Honey Roasted Carrots with Fresh and Spicy Zhoug

These multi -coloured carrots seduced me at the market today. They were so beautiful I just had to find a way to turn them into a delicious meal.

Rainbow Carrots

Rainbow Carrots

I love middle eastern cuisine  – the spices, the flavours, the fragrances, the colours and the intensities. It’s the passion in middle eastern cooking,  it’s authentic and real honest food – that’s what I love!

This is what inspired me – I thought  Zhoug would make the perfect match to the beautiful carrots.  I decided roasting them slowly in the oven with honey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

So, in the oven at 350F for about 40 min.

Zhoug is a fresh herb, garlic and chile sauce,  slightly spiced with cardamon, cumin and cloves, which I imagined would go really well with the roasted carrots.

Zhoug is not only wonderfully tasty, but also super healthy! Packed full of nutrients, antioxidants and flavours!

One of my all time favourite middle eastern cook books is Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamini’s book, Jerusalem, – it’s a visually stunning book with lots of great recipes. My Zhoug is strongly inspired by the recipe in the book, but with some tasty changes that I like.

Sauces like Zhoug, Harrissa, Chimicurri, and Muhamarra are amazing condiments. They make eating vegetables a total joy !

Fresh Parsley

Fresh Parsley

Zhoug

One bunch of big leaved parsley

One bunch cilantro

one green chilli

juice of one small lemon

1 teaspoon maple sirup

2 clove of garlic

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

sea salt

Wash the herbs thoroughly and put them in the blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend into a pesto-like sauce.

Fresh Cilantro

Fresh Cilantro

Serve the roasted carrots warm or cold with the sauce and some pomegranate seeds

pomegranate

pomegranate

… and enjoy – an easy to make, but extremely tasty dish!

Honey Roasted Carrots

Honey Roasted Carrots

Perhaps, add a slice of good bread?

good bread

good bread

 I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 

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Raw Aubergine Lasagne with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Creamy Béchamel

One of the things that continuously surprises people, is how good healthy food tastes!

I hear it again and again – wow, this is so good!

I mean, healthy food really tastes so good that I actually prefer it to more traditional recipes! In fact, so good, I often choose it over anything else.

And by healthy food, I’m not referring to low-fat, low sugar, low taste, low life….. no life……Dietary restrictions are not for me –  I believe that it’s really more about balance!.

There are easy ways to get going: For example, try shifting the balance on your plate to mostly plants, or eating plant-based one meal a week or even an all day plants diet. Even just exchanging some meals every now and then with plant-based foods. Plant-based food nourishes the body, feeds it what is really needed, rather than just filling it up. This will make a huge difference to your body balance and add tremendous benefits to your health and overall well-being.

By eating plant-based you:

  • keep yourself nourished
  • keep your cholesterol levels down
  • lose weight and maintain your ideal weight
  • feel content
  • stop unhealthy cravings

Raw Aubergine lasagne with fresh tomato sauce and creamy béchamel 

Eggplant Lasagne

Eggplant Lasagne

The “lasagne” sheets/pasta is aubergine in this case, but it could as well be thin slices of zucchini,  sliced the long way, left to marinade for about 15min, with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon….

Aubergine

Aubergine

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Fresh Tomato Sauce

200g fresh organic tomatoes

4 whole sundried tomatoes

Fresh Basil

Fresh Oregano

A little red chili pepper

Sea salt

A clove of garlic

A small piece of shallot onion, maybe 1/4 of a whole

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put everything in the blender and blend into a sauce. Put it in a bowl and set aside while you make the creamy béchamel…

Creamy Bechamel

Creamy Bechamel

 Creamy Bechamel

1 cup of raw Cashew nuts

1/2 cup of avocado oil

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup of water

Soak the cashews – I soak them overnight to make them really soft and easy to blend. Put the cashews, water, avocado oil, lemon juice, nutmeg and sea salt in the blender and blend into a creamy sauce.

Fresh Basil

Fresh Basil

Now layer the lasagne – it’s best to do this right before it’s served, minutes before eating.

Start with slices of marinated aubergine – then add micro greens, slices of avocado, some fresh tomato sauce, then another slice of aubergine, top generously with the creamy béchamel and a sprig of fresh basil.

Micro greens

Micro greens

Avocado

Avocado

Enjoy

Enjoy

This is the perfect lunch – or dinner served with a slice of freshly baked rosemary foccasccia – also perfect with a piece of fish, chicken or meat – and a glass of wine.

