Sanctified as the Father of Superfoods, spinach enjoys immense popularity among medical and scientific communities. The toddler community aren’t much convinced, but that’s about to change.
For a concentrated blast of goodness in your diet, this Green Leafy is hard to beat.
Replete with vitamins C and E, spinach offers protection against free radicals – those menacing compounds thought to predispose the body to disease. Vitamins C and E are also referred to as beauty bullets, given their role in maintaining youthful-looking skin. I bet Anna Friel horses it into her. What a stunner. When asked about her beauty regime, she recently replied, “Health is beautiful. If someone takes care of themselves you can see the health shining from within them.” She’s now my screen saver.
Even though Popeye attributes his burly bod to spinach “I’m strong to the finish when I eats me spinach”, this veg only has modest levels of iron. Hemp seeds and goji berries are probably better sources.
Spinach’s real USP lies within its stonking levels of magnesium. We need this mineral to improve circulation in the body. Poor circulation can lead to dull skin, erectile dysfunction, headaches, raised blood pressure, constipation and delayed healing. Sound familiar?
Another boon to our Green Leafy friend is its range of superstar carotenes. Lutein and zeaxathin in particular are believed to help protect our eyes against age-related degeneration. So if you’re in the market for a new pair of spectacles, you’d do well putting spinach on tomorrow’s shopping list.
Black Polenta Fingers
Buckwheat is a small triangular grain confused by shades of red, brown and green. Soba noodles and blini are made from buckwheat, so chances are, you’ve already made friends with it.
Despite its name, buckwheat is not wheat. Hollywood’s glitterati love this gluten-free grain because of its slow-release carb and avalanche of beautifying bioflavonoids. Buckwheat even has lysine, that elusive amino acid that helps prevent outbreaks of pesky cold sores.
Children love this polenta because they can use their fingers to eat it. The more squeamish ones may spot the green flecks of spinach and revolt. That’s okay – tell them Wayne Rooney eats it.
1 cup / 180g unroasted buckwheat grouts
2 cups / 500ml homemade chicken or veg stock
Splash of tamari soya sauce
Good handful baby spinach*
1 tablespoon hemp seed protein powder or raw sprouted brown rice protein powder
*you could also use dried nori or any weird sounding sea veg described in last week’s post
Rinse the buckwheat in a sieve under running water. Transfer the clean buckwheat to your saucepan of boiling stock. Cover, and turn down the heat to a gentle putter rather than a raucous boil. Cook for 12-15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from its heat source, and allow the grains to absorb a little more stock under the lid if necessary.
Once cooked, transfer to a food processor (not a hand-held blender) and briefly pulse with the spinach and soya sauce. The spinach will immediately wilt and semi-cook with the heat of the buckwheat. Aim for the consistency of textured porridge, and not a puree.
Pour into a small dish or lunchbox oiled with extra virgin olive oil. Ideally the polenta will be less than one inch deep. Set for 20 minutes at room temperature.
Cut into fingers and serve alongside a bottle of this amazing soy-free soya sauce and some steamed asparagus. Buckwheat polenta will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days, making it the perfect snack for hungry little hands.