Creamy Lemon Broccoli and Cannellini Bean Gemelli

This dish is an adaption of one of my favourite recipes, Lemon Herb Cannellini Beans, from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen. This is one of my go to recipes when I’m in a hurry and need a creamy beany comfort dish. For my recipes I decided to add fresh broccoli and broccoli leaves, which full of Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Vitamin K is something I’m really focusing on increasing in my third trimester. I also added mine and Marco’s new favourite pasta, Gemelli. I just love the texture of this pasta. Its tender and chewy and catches the sauce really well. You can find it at good deli’s.

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Creamy Lemon Broccoli and Cannellini Bean Gemelli (vegan, gluten free option, soy free option, nut free option)

Ingredients:

2-3 serves of gemelli pasta or other short pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon italian herbs

1 cup broccoli florets

1/2 cup broccoli leaves or baby spinach

1/2 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup cooked cannellini beans

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (or more to taste)

Method:

1. Cook the pasta according to packet directions.

2. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat, then add garlic and italian herbs. Saute for 1 minute.

3. Add the broccoli florets and sauté for few minutes. Add more olive oil or some pasta water if the broccoli sticks to the pan.

4. Add the broccoli leaves and saute for another minute. If your using baby spinach add in the next step.

4. Add plant milk, sea salt, cannellini beans and nutritional yeast. Simmer for 4-5 minutes.

5. Add lemon juice and add more seasoning if you need, then serve immediately.

*Serves 2-3

I have been having mad craving for sweets since halfway through my second trimester. Apparently that’s typical when your expecting a little girl. But I feel really guilty every time I indulgent in something that’s got too much sugar or not so vegan. Plus I don’t want my baby to be born a sugar fiend like her father.These Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites from The Oh She Glows Cookbook really hit the spot. They are sweet enough with only the additional of a little bit of maple syrup and some dark chocolate chips. Other then that they only contain oats, almonds, peanut butter, sea salt, vanilla and coconut oil. They are a great snack you can keep in the freezer when your sugar tooth strikes.

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Another recipe I made from The Oh She Glows Cookbook is this Raw Buckwheat Breakfast Porridge. You can see a similar recipe for the Raw Buckwheat Porridge on the author, Angela’s blog. I made this recipe ages ago and forgot how good it was. I added some fresh organic strawberries, coconut yoghurt, toasted pepitas seeds and toasted shredded coconut. The perfect easy breakfast for a hungry mama.

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Cream of Broccoli and Potato Soup

One of my favourite soups in recent times is broccoli soup. I usually add at least one potato for creaminess and then let the Vitamix do most the work. This is not one of Marco’s favourites. I usually threaten him with my broccoli soup when I don’t feel like cooking so that he will go pick up some Thai. However he really liked this recipe. He was a bit apprehensive at first but thoroughly enjoyed it. The cashews give an extra creaminess that was missing without the cream. I promise  your family won’t know this recipe is dairy free when you use cashew cream.

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Cream of Broccoli and Potato Soup (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cashews, pre-soak for an hour if you can

1/4 filtered water (plus 2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 medium dutch cream potatoes, chopped in cubes

1 medium broccoli head, roughly chopped (include the stem and leaves)

3 cups vegetable stock

sea salt and black pepper

hemp seeds and nutritional yeast to serve

Method:

1. If you haven’t already pre-soaked the cashews, then place them in a small pot of water and boil for 10 minutes to soften.

2. Place cashews in a high speed blender with 1/4 cup of water. Add more water if the consistency is too thick. Scrap out of the blender and leave to the side. No need to clean the blender.

