Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Good Hemp Range





Over the years, I've heard a lot of good things about hemp seeds and their multiple health benefits.  So I was really interested when approached to try out some hemp products from the GOOD range created by Braham & Murray.  

The GOOD range is made from hemp seeds grown by husband and wife team, Glynis and Henry, on their farm in Devon and they have worked extensively with other British farmers to grow perfect hemp seed crops, which incidentally require no pesticides/herbicides, so are excellent for the environment.  

It is also worth noting that the GOOD range only uses hemp that is grown under licence from the Home Office and doesn't contain THC (the psychoactive substance found in cannabis) and has no connection with the narcotic at all.
A little bit about hemp seeds themselves, naturally high in Omegas - 3, 6 and 9 they provide the body with essential fatty acids and are easily digestible.  
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I remember when oil choices in the supermarket consisted of either vegetable or sunflower and for those with a taste for the exotic, an expensive bottle of olive oil.
I love the fact that now choices have been extended to a wealth of different oils in a variety of flavours, infusions and uses.  One such oil is GOOD Hemp Oil.  Regularly seeing it on the shelves, I’ve always been curious about hemp oil compared to its more mainstream oil counterparts.  So when presented with the opportunity to try some I was delighted to indulge in my curiosity.

Studying the GOOD Oil  bottle and reading the back, I was intrigued to see that it is classed as a 'super food' and that GOOD Oil (made from 100% cold pressed hemp seed oil) has a wealth of benefits which include:
It contains 40% less saturated fat and 25 times more omega 3 than olive oil
Contains Omegas 3/6/9  
Zero transfats
        Award-winning and endorsed by celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver, its taste is nutty yet gentle, it wasn't overwhelming or heavy and was extremely pleasant.  I enjoyed frying and roasting with it (see mushroom picture below) as well as drizzling it on salads.
        Recently, I created an ultimate veggie 'super food' recipe focusing on non-meat protein ingredients and I used GOOD Oil as one of the ingredients.  Link for the recipe is here.
        
Chestnut Mushrooms fried in GOOD Oil

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In addition to the oil, I was also sent some GOOD Hemp Milk.   Dairy free, an alternative to milk and soya, containing omega 3, low in saturated fat and it is fortified with calcium and Vitamin D.  It states that it is cholesterol free and easy to digest making it ideal for those that suffer from bloating caused by dairy products.
Ideal for any occasion where milk is used - for cooking, for cereals, tea/coffee or just to drink as it is.  I used it to make a cheese sauce for a cauliflower bake and the sauce was rich, thick and creamy and made a nice change from dairy milk which I normally use.  However, it tasted a little too creamy when used in tea and coffee, so I wouldn't use it for that purpose again.
Although I have milk in my diet, just as a personal taste preference I don't drink it straight in the form of a plain glass of milk.  So I asked family to try GOOD Hemp Milk as a plain milk drink. None of them knew what to expect, but upon drinking they all agreed it was delicious, an almost sweet taste which was more palatable than dairy milk.
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I enjoy eating seeds during the course of the day and either eat them as a snack or I eat bread containing seeds as a way of building them into my daily routine.  Another great way is consuming them with my breakfast cereal  as a topping.  GOOD Seed have their hemp seeds ground (shelled hemp) and packed ready to use which they define as their ‘sprinkle’ format, another item from their range which I was able to try.  This convenient way means you can use as much as is needed and then seal it away for another time.  Perfect for baking with or snacking, or as I did, sprinkle on top of my cereal with yoghurt and pomegranate seeds.  This discreet way of seed intake is perfect for making your breakfast a little more crunchy and turns it into more of an event.


Contains:
Omega 3 & 6
Rich in Protein
20 Amino acids


GOOD Hemp seeds on breakfast cereal with Pomegranate Seeds

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The GOOD Hemp collection is certainly one of those brands that when you see it you recognise it has positive benefits.  But upon inspection, you see that it beholds a multitude of advantages beyond original conception.   
A great range of goods using a valuable seed which is normally under promoted yet abundant in nutrients - suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets.  

The GOOD range will certainly be residing in my kitchen cupboards here on forward.
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Special Offer:  To purchase GOOD range items at a discounted rate, visit their website: http://www.goodwebsite.co.uk/ and when prompted, enter discount code: GOOD13.

