Practice what you preach… (and packed lunch stories)

So, in keeping with my pre-payday quest to use up some of my store cupboard gremlins, I thought it pertinent to take the opportunity to share with you my packed lunch for tomorrow. It is neither life changing, nor heart achingly yummy in the official “Luxefood” sense, but it is in keeping with my plans for outing the old and doing so in the least wasteful way that I could think of.

Or is it not life changing…? Sweeping out the old and making room for newness, a clever use up of too-old cabbage, too-small sesame oil, over-refrigerated beetroot, seen-better-days spring onion (scallion) and a tin of tuna from I-don’t-know-when. Recipe after the jump.

Raw food Slaw

Raw food revolution lunch as voted for by my store cupboard.

RAW FOOD SLAW
INGREDIENTS
Half of a sweetheart cabbage
Quarter of a red cabbage
Two Spring onions/Scallion
Three Beetroot
Eighth of a cup of sesame oil
Eighth of a cup of apple cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

METHOD
Shred the cabbages, add to a bowl with the spring onion, sesame oil, vinegar and season.
Mix well, taking care to break up the cabbage as you go along.
Top with the beetroot and refrigerate overnight. The vinegar and salt will break down and soften the cabbage by morning, leaving  you with a yummy raw food revolution juicy slaw for lunch in the morning.

I will be eating mine tomorrow with tuna for a muscle friendly protein hit!

LUXE TIP
Do you have a bunch of dried fruit loitering in the back of the cupboard? Make good use of it here by chopping it and mixing well into the slaw before refrigeration. Dried figs, sultanas, raisins or dates would work well here. Likewise any walnuts, brazils or other nuts languishing in the same dark corner of the cupboard, chop roughly and sprinkle on the slaw before eating for a crunchy, nutty Waldorf salad type vibe.

HUNGRY MAN TIP
Slap this yummy slaw between two slices of buttered rye or sourdough, and top with leftover shredded meat from the last weekend roast that you made. Deli-Heaven….

Food is no longer just what we eat but HOW we eat…

I have recently been reading and thinking a lot about my health, having recently ramped up my fitness programme, and a recent addition to my library has been a book called The Woman Code by Alissa Vitti. It was an interesting read that focuses on endocrine and hormonal disruption in women, and seeks to assess and amend the way that we manage our lives as women; based on our monthly cycle and our subsequent eating habits to make us better, shinier, happier versions of ourselves. The content however is incredibly interesting, particularly when Vitti addresses what we consume and when each month, and why it’s so fundamental to our well-being to manage our consumption in a loving way.

One other area that the book focuses on is the removal of endocrine-function disruptive chemicals from our environments. I started doing this a great many years ago following a conversation in one of our lovely London black Taxi Cabs with a driver whom had recently lost a dear friend to cancer. He insisted that he had seen a massive increase in people that he knew, and customers with digestive tract and gastrointestinal cancers since food had started to be wrapped in plastic. As such he had stopped altogether having anything cling film wrapped in his home where possible and started to seriously reduce the amount of plastic wrapping that his food was in. If it came in plastic, then this was removed, the food washed and re-wrapped in greaseproof paper or packed into glass/ foil or stainless steel containers before refrigeration and storage. He implored me to do the same for my health. I did. This was 14 years ago and I haven’t had clingfilm in my home ever since.

Fast forward to now and I find myself still consciously trying to remove plastics from my food source as often as possible. I seldom drink or eat out of plastic bottles, styrofoam or any other plastic if I can help it. something about it just doesn’t seem to sit right with me. Petrochemicals that leak when warm into whatever is being stored in them,for me is a worry. For me alarm bells ring when I think of the difference in taste of Coca-Cola when it has come from a plastic bottle, versus a glass one or a tin can… try for yourself, what do you think?

Recently I found that my beloved Tupperware, which I had previously thought exempt from my “leechy plastic” worries, was also on the danger list. So when I found Sistema BPA free Tupperware (pictured above) in the cutest dinky mini sauce bottles and teeny jars, I just had to get some! I have found online sources for it here (UK) and here (US).

