HEMSLEY & HEMSLEY

the art of eating well. HEMSLEY & HEMSLEY is Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley. We are a London based family business for people who want to live healthier and more energised lives. We make whole, organic, nutrient filled, delicious homemade foods, free of grain, gluten, high starch and refined sugar. We want to share the food we love cooking and eating. This blog is all about food that changes the way we feel. Check out our new website www.hemsleyandhemsley.com

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Summer minestrone with buckwheat spirals & basil oil

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Just like our vegetable packed broccoli, ginger and white bean, miso carrot, mexican squash and watercress soups, Minestrone is also a great way of getting nourishing bone broth into you - don’t underestimate the benefits of a good old fashioned stock! Remember to keep hold of the bones from an organic roast as simmering them away for hours will leave you with a wonderfully flavourful bone broth full of nourishing goodness and best of all, free.

Nowadays, the peasant meal of Minestrone, is one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine and is a stand alone dish in it’s own right. Although the ingredients do vary across Italy, the recipes are generally adhered to rather than throwing everything into a pot and hoping for the best. After a recent trip to Riverford Farm however, we decided to create a minestrone using just fresh ingredients - our pickings of the best of summer veg; tomatoes, courgettes, aubergine and basil. The result was a delicious soup, with the flavours of a ratatouille, topped with ribbons of the robustly flavoured cavolo nero (or black cabbage to us) - a favourite in Italian soups. Instead of the usual refined wheat flour pasta we used pasta spirals made from naturally gluten-free buckwheat (fyi buckwheat is not wheat!) and 20% rice.

 

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But remember you can use this recipe as inspiration, just as we do with most recipes. To us minestrone still qualifies as a ‘leftover special’ - when the ingredients are in season, the stock is rich, and you’ve got some black pepper and quality parmesan to hand it’s always going to taste good! Adapt the recipe with whatever odds and ends you have in the fridge - try leftover summer veg such as broad beans or peas, add cooked quinoa and root veggies like squash. Make it light and brothy as a starter or thick and hearty for a main meal. Save the rinds from Parmesan and other hard cheeses and pop into your soup for extra flavour, scooping them out just before you serve. This soup can come together in 40 minutes but you could also put everything (aside from the buckwheat spirals) into the slowcooker and let it simmer gently over the course of the day. Make a big batch of this soup ready for light suppers and packed lunches and freeze portions to eat on a rainy day.

http://www.vogue.co.uk/beauty/2013/08/28/hemsley-hemsley-summer-minestrone-buckwheat-pasta-basil-oil

Bye Bye B.I.T.E

Beach In The East - the fun pop up store by Yasmin Sewell, hidden away in an East London basement, is now over for the UK…

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Our Psychadelic Beach Blondies marked the opening and so too they marked the closing - a taste of summer in a totally psychadelic way.

B.I.T.E is now making it’s way over to Japan but sorry, these blondies are refined sugar and preservative free - they just won’t travel!

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http://www.vogue.co.uk/blogs/the-vogue-blog/2013/08/23/hemsley-and-hemsleys-beach-blondies

Part 2 - Riverford Farm

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Here is Part 2 of a road trip discovering delicious and nutritious homegrown British foods.

Riverford Farm in Buckfastleigh, Devon.

Our second visit was to Buckfastleigh, home to Riverford, the award-winning organic vegbox business.

25 years ago Guy Watson started delivering vegetables locally to 30 friends and neighbours. Today, the family business delivers an astonishing 40,000 boxes a week nationally from its five farms and network of British farmers. We use Riverford veg when cooking for our private clients and catering events and recommend them to everyone!

We caught up with Rachel and assistant harvest manager Ed Scott to hear more about the Riverford ethos and the benefits of buying seasonal and organic produce.

Watch our video

The Riverford philosophy of farming is to grow and harvest food that tastes good, regardless of size, shape or fashion. They also strongly believe in convenience. People assume that organic food is harder to get hold of, whereas with the Riverford box scheme, seasonal fruit and vegetables are delivered straight to your door. The time it takes to get from the field to your doorstep is typically much shorter than the route food takes to arrive on supermarket shelves. For most of the produce it’s as little as just two days.

