Butternut & Sage Pasta

Butternut & Sage Pasta

This is a quick and easy family dinner – I literally only had 35 minutes to get food on the table, and that included writing the recipe and taking a photo!

I am in love with sage… it’s such a versatile herb and the tangy, lemony flavour really comes out with roasting. It pairs beautifully with butternut, which is high in beta-carotene and vitamin C.

Ingredients (serves 4)

850g butternut (weighed without the skin or seeds)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus some extra
1 tsp himalayan salt
15 cloves of garlic, cut into quarters
big handful of fresh sage
250g gluten-free organic pasta (I used amaranth, but you could use buckwheat or quinoa)
1/2 lemon
2 heaped tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

Method

Cut the butternut into cubes. On a roasting tray, toss together the butternut, olive oil, salt, garlic and sage. Roast at 200 C for about 30 minutes, until tender.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Toss the butternut and pumpkin seeds through the cooked pasta. Add some more olive oil if it looks too dry. Season to taste with lemon juice, himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper. That’s it!

Health & happiness 🙂

Love,
Raine

Pretty in Pink Valentine’s Juice

IMG_0325

I felt like something pink and sweet on this Valentine’s morning so I made this beautiful juice!

Originally from Persia, the pomegranate has been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and eternal life for thousands of years. I’m always amazed at how nature gives us clues as to which fruit or vegetable is good for a certain part of our bodies. There is something heart-like about a pomegranate when you open it, with its blood-red seeds and white membranes. Pomegranate contains a unique compound called punicalagin, which is excellent for heart health. It lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and increases the rate at which arterial blockages melt away. The antioxidants in pomegranate also help to prevent stroke and heart attack.

Radishes eliminate toxins, aid digestion and prevent viral infections.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 pomegranate, skin and membranes discarded (you don’t have to spend half an hour picking out every little piece of membrane – just the majority of it!)
3 radishes
1 lime (you can juice the skin)
1 medium cucumber
a few sprigs of mint
1 red pepper

Method

Put everything through your juicer. Add ice if you like.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Simple Homemade Tomato Sauce

tomato sauce

Every freezer should be stocked with this simple and healthy tomato sauce – it can be used in a myriad of different dishes, and makes life easier for busy moms! Just got home from work and need to make dinner in under half an hour? Defrost this sauce and serve it with some buckwheat or quinoa pasta for a quick but still nutritious family meal.

Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, particularly lycopene. Researchers recently found a connection between tomatoes and bone health, concluding that tomatoes can help to prevent osteoporosis. They are also important for heart health, and have long been hailed as the anti-prostate cancer food of choice.

I like to make up a batch of this sauce and then freeze some of it in ice trays, so that I have small portions handy for my son’s meals (I use 2 – 3 cubes for him) and freeze the rest in one portion for a family meal.

IMG_0301

Ingredients

2 large onions, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 large cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of red wine (optional)
1.3kg fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped, including seeds
small handful of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup dried dates
3/4 tsp himalayan salt
a few leaves of fresh basil

Method

Fry the onions in the olive oil until caramelised. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Add the wine. There should immediately be a cloud of steam, and a strong smell of alcohol. This is the alcohol in the wine cooking off – so don’t worry, there won’t be any alcohol left over in the sauce. You can omit the wine, but it adds depth of flavour.

Add the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves and dates. Turn the heat down, cover with a lid and simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes. An hour or longer is better – the longer it simmers the more the flavours develop.

Remove the hard stalks of the thyme and then put the sauce in a blender or food processor. For pasta sauces I like a chunkier texture so will use a food processor. For a smoother sauce (for example, for pizza) use a blender. Add the salt and basil and blend until you have the desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Traditionally tomato sauce would have quite a bit of sugar added (you’d be mortified to learn how much sugar there is in store-bought tomato sauce or ketchup!) I avoid this by adding the dates. If you feel that it needs more sweetness, add more dates or raw honey or organic maple syrup. If you feel that it needs more acidity, use fresh lemon or organic apple cider vinegar. This all depends on the natural flavour of the tomatoes you’ve used, so just taste and see!

Use immediately or freeze for future use.

Below are examples of how I would use this sauce:

tomato sauce 2

Here I roasted some aubergine with olive oil, salt and black pepper. I added it to the sauce along with some fresh chilli and basil. Served with buckwheat pasta.

IMG_0299

I fried onion, garlic, carrot, red pepper, broccoli and chilli in olive oil. I added the sauce, cooked brown basmati rice, shredded poached chicken and fresh coriander.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Cauliflower & Tahini Soup

Cauliflower & Tahina Soup

I love cauliflower, especially as a purée, because of the beautiful smooth texture it blends into. This soup makes use of that, and the addition of tahini makes it even creamier!

Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, which has been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumor growth. Researchers believe that eliminating cancer stem cells may be the answer to fighting cancer. It is also packed full of anti-oxidants and phytonutrients, is good for your heart and your brain, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Sesame seeds (the main ingredient of tahini) are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. Need any more reasons to make this soup tonight? It’s simple to make and takes no time at all!

Ingredients (serves 4)

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
6 big cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 whole star anise
a head of cauliflower (about 500g) cut into florets
one potato (about 200g) peeled and cut up
1 litre water
1 tbsp organic vegetable stock paste or powder
3 bay leaves
the juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp himalayan salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/3 cup organic tahini
pomegranate concentrate (optional)

Method

Fry the onion in the olive oil until it caramelizes. The more colour you get on the onions, the more flavour you’ll be putting into the soup. You want them to look something like this:

IMG_0130

The trick is to keep it on a medium heat and stir every now and then. If you feel that they may start to burn, add a few drops of water and continue. You could brown them even more than I’ve done here, I was just in a rush to make supper!

Add the garlic, cumin and star anise. Fry for a few more minutes. Add the cauliflower, potato, water, stock and bay leaves. Simmer until the cauliflower and potato are tender. The smaller (and more evenly-sized) your pieces of cauliflower and potato, the faster they will cook.

Remove the bay leaves and star anise, then pour everything into your blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until completely, 100% smooth. The measurements I’ve given for lemon, salt and pepper are just a guideline – use your taste!

I’ve served it with a drizzle of pomegranate concentrate – the sweet tartness balances the soup beautifully.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine