Colourful Heirloom Carrots are really delicious in this salad. Avoid using the purple ones as they will stain the entire salad and you won't see the lovely coriander and seeds.
This salad is so simple to make and keeps well in the fridge. The toasted cumin seeds bring a wonderful warmth and fragrance to this salad and the toasted coconut, sesame and cashews add a depth of flavour and substance. It can be enjoyed as is or served as an accompaniment to an Indian meal, with rice, etc...
4 large heirloom carrots, white and orange, grated
1/2 ripe avocado, mashed
handful or 1/2 c coriander
juice of 2 limes or 3 tbsp
2 tbsp flax oil or your favourite oil
1 tsp crystal salt
1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
2 tsp fresh red chili, seeded and minced (quantity depends on heat of chili )
small handful raisins
1/4 c - roasted cashews, toasted sesame seeds and toasted coconut
Combine the first 8 ingredients in a mixing bowl and massage together until well combined. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Where do I begin with nettles? They are my number one local, wild and free superfood! The health benefits of nettles are huge, especially high in iron and vitamin C, they are great for anemia or fatigue, especially in women. They are a powerful women's tonic, especially for young girls or older women going through the menopause. They are also a diuretic, increasing the flow of urine thus helping with urinary, kidney and bladder problems. Nettles are a powerful detoxifier, full of chlorophyll which builds red blood cells in the body, and cleanses the blood. They have been shown to lower blood pressure, help colds and flu, treat prostate problems and even stimulate hair growth.
Everyone can find them, and they are just re-emerging through the soil and will grace us until late autumn. Now is the time to get those first young green tips, perfect for juicing, smoothies and soups. You can just pick the first two layers of leaves ( you may want to wear some tough garden gloves to prevent being stung!) and pop them in your juicer, blend them into your favourite green smoothie or try this super soup recipe, which packs in a good dose of nettles and is perfect for a light lunch or as a new recipe to add to a liquids cleanse.
Nettle tonic soup
1 ripe avocado
2 packed cups fresh nettle tops
1 spring onion
1/2’’ ginger root
1 stick celery
2’’ chunk cucumber
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp flax seed/hemp seed oil
½ c water
Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl, top with sprouted seeds and drizzle with oil. Enjoy straight away.
Things that lurk in the hedgerows have always fascinated me; Curious berries that we always gathered as children for sweet crumble and the first shoots of green leaves, which pop up at this time of year. I’ve always had the knowledge to use what most people refer to as ‘weeds’ as food and medicine. I believe that our best medicines are the ones growing outside our back doors!
The warm spell of weather that we are blessed with right now has brought on the emerging of many of our spring greens, herbs and blossoms. I adore this time of year, when nature really ‘springs’ back to life after the dormant winter. Scraping back the leaves I uncovered my beloved nettle patch this morning. I cherish my wild back garden and take great pride in my abundant nettles! Keeping them cut short once they grow up in the summer keeps the prime young tips coming, which is what we want for use in our diets. Mine will grow now until late autumn, when I will harvest the last young leaves to dry in the dehydrator for use in teas throughout the winter.
This weeks series of posts will include five new ‘superfoods’ to add to your diet. At this time year, some times we can get too focused on what we are giving up from our diets, though how much better we could feel if we switch that to what we will add in! I like to think of a living food diet as one of abundance, rather than denial. When we make that shift to adding in lots of new exciting foods, the old unhealthier ones will naturally drop away. As spring seems to be well and truly upon us now, what better time to add some new local, seasonal superfoods into your diet to help that detox along?
Having been exploring raw foods for many years now, I have adapted the diet I discovered whilst travelling in tropical climates to one that supports our local and seasonal produce here in the UK. For me, it is so important to focus on these foods, and feel that eating this way puts me more in touch with nature. I am going to be excited as ever watching all the spring cleansing greens appear, wait patiently until summer to gorge on fresh berries and tomatoes, and switch back to my earthier, warmer diet of roots and squashes as autumn rolls in. But for now, it’s all about shaking off the winter layers and lightening up with fresh, wild greens, flowers and berries! Some of the plants I am going to posting about may take a few more weeks to appear where you are if you live in the UK, but here’s a start to get your eyes opening to the abundance that grows all around us.
