Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Benefits of Rosehip Oil

Rosehip Oil

Since living in Spain, I have been using and enjoying the wonderful benefits of rosehip oil. Super easy with fabulous results. It is pure too. No added chemicals or other junk. Here is some information and benefits on one of natures best kept secrets. 

Rosehip oil has been used for generations by the Andean Indians of Chile who understood the marvelous benefits for the hair and skin.

The oil is extracted from the fruit (hip) of the wild rose after it has bloomed and lost its petals. 
Rosehip oil is rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, E and C, and is especially  high in the essential fatty acids, 
omegas 3, 6 and 9.

You can apply it to slightly damp skin which helps to hold moisture and reduce dryness.

Benefits of Rose Hip Oil


Excellent for shining, healthy hair. The oil also improves dandruff and other scalp conditions. Use as a mask and massage a small amount of rosehip oil into the hair and scalp. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes. Then shampoo and condition as usual, and relish the results.


Soothing for sunburn. It aids in the healing process and can reduce inflammation. Corrects UV damage from the sun.


Scar treatment – Reduces the appearance of scars, burns and stretch marks. I bashed my knee while walking the dogs and was amazed how quickly it healed from simply using a little rosehip oil daily.

Better than Botox! Treats fine lines and wrinkles - Rosehip oil's vitamin A is known to promote healthy skin cell rejuvenation, which causes skin to glow and appear fresh and supple.

Hydrates dry skin - Rosehip oil gives a boost of moisture to dry or mature skin. Unlike other oils, the smooth and light texture of the oil is unlikely to clog your pores. Or, you can add a few drops to your regular moisturizer for a lighter touch.

Soothing for eczema and psoriasis - the astringent and skin nourishing properties can help to speed up the healing  process, as well as hydrate and moisturize the area.

Evens skin tone - reduces the appearance of dark spots, aging spots and hyper-pigmentation. Simply apply to affected area daily.

Healthy nails. Try dabbing a bit of rosehip oil on your nails and cuticles to help prevent hangnails and nail breakage.

I hope you enjoy this oil as much I as do. Love Chef Mel xx

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Fountain of Youth – Anti Aging Tips

Many of us are searching for the eternal Fountain of Youth. We go to all extremes to look younger. However, we don’t really have to go to such drastic lengths. There are many simple things we can do to feel and look bright, alert, shinning and fresh. Beauty begins on the inside and is reflected on the outside. We are all aging but we can slow it down and continue to be beautiful and youthful for far longer. The aging process then becomes a graceful journey.

Here are some simple anti-aging tips that you can easily add into your lifestyle:

What Speeds up the Aging Process 

Too much sodium  – we need less as we get older. Excess salt can increase cell aging.

Dry foods – cookies, crackers, chips, bagels. The volume of dried snacks has grown enormously. Stress and pressure often creates a craving for dry hard foods that only gives temporary relief

Sugar – in all kinds of foods. The more we eat the more we want. In early 50’s people consumed around 5lbs of sugar a year. Today the average is a staggering 150lbs of sugar per person per year. The average amount of soda consumed is 60 gallons per person per year. Sugar depletes the body of vital nutrients, lowers resistance to disease, increases diabetes risk, and gets stored as fat.

Acidic diet –the body has to work extra hard to maintain blood balance. Acidic foods include animal, dairy, sugar, white foods (bread, pasta, rice), and alcohol

Over eating even healthy food, and stress both create acidity and ages the body

Animal protein – acid forming and taxing on kidneys. Due to the high levels of purines in meat, uric acid can increase which then has to be neutralized by calcium. The calcium comes from the bones, spine, and teeth.

Too much partying –late nights and alcohol affects the liver, kidneys and adrenals

Processed and packaged foods – oxidizing and full of chemicals

Sudden shock – can cause rapid aging

Cold drinks – taxing on digestion

Lack of routine – irregular meals, standing up to eat, irregular sleep patterns and lack of sleep

Long distance flying on a regular basis exposes us to the same intensity of radiation as several strong chest x rays.

Extremes of all kinds, exercise, diet, temperatures, climates, and environments

Ways to keep that Youthful Glow – be mindful and pay attention to your body. Think about wellness not disease

Good nutrition – plant based diet, home cooking, living foods, varying the cooking styles. Getting your nutrients from food first not supplements. Have vegetables at every meal using the full range of colors, shapes, and flavors. Juicing is a great way to enjoy vegetables at breakfast. Lightly cooked dishes and salads are especially important. Include mild sweets as part of your diet. They help to relax the body and strengthen the immune. Include pureed sweet vegetable soups, sugar free desserts, vegetable juices, and the natural sweet taste from grain and vegetable dishes.

