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

Home-made Hazelnut Milk

I call these grandpa nuts because they’re wonderfully nourishing for our seniors and senioras. Here’s why. Hazelnuts contain beta-sitosterol, a groovy compound shown to help benign prostatic hyperplasia. This is doctorspeak for the numerous trips men over sixty take to the loo during the night. While benign prostatic hyperplasia is not harmful, it can be a darned nuisance.

In a study published by The Lancet medical journal, patients given 20mg of beta-sitosterol three times a day demonstrated a reduction in urinary frequency. Okay so this is significantly more beta-sitosterol than a single hazelnut can provide, but nevertheless, it’s one of many sources which can be easily included in grandpa’s diet. Others include soybeans, brown rice, pecans, avocados and sesame seeds.

Beta-sitosterol is also hailed by the Mayo Clinic for improving lipoprotein profiles and overall blood serum levels (that’s HDL and LDL to you and me). But in order to avail of this nut’s snazzy cholesterol-blocking compounds, you’ll need to recruit the unsalted variety. We reckon hazelnut milk is the tastiest thing to hit this cosmology in a long time (excluding you Michael Fassbender).

 

hazelnut milk soakinghazelnut milk omniblend

 

 

3/4 cup raw hazelnuts
1/4 cup raw almonds
3 cups filtered water
2 Medjool dates
Nut milk bag, as found on Amazon

Cover your hazelnuts and almonds in water overnight.

In the morning, rinse and drain the soaked nuts. Tumble into a blender along with fresh water and pitted dates. Pelt on the highest setting for 20 seconds.

Wash your hands thoroughly before the next step, to avoid spoiling the milk. Place your nut milk bag over a large bowl and slowly pour the nut milk and pulp into the bag. Gently squeeze the top of the bag to release the milk, which should take about 20 seconds. My children love doing this. I find it helps to secure the top by twisting, so the pulp doesn’t jump out.

Store in the fridge for up to 3 days, but rarely longer. Give the jar a jolly good shake before enjoying.

If you are compiling your Santa wishlist, this is what I use every day in the kitchen to make nut milk. It’s just as good as a Vitamix in my opinion, but half the cost. Fist. Bump.

 

hazelnut milk nutbaghazelnuts raw

 

 

Lunchbox, Salads & Suppers, Sides, Vegan &/or Raw

Buckwheat Noodles Wrapped in ‘shrooms & Badass Ginger

‘Shrooms

Mushrooms have been revered throughout many cultures as far back as Ancient Egypt. These furred-up fungi were believed to bring immortality and bottomless libidos. That must have been before the empire disappeared. In Chinese medicine, mushrooms were celebrated for giving super-human strength. Take that, Popeye! 

Today, mushrooms don’t enjoy nearly the same level of prestige unless they are of the hallucinogenic kind. But many of these outrageous health claims can now be traced to a range of polysaccharides specific to mushrooms. (Scientists, look away now while I brutalise your language).

Lentinans and beta glucan polysaccharides for example are believed to stimulate the immune system by activating certain proteins, macrophages and T-cells. These white blood cells declare war on terrorism (pesky bugs and the like), and begin bombing the blood with their infantry.  

In laboratory studies, the polysaccharides present in shiitake extract have slowed the growth of tumours in some cell cultures. But not in all cell cultures, highlighting the complexity surrounding their use. For now, I’m sufficiently excited to indulge in the fantasy of everlasting life while scoffing a bucket of wild mushrooms.

 

wild mushrooms before cooking

 

 
Love Noodles

It’s argued that some of us have the genetic ability to become aroused by a mere whiff of certain types of mushrooms. 

Phwoar. No wonder the forests of County Wicklow are feverishly descended upon this time of year. 

Fall is shroom season, as they say in the trade. It’s best to go with an expert like Bill O’Dea to avoid picking poisonous ones. You don’t have to dress like an idiot to go shroom hunting, but Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall seems to think it helps.

 

wild mushrooms

 

For two people:
3 handfuls of various field mushrooms
2 long spring onions
a bunch of 100% buckwheat soba noodles
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
Up to 1 tablespoon tamari soya sauce

 

For the dressing:
3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
pinch of chilli, dried or fresh (optional)
 
 

Slice the spring onions and larger mushrooms. Spring onions will look better wrapped among the noodles when they’re cut lengthways, rather than into tiny discs. Set both aside. You might find a few stray pieces of grass or dirt if the mushrooms are bone fide wild. Do discard these, unless you want to spend the evening with a toothpick.

