Having had a Thermomix in my possession for a little over a month, I do think the name is a little misleading. I think a better name would be the Wondermix. Or maybe the Amazingomix. Because until you actually get to play with one in your own kitchen, you cannot imagine the excitement and joy that its versatility and efficiency can generate. Everyone I knew that had one verged on the evangelical when talking about it, and now I can totally understand why.
Photo shows Jesus Loves You to Gojiness,
from Raw Magic, made entirely in the Thermomix
The Thermomix is a revolutionary kitchen tool, and that's why it is so perfect for raw food cuisine, the revolutionary way of eating. With the Thermomix, making healthy, nutritious, fresh meals has never been easier. Whatever you want to do in terms of raw food cuisine, the Thermomix does it triumphantly. Smoothies, milks, salads, soups, ice cream, chocolate, cakes, nut butters, all in minutes.
Have you noticed how super-nutrition at its most digestible is often in liquid form? I have begun to take more of my food as liquids. I’m aware both from what I have learned and from first-hand experience that in the transition of moving to a higher raw diet, people can find raw foods more difficult to digest. A lifetime of eating conventional processed and cooked food can leave the digestive system stressed and weak so raw foods, with all their fibre intact, can be hard work initially if you go full-on. Also recent research shows that blended foods like soup keep us feeling full for longer than the same meal eaten as unblended solid food so liquid food could be helpful in controlling weight.
Long term raw fooders report that digestive strength improves over time. I look forward to that, but meanwhile, I am focusing more on liquid nutrition. I want my food to work really hard for me, giving as much benefit as possible for as little effort as possible. I want food that cleanses, heals and nourishes me, all at the same time if possible. I want liquids that love me and lift me and give me everything I need to thrive.
I am finding to my great pleasure that far from being boring, there aren’t enough hours in the day to drink all of my favourite stuff. My menu has to cycle over several days because of the variety of good things available. If it was possible to have a day where I could somehow fit it all in, that day might look like this;
For example, first thing in the morning I always have a litre of lukewarm spring water with the juice of a lemon, a teaspoon of sole*, a tablespoon of MSM and a good dose of ionic minerals like Ultratrace. A litre might sound a lot but it goes down easily because it’s slightly warm. The salt in the sole takes the edge off the tartness of the lemon nicely. The lemon helps cleanse the liver, as does the MSM. In fact the MSM does a whole lot more. The list is too long to mention here but the benefit I particularly value is that it’s a methyl group donor so it helps detox the body and clean up bad oestrogens. If I had unlimited funds I would also add Crystal Energy and MegaHydrate.
*Sole (‘solay’) is a saturated solution of Himalayan pink salt that tops up the body’s electrolytes and is made simply by adding coarse pink salt crystals to good water until no more will dissolve. A saturated salt solution is 26% salt so I add around one part salt to two parts water and leave it, giving it an occasional stir. If after 24 hours there are still undissolved crystals, I know no more will dissolve and it’s ready to use.
Next is a green juice, usually cucumber, celery and spinach with a squirt of marine phytoplankton. A nice combination is spinach, celery and pear (tastes like milk, yummy). Also there’s kale, celery and cucumber if I’m being saintly or kale, celery and apple with a squeeze of lime if I’m not. The lime and apple means you can hardly taste the kale, the result is almost like green limeade. Green juice is a drink with a list of benefits too long to detail here. Suffice to say, it is alkalizing and nourishing and very digestible – very handy way to get your green into you especially if your teeth are as dodgy as mine are.
When my stomach is empty again, I have my first half-litre mug of tea, a powerful tonic tea like gynostemma or a good herb tea blend.
