CARDIOLOGY, DINNER, GASTROENTEROLOGY, LUNCH

SPICY SARDINIAN AUBERGINE WITH FREGOLA

sardinian_fregola_stew_vegetarian_mpgk

I can't stop making this. It's a rustic, warming one-pot wonder made from ingredients I can pick up locally, making it the ideal go-to for an impromptu dinner with friends. Cooking fills the house with delicate scents of saffron and it's ready to eat within an hour.

It's a not-quite-verbotim take on this recipe by David Tanis at the New York Times. David's recipe is a more traditional Sardinian seafood stew, using calamari and anchovies. I adapted it to a vegetarian dish, swapping aubergine for the calamari and capers for the anchovies. 

It's also a chance to celebrate SAFFRON: those glamorous, pricey red strands that can take a dish from so-so to sensational. Saffron are actually dried crocus flowers, and have been used in traditional medicine for generations. Studies have shown saffron can help with digestive problems, heart health, depression, insomnia and anxiety. The red pigment in saffron has been studied for anti-tumour properties. It's expensive, yes, but a little goes a long way, and a box of saffron should last a while (unless you cook this every week, as I've been doing.)

There are a couple of adjustments to David's recipe to account for the aubergine in place of calamari. It's good to get everything prepped before you start, as the timings are pretty quick between each step. 

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SPICY SARDINIAN AUBERGINE WITH FREGOLA

  • 2 large aubergines, halved lengthwise and cut into 1" half-moon wedges
  • 4-5 tbsp rapeseed oil
  •  Salt and pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 4 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • ⅛ teaspoon crumbled saffron
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup diced canned tomato
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth or bouillon
  • 1 cup fregola sarda (add 1/2 cup for heartier appetites)
  • a good handful of fresh basil leaves

In a large deep frying pan over a medium heat, add half the rapeseed oil. When hot, add the aubergine wedges, white-side down. Fry for around 5 mins, until golden, then flip to the other side. Remove from pan to a warm plate. Continue with remaining aubergine wedges and oil until all is cooked. Remove to the warm plate and set aside. 

Using the same pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium heat. Add the capers, chilli flakes and garlic, stir well and let sizzle for around 1 minute. Add the onions to the pan, season with a good pinch of salt and stir well until all flavours are combined. Cook the onions for around 5 minutes, until soft and beginning to take on some colour. Now add the saffron, which you crumble between your fingers as you add it in, and the wine. Stir and cook for around 2 mins, then add the broth and tomatoes. Reduce heat to a simmer, stir well and leave to cook for around 10 minutes, uncovered. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary, I added another couple of pinches of salt and plenty of fresh black pepper at this point. 

While the stew is simmering, bring a large pan of salted water to boil. Add the fregola and cook for 8-10 minutes, until al-dente. The texture should be a little like pasta. Drain (I kept a little of the fregola water back when I drained, and added some of this water to the sauce to keep it more brothy) and stir a little oil or butter through the fregola to prevent it sticking. Set aside. 

Now return to the stew. Add the aubergine wedges to your sauce and turn the heat up a notch. Stir well, let the aubergines warm and collapse slightly. When everything is well mingled and the seasoning is right, remove from heat and fold in the basil leaves. Top with a dash of olive oil and serve, spooning the aubergine over the fregola. 

Prep time: 10 mins. Cook time: 45 mins. 

 

BREAKFAST, BRUNCH, DESSERT, GASTROENTEROLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, PALEO, SNACK

CHOCOLATE BUCKWHEAT TORTE

buckwheat_chocolate_cake_torte_3

A dense, decadent flourless chocolate cake made with olive oil, maple syrup and buckwheat flour. Grain-free, gluten-free and no refined sugar.  The kind of cake you might reach for around 4pm, or 10pm... or 8am... ideally with a scoop of coconut yoghurt and a classy cup of green tea. 

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buckwheat_chocolate_cake_torte_2

CHOCOLATE BUCKWHEAT TORTE

  • 170g good quality dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large organic free range eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • large pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • chopped toasted hazelnuts to sprinkle on top
  • coconut yoghurt to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C. Using a little extra olive oil, grease a 20cm pie dish or tart dish.

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie over a low heat. Once fully melted, stir in the olive oil, mix well and set aside. 

Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the maple syrup and salt. Using a stand whisk, electric whisk or hand whisk, beat until the eggs have doubled in volume and appear thick and fluffy - probably around 5 minutes. Fold the melted chocolate and olive oil into the egg mixture. Sift the flours into the bowl and fold in carefully. Pour into the tart dish and place in the centre of the oven. Cook for 25 minutes. A knife or skewer into the middle should come out clean when done. Leave to cool. The cake can be served chilled or at room temperature, and should keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. 

Prep time: 15 mins. Cook time: 25 mins. 

ALKALISING, ANALGESIC, BRUNCH, DERMATOLOGY, DINNER, ENDOCRINOLOGY, GASTROENTEROLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, IMMUNOLOGY, LUNCH, PALEO, RAW, SALAD, SNACK

TURMERIC PANEER SALAD

turmeric_paneer_salad_mpgk

It was recently imparted to me that you can make your own paneer. Call me late to the party, but this is a game-changer. Paneer, or curd, is made by separating milk. A friend demonstrated this the other day, and I couldn't believe how easy it was. Heat milk, add vinegar, milk separates. The heating of the milk reminded me of making Golden Milk , so I thought surely you could make 'Golden Paneer' using a similar turmeric infusion. Turns out, it totally works, and is totally delicious. I riffed off the flavours that I'd use in a turmeric dressing (mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey) and fried the paneer with mustard seeds. Served in a salad it makes the dream springtime lunch - fresh, bright and full of earthy zesty flavour. 

I don't eat much cow's cheese, and never drink cow's milk, so I got thinking that goat's paneer was surely just as good as cow's paneer. Basically the same thing as goat's curd, just pressed into a block and then fried. To make the paneer I followed this method, substituting the full fat cow's milk for goat's milk. If you can find full fat goat's milk you'll get a lot more paneer for your money. I could only find semi-skimmed, which works fine, you just get a smaller yield. You'll need a piece of muslin or a nut bag for the straining, and be really careful not to burn the bottom of the milk otherwise you'll end up with brown bits in the paneer. 

If you're planning on eating this for lunch, make the paneer a couple of hours ahead so it has time to firm up in the fridge. 2 hours in the fridge is good. Then just pan fry and toss with the salad when ready to serve. The leftover whey is great for a protein-packed smoothie, or can be used in baking, fermenting or even as plant feed.

