Wednesday, 23 December 2009

i've just made the most delicious cinnamon almond milk

this is a slight aside, but i just HAD to post about it because i want you all to make it right now!!

i made some cinnamon almond milk, which was indeed so divine that i drank it all ludicrously quickly without taking pictures or anything. it was only enough for one cup, but given that i'm just one person, i'd say that was the right amount. it's pretty easy to double/triple/quadruple anyway!

so i started out by soaking some almonds, i actually started soaking just under two days ago, and left them soaking for a day and 'sprouting' for a day. i put it in inverted commas because the quality of the nuts i got is so bad that they are officially unsproutable.

anyway, then i just put the soaked nuts in my blender, probably about a cup full, and then added 3 cups of water. i blended this up really really well, like left the machine on high speed for a couple of minutes, so as to really grind up the nuts in my tiny, not-so-powerful blender. then i added about a half teaspoon of cinnamon and a dessertspoon of honey, blended again for another minute, then put it through the jam straining bag. and it's just slightly warmed from all the blending, and the perfect combination of flavours. yummy!

if you missed my video post about nut milk, do check it out and let me know what you think. i do urge you to try nut milks, it's amazing how creamy and delicious they actually are!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

it's time for the festive food to commence

i can't believe i haven't shared these with you yet...but a couple of days ago i made biscotti for christmas presents. and they turned out beautifully.

i sort of followed this whole wheat biscotti recipe from enjoy healthy eating, but with a few adjustments to what i had lying around. i also made some vanilla biscotti too. i hope everyone enjoys dunking them in their boxing day coffee.

we bought a 25p massive red cabbage the other day, and i promised i'd make delia's traditional red cabbage recipe and then freeze it in batches so we could enjoy it for the next few weeks. so i did. and i'm so glad, because it tastes delicious. there's just one problem with red cabbage, and that's the purple staining...
i'm excited for all the delicious festive food i'll get to eat this season. christmas eve there'll be a smorgasbord with my swedish half of the family, and then traditional english fare on christmas day, including turkey and a chocolate yule log.

the things i'm most excited about though are the vegetables that my auntie will prepare for Christmas dinner, she always does something interesting and un-English to them, which makes them so tasty. i'm also very excited about the smorgastorte on christmas eve, which is one of my favorite foods of all time! (yes, that is a type of savoury cake, full of seafood, OH MY DELICIOUSNESS!)

i'm just hoping that it doesn't snow again so that i can get to all of my relatives homes safely, and not end up snowed in. not that it would matter, as we have 24 mince pies in our freezer and smoked salmon in the fridge, party!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

favorite foodie youtubers

from now on i hope to post more of my favorite youtube health and food videos and channel recommendations, so to start i thought i'd some up some of the videos currently on my favorites list:

As you can see they are mostly (ok, well actually all are, on reflection) raw food recipes, only because I'm reading and researching loads about it, and there's a HUGE raw youtube tribe. i find most raw youtubers really inspirational, and their attitude is always positive and upbeat - plus the recipes are really new and different to anything i've ever really experienced until now.

ps. i'm sat here thinking about my new year's resolutions...what should my health one be this year? last years was just to cook for other people more often, and to try new dishes, but what that ended up being was my baking more, and feeding people naughty treats on a regular basis, really not good.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

raw nut milk with hazelnuts, hmmm

some of you might know, but you probably don't know that I have a Youtube channel, which is really about loads of different things that I'm interested in. so, i've just started to move into doing a few more recipe videos...(if you've got any ideas, let me know!) anyways, here's a chance for you to see what i'm actually like, kinda.

so, raw nut milk is my next big thing. i kind of botched the few batches i've made, in that i've not had anywhere to store it, so have made tiny quantities. next though, i'm totally up for making large batches and keeping it in the fridge so i don't have to blend every day! yey!

ps. i made more of my healthy mince pies, which are so absolutely delicious I just can't get over it! and of course, the mincemeat is even better after a couple of days stored in the fridge. and i've just been asked to make 24 more for Christmas parties, because they've got such delicious reviews from all that have eaten them...I even managed to convert a non-mince-pie eater when i served them hot with a bit of Elmlea....mmmmmmmmmmm.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

scrumptious salad

i've been reading even more about the raw food diet, and yesterday i ordered myself a book that was recommended by a raw foodist which is called the 'mucusless diet healing system' by arnold ehret which was first published in 1922. hopefully i'll receive it today or tomorrow, and be able to have a good read. it sounds really interesting, and is still provocative and relevant to today which is the key thing.

so, after having read so much about this diet, i have made a conscious decision to try to incorporate more RAW vegetables into my diet. i already eat one fresh apple and one banana each day, but i want to move it forward. so a few days ago i made this delicious salad, and have had it for lunch the last couple of days. it's so filling and delicious, and whilst it's not an actual raw salad because it has feta cheese and toasted nuts in it, it is the step up the ladder closer to health.

i thought i would feel weird eating a cold salad whilst the weather outside is so miserable, but it had the opposite effect to what i thought. it actually was very refreshing and just what i needed. it was very filling too, which was fantastic! i did have loads of cups of green and herbal teas yesterday to keep me warm though, but i do that on any regular day, as my fingers get so cold typing all the time.

I've been trying to incorporate as many British grown vegetables too, as it seems weird getting them from South America or even further afield. I do admit that there are some vegetables I just love too much to give up, so I do buy produce from Europe. Anyway, that's why I popped beetroot on my salad, it's not a vegetable we usually have in the house, but it's not expensive and it can be grown in this country: Winner!

