spring

lemon poppy seed cake (vegan)

15th July 2020

Moist, tender, full of lemon flavour and filled with nutty poppy seeds. It’s covered with a tart passion fruit glaze. Divine!

I made this on my birthday to put on the birthday table with flowers and lovely gifts the boys put together. And then, made it again the next day for a friends birthday. It was enjoyed by all!

lemon poppy seed cake

Preparation – 10 minutes

Baking – 40 minutes

Serves 10 -12

Based on the beloved spice cake.

ingredients 

1 cup + 2 tsp/130g whole spelt flour

1 cup/120g white spelt flour

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

¼ cup/35g poppy seeds

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp rock salt

½ cup/100g melted coconut oil

1¼ cup/280g almond milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

zest from 2 lemons

2 Tbsp/25g lemon juice

2 Tbsp vanilla essence

for the glaze 

1 cup/120g powdered sugar

20g passion fruit pulp (1 small passion fruit)

½ tsp lemon juice

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.  Grease a ring pan or bundt pan well with oil, making sure to get every nook and cranny.

2.  In a medium bowl, add the flours, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt – whisk to combine.

3.  In another bowl, combine the coconut oil, nut milk, vinegar, lemon zest and vanilla – whisk until the ingredients are emulsified, then pour into the dry ingredients, whisking until all the liquid ingredients are absorbed. Don’t worry the batter will be quite wet.

4.  Pour the batter evenly into the greased cake tin. Place on a middle rack in the oven and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before removing it.

5.   Make the glaze: place the sifted powdered sugar into a bowl and mix in the passionfruit and lemon juice, until you get a thick but pourable consistency.  Test the consistency by taking a spoonful from the bowl and drizzle back into the glaze; the drizzled glaze should leave a trail. If not, add a little more powder. Use a spoon or whisk to drizzle the glaze over the top, allow it to run over and down the sides. Before it sets, decorate with lemon zest or flowers. If desired and recommended, drizzle with more passionfruit pulp just before serving.

Enjoy with love, light and blessings!

caesar dressing & a quick caesar wedge salad

5th July 2020

I love a creamy dressing and using a greek style yoghurt achieves that creaminess. If using a plant-based yoghurt, find one that is thick and especially rich.  The sauce lasts for a week in the fridge and can be used as a dip for crunchy cucumbers or vegetable fries, spread over bread, drizzled over salads or roasted vegetables.

It’s in the quietness, the calm, the release and only then I realise how much I was holding…

caesar dressing

Makes approximately 1 cup.

Preparation 5 minutes

Recipes adapted from here.

ingredients

½ cup/85g full-fat greek yoghurt or plant-based yoghurt

¼ cup/50g olive oil

3 Tbsp/38g lemon juice

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (can use grated parmesan)

¼ tsp tamari

½ – 1 tsp dijon mustard

1 Tbsp/15g liquid sweetener – honey, agave, maple syrup (optional)

¼ tsp fine rock salt

preparation

1. In a food processor or immersion blender, combine the yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, tamari, dijon mustard, sweetener and salt. Blend; until everything is combined and dressing is smooth and creamy.

2. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, taste and adjust the seasonings. Store the dressing in a lidded jar in the refrigerator.

quick & easy caesar wedge salad

Serves 3

Preparation 5 minutes

ingredients

6 small heads romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and cut in half, then half again lengthwise

1 serving caesar dressing (above)

extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1 cup croutons*

2 Tbsp pinenuts, toasted and roughly chopped

preparation

1.  Arrange the lettuce wedges on a medium plate, then sprinkle with pinenuts and croutons, drizzle the wedges with caesar dressing and olive oil.

2. Season with a few rounds of salt and pepper.

*stove-top croutons, heat 2 Tbsp oil or ghee in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering, add the bread cubes, sprinkle with salt, toss to coat, arrange in a single layer. Toss every minute or so, until golden on all sides – approx 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. 

variation

  • add ¼ cup parmesan flakes, shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • optional addition; avocado, grilled zucchini slivers

apricot blueberry crumble tart (vegan)

24th June 2020

I love this crumble tart, it’s so easy to pull together, no pre-chilling the dough, no rolling and whatever filling you choose, it tastes amazing. The original gluten-free recipe can be found here, however, I prefer this version using whole spelt. The crust is crispy and crunchy, with the perfect balance of sweetness.

