Vegan ‘Cheesy’ Almond, Leek & Herb Sausages

28064800_UnknownMany years ago, Delia Smith’s cookery books became our bible and a particular family favourite was and remains her vegetarian Cheesy Herb Sausages. My husband makes them every week. Our daughter-in-law was introduced to them when she joined our family and now makes a personal request for them when she comes to visit.

Since becoming vegan and gluten-free, however, I’ve had to forego this pleasure and usually have a bought alternative (I like Dee’s Wholefoods) when family come to stay and choose something else when it’s just us.

When I was still vegetarian, but had to become gluten-free, my husband offered several times to make an alternative with gluten-free bread, but commercial g/f bread has an aftertaste that dominates whatever you use it in and I never wanted to use up the homemade bread for this as it is time-consuming for him to make (I can’t do it because of my back injury) and I also didn’t want him to have to make two lots of different sausages.

Now that I am vegan and he has also given up eggs (but not cheese yet, we are getting there slowly), and we are more used to vegan cooking, we decided to try making some Delia-lite sausages using a chia egg and nutritional yeast. It was surprisingly easy and came together quickly. Chia egg is quite a miracle worker when it comes to needing a binding agent to replace real eggs in burgers and sausages.

I chose leek rather than onion for several reasons: I find onion difficult to digest; onion, unless you grate it, often doesn’t cook properly in homemade sausages while leek doesn’t dominate and also blends with the mixture better, it holds together well.

These are our first attempt and we were very pleased with them. They are firm, tasty and satisfying.

Watch out for our second version:  Vegan Leek, Carrot and Ginger Sausages, even better!

Makes about 8 depending on size.

Vegan, Gluten-free and Organic where possible.

Ingredients

2.5 oz / A third of a Cup Almonds, soaked,  rinsed and patted dry, then roughly grind with:

2 Heaped Tbsps Nutritional Yeast

1 Tsp Dry Mustard

1 Tsp Thyme

1 Tsp Sage

Add together in a processor with:

5 oz/ Gluten-free Breadcrumbs*

Pink Himalayan Salt & Black Pepper to taste

1 Small Leek, finely chopped

1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds

A Splash of Tamari

1 Chia Egg (1 Tbsp Chia Seeds soaked in 3 Tbsps Water to form a gel)

Process all the ingredients for a few seconds until the mixture will stick together but still has some texture, squeeze into sausage shapes.

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Refrigerate for a while until needed.

Lightly cook in coconut oil, turning frequently (the sausages, that is, but  you can do a twirl now and then if you like while you’re waiting!).

We put some uncooked ones in the freezer for another day.

*Vegan Gluten-Free Tiger Nut Loaf/Bread Mk III

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Raw Vegan Fruit & Nut (or seed) Chocolate – not just for Easter!

28328736_UnknownIn my opinion, one can never have too many recipes for raw chocolate, so here is another easy version of the do-it-yourself kind. It is quite rich, you only need a small amount, so bear this in mind when giving it to young children. It contains minerals, protein, antioxidants and is dairy-free.

Probably best to do this alone: if young children are involved there will likely be none left to go in the freezer!

Homemade raw chocolate melts quicker than commercial chocolate so either make in advance, freeze, break into pieces and store in the freezer until a short while before you need it, then transfer to the fridge; or make it, freeze it, break it up, eat it and keep any leftovers (haha) in the fridge for later.

In this version, we used almond butter and sweet apricot kernels, but you can swap for tahini or other seed butter and either leave out the nuts and use seeds or cacao nibs for texture.

And remember, raw chocolate is not just for Easter 😉

INGREDIENTS

(organic where possible)

1/2 Cup Raw Cacao Butter*, melted in a bowl over hot (but not boiling water)

1/2 Cup Raw Cacao Powder*

1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

1/4 Cup Raw Unsweetened Almond, Cashew or Sweet Apricot Kernel Butter (no palm oil) (or seed butter if nutfree)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup Raw Chocolate Company Goldenberries or Goji Berries* (chopped) or other preferred berries (dried mulberries, apple juice-infused cranberries, raisins)

2 Tbsps chopped Almonds, Cashews, or Sweet Apricot Kernels (or seeds or cacao nibs*) (plus a little for sprinkling on top)

METHOD
Whisk together raw cacao powder, maple syrup, melted cacao butter, vanilla extract and nut butter. Stir in the berries and nuts.

