Dressing up and dressing down
It has been a bit mad here the last couple of weeks.
I have started my French business, Desri’s Kitchen and been number crunching and trying to make that work on paper (in the French system – that is hard!). I am adding in teaching raw cuisine as well as healthy ways to tweak your cooking (including gluten free, dairy free, grain free etc).
Also we have been running ahead of electricians putting wall frames and ceiling frames in the Little House which means that is really taking shape! Nothing like deadlines to make Robin and I make something happen. Talking of which we also had a photo shoot for Oliver’s Travels which meant we had to strip ourselves out of our house – every room had to be made neutral, which for a hoarder and we who attatch emotion and history to almost everything we have gathered was a tough ask, to say the least.
We did it though and the photographer was a great guy who, it happened had recently, along with his girlfriend started eating a raw vegan diet! We talked for ages as there was lots in common with Robin and me resulting in the shoot running late and giving me an excuse to ask him to stay for lunch. I whipped up creamy noodles, avocado and courgette tartar and a green salad all with crunch seed sprinkles.
It is really important when changing your diet to cover as many tastes and textures as you can. Food doesn’t only nourish us physically but emotionally too. I hear lots of you say to me “But I so want something creamy like Italian cabonara or a creamy spicy curry” or “I need a rich, sticky, sweet and sour Chinese meal”. So have it – make your healthy food taste spicy and creamy, rich, sweet and sticky, crunchy and pungent, salty and sour.
A few easy recipes which can be used as dressings for noodles; you could use spirilized or peeled carrot, courgette or squash noodles or some healthy alternative pasta type noodles like quinoa or, as I did, kelp noodles.
The same recipes could be used as spreads or dips for crudites. If you tolerate and want to eat bread you could dip that in or spread it over.
How to make your healthy food taste delicious:
Create creamy textures
1 avocado whipped up with a 1 TBS of sweet miso (I like sweet miso a lot at the moment but if you don’t have it use 1/2 TBS darker types), 1 TBS chopped onion, 1 TBS nutritional yeast (or more to taste, check at the end), 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp agave/honey/maple syrup (one of them, not of all of them!), 1/4 tsp salt, pepper. Optional some crushed garlic.
Make it sweet ‘n’ spicy
2 TBS olive oil, , 2 TBS lime juice, 1 TBS maple syrup, 1 clove garlic crushed, 1 crumbled dried chilli (the little red ones), salt and pepper to taste. Whisk or shake in a jar with the lid on (I know, its obvious, humour me;).
Use Italian tomatoes
Soak 3 sun dried tomatoes and 1 big or 2 small dates in warm water until soft (this can take an hour or so), chop. Blend with 2 chopped fresh tomatoes, 1TBS chopped onion, 1/2 TBS white wine vinegar (I am liking chardonnay vinegar right now), 1/2 clove garlic (or more, your choice), pinch chilli flakes or 1/2 – 1 small dried chilli crumbled, a good pinch of salt and lots black pepper. Sprinkle whatever you make with it with ripped fresh basil or use 1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs.
Use delicious oils and high-quality seasonings
And lets not forget good old olive oil and balsamic – use the best olive oil, old syrupy balsamic, flakes of fleur de sel or Malvern salt or similar and a few turns of good black pepper. I’d go with about 5-1 oil to balsamic, in a bowl sprinkle the salt and pepper over and use like that or whisk or shake and use as a dressing. Such a treat!Learn More
Renovations dirty, frustrating, exciting
Do you ever have days when the thing you found so motivating and exciting yesterday is exhausting and overwelming today?
Welcome to my world!
I have been scared of heights for ever; I couldn’t go up the ladder to the first floor of the ‘little house’, the old tumble down house we are now renovating to move into so that the whole of the main house can be used for retreats, holidays and possibly B&B.
On Saturday, after months of attempts and a few days last week of “OK, Robin I am doing this, would you just turn the ladder that way then I will be OK?”….. I wasn’t. Then “OK, Robin would you put the scaffolding up under the hole and I can just climb up, easy!”….. It wasn’t, I didn’t.
So then he put a combination of ladder and scaffolding, then added planks, then stood on it all himself; no go.
So back to Saturday, I just decided and said to myself “I am a person who goes up ladders!” marched over, asked him to stand on the planks next to the ladder and walked straight up, hurrah!!!
Then I had to decide I was also a person who could climb down ladders. I did (eventually and with a few wimpers) and massive progress has been made.
All the bedrooms and bathrooms have been measured out and moved around until they worked. Of course all the windows and beams are not exactly where we thought, so I did a lot of moving around, toilets, basins, baths and showers juggled until there was enough room to get through a door and put a chair, a towel rail, a without going to the loo in full view of the garden etc.
It was fun and exciting.
Now it’s Thursday and Robin is still putting in the windows which don’t all fit (understatement) so have to be cut, filled, wedged and balanced to work inside and out on a crooked wall, a sloped sill, a wobbly lintel and two of us who think different things look best ha!
I have been putting more grass seed down on top of the seed that hasn’t sprouted – again. I am still wire wooling the floor in the main house, the electrician who has been promising to arrive for weeks didn’t turn up again (thats him out, enough is enough) and we are tired.
