Cinnamon and raspberry doughnuts

OK, not the healthiest of dishes ..

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An occasional vegan and gluten free treat

Ingredients

¼ cup + 1 tbsp caster sugar

1 cup warm water

½ tbsp dried yeast

2 tbsp margarie (e.g. Nuttelex, Earth Balance)

3 cups plain or buckwheat flour

1 tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp cinnamon

½ cup caster sugar to roll

Jam to fill (try the raspberry chia fruit spread (https://lillysethicaledibles.com/2016/06/27/easy-raspberry-fruit-spread/)

Peanut oil to fry

 

Method

Mix 1 tbsp sugar with yeast and water and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and ¼ cup sugar.

Mix in melted margarine and the yeast mixture (which should be foamy by now). Set aside the soft dough in covered bowl to rise for two hours.

Gently roll dough to 2.5cm thick, cut out rings about 5cm across and leave to rise for another twenty minutes.

Heat the oil and drop in the doughnuts two or three at a time, making sure they don’t touch. Turn once.

When golden browned remove and lay on a plate covered in kitchen paper.

Roll the doughnuts in sugar and set aside. Repeat until all doughnuts are cooked and sugared,

Make a small hole on the side of each doughnut and pipe in the jam. If you don’t have a piping bag, just cut in two and sandwich them together with jam.

 

Best eaten that day.

 

Turmeric: the spice that could benefit your life!

 

In 2010, scientists examining ancient pottery from the site of an ancient civilisation near Delhi found traces of eggplant with ginger and turmeric in clay pots. They dubbed it the world’s first curry. So, Ayurvedic medical practitioners have used the vibrant yellow spice, currently starring in teas, smoothies and dinner dishes in café and homes near you, for four thousand years or more. So what did the ancient food doctors in India know about turmeric that we’re only just learning? And can this flavour and colour boost also come with health benefits?

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Amazingly effective anti-inflammaotry action

Botanist Dr James A. Duke, writing in Alternative & Complementary Therapies, has reviewed around 700 studies examining the benefits of turmeric (curcuma longa). He found that in some studies, turmeric has been show to be even more effective than a number of pharmaceutical where it comes to anti-inflammatory action – and with virtually no adverse effects.

 

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Turmeric gives a vibrant colour to mustard and curry powder and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects

 

Here’s where ancient wisdom and modern knowledge combine and just a few fast facts about this surprisingly beneficial spice …

Turmeric contains over 20 active medicinal compounds called curcumunoids; the most important of these is curcumin and this may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties according to Harvard University[i].

  1. The plant compound in pepper (which gives pepper its bite) is called piperine and this boosts your body’s ability to absorb turmeric by 2000 times[ii].
  2. Because curcumin is fat-soluble, it needs fat to dissolve in before it can be absorbed. Could be one reason why many curries begin with the frying of onions and garlic in oil? Try using olive oil – it contains a unique range of beneficial phenolic compounds that aren’t found in any other food.
  3. Turmeric may have a role to play in the prevention of dementia. It does this by reducing the formation of a substance called beta-amyloid (responsible for the formation of plaques that obstruct brain) in Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Curcumin fights oxidative damage and inflammation which both contribute to dementia. This may be especially important since curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier – i.e. it can pass from the blood into the brain helping to keep blood vessels clear and in this way, allow for oxygen and nutrients in blood to nourish the brain.
  5. Turmeric contains six different COX-2-inhibitors. COX-2 enzymes promote pain, swelling and inflammation but COX-2-inhibitors selectively block this enzyme. Because of this, it may be able to play a role in keeping blood vessels clear. In one study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug[iii].
  6. Powdered turmeric root contains around three per cent curcumin[iv]. Many of the newer studies examine the effect of 1gram of curcumin extract so you may want to consider a supplement as well as upping your intake from dishes that contain turmeric.
  7. Turmeric may have a role in fighting depression, again due to its potent anti-inflammatory action. In one small study of 60 people, one group took a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI), called Prozac (fluoxetine), another took a 1g dose of curcumin daily while a third group took both the SSRI and 1g curcumin. After six weeks, the results showed that the group that took both curcumin and fluoxetine displayed the best results where it came to mood and depression[v]. The severity of depression was assessed using a common test for depression called the Hamilton Rating Scale (HAM-D). This evaluates mood, guilt, suicidal ideation, sleep problems, agitation anxiety, and more. Results showed that overall, the average change in the HAM-D scores was similar for curcumin and fluoxetine i.e. curcumin worked as well as fluoxetine in terms of improvements in the severity of depression. One of the ways in which curcumin may exert its effect is by boosting the feel-good brain transmitters serotonin and dopamine[vi].
  8. Raw turmeric may have greater anti-inflammatory effects than cooked turmeric.
  9. Cooked turmeric may have greater antioxidant effects than raw.

 

Convinced?

Ready to give it a go? The University of Maryland recommends a dose of 1.5 to 3 g cut root per day, 1-3 g dried turmeric or 400 to 600 mg standardised powder (curcumin) three times per day[vii].

