• positively delicious

    BAIN-MARIE

  • INDEX

    RECIPES

     

    Breakfast & Drinks

    Almond Mylk

    Apple, Almond and Spinach Smoothie

    Banana Bread Muffins

    Beetroot and Ginger Juice

    Buckwheat Porridge

    Ginger, Goji & Vanilla Chia Pudding

    Green Power Smoothie

    Paleo Bread

    Pumpkin & Buckwheat Pancakes

    Raw Blueberry Chia Jam

    Sea Salt & Raw Cacao Buckwheat Granola

    Super Green Juice

    Superfood Chia Pudding

    Top Banana Pancakes

    Vanilla Spice Nutty Granola

    Very Berry Smoothie

    Water Kefir

     

    Savoury

    Cashew Aioli

    Cauliflower Crust Pizza

    Crispy Garlic Potatoes with Avocado Aioli

    Curried Black Rice Soup

    Fragrant Thai Fish Cakes

    Ginger & Goji Chicken Noodle Soup

    Green Kedgeree

    Grilled Aubergines with Yoghurt and Pomegranate

    Homemade Sriracha Chilli Sauce

    Humble Hummus
    Kimchi 

    Korean Sweet Potato Noodles

    Lemongrass and Coconut Noodle Soup

    Mac n' Cheese

    Malaysian Laksa Noodle Soup
    Miso Soba Noodle Soup (L)

    Mushroom Risotto 

    Raw Pad Thai with Almond Chilli Sauce

    Raw Thai Som Tum Salad 

    Roasted Squash with Tahini Quinoa 

    Samphire Quinoa 

    Sichuan-Style Green Beans

    Spicy Chinese Aubergine

    Spicy Cucumber Salad

    Sweet Potato Fries

    Thai Red Garden Veg Curry

    Veg Box Noodle Salad (L)

    Vietnamese Beef Pho

    Warm Asian Noodle Salad (L)

    Wild Garlic and Mushroom Quinotto
     

    Sweet

    Banana Bread Muffins

    Beet & Chocolate Fondant Cakes

    Black Bean Brownies

    Coconut Sago Pudding

    Fudgy Brownies

    Ginger, Goji & Vanilla Chia Pudding

    Golden Parsnip Sponge Cake

    Mince Pies

    Orange Blossom Polenta Cake

    Orange Chocolate Brownies

    Pumpkin & Buckwheat Pancakes

    Raw Blueberry Chia Jam

    Raw Chocolate Ganache Cake

    Raw Chocolate Bunnies with Sea Salt 

    Raw Fudge

    Raw Key Lime (Calamansi) Pie

    Raw Mango Cheesecake

    Superfood Chia Pudding

    Top Banana Pancakes

     

    (L) = meals that are easy to make for lunch at work

     

     

    BLOG POSTS

     

    A Romance with Rooibos

    Top Foods to Eat During Pregnancy

    Buying a Juicer

    Natural Beauty

    Soaking Nuts, Grains, Pulses and Seeds

    Naughty Ingredients: What Ingredients to Avoid and Why?

    Raw Butter and Its Benefits

    How to Make Cauliflower Rice

    Gail's Blogger Brunch

    Clean Travel Tips

     

    Back to Home Page

  • ROOIBOS TEA

    21 January 2014

    A Romance with Rooibos

     

    There are no words to describe how much I love rooibos... everything about it: the taste, the smell, the colour, the effect it has had on my general health and energy levels. Rooibos is the reason I now lead a totally caffeine-free lifestyle; I've never looked back and I feel so much better for it! But it wasn't always like this, I used to drink loads of caffeine...

     

    I love tea, this is my Chinese side. I could drink hot drinks all day long. I was introduced to tea as a child in colonial Hong Kong and just loved how warm and comforting it was, especially the English way with milk and sugar. I remember coming home from school when I was about 8 years old and making myself a cup of Earl Grey with milk and sugar, it was heaven (not your typical 8 year old)! This remained an occasional treat as I grew up in tropical climates and didn't feel the need to drink hot liquids so often. But when I moved to the UK, my predilection to drink tea increased due to its cultural acceptability and simply as a way to warm up during the cold winters.

     

    Tea breaks are also such a natural way to break up the day when working long hours at a desk! As I started my working life in London, I realised I would be drinking up to 6 cups of milky and sugary black tea every day! This left me feeling bloated, heavy and lacking energy. I slowly swapped the milk for plant milks which are naturally sweeter and so didn't need the sugar anymore. But something still wasn't right... I still remember that awful feeling of a dry throat and dehydration after every cup. And indeed, black tea does dehydrate you, contrary to popular belief. Both black tea and coffee are also very acidic (in terms of pH levels), which further drains the body's natural ability to heal itself. I won't harp on about the harmful effects of caffeine on the body in this post, but I just ask you to consider that perhaps your intake of caffeine may be the source of many ailments that you are experiencing such as digestive problems, skin problems, migraines, poor sleep, low levels of concentration, mood swings amongst many other conditions.

     

    So try cutting caffeine out of your diet to see if you notice a difference; this includes everything from coffee and tea to carbonated drinks and energy drinks. Reach for some herbal teas instead, and see how you feel after a few weeks... You may never look back! I certainly didn't once I found rooibos. I never intended to cut out caffeine completely I just loved rooibos so much. I know some of you may be thinking: "But I've tried loads of herbal teas and they're all quite watery and subtle, none of them deliver that punch of comfort, warmth and roundedness that a proper English cuppa does." Please just give rooibos a try with milk (and honey, if you like it sweeter). Since I've cut out caffeine entirely, I've experienced so much more energy, mental clarity, a flatter tummy and clearer skin.

     

    Rooibos is widely available in most supermarkets in the UK, my top picks are Tick Tock's Organic Rooibos, Dragonfly's Earl Grey Rooibos and Mariage Frères, the iconic tea destination in Paris (there is a concession in Selfridges too for you Londoners) that is home to the most abundant selection of rooibos teas ranging from Bourbon vanilla rooibos to lavender and rose rooibos to rooibos with notes of candied chestnuts... In case you still aren't convinced see below the long list of rooibos' health benefits. Perhaps you will begin a romance with rooibos too? Let me know how you get on...

     

    Love and light,
    Bain-Marie

    __________________________________________________________________________

     

    10 Health Benefits of Rooibos

    1. Naturally Caffeine free – The rooibos plant grows naturally without any caffeine. This is important, as it means it does not undergo a chemical process to remove the caffeine. It also means that anyone can drink it, including those who do not want to drink caffeine such as children & pregnant women. The other key benefit of no caffeine is that rooibos tea can be consumed in unrestricted amounts.

     

    2. Contains powerful antioxidants – Rooibos tea contains a wide array of antioxidants, which help to protect the body in a number of ways. Two polyphenol antioxidants called aspalathin and nothofagin are found in high concentrations in rooibos tea. These antioxidants protect the body by fighting free radicals. These are unstable cells, which attack healthy cells in order to stabilize themselves. The polyphenols also have anti-inflammatory properties and can safeguard against heart disease.

     

    3. Prevents against some cancers – Some studies have demonstrated a link between consumption of rooibos tea and a reduction of cancer-causing chemicals. This is because of the high level of dominant antioxidants, some of which have anti-mutagenic (anti-cancer) properties. This means that they defend cells & DNA against damage and inhibit them from developing into cancer.

     

    4. High mineral content – One of the key health benefits of rooibos tea is that it contains several minerals that are vital to health. These include: magnesium (essential for the nervous system), calcium & manganese (essential for strong teeth and bones), zinc (important for metabolism) and iron (critical for helping blood & muscles distribute oxygen).

     

    5. Improves circulation – One of the many potent antioxidants in rooibos tea is called Chysoeriol. It can improve circulation by preventing the activity of the enzyme that triggers cardiovascular disease. Drinking rooibos tea also has been known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

     

    6. Relieves stomach complaints – As rooibos tea contains high levels of flavonoids, especially one called quercetin. It has the ability to relieve numerous abdominal ailments such as cramps, diahorrea and indigestion. Flavonoids are known help to reduce spasm, inflammation and allergies. It has also been widely stated that the health benefits of rooibos tea extend to alleviating colic in babies. As it is totally caffeine free, it is perfectly safe for them to drink rooibos tea.

     

    7. Aids absorption of iron – Unlike most black teas, which prevent the body from absorbing iron effectively because of the tannins they contain, rooibos tea supports the body in absorbing iron. Rooibos tea contains less than half the tannins of black tea.

     

    8. Can relieve skin conditions – A recent study found that rooibos tea can help you to look more beautiful! Rooibos tea contains phenylpyretic acid, which can help to improve acne, psoriasis and eczema. You can apply a freshly brewed and cooled tea bag to the affected areas and it will soothe and heal any inflammation.

     

    9. Can protect against Parkinsons/Alzheimers disease – Drinking rooibos tea regularly can protect against a process known as lipid peridoxation. This occurs when free radicals damage brain cells and nerve tissue. If this is prolonged, it can eventually lead to progressive and deteriorating brain disease, such as Alzheimers.

     

    10. Encourages restful sleep – Rooibos is unique in that it can be consumed as often as you wish and at any time of day and is the only herbal tea that can be enjoyed with milk! Many people choose to drink it before bedtime as it can help with insomnia. Due to its high mineral content and lack of caffeine, it’s known to help people to feel calm and relaxed.

  • FOODS TO EAT WHILST PREGNANT

    17 March 2014

    Top Ten Nutrition Tips for Pregnant Women

     

    Have you ever wondered why pregnant women glow? Have you ever thought (aside from those baby hormones obviously doing their thing) that pregnancy is a time when most women cut out alcohol, smoking and are more conscious of their diet and how what they eat and drink affects the baby? Most pregnant women eat lots of organic fruits and vegetables, and basically adopt a clean diet for 9 months. It is no surprise that most pregnant women who adopt this way of life have the most beautiful skin and lustrous hair.

     

    Here I have put together with the help of Lorna Driver-Davies, qualified holistic nutritionist and renowned expert in pregnancy nutrition, a list to help pregnant women and pregnant women-to-be to eat what is best for them and the baby's development. Please share with your pregnant friends, colleagues and family. You might notice from the below list that this "ideal pregnancy diet" echoes all the cornerstones of my real food lifestyle- an emphasis on whole grains, good fats, no refined sugar, organic and free-range meat, eggs and small oily fish. All of my recipes incorporate several of the below tips so are a great place to begin, if you are stumped for simple, healthy and balanced meal ideas. 

     

    1. Rainbow Diet - So first and fore more, it is so important for you to eat the colours of the Rainbow in vegetables to get the full spectrum of B vitamins and magnesium.

     

    2. Oily Fish - Eat small oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and haddock 1-2 times a week but no more than that due to mercury and avoid larger fish like tuna for their very high mercury levels. Additionally, take a DHA fish supplement for the baby's brain development. Avoid raw fish during your pregnancy but smoked fish is OK. {Try my recipe for Green Kedgeree

     

    3. Choline - This is found in the yolk of free range and organic eggs. Choline is very important for the baby's brain, cognitive, behavioural, learning and nerve development. Make sure your eggs are cooked throughout until the white and yolk are solid, as raw and partially cooked eggs may contain bacteria that may harm the baby. 

