snack

BANANA DATE PECAN PUDDING SQUARES

BANANA DATE PECAN PUDDING SQUARES

Overripe bananas in the fruit bowl mean only one thing: cake time!!! As my kids both don’t like bananas (other than in a smoothie) this happens often. I love baking with bananas, they are a great substitute for butter or oil in a recipe and add sweetness without the need for added sugar.

Athletes often snack on bananas, they are a great source of low glycemic carbohydrate. They do however offer more than being an efficient pick me up. As a rich source of potassium they can help lower blood pressure. They also contain plant sterols, theses can block the absorption of dietary cholesterol thus could be helpful in keeping our cholesterol levels healthy. Bananas are a good source of fibre which, of course, helps to regulate our digestion i.e. keeping things moving. FOS (fruictooligosacharides) is another component of bananas, FOS is metabolised by bacteria, helping us keep our friendly microbiome healthy. Interestingly per weight, banana has more vitamin C than a peach! Who knew??!!

My banana date pecan pudding squares have the texture of Jamaican sweet potato pudding (hence the name). If you are looking for a texture of a cake than walk away now. If you like stodgy, you should enjoy these. I will admit that my kids are not keen but I have eating half of it already…No gluten, no refined sugar, no eggs, no oil or dairy. And they will keep moist, can’t tell you how long as they do not seem to last beyond the second day….

IMG_5425


BANANA DATE PECAN PUDDING SQUARES
makes 15 squares

ingredients
1 flax egg (see below)
1 cup dates
1 cup almond milk
3 overripe medium bananas
1 cup gluten free oat flour (I blitzed oats in a blender)
1/2 cup gluten free flour (I used Dove)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

method
  • First, prepare the flax egg by combining 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit till needed.
  • In a blender process the dates and almond milk till fairly smooth (few chunks are ok). If you don’t have a high speed blender you can soften the dates by soaking them in the milk first (at least 30min).
  • In a large bowl mash the bananas, than add the flours, date milk and flax add. Whisk till well combined.
  • Finally stir in the pecans.
  • Pour the batter into a 15cm x 25cm (6 x 12 inch) baking dish that has been lined with a nonstick paper.
  • Bake at 180C for 30 - 35 min to till set.


IMG_5412
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BANANA COCONUT FLAPJACKS

BANANA COCONUT FLAPJACKS

Sugar has been getting a lot of bad press lately. And I will say rightly so. We do eat far too much and many of us don’t realize all the hidden sugars in processed foods. However I hate when a banana is being compared with coca cola or fruit smoothie with a glazed doughnut for sugar content.

Unlike cola banana has fibre, potassium, protein, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium,manganeses, folate and it even has a small amount omega fats in the right proportion. And yes a medium banana has 27.5g sugar. One can of cola has 33g of sugar and that’s pretty much it.... I know which one I would choose to eat.

Breast milk tastes sweet and maybe that’s why, from a very young age, we have an affinity for sweet taste. I notice my craving for sweet treats goes up when I am doing intense studying. Around 3pm every college weekend, there are serious calls for chocolate and if you happen to have a bar in your bag you score a lot of points with fellow students.

Last week I spend revising for an exam and even it involved a lot of sitting my need for food went way up. Brain needed fuel. Three overripe bananas in the fruit bowl and half an hour later I had these rather yummy banana coconut flapjacks. Yummy squidgy energy giving bars.

My daughter hates raisins or indeed any dried fruit apart from mango, so I opted for chocolate chips (not that I had to convince myself too much). If you are feeling more virtuous swap them for whatever dried fruit you fancy or just double the amount of nuts.

bananacoconutflapjack2

BANANA COCONUT FLAPJACKS
Makes 12 bars

ingredients
3 very ripe medium bananas
3 Tbs coconut oil, melted
135g (1 1/2cups) porridge oats (gluten free for a gluten free version)
90g (1cup ) coconut flour
45g (1/2 cups) plain chocolate chips
45g (1/2 cups ) walnut pieces

method
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. First line a 10x6 inch (15x25cm) baking form with baking paper.
  3. In a large bowl mash the bananas. Add in the melted coconut oil, porridge oats and coconut flour. Mix well
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
  5. Tip the mixture into your prepared baking form, press down with a spoon and bake for 30min or until golden brown.


bananacoconut-flapjack
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KUMQUAT AND RAW CACAO TRUFFLES


KUMQUAT AND RAW CACAO TRUFFLES

Did you know there are videos online explaining how to eat a kumquat? Unlike other citrus fruits kumquats are usually eaten whole with the peel (you should spit out the pips). The inside flesh is rather sour whilst the peel is much sweeter. Eating the whole fruit should balance the flavours together.

These mini “oranges” pack a nutritional punch. From antioxidants like zea-xanthin and lutein to essential oils like limonene or a-bergamotene. Of course they are rich in Vitamin C but also have good levels of B vitamins.

I though they would pair up beautifully with some raw cacao and nuts in yet more truffles. I know I just posted a recipe for very simple basic chocolate truffles but I believe that one can never have enough chocolate recipes.

I have tested these on the family and I am afraid they weren’t too happy about me ruining the chocolate truffles with “orange”. However they were hit with a lot of friends. If you do like the classic orange - chocolate combo this is a recipe for you.

kumquats

KUMQUAT AND RAW CACAO TRUFFLES
Makes 16-18

ingredients
1 cup almonds
2TBS flaxseed, ground
1/2 cup coconut flour
8 kumquats
6-8 Mejdol dates, pitted

method
  1. Using a food processor process the almonds into coarse powder. Add the flaxseed, cacao, coconut flour and pulse to mix.
  2. Quarter the kumquats and remove any pips (there can be quite a few). Put into the food processor with 6 dates.
  3. Process till the mixture comes together, you may need to add extra Medjol dates. You should get a pliable sticky mixture that is easy to roll into truffles.
  4. Make walnut shape truffles, you should get 16-18 pieces.
  5. Refrigerate to firm up the truffles. Enjoy!

kumquat-truffles
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RAW CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

RAW CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

My cookbook library comprises several hundred titles. I will have to estimate (some are still in the garage in boxes since our May house move) but it could be somewhere between 500-600 hundred titles. I love looking through recipes, getting inspired but I am rather bad at actually following recipes. I keep telling myself I should plan better and maybe make couple of recipes a week from one of the many amazing books I own.

