Happy New Year hangover juice

It’s time to reflect on the year that has been, and celebrate the arrival of a new one. In recent years, we’ve seen in the New Year in some pretty different places – an Indian jungle, on the street in the centre of Bangkok and, last year, in a local Chinese restaurant. All have been memorable, but this year is my favourite way of celebrating – a crowd at a friends house. Good conversation, lots of laughs and a relaxed atmosphere. And of course, lots of alcohol!

No matter how careful I am, I always seem to feel hungover on New Year’s Day, even if I’ve not been drinking! Maybe it’s the combination of excitement and a late night, but telling signs of headache, tiredness and lethargy always seem to rear their unpleasant head.

A hangover is a combination of dehydration and an accumulation of toxins from the alcohol plus a low blood sugar which affects your brain. This can lead to a stonking headache, nausea, vomiting, lethargy and insomnia. Keeping well hydrated is key, so having a glass of water to every glass of alcohol helps. An extra good guzzle of water before going to bed along with a little snack should also smooth the way to a better morning after along with a milk thistle tablet (this helps support your liver detoxifying everything). Of course, you need to be in a reasonable state to do all this before collapsing in a post-party heap!

This year I’m armed with vegetables and fruit that will aid a faster recovery in the morning. – a juice that helps rehydrate, detox and settle a disturbed stomach. A combination of beetroot, celery, apple, carrot, lemon and ginger should do the trick.Beetroot is your liver’s best friend when it comes to excess as it helps remove toxins and is packed full of anti-oxidants. Celery is high in potassium and sodium and so helps with replacing those electrolytes lost with dehydration. Carrots are packed full of vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant, B6 (good for the liver) as well as potassium. Apples also rate high with vitamin C and potassium and can help settle the digestion; ginger does the same and can reduce any nausea that might be hanging around. Finally, lemon provides another shot of vitamin C and can also provide some additional phyto-nutrients.  If you fancy, a couple of handfuls of spinach can be thrown in for good measure; loads of B vitamins provide additional support to your liver.

There’s still time to make sure your fridge is stocked up ready for the morning after – give it a go and your body will love you for it!

Wishing you a very happy and healthy New Year!

Hangover juice (serves 1 poorly person)
1 medium beetroot
1 large carrot
1-2 sticks celery
1 large apple
chunk fresh ginger
1/2 lemon
couple of handfuls spinach (optional)
Put all the ingredients into a juicer to extract all the goodness. I like to add my spinach separately, by putting the juice into a blender, then popping in the spinach and whizzing it all up.  Add water if you desire and consume with gusto, or great care, depending on how delicate you’re feeling!

Broad bean spread – surprisingly good.

Bearing in mind I eat a plant based diet, it’s just as well that I like most vegetables. And as time goes by and tastes change, I’ve found those that I didn’t like when I was younger seem to be more palatable today; celery is an example of this. I couldn’t stand the stuff and had no idea how people could just munch away on celery sticks and nothing else to disguise the flavour. Nowadays, I have to admit I’ve discovered it’s not as bad as previously thought, and can munch away quite happily with the rest of them!

Broad beans, however, have been more of a challenge. I developed a real aversion to them, maybe connected tochildhood memories of my dad’s vegetable patch. I can’t remember him growing anything else but broad beans (which I’m sure is not true!) and vividly recall having them served up as a vegetable, forcing myself to eat them so as not to offend his wonderful green fingered efforts. But to me they were bitter, woody nuggets that had an odd tangy aroma and I really didn’t enjoy them one bit.

My dad eventually gave up growing veg and so for years I managed to avoid broad beans; if they appeared in a dish at a restaurant I would pick them out and leave them on the side as even the smell of them was too much.

Broad beans seems to have become quite trendy in the last few years, popularised by celebrity chefs and featuring as a seasonal crop in my weekly veg box. But still I managed to avoid them, changing my box order to ensure they didn’t get delivered. Browsing through recipes recently, I realised that maybe the broad beans of my childhood could have been more tasty if they had been served in a different way.