     

    4. Protein - We humans are made of protein and so to grow another, make sure you have at least 0.8g of protein for every kg of body weight (eggs, meat, fish, plant proteins). Some vegan and vegetarian pregnant women may feel the craving to eat some fish and/or meat during their pregnancy, if the craving is there, follow your instincts.

     

    5. Good Oils, Oils Oils! Load up on good oils such as coconut, flax, olive and avocados for skin, liver, heart, immune system. This is also important towards the end of pregnancy to start the production of breast milk.

     

    6. Organic - Try to buy and eat all organic food especially when it comes to meat, ensure it is free range, grass-fed, line-caught type of animal produce, so the little one is nice and pure!

     

    7. Nuts about Nuts! No peanuts but all other nuts such as cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pine nuts etc… are wonderful. All seeds (flaxseed, pumpkin, sesame, hemp, sunflower) are fantastic for you and baby!

     

    8. Whole Grains - Brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth and millet are delicious whole grains full of fibre and nutrients. Try to avoid anything refined such as white bread, white rice and white pasta. {Try my Warm Asian Noodle Salad recipe}

     

    9. Steer Clear of Refined Sugar - We all know white sugar is a poison so more than ever stay away from the white stuff and any mass-produced sweet treats and make your own cookies, cakes and treats at home. Opt for unrefined sugars such as brown cane sugar, coconut sugar, raw honey, brown rice syrup and maple syrup (Grade 2). {Try my Raw Chocolate Ganache Cake or Banana Bread Muffins}

     

    10. Say No to Caffeine - Coming off caffeine during your pregnancy is also important, as high levels of caffeine can result in babies having a low birth weight, which can increase the risk of later health problems. Caffeine is found is black tea, green tea, coffee, chocolate and some soft and energy drinks so inform yourself. {See my post on the wonder of Rooibos Tea which is naturally caffeine tree and entirely safe for pregnant women}

     

    As Lorna eloquently puts it, "you've only got a precious 9 months to grow a perfect little human", so do what you can to provide the ideal environment in which your baby can develop. Finally, I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of Nina Planck's Real Food for Mother and Baby, fabulous book that provides a great blend of scientific research and Nina's experience as a mother. Her first book Real Food is what inspired me to start writing this blog in the first place, as it echoed my natural real food upbringing as a balanced food movement that embraces ancient, natural and whole foods over modern, artificial and processed foods.

     

    If you are unsure where to purchase any of the items, please refer to the Resources part of my blog for links to the best products and where to buy them. For those of you who are new to my blog, I'm not paid or sponsored to recommend any products; they're just my way of sharing my favourite goodies with you, as I know it can be challenging and overwhelming to find the right products.

     

    Much Mama Love to you Lovely Ladies,
    xxx

    Bain-Marie

     

    P.S. This post is inspired by my beautiful pregnant friend, Emma Ross who has started a wonderful YouTube channel on everything Mum and Mum-to-be called Mamalina

  • BUYING A JUICER

    With so much information, it can be hard to know what juicer to buy!

    Buying a Juicer 


    I get so many questions around this topic that I thought it warranted its own blog post, as I understand that buying a juicer is a substantial investment. I promise it is totally worth it! It is an investment in your health, well-being, vitality and beauty! So what juicer to buy? There is an abundance of information out there regarding which juicers to buy or not to buy.

     

    Having read and digested a lot of the information on the subject myself, I can safely say that the moral of the story is that cold-pressed juicers are far superior for the following reasons:

     

    1. Well-suited to juicing leafy greens, grasses, sprouts and herbs
    2. Higher juice yield
    3. Juice lasts longer with enzyme integrity keeping for up to 72 hours
    4. Lower speeds means less heat is generated, preserving more nutrients and enzymes
    5. Minimal juice separation and foaming
    6. Some models offer other functions, such as making nut milks, nut butters, sorbet and pasta
    7. Low noise levels as pressing action is quiet

     

    Though cold-pressed juicers are more expensive than centrifugal juicers, in the long run you will save money, as cold-pressed juicers extract 35% more juice. One of the best cold-pressed masticating juicers on the market is the Hurom.

     

    If you are on a tighter budget, you can opt for this cold-pressed auger juicer like the Matstone 6-in-1, which is what I have and it's fabulous, easy to clean and super versatile, I love it!

     

    After regularly consuming freshly pressed vegetable juices, which are highly alkalising, you will experience improved energy levels, digestion and mental clarity, clearer skin, and an overall sense of wellbeing. See my favourite juice recipes below.

     

    Related Recipes:

    Super Green Juice

    Energising Beetroot, Cucumber and Ginger Juice

  • NATURAL BEAUTY

    Make your own natural beauty products at home for effective results and kind, planet-friendly alternatives that will also save you money!

    1. Coconut Oil: Best Eye Make Up Remover 

    Gently removes even the toughest waterproof eye make up 

    Make sure you buy a coconut oil that is: raw/cold-pressed, virgin and organic!

     

    Apply coconut oil all over dry face and focus on eyes.

    Wipe off with cotton pad and then rinse with warm water.

    Gentle and nourishing for the sensitive skin around the eyes. 

    2. Raw Honey & Spirulina Face Mask

    Heals spots and results in clearer and brighter complexion

    Raw Honey is full of antiseptic and antimicrobial properties!

     

    • Mix one tb of Spirulina and one tb of Raw Honey. Stir really well in a bowl until the consistency is creamy.

    • Spread all over your face either using your fingers. Leave on for 20-45 mins.

    • Wash with warm water and feel the difference in your skin! I do this mask when I can and absolutely love the results.

     

    3. Epsom Salt & Lavender Bath Soak

    Soothes sore muscles and improves circulation

    Epsom Salt is magnesium sulfate, a natural muscle relaxant

     

    Put 2 cups of epsom salts in hot bath and 5-6 drops of lavender oil.

    Add 10 drops of eucalyptus oil if you are congested.

    Get in bath and relax! 

    4. Sea Salt, Olive Oil & Lemon Scrub

    Exfoliates and polishes skin to reveal a natural glow

    Evens out skin tone, minimizes enlarged pores and blotchiness

     

    In a mortar and pestle, add 1/2 cup of sea salt + 1/2 cup of olive oil + juice and zest of one lemon + 1 tb of raw honey, and pestle away until it is all mixed in.

    Hop in shower/bath (not to get scrub all over bathroom floor) and massage into dry skin in circular movements all over the body.

    Rinse off in shower to reveal soft, silky, smooth skin. 

    5. Avocado and Olive Oil Hair Mask

    Repairs and nourishes hair leaving you with silky, smooth locks

    Avocado aka Nature's Butter is the best remedy for dry hair!

     

    Use an overripe avocado (the kind you can't even eat). Put the avocado flesh and 1 tb of olive oil into a blender or mash with a fork (depending on length of hair you may need more avocado). 

    Smear mixture evenly across your scalp and hair. 

    Keep this mixture on your head for at least one hour and then wash your hair as you normally would.

    You might need an extra shampooing to get all the avocado out of your hair, but you will be amazed by how silky smooth

  • WHY SOAK NUTS?

    Don't ever skip this crucial step both for taste and health reasons! 

    Why soak nuts, grains, pulses and seeds?

     

    In short, soaking nuts, grains, pulses and seeds releases enzyme inhibitors so makes them easier to digest. It is recommended to soak these for at least 8 hours ideally overnight and up to 24 hours for best results. This is a crucial step that should not be skipped. The process of soaking nuts is also known as activating. So you will see me refer to "activated nuts" throughout my recipes, this is what I mean. Here are top ten reasons to soak your nuts and pulses:


    1. To remove or reduce phytic acid.
    2. To remove or reduce tannins.
    3. To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
    4. To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
    5. To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
    6. To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
    7. To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
    8. To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
    9. To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
    10. To prevent many health diseases and conditions.

  • NAUGHTY INGREDIENTS

    Get familiar with reading labels and avoid these naughty ingredients found in common foods and drinks!

    1. Artificial Sweeteners


    Aspartame, (E951) more popularly known as Nutrasweet, Equal, Canderel or Sweet n' Low, is found in foods labeled "diet" or "sugar free". Aspartame is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. This is the number one ingredient to avoid at all costs, all the time! Aspartame is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory, the components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumours, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures. Acesulfame-K, a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baking goods, gum and gelatin, has not been thoroughly tested and has been linked to kidney tumors. Read more about the dangers of Aspartame here.

     

    Found in: diet or sugar free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, jelly (and over gelatins), desserts, sugar free gum, Ricola, drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, cereal, breathmints, pudding, ice tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste

     

    2. High Fructose Corn Syrup


    High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one source of calories in America. It is found in almost all processed foods. HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects.

    Found in: processed foods, breads, sweets, flavoured yoghurts, store-bought salad dressings, tinned goods, cereals

     

    3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG / E621)


    MSG is an amino acid used as a flavour enhancer in soups, salad dressings, crisps, frozen dinners, and many restaurant foods. MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches and obesity. MSG effects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengages the "I'm full" function, which explains the effects of weight gain.

    Found in: Chinese food, many snacks, crisps, cookies, seasonings, frozen dinners, lunch meats

     

    4. Trans Fat


    Trans fat is used to enhance and extend the shelf life of food products and is among the most dangerous substances that you can consume. Found in deep-fried fast foods and certain processed foods made with margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fats are formed by a process called hydrogenation. Numerous studies show that trans fat increases LDL cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes, and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes and other health problems. Oils and fat are now forbidden on the Danish market if they contain trans fatty acids exceeding 2 per cent, a move that effectively bans partially hydrogenated oils.

    Found in: margarine, chips and crackers, baked goods, fast foods

     

    5. Common Food Dyes


    Studies show that artificial colourings which are found in fizzy drinks, fruit juices and salad dressings, may contribute to behavioural problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked other food colourings to cancer. Watch out for these ones:

    Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133)

    Banned in Norway, Finland and France. May cause chromosomal damage

    Found in: candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods

    Red dye # 3 (also Red #40 – a more current dye) (E124)

    Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission

    Found in: fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, sweets, bakery products and more!

    Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)

    Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage.

    Found in: American cheese, macaroni and cheese, sweets and fizzy drinks, lemonade and more!

     

    6. Sodium Sulfite (E221)


    Preservative used in wine-making and other processed foods. According to the FDA, approximately one in 100 people is sensitive to sulfites in food. The majority of these individuals are asthmatic, suggesting a link between asthma and sulfites. Individuals who are sulfite sensitive may experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulfites can actually cause death by closing down the airway altogether, leading to cardiac arrest.

    Found in: Wine and dried fruit

     

    7. Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite


    Sodium nitrate (or sodium nitrite) is used as a preservative, colouring and flavouring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. This ingredient, which sounds harmless, is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular. Sodium nitrite is widely regarded as a toxic ingredient, and the USDA actually tried to ban this additive in the 1970's but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained they had no alternative for preserving packaged meat products. Why does the industry still use it? Simple: this chemical just happens to turn meats bright red. It's actually a colour fixer, and it makes old, dead meats appear fresh and vibrant.

    Found in: hotdogs, bacon, ham, luncheon meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish or any other type of processed meat

     

    8. BHA and BHT (E320)


    Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gum, crisps and vegetable oils. This common preservative keeps foods from changing colour, changing flavour or becoming rancid. Effects the neurological system of the brain, alters behaviour and has potential to cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.

