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Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand - Mother Teresa

BEAN SALAD

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It seems I’m on a run with posting summer recipes… wondering if anyone can work out why when it’s the dead of winter here in Australia at the moment. Hubby likes to eat a variety of dishes for his night meal, whereas I’m content repeating my favourite infinitum. Which means, I’m forever thinking about and creating new dishes to satisfy him. Funny thing is, he’ll say, when are you going to make such and such, you haven’t made it in ages. I’m guessing that in reality he wants variety, on rotation, but not too rotated. (If that makes sense).

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Here’s a quick knock up salad that takes 15 minutes tops to make. I used a medley of brown and shiitake mushrooms, yet any type would suffice, and sauté them in olive oil both sides until lightly browned. Also used butter beans, yet any white bean would be equally delicious. The sweet dill dressing is quite delicious and perfectly marries with the salad. If you don’t have fresh dill, substitute dried dill, and then you won’t need to blitz it in the blender.

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Health benefits:

·       When eaten with a whole grain such as brown rice or whole-wheat pasta, butter beans offer as much protein as meat and dairy foods, with far fewer calories.

·       Like other beans, the butter bean is high in dietary fibre. Fibre is beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels, and also in regulating blood sugar levels. The beans also contain insoluble fibre, which is helpful in preventing digestive disorders.

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BEAN SALAD

V

Makes 1 platter

 

150 grams brown and shiitake mushrooms

handful green beans

250 grams cherry tomatoes

400 gram tin butter beans

handful baby spinach

Using a paper towel, dab the dirt off the mushrooms. Finely slice the mushrooms and sauté both sides until lightly browned. Slice green beans diagonally in 2 cm lengths, and cut cherry tomatoes in half. Drain and rinse the butter beans. Add ingredients to a bowl and gently toss. Spoon onto a platter and serve with the sweet dill dressing. Enjoy!

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SWEET DILL DRESSING

V, DF

Makes 12 servings

 

¼ cup nutritional yeast

3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (Veganaise)

1 tablespoon rice malt syrup

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh dill

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

2-3 tablespoons water.

Add the ingredients in the blender and blitz until smooth and creamy. Add more water if needed. Pour into a serving jar.

RHUBARB GALETTE W BASIL ICE CREAM

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Summer desserts feature delicious in season fruit in tarts, galettes and lightly roasted fruit with fruit or herb ice cream, sorbet and granita. There’s something special about this rhubarb galette. It’s slightly tart deep ruby flesh is delicious when combined with a nutty sweet hazelnut crumb and cooled with fresh tasting basil ice cream, a delicious dessert dream. You could substitute favourite stone fruit or add strawberries to the rhubarb, even add a grating of ginger.

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Health benefits:

·       Rhubarb is one of the vegetables with low calories and it is often recommended for people who are struggling to lose weight but still want to remain healthy. 100 grams of rhubarb contains only 21 calories.

·       Rhubarb is extremely low in fat and cholesterol and it poses no threat to cardiovascular health as can actually increase the levels of good cholesterol due to the presence of dietary fibre.

·       The high amount of dietary fibre found in rhubarb can guarantee a healthy digestive system by bulking up the stool and making sure that bowel movements are smooth and regular.

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RHUBARB GALETTE W BASIL ICE CREAM

V, DF, RSF

Makes a 30cm galette

 

For the sweet pastry:

1½ cups spelt flour, or GF rice flour

¼ cup coconut sugar

pinch Himalayan salt

1/3 cup non-dairy butter, chilled

¼ cup chilled water

 

 For the hazelnut base:

¾ cup peeled, roasted hazelnuts

¼ cup coconut sugar

1 lemon, grated rind

 

For the filling:

¾ cup stevia

½ lemon, juiced

500 grams/2 bunches rhubarb stalks, cut into 7 cm lengths

Preheat the oven to 190’C/350’F/Gas mark 4. Pour the flour, coconut sugar and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter into small discs and rub into the flour with fingertips to make a breadcrumb consistency. Using a blunt knife, gradually mix in chilled water to make a pastry. Bring the pastry together and lightly knead. Wrap in baking paper and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. For the filling, combine stevia, lemon juice and 200 ml of water in a saucepan over high heat for a minute, add the rhubarb and simmer gently while turning gently for 2-3 minutes. For the hazelnut base, place the hazelnuts on a lined baking tray and roast for 8-10 minutes. Take out from the oven and set aside to cool. When cool, rub the nuts to remove the dark brown skin. Add the coconut sugar and hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper into a 35 cm round. Scatter the hazelnut crumb over the pastry, leaving a 5 cm border. Arrange drained rhubarb (reserve syrup) in a zigzag pattern to form a 30 cm circle, fold the edges of the pastry over the rhubarb, pleating as you go. Slip onto a baking tray, and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot or warm with basil ice cream and drizzles of the syrup. Enjoy!

