Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Fruit’

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Drinking Straight from the [Young] Coconut!

Ever tried drinking from a fresh coconut? I don’t mean a ripe one with the husk, I mean a young Green one to get the coconut ‘water’/juice. You may have tried it in a tropical country and there’s nothing like it when it comes to imports. You can easily pay upto £4 per litre in the UK depending on the brand but when usually they had additives like refined sugar or the ‘pure’ ones aren’t sweet enough and have an ‘acquired taste’. That’s not a problem when it’s fresh, it’s pure, sweet, thirst quenching and so good for you. (You can also eat the flesh.)

Young Coconut Water Juice

Yum! 😀

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Apple and Pear Crumble – Yum!

Today is Worldwide Chocolate Minty Day but hey we just have to be different 😉

This cake is a variation of a recipe Mum and I came up with HERE

However this time we weren’t foraging (not the right time of year) and we had to finish the fruit we had quickly!
So I came up with the idea of an apple and pear crumble instead of simply apple.

I doubled and altered our old recipe (it was made slightly piquant on purpose last time but I gave the traditional recipe in the aforementioned post as well):

Crumble:
16 ounces (1 heaped tbs x16) of flour (we used plain White, can’t remember last time)
1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
8 ounces of muscovado sugar
8 ounces of dairy free butter

Fruit layer(s):
Enough apples and pears to fill 1/3 or 1/4 in height of the baking dish
Nut milk (enough to reach the top of the fruit)

apple pear fruit crumble cake recipe vegan

Cooking Steps

1. Wash, chop/dice your fruit and place in baking tray.

apple pear fruit crumble cake recipe vegan

2. Preheat oven to gas mark 4 or 180°C/350°F.

3. Add the dairy free milk of your choice upto half the level of fruit (I ADDED TOO MUCH UNFORTUNATELY THIS TIME and had to turn the oven off 10min early to allow it to cool because the liquid was boiling). We add milk (or filtered water) to the fruit specifically to make it more creamy and less gooey (good if you’re lacking cream/custard to serve it with) but you don’t have to.

4. Add the 2 ounces of sugar to the fruit in the baking tray and mix in gently. Or sprinkle over each layer of fruit if you’ve decided not to mix e.g. one layer of apples, one of pears etc.

5. Mix the all the crumble ingredients together in a larger than necessary bowl/dish; it needs space to dry and spread as you’re mixing it otherwise it will stick together too much and not cover enough of the fruit. Once crumbly leave and allow to breathe. Mix either using a fork or with your fingertips – which is called ‘rubbing’. Or Mum’s new method – using a table knife just keep slicing through, it’s very easy and makes a nice consistent texture.

6. Very gently spread the crumble over the fruit (don’t squash it) and then place the baking tray either low or middle height in the oven; for 45min until Browned.

apple pear fruit crumble cake recipe vegan

apple pear fruit crumble cake recipe vegan

7. Voila! They way you serve it is up to you 🙂

apple pear fruit crumble cake recipe vegan

apple pear fruit crumble cake recipe vegan

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Pleasingly Piquant Plum Treats

I picked some early plums recently hence they are still very sour, ever seen an anime character eat a dried/preserved plum only for their face to pucker up so much it looks like they’ve been caught by an invisible vacuum cleaner? They’re like that at this stage but without the dehydrating of the mouth so a lot of sugar is needed even if you have strong tastebuds and like sour things they need a little something :-). I let them ripen for approx 1 week until they were Red but obviously ripening off the tree meant they retained their sourness rather than acquire sweetness.

Note – I used demerara sugar (didn’t have any molasses or muscovado but demerara has a stronger sweetness so more suitable for this anyway, the other two are subtle and build richness slowly in the taste whilst eating but the plums would be overpowering for those here), soy milk and sunflower oil in this recipe.

Step 1:

Chocolate sauce. This can be made in one of three ways:

plum-trifles-chocolate-sauce
a) Raw – Make a simple chocolate spread with cacao powder, sugar/syrup/fruit syrup and oil. Once mixed, stir in a bit of milk (coconut or almond/hazelnut/cashew are great for chocolate sauce but soy, rice or oat milk are fine too). Most unrefined, edible oils are fine except you know, olive or some other strong savoury oil like mustard 😉 (although Coleman’s do sell Mustard chocolate…)

b) Cooked – Heat cacao powder, milk of preference and sugar in a small pot; high heat but not boiling and gently but continuously stir until the chocolate turns glassy. Turn off the heat, leave to cool and thicken.

