The SuperNatural Food Market

always feel that September is the real New Year. After the more laissez-faire summer, the change in the air ushers in a more purposeful feeling and a cohesiveness after a season of unbuckling.

Post sunshine and rest, there is renewal and reinvigoration. The fact that schools are back, work is resumed and routines take hold only add to the feeling of a recharged cycle beginning with fresh energy.

Food-wise, we are slap bang in the middle of a harvest season, when there is a wide variety of produce available, abundant, ripe and delicious. It is an ideal time for shopping and meal planning.

With the usual routines back in swing doing the weekly shopping and preparing packed lunches will not only save you money but also keep you healthier and eliminate waste by shunning packaging.

It’s not all about work, though, the foods you choose can be tasty treats packed with goodness, like nut free – because most schools have banned nuts – energy balls. They are high in protein and nutritionally virtuous but also hit the mark for sweetness when you are craving that mid-morning or afternoon energy surge.

One of the easiest ways to stay on track with good food is to make extra of any hot meal, salad or soup that you cook. If you find yourself short on time, some of the better quality noodles such as Biona spelt flour ones or Clearspring soba noodles, made with buckwheat (no wheat – it’s gluten free) are ideal.

Slice up some fresh veg, a quick shake in a hot pan with some coconut or avocado oil and season as you like, makes for quick lunches and dinners, either at home or to take with you.

The Irish tomato season is now upon us and we cannot urge you enough to partake of this delight. We’ve included one of the simplest but tastiest salads below and it is supreme added into a burrito, wrap, piled onto good bread or as one of the fillings for savoury pancakes.

Canned, drained and rinsed, pulses, beans and lentils are also an amazing way to eat clean, lean and very conveniently when you are assembling dishes, salads and toppings, whether for on the go or for when you arrive home and are starving but too tired to cook! Just keep a couple of cans in the cupboard at all times.

As mentioned, Irish tomatoes are in season from July to November. Never has a vegetable suffered at the hands of commercial growers as much as this delectable kitchen essential. A homegrown or organic tomato is a divine thing. The taste is incomparable. They are high in vit C (uncooked) vit A, lycopene, antioxidants, beta carotene, folic acid and B vitamins, as well as high in fibre, low in fat and carbohydrate.

This delectable salad is testament to the power of simplicity. The taste derives from simply using 3-4 ingredients of pure quality. Wonderful alone with bread or as part of a selection of mixed tapas, vegetarian (dressed beans, olives, etc) or not (including sliced meats or anchovies.) Or accompany with a green salad, baked fish or omelette.

It can be cooked in a baking dish in the oven at 180–200ºC  for 15 minutes or so for a wildly, tasty, fresh pasta sauce, topping another grain or on homemade pizzas. You can adjust it and play around with it too, use the classic fresh basil alone or use a mixture of fresh or dried herbs from marjoram to thyme or add pungent coriander.

The same goes for the tomatoes, use cherry tomatoes quartered or plum or beef tomatoes diced or another variety. Feel free too to swap the garlic for finely-diced onion or add both if you like! You can make a small quantity if serving only one or two or a batch of it to feed more or for keeping over.

Fresh Tomato Salad

200g–300g (or more) of the best Irish-grown organic tomatoes

2–3 cloves of organic garlic

A handful of fresh organic basil leaves

Top quality virgin, organic olive oil

On a clean chopping board, quarter the cherry tomatoes and roughly chop some again, reducing their size further into non-uniform smaller sizes. Push off into a serving dish.

Peel the garlic gloves and using the flat of the blade of the kitchen knife, press down firmly on them with the knife to smash them open by cracking them apart before you chop them. This is important to fully release their oils and fragrance, then finely dice into small bits.

Add to chopped tomatoes and stir in. Take fresh basil leaves and tear into rough pieces, or finely chop coriander or add herb mix, stir into mixture. Finally, pour 1–2 tablespoons of pure olive oil (or a homemade high quality dressing of oil and vinegar) into mixture and stir. Season and serve.

Nut Free Protein Energy Balls

These taste great and again are so easy to make. All the ingredients are 100% natural and support and boost your health, while being an indulgent treat. They are also safe for nut allergies and schools. If sesame seeds are a problem, you can coat them in cacao powder, hulled hemp or poppy seeds.

1 cup dates, pitted

½ cup oats

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

1 tsp vanilla extract

Zest of an orange

2 tbsp honey (optional)

2 tbsp sesame seeds

Soak the dates in hot water for fifteen minutes. Add all the ingredients, except the sesame seeds to a food processor and blend into a sticky dough. Form the dough into 12 energy balls. An ice cream scoop is ideal for this or two tablespoons.

Sprinkle the sesame seeds on a plate and roll the energy balls in the sesame seeds to coat each of the energy balls. Place in the freezer to set and then remove to the fridge. These will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to seven days. For the lunchbox, they are best wrapped in some greaseproof paper or re-useable beeswax wrap.

The SuperNatural Food Market is the local, organic, farmer’s market. It takes place every Saturday at St Andrew’s Pearse St. 9.00am–3.00pm Twitter; @supernaturalU  / Instagram & Fb; The Supernatural Food Market

Photos courtesy of:

For tomato salad – For The Love Of Good Cooking.

For energy balls – Skinnyfood.