Ayurveda

Honey Corn and Coconut Korma (Dairy-free)

Honey Corn and Coconut Korma (Vegan)

Honey Corn and Coconut Korma (Vegan)

Creamy, rich and super tasty Korma without all that ghee and cream business.

One of Jane’s creations here that will eclipse any former notion you have of what a korma should taste like, in a very good way. The influence for this came from the brilliant ‘Shoshoni Cookbook’ that we are loving at the minute. Our cookbook library has recently been vastly extended, we now own four, this being our favourite at the moment. We have made several Beach House touches to the dish and we are certain that the wonderful folk at the Shoshoni Yoga Retreat will not mind.

Meal time at Shoshoni Yoga Retreat, near Boulder, Colorado, U.S.

Usually, food served in Yoga retreats is rather amazing and very healthy, normally adhereing to the ayurvedic methods of food preparation.  Most food made are what is called sattvic in nature, meaning that they do not stimulate the body or mind and posses only good energy, are clean and pure and enhance the power of the body and mind.  The cooks in Yoga centres and the like have alot of responsibility, normally dealing with many special dietary requirements, this normally makes them very well versed in all things nutrition and always cooking to a tight budget, getting the maximum flavour and texture from the produce available.  I have only had amazing food in yoga retreats, always with the added bonus of it being nourishing to the body and mind.  Jane cooked this dish to recreate that positive atmosphere in the Beach House and it worked a treat.

This is a sweet curry and dairy free to boot, the creaminess associated with a Korma comes from the coconut and the almond milk. We did not have any almonds in the cupboards, but we both thought that adding some almond cream (soaked and blended almonds) would have made the dish even more decadent and rich. It doesn’t need it at all, just something to take it over the edge!

This is an unusual curry and tastes like no other, a great dish for adding a new spectrum of flavours to the table and I imagine would be especially good when eaten with other curries in a feast-style environment. This korma would add an awesome sweet coconut kick to the table.

I ate quite a few sweet curries in India, but they are normally not my favourites, Jane toned the honey side of things down here but you may like it sweeter. Jane has a pronounced sweet tooth and found it sweet enough, so make of that what you will.

Due to having such a corker of a night we forgot to take pictures of the food so these are actually of the leftovers. We ate the dish with roast garlic flatbreads and cumin raita, but here I’ve served the Korma on a bed of spinach, a lot lighter and healthier for a Monday evening bite.

YOU MIGHT LIKE THESE OTHER BEACH HOUSE CURRIES:

Punjabi Rajma Chawal – Red Kidney Bean Curry

Rambo Tomato and Roast Fennel Curry

Rainbow Kale and Tofu Sabzi

Makes a large pan of curry, enough for 6-8 folk:

Honey Corn and Coconut Korma

Honey Corn and Coconut Korma

The Bits

1 onion (cut in large slices), 4 sweet potatos (cut into wedges), 2 potatoes (boiled and cut into chunks), 1 green pepper (cut in half and seeded), 1/2 chopped tomaotes, 2 teas grated ginger, 2 teas ground cumin, 1/2 teas ground cardamom, 2 teas ground coriander, 1 teas turmeric, 1 medium carrot (thinly sliced), 3 cups fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels, 2/3 cup grated coconut (desiccated will do here), 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 tbs honey, 1 1/2 teas sea salt

Do It

Begin to fry off your vegetables, making them nice and sweet.  Start with the sweet potato in a frying pan on medium heat, a little oil, then fry and stir for 3 minutes, then add your onions and peppers.  Use your largest pan, so that the vegetables are not tightly packed in.  Once all have a nice colour and are softened, set aside, should take around 10-15 minutes.

Make your masala, place onions, tomatoes and peppers in a blender with your spices and blitz until smooth.

In a large saucepan, warm your masala for 3 minutes, then add both potatoes, carrot, corn, coconut, almond milk and honey.  Salt to taste and simmer for 20 minutes.   Add more water if needed.

Serve

With your favourite curry condiments, a nice savoury raita would go down a treat here.  We had ours with garlic flat breads (recipe to follow soon hopefully!)

We Love It!

A really surprising dish that is easy to get together and has a delicious, satisfying flavour; all that roasted vegetables and a potent masala makes for flavour fireworks!

Sweetcorn

Foodie Fact

Sweet corn is a gluten free cereal and for its sweetness, relatively low in carbs.  Corn is a great source of dietary fibre, but should be avoided by diabetics as it has a high glycemic index.

Categories: Ayurveda, Curries, Dairy/ Lactose Free, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Winter Zing Salad

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Winter Zing Salad

A salad for the lovers of all things green and healthy. A real cold buster! The winter zing will beat the heck out of all those winter blues and ailments that hang around at this time of year.  It’s designed specially to make you fly into Christmas time feeling superb!  All that decadent scoffing is just around the corner and our bodies need a helping hand.

