Wednesday, December 16

Winter in the Raw

Ooooh, it is so cold outside, we actually have some frost on the ground today - and this is UK, the country of mild winters. Having said that, it is pretty humid here a lot of time, the cold just crawling right beneath your clothes and making you shiver. This, if not another time of the year, is the time of struggle for any raw foodist not quite anchored in the un-cooked way of living, as our body, and mostly our mind, keeps reaching for the warmth and comfort of old cooked favourites - you all know what these are for you, right?

To help myself stay motivated during these cold times and also during the festive season that is upon us, I went to a wonderful workshop a week or so ago called 'Winter in the Raw'. Twenty people plus have gathered in Karen Knowler'shouse to listen, smell, watch and taste Nina Dench's creations that will help us stay raw during winter with a bang. Her food was so scrumptious and delicious, most of it easy to prepare as well, I came home full of hope and ideas. I am not always very good with making my own recipes but I find that I can adapt other people's recipes to my taste quite well, and having suddenly over 20 new recipes gave me a lot to play with.

We got a little taste of everything Nina made and also were treated to a lovely lunch (see above) of Rosemary and Vegetable Tartlet with a trio of salads - Red Cabbage one, Curly Cabbage and Carrot Ribbons - and a small lump of Sage and Onion Pate on the side. It was amazing and so filling that I had to go for a little walk around Karen's farmhouse to help me digest, or else I would have wanted to sleep for the rest of the day and would have missed on the best part to come - the deserts! The Orange and Apricot Sauce was to die (or live!) for, and I have made it for myself for breakfast a few times since then. It is so yummy, zesty and light, a real treasure; you can see it resting happily on top of the Christmas pudding on the picture, but it is yummy enough on its own by a bowlful, perhaps with some raw muesli sprinkled on top.

I often find that I fall back from the grace of raw food into the trap of cooked because I become lazy and begin to think that raw is just too much effort and I 'could not be asked'. And so it was great for me to see Nina whip through 22 (!!!) recipes in the space of six hours, some of them pretty easy (Red Cabbage, Beetroot, Apple and Pecan Salad or Date Sweets), some of them more time consuming but so much more impressive for it (Savoury Stars; Banoffee Pie or Christmas Pudding). It was fun to be tempted into making my own chocolate again and playing with the recipe; I am not very fond of Mint Chocolate and so I changed things around and made a ginger one - WOW! That one has a kick!

It is not really possible to re-print somebody else's recipes but you can go to Karen's website and purchase the whole 'Winter in the Raw' e-book for yourself. I can definitely guarantee that it will be money well spent.

Friday, August 14

More garden gifts

It has now been many years since I have tasted my first fresh juicy honey sweet fig. It was many many years ago, while on our first ever holiday together with the Cooked Husband, then boyfriend, and while we were driving all around and accross Malta and Gozo, he was often asked to stop the car so that I could climb out and collect ripe lush figs from trees that were all around without anyone tending to them.

It's also been a few years since I realised that people actually grow them here in UK and get to harvest their own figs. And so a dream was born, a small one, you could say, to one day have my own fig tree and to be able to eat figs directly from it, still warm from the sunshine. This summer saw me fulfilling this dream.

When we moved to this house, I knew that there was a perfect place to plant a fig tree. Our terrace is south facing, and we have a lovely corner sun trap, just above the indoor staircase, so I can see the beautiful leaves stroke the window when I walk up to the kitchen in the morning in our upside-down house.

After a huge disappointment of last year, when all the fruit dropped of the tree with rusty spots, I have had a feast like no else during the last month or so. Watching this beautiful tree grow from a small 'stick' into a large lovely and proud tree was a huge pleasure and then, finally, see the fruit ripen made the feeling even better. The figs start very small, smaller then the nail on your pinkie, cosily attached to the branch. As summer gets nearer, they slowly grow bigger but stay hard and green.

Being me, I bought a lovely fig in the market one day in early July, and brough it home to 'show it' to the tree. I mean, this tree was born in a garden centre in the UK, how could he possibly know what to do? You can think I am crazy but all I care about is that it worked!

A few weeks after this 'tree education' we noticed one of the figs getting bigger and darkening. Then it swelled massively almost overnight and became plump and soft and sweet smelling, and then it got plucked of the tree and ended up being my breakfast. The best breakfast ever. Sweet as honey, full of crunchy yummy seeds, deep red colour inside while purply yellow in the outside, just perfect. Many more followed over the next three or four weeks, ripenning one, two or even five at a time, every one of them enjoyed to one hundred percent. I played with the idea of creating something from them but have abandoned it at the end as this fruit is simply so perfect as it is, I had no desire to waste any of it in some recipe disaster ;-)

As I write there are still small green figs on the branches and I hope we will have a second harvest time in late September, which is the time we went to Malta all those years ago. I am the greedy one!

And so for me, it is time for a new dream, I think... A fig tree orchard, perhaps? But maybe I shall be more ambicious this time, as with the Living Magically program beginning this week I have to learn to dream big and allow magic into my life, here and now.

What are you dreaming about? And it does not have to be food related!

Wednesday, August 12

Uncooked dinner for Cooked Husband

Once upon a time, there was a Cooked Husband. He could not imagine a meal without a cooked heavy-feel part to it, and so he was not very impressed when I suggested I would serve him some kale and avocado massaged salad as a side dish with his chicken tonight; we run out of potatoes and my wife-y duties will only push me so far... I was not going to go to the supermarket just so he could stuff his face with mashed potatoes... He was given some choices of what else could be for dinner - and though the green smoothie did not make it by far, it was a raw choice - raw vegan sushi!!

I make my 'rice' from cauliflower, cashew and pine nuts, dash of apple cider vinegar for tartness, some white miso for saltiness and a tiny bit of agave to balance it all with little bit of sweetness... Process till grany and pliable - and there you go. For proper measurements and recipes, please subscribe to Russell James's eZine at - that is where my ideas come from, and I have the best results with his recipes. Quick, easy and delicious. He is the master of raw kitchen, at least for me, on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Next step is to fill the nori sheets: spread some 'rice' on and then layer what you like on top - my choices were avocado, marinated mushrooms, julienned peppers, spring onions and some watercress. Roll it tightly using a sushi mat or clever fingers, cut with serated knife, and serve with a small dish of soya sauce, small pile of pickled ginger and a little bit of wasabi on the side. The result? One very happy Husband, no potatoes needed!

