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Bread, Breakfast, Lunchbox, Sides, Treats & Snacks, Videos, x For Freezer x

Gluten-free focaccia with rosemary and lemon

Rosemary ain’t just a pretty fragrance. Its medicinal properties – appreciated by herbalists and Granny Joan for hundreds of years – are now being confirmed by modern science. Yes, a daily round of Sudoku (or brushing your teeth with your left hand) helps to keep brain rust at bay. But so too might rosemary.

This woody herb contains several groovy compounds shown to inhibit the nasty breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a very important neurotransmitter for optimum brain function. Some of the drugs available for Alzheimer’s disease work similarly by interfering with acetylcholine breakdown. Mother N! You clever beast!

 

rosemary and lemon flaxseed focaccia_edited-1

 

A few other racy compounds, caffeic and rosmarinic acid, contribute to rosemary’s health-buffing reputation. These acids, along with vitamin E and assorted flavonoids from the plant, may be helpful in reducing inflammation in the body and the brain (hangover anyone?)

If Sudoku doesn’t tickle your brain cells, this bread should sort you out. Don’t forget flax is nature’s richest source of plant-based omega 3s. Body. Slam.

 

 

Paleo & gluten-free focaccia with rosemary and lemon

What is paleo? It’s a screamingly trendy caveman menu of fruit, nuts, meat, dairy and eggs. Disciples are not so fond of grains or carb-rich foods.

Being a giddy herbivore for 90% of my day, I’m not an acolyte but I appreciate the appeal. Paleo bread recipes have been cantering across restaurants and cookbooks from Dehli to Dunlaoghaire. This one is the best of them all, and freezes exceptionally well.

 

3 teaspoons dried rosemary
240g milled flaxseed / linseed
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
185ml regular or plant milk
2 tablespoons black strap molasses

½ unwaxed lemon, juice and zest
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Handful golden sultanas or mulberries
Sea salt flakes, to dust

 
Preheat conventional ovens to 180 degrees, gas mark 4, fan assisted 160. Line an 8×10 (20cm x 25cm) with greaseproof paper. This will look like a focaccia rather than a loaf, that’s why we use something bigger than a bread tin or a brownie tin. Size is really important.

Let 2 teaspoons of the rosemary, the ground flax and your baking powder party in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, molasses, zest and juice of your small lemon and olive oil with a fork until happily glossed up. Parachute your sultanas into the mix. Dried mulberries are also awesome but are dastardly expensive.

Now add the wet ingredients to the dry bowl, and immediately pour into your pre-lined tin. Spread evenly, and sprinkle the remaining rosemary on top with a flurry of sea salt flakes. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and its tin. Allow to cool for 25 minutes on a wire rack. Tickle with smashed avocado, black olive tapenade or hummus. This kale pesto is particularly good smothered over a slice, even 3 days old.

 

p.s. I know some of my terribly clever readers are bound to ask why I use 3 eggs here, and not 4 like the last paleo flaxseed focaccia. Smart question! This recipe requires less hold, becasue it does not have the addition of olives and tomatoes. Ta dahhh!

 

 

 

Breakfast, Lunchbox, Salads & Suppers, Sides, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, Videos, x For Freezer x

New Video #WTF Kale

Kale is a member of the cruciferous clan, which always scared me as a child given this was how Jesus died. 

So why the excitement? Kale is an excellent source of folate (folic acid), often associated with great quality nookie. Looks like folate can regulate the production of histamine – a very important chemical released during orgasm. No, a cabbage smoothie will not bring you to climax but you’re welcome to try.

You probably don’t need another reason to watch your folate intake, but here’s an additional fireworks display you’ll be interested in. Folate plays a large role in our mental and emotional health. It is in fact a B vitamin – think B for Brain and Battery. Or Bergman and Bogart (okay, that’s probably E for Electricity, but you get the picture).  

Want to neck more of it? Here’s a cheeky video I prepared for you …

 

 

What else? Kale has a team of bone-building nutrients such as calcium, vitamin K and sulfur, all well-known allies against degenerative osteo conditions (stiff Macarena moves to you and me). 

Lutein and zeaxanthin are fancy carotenoids that pharmaceutical companies try to synthesise in laboratories and pack in tablet form to support eye health. No need to waste your money on these if you’re regularly scoffing kale.

 

Pistachio & Kale Pesto

Listen up. This is bonkers good.

