dates

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

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 grate 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.

almond quinoa chocolate bites (vegan)

21st September 2016

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Cool softened air, full mOOn swell, falling leaves, savouring the light….

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These have been a decadent treat around here.  Loved by all.  Perfect when you need something more than a dried date or fig for a sweet after a meal. Based on this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories – a wonderful video is included showing you just how easy they are to make.  I altered the recipe, adding ¼ cup hot water to the dates when mashing them. Even though the dates I used were soft, the hot water helped in the overall consistency. Instead of pumpkin seeds, I used extra almonds and toasted them to make them snappy and to bring out their flavour. I prefer using just almonds, as their qualities are less heating than most other nuts and seeds.  You could use a carob topping instead of the chocolate, by melting down carob buttons or using this glaze. My daughter leaves out the chocolate completely and sprinkles extra coconut over the top.

almond butter quinoa chocolate bars - 1 (1)

almond quinoa chocolate bars

The secret ingredient is well-toasted homemade almond butter – make your own!

Preparation 20 minutes

Makes 16 squares/32 bite-size squares.

ingredients

¾ cup/100g whole almonds

200g/11 soft Medjool dates -pitted

2 Tbsp coconut oil

¼ cup/60ml hot water

1 cup/240g home-made almond butter

1 cup/30g puffed quinoa

chocolate topping

100g dark chocolate (55%)

2 Tbsp dried unsweetened coconut

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.  Line a 7 x 7-inch baking tray with baking paper, leaving 2-inches around the edges – set aside.

2.  Place the whole almonds on a tray and toast for 10 – 12 minutes – allow to cool, roughly chop and set aside.

3.  Melt the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over low heat, remove from heat and add the dates, pour in the hot water, allow to sit for 5 – 10 minutes to soften, then proceed to mash with a fork until smooth.

4.  Mix in almond butter – combine well until it all comes together, then add puffed quinoa, roasted almonds, incorporating everything evenly.

5.  Using your hands or the back of a large spoon, press the mixture very tightly into the lined dish, until completely even and flat. Use an extra square piece of baking paper to place over the top, run your hands over to even out. Use the edges of the baking paper, to fold over and run your finger along to create level sides and corners – set aside.

chocolate topping

6.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water, remove from heat, then using a spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the slice. Sprinkle with half the shredded coconut, leaving the other half to sprinkle on later.

7.  Place in the freezer for at least 4 hours, until cold and firm.

8.  Using a sharp knife, cut into bite-sized squares or rectangular bars. Store in an airtight container in the freezer. The bars will keep for a month.

variation

Freeze for at least 4 hours, then cut into long bars, about 2cm wide, dip the bars lengthways, one by one, so the bottom half of the bar is coated in chocolate. Shake off the excess chocolate, wipe the bar on the side of the bowl, then dip the bottom of the bar into a bowl of coconut. Place in the freezer to set.

chocolate covered ‘caramels’ (vegan)

20th December 2015

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The rain has been heavy and relentless these last days.  The air thick with mist & fog, so much so I cannot see the vegetable garden from where I sit.  No choice but to stay inside, to go inside.

A few photos taken a while back, on drier sunnier days

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These are a lovely gift to give to family and friends for the holiday season, just wrap them up in some recycled paper, a ribbon with a little bit of nature tucked in somewhere.  Some other ideas are homemade raw halvah and zesty mango bliss balls.  Or an assortment of all three!

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chocolate covered ‘caramels’

Makes 14 bite-sized balls

Recipe inspired by ‘Trinity’s Conscious Kitchen.’ 