Spread chocolate mixture onto lined, freezerproof tray, sprinkle with chopped nuts or seeds.

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Place in freezer for 30 minutes, then break up into bite-size pieces.

Best bit? Licking the spoon!

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See also

Fill Your Easter Basket with Home Made Vegan Raw Chocolate Eggs

Food Matters’ ‘One Minute Slice’ Raw Chocolate Protein Bars

Vegan Gluten-Free Raw Chocolate Love Hearts

+

Raw Treats – Recipes

for more homemade chocolate recipes

*The Raw Chocolate Company sell a Make Your Own Chocolate box which contains 2 each of Organic, Raw Cacao Powder, Cacao Butter and Coconut Palm Sugar.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Vegan Courgetti Bolognese ft Hanna’s Vegetable Protein Sauce

28062544_UnknownThe inspiration for this was a video on Instagram of Hanna Sillitoe (@mygoodnessrecipes) making a vegetable protein bolognese sauce to have with gluten-free spaghetti and a parmesan substitute made from almonds and nutritional yeast. (The recipe is in her new book ‘Radiant’, available on Amazon). She made it look so simple, and quick, all done in a blender and frying pan. We had some of her Tomatoless Sauce in the freezer which forms the basis of this new sauce and decided to give it a try. If you are ok with nightshade foods*, you can just use a tin of tomatoes instead. As you can see, I had it with spiralised courgette zoodles. Hanna uses blanched almonds in the ‘parmesan’ which make it look a creamy white, but mine looks more like brown sugar as they were unpeeled!

Hanna’s Instagram photos are very professional, her recipes are always quick and easy and are especially suitable for anyone trying to clear their skin.

Just over three years ago, when I first ‘met’ Hanna, she had rampant psoriasis and no relief in sight, but she began juicing and exercising, rid her diet of junk and nightshades and now has clear skin. It worked for me too, see How I Juiced My Skin Clear: A Rash Decision?

Back to this recipe: The amounts we used are somewhat imprecise, we just did a handful of this and a few spoons of that – if you want more precise measurements then do look at Hanna’s book, her website or Instagram feed. 28063136_UnknownShe uses ingredients from Aldi UK to demonstrate that you can still eat healthily on a budget: for instance, she used a pack of mixed rice and quinoa, but we had both organic brown basmati rice and organic quinoa in the cupboard so we cooked them and guessed the amount, using the leftovers for the next two meals.

(Aldi often sell budget blenders and juicers too which always receive good reviews).

Basic steps:

Cook some rice and some quinoa so that the grains are still separate, be careful not to overcook them. Cool a little while preparing the mushrooms. (The rice and quinoa can be cooked in advance if necessary).

Wash and chop some mushrooms, we used chestnut because I like the meaty texture. Pulse them a couple of times in a processor before adding several spoons of the rice and quinoa mixture and pulsing again until it looks like a vegetable protein mix.

Chop an onion, press some garlic and fry in coconut oil until it begins to soften, add the vegetable protein mix and the tomatoless sauce or a tin of tomatoes.

Add some mixed herbs, black pepper, salt.

In the blender, blitz a large handful of almonds and a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast until it looks like parmesan. If it makes too much, don’t worry, it will keep well in a jar in the fridge. Hanna also adds garlic powder, but we don’t use it so we had none in.

Cook some spaghetti or spiralise some courgette noodles and serve, adding some basil leaves (which I forgot for the photo!).

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Hanna has several recipe videos on her Instagram feed and on her website, all quick and easy, her enthusiasm is highly contagious!

