Orange Almond Smoothie

Eden Health Retreat has a number of citrus trees scattered around the grounds so in winter there is quite a bountiful supply of oranges, grapefruit & lemons at our disposal.

With a couple of these oranges hanging around in my fridge, I decided to make a liquid version of a gluten free favourite: the orange almond cake. I had had lunch, and was hankering for a little dessert.

Thinking about an amazing green chai coconut smoothie recipe created by Jo Whitton (Quirky Cooking), I pulled together an idea for a rich drink that didn’t require ANY added sugars. And it worked. Warning: it’s very rich so you won’t need much. The following makes approximately 500mls; enough for two people. (Unlike this one, who guzzled it all down herself…and is paying the price!)food fervour

You’ll need: 50gm almonds, 1 orange (navel oranges are naturally sweeter) with all skin and pith removed, 60-80gm coconut cream, a pinch each of nutmeg & cinnamon, 1-2 teaspoons vanilla essence/paste, 200gm coconut water.

In a blender or Thermomix, mill the almonds into meal (Thermies 10 seconds, speed 9) then add all the remaining ingredients blending thoroughly (Thermies 1½ minutes, speed 9). Serve & consume immediately!

Since it’s winter here on the Gold Coast, I didn’t want to add ice, but in summer it would be an ideal addition. If need be, you could substitute the coconut cream & water with just coconut milk, but you’ll lose all the added goodness in the coconut water (higher concentration of minerals in that, than in the flesh, which is what the milks and creams are made from). You could also throw in a little fresh ginger for added nutrient value!

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Deconstructed Apple Crumble

I have to admit I became a little distracted in my yoga class this afternoon. Somehow apples popped into my head (go figure?!) and my Samadhi was lost; the ‘Train of Thought’ left the station and a Craving was born. I was mulling over ideas for a warm apple dessert, but I knew an apple pie was out of the question. Waaaay too much time and effort.

So when I got home I looked up apple recipes in the Thermomix Recipe search engine, knowing that I was really looking for something ‘apple-crumble-ish’, to make it quick (minimal time between making and eating) but I realised they all still required oven baking. Pshhh!

So I decided to go with a ‘deconstruction’. As long as it was warm, I didn’t care.food fervour

For a single serve, one apple is plenty. I chopped it up roughly and threw it in the Thermie for a quick ‘Turbo’ smash-up (keeping the skin on – the more fibre the better!) then added about 10gms of water and set it to ‘stew’ for 3 minutes, 70ºC, Reverse Speed 2.

I popped the stewed apple straight into my serving dish (Thermie owners could put it in their Thermoservers to keep VERY warm, if you could be bothered to wash another item) showering it with ground cinnamon, then put 50gms walnuts in the bowl and chopped for about 6 seconds on speed 5-6. Adding 30gms coconut oil, 5-10gms coconut sugar and roughly a tablespoon (5gms) of psyllium husk I set it to cook for 2 minutes at 100ºC, Reverse Speed 2.

Scooping it straight into the dish with the apple, I poured in some fresh cream, garnishing with shredded coconut, then mixed it all up before taking the first spoonful. SO yummy. SO quick. SO satisfying. Instant gratification!

Baby Kale & Custard Apple Smoothie

Feeling like a green smoothie just now, I opened up the fridge and found half of a custard apple staring back at me. “Hmmm” I thought, “I haven’t tried anything with one of these little fellows yet”.

food fervourWell-ripened custard apples are pretty sweet, so chances are you won’t need to add sweeteners to this smoothie. Well, I didn’t.

I threw a big handful of some baby kale leaves (a first time purchase at the farmer’s markets last week) in my Magic Bullet, peeled and de-seeded the custard apple half and added it with one super-heaped teaspoon of my homemade vanilla bean paste, a good dash of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and about a cup of unsweetened almond milk.

Because custard apple has a slightly grainy texture I made sure I blended it well. Still a trace of ‘graininess’ but the taste trumped that. Quick, easy, yum.

Gluten Free Fruit & Seed Loaf

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Raisin toast is loaded with sugar so I need to create a GF version minus excessive added sugar…

I used to have a real weakness for fruit toast. But I knew before I went off gluten that fruit loaves are full of sugar so I began limiting my ‘splurges’ anyway.

But I do miss ‘raisin toast’ from time to time, so my quest is to try to create a gluten free version that’s as similar to the ‘real thing’ as possible, minus the excess sugar of course. Trial and error is the only way, with the aid of heaps of research – Googling & others’ blogs! – and the courage to ‘alter’ (or ‘bastardise’ as I like to say) recipes. That kind of courage I definitely do not lack.

