• positively delicious

    BAIN-MARIE

  • ABOUT

    A conscious food chef and writer embracing natural, whole and nutrient-dense foods

    My name is Marie and like my name, I'm very French, but I'm also very Chinese.

    Now you understand where my fervent passion for food stems from. Arguably France and China are home to the two most revered and rich culinary traditions in the world. With a Malaysian-Chinese raw food guru for a mother and a French gastronome par excellence for a father, I feel truly blessed with the real food upbringing focused on homemade and nourishing family meals made from whole and natural ingredients.

     

    And add to that, the fact that my French roots hail from Brittany- the land of buckwheat, mineral-rich sea salt, raw butter, beautiful varieties of seaweed- and my Chinese heritage harks back to Southern China via Malaysia heralding the uplifting smells of lemongrass, garlic, ginger and coconut. My childhood memories are a veritable cross-continental flavour tour de force, which is reflected in my irreverent style of cooking imbued with nutritional wisdom.

     

    I am lucky to be surrounded by some inspirational nutrition and wellness experts, my lovely mum and my dearest friend Lorna Driver-Davies, a qualified Nutritional Therapist and herbal medicine expert; she keeps me in check with her extensive knowledge and experience. Lorna and I frequently work together on food education projects.

     

    Welcome to the world of Bain-Marie, a land of positively delicious recipes, healthy lifestyle tips and inspiration for a more conscious approach to food. Bain-Marie has become a platform to share our vision of a world where taste and health are inextricably linked.


     

  • FOOD PHILOSOPHY

    "Let food by thy medicine, and medicine be thy food."

    -Hippocrates

     

    This blog started as my journey to share how delicious, fun, simple and inexpensive food that is good for you can be! This is the anti-diet; this is a real food, clean eating lifestyle based on enjoying every mouthful of food and never feeling deprived or guilty with the added bonus of a leaner body, clearer skin and more energy. One of my favourite mottos in life is vivre pour manger, and I do indeed live to eat (well).

     

    Here you will find a whole-food, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and mostly plant-based way of life. I consider myself a "flexitarian"- I eat mostly plant-based foods but I still love and occasionally enjoy organic, sustainably-sourced chicken, beef (especially when made into mineral-rich bone broths), wild game, fish and raw dairy. The emphasis here, more than any other food group, is on the quality and provenance- animal produce must be of the highest quality: organic, grass-fed, outdoor-reared, free-range, line-caught. However, I can assure you that there is absolutely no gluten, refined sugar or any processed ingredients in any of my recipes. Just pure whole food, natural and nutrient-dense goodness!

     

    As an avid yogi, it is through my study of yoga that I became more aware that healthy eating, healthy thinking and healthy moving made such a difference to how I looked and felt. From all of this was borne my real food lifestyle- a conscious approach to food and how small changes in your lifestyle can positively affect our bodies and our planet. At Bain-Marie, we are passionate about rescuing the amount of perfectly edible food that ends up in landfill and making healthy food more accessible to all! This blog is intended to be a gentle invitation to you and yours to integrate one small step towards a positively delicious lifestyle every day.

     

     

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  • THE CORNERSTONES OF MY REAL FOOD PHILOSOPHY

    1. choose natural, whole foods over artificial, processed foods
    2. reduce your meat consumption
    3. when buying meat and dairy, buy from organic, local farmers
    4. eat what's in season and grow some herbs & veg at home
    5. try to make everything yourself at home when possible!

    Green Drinks

     

    Green juices and green smoothies are such an act of self-love first thing in the morning! And MY GOD the energy they deliver is just awesome!
    I use frozen berries with 1 cup of coconut milk (or any seed/nut milk),1 tb of maca powder, 1 tb of ground flaxseed, 1 tb of quinoa flakes, 1 tb of barleygrass or wheatgrass powder, 1 tb of hemp protein powder, a handful of spinach or kale, and half an avocado works well too for extra creaminess, 1-2 medjool dates or dried figs for sweetness and a teaspoon of frozen ginger for a fiery kick to wake you up.
    SUPER TIP: Add some hot water whilst blending (especially when using frozen fruit) for those winter months when drinking icy liquids in morning just doesn't seem natural! 

     

    Colourful Food

     

    is both visually attractive and a good indication of a balanced meal full of vitamins and minerals. One colour that must always be present: GREEN!

     

    Regardless what I'm eating in the savoury department, I ALWAYS find some sort of greens to sprinkle on top of all the food I eat. Think fresh parsley on any pasta/risotto, fresh coriander on any Asian dish, and I'm experiencing a rekindled love affair with fresh tarragon at the moment! Even chopped fresh spinach is a lovely splash of colour (and vitamins) on any dish. Last but not least, the eternal and oh-so-versatile spring onion and chive, just goes on anything and everything for that dash of fresh green goodness and awesome flavour!

     

    The Spice of Life

     

    For those of you who know me, you know just how much I love spice! Every birthday or Christmas I always end up with all sorts of unusual spice-related gifts. Chilli above all is my joie de vivre. What I would do without these divine, little red and green fiery explosions, I really don't know... I put it on everything. This is the Malaysian-Chinese in me coming out in full colour. I just love spices! They make food FUN!

     

    Just be careful with powdered spices though, as most of these contain anti-caking agents and other sorts of nasty stuff. As always, you are best using the whole, unadulterated version of the spice and grinding it into a powder yourself.

    Nuts about Nuts

     

    Until recently, I was not nuts about nuts, I just didn't get what all the fuss was about, I often felt that they were unwelcome, unrelenting obsctructions to, for example, the smooth deliciousness of a brownie. But recently, this has all changed. From dried fruit dipped in cashew butter to freshly homemade almond milk to toasted pine nuts in salads... They are a lovely addition to the repertoire of texture in food.

     

    Not to mention, their nutritional benefits. Did you know that almonds are a great source of protein, with a quarter of a cup providing 8 grams – 2 grams more than the protein found in a typical egg!?

    Oh Coconuts!

     

    and everything coconut-related are very close to my heart... It is the most unbelievable fruit-nut-seed that gives life to many of our kitchen staples: coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut water, coconut sugar, coconut flour, coconut butter... I <3 you coconut!

     

    Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a "functional food" because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. It also has amazing applications for external use, I use it everyday on my face and body as a moisturiser, leaves your skin feeling soft and supple. It's also great as a gentle but effective eye makeup remover. GOODBYE STORE-BOUGHT COSMETICS!

  • positively delicious

    RECIPES

  • RECIPES

    simple, healthy and always positively delicious...

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  • RECIPE INDEX

    Breakfast & Drinks

    Almond Mylk

    Apple and Spinach Smoothie

    Banana Bread Muffins

    Beetroot and Ginger Juice

    Buckwheat Porridge

    Green Power Smoothie

    Life Changing Loaf of Bread

    Mango Klassi

    Matcha Almond Mylk Latte

    Paleo Bread

    Pumpkin & Buckwheat Pancakes

    Raw Blueberry Chia Jam

    Sea Salt & Raw Cacao Buckwheat Granola

    Super Green Juice

    Superfood Chia Pudding

    Top Banana Pancakes

    Vanilla Spice Nutty Granola

    Very Berry Smoothie

    Water Kefir

     

    Savoury

    Aromatic Black Rice Soup

    Cashew Aioli

    Cauliflower Crust Pizza

    Crispy Garlic Potatoes with Avocado Aioli

    Fragrant Thai Fish Cakes

    Ginger & Goji Chicken Noodle Soup

    Green Kedgeree

    Grilled Aubergines with Yoghurt and Pomegranate

    Humble Hummus
    Kimchi 

    Korean Sweet Potato Noodles

    Lemongrass and Coconut Noodle Soup

    Mac n' Cheese

    Malaysian Laksa Noodle Soup

    Miso Soba Noodle Soup (L)

    Mushroom Risotto

    Raw Pad Thai with Almond Chilli Sauce

    Raw Thai Som Tum Salad 

    Roasted Squash with Tahini Quinoa

    Samphire Quinoa 

    Sichuan-Style Green Beans

    Spicy Chinese Aubergine

    Spicy Cucumber Salad

    Sweet Potato Fries

    Thai Red Garden Veg Curry

    Veg Box Noodle Salad (L)

    Vietnamese Beef Pho

    Vietnamese Summer Rolls

    Warm Asian Noodle Salad (L)

    Wild Garlic and Mushroom Quinotto

     

    Sweet

    Banana Bread Muffins

    Beet & Chocolate Fondant Cakes

    Black Bean Brownies

    Chickpea Flour Brownies

    Coconut Sago Pudding

    Golden Parsnip Sponge Cake

    Matcha Almond Milk Latte

    Mince Pies

    Orange Chocolate Brownies

    Orange Blossom Polenta Cake

    Pumpkin & Buckwheat Pancakes

    Raw Blueberry Chia Jam
    Raw Chocolate Ganache Cake

    Raw Chocolate & Sea Salt Bunnies

    Raw Fudge

    Raw Key Lime (Calamansi) Pie

    Raw Mango Cheesecake

    Superfood Chia Pudding

    Top Banana Pancakes

     

    (L) = meals that are easy to make for lunch at work

     

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  • RAW CHOCOLATE GANACHE CAKE

    vegan, raw, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

    Chocolate: Food of the Gods?

     

    I think so... and after tasting this raw chocolate ganache cake at a little café in Belsize Park a few months ago, I was inspired to make it myself. So I endeavoured to recreate its deliciousness with the creamy richness of avocados and the punch of raw cacao. It is so divine and decadent, the fact that it's so good for you and so easy to make sounds almost unbelievable! But I promise aside from soaking the almonds (in order to activate them) and allowing it to set in the freezer for at least an hour, the total prep time of the recipe is actually under 15 minutes.

     

    Chocolate is commonly perceived as a "guilty pleasure" but its reputation as a junk food is due to the harmful effects of commercial processing and refining techniques, and mainly the addition of one lethal ingredient: white sugar. In truth, cacao beans in their natural, unprocessed and unadulterated state are rich in nutrients and extremely beneficial to one's health. Raw cacao is in fact a superfood and has more antioxidants than blueberries; it is rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper and potassium. There is also a misperception that chocolate is fattening (which it is in its processed state), but in fact, the fats in raw cocoa butter are healthy fats. So believe it or not, this chocolate cake is utterly good for you on so many levels.


    Goodbye Guilt and Hello Happy Indulgence!

     

    Cacao cuddles,
    Marie

     

     

    Raw Chocolate Ganache Cake

    For a 9" springform pan

    Prep Time: 15 mins Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
    Serves: 4

     

    Ingredients:
    For the base:
    250g almonds or pecans
    200g soft dates (like Medjool), pitted
    ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt

     

    For the filling:
    600g avocado flesh (about 4-5 medium sized ripe avocados)
    150g coconut oil
    150g raw cacao powder
    300g coconut sugar (you can also use raw cane sugar like rapadura)

    1 vanilla bean, split and seeded (you can substitute with 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract)
    1 pinch of fine Himalayan salt or sea salt

    handful of berries, coconut flakes, edible flowers to decorate (optional)

     

    Instructions:
    1. Soak the almonds for at least 8 hours then drain and dehydrate them (The soaking releases the enzyme inhibitors and makes them easier to digest. If you don't have a dehydrator, then you can actually skip this step).

     

    2. In a food processor blend the almonds. Add dates and salt and blend until you get a ‘dough’ or until the mixture forms a ball (if it’s too dry, add 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil to the dough). Line the spring form pan with cling film and press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Place it in the freezer to harden whilst you make the ganache.

     

    3. Place all the filling ingredients in a food processor then blend everything until smooth. Pour the ganache over the base.

     

    4. Set in the freezer for at least 1 hour (it should be firm enough to slice up).

     

    NB. The only caveat to this awesome recipe is the cost of the ingredients, if you are not already stocked up with these goodies at home. Best place to buy organic and high quality raw cacao powder, coconut sugar and coconut oil inexpensively is at www.realfoods.co.uk. For Medjool dates, I found an awesome local Middle Eastern shop near me that sells a 1kg of them for around £7-8 which is a bargain (no preservatives or funny things), look out for one near you.

  • KIMCHI

    raw, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian

    Kamsahamnida Kimchi

     

    I say kamsahamnida to kimchi every day (which means "thank you" in Korean by the way)... This fermented spicy, garlicky and gingery goodness has been a real obsession recently. It is so moreishly delicious and so good for you that this is genuinely an ode of gratitude to kimchi. I just eat out of the jar when I get home from work. It's got such a satisfying punch of flavour, you just have to try it (if you are not already a kimchi convert). Abel & Cole have been sending us lots of Chinese leaf cabbages otherwise known as "Napa" cabbage and to be honest, I wasn't inspired by this rather unremarkable vegetable, until I made the connection that this type of cabbage is exactly the kind of cabbage that lends itself perfectly to making kimchi, WOOHOO!

     

    Despite the prevailing fear of "bacteria" and the need to destroy it in most of the West, most cultures around the world use bacteria to make food more delicious. Most of us ingest a lot of bacteria and fungus-laden food and drinks such as yoghurt, sourdough bread, olives, soy sauce, wine and don't ever fret over this bacteria.

    These tiny micro-organisms are actually good for you and not a threat to you. When we eat fermented foods that contain natural, good bacteria, we boost the number and variety of bacteria living in our gut, which is instrumental to maintaining optimal health in our digestive systems- it's like taking probiotic supplements, just cheaper and more delicious!

    Yoghurt, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and kombucha are widely available fermented foods, however most of the ones you buy have been pasteurised so all the good bacteria have been killed and thus all the goodness gone. Ideally you should make your own, but if not, remember to buy the unpasteurised versions and to eat them raw.

