Everything cookies & my thoughts

As I sit down to write this, it is not cookies on my mind but the rice paper rolls, the soy eggs & squash fritters from some well recognised food bloggers who are sharing their stories. These are not any story but the deepest of stories about their families & their childhood. Each one has made my heart swell & my eyes fill with tears as I think about the hardships they  & (their families) faced & the tough decisions. One thing is the same in each story – it’s about finding a safer home. Somewhere they could bring their children up without the threat or fear of violence & persecution. I urge all of you to go & have a read & remember now, while all this craziness is going on in the world that in the end we are all human & we all deserve to live without fear. #immigrantfoodstories

http://www.mydarlinglemonthyme.com/2017/02/nectarine-and-pickled-cucumber-rice-paper-rolls-vegan-gluten-free-immigrantfoodstories.html

http://honestlyyum.com/18507/

http://theyearinfood.com/2017/02/winter-squash-fritters.html

Here are some cookies that will bring a little hope & warmth into your life. They will fill you up & make you feel good.

Everything cookies 

Makes approx. 24 large cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 C whole spelt flour
  • 1 C rolled oats, plus 1/2 C extra
  • 1/4 C brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 C desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 C raw almond, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C dried cranberries
  • 1/2 C roughly chopped dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 1/2 C macadamia oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 C rice malt syrup
  • 2 over-ripe bananas

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celcius & line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place the 1 C of rolled oats into your blender and pulse for a few seconds to turn into oat flour. Pour into a large bowl and sift over the flours, baking powder, cinnamon & sea salt. Add the whole oats, coconut, almonds, cranberries & dark chocolate. Mix to combine.
  3. In a large jug mash the bananas then add in the oil, vanilla & rice syrup. Whisk together before pouring over the dry ingredients. Mix into a thick dough then with damp hands roll tablespoon size balls. Place onto the trays and flatten with the palm of your hand.
  4. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until golden. Cool for 5 minutes on the trays before transferring to a wire rack.
  5. Delicious eaten on the day otherwise will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Enjoy & spread love xx

Banana and dark chocolate cookies

Over the past couple of months I have been making these cookies when I have an overflowing bowl of ripe bananas and a need for something sweet other than banana bread. The bananas add a beautiful sweetness and chewy texture while also making these cookies a great energy boosting snack.

I have trialled these on a car trip, where they travelled well and satisfied all the passengers, even my sister who usually complains that nothing is sweet enough. The cookies also made an appearance on a bicycle ride with me today and they were the perfect halfway snack to keep us satisfied until lunch.

Without the chocolate I would be inclined to say these would also make a fabulous breakfast on the run, seeing as they are made of some of the usual breakfast suspects like oats, almonds, buckwheat, chia and coconut.

Banana and dark chocolate cookies

makes approximately 20 large cookies

Ingredients 

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed (the riper, the sweeter)
  • 1/2 C cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 C raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean extract
  • 1 1/4 C buckwheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 C rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 1 C almond meal
  • 1 C desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 75g dark chocolate (75% cocoa or more), roughly chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. In a small bowl or jug combine the mashed banana, olive oil, honey and vanilla. Whisk with a fork to combine and set aside.
  3. Sift the buckwheat flour and baking powder into a large bowl then stir in the other dry ingredients.
  4. Add the banana mixture and mix to combine. Finally add in the dark chocolate.
  5. Roll large tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared trays and flatten with your palm (they won’t spread when cooking).
  6. Place into the preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Cool on a wire rack before enjoying with a cup of tea!

Spiced veggie patties

So, university is out for the year and I now have three clear months ahead of me to fill with cooking, yoga, running, swimming and adventuring! Somewhere in there too I will have to find a REAL job to sustain my summer of fun! Anyway to start with I am looking forward to lots of relaxation after a busy few weeks of study and exams. So today you would find me spread out on the couch in the sunny front room of my parents house with a cup of tea and a big appetite to share one of my favourite recipes with you.

Veggie patties are a bit of a staple for me. They are super quick, easy, cheap and can be served in a multitude of ways. I love to wrap them up in a pita with lots of fresh salad in summer or roll them into balls and serve with a rich tomato sauce and pasta in winter. They are just so versatile and always a hit, even with my meat eating friends.