Cook the soba noodles as directed on the packet. Normally this takes 5–8 minutes in boiling water. A quick dash of toasted sesame oil in the pot adds great flavour, but not essential.

While the noodles are cooking, heat a frying pan on a medium flame to stir-fry the mushrooms in a spot of coconut oil. Just as they deepen in colour – say, 4 minutes – chuck in a splash of tamari and enjoy the sizzle and splash. 

Remove from the heat immediately, add the sliced spring onions, mix everything together and let it sit in the pan while you get going on your dressing.

Crush the ginger and garlic to a smooth paste in a pestle and mortar. The smell of freshly smashed herbs and spices will serenade your nostrils and do all sorts of joyous things to your sensory neurons. Once you have recovered sufficiently from the pestle and mortar excitement, whisk in the sesame oil and remaining tamari with a fork. If you have it, a touch of chilli or truffle salt should get your blood beating like a voodoo drum. Just make sure you’re not serving this to somebody inappropriate, like an unsuspecting in-law.

The noodles should be nicely cooked by now. Remove from the heat, rinse under cold water to stop the noodles from sticking, drain, and wrap with the ginger dressing. Tumble into the mushrooms and spring onions. Serve with a renewed sense of devilment and a mischievous smile.

 

Paige, the seaweed hunter

 

 

Breakfast, Lunchbox, Salads & Suppers

Chia Fishcakes & CoYo

Spuds are back. Kale is too 2012. Turnip is yet to find a patron. And purple sprouting broccoli is in rehab. The potato is our national superfood, buzzing with goodness.

All the girlie sounding spuds are delicious in salads – Desiree, Charlotte, Annabelle, Orla, Emma and Violetta. Think creamy interior, perfectly suited to steaming (what potato snobs dub ‘waxy’). Steamed potatoes are lower in calories than their baked cousins, and require less flavour enhancers like salt or butter.

 

potato & chia fishcakes susan jane white

 

Potatoes are not the dieter’s enemy. Some silly celebrity pointed to spuds as their downfall, and sadly, the world took note. I can think of thousands of junk products that should be knocked off our shopping list, but not a veggie! 

Potatoes are a terrific source of potassium, otherwise known as the hangover-healer. Eaten with the skin, you’ll also wolf down a fair dose of vitamin C to help the body repair any oxidative damage done the night before. 

Most notably, vitamin B6 and iron can help strengthen the lifecycle of our body’s red blood cells. Not something white rice or pasta can brag about, is it?

 

mashed potatoes
 

 

So you see, potatoes are not unhealthy. What we do to them can make them unhealthy (creamed, fried, buttered and battered).  

Our love affair with Irish potatoes needs rekindling. If you’re worried about the kegs of butter and salt your family will bathe them in, try a different approach. Potatoes carry flavour really well, and don’t always have to be the stodgy sidekick to the main act. Here’s one such recipe to get you going.

 

fishcakes 

 

 

Chia Fishcakes with CoYo

Chia is an optional lah-di-dah. These tinchy seeds deliver a whackload of omega-3 brainpower. But if you can still remember how to solve a polynomial root with the factor theorem, you can probably leave them out.

 

½ – 1 cup cooked crabmeat, flaked salmon and or smoked mackerel

1.5 cups lightly mashed potatoes

1 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons chia soaked in 6 tablespoons water (an egg will also work)

1 fat clove garlic, crushed (or freshly sliced chilli)

1 spring onion or strong herb, roughly chopped

Squeeze of lime

Generous seasoning

2 tablespoons brown rice flour to dust

Extra virgin coconut oil to fry

Coyo to serve

 

Crush the ingredients together using a fork and tenacity. You’ll be left with an exotic looking side of mashed potatoes. Using the palms of your hands, lightly oiled, form 10 small fishcakes. I find it easier to roll into balls, and then gently flatten each one on parchment paper using a spatula. Dust with brown rice flour.

Heat a large frying pan with a little coconut oil, and briefly brown each fishcake. This will hlep them stick together. Allow to cool completely before serving, otherwise they’ll fall apart in your hands and you’ll curse me.

Serve with dairy-free coconut milk yoghurt. And good friends.