It’s that time of year when salads should be eaten more, with the dark and gloomy weather, everyone is getting colds and run down. You just need to flip your head around a little here, salads are not just for summertime. Trust us, your body will thank you for this one.

We all need some food medicine sometimes and a boost, this salad boasts all of this and some funky green stuff to top it off.  I like the idea of using food for healing the body (mind and soul too), a preventive measure to illness, something that benefits the body and actually gives energy freely, without taking it away.  All ancient civilizations knew about this, especially the Indias, who through Ayurveda, have a complete method of food science created thousands of years ago! It is mostly still relevant today and modern science seems to be catching up!

Most foods we eat at this time of year are stodgy, rich and satisfying, it seems natural to be drawn to them when it’s raining and miserable outside. These foods are the exact opposite to what our bodies actually need, we end up feeling heavy and bloated, our bodies energy is mainly used to digest the food being eaten and not keeping us in tip-top shape, fighting bugs and all.

In wintertime the body needs a boost, an influx of nutrients, alkaline foods and a vitamin kick to keep them clean, light and healthy. With salads like this you’ll be the only one at work who doesn’t get that cold!

This bowl of goodness is basically lots of green leafy bits and other hard colourful veggies chopped up finely and given a wonder dressing. It is hearty and rich, with the addition of olives and a good glug of olive oil which gives plenty of fats to keep you well padded in colder climes. You can use different combos of hard veggies and leaves depending on what you have in the fridge, but this bowl works wonderfully. We have been experimenting extensively in the super zing salad field; too many baguettes and lumps of cheese in France has left us feeling in need of some quality salad time.

The idea here is to chop everything up into small chunks, so that you can get many different flavours on your fork/ spoon at the same time. Mingle the zing! You don’t want a mouth full of just spinach, you want it all mixed up and coated in your magic dressing.

Jane on the each with Robbie (the dog)

Jane on the beach with Robbie (the dog)

This recipe uses raw garlic, we love it and so do our nearest and dearest. You may want to moderate the quantity if pungent garlic breath is not you thing, although trust me, your body will thank you for the garlic buzz (it’s pretty powerful stimulant).

We topped this salad with some treats from the health food shop that you may not have in the cupboard. Nori and all of the seaweed family are just amazing for you and also add a distinct flavour to each dish they grace. For vegetarians, they are almost essential, the more green things in your diet the better and the seaweed family is full of chlorophyll and anti oxidants that make you zing and shine. As a substitute you could use wheat grass powder, spirulina or some finely chopped green herbs. Basil would be rather nice and is a special leaf.

The blob of miso on the side here acts as your salt for the meal, it is full of sodium but also many, many other goodies and cold fighting friends. You can regulate how much you fancy or need.

We are getting back into our food combining behavior and feeling all the better for it. Usually we wouldn’t eat dried fruits with this salad, but those fresh dates a too fine to ignore and of course add a lovely sweetness to proceedings.

Makes one large bowlful for one very lucky salad muncher.

A decadent salad for beating dark long days…….

The Bits

All veggies should be chopped into fine cubes (approx 2cm):

1 handful spinach leaves, 1 handful chard leaves, ½ cup brilliant green olives (pitted easier to eat), 1/3 cucumber, 1 gorgeous tomato (we used a black kumato), 1/3 head of broccoli and stem, 1 small carrot, ½ red pepper, 3 fresh dates (chopped), 1 tbsp nori sprinkles, 1 teas barley grass powder, 2 teas mixed seeds, small blob of brown miso (on the side)

Dressing – 1 garlic clove, 3cm sq cube ginger (both finely diced), 1 1/2 great olive oil, 1 tbsp coriander leaves (finely chopped), ½ tbsp lemon juice

Do It

Rinse all your veggies in a bowl of water, chop it all up into little pieces, we don’t peel anything unless absolutely necessary.

If you are presentation conscious, layer the salad (green leaves first) and top with olives, dressing and green sprinkles. Otherwise, mix all your veggies and olives in a bowl with the dressing and then top with your sprinkles.

Serve

Your finest salad bowl, although you could serve this salad in any pot or dish and it would light up your day.

Winter Zing Salad

Winter Zing Salad

We Love It!

Taste amazing, full of crunchy bits and many surprising flavours, one moment a date pops up, then a little miso, then an olive. This is fun food and always interesting to eat!

Foodie Fact

Cold busting 101:

Exercise, eat healthy, avoid excessive boozing, get some sun (if you can!!), treat yourself, relaxxxxxxxxxx, embrace the beauty of winter, get social and most of all, catch plenty of ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ’s.

