Apr 2013

100% RAW: DAY 4

100% RAW: DAY 4

The day started with an indulgent peach parfait. It was lovely, but a bit rich for breakfast more. I would have been happier with a bowl of peaches and raspberries. Energised by the breakfast I managed to make a quiche crust before the school run.

peach-parfait

Lunch was a bit of a disappointment. No, it was a big disappointemnt. Avocado and cucumber soup just didn’t rock my boat. It didn’t really love me back either. The homemade tortilla chips were fabulous and I will make them again. My son said they were addictive.

I was meeting a friend at a coffee shop after lunch, halfway there I realised I didn’t put the dehydrator on! I had to turn the car around and get back home. I did set a timer to remind myself to turn the dehydrator on. Indeed it was beeping madly when I walked through the door. Quiche was saved and so were the dogs from the non stop beeping.

avocado-soup

My friend T and I meet at the local coffee shop regularly for lunch. However no jacket potato and veggie chilli today. Instead I had some camomile tea and a banana. In my bag I had a pot of cinnamon and lucuma nuts (minus the lucuma that I forgot to put in) in case I was getting peckish.

Dinner was my nearly forgotten asparagus quiche and big salad, me and my sun gave it thumbs up, my husband found it salty and my daughter simply refused to even try it... Can’t win them all. I guess good news is there is plenty for my and A’s lunch, I wonder what his friends think about it tomorrow :) My only problem with the quiche was the wastage. The recipe called for asparagus tips only which left me with a bag of perfectly edible stalks. I will make a soup and put it in the freezer since I am not allowed to eat it this week. It would be a shame not to use them up!

asparagus-quiche

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100% RAW: DAY 3

100% RAW: DAY 3

This morning, before the school run, I whipped up some sunflower burgers, that needed to be in the dehydrator for 10hrs. That is the beauty of raw “cooking”, it takes minutes to prepare (well most of the time...). Breakfast, I had some more of that delicious granola.

My lovely friend came over to give me a fresh summer hair style. I tested some of my raw goodies on her. She was very impressed by the granola and nut cheese. Most people, when they hear raw diet, imagine just bunch of raw vegetables. I should carry samples with me :)

I realized it was 2pm when I finally found the time for lunch. Luckily there were leftovers from yesterday. The tomato apple dip, courgette bread, some salad... I was planning to follow the plan in the book to the letter, but life gets in the way and I had not time to prepare something from scratch. As you may know I also hate waste so using leftovers was perfect.

Dinner? The sunflower burgers I whipped up in the morning accompanied by fennel and apple coleslaw. The burgers were a bit too salty for our taste, but still very nice. More than the salt I found the portion rather meager. Good thing the coleslaw was there to fill me up.

sun-flower-seed-burgers-

fennel-and-apple-coleslaw
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100% RAW: DAY 2

100% RAW: DAY 2

My IBS has eased off and I was actually hungry by lunch time. Great I can fully enjoy my food now. First things first, what was for breakfast? Maca and coconut power smoothie. It called for green superfood powder, I opted for spirulina. This made the smoothie a rather unattractive colour and made the kids run as far as they could. Looks can be deceiving, it was rather tasty.


superfood-coconut-smoothie

Lunch a college. I brought a portion of creamy tomato & apple dip with some carrot sticks and a salad both put together in the morning. A slice of my courgette and almond bread and some fresh fruit. The dip was a hit with everyone who tasted it.


apple-and-tomato-dip


salad-with-sprouts-

The day was finished with vegetable chilli with cauliflower rice. I was very impressed with the cauliflower rice, and the chilli sauce was fab, my only problems were the mushrooms in the chilli, if I eat them raw I do like them marinated.

Another great raw day, I am enjoying this experiment. I was afraid I was going to feel hungry but so far this has not been the case. Bring on tomorrow :)

raw-chilli
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100% RAW: DAY 1

100% RAW: DAY 1

raw-food-diet-book


Irritable Bowel Syndrom flare up and raw food are not the best friends. This is not the best start for day 1 of my raw week. I had to make a few changes to the plan to suit my tummy. Day started with warm water and lemon juice and the amazing berry granola, delicious and very filling. Success all around, this is a recipe that is here to stay. It makes a great big jar and apart from breakfast will make a great snack. Lunch boxes will never be the same. May try to shape it into bars next time.

RAW-granola

College weekend today. In my lunch box a very fruity tomato and mango gazpacho with a slice of courgette and almond “bread”. Very refreshing. My husband sent a text: “My RAW lunch was super!”. Later a chocolate and apricot cookie bar for snack. But I couldn’t eat it all, tummy was not happy. It was delicious though, my friends enjoyed the samples.

As I arrived back home and opened the door I was greeted by my son and a very authentic pizza smell coming from the dehydrator. Deep rich tomato sauce, cashew/macadamia cheese, veggies, pistachio pesto and rocket to finish it off. It tasted even better than it smelled. What a perfect meal! My husband doesn’t like to cook but seems to be enjoying this “uncooking” and judging from this pizza he is pretty good at it too.

RAW-pizza


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100% RAW/MARINATED MUSHROOMS STUFFED WITH WALNUT AND SUN-DRIED TOMATO PATE

100% RAW/MARINATED MUSHROOMS STUFFED WITH WALNUT AND SUN-DRIED TOMATO PATE

One of my college assignments is to go on a diet for a week and do a presentation to the rest of the class. This is going to be quite an exciting experiment I can’t wait to see how we all get on. We have several liver detoxes, juicing and alkalising and ayervedic diet, and many more. My choice was quite easy. No, it is not Atkin’s because I do value my life :) I am going 100% raw for a week. I love raw food but have never done 100%, maybe for a day, but not for a week.

