Recipes for Nutrient-Dense Foods

Bone Broth/Stock  -  Chicken Liver Pate  -  Sourdough Bread  -  Frittata  -  Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate Pots  -  Gozitan Rabbit Stew  -  Italian Meat Loaf  -  Sauerkraut
Lamb Stew

 

Bone Broth/Stock

  • Bones from the butcher (with marrow and bits of meat if possible), sawn into pieces
  • Water
  • Himalayan or Celtic salt to taste
  • Peppercorns
  • Clean vegetable trimmings
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon duck/goose fat or other animal fat

In a hot oven, roast the bones for an hour with the fat. This will add colour and flavour to P1012280the finished stock but it is not essential.  Put the bones in a stockpot with all the other ingredients except the salt. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down.  Put the lid on and simmer very gently for at least four hours but as long as is possible. (Or simmer overnight in a slow-cooker.) Strain the stock. The salt can now be added. (If you are making a pureed soup, dig the marrow from the bones and add this too.)

At this point you can either continue to make soup or you can store it for another time. If you wish to do this, return it to the cleaned pot and boil rapidly until reduced by half. Allow to cool then refrigerate/freeze. If freezer space is limited, continue boiling to reduce even further then cool and put into ice-cube trays to use as “stock cubes”. To may prefer to leave out the salt before doing this.

When using the stock at a later date, return it to its original quantity with water/milk/other liquid before making the soup/gravy/sauce – or if you have frozen cubes – just add one or two to your gravy.

All bones can be used for stock making so don’t throw away the bones from Sunday’s roast. Chicken and other poultry carcasses can replace meat bones – just put them in a bag and give them a good bash with a rolling pin to save space. Make sure to use everything including sinews and skin. Why not ask a fishmonger for fish heads/bones/shells from crabs etc. and make a fish stock?

Whilst this is time-consuming, there is nothing like the taste of homemade stock and the nutritional benefits are enormous  – lots of minerals, especially calcium are made available in this way. It can be a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin, often taken in supplement form by those with bone/joint problems. There will also be an easily assimilated form of protein making soup made from bone stock an ideal food for those with poor appetites, suffering illnesses or convalescing. You won’t get all this from a regular stock cube!

 

Chicken Live Pate

  • 400g organic chicken livers, chopped
  • 175g organic butter
  • 2 tblsp dry or medium sherry or brandy (optional but nice!)
  •  ½  medium onion. chopped
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • Himalayan or Celtic salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

Melt the butter in a pan and add the chopped onion. Cook until softened but not browned. Add the garlic, chicken livers, salt, pepper and thyme and cook until the livers are just LiverPatedone. Add the sherry or brandy if using. Pour into a blender and puree until smooth.    Divide into three small dishes or ramekins. Decorate, if wanted, with small bay leaves and juniper berries. Cool then refrigerate or freeze.

This recipe takes twenty minutes only. It tastes divine especially if served with oatcakes, sourdough toast or with celery to dip in. Loads of vitamins – especially the B range and the so-important fat-soluble ones. Impress your guests!

 

Sourdough bread

Sourdough is much more digestible than the usual variety making it more suitable for Sour Dough Breadthose for whom bloating is a problem. You shouldn’t eat a whole loaf at one go though, no matter how tempting! No baker’s yeast is used, just the natural yeasts from the air plus the pro-biotic lactobacilli. These organisms work together, neutralising the “bloat” factor and lightening the dough. This is the original way of bread-making – the way it’s been made for thousands of years.

My recipe makes a dense tasty and moist loaf – similar in looks to the one in the photograph. It’s superb toasted – but you will need to give it twice as long in the toaster than usual bread and is good for open sandwiches. There are numerous recipes on the net, using many different flours – there’s something for everyone. Don’t give up if it’s not successful on the first go – practice makes perfect!
The first stage is to make the yeasted starter and this takes two weeks. After that, as long as you have remembered to keep back some of the activated mix, it takes about two days from start to finish but only five minutes at a time for preparation.

