I’m going to start off with a little confession this week… I actually created this recipe and photographed it about three months ago. It’s been sitting all pretty and ready to be shared, but it hasn’t been until know, that the time has been right. You see, I’ve been on a journey over these past months. Not so much literally, (though I wish I had!). It’s more of a personal and professional development journey.
Sometimes life just seem to take you on a trip of change regardless of whether you want it or not, so when you actually have the chance to decide yourself that you are ready to explore, open up and expand, it just makes the experience all the sweeter! Every now and then you go places or meet people who become catalysts for change and steer your path in a slightly different direction, or perhaps bring you back to the road you where always meant to travel…
Back in April, I met one of those people, Dr Deanna Minich. When I heard Dr Minich speak at our AGM for Nutritional Therapists in Dublin in the middle of April this year, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, here is someone who has already integrated health and healing through food and eating into a tangible concept!” Something I’ve intuitively been looking for, but not being sure how to fit the jigsaw together.
One part of Nutritional Therapy that have always felt right to me, is the way we tend to treat the person as a whole. We are the sum of all the parts and they are interconnected. An imbalance in one system will have an effect on another one. Work with one system and you will see a ripple effect in another area. It is inevitable.
Those of you that know me, have worked with me already, or been following along here for awhile now, knows that I don’t advocate any particular type of diet (other than fresh wholesome unprocessed foods), that I believe that we need to get better at listening to our own bodies to find out what is truly best for us, and that I absolutely loath calorie counting!
To me eating should be free of guilt, blame and shame and a truly nourishing experience on every level. So you can imagine my excitement when I meet someone who had already integrated this way of thinking into one colourful concept! All I knew back in April was that this is where I need to go next! So following my heart and my gut off I went and enrolled in Dr Minich’s Food & Spirit Certified Practitioner Programme™. This is probably one of the best thing I’ve done since I decided to study Nutritional Therapy several years ago. (Take home message to all of us – if something feels really right in your heart, go with it. Don’t let any fears or worries stand in your way. Trust and go forth.)
So what is Food & Spirit™ exactly? What does it mean for my own practice and skills to have added this certified training to my tool kit?
Food & Spirit™ is an all encompassing self-healing modality, marrying physiology and psychology with food and eating through the 7 Aspects of Self. Still none the wiser? Ok, let me try again. Basically what Dr Minich has done, through years of clinical research, clinical practice and whilst simultaneously studying ancient healing traditions, is to recognise a pattern of how everything seems to be interconnected through these 7 aspects of self. These Aspects are connected to different areas in our body, both physically through various hormone glands and organs, but also symbolically through energy centres (chakras) recognised in ancient healing traditions. Finally each of these 7 Aspects are also connected to how we live, how we eat and how we connect with life itself.
Through using the lens of this concept we can look at imbalances within these areas of self, (which may manifest as disease, dis-ease, or simply not feeling our best), in a wider context. We can look at the area(s) / aspect(s) that are out of balance and use this as a starting point for how to apply changes to our lifestyle, how we eat and what we eat.
The 7 Aspects of Self are:
The Root – Who we are, our foundation, our genetic make up and our ability to survive in the physical world.
The Flow – How we feel, our ability to express our emotions, our creativity
The Fire – Our innate sense of ego, our place of transformation and personal empowerment
The Love – How we give and receive love from others, how we nourish our dreams and passions
The Truth – How we speak what’s on our minds and in our hearths, our vulnerability and authenticity
The Insight – Our innate wisdom, our knowledge gathered from experience and our inherent intuition
The Spirit – Our purpose and our connection with all of life.
Journeying through each different Aspect, looking at how we live, how we integrate with the environment, but most of all how we engage with the food on the plate becomes a beautiful journey of self-discover through food, eating and living. It can become a transformational journey from fullness to wholeness.
When we stop and think, not only about what we eat, but how we interact with the food on our plate, doors of self-realisation and self-awareness opens. Opportunities to change, and opportunities to simply choose a different approach or path presents itself.
