Recipe: Vegan Bean Burgers

IMG_2864What to do for dinner when all you have is left over salad from lunch, a handful of lonely vegetables and a tin of kidney beans? Bean salad or bean burgers is about your only option! As it happens it was just the right dinner for a hot summer evening, easy to make, quick to eat and very tasty. With a glass of home-made lemonade with mint and blueberries, and followed by a night swim in the pool = perfect.

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Bean burgers served cold with slices of mango, yogurt, hommus, fruit salad and toasted nuts makes an amazing breakfast too. Sounds crazy to put a curried burger and hommus with fruit salad but it works a treat.

VEGAN BEAN BURGERS

1 tbs coconut oil

1 onion

1 large clove garlic

2 celery stalks

1 carrot

1 400g  tin kidney beans

1 tsp mild curry powder

salt and pepper

a little coconut flour to thicken and bind

METHOD

Finely chop onion, garlic and celery. Soften in coconut oil. Grate carrot and add to mix with the curry powder. Stir until the carrot is soft.

Add mixture to a food processor with drained kidney beans, seasoning and a little coconut flour (about 1 tbs). Blend until the mixture is smooth. Add a little more coconut flour if the mixture is too soft.

With wet hands, roll into burgers and put in the fridge for half an hour to firm up, then shallow fry in a little more coconut oil. The burgers are very soft and difficult to cook at room temperature (at east when room temperature is over 30 degrees!) so keep them in the fridge until just before you are ready to cook them. Serve hot or cold with hommus, yogurt, fresh salad topped with toasted nuts … and eat any leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day. Better still, make a double batch and freeze some for later.

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Recipe: Almond Bread from Cooking Pot

photo (16)Here’s one of the most delicious almond bread recipes I’ve tasted. My friend Dominika made it for me to try at our playgroup – it wasn’t for everyone because it isn’t vegan, but all the same I only managed to get one slice before it vanished off the plate! It was very yummy. This recipe makes a moist loaf of grain-free bread, which I am very excited about. The other almond breads that I have made have been so dry that even a cup of tea isn’t enough to make them palatable … this one has eggs and cottage cheese in it, which makes it so tasty and light. It slices well and I think it is going to be a great morning toast with butter, a yummy morning tea with peanut butter, and a delicious accompaniment to lunch with a bit of labne spread. Dominika has shared the recipe with me and said I could share it here too. Some things are too good to keep to yourself.

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I’ve just been involved in a great big recipe share with Dominika and many friends which has culminated in a great new phone app called Cooking Pot. This is the first time I’ve ever endorsed a product other than my own on the blog, but I’m excited about this one because I know it has lots of awesome recipes in it like this almond bread one. It’s been created by my friends Dominika and Justin and they’ve been collecting and compiling lots of amazing recipes to help you plan your meals, or to help you use up those left over ingredients in the fridge so that you are not wasting food. Dominika and Justin have two little girls, they grow their own vegetables and raise chickens in their backyard (and a guinea pig or two). The health of their family is their priority, and so all these recipes on their Cooking Pot app are there to create awesome meals with wholesome ingredients. I’m pretty proud to say that many of my recipes can be found on Cooking Pot too – and my recipes have been created with the best of health-full intentions so I’m happy to endorse it!

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Cooking Pot has many uses:
– you can select the ingredients you want to use and find a variety of recipes to match
– after selecting the recipes you want for the ingredients you have, Cooking Pot will then compile a shopping list for the rest of the ingredients you will need, and you can add to this so it is pretty handy to take with you when you do your shopping.
– you can browse the recipes according to different labels – you will find recipes for all kinds of different needs: food intolerance,vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free. More recipes are being added all the time.
– having recipes at your finger tips allows you an easier way to plan your meals for the week – and a great way to find something tasty at the end of an exhausting day when you are not feeling inspired about dinner.
You can read more about it, and download it by going to the website, itunes, or the facebook page. Cooking Pot is available for iPhones or iPads. I think iPads would be great in the kitchen … use a recipe stand to prop it up, and easy to wipe clean. Much better than bringing my laptop in, which is what I sometimes do when I can’t be bothered to write a recipe down! I’m not a very neat cook 🙂

