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Caffeine and Tea

plant-based cooking course jay halford

Guide:

Caffeine and Tea

Few things can compare to the feeling you get when you drink a good hot coffee or tea. I like to say that whenever you drink something warm it’s like you’re having a hot shower on the inside. It’s just lush!

Coffee plays a major role in my life. I love it! I love how it smells, I love its bitterness, I love that it’s my first thing to have in the morning. However, I got to the point where I was drinking coffee at 5pm without even thinking about it. Because I had to practice what I preached, after a while of dismissing the fact that I had turned coffee into my go-to energy booster, I started drinking more juices and all was good. However, more recently, I learned about the Ayurvedic Teas and it made me pay attention.

Ayurvedic Teas are traditional herbal teas that are meant to help people attain health, wellness and vitality. They are something else, really! I tried blending different herbs myself, following Ayurvedic recipes and a couple of them stuck with me and are my go-to whenever I need a little boost. Kadha is my favourite one, it’s an ayurvedic immune-boosting drink which is made of Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger and Black pepper boiled in water for several minutes. It’s a strong delicious kick to the body, so good! And you can enjoy it from morning to evening, too.  The other one is a bit more pungent, but incredibly comforting. It’s the Ayurvedic Tea for Body Detox, great for digestion and best consumed before nighttime. All you need to do to enjoy a cup of this one is to add dry roasted fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds to hot boiling water and let it brew for 10min. Carefully strain the tea afterwards and enjoy it while it’s warm.

Coffee plays a major role in my life. I love it! I love how it smells, I love its bitterness, I love that it’s my first thing to do in the morning. However, I got to the point where I was drinking coffee at 5pm without even thinking about it. Around the same time I learned about the Ayurvedic Teas and it made me pay attention to what I was doing.

plant-based cooking course jay halford

Ayurvedic Teas are traditional herbal teas that are meant to help people attain health, wellness and vitality. They are something else, really! I tried blending different herbs myself, following Ayurvedic recipes and a couple of them stuck with me and are my go-to whenever I need a little boost. Kadha is my favourite one, it’s an ayurvedic immune-boosting drink which is made of Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger and Black pepper boiled in water for several minutes. It’s a strong delicious kick to the body, so good! And you can enjoy it from morning to evening, too.  The other one is a bit more pungent, but incredibly comforting. It’s the Ayurvedic Tea for Body Detox, great for digestion and best consumed before nighttime. All you need to do to enjoy a cup of this one is to add dry roasted fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds to hot boiling water and let it brew for 10min. Carefully strain the tea afterwards and enjoy it while it’s warm.

Dairy Alternatives

plant-based cooking course jay halford

Guide:

Dairy Alternatives

With so many plant and nut milk options nowadays, people are starting to turn away from dairy slowly, but surely. It’s getting more and more difficult to ignore the science backing up the fact that dairy products (especially processed dairy) have negative effects on the human body.

Remember the saying, “Drink a pint of milk before you go out drinking?”

It is absolutely true as it completely lines your stomach so that nothing can be absorbed by your body. This includes the good stuff that we want to absorb too, so drinking and eating dairy can block your bodies from receiving the goodness from the food you eat.

In all the fancy restaurants that I have worked in over the years, there is a CRAZY amount of dairy used and it has become second nature to cook with bottles of cream and blocks of butter. That needs to change in your cooking from home if you want to improve your health and the quality of food that YOU are eating.

Dairy is also extremely over-processed and can contain loads of unwanted ingredients and hormones from the animals that it comes from. Natural is always best with as little processing as possible.

In most of my recipes in this course, you will notice that I skip out dairy. This is a personal choice I made trying to test what other healthier options there are – as I found plenty, I decided to stick with it. 

More often than not I go with oat milk or coconut milk (unsweetened versions) but feel free to try them out and choose the one that best suits your taste buds. There are plenty of plant/nut milk recipes very easy to make at home, too. All the nut milk recipes are more or less the same, the only thing that differs is the kind of nuts you use. You can find a recipe for homemade almond milk on my website, to get yourself started.

Seasoning

plant based cooking course jay halford

Guide:

Seasoning

Seasoning enhances the flavours in food and adds complementary tastes to enhance the eating experience.

I’m all about the natural flavour of food, it’s what I try to focus most when creating my dishes. I like my food to taste how it is supposed to, so when it comes to seasoning, I keep things at a minimum.

The two most fundamental and widely used spices are salt and pepper. Typically, what people think of when speaking of salt and pepper is white, granulated salt and pre-ground black pepper, but these are far from the only kinds of salt and pepper that exist.

 

plant-based cooking course jay halford

Salt:

Rock salt is a great salt variation, the larger crystals carry a punch. Sea salt is cherished by many as a more natural, culinary salt. There’s also Kosher, iodised, pickling and black salt, amongst many more.