Oh, and my dinner, apart from sharing a little bit of sushi, was a green smoothie:

1 courgette
handful of strawberries
1 banana
2 handfulls of spinach
blend with some water to reach the consistency you like

Delicioso! You can see the tiny pink strawberry bits in the picture above, and I could taste them as I enjoyed this lovely concoction earlier this evening.

Tuesday, August 11

The International Green Smoothie day

Yes, there actually is such a day. You cannot buy a card for it, although you could make one if you wanted to, and not everybody knows about it just yet. But what with all these raw girlies blogging away about it, who knows next year? And maybe the year after Halmark will print some juicy cards, you just never know. But this is your chance to join in the green smoothie revolution ahead of everybody else.

If you remember my humble blogging beginning, you will remember all those green smoothie pictures also. Decorated with blueberries and bee polen and other lovely yummies, I have been having them more or less every day ever since, even if you have not seen a 'green stuff in a glass' for a while. I do need a green juice or a green smoothie a day to keep me happy, balanced and radiand, just as a cat needs her little chin stroked to start purring!

I have two great news for you. One is that I will be so lucky and fortunate as to have a super duper sparkly VitaMix for the next three weeks, borrowed from my beloved Green Queen Denise of The Raw Brides. She is getting married this coming Saturdayand then she will disappear into the sunset for her honeymoon... and lo and behold - I am not only allowed to go round her house and play with her most adorable cats, I have also been given the permission to 'steal' her super blender and make it mine for the time she won't need it. This is absolutely excellent and my intention is to create not only many yummy things to make me feel like I live in a raw food heaven but mostly my number one creations will be green smoothies. When I make them in my blender I end up chewing them quite a bit, especially when I use rocket and parsley, and after reading about this amazing machine and the results all the raw foodists all around have been getting, I simply can't wait to get started. (For those who are not sure what the fuss is about, this blender will blend absolutelly anything to a complete smoothness, even raw asparagus and such fibrous things.)

The second great news is that this is the perfect timing for the International Green Smoothie Day as started by The Raw Divas and The Green Smoothie Queen over on the other side of the Atlantic. If you haven't seen their website, click the link, as they have a ton of info and lots of great articles, should you ever feel that you are lacking either motivation or inspiration. As the Green Smoothie Day falls on Denise's aka Green Queen's wedding day I will be very fortunate to feast on a raw food wedding garden picnic followed by a gournet raw food wedding dinner. But I will start the day with a green smoothie to be sure, and may even follow up with a complete green smoothie week when we come back from the wedding.

What will be in your glass on Saturday?

Tuesday, August 4

Another amazing free teleseminar with my favourite Raw Food Coach


Soon after I have first started playing and experimenting with raw food, I have come accross the Raw Food Coach, Karen Knowler. I joined her programme 30 days to raw and discovered, as many people did before me, that this is not only about raw food; raw food is just the beginning. Tomorrow I am joining her new teleseminar where she will share with us how to take this lifestyle to a completely new level. Whether you are experienced raw foodist looking for ways to progress with not only your diet but your life and your life fullfillment or you are completely new to raw food ways, check out the following info. If it sounds good to you, join me tomorrow evening at 9.00 pm UK time for her completely free teleclass. It is going to be amazing! Sign in here or read on for more info.

The 7 Must-Know Steps To Take Your Raw Food Journey To The Stars – And Beyond!

Have you ever felt dazed and confused over the conflicting opinions raging among the raw food teachers and “gurus” out there? I know I have, and it really doesn’t help us does it?

With so many different approaches, coaches, classes and courses out there, all giving conflicting or confusing advice, even if you really want to step into the raw food world with all the best intentions and will in the world, you end up having no idea where to start!

Karen Knowler, The Raw Food Coach, has been in the raw food community for over 17 years and has seen how crazy it can get. In a previous life Karen used to host many of the world’s leading raw food educators year-after-year in London (she used to run The Fresh Network and created Get Fresh! magazine), but she saw that as much as people became inspired and fascinated by the raw food journey, they also became increasingly confused, lost and... disempowered.

As a result of witnessing this and creating an approach to raw food that was much more fluid, fun and realistic than what was generally being taught, Karen vowed many years ago to put each person back into the driving seat of their own diet and destiny - and that’s what she’s been doing for over a decade.

And now she’s taking it to a whole new level.

Over the past year especially, Karen’s name has become synonymous with a whole new way of approaching raw food that anyone can do. Karen believes passionately that there is not “one way” to do raw food and that by being honest and intuitive around our food choices we can find a way of eating raw that works for us and our life on every level – one that’s juicy, compelling and rewarding for us.

But more than that, Karen has been teaching that raw food is “all about the food and yet nothing about the food” – and as ironic as that sounds, I have to agree, she’s right! Raw food opens us up to so much more than we think food can ever do, but it does for sure, and Karen has a wonderful what of explaining and articulating this than perhaps anyone else in the raw food arena.

Over the past few months Karen has been perfecting all the key facets of the work she’s been sharing for years. She’s preparing to go big with her message and I don’t doubt that she will make it happen.

And what she’s doing this coming Wednesday, before she starts working hard on her forthcoming book, is to share with us – for FREE – her latest discoveries, namely “The 7 Must-Know Steps to Take Your Raw Food Journey to the Stars – And Beyond”

In what promises to be her most compelling free seminar to date (you just need a phone or internet connection to attend), Karen is about to share, for the first time, what these seven steps are, and I for one can’t wait!

Tomorrow, on Wednesday August 5th, Karen will reveal what these 7 Steps and much more.

And, while it is an exciting preview of her Raw Transformation Experience LIVE Event happening this August 27-29, 2009 and her brand new life-changing Living Magically on Raw coaching program, she promises you'll also get 3 POTENT ideas that you can use right away to start your journey to “raw heaven” from this free call.

You can find out all about it and register here. I’ll be there for sure and I hope to hear you on the call.

I can’t wait to hear what she shares! Let me know if you enjoy it.

