From the streets: Coconut oil

Posted in: DF, Featured, Reviews, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Wholesome Seduction has featured a few recipes containing coconut oil recently so I think it’s time to explain my (and the UK’s) latest love. Apart from transforming sweet potato wedges into sticky and crispy comfort food, the health benefits of this miracle fruit (botanically a drupe) are so extensive, fitness gurus are eating the oil by the dessert spoon. Literally.

Virgin-Coconut-Oil

For the full lowdown find out why I fell in love here. Think metabolism boosting, energy sustaining, bacterial and viral infection fighting and apparently, weight loss!

There are countless raw or virgin varieties available in wholefood shops. Unfortunately, at £10 a pop they don’t come cheap. There’s now a ‘cuisine’ (non raw / refined) option for a fiver which makes sense if you’re cooking.

What’s the difference? In all honesty, I attribute most of the (crazy £10!) cost to marketing and fashion. South India’s awash with palm trees and the smell of dosa (a kind of breakfast pancake staple) being fried in coconut oil. A year’s supply wouldn’t even set Amma back a tenner. Having said that, there is something in the raw / virgin tag line.

Refined vs. raw coconut oil

Virgin-vs-Refined-coconut-oil

All coconut oils are refined as the oils need to be extracted from the whole fruit; raw has just been less so. As goes with the raw argument, such foods are said to retain higher levels of their nutrients and antioxidants. The (more) refined version doesn’t alter the medium chain fatty acids so still ticks all the virtues that make this a Storehouse Seducer.

I stock up on £2.50 tubs of KTC, an Indian brand, when I can get them. Note: KTC (above) is more easily found by the bottle but given the oil sets outside of tropical climates, not ideal as it can’t be poured. #globalsalesstrategy #fail

Since I sub other oils for coconut wherever taste is either improved or uncompromised, I go through quite a bit so use two types: Raw for energy balls, shakes and spreading on toast, and KTC for scrambled eggs (yep), roasting and frying kale and fritters. The good news: many dishes taste infinitely better. When cooked, coconut oil has a creamy flavour and adds a crispiness that would turn the local chippy green with envy.

KTC: £2.50 from Asian shops and Tesco World Food aisle. Biona and Lucy Bee: £9.95 from Wholefoods or Planet Organic. Biona Cuisine: £4.95 from Wholefoods. Amazon also has slightly cheaper bulk buying options and rumour has it Lidl plan to get in on the cut price action.

 

Some more coconuts:

For the purpose of this post, I’ve focussed on the oil, but actually, so extensive are this drupe’s merits, it comes in every imaginable incarnation: dairy free ice cream (amazing), yoghurt (ditto) and of course, the water celebrities practically bathe in.

CoYo

Invo-Coconut-water

All of them at prices requiring a conversation with the bank manager. Who’d have thought this stuff grows on trees?

 

Broad bean & cashew pesto

Posted in: DF, LF, N, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

This is one of my favourite fridge staples; it tastes amazing and goes with just about just about anything. In theory you should hull broad beans. Every. Single. One. I did this once, turning grey in the process. According to several guinea pig friends, though, this tastes so good it’s worth the effort. Unfortunately, I don’t have the patience of Ghandi so threw caution to the wind and tested with skins on. The result: zesty, clean, creamy, bang on summer and ready in 10 minutes. A delicious alkaline and raw dip with this week’s Sticky sweet potato wedges, or unbeatable with courgette spaghetti. Alternatively, dollop on salads, rye, fritters or pasta.

Broad-bean-&-cashew-pesto

Makes 1 350ml jar

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup cashew nuts
1 1/2 cups broad beans or soya beans, steamed – I like 50/50.
1 dsp tahini
pinch sea salt
2 limes, juice of
1 tbsp cottage cheese or yoghurt – optional
50ml water or olive oil

METHOD

Blitz the cashew nuts in a Magimix or blender for 20 secs or until you get a breadcrumb texture. Chuck in your chosen beans and whiz briefly.

Add in the remaining ingredients, following with the water. You should have a hummus-like consistency.

Decant to jars in the fridge, eating within 3 days.

Bean-puree

Tip

I love this with a tablespoon of cottage cheese or yoghurt whizzed through at the end – more protein and a bolder, tangier flavour. In the interests of vegan / dairy free / paleo friendly options, I’ve omitted from the above.

