Super pesto!

DSC02040

My mother has been working at a gorgeous primary school this last week and they have a big veggie garden there. In abundance is the beautiful herb basil. She bought me home a bunch and the first thing I thought of was pesto! I added spinach but I have also made this with kale and the result was just as delicious. These leafy greens boost the health benefits of the pesto with their high vitamin and mineral content.

We served this pesto with a hearty winter vegetable soup for dinner and the flavours worked fabulously. It’s also beautiful spread on seed bread, crackers and tossed through zucchini pasta.

I have added parmesan cheese for a little creamy texture but feel free to omit this to keep the pesto dairy free.

DSC02042

Basil pesto 

Ingredients

1 bunch of basil, washed and stems removed

1 handful of spinach

1/2 lime, juiced

1/4 C walnuts

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 T parmesan, grated

2-4 T extra virgin olive oil

Method

Place all the ingredients except the EVOO into a food processor. Process for 1 minute, scraping down the sides. With the motor still running drizzle in the EVOO until you reach your desired consistency.

Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.

DSC02049

Enjoy!

A chocolate and pear cake

DSC01979

This cake is inspired by a recipe from the my darling lemon thyme blog.  Emma’s dark chocolate, pear and rosemary cake can be found here http://www.mydarlinglemonthyme.com/2014/04/exciting-news-dark-chocolate-pear.html

Over the weekend I picked up a couple of kilos of pears for a good price at my farmers market. I was then searching for inspiration and stumbled across this gorgeous cake. It looked divine and I knew immediately what to do with my pears! I didn’t have all the ingredients so I adapted the recipe to suit what I had in the pantry and it worked out rather deliciously.

I served the cake with my chocolate olive oil sauce which you can find a couple of posts back.

DSC01954

Chocolate pear cake

Ingredients

3/4 C brown rice flour

3/4 C quinoa flour

1/4 C cacao powder

1 t baking powder

3/4 C coconut sugar

1/4 C chia seeds

1/2 C dairy free dark chocolate, roughly chopped

a pinch of salt

4 small pears

3 organic free range eggs

3/4 C coconut oil

1/4 C plant milk

1 t vanilla bean extract

1 t rosewater

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a 27 cm round cake tin with baking paper.

Sift the flours, cacao, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the coconut sugar, chia and dark chocolate.

Grate 2 of the small pears and place in a separate bowl. Chop the other 2 into small cubes, roughly 2 x 2cm, and add to the dry ingredients bowl.

Crack the eggs into the bowl with the grated pear, add the coconut oil, plant milk, vanilla extract and rosewater. Give a good whisk.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold through until just combined. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out on a wire rack.

Serve warm with chocolate olive oil sauce and coconut cream. Will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week.

DSC01973

Enjoy!

Chocolate brownies for a friend

DSC01990

A few weeks ago one of my lovely friends made a two ingredient brownie, just walnuts and fresh dates. The recipe proclaimed that the end result tasted like the real deal but much to my friends disappointment this healthy version of a brownie didn’t compare at all to the real ones packed with sugar, butter and refined flour. She asked my advise and since then I have been thinking up a healthy version of the humble brownie that doesn’t lack taste or texture. This ‘almost’ raw treat will satisfy your brownie cravings while not causing you to feel like you’ve over indulged after.

The brownie itself is raw, just a few ingredients processed, however for the icing I have heated it slightly to achieve a thicker result. You could of course top the brownies with a basic raw chocolate icing if you wish to keep this treat strictly raw.

Orange blossom water is my new favourite ingredient and I have used it in these brownies to create a delicious yet delicate flower taste. Rosewater would also work and you can of course omit it altogether if you do not have it on hand. Organic dried rose petals are a beautiful decoration and you should be able to find them at your local gourmet or health food store.

DSC01985

Goodness Gracious brownies 

Ingredients

1/2 C pecans

1 C almonds

1 1/2 C fresh dates, pitted

1/4 C cacao

1/4 C coconut oil

2 t orange blossom water

1 T maca

1 T tahini

Icing

2 T coconut oil

1/4 C cacao powder

1/4 C maple syrup

4 T plant milk, I used coconut

Method

Line a lamington tin with baking paper. Place the nuts in a food processor and process until roughly chopped. Add the rest of the brownie ingredients and process until combined and sticky. You may need to add 1-2 t of water to bring it together. Press into the lined tin and place in the freezer.

For the icing, combine the coconut oil, cacao powder and maple syrup in a small saucepan over low heat. Slowly add the milk until and bring it to a simmer. Remove from the heat and pour over the brownie. Set in the freezer for an hour. Slice into 12 squares and sprinkle with rose petals if desired.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Also suitable to be frozen.

DSC01998

Enjoy!

Macadamias and Muffins

DSC01925

Macadamias are Australia’s nut and one I have grown up munching on. I made these muffins while dreaming of the beautiful maca tree in my parents orchard. It was one of the nut trees they had success with as the outer shell was too hard for cheeky possums to get into. So we always had an abundance of the beautiful nut around and my mother created many delicious macadamia recipes. Now that im living in the tropics I rarely get to eat the luxurious nut but decided to bake something homely this weekend and the result were these scrumptious muffins.

Macadamias are a fabulous source of mono-unsaturated fats, high in fibre and a good source of vitamins and minerals. They have a creamy sweet flavour that pairs wonderfully with tart berries.

