almond pulp: chocolate fudge

You won’t believe this is healthy sweet treat – it’s so yummy. These chewy chocolate fudge balls are a great use of left over almond pulp.

healthy fudge balls

2 cups almond pulp (leftover from making milk)
1/2 cup cashews
1 cup dates (fresh), pitted
4 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp shredded coconut
2 tbsp honey
pinch salt (omit if you are using salted cashews)
1/2 tbsp coconut oil

Place cashews, almond pulp, dates, cocoa, salt, coconut and coconut oil in your food processor to combine. Thermomix: speed 8/20 sec. The texture will be like a moist, reasonably fine crumble.
Add honey and process to combine until the mixture sticks together turning a dark chocolatey brown. Stop processing before it gets too fine and buttery. Thermomix: speed 2/15 sec scrape down and speed 2/15 sec. 
Line a freezer-proof small dish or baking pan with baking paper.
Press the mixture into dish with a spatula then freeze overnight.
Cut the block into small treat sized slices or roll into fudge balls.
Store in a ziplock freezer bag  and eat without defrosting.

nut fudge

Advertisements

wild rice with pecan and orange

wild rice with chicken

A long time favorite in our house is this wild rice side dish. We love that its a little bit spicy, a little bit nutty, a little bit fruity and a little bit crunchy. More recently I’ve learnt that wild rice is also high in fibre, high in protein and a good source of B vitamins. Double whammy!

1 cup wild rice, cooked
1 cup brown rice, cooked
2 tablespoons orange zest
½ orange, juiced
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch salt
½ cup currants/raisins
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons fresh coriander (or parsley), finely chopped

Combine orange rind, orange juice, clove, salt and olive oil in a large mixing bowl to make the dressing.
When the rice is cooked, add remaining ingredients (minus the pecans) to the bowl of dressing and gently combine to dress.
Top with pecans and serve as a side dish.

wild rice salad

Some ideas to serve with this walk on the wild rice side include:
– tofu steak, marinated in soy, lemon zest and garlic, then grilled
– chicken, marinated in lemon juice, thyme, pepper and olive oil, then grilled*
– white fish, grilled or poached with lemon wedges
– duck breast a l’orange and steamed green beans

*Serve with 1 tbsp soy mayo, 2 tbsp water, 1 tbsp lemon juice, whisked to combine and used to drizzled over the plate as chicken breast tends to be a bit drier.

almond milk: homemade

I don’t eat much dairy these days. I find that if I divert too far from goat milk cheese and natural yoghurt I feel worse off. Yellow cheese rarely makes an appearance on my menu. To add to my fussiness, soy milk is expensive and it tends to curdle in my coffee. So with the help of my fan-dangled new kitchen tool (a thermomix), I decided to make my own milk – almond milk – and it was surprisingly quick and easy.

1 cup almonds (I used blanched but you can use raw almonds).
About 3 cups of water to soak almonds overnight (this will make them easier to blend).
In the morning, drain the almonds and place in the thermomix (or equivalent quality blender) with about 700ml clean water.
Blend almonds (gradually move from speed 6 to speed 9 for 40 sec) to achieve a fine grind of the almonds.
Place a nut milk bag* into a jug or line a sieve with muslin and pour the almond milk through the bag/muslin.
With clean hands, squeeze the milk out of the muslin into the jug.
You’ll be left with a jug of almond milk and a bag of almond pulp/meal.

Your homemade milk will last 3 -4 days in the fridge. Shake before use.
Adjusting the water content down will make a creamier milk.
Uses for almond pulp/meal to follow.
*nut milk bags are available from some health food shops and online.

almond milk coffee

roasted tomato and red lentil soup

roast tomato soup detail

I like to call this Roasted Red Soup. For obvious reasons.

