Chaga tea

Chaga tea ready! 


Directions :

Simply put one spoon in a litre of boiling water and simmer for an hour and then serve with a drop of honey 🍯 or agave. 

Why drink this Tea? 

For its Soothing Properties

Chaga supports the integrity of blood vessels and provides soothing properties in times of irritation. This can be helpful for those suffering from pain, neuropathy, and even diabetes. 

 Ulcers and Gastritis

Due to its immune-boosting properties, chaga has long been used to support gastrointestinal health in Eastern culture. Most ulcers are caused by bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori, so a well-functioning immune system can fight off this pathogen. Ulcers may be soothed by the use of chaga, depending on the severity and the patient. 

Normalize Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels

Studies have shown that the betulinic acid found in chaga is able to break down LDL cholesterol–bad cholesterol–in the bloodstream.

Antimicrobial Activity

In one study, the chemical characterization and biological activity of extracts of Chaga mushroom were examined and showed high antioxidant and antimicrobial activity. 

DNA Damage Protection

In one study, cells were pretreated with a chaga mushroom extract, then treated with H202 to induce oxidative stress. The pretreated cells displayed less damage than cells that did not receive the chaga extract. 

Read more about this here http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/chaga-mushroom-the-immune-boosting-superfood/

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Salsa Verde the powerhouse sauce! 

Beautiful salsa verde with black olive 💚 so very good for you for a myriad of reasons mainly that it is an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin A, folate and iron. Which means it’s perfect for flu prevention especially this time of year as it is such a positive immunity based food! 

The three main herbs in Salsa Verde are: 

Parsley: This herb contains two types of components that provide unique health benefits. The first type is volatile oil components—including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. The second type is flavonoids—including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin.

What does that mean?  It’s volatile oils such as myristicin—have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. Myristicin has also been shown to activate the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps attach the molecule glutathione to oxidized molecules that would otherwise do damage in the body. The activity of parsley’s volatile oils qualifies it as a “chemoprotective” food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke). Ain’t this one hell of a herb to add to your food!! 

Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery” (parsley is a relative to celery). It is a biennial plant that will return to the garden year after year once it is established! Read more about this herb here

Dill: The health benefits of dill include its ability to boost digestive health, as well as provide relief from insomnia, hiccups, diarrhea, dysentery, menstrual disorders, respiratory disorders, and cancer. It is also good for oral care, and can be a powerful boost for your immune system and can protect you from bone degradation. It is also an anti-inflammatory substance, which means that it can protect you against arthritis. Furthermore, it can reduce excess gas, and is considered a carminative. 

Dill can be a perennial or annual herb, depending on where it is cultivated in the world and has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Another incredible herb to add to your plate! Read more about this herb here

Basil: Basil is a common aromatic herb in the mint family, the same plant family as other nutrient-dense, beneficial herbs, including mint, oregano and rosemary. Basil, of course, is used to add flavor to a variety of recipes, but what may surprise you is the many benefits of basil that make it well-known for its immunity-enhancing properties. Basil extract, or basil essential oil, is proven to help prevent a wide range of health conditions, which makes it one of the most important medical herbs known today. Basil contains antioxidant-rich volatile essential oils, which are considered hydrophobic. This means they don’t dissolve in water and are light and small enough to travel through the air and the pores within our skin. Basil’s volatile essential oils are what give the herb its distinct smell and taste, but they’re also responsible for the healing benefits of basil.

