Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin & Corainder Falafels

This recipe comes from my most favourite cookbook at the moment - Vegetarian by Alice Hart.  Just when you think you have every cookbook you could possibly need along comes another one to add to the collection.  With these I have made a few adaptations merely because i had a bunch of dill I wanted to use up and no parsley on hand as the original recipe calls for.   I have made these three times now and on each occasion there has been variation - so get creative.  They are wonderful in the lunchbox, when friends gather as part of a platter or as breakfast alongside some alfalfa sprouts and avocado.  On this occasion I have paired them with some heirloom tomatoes, natural yoghurt and chilli flakes. 
  This is my type of food!

Pumpkin and Coriander Falafel
Inspired by Alice Hart
Makes about 16

500g pumpkin, deseeded and cubed
2 T cold pressed olive oil
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained well
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ tsp bicarb of soda
1 small bunch coriander, leaves only chopped
1 small bunch Italian flat leaf parsley (I used dill)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
Juice half lemon
Salt and peeper to season

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius (400 Fahrenheit)
Toss the pumkin with 1 T olive oil and season well
Spread out on a baking tray and roast for approx 35 mins until soft and carmelised
Set aside to cool.
Place the well-drained chickpeas in a food processor with the garlic, bicarb, herbs and gound cumin and coriander
Pulse the machine, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides with a spatula
Continue until a rough pasted is formed.
Tip into a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper

Crush the roasted pumpkin with a fork until very roughly mashed and add to the chickpeas.
Fold everything together
Chill for 30 mins if you have time

Scoop dessertspoonfuls onto a baking sheet line with non stick baking paper and space out well.
Spray or lightly brush, drizzle remaining olive oil and bake for 15 – 20 mins  or until golden underneath.

If not browned on top turn oven to grill for a short period and brown but keep any eye on them as they could burn quickly.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kids are Snacking On............

Sneak sneaky with the greens but they are none the wiser and the added natural peanut butter tends to round out any unusual flavours.   Kids brains and nervous systems are built on fat so there is no shying away from good fats in our household.  Almond milk is a good base for smoothies and pairs well with many fruits.  Check out another favourite combination here and for homemade almond milk venture to this recent post for how to instructions.  You can buy almond milk at most health food stores however they tend to be more water than almonds and may also contain synthetic vitamins.  Organic full fat cows milk is just as good here as a substitute.  For anyone living on the Sunshine Coast I should add that Nude Food Organics at Kawana grind natural peanut butter on site with no extra additives.  The above green smoothie serves 1 - 2 depending.  Place all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.

When it comes to berries any type will do.  When we eat good raspberries I daydream of owing a farm with acres and acres filled with berry bushes.  Red berries contain the phytochemicals: lycopene and anthocyanins.  Lycopene is a very potent antioxidant and helps protect against skin damage from sunlight [1]  Berries get a good wrap for their association toward reducing the risk of cancer, improving circulation and contribution toward helping reduce elevated cholesterol.  Be mindful of strawberries however as they make the dirty dozen list for one of most contaminated foods.  It is very important to therefore wash non organic strawberries thoroughly.  I generally do this by adding a spoon of cider vinegar or bicarb of soda to a tub of water.  There are of course commercial washes available on the market as well if you prefer.

Two litte piggies sharing some berry love!

What about some good quality full fat dairy. Growing children need yoghurt and I don't mean the cartoon packaged variety, I mean good whole milk organic yoghurt that you have to spoon out of a big tub.  Barambah offer a lovely creamy natural yoghurt that is easy to eat and not overly tart.  Organic full fat dairy products are a must on my shopping list.  Most commercial low fat and skim milk products are highly processed and can be difficult to digest which is largely due to milk solids that give a reduced fat milk product body [2] 

The boys favourite three ways to enjoy yoghurt at home and in their lunchbox: 

  Fresh date shredded (as pictured)
  Goji berries and sultanas
Blueberries (or any berry) with shredded coconut and a splash of pure vanilla extract

Spelt flour tends to be my preferred choice as a baking flour.   From my own observations, it behaves in a similar manner to wheat flour and tends to be easier to digest as well.  These days spelt flour is widely available in most supermarkets in either a whole or white spelt preparation.   We like to make pikelets regularly around here and i do like to add ground flaxseed to the mix for some added nutritional benefits.  Where ever I think I can sneak it in i do and to date I have had no complaints.  The above recipe makes approx one dozen.