Did any of you see Delia's Classic Christmas, wasn't it lovely? I have to admit I was disappointed that she didn't do too many vegetables, and that my favorite dish she cooked was the red cabbage, I love that it can be made and then frozen: healthy and convenient is a fab combination! I think my favorite TV chef is Jamie Oliver, because he loves to do interesting things with vegetables....who's yours?

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

healthy mince pies ★

i've been searching and searching for a healthier alternative to an otherwise ludicrously sweet christmas dessert (as most of them tend to be). and i could not find a recipe online, so as always i took one, and adapted it - i don't often follow a recipe exactly!

when you buy mincemeat in jars, it's often laced with sugar and glucose syrup. last weekend, i went round to a friends house and made some scrumptious mince pies, but they did use shop-bought mincemeat, and refined flour pastry, and real butter. divinely naughty, yet because they were so small i didn't feel all too bad eating one or two. so, if you do want to make some quick regular mince pies, then making small ones, with star tops, then that's probably the way to go.

BUT, before you go and do that, check out this recipe for healthy homemade mince pies. which are equally as yummy, but not as bad for you.

♥ To make the mincemeat, add the following to a large saucepan:
  • 2 finely chopped (gala) apples or 1-2 cups homemade apple sauce
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup apricots
  • 1tbsp linseeds
  • 3 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1-2tsp mixed spice (don't be too afraid to use lots, because the flavour will dull down with time)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch cloves, ginger and nutmeg
  • 5-10 tbsp water (you may find you need to put more in to keep it at the right consistency)
- cook for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, until it acheives a puply consistency, and the flavours have mixed thoroughly. then leave overnight.
- whilst your healthy mincemeat is simmering, make the pastry, to put in the fridge overnight also.
- mix 225g plain flour (i used: 50g buckwheat, 50g wholemeal, 75g gluten free, 50g regular) and 175g butter substitute (Pure, or margarine, etc) and mix until it forms breadcrumbs.

- then add 65g caster/fructose sugar and 1 beaten egg. bring it together into a dough, wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight, or for at least 1 hour.
- the following morning, roll out your flour as thinly as you dare. and cut out circles for your bases, and smaller circles for your tops. put the bases in a cake tray, and fill as much as you can with your mincemeat, then top with the smaller circles (or festive shapes) and egg wash.
- put in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden.
- i'm going to try to freeze mine, and see how they fare when i take them out. they should be fine...hopefully! i'll let you know.

UPDATE: these freeze beautifully and are perfect to make a month or so before Christmas!

leek and chicken pie ♥

as we were sat on the train coming back from london, i had but one thought. leek and chicken pie. for no particular reason. i hadn't seen it that day, i hadn't even smelt it (that i can remember), nor had i read about it. i just couldn't stop thinking about it.

so. the day after, i went and got the things to make it, and rustled one up in the kitchen.

i used jamie oliver's savoury shortcrust pastry recipe (changing the flours, of course!) from Jamie at Home, which is definitely the best ever pastry! even though i don't ever follow it exactly, and i never use lard, but butter. and i always sub the flour for a mix of gluten free, plain and wholemeal. and i pretty much don't add cheese to it, because we never seem to have any. but it is a good basis!!

then i kind of created my own filling for the pie, based on a Waitrose recipe for Chicken, Leek and Bacon Pie. here's how i made the filling:

- i cooked 2 chicken breasts, and 3-4 rashers bacon. once cooked, i chopped them up and sprinkled them onto the base of my dish.
- then in a large pan, i cooked 2 stalks of celery (cubed), 1 diced onion, 1 clove garlic (chopped), 2 chopped leeks. simmer for about 10 minutes, whilst continuing to stir. then add 1 tin of (my favorite storecupboard item) condensed cream of chicken soup - i use Bachelors. fill the tin with water and add to the pan, then give it a good stir. add salt, pepper and a shake of dried or fresh parsley.
- add a small amount of bouillon powder, and some extra water, depending on how creamy/runny you would like your pie dish to be. i added about 2 tsps of bouillon to a tiny half pint of boiling water, which worked out pretty well.
- pour this on top of the meat, and stir thoroughly. top with the pastry crust, mark with a fork to allow steam to escape, and decorate with any extra pastry. brush with beaten egg.
- put in the oven until golden, about 40 minutes.

serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

eating and food shopping in London

me and my mum went to london last thursday! and on that trip, we pretty much enjoyed all of london (well not all, but we did manage to get a load of different things in to a short space of time)...our first stop was Wholefoods, which I was very very very excited about, after having gone to the one in New York City.

Actually we went to the Wholefoods in Soho, as there's a few in London (but nowhere else in the UK, yet...) and I was just in love with the store. It's beautiful and everything is so delicious looking and healthy. There's a whole bunch of different stuff, but it's all natural and organic, so basically everything is good for you. What a change to be in a store where I can eat everything, and I don't have to detour past any aisles, and to know that anything I bought would be inherently good for me!

I checked out the raw food items, like Maca powder, Lucuma, carob, cacao butter...
and I tried a Conscious Raw food bar, the Berry Christmas one with Inca berries, bilberries, blackcurrants and cinnamon. OH MY WORD! DELICIOUS!! ♥

Who knew that it would be so creamy? It truly is fantastic chocolate, and the kind to that because it's so rich and amazing, you want to save some of it for later, so you can prolong the experience. here's a photo of my mum holding a Conscious bar (yes they are tiny and expensive, but seriously amazing)