The Starter

Stage 1: 100g organic rye flour + 100ml water. Mix in a glass/ceramic bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place – work surface in the kitchen in the summer or above a radiator/in the airing cupboard during winter.
Check daily. If it has a whitish film on it this is o.k. If you see any other colour, throw it away and start again. When it is ready for the next stage it will show some bubbles and smell vaguely of beer.
Stage 2. Throw half of the mix away or on the compost heap. Add 100ml hand hot water and 100g rye flour.
Stage 3. Next day. Throw away all but about 100ml of the mix then add 100ml hand-hot water and 100g rye flour.
Stage 4. Continue this daily for two weeks. As long as the mixture is bubbly and smells like a brewery, it is alive and kicking. If there is black mould or other coloured fluff, bin it and start again.

The bread

Stage 1. Morning of first day. Add 100ml warm water and 100g mixed organic rye and kamut/khorasan flour to the starter, cover loosely with film or a damp cloth and leave in a warm place.
Stage 2. Evening of the first day. Put two tablespoons of the activated mix in a clean screw top glass jar and put in the fridge – the starter for next time. Put the rest into a glass/ceramic mixing bowl and add 300ml warm water and 250g mixed flours as above. Stir lightly and cover. Leave overnight.
Stage 3. Morning of day two. It should now be puffed up and very beery! To 500ml warm water add 2 teaspoons Celtic sea or Himalayan crystal salt and a teaspoon honey (preferably organic). Stir this into the mix and add sufficient flours. a little at a time, (I can’t give you an amount as the consistancy is more relevant than the quantity)  to make a stiff, sticky mixture, still just stirable, that is well blended but not kneadable. The nearest likeness I could suggest would be a rich fruit cake mixture but with a yeasted texture.
Stage 4. Divide between two greased bread tins. Cover lightly and leave to rise for 4-6 hours until it has risen and levelled itself. There is no hard and fast rule here – I have left it as long as 8 hours on a cool day.
Stage 5. Set the oven to 180 degrees or gas equivalent and put the loaves in the centre immediately. Set the timer for 45 minutes. After this time, increase to 200 degrees and leave for another 5-10 minutes.
Stage 6. Remove from the oven and leave for 10-15 minutes then turn out to cool completely.

I usually cut each in half and freeze them until needed. I love this bread toasted, left to cool then smothered with good golden butter. This recipe gives quite a sour flavoured loaf but it is beautifully offset by the butter. Please don’t use margarine!

If you like the taste of flavoursome rye, use mostly that. If you like a less intense flavour, use more kamut. Sometimes I add about150g spelt grain (dry weight), washed, soaked for 24 hours, boiled for 40 minutes, drained and cooled, at stage 3 for a different texture and flavour. Each time you need bread, remove the starter from the fridge, add 100ml warm water, pour into a bowl then add 100g flour, and off you go again.

 

Frittata

  • 6 large organic eggs
  • Olive oil or butter. Salt and pepper
  • Cream
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 150g leftover veg or a mixture of peppers, courgettes (grated and squeezed of excess moisture), aubergine, tomatoes, mushrooms etc.
  • 80g approximately of grated cheese – any type to your liking

Melt 25g butter or a tablespoon of oil in a 25cm frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. If you are using fresh, uncooked veg add this now also. FritattaWhen soft, increase the heat a little.  Beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of cream and season with salt and pepper. Tip into the pan. Grate the cheese on the top and cover the pan with the lid. Turn the heat down to below medium and cook until set. Allow the frittata to cool in the pan then run a knife around the edge and tip on to a plate. Refrigerate. Feeds 2-3 people

Be creative – add garlic/herbs/flaked salmon/chopped salami/prawns/smoked haddock/well-drained cooked spinach – whatever you want! It can live in the fridge for a few days and you have instant lunch for you or the hungry hordes when they come in from school/work – although you may need to make a bigger one if there are lots of you!

