There is a so much going on at the moment in the world, in the house, in my head.
I have spent a week working out heating wattages, where pipes can go on repointed walls, how things will work in the kitchen to leave space for a sofa in front of the fire.
How to keep character whilst losing the crumbly problem of limestone walls. How to bring in charm and warmth but not hide all the original house behind plaster board.
I have also been working on the website, well two actually, one is my new French/English one and, oh, lala lala, my French is another story.
It has been frustrating and mind boggling and I have spent way too long at the computer.
First world problems, I know.
I’m not going to talk about all the world stuff, it’s all around us, it can get depressing and I really don’t have much to say right now other than: Be kind! Think! Treat people the way you want to be treated! Help people! Don’t bitch! Don’t press that button!
This is a simple one. It’s all simple really if you want it to be (except the French!).
Like, keep the charm, don’t put a plasterboard wall up….
Lots of people are feeling skint after Christmas or generally and think it is expensive to get fit and look after yourself. Not true. Well, it doesn’t have to be anyway! Here are a few ideas.
Wake up in the morning and don’t worry about the cost of heating the water, have a cold shower, feel how your skin warms up afterwards, how you tingle from your hair to your toes – fantastic boost for your immune system and gorgeously toning for your skin.
Massage yourself with some oil, almond or coconut are good ones, maybe with a few drops of your favourite essential oils or use your favourite natural moisturiser, body balm or oil. Its good to look after yourself, it reminds you (or teaches you eventually 😉 that you are valuable, that you matter, that you can take care of yourself.
Wrap up and get outside, walk, splash in puddles, climb a few hills, skid about in the muddy fields, feel the rain sting your cheeks and the wind mess up your hair. Feel alive!
You could pick a pocket full of leaves whilst you are at it and make a wrap, a salad, a quiche, a stir fry or throw them in your bowl to pour hot soup over (check them out, I don’t mean any old leaves – there are lots of identification books around, oh, and a good soak in water and apple cider vinegar will help remove anything nasty).
Do some DIY. Ha, ha, ha.
Moving swiftly on to lunch.
On Sunday, when lots are thinking of roast this and that with Yorkshire puds and gravy (yes, I love that too!) I made this…
Deeply savoury, slightly sweet with lots of crunch and chewy bits it satisfied on all levels, really it did and there was no afternoon slump, no bloating, no “Oh, I wish i hadn’t had that extra serving” .
It is also made with all things in season and localy grown, apart from the sauce.
1/2 a black radish (Black Mooli)
1/2 red pepper
Blette stem (I used leaves as wraps see below) I think they are Chard in English.
1 spring onion
2 sundried tomatoes
A few chives
This is where a few forage leaves would come in handy too:)
1 small dried pepper
Cut Blette leaves into wraps. I’ve never seen Chard or Blette in England I don’t think! Lettuce, Romaine leaves or Savoy cabbage would all work.
Gently fry the dried pepper, mushrooms, sliced Chard stems and half the sliced red pepper, in ghee (or butter or oil) until slightly browning and caramelised.
Toss all the rest, saving half the herbs, in 1/2 TBS Coconut Teriyaki sauce (you could make your own, which is divine or use normal but the own-made or coconut are way better in all ways). That’s the most expensive and, if being pedantic, least healthy bit but you need so little!
So easy, now just lay the leaf wraps out, pile some raw and cooked mixture in, grind pepper over and sprinkle with the reserved herbs and roll up. I tied mine with chive leaves which kept them together well.
Serve with some Teriyaki in a bowl – or Tamari (or soy sauce) with a little drop of maple syrup or honey – to dip if needed.
Lastly, anytime, just …
put some music you love on, close the door, close the curtains, close your eyes and simply move the way you want to. Push it a bit, use all your body, stretch to the edges of your reach, move each side of your body, front, back, right and left. Bend, stretch, twist and turn. It doesn’t matter how it looks, it matters how it feels. Move high and move low, move fast and move slow. Roll up and down and lie on the floor and move like a baby. Roll over, push up, curl and extend. Use your fingers, your head, your hips, your ankles. Most of all, use your instinct.
If you allow yourself to include all your muscles you will begin to strengthen and relax your whole body.
