It’s finally starting to feel like Spring here today! A few hours in the mountains, sunshine and a little cooking and it feels like a proper day off. And a little blogging of course 😉
I’m going to keep it short and sweet today as I’m planning to write a nice juicy newsletter to all my dear subscribers later and my last post was a rather long ramble too. So I’m just going to share with you this tasty gluten and dairy free breakfast recipe with you today and leave it at that.
The fact that I love breakfast is no secrete around here. For those who need to stay off gluten and are used to eating cereal or toast for breakfast, things may seem very challenging at first. But if you are willing to stretch a little outside your comfort zone and explore some new flavours, textures and foods you may become pleasantly surprised and the whole adventure will turn into a blessing in disguise.
I’m a big fan of buckwheat but it is probably only in the last year or so it has become one of my pantry staples. It’s one of those intriguing foods you see in the healthfood store and would love to try (because you’ve heard it’s good for you) but you have no idea what to do with it!
Buckwheat is not a cereal grain (it’s not related to wheat at all) it is actually a seed from a plant related to the rhubarb plant. It’s a good source of antioxidants, and contain a good dose of both magnesium and manganese as well as that all important fibre.
The seed has a distinct nutty flavour and cooked whole like here it has a lovely chewy texture and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.
This recipe is an inspiration from a breakfast I had back in November when I visited the very hip café The Fumabally in Dublin and had a similar porridge to this, alongside a seriously good Avocado Toast. Yes, I was particularly hungry that morning… Well actually it was more like a brunch but anyway, here is how you can create your own buckwheat porridge magic at home. It’s not as hard as you think.
Buckwheat Porridge with Pomelo, Pomegranate & Passion Fruit
1 cup whole buckwheat, soaked overnight
1 cup nut milk of choice + extra to serve
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 tbsp maple syrup – optional
1/4 fresh pomelo, peeled & broken up into pieces
seeds from 1/2 a pomegrantate
2 passion fruits
Soak the buckwheat overnight do improve digestibility and to speed up cooking time. In the morning drain and rinse the buckwheat well. When soaked they release a mucous so make sure you rinse all of that off.
Place rinsed and drained buckwheat together with nut milk, cinnamon stick and maple syrup (if using) in a small sauce pan. On medium heat bring it up to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10-15 min until the groats become transparent. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
Discard the cinnamon stick before serving and top with fresh fruit and some extra nut milk if needed. I’ve used pomelo, pomegrante and passion fruit here for a lively winter combo but as the seasons change use what ever fruit or berry is in season.
I’m so delighted to have the opportunity to share this beautiful immune boosting and vibrant smoothie recipe. Just what is needed as we slowly transition into the next season. I’m sure we can all do with a little more colour and sunshine in our lives. And if the Sun prevails, you just have to get a little more inventive in the kitchen instead.
This week I have invited the beautifully talented lady Agnes who blogs about food and stuff over on Cashew-Kitchen. If you are not following Agnes on Instagram or reading her blog, you should. It’s worth it for the photos alone 🙂
But I’ll let you Agnes tell you all a little more about herself.
Hi Agnes! Can you tell us something about yourself and your work?
Sure! My name is Agnes and I live in a small apartment in central Stockholm (Sweden) which is also my hometown. I recently moved back here after spending a couple of years on the west coast studying. Since september last year I’m running the food & photography blog Cashew Kitchen, although I’ve been food blogging since the spring of 2013. I also do some photography and recipe development on a freelancing basis. But my main occupation is my studies in Human Ecology in which I’m currently writing my bachelor thesis. I started my studies in Human Ecology and my food blogging about the same time, so initially it was an interest in sustainable food and lifestyles that pushed me. I’ve been hanging out in the kitchen experimenting since I first became a vegetarian when I was 14, so the interest in wholesome, nourshing food has always been there I guess, I just never thought about blogging about it before 🙂
I have a background in Fine Arts, so when starting blogging about food I quickly noticed that working with the aesthetic aspects came pretty natural to me. Using colorful ingredients and spending a lot of effort on the styling and photography is very important to me, so when I launched Cashew Kitchen I simply decided to call it ”a foodie photography blog”. Although the sustainable aspects are still there: I only post vegetarian recipes and I mostly use seasonal, whole and organic ingredients.
