Category Archives: Detox

* Banana, Date and Coconut Baked Porridge *

Standard

Yes, I know what you’re thinking – that’s no’ how ye make porriiidge!

Well, you may be right there, but this is not your average porridge. I’ve been making banana and date porridge in the traditional fashion for years now and loving the satisfyingly sweet warmth first thing in the morning. Porridge season always begins every year on the morning of Anzac Day (which falls on April the 25th) after the 6am Dawn Parade Service, which commemorates the soldiers who fought and died in the world wars. Providing we weren’t spending the New Zealand winter in the Northern Hemisphere, we would generally eat porridge until well into the spring.

Then I discovered baked oatmeal, or baked porridge as it’s called in these parts. Being an avid online foodie follower, I came across a few recipes for baked oatmeal and it’s only recently that I’ve actually started making it. This recipe is a fusion of a few of the recipes I’d seen online, but has been given the usual Super Foodie makeover to ensure that it’s the best possible start to the day (or night). As with most of my recipes, you can play around with the ingredients to ensure it suits your taste and diet, whether you’re vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free or just trying to be healthier.

The coconut cream gives the porridge a luscious richness and through the process of baking, the porridge develops a crispy, biscuitesque crust. It really is an indulgent yet nutritious breakfast or brunch, perfect for kick-starting the weekend. The oats contain high levels of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, which has proven to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol and keeping your insides so fresh and so clean (clean). Oats also have a high concentration of balanced protein, as well as a good dose of essential fatty acids, both of which promote longevity and good health. In short, this is verdammt good stuff.

The beautifully designed ceramics featured in the photo are available from Whiteroom – Dunedin’s top design destination.

Banana, Date and Coconut Baked Porridge

2 cups of oats (non-contaminated, gluten-free oats if you are gluten-intolerant)

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

A heaped teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg or mixed spice

A handful of sunflower seeds

A handful of chia seeds

A good pinch of Himalayan rock salt

A cup of coconut cream

A cup of milk of your choosing (almond, hazelnut, dairy, hemp etc)

A tablespoon of honey, pure, unrefined maple syrup or agave (optional)

A teaspoon of vanilla paste, extract or a vanilla bean, de-seeded

An egg or equal quantity of egg replacement

2 very ripe bananas, chopped

15 dates, chopped

Greek yoghurt or non-dairy alternative to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a baking dish with coconut oil or oil. In a bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder, spices, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and Himalayan rock salt.

In a separate bowl, mix the coconut cream, your choice of sweetener, vanilla and egg or egg replacement together. Add the bananas, dates and liquid mixture to the dry mixture and mix.

Pour into the baking dish and pop in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top.  Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, cut up and serve with Greek yoghurt or whatever else you fancy.

Serves 4 very hungry people or 6 moderately hungry people.

* Beetroot and Pumpkin Dahl with Smashed Avocado and Coriander *

Image

We’ve just returned home to Dunedin from an incredibly inspiring three month adventure in Europe, gratefully avoiding the bitter winter in New Zealand.  Apart from a few blustery days in Norway and England, we were basking in the warm European summer the entire time. Now that we’re home I’m acclimatising, as even though it’s officially spring, the warm weather doesn’t usually kick in until later in the summer – occasionally not until autumn. What I’ve been craving upon returning is a warming dahl to heat me from the inside out and provide a rejuvenating boost of nutrients which my body demands after living the good life in Europe.

I’m a big fan of beetroot and its incredible health benefits and antioxidant properties, which you can read about in my recipe for Beetroot, Feta and Mint Salad with Orange and Tahini Dressing. Another super food wunderkind is pumpkin, a highly nutritious vegetable that lends itself perfectly to a hearty dahl. Pumpkin is a low-calorie staple which is both filling and high in dietary fibre, which assists in lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels. Pumpkin’s bright orange colour is from its high concentration of carotenoids, which repel free radicals in the body and help prevent cardiovascular disease and other infections. Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which boost the immune system, perfect for the inconsistent weather. It’s also a natural diuretic, which flushes out toxins and waste material from the body, leaving you spring-cleaned and detoxified.

