Wild Garlic Soup

Wild Garlic Soup

This past weekend myself and my friend Jen Ardis from Blue Heron Mindfulness held our third Nutrition & Mindfulness 1 day retreat, locally here in Fermoy. The theme for this one, was Self care and Self compassion. Both pretty important topics if you ask me!

I hadn’t come across the word or the work of Self compassion as pioneered by researcher Kristin Neff, until a meditation teacher told me about her a few years ago. I immediately could see the value of incorporating it into our lives. The subtitle of her book is “the proven power of being kind to ourselves”. Such is the importance of this practice.

There is so much talk these days about both self esteem, as well as self love. However, neither of those virtues are easy to develop nor will they necessarily be there for us when we need to be there for ourselves.

The definition of self compassion is: ” To treat ourselves with kindness, like we would a dear friend”. So even if we are struggling with loving ourselves, we can always be kind to ourselves. Though this may sound counter intuitive, there are actually no research that being hard on ourselves works when we want to bring about change. So next time you catch yourself being overly critical, try to turn on the kindness tap instead. You may just be pleasantly surprised!

Straightforward nutrition

But it wasn’t the importance of self compassion that I wanted to write about for this blog post.

For each of these retreats we have also incorporated food, eating and recipes. This is the nutrition part(!) This time we wanted to go with something seasonal. The weather is still lending itself to soup and it so happened that Jen had some lovely wild garlic growing in her garden. And since I’d love to include a few more foraging type recipes here on the blog this year, we decided to go for a wild garlic soup this time. It seemed fittingly with the theme of the day as well as being seasonal, and a little bit different!

I didn’t want you to miss out on this delicious seasonal and cleansing soup, so here is the recipe!

 

Wild Garlic Soup

Serves 4

250g wild garlic – foraged & roughly chopped

300g potatoes (about 2 average size), peeled & cubed

1 yellow onion, peeled & finely chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1.5 liter of stock or water + 1 stock cube

Sea salt & Black Pepper, to season

 

Heat a large saucepan. Add a tbsp. of olive oil, then add onion and celery and sauté until the onion is soft and transparent. Add the cubed potatoes and then add the stock.

Bring to the boil and then reduce to a lively simmer. Cook for about 30 min, until the potatoes are soft. Add in the chopped wild garlic and let it wilt down. Blend the soup until it is smooth.

Re heat if necessary. Taste and season according to taste. Serve!

wild garlic soup

Wild garlic is also called Ramson or Ramps. They grow wild in large clusters in wet woodlands. To make sure that you have the right leaves, give them a gentle squeeze to make sure they smell of light garlic. They also have small white flowers that can smell quiet strongly. The flowers are also edible. It has some anti viral and cleansing properties so perfect to help us transition from winter to spring and hopefully to the warm days of summer soon.

I’m hoping to add some more of these types of recipes this year. Nettles next…?!

 

Ruby Red Beetroot Smoothie

Ruby Red Beetroot Smoothie

After what feels like almost two weeks at full speed, I decided, no actually my body told me loud and clear, that it is about time to take a day which include some selfcare. To me that includes, spending time outside, preferably some walking in the forest as well as filling my body up on some colourful foods.

And since we are enjoying some Spring-like weather for the past few days, with apparently more to come, smoothies are back on the menu again.

Other parts of my selfcare practice intention for this week includes getting serious about my sleep. To get to bed in plenty of time to ensure that I can get 8h and maybe, just maybe, I’ll try taking my mobile phone out of my bedroom too…

Do you prioritise your own sleep? And if so, what does your routine look like?

 

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It took me some time to warm to the idea of adding raw beetroot to a smoothie, but once I had tried it with some berries, there was no way of going back!

Beetroot is such a powerful veg, with phytonutrients that support our liver and blood. As well as that, as a root veg it is also full of fiber to help keep the blood sugar stable, give the stomach a sense of fullness and the bowel moving.

In this recipe I use banana as a sweetener but to be honest, mostly for texture as without it I found that you end up with a more “gritty” texture, that is not to everyone’s palate. I also tend to use raw ones, but since the consistency tends to change when they are cooked, it would be interesting experiencing using a cooked one instead. If you do, let me know! And probably best to cook a few and then use a spare one for your morning smoothie, as they take an age to cook…!

The leaves I used here are a variety that I grew last year called “Bulls Eye”. They kind of look like beetroot tops. If you can’t get hold of some, use a few leaves of spinach, rainbow chard or if you can get organic beetroots that still have their leaves attached you can use a few of them.

The talk of home grown veg together with the current warmth from the sun makes me look forward to the weekend already when my plan is to clear my raised beds to get them prepared for planting in a few weeks time. Must order some seeds too!

