So the clocks have changed and we’re plunged into darkness for another year, still, plenty of swedes and parsnips to look forward to.
HAPPY WINTER EVERYONEXXXXXXXX
So the clocks have changed and we’re plunged into darkness for another year, still, plenty of swedes and parsnips to look forward to.
HAPPY WINTER EVERYONEXXXXXXXX
Here we have a delicious 10 minute meal. 5 minutes chopping, 5 minutes cooking and it won’t last long in the bowl either. So simple, yet tastes so amazing and dare I say it, complex. You have to love that!
Nothing says British winter more than a bowl of Soba Noodle Broth….or is that just me! I love a noodle broth anytime of the year and this one is wonder, putting the years first brussels sprout to good use. I could eat this by the bucket full, bowls just aren’t big enough.
The first winter chills are definitely visiting the Snowdonia hills at the moment, the winds blows a gale and we’ve kissed goodbye to what was a lovely summer of warmth and light nights. Sitting in the garden at 10pm in the sun is surely a thing all Britons cherish.
As are brussels sprouts. They’re like little cabbage hand grenades and add a punch to all they grace, we love ‘em! So, so, so very wasted on your average Sunday Roast (traditional British Sunday Lunch containing roast meats and unfortunately over cooked vegetables), boiled to death and flaccid. A quick blanch in this broth and they are a revelation of crunchy texture and potent flavour.
This is an ‘Asian’ broth, which I know covers a large chunk of global cuisine. Its a hybrid of flavours that meld and work. Some Japanese, some Chinese, but all super tasty.
In the Beach House we condone slurping in all its forms. Food should be eaten with gusto and vigour, slurping is an essential part of the noodle broth experience. We like to attack a bowl of noodle broth armed with a large spoon and some chopsticks, on occasion we resemble koi carp, such is our commitment to the cause. Jane is a particularly good slurper, we put it down to being raised with a koi carp named bonehead. Bonehead still lives with Jane’s Mum and Dad and is a big fish in a small pond. He can also be stroked like a dog.
This type of broth is best served piping hot, with all ingredients cooked for the minimum length of time. Freshness and crunch is imperative. The gulping and slurping actually helps the noodles cool down on the way to the mouth. At least that’s our excuse! It also happens to be alot of fun.
We’ve added plenty of colour here, essential in these gradually greying months, by using the last of the years red peppers and some brazen red cabbage. This broth is also nice and warming, fresh ginger and Chinese five spice take care of this. For even more of a restorative slurp, I added some wasabi to mine which really got my juices flowing.
Soba noodles are always a highlight, soba meaning ‘buckwheat’ in Japanese, the noodle choice of most Tokyo-ites. Traditionally in Japan buckwheat can be harvested four times a year, a wonder crop for sure.
Soba Noodles have a lovely bite to them, a hearty noodle ideal for my rapidly diminishing wheat intake as they are made with a large amount of buckwheat (not a wheat even though it is called a wheat!?) This means less gluten all around. For some bizarre reason, soba noodles are normally a tad more expensive than your average joe noodle, but they’re well worth the extra pennies.
We use tamari because we prefer the flavour, it contains no wheat and is always made to a certain standard. Meaning no strangeness and dodgy health issues with the soya used.
There are alot of ingredients in the broth here, really, some good stock, ginger and a splash of tamari will suffice, the other ingredients just make it extra special. Most of them can be found in any decent Chinese-style food store.
As can the Hazelnut Tofu. It’s basically tofu mixed with hazelnuts, and a few toasted sesame seeds, pressed back together. It is delicious and has plenty of flavour, unlike normal tofu. It seems to be springing up in some supermarkets, but as with most of these niche veggie/ vegan bits, a health food shop is your best bet.
Makes two massive bowlfuls (or four medium sized):
300g soba noodles, 125g hazelnut tofu (chopped into little cubes), 1/4 red cabbage (finely shredded), 1 red pepper (finely chopped), 6 brussel sprouts (finely sliced lengthways)
For the broth – 1 inch fresh ginger (minced), 2 teas chinkiang vinegar (balsamic will do), 2 tbs tamari (soya sauce is a close sub), 1 tbs rice wine (or dry sherry), 1 tbs good stock powder (or fresh if you are brilliant) – to taste, 1/2 teas Chinese five spice, 1.5 ltr boiling water
Taste the stock, make it right for you.
Wasabi stirred in to taste (if you like things spicy)
Topping – 2 spring onions (finely sliced)
Boil a kettle with enough water.
Chop your vegetables thinly.
Add boiled water to a large, warm sauce pan and get a steady boil going. Bubblin’.
Add all of your stock ingredients in no particular order, give it a stir (no stock powder lumps, they are the enemy).
Now add your cabbage, brussels sprout and peppers, boil for two minutes, then add your tofu and noodles, simmer for a further two-three minutes and prepare to serve.
By the time you’ve got bowls and ladles and all that jazz together, your noodles should be cooked nicely. Overcooking soba noodles is a huge sin.
Piping hot and topped with a handful of sliced spring onions. If you have a small flask of warm sake available, well done! Have extra tamari, wasabi and vinegar on the table so people can play with the flavouring or their stock.
We Love It!
Soul slurping of the highest order and buckwheat noodles to boot. Lucky us. So quick and satisfying, we could eat this for dinner every night! A soulful soup of the highest order.
Buckwheat is high in Thiamine and soba noodles were regularly eaten by wealthy Japanese folk to balance their large intake of white rice (very low thaimine) thus avoiding what was called ‘beri beri’.
As we all know by now, buckwheat is a relative of rhubarb! A berry and not a grain, a wonderful gluten-free substitute. Buckwheat is full of flavanoids which are very good for the cardiovascular system. In fact, some folk say that buckwheat is better for you than any fruit or vegetable. Quite a claim!
A quick one here that goes out to the Tasmania crew, Fran and Steve of The Road to Serendipity fame. Fran has requested Gertrude’s (Jane’s Nan) recipe ever since seeing it on a previous post. Well Fran, here it is, better late than later. Soz…….
Just to rave about Fran and Steve for a moment, their blog is a massive slice of living off grid (with two cool dogs Bezial and the mighty Earl and bags of awesome looking food, nature, ideas, good livin’, love and plenty of peaceful vibrations). They really are shining examples of living close to nature and Tasmania looks incredibly beautiful judging by their photos. There can be few more dedicated and prolific bloggers than our Fran and we always appreciate her enthused feedback. It is people like Fran who keep this little old blog rocking! Cheers guys for your constant stream of inspiration and kindness. You make the blog world a brighter place to be.
This recipe is taken from a scrap of paper written by Gertrude, who is no longer with us. Gertrude lived to the ripe old age of 96 and dictated this recipe as Jane made it and Keith (Jane’s Dad) scribbled it all down word for word, quaint little sayings and all. Goodness knows how many times this cake was made, Jane was brought up on it. All of this means that this is a recipe we hold very dear and even closer to our hearts. It also makes a lovely light chocolate cake and is ever so easy to make.
This will make one small sandwich cake, double the mix for a big ‘un.
4oz margarine (good stuff), 4oz caster sugar, 1/2 teas vanilla essence, 2 eggs (beaten), 4 oz self raising flour (sieved), 1 heaped tbs cocoa (sieved), pinch salt, 1 teas milk (if needed)
Preheat oven to 190oC (360F)
In a mixing bowl, paste the margarine and caster sugar together with a wooden spoon.
Slowly add the eggs to the paste, stirring nicely.
Gently add the the flour and cocoa, fold into mix.
Add salt and milk if mixture is too dry, should be thick batter texture (that plops off a spoon).
Pour into two small round baking tins (6 inch) with marg rubbed on sides and bottom. Use baking parchment if you don’t trust the non-stickness of your tin.
Clean out bowl with finger, give to Jane.
Get Nan to smooth it over.
Slam tins on table twice each.
Place in oven, 2/3 the way up.
Check in 1/4 hour with a wooden chopstick or skewer. It should be clean when retracted.
We filled our with a fine dark cherry jam and grated dark chocolate on top. Although I hear Gertrude was quite partial to a little butter icing.
We Love It!
‘Cause Gertrude made it.
Eating cake makes you happy.
The corn has come and it’s come in droves. I love corn, fresh corn on the cob is one of the finest things imaginable and it plays the lead role in this super salad supported admirably by some ripe Mexican avocado and fresh basil leaves (from the garden).
Back in the day (mid to late 80′s for the record) nothing said summer more than fresh corn on the cob; boiled almost to death and lathered with butter (maybe margarine, times were tough). I remember the sweetness and laughing at everyone with corn in their teeth and realising that you were just as bad. It’s all part of the fun, yellow teeth.
