Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rustic Apple Raspberry Pie for One

Rustic Apple Raspberry Pie

Many times folks say they cannot make a pie that is small enough for one person. Ok, two people if you are feeling generous. So here is one that is super easy and extremely yummy.

Enjoy and happy holidays.

Love Chef Mel xx

 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup flour – any kind works, wholewheat, oat, spelt etc

1/8-1/4 cup coconut oil warmed
Sea salt

1/4 cup apple juice

1 teaspoon kuzu diluted in a little water

2 medium apples cut into chunks

12 raspberries

juice ½ tangerine

generous pinch of cinnamon

1 tablespoon kuzu diluted in a little cold water

1 tablespoon rice syrup

Spring water


Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees

Place the flour and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt into a mixing bowl and whisk lightly.

Add the warmed coconut oil and mix together with your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs.
Add enough water to bind into a dough. 
Be gentle at this point otherwise dough will become hard.

Roll out the dough to fit a 5 inch dish.
Lift gently and place into the dish.
Don’t worry if it breaks apart.
Place the pieces into the dish and gently press together.
Lightly prick the base with a fork.
Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.
Remove and let cool for a few minutes.
While the pie shell is baking, place the apples, cinnamon, pinch sea salt, tangerine and apple juice into a pan. Bring to a boil on a medium flame and simmer for about 5-10 minutes.

You can do the washing up while the apples cook!
Remove the apples from the pan, and place into the pie shell.
Add the raspberries. 
Leave the juice from cooking the apples in the pan. Add the diluted kuzu and heat on a low flame, stirring until the juice thickens.
Pour over the apples and raspberries.
Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool before serving.

Rub oil into flour to resemble bread crumbs
Roll out the pastry
Place into a pie dish and prick base with a fork
place apples, juice and cinnamon into a pan
Place cooked apples and raspberries into the pie shell
Add the kuzu to the apple juice and stir until thickens
pour the kuzu over the fruit and pop into the oven

 And now for the fun part - relishing every morsel!



Ready to Eat!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Quick and Easy Dishes for One

Light and Simply Stewing

A wonderful and easy recipe that tastes fabulous. You can also add a couple of slices of fried tofu or tempeh for a richer flavor. Wonderful at this time of year as things begin to settle down and cooler weather is around the corner.  This dish is gently strengthening, warming and relaxing.
Enjoy! Love Chef Mel xx

Ingredients

½ onion cut into chunks
½ carrot roll cut
1/3 sweet potato cut into chunks
6 pieces squash
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil or cilantro
1 heaping teaspoon white miso diluted in a little water
Dash sesame or olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
Pinch sea salt
Spring water
3 inch strip kombu or wakame

Preparation

Place the vegetables in sections around a pot.
Add enough water to half cover the vegetables.
Pop in a strip of kombu or wakame
Add a pinch of salt and cover with a lid.
Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Add the diluted miso, basil, ginger and a dash of oil.
Turn off the lid and let sit for a minute.
Mix gently and serve. There should be a fair bit of liquid which makes the dish relaxing and nourishing.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Quick and Easy Dishes for One

Hallo everyone
I thought it might be fun to show a series of some really easy dishes for one person. The first is an inspiration from my wonderful brother, Simon Brown, who made a similiar salad when I last stayed with him.

This dish is surprizingly tasty. The flavors dance well together and the crisp tang from the brown rice vinegar adds a sparkle of energy.
Enjoy! Love Chef Mel x


Simply Salad



Ingredients:

1 celery stalk sliced on the angle
2 radishes sliced into half moons
¼ apple sliced into small chunks
1/3 cucumber sliced on the angle
1-2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar
Pinch sea salt
2 walnuts or 3 almonds finely chopped

Preparation:

Place all the ingredients into a bowl.
Mix gently and let sit for about 10 minutes.
Serve

Friday, August 29, 2014

Enjoy a Deep and Restful Sleep








Many people today suffer from poor, interrupted sleep. Here are a few quick, easy, and natural tips to give you a great nights rest.



Avoid caffeine, alcohol, stimulants, and chemicals that prevent sleep.


The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. Alcohol might make you sleepy at first but it can disturb sleep later on in the night



Create a Bedroom that is Sleep-Inducing

Create a quiet, dark and restful atmosphere in the bedroom. Use a fan to help circulate the air and keep the room cool. Make sure to close blinds and curtains at night to make the room really dark.