3) Cooked – Melt down a chocolate bar or cooking/baking chocolate, with the latter you’ll need to add sugar and/or milk.

plum-trifles-chocolate-sauce

Step 2:

Preparing the plums.

plum-trifles-early-small
I washed them, halved them carefully removing the seed (of which I haven’t decided what to do with yet, dry and fry or sprout instead) and fried them in oil and sugar. The amount of oil an sugar purely depends on your taste preference but I personally chose to fry these because I find early and/or non-organic fruit make my throat, gums and tongue swell and itch so I had to cook them.

Quick, shallow fry only otherwise they turn to mush (some people stew early and bitter/sour fruit to make into jams/conserves). Now the inside will always be sour unless you use lot’s and lot’s of sugar, which I didn’t, using approx 3 tsp I found that the skin became nicely permeated with the sweet fried taste and was complimented by the sharp sourness of the insides.

plum-trifles-frying-fried
Unfortunately I didn’t have a light oil or oil well suited to sweet things/desserts such as grapeseed, coconut or safflower so used sunflower. For those not allergic to nuts, a nut oil such as peanut or macadamia should work nicely.

plum-trifle-base-fried-raisins-sultanas
Mum judiciously said to add dried fruit aka raisins/sultanas to them because they’d probably still be sour, She was right.

Step 3:

Serving accompaniments.

plum-trifles-chocolate-cream-cookie-raisins-sultanas
Starting from the top of the photo going round clockwise we had a) a plain one, b) one with coconut chips, c) chocolate sauce, d) choc chip biscuit dipped in and, e) one with some soy cream.

I also tried one with peanut butter and then a mix of peanut butter and chocolate sauce – both were yummy 🙂

plum-trifles-chocolate-cream-cookie-raisins-sultanas

The egg cups aren’t ours, as we don’t eat eggs but found ’em in a cupboard and they looked cute.

Other ideas could be vegan ice cream, cheese, yoghurt, jelly, other fruit particularly sweet ones, sprinkles, flaked almonds/nuts etc

After I’d sampled those,  to Mum’s distress I put them altogether with a dollop of fig spread, trifle style – which She said was un-artistic, unacceptable and rather than trifle style was messy style. Well, what can I say? We take turns being barbaric 😉 (Usually she mixes her food and I like to keep sections separate to taste each flavour but I appreciate the mixed taste too and hey, at least trifle has strata so can be eaten in layers 🙂 Though I wouldn’t recommend that with such a base, the tartness is better buffered by the surrounding ingredients.)

plum-trifles-chocolate-cream-cookie-coconut-biscuit-raisins-sultanas

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Eating Wild Fruit When Out & About

Hello!

It’s finally time here for the multitudes of wild berries to start ripening and whilst out on Wednesday I managed to find, eat and pick some. I didn’t wash my hands, yes there were insects and webs everywhere and yes I ate them even though they’ve grown with acid and chemtrail rain; it’s not something I’d recommend! I’d prefer organic or at least grown with clean(er) water but it was the only way I’d get fresh fruit.

I found blackberries, juniper, elderberries and hawthorn mostly and as other appreciative people will know they tend to grow together interwound and the blackberry bushes in particular just spread and grow huge.

Note about Blackberries - I eat them Red or Black but tend to find the soft/squidgy Black ones the sweetest and my favourite stage of ripeness.

Note about Blackberries – I eat them Red or Black but tend to find the soft/squidgy Black ones the sweetest and my favourite stage of ripeness.

Blackberries 2

Blackberry bushes just grow and grown on land and water

Blackberry bushes just grow and grown on land and water

Juniper reminds me a lot of cranberry in that it dries the mouth instantly and is bitter.

Juniper reminds me a lot of cranberry in that it dries the mouth instantly and is bitter.

Blackberries and Juniper growing together

Blackberries and Juniper growing together

I picked some elderberries too but for some reason can’t find the photos. Elderberry is also strong and some people’s stomaches don’t do too well with them.

Hawthorne berries are not for everyone, some people are allergic to them. They are so dry with some having a slightly chalky texture. Apparently people aren't supposed to eat the seeds and those with heart and circulatory issues are supposed to seek medical opinion beforehand. - I didn't pick any of these as I don't use them.

Hawthorne berries are not for everyone, some people are allergic to them. They are so dry with some having a slightly chalky texture. Apparently people aren’t supposed to eat the seeds and those with heart and circulatory issues are supposed to seek medical opinion beforehand. – I didn’t pick any of these as I don’t use them.