3. Place the potatoes in the steam and steam for 15 minutes.

4. Place the broccoli in with the potatoes and steam for an additional 5 minutes or until cooked.

5. In the meantime heat a large pot with olive oil, then add the onions and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

6. Place onions, garlic, potatoes, broccoli and 2 cups of vegetable stock in the high speed blender. Blend until smooth.

7. Add the blended ingredients back to the pot and place on a medium heat.

8. Add the cashew cream (leave some for garnish later) and 1 cup of vegetable stock to the pot and heat through.

9. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

10. Serve with a teaspoon of cashew cream, hemp seeds and nutritional yeast.

*Serves 3 large serves or 4 medium

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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Spring Vegetables

Happy Easter Sunday everyone! It doesn’t really feel like Easter for me. Without chocolate or gifts its just another weekend. We use to celebrate by having a picnic and gorging on chocolate, but this year everyone’s been busy. In a way I am happy I didn’t get any unwanted chocolate. No one ever buys me dairy free chocolate. I don’t know if I should just be grateful that people think to give me something or I should be annoyed that they know I can’t eat it and give it to me anyway. Marco usually eats any dairy gifts I get so he’s happy either way.

Since Marco has had a couple of days off with me, we finally watched the new documentary Hungry for Change (trailer). If you haven’t seen it, I really recommend trying to get a copy and taking the time to watch it. If you know me personally I would be happy to give you a copy. According to their Facebook page “HUNGRY FOR CHANGE exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industry don’t want you to know about; deceptive strategies designed to keep you coming back for more.” If you need some guidance or a refresher to get you back in the right direction it is really motivational. I really needed a refresher to get back into a routine of increasing my fruit and leafy green vegetable intake and exercising more. Marco needed a reminder to stop eating so much sugar and consider eating more fruit and vegetables.

???????????????????????????????So after watching this doc, Marco and I decided we need to start juicing. I haven’t pulled out my juicer for over a year. I originally got it to make cocktails, when I use to love to drink, then I started using it to make juices to loose weight. Now I really want to juice so I can get more vegetables and fruit into my diet for overall wellness. It really doesn’t take long to do, so I am making a commitment to start juicing more. Its back on my counter top now, so no more excuses.

This morning I made a delicious juice for us, made of watermelon, apple, carrot, lime and ginger. It was so refreshing. Still it didn’t have a lot of vegetables, but I am going to work us up to it. I felt really great after and didn’t need my usually morning coffee. In fact I am trying to cut down on coffee, if not for the sake of my insides, but for the sake of my teeth. I noticed about a months back I didn’t have coffee for a few days and my teeth were looking so much whiter. So it was incentive to consider cutting back. I don’t drink a lot of coffee, only one flat white once day, but I shouldn’t be relying on that boost. I should be getting from enough sleep, more nutrients and not forgetting to take my pyroluria medication.

Although it was raining all day we still managed to get some exercise  We went to Forest Lake to walk around the lake. Even though it rained the whole time it was really worth getting out of the house. After that we were quite hungry, so I made this comfort dinner. Marco begged me not to add in the vegetables to the pumpkin ‘cheese’ sauce, since he loved it so much, but in the end he was happy he ate them together, rather than apart. This is a great dish to sneak in some vegetables for your kids or veggie hating partners. It is also low fat and gluten free. I also baked the seeds from the pumpkin for some extra Vitamin E. For more info on the health benefits of pumpkin seeds check out WHFoods.

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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Spring Vegetable (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

500g thinly sliced pumpkin (I use kent and butternut)

4 serves of gluten free macaroni or other short pasta

olive oil

1 tablespoon vegan butter (I used nutlex)

1 tablespoon corn flour (or arrowoot flour)

2.5 cups plant milk (oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric

8 tablespoons nutritional yeast

sea salt & pepper to taste

1 head of broccoli, roughly chopped

1 cup frozen peas

2 cups baby spinach

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place slices of pumpkin in a tray and toss with olive oil. Cook pumpkin for 30 mins or until soft.???????????????????????????????

2. In the meantime prepare the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a large pan on low heat. While it is melting combine the almond milk and corn flour and whisk. Then add the plant milk to the pan with the melted butter.???????????????????????????????

