WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

WARMING

GRAPE, ORANGE, ALMOND AND WALNUT CRUMBLE

Essentials, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

I recently discovered that I love red grapes. I don’t eat much fruit, which, before I ate healthily would have been a shameful confession, but which now is more a way of life I am neither proud nor ashamed of, and which is a natural progression of a low sugar diet. 
Although grapes are available all year round thanks to global farming and other agricultural plus's, I feel like at the moment they everywhere. Maybe I’m just noticing them more since I ate almost an entire bag of them on a road trip to upstate New York. Since then, grapes went from being something I never particularly fancied in my lunch box at school, to something I had great plans for.

Before now, grapes were just something I was told to eat by my mother as they were good for me, and as one of few things that fell into this category that I actually enjoyed eating, I obeyed. However, I’ve never found them very exciting, and since making my own grocery store decisions, would always choose berries or other fruits over grapes. As a child, freezing grapes was about as experimental as it got (seriously tho, try it). We never cooked them or added them to meals, rarely added them to baked goods or made desserts with them, and definitely never thought about making them into refreshments. Grapes were grapes. Easy, instant, ready to eat. No hassle. But I’ve completely complicated things since rekindling my love for them. Let me introduce you to, roasted grapes. I’ve been roasting bunches and bunches of em since I returned from New York, and I want the world to know that until you roast a grape, you haven’t given it a proper chance in life. 

And until you make a crumble out of roasted grapes, you haven’t given yourself a proper chance in life.

INGREDIENTS

Topping
½  Cup Buckwheat Flour, Oats or Buckwheat Flakes
1 Cup Ground Almonds
1/4 Cup Desiccated Coconut
½ Cup Walnuts
4-5 Tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar / Pure Maple Syrup / Dates or natural sweetener of choice
Generous Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cardamom (not essential if you don't have it)
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil - soft / room temp
½ Cup Flaked Almonds or Chopped Nuts of Choice
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds / Milled Chia Seeds / Milled Flaxseeds

Fruit Layer
4 Cups Red Grapes
1-2 Oranges
¼ Cup Water
½ Cup Chopped Dates / Apricots - optional
Juice of ½ a Lemon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract / Paste / Powder / Seeds

Optional
1 Teaspoon Acai Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Beetroot Powder
4 Tablespoons Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Cacao Powder or Cacao Nibs to top

METHOD

Start by cooking the fruit. Preheat the oven to 200c. Arrange the grapes, oranges and dried fruit, if using, in an oven proof dish and drizzle with the lemon juice. Pierce and roughly mash the grapes using a fork and then place in the oven for 45 minutes. Stir a couple of times to evenly cook the grapes, and after 30 minutes, drain the juices. Save in a jug as the juice makes an instant and delicious sauce to serve with the crumble (and other desserts).
Whilst the fruits cook and begin to soften, make the topping. Blend the walnuts and desiccated coconut together in a food processor, on the highest speed, until they form a rough flour. Transfer into a medium mixing bowl and add the buckwheat flour (or oats or buckwheat flakes, if using), ground almonds, coconut palm sugar, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and flaked almonds or chopped nuts. (Ground cardamom is sometimes quite hard to find, but this recipe will work perfectly well without the spices - they are just there to add flavour). Stir to combine, then add the coconut oil, breaking it up into small pieces and rubbing it into the dry ingredients with your hands. Massage gently until everything is combined and the mixture resembles dough-like breadcrumbs. Remove the fruit from the oven once it has softened and reduced a little. This is the time to stir in the chia seeds, along with any other superfood powders, coconut milk or almond butter, if using. Then arrange the crumble layer, evenly spreading out spoonfuls of the mixture to cover the fruit completely. Press down gently with the back of a spoon or a spatula to make the crumble compact, as this will encourage it to bind and crisp up nicely. Return to the oven and cook for a further 30 minutes, until the topping is brown and becoming crispy, and the fruit layer is bubbling and jam-like.

Top with extra walnuts, flaked almonds or other nuts and serve with probiotic yoghurt, coconut yoghurt, coconut milk, almond milk, cashew cream, cashew custard, the preserved juices from the grapes, almond butter, tahini, cacao powder, fresh basil, mint or thyme, grated raw chocolate or grated orange zest. Get creative.