     

    Kimchi, in my opinion, is the holy grail of all things fermented, especially if you are a spice-head like me. It's SO simple to make, so it's great for a first-timer's fermentation endeavour and you don't have to wait too long to enjoy the results either. It seems whatever you do it, it tastes amazing so don't be too worried about the measurements just as long as all the cabbage is coated in the wondrous chilli, ginger and garlic paste, it will work!

     

    Kimchi

    Prep Time: 20 mins

     

    Ingredients:

    1-2 Chinese leaf cabbage (approx 1.5-2kg)
    1 mooli or daikon radish (optional), grated
    5 large carrots, grated
    1 bunch spring onions, cut into 3cm (1-inch) lengths
    60g fresh ginger
    5 cloves garlic
    1/3 cup organic crushed red chilli flakes
    ¼ cup unrefined sea salt

     

    Equipment:
    1 large clip-top glass jar (mine has 2-litre capacity)
    1 large bowl
    knife + cutting board
    food processor or mortar and pestle

     

    Directions:
    1. Chop cabbage into 5cm (2-inch) chunks. Grate carrots and daikon, if using. Slice green onion. Place all vegetables in a very large bowl.
    2. In a food processor blend ginger, garlic, and chili until well combined. Add this mixture to the bowl of vegetables along with the salt.
    3. Mix and vigorously massage all ingredients together until the cabbage begins to soften and release fluid. Continue until you have a fair amount of liquid in the bottom of the bowl, about 4-5 minutes. The vegetables at this point should have lost much of their volume. Let the bowl sit out at room temperature for a few hours, massaging once or twice more. Season to taste.
    4. In a large, sterilized jar (or several small ones), pack in the vegetables trying to avoid any air pockets, making sure to leave a few inches of space at the top of the jar for carbon dioxide. Cover the jar loosely with a lid, or make sure to open it periodically to release any pressure that may build up. Leave the jar on the counter for 2-4 days. You may see bubbles forming in the jar – this is carbon dioxide and totally normal. Taste the kimchi now and again. Once the flavour is to your liking, seal the jar and place in the fridge. Keeps for several months.

     

    *Tip: After removing kimchi from the container to eat, push the remaining back down to keep most of the cabbage submerged in the brine (the liquid). This will help keep it fresh for longer.

  • WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO

    vegan, gluten free, dairy free (op)

    Autumn = Glorious Mushroom Time!

     

    As a bonafide "fungophile", I relish any opportunity to get involved with mushrooms- whether it be eating, picking or cooking... The delightful image of the wild mushrooms in a basket below was taken by my lovely friend Sarah who went mushroom foraging with her mum on a Sunday morning in Berkshire after a big party in London the night before, what a good daughter! This photo beckoned me to make a wild mushroom risotto and embrace autumn with open arms... and so I did.

     

    I recently discovered in my real food journey that (guess what?) you can make incredibly creamy and delicious risotto with brown rice. You can use any short-grain brown rice variety and you will get the same creamy results but so much better for you! The only caveat is it does take longer than regular arborio or carnaroli rice. You can make one adjustment here and parboil the brown rice for 20 minutes before adding it to the onion, garlic and mushroom mixture.

     

    As with all my recipes, I try to steer away from precise measurements as much as possible (sometimes precision is important but here not so much) and give you a rough guide of what worked for me, as it will differ so much from rice to rice, stove to stove, so you need to experiment, taste and try and find out what works for you. Another super discovery for this risotto is this Kallo Organic Mushroom Stock. As it's organic there is no funny business, no MSG, no preservatives. And it gave this mushroom risotto an even more decadent, luxurious mushroom flavour.

     

    Aside from being absolutely delicious, mushrooms are a powerhouse of nutrition and health benefits. Mushrooms are well known for their immune-boosting properties and a good source of fibers that lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health. Moreover, mushrooms are among the only natural food sources of vitamin D, and mushrooms are one of the few foods that contain germanium, a trace mineral that helps your body use oxygen efficiently and prevents against damaging effects of free radicals. Many mushrooms are also good sources of selenium, an antioxidant mineral, as well as copper, niacin, potassium and phosphorous. So let's get munching some mushrooms whilst so many of the wild varieties are in season...

     

    Wild Mushroom Risotto

    Total Time: 1 hour
    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients:
    350g mixed mushrooms, cultivated or wild, chopped into bite sized chunks (shiitake, chanterelle, chestnut, girolle, oyster)
    30g dried porcini mushrooms
    3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked off
    few knobs of butter or olive oil (one that can be heated)
    1 cup of organic short-grain brown rice
    1 litre of organic mushroom stock (if you can't find any use organic vegetable stock)
    1 onion, minced
    few cloves of garlic, minced
    a dash of dry white wine or or any white spirit like vermouth
    sea salt
    ground black pepper
    drizzle of truffle oil
    handful of grated pecorino cheese or 2 tsp of nutritional yeast for vegans (optional)
    few chives and/or parsley leaves

     

    Instructions:
    1. Soak the porcini mushrooms in boiling water until the mushrooms are soft, approx 10-15mins. Put 2 mushroom stock cubes in 1 litre of fresh filtered water in a pot and heat until just simmering making sure the stock dissolves throughout.

     

    2. Put two tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan and toss in the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt. Stir until softened. Stir in roughly chopped mushrooms with fresh thyme leaves and cook for a few minutes. Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes to toast the outside of the rice grains, trying to cover all rice grains in butter. If you are adding parboiled rice, you will not be able to toast the outside of the rice grains or cover them in butter very well but do your best.

     

    3. Add the wine and stir until the wine has evaporated.

     

    4. Pour the porcini and the water they have been soaking in to the rice mixture and stir until evaporated.

     

    5. Now start adding the stock, one ladleful at a time, only adding the next ladleful when the last one has been absorbed. Don’t stop stirring the rice as you don’t want it to stick to the bottom and the continued movement will release the starch in the rice and make it creamy.

     

    6. When you’ve been cooking the rice for about 20 mins, start tasting it regularly to test for al dente-ness: this is when there is a little resistance when you bite into the grain. Continue to add stock until it gets to this point.

     

    7. Take the risotto off the heat, drizzle with truffle oil and sprinkle with pecorino (if you are using) and stir through. (I find that high-quality truffle oil is so intensely delicious it does not need any cheese but up to you). Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle a few green leaves as always, chives or parsley work best here!

  • GREEN KEDGEREE

    gluten free, dairy free (op)

    Anglo-Indian Culinary Mash Up

     

    I had never heard of Kedgeree until a few years after living in the UK and what a fine dish it is! A firm winter staple, very warming and an incredibly well-balanced nutritious meal. Think of it is as a cross between a curry and a risotto with a breakfast vibe. It is a wondrous combination of curried rice, fish and egg! What's not to love. The origins of kedgeree are firmly rooted in the rich cultural dialogue between India and the UK. The name "kedgeree" is thought to originate from the simple Indian dish of kitchiri, a dish of spiced pulses mixed with rice dating back to 14th century India, which was transformed into a breakfast staple during the days of the Raj. After all I grew up in colonial Hong Kong, it's no wonder I enjoy bringing back a bit of colonial heritage into the present. To most, the word colonial brings images of a time long gone, but Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997. 

     

    Anyway, I digress back to the recipe which is so simple and a rather impressive dinner party main. I tend to use smoked mackerel but you can use smoked haddock or any other smoked fish or even some tinned sardines. I have also infused this delightful colonial dish with tons of greens so on top of the more common pea element, I have added spinach and lots of fresh green herbs on top. This is an omega-3 and protein-rich meal! Though traditionally a brunch or breakfast staple, we often have it as a warming dinner in the colder months. Very comforting and nourishing!

     

    Green Kedgeree

    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients:
    Rice Mixture:
    1 cup of organic short-grain brown rice
    1 tsp ground turmeric
    1 tsp coriander leaves
    2 tsp of garam masala
    2 tsp of curry powder
    few whole cloves and star anise

    Onion Mixture:
    good knob of butter, ghee or coconut oil
    1 onion, chopped
    few cloves of garlic, chopped
    1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated
    1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
    1 tb mustard seeds
    1 cup of frozen peas
    1 cup of frozen spinach
    100g smoked mackerel, flaked (sustainably sourced)
    handful of fresh coriander, tarragon, parsley leaves and chives
    2 eggs (optional for lighter option)
    half a lemon, squeezed
    salt and pepper to taste

     

    Instructions:
    1. Place the brown rice in a pot and add 4 cups of fresh filtered water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer. Add all the spices but save 1 tsp of garam masala and 1 tsp of curry powder for the onion mixture.

     

    2. In a another pan, heat the butter, ghee or coconut oil and add mustard seeds and heat until they pop, then add roughly chopped onion, garlic and ginger until softened. Add in all remaining dry spices and fresh chilli.

     

    3. Stir in frozen peas and spinach. Add a good splash of boiling water at this stage to ensure peas and spinach are thawed and cooked throughout. This will create a creamier green spiced sauce.

     

    4. You can either fry, poach or soft boil the eggs it's up to you, depends on your preference or time restriction. If I have the time, I prefer soft-boiling.

     

    5. Once the rice has absorbed all its "spice water", it should be a nice yellowy colour from the turmeric, add cooked rice to the onion and pea mixture and coat evenly. Add flaked smoked mackerel to the mixture, reserving a few bits as garnish. Stir in lemon juice.

     

    6. Spoon into bowls and add remaining flaked smoked mackerel, quartered soft boiled eggs and fresh chopped herbs.

  • ALMOND MILK

    vegan, raw, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

    Amen to Almonds

     

    Avoiding processed dairy milk was one of the first steps in my real food journey. Something just didn't feel right about the cow's milk I was drinking in my tea and on my morning muesli or porridge. Considering the amount of (rooibos) tea with milk that I drink in a day, I was actually consuming quite a lot of milk and it felt heavy and unhealthy, instinctually. When I was at university, I slowly shifted to soy milk, as I loved it and it reminded me of my Hong Kong childhood- having freshly made soy milk from the small wonton noodle stalls on Stanley Street.

     

    Soy milk was hailed as the healthier alternative and was one of the only widely available dairy alternatives at the time. Though the taste of mass-produced commercial soy milk does not even come close to the freshly made stuff. And this was all before I knew about the dangers of consuming most soy products; more detail on that to follow in another post. So I slowly began testing all the alternative milks that were out there: rice, oat, hemp, almond, hazelnut, coconut... Though they are all delicious, they all come with some pros and cons!

     

    In short, rice milk is great if you can get (or make) brown rice milk, but most commercially-produced rice milk is made with white rice which has a very high GI. White rice is nutritionally poor as the majority of nutrients in rice are found in the layers that are removed to make it white, so what's left in white rice is mostly starch (yes please avoid all white rice products when possible). Oat milk tastes lovely on its own but in my opinion is a very poor milk substitute as it's very thin and watery, really does not work in tea! Hemp milk is delicious but has a very strong hemp taste, so some don't like it in tea or coffee as interferes with the taste of their preferred hot beverage.

     

    Most commercially-produced almond and hazelnut milks are thick and taste very artificial. The only store-bought milks that have passed my test are Rude Health and Koko Dairy Free Original Coconut Milk. The latter is a beautifully bright white colour, exactly the same consistency as cow's milk and has a very faint and delicate taste of coconut. As far as mass-produced non-dairy milk goes, Koko is simply awesome! I love the taste and often just drink it out of the bottle. 

     

    Nothing will beat making your nut milks at home and it's so simple. After you've done it once, you will see it actually doesn't take that much time and the result is so worth it! If you get into the habit of soaking the almonds the night before, it just becomes part of your routine. At first, soaking the almonds seemed like an unnecessary step as no one had explained to me why it was so important, but this is actually essential as soaking nuts releases enzyme inhibitors and toxic substances. And just looking at the image above, which nuts do you think are easier for your body to digest? The hard, dry and shrivelled up ones or the pretty, plump and juicy ones? LOL! So please see below how to milk a nut... (yes all please chuckle); it always amuses our friends when we tell them that we have a nut milk bag to "milk our nuts". And the best part of this is you can replace the almonds for cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts and the list goes on, you can make milk from pretty much every nut (I wouldn't do it with peanuts).

     

    Ever since, I've cut out dairy milk from my diet entirely, I feel so much better: lighter, less bloated and my skin is clearer and healthier. I'm not saying all cow's milk is bad for you, especially if you are getting it in its raw and unpasteurised form, straight from an organic farm where cows are happily grazing on green grass in an open pasture, and for those of you who have that luxury, you are very lucky! But for those of us who live in cities and have busy lives, getting your hands on raw milk from happy cows is not easy and the stuff you get at the supermarket, well, let's not go into it right here, but it's not pretty!

     

    Finally, did you know that 70% of the human population doesn't have the enzyme to digest dairy properly? An intolerance like this can explain a multitude of issues, not only digestive but acne, eczema, migraines and lethargy amongst others. Almond milk on the other hand, is higher in vitamins, especially vitamin A, D and E which does wonders for your hair, skin and nails. Almond milk also has no saturated fat or simple sugars, and it’s been shown to lower cholesterol and has significantly fewer calories than both skimmed milk and soy milk. It’s really the most delicious alternative!

     

    So here is a simple recipe for homemade vanilla almond milk. It is so smooth and deliciously creamy! If you wish to have a totally unsweetened version, then just blend almonds and water (omit all the other ingredients and instructions). It is so yummy that minutes after making it last night (before I'd taken a photo of the final product), my lovely other half walked in excitedly and chugged half the bottle then said to me: "that is the best thing I've drunk all day" with a very happy smile on his face, which in turn made me very happy too. HAPPY NUT MILKING!

     

    Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk

    Yield: 3.5 cups

    Ingredients:
    1 cup raw almonds, soaked in water for at least 6 hours
    3.5 cups filtered water
    2-4 pitted Medjool dates*, to taste

    a nut milk bag, cheese cloth, fine mesh or even clean pair of tights

     

    Optional:
    1 whole vanilla bean*, chopped (or 1/2-1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste)
    small pinch of fine grain sea salt, to enhance the flavour
     

     

    Instructions:
    1. Place almonds in a bowl and cover with water. It’s preferred to soak them overnight, but you can get away with soaking for less if you are in a hurry (soaking them releasing enzymes that are hard to digest).