3. Add the dijon mustard, garlic powder, tumeric and whisk until it thickens.

4. Add the nutitional yeast, salt and pepper and whisk.

5. Cook the macroni according to packet directions.

6. Add the roasted pumpkin to the cheese sauce. Use the whisk or potato masher to blend it through. Alternativly you could put it in the processor if you want the sauce to be smoother.???????????????????????????????

7. Heat another pan with olive oil, then saute the broccoli and frozen peas until tender.

8. Add the broccoli, peas and spinach to the cheese sauce. Heat through until the spinach has wilted.

9. Stir through the macaroni then serve.

*Serves 4

*I garnished mine with pumpkin seeds from the butternut & kent pumpkin. Just coat in canola/olive oil, salt & pepper and bake for 5 mins or until golden. Also makes a great snack.

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Pumpkin Soup Mantua Style, Broccoli Salad; Mushroom, Walnut and Spinach Pesto Spelt Pizza

I have heard about liquid smoke from other blogs for a while, but its not something that is easy to find in Brisbane. I really miss smokey flavour that cured meats bring to soups and stews. I have noticed in a few Italian recipes and many Serbian ones, that smoked meats or bones are often added to dishes for flavor and then removed before serving. However, the food wouldn’t really be vegan if I added them just for that reason.The only place I have seen liquid smoke is the Green Edge Vegan Supermarket, as it is imported from America. So I finally remembered to buy some a couple of days ago before they close for their move.

First thing I want to try with the liquid smoke was this hearty pumpkin soup from Mantova, Italy. I found this recipe in my mums old recipe book, Giuliano Bugiallis Foods of Italy. According to Bugiallis, this soup is famous in Mantova/Mantua. There are many variations of this soup, although most use milk. This version with the broth instead and is made in nearby towns.

I adapted the recipe slightly, adding liquid smoke instead of prosciutto and using vegan butter and vegan beef stock. The  liquid smoke really gave that smokey taste that cured meats bring to soups. Together with the ‘beef’ stock this soup tasted fantastic. Its was unlike any pumpkin soup I have ever had before. I couldn’t stop eating it and the rest of the family loved it. They couldn’t figure out what was in it and when I told them they were surprised. Marco especially loved that smokey flavor, as that is what he has grown up on.  If you can’t get hold of liquid smoke, I still recommend trying pumpkin soup with ‘beef’ stock for more heartier flavor.

Another recipe I found in Giuliano Bugiallis Foods of Italy was Broccoli in insalata. I haven’t made a salad like this before, but it was quite easy to put together. Suprisingly Marco really liked it. I didn’t mind it either. Broccoli and lemon go really well together.

The Pizza is adapted from In Vegetables We Trust, Rocket pesto cookie sheet pizza. I didn’t have any rocket or pine nuts left, so I tried it with spinach and walnuts, which worked really well together. I also used spelt flour, so it would be more nutritious. If you haven’t checked out In Vegetables We Trust, then you should! There are so many delicious dishes you wouldn’t know are vegan by looking at the photos.

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Minestra di zucca alla mantovana (Pumpkin Soup Mantua Style) (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

800-900g pumpkin

8 tablespoons nutlex/vegan butter

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

3 cups vegan beef liquid stock (I used Massel)

sea salt & black pepper to taste

basil/oregano leaves to serve (optional)

Method:

1. Remove the skin and seeds from the pumpkin. Cut it into small pieces. Then place it in a bowl with cold water for 1/2 hour.???????????????????????????????

2. Melt nutlex in a large heavy based pot over a low heat. Once it has completely melted add pumpkin pieces and liquid smoke. Cover and cook on medium heat for 15 mins.???????????????????????????????

3. Add vegan beef stock, then cover it again and simmer for 15 mins or until pumpkin is very soft.

4. Take the pot of the heat and puree it. Then adjust seasoning with sea salt and black pepper. Cook for a further 10 mins then serve.

*Serve soup topped with a few basil leaves. I didn’t have so I used oregano leaves.