 

Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate Pots

We all need a treat once in a while and this does the trick. Made in no time, tastes gorgeous and just wait for the compliments!

This will make 4-6 little pots depending how big they are. I have occasionally strayed from Chocolate Potsthe recipe when I didn’t have any brandy. Once I used a tablespoon of chocolate extract (to be found in supermarkets with the vanilla extract) and on another occasion I used the finely grated rind of a washed organic orange. Both very good but the brandy’s best!
With regard to nutrition – all the good stuff from the eggs plus fat soluble vitamins A, D and K.There may also be some benefit from the chocolate – antioxidants. This recipe without doubt has the bliss factor!

  • ½ pint single cream
  • 200g plain chocolate (minimum of 70% cocoa solids)
  • 2 (preferably organic) egg yolks (and two stiffly beaten egg whites if you want mousse texture)
  • 3 tbsp / 50 mls brandy
  • 20g butter

Heat cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan until almost boiling.  Break up the chocolate and add,  then stir until melted.   Add egg yolks and brandy and beat lightly to combine ingredients.  Cool until just warm then beat in the butter. Stir in the egg whites if using. Pour into ramekins and refrigerate until cold and set.

 

Gozitan Rabbit Stew

Whilst I was on holiday in Gozo, I found a delightful restaurant, serving excellent home-cooked, nutritious food. The proprietors have kindly given me the recipe and permission to add it to my collection of recipes. This stew was my favourite!

  • 1 medium rabbit, jointed
  • 2 sliced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Olive oil (or better – duck/goose fat)
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • Mixture of white wine and vegetable stock/bone broth – just enough to almost cover
  • Mushrooms
  • Small new potatoes (optional)

Wash and dry the rabbit. Heat the olive oil or fat in a large pan and fry the rabbit with the garlic and onions for ten minutes, turning occasionally.
Add the wine/stock, salt and pepper to taste and the mushrooms and potatoes if using.
Either cover with the lid or cover tightly with foil and cook for an hour on a low heat.

Serve with seasonal vegetables. Perfect and delicious nutrition!

 

Italian Meat Loaf

  • 1kilo minced beef (preferably organic)
  • 250g chicken livers – minced or finely cut with scissors (definitely organic)
  • 250g good pork sausage meat
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic crushed
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herbs or use selection oregano/marjoram/thyme/rosemary
  • 1-2 teaspoons Himalayan or Celtic salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • large handful Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 50g porridge oats or 1 tablespoon psyllium husks
  • 60g butter
  • optional – 2 chopped chillis

Fry the onion and garlic in the butter until soft (add chilli too if using). Cool slightly. Put 2014-08-04 15.31.15everything into a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Divide between two greased loaf tins or two pudding basins. Cover tightly with foil. Cook for around an hour at 170 degrees. Serve straight away with mash or jacket potato (sweet potato?)  or if wanted cold, cool in the dishes then run a knife around and invert on to a plate. Spoon the juices over the “loaves”. Refrigerate. serve with salad and a jacket potato or some lovely bread with butter.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is not a food you would immediately think of as “gourmet” or even as a health food, but I would like to change that on both counts. If you like trying new things, you must give it a go. It is both easy and cheap (get the kids to do it!) to make and it’s good for you – loads of beneficial microbes for pennies!.

Years ago, we had no refrigeration – indeed some primitive people still don’t – so other ways of preserving good nourishing food had to be found. In fact I would argue that it is the way we are supposed to eat many vegetable foods as for much of the year there would be little vegetation.

In our gut we have trillions of bacteria to break down the foods that we eat. Unfortunately we are not that well equipped for digesting vegetable matter, having a much shorter colon than true vegetarian animal species – and it is in the colon that this fermentation takes place. By fermenting prior to eating, we make vegetables much more digestible as well as increasing the absorbable vitamin content and getting a healthy dose of probiotics.