No wonder you can great the most magical of images!
I’m curious about that education of your: what is Human Ecology? And how do you wish to use that education in the future?
Well, you could say it is environmental science from a social sciences’ perspective. In Human Ecology we study the relationship between social, ecological and economic factors and how those interact with for example issues of power, resource management, poverty, urban development, climate change, population growth and social dynamics. It’s everything from city planning and food production to eco philosophy or complex adaptive systems.
In my thesis I study possibilities and limitations for citizen participation and co-management in city planning to help build social resilience in society. When I decided on the topic I think I was a bit tired of food haha. It was in the aftermath of the Swedish election and the increased social unstability we see here in Sweden (and out in the world too) worried me. In the future I want to work with sustainable food in some way. It could be inspiring people to make sustainable food choices, which I kind of already do through my blog (I hope!) hehe. It could also be working for a food or agriculture company with sustainable development issues. The possibilities are endless, really! I just know my passion is food, happy people and a healthy planet 🙂
How would you describe your food philosophy?
I want it to be simple! My aim is to inspire as many people as I can to incorporate more vegetarian or vegan food into their diets and cook more from scratch using seasonal ingredients, and thereby bringing us one step closer to living environmentally friendly lifestyles. Therefore I don’t believe in using too many obscure and expensive ingredients, or create difficult or fancy recipes. My recipes often consist of just a few, simple ingredients and are usually quick to assemble. I want to show that it can be both wholesome, fun and easy to eat seasonal and vegetarian. Also fresh produce or a lovingly cooked meal can really make my heart melt! It’s everything I need to be happy. That simplicity and appreciation of food is something I want to share with others.
Couldn’t agree with you more.
How did you come up with the name Cashew Kitchen?
Um, I was just playing around with different names that sounded ”catchy” haha. I always have cashew nuts at home and love to use them in raw desserts, granola, smoothies etc. so it felt suitable with a name steaming from one of my favorite ingredients 🙂
How does your process from idea to finished recipe and blog post look like?
Sometimes a get an idea from surfing around the food blogosphere or pinterest that I write down on my little list. It can be anything really that triggers the idea to a recipe – a combination of colors, a long forgotten ingredient, a memory. But more often I find myself standing in front of an half empty fridge trying to think of something I can make out of the little I have. Honestly that’s where the best recipes come from! If I just happened to create something utterly delicious I try to photograph it right away if I have the time, but mostly I plan to cook/prepare the night before and then style & shoot the next day. Quite often I have tried the recipe a couple of times by then. Editing photos I do on my spare time in the evenings. I never plan what I’m gonna write about on the blog, I just write what pops up in my head that particular day.
I love your creativity!!
Which 5 ingredients will one find in your pantry?
Hehe my pantry is smacked with stuff… In the back you’ll probably find some rarely used superfood powders, but what I always need to have at home (besides cashews) are almonds, rolled oats, coconut milk, tahini and bananas. And a thousand more things. Gosh I’m so spoiled with having good food around.
Do you have an all time favorite recipe you keep coming back to? 🙂
I have different favorite recipes in different periods of my life. Right now the only thing I wanna have for breakfast is my Coconut & Vanilla Oatmeal. During weekdays I eat similar salads every day, at the moment with a millet base, random veggies and a honey & dijon mustard dressing I’ve made countless times!
Tell us something about the recipe you are sharing today! Why this particular recipe?
This recipe is a perfect example of how I roll 😉 It happened the day before pay day and contains literally everything I had left in my fridge that day. I can tell you my expectations for this smoothie wasn’t that high, but oh how surprised I was when I tasted it!