Once set, the texture is a lovely chocolate crunch on the outside with a soft gooey caramel on the inside. And no nasty sugars or additives. To speed up the process, melt down your favourite chocolate bar.

for the caramel bites

100g Medjool dates, pitted – about 7 large dates (can use regular dates, but keep in mind soaking time will be longer)

4 Tbsp coconut butter

dipping chocolate sauce

25g cocoa butter

15g cacao powder

2½ Tbsp coconut sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

chopped toasted almonds & coconut for garnish

pre-soak

1.  Soak the dates for at least 1 hour in water, then drain.

2.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.

preparation

3.  Drain the dates and blend with the coconut butter.  Use a hand blender/immersion blender as this seems to work best.  You will have to scrape down the bowl and blade as you blend, then place the mixture in the freezer for 15 minutes to thicken a little before rolling.

4.  Remove from the freezer.  Using a heaped teaspoon of the mixture, roll into a small ball about half the size of a golf ball and place the balls on the lined tray and place in the freezer for half an hour (this will make the chocolate dipping easier).

prepare the chocolate dipping sauce

5.   Put 1 – 2 inches water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Place another small non-reactive bowl (glass works well) on top so that it sits over the water, but is not touching the bottom of the saucepan.

6.  ‘Shave’ the cocoa butter with a sharp knife and place into the bowl (shaving the coconut butter will make it easier to melt), add the coconut sugar to the bowl and stir to combine.  When the cocoa butter has melted,  sift in the cocoa powder, drizzle in the vanilla essence and whisk until completely smooth. Remove from the stove, cool the chocolate mixture ever so slightly, keeping it runny, but not too runny for dipping.

7.  Dip the caramel balls into the chocolate mixture.  I find using a fork helps scoop them out of the chocolate and to place them back onto the tray. Sprinkle with chopped almonds or coconut and repeat with the remaining caramel mixture.

8.  Place in the fridge to set for half an hour.  Once the caramel balls have set, keep them in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

a dog, a story and a date biscuit slice (vegan version)

1st February 2014

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January always seems a time of simplifying and focusing my energies, cleaning up and organising our living space.  Refreshing everything, developing new rhythms or putting back into place the old ones that have slipped by, getting rid of that old energy and allowing space for the new.  So apart from re-organising my workspace, I decided to try to make this favourite sweet vegan.

These are a favourite in our house, especially for me, as they bring back a lot of childhood memories

scroll down to the story

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date biscuit slice

ingredients 

½ cup coconut oil

¼ cup molasses/date syrup

1 Tbsp vanilla essence

2 Tbsp water

1 cup/120g whole-spelt flour

1 cup/80g desiccated coconut

1 cup/170g pitted dates, chopped into small pieces

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans or sunflowers seeds

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

for the icing

1 cup/140g sugar powder/icing sugar

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

extra desiccated coconut for sprinkling on top

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.  Grease a rectangular 21cm x 29cm tray.

2.  Melt the coconut, add the molasses, vanilla essence and water – set aside.

3.  In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, coconut, dates, walnuts, baking powder and cocoa powder – mix well, then add the wet ingredients  – combining well.

4.  Spread evenly with the back of a spoon into the tray and bake for 20 minutes or until golden – set aside to cool.

5.  Make the icing – Mix the icing sugar and cocoa powder together with just a few teaspoons of water.  You do not want the icing too watery, but not so thick that it will not spread. Spread the icing over the slice and sprinkle with coconut, then cut into squares.

These photos came about because I needed a photo for this post and my daughter Yasmin needed a photo for her essay she was writing for school about our dog Inbar.  I thought you might enjoy her essay.  It is very touching and beautifully written.

inbar by Yasmin fisher

At home, I  have a dog.  Her name is Inbar.  She’s very old now.

People always ask how old she is and my father always gives the same answer;  “She’s the same age as Yasmin.”

Maybe that’s the reason I have such a close relationship with her because we were born in the same year and basically grew up together.

I was born in Israel, to parents who at the time were very interested in Yoga and a 7-month-old baby (me) did not stop them driving to a yoga retreat in the north of Israel.  As we were approaching the retreat centre located in the hills by the sea of Galilee, my father got lost and as customary for men, he refused to ask for directions!  Driving around in the car, my mother explained that she was not feeling too well and wanted to stop to get something out of the boot.  When they stopped my mother got out of the car and suddenly heard this strange noise coming from the bushes.  It was dark and Israel is known for having poisonous snakes but it turned out to be this small scared puppy.  My mother could not resist and picked it up.  Only in the car, my mother could see that this puppy was unhealthy and clearly abandoned.

