The Perfect Risotto

The Perfect Risotto

Making a great risotto is so much more than adding stock to rice. There's a wonderful process that goes into making it perfect, creamy and flavourful. It's almost like a dance routine. There are many steps to it but once you learn them you can produce something beautiful, every time.
Today I'm going to share with you 3 top tips form the process that you should always do when making risotto at home.

1. The Rice is Right
Risotto is not only a dish but a cooking method, so when choosing rice go for Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano. These will give you the creaminess that the dish is so well known for.

2. Feeling hot, hot, hot
Keep your stock hot, in a pan on a low heat next to your risotto pan. The trick is to keep the dish cooking at an even temperature the whole time and that also includes the stock you are adding.

3. Scrap the dairy and get the party started in the pan
The creaminess of a risotto DOESN'T come from the dairy often add to the dish. Risotto's creaminess comes from the starch in the grains of rice. Stir the dish often. By doing this it bumps the grains of rice together and allows the starch to release and make the creaminess we know and love.

Enjoy

Love Sarah x

The Perfect Stirfry

The Perfect Stirfry

Making a tasty stirfry is one of the easiest and ultimate one pan dish you can rustle up for a quick supper. Whether you are buying whole ingredients to cut up or are using a pre-chopped up packet from the supermarket there are a few simple steps to keep in mind when making the perfect stir-fry.

1. Heat it up
Stir frying requires a really high heat, so the trick is not to be afraid to get the wok or pan really hot before you begin cooking. Because you are using high heat you will need to use an oil with a high smoking point such as safflower or grapeseed.

2. Even to Cook, Bite Sized Ingredients
Stir frying is a very quick cooking technique, so all of the ingredients should be evenly chopped bite sized pieces. Because different ingredients have different cooking times. e.g. hard carrots will take longer than soft bok choy, add the harder vegetables to the wok first. If you are using a pre packaged stir-fry then separate out the ingredients. Beautiful delicate herbs such as fresh coriander should be sprinkled on top just before serving.

3. Make it Aromatic
The wonderful thing about stir fries are the aromatic flavours that you can achieve with very few ingredients. My families favourite combination is ginger, garlic and lemongrass. If you can then uses the freshest aromatic ingredients. 

Enjoy

Love Sarah

Skin Deep

Skin Deep

Dry skin can be uncomfortable, especially after braving the colder, windier months or enjoying beautiful bright sunshine, all can be incredibly harsh on our skin. However, its not only the weather, but also our hormones can play havoc with our largest organ the skin. For the best results treat dry skin from the inside with what you put on your plate.

The following list includes foods to help add moisture to the skin and relieve the discomfort of inflammation and dryness.

1. NUTS & SEEDS – Brazil nuts, chia seeds, flax seed

Nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids to keep your skin smooth and moisturised, and are a healthy addition to your diet to protect your skin from harsh UV rays that can cause dry skin. In particular, brazil nuts contain selenium, a powerful antioxidant.

Selenium is not only great for the immune system but it’s also crucial in keeping your skin protected against the elements. An easy way to get your daily intake of selenium is through eating just one brazil nut per day!
 

2. ORANGE AND YELLOW VEGETABLES – CARROTS, SWEET POTATOES, CARROTS, PUMPKIN & SQUASH

Orange and yellow vegetables are rich in Beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in our bodies. Vitamin A is beneficial for repairing skin damage, and also helps the skin heal quickly. The easiest and quickest way is to make a beautiful soup from these vegetables.

3. AVOCADO

Avocado is also rich in vitamin E, antioxidants, and healthy fats that reduce inflammation. This fruit also keeps the skin moist and fights free radicals to prevent premature aging.

They are high in oleic acid, which maintains the moisture in the epidermal layer of skin, keeping your body feeling soft and hydrated.

An omega-9 fatty acid, oleic acid assists in regenerating damaged skin cells and improves irritation and redness. You can count on this beautiful food to naturally improve dry skin!

4. HIGH WATER CONTENT FRUITS – BERRIES, oranges, cucumbers, apples, Mango & papaya

Fruit is amazing for keeping your skin hydrated and youthful. Antioxidant-rich fruits like berries fight free radicals, while mango and papaya are rich in vitamins to keep your skin nourished.

They are also incredibly hydrating as they are high in water content. Citrus fruits are especially beneficial as they help the skin produce collagen.

5. WATER

Don’t forget the most obvious place to start is addressing your water intake. Keeping water intake high can prevent your skin from drying out.