This is really quite addictive and if you get the “bug” have a look at this: Wild Fermentation  

Sauerkraut – jazzed up a bit!

  • 1 organic small solid green or  white cabbage, shredded
  • 3 organic garlic cloves crushed
  • ½ small organic onion thinly sliced
  • 3 organic chillis sliced thinly (or more if you want!)
  • 1 thinly sliced red pepper
  • 1 large organic carrot, grated
  • 2 teaspoons  organic oregano or other Mediterranean herbs
  • 2 teaspoon Celtic sea or Himalayan crystal salt
  • A spoonful or two of the whey that occurs with natural yogurt or a couple of teaspoons of the liquid from the previous batch of sauerkraut
  • A little spring water

Put everything in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Put your hands in and squish it (kids will love this bit) until lots of the juices have run from the veg. Leave it half an hour then have another go.
Now cover the vegetables entirely with a plate or shallow bowl and weight it down so that they are covered with their own juices. If not completely covered, add a little spring water but only a little – more juice will come from the vegetables eventually. Cover the whole thing with a towel and leave in a warm place (in the kitchen or maybe an airing cupboard) for about 5 -7 days – until a bit fizzy. Try it from time to time and give it a stir.
If you see any mould – remove it. If you see a thin white film, this is fine.
Decant into glass jars – Kilner jars are good – pack it in. Refrigerate or leave in a very cool place. (I would suggest standing the jar in a bowl – sometimes it leaks!) This will keep almost indefinitely but I would suggest using within six months. Add to salads or just with cold meat for a really tasty and very nutritious lunch!

Try other mixes or individual vegetables – get creative and do your health a favour too!

 

 

Lamb Stew

  • 800g scrag end of lamb or mutton, bone in
  • 30g dripping
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • A mixture of veg in bite-sized chunks -  1 large carrot, 1 parsnip, 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary and/or thyme
  • Himalayan or Celtic salt to taste and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Water or bone broth
  • Handful of barley or rice

It is unlikely that you will find scrag end of lamb or mutton in a supermarket. Phone a butcher and request it. Serves 4

  1. In a large saucepan, melt the dripping and fry meat until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add all the vegetables and fry, stirring for about 3-4 minutes. Add flour and cook another minute.
  3. Add sufficient water or broth to just cover veg, plus herbs, salt and pepper to taste and stir until thickened slightly.
  4. Return the meat to the pan, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a slow simmer.
  5. Cook for at least 2 hours, adding the barley or rice for the last 40 minutes Stir from time to time.
  6. Serve with veg of your choice.

You can add dumplings too for the last 20 minutes, if you wish to make it go a bit further. This is a good recipe for a slow-cooker – follow maker’s instructions.

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Granola Made With Soaked Oats

As you are probably aware, I am not big on carbs. Granola – as it name tells you – is usually made from grains – very high in carbohydrates! However, on occasions, I think it is perfectly OK to eat relatively high carb foods as long as they are nutritionally sound – which frankly, is a rarity in pre-packaged foods. I would not recommend grain foods for someone with tummy problems. Even so, some of the substances that are contained in grains that upset digestion have been neutralised in this recipe by overnight soaking of the oats with yogurt.

The granola (“crunchy” oat cereals) available in supermarkets, is very basic. Oats, sugar and vegetable oil with a few raisins and a few nuts. PLEASE do not buy this! The sugar will far exceed what is healthy and the vegetable oil will be rancid and is just unhealthy full-stop. The granola below is far superior. It has healthy fats, loads of bio-available nutrients and a much higher protein content. It tastes better too. I’m sorry – I have used “cups” measures – it is just so much easier than getting the scales out. Please use organic ingredients in the recipe and please make it this way before you play with it!

