gluten free

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 or 12 cupcakes (bake – 35 mins)

Preparation – 20 minutes

Baking time – 50 – 55 minutes

ingredients

3 Tbsp/20g ground flaxseeds

½ cup/110g water

4 ripe medium bananas, peeled, divided

¾ cup/150g granulated sugar

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

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.

note

  • Turn out of the tray when the cake is completely cool.
  • Bake in a long loaf pan for the best results.

variation

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

pear ginger macadamia muffins (vegan & gluten free)

11th December 2019

For this recipe, I used Amy Chaplins gluten-free muffin base recipe from her new book ‘Whole Food Cooking Every Day’ and combined it with two of my favourite recipes – Peach Ginger Muffins and Pear Ginger Cornmeal Cake.

She goes on to say, “I discovered textural magic (and a gorgeous golden crumb) with a combination of millet flour, oat flour and almond flour. These flours, along with plenty of ground flax seeds, becomes a winning base from which an endless number of variations have stemmed.”

~marigold~

There are four parts to this recipe, the pear topping, the wet ingredients, dry ingredients, and macadamia crumb – once these four parts are assembled and ready, the muffins come together easily. I used the variation option (see below) in this photo and cut the pear into cubes, adding a ¼ cup into the batter and remaining on top.

pear ginger macadamia muffins

To make the different flours, place separately and in small quantities, whole millet, almond and oats in your high-speed blender and grind to a flour. Make in bigger amounts and store in the freezer.

Preparation – 20 minutes.

Baking – 35 minutes.

Makes 10 -12 muffins, depending on the size of your muffin cups.

pear topping

2 small/165g pears (the smaller fit nicely on top)

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp maple syrup/coconut sugar

1 heaped tsp grated ginger

macadamia crumb

½ cup/70g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp coconut sugar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

cake

¼ cup/22g ground flax seeds

1 cup/225g almond milk

⅓ cup/70g melted coconut oil

¼ cup/75g pure maple syrup or coconut sugar

¼ cup/75g orange juice, freshly squeezed

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

½ tsp fine rock salt

1 small/80g pear, grated (skin and all)

2 heaped Tbsp/25g crystallized ginger, finely chopped 

2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger

~

1 cup/130g millet flour

½ cup/45g oat flour (gluten-free)

½ cup/45g almond flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a standard muffin pan with 10- 12 paper liners and set aside. 

2. In a medium bowl, combine the ground flax seeds and almond milk from the cake ingredients, whisk to combine and set aside while you prepare the pear topping.

pear topping

3.  Halve the pears, remove the seeds, cut into quarters and then each quarter into three slices about ¼-inch thick. Set aside.

4.  In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil, sugar and ginger, melt the mixture, stirring gently to combine. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble, about 2 minutes, then add the pears, toss the pears to coat them with syrup, cover and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

macadamia crumb

5. In a small bowl, place the macadamias nuts, sugar and maple syrup, stir to combine – set aside.

cake

6.  To the flax mixture, add the coconut oil, maple syrup, orange juice, vanilla, salt, grated pear, ginger and crystallized ginger.

7.  In another bowl, combine the millet flour, oat flour, almond flour and baking powder, breaking up any clumps of almond flour, using a spatula stir the wet ingredients into the dry until combined, then spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling them three-quarters full.

8.  Toss the pears to coat them with the pear juices and lay 2 – 3 slices over each of the muffins. Spoon any extra juices over the muffins.

9.  With your fingers, crumble the macadamia crumb on top of each muffin.

10.  Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow the muffins to sit for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before serving, this allows the structure to set resulting in a tender crumb.

Note:

  • If melted coconut oil is added to cold ingredients, it will clump and harden. If wet ingredients are cold, not at room temperature, don’t add the coconut oil until right before combining the wet and dry ingredients.

Variation:

  • For extra sweetness, replace the orange juice with maple syrup or coconut sugar.
  • Chop the pears into cubes instead of slivers, add ¼ cup/90g into the batter and the remaining on top.

5 ingredient almond & tahini cookies (vegan)

17th October 2018

Deliciously moor-ish satisfying cookies that are chewy on the inside (due to the fluid stretchy nature of tahini) and crispy, crumbly on the outside (due to the almond meal).