And your mind will follow.
Have some chocolate. You know, raw chocs are actually very good for you 🙂
“It’s a Papaya”.
“What do you do with it?”.
Where shall I begin?!
Here’s a few things you can do with papaya:
1 Cut it in half and remove the seeds. These are very good for killing certain parasites in the gut, I know but you probably have a few…at least…. If you are making a smoothy keep a reaspoon full to add in, gives a slightly spicy tang.
2 Sprinkle with lime juice and just eat it. Delicious any time and a great start to the day.
3 Dry the seeds and use them in a pepper mill, they add a nice punch to food and extra nutritional benefits too.
4 If you eat a protein heavy meal, for example red meat, have some Papaya as a refreshing desert or starter. It is full of papain, proteolytic enzymes, that help digestion. It is also high in vitamins A, B and C, potassium, calcium and of course fibre which we love!
5 Delicious in a salad.
I make a big mixed salad using various leaves, all the summer standards such as cucumber, radish, tomatoes, onions etc and chop in a papaya ( or half, depends on the size and how many people!) and avocado.
Sprinkle with sea weed flakes and toss in a dressing of your choice. My fave for this salad is: juice of an orange, about 1 desert spoon (to taste) Braggs, same of really flavoursome olive oil, tsp honey or agave, a crushed clove of garlic.
I sprinkle the whole thing with some chia seeds (to soak up all that lovely dressing) and help seeds.
6 Don’t throw away the skin! Rub in on your hands, your face, elbows, knees, all over. It softens your skin, eats away the dead skin cells, cleans it really. Leave for up to ten minutes (avoid your eyes) then rinse off; like a baby’s botty.
7 I went to an Ayurdedic retreat and it was served steamed (traditionally Ayurveda is not so cooked as depending on the dosha some people find raw foods harder to digest). It was actually delicious, I couldn’t tell it had been cooked so maybe it hadn’t been steamed much; I’d stick to raw personally.
So, there you have it, a few ideas to enjoy the magic of Papaya.
I think I’ll print it out on cards and carry some around with me to give to the people on the super market tills!
So, I passed both my courses!
It was so intense, why did I do two at once?
Next time (have I said that before?) I will listen when told “they are both intense and it is best to do one at a time”…
Anyway, despite getting really stressed half way into the photography course and only a week into the raw chef course, I really did love it and I learnt so much!
Raw food is healthy. That is a fact. If it is a regime that is used properly and balanced well nutritionally it is very healthy. If it is an addition to another regime, or simply ‘normal’ eating, it adds a very healthy boost.
And, lets face it, it can also be a huge compromise.
Yes, we can make a raw pizza – NO it will never taste like a cooked, melty, gooey cheese fest!
My daughter used to ask “But why pretend? Its not a pizza/ spaghetti/ chocolate mousse/ macaroni cheese/ lasagne!”. And she was right, sort of, but don’t people need something to help them understand what something is going to be like? I think so.
For example, a lasagne says it will be savoury, rich, cheesy with tomatoes and some herbs in layers.
Chocolate mousse will be chocolately, sweet, smooth. I do believe that most food flavours and favourite recipes can be imitated in a healthy way and I get lots of inspiration from my huge range of recipe books, different traditions and world foods.
And, if you want to convince or convert a non-believer some raw pizza recipes may taste good, even come some way close but that is the dish most likely to fail you!
Other times my kids would ask “It tastes good……what have you hidden in it Mom?” and invariably I had hidden something somewhere like avocado in the mousse, courgette in the hummus etc and they would not have known had they not asked.
Having said that I believe that now, with the input of some amazing chefs worldwide and progress made by people playing and developing and sharing recipes and with the equipment that has been improving them becoming more widely available there is virtually no compromise! No need for pretend! Allelulia!
I have learnt to balance flavours and components and nutritional elements and that the greener and worse it tastes is not better for you – yes, I would do that to me, OK and to Robin, I would make my smoothies very green and glug them down without my halo slipping a millimetre. Then grimace and a shiver would run through me – and him, sorry Robin.
I’ve been uncooking raw food, both simple and more complicated for over 12 years now and mostly the people I share it with have been loving it. It is time more people discovered more about it.
