No toast

August 4, 2011 § 5 Comments

Sorry to have been a bit quiet these past two three weeks. It’s amazing how time-consuming it is to detox! Buying vegetables, chopping vegetables, eating vegetables. In fact, cooking and eating pretty much constantly to keep one step ahead of hunger which can only lead to cravings of bread or, worse, chocolate cake, which is not on the agenda for another couple of weeks week yet. But before I sound completely crazy, let me back track and explain. I’m doing a 30 day cleanse, the main restrictions of which are as follows: no caffeine, no alcohol, no wheat, no meat, no cow’s dairy, no sugar, no salt (no fun). I think that covers the proscriptions; on the other hand, you have to eat lots of brown rice, tons of fruit and veggies, industrial quantities of nuts and seeds, daily hot lemon juice with cayenne. If you’re doing it seriously, you also dry body-brush in the mornings and have plenty of hot baths with Epson salts. And massage, yum. Daily exercise is a must, and daily meditation is preferable. As I said: time-consuming. So why I am putting myself through this, I hear you ask. Quite simply, I was exhausted. I’d had a month-long bout of insomnia which was as bad as I’ve ever had it, my skin was breaking out like a hormonal teenager, and I felt bloated and listless. I needed to reset and I needed something as rigid as this plan to force me into it. And I had just over a month at home before we headed out to Australia and then to England not too long after that. It was now or never.

The specific plan is mostly based on one that Ollie did not long before we met but with a heap of common sense and adaptations that we’ve both added over the years as we’ve periodically used it as a base for a week or two of cleansing here and there. Once the whole thing is over and done with I’ll create a page here with links to all the recipes in case anyone else is thinking of doing something similar – there really are some great things you can eat and some of them I’ve documented in a flickr set. The thing I was most looking forward to this time was getting to do the detox in California and in the summer: it’s much less of a hardship to have to eat heirloom tomatoes and stone fruits than carrots and turnips in wintery England. And since I love eating whole grains and am building a vegan repertoire, I haven’t found the day-to-day food too much of a chore at all. Indeed, more than a couple of recipes are total keepers and I wanted to share two of them with you here today as they’ll both be staples in my kitchen long after I’m back on the toast.

Both the recipes are breakfast items, although one can also be adapted as a sweet treat. If you’re used to reaching for the cereal or popping a couple of slices of bread in the toaster first thing you’ll need to think of breakfast a bit differently to get through the detox, but there are plenty of great options. My favourite is a riff on a muesli, made by grating apples and ginger and adding in handfuls of chopped nuts, coconut flakes, and dried fruits. It’s sweet from the apple and dried fruits but with an earthy bulk from the nuts and a comforting warmth underpinned by the ginger. I top it with a couple of spoonfuls of Bellweather Farm’s sheep’s yoghurt: bliss. The second is a rice pudding, made with black Thai rice, coconut milk, and a touch of honey. It’s incredibly easy and delicious hot or cold. I keep a jar in the fridge and top bowlfuls in the mornings with seasonal fruits: it’s great with berries but also works especially well with sliced nectarines. In case you’re wondering, I’ve slept through most nights since I started the detox, my skin is clear and glowing, and my tummy is flat. And, yes, I’m bored stupid.

Apple and Ginger “Muesli”

Makes about 4 servings

The quantities here are really approximate: feel free to dial up or down any ingredient to your preference. The key is to get a good mixture of ingredients with most spoonfuls.

2 apples (I’ve used Fujis and Cameos most recently but any sweet apple should be fine)
1 tbsp ginger
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried apricots, diced
1/4 cup flaked dried coconut

Yoghurt, to serve

Use your food processor to chop the nuts, or chop them by hand. You are looking for a coarse chop rather than fine meal here. If you have flaked almonds you could substitute those here. Put in a large bowl and add the raisins, diced apricots and coconut.
Quarter and core the apples and then use the attachment on a food processor to grate them. You can do this by hand too: it’s just a bit harder work. Add to the bowl with the fruits and nuts.
Grate the ginger finely on top of the apples (I use a microplane for this). Mix everything together thoroughly. Spoon into bowls and top with yoghurt (sheep’s or goat’s if you are detoxing).

Coconut Black Rice Pudding
Adapted from Lorna Sass’s Whole Grains: Every Day, Every Way

I kept my version on the low-fat side and sweetened it only marginally. It would of course be a richer and more decadent treat with whole coconut milk and with more added honey, agave nectar, or sugar. It’s your call.

1 cup Thai black sticky rice (or any glutinous black rice)
pinch of salt (I omitted this)
1 can (14oz) unsweetened coconut milk (I used low-fat this time and it worked well; the richness of whole coconut milk would be great too of course)
1 tbsp honey (or more to taste, or 2-4 tbsp sugar to taste)

In a heavy, large saucepan, bring 1 3/4 cups (425ml) to a boil. Add the rice (and salt if using) and return to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the rice is tender: this will take about 25-30 minutes. Most of the water should be absorbed but it’s ok if there’s a little left.
Stir in the coconut milk and honey or sugar to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and boil gently, uncovered, stirring from time to time to stop the rice from sticking. It will take about 10 minutes for the rice to absorb most of the coconut milk. Leave it slightly wet and soupy since once it sits the rice will continue to absorb the liquid and it will firm up (even more so if you plan to let it cool).
You can serve the pudding warm, room temperature or chilled. Top with fruits.


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