~the relief and release of autumn

5 ingredient almond & tahini cookies

Makes 12 cookies

Recipe from Cook Republic.

I have written this recipe as-is from the link above, as most people preferred them that way.  My son and I needed more sweet, so the second and third time I baked these –

  • I added 2 Tablespoons(35g) of light brown sugar and found them just right in balancing the bitterness of the tahini.

ingredients

2 cups/225g almond meal

¾ cup/200g tahini paste

½ cup/130g maple syrup

½ tsp fine rock salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

chopped pistachio, almonds or sesame – to garnish

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 170C/340F. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2.  Place the tahini, maple syrup, salt and vanilla in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly until smooth and blended. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 – 15 minutes.

3.  Add the almond meal to the tahini mixture and mix until a rough dough forms. Let sit for a few minutes for the dough to come together.

4.  Roll 2 tablespoons of the dough in the palm of your hand into a ball. (My dough was quite oily due to the runny tahini I used).  Place on the prepared tray and garnish the cookies by gently pressing the nuts or seeds on top with your fingertips. 

5.  Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes. Switch off the oven and let the cookies brown slightly in the hot oven for another 5 minutes before removing. Cool on wire racks.

to note

  • If wanting to use unrefined brown sugar instead of the maple syrup, dissolve ½ cup sugar in ½ cup hot water and proceed with the recipe or for less sweet, ¼ cup sugar – ¼ cup water.
  • Use a traditional brand of Tahini which is runny and smooth.
  • Almond meal is finely ground almonds. I grind whole almonds in my food processor or vita-mix.

chocolate-hazelnut truffles & pecan-cardamom date balls (vegan)

17th December 2016

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These make a wonderfully healthy addition to bring along to a festive celebration or wrap them up in some recycled paper, a ribbon with a little bit of nature tucked in somewhere for a well-wisher or loved one.  They are always appreciated.  Some other ideas are this homemade raw halvah or zesty mango bliss balls or these chocolate covered caramels  Or an assortment of all three!

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chocolate – toasted hazelnut truffles

You could experiment with the different variations of these chocolate balls by adding orange or lemon zest, fresh mint, peppermint essence or even delicately salted.  For a smoother consistency, grind the nuts first, and then add the rest of the ingredients.

I like how toasting brings out the rich flavour in the nuts. If wanting to keep the truffles raw skip the toasting process.

Inspired by Donna’s Date Chocolate Balls & Green Kitchen Stories

Makes about 18 – 20 balls

ingredients 

15 large Medjool dates, pitted

50g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

100g toasted hazelnuts/almonds

1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 – 4 Tbsp cacao/carob powder

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp cinnamon powder

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

2.  Place the hazelnuts on a tray and toast for 12 minutes, roll in a clean tea towel to remove some of the skin.  The toasting brings out the warm rich hazelnut flavour.

3.  Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse for about 1 minute or until the mixture comes together.

4.  Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into small round balls.  If you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll the balls in cocoa/carob powder, finely chopped toasted almond flakes or shredded coconut.

5.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving, or package them into a jar tied with ribbon or raffia for a holiday gift offering.

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pecan – cardamom spiced date balls

I love these bite-size balls for their exotic taste!  If possible, grind your own cardamom as the taste is so much more fragrant, fresher and more intense.  

A recipe inspired by Anna.

Makes 18 – 20

ingredients 

12 large medjool dates, pitted

50g dried cranberries/goji berries (if using goji berries roughly chop)

50g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

100g raw pecans

1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 Tbsp freshly ground cardamom

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp ginger powder/1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

preparation 

1.  Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse for 1 minute or until the mixture comes together.

2.  Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into small round balls; half the size of a golf ball.  If you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll the balls in finely chopped toasted pecans or shredded coconut.

3.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.  Or package them into a jar tied with ribbon or raffia for a holiday gift offering.

4V7A9372_1980x1297Goodness shared by Stacey

raw zucchini pasta with a creamy green garden dressing

3rd October 2016

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This recipe was created last year for a series of raw dishes for Holmes Place, however, I never got around to posting it here.  Also included, was this raw carrot slice and refreshing, light gazpacho. A wonderful addition would be Donna’s roasted thyme-infused cherry tomatoes, and for a more substantial meal, you could even use a combination of zucchini noodles and home-made pasta.