Monday, July 27

Gifts from my garden

While we were enjoying the amazing hot sunshine of North Africa, England was having its bout of summer as well. Thanks to my lovely neighbours our garden not only survived but actually thrived while we were away, and we came home to some very happy plants and herbs. Sadly despite my offering nobody came to eat all the chicory lettuces I was growing and they shot up into flowers, but there were still some leaves to be collected as well as beautiful blue flowers, which tasted like a gentler variation of the salad. On top of that I collected not only an armful of basil leaves to make the freshest pesto possible for my courgette 'noodles' but also a bowl of basil flowers. The scent of these beauties was so subtle yet ovewhelming, I could not wait to enjoy them as an aromatic topping for one of my evening salads. Eating flowers is a great idea, as they have a very subtly gentle energy as well as benefitial essential oils and traces of polen, and flowers from herbs such as basil or oregano have a wonderful soft herby taste that will bring your meal alive.

Here you can see one of my creations - a very simple meal, actually. A plateful of green leaves of your choice - mine was watercress, young spinach and chopped cos lettuce, topped with sliced heirloom tomatoes, sprinkled with some basil flowers, a glug of olive oil and a dash of pink himalayan salt. Very simple but scruptious indeed. Sometimes the best meals are the simple ones, as our body can recognise what all the parts are and what it needs to do with them in order to extract all the nutrients effectively. When I eat like this, my body is buzzing with happiness, I sleep well and wake up ready to face whatever the next day brings. Just what we need in this sometimes overwhelming world.

What's your summer favourite?

Friday, July 17

And another year has passed...

Happy birthday to me! Do you know what? I am 38 now... My dear friend Denise just earlier today talked about some 'really old, adult like people', you know, like late 30s... Hmmm. Something to poke her in her ribs about next time then!

I know I wrote a post about how well and raw I ate most of the holiday. Well, the evening of my birthday was one of those days when my dear Cooked Husband would ask if he should start a blog on his own, called something like 'Gracefullyraw exposed', to write about all my foody sins....

Well, who cares. What would you do if you came 'home' from a day at the beach, which you spent windsurfing, reading a lovely book, worshipping the sun and then willing yourself at the end of it all to sign up for a wakeboarding session (eventhough you were afraid of who knows what), and then realising that you can still do it, and having the time of your life (I never grin as much as when I am gliding accross the smooth sea on the wake board), and found this amazing fresh coconutty delight topped with fresh sweet succulent pineapple and juicy orange left as a surpice from the hotel just for you, on your birthday. Would you not eat it?

Weeeeellll, maybe you would share a little bit with your Cooked Husband, but at the same time, you would poke the fork into it, feel how soft, flooffy and creamy it is, and think, that it was surely made and given to you with love, so there can be no harm in enjoying it. And may I tell you, aspiring raw foodist as I am, that it was amazing, delicious and I loved it. Hey - they even left a tiny candle and a book of matches!!! Judge me if you want. I always maintained my view of mind being above the matter, and guilt, as my dear friend Lada said many, many years ago, being overrated!

Whatever you want to do, especially if it is your birthday, just do it. Wake board! Dance! Have your (raw, if you are lucky) cake and eat it too, if that is what you want!

Many happy returns to me ;-) And be sure that I will attempt to recreate this cloudy goodness myself sometimes soon, only this time, of course, raw.

Thursday, July 16

Back from other reality

As I am reading the date of my last post I find it difficult to believe that it has been so long! Truth is, ever since I came back from my Czech home, I have had trouble with time - working a lot on both of my jobs took most of my time and catching up with myself took the rest, so writing was left behind. Well I am now back, at least from my two weeks of holiday in scoldingly hot Egypt, and ready to share some of my life with you once again.

My life in Egypt was close to blissful. Waking up to a blazing sunshine and golden heat every morning and going for an 'early' pre-breakfast swim in the empty bluey sea. Then feasting on lots of watermelon, sprinkled with a juce of some local, small but sparklingly tingly limes, before spending my day swimming, walking barefoot on sand and springy grass, reading, listening to music, creating lots of vitamin D and windsurfing or wakeboarding. Shortly - tough life - I have the bruises to prove it!

Lunch was something small to share with Cooked Husband, if he remembered to return to the beach from his hyper windsurfing sessions, and then some more of the same. As this is mostly a foodie blog, I must tell you all about the dinners. I have never have it so easy to eat raw. We stayed in this hotel on half board, and our breakfasts and dinners were buffet style. There was always fruit, salad and hot food, plenty of cakes and pastries . Somehow anything that was not fresh and juicy left me so uninterested; partially I think it was the heat, but also the cooked food was really not that great. Poor Cooked Husband kept trying, but always ended up disappointed, as everything seemed to have sat on the buffet for some time and was not very fresh any more.

Not so my salads. OMG! I had a large plate of green leaves (would you not have guessed) with lovely local olive oil and more of that zingy lime juice, followed by a huge plate of rainbow of veggies - the tomatoes were a true tomato red colour, sweet and succulent; the cucumbers were small, crunchy and sweet, the carrots were so flavourful and juicy in their own, carroty way... this made the 3/4 of my plate very night. The last small space left was filled with a selection from the rest of the fabulous salad bar. There were some local salads with aubergines and chickpeas, marinated fennel and courgettes, stuffed cucumbers, marinates spicy and sweet peppers, green and reddish black olives - in short, I could eat like that for a very very long time before I was bored! There was something a little bit different every day. It was amazing! Not absolutely everything was raw, but I was more then happy to enjoy a little bit of local hummus, egyptian feta cheese or tzatziki as a small addition to my mountain of raw food.

I was told many times before by my friends or family, who came to stay with me and for whom I prepared yummy healthy meals, that they would be very happy to eat that way if someone made it for them all the time the way I did. Now this was my turn to see what they meant. I am happy enough to eat my simple salads and smoothies at home, but to have a choice from around 20 different salads, all fresh, ripe, coulourful, vibrant, juicy and literally calling me to munch them, staying raw would not be an issue at all.

Tuesday, June 2

Self expression through un-cooking

I realise how long it has been since I have posted anything, but somehow I am going through a writers blog.... and so finally I came to realisation that I might as well post a picture, so that you get to see where else have I found a creative expression. And you have guessed correctly - it was through making FOOD!

Breakfast a little bit diffrently: Apple slices with nut butter topped with raspberries, strawberries, lots of cinnamon and a little vanilla agave drizzle. AMAZING!

My latest creation - spicy crackers - became the base for a raw pizza, which became the best raw food I have so far made and eaten!

And so thus nurtured I will endeavour to be back in top form very very soon. That a promise!

Friday, May 15

The raw trials

A friend recently commiserated with me about how it makes her feel depressed when she gives in and eats cooked stuff, either through social pressure, or because it is there, or simply because her cravings get the better (or worse) out of her. I am totally same that way. So many times I do not resist, so many times I end up with achy tummy and tell myself not to do it again only to let it happen next time.

