Stepping through the doors of Morrisons in Guiseley (near Leeds) was like stepping onto the set of a sci-fi film. Endless rows of fruit and vegetables as far as the eye could see! This wasn’t the alien part however (although sadly this is alien for a lot of supermarkets), the strange beam-me-up-Scotty-type part was the eerie mist that was encompassing all the fresh produce and herbs! With the opening theme tune from 2001 A Space Odyssey playing in my head, I walked over (in slow motion, obviously) and gazed in wonderment at the massive selection of raw food before me, all being sprayed with tiny droplets of water in order to keep them ‘fresh’. And then, I saw it: ladies and gentlemen, the TURMERIC has landed. So for all of you in the UK who were wondering where you can purchase this power house of a bright yellow root, here it is. BOOM. Five pots of Turmeric Tea coming right up!
Aside from the turmeric though, I really do think the new fruit and veg section they have provided in this particular store is fantastic, and a massive step in the right direction towards helping people make healthier food choices. The whole foods sections was all of a sudden the ‘cool’ place to be. Kids were exited by it. People were filling their baskets. Passers by who looked like they’d never so much as even sniffed a carrot were hovering over the globe artichokes with intrigued looks on their faces. Ok, so a lot of the produce was imported from the other side of the world, which of course isn’t great, but if that’s what it takes initially to get people away from the cheese strings and onto the aubergines, so be it. Hopefully, the more health conscious people become, the more conscious in general they will become and maybe that’s when people will go more for local produce, rather than apples that have flown all the way from South Africa. Anyway, I’ll get off my soap box now – here are some photos of the new, all improved veg section at Morrisons, plus the meal I made with said veg. I bet you never knew vegetables could be so enthralling….
‘Raw Linseed Crackers’ are of course a new and ingenious name for ‘Flax Crackers’. Ok, it might not be so ingenious, but at least it makes more sense. I don’t know about you, but in all the zillions of hours I have spent in health food shops, I am still yet to come across any ‘flax seeds’. Linseed – yes. Flaxseed – no. They are of course the same thing, but I’m still confused as to why most recipes describe it as Flax, where as the actual seed calls itself Linseed (“Hi, I’m Linseed. Oh no, loads of people think I’m Flaxseed, I don’t actually know where this whole things started, but please, call me Linseed). Hmmmmm. I was thinking perhaps Flax is the American term for Linseed, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Oh, I have seen ‘Flax Oil’ in a bottle, but that’s as far as the Flax thing goes. Woah. I feel like I’m loosing my mind slightly and anyway, linseed, flaxseed – who cares? Jeez. All you care about surly is this recipe and the fact that these crunchy crackers and not only unbelievably tasty and moorish, they are also packed full of OMEGA 3’s which improves the quality of your hair, skin, and nails, helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, aids in alleviating pain from arthritis, and gives your immune system a boost!
I had my crackers with some Miso Cashew Cheese, spinach and a drizzle of tamari, but these crackers will go with any savoury topping! Or why not mash a banana and use that as a topping with a sprinkling of garam masala?…
This recipe is adapted from a Cafe Gratitude recipe from the book 'I Am Grateful' - a beautiful book of raw recipes and also a very positive, inspiring read!
2 cups linseed, soaked for 4-8 hours
1 cup carrot or veggie pulp from the juicer
1 cup carrot or veggie juice
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp salt
In a large bowl either using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix all the ingredients together.
Divide the mixture and place onto two telfex lined dehydrator trays, and spread out so that it covers the whole tray, making sure there are no holes. The crackers should be about 0.5 cm thick.
Place in the dehydrator and dehydrate for 8 hours @ 115º.
After 8 hours, remove from the dehydrator and using scissors cut into 8 rectangles. This is done by cutting the square in half vertically and horizontally, and then cutting each of the new four squares in half again.
Place back in the dehydrator for another 8 hours or until the crackers are crisp.
Enjoy on their own or with your own favourite raw topping!
You could be thinking one of two things right now: either “Mmm, that recipes sounds delicious, and it has elderflowers and rosemary in, too. Wow! I can’t wait to try this out” – or – “As if anyone’s gonna go out and pick elderflowers to put on their breakfast, I mean really.. all sounds a bit lar di dar to me.. and what the bloody hell is chia? Pass me the cocoa pops, love”. If you fall into either of those categories or somewhere in between, then let me tell you now – firstly, you don’t have to put elderflowers and rosemary flowers on your breakfast, and secondly, if you do want to put elderflowers and rosemary flowers on your breakfast, now is the time to do it as elderflowers are currently in season and ready for picking!
This is an elderflower tree and these are the flowers that you will be picking (just in case you were unfamiliar with elderflower). They are native to Europe and you will find them growing throughout the UK, especially in hedges, woods and wasteland. If you have any fields or walks with hedges near where you live, keep an eye out – the chances are you will find one of these beautiful trees staring you right in the face! For some reason, I have always thought that it is only the dark purple berries you pick from an elder tree, and that the flowers were just something you looked at and went “Ahh, aren’t they pretty?“. It is in fact the big flat bunches of tiny cream coloured flowers that you collect in order to make your cordial, syrup or to sprinkle on your breakfast for example! Elderberrries are usually picked to make wine, and are in season in the UK during the autumn (unlike the elderflowers which are at their best around the end of May to mid June. i.e NOW).