 

Pitt Cue Co chipotle ketchup

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

I’m not a really a ketchup eater, so the fact I went to the lengths of making this recipe, and am now blogging it, I think testifies to the flavour. With smokey chilli and tangy apple and tamarind, this straddles between a sophisticated Tommy K and HP. There are various incarnations on the web, chipotle peppers generally causing some sourcing issues; this is mine.

Pitt Cue Co chipotle ketchup

INGREDIENTS

1kg ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 cooking apple, cored and chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
2 small red onions or 1 large, sliced
3 tsp smoked paprika
4 tsp chipotle – if you can’t get this, treble the paprika.
1 tsp turmeric (because I add it to everything for gut health)
1 tsp sea salt
3 tsp tamarind (I’m following HP’s lead on this)
250ml cider vinegar
1 tbsp agave or 200g muscovado sugar

METHOD

Put all ingredients except the agave into a pan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 2 hours.

Remove from the heat, chill and whizz with a stick blender till smooth.

Return to the heat, add agave and simmer for a further 30 mins or until thickened slightly. If, like me, you’ve swapped sugar for agave, the sauce will remain runnier. There’s no compromise to flavour.

Decant into sterilised jars and store in the fridge for up to two weeks, according to Pitt Cue Co. I confess I’ve kept mine a lot longer and it tastes just as good… Sorry, I’m lazy and refuse to do smaller batches.

I love this with Mum Garcia’s Netherton Farm Wild Boar sausages and sourdough or Courgette fritters, bacon and avocado. But with summer picnics and BBQ’s on their way *frantically touches wood*, I reckon this is a fridge staple worth having to hand.

 

The Anti-diet: Carbs v. protein

Posted in: Uncategorized

I once paid exorbitant amounts of cash to see a fit guru who promptly rigged me up to a mask attached to lots of wires, while making me stretch my poor little heart to breaking point on various apparatus. I only learned calories the year before (goodbye family size trifle) and have zero comprehension of my weight, so this was a little out of character. It was surprisingly useful however: I learned that eating nothing but kumquats can make you fat.

Fat

Apparently, the body likes a little protein with carbs. If eaten in isolation, carbohydrate may as well be a lump of lard, it would seem. OK, maybe this is a slight exaggeration but I find the visual helps me focus.

It’s all down to our blood sugar levels. In the interests of keeping you awake, I’ll abstain from the over convoluted workings of the Glycaemic Index, just heed this: High GI foods (the white stuff: tatties, pasta etc) turn almost instantaneously to sugar in the body, producing insulin (= sugar rush, then slump), which tells your body to store fat. So you see, starving yourself on Snack A Jacks and blueberries will not only make you miserable, devoid of dinner party invites and probably unwell, you’ll gain weight.

Before you frantically renounce all ingredients bar celery, however, we need carbohydrates for energy, and to prevent us being likened to an irritable Devil Wears Prada Diva. All our shrewd bodies crave is a mix of protein, fat, fibre and carbs.

World-Flours-3

Mother nature (and the supermarket World Foods aisle) has fortuitously provided us with a cornucopia of options, not to mention wheat alternatives, if we’re ever so slightly open minded.

As our Seducers explain, pulses and quinoa, with their mix of carbs, fibre and protein, are a veritable gift from the Gods to be coveted. They’re also super easy to incorporate into soups, stews, salads and fritters: Quinoa, lentil & feta salad, Courgette & prawn fritters (made with chickpea flour).

Avocado, cottage cheese & vegemite on sourdough

Eggs, olive oil, nuts, lean meats and avocado are not to be avoided on pain of death; they are our friends. In moderation (blah blahhh). Now, I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty good news.

Some other protein hit recipes: HummusGaram masala & tamarind chickenBramble Bircher or Almond butter.

For more Anti-diet tips click on the Tags on the right, or type Anti-diet into the Search box at the top of the page.

 

 

Courgette & feta fritters

Posted in: LF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Bowing to yogi petitions for veggie fritter recipes on a recent Italian yoga retreat, here’s an option which uses the last of the summer’s British courgettes and involves minimal effort. I have it on good authority (my favourite yoga teacher, Molly) that having followed this recipe, dinner party plates were licked clean. Note: don’t be put off by the word ‘fritter’, just enough oil to stop the batter from sticking is all you need; these are skinny!

