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

Paleo Flapjacks

Nuts are superheroes, with an arsenal of fancy ninja moves.

Some of the largest health studies in history – the Adventist Study, the Iowa Women’s Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, and the Physicians’ Health Study – have consistently shown that snacking on raw nuts can lead to a 50% reduction in heart disease.

Research from the British Medical Journal goes further, identifying nuts as one of seven foods that can help reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 75%. You’ll be relieved to hear that dark chocolate and red wine qualify too. You’re welcome.

But don’t get too giddy my friend. You need to recruit the unprocessed, unsalted variety to make a difference to your ticker. Anything else is cheating.

Those flavoured packets in pubs? Bye-bye. We know that unsalted raw nuts contain special-agent unsaturated fats that help raise your protective cholesterol (HDL) while lowering that menacing cholesterol (LDL). Another special-agent fat, omega-3, may also help prevent blood clots much the same way as aspirin does. You’ll find omega 3s dancing in walnuts.

Many nuts are rich in arginine. Scientists, look away while I mutilate your language. Arginine is an amino acid necessary to make a molecule called nitric oxide that relaxes constricted blood vessels and eases blood flow. Think of it as the Bach of the blood. This might indeed help explain why nuts are applauded for their role in protecting arterial walls, making the walls more pliable and less susceptible to damage. Good news for health insurers.

 

 

paleo flapjacks

 

Paleo Flapjacks

1 cup walnuts
1 cup unsalted cashews
Generous pinch of sea salt
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup any nut butter you fancy
1/4 good honey (preferably local and raw)
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract

 

Pulse the nuts (almonds don’t work here) along with a good pinch of sea salt, the desiccated coconut and your honey in a food processor. A blender will turn it into baby food, which is not today’s vibe.

Add any nut butter you fancy (peanut, cashew, hazelnut or almond), a grating of fresh nutmeg and a whisper of vanilla. Pulse until it clumps together. Don’t be tempted to help the mixture along with water. You’ll regret it! I added a few goji berries for colour too, but they’re not essential.

Scrape and press the flapjack dough into a regular 8×8 brownie square tin. Set in the fridge, and lift out of its tin once firm. Cut into small squares and store in the fridge or freezer. Exactly like flapjacks (until you mizzle melted chocolate all over them of course).

Great with a tall glass of milk.

 

 

Will I see you next week at Avoca Kilmac, between Dublin and Wicklow?? I’ll be signing books from 11:30am on Saturday 28th May 2016, and baking treats for you and your loved ones. Free admission. 

Cover image EV softcopy

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

Healthy Marmalade

If you’re not eliminating waste from your bowels, you’ll end up wearing it on your face. Listen up. The skin is our body’s largest excretory organ. Crazy but true. You want luminous skin? Make sure your pipes are on speaking terms with you.

Cranking up the fibre in your diet will have you shaking your booty like Lady Marmalade on the dance floor. By fibre, I don’t mean a bowl of wholemeal pasta. Nice try. When you want fibre, you need to call in the services of black belts like flaxseed, bran, oats, prunes, beans, hummus, and psyllium.

 

psyllium husks

 

Research confirms that scoffing more than 35g of dietary fibre a day can result in a 40% chance of living longer. Jeesh.

Here’s what happens in our very own waste plant. Insoluble fibre from our food acts like a traffic warden, clearing jams and keeping junctions clear. His job is to keep things moving. If nothing moves, waste can build up and re-enter the bloodstream. One way of ridding toxins is to sweat them out on a treadmill. Or frequent the village sauna. Both options are about as appealing as sex with Donald Trump.

So let’s fight with our fork?

Arm yourself with this marmalade. It’s criminally good and much more refreshing than the regular jammy stuff. One taste will ignite your dimples, like kissing Bradley Cooper, or giving Michael Flatley a wedgy live on stage.

The weird sounding seeds can be purchased in savvy pharmacies or health food stores nationwide. They help to set the marmalade. Prunes Shmunes. Psyllium are the King Kong of the colon.

 

healthy marmalade recipe

 

A healthy marmalade

3 unwaxed organic oranges

3 tablespoons psyllium seed husks

Pinch of sea salt

2-3 tablespoons local honey

 

Start by grating the zest from 2 of your oranges. Set aside. Then slice the bum off each of the 3 oranges, and sit them on a chopping board. Carefully carve the skin from each orange with a paring knife, and discard. The white pithy stuff is a little bitter, but it does contain a whack load of nutrition so maybe don’t take it all off.

Cut the orange into chunks, to check for pips.

Add the orange zest, the juicy chunks, your psyllium husks, sea salt and really good honey to the blender (or food processor). Pulse until jammy, but not entirely smooth. You still want beautiful blobs of orange in there.

Scrape into a scrupulously clean jam jar and leave to set for 30 minutes before spreading over hot toast. Refrigerate for 1 week – it will set even more when chilled.

Lunchbox, Sides, Vegan &/or Raw

Celeriac and white bean puree

Not so pretty, these celeriac things. They look like a cross between the butt of a matted yak, and a swede with dermatitis. But damn, are they delicious.

Like Stephen Fry, you’ll find treasure beneath that exterior. There is a smooth understated elegance to a celeriac. And a faint nutty aroma. Indeed the celeriac is Yotam Ottolenghi’s favourite root vegetable, so I became a disciple faster than green grass through a goose.

For a carbalicious root, celeriac is rather light on the tummy and even lighter on the wallet. Whizzed up in a blender with creamy white beans, it provides a comforting alternative to mashed spuds, when the mood yodels.

celeriac butter bean puree

 

And get this. Beans carry a cargo of B vitamins and fibre, making them the heavyweight champion food for healthy hearts. Gastroenterologists – the specialists who look after your pipes – recommend thirty to thirty five grams of daily dietary fibre. One cup of the popular red kidney beans provides eleven grams, while butterbeans ring in at sixteen grams per serving. Want to know the average daily intake in Ireland?  A measly ten grams. So forget that hideous childhood rhyme, and start loving beans. They love you.

While your colon gets a good spring clean, so too will your skin. Nutritionists are quick to remind us that a build-up of toxins in the body often manifests in skin complaints – spots, rashes, blotchiness, tantrums. Our skin is our body’s largest excretory organ. With the added vitamin C from celeriac, you’ll be well on your way to giving Angela Scanlon some competition.

 

celeriac butterbean

 

Celeriac and white bean puree

Makes 6 servings

 

1 teaspoon bicarb

350g dried butterbeans, soaked for 8 hours

½ head celeriac, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

A few twists of the salt and pepper mill

 

Bring a pan of water to the boil with your bicarb. Add the butterbeans and cook until tender (20-45 minutes). Drain the cooked beans, reserving 150ml of the cooking liquid for later.

Meanwhile, steam the chopped celeriac for 10 minutes.

Transfer to a blender along with the cooked beans, and whip until sumptuously smooth. You will need to add the reserved liquid, salt, pepper and excitement as you puree.

Scrape into a serving dish, smoothing the top, and mmmizzle with olive oil.

 

celeriac butter bean

 

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