TURMERIC PANEER SALAD

For the paneer:

  • 1.5l organic goat's milk, full fat if possible
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar (white distilled vinegar or lemon juice also works)
  • pinch sea salt
  • piece of muslin

For the salad:

  • big bowl of fresh leaves. spinach works well with the turmeric, as do mustard greens and rocket. 
  • 1 small fennel, thinly shaved into slices
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
  • scattering of toasted almond flakes

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • pinch sea salt
  • fresh black pepper

To make the paneer, pour the milk into a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the turmeric. Stir often to prevent it burning and bring to just below a boil - a gentle simmer. While it's heating prepare a piece of muslin over a bowl for straining purposes. When the milk is heated and looks frothy and creamy and is just beginning to simmer, remove from the heat and pour in the vinegar. The curds/paneer should separate from the whey/liquid. Leave it for 10 minutes to separate, then strain through the muslin, catching the whey in the bowl beneath the muslin and the curds inside the muslin. Squeeze the muslin, expelling any excess liquid. Open the muslin on a plate and spread the paneer out. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Now form the paneer into a block, still inside the muslin, and place another plate on top to weigh it down. You can add extra weight, such as a jar or tin, then place in the fridge to set for around 2 hours. If you're pushed for time, you can refrigerate it for less time, the paneer will just be less solid. 

When ready to serve, toss the washed salad with the fennel and place into a large serving bowl. Place a medium pan over a medium heat, add the rapeseed oil and mustard seeds. Remove the paneer from the fridge, unwrap and cut into 2cm pieces. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add 1/8 tsp turmeric and a pinch of salt and stir into the oil. Add the paneer and fry each side for 3 minutes. Try not to turn it too much or it can fall apart - mine did. Doesn't affect the taste, you'll just end up with less regular pieces of paneer. When golden on all sides, remove from the heat and set aside. 

Mix up the ingredients for the dressing. Dot the paneer over the salad leaves, dress and serve immediately. 

Cook time: 15 mins. Prep time: 2 hrs in advance

 

DINNER, GASTROENTEROLOGY, GLUTEN FREE

MUSHROOM BOURGUIGNON WITH HERB POLENTA

mushroombourguignon_polenta

This could well be the most delicious food of all time. It's definitely up there in the top 3 most delicious things I know how to make. I made this on a whim, looking for something new to do with mushrooms. It turned out to be the richest, darkest, most complex mushroom stew you could wish for, and a million times better than any meat version, IMO. It is also possibly the hardest food to photograph, but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in depth, moreishness and comfort. It's the ideal wintery dish to serve to vegetarian friends, and to vege-sceptic meat lovers. 

NB: This is a boozy recipe. I used at least a 1/3 of a bottle of wine. The trick is in the de-glazing, which needs to be done 2 or 3 times for the best flavour. I also used goats butter, not cows butter, which is a little lighter and more fragrant. Fresh thyme is pretty essential, and for me a thyme sprig is a decent few stalks off one stem. In other words, don't be shy with the thyme.

The polenta method is the one I use most of the time for making polenta. It turns the basic grain from something bland into something pretty delicious. If you have any leftover when making this, spread it onto a plate while still warm, place in the fridge and once it cools, it'll become solid. You can then slice it and fry it for a tasty accompaniment to salads, eggs, avocados etc.

mushroombourguignon_polenta_vegetarian

MUSHROOM BOURGUIGNON WITH HERB POLENTA

For the bourguignon:

  • around 8 large portobello mushrooms, sliced into 1cm thick slices
  • 2-3 tbsp butter (I used goat's butter)
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small carrot, washed and cut into a small dice
  • I small yellow onion, cut into a small dice
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp tomato concentrate
  • 1/3 bottle red wine (merlot or something heavy is good)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500ml vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tbsp agave or maple syrup
  • sea salt 
  • fresh black pepper

For the polenta:

  • 250g coarse grain polenta (makes enough for 2)
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp soft goats cheese
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • sea salt
  • fresh black pepper

Heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Fry the mushroom slices in batches, 3 minutes on each side. You want them to brown but not release any liquid. Transfer to a warm plate when done and set aside. In the same pan, add the carrot, onion, thyme and salt. This is your 'mirepoix' and forms the base of that rounded, cassoulet flavour. Cook for around 6-7 minutes, until soft and the onion is translucent. Turn the heat up a little, and let the mirepoix just catch slightly so it sticks to the pan. Once it sticks, add your first slug of wine. Let it bubble away until the liquid is absorbed. Again, when the mirepoix begins to stick slightly to the pan, scrape up any stuck bits and add another slug of wine. Continue 2-3 times until you've used all the wine. Now add the tomato concentrate, bouillon, agave and bay leaves. Stir well until the tomato concentrate is mixed thoroughly and it comes to a low boil. Now return the mushrooms to the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for around 25 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid has reduced by around half. By now it should be pretty thick and glossy. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary, plus lots of black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.

Place the polenta in a medium pan along with water in the ratio 1:3. O n a medium heat, bring to a simmer, stirring regularly so as to prevent lumps. Once simmering, add 1/2 tsp of salt plus the thyme and stir often to prevent spitting. Cook for around 15 minutes. It will be close to ready when the grains have dissolved and it becomes a porridge-like consistency. At this stage add the butter, goats cheese, parmesan and black pepper. Mix thoroughly, you'll need a bit of elbow grease at this stage. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. At the last moment throw in the chopped parsley and serve immediately. 

To serve, spoon the polenta into wide cups or bowls and ladle the mushrooms on top, along with plenty of juices from the pan. 

Prep time: 15 mins. Cook time: 1 hr. 

 

 

 

BREAKFAST, BRUNCH, GLUTEN FREE, PALEO, QUICK, SNACK

BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES

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Pancakes, flatbreads, blinis, naan, chapatti... these are foods that unite the world. Every culture has its variation on a pan-fried flatbread. We've been making these world-over for centuries. In the spirit of unity, of the vital importance of sharing our traditions and beliefs, and in a gesture of solidarity with those in crisis, we made these for brunch today. Sounds grandiose, after all they're just pancakes, but food is one of the ways we share, learn, express and understand. I don't know where I'd be without all the food knowledge I've picked up from other countries and cultures. Food opened my eyes and my mind, and is one of the ways I show gratitude. 

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I first ate BUCKWHEAT in Mongolia. I was travelling solo, aged 18, and a vegetarian. Mongolia is not a good place to go if you're a vegetarian. Staple diets there are animal-based, almost 100%. Very little grows and a lot of people live as nomadic herders. I ended up buying my own gas stove, a bag of carrots, a bag of onions and a bag of buckwheat. All this came from a store that sold cattle food. I raised a lot of eyebrows in that store. Each morning on the road I cooked up buckwheat porridge with water, and each evening made some kind of buckwheat soup. Needless to say, I got pretty familiar with buckwheat, and pretty hungry. The buckwheat grain itself had been shipped in from Siberia and the packaging was all in Russian. I felt extremely grateful to the Russians for producing this grain, to ancestral farmers for figuring out how to grow it, and to the Mongolians for importing it for their horses. It saved me from eating sheep brain (more than once) and by the end I'd even managed to persuade Mongolian friends to try this 'horse food.' 

