When I first started planning this month’s blog, I had no idea how life was going to be when it got to actually sending it out. My original thought was how to deconstruct that childhood favourite – the Crème Egg. So, something with eggs and something with ‘ultimate’ – ie 100% cocao solids – chocolate and, of course, the usual seasonal juice.
I don’t want to lay on any detailed health or lifestyle advice for these long days of social distancing ahead – there’s no shortage of that elsewhere. Just a couple of points…
- More time at home means more time for smoothies and juices. Why not set up a daily habit? There are plenty of immune-boosting recipes out there.
- Small, local ethnic shops can be a good source of lesser-known pulses and other new foods to try – and they need the business now! Check they’re not crowded and watch out for narrow aisles.
Green juice with extras
Spinach is just coming into season, so I combined this with grapefruit and a Bramley apple, throwing in a cucumber to boost the alkalising effect. Then checked the fridge and fruit bowl for any tired old leftovers and threw them in too.
Bunch of spinach (from local greengrocers)
One Bramley apple, peeled and sliced
One cucumber, chopped roughly
Three tired celery sticks, chopped roughly
One broccoli stem, from last night’s dinner, chopped
One kiwi fruit from bowl husband keeps to add to his breakfast (I don’t like them on their own), peeled and sliced
One inch turmeric root, peeled and chopped
One inch ginger root, peeled and chopped
Feed everything into the juicer and drink immediately.
Spinach, grapefruit cucumber and apple juice kiwi – stolen from husband’s breakfast fruit bowl – I only like them in juice
Mung dhal with eggs and vegetables
This is a highly nutritious and cheap meal. Mung dhal is the inside of green mung beans. It is cheap and very easy to cook (no soaking) – I got a big bag from my local Asian shop and wondered why people seem to be swooping on the pasta and leaving the pulses behind. Ring the changes by serving with, or without, eggs, with salad(s), with rice or naan bread, raita and pickles – or even thinned down as a soup. We had it with mixed vegetables one day, peas the next, then I made it thinner and served as a sauce with hard-boiled eggs.
Serves six (or two for three days)
Two onions, peeled and chopped
One large red chilli, chopped
Three garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Two inches ginger root, peeled and grated
One tbps. turmeric powder
One tsp. cumin seeds, ground
One tsp. black mustard seeds, ground
400g tin spinach puree
300 to 500g mung dahl
Mixed vegetables, frozen peas
Fry onions, chilli, garlic and ginger with the spices till soft, then add tomatoes, spinach and bring to the boil. Add around 1.25 litres water (adjust liquid depending on if you want a thin or thicker dahl). Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the dahl is soft. Meanwhile, boil the vegetables/peas till tender, hard-boil the eggs if using. Stir vegetables/peas into the dahl and heat through. Serve over the halved-hard boiled eggs/with rice/bread/raita/salad.
Chocolate peanut brownie
I’m hearing that people are doing a lot of baking these days, so here’s a recipe I put together. I don’t normally mention brands here, but I’m going to give a shout out to British chocolate company Montezuma’s – high-quality chocolate, with a lovely range of flavours, including the Absolute Black, a 100% cocoa solids chocolate with absolutely no sugar, which I’ve experimented with here. It’s definitely an acquired taste if you eat it as is – dry, rather than bitter. I wondered how it would go down in baking. Here’s how…
80g Absolute Dark with hemp and sea salt and 80g Absolute Dark with Almonds, chopped into chips in a food processor
Sugar (or substitute like coconut blossom nectar – try for as little as you think you can get away with – I added 2 tbsp.)
70g butter, chopped
2 tbsp. water
2 eggs, beaten
125g flour (any flour – I used spelt)
One tbsp. cacao powder
One tbsp. cinnamon
50g salted roasted peanuts
Preheat the oven to around 170˚C. Heat the chocolate chips, sugar, butter and water until melted. Pour into a mixing just and add eggs. Mix well. Then add cacao and cinnamon to the flour in another bowl. Pour in the chocolate mixture, add peanuts and stir well. Add eggs, flour, nuts. Pour the mixture into a baking try and bake for 30 to 40 min. Leave to cool and then cut into squares.