Are you drinking 2-3 litres a day? Remember to also replace the fluid lost from exercise during the day.

Love & plants

Sarah x
 

The Athlete's Choice

The Athlete's Choice

 Rich Roll - Vegan Athlete, Author, Speaker

Rich Roll - Vegan Athlete, Author, Speaker

The world has gone sport crazy. The Rio Olympics has been the biggest talking point over the last few weeks and we’ve enjoyed Euro 2016, Wimbledon and the Tour de France. So, when people think of an athlete’s diet what often springs to mind is mountains of chicken, eggs and whey protein powders - they need to fuel all that muscle, after all. Animal protein is a must to make muscle, right? Wrong.

Modern sporting superstars are now looking to see how best to fuel their bodies and are turning to plant-powered alternatives which are taking them to the top of their game, leaving their competitors for dust and showing that vegan diets not only enhance their performance but also improve their recovery times.

Scott Jurek, one of the greatest ultra-marathoners of all time holds the American record of 165 miles run in 24 hours! Brendan Brazier and Rich Roll are vegan pro Ironman triathletes and Patrik Baboumian is even taking the vegan diet into the world of competitive strongman all proving that athletes gain all the necessary protein, fat and carbohydrates without the unnecessarily high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats found in animal products.

We are often fixated on counting calories, which, on a vegan diet is something not to worry too much about, however, all athletes or sports people then have one thing in common, their intense exercise regime, spending a lot of time pushing their bodies to the limit and burning a huge amount of calories.

Although a vegan diet can naturally be less calorie dense than their meaty alternatives, a great balance of complex carbohydrates and plant-based protein sources provide athletes with all the energy and nutrients they need without requiring the addition of animal products in the diet.

So, if you have been inspired by the last few months of international sporting fun and want to get more exercise whilst using a vegan diet to power you through your workouts or runs and leaving you feeling energized then here are a few examples of how you can do it

Breakfast:

·      Before eating breakfast I recommend a glass of hot water with lemon.

·      Then followed by a big bowl of porridge topped with blueberries, strawberries and banana, a sprinkle of chia seeds and a handful of soaked raw almonds

Lunch:

·      A huge salad either a kale-avocado-olive salad or a mix green-sprouting salad with a variety of vegetables and some seeds

·      A big bowl of mixed vegetable soup (I call it ‘Half the Garden Soup’) with crackers or whole wheat bread or pita

Snacks and post work-out:

·      Fresh fruit and greens smoothie made with coconut water

·      A handful of raw nuts

·      Coconut water with a raw protein powder that is pea, hemp rice or chia blend based.

Supper:

Meals incorporating some of the following are all great for suppers

·      Beans and legumes - chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, butter beans, lentils, split peas etc.

·      Wholewheat or gluten-free pasta or Brown rice

·      Other grains and seeds - quinoa, bulgar wheat, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, farro, millet

·      Starchy veg like potatoes and sweet potatoes

·      Occasional soya based products such as tofu and tempeh

·      Nuts, milks and butters – almond, cashew, walnuts, peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, hazelnut milk, oat milk, rice milk, almond milk

·      Oils: olive, coconut, flaxseed (unheated), hemp (unheated)

Check out an athlete’s choice recipe - Millet, Watercress & Pistachio Tabbouleh here

To Loving Botanical Life

Sarah x

Plant-powered Babies

Plant-powered Babies

Today I sat with my 4 year old son who was playing architect. He was building a truly enormous skyscraper out of all sorts of bricks and when I asked him how it had he built it so tall and strong his response was that "it has good, solid foundations". Just like his tower, you can compare a child’s body to a building under construction. A lot of different materials are needed to build it, maintain it and when needed repair it, but when you get down to it a little human being is also needs great fuel which is the foundation to their own little structures.

One of the most important fuels that we can provide our children is a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. 

Here's a few little tips to help you with your rapidly growing little ones with their veggies.

1. Stress Less

Try not to get fixated on calories, vitamins, minerals. Our bodies are finely tuned machines that are designed to eat whole foods that nature provided, but there are many books out there that scare parents into thinking that feeding children a balanced diet is the most difficult thing in the world. Vitamins and minerals don't work in isolation of one another, so eating a wide selection of fruits and vegetables will contain the vitamins/ minerals/ protein/ fibre/ carbohydrate that their little bodies need.

2. Soups & Stews

During your baby’s first year, you will want to provide your child with most of the following cooked vegetables: spinach, peas, onions, carrots, asparagus, chard, squash, tomatoes, beets, celery, sweet potatoes and potatoes. These can be combined in soups and stews. If you are buying tinned soups keep an eye out for the low sodium varieties.