     

    2. Rinse and drain the almonds and place into a blender along with fresh filtered water, pitted dates, and chopped vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste.

     

    3. Blend on highest speed for 1 minute or so.

     

    4. Place a nut milk bag over a large bowl and slowly pour the almond milk mixture into the bag. Gently squeeze the bottom of the bag to release the milk. This took me about 3-5 minutes to get all the milk out. Place the almond pulp in a separate bowl (This can be used as almond flour/meal to make all sorts of yummy cakes and cookies, recipes will follow; don't throw away).

     

    5. Add the pinch of sea salt and stir gently in the bowl, before pouring into a glass jar to store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. Shake jar very well before using as the mixture separates when sitting.

     

    SuperTip: If your dates or vanilla bean are dry/stiff, soak in water to soften before use. You can also use another sweetener of your choice like maple syrup or date syrup. Same goes for vanilla, feel free to use vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste for a more subtle vanilla flavour.

     

  • CURRIED BLACK RICE SOUP 

    vegan, gluten free, dairy free

    Tempting Tempeh

     

    When China was still ruled by an emperor, black rice was dubbed as the "Forbidden Rice". It was cultivated in very small amounts because it was only for the Emperor's consumption. Although no such ban is practiced nowadays, black rice is still produced in low amounts. Rare yet highly nutritious, black rice is a powerhouse of antioxidants, heart-healthy properties and disease-preventing minerals. I've always got some Organico Nerone Black Rice in the cupboard and found this recipe especially delicious! 

     

    So what is tempeh? Tempeh, made from fermented soybeans, is a rich (and safe) source of protein for vegetarians and vegans protein. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, tofu is not as wonderful as you perhaps once thought. I feel very strongly about sharing this message, as I get asked this question all the time and the media hides much of the truth behind soy and portrays soy as the protein-rich wonder that will save us all. Ask almost any nutritionist and they will tell you to avoid soy products like the plague. Why you ask? You thought it was a low-fat, protein-rich superfood. Though this is partially true, there is a darker side to soy, mainly that soy such as that found in soy milk, edamame beans and tofu is high in phytic acid which blocks the absorption of essential minerals and contain enzyme inhibitors that prevent the digestion of protein. It is the fermentation process of soy which removes phytic acid and deactivates those enzyme inhibitors, which is why fermented soy products are good for you! 

     

    Most Westerners don't even like soy milk, tofu or textured vegetable protein (such as Quorn or soy mince) and just eat or drink it as they've been told it's a healthy option, so hopefully this will incite you and yours to look for other options. My advice for consuming soy is to try to avoid all unfermented soy products. Fermented soy products such as soy sauce, miso and tempeh are wonderful for you. If you choose to eat or drink soy occasionally, please look out for organic non-GMO labels, this is really important!

     

    Tempeh, widely consumed in Indonesia where I spent some of my childhood, has a satisfying protein texture that lends itself well to this dish and is the perfect substitute for meat in your traditional favourites. Tempeh is not yet widely available in the UK, but here are some good organic ones I've found at Planet Organic and realfoods.co.uk. Enjoy this delicious curried black rice soup with tempeh or just as is (if you can't get your hands on tempeh)!

     

     

    Curried Black Rice Soup with Tempeh
    Prep time: 55 mins
    Serves 4

     

    Ingredients:
    2-3 tbs coconut oil or ghee
    1 tb mustard seeds
    1 small brown onion, finely diced
    a handful of fresh curry leaves
    2 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp garam masala
    1 tsp paprika
    2 tsp turmeric
    1 tsp coconut sugar
    2 red chillies, finely diced 
    3 garlic cloves, finely diced
    5cm (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, grated
    1 lt (1 quart) vegetable stock
    2 cups water
    1 cup organic black rice, soaked for 12-24 hours
    2 cups of snow peas, mange tout or sugar snap peas
    1 bunch of tenderstem broccoli, cut into florets

    1 cup of mung bean sprouts
    300g tempeh, diced into large cubes (optional)


    to serve:
    ½ cucumber, grated
    1 red chilli, finely diced
    handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly torn
    lime wedges

     

    Instructions:
    1. Heat the coconut oil or ghee in a large heavy based pot over a medium/low heat, add the mustard seeds and cook gently until they begin to pop. Add the onion and fry over a medium/low heat until soft.

     

    2. Add the dry spices and curry leaves cooking over a low heat for a minute or two until fragrant and a paste begins to form. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and coconut sugar and cook for a further minute.

     

    3. Add the rice and toss to combine. Increase the heat and add the stock and water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to very low and allow to gently simmer, cook until rice is tender (cooking time will vary on how long you soaked the rice).

     

    4. Just before serving pop the green vegetables into the soup to simmer for only a minute to be sure they do not over cook, you want them to still be a little crunchy.

     

    5. To serve ladle the soup into large bowls and top with the grated cucumber, coriander and chilli to taste, add a squeeze of lime and enjoy!

  • SAMPHIRE QUINOA

    vegan, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

    Sumptuous Samphire

     

    Sounds like sapphire and tastes like the sea... What's not to love about this little, crisp, green, salty vegetable known as samphire? Also known as sea asparagus, due to its emerald green stalks reminiscent of asparagus, samphire grows abundantly in the marshy shallows and salty mudflats of North Western Europe. Until recently, I was only acquainted with this lovely little sea vegetable by its French name of salicorne, I had never heard of it in an English context, as is often the case with the way I've learned language, all through context.

     

    France, and more specifically Brittany, is where I spent all my holidays by the sea as a child and where I was exposed to all sorts of amazing sea creatures and vegetables, so most vocabulary pertaining to the sea and the art of cooking I know by its French name. It's a very fun journey re-learning the names of all these ingredients.

     

    I first came across salicorne on a morning stroll along the banks of the Rance river near St Malo at my godfather's place (he also happens to be quite the gastronome and master chef himself). Walking amongst the rocks at low tide, we discovered bunches of sparkling green samphire just begging to be picked for lunch. We then proceeded to munch the freshly picked samphire with some bar de ligne. It was just divine!

     

    Ever since then, I longingly remember the satisfying crunchiness and saltiness of this delightful sea plant as a holiday luxury reserved for my time in Brittany. This was before I realised that it is also an icon of British fine dining and widely available in the UK. It is available at Ocado (of course) and even at Tesco (our little Tesco in Maida Vale stocks samphire, I couldn't believe it!).

     

    I love samphire raw in salads or on its own as a snack. Otherwise it can be lightly sautéed or steamed, but I wouldn't expose it to too much heat as otherwise it will lose its awesome flavour, texture and mineral content. Samphire, known for its digestive properties, is rich in iodine and packed with phytochemicals that protect the liver, heart and cellular DNA. It is also rich in vitamins A, C, B2, B15, amino acids, and minerals, such as iron, calcium and magnesium phosphorus, calcium, silica, zinc, manganese and vitamin D. Not surprising, therefore, that it was historically used by sailors on ocean voyages to combat scurvy.

     

    Combine this iodine-rich sea vegetable with quinoa, a source of complete-protein that is high in fibre, iron, B-vitamins, phosphorus and magnesium, and you've got a real meal of champions! This recipe for samphire quinoa is a lovely accompaniment to fish or lamb or simply as a vegetarian main with a poached egg on top. On that particular day, I had mine with some wedges of rosemary roasted squash.

     

     

    Samphire Quinoa 
    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients:

    1 cup quinoa
    splash of apple cider vinegar
    90g samphire (1 packet which was approx 1 packed cup)
    1 tb butter or coconut oil 
    1 medium red onion sliced
    half a lemon, squeezed
    2 garlic cloves, chopped
    2 tb fresh chives, chopped
    handful of toasted pumpkin seeds

     

    Instructions:

    1. Place the quinoa in a pot with just over double the amount of boiling water plus a splash of apple cider vinegar and a sprinkle of herbs and salt. Leave all this to cook for 10-15 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed.

     

    2. Meanwhile fry the onion and garlic in the butter for approx. 5 minutes until softening.

     

    3. When quinoa is cooked, throw the samphire into the onion and garlic for a few minutes. Then add the quinoa and lemon juice to the frying pan. Toss to fully coat for a minute adding the fresh chives in the final seconds.

     

    4. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, a poached egg, roasted veg or grilled fish.

     

  • GREEN POWER SMOOTHIE

    vegan, raw, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

    A Green Smoothie A Day REALLY Keeps the Doctor Away

     

    Green smoothies are such an awesome way to start the day and such an act of self-love! The energy and nutrients these bad boys deliver is just incredible. I feel more energised, satisfied and generally happier on my green smoothie days. The best part is that they are so delicious, as you can pack lots of green goodness in there without realising like you're having kale for breakfast, as it's all masked by the lovely fruits. It can seem daunting at first to get all the ingredients and blender out, but once you get in the habit, it is very easy and quick. Just throw everything in a blender and you have the healthiest, most nutritious breakfast in a glass!

     

     

    Green smoothies boost your energy levels and immune system like no other breakfast ever could. I pack my smoothies with any combination of superfoods such as avocado, maca, lucuma, spirulina, wheatgrass, chlorella, hemp protein, quinoa flakes, flaxseed, chia, ginger... These ingredients give you an amazing amount of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and B vitamins, all of which are so important for the healthy functioning of your body. When I have my green power smoothie in the morning, I feel fuller longer and have much more energy and clarity of mind throughout the day!

     

    Avocado gives the smoothie a creamy, delicious texture. Medjool dates sweeten it naturally. Chia seeds keep you fuller longer and are a powerhouse of nutrition! My favourite recent discovery is the use of hot water when using frozen fruit, especially in winter. Even in summer, it doesn't feel right starting the day with an ice cold drink and my Chinese ancestors would agree...

     

     

    Traditional Chinese Medicine experts believe that when cold drinks are ingested, our bodies have to counteract the temperature difference in order to preserve a suitable environment for our digestive enzymes to function well. When cold beverages enter the esophagus, it encounters the warm vaporized fluid in the lungs. The result is phlegm formed in the lungs, which lowers lung function and capacity. Prolonged ingestion of cold drinks can cause coughs, susceptibility to flu or other illnesses, dry skin and numerous other symptoms. Moreover, the phlegm blocks the free flow of energy up and down the body which can impair the affected person’s ability to maintain a normal temperature.

     

    So boil a cup or two of fresh filtered water and use this as the base for your green smoothie, as it will raise the temperature of the smoothie. Another super tip is to add some frozen ginger for a delicious heaty kick for a super immunity boost! 

     

    Green Power Smoothie 

    Makes 2 glasses

     

    Ingredients:

    1 small avocado

    1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries (I use this) OR 1 cup of fresh kiwi/mango/pineapple (I use this)

    1/2 a cup of boiling water (replace with room temperature water in warmer months)

    1 cup of fresh almond milk, any Rude Health plant milk, coconut water, water or boiling water

    1 tb of chia seeds

    1 tb of ground flaxseed

    1 tb of maca powder

    1 tb of lucuma powder

    1 tb of spirulina/barleygrass/chlorella/wheatgrass powder 

    a handful of kale or spinach

    1 tb ginger (I use this)

    Optional:

    1 tb quinoa flakes

    2-4 medjool dates or a drizzle of pure maple syrup 

    1 tb of almond butter

    few mint leaves

     

    Instructions:

    1. Pour liquid of choice in blender first.

     

    2. Then place rest of the ingredients.

     

    3. Blend until smooth. 

     

    Green Smoothie Power to You!

  • FUDGY BROWNIES

    gluten free, refined sugar free

    Bye Bye Bad-For-You Brownies

     

    These gluten-free, refined-sugar free and (can be) dairy-free brownies taste absolutely incredible and look and feel exactly like "normal" brownies. The secret ingredient in this recipe is protein-rich besan, also known as gram flour or chickpea flour. I know what you're probably thinking: "chickpeas and chocolate, no thank you!" But I promise you will be able to fool even the greatest health-food sceptics; they taste as decadently rich and moist as their wheat and sugar-laden counterparts. I tested them on my discerning partner and my colleagues this morning without telling them there was anything unusual or healthy about them... and they passed the test with flying colours!

     

    Besan or gram flour truly trumps wheat flour in its protein and folate content and I like it because, aside from lending itself brilliantly to cake baking, it is naturally gluten-free, rather than a lot of the gluten-free flours out there that have gluten extracted from them artificially. Half a cup of besan flour has 201 micrograms of folate, compared to 26 micrograms in whole-wheat flour. Besan flour also delivers a boost of iron (great antioxidant), magnesium (promotes vascular health and regulates blood pressure) and phosphorus (helps maintain strong bones).

     

    So these brownies are not only moreish and decadent but full of nutrients and good fats (eaten in moderation of course).

     

     

    Squishy Gluten-Free Brownies

    Makes about 12 squares

     

    Ingredients:

    3 free-range eggs
    150g coconut sugar
    120g raw full fat butter or organic coconut oil
    1 pinch of sea salt (omit if using salted butter)
    50g dark organic chocolate
    3 tb raw organic cacao powder
    80g organic chickpea flour

    50g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped (optional)

    1 tsp of gluten-free baking powder

     

    Instructions:

    1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a small pan and let it cool a little.

     

    2. Whisk eggs and sugar together in a large mixing bowl before adding the butter and chocolate. Stir well.

     

    3. Add salt, hazelnuts if using, raw cacao and gram flour to the wet mixture. Mix very well and pour into a greased square cake tin (25cm x 25cm) or a muffin tray for cupcake brownies.

