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Last night I made a recipe from Christine Bailey’s new book The Raw Food Diet. A raw food diet is increasingly recognised as a superhealthy way to eat (and followed by many celebs, including Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore). Raw food is basically food that hasn’t been heated above 47.7°C/118°F. It’s all about pure, unadulterated, whole food that is rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients – mainly from lots of veggies (especially green leafy ones), fruit and nuts. Processed or refined foods are out, and alkaline foods and drinks are in, especially those that are nutrient-dense, such as kale. And by not cooking any of the food above 47.7%, the valuable enzymes are preserved. Raw foodists swear that their diet improves their digestion and immune function. Many lose weight and say that their skin and hair looks much better, and that their energy levels are much higher. They also claim that it can bring relief to allergies and intolerances, as well as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions. You don’t have to follow a raw food diet 100% of the time. It makes sense to eat food in its natural state and devotees reckon that even if you can only eat 40-50% of your food raw, this will make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing.
I made Christine’s Kelp Noodles with a Chilli Lime Dressing. I’ve never tried kelp noodles before but I’ve been wanting to try them because they’re so good for you. Kelp noodles look and taste very similar to glass noodles and are simply made of the sea vegetable, kelp, and water. They’re beloved by many people, including raw foodists, as an alternative to pasta or noodles because they are totally unprocessed don’t need to cooking, (People looking to lose weight also love them because they’re very low in calories and carbohydrates.) Plus, kelp is a true superfood, like all sea vegetables. It’s rich in minerals, including iodine, plus enzymes, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and amino acids. It’s also very cleansing and detoxifying for the body.
Kelp noodles have a very mild taste and soak up flavours beautifully. In this recipe, Christine has added delicious shiitake mushrooms, red pepper and cucumber and created a strong, vibrant dish, full of punchy flavours, especially from the chilli lime dressing. This recipe uses dried kelp noodles, but I used noodles that were immersed in water and sodium alginate, so I didn’t need to soak them.
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free
Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 20 minutes soaking time Serves: 2 Storage: will keep in the fridge for up to 1 day
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 225g/8oz/1½ cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 red pepper, halved lengthways, deseeded and julienned
- ½ cucumber, deseeded and julienned
- 1 tbsp chopped Thai basil leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- 1 large handful baby spinach leaves
- 350g/12oz kelp noodles (soaked for 20 minutes, then drained)
Chilli Lime Dressing:
- 1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
- juice of 3 limes
- 1 tbsp xylitol
- 1 tsp deseeded and finely chopped red chilli
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- Mix together all the dressing ingredients in a bowl, then chill until needed.
- Put the onion, mushrooms and pepper in a bowl and toss with the dressing. Leave for 10 minutes to soften. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 84kcal • Protein 4.2g • Carbohydrates 16.2g • Fat 1g (of which saturates 0.2g)
I’m now in week 3 of the 4-week Cleanse 28 from Arise & Shine – the Power Phase. Peter says I look glowing (yay!) and I’ve now lost a total of 5½ kilos. I’m finding that I’m full of energy – and definitely more clear-thinking. When I get tired at the end of the day, I’m really tired (which is how it should be, I guess) so I’m sleeping incredibly deeply.
On this week’s the schedule, I’m having 4 shakes throughout the day and veggie juices and lunch. (Next week will just be shakes and veggie juices.)
What’s still amazing to me is just how do-able this all is. It sounds daunting and yet I’m not finding it too difficult to do. One of the things that’s lovely about following a diet like this is how much you start to appreciate the taste of the food you eat. Without any seasoning, sauces or other ingredients, you start to really appreciate the pure, natural taste of the fruit and veggies. I remember when I did this detox before, I had just bought a fantastic new saucepan that had a very heavy base. I cooked some veggies in it over a very, very low heat and they steamed very gently in their own juice. This method brought out the sweetness of those veggies and made them utterly delicious. I’ve been doing this again this time, and I’ve also been having a lot of steamed veggies, too. My favourite, I’ve decided, is definitely broccoli – and the combination of beetroot, carrot, broccoli and spinach is awesome!
- 3 beetroots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into large batons or slices
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into large florets
- 200g/7oz baby-leaf spinach
- extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Put the beetroots in a steamer and steam, covered, over a high heat for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and steam for another 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and steam for another 2 minutes, then add the spinach and steam for 1–2 minutes until wilted. By now, all the vegetables should be cooked but still either firm or crunchy. Serve hot with a little oil drizzled over.
