Overindulgent kids free time and a green kale, avocado and pineapple smoothie

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Last weekend was a rare and lovely event of nearly 48 hours of me and husband time without the kids. Not that I don’t love spending time with my kids but I find it important for us as a couple to recharge, regroup and just being two people in a relationship rather than just mummy and daddy sometimes. We spent a month looking forward to it which in itself is a treat. ( it’s always good to have things to look forward to ) I’m very lucky to have a sister and brother-in-law who are willing to sacrifice their weekend peace and quiet for us to have some is time.

We decided to not go away for our weekend but to actually be tourists at home in London and we turned into two kids in a candy shop and tried as many restaurants, bars and coffee places that we could possibly try in a weekend. All these places that you can’t go to with a buggy and 2 kids that are unable to sit still for no more than 10 minutes!

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Although the weekend was amazing it wasn’t exactly amazingly healthy. I have a fairly addictive personality to put it mildly, it’s all or nothing, on or off, do or don’t. (Yes I have been betting on most games during the World Cup! ; )
I’m working hard to learn moderation but didn’t succeed this weekend so after a hedonistic 48 hours I’m getting back to my latest favourite, smoothie meals! Sometimes I have one for breakfast, sometimes for lunch and if I don’t have time for a proper sit down meal in the evening I might even squeeze in a smoothie for dinner. I always thought I would go hungry having just a smoothie as a meal but if you do it right then it can be very filling.

Advantages of a smoothie as a meal;
You’re giving your digestive system a well-deserved break, it’s fast and easy and it’s easy to load the smoothie with nutrients.

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Green breakfast smoothie with quinoa and kale

Serves 1

1 cup of kale (roughly 2 medium leaves)
1 cup of coconut water
1 cup of chopped pineapple
1 oz of cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon of wheatgrass
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1/3 of an avocado

Cook the quinoa. If you’re having the smoothie for breakfast the quinoa can be cooked the day before to save time in the morning. Crush the chia seeds a little bit to get the most omega 3 out of them. Add everything to the blender and blend until smooth. Breakfast is served!

Too hooked and a salad Niçoise

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Sometimes I get a little bit too hooked on health food. I mean I do always tend to want to eat healthy, nutritious food rather than processed rubbish. But sometimes I get too concerned that it has to be 100% healthy and forget that if there’s an element of a dish that I’m not too happy about that I might overlook some divine dishes that are at the same time super nutritious.

For example I love Salad Niçoise but yes potatoes are starchy ( but a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of potassium, copper and vitamin C and more) and yes there’s mercury in tuna ( but a great source of omega 3 and selenium and more) I wouldn’t eat potatoes or tuna every day but it’s a much healthier treat than most other treats. And keeps me away from, again processed rubbish ( anyone gets the sense that I firmly hate processed food)

I tend to use tinned tuna for this dish and tinned food is not good due to it containing BPA but since I have cut out almost all tinned food every now and again my body can most likely deal with it.

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Some of the many good benefits of salad Niçoise;

Olives; anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that helps the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, nervous system, musculoskeletal system, immune system, inflammatory system and digestive system…..so more or less all of the body. Very good indeed.

Watercress, a superfood indeed. Vitamin K and Vitamin A which has health benefits for the skin and the eyes. Also contains glucosinolate compounds which have shown to have anti-cancer effects.

Green beans ; great source of folate, fibre and vitamin K

Eggs, high in protein and a whole range of vitamins and minerals. The best source of Choline which is being used to build cell membranes.

Salad Niçoise
Serves 2

120 grams of spinach, rocket and watercress
120 grams of green beans
20 black olives
1 can of tuna
10-15 anchovy fillets (we get ours from the counter in any Italian delicatessen)
6-7 new potatoes
3 eggs
1 shallot
Some extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Wash and boil the potatoes with skin on until tender ( about 10 min) . Boil the eggs for 10 min as well. Chop off the ends of the green beans and steam for 7 min. Wash the salad and add to a large bowl. Then add the tuna, anchovies and olives. Finely chop the shallot and add to the bowl. When the potatoes are cooked, half or quarter them depending on size. Add the potatoes, cooked green beans, the olive oil and some salt and black pepper and mix it up. Peel the eggs, half them and add them last to the salad on top.

