Porridge of fairytales

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

Being a Scot (albeit a half Spanish one), I should probably apologise that this post is only now appearing on Wholesome Seduction; I was weaned on porridge. Literally. Although vocally apathetic as a child (what’s wrong with Frosties and Coco Pops?!), I grew to crave the creamy coziness of this breakfast… and / or supper (see aforementioned craving). Here are my simple steps, and added tricks, for creating porridge Goldilocks would be proud of. Englishers, take note: a pinch of salt is compulsory. As a rule, I prefer to err away from dogmatic recipes, but on this I stand firm.

Porridge

Feeds: 1

INGREDIENTS

1 cup / part porridge oats (jumbo if poss)
2 cups / parts water
Good dash of cow’s milk, or sub for mylk or your choice
1 dsp ground almonds – optional but it makes for a thicker, creamier porridge
Pinch Himalayan pink or sea salt – non negotiable!

Toppings:

1 dsp dried cranberries
Knob of butter or coconut oil

METHOD

Soak the oats in the water and salt overnight if possible, or for 1/2 hr.  Not a deal breaker but it helps in the creamy porridge stakes, and it’s quicker to cook on a cold winter morning.

Cook on a low heat (again = creamier), stirring intermittently until it starts to bubble and thicken. Stir through the milk and ground almonds until you reach the consistency you prefer – I like my porridge pretty thick.

Fold through cranberries if using, remove from the heat, cover and set aside for a couple of mins. Again, adding the creamy thickness.

Transfer to bowls and eat as is, or topped with your favourites: milk, banana, seeds, berries, tahini, yoghurt etc. My personal Go To: dried cranberries and knob of butter (kinda’ wish I hadn’t discovered this) or coconut oil.

Wooden spoon optional but it really does seem to taste better…

For the real deal, with a ridiculous Highland view, I’m yet to find better porridge than that of Mumma Garcia-Macintyre of Netherton Farm. She claims it’s the water / Aga / overconvoluted mix of oatmeal and porridge oats (I kept things simple!); either way, it rests on the stove every morning. If you’re ever in the Scottish Highlands…

 

From the streets: Rude Health dairy-free milks

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

I’m often asked for instant protein shake recipes to tick the dairy free / vegan / energy / alkaline, even paleo boxes. OK, I may not subscribe to relentless diet lists, but I can’t ignore the fact that reducing my dairy intake makes me feel better: I have more energy, the zip on my jeans stays up and most importantly, thanks to Rude Health, my repertoire of porridges and shakes has blossomed. To be clear, the reason these guys get my vote, is because flavour is king; I prefer all varieties to cows milk. And don’t get me started on soya milk. #barf

Rude-Health

£1.99 / litre from Waitrose or Sainsbury’s. 20% off now at Waitrose.

Until Rude Health, every almond milk left me cold, which, given my obsession with almonds, baffled me. Even the brown rice version somehow tastes so much better than sugary and starchy Rice Dream. Not to mention the health benefits. Lower in saturated fat, free from dairy and refined sugar, protein and flavour packed, these are a storehouse staple for anyone; Dolly (my dog) is partial to a spot of brown rice milk. Hush.

Almond-milk

You can make your own almond milk but quite frankly, I’m not sure it’s not worth the faff. Admittedly, it tastes good but the cost to yield ratio makes Rude Health’s £1.99 price tag makes you feel they’re being robbed – you need a sack of almonds for a 100ml trickle. The homemade stuff also goes out of date quicker than an avocado turns from stone to sludge.

Not content with dairy free milk perfection, Rude Health have branched out into granolas, cereals and snacks. All very good.

Check in over the coming weeks as I blog my favourite dairy-free super shakes and recipes to help you avoid winter sniffles. Next week: Cacao, nut & berry energy shake (with almond milk, of course).

 

 

Strawberry, almond & mint smoothie

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

The lack of spring (entirely forgiven in light of the recent outpouring of unbroken, blistering sunshine) wasn’t all bad. UK cooler conditions caused a slower growth and more time for the plants to develop in the soil, equalling plumper, juicier, sweeter berries. Make the most of the 2013 vintage crop by blitzing and freezing to use in recipes throughout the year. And gorge on beach body smoothies in the meantime. This is a great breakfast option as the almonds and oats are not only good for you, they fill you up for longer. As with this recipe, unearth inspiration and berry buddies with our Gather & Gather friend, Niki Segnit’s indispensable Flavour Thesaurus.

