Month: December 2013

Mushroom, Kale + Rice Stuffed Pumpkin

pumpkin stuffed This is a Christmas recipe that’s coming a little late but that really doesn’t matter as this is so good it should never just come out just once a year! What is all that about anyway – people’s favourite foods and extra effort recipes coming out on just those special occasions! I just think we should all be eating delicious food we love all year round……or is that just me?

Anyway, every year Russ’s family have a boxing day tradition with another family to meet up every year for a big festive boxing day meal and it doesn’t actually have to be on boxing day either, in fact this year’s is 11 days before boxing day!!! I have missed the last 4, yes 4 because I generally try to be somewhere lovely over the Xmas period but this year it’s early and I get to go which is generally good news! The day is usually pretty fun and a great opportunity to catch up with friends and family whilst playing silly games and eating a lot including copious amounts of meat, cheese and wine. Hard times for me. Not eating meat, cheese or being a huge wine drinker makes me look a little strange amongst a room full of people who bond over their love of cheese and a mighty lamb shank. Plus I swear I get ‘blamed’ for Russ’s plant based lifestyle!! Yep blame, cos that’s just what it feels like in such a meat focused environment, Arrrrrhhhh!!!

pumpkin stuffed
So we’ve been asked to take our ‘veggie’ boxing day meal as I think it’s all too much for people who relish huge hunks of meat and wedges of every cheese known to man! I don’t mean it in a bad way but people tend to be a bit freaked out when you announce your vegan status! Anyway, it’s such a pleasure to take this mushroom, kale + stuffed pumpkin extravaganza because not only is it utterly delicious, but in my opinion she’s a bit of a show stopper! Pumpkin should never be just a side but rather the star of the show! That’s why I made four cos I just know that others will be wanting some as a side to their lamb. Quietly weeping.

pumpkin stuffed

This is wholegrain, contains 3 servings of veggies, is packed full of vitamins and minerals + an excellent source of protein. Merry Christmas. And a happy new year of course!

pumpkin stuffed

Not to mention it is utterly delicious spiked with white wine, earthy mushrooms, sweet cranberries, crunchy seeds encased in gooey sweet pumpkin flesh. Oh lord. This is proper winter food. Christmas food. Everyday food.

Mushroom, kale + rice stuffed pumpkin

(serves 2/3)

1 medium culinary pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
2 cups of chestnut mushrooms
2 large handfuls kale, torn
juice + zest of half lemon
salt + pepper
1 glass of white wine
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 cups cooked wholegrain rice

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Prepare pumpkin by slicing the top off to create a lid + scoop out all the seeds.
2. Meanwhile heat the olive oil over a medium heat + gently fry the onion, garlic, mushrooms + kale until softened. Add the lemon, seasoning + white wine, continue to cook until the alcohol has burned off.
3. Stir through the remaining ingredients + transfer the mixture to the empty pumpkin. Place the lid back on + bake for 45-60 minutes. The skin should be browned + soft when a sharp knife is inserted.
4. Serve immediately + knock their socks off.

Banana NiceCream – No Dairy, No Fat + No Sugar

Banana Nicecream – No Dairy, Fat or Sugar

banana ice cream

It’s that crazy time of year when everything just seems in excess; an obscenely huge selection of food, alcohol you would never usually drink (advocaat and Baileys anyone?), extravagant gifts we can’t afford, social expectations turning into obligations, shops packed to the brim with enthusiastic shoppers, television commercials telling us we need just one more thing and a minor meltdown when we realise we forgot the cranberry sauce. How could we possibly go ahead without this!? This stuff is tiring in a period of my life when I’m trying to detox in every sense of the word, embrace my inner minimalist, reduce everything, less is more as a mantra, de-clutter and simplify. Yes, simplify. Why make things more complicated than they need to be? It’s all very simple really and this ice cream is a celebration of less is more. But don’t be fooled, it’s pretty amazing stuff.

It’s free. Free from everything but wholesome goodness.

Liberated from unnecessary additives. simply banana ice cream

Completely unadulterated.

