I’m pausing my Budapest travelogue for a few days for two reasons: first, I’ve been called on a last minute press trip to Greece and will be eating and exploring there for the coming days (I know: tough job), and second because I am simply desperate to regale you with the tale of my cooking lesson with Natasha Corrett.
The session was hosted by Regenerate Enamel Science as they are pleased as punch to have developed a toothpaste and serum which helps to restore eroded enamel and wanted to celebrate the triumph over acid by inviting some people to cook with the queen of alkaline.
For those of you new to the alkaline thing, the principle is that the foods we eat have an effect on the pH of the body and that an alkaline state is ideal for reducing inflammation and maintaining good health. The food itself is often highly acidic, though, hence the joy on the part of the Regenerate people in creating something that can help undo the potential damage wrought on teeth by eating ‘alkaline’ foods.
At the lesson we learned to make a three course alkaline meal (recipes below). The joy of cooking with Natasha was not only thanks to her breezy attitude in the kitchen (fresh ingredients + a little blending and boom; delicious meals materialised), but also that she is simply unwilling to forgo the enjoyable element of eating; ergo lots of flavour and a pudding of brownies.
The other bonus of the cooking class? That I could be completely and utterly lazy about washing up; we were cooking in Cactus Kitchens where helpers whisked dirty bowls and blenders away and popped the next lot of ingredients on our stations while we learnt how to make the next course. If only cooking at home could be like that… *sigh*…
RAW BUCKWHEAT PORRIDGE
85g buckwheat kernels
20g gluten free porridge oats
1tsp golden linseeds
1/2 a banana
1 tsp acai berry powder
1 handful blueberries
1) In a bowl mix together buckwheat, oats, linseed and dates. Cover them in water and leave to soak for at least an hour.
2) Once the buckwheat has softened, drain the water and transfer to a high-speed blender along with the banana. Pulse until smooth, adding a splash of water if required.
3) Place the blueberries, acai berry powder and a splash of water in a pan and simmer over a gentle heat until the blueberries start to break down.
4) Transfer the raw porridge into a bowl and add the blueberry coulis, adding a sprinkle or golden linseeds, chia seeds, flaxseed or bee pollen.
BUTTERNUT AND ADUKI BEAN YOGHURT SALAD
250g butternut squash
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tbsp sunflower oil
200g drained, cooked aduki beans
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
6g sorrel (or rocket)
6g dill, chopped
125g goat, sheep or soya yoghurt
1/2 grated garlic clove
1/4 tsp sumac
Pinch of Hamalayan pink salt
Cracked black pepper
1) Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
2) Chop the butternut squash into 2cm square cubes and cover with the cumin, sunflower oil, a pinch of salt and black cracked pepper and put into the oven for 25 minutes.
3) Once out of the oven put into a bowl with the aduki beans, dill, spring onion and sorrel.
4) Make the dressing by putting the yoghurt, garlic, sumac, lemon juice and a pinch of salt into a cup and mixing thoroughly.
5) Pour the dressing over the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
6) Serve either as is or on a bed of salad.
RAW NUTELLA BROWNIES
175g medjool dates
2tbsp coconut oil (at room temperature)
1 tbsp agave or brown rice syrup
3tbsp raw cacao
1 1/2 tbsp psyllium husks or ground flaxseed
Generous pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1) Optional step: toast the hazelnuts in an over at 175g until golden and aromatic. Rub off the skins by rolling the nuts together in a dishcloth. Set aside.
2) Blitz the dates in a food processor until almost smooth (if you can’t find medjool dates simmer dried dates in 1 tbsp of water until it is absorbed and the dates soften).
3) Transfer the dates to a bowl and combine with the remaining ingredients, mixing until they’ve made a thick dough.
4) Line a baking tray with cling film and press the dough into it so that the sides are even and the mixture about 3-4cm thick.
5) Put the tray in the fridge and allow it to set for at least an hour until gooey, then cut into brownie squares.