Disclosure:  This post was written following kind receipt of  complementary items from the GOOD range.    This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website. 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Vegetarian Protein Packed Edamame Beans


Edamame Beans

Most veggies are the same as me I’m sure.   I’m always mindful that I try and get my quota of protein within my diet.   I look at the protein levels on a packet’s ingredient listing and those that have high levels, I incorporate into meal-times as best as I can.
Taking this into account, I have recently become quite enamored with edamame soya beans.  These little beans popular across Asia, are in essence soybeans which are used to produce soy products such as soymilk.  In the far east, they are often consumed still in their pods but in the UK, shelled beans are predominately how you’ll find them sold.  Known as Mao dou in China and edamame in Japan, the Japanese use the beans to create cakes and desserts with as well as using them for savoury dishes.  Although emphasis is made on its high protein content, amongst other nutrients, the beans also boast the benefits of calcium, fibre and vitamin C.
Taste-wise, their texture I can only describe as sapid, yet bizarrely ‘waxy’ and after stir-frying them they still retain a nice crunch.
Available from the salad aisles of most major supermarkets, upon purchasing,  I decided to turn them into a stir-fry with some other protein sources to make a ‘super-food’ meal to kick-start my week with. 
I’ve outlined my ‘super food’ meal recipe below which of course can be adapted by changing the seasoning or substituting one or two of the ingredients as is preferred.  The ingredients I’ve put together collectively contain great health benefits and are ideal if you need that protein hit. 
From the recipe, protein levels and positives to note are:
Quorn Meat Free Chicken Pieces
14.0g per 100g
Edamame Soya Beans 
12.6g per 100g
ClearSpring Japanese Green Nori Sprinkles 
21.7g per 100g 
(nori – a form of dried seaweed available from delis/specialty aisles in large supermarkets).
Spinach 
2.8g per 100g (spinach is also packed with iron)
Good Hemp Oil 
a great oil to use as it contains less fat than olive oil, also contains omegas 3/6/9 and has a gentler taste.
Himalayan Pink Rock Salt 
Sourced as the name suggests from the Himalayan mountains, contains far more nutrients than standard table salt and is promoted by alternative health/healing practitioners as a suggested healthier option for salt.


Edamame soya beans are definitely the fashionable culinary new kids on the block so if eaten as per my recipe below or via another recipe method, they will make for a nice change and will give you a ‘feel good factor’ of having something healthy which is packed with goodness yet meat-free.  So, roll on Meat-Free Mondays – we’re packing a protein punch right at you!
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Quorn & Edamame Bean Stir-Fry

Quorn & Edamame Soya Bean Stir-Fry
Serves 2
350g Quorn Meat-Free Chicken Pieces (defrosted)
150g Edamame Soya Beans
1 Red Pepper (sliced into strips)
2 tbp SpringClear Japanese Green Nori Sprinkles
100g Spinach (NB: will wilt)
Drizzle of Good Hemp Oil  
Squeeze of Lemon Juice

Grinding of Himalayan Rock Salt and Black Pepper

         *  Heat the Good Hemp oil in a large saucepan/wok.
 * Add the Quorn pieces and fry gently before adding a good squeeze of lemon and  grinding of pepper. 
 * Continue to stir-fry.
 * Add the edamame soya beans, red pepper and spinach leaves.
 * Continue to stir-fry – add more oil if required.
 * Grind some pink Himalayan rock salt all over and stir.
 * Finally, add the green nori sprinkles and fry until all ingredients have been combined  and cooked through.  NB:  the edamame beans will still be hard but as long as they  have been heated up sufficiently, then they have been cooked.
 * Ready to serve.

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Note:  Protein levels are correct as listed on food packaging I used as per date of this blog post.  Some ingredient benefits are stated on packaging or have been ‘suggested’ by those in the health profession.  To gain full clarification, contact the product manufacturer or a reliable nutritional information establishment.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

World Food Café: Quick & Easy: Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey

Cookbooks are always a joy to look through and I have many adorning my bookshelf.  Even though some aren’t fully vegetarian, I always like to read through them as it can trigger off ideas for veggie meals.  However, when a totally vegetarian book arrives on the market, I'm always fascinated to see what's featured.
One of the things I always like to do is research and explore different vegetarian dishes from around the world.  Not just European dishes on my doorstep such as cuisine from Italy or Greece, but I like finding out about countries further afield or ones that aren’t in the spotlight as much as their more well-known neighbours.
Upon receipt of the World Food Café: Quick & Easy: Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey book, I was delighted to see just that.  Countries featured include Bhutan, Lapland and Namibia to name a few.