     

    4. Bake in a pre-heated oven 180C/350F for about 25 minutes, it depends on how thick they are so use a toothpick and they are ready when it comes out clean.

     

    N.B. 26 September 2014: I ran out of my usual organic dark chocolate and only had this Lindt Chilli Chocolate to make birthday brownies. They were divine with that little kick of heat. Experiment with different types of chocolate but make sure the cocoa percentage is as high as possible. 

  • SQUASH AND TAHINI QUINOA

    vegan, gluten free, dairy free

    Scrummy Squash à la DeliciouslyElla

     

    A nourishing and warming meal perfect for dinner parties. So delicious served with a little tabbouleh salad on the side. I found that making diagonal indentations in the flesh of the squash and inserting thin slices of garlic inside the flesh and rubbing with sea salt, hot smoked paprika and olive oil into the nooks and crannies of the squash made super tasty and squishy! Love having a small fresh green salad on the side and tabbouleh works brilliantly. And it's so simple, just chop some fresh tomatoes, fresh parsley, red onion and season with olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. 

     

     Saving squash seeds to roast has been such a revelation ever since I started writing this blog. I always used to throw them out, as a reflex (didn't know any better) and I find that most people do just the same, as they think they don't have time to roast them or that it's too complicated etc... If you're anything like me, you get a real kick out of WASTING AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. I feel very strongly about waste, especially food waste so when I find something to do with an item that I previously threw away, it makes me very happy. I promise it's so easy and only takes a few extra seconds to save the seeds when scooping them out.

     

    In fact, it doesn't take any extra time, it's just about remembering that rather than scooping them into the bin, scoop them straight into your baking tray where your squash (or pumpkin) will be cooked. And then season with olive oil and spices (exactly the same way as you do the squash) and place in oven to roast. You may need to watch that they don't burn as they do require less time in the oven than the squash, so just be mindful that they will need to be removed after about 20 minutes or so. They will swell up, look all puffed up and golden brown. These seeds will be so crunchy and delicious, especially if you use the hot smoked paprika as per the recipe below.

     

    These seeds just taste amazing and for me really bring this meal together, as they provide a gorgeous texture contrast which all good food should have. I love meals that explode with colour, dance with multiple textures and perhaps even play with different temperatures (for those days when one is feeling a bit more adventurous). Hope you enjoy this meal and remember to save your squash and pumpkin seeds so you can roast them! 

     

    Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini Quinoa

    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients:

    2 small butternut squash (if cooking as a vegetarian main, otherwise 1 will do for 2 as a side)

    seeds reserved from squash, spiced and roasted

    1 cup of quinoa

    2 tb of tahini

    few glugs olive oil

    sprinkle of hot smoked paprika

    sprinkle of sea salt

    sprinkle of pepper

    fresh rosemary

    1/2 lemon, squeezed

    fresh coriander and parsley

     

     

    Instructions:

     

    1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Save the seeds. Place the halves face up and seeds in a baking tray in the oven drizzled with loads of olive oil, hot smoked paprika, salt, fresh rosemary and pepper. The exact duration needed to cook your squash will depend on its size.

     

    2. Chop garlic cloves into thin slices. After about 20 minutes, take the tray out. Seeds should be done by now, remove them if they look plump, crunchy and totally golden brown. The flesh should have softened nicely by then, make diagonal indentations in the flesh of the squash and insert the garlic cloves in the indentations. You may want to drizzle a bit more olive oil into the nooks and crannies to ensure it is soft and seasoned throughout. And put back in the oven for another 20 minutes or so.

     

    3. While it cooks make the quinoa. Simply place the quinoa in a saucepan with just over double the amount of boiling water plus a drizzling of apple cider vinegar and some herbs and sea salt. Bring to boil and reduce and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. At this point stir in the two tablespoons of tahini and the lemon juice.

     

    4. Place quinoa on the squash in the hole where seeds used to be and sprinkle with roasted squash seeds and fresh coriander and parsley. Serve with side salad like tabbouleh or an avocado puree. 

  • PEAR & POM BUCKWHEAT PORRIDGE

    vegan, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

    Bored of Oat Porridge?

     

    Energising and nutritious, buckwheat is available throughout the year and can be served as an alternative to rice or made into porridge. While many people think that buckwheat is a cereal grain, it is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel making it a suitable substitute for grains for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain gluten. Buckwheat is 100% naturally gluten-free. Buckwheat is also a good source of magnesium and if you've been following me for a while, you know how much I love magnesium. This mineral relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure; the perfect combination for a healthy cardiovascular system.

     

    It's delicious cooked into a porridge with spices and fresh fruit. It has a delightfully distinct nutty taste. I chose to enjoy my buckwheat porridge with pear and pomegranate and I have to say it is a winning combination! What is your favourite porridge recipe? 

     

     

    Buckwheat Porridge
    Serves 4

     

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup whole buckwheat groats
    1 cup water
    pinch of sea salt
    2-3 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp of cinnamon powder
    1 tsp cardamom seeds
    1 vanilla stick or 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste

    serve with fresh fruit salad and any nut/seed milk

     

    Instructions:

    1. Rinse the buckwheat in hot water. Add buckwheat, water and the rest of the ingredients (aside from fresh fruit) in a pot and boil it on low heat for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

     

    2. When the water is gone the porridge should be just about ready. Remove the cinnamon sticks and vanilla stick and serve it with fresh fruit salad, dried fruit and coconut/almond milk. You can re-use the spices the next morning if you rinse them in cold water.

     

    3. Top with fresh fruit, bee pollen and some omega sprinkle (mix of pumpkin, sesame, flax, sunflower, chia, hemp seeds) and a squeeze of raw honey or date syrup. 

  • SUPER GREEN JUICE

    vegan, raw, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

    Juicing your way to health!

    Check out my Guide to Buying a Juicer

     

    Incorporating fresh juices, especially vegetable juices, into your lifestyle is a life-affirming, health-enhancing and mood-boosting ritual. Drinking fresh juices will have such a positive effect on your energy levels, skin and overall health. Juicing is a process which extracts water and nutrients from fruits and vegetables and discards the fibre. It makes the nutrients more readily available to the body in much larger quantities than if you were to eat the fruits and vegetables whole.

     

    Freshly squeezed vegetable juices form part of most healing and detoxification programs because they are so nutrient rich and nourish and restore the body at a cellular level. Many of us have impaired digestion which reduces our body's ability to absorb nutrients from vegetables. Fresh juices go directly into your bloodstream and are therefore considered a 15 minute nutrient express to health. However, store-bought juices contain virtually no nutrients due to the pasteurisation process.

     

    Another great reason to juice is that many of us eat the same vegetables and fruits every day or worse, don't eat any on a regular basis! With juicing, you can enjoy a wide variety of vegetables that you perhaps don't enjoy eating whole. For example, beetroot and celery aren't my best friends when it comes to eating them whole, but when juiced they are absolutely delicious! Juicing is also the perfect way to consume the recommended daily serving of vegetables in a glass.

     

    An important warning here: when you remove fibre, the liquid juice is absorbed into your blood stream quickly. If you are only juicing fruits, this would cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and unstable blood sugar levels can lead to mood swings, energy loss and memory problems. So focus on vegetable juices! There are several sweeter vegetables such as beetroots and carrots that help to sweeten the juice and make it delicious!

     

    Also, It’s best not to combine fruits with starchy vegetables like carrots, beetroots, broccoli and courgette (unless it's apple). This can affect how well your digestive enzymes function. In his book Food Combining Made Easy, Dr. Herbert Shelton explains that starchy foods have to be eaten alone because starches are digested with enzymes different from those used for any other food group. Combining starchy foods with fruit may cause fermentation and gas. However, Dr. Shelton found that green leafy vegetables combine well with pretty much everything. So keep adding berries and just about any fruit with kale and spinach in your green smoothies. 

      

    After regularly consuming freshly pressed vegetable juices, which are highly alkalising, you will experience improved energy levels, digestion and mental clarity, clearer skin, and an overall sense of wellbeing. See my recipe below for my favourite super green juice made up of kale, celery, broccoli, cucumber, ginger and lemon. If this is too green (not sweet enough) for you, either add a dash of raw honey to the mix or juice an apple (ideally a green one) for the added sweetness.

     

    Super Green Juice
    15 minutes
    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients

    1 handful of kale
    3 celery stalks
    half a head of broccoli
    half a cucumber
    an inch of ginger
    quarter of a lemon

     

    Instructions

    1. Wash all your vegetables. No need to peel anything. Chop your ingredients to the size you need for them to fit in your juicer.
    2. Juice away.
    3. Enjoy!
    4. If it's too green (not sweet enough), add a dash of raw honey. Or you can juice an apple and/or pear (ideally a green apple) to the juicing mix for a sweeter taste.

     

     

  • SUPERFOOD CHIA SEED PUDDING

    vegan, raw, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

    The Chia Champion

     

    I often look back and remember that chia seeds were actually the trigger that sparked my real food journey. About this time last year, I was really itching for a healthier lifestyle (partying too hard, not sleeping enough and not eating well) so I looked to nutrition as the place to start. I remembered hearing about chia seeds and curious to find out more about, I stumbled upon the super Jessica Ainscough's blog which inspired me; her voice echoed everything I felt about ending our tortured relationship with food from deprivation to indulgence to guilt and instead being able to enjoy every mouthful. 

     

    I find this is the main reason why people put off being healthy: they don't where to start. We are overwhelmed by the amount of information out there; and we feel judged that what we are doing is not good enough or that what we are doing is wrong so we put up our defenses in an attempt to protect our ego. Most of us know what we're doing isn't working, but we are afraid of the unknown and feel that asking for help might be a sign of weakness, so instead we hold on to what we know, as we think it makes us right and thus strong. But as the Taoists say: "accept disgrace willingly". There is great blessing in admitting defeat as this is what allows for transformation and new beginnings.

     

    This is why a lot of people who have experienced adversity in the form of disease are also the ones who have embraced a path of wellness so wholeheartedly and can experience such joy. When faced with a debilitating physical disease, one is forced to abandon any attachment to their previous ways and admit defeat; those who let go can experience profound transformation, which is why they become such inspirational people!

     

    This is also precisely why diets don't work, they are doomed to fail by their prescriptive nature of a start and end. This implies a built-in acceptance that one will revert to their old ways after the diet is "over". Diets are just temporary plasters attempting to cure the physical symptoms rather the cause. A diet focuses on the results (Destination) so you forget to enjoy the process (Journey). My real food lifestyle is all about enjoying the journey; this way of life was so compelling for me when I realised it was ALL enjoyable, I never deprive myself of the food I love, because I love food that is good for me. I have actually completely lost my appetite for processed, refined and artificial foods. Some of you know exactly what I mean, whilst others are sceptical. This is normal. Don't worry, give yourself time and try something new every day. I promise if you give it a go, you too will slowly discover how delicious healthy food can be.

     

    So on that note, here is an easy and delicious recipe to make chia seed pudding. Chia is the most incredible superfood; it contains calcium, manganese and phosphorus, and is a great source of healthy omega-3 fats. With more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, a wealth of antioxidants and minerals, a complete source of protein and more fibre than flax seed, this tiny black seed is a veritable nutrition powerhouse! It is incredibly versatile, you can basically add it into anything as it doesn't really have a flavour; it just absorbs the flavours around it. Chia seeds can be enjoyed every day, sprinkled on cereal, thrown into smoothies, tossed in salads or you can try this delicious and so-quick-to-make Superfood Chia Seed Pudding. With the maca, lucuma and raw cacao, this becomes a truly energy-packed and delicious dessert or breakfast. (FYI: Ocado usually have great deals on Naturya superfood powders, so might be worth a look).

     

    12 Reasons to Eat Chia Seeds Everyday

    1. Chia is gluten free

    2. It is super high in dietary fibre, making it great for digestion and healing digestion issues.

    3. It contains 20% Omega 3 ALA, making it a super food for the brain and heart. Chia has eight times more Omega 3 than salmon!

    4. It boasts 20% protein and is one of the only complete plant-based protein sources with all 8 essential amino acids

    5. It is high in antioxidants (It has a four times higher ORAC value than blueberries)

    6. Chia contains five times more calcium than milk

    7. Chia contains seven times more vitamin C than oranges

    8. It contains three times more iron than spinach

    9. It contains twice the potassium content of banana

    10. It is food for healthy skin, hair and nails

    11. It has a positive impact balancing blood glucose levels (making it particularly good for diabetics)

    12. Chia makes a great egg replacement. Just combine with water to form a gel, and add it to recipes that call for egg.

     

    Superfood Chia Seed Pudding

    Serves 1
    Total Time: 5 minutes

     

    Ingredients

    3 tbs of chia seeds
    1 cup of nut milk or coconut water
    1 tsp lucuma
    1 tsp of maca
    1 tsp raw cacao powder
    1 tb of maple syrup, raw honey or coconut sugar
    Handful of frozen or fresh berries
    Sprinkling of cacao nibs
    Few mint leaves

     

    Instructions

    1. Place chia seeds and almond milk in a bowl and whisk until milk gets slightly frothy.

     

    2. Stir in all the superfood powders and natural sweetener and whisk to mix throughout.

     

    3. Place in the fridge for a few hours (you can leave overnight) to let the chia seeds expand and the pudding will set.

     

    4. Garnish with frozen berries, cacao nibs and few mint leaves.

     

    5. Enjoy your superfood dessert, a good dessert that you can enjoy even when detoxing! 

     

  • WARM SUPERFOOD NOODLE SALAD

    vegan, gluten free, dairy free

    Healthy Lunch at Work Series: Part 2

    (also a Guest Post at Health Rebelution

     

    I'm very excited to share with you the second post in my Healthy Lunch at Work Series. The response from the first one was so positive that it seems like I am not the only one thinking about new ways to eat healthily (and deliciously) whilst juggling a busy lifestyle. This is designed for working people who want to maintain their healthy eating habits at work. I hear a lot of friends and colleagues tell me they just don't know what to do or where to start, so they just end up buying lunch from Tesco (gasp). This warm noodle salad recipe is full of healthy fats, wholegrain fibre and lots of fresh vegetables bursting with vitamins and minerals, the perfect way to stay energised throughout the afternoon!

