Get Your Beta-Carotene Here! not to mention flavonoids, potassium, vitamins…

Lovely winter veggies!

The winter is upon us – and yellow veggies are abundant in the market, glowing and ready for use! I happen to love pumpkin, maybe a legacy of my American dad’s luscious dark brown pumpkin pies served with a freshly churned vanilla ice-cream. And I love them roasted with garlic, onion, a sprig of rosemary in olive oil, sea salt and a spray of balsamic vinegar. Mix them with pasta, grated cheese, torn basil leaves, lemon-infused olive oil and salad leaves for a hearty winter pasta salad. We need to eat these yellow and orange veggies to build up our resistance to colds and flu!  Experiment with the different pumpkins, add in some sweet potato and a chilli flake or some ground cumin. Introduce your family to flavour and tell them to eat a rainbow. It’s good for your skin as well.  Yes, tweenagers and teens, you are what you eat, and what you eat is you!

Below our pumpkin, red onion and pasta salad. Hot or cold, it is a goodie. Some of us at the Food Forum are helping with our school winter fare, attempting to make loads of food in a classroom. We confess to having a few Jamie Oliver moments in the last weeks as we attempt to come up with a menu that is reasonably home-cooked, a bit healthy and a crowd-pleaser. One of the most frequently suggested ideas is to make hot dogs. Now, I am not a fan of this salty, very processed, creature. I know a lot of kids and adults are, but I like to help people try new things and think about where their food comes from.

There is little good to be said for the hotdog (when I was young, it was called a cheerio and was fat and red), a thin sausage encased in a white bun, often served with a sweet tomato ketchup. Sorry folks there are plenty of other places where you can find this cheap meat. And please do consider why it is cheap. Good for you it aint but if you really need to buy  one, then do buy an organic one, check its salt content and serve it with salad in a brown whole wheat bun! At least there will be some roughage there. Apparently there is a wonderful Australian butcher in Toronto who makes his own with real, organic beef – so if anyone does spot a good one here, then let us know!

Make Good Food an Everyday Thing!

Gorgeous fresh fruit ready for eating or juicing!

It’s no secret that I love food, good food, as unprocessed as possible, as fresh as possible and as organic as can be. In my small urban garden I have as many fruit trees as I can fit in: apples, plums even figs and you can see some of them in the photo above, chopped and ready to be placed on some puff pastry and sprinkled with freshly ground spices and maple syrup. Into the oven at 190 fan bake for 15-20 mins and hey presto – scrummy dessert for all.

I have been doing lots of cooking courses in the past year in London and locally. Macrobiotic cooking, Fragrant Lebanese, Classic French bread-making with Maria  – and this week a Raw SuperFoods course in Amsterdam –

We tried a raw foods restaurant in London called Saf which you are all probably sick of hearing me talk about but it was (and is) STUNNING. We – even the kids- loved it although there were the usual quips from Mike. “Do we have to pay for it, if they don’t cook it”  and so on. Boy, did he change his tune when he tasted their Laksa and Blue-berry cashew nut cheesecake!!!! Not to mention their super fresh energy juice and mocktails!

Many of the other participants on the course – Diabetics (type 2 who had cured themselves) raw fooders who raved about their fabulous immune systems (no colds for years) and those who just loved the fresh clean taste of herbs, juices, oils, nuts and veggies blended – were already converts. I am pretty convinced that there is much merit in having green juices and eating as many green, orange and yellow leafy type things as possible, but I also love cooked foods, particularly at this time of the year. On a day like this, with rain, huge gusts of wind and a cold that seeps into your bones, I like a French onion soup with crusty bread and melted cheese and something piping hot and warming. But I am going to give juicing and Diana’s Raw Food Lasagna made with courgettes instead of pasta a go. As an asthma sufferer I am keen to boost my immune system and I am keen to get the whole family eating more raw food. I tried out my first green juice on my kids yesterday. “It has a kind of after taste,” said my fussiest child. Yes, I said that’s called vegetables honey! I am going to have to do some serious experimenting to get the kids on board which brings me to Bill Granger who is a cook I really do admire!

Bill Granger, a top Australian chef has some top advice for parents in this months Vegetarian..”If everyone else is eating it then kids will eventually try it too. You need to make good food a normal thing – if you eat badly then your kids will eat badly too. Be unrelenting too, if they don’t eat it, don’t give them something else!”

I also made ANZAC cookies today, experimenting with Lemon Curd in the mixture as it is Armistice Day when we think of all of those who fought or perished in the many wars of the world, and in particular the Great War. Our ANZAC cookie recipe is in our old blog  where many of our recipes are archived.  Served with a fresh green juice made with apples from our garden, spinach, parsley, lemon, ginger and mandarin I felt that adding in an ANZAC cookie was almost a healthy combination!

Ginger, apple, parsley, spinach and mandarin juice with fruit

Jack’s Snack Box – the store cupboard was bare…

Quails eggs in the morning!

Oh, what to do? The cupboard was almost bare but a lucky packet of quail’s eggs saved Jack’s snackbox today! Dried apple, boiled and lightly salted eggs, mandarin and lemon juiced apples. I think that will keep him happy!

Quail’s eggs (bless, they are just so cute) are one of our favourite things. They keep well in the fridge and take a few minutes to prepare. Place eggs in a warm pot of water and bring to a good simmer for approx 4 minutes. Plunge into cold water in order to peel. They are creamier and less eggy somehow than hen’s eggs. For any  leftover eggs, add some butter, finely chopped herbs, a tad of milk and mash for a sandwich, cracker topping.

Cakes and pies at our fav organic cafe

Yes, The Food Forum likes to dine out and this cafe Baklust (Veenkade in The Hague, The Netherlands) is our home away from home. We look forward to popping into their bright retro feel good cafe. There are toys for your kids, mismatched china, tea pots like your nana had and above all they are just lovely folk. The coffee is good for the grown-ups and my daughter is a fan of their tapenade toasted sandwiches. I rather like their cakes, I confess. My favourite is the carrot cake but Jack is keen on the chocolate tart. My friend Eva likes their soups and salads. In fact could it be time for a coffee?? Open Tuesday to Sunday 10 – 18.00. Try breakfast on Sunday and you may just see our noisy lot there. See for more information. I’m off for a quick power coffee.

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