Hi all, just letting you know I’m taking a short break from blogging. There has been a death in my family and another in ICU. So I will be travelling to Melbourne to be with my family. Within days of returning I will be going to Japan for a wedding. So I will have lots of delicious photos to share when I get back!
I rarely eat spouted legumes. I know they are really healthy, but they just don’t taste good to me. Marco really doesn’t like them. The first time I used them to make a salad for him to take to work he came home very upset that I would give him something so horrible. So since then I haven’t dared buy them again. However, I saw some chickpeas at the market yesterday and I thought why not give them another chance. I had only tried sprouted mung beans and lentils previously, but never chickpeas. Surely they couldn’t be that bad. We as it turns out they aren’t that bad, but also not that good either.
I was going to use them to make a salad. But I had second thoughts, after trying a few of these crunchy little guys. Instead I tried to make hummus. I used all my tahini earlier this week, so I thought if Nigella can make Peanut Butter hummus then so can I. It did take a while for the chickpeas to break down and all the ingredients to mix well in the processor, but once they did it came together really nicely. Unlike traditional hummus, this one had quite a bit of texture like any nutty dip. I really liked the flavour. Its a lot different to a cooked chickpea hummus, but just as satisfying.
I paired the hummus with a salad, made from other fresh ingredients I bought from the Brisbane City Market and South Brisbane People’s Market. I usually visit the City Market every Wednesday before and after work. But this was my first visit to the South Brisbane market, during my lunch break today. Silly me didn’t realise that I left my wallet on my desk, so I had to run back up the hill to get my wallet and back down to pay and then back up again to log in my phone in 13 mins. I was determined though so I made it with 3 mins to spare. I just couldn’t believe how cheap the food was, especially since it was organic. I’m kicking myself I didn’t buy more. I only got a couple of bunches of kale, 3 zucchini, 4 cucumber and 5 red apples for $7.80. It was cost me triple to buy pesticide ridden week old food from the supermarket.
By the way, only one more sleep till I get the keys to my new house!
Sprouted Chickpea Peanut Butter Hummus (gf, sf, r)
Ingredients- 1 cup sprouted chickpeas, 2 garlic cloves (crushed), 3-4 tbsp peanut butter, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 4 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp water, 2 tbsp cumin, 1 tsp sweet hungarian paprika, 1 tsp ground coriander, sea salt to taste
1. Place chickpeas into the processor. Blend until they break down a little.
2. Add the remaining ingredients. Continue to blend until smooth and creamy.
*Makes 1 cup
Since I have one foot out the door at the moment, I am trying to make use of all of our pantry ingredients. Tonight was buckwheat night. I decided to pair it with some roasted butternut pumpkin and lightly sautéed vegetables. To make it a bit more interesting I created a glaze and sauce with my nearly expired white miso. The sauce was so delicious. It tasted almost like satay, but without the peanuts. I’m so in love with Tahini at the moment. Its really delicious and full of calcium. Feeling really nice and light after such a wholesome dinner.
Miso Glazed Roasted Butternut Pumpkin with Miso Ginger Satay Sauce (gf, nf)
Ingredients: Miso Glazed Roasted Pumpkin- 1/2 butternut pumpkin, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/2 tbsp crushed ginger, 1 tbsp white miso paste, 1 tbsp brown rice syrup, sea salt to taste
Ingredients: Miso Ginger Satay Sauce- 2 tbsp unhulled tahini, 1 tbsp white miso paste, 1 tsp crushed ginger, 1 tbsp brown rice syrup (or more to taste), 2 tbsp pure sesame oil, 1/4 water, sea salt to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Wash the butternut pumpkin well. Then cut the the pumpkin in half and then cut into thin slices.
3. In a bowl large bowl combine the coconut oil, ginger, white miso and rice syrup. Whisk with a fork until it is all blender well. Toss in the butternut pumpkin to coat.