Buckwheat is not a grain, it's a seed, somewhat like Quinoa. It belongs to the same family as rhubarb and sorrel. It grows in harsh climates and is native to Siberia, Japan and China. It's been a staple for Millenia, some dating its use to as early as 1000 B.C. 

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So, buckwheat pancakes. Gluten free, grain free, paleo and non-milk. We ate ours with plenty of lemon and (coconut blossom) sugar. You could go savoury with these too, by omitting the agave. Works great with a poached egg, avocado and wilted greens.

BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar, or honey or maple syrup
  • pinch sea salt
  • coconut oil 
  • fresh lemon
  • coconut blossom sugar, or sugar of choice.

Whisk the egg together with the milk in a large bowl. Sift in the buckwheat flour, whisking as you go. Add the baking soda and agave and whisk well until thoroughly combined. The consistency should be pourable, but not too thin. 

Heat a tsp coconut oil in a medium pan over a medium heat. When hot, drop a spoonful of the pancake batter in the middle of the pan and swiftly spread it into a smallish circle. If you want bigger pancakes, pour in 1/4 cup of batter each time and tilt the pan to it reaches the edges. Wait for 2-3 minutes for it to brown on one side. Air bubbles should form. When golden brown, flip and wait again for 2-3 minutes. Turn out onto a warm plate. Repeat. The batter should make around 10 small pancakes, or around 6 large ones. 

Serve with fresh lemon, berries, crème fraîche, yoghurt, coconut yoghurt, compôte etc. 

Prep time: 5 mins. Cook time: 15 mins. 

ALKALISING, CARDIOLOGY, DERMATOLOGY, DINNER, ENDOCRINOLOGY, GASTROENTEROLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, IMMUNOLOGY, LUNCH, RHEUMATOLOGY, SOUP

TURMERIC + KOMBU BROTH WITH WILD RICE + ROASTED CARROTS

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It's our last month in Lisbon and we've had a flurry of visitors. We've wined and dined all over town, walked on wild winter beaches and cooked up decadent things at home. The January cleanse has been a little late coming. As we waved the last guests off yesterday, I decided to make something clean and soothing. Normally I'd turn to agodashi for a simple broth, but this time I wanted to make a cleaner, vegan version. Kombu and shittake create the depth here, while turmeric and ginger provide warmth and earthiness. A splash of apple cider vinegar and a good amount of fresh black pepper rounds things off. The result is a restorative broth that can kick start a gentle detox and calm the nervous system. I plan on eating a different broth bowl all week - with noodles and garlicky courgette maybe, or sweet potato and fire-roasted red peppers, or quinoa and wilted greens.. who needs a juice cleanse when you've got broth like this.

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KOMBU is a type of kelp seaweed, very high in iodine, calcium and vitamins A and C. Eating sea vegetables is a great way to increase intake of iodine: an essential nutrient for healthy thyroid function. The thyroid balances hormones in the body, and without essential support from minerals such as iodine, complications can occur such as mood changes, exhaustion, or weight gain/loss. Kombu is also an anti-inflammatory food, which can aid digestion by breaking down heavy starches and sugars in grains and legumes. 

SHITTAKE  MUSHROOM are a great source of vitamins B and D, which can help with brain function and mental health, and have been studied for their role in reducing BMI and cholesterol.

TURMERIC... is everywhere these days and the secret is most definitely out as to the power of this little bright yellow root. GINGER is a fantastic anti-inflammatory, antibacterial ingredient that bolsters the immune system and heals the gut. I try to have a bit of both most days, either in tea or in cooking.

Note: Some Japanese recipes recommend not boiling the kombu, for fear it might turn bitter. I've never found this to be a problem, but one way around this is to soak the kombu overnight in the 1.5l water, then bring the whole pan of soaking water and kombu to a boil the next day and remove the kombu once the pot is boiling. Also note: dried shittakes will give a stronger flavour - unfortunately they're hard to find in Portugal, but use them if you can. I used fresh, and doubled the quantity.

TURMERIC + KOMBU BROTH WITH WILD RICE + ROASTED CARROTS

For the broth:

  • 1 cup wild rice (or more, if serving more people)
  • 1 strip of dried kombu
  • 1/2 cup fresh shittake mushrooms (chopped roughly), or 1/4 cup dried
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, sliced (I leave the peel on, since it's a broth, but peel if you like)
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • fresh black pepper

For the carrots:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 4-5 organic carrots (or more, if serving more people), washed and chopped into rough pieces 
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp butter (optional)
  • pinch salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp agave or honey or similar

To serve:

  • Sunflower sprouts, chopped chives, coriander, sesame seeds...

Start with the rice, by rinsing it then bringing to a boil in a medium pan with 2 cups water. Leave to simmer for around 50 minutes while you prepare the broth. Once the rice is done, drain any remaining liquid and set aside. 

For the broth, place a separate large pan over a medium heat and bring 1.5l water to a boil. Add all the broth ingredients except the salt and pepper and turn down to a simmer. Leave simmering for 90minutes, removing the kombu after around 20 minutes if you want a very clear broth. Leave it in if you want it strong. After 90 minutes, (you can cook the carrots while it's simmering) remove from the heat, remove and discard the kombu if you haven't already and add the salt and pepper. 

For the carrots, place a large cast iron pan or wok over a high heat and add the oil and carrots. When sizzling, add the water, salt and thyme. Flip every few minutes to cook the carrots through, but not too often so they have a chance to brown on each side. Towards the end, stir in the butter if using and the garlic and pepper. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes, then stir in the agave and remove from the heat. 

To serve, scoop the rice into bowls and spoon carrots on top. Ladle on some broth, add the sprouts and chives and serve. 

Prep time: 15 mins. Cook time: 90 mins. 

 

ALKALISING, BREAKFAST, BRUNCH, CARDIOLOGY, DESSERT, GASTROENTEROLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, IMMUNOLOGY, PALEO, RESPIRATORY, RHEUMATOLOGY, SNACK

ROASTED PINEAPPLE WITH COCONUT YOGHURT + TOASTED WALNUTS

Pineapples are big here in Portugal. On a recent work trip to the Azores islands, a Portuguese archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic, I saw 'luxury' pineapples growing in greenhouses, carefully tended for over a year before they reach maturity. The Azores are warm enough year-round for this to be possible. So called 'blemish-free,' a quantity of these special pineapples are then harvested, carefully packed so as not to bruise, and shipped over to the Europe's finest restaurants and markets. The flavour is more delicate, and the scent more fragrant, than a pineapple from further south. At least, that's what the farmers state. They certainly look different: caramel-coloured, squat and round. I flew back to Lisbon keen to try something with this fruity treasure. 

