Nourishing Recipes

If you don't already know, I LOVE to cook! This is a page where I'll post recipes I try, create or tweak. What I'm on the look out for, and so what will probably most often be here, are healthy and delicious alternatives to family favourites: things my daughter loves the taste of, and that I know are nourishing for us all as well.

STRAWBERRY GRANITA (ITALIAN ICE, aka sorbet or slushie!)
(June 2010) 

First up, as it's strawberry season, is a recipe I adapted and made this week to make the most of the strawberries we picked early on Saturday morning:

3 cups fresh strawberries, pureed
1 cup filtered water
1/2 cup maple syrup (or less to taste) or other sweetener
2 tbsp lemon juice

Mix, pour into a baking tray (the type you'd use for brownies) and freeze for 25 minutes. Then get it out and scrape the frozen bits from the edges into the middle. Repeat this process every 20 minutes after that, until it's all frozen. When you come to eat it, use a spoon to scrape it in slivers into bowls. It's the most refreshing strawberry taste you'll have ever come across in a frozen dessert! It turns out that this can also be scraped into a cup with a big fat straw as a slushie-type drink without all the poison - my six-year-old LOVES it this way! Enjoy!

SUMMER VEGETABLE CHOWDER using up everything that's wilting in the fridge!
(Thursday 1st July 2010)

With all the lovely fresh veggies I got at the farmers' market on Tuesday filling up my fridge, I wanted to make some space by using up everything that's been hanging around for too long and has seen better days! This included: leftover mashed potato, slightly squishy tomatoes, some tomato paste at the bottom of a can, and limp celery and carrots. It's definitely time for a soup.

This is what I came up with, and it was YUMMY! I find that almost anything can taste amazing if you 'summer chowder' it - meaning, add tomato and something creamy/milky, the sweetness of corn, the fragrance of basil, and some good strong Cheddar cheese stirred in at the end. So try this with whatever YOU have languishing in the larder! Of course it's amazing with truly summer veg like courgette (zucchini) and peppers. I did allow myself the luxury of stirring torn fresh spinach into the bowl along with cheese and sour cream (this or creme fraiche is excellent to add at this point for the enzymes) - mmm! I did a 'Grace Rouleau' and chopped everything really, really small in the hopes that Amelie wouldn't get freaked out by all the 'bits', and it worked - she miraculously ate a whole bowl! (though still wouldn't admit she liked it) ;-)

You make it like this...

Gently sauté the following in a large pan:
1 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 stick celery, finely diced

Add and simmer:
2 cups vegetable bouillon/stock
1 ½ cups leftover mashed potato (containing butter and cream)
2 carrots, finely diced
1 cup tiny cauliflower florets
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste/puree

When the vegetables are just cooked, add the following and gently simmer until soft and heated through:
1 cup frozen sweetcorn (or fresh)
½ cup frozen petits pois/peas (or fresh)
1 tbsp lemon juice
Basil, finely chopped, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Option: milk or cream to taste

OPTIONS to stir in to the bowl as you serve the soup are:
Sour cream/ crème fraîche
Grated Cheddar cheese (mature/sharp)
Fresh young spinach, torn

Happy savouring!

(Wednesday 14th July 2010)

My DD Amelie LOVES this soup as much - if not more - than the Campbell's variety with all the crap in. Yay! Made with homemade chicken stock it has so much goodness in - all the gelatin and minerals etc, so I know it's nourishing as well as yummy and SO easy.

2 cups homemade chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 can tomato sauce (passata)
1/2 small can (3 tbsp?) tomato paste (puree)
Cream and/or milk to taste
A little maple syrup to sweeten (to taste)
Seasoning salt (e.g. Herbamare) to taste

Whisk it all together and heat through gently - it's that easy!!

HOMEMADE CREME FRAICHE (French sour cream)
(Thursday 15th July 2010)

I got this easy-peasy recipe from my favourite cookbook, Nourishing Traditions, from which I am learning SO much, including how wonderful cultured foods are for our health. So here's one:

Take a pint of cream, not ultra-pasteurized or it won't work, and add 1 tbsp of real, cultured buttermilk (not the fake uncultured stuff). Stir well, cover, and leave in a warm spot (e.g. the oven with just the light on) for 20-24 hours until thick.  Then put in fridge - apparently it will keep for a couple of weeks?!

GOLDEN SLICES - recipe passed down to me from my Mum
(Tuesday 27th July 2010)

This might sound strange, but you HAVE to try it!  They are crispy, cheesy and delicious, good hot or cold, and kids usually love them. I make a double, sometimes even triple, batch to feed all three of us, especially as they are Amelie's favourite meal and I always try to freeze some, all ready in little snack bags to put in her school lunch.