This approach to veggie picking may seem obvious to those not in the profession, but with conventional farming the reality is that you’d never eat straight from the field as the veg would taste terrible. You’d need to wash off all the chemicals that had been sprayed over them before putting them anywhere near your mouth. It’s an exciting and encouraging sign that everything here tastes great directly from the ground. You can’t get fresher than that!

Being 100% organic means Riverford has less yield than commercial farms, but the benefits this brings its 40,000 plus customers are unbeatable. Firstly, organic is better for you: organic farms don’t spray their crops with a mixture of nerve toxins, fungicides and herbicides. Research suggests organic food has higher nutritious value, and judging by the taste of the tomatoes, plums and redcurrants the flavour is much stronger too.

Ed explained that people are becoming used to eating vegetables out of season – which isn’t necessarily a good thing. For example, strawberries are readily available in the UK all year round. However, strawberries in December are never going to taste as good as strawberries in June. They will have been shipped from abroad in a process taking anything up to a week which will compromise the flavour. And you’ll pay a pretty penny for the privilege of eating totally average fruit. There’s a reason vegetables grow at certain times of the year. They offer nutrients we need to keep us safe from lurgies in winter or to keep our energy levels up during long summer nights.

Secondly, organic farming is good for the environment. There’s more biodiversity and soil life, less polluted watercourses, less fossil fuels, and a lower carbon footprint. It’s all about having respect for the land. Not depleting the soil, but adding natural elements that will help it flourish.

Back in the kitchen, we chose courgettes as their main ingredient for their Riverford recipe, complimented by other summer veg including ripe tomatoes, red peppers and purple basil with a wonderful aniseed bite.

Courgettes are not only one of our favourite vegetables as they are so versatile and affordable. They love plenty of heat and moisture, which luckily hasn’t been in short supply this summer so there is plenty to go around.

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‘Courgetti with Red Pesto’

A wonderful seasonal summer dish, perfect for a light dinner, using the best of Riverford’s organic summer veg

Ingredients (use organic ingredients where possible)

Serves 6

6 large courgettes 1.5kg
60g parmesan
90g cashews (soaked for 4-6 hours then drained and rinsed)
2 large handfuls of fresh basil
1 large red pepper 200g
800g cherry tomatoes
6 cloves of garlic (do not peel but wrap the bundle of cloves in foil)
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1 large pinch of sea salt
1 large pinch of black pepper
Fresh red chilli - add a little at first

Instructions

- Preheat the oven to 180C

-       Halve the red pepper and lay on a baking tray with the whole cherry tomatoes. Roast the tomatoes and pepper slowly in the oven for 90 mins - 2 hours  to reduce the moisture and concentrate their sweet flavor.  Halfway through, add the foil covered garlic to the roasting tray

- Squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins into the blender, then add the  roasted tomatoes and pepper as well as the rinsed cashews, parmesan, balsamic vinegar and almost all of the basil (save some for decorating)  Blend until you have made a chunky sauce.  Taste for seasoning

- Use a spiraliser to turn the courgettes into long strips that resemble spaghetti then combine the sauce and courgetti in a large bowl and mix through with your hands

- Pile everything into a dish, scatter with extra basil, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and enjoy!

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Watch our video

www.riverford.co.uk

Roasted frangipane peaches

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We’re peachy keen on raw peaches with raw, full-fat cream (!) but this is the one time of year that you can roast a peach and get away with it. Peach season starts in July - a time when the first peach of the year should be enjoyed au naturel, celebrating the (hopefully) long summer to come. Whilst roasting a peach might seem like a crime, it’s now peak season so they are bountiful and at their best price. Seasonal eating is not just about taste - it’s about the savings!

Enter a very easy pudding. It’s simple and rustic, it’s hot and sweet. Mix up our almond topping, known as a frangipane, spread it over half a peach and roast. The result is individual little puds that look like muffins or mini peach cobblers with soft “peachy bottoms” (sorry couldn’t resist). They have a crumbly cake layer in the middle and a smooth crunchy golden top “like an amaretti biscuit” said our Italian friend Stephanie who popped by just as we opened the oven.