     

    This is the ideal "I-literally-have-no-time-to-make-packed-lunches-the-night-before" kind of lunch, and just requires grabbing whatever fresh vegetables you have in your fridge that morning as you run out the door, that's it! You will also need to stock up on a few healthy essentials beforehand and then your "office larder" is all good to go. It's very simple; just make sure you have the following items at your desk in order to prepare this lunch in under 10 minutes:

     

    - buckwheat noodles or brown rice noodles
    - dried Asian mushrooms (any Asian supermarket)
    - olive oil
    - sesame oil
    - tamari
    - apple cider vinegar
    - mixed seeds and nuts

    - chilli flakes

     

    All of these items can just remain at your desk as they are non-perishable, which is what makes this dish so easy and hassle-free! As a health-conscious individual, I'm totally anti-microwave at home, but the realities of working a 9-5 job and the unforgiving English weather, mean that sometimes a warm lunch is just necessary. So unless your office has a hob, you will need a microwave to cook the noodles. King Soba offers a wide variety of inexpensive organic wheat-free and gluten-free buckwheat and brown rice noodles; they have unusual and fun varieties such as Sweet Potato & Buckwheat Noodles as well as Pumpkin & Ginger Brown Rice Noodles

     

    This is a very exciting addition to my repertoire of simple and delicious meals that can be made in under 10 minutes and will usually have your colleagues drooling over it. After the noodles have cooked, all you need to do is throw in all the fresh vegetables and season with the dressing, resulting in a warm superfood noodle salad with subtle Asian flavours. This is the perfect spring dish, as you've still got the warmth from the noodles with all the freshness and zing of a summer salad. Ever since I got back to London last week, I've noticed the days getting longer and the sun just seems a little bit brighter (when it's shining, of course). I know it's early March but it seems like spring is softly poking its head out from under the blanket of winter. So here you go, hope you enjoy the recipe for this delicious and moreish Warm Asian Superfood Noodle Salad as much as I do.

     

     

    Warm Superfood Noodle Salad

    Serves 1

    Prep time: 10 minutes

     

    Ingredients:
    1 pack of buckwheat or brown rice noodles
    1 small avocado (or 1/2 medium avocado)
    handful of fresh spinach, rocket, kale or any soft greens
    1/2 a red bell pepper (optional)
    1/2 cucumber (optional)
    2-3 dried Asian mushrooms
    fresh coriander
    mixed seeds
    juice of quarter fresh lime or 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
    1 tb of sesame oil
    1 tb of olive oil
    1 tb tamari
    cashew chunks (optional)

     

    Instructions:
    1. Soak the Asian mushrooms in a mug of boiling water half an hour before you start doing anything else, this allows them to soak up the moisture and plump up nicely.


    2. After half an hour, drain the water and slice the mushrooms thinly.


    3. Place a portion of noodles in a rectangular tupper ware and cover with boiling water and microwave for 2 minutes or as per packet instructions (If you have some cruciferous vegetables that you prefer cooked such as kale or broccoli, then throw them in with the noodles to blanch them).


    4. Whilst noodles are cooking, cube the avocado, red pepper and/or cucumber (or whatever you have that day).


    5. Drain noodles but not completely, save a little water (this helps keep the noodles lubricated, perfect for a slippery salad). Place noodles in a bowl and mix avocado, red pepper, cucumber, spinach, chopped kale and sliced mushrooms.


    6. Drizzle with olive oil, sesame oil, tamari, a squeeze of lime (if no lime, then apple cider vinegar adds a lovely touch of citrus), chilli flakes and sprinkle with mixed seeds (I had some cashew chunks so threw some in for extra crunch).


    7. Garnish with fresh coriander.


    8. Enjoy!

  • BANANA BREAD MUFFINS

    gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

    The Truth on Gluten-Free

     

    These muffins are so delicious and so easy to make! They are also totally gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free morsels of goodness. They are super bouncy, sticky and moreish and don't taste "gluten-free" at all! They are also good for you as a little breakfast treat, a healthy snack or a hearty dessert!

     

    These divine little muffins were created as an impromptu dessert to accompany our TV series Friday night in (Olly was actually the mastermind behind this recipe). His ideas and my execution… Often the way our little team works. And I was amazed at how easy and quick they were to make. I decided to try making them with gram (chickpea) flour and WOW it really is the miracle ingredient in gluten-free baking (see my recipe for Gluten-Free Brownies that also uses gram flour for the most delicious, squishy, chocolatey brownies). Not only is gram flour, naturally gluten-free, it is also high in protein and folate and it is significantly cheaper than other gluten-free flours. I have found that most other gluten-free flours are either too dense, too flavoursome or too… well frankly quite unpleasant (and heavily processed)!

     

    Beware of your average white gluten-free flours, as they usually contain a combination of potato, tapioca, corn or white rice. None of these are particularly nutritious and all have quite a high GI so try to avoid these and instead opt for organic gram flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, coconut flour or any nut flour (such as ground almonds). If you are not gluten-intolerant (like me), it is actually wheat that you should watch out for more than gluten. And then you have the option of using rye and spelt flours which are totally wheat-free and taste absolutely amazing in breads and cakes. 

     

    A lot of people think that "gluten-free" is synonymous to healthy. But this couldn't be further from the truth… Most store-bought gluten-free products are filled with added sugars and preservatives to make them look and feel like their gluten-filled counterparts. Moreover, traditional gluten-free flours are often heavily processed and contain refined starches that have a high GI and low nutritional content. To highlight this point, my herbal nutritionist who has a sensitivity to wheat and gluten (not Celiac's disease, just to be clear) will, when eating out, choose the "normal" bread over the gluten-free version due to the highly processed nature of these alternatives. She reports having had worse reactions on the gluten-free version of restaurant-made or store-bought cakes, pizza bases and breads than to the original. So just stay informed, see what works for you but please please please avoid store-bought cakes (gluten-free or gluten-full) and make them yourself!

    Happy Banana Bread Baking!

     

    Banana Bread Muffins
    Makes about 9 muffins
    Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

     

    Ingredients:

    3 overripe organic bananas
    1/2 cup of gram flour
    1/2 cup of gluten-free muesli
    1/2 cup of almond flour (or wholegrain spelt flour if you are not gluten-intolerant)
    1 egg (or chia egg for vegans)
    1/2 cup of coconut sugar
    1/2 cup of plant milk 
    1 tsp of vanilla essence or paste
    1 tsp of cinnamon
    1 tb of coconut oil
    2 tb nut butter (I prefer almond or cashew)
    1 tsp of gluten free bicarbonate of soda
    Optional:
    Frozen berries

     

    Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven at 180C/350F.

     

    2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.

     

    3. Mash the bananas and mix with dry ingredients. Mix in egg (or chia egg) and all the rest of the wet ingredients and whisk so that you can a nice smooth batter.

     

    4a. Line muffin pan with baking cases and pour the batter in each baking case two-thirds full.

    OR

    4b. If you would like the same effect as in the photo, you will need the frozen berries. Pour the batter in each muffin cup until 1/3 full and then place a few frozen berries in the centre and then cover with more batter till 2/3 full.

     

    5. Place in oven for about 25-30 minutes or until muffins spring back when lightly tapped.

  • SWEET POTATO FRIES & CASHEW AIOLI

    vegan, gluten free, dairy free

    Hello Sweet Potato!

     

    Sweet potatoes are quite new in my food repertoire as I never grew up eating them. So until recently, they were not something I chose to buy as I didn't really know what to do with them. But I am so totally in LOVE with them now! They are so delicious and versatile. Did you know that they work splendidly as an egg replacement in cakes? (Recipe on that will follow soon in another post). In their simplest form, they roast beautifully in the oven to make these delightful sweet potato fries, the perfect side dish to any meal. They are especially delicious smothered in coconut oil, sea salt, hot smoked paprika and rosemary... so divine!

     

    And the even sweeter news is that they not only taste good, but they are also packed with health-boosting properties, as they are full of antioxidants, beta-carotene and high levels of magnesium, the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in Europe may be deficient in this important mineral. In fact, according to the compelling work of Dr. Carolyn Dean in her book The Magnesium Miraclemany common ailments, such as migraines, cramps and restless leg syndrome could in fact be due to a magnesium deficiency and could be eased with magnesium supplements and of course a magnesium-rich diet. 

     

    Their bright orange flesh is also so appealing and beautiful on a plate of a food. You know how much I love my (naturally) colourful food. The sun has been shining lots in London recently, which has made me feel all sunny and colourful in return and have been feeling drawn to bright-coloured foods like sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, avocados, beetroot and carrots. What are your favourite colourful foods?

     

     

     

    Sweet Potato Fries with Cashew Aioli

    Serves 2

    Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 1h10 minutes

     

    Ingredients:

    2 large sweet potatoes

    1 tb of hot smoked paprika

    about a dozen sticks of fresh rosemary

    few tbs of coconut oil

    pinch of sea salt

     

     

    Instructions:

    1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/390F.

     

    2. Wash the sweet potatoes and cut into wedges, as thick or thin as you like, for best results I would suggest about an inch thick. Place the wedges onto a baking tray and smother them in a generous amount of coconut oil, salt and hot smoked paprika. Use your hands to mix it all together, ensuring every part of the sweet potato has some oil and spices on it. Then place the rosemary sticks on top.

     

    3. Bake for about an hour (or to your desired consistency), although they will need to be turned over once or twice whilst cooking to make sure that they’re evenly cooked. Once they are perfectly soft and tender, dig in and enjoy perhaps dipped in some Cashew Aioli or homemade guacamole!

     

    Creamy Cashew Aioli

    Serves 2

    Total Time: 5 mins

     

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight)
    1/2 cup water
    1 small clove garlic
    1/4 lemon (juice, flesh and rind)
    1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    1/4 tsp organic sea salt
    1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)

     

    Instructions:

    1. Drain and rinse your cashews, then add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend for 2-3 minutes until super creamy, scraping down the sides a few times in between to push down any chunks.


    2. Pour into a sealed glass jar and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. It will thicken beautifully in the fridge.

  • SPRING VEG BOX NOODLE SALAD

    vegan, gluten free, dairy free

    Healthy Lunch at Work Series: Part 3

     

    Spring is here and here's another Noodle Salad recipe! I'm gathering from social media and previous posts that these Healthy Lunch at Work Series recipes are wildly popular with you, so thought I would share my latest noodle salad creation. This is simply a variation of my Warm Asian Noodle Salad with a few different ingredients (ie. basically the vegetables I received in my Abel & Cole veg box this week: carrots, leeks and kale), but essentially it's the same principle:

     

    Bain-Marie's Noodle Salad Formula

    Brown Rice/Buckwheat Noodles + Fresh Veg + Avocado + Asian Dressing + Mixed Seeds/Nuts

     

    Whilst I was eating this lunch, one of my colleagues walking by me actually stopped me mid-conversation (very politely, of course) to ask me where I bought my lunch from because it looked so delicious and she wanted to get the same thing. This was the most awesome thing to be interrupted for! I cheerily proceeded to tell her I'd actually just whipped this up in our office kitchen in under 10 minutes and would be happy to show her how. Happy days! :) 

     

    Feel free to experiment with your favourite veg. It's such a fun, delicious, nutritious and comforting lunch! In this version, I have included Shiitake mushrooms (always on my desk in dried form), chopped kale, leeks and julienned carrots. I prefer Julienning carrots into beautiful long spaghetti-like strips, much nicer texture, flavour and appearance than simply slicing them in small discs. However, this does require having a Julienne Peeler. If you don't have one I highly suggest buying one, as it is such an amazing and inexpensive kitchen tool that will revolutionise what you can do with vegetables, especially courgettes and carrots. I may have to get another one just for work... the things I will be able to have for lunch now... oh wow getting very excited about a whole new world of possibilities!

     

    I've been having a different version almost every day this week, depending on what veg I grab from the fridge in the morning. A few evenings ago, I grated too much beetroot for a salad I was making that night, so I popped the extra grated beetroot in a tupperware and threw it in my noodle salad the next day along with some greens and mushrooms (I was so hungry that day I didn't manage to take a photo). But I promise it was very pretty and pink; I will share it with you next time. 

     

     Until then, happy Noodle Salad making and please share your creations with me via Email, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #bainmarieblog.  Always fabulous to see what you real foodies are creating! 

      

     

     

    Veg Box Noodle Salad

    Serves 1

    Prep time: 10 minutes

     

    Ingredients:
    1 pack of organic buckwheat or brown rice noodles
    1/2 medium avocado, cubed
    handful of fresh greens (I used kale today), finely chopped
    1/2 carrot, julienned
    1/2 leek, sliced
    2-3 dried Asian mushrooms, soaked and sliced (you can also use fresh shiitake mushrooms) 

    fresh herbs (optional)

     

    Dressing:
    juice of quarter lemon or 1 tb of apple cider vinegar
    1 tb of sesame oil
    1 tb of olive oil
    1 tb tamari

    1 tsp of miso

     

    Extra Fun Toppings:

    mixed seeds 
    cashew chunks 

    chilli flakes

     

    Instructions:
    1. Soak the Asian mushrooms in a mug of boiling water gills facing down half an hour before you start doing anything else, this allows them to soak up the moisture and plump up nicely, ready to be sliced.

     

    2. After half an hour, drain the water and slice the mushrooms thinly. 

     

    3. Place a portion of noodles in a rectangular tupper ware and cover with boiling water. Add kale, carrots, mushrooms and leeks into the boiling water and make sure it is all immersed in hot water. Microwave for 2 minutes or until noodles are cooked to your liking, I like them quite al dente not mushy. 

