Thursday, 31 May 2012

Thirst


In the sweet nothingness of time -
Before hunger came thirst.
Travelling with an open heart –
On a journey, I felt cursed.
A change in direction and some golden light,
I gained some strength to find the dawn after night,
And welcome a life led by love.
It feels like the warmest glove.
Oh, Love eternal!

Discover a fresh drink and find quenchable thirst with this recipe. Pour generously on a divine summers day and celebrate life with this twist on classic Iced tea. Now is a great time to celebrate, the Queen's Jubilee falls this weekend and what better tipple to refresh with than Early Grey, Strawberry and Vanilla Iced Tea.
Beautiful Leaves
The British are a nation of tea drinkers and have poured more cups of tea per capita than anywhere in the world. As a child I remember sipping freshly brewed milky tea, after a day of climbing trees and seeking out adventure. Tea is a drink of sweet pleasure and togetherness, it begs a pot and orders quietude. Iced tea is gradually becoming more fashionable here and if you’ve yet to try it, now is a good time to dive in. This recipe will weave you into a glorious strawberry laced sipping splash, and draw you away to a cooling calm. It is surprisingly simple to make, I first featured this recipe in my collumn for Families First.

I love the idea of cleansing the body from the inside out, freshening and nourishing all the while. Tipple a trickle of this and your thirst may be rewarded with a most delicious drink that is strawberrily good and is as refreshing as diving into the sea. Sit in the shade whilst sipping and listen closely to your heart, trust in the stillness and calm. Meditate on some lovely time and with each breath feel good and true. What I love most about cooking for my family is the unconditional love that travels through my touch, cooking is many things and with love it is a gift in the most nourishing sense. As the bumblebee is to flowers, so are we to fresh ingredients. I’ve coined a new saying!!!

MAKE HONEY NOT WAR!!! 


Keep a journal of HAPPY moments, keep it SAFE and write in it often, this act will create a vibration that invites beauty and joy in abundance.

On this summers day I wish you well.

Lots of love,

FFX

Early Grey, Strawberry and Vanilla Iced tea


Earl Grey teabags, 4
Cinnamon stick, 1
Vanilla pod, 1 split and seeds scraped
Sweet freedom/ Maple syrup, 100g
Fresh Strawberries, 400g hulled
Orange juice, 250 ml
Lime, juiced
Ice cube, 7

BOIL 750ml water in a kettle.
POUR into a tall 4 litre jug.
ADD teabags, sweet freedom/ maple syrup, cinnamon stick, vanilla pod and seeds.
STIR well and leave for fifteen minutes to brew.
BLITZ strawberries and orange juice together in a blender until smooth.
REMOVE teabags.
POUR strawberry mixture and lime juice into the tea and stir well.
ADD the ice cubes and taste for sweetness, adjust to suit your taste buds.
ADD more water if necessary to fill the jug to the top.
STIR again and serve in chilled glasses.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Finding Me


Tomorrow is my birthday… this week has been a lovely run up to the day. I received a letter from my cousin over the Atlantic, I went for a picnic, I lay under a tree with my eyes closed listening to the birds singing, I’ve counted my blessings, thought about times past, dreamt about times to come and I’ve prayed too, quietly and carefully. I have a feeling this coming year will be busy with excitement, so I’m making the most of this peace. I'm growing up, I hope I never stop growing up. I've grown a lot since this picture!
One year older... 
Am I wiser? 
Maybe. 
Am I more experienced? 
Yes. 
Am I happy? 
Most of the time. 
Am I hopeful? 
ALWAYS!!!

When I feel fresh I choose to eat fish, and as my Birthday falls on a Friday I shall EAT this most delicious Peppered Tuna Carpaccio.
There are no secrets to making this. It is pure and simple. The taste is silk on the tongue with a sharp kick of spice and a lovely zing of lemon.
I love the sea and all that is fresh. This light and elegant lunch come starter is just the tonic on a warm summers day. Freeze the tuna for two hours to make it easier to slice and if you can find some, try using pink peppercorns for extra colour and beauty.

PINK PEPPER 

is delicate. Fragrant with a heat that suggests, “It’s time to spice up your life.” Not in fact a peppercorn, it’s a berry with blissful benefits including boosting digestion and being anti-bacterial. Green and black peppercorns will work too; though expect a sharper heat with less subtlety.

A FEW REASONS WHY THE BODY LOVES TUNA

  • BURSTING with minerals and B-vitamins!
  • OMEGA XXX’s bring happy hearts and protect our eyes against macular degeneration.
  • BRINGS cognitive clarity, and keeps the ‘oul brain ticking beautifully.
  • BRIGHTENS the mood and brings sunshine to our feelings.
  • GREAT for liver health!!!