See also Hanna’s Simple Turmeric Breakfast Pot

*Nightshade foods can exacerbate inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis and arthritis and include potatoes, tomatoes, aubergine and all peppers.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Midweek Vegan Bean & Vegetable Pasta

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A quick and easy midweek staple, I can’t really give accurate measurements, or even precise ingredients, as it depends who’s having it and what we have in, but these are the basic steps:

Veggies (organic where possible, washed and unpeeled): This time we used celery, carrot, chestnut mushrooms, peas, broccoli, courgette, all chopped up small (I used to start off with onion and garlic, but have omitted them from my diet this past few months to see if it helps with digestive issues, it does), we also use green beans when in season and leeks.

Add black pepper

Sweat them in some coconut oil for a few minutes

Add a little vegetable stock, some herbs, tamari, tomato purée if not avoiding nightshades (I push the boat out occasionally with a little tomato now and then but I can’t tolerate tinned tomatoes made into a sauce).

Cook on a low heat, with a lid on

Add half a can of organic mixed beans at the end to warm through (we alternate between beans and lentils)

Check seasoning

If you want to thicken it a little, use a stick blender or mix in some nutritional yeast

Cook pasta of your choice, we used Doves Farm Gluten-free Fusilli.

Arrange pasta in a pasta bowl, pour over sauce, mix in some nutritional yeast for B vitamins, protein and a cheesy flavour, top with fresh basil leaves and baby tomatoes.

Makes enough for 2, with a green salad.

(See also Lemon Tahini Pasta with Pine Kernels)

Chris McGowan

How to Make Vegan Raw Chocolate Love Hearts & Mini Eggs

img_3122A bit late in the day, but better late than never, I hope! These were made with ingredients I won in a recent Raw Chocolate Company giveaway. We’re looking forward to having another go and substituting some of the ingredients, meanwhile these happily passed the taste test: husband and gardener friend (here to prune trees and replace broken flags) demolished them and gave them their seal of approval. (Gardener took some home for his wife!)

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My prize:

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We began with a basic recipe by Eighty20Nutrition but halved the amount, changed the nuts and greatly reduced the amount since they were chopped – we didn’t need as many as the whole pistachios in the original recipe – we also added vanilla. I would have used almond butter instead of tahini but didn’t have enough. Next time.

We also thought we might use Goldenberries next time, they are a bit tart and very fruity. You could also try dried sour cherries or cranberries (I like them infused with apple juice).

For those of you who like to spice it up, you could add a little chilli powder.

So here’s how we did it – all organic where possible, measurements very approximate, substitute like for like where you wish.

Vegan & Gluten-Free.

Ingredients

120g Cacao Butter*

About 50g Sweet Apricot Kernels,* finely chopped but not ground (you could use almonds or any other nuts)

 1/4 Cup Cacao Powder*

75g Dried Mulberries*, lightly broken up if using small moulds (reserve 1/4 Cup whole ones for the end)

150g Tahini or Almond Butter

1/4 Tsp Organic Vanilla Extract

3/4 (three-quarters) Tbsp Maple Syrup

 Method

Place the tub of cacao butter in hot water until it starts melting (you can also use cacao butter buttons). Slide it out and break up until you have the amount you need, in this case, half a tub.

Place a Pyrex bowl over a pan of hot, but not boiling, water and slowly melt the cacao butter.

When completely melted, add the remaining ingredients except the reserved mulberries, stirring until mixed in.

Blend until smooth with a stick blender.

Fold in the remaining mulberries and if setting flat in a tray some larger pieces of nuts – pistachios work well.

img_3126Spoon into silicone moulds or into a baking tray and refrigerate for a couple of hours until set. Cut into slices if set in a tray.

(The moulds are inexpensive, we found ours on Amazon).

Best eaten from the fridge as home-made chocolate melts quicker than commercial chocolate.

They also keep in the freezer.

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We made 15 hearts and 20 mini egg halves, which have gone into the freezer for Easter.

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See also further raw chocolate recipes in these posts:

 Food Matters’ ‘One Minute Slice’ Raw Chocolate Protein Bars

This Valentine’s Day Scrooge is Spreading the Love!