We all have our weaknesses, I suppose. Mine is travel. One of the joys of travelling to different countries, at least for me, is tasting the local food. Also, as I most often travel with Cooked Husband, it is nice to take it easy and share whatever he eats, taste each other's food, that kind of thing. And I am not even bringing into the picture other people and their opinions...

My body definitely always lets me know that I didn't follow my best rules or guidelines or knowledge. I don't feel great, my energy level starts to drop, my skin looses its luster and often I get spots ... but the hardest thing of all is what my mind does to me. It tells me stories about how I am living a lie, it tells me how I failed myself (and others) and how depressed I am now that I stuffed my face with a cooked feast. It really can makes me feel low, depressed and a failier. This is terrible. It is a bit like slipping on a banana skin, twisting your ankle and then beating your head against the pavement as a punishment for not seeing and avoiding the banana skin in the first place. Basically making the pain worse and the damage longer lasting.

And so this is what I said in an email to my friend. I wrote it at work, just really quickly, and this small droplet of wisdom flew through me. Here I share it with you, and at the same time I am hoping that I will take my own advice. Eat raw as much as possible, if pleasurable, but do not make it a religion.

"I am sorry you are feeling down because of what you ate. I do it all the time, too, and it is a bit pointless, don't you think? We want to eat raw to feel good about ourselves, not to feel bad when we don't manage to stay raw. Does that make sense?"

How do you deal with your raw lifestyle slip ups? Let me know, every little helps!

Tuesday, May 5

Uncooking for Cooked parents

I believe that one of the challenges of being succesfully raw and living in peace with all other people never mind what they want to eat is in not pushing your raw ideas on them. When I first 'discovered' raw 15 months ago I could, as every raw fooder there will know for themselves, not believe that not everybody out there didn't want to hear what I learned and how much sense it made. So I talked to people, gently, but still, letting them know about this wonder that simple unheated and unprocessed food is.

I am not so new to eating well. I have been an avid healthy eating / nutrition / alternative almost anything reader for over two decades now and have acuired some knowledge in the field. And yet even for me the journey to raw food took a long time. I have read Norman Walker's books first time 18 years ago, and although they resonated deeply with me I have totally missed the point that he was a raw foodist! It just was not a concept I was ready (or perhaps willing) to understand. I have also met several raw foodists a few years ago while living in Canada and working in a lovely yoga centre Rama Lotus. Back then I have began to understand what it meant to eat only raw food, but I was not yet ready to believe that it was the perfect way. Especially not in Ottawa where the temperature in winter regularly drop 3o degrees Celsius below zero. It simply did not make sense to me. Not yet. I must confess that even Luke's amazing raw chocolate truffles left me rather clueless... What a shame!

Anyway; when things fell in place and I was finally ready to start eating this way, I have remembered my own slow process and I did my best not to impose on people by only sharing my diet habits when asked about it. When told I looked amazing, I would mention that it must be the  benefit of my raw food diet and smile. Lots of people found this interesting, some people said to be careful and not to make myself ill, and a few probably thought I was crazy, but this is not a new concept to me and left me unchallenged.

One of the more gentle sceptics are my dear Cooked Parents in-law. They do their best to be supportive and even stock their house with lots fruits and veggies when we are visitting. I could not be more lucky,really,  I could not have a more loving Mum in-law. But I think sometimes she is worried about what it is I am doing.... It seems so strange to them, strangely, to eat only stuff that has not been cooked. We are all such creatures of habit, we do not question why we do what we do, but we will question when we see something new, unexpected, radical even. 

With myself, I find that the more raw I eat, the less I am actually willing to cook certain things, and mostly I do not want to work, touch or eat meat. And so when my cooked in-laws came to visit last time, I have given up my role as an exclusive chef for the evening and asked Cooked Husband to prepare the main meal, as he wanted somthing cooked. I have, as usual, prepared a raw starter, which you can see above. Cooked husband named it 'The Trafic Lights Salad' and it was created from red, orange, yellow and brownish tomato, yummy ripe avocado, basil and pinenuts based pesto and extra splash of olive oil. It was delicious, everyone loved it, and we even had a 'which tomato do you like best' contest.

One more way to bring more raw food onto people's plates are the side veggies. You can steam carrots, green beans, mange touts and brocoli for just a minute to warm them up very very gently, or you can even steam a half and then leave the second half raw, letting people to help themselfs from whichever bowl they prefer. Presentation is the key, and dressing the veggies in a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and a dash of pink himalaian salt will help as well. Also I find that during a dinner party the focus in as much on a conversation and having fun as it is on food, so your guests  might not notice so much that the carrots are a bit crunchier then they would make them at home.

After Cooked Husband spent a sleepless night last time I made a raw chocolate cake, I was a bit worried to make it again, and as I found my raw larder a bit empty, I ended up making a regular non raw desert. I was surpriced to not like it as much as I used to, finding it clogging and overly sweet, so it is my plan that from this moment onwards, in this house, there will be raw starters and raw deserts at every dinner party. This might also mean Cooked Husband's bigger participation in preparing the meal, which I found left me strangely unstressed and collected, having all (t)his help. So now I have two reasons. And who knows, as I get more confident and practice and play more with my raw recipes, I might one day serve a completely raw meal to a definitely cooked unsuspecting people and have them coming for seconds, perhaps even without knowing how much good this is doing to their bodies!

Tuesday, April 28

I have come to realise that, ever since I came off my attempted juice feast, I have been blogging about food. Well, I might not have been telling you very often, but I have been also drinking at least a pint (about half a litre) or more of super charged vibrant green juice pretty much every day. Most of the time I will have it for breakfast, but sometimes it will become my afternoon snack, or, if I am feeling very very motivated and disciplined, I will make it my dinner.

That, by the way, would be my ultimate ideal, as far as my eating habits go. I know very well how unhealthy it is to eat in the evening, but at the moment I am not quite able to keep my diet that way. Evenings are for me, as they will be for most other people, the hardest time when it comes to craving and overeating. It will become especially difficult if I have too many things on my mind, if I had a tough day or if I feel unhappy or uneasy about something... It is the ultimate way to shut up my mind - stuff it with food. It is better if the food is raw, of course, but better still if it was just a huge glass of energy and healing power giving green juice. We all strive for perfection, I guess, and so I do my best not to beat myself up, and just make sure that I have my great green potion first thing in the morning the next day.