My first favourite recipe, which is going to be a staple in my diet, is my Wild Garlic Pesto. Wild garlic (also known as ramsons) carpet the floors of woodlands from early spring until early summer, and you can smell them before you spot them! They have a lovely strong, garlic flavour within a broad, bright green leaf, which grown in clusters around a main stem with a white flower bulb, which can also be eaten. You can use the leaves in salads, but my I like to make them into pesto, which I use on raw veg noodles, stirred into warm grains or on raw crackers. I keep my recipes very simple, using very few ingredients, but you can change the seeds/nuts to vary the taste, or make it with a mixture of wild garlic and other green herbs like parsley if you wish. I use sunflower seeds as they are so cheap compared to pine nuts traditionally used in pesto, and have a mild flavour which lets the strong taste of the wild garlic through. Wild garlic is high in vitamins A, B and C, and contains the same antiseptic, anti bacterial and antitoxic effects as onions and garlic, so they are great for digestive cleansing. The sunflower seeds contain protein and vitamin E, and the flax seed oil is high in omega 3 fatty acid. The pesto will keep in the fridge for weeks as long as you keep a layer of oil on the top.
2 handfuls Wild garlic leaves
½ cup sunflower seeds (or pine nuts, pumpkin seeds seeds, walnuts, pecans…)
½ cup flax seed oil
1 Tbsp Nutritional yeast flakes
½ tsp salt
Put the seeds at the bottom of a blender, add oil and blend until the nuts are broken down. Add the washed and torn wild garlic leaves and stems, salt and nutritional yeast flakes. Blend until creamy and transfer into sterilized jars, sealing the top of each jar with some oil to preserve the pesto.
Wild Garlic Pesto
The name of this soup comes from the feeling it gives me on the initial days of a cleanse, it’s my saving grace! I get so hungry by mid day on the first few days and this soup makes it all better. It’s slightly smokey from the chipotle which gives real comfort and it’s rather filling too. On the nutritional front, it’s pretty impressive - leafy greens contain crucial folic acid, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and proteins while avocado is a good source of healthy fats, folate, potassium and vitamin E. Chilies get your blood flow going are an abundant source of antioxidants and vitamin C.
Cucumber, peeled and chopped
½ c coriander, washed and chopped
40ml Lime Juice
2 tbsp Red Onion, peeled and chopped
2 handfuls Baby Spinach, washed
1 tsp chipotle chili, soaked till soft and chopped
¼ tsp Crystal Salt
½ Ripe Haas Avocado
1 tsp Flax/Linseed Oil
Combine all ingredients except Flax Oil in a high speed blender and blend on high for 30 seconds or until it’s smooth. Turn the blender onto low speed and drizzle in the flax oil. This will create a little emulsification, making the soup thick, creamy and rich.
Supercharged Sweet Potato & Spice Smoothie
This smoothie is thick, luxurious and has the taste and consistency of Egg Nog without all the nasty stuff; Not to mention all the health and fertility benefits - Almonds are a great source of essential fatty acids, zinc, folic acid and vitamin E. Sweet Potato is a wonderful source of safe vitamin A and is hormone regulating. Linseed oil is brilliant for your daily dose of Omega 3 essential fatty acid. Cinnamon will assist with regulating your blood sugar and helping you curb the sugar cravings. And if that wasn’t enough, Bananas contain B6 and tryptophan, an amino acid that makes you chill out and feel good. Who couldn’t use a bit of that?
600ml Nut Milk
150g Sweet Potato, peeled and diced
½ tsp Vanilla Powder
½ tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Maca
1 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg or ⅛ tsp nutmeg powder
2 tsp Coconut Syrup
200g Banana, peeled, sliced and frozen
2 tsp Linseed/Flax Oil
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender for about 30-45 seconds or until it’s smooth and creamy. Serve at once.