Category: Drinks, milks, juices and smoothies

Raspberry and Thyme Shrub

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the launch of the summer issue of the Chilterns Food Magazine at the beautiful Wild Strawberry Cafe at Peterley Manor Farm (well worth a visit if you’re out these ways), celebrating food from the local area. The Chilterns sits just to the north-west of London, and it’s where i’m lucky to call my home. It’s one of those places that often sits in the shadows of the Cotswolds, but the Chiltern Hills definitely stands alone as a scenic place to live. Chilterns Food Magazine celebrates all things local, and I’m a firm believer that food should be as seasonal and local as your purse and lifestyle dictates, whether you’re vegan or not.

The drink recipes in this magazine have got my thirst needing to be well and truly quenched, and having never heard of a ‘shrub’ before seeing this recipe, although a little time-consuming, looks well worth the effort. It turns out “shrubs were originally colonial drinks, the name coming from the Arabic word sharab which simply means, to drink. They are made from fruit, sugar and vinegar and are left to ferment and infuse, sometimes overnight, sometimes for longer.”

Raspberry and Thyme Shrub
Makes approx 500ml

2 cups of raspberries
1 cup of raw cane sugar
8 thyme sprigs
1 cup of apple cider vinegar

  • Wash and slice the raspberries and mix with the sugar in a bowl, cover and leave to infuse for two days.
  • Put the thyme sprigs in a non-reactive container (so not metallic) and cover with the apple cider vinegar (use unpasteurized otherwise you get a cloudy drink), cover and leave in a cool dark place for two days.
  • Strain the raspberres through a non-metallic strainer and pour the vinegar over the top.
  • Place the combined shrub into a sealed glass bottle give it a good old shake then leave in your fridge for a week before using.

This method is a slightly longer process but the way the flavours combine make the effort worthwhile.

To get your Gin game on, find your local provider of Gin and add 50ml of gin with 30ml of this shrub!

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Recipe from: Chilterns Food Magazine
Photography: Jamie Orlando Smith

Green Smoothie Bowl

I’m right in the peak of training for the London Marathon. In fact, I don’t have too many more big runs before the BIG run itself. Eek! I’ve been pushing myself harder this year, I know I can reach the distance but I want to improve my time and get round in 4 hours and 30 minutes, and that means knocking off at least 30 seconds every mile if not more. It doesn’t sound a lot and it is doable, but have I got it in me to do it over 26.2 miles? I hope so.

I have been working on my post running nutrition, which I don’t think I’ve taken too seriously before and I’m feeling the effects. One thing I struggle with after a long run is fatigue. Not only do I feel physically exhausted but I am emotionally exhausted too. It is best to give me a wide birth because I probably will snap your head off! So, this protein packed seasonal smoothie bowl is the perfect post run or exercise smoothie to chow down on that will help your muscles to recover and also help with the crash of fatigue.

Smoothie bowl

green smoothie

Green Smoothie Bowl
(Makes 2 small bowls)

1 Pear
1 Apple
3 Stalks of kale
2 tspn Hemp protein powder
450 ml Almond milk
3 tspn Chia seeds
Handful of Almonds
4 tspn Hemp seeds
Handful of Pumpkin seeds

  • Slice the apple, pear and de-stalk the kale.
  • Add to your blender with the hemp powder and almond milk.
  • Blitz until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour into a bowl and top with the almonds, hemp seeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds (or toppings of your choice).

Veronica x

Summer Green Juice

Fennel-juice

I have to confess, I’m a bit of a green juice addict. They’re so refreshing and nourishing, it’s like drinking a glass of pure health. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that juicers are an absolute pain in the arse to clean, I would genuinely be an addict!

summer juice

With all this said, I have just one particular favourite juice that I pretty much make all the time! The only trouble being is that it has apple in it and right now, in the height of summer, we are all out of last seasons apple stores and a few months away from this years season – so I’m having to come up with summer juice alternatives!

FENNEL

This one is made with refreshing fennel and cucumber, giving you the perfect taste of summer! It is a pure green juice as it contains only vegetables with only a tiny piece of sneaky lime. It’s not too sweet but it’s crisp and fresh, perfect for a hot August day!

green-juice

Summer Green Juice

1/2 small fennel bulb
1/4 cucumber
3 stalks celery
2 large handfuls of spinach
1/4 lime, flesh only
A few mint leaves
1/4 tsp spirulina

  • Wash the ingredients and chop them into large chunks.
  • Process everything through your juicer apart from the spirulina.
  • Put the spirulina into a glass and pour over a small amount of the juice. Whisk together until smooth.
  • Pour the rest of the juice into the glass, stir and enjoy.

Amy x

Marking the Seasons // Elderberry Flu Remedy

There’s a suspicious tinge of orange on the leaves. The nights are drawing in. It would seem that Autumn is upon us.

It’s hard to put a finger on the start of Autumn, it’s one of those seasons that sneaks up on you. One minute you’re thinking about taking a jumper out in case it gets chilly in the evening, the next you’re trying to figure out where your thermals’ got to.

The appearance of ripe elderberries and sloes, or the first tinting of oak trees is traditionally used to mark the start of Autumn. I found these sloes ripe and ready for my sloe spelt cake recipe two weeks ago and as for the elderberries, well I was too late, they had already past their best.

Blackthorn

London’s microclimate can do some funny things but it has been found that, on average, native trees are producing ripe fruit 18 days earlier than a decade ago. Whilst this might be great news for the forager, for animals it may mean that their food reserves could become depleted earlier in the winter. One thing’s for sure, you won’t notice anything until you actually get out there and look.