4. Place the butternut pumpkin in a baking tray. Pour the extra marinate on top of the pumpkin.
5. Bake pumpkin for 30 mins or until softened and golden.
6. In the meantime prepare the Miso Ginger Satay Sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl or a blender. Whisk with a fork or blend until it has blended together well.
7. Serve the pumpkin and sauce with some buckwheat or grain of your choice and some lightly sautéed or steamed vegetables.
Went dairy free or vegan and thought you would never again enjoy chocolate pudding? Well I did, until I discovered an abundance of vegan chocolate puddings using tofu or avocado. I decided to try it make it myself. I can’t remember where I saw adding banana to make a raw chocolate pudding. I was a bit worried how it would turn out. However it turned out really, really delicious! The banana, avocado, peanut butter and coconut oil really made it creamy and thick. The cacao, cinnamon and sweetener really helped give it that decadent chocolate taste. It had a mild taste of banana, but you would never know there was avocado in here. It was a bit hit with the family. Can’t wait to make it for the mini-Marcos.
Raw Chocolate Banana Pudding (gf, sf)
Ingredients- 1 large ripe banana, 2 small avocados, 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter, 3 tbsp coconut oil, 2 tbsp cacaco, 2-3 tbsp Sweet Freedom Natural Syrup/sweetner of choice, 2 tbsp almond milk, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. Combine all the ingredients in the Vitamix/high speed blender. Whiz until smooth.
2. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge till your ready for dessert.
I had a big craving for gnocchi last night. It’s one of my favourite comfort foods, but I don’t eat it that often. I refused to buy any store bought gnocchi. I just don’t understand why they need some many ingredients when I can make it with three. It’s acutally really easy to make. It does take little bit of time, especially if like me half of your potatoes are still hard when you try to grate them. I really have to invest in a potato ricer. But it was really fun to make, especially with someone you love. Marco helped me roll the gnocchi. They weren’t the perfect shape, but they taste the same in the end so that’s all that matters.
Gnocchi with a Spicy Capsicum Sauce (gfo, sf, nf)
To make the Gnocchi:
Ingredients- 600 g potatoes (unpeeled), 1 cup organic plain flour/gluten free plain flour (more for rolling), sea salt to taste
1. Bring a pot to the boil, then cook the whole potatoes for 20 minutes or until soft.
2. Rinse the potatoes with water and once they are cool enough to handle, peel the skin off.
3. Force the potato through a potato ricer/fine grater/fine mese sieve into another bowl, so that it comes out like almost puréed and without lumps.
4. Season the potato with salt and sift 1 cup of flour slowly into the bowl (you may not need all the flour).
5. Knead the gnocchi on a floury board for about 3 minutes and add more flour if you need.
6. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll into logs. Then use a knife to slice the logs into smaller pieces (enough for 1 gnocchi). If you have a gnocchi paddle, then roll the dough balls to form the gnocchi. Otherwise gently press the dough balls with a fork to leave some ridges or roll along the fork. For both methods check out this video to learn how to roll gnocchi.
7. In boiling salted water, drop the gnocchi into the water. Once the gnocchi rise to the top (should take a couple of minutes), continue to cook for a further 2-4 minutes (depending on how large your gnocchi are). If in doubt then taste then to make sure they are not over or undercooked.
To make the Sauce:
Ingredients: 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 brown onion (diced), 2 garlic cloves (diced), 500 g whole tomatoes (4 large), 1/2 red capsicum (diced), 2/3 cup dry white wine, 1 large red chilli, sea salt and black pepper to taste, couple of pinches of coconut/raw sugar, 1 handful whole basil leaves
1. Bring a pot to the boil, then drop in the whole tomatoes. Boil for a couple of minutes, until the skin starts to break. Then remove immediately and drop into an ice water bath or cool down with running water into a strainer. Peel the skin from the tomatoes and dice.
2. Heat a pot on medium heat with olive oil, then add the onion and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until translucent.