Last weekend I picked up
Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen, a book my husband brought for me from San Francisco. I was amazed to find a recipe that I had all the ingredients for. I made Ani’s garden pate and tested in on our friends who were coming for drinks and nibbles. Who would have thought that something made of celery and carrots could taste this good. I added some coriander and splash of tamari, because I simply can’t help myself. This will definitely be a mainstay in my repertoire. Yum!

Ani's Garden pate
Garden-pate

Another dish I made for nibbles were raw chocolate truffles. These were of my own recipe. I admit I have been craving chocolate and these really hit the spot. We made them disappear rather quickly. They are incredibly easy (just 4 ingredients) and have the potential to keep in the fridge for about a week but I doubt they will last more than couple days. I have been commissioned (by my son) to make more -
FAST.

raw-chocolate-truffles

RAW CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
You may need more or less Medjol dates, this depends on their size and moisture. Mine were on the dry side and I had to add a few more than the recipe states. Simply keep adding dates and test if the mixture stick together when pressed.

ingredients
1 cup of almonds
1 cup of walnuts
6-8 Medjol dates, pitted
3 level Tbs of raw cacao powder

method
  1. Using a food processor, process the almonds and walnuts into coarse powder (you want few coarse bits to add texture).
  2. Next add cacao and enough dates to achieve the desired texture. The mixture should be moist and easily pressed together to roll a ball.
  3. Roll balls size of a walnut, you should get about 16-20 truffles out of this mixture.
  4. Refrigerate (this will firm the truffles up) and nibble when you fancy something sweet.

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BABY PEPPERS WITH CASHEW CHEESE

BABY PEPPERS WITH CASHEW CHEESE

One more day to go before we see the year 2013 off and welcome the new and exciting year 2014. By now I am ready for a detox! Yes, I have overindulged and under-exercised. There was chocolate, or shall I say there were chocolates, wine, meals consisting of several dishes (even though healthy they were rather gargantuan). And than there were yesterday’s cocktails provided by my friend. She makes cocktails by emptying her bar contents into a jug and topping this concoction with some juice. I do admit they were unassumingly lethal yet delicious.

Do I feel a degree of guilt? Sure I do, but no point dwelling on this, I am detoxing starting the 2nd of January. And recording what I eat on this blog will definitely help the cause. But first, we have our New Years Eve celebration ahead of us. We always have lots of nibbles like sushi, dips, olives, little sandwiches and lots of other things. The aim is to fill up our plates with stacks of bits and bobs and keep going back for more.

My baby peppers with cashew cheese look indulgent and are (of course) dairy free. They are very easy to make. You can even play “guess what’s in the filling” with your guests (just make sure they don’t have a cashew nut allergy!). If you feel brave you can use some mild chillies instead of baby peppers.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL! MAKE YOUR YEAR 2014 FILLED WITH LOVE, LAUGHTER, HEALTH AND DELICIOUS PLANT BASED FOODS.


stuffed-baby-peppers

BABY PEPPERS WITH CASHEW CHEESE

1 cup cashew nuts
1/4 (60ml) + 1tbs water
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
salt
lemon juice
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
10 olives, chopped into small pieces
small handful of basil, chop finely
14 small sweet peppers

  1. Soak the cashews in water for about 2 hours.
  2. Drain the soaked cashews, place in a blender together with 1/4 cup water and the nutritional yeast and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Blend till smooth (or as smooth as you can get it). You will have to scrape the sides of the blender few times. If the mixture is too thick you can add extra tablespoon of water.
  3. Put the cashew cheese into a bowl. Season with salt, add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, olives and basil.
  4. Cut the tops of the baby peppers and carefully scoop out the seeds. Using a small spoon (or if you fancy a piping bag) fill the peppers with the cashew cheese.
  5. Chill before serving.

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SUN DRIED TOMATO KALE CHIPS

SUN DRIED TOMATO KALE CHIPS

There are not many people who are willing to cook for me. I can actually count them on the fingers of my hand. I know this is familiar to anybody who eats differently than what is seen as the norm. Whether you are gluten free, vegan or raw you will find yourself being invited to very few dinner parties. You will be seen as the awkward. Hopefully one day the awkward will be the norm and the norm will become awkward.

My friend J is my dinner party buddy (that sounds way to posh! We just like to cook for each other). We have a very similar food philosophy. Nobody else gets excited about kale coming to season the way we do. We will text each other about organic kale’s appearance on the shelf of the Better Food Company. She has even brought me a bag of kale as a present before. She knows me well.

kale-chips-sundriedtomato
kale pieces stripped off the stalks

I have been trying to convince other non believers into embracing the humble yet amazing kale. I would say my success is about 50/50. Kale chips are the ace card in my pocket. Most people who try them fall under their spell. In one day I had 2 friends on the phone asking for my kale chip recipe :) Yesterday another friend announced they were eating kale chips all last week. I couldn’t be happier.

Brendan Brazier’s “sour cream” and onion kale chips still are the most popular in our house, but these seem to be close second. I think anything tastes better with sun dried tomatoes. If you still are a kale chip virgin please have a go. Even if you don’t have a dehydrator, they taste great made in the oven too (both methods are in my recipe). They will loose their RAW tag but they will still make an incredibly healthy and tasty snack.