Winter is a tough time for body and mind, eat more salads!

Categories: Ayurveda, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Superfoods, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you gonna live? “

This is a wonderful post that I felt compelled to share, as it is exactly how we feel in the B.H.K about a balanced approach to good living.  It doesn’t take much, just a greater degree of sensitivity with the body and mind.  The lifetstyles we choose have a profound effect on who we are and how we act.

Thanks to the beautiful Ivelina at ‘Mother Nature Loves You’ for the constant inspiration, love and light.

You are given a body -this most wonderful perfect system. it is impossible to think the amount of processes , that are happening every second , regardless if you are awake or asleep.

It is my opinion , that there are 3 approaches in which people like to treat their body-there are those , that live only in the body and strive for perfection, there are those, that have forgotten they have a body and treat it like something, that they have to carry about with them , and there are also those that believe that to have a fulfilled life one has to find the mind , body and soul balance.When those 3 are in balance life is a pure bliss. According to the Ayurveda medicine when this harmony is disturb in any way your being is in dis-balance which is the root cause of all diseases. Long before any illness appear you body is giving you different signals, that you can sense with your heart and understand with your body. The main thing is not to ignore them , but listen to your body . When you are tired rest, when you are feeling unwell make yourself better, your wee has a colour-drink more water, your tongue has a white coating -fast for a few days,….the list is endless.

 

There is a reaction behind every action and prevention is priceless, but you can’t buy it when it’s too late. It is never too late, unless you re dead. So start now listen to your body, sense it with your heart and understand it with your mind.

The magic of living is to optimize you body-soul-mind trinity. I would like to share a few tips form the Ayurveda medicine for optimal health and I would love to hear from you -what is your best tip for being healthy.

1.Rest before you are tired – a regular 20 minute break will benefit not, just your body but will also refresh your mind and make you more present . Always make time for it. it is really worth the effort.

2. Eat when you are hungry -this is an universal advice . Educate yourself about the differences between emotional and physical hunger and learn to respond to them accordingly . If it a real physical hunger it will come on stages and you can easily identify and satisfy it with natural foods. Emotional hunger is sudden and it craves certain foods- when you know it is happening ask yourself why and let the answer come to you. Awareness is a powerful tool.

3. Ayurveda describes massage as one of the best way to remain healthy – a nice foot, head or back massage can be very beneficial at any time and it can cure many discomforts and tensions in your body, it also calms your mind and sooths your soul.

4. Accept what is and learn to love what is .One of the biggest causes of any disese is the fact , that we sometimes try to change what we can not control. Long term stress brings your immune system down so do your best to reduce and eliminate bad stress. Focus on what matter and do your best to use your energy on things , that you can actually change .

5. Move your body – you have been given legs to walk with, hand to lift with and body to dance with . Find your best way to move every day. Ayurveda recommend yoga as the ultimate mind-body -soul movement and I couldn’t agree more, but i also love to dance, love to cycle and love to walk and swim. Getting physical reduces stress, clears your head and makes you feel good.

6. Cultivate and nourish your relationships- nothing gives your soul more meaning , than sharing it with others. Communications, connections and Love. This is pure medicine .Love, be loved and loving . It is the only truth.

7. Forgive . Forgiveness is the greatest gift known to man. Start with yourself and gradually extend that forgiveness to all. Do not be picky, take your time and explore the beauty of forgiving . This is a gift, that you owe to yourself .

8. Be grateful . Always , even for the stuff you did not want . There is a silver lining in every cloud and every disaster could be a blessing. The only attitude worth the effort is the attitude of gratitude . At the end all makes sense and you would be grateful for the lessons you’ve learned .

So over all another good Irish saying comes to mind-”a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything”.I love going to bed in the evening . Since I cycle every day I feel this sweet tiredness , that I have missed for years

Sending blessings and love

Original post here:

http://www.mothernaturelovesyou.com/if-you-dont-take-care-of-your-body-where-are-you-gonna-live/#comment-570

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Categories: Ayurveda, Healthy Living, Inspiration, Relax | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Wonder Pulp – Aloe Vera Juice

I’ve heard loads of people talking about the benefits of Aloe Vera Juice, in fact, I nearly had a job selling the stuff!  The only problem is that I knew very little about it.  This was until we were given a bottle of the wonder pulp.  It is made by Pukka; organic, ethically sourced, comes in a nice glass bottle, we thought we’d give it a go.