For lunch I might have my absolutely favourite thing, a raw chocolate (or carob) and chia smoothie. I love this not just because it’s delicious and filling but because I can stuff lots of my favourite superfoods into it. Smoothies contain fibre which makes them more complete as a meal while still being easily digested. My ‘chock full’ smoothie has soluble fibre from the chia seeds. Soluble fibre is important for many reasons, not least because it’s the only kind of fibre that will transport waste from the liver (in the form of bile salts) through the intestines to the exit. If there's no soluble fibre and the bile salts are left in the intestine, they get re-absorbed into the blood stream and the liver has to deal with them all over again. Other sources of soluble fibre include seaweed especially irish moss, aloe vera gel, flax seeds, oats, apples and any fruit containing pectin. The smoothie recipe is;
- Milly’s Smoothie
- 2 T of chia seeds soaked in 1 cup water
- 1 T cacao powder
- 1 T carob powder (or just 2 T carob if chocolate is too stimulating)
- 1 T lucuma or mesquite
- 1 t sunflower lecithin (optional)
- 1 T protein powder (Morning Jing, hemp powder etc)
- 1-2 T coconut butter
- 1 T cashew or macadamia nuts or 2 T hulled hemp seeds
- 8-10 drops stevia extract or 1T raw honey/coconut nectar or other sweetener
- pinch pink salt (about 1/8 t)
- if using stevia, add a date or a little non-stevia sweetener to round out taste
- 1 T maca
Put everything except the maca into the blender. Add a little water (or leftover cool tea), no more than half a cup, and blend until smooth. Add up to 1T of maca, and little more water and blend again. With the maca you can add all sorts of extra goodies. I add kelp, tocotrienols (makes it extra creamy) and moringa, TMG, barleygrass powder. It’s a good smoothie for adding all the stuff that doesn’t taste nice on its own because the chocolate hides nasty tastes, some days in goes the shilajit and the mucuna as well.
Another good lunch smoothie is the green smoothie. I’ve tried some hideous-tasting combinations but the best one I’ve found is avocado, peeled lemon, spinach, spirulina, garlic, chilli and salt. This is based on a recipe by Elwin Robinson of Lion Heart Herbs. I have Victoria Boutenko’s book on green smoothies and would recommend it to anyone, though I personally would get into trouble with the fruity ones, too much sugar.
Once my smoothie has digested, I will drink water and/or more tea in the afternoon. I love gynostemma tea, but will also drink nettle and horsetail for the silica, or blends of tonic herbs like the Three Immortals blend. Apparently the 3 Immortals blend tastes coffee-like and is good for those who miss coffee.
If I need a snack in the afternoon I might have spirulina mylk. Remember this is a hypothetical day to show you all the options. I wouldn’t have all this in one day in reality. A small glass of nut and seed mylk makes a good snack. I make different kinds but at the moment my favourite is a rich brazil nut and pumpkin seed mylk with a teaspoon of spirulina and a quarter teaspoon of honey added. This mylk looks an unearthly but pretty shade of pale greeny blue and tastes lovely. I imagine children might like this one, especially if it came with a raw cookie or brownie though I haven't road-tested it on an actual child - if somebody's child does try it, let me know how it went!
By tea-time I generally do want something to get my teeth into but still with a liquid element. I love raw dishes that consist of pieces of vegetable in a tasty sauce or soup and something crunchy sprinkled over. One of my favourite recipes for winter is by Kate’s son Reuben, Garlick Soup (published on the Bubble). This is a garlicky curry flavoured soup with pieces of broccoli and beetroot in. Any vegetable with just about any raw soup or sauce you fancy is worth a try to see what works together. I do a simple blended sauce made of red pepper, sundried tomato and hemp butter (which has a wonderfully savoury taste) with a little tamari, olive oil and apple cider vinegar, lovely with any kind of seaweed like kelp noodles or sea spaghetti. It is always good on a spiralized combination of raw beetroot and celeriac, or my holy trinity (sauerkraut, seaweed and avocado) with cherry tomatoes. As an aside - those three are my favourite trinity of foods not just because they taste wonderful together but because raw sauerkraut gives me a massive probiotic boost, seaweed provides minerals, vital polysaccharides and soluble fibre and avocado is a fatty fruit (as are olives and durian, rare and precious!) On this dish, it's a treat to have crunchy sprinkles on top too – either Sunseeds, or spirulina crunchies which are heaven, or even the kale chip crumbs left behind when the bite sized pieces are all eaten.