So this plate of goodness is my gift to me. The older I get, one thing becomes more apparent, I have more choice in my LIFE.

One of the loveliest things about birthdays is the way they link memories and signify clear markers in time. I feel blessed and fruitful AND think I'm learning to fly! I hope you are too and wish you so much joy and fulfilment today and always.

Thank you for reading my blog and please share to help Feeling Food grow too.

Lots of love,

FFX

PEPPERED TUNA CARPACCIO

SERVES 3 AS A STARTER OR
SERVES 2 AS A LIGHT LUNCH

Fresh tuna loin, 250g
Extra virgin olive oil, a drizzle
Pink peppercorns, 1tbs crushed
Maldon salt, a sprinkle
Parmesan shavings, 2 tbsp
Mixed seasonal salad leaves, 1 handful
Lemon wedges

CUT the loin in half, depending on shape of loin. Ideally you are aiming for a sausage shape.
BRUSH tuna with olive oil.
ROLL in the crushed pink peppercorns.
WRAP tightly in cling film to form a large sausage shape, roll to give a round shape.
CHILL in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
UNWRAP the tuna.
SLICE tuna as thinly as possible using a very sharp knife.
ARRANGE on a large white plate in a circular flower shape. Lovely!
DRIZZLE with more oil and scatter over salad leaves and a sprinkling of salt to your taste.
SQUEEZE over some lemon juice and scatter wedges artistically.
SERVE immediately.
SING a sweet song of love and laugh too for a meal to savour.
XXX

Friday, 18 May 2012

Noble Souls


A teacher, teaches what they love;
A noble soul gives freedom, like a dove.

This cake celebrates life, vitality and nobility. The ingredients are  raw and the deliciousness factor soars to ethereal heights! If you are lucky enough to know a noble soul personally, cherish them closely and perhaps make them this cake? It is unbelievably light, dairy-free and gluten-free. Plus this no bake cake, is lovingly simple and silkily nutritious, once made it may be left in the freezer until hungry hearts are ready to enjoy. The fresh chilled strawberry fruitiness catapults the taste buds to a healthy happy land. This take on the classic cheesecake is in a different league to its macerated heavy counterpart, the goodness factor here is huge and one to write home about. 

I like to play with the fruit combo’s, sometimes blueberries, sometimes raspberries, sometimes rhubarb and ginger. The creamy cashew filling is the perfect sweet peanut like tasting base and with the delicious date and walnut crust this cake is the nuts in a most yummerific way.
Dates and walnut deliciousness!
I've named it, "No Bake Jubilee Cake” and first shared it in my Families First column - where yikes! I forgot to include how many cashews!! Sorry to the readers, and thank you to Honor for letting me know,  below I have emboldened the all-important 300g measurement.

The cake is my gesture to surely one of the noblest of souls in our time, the Queen. She celebrates sixty years of rule, charity and gentle grace. She is subtle and significant, Mam and Mum, softly spoken yet unapologetically direct and of these paradoxes, perhaps most significantly she is traditional and delightfully timeless - a noble soul indeed.

Her reign will be romanced and written about for millennia and isn't it great to mark the Diamond Jubilee with loveliness in the form of a beautiful cake!? Not in a Marie Antoinette way, famously quoted as saying, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.” Let them Eat cake! Non! This is a quintessentially British Strawberry, Cashew and Cream Raw affair! If that isn't enough to tempt you into making this, how about this....

RAW – not the lion grrrrr…

  • I stumbled on the ways of raw gastronomy three years ago and have never looked back.
  • I’m not a raw purist, though I’ve come to love making raw treats.
  • A true Rawest might say, “The best way to cook food is not to cook it at all.”
  • Raw foods preserve the digestive enzymes found in our bodies that deplete as we age. Cooking/ applying heat destroys these enzymes, so our bodies use up our valuable enzymes to aid digestion. When our enzyme stocks are low tiredness and lethargy linger, say adios with a slice of this luscious cake.

And "Hello" to a Happy Summer and to spending time with loved ones and sharing  bright ruby strawberries!! 

Lots of love,


FFX 

No bake Diamond Jubilee Cake!