Ok this is a messy-looking pizza – but it’s truly delicious! This pizza has a gorgeously crispy crust around the sides, with a soft centre from the spinach and eggs. You need to be careful when you’re cracking the eggs onto the base but don’t stress about it – this isn’t a tidy pizza in any sense. It’s messy to look at, and messy to eat. Just enjoy the distinctive yet balanced flavours – and the fact that you’re eating a gluten-free and dairy-free thin crust pizza!
Preparation time 25 minutes Cooking time 15 minutes, plus 1 hour rising Serves 2
- 150g/5½oz baby spinach
- 4 tbsp passata
- 1½ tbsp tomato purée
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 60g/2¼oz dairy-free cheese, shaved
- 85g/3oz/scant ½ cup rice flour, plus extra for rolling the dough
- 85g/3oz/heaped ½ cup gram flour
- 30g/1oz/scant ¼ cup maize flour
- scant ½ tsp xanthan gum
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried active yeast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- To make the pizza dough, sift the flours, xanthan gum and salt into a food processor. Add the yeast and pulse several times to mix together. Add the oil and blend well. Add 110ml/3¾fl oz/scant ½ cup warm water, a little at a time, and continue blending to form a soft dough. Process for 10 minutes, to aerate the dough Put the dough in a clean bowl, cover with cling film and leave to stand at room temperature for 1 hour until risen.
- Put the spinach in a steamer and heat over a high heat for 2 minutes until just starting to wilt. Transfer to a sieve and press thoroughly with the back of a metal spoon, pushing all the liquid out of the spinach. Leave to one side.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Turn the dough out again onto a lightly floured surface and knead a little, then shape into a ball. Flatten the dough slightly, roll it out into a circle about 3mm thick and trim with a knife to neaten the edges. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet.
- Put the passata and tomato purée in a bowl and mix well, then spread it over the dough, leaving a small space around the edge. Arrange the spinach over the top and bake for 8 minutes until the edges are starting to turn slightly golden. Remove from the oven and press 3 dips into the spinach with the back of a metal spoon, making enough room for an egg in each dip. Crack an egg and gently pour into one of the dips, trying to ensure that no egg liquid spills out of the dip. Repeat with the remaining eggs and bake for a further 8 minutes until the egg whites are cooked through. Remove from the oven, scatter the soya cheese shavings over the top and bake for a further 2 minutes until the soya cheese has melted. Serve hot.
This is truly delicious! The combination of the sweet squash, the earthy mushrooms, spinach and the pine nuts and the fresh, woody flavours of the parsley all combine beautifully with the strong soya cheese taste. Bite through the crispy, light pastry into the soft, melting centre, with the crunchy pine nuts interspersed – and enjoy!
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Serves 4–6 Preparation time 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling Cooking time 15 minutes
- 1 potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 100g/3½oz/heaped ½ cup rice flour, plus extra as needed
- 40g/1½oz/heaped ¹⁄₃ cup gram flour
- 40g/1½oz/scant ¹⁄₃ cup maize flour
- ½ tsp sea salt, crushed, plus extra to season
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 125g/4½oz chilled dairy-free margarine, diced, plus extra for greasing
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 500g/1lb 2oz butternut squash, peeled and finely diced
- 200g/7oz mushrooms, sliced
- 50g/1¾oz/⅓ cup pine nuts
- 200g/7oz baby spinach leaves
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 large handfuls finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 200g/7oz dairy-free soya cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 1800°C/350°F/Gas 4. To make the filling, put the butternut squash and mushrooms into a large casserole dish and drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over. Cover with a lid, shake the dish a little to spread the oil around and bake for about 50 minutes, until the squash is tender. Carefully drain all of the juice out and leave to one side.
- Meanwhile, to make the Light Pastry, put the potato in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat , then turn the heat down to medium and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain immediately, then mash until smooth.
- Sift the flours, salt and xanthan gum into the bowl of a food processor with the dough blade attached and blend to mix together. Add the dairy-free margarine and blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the mashed potato and blend for a few seconds until mixed in. Add the egg and blend for 20–30 seconds until the mixture comes together to form a sticky dough. There should be a little extra moisture at the base of the bowl. If it is too dry, gradually blend in 1–2 tablespoons chilled water. If too sticky, add a little rice flour.
- Shape the pastry into a ball, wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts and dry-fry until just starting to turn golden. Remove from the heat, remove the pine nuts and leave to one side.
- Wash the spinach thoroughly and put in the frying pan. Cook over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes until the spinach has wilted, stirring occasionally. Put the spinach into a fine sieve and push all the juice out of the leaves with the back of a spoon. Drain the liquid from the pan and leave the spinach to one side.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in the pan and add the onion. Fry for about 3–4 minutes until starting to turn golden, then add the garlic and fry for about 30 seconds. Add the flat-leaf parsley and fry for about a minute until just wilted. Add the butternut squash, mushrooms, pine nuts and spinach and the soya cheese. Season lightly with salt and pepper and mix together gently but thoroughly.