I have just made a divine smoothy which balanced my need to give and receive health and our need for it to taste delicious. He is very happy. Me too, though I don’t feel quite as sanctimonious as I used to!
Here is the recipe. I am using cups because in using the American measure I’ve found it is easier to work with. Use a standardised ‘cup’ measure (they are really easy to get hold of now) or simply a tea cup it doesn’t matter as long as you use the same one throughout the recipe really, I’m thinking a standard English tea cup to balance with the other quantities in this recipe.
1 cup water kefir
1 large banana
4 fresh figs (in season, from our tree)
1/2 cup blackberries (use any berry, I just picked them in the hedge)
10 small kale leaves not deveined
2 good sprigs parsley including stem
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons chia
1 teaspoon agave
Pinch pink salt
Blend and share between two (or one now, one later 🙂 and ENJOY it!
My lovely daughter asked for some tips for easy, tasty, fast and cheap packed lunches.
Tired of the, and by the, sandwiches, wraps, even more supposedly healthy options available within easy reach of where she works in Paris she needed to get back on top of this.
Everyone needs to enjoy a meal and function on all cylinders afterwards at lunch time no matter what we do. Lighter, brighter, cleaner food helps lift our mood rather than lower it (foods can do both), give us energy, keep us fresh and physically and mental bright and vibrant.
Even the best of us need motivation sometimes, she is a very healthy eater, amazing cook, experimental and enjoys the best of France too (think of those divine cheese stands at the market, the freshest fish, I won’t go on) so she came a-calling on Momma. Who, by the way, also goes to her and literally hundreds of recipe books both cooked and raw for inspiration.
First, of course I mentioned green smoothies, my go to lunch at least 4 out of 7 days a week but she wanted something ‘to eat!’ so I suggest making some wraps of sliced or even pulsed which is faster (unless you have a mandolin – which I have but dare not use, it looks lethal!) vegetables. Carrots, mushrooms, spring or red onion, radishes, avocado, whatever you have and like, even some cauliflower or broccoli.
Mix it all up with a few herbs if you have them, maybe a good sprinkle of ready to eat sea salad, a drop of olive oil or sesame oil would give a more oriental flavour and some balsamic or a drop of tamari or soy sauce some good combinations to mix in small quantities OR to put in a mini sealed pot to dip into:
- olive oil – balsamic – basil – salt n pepper
- sesame oil – soy sauce/tamari/ liquid amos (I use the coconut version with no soy) – splash of maple – pepper
- Teriyaki sauce (I use the coconut version, because it has no soy)
- a blended avocado, drop of cider vinegar, pinch salt, italian herbs or chopped chives
- juice of one orange, splash of soy sauce/tamari/ liquid amos (I use the coconut version with no soy), dash of olive oil, sprinkle of sea salad. I think this is one of my favourite dressings for salad too, I put lots on and happily drink what is left out of my bowl, if we don’t have visitors of course.
- blended plums (3 or 4), a sprinkle cider vinegar, chilli depending on taste and heat, tbsp olive oil, onion – match quantity to size of one plum, a small chunk of fresh ginger, a date or two and, depending on meetings, a clove of garlic.
You could make a raw wrapper, use a wholewheat pitta bread, corn tortilla or a great and light one is a rice wrapper that they sell for spring rolls.
As with all my recipes adjust to suit you. I am not a chef, I throw things together and make them work (and occasionally they don’t) and I have been doing this for many, many years so know what we like and work more on instinct – even when following a cooked recipe, it has to be said, much to Aimee’s dismay. And Robins on occasion, as you can see here .
Nom nom.Learn More
Well things feel a little quiet around here.
Last week was the Bleus Passions – the Blues festival- at Cognac, just down the road. It was super gooood! We saw Sinead O’Connor who was beautiful and sang like an angel, Beth Hart who was sexy ‘n’ sassy and sang like a rockin’ angel and The Hives who just took control and had everybody (say that word like the Blues Brothers would) eating out of their hands.
Sadly we were right at the front for The Hives (this is a small outdoor venue in a park, so a perfect place, even when it rains and everyone is sharing black plastic sacks to keep dry – which it didn’t this year, hurray) anyway, we were right at the front as we had been for the previous two concerts, and so were a lot of, well, children.