SUN DRIED TOMATO KALE CHIPS
1 bag of kale with stalks (350g, 12oz)
2/3 cup cashews (soaked for half an hour and drained)
1/2 cup water
4 sundried tomatoes, soaked for 30 min
1/2 tsp dried garlic
1/2 tbs brags aminos (or tamari)

kalechips-sundried-tomatoes
the sundried tomato sauce

  1. Strip the kale leaves from their stalks.
  2. Wash thoroughly. Rip any larger pieces into bite size pieces.
  3. Dry will in a salad spinner. You will need to do this in three batches. Place the kale into a large bowl (you will need the largest bowl you have)
  4. In a high speed food processor blend all the remaining ingredients into a smooth sauces.
  5. Pour the sauce over the kale leaves and massage it into the kale so that all the leaves are cover with sauce.
  6. If using a dehydrator, place the kale onto your mesh dehydrator sheets (I use 3 in my Excalibur). Dehydrate at 115F (46C) for 12-14 hrs. Crunch test after 12 hours, if the kale chips are not crunchy enough dehydrate for couple more hours.
  7. If using an oven preheat it to 300F (150C). Spread your kale evenly on 2 baking trays and bake the chips for about 25 minutes. After the first 10 minutes keep checking on our chip every 5 minutes. Every oven is different and the kale chips can burn quickly.
  8. Store in an airtight container.
  9. Enjoy!

kalechips-sundried-tomato
crunch time
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ANYTIME FRUIT AND NUT BARS

ANYTIME FRUIT AND NUT BARS

Few years ago I read an article written by a mum who decided to take all electronic devices away from her kids during their summer holidays. She was astounded how quickly they started to entertain themselves (surprisingly no boredom). I am not as brave as this mum, but I have been setting limits on the screen time. I do it anyway, but during school holidays there are hours to fill unlike during school year.

It has been great to see, that on the days when we don’t have plans to go out, kids have found ways to enjoy themselves. We’ve had endless diving into the paddling pool to fish out toys, tennis rackets came out of their hibernation (my son spent three hand blistering hours bashing the ball against the house on one day), we had bobbing for toys in the kitchen sink (= flood) and numerous (very loud) games of UNO. Star Wars Lego has been spread all over my son’s floor (I forgot how painful stepping on a lego brick can be). My daughter has started her own “all about the human body” book and has put together numerous dance shows for me to watch. The best thing, they have been spending a lot time together without much bickering. The dreaded words "I am bored" haven't been heard much either.

The point is kids are pretty good at entertaining themselves when the push the button entertainment is taken away. It is noisier but happier without TV, Xbox or ipad. It is also healthier. And to fuel them I have made these anytime bars. I call them anytime bars because they can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack and they are also perfectly portable to take to picnics. They are rather open to variations, just swap the nuts and dried fruits for whatever you happen to have in your pantry :)

anytime-bars


ANYTIME FRUIT AND NUT BARS

makes 10 -12 bars

ingredients
1 cup porridge oats
1 cup spelt flour
1 banana
4 Mejdol dates
1/2 cup of non dairy milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 -1 tsp cinnamon
1 apple, finely diced

  1. First combine the oats and spelt flour in a large bowl.
  2. In a blender combine the banana, Medjol dates and the non dairy milk. Blend till smooth. Add to the flour/oat mixture.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Spread the mix into a baking paper lined 10x6 (15x25cm) baking dish, press down firmly. Bake in 180C oven for 30-40 min or until golden brown on the top.
  5. Let the bake cool down, cut into bars and enjoy. Store in an air tight container for up to 4 days.

anytime-bars-2

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RAW CARROT COOKIES


RAW CARROT COOKIES

Our broadband has still not been connected. I am not in love with my temporary intermittent connection but I guess that’s all I have for the moment. Patience required. Another thing that has given me grief is my new fridge. Apart from being a tad smaller than my old one, I have found out that my lower fridge drawer is freezing my vegetables. Rocket with ice-crystals was the first victim, but I just assumed the temperature was too low. I adjusted it but I still pulled out solidly frozen cucumber and courgettes from the fridge the day after.

The cucumber, unfortunately, had to be binned. The courgette I attempted to cook in a stir-fry. Slicing it from frozen wasn’t easy! I honestly thought about using a saw. And the result? Well I have had better...

After seeing my frustration my husband read the fridge instructions (yes we should have done that earlier!) and we found out that the bottom drawer is designed for meat and fish, and will freeze vegetables. Not even the suggestion of putting up the temperature to max has worked. This drawer is now assigned for kids lunch box smoothies, and my array of flax, hemp and chia seeds. I am feeling a bit angry at SMEG for making a veggie unfriendly fridge. I do normally have more veggies and fruits that one drawer can contain! On the other hand this is making me plan my meals better so there may be a positive in this after all.


raw-carrotchia-cookies

RAW CARROT AND CHIA COOKIES
My friend made a vegan carrot cake to have after our dinner the other day and I must say it went down a storm. It also inspired me to make raw carrot cookies. My son did say they looked like something stuck on the bottom of a shoe (thanks mate!) but he did admit they tasted great.

Makes 9-10 cookies

ingredients
2 medium carrots
1 medium eating apple
2 Tbs chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
tiny pinch of salt (optional)
1 cup pecans (or walnuts)
4 medjol dates
1/3 cup raisins

method
  1. Grate the carrots and apple very finely using a box grater. I find my food processor doesn’t grate the carrots finely enough. Place into a large bowl.
  2. Add chia seeds, cinnamon and salt into the bowl. The salt is not necessary but brings out the flavour of the cookies.
  3. Next in a food processor grind the pecan nuts till you achieve quite a fine texture, few larger bits are fine.
  4. Add the pitted medjol dates and process till the mixture starts coming together
  5. Add the date pecan mixture to the carrot apple mix. Add the raisins and mix thoroughly.
  6. Take enough mixture to roll into an apricot size ball, flatten it to make a cookie and place on your dehydrator sheet.
  7. Dehydrate at 115F (45C) for 8 hrs, turning half way through. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can use oven at its lowest setting, with door ajar.
  8. These cookies will keep in the fridge for 2-3 of days. But they may get eaten before that... :)



