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Author Archives: Declan

  • Tiny Bubbles

    Kate's Magic Bubble

    We’re all familiar with that tune, aren’t we? Vaguely at least. Once in a while though, along comes a bubble which isn’t so tiny, in fact it’s gigantic and even magical in its proportions. Have you guessed what I’m talking about yet? Of course, it’s nothing less than KATE’S MAGIC BUBBLE, the exclusive members-only site which is a bit hard to sum up.

    When you first sign into the bubble it’s a bit overwhelming – there is so much information up there that it’s really difficult to know where to begin! You should follow your interests and see what part of the ever-expanding site (updated twice a week, by the way) you end up in! If you’re there for the recipes you won’t be disappointed. After Raw Magic was released Kate resolved to not write another recipe book again but the recipes just keep on coming so this website is the end result. Divided into 14 sections the recipe part of the site is sure to have something to tickle your fancy – there’s even an entire “chapter” devoted to kale chips, paradise if you’re an addict like me. I’ve not had kale chips in a while actually... probably because I’ve not seen any kale in the shops. ANYWAY back to the point.

    Continuing on the theme of expanding already existing works, the “writings” part of the site is like a continuation to Ecstatic Beings. Kate shares her thoughts on 2011 as well as 2012, writings on the importance of sun and air bathing, and much more. If there’s something you can’t find writings on that you’d like to know more about, you can always ask Kate and she’ll get back to you on it.

    One of the most interesting features of the site is the interviews section. Here there are interviews with everyone from the seemingly ubiquitous Miss Eco Glam and raw food super star Ani Phyo to relative unknowns such as the gorgeous Boris Lauser (and I’m not just saying that because he’s my boyfriend). So for your subscription fee you’re not only getting Kate’s knowledge and recipes but you’re able to gain perspectives on raw from almost every angle as well as try guest recipes and maybe even find a new guru you resonate with. Or maybe you’ll get mega-annoyed at everyone and go join 30 Bananas a Day but that’s up to you.

    You can jump head-first into the bubble for £95 a year (around 115€), grab short-term access for £10/12€ a month or take a fleeting look through the bubble in the new offer of a £5/6€ one-time-only deal that gains you access for a week – perfect if there’s a recipe you’ve been lusting after but aren’t yet convinced or aren’t able to go for the full deal. The page really has something to offer everyone and as it’s constantly growing is sure to be a source of inspiration for a long time yet!

  • What Kate Did: A Triptych


    Kate Magic Raw Food Classes & Workshops

     

     

    Ooh hello there Raw Living, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been in far-off lands (Germany) reviewing their selection of raw products of late but never fear, I’m back now to give you the low down on a magical weekend with none other than everyone’s favourite raw vegan superfoodist mother of three, Kate Magic. As you know she tours quite extensively, usually around Europe, and this weekend we were lucky enough to have her in Glasgow for a multitude of events – three, to be precise (well, four if you count the talk in Edinburgh as well).
    Friday – Talking the Talk
    On Friday evening we had Kate giving a talk on how she progressed to raw foods, some very honest ups and downs, and some advice on transitioning and information on superfoods (followed by Dedicakeshun). The talk was inspirational even to the seasoned raw foodie, of whom there were many in the audience, and informative and entertaining for those for whom raw food is a completely novel concept, like the friend I dragged along who immediately bought maca and hemp seeds after the talk along with some Dedicakeshun. If you’re at all on the fence about starting to go raw, or if you’ve been a bit naughty recently (which is all relative anyway, let’s not forget) then this is definitely the talk to bring you back to where you want to be! With ample time for interaction during and after the talk, no-one left uneducated or with burning questions.
    Saturday – Party Time!
    You can’t come to Glasgow and not have fun and the best way to do that, I reckon, is to have a party. Kate clearly agrees, and we had a potluck party in a local night club which hires its space out on Saturday evening, making the event child-friendly (Kate’s three boys were also there). This was a very chilled out event attracting a mixed crowd, from Glaswegians to people from Edinburgh and even some from the north of England who made the pilgrimage across the border! Kate also brought some magical lemonade (two kinds, one of which was PURPLE. Everyone needs purple food!) and her infamous Quantum Cake. Followed by some party games including pass the parcel, the event was wrapped up (no pun intended) in the early evening so that everyone would have enough energy left for...

