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Wild Superfoods for Free or My Son’s Premium Platinum Health Insurance

This time of the year is just so magical (ok, 10 degrees outside and rain make it less magical, but still…) – new life is unfolding everywhere! We  stop eating superfoods from a packet, infusing dried herbs for tea and buying leafy vegetables in the supermarket.

It is morning and we’ve just got up. Veles and I go out into our back garden to greet the new day. At this time of the year my back garden is full of wild superfoods that require absolutely no investment of either time or money (and isn’t it exactly the creation’s design for us?). While I pick some nettles (Veles cautions me – ‘Ow-ow!’) and cleavers, my little forager rushes to the clumps of mint and oregano, shouting ‘Chai, chai!’ (tea) and picks the herbs for tea.

My little forager picking lemon balm for tea

My little forager picking lemon balm for tea

Now let's make some tea

Now let’s make some tea

What might seem amazing to an outsider, my 2 year old son Veles knows what to pick for tea,smoothie, juice or soup:-). No, he wasn’t taught this. It’s just we do most of the things together and he observes. He also has some knowledge that is simply within him. For example, yesterday he decided to pick some comfrey leaves for juice (not something I would automatically do but I know he had a good point there – comfrey is a miracle plant full of electrolytes and trace minerals).

Anyway, we go back into our kitchen and get our Vitamix to work. Veles prompts me – banana, pear, lemon, (I also add some proteiney-fatty stuff, such as almond milk, hemp seeds, nut butter or tahini to help your energy levels last until lunch)… Then we load in our greens – in go nettles, mint and cleavers. Veles feels very excited as it is his job to switch the machine on and off. We pour the liquid emerald- coloured energy into pint glasses for me and Michal, and half a small glass for Veles. Then he calls his dad to come and we all do ‘cheers’ with our glasses:-). This is our morning ritual and we all love it. You can count the benefits – the connectedness to natural cycles, the little one’s bond to his parents and to the Earth, the sheer wild energy and health that is there for you and your kids for free and at the right time…

Now I wasn’t doing it when Arisha was little and I must say although she knows wild edible plants fairly well, green smoothies are not on her menu. I need to say something like ‘Lady Gaga drinks spinach juice every day’ to get her to join us for a glass of green juice. But the knowledge and the skill is in her, and it will be easy for her to start doing it, once the age of reason arrives:-).

Making green juice: Pineapple, parsley, mint, nettles and celery

Making green juice: Pineapple, mint, nettles and celery

Our wild green juices (which I’m trying to have every day but often succumb to lazy excuses) – 1 apple or pear (you want just a bit of sweetness), a bunch of celery, lemon juice to stop the fruit going brown,  loads of nettles, lovage, sorrel, cleavers, good King Henry (all _MG_9736growing in my forest garden. Some are wild, but lovage and sorrel were planted by us 3 years ago and now completely naturalised). Now my parsley is growing, and with its blood cleansing properties will be definitely a great addition to our green supersmoothies and juices. It’s also good time to sow coriander, another great detoxifier. Those of you without a garden or open space can just use spinach or chard, parsley and coriander from the shop, but believe me, this empty stuff will never make your cells sing as the wild greens do!

The subject of the benefits of wild greens is too wide for this post, so here are some links:

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-nettle.html

http://www.foodscout.org/food/leafy_greens_-_general.html

And one with wild recipes http://www.eatweeds.co.uk/

Blessings and radiant health to you and your family

Sungita

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Rubarb and Almond Charlotte cake

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This is a healthier take on this seasonal classic. Although this year the spring is not in a rush and we’ll have to wait for fresh rubarb for another couple of weeks. Luckily, I still have a few jars of rubarb compot that I made last spring, so I used it for this recipe: _MG_8771INGREDIENTS:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               3 eggs

100 g butter, melted

1 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon each of cinnamon  and cardam

1/2 cup of honey or coconut sugar or agave

2.5 cups of chopped rubarb stewed with 1/2 tbsp of honey

1 sliced apple (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with a few drops of lemon juice or 1 tbsp organic baking powder

1 cup of kamut flour or spelt flour

1/5 cup ground almonds
flaked almonds and coconut sugar for sprinkling

Wisk together eggs, melted butter, yogurt, spices and honey/coconut sugar until the mixture is pale and frothy.  Add soda with lemon juice while it’s still bubbling, or add baking powder. Stir in the flour and the ground almonds.

Pre-heat the oven to 180º and grease a 23 cm spring form. Spoon a little bit of the mixture and spred to cover the bottom of the form. Then put a layer of your stewed rubarb and apple slices (if using). Then cover it with the rest of the mixture. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and coconut sugar. Bake until done (about 50-60 minutes) If the cake looks too brown after 40 min., cover with foil. Don’t transfer it to a wire rack! Enjoy:)

Blessings

Sungita

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Chocolate Beetroot Mousse Cake

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Chocolate Beetroot Mousse Cake

beetroot chocolate cake

beetroot chocolate cake

– 300g whole beetroot, in their skins                                                                                                 – 200g quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces – put less if making for children, this is very chocolaty
– 75g unsalted butter

-3 tbsp plain yogurt
– 4 eggs, separated
– 3-4 tbsp honey or coconut sugar or date syrup
– 1/2 cup ground  almonds                                                                                                                   -2 tbsp corn flour
1 teaspoond almond essence

To cook the beetroot, wrap each one in foil and place in a baking dish. Bake in the oven at 200C until soft (usually about 1 hour for medium-sized beetroot). Leave until cool enough to handle, unwrap the foil, then rub off the skins; they should come off easily. Blitz the beetroot in a food processor or high speed blender until smooth.