*Serves 6

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Broccoli in insalata (Broccoli Salad) (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 bunch of broccoli

2 small carrots

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice from 2 lemons

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Soak broccoli in cold water for 1/2 hour.

2. Bring a pot of cold water to the boil. Meanwhile separate the florets from the broccoli stems and cut into bite size pieces.

3. Place broccoli stems in boiling water and cook for 5 mins.

4. Then add the brocolli florets and cook for a further 4 mins.

5. Remove all the broccoli and place into cold water for 10 mins.

6. Peel and grate the carrots then place in a bowl with cold iced water and leave for 5 mins.

7. Combine the oil, lemon juice, chili flakes, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

8. Strain the broccoli and carrots. Then combine half of both into a bowl, add half of the dressing. Then add the rest of the vegetables and dressing, then serve.

*Serves 4 as a side dish

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Mushroom, Walnut and Spinach Pesto Spelt Pizza (vegan, soy free)

Ingredients for pizza base:

1.5 cups wholemeal spelt flour

1 cup tipo 00 flour

2 1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast

1 teaspoon raw sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for pizza topping:

2 cups baby spinach leaves

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

sea salt & black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons chopped walnuts

6 medium/10 small mushrooms sliced

Method:

1. Combine the spelt and 00 tipo flour in a bowl.

2. Combine the warm water, yeast, salt and suger. Leave for 5 mins or until it has bubbled.

3. Add olive oil and yeast water mixture to the flour.

4. On a floury board knead the dough for 10 mins. Then leave for at least 1 hour in a warm spot.

5. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200 degrees and place the spinach leaves, garlic, basil, oregano, olive oil and salt and pepper in the processor. Process until it is all ground together.???????????????????????????????

6. Stir in the walnuts then set to the side.

7. Once dough is read, spread it onto a rectangular pizza pan.

8. Saute the sliced mushrooms with a little bit of oil in a pan for a few minutes.

9. Lather the pesto onto the pizza base, then top with mushrooms. Cook in the oven for 20 mins, then slice and serve.

*Makes 1 pizza base, cut into 12 smal slices

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Orecchiette ai broccoli

Orecchiette pasta is my favorite short pasta. I tried in a restaurant years ago and have loved it ever since. I don’t buy it very often because its hard to find and usually quite expensive. I also found the store bought Orecchiette can be a bit tough as well.

6781970219_cc736d218c_zOrecchiette is actually from the region of Puglia (the heel of Italy). It’s name translates to ‘little ears’, because that is what it looks like. It is made of only semolina pasta, water and salt. It is often paired with broccoli, turnip greens or tomato sauce (vegetarian or with ragu/meatballs/brasciole) or strong sheeps cheese. In the city of Cisternino (Puglia), there is a variant of this pasta, which is a bit larger and has deep internal ribs, which looks more like an ear. It is called recch’ d’privt, which means ears of the priest. This variant uses soft wheat flour.

The origins of Orecchiette is not actually from Italy, but from the south of France, during in the Middle Ages. Back then it was a made of a thick paste, which was shaped into discs and hollowed in the center using the thumb. They made it this shape because it was easily dried. It was used during times of famine and was also loaded on ships and sent abroad.

How did it come to Italy? Well in the 13th century the French Anjou dystasy ruled the lands, which are now the modern Italian regions of Basicilica and Puglia. So it may have came to Italy this way. Alternatively, expert scholars of food and wine in Puglia, think that Orecchiette would have originated in Sannicandro di Bari, in Bari (Puglia), when the Normal-Swabian ruled during the 12th and 13th century. It was perhaps created as protection again the local Jewish communities and/or derived from the Jewish recipe Hamantash, which translates to the ears of Haman (from the book Esther).