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Almond Bread

(grain-free, sugar-free)

INGREDIENTS
    2 1/2 cups almond meal
    1/4 cup olive, hempseed or sunflower oil
    1 tub (7 oz) dry curd cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 Tbsp hulled hemp seeds
(I didn’t have any hemp seeds so I used 1 T flax and 1 tsp chia unground – use what you have)
    1 tsp flaxseeds or ground chia seeds
    1/4 tsp good salt
    3 eggs
METHOD
Mix all ingredient together and bake at 180C for 1 hour.
If toothpick doesn’t come out clean reduce to 130C and bake till done.

Recipe: Christmas Spice Museli

I’ve shown you my muesli recipe before – it’s pretty yum! I make it as the basic grain-free recipe in a large batch, then before toasting it I separate some for myself and add oats to the batch for the rest for the family. This time I added some extra spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and some VERY special dried fruit that I made on the day of the solar eclipse. I was inspired by the celestial happenings while I was chopping up fruit for the dehydrator … and then decided to cut them with the cookie cutters. Little stars and moons (or eclipsed suns if you choose to see them that way!)

After they were dried they looked like this. So pretty just in the jar! And such intense bites of deliciousness.

I had to add them to our muesli  – along with some dried goji berries and cranberries for a bit of colour. This is gold-plated muesli. And from each batch I make (because this one is already eaten!) I am saving some for presents. One jar of muesli doesn’t stretch far, but it is delicious as a topping on yogurt and ice cream too.

Recipe: Banana Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce (Paleo/GAPS)

One of the hard things about being on a grain-free diet is watching the family eat pancakes every Saturday morning. I love pancakes and every now and then I sneak one because they are so hard to resist. I used to make myself some grain-free paleo pancakes with egg and almond meal … but they really are not my favourite. I find them quite dry and I have to wash them down with a cup of tea. This morning however, I made myself some banana pancakes and I can’t believe I’ve forgotten about them for so long!

I used to make them for the kids for afternoon tea. It just didn’t occur to me that I could eat them for breakfast … and actually I am not really that fond of bananas, especially cooked bananas, but I cooked mine in coconut oil and drowned them in a home made blueberry sauce … and they were delicious.

Bananas are so cheap at the moment … at 99c per kilo I am buying up a couple of kilos at a time and freezing them for cooking with later. The ones I used today went soft before I had a chance to peel and freeze them but they were perfect for breakfast in these pancakes and enjoyed by 2 out of 3 children – the other one, like me, has never really developed a bond with bananas and was turned off when I mentioned what was in them. If I hadn’t said anything I’ll bet he would never have noticed. As for me, I am pleased to have rediscovered the joys of pancakes for breakfast!

This blog is fast becoming a place where we celebrate toddlers with food on their faces… sorry about that but I never get tired of seeing little ones enjoy their food!!

Banana Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

PANCAKE INGREDIENTS

1 banana

1 large egg

1 tsp coconut oil

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

1 cup blueberries

1 tsp cinnamon

dribble of honey

1 Tbs butter

METHOD

Mash the banana and mix in the egg. If your egg is small you may get firmer pancakes if you add another egg.

Heat your pan (I like to use a cast iron skillet) and melt the coconut oil. Cook mixture as you would normal pancakes, turning when you see the edges firm and a few bubbles in the middle.

To make the sauce, mix blueberries, honey, butter and cinnamon together in a saucepan and bring to the boil, slightly mashing the blueberries, and cooking until it reaches a consistence you like.

Serve pancakes with sauce and fresh fruit.

Recipe: Left Over Baked Rice Breakfast.

I don’t eat rice any more, but I still cook it now and then for the family. I always make extra rice when I cook it for dinner because the leftovers are given to the kids for breakfast. It is one of the easiest and most delicious and nutritious ways to fill up on good food in the morning, particularly if you are using brown rice. It can be eaten hot or cold, but of course in this weather the kids are eating it hot to keep their bodies warm in our crisp winter mornings.