    Found in: crisps, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, lard, shortening, sweets, jelly

     

    9. Sulfur Dioxide (E220)


    Sulfur additives are toxic and in the United States of America, the Federal Drugs Administration have prohibited their use on raw fruit and vegetables. Adverse reactions include: bronchial problems particularly in those prone to asthma, hypotension (low blood pressure), flushing tingling sensations or anaphylactic shock. It also destroys vitamins B1 and E. Not recommended for consumption by children. The International Labour Organization says to avoid E220 if you suffer from conjunctivitis, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma, or cardiovascular disease.

    Found in: beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, and potato products.

     

    10. Potassium Bromate


    An additive used to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.

    Found in: breads

     

    11. Carrageenan

     

    A "natural" ingredients derived from red algae that is often added to beverages as a thickener or stabiliser to keep ingredients from separating. you'll find it in many . The ingredient even crops up in certain frozen dinners, soups, and commercial broth products. The problem: carrageenan could be causing inflammation, gut irritation, and even cancer.

    Found in: nutritional shakes, milk products, milk replacements, low fat alternatives, almond milk, soy milk, Vita Coco's Coco Café (yes I'm sorry to break it to you)

  • RAW BUTTER AND ITS BENEFITS

    Avec du Beurre, C'est Meilleur! 

     

    "Avec du beurre, c'est meilleur" is a phrase my grandma remembers me saying often when I was a child, very very very often! This literally means "with butter, it tastes better". She still talks about it now: how amusing it was to hear a 4-year old speak so passionately about butter- the all-singing and dancing hallmark of Breton culture, after all. At every meal, I would reach for the beurre and generously slather some on to my little piece of baguette, my petits pois or whatever food of the moment and munch away very happily. Decadently creamy butter melting on toasted sourdough with its accompanying crunch of sea salt crystals under the tooth is a real taste of home and the ultimate comfort food for me.

     

    With my strong French heritage, butter has formed an integral part of my upbringing. Real Full-Fat Butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows could always (and still can) be found at the table in my home, as this sort of butter is otherwise known in France as normal good quality butter, nothing special. Never did any margarines or spreads appear in our home! I tried it at friends' homes but never liked the taste and always longed for my "Beurre Cru au Sel de Guérande" before I even knew that RAW FULL FAT BUTTER WAS ACTUALLY A HEALTH FOOD! 

     

    So some of you are asking: "What is raw butter? I thought all butter was raw as it's cold." Raw butter is butter made from the unpasteurised milk of grass-fed cows. Unlike pasteurised and ultra-high-temperature (UHT) milk, raw milk is a living food full of natural goodness including beneficial bacteria, food enzymes, natural vitamins and immunoglobulins that are all heat-sensitive. These health-promoting components of natural, raw milk are destroyed by heating and therefore not present in pasteurised milk.

     

    So why has butter been vilified as the cause of heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol... in recent decades? The origins of butter go back thousands of years to when our ancestors first started domesticating animals. For millennia, people around the globe have prized butter for its health benefits. 

     

    The heart disease epidemic started around 1920-1930 and is currently the world’s leading cause of death. Somewhere along the way, nutrition professionals decided that foods like butter, meat and eggs were to blame. According to them, these foods caused heart disease because they were high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

     

    But we’ve been eating butter for thousands of years, since long before heart disease became a problem.

     

    Blaming new health problems on old foods makes no sense.

     

    As consumption of traditional fatty foods like butter went down, diseases like heart disease, obesity and type II diabetes went up. Yet the notion that a healthy diet is one with minimal fat, particularly saturated fat, has persisted. However, while the West drastically reduced their intake of natural animal fats like butter and meat, the processed food industry, particularly the low-fat food industry, proliferated.

     

    The truth is, natural foods like butter have nothing to do with heart disease. In fact, real full-fat butter that comes from grass-fed cows is one of the most important foods you can eat for a healthy heart and overall health.

     

    See below more details on the Health Benefits of Butter:

    (Adapted from the one and only Dr. Joseph Mercola, the World's #1 Natural Health Website)

     

    1. Heart Disease- Butter contains many nutrients that protect against heart disease including vitamins A, D, K2, and E, lecithin, iodine and selenium. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine (Nutrition Week 3/22/91, 21:12).

     

    2. Cancer- The short- and medium-chain fatty acids in butter have strong anti-tumor effects. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in butter from grass-fed cows also gives excellent protection against cancer.

     

    3. Arthritis- The Wulzen or "anti-stiffness" factor in raw butter and also Vitamin K2 in grass-fed butter, protect against calcification of the joints as well as hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland. 

     

    4. Osteoporosis- Vitamins A, D and K2 in butter are essential for the proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus and hence necessary for strong bones and teeth.

     

    5. Thyroid Health- Butter is a good source of iodine, in a highly absorbable form. Butter consumption prevents goitre in mountainous areas where seafood is not available. In addition, vitamin A in butter is essential for proper functioning of the thyroid gland.

     

    6. Digestion- Glycospingolipids in butterfat protect against gastrointestinal infection, especially in the very young and the elderly.

     

    7. Growth & Development- Many factors in the butter ensure optimal growth of children, especially iodine and vitamins A, D and K2. Low-fat diets have been linked to failure to thrive in children.

     

    8. Asthma- Saturated fats in butter are critical to lung function and protect against asthma.

     

    8. Weight Problems and Obesity- CLA and short- and medium-chain fatty acids in butter help control weight gain.

     

    9. Fertility- Many nutrients contained in butter are needed for fertility and normal reproduction.

     

    Good news! It is so easy to get your hands on raw butter in the UK. Just head over to Waitrose or Ocado for the most delicious butter you have ever tried (pictured above): Isigny Sainte Mère Beurre Cru au Sel de Guérande. Or go to Hook & Son for a local option and buy raw milk, raw butter and raw ghee direct from their farm in East Sussex. 

     

    Find out more on the Principles of Healthy Diets from my foodie hero Weston A. Price

  • THAI RED GARDEN VEG CURRY

    vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, delicious

    Meeting Green Kitchen Stories + Thai Red Garden Vegetable Curry 

     

    What an exciting week it has been... On Tuesday, I met the gorgeous couple behind the inspirational food blog Green Kitchen Stories at the Charlotte Street Hotel here in London, where they were hosting a Film & Food event in celebration of the release of their new cookbook Green Kitchen Travels (I can't recommend it enough).

     

     

    For those of you who don't know, this divine Danish-Swedish duo write a gorgeous healthy vegetarian food blog inspired by their travels. Their recipes and stories have warmed my heart, enchanted my soul and titillated my tastebuds over the last year. Their wholesome and creative attitude towards food, travel and life resonate so deeply with me that it inspired me to start this blog last November. Their beautiful cook book is inspired by their adventures with their darling little daughter Elsa, as they travel from San Francisco to Marrakesh to Beijing and so much more. Their recipes are inspiring and uncomplicated using whole, natural, fresh ingredients that delight both the eyes and the palate.

     

    Meeting them was like a dream come true! I'm not easily starstruck (as I'm not partial to our society's infatuation with celebrities), but meeting David and Luise was a special moment for me. I took great pleasure in being able to tell them how they changed my life with their blog by giving me the courage to express myself creatively and culinarily through a blog. It was such a privilege and honour to actually sit down with David over a delicious dinner (with recipes from the new book) and talk endlessly about food and travels, after having just watched the hilarious film Julie & Julia (Luise unfortunately had to go up early to be with their newborn baby boy). In the words of David with his charming Swedish lilt, "Meryl Streep is AMAAAAZING" in this film. And indeed she was, and it was such an AMAAAAZING evening!

     

    Now on to today's post… 

     

    Similar to little Elsa who is now 4 years old, I was whisked around the world from the age of 3 weeks by my globe-trotting parents. Born in Singapore and growing up in Jakarta and Hong Kong, I spent most family holidays discovering Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Thus, I don't remember a time when curry didn't form an essential part of my food repertoire. Granted this also has a lot to do with having a Malaysian-Chinese mother.

     

     

    One of my first memories of cooking was helping my mum to make curry: frying the garlic, ginger and curry paste and pouring in the unctuous coconut milk into the pan of simmering spices. It so happens that my boyfriend also loves curry (he actually wooed me with a homemade curry when we first met at university). So we make curry at least once a week in our home; summer or winter, rain or shine, there is curry on the menu chez OM (Olly & Marie). Here is the most simple recipe for a Thai Red Curry with vegetables from our garden (see the runner beans from our garden in photos below). Enjoy!  

     

    Fragrant Thai Red Curry with Garden Vegetables

    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients:

    1 tb of coconut oil
    3 cloves of garlic, chopped
    2 inches of ginger, chopped

    1 small onion, sliced
    3 tb of organic red curry paste (if you are not making your own paste, make sure you buy one that is without MSG or anything dodgy, there are loads of good Thai ones out there, read the ingredient labels)
    1 can (400g) organic full-fat coconut milk
    handful of fresh seasonal vegetables: (I used 1 x courgette, 1 x cauliflower, 8 x runner beans, few leaves of kale, 1 x red pepper, 8 x cherry tomatoes)

    handful of fresh coriander and pepper for garnish
    handful of live sprouts (optional)

    handful of cashews (optional)

     

    Instructions:

    1. Trim, slice, chop or dice your vegetables as you prefer.

     

    2. Heat coconut oil in a pan and cook the onion, garlic, ginger and curry paste at high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally making sure nothing sticks to the pan.


    3. Lower the heat and add the vegetables and cashews if using (save red pepper and tomatoes for later) and pan fry gently for a few minutes.


    4. Pour in the can of coconut milk and simmer for 15 minutes or so.


    5. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and chopped red pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes at low heat. 


    6. Garnish with fresh coriander and sprouts. And serve alongside bowl of steaming brown rice.

     

     

     

    From our Garden to the Pan to our Plates and to our Happy Tummies...

  • CAULIFLOWER RICE

    Raw Cauliflower Rice

     

    I just love cauliflower rice. I first discovered this through my raw foodist mummy; she served it up with a raw tom kha sprouted lentil curry; I died and went to foodie heaven it was so delicious, couldn't believe it was all raw! 

     

    Not only is cauliflower rice more nutritious than rice, it is also quicker to make, cheaper and utterly delicious. This also works well for grain-free and paleo diets as it's just cauliflower turned into a couscous-like texture.

     

    I get my cauliflowers from our local farmers market for £1 and I'm not exaggerating, these cauliflowers (grown without any fertilisers or pesticides) are big and beautiful (bigger than my head and I have a big head). A large cauliflower makes about 10 portions of cauliflower rice , as it gets super fluffy when blitzed in food processor. What I love about it is that it soaks up sauce, curry and stew just as well as rice.

     

    Some like to pan fry the cauliflower rice in with some spices but I like to keep mine raw, as it has a great texture, gives you more essential nutrition and it's quicker! :) Those are good odds! Happy cauliflower "ricing"!

     

    Ingredients:

     

    1 cauliflower

     

     

    Instructions:

     

     

    1. Pull off the outer leaves and break the cauliflower into large florets, then rinse well.

     

    2. Place in a food processor (like Magimix) and pulse until you reach desired consistency.

     

    3. Ta dah! You're done! Serve with a fragrant curry (or whatever you like).

     

     

  • GAIL'S BLOGGER BRUNCH

    Sunday 12th October 2014

    Happy Sunday Real Foodies!

