Macadamia Banana Creme

I have nothing against cream. I love real dairy cream, but I rarely buy it. So when I feel like some, especially for ‘sweet’ occasions, I usually turn to yoghurt … of which I always have a plentiful supply.

Yoghurt however doesn’t always cut it. I love it, it’s SO good for my gut BUT… it’s tangy. That’s the only problem. Tangy works with fruit salad, even fruit flavoured cakes, but not chocolate.

I tend to think of avocado as ‘nature’s butter’ or ‘cream’ but its flavour isn’t easily disguised, and neither is its colour! Cacao (or cocoa) seems to be pretty much the only thing with the flavour and colour intensity to use with it. (See my Cacao Avocado Mousse recipe.) Nut creams (like my Vanilla Brazil nut Cream for instance) are easy as well but, like the avocado option, they also require added sweeteners, even if only a little.

Having played around with banana before (we all know you can make dairy free ice cream with it, and even grain free pancakes) particularly as a whole food sweetener, I struck upon the idea of combining it with finely milled nuts. Guess what? It works!

The only downside (which isn’t really an issue) is that it’s better made and eaten fresh, since the blending process causes oxidation that will turn the creme ‘brown’ (see pic below). Fresh is best anyway, right? (…for nutritional content.) Also, the thicker you make it, the more likely it is that it’ll be ‘grainy’ but if you’re pedantic about it being smooth, simply press through a sieve or squeeze through loose weave muslin cloth (or nut milk bag).

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Oxidation causes changes and you can see the creme on this cake has ‘browned’. It didn’t affect the flavour at all 😉

 

All you need is a high powered blender, 100gms of macadamia nuts, 1 banana (the riper, the sweeter) and your milk of choice to alter the thickness of the creme… (I used 1-2 teaspoons (5gm) to make the spreadable creme for the cake above).

Firstly, mill the nuts (Thermies: 10 seconds at Speed 7-8). You may want to scrape down and repeat.

Scrape down before adding the roughly chopped banana and milk. Again, blend again at Speed 7 for 10 seconds, scraping down and repeating if you wish (I did).

Voila, you’re done! It’s ready to go. I’d love to hear what you think and the creative ways you use it. 🙂

 

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Charcoal… Why Bother?

Apparently charcoal drinks are a New Thing. I know that charcoal capsules/pills have been on the market for quite sometime but I haven’t seen a drink containing it …yet. It was an article I just found on the LiveStrong website (see here) that alerted me to them and the very same article has helped to turn me right off them, before I’ve even glimpsed any in food outlets. Turned me off consuming charcoal, full stop, in fact. (But it’s fun to draw with…)
Why?
Well, it seems that one of the primary reasons to take it is because it helps to remove toxins from your body. But the problem is, it takes ‘everything’ – the Good and the Bad.
Food FervourSo apparently ‘timing’ becomes a crucial factor, and this includes ‘placement’… If the charcoal enters your system too soon after eating a nutritious meal or taking medication, all of the benefits are lost: the charcoal snatches them up and carries them away. So consider how much money you’d be throwing down the loo if you spent your bucks on a ‘nutritious’ drink in which the charcoal is a star ingredient? Purpose (entirely) Defeated. Press the flush button.
For my money, a diet high in fresh, plant-based foods will do. Apart from naturally supporting the liver in its job – detoxification – some plant foods actually help to remove toxins from your body in the course of normal digestive & absorptive processes …without kidnapping the ‘Good Stuff’ at the same time. The cruciferous (eg broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts) and allium (eg onion, garlic) plant families are known to do this and the wonderful little herb coriander is also often nominated as a great toxic warrior.
Save your money, eat well and stress less: there’s your answer. Or mine. Take a look at the article and decide for yourself! 😉

Eggs Are the Bomb!

One of the things that stuck with me from my very first Nutrition module in my Fitness training was learning that eggs have the highest Biological Value to humans… which basically means the protein in them is more ‘complete’ and better utilised by our bodies, compared to other sources like milk, meat and plant-foods. (I’ve since discovered that whey protein tops eggs but who really wants to consume a processed macro-nutrient? Naaaht me!)

This made me, as an egg-lover, happy. And since that day I have always maintained that if I were only allowed to live on ONE (animal-based) source of protein for the rest of my days, egg it would be.

Well, I just came across this little beauty on the site Science Alert, that lifts the value of the humble egg even further in my eyes: consuming them with raw veggies (that is… salad!) helps to increase valuable nutrient absorption…how GOOD is THAT?!

There’s one proviso though: it has to be the whole egg. The yolk is by far the most valuable part of this whole-food, so if you’re an egg-whites-only consumer, I’m sorry but you’ll dip out on the complete benefit. And, it almost goes without saying… choose organic where possible…

Apparently natural oils used as/in salad dressings aid absorption too, but the article seems to indicate portion control – combined with protein presence – is what makes eggs the superior choice.

Take a look at the article: here-s-how-eggs-can-super-charge-your-salads

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Mushroom & Lentil Bolognaise Stew

With Winter smacking us in the face this week, I felt the need for a nice thick, warming stew. But having had (what I considered to be) too much meat for some days prior, I wanted something plant-based… that would satisfy me.

Knowing how damned good legumes are for us (very high fibre and plant-based protein) and having a bag of mushrooms in the fridge that I knew needed to be used up, I began the search for a recipe but as usual, nothing I found comprised a vast array of veggies. So, true to form, I ended up adapting; fusing two different recipes together: one Thermomix Lentil & Veg Stew with a Mushroom & Lentil Bolognaise recipe on taste.com.au.

While I chose to make this using my Thermomix, it could be easily replicated by non-Thermie cooks because it’s a one-pot recipe. But a word of warning to Thermomix users: the quantities I used brought the bowl contents right up to the maximum (2 litres) so if you’re a little reticent, perhaps halve the quantities. It will still result in a decent amount of stew.food fervour

Grab the following:

35ml extra virgin olive oil, 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 large carrot, 1 stalk celery, 2 potatoes, 170gm uncooked brown lentils, 200gm button mushrooms, 2 tablespoons Thermomix vegetable stock paste + 600gm water (non-Thermies use 700-800ml vegetable stock), 2 bay leaves, 400gm passata (or entire contents of a 400gm tin of tomatoes)

Thermomixers: Add the onion (quartered) garlic cloves, roughly chopped carrot and celery to the bowl and chop for 5 seconds @ Speed 5. Scrape down sides then cook for 3mins @ 100ºC on reverse Speed 1. Meanwhile, dice the potatoes and roughly chop the mushrooms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the potatoes, mushrooms, lentils, stock paste, water, bay leaves and passata (or tomatoes). Stir gently before locking the lid in place and cooking for 45 minutes @ 100ºC on reverse Speed ‘Stir’, with the MC off and the basket (or a light dishcloth draped) over the top to catch splatters.

Stovetop Cooks: Finely chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery, then warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the veg and cook for 3-5 minutes (until onion has softened) stirring occasionally while you dice the potatoes & roughly chop the mushrooms. Add the potatoes, mushrooms, lentils, stock, bay leaves and passata (or tomatoes) to the saucepan and bring to a gentle boil before reducing to a simmer, partially covered for approximately 40 minutes.

Allow the stew to rest for at least 5 minutes (ThermoServers are the perfect receptacle) before serving so that the some fluid may be further absorbed by the lentils. It’s a perfect meal on its own, or with spiralised zucchini noodles, but you could add some pasta if you feel that you need “carbo-loading” 😉