By combining rice and lentils your body receives all 20 essential amino acids, which makes these patties a complete protein source (yes I did lean something this year!). It is very important for vegetarians/vegans to combine different protein sources to ensure they are  consuming complete proteins and these patties make is super easy! With lots of veggies and spices too it makes them an all round winner!

Spiced veggie patties 

Makes approximately 20 patties

Ingredients 

  • 1 C red split lentils, soaked overnight or as long as possible
  • 1 C brown rice, soaked overnight or as long as possible
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 medium zucchini (courgette) , grated
  • 1/2 C parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 C spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 C currants
  • 1/4 rolled oats
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. If soaking the lentils and rice, place in separate large bowls and cover completely with filtered water, add a squeeze of lemon and leave.
  2. Drain the lentils and place in a saucepan with 2 C filtered water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until reduced into a thick paste. Set aside.
  3. Drain the rice and place in a saucepan with 1.5 C filtered water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, turn the heat to very low, cover with a lid and cook for 35 minutes. Do not lift the lid during the cooking process. After 35 minutes the water should be evaporated and the rice fluffy. Set aside.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees fan forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  5. Place the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the cooked lentils and rice and mix again. The mixture should be sticky and hold together when pressed. If too wet add another 1/4 C rolled oats. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Roll the mixture into 2 balls and flatten out on the tray. Brush with oil before placing in the preheated oven to cook for 20 minutes before flipping and finish off for another 15 minutes.
  7. Serve with salad, coconut yoghurt, toasted almonds, avocado and pomegranate or wrapped up in a pitta with fresh salad.

Enjoy!

Show me your patties on Instagram #goodnessgraciouskitchen

Almond butter and blueberry smoothies

Right now this is my go-to smoothie combo. If I could, I would have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I just can’t stop raving about it! Apart from telling all my friends various times, I also thought I better not let you beautiful readers down and give you this super quick and luxurious smoothie, so you too can rave about it.

It’s packed with almond butter and chia to make it super thick and creamy while also providing you with a generous dose of good fats and a complete source of protein. Cacao powder adds a rich but subtle chocolate taste while also being a great source of magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and potassium.  Maca powder is an ancient vegetable that is great for balancing hormones, relieving stress and boosting energy with a delicious malt flavour. It is best to start with a little if you have not had maca before and gradually increase the amount to suit your taste.  These ingredients really make this a super feel good smoothie far any day of the week! Plus blueberries and bananas, could it get any more super?!

Almond butter & Blueberry smoothie

serves 1 hungry soul for breakfast or 2 as a snack

Ingredients

  • 1 C almond milk
  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1 heaped tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 C fresh blueberries, to serve
  • Dried rose petals, chia, cacao nibs  and almond butter, to serve if desired.

Method

  1. Measure and place all the ingredients, except the blueberries, into the blender in the order listed.
  2. Blend on high for 1 minute or until thick and creamy.
  3. Pour into 1 large bowl or two smaller jars and pop into the freezer for 5 minutes. The chia seeds will gel and make the smoothie extra thick.
  4. Meanwhile wash your blueberries and slice some in half. Prepare any other toppings you wish to include.
  5. Remove the smoothie/s from the freezer and top with the blueberries and (almond butter, chia, rose petals and cacao nibs).
  6. This smoothie needs a spoon!

Enjoy! Show me your smoothies on Instagram #goodnessgraciouskitchen

 

 

 

Warming chocolate muesli

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This is definitely a weekend treat, maybe even just a Sunday morning treat when you feel like being indulgent. Instead of popping out to your local cafe, wake up a little earlier and toast these beautiful whole grains with natural honey, then stir through that little bit of decadence, dark chocolate chunks. Your whole family will wake up to sweet smells of honey and cinnamon and you’ll be everyones favourite for the day.

I made this on a chilly day when the rain just seemed to keep on coming down. I felt like something warm and nourishing for breakfast but also something a little special and different from my usual oats. Popped quinoa is a fabulous addition to any muesli as it has a beautiful nutty flavour and chewy texture. Quinoa is also a good source of plant protein, so along with the healthy fats from the almonds and complex carbohydrates from the oats you will be full until lunch. I have used organic dark chocolate, 85% cacao and dairy free, I would recommend using this or cacao nibs for a healthier alternative. Of course you won’t get the same marbling affect of the warm milk and chocolate if you opt for the cacao nibs.

