Yummy Yams

where-do-yams-growI’m staying with my daughter in London this week and she lives near an African market. What a joy to find yams on the market stools amongst many other exotic vegetables! Yams are an excellent source of B-complex vitamins. These starchy West-African tubers are also rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants as well as minerals like copper, potassium and iron. Yams are specifically great for menopausal women supporting endocrine system and balancing hormones. They are also antispasmodic, so if you get muscle cramps, enrich your diet in these wonderful vegetables.

Yams are easy to cook, you can bake them, add them to soups or just boil them and mash with some olive oil or coconut oil for more exotic taste.

I cooked mine today in coconut milk with some salt and chilli sauce.

 

Mushrooms full of Quinoa

IMG_2996Large mushroom cups usually ask to be filled with some substantial goodness. I’ve decided to stuff them with quinoa, a protein packed lunch or light evening meal. Quinoa, a complete protein containing all nine amino acids comes from the same family as spinach and beetroots and it’s an excellent wheat free alternative to starchy grains. Mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin B, especially niacin, Vitamin D and selenium.

Ingredients:

2-4 medium brown cup mushrooms – choose organic if you can

¼ cup; 30g of quinoa – rinse well in a sieve

2- 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Himalayan or sea salt and pepper to taste

Salad – any green leaves, olives, tomatoes, spring onions, garlic – your choice

Alternative topping: grated cheese

Method:

Preheat the oven to 356 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees Celsius.

Remove the stalks from the mushrooms. Rinse the quinoa in a sieve. Fill the mushroom cups with quinoa and add approximately 1tsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1tsp of water on top. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Bake in the oven for 50min. in an oven -proof pre-oiled dish, preferably with a lid on. If you don’t have one, just cover the mushrooms with a tin foil.

Add grated cheese 5min before taking the dish from the oven for alternative topping.

Arrange the mushroom on prepared salad and enjoyJ

 

Aubergine/ Baba Ganoush Dip

EggplantsAubergine Dip/ Baba Ganoush is a perfect snack, sharing dish or a starter. Very easy to make, it’s an exiting alternative to hummus. Aubergines contain phytonutrients, are an excellent source of vitamins B1, B6, potassium and are high in minerals like copper, magnesium and manganese.

 

Ingredients:

2 medium aubergines

2tbsp tahini

2- 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp chopped fresh flat parsley or coriander

Himalayan or sea salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven to 356 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees Celsius and bake the aubergines for 50min. Allow to cool and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Place all ingredients in a mixer and pulse until smooth. Add pepper and salt to taste.

Enjoy with crackers, carrots or celery sticks.

Classic Green Salad = Chlorophyll

IMG_1367Green colour in vegetables and salads is indicated by chlorophyll, the blood of plants. The main molecule in our blood is haemoglobin and the difference between the two is only in one mineral. Chlorophyll is build around iron and haemoglobin is build around magnesium. The role of haemoglobin is to distribute oxygen around our bodies and rebuild the blood cells and chlorophyll, when ingested helps to do just that. We need chlorophyll to build haemoglobin and improve the structure of our blood. Plants make their own food using the environment around like sun, earth and air and we need to consume them to be able to survive, as our bodies can’t make their own food. Chlorophyll has many health benefits as it has the power to regenerate our bodies on the molecular level. Green food is alkaline, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, healing, antiseptic not to mention the abundance of vitamins and antioxidants.

In my green salad I have included the following ingredients:

4-5 leaves of green salad,

½ cup fresh green peas,

1 stalk of celery,

½ cup cucumber with skin,

1 small avocado,

1 tsp chia seeds,

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

pinch of sea salt

pinch of cayenne pepper

You can add a teaspoon of spirulina to get more chlorophyll

Warm Tomato Salad

IMG_1349

We enjoy tomatoes all year round and we eat them in many different forms. Raw tomatoes are excellent in salads but I have designed a salad with cooked tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes activate carotenoid lycopene, a valuable antioxidants which plays a vital role in boosting our health. Eating more cooked tomatoes prevents our bodies from cancer and heart diseases. Recent studies discovered that lycopene is connected to our bone health protecting the bone tissue. This valuable antioxidant is fat-soluble, so needs to be eaten with oil. However, raw tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C and potassium.

Ingredients:

2 cups of chopped favourite salad leaves

½ cup fresh corn

½ cup chopped cucumber

1 avocado

2 tbsp hemp seeds or 1tbsp pine nuts

1tbsp chia seeds

Dressing:

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 small red onion, chopped

1tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin

1tsp garam masala

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

pinch of sea salt and cayenne pepper

Mix the salad leaves with fresh corn, cucumber and avocado. In the pan melt the coconut oil and add chopped tomatoes and onion. Add the spices and sweat for 5min on moderate heat. Pout the warm mixture over the salad. Sprinkle with apple cider vinegar, hemp seeds, chia seeds and add a pinch of sea salt and cayenne pepper.

Watercress Salad

Watercress Salad
One of the winter’s helpers to boost the immune system is watercress as this green aquatic leafy vegetable thrives in the cold months of the year. Its tangy taste is similar to that of mustard cress or radishes as they all come from the same family. The delicate green leaves are short lived and once harvested need to be consumed immediately thus supplying our bodies with rich amount of minerals like iron (more than spinach!), calcium (more than dairy foods like milk!) and iodine as well as large amounts of vitamin C, K and A. In fact this leafy vegetable contains 13 minerals and vitamins as well as antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Preparation: as watercress grows in water, before eating, submerge all leaves in water (you can store it in fridge for up to 3 days in this form) and rinse it thoroughly to remove any pollutants and parasites. You can also add hydrogen peroxide to be on a safe side.

Ingredients:
2 cups of watercress chopped
1 cup of red sauerkraut* – you can also use fresh cabbage instead
½ cup fresh pea
1 avocado
2 tbsp hemp seeds or 1tbsp pine nuts
1tbsp chia seeds

Dressing:
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
pinch of sea salt and cayenne pepper

Mix the watercress with sauerkraut, peas and avocado.
Sprinkle with apple cider vinegar, hemp seeds, chia seeds and add a pinch of sea salt and cayenne pepper.

*Please see my recipe on how to make fresh sauerkraut

Purple Salad

Purple Salad
Winter is not the best time to create and eat salads but if you are in a warm house or environment and want something light packed with vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system, get the salad going.
Purple and blue foods are not very common and we certainly don’t eat enough of it; however all foods containing purple, blue or dark red pigments are very beneficial for our health. These dark pigments contain flavonoids including resveratrol and anthocyanin. They protect us from urinary infections and that’s why cranberries are excellent first hand remedy for cystitis attacks. Anthocyanin fights bacteria preventing stomach and gum ulcers. Resveratrol boots our immunity and lowers high blood pressure thus reduces heart diseases. The darker the fruit, the more antioxidants they contain shielding us from diabetes, high cholesterol and cancer.
Increase vision, improve your memory, regulate your blood pressure, improve your circulation, prevent the inflammation in your body by eating more blue, purple, dark red fruit and vegetables. These include red cabbage, beetroots, red onions, black rice, red salads, blueberries, bilberries, black berries, prunes, figs and grapes.

In my salad (one portion) I have included:
4-6 small red/ purple salad leaves
6-6 radicchio salad leaves
3 tbsp pre-cooked adzuki beans
1 avocado
½ fresh corn on the cob
1 pickled cucumber
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tbsp shelled hemp seeds

Chop all the ingredients, sprinkle with apple cider vinegar, tamari and hemp seeds and mix well.