TURMERIC AND MUSTARD CREAMED CORN

Snacks, Sugar Free, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Recipe, Gluten free, Dinner, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

Sweetcorn was something I would have eaten every day of my life when i was a child if i’d had any kind of power or control over my own decisions as a 6 year old. However, leaving my life in the much more capable hands of my mother (and father, but hmm not so much where food was involved - my mum still doesn’t know about our detours ‘thru’ Mcdonalds when it was his turn to pick me up from gymnastics on a saturday morning), I had a positively varied diet and am obviously grateful that i wasn’t forced to live off of tinned vegetables until i learned to cook. 

When i did learn to cook, and when i started my blog, sweet corn was absent. I swayed away from tinned foods and also those higher in sugars, and didn’t respect sweetcorn for its nutritional values as much as some other vegetables - like dark, leafy greens and sweet potatoes. However, this summer changed everything. I found myself in a dark bus station, transferring from one chicken bus to another, somewhere along the Guatemalan border, tired, hot, and hangry. When you’ve been on a bus designed to accommodate a quarter of the amount of people crammed onto it, gloria gaynor blasting throughout (who am i kidding, that bit was great), with only a mint from the driver to munch on (cute, but not quite sufficient), let me tell you the first thing you need after finding space to breath is a corn on the cob. i didnt know it at the time. But standing there waiting, as if she knew i was on that bus you know, on a torn apart pavement was a woman, with a smile, and a corn cart. (These things exist). Damn, that woman was serving all kinds of corn - sprinkled with lime or lemon or chilli salt or pepper, hot sauce or mayonnaise (ok maybe not). But it was everything. My friend and I abandoned our belongings - gigantic backpacks containing most of our lives - as if nothing else in that moment mattered other than getting us some of that corn. well. we got it. and damn did we love it. life was sweet, and in this moment, crouched atop our luggage eating juicy boiled corn with our hands, i knew these golden kernels of goodness were back in my life for good.

When i returned home i kept up my sweetcorn obsession, adding it to my lunch bowls, broths and other meals, as well as using it as a base for dips and soups. But since the winter is a coming, and my body is craving food not just for its energy but also its warmth, i needed to work it into a more comforting dish i could cuddle up with. this recipe is deeply warming and genuinely soothing. i love that food can do that to you. it hits every spot in the body that needs hitting. Now that we’re well into the season of making no plans to socialise whatsoever, spending time in the kitchen should become less of a chore and more a way to pass time between new series/christmas movies and online gift shopping, and to warm you up if the heatings not cutting the chill.

INGREDIENTS
Serves 2 as a main meal, 4 as a side.

400g Cooked Sweetcorn
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1/2 Cup Almond Milk + 1 Tablespoon to make Bean Paste
5 Tablespoons Solid Coconut Milk Fat / Cream
1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
2 Tablespoons Tahini
8 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Coconut Oil (can also use ghee or butter if not vegan/dairy-free)
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/3 Tin Cooked Cannellini Beans (any soft white beans)
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast - optional
1 Teaspoon Reishi or Shilajit Mushroom powder - optional

METHOD

Start by making the bean paste/puree. Take your white beans and strain and rinse them in a sieve. Tip them into your blender or food processor and then add 6 tablespoons of your oil (save the other 2 for cooking), 1 tablespoon of your almond milk and 1 tablespoon of tahini. Blend on a medium - high speed for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. It should be runny, relatively thick, but not lumpy.

Next, cook your corn. If it is on the cob, boil the whole cobs for around 10-12  minutes and then use a sharp knife to cut away the kernels. If you are using frozen, boil for 8-10 minutes until it is juicy and soft. If you are using pre-cooked tinned corn, follow the instructions below.

In a separate saucepan to your corn, combine the remaining oil (or butter), the remaining almond milk, the coconut milk, salt, nutritional yeast and reishi or shilajit, if using, and mix with a wooden spoon. Stir over a medium - low heat and gradually add the cannellini bean mixture, stirring constantly. Once the sweetcorn is cooked, drain the water and add the corn to the milk mixture. Stir constantly and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the mustard, to taste, starting with a little amount and building up the flavour as you desire. Simmer for a further 10-12 minutes, to allow the mixture to thicken.

Serve hot with cooked quinoa, cubed avocado, shredded spinach and alfalfa sprouts, or other green vegetables - raw, boiled or sautéed. Add a source of protein such as chicken breast or salmon fillet. Also enjoy cold stirred through a salad, cold quinoa or other pseudo grains, or served as a side to any savoury meal. It is delicious added to mashed avocado on gluten free toast, served with eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast, stirred through soups or served as a cold side, I imagine, at a barbecue or picnic.