“You know, all that really matters is that the people you love are happy and healthy. Everything else is just sprinkles on the sundae” – Paul Walker

Sugar is the new tobacco

I’m working on my book about how to lower cholesterol – naturally. Thus I’m trying to focus on anything and everything that can play a role in actively helping us to prevent high cholesterol, but also in effectively reducing it – if/when we are diagnosed with it. The main issues in the book are exercise and food, but also includes topics on emotional health, stress, and sleep, all of which affect cholesterol levels. Foods can harm us or nourish us. Food can help us to stay strong, happy, healthy, and naturally lower our cholesterol. But, there are certain foods that can create havoc on our health – especially if we have them in excess. Processed foods, which contain a lot of hidden additives, including sugar and salt, are the worst. 

One of these really bad additives is white sugar. This stuff is a real killer. The bad and sad truth is a lot of our food is designed by the industry to get us hooked. By adding too much sugar, too much salt, MSG etc., the industry literally “pushes” food types to us and we become addicted to these things (their intention being, of course, that we buy and consume more of the same!).

I remember that when I was first diagnosed with high cholesterol I would very conscientiously examine the food value stickers and to assure myself that there was little or no cholesterol. If it said zero, I thought I was safe! However, I didn’t consider sugar, and especially the white, refined kind, is not only a contributing factor to obesity, diabetes, but a big trouble maker, when it comes to heart disease and the unhealthy cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

According to WebMD & the American Medical Association, a study showed that people who consumed the highest levels of sugar had the lowest HDL (the good cholesterol) and the highest triglyceride levels. People who ate the least amount of sugar had the highest HDL (good cholesterol) and the lowest levels of triglyceride! As well, it showed that eating large amounts of sugar more than tripled the risk of heart disease.

As a consequence of these findings, a global campaign has been started: www.actiononsugar.org aimed at trying to reduce sugar intake by calling it the new tobacco …. this is to try, just like was done with fat, to lobby to reduce the amount of hidden sugar in processed foods.

I can only applaud that, but at the same time I think that it would be easier to simply move away from eating sugar and toward eating more clean food. By clean food, I mean food that has not been processed, food such as vegetable, fruits, grains, legumes, leafy greens, etc.

By eating clean, we feed and nourish the body with real food. And when the body gets what it needs, it stops craving the wrong kind of food like: cookies, cream cakes and smarties.

Clean food

Clean food

As my diet changed and I was eating more green food I experienced so many benefits, such as loosing weight and feeling energized. I found that things like cookies, cakes and candy; things that I had been raised to enjoy, all of a sudden tasted way too sweet and I no longer enjoyed eating them. It was the same with salty foods, like certain cheeses and even some kinds of olives, they simply tasted almost unbearably salty. So, as my tastes changed, I naturally stopped eating these thing or eating less of them.

More green

More green

Today we can get bacon with less salt, soups and stocks with less salt – and hopefully soon we will see food products with less sugar.

But – why wait? Do it yourself!

All of this is really great, but how about eating fewer processed foods all together! Then, instead, add more plant-based foods, you will reduce your sugar intake in a heart beat.

Good sugar / bad sugar?

But how about the sugar in fruit? I found an answer to that in an interesting article in The Globe and Mail: “Sugar is the new tobacco“, wherein Dr. Robert Lustig, an neuroendocrinologist and obesity expert explained how the body processes sugar calories in a way that is much more damaging than, say, a protein calorie. However, the sugar calories contained in fruits, with its vitamins, minerals, fibre and micronutrients intact, is broken down more slowly and causes much less impact on blood sugar, as well as liver processes. He states:

Sugar in excess is a toxin, unrelated to it’s calories. The dose determines the poison. Like alcohol, a little sugar is fine, but a lot is not. And the food industry has put us way over our limit” – Dr Robert Lustig

Fresh fruits and veggies

Fresh fruits and veggies

To consume less refined sugar, try to:

  • Eat less processed foods
  • Prepare home cooked meals, make you own cakes and cookies – then you know exactly how much sugar goes in. As well, you can choose the healthier kinds of sugar.
  • Say good-bye! to white sugar.
  • Eat more plant-based foods.
  • Try to replace (most of your) cakes and cookies with delicious raw food options – like this or these.….
  • Drink greens smoothies like these.
  • Enjoy dates and figs, if you crave something sweet
Green Smoothies

Green Smoothies

It’s possible to do so much yourself and remember, even little changes can make a big difference! 

Do you want to know how I lowered my hereditary cholesterol naturally? – Read here.