Spinach Fritters

Serves 3-4 as a main
(No gluten, dairy, legumes or nightshades)

Spinach is one of the top providers of antioxidants. There are thousands of these minute defenders, which have ensured the survival of plants throughout centuries of shifting and challenging conditions. When animals and humans eat plants they are similarly protected.

Antioxidants are especially high in fruits and vegetables. Some of their specific beneficial qualities can be grouped according to colour: green; red; yellow/orange; blue/black/purple; and white/tan/brown. Hence we have the pleasant and practical advice to eat from all 5 colour ranges daily. Some helpful free brochures with nutrition information, recipes and cooking tips are available from: Vegetables.co.nz You can also select a vegetable and use their Search function for related recipes.

The study of antioxidants is fairly new. So far the top plant sources in order are: prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, garlic, kale, cranberries, strawberries, spinach, raspberries, Brussels sprouts, plum, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, beetroot, avocado, orange, grape, red pepper, cherry, and kiwifruit. Even higher in antioxidants than all these wonderful foods is plain, brown, unassuming rice bran powder. This is particularly good for helping liver, bowel, kidneys, and regulating blood sugar levels. Try it in my therapeutic Linseed Cereal (see The Shape Diet).

The fritters manage to be tasty and distinctive, yet non-threatening enough for children to enjoy. This recipe involves frying – in some circles this would need to be whispered. Some purists insist that this should never be done despite its inclusion by every traditional cuisine, including those with high longevity status. The issue should be more about how such a practice is done; how often compared to other styles of preparation; what type of temperature, oil or fat is used; the amount and proportion of fats to other nutrients in the diet overall. For more information on this important subject see TIPS for The Fats of Life.

As a main, serve the fritters with kumara/sweet potato wedges and a winter salad of persimmon, mesclun, mushroom, and toasted sunflower seeds. Or accompany with rice, and vegetables (such as courgette, carrot, and cauliflower) simmered in a peanut, or sweet and sour sauce. When I’ve served the fritters small as finger food this has probably elicited more raves than any other pre-dinner offering. No dip or other accompaniment is needed.

2 cups corn, fresh or thawed from frozen
1 cup firmly packed spinach
¾ cup rice flour*
½ cup coconut cream* (of pouring cream consistency)
½ cup chopped spring onions (3-4 onions)
2 large free range eggs
¼ cup chopped parsley
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1½ tsp sea salt with kelp*
Extra virgin olive oil, or cold-pressed high-oleic sunflower oil or peanut
(legume) oil*

Place the corn in a food processor and process until lightly pureed. Doing the corn first is important for a creamy texture.

Add the remaining ingredients (spinach, flour, coconut cream, onion, eggs, parsley, garlic, coriander and salt), except the oil. Process over low-medium speed just until well mixed but with large colourful flecks of green veg – do not completely puree.

Place a little oil in a large, cast iron fry pan. Over low-medium heat, cook in 2 Tbsp amounts (this makes about 20 main dish size). Or for finger food, cook in 1 Tbsp amounts. Cook about 2 minutes on each side until golden. Avoid overcooking so these stay creamy inside while crisp on the outside. Serve or keep warm uncovered and unstacked in a low oven.

Shopping and Preparation Tips*

• Coconut cream: a tinned product from the South Pacific and found in most supermarkets. It should have the consistency of pouring cream and contain no dairy, flour or added sugar. ‘Lite’ types are not necessary: they just have added water and more processing. Instead use only a small amount of the ‘cream’ version, or thin with water, Milk Option or stock – depending on the needs of your recipe.

• Oil: mild, cold pressed oil suitable for baking and cooking is Ceres brand Organic Roasting and Frying Oil (from health stores). It is also second to extra virgin olive oil for affordability. For information on which fats to choose for which purpose and why, see my article on the TIPS page: The Fats of Life.

• Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil is achieved by using cold mechanical pressure rather than the high heat and chemical solvents typical to most supermarket oils. These practices damage oils and the people who eat them. For information on which fats to choose for which purpose and why, see my article on the TIPS page: The Fats of Life.

• Rice flour: for baking use finely ground (can be called ‘zentrofan’) whole rice. Results will not be the same with coarse, gritty flour; or Asian rice flour (from starch only; looks sticky like cornflour*). Use brown rice flour (finely milled; not gritty). Or mix ½ brown rice flour (for increased nutrients); ½ white rice flour (for increased lightness) as preferred. For sauces 2-3 Tbsp thickens 1 cup liquid.

• Sea salt: is sea water dehydrated by sun. When mixed with seaweed (containing iodine and other minerals low in our soil) it is ideal in terms of flavour (interesting but not too strong) and mineral balance. Try Pacific Harvest or Malcolm Harker brands; both in health and gourmet stores. Ordinary salt is taken from mines or sea and so highly refined over extreme heat that it contains nothing but sodium chloride. All other minerals are stripped away, such as potassium and magnesium which help regulate fluid balance and blood pressure. Bleach as a whitener and chemicals to prevent clumping may be added to table salt.

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