img_archivio1432011173617I found many recipes for Orecchiette that combining wheat flour and semolina. However, there were  comments left by some Italian said they would lynch you in Puglia for doing that. So I thought I would stick to the original recipe of just using semolina. It was incredibly easy and quick to make. After being cooked it was not tough and not to soft. It is completely different texture to other pastas, yet it is still pleasant to eat. It is chewy, but not too chewy. Well you just have to try it! There are heaps of videos on youtube showing you how to shape the pasta. It is very easy and you get better as you go. P1030535 - Lunch Pizzeria al 29 - Vanessa

I decided to make it with broccoli, because I have had this dish before in Milan, at my favorite place to eat Osteria al 29. I loved the simplicity of broccoli, good olive oil and a hint of chili. Sometimes simple is the best way. Marco, who isn’t a fan of broccoli loved this dish. I was going to add some sauce to his to take to work, but strangely enough he was happy to go without. The photo on the right is at Osteria al 29, but I can’t find a picture of the originally dish. It was offered for lunch on many menus in Milan and is one of the few vegan pasta dishes I saw other then Pasta al pomodoro.

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Homemade Orecchiette (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

250g semolina flour

bit more than 1/4 cup hot water (not boiling)

pinch of salt

Method:

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1. Place the semolina in a bowl and add salt. Stir through.

2. Then place the semolina on a large wooden board or work space and make a well in the center.???????????????????????????????

3. Add a little water in the center of the well, and stir through. Gradually adding enough so that it firms a a hard dough. Knead for a few minutes. Then let it sit for 10 mins. ???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????4. Cut the dough into 6 segments. Then roll each segment with your hands into a tube shape. Cut it in half again, and continue to roll the two tubes so they are 1 cm wide. Continue rolling the rest, until you have used all the dough and have several tube shaped pasta.

???????????????????????????????5. Now cut the tubes into small pieces, of about 1 cm wide each.

6. Once all the small pieces have been cut its time to shape your orecchiette. Take one piece of pasta and a rounded knife (without serrated edge). Drag the knife from the center of the piece of dough to the edge. Then turn the piece around and curve it around your finger, so it looks like a shell or a miniature bowl. Continue till you have shaped all the pasta.

7. To cook place the orecchiette pasta in salted boiling water. Remove from the water once all the orecchiette has floated to the top. It should take 5-10 mins to cook.

*Serves 2 mains or 3 entree size

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Orecchiette ai Broccoli (vegan, soy free)

Ingredients:

homemade orecchiette (from recipe above)/dried orecchiette to serve 2

1 large head of broccoli

extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

red chili flakes to taste

sea salt to taste

vegan parmesan to serve

Method:

1. First put a pot to boil for orecchiette and another to boil the broccoli.???????????????????????????????

2. In the mean time dice the garlic and cut the broccoli florets into halves or quarters, so that they are bite size. Also cut up the stalks to use. ???????????????????????????????

3. Boil the broccoli for 2-3 minutes or until tender and place a  bowl.???????????????????????????????

4. Once water has boiled for the pasta, add orecchiette and salt to cook.

5. In a pan add olive oil and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Then add broccoli and chili and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add more oil if you need.

6. Pasta should be ready now, so add it to the pan and include a little bit of pasta water. Season with salt and pepper and saute for 1-2 minutes. Serve with vegan parmesan.

*Serves 2 mains or 3 entree

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Hasselback Potatoes with Lemon Almond Pesto and Beans, Broccoli & Spelt Croutons

I have been wanting to try Hasselback Potatoes for a while. I came across this recipe one day and was intrigued  I have never seen potatoes prepared like this before. This recipe was adapted from Joy the Baker’s Hasselback Potatoes with Spinach Cashew Pesto. I had to change the recipe for the pesto a bit, since I was missing some key ingredients. For some strange reason my processor wouldn’t liquefy all the ingredients and left it a bit chunky. I was so frustrated that I just gave in to it. It turned out to still taste good and Marco said he liked it chunky, so I guess it wasn’t that bad.

The potatoes themselves were so delicious. They were a bit of a pain to cut and stuff with garlic. I did go all the way through on a couple of them.  I ended up served them with these simple vegetables and some leftover risotto, as I was in a hurry to watch My Kitchen Rules.