To prepare the mix:

Combine all the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients
Mix with a hand held mixer and let the batter stand for 30 mins if you have time
Heat a medium size heavy based frypan and brush with some ghee
Drop tablespoons of mixture into the pan and wait for bubbles to appear on the surface then flip and cook other side for half a minute or until browned
Repeat with remaining mixture
Place cooked pikelets on a plate covered with foil to keep warm 

Top with natural yoghurt mixed with some vanilla extract and your fruit of choice.  

[1] Koch, M (2011), Laugh With Health, Renaissance Publishing, Australia
[2] Blereau, J (2010), Wholefood for Children, Murdoch Books, Australia
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Raw Buckwheat Crispies

I like to make a big batch of these and store them for future use.  They are easy, versatile and store well  for long periods of time.  They  add a wonderful crunch to biscuits and are just as good ground to flour for use in pancakes.  Me personally, I like them as pictured alongside some poached pears whereas the boys think they are pretty neat sprinkled over some homemade beet ice cream with orange.  I should also mention they aren't bad with almond milk either.  If you don't have a dehydrator don't worry, simply set your oven to its lowest temp possible and cook until dried and crunchy bearing in mind that cooking time will be less than in a dehydrator due to temperature variations.  

Buckwheat Crispies
By Ani Phyo
Makes approximately 2 cups

2 cups buckwheat groats

Soak the groats  in a large bowl with three times the amount of water added overnight
Rinse well the following morning by placing the soaked buckwheat in a strainer and rinsing under cold water then drain

Spread evenly on a dehydrator tray and dry at 40 degrees celcius  (104 degrees farhenheit) for 3 – 5 hours or until completely dry
Mix them around every now and again to ensure even drying

If using your oven set it to its lowest temperature possible and bear in mind that drying time will be shorter and they will not be considered raw due to the likelihood that the oven will be a higher temp 

Store the buckwheat crispies in an airtight glass jar for several months

To Poach Pears (my quick way)
Serves 2

1 pear, sliced evenly, seeds and core removed
1 cinnamon stick 
1 star anise

Place pear slices into a small heavy based saucepan with about a 1/4 - 1/2 cup water 
Add the cinnamon stick and star anise and gently cook over a low to medium heat until soft approximately 10 mins
remove the cinnamon stick and star anise and spoon the pears over buckwheat crispies, oats or yoghurt

i like to reserve the poaching liquid for use in cakes and muffins for added flavour

To serve: 

Spoon a layer of yoghurt into a glass followed by a layer of buckwheat crispies, then poached pears and repeat before topping with coconut, chopped walnuts and a drizzle of poaching liquid or maple syrup

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nut Pulp Pate on a Raw Platter and in Wraps

2 cups nut pulp (leftover from making nut milk)
1/2 cup coriander leaves
3 Tbs Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1 T Cold Pressed Olive Oil (or other cold pressed oil)
1 tsp sea salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until well chopped and a pate consistency. 

Serve as part of a raw platter or wrap in lettuce, kale, or cabbage leaves.

To mold the pate for a platter, line a ramekin with glad wrap and pack as much pate into the lined  ramekin until firm and full to top rim.  Then gently pull on the glad wrap to remove the pate from the ramekin and serve alongside your choice of accompaniments.  Below I have raw kale chipotle chips, tamari almonds,  raw zucchini bread and linseed crackers of which i shall post details for in the coming weeks.   

 For wraps add your choice of mixed salad such as chopped olives,  tomatoes, carrot, zuchinni and avocado along with a portion of pate. Add a sprinkle of Mexican seasoning if you want extra flavour and wrap. 

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The Beauty of Almonds & How to Maximise the Benefits

Almonds - what isn't there to love about these little bundles of energy.  Today thanks to a better understanding of the complex relationships between food, health and nutrition we now know that eating the right type of fats in moderation doesn't actually make us fat in fact, research has shown the opposite effect with numerous studies finding the right fats can be beneficial toward aiding weight loss and cholesterol levels just for starters.

