recipes

Tahini Balls

IMG_5507

Just recently I stumbled across an article about the benefits of eating ground sesame seeds. The health benefits of these little seeds are phenomenal. I won’t bore you with all the technical jargon, but here are a few reasons they should be a staple in your everyday diet.

If you are using Tahini, make sure it is unhulled Tahini, that way the nutrients remain intact as the seeds haven’t been stripped. The list of vitamins and antioxidants they contain goes on forever, vitamin B being the main one. Its a great source of calcium for dairy free options and is gluten free, the protein amount is 20% complete, being more than soya beans, sunflower seeds and most  nuts. It is high in  calories , but because it has a high alkaline content, means the calories are absorbed and digested quicker. You only need 1 tablespoon of this super paste a day for it to make a difference to your overall health and well being!


Tahini Balls


Ingredients

400g dates

1/2 cup unhulled tahini

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup shredded coconut

3 tablespoons raw cacao

3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste


Method

  1. Place all ingredients into a high powered processor and blend until the mixture starts to  clump together, about 5-10 mins. If its not processed for long enough the oils wont release out of the nuts and the mixture will  crumble when trying to roll into balls.
  2. Roll the mixture into balls and cover with sesame seeds if you wish. Alternatively you can press it into a prepared baking tray and freeze, then later cut into desired size.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Notes

They will last up to a  month in the fridge and a couple of months in the freezer.

Unhulled Tahini is very strong, so test the mixture as you go to ensure the balance is right for you.

Makes about 40-50 balls, I like to make them small so I can have a couple a day.

 

 

Advertisements

Slow Roasted Tomatos

IMG_2302This is a great way for using up tomatoes. I buy them in bulk at my local fruit market, extremely cheap at the moment. Just slice them in half, place in a large mixing bowl with fresh garlic and oregano, good lug of oil and balsamic vinegar, scatter onto baking trays and season with salt and pepper, cook for about 2hrs on low heat.

The tomatoes can then be stored in the fridge for about 2 weeks or frozen for 3 months. Great addition to salads or pasta sauces and the ones from the freezer work great on pizzas.


Slow Roasted Tomatoes


Ingredients

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

handful fresh oregano, finely chopped or 1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano

A good splash of rice bran oil and balsamic vinegar ( not too much balsamic )

5 punnets of cherry tomatoes halved or  1.25kg of your choice of tomato


Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180* fan forced. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Whisk together the garlic, oregano, oil and balsamic vinegar, add the tomatoes and toss. Divide amongst the baking trays with the cut side facing up, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 15 mins , then reduce the temperature to 120* and bake for another 1-1 1/2 hours. They are ready when they start to shrivel around the edges.
  4. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.

Thai Curry and Homemade Paste

IMG_1209

I’ve struggled with a name for this curry paste, so I’m just going generic “Thai Curry “. Its the colour of a yellow curry, with flavours of a green curry and a laksa mixed in. Ive kept the paste very mild in the heat department, so if you like it hot,  double the chilli’s or use a couple of birds eyes. I use this paste for fish cakes, roast chicken, chicken meatballs, pork and quinoa patties and soups. The paste will last 3 weeks in the fridge and 2-3 months in the freezer.


Thai Curry Paste

( makes about 1 cup )


Ingredients

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 teaspoons shrimp paste

12 dried long red chillies, soaked in boiling water for 30 mins or fresh, roughly chopped

5 cm piece of galangal, peeled and roughly chopped*

300g asian shallots or golden shallots

2 tablespoons oil

4 lemongrass stems, white part only, smashed and chopped*

12 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped

100 g coriander , roots and leaves, roughly chopped*

6 kaffir lime leaves, chopped*

zest of 1 lime*

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ground tumeric

1 teaspoon paprika


 Method
  1. Dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds over medium heat, shaking the pan constantly, 2-3 minutes.Place the toasted spices and peppercorns into a mortar and pestle, pound until finely broken down.
  2. Wrap the shrimp paste in a small piece of foil and place under the grill, about 3 mins, turning twice. You will be able to smell it.
  3. Place ground spices, shrimp paste and chopped chilli’s into a food processor , pulse a couple if times. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until a paste forms. You will need to scrape down the sides every 30 secs.
  4. Store in jars with a layer of oil on top.