You can buy Alissa Vitti’s book on amazon, read more about endocrine function and disruption here in this great article that I found on the fabulous mind body green website.

There are plenty of options if this is something that you would like to try, tin foil or glass containers for your food, looking for cleaning products and personal beauty products without parabens or nasty chemicals in them, or reading The Woman Code. There is also a FloLiving Community on Facebook that you can join here to learn more on this subject.

As always, would be delighted to hear your thoughts on this post.

On the Storecupboard… ( Or a recipe for Scallop Red Rice & French beans)

So here is a life lesson for moving on, for using up and making good with what is old, and preparing to embrace newness; all the while nourishing ones spirit with what is redundant but too good to throw away. Think on that for a while…

With it being Winter now here in London, following the break up of my marriage to the Yank, and with a readiness in my heart and soul to clear out what is no longer wanted, I am embracing the concept of using up all of my old “food clutter”, old packets of soup lentils, stunning tightly packed organic red rice, too many tins of chickpeas that want to be something other than humous or falafel, and readying myself for a lovely new refreshing food shop to celebrate my penultimate payday of the year.

Tonights’ offering is Rosso Selvaggio. Organic, aromatic ruby-red wild rice, from the Zizania genus. It came boxed and was purchased during an opulent food shop in Schweiz before I returned to London last year.

Organic wild red rice

Rosso Selvaggio – Organic wild red rice

This is the self same packet shot in my kitchen before cooking

The recipe is so simple, that it’s barely even a recipe at all

INGREDIENTS
Half the 500g packet of rice
Green beans/ French beans
Frozen Scallops (defrosted in ice water in the fridge for 2 hours, rinsed, drained)
Clearspring Tamari soy sauce
Shake on Seaweed flakes ( I use these)

METHOD
Cook rice according to packet instructions, drain and set aside.
Cook the scallops in a medium hot pan with some sesame oil and butter, meanwhile steam the green beans for a few minutes until almost al dente (I did mine with a bit of water in the microwave), drain and roughly chop the french beans and add into the pan with the scallops.
Season the mixture with some seaweed flakes and some Tamari soy to your taste, add in around two thirds of the rice to the pan (around 180g).
Toss the whole mix together until hot through, plate up, Enjoy.

I think that there is a joy to be had from not wasting or throwing out what is no longer desirable in my kitchen cupboards. My life has changed in the past year, shape shifted and become something other than what I thought that the universe would play out for me when I got married almost 2 years ago now.

What do you need to do, in order the redress the balance in your own life… or kitchen?

Link

Uncle Colin Bday Cake

This is a birthday cake from a wonderful patisserie in London, that has branches all over, opportunities for delivery or collection as well as customised cakes in just about any shape, size, flavour or permutation that your salivary glands could wish for. Link to this particular cake and Patisserie Valerie after the jump…

DESCRIPTION
Puff pastry layers filled with fresh cream and fresh strawberries. Finished with burnt dusted icing sugar and roasted nibbed almonds.

Superfood Carrot Salad

Did you ever end up with a packet of those ready-prepared carrot batons, just a heartbeat away from being bin ready and wish that you didn’t have to throw them away… Well I hate that, and I really don’t like to waste food, so here is what I did!

A sweet simple, quick to make carrot superfood semi-raw salad, easy to change-up, to use up whatever left over vegetables happen to be loitering in your chiller, threatening to turn ugly and take the rest of your salad box with them.

Get raw, get healthy, get Luxe!