Hawthorn

I’ve been thinking about the hawthorn – anyone have any ideas? I don’t really want any tea infusions but I might make some jam with it later for mum. I’d love to make ‘fruit leather’ (similar to liquorish in texture) but haven’t the time, energy and I’d hate to leave the oven on for so long for something unessential.

Acorns! So cute! Though not ripe yet.

Acorns! So cute! Though not ripe yet.

Acorns 2

Things I do and don’t do when foraging:

1) Blackberries have thorns! Lot’s of them! So I try to be careful and successfully managed to pick them without being stung up until I got stung by three in a row lol.

2) I try not to disturb any bugs nearby or webs, I accidentally gave a spider a mini-earthquake and couldn’t stop its web from shaking afterwards – terrible.

3) If eating straight from the bush I blow the berries first.

4) I don’t pick any from sections where the leaves look ‘ill’ or where there’s water of questionable purity nearby (e.g. roadsides) and is stagnant.

5) I only eat what I know is edible; there’s a ton of edible wild plants (particularly common weeds), grasses and fruit but some are toxic. I have a cast iron stomach but it’s not worth the risk.

6) Berries (like most fruit/veg) can be used for all sorts of food and cosmetics so if I have more than I am going to use straight away they are easily pickled, made intro fruit spread or frozen for later uses – my favourite use being for desserts and sweet snacks!

7) I don’t pick from private gardens.

Yum!

Yum! Blackberries, juniper, elderberries.

I didn't pick many but had enough to make a smoothie (yay a fresh fruit smoothie!) I made it with crushed ice instead of still water to give it more body. It was sweet, tart and delicious.

I didn’t pick many but had enough to make a smoothie (yay a fresh fruit smoothie!) I made it with crushed ice instead of still water to give it more body. It was sweet, tart and delicious.

Love edible berries!

One of the groups of small birds socializing as we got back.

One of the groups of small birds socializing as we got back.

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Homemade Fizzy Drink – A Bubbly Treat

Evening all!

Many people are worried about the contents of their food nowadays as more people are realizing things like is eating/drinking flourescent coloured foods alright?

Thankfully my mum randomly read about artificial flavourings, colourings, preservatives, the unnatural e-numbers, gelatine, aspartame and MSG 17 years ago and stopped me from eating foods with those obviously written on the label. It also got us thinking about what is really in our food; then when I went vegan just over 7 years ago I stopped drinking fizzy/carbonated drinks. However, having drank them quite regularly before the cravings didn’t cease straight away. Strangely enough I’d really crave them between January-March for the first two years and the rest of the time was fine though there would be a small desire at the back of mind. It took about 2.5 years to get over them.

One day some years afterwards I accidentally discovered/made my own by simply pouring fruit juice into a cup that still had water and sodium bicarbonate in it (common old fashioned remedy for alkalizing the system and preventing/alleviating indigestion and bloating). Note – when I say ‘bicarbonate of soda’ I mean sodium bicarbonate/baking soda and not baking powder.

THE PRACTICAL BIT

fruit

Basically I use just a dash or two of baking soda in a large glass, top up with fruit juice and that’s it.

If it’s too fizzy I either leave it a while or add water. If I don’t drink it all or leave it and it goes flat, just a tiny bit of baking soda will make it fizzy again. That’s is, no sugar or anything (though it’s up to to the person drinking if they want it sweeter). There’s no method either – I can either put the baking soda and/or water at the bottom adding the juice to it or vice versa. Neither the baking soda/water or juice have to be fresh out of the fridge/carton, it can just be bicarb water or juice I’ve had sitting out for some time and then just add one to the other = fizzy drink that tastes as if it’s just been opened.

I find the result of using grape juice is very much like cola imo and pineapple juice creates a fizzy orange taste.

SIDE NOTE:

Many people are worried about their sodium levels these days too but I personally think it’s easy to confuse the word ‘sodium’ for ‘table salt’. Personally I don’t use processed White table salt and prefer Pink Himalayan salt, Celtic salt, rock and sometimes sea salt and I don’t have a problem with bicarbonate of soda, epsom salt or the nigari I use for tofu. I’ve also heard good things about Red and Black salt. I believe those salts to be healthy and necessary for the human body (e.g. saline) as with natural sugar which many people avoid nowdays as well as natural and high fat oils over processed/refined ones. So this is just my preference and not a recommendation.

Also fizzy drink is just a treat not a staple part of my diet.

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Fruit Juice/Smoothie Deficiency – Fixed!