Courgette-&-prawn-fritters

Makes 12 fritters, feeds 4

INGREDIENTS

150g chickpea flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric (for gut health)
black pepper
2 limes, juice of
½ red Kashmiri chilli, chopped
8 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
2 courgettes, grated
100g feta, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil. Or your choice of oil.

METHOD

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In stages, add 100ml water and the lime juice and stir until you get a thick batter, removing any lumps.

Add the spices, salt, chilli, spring onions and herbs, followed by the courgette and feta.

Dollop coconut oil into a frying pan and set over a medium heat. When very hot, add your mix (1 heaped dsp per fritter) and flatten to 2cm thick.

Cook for 2-3 mins on one side and 1 on the reverse. Or until your fritters are a reddish brown. Coconut oil gives a lovely crispness, and countless health benefits in the process!

Serve hot.

Continuing in the spirit of all things Italian, dollop with Basil pesto, avocado and cottage cheese or Labneh (hung yoghurt) from the Larder. For the meat eaters among us, it’s hard to beat the bacon, avocado & Pitt Cue Co. chipotle ketchup combo.

zucchini-fritters-&-avacado

Podere-Conti-Yoga-

Gorgeous yogi gurus Molly and Gabby. My inspiration.

For London gourmet yoga pop-ups click on Secret Yoga Club. Gabby dedicates all of her time to organising (far too reasonably priced) yoga evenings hosted by renowned yogis, washed down with a meal by equally respected chefs. Trullo and The Little Cooking Pot to name a few. Gabby’s resourcefulness and energy never fail to blow my mind.

For more info on Tuscan Travel Pick and agriturismo see Podere Conti here.

 

Courgette, prawn & chilli fritters

Posted in: DF, S, SF, WF

Fritters are an easy and healthy alternative to bread, and just as versatile. In this version, the chilli bite is contrasted by cooling mint and clean coriander; hard to beat for breakfast or supper when topped with bacon, avocado and a poached egg. Or you can make minis with a dip for everyone to dig into as a starter or canapé. Try Broad bean & cashew dip or hung yoghurt (labneh) & basil pesto.

fritters,-bacon-&-egg

Makes: 12 fritters. Feeds: 4

INGREDIENTS

150g chickpea flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric (for gut health)
black pepper
2 limes, juice of
½ red Kashmiri chilli, chopped
8 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 dsp mint, chopped
1 courgette, grated
200g peeled, raw tiger prawns, chopped ½ inch thick
1 tbsp coconut oil. Or your choice of oil.

METHOD

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In stages, add 100ml water and the lime juice and stir until you get a thick batter, removing any lumps.

Add the spices, chilli, spring onions and herbs, followed by the courgette and prawns.

making-fritters

Dollop coconut oil into a frying pan and set over a medium heat. When very hot, add your mix (1 heaped dsp per fritter) and flatten to 2cm thick.

Cook for 2 – 3 mins on one side and 1 on the reverse. Or until your fritters are a reddish brown. Coconut oil gives a lovely crispness, and countless health benefits in the process!

Serve hot topped with avocado & cottage cheese or a poached egg.

Pitt Cue Co. Chipotle Ketchup

It would appear the latter’s surprisingly good with Pitt Cue Co’s chipotle ketchup and bacon. An accidental combination (I may have been nursing a hangover) and potentially menu carnage but I like it. Impressive given I don’t do ketchup. The recipe’s widely available on the net, or I’ve included a tweaked version made with agave instead of sugar.

Make the most of seductive courgette’s health benefits while in season. See also skinny Courgette & lemon drizzle cake.

Roast banana, bacon, maple syrup & sweet corn fritters

Posted in: S, WF

Not exactly a recipe, more of a sharing of love, and another way to use my September sweet corn fritter recipe. Sunday brunch comfort, borderline excess, and food Jenga. I’m relying on you having a modicum of kitchen nouse, it really is very easy.

roast banana & fritters Wholesome Seduction

Set bacon to grill – you can also omit the meat, there’s plenty going on without it. Meanwhile roast bananas as per the instructions in the Recipes page and set aside in warm oven. While the fritters are frying, mix creme fraiche or yoghurt with a drop of vanilla extract and maybe some maple syrup, depending on the sweetness of your tooth.

Then layer: fritter, bacon, maple syrup, creme fraiche, banana. I used 3 fritters. Because I’m a glutton. And it looked impressive. 2 is plenty.