The purpose of the exercise is to pick a plan and follow it. I was originally going to follow Matt Amsden’s Rawvolution but the breakfast required 2 young Thai Coconuts per day which is not something I have readily on hand. Quite frankly I could not see myself wrestling 2 coconuts every morning. Not on a school day! Kids breakfast, lunch, coconuts... too much to handle.

I am starting the 100% plan tomorrow and will report everyday (or that’s the plan). I am using The Raw Food Diet by Christine Bailey, this means her recipes not mine. Not something I am used to doing, not three times a day. There is lots of planning and preparation, I have shopped, soaked, chopped, processed, dehydrated and I am ready.

Before I start my exciting endeavor here is my own raw recipe for marinated mushrooms stuffed with walnut and sun dried tomato pate. Enjoy.

yum yum
veggies

MARINATED MUSHROOMS STUFFED WITH WALNUT AND SUN-DRIED TOMATO PATE
Serve these with a green salad for a light dinner. They are also fab as canapes.

Serves 4 as a main dish with a salad, or 8 as canapes

ingredients
300g (10oz) small portobello mushrooms
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs Braggs Liquid Aminos (or Tamari or Shoy)
100g walnut
handful of parsley
30g (1oz) sun-dried tomatoes not packed in oil
2 spring onions (scallions)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt

stuffed-raw-mushrooms

method
  1. First prepare the mushrooms. I like to peel the outer skin, it allows the marinade to penetrate easier.
  2. Put the mushrooms into a glass bowl, add the balsamic vinegar and Braggs Liquid Aminos.
  3. Cover with lid or cling film and leave to marinate for 24 hrs in the fridge. Make sure you gently shake the mushrooms now and than.
  4. Make the pate. I used my own “sun-dried” tomatoes made in the dehydrator. If using regular sun-dried tomatoes, soak them for half an hour.
  5. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and process till ti comes together to a coarse pate. You may have to add 1 or 2 Tbs of water. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
  6. Remove the mushrooms from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Divide the pate among the mushrooms and serve.
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NOT SO TRADITIONAL BABA GHANOUJ

NOT SO TRADITIONAL BABA GHANOUJ

When I was little, probably the age my daughter is now, my grandmother brought home a couple of aubergines (aka eggplants). This was the first time we met, me and aubergine of course. My grandmother did what all Czech people do to vegetables, she breaded it and fried it, schnitzel style. I remember not really enjoying the aubergine.

That night, I had a dream, you might call it a nightmare (it was for a seven year old girl). In this dream I was chased by a gigantic aubergine. Yes you can laugh but this traumatic experience caused me not to eat aubergines for many years (or maybe it was the fact that I didn’t enjoy it?).

Many years later, in my 20’s, I had an aubergine again and I have never looked back. It is definitely the vegetable I would take with me onto a dessert island. It is incredibly versatile, an amazing base for many veggie meals, it feels and taste substantial. If cooked properly it is beautifully silky and takes on all the flavors it has been cooked with.

It is very easy to cook aubergines wrong, I have been served undercooked inedible aubergines in restaurants (and I always let them know!). Don’t serve an aubergine unless it is squashed easily under very little pressure with a wooden spoon or a fork. It needs to be melt in your mouth, soft and silky.

Here is one of my favorite aubergine recipes, baba ghanouj (or baba ghanoush). It is popular in many Middle Eastern countries, you can find it in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and via Turkey even in Bulgaria. Traditionally this recipe is made with lashings of olive oil, but I love my oil free version. If you really wish you can always drizzle a bit of good quality extra virgin olive oil over the top to make it more authentic.

Baba ghanouj is perfect for a mezze meal, light lunch or just as a dip with some pitta chips and a nice glass of wine. I believe this is a recipe to serve to an aubergine hater, just don’t divulge the main ingredient.

babaghanouj


NOT SO TRADITIONAL BABA GHANOUJ

ingredients
2 aubergines (medium to large)
1 Tbs tahini
juice of 1 lemon (or to taste)
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt
handful of parsley, finely chopped

method
  1. First prepare the aubergine. Leave the aubergines whole just prick several times with a point of a sharp knife (this will prevent any possible explosions). If you are using a grill (broiler) preheat it to its highest setting, place aubergine onto a aluminium foil lined baking tray and place the aubergine about 1 inch away from the grill. You can also use your gas hob, place the aubergine straight over the flames. I do prefer the grill method, you get a more evenly cooked aubergine.
  2. Turn the aubergines often and cooked until the aubergine collapses. Feel the aubergine using tongs, it should feel very soft when squeezed gently. The skin should be charred. Under the grill it should take about 20-30min.
  3. Let the aubergine cool.
  4. When the aubergine has cooled down, slit the skin down lengthways and scoop the soft flesh out, discard the skin. Place the flesh into a food processor.
  5. Add the tahini and garlic and process until you get a puree with still few chunks left in it (no baby food).
  6. Add the lemon and salt to taste and chopped parsley. Place in a serving bowl.
  7. If you really have to you can drizzle some olive oil, but other great toppings are cumin, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts or paprika.
  8. Enjoy!

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CRUNCHY FENNEL AND APPLE SALAD

CRUNCHY FENNEL AND APPLE SALAD

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

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

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

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


fennel-apple-salad

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

Serves 4 as a side salad

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

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

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