Happy to be just as it is and it doesn’t care what you think.  DSC_8905

Pure.

Raw.

You get the picture right?

1 beautiful ingredient. Bananas.just bananas, frozen bananas

Nature’s offering of whole food plant powered ice cream. It’s banana nicecream.

There’s no sugar, no dairy and no fat. Hallelujah!banana ice cream with caramel + nuts

It doesn’t get any simpler. It doesn’t get any better either.

Less is more. Most of the time anyway.

Banana Nicecream

Freeze your bananas for at least 4 hours + blend away until creamy. The Vitamix does a terrific job. Eat as soft serve or freeze for a harder consistency.

Healthier Chocolate Fudge Brownie (Vegan)

I’m not so much of a brownie kind of person and I just don’t feel normal being this way with so many brownie lovers out there. That’s why I made these, cos people love the brownie thing and these are to take to afternoon tea, so naturally I wanted to take something to please. People pleaser that I am!
choc fudge brownie
You just know I gave the original brownie recipe a bit of a makeover by making it vegan friendly (goodbye egg and butter) and also a lower gluten count (hello almond flour). Dark dairy free chocolate chips, pecan + a little less sugar make this a lot healthier than your average brownie.

Chocolate brownie love

I could have gone the whole hog and really stripped the sugar, omitted the butter for apple sauce but I wanted to be popular and wasn’t sure Russ’s family would appreciate my plant-powered wellness warrior brownie!Chocolate brownie stack

The thing is Russ’s twin brother’s other half is the queen of baked goods, in a ‘Great British Bake Off’ type of way, much to the delight his entire family. Come to think of it his sister, grandmother and mother are all baking goddesses, oh god what have I done. Anyhow, these are made with love and great healthy ingredients, who knows these may even turn me into a brownie lover. The thing is I cannot taste them as I can’t really take a tray of brownies with one missing, can I?Sliced healthy chocolate brownie

Ok, I just tasted one…..and wow, I gotta say they’re delicious. Not my favourite dessert ever, but a mighty fine chocolate treat. Now I definitely gotta try a raw brownie next with a whole lotta date loving going on.easy healthy chocolate brownies

Naturally I’ll be choosing these healthier chocolate fudge brownies this afternoon and here’s why:

nil dairy
low gluten + no refined flours
low carb – hello almond flour
reduced sugar + none of the white stuff either
heart healthy
made with love….so much love. lol
deeply dark chocolate, yum
because I made them of course!healthy chocolate brownies

It really is easy to make a recipe healthier, even just by ditching the dairy but if you slightly lower the sugar and select wholegrain flours then you really are making a whole lot of goodness. Most favourite baked goods recipes can be adapted in this way without forfeiting taste and texture. Ain’t that just grand. sliced healthy chocolate brownies

Healthier chocolate fudge brownie

(makes 9 squares)

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon crushed flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water)
1/2 cup spelt flour (can use wholewheat or regular all purpose)
1 1/2 cups almond flour (or process almonds into meal)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup dairy free butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup crushed pecans + 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 175 º C. + line a 12″ baking dish with baking paper – lightly grease. Prepare the flax egg + set aside. Add the flours, salt, baking powder + cocoa to a bowl + combine thoroughly.
2. Place the chocolate chips + dairy free spread in a microwaveable dish + place in the microwave for 45 seconds until melted. Whisk the sugar, vanilla, almond milk + flax egg into the mixture until fully combined. Add this to the dry mix + stir well.
3. Add the pecans + extra chocolate chips to the brownie dough + transfer to lined baking dish. Be sure to push the mixture down well so that it is very compact. Bake for 40 minutes.
4. Leave to cool FULLY before cutting the brownie. Slice into 9 squares + enjoy the brownie love. Store in the fridge for 1 week or freeze on day of baking.