Rose-bay-willow-herb

For my Dad, it’s not so much the start of Autumn but the end of Summer. He knows Summer’s on its way out when Rosebay Willowherb goes to seed.

For me Blackberrying marks the transition from Summer to Autumn and this year I was determined not to miss out on a bumper crop. I escaped the hustle and bustle of London and went out to the peaceful countryside of the Chilterns on a little foraging expedition and I was not disappointed.

Blackberries

Blackberries and apples

Sometimes nature is just telling what to eat. Blackberry and apple pie anyone?

Blackberrying

Those couple of degrees change in temperature really can make all the difference, as out in the countryside I found elderberries to be perfectly ripe. With an outbreak of colds at the moment brought on by the change of season, I knew exactly what I had in mind for those elusive elderberries that had evaded me only weeks before. Elderberry syrup.

It’s said that a small amount of elderberry syrup taken daily can immunise you against the flu. It’s quick and easy to make and you can freeze it in ice cube trays so they’re ready and waiting for whenever the flu strikes.

Elderberries

Elderberry-stalks

Elderberry-flu-remedy

Elderberry Flu Remedy

Elderberries
Slice of lemon
Thumb size piece of ginger

  • Pick the elderberries on a dry, sunny day as that’s when they’ll be at their sweetest.
  • Remove the stalks and wash them.
  • Put them in a saucepan and just cover them with water. Bring them to the boil and simmer for around half an hour or until soft.
  • Strain them through a sieve, to remove the seeds and the skins.
  • Place back on the heat and simmer gently to reduce the liquid down.
  • Leave to cool and place in ice cube trays, freeze until flu season is upon us.
  • Place one elderberry ice cube in a cup with a slice of lemon. Grate the ginger and squeeze out the juice between your fingers into the cup.
  • Pour in freshly boiled water and stir.
  • Drink this delicious warming drink when flu is going round to keep it at bay.

Amy x

Dairy-free Milk & Food Co-ops

dairy-free milk

When I first decided to give veganism a try, I can’t say that the thought of dairy-free milk filled me with excitement. I already new that I wasn’t a massive fan of soya milk and that if I wanted to turn my back on cheap, exploitative dairy milk then I would have to pay the price financially. However, I did know that I would be gaining a whole lot of nutritional benefits from replacing dairy milk with low fat, nutrient-rich plant based milks, so its not all bad.

Looking for a reasonably priced alternative to soya milk, I gave rice milk a try. It didn’t really go down well, I struggled to find a non-sweetened version and on the whole found it rather watery. Then I found Provamel which is an organic brand of dairy alternatives and I was pretty happy. Their soya milk is pretty tasty, reasonably priced and organic!

But then… I read an awesome article in Chickpea magazine by Heather Crosby that opened my eyes to the exciting world of homemade non-dairy milks!

milk alternatives

Oh yes, it turns out you can make milk out of pretty much anything. Almonds of course but also, hazelnuts, pine nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, brown rice, buckwheat, oats, millet, quinoa. You name it, you can milk it!

The only trouble was, organic whole foods come with a hefty price tag. At the majority of health food shops 500g of organic almonds can set you back as much as £7.00 so you can understand why I didn’t rush out and stock up my cupboards.

But then… I found out about food co-ops and I did rush out to my nearest one and stock up my cupboards!

sesame seeds

Food co-ops are formed by a group of people who come together and order food in bulk, directly from suppliers. As a group they have the ability to buy at trade prices, meaning people can buy high quality food at a more affordable price.

There are several different ways to set up a food co-op. Small food co-ops or buying groups work by collecting together everyone’s orders in advance. Luckily for me, I already have a local food co-op, FareShares, that has been established since 1988. They operate more like a business in that they order the produce from suppliers and then sell it to their customers, the difference being, the staff are volunteers and they only a add a very small margin to help cover the running costs of the shop.

They are an absolutely brilliant way to shop and I would definitely recommend you look to see if you have one locally or get together with some friends and set one up of your own! The food co-op system promotes social justice, enabling everyone to access high quality food, regardless of their means. You can find out more about food co-ops here.

sesame seeds

So, once you’ve stocked up on your reasonably priced organic whole foods from your local food co-op, all you have to do is decide which milk you’re going to make first!

I’ve been trying out lots of different ones and today, decided to try out a sesame seed milk to share with you. I would definitely recommend referring to Heather Crosby’s article as your definitive guide but the basics are really pretty simple.

Soak or toast your chosen ingredient, blend together with filtered water, strain through some muslin and pour into a bottle. Then make something with your left over pulp. You could add it to homemade cereal bars or like I did, follow Heather’s advice and make your own cereal.

Sesame seed milk

Makes 1 litre

150g organic, raw sesame seeds
1 litre of filtered water
Water for soaking

Measure out the seeds into a glass bowl or jug, pour over enough water to cover them and leave them to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Rinse the soaked seeds in fresh water through a sieve.
In a blender, on its highest setting blend the filtered water with the seeds until as smooth as you can get it.
Place a sieve over a large jug and lay over a piece of muslin.
Slowly pour in the blended milk, gather together the muslin and squeeze, twisting from the top. You will need to repeat this several times until you’ve strained all the milk.
You should end up with a fairly dry pulp and a deliciously creamy milk.

what you need to make nut milk

how to make nut milk

20140518-215635-78995249.jpg

Amy x