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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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BALANCING LIFE WITH P&B QUESADILLA

BALANCING LIFE WITH P&B QUESADILLA

Yesterday I managed to drop my Kitchen Aid food processor on my fingers. As I was putting it away in its rather tight space I dropped it on one finger on my right hand, that made me pull my hand away which shifted the weight of the appliance and it landed on another finger of my left hand. Only 5 minutes later I tried to stop a falling porcelain dish from breaking by offering my foot to soften the blow. The dish is fine but it was indeed heavier than I anticipated. To top it all off, this morning I managed to drop a serving spoon on a glass. The glass cracked. I put it into a plastic bag to take it to the bin outside. But alas, the bag had a hole in the bottom, the glass fell out, first it hit my foot and than shattered into many pieces! Bits of glass in a puddle, bits of glass in the gravel, bits of glass embedded in the wooden step that was made soft by the heavy rainfall. To prevent kids feet and dogs’ paws from an injury I had to remove the shards one by one....

Good things, I believe, do balance the bad things. Here are few of the good, balance shifting things. Having a breakfast with my lovely friend this morning was good for the soul. We enjoyed our food whilst watching the gorgeous song birds outside the farm shop cafe windows. Later my kids were praised by their dentist for their excellent dental hygiene, which made me puff up with pride. And finally, we exchanged contracts on our new house, making our big move very final. My husband and I have opened a nice bottle of Verdicchio to celebrate.

Sometimes, when things go bad, something gooey may just shift the balance. No, I am not promoting comfort eating but I can’t seem to find enough excuses to make my gooey sticky filling P&B quesadilla. So if things are falling on your feet, you are getting fingers stuck in the door and you managed to process a piece of plastic wrapping with your courgette dip (yes that is another story...) just grab a tortilla, peanut butter, banana and just smile :) Remember to let it cool down a little bit before eating or you may just burn your lips :)

P&B-quesadillas

(BREAKFAST) PB AND B QUESADILLA
These are fabulous for breakfast, they really fill you up. They will also hit the spot anytime you fancy something sweet and gooey.

Serves 1

ingredients
1 large tortilla
1-2Tbs organic peanut butter
1 small banana
pinch of cinnamon (optional)

method
  1. Spread the peanut butter over the tortilla.
  2. Mash the banana over half of the tortilla.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon if using. Fold the tortilla over.
  4. Preheat a large frying pan.
  5. Place the tortilla into the frying pan and dry fry for about 1 min on each side or till the tortilla crisps up and is golden brown.

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ROASTED CARROT HUMMUS

ROASTED CARROT HUMMUS

Couple days ago I started to read The Spectrum by Dr Dean Ornish. Fascinating read! I love the man’s philosophy, spirit but also the fact that everything he suggests is backed by science. And any man who can do a TED MED presentation with a baby in his hands certainly gets my vote.

Dr Dean Ornish has amazing results in slowing the progression and even reversing heart disease with lifestyle changes. His method is even available on Medicare in the USA. Quote from The Spectrum:
“ Our research has shown that your body has a remarkable capacity to begin healing itself - and much more quickly than people once realised - when we address the underlying causes of illness. For many people, the choices we make each day in what and in how we live are among the most important underlying causes.”

No surprise I was eager to read today’s big news article (in several papers) :
Tomato pill could save lives. Indeed a new “tomato” pill has been developed, it contains lycopene in amounts equivalent to eating 6lb of tomatoes daily!!! That, I do admit, would be a very difficult thing to do. The trial has been on a small scale but scientist are very optimistic, predicting this pill could save thousands of lives. Further trials are of course needed.

Ateronon (the pills name) has shown to improve the function of the endothelial cells and boost their sensitivity to nitric oxide. Dr Dean Ornish’s, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn’s or Dr Joel Fuhrman diets will do the same. No need to wait for Ateronon to come to the the market just follow the advice of one of these doctors.

Even if this pill does prove to be as successful as the scientist behind its development tell us, there may still be a downfall. People like to pop a pill instead of improving their lifestyles, it is the easy way out, but not s solution. I believe it is Dr Fuhrman who said : "You can't medicate your self out of a bad diet." I certainly prefer the benefits of a healthy diet over any pill.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2258035/Wonder-pill-harnessing-health-secret-Mediterranean-diet-cut-risk-strokes-heart-attacks-fight-cancer.html


carrot-hummus


ROASTED CARROT HUMMUS

Makes about 2 cups

ingredients
3 medium carrots
1 tin chickpeas, drained, chickpea water reserved
1 garlic clove
1 Tbs tahini
1 Tsp ground cumin
juice of half a lemon (or more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
large handful of chopped fresh coriander

method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Cut the carrots into carrot sticks
  3. Line a small baking tray with baking paper. Add the carrots and 4 Tbs of water. Roast for about 30 min or until carrots are caramelized and softened.
  4. In a food processor or a blender combine the carrots, chickpeas, tahini, cumin, lemon juice and process till quite smooth, adding the chickpea water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
  5. Stir in the chopped coriander.
  6. Enjoy!
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VERY VEGGIE RAW CRACKERS

VERY VEGGIE RAW CRACKERS

Why do I love my dehydrator? Of course it makes fantastic treats that can keep us snacking healthily. There are times my lovely Excalibur gets a bit neglected but lately I have been going through a big of a dehydrating frenzy.

Our favourites so far have been kale chips (especially Brendan Brazier's “sour cream” recipe) or just simply salted ones. Other things we like to turn into chips are bananas and apples (sometimes with cinnamon which makes the kitchen smell divine). Root veggies make great chips especially beetroot and sweet potatoes with their striking colours. I am excited that first parsnips are coming into season and I can’t wait to see if they get on with the dehydrator too. Dehydrated "sun dried" tomatoes are simply amazing, they are so much fresher tasting and keep an incredibly vibrant colour. Perfect for any dish.

