Maple roasted roots with Stilton & walnuts

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

Loaded with winter goodness, this is a crowd pleaser for carnivore and vegetarian guests alike. Served at room temperature, it has a particularly special place in my heart for allowing me to prep in advance so I can focus my efforts on the perfect mulled wine. I’ve done a mix of veggies here, but you can equally double up on sweet potatoes and drop all other roots. I’ve opted for an orange dressing with stilton and walnuts for a nod to the festive season, but feel free to sub for your favourites.

Maple-roasted-roots

Feeds 6 as side

INGREDIENTS

3 sweet potatoes
4 medium sized carrots
4 beetroot
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric (for anti-bacterial gut health)
Pinch sea or Himalayan pink salt
70g stilton or blue cheese
Fistful / 50g walnuts, lightly dry toasted in a pan or oven – a couple of mins
1 tbsp dried cranberries

Dressing

Juice of 1/2 orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
Himalayan pink or sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp crushed, dried chillies – optional

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 200C. Slice carrots and sweet potatoes lengthways into wedges and beetroot into quarters. Line, skin side down onto a baking tray and roast for approx. 35 mins, gently turning the veg a couple of times throughout. You’re aiming for crispy wedges; soft in the centre with slightly charred edges.

Roast-veg-prep

Set aside the veg to cool slightly – you don’t want them to turn to mush by adding the citrus and olive oil too quickly. Mix the dressing ingredients.

In a large bowl gently combine the dressing with the veg (I use my hands). At this stage, you can set aside in the fridge for the flavours to develop.

When ready to eat / prep, transfer veg to a large platter, layering with the cheese, cranberries and nuts. Topping with parsley also adds colour and freshness.

Serve as a main for vegetarians and / or alongside your turkey or meat of choice.

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?

 

Storehouse Seducer: Coconut oil

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

MOST ATTRACTIVE FEATURES

This one’s a keeper like no other. Said to boost energy levels and metabolism (cue: calorie burn) and promote thyroid health and weight loss (tall order…). It can fight bacterial, viral and fungal infections including candida; there’s even evidence to suggest the effect of Alzheimer’s may be reduced and type 1 and 2 diabetes improved.

green-coconut

Athletes and fitness freaks dollop it in their shakes for sustained energy levels. And beauty experts smother it on their skin and hair to combat skin conditions and maintain glossy locks. Coconut oil is indispensible inside and out it seems.

WHY I FELL IN LOVE

By no means a new kid on the block, coconut oil won South East Asian hearts centuries ago. Catching on to the countless virtues, it now seems there’s not a health or fitness savvy man or woman in the UK who can live without their daily fix.

Beetroot, carrot, kiwi & ginger juice

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

I’m going to level with you: making veggie juice is a faff and your kitchen will resemble a war zone. I think it’s important you’re armed with the facts. For this very reason (and in the interests of keeping my job) I make a 3 ltr batch at the weekend, freezing 250ml bottles for  morning shots. On the plus side, it’s quite therapeutic, systematically feeding mounds of goodness into a machine which instantly produces an elixir of health. And my skin and energy levels are rejoicing.

Beetroot,-carrot,-apple,-kiwi-&-ginger-juice

Makes: 3 ltrs

Ingredients

1.4kg carrots, sprout end removed
2kg apples / 18 apples, halved
14 kiwi, rough end removed
300g ginger, chopped 2″ pieces
500g beetroot, halved with stalks removed

Veg-juice-ingredients

Method

Soak fruit and veg in water with a tablespoon of vinegar for 10 mins to remove any wax and chemicals. Line the juicer bin with a bag for slightly less mess; this way you can throw the waste straight into the rubbish. Give or take…

Most veggies can go in your juicer whole, I tend to remove the particularly tough bits and drop veg into the feeder in stages as my juicer appears not to be fully up to the task.

Veg-juice-health

Kiwi is an addition I wouldn’t do without; it adds body and a tangy smoothness that brings everything together. It’s also packed with Vitamin C.

Making-veg-juice

Keep beetroot till last, unless you want red dye on EV-ER-Y-THING. Pour juice through a sieve to remove any pulpy foam.

Decant into bottles and keep in the fridge for a day or freeze.