½ cup red lentils, cooked in 3 cups water
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
about a litre of water, boiled in the kettle

In a roasting tray:
roma tomatoes, quartered
1 red onion, quartered
1 red capsicum, chopped coarsely
olive oil, just a nice slosh
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

Essentially all that needs to happen here is that you add cooked lentils to roasted tomatoes and capsicum in a pot with some stock, boil and blend, but a more detailed description can be seen below:

Toss the tomatoes, capsicum, onion with oil, sugar, salt and pepper in a baking tray and bake at 160c for about 30 mins. Your aiming for the tomatoes to be soft, and slight darkening on the edges of the capsicum.

Meanwhile, in the soup pot, cook 1 cup red lentils in 3 cups of water, simmer for about 15 mins. Drain out the water from the lentils in a colander (use fresh water from the kettle for the soup but don’t bother washing the pot between).

By now, your tomatoes are looking nicely roasted by not dried out. Add the roasted tomatoes, capsicum and onion to the soup pot with the drained lentils. Add any juices that are in the roasting tray (you should find it quite wet).

Add the boiled water and stock. Simmer for 10 minutes then blend to smooth.

Note: If you feel motivated to do it, peeling the tomatoes after roasting (and leaving them to cool for a bit) will make a nicer textured soup.

Served here with a dollop of greek yoghurt and parsley leaf (crusty bread not pictured).

roast tomato lentil soup

ratatouille: a healthy dinner in 15 minutes!

Ratatouille is a super fast and super healthy meal. What’s more, I think it’s super tasty. You don’t need a lot of ingredients to make a basic ratatouille but you can jazz it up with extras like parmesan or romano cheese, olives and more fresh herbs, like basil and parsley. Don’t make your vegetable chunks too big, this will slow cooking time.

Ratatouillle1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red capsicum, 2 cm dice
1 eggplant, 2 cm dice
1 zucchini, 2 cm dice
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp thyme leaves
½ cup water
½ tsp sugar (sugar will balance the acidity of the tomatoes)
handful of baby spinach

In a medium saucepan, start by frying the onion in the olive oil.
Add the remaining ingredients, minus the baby spinach.
Simmer for 10 minutes or until eggplant is soft and cooked.
Watch the moisture level, add a little more water if you need to, the aim is a thick sauce but not too dry.
As soon as eggplant is reaching ‘cooked’ which is 5 minutes before serving, prepare couscous (1:1 with boiling water, cover and allow to absorb for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork).
Finally, add the baby spinach and stir through. …Bon appetit!

Alternatively, serve with brown rice, pasta, a bread stick, or on its own.

Ratatouillle

date and banana pudding loaf cake

vegan date and banana loafI originally got this is a recipe from my dear friend, modernwomansociety.wordpress.com, but I have added bananas as inspired by frugalfeeding.wordpress.com, the result was something much closer to a caramel [vegan] pudding than a loaf or cake – totally delicious!

¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tablespoon margarine (or melted butter if you prefer)
1 pinch salt
1 cup boiling water
1 ¾ cups self raising flour
3 small overripe bananas (optional – if you leave them out, you’ll have a vegan date loaf, bake time is 30 mins)

Preheat oven to 180c
Combine sugar, dates, bicarb, margarine and salt in a bowl.
Then pour 1 cup boiling water over the above, stir and leave to cool. The mixture will become lighter and foamy.
Add flour and bananas then mix until combined and similar to a batter consistency.
Pour into a greased (I used light olive oil spray) and lined loaf tin and bake for 40 mins* in a moderate oven until a skewer comes out clean-ish (the banana will make it like a pudding so don’t over cook it).

* During baking I thought individual puddings would be great, perhaps pour the batter into patty-cases in a muffin tin and reduce the bake time. I haven’t tried this yet myself so I’ll add a cook time retrospectively – unless someone else tries first and lets us all know?!

Serve it warm with honey, ice cream, cream and/or yoghurt – whatever grabs you. Or just a dab of butter is great too.

date and banana pudding loaf