Authentic Italian Bruschetta spreads made the organic way

If you love Italian food as much as me, you’ll be toccare il cielo* about this news.

Sunita, the organic food makers, have brought out a range of authentic Italian Bruschetta spreads.

Most of us don’t really know much about bruschettas, so here’s some information, with the help of Quatro Fromaggio food blogger, Paulo.

A bruschetta is traditionally served as a starter and was first developed five centuries ago in central and south Italy.

bruschetta organic

Bruschetta makes a delicious starter

It is normally created using a mix of fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil and served on toasted bread; in fact, the name comes from ‘bruscare’, the latin for the verb to toast. It’s crucial that the topping does not make the bread too soggy, so it’s best to add the spread just a short time before serving.

As Sunita’s range shows, toppings can be a Tomato spread, Porcini Mushrooms, Mixed Olives or a spread made from Red Pepper. But it’s only once you add the vegetables to the toast that you have your bruschetta – the name never refers to the topping alone.

While Sunita’s bruschetta spreads are potted, they are made from organic ingredients to create fresh, vibrant Italian flavours with a satisfying consistency.

Paulo goes on to offer his own recipe for Italian bruschetta – it sounds delicious, but it’s worth keeping a few of  jars of Sunita’s Bruschetta Spreads in the cupboard as back-up too.

* touching the sky

How to make your risotto taste good

It seems almost blasphemous to say it, but risotto rice has no flavour.

In truth, the highly prized arborio rice gets all its taste from the other ingredients - the real reason why the grain is so much better than other forms of rice is that it has that wonderfully succulent risotto texture.

If you’re happy to continue making risotto with normal rice then read no further, but, if you know that your destiny in life is to cook the perfect risotto, then I have an exciting tip for you…

wild rice and arborio risotto

Make risotto flavours intense

Search the internet and you can find hundreds of recipes mixing arborio rice with wild rice – which has bundles of flavour. It explains why companies like Biona Organic are now selling mixed bags of arborio and wild rice together.

Carl Hiehn, who writes the 24 Carrots blog, has 5 tips to make the perfect risotto and includes a tempting recipe for lemon, wild rice and herb risotto if you’re interested.

In his experience, a good risotto comes down to the wine, how you use the stock, how much you stir it and what herbs and cheese you use.

I can certainly agree on the wine front but, looking at his recipe I might just be persuaded on the need for wild rice too.

For further inspiration, check out Felicity Cloake’s extensive piece of the art of cooking risotto, but try a little wild rice mix too.

 

Raw power – scrumptious new spreads from Raw Health

You may have noticed that there’s been something of an explosion of nut butters lately.

If peanut butter’s not your favourite then how about macadamia or almond butter? Or maybe some chocolate tahini made with sesame seeds or a spread made from pumpkin seeds? (I know they’re not nuts but you get the idea.)

It seems as if this is only the beginning. Raw Health have introduced two new enticing flavours.

raw chocolate spread

Raw chocolate bliss

  • Cacao Brazilnut Bliss – an organic chocolate spread made with brazil nuts  and a mix of agave syrup and hemp oil
  • Super Seed Spread – organic seed mix blended from  sunflower, pumpkin, flax and hemp seeds

You don’t have to read the ingredients twice to realise how nutritious these spreads are. The nuts and seeds are kept at a temperature of 44 degrees to ensure the nutrients and enzymes reach you in peak condition.

You’ll love the chocolate spread on toast –  it’s not too sweet and perhaps much healthier than many other chocolate spreads.

As for the Seed Spread, Cook Vegetarian Magazine reports that it is “filling, oily and scrumptious, it would make a great substitute for a dairy spread.”

Both have won awards, so maybe it’s time to see if Raw Health can be your winning spread.

 

Pasta coeliacs will love – organic gluten-free fusilli

Last night I was feeling hungry, so I had some of the noodles I’d bought from our office at GoodnessDirect. These were no ordinary noodles…

First of all they were made from buckwheat which is significant because buckwheat is a seed, not a grain. In other words it’s gluten-free because it doesn’t carry the proteins that coeliacs don’t handle.

Secondly, these noodles were flavoured with green tea. Call me strange, but I kinda liked them.

buckwheat pasta

100% buckwheat pasta

But I’m not trying to persuade you to eat crazy foods. The truth is, buckwheat pasta without the funny flavours is nice enough. I’d say it is nicer than ordinary pasta. There’s a kind of sweet nuttiness to it which is completely missing from ordinary pasta.

Amisa Organic make a buckwheat fusilli which is, of course, organic, but also vegan, wheat free and dairy free.

I don’t know if you’re a pasta enthusiast but fusilli is one of my favourites. The spirals help to capture the flavour of whichever sauce you eating it with. So imagine a sweet nutty pasta with a creamy cheesy sauce or a piquant tomato salsa and you’ll appreciate that you’re in for a real treat.

