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This delicious pumpkin is in season here at the moment and is sold in chunks, by weight at stalls and markets.
It is so sweet and you can steam it in chunks, add it to stews, bake it or when you cook it right down, it melts so as to make a thick, bright yellow sauce.
I love to add it to curries and so today, for lunch, I made a sort of mix and match dish from the bits and pieces in the fridge and around.

400g chickpeas soaked overnight
1 potato chopped into chunks
400g Gabocha pumpkin (or any sweet squash) sliced
Spinach or spring greens
Chunks of Aubergine
6 large cloves of garlic unpeeled
2 sticks of lemongrass
2 green chillies whole
3 small red chillies whole
Teaspoon of peppercorns
Teaspoon of cumin
Chopped coriander
2cm galangal or ginger
Water to cover ingredients (2 coconuts’ water)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Using a slow cooker, or a large crock pot, place the chickpeas in the bottom and cover with water.
2. On top of those throw in the garlic, lemongrass, lime leaves, chillies, peppercorns, coriander and galangal.
3. Place a layer of spinach or spring greens
4. Place a layer of pumpkin/squash and sprinkle with the cumin
5. Add the aubergine and potato, then pour in more water just enough to cover everything. Do not stir. Just pop a lid on, bring to the boil and the turn down to a simmer.
6. After half an hour, stir three times only. Continue to simmer for up to an hour, or until the squash has broken down.
7. Serve as a warming stew.

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Be aware that this is a properly sweet dish. To add more sweetness, if that is something you like, add sultanas and even two bananas about 15 minutes before serving.

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I just had to tell you about how much I love green veg. I always have! I adore spinach, broccoli, kale and more. I really feel them giving nutrition to my body and they give me a boost!

Now I don’t eat dairy, I’m sure a lot of people wonder where I get my calcium from.

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And this is where. I love that plants give us great quantities of our vitamins and minerals and that we don’t have to rely on using animals.

Today on our trip to the market, Bear picked out some wonderful Lemon Basil, so I thought I’d whip up a quick flavoursome salad for us to munch on.

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A Handful of Herbs Salad
Dressing
Galangal chopped into matchsticks (3cm)
Garlic sliced thinly (2)
Flaxseed oil (3tbs)
Lemon juice (1)
Young peppercorns (10)
Green chilli chopped thinly
Pink Himalayan salt (hefty pinch)
…Combine and leave to mix whilst preparing salad

Salad
Coriander (handful)
Lemon Basil (handful)
Assorted Asian greens (I used Pak Choy, Gai Lan and Choy sum)
Spring onion (handful)
Broccoli (one head)
Baby sweet corn (4)
Cherry tomatos chopped (handful)
…Combine and pour dressing over. Eat immediately or leave to absorb dressing in fridge!

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It’s a zingy salad, that you can adapt according to your own tastes. You could replace the herbs with your favourites, swap galangal for ginger, add more vegetables of your choice, maybe celery or cucumber and a sprinkling of seeds or sprouts would give you that added crunch!

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During the day, we like to eat as much fruit and raw food as possible, with the occasional cooked dish in the evenings. We love curries, salads and soups and we really enjoy sampling the local foods. We have been to a few restaurants here on Koh Lanta and have tried some of the more common curries. Green, Red, Yellow and Masamam. They all have a similar base of herbs and spices, they just have slight differences that give them their signature colour or sweetness. The Green curry has green chillies and plenty of coriander, the red sometimes up to 30 red chillies, the yellow has a splash of turmeric and the Masamam pineapple, cashew nuts and potato.

This week, I’ve been experimenting with the Green. First, I tried to make it by taste, guessing which ingredients gave it flavour, but today we went to a local herb garden, in the forest, where the owner gave me a guided tour of his herbs and told me of their herbal, medicinal and culinary properties and which were good in curries and other dishes. I was in my element and really enjoyed it. So much so, that we will go back and take pictures to post sometime this week to show you. It was such a peaceful place.

Back to tonight’s curry. We came upon the market on our way for a swim this afternoon, so I picked up some vegetables and some herbs.

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Including these little Thai Aubergines 🙂 yum

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I’m not very good at ingredients lists as I’m just experimenting and guessing by eye, but what you see here is enough to make a curry for two people two meals, or four at one meal.

Ingredients

Green curry paste
Handful of Fresh coriander chopped
A few aniseed leaves torn
A few kefir lime leaves (mine were dried)
3 pieces of crushed/dried lemongrass
4 cloves garlic chopped
2 -5 green chillis chopped with seeds (I added 3 and it was medium spicy)
Ginger chopped
I don’t have a food processor here, so I chopped all the above ingredients finely.

