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

MOROCCAN BUTTERNUT SALAD

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I’m a lover of autumn, golden leaves wafting gently to cover the ground like snowy petals. It’s delightful that golden coloured pumpkins (squash) are in season during the cooler months, joining nature in a celebration of warm-toned autumn colours. I’ve paired butternut pumpkin (squash) with couscous, hence the Moroccan vibes, and continued that theme with the addition of currants and pomegranates. And just because I often find that near the end of a week there’s usually carrots left over, I thought to make a warm carrot dip, which I’ve paired with an orange dressing, one of my faves; a Moroccan feast for chilly nights.

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Health benefits:

·       Butternut pumpkin (squash) is harvested in autumn (fall) but keeps well for several months.

·       Butternut pumpkin is a great source of fibre and potassium, providing more potassium than bananas.

·       It’s nutrients aid digestion, blood pressure and gives healthy skin and hair.

·       One cup or 200 grams of butternut pumpkin contains 82 calories.

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MOROCCAN BUTTERNUT SALAD

V

Makes 4 side salads

 

½ butternut pumpkin

½ cup couscous

2/3 cup hot vegetable stock

400 gram/15 oz. tin chickpeas, drained

1 white onion, finely sliced

1 garlic glove, minced

1/3 cup currants

¼ cup activated almonds, peeled and chopped

½ cup mint, chopped

½ pomegranate, seeds

Preheat the oven to 200’C. Slice the butternut pumpkin into 2 cm half-moons, lay on a tray lined in baking paper and bake for 40 minutes until tender. In a small bowl, add couscous, pour in vegetable stock, cover with a lid, set aside to steam for 5 minutes. Pour chickpeas into a bowl, add onions, garlic, currants, almonds, mint, pomegranate seeds and steamed couscous. When butternut pumpkin is tender, remove from the oven, use a spatula to move to a cutting board, slice into small cubes, add to the salad when warm. Gently toss salad, serve on a platter with the carrot dip and orange dressing. Enjoy!

 

CARROT DIP

1 kg carrots, coarsely chopped

¼ cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons cumin

pinch of Himalayan salt

Cook carrots in a little water until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a serving bowl. May be kept in the fridge up to a week.

 

ORANGE DRESSING

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

zest and juice of a lemon

juice of an orange

1½ tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon all spice

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

pinch of Himalayan salt

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a serving jar.

CHOCOLATE ICECREAM

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A vegan snack that’s dairy free and as easy to make as blitzing the ingredients and spooning into a tin to freeze is my kind of sweet in the hot months, because who wants to over-exert themselves in the kitchen when the beauty of summer beckons you outside to sit in the shade of a leafy tree and chat with friends during the long daylight saving evening hours.

I’ve been experimenting with making a one-step, non-machine mixed vegan ice cream for several years, endeavouring to create a soft and creamy texture, and came across the idea (from my dear sis who did it by accident) of using a pure organic coconut yogurt to keep the ice cream from going grainy and icy. Evidently the fat from the coconut yogurt does the track.

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Health benefits:

·       Cacao powder has 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries. It’s ORAC score is 98,000 per 100 grams. ORAC scores measure the antioxidants ability to absorb free radicals (toxins), which causes cell and tissue damage that can lead to diseases like cancer.

·       Cacao powder is the highest plant based iron known, at 7.3mg per 100 grams, compared to spinach at 3.6mg or beef and lamb at 2.5mg. Raw cacao is one of the highest plant based sources of magnesium, which is important for a healthy heart and enables your brain to work with focus and clarity.

·       Cacao powder has more calcium than cow’s milk, at 160mg per 100 grams compared to 125mg per 100ml of milk.

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CHOCOLATE ICECREAM

V, DF, RSF

 

4 frozen bananas, sliced

3 tablespoons cacao powder

1 tablespoon protein powder, optional

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons Coyo yogurt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until the frozen bananas are thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients, and the texture is smooth and creamy. Spoon into half a tin loaf tin and freeze for 1-2 hours. Serve scoops on a cone or with berries and a sprinkle of hazelnuts. Enjoy!

EDAMAME & AVOCADO ZOODLE SALAD

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We’re having a party this weekend and thought to create a green salad that celebrates summer vegetables and fruits. Zucchinis (courgettes) are ubiquitous in the market and in our organic garden, so I pulled out my spiraliser and ended up pairing the zucchini zoodles with mango and avocado chunks, green edamame, tangy fresh basil, and drizzled with a Asian sesame dressing. Not only are the salad flavours delicious, it’s a balanced meal being high in protein, fibre, healthy fats and antioxidants.

