Guacamole

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Guacamole

"If you have an avocado - you have a meal!"

Basic Guacamole

Avocados are soft, buttery and nourishing and they blend so well with so many flavours. A guacamole can be made in many ways, the base is always avocado but from there you can add a variety of different ingredients. You can use guacamole as a dip (lovely with sweet potato crisps), you can use it in wraps, in sushi and it works as a mayonnaise substitute.

Ingredients

  • Avocado
  • Lemon Juice
  • Garlic cloves
  • Salt

Method

Scoop out the flesh of two ripe avocados and put them into a small blender. Add the juice of half to a whole lemon (depending on how sour you want the guacamole), add a clove of crushed garlic and a pinch of sea salt. The more lemon you add, the more salt you may need, but do taste it before adding. 

Blend all the ingredients until you reach the desired texture, be it chunky or smooth.


Variations

These extras can be added after the blending to add texture as well as flavour. 

  • Chopped red chilli
  • Finely diced red onion
  • Chopped coriander
  • Diced fresh tomato
  • A pinch of cumin
  • A pinch of corriander
  • A sprinkle of smoked paprika
  • Use lime juice instead of lemon juice

Sometimes I choose not to blend the avocado, I just chop it up finely and add chopped red onion as well as tomatoes and corriander and make an avocado salsa for a change of texture. All these flavours work really well together. Crunchy, sour, sweet, zingy, smooth, and a hit of heat. I love to have a bowl of guacamole with homemade salsa and my favourite green tortillas for dipping.

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Holy Hummous

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Holy Hummous

"Hummous is an international staple. It has many variations and has inspired hummous style dips made with anything from fresh peas to courgettes and no chick peas at all!"

I used to work in a Greek restaurant when I was a teenager. They had the most amazing hummous which was made by a Cypriot chef. He used to serve it to me, spread out on a plate, sprinkled with fresh chopped tomatoes and smoked paprika, finished with a squeeze of lemon juice. Delicious, try it!

Here is my favourite basic hummous recipe.  I like to make a big batch because the whole family love it, half the recipe if you want to make less. It will keep in the fridge for about 4/5 days.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of cooked chickpeas (440g drained weight)
  • 250g light tahini
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 100ml of ice cold water (you can substitute some of the water for extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Method

Drain the chickpeas and empty into a blender. Add a little of the ice cold water and blend until it is like a stiff paste. If possible, keep the machine running while you drizzle in the tahini, then the lemon juice, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt. Slowly drizzle in the cold water and keep blending until the hummous is really smooth and silky. If you leave the hummous to 'set' for about half an hour, it will become stiffer. It is also best served at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge about half an hour before serving.

Hummous is a wonderfully nutritious. It is packed full of protein which comes from not just the chickpeas but also from the sesame seeds. Together they make a complete protein. If you have a little pot of homemade hummous and half an avocado and you have a wonderful meal. Enjoy this with some crunchy, nutritious green tortillas, or a bowl of vegetable batons for a really nourishing snack. 

 

 

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Spiraletti Pesto Marinara

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Spiraletti Pesto Marinara

"Who needs pasta or rice noodles when you have a spiralizer?"

A spiralizer turns vegetables like carrots, beetroots, butternut squashes or sweet potatoes into long strands that curl like bouncy locks of hair. You can choose just one vegetable or do three and create a tricolour spiraletti!

There are different ways of serving them. They can be baked in the oven on a baking tray for 15 minutes or steamed for 10 minutes to par cook them. This allows the spiraletti to soak up any sauce that is then poured over them. You can eat them raw too and marinade the spiraletti for an hour or so in a raw pasta sauce to soften or pour over a hot cooked sauce and the spiraletti will yield to it and soak up the flavours. 

Marinara Sauce

This is a basic raw tomato pasta sauce. It is incredibly easy and quick to make and full of flavour.  