Use cotton for sheets and other natural fabrics in the bedroom. Synthetics give off static electricity that can be un-relaxing and draining.

Turn off cell phones and keep EMR to a minimum in the bedroom.

Keep computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room to strengthen the connection between the bedroom and sleep.



Make a Smooth Transition to Sleep

Create a smooth transition from day to sleep time with relaxing activities.

Take an aromatherapy or Epsom salt bath (the rise and fall in body temperatura promotes drowsiness), read a book, do a soothing foot saok, massage feet or practice relaxation exercises.

Avoid stressful, stimulating activities, doing work or discussing emotional issues.

Use essential oils such as lavender and orange to feel calm and encourage good sleep. Mix a few drops with wáter in a spray bottle and give your pillowcase a spritz.



Go to Sleep When You’re Really Tired

If you’re not asleep after 15 minutes, stay in bed (if you not feeling anxious), or go to another room. Do something relaxing, like deep breathing, visualization, reading or listening to soothing music. Keep the room dim as bright lights stimulate the internal clock.



No Clock Watching

Turn the clock away so you don´t watch it if you can't sleep. This can increase anxiety.



Use the Light and Get Outside

Exposure to a regular pattern of light and dark is very important. Open the curtains when it is light in the morning and get up. Make sure to go outside during the day for at least 10-15 minutes in all kinds of weather.



Nap Early or Not at All.

Take naps before 5.00pm and try to keep them between 10-30 monutes.



Avoid Late Night Eating

Stop eating 2-3 hours before sleep. Avoid heavy meals in the evening.



Balance Fluid Intake

Enjoy teas in the evening that are relaxing and sleep inducing.  Peppermint, chamomile, kukicha twig tea with rice syrup and lemon, or hot apple juice with cinnamon are great examples. 


Sooth the Liver

If you wake up at around 4am and have a hard time getting back to sleep, make sure to have lightly cooked vegetables and salads during the day. Sprinkle lemon juice on greens. Enjoy sauerkraut and granny smith apples. Watch alcohol, heavy meals, and salty foods. Hot apple juice with lemon or a glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the evening can help. Apple cider vinegar is also good for preventing leg cramps at night.



Exercise Early

Stop any strenuous exercise 3 hours before sleep. Instead, gentle stretching and evening yoga can be enjoyed as a way to relax before bed.



Manage stress

Learn simple meditation and breathing exercises to help calm the mind and body. Work on slow and deep breathing. Inhale for 5 seconds, pause for 3, then exhale to a count of 5. Start with 8 repetitions; gradually increase to 15.


Keep a Sleep Diary

Record your sleep patterns over two weeks and note what seems to make it worse or better

Write all your worries down in a notebook before sleep. Be detailed.

End your day with 3 blessings. Simple things that have been positive during the day.


Listen to a Bedtime Story

Enjoy books on tape, visualization tapes or hemi sync music for sleep


Increase Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that can help create sleepiness.

Tryptophan boosting foods include, leafy greens, sesame seeds, sea vegetables, and oats.



Melatonin

Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin. Research shows that taking a melatonin supplement can help to regulate sleep/wake patterns

Darkness produces more melatonin, which indicates to the body to prepare for sleep. (That is why a dark room is important) Light reduces melatonin production and signals to the body to get ready to be awake.

Although it is best to be able to sleep without ‘extra’ help, melatonin can be extremely useful in getting back on track especially if someone is travelling or has work patterns that are constantly changing. And some people have a harder time naturally producing melatonin as they age.

Melatonin boosting foods include, Brown rice, oats, barley, oranges and sweet corn. Pineapple and bananas are said to contain the highest plant based levels.



Valerian

Valerian is a staple medicinal herb used throughout Europe to encourage deep and restful sleep. Can be taken as a capsule or a tea.



Nourish the Kidneys

Take an Epsom salt baths, hot water foot soak, or massage the feet before bed.

Place a hot water bottle on the lower back.

Stop any coffee, alcohol, sodas, and sugar.

Increase whole living plant foods especially beans, miso and vegetable soups, dried daikon, shiitake, and sea vegetables.

Watch salty, dry foods like cookies, crackers, chips.