This superbly fresh corn can be eaten raw, I have been told that is not a good idea but this stuff is so succulent and juicy it is hard to resist. Thankfully some made it to the pan on this occasion.
Anyone who has ventured to the lands of Latin America will know there way around an ear of corn or maize as it is known. Corn is in many things, cakes, breads and of course, straight up roasted on braziers in the streets, which is the finest way to go. Maize comes in all shapes and sizes and has been eaten for thousands of years, it was the main fuel for the Mayans, Aztecs etc….. Maize even comes in different colours, you can get purple, black, blue, red and our personal favourite, pink. Interestingly, all of the differing colours have their own unique health benefits.
Autumn is gradually fading to winter and the bounty of the last few weeks is subsiding, the last summer squashes are disappearing (too fast) and even the blackberries are off (blown by some pretty freaky storm action). The time of the roots is nigh, but we still have a few treats up our sleeve before we get to the stodge-fest of winter.
We’ve incorporated a few more of our local veggie bits in here, but cannot resist a bit of avocado, it always ups the luxury stakes. Some vegan creaminess to add to the carnival of crunch.
This is a simple salad, but magic combinations abound and the luxurious flavour is something to savour. The basil adds its usual glorious fragrance to the show. The lovely thing about a warm salad is the flavours are all THERE! BANG…….
Serve as a main course, or bulk it up with grains like spelt or bulghur.
2 corn on the cobs (kernels removed), 1 avocado (2 if you’re feeling decadent), 2 small tomatoes, 1 small courgette, 2 handfuls of basil leaves, juice of 1/2 lemon, drizzle of olive oil, decent pinch sea salt and cracked pepper
Remove your kernels from the cob, stand up straight on a chopping board (thicker end down) and run a sharp knife down the cob, as close as you can to the base of the kernels. Use quick, sawing actions and the little yellow critters will just fly off.
Chop your courgette, tomato and avocado into similar sized cubes.
Warm a frying pan and some oil, fry off your courgette and corn on a high heat until slightly charred. Leave to cool.
Place the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and add your corn and courgette, mix gently with your hands getting it all nicely combined. You will now get wafts of glorious basil filling the air, mixed with that roast corn-ness!
Big bowl, scattered with abandon and flair (and a pinch of cracked black pepper).
We Love It!
An abundance of avocado and the beautiful sweetness of fresh, seasonal corn. This is a very satisfying salad.
Corn is not exactly a nutrient powerhouse unfortunately, but it is classed as a grain and therefore gets many brownie points. When compared to other grains it has good levels of fibre, vitamin C and the B’s. It is also low in calories if that’s your way.
A really meaty yet vegan substitute for the Spanish classic Morcilla (black pudding basically). Morcilla De Verano is a classic Murcian (Region in the South of Spain) dish, you regularly see it on tapas bar counters. Its a great option for me in the land of jambon. We’ve gone vegan here, with the addition of tempeh (or tofu would be cool also). The aubergine cooks down to its normal lovely golden self and the garlic and onions do their sweet and savoury thing, add to that a raft of Spanish style spice and herb and we’re moving in a gourmet direction.
Even though its called a ‘summer’ dish, we think this is great all year around. Due to its meaty nature, this is a dish to sate all, we’re always trying to find dishes that will appeal to meat eaters aka most of our family and friends. You know, I love Spanish food and this dish really taps into the rustic heart of their magical range of cuisine. More than many other countries, Spanish food speaks of the land and culture. It is the perfect expression of such a diverse land and for me, the cuisine of the South perfectly matches the arid plains and craggy red mountains. Its rugged, its got bags of soul and it can take your breath away.
As some of you will know, my parents have a little place over in Murcia, Jane and I are regular visitors chasing the sun and the Med life. This dish is based on a recipe passed to us from wonderful friends over that way, Fye and Jose. It is actually Jose’s brother Andres recipe and he created it in an attempt to eat less meat (he’s a real maverick in the area, only 0.3% of Spain’s population are veggies after all). I still have the little scrap of paper that he wrote it down on one night, for me that is real soul cooking. This recipe is connected with so many memories of wonderful people and places, we can’t help but love it. We have of course made our usual Beach House alterations, but this does not stray too far from Andres Murcian delight. Gracias HombresX
Don’t be shy with the oil here, remember it is Spanish after all! The dish should be slightly on the oily side which of course makes it very rich and satisfying. After eating this for dinner Jane exclaimed “I feel like I’ve just eaten meat and two veg” rubbing her belly. Always a good sign in the Beach House.
We decided that this is a star dish and very versatile. It could be used to stuff a vegetable, a round courgette sounds perfect. Taking it into non-vegan land, you could make some wells in the morcilla and crack in some eggs and cook them gently together. Forming something like a shakshuka. This could be served with toasted bread and smiles! Of course, we are talking brilliant tapas potential here. This Morcilla de Verano is just a brilliant centre piece for so many potential dishes.
2 small aubergines, 1 courgette, 1 small onion (all three finely diced and kept seperate), 2 garlic cloves (minced), 2 teas fresh rosemary (finely chopped), 2 teas sherry vinegar, 2 teas sweet paprika, 1/2 teas cinnamon, 1/2 teas all spice, 2 teas fresh oregano (finely chopped), 200g tempeh (or tofu), 2 teas sea salt, 2 teas cracked black pepper, 3 1/2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs pine nuts (topping)
This is a three part saute routine, meaning a number of stages until your meaty morcilla is just right.
Start with your aubergine and courgette. Add 2 tbs of the oil and warm on a medium heat in a heavy based frying pan. Add the aubergine and saute for 7-10 minutes, until nice and golden and releasing some of their liquid, then add the courgettes and continue to saute for another 5 minutes. This is the real meaty aspect of the dish, the aubergines should be nicely browned and gorgeously sweet by this stage. Set aside.
Next, your tempeh needs sorting. Chop it up finely, it will resemble dried scramble egg. Add 1/2 tbs of oil and saute for 5-7 minutes, until it is beginning to get brown around the edges. Set aside with the aubergine mix.
Now, 1 tbs more oil onions in the same pan (wipe out if necessary). Lower the heat of things are getting a little hot. The onions should take 6-8 minutes to become golden, we don’t want to rush them and risk charring them. Once they are golden, add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes, pop your vinegar in to a big hiss. Now it’s time to spice things up.
Add your paprika, all spice and cinnamon, saute for a minute, stirring all the time and not allowing the mix to stick. Then add your herbs and the aubergine/tempeh mix to the pan. Stir well and warm through for a couple of minutes. Your ready for the plate.
In a warm serving dish, topped with some pine nuts and a sprinkling of paprika.
We served our morcilla with some steamed green vegetables (broad beans, runner beans and broccoli) with some pan fried lemon cabbage all drizzled with a little truffle oil (a little decadent for a Thursday night!!!!) As we mentioned above, this morcilla make a great centre piece to any number of dishes.
We Love It!
Really satisfying rustic style Spanish fare. I imagine this is pretty close to Morcilla itself and cannot wait to try it out on some meat eaters. Dads coming soon, one of our favourite guinea pigs.
Pine nuts are just incredible little things. Now so expensive, but worth every penny as a treat item. They can make a real difference to a dish, especially when roasted a little to bring out the flavour.
Pine nuts are full of vitamin A, so you’ll be able to see in the dark. They have good levels of vitamin D, for the bones and are also rich in vitamin C and iron. They are quite fatty, which is obvious when you enjoy them, but its mono-unsaturated fats. Pine nuts are also packed full of energy, great on cereal for a morning buzz and fizz.
This is one of those dishes that really stands out. A dish that just makes perfect sense and falls into place perfectly on the plate and palate. All those yummy layers, one on top of another.
Meat eaters beware! This is a ‘converter’, one fork-full and you’ll join the lighter side. A dish that dis spells the ludicrous myths that vegetarians are merely ‘rabbit food’ munchers.
We have found vegan raw food presents a simple equation:
Raw Vegan Food = Shiny and Zinging Life of the Highest Order + Awesome, Creative New Flavours and Combinations
Granted its not the simplest of equations, but its a fine one non-the-less! This dish is full, full, full of delicious flavour, nutrition and vegetarian protein power (see top 5 veggie sources of protein here).
Jane was typing whilst I made this and here is what I said about it, hot off the press:
“So good for you and tasty, I can see this stuff really catching on! I see this as the future of food. Its a simple as that. Pasta without the carbs, supercharged full of colour and nutrition, all the flavours of Italy. Fascinating combination of flavours only ever seen in vegan cooking, using all whole foods, nothing jarred – this is what we are going for in the BHK.”