No amount of green juice, powdered or fresh wheatgrass or chia and aloe filled smoothies will help this mood – thank heavens for chocolate cake and juicy cherries! Raw, grain free, dairy free and energy boosting cake with cherries we picked and froze in the summer.
Sorry for the moan, better go and mow the weeds now while Robin calls the guy building the gate posts to ask where he is…..
Quick, tasty and bursting with energy.
Here are a couple of recipes for you. Easy to make. Quick. Very good and won’t give you that saggy feeling after eating it AND you will feel as though you have eaten!
I didn’t actually weigh or measure anything, just threw it all in. You can do the same or follow my measuements. When I need something to eat fast or have other things to do rather than enjoy the food prep I like to throw it all together, no fuss. I used what I had, there are substitution suggestions at the bottom of the post so that you can use what you have.
6 soaked sundried tomatoes chopped small – I didn’t wait for these to soak (I hadn’t planned to make this, if I had I would have soaked them an hour or two earlier). I put them in a cup of warm water when I started then used them as soon as I need them.
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds ground in blender or food processor or with elbow grease with a pestal and mortar.
1/4 cup pistachio nuts ground in blender or food processor or with elbow grease with a pestal and mortar.
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 hand full of basil, parsley and coriander chopped
1 TBS chia seeds
Juice half a big lemon
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS tomatoe soak water
1 tsp dried herb de provence
1 tsp ground cumin
Several grinds of black pepper
Good pinch of Himalayan or other mineral rich salt
Mix it all together and roll into balls.
At this point you could serve with the sauce or store in the fridge till later or dehydrate for a few hours and serve warm.
1/2 cup Tahini
Zest of half a lemon
Juice of one lemon
3 cloves black fermented garlic
1 Umboshi plum, stone removed
1/2 cup warm water (or more if you want it runnier, wait until it is blended up to decide)
Blend it all up. If you do not have a high speed blender chop the garlic and plum finely or squidge through a garlic press then whisk it all up. Add more water if needed.
Plate with salald leaves, any salad ingredients you like, drizzle with the sauce, scatter with sesame seeds and nasturtium flowers – or any flowers or fresh herbs, make it pretty!
If you want to stuff it all in a pitta bread or a wrap. Wholemeal is best.
Braggs – pinch salt/ tamari/ soya sauce
Umboshi plum – Dash Umboshi vinigar or leave out.
Black garlic – one clove fresh, remove central shoot
Herbs de provence – Italian herbs, dried oregano
Pumpkin seeds – sunflower seeds
Pistachio nuts – wallnuts/ almonds/ pecans/ mix of all or any of these nuts/ more seeds for nutfree version
Hemp seeds – replace with any of the seeds or nuts
Sundried tomatoes – half a fresh tomatoes and 6 chopped black olives.
Fresh herbs – use any mix of the herbs I used, even just one.
I am so excited!
I’m just going to blurt it out.
You are in for a treat and so are our friends and visitors and clients because… drum roll… I am enrolled on a course! It is going to be busy because actually I am enrolled on two! As anyone who knows me could have told you actually, why do one thing when you can do more?
In my last post I said I am not a chef and it is true, but now I AM GOING TO BE ONE!
A real raw food certified chef from ‘the’ top school. So I may not post much for the next 4-8 weeks, or it could go the other way and you could be treated to my high achievements – and the lower points.
That reminds me of being asked to make chocolate fudge cakes for The Damn Yankee, where I was trainee manager once upon a time. They thought I could do it without problem especially as it was using a mix. Well, you did add a lot of things so I don’t think its giving away any trade secrets and I didn’t sign anything.
Anyway, I added the things, whisked and mixed, became VERY confused over the instructions which were talking about different altitudes needing different oven temperatures but I did it. I made them. I was so pleased and happy because they worked and didn’t look too bad at all. And relieved to have finished because it took three times longer than they said it would.
I was pretty splattered but that was to be expected wasn’t it? I still wear food a lot, you will rarely see me in white where food or drinks are available.
Off I went home to get changed for my evening shift feeling satisfied and excited to hear what they would say when I arrived and they (bosses, colleagues etc) saw the wonderful gooey chocolatey cakes in the upstairs kitchen. I think it was only used for making those cakes each week as it was in the newly refurbished and empty flat above the restaurant.
When I came back all smiles and awaiting praise I couldn’t understand the stoney glare that greeted me – “Desri, lets go upstairs shall we….” I knew it wasn’t good, maybe they weren’t as springy as I had thought.
Sean opened the kitchen door and said “Just look at it!”. I looked at the stark white kitchen, bare other than the mixer and the cakes, then I looked again. Oh deary me , there was chocolate splattered on the walls, on the Mixer, on the floor and even hahaha, now I can laugh, on the ceiling!!!
I hated cooking, I was rubbish at school and as you know I still rarely bake a real cake and hardly ever a decent one.
They never asked me to do it again. Yey!
FOOTNOTE – Do not use that as a reference for your own experience! A very similar thing happened when I had to clean out the ice cream machine, but it didn’t have the same result, I was made to clean it every time until I could do it with less mess.
Runs in the family – Joel wearing Ice cream and Aimee wearing chocolate, thing is, they were only little 😉Learn More