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Frangipane, pronounced fran-jee-pan-ee, is the common name of a flowering tree and also the name of an almond cream, used in pastries, fruit tarts (think Bakewell) and the ever popular almond croissant. Frangipane is not to be confused with marzipan, though they have a similar flavour thanks to their almond paste base - almonds plus sugar. To avoid this refined sugar and control the sweetness of our little peach desserts we’ve used organic ground almonds with a little pure grade maple syrup.  So what’s the difference? Well, after the four chemical processes it takes to get refined sugar there is no nutritional value left. With maple syrup, however, the maple sap is simply heated to remove the water and bottled. It’s sweet and good for you and far more satisfying thanks to its nutritional content, including good levels of zinc, manganese and calcium - refined sugar look away.

But remember any sugar still has an effect on blood glucose so aim to reduce your sweet tooth and always balance it with fat and protein like we do here with pastured butter, organic free range eggs and almonds. This batch only needs a tablespoon of pure maple syrup to sweeten it, (actually only two thirds of a tablespoon will do for us) then a little Nielsen Massey almond extract gives it that marzipan oomph without the sugar - Mel only likes  a hint. Vanilla or orange blossom also make delicious variants.

Pair the little frangipane peaches with Coyo coconut yoghurt (as we did in our cherry trifle) or a dollop of full fat probiotic yoghurt for a sunny Sunday breakfast. For guests, nothing beats a quenelle of Hook & Sons’ thick raw cream or some gingered crème fraîche.

Almonds and peaches are perfect partners - a peach “seed” looks just like an almond. They are part of  the same Prunus family - along with nectarines, plums, cherries and apricots - so remember that frangipane can transform any of these fruits into something amazing. If you like this combination of almonds and fruit then make sure you try out our other gluten-free, whole food puddings: apple crumble, cherry trifle, banana bread, strawberry and custard tarts and apple tarts.

http://www.vogue.co.uk/beauty/2013/08/22/hemsley-and-hemsley-roasted-frangipane-peaches-recipe

Visiting WILD BEEF

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Watch our Video

Wild Beef at Hillhead Farm, Chagford, Devon with Richard and Lizzie Vines

The first stop on our road trip is in the heart of Dartmoor where the wild pasture is home to Richard Vines’ herd of freely roaming cows.

Wild Beef is a family-run business that produces natural, grass-reared and grass-finished beef, which is packed with nutrients. The Vines’ 70 plus native cows are allowed to graze as they please, with calves and mothers living together. They browse on land free from artificial herbicides and pesticides.  The cattle are never fed on unnatural high-protein finishing rations, concentrates or hormones to promote their growth; as can often be the case elsewhere. Basically, Wild Beef produce food as nature intended.

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The Vines’ old-fashioned approach not only rears the cows in the most respectful way possible, ensuring they enjoy quality of life, but also results in the most nutritious  (full of Omega 3, 6 and 9, minerals and trace elements) and tasty beef the country has to offer. It also cooks quickly and keeps extremely well as it’s free from impurities.

We were lucky enough to join Richard when the herd was moving from a hay field they’d been enjoying to meadows higher on the hills. They would then be moved onto the moor a few days later. Moving them to fresh pastures like this ensures that they always have access to the best grass available. This ‘Cow Drive’ is part of the Vines’ farming philosophy; to give the animals diverse grazing for the healthiest and most delicious farmed meat that money can buy. The cows literally tell Richard (by sitting down and moo’ing) when they’re bored of a certain pasture, an indication that they want to be moved.

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Richard explained to the sisters that for supermarkets to keep prices at such a low rate, there has to be a compromise and it’s the quality that suffers. Interestingly, previous generations spent more on their weekly food shop than we are currently spending. In order to improve the quality and nutritional content of meat, along with availability and affordability, people need to use their buying power to ask more questions about where their meat comes from, and create a greater demand in the future. The best butchers will know the farm where the meat has come from, and be able to confirm if the animals have been reared in a friendly way and fed naturally. A good butcher will be delighted to talk to you about the provenance of their meat.

