A met with an old friend of mine recently. He knew me back in the days when I would mop up lamb fat with a slice of white bread. Although he didn’t outwardly dismiss my new lifestyle, I could tell that he had some concerns. One of them was the fact that he knew I loved going out to restaurants. How was I able to do that now? I told him this was still possible but he didn’t believe me. As far as he was concerned, my dressing up and eating out days were over. The next evening, I found myself in a beautiful little restaurant called Simplicity in Rotherhithe. A place more known for it’s crackling than it’s avocados. I went with my friend Alice, who kindly asked the chef if he would fix me up a salad with any veg he may have in the kitchen. Which he did. And it was lovely! So here I was in a cosy little restaurant with a tasty vibrant dish before me. Ok, so there wasn’t any pork belly in my belly, but I wasn’t concerned about this so why should anyone else be? I think peoples concerns on this subject are more about themselves than me. I had a lovely meal out, and didn’t feel any different to how I used to feel in the past when I ate out. Well that’s not strictly true, I did feel different. I felt better.
Eat kale raw?! That’s not possible, is it? Well yes my friend, it is. And it’s gorgeous too. If you massage Kale with olive oil and a bit of salt it become soft and edible. Which is great because kale is so amazing for you, it helps if you can eat it without cooking out all the goodness out! I love making kale salads, and it’s a nice one to have at a buffet (even if you’re not ‘raw’!).
KALE AND BEETROOT SALAD
- 1 bag of curly kale, washed and hard stems removed
- 1 beetroot, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 3 spring onions, finely sliced
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp tamari (wheat free soy sauce) or balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- salt and pepper
Place the kale in a large bowl and pour over the oil. Massage the kale in your hands until it looses it toughness. This will take about 5-10 minutes. Once this is done, you can just toss everything else in and mix it about a bit. Season to taste. This will serve about 6 people. If you eat meat still but are wanting to up your raw intake, this is a great dish to serve along with what you would normally have.
Amsterdam is AMAZING for raw foods. I recently went to visit a beautiful close friend from my childhood who I had not seen for 17 years! And we had the BEST time. I explained that I ate a high raw diet before I came, and so she did some research as to where we might be able to eat. She discovered so many health food shops that stocked an abundance of raw foods! And she took me to a beautiful organic outdoor market that had a raw food stall there. We bought two huge slabs of homemade raw chocolate pie and a delicious citrus tart. And we were given some free chocolate macaroons to enjoy with our wheat grass shots. (So kinda like space cakes and vodka shots, except you don’t get lost after you’ve consumed them and you actually leave Amsterdam with a clear head and healthy glow on your face!). Beautiful people, beautiful city and a hot spot for raw food and yoga. I love Amsterdam!
It’s official. I have done it. I have resorted to the ‘Ooo, let’s put ‘Zucchini’ instead of ‘Courgette’ to make this dish sound posh and exciting’ tactic. I hang my head in shame. This has been a pet hate of mine for quite sometime now. But if I am truly honest…. I sometimes think ‘zucchini’ looks better than ‘courgette’. There! I’ve said it. Right, now on with the recipe (which incidentally is very posh and exciting.)
Spiralized Zucchini in a Creamy Avocado Sauce
You will need a spiralizer for this recipe. If you don’t have one, use your potato peeler to create thin ribbons of courgette, sorry, zucchini, no courgette! Zucchini? Zucchini.
- 2 zucchini, green skin peeled if you want it to look more like wheat pasta
- 1 carrot, grated
- 2 avocados
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp onion powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp honey or agave
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp tahini (optional)
- Water to blend if needed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large handfuls of spinach, rinsed and crushed in your hands
- Chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- Alfalfa sprouts
Crunchy brazil nuts encased in a MASSIVE SLAB OF CHOCOLATE. Melts in your mouth. Tastes divine. And it’s guilt free. Yesssssss.
RAW BRAZIL NUT CHOCOLATE
- 1 cup cacao butter.
- 1/4 cup coconut butter.
- 1/4 agave
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup cacao powder (or Green and Blacks organic cocoa. Not striclty raw, but the next best thing)
- 1 cup brazil nuts (or less, or more!)
- 1/4 tsp salt.
