summer

banana bread with sunflower seeds (vegan & gluten-free)

14th May 2020

I am not gluten-free, however, I am running very low on regular flour, due to the situation at the moment, so this was a good opportunity to try recipes using other alternatives. This cake surprised me. It has a perfect balance between sweetness, banana flavour and consistency which melts in your mouth.

~clivia-miniata~

banana bread with sunflower seeds

Slightly altered recipe from `Cannelle et Vanille´ by Aran Goyoaga.

Makes 1 x 28cm loaf

Preparation – 15 minutes

Baking time – 50 – 55 minutes

ingredients

3 Tbsp ground flaxseeds

½ cup/110g water

½ cup/115g extra-virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil

4 ripe medium bananas, peeled, divided

¾ cup/150g granulated sugar

1 Tbsp finely grated ginger

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup/100g almond flour

¾ cup/105g superfine brown rice flour

½ tsp fine rock salt

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

¼ cup/25g sunflower seeds, plus more for topping

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 28 x 7-cm loaf pan and set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the flaxseed and water, whisk to combine and set aside for 10 – 15 minutes for the flax to thicken.

3.  To the flax mixture, add 3 bananas and mash with a fork until there are some chunks left but it is fairly pureed. Add the sugar, oil, ginger, and vanilla – mix until smooth.

4.  Whisk together the almond flour, rice flour, salt, baking soda and powder. Pour into the banana mixture and stir until the batter comes together.  Fold in the sunflower seeds.

5.  Pour into the loaf pan. Cut the remaining banana in half lengthwise, place gently on top of the batter and brush the banana pieces lightly with coconut oil.  Sprinkle a few sunflower seeds on top of the cake and bake for 55 – 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Set the pan on a cooling rack to cool.

to note

  • turn out of the tray when the cake is completely cool.
  • bake in a long loaf pan for best results when baking vegan cakes.

variation

  • the rice flour can be replaced with regular all-purpose flour.
  • replace the sunflower seeds with walnuts

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 – 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 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!

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.

chuchu palya

8th January 2020

I  planted a chuchu vine 2 years ago, the first year it took off with great enthusiasm climbing up and over anything in its path. By the middle of Autumn, it was covered in small white flowers which sadly fell to the ground. This year, those white flowers turned into little buds, which grew into tiny, then small, then medium, then big chuchu. Lots of them! There are so many hidden amongst the leafage that when I think that I have picked them all, a few days later I come away with another basket full!

~locally known as Chuchu, Seemebadanekaayi in South India, Chayote in Mexico and Choko in Australia~

chuchu palya

Preparation –  25 minutes

Serves 2 – 3

Use heaped spoon measurements unless otherwise stated.

ingredients

2 Tbsp peanut oil

1 medium/360g chuchu

½ cup water

⅓ cup dried shredded coconut

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp jaggery

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped

voggarane

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 Tbsp channa dal

tsp asafoetida powder

tsp turmeric powder

15 curry leaves

to serve

carrot palya

yoghurt

spicy amla pickle

round brown rice

preparation

1.  Peel the chuchu and finely chop into small uniform cubes. Set aside.

2.  In a skillet, over medium-high heat, pour in the oil, add the mustard seeds and split channa dal – fry until the mustard seeds pop and channa dal starts to turn golden-brown.

3.  Add the asafoetida, curry leaves and turmeric – fry for a few seconds.

4. Add the water and stir in chuchu, simmer uncovered for 10 minutes then cover and simmer, stirring often  – approximately 5 minutes or until the chuchu is cooked and water has eliminated.

5.  Turn off the heat, add the dried coconut, salt, jaggery and coriander. Stir to combine.

variation

  • Towards the end of cooking stir in ½ cup full-fat yoghurt.

tomato soup by Yasmin

8th November 2019

After being away from the garden for one month, I wasn’t sure what I would find on my return. Everything green was munched down by caterpillars, however, to my surprise, there were lots of cherry tomatoes hanging off dried skeleton branches and small but healthy bell peppers. I collected them all and made this comforting, nostalgic soup. Their flavour was enhanced by a month of neglect.

My daughter has been making her own version of this soup, it’s so simple and creamy, served with a big spoon of cooked barley.  The added coconut cream takes the edge off the acidity and softens the soup.

tomato soup by Yasmin

preparation – 35 mins

serves 2

ingredients

2 Tbsp coconut oil

½ large fennel/2 sticks celery(70g), roughly chopped

½ medium/80g bell pepper, roughly chopped

few sprigs thyme

1 fresh bay leaf

400g/2½ cups cherry tomatoes

1 Tbsp tomato paste

¾ cup water

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp jaggery

¼ – ½ cup coconut cream

to serve

barley

ghee/olive oil

preparation

1.   In a heavy-based pot over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil, fennel, bell pepper, thyme and bay leaf – fry for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.   Add in the whole cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, stir to combine, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

3.   Add in the water, salt, jaggery and coconut cream, stir to combine.

4.  Remove the sprigs of thyme and bay leaf, then puree until smooth. Taste, and adjust the seasonings.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls with a spoon of cooked barley.  Garnish each with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves, a few rounds of pepper, and drizzle with coconut cream.

puliyogare – tamarind rice

29th August 2019

Puliyogare is a traditional Karnataka style tamarind rice and is made by tempering pre-cooked rice in a spicy tamarind paste. It is very flavourful, slightly spicy, sweet and sour. Puliyogare is also prepared on auspicious days and festivals and offered as prasadam (offerings).