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Hasselback Potatoes with Lemon Almond Pesto (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients for Hasselback Potatoes:

4 large potatoes

4 garlic cloves

4 tablespoons vegan butter

olive oil to coat

sea salt

Ingredients for Pesto:

2 cups basil

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup toasted almonds

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/3 cup vegan parmesan

sea salt & pepper to taste

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees.???????????????????????????????

2. Thinly slice a layer from the bottom so that the potato can sit on its side. Then slice slits in the way along the potato. Be careful not to cut right through to the bottom.???????????????????????????????

3. Thinly slice the garlic and stuff a piece in each slit in the potato.

4. Put the potatoes in a small baking dish and top with vegan butter and coat in olive oil. Roast in the oven for 1 hour. If you can check the potatoes a few times and baste in the olive oil.

5. In the meantime place all the ingredients for the pesto in the processor, except for the evo. Process until smooth. Lastly add the olive oil.

*Serve the potatoes topped with the pesto

*Serves 4

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Beans, Broccoli & Spelt Croutons (vegan, nut free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli, roughly chopped

2 handfuls green beans

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 slice of old spelt bread, toasted and chopped

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt & pepper to taste

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a pan then add garlic and spelt bread. Saute for 2 mins.

2. Add broccoli and green beans and saute for 4 mins or until tender.

*Serves 4

Broccoli and Cauliflower Pakoras

Tonight I was emptying my fridge, so that I could bring our left over food to Marco’s and freeze whatever I could. I managed to freeze the nectarines, peaches, cherries and grapes. I only had a few vegetables left. I didn’t want to freeze them. I hate frozen cauliflower and broccoli. It fills up with water and tastes terrible. I was trying not to open anything new so I decided to finally try to make pakoras. Bad idea when you have been over eating for the past 3 days and wanted a healthy dinner. I think there is a reason they are served as an entree at Indian restaurants. I never really think about fatty they are when I usually order them. They did taste really good though. Just not the healthiest dinner choice. I served them with the Sweet-and-Sour Sauce that I had made to go with the Meatballs from Chef Chloe’s book. It is really sweet and has a similar taste to the sweet tamarind sauce. Otherwise you can use any kind of sweet dipping sauce you like. Since I made so much I freeze the rest. I read that if you fry them then freeze, you can just refry them when you want to eat them. Yes I know its not healthy, but a better alternative to something store bought fried foods.

This is my last cooking post for the next couple of weeks. Hopefully I will find some great vegan eats in Melbourne!

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Broccoli & Cauliflower Pakoras (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups besan/chickpea flour

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon garam marsala

1 teaspoon sea salt & more to taste

1.5 cups water

1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 onion, sliced

1 small head broccoli, cut into florets

Method:

1. Sift the besan flour in a large bowl then add the bicarbonate soda and all the ground spices and salt. DSC01583

2. Stir through water slowly till it thickens in to a batter.DSC01584

3. Add the vegetables and cover in the batter.

4. Heat the oil in a wok and add the vegetables with the batter into the wok to fry. Do small batches and cook for 1-2 mins on each side. Drain oil from pakoras with paper toils, season with salt and serve with sweet dipping sauce.

Broccoli and Hemp seed Soup

A couple of months back I went to a vegan fair at Enoggera for World Vegan day and got a couple of free sample packets of Organic Hulled Hemp Seeds. I have never tried hemp before, but I was very curious to see what it is like. I have read that is very healthy.

Hemp seeds contain 33% protein,  all the 10 Essential Amino Acids, Omega 3, 6, 9, and GLA  (Gamma-linolenic acid). It is easier to digest then soy & whey and is a good source of Chlorophyll, which helps keep breath free and cleans the blood. They are also vegan, gluten free and raw. They sounds fanatic!

