We sing the praises of Swedish bloggers more often than we care to admit. But one look at this beautiful spread that Elenore of Earthsprout created for us and we feel completely justified in our Scandinavian obsession. Elenore lives and breathes our most magnificent culinary fantasies, creating beautiful raw and whole foods that look as gorgeous as they taste.
Like all the meals she makes and shares, this winter feast shown above was born from the wisdom of the earth. Each dish is made of ingredients we consider superfoods and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – the tools for healing and the secret behind limitless radiance. That includes dessert – this stunning trifle is made from cashew cream, figs, berries, rose water and raw honey. We’re impressed and can’t wait to whip this up at home.
Let Elenore inspire you to create your own superfood feast at home this season, starting with her Baklava Spiced Trifle with Honeycomb below. Find the other recipes pictured over on Earthsprout all week long. Here is Elenore with a list of all these winter feast ingredients and a few pearls of superfood wisdom…
I hope you’re not tired of pumpkin season yet! And if you are, this Saffron Baked Pumpkin is sure to revive your interest. Pumpkin should be included in a handful of your favorite recipes from now on. It’s not just a pretty decoration, it is also super-healing food. Being naturally warming, pumpkin is ideal for heating up a freezing human this time of year. Don’t you love how nature produces the very thing we need at just the right time? Go figure.
The wonderfully colored flesh of the pumpkin is filled with eye-nourishing beta-carotene and vitamin A. And just in case there is some sweet “cheat eating” during the holidays, pumpkin is here to save you. Winter squash (pumpkin) is your friend, loaded with anti-inflammatory omega 3s and blood-sugar regulating B vitamins, helping to offset any bad food choices. This is why pumpkins are popping up in both diabetes and cancer studies at the moment, and why choosing to munch away on these honeys on Thanksgiving and Christmas (and all other days) is a very clever choice.
I’m not sure about you, but I cannot deny my total cinnamon obsession. Good thing it not only makes our taste buds sing with delight, but also gives the immune system a much needed boost. Cinnamon has also been found to balance blood-sugar and lower inflammation. Cinnamon happens to be a traditional warming remedy as well, often used at the onset of a cold.
To enjoy its power, simply steep some freshly crushed cinnamon bark in a mug of hot water (and cover!) for 10 minutes. You can also sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder over your breakfast cereal or pop it into your blender while making a smoothie; now that’s what I call medicine. Recent studies highlight the incredible anti-microbial properties of cinnamon as well as its ability to boost brain function by simply smelling it. In our book, cinnamon just went from tasty, but slightly ”eh,” to a miracle-packed, oh-so-very “oh yeah” superfood!
I know this may be tough to hear, but get this: cabbage might just be the new kale! All members of the amazing brassica family are known to pack quite a punch when it comes to nutrition, medicinal benefits, and, let’s face it, overall tasty good-for-you-ness. Cabbage is, when eaten raw or lightly steamed, filled with immune boosting and cancer fighting nutrients. It is also rich in the oh-so-supportive vitamin C. It is a filling and blood-sugar balancing veggie with incredible amounts of detoxifying fibers and vitamin K (hello awesome bone and blood support!).
A lesser known property of cabbage is its role as a major hormone balancing agent. How is it hormone balancing and why should I care, you might ask? Well, because it contains a compound called DIM. DIM is present in all brassicas (otherwise known as cruciferous vegetables), and supports our body in the (quite important, if I may say so) daily process of getting rid of bad-for-us xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are foreign estrogens that come from plastics, soy and conventional meat and dairy. These estrogens increase the risk for cancers like breast cancer, can lead to PMS and menopausal symptoms, and can even lower testosterone. So get crunching on some cabbage!
Did you know that when your mind and body are under a lot of stress you use more vitamin C and you can easily become deficient? Yup! This is something to be aware of because vitamin C is very important to health. Vitamin C supports the production of the hormones made by the adrenal glands. These hormones help us to cope with stress and manage inflammation. Vitamin C also stimulates the immune system, and together with its antioxidant function, helps to prevent and treat both infections and diseases. And just to clarify, an antioxidant is a compound that prevents the oxidation (damage) of molecules, which in turn harm our cells and lead to disease and cancer.
More fun functions of vitamin C: it helps you to look and feel great too! Vitamin C supports the maintenance and formation of collagen in our skin (can you say smooth and soft?), which is critical to staying wrinkle-free. It helps to heal wounds, keeps blood vessels healthy and tissues flexible, ensuring great cardiovascular health. Bring me some citrus this holiday!
It is time we climb up on rooftops and shout about the incredible properties of raw honey, royal jelly, propolis, bee pollen and such. We owe it to the world. And to the bees, of course. Humans have been harvesting honey for well over 10,000 years, not only for its nutritional value, but for its spiritual value as well – and surely because it’s so very tasty too! Raw, unheated honey has incredible anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which is why it has been widely used in healing methods in almost every culture from the beginning of time.
Eating honey can balance hormonal issues, relieve stress and depression and treat high blood pressure. It also does numerous other amazing things like clearing up your skin, supporting hair growth and healing wounds. Recent Swedish studies show that freshly harvested, raw honey is far more potent than even antibiotics, and its miraculous properties are being investigated as we speak. So make sure to invest in a high-quality bee products in order to support your health, as well as the very hard-working and quickly disappearing bee population. These tiny beings need our support.
Baklava Spiced Trifle with Raw Honeycomb
For the sweet cashew cream:
3/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 Tbsp rose water (start with 1/2 Tbsp and work your way up to see what suits your tastebuds)
1/4 tsp pure ground vanilla
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
For the honey nut crunch:
1 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp raw honey
1/4 tsp high-quality sea salt
For the toppings:
4 fresh figs, quartered lengthwise
16 fresh physalis berries, halved (golden berry, gooseberry)
For the sweet cashew cream:
1. Soak the cashews for at least 5 hours then rinse and discard the soaking water.
2. Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender (an immersion blender works too) and blend until your cream is really fluffy and smooth. As previously noted, start small and work your way up when it comes to the rosewater. You want it to have a little hint of rose but not be perfumey or overwhelming. Refrigerate while making the honey nut crunch below.
For the honey nut crunch:
1. Toast nuts in a dry skillet over low-medium heat until fragrant and golden. Add to a small bowl when ready.
2. Add honey and salt and stir until coated. Set aside.
Pick 4 beautiful glasses and layer them with honey-coated nuts, sweet cashew cream, figs and physalis berries. Top with some freshly crushed cardamom, drizzle with extra honey, a small piece of honeycomb and serve.
Note: This dessert can be made beforehand and rest in the fridge until it’s time to serve. If so, make sure to take them out of the refrigerator 20 minutes prior to serving. This will bring out the flavors of the dessert even more.