- Turn the oven up to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Liberally dust a large chopping board with rice flour and roll out the pastry into a large rectangle about 3mm/1/8in thick, about 30cm/12in x 40cm.16in. Be careful as the pastry will still be slightly sticky. Put a piece of baking parchment about 10cm/4in wider than the pastry over it and hold it in place with one hand. Turn the board over and carefully put the baking parchment, with the pastry on top of it, on the work surface.
- Put the filling in the centre of the pastry, making sure you leave about 10cm/4in on each side to fold over the top. Using a sharp knife, cut a square of pastry away from each corner of the pastry. Discard these pieces or use them to decorate the top of the pastry, if you like. Using the baking parchment to keep the pastry together, fold the two long sides of pastry over the filling so that the edges overlap slightly. Carefully smooth the pastry along the seam with your fingers to secure it. Fold the two short ends of the pastry over just to seal the sides, trimming with a sharp knife if they are too long. Smooth the pastry at the seams again. Using a pastry brush, brush all of the egg over the top of the pastry, particularly at the seams and cut 3 slits in the top of the pastry to let the steam out.
- Bake for 35–40 minutes until the pastry is a rich, golden brown and serve hot.
It’s a wonderful feeling to bite into a lasagne – and know that it’s gluten-free and dairy-free! This is a vegetarian one made with earthy sweet spinach and pine nuts, with a nutmeg-flavoured cheese sauce and a layer of dairy-free pesto to add zing. Packed with nutrition from the antioxidant-, calcium-, magnesium- and iron-packed spinach and the pine nuts, this is comfort food at its very best.
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, citrus-free
Serves 4–6 Preparation time 5 minutes Cooking time
- 50g/1¾oz/⅓ cup pine nuts
- 500g/1lb 2oz baby spinach leaves
- 100g/3½oz dairy-free soya cheese, grated
- 8–12 no-pre-cook gluten-free lasagne sheets
- a few basil leaves, torn, to serve
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup dairy-free soya milk
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 85g/3oz dairy-free margarine
- 60g/2¼oz/⅓ cup rice flour
- 30g/1oz/⅓ cup gram flour
- 30g/1oz/scant ⅓ cup maize flour
- 1l/35fl oz/4 cups gluten-free and dairy-free vegetable stock
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 300g/10½oz dairy-free soya cheese, grated
- 30g/1oz basil leaves
- 1 heaped tbsp pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 25g/1oz dairy-free cheese
- To make the cheese sauce, put the soya milk, onion and bay leaves into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto. Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts for the pesto and dry-fry until just starting to turn golden. Remove from the heat, remove the pine nuts and divide and leave to one side. (This is made without any oil, because it would be too oily for the lasagne with oil.) Wash the basil and pat dry in a clean kitchen towel. Put the ingredients into a mini-food processor and blend until a paste forms.
- Melt the dairy-free margarine in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the flours and gradually stir in the infused milk mixture and then the vegetable stock, stirring all the time. Bring to the boil and stir as it thickens. If it goes lumpy, beat with a whisk until smooth. One the sauce has boiled, stir in the dairy-free cheese, turn the heat down and leave to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. If needed, stir in another 125ml/4fl oz/½ cup stock to make a smooth sauce that is fairly thick but runny. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Wash the spinach thoroughly and put in the frying pan. Cook over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes until the spinach has wilted, stirring occasionally. Put the spinach into a fine sieve and push all the juice out of the leaves with the back of a spoon. Drain the liquid from the pan and return the spinach to the pan. Add the pine nuts and the soya cheese. Season lightly with salt and pepper and mix together.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Spread a third of the cheese sauce over the bottom of a large baking dish. The best shape is a square shape, ideally about 23 x 18cm/9 x 7in size, although I’ve used a circular dish in this picture. Put half of the spinach mixture over the top and cover with a layer of 4–6 lasagne sheets, depending on the size of your dish. Spread the pesto over the top. Layer again with the a third of the cheese sauce, the remaining spinach mixture and 4–6 lasagne sheets. Cover with the remaining cheese sauce, making sure that the cheese sauce covers everything on top.
- Bake for 50–60 minutes, depending on the type of lasagne sheets used, until the cheese sauce is golden brown and the pasta is soft. Sprinkle with basil and serve hot.
Here’s another fantastic recipe from Christine Bailey’s The Top 100 Baby Foods, full of delicious tastes. And it features buckwheat which is a brilliantly useful gluten-free grain (it’s not related to wheat, despite its name). It’s full of B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, and it’s a low-GI grain that helps keep blood sugar levels steady. With a lovely firm texture when cooked and a nutty taste, you can add it to stir-frys, stews and soups, or add some extra ingredients and use it like rice or couscous.
