Pomegranate & Fennel Salad

Pomegranate & Fennel Salad

Pomegranate always makes for an impressive addition to any dish when you have guests. These beautiful little ruby-like jewels are bursting with flavour and packed with health. Over 8000 years ago they became one of the first cultivated fruits, and ever since have been a symbol of prosperity and abundance in many cultures.
They are rich in vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants – specifically punicalagin, a polyphenol unique to pomegranates, and anthocyanins, which are responsible for giving pomegranate juice its rich red color.

Ingredients (serves 3-4 as a side dish)

1 medium-sized bulb of fennel
1 pomegranate
2 handfuls baby spinach
1 handful fresh mint
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp organic maple syrup or raw honey
Oryx Desert Salt to taste

Method

If you have a mandolin use it to finely slice the fennel. Alternatively a sharp knife will do the job with a bit more effort!
Cut the pomegranate in half, and gently remove the arils (seeds), trying not to burst them. Discard any bits of white membrane, and add the arils to the fennel.

If the spinach leaves are large you can roughly chop or tear them, otherwise leave them whole. Remove the mint leaves from the stems and roughly chop them. Add to the fennel and pomegranate.

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon and maple or honey. Pour over the salad. Season to taste with salt and toss thoroughly.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Fig & Plum Smoothie

Fig & Plum Smoothie

Figs are one of my favourite fruits, with their sweet, luscious flesh which is more desert-like than fruit-like! Figs and plums are both high in dietary fibre, antioxidants, as well as potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure. Plums also increase your body’s ability to absorb iron, due to its high vitamin C content.

The combination of fig, plum and vanilla makes for a delicious smoothie.

Ingredients

200ml almond or coconut milk
2 plums, cut up and frozen
3 figs, cut up and frozen
1/4 tsp organic vanilla powder or the seeds scraped from a vanilla pod
10ml organic virgin coconut oil
10ml raw pumpkin seeds
2 fresh medjool dates

Method

Blend all the ingredients until the desired texture is achieved. Serves 1

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Baobab & Melon Nice Cream (African Superfoods Part 1)

Baobab & Melon Ice Cream

There’s a lot of hype about Central and South American superfoods, but here in Africa we have some amazing plants too! I think it’s important to both be proud of your country & heritage, as well as to support locally grown and manufactured products. Over the next few weeks I want to do a series of posts on various African superfoods. For those of you in other parts of the world, I hope it will be interesting and informative (most of them are becoming more well known and popular in health circles so you should be able to get hold of them.) For fellow South Africans, I hope this will encourage you to make use of our beautiful continent’s bounty 🙂

baobab tree copy

According to African legend, long, long ago the first baobab tree sprouted beside a lake. As it grew, it surveyed the other trees and admired their colourful flowers, their tall, straight trunks and their beautiful green foliage. One day the little tree was tall enough to see its own reflection in the lake. It was dismayed at the sight! Its trunk was short and fat, its leaves were sparse and dull and its bark looked like the wrinkled hide of an elephant. The tree implored the Creator to change its appearance, but its request was ignored. Day after day, it watched the beautiful trees, compared them to its own reflection, and cried to the heavens. One day the Creator had had enough, reached down and unearthed the tree. Turning it upside down, the Creator replanted the tree with its branches in the earth, and its roots in the sky. From that day on the baobab tree was silenced, and as penance has served animals and humans with good deeds ever since.
Source: http://www.ecoproducts.co.za

These beautiful trees are grown in 32 African countries, and are revered by many tribes, even worshipped by some. The fruit is a highly nutritious food source, the seeds provide oil (I used baobab oil during and after my pregnancy to prevent stretch marks) and the fibre in the bark is used to make fishnets, cord and clothing. The trunks are a good source of timber and are often hollowed out and used for shelter, grain storage or as water reservoirs.

Baobab powder has recently become a very popular superfood, and for good reason. The powdered fruit contains 3 times more calcium than milk, 4 times more vitamin C then oranges, 6 times more potassium then bananas, 5 times more anti-oxidants than blueberries, a whopping 16 times more fibre than pears, and 5 times more magnesium than avocados. Its sweet-tart flavour makes the perfect addition to this quick and easy vegan “nice cream.”

Ingredients

350g melon, weighed without skin or seeds
2 bananas
3 tbsp baobab powder (I use EcoProducts)
1 – 2 tbsp raw honey
1/2 cup almond milk

Method

This requires some forethought, in that you have to freeze the melon and banana overnight (or you could freeze when you have it and use whenever!) I used canary melon, but you could also use spanspek (aka cantaloupe) or honeydew (aka musk melon.)

Place all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth and creamy, using your tamper to mix as you blend. The amount of honey required depends on the sweetness of the melon. I had a melon that was not very sweet, which is why I decided to freeze it and turn it into ice cream. You may have a melon so sweet that you won’t need any honey at all, so sweeten to taste.

This will serve 2 people as breakfast or 4 people as dessert. If you have any left over you can freeze it again. It won’t be quite as smooth and creamy, more like a sorbet, but still delicious.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup

Butternut Ginger Soup

Another warming soup for another cold London day. You can probably tell by all my recipes how much I love butternut squash! Butternut squash have a lower glycemic index than potatoes and are high in fibre so great for the metabolism. They’re packed with Vitamin A and potassium, are low in calories (low GI) and high in Vitamin B Complex which I need lots of for my nerve problems caused by long-term arthritis. They are also high in polyphenols (like acai berries and blueberries) which are great anti-oxidants. An all round brilliant vegetable! I added ginger, firstly because I like to take advantage of the detox affects of ginger but also because it gives it a great kick. The two flavours really go nicely together – my mum taught me that! I of course added turmeric, as I do to everything that is yellow, for some anti-inflammatory action.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash
1 large sweet potato
1 onion
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup almond or coconut milk
1 tsp freshly shaved ginger
1 tsp turmeric
Salt & pepper to taste
Half tsp coconut oil
Handful of pine nuts (optional)

Method

Peel and chop your vegetables. When that’s done, heat the oil in a large saucepan and when hot, add the onion and cook for one minute. Then add the butternut and sweet potato and coat in the oil, 30 seconds should be enough.

Add the stock and almond milk, along with the rest of the ingredients and keep at a high temperature until it starts bubbling then turn down to low, put on the lid and let it simmer for an hour.

Once all veggies are soft, use a handheld blender to blend (or put it in a food processor if you don’t have a handheld) and blend until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste. Decorate with pine nuts, a great accompaniment for this soup!

Enjoy!
Love,
Lauren