Kids love the classic, very simple linseed crackers that I found in my Excalibur cook book so I though I would try a raw crackers that would be also packed with veggies without kids (hopefully) noticing. It went rather well and my little crackers or even flat breads were a hit.

One trouble with dehydrators is that you can never follow recipes to the letter. It is a bit frustrating that the instructions (times) in dehydrator recipes can be rather vague but believe me there is a reason for it. Getting to know your dehydrator takes a while. It is trial and error. Humidity in the air makes a difference. When making crackers it depends how thinly you spread them and how crispy or chewy you like them. Indeed the thickness of your veg or fruit slices will make a difference too. Take the dehydrating times in recipes as a guide, just keep checking, testing and trying, you will get there in the end. It is well worth it.

ready for the dehydrator
veggierawcrackers

VERY VEGGIE RAW CRACKERS

These crackers taste great, you can eat them as a snack on their own or they are fabulous accompaniment to any dip.

You can score the crackers in step 7 ( after you flip them over), this makes them easier to break into more even shapes. I always forget to do that but I quite enjoy the more rustic look to my crackers.

Makes enough for 2 Excalibur dehydrator trays

ingredients
1 medium courgette, finely grated
2 medium carrots, finely grated
2 medium onions (1 large), sliced as thin as you can
1/2 tsp salt
juice of half a lemon
1 cup ground chia seeds
1 cup linseeds
80ml (1/3 cup) water
2 Tbs tamari or shoyu

method
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the courgette, carrot, onion, salt and lemon juice. Let sit for half an hour in a refrigerator. The courgette will let out some water.
  2. After half an hour mix in the ground chia seeds and linseeds together with water and tamari (or shoyu).
  3. Mix well together. Let the mixture sit for further 10 minutes before spreading it on your Teflex sheets.
  4. Line 2 dehydrator trays with Teflex sheets, divide the mixture equally between the two.
  5. Spread the mixture over the teflex sheet (about 3mm thick). I use a palette knife for this job.
  6. Dehydrate at 125F for an hour. Turn down to 115F and dehydrate for 5 hours.
  7. After 5 hours flip the cracker onto another, unlined mesh dehydrator tray. Peel of the Teflex sheet and dehydrate until desired consistency. About 3 hrs (or longer).

veggierawcrackers2
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CHOCOLATE RAW BARS

CHOCOLATE RAW BARS

Imagine this: you pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee if you prefer and you get that niggling feeling to have something sweet with it. Do you reach for a biscuit jar, a slice of Victoria sponge or a brownie? Or do you decide to be good and have nothing at all? What if there is a solution that gives you a well deserved treat without the butter, refined sugar and even flour. My chocolate raw bars are right on the money.

There has been a bit of an explosion of raw bars on the market lately. I am partial to Naked Bars, they taste great and are a perfect portable boost of energy. They are very popular in my nutrition class they seem to come out when we need a lift from that mid afternoon slump. As much as I love them I thought I could do better and cheaper myself.

Results were excellent, I must say Naked Bars have a competition, my son prefers mine and takes them to school. My friend who had one today asked for a recipe and to take some home with her. Another friend coming tomorrow... I am thinking I should start to package these. Enough of this self indulgent praise. Fire up your food processors and make these bites of indulgent gorgeousness too.


chcorawbar

CHOCOLATE RAW BARS

I do apologise for using American measure only but I got carried away (twice already) and didn’t weigh my ingredients, using cup measure is so much easier. 1 cup = 250ml.

Makes 10 bars

ingredients

1 cup walnuts
1 cup desiccated coconut, unsweetened
10 Medjol dates
2 Tbs raw cacao powder
1 Tbs Maca powder (optional)
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 goji berries
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped (each nut into about 4 pieces)

method

  1. In a food processor combine the walnuts and coconut, process till you get reasonably fine texture, it will not be as fine as ground almonds.
  2. Add your cacao and maca powders and whizz around shortly, just until mix trough.
  3. Next add the dates into the mixture and process until it all starts coming together. To test it take a bit of the mix and press together between your fingers. If it sticks together and holds shape you are ready. If the mixture is not sticking together you may need to add another date.
  4. Tip the mixture into a bowl and add rest of the ingredients. Mix well so the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  5. Line a 10x6 inch baking dish with a grease proof paper. Tip the mix into the baking dish and press down to get a compact rectangle.
  6. Chill in the fridge for at least couple of hours before cutting. They will keep a several days in the fridge easily.
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BROAD BEAN AND PEA MINTED DIP

BROAD BEAN AND PEA MINTED DIP

Fava beans or as we know them in the UK, broad beans, are not just for Hannibal Lecter. These jade green jewels are a wonderful nutrititous summer treat. Their season is quite short so make the best out of it, they may be gone before you notice. Broad bean preparation makes a great job for kids, they love popping the beans out of their pods, just be prepared you may be chasing them (the beans not kids hopefully) all around the kitchen as they tend to shoot out in different directions. This provides a great entertainment.

My veg man delivered about 900g (2lb) of broad beans pods, after shelling them and removing the tough skin I ended up with about 250g (about 1/2lb 1 oz), actually it looked rather a meagre portion. I needed to think of a way how to make them go further. Pairing them with peas seemed like a great idea as they enhance the sweetness of the broad beans. I also had some fresh organic mint that came in my veg box. Perfect with both peas and broad beans.