The loaf I just made was the result of an adaptation of Cyndi O’Meara’s gluten free bread recipe included a couple of Thermomix recipe books. I altered the dry ingredients a fair bit (due to both lack of some & preference for others), added a selection of spices, seeds, preservative-free dried fruits (these worked to sweeten the loaf more than the meagre amount of coconut sugar I opted for) and the kicker: I replaced xanthan gum & egg with soaked chia. I’d discovered this idea on a blog somewhere recently and then saw it used in a complimentary recipe on the Thermomix website.

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served up warm with my homemade butter

So… it turned out heavier than your typical commercial wheaten fruit loaf, but toasted up, I think it made the grade: particularly considering the vast majority of ingredients I used were unprocessed, which as far as I’m concerned is the most important thing.

If you don’t have a Thermomix the recipe should still work (you’ll have to buy your flours pre-milled) but will involve a lot more elbow grease in the mixing stages! Here’s what I used this time around:

2 tbspn chia seeds, 8 tbspn water, 280gm whole buckwheat, 100gm brown rice, 40gm dried chickpeas, 1 heaped tspn whole cloves, 35gm cornflour, 1 tspn cinnamon, 1 tspn nutmeg, 1 tspn garam masala, 10gm instant yeast, pinch (Himalayan) salt, 20gm coconut sugar, 400gm lukewarm water, 30 gm macadamia oil, 1 tspn vanilla essence, 1 tbspn apple cider vinegar, 80gm chopped dates, 80gm sun raisins, 45gm pumpkin seeds (pepitas), 40gm sunflower seeds.

Firstly I put the chia seeds and 8 tbspn water in a jar, shook it up and left it to ‘absorb’ while milling the buckwheat, brown rice, chickpeas & cloves in the Thermomix (1 minute, Speed 9). I added the remaining dry ingredients (cornflour, the powdered spices, yeast, salt & coconut sugar) and mixed lightly (15-20 seconds, Speed 4-5) before adding the water, oil, vanilla, vinegar and chia seed gel for another 15-20 seconds on Speed 5-6. I finally added the dried fruit & seeds, mixing gently on Reverse, Speed 1-2 for 20-30 seconds (to be honest, I can’t recall how long). Ready to empty the ‘batter’ into my greased & lined loaf tin, I placed it directly into the cold oven so it could ‘prove’ for the 15-20 minutes it takes to heat up to 180º. (The appliance in my rental home is ‘ancient’ & even though it is fan-forced, it’s pretty ‘slow’.) So from go to whoa, it should take about an hour: 20 minutes proving + 40 minutes cooking @ 180ºC.

Don’t expect a sweet cake-loaf: as I said earlier the meagre amount of coconut sugar is literally swamped by the other ingredients. So much so that the next time I cook this (or something similar) I’ll leave it out altogether and simply up the dried fruit content. Oh and nuts, I’ll definitely add chopped nuts. I’ve also read that the longer the dough (in this case ‘batter’) proves the better, so next time I might let it sit for longer before turning the oven on… I’m not sure if this applies to heavy gluten-free-grain-and-seed-floured doughs but if someone out there knows, please speak up!

 

Dessert for Breakfast

So there’s this Thermomix recipe that I’m in love with. It’s classed as a ‘breakfast’ dish, but to my mind, it’s TOO luscious and (here comes the Health Nazi) not really packed full enough of nutrients to constitute an everyday healthy meal. (I’ll talk about my typical breakfast choice another time.)

But it’s Sunday. And while I am waiting for my first attempt a gluten free fruit loaf to cook, I have to put something in the belly.

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The first time I made CADA I fell in love with it

CADA stands for Coconut, Apple, Date & Almond. It’s incredibly simple. You throw all of these ingredients in and Turbo a few times. Voila! The recipe asks for coconut flesh which personally I never have on hand, so my version replaces it with shredded coconut after the mix hits the serving dish. Then I add cinnamon and thick greek yoghurt and I swear it’straws just like eating apple pie with cream. Or apple crumble. Kind of.

food fervourToday I dropped the coconut in favour of some strawberries. For this single serve, I used ½ a green apple, approx 30gms (6-8) dates, 35gm roasted almonds and a handful of fresh strawberries. I’d recommend (Thermie user or not) you blast the almonds, dates and apple first then add the strawberries for the final ‘wazz’ since they’re too soft to withstand a heavy beating. Topped with 2 substantial dessertspoons of Greek yoghurt and about a teaspoon of coconut sugar, it was to die for! Next stop will be the blueberry version….