I love the creativity that comes from restrictions. You don’t really need to have a perfectly stocked pantry to make delicious food. I hate to throw away food and always save the little bits and pieces left to use for something else. Smoothies is a great way to use up that last squeeze in the yoghurt package or half a frozen banana from the freezer.
I make smoothies almost every day to drink in between meals, and I especially like to add some seeds or grains and something fat like coconut milk or yoghurt to make it more filling and long lasting.
Despite citruses typically are winter ingredients, to me this is a recipe flirting with spring 🙂 I even added birch straws, see! As if the weather gods heard my plea when photographing this recipe, the sun came out from the clouds just long enough for me to catch it.
For this recipe I used yoghurt, but you can easily make a vegan version using coconut milk + a little extra lemon juice.
Sunny Buckwheat Smoothie
2 tbsp raw buckwheat groats
water to cover
***soak for minimum 1 hour***
1 large orange or 2 small
1 small banana
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
2 small pitted dates or 1 medjool date
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
water until desired consistency
+ the soaked and rinsed buckwheat
Prepare by soaking the buckwheat in lukewarm water for minimum one hour. This can be done the night before or in the morning. You soak the groats to get rid of harmful enzymes and start a sprouting process for optimal digestion and nutritional content.
Rinse buckwheat thoroughly. Drain and set aside.
Peel orange and lemon with a knife. Try to get rid of as much of the white parts as possible (it’s bitter). Remove any seeds. Peel ginger and coarsely chop.
Put orange, a quarter of the lemon, banana, ginger, buckwheat, yoghurt, dates and turmeric powder in a high speed blender and mix until completely smooth. Add water if nessecary. If you have a not so strong mixer or an immersion blender you might wanna squeeze out the juice of the orange and lemon beforehand, grate the ginger and perhaps soak the dates if they’re dried.
Serve right away with seeds, berries, granola or simply with a (birch) straw!
Thank you so much Agnes for sharing this beautiful recipe with us here at Straightforward Nutrition! I sure know what I’ll have for breakfast next week 🙂
If you want to check out the Millet & Linseeds Porridge which I shared on Cashew-Kitchen click here
*All photographs on this post is by Cashew-Kitchen.
It’s the day before the day, or the eve before the day before Christmas day. I’ve been hanging out in the kitchen all day. Trying to get into some festive spirit by enjoying the kitchen all to myself, (well my dogs kept me company) with endless Christmas songs on Spotify. I had actually decided NOT to make any treats this year as it is a lot of work when it’s something you HAVE to do. I’ve been away the past few weekends so there has been little time to do fit it in anyhow. Yet today I found myself in the kitchen all day making stuff. You know what? It was so much fun! I’ve missed the creativity of cooking just for the fun of it and not just because of the necessity to eat.
A couple of random things were created today. This “alternative” Rocky Road for example. I also experimented with some homemade vegan marzipan, made some date truffles for a hamper for some friends to enjoy on Christmas Day and then of course these addictive little buggers!
Making sweet treats for Christmas was a tradition we used to do at home as children. A few of our friends + their mums from the village used to meet up a Saturday in Dec and make lots of traditional holiday treats. Well it was our mums that did most of the baking and cooking while we had fun playing and then got to eat the treats afterwards… Fond memories.
Five years ago, one of the years I spent Christmas in Ireland, we enured the coldest winter here in forty years! I was suppose to be working but the roads had turned into a sheet of ice and traveling anywhere was out of the question. So what does one do with an unexpected day off? Cook of course! Off I went to the shop (on foot) to get a couple of basic ingredients to enjoy my day off and to make some treats which I hadn’t made since childhood. Things I made that year was a little more sugar laden than what I made this year but the pleasure of creating edible things while enjoying festive songs at full blast is still the same. Little did I know back then, that this would be a new festive tradition to get myself into the perfect holiday mood.
