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

CHICKPEA OMELETTE

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Do you prefer brunch on Sunday? Maybe you’re agreeing if like me you wake before dawn on weekdays to eat a meagre breakfast, of maybe avocado on sourdough, porridge or a green smoothie. Then the weekend arrives and with it Sunday and Sunday mornings. Sunday mornings and leisure are synonymous, like ham and eggs (if we weren’t vegan), and padding in the kitchen making fixings for a slow leisurely breakfast is like heaven, a quiet time of peaceful rest. Sunday brunch should be about simplicity, like a chickpea omelette (an Indian besan ka puda) with Mexican toppings: salsa, guacamole, chilli bean mix and greens. Something easy yet delicious, that you can even serve friends who happen to pop in for a visit. Something easy yet classy, with its pale yellow orb wrapped around spicy chilli beans and salsa, green guacamole and refreshing greens. Yes, a chickpea omelette takes little time to prepare and is a worthwhile Sunday morning endeavour: easy to make, delicious and filling.

Health benefits:

·       Chickpea flour is a great source of fibre, helps improve heart health, stabilises blood sugar, can help with weight loss, lowers inflammation and improves immune function and is free of gluten and beneficial for digestion.

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CHICKPEA OMELETTE

V, DF, GF

1 cup besan flour (chickpea flour)

1½ cups water

pinch of sea salt

¼ teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ red onion, chopped finely

Combine the besan flour and water in a bowl and whisk together to remove lumps. Stir in salt, spices and onion. Set aside for 5 minutes for the batter to rest. Heat a non-stick frypan on medium heat, when hot, drizzle a little oil and spread with a paper towel. Pour in ¼ cup of mixture, moving the frypan to spread into a medium sized pancake. Cook until the edges start to pull away and the underside is golden yellow, flip and cook a further few minutes. Serve with Mexican toppings like salsa, guacamole, chilli bean mix and greens. Enjoy!

COCONUT & NUT BUTTER PORRIDGE

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During autumn and winter, cold mornings see me resisting smoothies and reaching for oats to make porridge. I’ve started including nut butter in my morning porridge like I did in my summer smoothies for a dose of morning protein. I also use a variety of milks; coconut milk mostly and sometimes oat or almond, so feel free to use your favourite flavour. While making porridge, I also make a coulis out of berries; raspberries or blueberries, as it makes itself really other than pouring the ingredients into a saucepan.

Health benefits:

  • Oats are incredibly nutritious.

  • Whole oats are rich in antioxidants,

  • Oats contain a powerful soluble fibre.

  • They can lower cholesterol levels.

  • Oats can improve blood sugar control.

  • Oatmeal is very filling and may help you lose weight.

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COCONUT & NUT BUTTER PORRIDGE

V, GF, DF

Makes two servings

 

1 cup GF oats

2 cups water

1 cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon nut butter

Toppings: raspberry coulis, fresh fruit, hemp seeds, coconut milk

Pour ingredients into a saucepan, bring to the boil, and on simmer stir the porridge while it cooks for 15 minutes. Serve immediately, topping with raspberry coulis, chopped fresh fruit and hemp seeds, add a little coconut milk. Enjoy!

Raspberry coulis: add a cup of frozen raspberries and a splash of water to a saucepan and simmer until the water is evaporated.

HOT CHOCOLATE

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Drinking hot chocolate isn’t a daily ritual, it’s a treat, at least for me. Yet I’d never found a bought hot chocolate that I liked as the bought vegan chocolate powders were sour, weak and bland. Armed with several ideas, like using nuts for creaminess and dates for a sweetener (like I use for my morning smoothies), I came across a pleasing combination, after a few experiments, and a creamy healthy hot chocolate that’s equally enjoyable hot, warm or cold.

Health benefits:

  • Cacao powder is rich in polyphenols that provide several health benefits.

  • May reduce high blood pressure by improving nitric oxide levels.

  • May lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.

  • Polyphenols improve blood flow to your brain and brain function.