This recipe was created completely by chance as I had to use up some of the tired looking veggies I’d all but abandoned at the bottom of the fridge. The beetroot gives the traditional pumpkin dahl recipe a beautiful depth of flavour and the ruby red colour is pure delight. The avocado also adds a rich creaminess which satisfies on a cosy night in. Thankfully beetroot and pumpkin are still in season, so make the most of it while it lasts. Serve the dahl with brown rice, quinoa or with soldiers (fingers of toast) drizzled with olive oil.

Beetroot and Pumpkin Dahl with Smashed Avocado and Coriander

1 1/2 cups of brown lentils, rinsed well

A large onion

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

Olive oil, plus extra for the smashed avocado

A large knob of ginger (3 cm), finely grated

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

2 teaspoons of coriander seeds

2 teaspoons of mustard seeds

A teaspoon of tumeric, ground

A teaspoon of cinnamon

700 grams of pumpkin, chopped into small pieces

3 large beetroot, thoroughly washed and chopped into small pieces

6 cups of water (1.5 litres)

2 organic vegetarian bouillon cubes

Himalayan rock salt and ground white pepper to taste

A large avocado

A bunch of coriander (cilantro), rustically chopped

In a saucepan, cook the lentils in water until tender. In another large saucepan, heat the olive oil to a medium temperature. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute. Lightly ground the spices in a mortar and pestle and add to the saucepan and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Add the pumpkin and beetroot and sauté for a minute or so. Add the water, bouillon cubes, salt and pepper and stir well. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for about 40-50 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked and the flavors have developed. Puree with a stick blender, then add the lentils and cook for a further 5 minutes.

In a mortar and pestle or bowl, smash the avocado flesh, olive oil and coriander until a smooth consistency is reached. Arrange a good portion of dahl in a bowl with the chosen accompaniment. Place a spoonful of the smashed avocado with coriander on top of the dahl and garnish with more chopped coriander. Enjoy the warmth whilst dreaming of the forthcoming summer sun.

Serves a hungry crowd

* Orange Blossom Stuffed Dates *

Standard

The locale of Neukölln where I’ve recently been residing, is home to the largest mosque in Berlin and a considerable population of people of Middle Eastern descent.  As Ramadan is over for another year and the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr (Eid) is in full swing, there is great excitement in the air, a Christmas summer holiday-kinda feeling, where hanging lanterns festoon windows and shop fronts are adorned with bright, kaleidoscopic decorations.  The Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Fitr, literally translated as “festivity of breaking the fast”, signifies the end of Ramadan, the holy month on the Islamic calendar where Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations during daylight.  Ramadan is a time of intensive sacrifice and reflection, where empathy for others less fortunate is expressed through acts of generosity and charity.  It is also a time of reconnecting with friends and family during the evening meal, Iftar.  The warmth and connectedness continues to be celebrated during Eid, when loved ones gather together for a few days of lavish feasts and merriment.

Dates are considered very important at this time and during the month of Ramadan they feature in daily rituals.  An odd number of dates (usually three) are consumed after sun down with a glass of water to break the fast and will unquestionably star in a dessert during Iftar later that evening.  During Eid, they are also given out as presents.  What I love about dates, especially the Medjool variety, is that they are like eating a healthy caramel.  They are so naturally sweet and satisfying, that eating one or two will kick any mid-afternoon sugar cravings to the curb.  Dates are an excellent source of fibre and are also surprisingly rich in protein – evidently 5 times more than other fruit.  They also contain 15 different minerals including zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium and phosphorous.  Basically, they are wee powerhouses of goodness.

When I lived in Jordan, one of my beloved pursuits was to visit the sweet stores, especially during Ramadan and Eid.  There were so many delicacies on offer, tantalizing combinations of dried fruits and nuts, usually with an aromatic hint of rose or orange blossom.  It was here that I first encountered stuffed dates and I was instantly charmed as they’re my kind of sweetie treatie – naturally healthy and bursting with super sweet flavor.  This is my take on stuffed dates, which are the quintessence of good times and celebration.  Eid Mubarak!