Once again this is not your traditional granola or musli, so definitely a weekend or special occasion treat! Now i’ll just have to hide it in the back of the pantry so my sister doesn’t pour it on her cereal EVERY morning, or eat it all straight from the jar.

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Chocolate muesli

Ingredients

2 C rolled oats, gluten free if necessary

1 C popped quinoa

1/2 C popped brown rice

1/2 C raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 C shredded coconut

1/3 C sunflower seeds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 C unprocessed local honey

1/4 C goji berries

100g dark chocolate (85% cacao or more)

Warm almond milk, to serve

Fresh berries, to serve

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl combine the oats, almonds, popped quinoa and rice, coconut, sunflower seeds and cinnamon. Pour over the honey and give it all a good mix. You will have a big sticky mess.

Carefully transfer this to your baking tray and spread it out. Place in the oven for 10 minutes before giving it all a good stir. Let cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, until its all golden and toasted. Cool in the tray.

Once the muesli has cooled stir through the goji berries and dark chocolate.

Serve in small bowl with fresh berries and warmed almond milk.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight jar for 2 weeks.

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Indian Curry Night

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As I sit here writing this my nose is tingling after I carelessly scratched it with my HOT chilli fingers. It’s not at all pleasant so I shall get to the point.. I have proclaimed Sunday nights to now be Curry Night in my home. This has come about due to my cravings for sensual curries after months in India feasting on the greatest food ever. Tonight we are having Eggplant Masala and Thoran, and I shall share my version of both these recipes on here.

I learnt both recipes at a cooking school in Fort Kochin, Kerala, a beautiful old Portuguese inspired village on the south west coast of India. I have adapted them to suite my taste and, of course, make them healthy but I think they still capture the vibrant flavours of South India.

Making a Garam Masala spice mix is essential if you intend on doing any sort of frequent Indian cooking. It will have such a greater depth of flavour than any store bought version. Once you have Garam Masala in your pantry, these recipes can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. Perfect for lazy sundays or mid week meals.

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Masala Spice mix 

1 C cinnamon sticks

1/2 C whole cloves

1/2 C fennel seeds

8 whole cardamon pods

1 T whole pepper corns

Place all the spices into a high power blender, food processor or coffee girder and blend to a fine powder. Place in an airtight jar. Now you have a spice mix for impromptu curries.

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Eggplant Masala 

3 T extra virgin coconut oil

1 onion

5 cloves garlic, crushed

400g Eggpplant (I used two varieties of small and medium but any will work)

2 medium tomatoes

1 C coconut milk

Masala spices

1/2 t tumeric powder

1 t cummin powder

2 1/2 t coriander powder 1

/2 t chilli powder

2 t Garam masala

Finely chop the onion and place in a large sauce pan with the coconut oil and crushed garlic. Fry over medium heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop your eggplant into 2x2cm cubes. Add to the onion mix and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until just softening. Finely slice the tomatoes and set aside.

Now to make the masala spice mix simply combine spices in a small frypan and dry fry until fragrant. Only 2-3 minutes. Place in a mug with 1 C water. Set aside. Now the eggplants have softened, add the tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes. Finally stir through the diluted masala spices and the coconut milk. Heat through, add salt to taste and serve. Serves 4.

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Thoran (A dry curry of beans, carrot and coconut)

This is such a versatile dish, cabbage, peas, cauliflower and beetroot can all be used, as long as you’ve got the fresh coconut it will be delicious.

3 T extra virgin coconut oil

2 t mustard seeds a handful of fresh curry leaves

1/2 green chilli, thinly sliced

1 t cummin seeds

1 t coriander seeds

250g fresh beans (I used green, yellow and purple heirloom varieties)

2 medium carrots

1/3 C fresh grated coconut meat

1 t turmeric powder

Firstly, slice your beans into 2 cm pecices and set aside. Slice the carrot into very small cubes, set aside. Heat the coconut oil in a large frypan and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, chilli, cumin and coriander. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the beans, carrot and coconut, frying for another couple of minutes. Mix the turmeric powder with 1/4 C water and add the the pan. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until just tender. Serves 4.

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These recipes are perfect on their own or with homemade chapatis, brown rice or quinoa.