I have found, by the way, that it is the best way to put yourself back on your eating well path. It alcalises the system, makes you feel better and more energetic almost instantly, and the huge dose of minerals and vitamins you are getting will ease any further cravings.

I wanted to share with you an amazing green concoction I had for breakfast today. Every Tuesday, after Denise and myself have done our yoga session, we make ourselves a breakfast. This used to be a green smoothie but has become a green juice ever since my fabulous Oscar machine arrived a little while ago. We both get organic vegetable box delivery, and this, accidentally, happens on Tuesday as well. That means that when we meet on Tuesday morning we put together whatever leftovers we found kicking around our fridges... Yes, I know, that does not sound too good... But you have to remember that everything that goes into the juice has to be green, pottentially with some fruit, and so we always end up with an interesting combination. So far we have always enjoyed our juices, never were we forced to pour them away.

But this week - oh this week, it was something else! Somehow we both had lots of herbs, and so the juice was all about green herbs. We used pineapple for sweetness and ginger for a kick, and then we were transported into a magical land of great beauty, energy and harmony and taste buddy pleasure while we were sipping this amazing recipe:

1 bunch of parsley, mostly stalks, as I used the leaves already
1 bunch of mint
2 bunches of corriander, with their fine white roots attached
1/2 pineapple
1 very small fennell
1 brocolli stalk
2 cm of ginger
1/2 head of celery
juice of lime added at the end, juiced by hand, so not too bitter

If you have a juicer that will wotk on green leaves, you simply have to try this. I cannot describe it well enough. It was a little bit sweet, a little bit tingly, a little bit sour, and very very green! This, my dearest readers, was the Queen of all the green juices I have ever drunk! May I be fortunate to recreate it again soon.

Wednesday, April 22

Daily bread

While I have not been writing very much in the last many days, I have been busy in the kitchen and in the garden. The weather in London was amazing, sunny and almost hot, and as everyone living in the UK knows, this is to be savoured and enjoyed, because we never know how long it will last. And so instead of sitting in front of my laptop typing away I have been planting lettuces and beans, reading in the sun Evie's Kitchen: Raising an Ecstatic Child and creating some lovely summery raw foods in between, when I needed a rest from all that sunshine.

As I mentioned before, I don't have a dehydrator, as the space in our kitchen is quite limited and Cooked Husband gets stressed about me overcrowding the kitchen with my 'raw gadgets', but since I had my first positive outcome using very low oven for my Easter feast I have been playing with dehydrator based recipes quite succesfully. I am lucky, I suppose, as the lovest setting on my oven is somewhere around 35-40 C - this basically means that the trays feel just warm, not hot, when handled with my bare hands. Please be careful the first time you experiment, as every oven is different and I would not like it if you burned your fingers! I have also, through trial and error, learned that it is very important to leave the oven door open a little bit to let the moisture out, as some of my first attempts went sour and ended up on the compost heap. I just stick a wooden spoon in the door so it stays open a crack. When you make something like coconut maccaroons this way, the whole house smells of sweet coconut and you are, at least mentally, transported to a lovely caribean island...

 My raw bread and the marinated mushrooms are from Russell James' eZine recipe. You can subscribe on the page where this link takes you, it is free, and I urge you, if you do not yet receive his eZine, sign up now. He is such an inspiration! The bread is based on sprouted buckwheat, zuccini and avocado, and it tastes rather nice. I found it a bit off an acquired taste at first, quite savoury, but it made a perfect base for several different open sanwiches and raw pizzas during the last week or so. On that note I would recommend to make only a half of the recipe if you are a single raw foodist in your household, as, even after I shared some with The Green Queen, I have been eating the bread every day and still have a few slices left in the fridge!

What you can see on the picture is my lunch one day last week; the base is the already mentioned bread, spread with home-made almond/cashew nut butter, drizzled with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, then topped with alternate slices of avocado and marinated and dehydrated mushrooms, decorated with a few vibrant radish slices and microgreens. It was delicious and filling, and another day, when I had a similar version of this for dinner, I gave Cooked Husband a taste ... and he liked it! Never say never!

Tuesday, April 14

Un-cooked Easter

Last week, specifically on Easter Monday, something very special happened in the world of Raw Wife and Cooked Husband. I have prepared my first time ever raw food feast for other people, some of them raw, and some of them not.

My dear friend Denise aka Green Queen and her boyfriend Mark brought the starters - gorgeous vietnamiese rice wraps with mango, avocado and corriander and some beautiful raw sushi with cauliflower rice. I made marinated portabela mushrooms with satay sauce from my new Thai e-book from Russell James, who is always an amazing inspiration.

Main meal was all in the oriental mood; here are the veggies mixed with spices and ready to go into my low oven as no dehydrator to warm up and soften a bit.

Pineapple rice in the making. I pulsed some cauliflower, salsify, pinenuts and maccadamia nuts in a food processor with sesami oil and salt, then added finely chopped chilli, corriander and pineapple into the mix. Delicious....

To have something simple with all these gourmet choices, I have created some yellow zuccini 'noodles' on my new spiraliser toy thing machine. I love this thing. It is the best! I have never had so much fun with vegetables before!

And lunch is served. Eating with chopsticks might not be very 'thai', but it is fun, so we did it anyway...

And a chocolate surprice at the end. Tart is from Raw Food Real World, ice cream is frozen bananas and frozen almond milk blended together with a raspberry swirl. Yum. I am sorry the true chocoholics who could not resist a second helping and then could not sleep that night, but that's raw chocolate for you. Powerful stuff. But then again, when else would you eat a lot of chocolate if not at Easter!?

Sunday, April 5

Visiting Raw Bar

I cannot believe how fast time flies! It has now been almost a week since I started this post. But here I am now to tell you all about this new exciting place that recently opened its doors to us, raw foodies, here in London.

I met my 'rawfriend' Marianne for late lunch at the Raw Bar at Noting Hill. We both subscribe to the amazing quarterly magazine GetFresh, and so we both read the review of this place and could not get there fast enough to experience it for ourselves. It is effectively a shop run by an English organic farm and apart from being able to buy here anything from fresh produce through books and clothes you can also sit down to a lovely meal, cooked or not, vegan or otherwise. For us, the raw enthusiasts, the best part in here is the already mentioned Raw Bar. Not all meals are vegan, but I see that as almost a good thing as you can come with your non-raw friends and they will feel like they have an interesting choice of dishes as well.