I have only really heard using hemp seeds on American health sites and books. I have also never seen it for sale here. I just found out this is because Hemp products are illegal in Australia and New Zealand for human consumption. I didn’t realize till just now that the flyer on the sample said  ‘Best Food Grade, Not for Human Consumption in AU/NZ only’ . Opps!

Australia and New Zealand are the only countries in the world that eating Hemp is illegal. There was a application passed by the Food Standards Australian and New Zealand (FSANZ) in 2002, which would make hemp foods available here. However, our ignorant former Prime Minister John Howard, had the ministerial council reject the application, as he thought he might send the wrong message about Hemp. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I won’t rant about all the reasons I can’t stand this man, but if Australian health isn’t bad enough, he had to stop something positive, based on his old stuffy conservative believes. Other misinformed or ignorant ministers have had similar beliefs. But Government Representative Cynthia Thielen does not. She stated that “Industrial hemp is not a drug and don’t try to porn it off as a drug and try to claim that we’re misleading the youth. The youth know better. It is you guys that don’t“.

Currently hemp seeds, hemp oil and hemp protein are legal for selling here for other uses, other then human consumption, such as rubbing on your skin, feeding your soil or your pets. The last update on this issue is that FSANZ has again approved a draft to allow hemp to be consumed as a food on the 31st October 2012. However,  we won’t find out until 60 days after that date whether it has been rejected, accepted or amended. So hopefully by new years we will know. If you are in Australian want to sign the petition, click the link below.

Hemp has a long tradition in human history. It has been used for over 10,000 years. It has been eaten in China for 8000 years and also has a long tradition as a food in both India and DSC01324Europe. There is evidence that hemp was also used by the ancient Mesopotamian,  since before 8000 BC. Hemp was also used from the 5th century up until the 1800’s to make ropes and sails for ships. In fact hemp came with the First Fleet to Australia for this purpose. So hopefully we will stop living in the dark ages soon and join the rest of the world.

Anyway enough ranting. I decided to use it to make a soup. The hemp seeds by themselves have a mild taste, which is slightly nutty and it is very soft to chew. Cooked, they gave the soup a nice nutty flavor and it was incredibly delicious. Unfortunately its quite expensive, so don’t think I’ll be buying it soon, unless the law brings down the price. 1 kg of Hemp Seeds is nearly $60 and as far as I know has to be ordered online. Are hemp products it expensive in your country?

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Broccoli and Hemp seed Soup (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 small onion

1 garlic clove

1 small head of broccoli

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 teaspoons ground cumin

1.5 cups vegetable liquid stock

1/4 cup hemp seeds

Method:

1. Dice the onion and garlic. Roughly cut the broccoli, including the stem and any leaves.

2. Heat a small pot with olive oil then add the onion and garlic. Saute for 2 mins.

3. Add the cumin and broccoli and saute for another 2-3 mins.

4. Add the liquid stock and bring to the boil.

5. Add the hemp seeds and place on a simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 mins.

6. Take off the heat, blend till smooth and then serve.

* 1 large serve or two small serves.

DSC01335

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Cynthia Thielen, ‘Does hemp seed give a mixed message to the public?’ <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DatJgJvD6gY>

Green Pages, ‘Hemp Foods Legal in Australia’, <http://www.thegreenpages.com.au/projects/hemp-foods-legal-in-australia/>

Hemp Foods, ‘Hemp Legislation’ <http://www.hempfoods.com.au/legislation/>

Hemp Seeds Australia, <http://www.hempseedsaustralia.com.au>

Ashley Hall, ‘Hemp could get nutritional nod’, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-08/hemp-seeds-cannabis-food-standards/3719846>

Simple Broccoli Soup with Fresh Corn & Sage Flat Bread

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by the broccoli and corn in the fridge that needed to be used. I wanted to add broccoli to last night curry, but Marco thought it ruin the flavors. He was very adamant, so I agreed to use it the next day. He wasn’t too keen on broccoli soup tonight either, but he ended up liking it and is going to take the leftovers to work. Unfortunately he loved the corn bread so much that he ate 4 tonight and is taking all the rest tommorow. He doesn’t want to leave me any, even though I spent so much time cooking it haha. At least he is eating a healthier alternative, so I don’t mind.