Line a 23cm springform cake tin, leaving about 2cm of baking parchment above the rim of the tin, as the mixture rises quite high while baking. Preheat your oven to 180C.

Put the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once the chocolate and butter have melted, remove from the heat and leave to cool.

While the chocolate is cooling, in another large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light, pale and voluminous.  Add the ground almonds, corn flour, almond essence and puréed beetroot and stir to combine. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until they form soft peaks. Fold the chocolate mixture and yogurt into the egg yolk and beetroot. Stir gently until all the mixture is combined. Using a metal slotted spoon, fold in a large spoonful of the egg whites. Mix it in until you can’t see any white bits, then very gently fold in the rest, keeping as much air in the mixture as possible. Make sure there are no white bits visible in the mixture.

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the mixture has risen well, and still has a bit of a bounce to it when pressed. It may have cracked slightly, this is normal.

Remove from the oven, leave to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack before transferring to your serving plate. After the cake has cooled down completely,  leave it in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. Then spread the frosting and decorate with chocolate shavings  It will sink slightly as there’s no flour in the mixture.

For the frosting

Beat together 150 g of cream cheese, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder, a few drops of almond essence and 2 tbsp of creme fraiche. Done._MG_8723

Wish you radiant health and unashamed lightness.

Sungita

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Beetroot chocolate mousse cake – gluten free

This is my third cake in the Radiant Cake Challenge, that I’ve started in order to find a delicious, toddler frienly and health giving cake recipe for my son Veles’s 2nd birthday and to beat the success of the cake that I made for his first birthday.

Beetroot is an unsung hero in the world of vegetables. The more intensive the colour of a vegetable or fruit is, the more antioxidants it has, so we are talking about a traditional bright red beetroot, not the funky yellow, white or stripy varieties. As well as that, beetroot is a great blood cleanser, so it’s also a detox food. It is very rich in vitamins B, C and folic acid and is a good sourse of potassium. And all that can be in your delicious moist chocolate cake!

But that is not all! The cake is completely gluten free and will not irritate your tummy. Instead of flour the recipe asks for ground almonds – a rich source of vegetarian protein, minerals Magnesium and Calcium, many vitamins, including B and E, and beneficial fats. So enjoy your cake and shine with health!

beetroot chocolate cake

beetroot chocolate cake

_MG_8721 _MG_8723

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Beetroot Mousse Cake

– 300g whole beetroot, in their skins
– 200g quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces – put less if making for children, this is very chocolaty
– 75g unsalted butter                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   -3 tbsp plain yugurt
– 4 eggs, separated
– 3-4 tbsp honey or coconut sugar or date syrup
– 1/2 cup ground almonds                                                                                                                                                                                                                       -2 tbsp corn flour
1 teaspoond almond essence

To cook the beetroot, wrap each one in foil and place in a baking dish. Bake in the oven at 200C until soft (usually about 1 hour for medium-sized beetroot). Leave until cool enough to handle, unwrap the foil, then rub off the skins; they should come off easily. Blitz the beetroot in a food processor or high speed blender until smooth.

Line a 23cm springform cake tin, leaving about 2cm of baking parchment above the rim of the tin, as the mixture rises quite high while baking. Preheat your oven to 180C.

Put the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once the chocolate and butter have melted, remove from the heat and leave to cool.

While the chocolate is cooling, in another large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light, pale and voluminous.  Add the ground almonds, corn flour, almond essence and puréed beetroot and stir to combine. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until they form soft peaks. Fold the chocolate mixture and yogurt into the egg yolk and beetroot. Stir gently until all the mixture is combined. Using a metal slotted spoon, fold in a large spoonful of the egg whites. Mix it in until you can’t see any white bits, then very gently fold in the rest, keeping as much air in the mixture as possible. Make sure there are no white bits visible in the mixture.

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the mixture has risen well, and still has a bit of a bounce to it when pressed. It may have cracked slightly, this is normal.

Remove from the oven, leave to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack before transferring to your serving plate. After the cake has cooled down completely,  leave it in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. Then spread the frosting and decorate with chocolate shavings  It will sink slightly as there’s no flour in the mixture.

For the frosting

The frosting has to have a bit of tang to lighten up the richness of chocolate and beetroot, so here is what I used for this cake:

Beat together 150 g of cream cheese, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder, a few drops of almond essence and 2 tbsp of creme fraiche. Done.