I believe that when we make food choices from a place of love and care for ourselves, we will chose differently. Making healthier choices becomes the natural way forward and much of the overwhelm, confusion, guilt and shame evaporates. It’s simple really, however getting there may not be all that easy… Though the challenges are all part of the experience too!
The other part of Food & Spirit™ is marrying the actual colourful foods with each aspect, or as I’ve done here using one food from each colour of the rainbow to create a full spectrum dish with nourishing health promoting phytonutrients!
Cauliflower Pizza has become all the rage of lately and whether you are avoiding gluten or not, it makes a nice way to consume this health promoting vegetable. Lots of people don’t like cauliflower, mostly because it’s always served overcooked. I think is far too under-utilised. It is cheap and actually very versatile! On top of that being part of the cruciferous vegetable family (same as broccoli, bok choy, kale, Brussels sprouts) it is anti inflammatory, has cancer protective properties and supports heart health.
So feed your LOVE and all the other aspects of yourself with this colourful Rainbow Pizza!
1 medium size of cauliflower
a handful of rainbow chard or spinach
1/2 cup of gram flour (chickpea flour)
2 eggs, lightly whisked – free range organic if possible
some fresh herbs like sage / rosemary / oregano, chopped – optional
1 aubergine / eggplant, chopped into squares
1 red onion, peeled & thinly sliced
2 red or orange peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 tube of tomato paste
150 g feta cheese
a little olive oil for roasting the vegetables
sea salt & black pepper, to season
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Chop the onion, pepper and aubergine. Place them on an oven proof tray, drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the tray in the preheated oven and roast for about 20 min or until nice and soft.
In the meantime, break the head of cauliflower up into pieces and place in a food processor together with the chard / spinach. Blend until you have a consistency that resembles couscous.
Take the “cauli couscous” out of the food processor and place in a bowl. Add in the whisked egg and the gram flour and mix with your hands until you have a kind of sticky “dough”. Place the dough on a lined baking tray and gently form a pizza base with the use of your hands. Once you are happy with your base, place it in the oven and let it cook for 20 min, to set. Your roasted vegetables may be ready at this stage so take them out before cooking the base and let them rest for awhile.
Once you base is set, remove it from the oven. Evenly smear the tomato paste on to your base, then add the roasted veg and finally scatter some feta cheese over the lot. You can of course use any cheese you like or omit it altogether, if you wish. I just happen to love feta on my pizza.
Bake the pizza in the oven for a further 10-15 min or until the cheese is lightly golden, but not burnt.
Serve your Rainbow Pizza with some extra greens and a loving intention. Proceed to experience love from the inside out <3
The concept of Food & Spirit is deeply nourishing and transformative. It offers a way to look at all these different areas of ourselves and to become much more aware of how the food we eat makes us feel, but also how our way living affects our current health and what changes we may need to do in order to bring ourselves back into balance so we can live life in full colour!
Food and eating has served me personally, as a path to personal growth. It has become a way of being more creative and open up new avenues and places of explorations. When we go beyond the basics of nutrition (calories, macro nutrients, measuring, counting etc.) we can begin to craft a healthy relationship with food and our bodies and in a sense find our way back to who we truly are.
In my Online Programme; Happy Healthy Me, we are already working on transforming our relationship with food and bringing awareness to not only what we are eating but also Why and How.
If you want to know more about this approach to breaking free from dieting madness and instead begin the journey to food freedom, body peace and a way to nourish yourself in ways that feel good to YOU,then this programme is for you!
Photos of me by Magda Lukas.
I know, I know it might not feel all that much like summer at the moment… It has been a temperamental one here this year, that’s for sure. But before the strawberry season is well and truly over, I thought I’d share this next salad recipe as part of my Summer Salad Series.
If you went ahead and bought some buckwheat to try out the raw buckwheat porridge, I’m giving you another opportunity to use them up here!