OK so they were maybe 16, and they all started bouncing around and then jumping around, then it got a little manic and they started crowd surfing and hmmmm we moved back a bit. Then it got even more manic and I told Robin I was heading out and we’d meet up later. Good man that he is wouldn’t let me go alone (good excuse huh?) and held my hand and dragged me through the throng to a safe spot, only about 10 metres back but, can you imagine? It was the walk of shame!!!
I felt like someone’s granny (that is the “sadly” bit), till I looked around and there were all the other over 20s (OK, over 30s then) that had previously been at the front.
So, now it’s quiet. Sun’s out. I’m up early because I couldn’t sleep any longer.
Can’t keep calm and quiet for too long so today is the day I start the site for Robin & Desri (RobinandDesri.com) and also ByDesri so that we can start taking bookings for our retreat AND prepare to launch Tatty Tot in a few months time, yee haaaa!
Funny how a day can start out slow and speed up before most people are out of bed isn’t it?
I LOVE having something to go for, but have been more than a little burnt out for a while which was a huge shock to me and it took me a while to understand and accept, and I am over the hump – thank you family and friends who loved me better and love me just the way I am, green juices, meditation, good bands and the ability I have been given to always see the silver lining and find inspiration in the most unexpected places.Learn More
We are back in France and we seem to have brought the sun with us ( though where we picked it up I am not sure!).
We are here for three months, home sweet home, which is lovely. Lots to do of course but all very exciting. Contracts almost signed for the birth of Tatty Tot, more on that later but marketing and product ideas are coming thick and fast!
I LOVE new beginnings, start ups, building the picture, the story.
Its like making a new person with its own personality – I shall share Tatty Tots personality soon, I just need to get used to it myself a bit first. Its all there but I want to know it and understand it before I share too much, for now its mine, soon I will give it its willful head!
As we were driving back I mentioned that because we are back for ages we could actually grow some things in the garden again for the summer – tomatoes for instance. We agreed we would which was probably more difficult for Robin than me as he knows he will end up doing all the hard work. We used to have the garden bursting with fruit and vegetables and were amazed every day with what we eat from it but now we are back and forth we are not there to water it, never mind eat the produce. We really miss it.
People can be so thoughtful sadly that does not include the very noisy family who took command of the “quiet room” on the Brittany Ferries boat we traveled on and proceeded to keep everyone awake (most who had long onward journeys and needed a bit of shut eye) because – I heard said noisy Mum say in the loo – they wanted to keep the kids awake on the boat so that they had would sleep in the car and give them some peace. It didn’t help that ‘the Dad’ found it very funny that the sleeping people woke up and left the room. Rant over.
As we pulled into the garden after a very long day the first thing we saw were two rows of tomatoes, perfectly planted (I think there was a point being made as anything we do is usually decidedly higglety pigglety), our lovely neighbours had realised the same thing we did and planted them for us, what a welcome!
Thanks neighbours, you restored our flagging faith.Learn More
After my obsession post I had various views from people who were involved in potentially extreme things… religion, diet, anorexia.
Maybe we shouldn’t bandy words about without meaning them. I am passionate rather than obsessed, though having said that I have been obsessed and I have used food as a way to give myself control and also to give myself something to focus on when going through more difficult times.
Sometimes we do feel out of control because of situations we find ourselves in, maybe through relationships, work, home, finances, illness.
Something to focus on can be a good thing.
I used to say to my kids, if they woke with a bad dream or had a bad day and were trying to go off to sleep, ” think about something happy, its your birthday in a few days/weeks/months, what would be the best birthday cake in the whole world, think about how it will look and tell me on the morning” or Xmas cake maybe….. you get the idea. It took their mind off the problem they could not do anything about right then.
So, could that have potentially started a comfort eating problem? Maybe. Could it have contributed to minds that won’t be quiet when we want them to? Maybe. Could I now add it to the list of things I did “wrong”? Maybe.
To me, at the time, it was the right thing to do. So to me now, I did my best, with what I had at the time so I am OK with that.