Reading this back again, I completely agree with what my former self uttered. This is the future of cooking (and non-cooking). We all want the best for ourselves and raw vegan food gives us just that. This is a trend that is actually positive for mind and body. Can you imagine how much the National Health Service would save if we all decided to eat vegan raw food, or incorporate more of it into our diets. We’d all live to 150 and hardly ever darken the door of a hospital or doctor. We believe that nutrition and the food we eat is that important. Call it preventative medicine if you will, but taking care of yourself and eating amazing food doesn’t sound like too bad a deal. No compromise on taste either, just look at this wonder plate!
Semi-rant over for now, back to the recipe. Its not totally raw this one, but could be very easily. Because Raw Earth Month has now officially ended (yes we are using the odd light at night and the occasional square of chocolate is disappearing from the cupboard) cooked beans have re-entered our diets. How I missed them. I love a bean. Without even thinking, I added red kidney beans to the ‘meat’ layer of our lasagne. They are perfect colour wise and they add a great texture. I also love them with walnuts, no idea why?
We are lucky to have a raft of inspirational friends and the original idea for this lasagne comes from the sparkling Sava over at Travel Butterfly. Sava is a constant source of inspiration on many levels for us at the Beach House and some of her vegan/ raw recipes really hit the wonder mark.
This lasagne, and lasagne in general, has a few components to sort, it takes a little time. Its well worth it though and would definitely be classed as a special occasion dish. This dish has the whiff of wow factor about it, one that looks almost as good as it tastes (after all, food that looks better than it tastes is such a let down). I am always interested to find that most people who don’t cook much still know how to make a decent lasagne. Its quite a tricky and time consuming thing to get together, especially the art of a non-lumpy bechamel. I generally think people are alot better at cooking than they claim to be!
Good tomatoes here are essential. We had some in our veg box this week and they blew us away, when I tried the sauce, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t added a sweetener to it. That’s it reaction you need! Gorgeous tomatoes are hard to find. Some tomatoes just need a little love, leave them in a bowl, ripen them just like a fruit and sometimes they come good, at the very least, they will get better. A chilled tomato is just no good. There is a soup we made a little like this, found here.
If you are completely raw, we’d probably substitute the beans with more seeds and nuts. Maybe a little dried apricot to bind things together. I am sure you have your own ideas, as being a raw vegan really pushes your creativity to the limits. We know how it is.
We use amino acids of tamari here because most soya sauce is just no good. Soya is a funny thing and unless processed properly, can be of detriment to the body. Tamari and something like Braggs Liquid Amino Acids are perfect replacements and tamari especially, even tastes finer.
We top this all off with some Nutritional Yeast Flakes. I know we all don’t have them in the cupboard, but they are brilliant little flakes to add an almost cheesiness to dishes. They have a unique savoury taste that must be tried to appreciate and are a vegan lifesaver. For me, they are little like a vegan parmesan. That intense!
A few other raw recipes that may tickle your tastebuds:
Now, lets non-cook!
Tomato and Basil Sauce
3 cups plum cherry toms, 1 cup soaked sundried toms (finely chopped) with ¼ cup of oil from the jar), 1 cup fresh basil leaves, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 clove crushed garlic (crushed)
Bean and Walnut Layer
250g red kidney beans (cooked) or 1 tin-ish, 1 cup of walnuts, ½ cup of pumpkin seeds (add bite), 2 x teaspoon Braggs Liquid Aminos (or tamari), Pinch of salt and pepper
1 gold courgette, 1 green courgette (or two green is fine)
Cut in half width-ways and finely sliced into layers
Avocado and Lemon Ricotta
1 ripe avocado (must be ripe), 250g firm tofu (drained well, save a few thin slices for the topping), 2 tbls olive oil, ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes, 1 small clove garlic (crushed), ½ lemon juice and zest, pinch of salt
Thinly sliced tofu, olives (finely chopped), sprinkled with Nutritional Yeast Flakes
This raw game is an easy one. Just whack it in the food processor and voila! Gorgeous Lasagne.
Tomato and Basil Sauce – Pop all in a FP and whizz until smooth. Set aside and clean blender.
Bean Walnut Layer – Pop all in a FP and blitz until smooth but with lots of chunks (similar to mince I guess). Set aside and clean blender.
Avocado and Lemon Ricotta – Pop all in a FP, blend until smooth. Set aside.
Pop all in the fridge for an hour to chill and thicken up a little before the layering.
Make sure that you slice you courgette/ zucchini carefully. You want them to be almost as thin as pasta sheets. A mandolin is perfect for this, but a big beware here! They love to slice fingers also.
Now to layer the beast.
On your chosen serving plate (a square one would be perfect), lay out your first layer of courgette. Depending on your chopping skills, you may need to put two layers of courgette (if wafer thin style). Carefully spread on your bean and walnut layer and a thin layer of the tomato and basil sauce.
Next, add another layer of courgette, slightly smaller in diameter than the first, pressing down gently to make the layer stick. This is mainly a presentation thing, you can see the layers better when they are not overhanging each other. Once the layer is neatly placed, spread on your vegan ricotta.
The final layer, once more press down gently and arrange a nicely overlapping mosaic of your wonderfully sliced courgette, top with a layer of tofu (which can’t help but look a little like mozzarella), a good layer of tomato and basil sauce, sprinkle on your chopped olives and a good sprinkle of yeast flakes. Top with some basil that you will no doubt have hanging around your glorious kitchen.
That’s it! As simple or as difficult as you make it! We think its medium in the ‘fiddle scale’.
Immediately. The salt will gradually release liquids in the lasagne, which are very tasty, but don’t look the best. This lasagne can be sliced as usual and the layers will stay intact and look amazing.
We Love It!
A dish in the locker that will impress friends and family for many years and make us look very clever indeed when actually its leisurely walk in the park.
The flavours mingle and merge in some form of Italian perfection and you will be amazed at the reaction from meat-eaters. Try it! They love it too!
Courgette (zucchini to some) is a summer squash, they are said to have originated in Mexico and come in all shapes and sizes. Courgettes are very low in calories and have no cholesterol or fat, the peel is full of dietary fibre and it is also a good source of vitamin A and has high levels of heart friendly potassium.
A very lovely friend from Germany sent us the most fantastic present the other day, the like of which we have never seen before on Welsh shores! Introducing Skrub’a The Scrubbingglove – a clever Danish invention in a pretty orange carrot design!
These wonder-gloves could not have come at more perfect timing (another wonderful synchronicity, thanks Nicole). You probably know that we are now lucky enough to be loving the weekly fresh local and organic veggie box grown by lovely Pippa and John down the road…. Such delicious, fresh and DIRTY veggies! Up until now the lowly washing up brush has been doing all the hard scrubbing work. But we find that still leaves little bits of dirt on the veggies, especially in the nobbles and bumps.
It was with delight and happy intrepidation that we donned the gloves for the first time, dunked the root veg and began skrub-ing them with our gloved hands. The gloves (very much like those exfoliating shower-mitts) were utterly perfect at getting into the grooves and pits of the most twisty of carrot.
It was a quick and unusually satisfying job, and at the end of it we had smiley faces and very clean beetroots. Not only that, but 50% of the vitamins in veggies are in the peel! So Skrub’a Gloves thank you very much, you are our new favourite kitchen implement!
It has been a luscious blossoming blooming year for gardeners across the land. Much sunlight and only occasional rain has kept most of the slug and snail critters at bay, hoorah! And over in Staffordshire, Mum and dad’s apple mint went wild again, and started springing up everywhere in places most unexpected. We were lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time to harvest the lot, bring it back to the Beach House Kitchen and get creative.
When faced with huge armfuls of thick 3ft long mint stems, it is easy to find yourself wondering what on earth you’re going to do with the bounty of furry goodness there in front of you! But luckily there are many ways to preserve herbs – in oils, vinegars, dried in jars; and many uses for the finished product like salad dressings, flavouring for your cooking, teas and delightful herbal baths! Lets face it a whole shelf of different herbal vinegars is pure visual delight – and that’s before you’ve even eaten any!
Glass or plastic jar with waxed paper and elastic band for lid if metal (vinegar disintegrates metal lids)
Apple cider vinegar with the mother culture (great for your digestive system)
Aromatic herbs, such as apple mint (or all the other kinds of mint too), chives and chive blossom, dandelion flowers and leaves, organic orange peel, lavender flowers, even nettles…. The list goes on…
Fill a jar with your freshly cut chopped herbs, making sure the jar is well filled but not packed too tightly either… (After a few goes you’ll get the idea, I don’t think I put enough in ours)!