Pineapple greenhouses on São Miguel island, The Azores

Pineapple greenhouses on São Miguel island, The Azores

A cleansing recipe in the spirit of a new year, and of supporting the immune system during these colder months, this recipe should satisfy your perhaps currently maligned sweet tooth. I used coconut blossom sugar, which is a low GI natural sugar with a deep colour and caramel taste. Coconut oil is in there too, plus lime zest, juice and black pepper. If you have mint to hand, or maybe thyme, that would be a nice addition when you're ready to serve. Otherwise, it's a pretty easy recipe that can cook gently in the oven while you're doing other things. An ideal light dessert for a dinner party, or for you food-preppers: make a batch on sunday and you've got breakfast sorted for the week. 

Pineapple is a fantastic choice for bolstering the immune system. Rich in vitamin C, Vitamin A and beta-carotenes for antioxidant support, and the powerful free-radical-battling manganese. Pineapples are also high in essential minerals such as potassium and copper, which can help regulate blood pressure and reduce inflammation. A source of amino acids such as tryptophan, eating pineapple may help combat depression and anxiety (we could all do with a bit of help in the SAD months). Last but certainly not least, pineapple is rich in Bromelain, an enzyme that helps the body break down proteins, which can aid digestion, absorption of essential elements and can reduce inflammation. Some studies have linked bromelain to reducing arthritis and even helping fight cancer. 

You'll know if a pineapple is ripe when the colour is golden on the outside and the leaves are all dry on the top. It should smell fragrant. Avoid using a green pineapple, just wait a week for it to ripen.

ROASTED PINEAPPLE WITH COCONUT YOGHURT + TOASTED WALNUTS

  • 1 ripe pineapple
  • 6 tbsp coconut blossom sugar or nectar
  • juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • pinch sea salt

To serve

  • Coconut, sheep, goats, or greek yoghurt. Crème fraîche or ice cream also work.
  • Handful of walnuts, shelled
  • mint or thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 180C. Prepare the pineapple by cutting off the top and bottom to create a sturdy base. Stand the pineapple on the base and cut away all the rough skin. If your pineapple has got a lot of 'eyes' then use a small knife to cut them away. Now cut the pineapple into long wedges, top to bottom, and remove the hard core from each slice. 

Over a low heat combine the lime juice, zest and coconut sugar in a medium pan. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the black pepper, salt and coconut oil. Stir well until the oil is melted. Now place your pineapple slices in the pan and coat completely in the marinade. Leave for a few minutes to stand if you have time. Prepare a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. 

Transfer the pineapple wedges to the baking sheet and pour over half the marinade. Place in the oven to roast for around 50 minutes. Half way through, remove the tray, flip the wedges and pour over the rest of the marinade. Return to the oven. When golden, remove from the oven and leave to cool. While the pineapple is roasting, toast the walnut pieces on a medium heat in a dry pan until golden. Remove walnuts from heat and set aside to cool. 

To serve, place a couple of wedges on a plate, spoon on some yoghurt or crème fraîche and scatter toasted walnuts on top. Finish with a drizzle of the marinade from the baking tray. 

Prep time: 15 mins. Cook time: 50 mins. 

 

ALKALISING, BREAKFAST, CARDIOLOGY, DERMATOLOGY, DESSERT, ENDOCRINOLOGY, GASTROENTEROLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, PALEO, SNACK

CASHEW, COCONUT + CHOCOLATE TRAIL BARS + NEW YEAR'S DAY HIKING THE ATLANTIC COAST

New Year's Day is my New Year's Eve. Future over past, beginnings over endings, start as you mean to go on. I have a tradition of spending New Year's Day outdoors, breathing fresh air, preferably with a backdrop of crashing waves. So that's exactly what we did yesterday, and I made these trail bars to take along. They're chewy with a little crunch, and substantial enough to boost you up that cliff. Gluten free, grain free, sugar free.. all the good stuff with none of the bad. 

Last Christmas I was given the beautiful Green Kitchen Stories book. It's been a real joy to work through David and Louise's recipes. I like how quick and simple most of their recipes are, ideal for fitting into a working week. These bars are a mishmash of their GKS Nut, Quinoa and Chocolate bars, with a nod to My New Roots' recipe for a healthy Twix. I added and swapped according to what was in my cupboards. 

So long as you have the base stickiness at the right consistency, you should in theory be able to add in different nuts or seeds as you see fit. The coconut oil holds everything together, which in the winter will still do so away from the fridge, but in summer you'll need to eat these straight from cold. 

NEW YEAR'S DAY CASHEW, COCONUT AND CHOCOLATE TRAIL BARS

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 150g raw cashews, soaked overnight or for 1 hour in hot water
  • 8 medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger (or fresh grated ginger)
  • 1 cup quinoa puffs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 100g good quality dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut

If you haven't soaked the cashews overnight, place in a bowl and pour over enough just-boiled water to cover. Leave to soak for at least an hour, then drain. Place the cashew nuts into a strong blender and blend on high for at least 3 minutes, stopping now and then to scrape down the sides. When you're done the consistency should be like a paste. Add the tahini, salt and ginger and blend for another minute. 

Pit the dates and mash with a fork, or if your blender is strong enough add them in with the cashews and tahini and blend together. 

Melt the coconut oil in a medium pan over a very low heat. Add the cashew, tahini and date paste and mix well. It will seem like it's too stiff and sticky but with careful mixing it will come together into a ball. Remove from heat. Now add the quinoa puffs, seeds, almonds and cacao nibs. Mix well. 

Transfer to a parchment-paper lined baking tray, around 20cm x 30cm. Press the mixture into the corners, creating an even layer about 2cm high. Press down with the flat of your hands to compress everything. Transfer to fridge.

Melt the chocolate slowly in a bain marie or bowl over a pan of boiling water. Pour melted chocolate evenly over the top of your baking tray layer, spreading into the corners with a palette knife. Sprinkle the dessicated coconut on top of the chocolate layer and transfer to the fridge until cold. When ready, turn out onto a board and cut into even pieces with a large sharp knife. Keeps in the fridge for a few days, or freezes well. 

Prep time: 40 mins. Chill time: 2 hours

 

 

 

 

ALKALISING, DERMATOLOGY, CARDIOLOGY, ENDOCRINOLOGY, GASTROENTEROLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, IMMUNOLOGY, PALEO, QUICK, RAW, RESPIRATORY, RHEUMATOLOGY

QUICK TURMERIC PICKLE

Tonight we'll be having this with palak daal and ghee spiced cauliflower. It's a great solution to what to do with a handful of turmeric roots, and the quickest way to squeeze more superfood rhizomes into your days. Try it in a lunch/dinner bowl with greens and grains, with curries, cauliflower rice, legumes, congee, porridge.. Check out my feature on the Indonesian health tonic JAMU for a breakdown on why daily turmeric is so good. Beware that turmeric stains everything, so make this wearing dark clothing and no white chopping boards !