While relaxing in the evening, more tonic tea is always a good idea because it helps me relax but also I might have a cold refreshing glass of kombucha or water kefir instead of a glass of wine. Both of these are fermented drinks full of probiotics and enzymes that help cleanse the colon and boost the good bacteria in it. For everything you need to know about fermented foods and their wonderful health benefits, see Sandor Katz's book on Wild Fermentation.
In the evening in cold weather, I’ll get some jing-restoring tonic herbs like schizandra, reishi and chaga into me, either as a tea or a tonic elixir. An elixir is a form of liquid nutrition advocated by David Wolfe, Truth Calkins and Daniel Vitalis. They take tonic tea, add a load of superherbs (especially the medicinal mushrooms like the three I just mentioned), some form of fat (eg coconut butter, cashew nuts or milk thistle seed mylk) and a natural sweetener and blend that up. An example is one that tastes like a malted milk drink. Into the blender you put a teaspoon each of reishi, chaga, astragalus, ho shou wu and maca. You also add a dollop of coconut oil, a tbsp of non-gm lecithin and whatever sweetener you prefer and then blend this up in half a litre of warm gynostemma tea. The result tastes like Horlicks Malted Milk, and is intensely healing, soothing and nutritious. Then you go to bed and sleep blissfully, knowing you have done your best to give your body the best nutrients in the most easily digested form. But make sure you go to the bathroom first…
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This is a strawberry pie which makes wonderful use of the medicine flower extracts and the strawberry fruit powder, and it was sent into us by Pam.
She says, "This strawberry, hemp and vanilla flavoured tart base is insanely good on its own as a fudge-cookie mix, or it can be quickly elevated into something a little fancier by topping with a raw strawberry mousse."
Base / cookie mix:
- 1 cup (50g) raw coconut chips
- ½ cup (50g) raw almonds
- ½ cup (50g) hulled hemp seeds
- 1 cup (100g) raisins
- 2 heaped dssp raw strawberry powder
- 20 drops Medicine Flower vanilla extract or 1 tbsp vanilla powder
- 2 dssp raw almond butter
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 2 cups (300g) fresh strawberries (washed)
- 1 dssp raw strawberry powder
- 1 dssp lecithin powder
- 5 drops Medicine Flower vanilla extract (or 1 tsp vanilla powder)
- 25 ml coconut oil
Add coconut chips, almonds and hemp seeds to the food processor and process until crumbly. Then add strawberry powder and vanilla extract, blending briefly to mix evenly. Add remaining ingredients and process again until mixture begins sticking together. Firmly press the base mixture into an 8-inch cake tin or silicone mould, ensuring the crust reaches about an inch up the sides. Leave in the fridge to firm up while preparing the filling.
Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor, add remaining ingredients and blend again. Pour filling over base and allow to set in fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. Will keep for a few days in the fridge.
Medicine Flower do an amazing range of extract flavours, and having tried and loved the dark chocolate and coconut flavours, I wanted to have a go with the apricot one next. When I opened the little bottle and took a sniff I expected it to smell like that baby food apricot pudding that used to come in tiny jars. But the extract smells of real, actual apricots. Do beware though – on the label it says ‘concentrated’ and they’re not kidding – this stuff is POTENT! So what can you use it (sparingly) in? The answer is, practically anything that you want to make taste of apricot!
Try one or two drops in a glass of water kefir. Don’t be tempted to put more in without tasting it first. The first time I tried this, I put about 4 drops in and made it taste like Polish apricot brandy. But two drops gives an apricot infusion, I can practically feel the fuzz on my tongue as it goes down. I also tried putting some in my raw chocolate smoothie and as long as I only use 2 drops, it gives the deep dark taste a fruity lift reminiscent of apricot parfait chocs from a well-known high street chocolatier.
Kate has a great apricot mousse recipe that is just gagging for a few drops of Apricot Extract. Have a go at this (Kate uses fresh apricots but I imagine soaked dried ones would work well too).