Orange Blossom Stuffed Dates

16 – 24 Medjool dates

A selection of nuts:  Walnuts, macadamias, almonds, pistachios, Brazil nuts, cashews…

The juice and zest of an orange

1 tablespoon of honey or agave

1 tablespoon of orange blossom water *

1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon

In a small saucepan, slowly bring to boil the water, honey, orange-blossom water and cinnamon.  Allow to boil for a couple of minutes, stirring often, then set aside to cool. Split the dates open and remove the pit.  Set the nuts into the dates, with the nuts resting lengthwise.  With a pastry brush, generously glaze the stuffed dates with the syrup.  Pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the glaze to set.  Arrange on a platter and sprinkle the orange zest over the stuffed dates.   Enjoy at any time of the day or night, with rose tea, coffee or as a celebratory sweetie-treatie.

Note:  There will probably be some left over syrup, which makes a great accompaniment to yoghurt.

* Orange blossom water can be found at all good delicatessens or Middle Eastern food retailers.

* Super Fruity Bircher Muesli *

Standard

Bircher muesli is one of the best ways to start the day – naturally sweet and oh so nourishing, it really does give you the sustenance to skip out the door.  Bircher muesli was created circa 1900 by a Swiss German physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner to nurse his patients back to health the old fashioned way – with a hearty injection of nutrients derived from raw food.  It is essentially a combination of oats, fruit and nuts, soaked in juice overnight.  There are many variations of the original and the way that I enjoy mine is super creamy, full of spice and packed with plumped-up super fruit.  Bircher muesli is also very practical – it’s simple to prepare at night whilst cooking your dinner and is easily transported if you are taking a container full to work or, much preferably, the park to eat.

Oats are a nutritional wunderkind, providing serious nutrition to many, many people all around the world, mostly on week days.  Oats contain high levels of both soluble and insoluble fibre, which is good news for digestion as it keeps the digestive track cleansed and in tip-top shape and also keeps you full for longer.  Bircher muesli is also heart smart, with the oats and sunflower seeds providing cholesterol-lowering goodness from manganese, selenium and magnesium.  The high protein content in oats, sunflower seeds and amaranth coupled with the antioxidant hit from the super fruit make this a power breakfast fit for both Olympic athletes and generally awesome athletes, like ourselves.

Super Fruity Bircher Muesli 

1 cup of rolled oats

1 apple, cored and grated

10 dates, roughly chopped

1/2 a cup of dried super fruit of your choosing: goji berries, cherries, raisins, sultanas, cranberries

2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons of coconut chips or thread coconut

Cinnamon to taste *

1/2 a cup of yoghurt

1 1/2  cups of fresh apple juice (3 apples, juiced)

The juice of half a lemon

To serve:  2 tablespoons of puffed amaranth and extra fruit (blueberries work especially well).

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl and leave to soak overnight.  Stir in puffed amaranth to serve and garnish with extra fruit.  Dig in.

Serves 2.

* I usually add about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon but I prefer mine extra spicy.

* Kale and Chard with Avocado *

Image

Now this may look like a rather humble dish, but I assure you it is anything but.  I’m all about making vegetables the star of a meal and this dish truly showcases kale and chard as the main event, with avocado contributing a rich serving of nature’s butter. A way that I like to enjoy this dish is on toast with a generous serving of beetroot hummus, which makes a simple, nutritious dinner for busy people.  Add a poached egg on top for extra sustenance.

Kale is a stellar vegetable that is part of the brassica family (which also includes broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts).  It rates highly in the area of carotenoids and flavonoids, the antioxidants which protect cells from free radicals.  Kale is high in fibre, with one cup providing 20% of the recommended daily dose and also contains a high quantity of vitamin C, vitamin A and manganese.  Kale also has the ability to lower levels of cholesterol and through the steaming process, this is further enhanced.  The fibre components in kale work more effectively binding together with bile acids in the digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. As a result of the binding process, it is easier for bile acids to be excreted and viola! your cholesterol levels are lowered.

In Dunedin you can buy kale at the Saturday Farmers Market and is currently in season, as is chard and avocado.  Or if you are extra-amazing, grab some from your garden that you prepared earlier and get chopping.

