I don’t really use this blog as an emotional sounding board, but I was sorely tempted to mid-week. Too much travelling, too much work, too much stress. I decided to b-r-e-a-t-h-e through it. Lo and behold the benefits started pouring in. I made a statement a while back that I’m not a fan of blogs that ‘push’ products. However, my first benefit of the b-r-e-a-t-h-e policy was to stumble upon Saree which is a few doors down from Uhuru, the health shop on the Cowley Road in Oxford. Selling ethical/organic/fairly traded clothes, shoes, accessories and household kit, it’s a friendly gem of a shop. I have been searching for a pair of draping, soft yoga pants for ages, and I found them here. The next day I managed to pick up some kelp noodles in London’s Chinatown, and then the working week ended last night with a blissful John Stirk yoga workshop. Things are good here ...
I was out errand running today in London. I also took a peek at some (new to me) raw spots. First up was a disaster. I’d heard that Dragonfly Wholefoods (in Highgate) had a raw stall at the organic market under the Westway on Portobello Road. No organic market, no raw food! Undeterred, I ambled a few streets along to Daylesford, where I have previously drooled over their kitchen kit in the Pimlico branch. Sorry to disappoint, but their ‘raw bar’ isn’t strictly vegan! I chanced upon a ‘Karma Kab’ at this point, which made me chuckle and restored my faith in my trip. Next stop was a raw outlet in the food hall at Selfridges. I have to confess that the Daylesford outlet (also in the food hall) looked more tempting with a variety of seasonal (raw!) salads. The final destination (and my personal favourite) was Dragonfly Wholefoods in Highgate. Lovely food, lovely atmosphere.
You can click on the menu pictures to enlarge them and take a closer look ...
I have run in the snow, worn my new hat and finally satisfied my Turkish Delight craving. It’s a raw-ish recipe, so those 100%ers had better look away now.
Cover in a bowl however many dried organic apricots you want for your batch with rose flower water (if you have edible, organic, fresh rose petals to hand make your own, but I used a bottle sculling around in the depths of my cupboards). Leave overnight. In the morning, most of the rose flower water will have magically disappeared and the apricots will be looking plumper and juicier, and smell enticingly of Turkish Delight!
Using a hand blender (the Vita-Mix doesn’t really work for small-ish batches), whizz the apricots with fresh beetroot juice to produce a deep rich colour. You want to use the least amount of juice possible, just enough to add the desired colour, but not so much that the mixture becomes runny. I tried (on your behalf) using freshly squeezed pomegranate juice but it simply turned the mixture into a very unedifying brown sludge – the beetroot juice is key if you want a good colour. Have a taste – the apricots and beetroot juice are a pretty sweet combination – but if you want to add a little sweetener of your choice, this is the time.
Now, a little more non-raw action. You need the mixture to set. I tried psyllium powder which leaves the mixture quite soft and pudding like, and agar-agar which gave a more authentic wobble. Spoon the mixture into a flat pan or tray, put in the fridge overnight to firm up, and then cut up into chunks. If so desired, you can dust the chunks with lucuma or camu-camu to give them the authentic coated effect, but I like the jewel coloured wedges as they are, so don’t really bother with that.
Thank goodness I finished sewing up my hat: it’s snowed. Apparently it’s the most significant snowfall in the UK for eighteen years. It reminded me of a Nike clipping I came across at the end of last year and put up on my pin-board: a running machine’s control panel superimposed over a beautiful snow scene and the slogan ‘Enjoy the weather’. At the time I thought, ‘Why go to the gym when you can experience the beauty of the snow?’ Now, when snow is a reality, I’m thinking ‘I understand ...’ (although I’m no gym fan)!
If running is out of the question today then perhaps just snuggle up and enjoy this extremely sweet blog to re-inspire you ...
I’ve been devoting my spare-time attention to knitting a hat (just the band left to sew on), so perhaps the purple colour triggered the bizarre craving I’ve been experiencing for Turkish Delight? I’m trying to work out a raw version. I’ve been coming close in my experiments but I’m not quite there yet ...