Pour room-temperature apple cider vinegar into the jar until it is full.
Cover jar with wax paper held on with a rubber band and metal lid on top, or a plastic lid, or a cork.
Label the jar with the name of the herb and the date.
Put the jar in a kitchen cupboard not too hot and not too cold but out of direct sunlight and leave for 6 weeks.
Don’t forget it’s there!
Over salads or beans and grains at dinner, in salad dressings, or to season stir fries and soups.
You can even drink it in the morning in a glass of water as a health tonic, after all what could be more healthy than your own produce soaked in apple cider vinegar!
We love it
There’s a lovely aspect of this creative process too and it’s all about the love and appreciation of food that has come out of your own soil. The very act of stripping the leaves from the stem, drying them, and getting creative all feels like a very natural and heart-warming process; one which our ancestors would have done too, to preserve that nourishing goodness of Summer ready for darker Wintery times. And it is SO good for you! Daily use of preserved herbs gives you a little health boost with virtually no expense or effort.
Herbs are magic because of the high level of nutrients they contain – mint for example contains a lot of Calcium.
Apple cider vinegar has been known as a health-giving agent for centuries. Hippocrates swore by it, along with honey. It is incredible at lowering cholesterol, improving skin tone, and even for arthritis. It is also very good at dissolving nutrients from plants which water is not so good at, meaning this vinegar is super-healthy and mineral rich.
Ever seen your granny splash some vinegar onto her greens before serving? Eaten with iron rich vegetables like spinach or broccoli, vinegar can increase the amount of calcium you get by a third. Pretty amazing stuff!
Vinegar is highly alkaline, I know that sounds strange, but when it is metabolised by the body, it goes through a serious change. Alkaline foods are incredible for health and keep disease and other baddies at bay.
Our first cooked meal in what seems like and age, for no other reason than Ravi Shankar and memories of warm chapattis in Varanasi. Thats all we need and we’re back in the land of spice and wonder. Mother India, her food tantalises our palates and senses.
I was spending some time with brother Justin over at ‘The Lotus and Artichoke‘ blog. He is a man I trust highly with India food. He lives and breathes (and no doubt dreams) food and travel, a man after our own hearts. He has a book for sale and its awesome, we don’t have it, but one day we will. This is a man who has learnt to cook in real kitchens, real houses with real families, the proper way to go about understanding different cultures foods. These recipes are influenced by his and our shared love for India grub.
We dusted the pans off and said goodbye to our raw food time in style, what better way than a North Indian Banquet to remember. North Indian food is generally richer than food from the south, which is more coconut based. I like both, they are so different and suit their climates and geography perfectly. India is such a vast and diverse land, but these curries use spice mixtures that you will find all over and like all masalas (spice mixes), the balance is essential to the authenticity.
These two curry recipes are straight forward, but very rewarding. I became semi-addicted/ partially obsessed with Baingan (Bengan) Bhartha in Laos of all places! I was missing Indian food on my travels and I found a Gujarati fellow tucked away in Luang Prabang who made a mean curry, it did take well over an hour to arrive, but when it was well worth the wait. I loved the place, when we order beers and curries, one of his kids would jump on a scooter and buy the ingredients from the market. It was super fresh veg and herbs!!!!! And warm beer unfortunately.
Baingan Bhartha is normally a puree like curry/ dip served with chapatti, but I love it with rice also. Its actually a little like an Indian Babaganoush. I like to keep the aubergine in pieces and pan fry them until golden and just about falling apart. Traditionally I believe they are oven baked whole and the insides sccoped out or flame charred over an open flame. It all sounds good to me.
RAW EARTH MONTH – THE CLOSING CEREMONY
So we didn’t end it all in a tidal wave of cava or a wave of espresso’s, this month’s (six weeks actually) raw adventure came to an end with a curry and plenty of rooibos chai.
Raw Earth Month has actually been really enjoyable, all of the ‘sacrifices’ we’ve made have turned into enjoyable routines and good lessons. We certainly appreciate things more; lights at night, a washing machine, the joys of good chocolate.
We are not rushing back into anything and getting our bodies adjusted slowly. After the meal last night, we admit to feeling a little full and lethargic. We did eat alot, but cooked food definitely sits on the stomach. As we always say, it doesn’t really matter what you’re eating, as long as its cooked and eaten with love and last night was a lovely occasion.
So coffee and wine are back on the menu, wahee!!!!! The strange things is that we don’t really feel like either at the minute. After being raw vegan for four months, we both feel bright as buttons and our cravings have flown out of the window. We will no doubt encounter our little food vices again shortly, but at the minute, that morning beetroot juice is looking pretty damn good!
A WORD ON ONIONS
Curries rely heavy on onions. We are lucky to get ours from an organic farm at the minute and they are a completely different beast to those frequenting the fluorescent shelves of the supermarkets. Onions should be firm and easy to cut, most should make you cry like a big baby. If they are not fresh, they are really no good. This goes for garlic also. Onions and garlic suffer from being good agers, they last longer than most vegetables and therefore can be abused due to poor rotation. Buying smaller quantities of these staples works. Onions are such a wonderful ingredients, you can use them in so many different ways and with curries, they are the root of the flavour; the stage for the spices to do their merry dance. Good onions matter!
A WORD ON SPICES
Spices also matter! Big time! Freshly roasted spices are the best by far, they also keep better in your cupboard. If you have a pack of turmeric lingering in the cupboard, please get rid of it and buy some more. I know its a waste, but old spices are pointless and lead to insipid curries. The beauty of Indian cooking is primarily found in the freshness of the spices used. If your using spices, keep them in an airtight container, in a dark place. We cherish our spices and generally use freshly roast spices, ground in a pestle and mortar. If you’re going to make a curry, you might as well make it spectacular!
The teaspoons below are all pretty level or one heaped half teaspoon.
Serves two curry fiends:
2 aubergines (cut into chunky batons), 3 medium tomatoes (roughly diced) or 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, 4 cloves garlic, 2 cm ginger (finely chopped), 1 medium onion (finely sliced), 1 teas mustard seeds, 1 teas ground cumin, 1 teas ground coriander, 1 teas turmeric, 1/2 tsp sweet paprika, 1 chilli (finely diced), 1/2 teas asafoetida, 1 teas sea salt, 3 tbl oil, 2 tbl filtered water, fresh coriander (for garnish)
(We are adverse to turning our oven on for one little thing, so we roast our tomatoes and aubergine in pans.)
On a medium heat, add your cumin and coriander seeds to the pan. Roast for a few minutes, until fragrant and slightly brown. Bash up well in pestle and mortar.
Roast your aubergine in 2 tbl of oil on a high heat, tossing regularly. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until nicely soft and well caramelised. YUM. Set aside and cover with a plate. No roast your tomatoes in the left over oil on a very high heat, a little dark colour is good here, for around 5 minutes. Set aside and cover.
In the same pan, add 1 tbl of oil and saute your mustard seeds for 30 seconds, they will pop a little, then add your onions and lower heat slightly. Cook the onions until they are becoming golden, then add your garlic and ginger, cookf for three minutes, then your spices hit the pan, stir them well, not allowing the spices to stick to the bottom, add a little water if this happens. Saute for a few minutes and then add your tomatoes, aubergine and water (if needed, check consistency). Cover and warm through for 5 minutes.
1 small cauliflower (cut into big florets), 2cm cube fresh ginger (finely diced), 1 tomato (roughly chopped), 3 garlic cloves (finely diced), 1/2 lemon juice and zest, 1 tbs tamarind pulp/ paste, 1 teas turmeric, cumin, paprika and coriander, 1/2 teas mango powder, sea salt and black pepper, 2 dates (finely chopped), fresh coriander (for garnish), 1 tbs oil, rainbow chard (an extra that we added from the garden, couldn’t resist but not traditional in any way)
(If you feel like roasting this in an oven, please do, we used the hob.)
On a high heat, add the oil and roast the cauliflower for 5 minutes, until it becomes brown and slightly charred. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well (be gentle with the cauliflower). Cook for 10 minutes on a gentle simmer, then place a lid on the pan and leave to infuse for a further 10 minutes.
With mango pickle or your favourite Indian condiments. Our pickle actually comes from Pakistan and is really, really potent. We also had a little organic soya yoghurt. All scattered liberally with freshly chopped coriander and some nutty brown basmati.
We Love It!