The beans come in a large, thick fibrous pod that, unlike other beans, can’t be eaten. Once shelled, they have a greyish-green outer cover – if the beans are very young and tender, apparently this layer tastes ok, but if the beans are larger and more mature, it’s bitter and unpleasant – the feature of my childhood memories! Broad beans have to be double podded. This may be well known, but it was a revelation to me!  Once shelled, they should be popped into boiling water and simmered for a few minutes, drained and refreshed with cold water. Then the outer skin comes off quite easily to reveal gorgeously vibrant, tender green beans underneath.

Now, they still have a ‘broad bean taint’ to them, but they certainly taste quite different, and the bitterness changes to a fresh, almost sweet taste. For me, I still can’t eat them by themselves, but fortunately they combine well with other flavours, particularly mint for a vibrant, spring flavour. Which is good news, as broad beans are actually really good for you and a great source of protein in a plant based whole food diet. On top of that, they are an amazing source of fibre, essential for maintaining gut health, as well as a whole range of B vitamins, iron, manganese and potassium, although some of that will be lost in the cooking process.

Even though I find broad beans slightly more acceptable, I still avoid having them; last week I forgot to change my veg box order though, and a whole bag of them arrived. Eating dairy free and plant based can sometimes create lunch time challenges, especially with sandwich fillings; sometimes even hummus can get boring.  So I decided to create a broad bean based spread; I found a couple of recipes but they included a large amount of oil which I try to avoid. So instead, I just went the natural route and simply combined broad beans, mint, peas and a little seasoning. It makes a green gloop which has a fabulously rich but fresh flavour and is amazingly healthy with no added fat and all that great fibre.

With a taste like this, I seem to have become a broad bean convert – give a go and see what you think.

Broad bean, pea and mint spread
300g broad bean, podded150g peas (frozen is fine)
handful fresh mint
small clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
Bring a pan of water to the boil and simmer broad beans for a few minutes until the skin starts to wrinkle (try to ignore the strong broad bean aroma that reminds you of your childhood!). Add the peas near the end to cook for a couple of minutes. Drain and refresh with cold water. Once the eans are cool enough to handle, peel off the tough outer layer. Put the beans, peas, mint, garlic, salt and pepper into a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and add extra seasoning if required. Serve either on toasted baguette, baked potato, as a dip, with a salad, or however you so desire.

Lip-smacking lime dressing

If you read my post about vitamin C and, like me, are looking for ways to increase your daily intake, try this amazingly gorgeous lime, ginger and chilli dressing. So often dressings contain some form of dairy, it’s great to have one that’s completely dairy free. And it’s so tasty you can’t believe it’s so good for you!

The combination of fresh lime, ginger and chilli is so fresh and wonderfully healthy that it puts a smile on your face, and in your belly! Lime is packed full of vitamin C and flavonoids which act as anti-oxidants and also have antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic properties. It’s great for the digestion, stimulating the release of digestive juices as well as aiding the whole digestive process.

Ginger has fabulous medicinal properties, and the good news is you only need a little to get the benefits. It also works on the digestive system, particularly on reducing gas! It has many anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and is particularly good for joint pains. It’s also anti-carcinogenic and boosts your immunity – amazing properties in such an ordinary looking root.

Finally, chilli is also packed with vitamin C, A and B complex and adds a fiery kick to this zingy dressing.

This dressing works brilliantly in Thai style salads, with baked salmon, or any dish that can handle a fresh, sharp dressing – in this case with roasted sweet potato slices and watercress – a seriously delicious, nutrient-packed lunch. All dairy free but definitely not taste free!

Ginger, lime and chilli dressing
Juice of one large lime
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
salt
2 teaspoons agave syrup*
Mix all the ingredients together and taste – adjust the flavours accordingly before pouring over your dish of choice and enjoy!

*I used agave syrup to make this dressing vegan, but runny honey can be used instead, just check how strong the flavour is before using too much