The cake was well enjoyed by my family and myself and was gone in 1 day! (We usually take a bit longer with cakes). However, one member of the family was not interested at all – yep, the next week’s birthday boy:-(. It might have been to chocolaty for him (never mind that he loved that raw choconana ganache cake). I might try the same with oranges instead of chocolate.

That’s it for now and let me know if you tried my recipe or if you have any questions._MG_8771

Coming next – a healthier take on a seasonal classic recipe

 

 


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Radiant and raw

Last week I decided to take on a challenge and find a perfect healthy and delicious cake for my little boy Veles’s second birthday. (Click here to read the post and see what cake I made for his first birthday). My Radiant Cake challenge is in full swing, and I am sharing with you the recipe for this  citrus cheesecake. It’s light, fruity and fragrant and you can allow yourself to be absolutely outrageous and have it for breakfast! We all enjoyed it, but we weren’t quite blown away by it. I have modified the recipe slightly. One thing I didn’t like about it was the fig seeds in the crust, so I suggest using soft dried apricots (dates would also work). To my disappointment, Veles was not impressed, so I guess this is not the winning birthday recipe. But I don’t want anyone to be put off by it – it’s still worth making and eating!

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_MG_8450

The second one was a very different story! This Choconana Ganache  (click for the recipe) is lush and decadent – sheer indulgence…with benefits (I guess by now everybody’s heard about the miraculous properties of raw chocolate, high mineral content of almonds and the wonders of coconut oil). And Veles loved it too, hooray. Yes, I let him have chocolate. Raw, organic and without any cane sugar! However, in spite of its wonderfull properties, more than moderate amounts of raw chocolate can be too stimulating for young children (adults too, especially the ones with sensitivity to caffeine). So I wouldn’t let him have more than 1 little slice. When he asks for more, I say to him, ‘You’ve had some, the rest is for the Baby Bear:-). It works!

But is this cake a winner?

Coming soon – chocolate beetroot mousse cake. This one is baked, but instead of flour it only requires small amounts of ground almonds. For the traditionalists among you, who think that birthday cake is chocolate cake.

Wish you radiant health and unashamed lightness.

Sungita

Choconana Ganache – raw, vegan, gluten free

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_MG_8410Choconana Ganache – raw, vegan, gluten free

Crust:
-1 cup walnuts
-1/2 cup ground almonds,
-1/2 cup dates

Process ingredients together in a food processor until crumbly and the mixture sticks together. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch pie form, lightly greased with coconut oil or lined with cling film.

Filling:
-1.5 cup ground almonds
-1/2 cup agave
-3-4 tbs cacao powder (depending on how chocolaty you want it to be)
-1/4 cup almond milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/8 teaspoon sea salt
-2 tablespoon melted cacao butter
-2 large bananas, sliced into rounds

Put ground almonds and cacao butter into high speed blender. Process for a few seconds. Add all the remaining ingredients, except bananas, and process until smooth. The mixture will be thick. (If you don’t have a high speed blender, use a food processor).

Spread 1/2 of the filling over the pie crust. Arrange banana slices evenly on top. Now, spread the remaining filling over the bananas. Top the pie with sliced bananas. Try not to eat it all at once!

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Citrus Cheesecake – raw, vegan, gluten free

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_MG_8450

           Citrus Cheesecake – raw, vegan, gluten free

The original recipe is by Elenore Bendel Zahn, and after trying it out I have slightly simplified and modified it.

Spiced orange topping

-2 oranges (use a mixture of regular and blood oranges if available)

-1/2 teaspoon lightly crushed mixed peppercorns

Crust

-1 cup soft dried figs or apricots

-1/4 cup almonds, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

-1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt

Citrus filling

-1.5 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, ground into flour

-1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 3 hours.

-1 banana

-2 small oranges, zest and whole fruit

-1 small lemon, zest and juice

-1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted over hot water

2 tbsp of agave or honey

-1/4 teaspoon turmeric

seeds of 1/2 of real vanilla pod, or pure vanilla extract

Vanilla frosting

-1/3 cup cashews, soaked for at least 3 hours

-1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil, melted over hot water

-2 tablespoon cacao butter, melted over hot water

-juice of 1/2 lemon

-3 tablespoon pure water

-1/4 real vanilla

-1 teaspoon guice of freshly grated ginger

-1/2 tbsp agave or honey

1. Peel and slice the oranges, toss together with your pepper and let marinate in a bowl while you make the cake.

Crust:

Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a firm ball of dough has been formed.

Press firmly into a 7 inch (ca 18 cm) spring-form pan or a pie plate lined with saran wrap and put it in the fridge while making the filling.

Citrus filling

Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until it’s all really smooth (a food processor won’t make this filling as silky smooth). Add a bit more water if the mixture doesn’t turn. Now pour it over the crust and place in freezer until solid (will take about 1.5 hour).

Vanilla frosting

Put all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until you have your sweet silky frosting. Set aside in a bowl at room temperature and once the cake has set, pour/spread the frosting over the citrus layer. Lastly add the marinated oranges and – ENJOY!

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