Wednesday, 16 January 2013

What I ate Wednesday- It's been while!

So excited to do a What I Ate Wednesday post- it has been waaaay too long!


Nothing fancy this week, just straight up what I ate yesterday. It was a pretty cool day though, the girls wanted to be all TV chef (They are actually obsessed with watching Diners, Drive in's and Dives, (even though they get a little excitable and tell Guy off for eating too much sugar -  they seriously shout at the tele!)) and begged me to let them make a video. They wanted to do a smoothie and Fia pretty much decided on what to put in it all by herself herself. The smoothie is pretty similar to what I make for them, though Ill usually add a little hemp protein and bee pollen too.... Check it out here on my facebook page!




The rest of the day was pretty simple foods here they are in technicolour!

I made an super energy boosting carrot, celery, lettuce, lemon and ginger juice for brekkie- I gulped it down before I photographed it, this is the best I could do! ;)


For lunch I had more of the delicious raw 'tuna inspired' salad that I made at the weekend, seriously this is one amazing filling!!



As a snack we made cabbage crisps (No kale left!). We used the thick outer dark greeny-purple leaves and they were actually really tasty, I'd definitely make them again.



 Of course we all enjoyed some of the girls yummy carob smoothie in the afternoon!



For dinner I had aubergines and potato in a fennel and tomato sauce with broccoli and quinoa, and a lovely cup of yogi tea!



So there it is, a fun day with my budding Chef's, hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

carrot & apple pulp, buckwheat skinny pancakes!

We often have pancakes for brekkie at the weekends, and our favourite are the traditional skinny kind topped with lemon and coconut palm sugar or honey... Still, we don't get to have this kind too often as I am far too lazy to spend an hour at the stove, cooking one at a time, it just takes forever!  The plus side of this is that it just makes them all the more special when we do have them.

This weekend I had some apple and carrot pulp left over from juicing and was about to mix up a thick drop scone style pancake batter to use it in, when I realised I'd never tried the veggie pulp in the skinny kind.... So, excited to play with a new pulp recipe, I decided to experiment and the result was absolutely delicious. Sooooo delicious. Now that I have a skinny pancake recipe that makes use of that leftover veggie pulp, there will be no more excuses, I will definitely make these more often.

I make skinny pancakes with all sorts of flours; kamut, spelt and wholewheat, whatever I have in the cupboard. For a traditional French crepe style pancake, and one that is also gluten free, I often use buckwheat flour. Personally, this is also my favourite flour for skinny pancakes as I love that slightly nutty flavour it gives them.

But before we get on to the actual recipe, I'd just like to put something out there about pancakes... Is it just me or does anybody else find the first pancake nearly always doesn't work out? And this only seems to apply to skinny ones, not the American or drop scone thicker ones. That first pancake is really quite a challenge; it sticks, it breaks up, it looks anaemic in colour... I never get that first pancake perfect! But I have found a couple of tricks that help it come out pretty darn close...

  1. Let the batter sit for around 20-30 mins - something in the resting of the batter helps it to stay together when it comes to cooking!
  2. If you use a cast iron skillet, heat the pan a good 5mins before cooking the first pancake. I find this encourages the first one to remain as stick free as possible. You probably don't have to do this step if you are using a non stick frying pan...


Ingredients
2 cups buckwheat flour (about 500g)
800ml of filtered water
2 cups (500ml) of milk of choice (I like almond)
1 flax egg*
Pulp from 2 apples
Pulp from 2 carrots
Pinch of fine sea salt

A little coconut oil for frying.

Method
Pour the flour into a large bowl and add the sea salt. Make a little well in the middle and add the flax egg. Add a little of the water and beat. Pour in the remaining water and the milk and whisk until there are no lumps, leave the batter to sit for at least 20mins, an hour is even better.

Heat the pan to a medium-high heat.Add a little knob coconut oil and swirl around the pan to coat. Take a ladle full of the batter, pour into the pan and gently tilt to evenly coat the bottom. Cook for a couple of minutes until you start to see lots of bubbles in the batter. Flip the pancake and cook for around 30-40 seconds more on the other side.