When choosing Tuna you want to choose a smaller Tuna such as skipjack or tongol and stay away from larger tuna such as albacore or yellowfin since the larger tunas contains significant more levels of mercury. You also want to look for pole and line caught tuna since it’s the sustainable way of fishing tuna. No other marine life is harmed in the process.
I was happy to learn that Sainbury’s own brand tuna is skipjack and is pole and line caught. Another great option is Fish4ever.

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Bye bye baggage and a buckwheat, chia seed and grilled vegetables wrap

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4 weeks ago I did an intensive crash course in self-improvement. Think psychology meets self-help books meets new ways of thinking. It has changed my life (me thinks at this point) but I’m still not sure how to write about it so I won’t….just yet. It’s called Landmark forum and no it’s not a cult and yes they do use some intensive selling methods and no they don’t do brainwashing….well sort of. In my case my brain was “washed” from negative, draining thoughts that I have been living with for years. From what I could see that happened to a lot of people who did the landmark forum with me. For the last couple of weeks I have felt lighter, much much lighter….Think decades of baggage just gone. In 3 days.

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Anyhow since I’m all go go go at the moment instead of maybe, I’m not sure, another day, I don’t have time, I don’t have money, I’ll think about it….you know the mentality, I have less time to cook so I’m looking for even easier recipes that will keep me well nourished to keep the energy going.
This is a gluten free, vegetable and nutrition packed recipe that can be prepared in advanced and then enjoyed for several days.

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Buckwheat and chia seed wrap with grilled vegetables and hoummus!

Grilled vegetables
Enough for 3 meals
Feel free to use any leftover vegetables or favourite ones.
I used;
6 medium carrots
4 turnips
2 parsnips
2 spring onions
1 teaspoon of rosemary
1 teaspoon of thyme
2 teaspoons of coconut oil
Coriander (for when you put the wrap together)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC ( 350ºF ) Peel and chop the vegetables into similar sizes pieces. I kept mine fairly small since it’s then easier to put them in a wrap.

Put vegetables and coconut oil in an oven proof dish and sprinkle the herbs over. Put in oven. Stir after a couple of minutes to make sure all vegetables gets coated with the coconut oil and cooked evenly. Cook for 45-55 min.

When the vegetables are cooked and has cooled down put them in a glass jar (toxin-free ; ) and they can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Buckwheat wraps

2 cups of buckwheat flour
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of chia seeds
3 1/2 cups of water
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Mix all the ingredients together apart from the coconut oil and make sure there are no lumps. Let in stand for at least 10 minutes.
Melt a little bit of coconut oil (or butter if you prefer and add enough batter to cover the pan and about 5mm thick. Cook for a couple of minutes. Then turn over and cook on the other side.
These wraps can be put in freezer. Make sure you add baking paper in between.

When making the wrap put some vegetables in the middle of the wrap, add a dollop or two of hoummus and some coriander. Wrap up and enjoy!

The wraps can be enjoyed as pancakes as well with fresh fruit. And the vegetables are yummy with a piece of fish. It’s a very versatile dish that can create several meals during the week and hence save a lot of time!

Health benefits of buckwheat see here

The limbo is over and a base salad

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I received a letter last week regarding my MRI. It seems as if I definitely have MS…..which I am fine about, I was kind of expecting it. I have a lot of loony ideas but deep down inside I didn’t really think that one of the best neurologists in the country had got it so wrong. And furthermore my relapse in 2007 when I was diagnosed was just prime example/ textbook case MS. But…but I just wanted to double check since I am so well in myself. Really……do I have MS?

The other news that I got a bit surprised and not so happy about were…that apparently I have some further scaring since 2007, meaning that I have had another relapse or several. Looking back I can’t really see when that could have been, apart from maybe last Autumn when I was a bit more exhausted than I should have been.

Anyways, after having got over the initial shock I realised that I must have had a relapse without hardly noticing it which is a good thing. As far as I understand the relapses are supposed to get worse and worse but believe me, whenever, however I had this relapse, it was much, much, much milder than the one in 2007. That certainly didn’t sneak by unnoticed. It was all I could think about during the couple of months it lasted for. It was one body part after another acting really weird or shutting down.