Pukka Aloe Vera Juice

The Aloe plant originates from Northern Africa and it has been used in herbal medicine since the 16th century BC.  The flavour is what you’d call an acquired taste (you can flavour it with juices etc) but you’re not drinking this for a Dom Perignon moment.  This is all about getting you feeling good from the inside out.  Having said that, Aloe Vera is also amazing when rubbed on the skin and has incredible healing effects for burns, scars and many skin conditions like eczema.  You get used to the flavour and it does have a very soothing texture and quality.

The Aloe Plant looks alot like the Agave plant, the famous succulent (that’s a type of plant) that is used to make tequila.  So technically you are drinking a distant cousin of raw tequila.  That’s about as ‘rock and roll’ as the health food industry gets really!  You ain’t going to look like Keith Richards drinking this stuff (which is surely a good thing).

Some technical info:

Pure Aloe Vera juice can be extracted by cutting the leaf, collecting the juice and then evaporating it. When used for drinking, the juice provides many benefits.  This is due to the fact that it contains 12 vitamins (including A, B1, B6, B12, C and E), 19 amino acids and over 20 minerals, with most of these being essential to the body.

Aloe Vera Plant

In Ayurveda, the Indian health system, Aloe Vera is known as Kumari (‘The Princess’) because of its positive effect on the menstrual cycle and female reproductive system. It is also known for its ability to cleanse the liver and protect the digestive system by reducing intestinal inflammation.

With ‘Raw June’ coming to the BHK, we are stocking up on all things healthy, revitalising and nutritious, it seems like Aloe Vera juice ticks all of these boxes and then some.    This bottle of Pukka Aloe Vera Juice now graces our fridge door shelf and we will soon be taking a few teaspoons a day to give us a boost, especially in the first week of the Raw diet, which we hear can be tough.

Just to clarify that we are in no way health experts and all of the medical claims above are exactly that, claims.  It is difficult to prove these things conclusively.  

Categories: Ayurveda, B.H.K Reviews, Detox, Healthy Living, Juices, Nutrition, Organic, Raw Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iced Yogi Tea – Ginger Orange with Vanilla and Honey

Here is today’s beverage of choice, fit for a summers day (with a gentle chill in the breeze):

Iced Yogi Tea (Ginger, Orange, Vanilla and Honey)

I’ve always loved Yogi Tea.  They make an intense brew, packed with flavour and a lovely vibe permeates everything they do.  I like the little inspirational message on the end of the drawstring.  Todays read “take time to contemplate and deliberate”……..great advice when sitting in the garden, confronted by some bluebells and a pond wriggling with tadpoles.

I’ve tried a new one today, the Ginger Orange with Vanilla.  It is a delicious blend and makes a revitalising hot brew.  But with the sun out, I decided to cool things down a little.

This will work with many herbal tea bags.  You don’t just have to use black and lemon variety.

I made Jane and I a teapot full:

The Bits

Nice clean tea pot, 2 Yogi Orange Ginger with Vanilla Teabags, 1 spoon of your favourite honey (size of spoon and which hive you visit depends on you), chopped ginger (we don’t peel), 1 juicy orange (1/2 wedged, 1/2 sliced into rounds and all de-seeded)

Do It

Brew your tea using near boiling water for around 10 minutes (good to get all the flavour out of these beauties), add as much honey as you need at this stage.  Then leave in a cool place to chill out for a while (doorsteps are good for this).  If you like vanilla, add a teaspoon of good vanilla extract.

Get some nice tall glasses ready, fill 1/2 way with ice, add your chopped ginger (big slices are best here) and a wedge of orange (squeezed, juice over ice), the fill glass 2/3 with ice.

Serve

When fully cooled (this can be stuck in the fridge overnight if you like) pour into your gorgeous glasses and top with your orange slice and maybe one more slice of ginger.

We Love It!

This has inspired me to get rooting around my tea tin and being more creative with my summer refreshments.  Watch this space…..

Foodie Fact

Any drink made with vanilla is supposed to have aphrodisiac qualities.  Meow!

Its a shame, this looked and tasted brilliant, but my computer is not happy today and won’t upload photos, so here is one I found on google images.  You get the idea!

 

Orange Iced Tea

Thanks to Burlap and Basil for this pic (http://www.burlapandbasil.com)

Categories: Ayurveda, B.H.K Reviews, Detox, Infusions, Recipes, Relax, Tea | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Midnight Biriyani

We had just got in from a long day travelling back from Spain (via the gnarled maze that is Manchester), the cupboards were bare and our bellies empty. I managed to dig out some potatoes, onion and garlic and whip up this tasty little comfort dish. It is simple enough to get together after a long journey, or night out and really hits the spot.
Biriyani is a staple in Northern India and its quality and complexity varies greatly. This is a simple attempt based on getting it hot and into your belly with minimum fuss. It reminds me of the Biriyanis served in Indian train stations, ladled out of giant metal pans on a dried palm leaf.  They were always a blessing after many hours rocking around in a grotty train carriage.
Good ghee will make all the difference to this dish, it adds  and shine. We are using ‘Pukka Organic Ghee’, which has a lovely dark colour and deep flavour.  In fact, one teaspoon of this ghee matches the richness of three teaspoons of my homemade ghee, meaning less fat in the dish.