We were not allowed to take pictures of the place, which I find strange because I was only going to use them to lure more people into visiting, but I will tell you what it looks like and you can check it out for yourself, if you are in London, or follow this link for a nice picture. The whole place is created in natural materials, every surface covered in wood or wicker, and through middle of the long lovely smooth wooden tables runs a narrow grass 'meadow'. You can touch it or stroke it and feel its juicy green softness; it is rather cool, actually, and makes you smile! You can almost imagine you are having a picnic in a park...

The food is competing with the environment for your attention. You can sit at the bar, as we did, and watch your food being prepared, and even ask a question or two from the two handsome chefs. They might let you into a secret or two if you become a regular customer here, or you can come to one of the open days they run once a months and actually learn hands-on how to create some of the yummy creations we ate.

Although they do have a lovely wine list, we chose a juice each. Drinking before 5pm and all that, you know. Mine was a 'Lemonade' shake from pears, apples, lemon and ginger, and it was a delicately tasting pale green cloud. I had to guard it from Marianne, who ordered a straight green detox juice but fell in love with my sweet creation instead. She has since been experimenting busily at home, attempting to recreate this delicious drink. It was very refreshing and will be great in summer poured over some ice cubes.

To start with we shared a selection of raw crackers with dips and pickles The dips were avocado cream and almond hummus, both of them dreamily creamy and yummy, the crackers fluffy and light, full of chopped almonds and pumpkin seeds. Marianne could not get enough of the onion rings pickled in red wine vinegar, too.

We both got very excited about the Pad Thai, which was reviewed in the magazine, and we both ended up ordering it. This could be seen as a bad thing to do as you cannot taste different dishes from each other. Well, obviously, you can, but there is no point, right. But it was SOOO good, we were both more then happy with our choice. The bottom layer was made of spiralised carrots (of which you will soon see and hear more, because I ordered spiraliser as soon as I got home), mixed with a mild, perhaps macadamia nut based sauce, topped with finely julienned veggies - red and white cabbage, spring onions, red peppers - with almond butter based spicy Thai sauce. All this was topped again with a pyramid of mixed baby salad leaves drizzled with the most fiery chili oil and sprinkled with some honeyed spicy cashew nuts for extra crunch and flavour. It was SOOOOOO GOOD, and it looked beautiful! Marianne's hand was shaky and so the picture above is not very sharp, but you can just see this yummy pretty meal, and how excited I am about it!

Although we talked about the intriguing sounding deserts and saw some of them being prepared, we ended up too full to have room for anything else! We decided on sharing the main meal next time and sampling them then, as we will definitely be back!

The total bill came to £17 each, which seems a bit pricey for a plate of vegetables, but let me assure you - a plate of vegetables this was NOT! It was a lovely creation, put together with enthusiasm and skill, and compared to a cooked dish of pasta I imagine it took as much or more work and surely involved a bit more careful flavour balancing. Creating from raw ingredients is at least as much fun as it is a challenge. I personally left with not only a full and content belly but also with my head spinning with ideas about want I want to make and create. As I said earlier, I ordered a spiraliser as soon as I got home and also bought a Thai inspired collection of raw recipes from Russel James. I have since played with some of them, but I will leave that for another post.

Thursday, April 2

Aloe vera

My green juice of the day included

1/4 head of butter lettuce
few chard leaves
2 celery sticks
bunch of parsley
small piece of gallanghal root
3 inch piece aloe vera, as you can see on the picture, skin included
1/4 large sweet lemon
juice of 8 small blood oranges

This was sooooo citrussy and yummy, I had over a liter of it for dinner. This is my new plan, to have a huge green juice for dinner instead of solid food, as I tend to overeat and then give in to a sweet tooth, and I generally don't feel very energetic next morning. So my 'normal' vita food will be eaten at lunch, snacks, elevenses, but any time after 6 pm let's say, I am going to do my best to have only juice and fruit teas. Let's see how that goes, as that is the time I make dinner for Cooked Husband, and often feel seduced by the smells of his meals, so I will have to develop a strong will...

Wednesday, April 1

Cooked Husband + Raw Ice Cream = Happy Home

So this was my first experiment with Oscar, my super juicer, the first time I made something that was not a juice. My dear friend Denise was telling me on Tuesday morning that she heard about people making 'raw' ice cream from frozen babanas. Well, so have I, I just haven't tried it - YET!

As I write, my dear Cooked Husband is enjoying a bowl of this yummy banana raspberry mix drizzled with a bit of vanilla infused agave, happily humming to himself. Do I sense SUCCESS? I am very inspired right now and will be stocking on more bananas soon. The possibilities are endless, as I am thinking I can freeze almost anything, run it through the juicer, and then even whizz it in my blender with more yummy raw things to create the most delicious AND healthy treats.

This is what the process of ice cream making looks like when you use a clever juicing machine - rather fun! And as long as you have some frozen fruit at hand, it only takes a few minutes.
Let's hope for a hot summer and watch this space. Maybe I will even try a green ice cream... but maybe not quite yet..

Tickle your taste buds

Purple sprouting brocoli, red cabbage and marinated mushrooms with Thai inspired dressing with tahini, chilli pepper and lime juice.

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Tuesday, March 31

Meditative Juice

Tuesday brought to my home as usual my great friend Denise, the Green Queen. As it is my day of work these days, I appreciate her arrival in the morning even more; there is no better reason to jump out of bed early then meeting up with your girlfriend and doing something you enjoy. This is especially vital if you have over-combined and overeaten your food the previous evening and you feel like had two bottles of red... Do you know this feeling? It happens as our bodies get used to the cleansing, simpler diet; as soon as we regress back to badly combined cooked or even sometimes raw but heavy food, our body lets us know that (s)he does not like this. I am very happy to observe though that there are things my body has learned to expect and it does ask for them. One of them is my daily morning glass of water with MSM and lemon juice. It's a great way to rehydrate the body after the many hours spent sleeping, and I also see it as some kind of internal shower. It refreshes and sort of wakes me up; I feel immediately ready for some San saluting. This morning I immediately followed up with a small glass of super green juice, which works wonders for me. I cannot get enough of the stuff. It has strong alkalising effect on our bodies, and so is great for as most of us are over acidic from eating too much processed or sugary foods and drinks. This morning, as I suffered from my morning-after-the-night-before-over-indulgence I felt better with every little sip I took. I salute the juicer! If you are feeling inspired by my enthusiasm, go for it. The only warning I give is in case you are on any kind of medication - then I recommend consulting a medical practitioner, preferably one who knows and appreciates the healing effects of proper (raw, vegan,green) nutrition. However, if you are (relatively) healthy and want to feel MUCH better, fresh green juices are waiting! If this is your first time with fresh juices, start with more fruity ones and slowly add your greens, that way you will get used to the green taste better and will end up enjoying them more.