Crust
120g walnuts
120g Medjool dates
Pinch of sea salt

Ingredients – filling
300g, Cashew nuts, soaked overnight in cold water
2 lemons, juiced
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
70g coconut oil, melted
70g maple syrup
200g strawberries, hulled and quartered

BLITZ nuts and dates in a blender for 30 seconds.
SPOON crust mixture onto a 7’’/18cm spring-form cake pan.
PRESS firmly down and make sure edges and surface are all nicely even.
RINSE blender, ready for the filling.
HEAT coconut oil and maple syrup in a small pan, stirring a few times.
BLEND remaining ingredients, except for the strawberries.
BLITZ and then stir with a spoon. (Patience is required here, as are a few scrapes down the sides of the blender, start, stop, scrape and blend again until mixture is smooth, I promise, its worth the persistence)
POUR two thirds of the mixture onto the crust.
ADD strawberries to the blender.
BLITZ until pink and super smooth.
POUR onto the mixture and transfer to the freezer.
REMOVE from the freezer 45 minutes before serving.
SERVE with summer berries and perhaps some chilled soya cream.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Vitamin B for Bliss


In stillness listen with your heart,
Forget empty echoes and make a fresh start –
Life’s dance journeys through mountains,
Rushing brooks and refreshing fountains…

So mix some ricotta with freshest herbs,
And make a filling full of flavour that curbs –
Then gently drizzle wild flower honey over tender lamb,
To invigorate and sing merrily, "It's great to be exactly who and what I am!"

Nerves are precious things and like golden threads, when they're intertwined with happiness they give free flowing feelings of hope, well-being and inner peace. Nerves need nurturing and eating well is key to looking after them.

Another lovely way to look after them is by cherishing the newness that each day brings,  finding a sense of vitality and purpose in simple daily acts. Everything you see, taste and do will feel better.


Pretty much everything is connected AND this is true for appetites as well, so if you're not feeling great there may be something missing in your diet.


Here's why...

Low energy, depression, lethargy, exhaustion and poor concentration are all linked to deficiencies in diet that then lead to cravings, which are further intensified by the “fight or flight” instinct and exacerbate further junk food splurges - Feeling Good becomes nigh impossible. Studies have shown that activity in the brain can happen in milliseconds after exposure to negativity and obligingly  the body responds by producing stress hormones to trigger cravings! I read a play once, called “Crave,” written by Sarah Kane, she writes with glistening truth and raw eloquence on this unsettling longing. Here is an extract,

“And I want to play hide-and-seek and give you my clothes... and hold your hand and go for a meal and not mind when you eat my food... and give you tapes you don’t listen to and watch great films and watch terrible films and complain about the radio”

What has this got to do with cooking you may ask? Chronic stress is apparently on the increase and our brains respond to it by turning up cravings for sugar, high fat and salty foods. What foods have you craved? Cravings come and go with the help of hopeful healthy hearts and adventuress appetites that are willing greener and more fulfilling pastures. I'd love to hear what foods make you feel energised? 


Open spaces bring me peace and when I think of mountains one of my favourite meals springs to mind. Roast lamb. My recipe for Roasted rack of lamb with herbs, honey and ricotta, is succulent, fragrant and delicately delicious. It will create feelings of harmony and juxtapose this modern phenomenon of living in the fast lane 24/7. By enjoying a delightful dinner, come lunch, or whatever suits you and letting go and letting things be, a calm is found and true nourishment ensues.
This prime cut of lamb, is made up of eight ribs and is neatly trimmed of fat. It is best enjoyed pink, or at most medium. Two racks of lamb may be placed facing each other with the bones inter weaved, and served as a crown roast, so this recipe would be a perfect choice for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations or any special meal.

Lamb is rich in vitamins and full of the B complex variety in particular, which is great news for the skin and nerve tissues.

So bid adieu to annus horribilis  stress and open your arms and hearts to all that is healthy and good.

Lots of love,

FFX

Roasted rack of lamb with herbs, honey and ricotta

SERVES 4

Lamb racks, 2 (8 cutlets on each) French trimmed
Ricotta, 150g
Garlic, 2 cloves, crushed into a paste
Sage leaves, 7 finely chopped
Died oregano, 1 tsp
Dried chamomile buds, small handful, (or contents of 1 chamomile teabag)
Mint, small bunch, leaves roughly chopped
Wild flower honey, 1 tbsp
Extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp
Black pepper, 12 turns
Maldon salt, ½ tsp

PRE-HEAT oven to 200’C/fan 180’C/gas 6.
CUT along the lamb racks, very close to he bones, 3cm deep.
MIX together the ricotta, garlic, sage leaves, dried oregano and dried chamomile.
SPOON into the centre of each lamb rack.
PLACE lamb in a roasting tin.
DRIZZLE with oil and honey.
SEASON with pepper and salt.
ROAST in the oven for 20 minutes, until lamb is cooked but slightly pink.
REMOVE from the oven, cover with foil and rest for five minutes.
SERVE with seasonal vegetables and buttery mash.
DRIZZLE with any pan juices.
GORGEOUS! 

Friday, 4 May 2012

Purple Rain


Some people feel the rain,
Others just get wet...
Some people feel the sunshine,
Others just forget... 