This recipe is an infusion of ideas from two of my favourite food bloggers and cookbook writers. I used the buckwheat tabbouleh recipe from Emma Galloway’s fab book and fused it with the idea of adding fresh strawberries from Sprouted Kitchen’s book which I bought some time ago.
If you pre-cook the buckwheat you can whip this salad up in no time. Of course if you are not a major fan of buckwheat you can substitute with another grain of choice. In traditional tabbouleh bulgur wheat is used. Bulgur is made cracked whole wheat and hence not gluten free.
Tabbouleh is such a great dish for increasing the intake of fresh herbs. The key to a good tabbouleh is to use plenty of fresh flavoursome herbs. Ideally you want to keep the ratio of herbs to grain 1:1. So basically you end up with a very green, herb-y salad.
Fresh herbs like coriander, parsley and mint offers an excellent way to naturally support digestion and elimination as they offer a good source of natural enzymes and are also very cleansing to the body.
If you don’t have strawberries to hand, you can simply leave them out. Or why not try replacing them with another type of berry? Perhaps red currants for a tangy experience or maybe blueberries to add another colour dimension!
I’ve used pomegranate molasses here, as to be true to Emma’s original dressing but you can swap it for maple syrup if you wish. It will make you dressing a little sweeter though.
Recipe inspired by My Darling Lemon Thyme & Sprouted Kitchen
Buckwheat Tabbouleh with Strawberries
1/2 cup raw hulled buckwheat groats
About 10 strawberries, washed, hulled & halved
A bunch of fresh coriander
A bunch of fresh parsley
A bunch of fresh mint – use less mint than the rest of the other herbs if you are using a particular strong variety
1/2 cucumber, washed & diced
10 yellow or red cherry tomatoes
3 spring onions, finely chopped
For the dressing:
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses ( or sub for maple syrup)
Sea salt & Black pepper, to season
Handful of pecan nuts, roughly chopped
Start by cooking the buckwheat groats. Bring 250 ml water with a pinch of salt to the boil. When the water is boiling add your rinsed buckwheat groats. Cover the saucepan with a lid, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 min until all the water is absorbed and the grains are cooked through. Set aside to cool completely.
Tip- The buckwheat groat will appear a little transparent once cooked through. They should still hold their shape though.
Finely chop the herbs and set aside.
Make the dressing by mixing all olive oil, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses in a small bowl. Taste and season accordingly.
Once the buckwheat is completely cold, mix in the dressing and then add the rest of the ingredients. Gently give the whole salad a toss. Scatter the chopped pecan nuts over and serve.
You can serve the salad as it is on it’s own or as a side to a summery garden party. (If the weather permits!)
It’s finally starting to feel like Spring here today! A few hours in the mountains, sunshine and a little cooking and it feels like a proper day off. And a little blogging of course 😉
I’m going to keep it short and sweet today as I’m planning to write a nice juicy newsletter to all my dear subscribers later and my last post was a rather long ramble too. So I’m just going to share with you this tasty gluten and dairy free breakfast recipe with you today and leave it at that.
The fact that I love breakfast is no secrete around here. For those who need to stay off gluten and are used to eating cereal or toast for breakfast, things may seem very challenging at first. But if you are willing to stretch a little outside your comfort zone and explore some new flavours, textures and foods you may become pleasantly surprised and the whole adventure will turn into a blessing in disguise.
I’m a big fan of buckwheat but it is probably only in the last year or so it has become one of my pantry staples. It’s one of those intriguing foods you see in the healthfood store and would love to try (because you’ve heard it’s good for you) but you have no idea what to do with it!
Buckwheat is not a cereal grain (it’s not related to wheat at all) it is actually a seed from a plant related to the rhubarb plant. It’s a good source of antioxidants, and contain a good dose of both magnesium and manganese as well as that all important fibre.
The seed has a distinct nutty flavour and cooked whole like here it has a lovely chewy texture and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.