Strawberry,-almond-&-mint-smoothie

 

Feeds: 2 as a breakfast or 4 as a dessert

 

Ingredients

1 tbsp / 12 almonds – I like skins on
3 tbsp oats
1 tsp cinnamon
12 strawberries
2 bananas
1 bunch fresh mint
1 dsp Sweet Freedom / Agave / honey
300ml rice milk (or cows milk)
100ml cold water 2 tbsp yoghurt, optional

Method

In a blender, blitz almonds and oats until they resemble a sawdust like texture. You’ll need to scrape down the sides after about 5 seconds and repeat.

Follow with remaining ingredients and blend till smooth. You can also add yoghurt for a thicker, more filling smoothie. If so, you may want to thin out slightly with some water or milk.

Not wishing to disparage the best of berries, but this recipe’s just as good without the strawberry or mint when your frozen stash runs out: nutty banana cream.

Click on the Seducer links to learn why your insides will love this recipe as much as your taste buds: Almonds and Strawberries.

The Anti-diet: Fresh, naturally

Posted in: Uncategorized

By this I mean made by you. Or your granny / the local deli / anyone not advocating the use of ingredients you’d expect to find in a science lab. As this blog eulogises, food is our fuel. I have a sneaking suspicion our growing girths and ever more vociferous food intolerance grumbles, can largely be attributed to the unpronounceable nasties poured into our ready-meals.

Seasonally Seductive Variety

Our bodies like variety. And by eating seasonally, you automatically tick the balanced diet manifesto. At the very least, you’ll never unwittingly consume horse in your beef burgers again.

Horse Burgers

And don’t get me started on salt, fat and sugar. It’s now common knowledge that many ready meals contain over half our recommended daily allowance of the former in a single serving. As a result, salt has become a swear word when in fact, our bodies need it to function.

It’s like this: Our heart is a muscle. Our digestive tract and limbs, amongst other things, are controlled by our muscles. Without salt, said muscles can’t move (hence cramp). If you’re not living off packaged loaves or processed food, you can probably scratch this one off your worry list.

Caravan Coffee, Exmouth Market, London.

By the same token, coffee houses such as Monmouth, All Press and Caravan (pictured), don’t do skinny milk. Because lattes weren’t invented with watered down, processed lactose. Coffee and the sweet, velvety cows milk are perfect partners. Enjoy them as they’re meant to be – in a smaller cup as opposed to a 32oz Venti bucket.

Pick and MIx. Love Hearts.

And what is the deal with sugar? When did we Brits develop such a super saccharine tooth? Most Rhubarb crumbles are now sweeter than Pick ‘N Mix with even ready meals and low fat foods typically loaded with sugar. It’s no wonder obesity and diabetes are on the increase, hence the press recently turning into our most vociferous saccherophobe (sugar hater). sugar demon taking such a beating by the press of late. On current trends, by 2050 half the UK adult population will be obese. We currently stand at 1/3. Nice.

For the record, the legendary J. Sheekey’s still flies the flag for our tangy British crumble favourite, complimented with the silkiest, vanilla bean speckled crème Anglais. #drool

JSheekey Oyster Bar, London.

“But I don’t step foot in my kitchen before 9pm”, I hear you groan. Without wishing to sound like Martha Stewart, soups, stews and salads can be super quick to prepare. The key is to make bigger batches for the fridge or freezer.

Next week I’ll blog some key recipes that can be mixed and matched for a week of almost instantaneous post work suppers and office lunch boxes, putting into easy practice what must seem like Anti-diet overload! In the meantime, click on the Seasonal Seducers and recipes for Wholesomely Seductive eating that’s a way of life, as opposed to a starve v. binge battle.

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

All Anti-diet posts have been approved by nutritionist and Gather & Gather colleague Kate Taylor, find her on Twitter @kate_t85