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BASIL ICE CREAM

V, DF, RSF


½ cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed

400 ml tin coconut milk

¼ cup rice malt syrup

pinch Himalayan salt

Add ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth and creamy with no bits of basil visible. Follow your ice cream maker instructions, and allow it to churn until thick, use immediately. May pour into a loaf tin to freeze for 6 hours, but is more like a granita in texture. Enjoy!

VEGAN PHO

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Pho originated in Northern Vietnam during the mid-1880s. It’s believed that ‘pho’ is derived from ‘pot au feu’ a French soup. Vietnamese cooks blended the Chinese, French and native influences to make a dish that’s uniquely Vietnamese. This mushroom-based pho is plant based with a delicious unami (a strong meaty taste) that’s balanced by the sweet smokiness of char-grilled aromatics, and warmed with spices like cinnamon, star anise and cloves.

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The secret to achieving a beefy flavour in the vegan broth is to use a combination of dried mushrooms for the base of the broth. This recipe uses a combination of dried shiitake and dried maitake as they both have a flavour similar to browned beef. Dried mushrooms concentrate flavour significantly increases the content of unami as dried shiitake contain over 15 times the amount of glutamate as the fresh shiitake. Dried mushrooms also give their flavour much faster than fresh ones. To make a really good bowl of homemade authentic pho, charring aromatics create hints of smokiness and caramel, and the grilling adds new flavours that give a complexity to the plant based pho. You’ll note the recipe doesn’t use soy sauce as a substitute for fish sauce, because it’s inky colour would cloud the mahogany colour and turn the pho into soy sauce soup. Instead, salt is added and to balance the salt and draw out the charred aromatics, coconut sugar is added to develop a balanced full-bodied broth.

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Health benefits:

·       Certain components of the shiitake mushroom have hypolipidaemic (fat-reducing) effects, that b-glucan can increase satiety, reduce food intake, delay nutrition absorption and reduce plasma lipid (fat) levels.

·       Mushrooms have the ability to boost the immune system and combat many diseases by way of providing important vitamins, minerals and enzymes. 

·       Research suggests that shiitake mushrooms help fight cancer cells and the lentinan in shiitakes help heal chromosome damage caused by anticancer treatments.

·       They also contain potent phytonutrients that help keep cells from sticking to blood vessel walls and forming plaque buildup, which maintains healthy blood pressure and improves circulation.

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VEGAN PHO

V, GF

Makes 2 bowls

 

For the noodles:

150 grams Banh pho rice noodles

 

For the soup:

1 medium onion

1 knob ginger

4 cloves garlic

5 cups water

3 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 pod star anise

10 grams dried shiitake

10 grams fried maitake

1 coriander root

1½ teaspoons salt

1 tablespoons coconut sugar

 

For the tofu:

60 grams tofu

¼ cup pho soup broth

1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce

 

For the toppings:

Sweet onion, enoki mushrooms, bean sprouts, coriander, Thai basil, sliced red chilli, lime wedges, Sriracha, Hoisin sauce

 

Place the rice noodles into a deep cake tray and cover with cold water, so they rehydrate for an hour. Peel and slice the onion into 1 cm slices. Slice the ginger into ½ cm coins, and peel the garlic cloves. Put the oven on as high as you can, like 240‘C. Place on a baking tray and slide onto the top rung in the oven so the tops of the aromatics can char (watch carefully as the garlic will need removing first). Meanwhile add the water, cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise, dried maitake, dried shiitake, cilantro root, salt and sugar to a saucepan. When the aromatics are charred add them to a saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer the broth for 30 minutes, then strain. Pick the maitake and shiitake mushrooms from the solids and discard the rest. Keep the broth covered. Heat a saucepan of water and bring to boil (for the rice noodles). Cut the tofu into pieces. Add ¼ cup of pho soup broth and the hoisin sauce to a fry pan, bring to boil and add the tofu and mushrooms. Cook until the sauce is gone and the tofu and mushrooms are glazed by the sauce. Boil the noodles for 1-2 minutes, until tender and drain. Separate the noodles between two or three bowls (depending on the size per person), pour in the pho broth, and top with slices of sweet onion. Serve with toppings: bean sprouts, coriander, lime quarters, sriracha and hoisin sauce. Enjoy!