For me, this is the ultimate meal. We are missing a few warm chapattis, but this is my idea of food heaven (for today anyway!) A selection of curries with all the accompaniments has long been my favourite meal, I was raised in the Philippines and every Friday night we had something like this for dinner. Mango chutney may be nice, oh, mango chutney, so sweet.
Asafoetida is a funny one, not just because if its tongue twisting name. It is the root of a herb and is also known as devils dung or stinking gum! It has a pungent aroma and some amazing medicinal properties, added to food it has a smooth flavour, similar to that of leeks.
Asafoetida aids digestion, it has been used to treat hysteria, respiratory problems, painful menstruation, it has even been said to cure impotence! It is a sedative and has been used to treat opium addicts, it has been used as a natural pesticide and has anti-biotic properties.
These crackers came out of the blue, as an afterthought, they appeared in a bowl, I stirred them, decided to dry them and hey pesto! Umami Crackers came into the world. CRUNCH!
The real reason for these flax crackers was the desire to make a superbly healthy cracker, something to idly munch on without care. Jane and I can put away vast quantities of oat cakes/ crackers at one mid-sitting, its something to do with the texture. Most crackers aren’t exactly packed with nutrition, we’ve found that after a couple of these we are sated. Its all the good stuff in them we reckon.
Flax (or Lin) Seeds are a special little thing, one of the finest things for our digestion. When you pop a little water on them, you’ll see why. Flax takes on a gooey, emulsion-like property which the belly and below loves, this is the exact property that makes these crackers ‘gel’. Just add a little water to flax, leave them for a few minutes and they become a vehicle for all sorts of flavours and once dried/ baked they make crunchy biscuits to get excited about. There is absolutely nothing negative about these crackers, nutritionally, they are food for super humans (that’s all of us then!!!!)
Umami is the fifth taste, along with bitter, sweet etc. Umami means ‘yummy’ in Japanese and the Umami spectrum was opened up by a Japanese fellow. Umami is a delicious savouriness, think MSG but natural. MSG is not the baddy that many think, it is present naturally in foods like parmesan, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms. Added to this, umami just sounds like alot of fun!
I used a splendid Halen Mon product here, Umami powder. Its a mixture of their awesome sea salt (from the Menia Straits just outside the Beach House) and some seaweed and dried mushrooms. Seriously savoury and brilliant for perking things up, stews, risottos, soups…..you get the picture. Its a wonder condiment.
The Veg Box Salad is a Jane speciality that we enjoy on numerous occasions per week (especially when Janes cooking/non-cooking). It consists of loads of veggies and other special bits from the fridge and larder (seeds, olives, dried fruits…..), you never know what to expect from a Veg Box Salad, but you know that it will be massive and super tasty. The exhaustive list of ingredients of this particular salad are below, but feel free to empty your own fridge or veg box into a bowl and enjoy the spoils!!!!! There is an alarming amount of awesome veg to be found here.
A good salad is all about combining textures, flavours and colours, all topped off with a kickin’ dressing. Ingredients don’t matter here, this is free-flowing fare, changing with the seasons and your whims.
Makes around 10 crackers
1 1/2 cup flax (lin) seeds, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup sunblushed tomatoes (finely chopped), 1 teas umami powder, 2 tbs black sesame seeds, 2 cloves garlic (crushed, minced or mashed up)
Mix water into flax seeds and leave for 10 minutes, the seeds should be sticky, but not too wet. Add the rest of your ingredients and stir well. Spread out onto dehydrator tray or baking tray, oiled. 1/2 cm thickness is good and any shape that take you fancy. Cracker size!?
Dehydrate for 6 hours until crispy, bake for 10-15 minutes at around 1800C or until crispy.
Be gentle when handling the finished crackers, they are sensitive little guys. Use a flat spatula for the sake of a decent sized cracker.
Veg Box Salad
One massive bowlful
3 stems swiss chard (finely sliced), 1/4 green cabbage (shredded), 1/2 white onion (finely chopped), 2 stems celery (chopped), 2 handfuls chopped parsley, 1 avocado (roughly chopped), 1 green apple (diced and cored), 1 small courgette, small cucumber, small broccoli (all diced), 2 handfuls of olives, 2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds, 3 tbs nutritional yeast flakes (optional but very tasty)
1 handful of fresh mint, 1 handful of fresh basil, juice and zest of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 cup fruity olive oil, 1 cup soya yoghurt, 1 teas sea salt, 1 teas bharat (spice mix, or garam masala), 1 tbs apple juice concentrate (or honey), 1 tbs white wine vinegar
Blend all together in a food processor, adding the olive oil slowly to for a good emulsion.
We broke up some of the crackers and added them as a topping which worked out nicely. Big bowls. BIG bowls!
We Love It!
Every Thursday (that’s today) we pick up our veg box and are consistently surprised by the wonderful veg produced by the magical John and Pippa. There is no better way to celebrate good vegetables than very, very simply. Salad style definitely works here.
The flavours of these organic vegetables light up the bowl, a dressing almost seems like overkill. The crackers make a decent accompaniment to such a bounty of veg goodness.
Flax seeds are unique in many ways. Firstly, they provide the highest levels of Omega 3 oils found in a vegetarian diet (hundreds times more than the nearest competitor!) and these abundant oils are not altered by cooking at high heats. Which is great news!
Flax seeds are also insanely high in lignans, which act like fibre and have antioxidant effects on the body.
As mentioned above, flax seeds have mucilage properties, which means they form a ‘gum’ like substance in the body which helps the absorption of many nutrients in the intestines.
Well, well, well……I mean really. We had a summer, a proper stint of sun. We woke every morning expecting it to be sunny. How rare, how brilliant! The garden has appreciated the warmth and light, things are blooming like never before in our little mountain abode, we can’t keep up with the progress, most of the time just letting nature do its thing and appreciate what comes from that. This generally hides our lack of discipline with gardening and confirms our inherent feeling that nature cannot be contained in a plant pot, or bossed around. Our potatoes seem to appreciate the approach!
The Beach House Garden is quite big and wild, after not strimming for a while it was resembling a Welsh jungle and wild things lurked out towards the horse field. Fortunately they were just frogs and the occasional mole, although the rabid sheep have been making unwanted appearances in the garden. Feral lot that they are.
So this year we have some decent looking beetroots, rhubarb chard, cavolo nero and even courgettes coming along. The herbs have gone wild (which we always enjoy) and as I said, we have three varieties of potatoes leaping from the ground at an alarming rate. Come early August and freak storms permitting, we should have a reasonable bounty to play with in the BHK and share amongst our nearest and dearest.
Raw Earth Month marches on bathed in sun and good vibrations. I have to say, the food has been grand and we are trying our best to post more recipes. Our month of total raw/ vegan-ness ended yesterday, no booze, coffee, consuming, chemicals, lights, washing machine etc for over a month now and going strong. Once you start this and feel good about it, it’s always hard to get back off it. I am sure one day a scone will come along and that will be it! Until then we are thinking another two weeks are in order. There are two bottles of cava primed for the closing ceremony, we’ll have a picnic in the back garden on the stone circle and eat sandwiches and a lemon drizzle cake (Jane’s favourite) and get slightly sozzled in the sun (hopefully).
We are so lucky to have wild strawberries growing this year, if we can grab them before the birds take their share! They are the sweeetest, fragrant little things. Just one tiny strawberry can change your day, much better than their big brother variety.
My hayfever has taken a back seat now that Jane’s magical herbalist friend has sent some little sweet pills through. I can now enjoy the garden without fear of pathetic dribbles and sneezing fits taking over. Hoorah! This has made a huge difference to my enjoyment of the dramatic transformations in these green and golden hills.
We are being battered by odd humid, tropical storms at the moment, but somewhere behind those grey clouds, there’s a sun waiting to get busy.
Some classic George (you saw this one coming surely!):
Hopefully you’ll be seeing some of our garden produce in our recipes very soon, there is nothing quite like cooking with your own veg. I am lucky enough to be working at a wonderful retreat centre at the moment and cook with alot of veg grown on the land. There is something intangible and whole heatedly enjoyable about cooking with such produce. It makes all the difference and the flavours are spectacular! Eating the stem of a rhubarb chard recently is a food experience I will never forget!
Enjoy the heat wave (while it lasts)!
I know, that’s two Elderflower cordial-ish recipes this summer, but it is such a great thing to do! Elderflowers are all the rage in our village this June. we’ve had neighbours knocking on the door asking for recipes. What can we say, they are a beautiful thing and they grow on trees! Some even call this drink the ‘nectar of the Gods’!