* I buy all these ingredients in bulk or when on special and store them in my freezer.


Thai Curry

( serves 4-6 )


Ingredients

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 onion, sliced

2 to 3 tablespoons of homemade curry paste

500 g chicken breast or thigh, chopped

400 ml coconut cream or milk

500 ml chicken stock or water

6 kaffir lime leaves, left whole

200 to 300 g vegetables of choice

15 g thai basil, roughly torn

2 tablespoons fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime

1 to 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar

Garnish with roasted peanuts, shredded kaffir lime, thai basil and sliced fresh chilli

Brown Rice to serve


 Method
  1. Place a large wok over medium heat and fry off the onion in the peanut oil until translucent, add the curry paste and continue cooking until fragrant.
  2. Pour in coconut cream/milk, stock and kaffir lime leaves, increase heat and bring to the boil, reduce heat to med, add chicken and vegetables and summer until cooked.
  3. Lastly add basil, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar, adjust to suit taste.
  4. Serve with brown rice and garnishes.

Banana Peanut Butter Bread

IMG_0905

Can this bread get any better- healthy, gluten free, paleo ( if using almond butter), dairy free, refined sugar free and with the added  yumminess of peanut butter, banana, pecans and honey!

It can be made in a  mini muffin, loaf or cake tin. I recommend storing it in the freezer, only so you don’t consume the whole loaf in one day – hehe.

Don’t be fooled by it being healthy, it is high in fat, good fats that is…


Banana Peanut Butter Bread


Ingredients

Wet

3 large bananas, mashed

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

3 eggs

1/2 cup peanut butter or any nut butter

Dry

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bi carb soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt (omit the salt if using peanut butter)

Crumble

4 tablespoons coconut oil

1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar*

2 tablespoons almond meal

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped or any nut you prefer


Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175c. Prepare your tin with oil and baking paper.
  2. Combine all wet ingredients together in a large bowl and lightly whisk.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir, pour into prepared tin.
  4. Mix crumble ingredients in a small bowl using your hands, sprinkle over the top of the cake batter. Cook in oven for 40-50 minutes (that’s for a loaf tin) for muffins, check after 15 minutes, then every 5 minutes till done. You can usually smell the cake when its close to being ready. Leave in the tin to cool, then gently lift out using the paper, its really soft and moist.

* Coconut sugar can be found in the sugar section of your local supermarket or at health food stores.

This recipe was adapted from Paleomg.com .

Pan Seared Tuna and Soba Noodle Salad with Ponzu and Wasabi Dressing

IMG_0671

 I love it when friends and family give me fresh produce to cook with, they must think I’m a foodie of some sort – haha- who me?!?

I was given a beautiful fresh piece of tuna, I kept the flavours simple, added some different textures and only lightly seared the tuna. WOW… is the only word to describe how amazing this dish was. The recipe was adapted from a Valli Little (of course, my fav) recipe.


Pan Seared Tuna and Soba Noodle Salad with Ponzu and Wasabi Dressing


Ingredients

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

400 g centre-cut sashimi-grade tuna, available at your local fish market

1/4 cup  white and black sesame seeds

200 g buckwheat soba noodles

1 cup frozen soy beans (edamame), blanched and then placed in cold water*

1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into long thin slices

1 punnet snow pea sprouts, trimmed

1-2 avocado, sliced

4 spring onions, sliced on an angle, only the green part

Dressing

2 teaspoons caster sugar

1/2-1 teaspoon wasabi paste, I used 1/2 teaspoon and it was plenty for my palate

1/3 cup (80ml) ponzu (citrus soy)*

2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine)*

2 teaspoons fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime

optional

enough oil to deep fry in

1/2 cup lotus roots*


Method

  1. Heat the oil in a frypan over high heat, sear the tuna for 15 secs each side, continuously turning. Allow to cool slightly.Combine sesame seeds on a clean board or plate and roll the cooled tuna in the seeds to cover.Wrap tuna tightly in cling film, twisting ends to secure. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or till ready to serve.
  2. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a  jar, shake and set aside.
  3. Cook the noodles and beans together, will take about 5 minutes, drain and place in cold water.
  4. This step is optional. For the lotus root crisps, I found that I had to twice cook them to get them crispy. I defrosted them in some warm water, patted them dry with paper towel, deep fryed them in a wok or saucepan @165c for a couple of minutes, removed  and  drained. Increased the temperature of the oil to 185c, ready for when I’m about to serve.
  5. Meanwhile, remove tuna from fridge and slice 5mm thick. Toss noodles and soy beans with the half the dressing, divide among the plates or a large platter then place the cucumber, sprouts, avocado, spring onion on top, lay the tuna over the salad and finish with remaining dressing. Lastly, quickly deep fry your lotus root crisps @185c for 1 minute, till light brown, drain and arrange on plates or platter.