And for all of you thinking that ha, I knew healthy eating and living won’t cure all ills and who are getting ready to go home and with a guilt-free conscious scuff a tub of ice-cream, some Mc Donald’s followed by microwave popcorn in front of the telly, don’t! Healthy eating and living does work. I’m still well hey ; )

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I can understand how it could have happened though, I have been doing too much cheating regarding my health regime. The longer you stay well the reasons why it’s so important to look after yourself are starting to diminish and then you let body destroying foods and habits back into your life again. So the bottom line is I’m really glad that I got this wake up call. I can cheat once in a blue moon, as long as once in a blue moon doesn’t come around every week and last for days. Once in a blue moon means once in a blue moon. No other interpretations!

Some questions that I have been asking myself; Do I wish I didn’t have Multiple Sclerosis? Do I wish I didn’t have to eat really, really healthily? Do I wish I didn’t have to strive towards a happier, better life in order to stay well? No, not at all. (Do note it’s easy for me to say no since I don’t feel unwell, my MS is more or less under control. My answer would probably be different if I felt unwell) But as it stands, my answer is no. But regardless I would never go back to eating any other way. Perhaps at my darkest moments I wish that I had learnt the life lesson that if you take good care of yourself 80% of the time you can do whatever the heck you like for the remaining 20% of the time without having to get ill first. For me now the ratio has to be more like 97%-3%. I wish I had learnt that once the body collapses you can most likely fix it with a lot of hard work but it’s much much harder than looking after yourself so you don’t get ill in the first place.

Anyways, new regime for me is;

I’ve been completely gluten and diary free since Monday and am aiming to continue being so…..forever. There’s just too much evidence that gluten and diary causes inflammation in the body and it’s really not good for someone with MS.
I have also decided that once and for all take control over my stress and become some sort of Zen like Buddha figure…..now that’s a challenge and a half given that I’m at home with an 18 month old and a nearly 3 year old and I was born with a Latino temperament…..Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, tai chi here I come!!!!

Today’s recipe isn’t really a recipe, it’s more like a suggestion. I have been struggling with lunch since I don’t have time to cook a new healthy dish everyday for lunch. It has to be fast and easy. So what I have started doing recently is that one evening I prepare a base salad that will last for 3 days. Then when it’s time for my lunch I just have to take out one portion, add some goodies and eat. I love it!

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Base salad
( use as many vegetables as you like but make sure you vary them, be brave and buy vegetables you normally don’t eat)

Suggestions;

Spinach
Rocket
Watercress
Steamed green beans
Peppers
Shredded kale
Shredded cabbage
Raw or steamed broccoli
Radishes
Tomatoes
Asparagus

Goodies to add on the day you’re eating the salad

Avocado
Home made coleslaw
Sprouts
Small pieces of goats cheese
Tuna or salmon
An egg

Then I just sprinkle some Aceito balsamico de Modena over the salad. (Thick creamy balsamic vinegar) or you can find some healthy dressing recipes online. There’s loads out there.

Feeling like a yo-yo and moroccan spiced lentil and pumpkin tagine

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Sorry for having been a bit quiet lately. It’s been a weird, exhausting and very much up and down period. Feeling a bit Stephen Fry-esque, not the high IQ (far from it), more the bipolar bit. But without the serious depths of depression and the productive highs. I’m just up and down like a yo-yo. But really what it is, I’m overwhelmed and exhausted by this whole parenting business, and all the other stuff that is going on in my life at the moment. You know, when there is so much going on that all you want to do is hibernate under a blanket, give someone your gigantic to do list and say; wake me when all is sorted thanks….

Also had my seriously delightful lumbar puncture and 1 hour long MRI scan and now have to wait for a month for the results!!! Seriously. A month!

Anyhow, next week my son will start nursery for a whole 6 hours a week and if you see me in some cafe staring blankly into space, I haven’t collapsed, I am just enjoying to stare into space!