Valentine’s day is a wonderful excuse, if any were needed, to have a decadent feast of the greatest superfood on the planet – chocolate! Let’s start with breakfast; how would you fancy a crunchy, chewy and delicious granola cereal smothered in a rich, thick, silky and extremely chocolatey smoothie and topped with super-sprinkles? It’s a heavenly way to start the most romantic day of the year.
This breakfast idea uses Raw Living ‘Be Real’ cereal which is based on crunchy buckwheaties with various good things added, depending on which variety you choose. I’ve tried both Be Happy (goji) and Be Good (the chocolate and mulberry version). Both are delicious eaten simply with nut mylk of course, but this recipe would a great Valentine’s breakfast treat. I also eat it sometimes when I want to feel full up to my eyes without feeling overstuffed, then not feel hungry for hours and hours. You can get everything you need for this recipe at Raw Living.
Be Real-ly Outrageous
1-2 servings of Be-Real
1 recipe of Choc-Full Smoothie:
- 2 T of chia seeds soaked in 1 cup water
- 1 T cacao powder
- 1 T carob powder
- 1 T lucuma
- 1 T non-gm soy lecithin
- 1-2 T coconut butter, no need to melt
- 1 T cashew or macadamia nuts
- 1 T tocotrienols (optional but makes it extra creamy)
- 1-2 T raw honey/coconut nectar or other sweetener
- pinch pink salt (only about 1/8 t but vital!)
- 1 T maca (to be added after initial blending)
- 1 T bee pollen
- Other sprinkles if desired eg cacao nibs, goji berries, chopped raw chocolate bar
To a high speed blender, add all of the choc-full ingredients, except the maca. If you don’t have a high speed blender, omit the cashew or macadamia nuts, and maybe use coconut milk instead to get the creaminess. Add a little water and blend until smooth. Add the maca and some more water (you’ll need about ¾ cup altogether but don’t use too much or the smoothie will be too runny) and blend again for 20 seconds. Taste to check sweetening level. Put your Be Real into one large or two smaller breakfast bowls and pour over the chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with bee pollen and any other delicious things you have on hand, and spoon-feed to your beloved.
For a Valentine gift, one of Sacred Chocolate’s heart-shaped raw chocolate bars would be a delight. If you have a girlfriend who loves chocolate but hates what it does to her thighs, this gift will get you big brownie points. Raw chocolate has none of the hip-and-thigh plumping hazards of conventional chocolate because it doesn’t contain dairy products, refined sugar and hydrogenated fats. It DOES have all of the taste and melt-in-the-mouth qualities we love about chocolate because it IS chocolate – it’s the real thing, just without the junk. Sacred Chocolate has all the taste and meltiness big-time, and is wrapped in pretty foil and love. The kind I tried, ‘India Sunset’ contains cardamom, curry and saffron, unusual flavourings for chocolate but I love it. I couldn’t taste the curry, but the flowery scent of cardamom comes through and the other flavourings give this bar of really top-quality chocolate a hint of complex, exotic flavour. Love it, love it, love it.
Another chocolate treat not to be missed on Valentine’s or any other time, includes Raw Living Chocolate Dream Cream. This is a raw chocolate spread containing amazing superfoods like ashwagandha, reishi, he sho wou and gingko. Its deep chocolate taste carries a hint of licorice and it isn’t cloyingly sweet. It can be spread on bread, fruit, cookies or (as it says on the label) ‘a good friend.’ Come on, it is Valentine’s, after all. In the photograph you can see I’ve plastered a healthy dollop onto raw oatmeal raisin cookies. Dream Cream is rich, so putting this amount on a cookie makes quite a filling snack. In raw food preparation, so many things have to be prepared fresh from scratch or thought about hours in advance for soaking that it feels like real luxury to have a jar of chocolate spread that I can just grab and smear onto whatever comes to hand for instant gratification. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Here's a new recipe video from Kate, it's a simple inexpensive raw kitchen staple.