    Sunday – Walking the Walk


    ... the food preparation class! This is a four-hour extravaganza which was more or less a sequel to the talk on Friday – starting where she left off, Kate cleverly wove some more nutritional advice on the importance of hydration, essential fatty acids (hint: clue’s in the name) and greens, with four brand-new recipes she has developed for the current tour, like a proper rawkstar. What’s good about these recipes though, is that she gave us four and showed six, ranging from dips to wraps to curry to chocolate, to cake and pudding. More than this though were the recipe “templates” she talked us through, which make everything easy at home – you can make endless unique variations on these recipes using what you have to hand, what’s local, fresh and seasonal (which is surely something we’re all trying to do and is another topic Kate dives into during her talks).

    Again, there were opportunities for questions and comments, and more than that you also get samples of the food, so you leave with a full belly as well as a full brain. The curry is probably the tastiest thing I’ve had in a long time, but a word of caution – don’t finish your friend’s leftover slice of cake at the end, there really is such a thing as too much!
    If you’re reading this site (which you are) you might have been into raw food for quite some time and think you know all you need to know in order to feed yourself and/or those around you and wondering if these classes are really worth the effort, time and money for you. To this I’d have to say that whilst of course complete novices will get more out of the class, none of us know it all and we all have something new to learn and as the UK’s – if not the EU’s – leading raw food promoter, Kate is probably the woman to teach it. And apart from anything else, it’s a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

  • Peanut Butter is So Last Century

    Hemp Butter

    Hemp is pretty much perfect. Apart from spirulina and chlorella, to the best of my – albeit relatively limited – knowledge, there are few foods which are as nutritious. Just why is hemp so wonderful? It can grow pretty much anywhere, very easily. Organic hemp is easy to grow since it requires no pesticides. They can make it into paper and fabric. It has ten amino acids, including all the essential ones, and is one of only a few plant foods that do. Perhaps most famously, it contains a perfect Essential Fatty Acid ratio - omega-3:omega-6 balance of 3.75:1 (Official guidelines state we should have 4:1 – hemp comes closest! Olive oil has a ratio of 9:1 and canola or rapeseed oil has a ratio of 2:1). We all know how important EFAs are – the clue is in the name! It’s also high in chlorophyll, vitamin E (which is something I personally tend to be low in), and various minerals.
    Hemp comes in various forms – seeds, both hulled and whole (See Raw Magic for more information), oil, and protein powders. Recently I began to use hemp butter, which is a relatively new addition to the market as far as I’m aware. Manitoba Harvest is a great brand, I’ve been using their organic hulled seeds and their protein powder for a while now, so I was excited to give this brand a go!
    When you first open the jar, I’ll grant that it does look a little bit... green... but that’s ok! It doesn’t have an overpowering smell at all, and the taste is brilliant – definitely tastes like hemp, which you’d expect, but not in a catches-your-throat kind of way.
    So what can you do with hemp butter then? You can use it in any way you’d use any other nut or seed butter – make salad dressings with it, use it as a dip, in a nori or green leaf roll-up, anything you can think of. It would be great for feeding kids at hallowe’en too – naturally green gunge, no artificial colours required! You can also use it in milks or smoothies for added hemp goodness. When you’re travelling or moving – as I am now – you often don’t want to or simply can’t carry powders, oils, seeds and butters with you. This is where hemp comes in great!! It fills all the roles you could possibly want it to in a convenient 283g jar (it’s a bizarrely specific measurement, I know – I assume it has something to do with using American and Metric measurements on the same label).
    Raw Magic – I know I constantly mention that book but it’s the recipe book I’ve gotten the most use out of out of any that I’ve ever owned – has lots of recipes which include hemp, my favourite of which is Balance Your Hempispheres Salad which you’ll find on page 130. I made it substituting the illusive hemp oil with olive oil and omitting the sauerkraut because I didn’t have any to hand but it was still amazing – nom nom!!

  • Ginger Pies!!

    Raw Chocolate Pie - Ginger & Orange Zest

    Not a very witty title this time round... apologies! I was trying to think of a pun involving "ginger" that wouldn't be offensive to all you gorgeous redheads out there (Hi, Penni Shelton!).

    Ahem, anyway!! Hot on the heels of Emma's review of the plain variety, I got the chance to review the ginger and orange variety of the same brand. The verdict: impressed!

    Initially I thought the bar was quite small but at the same time, £2.20 for 60g is not unreasonable on the raw chocolate market place, as we all know! Here it is on my dictionary, half-eaten (bonus points if you can tell me what language the dictionary is in).