When you’re starting your baby on food, it’s good to introduce gluten later on in the weaning process because it is harder for little babies to digest and process. So buckwheat is great for the early stages. Once you’re past the first stage of weaning, this is a lovely recipe for babies. (Use olive oil instead of the sesame oil, though, and leave out the sesame seeds, if there’s any possibility of allergy.) Pork is an ideal protein for your baby. It’s naturally low in fat, and a great source of B vitamins that help with the development of your baby’s nervous system, as well as promoting hormonal balance and the production of brain neurotransmitters. And here you’re also adding beta-carotene-rich red pepper and antioxidant-filled spinach, too. Feeding your baby can be very daunting but this nutrient-rich recipe makes it easy. Whizz it into a puree for your baby, or eat it yourselves – you’ll all love it!
About 4 servings for little ones Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 30 minutes
- 50g/1¾oz/¼ cup buckwheat
- 125ml/4fl oz/½ cup vegetable stock (without added salt), or water
- 200g/7oz pork fillet, cut into thin strips
- ½ tsp Chinese five spice
- 1 tsp sesame oil (or olive oil if any possibility of nut allergy)
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 4 tbsp apple juice
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional if any possibility of nut allergy)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ red pepper, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp frozen sweetcorn
- 100g/3½oz baby spinach leaves
- Put the buckwheat in a saucepan with the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and keep covered. Put the pork a dish with the five spice, sesame or olive oil, garlic and juice to marinate.
- If using the sesame seeds, heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat and add the sesame seeds. Toast for 1 minute until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the pork and marinade. Cook for 2–3 minutes until the meat browns. Add the pepper and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the sweetcorn and spinach. Cook for 3 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Add the sesame seeds, if using, and buckwheat and heat through.
- Serve hot or pulse in a blender or food processor to make a chunky purée.
This is a brilliant juice, again from Christine Bailey’s Juice Diet. Utterly jammed with protective antioxidants, this is surprisingly delicious – tasting slightly like a juice-version of a gazpacho, with the garlic and tomatoes. You can buy tomato or vegetables juices ready-made in health food shops but this is so simple to make and miles better in terms of nutrients and taste.
Watercress and spinach provide iron and vitamin C for energy and stamina, while the medley of veggies is packed full of protective phytonutrients. Garlic contains powerful detoxifying and immune-boosting compounds, and is a powerful antibiotic, helping to clear infections, especially in the digestive tract, and is an effective decongestant, useful in the relief of cold and cough symptoms. Brilliant for winter-time!
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Makes enough for 1 person
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 small garlic clove
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 large handful spinach and watercress leaves
- 2 carrots
- Juice all the ingredients and mix well.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 107kcal • Protein 5g • Carbohydrates 18.7g [of which sugars 17.1g] • Fat 1.9g
4th and final week of my detox! Peter says my skin is glowing and I’ve now lost 3.5kg. Yippee! I made this vegetable curry today and wanted to share it because it’s incredibly easy, and yet delicious. Again, it’s from Max Tomlinson’s book, Clean Up Your Diet.
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Preparation time 20 minutes Cooking time 35 minutes Serves 2
- 110g/4oz/½ cup brown rice, rinsed
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2.5cm/1in root ginger, grated
- ½ red chilli, deseeded and chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp turmeric
- a large pinch cayenne pepper
- 450g/1lb ripe tomatoes
- 300ml/10 fl oz/1¼ cups water
- ½ cauliflower, broken into small florets
- 75g/2½oz green beans, cut into 2.5cm/1in lengths
- a large handful baby spinach leaves
- 9–10 gratings nutmeg
- a small bunch coriander leaves, chopped, to serve
- Put the rice in a saucepan and pour in boiling water. Cook, according to the packet instructions.
- Put the onion and olive oil in a wok or deep frying pan and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and spices and cook gently for a further 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes. Cut a cross in the top of each tomato and put in a large heatproof bowl. Pour over enough boiling water to cover and leave for 10 seconds. Remove the tomatoes from the water using a slotted spoon, and peel off the skin when they are cool enough to handle. Discard the seeds and roughly chop the tomato flesh.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and water to the onion mixture. Raise the heat to medium, bring up to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly then transfer to a liquidizer and blitz until smooth.
- Put the cauliflower and sauce in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring up to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Add the beans and cook for a further 3–4 minutes, until the beans are tender. Stir in the spinach and cook for 1 minute, until just wilted. Season with the grated nutmeg.
- Drain any excess water from the rice. Serve the curry on a bed of rice, with the coriander sprinkled over.