THE NATURAL CALL FOR QUIETNESS

If we systematically and intentionally allow our mind to abide in stillness every day, morning and evening, then our mind will naturally become relaxed. Soon we will discover the presence of a kind of spontaneous JOY emerging.

The Sacred Tradition of Yoga by Dr Shankaranarayana Jois

apricot blueberry crumble tart

Recipe from Cannelle et Vanille.

Preparation 20 mins

Baking 50 mins

Serves 8 – 10

tools

14 x 4.75-inch or 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom

base ingredients

1 cup/120g whole spelt flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

½ cup/100g light brown sugar

1 tsp fine rock salt

10 Tbsp/140g virgin coconut oil, not melted

2 Tbsp ice water

⅓ cup/25g flaked or slivered almonds

filling ingredients

¾ cup/100g blueberry, fresh or frozen

6 medium apricots/340g – halved and seed removed

zest from 1 orange

1 Tbsp fresh orange juice

2 Tbsp/25g light brown sugar

1 – 2 Tbsp tapioca or corn starch

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/375F. Grease your tart mold.

prepare the base

2.  In a bowl, toss together the spelt flour, almond flour, sugar and salt. Add the coconut oil (solid) and work it into the flour using your fingertips until you have a dough that resembles coarse sand. The dough should clump up but feel slightly dry. Add 2 Tbsp ice water and mix it with your hands, it will feel more like a crumble than a dough.

3.  Take approximately two-thirds of the dough (approx 320g) and press it into your tart mold, bring it up around the edge. Try not to make the middle too thick. Any leftovers can be returned to the bowl.

4.  Mix the flaked almonds into the remaining dough to make the crumble topping. Refrigerate both the tart crust and the crumble topping while preparing the filling.

prepare the filling

5.  In a large bowl, toss together the blueberries, halved apricots, orange juice and zest, sugar, tapioca starch, and vanilla. If the filling is very wet, add 1 more tablespoon of tapioca starch.

6.  Add the fruit filling to the tart mold and sprinkle with the crumble topping, paying particular attention to fill the spaces close to the rim and around the apricots, leaving some of the pieces of fruit showing.

7.  Bake until the crust is golden and filling is bubbly, 45 – 50 minutes. Allow the tart to cool slightly before slicing.

variation

  • Replace apricots and berries with seasonal fruits.
  • gluten-free option: replace the spelt flour with 1 cup/140g superfine brown rice flour

helpful tip

  • Place a tray under the tart when baking to prevent leakage.

Amy Chaplin’s easy pine nut sauce

11th April 2020

Don’t be deceived by the unassuming appearance of this sauce, it is delicious! I have replaced our weekly pesto sauce with this one.  It is quick, easy and any leftovers make a delicious salad dressing. Serve with homemade pasta, skillet roasted tomatoes and steamed greens.

~ sunlight and water drops~

easy pine nut sauce

Recipe from ‘Whole Food Cooking Every Day’ by Amy Chaplin.

Makes 1 cup. 

Serves 3 – 4

ingredients

1 cup/120g raw pine nuts

6 Tbsp/65g olive oil

2 Tbsp/25g freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp fine rock salt

to serve

½-portion homemade pasta

skillet charred tomato (see below)

steamed or sauteed greens

grated parmesan or pine nut parmesan

preparation

1.  Warm a skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Toss in the pine nuts, reduce heat to low, and toast, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and golden.

2.  Transfer to a mortar and pestle or mini food processor and add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.

3.  Use a pestle to crush the nuts and grind until a paste forms. Or, if you’re using a mini food processor, blend until smooth, scrape down the sides, and blend again.  Use immediately, or store the sauce in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week. Optional to garnish with lemon zest.

note

  • Any leftovers can be used as a salad dressing the next day. When using as a salad dressing add a little honey.

to serve

skillet charred cherry tomatoes

Serves 2

Preparation 7 minutes

ingredients

2 Tbsp olive or peanut oil

350g small cherry tomatoes

1 red bell pepper/135g, roughly chopped (optional)

One 5-cm sprig rosemary – leaves removed

½ tsp red chilli pepper flakes

preparation

1.   Place a medium skillet or wok over high heat, add oil, whole cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, and rosemary leaves, toss to coat in the oil. It is important to use a larger skillet to allow space for the tomatoes to cook without losing their shape. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

2.  Sautee for 5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until charred in parts – don’t cook for too long, otherwise, the tomatoes will turn mushy.