Vegetables (which you can change to your tastes)
Onion(I think onions are a must)
Squash
Sweet potato
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Carrots
Water and flesh from 2-4 coconuts (1 coconut = 3/4 pt of water/stock)
Coconut milk (depending on how creamy you would like it)
Salt and pepper to taste
Soy sauce

I used coconuts, because they are growing everywhere here and are nicer than bottled water, but I know in UK coconut water in cartons is pretty expensive. If you want the sweetness that this water brings, I would buy some, but it isn’t essential.

Fry the ‘paste’ and add the onions, fry for about 10 minutes in a deep pan. Add the rest of your vegetables chopped into bite sized pieces, then add the water. It is often served as a soup here, which calls for more liquid, but it’s up to you.

I also added rice noodles for the last ten minutes, but you could cook these separately or serve your curry with steamed rice.

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One of my favourite dishes is Pad Thai and although I love the taste of the traditional, I don’t eat it as much, because egg and fish sauce are in it, although it’s really good without those two ingredients. A while ago I made a raw Pad Thai and I wanted to recreate it now that we are in Thailand.

This morning Old Town, where we rent a little apartment, was visited by the market. As far as we can tell, aside from the stall vendors at the roadside and in the main town, Saladan, the place to buy the best vegetables, with a huge variety, is the market. Sounds great – there’s a catch. There isn’t a set day or destination for the market. I basically pops up somewhere different on various days, from 6-10am.

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Here are the ingredients I got for my raw take on Pad Thai. I would have liked peppers, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes too, but alas I couldn’t find any. The herb, is aniseed which is used a lot here in curries.

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I chopped the garlic, ginger, chilli and the aniseed, then I put them in a tablespoon of oil (I used flaxseed) and soy sauce (couldn’t find raw) and some lemon juice. I left this to one side.

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Like I said the other day, I don’t have my spiraliser here, so I used a peeler to create ‘noodles’ and julienned some of the vegetables. The squash was quite tricky, so I did half and half with that.

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I popped all of the ‘noodles’ together and then stirred the dressing in. I left the flavours to be absorbed for about half an hour (you could leave it over night stirring every now an then if you’d like them a little softer)

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Pad Thai is served with lime, cucumber, crushed peanuts, chilli soy and sugar…I didn’t have all these so I improvised and ours was served with lemon, cucumber, crushed pistachio, chilli soy and pineapple.

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It was yummy! Except by the end of the dish it got a bit too oniony, so I would use spring onion next time, also we both added more soy sauce to taste! Let me know if you try it!

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So we popped to a couple of stalls yesterday. There are lots of them here. It seems in the more built up areas that every building is a shop, restaurant or stall. We go there to find ripened coconuts and some fruit and veg. We also have coconut trees growing near our house, but they seem to be smaller and not as sweet. Just as delicious and nutritious though.

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Bear and I cracked open a couple of the smaller ones today. As you can see from the photos, they are a long way from the shrivelled dry husks we see a lot of in the UK. A fresh green coconut is filled with the sweet milky water, then if you split it open, or can fit your spoon in the hole you’ve made, the meat can be scooped out. It’s soft, sometimes jellylike, sometimes tougher.

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I then made a really simple salad for lunch. It was basic, because I haven’t quite worked out the best sources for my nuts, dried fruits and seeds yet. Once I have, I can add more texture, balance and flavour. Not that I don’t enjoy the taste of these ingredients alone, I just like to make a dish with depth.

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I made a basic salsa dressing with the tomato, mango, chilli and lime juice.
I think perfect additions would be garlic, toasted/raw peanuts, dried apricot, a little sesame oil and spring onions. But the beauty of any salad is the adaptive nature of it.

I half wish I’d brought my spiraliser with me so I could make raw vegetable noodles, because I’ve seen squash in season, but having loads of gadgets really defeats the object of simple food. I have some good knives here though, so watch this space for a raw pad Thai salad yummycheffarley style 🙂

Here’s a picture of one I made a few months back.

Now I’m here in Thailand, I can try to make a more authentic version…with no gadgets!

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A raw diet is all very well, I hear you say, in the summer, when juicy fruit smoothies quench our thirst and crisp cold salads cool us down – But what about in those chilly winter months.

I do see where you are coming from, in fact I am a soup lover in general, especially in the autumn and winter.  I love parsnip soup, butternut squash, any kind really and I love summer soups too, fresh pea and a sweetcorn chowder.  I’m not going to be too hard on myself.  I think that in my life, there is still room for hot soup, although if you want to stick to the raw, soups can be made below that 40 degrees celsius.