Fill Your Easter Basket with Home Made Vegan Raw Chocolate Eggs

Raw Treats – Recipes

*The Raw Chocolate Company

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Zesty Orange Squash Soup – Yes, Really!

img_3106We had 2 butternut squash, several oranges and a lot of dried lemonbalm from our garden queuing up, begging to be used, so I decided to try some of them together. I’ve had squash with nutmeg, squash with cumin and squash with ginger, I wondered what squash with orange would be like.

Lemonbalm is traditionally a calming herb, used to reduce anxiety and stress, promote sleep and good digestion.

Squash, like carrots, have a large amount of Vitamin A and C, and it is a good source of B Vitamins, Vitamin K for bone health,  various minerals and dietary fibre.

So here goes:

 Vegan, Gluten-free and Organic where posssible.

All measurements approximate and substitute what you don’t have.

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Ingredients

1 Tsp Raw Virgin Coconut Oil

1 Butternut Squash, peeled and chopped

1 Large Carrot, if organic wash and leave peel on, chop

1 Stick of Celery + leaves, chopped

Handful of Sugar Snap Peas, washed, topped and tailed, chopped

1/2 Courgette, washed and chopped

Dried Lemonbalm

Black Pepper

1 Low Salt Vegetable Stock Cube

dissolved in

Approx. 600 mls hot water, enough to amply cover the veg

with a good squeeze of

Tomato Puree

Splash of Tamari

1/4 Small Orange, juice and zest

Method

Heat the oil in a large saucepan until the vegetables sizzle when added, but not smoking.

img_3100Add a handful at a time, starting with the squash and carrots, then celery, stir-frying as you go until all are added.

Place the lid on and sweat the veggies on a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (I omitted ‘the veggies’ the first time around and it read a bit funny! I could hear the sniggering at the back of the gallery).

Add a good amount of lemonbalm, about 2 tbsps of crunched up leaves, and a few twists of black pepper.

Pour in the stock, tamari and tomato pureeimg_3102

Place the lid on and lightly simmer (not boil) on a low heat for about 45 minutes until the veggies are cooked enough to blend.

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Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning. Cool a little, then partially blend with a stick blender, leaving something of a bite to the soup.

Add a good squeeze of orange juice and a little zest. Stir in and serve.

I had it with lentil sprouts and a toasted slice of Vegan Gluten-Free Tiger Nut Loaf/Bread Mk III spread with tahini, my husband had his with crispy white rolls.

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

Warming Sweet Potato & Ginger Soup

img_2883This is a favourite in our house, it is so simple and quick to make and makes a very welcome lunch or dinner on a cold winter’s day. It takes less than an hour to make and you can make it as thick or thin as you like and spicy or not according to your tastes. We prefer to blend it with a stick blender to thicken it up, but leave it a little coarse. We steamed a little broccoli for garnish and extra nutrients.

Sweet potatoes and carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, for healthy eyesight, while sweet potatoes also contain Vitamin D, B vitamins, iron and magnesium – necessary for relaxation of mind and muscles; celery contains potassium, B vitamins and, like carrots, is a good source of Vitamin K, necessary for bone health; ginger is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Broccoli is a good plant source of calcium, B vitamins and protein. The yeast extract contains protein and B vitamins, including B6 and B12, important for vegans. So now you’re good to go!

All measurements are approximate and all ingredients are vegan, gluten-free and organic where possible. Hence, we scrub the veggies and leave the skin on for more nutrients and more flavour.

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Ingredients

1 Tsp Raw Virgin Coconut Oil

3-4 medium Sweet Potatoes, chopped

3-4 Medium Carrots, chopped

1/2 a Stick of Celery, chopped

1-3 thin slices of Ginger Root, depending how thick the root is and how spicy you want the soup, very finely chopped

1 Tsp Yeast Extract, we use Natex as is low salt and has a slight herbal taste.

1 Low Salt Vegetable Stock Cube

dissolved in about

500 mls of hot water (enough to cover the veggies)

Black Pepper

A few small florets of Broccoli to steam for garnish

Method

Melt the oil. When hot but not smoking, add the ginger and stirfry for a few seconds before adding all the other veggies except the broccoli.

