG fan of cheese of any flavour, smell, size and shape, and a fan of basil, olive oil, pine nuts and garlic, you can imagine that there is a special place in my heart for pesto. I also distinctly remember the life-changing moment when my old friend Beezie taught me the basic recipe. On discovering how easy it was to create those big yummy spoonfuls of heaven, I think I ate it every day for a year.

Now more inclined to enjoy the raw equivalent of anything, I’ve finally let go of the fact that pesto is ONLY pesto with parmesan in the recipe. While Genoan chefs will be turning in their graves at the thought of a raw recipe version, I’ve gone a step further and decided that anything with nuts, leaves and oil is a pesto. If it was a Sicilian recipe I wouldn’t dare fiddle with it…

TRADITIONAL RAW PESTO
1 big bunch of fresh Italian basil
3 generous dollops of olive oil
1 cup of pine nuts
Sea salt for seasoning
½ garlic clove (or less – it will be very strong)

FRESH SUMMER PESTO
½ bunch fresh Italian basil
¼ bag of baby spinach leaves
2 sticks of celery
1 cup of cashew or macadamia nuts
½ cup of pine nuts
Juice of a juicy lemon
Zest of one lemon
Generous dollops of olive oil
Dash of sea salt

ASIAN PESTO
½ bag of baby spinach
½ bunch of coriander (cilantro)
1 big dash of sesame oil
1 swig of sunflower oil
1 cup of cashew or macadamia nuts
1 finely chopped and seeded red chilli
Juice of a juicy lemon
¼ clove of garlic
Dash of cracked black pepper

How to make it
Blend in a blender

Best and easiest raw chocolate recipe ever

10 Aug
best, easiest, yummiest raw chocolate recipe ever

best, easiest, yummiest raw chocolate recipe ever

Having now taste-tested/gorged myself on the many new brands of raw chocolate popping onto the shelves at my local health food stores, and in the spirit of the current financial crisis, I decided to find the easiest, tastiest recipe to make my own.

There are loads of recipes for raw chocolate on the internet, and loads of raw recipe books with some great ideas in them. The ultimate recipe I looked for would, as usual, not involve too many strange ingredients, no fancy equipment and wouldn’t take too much time. But i found that even following the most basic recipe, it’s very expensive to set up! However once through the financial pain barrier – and even in mid mix – I can guarantee it is worth it. Particularly as I am not only satisfying my chocolate addiction, I am also adding lots of really important nutrients and antioxidants into my system without the dairy found in classic cooked chocolates. As per an earlier blog, some of these include sulphur (the beauty mineral), magnesium (balances hormones), PEA (molecule of joy), neurotransmitters and aphrodesiacs…

As I discovered, the key is to get the basic mixture just right for your taste and then adding whatever extras you like; raisins, goji berries, almonds, orange zest, chilli, peppermint oil, cinammon, sunflower seeds…

KATE MAGIC
I started with Kate Magic’s basic recipe, which is based on an equal ratio of fats, sugars and chocolate. As I have mentioned in earlier blogs, Kate Magic is something of a raw chocolate guru and fountain of knowledge on raw food lifestyle. She shared this recipe with me at one of her raw chocolate talks in Camden.

The key ingredients:
200g of ground cacao nibs (or 150g of cacao powder)
200g of coconut butter (or cacao butter)
200g of natural sweeteners (agave syrup, date syrup, Lucuma powder, zylotol)

How to make it
1. Mix cacao with melted cacao/coconut butter and add sweeteners to taste.
2. Put in cake tin.
3. Pop in fridge.
4. Cut into pieces

SUNNY RAW KITCHEN and CHOC CHICK and BUZZLE
These recipes are so similar – I’ve combined them all. Hence I also would say that if you follow this formula, you can’t go wrong.

The key ingredients
1 cup (100-150g) coconut butter
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
4 tbsp agave nectar (or honey)
2 tsp vanilla (orange, mint would be good too)

How to make it
1. Put coconut butter in a bowl and place in another bowl of hot water, stirring until liquified.
2. Stir in other ingredients until smooth.
3. Pour onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and pop into freezer for 5-10 mins. Alternatively, you could put mixture into little moulds.
4. Leave to set in the fridge for 1 – 2 hours or in the freezer for half an hour.

Top tips from Choc Chick
1. Around 70g of powder (4tbs) and 100g of butter makes approximately 2 trays of chocolates (slightly less powder makes the mix easier to pour but equal amounts make a slightly harder chocolate – so experiment to see what suits you).
2. Keep the heat low so as to not overheat and take care not to boil the butter as this will damage the nutritional benefits of the raw chocolate
3. Enjoy yourself or place in gift bags for the perfect gift!

ok tasting, hideous looking, seriously good-for-you green smoothies

13 Jul
Looks like nuclear waste but does wonders for your system

Looks like nuclear waste but does wonders for your system

I’ve been back from Thailand for a month and I am proud to say that I’ve been drinking green smoothies for breakfast every day.  Thank you Jennifer! As exciting as this news must be to you, I have to confess that I haven’t quite figured out how to make them taste really, really delicious. I have tried numerous options and I haven’t cracked it. And when I looked at this morning’s concoction, I asked myself  ‘What the hell am I doing drinking that disgusting looking muck?’ 