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I tried to up my doses of vitamin B12 which usually keeps me on an even keel but not all the B12 in the world seems to help at the moment. If anyone suffers from depression, anxiety or stress ( or being Bipolar I just found out) I can’t recommend B12 highly enough.
Since the B12 doesn’t work I made my favourite moroccan comfort dish instead, and man is it comforting (and healthy of course)

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Spiced lentil and pumpkin tagine
Slightly adapted from a cookbook called Cooking Moroccan, a great book with lots of healthy moroccan food

Serves 4-6

275 gr or 11/2 cups brown or green lentils
3 tomatoes
600 gr butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
6 tablespoons coriander, finely chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Peel and seed the pumpkin and cut into 3 cm dice. If you are using a tagine put in a tray with a little bit of olive oil and put in oven for 15-20 min ( this will allow for much shorter cooking time) Otherwise put aside.

Rinse lentils in a sieve. Tip into a saucepan and add 1 litre ( 4 cups) cold water. Bring to the boil, skim the surface if necessary, then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, halve the tomatoes horizontally and squeeze out the seeds. Coarsely grate the tomatoes into a bowl down to the skin, discarding the skin. Set the tomatoes aside.

Heat the oil in a tagine or a large saucepan, add the onion and cook over low heat until softened. Add the garlic, cook for a few seconds, then stir in the cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the grated tomatoes, paprika, tomato paste, honey, half the parsley and coriander, 1 teaspoon of salt and black pepper to taste. Add the drained lentils and chopped pumpkin, stir well, then cover and simmer for 45 min if you are using a tagine or 20 min if you are using a saucepan or until the pumpkin and lentils are tender. Adjust the seasoning and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and coriander. Serve with crusty spelt bread.

In Morocco they eat from the tagine with their hands, we tend to eat this dish using the bread as a spoon

My 10 favourite recipes from last year

So my white month started today , also my no sugar, no dairy and no gluten month. I know I only mentioned booze, the evil white stuff and dairy but what the heck if I’m going to be good I might as well be very good.
I’m probably also feeling inspired to be very good because I watched a fairly cheesy ( I cried a lot in the end ) but also very inspiring Australian/ American documentary last night called Fat, Sick & Nearly dead. It’s about a guy, Joe Cross, who goes on a 60 day juice fast to heal himself and take the one foot that he has in the grave out of the grave. He also meets another man with the same issues as himself. Can he convince him to start the fast as well? If you want some motivation for living a healthier life, this is a good film to watch.

Anyway, I have gone through the recipes that I wrote about on my blog last year to find out which ones do I keep coming back to over and over again! It always annoys me whenever tv-series do these episodes when the characters are just thinking back to things that has happened previously. I always get the feeling that the writers must have been very busy so they haven’t had time to write something new. And it’s sort of true for me as well, I have been very busy preparing for my meeting with the Neurologist tomorrow. I want to be armed to the teeth when I go there. But me being busy isn’t the only reason I have done a “10 favourite recipes” I also find it’s good to evaluate your year when it has come to an end so here we go;

My favourite 10

Peanut butter smoothie
This smoothie is fantastic! It’s a great combo of being that perfect healthy treat and a pre-sports drink, snack! It contains both short-term and long-term energy and is also quite filling. For me it has been more of a healthy treat but since I’m going to be doing more exercise this year……..

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Raw cacao, macadamia, goji and coconut balls
I’m hooked on these yummy little things. Full of anti-oxidants! They are lovely to eat straight out of the freezer so great to have handy if you are craving some chocolate.

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Roasted parsnip and garlic soup
My latest addition to my soup collection and I love it. It’s soo good for keeping those pesky flu-germs away given all the garlic. And delicious!

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Pineapple, ginger, chia seeds and coconut water smoothie
Refreshing and ideal before or after sports due to the coconut water. Also very good if your stomach is upset or as a hangover cure.

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Mozzarella, quinoa, peach, chilli and pomegranate salad
Haven’t made this in a while given how hard it is to find decent peaches this time of the year but it’s a great salad that I make lots of when good peaches are plentiful

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Macademia nut butter smoothie with mint dark chocolate covered macademia nuts
This is quite high in fat and calories so shouldn’t be eaten everyday but it’s a lovely, very nutritious and good for you treat. Waaaaay better for you than my old pals Ben & Jerry

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Fake sushi
A super nutritious and very easy way of making sushi.