     

    Get ready to feast your eyes with today's post... Weekend before last, I had the pleasure and privilege to be invited to a blogger brunch hosted by GAIL's Bakery in Exmouth Market. It was utterly divine! I can't go on enough about how much the whole experience hit the spot... Even before the invite, I was already the biggest fan of GAIL's so this was like a dream come true! Every dish of the new brunch menu was laid out before us like kings and queens by the Head Chef (Roy pictured below) himself whilst our very attentive hosts served us pink Perrier & Jouet... wow! Though their menu is not very 'gluten-free' friendly yet (but more to come soon), I can assure you that GAIL's food is all real, natural, wholesome yumminess made with the finest ingredients.

     

    From the gorgeous spelt sourdough to flakey buttery croissants (that passed my discerning French palate with flying colours), this colourful brunch spread was breathtaking! One of my favourite indulgences was the rugelach- a Jewish pastry that looks like a croissant with an almond chocolate filling and a sticky sugary glaze. There were also gorgeous fluffy chive pancakes with smoked salmon (an interesting twist on a Christmas family classic: smoked salmon and blinis). The king of the brunch however was the shakshuka. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, shakshuka is a North African / Middle Eastern dish of baked eggs in a rich tomato and pepper stew (GAIL'S version had creamy feta throughout as well), which was simply incredible!

     

    The icing on the cake was the cold-pressed organic green juice from Pure Earth (pictured below). So deliciously yummy! Green juice is definitely the way to my heart these days so this was a mega mega win! Another delightful discovery was the light and fluffy savoury cornbread smothered in creamy guacamole. Loved the little fruit salad pots and creamy yoghurt with their granola that is just too good for words! 

    Finally the cherry on top of the icing was the GOODIE BAG (pictured above)! This was the goodie bag of all goodie bags full of their divine granola, a spelt loaf, gluten-free chocolate cake which was moist and decadent and lots of other goodies in a cute little tote bag sporting the words "& Butter". The bag was so fitting considering my recent post on the Benefits of Real Butter and of course my general love affair with the elixir that is butter.

     

    Lucky for us, we ended up with two of everything, as I got to bring my charming Olly to the brunch too. As the wonderful universe would have it, in the same week as the brunch, Olly was approached by GAIL's to build their pop-up restaurant for Frieze Art Fair. So if you're going to Frieze, look out for the GAIL's pop-up designed and built by Goldfinger Factory.

     

    GAIL's, truly a family affair!

    Me excitedly showing off my amazing "& BUTTER" bag courtesy of GAIL'S

    Roy and I at the GAIL'S Blogger Brunch

    28th September 2014

    Oliver (my other half) Founder of Goldfinger Factory with Roy at GAIL's Kitchen pop-up at FRIEZE

    15th October 2014

  • CRISPY GARLIC POTATOES WITH AVOCADO AIOLI

    Tuesday 21st October 2014

    Crispy Potato Goodness

     

    Did you ever think it was possible to have a meal of crispy potatoes and creamy aioli that was actually good for you? Well here it is! Made this a few nights ago and OH MY it was so yummy and comforting! We plated up the crispy potatoes in crisp lettuce leaves like a wrap for that fresh contrast (and a healthy dose of greens of course). Olly devoured his part in minutes and couldn't believe how delicious it was, let alone how healthy it was when he heard the ingredients.

     

     

    The recipe is so easy and the potatoes really get incredibly crispy (an area I've never excelled in). I'm not confident cooking potatoes; for some reason, as simple as they are, I find them daunting to get just right, which means we don't have them often. They are just not my area of expertise and Olly does them so well that I let him do the potato work in the kitchen. However, I was determined to overcome this fear and make crispy potatoes! And I did YAY! I assure you, if you follow this recipe, you can't mess it up.

     

     

    Finally, a little word on potatoes... Potatoes often get a bad reputation as being "bad for you" and "really fattening" but that is often down to the way they are cooked (ie. deep fried in refined, rancid oils). Potatoes in their natural state are actually full of essential vitamins and minerals; not only are they super high in potassium, copper and vitamin C but also contain antioxidants that fight against free radical damage that leads to chronic disease. Obviously don't overdo it but once in a while, baked or boiled with healthy, heat-stable fats, GO FOR IT! 

     

     

     

    Crispy Garlic Potatoes with Cashew Avocado Aioli (adapted from Oh She Glows)

     

    Ingredients:

    handful of new potatoes 
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
    Fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (be generous)
    3 garlic cloves
    handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped


    Cashew and Avocado Aioli:
    1 large avocado, halved and pitted
    5 garlic cloves
    juice of half a lemon
    1/2 cup of raw cashews

    1/4 cup of water
    Fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

     

     

    Instructions:
    1. Add potatoes into a large pot and cover with water (I do not peel the potatoes this is what makes them extra crispy). Place on high heat until water starts to boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes or until tender. 


    2. Whilst potatoes are cooking, prepare the cashew and avocado aioli. Add garlic into food processor and process until minced. Now add the rest of the aioli ingredients and process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

     

    3. When potatoes are tender, drain in a colander and cool for 10 minutes or so. Preheat grill to medium setting.


    4. Place potatoes in a large baking dish or tray. With the base of a mug, smash or press down on each potato until it's mostly flattened. Some potatoes might break apart, but this is nothing to worry about.


    5. Drizzle each potato with about 1 teaspoon of oil and sprinkle on a generous amount of salt and pepper. Finally, insert garlic cloves.

     

    6. Roast potatoes under the grill for 20 minutes until golden and crispy. As I used new potatoes they cooked quite quickly. Keep an eye on them as cook time will vary depending on size of potato.


    7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, more sea salt, and pepper. Serve immediately with creamy cashew avocado aioli!

     

  • HEALTHY MAC N' CHEESE

    28 November 2014

    Marie's Mac n' Cheese

     

    Mac n' cheese is one of these meals that just holds a special place in my heart no matter how old I get. It's a real symbol of my fun childhood and the super strong bond I have with my dearest little brother. We are truly obsessed with Mac n' Cheese! I remember us aged 4 (him) and 11 (me) already cooking up this creamy dish that dreams are made of. I have to admit that we used to love the horrible Kraft stuff when we lived in the US (gasp shock horror I know...). The ultimate fun was eating a bowl of mac n' cheese whilst watching FRIENDS! Best thing ever! 

     

    Over the years, we slowly but eventually realised that making our own homemade version with all natural, high quality ingredients and none of the nasties was even more fun and obviously more delicious! Every Christmas when we're back home together, we dedicate at least one evening to concocting the perfect mac n' cheese. So excited to make this recipe with him this year! 


    I recently discovered that integrating pumpkin (or squash) in the cheese sauce, not only means you get lots of extra nutrition from this humble autumn vegetable, it also makes the cheese sauce extra creamy and gives it that wonderful flavour and bright orange colour, though this time 100% natural, unprocessed and good for you! Pumpkin is incredibly rich in vital antioxidants and vitamins; its bright orange flesh provides one of the highest sources of beta-carotene, known to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage. Yay for pumpkin which transforms this traditionally heavy and nutrient-devoid meal into a hearty bowl of clean and creamy goodness. Hope you enjoy this yummy and healthy mac n' cheese as much as I do!

     

    Ingredients:

     

    250g gluten-free macaroni (I only had fusilli which worked just fine) 

    2 tb organic butter

    1 small yellow onion, sliced

    1 small pumpkin or 1 butternut squash 

    3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

    1 teaspoon salt

    200g grated hard cheese (organic Cheddar and/or Gruyère but any hard cheese will work)

    Topping:

    handful of chestnut mushrooms

    2 cloves of garlic

    parsley

    salt and pepper to taste

     

    Instructions:

    1. Cook the gluten-free pasta according to package directions. 
    2. While the pasta is cooking, remove the skin and the seeds from the pumpkin/squash. Cut the flesh into small cubes.
    3. Reserve seeds and place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil or melted butter, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir to coat seeds evenly. Place in oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until crispy. Set aside to cool. 
    4. Heat the butter in a large pan over medium low heat. Place onion and pumpkin into the pan, and sauté over low heat until onions are brown and soft and pumpkin has softened slightly. 
    5. Bring the broth to a boil (ideally homemade otherwise organic stock cubes will do the trick in an emergency) and add the onion and pumpkin to the broth. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.
    6. Whilst the pumpking is cooking, pan fry the garlic in some butter in another pan for a few minutes, add the sliced mushrooms and some chopped parsley. Reserve for topping at the end.
    7. Once pumpkin is fork tender, transfer the pumpkin and most of the broth to the blender with the grated cheese and puree until completely smooth and creamy. Add more broth depending on desired sauce consistency. 
    8. Once you're happy with your sauce, pour sauce over the cooked pasta in a pan and stir to coat evenly. 
    9. Divide mac n' cheese into bowls, top with garlic mushrooms and sprinkle with the crispy pumpkin seeds. 
  • MINCE PIES

    10 December 2014

    Mince Pies & Meditation

      

    Christmas is in the air! The air is getting colder, I've made mince pies and we've brought our tree inside! We have a potted tree that happily lives in our garden all year round and that we bring inside for Christmas (see below); such a lovely tradition that I've learned from my parents- even in Hong Kong we had a potted tree that lived in the garden all year round. It's the best way, as no trees die, you get a real tree and you only have to buy it once. It's a tree for life! Planet-friendly, fun and cost-effective!

     

    So yes I made mince pies! So exciting! They were such a success too. I made them for my Christmas event at Goldfinger Factory on Thursday 11 December. Thank you so much to those of you who made it, it was such a blast meeting you and connecting with such warm, like-minded and passionate individuals.

    I cannot wait to share this recipe with you, as I know those of you who tried them are dying for the recipe so you can make them for your loved ones this jolly season! For those of you who fall into either of the two categories: mince pie sceptics (like my French papa, I will convert him this Christmas) or those who don't know what mince pies are, you must try these! (FYI there is no meat in them nowadays).

    Mince pies are simply a crispy, buttery shortcrust pastry with a luxurious and aromatic filling of stewed fruit (apples, raisins, sultanas, currants) that have been simmered in a host of Christmas spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, citrus zest) and brandy. As always, forget the processed store-bought versions with a list of unpronouncable ingredients and make your own at home! 
     

    These mince pies are not only gluten-free, grain-free, refined-sugar-free, they are also super simple to put together, they just require time to assemble... The rolling and cutting and rolling and cutting requires patience and determination but after a while the process becomes very soothing and therapeutic. I was baking these until the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday night in preparation for the event on Thursday and as I was meticulously hand-cutting star by star with a little knife (I have since bought a star cookie cutter hooray!), I felt utterly at peace and relaxed. It was a sort of meditation. The repetition of the action and the silence of the night transformed what could have felt like a tedious chore into a tranquil moment of calm and clarity. HAHA! Who knew making mince pies could be meditative?!

     

    I leave you with this yummy mince pie recipe bursting with warming spices and comforting textures. The orange zest in the pastry adds a delightful zing and the ginger and goji berries in the mincemeat are just divine (a nice little Asian touch), not to mention that these two ninja superfoods, obviously enhance the nutritional benefits of these little cutie pies! I have added vegan options for you lovely vegans out there. And I have also added a nut-free version for you nut-allergy people. Hopefully that's (almost) everyone covered! Merry Mince Pie Making! 