     

    4. Whilst noodles are cooking, cube the avocado and prepare the dressing by mixing all ingredients in a small bowl.

     

    5. Remove tupperware from microwave and drain noodles and veg. Place noodles and veg in a bowl and add avocado.

     

    6. Drizzle with the dressing.

     

    7. Sprinkle with chilli flakes, mixed seeds and cashews.

     

    8. Enjoy!

     

  • WILD GARLIC & MUSHROOM QUINOTTO

    vegan, gluten free, dairy free

    Risotto Has a New Kooky Cousin in Town: Quinotto

     

    Last weekend, we stumbled upon these gorgeous mushrooms and this vibrantly green wild garlic at Queen's Park Farmers Market and couldn't wait to cook them up into something special. Mushrooms and garlic are one of my all-time favourite flavour combinations. Olly suggested I make a risotto which was a great idea except that we had run out of any suitable rice to make risotto. Woops! I then remembered a few recipes I'd seen on my extensive recipe reading and thought let's make a quinotto! Some people read trashy magazines, some read cheesy romance novels, some play video games, I read countless recipe books and food blogs! I must read hundreds of recipes per week, out of interest, to inspire myself, to oogle at beautiful creations and to discover new flavour combinations...

     

    A quinotto recipe caught my eye a few months ago and this was the perfect time to experiment! I remember the recipes calling for heavy cream or double cream, as the big difference with quinoa is that it does not release starch to create that creamy texture that risotto rice does. However, I chose not to add the cream as 1. didn't have any 2. it tasted amazing and luxurious as is 3. it was healthier and lighter this way! Hope you enjoy the result as much as I did.

     

    Just in case you needed more of a reason to eat mushrooms, did you know that mushrooms contain some of the most potent natural medicines on the planet? Mushrooms are full of immune boosting properties and have been linked to lowering the risk of certain cancers. It is hugely important, however, to eat only organically grown mushrooms because they absorb and concentrate whatever they grow in- the good, the bad and the ugly, which is in turn what gives mushrooms their potency. Mushrooms are known to concentrate heavy metals, as well as air and water pollutants, so healthy growing conditions is a critical factor for healthy mushrooms. GO ORGANIC!

     

     

     

    Wild Garlic and Mushroom Quinotto

    Total Time: 25 minutes
    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients:
    350g mixed mushrooms, cultivated or wild, chopped into bite sized chunks (shiitake, chanterelle, chestnut, girolle, oyster)
    few knobs of butter (or coconut oil for vegans)
    1 cup of organic quinoa
    1 litre of organic mushroom stock (if you can't find any use organic vegetable stock)
    1 onion, sliced
    few cloves of garlic, minced

    handful of fresh spinach, chopped

    sea salt, to taste
    ground black pepper
    a bunch of wild garlic or garlic shoots, chopped 
    handful of grated pecorino or manchego cheese (or 2 tsp of nutritional yeast for vegans) 
     

    Instructions:
    1. Melt the butter or coconut oil in a pan, add the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Place 1 mushroom stock cube in 500ml of fresh filtered water in a pot and heat until just simmering making sure the stock dissolves throughout (or ideally make your own).

     

    2. Once mushrooms and onions are mostly cooked, add the quinoa to the pan. 

     

    3. Now start adding the stock, one ladleful at a time, only adding the next ladleful when the last one has been absorbed. 

     

    4. When the quinoa has been cooking for about 15 mins, keep tasting it until it reaches your desired consistency. 

     

    5. Towards the end fold the chopped spinach through the quinotto.

     

    6. Take the quinotto off the heat, sprinkle with finely chopped wild garlic/ garlic shoots. 

  • CLEANSING BEETROOT JUICE

    vegan, raw, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

    Beautiful, Beautifying Beetroot

     

    Beetroot has never been a close friend of mine in the kitchen (until recently). It's quite a scary and unapproachable vegetable, especially if you don't know what to do with it, but juicing is the perfect way to use beetroot! I've been reading lots lately about how vegetable juices are such powerful health-enhancers and far superior to fruit juices, as pure fruit juices spike your sugar levels too quickly.

     

    I've also been investigating the subject of food pairing and how certain fruits should not mix with certain vegetables in juices. I like my juices (and smoothies) with a little sweetness, so at first this news was disconcerting. I can drink green juice that is purely veggie green but it's not so fun. I like to keep things fun and delicious! I never want this lifestyle to become a chore or something I have to do. I want to enjoy every minute of it. And here is the solution! Beetroot is a naturally sweet vegetable as is a carrot! Both are delicious juiced for a sweet and pure vegetable juice.

     

    So what was that about food pairing? Well the consensus seems to be that apples and pears are the only fruit that should really mix with vegetables in juices, HOORAH! And thankfully spinach and kale can be paired with any fruit. If you are interested in finding out more, the folks at Food Matters provide a concise summary on the subject. Hope this helps and hope you enjoy this deliciously cleansing and energising beetroot, spinach, cucumber and ginger juice. 

     

    Check out my Guide to Buying a Juicer

     

     

     

    Energising Beetroot, Spinach and Ginger Juice

    Serves 1

     

     

    Ingredients:

    1 beetroot

    half a cucumber

    2 sticks of celery

    2 carrots

    handful of spinach

    an inch of ginger

     

     

    Instructions:

     

    1. Peel beetroot and wash all the other fruits and vegetables.

     

    2. Cut the fruits and vegetables into chunks that will fit into your juicer aperture.

     

    3. Juice and enjoy!   

  • LEMONGRASS COCONUT NOODLE SOUP

    vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free

    Vegan Spicy Coconut Noodle Soup

    A Beautiful Marriage between Vietnam's Pho and Thailand's Tom Kha

     

    Though the weather is warming up in London, I still love a spicy noodle soup. After all, nothing beats slurping a laksa noodle soup in the sweltering Malaysian heat. This Cambodian-style noodle soup is a gorgeous addition to my repertoire of delicious, warming, spicy noodle soups thanks to the folks at Green Kitchen Stories! It is simply divine and perfect for a light dinner. With my busy working life, fitting everything in can be quite challenging. Unless I go to yoga at 7am before work, I go to yoga at 7pm meaning that I often only get home at 9pm making it very late for dinner. I often make a huge batch of this early in the week for a few subsequent post-yoga late dinners. I can't tell you what a nourishing and delicious meal this is after a workout. 

     

    Aside from its beautiful aroma and taste, lemongrass is also a powerful medicinal herb known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. It is packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants that can prevent damage to cells. One flavonoid in lemongrass called luteolin has such strong anti-inflammatory abilities that it may be able to treat some symptoms of multiple sclerosis, as well as lung infections or acute lung injury. Cool stuff! Lemongrass just got even cooler. And of course, our good old friend the coconut provides an abundance of heart-healthy fats and skin-invigorating minerals. So eat and drink your way to an even more beautiful and healthier you with this delicious noodle soup! 

     

     

    Lemongrass and Coconut Noodle Soup

    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients:

    1 litre / 4 cups of vegetable broth
    3 stalks of lemongrass
    3 cloves garlic, peeled
    5 cm / 2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled
    1/2 small green chilli
    1 tb honey
    1 tsp sea salt

    1 can (usually 400 ml) full fat organic coconut milk

    handful of tenderstem or purple sprouting broccoli, sliced

    handful of mushrooms (ideally shiitake or oyster), sliced

    brown rice or buckwheat (soba) noodles for 2 people

    To serve:
    lime wedges
    1 handful mung bean sprouts (100 g)
    1 handful coriander/cilantro or thai basil and/or fresh mint leaves

     

    Instructions:

    1. Heat your vegetable broth in a large pot (ideally make your own, otherwise use an organic vegetable stock cube with freshly filtered water).

     

    2. Finely chop lemongrass, garlic, ginger and chili. If you have a pestle and mortar, pound the mixture to release the aromas of the spices.

     

    3. Pour the spice mixture into the boiling vegetable broth, add the honey and salt and let simmer on medium heat with a lid on for 30 minutes.

     

    4. Strain the broth with a colander to remove the spices. Add broccoli and mushrooms and allow them to blanch in boiling broth.

     

    5. Add the full can of coconut milk and let simmer for a few minutes on low heat.

     

    6. Cook noodles in a separate pot, according to the instructions on the package. Drain and divide the noodles equally into 2 bowls. Cover with broth and add a squeeze of lime and garnish with fresh coriander / thai basil / mint and black sesame seeds (if you have them). 

  • KOREAN SWEET POTATO NOODLES

    vegan, gluten free, dairy free

    Gleeful Bowlful of Glass Noodles

     

    Thanks to an awesome (and oh so thoughtful) birthday present from a lovely friend, I recently splurged on souschef.co.uk on lots of difficult-to-find Asian delicacies that I really miss such as different types of seaweed and sweet potato glass noodles. The latter are a type of glass noodle that form the basis of this classic Korean vegetarian noodle dish japchae. Noodles give rise to many heated debates. Did Marco Polo bring them from Italy to China or did he discover them in China and bring them back to Italy? Carbon dating of the world’s oldest noodle suggests that the first noodle originated in China 4,000 years ago- mi dispiace cari amici.

     

     

    And are glass noodles and rice noodles the same? Contrary to popular belief, NO! Rice noodles are white, opaque and certainly not glass-like. Though they are indeed a staple all around Asia- rice sticks used in Pad Thai, rice vermicelli used to stuff Vietnamese summer rolls and divine rice rolls known as cheong fan that grace most southern Chinese tables as an essential component of dim sum; rice noodles are not glass noodles.

      

     

    So what are glass noodles, you ask? Glass noodles are made from vegetable starch, most commonly mung bean, sweet potato or pea. They are semi-translucent when dry and truly glass-like with a greyish hue when cooked. Though both rice and glass noodles are gluten-free, glass noodles are even more nutritious (and thus better for you), as not grain-based, thus paleo-friendly and lower GI! Hip hip hooray for glass noodles! They can easily be found in most Asian supermarkets.

     

     

    This dish reminds me of our days studying in Beijing, especially the streets of Wudaokou, the university district in Beijing, that were teeming with Koreans and Korean restaurants. This was when and where we discovered that Korean food was totally amazing! We used to have japchae for lunch regularly. Before our Beijing adventure, we both didn't really get Korean food. We thought Korean food was essentially just kimchi and barbecued meats, but how we were wrong! And so began a wondrous discovery of unique and inventive dishes with interesting textures, colours and flavours. Oh and if you didn't know yet, we are totally obsessed with kimchi now! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

     

     

     

    Korean Sweet Potato Noodles

    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients:
    100g sweet potato glass noodles 
    2 tb sesame oil
    1 white onion, thinly sliced
    2 spring onion (white and green parts), chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained, and sliced
    2 small carrots, julienned
    1 small courgette / zucchini, julienned
    2 cups spinach leaves
    2 tb tamari
    2 tsp rice vinegar
    1 tsp coconut sugar or 1 tsp maple syrup
    1 tb black sesame seeds

    1 tb gochujang (optional) 

    sea salt to taste

     

    Instructions:

    1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the noodles for about 5 minutes until al dente. Drain, rinse under cold water, and set aside.

     

    2. Heat the sesame oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, and courgette, and stir fry until softened for about 5 minutes.

     

    3. Add the spinach, noodles, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. Turn the heat down to low and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Turn off heat, toss in the sesame seeds and sprinkle with spring onions. Season to taste with sea salt.

     

    4. Serve hot or cold. Enjoy!

  • PALEO BREAD

    vegan, gluten free, dairy free, grain free, refined sugar free

    Mummy's Paleo Bread

    Guest Post by Chan Cudennec, my mummy and Founder of SOL Wellness

     

     

    Today I'm sharing a guest post by my awesome Mummy who has undoubtedly been my primary inspiration when it comes to all food and health matters. Before I share her recipe for Paleo Bread with you, here is a little nod of appreciation to my mum and her "weird super-healthy food", which I now realise (finally) is not so weird but totally amazing!

     

    My little bro and I were very lucky to be brought up in a family where home-cooked meals with real, fresh ingredients were the norm. Every meal contained a salad full of green leaves, herbs and live sprouts. "Eww I hate cilantro!" I remember saying as a spoiled teenager every time one of her gorgeously green live salads graced the dinner table when we lived in the US (hence the Americanism). Little did we know that I would become a coriander-loving wellness warrior just a few years later and... (well yes) start writing a health food blog.

     

    Though we always loved the home-cooked meals, we weren't the biggest fans of "weird" raw crackers, beans growing tails (sprouts), and fermented-fungus water (kombucha)! Our desire to conform and fit in with our peers made us yearn longingly for Kraft Mac n' Cheese and other processed horrors of the like. HAHA! Despite being super passionate (and sometimes lovingly pushy) about her newfound love of raw food, she was never militant about it and allowed us to dip in and out of the processed, junky crap with our friends and her beautifully crafted live raw foods at home. The choice eventually became evident… but it did take years.

     

    Needless to say, I can't thank her enough for the amazing real food upbringing she gave us. And though I resisted most of her "weird raw food stuff" for years, I have passively benefitted from her passion for healing foods and dedication in the kitchen, which has resulted in me becoming equally passionate (and sometimes lovingly pushy with those around me... whoops, note to self: need to work on that).

     

    What I love now is that we can exchange stories about our gluten-free, green juicing, paleo-embracing adventures! More than ever, I appreciate just how amazing it is to have been brought up in a home that placed such importance on real, natural, whole, raw, living and fermented foods. Thank you Mummy!

     

    And if you have ever doubted the effectiveness of clean eating, my lovely mother is a living and breathing paragon of youthful radiance and boundless energy at age 60 (see photo below). I think everyone would want to know how to look like that at 60 and this has been achieved through diet and lifestyle only (not any miracle creams or cosmetic enhancements of any sort)! Rock on raw food and real nutrition!