Add some Black Pepper.

(Black Pepper aids absorption of nutrients as well as adding flavour).

Stirfry for a minute or so, mixing them up as you do, then turn down the heat, place a lid on the pan and allow to sweat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock and Natex, turn the heat up a little, but try not to allow it to boil. Replace the lid and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Leave to cook for about 40 minutes, until the veggies are done but not falling apart.

Steam the broccoli.

Turn off the heat, remove the pan and blend with a stick blender.

For a more substantial meal, you could place some cooked orange lentils or organic brown basmati rice in the bottom of the bowl before ladling the soup over the top. 

Top with the broccoli or, alternatively, some bean sprouts.

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Serve with crusty bread.

PS. Look out for Zesty Orange Squash Soup, coming soon!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Spiced Fruity Raw Vegan Gluten-Free Christmas Pudding & Christmas Truffles

imageThis raw vegan Christmas pudding was inspired by a recipe on The Raw Chocolate Company blog, but it doesn’t seem to be there anymore so I can’t credit the original (though there is a more luxurious – cooked – recipe).

We made the raw one the previous Christmas, which turned out a little bit tart as we’d used golden berries and orange juice (they also made it orange!), so this time I have swapped them for raisins, apple-infused cranberries and fresh apple juice.

So long as you keep to the overrall amounts, you can use whatever dried fruit you like, depending how sweet or citrusy you prefer it.

This pudding is rich and contains no refined sugar.

Amounts are approximate and you can play around with the different spices, dried fruit and nuts.

It will keep in the fridge for a few days, but we made ours in advance and put it in the freezer. It turned out really well.

This time, we made two small ones with this mixture, a large one is too much if there’s only two of you. You only need a small slice.

You can eat it as it is or with some whipped coconut cream (add whatever ‘flavouring’ you like ;-)), cashew nut cream or coconut yogurt.

You might also like my recipe for Christmas Truffles which are great as a gift or if you want to img_2880freeze small treats rather than make a whole pudding.

For the mould, you can use a pudding bowl, a cereal bowl or in our case, a Tupperware bowl! I’m not fond of plastic, but sometimes there is no other option and as we wanted to freeze the pud, that’s what we used, 2 small plastic bowls with lids. You could line the bowl(s) with parchment to make them easier to remove, although we found they it came out of the plastic bowl quite easily.

*

Ingredients

1 Cup chopped Medjool Dates, pitted & chopped

1/2 Cup Goji Berries

1/2 Cup Dried Mulberries

1/2 Cup Apple juice-infused Cranberries

1/2 Cup Raisins

1 Cup Sweet Apricot Kernels /Almonds, or a mixture of them and Walnuts, all lightly chopped (we forgot to chop ours this time!)

1 Cup Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds

 2/3 Cup fresh Apple Juice

Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Lemon and Orange Zest to taste

Method

 Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and pour over the apple juice.

Stir well, cover and leave to soak. Give it a stir occasionally. We left ours an hour, if you want the nuts softer, leave it a bit longer.

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Turn the mix out into the food processor, add the spices and zest.

Pulse and stir until you get the consistency you want, depending on whether you want a smooth or coarse texture.

Taste-test to see if the balance of spices/zest is right.

When you’re satisfied, spoon the mix into the bowl(s), pressing down with the back of the spoon.

Place in the fridge to set.

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And Bob’s your uncle!

(I can’t show you a slice with all the trimmings as this was going straight back in the freezer).

Enjoy the video!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

It’s Christmas, Even Juicers Can Have Fun!

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Zesty Raw Orange Christmas Pudding inspired by a Raw Chocolate Company* blogpost recipe (recipe here).

I’m a juicer, vegan and so-called ‘clean-eater’. That means I eat a healthy, plant-based diet: I don’t eat sugary, fatty, chemical-laden or processed foods (except the occasional vegan sausage or, at Christmas, a nut roast, but even these are organic). I don’t drink bone-harming fizzy drinks.