Raw Beet, Parsnip + Apple Soup

raw beet & parsnip apple soup
Some days you just want soup. Actually some days you just need soup. Today was one of those days and as I ‘needed’ it, it had to be quick, really quick. Thank you Vitamix. Not only does this blender make silky smooth soups, it heats it along the way. Nice.raw beetroot soup

Nature’s pretty magnificent right? These veggies were organic and I really didn’t want to over soup this soup so I didn’t. What does that even mean? Anyway, this soup is pretty darn simple.chopped veggies

My raw beet, parsnip and apple soup is perfect for when you’re craving a warming and hearty dose of goodness. It’s packed with super cleansing beetroot, contains heart protecting potassium and folate rich parsnips. It’s fibre rich and blood sugar-regulating thanks to the lovely apple.2 big bowls of raw beet soup

A simple way to cleanse, nourish and feel good.

The best part is the time it takes. This is a hearty healthy soup in 5 minutes flat! Who needs to cook soup ever again?raw beet soup close up

Raw beet, parsnip + apple soup

serves 2

1 raw beetroot, peeled + chopped
1 parsnip, peeled + chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 teaspoon miso paste
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 dates
3-4 cups hot water
pepper

pistachios, crushed
mint, chopped finely
non-dairy yoghurt or cashew cream

Blend all the soup ingredients until smooth. Serve immediately with pistachios, mint + yoghurt. Cleanse away.

Healthy Darkest Double Chocolate Flourless Cookie Bites

carob chickpea cookieI can’t stop baking with beans, and not baked beans or pulse based curries but sweet nutty desserts bursting with the humble chick pea or fudge like black bean. It’s a pretty good feeling knowing that your sweet, dark and decadent cookie is actually 75% chick pea! Or your chocolate fudge brownie is crammed with black beans and you know that creamy cookie dough butter, yep you guessed it – it’s mainly white beans! Is it wrong to get excited over carob, chocolate, almondy, chickpea based goodies? Even the raw dough is hard to resist.

Cookie dough that's good enough to eat

Baking with beans is the way forward – who needs margarine and white flour when any pulse would do a better job, mega boost the nutritional content higher than you can imagine and transform a pretty unhealthy dessert to one which is plant based and truly good for us. Good news.Plate of cookies

And here’s a bit more good news:

flourless, no grain whatsoever so yep they’re gluten free
no dairy and entirely plant powered
so rich and chocolatey it almost hurts
so easy to make, literally throw it all in the blender and adjust ingredients for correct consistency
they really are healthy with such a tiny amount of sugar
less than 50 calories per cookie, eat lots
carob, ummmmStack them cookies up!

Technically carob isn’t chocolate but it does have a chocolatey taste with a sweeter, nuttier flavour than cocoa and it is super delicious. Also packed full of antioxidants and unlike cocoa contains zero caffiene. I absolutely love it. I use carob purely for a change of flavour as cocoa is one of my favourite ingredients ever and would work equally well in this recipe too. I do feel guilty cheating on cocoa but carob is so worth it. A plate of cookies for you!

Healthy darkest double chocolate flourless cookie bites

(makes 15-20 cookies)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed + drained (240 grams)
1 banana, peeled + chopped
3 teaspoons non dairy butter or coconut oil
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon of flaxmeal to 3 of water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons carob powder (or cocoa powder)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons almond meal or almond flour
4 tablespoons dark chocolate chips

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Add all the ingredients except chocolate chips to a food processor or blender until smooth. Stir through the chocolate chips. The mixture should be a cookie dough consistency so you may need to adjust almond flour to make it drier or add a dash of almond milk to loosen it.
2. Lightly grease a baking tray + form 15-20 small cookies from the mixture. They will not spread so allow enough room to remove once baked. Flatten slightly with a fork.
3. Bake for 20 minutes until crisp on the outside. Allow to cool fully before removing from the baking tray + get stuck right in. Store in an airtight container for 7 days.