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~ Garden, bursting with beans and zucchini

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raw zucchini pasta with a creamy green  garden dressing

This is a light, refreshing raw meal and makes a great pasta replacement.  I love how the zucchini noodles behave so similarly to pasta. Tossed with a creamy herb dressing, it is a perfect meal on a hot Summer’s day. And is perfect for using up the surplus of summer zucchini in the garden.  

Serves 4 

Recipe slightly adapted from here.

for the noodles 

2 large/800g mixed zucchini (yellow and green zucchini are always nice)

½ tsp fine Himalayan salt

for the creamy garden dressing 

½ cup raw cashews (soaked overnight/a minimum of 4 hours)

2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

½ cup chopped fresh basil

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves

freshly ground pepper

pine nut parmesan for sprinkling

make the noodles 

1.  Wash, dry and cut the ends off the zucchini.  Take a box grater and place it on its side – the side with the largest grating holes on it face up; with pressure and in long strokes, push the zucchini along the top of the grater in order to create long, thin ribbons of zucchini.  Or alternatively, use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to make long ribbons.

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2.  Sprinkle the zucchini with the salt, toss gently, and place in a colander over a bowl for 20 minutes, allowing the excess liquid in the zucchini to drain, then carefully and gently squeeze the zucchini over the colander.  Pat with a clean, absorbent kitchen towel to dry and soak up more of the liquid.

creamy garden dressing 

3. Drain the soaked cashew nuts and place in a high-speed blender or food processor, with the water, vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice – blend until smooth and creamy.  

4. Add the basil, parsley and mint leaves and blend again until the herbs are well incorporated.

to assemble 

5.  Using your hands, gently toss the zucchini with about three-quarters of the dressing.  

6.  Sprinkle over the pine nut parmesan, a few rounds of fresh pepper and toss again, using more dressing if needed.  

To serve, garnish with more pine nut parmesan, and small leaves of basil and mint.  This dish is best served immediately.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

almond quinoa chocolate bites (vegan)

21st September 2016

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

almond mandela - 1 (2)almond mandela - 1 (3) almond mandela - 1 (2)

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 takes 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.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

amaranth almond date bars with carob (vegan)

17th February 2016

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The sun is shining!  I got to open the door to welcome breezes and beautiful silent visitors.

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These are lovely, chewy decadent bars, for a special treat that everyone loves after a busy day.

Goji berries are earthy, slightly astringent and mildly sweet.  Known to be abundant in antioxidants, trace minerals, essential amino acids, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene.  Amaranth has a sweet, nutty flavour and is exceptionally high in protein and calcium.  Which makes these quite the ‘superfood bar’!

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amaranth almond date bars with carob

Makes 8 large rectangular bars/16 square

Inspiration & recipe slightly adapted from here.

‘If popping your own amaranth feels a little challenging, you can purchase it already popped/puffed or if amaranth is hard to find, replace with popped quinoa.  The goji berries can be replaced with dried raspberries, sultanas, or any dried fruit of choice.’

ingredients

1 cup popped amaranth

100 grams pitted, soft Medjool dates (about 5 large dates)

1 Tbsp coconut oil – melted

½ cup home-made almond butter

pinch salt

zest from 1 large lemon

1½ tsp freshly grated ginger

2 Tbsp coconut flakes

3 Tbsp finely chopped almonds

3 Tbsp finely chopped dried goji berries plus 1 Tbsp (for garnishing)

1 Tbsp dried shredded coconut (for garnishing)

carob coating

2 Tbsp coconut oil

¼ cup carob powder

¼ cup maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla essence(optional)

popping the amaranth

Directions from ‘At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen.’

‘Popping amaranth seems challenging at first, so if you burn your first batch, which I did, you get the hang of it.  It’s easy and fun.  Once you get the temperature of the pan correct, the popping happens fast (in about 15 seconds).  You need to remove the popped grain from the pot immediately to avoid burning.’