*endamame beans and lotus root can be found in the  frozen section at your asian supermarket. Mirin can be found in your local supermarket, asian section and the ponzu (citrus soy-thats what is written on my label) will be in found in a asian supermarket.

Ancient Grain Salad with Ras el Hanout Lamb Meatballs

IMG_0323

I finally found a recipe that used Freekah as the main element. It’s another crazy superfood that I found, with more than four times the fibre content then brown rice, high protein, good prebiotic effect, low fat, rich in calcium, iron and zinc and overall Freek-ing good for you !! Haha… Just had to throw that line in there! It’s very similar to brown rice in flavour and texture. You will find it in the health food isle of your supermarket and  health food stores. This recipe was adapted from one of my favourite homecooks Valli Little, I think I have a little piece of her in every recipe, I try, adapt or create!


Ras el hanout Lamb Meatballs with Ancient Grain salad


Serves 2-4

Ingredients


Lamb Meatballs
500 g lamb mince
1/2 tbsp ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend, available from supermarkets or you can make a version of it yourself)
1 clove garlic minced
1 tbsp ginger minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Ancient Grain Salad
1 cup dry Freekah cooked per packet instructions ( I used chicken stock)
1 can of brown lentils , washed and drained
1/3 cup mixed seeds and nuts (pine nuts, pumpkin and pepitas)
1/2 cup of sultanas or craisins
1 cup coriander and italian parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup mint leaves, chopped

Dressing
Juice of a lemon
1/4 cup oil
1 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper


 

  1. Combine all lamb meatball ingredients and mix well. Shape into balls and place on tray , cover and place in fridge till ready to cook.
  2. Cook the Freekah according to packet instructions, drain and combine with the lentils. I toasted my seeds and nuts slightly in a small frypan before adding to salad, purely optional, I think it gives a nice crunch. Then add the sultanas or craisins and herbs.
  3. Whisk up dressing ingredients, season to taste and pour over salad, mix through with a fork, gently, trying not to break the lentils. Place in fridge until meatballs are ready.
  4. Heat a fry pan with 2 tablespoons of oil and cook the meatballs until done, alternatively line a baking tray with baking paper and cook @180c fan forced 15-20 mins ( you don’t get the caramelisation on the outside of the meatball if you use the oven). When ready drain on paper towel, serve with salad and Greek yoghurt.

    NOTES
    You could use the ras el hanout on a butterflied leg of lamb or a whole chicken, just mix with 2tbs oil and marinate.
    Freekah will last 3 days in the fridge.

Atlantic Salmon with Wasabi Soy Dressing

IMG_8532

I cannot believe I have only been eating salmon for 2 years, what have I been missing out on!?!I love asian flavours with salmon,  it keeps the flavour fresh and lets the salmon shine. The soba noodle salad can be served warm or cold and you could use  salmon with the skin on. This dish would also work well with brown rice or quinoa.



Wasabi Salmon with Noodles



Ingredients


2 spring onions
4 x pieces of salmon
2 tsp oil
250 g somen or soba noodles, cooked per packet instructions

asian greens, steamed

Dressing
1/2 to 3/4 tsp of wasabi paste
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar or sake
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp black  and white sesame seeds


Method

  1. Finely slice your spring onion length ways and place in a bowl of cold iced water and set aside.
  2. Place all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.
  3. Heat the oil in a fry pan and cook salmon to your liking.
  4. To serve, place noodles on a plate, top with salmon, pour over dressing, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with the curled spring onion.

*Limes can be quite expensive, I try to buy mine in bulk whenever possible and then freeze. Just microwave 30 secs and slice in half till ready to use.