QUICK TURMERIC PICKLE

  • A good handful of fresh turmeric roots, say 250g
  • Same of fresh ginger
  • 8 limes (could be a little more or less depending on the size of your jar)
  • 1 tsp good sea salt / himalayan salt

First, using boiling water, sterilise a suitably sized jar that will hold all the roots you have in front of you. Leave the jar to dry. Prepare the turmeric roots and ginger by peeling with a spoon. Cut into small pieces, around the size of your small finger nail. Now juice all the limes. Place the ginger and turmeric into the clean jar and pour over the lime juice. You want the juice to completely cover the roots. Add the salt and stir well until dissolved. Close the lid, give the jar a few shakes and leave in the fridge. The pickles will be ready after 4 days. Give the pickles a shake each day. They should keep for around 3 weeks. 

Prep time: 5 mins. 

 

BREAKFAST, CARDIOLOGY, DERMATOLOGY, DESSERT, ENDOCRINOLOGY, GASTROENTEROLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, IMMUNOLOGY, PALEO, QUICK, RAW, RHEUMATOLOGY, SNACK

EASIEST CLEANEST CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

'Healthy' or raw chocolate puddings are everywhere. Most involve a banana or an avocado to create that moussey texture. I like chocolate to be pure, without any fruity flavour. I'm also always looking for chocolate that uses a low GI sugar, which can be hard to find in bar form. So I made this: like a raw chocolate bar, only you eat it with a spoon...

This is the kind of thing you can knock up in a chocolate emergency, most likely from store cupboard ingredients. It's a great way to get your daily dose of lauric acid: an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, hormone balancing, fat burning powerhouse that can strengthen the immune system, boost metabolism and improve the skin and hair. Lauric acid is found in both coconut oil and COCONUT BUTTER.

RAW CHOCOLATE is a fantastic and delicious way to get a boost of essential minerals, including magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and potassium. You could experiment with adding cayenne, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg..  I used raw agave for this, coconut blossom nectar or maple syrup would also work well. Raw honey too.

EASIEST CLEANEST CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

  • 200ml coconut butter
  • 3 tbsp raw chocolate powder
  • 4 tbsp raw agave syrup (or maple syrup, coconut blossom nectar or raw honey)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 100ml coconut cream (or 200ml coconut milk)
  • cinnamon (optional)

Warm the coconut butter in a bain marie over a very low heat. Stir in the chocolate, agave and mix well. I used a stick blender for this. When thoroughly mixed, add the coconut cream and blend again. At this stage it should stiffen up a little. Transfer to a sterilised glass jar(s) and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon, or fresh berries, pomegranate seeds or coconut yoghurt.

Prep time: 5 mins. Chill time: 1 hr. 

CARDIOLOGY, DINNER, ENDOCRINOLOGY, GASTROENTEROLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, LUNCH, PALEO, QUICK, SNACK

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH SAGE AND WALNUTS

The easiest comfort food you'll make all autumn. This is the ideal working lunch (or dinner). Throw the squash in the oven, carry on working and an hour later with almost zero prep you've got a complete meal. It even comes in its own disposable bowl. 

Spaghetti squash is still a novelty to me, having not grown up with it. Here in Portugal it seems to be abundant, so I've been making this quite a lot. It tastes rich and hearty, yet leaves you feeling light. I don't use any cheese in this, yet it still has that umami-cheesey feeling. Like eating a bowl of pasta, without any weightiness. 

The trick here is to cut the spaghetti squash in half widthways. This gives you the longest strands of 'spaghetti,' as the strands coil around the inside of the squash widthways, not top to bottom. Roast it slowly so as not to burn the skin. 

This is a great way to sneak in some WALNUTS to your day, which contain neuro-protective compounds that support brain health and memory. Both walnuts and SAGE have been studied and shown effective in fighting cognitive decline and even Alzheimers.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH SAGE AND WALNUTS

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Around 8 leaves of fresh sage
  • 1 tsp butter (optional)
  • handful walnuts, roughly chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 150C. Prepare a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment. Wash the squash and then cut in half across the middle, widthways. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Rub a little olive oil into the cut side of the squash and place face down on the baking sheet. Place in the middle of the oven and roast for around 60 mins, checking occasionally that it isn't burning on top. It's ready when a knife goes through the skin easily. Remove and leave to cool for a few minutes. 

While the squash is cooling, toast the walnuts in a dry pan on a medium/high heat. Remove and leave to cool. Wipe the same pan with kitchen paper and add a tbsp of the oil. The pan should still be hot so the oil will heat quickly. Add the sage leaves and fry for around 20 seconds each side, until crispy but not burnt. Remove from the heat. 

Turn the squash out, cut side up, and using a fork, carefully pull the spaghetti strands away from the skin. You'll end up with the loose strands sitting inside the 'bowl' of the squash skin. Crush the sage (leave a couple of leaves for garnish) and add to the spaghetti along with the remaining oil, butter, salt, pepper and walnuts. Mix well, taste for seasoning. Serve immediately, with the remaining sage and a couple of whole walnuts for garnish. 

Prep time: 5 mins. Cook time: 65 mins. 

 

ANALGESIC, BREAKFAST, BRUNCH, CARDIOLOGY, ENDOCRINOLOGY, GASTROENTEROLOGY, SNACK

SPICED BREAKFAST RYE BERRIES

This came about after a grocery store mistake - living in Lisbon means most of the time I'm having to guess whether I'm buying the right ingredient. My Portuguese is limited to say the least, so shopping is a bit hit and miss. I thought I was buying farro, turns out it was rye berries. I've never cooked with rye berries before, but it turns out they're an ideal breakfast grain. Chewy and nutty, and hold flavours well. 

NB: this is an overnight recipe. Rye berries take a long time to cook, and it's important that they cook to the point of bursting. So you cook them the night before, leave overnight and then cook again in the morning. You can make enough for a few days in advance. The berries will keep in the fridge for around 4 days. 

RYE is high in magnesium and vitamin B1, two important nutrients for bone and joint health, and for the nervous system. It's also high in fibre, which leads to an efficient digestive system and good heart health. Magnesium can be helpful for muscle cramps, sleep problems and regulating blood sugar levels. It's a great breakfast grain because it fills you up for the day without leaving you feeling sluggish. 

POMEGRANATE has antiviral, antioxidant and antitumor properties. It's also great for the nervous system, in particular for memory, and can help combat arthritis and joint pain. 