3. Add the red capsicum saute for a few more minutes.
4. Then add the diced tomatoes, white wine, and whole red chilli. Bring to the boil, then leave on a simmer for 20-30 minutes. While its cooking season with sea salt and black pepper and balance with sugar.
5. Place the sauce into a Vitamix or high speed blender. Remove the chilli if you don’t want it too hot or leave it in. Blend till its smooth.
6. Return to the pot and add the basil leaves. Cook until the basil leaves have wilted and the sauce is warm. Then serve with the gnocchi.
*3 big serves or 4 entree size
Hi all, hope you had a lovely week. Guess what only 5 more sleeps till we get the keys to our new home! We spent most of the weekend window shopping for different furniture, accessories and kitchen equipment. We have had to refrain from spending till we know what actually going to go. I’ve only seen the house twice so its a bit hard to remember most of the ins and outs. However, I couldn’t help myself today, when I saw these Anna Gare Retro Juice Tumblers.
Since I didn’t see Marco all week and then found out he look another shift on his day off, he agreed to take me anywhere of my choosing. So I choose a new place that just opened less then a month ago. Coco Bliss Superfood Bar is located on Oxford Street, Bulimba. They cater for the health conscious and health junkies alike. They offer smoothies, frappes, protein shakes, pressed juices, organic coffees, acai bowls, pink pitaya bowls, muesli fruit salad bowls, raw/baked desserts and salads and rice paper rolls. They have plenty of vegan, gluten-free and raw-food options and are 80% organic and refined sugar free. Besides using fresh ingredients, they also infuse their fares with superfoods such as Acai, Coconut water Lucuma and Goji Berries, for an extra nutritional kick to your smoothie or breakfast bowl.
We arrived at about 2pm for some afternoon tea. We were both really tired and needed an afternoon pick-me-up. I couldn’t believe how busy they were. It was just as constant flow of people stopping by for juices and smoothies. Luckily most weren’t staying, so we managed to get a seat at the bar. Apparently we spotted someone famous too. See the guy with his girl ordering at the counter. Marco thinks it may be the Australian, Jesse Williams, who now plays NRL in the US. I didn’t notice, I was too busy trying to choose something to order. I was only going to have a drink, but refined sugar free desserts, who can walk past that?
I ended up ordering the Acai Berry Iced Coffee. I had never heard of it before, which made me all the more curious. It had organic acai berry coffee and coconut water. Marco also wanted a something cool and caffeine infused, so he ordered the Mocha Frappe, which contained banana, medjool dates, cacao, espresso and cinnamon. They were both really nice and light and really gave us that jolt we needed. I quite liked the taste of the acai berry coffee, its not bitter at all. Its quite mild and similar to coffee. Marco’s smoothie was a little bitter, but luckily on the bar there was some natural sweeteners for customers to utilise. I think one was honey and the other maple syrup. So he added a couple of swigs and for the perfect sweet balance.
On the side I ordered this Vegan Chocolate Muffin. Normally I would order a raw vegan cheesecake or bliss ball, but I was really craving a chocolate muffin with sweet icing. This really hit the spot. It was moist and sweet and the icing was really delicious. Of course the one that didn’t want anything else had to eat half of my muffin. Next time we order two!
Marco and I really liked this place and would definitely return. Looking forward to dropping in for an Acai or Muesli bowl or to try another one of there super smoothies and healthy desserts.
Have you been here? What did you think?
Other recent vegan eat include:
Choc Strawberry Chia Pudding with Coconut Yoghurt from Raw ‘n Juicy, Brisbane CBD.
Veganised Morning Bruschetta with beans from Bare Bones Society, Jindalee, Brisbane.
Turmeric is so good for you. It’s anti-inflammatory and is packed full of manganese, iron, vitamin B6, fiber and potassium. Scientists believe that Turmeric wards of Alzheimer’s disease, prevents cancer, reduces risk of heart attacks and strokes, flights colds and flu, helps digestion and weight loss and can help people with diabetes. But unless you eat Indian food regularly, you probably don’t include this ingredient in many of your daily meals. This little salad dressing is creamy, raw and can be paired with almost anything. Hope you like it!