A bright green fresh tasting dip was born. Adding up the numbers I calculated there was about 26g of protein it the amount this made. Quite impressive! Add to it the fibre, potassium, iron, calcium, folate, and the C and A vitamins; this dip packs a nutritional punch. I also found out that broad beans contain Levodopa (L-dopa), a chemical our body uses to produce dopamine. Therefore this dip should leave you in a great mood even without the Chianti.

broadbeandip

BROAD BEAN AND PEA MINTED DIP
Use this as a dip with pitta chips or as a spread on some sprouted bread. Makes a lovely dinner party started with some Melba toast. Edamame beans work as a great replacement for broad beans.

ingredients
900 g(2lb) broad bean pods, 250g (1/2lb and 1oz) podded
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 spring onion, sliced
handful of mint leaves
lemon juice

method
  1. First prepare the beans. After you have podded the broad bean, bring them to a boil in a sauce pan with just enough water to cover the beans. Cook for 2min and rinse under cold water, or plunge into bowl of ice cold water.
  2. Next pop the beans out of the tough skin. Set aside.
  3. If using frozen peas just leave them to defrost, fresh peas cook for 2 min and cool as you did the broad beans.
  4. In a small bowl of your food processor combine the beans, peas, mint, garlic, spring onion and process. You will end up with a coarse texture dip. Add some salt and lemon juice to taste.

braodbeanpeadip1

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MORE FRUIT AND VEG Part 2: Snacks - “CHEESY” COURGETTE DIP

MORE FRUIT AND VEG
Part 2: Snacks
“CHEESY” COURGETTE DIP

Have you noticed how snacking can creep up on you? After a long day, you get home, feeling slightly peckish or just outright starving, dinner won’t be ready anytime soon or you may be waiting for the rest of the family to come home for dinner. What do you do? Open the fridge or cupboards and scoff anything in your sight. That’s when we are most likely to eat to wrong stuff. Potato crisps, cakes, biscuits, chocolates...

Many times I heard my friends saying how they make themselves a cup of tea, open a packed of biscuits and just keep going. One is never enough. My solution is not to buy any biscuits in the first place but that will keep you feeling peckish. Keep in mind that 1 biscuit averages around 75cal and gives your body no nourishment whatsoever. Only cravings and unhealthy sugar spikes.

Why not snack healthily and work towards your fruit and veg quota while doing so? The obvious and easiest way is to have some fruit around, just grab and go. Cut up veggies are another easy option. With a little bit of planning you can make fruit and veggies even more sexy.

One of our favourites is keeping grapes in ziplock bags in a freezer. I buy a huge box in Costco, take them off their stalks and freeze them in batches. My son says they are better than sweets. Freezing intensifies the flavour and since they are frozen you will take a while eating them. Perfect when watching a movie.

Some of our snack staples include kale chips, dehydrator apple or banana crisps, Medjool dates, raw “balls” and bars, hummus with carrot sticks or linseed crackers (or good quality, sometimes homemade tortilla chips) with homemade guacamole (have you noticed shop bought one has double cream in it?!!!) or good salsa.

My snack recipe is courgette dip, it is raw and incredibly versatile, the pine nuts give it a cheesy texture, reminiscent of ricotta. You can use it as a dip, spread, or even stir it into your pasta “pesto” style. And of course it counts towards your 5(or 10)-a-day.


“CHEESY” COURGETTE DIP

courgettedipdetail

This dip will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, if you are making it ahead use 2 Tbs of lemon juice. When stored the lemon juice looses some of its power.

Makes about 1 cup

ingredients:
2 young crisp courgettes (zucchini)
70g (1/2 cup) pinenuts
1 small garlic clove
1 cup basil leaves, packed
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs lemon juice
salt to taste

courgettedip

method:
  1. Grate your courgettes coarsely, mix in 1 tsp of salt. Place the courgettes in a collander that is set over a bowl. Put a small plate on top of the courgettes and place some full tins on top to weigh it all down. Leave for about half an hour.
  2. Place your courgettes in a cheese cloth (clean tea towel or a good quality paper towel will do the job), squeeze as much of the water out as you can. You don’t want a watery dip.
  3. In a high speed blender or a food processor combine all ingredients and process until the desired texture (see picture)
  4. Garnish with basil leaves and pinenuts and serve with vegetable crudites or crackers (preferably raw).
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RAW BANANA AND BRAZIL NUT COOKIES

RAW BANANA AND BRAZIL NUT COOKIES

Weight Watchers are coming to our high street. With shops in the USA, Australia and China, we shouldn’t be surprised that UK, the fattest nation in Europe, would be next. Honestly I really want to like this idea, having accessible shops for anyone to pop in for a one to one consultation, get weighed, be advised, buy their low calorie lunch. I am not sure how much WW will charge but they are a multi-billion business so I am sure sound financial forecasts are in place to make this a monetary success.

We all know if you eat less and move more weight loss should follow. It is not a rocket science. Last September a study came out claiming that weigh-loss courses such as Weight Watchers were more effective than the national standard care weight loss. Sounds good right? The participants who took part in a year long study were either assigned WW program or the standard care weight loss program. Those on WW lost on average 5.06kg as opposed to the 2.25kg on standard care.

Any weight loss is a good thing, however to me 5.06kg in a year is a rather small number, especially if you have a lot of weight to loose. At the raw food seminar I met a man in his 60’s who lost about 20lb in 4 months of his raw food journey and he is feeling fantastic. Plant based diets (raw or not) have a great record in helping people loose weight without feeling hungry whilst ensuring superior nutrition.

There are many people who loose loads of weight on programs like WW and that is a good thing. The one element that really worries me is the low fat meals that Weight Watchers are selling. They may be low calorie low fat but far from healthy. They may remove the fat but add lots of other stuff (I so want to say c..p) that in no way should be part of a healthy diet. Here I present to you Heinz Weight Watchers Banoffee Dessert:

Water, Toffee Sauce (12%, Glucose Syrup, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Dextrose, Condensed Skimmed Milk, Invert Sugar, Water, Butter, Stabiliser - Pectin, Emulsifier - Polysorbate 60, Flavouring), Sugar, Skimmed Milk Powder, Banana Puree (6%), Wheat Flour, Glucose Powder, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Vegetable Oil, Inulin, Whey Powder, Brown Sugar, Curls (1%, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk Powder, Whey Powder, Cocoa Mass, Emulsifier - Soya Lecithin, Flavouring, Colour - Paprika Extract), White Chocolate (1%, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk Powder, Whey Powder, Milk Sugar, Emulsifier - Soya Lecithin, Flavouring), Pork Gelatine, Stabilisers - Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Sodium Alginate, Carrageenan, Xanthan Gum, Dextrose, Sorbitol Syrup, Egg Powder, Fructose Syrup, Barley Starch, Modified Potato Starch, Egg Albumen, Caramelised Sugar Syrup, Flavourings, Dried Glucose Syrup, Colours - Curcumin, Paprika Extract.