SPICED BREAKFAST RYE BERRIES

  • 1 cup rye berries
  • 4 cups water
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp coconut blossom sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • goats yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
  • almond milk or other nut milk
  • pomegranate seeds

The night before, place the rye berries in a medium pan over a medium heat. Add 3 cups of the water and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, cover and simmer for one hour. Take off the heat, stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar of choice. Cover and leave to stand overnight. 

In the morning, add the last cup of water to the pan. Bring back to a simmer and cook, covered, for around 40 minutes, until the rye berries are bursting open. They should taste cooked but still chewy. Add more sweetener at this point if you need.

To serve, spoon yoghurt into bowls, top with 2 tbsp or so of the rye berries with a little of the cooking water. Add a drizzle of almond milk and a handful of pomegranate seeds.

DINNER, GLUTEN FREE, IMMUNOLOGY, LUNCH, PALEO, SOUP

ROAST PUMPKIN & CHESTNUT SOUP WITH CRISPY SAGE

On a sunny walk through Lisbon I spotted a roasted chestnut stall. Nothing says 'autumn' more than roast chestnuts, so I bought a cone full of them and decided to make the most Autumn soup possible. Pumpkin, chestnuts and sage. Together they make a velvety, satisfying soup that's hearty enough for dinner. Add a black cat and you've got yourself a late Halloween.

SAGE is an ancient herbal remedy as well as a potent ingredient, used to remedy inflammation of the digestive system and fight infection. It's also been studied as a stimulant for the brain, and can help improve concentration and memory loss.

ROAST PUMPKIN & CHESTNUT SOUP WITH CRISPY SAGE

  • 2 small pumpkins or kabocha squash
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed with the back of a knife
  • 1 leek, washed well and thinly sliced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 200g chestnuts, roasted or vacuum packed, chopped roughly
  • 1.5 litres bouillon or vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • chilli flakes
  • fresh sage leaves

Heat the oven to 200C. Cut the pumpkins or squash in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Rub olive oil and a little salt into the cut sides. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the pumpkins cut side down on the parchment paper and roast for around 50 minutes, until soft. Remove and leave to cool. 

While the pumpkin is roasting, heat a large pan over a medium heat with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions, a pinch of salt, stir and cover. Cook for a couple of minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, celery and leek, stir well and continue to cook until soft and fragrant, about 10 mins. Now add the half the chestnut, stir well and cook for another 1 minute. Scoop out the soft insides of the pumpkin and add to the pot, discarding the skins. Stir well, then add the bouillon and bayleaves, along with freshly ground pepper. Turn heat down to a simmer and leave uncovered to cook for around 15 minutes. 

While the soup is simmering, wash the pumpkin seeds in cold water to remove any pumpkin flesh. Place in a bowl along with a couple of tablespoons of oil, 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp chilli flakes. Mix well, then spread onto the baking tray you used for the pumpkins. Place in the oven and roast for around 10 minutes, until golden. Be careful not to burn. Remove and leave to cool. 

Now remove the soup from the heat, remove the bay leaves and, using a hand blender, process until smooth. Check for seasoning. Add the lemon juice and salt if it's needed. 

Heat a small frying pan over a high heat. Toast the remaining chestnuts in the dry pan until golden. Remove and set aside. Now in the same pan, add a tbsp of oil and when hot, add the sage leaves. Fry for around 20 seconds each side, then remove from the heat. 

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the toasted chestnuts, the roasted seeds and 5-6 large sage leaves. 

Prep time: 20 mins. Cook time: 60 mins. 

ALKALISING, DINNER, ENDOCRINOLOGY, GASTROENTEROLOGY, IMMUNOLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, RESPIRATORY

MARINATED SHITTAKES, PICKLED KOHLRABI + BLACK RICE BIBIMBAP

It's been a while since I've written here. We've just moved to Lisbon, so life has been full of planes and boxes and cats in bags. Needless to say there hasn't been enough cooking going on. This recipe is exemplary of the kind of finish-the-fridge situation things have been in. It's a great way to use up odds and ends of bottles in the cupboard. Plus the ginger and pickles are quick alkalisers, while the black rice makes things warm and comforting.

MARINATED SHITTAKES, PICKLED KOHLRABI + BLACK RICE BIBIMBAP 

For the mushrooms:

  • 1/2 cup shoyu
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 3 cups fresh shittake, roughly chopped

For the kohlrabi:

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp honey or raw cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp himalayan salt or good sea salt
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 medium kohlrabis, leaves removed, thinly sliced or mandolined

For the rest:

  • 1 cup short grain black rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • pinch salt
  • any chopped greens, raw courgette slices, micro greens or sprouts you have on hand

Start with the rice. In a medium pan over medium heat, add the oil and rice. Stir well and cook for a few minutes, until the rice is coated in the oil and smells fragrant. Add the water, a pinch of salt, cover and leave to cook for around 45 minutes. The water should have evaporated, if you need more, add some and continue to cook until there's no liquid. You want the rice to stick gently to the bottom of the pan at the end. This is what gives it that bibimbap crunch. Continue to cook until you feel the rice on the bottom is sticky. Then remove from the heat.

While the rice is cooking, combine all the ingredients for the mushroom marinade in a small pan over a low heat. When it's simmering, add the mushrooms, cover and cook for around 20 minutes. Leave to cool. 

Place the kohlrabi slices in a bowl or pickling jar (you can make extra and save for another day). In a separate pan on a medium heat, combine rest of the ingredients for the kohlrabi and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the kohlrabi. Stir, leave to stand until cool. 

To serve, place black rice in a bowl with a spoon of mushrooms, a spoon of kohlrabi, and some chopped greens. Keep extras on the table for seconds. 

Prep time: 20 mins. Cook time: 1 hr. 

BREAKFAST, BRUNCH, DESSERT, ENDOCRINOLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, PALEO, SNACK, IMMUNOLOGY

CHOCOLATE BREAD

Chocolate & Bread. Two of the best food stuffs of all time. Imagine if you could have them in the same mouthful. Like a French chocolate sandwich, only cleaner, leaner and endlessly adaptable. 

I was thinking about Mexican cooking, and how often a touch of cacao to a savoury recipe brings out a deep complex flavour. As I was working on the corn soup, I was thinking of how good it would be with avocado toast. I thought, why not go the whole way and make it savoury chocolate toast. All those S. American flavours in one meal. So here's the result - a simple yet really satisfying chocolate bread, made with coconut flour.  It's grain-free, gluten free and paleo friendly. It's good on its own, with fruit, with yoghurt, and yes, with avocado !

Chocolate really is a powerhouse food and one I try to eat daily. It keeps me focussed, stabilises energy levels and gives a powerful rush of endorphins to boot. If you want to make a sweeter version, just double the maple syrup quantities. It could also work with grated beetroot or courgette, or cinnamon/nutmeg/vanilla... whichever direction you like.