Ingredients

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 30g sundried tomatoes
  • 1 date
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh red chili (optional)

Method

Roughly chop everything but the chili and the basil and put in a blender. Blend until it is smooth but still with texture. Taste it and add any extra seasoning. Then tear up as many basil leaves as you would like and add them to the mixture. If you are using chili then finely chop and add that too. I like to add some coarsely chopped olives at this point as well. 

You can make this in advance and leave it in the fridge which will allow the flavours to blend more. You can also heat it gently and have it as a warm sauce. My favourite is to have it just like the picture above...with spiralized veggies topped with homemade pesto and a few cherry tomatoes and freshly podded peas scattered over it. 

Pesto

Surely we all know how to make pesto. But there are variations of course. You can use all kinds of herbs instead of the traditional basil. You can use all kinds of other nuts instead of pinenuts. Here follows my favourite basic pesto, I don't include parmesaan by the way, it's dairy free. 

Ingredients

  • a big bunch of basil (about 60g) - you can use a jar of basil, but the colour and taste will be different
  • 75g pinenuts, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • sea salt
  • 2 to 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

If you have a pestle and mortar, it's the best for making pesto. If not then you can chop by hand or use a small blender.

Put the garlic clove and a sprinkle of sea salt into the mortar and bash it with the pestle until it is crushed. Then add the basil leaves and the pinenuts and bash those until they are crushed into a coarse paste. Pour in the oil and gentle muddle it into the mixture. You can loosen it more with some water if you like. Taste it and see if it needs any more salt or some pepper. That's it! It will keep in the fridge for a few days. 

Spiraletti is a fantastic way of increasing the vegetable intake for you and the family. It will also increase your intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and fibre. They are so much more nutritious than wheat pasta. Add to this the sauce, which is in itself full of nutrients and then the pesto, which has some protein in it, and you have a wonderfully colourful and nourishing meal. If you want to increase the protein levels you can add pan fried chicken breast strips and then coat them in pesto or, for a vegan option, you can add some chunks of pan fried tempeh and do the same. 

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Green Tortillas

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Green Tortillas

"Dip them, spread stuff on them, use them for nachos or nibble them on their own."

Green Tortillas

I love crisps and chips, I crave them, but I can't have them in the house, otherwise they are devoured for breakfast! So, I don't buy them....often. They are loaded with hydrogenated and trans fats that, when consumed, cause all kinds of health problems. They clog up the arteries, impair memory and cause free radical damage and cell damage.

I am always searching for the healthy alternative as my craving for crunchy, crispy and nibbly food isn't going away. These Green Tortillas hit the spot. They are gluten free, dairy free, grain free, sugar free and bad fat free...yet they are full of crunch and flavour!

They are made of sunflower seeds, linseeds and a variety of veggies and herbs all blitzed up together and then spread out on a lined baking sheet (if using an oven) or on a teflex sheet for use in a dehydrator. When they are ready and have reached the desired crispness, you can break the cracker sheets up into tortilla-sized pieces. I keep a big box of these in my cupboard in a sealed container so they stay crisp and use them for all manner of dips and spreads. 

In all my recipes I use organic wherever possible, so take it for granted that for the optimum healthy recipe, it has to be organic.

Ingredients

  • Two cups of sunflower seeds
  • Two cups of linseeds
  • Four onions
  • Two tablespoons of dried thyme
  • Three teaspoons of celtic sea salt
  • Two teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • Lots of black pepper
  • Four tablespoons of spirulina powder

Method

Soak the sunflower seeds and the linseeds for four hours in purified, filtered water, in separate bowls.

Use 3 cups of water for the linseeds, they will soak it all up. For the sunflower seeds, just cover them with water, topping them up so that there is a depth of at least 2 inches of water above the seeds. They will need draining and rinsing after 4 hours of soaking.

Why soak? We are asking the seeds to open up for us, so we can access their nutrients. By soaking them we are activating them and turning them from a dormant seed to a germinating seed. This converts the enzymes within them that preserve the seed from rotting so that when the conditions are right for growth, ie, there is water available, the enzymes deactivate. If you want all the nutritional benefits of nuts and seeds, you have to soak them, otherwise the enzymes will prevent you from absorbing their goodness.