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Beetroot goat cheese salad
Good enough to be eaten throughout the year. Perfect for lunch since beetroot is an energy booster

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Liquorice smoothie
A recipe from Ascension kitchen.com. Delicious and so good if you are feeling a bit stressed out

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Giving up coffee
Isn’t obviously a recipe but it’s one of the best things I did last year. Believe me next time I go to Sicily I won’t say no to that perfect espresso. But on a regular basis I feel more balanced, focused and calmer without it.

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White month coming up and a Parsnip with roast garlic soup!

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I hope you all had a merry and relaxing Christmas! I have truly had a proper Christmas break so far, sleeping a bit more than normally, no blogging (not that blogging feels like a chore), reading, eating lots ( good and bad things), doing some fun holiday type things ( London aquarium amongst other things) and just generally lazing about (watched 2 episodes of Danish/ Swedish crime series The bridge….during the day when the kids had their nap) I never watch tv during the day so a very nice treat indeed! Basically hanging with my family and enjoying life.

I feel really refreshed mentally but physically…..let’s just say I’m looking forward to January! Too much sugar, wine and food in general. I do find it’s good to remind myself sometimes ( very rarely, like once a year ) how unwell and rubbish I feel when I go on a food indulgence spree.

My husband has always had a white month in January and in recent years it has been more like 2 or 3 months. He likes his drinks and figures that if he can’t stop for a month he has a drinking problem so apart from a healthy break it’s a test of sorts. I tend to join him and I have started to look forward to January because of it. This year I will do no drinking, no sugar and no dairy. And I will also start 13th of January since I have some dear friends coming to stay. I might keep it up until the end of February, we shall see.

And just a brief mention about my B12. ( I will certainly write a long post about it soon) The tests came back within normal range but about 2 weeks after having started taking sublingual B12 and after using high-potency B12 patches I feel like a new person. All the weird symptoms and the absolute fatigue is gone, and I mean gone! Something fishy is definitely going on. Anyway I’m seeing the neurologist in 2 weeks so stay tuned….

If you are feeling stuffed from all the heavy, sugar laden food from Christmas here’s a great soup to enjoy! It will certainly scare away all cold and flu germs given the amount of garlic. And it’s very delicious!

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Parsnip and roasted garlic soup

Serves 4

5 medium parsnips
1 sweet potato
3 garlic heads
1 onion
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup of Single cream or diary-free alternative
1 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
Black pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 200 °C. Chop the parsnips and sweet potatoes in cubes. Cut the bottom of the garlic heads off and wrap the garlic heads in foil. Put half of the parsnips on a baking tray with some coconut oil and put it in the oven together with the garlic heads.

In the meantime gently fry the chopped onion in some oil in a large pot for a couple of minutes. Then put the other half of the chopped parsnips and the chopped sweet potato in the pot and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the vegetable stock and cook for about 40 minutes or until soft. Take the garlic and parsnips out from the oven after 40 min and add to the pot. (The garlic can be squeezed out like tooth paste from a tube : )

Add cream and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn of the heat and add the turmeric. Then blend the soup and adjust the thickness by adding some water if necessary. Serve with some spelt bread and wave bye bye to those flu germs!

Healthy and happy new year to you all!

Healthy Vietnamese food at Viet Grill and a hangover-fix-it smoothie

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What can be better for your health than having a great meal out with friends…..not much! A good laugh is both calming and healing!

Instead of opting for Christmas food so close to the big jingle bells day, I meet a group of friends for Vietnamese at Viet Grill in Shoreditch on Monday. Always great to stock up on some healthy stuff before all the heavy sugar laden food comes out at Christmas.

However I started my meal with a Vijito. Viet grills cocktails are amazing!!!! ( and now maybe you understand why the title indicates that I have come up with a hangover cure drink ; ) This beautiful cocktail had a whole passion fruit in it, soo yummy!

