Food for Brains - Nutritious Recipes to Improve Brain Function
Each year, we share with you a selection of highly nutritious recipes with flavours and textures that are luxurious and indulgent from healthy food chef and guest author and contributor to the Cubex food for brains recipe blog, Mira Manek.
This festive season, not only are we sharing some of her latest creations from her cook book Saffron Soul with you, but we are now proud stockists of Mira’s culinary books.
You can order your copy of Saffron Soul by contacting email@example.com for just £15.00.
For a chance to win a win a Winter Warmer festive hamper courtesy of Mira, click here
Spiced Nut Roast
For now, we hand you over to Mira who shares a selection of her favourite, highly nutritious, Winter Warmer Festive Recipes, spiced nut roast and Saffron overnight oats.
Just seeds, nuts, oats and masala!
So I finally tried to come up with a nut roast recipe and it really is just the tastiest thing, only it’s more seeds than nuts, which is great (easier to digest, but still so much crunch) and has a warming earthy blend of mushrooms and masala. I’ve served it at two events and it was ALL eaten! I’ve taken inspiration from various places including a wonderful life-changing bread from mynewroots, hence the psyllium husk which really binds this loaf. Yes Christmas is about indulgence, and this taste plenty indulgent with all the flavour and spice and crunch, but it’s just a tiny bit lighter.
Ingredients (Makes 1 Loaf)
120g sunflower seeds
80g flax seeds
50g almonds or any nuts, broken
150g oats, can use gluten-free oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds
3-4 tablespoons psyllium seed husks (can also use husk powder)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
3 cloves garlic, grated
½ green chilli, finely chopped, optional
1 stalk of rosemary finely chopped, optional
4-5 medium mushrooms, roughly chopped, small cubes
1/4 courgette, grated, optional
2 teaspoons garam masala
1½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
maple chilli seeds from Saffron Soul cookbook*
*If you don’t have maple chilli seeds, toss together in a pan 1 tablespoon each of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, sesame seeds, a teaspoon of coconut oil and 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or other sweetener for 5-10 minutes with some salt and sprinkle of chilli flakes if you wish.
Combine all the dry ingredients for the loaf in a mixing bowl. Melt the coconut oil (if solid) and stir in the maple syrup (or agave) and water. Stir this into the dry ingredients and mix well until the dough becomes quite thick. Leave this to one side for at least an hour or leave out overnight.
Make the mushroom mix before you bake the loaf (or you can make it anytime). Start by heating the cumin seeds and fennel seeds in a little oil in a medium pan, let them turn brown (around a minute) then add the grated garlic, green chilli and rosemary, if using. Now add in the mushrooms, courgette, cranberries, garam masala and salt. Stir together well and mix this mushroom mix into the loaf mixture. The consistency should be thick but stir-able (it should not be solid e.g. if you have let the loaf mixture sit out all night it may have solidified, in which case you should heat and soften in the microwave or stove). Now grease your loaf tin with a little oil or butter (so that the bread doesn’t stick to the pan) and lay the mix into the loaf tin. Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 or 180° C. Place the loaf in the oven for around 30 minutes, then remove from the oven, take the loaf out from the tin straight onto a tray or baking paper. Place the loaf back in the oven, now upside down, and let it cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before slicing.
Be careful when slicing, trying not to make the loaf crumble. Sprinkle over with maple chilli seeds and cranberries, or roasted nuts and seeds.
Saffron overnight oats
Overnight oats are just brilliant, especially for winter and especially if you’re lacking time in the morning! They’re super simple and make for the best breakfast, are great on the go and the perfect snack. In my cookbook Saffron Soul, I have a luxurious saffron porridge recipe with jaggery, so here’s the overnight oats version of that with a few extra edits. Just soak overnight and eat the next day – you will love it!
To soak together
7-8 tablespoons, 70g oats
150ml nut milk (or any milk of choice), around ¾ cup
100ml apple juice, around ½ cup
2 teaspoons flax seeds
2 teaspoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds
1 apple, peeled and grated (or julienned)
pinch of saffron
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoons coconut yoghurt or any yoghurt
handful goji berries
sprinkle of bee pollen
Soak together all the ingredients for the bowl and stir well. Leave to soak for a few hours or overnight (you can also just soak for an hour but the longer the better!). Divide into two bowls and serve with garnishing’s.
Win a Winter Warmer Festive Hamper from Mira Manek
We are giving a lucky Cubex Hear & Now subscriber the opportunity to win in a Winter Warmer Festive Hamper from Mira Manek.
We all tend to associate the festive season with merriment and indulgence that isn’t in favour of our health and well being. We use the New Year as an opportunity to recover and we place more emphasis on looking after our health and well being.
This is where Saffron Soul comes in perfectly. You absolutely can indulge on delicious and incredibly flavourful feasts that is guilt free and in favour of your health. Want to know how? We’re offering one lucky winner a Winter Warmer Hamper from Mira Manek which will include a copy of Saffron Soul, cinnamon granola, coco fudge, chai spice and more.*
All you have to do is enter your email address below – winners will be announced on December 20th.
By Rosie Williams
On 07, Dec 2017 | In Food for Brains | By Rosie Williams
This beautiful, colourful and warming Christmas cake recipe from Mira Manek is an absolute favourite of ours for our Food for Brains recipe collection. This recipe provides a cake which is sweet, nutty, juicy and packed with delicious and healthy spices which are sure will satisfy the festive nostalgia in everyone. To top it off, this recipe has a creamy frosting made from cashews, vanilla and coconut oil, so you can enjoy a Christmas cake which is rich, satisfying and healthy.