Finely shred the cacao butter with a sharp knife, or grate in a food processor. Get a large bowl and fill 1/3 of the way with freshly boiled water. Place a glass or plastic bowl on top of the water. Then place the grated cacao butter in there and leave to melt slowly, stirring occasionally. (try and make sure no water goes in the bowl with the butter). Once melted, add the coconut butter and stir to melt. Then add the agave and vanilla. Stir. Next comes the cacao powder. Add this to the melting butter along with the salt and stir sensuosusly to mix. In a square silicone cake tray (or plastic tupperwear, anything really!) scatter the brazil nuts. Then marvel as you pour the melted chocolate over all of the nuts….OMG. Now you can see why I love raw foods so much! After licking the spoon and scraping every last bit from the bowl, place the tray of chocolate in the fridge. If like me, you can’t wait and want it NOW, place in the freezer. It will take a few hours to set in the fridge, and about 30-45 minutes to set in the freezer.
When it is set, take it out, break it into chunks and dive straight into raw chococlate heaven…….
I am a Yorkshire lass. Born and bred. ‘Fish and chips’ is a proud part of my heritage. ‘Where is the best ‘fish and chips’ in Yorkshire?’ has been one of my favourite topics for many years. (If you’re interested, it’s a tie between The Magpie in Whitby, and Murgatroyd’s in Yeadon). ‘Fish and chips’ is such a part of our culture that is is illegal to refuse to eat them. Ok, so that last statement is not quite true, but you get what I’m saying. The thing is, as much as I adore that fishy dish, I have got to the stage where I just don’t want it anymore. It tastes lovely, but I know eating will make me feel rough.So what happens when you go for a day out in Scarborough, a Yorkshire seaside resort and you don’t want ‘fish and chips’? You take a blanket, a load of raw food, and sit making Romaine Pinic Wraps whilst looking out towards the sea… Happy days. And if you think I’m completely mental and do want fish and chips, then go ahead and enjoy! (But defintely make them another time because they’re dead nice).
ROMAINE PICNIC WRAPS
- A romaine lettuce (you didn’t see that one coming, did you?)
- Fillings of your choice. Try avocado, raw hummus, cherry tomatoes, capers, olives, pesto, cashew nuts, alfalfa sprouts, grated carrot, beetroot…the list is endless
Get a romaine lettuce leaf and erm…stuff it! That’s it! Have fun and get creative with your fillings. You’ll love these. And you’ll have enough energy to run up to Scarborough Castle and back three times.
For the last two months, I have been playing the part of Mary in Tim Firth’s production of The Flint St Nativity. The show took place at Hull Truck Theatre. Oh and just so you know, if you can be raw in HULL in WINTER – you can raw ANYWHERE. FACT. So, after the final show on Saturday we all went round to one of the cast members house for a party. And pizza. Well, they did. I went round for a party and…SUSHI. Yup – raw, vegan and all put together whilst they sat waiting for their 14″ stuffed crusts to be delivered. Don’t get me wrong, they enjoyed their pizza, but they were intrigued by what I was eating. And through mouthfuls of melted cheese and pepperoni were asking me what was in it…
So for all my lovely fellow cast members, and for anyone else who fancy’s giving this a go, the ingredients are as follows:
- 6 nori sheets. (If can get hold of the un-toasted ones, great. If not, don’t freak out, using the toasted ones will be alright. Just do the best with what’s available to you)
- Half a romaine lettuce, or little gem.
- 2 avocados, peeled, stoned and thinly sliced.
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin stips.
- 1/3 cucumber, cut into thin strips.
- Handful of alfalfa sprouts. (If you can’t find these, use ‘ye olde’ cress, the one your gran used to put in your egg sandwiches. The original micro green!)
- Dip or spread of your choice. I used olive tapanade in mine.
- Tamari (optional)
- Bowl of water.
This takes around 15-20 minutes to make (pretty ‘speedy’ right?)
First, get a romaine lettuce leaf and using a glass, roll it over the leaf. This makes it flat and easier to roll. Making sure you’ve got your bowl of water near by, lay a nori sheet on a chopping board. Then keeping to the edge nearest to you, lay a romaine leaf on top of the nori. Then spread some dip/sauce on. Then lay a couple of slices of avocado, some carrots and cucumber and sprinkle on some sprouts. Then, carefully start to roll.
Just before you get to the end, keeping one hand on the nori roll, place the other in the bowl of water. Using your finger tips, gently wet the edge of the nori sheet. This will help it stick together when completely rolled. Now, finish rolling it over. Cut each roll into 3- 4 pieces and arrange on a plate. If you can find a square or rectangle one, this always makes sushi look cool. This recipe serves 2-3 people and is a great dish to make for guests. I served my sushi with a bowl of miso soup, and added extra seaweed into it. If making miso, always pour cold water in and mix first with the miso before adding hot. This helps preserve the nutrients.