These browny-green-muddy smoothies may not taste of heaven exactly, but they are definitely drinkable.  I’m sure that’s sold you!  The selling point of these is not flavour (although I will persist) – they give me all the nutrients I need for my day, a full stomach  (I make a litre at a time), and thanks to the enzymes and extra fibre; clear skin, a tougher immune system, a regular digestive system, a positive outlook (thanks B12) and more energy. 

So – I thought I would chill the perfectionist streak in me and release these recipes for your own continued exploration into the world of raw green smoothy health and happiness.

Here are my recipes for ‘ok’ tasting green smoothies:

THE BASIC:
¼ blender full of fruit
¾ blender full of dark green leaves
A plugged-in blender

THE DETAIL:
Locally produced, ripe fruit in season
1/3 bag of baby spinach
1/3 bag of water cress (this can make it spicey so be careful…)
½ a lettuce (not iceberg)
A big stack of sprouts (I go for alfalfa)
1/3 cucumber
1 x glass of water/coconut water
Juice of a lime/lemon.

HOW TO MAKE IT:
Add the fruit first, then the greens and the water and then blend.

As for fruit:
Amongst others, I tried honey dew melon, cantaloupe, strawberries, pear, pineapple and apple.  I particularly recommend a combo of 2 apples and half a punnet of strawberries or 2 apples and 1/3 of a pineapple and the flesh of a passionfruit only added after blending.

As for supplements:
I add spirulina algae (Hawaiian variety), which smells HIDEOUS, but it’s a great way to get B12;
Probiotics in powder form;
1 tbpsn of soaked flax seeds (added after blending), and
When I really don’t feel like the slightly grassy taste, I add 2 BIG tablespoons of raw cacao powder.

THE VITAMINS
A, B1, B6, B12, C, K, folate, iron, calcium and more…

Best ever raw mango salsa for summer

15 May
raw mango salsa is a raw summer suprema

raw mango salsa is a raw summer suprema

Here’s the recipe for the raw mango salsa I made for friends in Ghent last weekend.  We served it to the meat loving Belgians with fresh fish we barbecued in the garden. It was our first and best Summer day so far…

The ingredients:
4 ripe mangoes
1 large bunch of coriander (cilentro)
Juice of 1 lime
fistful of mint leaves
2 red peppers
2 red onions
2 red chillis – no seeds

How to make it:
Roughly dice the mango, chop the coriander and mint, finely chop the peppers and onion and juice the lime over the mix. And that’s it. Let it sit for an hour in the fridge to get nice and juicy.

Raw Travel Snacks: Raw Fruit Balls

11 May

Travelling raw can be tough and knowing the limitations of Eurostar, I made a few snacks to fill the five of us on our way to Belgium.  Thankfully these raw fruit balls satisfied all of us on the 2 hr journey, including my potentially toughest critic, 1yr old, 2-toothed Hunter.  Phew.

Fruity raw fruit balls are an ideal raw travel snack

Fruity raw fruit balls are an ideal raw travel snack

The ingredients
1 big grated carrot
2 grated apples
8 dried apricots
8 pitted medjool dates
½ cup of raw oats
½ cup of raw cacao
1 tbspn honey
Dessicated coconut

How to make it
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend.
You’ll see it gets a bit sticky but keep going and add date syrup or a dash of coconut water if you feel it really needs it. 
If it’s too mushy, add more oats but only a few.
Mould the mixture into 10p sized balls and roll in dessicated coconut.

Super Raw Disease Busting Pineapple Juices

21 Apr
Pineapple makes a Super juice

Pineapple makes a Super healthy juice

One of my raw food recipe bibles is the book Super Juice by Michael Van Straten.  And since discovering the overwhelming health benefits of pineapples, which is also one of my all time favourite fruits, I had a look at their juicing ideas.  Here are the two juices I loved the most:

PEAK PERFORMER
12 grapes (black or white)
4 x unpeeled pears
2 unpeeled apples
2 slices peeled pineapple

WHY IS THIS GOOD FOR ME?
The Peak Performer is packed with potassium, pectin, vitamin C, vitamin B, calcium, cancer fighting tannins (from the grapes), and amazing bromelain and it tastes yum.

CUCUMBER SOOTHER
3 x carrots
2 sticks celery plus leaves
1 x small pineapple
6 fresh leaves sage
2/3 cucumber

WHY IS THIS JUICE GOOD FOR ME?
It is high in beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C and folic acid, the amazing bromelain as well as the little heard of thujone, an essential and healing oil found in Sage.

One more thing – according to various sources eating raw and ripe pineapple is also meant to be an excellent natural cure for tonsilitis.

Raw Pineapple Salsa Recipe

21 Apr

Try this quick recipe for a delicious and summery salsa that also happens to be a cure for cancer and indigestion!

Looks like a pineapple salsa but it's a really cure for cancer!

Looks like a pineapple salsa but it's really a cure for cancer!

THE INGREDIENTS
1 x raw soft and ripe pineapple chopped into small squares
1/2 cup red onion – finely chopped
1 x finely chopped red pepper (capsicum)
1/2 cup of chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup of chopped coriander
Juice of a lime
1 x tspn of apple cider vinegar

HOW TO MAKE IT
Add ingredients and toss roughly. Let it sit for an hour or so to make sure it’s as juicy as can be. Serve.