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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