     

     

    Mini Mince Pies

    Ingredients

    Makes 24 mini mince pies

     

    Equipment:

    greaseproof baking paper 

    rolling pin (or fashion your own with a round bottle) 

    non-stick 12 cup bun sheet or 12 mini cupcake tin (holes shouldn't be too deep)

    68mm crinkled pastry cutter

    small star cookie cutter

     

    Pastry:

    200g ground almonds (or 200g gram flour for those with nut allergies)

    1/4 teaspoon of sea salt or pink himalayan salt

    1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

    1 tablespoon of maple syrup

    15g raw salted butter (or coconut oil for vegans) 

    1 free range pastured egg (or 1 chia "egg" for vegans) 

    zest of 1 orange, save juice for mincemeat mixture

     

    Mincemeat:

    2 Bramley apples, cored and chopped finely (no need to peel)

    200g mixed fruit (I like this mix: 40g raisins, 40g sultanas, 40g currants, 40g cranberries, 40g goji berries) 

    juice of 1 orange

    zest and juice of 1 lemon

    1 teaspoon of ground ginger or a thumb of fresh ginger, grated 

    1 teaspoon of ground mixed spice

    1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

    1 tablespoon of orange blossom water

    3 tablespoons of brandy (optional)

    25g of salted butter (or coconut oil for vegans)

    1 small pinch of sea salt (if not using salted butter)

     

    Instructions:

     

    1. Mix together the pastry ingredients with your hands in a bowl until they form a dough, adding a little bit more ground almonds if it's too wet. 

     

    2. Cut into 3 pieces and chill in the fridge while you make your mincemeat.

     

    3. Finely chop the apples so that they are about the same size as the raisins.

     

    4. Place all mincemeat ingredients into a large pot and cook on a medium heat, lid on, for about 20 minutes until the apples are soft. Stir every now and then to prevent sticking and add more liquid to loosen if necessary.

     

    5. Lift the lid and allow any extra liquid to evaporate on a low heat.

     

    6. Butter a mini bun sheet / cake tin so they come out easily. 

     

    7. Working with one third of the chilled dough at a time, roll the dough with a rolling pin between 2 pieces of baking paper until dough is a few millimetres thick.

     

    8. Use a crinkled pastry cutter (I used a 68mm cutter) that fits the diameter of your cupcake cases to cut several discs of pastry. 

     

    9. Use a knife to gently lift each disc and place in the centre of the buttered cupcake hole and press down gently to mould to shape of cupcake hole. 

     

    10. Once you've cut out as many discs as you can, re-roll the dough into a ball and roll out flat again with a rolling pin. And repeat with the second part of dough. You should be able to make at least 24 discs from two thirds of the mixture. Keep the remaining third for the star shapes to go on top of your mince pie.

     

    11. Bake the mini pie bases for 5 minutes at 170ºC and remove from the oven.

     

    12. Fill each mini pie base with 1 heaped teaspoon of mincemeat or as much as you can fit.

     

    13. Using a star cookie cutter, cut stars from the remaining dough and gently place on top of each pie.

     

    14. Brush the tops with melted butter or egg wash, sprinkle with a little coconut sugar or rapadura and bake for approximately 10 minutes until lightly golden.

     

    15. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then the mini pies should slide right out, ready to be devoured. 

  • SICHUAN-STYLE GREEN BEANS

    vegetarian, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free

    Garlic, Ginger and Chilli: The Holy Trinity of Chinese Cooking

     

    "Healthy Chinese food, is that a thing?" you ask. Yes it can be! Contrary to popular belief, traditional Chinese cuisine is fresh, well-balanced and nutritious, bursting with colourful vegetables, abundant in aromatic and detoxifying spices and you will find bone broth at the core of many Chinese recipes. Indeed, very far removed from the MSG-laden, hydrogenated oil-dripping, sugar-filled food that masquerades as Chinese food in most of the Western world (sadly). 

    I am on a mission to "rebrand" Chinese food as the light, fresh, vegetable-intensive and fragrant cuisine that it can be when made with natural and whole ingredients at home: no processed sauces, no corn starch, no MSG (obviously) and instead of soy sauce, I use tamari so it's ALL 100% gluten-free! 

    This simple Sichuan green bean recipe is so easy, it will no doubt become a regular quick dinner staple for you too, as it takes less than 10 minutes to throw together. Garlic, ginger and chilli, which I often refer to as the holy Trinity of Chinese cuisine makes these beans sing an opera in your mouth. Apart from being utterly scrumptious and satisfying, these spices are profoundly healing on the body too. Chilli and ginger both have strong anti-inflammatory properties and are known for reducing appetite and boosting the immune system. 

    To transform this divine little side dish into a complete and balanced meal, I simply threw an organic egg in the pan with the beans and blanched some soba noodles to make this delightful and colourful 10-minute dish: Sichuan Green Beans on a bed of soba noodles and runny organic egg. Et voilà! Stay tuned for lots more healthy Chinese cooking inspiration over the next few weeks as we gear up for Chinese New Year! 

    One of the best things about being a hybrid model of French-Chinese origin is that you get to celebrate more holidays than a pure breed, especially at this time of year. I get the whole run up to Christmas, New Year's, La Fête des Rois and then to top it all off Chinese New Year! So celebrating for my family begins early December and ends some time in February depending on that year's lunar cycle. I always loved this ongoing string of celebrations growing up, but I love it even more now that I live in a cold country which advocates a sort of self-imposed yet false abstemiousness (in the month of January only) and preposterous marketing campaigns like the 26th January being labelled as the most depressing day of the year as a ploy to get people buying more stuff. If one were to actually listen to mainstream media in January, it's not the most upbeat or life-affirming messages. So ignore all of that and join me in celebrating good times, good food, good health, joy and prosperity this Chinese New Year! 

    This year we are celebrating the arrival of the more peaceful Yin Wood Sheep Year on Thursday 19th February, after an energetic and at times tumultuous Year of the Yang Wood Horse. For those of you in London, come and learn how to make an array of delicious and clean Chinese dishes (such as these beans) on Sunday 15th February at Goldfinger Factory so you can cook your own Chinese New Year feast on the actual day! There are a few tickets left, so if you'd like to join us, book here to reserve your space. 

     

    Peace and beans, 

    Bain-Marie

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    Sichuan Style Green Beans

    Serves 2

    Cook Time: 10 minutes

     

    Ingredients:

    • 400g green beans
    • 1-2 small dried chillies
    • 1 teaspoon whole Sichuan peppercorn
    • 1 fresh red chilli, chopped
    • 4 tablespoons of neutral olive oil (not virgin)
    • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 inch ginger, finely minced

    Instructions: 

     

     

    1. Slice the end of the green beans, wash and drain.

     

    2. Heat up a pan without oil and then put green beans into the pan for around 5 mins to remove a bit of moisture.

     

    3. Add around 4 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and continue to fry until the skin of the green beans starts to wrinkle. This process may take 8-10 minutes.

     

    4. Retain around 1 tablespoon of oil in pan and discard the rest, add dried red pepper or chilli flakes, Sichuan peppercorn, garlic, ginger and chopped fresh chili to stir fry until the garlic and ginger go a lovely golden colour.

     

    5. Return dry fried green beans and add sea salt. Mix well and serve!

     

  • MALAYSIAN LAKSA

    8 February 2015

    Malaysian Coconut Laksa Soup

     

    This soup will have your mouth and heart singing with joy, as it is so soothing, nourishing and just tastes sooo dam good! This soup is like getting a big hug from the culinary gods with a gorgeous base of chicken and prawn broths paired with a host of exotic spices from lemongrass, garlic, ginger, shallots and chilli which is finally smoothed out with a splash of coconut milk.

     

    Malaysian Laksa (Nyonya Coconut Milk Laksa)

    Serves 2 as a main, Serves 4 as a starter

     

    Ingredients:

     

    For the bone broth:

    • 4 organic chicken thigh bones
    • 400g prawns, peeled but save the shells and heads 
    • 2 litres of fresh filtered water
    • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
    • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon sea salt, adjust to taste
    • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, adjust to taste

    For the curry paste:

    • 20g dried shrimps
    • 10 chillies
    • 15g galangal (use ginger if you can't get galangal)
    • 6 macadamia nuts
    • 15g turmeric root or 3 tablespoons of turmeric
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 8 shallots
    • 3 drops of lemongrass essential oil or 3 stalks of lemongrass
    • 200ml organic full-fat coconut milk

    To add at the end:

    • 2 portions of organic rice, mung bean or buckwheat noodles (approx 100g per person), blanched
    • sambal (recipe below)
    • handful of fresh coriander leaves
    • handful of fresh mint leaves
    • mung bean sprouts (optional)
    • 1 organic egg, soft boiled, halved
    • few thin slices of organic cucumber
    • quarters of limes, to squeeze at the end

    For sambal:

    • 15 dried chillies, soaked and seeds removed
    • 3 fresh chillies
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1 tablespoon of coconut milk
    • 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste (alternative: 1 teaspoon of lime juice)
    • 1 shallot, finely sliced 
    • 20g of anchovies
    • 125ml of water
    • sea salt and unrefined sugar to taste
    • coconut oil to fry

     

    Instructions:

    1. Heat some coconut oil in a large pot and fry prawn skins and heads until they become fragrant and become a lovely orange colour. Save the actual prawns for later (Step 10). 
    2. Cover the prawn skins and heads with 2 litres of fresh filtered water. Add all the remaining ingredients for the broth into the pot of boiling water. Bring the prawn skins and chicken bones to a boil then lower heat, cover and simmer for at least 2-3 hours to extract all the goodness from the bones (ideally 24 hours for chicken if you have a slow cooker).
    3. Prepare sambal by placing all sambal ingredients in a blender to form a smooth paste.
    4. Then heat a small knob of coconut oil, and transfer sambal into the hot oil and cook for a few minutes until it deepens in colour (approx 5-10 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside for later. (This can be stored in a jar in the fridge for a few weeks). 
    5. Blend all curry paste ingredients except coconut milk to make your curry paste.
    6. Heat pan with some coconut oil and add curry paste and cook until fragrant.
    7. With a fine mesh sieve, strain chicken and prawn broths directly into the pot with the cooked curry paste. Mix thoroughly.
    8. Add sea salt and coconut sugar to taste and allow broth to simmer at medium to high heat for 10-15 minutes.
    9. Stir in the 200ml of coconut milk at this stage. Allow broth to come to the boil at high heat. When it has boiled, it is ready (do not overboil). 
    10. Whilst broth is coming to the boil, blanch prawns and noodles in a pot of boiling water. Place egg in a pot of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from boiling water, run under cold water and peel egg immediately. 
    11. Place cooked noodles into a bowl, add broth and garnish with prawns, slices of cucumber, fresh coriander, mint and halved soft boiled egg.
    12. Serve with sambal.
    13. Devour with enthusiasm!

     

  • FRAGRANT THAI FISH CAKES

    vegan, vegetarian, grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free

    Kaffir Lime Fish Balls (or Cakes)

    Makes 12

     

    Ingredients:

    400g sustainable white fish meat
    1 tablespoon grey sea salt or pink himalayan salt
    2 teaspoon organic ground white pepper
    3 garlic cloves
    1 tablespoon xantham gum
    1/2 teaspoon organic baking powder

    few kaffir lime leaves, chopped 

    Instructions:

    1. Combine all the ingredients in food processor or blender. Blend until very fine.

    2. Place fish dough ball covered in refrigerator for 30 mins.* (for fish cake option)

    3. Remove from refrigerator and roll into balls. 

    4. Drop into water that has been boiling and reduce to medium heat.
    5. After 15 minutes, they should rise to the surface (means they are cooked), drop cooked fish balls in a bowl of ice water to stop them from overcooking.

