I’m a convert. I’ve been initiated into the world of smoothies.
Inspired by the request for an ‘Alien Food’ cooking lesson at St James’ Primary School, I too have ventured into a somewhat mysterious and unfamiliar world..
This has long been the domain of my wife (For The Wellness Of Winter) and her dawn blender sessions that act as my daily alarm clock.
This recipe is just so perfectly quick and easy, but more importantly for me, the result is more ‘juice’ than ‘smoothie’ (personally I struggle with texture of smoothies).
Today’s four classes proved that children just adore this recipe, even though it’s loaded with raw spinach – a great way to pack in essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Ingredients: (1 glass)
- 100g Baby Spinach
- 1/2 Lime
- 125ml Apple Juice
- 1/2 Banana
- Wash your spinach, peel your banana and squeeze the juice from your lime.
- Blend it!
If you have a Nutri Ninja/Bullet then great, but a normal blender will be just fine. The baby spinach leaves are not fibrous like kale so you won’t be left with any pulp.
Yet another ‘Superfood’. As long as you didn’t go too mad on picking the Elderflowers earlier in the year, the fruit of the Elder Tree can be foraged in Autumn and transformed into a number of delightful offerings. This year we decided on elderberry cordial for its lovely flavour, versatility in the kitchen, and medicinal properties (not only are they packed with antioxidants, but some studies have shown success in prevention and treatment of Influenza).
If you’re making cordial or syrup, you’ll simply require the addition of sugar, water and perhaps a few Cloves or Star Anise.
Starting with your basket of Elderberry heads, the first thing you’ll need to do is separate the berries from the stalks. This is important as Elder foliage is poisonous, but thankfully, it’s rather easy. All you need is a regular fork. Surprisingly satisfying it is too.
Give them a good rinse to remove any creepy crawlies that may be lurking.
Pop them in a large pot or ideally a preserving pan, although not many people have these unlike in the good old days. Top the pan up with just enough water to cover them, and then simmer for about 20 minutes.
Next is to strain the Elderberries through muslin cloth to remove the skins and all the little bits. You’ll be left with a rather attractive looking liquid.
Nearly there. Measure how much liquid you have, and then add about 450g of sugar for each pint (568ml). At this point you can add in some whole Cloves or Star Anise for a bit of background spice. Boil for 10 minutes until thick and then remove any spices.
Bottle it up in sterilised bottles or jars and you’re done. Keep it in your fridge once opened.
The children enjoy it diluted with water – particularly sparkling. Now we’re looking forward to the colder months so we can drink it with hot water.
Next year, Elderberry Liqueur…