Kale and Chard with Avocado

A big bunch of kale (any kind you wish – green, curly, purple, Russian)

An even bigger bunch of chard (also known as silver beet or Swiss chard)

Half an avocado, diced

A generous sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt

A dash of pepper

Juice of half a lemon

Heat a pan to a moderate temperature.  Wash kale and chard thoroughly, remove stalks and cut in a rustic fashion.  Once pan is heated, add the kale and chard and put the lid on.  Steam for a couple of minutes until wilted.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Transfer to a serving bowl and add diced avocado. Enjoy own its own or as an accompaniment to fish or meat.

* Beetroot Hummus with Thyme and Honey Roasted Carrots and Broccoli *

Image

I just have to look at this dish and I feel energised.  Beetroot hummus, thyme and honey roasted carrots and broccoli florets make a delightfully colourful appetiser to entertain a crowd and ensure that your loved ones get an antioxidant hit.  Hummus is such a practical, nutritious food which originated in the Middle East and has spread far and wide.  In the last 8 years or so, the hummus market has exploded in New Zealand, with many new players and numerous variations of this humble dip.  However, why pay so much for a super cheap food that you can make so easily at home?  And what about those little plastic containers which have to be shipped off to China to supposedly be recycled?  Not to mention all of the additives, preservatives and whateverives which are present in the store-bought varieties.  Take control of your diet, grab a food processor and get stuck in.

You can play with this recipe as you like.  If you want to reduce the oil content, or omit it altogether, add an equal quantity of water.  Or if you have a juicer, juice a beet or two, add it to the mix and watch the colour brighten. I am a firm believer in adding good quality fats to your diet where possible and there are some über-healthy fats in this dish to make your skin glow and hair glisten.  Olive oil, sesame oil and tahini provide a wonderful combination of vitamins E and A, calcium and carotenoids, which protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and enhance the functioning of your immune system.  Broccoli, carrots and beetroot also provide a hearty dose of folate, vitamins A, K and B6, as well as ample dietary fiber to aid digestion and ensure optimum health and vitality.

The beautifully designed ceramics featured in the photo are available from Whiteroom – Dunedin’s design destination.

Beetroot Hummus

3-4 beetroots, cubed

A tablespoon of sesame oil

A sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt

A sprinkle of pepper

A cup of chickpeas, cooked and cooled (or from a can, rinsed well)

3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons of tahini

1/4 of a cup of extra-virgin olive oil

A teaspoon of cumin

The juice of a lemon

The juice of 1-2 beetroots or cold water

Preheat oven to 190ºC. Place the cubed beetroot, himalayan rock salt, pepper and sesame oil in a roasting dish and bake for 40 minutes until cooked.  Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and whiz.  Extra oil, water or beetroot juice may be added to obtain the desired consistency.

Thyme and Honey Roasted Carrots and Broccoli

3-4 large carrots, sliced diagonally

A tablespoon of honey

A tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil

The juice of half a lemon

A few sprigs of thyme, stems removed

A sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt and pepper

Place carrots in a separate roasting dish.  Add the honey, olive oil, thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Roast carrots for about 4o minutes until nicely cooked. Blanch a head of broccoli which has been chopped into florets.  Arrange beetroot hummus, thyme and honey roasted carrots and broccoli on a platter and serve.

* Coconut Shimmy *

Image

Yipee, the sun is back on!  It’s time to kick back on the patio with this tangy and über-hydrating Coconut Shimmy and make the most of these sunny afternoons.  It’s fruity, creamy and contains no sugar, soy or dairy – just pure super food goodness from the earth.  This Coconut Shimmy is especially good if you’ve just had a work out or a footloose and fancy free night on the town, as the main ingredient is coconut water and just in case you have not heard what amazing stuff this is, take note.  Coconut water is the clear liquid from young, green coconuts.  It is a natural, isotonic drink with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood, so it will replenish your body back to perfection.  Coconut water contains many essential vitamins and minerals, has a high potassium content and is oh so naturally sweet.  So, even as the nippier autumn kicks in, this dreamy refreshment will transport you back to that summer holiday by the sea, whilst giving you the bang to get outside and frolic in all of the pretty leaves.

300 mls of coconut water

1/2 a cup of fresh pineapple chunks

A few sprigs of fresh mint

A 1cm piece of ginger

A squeeze of lime or lemon juice

A few ice cubes if you need some cooling

Put all of the above ingredients in a blender and crank it on its highest setting.  Serve in the sun with your nearest and dearest.