My parents decided to take the puppy with them and named her Inbar after the village where the yoga retreat took place.  My parents feed her and took care of her.  As my parents tell me,  it was obvious that Inbar had been abused because she refused to enter the house.  My father tells the story that a few days after finding Inbar I took my first steps.  However, as soon as I went outside Inbar would be so excited to see me that she would knock me over.  It was not long before Inbar stopped knocking me over and started looking after me…

As I grew older Inbar took more and more care of me.  Whether it was from another dog, person, or even if I just got lost in our village and forgot my way back home.  One day I was walking to my friend’s place and as usual, Inbar came with me, a dog catcher drove by and saw that Inbar was not on a leash as required by law.  In Israel, it is very common for dogs to be taken away and if the owner would not come to claim the dog, the dog would be “put to sleep.”  It was traumatizing to see that Inbar had been taken away despite my protest and crying.  For the first time, I realised I needed to take care of Inbar too.

Inbar was always a part of the important things in my life.  She is part of our family.  When my parents told me we were moving to Portugal it was never a question if we were to take her with us, even though she was very old.  It was a difficult journey but she liked all the attention and was so happy when we arrived.

And now, since arriving in Portugal.  I am the one that looks after her and gives her medication daily, and I make sure she gets attention.

Out of respect for her age and due to the colder winter here, Inbar has become an indoor dog.  She sleeps inside next to the hallway and since my room is closest, she comes into my room in the middle of the night if she wants to go outside.

It is clear to me that Inbar is on her “last legs” and that she will not live much longer.  When I think about her I can only think about how thankful I am to have shared my childhood with this kind and devoted animal.  Through my childhood with Inbar, I have learnt that life is a circle of giving and taking.  It is ironic how so much good came out of Inbar’s unlucky beginning.

blueberry bliss banana smoothie

21st August 2013

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The benefits of smoothies –

Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas -Thank you, Nicole

“The fibre in a green smoothie acts like a chimney sweeper.  Since smoothies still contain fibre from the fruits and vegetables, they have a cleansing effect on the bowel.

Sugar is absorbed slowly because of the built-in fibre.  Green smoothies allow you to enjoy the benefits of fruit without experiencing sugar spiking and the ensuing crash.  The fibre regulates the flow of sugar into the bloodstream as your body digests.”

blueberry bliss banana smoothie

Serves 4 medium glasses

It is very important to use only organic produce when making juices or smoothies.  They are both concentrated sources of produce, and you don’t want to add pesticides to the mix. 

ingredients 

2  frozen bananas

2 cups fresh blueberries (or a mix of berries – strawberries, raspberries etc)

1½ cups homemade nut milk

1 cup filtered water

a generous handful of greens (chard, kale or spinach)

2 – 4 Medjool dates, pitted (depending on your preferred sweetness)

1 Tbsp pureed dried coconut flesh (I use a brand called ‘Coconut Manna’, which I purchased in London, but you could replace it with freshly grated coconut or coconut oil)

preparation 

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender – process until smoothly pureed.

2.  Divide between 4 medium glasses and serve at once.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

green smoothie

27th February 2013

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What makes this green smoothie so good is the wide spectrum of amino acids, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, chlorophyll, fibre and enzymes that will give your body the health, energy and strength it needs. The blending helps breaks down the cellular walls of the leafy greens, enabling our bodies to assimilate all these nutrients.

I try to not use the same leafy greens every day, rotating the greens daily or every few days.  Mixing up your leafy greens will ensure that you are rounding out all the different vitamins each green carries. Plus, each different leafy green contains small amounts of alkaloids, so when you switch them often, you are giving your body a chance to work on the different alkaloids equally.