If you are still stuck for an edible gift this close to the big day, then I suggest you give these sugar coated almonds ago. They (almost) cook themselves and all you need is some demera sugar, almonds, water and some cinnamon. Store-cupboard ingredients really. Don’t be fooled though, this classic treat is more addictive than your average tin of chocolate. As I reach for “just one more”, I try to convince myself that they are somehow a little healthier as it’s unrefined sugar and whole nuts… But perhaps I’m just kidding myself. Regardless, I’m done with food + guilt, so I keep enjoying each bite mindfully and so should you 🙂
150 g whole almonds – organic if possible
150 g unrefined Demera sugar
50 ml water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir to mix the sugar, water, cinnamon and almonds together.
Bring to the boil and cook on medium heat until all the water has evaporated and the sugar begins to crystallise around the almonds. Stir on occasion. This part will take about 10 min or so. You want all the water to slowly evaporate.
Once the sugar has crystallised keep the pan hot until the sugar begins to melt. Stir to make sure all the almonds are well coated. Be careful not to burn the sugar. Remove the almonds from the pan on to a plate or tray. Separate them with a fork and allow to cool completely before eating.
The almonds will keep for up to two weeks. Wrap them in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container, in a dry cupboard.
N.B I tried using raw cane sugar but since it’s very finely crystallised, the end result was not as good as when using Demera sugar which has bigger crystals.
This is my last post of 2014 and I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU for visiting my blog / website through out the year, for following along here and on various social media (Instagram & Facebook) and thanks to all of you who have used my nutritional therapy services this year too. Having each and every one of you being a part of my life and my business means so much. So thank you again.
Wishing you a week filled with love, family, friends, health, blessings and most important of all Good Food! See you in the New Year.
P.S Some new exciting things coming up next year, like our new online programme! If you would like more details about this please shoot me a mail on firstname.lastname@example.org I love helping people getting back to the healthiest version of themselves. 🙂 So why not work together in 2015?
This recipe has sat in the draft section for some time. Turns out posting it now, is good timing still, because it could easily work as a nutritious addition to your menu over the holiday season.
You may have heard of chia puddings by now. You may even be a big fan of them. If you haven’t you are missing out of one of the easiest, nutritious snack/dessert /breakfast ever! I remember a few years ago when these tiny little seeds appeared on the shelves in the health stores and no one had really heard of them, let alone knew what to do with them… These days they are big news! Turns out they are a good source of plant based omega 3 essential fats. They are also high in fibre, potassium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus.
The seeds come from a desert plant, Salvia Hispanica, grown in Mexico and these tiny super seeds apparently featured on the menu of the famous Aztec warriors. In fact the word “Chia” supposedly means strength. When they first appeared this side of the world one of the many marketing claims was how it could help with weight loss. This may be true in some sense, but of course it’s highly unlikely that it would help anyone shed pounds all on its own. Weight loss is a lot more complex than just take one magic substance, unfortunately and the sooner we stop buying in to that concept the better (But that’s a topic for another day…)
I think in those early days, no one really had any clue how to eat them or how to make them taste nice. Thing is they swell a lot in any liquid you leave them in, and when they do, turns out they don’t look all that appetizing… The very first time I tried chia seeds it was a tsp of seeds soaked in plain water, just swallowed down. Not the most exciting thing I’ve ever eaten to be honest. Obviously times has moved on – enter Chia Pudding! I’m not sure who originally came up with the bright idea of serving the little guys this way but let’s just say it’s genius! Their ability to gel makes for a nice consistency and when you eat them in this way they can actually help with constipation rather than hinder it.
I have tried lots of different types of chia puddings at this stage but using a good quality full fat coconut milk is by far my favourite. It even reminds me a little of the Christmas dessert we have back home, rice pudding, well actually more like the cold version of rice pudding; Ris á la Malta.
Here you have a slightly healthier version made with just two ingredients: Chia Seeds and Coconut Milk. I’ve chosen to top this pudding with some winter spiced berries. Here I used the blackberries we picked back in the autumn. Grateful for the abundance back then and for the freezer now! If you, like me, live in the Northern Hemisphere where berries are not in season, then use frozen ones. I’d imagine blackcurrants or blueberries could work to. And if you live some where were it’s berry season, well then make the most of it and use fresh ones!