Healthy benefits:

·       Zucchinis are low in calories, carbs and sugars, and high in essential nutrients like antioxidants, vitamin C and A, fibre and potassium which boost the immune system, lower cholesterol naturally, lowers blood pressure, and improves digestion. One zucchini is about 31 calories.

 

EDAMAME & AVOCADO ZOODLE SALAD

Makes 1 platter

V

 

200 grams edamame

2 medium zucchini

½ avocado

½ mango

handful of fresh basil

sesame seeds

Cook the edamame for 5 minutes, drain and allow to cool. Using a spiraliser, turn 2 zucchini into zoodles, and place on a serving plate. Shell the edamame and sprinkle on the zoodles. Cube the avocado and mango flesh and arrange on the zoodles. Gently mix. Sprinkle several tablespoons of sesame seeds over the salad, and sprinkle basil leaves on top. Serve with a sesame dressing. Enjoy!

SESAME DRESSING

2 limes, juiced

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons tamari

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

Pour all the ingredients into a glass jar, screw on the lid and shake.

RASPBERRY COCONUT LOAF

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A loaf cake should be quick to make and deliciously light and fluffy in texture, perfect for afternoon tea or dessert when guests pop in for a visit. This raspberry coconut loaf ticks every box; it’s a vegan cake with a light fluffy crumb. Its light texture comes from using chickpea water that works like whisked egg whites. The fluffy coconut topping is made from whipped Coyo, a pure coconut yogurt. It’s best to whip the coconut icing just prior to serving so the icing is chilled when served. The cake may be topped with a variety of seasonal fruit, like raspberries or mango for summer, peaches for late summer and autumn or pears for winter. For a garnish, sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top. The cake is great to pack in a wicker basket for a summer picnic or finger-licking delicious for afternoon tea as the snow falls.

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Health benefits:

·       Natural coconut yogurt is gluten free, lactose free, soy free and dairy free. A 170 gram serve contains 75 calories and provides calcium, magnesium and B12. Coconut yogurt contains fibre which descreases the risk of constipation and aids digestion. The lauric acid, a fat in coconuts, is helpful to the cardiovascular system by lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

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RASPBERRY COCONUT LOAF

Makes a 14cm x 25cm loaf

V, DF, RSF, GF

 

65 grams, 1/3 cup buckwheat flour

200 grams, 1½ cups almond meal

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

pinch of Himalayan salt

125 ml, ½ cup maple syrup

60 ml, ¼ cup almond milk

water from 400ml tin of unsalted chickpeas

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven 200’C. Line the bottom and sides of a loaf tin with baking paper. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well to remove any lumps. Add the wet ingredients, and whisk until the mixture is the consistency of a cake batter. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes (25 minutes in a fan-forced oven), until the skewer comes out clean. Set aside on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the tin and allowing to completely cool. When the loaf is cool, spoon the coconut icing over the top of the cake. Garnish with fresh raspberries. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

COCONUT ICING

400 grams (13 fl oz.) Coyo coconut yogurt, refrigerated overnight

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip the coconut yogurt using an electric beater until it becomes thick, about 5-10 minutes. Once it’s thick and holds its shape, drizzle in the maple syrup and vanilla extract, and continue whisking for another minute until the mixture is completely thickened.

VEGAN CHRISTMAS CAKE

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I’m guessing you either love or loathe Christmas cake, as it’s kind of a polarising food. My family is quite partial to a slice during the festive season, so I make cakes to give away as presents. I created this recipe to be wholesome, easy to make and moist to eat. It’s vegan, made of fruit and nuts, with no flour or sweetener. Making it is easy as you combine all the ingredients into a bowl and stir, pour into a lined cake tin and bake for two hours.

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Health benefits:

·       Dried fruit is highly nutritious, contains a lot of fibre, is a great source of antioxidants which improve the blood flow, aids digestive health and reduces the risk of many diseases.

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VEGAN CHRISTMAS CAKE

Makes a 20cm cake

V, DF, RSF, GF

 

500 grams mixed fruit

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons olive oil

zest and juice 1 orange

water from 400 gram tin of unsalted chickpeas

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

75 grams walnuts

300 grams, 2½ cups almond meal

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 160’C fan forced. Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper, with at least four layers of paper on the sides and bottom to prevent overcooking the edges. Add all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Spoon the batter into a cake tin and bake for 2 hours. If the bottom of the skewer doesn’t come out clean, bake a further 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and remove from the tin. Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 4 weeks. Enjoy!