Good night and sleep tight xx



Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mediterranean Pasta Salad


Now the weather is beginning to warm up, it is fun to make some light and lively dishes. This simple pasta salad can be cooked up in a jiffy. The tangy flavors make it perfect for a yummy supper after a good dig in the garden. Enjoy! Love Chef Mel x

Mediterranean Noodle Salad

Ingredients:
1 packet spiral noodles cooked
1 onion diced
1 cup cucumber washed and finely diced
1 block firm tofu diced
1/2 cup minced basil
Umeboshi vinegar
1 cup black olives cut in half
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preparation:
Place the cucumber and tofu in a bowl and add about 2 tablespoons of umeboshi vinegar. Mix well and let marinate.
Place the onions, salt and oil in a skillet.
Sauté on a high flame for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Re-rinse the noodles and place them in a
serving bowl.
Add the tofu, cucumber, olives, and onions and mix together.
Season with umeboshi vinegar and mix through.
Let sit for about 5 minutes. Add more umeboshi vinegar if needed for a stronger taste.
Add the basil, toss through noodles and serve.

By the way you can find umeboshi vinegar at most natural food stores.



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spring in a Bowl!


Spring is in the Air - hopefully!

When I look out my window at all the snow, it seems that spring is no-where in sight. However, deep in the ground, the energy is shifting, and soon we will see the evidence in lovely blossom filled trees, nodding daffodils and cheery crocuses.  And, now is the time to include light and uplifting dishes in preparation for those warmer days ahead. 
I hope you enjoy this simple salad. The gentle mix of salt and light pressing, helps to increase those healthy bacteria and makes for an easy assimilation of all the nutrients. 
Tradionally, young greens were used at this time of year to detox from the richer winter cooking so I have added some herbs for an extra cleanse and kick of nutrition. Enjoy love Chef Mel x
 
Bluebell Woods


Spring in a Bowl

Ingredients
3 cups Chinese cabbage finely sliced
1 small cucumber finely sliced
2 tablespoons parsley miced
4 radishes finely sliced
1 celery stalk finely sliced
1 tablespoon basil minced
Sea salt
1/4 block firm tofu crumbled
2 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar
Dash brown rice vinegar or juice of half a lemon

Preparation
Place all the vegetables except for the basil into a bowl.
Sprinkle with a little sea salt and mix gently yet thoroughly with your hands.
Place a smaller plate on top of the veggies and add a weight such as a small jug of water.
Let sit for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the umeboshi vinegar to the tofu. Mix well and leave for 15 minutes.
Remove the plate and weight from the vegetables. Pour off any accumulated liquid.
Add the tofu and basil and mix through the salad.
Sprinkle with brown rice vinegar or lemon, mix and serve.

 
Lovely how the feeling of spring is reflected in the salad - spring in a bowl!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nourishing the Adrenals with Chef Mel


Adrenal Health




·      The adrenal glands are small, 1-2 inch pyramid shaped glands that sit like a cap on top of the kidneys
·      The center of the adrenal gland, the medulla, makes the hormones adrenaline.
·      The outer part of the adrenals, the cortex, makes the hormones cortisol, DHEAs, aldosterone, and small amounts of the sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone.
·      These hormones regulate sodium/potassium balance, raise blood sugar levels, regulate vasodilation/vasoconstriction and secrete sex hormones
·      The adrenals help out with body temperature regulation, blood sugar levels, and immune function as well as with the “fight or flight” response, those minute-to-minute stresses we experience. 





Adrenal Fatigue

·      Adrenal Fatigue is often expressed as suboptimal health with a variety of non-specific symptoms such as weakness and lack of vitality that are difficult to explain. Most cases of Adrenal Fatigue are mild, with a full recovery after rest, and often go undetected.

·      However, many familiar conditions can be related to Adrenal Fatigue, including asthma, allergies, bronchitis, chronic cough, sensitivities, sleep problems, muscle weakness and back pain, IBS, depression, post natal depression, diabetes, hypotension, estrogen dominance, obesity, hypothyroidism, heart palpitations, eating disorders, and Auto-Immune Diseases.

·      An imbalance of the Ovarian, Adrenal and Thyroid (OAT) hormonal axis can lead to symptoms such as PMS, low body temperature, endometriosis, PCOS, cystic breast, menstrual irregularities, fibroids suggestive of ovarian dysfunction and estrogen dominance; dry skin, weight gain, fatigue, low energy, hyothyroid issues in spite of taking medications; salt craving, frequent infection, hypoglycemia, insomnia, and anxiety.