~ sunflower (genus helianthus)~

~ sunflowers are known to being the ‘happy’ flowers. They symbolise adoration, loyalty and longevity.

~ each sunflower is actually thousands of tenny flowers.

~ when sunflowers are young they track the sun throughout the day, this is called heliotropism. It is believed that they do this because they follow a circadian rhythm as we do as humans – they face east at dawn and slowly turn west as the sun moves across the sky before resetting themselves overnight. Mature sunflowers stop tracking the sun and only face east.

puliyogare

Don’t be tempted to go light on the sugar, this dish relies on the perfect balance of sweet and sour.

Preparation – 30 minutes

Serves 3 – 4

ingredients

1 cup/200g white basmati rice

2 cups water

voggarane

cup peanut or coconut oil

½ tsp heaped black mustard seeds

1 tsp heaped split channa dal

½ tsp heaped split urad dal

1 heaped Tbsp peanuts, chopped

tsp asafoetida powder

12 fresh curry leaves

tsp heaped turmeric powder

2 heaped tsp/25g puliyogare gojju*

½ cup/40g dried shredded coconut

4 heaped tsp/30g jaggery/brown sugar

1 heaped tsp fine rock salt

1 flat tsp rasam powder

*If you don’t have pre-made puliyogare gojju, make your own by mixing 2 Tbsp tamarind concentrate, 1 heaped Tbsp jaggery and 1 flat tsp rasam powder – mix to a paste.

to serve

cucumber slices

yoghurt/curd rice

preparation

1.  In a saucepan, wash the rice until the water runs clear, drain and pour in 2 cups water, bring to boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer – simmer for 8 – 10 minutes, uncovered or until water has evaporated.

2.  Turn off the heat, cover and set aside to cool. Measure out the remaining ingredients.

prepare the voggarane

3.  In a skillet, over medium-high heat, add the oil, mustard seeds, channa, urad dal and peanuts; when the seeds turn grey and both dals are golden-brown, turn down the heat, add asafoetida, turmeric powder and curry leaves – fry for 30 seconds, stirring to allow the spices to fry evenly.

4.  Turn off the heat and stir in the puliyogare gojju, then add coconut, jaggery, salt and rasam powder.

5.  Add the cooked rice, and gently combine, ensuring the rice is mixed well with the spices. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding salt or jaggery.  Garnish with a handful of coriander leaves and serve with a spoon of ghee.

Amy Chaplin’s chocolate hazelnut layer cake (vegan)

17th July 2019

Turning 50 requires a very special cake!

This cake is quite a journey, much of the time is in the preparation; removing the skin from the hazelnuts and pitting the cherries, once your past these steps it is easy from there onwards. The cake batter with the addition of the ground toasted hazelnuts makes it special and the cherry filling pairs well with the chocolate and nuts, adding a burst of tangy-sweet flavour.

Use fresh cherries when available, and save some to garnish the top.

NOTE

  • I recommend making all three components; chocolate ganache, cake and cherry filling in the morning and putting in the fridge for 2-3 hours to firm up, then assembling in the afternoon. Be sure to assemble the cake when all components are completely cool.
  • When making the chocolate ganache, it is important the agar flakes are very well dissolved. See note below.
  • The recipe makes more cherry filling than needed, use the leftovers to spoon over the cake when serving.

 

chocolate hazelnut layer cake with cherry filling and chocolate ganache

Recipe from ‘At Home in the Wholefoods Kitchen’ by Amy Chaplin.

‘For best results with the frosting, make it a day ahead, so it has plenty of time to cool and set. I recommend assembling it on either a round cardboard cake base or the bottom of a springform cake pan. This makes it easier to decorate the sides with hazelnuts, holding the base of the cake with one hand and pressing nuts into the sides with the other.’ – Amy Chaplin

Makes 1 tall 8-inch cake

Equipment – Two 8-inch cake pans

chocolate ganache

2 x 400ml can unsweeten full-fat coconut milk (13.5FL OZ each)

¼ cup/70g maple syrup

5 Tbsp agar flakes (I added 1 tsp more)

Pinch fine rock salt

¾ cup/100g dark chocolate(70%), broken into pieces (3½ OZ) (I used 55%)

½ cup fresh orange juice, strained (I used ¼ cup maple & ¼ cup orange juice) 