Makes about 1 cup

¼ cup amaranth

1.  Warm a small heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over high heat for 2 minutes, add 1 tablespoon amaranth and cover pot immediately.  Count 5 seconds and shake pan; you will hear the grain popping rapidly.  Shake again, or until all the grains are popped.   I could never get all the grains to pop, but this is no problem, as even the unpopped grains are crunchy.  Quickly transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining amaranth, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Set aside.

amaranth bars

2. Line a 7-inch x 7-inch square dish with baking paper.

3.  Place the dates in a bowl and mash with a fork.  If your dates are not soft, soak them in water for a few minutes, then drain well and proceed to mash. Add coconut oil, almond butter, salt, lemon zest, ginger and coconut flakes.  Mix well, pushing down with the back of a fork, until combined.

4.  Add the amaranth, chopped almonds and 2 tablespoons of dried goji berries, incorporating everything evenly.  The mixture may seem dry, but this is fine as it will be packed tightly in the dish.

5.  Using your hands or the back of a spoon, press the mixture very tightly into the lined dish, until completely even and flat.  Place in the fridge while preparing the carob coating.

carob coating 

6.  Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat, add the maple syrup and carob powder –  whisk until smooth, then stir in the vanilla essence – set aside.

7.  Remove the amaranth slice from the fridge, then using a spatula, spread the carob coating evenly over the slice.  Sprinkle with the remaining dried goji berries and shredded coconut.

8.  Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, until cold and firm.  Using a sharp knife, cut into bite-sized squares or rectangular bars.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.  The bars will keep up to 2 weeks, probably longer if they last that long.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

Indian spiced millet cauliflower mash

7th February 2016

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This would have to be my second favourite Indian breakfast – my first being idli.  In my earlier days, when I was studying yoga in Mysore, there was an Indian lady who opened up her house for Westerners serving breakfast and dinner.  She would make the most delicious pongal drizzled with a sweet-sourish tamarind sauce.  Only recently, after making it for so many years, I finally obtained an authentic recipe for the tamarind sauce on our last retreat in India.  The secret lies in obtaining fresh curry leaves and using a seedless tamarind pulp.  A wonderful soothing dish, perfect for chilly mornings.

When my husband made it with our teacher’s wife a few years back, she added a heaping spoon of rasam powder to the sauce, and it oozed and tasted of India.  I must admit I prefer mine sweeter and drizzled lavishly with ghee.

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Indian spiced millet cauliflower mash

This millet mash is a lighter version of the traditional South Indian breakfast dish – pongal, which is usually made with white rice and a yellow split moong dal.  The traditional method uses ½ cup white rice with ½ cup yellow split moong dal and is simmered until soft.    

The millet mash is lovely just on its own without the addition of the Indian spices – with a side of greens and a drizzling of ghee. 

I start to soak the tamarind first, then pressure cook or simmer the millet and cauliflower while going back to the spices and chutney…..

Serves 2 – 3

for the millet mash

½ cup millet, washed and soaked overnight (if not soaking, cooking time will be longer and more water added as required)

400 grams cauliflower, cut into florets – thicker stem discarded

3 cups water

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp ghee

voggarane

1 tsp ghee

1 tsp cumin seeds

10 fresh curry leaves

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

2 tsp grated ginger

1 dried chilli, broken in half (optional)

10 pieces raw cashew nuts, roughly chopped

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 cup freshly grated coconut or ( cup unsweetened dried coconut)

to prepare the millet mash 

1.  Drain and rinse the millet, place in a medium saucepan with the cauliflower, water and salt, bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 25 minutes or until millet is soft, fluffy and all the liquid has absorbed.

2.  Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes, add ghee and mash with a potato masher until creamy.  I like to puree a quarter of the mixture using an immersion hand blender for a more creamy consistency. Set aside.

prepare the voggarane

3.  In a small pan, add the ghee and cumin seeds, curry leaves, pepper, ginger, chilli (if using) and cashew nuts – fry gently until the cashew nuts are browned slightly and there is a wonderful aroma.

4.  Add the coconut and turmeric, mix well and set aside.

5.  Stir the Indian spices into the millet mash, season with salt and spoon into bowls.  Drizzle with ghee and a generous helping of the tamarind sauce.  Enjoy warm.  The cauliflower and millet will thicken as it cools, just add hot water and mix well.