I am sitting here at 3.25am. I couldn’t sleep, again. Too many thoughts, too many ideas. I’m not awake because I am worried but because I am excited. I don’t need to think about what my next birthday cake will look like ( probably a raw chocolate one with fresh fruit on top:) but I can’t help but think about new ideas for food, new ways to make raw work on a day to day basis sidestepping cravings and habits of a life time. Where to have our UK retreat, whats next to do for the french one. Its fun, its exciting, its creative.
Its a long way from obsessed.
So, confessional; when I was about 19 I was at art college. I would get up in the morning and have a slice of toast with a diet spread and jam. I would cut it into several pieces and slowly eat it whilst getting ready. I would drink OXO cubes in hot water through the day (maybe one or two, sometimes only half at a time) and then I would have part of a crunchie bar as a reward for being good. Half I think.
In the evening I would cook something like lambs liver with onions and green beans and carrots – in some water, no fat. I was proud of how healthy and nutricious it was, simple, cheap and tasty.
Maybe a year or two after that I read about some super diet involving seeds and yogurt. I remember struggling through live yogurt mixed with sesame and sunflower seeds. Now I know there are great benefits there but that was all I ate. It didn’t last long. Luckily.
The other day I was in a health food shop and there was a young lady asking about diet products. The lady working there was very careful what she said, they were a similar age and the shop assistant was distinctly uncomfortable because the customer was not over weight by any means. I thought ” what on earth is she worrying about, she doesn’t need to diet” then quickly realised I had been just like that! Who knows what the diet was replacing, feeding, nourishing – not her body but her mind in some way.
I was very slim, a dancer, gym bunny, health fanatic, constantly on the move – I recently went back to Harrogate for the first time for years. Someone said to me ( in a very loving, happy to see me way) you used to be such a slip of a thing…. I did have a momentary panic, I had put on weight and was more than I “should” have been and way more than I had been, but I have been learning to accept myself as I am and the work I have done on that over the years stood me in good stead BUT there was a time when that would have meant water only for days on end. They didn’t mean I am now fat, more likely if they had any intention other than “oh, I remember you well”, it would have been that I had been too slim! But what someone says and what we hear can be very different.
We need to learn to hear what someone says – and yes, somethimes people can be plain mean in which case we need to hear that they are being mean and not us being whatever they said – and not turn it into a stick with which to beat ourselves.
So now (and for many years) I believe in being a healthy weight, I believe in exercise to keep us strong, flexible, move our lymph, sweat out the toxins and to keep us mobile. I believe that the majority of what we eat should be feeding us, not just filling us. Nutrients in every mouthful. I believe in moderation and enjoyment and peace of mind and I believe I need to go back to bed and sleep!Learn More
Going back maybe 30, no 35…oh, no… OK, lets leave it at that, years I had a flat and a friend of a friend needed somewhere to stay for a few weeks. I had a spare room, so my place it was.
He was definitely a long haired hippy, quite a few of my lovely friends were then. Along with him, his girlfriend, his afgan (coat not hound) and bags of stuff came some jars which took up residence on the kitchen window sill.
These jars seemed to be very loved, they were watered, watched, sometimes covered and sometimes not and whatever was inside them grew!
This was my initiation into sprouts, the most delicious, nutricious, juicy and best of all CHEAP food going!
There are a vast variety around they are easy to grow and, if you do grow your own, they are cheap as chips. A small spoonful soon bursts into a whole jar full.
Many websites are dedicated to growing sprouts so no problem working out how to do it. They are easy to get hold of, take only a few days and no specialist equipment required, you can use a simple jam jar in fact I often, lazily, just use a sieve over a bowl. They really boost your nutrition hugely with no fuss, powders or pills.
You can take it further, as we have in France at the retreat, where we have two large automatic sprouters to keep us stocked with plenty to juice as well as throw on salads or just munch out of a bag. You can also get small stacking systems (we often use that when there’s just Robin and I at home but then I’ll usually regret not using the sprouter as we get through lots!). In winter they give variety to the basic salads available with their sweet or peppery, hot or spicy flavours and they are always fresh so bursting with vitality and enzimes.
So, here’s to sprouts – Not just for hippies!
Coming soon: Notjustforhippies.com and our retreat info on RobinandDesri.com