When it comes to almonds they are a great provider of those good fats, especially the monounsaturated kind.  They are versatile, tasty and a complete source of protein that gives animal protein a run for its money in terms of nutritional value and economy.  To gain the greatest advantage from  these great providers do as Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions suggests and soak almonds overnight in a bowl of water with a pinch of salt before drying gently in a warm oven or dehydrator.  By doing this, enzyme inhibitors that can prevent the absorption of valuable vitamins and minerals are removed or reduced.   The traditional practice of soaking and drying nuts as the Aztecs once did, can improve the digestibility of nuts, seed and grains and as an added bonus this practice facilitates  an extended storage life and a lesser concern  for rancidity.    It is thought that skinless almonds are easier to digest and make for better use in recipes however I prefer to leave the skin on mine.

Crispy Almonds

4 cups almonds
1 T sea salt
filtered water to cover a couple inches about as they will swell overnight

Mix almonds with salt and water and leave in a warm place for a minimum of 7 hours or overnight
Drain in a colander or sieve
Spread on a baking sheet and place in a warm oven (40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit) or dehydrator (same temp)  for 12 - 14 hours, stirring occasionally until completely dried.
Store in an airtight container.

Further on from this the calcium content of almonds is excellent and makes a great alternative to regular cow's milk.  Nut milk is easy to make and keeps in the fridge for 3 - 4 days.   Please see below for further instructions on how to do this.  Almond milk is enjoyable on its own, in smoothies or as I prefer, with oats in the mornings (see below).   Homemade almond milk is superior to store bought which unfortunately tends to be more water than almonds and I believe it can also contain synthetic vitamins.

Homemade Almond Milk

1 cup of almonds soaked overnight
3 cups filtered water
1 fresh date, seed removed

Soak one cup of almonds in water overnight, or for at least 8 hours
Place the almonds in a sieve and rinse under a tap of running water
Place the rinsed almonds in a blender and add 3 cups of filtered water and one fresh date (stone removed)
Blend on high speed until smooth and looks like milk
Line a sieve with a muslin cloth and set over a bowl
Slowly pour the nut milk into the lined sieve to filter out the remaining nuts
When the majority of liquid has been filtered through gather up the muslin and squeeze to extract the final amounts of liquid  
Reserve the pulp for another use (will be posting a use for this shortly)

Almond Milk and Date Porridge
inspired by Alice Hart

Serves 4

200g rolled oats
500 ml fresh, homemade almond milk (as per above)
4 fresh dates, pitted and sliced
50 gms pre soaked almonds, sliced thinly
2 medium size bananas, thinly sliced
shredded coconut to serve
a drizzle of maple syrup

Soak the oats in half the almond milk overnight in the refrigerator
The next morning, place the soaked oats into a medium size saucepan along with the remaining almond milk
Heat gently, stirring constantly for a few minutes until the porridge turns thick and creamy
Remove from stovetop and divide into four servings
Top with chopped dates, banana and shredded coconut

Koch, M, (2011), Laugh With Health, Renaissance Publishing, Australia
Fallon, S, (2001), Nourishing Traditions, New Trends Publishing, Washington

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Spinach Pie with A Brown Rice Crust

Sometimes leftovers are wonderful things. This spinach pie is a product of just that.

Brown Rice Crust
(Adapted from Vitamix)

2 cups (390gms) of cooked brown rice, cooled
1 egg
salt and pepper

Spinach & Ricotta Filling

2/ 3 cup (100gms) french shallots or 1 medium brown onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 bunch silverbeet/spinach, white stem removed and roughly chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
400gms ricotta
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup dill chopped roughly
½ cup mint
salt and pepper to season

For Crust:

Preheat an oven to 185 degrees celcius
Lightly grease a 23cm (9 inch) pie pan with olive oil
Mix cooked brown rice, eggs and salt and pepper together in a medium size bowl
Press into the prepared pan
Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven
Remove from the oven and let rest until filling is ready

For Filling:

Heat a large non stick frypan over a medium heat
Cook the shallots until caramelised (browned)
Add the crushed garlic and stir well
Reduce the heat slightly and add the chopped spinach
Place a piece of foil over the pan to help the spinach sweat down (approx 10 mins)
Meanwhile mix the ricotta, cheese, dill, mint and eggs together in a medium size bowl
When the spinach has wilted, allow to cool slightly before adding to the ricotta mix
Stir well to incorporate
Season with salt and pepper and spoon the mixture into the prepared brown rice crust
Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 30 mins or until set and top is nicely browned.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bountiful Roasted Strawberries and Some Frozen Yoghurt

We are very fortunate to live quite close to a number of “pick you own” strawberry farms and with the season in full swing we have made it part of our weekly routine to venture there. When it comes to berries any type is welcome in our house. Blueberries are a regular performer in our morning smoothies, raspberries in muffins or for snacks and strawberries – what can I say, they are great for anything in my eyes.

