Archive for the ‘Eating’ Category

There is a time and a season for everything

There is a time and a season for strawberries and apricots. That’s summer.

There is a time and a season for guavas and avocados. That’s winter.

“Together we shall rejoice through all the seasons” Kahlil Gibran

Different foods come at different times of year. Berries need the sun and warmth and buying them in winter prompts suppliers to heat greenhouses and battle the natural seasons. Wait a little.

In the mean time there are all sorts of good things around…

Winter veggies

Asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, gem squash, kale, leeks, mushrooms, potatoes, onion, parsnips, peppers, pumpkin, radishes, spinach, spring onion, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, tomatoes, peas, turnips.

Winter fruits

Avo, apples, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, naartjies, limes, guavas, pawpaw, pineapple, gooseberries, granadillas, kumquats

 

Have a look at Earthshine’s full seasonal list.

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Getting through winter

Winter is when I am so much more reluctant to eat raw foods and much prefer baked goods to fresh salads.  But winter is when the germs attack and bodies need all the goodness they can get.

Here are some of my ideas on getting through winter – little compromises are better than not even trying to incorporate raw eating .

  1. Only- just- cooked soups. For those not fully raw, but who still want to preserve the goodness of their food, soups can actually be a decent option. They’re warm and filling and you don’t have to cook them for hours on end like your great aunt did. Use soft veggies (like broccoli) and steam them very lightly just enough to soften them slightly. I put a centimeter of water in a pot, throw the veggies in, and put the lid on for a minute or two and then blend them. Also, once you have cooked a soup, add in leaves such as baby spinach and blend it in for hidden nutrients.
  2. Add raw veggies and greens into cooked foods. Play around with not cooking everything and keeping some ingredients nice and raw. Try spinach, grated carrot, grated baby marrow, grated butternut.
  3. Keep sprouting. Add sprouts to everything for a boost of fresh goodness.
  4. Warm porridge. As a treat when it’s cold I like to add in steamed cinnamon apple slices to my usual chia porridge.
  5. Make the most of what’s in season. Have a look at the list of winter fruits and veggies and make the most of those.
  6. Chocolate treats. When it’s raw cacao i’m talking about, you can indulge! Make some Dark Chocolate Florentines and Hot Chocolate…

 

Winter lunchboxes

Try using glass jars to pack delicious lunchboxes of easily re-heatable leftovers or soups. Fill up a jar and throw in a fork or a spoon and you’re set. At lunch just take of the lid and microwave it to have a winter-friendly warm meal.

So much less packaging than a ready-made meal or take-away, no plastic forks and no ingredients whose quality and origin you don’t know.

Thai style Butternut Soup

Thai flavours: Fresh ginger, coriander, chilli, coconut milk and an orange

  • 1 big butternut, diced
  • half an orange, peeled
  • handful of fresh coriander
  • 1/3 tin of coconut milk
  • chilli
  • fresh ginger – peel a block about 2x3cm
  • cinnamon stick
  • tablespoon of maizena dissolved in water
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place the butternut in a pot and cover with water. Boil until soft.
  2. Add the orange, coriander, chilli and ginger. Blend well until smooth.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk, maizena, salt, pepper and add the cinnamon stick.
  4. Cook a little more until nice and thick.

Farinata – Ligurian Chickpea flatbread

Farinata with rosemary

Farinata is a Ligurian speciality that I discovered when Couchsurfing in Noli, Italy. In Liguria you get this flatbread hot out of the wood oven and it’s life-changingly delicious. Turns out that it tastes pretty good in a normal oven though. It’s easy to make and gluten-free.

Rosemary Farinata

  • 100g Chickpea flour – you can get this from Atlas Trading Co  in BoKaap for R15/kg! That’s R1.50 per batch! And it comes out a wooden barrel and is packaged into a brown paper bag for you instead of the silly wrapping you see in my photo.
  • 320ml water
  • large pinch of salt
  • 25ml olive oil
  • fresh rosemary *optional*
  1. Put the water in a bowl. Slowly add the chickpea flour while whisking constantly so as not to form lumps. Allow to stand for 4 hours.
  2. Heat the oven to 220 C. Line a deep baking tray (30x25cm) with baking paper.
  3. Scrape some of the foam off the chickpea mix. Add the oil and salt and beat well. Pour into the dish and sprinkle with rosemary.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.
  5. Eat nice and hot!

Beautiful Noli

The joys of winter: Mushroom pasta with creamy white wine sauce

Freshly picked mushrooms

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. In the mean time the leaves have turned golden, the air is chilly and the rain has arrived.  On bad days winter is damp socks, laziness and excessive snacking. On good days winter is trips to the wine farms, red wine and a fire, down duvets, soups and oranges.