Serve with freshly squeezed lemon and a natural sweetener of your choice!

*Flax egg is made by mixing 1tbsp ground flax, to 3 tbsp water and letting it sit for a few minutes to thicken up.

Veganized Feb 2015

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Tuna inspired salad

To call this mock tuna or tuna-less salad would be a crime! It implies something is fake or missing from this delicious filling and nothing could be further from the truth! It resembles tuna-mayo, sure, it even has a taste that reminds you of it, but it is a delicious filling in it's own right - when you eat this I'm quite sure you won't think of this as something without....Hence the name, tuna inspired salad.

This is a fab raw fusion dish and makes a great intro to raw foods. It has to be up there as one of my favourite raw dishes for sure, with flax crackers and guacamole. The filling is bursting with living nutrients and when sandwiched between two slices of comforting wholegrain bread the result is heaven!

Use any of your favourite breads here, rye, wholegrain sourdough, buckwheat or multi seed would all work well. For an all raw alternative use as a topping for romaine lettuce 'wraps', raw bread or flax crackers; pura vida do a great raw bread in a variety of flavours!

I really like the abundance of fresh coriander and the kick of the onion, but that was a little too much for the girls. To adapt it to a younger child's palate, reduce the amount of coriander and leave out the onions, this combo left my girls asking for seconds!


 

 Ingredients

1 cup soaked sunflower seeds, drained
1 cup of soaked cashew nuts, drained
Juice of a lemon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup carrot pul (pulp from 2 large carrots)
2 sticks of celery, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced (you could also use 1/2 red onion)
2-3 tbsp drained capers
Big pinch of arame, soaked to rehydrate then roughly chopped
The fresh corn from 1 cob (or about 1 cups worth)
Big handful of fresh coriander, chopped fine
Ground black pepper to taste

Method
Add the seeds, cashews, sea salt and lemon juice to a food processor and process until the consistency is like tuna mayo! You want to blend it enough to create almost a sauce, but you want some texture too. I find I have to stop the machine and scrape down the sides 3 or 4 times to get the perfect consistency.

Add the carrot and celery and process again until the mixture is slightly loser- the moisture from the celery helps create a real mayonnaise look!
Tip out into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients, stir well.

Serve this up with bread of your choice and some crisp romaine lettuce leaves for a tuna-less salad that won't disappoint!


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Tasty tofu burgers

Mention the word tofu to most people and it is met with many a groan, it really seems to have a bad rep as a bland and tasteless food. I happen to love it, but Will and the girls are not so keen so when I cook it up I need to get creative with it if I want them to eat it!

Interestingly, even the subject of tofu (and soy products in general) itself can be a complicated issue. Are they good for us or not? Are they good for hormone balancing or bad? There is so much conflicting evidence on this and I have gone around in circles trying to find the answer but still I am unsure - and have concluded we cannot know everything!

The solution for our family is that we mainly consume soy in fermented form only, such as miso, tamari and tempeh. We never buy highly processed soy foods such as soy milk or flour or the textured soy protein. I'm not saying it's bad, it's just the way we decided to go and what works for us! Our exception in the non fermented soy food category is Tofu. As I do (honestly) enjoy it and it is an affordable non - animal protein source as well as a traditional food (though traditionally consumed in small quantities), I like to give it the benefit of the doubt and so we eat it occasionally.We do however keep it to a minimum and be sure not to rely on it as our main source of protein.

So now that we cleared this up (sorta) it's on to what kind of tofu to buy. There are so many types, brands and flavours now and some of them are just about as far from the traditional product you can get. Make sure you check out those ingredients; many of them have added chemicals, stabilisers, emulsifiers, gums and preservatives instead of being made traditionally. Good tofu should just contain soy beans, water, nigari and, sometimes, sea salt. Lastly, always chose organic or GMO free tofu!