    6. Serve with a salad or in a noodle soup. (See Malaysian Laksa recipe). 

     

    *OR to make into Fish Cakes

    3. Remove from refrigerator and roll into little patties (as in photo above).

    4. Heat some coconut oil in a pan and pan fry until golden on both sides. 

    5. Enjoy with some homemade chilli sauce and a fresh green salad.

     

  • RAW THAI SALAD

    raw, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free

    Raw Thai-Inspired Salad

    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients:

    • 5 cherry tomatoes 
    • 2 red chilli peppers 
    • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (use tamari for vegans and vegetarians)
    • 1 clove garlic 
    • 100g organic green beans 
    • 500g green papaya, julienned or spiralised
    • 1 organic carrot, julienned
    • 1 lime or 3 drops of lime essential oil
    • 1.5 tablespoons coconut sugar 
    • 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, crushed (optional)
    • coriander leaves, (to garnish)

     

    Instructions:

     

     1. Julienne green papaya using a julienne peeler. If not using right away, soak in ice water for a few minutes, then drain and pat dry with paper towel before tossing.

     

    2. Add garlic, toasted almonds, dried shrimps, chilli, shallots, green beans, honey and fish sauce to mortar. Squeeze lime juice and add in the lime rind. Pound with pestle to gently crush the ingredients to release their flavours, about a minute.

     

    3. Add cherry tomatoes and green papaya. Pound gently until tomatoes are softly crushed, moist but still intact. Toss to coat evenly. Remove lime rind. Transfer to serving plate and garnish with coriander.

  • BLACK BEAN BROWNIES

    grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free

    Beany Brownies

     

    Ever had beans in your desserts? Well if you've ever been to China, Japan or Malaysia/Singapore, I would say probably yes! They are the kings and queens of beany desserts. Mochi, the delicious glutinous rice treat that graces many Asian restaurants' menus nowadays, is traditionally filled with a sweet red bean paste. And what about the garish Malaysian dessert known as ice kacang, it's got beans all over it! So perhaps this is what got me thinking about incorporating beans into a cake. And BROWNIES came to mind, as I just love brownies! Brownies are so good; they are a humble yet decadent treat that truly suits any occasion. 

     

    Whilst eating some Mexican food the other day, I thought to myself: "man these black beans are so filling and quite floury. I wonder if they would work as a flour substitute in baking" and so these brownies came to life. I then googled it and realised that the internet is full of black bean brownie recipes. As they say, there is no such thing as an original thought, most creations are just reiterations of previous iterations but it's OK, I don't need the credit for this divine invention. It's a nice story anyway! So without further a do, here is my version of black bean brownies- no flour, just pure protein brownies: black beans, eggs, salted butter, maple syrup and raw cacao. It doesn't get easier than that! Due to their high protein content, I've actually been having them for a quick breakfast on the go this week. 

     

    Have fun with this recipe, it's so easy you won't believe it, and they have such a divine fudgy texture when they have cooled! I'm staring at the last one right now. I think I must go and eat it... Until next time real foodies. 

     

    With much beany love,

    Bain-Marie

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    Black Bean Brownies

    Makes 12 brownie squares

     

    Ingredients:

    800g organic black beans (2 x tins of organic black beans), drained and rinsed

    220g organic salted butter, melted and cooled

    4 large organic eggs

    160ml pure maple syrup

    70g raw organic cacao

    handful of activated pecans pieces (optional) 

     

    Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees/Gas Mark 4.

    2. Blend all ingredients (except pecans and butter) in a food processor until it forms a smooth batter.

    3. Melt butter in a small saucepan, allow to cool. Slowly pour in the slightly cooled melted butter whilst processor is on to slowly incorporate the butter into the batter evenly. 

    4. Grease square or rectangular cake tin or ceramic dish with butter. Pour in the batter and sprinkle with pecan pieces.

    5. Place in the oven for 40 minutes or until the top is cracked and the cake feels firm. 

    6. Allow to cool before cutting into squares and devouring with enthusiasm! 

  • VANILLA SPICE NUTTY GRANOLA

    vegetarian, gluten-free, refined sugar-free

    Vanilla Spice Nutty Granola

    Makes 2kg

     

    Ingredients:

    • Nuts and Seeds to Activate:
    • 200g whole almonds, skins on 
    • 200g pecans pieces
    • 100g pumpkin seeds
    • 100g sunflower seeds
    • To heat:
    • 90g maple syrup
    • 90g raw honey
    • 180g coconut or rapadura sugar
    • 180g raw butter (or coconut oil for vegan option)
    • 2 lemons, zest finely grated 
    • 1 tbsp natural vanilla powder (you can use 1 tbsp of vanilla extract too but doesn't give you the beautiful black dots)
    • pinch of fine sea salt
    • Dry ingredients:
    • 450g jumbo rolled gluten-free oats
    • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1⁄2 tsp ground cloves 
    • To add at the end after cooking:
    • 100g golden raisins (or chopped, dried organic apricots or seedless raisins) 
    • 100g sultanas

    To Serve:

    • coconut yoghurt, any plant milk (for vegan option)
    • full-fat greek yoghurt or milk kefir (are my favourite)

    Instructions:

    1. Soak almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in fresh filtered water for at least 8 hours to release all phytic acid (this aids in digestion). Drain and rinse well so they are completely dry. Pop them on a baking tray and place in oven at lowest temperature for 10 minutes just to remove any excess moisture.

     

    2. Put the maple syrup, honey, butter (or coconut oil), lemon zest, vanilla, coconut sugar and salt into a saucepan and stir gently over a low heat, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat and cook for another 2 minutes to give a glossy, shiny syrup. Set aside to cool a little.

     

    3. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Pour in the cooled syrup and mix well to coat every speck – you don’t want any dry patches left. 

     

    4. Line a baking tray with baking paper, and spread the sticky granola evenly across it (use two trays if necessary). 

     

    5. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring it every 10 minutes with a wooden spoon to break up the oats into clumps, moving them around slightly to encourage clusters to form. If you like big clusters, be gentle. If you don’t, give it a really good stir each time. Once cooked, leave in the baking tin to cool, and don’t switch off the oven. If you’re a large clusters fan, leave the granola well alone to reach room temperature. If you prefer smaller clusters, continue to stir it occasionally as it cools. 

     

    6. Mix in the dried fruit and store in an airtight container. 

     

    7. For vegan option: Serve with almond milk or coconut yoghurt. 

     

    8. My favourite is served with raw milk, full-fat greek yoghurt or raw milk kefir. 

  • GOLDEN PARSNIP SPONGE

    gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free

    Parsnip Party! 

     

    What to do with parsnips? That is the question! If you're like me and not a huge fan of it in soups or roasted as part of a Sunday roast, then here's a recipe for you. It's sweet notes work a treat in this cake. Sneaking in vegetables in cakes is definitely becoming a specialty of mine. I love it, aside from the nutritional content of vegetables, it adds much needed moisture to cakes. Dry cake anyone? No thank you I'd rather my cake be lovely and moist. 

     

    As always, this cake is totally gluten-free and refined sugar-free. This golden beauty is even dairy-free as I've used olive oil as the "fat" for this cake. Topped with the smooth and unctuous orange blossom yoghurt icing it is simply divine. So if you've been receiving bucket loads of parsnips in your Abel & Cole boxes recently (like me), then here's an idea to use them up in a fruitful way. 

     

    Parsnippy love,

    Marie

     

    Spiced Parsnip Cake
    Serves 8

     

    Ingredients:

    1 cup chickpea flour

    1 cup ground almonds
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp vanilla powder
    1 tsp ground ginger
    1 pinch clove
    1 pinch salt
    250g (2 small/medium) parsnips
    1 orange, zest
    4 eggs
    3/4 cup / 160 ml honey or maple syrup
    3/4 cup / 160 ml cold-pressed olive oil

     

    Icing
    1 cup of organic creme fraiche or full fat greek yoghurt
    1 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey
    1 tablespoon of orange blossom water 
     

    Instructions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Grease the sides and base of a Guggelhopf silicone cake tin if you have one (otherwise a regular round 20-22 cm / 8-9 inches springform tin) with olive oil. Sift together the flours, baking powder and spices.
    2. Peel and grate the parsnips (you can keep the peel on if you use organic) and zest the orange.
    3. Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. 
    4. Pour the batter into your cake tin. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until golden and a wooden skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before before removing it from the springform tin.

    5. Make the icing by stirring together creme fraiche or yoghurt with maple syrup and orange blossom water. Spread the icing over the cake when it has cooled completely. Garnish with orange zest.
     

  • VERY BERRY SMOOTHIE

    raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar free, nut-free, vegan

    Very Berry Smoothie

    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup of frozen berries (I used a frozen Forest Fruits mix of blackberries, dark sweet cherries and grapes)
    • 2 cups of liquid (any plant milk, water, coconut water)
    • handful of organic broccoli, washed
    • thumb of fresh ginger, peeled
    • 2 dates, pitted (optional depending on how sweet you like things)

    Instructions:

     

    1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Add more liquid depending on desired consistency. 

    2. Serve in two tall glasses and enjoy! 

  • APPLE, ALMOND AND SPINACH SMOOTHIE

    raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar free, vegan

    Apple, Almond and Spinach Smoothie

    Serves 2 

     

    Ingredients:

    • 1 large apple (or 2 small apples)
    • 2 tablespoons of almond butter
    • large handful of spinach
    • thumb of fresh ginger, peeled
    • 1 cup of almond milk
    • 2 cups of fresh filtered water
    • 1-2 dates, depending on sweetness of apples 

    Instructions:

    1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend thoroughly. 

     

    2. Add more liquid depending on desired consistency. I like mine quite runny, others like them thicker. 

     

    3. Enjoy!

  • GINGER & GOJI CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

    gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free

    Bone Broth: The Beauty, The Brains and The Brawn

     

    Boiling the bones of animals is one of the oldest culinary traditions that exists across cultures all over the world- from Jewish chicken soup, Russian Borscht, Vietnamese Beef Pho, Japanese Pork Ramen, Chinese Egg Drop Soup to Malaysian Laksa... Bone broth is at the heart of the Bain-Marie food philosophy, as it is a clear example of how gastronomy and health are inextricably linked. I am SO passionate about showing the world that taste and health are not mutually exclusive, but in fact two sides of the same coin. Just like eating full-fat grass-fed butter, it tastes better than any vegetable oil spreads and it is so much better for your health. 

     

    I often compare bone broth to green juice in that it extracts the goodness from the animal kingdom into a more digestible form making nutrients more readily available in your body, just like green juice does for the plant kingdom. What I love most about bone broths is how sustainable they are, as it truly uses the whole animal and true to form, I do love a bit of nose to tail eating (I am half-Chinese and half-French after all probably the two culinary traditions with the greatest penchant for truly eating the whole animal). Like with everything, your bone broth will only be as good as the quality of your ingredients, so always make sure you get your bones from an ethical source ideally a local farmer's market. And guess what, you can often get beautiful organic bones for FREE if you ask your butcher nicely with a big lovely smile! Yes free totally free, now who doesn't love free food? 

