Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Roasted root vegetables with amaranth and coconut porridge

I love love love thinking outside the box when it comes to food. It's when I let my creativeness off the hook to go for a run. And mine sprints! I love challenging the status quo when it comes to ingredients and using them in messed up ways. Yes people chocolate DOES go with meat!

With life taking a different turn for me recently, I haven’t had the luxury of hitting some of the new hotspot restaurants around town to see what has been happening on the food scene. I get a lot of inspiration from seeing what chefs are creating for their menus. But these days even simple celery can be made to sound like some highly sought after super food from Middle Spain. Just because of the way it is prepared. Whoa, celery. Having said that, I really do think there is room to start recycling some of our old ideas of what we eat, how we eat it and when. I don't have a super spesh recipe for you here, I'm just encouraging you to shake things up a bit.

Like this breakfast dish.......

Porridge with vegetable salad. Not fruit salad. Vegetable salad. Yes vegetables and porridge can go together. And yes they can go together for breakfast, just like fruit. 

I rarely consume grains, so if I feel like making this then I use either puffed quinoa or amaranth. If you love a warm bowl of porridge or oats with fruit but are limiting your sugar intake (but still allowing some root vegetables) then this is a great alternative. Roasting the veggies will concentrate the flavour so you are still getting that sweetness without the extra carb load. You can also easily omit the grain and just have the warm vegetables with coconut cream and some crushed nuts and seeds.

Here is the cast of ingredients:

Use any mix of the following vegetables....

  • Pumpkin
  • Zucchini
  • Sweet potato 
  • Yellow squash 
  • Beetroot

1. Once you have picked whatever medley suits your tastes (for me it's just what I have on hand) dice them into small squares and drizzle with melted coconut oil 
3. Season with a tiny bit of salt and cinnamon
4. Bake at 200 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, making sure to flip them half way.

And the porridge??

Mix your coconut cream with any of the following. There are no rules here!

  • Puffed amaranth
  • Puffed quinoa
  • A mix of crushed nuts, seeds and coconut
  • Any nut meal, LSA or ground flaxseed 

Or all of the above!

If you want a warm porridge rather than a cereal then heat your coconut cream slightly in a saucepan (I keep mine cold so it's thicker!) and slowly stir in your dry porridge ingredients. 

Serve the roasted vegetables on top and with an extra dollop of coconut cream! 

Ok this isn't 'roasted' vegetables but it is still vegetables topped with coconut for breakfast!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Creamy salmon filled vegetable bucket

Before you go straight to the recipe, I have two questions...

Do you care about what you feed yourself?
Do you hate that you always need recipes when you try cooking?

If you answered yes, then read this first!

There is no exact recipe for this dish. And if even if there was, I probably wouldn't give it to you! Not because I'm on some kind of premenstrual high, but because I think these days we might not be learning as much as we could about the art of cooking. 

You see if we want to accomplish something, we first need to feel empowered. To feel empowered we first need to learn. To learn, we first need to be inspired.

How do we become empowered to cook if we're just quickly reading instructions off a page???

We're not. All this does is give our eyes a workout. I believe we should be creating and eating food that you we are proud of and enjoy. Food that has heart. That has a piece of ‘you’ inside. Well not literally. That's just gross.

Chef’s don't use recipes every time they cook because they have learned to create them. Note the word 'create'. Recipes are created once we learn how to cook. Chef's create recipes because they have an appreciation for the food that we are blessed with. My concern is that we don't have that appreciation. And we should appreciate it because we are lucky to have it.

I am definitely not saying we should boycott reading recipes and all become chefs. That's crazy talk. Recipes can be a great way to start. I just prefer my recipes to be more of a ‘matrix’ allowing you to  make your own choices and develop your own tastes. So you can learn through 'doing'. You will start to become familiar with works and what doesn’t so that you won't be a slave to recipe books. Who has time for that every day??

