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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Brown Lentil Mushrooms and Cream Gratin

I just created  this dish today. It is spiced with smoked paprika and preserved lemon.  I think it will excite your tastebuds and nourish you this winter.  I have lost too much weight recently and I am trying to gain a few pounds, so, if you are not trying to gain weight you can omit the cream and cheese .


1/2 cup brown lentils soaked for 1/2 hour
1 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
5 or 6 medium to large tomatoes chopped finely
8 to 10 medium mushrooms sliced
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup cream
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Rind of 1/4 preserved lemon (optional)
chopped green olives
salt and pepper to taste

topping

2 medium potatoes sliced thin
1 cup grated cheese or your choice

Preheat oven on 350 degrees or 160 C.  Rinse lentils and cook for 15 minutes or until soft. Then set aside.  Saute onions and garlic for 3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the broth, cream, lentils and spices. Then add the preserved lemon and stir the mixture and place into a high sided glass dish.  Then lay the sliced potatoes over the tomato lentil mixture.  Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and add cheese on top  of potatoes and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.  Make sure the potatoes pierce easily with a fork to test if its done.  Sprinkle top with chopped olives.
Serve with collard green sauteed in butter or ghee.
Lentils are a great source of protein and calcium.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

BROWN RICE IN COCONUT MILK WITH PINE NUTS AND GARLIC

Brown rice is my favourite grain.  It goes with everything and it make you feel satisfied and nourished. It's a whole grain and therefore still has all the nutrients within it, whereas white rice is devoid of nutrients and just fills one up for a short period of time but brown rice has staying power.
Its very high in fibre which helps many things including helping to keep blood sugar levels under control.  Its also rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium.



1 cup brown rice soaked overnight
1 can coconut milk
2 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
chopped fresh herbs of your choice

Drain and rinse the rice and place in a medium pan. Add the coconut milk, you will need to add another 1/2 cup of water to it.  Bring to boil and simmer with lid on, on a low heat for 30 minutes. While the rice is cooking you can saute the garlic and pine nuts in a teaspoon of butter until the edges are slightly brown. Set aside. Check the rice after 30 minutes.  Its done when all the liquid is evaporated and usually that's between 30 and 40 minutes.  When its done add the garlic, pine nuts and fresh herbs. Serve with main course of your choice.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Courgette Cheese and Tomato Bake

This is a lovely simple recipe, great for using your home grown courgettes and tomatoes.  Courgettes are high in fibre, vitamin C and K.   Tomatoes are also packed with nutrients including lycopene which has anti-cancer properties, they are also high in C and K, so this a good healthy combination.  I use a lovely sheep and goat milk cheese to grate on the top of this, use a cheese of your choice, I recommend avoiding cows cheese as goat and sheep are easier for humans to digest.
This recipe has been vetted by a nine year old, who before he tasted this, did not like courgettes or tomatoes that were cooked!  His mom told me that he had not eaten either before!  And he finished the whole serving!

4 medium courgettes (zuchinni) grated thinly
3 tomatoes chopped
1/4 cup grated goat and sheep cheese
black pepper

Put oven on to 175C or 350 degrees.  Mix the courgettes and tomatoes together in a bowl.  Place in an ovenproof glass dish - lasagne size.  Spread the cheese on the top and put in the oven for 10 minutes, then place under the grill for 2 minutes to crisp the top lightly.  Remove from grill and serve with main dish.



Coconut Cacao Mousse (vegan)

This is a recipe I developed here in Portugal, its similar to the Cafe Gratitude Cacao mousse recipe, but I changed it a little as some things are very expensive here and others you just can't get.  Like raw coconuts do not get sent to Central Portugal.  So I use coconut milk instead of raw coconut.  So remember if you make this in the tropics use a whole coconut with it's water blended into a milk.
This mousse is really nourishing as it has Irish Moss as a thickener and this is very good for the lungs as it has a soothing effect on mucus membrane.   It's also very high in calcium and contains anti-oxidants, high in iodine and can be made into a face mask as its great for the skin too and is also known for its anti-viral properties.  So when I say this is a healthy dessert, I'm not kidding.  And I'm only mentioning the Irish Moss, however, there is also coconut milk which is high in lauric acid which is anti-bacterial and anti-viral., so actually this is a nutritional powerhouse of a mousse, that will delight your taste-buds and nourish your body!

