I was recently led through the rabbit-hole of the internet across a bounty of deliriously happy blogs about raw eating. These people were all off their tits on the immense life-force of raw food. Glowing skin, mental clarity, all kinds of other bonuses included. I was rapt. I clicked my way through more and more of this, and concluded that, y’know, it’s not like they were peddling extremely addictive recreational drugs. The worst it could get is that you end up eating a lot of red peppers. So for about five and a half minutes I was convinced this was the way forward for me, and I would never look at a Greggs again, except with a superior shudder.
Then I came to my senses and remembered something: feelings. There is the argument that food is a simple sum: eat energy and vital nutrients, stay alive. But the people espousing this are clearly mathematicians, and therefore not to be taken seriously. I mean, they have the basic maths right, but also, what about the feelings? Where food is readily available, emotions interfere heavily in our food choices, and we all knows it. Why else would I have eaten the celebrated ‘Anytime Munchy Box’ from the takeaway next to the student union? Why indeed. I still wonder why. But I guess it was probably feelings.
So after I had my fill of the cult-like enthusiasm of all these raw foodies, with their beautiful, burnished-gold Scandinavian skin and pictures of happy days spent hiking after a breakfast of cucumbers, I decided to figure out how I could fit some of this into my own life. Here, in Scotland, a land deeply in thrall to saturated animal fats.
Brace yourself, because in Glasgow it’s an unpopular (some may say, controversial) opinion: but being healthy is really flipping great. Our bodies and our beautiful weird little brains are only here for a limited time. I’d like to look after these things and make sure they’re reasonably ok. But unlike the raw foodies, I’d like to look after these things like I’d look after a pot plant. With the minimum of effort. And without drawing askance looks from friends and family, and whisperings that I’d maybe gone a bit far, and needed to calm it down on the pot plant front. And also, while still eating chorizo. And peanut M&Ms. Ok, the pot plant metaphor falls down a little under scrutiny. But you know what I mean: healthy, and lazy, is what I’m all about.
So these are pretty healthy recipes that you can bring out without getting worried glances. There is no attempt to replace burger buns with lettuce. These are raw food recipes with added Normal.
Did you notice the word bounty? I said bounty in the first line. That’s because I was thinking about Bounties. Behold: The Healthy Bounty. (It’s a thing. It’s a real thing).
150g ground almonds
100g desiccated coconut
100g dark cooking chocolate
Yes, I was dubious. But these, I’d like to proudly say, taste blissful. Just like a Bounty. I took a recipe for raw almond and coconut truffles and then drizzled that shizzle in melted dark chocolate (oh yes I just said it like that).
Mix the raw almonds with enough agave syrup to make a sort of crumbly dough. When you press it with the back of a spoon it’ll clump together. Add coconut until it has more structural integrity (yeah) and you can roll it into balls. Now roll it into balls. Spread more coconut on a work surface and roll the balls around in the coconut until they look like little snowball truffles. Put on a tray and in the freezer for 10 mins.
Meanwhile… melt the cooking chocolate following the usual method (chocolate in heatproof bowl set over pan of simmering water, stirred continuously while it melts to a glossy liquid. Don’t let it get too hot through or it’ll do that weird chocolate thing where it turns nasty. All I’m saying.)
Take the snowballs out of the freezer. Pour the melted chocolate into a pouring jug. Then, with devil-may-care dash, pour the chocolate back and forth all over the truffles so you’re making thin chocolate stripes all over them.
Cool in the fridge overnight. This is the saucy part because they’re so darn tasty, and yet, forbidden. Oooh.
Eat them the next day. Bountyful. Bountylicious. Bounty… tastic.
Slightly Not-Raw Aubergine Salad (catchy name, I know).
Fried aubergine. It’s sort of mulchy and gloopy, and it should, by all standards of decency, be disgusting. But no. It’s gorgeous. With lemon and feta it’s pretty much the triptych of all that is good in life. I feel wrought with longing. This recipe doesn’t really need much method. It’s just: a bag of dark green salad, a sprinkling of pine nuts, a few cubes of feta (the smaller the better. Just a wee bit here and there). Thin strips of raw courgette. Thin slices of raw red onion. No oil. No dressing. This is important.
And then fry the aubergine. Squeeze a whole lemon or two into a frying pan, add two tablespoons of olive oil. Slice the aubergine very thinly into discs. It’s tricky, but it’s worth it. Get the frying pan nice and hot and then throw the slices in. Stir to make sure they’re all covered in lemon and oil, then sizzle away. Let the aubergine soak up all the lemony goodness and get all melty. When the slices are squishy and saturated with oil and lemon, lift them out and drape them, drape them like they’re fancy, over the salad. There will be enough oil in the aubergine to do the whole bowl of salad. Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt and pepper over it all. And eat immediately.
Lime, Mint, Courgette and Sugar-snap pea salad.
Incredibly fresh tasting and the courgettes give it a creaminess that goes well with the lime-iness and the mint-iness, oh yes I’m Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall look at me. This one is also very easy and the combination of tastes is, if I say so, darn near perfect.
Boil up about 100g brown basmati rice. You don’t need a whole lot. When it’s cooked, drain, rinse and cool.
Slice up raw courgette into thin rectangles. I think the shape definitely affects the taste. This is the tastiest shape. Chop up the sugarsnap peas into little bits. Then very finely chop up fresh mint and fresh parsley. I’d say just a sprig of both. Put it all in a bowl and add the rice. Add fresh lime juice and olive oil to taste (or lime-infused olive oil if you’re feeling outrageous) and a sprinkling of salt. Give it a good stir and enjoy.
This last one wouldn’t be tolerated on a raw food website. But it’s the best option for a sad Sunday night. Ah, Sunday nights. The most desolate night of the week. This is why BBC Sunday night dramas exist, and also the reason we developed the tradition of stuffing our faces with chicken and roast tatties on this day. True fact. Anyway, the recipe goes like this:
Order takeaway pizza. Cheese and tomato preferably. Thinly slice peppers and red onion. Receive box of pizza at front door. Wearing bunny-rabbit slippers: optional. Top pizza with raw veg. Sit in front of telly feeling smug about how well your raw diet is going.
Well, it’s good to have a bit of balance in life.