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Breakfast

Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

GRAINOLA – a multigrain granola

Rice malt syrup – ever heard of it? You will. Hottie Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar fame levitates on the stuff.

In fairness, this sweetener is flipping good. Think of a malted milkshake that hits the spot without being too saccharine or sweet. That’s rice malt syrup.

But calm down, it ain’t no superfood! (BTW, I’ve bags’d that for my epitaph).

Rice malt syrup is merely a natural sugar that escapes the modern evils of fructose. What’s so bad about fructose? Little, really. Unless you regularly neck the dumbed-up version found in sodas. This is called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Fructose, itself, is a naturally occurring sugar found in fruit and some veg. In its natural state, fructose is found in small amounts within a coalition of minerals and fibre contained within that piece of fruit. Ah! But when fructose is artificially concentrated, and in isolation of other nutrients, our body treats it quite differently.

Glucose is metabolised by every cell in the body, says endocrinologist Dr Robert Lustig. Fructose, however, can only be metabolised by the liver.

Too much fructose in a concentrated, isolated form has been shown to substantially burden the liver. So if you’ve been horsing into high-fructose agave, it might be time to make friends with a new sweetener. Let me help you do exactly that.

Grainola

Enough for several weeks worth of breakfast

The number of expensive granolas to choose from in our supermarkets is unprecedented in Irish history. Trust me – you can make a much better one for a fraction of the price at home. This one has three different grains, making it a complete protein by virtue of its amino acid permutation. That’s benchpresser speak for “highfive”. Sporty teens will go mental for it.

  • 125ml (½ cup) rice malt syrup (€€€) or barley malt syrup (€)
  • 125mll (1/2 cup) extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150g oat flakes
  • 150g barley flakes
  • 150g whole buckwheat grouts (not flakes)
  • Up to 1 cup of hazelnuts
  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao nibs (optional)
  • Pinch of flaky sea salt
  • 200g dried dates
  • 100g dark chocolate, like Green & Blacks cooking chocolate

Fire up your oven to 160 Celsius, gas mark 3.

Line your largest tray with parchment, or use two smaller trays.

In your biggest pot, melt the coconut oil, your syrup, vanilla and cinnamon over a timid heat. Turn off the heat.

Now tumble in the remaining ingredients, all except for the dates and dark chocolate. Scrape the contents of the pan out over your lined tray(s).

Bake for 22 minutes. Allow the ‘Grainola’ to cool completely before stirring through the chopped dates and glorious chunks of chocolate. Store in a tall glass jar on the kitchen counter. This is magnificent stuff with ice-cold milk.

Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Pomegranate, Pistachio, Rose Water Halva

Today’s wholefoods movement is often described as the 1970’s, resuscitated on kale powder and kimchi. Please! In the 1970’s, cooking skills sucked. We were too busy lovebombing the world with geraniums.

Forty years on, our culinary skills have been heightened and honed. So yes there has been a re-awakening of wholefood ingredients, but more importantly, we see this awakening wedded to badass kitchen skills. This ain’t no hippie culture my friends. This is punk.

Great swathes of perfectly sane people have turned their attention towards mindful practices, in search of a more socially responsible roast from capitalism. But taste is at the forefront of this movement. You’ll find we don’t just do sausies. We do slow pork, where piggies have been massaged with lavender, read bedtime stories and fed bottles of rooibos tea.

Nor do we do slicepan. We do house-cultured sourdough, from heritage grains harvested by moonlight. And we do not do instant coffee. We dry hump our monthly subscription box from 3FE where the coffee beans were raised on Bach, and lightly washed with tears of joy.

We are taking unrefined ingredients and celebrating them in their most authentic form, in contrast to society’s reliance on conveyor belts and chemicals. And we are doing it with unprecedented style and skill.

Welcome to the new age rhythm of funk – food punk.

Pomegranate, Pistachio, Rose Water Halva

Serves 25

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 125ml (raw) honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 1 x 340g jar light tahini
  • 4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • Handful of shelled pistachios
  • Rosewater (optional)

Prep a small rectangular container by lining with cling film. Lunchboxes are perfect. Set aside.

On a very timid heat, melt the coconut oil to a liquid. Gently whisk in the honey, using a fork, the vanilla and the flaky salt. Keep going with the jar of tahini, working at speed so the mixture doesn’t seize.

Lastly, tumble through the pistachios and pomegranate, reserving a couple to scatter along the top.

Scrape into your prepped dish and freeze for 6 hours. Just like ice cream, it must be stored in the freezer.

You can slice delicious shards from the block of pistachio and pomegranate halva once frozen, and serve on a platter to pass around the party. Spray with a little rosewater before serving. Celestial stuff.

Breakfast, Treats & Snacks

How to make Kefir at home

Kefir is yoghurt’s low-maintenance, tarty cousin. She’s got a gutsy attitude and is addictively refreshing among a sea of shiny, clean eating accessories. I have a feeling 2018 is going to be her year.

When can you meet? Today! Find kefir grains in the refrigerated section at your local health store or trendy café. We got ours from The Hopsack in Dublin 6. Failing that, a quick Tweet thankfully sorts out most bourgeois problems in Ireland. Kefir grains look very similar to cooked rice pudding. Nothing too freaky, I promise.

 

 

The grains burp and feed on whole milk, gobbling up the natural milk sugars and lactose. All those gorgeous good bacteria multiply faster than grass through a goose. What you’re left with is a funky ferment more potent than natural yoghurt.

 

 

Kefir  

Makes 500ml

Use organic milk, raw milk, goat’s milk, even coconut milk. I drink kefir straight up on ice, but yogi types like to flavour their kefir with second ferments using honey and vanilla pods. Kefir is also really great with spicy curries, to help your tastebuds and mascara survive the heat. It makes a rather brilliant marinade for meat, replaces buttermilk in baking recipes, and sings with soft cheese as a last minute mash-up for spreads.

 

2-3 tablespoons milk kefir grains
500ml full fat organic milk (goat’s, cow’s, nut milk)

 

1 Using a clean mason jar or 500ml glass bottle, pop the kefir grains in with your preferred type of milk.

2 Cover with kitchen paper, secure with a band, and leave on your kitchen counter 24-36 hours to ferment.

3 When the desired tang is achieved, remove the kefir grains with a plastic sieve and pop the live grains into fresh milk to start the process all over again. You’ll know the grains have doen their work when you see the milk split a little.

The fresh kefir can be refrigerated or guzzled straight away to pimp your flora.

If you aren’t reusing the kefir grains straight away, they can be stored in a little whole milk for 1 week in the fridge. The milk be will perfectly good to use – the chilled temperature merely slows down the fermentation process. It’s okay to keep extra kefir grains in the freezer too.

One final point – if you are using plant milk, the kefir grains tend to benefit from a little cow’s milk every 4 or 5 batches of kefir-making. This is because the kefir grains like lactose as a source of go go juice.

 

Taking the hell out of healthy.

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