Taking in the front cover, the attractive pink and green patterned hard back, hints at the vividness associated with the countries featured.  Written by Chris & Carolyn Caldicott, who once owned the World Food Cafe in Covent Garden London, this is their third book which documents their travel adventures by way of the vegetarian dishes they've experienced during their journeys. The book also has a 'travel diary' feel to it with a wonderful insight into some of the world’s most hidden corners bringing different cultures and cuisines to the forefront.  

The book is split into sections according to country/region with beautiful images accompanying the text about each place and its cultural approach to food especially towards vegetarianism.  Collected from home kitchens, street stalls, restaurants and roadside cafes, it gathers together dishes from some of the world’s most fascinating places, using a wonderful diversity of flavours.
The recipes are authentic yet are not available widely so having this book in your collection certainly means you are having something different.  Its appeal will be wide, but may lean towards more adventurous cooks that are looking to increase their repertoire, for those that have traveled extensively and wish to create their memories at home and yet still covering those vegetarians that demand more from their meal times.
The 100+ recipes are all easy to follow and there are so many to choose from that I have markers set up within the book to highlight which ones I want to make first!  I have already made the Yellow Split Pea Fritters with the Spicy Dipping Sauce.  I made these recently with some yellow split peas that I’ve had in my cupboard for a while and they were absolutely delicious and heightened by the accompanying sauce (which, by the way, I made without the chillis for preference).


As autumn continues and winter beckons, vegetables such as beetroot and Jerusalem artichokes come into their own and with apples in abundant glory for autumn, this recipe for Beetroot, Jerusalem Artichoke & Apple Salad with a Horseradish Sour Cream Dressing will make wonderful use of all  these ingredients.  A delicious autumnal/winter lunch option or side dish – a great accompaniment for those Boxing Day buffets perhaps?  The recipe is featured in the book and comes from the Helsinki/Lapland section – a region of the world that isn’t ordinarily synonymous for vegetarian food and also doesn’t have the mass culinary appeal that other places do, so reading about that region has come as a welcomed change. Here's the recipe to eat as the Finnish do:




Beetroot, Jerusalem Artichoke & Apple Salad with a 
Horseradish Sour Cream Dressing

Serves 4-6  

For the salad

  • 5 medium Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 medium cooked beetroot, cubed
  • 1 large tart apple, diced
  • 2 carrots, cut into julienne strips
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons beetroot juice
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
  • 180ml/6fl oz sour cream
  • heaped teaspoon hot horseradish
  • small handful of chopped dill

To serve

  • Mixed leaves such as sorrel, rocket, watercress, endive and frisée handful of chopped walnuts

Method

  • Cook the Jerusalem artichokes in salted water until soft. 
  • Drain and rinse in cold water. 
  • Combine with the remaining ingredients.
  • Whisk the salad dressing ingredients together and season with salt and ground white pepper to taste.
  • Line a serving platter with the mixed leaves and pile the salad on top. 
  • Just before serving, drizzle with the sour cream dressing and garnish with chopped walnuts.

Recipe and images reproduced by kind permission from World Food Café: Quick & Easy: Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey by Chris and Carolyn Caldicott, published by Frances Lincoln www.franceslincoln.com


Pop-up food stall in Helsinki

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Published by Frances Lincoln, the book is available widely for purchase and as a special offer for all Word In Veg Ways readers, you can buy the book for the discounted price of £16.00.  See below for further details.
The book as a whole is a fabulous read as a cookery book and, to a point, a travel journal too (giving me the travel bug again I have to say).  The recipes are easy to follow with nice research/reference notes to accompany them.  A beautifully visual book that will be a joy to re-read and re-visit time and time and time again making it a wonderful present for any vegetarian who is keen to explore something different and for those with a passion for lands far away.

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Special Offer:  to order World Food Cafe: Quick & Easy (9780711232969) at the special offer price of £16.00 (inc UK p&p) please call Bookpoint on 01235 400 400 and quote the code 46WORLDFOODCAFE.

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Disclosure:  This post was written following kind receipt of a complementary copy of:  World Food Café: Quick & Easy: Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey by Chris and Carolyn Caldicott.  This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website.