Pukka Organic Ghee

Pukka Ghee

http://www.pukkaherbs.com/ghee.html

This recipe fed two very hungry travellers, with plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day.

The Bits
4 small potatoes, 2 red onions, 4 cloves garlic, 2 heaped teas chopped ginger, 2 heaped teas good curry powder (or your prefered mix), 1/3 teas of powdered cinnamon, 2 good-sized tomatoes (chopped), 1 clove, 2 cardamom pods, 1 teas carraway seeds (optional), a handful of raisins, a handful of cashews (if your feeling decadent!), 2 cups of rice (white is traditional, brown is better for the body), 1 tin of drained chickpeas, 2 teas Pukka Ghee, s+p.  Jane is not a fan of chilli, but I would add one.

Do It

Heat a large non-stick saucepan with a dash of oil and the ghee on a moderate heat.  Chop potatoes into chunks, add to pan, chop onions finely, add, chop garlic finely, add, then the ginger and cashews, fry for a couple of minutes.  Season.  When the potatoes have taken a little colour and the onions softened, add your spice, clove and cardamom, heat through, stirring regularly.  Add your tomatoes and raisins, then the rice.  Stir well for a minute, all should be shiny.  Add enough water to cover all by 1/2 inch and bring to a gentle boil.  Cover well and turn to your lowest heat setting.  Leave for 45 minutes, without lifting the lid (very important), the trapped steam is doing all the cooking and must be trusted!  When the rice is cooked, fluff up with a fork, adding the chickpeas, then leave for a few minutes to let them warm through.

Serve
Initially we had it straight from the pan, with spoons, nice and warm.

We have had this dish since with a basic 4 egg omelette, chopped up and mixed in or if you really want to push the boat out, mix in lemon juice, yoghurt and chopped coriander and mint leaves, adding another handful of cashew nuts.

We Love It!

Biryani is a real taste sensation!  All those spices with sweet onion and raisin and the richness of ghee and cashew.  This recipes is super versatile and can be added to, making it a real show stopper of a dish or simplified to make it real quick and satisfying.

Foodie Fact

Ghee is much more than just clarified butter, it is used in many religious Hindu ceremonies and is truly the stuff of legend!  Many myths extol the virtues of this golden butter.  It is used widely in the ancient systems of Ayurveda.

Ghee burns at high temperature and the flavour will intensify the longer it is heated.  It contains hydrogenated fats, making it healthier than normal butter and it also contains no lactose, making it suitable for those who are lactose intolerant.

Ghee will stimulate stomach acids and will help to soften your skin and brighten your eyes.  It contains anti-viral acids and may have medicinal qualities, but these are still unconfirmed.

It is basically like butter, but better!

Shimla Toy Train

Categories: Ayurveda, B.H.K Reviews, Dairy/ Lactose Free, Dinner, Gluten-free, Lunch, Nutrition, Photography, Recipes, Travel, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ghee, Glorious Ghee

gheegloriousghee

Ghee (I love this word).  Unctuous, smooth, lubricating……..like many things in India, Ghee is spoken of in many superlatives.

In India it is said that milk is the sap of all plants and ghee is the essence of milk.  Ghee has been used throughout India’s history to cook with and treat ailments.  It has been used as a versatile cure, ranging from treating wounds, burns even ghee massages.  Ghee gives many of the myriad of Indian curries and sweets a unmistakable richness and shine.

It is said to have the power to improve memory, digestion, intelligence and builds the aura.  It may also help the body to purge toxins, as part of the Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatments.

All this from what we rather less romantically call, clarified butter.

If you go to see an Ayurvedic doctor, ghee is normally mentioned, poured over your skin or in your mouth.  It’s a little like in Spain, where doctors prescribe ham.  Just ask my lovely pal Ang, who was told that being a vegetarian, she needed more ham in her diet!  Although, I’m not sure of the benefits of wafer thin ham.

Ghee does have some proven health benefits (see the foodie fact), but its primary purpose for existing, in my eyes, is deliciousness.  It adds yum to all it touches.

Making ghee is straightforward, it’s not so easily sourced in the UK and can be a little on the expensive side, so homemade is best.

It keeps for months in the fridge in a clean jar (soaked in boiling water).  In India, aged ghee is highly valued, sometimes kept in temples for over a 100 years!