Did you know? There are actually 35 different types of basil. Basil plants come in a range of variety and sizes, but holy basil is the most researched type of basil thus far. Holy basil is the species of basil most known for its powerful healing qualities. To date, at least six different essential oils have been identified in holy basil within its seeds, roots, leaves and stem. Holy basil, which has the scientific name Ocimum sanctum L. or Ocimum tenuiflorum L., is known to be an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and powerful adaptogen — meaning it helps the body to respond to stress and fight disease. Read more about this herb here

So there you have it some great insight from multiple studies above will show you that salsa verde is jammed with so much herbal goodness! Without further ado here is the recipe: 

Ingredients

Handful of the following herbs: 

  • Parsely 
  • Basil 
  • Dill 

One Clove of Garlic 

Healthy drizzle of olive oil (about 2 spoons) 

Juice of half a fresh lemon

1/2 cup of black olives (or else capers) 

Sprinkle of salt and pepper 

Directions

Place all ingredients (stalks and all) into food processor and mix until it becomes a thick sauce. Season according to your own taste. 

Enjoy on top of tofu, as a burger or sandwich relish or in pasta! It’s a versatile sauce so have fun with it! 

 

I put mine on some gluten free vegan toast with cherry tomatoes! Delicious! 

💚

Trying on the Vegan lifestyle this month?

It is so great to see so many people giving Veganism a go this month during Veganuary. Especially my friends who I never thought would take a trip to the dark green veg side!

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Here are some great links to get you started. Much respect to these bloggers for being so informative, I am so busy with a new job this month that I don’t have time to post up one myself! Also, educate yourself in Plant based lifestyle by following this amazing site http://nutritionfacts.org/!

Essentials to have in your kitchen: 

http://www.thekitchn.com/15-essentials-for-a-vegetarian-or-vegan-pantry-pantry-tips-from-the-kitchn-73562

http://www.veganrunnereats.com/216/vegan-pantry-10-essential-foods-that-make-your-plant-based-diet-nutritious-and-healthy/

Sources of plant based protein:

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http://nutritionstripped.com/10-plant-based-proteins-eating/

http://www.theholykale.com/plant-based-protein-chart/

Veganuary starter kit of essentials: 

https://veganuary.com/starter-kit/vegan-food-essentials/

https://www.vegansociety.com/

http://www.vegan.ie/

Well done on making the ethical and environmentally right choice of living!!

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Nutty granola 

Homemade granola with coconut soy yoghurt is amazing and so easy to make! It is jam packed with healthy protein and fats from the range of dried nuts. Eating healthy simply couldn’t be any tastier or easier! 

RECIPE
Half cup of the following : 

Gluten free oats 

Peanuts 

Flaked almonds

Agave syrup 

Melted butter 

Mixed dried berries (cranberry, raisin and sultana)

Desiccated coconut 

Directions

Mix and place in oven at 190c for 10 minutes until golden brown. Take out of oven and allow to cool and then serve with yoghurt and fresh fruit.

Enjoy ! 

Spiced Poached Pears & Vanilla Ice Cream

You simply can not go wrong with this crowd pleasing Festive Spiced Poached Pear & Home made Vanilla Ice-cream, with all the rich aromatic flavours of Christmas a sure seconds will be demanded.

You will need an ice cream maker, however if you do not have one I would recommend you prepare the Ice Cream a few hours beforehand or the night before. The Poached pears takes about 90 mins to fully prepare.

Recipe:

For the poached pears:

1 cinnamon Stick

1 star anise

1 bottle of Vegan red wine

2 gratings of nutmeg

½ cup of coconut Palm sugar

2 Fresh thyme sprigs

6 pears, peeled, but kept whole with stalk intact

½ an orange halved

2 cups of blueberries

1 cup of raspberries

1 square of 85% dark vegan chocolate

For the Vanilla Ice cream:

1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in the fridge

1 cup almond milk

2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

3 Tablespoons of organic white sugar

¼ tsp table salt

Drizzle of Agave
Sprinkle of desiccated coconut

Directions: (For Poached Pears)

Mix the red wine with all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Then add the pears and bring to the boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer, turning occasionally for about 1 hour or until pears are tender and have absorbed the lush red colour of the sauce.
Take the pears out of the pan and set aside.

Increase heat to high and bring the syrupy sauce to the boil for about 10 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly. This is your beautiful Spiced Wine Jus which you will use as the sauce.