For the soup I used the whole broccoli, leaves, stem and all. As for the Flat Bread, I got the idea from an Indian bread. But I thought sage was more appropriate to go with the soup and used wholemeal flour and olive oil, so that it would be healthier. I tried using vegan butter for the first couple but it burned to quickly.

Simple Broccoli Soup (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 heads of broccoli, chopped, includes stem & leaves

750ml vegan chicken liquid stock

500ml fresh water

1 tablespoon arrowroot flour (or tapioca flour), mixed with 2 tablespoons of water

4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

sea salt & black pepper to taste

serve with dollop of natural coconut yoghurt or vegan sour cream (optional)

Method:

1. Heat a pot and add olive oil, then add onion and garlic. Cook for 3 mins or until soft.

2. Add broccoli and saute for 3 mins (stir continuously).

3. Add liquid stock and water then bring to the boil and place on simmer. Cook till soft.

4. Take of the heat and use a bar mix to blend the soup.

5. Place back on the heat and add flour, nutritional yeast and adjust seasoning. Stir thorough and once heated serve with some ‘yogurt’ or sour ‘cream’

*Serves 4

Fresh Corn & Sage Flat Bread (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

375g fresh corn kernels (3 small cobs of corn)

215g wholemeal or gluten free flour (plus more for rolling)

1-2 tablespoons fresh sage

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

olive oil for frying

Method:

1. Place corn kernels and salt in the processor and blend into a paste. 

2. Take a mixing bowl and add corn and mix in sage.

3. Slowly add the flour, so that it becomes a dough (it will still be sticky).

4. Separate into 18 small balls. Take a ball roll it in flour and use your hands or rolling pin to flatten it out. Add more flour so that it becomes dry.

5. Heat a fry pan with olive oil (about 2 tbsp) and cook the bread on both sides (about 2 mins, only enough that it is a bit golden brown)

6. Soak oil from bread with paper towel and place into some foil to stay warm while you cook the rest.

* Makes 18

Fusilli all’olio con broccoli, pomodori secci e olive

Today was a quick lunch. I spent most of travelling to take poor Albie to the chiropractor. He keeps pulling his leg muscles and has been clingy and crying for days. Even though he adjusted himself 50 times he spent my of the time in the car in my arms. He’s a big boy but he loves to be cuddled. By the time I got home I felt really queezy and my headache got worse. When I forget to take my b12 & zinc tablets i get headaches that last for days. So I wanted something really savory and plain and this is what I ended up with.

I love Aldi’s Organic Wholegrain Fusilli Pasta. It tastes really good and is much healthier option. Most wholegrain pastas are quite expensive, but this one is only a couple of dollars and everyone I’ve made it for loves it. I am paranoid that they are going to stop selling it, like many of their organic lines, so keep them in supply.  I wanted to posted this recipe because I felt it had really balanced flavours. The olives were salty and rich, the sun-dried tomatoes sweet and broccoli and pasta had  a fresh nutty taste. I love pasta with olive oil base. It really brings out the flavours of the other ingredients, tastes clean and is quick to prepare.

Fusilli all’olio con broccoli, pomodori secci e olive (gfo, sf, nf)

Ingredients- 100 g wholegrain fusilli/gf short pasta, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic chopped, 5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil chopped, 6 black olives deseeded & chopped, 6-8 stalks of broccoli chopped in large pieces, pinch of ground cayenne, sea salt & black pepper to taste.

1. Cook pasta according to instructions.

2. In a pan saute garlic & sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil on medium heat. Cook  for 3 mins or until garlic is brown.

3. Add broccoli, olives, cayenne, salt & pepper. Cook for 4 mins or until broccoli is tender.

4. Stir through pasta and then serve.