Those advocating raw believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost much of their nutritional value and are less healthful or even harmful to the body.  The arguement is that raw or living foods have natural enzymes, which are critical in building proteins and rebuilding the body, and that heating these foods destroys the natural enzymes and can leave toxins behind.  Of course there are two sides to every story.  So I’m going to eat soup cooked to a heat above that if I ever fancy it, but I’m sure going to try out some raw soup too, because there are some fab recipes out there that look delicious.

Now, enough of the gumpf (my ‘word’ of the week) and onto a little recipe of my own.  A way to fit a big salad into your wintery day, with added spicy kicks from fresh chilli, peppery radish, warming mustard and winter nutmeg.

I’m also a firm believer in colour being a real addition to the mood you are in when eating, so when I found some beautiful ‘candy stripe’ and ‘Golden Yellow’ beetroot, I was inspired to make a rainbow salad.  I tried to think of the spices and ingredients to compliment each other and of course the nutritional goodness in them.  Beetroot is sooo good for you, a great source of Folic acid and a real help with your liver, blood pressure and some heart issues.  I love its earthy taste and I was surprised at how different the two taste.  The Candy stripe is mild, with a radish like taste and the golden more earthy like its dark pink counterpart.  Both really tasty raw and not so messy to prepare =D  I also sneaked in my new favourite fruit, the persimmon, which is very high in Vitamin C, Iron and has calcium too.

Ingredients

Dressing:

1 tsp English Mustard (or your favourite kind of mustard)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp Nutmeg (freshly grated is more warming but ground is fine)

1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika

1/2-1 Chilli (depending on your preference)

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tsp agave syrup/raw honey

salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

2 beetroot thinly sliced and chopped (I used candy stripe and golden)

6-8 radish thinly sliced

Cherry tomatoes

1 small radicchio lettuce

1 bunch of watercress

2 persimmon finely chopped

1 pomegranate

1 tablespoon of goji berries (These are a superfruit, with high antioxidant properties, but you could use any dried fruit)

6 crushed almonds (leave these out or replace with another nut, I added mainly for protein and texture)

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 1. Grate the nutmeg, juice the lime and chop the chilli, mixing these with all your other dressing ingredients, mustard, mustard seeds, paprika, agave syrup/honey and olive oil

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2.  Chop your lettuce and watercress to make a peppery base for your salad.  Add very thinly sliced sweet onion for added depth of flavour.

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3. Chop and add the radish and the remaining ingredients, stirring after every addition.

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4.  Remove the peel of the persimmon and chop into cubes to add little bursts of sweetness, chop the pomegranate in half and squeeze the seeds into your salad, letting the juice in aswell, more sweetness to compliment your spice.

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5.  Slice and chop your beautiful beetroot before stirring thoroughly and adding your dressing.  Make sure you cover as much of the ingredients as possible.

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6.  Serve a good helping of the salad and sprinkle on the goji berries and nuts at the last-minute.

Enjoy =D

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Watch this space for some yummy winter soups and decadent desserts =)

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One of my biggest bug bears in life was always what to eat for breakfast.  1, it always seemed so early – my body could hardly function to get dressed, let alone prepare something fantastic to delight my taste buds(why am I out of bed at this ungodly hour) 2, why would I want to eat cardboard type cereal sugar coated and bland simultaneously and 3) everyone kept telling me it was the most important meal of the day and the rebel in me didn’t want to apply that unexplained reasoning. 
Of course now I realise it is the most important meal of the day.  I I did, before my raw fix, quite happily eat full English fry ups, croissants, waffles etc, thinking they would fuel me, but I was wrong.  Aside from my wonderful smoothies, which satisfy my fast and give me a burst of good fruit sugar energy, I have now discovered a raw delight which I sort of based on several similar ideas I’ve seen over my raw journey.

This take on a porridge/muesli type brekkie is really a base that you can add or takeaway your favourite ingredients.  The rich syrup of the dates really made it for me.

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Raw Granola

1 cup of raw buckwheat
Tablespoon of dried mulberries
4 dates chopped
Tablespoon of shelled hemp seed

1: Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and cover with water.
2: Leave to soak for an hour,
3: if necessary add more water
4: Cover and leave to soak over night
5: in the morning, add fresh fruit and enjoy 🙂

Easy. Something you can prepare in advance and add anything too.  Try it with almonds, raisins, raw chocolate chips, strawberries, blueberries…your choice!

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