INGREDIENTS

Sumac
Handful of chopped fresh dill (dried will do, 2 teaspoons)
1 packet carrot batons (prepared about 350 grammes is enough)
1 Orange
1 Lime
1 Lemon
Large handful of pumpkin seeds
1 dried chipotle chili
1 Medium red fresh chili
1 small pot of sour cream or creme fraiche
teaspoons soft golden Demerara sugar

METHOD
Boil a kettle and soak your chipotle chili in some water until you are ready to use it.
In a non-stick dry frying pan toast your pumpkin seeds until they start to release their oils and go shiny, crackle and their skins start to split and go a nice toasted golden colour, this is quick, about 3 minutes only, while they are still hot shake in 2 teaspoons of sumac, swill around in the pan and tip the mixture out on to a small side plate to cool.
Into the same pan now its empty add a glug of olive oil, 2 heaped teaspoons of golden brown soft Demerara sugar and the carrot batons and shake until coated. Allow to saute shaking the pan occasionally, over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Add the juice from the citrus fruits, and the rind and shake again, allow to continue cooking for another minute or so or until you can smell the citrus oils.  Tip the pan contents out on to a plate and put the empty pan back on the heat.
Add the chopped de-seeded fresh chili, chop finely the chipotle and add this to the pan and allow to cook off until the chili is sizzling and soft.
Turn the carrots and mixture back into the pan with the chili and give a good mix or shake to distribute the flavours evenly. Remove pn from heat.

Finally add to the mixture in the pan your dill fronds, creme fraiche and toss together with the carrots, sprinkle liberally with the sumac pumpkin seeds and serve with veggie cheese burgers, steaks, whatever you like. A fresh superfood alternative to french fries and absolutely gorgeous too!

LUXE TIP
Add a sprinkling of fresh pomegranate seeds if serving this with a buffet spread for a glam ‘jewelled’ look.

LUXE LUNCH TIP
This carrot superfood salad makes a great addition to packed lunch boxes, simply allow to cool and serve the next day for a health kick salad with some cold mackerel fillets.

Scallop & Zucchini Spaghetti

This is such a beautifully simple recipe, but so fresh and light. The ideal way to inject a little spring luxe into your evening by marrying sweet soft scallops with fresh peas, savoury asparagus spears, pan-fried buttery zucchini and just a hint of creme fraiche to add a creamy luxe touch. Just add a sprinkle of parmesan if that’s to your taste or as I like to do myself; a drizzle of really good quality olive oil, a healthy dose of freshly cracked black pepper and a crush of decadent sea salt…

INGREDIENTS
Serves 2, multiplies perfectly
12 Large – sized Scallops (I use frozen for pasta dishes)
12 pitted black Olives
12 Asparagus spears, woody stalks removed
12 Fresh Basil leaves, roughly chopped but left large
2 Long Zucchini, top and tailed and Julienne cut
2 Cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup of frozen peas rinsed well in ice-cold water
Enough Spaghetti, cooked according to packet instructions (I use whole-wheat)
Butter for pan-frying
200g tub of Creme fraiche (cream cheese is also a lovely substitution for this)
Salt & Fresh-milled black pepper to taste.

METHOD
In a large non stick frying pan cook the frozen scallops on a low heat turning after 5 minutes until starting to get a crisp golden colour. remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Leaving the juices from the cooked scallops in the pan, add a good drizzle of olive oil and a small know of butter and allow the flavours to cook together for 2 minutes on a medium heat, add the zucchini and allow to cook. Once the zucchini starts to brown throw in the asparagus tips, basil and garlic and olives, and turn up to high.
After 2 minutes add the peas and remove the pan from the heat, stir in the 200g of creme fraiche and stir well. Season to taste. return the pan to the heat and turn it down to medium.
Add the scallops and spaghetti, toss the sautéed veg in its cream sauce along with your spaghetti and serve immediately.

VEGETARIAN & VEGAN TIP
This recipe works incredibly well without the dairy products and or the scallops. A topping of finely chopped herbs and scallion and a good squeeze of lemon or lime give a nice zingy finish.

LUXE TIP
Add half a cup of dry white vermouth to the pan along with the creme fraiche and allow to reduce and cook the alcohol off before adding the scallops at the last stage.