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HOT CHOCOLATE

V, DF

Makes 1 cup

 

2 brazil nuts or 3 macadamias

2 medjool dates

1 heaped tablespoon cacao powder

1 cup almond or oat milk

½ teaspoon cinnamon or a grating of nutmeg

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a jug, insert the steam wand into the hot chocolate to heat. Pour into a cup and enjoy! Note: if you don’t own a coffee machine, pour into a cup and heat in the microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds, and enjoy!

PEANUT CARAMEL SLICE

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Do you love to eat a sweet treat after dinner? something small yet decadent and delicious? This vegan peanut caramel slice is simple to make and quite healthy because it’s created mostly from nuts and dates. I don’t usually ramp up my recipes, but this one’s a winner if in your previous sweet days you were fans of Snickers or Mars bars.

For the slice to be successful, you need to make it in a food processor, then it’s just a matter of processing two layers, pouring over some melted chocolate and waiting for the freezer to do its magic.

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Health benefits:

·       Peanuts are as popular as they are healthy. They're an excellent plant-based source of protein and high in various vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. They can be useful as a part of a weight loss diet and may reduce your risk of both heart disease and gallstones.

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PEANUT CARAMEL SLICE

V, DF, GF

Makes a 23cm x 23cm (9 inch) cake tin or similar rectangle tray

 

For the base:

250g (2 cups) unsalted peanuts

1 cup (12) medjool dates, pitted

2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

pinch sea salt

For the caramel layer:

1 cup (12) medjool dates, pitted

6 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

½ cup water

1 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the chocolate topping:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 cup dark vegan chocolate

!/2 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped

Place peanuts in the food processor and pulse for 10 seconds. Add the rest of the base ingredients into the food processor and pulse for a minute. Pour the mixture into a lined baking tray and press down with your fingers. Place the tray in the freezer while preparing the caramel. Place all the caramel layer ingredients into the food processor and process until smooth and creamy, pour over the base layer and smooth with a spatula. Place in the freezer. To make the chocolate layer, place the coconut oil into a saucepan to melt on low heat, add the dark chocolate and melt until smooth. Pour over the caramel layer and spread over the top with a spatula. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the chocolate layer. Freeze for 4 hours, cut into squares and store in a container in the freezer. Serve from the freezer and eat immediately and enjoy!

FIG & ALMOND BUNDT CAKE

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Figs are definitely a fruit that divides; those who like and those who dislike, at least this is the case in our house. My dear husband planted two fig trees in our backyard orchard just because I like figs. Sadly, this year they yielded few ripe fruit, unlike last years bumper crop, and luckily my grocer sold containers of figs for reasonable prices. A fig bundt cake is a delicacy, maybe for a fancy afternoon tea with your friends, definately a once-a-year occasion when your tree yields the juiciest fruit that are jammy in taste.

I advise using very ripe figs to bake this bundt cake, as just ripe cooked figs become tart in flavour and render the cake sour.

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Health benefits:

·       One ounce of dried figs has 3 grams of fibre. Fibre may help alleviate constipation and keep you feeling full longer. It may also help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels. Figs are a good source of calcium, which can ward off osteoporosis as well as other health issues.

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FIG & ALMOND BUNDT CAKE

V, DF, GF option

 

2 cups spelt flour OR plain GF flour

½ cup coconut sugar

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

pinch of sea salt

½ cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

water from 400g tin of unsalted chickpeas

6 ripe figs, quartered

2 tablespoons slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 200’C or 180’C fan-forced oven. Grease the bundt pan with coconut oil and flour. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to remove the lumps. Add the wet ingredients, and whisk until the mixture is the consistency of cake batter. Gently fold in the figs and almonds. Spoon the batter into the bundt pan and bake for 30 minutes until the skewer comes out clean. Set aside on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan to completely cool. Before serving, drizzle with coconut icing and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Serve and enjoy!

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COCONUT ICING

100g Coyo yogurt, refrigerated

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Since the coconut yogurt is quite thick you can skip the whipping stage of you wish, and just stir in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. But if your yogurt is thinner in texture, whip for 5-10 minutes before drizzling in the sweetener and vanilla extract.