Ok, so not as easy as ordering pizza, but it’s definitely much easier on your body and it tastes gorgeous too.
WOW. Look at what my beautiful friend Booka made me for a belated Christmas gift. My very own ‘Get Rawcous!’ mobile! I mean, how amazing is that? I got choked up when I opened this. She is so talented and unbelievably thoughtful. I can’t believe I was actually worried I might loose friends when I got into eating raw foods. If anything, it’s just made me love them more (if that’s possible). If anyone looses friends because of the way they like to eat, then they seriously aren’t worth trying to hold on to. Be true to yourself and you never know, you might get a funky hand made mobile crafted just for you. Love it!
I don’t know about you, but I love eating with my hands. As much as I enjoy salads, I find being able to pick something up and put it in my mouth a much more satisfying eating experience! What I love about these little rounds of joy is that they are so quick and easy to make. Using thinly sliced beetroot as a replacement cracker has become one of my staples. It’s fresh, you don’t need a dehydrator, and it’s ready to top in about 3 minutes!
You can follow this simple but very tasty recipe below, or create your own topping. Enjoy as a snack, or with a big mound of greens for a colourful, nutritious meal. These also make great canapes for a dinner party!
EASY BEETROOT AND GUACAMOLE ROUNDS
- 1 beetroot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into pieces*
- 1 avocado
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- Smoked paprika
To make the guacamole, cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and scoop out the flesh. Place in a blender. Add the garlic powder, extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice and water. Blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place your thinly sliced beetroot rounds on a plate. Top each one with some grated carrot, then guacamole, then top further with some pieces of sun-dried tomatoes. Sprinkle each one with a touch of smoked paprika and black pepper and there you go! Will serve 1-2.
* If I am using sun-dried tomatoes that are in a jar of olive oil, I don’t tend to soak them. I just squeeze the excess oil off and eat as they are. If you are using dry sun-dried tomatoes (which tend to be extremely salty), you should soak them for around 30 minute prior to using.
Then, from over the creepy music (which is underscoring the whole programme) the narrator say’s –
“A RADICAL DIETRY CONVERSION CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE AT ANYTIME“.
Agghhh! Help! They’ve got me! I’m being attacked by the evil raw chocolate smoothie! I mean, come on…
We then see a very well spoken couple do their weekly raw food shop. The total? £169.40. The message? Eating raw foods is for rich people. The truth? This is rubbish! My weekly raw food shop comes to around a fifth of that. Eating healthily does not have to be expensive.
These kind of negative subtle messages continued to play through out the entire programme. After hearing Suki explain that it isn’t physically possible for her to fancy a bloke who eats meat, we see her sat by herself drinking a solitary glass of vegetable juice. After seeing the rich posh couple host a raw dinner party for friends, we see one of the friends get into an argument with them and leave the table. Now this may be their reality, but it’s not mine.
The underlying message in the programme (thanks to clever editing and selective content from Channel 4) seems to be that people who eat raw foods are:
- A bit weird
- Slightly creepy
Ok, I know I can be weird at times, but I’m not lonely and I wish I was bloody rich! And I’d really like to think I’m not creepy. However, no matter what message C4 were trying to convey, no one watching this show could deny how good these people look, or how big Kate Magic’s smile is. It’s like my Dad says, ‘what can’t speak can’t lie’. Every single person interviewed in that programme looked radiant and full of life, and for me that speaks louder than any sneaky editing ever could.
The truth is, since eating more raw foods, I have become the happiest and healthiest I have ever been. I know I am lucky to have such amazing friends, but I haven’t lost a single one them because of the way I eat. Eating raw foods has rid me of anxiety, bad skin, unprovoked mood swings, fat, period pains, and insecurities but my friends have stayed put. Raw foods have given me a super strong immune system, glowing skin, tons of energy, a clear mind, confidence, supple joints and muscles, a positive outlook on life, and respect for myself and my body. I don’t feel like I am depriving myself of anything. I love creating delicious meals that are full of goodness, that make you feel great when you eat them. I love not feeling tired after eating, or shaky from drinking too much coffee or eating sugary foods. I just feel better; full stop! And if that’s what being labelled a ‘Raw Foodist’ or ‘Health Food Junkie’ means, then personally, I’ll take it.