Set pan aside. You can serve straight away if you would like this desert served warm or else you can set aside and leave in the fridge overnight or for a few hours. Whatever you chose yourself. I like this warm with the contrast of the cold Vanilla ice cream.

Directions: (For Vanilla Ice cream)

Empty the can of coconut milk into a medium stainless steel bowl. Add the almond milk, vanilla extract, sugar, and salt. Whisk together until the sugar has dissolved (about 2 minutes).

Place mixture into an Ice Cream machine and let the magic happen. Then its time to plate up! (Or else: Place the bowl in the freezer. Whisk and stir every half hour until frozen – anywhere from 3-4 hours, depending if you want a soft-serve texture or hard ice cream). Top with some desiccated coconut and a drizzle of Agave.

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Lentil Christmas loaf 

Another alternative to the meaty Christmas load is lentil loaf! It is packed full of protein and a myriad of essential minerals and nutrients and makes for a rather tasty headliner at the Christmas dinner table series of food events! 

It takes a bit of preparation so either start in the morning or prepare the night before. With Prep time in total being about 3 hours from start to finish. 

Recipe:

2 ups of cooked green lentils

1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup of hazelnuts, finely chopped and roasted

1 garlic clove, 

2 scallions

1 celery stalk

1 carrot

1 apple 

1/3 cup raisins & cranberries

1 cup of Gluten free breadcrumbs

2 tsp fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp dried thyme)

Sprinkle of Salt & Pepper, to taste 

1 tablespoon of Majoram

Small bunch of fresh Thyme

Directions:

Firstly, preheat the oven to 180ºC.

1. Rinse and strain lentils and cook in a pot of water for about 40-45 minutes until very well done and they begin to mush, you will have to top up with more water if they absorb liquid while cooking. 

2. Roast the nuts in oven for about 5 minutes. Then remove from oven.

3. Place the carrot, celery, raisins, cranberry, scallion, thyme, majoram, apple and garlic into a processor and blitz. Then heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sautee the the mix for about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. 

5. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together with breadcrumbs and cooked lentils. Add more herbs upon taste.

6. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Press mixture firmly into pan. Glaze with some agave syrup and balsamic mix on top of loaf. Reserve the rest for a dipping sauce.

7. Roast in oven for 40-50 minutes, uncovered. Until the edges brown. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. I usually wait until loaf is cool before slicing as it avoids it breaking up.

Serve with seasonal roast veg and potatoes for the classic! 

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Whole Roast Cauliflower 

It’s that time of year again folks! 🎄🎄🎄

This Whole Roast Cauliflower will be guaranteed to satisfy any tastebuds at the Christmas Table gathering over dinner. Serve it with any of your favourite veg and carbs! 

This Roast Cauliflower is packed with nutritious goodness. Just one serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.

Without further ado, let’s get cooking ! Festive apron a must ☺️🎄👌🏼

Recipe:1 large cauliflower

1 tin of plum tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Small bunch of chopped flat-leaf parsley

Small bunch of fresh thyme

Juice of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons of Sherry

40g of flaked almonds

Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Sprinkle of Himalayan salt

Sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Firstly, preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Peel & chop the garlic and add to a pestle and mortar with the paprika and half the thyme leaves and work to a rough paste, then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 
  3. Zest the lemon into a small bowl.
  4.  Prepare the cauliflower by cutting away the outer leaves and discarding the stalk and cut across the base so the cauliflower can sit flat. Rub the paprika paste over the cauliflower and place in a medium casserole pan and drizzle the sherry and lemon juice on top. Cover and place in the pre-heated oven for around 1 hour 20 minutes, or until tender and starting to brown and gain that incredible roast glow ☺️
  5. Take the dish out of the oven and pour in the chopped plum tomatoes and drizzle a little more sherry and lemon juice on top for the goodwill of the Season thats in it with some extra thyme leaf and some crushed almond flakes spread on top. Place back in the oven for another 10 mines until the cauliflower is a roast golden colour of beauty.
  6. Take out of the oven and carve up with your favourite festive veg and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley ! 🎄🎄🍴🍴

Chia pudding 

Chia Pudding is perfect at this time of year as it is a hearty protein breakfast to ease you into the day. Prepared the night before it’s a simple easy breakfast that packs a punch. 