Walnut, Apple & Cinnamon Coconut Balls

I’ve got a few organic green apples building up in my fridge and since I promised the Manager of Eden Health Retreat (where I work as a Fitness Therapist) a treat this week, I’ve put on my creative thinking cap. Apple goes so well with Cinnamon, yes? And Walnuts. Even though they aren’t the most appealing nuts in the taste department (unlike roasted almonds or cashews!) they are PACKED with goodness. So if you’re not a fan, maybe these morsels will help you to ingest them. You really should try to use organic apples as well, since they absorb more chemical residue (from pesticides, fertilisers etc) than many other fresh foods. Every year the Environmental Working Group (US) releases a list of the top 12 (“The Dirty Dozen”) foods to avoid if grown conventionally and apples seem to always appear near the top of the list. Here’s a link to the current list and the EWG site if you want to take a look: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php

It’s been a long time since I have made ‘balls’. I went through my obsession with them about 6 or 7 years ago when I first delved into the Raw Food arena, but found them a little time consuming and messy to make, all up. Yes, not a great advertisement I realise, but I “gots ta be” honest! Even with the Thermomix, it’s the rolling out and coating of the little suckers that chews up your time…and dirties your hands.Food Fervour

Nonetheless, I had an idea (and some time) yesterday, so I was going to test it out. Lucky for me, it worked. Well, the boss-man hasn’t had his share yet, but my physio and some of my private training clients have given them the thumbs up! (See, training with me doesn’t involve suggestive purchase of protein/nutrtional supplements or products…. my clients get to be guinea pigs for my whole, clean food experiments!) Warning: they won’t be really sweet, but if you use a sweeter variety of apple it could suffice. As a LAST RESORT, if you HAVE to add sugar (wusses!) I think coconut sugar would be your best option.

Basically you will need:

1 cup (130gm) dates, 1 cup (250gm) water, 1 apple, 1½ cups (150gm) walnuts, 2-3 heaped tspns ground cinnamon, 1 cup (60gms) desiccated coconut (extra for rolling), 3-4 teaspoons chia seeds.

Soak the dates in the water for at least an hour, then drain as well as possible, pressing out excess fluid out (I told you your hands would get dirty!) Place roughly chopped apple (skin ON, for nutrient density & fibre – unless it’s not organic & you are justifiably concerned) in a high-powered blender (Thermomixers, you know it!) until finely chopped. This will invariably involve a few stop-starts as you’ll need to scrape down the sides of the blender. Set the apple aside, rinsing & drying the blender as well as possible so that you can ‘pulverise’ (or not: sometimes chunks are good!) the walnuts. (Thermies: 5-10 secs, speed 7ish) Add the cinnamon, dates, apple, coconut and chia seeds, then blend and scrape until you feel the mixture is well enough combined.

Now, the messy part: pop some extra desiccated coconut on a large (dinner) plate and …..go wash your hands again! To make sure the balls are really ‘compact’ I palm roll them first, then roll in the coconut, and palm roll them again. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

So, Pancakes…

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Cinnamon Buckwheat Pancakes with Vanilla Brazil Nut Cream, Cacao Avocado Mousse & Berries

They are the quintessential sweet tooth’s Sunday breakfast. I always thought they were too much work…until about a year ago. When I got my little ‘Magic Bullet’ blender, the elbow-grease factor became zilch. And really, in terms of ingredients, they have never been a difficult option.

I am not coeliac, nor am I even gluten intolerant, but I have discovered enough about the stuff to want to cut it from my diet. In the event that the information I have is incorrect, I choose to avoid it for no other reason than the amount it bloats me (and you really have to give the stuff up, then consume it again to notice the difference).

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Coconut pancake FAIL

So my pancakes of choice are made with buckwheat flour (now that I have my Thermomix, I’ll be milling my own, yippee!) but I have experimented with a few different kinds. Coconut doesn’t work so well for me (see pic) but quinoa is nice, if a little bitter. There is so much fun to be had, mucking around with a basic pancake recipe!

This Sunday just gone I created the gourmet feast you saw above, based on cinnamon buckwheat pancakes. If anyone wants to spoil their mother this Sunday (Mother’s Day) you may want to pay attention as I divulge recipes for three parts of the meal, over the next few days. Just to confuse, I’ll start here with the pancakes, even though they’re last likely to be the last thing you’ll create.

Pancakes really are too easy. The ratio is pretty much 1:1:1. One cup of SR flour, one egg & one cup of milk. And that will feed two people (since I’m only one I halve the amounts – which makes the pancakes a little more ‘eggy’ – but I don’t mind, more protein for me!) So my buckwheat pancakes demand thus:

1 cup buckwheat flour, 1 teaspoon bicarb soda, 1 egg, 1 cup milk (I used almond this time) Oh and one hefty teaspoon of cinnamon….since cinnamon pancakes

Pop your frypan on a medium-low heat, drop in some coconut oil and blend the pancake ingredients well. Drop a small amount of batter in first, to make your ‘tester’.  If that bubbles, turns easily and browns nicely, go for your life with the rest! Stack on one plate or if you’re ‘particular’ about them remaining really warm, you’ll have needed to preheat your oven on a low temp so you can shove them in there as you cook. (Thermie peeps can chuck them in a ThermoServer…ain’t nuthin’ goin’ cold in that thing!)