I’d been dying to try the Medicine Flower flavour extracts but for ages they didn’t seem to be available in the UK. When I saw Raw Living had started stocking them I got very excited. I tried the coconut one first and was so impressed, I immediately ordered the dark chocolate one. When I first opened the bottle, it smelled more like Baileys than chocolate and I admit I had my doubts. But in terms of taste, it was a revelation. Just a few drops pack an amazing punch so a little bottle lasts a long time. The great thing about the chocolate one in particular is that though it contains all of the chocolate flavour, it contains none of the stimulants so even those who normally find chocolate too heavy on their system can take this with no problem. I can handle chocolate (so far) unless I get too greedy with it, so I use the drops two ways. I can use it to limit the amount of actual chocolate needed in a recipe so I don’t overload, and I can also use it with carob for when I want to avoid the stimulants altogether. They’re good combined with carob to flavour raw sweeties, which is good because I tend to want sweeties in the evening. Now I can have choccie flavour goodies without jittering and jiving all night as a result.
None of these extracts contain alcohol, they are cold-processed so they’re raw AND they’re sustainably organic. Perfection in a bottle. If we ask them nicely, maybe Raw Living will think about stocking the orange and the coffee flavours too?
Meanwhile here’s my recipe for a creamy raw chocolate smoothie with everything in so you can see what I mean.
Milly’s Cheery Chocolate Smoothie
1T chia seeds, soaked 2 hours (stir at half time)
1T carob powder
1T cacao powder (or omit this and use extra drops instead)
6 drops Medicine Flower dark chocolate extract
1 cup almond milk (or other nut/seed milk)
1T coconut butter
pinch of salt or white miso
sweetener of choice (eg 2 dates or 1T of agave or 1T yacon etc)
extra liquid if needed (I like to use leftover pau d’arco tea)
add your favourite goodies – just now mine are STR-12, Amla, spirulina and maca
Whizz in a high speed blender. You could also add a banana with some extra liquid if you’re especially hungry.
It was beautifully sunny earlier this week and I went for a walk on the downs to enjoy the fresh air, blue, blue skies and almost spring like feeling in the air.
I also picked my first wild greens of 2011; some baby cleavers to have with my lunch and some young nettles for adding to my green juice.
This meal took 5 minutes to prepare and was full of vitality and the fresh taste of just picked wild foods combined with Raw Livings wonderful sea vegetables.
The salad itself consisted of young cleavers shoots, rocket leaves and Raw Living's delicious dulse, soaked for a few minutes.
Couldn't have been simpler or more yummy!
Following on from my earlier blog about blackcurrant powder, I thought I'd share another wee recipe I've made using this marvellously fruity curranty mix
3 cups of hemp milk (you can use whatever milk you prefer)
1 TBSP blackcurrant powder
1 TBSP lecithin
1 TBSP lucuma
1 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp purple corn
1 TBSP sweetner of choice (honey, agave, xylitol)
Blend and enjoy whilst marvelling at how purple it all is :)
I recently got my hands on some baobab. I always get excited trying out a new superfood, thinking about how I can add it in to my already supershero-esque diet. Baobab is actually an African tree which grows lush green fruits inside of which are a pale powder that is super sweet and tangy. It’s a powerhouse of nutrtition including potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, and B vitamins. It’s a fantastic antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is an effective prebiotic. What more can you ask for?
Baobab certainly doesn't disappoint. It's very reminiscent of camu camu with it's fruity sweet and tangy flavour but with a lot more depth. What's more exciting though is just how versatile a product it is. Of course it fits in well with smoothies and nut milks (goes really well with purple corn and berries) but also chocolate recipes and savoury dishes!
I got a wonderful recipe courtesy of one Kate Magic and the lovely people at www.baobabsuperfruit.com which I enjoyed over some spiralised courgette.
Kate’s terrific Baobab sauce
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 red pepper
- 6 sundried tomatoes
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar (didn’t have any, used lemon juice)
- 1 tsp tamari
- 1/4 red onion
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 red chilli pepper
- 1 TBSP baobab
You can blend it all together but I used the food processor and it worked a wee treat! Yummy!