Championing cheap cuts from high quality meat, Lizzie Vines cooked up one of her favourites using shin of beef - one of the cheapest cuts and, luckily for all of us, one of the most nutritious. It has plenty of bone marrow to satisfy and nourish. Fat is also crucial to flavour; everything in moderation! The girls added a twist using one of Lizzie’s farmer markets finds – oaked smoked tomatoes - to bring this wonderfully delicious dish into the summer.

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Lizzie Vines, Wild Beef Stew

Serves 8-10
A slowcooked, one pot, melt-in-the-mouth stew with a sweet and smokey gravy. Lizzie’s twist on a classic beef stew is to leave out the root veg and celery and instead use oak smoked tomatoes found near her own stall at Borough Market. These tasty aromatic, sun dried tomatoes are a wonderful way to lighten the stew and turn it into a summer dish.  If you have trouble finding these tomatoes then use fresh or tinned tomatoes instead, reduce the amount of water and up the tomato puree to keep it rich. A few pinches of sweet smoked paprika will provide the subtle smokey flavour.

The stew freezes beautifully and tastes even better the next day and even the day after that, so don’t be put off by the number  of people the recipe serves. This dish really is a doddle - quick prep, slow cook and maximum appreciation from everyone who is lucky enough to eat it!

Ingredients (use organic ingredients where possible)

2kg beef shin cut into rounds with marrow bones included
2-3 large onions roughly chopped
6 medium carrots, chopped into large batons (you don’t want them to disintegrate during the cooking)
2 x 180g pots of oak smoked tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1 round tablespoon ghee or butter
Approximately 1 litre hot water

Instructions

  • If using the oven, preheat to 140C.
  • Start by removing the tough outer skin from the beef shins - but leave the fat on!
  • Season the meat with a quality sea salt and black pepper.
  • Heat a little ghee or butter in a casserole pan and gently fry the onions and carrots for 5 minutes before adding the beef shins, tomato puree and drained smoked tomatoes.
  • Add enough hot water to just cover everything and bring to a low boil.
  • Pop the lid on and put in the oven for 3-4 hours on approximately 140C, checking and stirring occasionally. If you are cooking on the hob, simmer away gently for 3-4 hours.  
  • You can start cooking this up to 8 hours in advance and keep it on the lowest simmer - we often use our slow cooker and keep it bubbling all day.
  • Serve with cauliflower mash and raw red cabbage salad or green cabbage wilted in butter

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You can buy Wild Beef from selected food markets in Somerset and London. Wild Beef can be found at Borough Market, every Friday & Saturday, in Broadway Market, Hackney, every Saturday, and Wells Market, every Wednesday. Wild Beef is also available as mail order: wildbeef.co.uk - so even if you live far away you have no excuse!

Watch our Video

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Happy Birthday Leenie

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A cinnamon, almond and butternut cake with a raw honey, cottage cheese and lemon frosting.

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On the Road to Thoughtful Eating

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We’re excited to announce our summer tour: On the Road to Thoughtful Eating.

WATCH OUR INTRO VIDEO

 
Join us as we set off to discover delicious home grown British foods.

We’ll be visiting our favourite producers, farmers and fishmongers to get the low down on the country’s tastiest wholesome, organic and nutrient filled foods. We’ll be trailing Britain’s green fields and country lanes to meet with like-minded family businesses to unravel the essence of thoughtful eating: rediscovering the heritage of our food, and understanding what we’re feeding ourselves and loved ones.

Follow us as we share new recipes, as well as videos and photos from our travels. 

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This picture makes us feel sunny and happy despite the rain - insert your own inspirational message for today!

This picture makes us feel sunny and happy despite the rain - insert your own inspirational message for today!

(Source: hotelginger)

A poem by Shelley

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On Hampstead Heath

dreaming of beef

made by Hemsley and Hemsley.

They flatten your tum

with their food so yum,

oh what a lovely Wednesday.