Buy fresh turmeric from groceries and dried ginger from grocers and supermarkets.

Five ways to enjoy turmeric:

  1. Yellow curry https://lillysethicaledibles.com/2016/05/15/zucchini-and-cashew-red-curry/
  2. On vegetables such as cauliflower and Brussels sprouts (which contain the powerful anti-cancer compound sulphurophane) https://lillysethicaledibles.com/2015/05/28/zesty-kale-and-quinoa-with-tasty-turmeric-cauliflower/
  3. In soups and dahl https://lillysethicaledibles.com/2014/06/23/coconut-and-ginger-dahl/
  4. https://lillysethicaledibles.com/?s=yellow+curry
  5. https://lillysethicaledibles.com/2016/05/15/zucchini-and-cashew-red-curry/

 

 

[i] Harvard Health Publications. Harvard Medical School. Can everyday spice make you healthier? http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/can-everyday-spices-make-you-healthier

[ii] Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):353-6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9619120

[iii] A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1719-25. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4639. Epub 2012 Mar 9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22407780

[iv] Nutr Cancer. 2006;55(2):126-31. Curcumin content of turmeric and curry powders. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17044766

[v]Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phytotherapy Research. Volume 28, Issue 4, pages 579–585, April 2014

http://tinyurl.com/zf43q89

[vi] Psychopharmacology December 2008, 201:435. Antidepressant activity of curcumin: involvement of serotonin and dopamine system. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-008-1300-y

[vii] University of Maryland Medical Center. Turmerichttp://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric

Mummy’s saag

Spinach is a great source of nutrients – the darker the leaf, the more concentrated the nutrients. Spinach is particularly rich in eye-protective pigment including lutein and zeaxanthin.

The traditional spinach dish is fast and delicious.

Serves four to six

Ingredients

Olive oil for frying

I onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp turmeric

3 fresh tomatoes, chopped

2-4 chilies, sliced

1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated4 x 12g packs of spinach leaves

 

Method

In a large pan, fry the onion until golden brown.

Add the garlic and fry for another five minutes taking care not to burn the onions

Stir in the turmeric, tomatoes and ginger and cook for another five minutes.

Add the spinach leaves, one pack at a time – the leaves will wilt quickly allowing you room to add more. Then add 250ml water.

Using a stick blender, blend until the puree is smoothish.

Serve with roti or flatbread or as a main or as a side veggie for your Indian feast.

 

 

Choccoco blue bites

These easy bake cookies use the goodness of fair trade cocoa full of flavonoids and sweet anthocyanin-packed blueberries. Bound to be your family’s next favourite thing …

 

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Fair trade cocoa plus sweet blueberries equals yum!

Make 16-20

Ingredients

200g margarine, softened to room temperature

100g brown sugar

185g plain flour, sieved

25g fair trade cocoa powder, sieved

60g desiccated coconut

Handful of blueberries

A sifting of cocoa to garnish

 

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Line two oven trays with baking paper.

In a food processor, blend the margarine and sugar

Add the flour, cocoa and coconut and blend until combined.

Take an ice cream scoop full of the choccy dough, roll into a ball and place on the lined tray. Press lightly to flatten.

Add three or four blueberries to each cookie and gently flatten.

Bake, swapping trays halfway if the cookies are baking unevenly.

The cookies are done when they are firm at the edges (10-12 minutes).

When cool, sift with more free trade cocoa powder. If there are any left, these hazelnut chocolate cookies will keep for around two days in an airtight container.

Punjabi chole

A hearty and healthy family favourite.

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Serve this tasty favourite with chapati and chopped tomatoes, onion and cucumber

Ingredients

2 x 450g can of chickpeas, drained (or 400g dried, soaked overnight then cooked in fresh water until tender)

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 large onions, chopped finely

9 garlic cloves

Thumb size piece of fresh ginger

6 green chillies, finely chopped

1 bunch of fresh coriander

2 tbsp ground coriander

2-4 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp ground turmeric

1 x 700 jar of sieved tomatoes (passata)

3 tsp salt

2 tsp garam masala

2 tbsp lemon juice

 

 

Method

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the cumin seeds; fry until fragrant (about five minutes).

Add the onion and cook until golden brown (this will help to give the sauce a dark, rich colour)

Blend the garlic, ginger, chillies and half of the coriander and chillies into a pastel add to the pan.

Add the ground coriander, chilli power and turmeric (and more oil if you need to) and cook for a few more minutes.

Pour in the sieved tomatoes and add the chickpeas to the mixture. Add around 1 litre of water.

Bring to the boil then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until thickened (about 20 minutes).

Before serving, stir in the garam masala and lemon juice and finish with the remaining coriander leaves.

 

 

Cumin spiced rice

 

A quick and delicious rice dish for – makes a great accompaniment to your favourite Indian dishes. Adding the peas at the last minute helps to preserve the delicate vitamin C they contain.

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This no fail spiced rice is pretty nice …

 

Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 onion, chopped finely

1 cup of basmati rice

1 tsp salt

1 x 450g pack baby peas

Method

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the cumin seeds and onions – fry until golden brown.