My absolute favourite is pink Himalayan salt. It’s a far better alternative to processed salt, and you are making an excellent call when you’re using just the right amount, enough to keep your food healthy.

Pink Himalayan sea salt contains over 84 minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. So, it definitely does more than just enhancing the flavour of your food. You can also add it to hot baths to ease sore tired muscles!

Salt is a very important part of what our bodies need, so use it but use it right.

Pepper:

There is a vast assortment of peppers to explore ranging from your basic black pepper to chilli, jalapeño, habanero, cayenne to white pepper, each with its own degree of spiciness and subtle flavour distinctions.

Spices:

Let’s look a bit closer at other seasonings. Most individual seasonings are classed as herbs or spices. Herbs are usually the fresh or dried leaves of succulent plants that grow in particularly temperate climates. Spices tend to refer to any seasoning derived from the other parts of the plant beside the leaves, including the roots, stems, bark, seeds, fruit or buds.

Just to add a ‘sprinkle’ of confusion, chefs will use these two terms differently; spices can be used to describe all seasonings, including herbs.

Whereas herbs will have a somewhat milder flavour, spices are likely to be more pronounced. The most common cooking herbs will include basil, oregano, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, thyme and dill. Common culinary spices include cinnamon, paprika (another pepper), turmeric, ginger, saffron and cumin. Ginger and garlic are both considered spices as well.

plant-based cooking course jay halford

 

Interesting fact:

Did you know that some herbs and spices can come from different parts of the same plant? Dill seed and dill weed. Two other herbs, cilantro and coriander – both come from the same plant, but at two different stages in its growth cycle.

Also, many herbs and spices come from different varieties of the same plant, such as the mind-boggling array of types of basil, including Thai basil, Lemon basil, Cinnamon basil and Royal basil. What’s more, basil is just one kind of mint, of which there’s an even greater variety. Interestingly, although many herbs and spices, like liquorice, fennel and star anise, have a very similar flavour but are actually not linked to one another at all!

Here’s an experiment for you! – Different seasonings and blends applied to similar dishes may take you on an entirely different culinary journey. I encourage you to explore them! You’ll be fascinated with the flavour they add to your food!

Raw food tip: When creating raw dishes, I have a strong focus on seasonings as this really enhances the flavour of dishes. Raw food is obviously not cooked and therefore you are not cooking flavour into the food so you use things to enhance the flavour instead!

Other favourite ingredients that I try to always have in the kitchen:

Apple Cider Vinegar

This is amazing stuff, I use it in all sorts of savoury food. It’s great for salad dressings, marinades and sauces.

It’s also great for enhancing other flavours too. When making raw cakes, for instance, I will sometimes just add a drop of it (literally just a drop) to enhance the flavour of a chocolate orange cake.

Apple cider vinegar also has great health benefits and is an alkaline vinegar, meaning it’s also fermented.

Cinnamon

Amazing for enhancing sweet dishes and adding flavour to things like cakes, chocolates and nut creams. It’s also great for your blood sugar levels and cardiovascular health.

My homemade almond milk recipe is heavily flavoured with cinnamon, and is one of my favourite recipes.

Fresh Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a great way to draw out the flavour of foods and is a very good source of vitamin C and potassium. Lemon juice is perfect for sprucing up a salad or dressings.

Liquid Aminos

Liquid aminos is basically a GMO and wheat-free version of a soy sauce, yet has a very similar flavour. I use it a lot in Asian cooking – it’s especially great for marinades and as an Asian flavouring with the right herbs and spices. Tamari is also great, but is a bit on the pricey side.

High-Quality Salts

Everyday table salt is highly refined and full of rubbish. Always aim to stick to high-quality organic sea salt, as it provides us with good minerals and vitamins. A favourite of mine is Pink Himalayan rock salt. You will really notice the difference in taste in your food.

Good high-quality organic rock salt is good too, a favourite of mine is Maldon Sea Salt.

Smoked paprika

This a spice that you’ll see me using all the time! It’s my all-time favourite. I mainly use it in dressing or sauces, but it is also great for roasting nuts and to give them an awesome flavour. They go really well blended with things like my tacos filling. It’s crazy how much this spice can transform a dish.

Vanilla in desserts

This is a great one to use for a sweet treat as it adds a whole level of different flavour! Try it in nut milk that you make from scratch and smoothies too, along with desserts.

Nutritional yeast

It’s amazing for salad dressings and evening just sprinkled over the tops of salads – it will make a massive difference. I also use this to replace any cheese flavours. Just blend it with some cashews, lemon juice and water for an amazing cheesy sauce. It’s hard to even tell the difference.