One block of butter will make around half a jar.

The Bits

One block of good quality lightly salted (or to your taste) block of butter.

Do It

Get a nice thick bottomed pan on a medium heat, put the butter in.

When it begins to foam, lowere the heat and cook for around ten minutes.  The butter will separate and leave a white foam on top.  It should take on a light brown colour (not too brown).

Take the pan off the heat and let it cool.

In a nice clean jar, pour the ghee through a fine sieve or cheese cloth. Allow it to cool fully and place in the fridge.  That’s it!

Milk Solids Recipe

The left over milk solids will be very salty (if you used salted butter), but are very tasty.   They can be used in a traditional rice dish, normally served at weddings, called butter pot rice.

Just add garlic and thinly sliced onion to the pan, fry until soft, add a handful of peppercorns and a few curry leaves.  Stir your rice in and coat with the ghee, then add water (cold, one to two fingers above the rice), cover tightly and leave on a low heat for 30 minutes.   We used brown rice, which needs slightly less water.

For more recipes see this lovely veggie website:

http://www.veggiebelly.com/2012/01/how-to-make-ghee.html

We Love It

It sits in the fridge nicely and when unleashed on food, adds so much shine and richness.  It really is nectar.  As part of the fabled ‘balanced diet’ it is truly a wonder food.  The milk solids are a fantastic bonus.

Ghee also takes us back to many wonderful memories of magic India, normally soaked up on a warm chapatis.

Foodie Fact

Ghee burns at a high temperature, meaning it doesn’t release too many dangerous free radicals (please note: never fry with olive oil that has not been cold pressed, for this reason).  Ghee contains vitamins and essential fatty acids.  If the ghee is completely separated from the milk solids, it does not contain lactose and people who are lactose intolerant can join the party!

Categories: Ayurveda, Dairy/ Lactose Free, Recipes, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sprout! The evolution of the mung

Heres something that could change your life.  Maybe extend it a little also.

Sprouts!

Mung bean sprouts this time.

These little wonders are a gift from nature. They are packed with nutrients, very, very good for us and best of all, easy and cheap to prepare at home.

My sprouting guru is a wandering flautist named Yanny, he is in his late 70′s and fit as a fiddle.  Yanny even sprouts on his travels in hotel rooms and in backpacks.

There are a few companies selling sprouts in the U.K. at inflated prices. They need not be a costly ‘health’ food.  They can add an incredible range of flavours to salads.

Many prices in ‘health’ food shops are appalling, some necessary, but many seem to go against the ethos of the ‘good life’, where money (you would hope) plays a secondary role to living well and helping others.

We are fortunate to have many good people living around us, giving us inspiration and positive examples of methods and practices that are sustainable, meaning that we can move away from the mass food movement (Tesco’s et al) or prohibitive ‘Health Food’  Shops.

You don’t need to spend a small fortune to eat healthy.  All you need are sprouts!  Mung beans are the easiest, but once you get into it, there are so many avenues of sprouting joy.

So head to the hills, of your windowsill and start sprouting.

The Bits

Mung beans (any variety works well, we used the green ones)

Filtered water

Do It

Acquire a receptical (see the evolution of the sprout), a spare plastic tray (recycled normally), a large water bottle with vents cut into it (be creative) or a proper sprouter.  I was so lucky to pick up a sprouter from a charity shop for two quid!  They should not be costly bought new.

The important thing is that the sprouts get air and are not in direct sunlight, they also need to be kept warm.  Optimum conditions will result in a quicker sprout.

The evolution of the sprout (tray, to bottle, to sprouter)

Soak the beans in filtered water for 24 hours, empty water and place in your sprouter.  Keep them damp for the next 48 hours and then leave them dry (rinsing regularly if you can).

After a couple of days, they should start to sprout.  Younger sprouts are sweeter and large sprouts have a fuller flavour.  Experiment on which you prefer.

You won’t get them all to sprout, so try to sort out the hard un-sprouted beans.  They can be a little crunchy and some hard as rocks.  Beware.

It’s as easy as that.  They keep well in the fridge.  Once one batch is finished, get the other one started and you have a rolling harvest on your hands.

Serve

Put them on anything, of course salads are best.  If you are feeling decadent, or need a serious boost, mix up an unadulterated sprout salad.  ZING>

Foodie Fact

Mung beans are one of the most cherished foods in Ayurveda, full of vitamins, minerals and vital veggie protein.  They are said to balance all three doshas (making you more stable and relaxed) and make absorption of nutrients easier.  When sprouted, very high levels of Vitamin C become available (rising by 60%).  Most importantly, Mung Beans contain a low quantity of the sugar molecule that make you fart!