Do you really want to eat that??? Or how about some of my raw banana cookies minus the added rubbish.

RAW BANANA AND BRAZIL NUT COOKIES
I have used my dehydrator to make the cookies, if you don’t have one you can use your fan oven, turn it to the lowest setting, keep the door open and bake for about 2 hrs, just keep checking on them. These cookies will not be classed RAW but still delicious.

To make the orange powder: Peel an orange using a swivel peeler, taking only the zest off, none of the white piths. Dehydrate at about 125F for about 2-3 hrs until dried enough to make a powder easily. Store in an airtight container. You can also use fresh orange peel in the cookies or replace with dried ginger.

Makes 14

brazilcookies2

ingredients
130g (1 cup) Brazil nuts
60g (1/2 cup) raisins
1 tsp orange powder (or 1 tsp dried ginger)
2 medium bananas
1 Tbs sweet freedom syrup (or agave)

method
  1. Place the Brazil nuts in a small bowl of a food processor. Process till quite fine with some bigger pieces for nutty texture.
  2. Add raisins, orange powder, bananas and agave to the food processor.
  3. Process till the mixture starts coming together.
  4. Using a American tablespoon measure, place mounds of mixture on top of a dehydrator Teflex sheet.
  5. Dehydrate for 1 hr at 145F.
  6. Turn the dehydrator to 125F and dehydrate for further 3-4 hrs. Turn the cookies over and place on a dehydrator sheet without the Teflex sheet after 1 hr.
  7. The cookies are done when they feel quite dry on both sides. They will still be moist inside, if you want crunchier cookies dehydrate for another hour.

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ENERGY BARS

ENERGY BARS

“Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food” Hippocrates

Medical doctors are amazing, the knowledge they have to learn and retain (!), the responsibility they carry on their shoulders is immense. There is however a room for improvement. Dr Dean Ornish emphasised in one of his TED talks that you can’t only mop the floor, you also have to fix the tap. Don’t only treat symptoms, treat the cause.

Recently I watched my friend L struggling with her baby’s eczema, her son (born last September) was waking at night trying to scratch the itchy red skin, clearly suffering. She was at a breaking point, no mother wants to see their child in discomfort. Naturally she visited her GP and a dermatologist. Unfortunately their approach was using topical creams (not even emollient) and if those would not bring much relief, he was to be put on glucocorticoids. Rather scary prospect for a baby.

My friend decided to contact a naturopathic eczema specialist. Since she is breastfeeding her son, she was prescribed an exclusion diet. It is a big change, she isn’t even allowed her beloved green tea at the moment, but her baby boy’s skin is clearing up. Next step will be reintroducing foods to find the triggers. What a fantastic news! I wish her doctor was able to recommend a similar approach, it has no side effects! Actually it does, my friend feels great! she told me this way of eating is making her feel “light”. And of course there is not better feeling than seeing her beautiful son’s eczema on the retreat.

ENERGY BARS

This is perfect for “grab and go” breakfast or just a quick energy boosting snack. If you want to make this completely refined sugar free, skip the chocolate chips.
Makes 10 bars


energybars2


Ingredients
1 Tbs ground flax seeds
150g (1 and 3/4 cups) oats
50g (1/2 cup) pecans, chopped
80g (1/2 cup) dried apricots, chopped roughly into quarters
30g (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds
35g (1/4 cup) raisins
2 small bananas mashed, makes about 125ml (1/2cup)
1 Tbs date syrup
1/2 dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)

method
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. First in a small bowl add 60ml (1/4 cup) of water to the flax seeds, let stand while preparing the rest of ingredients. The mixture will become viscous somewhat reminiscent of an egg.
  3. Mix together the oats, pecans, apricots, sunflower seeds and raisins.
  4. Add the mashed bananas, date syrup and flax seed mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Line a 10x6 inch (15x25cm) baking dish with a greaseproof paper. I used a drop of water under each corner to keep it in place.
  6. Put all the mixture into your baking dish, press down firmly.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 min or until the top starts to turn golden brown.
  8. Let cool and cut into bars.



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APPLE STRUDEL MINIBITES

APPLE STRUDEL MINIBITES

header-tea and strudel



In my opinion there is no better drink than a nice cup of tea. My favourite, without a doubt, is green jasmine tea. I love its heady floral scent and gentle flavour. My cupboard is full of different teas, green and white, plain and flavoured, there are some with fancy names, teas in bags and loose leaf teas. Some have been tied by hand into intricate flowers that magically open up when introduced to hot water.

We all know the antioxidant rich tea has lots of health benefits. In UK tea is the number one source of flavonoids in the diet. I thought I would do a little experiment and search through some tea stories to see what health claims newspapers come up with. I must say I was overwhelmed.

These are some of the claims I found:
Drinking tea just may

  • reduce chance of brain tumour and stroke
  • help fight infection
  • slow down weight gain and prevent obesity
  • cut risk of throat and oral cancer
  • help prevent breast cancer
  • lower LDL cholesterol levels
  • prevent flu better than vaccination
  • alter gene expression and improve cholesterol metabolism
  • lower diabetes risk
  • extend lifespan
  • prevent fatal autoimmune diseases
  • fight ageing and free radicals
  • cut risk of heart disease
  • help to halt luekemia and other blood cancers
  • block lung cancer
  • prevent eye disease and glaucoma
  • halt prostate cancer tumour growth
  • treat/or prevent dementia, brain disorders and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • fight lung cancer and pneumonia
  • prevent and treat osteoporosis

A very impressive list indeed. According to these claims, drinking tea could help solve the world health crisis and we all should have green tea coming out of our water pipes. As amazing as all these claims are, tea is just one small part of a healthy lifestyle, drinking tea will not have a significant affect if the rest of person’s diet is poor. However based on this my daily cups of green tea will taste much sweeter (without sugar of course).