CHOCOLATE BREAD

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder or good quality cocoa powder
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 6 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 150C. 

Sift the coconut flour, cacao powder, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Combine the syrup, olive oil, eggs and almond milk in a separate bowl, and whisk well. Pour the liquids into the bowl of dry ingredients, and mix until thoroughly combined. Coconut flour is particularly absorbent so although it seems like a lot of liquid, you'll see as you mix that it all gets absorbed. When mixed, scoop the mixture into a parchment-lined 2lb loaf tin. Place in the oven and bake for around 50-60 minutes. The cake is done when you stick a knife in the middle and it comes out clean. 

Makes one 2lb loaf. Prep time: 10 mins. Bake time: approx 60 mins.

 

 

ALKALISING, CARDIOLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, GASTROENTEROLOGY, LUNCH, QUICK, SOUP, OPTHALMOLOGY

CORN SOUP WITH SWEET TOMATO

Rows of fresh corn laid out end to end in the weekly market must mean the end of summer. This soup is a celebration of the dry, dusty days we're in, before the clouds break and the city cools for autumn. It's a simple corn soup with hints of thyme, lifted into something pretty heavenly by the sweet, ripe, aromatic tomato garnish. Finding the right tomatoes is key - they need to be soft to the point of almost being overripe, and full of flavour. The Turkish or Iranian aromatic tomatoes are fantastic if you can find some. Home grown ones would be ideal. Ripe heirlooms also. 

CORN SOUP WITH SWEET TOMATO

  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, kept at room temperature
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 2 small new potatoes, or soup potatoes, chopped into approx 1 inch dice
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 fresh sweetcorn heads, leaves removed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika

Start with the tomatoes. They need to sit for a while before serving for the flavours to develop. Roughly chop the tomatoes and place in a bowl along with torn basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and the 1/2 tsp of salt. Set aside at room temperature. 

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, a pinch of salt, stir and cover for around 5 minutes. When the onions are soft, add the garlic and thyme and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the potato and stir well, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Now add the water and bay leaves and reduce the heat to a simmer. Leave to cook for around 10 minutes. Cut the corn from the heads and all add to the pot. Stir well and cook for another 15 minutes. Add the salt and paprika, remove from the heat and blend well until completely smooth. 

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with a spoon or two of the tomato mixture, plus an extra drizzle of the tomato juices. 

Prep time: 10 mins. Cook time: 30 mins. 

 

CARDIOLOGY, DERMATOLOGY, DINNER, GASTROENTEROLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, IMMUNOLOGY, LUNCH, PALEO, SALAD

GUEST RECIPE: BEETROOTS, FETA & OREGANO FROM DAPHNIS & CHLOE

Back to work on the 1st Monday in September, and how best to begin but by launching our guest recipe series. I wanted to begin collecting recipes from around the world from people who associate food with la bonne vie: with health, pleasure and enjoyment. Our first feature in the series comes at just the right time: summer is winding down, yet the air is warm, and fragrant with the smell of drying herbs and grasses. Daphnis & Chloe is a herb and spice company founded by Evangelia Koutsovoulou. On realising that the secret behind the sensational flavour in the foods of her childhood was the wild herbs growing on Greek hillsides, Evangelia set up to found a company that could provide chefs and home cooks worldwide with these phenomenal ingredients. Dapnis & Chloe on their approach: "Knowing that every plant has a unique character that gives its best only when respected, we focus on the terroir and source each herb from the area where it spontaneously grows best. The selection is made by hand. The processing occurs with artisanal techniques. Our suppliers are small farms and natural plantations on the remote islands and mountains of Greece. Their produce had never before left home."

I asked Evangelia what she cooks for herself, something that gives pleasure and health. She picked this recipe, for roasted beetroots with feta and wild oregano. Explaining her choice, she told me:  "There are various reasons why I love the beetroot / feta / oregano combination. First of all it is delicious. Second, it's so good for your health: beets are great for circulation, rich in vitamins and flavonoids, and they give you so much energy to continue the day. 

Feta cheese made with sheep's milk is protein rich and and contains less fat that many other types of cheese, is a great way to incorporate dairy into a balanced diet. 

And the oregano? One might think that it's just "a cherry on the top" but the truth is that it does much more than just giving flavour! Oregano is rich in antioxidants that are precious for our immune system. Oregano can speed up toxin elimination and it aids digestion! Good quality oregano contains minerals and Vitamin K. It is one of the best herbs for your health. 

It was Ippocrates who said "Let food be thy medicine" and I love this simple recipe because it is quite in line with his theory."

BEETROOTS, FETA, OREGANO

You can either prepare this salad with precooked beetroots, or follow the instructions below in order to cook them at home. Personally, I prefer to buy my beets fresh. Even if I’m planning to just eat one or two out of the bunch, I cook them all together and save what rests for later, in the fridge. If stored entire with their skin in an airtight container, they will last for at least 3-4 days.

Preheat the oven at 190 C. Wash the beetroots thoroughly, and then wrap them one by one in aluminium foil. Place the wrapped beets in the medium compartment
of the oven and cook for 1 hour. Let cool.

Unpeel and slice the beetroots. Place the slices in a large serving plate. Dress with 2 spoons olive oil and a few drops of lemon. Crumble the Feta, sprinkle the oregano, dress with more olive oil. Ready!

https://daphnisandchloe.com

ALKALISING, BREAKFAST, BRUNCH, DESSERT, GLUTEN FREE, PALEO, QUICK, SNACK, IMMUNOLOGY

SUMAC & BARBERRY GRANOLA WITH PURPLE PLUMS

Back in the kitchen after a long work trip and craving something clean and fresh. A trip to the Turkish market yielded these beautiful dusty powder-purple plums. In keeping with the Turkish theme, this granola is toasted with sumac and barberries. SUMAC is a small red fruit, most commonly sold dried and ground as a spice. It has a tangy, lemony flavour and is high in antioxidants. BARBERRIES are also a small red fruit, also often sold dried, that have been used in traditional medicine for some 2000 years. Barberries and the root and bark of the barberry bush are high in a chemical compound called Berberine. Berberine acts as a natural antibiotic: fighting infection, destroying bacteria and boosting the immune system. The long list of properties attributed to berberine include fighting urinary infections, eye infections and candida, relieving sinusitis and food poisoning, stimulating and toning the liver, lowering blood pressure.... the list goes on. Barberries are often found in Turkish and Iranian food, and readily available in a Turkish supermarket or market.

This is not a sweet granola, so a great option for a grain-free, sugar free breakfast. The sumac gives it a savoury edge, and the chestnut adds a delicate warmth and sweetness. It could also work as a salad or soup topping. If you want a much sweeter version, just double the amount of maple syrup in the recipe. And feel free to swap in granola ingredients. This version is paleo-friendly, but would work great with wheat flakes, kamut, oat or rye. The barberries could be substituted for sour cherries, cranberries or dried blueberries.