This recipe is an inspiration from a breakfast I had back in November when I visited the very hip café The Fumabally in Dublin and had a similar porridge to this, alongside a seriously good Avocado Toast. Yes, I was particularly hungry that morning… Well actually it was more like a brunch but anyway, here is how you can create your own buckwheat porridge magic at home. It’s not as hard as you think.
Buckwheat Porridge with Pomelo, Pomegranate & Passion Fruit
1 cup whole buckwheat, soaked overnight
1 cup nut milk of choice + extra to serve
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 tbsp maple syrup – optional
1/4 fresh pomelo, peeled & broken up into pieces
seeds from 1/2 a pomegrantate
2 passion fruits
Soak the buckwheat overnight do improve digestibility and to speed up cooking time. In the morning drain and rinse the buckwheat well. When soaked they release a mucous so make sure you rinse all of that off.
Place rinsed and drained buckwheat together with nut milk, cinnamon stick and maple syrup (if using) in a small sauce pan. On medium heat bring it up to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10-15 min until the groats become transparent. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
Discard the cinnamon stick before serving and top with fresh fruit and some extra nut milk if needed. I’ve used pomelo, pomegrante and passion fruit here for a lively winter combo but as the seasons change use what ever fruit or berry is in season.
The start of a new month! Spring is almost palpable. How are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? I hope you haven’t given up already… One of my resolutions is to start using my (rather large) collection of cookbooks a little more. So I’m going to kick off this year with a delicious gluten free banana bread from one of my favourite books I bought last year.
I have a thing for books. It goes back years. I used to be a library junkie as a child taking bags of them home to read with each visit. Most of the time the stories would have contained horses in some for or another. These days what entices me the most is cookbooks. Thing is, getting a cookbook from the library just doesn’t cut it as you have to return it sooner or later. I want have my cookbooks to hand at all times so I can pull one out when ever I need a little inspiration.
A good sign of a well treasured cookbook is one with a few crinkled pages, some stains and a couple of rough edges. I mean it’s not there to be sat on a shelf gathering dust, it’s there to be used and help you whip up delicious meals in your kitchen, when ever you need a helping hand.
To be honest I’m not sure how many cookbooks I actually own. I’m afraid to count and there’s always yet another one added to the Amazon wish list… When I first started buying cookbooks the purpose was just for general use, and I used to pick books with a variety of recipes.
I’ve always been drawn to ones with short listings of wholefood ingredients and pictures. In recent times the quality of the photography has taken even more center stage. I just love the book as a whole to be esthetic and pleasing to the eye. In a sense this is a little ridiculous as you may end up missing out on some amazing books with fantastic recipes, which just doesn’t have a lot of images. Though I have found that the more experience I get using a variety of ingredients, the better I have become at reading a recipe and can often get an idea if I’m going to like a dish or not, based on reading the ingredients list. What kind of cookbooks do you prefer? Would you care to share one of your favourites?
This lovely and moist gluten free banana bread is from the lovely Emma Galloway’s first book My Darling Lemon Thyme
I’ve been a fan of her blog for sometime but I absolutely LOVE her book. I love every thing about it. The broad variation of recipes, the useful cooking hints & tips, the layout and most of all Emma’s beautiful writing and and photographs. I have cooked lots of things from her book but this banana bread is by far one of my favourites and I have made it many times. It’s an easy recipe with not too many ingredients and it is one that make for (almost) guaranteed gluten free baking success!
I often just read the list of ingredients and look at the image when I try to re-create a recipe from a book but with baking you’ll never get away with that. And even less so with gluten free baking. I love baking and for me it’s one of my preferred ways of de-stressing. But I’m far from an expert at it. Particularly when it comes to recipe creating. That’s why I prefer relying on someone elses successful recipes.
I have only made two tiny tweaks to Emma’s original recipe. I tried and tested it with dried figs, rather than dates and I usually put sesame seeds on top of my loaf instead of the seed she is using. But other than that, I’ve pretty much stuck to how it is in the book. Make sure you also use a nice fruity olive oil. I tried with cold pressed rapeseed oils, but the bread didn’t turn out half as tasty.