3.  Remove from heat, stir in salt and chilli flakes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serve with your favourite pasta!

apple blackberry crumble tart (vegan & gluten-free)

22nd March 2020

The is a simple and foolproof tart. The dough is mixed in one bowl and pressed into a tart pan, so there is no kneading or rolling. The fruit can be changed to what you have on hand. Peaches, plums, pears or frozen berries are great, and the spices can be changed to suit the fruit. Delicious served warm with vanilla ice-cream!

~ first day of spring ~

apple blackberry crumble tart

Recipe by Aran Goyoaga.

Preparation  20 mins

Baking  50 mins

Serves  10

tools

9-inch tart pan with removable bottom

base ingredients

1 cup/140g superfine brown rice flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

½ cup/100g light brown sugar

1 tsp fine rock salt

10 Tbsp/140g virgin coconut oil, not melted

2 Tbsp ice water

⅓ cup/25g pine nuts

filling ingredients

1½ cups/180g blackberries, fresh or frozen

3 small or 2 large apples/300g – halved, cored and thinly sliced (2-mm)

1 small lemon, juiced and zested

2 Tbsp light brown sugar

1 – 2 Tbsp tapioca or corn starch

1 tsp pure vanilla extract ½ tsp ground cinnamon

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/375F. Grease a 9-inch tart mold.

prepare the base

2.  In a bowl, toss together the rice flour, almond flour, sugar and salt. Add the coconut oil and work it into the flour using your fingertips until you have a dough that resembles coarse sand. The dough should clump up but feel slightly dry. Add 2 Tbsp ice water and mix it with your hands, it will feel more like a crumble than a dough.

3.  Take approximately two-thirds of the dough and press into a 9-inch tart mold, bring it up around the edge.

4.  Mix the pine nuts into the remaining dough to make the crumble topping. Refrigerate both the tart crust and the crumble topping while preparing the filling.

prepare the filling

5.  In a large bowl, toss together the blackberries, sliced apples, lemon juice and zest, sugar, tapioca starch, vanilla and cinnamon. If the filling is very wet, add 1 more tablespoon of tapioca starch.

6.  Add the fruit filling to the tart mold and sprinkle with the crumble topping, paying particular attention to fill the spaces close to the rim, leaving some of the pieces of fruit showing.

7.  Bake until the crust is golden and filling is bubbly, 45 – 50 minutes. Allow the tart to cool slightly before slicing.

variation

  • Replace apples and berries with seasonal fruits.
  • Replace the rice flour with all-purpose or spelt flour.
helpful tip
  • Place a tray under the tart when baking to prevent leakage.

zesty turmeric tahini dressing

2nd March 2020

I like to serve this sauce over sauteed broccolini or roasted vegetables. Any leftovers gets drizzled over leafy green salads or scooped up with home-made bread.

~Kasbah Bab Ourika, Atlas Mountains, Morroco~

zesty turmeric tahini dressing

Recipe from Amy Chaplin’s – Whole Food Cooking Every Day.

makes 1½ cups

preparation time – 15 minutes

ingredients

½ cup/115g tahini

½ cup/100g water

2 Tbsp/22g olive oil

2 Tbsp/25g freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ tsp fine rock salt, plus more to taste

one 4-inch(10cm)/30g piece fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated (2½ Tbsp)

¼ cup/60g freshly squeezed orange juice

2 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

1 tsp tamari (optional)

¼ tsp cayenne pepper, plus more to taste

preparation

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

2.  Taste and adjust the salt and cayenne to taste.

The colour intensifies as it sits!

Use immediately, or store the sauce in the fridge for up to 2 – 3  days. Bring to room temperature before using and add water or orange juice to thin if needed.

Note

  • If using a high-speed blender, there is no need to grated the turmeric just roughly chop. Pit the dates and add whole to the blender.
  • If you have particular runny tahini, reduce the water by half and add more as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

rhubarb cardamom cake with rhubarb-vanilla compote (vegan)

19th May 2019

A recipe I make often based on these Raspberry Muffins. The sweet almond crumb adds a delicious crunchy texture which contrasts nicely with the sourness of the rhubarb. The maple syrup can be replaced with ½ cup brown sugar. If you don’t want to spend the time arranging the rhubarb, chop into 1 cm pieces and sprinkle over the cake.