When we are doing the dishes after our evening meal, I mix up this dish and cook it before bed-time. That way it is ready to be heated and served hot in the morning. I’ve written out the basic recipe here, but I like to add whatever I’ve got around the place: chopped apple bits, sultanas, blueberries, mashed banana, chopped dried apricots, a bit of grated lemon zest … something to add a bit of colour and interest – something for the kids to talk about. It’s nice to make it a bit different each time. I apologize for the random measurements .. I’m becoming a bit of an intuitive cook and to me a ‘swoosh’ of honey, is a drizzle from the jar which is just enough to make it sweet and not too much. You can make it without the honey entirely if you like because the grated apple just seems to be enough. The apple kind of disappears into the custard and rice during the baking so you can’t see it (for those who are texturally sensitive!)

BAKED RICE BREAKFAST

INGREDIENTS

1 cup left over rice (this dish is YUMMIEST with brown rice)

2 eggs

milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

a swoosh of honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1 peeled and grated apple

butter

METHOD

Grease a casserole dish with coconut oil or butter.

Spread leftover rice evenly over the bottom of the dish.

Crack the two eggs over the rice and mix gently with a whisk.

Pour in enough milk to cover the rice.

Add vanilla, cinnamon, grated apple and honey (to taste) and stir until everything is well mixed.

Add some random knobs of butter on the top of it all.

Bake at 150C for about 40 – 50 minutes or until it is set and lightly browned on top.

Serve with hot with cream and stewed fruit (or a drizzle of maple syrup) or cold with fresh fruit and yogurt.

Recipe: Blueberry Crostata

This recipe caught my eye on Pinterest. Click on the picture above for the link to the original post. I love recipes that look simple and are also simple to make. This one is basically a pie crust and blueberries. Can’t go wrong!

I made my pie crust with spelt flour and coconut oil, which made it a bit crumbly … but still very delicious. I used maple syrup instead of sugar, left out the flour (instead I kind of mashed the blueberries a little bit after they were cooked so they all stuck together in the crust better) and I used dabs of coconut oil on top of the blueberries instead of butter.  It was really delicious! I managed to save a slice to take a photo of.

 

I love the rustic look of it too. Can’t you picture yourself on the couch, wrapped up in a snuggly blanket eating hot crostata with cream?

Recipe: Apple Cups!

Oh these were so much fun! I found the apple cups HERE first, but filled with warm cider (Very autumnal!)

Cider wouldn’t do for playgroup  (although I’m tucking that idea away for another time!) … and apple juice just had me thinking of mopping up sticky spills on the floor, so instead I decided to fill them with stewed apples and blueberries with a dollop of plain yogurt and a blueberry on the top. Also a sprinkle of chia seeds. Yummy! And the fun bit is being able to eat your cup afterwards.

They were such a hit my kids asked if they could eat them for breakfast – so the next morning I made bigger ones and filled them with yogurt and muesli – the kids thought they were doing me a favour by eating their cups so I wouldn’t have to wash them up 🙂

Wouldn’t these be a great idea for a children’s party? Healthy and delicious and fun.

HOW TO MAKE APPLE CUPS

1) Slice the top off your apple, ensuring that it is level with the base of the apple (some of them sit a little crooked!)

2) Use a knife to mark out an inner circle, leaving a bit of apple between the middle and the skin for the wall.

3) Use a melon-baller to scoop out the apple flesh. If  you are not using the apples straight away you can rinse the apples in a bit of lemon juice to stop them from turning brown inside.

4) Save the apple flesh, cut out the pips and bits of core, then stew the apple (with some other fruit too if you like). Stewed apple is easy – place chopped apple in a pot with a teensy bit of water and heat and stir until it is all mushy! I added blueberries to my stew.

5) Return stewed fruit to the inside of the apples and top with yogurt, chopped fruit, nuts, muesli …whatever you like! You can of course use them to drink from too.