Good digestion – good elimination on a daily basis, getting rid of what we don’t need. Make sure your diet is high in fiber and fermented foods. It is important to chew well and to enjoy meals in a calm environment. Excessive intake of food greatly burdens the entire digestive system. Practice moving away from the table when you are still a little hungry.
Good circulation – the key is to exercise on a daily basis and to find something that you love so you keep on doing it, make sure to stand up and move throughout the day, have an evening walk after dinner –improves all systems in the body, uplifts the mood, increases brain power, and keeps heart young

 How to RE- set your Biological Clock
Keep the mind fresh and open – find meaningful activities. Learn something new every day. Keep active and involved, and do things that make you feel happy.
Give yourself a nourishing olive, sesame or coconut oil massage   helps to reduce stress, hydrate skin, relieve aches and pains, improve cellulite, reduce stretch marks and slow down skin aging.
Enjoy eating meals at the same time each day. Sit down to eat all foods even snacks
Chew well – activates the lymph, helps us to eat less, ensures proper digestion, promotes growth and repair, and is the foundation for disease prevention

Drink adequate water – very important at any age to stay hydrated. However, some lose their natural ability to feel thirsty as they get older so it is essential to have regular glasses of water throughout the day

Stop eating 2-3 hours before to bed
Spend time in nature on a daily basis and become aware of your surroundings. Engage your senses and notice the different sights, smells, textures, tastes, and noises.

Enjoy good sleep – at least 6.5 hours a night. Helps you to feel more peaceful, energized, and positive, and less prone to anger and irritability.
Have Gratitude – give thanks to all of life even the challenges. Appreciate the marvel of the natural world. Be grateful for family and friends.
Take time out – to relax and enjoy life in the moment.
Enjoy meditation, breathing exercises or spiritual practice. Nourishing to the mind, body and spirit.


Laugh – watch funny movies, hang out with friends and family and laugh together

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Beautiful Buckwheat and Burgers

When I lived in the US, I rarely used buckwheat as a whole grain. I enjoyed soba noodles in broth often, but for some reason wasn’t attracted to the grain itself.
Since living in Europe, I have been using it much more and find it tasty, and easy to use. Buckwheat gives great energy in a lighter manner than expected. So I am sharing some of the benefits and a simple recipe. Enjoy xx

Buckwheat, was first cultivated in South East Asia around the 6th century BC having been originally used as a wild food. It then spread to Central Asia, Tibet, Europe, and the Middle East.  Buckwheat actually came to Russia via Greece in the 7th century. The Russian name for Buckwheat is Grechka, which means ‘Of Greek’. Buckwheat was one of the earliest crops introduced by Europeans to North America.

Benefits of Buckwheat

Great for the digestion.
Buckwheat is high in fiber and has a mild, sweet flavor. It can help to clean and strengthen the intestines and improve appetite.

Nourishing to the Kidneys and Adrenals.
Buckwheat has a warming energy that is strengthening for the kidneys and adrenals especially if made into a porridge known as kasha in Russia.

Gluten Free
Buckwheat is not considered a grain, which makes it perfect for celiacs and those on gluten and grain sensitive diets.

Alkaline or Neutral
In terms of acid and alkaline, buckwheat is considered to be neutral or mildly alkaline.

Has a high concentration of Rutin
The high rutin content in buckwheat can help to lower the risk of developing gallstones, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Rutin is also beneficial for fighting inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Buckwheat can help to prevent varicose veins, and hemorrhoids as rutin is known to help strengthen the capillary walls. It can also improve circulation especially cold hands and feet, and edema.

Keeps Blood Sugar levels low
The nutrients in buckwheat may contribute to maintaining sugar levels. With a glycemic index of 54, it lowers blood sugars more slowly than rice and wheat products. 

Nutrient Rich
Buckwheat contains high levels of B complex vitamins and essential amino acids, which help to promote healthy skin and strong hair. It is also a rich source of magnesium and copper. Buckwheat has strong antioxidant properties, which can help keep premature wrinkles at bay.

Buckwheat can be made into porridge, burgers, pancakes (from the flour), soba noodles, and prepared with vegetables and beans.