 

Thank you Shelley! How intuitive you are - we’ll have a new beef recipe this time next week. We’re on our way to find some of the best beef in the UK!

Roast chicken with onion, fennel & lemon

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A pretty foolproof, one-tray roast - even one of our best friends, a self-confessed cooking phobic managed to pull this one off at the eleventh hour while putting her kid to bed and tidying the house for last minute guests.

Only four ingredients (if you don’t count the salt and pepper) - onion, fennel, lemon and chicken, in that order!  And no need to marinade or prep the meat in any way. These four ingredients are so inherently special that together they create something wonderful, the lovely aroma from the oven does not give you that smelly hair and clothing you often get when slaving over a stove - always a bonus if you’re expecting guests.

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We use chicken thighs for this dish - succulent, juicy and full of flavour as they are very forgiving to cook, running much less risk of becoming dry like the average chicken breast - and for taste, there is no comparison. With the modern day trend of clean and lean meat, Britain has developed a preference for breast. We eat 56-day-old chickens (with bigger breasts) in comparison to other countries which rear older birds for more substantial leg meat. As ever, the nutritional and beneficial factors are going to depend on the quality of your food. It’s absolutely worth seeking out naturally-reared meat (shame we even have to say this!) - we’re talking pasture-raised, hormone and antibiotic-free. We prefer buying our meat from our local butchers - Ginger Pig and Wild Beef at Borough Market.

Remember the quality is not about the cut, it’s about the provenance of the meat - a healthy animal doesn’t have unhealthy dark meat. The natural fats one might fear are actually nourishing us - we need fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. And, in any case, an organic free-range bird is leaner since it is able to live naturally with plenty of exercise and on a non-bulking diet. Meanwhile, did we mention that along with the benefits of taste and nutrition the darker meat is much cheaper so what’s not to love?

http://www.vogue.co.uk/beauty/2013/08/14/hemsley-and-hemsley-roast-chicken-with-onions-fennel-lemon

Happy birthday mum

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It was mum’s day today.  No not mothering Sunday (as one of her little nephew’s thought) - it just happened to be her birthday, on a Sunday, today…and she’s our mum!

What to give your mum when she can’t keep her presents to herself and just loves giving it all away?

Well the first idea was easy - food. 

Our mum loves having family round and enjoying some home cooked food, no fancy restaurants for her, she loves our cooking the best!

Though it wasn’t his birthday Dad carefully considered then dictated the menu - an easy one tray roast of chicken thighs on a bed of onion, fennel and lemon, super simple, with loads of vegetable sides to nibble on. We decided it should be a VOGUE recipe this week so look out for it in a couple of days.

Starters were a choice of smoked salmon pate, mushroom pate or our raw courgette humus (out in the Guardian Cook supplement soon) with gem lettuce leaves to carry them.

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Pudding was chosen over a traditional cake so we quickly baked up our chocolate molton puddings, cooking them a little longer to solidify. They were then cooled and eased out of their ramekins, topped with a hot sauce of stewed summer berries and drizzled with a creme fraiche, yogurt and honey mix. It’s the second time we’ve served them this way after trialling it on Father’s day when our dad declared them ‘our best yet’ - a fierce compliment where we come from.

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Then the next part of the gift had to be beauty ‘stuff’. We made her sample them straight away, while mentioning that they don’t last forever, so that she can indulge in them guilt free with the knowledge that they couldn’t be gifted to others (don’t mums just love to keep the best for others - no mum, it’s for YOU!).

The going off part is kind of true anyway as these little potion pots contain natural magic - but no preservatives. They’ve got around 6 months, unlike the other bits and pieces on our bathroom shelves that hang around for years, so handle with care and enjoy the results. The quality of these little products is immense which means they don’t all come cheap but boy are they worth it. 

The first bottle is a company called Pai, only recently discovered - we started using their super concentrated orange coloured Rosehip oil a few weeks ago but the effects were immediate - we were impressed enough to buy one for our mum and she was sold on the smell alone.