This is not technically raw, as it is simmered slightly, but we hope that it didn’t make it above 46oC as this stuff is lighting up our life right now! Very easy to make and plentiful, something all Brits should have in the fridge door ready to be mixed with sparking water, gin or whatever takes your tipple fancy. Did you hear that Brits, its a must! In the States, I think it grows? I know you can buy it dried over there and its just as good, if not more intense.
There are over 30 varities of Elderflowers and some may be slightly toxic, don’t let this put you off. None of the flowers are toxic, only the leaves and stems, so if you are not sure, just leave out the greens.
You cannot mistake an elderflower tree (some younger plants look more like bushes), the unmistakable aroma will be the first thing that hits you. They have the coolest micro-flowers, white and yellow.
When picking Elderflowers, make sure you leave some for the tree! We only take a small share from each tree and keep our eyes out when driving or walking around for new trees to pick from. This is the great thing about foraging for your own ingredients, wherever you go, the plants follow!
We recommend making the cordial as soon as you pick the flowers, otherwise they will naturally deteriorate and lose some of their vitality and flavour. You can of course dry them if you have a dehydrator or live in a particularly hot place (lucky you!)
The Elderflowers will also turn into gorgeous Elderberries later in the year and these are worth the wait. It makes us feel much more connected to the seasons, watching the trees and plants changing as we move through summer towards the bounty of autumn.
You may also like to try this with orange or lime, anything citrus will do and mix things up a little. Lemon is the classic though to be sipped on a steamy British summer’s day preferably with a knotted handkerchief on your head and some cucumber sandwiches to hand. Croquet anyone! Splendid.
If you like this, you may like our Elderflower Champagne Recipe.
Makes 1.5 litres:
30 heads of Elderflower, 1.5kg sugar, 3 unwaxed organic lemons, 2 pints water, 75g citric acid (food grade) optional
Shake the Elderflowers and make sure there are no little crawly friends still present. No need to wash them, they have been breathing the same air as we have! If they are growing at ‘dog cocking leg height’, wash them well. Place in a large heatproof bowl.
Put water into a pan and heat gently, add sugar and stir to form a syrup. Leave to cool.
Now zest your lemons into the syrup and then slice them acrossways, add the slices also. Pour the slightly cooled syrup onto the Elderflowers and stir in the citric acid. Cover with a plate and leave to stand for a day.
After that, taste the cordial, then strain through muslin into sterilised bottles. We use old wine bottles with corks.
Will keep in the fridge for at least three weeks, but it won’t last that long anyway!
We have ours with sparkling water and a little ice, maybe a squeeze more lemon. We have also had it in cucumber juice, which was quite amazing. Of course there is lots of boozy fun to be had here, add to sparkling wine or a gin and tonic for something quite special.
We Love It!
The essence of the British summer, concentrate and bottled.
Elderflower’s are one of natures power flowers. They contain bio-flavanoids, many of the omega fatty acids, pectin and tanins. They are also good for allergies, and I feel alot better hayfever-wise after a glass of this flower power. It also helps colds, flu, fevers and arthritis.
It has been shown that Elderflower can help to remove toxins from the blood, it stabilises kidney function and even helps with intestinal problems.
Proper FLOWER POWER going on here!
I did. Two days ago I climbed the second highest mountain in Britain, Snowdown, which is just behind our house. I climbed it in record time (for me) fueled only by a beetroot, carrot, apple and ginger juice. Wahee! Juice power.
As many of you will know, the Beach House is tucked away in the valleys of Wales, overlooking Anglesey and the Llyn Peninsula. We have the most spectacular views and on days like today, when the skies are clear, I can see some of my favourite landscape anywhere.
Britian is experiencing a heat wave at the moment and we are getting some of it, with temperatures in the mid 20′s for the past two weeks. The garden is loving it (post to come soon) and our veg patch is looking amazing.
RAW EARTH MONTH UPDATE
The weather has come at the perfect time for our Raw Earth Month and it is definitely salad and smoothie weather at the moment. The only down side to a proper British summertime is that I get chronic hayfever, which is a huge drag. We have consulted Jane’s homeopathic/ magician friend and she is sending up some remedies as we speak, hopefully this will stop my sniffles.
We are going to extend our Raw Earth month by two weeks, we are loving it! The candle light at nights is perfect as it doesn’t get dark until 10ish anyway. It adds a very peaceful feel to the house and there is something timeless about reading by flickering candlelight. Handwashing our clothes has been interesting. It takes a while and a little effort, but with the sun out and a special herbal soap, we are getting great results.
We have been making once a week trips in the car to pick up our amazing veg box from some wonderful people a couple of valleys away, full of the finest organic produce and the courgettes are coming thick and fast at the moment!
One thing we are using alot is the dehydrator. Jane is taking full advantage of the abundant herbs and wildflowers at the moment and we are drying them for use in teas and infusions. We realise that it uses a bit of electricity, but know that we will have to buy less in the long run. It seems to at least balance out.
We watched an interesting documentary recently ‘No Impact Man’ about a guy giving up many things in a one year project, in the centre of New York. We can draw alot of parallels with Colin and his family, but we are lucky to live in the country and have no TV anyway! We are well from many temptations up here on the hill, no restaurants, bakeries or cafes. No cinemas, shops, pubs! It would be alot more difficult to do this kind of thing in a city. Hats off to Colin and his family for sticking to it and setting an amazing example, his project became huge and was all over the media. I am sure it made a big impact and they seemed to be having a good time doing it, which is surely the main thing!
I think we’d do this all again, especially the raw food part. We are consuming alot less, recycling most of our water on the garden and generally life has slowed down. So far, the experiment is going well and the sun is shining. What more could you want!
What has this got to do with food you may ask? Very good question. I guess it highlights the fact that you don’t need a full English/ Welsh breakfast and 5 mars bars to go walking in the hills and that juices are super cool and full of energy.
I also realise that the weather is chilly in some parts of the world now (Tasmania especially I hear!) and it is surely nice to look at little wet Wales bathing in glorious sunshine for a change! Long may it continue…..
OK, heres something food related, todays smoothie. It’s a:
Green Banana, Coconut and Almond Smoothie
Makes one large jugful, enough for three glasses:
2 bananas, 2 cups coconut milk (watered down), 1 apple, 1 cup cucumber, 3 cups spinach, 1 cup soaked almonds, 2 teas green powder (barley powder, spirulina), 1 cup grapes, 1 lime (juice and zest)
In the blender and blend, scrape down the side, blend, scrape down the sides and blend…….repeat until all is smoooooth.
We Love It!
Very sweet and filling smoothie, packed full of nutrition. Anything green is great.
Spinach is regarded by many as the best thing you can eat. Ever. We agree. Not only does it taste so, so good, it contains more iron than beef, pound for pound.
This makes for a sweet and super nutritious start to the day. Who says pudding is just for later in the day anyway! We like to mix things up over here on the hill and this is dessert first thing, what a way to start the day!
A serious combination of goodness this avocado and coconut, to some a pair of fat filled fiends, but to those of us in the nutritious know, two full blown detox powerhouses of legendary proportions. Am I exaggerating, very probably!!!! But seriously, don’t be put off by all that fat talk, fat doesn’t even make you fat anyway! It’s all that sugar aka carbs, aka breakfast cereals……. We haven’t even got started on how these two actually taste, a mixture made in heaven for certain (if you dig that kind of behaviour).
THE BEST WAY TO START THE DAY
The coco water here is a brilliant re-hydrator due to its high quantity of electrolytes, beats any ‘sports drink’ hands down, and we all need a good dose of hydration in the morning. This is a dense pudding so get the body fully woken up before you attempt to spoon it down. We’d always recommend starting the day with a pint of warm water with a squeeze of lemon or a tbs of apple cider vinger (avec mother) in it at least 20 mins before having your breakfast/ pud. This is the best way to start the day with plenty of good clean fluids which will get the system well oiled, hydrated and sparkling early on. A pint of water can only help at anytime, especially in the morning when our body has being shriveling up whilst we sleep.
This ‘pudding’ is utterly guilt free!!!!! It has a firm kick of greens, with some wonder green powder, spinach (or kale, or cabbage leaves, whatever you have handy) and the wonderfully gelatinous linseeds. This is what gives the coco pudding its super thick texture and pudding-ness.
Naturally sweet and creamy, this could probably be frozen and made into a splendid summer ice cream. We haven’t tried this though. Has anyone frozen an avocado?
Good Mornin’s and BHOM!