1/2oz Irish moss soaked overnight and rinsed thoroughly
1 can coconut milk
3 tablespoons sunflower lecithin or non gmo soy lecithin
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup raw cacoa powder or carob powder

Chop the Irish moss and place in blender and add 1/2 cup water. Blend until smooth.  Make sure its really smooth, (otherwise people will find bits of it and its horrible).  Then add the coconut milk and then all the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.  Check the sweetness and add a little more coconut sugar if you feel its not sweet enough.  Pour it into a pretty bowl or separate small bowls and put in the fridge for about 20 - 30 minutes.  It should be thoroughly set, so that you could turn the mousse upside down!  Serve!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Aubergines Stuffed with Courgette and Walnut

Here is a recipe I created yesterday.  Its vegan, but you can always put some grated cheese on top if you are not vegan.  This is a lovely way to eat aubergine.  Aubergines and very good for the health. They are full of anti-oxidants and phytonutrients.  They are very good for cardiovascular health, helping the scrub the arteries and it also contains nasunin which is a phytonutrient that protects cell membrane from damage and helps protect the brain cell membrane and it also helps to relax the walls of blood vessels, improving blood flow.

3 medium aubergines cut in half
1 onion sliced thinly
1 or 2 cloves garlic
1 courgette/zuchinni sliced thinly
6 mushrooms halved and sliced
2/3 cup walnuts chopped
salt a pepper to taste
olive oil or coconut oil to brush on the
skin of the aubergine.

Heat oven to 340 degrees or 150 C.  Use a knife and possibly a spoon to scoop out the flesh of the aubergine leaving the edge of about 1/4 inch of flesh, so there is enough space to put the filling.  Set aside extra aubergine.  Brush the aubergine halves with olive or coconut oil.  Put in the oven while you are preparing the filling.
To make the filling, warm a large skillet/frying pan and add some oil (coconut or olive)
add the sliced onions and garlic.  Saute for 3 or 4 minutes and then add the aubergine.  Cook for another 5 minutes or until aubergine is soft.  Add the mushrooms, saute for another few minutes and then add the courgette/zuchinni and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
Remove from stove and add the chopped walnuts, mix well and then take the aubergine out of the oven and fill with filling.  About 10 - 15 minutes from when you want to eat them, put them back in the oven on 340 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes.
serve with some brown rice and salad.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

CILANTRO MINT FAVA BEAN WALNUT HUMMUS

Hi Everyone,   I hope you are all doing well and that life is good.  I bought fava beans, but I cheated and bought already podded favas, but I still had the most tedious task to do, blanching and shelling, even though, after a few minutes you get into a rhythm and its like a meditation.  I created this recipe yesterday.  I have just finished eating some for lunch on a piece of fresh whole wheat bread from Tomar market.







1 kg fava/broad beans
1-3 cloves garlic
1 handful walnuts
4 - 6 tablespoon fresh coriander/cilantro or mint or both
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3-6 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Shell the fava beans and then blanch them for 2 minutes and peel.  They should be a lovely bright green colour.  Place them in a food processor with 1 - 3 cloves of garlic, handful walnuts, cilantro and/or mint, the lemon juice, salt and pepper

Friday, May 20, 2016

NESPERA BANANA FLAX SMOOTHIE

I created this one today and I'm very happy with the results.  In one I added almond butter and I loved it, my husband doesn't like it, so I left it out of his, and he really enjoyed his very much too.

1 cup shelled, seeded and peeled nespera/loquat
1 banana
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons golden flax seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon local honey (optional)
1 tablespoon almond butter (optional)
4 or more ice cubes

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy all the lovely vitamins, minerals phytonutrients and good fats in this delicious smoothie.   As I mentioned in my last blog post, nespera is very high in vitamin A and potassium, the flax seeds have omega 3's and also lots of fibre, black sesame is packed with calcium and other minerals.  The coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid and gets absorbs easily and is used for energy production.  It is also anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-viral.  This smoothie is nutrient dense and delicious tasting.

Monday, May 9, 2016

A NEW LIFE FOR ME!

Hello Everyone,  I apologize for the very long break, but, here I am again!  And its a new life for me as we have moved to Central Portugal.  I feel so lucky to have been able to move here and begin a new chapter in my life.
Here in Central Portugal we have an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit, there are fruit trees everywhere.  In summer its a joy to be driving down a country lane, feel a little hungry and to be able to stop at any fig tree and pick a few figs!  A luxury coming from California where figs cost at least $6 for about 10 figs! I go to the market every Friday to buy all the fresh fruit and veggies I need for the week.  Its all local produce grown by local farmers, so its seasonal and you won't see nectarines or peaches from Chile in the winter.  We have lots of fruit trees on our land and right now in May, its Nespera (loquat) season.  I had never tried nespera/loquat before and I have to say, its divine.  I will be creating a recipe or two soon with it. I just did a little research about nespera/loquat and its is packed with vitamin A which is great for eye health, bone growth, reproduction and the immune system. It is also very high in potassium which is great for blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders  and also helps with anxiety and stress.  You can make a tea from the leaves and it is said to help with bone density loss, its also said to help regulate insulin and glucose levels.  If you make the tea make sure to use in moderation, as if over used can have some adverse effects like muscle aches.
I will be posting new recipes very soon and I look forward to sharing  these with you all.