Coconut Chia Pudding – With Winter Spiced Berries
For the chia pudding:
200 ml full fat coconut milk – organic if possible
2 tbsp chia seeds (whole seeds)
For the berry compote:
1 cup blackberries – fresh or frozen
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1-2 star anise (depending on size of the star)
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
To make the pudding; mix coconut milk and chia seeds together in a small bowl. Make sure it is well mixed together and stir a few more times over the next five min, to remove any lumps, as the seeds start to absorb the liquid. Then move to the fridge and let it set over a few hours.
To make the berry compote; place the frozen (or fresh) berries in a small sauce pan. Add in maple syrup, ground cinnamon. Gently toss the berries in the maple syrup and spices until evenly coated. Add in the star anise. Bring it slowly to a simmer and let it simmer away for about 10 min until fruit is soft and the compote is fragrant.
Serve the chia pudding in small bowls with topped with the warm spiced berry compote.
N.B This dessert (or even breakfast!) is very filling and not very sweet. You can omit the maple syrup if you are looking for an even lower carbohydrate load.
P.S. I hope you don’t mind me throwing in a picture from the beautiful autumn we had. Worth a reminder of brighter days to come as the longest day of the year fast approaches.
You may be right in the middle of the craziness, that seems totally normal this time of year. Or you may be like me, presents bough, wrapped and posted with just a couple more Christmas cards left to write. Chilling, in other words. Though I’m not sure why I still bother with the cards. It’s not like I a get a lot of them anyway. Oh wait, it’s all about giving you say? And less about receiving? Even in the midst of this digital / social media era, I think, you simply cannot beat a lovely card arriving in the letter box from someone you haven’t met in a long time.
I heard someone on the radio the other day talking about giving more presence, rather than more presents. So while we are busy running around getting things done, buying presents, planning party menus and worrying about the cost of the heating bill – life happens. Our children grow up, our parents get older (we too of course), friends come and go. It’s all too easy to get caught up in this busyness and forget to be present. When we think back on our lives, it’s not what anyone gave us inform of material things that tends stand out. It’s those moments when someone was there for us. When we felt heard, listened too, respected and loved. All the things that we can give freely, no matter the size of our wallets… So perhaps its time that we all give a little more of ourselves to others. Time to give some presence. And not just for Christmas.
When I was going through my recipe archives recently, I discovered that there was only one (!) soup recipe up so far. Time to change that I think. I have another soup recipe waiting but today, I’m going to share this Classic Lentil Soup with you.
This soup is so incredibly easy to make. You can throw it together in minutes and it only takes 30 min to get ready. If you are not yet familiar with lentils, this is an excellent way to introduce them. Even the fussiest eater will like this soup, promise. Adding lentils to any soup will make it more filling due to their protein and high fibre content.
I found this recipe in the really excellent Rose Elliott’s New Complete Vegetarian. It’s one of those cook books with very few pictures so you actually need to read through the recipes. But there is many beautifully vegetable dishes to be cooked from it.
So if you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the thought of making healthy meals, while you have another thousand things to get through, just make this soup. It will both fill you up and fuel you over the next few weeks, in between shopping and partying!
Classic Lentil Soup
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
225g red lentils, rinsed well
1 litre vegetable stock or water. If using water add 2 level tsp stock powder or 1 organic stock cube.
1-2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 fresh lemon
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to season
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion for about 5 min until transparent.
Add the lentil and the stock/water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 min until the lentils are soft and golden. They will break down into a mush when cooked.
Blend the soup with a hand blender. You can add more water if you like the consistency to be thinner. Cook’s Note – If you have any leftover the following day you may need to add more water again to thin it as the lentils tend to keep absorbing water.
Add a splash of lemon juice, to taste and season with a pinch of sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Serve.