1 avocado, ½ fresh coconut plus coco water (chopped in chunks), 2 sweet apples (halved and seeded), 1 tbs linseeds (soaked for 2 hours), 1 cup coconut milk, ½ lime (zest and juice), 1 handful spinach leaves, 1 tbs barley powder/ wheatgrass/ spirulina
Blend it, all of it, until thick and creamy. Leave to sit for 15 minutes, let the linseeds do their work and bring things together a little.
Sprinkle things on top if you like, but its great just as it is and as always, not too cold please, set the flavours free!
We Love It!
What a way to get things going in the morn! Its fair to say that Jane and I are not natural morning birds, we tend to blossom later in the day, especially when we’re feed some AM dessert! Hoorah! What a concept, this could be the next big thing (way bigger than the last big thing, which was just medium/large in comparison.)
Coconuts are one of the most nutritious fruits on earth. It contains a load of lauric acid, which is known for antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial properties and also boost the immune system.
Coconut water (the stuff in the nut) has a huge amount of electrolytes, making it an ace in preventing dehydration. In some parts of the world they use it intravenously to hydrate critically ill patients.
Coconut, although being high in fat, actually helps you loose weight! Its good for the heart, rejuvenates the skin (keeping wrinkles away), increases metabolism and actually lowers cholesterol.
Only downside is, they don’t grow in Wales!!!!!
A wholesome, hearty salad that fits perfectly with our beloved Welsh summer (meaning torrential rain and mist, even the sheep look miserable!) This is actually unfair as today and yesterday have been complete beauties, check out the sunset below taken from the kitchen window.
Its a real eden like environment up here on the hill and our garden is loving the sun. The beetroots and cavolo nero particularly are leaping out of the ground. Slugs seem to be taking it easy, probably hiding in some damp slug den, planning there next raid. Long like the sunshine!
Sprouted wheat grains have been a saviour for us in the past as they sate and bready sweet pangs that we have. Sometimes when we sit down to some nice raw salads, soups etc we do crave a little bread to add something a little different. We will be experimenting with raw breads very soon, but until then we reach for our buddies the wheat grains.
It takes a couple of days for them to sprout and after that you have a lovely sweet and chewy grain to use in all kinds of good things. They need to be soaked in filtered water for 24 hours and then placed in a sprouting tray or something flat, rinse them twice daily with fresh water and you’ll soon see the sprouts waking up.
Anybody who reads the BHK regularly knows that we are into our sprouts. Anything sprouted just seems so full of vitality and energy. They are so easy to do at home even we manage! We have been experimenting with other grains, oat and buckwheat are two firm favourites. We also have barley, which is next on the sprout list. The grain sprouts bring something new to the menu, quite chewy and meaty in texture.
The star here is the dressing, pairing our local rapeseed oil, with mustard and apple concentrate, a brilliant combo of flavours. The rapeseed oil is almost buttery and the sweet apples cuts through nicely. YUM!
Making dressings all hangs on what the ingredients of the salad is and the overall flavour you’d like. This is a sweet salad, with the apples and the raisins, which Jane really loves. We made the dressing slightly tart to counteract the sweetness, I always try and think of what the overall flavour of a salad will be when Im making a dressing and adjust it accordingly. A dressing can accentuate the flavour of great ingredients, or hide them behind bog flavours. I think a balance is best, with the veggies shining through.
Serves two hungry herbivores:
2 cups sprouted wheat grains, 1 apple (decored and chopped), 1 celery stick (chopped), 2 carrots (scrubed and chopped), 2 cup raisins. 1 handful mint (ripped), 1 handful parsley (chopped), 2 handfuls rocket leaves, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
Dressing – 1/2 cup cold pressed rapeseed oil, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tbs apple concentrate, 1 tsp English mustard, 1 clove garlic (crushed), 1 teas sea salt (to taste)
Chop all ingredients in a fashion that suits your mood. We were in a post work hurry, so they became abstract, but satisfying non-the-less. Also when the sun goes down, we are using candle light and it can be difficult to chop things and wash up when you’re in the dark. In fact, many things are. You need to slow down, read, then sleep. Which is great.
Whisk up your dressing ingredients in a small bowl, making sure all is nicely combined.
Dressing on the side, it is quite potent and each persons taste will differ. Salads are of course best served super fresh, straight off the chopping board.
We Love It!
A real local treat this one, welsh rapeseed oil, mustard, apples, celery, rocket…..almost the entire bowlful came from our neck of the woods and some from the garden. We love this time of year when the sun shines a little and plants begin to bloom and fruit. Happy days indeed!
Rejuvelac is an amazing by-product of the grain sprouting process. It is regarded highly by Ann Wigmore and all at the Hippocrates Healthy People, which we pay great attention to. It is one of those things that boasts incredible health benefits, but there is something about it that is quite special, almost undiscovered by modern science.
Rejuvelac contains many enzymes aiding digestion and is filled with friendly bacteria which are amazing for us, helping us to release toxins in the body. Add to that the fact that it is bursting with vitamin B, E and C and you’re looking at quite a beverage. It also tastes nice, like a tangy lemonade with a hint of sweet grain.
Here’s how its made.
Suns gone and I’m typing by feel, time to call it a day………
OK, it doesn’t have to be for breakfast, but it’s a beautiful thing to tantalise the palate and get the body singing in the AM. This salad gives you plenty of nutrients to play with and a great detox kickstart.
We love the combination of sweet fruits and rocket (arugala to some), a contrast of sweet and sharp that will wake your taste buds up first thing. We are watching the foods that we combine at the minute and diary and nuts with this salad would go some way to lessening the bodies ability to absorb all that goodness. I find that its force of habit to stick seeds and nuts on breakfast, but have realised that if I don’t, I feel great after an hour, very full with bags of energy. There is a noticeable difference.
‘Tis the time for berries and we are reaping the nature’s bounty with big smiles on our faces. We have had this sort of salad with all sorts of berries and ran into some particularly splendid cherries recently which will live long in the memory.
Eating a berry salad is a little decadent some may say, no filler here, just berries and a little greenery. But its a treat and we’re well worth it! Make it a Sunday morning treat instead of a waffle, or even a Monday morning treat instead of a bagel! Whatever takes your fancy of course.
All berries are rammed with vitamins and all are ‘super’ foods, the also happen to be sweet and luscious. Over doing berries is probably not good for you, but it’s that time of year when sitting in the garden and devouring a punnet of strawberries per person should be a national pass time. We’ve earned them after enduring all that grey drabness. Lets enjoy these open blue skies and toast them with some vivid red berry action.
Steering away from dairy and grains in the morning is good practice and they tend to slow things down, clog you up a little. Fruits and greens are the perfect way to get things rolling in the right direction.
Serves two lucky fruits.
1 cup strawberries, 1 cup raspberries, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup rocket leaves
(de-stoned cherries would be awesome!)
Wash all the berries and rocket, dry on some kitchen paper.
You can add some soaked chia seeds, which are great for the digestion. The also have a gloopy, porridge-like texture to them.
We Love It!
5 star breakfast! 5 stars!
Raspberries are not only pink and fluffy, they help you burn fat quicker due a phytonutrient. Raspberries belong to the rose family; as do apples, strawberries, apricots, plums, pears etc and are best bought organic as they have been shown to contain greater antioxidant levels, this means lots of vitamin C. How cool!
This was written for our raw food time last year, but is a timely reminder of what we are putting ourselves through!!!! Fortunately, its all good!
Raw June is here for the Beach House. Jane and I are going cold veggie (and fruit) for the entire month and we both cannot wait to get going.
It really has come around quickly this 100% raw/vegan June adventure. We have both been working quite a bit lately and have had less time to plan for the big plunge than we would have liked, hence the lack of any ‘build-up’ posts. As with most things, we’re going straight in there!
I have a strange excitement in the pit of my stomach and I don’t know why. I know that I will feel alot better and have bags more energy, focus and vitality, but there is the feeling that this could be something very big in my life. It could be a huge lifestyle change for the better, no matter how unconventional it is and no matter how many people call me a ‘weirdo’ (there have been quite a few already) I going for this new diet and looking forward to experimenting with my body and mind in a good way. We are what we eat, well, we shall see.
The main reason for eating raw is that cooking kills nutrients in food. Vitamin C and B are heat sensitive, enzymes are also destroyed when food is cooked, which are essential to the function of the body. If enzymes are not replenished in the body, we can age quickly and loss health. Raw foods have been used for years to treat ailments and illness, most famously by Dr Ann Wigmore,who set up the Hippocrates Health Institute. The truth is that we are exposed to more pollutants than previous generations and our food has less nutrients, even organic food is grown on soil that is less rich than is was in previous times (normally due to bad farming techniques).
