Friday, 20 January 2012

Toxicity and what we can do?

I went to a really interesting seminar last night given by Tamara Sachs on 'How to be Healthy Living in a Toxic World'. I learnt some horrifying truths about the chemicals that surround us and that are absorbed into our bodies and then I heard some wonderful advice on how to equip and strengthen our bodies to deal with them.

The bottom line is we must limit our exposure to these chemicals and toxins and fill our body with all the fruit and vegetables that we can. It really is the anti-oxidants that help fight the free radicals, and we should be incorporating as much as possible into our diets.  The daily recommendation for fruit and vegetables in our diet from the government used to be 5 a day. This has gone up to 9-13 a day. If you are trying to detoxify your body then you need more!

In any case the seminar was given by Juice Plus which whilst I hate being sold to, I'm grateful they gave me the opportunity to learn more about toxicity and how we can arm the body to fight toxins.

New fuel on the detox cooking diet after this - incorporate even more vegetables and fruit into every recipe!! If anyone has any good veggie filled recipes please do add them. 

Also - quick note - some fruit & vegetables it is worth buying organic some of the time sometimes its not - e.g. spinach go organic, kiwi fruits don't bother. Check this website for good information on farming practices and pretty much anything to do environmental issues.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Butternut Squash Gratin with Onions and Sage

Butternut Squash Gratin with Onions and Sage - Serve with a good lean steak and green beans

 1/4 Cup olive oil
3 Cups thinly sliced onion
4 Thyme sprigs
2 Tbspns chopped sage
Salt & Pepper
5 Cups of butternut squash
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated cheddar or gruyere
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
[Tip- I don't like peeling butternut squash I prefer to slow roast the butternut squash for an hour and leave to cool before - then the skin comes away much easier. Cuts down on the cooking time later too.]

Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the onion thyme and sage - cook until onions are lightly caramelized.  Season well with salt and pepper. Spread onions in the gratin dish.

Toss the butternut squash cubes in flour. Add rest of oil to skillet and add the butternut squash and let the cubes brown a little. If you have pre-roasted the squash a quick sear will suffice here. Add the parsley and salt and pepper. Layer the squash over the onions in the gratin dish. Cover with the cheese and add the milk.

Cook for 15 minutes then add breadcrumbs and bake until the top is browned and the liquid fully absorbed.

Serve with a lean grilled steak and green beans. [This was a recipe adapted from Deborah Madison Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone - Great book!!]

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Annabella's - 'Some like it hot' tagine

Seems like we are all on the same veg detox idea!

I made a vegetable tagine last night:

2 Onions
350g Butternut squash or sweet potato (or a mix)
250g Green Beans
2 Courgettes
2 Carrots
Tin of Chickpeas
Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
Vegtable Stock
2 tsp Ras El Hanout
2 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Hot Paprika
1 tsp Ground Coriander

I put it in the slow cooker and put it on before I went to work so it was ready when I got in but you could probably cook it for an 1hr/1.5hr or so without a slow cooker. It makes quite a lot so you can freeze it too.

Also I like my food quite punchy so if you are not into hot food you might want to reduce the Ras El Hanout to 1 tsp.

You can eat it on its own or with cous cous but it was cheap, healthy and yum! Annabella

Mandy's favorite potato-gratin

  • From my dear friend Mandy:  My favorite potato-gratin:

    Not really a veg detox recipe, but you can leave out the bacon (and think away the cream ;-))

    2 lb. peeled Yukon Gold potatoes
    3 cups whipping or heavy cream
    1 tsp. kosher salt
    1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    Generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
    3/4 cup finely shredded Gruyère
    1/2 red onion
    300 gr bacon

    Heat the oven to 400°F. Using a very sharp knife or a mandoline, carefully cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices (no thicker). Cut bacon into small pieces and bake until crisp.

    Mix the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic, and bacon bits. Add a thin layer of this mixture to a large baking dish. Put a layer of potatoes in it, then some onions, and add some of the cream mixture over it. Do the same for a second layer. Make sure all potatoes are covered with some cream. Now, sprinkle the top surface with the cheese.

    Bake in the hot oven until the top is deep golden brown, the cream has thickened, and the potatoes are extremely tender when pierced with a knife, about 45-60 minutes. Don't worry if the dish looks too liquidy at this point; it will set up as it cools a bit.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Potato and Chickpea Stew with a kick

This recipe was delicious! We started our January 2012 detox with a kick! It is healthy, warming, quick to make and utterly yummy detox food.

1 pound Fingerling potatoes (I used the colored ones and it was a masterpiece picasso would have been proud of)

3 Tblspns Olive Oil
1 Onion
2 pinches saffron
3 large peppers (2 red 1 yellow but whatever you have)
2 Garlic cloves finely chopped/minced
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (few more if you like it hot)
1/2 cup medium sherry (or I used marsala wine)
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2 cans (15oz) of chickpeas
2 cups water
Lots of salt and pepper

Warm the oil in a wide pot wit hteh onion saffron, peppers, garlic and potatoes. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring gently until potatoes are tender firm (20 mins or so).

Add paprika, parsley and pepper flakes and cook (for 3 or 4 mins).

Add sherry and cook until pan juices are syrupy (about 12 mins).

Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and water and cover. Season with Salt and pepper and simmer for another 20-25 mins.

Serve in soup plates. Enjoy and feel healthy. Vegetarian cooking at it's best !! x A
( Recipe adapted from Deborah Madison Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone )