Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mango & Cardamom Lassi

Looking through my selection of spices I found the most neglected ones works perfectly in Indian cooking. Garam Masala, cardamom pods, ground ginger, cumin, bay leaves, cinnamon, clove, and on it goes. Unbelievable. 

Spices have all kinds of health beneficial qualities. Cinnamon for instance  stabilises the blood sugar, ginger has healing properties, and paprika can help rev up the metabolism. So if you haven't tried out cooking from the indian kitchen, now is the time to start. You have lots to gain and I am not talking weight. 

To make things a bit easier for you (and me), and not have you run to the shops just yet I am making the one Indian dish drink that only includes one spice. One of the best of course.

Mango & Cardamom Lassi
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks 
2dl/200ml natural yoghurt
1/4tsp ground cardamom
ice cubes (optional)  

Mix all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and serve cold. Serves 2

HEALTH BENEFITS of Mango: I was once taught that mango is the internal deodorant. You eat it, and you smell sweet from the inside out. That is because it contains antioxidants that can help eliminate bacteria that causes odour. 

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Italian Kisses"

At a local place not too far away from our home you find the most delicious almond cookie called "Italian Kiss". Two bites of heaven one might say. I felt the need to make this soft sweet tangy almond cookie my own and put the Natural activities stamp on it. Suddenly I have a treat I can enjoy everyday without having guilt knocking on the door. Two bites of heaven....  

Italian Kisses
100g almonds, blanched
4 medjool dates, pitted
2 medium eggs, whites only
zest from one small organic lemon

The best way to blanch almonds is to put them in boiling water, off the heat, for 4min, which is just enough to pop the almond out of its shell. Then allow the almonds to cool before adding them in the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF, line a baking tray and set aside. 

Once the almonds are dry, ground them in a food processor. Add the pitted dates, egg whites, and lemon zest. Run the food processor until the dates are completely dissolved and combined with the rest of the ingredients.

Use a tablespoon to form the soft cookie in to an oval shape which are  supposed to be looking like lips, hence the name - "Italian Kisses", but are not easy to master, which you can see in the picture below. Bake in the oven for 15min and allow to cool before serve. Makes about 12

HEALTH BENEFITS of Lemons: Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is one of the vitamin that not only works to build up your immunity but actually protect your cells from damaging. They are a part of citrus family and one that has an alkaline effect on your body, helping you to tackle an over acid stomach. When using the zest you should go for a organic lemon since you don't want the wax surface and the preservative sulphate in your baking. Many people have an allergic reaction to the preservative  sulphite and is therefore best avoided. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Borsjtj - Russian Beetroot Soup With A Garlic & Lime Yoghurt

It looks lumpy and I apologise for that (!) but I promise you that it is delicious. I have never made Borsjtj before. Is it because of the colour, the fact that I am not Russian, or that I can barely pronounce let alone spell the name Borsjtj. Either way it has now become a new favourite of mine. Eating beetroots simply boiled with butter and sea salt does not go well with detox January so I thought that this soup will do the trick instead. The soup shows here with thyme, which works very well, but the garlic yoghurt is an absolute must here. 

Borsjtj - Russian Beetroot Soup With A Garlic & Lime Yoghurt
500g/4 medium sized beetroots, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1 medium sized yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 medium sized red onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
500ml beef stock, heated
Butter or rapeseed oil

2dl/200ml runny natural yoghurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 lime, juice

Gently soften onions, celery, and garlic in some butter or rapeseed oil using a large saute pot or larger pan with a lid. Once soften, add the shredded beetroots and carrot. Allow to heat up while stirring occasionally for approximately 5min. Add the heated beef stock, bring to the boil, lower the heat and allow to simmer for 20min.

In the meantime, combine the yoghurt, garlic and lime in a small bowl and set aside.

Complete the soup by mixing it with a hand mixer or in a blender. Serve hot with the yoghurt and some sourdough or rye bread.

HEALTH BENEFITS of Beetroot: Beetroot, due the pigment in the colour, can provide a very high amount of antioxidants to your body. It contain a good amount of the B-vitamin folate, which is important for normal tissue growth and a healthy heart. Beetroots are low in calories and can be enjoyed both cooked and raw.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My List of Favourites

I know, another picture of flowers...I simply can't resist! Taking them is one of my favourite things to do. I have never shared a personal favourite list before and I thought it was about time that I do so. Baby Lily is on top of my list, eyeing kitchenware is a must, and I never get bored of visiting the same antique or secondhand stores over and over again. That list can go on and on, but the list that I am making today focuses "only" on the recipes that I have been sharing  with you on this site since my start in... 

My List of Favourites 
Improved Healthier Sweet Sesame Crackers - I should really make more of these and stock in a jar at home 
Fruit & Yoghurt Swirl with Crunchy Seed & Nut Break - this is one of the best, healthiest, most delicious desserts or breakfast choices out there
Beetroot, Asparagus & Goat's Cheese Salad - works all year around and is ready in minutes
Almookie the Almond Cookie - this is one of my first and easiest recipes to make
Cocoa Coconut Balls - this is something everyone loves
Rhubarb & Blueberry Compote - something to store up on
Protein Rich Green Pea & Herb Soup - soup does not get better, or easier, then this :)

So of you go and get busy with preparing your own favourite from my simple collection of healthy, delicious, nutritious, and oh so easy to make recipes

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year Detox - the time for change

First of all; Happy New Year! Second; Thinking about new years resolutions? Thought so. This is that one time of year when more or less everyone is thinking about change. Maybe you have promised yourself to call old friends or relatives more often, maybe you have decided to exercise three times a week, or maybe you are thinking that this year is definitely the year when "I am gone go for the dream career and stop wasting time at this job that only makes me miserable". Big changes or not, it's crucial to feel good about yourself to make them come true and that my friend always starts from the inside. 

I am going to give you some tips on how to quickly recharge your body from the inside to put a smile on the outside. You will see instant results and I am suggesting that you keep going with this for as long as possible unless telling otherwise; 

LIVER FLUSH - after a boozy holiday the liver needs a breather and a cleanse. Take 1 tablespoon of olive oil 30min before breakfast (for 3days only).

DANDELION TEA - an excess of food often means extra unnecessary fluid in your body. Drink 3 cups of dandelion tea a day to get rid of the fluid. Keep going for 2 weeks, have a 1-2 weeks break, and continue with the tea for an addition of 2 weeks if preferred. 

CELERY STALKS - you don't want to walk around with sluggish leftovers lying around in your body. Celery help you get rid of "garbage" through the intestines. Aim to eat at least 4 stalks a day for a week to start and make it a daily routine to eat at least 2 stalks each day. If you are making your own fresh juices, celery is a perfect ingredient. 

SPIRULINA - vitamins and minerals are crucial for the body to work at its best. You need them for example to break down the food you eat, for the brain to work properly, and for your psychological state of mind. Spirulina is an algae that is completely natural and that contains a wide spectrum of micro nutrients and even protein. Take it as a tablet rather then powder and follow instructions on the jar. 

and last but not least...

EAT - breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. In other words; don't eat your biggest meal at night and try not to eat at all after 8pm.