Uncommonly Raw

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“Life is short and precious! Wake up and appreciate the beauty in this moment! Be adventurous: dance, play, love and respect nature and the harmony of all things! Be part of the solution – one bite at a time!”

The quote above resonates so well with us and including it here gives us a chance to express our gratitude for one of those less common companies that not only blazes a trail, but maintains both ethics and passion in pursuit of their goals. The company is Inspiral who sadly have seemingly been a victim of their own success, and are about to hang up their aprons and make way for others who, quite probably have been inspired by them (although possibly don’t put quality first). We have also been inspired by Inspiral through their products such as raw crackers and desserts, as well as the exciting meals at the café they used to run at Camden Lock in London.

We draw inspiration from many different sources and either sprinkle it into our own creations, or the opposite: we take a recipe and adapt it (usually to suit the ingredients we have in our fridge!) It always feels like a privilege to inspire others and we realised that as the summer gave us so much bounty, this post would be a good spot to highlight one or two of the foods we’ve really enjoyed and continue to enjoy, and who knows, some new ideas might be triggered as a result; we certainly hope so!

We could easily wax lyrical about the abundance of beautiful fruit this year .. the berries (we’re still picking blackberries), locally grown figs and now dozens and dozens of apples, but they’ve been so spectacular just as they are that we’ve mostly just enjoyed them in all their natural glory. Having said that, berries in particular often make it into a smoothie for breakfast and are delicious when paired with frozen banana to make a ‘quick blend’ ice cream. But there have been plenty of vegetables that we’ve welcomed multiple times into our meals and some of them are not so well known as ingredients eaten raw, so here are one or two that fall into that category.

Cauliflower is becoming increasingly well-known in the plant-based and paleo world as offering a different approach to traditional rice dishes, or as mash and even pizza bases, but we’ve also found that it works well in salads, ground up fairly small with other firm vegetables such as carrot, fennel, chilli pepper and then coated in a lemon tahini dressing. This is a super quick salad and pretty flexible with respect to ingredients. Not surprisingly, a meal like this works just as well with broccoli instead of cauliflower, but they aren’t the only cruciferous vegetables that lend themselves well to this quick and easy salad; we’ve just discovered kohlrabi … how did we both manage to miss out on it for so long?? Sliced kohlrabi also teams up very nicely with sliced apple and a sour cream-type dressing (for which we use cashew nuts).

If you’re keen to have grains but don’t fancy oats for dinner, and especially if you’re wanting to avoid gluten, have you tried raw sweetcorn? It’s sweet, juicy and slightly crunchy, so perfect in a leafy salad, but equally, corn kernels, blended with coconut milk and Thai spices make a pretty spectacular soup. We usually use hot water to make our soups unless keeping cool is desirable; a chilled pea and fresh mint soup was a favourite on some of the really hot days of the summer.

Raw Beetroot Hummus

It still takes us a little by surprise when we’re asked whether or not beetroot can be eaten raw; it’s our preferred way to eat it. A ruby red salad made with grated beetroot and carrot, apples, raisins, coriander and walnuts is a feast for the eyes as well as a wonderful sweet and crunchy salad. But as the weather is cooling, there’s another way to enjoy raw beetroot; as a hummus with a baked sweet potato! Sweet potatoes (unlike their more familiar relatives) can be eaten raw, and we do make soups with raw sweet potatoes, but we’ve never set out to be exclusively raw, our aim is to find ways of enjoying minimally altered natural wholefoods, and this recipe hits the mark! The hummus is both sweet and spicy owing to the beetroot and the addition of cumin and chilli, and along with a sweet potato, we have simplicity and luxury all on one plate.

If you’d like to find out a little more about raw food (or indeed, if you’re already a fan!), there’s an event which might appeal called !Raw! Eat Your Way to Health at Spark York at the end of this month. It’s a meal, provided by York Nurturing Community, preceded by a talk given by us! Details are here.

As always, we’re happy to hear from you if you want to get in touch.

~ Annette & Graham