This Christmas cake is abundant with almonds, cashews, pistachios, ginger, nutmeg and a heap of brain-boosting spices which are all fantastic for contributing to a healthy brain and mind, without needing to miss out on the Christmas indulgence.
By Rosie Williams
On 29, Nov 2017 | In Food for Brains | By Rosie Williams
Here is a quick and easy recipe for a lovely warming dish on a cold winters day, a Vitamin-C packed drink which can be enjoyed hot or cold, for a fiery, punchy hit of goodness. Simply blend the following ingredients together well to give it a wonderful froth and add some extra volume.
By Rosie Williams
On 18, Oct 2017 | In Food for Brains | By Rosie Williams
We just love this recipe for sweet potato and quinoa falafels, provided by Mira Manek, author of the cookbook, Saffron Soul. Whilst this recipe is great as an all-year-round dish, we find it especially warming as we enter the Autumn season. Not only does it share the colours of Autumn, it also contains fulfilling ingredients such as sweet potato and chickpeas which will warm our souls at the end of a breezy Autumn day.
This recipe is also a perfect fit for our Food for Brains series, packed full of anti-oxidants, amino acids and magnesium which are all vital for reducing stress and keeping the brain happy and healthy. Enjoy this recipe as a main meal, a snack or a sharing plate with friends and family.
Mira Manek’s desire for healthy cooking combined with her love of traditional Indian cuisine led her to tweaking her mother’s and grandmother’s recipes to create lighter, healthier dishes and her first cookbook Saffron Soul was launched this Spring.
Having travelled extensively through India, Mira realised just how authentic her own home cooked Gujarati food was. She champions eating well and eating wholesome home-cooked food that doesn’t compromise on flavour, using the spice box creatively and not just confining it to curries and daals.
Indian food is an internationally popular cuisine, yet, unfairly, it is often considered to be heavy, rich and indulgent. With more people than ever before turning to healthy home cooking there has never been a better time for a fresh and lighter take on Indian food – one that Mira is creating with her vibrant and healthy cooking style.
Saffron Soul is not just a cookbook, it’s a family history shared through recipes that have been passed on down the generations, but with Mira’s healthy twists and adaptations and we are excited to be giving 3 lucky readers the chance to win their own copy of Saffron Soul signed by Mira!!!
I have been having rather a lot of small gatherings recently, and for these, I love making a large, filling, full of flavour salad, with ample crunch. It converts a simple side salad into a main, complementing any meal or feast. The fact that it is always eaten up so quickly is as much to do with the yummy dressing (and lots of it!) as it is to do with the contrasts of textures. The best part of a salad like this is that you can add whichever leaves you happen to have or love.
We regularly share brain boosting recipes and yoga tips for revitalising a weary brain, but what is the connection between diet, exercise and hearing loss?
The old saying “you are what you eat” does have some merit, but do you also hear what you eat? According to some studies, there does appear to be a connection between the quality of your food and hearing loss. Exercise matters too, specifically in relation to cognitive ability and how the brain processes sound.
These warming colours and all the natural hues of mellow pastel green, of light brown and cream – are amalgamated in this this highly nutritious bowl of brain food goodness and go hand in hand with a rainy day in November.
‘Tis the season for soups! Roasting vegetables makes a world of difference, and so here’s an incredibly simple and wonderfully hearty roasted carrot soup, with a swirl of beetroot juice. I’ve added ginger and turmeric, both optional in this recipe, but so good to include in your daily diet, especially at this time of year. I try to add them to everything, from juices to soups and curries. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger and turmeric make them a great remedy for muscle and arthritic pain, for digestion and for colds.
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon grated ginger
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ cup fresh beetroot juice
Preheat the oven on 150C. Chop the carrots into small pieces and slice the onions, cover with some melted coconut oil, just enough to grease them. Then place carrots, onions and the peeled garlic cloves in the oven for around 20-30 minutes. Once cooked, place in a nutribullet or high speed blender, add water, salt and grated ginger and blend. Boil in a pan, adding more salt if required as well as the turmeric. Pour a swirl of beetroot juice when serving.
Brain Energy Tip
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and can be used whole but is most commonly sold as a ground spice which resembles a fine mustard powder.
This antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory is used regularly to season food in India where researchers found that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s is 25 percent lower than in the U.S. In lab studies, mice that were fed curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) developed fewer amyloid plaques, associated with Alzheimer’s, than rats that weren’t.
More recent research published in Stem Cell Research and Therapy suggests it may boost your brain proliferation or its power to repair itself!
We all know the ginger root for its capacity to reduce nausea and pain reducing properties. However, recent research continues to demonstrate it’s brain boosting properties and potential to protect against cognitive disease. Ginger also has a sialagogue action, stimulating the production of saliva, which makes swallowing easier.
Carrots are known to be the go to food for good eye sight. However, they provide great benefits for the brain too. According to a study published in 2010 in the journal Nutrition the high levels of luteolin found in carrots could reduce age-related memory impairment and inflammation in the brain.
This really is one of the most deliciously healthy desserts I have had… the coconut ice cream sitting on top might be a little on the decadent side, but the slight crunch of the fresh coconut in each bite is just heavenly. I do really love the healthy, clean and delicious Oppo ice cream, so if you’re in the UK, I’d definitely recommend serving this pancake with a scoop of their ice cream (either the Madagascar Vanilla or Salted Caramel flavour).