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Nayeli's Hot Mexican Punch

15 Feb 2010 08:00:10

This is a deliciously exotic and original punch I helped make with a Mexican family I stayed within the beautiful quaint town of Guanjuato (it´s about a two hour drive north of Mexico City and absolutely worth the trek out there). New mum Nayeli explained to me the finer points of making this traditional punch. Mexican´s many make this for Christmas or Posada which is a time of celebration and many parties are thrown the week before Christmas. Nayeli says that if you smell it in the streets you know that Christmas is just around the corner. But it's a wonderful drink in any season. 

To make roughly 6-8 litres of punch combine in one or two large pots (terracotta Mexican bowls are preferable of course but you´ll achieve the same flavour with the trusty ol European variety):

2 sliced apples
2 oranges segmented
20 whole pitted prunes
6 small quartered guavas
half a pineapple cut into 2cm cubes
an 80cm length of sugar cane cut into 1cm x 20cm strips
a handful of dried Jamaican flower petals (you can find these in specialty health food shops)
4 large peels pods of fresh tamarind
10 fresh halved tejocote (a native Mexican fruit similar to quince, which you can use instead)
A handful of sultanas
2 handfuls of sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
4 litres of water

Head for about 1 hour then taste to see if all the fruit flavours have combines and the sugar has dissolved. Pour into small terracotta cups and add the sugar cane sticks so that they stick out of the cup (a little like you’d pop a stick of celery in a Bloody Mary).

Though pregnant with her second child and the fact that she has a generally displeased taste for alcohol (how very “un-Mexican” she says), Nayeli suggests adding rum for an even more warming effect on those cold winter days (it is the festive season after all!). You can also add pecan for a more nutty flavour.

This is a great alternative to mulled wine though the flavour is very different you will certainly impress your winter party guests.

Restaurant Review: Saf

15 Dec 2009 15:00:05

Now if you're the kind of person who, at the suggestion of tonight's meal out as a raw food eatery, raises a couple of suspicious eyes then I've got a challenge for you. I'm almost a vegan, but not; almost a raw foodie, but not. My body needs a good old fry up every now and then and my taste buds say I should follow that lead. So when I say Saf, a raw food restaurant, is delectably scrumptious, and kind of curious, it's not because I'm devoted to a raw food diet and can't find anything better in town to suit my raw needs.

Saf is the place you go when you want to stare at your food for a second, first to figure out what it is you're eating (though the waiters do a brilliant job of explaining each person's individual dish as it comes out), and second to appreciate the gorgeous creation that it is.

The Saf Chef's (try saying that one ten times over!) have created a ‘plant-based botanical menu' where almost all of the dishes are cooked below 48°C to preserve optimum nutrition and flavour.

I had the Saf Bowl which included teriyaki glazed smoked tofu (THE best I've had) organic brown and mixed seeds rice cake (absolutely tastier than it sounds), wok fried pokchoy, lotus root kimpura kimchee (a very interesting one indeed, wouldn't eat it alone but balanced out the other flavours surprisingly scrumptiously), seasonal chutney (apple mine was and it was another surprising and tasty accompaniment in the mix).

The Saf Bowl was £12.95 but prices for mains range from £11.50-14.50. Starters from £6-17 and sides from £3.75-7.50.

Beyond the food you will find organic fair trade coffees, fresh juices, gorgeous cocktails (they are sublime and change regularly so are always quite unique) and a new gourmet beer. Saf have newly opened a new organic wine shop with quite the fine selection of wines to choose from. They have also just opened on Sundays for apparently London's best Vegan Roast but if you're keen to try this not so traditional Sunday roast you better get there early as tables go quick and they only serve it from 11:30-15:30pm.

Saf's opening hours are:
Lunch - 11:30pm till 3:30pm
Dinner - 6:00pm till 10:30pm
Bar food & drinks - 11:00am till late

152-154 Curtain Road

To make a booking call 0207 613 0007 (Book the Chefs Table if you want an up close and personal with the raw and organic delights you're about to be fed. Chefs table includes 7 courses for £50 and optional £25 Organic Wine pairing. You also need a minimum of 6 people to book the table but if you can, it's a real treat!)

For more information about this superbly delicious raw food dine visit

Organic Guacamole

13 Dec 2009 15:00:05

1 ripe avocado
½ red onion
½ tomato
½ red chilli
Handful fresh coriander
Lime juice to taste

(all organic of course!)

Finely chop the onion, tomato, chilli and coriander.

Scoop out the flesh of the avocado (making sure you scrape the inside of the skins well with a spoon to get as much of the bright green coloured flesh as possible to give your guac a lovely colour).

Add the avocado to the other ingredients and mash with a fork until the desired consistency (lumpy or smooth it's up to you).

Add lime juice, salt and fresh black pepper to taste.

*Note: you can make this very quickly in the food processor but you need to be careful that you don't make it too smooth so that all traces of the tomato and onion disappear into the paste.

Organic Carrot and Coriander Soup

1 Nov 2009 15:00:13

900g organic carrots (chopped small)
400g onions (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 tsp ground coriander
25g butter
25g plain flour
1 litre stock (chicken has great flavour but vegetable is fine too)
125ml double cream

Sweat the carrot, onion and garlic in the butter until soft (about 20mins), adding the coriander halfway.

Season with salt and pepper and stir in the flour until well combined with the butter and juices.

Gently work in the stock, so that you are not left with lumps of flour and then simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend until smooth, stir in the cream and bring back to simmer if required.

Serve garnished with fresh coriander leaves if you have any.

Even my husband, who claims to hate carrots, loves this soup.
0 Comments | Posted in Organic Recipes Seasonal Food By Sam

The Organic Way to Repel Insects

16 Oct 2009 16:00:56

I've been doing a bit of research of late on how to protect my skin from mosquitos. One of the easiest and best ways to naturally deter insects is to create your own blend of base and essential oils.

One recipe that I've come across that doubles up as a moisturiser and sunburn soother is this one.

• 100 ml Grape seed oil
• 30 drops Citronella essential oil
• 15 drops Cloves essential oil
• 5 drops Carnation oil

Blend these together in a glass bottle by shaking for long enough so that the oils do not separate. If you have especially oily skin swap the grape seed (which is great for dry skin) with jojoba oil. This measurement of oil (100ml base oil) is a good size for travel.

If mixing your own doesn't suit or is too finicky for last minute travel preparations Essential Care make a great natural insect repellent. Mosimix is a certified organic, vegan aromatherapy massage oil based on lemongrass, lavender and thyme which a great at warding of unkindly skin biting predators. It's great to use when gardening, walking or holidaying.

But be warned: these natural repellents don't include the malaria, yellow fever and dengue areas of the world. Unfortunately, for a short time at least, most believe you need something more toxic that contains DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide - a chemical originally tested as a pesticide on farms).

I'm going to go for the natural alternatives (at my own risk) simply because they're better for the environment (in particular local waterways) and my health. I'll let you know how I fair with our midgy friends come November when I enter the forests of Guatemala and Ecuador!
0 Comments | Posted in Eco Issues General Organic Recipes By Nicki