 

Ruby Red Beetroot Smoothie

Serves 1

1 small beetroot, peeled & chopped

1 small banana

1/2 inch of fresh ginger, peeled

1/2 cup of raspberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup of strawberries, fresh or frozen

A handful of red or green leaves (if your leaves are green don’t over do it or you’ll end up with a brown smoothie)

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp of hulled hemp seeds – optional

1 tbsp of pea protein

250ml of plant milk of choice – other nice options are cold hibiscus tea or cold raspberry leaf tea

 

Place all ingredients in your blender. Blend until smooth, Drink and enjoy!

 

I actually made a little video for this recipe too.

Expect to see some more of these types of videos happening this year, since I’ve just bought an extension arm for my tripod!

 

A Medley of Roasted Root Veg

A Medley of Roasted Root Veg

This week’s recipe is actually part of what we enjoyed at our Christmas gathering when I was back home in Sweden with my family. So I let the sweet and swift memories of the end of 2016 take us in to 2017…

Last year this was my first blog post of the year. Let’s see if I can keep up my devotion to consistency a little bit better this year.

My mother is one, of several people, who’s been a great influence on my interest in nutrition. And with her I suppose it been one right from the beginning, since she became a health conscious vegetarian back in the 70s, long before I was even born…

It’s not all that often that I have the pleasure of hanging out with my mum, but when we do I really appreciate doing so just enjoying everyday stuff. Like grocery shopping, and cooking.

We are quite similar in the way we eat, and both enjoy shopping and make an impromptu plan depending on what we find.

When we decided on this dish, it was out of a desire to keep it simple, colourful and varied. Plus we wanted a couple of side dishes that were vegetables to balance out the usual meat heavy offerings that is typical of a Swedish Christmas dinner!

celeriac

Root veg are readily available most of the year these days, but they do belong more to autumn / winter seasons since they are ready to eat in the autumn and then store really well for the winter months.  I don’t know about you, but for me it feels so comforting and grounding to be eating starchy cooked root vegetables this time of the year when its dark and cold. It’s like our bodies naturally knows that we need more density this time of the year to keep us warm.

I can guarantee that you won’t see me chomping down a raw salad this time of year, unless its served as a side dish to something cooked… I do have the occasional smoothies this time of year, but only if I craves something super fresh, it’s above 10˚C, its served at room temperature AND with a cup of herbal tea on the side…!

 

winter food root veg

 

I’ve included a good few different kinds of root vegetables here. You can choose some of them only, and then you may need a few more, or if you live somewhere where some of these are less available but have other tubers, then go with that!

 

Medley of Roasted Root Vegetables

 

Serves 4

1 sweet potato, washed & cubed (keep peel on)

2 carrots, washed, peeled & chopped

½ celeriac root, peeled & chopped

1 large or 2 small parsnips, peeled & chopped

2 medium sized beetroot, peeled & chopped

1 red onion, peeled & sliced

Garlic cloves from one head of garlic

A few sprigs of rosemary & thyme, use 1 tsp dried herbs if you don’t have fresh ones

A few tblsp olive oil

Sea salt & Black pepper to season

 

Pre heat the oven to 180˚C. Peel all the veg except for the sweet potato. Then chop them into cubes. The trick is to try to keep them roughly the same size to ensure even cooking time.

Peel the onion, cut in half and then slice lengthways so that you have half moon-type slices.

Add all the vegetables, red onion slices and cloves of garlic (with skin on) to a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, add the fresh herbs and season with sea salt and black pepper. Then use your hands, or a spatula to toss the veg so that they are evenly coated in oil and season.

Bake in oven for about 45 min or until slightly crisp around edges and soft in the middle.

Serve as a side to your choice of meat or pulses. I often enjoy roast veg with some baked fish or as here served with some cooked beluga lentils, some toasted hazelnuts and some Danish blue cheese.

 

A big thanks to my dear friend Jen who came over to enjoy this for lunch and got the job of hand modelling also!

P.S Don’t forget to remove the skin from the garlic cloves before eating…

roasted root vegetables

 

Chocolate Truffles with a Swedish Twist

Chocolate Truffles with a Swedish Twist

Can you believe it? Just a couple of weeks left of 2016, and Christmas just around the corner…! The common phrase of “Where does time go?” is the thing on my mind.  Maybe my dad has a point when he says that time moves faster the older we get. Stands to reason if we see time as a thing of perception rather than an absolute, which means of course each year, as we age each year is a smaller percent of our life. Worth pondering…

Though, I don’t know about you but some days, as a contrast to the time “flying by”, can feel like almost an entire lifetime with all the thing experienced that day.

My intention for this last recipe post of 2016 was not to get all philosophical and time conscious, even though one of my friends did point out that I am “almost” always late. Which does have some grain of truth to it… So right there is something for me to work on next year!