The second is one of, if not THE best non-toxic eye creams on the market. It’s by Tata Harper, an American company specialising in natural skincare technology. It’s super pricy but a teeny tiny bit really does go a long way, which is great because the eye area doesn’t take well too being soaked in stuff anyway.

The third product was on her wish list.  Mum has taken our cue and ditched the foaming facewash, which tends to strip the skin, for something utterly gentle but incredibly nourishing - our big love, Angel Balm by Alexandra Soveral -  definitely the best way to wind down for bed and wake up angelic.

You can find Pai and Tata Harper at Content Beauty, Marylebone, London and Angel Balm online and at Daniel Hersheson, Harvey Nichols.

Meanwhile keep your eyes peeled for the roast chicken dish, it’s another of our favourite things…like you mum!

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Thank you Liz

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We received a little gift the other day, via a messenger - some very pretty condiments of colourful, flavourful salt!

We haven’t had a chance to catch up with her yet but we assume it’s a souvenir from her travels.  Our friend Liz loves food and health, a true Australian, and she always has her eyes peeled for new ingredients and recipes.

The last time she treated us she sent a brown paper bag of dried stevia leaves from Peru (which looked a bit suspect!). This was the real deal stevia, the first time we had tasted the actual plant - delicious in a rooibos tea with vanilla.

This time 2 salt sachets appeared - one was flavoured with blueberries and the other with activated charcoal.We’re looking forward to trying these out - the list of suggestions on the back mentions it goes with everything - including whale!  So we assume she’s fresh back from Iceland (well the ‘Made in Iceland’ was more the giveaway).

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The ‘Go-To’ Green smoothie-soup

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This is our go-to smoothie for those times we’ve been deprived of raw green food (excellent after-flight care!) or need to balance an earlier rich meal. This dish is alkalising, hydrating, cleansing, antioxidant-rich and easy to digest - not to mention its minimal prep time.

The beauty of this recipe is that with just a few simple tweaks it can be transformed from a green smoothie to a green soup - by just adding garlic, salt and spices it becomes raw and savoury, like a gazpacho. With this little trick you can chop and change the basic recipe to suit your taste buds. To counteract a sugar or salt overdose just concoct the opposite version - a bit like craving chocolate to fix the salt from a packet of crisps or vice versa - but of course in a much more subtle and natural way!

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Weight for weight and calorie for calorie, leafy greens are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet - but we can’t fill up on them all day long. For one, they require an awful lot of chewing to extract their goodness and secondly, they are so fibrous that they would fill up our bellies well before being able to provide the energy that we need for day-to-day activities. To maintain their shape, plant cells have a cellulose wall which is indigestible by the human body, making it very difficult to access their many nutrients. That is why for most people a good diet would consist of the addition of more calorific nutrient foods such as fatty nuts, seeds and oils and more protein-rich, less fibrous foods such as animal products.

It’s true that some plant foods are high in protein and whilst some of the largest and strongest mammals on earth are vegetarian we do not possess their big jaws or the digestive systems of a cow or rhino!

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So man’s secret weapon to bypass our physiological limitations was fire and a cooking pot. Once we had those we were suddenly able to access far more nutrients - not only those in animal bones (think bone broth) but also by breaking down the cellulose of plant foods through cooking.

And now we have the blender. Blending our greens also allows us to break up this cellulose and have access to more nutrients - the creamier the better. You’ll need a strong blender - otherwise use spinach over kale and chop the ginger, celery and cucumber into small chunks too. We love our Vitamix - a big investment for the kitchen but one that we use as often as our kettle! It makes short work of these meals and is a doddle to clean.

But we must remember not to depend on this shortcut alone - blending the fibre speeds up digestion so if you dump this meal into your stomach quickly it can cause a big rise in blood sugar and insulin levels and then a massive fall. Consider how long it would take you to chew all those vegetables whole. So the rules are with all food that you put into your mouth, whole or otherwise - chew it well and go slow. That’s right folks - you even have to chew a smoothie… or a soup!

http://www.vogue.co.uk/beauty/2013/08/09/hemsley-and-hemsley-go-to-green-smoothie-recipe