Roasted Sweet potato, Purple Carrot, Red Cabbage, Kale and Spinach Salad with a Creamy Turmeric Dressing (gf, sf, nf)
Ingredients- 6 small sweet potatoes, olive oil, sea salt to taste, 3-4 purple carrots, 1/4 red cabbage, 2 cups baby/other kale, 2 cups baby spinach, 1 cup Creamy Turmeric Dressing (below), 1-2 tbsp roasted black sesame seeds.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Chop sweet potatoes in round pieces and toss in a mixing bowl with olive oil and sea salt. Then bake for 30 mins or until cooked. Turn once while cooking.
3. Grate the purple carrots and cabbage. Massage the kale with sea salt and chop the baby spinach.
4. Combine all the salad ingredients in a mixing bowl.
5. Serve salad topped with roasted sweet potato, drizzle Creamy Turmeric Dressing and top with some black sesame seeds
Creamy Turmeric Dressing (gf, sf, nf, r)
Ingredients- 1/2 medium/large avocado, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp crushed ginger, 2 tbsp tumeric, couple pinchs ground cayenne, 1 tsp agave (more to taste), 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 4 tbsp water, sea salt to taste
1. Add in the ingredients in to a processor/mixer. Mix until you have a delicious creamy dressing.
2. Serve topped with black roasted sesame seeds and top on a fresh salad or roasted vegetables.
*About 1 cup
Apparently I don’t make sweets enough. Marco promised me he won’t have his nightly chocolate binge if I make home sweets. So I made an effort to make him a cake this afternoon. My cake is oil free and has no added sugar (except for the icing). This cake is sweet enough with out the icing. But I went all out tonight. Its sweet, moist and utterly delicious!
Coconana-chia Cake (sf, nf)
Ingredients- 1 cup self raising flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 cup coconut sugar, 1/2 cup white chia seeds (ground), 1/2 cup moist coconut flakes (or desiccated coconut), 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1 overripe banana, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tbsp agave/liquid sweetener, 20g nuttlex, 1 cup icing sugar, 3 tbsp coconut milk, 2-3 tbsp shredded coconut (toasted)
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift self raising flour and baking powder. Then add coconut sugar, ground chia seeds, coconut flakes and shredded coconut. Whisk well and break down any large balls that may of formed.
3. In a small mixing bowl mash the banana so its nice and creamy, then add coconut milk, vanilla extra and agave. Whisk so that its nice creamy and thickened.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Take the cake out of the oven and leave in tin for 10 minutes, so that it hardens a little.
8. Place the cake on a drying rack for 20 minutes or until the cake has cooled down.
10. Whisk the icing well so that its nice and runny.
11. Drizzle the cake with the icing and top with some toasted shredded coconut.
Now that we are so close to getting our new home, I have been trying to gather ideas for what to serve at our engagement/house warming party. Even though I got engaged back in January, we still haven’t had a formal celebration. I did want have it in a venue, but Marco has been pushing me to wait till we got a house. Although I don’t want to cater the whole thing, I think I will try make a few small things. All vegan of course. These are some of the ideas I came up with for an entree/main and a side salad. The filling for the Rolled Eggplant can also be made as a dip or spread. It was so delicious, I couldn’t stop eating it. I don’t think Marco is going to be a fan of the salad. He hates capers and green olives, but I’m hoping when he gets to try it later he will look past the salty ingredients and enjoys it as a whole. If he can’t, well then he won’t be invited to have any of my Coconana-Chia Cake that I just made! Rolled Eggplant with Cannellini bean Pine nut Filling (gf, sf)
Ingredients- 1 medium eggplant, salt, olive oil, storebought/homemade tomato (pasta) sauce
Filling Ingredients- 1 can cannellini beans, 1/2 cup pine nuts (soaked/boil 10 mintues), 3 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic, sea salt to taste, 20 basil leaves
1. To make the filling place all the ingredients for the filling, except the basil, in the processor. Blend until the nuts and beans break down and it becomes a puree.