Then along came the Roasted Strawberries from Heidi Swansons book Super Natural Everyday. An occasional recipe to say the least but I have had the page ear marked for months now. As i recently flicked I got the urge and felt there was no time like the present to be giving these a go and they are now a new favourite recipe for special occasions. On a whim I added some to the base of plain frozen yoghurt and they were also delicious spooned over a mildly sweet quark cheesecake (will post shortly) I had made the day before. They would be equally as enjoyable with meusli in the morning or spooned over some fresh whole milk ricotta for a quick dessert. You could quite easily double the recipe for a larger quantity.

Roasted Strawberries:
Adapted from Super Natural Everyday

250gms strawberries, hulled
2 tbs maple syrup
½ tbs olive oil (cold pressed)
¼ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
a few drops of balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 185 degrees celcius
Prepare a baking tray with sides by lining it with a sheet of baking paper
Cut strawberries in half (quarter them if they are big)
Add the berries to a mixing bowl
In a separate bowl whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, sea salt, vanilla extract and balsamic vinegar
Pour over the strawberries and very carefully toss to coat
Arrange the berries in a single layer in the baking tray
Roast for 40 mins, or until the juices thicken
Remove from oven and whilst warm scrape the berries into a bowl for immediate use or for later

Frozen Yoghurt:

100gms cream cheese
300 gms plain greek yoghurt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup rapadurra sugar finely ground or sifted
pinch of fine sea salt

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment attach combine the cream cheese, yoghurt and vanilla on low speed
Add the finely ground rapadurra sugar and sea salt
Mix again on low speed until well combined
Remove the bowl from mixer and spoon the mixture into a pouring jug
Place in the fridge to chill for 1 hour
Remove and stir briefly
Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and mix according to manufacture instructions
When mixed to your desired consistency spoon the mixture into a tray or bowl
Freeze for approximately 2 hrs
Remove from freezer before serving to soften slightly
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Monday, October 3, 2011

A Little Slice of Raw - Zucchini Bread & Pumpkin Seed Cheeze

This raw zucchini bread was enjoyed by the whole family. The boys preferred it topped with peanut butter and honey whilst my own preference was for a little salad, avocado and some very delicious pumpkin seed cheez. Even my husband didn't mind it and, now that things are warming up on this side of the world tasty lunches like this are certain to be more abundant.

If you don't have a dehydrator don't despair. Cook it in you oven at the lowest temp possible on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

Zuchinni Bread
Make 9 Servings
By Ani Phyo

2 cups zucchini chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup almond meal
1 cup flax meal

Place the zuchinni, oil and salt in a food processor and process into a puree.
Add the almond meal and flax meal and process into a batter.
Spread the batter evenly on either a lined dehydrator tray (or lined baking sheet if doing in the oven)
Dehydrate at 104 degrees farenheit or 40 degrees celcius for 6 - 8 hours then flip over onto a mesh tray peeling away the teflex sheet and dehydrate for another 4 - 6 hours
Note that the bread will remain moist and flexible
Cut into your desired shape and serve with your chosen toppings

(if you are doing it in the oven then bake at the lowest temp possible but bear in mind you may need to adjust baking time in the case where your oven doesn't go as low as 40 degrees celcius)

Pumpkin Seed Cheeze
Makes approx 2 cups

1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups of pumpkin seeds (preferably soaked for min 2 hours)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup water, as needed

Place the garlic and salt in a food processor and process into small pieces
Add the pumpkin seeds and process into small pieces
Add the lemon juice and water then process to mix well

Will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days
Add more or less water to reach your desired consistency
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Hey There, I’m Sherilyn the creator of Wholepromise. This is where I venture outside of being a mum, wife and Fertility Nurse Specialist. I live on the Sunshine Coast in Qld, Australia and am spoilt by year round access to Farmers Markets offering a plethora of local, seasonal and organic produce. In all Wholepromise is my style of food, it’s the food I want my boys to appreciate and it’s the food that makes me happy. Styling and photographing it is just another bonus.


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