STRAWBERRY & COCONUT PANNACOTTA

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Strawberry and coconut pannacotta is a taste of summer whenever you desire a light sweet to finish a meal. Vegans most commonly keep it simply as a coconut pannacotta, yet I prefer it made with many favourite fruits, like mangoes, lemon and especially strawberries because who can resist a blushing pink colour.

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Pannacotta is a simple dessert, a softly set pudding that’s usually made with cream, sugar and gelatin. It originated in Northern Italy in Piedmont, where the earliest recipes mention simmering the cream with fish bones, the collagen that would set the cream. The name pannacotta literally means cooked cream. The pannacottas I create are coconut milk or cream based, flavoured with fruit and set with agar agar, the jelly-like substance obtained from algae that’s available from most health food stores. The amount of agar agar should be carefully measured as too much will give a rubbery texture, and too little the texture would be runny.

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Health benefits:

·       There are over 600 varieties of strawberries. The sweet, slightly tart berries rank among the top 10 fruits and vegetables for antioxidant content.

·       A Harvard study found that regular consumption flavonoids found in berries can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 32 percent in young and middle-aged women.

·       The antioxidants in strawberries have all been shown to reduce the formation of harmful blood clots associated with strokes. The powerful antioxidants in strawberries may work against free radicals, inhibiting tumor growth and decreasing inflammation in the body.

·       Due to their high potassium content, strawberries are recommended to people with high blood pressure to help negate the effects of sodium in the body.

·       Strawberries are a low glycaemic index food and high in fibre, which helps to regulate blood sugar and keep it stable by avoiding extreme highs and lows.

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STRAWBERRY & COCONUT PANNACOTTA
V, RSF, DF

Makes 6 glasses

 

625 mls / 21 fl. oz. coconut milk

320 grams / 11 ounces strawberries

1½-2 flat teaspoons agar agar

50 ml rice malt syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend the coconut milk and strawberries until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl, and whisk in agar agar. Set aside for 15 minutes. Pour into a saucepan, and add rice malt syrup and vanilla extract. On a medium flame, heat until it starts to boil, simmer another 3 minutes stirring constantly. Pour into glass cups or oiled ramekins, and refrigerate overnight. Serve alone or with slices of strawberries. Enjoy!

VEGAN NACHOS

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Are nachos on repeat in your house? They’re a favourite meal for us. The chilli beans are cooked without oil, and the vegan sour cream is cooked in the Vitamix on the hot soup cycle (though I’m sure it can be cooked in a Thermomix). Salad is a salsa, and avocado is mashed to which you add a squeeze of lime, salt and pepper. I’m not a fan of hot food, but you could add jalapenos to the chilli beans and salsa.

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Health benefits:

·       Manganese, in which kidney beans are abundant, is one aspect of the antioxidant defense they provide.

·       The vitamin K in kidney beans offers outstanding benefits for the brain and nervous system.

·       The soluble fibre in kidney beans decreases the metabolism rate of the bean’s carbohydrates, which prevents blood sugar levels from rapidly spiking after a meal. 

·       The insoluble fibre in kidney beans helps to maintain bowel regularity by increasing stool bulk.

·       The high fibre content of kidney beans is responsible for their cholesterol-lowering power. 

·       Kidney beans are high in iron, which helps increase your energy levels.

·       Kidney beans are a great source of protein, providing a level of protein comparable to that found in meat or dairy.

·       The manganese and calcium in kidney beans work hand in hand to maintain strong bones and along with other trace minerals may help prevent osteoporosis.

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VEGAN NACHOS

V, DF, GF

Serves 2

 

Vegan sour cream:

½ cup raw cashews

½ cup water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Place ingredients in the blender and blend on the hot soup cycle until thick. Pour into a serving glass jar.

 

Oil free chilli beans:

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tomatoes, chopped

400 gram tin kidney beans

¼ teaspoon chilli flakes

½ teaspoon cumin

jalepenos (optional)

Fry the onion in a little water for about 5 minutes until transparent. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

Chunky salsa:

1/3 cucumber

1 tomato

½ red onion

8 olives

jalepenos

sprigs parsley

Roughly dice cucumber, tomato, red onion, olives and parsley. Add to a bowl and mix. Add jalepenos if desired.

 

Avocado mash:

1 avocado, mashed

lime juice

Himalayan salt

Grinding of black pepper

Gently stir enough lime juice in to your desired taste. Add a grinding off Himalayan salt and black pepper.

 

Organic GF corn chips

Lime wedges

 

Assemble by spooning a portion of each onto your plate. Use chips to gather food. Enjoy!