Gluten + Dairy Free ‘Snickers’ Pancakes

snickers pancakesDessert for breakfast is sometimes the only way forward. Chocolate. Peanuts. Caramel. Pancakes. I shouldn’t think it gets much better than this. Well not in pancake world anyhow! I wish I had more creativity at breakfast but I always stick to my oats and a thousand trillion toppings. It’s only when I have something like this that I tell myself – ‘eat more pancakes, you crazy person’. Everybody should be eating more pancakes….as long as they’re plant based and super good for you!snickers pancakes

So not only was I trying to jazz up my pancakes ‘Snickers’ style but was also trying to perfect my gluten and dairy free pancake and I tell you what, this was right on target. Utterly delicious actually. You know they’re a success when you literally cannot wait to make them again and eat the whole damn lot. snickers pancakes

These Snickers pancakes have an ever so slightly sweet taste (I figured they didn’t need much sugar when they’re studded with chocolate + drowned in caramel sauce!), a nuttiness from the wholesome gluten free flour, creaminess from the almond milk and flax and they rose like a treat too! So happy with that.pancakes glorious pancakes

You gotta expect a slightly denser pancake when your using GF flour and no eggs and these were still much lighter than I envisaged. Let’s face it, who wants a pancake you could break into someone’s house with? Not me and in taste terms these are miles better than any white processed pancakes I’ve had in the past. I’d always recommend using roasted nuts as the taste is way better and makes them super crunchy too. These Snickers Pancakes are really very delicious. I want them again, right now. snickers pancakes + caramel sauce

Gluten + dairy free ‘Snickers’ pancakes

(serves 2)

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I used Dove’s Farm)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon flaxseed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup crushed roasted peanuts
1/4 cup dark dairy free chocolate chips
raw caramel sauce or shop bought

method:

1. Combine the first 4 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile add the milk, apple cider vinegar, flax + vanilla extract to a jug + whisk thoroughly.
2. Add the wet mixture along with the coconut oil to the dry ingredients + mix thoroughly. Stir through half the peanuts + half the chocolate chips.
3. Grease a non stick pan with coconut oil + scoop 1/4 cup size amounts of the mixture onto the griddle pan. Allow to brown (about 2 minutes) on one side + flip for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a warm oven whilst cooking the remaining pancakes.
4. Top with the remaining peanuts + chocolate chips. Drizzle generously with caramel sauce + revel in all this snickers glory.

Healing Miso Noodle Soup (Vegan)

Healing Miso Noodle Soup
Have you ever read the back of a pot noodle pack? Don’t do it, it’s really quite scary. Instead make yourself these 5 minute instant ‘pot’ noodles that are crammed to the brim with goodness. Loads of it.

Healing Miso Noodle Soup

This is the polar opposite of a pot noodle. It’s a healing miso noodle soup!Healing Miso Noodle Soup

A soup to cleanse. Heal. Invigorate. To simply feel good. Just what you deserve.Healing Miso Noodle Soup

Buy some miso soup right away, the stuff is an amazing health tonic. Just add hot water. Chop a little veg with a little love. A lotta love. Get some really nice noodles (wholegrain always). Put it all together and smile at what you just did.Healing Miso Noodle Soup

A great big heaping bowl of healing goodness. Make this your winter soup. Your cold fighting, immunity boosting broth. Your go to ‘I need to feel good food’ food, flavoured with garlic, ginger, a little chili, onion and mighty miso. Healing Miso Noodle Soup

I defy you to eat this and not feel really good after. It’s impossible. Use this as a weapon, a powerful weapon against getting ill, run down or coldy and you’ll be smugly dodging all those seasonal nasties. Good stuff.Healing Miso Noodle Soup

Super quick + healing miso noodle soup

(serves 2)

150 grams brown rice noodles
3 teaspoons miso paste
thumb size piece ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled
large handful broccoli florets
6 mushrooms quartered
handful baby leaf spinach
1 chili, deseeded + finely chopped
2 spring onions, chopped finely

Method:

  1. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions + set aside. Heat the miso paste over a low heat with 4 cups water + turn off just before it reaches boiling point. Add all the vegetables to the broth.
  2. Refresh the noodles with cold water, add to the miso broth + vegetables. Stir well to combine.
  3. Serve immediately topped with spring onion + a little chili. Actually top it with whatever you like. Smugly slurp on your own wonderful pot noodle.