I also love that the sweetness in this bread comes entirely from sources which are naturally found in nature without the need for processing.
Gluten Free Banana Bread – From My Darling Lemon Thyme
Makes one standard loaf
1 cup of dried figs, stems removed & roughly chopped
1 tsp of baking soda
3 large over ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 eggs, preferably organic, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder
grated zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups (21g) fine brown rice flour – I usually weigh it out
1/2 cup (80g) potato starch – I usually weigh it out
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
a pinch of sea salt
a few tbsp sesame seeds, to sprinkle
Preheat your oven to 180C. Line your loaf tin with parchment paper.
Start by placing chopped figs and baking soda in a small bowl. Add 2 tbsp boiling water and stir well. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine mashed bananas, olive oil, beaten eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk the mix until smooth. Then carefully sift in rice flour, potato starch, baking powder and a pinch pf salt into the wet mix.
Stir until the flour and the wet mix is combined and then add in the figs and any remaining liquid from them. Stir the batter to disperse the figs evenly. Pour the batter into you lined loaf tin. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
Bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 min before taking it out of the tin. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting in (the hard part). If you try to short cut this final step your banana bread will just crumble up. So refrain from the temptation and exercise patience.
Enjoy a slice, or two with your favourite beverage. The loaf will keep for a few days, stores in an airtight container. Apparently it will freeze well if cut in thick slices, too. However I can’t vouch for this as none of mine ever made it that far…
You may be right in the middle of the craziness, that seems totally normal this time of year. Or you may be like me, presents bough, wrapped and posted with just a couple more Christmas cards left to write. Chilling, in other words. Though I’m not sure why I still bother with the cards. It’s not like I a get a lot of them anyway. Oh wait, it’s all about giving you say? And less about receiving? Even in the midst of this digital / social media era, I think, you simply cannot beat a lovely card arriving in the letter box from someone you haven’t met in a long time.
I heard someone on the radio the other day talking about giving more presence, rather than more presents. So while we are busy running around getting things done, buying presents, planning party menus and worrying about the cost of the heating bill – life happens. Our children grow up, our parents get older (we too of course), friends come and go. It’s all too easy to get caught up in this busyness and forget to be present. When we think back on our lives, it’s not what anyone gave us inform of material things that tends stand out. It’s those moments when someone was there for us. When we felt heard, listened too, respected and loved. All the things that we can give freely, no matter the size of our wallets… So perhaps its time that we all give a little more of ourselves to others. Time to give some presence. And not just for Christmas.
When I was going through my recipe archives recently, I discovered that there was only one (!) soup recipe up so far. Time to change that I think. I have another soup recipe waiting but today, I’m going to share this Classic Lentil Soup with you.
This soup is so incredibly easy to make. You can throw it together in minutes and it only takes 30 min to get ready. If you are not yet familiar with lentils, this is an excellent way to introduce them. Even the fussiest eater will like this soup, promise. Adding lentils to any soup will make it more filling due to their protein and high fibre content.
I found this recipe in the really excellent Rose Elliott’s New Complete Vegetarian. It’s one of those cook books with very few pictures so you actually need to read through the recipes. But there is many beautifully vegetable dishes to be cooked from it.
So if you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the thought of making healthy meals, while you have another thousand things to get through, just make this soup. It will both fill you up and fuel you over the next few weeks, in between shopping and partying!
Classic Lentil Soup
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
225g red lentils, rinsed well
1 litre vegetable stock or water. If using water add 2 level tsp stock powder or 1 organic stock cube.
1-2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 fresh lemon
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to season
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion for about 5 min until transparent.
Add the lentil and the stock/water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 min until the lentils are soft and golden. They will break down into a mush when cooked.
Blend the soup with a hand blender. You can add more water if you like the consistency to be thinner. Cook’s Note – If you have any leftover the following day you may need to add more water again to thin it as the lentils tend to keep absorbing water.
Add a splash of lemon juice, to taste and season with a pinch of sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Serve.