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4 cups rolled oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup melted coconut oil and butter (in total)
3/4  cup plain full-fat yogurt
1/2 – 3/4 cup water

1/3 – 1/2  cup organic maple syrup or honey
1 or 2  egg whites (I use 2)
1/2 tsp salt (Himalayan crystal or Celtic sea)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 – 1 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sunflower and pumpkin seeds (in total)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or other nuts
Handful each chopped dates, apricots and raisins

Mix the first 5 ingredients adding enough water to make all ingredients damp. This serves to increase the availability of present nutrients and de-activate the anti-nutrients. Cover and leave somewhere cool.

The following day, tip the next five ingredients into the oat mixture and with your hands, mix very thoroughly.

Spread mixture out over two parchment paper-lined baking sheets, about 1cm thick. Bake at 90 degrees for 2 hours, turning once and breaking it up a bit at the same time, until granola is crisp. (It is a good idea to wedge a tea towel in the oven door whilst it is cooking so that the steam can escape.) If you prefer your granola softer, cook for less time.  Allow to cool and then break into smaller chunks or give a short blitz in a food processor. Take care with this or you could end up with a pile of crumbs!

Mix in the fruit, seeds and nuts. (If you intend to eat this more than once in a while, I recommend soaking and drying the nuts and seeds as well as the oats. Store in an airtight container. Serve for breakfast or scatter over a baked apple and add a dollop of cream!

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“Treat” Recipes!

Treat recipes – but still really good nutrition!

Yes, the ice-cream is a treat food but you can enjoy it with a clear conscience – your heart is being looked after and you are getting lots of wonderful (almost magical) fat-soluble vitamins. Even the maple syrup is good for you in small doses!

Banana breadThe banana cake is a recipe I have messed about with for some time and now it is perfect!  It would be fine as banana bread too – just omit the honey. It would be a really good “quick meal” and it’s very portable. For me it is a change to eggs or a big breakfast but there are lots of other times to enjoy this. It’s great for taking with you as a late breakfast whenever you don’t want to eat or don’t have time first thing in the morning. Children’s and spouse’s lunch boxes can be made more interesting and nutritious with its addition (but include the recipe for children’s lunch boxes or you’ll be accused of providing poor nutrition for your child!).
Lastly, try changing the honey to molasses and the cinnamon to a tablespoon of powdered ginger..

 

Maple Syrup Ice-Cream (Makes 1 litre)

300ml whole organic milk
200ml organic maple syrup
500ml organic double or sour cream (preferably raw)
6 organic egg yolks (whisked)

Bring the milk and maple syrup to almost boiling point. Add a couple of ladles to the egg yolks and mix well. Add this slowly to the hot milk and over a medium heat, stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens slightly taking care that the yolks don’t scramble!). Strain into a bowl, cover, cool then chill until you are ready to complete the ice-cream.
Thoroughly mix the cream into the custard. Pour into an ice-cream maker and churn until partially frozen. Pour into a freezer container and continue freezing. If you do not have an ice-cream maker, pour the mixture into a freezer container, freeze until the edges of the ice-cream have frozen then turn out into a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Repeat this once more.
To serve, remove the container from the freezer about 15 minutes to thaw slightly before scooping. If this is not the best ice-cream you have ever tasted, I’ll eat my hat! Remember though, the best results come from the best ingredients.

 

Banana Bread

6 large eggs
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ – cup honey (or a little more if you like “sweet”.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup coconut oil/butter, melted
¾ cup coconut flour (This is the one I use.)
½ cup almond flour (NOT ground almonds. This is the one I use.)
2  teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
4 very large bananas or five medium ones frozen, defrosted and mashed (don’t drain them)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a loaf pan.
Beat the wet ingredients together thoroughly then sieve in the dry ingredients. Beat until blended.
Bake for 40-55 minutes until the loaf has darkened to very deep gold and the loaf is fairly firm. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a rack and cool completely.
Butter thickly!

Can be frozen – in slices if you prefer.

These look expensive but remember, they are food – real nourishment and not just a snack.