2. Place the basil leaves in the process and blend so that they are finely cut but still a little chunky.
3. Slice the eggplant into thin strips (at least 12 with no skin on either side) and sprinkle generously with salt. Leave for 10 minutes, to remove the bitterness, then remove the salt and moist with a paper towel.
4. Heat a griddle pan on medium to high heat and brush with olive oil. Coat the eggplant with olive oil and cook on both sides (3 mintues per slice). While cooking apply more olive oil if the eggplant dries out. Place the eggplant in a warm place so that it doesn’t get cold while you cook all the slices.
5. Place the filling in the centre of the eggplant and then roll.
Ingredients- 30 green beans (topped & tailed), 2 bunches asparagus, 2 large handfuls of baby kale/lettuce, small handful spanish green olives, 2-3 tbsp flaked almonds (toasted)
Dressing Ingredients- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 3 tbsp lemon, 2 tsp dijon mustard, 2 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1.5 tsp crushed garlic, 2 tbsp baby capers, 2 tsp agave, 1/2 tsp dry oregano
1. Chop the green beans and asparagus into 5cm pieces.
2. Steam the green beans and asparagus for 5 mintues or until tender. Then place straight away into a bowl with cold water and ice for 10 minutes or until cold.
3. Strain the green beans and asparagus.
4. Massage the kale with sea salt, so that it breaks down. Slice the olives and toast the almonds.
5. Prepare the dressing by placing all the ingredients into a blender/processor and blend until creamy.
6. To assemble the salad first make a bed of baby kale, then top with green beans, asparagus, green olives and flaked almonds. Drizzle the caper dressing and serve.
After that lovely living lasagne yesterday I was really in the mood for one of my favourite things I use to prepare with Marco before I stopped eating dairy. We use to often make spinach & ricotta or pumpkin & ricotta cannelloni together. I was originally going to make a spinach tofu filling with a creamy bechamel, but I had no unsweetened plant milk in the house. So I tried to make a filling of ‘ricotta’ using cashew and tofu with some fresh spinach and topped it with a home made tomato sauce. It definitely had the texture of ricotta. I was convinced it tasted like ricotta. Marco not so much, because he still indulges in dairy products, but he said it was still very delicious. He had seconds, so that’s always a good sign. Unfortunately I was not able to get a good picture of the cannelloni, but trust me what it lacks in aesthetics it made up for in taste. Looking forward to having leftovers again tonight!
Cannelloni with Cashew Tofu ‘Ricotta’ Spinach Filling
Ingredients- 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion, (diced), 3 cloves garlic (diced) , 750ml passata sauce, 350ml water, 2 pinches raw sugar, sea salt & black pepper to taste, 10 basil leaves (diced), 250 g cannelloni shells
Ingredients Filling- 1 cup cashews (raw/soaked), 1/2 cup water, 250g tofu (medium, cubed), 3 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, sea salt to taste, 4 cups chopped spinach leaves (english/baby)
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Prepare the sauce first. Heat olive oil in a medium size pot and then add onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes or till transparent.
3. Add the passata sauce, water, raw sugar and season. Bring to a boil and then leave on a simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
4. If you haven’t soaked the cashews, cook in boiling water for 5-10 minutes, then rinse under cold water.
5. Place cashews in a kitchen processor. First break down the cashews a little, then add water while it is running. I used my processor instead of my Vitamix so that there would still be the texture of ricotta, rather then cream.
9. The sauce should be ready now, so add diced basil leave and leave to the side.
10. Put a couple of ladles of the sauce into a large baking tray, so that you can’t see the bottom.
11. Fill the cannelloni shells with the filling and place into the baking tray. I managed to use all the filling except for two shells.
12. Top with with the sauce and place into the oven for 40 minutes or until the cannelloni shells are cooked. If you have plenty of leftover sauce use to reheat leftovers the next day.