Ecologically, if we all ate more raw foods there would be a relief on the planets resources. No cooking conserves energy, there is less packaging (hopefully non) with raw foods, there are no emissions created no processing, the waste is compostable and biodegradable, meaning no rubbish.
Below is the Raw Food Pyramid (thanks to the Almost Raw Vegan for this), this replaces the average diet with meat, dairy etc and will give you an idea of what we will be munching on in June. We are eating no dairy, refined foods, wheat etc and no alcohol or caffeine. Our diet will consist of many different types of salads, smoothies and juices and another host of interesting raw foods that you will seldom find, especially in the UK where raw food is still a relatively new thing. In the States and Australia for example, raw food seems to be very popular. Many people say that raw food will become the new vegetarianism for this generation, I have already seen restaurants with raw options on the menu.
We have always eaten alot of raw food, we just didn’t necessarily call it ‘raw’, just a salad or a smoothie. We will try and be as close to 100% raw as possible, but aren’t really too fussy about things. We’ll still be drinking herbal teas and if our new lovely looking olive oil is not certified raw, we’ll still use it. The same goes for nuts, seeds, dried fruits, pastes etc which are all borderline raw foods. We love these items too much and deem their nutritional values to be too important to eliminate from our diet.
We hope to open a few people’s eyes, minds and palates to the joys of raw food. Raw food is nutrient rich, meaning you don’t need to eat or digest as much. When you are eating a bag of crisps, or packet of biscuits, the reason you are not getting full is because they are devoid of nutrients. Your body needs the right fuel! A raw diet puts that fuel in and makes it readily available. We have had a few days almost raw already and the we have been buzzing! I went for my normal jog and needed to extend it a little, up the mountain. I couldn’t stop! With raw food, your body needs less energy for digestion, which can be utilised in other beneficial ways.
The body has clearly define cycles or natural rhythms:
12pm-8pm Digestion cycle
8pm-4am Absorption cycle
4am – 12pm Elimination cycle
The raw diet will help to cleanse our system of toxins and bring us into balance. After gradually eating healthier for a number of years (we are not just diving in here, we have been eating well for a while now) my body is quite sensitive to toxins and rich foods. I sometimes get what is called a food ‘hangover’ after a cheese or chocolate binge, I will be glad to be free of them. Raw food is devoid of toxins and packed with nutrients. There is a popular raw slogan, ‘stop counting calories and start counting nutrients’. It makes perfect sense to me that what we eat has a profound effect on our bodies and minds. What we consume affects us on ways that we cannot see or know. Raw food seems like a stepping stone for me to a greater understanding of my body and what makes me tick, what makes me truly happy.
Raw food will also free up so much time, as I mentioned we are both busy this summer with work, so not cooking will allow us to do other things. The garden is definitely looking like it needs some TLC.
We will be taking alot of inspiration from our fellow bloggers of the cyber world and also have some good books. ’Eat Smart, Eat Raw’ by Kate Wood being one of the main ones. Written by a Brit for British folk, mainly important because we don’t have the plethora of fruits and veggies that many countries enjoy. We also have the long cold, dark winters, where soup is our best friend and a chilled smoothie seems like a difficult proposition.
We will be supplementing our diets with a few superfood-type bits. Jane picked up some Barley Grass at the health food shop and that is supposed to be super charged stuff. We will also be drinking propolis daily, which is a bee resin with amazing properties. We’ll be writing about it soon. We will also be sure to drink plenty of water, as this seems to be important no matter what foods you are eating. Become more fluid! It is worth noting that many mineral waters are not organic and the best water you can drink is water that has been treated by reverse osmosis, this is pure H2O. You should also not drink water, or any liquid with meals, as it affects digestion and absorption (diluting stomach acids).
So we are going out in a blaze of intoxication tonight. We said we wouldn’t, but we are. It is a relatively decadent evening with some smoked stilton with sparkling wine planned, followed by some of the finest chocolate I have ever tasted (post coming soon..).
Raw June, a time when we in the Beach House gain a greater awareness and respect for the foods we eat and the bodies we inhabit; a time when we gain a new insight into the world of nutrition and the impact it has on us.
Jane and I are both very positive about all of this, which we feel is crucial, as our mental state has a more profound effect on our health than anything else.
So here we go again! Raw Earth Month at the Beach House Kitchen will see a huge influx of tasty salads and juices, its inevitable and we love ‘em all!
An amazing friend of the BHK (Dodee over in Hawaii – see magical ‘Sacred Backyard Blog‘ here) said of raw food, ‘I’ve made the decision to feel good all the time!’ and how true that is. Jane and I are buzzing around feeling ace, it’s day five I think and we are fully over our ailments brought on by a fairly intense ‘treat’ time in Dublin(Guiness-fest), lots of birthdays in a row (wine and cake-fest) and meals out (plenty of great rich food). Our bodies are thanking us now and our energy levels are through the roof. We are also enjoying the naturally slower life, with no lights and electrical appliances at nighttime.
I had some fairly strong caffeine withdrawal symptoms on day 2, pounding headache and no energy whatsoever. After a good sleep, this passed. Its amazing how the body adapts so quickly to things, good or bad and how sensitive you become when eating this wonderful raw stuff! Happy days indeed.
Salad wise, we had some left over thai curry paste hanging around the fridge that demanded a dish. This salad has all the flavours of Thailand and more, when we’re raw we really like to make a fuss over our salads.
Jane and I love Thailand and on rainy afternoons in Wales we sometimes wonder how Bangkok is and our favourite little coast towns; how are those street food stalls doing without us!? How is a our favourite juice guy near Kaosan Road? How is the coconut curry man in Prachuap Kiri Khan? At times like this, the tastebuds are going mental and they need something with the incredibly pungent and fragrant aromas of THAI. Its unmistakable and I’d almost consider going back just for the food alone, but there are at least a 101 other countries I’d like to visit before I start re-tracing my steps in the global sand.
Nutritionally, this is a beast of a dish; with sweet potato, sesame seeds, peanuts, avocado, spinach, etc etc etc, the list goes on and with a punchy/ creamy dressing to finish things off, its a real main event salad. When you decide to eat raw vegan, there is very little you can eat that will do you any harm, that’s one of the beautiful things about the lifestyle, pile it on a plate and know that its all good. No baddies included.
This salad boasts quite a list of ingredients and was mainly dictated by what we had in, but you can very happily have a play with this one; veggies can be chopped and changed and any nut will do here!
Talking of chopping, if you can get them into thin, baton-like shapes, they work best here. The dressing clings to them and they look the part also.
Salad – 1 carrot, 1 stick celery, 1/2 cucumber, 1 red pepper1/2 sweet potato (all chopped into thin batons), 1 cup rocket (arugula to some), 2 spring onions (finely chopped),1 red chilli (finely chopped), 2 cups spinach (finely chopped), 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved), 1 cup beansprouts (we used homesprouted mungers aka mung beans), 1 cup basil leaves, 1/2 avocado (scooped out with teaspoon), 1 lime (zest and juice), 1 tbs black sesame seeds, 1/2 cup raw peanuts
Dressing – 2 cup organic coconut cream (the creamier the better), 2 tbs green thai curry paste, 1/2 lime (zest and juice), 2 teas white wine vinegar, 1 handful basil leaves, 1 teas sea salt
Chop all hard veggie ingredients into long, thin batons leaving the avocado, nuts and basil leaves to the side for topping purposes. Add all the rest of the ingredient and the hard veggies to a large salad bowl, mix in half of the dressing, combine well and sprinkle over the topping ingredients.
For the dressing, simply blend all together in a food processor. The texture should be thick and ‘cling-y’ to get sticky all over on the salad.
Not chilled, but not quite room temperature, this is a good gauge for our salad temps. To cold and you don’t get the flavour, to warm and you have wilting issues. We always have a nice surplus of salad dressing in a bowl on standby.
We Love It!
Getting back into raw vegan ways is a serious blessing for body, mind and soul. We are so lucky to both want to lead this type of lifetsyle, if one of us wanted chips everynight it just wouldn’t be the same! This salad is a far from chips as you can get in the food world. It’s a proper zinger!
Sesame seeds are outrageously healthy, some say they are the healthiest food in the world. These wonder seeds have been with us for many thousands of years and are thought to originate in India, having been mentioned in ancient Hindu texts.
They are very rich in minerals, especially copper, iron, calcium and zinc. So ‘open sesame’ and pop some in your diet soonXXXXXXX