Denise and I left out yoga this morning and spent an hour with Nadabrahma meditation instead. This meditation is based on ancient Tibetan techniques and was brought to us by Indian mystic called Osho. It is a very calming one, and after half an hour of humming and then some quiet sitting in inner reflection we were almost too sedated to talk. So we went to spend some more quiet time with the juicer and made us an amazing breakfast juice. Green,of course, what else?!

1/4 cucumber
1/3 butter lettuce
1/2 celery
leaves from 10 radishes
handful of parsley
handful of lambs quarters
3 pears
2 passion fruit, because it is Denise's favourite fruit, and because it smells heavenly

At the end the taste was surprisingly sweet. I bought some pretty green pears, but as they sat in our fruit bowl, they ripened and became lovely and sweet, and the passion fruit added a tropical touch.

I was not so good later in the afternoon when I met with another of my friends and ordered a cappuccino. Unfortunately, or should I make it fortunately, they didn't make it very well, the milk was a bit off and it tasted so bad I left most of it behind. I had to ask myself again and again when will I learn? When will I stop ordering stuff I only want because that's what everyone else is having? I don't enjoy it, it makes me feel bad and I end up being annoyed with myself... I know it is a question many transitioning raw foodist asked themselves before me and at the same time I am not the last one to go through with it, but I so wish I could be 'perfect'! I am going to do my best and follow my own advice - what happened has happened and with every next decision I will be a step closer to my own version of perfection... be it a vegan, 100% raw vegan or something in between.I have met a few individuals, who were able to stop eating everything they realised was bad for them overnight, but it is not an easy way, and it most definitely is not for everybody.

Dinner for me was another green juice and a Thai inspired salad from shredded red cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, mung bean sprouts, tamari marinated mushrooms, sunflower seeds and sun dried tomatoes marinated on herby olive oil with a very spicy dressing based on tahini and lime juice. Yum!

Friday, March 27


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So this is how my first green juice looked like and it tasted something like ZZZZZZZZZZZRRRRRRRRRBURGUMBUNGRZBRUNG! There was not one piece of fruit in it if you don't count lime juice a I could taste and feel its vibrations long after I had the last sip. All I could feel was greenness, cleanliness, spring and regeneration and renewal plus multitude of feelings and thoughts.... but also I kept glancing at my fruit bowl and at the end I went to make juice from a few apples to soften the last of this green goodness. But, although this is a mere wine glass, it is Cooked Husband's wine glass and it is a pint sized one no less. So I got a lot of minerals and vitamins and other goodness and it felt as if every sip made me younger by a week. It does not show - not yet... Can't wait though.

So - Bottoms up! Your health!

Big little helper

I just wanted to show you how magically this machine works when it comes to greens. I am not having as much success with fruits, but for leafy greens it is magic. Well, you can see for yourself - the jug is about 1 and a half pint, and there was just about a small handfull of almost dry fibrous solid stuff. I run the fibre through second time as not to waste a single drop, and I thought that to get this much juice was simply AMAZING!

This was the first juice I have made, and in it was

1/2 green soft lettuce
1 cucmber
1 courgette
1 inch galangal root
juice of 1 lemon

It was very zingy and wonderful. Later that day I made a juice from

5 large chard leaves
1 cucumber
2 apples
1 lime
1 small head of celery

Poor brave Cooked Husband! He agreed to have a taste, but he is just simply not ready for all the goodness found in green juices yet. They are super-power stuf, not for the faint hearted. Not that he is faint hearted, but I mean - you have to taste a straight green juice to understand. He was very happy and impressed with the fresh pineapple juice I made him the next day for breakfast, so I will have to start him softly and sneak in a green leaf here and there, to build his taste buds up to the challenge.

Watch this space!

Thursday, March 26


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So he is here. He has arrived! And as I promissed he is absolutely amazing, super shiny and fabulous, and he is all mine! My new super juicer called Oscar!
I have to confes that he arrived already yesterday, but it was Cooked Husband's birthday and so it was not a day for me to open presents but for him. I will write a post about yesterday as well, but for now I wanted to let you know about our new family mamber. I unpacked him this morning, washed and polished him, and then I got him work. And is he clever!?

My first ever home made super green juice was made out of
1 cucumber
1 courgette
1/2 a huge lettuce head
1 lime
2 cm piece of galanghal root

It had a lot of umphf, so I added a juice from 2 apples to the last third to soften the taste. But still! WOW! Rather strong and zingy and GREEN!

I will blog about what I like and maybe not like about this juicer once I have had it for a while. After the first day I have to say I am very impressed with the yield for leafy and crunchy veggies, absolutelly amazing, but not so sure about those apples, as I got more like a thin puree then a pure juice. But that might be because those apples were a but dry... I know that serious juicy people sometimes have more then one type of juicer as they are better for different kinds of veggies and fruits, but me, for now, I am happy and juicy and celebratory.

Viva le Oscar! Viva la New Moon! Viva le Juicy life!

Tuesday, March 24

These sheep were so hungry they were following us... and I had nothing green to feed them... surprisingly so!

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Everywhere I look there is a baby sheep

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It has been SOOOO many days since I have written! Well, I am sure you have noticed that, but I actually almost haven't...

What happened is that I have been 'unplugged' from the Internet, and the computer for that matter, for a few days over the weekend and then spent some time looking after a friend in need, so I do have some legitimate excuses one might hope people will accept...

So. I went to Wales for the weekend. This trip was a part of the reason why I gave up my green smoothie life for a few days as I could not face hiking and travelling while eating and detoxing in that way. For a while I was a little bit unhappy about the whole trip though. You see, this was supposed to be Cooked Husband's weekend away with the boys, only at the end it turned into a family trip with our friends because some of the boys could not make it. Like I said, I felt a bit 'grrr' about this, as I had all weekend planned, no cooking, lots of juices, maybe even a water only fast.... and at the end I ended up eating chips for dinner instead. Quite a detour from my plan then. But I had so much fun, and I think we were so lucky to visit Wales during the only three sunny days they (apparently) get every year, and so at the end it was worth the detox break. It was even (just maybe) worth the chips. Also, as a bonus, there were baby sheep just about EVERYWHERE!!