I’m going to share this basic dairy free chocolate truffle recipe with you, and even though I opted for a classic Swedish flavour combination, I will also give you some other flavour combinations to play around with. To be honest I think that from the basic recipe you can go wild and just let your imagination be the limit to your creativity!

These little truffles make a great gift, so if you are still looking for something to make / bring to the dinner party, hopefully this recipe will be a help.

lovely easy to make chocolate truffles

Raspberry and chocolate is a classic combination, but in Sweden raspberry and liquorice is also a classic combination. So I thought to myself one day “I wonder if the three would pair up equally well?”.  And to my mind they did! But if you don’t have / can’t get liquorice powder (I bought mine in Sweden on my last visit), then there’s some alternative pairings below.

 

Chocolate Truffles with A Swedish Twist

Makes about 15 truffles (try not to eat them as you roll the chocolate!)

Basic truffle recipe:

200g dark chocolate, 60-70%, broken in to pieces

100ml full fat coconut milk

Flavouring:

2 tsp ground licorice powder

A pinch of sea salt

Coating:

A few tbsp. freeze dried raspberry powder

 

To make the truffles; place the coconut milk in a small saucepan. Gently warm the coconut milk on medium heat. Once it if finger warm, add in the chocolate pieces. Let the warm coconut milk melt the chocolate for a minute or two, then stir the mix with a spoon until you have thick glossy mixture.

Add the licorice powder and pinch of salt and stir again until well combined. Pour the chocolate mix into a bowl and place in the fridge to set. This will take 2h or so.

Once the chocolate is set, take the bowl out of the fridge and scoop out a tbsp. worth of chocolate at the time and roll into small balls with your hands.

Place the freeze dried raspberry powder in  small bowl and roll the truffles in the powder. Once fully coated place the truffles in an airtight container and store in a cool place. Eat and enjoy!

 

Other flavour combinations (that I’ve tried so far!): Chili + raspberry powder, mint extract + matcha and spirulina powder, orange zest and cardamom + freeze dried blueberry powder.

If you can’t get any freeze dried berry powders you could roll your truffles in other things like sesame seeds, ground toasted hazel nuts or why not melted chocolates?

Use your imagination!

chocolate truffles

And just a few winter pictures from last weekend. Which reminded me of the wise words I came across recently;

 

“Where ever you are now, is where you’ve never been before”  – Ellen J. Langer

 

Wishing you a peaceful Christmas and Holiday Season.

winter sun

irish winter landscape

 

Lemony Lentil Dahl

Lemony Lentil Dahl

I don’t know about you, but almost a week after the American Presidential election and even though at present it does not directly affect me on a personal level, I still feel a little flat.

It didn’t feel right sharing pictures of food on social media amidst so much tumult and as much as I normally try to limit my intake of news, it’s been almost impossible to NOT get sucked into the whole debacle… But if you are starting to worry that this post will become all political, no need. I will leave it right here, though I felt like I needed to make a note of it, as whether you live in the U.S or not, we are all human beings living on the same blue planet in this vast Universe. And perhaps it is about time that we wake up to the fact that what effects one does affect the whole. Even if it is not always felt immediately.

 

Lentil Dahl

 

This week I am planning on carry on from last’s week’s theme of Food + Love, but with a slightly different angle. The food (and friendship) angle!

This Lemony Lentil Dahl, is my take on a delicious meal that my dear friend Michele made for me this summer when I stayed with her in her home in Seattle, WA. It’s one of those simple and comforting type  of meals / dishes that I love so much. Even though I first tasted it in June it makes a great winter warmer, hence why I am sharing it with you all now.

With all that is ever ongoing in this world, my intention for this particular post is to celebrate the beauty of friendship and connection. I haven’t known Michele for much more than a year, yet if feels like we’ve already established a connection that runs much deeper than what short time we’ve known eachother.  You never know with whom you might connect, or where or when. Today we have perhaps more opportunities to connect with people than ever hadn’t it been for the Internet.  Me and Michele connected through an online mentorship programme and after many hours of Skype we eventually got to meet in person.

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Me & Michele on a hike in WA.

This whole experience brought it home to me again, that when it truly comes down to it, what matters most is people and the connections we establish with one another. It also highlighted the fact that even though we might come from different countries, with different backgrounds and upbringings, when we meet people who share the same values like ourselves, there’s an instant connection which goes beyond all of that, and one on which we can build a stronger bond going forward.