 

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Acne – The Most Common Skin Disease in the Western World

The skin problem Acne Vulgaris is another condition of several combined factors – hormones, diet, infection, over-production of sebum (our skin oil) and possibly the way we wash. There may be others too.

1146989_45040779It is probably brought about by diet (although there are drugs and medical conditions that can cause acne, but they are rare).  Your diet and your health are inextricably linked and just being told “it’s your age and you’ll grow out of it” – is nonsense. Also, people well into their middle-age can suffer from acne – including me. In fact I had acne well into my 40s. It disappeared when I drastically changed my diet and my skin

So what of these other factors? Testosterone over-production is one (men and women produce this hormone). As we know acne is common in teenagers and this is the very time when hormones are buzzing. Interestingly, teenage acne is uncommon amongst primitive people eating a natural hunter-gatherer diet and very common in the Western World and countries with similar lifestyles.

Another factor is the bacteria on our skin. We are absolutely heaving with bacteria – both inside and out! Normally these live in harmony with each other and with us in fact we would not live long without them. Unfortunately, antibiotics are often prescribed for acne and whilst these may help temporarily, the protective bacteria may also be destroyed ensuring the condition returns.

Since “we are what we eat” it stands to reason that if you are eating a lot of foods that are not ideal, that your body fluids and structures will alter over time. The sebum (oil) in your skin will be not only over-produced but chemically changed.  Opportunist bacteria – that is the ones that don’t contribute to our health – see their chance to move in and create havoc, in this case – causing acne.

Yet another factor is indirectly to do with the sun as we make vitamin D from skin oils reacting with sunlight (the UVB rays). You may not be surprised to learn that vitamin D is needed for our immunity and for the production of hormones! Just a few thousand years ago we lived pretty much outside and our vitamin D levels would always have been high, very similar in fact, to primitive people now. We live and work indoors, use cars for transport and slather on high factor sunscreen before venturing outside. The Western World now has an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. There is also some evidence that shows that the action of a moderate amount of sunlight directly on to acne-affected skin can improve the condition.

There are many medications for acne, but in my opinion, they only work temporarily and can damage our gut bacteria. A natural approach is a better option and these are my recommendations:
1) Adopt a low-carbohydrate diet which contains animal fats and not seed oils. Eat plenty of vegetables and eggs too. A low fat diet will not help and may make the condition worse.
2) Wash your skin twice a day only with a very mild, preferably unscented and un-perfumed skin-wash or better still use jojoba oil to cleanse. Lightly massage in, remove with tissue then wipe gently with a clean, damp cloth. This is very effective, as jojoba oil has a similar chemical profile to sebum and can dissolve it and remove grime at the same time. Add a drop of tea tree oil to the jojoba oil sometimes.
3) Get some sun!

This is not an overnight solution but changing your diet will, within a month for most people, show real benefits.

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The Most Nutrient-Dense Food on the Planet!

Liver is a “love it or hate it” food isn’t it? Unfortunately, these preferences are often formed in childhood and school dinners have a lot to answer for! Offal is inexpensive and nutrient dense.

I am very much a believer in taste buds. They exist for a purpose – to tell us which natural foods are good and which foods our digestive systems are equipped for. Due to bad experiences, or eating heavily processed foods, our taste buds have been fooled into believing that good foods are bad for us and bad foods are good for us! Interestingly, many people who do not like liver will say that they love pate but I see this as yet another clue as to what is good for us. In my opinion, this indicates that it is not necessary to eat vast quantities of liver. The nutrients in it are so dense that a little now and then is all we need. The flavour is more delicious for some, if it is diluted.

Home-made pate which includes good butter, garlic and herbs is delicious and gives a fabulous array of nutrients.  Adding a little chopped liver to a casserole or Bolognese sauce adds richness without too much of its powerful flavour. Liver should be be organic. A good idea is to cook livers in butter and then puree and freeze it in ice-cube trays. This would be great for toddler or baby food occasionally (in these tiny quantities) or just to add to gravy for thickening and flavour.