It is simple, if you avoid speeding buses and eat more sprouts, you’ll live longer.

PS – Yanny is a wood sculptor, this video show the life of a true artist and dear soul:

Categories: 'The Good Life', Ayurveda, Healthy Living, Raw Food, Salads, Superfoods | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The B.H.K Awards – Top 15 Seasonal Superfoods (Winter)

Beat those dark winter nights. Blow away those frosty morning blues. Hah! These foods give your body a super kick and are packed full of a feel good vibes. Spring is getting closer, but these beauties will help you across the dark season finish line.

Everybody seems to love a ‘Top 10′.  So surely a ‘Top 15’ is better?!  I was looking into healthy eating and came across several sites claiming to have the definitive selection of ‘Top 10 Superfoods’. I don’t know who or when the term ‘Superfood’ was created, but I like it. It simply suggests food that is super packed full of goodness.

Superfoods come into their own in the busy modern world, when we don’t always have time to prepare meals. They can be grabbed and munched, giving a nutritious boost.  This is especially important during winter when the sun retreats early and the cold can chill you to the bone. It’s a strenuous time for body and mind.

I’ve compiled my own Winter ‘Top 15′ (better than 10) below. The criteria are simple. Is it tasty? Is it also super healthy? Do we eat it regularly? Is it local(ish) and seasonal? I haven’t added things like spirulina, goji berries, wheatgrass etc, although they are very healthy they don’t have the delicious-ness. They are just not your everyday hero.

Our selection will inevitably change towards summer, expect another instalment.

All of these contenders are packed with goodness and if eaten with other healthy bits and some regular exercise, will keep you shining all winter.

15) Red Wine - Dodgy start you may say.  Well yes and no.  I’ve managed to stem the tide of wine in recent years.  Everything in moderation.  Grapes provide vitamin C, vitamin  B1 and vitamin B6–red grapes also contain powerful phytochemicals (especially  phenolics) that may help decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. These compounds are housed mostly in the skin of the red grapes, which gives red wine its colour. Resveratrol, found in the skins of red fruits has been shown to have anti-oxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory activity.

14) Green tea - Not exactly a local crop, but this brew has a serious ‘feel good’ effect in the mornings.  Green tea contains polyphenols, which may reduce heart disease, cancer and stroke risk. Green tea also supports brain health and memory, likely due a key compound in green tea called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a flavonoid. EGCG is thought to boost the immune system and prevent tumors. Aim for at least two cups daily.

12)  Whole grains (whole wheat, barley) – Bread and beer, not healthy really, but ever so British.  Two of the myriad of uses for the humble, yet essential whole grain.  Whole grains help stabilize blood sugar and insulin and may protect against heart disease. They include all three parts of a grain kernel: the bran, germ and endosperm. Whole wheat flour, brown rice and barley are all whole grain foods. Look for the words “whole grain” on the label, and the word “whole” immediately before the name of the grain in the list of ingredients.  Contrary to popular perception, the benefits of whole grains go well beyond fiber and fiber’s role in digestive health. Whole grains contain vitamins B and E; the minerals magnesium, selenium and zinc; phytonutrients; that appear to work together in powerful ways.

Panamanian Bean Mix (Good name for a band)

11) Beans –  A staple.  Anybody who knows me, understands my passion for these little beauties.  A fabulous source of vegetarian protein and fibre, two nutrients that help you stay full and satisfied.  Important to feel fully sustained in winter.  The protein and fibre in beans also tempers the rise in blood sugar that occurs after a meal, which can help stabilize mood. The fibre in beans helps keep you regular. Beans are low in fat and a good source of magnesium and potassium, nutrients that work together to lower blood pressure and keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Added bean bonus: They’re cheap and when growing add vital nitrogen back to the soil.

10) Pumpkin – Orange veggies are all loaded with Vitamin A, vital in the winter when the sun is so shy. We are lucky to have two different varieties growing locally to give us some variety.  Pumpkin is loaded with nutrients that will help your heart, bones, eyes, and skin shining.  Beta-carotene and potassium are the two standouts here: Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that helps rejuvenate skin, protect your vision, and may even reduce risk of arthritis. Potassium is a mineral involved in lowering blood pressure and maintaining healthy bones.  There is nothing sweeter than a well roasted pumpkin?

9) Oats – Are technically whole grains, but get their own section in these parts.  Britain, this windswept little island, has been fuelled on the stuff since early man first landed here.  I don’t think any food better sums up our predicament and history.  The oats in porridge acts as central heating for your body, one bowl in the morning and you’ll be simmering all day.  Eating oats is good for those with high cholesterol.  Whole grain oats are one of the best sources of soluble fibre, which, in addition to lowering cholesterol, helps keep blood sugar levels under control.  No peaks and troughs, just plain sailing.