SUMAC & BARBERRY GRANOLA WITH PURPLE PLUMS

  • 1 cup chestnut flakes
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup brazil nuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sumac powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup dried barberries

Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the sumac powder, cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt and mix well.

Warm the coconut oil in a small saucepan until melted. Add the maple syrup to the pan, warm for a few seconds, mix well and set aside. 

Pour the oil and syrup mixture over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Spread the mixture out onto a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure the granola is distributed evenly. Leave to gently bake into the oven for around 40 minutes, until golden and toasted. Be careful not the burn, check and stir the mixture every 10 mins or so. 

When the granola looks ready remove from the heat and stir in the barberries. Leave to cool on the sheet, before transferring to clean sterilised jars. Granola will keep in the cupboard for a couple of weeks. 

Serve with cold yoghurt and fresh pluots or plums. 

Prep time: 10 mins. Cook time: 40 mins.

 

DINNER, ENDOCRINOLOGY, GASTROENTEROLOGY, IMMUNOLOGY, LUNCH, QUICK, SOUP

MATCHA OCHAZUKE WITH SALTED GOOSEBERRIES

Last one in the Matcha series I've been working on with Maru Matcha : Matcha Ochazuke. Ochazuke is a completely delicious comfort food from Japan. It's something you might make for yourself with left over rice at home, and is rarely seen on a restaurant menu or served to friends, due to its somewhat lowly reputation. But the first time I had it I couldn't believe what a good idea it was, and why hadn't I eaten it before. It's basically hot broth over rice, and the broth is infused with tea. So if you like green tea, broth, and rice or grain soups, it's a real winner.

Traditionally it's made with genmaicha, which is a roasted rice tea, but for this recipe I swapped in Matcha for a sharper taste. Also, traditionally it's served with an omeboshi plum on top. OMEBOSHI plums are a salted preserved plum, usually pink. They give a sour, salt accent to the whole flavour. But in Europe they're hard to find and often overpriced. Salting gooseberries was an experiment but it tastes just as good, perhaps better (!) than the traditional version. GOOSEBERRIES are particularly high in vitamin C and A. They're great for the immune system, skin and eyes, and due to the high level of antioxidants, they also combat disease and aging.

This is a very easy, very quick dinner that I'll make often for myself. If I haven't had it for a while I definitely crave its very particular flavour. It's made with dashi, which is a Japanese fish stock. If you can find agodashi stock, it's worth paying the extra for. This is all about the broth, so you want to use the finest you can find. Agodashi is a stock made from flying fish. 

MATCHA OCHAZUKE WITH SALTED GOOSEBERRIES

  • 150g white basmati rice, or regular Japanese/Chinese white rice
  • 250ml water
  • 1 dashi pack
  • 1/4 tsp matcha powder
  • handful of fresh gooseberries
  • 200ml water
  • 1 tsp good sea salt
  • 1 nori sheet
  • black and white sesame seeds to garnish

Cook the rice as per instructions. For the himalayan white rice I used 1/2 cup of rice: 1 cup of water, brought to a simmer and cooked for 15 minutes with the lid off. Once cooked, leave aside. 

To make the gooseberries: in a small pan, put the gooseberries and 200ml of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the salt and simmer for around 8 minutes, until the gooseberries have split their skins. Don't boil too long as you want to keep their shape. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the brine water. Any gooseberries you don't use can be kept in a jar for around 2 weeks in the fridge. 

Bring 250ml of water to a boil in a small pan. Add your dashi pack and simmer for around 10 minutes. Remove the dashi pack and add the matcha powder and a pinch of salt. Whisk well. 

 To serve, scoop rice into a large soup bowl. Ladle over broth, to a level just below that of the rice. Toast your nori by wafting it over a gas flame or hot hob or around a minute. Once it is dry and crisp, cut strips from the nori with scissors. Add 3 or 4 gooseberries on top of the rice, and heap the nori on top of that. Finish with a sprinkle of sesame and eat with a spoon. 

Prep time: 5 mins. Cook time: 25 mins. 

BREAKFAST, BRUNCH, CARDIOLOGY, ENDOCRINOLOGY, GLUTEN FREE, LUNCH, PALEO, QUICK

GREEN BAKED EGGS WITH MATCHA SALT

Recipe 2 from my week of experimenting with Maru Matcha. This one is so quick and easy. Perfect for a weekend brunch or a finish-up-the-fridge dinner. 

The trick with baked eggs seems to be, forget about 'baking' them. Do them on the hob with a lid on, and you'll get perfect eggs every time. In the oven they just dry out too easily and cook too slowly. 

Matcha salt delivers a unique depth to anything you use it on. Particularly good with vegetables and eggs, and incredibly easy to make. The dish seems fitting, given Maru Matcha's company philosophy: To move away from the history and tradition of matcha and instead experiment with it as a spice, a material, even a cosmetic. I also added matcha salt to an avocado and an orange tomato (see below), both were very good.

Maru Matcha was founded in Berlin by Martin, Nik and Bitsy, 3 artists with long-standing interests in holistic health. Bitsy explained some of their story to me: All of us were attracted to matcha not just because we were all already drinking and loving it (and having a hard time finding good stuff here in Germany), but also because we liked the idea that it ties into a lot of larger conversations about calm focus in a world that feels increasingly suffocated of attention. We're all expected to be multitaskers these days, and we became interested in matcha as a way to provide physical health benefits of increased calmness, but also alertness. What a stellar combination!

GREEN BAKED EGGS WITH MATCHA SALT

  • 2 tbsp good sea salt or himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp matcha
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter / ghee
  • 1 large bag of fresh spinach, washed well and roughly chopped
  • 1 small leek
  • 1 egg

To make the matcha salt, simply combine salt and matcha in a small pot and stir well. Keep the extra for future use.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat. add the leek, stir and cover. Sweat for about 3 minutes, until cooked but still vibrantly green. Add the spinach - it will look like too much, but it'll sweat right down - stir well and cover again. Cook for one minute, add 1/4 tsp of match salt, stir and cover again. Cook for another minute, then remove the lid and make a well in the middle of the spinach for your egg. Turn the heat down a little. Add a drop of oil in the well, crack your egg into a small cup and carefully slide it into the well in the middle of the spinach. Let the egg bubble a little on the bottom, and cook for around 1 minute uncovered. Now cover, and cook for around another minute. Keep checking to see when it's done. As soon as the white is cooked through, remove from the heat. 

To serve, sprinkle another 1/4 tsp of matcha salt over your baked egg and eat immediately. 

Prep time: 5 mins. Cook time: 10 mins.