Juicers don’t come cheap:

At least not the decent ones and if you find this is something you’re into, you’ll soon feel compelled to invest more pennies into an uber version. Amazon has a wide selection, including the following:

Sage (by Heston Blumenthal) Nutri Pro was recently recommended to me on the basis it does’t heat up. Think Cold Pressed, which preserves the ingredients’ nutrients, apparently. If it’s good enough for tech chef Heston…

Breville have lots of middle of the road options to start you off.

From the streets: Seggiano acacia honey

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

God of taste: flavour and design, Seggiano sourcing is impeccable; scouring the land for the best Italy has to offer. This cold pressed, unfiltered and unpasteurized honey is bottled by beekeeper, Mauro Pagliaccia in Tuscany. The result: Ambrosia that compels you to never again torture your taste buds with the supermarket stuff.

Seggiano-raw-acacia-honey

Why cold press? Heat treating destroys the delicate antibiotics, enzymes and anti-bacterial qualities naturally found in honey. So not only does the raw variety taste infinitely better, it does you good and helps fight infection. True Wholesome Seduction.

In fact, so revered is this product, I blogged it as a stocking filler last Christmas (Please Santa…) and take it as a dinner party gift for my favourite friends.

Available from Wholefoods, Planet Organic or independent delis: £8.50. £1 off at Wholefoods now.

Seasonal Seducer: Cranberry

Posted in: Uncategorized

Most attractive features

Apart from its tart, tanginess? This little powerhouse is packed with anti-oxidant Vit C, so a key immune booster to help stave off winter colds and flu. And lucky for us, it’s not hard to come by: Drink it; make it into a jelly to serve with meat and game; or pop the sweeter, dried version into your cereal.

SeasonalSeducerCranberry

Why we fell in love

Thanks to its anti-bacterial properties, this berry’s most famous for its warrior skills against a certain urinary infection. It’s said that the condensed tannins help prevent bacteria sticking to the urinary tract. There’s now even preliminary evidence to suggest our festive berry may help protect us from stomach ulcers in the same way.

So you see, a cranberry’s not just for Christmas.

Cranberry sauce with port & orange

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

‘Tis the season to be jolly… In honour of the impending festivities, I’ve brought you a seasonaly seductive, spiced sauce to dollop on your bird.

Cranberry sauce with port & orange. Wholesome Seduction

Makes: 300g (10 dessert spoons)

Ingredients

300g cranberries
½ orange, juice and zest
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
2 tbsp maple syrup
½ tbsp agave / 1 tbsp brown sugar, or to taste
3 tbsp port

Method

  1. Put all ingredients, bar the booze, into a heavy based pan and cook, uncovered on a low to medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. After 15 – 20 mins, or when the cranberries begin to burst, add the port and simmer for a further 5 mins.
  3. Taste – you may want to add more sugar to compensate for the tart cranberries. Or more alcohol…
  4. You should have a mix of crushed and whole cranberries. Don’t worry if there seems to be a lot of juice, this will thicken as it cools.
  5. Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Tra la la la la… la la la laaaah….

If you don’t have a zester for the orange, you can also peel thin slices with a sharp knife (taking care to avoid the bitter pith) and finely chop into slivers, or use a grater.

PP: Kcals 19   Pr 2g   Carbs 4.1g   Ows 3.9g   Fat 0.1g   Sat Fat 0g   Salt trace

 

Green Curry!

Posted in: S

No, we’re not talking Thai food. We’re talking environmentally friendly spices. In particular, coriander seeds, cumin and turmeric. These three curry house favourites are topping the list of greenhouse gas reducers.

Research carried out at Newcastle University shows that feeding them to sheep reduces the levels of methane released significantly. Coriander seeds were the winner (reducing methane production by 40%), with turmeric a close second (30% drop) and cumin coming in third (22%).

“What? How?” We hear you cry. It’s all thanks to the anti-bacterial properties of these three spices. They kill off the bad bacteria in the gut while letting the good bacteria (you know, the ones those TV ads promise – but, in our opinion, fail – to love) live. Less naughty bacteria = less gas.

It’s great news for the environment. Great news for our noses. And the perfect excuse to whip up an aloo gobi! Sometimes following the flock is no bad thing. Baaa.

Find out more: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press.office/press.release/item/spice-leaves-sheep-smelling-sweeter