I developed a special relationship to sheep almost as soon as I first crossed the Canal La Manche almost 15 years ago. For those who do not know this, you can see these peaceful woolly creatures standing by the road, watching the world go (or drive) by, while chewing on juicy grass. I have not seen anything like this before, as we do not have sheep filled meadows lined roads in the Czech republic very much, and the sight of white dots on green grass makes me for whatever reason illogically happy and jolly.

Enter mid March in Wales, the home of sheep. I was in a sensory heaven; enjoying fresh air, healthy dose of walking, catching up with my girlfriend and enjoying her children's company as well, and, as a bonus, walking through field after field full of mother and baby sheep. I especially enjoyed observing the close relationship between the mama sheep and the baby sheep that we could see everywhere. First, the mothers were extremely protective of their babies. Sheep are very shy and generally, if you approach them, they walk or even run away. Not when a baby sheep is present. The mama would stare at us, rather directly, and Baa loudly, in a deep voice, to scare us away. The other, even more amazing behaviour, and very natural indeed, was that every time any of the lambs strayed from the mama, as soon as the mama Baa-ed for them, they galloped back as fast as they could and immediately had a little cuddle and a little drink of milk. Now some of these lambs were bigger and were happily grazing on the grass, and the milk drinking was a quick one most of the times, more like a comfort blanket, like making sure the mother was really there. I loved this, it felt so caring and, well, natural. It made me sad in a way though as I thought of cows and their babies, who get taken away from the mother cows too soon, so that we, people, can steel their milk and drink it instead, while we feed the calves some human made stuff... It is really sad and makes me really want to be strong enough so that I can give up the white stuff for good. This subject will most certainly develop into another post about dairy, the whole industry built around it, what it does and does not do to us and our health, books to read on the subject and much else, but not today. This is now a rather long post, so let's just stay with the memory of the woolly happiness of jolly sheep.

As far as the food goes, I will only mention breakfast. It was interesting for one reason, and that is that I actually got organised enought o write to the B&B we were booked into and asked them to prepare a raw vegan breakfast for me. They had the usual menu of cooked Welsh breakfast, all about sausages, eggs and bacon with toast and cereal, and I knew that sitting there sipping hot water with lemon while Cooked Husband was munching away would leave me feel unsatisfied. So I wrote to them explaining that I did not eat any cooked or processed food and would they be willing to make me a fruit salad. And that is what happened. I was told that they actually had the fruit special ordered for me, and my breakfast was made of lovely ripe kiwis and strawberries with other crunchy fruit and bananas. It was yummy and even Cooked Husband tucked in. Admitedly, the lady who served us in the mornings was a bit worried about how I was going to survice the day, but it was beautiful, colourful and lovely. The perfect start to my day! I am writing about this to encourage you to speak out for yourselves. Too often we feel that because we are different we might be judged and people will not want fulfill the special request we make, but the oposite is true. And by asking for the food we like to eat, perhaps we might spark an interest in people. Imagine that every time we do this, ask for a fruit salad for breakfast in a cooked hotel or ask for a large raw salad for dinner in a posh restaurant, we could make one person think about eating more raw fruits and veggies. Would that not be great??

I leave you with that for tonight.

Good night, and remember to count the sheep before you fall asleap. There are far too many for me to be the only one to do so!

Wednesday, March 18

Salad day

OK, it's become incredibly busy in this household. How grateful I am that I can only work part time! My day definitelly needs to have more hours... but I know that if I eat carefully and simply then I sleep less... so it is a no brainer!

simply just fruit, cut into pieces and enjoyed as it is
1 pear
1 asian pear
piece of fresh pineapple

Snack at work:
green smoothie made from
1/2 pineapple
handful of rocket and watercress
GREEN SMOOTHIE TRIVIA: rocket and watercress add a lot of umphf to your smoothie and are not for the novices, I would say. Start with softer tasting leaves such as spinach and various lettuces, lambs quarters, yummy herbs such as corriander and mint etc, but remember to ROTATE your greens. Do not stick to only one or two. Also if at all possible go for ORGANIC.

I was definitelly going through some coffee cravings today and the image of a muffin was swimming aluringly in front of my mind's eye. As I was going to my favourite health food store to pick up some raw goodies for the forthcoming hiking trip to Wales I was having a little discussion with myself about giving in and having what my mind wanted, reasoning that at least it was organic. Somehow, when I got there, I went straight to the salad bar and got a large selection from all the yummy lovely fresh goodies. I did not think of that coffee/muffin scenario until I was on the tube on my home, looong afterwards. A very interesting experience. And I am glad I did not give in. Every day that I resist the pull of the old brings me closer to the health and vibrant energy I desire. Lots of coffee does maybe bring longer days in the beginning, but there is a price to pay later on. Eating living energy giving healing food will make my life longer, so who cares of I sleep a bit more every day.... wink wink

Late lunch:
salad in a health food store
mixed salad leaves
grated carrot
lots of sprouts (not brussel sprouts, but sprouted growing seeds of watercress)
few cubes of roasted sweet potato
few roasted herbed mushrooms
few pieces of roasted red and yellow pepper

Even as I was picking this up, I was dreaming about getting a dehydrator or kitting my owen at home so that I can make dehydrated veggies, and so I can get the same taste and texture as if they were roasted without exposing their heat sensitive goodness (enzymes, vitamins) to the high temperatures. This is a change in thinking, and a very welcome one. I even designed in my head a change to the owen so that I can make it work. Now I just need a clever handyman, and we are in business.

2 large handfulls of kale
stripped from tough stalks
massaged with
a glug of yummy cold presses olive oil
and a few pinches of pink himalayan salt
which makes it wilt and soften
handful of baby tomatoes
few semi sundried tomatoes marinated in herbs and olive oil
chopped half a cucumber
finely chopped chilli pepper
scatter sunflower seeds on the top

Not the simplest salad but LOOOVELYYY! I learned about massaged kale salad about a year ago and I seriously mourned when its season here in UK finished. It was one of the things I looked forward to in winter! Does that make me sad?

Oh, by the way... are you there? Is any one reading this? LET ME KNOW!