rhubarb cardamon cake with a rhubarb-vanilla compote

Preparation – 30 minutes

Baking time – 45 minutes

Serves 8 – 10

for the millet

¼ cup/50g millet

¾ cup/185ml water

for the almond crumb

⅓ cup/25g flaked almonds

2 Tbsp coconut sugar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp lemon juice

for the cake

4 rhubarb stalks (250-300g)

1½ cup/210g whole-spelt flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp cardamom powder

¾ cup/220g maple syrup

 cup/65g mild-tasting olive/coconut oil

¼ cup/55g almond milk

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp grated ginger

zest of 1 lemon

¼ tsp fine rock salt

prepare the millet

1.   Rinse the millet, place in a pan with the water, bring to boil, simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water has evaporated. Remove from heat; let sit for 10 minutes before removing the lid. Measure out 1 cup/180g cooked millet – set aside.

2.  Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF and line an 11 x 7-inch baking tray or favourite cake tin with parchment paper.

prepare the almond crumb

3.  In a small bowl place the almonds, sugar, maple syrup and lemon juice, stir to combine and set aside.

prepare the rhubarb

4.  Unless the rhubarb stalks are very slender, cut them in half lengthwise, then cut the stalks at an angle, two pointing one way and the other two the opposite so that they will fit together in a herringbone pattern. Use your pan to do a trial run, cutting to size and arranging your stalks however you like – set aside.  

prepare the cake

5.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and cardamom – set aside.

6.  In a medium jug, whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, almond milk, vanilla, ginger, lemon zest, salt and cooked millet.

7.  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients, stir until well combined – be careful not to over-mix.

8.  Spread the batter evenly into the pan and arrange the rhubarb stalks on top. Spend a little extra time arranging your rhubarb – this is my favourite part! Don’t press the fruit into the batter – just place over the top and let it rest on the surface.

9.  Crumble over the almond crumb. 

10.  Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until golden or a toothpick comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool.  Make the compote.

Serve with a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt or cream and a spoon of rhubarb-vanilla compote.

rhubarb-vanilla compote

Preparation – 25 minutes

Makes 1 cup

ingredients

2 cups/225g rhubarb, diced (redder part of the stems or replace half with raspberries)

⅓ cup/90g maple syrup

½ tsp freshly grated ginger

½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise

preparation

1.  Place the rhubarb, maple syrup, ginger and in a medium saucepan.

2.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into a saucepan, adding the pod as well.

3.  Cook, covered over low heat. (It’s important to begin slowly so the rhubarb warms up and begins to release its liquid. Cook the rhubarb for about 15 minutes.

4.  Remove the cover and increase heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb is completely broken down. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

5-minute vegan salted caramel

2nd May 2019

A very simple sweet salty gooey 5-minute caramel sauce to drizzle warm over ice-cream, pancakes or crumble the base of a bowl with a 5-ingredient tahini almond cookie, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a sprinkling of toasted pistachio nuts, drizzle over the caramel sauce and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Perfect for Pesach Celebrations!

~spring vegetable garden~

5-minute vegan salted caramel

Recipe inspired here.

Preparation time 5 minutes.

Makes 1 cup

ingredients

⅓ cup/75g hulled tahini 

⅓ cup/70g coconut cream

⅓ cup/50g coconut sugar

¼ tsp fine rock salt

2 Tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp water, or more for desired consistency

½ tsp vanilla extract

to serve

vanilla ice-cream

5-ingredient tahini almond cookies

toasted pistachios

preparation

1.  Mix all the ingredients together, except the vanilla in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, until sugar is dissolved, stirring continuously.

2.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

3.  For a more syrupy, drippy consistency, once cool, whisk in water 1 tsp at a time until desired consistency is reached. Enjoy immediately!  Can be stored refrigerated up to a week.

The sauce will set once it is cooled so you will need to reheat it to regain a pourable consistency or add in hot water until the desired consistency.

beetroot palya

11th April 2019

I prefer to keep this palya simple and the flavours subtle, as it is normally served with other complex dishes. Use fresh, small-medium sized beetroot with lots of flavour and preferably with their greens attached – a reliable sign of freshness. Always give them a squeeze to avoid buying old spongy beetroot that has been stored too long.