Thai Quinoa Salad with Chilli Lime Prawns

IMG_9963
Quinoa crazy at the moment. This little grain is the superfood of superfood. It is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids, has twice as much fibre as most other grains, high in iron, rich in magnesium, high content of manganese (which is an antioxidant), high in Riboflavin (B2) and the obvious Paleo, gluten free, low fat and low carb.
Inspired by Asian flavours, I wanted to create a salad with the sweet, sour, salty balance. My best friend did not have faith in me that these flavours would work well with Quinoa, I proved her wrong – HA! This dish can be made a couple of days ahead, would be great for a bbq lunch or just a simple starter. 

Thai Quinoa Salad with Chilli Lime Prawns


Ingredients
3/4 cup quinoa (cooked per packet instructions)
1 med carrot , julienned and diced or grated
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed and finely diced
1 small capsicum, finely diced
1 small asian shallot
Dressing
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 to 3 tablespoon of palm sugar
1 small chilli, finely chopped , de-seed to reduce heat
Chilli Lime Prawns
1 kg fresh prawns, deveined and heads removed, threaded onto a skewer if you like
Juice of 2 limes
6 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
2 large chilli sliced, 3 if you like it hot
4 tbsp oil

 Method
  1. Cook quinoa per packet instructions. I always cook mine in chicken stock, adds more flavour.
  2. To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. Set aside.
  3. For the salad, place the quinoa and salad ingredients in a large bowl, toss, add the dressing. Place in the fridge. Salad can be made a couple of days ahead.
  4. Combine the prawns and marinade, place in fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
  5. To cook prawns, heat a oiled frypan or bbq and cook until golden. They wont take very long, as they have been tenderising in the lime juice.
  6. To serve, place quinoa salad on a plate, top with the prawns, thai basil, kaffir lime leaves (finely chopped) and a lime wedge.

Zucchini Mini Muffin Bites

IMG_0727

 How hard is it to create a high protein, low sugar, dairy free snack?  Its not. These Zucchini Mini Muffin Bites will satisfy those late night munchies when the kids are asleep or the 3pm slump when dinner seems so far away. They give you the satisfaction of eating something naughty, but are totally guilt free. They are free from refined sugar, grain and gluten free and dairy free. All you need to do is mix the dry, mix the wet and combine. Simple I know, the hardest part is not to eat them all.


 Zucchini Muffin Bites


Ingredients

1 3/4 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon bi carb soda

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1 tablespoon macca powder (optional)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

50grams cacao nibs, dairy free dark chocolate or 70- 80% dark chocolate (sugar free), roughly chopped

1/4 cup nut of choice, roughly chopped

4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

1 banana, mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

155ml coconut cream (small can)

1 cup zucchini, grated and moisture squeezed out


Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180c fan forced. Grease a mini cupcake/muffin tray with a little coconut oil.
  2. Combine almond meal, bi carb, cacao powder, macca powder, mix with a whisk to remove any lumps, then add chia seeds, chocolate and nuts, mix.
  3. Whisk all wet together, adding the zucchini last and stirring it through.
  4. Fold the wet mixture into the dry, do not overmix or the batter will become very oily.
  5. Fill the mini muffin holes 3/4 full with mixture, you may have left over mixture.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Test by touching the top, if they bounce back they are ready. Let cool in tray, they will be very delicate.  To remove, run a knife around the edges and pop them out.
  7. Store in the fridge for 1 week or freeze for 2 months

Tomato Chutney

IMG_0774

Friday night treats are always exciting when Tomato Chutney is involved – burgers, sausages, steak, potatoes, even eggs – this Tomato Chutney is your best friend. The recipe has  sweet and savoury notes, with a hint of cardamon and cloves. It’s a one-pot wonder, just let it simmer down for a couple of hours and watch how it transforms into a pot of mouthwatering goodness. The Tomato Chutney will keep in the fridge up to a month. This recipe makes enough to give to family and friends – share the love, I say!


Tomato Chutney


Ingredients

1.5kg tomatoes, cored and diced

800g red onion, diced

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

300ml red wine vinegar

8cm piece ginger, finely chopped

8 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of ground cardamon

3 cloves, ground in a mortar and pestle or 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 chilli (optional) I like to keep some separate and add some chilli powder at the end


Method

  1. Place all ingredients into a very large pot and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hrs until reduced by half and has began to get glossy and thick.