Add the rice and stir to coat the grains.

Throw in the salt with two mugfuls of water.

Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

When cooked, stir in the peas

 

Easy raspberry fruit spread

You only need a little of this fruity, jammy spread to introduce an intense, delicious raspberry flavour. The chia seeds in this recipe swell up and absorb fluid providing a jelly-like consistency so you don’t need the traditional gelling agent, pectin. Oh, and chia seeds also provide essential omega-3 fats. So go on – try some on your toast, bagel, bun, bap …

 

Ingredients

1 cup frozen raspberries

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons chia seeds

 

Method

Place all of the ingredient into a blender and blitz until smooth-ish. You may need to add some extra water to help it combine.

Spoon into a pan and heat until the mixture bubble, reduct the heat and stir until thickens – this should take around five minutes.

Allow to cool before pouring into a sterilised jar.

Store in the fridge.

This jammy spread will last for around a week – unless the family doesn’t grab it all first!

 

 

Silken pancakes with toasted pecans, berries and banana

Don’t do dairy? Avoiding eggs? Love pancakes? You don’t need to miss out with these deliciously easy American-style pancakes. We bet the whole family will love them!

 

Ingredients

Handful of pecan nuts, toasted in the oven for 5-10 minute

1 x 300g pack firm silken tofu

Juice of half a lemon juice

2 x 400ml unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp light olive oil and more for

250g flour – plain or use buckwheat to make the pancakes gluten free

4 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp ground mixed spice

1 tbsp baking powder

Sliced banana, fresh berries and maple syrup to serve

 

Method

Heat the oven to warm (if you’re going to serve the pancakes all at once).

In a mixer, blend the tofu lemon and oil plus half of the almond milk until you get a yoghurt like consistency.

Pour in the remaining almond milk.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until you have a thick batter.

Heat some oil in a non-stick fry pan.

Pour in a ladleful of the batter and cook until golden, flipping once.

Either serve warm straight from the pan or stack  in the warm oven and until you’re ready to serve.

Enjoy with berries, maple syrup and a sprinkling of toasted nuts.

 

If stress makes you blue, go green, go micro green …

All greens are full of stress-fighting vitamin C – it does battle with your body’s level of cortisol (a major stress hormone) Cortisol boosts your belly fat and is also linked with poor memory anxiety and even depression. Cortisol also dampens your immune system. So, for all these reasons, it’s important to get enough vitamin C.

You already know that veggies and fruits are vitamin C rich, but did you know that  when they are spouting, tiny plants are super rich in this antioxidant vitamin? Baby versions of beetroot, cabbage and coriander aren’t just a pretty garnish – they can contain up to four to six times the vitamin C as their more mature relatives!

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Ancient Chinese mariners sprouted seeds on ocean journeys to get the vitamin C they needed on long voyages and avoid scurvy

 

 

Think it’s just a fad? Think again! The ancient Chinese knew about the vitamin C wonders of sprouting veggies – while the British used limes and other citrus to ward off scurvy, sailors from the orient sprouted seeds and munched on the young plants to avoid the vitamin C deficiency disease, scurvy.

 

Grow your micro greens

Decide on your seeds – choose from:

  • Radish
  • Watercress
  • Mustard seeds
  • Fenugreek
  • Chives
  • Kale
  • Carrot
  • Coriander
  • Chia or more.

 

  1. Place some organic potting soil in the bottom of a shallow planter and smooth the top.
  2. To speed the germinating process, try soaking in water before sowing. This will make it more difficult to sow evening but don’t worry about overcrowding (you’ll sow more than you would when growing seeds to fruiting plants outside).
  3. Cover with a thin layer of soil and spray with water or gently water them.
  4. Place on a sunny windowsill and water at least once a day to make sure the water doesn’t dry out.
  5. Snip with scissors above the soil level, rinse in a sieve with cold, running water.
  6. Enjoy with salads and sandwiches to get the most out of the vitamin C. or garnish casseroles and curries – the heat will destroy the vitamin C, though.

 

Creamy cauli and chive soup

Cauliflower is part of the brassica family of veggies – think broccoli and cabbage. And like its family members, cauliflowers are rich in protective plant pigments and a potent anti-cancer compound called sulphurophane.  This soup is super easy and tasty. Add more potatoes for a thicker soup and if you want to use it as a way to take the edge off your appetite, try it before lunch or dinner or as a healthy snack.

 

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Easy, creamy, delicious, cauli

Ingredients

1 brown onion, chopped

3 potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 litre really good vegetable stock

1 large cauliflower, cut into florets

White pepper and cracked black pepper

Handful of chives, snipped

 

Method

Place onion and potatoes and hot vegetable stock into a pan over medium heat. Cook for around 10 minutes.

Add the cauliflower, cover and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower and potato are tender.

Using a stick blender, whizz the soup until smooth.

Season with pepper and add salt if necessary.

Ladle soup into serving bowls and sprinkle with chives.

Serve with your favourite bread.