3. Green Parents

As soon as our son was 'into food' he ate pretty much every meal my husband and I ate, but initially it was pureed. Remember children will copy what they see, so if they see you eating your greens they will see it's something normal to do to.

4. Finger Foods

It's always great to let your children play with their food. It's not just the taste but also the feel and the look that appeal. When venturing on to finger food I recommend steaming vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and green beans, not only does it retain the nutrients but also the flavour. 

5. Raw

From the age of one year old raw vegetables and raw vegetable juices that can be more easily digested, by a child with a good digestion, can be added. These include peeled tomatoes, lettuce, sliced string beans, shredded carrots, and chopped celery. Even if your foods are organic they still should be well washed. Go slowly at first and see how they are digested. You can make a simple dressing from freshly squeezed orange juice or sweetened lemon juice.

6. Sweetness

Foods with natural sweetness are corn, carrots, fruits, sweet potato and squashes. Again these can be pureed or stewed on their own or in combination.

7. Kids on Strike

Sometimes your little one can totally go off his food or a type of food for a few weeks at a time. If you have tried everything you can to get vegetables into their diet - different tastes, textures, types, raw, cooked and your child still refuses, fear not. Although vegetables are particularly valuable for various minerals and vitamins and great for roughage, for a short time you can always fall back on a variety of fruits will supply many of the minerals and vitamins, and the same amount of fibre. Chances are if you don't make an issue of the lack of veggies then your child will be back devouring their greens again in no time at all.

 

Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives

forksoverknives.jpeg

We all know how health promoting it is to remove and replace animal products from our diets, but the life changing movie 'Forks Over Knives' takes plant-based eating to another amazing level focusing on how plant-based, whole-food diets that removes processed foods, such as oil, can be used in prevention and reversal of chronic, degenerative, Western diseases including type 2 diabetes and heart diseasethat really need never occur.

I have had the privilege of personally being taught by one of the featured doctors, Professor T. Colin Campbell from Cornell University whom has spent a great deal of his career educating health professionals and clients on the benefits of this wonderful way of eating.

As a Plant-based Chef and Nutritionist I can't recommend this engaging and informative movie highly enough in transforming health, so if you want to know more then click on the links below.

Related links:

Forks Over Knives Official Site

Forks Over Knives On Netflix

 

Our Top 10 Foods of Love

Our Top 10 Foods of Love

This week at Love Botanical Life HQ we are talking about the foods of love. Here are our top 10 food items that really do provide a unique, nutritious and sexy punch, unlikely as some may seem.

Dark Chocolate
We'll start with the most obvious first. If you have to hear someone tell you how chocolate's got the same chemical as the one that makes you feel like you're in love (phenyl ethylamine), you'll probably throw up. Which would ruin the mood completely. But it does, so let just a little square take you back to those initial throws of passion.

Avocados
That really lovely guacamole you had the other day was not only tasty but can make you feel horny too. Avocados can really get things going: they've got large amounts of vitamin E packed into them, which some experts believe can heighten the sense of arousal.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are believed to have a calming effect on your nerves, and are thought to improve muscle control. Both of which, obviously, make for better time in the sack.

Chilles
You will have heard the "red hot" jokes before, but the chilli really does deserves its firey reputation. Chilles are high in capsaicin, the substance in hot peppers which releases endorphins, stimulates nerve endings and increases heart rate - need I say more?

Wild Yams
Buy organic yams if you can—they're a more traditional aphrodisiac, widely believed to increase sensitivity you-know-where. And ladies, you can also get Wild Yam cream in healthfood shops as it is believed to have benefits to "out of balance" homone levels. However, if this is a concern then please seek medical advice.

Asparagus
I know exactly what you are thinking. There is nothing sexier than a vegetable that everyone associates with making your pee smell funny, right? Well, its true, it does, but not everyone's. However, this is my favourite vegetables so I can't leave it out. Asparagus contains high amounts of vitamin E, which is essential for maintaining a healthy libido.

Garlic
The "marmite effect " comes into play with this one, you either love it or hate it. At Love Botanical Life we love love love it! It's on our list because its packed with allicin, which improves the blood flow to your organs...all organs.

Almonds
Again its the vitamin E levels that wins this one for us. If you can, eat them in their unsalted, purest form as possible.

Pumpkin Seeds
Hidden in these little seeds is a big hit of zinc, which is necessary for the body to produce testosterone, and ladies don't feel left out, zinc stimulates the libido for women as well.