     

    Bone broth is not only a sustainable, cheap food tradition and a remedy for all sorts of ailments, but also a vital ingredient in any Michelin-starred kitchen. In Europe and Asia alike, broths are the delicious foundation of cooking and are used not only for making soups and stews, but also for preparing reductions, sauces and for braising vegetables and meats. The best part is that bone broth is simple to make, soothing and makes everything taste better! 

     

    Bone broths are a wonderfully rich source of protein, minerals and gelatin, which supports skin health (and tackles that pesky cellulite better than any cream) which is why it is often referred to as a wonderful BEAUTY food. Gelatin also supports digestive health which is why bone broth plays a critical role in the GAPS diet and maintaining a healthy gut.

     

    I get a lot of people asking me whether bone broth is just a fashionable trend of the moment, encapsulated in questions like "isn't bone broth just a fancy word for stock?" So, you ask, what is the true difference between stock and broth? Before this modern age of "food convenience", broth and stock were indeed the same thing. However, nowadays stock can refer to stock cubes or bouillon powder which are products of "advancements" in food technology, manufactured for taste only and are often made from artificial ingredients like hydrolysed protein, emulsifiers and thickeners. Secondly, stock can refer to vegetable stock whereas bone broth is always animal-based. Another point of difference is the length of cooking time, where a stock would be simmering for about 3 hours, bone broth has been simmering for 6-48 hours to extract all the goodness from the bones! Here's my quick guide to bone broth cooking times: 

     

      • Beef broth: 24-48 hours

      • Chicken or poultry broth: 12-24 hours
      • Seafood broth: 6-8 hours

    On that note, here is one my favourite and simple bone broth recipes: Ginger & Goji Chicken Noodle Soup! And for my lovely New York-based followers, do I have amazing news for you!?

     

    Last year, my dearest friend from school, Taylor Chen, has (as the universe would have it) started New York's first broth house, Bone Deep & Harmony, offering freshly-made quarts of homemade bone broth made from the bones of locally sourced grass-fed cows and pastured-raised chickens; it is slow-simmered and prepared using traditional techniques, which maximise the extraction of beneficial minerals. So if you’re a busy New Yorker with a tiny kitchen, Bone Deep & Harmony has you covered! Above all, I can assure you that Bone Deep & Harmony broth is made with love and attention to quality and with pickup locations across NYC and Westchester, what more could you want? Email info@bonedeepandharmony.com for more information. 

     

    Bisous and bone broth,

    Marie

     

    Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup

    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients:

    • 4 chicken thigh bones or any leftover chicken bones
    • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
    • 2 inches of fresh ginger, finely sliced into matchsticks
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • handful of goji berries
    • 2 litres of fresh filtered water
    • sea salt to taste
    • 2 bay leaves
    • handful of fresh greens (I used chard here but any will do, if you use spinach add it at the end as it will disintegrate if boiled for too long)
    • few nests of mung bean noodles (buckwheat noodles work well too)

    Instructions:

    1. Place chicken bones in a pot and cover with 2 litres of fresh filtered water. 

     

    2. Bring to the boil for a few minutes and then lower to simmer.

     

    3. Add the rest of the ingredients at this stage except the noodles and allow to cook on the lowest possible heat for at least 3 hours. 

     

    4. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. When you are happy with your broth, soak the noodles in some boiling water until they are cooked (usually about 10 minutes).

     

    5. Place cooked noodles in bowls and cover with chicken broth. 

     

    6. Enjoy! 

  • COCONUT MILK SAGO PUDDING

    gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free, vegan, vegetarian

    Coconut Sago Pudding

    Makes 4 puddings

     

    Ingredients:

    • 80g tapioca (allow 20g per person)
    • 80g organic coconut sugar
    • 2 tablespoons of water
    • 100ml organic coconut milk
    • pinch of sea salt
    • few pandan leaves

    Instructions:

    1. Place tapioca pearls in a small pan of boiling water and stir frequently to prevent from clumping. 

     

    2. When tapioca goes translucent, it is cooked, drain and rinse under cold water. For a firm pudding, rinse thoroughly under cold water. For a softer, more gooey pudding, don't rinse for too long.

     

    3. Divide tapioca evenly in four small ramekins and press down with the back side of a wet spoon. Place in the fridge to set for at least half an hour (can be done the night before). 

     

    4. Just before serving, make the coconut caramel by melting coconut sugar with water in a pan stirring frequently until all the sugar is dissolved. 

     

    5. In a separate pot, bring the coconut milk, pandan leaves and salt to the boil and remove from heat immediately. Do not place coconut milk under too much heat or it will separate.

     

    6. Pop out the tapioca puddings onto plates and cover in the warm salted coconut milk and drizzle with a little coconut caramel. Garnish with a few sprigs of pandan or mint. 

  • RAW CHOCOLATE BUNNIES

    raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian

    Bunny Bonanza

     

    I'm so excited to share this delicious and simple chocolate recipe with you! Homemade raw chocolate that is so good for you, so utterly delicious and takes 5 minutes to make... it just doesn't get better than that?! And the bunnies are just too cute! OK if you're not a cute bunny kind of person, you can still make this gorgeous raw chocolate recipe into whatever shape you like- hearts, squares, eggs the world is your oyster (just grab yourself some silicone chocolate moulds from a cookshop or Amazon)!

    Bunnies are particularly close to my heart, as I'm a rabbit in Chinese star signs and my birthday always falls very close to or often on Easter Sunday so I'm just a bit of a bunny all around. And well let's face it, they are seriously cute. And if you ever do feel nostalgic for the Lindt Gold Bunny, but keen to avoid refined sugars and other processed ingredients, here you go! This is the recipe for you! Sorry I'm a little late for Easter, but I reckon we can pretend it's still chocolate bunny season.

    How is it possible that you only need 3 ingredients to make gorgeous and decadent healthy chocolate? It really is quite amazing. And also it only takes about 5 minutes to make. I absolutely adore the combination of dark chocolate and sea salt, a match made in chocolate heaven so feel free to add a light touch of sea salt if you so fancy too. The smooth creaminess of cacao paired with the crunch of sea salt is indeed something to write home about.

    Need I go into the health benefits of raw cacao? Perhaps I do, as I still get the occasional strange look when I say things like "chocolate is actually good for you". The reason why cacao has been vilified as an unhealthy junk food is because of the heavy processing of cacao to make cocoa, resulting in a mostly nutritionally devoid food. Most chocolate found in bars and desserts, is heated at high temperatures which destroys all the nutritional goodness naturally found in raw cacao. And to top it all off, chocolate is often the victim of all sorts of processing such as added skimmed milk powders and refined sugars... non merci! 
     
    I like my chocolat, real and clean! And guess what? It tastes better, makes you glow from the inside out and is so easy and quick to make! 

     

    Chocolatey hugs to you and yours,

    Marie

     

     

    Raw Chocolate Bunnies with Sea Salt

    Makes 8 bunnies

     

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup of organic raw cacao butter
    • 3 tablespoons of organic raw cacao powder (to taste)
    • 2 tablespoons of organic pure maple syrup (to taste)
    • pinch of unrefined sea salt (optional)

    Instructions: 

     

    1. Gently melt the cacao butter in a bain-marie (I always smile when any of my recipes require a bain-marie).  

     

    2. Once thoroughly melted, stir in the cacao powder and sweeten with maple syrup and stir. 

     

    3. Take the pot off the heat and sprinkle with a little bit of gros sel (sea salt flakes). Stir through but not too much, you don't want the salt to melt, the point is to retain that crunch of sea salt under your tooth. (mmmm!)

     

    4. Pour into your silicone chocolate moulds and pop into the freezer for half an hour and then store in the fridge until you're ready to eat them. 

  • RAW MANGO & COCONUT CHEESECAKE

    raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar free, vegan

    Mango Madness

     

    The flavours of Thailand come to life in this sumptuous and sunny raw cake. Luscious mango and creamy coconut come together in a magical explosion of textures and flavours in the quintessentially Thai dessert of Mango Sticky Rice. These two tropical ingredients are simply a match made in heaven, such a refreshing and tropical mélange that I felt compelled to create a delicious raw treat from the same ingredients of the Thai classic. And so I did, and this divine cake was born just in time for my enTHAIrely Raw Master Class, where I first demo-ed this cake to a lovely group of ladies and gentleman. 

     

    A classic date and desiccated coconut base topped with a creamy mango and cashew cream! Enjoy this raw recreation of mango sticky rice, it is just heavenly! 

     

    Raw Mango Cheesecake

    Prep Time: 15 mins Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins

    Serves: 6-8

     

    Ingredients:

     

    For the base:

    • 1 cup of desiccated coconuts 
    • 1 cup of dates (soft and sticky ones), pitted 
    • ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt or unrefined sea salt

    For the filling:

    • 4-5 large ripe mangoes, flesh removed from skin and seed
    • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
    • 150g coconut oil
    • 180g maple syrup or raw honey (to taste)
    • cream from 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk (put in the fridge overnight, and just use the top creamy part save the water for smoothies)

    For decoration:

    • mango slices, fanned out over the cake
    • pomegranate seeds to sprinkle on top
    • organic coconut chips, to sprinkle on top 

     

    Instructions:
    1. Place coconut milk tin in the fridge the night before you plan to make it. Soak the cashews in fresh filtered water the night before. 

     

    2. In a food processor blend the dates, desiccated coconut and salt, until you get a ‘dough’ or until the mixture forms a ball (if it’s too dry, add 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil to the dough). Place it in the freezer to harden whilst you make the creamy mango filling.

     

    3. Drain soaked cashews and place cashews with all the other filling ingredients in a food processor to blend until smooth. Pour the mango filling over the base. Smooth out with a spatula.

     

    4. Set in the freezer for at least 3 hours (it should be firm enough to slice up).

     

    5. This cake can be kept in the freezer for several days. 

     

    6. Once you are ready to serve, place all the garnish ingredients on top. 

     

     

    Photography by Olivia Basheer

  • CLEAN TRAVEL TIPS

    10 May 2015

    Top Clean Travel Tips


    Hello Real Foodies,

    Just got back from an epic trip spending quality time with my little brother in Montreal. We also managed to squeeze in a road trip to New York seeing old friends and MAN OH MAN it was so good for the soul on so many levels! It was giggles galore, fun in the sun and just general awesome bonding time! Due to the nature of my family spread across the world (parents in Hong Kong, brother in Montreal, me in London, rest of family scattered around France, Malaysia and Singapore), I associate airports with fun fun fun, as airports usually mean I'm going to see family and friends! 

    However, travelling (especially on planes) is not always so fun and is very hard on the body, as it literally dehydrates you from the inside out and sucks out all of your energy! So thought I would share with you my super travel tips to keep you looking and feeling great whilst travelling and to beat that jet lag (or skip it entirely), so you can enjoy as much of your holiday as possible! 

    1. Drink tons of water before, during and after the flight. As you can't take water through security, buy the largest bottle of water you can find after you've cleared security, so that you don't have to rely on flight attendants topping up your sad little plastic cup once every so often. And refill the whole water bottle so you are topped up throughout the flight. 

    2. Avoid eating plane food entirely and come prepared with a nutrient-dense homemade meal packed in a jam jar! And/or buy a cleaner meal at the airport if you don't have time to prepare your own. In London, we are lucky to have Leon in most airport terminals that offer great healthy options such as their Kale Caesar Salad which I opted for on this trip. Plane food is totally devoid of any nutrition and just tastes awful. Play it safe and bring your own. Better for your taste buds and better for you body. 