Who knows? You might even get into trying some crazier flavours.

Meet the Superfoodies brand

Leading Superfoodies feature in The Sunday Telegraph on 24th August

Leading superfoodies feature in The Sunday Telegraph on 24th August.

Did you catch the Telegraph article on the new superfoodies?

It profiles seven women who are shaking up the world of cookery with their style of healthy eating…

Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley believe that healthy eating is part of a holistic lifestyle and their first book The Art of Eating Well has already knocked other high-profile cooks off the top of the charts.
Ella Woodward promotes healthy eating rather than counting the calories. She recently brought out the DeliciouslyElla app which is chock-full of plant-based recipes that are all free from gluten and refined sugars.
Rosemary Ferguson is a qualified naturopathic nutrition specialist whose juicing wizardry and life-mentoring aims to help people live the life they have, rather than seek to change it.
■ Similarly, vegetarian gourmet chef, Natasha Corrett’s book, Honestly Healthy For Life, brings the regimen of eating alkaline into all areas of life.
■ Others include Vogue journalist, Calgary Avansino, and Stella magazine’s Diana Henry.

There’s an Unconnected ‘Superfoodies food’ range

Of course, some health food pioneers, like Shazzie, have been advocating healthy eating for the last two decades. So it’s no surprise that her company also has a range of food called Superfoodies (which has nothing to do with the celebrities above). It remains to be seen who came up with the name first.

There's an unconnected Superfoodies food range too

There’s an unconnected Superfoodies food range too

The Superfoodies food range includes many of the healthy ingredients you’ll read about in others’ recipes such as: Himalayan salt, hemp seeds or lucuma powder. Plus there are some new innovations you may not have heard of yet: a Red Granola combining goji berries and acai or a Green Granola using coconut and spirulina.

This new superfoodie trend tends to follow along the lines where paleo, raw, plant-based and free-from diets have led before, with one major emphasis: If we are to invest in our health, then it needs to be a lot more about looking after how we live generally and not simply tweaking what we put on our plate.

Welcome to the world of the Superfoodie.

Pope Francis’ favourite drink: South American Mate

Did you notice that, among his many other achievements, Pope Francis has introduced a new drink to the world?

As a true Argentinian, Pope Francis enjoys a drink of mate – the South American green tea traditionally shared by hardened Gaucho cowboys.

The key word here is ‘shared’ because, as the Pope’s favourite drink, mate (pronounced mah-teh) is a symbol of friendship, respect and altruism. It has the power to unite a society.

Organic Mate: the tea with the power

Dragonfly's organic mate tea

Mate: perfect taste, perfect ingredients

Social influence is not the only type of power Mate has. The beverage is prized for its clean caffeine kick. With about the same amount of caffeine as tea, Mate is believed to invigorate, revive and bring focus to your day. It’s also full of antioxidants (apparently 90% more than green tea), boosts your metabolism and aids digestion.

As an introduction to the drink, Dragonfly Tea have brought out Green Gaucho, a blend of Mate, green tea and lemongrass, which balances the earthy taste  of Mate with a softer citrus finish.

If you’re feeling in need of friendship, this organic Mate tea could be just the conversational pick-me-up you need to revive your day.

Why would you use dishwasher tablets that kill fish?

Did you know that in the UK there’s still no ban on phosphates in dishwasher powders?

In the USA, the chemical that causes river pollution started to be banned in dishwasher detergents back in 2010. But, even though phosphates aren’t allowed in laundry soap in the UK, they’re still permitted for dishwasher tablets.

Phosphates bring trouble to our rivers by causing algae to overgrow which starves the fish of oxygen – and pretty much all dishwasher tablets in the UK contain it.

Ecover phosphate free dishwasher tablets

The first eco-friendly dishwasher tablets approved by the GHI

All, that is, except Ecover’s All-In-One Dishwasher Tablets.

Using plant-based ingredients, Ecover have developed unique phosphate free tabs with rinse aid and salt action to deal with hard water and leave your cutlery stain free.

It’s approved by the Good Housekeeping Institute who say:

Ecover’s ecological phosphate and phosphonate free All-In-One Dishwasher Tablets help to keep rivers and waterways clean, homes free of nasties and crockery gleaming… The tablets produced excellent cleaning results in all programmes tested and in both machines. Glassware and cutlery was left gleaming, sparkling clean and streak free. Burnt on soils were removed.

The dishwasher tablets are available in boxes of 25 and 70 and include natural citrus ingredients for that fresh, clean fragrance. To find out more about Ecover’s green cleaning range, free from petrochemicals and phosphates, visit their GoodnessDirect shelf.