We’ve made wild garlic and chilli fraternise with kale. Then beefed it up with toasted pumpkin seeds and pistachios.

You’re welcome.

 

100g pumpkin seeds /pepitas
100g freshly picked wild garlic leaves (I get mine in trendy delis April-May. See photo below)
Generous handful of pistachios or walnuts
30g hard goat’s cheese, grated (entirely optional)
60g kale, stems removed
1 & 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil (375ml)
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
squeeze of lemon juice
chilli flakes (optional heat)


Toast the pumpkin seeds on a very hot pan, no oil, and dry fry until they swell with exciting (some might even pop). Remove and cool on a plate.

Then you’ll need to pick the wild garlic leaves over, discarding any coarse stalks and grass. Whiz in a food processor along with remaining ingredients.

Transfer to a scrupulously clean jar and set aside. Honkingly good stuff, especially with my flaxseed focaccia (video up on my channel next week) or tumbled through spirulised carrots and courgette.

 

courgette spaghetti

 
Leftover pesto can be frozen in jars. Make sure to press the pesto down firmly with the back of a spoon to remove any pockets of air (trapped air can cause contamination and foul tempers). Top the pesto with a little more oil, making a seal, before freezing.

 

wild garlic image

 

Breakfast, Sides, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

Recipe for Coconut Milk Yoghurt

Ever tasted CoYo? This brand of yoghurt has a cult following. If you are dairy-free, tasting it is almost like a religious experience. Creamy, thick, unctuous – it’s beyond Bach.

Given the industrial quantities of CoYo I scarf, it was about time I made my own.

 

making coconut milk yoghurt 

 

Almost a decade ago I was introduced to the idea of culturing my own coconut milk with a yoghurt-making machine. At that time, I was on a strict anti-candida diet and desperation was on the menu three times a day. Every day. Sheesh.

It always turned out runny, like a watered down smoothie. Given the mammoth restrictions of a candida diet, I lived on this coconut yoghurt ’til it poured from my ears. As soon as I highjumped the Big Brute, I ditched my yoghurt making machine and ran for a pot of honey. That was a good day.

So 8 years later, under CoYo’s spell, I give it another go. No yoghurt-making machine. 

Here’s the result. Nailed. And it’s all yours.

 

coconut yoghurt home made



How to make your own coconut yoghurt

My version of coconut yoghurt is idiot-proof, for people who couldn’t be bothered (welcome to the family!)

Candida warriors will love this treat, as will your vegan pal, and that hot Pilates instructor you’ve been dying to impress. Now you have an excuse to get his email.

Tips! You can find blocks of coconut cream for less than £1 in your local Asian or ethnic grocers. In health food stores, expect to pay £2:20 for organic varieties. For the intrepid cook, Peachy Palate has some great pointers about getting the coconut milk thick and gorgeous (which we struggled to do, that’s why we opted for coconut cream). You can check her recipe out here.

The Cultured Club do tasting sessions and masterclasses on fermentation. Milk kefir apparently works well and has 40 different strains of bacteria. Worth checking out their touring schedule in the UK and Ireland.

If you have any tips or recipes, please include them below as we’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

1 block / 200g coconut cream aka creamed coconut

¼ teaspoon Udo’s probiotic powder (1 capsule will also do)

300ml hot filtered water

¼ vanilla bean pod (or pure vanilla powder)

1 teaspoon stevia powder (like Dr Coy’s stevia erylite)

 

Chop the coconut cream into small chunks, being careful not to include your fingers (the cream can be rock solid). Add to a blender or food processor along with the hot water and blend until smooth.

Leave to cool for 15 minutes before adding the probiotic culture, and vanilla seeds or powder. Traditionally, you can use culture from a batch of CoYo or other natural yoghurt, but I find the probiotic powder more effective.

Pour into a scrupulously clean Kilner jar and cover with kitchen paper and an elastic band. A Pyrex bowl is grand too. I keep mine on a warm spot on an Aga for 1-2 days, before tasting and refrigerating. You could leave yours in the boiler room or airing press, to achieve similar results (26 degrees Celsius). If it’s particularly hot, 24 hours could be plenty of time to leave the culture multiply.

Half way through, whisk the coconut smooth with a plastic fork or else it will divide into layers (say after 12-18 hours. I end up agitating it a few times, to prevent splitting).

That’s it! No yoghurt making machine!

Leave your comments below and let me know how you get along. Can’t wait to hear your feedback. #extravirginkitchen