     

    Very bad quality photo, I'm sorry.

    The outside is pleasantly mushy, like a thick chocolate bar that's been left in a warm place for almost-but-not-quite too long. The inside has much more bite to it, providing a pleasant contrast and making it seem much more like a snack bar than a chocolate bar (there's a difference, honest) which is something I've never experienced in raw food before.

    (This is meant to show you the contrast between the two textures but I don't know how clear it is)

    Tastewise, it was also lovely. Chocolatey enough to give you a hit, but there was a definite gingeriness to it as well - it seemed to build up more as you eat/savour/devour the bar to give something stronger than a tickle but less than a burn in your mouth by the end of it. It definitely wakes you up, at least! The citrus taste I found much more subtle though still present. It was a lovely combination of flavours that would also probably comfort a sore throat if you find yourself with one - a blessing at this time of year in Glasgow!!

  • Under the sea, under the sea spaghetti

    Irish Sea Spaghetti

    That's meant to be a reference from The Little Mermaid, I don't know how obvious it is though.

    Anyway!! If you've ever read any of Kate's books - which you should have by now, preferably all of them - you'll know that sea vegetables are to be considered an important part of a balanced raw diet, especially for minerals. If you've been raw for any length of time, you'll know how challenging it can be to get a wide enough variety of sea veg into yourself without getting bored of them - there's only so many ways to roll a nori roll! I know that personally I seldom eat enough sea vegetables, simply because I never really learned what to do with them (probably my own fault in fairness). Tired of surreptitiously snacking on dulse out of my pocket during tutorials, I took the plunge and decided to give sea spaghetti a go!!

     

    Raw Magic boasts a number of recipes for sea spaghetti in various guises, and there's one in Ecstatic Beings too if memory serves me rightly. The simplest one I could find to make was the Spaghetti Goujis, simply because I had all the ingredients to hand. There really only are about five ingredients so it's a really simple recipe to throw together when you get in from work/uni/school/the park and can't be bothered with anything more complex but want something that seems like it took effort.

    The recipe says it serves four but there's only one of me unfortunately, so I quartered it but there was still loads! The bowl was quite big and quite full.

    The first thing to know about sea spaghetti is that it's more taglietelle shaped than spaghetti but that's just an observation. The texture is much firmer than I expected even after soaking it for a full 24 hours. Very al dente, but once you get over the surprise of that (which isn't a surprise any more since I just told you) it's not unpleasant at all.

    It also doesn't taste overly sea-y which you expect it to when you smell the soak water. I'd say with a thicker sauce like some of the other ones in Raw Magic you could actually disguise the taste completely if you wanted to.

    It's also been cooked-foodist approved by my flatmate. He's Irish and so is the sea spaghetti so maybe he's biased but he seemed to like it even more than I did, which is encouraging!

    So there we have it - cooked foodist friendly, delicious, versatile and good for you. Definitely going to be a kitchen staple from now on!

  • Dream. Dream dreeeeam cream.

    Alpha Dream Dragon Cream

    For a long time I was an avid user and proponent of a certain high-street cosmetics chain which prides itself on being luscious. I had a bad experience with them though, and while my remaining supply of face cream has been running lower and lower I’ve been searching for a replacement which is just as ethical, cheap, effective, and toxin-free – no mean feat, I have to say!

    So with that in mind, I have to say that the Alpha Dream Dragon Cream is, well, an absolute dream. It’s completely vegan and not animal tested; the ingredients are all-natural in the truest sense of the word – not a chemical in sight, the ingredients can actually almost all be found in my food cupboard with the exception of the essential oils; and it’s more effective by far than what I was using before; and it works out cheaper than the old! Can’t say fairer than that.

    So what’s it actually like then? First impressions are that the jar is small, and that’s true, but it’s packed full of great things, and a little of this stuff goes a long way. I’ve been using it every day for over a week now and you can barely tell it’s been used at all. The smell is amazing – cacao butter central – but not overpowering and once it’s been on for a minute the smell is gone, which is great if you’re using other scents or you don’t want to smell like a chocolate bar all day. Going on it feels quite greasy and at first that can be off-putting, but it sinks in very quickly and leaves no shiny residue all over your face, which is brilliant. The hemp oil with its Omega oils is great for your skin, especially dry skin, and the MSM provides sulphur which most people are severely lacking in – feeding your skin from the outside, essentially!

    I have to say I’m very, very impressed overall with this cream, it will definitely be a bathroom cabinet staple from now on!

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