    ___________________________________________________________

     

    Guest Post by Chan Cudennec, Founder of SOL Wellness

     

    This easy-to-make bread is ready in 50 mins from start to finish. Eating a healthy paleo or candida-free diet means giving up bread but you can still enjoy the ease of toast or a sandwich using almond flour and coconut flour to make this wonderful bread. You can increase texture by adding nutrient-dense pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I adore pumpkin seeds for their taste as well as their rich source of zinc.

     

    Voilà, health and yummy goodness packed into this beautiful loaf!

     

     

    Paleo Bread (gluten-free and grain-free)

    Makes 1 loaf

     

    Ingredients:
    2 cups blanched almond flour
    2 tablespoons coconut flour
    ¼ cup golden flaxmeal

    ¼ cup mixed seeds (Reserve a few to sprinkle on top before baking)
    ¼ teaspoon sea salt
    ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    5 eggs
    1 tablespoon coconut oil
    1 tablespoon raw honey
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

     

     

    Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.


    2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.


    3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs until beaten. Add the coconut oil, honey and vinegar and continue to whisk.


    4. Add the egg mix to the dry ingredients and fold through using a spatula.


    5. Slightly grease a baking loaf tin, line with baking paper and pour dough in.


    6. Sprinkle over the extra seeds and bake at 180C/350F for around 30-40 minutes. The bread should be golden on top and dense to touch.

     

    7. Enjoy your paleo bread!

  • CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA

    vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free

    Cauliflower Crust Pizza (adapted from Green Kitchen Stories)

    Serves 4

     

    Ingredients:

     

    Pizza base
    florets from 1 organic cauliflower
    80 g / 3/4 cup ground almonds 

    1 tb dried oregano
    pinch of sea salt and crack of freshly ground black pepper
    3 organic eggs, beaten (or for vegans measure 1/4 cup of chia seeds into a bowl and add 3/4 cup of fresh filtered water. Stir well and allow chia seeds to expand forming a gel-like texture)

     

    Tomato sauce

    makes around 1 litre / 4 cups

    2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil, raw butter, coconut oil or ghee
    1 white onion, finely chopped
    3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    1/2 tsp chili flakes
    1 x 400 g (14 oz) can whole plum tomatoes
    handful of basil leaves (or 3 tb of frozen basil) 
    sea salt and freshly ground pepper

    1 tsp dried oregano

     

    Topping
    1 courgette, sliced into discs and roasted

    1/2 aubergine, sliced into discs and roasted

    1 pepper, sliced into strips and roasted

    handful of fresh mushrooms, sliced
    2 handfuls of fresh spinach, roughly chopped

    few sun dried tomatoes

    unpasteurised buffalo mozzarella, sliced (optional)

     

    Instructions:


    1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Place the sliced aubergine, courgette, peppers and tenderstem broccoli in a baking tray drizzled in olive oil, salt and pepper and grill for 15-20 minutes (this removes excess moisture to avoid a watery pizza).

     

    2. Place cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse into a rice-like consistency. Mix with almond flour, sea salt, pepper and oregano. 

     

    3. Crack the eggs (or flax egg for vegans) into the cauliflower/ground almond mixture and mix together with your hands until it forms a ball. It will be more loose and sticky than regular pizza dough. 

     

    4. Place baking paper in a baking tray (or use a pizza dish if you have one). Transfer dough onto the baking paper and form into a pizza base by flattening it with your hands.

     

    5. Remove vegetables from the oven and place dough in the oven. Pre-bake for 25 minutes until the crust is golden. 

     

    6. Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce. Heat oil, butter or ghee in a saucepan, add onion, garlic and chilli for a couple of minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper and more oregano. Lower the heat, cover and gently allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. You can choose to leave it chunky or put in a food processor and blend until smooth. 

     

    7. Once your crust is golden, remove from the oven, smother it in tomato sauce and go wild with your toppings, leaving the spinach and mozzarella out. Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven, and finally put spinach and mozzarella and grill until it is melted.

     

    8. Enjoy!

  • WATER KEFIR

    raw, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

    Kefir: The Probiotic Elixir (oh and it's free!)

     

    Ke-what?! Some of you are asking. Well have I got news for you! Kefir is one of these things that come along in life once in a while that seem too good to be true. Kefir is a mega super health drink that is easy and practically free to make at home! So what is kefir?

     

    Kefir is a fermented, cultured and live beverage containing over 35 strains of probiotics, which are the secret to a healthy gut- the building block of overall wellbeing and vitality. Water kefir is made using water kefir grains that can be used to culture water with sugar added to it, juice or coconut water. Milk kefir is made using milk kefir grains to culture dairy or non-dairy milks. In this post, I will be focusing on water kefir.

     

    The term "kefir grains" describes the look of the culture only (see image below), kefir grains don't contain actual "grains" such as wheat, rice or barley, so water kefir is not only raw and vegan-friendly, it is also gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo. (FYI kefir made with dairy milk is not vegan or dairy-free).

     

    So what's the fuss?

     

    Well here we go... Kefir is the ultimate health drink, as it cleanses the intestines, provides beneficial bacteria and yeast as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Kefir is such a balanced and nourishing drink, as it contributes to a healthy immune system and has been used to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes and cancer. Moreover, its calming effect on the nervous system has benefited many who suffer from sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

     

    The regular consumption of kefir can help relieve intestinal disorders, promote bowel movement, reduce flatulence and create a healthier digestive system and thus a flatter tummy and slender figure. In addition, its cleansing effect on the whole body helps to establish a balanced inner ecosystem for optimum health and longevity.

     

    Kefir can also help eliminate unhealthy food cravings by nourishing and balancing the body by allowing a more efficient absorption of essential vitamins and minerals from what we ingest. Its excellent nutritional content offers healing benefits to people in every type of condition. It is also highly recommended for maintaining good health (not just curing an ailment). It is totally suitable for kids, pregnant and nursing women, the elderly, coeliacs and the list goes on...

     

    Happy Kefir Fermenting! Stay tuned for my next class on How to Make Kefir to learn more about this awesome probiotic elixir and also get your own kefir grains (for free as part of the class price)!

     

    See here for a great resource on the topic: Kefir Q&A

     

     

    Water Kefir – The Probiotic Elixir
    Makes 1 litre

     

    Equipment:

    • 1-2 litre glass jar with a wide mouth (good for air circulation and easy to clean)
    • 1 plastic mesh sieve (not metal)
    • plastic funnel
    • 1 litre glass jar with a stopper
    • 1 wooden or plastic spoon (not metal)
    • Water kefir grains (these are translucent, as opposed to milk kefir grains which are white and opaque)
    • Cotton cloth
    • Coconut sugar or maple syrup or other high mineral sugar (not honey)
    • Filtered water

    Instructions:


    In UK-type climates, making kefir takes 7 days in the winter months and around 3 days in summer. In warmer climates like Hong Kong, it takes between 24 hours in winter and as fast as 8 hours in summer.

     

    Kefir grains are living, they change, they have moods, they have different needs at different times – below is a basic recipe, but as you ferment more and more you will find you need to adjust the amounts of sugar and the time. So this is more of a ‘starting guide’ than an exact recipe that must be followed.

     

    Part 1: Starting the Kefir Ferment

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    • Add 1-2 tablespoons of kefir grains
    • Add 2 tablespoons of either coconut sugar or maple syrup (you can even use white sugar as the kefir grains will consume it, there won't actually be sugar left in it)
    • Add 1 litre of filtered water
    • Stir until the sugar is dissolved
    • Add half a fresh lemon or some dried pineapple (optional, the grains like the acidity and it adds a nice taste)
    • Cover with a cotton cloth secured on with a rubber band
    • Place in a warm place – the top of your fridge or washing machine for example
    • Kefir loves to be agitated – move it, shake it, stir it. This is the reason the top of the fridge or washing machine works well, as it will move every time it is used.
    • Taste after 24 hours, after 48 hours, after 72 hours... When it stops tasting sweet, and tastes somewhere between ‘like nothing’ and ‘a bit sour’ it is done!

    OPTIONS: Instead of using water and sugar, you can use coconut water or fresh fruit juice. When you
    use coconut water or fruit juice do not add any sugar, also do not add the lemon. Please note
    that all of these will ferment much faster than water and sugar – so the times will be greatly reduced.


    Part 2 – Straining the Kefir Grains

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    • Place your mesh strainer (not metal) over a 1 litre pitcher or jar – use the plastic funnel under the strainer not to spill your kefir all over the place
    • Strain the kefir water into the bottle, the plastic strainer will catch the grains for you to use them again
    • Remove the lemon from the grains (you can use it in your smoothie or to help flavour your second ferment)
    • Start your next batch right away, or rinse the grains thoroughly in water and store them in a glass jar in the fridge.
    • You can opt to drink it now – it will have a very mild taste. I often put this straight into my green smoothie in the morning. Other options are to cover and store it in the refrigerator or opt for a second ferment.

     

    Part 3 – Optional Second Ferment – this takes about 5 minutes

    • Choose a second ferment jar – it can be closed or open. If you choose a closed jar – be sure to 'burp’ it to let the gas out and minimise potential explosions.
    • Add your desired flavour to the jar, with the kefir water. There is NO need to add more sugar
    • Let it sit on the counter for 12-24 hours, then taste it.
    • Put in the fridge and enjoy!

     Second Ferment Ideas for Water and Coconut Water Kefir

    • Ginger – tastes like ‘ginger ale’
    • Lemon – very refreshing
    • Ginger and Lemon – a classic
    • Ginger, Lemon and Berries – 
    • Ginger and Turmeric – great immunity booster
    • Mint and Lime – a probiotic mojito
    • Raspberry and Chia – fun to see the chia seeds expand
    • Ginger and Strawberry – light and fruity
    • Cranberry and Raw Cacao Nibs – gentle taste
    • Orange and Cinnamon – sliced orange and cinnamon sticks, Christmas feel!
    • Mango – with fresh or dried mangoes
    • Coconut Water Kefir and Lychee – a probiotic lychee martini
    • Coconut Water Kefir and Ginger – very refreshing 
    • Fresh Peaches - a probiotic peach bellini

     

     

    Go WILD and try any other combinations that take your fancy!

    Show me your kefir concoctions #BMwaterkefir

  • VIETNAMESE BEEF PHO

    gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free

    Traditional Vietnamese Beef Pho

     

    This soup will have your mouth and heart singing with joy, as it is so soothing, nourishing and just tastes so dam good! This soup is like getting a big hug from the Vietnamese gods of food. The secret to a good pho are dem' good bones! None of these bouillon, stock cube nonsense. 

     

    Boiling the bones of animals is one of the oldest culinary traditions that exists across cultures all over the world- from Jewish chicken soup, Russian Borscht, Vietnamese Beef Pho, Japanese Pork Ramen, Chinese Egg Drop Soup to Malaysian Laksa... Bone broth is at the heart of the Bain-Marie food philosophy, as it is a clear example of how gastronomy and health are inextricably linked. I am SO passionate about showing the world that taste and health are not mutually exclusive, but in fact two sides of the same coin. Just like eating full-fat grass-fed butter, it tastes better than any vegetable oil spreads and it is so much better for your health.

     

    I often compare bone broth to green juice in that it extracts the goodness from the animal kingdom into a more digestible form making nutrients more readily available in your body, just like green juice does for the plant kingdom. What I love most about bone broths is how sustainable they are, as it truly uses the whole animal and true to form, I do love a bit of nose to tail eating (I am half-Chinese and half-French after all probably the two culinary traditions with the greatest penchant for truly eating the whole animal). Like with everything, your bone broth will only be as good as the quality of your ingredients, so always make sure you get your bones from an ethical source ideally a local farmer's market. And guess what, you can often get beautiful organic bones for FREE if you ask your butcher nicely with a big lovely smile! Yes free totally free, now who doesn't love free food?

     

    Bone broth is not only a sustainable, cheap food tradition and a remedy for all sorts of ailments, but also a vital ingredient in any Michelin-starred kitchen. In Europe and Asia alike, broths are the delicious foundation of cooking and are used not only for making soups and stews, but also for preparing reductions, sauces and for braising vegetables and meats. The best part is that bone broth is simple to make, soothing and makes everything taste better!

     

    Bone broths are a wonderfully rich source of protein, minerals and gelatin, which supports skin health (and tackles that pesky cellulite better than any cream) which is why it is often referred to as a wonderful BEAUTY food. Gelatin also supports digestive health which is why bone broth plays a critical role in the GAPS diet and maintaining a healthy gut.

     

    I get a lot of people asking me whether bone broth is just a fashionable trend of the moment, encapsulated in questions like "isn't bone broth just a fancy word for stock?" So, you ask, what is the true difference between stock and broth? Before this modern age of "food convenience", broth and stock were indeed the same thing. However, nowadays stock can refer to stock cubes or bouillon powder which are products of "advancements" in food technology, manufactured for taste only and are often made from artificial ingredients like hydrolysed protein, emulsifiers and thickeners. Secondly, stock can refer to vegetable stock whereas bone broth is always animal-based. Another point of difference is the length of cooking time, where a stock would be simmering for about 3 hours, bone broth has been simmering for 6-48 hours to extract all the goodness from the bones! Here's my quick guide to bone broth cooking times:

     

    • Beef broth: 24-48 hours
    • Chicken or poultry broth: 12-24 hours
    • Seafood broth: 6-8 hours

    A bone broth bisou to you my friends!

    x

    Marie

     

     

    Vietnamese Beef Pho 
    Serves 8

    Preparation time: 20-25 mins Cook time: 3-4 hours

     

    Ingredients:

    2 white onions, peeled and finely chopped 
    10cm / 4" of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

    6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
    2-3 kilos of good beef marrow bones, preferably leg and knuckle (usually free from the butcher or just use leftover bones from a roast)

    7 litres / 6 quarts of fresh filtered boiling water
    Pho spices placed in a spice infusion bag* (1 cinnamon stick, 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 5 whole star anise, 1 crushed cardamom pod, 6 whole cloves)

    2 tablespoons of sea salt 
    1/4 cup fish sauce
    2 tablespoons of unrefined sugar
    500g of grain-free noodles (buckwheat or mung bean noodles are my favourite)

    big handful of chopped vegetables of choice (I use mushrooms, leeks, broccoli)

     

    To garnish:
    big handful of fresh mint, coriander, basil
    2 limes, cut into 8 wedges for each bowl
    2-3 red chilli peppers, sliced thinly 

     

    Instructions:

     

    1. Fill a large pot with 6 quarts of fresh filtered boiling water (boiled in a kettle which saves time and energy). 

     

    2. Add the beef bones to the boiling water. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Using a ladle or a fine mesh strainer, remove any grey scum that may rise to the top. Lower the heat and leave to boil uncovered whilst you prepare your spices. 

