Recipes for writers - best brain foods

12 February 2015 / Leave a Comment

I don’t know what has happened to me lately. After years of dissing sugar Nazis and Thermomix owners, I’ve found myself suddenly interested in eating nutritious food. I think it started with a conversation with a friend who was turning Paleo, and then a Recipe to Riches episode sent me on the hunt for a healthy cracker recipe and then I read this quote by Hippocrates and it pretty much sealed the deal for me … Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food.

Maybe I’m going through some kind of spiritual crisis or something, but I keep finding myself in the kitchen cooking new recipes that include lots of nuts, coconut oil and flax seeds. In my after hours, I’m searching through healthy food blogs. And when I’m with friends, I want to ask them if they’ve ever tasted a pomegranate seed, because I think the sweet taste of life is captured in each seed …

Which brings me to this blog post … I’ve been researching the best brain foods to help me with my energy and focus when writing. Thankfully dark chocolate is on the list, so is tea (green tea or black tea) and coffee, but I’m also adding to my diet more blueberries and pumpkin seeds for memory enhancement, broccoli and leafy green vegetables for improved brainpower, avocados, chia seeds that are full of Omega-3 for good cognitive function, flax seeds, tuna, tomatoes, eggs and bananas. And guess what … pomegranates have antioxidant benefits that protect your brain from damage caused by free radicals, so there’s even more of a reason to eat them!

So now that I’m becoming one of those annoying people that spend far too long in the health food aisle at the supermarket, I just have to share a couple of recipes for writers with you … Because not only am I going to spend time making these things, but I now have to spend time banging on about it …

Life Changing Crackers from the My New Roots blog

(These crackers contain lots of flax, pumpkin and chia seeds. There's a sweet or savoury version - I often make both by splitting the dough in two and adding the flavourings. Eat the rosemary crackers with avocado for bonus brain food!)

my new roots crackers

1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
½ cup / 90g flax seeds
1/3 cup / 50g pumpkin seeds
¼ cup /40g sesame seeds
1 ½ cups / 150g rolled oats
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 ½ tsp. fine grain sea salt
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or ghee
1 ½ cups / 350ml water

Rosemary, Garlic and Salt - savoury crackers
Half batch:
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
¼ – ½ tsp. garlic powder (depending on how strong you like it)
Salt, to taste

Fig, Anise and Black Pepper - sweet crackers
Half batch:
3 large dried figs (approx. 70g)
1 tsp. ground anise seed (I didn't have any, so I used a mixed Chinese spice that had anise and ginger in it)
cracked black pepper, to taste

1. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes thick. Divide the dough roughly in half, and set aside one half.

2. Place one half of the dough back into the bowl and add sweet or savoury flavouring. Gather half of each mix into a ball and place it between two sheets of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, firmly roll out into a thin sheet. Remove top layer of baking paper and using the tip of a knife, score the dough into shapes you like. Repeat with remaining half of dough. The original recipe says let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight - but I find this isn't absolutely necessary!

3. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Using the baking paper, slide the dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven, flip the whole cracker over (if it breaks a bit, don’t worry!) and peel the baking paper off of the back. Return to oven to bake for another 10 minutes, until fully dry, crisp, and golden around the edges.

4. Let cool completely, then break crackers along their scored lines and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

I usually make 4 sheets of crispbread out of this mix. Original recipe:

Ancient Grain Salad (adapted from Valli Little's Delicious: Love to Eat)

(This one includes the yummy pomegranate seeds! Makes enough for dinner and a few lunches. Keeps well in the fridge for a few days. Just add the rocket and Persian fetta fresh - if you decide to do this!)

ancient grain salad freekah lentils pomegranates writer food brain food

1/2 cup whole green Puy-style lentils
1 cup freekeh
1/3 cup mixed seeds and nuts (eg. pepitas, sunflowers seeds, pine nuts)
1/2 cup cranberries
seeds of 1 pomegranate
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil

(Optional: I like to add fresh rocket leaves mixed lightly in olive oil and sea salt and a few pieces of Persian fetta mixed throughout)

Cook lentils in a saucepan of boiling water for 25 minutes. Cook the freekeh in a separate saucepan of boiling salted water for 20 minutes. Drain both well, transfer to a bowl with the mixed seeds and nuts, cranberries, pomegranate seeds, parsley and coriander. Whisk lemon juice with olive oil. Season. Add to the freekeh mixture and toss to combine.

Justine's almond and chia seed biscuits

I've adapted this a little, by using dark chocolate buttons to make them look like choc chip cookies - this tricks my kids into eating them! No butter, but plenty of chia seeds! Great salty-sweet flavour.

brain food almond chia choc chip cookies

250g almond meal
2 tbs chia seeds
1/2 tsp bi carb soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence
80g small dark chocolate buttons (original recipe says roughly chopped dark chocolate)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line two baking trays with baking paper. In a large bowl combine almond meal, chia, bi carb and salt. Stir in coconut oil (melt first if it's solid), followed by honey/maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix well and stir through chocolate. Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and flatten with a fork. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
(Original recipe from Loving Earth:

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