When I asked Michele for the recipe of this dish she told me that it was not “hers”. My understanding is that as long as, if you use someone else’s recipe word for word, (obviously!) full credit is due, but nobody has patent on ingredients or combination thereof. This lends itself to the beauty of creativity, possibility and change. Maybe even a celebration of the fact that nothing ever stays exactly the same…

So a bit like “Chinese Whispers” things can get lost in translation and we make our own interpretations. For better and for worse. This is my interpretation of Michele’s Lemony Lentil Dahl, and I’m sharing it here with you as a celebration of the possibilities that is connection and friendship (and food of course!)

*Please note that this recipe is one of those that has “fluid” measurements. So even though I have given some exact ones below, please feel free to experiment and adjust according to your own preferences both when it comes to taste and texture. More liquid will give a more soup-like consistency.*

Michele’s Lemony Lentil Dahl (With my interpretations)

Serves 2 (Double the recipe and make a large batch if you are feeding many or want to fill your freezer)

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 large or 2 small yellow onions

250g red lentils

450 ml stock

3 lemons

½ tsp brown mustard seeds

2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

½ tsp nigella seeds –optional

2 pods black cardamom – optional

4-5 large leaves of Swiss (Rainbow) Chard or Spinach

Sea salt and black pepper, to season

Place mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds and the seeds from the black cardamom pods, if using, in a pester and mortar and ground roughly.

Peel and chop the onions finely.

Heat the coconut oil on a heavy based large saucepan. Once the oil is warmed up, add all of the spices and fry off on low heat until fragrant. Add the chopped onion and fry off until translucent.

Rinse and drain the red lentils and add to the pan together with the stock. Give everything a good stir and then bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 20 min until the lentils start coming apart.

Add the juice of the two lemons. Taste and season accordingly. If you don’t think it is lemony enough, add more juice.

Wash and chop the chard / spinach roughly, stems and all and add to the Dahl. Keep stirring the Dahl until all of the chard / spinach has wilted down.

Serve warm in bowls. This recipe is one of those which tastes even better the following day, so it is well worth making some extra!

Lemony Lentil Dahl

 

Lemony Chia Pudding with Stewed Plums

Lemony Chia Pudding with Stewed Plums

Many months ago I posted a chia pudding recipe here and there’s also many, many varieties floating around the internet. Why? One reason may be because it’s a bit trendy. Just like quinoa was a few years ago. And perhaps the other reason is that it is one of these really “handy & portable” foods.

To be honest I don’t make chia puddings on a regular basis, but over the past few weeks I’ve had some serious kitchen and recipe creation inspiration, and this was one of them. (More to follow in the coming weeks as I get time to re test, style and shoot!).

Since I am such a sucker for pretty and colourful foods, when I spotted these gorgeous looking plums, I just had to buy them. A couple where consumed as straight up snacks whereas the rest formed the topping to this lemony chia pudding. However, if you can’t find any plums that look good I think some stewed apples would be equally good too. Might even try that version myself next time, since I’ve been gifted plenty of them!

grab and go breakfast

I have tried a few various liquids to let the chia seeds gel in, but I keep coming back to full fat coconut milk. I just find that it gives the best consistency, compared to other nutmilks. The creaminess reminds me of ris a´la malta, a cooked rice pudding which has then been blended with whipped cream which is usually served cold on Christmas Eve, or as in my family, when I was a child we on Christmas Day. Always made from the leftover rice pudding from the night before.

So… This pudding may get you into the festive spirit (!).

The best thing with this dish / breakfast / snack is that it can be pre-prepared and if you make the chia pudding in a jar then it is easily transportable too.

chia seeds

Lemony Chia Pudding with Stewed Plums

Serves 1

200 ml full fat coconut milk – if you milk is separated you may have to gently heat it first

2 1/2 tbsp chia seeds

juice + zest of 1 lemon

4 small plums, stone removed and quartered

1-2 tbsp maple syrup

 

Place the coconut milk, chia seeds, lemon juice and lemon zest in a glass jar or in a kilner jar. Mix the seeds and zest into the liquid to make sure that they are evenly distributed. Set a side. You may want to give it another stir after about 10 min, when the seeds have started to expand.

Store the chia pudding in the fridge until ready to eat.

To make the stewed plums; Place the destoned and chopped plums in a small saucepan. Simmer the plums on low heat. Stir on occasion to make sure that they don’t burn. You may need to turn heat down even further.

Keep simmering until the fruit is completely soft and has broken down. This will take about 25-30 min. Add maple syrup to taste. Allow the fruit compote to cool before serving it with the chia pudding.

* My tip is to make the stewed fruit and the chia pudding the night before you intend to eat it. It may take a little forward planning, but once you have that, making this recipe is a breeze. Just stew the fruits at the same time as you are making dinner and assemble the pudding before you go to bed. Then you can get take a few min extra snooze time with clear conscious then next morning…! You can of course serve the fruit compote warm too 🙂

lemony chia pudding