DSC01934

Macadamia, raspberry and coconut muffins

1/2 C buckwheat flour

1/2 C brown rice flour

1/2 C almond meal

1/4 C shredded coconut

1 T psyllium husk

1/2 C coconut sugar

1/3 C macadamias, roughly chopped

2 organic free range eggs

1/2 C coconut oil

1/2 C plant milk

1 t vanilla bean paste

3/4 C raspberries

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Line 8 muffin cases with baking paper.

Sieve the buckwheat flour, brown rice flour and baking powder into a large bowl. With a whisk stir in the almond meal, shredded coconut, psyllium husk, coconut sugar and macadamias.

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, coconut oil, milk and vanilla bean paste.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently fold together until just combined. Add the raspberries, reserving some for the top of the muffins, and stir to combine.

Spoon into the muffin cases and dot with the remaining raspberries.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Delicious served warm with whipped coconut cream. Also a lovely treat to pop into your bag for a snack at work.

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

DSC01950

Enjoy!

Pancakes and the best ever chocolate sauce

DSC01886

Okay, I know it’s a big claim to make about my chocolate sauce but it’s seriously delicious!! I have used a mandarin infused extra virgin olive oil and it just takes the sauce to a new level. Its creamy, rich, tangy, sweet and full of ingredients good for you. All you need is raw cacao, EVOO and pure maple syrup. Cacao is the raw cocoa bean cold pressed which keeps all the living enzymes in tact. Raw cacao is full of antioxidants and minerals to help your body protect itself against toxins. It also makes you feel happy and loved! If you can’t find any mandarin or citrus infused olive oil perhaps try infusing your own with the rind of an orange, otherwise plain EVOO will work perfectly but without the lovely citrus flavours.

The pancakes I have made bring some more lovely flavours to the dish creating a beautiful combination that almost tastes too good for breakfast. This dish is defiantly a little indulgent so perfect for lazy weekend mornings. I like to serve mine with lots of fruit and tea and slowly much away on them while enjoying my surrounds. The pancakes are also delicious without the sauce and I have taken them like this on morning picnics.

DSC01858

Chai spiced berry pancakes

1/2 C buckwheat flour

1 t baking powder

1 t chai spices, freshly ground ( I used cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and star anise)

2 eggs

1 banana

1/3 C plant milk

1/4 C berries (I used blueberries)

Method

Place the buckwheat flour, baking powder and chai spices in a bowl and whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl mash the banana then add the eggs and milk and whisk well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk well. Stir in the blueberries.

Heat a flat skillet pan on high heat, turn down to medium and add 1 t coconut oil. Place spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until bubbles form, flip and cook for a further minute.

Serve with fresh fruit and Olive oil chocolate sauce, recipe to follow.

Serves two.

DSC01866

Olive oil chocolate sauce 

1 T extra virgin olive oil, infused with citrus

1 T (heaped) of raw cacao

1/2 T pure maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a small cup and stir until lovely and smooth.

Drizzle over the pancakes.

Serves two.

Also lovely to dip strawberries in and drizzled over coconut ice cream. I am currently thinking up a cake recipe I can serve with this sauce as I love it!

DSC01893

Enjoy!

A tropical lassi

DSC01851

I am currently sitting out on the porch surrounded by palm trees and sipping one of these delightful drinks. It’s the perfect ending to a busy week at work. I’m also trying to make the most of the beautiful 30 degree weather we have been blessed with here and soaking up as much vitamin D as I can get.

This is my tropical version of the Lassi drink which originated from India. Lassi mean yoghurt drink and for this recipe I have used natural greek yoghurt. However, if you have an intolerance to dairy coconut yoghurt would work wonderfully.

Mango and mint Lassi

1 C frozen mango (we picked and froze our own during mango season)

1 C greek yoghurt (or plant yoghurt)

1 C water

1/4 C mint leaves

2 T shredded coconut

1 t fresh grated tumeric

Method

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. The drink should be lovely and thick and creamy.

Pour into glasses and garnish with mint.

DSC01854

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Bananas for banana bread

DSC01688

My mother is crazy about my banana bread! Whenever I ask her what I should bake she says “Ooh why don’t you make your banana bread, it’s always so delicious.” I do give in a lot and end up baking it almost every week.

Its lucky really that we live in the tropics and have an abundance of bananas all the time. I like to make this with really ripe gooey bananas, they give the sweetest taste and are actually better for us then just ripe bananas.

This loaf is super simple to make and so very rewarding. The smell of it alone is delicious enough as it wafts through your house while baking. I like to enjoy it warm out of the oven with lashings of my dreamy vanilla cashew cream (recipe in previous post). Its perfect popped into your bag for a mid morning snack at work, delicious toasted and topped with ricotta and honey. The options are endless.

DSC01678

Goodness Gracious banana bread

Ingredients

2 bananas (roughly 300g)

3 eggs

1/4 C coconut sugar

1/4 C coconut oil 1

t vanilla bean paste

1 t cinnamon

1 t nutmeg

2 1/2 t baking powder

1 t lemon juice, to activate baking powder

1/4 C chia seeds

2 C almond meal

1/2 C walnuts, roughly chopped

1 banana, for top, sliced lengthways

2 T pumpkin seeds, for top

2 t coconut sugar, for top

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Combine the bananas, eggs, coconut sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a food processor and process for 1-2 minutes. Add the baking powder, lemon juice, chia, almond meal and give a quick mix. Stir in the walnuts until just combined.

Pour into the lined tin and top with the sliced banana, pumpkin seeds and sprinkle over the coconut sugar. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack and let the beautiful smells waft through your house.

Store in the fridge for up to a week.

DSC01714

Enjoy!