     

    3. Place all your dry spices into your spice infusion bag (any mesh bag will do. I use a nut milk bag that I reserve just for making pho now). 

     

    4. Add finely chopped ginger, onion, garlic, spice infusion bag, unrefined sugar, fish sauce, salt and simmer uncovered for 1 hour and then cover the pot and boil for at least another 2 hours (up to 12 hours to extract maximum goodness from the beef bones). 

     

    5. Strain broth using a colander to remove bones (rather than fine mesh sieve so you don't lose the garlic, ginger and onion that is delicious to keep in the broth). Return the broth to the pot. Taste broth and adjust seasoning, by adding more fish sauce, salt and/or sugar to taste. 

     

    5. Follow the cooking directions on your noodle packet and cook until they are al dente as they will continue to cook when placed in boiling beef broth. 

     

    6. Add your mix of chopped fresh vegetables into the broth and bring your broth back to a boil. Line your soup bowls next to the stove. Divide the noodles between all bowls. As soon as the broth comes back to a boil and the vegetables are cooked to your satisfaction, ladle into each bowl.

     

    7. Garnish each bowl with a generous amount of basil, coriander, mint, a lime wedge and a few chilli slices. Serve immediately. Place remaining basil, coriander, mint and chilli onto plates in middle of the table so guests can garnish their bowls as they wish.

     

    *Alternatively, if you have a slow cooker, just place all ingredients in slow cooker and allow to slow cook for 12-24 hours. 

     

     

  • INGREDIENTS

    How and Where to Stock up on Your Real Food Kitchen Essentials

     

    Coconut Oil

    Make sure it's raw, virgin and organic

    My Top Picks: Biona, Lucy Bee, Essential

     

    Replace all vegetable oils (sunflower, vegetable, linseed) in your kitchen with coconut oil when heating. Great to use extra virgin olive oil raw but do not heat it, it is not heat stable. Non-heat stable oils go rancid when heated. The most heat stable fats are coconut oil, butter, ghee, lard and other animal fats. I use coconut oil in all my cooking and as skincare (face and body moisturiser and eye make up remover). It is an all around amazing oil!

     

    Sugar

    Say goodbye to white, refined, processed sugar!

    My Top Picks: Biona, Real Foods

     

    Replace the white and deadly poison with nutrient-rich golden-coloured coconut sugar. Tastes the same if not better! When the coconut tree is tapped, it produces a naturally sweet, nutrient-rich 'sap' that exudes from the coconut blossoms. This sap has a very low glycemic index score and contains 17 amino acids, minerals, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH. If you have trouble finding this or can't afford it in large quantities, then at the very least, replace all white sugar in recipes with unrefined brown or golden caster sugar. Other awesome natural sweetners are pure maple syrup (Grade B), date syrup, brown rice syrup and raw honey

     

    Butter

    Please stop using "low-fat" spreads and opt for full-fat (raw) butter

    My Top Picks: Isigny Saint-Mere

     

    Avoid all margarine or any vegetable oil spreads- turning an oil into a solid requires a highly chemical process that makes the oils go rancid. If you eat dairy, opt for full-fat butter, tastes so much better and contrary to popular belief is so much better than any of those low-fat spreads! Ocado stocks this fabulous raw butter from Normandy with sea salt crystals :) Oh I love! If you can't get your hands on raw butter, go for organic. 

     

    Gluten-Free Flours

    Buckwheat, Quinoa, Chickpea, Coconut Flours... 

    My Top Picks: Doves Farm, Biona, Tiana

     

    Plain white wheat flour is highly processed and devoid of any nutritional value. Spelt and rye flours are better options for breads but these don't always work in cakes and also contain gluten (but no wheat). There are however lots of other options that work incredibly well in baking such as buckwheat, gram and coconut flour for the most delicious, moist and light cakes. Highly nutritious, coconut flour is 100% raw and contains 1/3 the carbohydrate of regular wheat flour. The high fibre content will allow the flour to expand enormously and increase the yield of baked foods up to 5%.

     

    Milk

    Coconut and Almond are just the most delicious dairy alternatives!

    My Top Picks: Koko, Rude Health

     

    Commercial dairy milk is highly processed and full of nasties. If you can get your hands on fresh, raw, organic dairy milk, then that is awesome (your local Farmer's Market or Hook & Sons)! For those of us who don't have the luxury or who prefer a dairy-free option, Koko and Rude Health are simply the best store-bought alternatives. Koko has the same colour, consistency and only a very faint, delicate taste of coconut, mixes well in tea and coffee, delicious in porridge and cereal and perfect for all cooking and baking! If you can make your own milks at home, this is simply the best! See my recipe for Homemade Almond Milk.

     

    Yoghurt

    Coyo all the way!

    My Top Picks: Coyo

     

    Most non-dairy yoghurts are really quite vile and don't taste anything like regular yoghurt! Avoid highly processed, sugar-laden soy yoghurts and enjoy Coyo, made from the freshly squeezed cream of the white flesh of the coconut, handcrafted into the most delicious coconut milk yogurt. It is truly heaven in a mouthful and 100% natural, 100% dairy free, 100% gluten free and 100% guilt free! If you are not dairy-intolerant, eating small amounts of bio-live natural yoghurt is also good for promoting healthy bacteria in the gut!

     

    Soy Sauce

    Make sure it's Tamari... (naturally gluten-free)

    My Top Picks: Clearspring

     

    Soy sauce and tamari are both made from fermented soybeans, tamari is gluten-free and generally much better for you! Think of it as the kinder, gentler (and less salty) soy sauce. It has a more complex, smooth flavor compared to the sometimes harsh, overwhelming bite of a salty soy sauce.

     

    Salt

    Unrefined Sea Salt and Pink Himalayan Salt! 

    My Top Picks: Gros Sel de Guérande, Pink Himalayan Salt

     

    Contrary to popular belief, the right kind of salt is actually good for you (in small doses)! Our bodies need the sodium that salt gives us, as sodium is crucial for regulating blood volume and pressure, as well as helping nerve, muscle and heart function. The issue however is the quality and the type of salt that you're using, as white table salt is sadly just like white sugar - it's been totally processed and stripped down so all the goodness is gone, one of the biggest losses from this is the loss of the salt's natural forms of iodine, which is essential for a healthy thyroid and metabolism. Also these salts have synthetic chemicals added to them during the refining process, like anti-caking agents, fluoride and bleach. So the more colour salt has (grey, pink), the less processed and the more nutrient rich it will be. 

     

    Superfood Powders

    Maca, Lucuma, Chia Seeds, Spirulina, Hemp Protein, Acai

    My Top Picks: Naturya, Organic Burst, Of The Earth

     

    Superfoods are a special category of foods found in nature, that by definition are calorie sparse and nutrient dense meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients - nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves. Incorporating superfoods into your morning smoothies is such a simple way to ensure you are getting all the nutrients and minerals you need for the day. 

     

    Nut Butters & Tahini

    Creamed Sesame Paste, Almond Butter and Cashew Butter  

    My Top Picks: Carley's Raw Butters

     

    These kitchen staples are indispensable for me. Tahini is a gorgeously creamy sesame paste and is used in many Middle Eastern dishes like hummus and in my Raw Fudge. It is also amazing stirred into quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat. Nut butters like almond and cashew are also full of healthy fats and utterly delicious. Homemade is best but if you don't have time, Carley's Organic butters are incredible as they are raw and produced locally. 

     

    Whole Grains

    Short-grain brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth

    My Top Picks: Real Foods, Quinola 

     

    Always choose the whole version of whatever grain you prefer. Brown rice and quinoa are the two staples in our home. All the vitamins and minerals found in rice are found in the hull that is removed to make it white, hence why brown, black or red rice are so much of healthier than white rice. If you eat wheat, then opt for whole wheat rather than white refined wheat. If you love pasta, there is a huge choice of awesome gluten-free pasta available on the market; my advice here is to stick to brown rice pasta as a lot of the other gluten-free ones are made with potato, tapioca and white rice flours which have a much higher GI. 

     

    Asian Noodles

    Buckwheat and Brown Rice Noodles

    My Top Picks: King Soba, Clearspring 

     

    These are my lunch-to-go essentials and I always have a pack of them at my desk at work and are an indispensable part of my "office larder". These can be cooked in under 5 minutes in the microwave and make the perfect base for a warming winter miso noodle soup or a zesty summer salad. These are all organic, wheat-free and gluten-free, so you can make yourself comforting meals with pure superfoods, leaving you feeling satisfied and energised for the rest of the day. Great for a quick dinner too!

     

    Sweets and Treats

    All 100% Deliciously Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free!

    My Top Picks: Booja Booja, Nakd

     

    Booja Booja makes the most delicious ice creams and raw truffles from the most natural ingredients. They truly prove that being healthy can taste like pure and utter indulgence! Their cashew-based ice creams sweetened with pure maple syrup are simply out of this world and superb for those sweet-tooth moments. Nakd bars are a great snack to have with you at all times (I have one in my handbag all the time); they are simply cold-pressed fruit, nuts and nothing dodgy! Cocoa Orange is my favourite flavour. All these sweets and treats are also totally vegan! 

     

  • EVENTS

    Raw Dessert Cooking Class

    Saturday 6th August, from 4-7pm

    @ Goldfinger Factory, 13-15 Golborne Road, London, W10 5NY

     

    Treat yourself to a Raw Dessert Afternoon Tea Workshop! All the desserts you will learn how to make are plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and refined sugar-free! They will truly nourish you, boost your immune system and make you flow from the inside out. Come and learn how to make your own nutrient-dense desserts that taste as amazing as they will make you look and feel!

     

    BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE!

    How To Make Your Own Natural Beauty and Household Products

    Wednesday 10th August, from 7-9pm

    @ Goldfinger Factory: 13-15 Golborne Road, London, W10 5NY

     

    Hosted by mother-daughter duo de force, Chan & Marie, come and join us to learn how to detoxify yourself from toxic and expensive over-the-counter products, and create a beautiful new you in the process! Be introduced to simple and easy-to-recreate recipes (and variations) of natural personal and household care such as:

    • Sun lotion
    • Deodorant
    • Facial mask
    • Scented Laundry Wash

    All recipes contain pure therapeutic quality essential oils infused, and some even contain superfoods!

     

     

    BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE!

    Morning Gloryville Afterparty #14

    Saturday 20th August, from 1-5pm

    @ Goldfinger Factory, 13-15 Golborne Road, London, W10 5NY

     

    Morning Gloryville are the most innovative sober raves in the world...And they run their parties in Portobello once a month where our resident chef Bain-Marie is their official caterer at the venue and afterparty partners! We gather in the Goldfinger Factory space at 13-15 Golborne Road after a morning of dancing for a deliciously healthy lunch. We will be serving up some summery salads, nutrient-dense smoothies, Raw Key Lime Pie and many more.

     

                                        BOOK YOUR FREE TICKET HERE!

    Sundays People's Kitchen

    Sunday 21st August at 3pm to volunteer and at 6pm for the feast

    @ Goldfinger Factory: 13-15 Golborne Road, London, W10 5NY

     

    Love food, hate waste? Join our team of food waste warriors to tackle the amount of perfectly edible food that goes to landfill each year and the lack of healthy food available to lower income communities. How the kitchen works? We collect surplus organic produce from local farms and use it to cook up a delicious community feast every third Sunday of the month. Why not come along? Lend a hand in the kitchen from 3pm, or come and enjoy a donations-based feast from 6pm! See you at the next one!

     

    Let us know you're coming!

  • CATERING MENUS

    Inspiration for your next event, birthday party or corporate dinner!

    For The Love of Levantine

    Sample some delicious Middle Eastern-inspired sharing plates for a working lunch or buffet-style networking event.

     

    • Quinoa Tabbouleh
    • Kale & Tahini Salad
    • Homemade Hummus
    • Za'atar Aubergines with Cumin Yoghurt & Pomegranates
    • Orange Blossom Polenta Cake

    enTHAIrely RAW

    Enjoy the fresh and vibrant flavours of Thailand with our 3 course raw Thai-inspired menu, perfect for a summer soiree:

    • Lemongrass Fizz Cocktail
    • Raw Pad Thai
    • Raw Tom Kha Curry served with cauliflower rice 
    • Raw Mango & Coconut Cheesecake

    Mediterrawnean

    Indulge in the timeless simplicity of rustic Italian and Spanish classics with this 3 course raw menu, to bring some sunshine to the party:

     

    • Probiotic Peach Bellini
    • Raw Gazpacho
    • Courgetti al' Pesto
    • Raw Tiramisu

    Vegan Canapes

    Reinventing the canape, with healthy and vegan twist on delicious classics. Choose a selection for your next party!

    • Summer Rolls (v)
    • Kale Crisps (v)
    • Assorted Dips (v)
    • Mini Crumbles (v)
    • Superfood Balls (v)