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Rotate your leafy greens according to the family.

Crucifers:  kale, collard, arugula (rocket), cabbage, bok choy, radish greens, mustard greens, broccoli

Amaranth:  spinach, chard, beets

Asteraceae: dandelions, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce

Apiaceae: parsley, cilantro, anise, celery, chervil, dill, fennel, parsnip

Poaceae: wheatgrass

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green smoothie

Serves 4 large glasses

This recipe originated from Anna.   When I lived in Israel, I would receive a call most mornings to say that my smoothie was ready and waiting for me. The green smoothie was a distant memory until I found the recipe tucked away giving it life again.  I believe it came from Donna, who on one of her trips to Israel, went around one morning to Anna’s kitchen to learn the secrets of the green smoothie and came back with this delicious recipe.  We have been enjoying the green smoothie in the afternoon, when the children get back from school, needing a pick-me-up.   

I use my Vitamix blender as it has a very powerful blade.  If using a normal blender, I would peel the lemon and apple.  There are so many recipes out there, and there are limitless possibilities.  This one is my favourite combinations.

ingredients 

1 large green apple, quartered and cored

2 large Medjool dates, pitted

2 Tbsp dried unsweetened cranberries

½ lemon, peel and all

1-inch chunk ginger, chopped

½ avocado and/or ½ banana

a handful of sunflower sprouts or mung beans sprout

small bunch of parsley

a generous mix of greens (spinach, kale, rocket, chard, lettuce or radish leaves, arugula,….)

1½ cups almond milk   or nut milk of your choice (nut milk in the carton is pasteurised to keep the shelf life long, so therefore it has little nutrients.  It is much better to make your own)

1 cup unsweetened apple juice

preparation 

1.  Place all the ingredients in the blender. The blender will be quite full.

2.  Blend until creamy and smooth.

3.  Pour into glasses and enjoy!

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Goodness shared from Stacey

date biscuit slice

7th March 2010

My dear friend Anna turned 50 recently and I was asked to do two things for her celebration.  One, to organise all the flowers for her party and two, to make these delicious biscuits.  So, I spent the morning picking rosemary and lavender to fill many vases. My hands were left scented with the wonderful intoxicating scent of lavender and rosemary. Lavender would have to be my most favourite flower.  Which reminds me, I need to plant more of it in the garden.

date biscuit slice

These are a crumbly, delicate biscuit to handle. The recipe came from my mother, and it was one of my favourite biscuits growing up. The original recipe had a lot of sugar in the base which I omitted and I substituted the white flour with whole spelt. I find the dates give it enough sweetness and the icing sugar top is sweet enough in itself.  Almost too sweet, but if you need a little sweet craving satisfaction, then these will do the job nicely. I also added walnuts which give it a nutty depth. It is crumbly and prone to breaking when cutting, so when the icing has solidified, use a very sharp hot knife, which can be plunged into boiling water every so often during the cutting process. 

ingredients 

100g unsalted butter

¼ cup/90g molasses/maple syrup

1 cup/120g whole spelt flour

1 cup/80g dried shredded coconut

1 cup/170g pitted dates, chopped in small pieces

¼ cup/25g finely chopped walnuts

1 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

for the icing

1 cup/140g sugar powder/icing sugar

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

extra desiccated coconut for sprinkling on top

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.  Grease a rectangular 21cm x 29cm tray.

2.  Melt the butter and molasses over medium heat – set aside.

3.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, coconut, dates, walnuts, baking soda and cocoa powder – mix well, then pour in the butter mixture, combining well.

4.  Spread evenly with the back of a spoon into the tray and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

5.  To make the icing, mix the icing sugar and cocoa powder together with just a few teaspoons of water at a time, until you get a spreadable consistency. Spread the icing over the biscuit base, sprinkle with coconut, allow the icing to set, then cut into squares.

Goodness shared by Stacey

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