What Is Chia?

Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. 

“Chia” means strength, and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds as an energy booster. That makes sense, as chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.

Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds. Don’t be fooled by the size… these tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch.

A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains (1, 2):

Fiber: 11 grams.

Protein: 4 grams.

Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).

Calcium: 18% of the RDA.

Manganese: 30% of the RDA.

Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.

Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.

They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

The antioxidant activity of chia seeds is higher than any whole food, even blueberries.

Read more here: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia


Recipe

2 spoons of chia seeds 

1 spoon of linseed 

1 measure of hemp protein powder 

1 spoon of Gogi berries 

1 cup of almond milk/ coconut milk/ hazelnut milk (whatever you prefer) 

1/2 banana sliced 

Drizzle of agave syrup 

Directions

Put all the ingredients (bar the sliced banana) in a mason jar or large cup and stir then leave in fridge overnight. 

Take out of fridge in the morning and place sliced banana on top of the set pudding with another drizzle of agave syrup. 

Enjoy this plant based protein in a bowl! 

🙌🏻👌🏼👍🏼

Sweet potato wedges 

Simplicity is sometimes best. So what better to have on a cold winters evening than this perfect snack – sweet and savoury 😍 sweet potato wedges with a dollop of tahini sauce and coriander! Super simple to prepare and tasty! 

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and Vit D. Vitamin D is critical for immune system and overall health. Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland. They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. 👌🏼👌🏼

Recipe

1 large sweet potato cut into wedges 

1 small bunch of fresh coriander 

Drizzle of olive oil 

Tahini sauce : 

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste.

1/2 cup well-stirred tahini (Middle Eastern sesame paste)

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice.

1/4 cup water.

1/4 cup olive oil.

💚👌🏼 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200c. Place the wedges in oven for about 20-25 minutes until start to brown. 

Take out of oven. Drizzle with tahini sauce and a sprinkle of fresh coriander. 

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Hearty Winter Borscht

This sweet and sour tasteful Ukrainian dish is one of my favourites over the winter season. Made throughout Eastern and Central Europe with many variations, today I am making my own gluten free low fod map adaptation. 

This dish can taste equally good served hot or cold. If you can source some vegan plant based sour cream give it an ol’ dollop when serving. As well as tasting beautiful it also looks beautiful when played up. 

The nutritional benefits of beetroot include: Lowering Blood Pressure, boosting your stamina, it can also help fight Inflammation. It is rich in valuable Nutrients and Fiber and acts as a great detoxification support for your liver. Which is handy when indulging on the hot ports and whiskeys over the festive period! 

Recipe

4 small organic beetroots (diced)

1 tablespoon of oil 

2 scallions (chopped) 

2 large carrots (diced)

300g of white button mushrooms (sliced)

1 tbsp of coconut sugar 

1 tsp of Himalayan salt 

Sprinkle of pepper 

2 tbsp of tomato purée 

2 litres of mushroom stock or vegetable stock will also do 

1 large bunch of chopped organic kale 

2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar will also do 

4 tbsp of chopped fresh dill 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200c

Chop and oven roast the beetroot for about 30 mins. Once this is done and the beetroot is cooked: 

Heat oil in a deep saucepan, add in the scallions, carrots, celery, button mushrooms, sugar and salt. 

Cook, stirring regularly, for about 10-15 mins until the veg begin to colour. 

Stir in the black pepper and tomato purée. Add the stock and pre-cooked oven roasted beetroot. Increase the heat and bring to boil and then add the kale. Reduce the heat to low and cook while stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes. 

Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and fresh dill and serve. 

Enjoy the fabulous dish 👌🏼💚