8) Olive oil – Reminds me of my other home in Spain.  My heart generally resides there, as my body does the rounds.  The freshly pressed oils of Murcia are hard to come by here, but with our uber consumerist ways, good olive oil is easy to find.  One of the best types of fat you can opt for in your diet.  Olive oil helps to protect against heart disease and cancer. Recent research shows that heart-attack survivors on a Mediterranean diet had half the death rates of those on an ordinary low-fat diet.  Nice to know.  Spaniards do eat a lot of fish, which keeps them healthy, but normally drink like one too.  However olive oil is also high in antioxidant activity.  Is there nothing this golden amritar is not capable of?!

7)  Crucifers (broccoli, kale, cabbage) – This family thrives around here.  They are so tasty and versatile.  Trigonos (our organic veg farm) grows the finest red cabbage and kale imaginable.  In fact, all of their vegetables are rather special.  Cruciferous vegetables contain indole alkaloids that may help prevent the big C.  They are high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  Foods from the cruciferous and cabbage family (including broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards and turnips) may help bolster memory as you age.  Something I need help with right now!

6) Tomatoes – Grown in a local poly-tunnel.  We are so blessed to be surrounded by die hard green fingers.  These wonderful orbs contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant shown to help stimulate the immune system and protect from certain cancers, especially prostate. Lycopene is more highly concentrated in cooked tomato products including tomato paste, passata or tomato sauce.

5) NUTS (Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews etcetc)Generally, limit yourself to a handful of nuts per day.  But what a handful!  Nuts are so precious.  They are not local, but are one of our favourite treats.  Adding a dose of almonds daily helps the intake of key nutrients, lowering the intake of dietary detractors like trans fats, excessive sodium, sugars and cholesterol. Eating nuts may help protect against heart disease and inflammation, enjoying 11 walnuts daily reduces total cholesterol by up to 4 percent.  Walnuts also look like a brain, so are good for your brain (Ayuvedic wisdom).  They are a rich source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a compound called ellagic acid that has been shown to reduce artery-forming plaque.  Love NUTS!

4) Leeks – It goes without saying that this gorgeous Allium would crop up.  We are in Wales after all.  Regardless of that fact, leeks are one of my favourite vegetables.  Packed with flavour, vitamins, minerals and flavanoid anti-oxidants.  They are low in calories and contain both soluble and in-soluble fibre.  They contain lots of folic acid, essential in DNA synthesis and cell division.   Vitamin wise the are packed with A (hooray) and C, which not only protects against infections, but also harmful free radicals.  Wear your leeks with pride!  So much tastier than a rose (not to mention a thistle).

3) The Cuppa (Tea) – Another tea?  Why not!  The elixir of the B.H.K.  Without it, we’d be lost and flaccid. The caffeine content in tea is useful for stimulating alertness, mood and motivation, but is also a rich source of the antioxidant called catechins. Studies suggest that catechins protect the artery walls against the damage that causes heart disease and prevents the formation of blood clots. It also does wonders for the spirit on a dark winters day.  Avoid drinking too much milk, try a slice of lemon or drink good quality tea black.  It’s one of those things that will grow on you.

2) Dark Chocolate – The finest of news.  Believe it or not, chocolate is a healthy treat, as long as you choose wisely. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants that have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and boost overall heart health. Choose chocolate that is at least 70 percent cacao or cocoa to optimize the antioxidant power and health benefits. Dark chocolate may even boost your mood. The rich taste and sensuous mouth-feel of a decadent piece of dark chocolate may be to thank (remember the Flae advert Brits).  Just don’t eat a whole bar. Our favourite is Green and Blacks.

1) Beetroot (or beta vulgaris) – King Crimson!  The dark purple avenger!  Anything that comes out of the dark soil this colour, is bound to be packed full of good.  The pigment that gives beets their super-beautiful fuschia depth (betacyanin) is a powerful cancer-fighting agent. Beets’ potential effectiveness against colon cancer, in particular, has been demonstrated in several studies. Beets are also particularly rich in the B vitamin folate (see above) and the mighty vitamin C.  If you’re lucky enough, use the leaves.  They are higher in vitamin A and anitoxidants than the root.  We roast them up, put them in cakes, pickles, pies…..They add amazing hues of purples and pinks to anything they touch (including your chopping board) and generally brighten up any day.  Truly our winter king.

So Beetroot is the winner.  What drama!  I wonder who it will be in the summer (strawberries).

Heart of the 'root

Categories: Ayurveda, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Nutrition, Photography, Superfoods, Tea, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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