Most people associate tea with a piece of cake or biscuit so I though a perfect sweet treat will go down well with my today’s blog. A classic slice of apple strudel I grew up with is transformed into a much healthier bite size version. All the familiar apple strudel ingredients minus the sugar and pastry. The dates may not belong to a classic strudel but they are a fantastic glue to keep the bites together. One or two are enough to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.

APPLE STRUDEL MINI BITES

tea and strudel ingredients

ingredients
100g (2cups) soft dried apple rings (not apple crisps)
100g (1cup) walnuts
70g (1/2cup) raisins
4-5 Medjol dates
1tsp cinnamon

method

  1. In a food processor chop the walnuts. The nuts need to retain some texture not turn into nut flour.
  2. Add the apples, cinnamon, raisins and 4 dates. Process until the mixture starts coming together. If needed add another date.
  3. Tip the mixture into the bowl and roll into 18 walnut size balls.
  4. Keep in the fridge, this will firm them up a bit.

  1. tea and strudel

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Kale chips

Another convert to kale chips. My sister-in-law sent me a text today with this simple exclamation: “Hooray for kale crisps”. Call them chips or crisps they are a fabulous snack that everybody seems to like. In our house they are the most kids friendly way to eat the mighty kale. Also this is the perfect recipe for kids to help with.

So what is all the fuss about? Kale is the queen of all veggies, the most nutrient dense one out there, full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and even protein. Eat it raw, steamed, in soups, stews, in juices and smoothies and of course as chips.

kale-whole

When making kale crisps, I find a proper bunch of kale (preferably organic) is better than the shredded supermarket variety. You can still use supermarket kale for chips, however they tend to shred it into strips with the stalks left in. And these are tough, inedible. Removing them is rather time consuming. Bunched kale gives you the opportunity to remove the stalk and leave the kale in larger pieces.

The chips keep really well in an airtight container just make sure the container is perfectly dry.

Basic kale chips

Roughly 120g of kale is enough for 1 baking tray. If using method number 1, cooking kale chips at higher temperature, start checking them after about 5 min, I remove the ones that are done and put back in the oven and check again in 2 min. My oven has heat spots so I don’t ever get all the chips perfectly cooked at one time. Also smaller pieces will obviously cook first.The lower heat method takes longer of course, but you are less likely to burn them.


kale ready for oven:

kale-on-tray
makes one baking tray of chips:

ingredients

120g(about 4 oz) kale, stripped away from stalks, torn into roughly same size pieces
1/2Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

method:

1 Preheat the oven ( see step 4 and 5). Wash the kale pieces and spin them dry in a salad spinner.
2 Place the kale into a bowl large enough to hold all the kale. Add the oil and salt. Mix well.
3 Line a baking tray with grease proof paper. Place the kale on the baking sheet in a single layer.
4 Method 1: Bake in 180C oven for about 10 min. Start checking after 5 min. Take out any pieces that are done, they should have no moisture in them and will be crisp all over, not burnt. Place the rest back into the oven and check every 2 min.
5 Method 2: Bake in 150C oven for about 25min. Again check after 10min, and keep checking in 5 min intervals.

Salt and vinegar kale chips

Prepare as above just add 1 Tbs of apple cider or white wine vinegar at the same time as olive oil and salt.

Chips ready to eat:


kale-chips
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SMOKEY BUTTERNUT SQUASH HUMMUS


Last week many newspapers printed a very similar article about hummus being a high calorie snack. World Cancer Research Fund was concerned about us being misinformed and lacking knowledge of what is a high calorie food. Of course high calorie foods contribute to obesity and thus cancer and other diseases. Hummus was branded one of the bad boys at some 332cal per 100g (half a supermarket pot). For comparison a jam doughnut has about 252 calories per 100g. I am not sure which hummus WCRF is talking about but I found calorie count from 177 to up to 317 for plain hummus.

Now hummus is a very ancient fellow. First recipe dates all the way to 13th century and I doubt it was a cause of obesity in 13th century Egypt. It is a very nutritious snack, containing iron, Vitamin C, B6, folate, fibre, calcium and protein (unlike the jam doughnut). I know which I would choose, I swear I will always love hummus no matter what bad press it (unjustly) gets.

You should read nutritional labels if you are concerned about the calorie content of your food, or you can just make your own hummus. It is easy chickpeasy.

SMOKEY BUTTERNUT SQUASH HUMMUS

I make all of my hummus without the olive oil. Omitting mere 2 Tbs of olive oil saves you 238 calories and 17g of fat per recipe. But by all means add couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to this recipe if you want to. This explains why my photograph is not all shiny as most pictures of hummus are as they get drizzled with olive oil. Looks good in a photo but I prefer to eat mine without the oil.

You can use this hummus as a spread or dip, but warmed up it replaces mashed potatoes beautifully.

ingredients
1/2 (about 400g) butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbs (heaped) Tahini
1 tin of hummus, drained liquid reserved
1 tsp smoked paprika (hot or sweet)
juice of 1 lemon
more smoked paprika to sprinkle on top

method
  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Place butternut squash chunks in a roasting pan add the half tablespoon of olive oil and with your hands mix thoroughly. Season with salt. Roast for about 30min until edges of butternut squash start to caramelise and are soft when pierced with a skewer. Let the squash cool down.
  2. In a food processor combine the squash, chickpeas, garlic, paprika, lemon juice and salt. Add some of the reserved liquid.
  3. Process till smooth adding more liquid if needed.
  4. Transfer to a serving, bowl sprinkle with more paprika and enjoy.

Humus 1
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