As you browse the stores you'll see that there are different kinds of tofu - firm and silken, fresh and long life. Personally I prefer the firm kind as it is a little more versatile, and fresh tofu is always better if you can get it over long life (though Clearspring do a pretty good long life version that is free from any additives!).





Ingredients: (serves 4)
190g (1 pack) firm tofu* (can use marinated)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup of cooked brown rice
1/4 cup of brown rice flour (plus extra for dusting)
1/4 tsp ground paprika
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Method:
Throw everything into a food processor and process until it starts to bind together. Split into 4 portions. Shape each portion into a burger shape.
Coat them lightly in brown rice flour. Lightly fry them in a little olive or coconut oil until crisp and golden. Serve in a wholemeal bun or flat bread with a punchy salad such as watercress or rocket. Here I served along side them a red cabbage coleslaw and root vegetable oven baked chips, delicious...

* our favourite organic brands coagulated with nigari only and free from additives and chemicals are clearspring and clear spot. Clearspot do a marinated version with tamari, apple cider vinegar and spices that works very well in this recipe too!


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

black bean brownies & a happy new year!


Happy new year everybody!! Is it just me or does 2013 sound incredibly futuristic?! It still doesn't feel quite real yet. 2012 has been an amazing year for us. It had not been without it's challenges but I feel we have learnt so much and have changed for the better for it. Will and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary with a vow renewal and a party on the 21st of December...and...the world didn't end! We have alot to be grateful for! ;) I'm pretty darn excited to see what happens next, we have so many exciting plans and really have no clue where we'll be even in 6 months from now which is quite scary/exciting at the same time.

So on to new years foods and the first recipe for 2013. Black beans are often eaten for good luck in the new year in many different cultures from Cuba to Japan. We've had them three times already this year, just to be sure! Now I know we've missed New Year's day now, but in Japan the new year's traditional foods are eaten over three days, so I reckon its worth cooking up some black beans today and I have the perfect recipe for you....

Black bean brownies!

There are literally tons of recipes for black bean brownies out there and I've tried and tested a few. None were quite perfect however, so I've played around with some ingredients and have come up with what I think is the tastiest version out there (if I do say so myself!). This recipe uses coconut palm sugar which has a toffee like taste that works very well with chocolate. It is also high in minerals with a lower GI than sugar. Adding the chicory gives a delicate coffee like flavour without it being overpowering though you could easily use instant coffee granules in its place. The bicarbonate of soda lifts it just enough without making it too cakey like baking powder can and the chocolate chips give it a really decadent finish!

I would usually add chopped walnuts to the mix which I love, but in this last batch I made they are sans walnuts at the girls request. Personally I think they are better with, so I've added them to the list of ingredients even though they are indeed missing in these photographs.

Wishing you tons of luck for the year ahead!

Black bean brownie- makes 20 squares
Ingredients
2 380g cartons of black beans, drained (or two cups cooked black beans)
1/4 cup apple puree
2 flax eggs
1/4 cup of olive oil (I use extra virgin unfiltered)
2 tsp sugar free vanilla extract
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
2 tsp instant chicory granules (or dandelion 'coffee')
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
50g chopped walnuts
45g bar of sugar free chocolate (we like plamil coffee chocolate), cut into small pieces


Method:
Heat the oven to 180 degrees (mine works better at 190, but it is a sloooooow oven!)
Lightly oil a 23cm square (9x9) dish and set aside.

Pop all ingredients apart from the nuts and choc pieces into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. The mixture will seem runnier than a standard brownie mix but that's ok it's meant to be! Mix in the chopped walnuts. Pour the mix into the dish and sprinkle with the chocolate chunks/pieces.

Pop into the oven for 35-40 mins until the middle is only just set. I check it frequently in the last 5 mins as they can go from perfect to dry pretty quickly!

Leave to cool on a rack before cutting into squares, if you cut too soon they'll crumble. That's the only hard part about this recipe- leaving them to cool when the delcious chocolate aroma wafts around your kitchen and you just want to dive right in!

Veganized 2016