Here is a recipe that is really tasty and the dish is not too “liverish”! I think it should be called “Liver Stroganoff – Goulash Style“! (Or maybe Liver Goulash – Stroganoff Style!)

250g liver – I used organic pig’s liver – chicken and others would be good too I think
1 large chopped onion plus 1 sliced red pepper
1 clove garlic and a chopped chilli
100g mushrooms
Himalayan or Celtic salt to taste plus black pepper
2 teaspoons flour (dunk the liver in this before frying)
1 tablespoon animal fat (not oil)
2 teaspoons paprika
150ml passata
50ml broth or water
1-2 tablespoons cream (or soured cream, creme fraiche, full-fat yogurt)

1) Fry the onion, pepper, chilli and garlic in the fat until soft but not brown. Add paprika.
2) Add liver and fry for a minute each side.
3) Add the stock or water and the passata and bring to simmer.
4) Add salt and pepper and mushrooms then cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes or until liver is just cooked.
5) Remove from the heat and stir in the cream.

Truly delicious and fabulously nutritious!

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Have a look at this for more information and recipes.

Coconuts

The coconut palm and its relatives have been in existence for millions of years, in fact all of the time that we have been evolving.

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Primitive hominids undoubtedly used coconuts for food and the shells would have been employed as drinking vessels or receptacles for collecting shellfish/berries/nuts etc. Even the palm leaves would have been used in building shelters, wrapping foods for cooking and so on.

Today, the coconut itself yields even more “products”. The flesh as it is or grated and pressed to make coconut milk and cream. Oriental and Indian cookery often feature these to flavour and thicken sauces. The milk can be cultured into “yogurt”.

The oil that the coconut produces is highly saturated. It won’t spoil, it is not harmful to health and it is very stable – even at high temperatures. Coconut oil is also quite unique in its nutritional components. Lauric acid can increase the “good” cholesterol in the blood stream. This in addition to capric and caprylic acid provides a very effective prevention or treatment for harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and yeasts (ie. Candida) whether they are on the skin or in the gut. A pot of organic coconut oil can be extraordinarily useful! Use it in stir-fries or curries or in smoothies and other recipes.
Make sure you keep some in the bathroom too – it makes a great face and body moisturiser, hair conditioner and a brilliant toothpaste when mixed with baking soda. “Oil pulling” is a traditional way to reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth. Take a teaspoon of the oil and when it is in your mouth it will melt. Then just swoosh it around your mouth and “pull” it through your teeth. Spit it out after a few minutes.

The water in the centre of a coconut is wonderfully refreshing any time but is also a great sports drink. It has minimal sugars but has lots of quickly absorbed electrolytes, which are lost through sweat during exercise.  It would be a good supplement for those with stomach upsets, when other food cannot be taken.

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Try using coconut flour in baking – it is very high in fibre and nutrients. It is important to remember that coconut flour can’t just be substituted for wheat flour in a recipe. Due to its high fibre content, it will absorb lots of moisture. For this reason, it is better to find recipes specifically for coconut flour – there are lots on the net. Coconut flour has no gluten, making it ideal for those who are gluten-sensitive. Bread can be made but not a yeasted bread – eggs and baking soda will give the rise.

Coconut palm sugar is derived from the sap of the coconut tree. It is a superior product to white sugar as it does keep a few of its nutrients during the processing – some of the B vitamins and the minerals zinc, iron, calcium and potassium.

Coconut products have nourished us for all of our time. Most are inexpensive – even if they are organic. Time to put this wonderful food back into our diet!

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Tips and Recipes for a Recession – part 6

TREATS

The tip here is basically – make your own treats. They are not always cheaper but you are reading this as you care about your health. The recipes are better for you than commercially produced goods and when you have guests or you want an unusual present – these can be just the ticket.