Put the soaked sunflower seeds into a blender and whizz-up to a fine meal consistency. Empty out and put aside.

Roughly chop the onions and put them in the blender and whizz them up too, not to a pulp but chopped fairly fine and the juices released.

Put them in the bowl with the sunflower seeds.

Now add the linseeds and all the other ingredients and mix.

I find it best to do this by hand.

Spread the mixture out onto a lined baking tray, either a dehydrator tray or oven tray.

Oven – put on low as you can for a ‘raw’ cracker– 100/110 – and bake for a few hours or so, keep checking the consistency. You may need to flip it half way through to dry out the other side. You can put the oven up higher to bake them quicker, they won’t be ‘raw’ crackers, but will be nice and crisp.

Dehydrator – dehydrate them until desired crunchiness has been reached at a temperature of 100/110 f. You will need to flip them half way through.

You can score them half way through the cooking process to create even sized crackers. Once they are done, you can just break them up into shards and store in an airtight container, they will stay fresh for weeks. They won't stay crisp once they have been doused with salsa or any other sauce, like the usual fried tortillas, so keep them separate. They can hold up to being spread with paté's and they can be dipped into hummous without shattering. It will depend on how thick or thin you spread the cracker batter and whether you have oven crisped them or dehydrated them. 

 

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Homemade Sunscreen

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Homemade Sunscreen

Chemical Free Sunscreen Recipe

Not everybody will want to make their own Sunscreen, but for those that want to give it a go, by far the most important benefit is that the ingredients are natural and safe for your body. Although you will need to pay upfront for them and buy more than you need for one batch of sunscreen, you can use these ingredients to make a lot of other products such as moisturisers, lip balms and aromatherapy massage oils for you and your family.

This sunscreen recipe is made with a combination of cold pressed oils, zinc oxide and beeswax, all of which will give a good level of protection from the sun's rays and give it slight water repellent properties. The texture is more like a body butter and may look and smell edible - but don't eat it! Measuring the exact protection from homemade sunscreen is not precise, so safe sun exposure should always be advised.


feet on a beach 2.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (SPF 4-10)
  • 1/4 cup shea butter (SPF 6-10)
  • 1/8 cup sesame or jojoba oil (SPF 4-10)
  • 2 tbsp. beeswax granules
  • 1-2 tbsp. zinc oxide powder (optional, use high quality uncoated and not nano-particle grade and use a mask to make sure you don’t inhale the dust)
  • 1 tsp. red raspberry seed oil 20-30 drops (SPF 28-50)
  • 1 tsp. carrot seed carrier oil (SPF 38-40)
  • Essential oils of your choice (lavender, rosemary, vanilla, and/or peppermint are nice, but no citrus oils as these make your skin more sensitive to sunlight)

Instructions

  1. Using a double boiler (or a small pan of water over very low heat, with a pyrex bowl on top of the pan, with ingredients in it), melt your coconut oil, sesame or jojoba oil, beeswax, and shea butter together. The beeswax will be the last to melt.
  2. When the beeswax is melted, remove the mixture from the heat and let cool to room temperature. If you’re using zinc oxide, whisk it in at this point, being careful not to create a lot of dust. If there are some lumps, that’s OK. They will break up when you whip the body butter in step 4.
  3. Move the mixture to the fridge for 15-30 minutes, long enough for it to start to set, but still be soft enough to be whipped.
  4. Take the mixture out of the fridge and using a stand mixer or hand mixer, start to whip it. Drizzle in the red raspberry seed oil, the carrot seed oil, and any essential oils of your choice, and continue whipping until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. Use as you would any regular sunscreen. How often you need to apply will depend on your activity and exposure to water. Store in a glass container in the fridge between uses, or decant a small amount into a small container to take out with you to the beach.

Where to get the ingredients?

I did the search for you, click on the links below.

Zinc oxide 

Carrot seed oil 

Raspberry seed oil 

Shea butter 

Beeswax

Sesame oil

Jojoba oil

 

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