I have recently found something to add to the latter list: Mushroom hunting! Apparently it is quite a common Cape Town activity – I will blame my lack of previous experience on my non-Southern suburb upbringing! Now I can stomp around the forests in the post-rain crispness with a purpose!

This recipe is truly delicious and made all the better by the fact that the mushrooms came fresh from the forest. The colours and flavours are wonderful and perfect for a cold winter night. However, it’s all about timing. The magic lies in getting the pasta just right while not overcooking the veggies so you need to get the order right – and then not get distracted at the crucial moment!

The mushrooms after being prepared, before being cooked

The final product

Ingredients:

  • Fresh mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Tagliatelle
  • Onions, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • stock
  • fresh cream
  • tsp maizena

1)      Prepare the mushrooms and chop each into one or two large slices.

2)      Top and tail green beans.

3)      Chop broccoli into little florets.

4)      Put a pot of water on to boil with salt (for the pasta so it’s ready when you need it).

5)      Chop onion and fry in a large pan.

6)      Add a cup of white wine and a cup of water – like all my favourites, this has an excuse for a sip or two as I’m cooking!

7)      Dissolve stock and a teaspoon of maizena (corn flour) in water and add to the sauce along with a glug of fresh cream.

8)      Allow to thicken for a few minutes.

9)      Add beans, broccoli and mushrooms to the pan and cover with a lid.  While these steam, let the pasta (I used tagliatelle) boil – be very careful not to overcook it! My pasta cooked in 5 minutes so the veggies could stay on the heat the whole time, if it is longer cooking, take them off the heat or lower the heat.

10)   Once the pasta is cooked, stir it into the sauce and serve.

Finding a Balance: Tips to Alkalise your body

Blood is the way that oxygen and nutrients are distributed through the body. For the blood to be able to do this job properly, it needs to be within a very specific pH range – 7.36 to 7.44 which is slightly alkaline. If the blood acidifies, you could well find yourself feeling tired, craving stimulants like coffee and craving food. However, if oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to your body efficiently, you will have energy and fewer cravings. Additionally, if your body is acidic, it will store fat around your organs to protect them from the acid. So if you alkalise your body, it is free to shed that protective fat.

The food that you eat is a major determinant of your body’s pH. I am trying to cut down on the foods that acidify my body and include more alkalising foods.

Foods that acidify your body:

  1. Processed foods.  When your body digests processed foods, it creates an acidic by-product.
  2. Caffeine. For me, drinking coffee in the morning is highly habitual. I like to drink my coffee, then have breakfast a little later. I’ve tried to change my early morning habit to be mixing up a glass of wheatgrass and drinking that while I wait for my chia to soak.
  3. Soft drinks. These contain carbonic acid, not to mention refined sugar. Try my healthier options to wean yourself off soft drinks and onto water.
  4. White refined sugar and artifical sweeteners. Oh no! Life is no longer sweet! Never fear, here’s a page on how I’ve been incorporating natural sweeteners instead of the bad guys.
  5. Alcohol. The acidity created by alcohol starves your brain of oxygen, which causes the dizziness and headaches.
  6. Soy. This one I’m quite happy to cut out. As a vegetarian, I’ve never used soy as a meat substitute, just based on a gut instinct that it was too processed for my liking. Turns out it also acidifies your body since it is processed in aluminium tanks. If you do want to eat soy, opt for organic soy sauce, tofu or tempeh and not those boxes of Veggie Hamburgers.
  7. White refined flour. This is also an empty-calorie carb, which blocks the intestines.

Foods that alkalise your body:

  1. Citrus. An easy way to intake citrus is just putting lemon in your water.
  2. Green leafy vegetables. Rocket, spinach, purslane, lettuce. Unfortunately leafy plants are the ones that farmers spray the most pesticides onto, so increasing your intake of greens will also increase the amount of pesticides you’re eating. Have a look at Harvest of Hope to consider getting organic greens instead and read my organic debate.
  3. Herbs. Herbs are a nice easy way to get into growing your own food, and even if you live in a flat you can have some potted herbs growing.
  4. Sprouts. Sprouts are delicious and surprisingly easy to prepare at home. Read more about sprouting.
  5. Celery is very alkalising and also aids digestion.
  6. Wheatgrass and sunflower greens. Wheatgrass is highly alkalising and is so packed full of chlorophyll that it’s known as liquid sunshine. I drink a glass of it every morning – you can buy the powder at Superfoods.