~ vegetable garden and blossoms ~

beetroot palya

Preparation – 40 minutes

Serves 4, as a side dish.

ingredients 

4-5 medium/450g beetroot

voggarane 

2 Tbsp peanut oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

15 small curry leaves

½ tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp jaggery

3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

3 Tbsp freshly grated coconut – can replace with dried

to serve 

whole moong dal with garden greens

yoghurt

rice

preparation 

1.  Scrub the beetroot and place in a pot of boiling water – simmer for 30 minutes until tender but still firm.

2.  Drain and allow to cool slightly. Using vinyl gloves (this will keep your hands clean while working with beets) slip the skin off. If the skin doesn’t slip off easily, use a knife to scrape the skin away. Finely chop into small uniformed cubes and place in a serving bowl.

prepare the voggarane 

3.  Heat the oil in a small pan, add the mustard seeds; when they turn grey and pop, remove from heat, add in the curry leaves, swishing the pan around for the leaves to fry evenly. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 1 – 2 minutes, then stir in the salt and jaggery.

4.  Pour the voggarane over the beetroot – toss until well-incorporated.

5.  Add the finely chopped dill and sprinkle over the coconut – stir to combine. Garnish with a handful of small beetroot leaves.  Serve warm, or at room temperature.

variations 

  • Stir through 1  cup full-fat yoghurt.

suggestions 

  • If buying beets with their greens still attached, lightly steam the greens when boiling the beet, double the voggarane and stir through.

no knead bread

17th February 2019

No knead bread gives a gorgeous, crusty loaf, with very little hands-on time. The use of a dutch oven (cast iron pot with a lid) creates a moist environment for the bread as it bakes, I use an old Le Creuset pot for this, however, I have read that an enamel, Pyrex or ceramic pot works just as well. The wet dough and long fermentation are the keys to success. The rough seam, when placed in the hot pot, creates unexpected beautiful results, so there is no need to slash or score the bread.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt and yeast.

Pour in the water.

Then stir with a wet hand or a wooden spatula to form a sticky dough.

Cover the bowl with cling film or beeswax sheet and leave overnight or for at least 12-18 hours in a warm place.

With oiled hands, pull the sticky dough out onto a well-floured surface and fold it over a few times forming a ball.

Lightly dust a proofing basket or a medium bowl with flour and place the dough inside, seam side down and cover for another 2 hours.

About 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 260C/500F and place your dutch oven inside (with the lid on) to heat up.

After the second rise, take the preheated dutch oven out (taking care and wearing oven mitts) and lightly flour the bottom surface.

Invert the dough into the floured dutch oven. If the dough didn’t land evenly, give the pot a shake and it should right itself.

Cover the pot with the lid, and pop it back in the oven. Bake the bread for 30 minutes covered and then 10 – 15 minutes uncovered.

Tip the bread out of the pot and cool on a wired rack. Allow the bread to cool completely, to fully establish the crust and set the crumb.

no knead bread

Preparation – 15 hours

Serves 8

ingredients

3 cups/390g unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp fine rock salt

½ tsp/2g dry yeast

1¼ cups/275g warm water

preparation

1.  In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt and yeast, pour in the water, then stir with a wet hand or a wooden spatula to form a sticky dough.

2.  Cover the bowl with cling film or beeswax sheet and leave overnight or for at least 12-18 hours in a warm place. The slow fermentation is the key to flavour.

for the second rise

3.  With oiled hands or a bowl scraper, pull the sticky dough out onto a well-floured surface and fold it over a few times forming a ball. I like to gently lift up the dough as I fold it over so that the dough is being stretched.

4.  Lightly dust a proofing basket or a medium bowl with flour and place the dough inside, seam side down and cover for another 2 hours.

5.  About 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 260C/500F and place your dutch oven inside (with the lid on) to heat up. It may be cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic.

6.  Once your dough has finished its second rise, take the dutch oven out (taking care and wearing oven mitts) and lightly flour the bottom surface.

7.  Invert the dough into the floured dutch oven. If the dough didn’t land evenly, give the pot a shake and it should right itself.

8.  Cover the pot with the lid, and pop it back in the oven. Bake the bread for 30 minutes covered and then 10 – 15 minutes uncovered.

9.  Tip the bread out of the pot and cool on a wired rack. Allow the bread to cool completely, to fully establish the crust and set the crumb. It has a lovely crackling sound as it cools!

Enjoy!

suggestions

  • Cover the proofing basket in a heaped tablespoon of seeds (black and white sesame, flaxseeds & poppy seeds) before putting the bread inside.
  • If you think that your dough will be sitting out for a longer 24h period, then reduce the amount of yeast to a ¼ teaspoon. 

variations

  • Replace 100g of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
  • Replace the wheat flour with spelt flour. You may need to increase the amount of water because wheat absorbs more moisture.

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