Friday, 25 March 2011

Raw Meal

Sign up for Earth Hour
Many of you might be taking part in the Earth Hour Big Switch Off this Saturday and might be choosing to mark the occasion with a meal for family and friends. But there is a way you can make the event even more low tech - by opting for a raw food feast.

Raw food is becoming a popular trend here in the UK, with people realising the benefits of not roasting/boiling the shit out your food and draining it of important nutrients. It's certainly something I'm trying to do more often, if for no other reason than a lot of raw food is quick and easy to prepare, which is very handy if you're busy.

Some of the stuff mentioned below might not be entirely classified in the raw food range, due to pre-purchase preparation and processing. If you have an interest in eating raw and want to know a little bit more, I suggest you check out Karen Knowler's Raw Food Coaching Page for the basic introductions and Raw Amazing for some great recipes.

And while I've said this meal is low tech, some of it might require pre or post refrigeration. Don't worry though, no one expects you to switch off your fridge for Earth Hour. It is after all about making a statement of intent and commitment to energy saving habits.

Starter: Pink Grapefruit and Carrot Salad

Great as a side salad or starter, this can be dressed up with a few small leaves or herbs such as cress, lemon thyme or rocket.

2 grated carrots
1 Pink Grapefruit, peeled, sliced and cut into bits (a bit like toblerone triangles)
1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon of olive rapeseed oil

Drain off any excess juice from the grapefruit in a sieve or colander. Put into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix with your (clean) hands. Feel free to up the mustard dosage, but taste first as this combination should be enough. Add any desired leaves and serve.

Main: Tabbouleh Stuffed Sweet Peppers

The Bulgur Wheat used for tabbouleh needed be pre-cooked so long as you soften and clean it of starch first. Steep it in lots of cold water for around 30 minutes - 1hour, depending on how much time you have. Then place in a fine sieve and run under the cold tap until the water running off it runs clear. Break up with a fork and set aside.

4 large sweet peppers
200g of Bulgur Wheat
2 large beef tomatoes, chopped
4 spring onions, chopped
75g of fresh parsley
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the tops off your peppers and remove any internal seeds or flesh. Mix the prepared bulgur wheat with rest of the ingredients. Add a glug of olive oil and pack the tabbouleh into the peppers. You could add a clove of garlic to the miss, but be careful as some people really can't stand raw garlic.

Dessert: Apple, Almond and Apricot Glory

Again this recipe can use yoghurt or a soy based alternative, and depending on whether you're cooking for children or adults, you can sharpen things up a bit by swapping the apple juice for apple brandy for those who like their fruit a little boozy.

2 large apples, peeled and chopped
400ml of yoghurt or vegan alternative
100ml of apple juice or apple brandy
100g of rolled oats
50g of ground almonds
50g of Fairtrade dark brown sugar
60g of dried apricots, blitzed in blender
1 tablespoon of almond oil

Peel, corr and chop the apples. Sprinkle with roughly half the brown sugar and the apple juice and leave to steep for around 30 minutes. Afterwards, drain the excess and divide into four separate into glasses, such as Martini or Champaign glasses. Top up with the yoghurt, leaving at least 2 inches of space at the top of the glass. In a bowl mix the oil, oats, almonds, chopped apricots and the remainder of the sugar until it forms a coated, flap jack type mixture. Add this as topping to glasses.

Image: Suat Eman /

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