I believe that by learning to create food, it helps grow a healthy connection with our food again. So we can begin to realise what ‘actual’ food is and to break away from the modern way of heating and serving packaged food. Because that isn’t cooking. That's just heating.....and serving. No skill required. Which is totally cool if you just want to put fake food in your mouth, chew and swallow it. However this completely defeats the purpose of eating. 

Remember.......just because it's edible, doesn't mean it's food!!! 

Ok, I'm done now. How about we cook food now?!

So here, this is today’s matrix!

  • 1 Large zucchini, eggplant, capsicum or pumpkin

For the filling:

  • 1 small can of tuna or salmon. Or any shredded meat or chicken. 
  • Steamed or raw diced vegetable of choice (broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum, cucumber, celery)
  • 1 tablespoon of diced spring onion or red onion
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • Juice of ½ a small lemon or lime
  • 1/8 tsp of cayenne, chilli flakes or freshly diced chilli

  1. Cut open your vegetable of choice (you just need something big enough to hollow out for your stuffing)
  2. Place it on a baking tray and bake at 180 degrees until slightly softened (times will differ depending on the vegetable. 
  3. While your vegetable is baking mix everything for the filling together except for your vegetables and protein of choice.
  4. Once combined and you have a creamy dip, add in the rest of your ingredients
  5. Remove your baked vegetable from the oven and cool for 5 mins
  6. Fill with your stuffing and eat. 

Friday, 3 April 2015

Hot Cross Buns that are worthy!!!

Now don’t freak out when you see a lot of ingredients ok? 

I say this because I know how much I freak out when I see a lot of ingredients! I look at the recipe and quickly decide that it goes in the ‘too hard basket’. Not interested. But these little Hot Buns can’t help it. It’s just how they roll. So I make exceptions because they taste so damn fine!!

I swear as much as I can’t stand the fact that almost all of the store bought hot cross buns are absolutely laden with things that are not meant to be ingested……I can’t deny it....

They taste so amazing.

And you know what, I know that I am probably going to end up eating one over Easter. And I’m trying to be ok with things like that these days. Because for years I have cornered myself with self talk.

But I have struggled to find recipes that meet my standards for hot cross buns. Not because of the taste, because of the texture. I don’t want a hot cross ‘muffin’ or ‘cupcake’. I want a HOT CROSS BUN damn it!! But unfortunately gluten and yeast give bread it’s chewy bounce. It's the reason why dough retracts when you pull it.  But this recipe I am pretty happy with. With that said it is still a little runny and I still need to cook them in a muffin tray or moulds. Blaaaaah.  But at least now I can eat, and eat…..and eat them and feel less shitty about myself. 

I love hot cross buns. Done.

P.s  This recipe uses Tapioca flour which I don't usually like to use due to the starch but sometimes you just need to make exceptions. 

Gluten free Hot Cross Buns

Makes 6 

Dry ingredients

3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
2 teaspoon mixed spice.
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.
1 tsp orange zest or peel if you like mixed peel taste
pinch salt
1/3 cup raisins, sultanas or currents or mixed

Wet ingredients

1/3  cup unsweetened apple sauce
3 eggs
1 ½ tbsp. butter or coconut oil softened
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey

Piping mix for crosses

1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp rice flour or tapioca flour
1 tbsp coconut oil melted
2 tbsp water
1 tsp honey

How to make:
  1. Mix all dry ingredients together
  2. Mix in the wet ingredients 
  3. Now pour your mix straight into a greased muffin tray or into cup cake patties

Now to make your crosses

  1. Mix the rice flour and coconut flour together and mix in the water until you have a paste
  2. Slightly melt the honey and combine with the coconut oil. Combine with the flour paste
  3. You may need to add a little more water as the coconut flour absorbs moisture wherever it goes!
  4. Once you have a paste that is the slightest bit runny, place into a zip lock bag and snip the end to pipe your crosses

Now bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes (depending on the oven) or until a knife is inserted and removed cleanly.

OMG so good!