    3. Prepare your body with a high dose of nutrients with a green smoothie or green juice before the flight. I drank mine pictured above on the way to airport so it was all finished before going through security. Great nourishment and hydration for your body pre-flight. And well they are just delicious! So any excuse to have a green smoothie, right?!

    4. Bring an eyemask. Unless you always travel in First Class, most airlines do not necessarily provide eye masks anymore in Economy which is a real pain! So bring your own eyemask, as you want to try to sleep as much as possible on the plane to block out the unpleasant light. Some earplugs can be handy too! 

    5. For long-haul flights, change your watch to your destination's timezone as you enter the plane and start getting your body ready for the new timezone. So if it's night time in your destination, try to go to sleep. If it's daytime, then stay awake for a while but always try to get as much sleep as possible in the plane. 

    6. Take some melatonin. I always travel with melatonin, as it's a totally safe and natural supplement to regulate sleep cycles and thus combat jet lag. I usually take one before going to sleep as it produces the same hormones that are needed to fall asleep. Once I arrive at my destination, I usually keep taking melatonin for the first few nights whilst my body adjusts to the new time zone. (Hard to find in UK, I know). 

    7. Bring some lavender essential oil. Apply a few drops of lavender oil into your hands, temples and wrists. Cup your hands over your nose and mouth and inhale and exhale deeply a few times. This will be soothing, calming and help you get to sleep as well as soothe any crying babies around you. 

    8. Sleep as much as possible. Yes try to get as much sleep as much as possible. Watching loads of movies throughout the flight just tires your eyes and body out. If I'm really not tired and can't get to sleep right away, then I watch one movie whilst eating my homemade meal and then try to get as much sleep as possible for the rest of the flight. 

    9. Bring a good natural moisturiser with you to keep your skin hydrated. I tend to use coconut oil or Green People Organics Vitamin Fix 24 Hour Cream. The plane really dries you out like a dehydrator but not in a good way, so keep your skin moisturised. 

    10. Drink more water! You really can't drink enough water during a flight, so just keep topping up that water bottle. And my little Asian tip, ask for some hot water, it will hydrate you even quicker and more effectively. 

    Hope this is helpful to you! And if you have any other travel tips for staying clean, please do share them with me on the blog. 

     

    Bon voyage,

    Marie

     

  • TOP BANANA PANCAKES

    15 May 2015

    Top of the Banana to You + Blueberry Chia Jam

     

    Let's face it pancakes are one of the most exciting things ever, aren't they? Who doesn't love a good fluffy stack of (healthy) pancakes with a drizzling of maple syrup? I sure do and always love experimenting with different combinations of flours and toppings. And I have to say this particular number is a winning combination of awesomeness, simplicity and (of course) nutrition! 
     

    2 eggs + 1 banana = pancakes
     

    Effectively the blog post could end here as this recipe is actually as simple as that. But I have included a very detailed step-by-step on the blog with all my favourite little tips and tricks so head on over to have a look. 

    If you have a food processor or high speed blender, just place eggs and banana in your food processor and whizz until you get a smooth paste and then you can pour the batter straight from the processor into your hot buttered pan. No dirty spoons or bowls at all. No mess pancakes! Now this is good stuff!

    And as a bonus, you will also get my Raw Blueberry Chia Jam recipe in this post too, it is just utterly divine and so simple to make! The final stroke of pancake genius is to add a knob of raw salted butter (available at Ocado) and a few flakes of unrefined sea salt to lift this simple masterpiece to new heights...

     

     

    Top Banana Pancakes

    Makes about 8 small pancakes

     

    Ingredients:
    1 medium ripe banana
    2 large organic eggs

    Salted butter, for the pan

     

    Optional:
    1/8 teaspoon baking powder, for fluffier pancakes
    pinch of unrefined sea salt or pink himalayan salt

    pinch of cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract

     

    To serve:

    Maple syrup

    Blueberry chia jam (recipe below) 

    Pinch of sea salt

    Knob of raw salted butter

     

    Instructions:

    1. Mash the banana: Peel the banana and break it up into several big chunks in a bowl. Use a fork to thoroughly mash the banana until its pureed (a few small lumps are fine).
    2. Crack the eggs: and whisk. Or if you have a food processor, just place the banana and eggs in the blender until you have a smooth paste and ta dah pancake batter is ready! 
    3. Heat a pan over medium heat: Melt a little salted butter in the pan to prevent sticking and giving your pancakes a gorgeous golden and crispy exterior.
    4. Ladle some batter on a hot pan: Drop roughly 2 tablespoons worth of batter onto the hot pan. It should sizzle immediately — if not, turn up the heat slightly.
    5. Cook for about 1 minute: Cook the pancakes until the bottoms look browned and golden when you lift a corner. Flip the pancakes until both sides are golden brown. Repeat until you have no more pancake batter. 
    6. Enjoy whilst warm. I love mine with a few tablespoons of blueberry chia jam, a drizzle of maple syrup, a knob of butter on top of hot stack so it melts throughout and a sprinkle of sea salt. 

     

    Raw Blueberry Chia Jam

    Makes 1 small pot

     

    Ingredients:

    1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)

    1/4 cup of water

    3 tablespoons of chia seeds

    2 tablespoons of maple syrup (to taste)

    1 tablespoon of lime juice (optional)

     

    Instructions:

    1. Mix water and chia seeds in a small bowl until the chia seeds start to form a gel. 

     

    2. If blueberries are soft enough, you can just use a fork to mash them and combine them with the chia gel. If not, place chia gel and berries in a food processor and blend until smooth.

     

    3. Add maple syrup and lime juice to taste. Jam is ready to be devoured! Divine on pancakes, on porridge, on toast... 

     

     

  • MATCHA ALMOND MILK LATTE

    15 June 2015

    The Miracle of Matcha


    Here's a quick little post and delicious recipe for the summer. A cold and frothy Matcha Almond Milk Latte. I just adore this divine green little drink and it is the most effective and clean way to pick yourself up first thing in the morning or to tackle an afternoon slump, which let's face it happens to even the best of us sometimes. 

    I actually stopped drinking caffeine many years ago, mainly for taste reasons as I just prefer the taste of rooibos (and how it makes me feel) to any other hot beverage and I just haven't ever felt the need for caffeine. I usually get my morning boost from green juice and my afternoon pick me up from some raw treat or coconut water. But then I discovered matcha- that silky smooth cloud of pure green grassy yet creamy goodness. 

    Yes matcha does contain caffeine but it feels very different to that in coffee or black tea; it gives me an unparalleled level of clarity of mind and focus (not the type of jittery and wired caffeine hit that coffee can give you). Instead it's a clean and bright lift of energy and hug of deliciousness in a cup! 

    For those of you who haven't yet discovered the marvellous wonder that is matcha... Matcha is basically the purest form of Japanese green tea. It is a finely-milled powdered green tea that has 137 times more antioxidants than regularly brewed green tea. Bona fide matcha experts claim that 1 cup of matcha is equivalent to 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea in terms of nutritional content!  

    One of the major health benefits of matcha is that it delivers a powerful dose of antioxidants in every sip. According to some research, matcha is packed with "exponentially more antioxidants than any other superfood", now how cool is that? 

    Matcha boosts metabolism and helps detoxify the body naturally. It also calms the mind and relaxes the body, which is perhaps surprising for a caffeinated beverage but it's so true, it really does sharpen my mind and make me feel alive and happy (not in the way coffee ever used to). Matcha also provides a healthy does of vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium! 

    So let's get matcha making! You can make yourself a traditional brew by whisking 1/2 teaspoon of matcha with 1 cup of warm water (ideally 70°C, not boiling) and drink as a lovely hot tea. Or you can make yourself this Matcha Almond Milk Latte, matcha green tea powder whisked with homemade almond milk, now this is the stuff of dreams! And basically the quickest simplest green smoothie of all time. 

    So where can you get this wonderful green tea magic powder? You can find it in most health food shops but I get mine from a trusted brand called Clearspring, that  offer a great range of high-quality organic ingredients and their matcha is one of the most reasonably priced on the market. This 40g pack goes a very long way as you only use a tiny bit at a time.

    Hope you enjoy this Matcha Almond Milk Latte as much as I do!

     

    Happy Matcha Making!

    Marie

    ----------------------------------

     

    Matcha Almond Milk Latte

    Ingredients:

    • ½ tsp matcha green tea powder
    • 2 tablespoons freshly filtered water
    • 250ml (1 cup) homemade almond milk
    • ¼ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
    • ½ tsp honey to taste (depending on how sweet your almond milk already is)

     

    Instructions:

    1. Mix together the matcha powder with the water in a jam jar until fully dissolved.
    2. Pour the almond milk and vanilla extract into the jam jar. Close lid of jar and shake vigorously. This is the quiest and easiest way to get a frothy cold matcha latte without any fancy equipment.
    3. If you have or feel like purchasing a traditional matcha whisk or mini milk frother whisk (please do), and then you can whisk away until super frothy, but it's not necessary to enjoy this delicious drink. 
    4. Add honey to taste. 
    5. Drink straight out of your jam jar! 
  • SEA SALT & RAW CACAO GRANOLA

    1 July 2015

    Sea Salt & Raw Cacao Granola

    Ingredients:
    3 cups / 300g rolled oats (gluten-free if necessary)
    1 cup / 200g buckwheat (soaked overnight and drained)
    1 ½ cups / 65g coconut flakes
    1 cup /125g hazelnuts (soaked overnight and drained)
    ¼ cup / 30g chia seeds
    1 tsp coarse sea salt

    1 tsp fine sea salt
    ¼ cup / 35g coconut sugar
    1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
    1/3 cup coconut oil or raw butter
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    ½ cup raw organic cacao powder

     

    Instructions:
    1. Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F.
    2. Mix oats, buckwheat, coconut flakes, chia seeds and coconut sugar. Roughly chop nuts and add them to the mix.
    3. In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add honey or maple syrup, vanilla, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine until smooth.
    2. Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and fold coat.
    3. Spread mixture out in an even layer on a lined baking sheet and press firmly with the back of a spatula to ensure that the mixture is compact. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip granola in large chunks, and place back in oven to bake for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until toasted and fragrant. The dark colour of the granola makes it hard to tell if it is cooked or not, so go by smell. Another good way to test it is by tasting a hazelnut, which takes the longest to cook – it should taste nutty and pleasantly roasted.

  • ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK BROWNIES

    12 June 2015

    Ingredients:

    • 250g of ground almonds (or fresh almond pulp from making almond milk)
    • 100g dark organic chocolate (or make your own melting 75g cacao butter in a bain-marie with 25g cacao powder)
    • 150g butter or coconut oil (add 50g extra if using dehydrated almond pulp)
    • 150g of coconut sugar
    • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
    • 3 eggs
    • a pinch of salt
    • zest of 2 oranges

    Instructions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 170 C.
    2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a pot and place over a very low heat.
    3. Once melted take this off the heat and stir in the sugar, orange zest and vanilla. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
    4. Place almonds, eggs and chocolatey mixture in a food processor and blend thoroughly.
    5. Grease a small baking tray with butter or coconut oil and pour the brownie mix in. Bake for 25 minutes.
    6. Cut the orange into slices and place onto a tray to place in the oven with the brownies for 15 minutes until crisp.
    7. When the brownies are ready take them out and let them to cool then decorate with the orange slices.