Vietnamese food is generally very healthy. The main staples are herbs, lots of vegetables and seafood and it’s generally broth based. The only possibly negative health aspect of vietnamese food is the usage of MSG. The usage of MSG is highly controversial and it’s difficult to find out if it’s bad for your health and if so, how bad? Apparently FDA has claimed it is safe in small doses since 1959. Read more in this interesting article by John Mahoney. Others claim it is very harmful to your health. I’m going down the route of eating as little as possible of it but if I once in a while eat a little bit of it, so be it. Viet grill told me that they use very minimal amounts of MSG and only in a few dishes (soups). Their aim is to get rid of it completely next year. Fine by me.

We had a mix of starters and they were all delicious but what stood out the most were the fresh vegetables spring rolls. Lots of raw vegetables crammed into featherlight rice paper. And the dipping sauce, ah the dipping sauce…..And it’s incredibly refreshing to eat uncooked spring rolls. Definitely a favourite of mine!

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For main it was equally easy to find something very healthy, I opted for the wokked monkfish and shiitake. Lovely, fresh and filled with nutritious shiitake mushrooms. I personally would have preferred a bit more fresh herbs in my dish but that’s coming from someone who eats half a packet of coriander with my Pad Thai….Other things that I have tried before are La Vong Grilled Monkfish (starter) They cook it at your table so it’s certainly fresh and very tasty. I have also had the soft shell crab curry which was outstanding. My mouth is watering just writing about it, definitely going back soon.

So to sum it up; lovely atmosphere, great staff, fresh and healthy food and dangerously good cocktails! If you end up having one too many, here’s the rescue plan for the day after;

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Perfect hangover cure!
Coconut water, banana, strawberry and mint smoothie

1 cup of Unoco coconut water
1 cup of frozen strawberries
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 banana
1 1/2 teaspoon of honey
A couple of leaves of mint

Blend it all and make sure it’s cold ( put in fridge or add some ice-cubes ) A good idea is to make a double portion and sip throughout the day

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When hungover the body needs to replenish the potassium that has been lost. Coconut water contains a lot of potassium. So does bananas and honey. Maca powder is great for an energy boost. I use the Unoco coconut water because unlike most other brands it hasn’t been heat-treated or pasteurised hence none of the anti-oxidants have been lost. Unoco uses high pressure processing (HPP) in order to give the coconut water shelf life without loosing any nutrients! Clever…… Strawberries also has loads of anti-oxidants and they will be needed if you had one festive drink too many!

Curiosity killed the cat and hail the black rice

20131124-212048.jpgGood thing I’m not a cat, cause I’m very curious….about what is wrong with me. I got my test results back and good news is they were all good. Bad news is they were all good. Apart from some insignificantly (according to my GP) enlarged blood platelets. Don’t get me wrong I’m delighted all is well but because I can tell something is not quite right with my health it would have been good to know what that “not quite right” thing is. Anyhow since I have many, many of the symptoms of B12 deficiency I need to check it out. My B12 levels were tested using a test called serum B12 which isn’t really reliable. You see, the serum B12 test measures both active and inactive B12 together. The active B12 is what the body can utilise. So the normal B12 result might just be mainly inactive B12. I will write more about all of this later. My symptoms are are also typical of MS (multiple sclerosis) so I will need to investigate whether it can be an MS relapse. (I don’t think so because it just feels different this time around)

So my plan is contacting some MS people. My MS nurse that I haven’t needed for the last 6 years just now went on maternity leave. Seriously woman….now? So need to find someone else to talk to. Then if they say maybe not or definitely it was not an MS relapse I will rock up to my GP armed with bucket loads of underlined documents, my determined husband and two restless kids and try to convince him in 7 minutes that I need the other B12 tests done. After having succeeded in convincing him and if the new tests would show that there is definitely nothing wrong with my B12 then I just have to realise that perhaps it’s just exhaustion. I might not be a cat so curiosity won’t kill me but one has to know when enough testing has been done……I am not quite there yet though.
20131124-212148.jpgIn the meantime tonight I had a wicked black rice stir fry. I recently discovered black rice and the health benefits of it, then I came across this recipe from a great blog called Butter Beans where they write about great food for families. Here’s the original recipe. I mixed this recipe with another favourite stir fry
recipe and this is what I ate ;