 

Sloe/Damson Gin

I am not telling you that this is wonderfully healthy, but a small amount of something this delicious at celebration time is definitely healthy for your wellbeing! No preservatives either! Remember too that homemade foods/drink make wonderful Christmas presents and are always very acceptable. You will find suitable bottles with integral stoppers in Lakeland and other kitchen shops. Collect sloes in the autumn.
1 litre cheap gin
225g sugar (or to taste)
450g sloes/damsons
A drop or two almond extract

With a fork, prick the sloes several times and drop into a wide necked jar (big enough for the gin and sloes).
Add half the sugar, the gin and the almond extract. Cover with a lid or cover tightly with cling film.
Stir daily until the sugar has dissolved. Taste and add more sugar as desired. Repeat the process.
Leave in a cool place for two months.
Strain through cheese cloth and decant into stoppered bottles.
Store as long as possible before using – usually impossible as everyone loves it!

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Coconut Flour Pancakes

I appreciate that coconut flour (buy online or from an organic shop) is expensive, but due to its amazing capacity for absorbing water, the quantity used is small in comparison to grain flour.
2 eggs
2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil/ butter, melted
2 tbsp coconut milk (and a spoonful of water if the mixture is too thick)
stevia (optional) and salt
2 tbsp sifted  organic coconut flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder

Blend together eggs, oil, coconut milk, stevia and salt. Combine coconut flour with baking powder and thoroughly mix into batter. Cook immediately, do not leave to stand.  Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or butter in a small frying pan. Spoon the batter into the hot pan, making pancakes about 3 inches in diameter. Batter will be thick, but will flatten out when cooking. Turn after a minute or two. Makes about 6- 8 pancakes. Serve hot with stewed apple and cinnamon or cold with more butter!

 

Baked Cheesecake.

150g caster sugar
8 digestive biscuits
50g butter , melted
600g full fat cream cheese (supermarkets own – similar to Philadelphia)
1 tbsp coconut flour
vanilla extract
2 eggs
142ml pot soured cream

This is an adaptation of a recipe that appeared on the BBC Good Food website.
Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Crush the biscuits in a food processor (or put in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin). Mix with the butter. Press into a 20cm spring-form tin and bake for 5 minutes, then cool.
Beat the cream cheese with the coconut flour, sugar, a few drops of vanilla, eggs, and soured cream until light and fluffy. Pour into the tin. Bake for 40 minutes and then check, it should be set but slightly wobbly in the centre. Leave in the tin to cool.
This is delicious with stewed rhubarb (add some ground ginger!) or you can add any other fruit you have. Serve with cream!

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Truffles

These truffles are based on a recipe by Delia Smith – one I have used for more years than I care to remember! I am using this here because it works. They are relatively low sugar and as the ingredients are fairly natural, there are still some useful nutrients – unlike commercial truffles. Once again, these make a wonderful present.
Basic recipe:
150g dark chocolate 70% coco solids
150ml double cream
25g butter
1 tablespoon natural yogurt
cocoa powder

Break up the chocolate into a pudding basin. Add the butter and cream.
Microwave on defrost, stirring frequently until smooth.
Allow to cool slightly then beat in the yogurt.
When completely cold, refrigerate and leave overnight.
Take out lumps of the chocolate mixture with a teaspoon and roll quickly in your palms to make the truffle. Don’t be too exact here – they look great slightly off spherical. Roll in cocoa powder and put in cases or on a pretty plate.
To make different truffles:
Add a few drops almond or vanilla extract/orange zest finely grated with the yogurt. If you happen to have a tablespoon or two sherry/brandy/rum/whisky/liqueur add this before microwaving.
Roll in toasted desiccated coconut, toasted crushed flaked almonds, crushed amaretti, grated white or milk chocolate.

Lastly, buy bananas from the market, halve them, insert a lolly stick and freeze for banana lollies for the children!

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