It’s not just good for me but also for the environment and the animals: fewer chemicals, less packaging, no cruelty.

Following years of pain medication and undiagnosed gluten-intolerance, I can’t digest many processed or starchy foods nor alcohol or coffee. And dairy makes me snotty! So even if I wanted to, I couldn’t have a Christmas blow-out – unless I was prepared to suffer weeks of pain afterwards and generally feeling yuck. So I make no apologies for refusing the flaming Christmas pud or sherry-doused trifle!

But that doesn’t mean that I dampen any joy my family and friends have in anticipation of festive foods and it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy myself over the holiday period. Far from it.

I have been juicing and clean-eating now for 3 years and have reaped the benefits of no longer having to use an inhaler, no more bloating or burning stomach pain, no itchy skin, better sleep, more energy and so on.

Why would I jeopardise all that for a couple of weeks of over-indulgence just because tradition, newspaper articles and advertising companies suggest that I am a killjoy if I don’t participate?

I read an article in The Guardian* decrying the likes of Deliciously Ella* for providing advice and recipes for clean food over the holiday season (see Comment is free). The writer calls them smug and suggests they promote poor eating habits. Personally, I am grateful to Ella, Tanya Maher*, The Raw Chocolate Company*, Laura at The Whole Ingredient*, Victoria at Caramelia Cakery*, Hanna at My Goodness Recipes* and all the bloggers who post their colourful, gluten-free, sugar-free, chemical-free recipes to inspire and enjoy.

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My Açaí, Blackberry & Coconut Gelato

It is always good to try other people’s culinary creations, most of us get bored with our own usual fare.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean boring, bland and brown! On the contrary. Check out Victoria’s Amazing Raw Vegan Christmas Cake on The Raw Chocolate Company Blog and Tanya Maher’s The Uncook Book!

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Many of us have health conditions which means we would be foolish to ignore our normal regimen. Many don’t want all their hard work losing weight or controlling Type 2 Diabetes going down the drain through a couple of weeks’ boozing and bingeing.

I don’t like that bloated, heavy feeling, having to loosen my belt or undo the top button, collapsing on the sofa unable to move and then falling asleep while my poor body expends all its energy digesting it all.  (See Post Thanksgiving/Christmas/Celebration Digestion – some suggestions to ease that overstuffed feeling)

 But it doesn’t mean we can’t participate in festivities or indulge our tastebuds. I really enjoy having unusual meals surrounded by my family, sharing food successes and disasters, trying each other’s creations.

Do they have to be full of different forms of sugar, artificial flavours, colouring, or sweeteners? Do we have to drink so much alcohol we become sick, boring or even worse, abusive? Absolutely not.

Last year, my family of 13 all got together for a buffet lunch we prepared for each other, our Christmas gift to the family. There were vegetarian sushi, falafels, bharjis, pizzas, olives, salads, dips, filo parcels… The desserts were yummy and home-made and involved copious amounts of raw chocolate!

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My daughter’s Vegan Sushi

This is the one occasion in the year when we are all able to be in the same place, and cooking for each other is our way of celebrating that fact.

One way juicers and clean-eaters can still join in but not suffer the negative impact of over-indulgence is to have a large green juice first thing in the morning. This provides all the nutrients your body needs for the day and as a result, you won’t feel the need to over-indulge. You can have a little bit of what you fancy and still feel good:-)

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Clean-eating doesn’t mean juicing and/or eating raw all the time. Of course you can have cooked meals and treats. Colourful warming soups are my favourite. I merely choose to avoid the nasties and include as many healthful ingredients as possible. In any case, it’s a choice.

Don’t let anyone undermine your efforts to be the healthiest you can be, you haven’t come this far just for someone to question your sanity and persuade you otherwise, but you can enjoy yourself if you want to without worrying about paying for it in January.  

And if you do find yourself succumbing to temptation remember, as Neil Martin (Natural Juice Junkie) says:

It’s what you eat between New Year and Christmas that counts, not just between Christmas and New Year!

In any case, you have the insurance of Jason’s Big January Juice Challenge* or The Natural Juice Junkie’s Juicuary Challenge* to get you back on the straight and narrow!