Here is a simple recipe for Buckwheat Burgers. Feel free to adapt it to your taste and what you already have in your fridge. Happy cooking!
Love Chef Mel xxx

Buckwheat Burgers

1 cup Buckwheat toasted in a skillet for 3-5 minutes
2 cups Water
Olive oil
1 onion minced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup grated carrots
1 celery stalk minced
6 green olives minced or 1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon Tahini (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh basil or fresh parsley chopped
1 heaping teaspoon dried herbs (oregano, basil, marjoram)

Bring the water to a boil in a pot. Add the salt, and buckwheat. Return to a boil on a medium flame, and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes until all water is absorbed. Uncover the pot and let the buckwheat cool down.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and then the celery, and continue frying for a few minutes.
Add the vegetables to buckwheat together with olives, dried herbs and fresh herbs. Mix it all very well with your hands until you get nice dough. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Take little portions, shape a ball with your hands and make a burger. Repeat this process with the rest of the dough.
Heat olive oil in a pan and fry your burgers for 3 minutes on each side until they are golden brown.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Warm Quinoa Salad

I whipped this up in a cooking class yesterday. Super refeshing, quick and easy, and great for the warmer weather. The portions are for 1-2 servings specially for those who live alone.
Love Chef Mel xx

Warm Quinoa Salad

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup spring water
1 inch strip kombu
1 cup sweet corn, edemame or peas
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped basil
½ teaspoon salt
1 celery stalk finely diced
1/4 cup drained and diced roasted red peppers - can use fresh if preferred
2-3 tablespoons toasted and chopped walnuts

Toast quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it becomes aromatic, about 3-5 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the water and kombu to a boil in a pan on a medium heat.
Add the quinoa and return to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes.
Remove the lid and add the sweet corn (peas or edemame). Cover and continue to cook until the corn and quinoa are tender, 5 minutes longer. Remove and place into a serving bowl.
Add the celery, and peppers and mix gently.
Whisk the lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, basil and salt in a small bowl. Toss to combine with the quinoa. Serve with chopped walnuts and fresh basil.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tunisian Carrot Salad

A sweet and easy version of a Tunisian salad to add spring in your meals. Enjoy!
Love Chef Mel xx

Tunisian Carrot Salad with Radishes and Olives

2-3 carrots grated
4 radishes finely sliced or grated
1/2 pear grated
¼ cup chopped green olives
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
Paprika (optional)
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Dash ume vinegar
6 tablespoons finely minced fresh cilantro, parsley, or lambs lettuce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Place the carrots, radish, and olives into a bowl. Add a dash of ume vinegar and mix gently.
Warm oil, garlic, cumin, and paprika in small skillet over low heat. Stir oil mixture into vegetables.
Add the lemon juice to skillet to remove any last bits in pan, and then stir into the salad.
Add the cilantro or other herbs, grated pear and mix gently. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature to blend the flavors.
Serve garnished with toasted sesame seeds.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Russian Cabbage Soup

A super, easy soup full of zip and zing that can be made in a jiffy. Wonderful for this uplifting time of year. Enjoy!
Love Chef Mel xx

Russian Cabbage Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small turnip julienned
1 carrot julienned
1/2 onion, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
4-6 cups spring water
1 cup round cabbage, shredded
2-4 tablespoons sauerkraut
1 tablespoon caraway seeds lightly crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh dill finely chopped

Warm the oil in a pot.
Add the onion and sauté for a minute. Follow with the carrots and continue for sauté for another minute. Repeat with the turnip, and then the celery.
 Add the, cabbage, kombu, a pinch of salt, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil on a medium flame.
Cover and reduce heat; simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve hot, garnished with fresh dill, sauerkraut and caraway seeds.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hiziki for One

Hiziki with tahini and tofu

Hiziki is a wonderful addition to any meal. It is high in fiber and packed with minerals especially iron, calcium, and magnesium. This nutritious sea vegetable has a rich taste and delicate texture. When combined with tahini and tofu it makes for a nourishing dish with a deliciously unique flavor. Super great for the wintery time of the year. Enjoy! Love Chef Mel xx

Oh yes, and one more thing, hiziki is great for your hair!



¼ cup hiziki rinsed and soaked for 15 minutes - make sure use enough water as it will double in size
1 tablespoon tahini
¼ block tofu mashed
Spring water
1 tablespoon ume vinegar
Few drops shoyu
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley


Strain the hijiki and place into a pan. I don't use the soaking water because it is too salty tasting. Instead, use it for watering your plants
Add enough fresh water to almost cover the hiziki and bring to a boil on a medium flame.
Simmer with a lid on a medium low flame for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the tahini, ume vinegar and few drops of shoyu to the tofu and mash well.
Add the tofu mixture to the hiziki and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
Mix gently.
If there is an excess of water remove lid and simmer on a medium high flame. Stir from time to time.
Add the parsley, mix through and serve.

Bring to a boil on a medium flame

Mash the tofu

Add the tahini, shoyu and ume vinegar

Add the tofu mixture to the hiziki

Add in the parsley

Enjoy xx