5oz rolled oats
6oz finely grated (apx. 2 large) carrots
4oz grated cheese
1 egg, beaten
2oz butter, melted (apx. half a stick)
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of rosemary, crushed

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Press into a baking tray and bake in a moderate oven (375°F, gas mark 4) for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly brown, and crispy around the edges.  Cut into squares.  These are great both hot and cold, and freeze easily.  Enjoy! J

Options: add some finely chopped, sautéed button mushrooms, or some sunflower or sesame seeds.

(as of April 2012) to serve

This doesn’t LOOK or taste green at all, but does have some great green goodness in it, as well as the digestive benefits of the kefir, the omegas in flax and hemp, the antioxidants in berries, and protein from the hempseed too. The banana is higher in sugar and not such a superfood, but it makes the smoothie taste good without added sweetener so that we will all enjoy drinking it a few times a week... and it has lots of potassium in as well!

½ cup milk kefir
½ cup fruit juice (usually orange)
¼ cup carrot juice
2 small organic bananas
1 pear
1 cup + of frozen wild blueberries
½ cup frozen raspberries
1/3 cup frozen strawberries, slightly defrosted
1 cup baby spinach
¼ cup chopped kale
3 tsp flaxseed oil
3 tbsp hulled hempseed

Sometimes options: a small pot of pineapple chunks in juice; some fresh or frozen mango; some frozen cranberries

Just put all the ingredients in a blender, pulse a few times to move the contents down, and then blend on high until smooth. DRINK!  :-)

April 2012

An easy-peasy dressing that is brilliant with a spinach salad or to dip raw veggies in, uses up my homemade kefir AND is good for me!

½ cup raw milk kefir (or buttermilk)
¼ cup raw milk Greek yoghurt (or sour cream) – more if you want a thicker dip
2 tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
¼ tsp Herbamare (or sea salt)
A small clove of garlic, crushed
¼ tsp onion powder
½ tsp dried dill
¼ tsp dried thyme
A generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
A few drops of liquid stevia (or some maple syrup)

Put all ingredients in a mason jar and shake to blend.  Hey presto!  Store in the fridge.

(serves 3-4)  April 2012

Kedgeree is a delicious, lightly curried rice dish with smoked fish, traditionally a breakfast dish but also great as a wonderfully simple light supper - and that's how we eat it in our house. It's often made with cooked smoked haddock but I like to use smoked mackerel so as to get some of that great oily fish into our diets.

1 ½ cups uncooked white basmati rice
4 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
Curry powder to taste
A few handfuls of frozen peas
2 lengths of smoked mackerel, broken into smaller pieces with bones removed
Chopped parsley (optional) 
Lemon juice to taste
3 or 4 hard-boiled eggs,sliced or chopped

Cook the rice as you normally would.
Sautee the onion in half the butter to soften, and then add the curry powder and cooked rice. Stir through. Add the peas, fish, parsley and the rest of the butter and heat gently until peas are cooked. Just before serving, add and stir in the lemon juice and garnish with the boiled egg.

Alternative: add the uncooked rice to the sauteed onion and curry powder and then add water and cook.

(serves 4-8) 10th January 2013

The slow cooker is a wonderful invention! And so is the sausage... And the humble bean. Combine all these wonderful things with a few other wonderful things and you get the most perfect supper for a cold winter’s day. It’s comforting and tasty, with savoury and sweet flavours balancing each other wonderfully, and with a beautiful hint of smokiness too.

Now, usually I get my ‘sweet’ mostly from the can of baked beans I throw in – and I will do this again when busyness demands! – and my ‘smoky’ from chopped, fried (smoked) bacon; but today I didn’t have any bacon and I wanted to use up a tin of navy beans that’s been gathering dust in the cupboard.  So the smoky is coming from smoked paprika, and the sweet from tomato paste and some maple syrup, as well as the sweet potato. With locally grown or produced sausage, onion, garlic and maple syrup, and herb salt used to season, I am pretty happy with the ingredients of this particular stew, and can’t wait to eat it later once the slow cooker has done its magic! We’ll serve it with jacket potatoes (baked) – their skins crispy from the olive oil and sea salt, and their insides mashed with local sea-salted butter. Mmm! Only three hours to wait! J

4 large sausages from our local butcher, in chunks
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large organic onion, diced
2 cloves organic garlic, crushed
  ½ red pepper, diced
Large tin chopped tomatoes
Small tin organic tomato paste
Large tin white navy beans (haricot beans)
A handful of leftover black beans (optional!!)
2 Tbsp or so maple syrup
Some generous shakes of smoked paprika
Some more generous shakes of herb salt (e.g. Herbamare)
Some grindings of black pepper
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves only

How to make it:
Saute the onion, garlic, sausage, sweet potato and red pepper in a little EVOO (olive oil).
Throw into the slow cooker along with all the ingredients and cook on high for around 3 hours. And it’s THAT easy!!  ENJOY!