·      Someone whose adrenals are working poorly may be unable to tolerate cold, and stay cold for hours even when back in the warmth. Folks often suffer from hypoglycemia as the adrenals boost blood sugar in between meals. They may be irritable, depressed, have abandonment issues, feel very anxious, and suffer, out of proportion, from daily stress.  Other signs of adrenal fatigue could be an addiction to coffee and other stimulants, cravings for salty and sweet foods, and excessive thirst.

Simple dietary and lifestyle adjustments are the natural and gentle way to nourish and support the adrenals.

Dietary Suggestions within a Plant Based Diet

o   Include a wide variety of green leafy vegetables cooked in different ways such as steamed, blanched, lightly sautéed.
o   Make sure to have about half your diet vegetables including all kinds of sea vegetables like kombu, dulse, wakame, arame, hiziki and nori.
o   Include fresh herbs and sprouts on a daily basis
Use a variety of fresh vegetables
o   Eat nuts and seeds – sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, walnuts, almonds – small amount of peanuts can help.
o   Choose whole grains
o   Mushrooms are helpful especially dried shiitake
o   Have a higher portion of vegetable quality protein – beans, tofu, tempeh, natto
o   Beans are very helpful – include chickpeas, aduki beans, and kidney beans cooked into a soup or stew with vegetables.
o   Good quality oil is important on a daily basis – sesame or olive.
o   Use ginger as a seasoning
o   Mild sweet foods such as pureed sweet vegetable soups are good
o   Include a variety of root vegetables in your diet – parsnips, daikon, carrots, burdock, lotus root or turnips.
o   Drink a comfortable amount of water and other herbal teas including Mu tea.



For those with a more serious condition, it might be necessary (in addition to a plant-based diet) and for a short while to;

·      Eat deep-ocean fish
·      Have fish in soup or a stew
·      Include sardines.
·      Make a soup broth with a marrow bone (grass fed), and lots of vegetables - I only mention this because it is known that bones are very nourishing to the adrenal glands.
·      Include – Siberian ginseng, garlic and licorice root in small amounts
·      Get B12 checked or take a supplement

It is important to Avoid
 
o   White flour, sugar, sodas and refined foods
o   Caffeine
o   Alcohol
o   Smoking
o   Environmental toxins
o   Overly salty foods
o   Stressful relationships or situations
Also:
   
1.     Exercise is very important but only those that are energizing and don’t cause fatigue.  Walking in nature, gentle stretching, cleaning, or the body rub are good examples.
2.     Learn to manage stress – writing, meditation, breathing exercises.
3.     Watch funny movies and laugh with friends.
4.     Spend time outside in the sun.
5.     Do something fun each day.
6.     Get lots of rest.
7.     Take an Epsom salt bath.
8.     Place a hot water bottle on lower back.
9.     Shiatsu and chiropractic adjustments can be very helpful
10. While showering, a quick burst of cold water on the lower back can be stimulating
11. Ginger/salt footbath.

 
Spend time outdoors daily

Here are 2 remedies that will add a zip to your adrenals:

Adrenal Drink


Ingredients
¼ cup aduki beans soaked
½ cup dried daikon soaked
2 shiitake soaked and sliced
1 inch strip kombu
5 cups spring water

Preparation
Place all the ingredients into a pan.
Bring to a boil on a medium flame.
Simmer for about 25 minutes.
Remove ingredients and drink the broth.



Kinpira Soup

This hearty soup is very good for vitality, strengthening blood and calming emotions


Ingredients:
I carrot cut into matchsticks
1 burdock cut in matchsticks
1/2 cup winter squash cut into chunks
1 onion diced
1/2 cup cabbage sliced
4-6 cups water
1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon wakame flakes
1 heaping teaspoon barley rice miso
1 heaping teaspoon white miso
Ginger
Scallions

Preparation
Place the oil in a pan and heat. Add the burdock and sauté for a few minutes. Add the carrot and continue to sauté. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
Cover with a lid and simmer on a low flame for 10 minutes.
Add the winter squash, cabbage and onion and continue to cook until the vegetables become soft – 10 minutes or so.
Add the rest of the water and wakame.
Return to a boil and add the diluted miso.
Cook on a low flame for 3 minutes.
Serve garnished with a little ginger and scallions

And, please be sensible - if you do have serious symptoms, always seek professional advice x


 
Enjoy and have fun xx