Celery
This may be one for the guys to eat and the ladies to enjoy. It may appear to be as sexy as recieving your bank statement, but celery packs a hidden, potent punch: it's got adresterone, a hormone that imbues men with a subtle, sexy smell (girls - you know what i'm talking about).
Enjoy ;) x
 

Superfood Of The Sea

Superfood Of The Sea

Seaweed has long been overlooked as a food in the Western world, but all this may be about to change.

You may have eaten sushi wrapped in thin sheets of nori or had wakame in your miso soup, but few of us eat seaweed as part of our daily diet. I'm predicting that in 2016 edible seaweed is going to be the new 'superfood'.

Keep an eye out in shops for smoked flakes of seaweed from the beautiful Scottish coastline.
I'm loving Mara Seaweed Their seaweed contains 59 elements essential for health including iodine, iron, B-vitamins, vitamin C and calcium and is great for heart health, glowing skin, beautiful hair, weight loss and helps with the menopause.


To find out more about the seaweeds I have been enjoying go to www.maraseaweed.com
 

Cooking For My Favourite Chef

Cooking For My Favourite Chef

I'm so excited! Lots going on in and out of the kitchen.

This weekend I catered an intimate dinner party for my friends & previous employers (25 years ago!!) Louisa & Colin Le Voi.
Colin is the UK's top vegetarian award winning chef and owner of The Quince & Medlar Restaurant. He's also my inspiration and mentor, so I was honoured (and a little nervous to cook for him). 

Sadly our town has been horrendously flooded and we are under several feet of water so Colin & Louisa celebrated their 30th wedding Anniversary by candle light with no heating or electricity. 
It was such a pleasure and an honour to cook for them no matter what the circumstances.

Find them here at
www.quinceandmedlar.co.uk

Homemade Vegetable Stock

Homemade Vegetable Stock

There’s nothing more warming on a cold January day after a winter's day walk than coming home to a big bowl of homemade soup, especially when it’s made with Homemade Vegetable Stock. I like to warm things up with a huge pot filled with carrots, celery, herbs and sundries tomatoes, and let it simmer for   1 1/2 hours. After taking this my kitchen always smells wonderfully inviting and it makes a flavourful addition to any stew or soup and can be frozen in portion sizes so you can use it for many weeks to come.

Sarah's Nutrition Keystones

Sarah's Nutrition Keystones

FORGET COUNTING CALORIES

A calorie is a unit used to measure energy, it's not nutrition. Not all calories are created equal and they are not used to detect how fresh or healthy YOU or YOUR FOOD is. Rather than focusing on calories, I want to help you focus on how ENERGISED  you feel, how well your BODY MOVES and FEELS and how your clothes fit! What a fantastic opportunity to listen to your body and not read labels.

GET PLANT POWERED

At Love Botanical Life we get our protein from WHOLE FOODS that are plant-based. Yes, it's totally possible! I'll show you how. 

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE

Consuming water found in hydrating fruits and vegetables the secret behind a youthful, soft skinned glow. Water also helps flush out toxins, hydrates our cells and leave our insides, as well as our skin, clean, fresh and glowing.

GREEN GODDESS

Juicing is fine, but want to know what’s better? Eating your greens! The key is to eat greens everyday. Don't worry, this doesn’t mean you’re only eating salads. It's my job to show you how a whole variety of greens can be incorporated into your every day life in a REALLY TASTY way.

FAT IS YOUR FRIEND

In fact, naturally healthy fats are a Love Botanical Life super ingredient that is used in pretty much all of the recipes. The reason is that they are the key to keeping you ENERGISED, lean and radiant.

RAINBOW BRIGHT

Your food should be bright, vibrant, beautiful and tasty! The richer the color, the higher the nutrient content. The wider the array of colors you eat, the more NUTRIENTS you get.

NUTRIENT DENSE

Essential nutrients are those that we need that our body cannot make. At Love Botanical Life, we strive to eat foods high in these essential nutrients to give our body the FUEL it needs to function the way it was designed to...amazingly!

SULPHUR-RICH 

Sulphur is one of the most abundant minerals in the body. Our bodies love foods rich in sulphur (e.g. kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage) because it help fight off bacteria, rids the toxins and helps maintain the skin’s elasticity.

BODY TALK

Love your body and it will love you back. Your body is clever and can tell you a lot. fuel it well and it will allow you to do things you never thought possible and take you to places you only dreamt of.