I am very lucky to have a big stretch of open land five minutes away from my house where elderflowers are growing abundantly. I have been getting up early in the morning with a plastic Asda bag in hand and filling it with the delicate white flowers to use throughout the day. The flowers give your immune system a kick up the backside, and have fantastic antiviral properties, too. If you suffer from water retention, the flowers also act as a diuretic, as well a being used traditionally to treat colds, influenza, sinusitis and excess mucus – nice! As well as the many healthy benefits elderflowers contain, they also look really pretty and will liven up any salad or breakfast beautifully. If you’re having a dinner party, sprinkle some on your food to look posh and show off to your guests. When it comes to taste, you actually can’t really taste the flowers when they’re mixed with something else as the flavour is so delicate. When the flowers are used for making syrups or cordials however, the sweet floral flavour intensifies due to the high concentration levels (and the bucket full of sugar that is usually needed to make said syrups). Whether you can taste the flowers or not, to go out and pick your own food and herbs to use during the day or for the months ahead, is a wonderful activity and one to get you connected to nature. If you do decide to do a bit of foraging though, make sure you take the necessary precautions and do a bit of research first – you don’t want to be in hospital first thing in the morning, that would not be a good start to the day. I highly recommend Zoe Hawes book Wild Drugs: A Foragers Guide to Healing Plants, it’s easy to understand and has got lovely photographs of all the plants she writes about. Hawes also tells you how to eat them, and also how to make tinctures and infusions to help reap the full benefits of each medicinal plant.
I feel a bit bad now as I’ve just realised I have completely neglected telling you about rosemary flowers! Poor little things. I’ve already gone on a bit so I’ll have to cut this one short – basically, if you’ve got a big rosemary bush growing in your garden and it’s got little lilac coloured flowers on – pick them and sprinkle them on your food. You can also find rosemary growing in hedges and beside foot paths, just have a look next time you’re out walking and you may be pleasantly surprised! You’ll know it’s rosemary if you rub the leaves in your hand and smell it, the pungent scent of rosemary is unmistakable (if you know what it smells like, of course). The flowers have the same bitter aromatic flavour but not as intense as the leaves. Right! I’ve harped on long enough – here’s your recipe:
Vanilla Chia with Elderflowers, Rosemary Flowers and Coconut Milk
Ideally soak the chia in the vanilla cashew sauce overnight, so that it will be soaked and full of flavour ready for you to eat in the morning. If you don't have any of the wild flowers, black sesame seeds or buckwheaties, don't worry - pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds will be just as nice, and you can even just top with chopped fresh fruit!
: Elaine Glover
6 tbsp chia
¼ cashew nuts
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod, scraped
1 tbsp agave
1 cup water
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
Pinch of salt
Freshly picked elderflowers and rosemary flower
Black sesame seeds
½ tin of coconut milk (not raw!)
First make your vanilla sauce. Place cashews, vanilla, dates, agave and water in a blender and mix until smooth.
Place in a jar and add the chia, stirring to fully mix with the vanilla cashew liquid.
Cover and place in the fridge to leave overnight to soak (or for 8 hours).
Once the chia has soaked up the liquid and is nice and plump, divide between two bowls, or use half if it's only you eating.
Top with the prunes, wild flowers, cinnamon, turmeric, salt and the pour over some coconut milk or nut milk if you prefer!
Ipods. Harem pants. The Soprano’s. These are among the many things I have got excited about way after everybody else has. I just always seem to be a bit behind when it comes to certain things like technology, fashion and American television dramas. Now I am experiencing a similar thing with my new home, BRIGHTON. When I first landed upon its pebbly beach five months ago with nothing but a rucksack, pull along suitcase, blender, and yoga mat; I have to admit I was struggling to see what all the fuss was about. I mean, it had a pebbly beach for a start. Yes it was cool and yes, I did like it; but the best thing about the place for me was the fact that it had a raw restaurant and an amazing whole foods store (which incidentally was enough to keep me here). But without the sunshine to shine a torch on all that Brighton had to offer, I couldn’t hand on my heart say that this was an incredible place to be. Like most British seaside resorts, when the weather is grey and gloomy, Brighton became much of the same. The thing is I knew I had come here for a reason, and after flitting back to Yorkshire, crashing out in London and deciding not to up root and move to Bali, I decided to trust my gut feeling that was telling me to to stay here and start a new life on the south coast. But where was the bloody sunshine??!! Honestly, the last thing you want after turning down the chance to move to BALI is an upturned umbrella and gale force winds on your face. This was definitely a time to cultivate patience. So when the sun finally did come out to play, was it worth the wait? Was it ever!!! Brighton in the sunshine is AMAZING!!!! I LOVE IT. And now I have seen both sides of Brighton, the perceived good and bad, I can whole heartedly say this is one of the BEST places to live (and if you ignore the Tesco Express’s and the Sainsbury’s Local’s, you really don’t feel as if you’re in England, which is often a good thing). You’ve got everything here: the ocean, the beach (albeit a pebbly one), the south downs (not as glorious as my beloved dales, but still very beautiful), parks, clubs, cool-little-healthy-cafés, yoga, RAW restaurants, amazing produce, and a pulsating unique vibe that makes Brighton so special. So! Since the sun has been shining extremely bright, I have been sat outside most mornings enjoying some of the best raw breakfasts ever. You don’t get much of a better start to the day than this! Here are some of my favourites:
Hungry? Check in tomorrow for a recipe for Vanilla Chia with Elderflowers, Rosemary and Coconut Milk!