I’ve been away in Cornwall and have returned rested, to find purple rain…

The gentle pitter patter on the window,
Blends well with gentle chatter you know?
And makes soulful soup even more delicious,
This lovely recipe is gorgeously tasty and very nutritious.
Ah friendships grow more beautiful with time,
Like this simmering broth, with a generous squeeze of lime!
So when the rain falls see a purple hue,
For it's up to us to bring colour to everything we do!

Why purple rain? Purple is the highest colour, and when I want to get some inspiration, I think of the colour purple ~ it uplifts, encourages creativity and calms the nerves, it is also said to be royal and noble. When you want to tune into your higher self think purple… 
April, the wettest in years, demonstrated the intangible, though in truth, the very essence of life. 
An April skyline

This very simple and significant maxim - nature is both unpredictable and out of our control, how lovely, how refreshing, how beautiful! And despite our noble efforts, nature remains the fairest artist of our time. In contrast last year, the summer seemed to fall in April, gracing the royal wedding, surely it was one of the driest?

Cooking celebrates nature. In the same way one has free will, one may also choose what to cook, what to bake, what to forsake, what ingredients to use, what not to include, and while ones effort may fall on hard times, the food may burn, the sauce may be to thick, the soup too watery, the cake to dry, the company may not like the food you cook, they may even be ungrateful. Take comfort! NONE of this truly matters. We cannot and should not try to please others. In fact as I get older I’m realising that if I speak my truth, then I am happy, it’s as refreshingly simple as that. And if something makes me feel uncomfortable I look inside and often find the answer. Plus, those who love you aren't to fussed about how many Michelin stars you may or may not have, its the company that makes for the most memorable meals. 

So when the heavens open and torrential rain comes a pouring, I take to the kitchen and make soup! These two recipes couple to make a  long lasting friendship. I shared them in my "Families First" column too - these joys will bring sunshine to your weekend I promise. Genoese Vegetable Soup with Fresh Mint Pesto, is subtle and fresh, warming, in a cosy, calmly cuddle by the fire, kind of way. And will wrap your taste buds lovingly and cleanse deeply all the while.

Firstly, the piece de resistance here is mint pesto, its sharp and sweet quality set this soup on fire. Once you’ve made your first batch,  you may struggle to buy a jar from the shop ever again, they just can't compete with the homemade stuff. Pesto takes minutes to make and keeps for up to six weeks, make sure you glug a lovely wash of olive on oil on top each time, to keep it fresh.

Secondly, soup, the mother of soul food and this delight from Genoa  is truly delicious. Quite simply this is the loveliest way to celebrate spring. In Genoa the cook always stirs in a spoonful of their local pesto towards the end of cooking. Perhaps you may do the same? And to add a bit of magic to your day, make a special wish, whilst stirring it in, it all adds to the dreamy experience. 

I love the playfulness found in soup, and the variations are indeed endless. I hope that if the rain is pouring near you, may it be gentle and delicately cleansing, purple even! 

Lots of love,

FFX

Mint Pesto
Mint, 1 large handful
Lemon, 1 a gentle squeeze of half
Pine nuts, 55g
Parmesan cheese, 55g grated
Garlic, 1 small clove peeled
Extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp

PLACE all of the above ingredients into a food processor.
PULSE until a think paste begins to form.
LOOSEN with a little more olive oil, if you prefer a thinner pesto.
SEASON to taste spring joy.

Genoese Vegetable Soup with Fresh Mint Pesto
SERVES 6
Olive oil, 3 tbsp
Onion, 1 peeled and finely chopped
Celery stalks, 2 trimmed and finely chopped
Carrots, 2 finely diced
Green beans, 120g sliced into 2inch pieces
Courgette, 1 medium trimmed and sliced thinly
Spring onions, 2 trimmed and finely chopped
Potato, 1 medium cubed into ½ inch dices
Watercress, small bunch finely chopped
Savoy cabbage, ¼ head sliced julienne
Cannellini beans, 1 tin rinsed and drained
Tinned Italian chopped tomatoes, 1
Vegetable stock, 2 ½ pints
Dried vermicelli, 100g
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, 12 turns

HEAT olive oil in a large saucepan.
ADD olive oil, onion, celery, carrot and gently cook for 5 minutes.
STIR in green beans, courgette, potato, watercress, cabbage and cook for a further 5 minutes.
ADD cannellini beans and tinned tomatoes, giving everything a good stir.
POUR in stock and add pepper.
COVER with lid and simmer for 25 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
BREAK vermicelli into small pieces and add to soup.
SIMMER for a few more minutes until the pasta is al-dente.
SERVE in warm bowls with a spoonful of mint pesto and a drizzle of oil.
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