Black rice stir fry with tofu and vegetables

Serves 6

4 eggs, beaten with 4 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil
1 cup of black rice
5 oz of frozen peas
Ginger, 1 inch piece, peeled
Tofu, 1 package, drained, and marinated for at least 30 minutes
Carrots, 2 medium, chopped in small cubes
Broccoli, 4 florets, chopped
Cauliflower, 4 florets, chopped
Celery, 2 stems, chopped
Sesame seeds, garnish
3 tablespoons of reduced salt soy sauce
6 spring onions, sliced

Place tofu on a flat plate and place another flat plate on top, then weigh it down with a heavy book or pan. Every 5 min or so remove liquid that has been squeezed out until most liquid is gone. Then marinate with 2 tablespoons of soya sauce and leave for at least 30 min. In the meantime cook rice according to instructions. (about 30 min)

Prepare all the vegetables. Steam the carrots, broccoli and cauliflower for 4 min

Beat the eggs with the sesame oil and scramble in a wok (or pan) until almost done. Put aside. Grate the ginger and cook for a minute, then add the rest of the vegetables apart from the peas and spring onions and cook for another couple of minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of soya sauce.

Add tofu, peas and spring onions and cook for another 2 minutes. Add rice and egg and heat up thoroughly. Serve in a bowl with some sesame seeds on top.
20131124-212134.jpgBlack rice became known as the “forbidden rice” in ancient china since it was reserved for emperors and nobility to ensure their good health. It contains the same amount (or more) of health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants as in blueberries. And although black rice is a bit more pricey than white rice it’s still cheaper than blueberries. It is high in nutritional value and contains 18 amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene and has a similar amount of fibre as brown rice. Black rice can substitute white rice in most dishes, I ate it with a Thai curry the other day and it was yummy. Who would have thought that rice could be sooo good for you!

Being bad and zucchini spaghetti with bacon and peas

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I have been a bit bad lately, I confess. Haven’t eaten as well as I should. Some people stop eating if they are stressed or down. I’m not one of those people, I seek comfort in food and at times when the body really could do with some serious good food I stuff it full of rubbish ( not quite that bad but hey…) So I am still waiting for test results to see what’s wrong with me, if anything, maybe I’m just exhausted but I’m just a bit worried. I don’t think so but maybe it’s the old MS showing it’s ugly face again. ( Yes I have Multiple Sclerosis but will talk more about that another day )

Anyway I will make a concerted effort of eating well from now on and I’m starting with this super duper easy recipe. In order to control myself I will list all the baddies that I have eaten on my next post ( boring for you but good for me : )

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Adapted from Sybil Kapoor’s book Taste

Serves 2

Zucchini pasta with peas and bacon

1 cup of peas, fresh if you have them but if not frozen works
2 zucchinis
3 tablespoon of olive oil
120 grams of organic bacon, diced
1 clove of garlic
1 bunch of spring onions
1 lemon
A handful of basil leaves

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Scrub and clean the zucchini. Remove ends and use a grater or a mandolin to slice the zucchini into spaghetti or tagliatelle shape. Don’t use the core and seeds. Chop the garlic and finely slice the spring onions. Grate the skin of the lemon and chop it in half.

Heat some oil in a large pan and fry the bacon until it’s beginning to be crisp.
Stir in the garlic and spring onions. Continue to cook for 1 min, then add the peas and lemon zest and little bit of lemon juice. Cook for 1 min then add the zucchini pasta and cook for another 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Make sure the zucchini is soft. Turn of heat, pour out excess liquid and add some more olive oil and the basil. Serve with lots of freshly ground black pepper and Parmesan.

When choosing bacon make sure you go for organic to get less nasty additives into yourselves. I used back bacon from Rhug Estate and it was very tasty indeed. Apart from the peas this is a perfect low carb meal but I like my peas! Search on the internet and there are many articles on peas as a super food. And rightly so it seems, lowers cholesterol, full of vitamins ( K and C in abundance). A Mexico City based study has shown that peas can lower the risk of stomach cancer.
Give peas a chance I say!!