Hello hello hello,

I’m feeling a bit perky and inspired right now and I’ll tell you why – I’ve just had some long needed fruit drink! Sound trivial? Perhaps but for my body fruit is a major and favourite part of my diet. Oh fruit, how do I love thee? So for a person that’s practically lived off pure fruit drinks her whole life (with a late sojourn into herbal tea) the last 3 months have been tiresome. Why? I haven’t had fruit juice/smoothies for 3 months ‘tis why and have been living off various grass water (wheatgrass, spirulina etc), apple cider vinegar and when necessary sodium bicarbonate in water, oh wait and I rummaged around and found some clay bentonite. Those are all incredibly healthy drinks to have but I just need fruit drink… neeeeed. I love all the fruit I’ve tried (ok except jack fruit, I just, the stickiness, the gooey texture in the mouth and the strange sweetness… uck, *gag* I just can’t.)

I usually do my best to get fruit drinks that are not from concentrate and I stay away from the ‘red flagged’ ones which if you read up online will find all kinds of off putting info about e.g. the processing of orange and apple juice. I would prefer to make my own from scratch but have never had any space (even indoor space) to grow my own and unfortunately it works out as far more expensive to buy the fruit than to buy them ready made. Yep it’s a twisted actuality where food with tons of ingredients and bi-products both ‘natural’ and artificial are cheaper than whole foods that farmers don’t have to wear hazmat suits to grow and can be made into their finished products with the minimum of ingredients and processing. Plus is it just me or do the vouchers/coupons that manufacturers and supermarkets ‘give’ out mainly consist of junk food offers? That said I never buy sweetened, fizzy or drinks from concentrate that don’t state that they’ve used filtered water.

So during the 3 months of patient longing and wanting to drink less and less (reminiscent of the 5 weeks I spent without moisturizer, a sad experience where I started to understand how a person made of rubber might feel but that’s another story) one idea came to me. Why not make drink out of the fruit spread I had (which I had been previously using to make sourdough more appetizing). Mixing it with water did work as the fruit had been reduced in the first place so I was just re-hydrating it, however it took quite a lot each time to make the juice fruity instead of just flavoured water and so the small tub ran out quickly. Damn I thought, at least it’s a good thing I like to eat/drink soup.

suma-fruit-spread

Then earlier today lightning struck and mum said to me ‘Why not use your raisins?’ :O :O Shock, horror, dumbfounded; why the hell hadn’t I used the dried fruit?!?! Seriously how could such a beautiful notion elude me for so long and Her of the greater intellect and ability (mother)? I mean it, how bloody how? Doesn’t the fruit know how much I MISSED it?

😉

THE PRACTICAL BIT

mixed-dried-fruit-raisins-currants-sultanas

Okily dokily, here’s what I did:

I put 250g of mixed dried fruit (raisins, currants, sultanas with no sulphur dioxide – I never buy dried fruit with that or processed White sugar) in a blender topped up to 1500ml of water (reverse osmosis and/or distillation people) and hit start (on the lower setting). A few seconds later and voila – honestly, I shake my head in embarrassment it was so simple to do. Maybe it’s because we’re so busy all the time making homemade this, that and the other that I just kept putting it aside and thinking of it as a future goal.

Anyway the result was delicious and refreshing! A perfect juice with bits in it (could blend further to smoothen) – not too watery and not too thick as to be difficult to properly quench the thirst. Naturally sweet but could easily be made sweeter with raw cane sugar/ demerara, molasses, muscovado or for non-sugar fans there is stevia, xylitol and pure fruit/argave/rice syrups.

From an economical point of view it’s also cheaper for me to do this as I buy in bulk and 250g of dried fruit is more fruitful (ahem) for me than buying the necessary amount of fresh fruit to get the same result. It’s even cheaper than buying readymade smoothies in particular as in the past few years I’ve noticed the ones I liked being repackaged/branded and as a result getting smaller whilst staying at the same price or increasing in price. There are also great offers from places like Holland & Barratt health stores (I’m not sure what a US alternative would be) who do ‘buy one get one free’ deals and ‘penny sales’ where you buy one product and get any other in the range for a penny. With the sky rocketing price of nuts and certain fruit it can be helpful to buy during those sales.

So basically after all this time I’ve turned to concentrated fruit juice but needs must and it’s healthier than store bought because the fruit is organic, the water used is less questionable and I can drink as much as want instead of rationing! Heck yeah!

homemade mixed-fruit-juice-raisins-currants-sultanas

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