Have a lovely Christmas, however you’re spending it. I wish you all Peace, Health and Happiness and thank you so much for supporting my blogging efforts!

*https://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/ *https://deliciouslyella.com/ *http://betterraw.com/*http://www.thewholeingredient.com/ *http://www.mamababado.com/blog/ *http://www.mygoodnessrecipes.com/ *http://www.juicemaster.com/ *http://naturaljuicejunkie.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Ellen’s Latex-free Super Berry Smoothie (Just Look at the Colour!)

img_2355Ellen is a writer, she is funny, talented, a new follower and she also happens to have an allergy which causes anaphylaxis. When she told me this, it was in the context of being unable to try most of my recipes and I assumed she meant she was allergic to nuts. I then proceeded to give her a list of potential substitutions. However, I got it very wrong, it seems that Ellen is fine with nuts but allergic to latex.

Now, I assumed that being allergic to latex meant you just had to avoid wearing rubber gloves, but no, it means avoiding a long list of fruits and vegetables too. I decided to set myself the challenge of coming up with a tasty, nutritious smoothie that Ellen could enjoy with complete peace of mind. She warned me how difficult she was to ‘cook’ for, but I pointed out that as I was a vegan, juicing, gluten-free raw foodie, I know how that is!

I had a couple of days to ponder this conundrum while Hurricane Fremily (aka my 2 toddler grandchildren) hit landfall, and I did a bit of research to make sure I understood the issues.

Latex allergy is caused by a reaction to the protein in latex and can range from wheezing, itchy skin, hives to full-on anaphylaxic shock. Some people who have latex allergy may also have an allergic response to certain fruits including banana, cherries, plums, papaya, grapes, pineapple, avocado, chestnut, kiwi fruit, mango, passionfruit, fig, strawberry and soy.

Ellen seems ok with berries, oranges, lemons, melon (but not watermelon) and apples but she also can’t have squash, turnip, swede or broad beans due to a lifelong phobia! (Which I can totally understand as I have my parsnip phobia – shudders at the very word! See Pears But No More Parsnips: In Which I Confront My Parsnip Phobia! )

So there you have it, my challenge.

This is my first attempt. It’s an amazing colour! It’s a little tart, so if you want to add a little sweetness, add a medjool date, or reduce the amount of blackberries and add another apple. To ring the changes, you can substitute different berries, use coconut water or other nut milk, add oats to make it more substantial and alternate the superfood powders. I read that açaí is ok, but please do your own research. I understand lucuma has a latex sap when immature so I’m guessing that would best be avoided.

Purple berries contain powerful antioxidants which aid healthy ageing, memory, help prevent cancer and other diseases caused by inflammation. Hemp seeds have protein and healthy omega fats and are smooth and creamy to taste (see Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?!) Cashews are a good source of magnesium, which helps keep us calm, is essential for good mental health and prevents muscle cramps (see Magnesium: Are You Getting Enough?). Apples are all-round good for us! They contain soluble fibre and are good for the lungs.

All ingredients are organic where possible, vegan and can be made gluten-free by substituting seeds or Horchata (aka Tiger Nut Milk) if you’re sure you’re not allergic.  Measurements approximate.

Ingredients

Large handful of Blackberries (I used frozen)

Handful of Blueberries

1 Sweet Apple, washed & chopped (peel on)

Heaped Tbsp Hemp Seeds*

Handful of Cashews

1 Tbsp Açaí Powder*

Generous glass of Homemade Almond Milk (click link to see how to make your own, it’s really easy).

 Blend until smooth, and may this gorgeous vibrant smoothie give you a bright start to your day!

(When I was looking for a video to accompany this smoothie recipe, I started typing ‘berry’ and it started coming up with Berry White songs which I found highly amusing and since his outfit matches the colour of the smoothie, I decided to go with it!)

*https://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Allergic To Latex? Foods And Products To Avoid

http://latexallergyresources.org/latex-cross-reactive-foods-fact-sheet

Copyright: Chris McGowan