4 tsp vanilla extract

cake

2 cups/300g toasted hazelnuts*, skin removed – divided

2 cups/240g whole-spelt flour – divided

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ cup/50g cocoa powder

1 cup/200g boiling water

¼ cup/25g ground flaxseeds

½ cup/100g melted coconut oil

1½ cups/420g maple syrup

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

½ tsp fine rock salt

cherry filling

2½ cups/425g pitted cherries, fresh or frozen

1 Tbsp maple syrup

¼ tsp cinnamon

Pinch fine rock salt

¾ tsp arrowroot powder

2 tsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp almond extract

½ cup/130g unsweetened black cherry jam (I used sweetened)

prepare the ganache

1.  In a medium saucepan over high heat, whisk together the coconut milk, maple syrup, agar flakes, and salt, bring up to the boil, whisking frequently. Cover pot, reduce heat to low – simmer for 20 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes. Check that the agar flakes are very well dissolved.*

2.  Remove from heat, add chocolate, and re-cover the pot for 2 minutes, then thoroughly whisk until completely smooth.

3.  Pour into a shallow bowl, and allow to cool, then place in the fridge until completely hard and set – approximately 1 – 2 hours.

4.  Cut the ganache into rough 1-inch pieces and place in a food processor with orange juice and vanilla: blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides as necessary, and check for unblended lumps. If the frosting separates, just keep blending until it comes together again – it can take up to 5 minutes. Transfer to a container and refrigerate for 1 hour before frosting the cake.

prepare the cake

5.  Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Oil cake pans and line bottom of each with a baking paper circle – set aside.

6.  Place ⅔ cup/90g toasted hazelnuts in a food processor and ¼ cup/30g spelt flour – blend until finely ground, about 30 seconds.

7.  Place in a medium bowl with remaining 1¾ cups spelt flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir with a whisk to combine, and set aside.

8.  In another medium bowl, whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth, add flax seeds, coconut oil, maple syrup, vinegar, and salt – whisk to emulsify, then add flour mixture, whisk to mix batter.

9.  Divide the batter between cake pans (approximately 560g each) and bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the pan. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.

prepare the filling

10.  Combine the cherries, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt in a small pot, bring to boil over high heat, then cover and reduce heat to low – cook fresh cherries for 10 – 15 minutes or until softened and juicy or frozen for 5 minutes.

11.  Dissolve arrowroot in water and drizzle into simmering cherries; stir constantly until it thickens slightly and returns to a simmer. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and almond extract and jam. Pour in a shallow bowl, and refrigerate to cool.

assemble the cake

12.  Spread remaining 1⅓ cups toasted hazelnuts out on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with baking paper and crush them with a rolling pin – set aside.

13.  Run a butter knife around the edge of one of the cake pan and invert onto an 8-inch cardboard cake base, remove the paper and spread the surface with 1 cup frosting.

14.  Top with some cherry filling and spread out, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges.

15.  Invert second cake onto a flat surface, remove baking paper and slide the cake onto the bottom layer. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting and press crushed hazelnuts into sides of the cake.

Garnish with fresh cherries, and place in the fridge until ready to serve. It will improve after a few hours as the flavours settle, and can even spend the night in the fridge.

* To toast the hazelnuts, spread onto a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes.  While they are still warm, rub the nuts in a towel to remove the skins.   Inevitably there will be some skins that refuse to peel away, but no matter.  

* When checking to see if the agar flakes are completely dissolved, take a spoonful of hot liquid and slowly pour it back into the pot; you will be able to see any flakes that have not dissolved on the spoon. They can be small so look carefully. Re-cover the pot, and continue simmering until no flakes appear.

summer garden palya

2nd July 2019

A palya which I have been making often, very simple, quick and based on what is in the garden at the moment; a handful of beans, small cabbages and a few small zucchinis. Feel free to change the vegetables to suit the season or availability. Great served over rice or accompanied with a simple dal. 

summer garden palya

Preparation 30 minutes

Serves 4 

Use heaped spoon measurements.

ingredients 

2 cups/230g zucchinis

3 cups/170g cabbage

1 cup/150g green beans

¼ cup/60ml water

1 tsp fine rock salt

2 tsp jaggery/sugar

5 Tbsp dried shredded coconut

½ cup chopped coriander/fenugreek leaves

voggarane

4 Tbsp peanut/melted coconut oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 Tbsp split channa dal

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 medium, mild dried red chillies, chopped

⅛ tsp hingu powder (asafoetida)

¼ tsp turmeric powder

20 fresh curry leaves

to serve

ghee

brown rice

lemon pepper dal soup or simple dal

preparation

1.  Chop the zucchini, cabbage and green beans into small uniformed pieces and measure the spices for the voggarane – set aside.

prepare the voggarane

2.  In a heavy-bottom skillet, over medium heat, pour in oil, add mustard seeds and channa dal; when they turn grey and the dal is golden-brown, turn down the heat, add cumin seeds, chillies, and asafoetida – fry for 30 seconds, then add the turmeric powder and curry leaves – fry for a few seconds longer.

3.  Add the vegetables, water, salt and jaggery – stir to combine, and cook uncovered on medium heat for 3 minutes – stirring regularly, then cover and cook until the vegetables have softened – 3 more minutes. 

4.  Turn off the heat and stir in the dried coconut and coriander. 

5.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes in order to cool slightly and for the flavours to be absorbed. Taste, adding more salt or jaggery, as needed.

Serve with brown rice drizzled with ghee.

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.

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 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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