 

TAMARIND sauce

tamarind chutney

This tamarind sauce really deserves a post all on its own, it is so good.  The colour will also vary with the type of tamarind used.  Use a seedless tamarind pulp which comes compacted in a package. When I am pressed for time, I use ¼ cup tamarind paste which I dilute with a little water, then proceed as in the recipe.  The sauce will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, use it to drizzle over kitcheree, rice dishes, or as a dipping sauce.

ingredients 

150g seedless tamarind pulp

2 ¼ cups hot water – divided

2 Tbsp oil

¼ tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 green chilli, sliced in half

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

10 fresh curry leaves

80g – 100g jaggery, or dark brown sugar

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 cup loosely packed freshly grated coconut (or cup unsweetened dried coconut)

½ cup water

salt to taste

preparation 

1.  Break the tamarind pulp into pieces and place in a bowl with 1¼ cups hot water, set aside for 30 minutes, mashing and turning the tamarind regularly.

2. Pour through a strainer and allow to drain, then using the back of a spoon, scrape against the bottom of the strainer to get as much of the thick tamarind liquid as possible.

3.  Pour the remaining 1 cup hot water over the pulp to flush through more of the tamarind. Compost the remaining pulp.  Don’t worry, the sauce will be very liquid, the jaggery/sugar will thicken it while it simmers.

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4.  On medium heat in a small saucepan, add the oil and mustard seeds; when they start to pop, add fenugreek, chilli, asafoetida and curry leaves – fry for a few seconds, then pour in the tamarind sauce, bring to a rapid boil, turn down the heat, and crumble in the jaggery/sugar – allow to simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, until it becomes slightly thicker and comes away from the edges around the pan.

5. In a high-speed blender, add half cup water and grated coconut – blend for 1 minute.

6.  Add to the tamarind sauce, using a spatula to get as much out of the blender as possible.  Let simmer for a few minutes, then add the turmeric and season with salt.

Drizzle over the millet mash, or enjoy with rice, vegetable palya, or as a dipping sauce with these samosas.

tamarind-chutney

Goodness shared by Stacey

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

carrot moong dal soup – a winter warming soup

6th December 2015

I thought I would re-visit this soup, as it is one I make most often in the colder months and a particular favourite of Donna’s.  It is also very quick and easy to prepare and has such simple flavours and warmth due to the pepper and ginger, keeping us nourished and grounded in these colder months.  Dry roasting and roughly grinding your own spices make all the difference to bring out the flavours, don’t be tempted to skip this process.

Out of all the pulses, moong dal (green gram) is one I use most often; as it has a calming, cooling and balancing effect on all dosha’s.  It is also very cleansing and medicinal.  The tomatoes can easily be omitted if desired; as the lemon juice adds the acidity that this soup requires.

A few memorable images from our recent retreat in India.

4V7A9074_1980x1297banyan tree cloudscapeholy water tap

– Sri Ramana Maharshi Ashram

– Banyan Tree, Firefly Resort

– Illuminating cloudscape

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carrot moong dal soup

The original recipe is from Yamuna Devi’s, The Vegetable Table.  It is a little worn and splotched on most pages from over-enthusiastic use.  A great book to start with when wanting to cook good, wholesome Indian meals without the addition of onion or garlic.  There is also a sense of devotional cooking in all the recipes which I really like.

This is my version of her soup with a few changes.  The original recipe uses split moong dal (yellow) which results in a lighter soup. I particularly prefer using the whole moong for a heartier Winter soup.

Serves 4

Preparation – 45 mins

ingredients 

1 cup whole moong dal

8 cups water

4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

3 whole cardamom pods (peeled and seeds crushed)

1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp whole coriander seeds

1 small plum tomato, finely chopped

¼ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

2 Tbsp lemon juice, or more to taste

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

voggarane

1 – 2 Tbsp ghee

 tsp asafoetida powder

1 dried chilli, torn in half

6 fresh curry leaves

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

preparation

1.  In a medium pot, wash the dal until it runs clear, drain, refill with water, add the carrots, ginger, and cardamom pods and bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer, partly cover and cook until the dal is soft – 30 – 40 minutes.

2.  In a small pan over moderate heat, dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds until golden and deeply fragrant, allow to cool, then place in a mortar and pestle, and grind into a rough powder.

3.  Add to the dal with the tomatoes, coriander, lemon juice, salt and pepper – turn off the heat.

prepare the voggarane

4.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee, asafoetida powder and chilli – fry for a few seconds, then add the curry leaves and turmeric powder, fry for a few more seconds, remove from heat and pour into the soup.  

5. Taste, adding more salt or lemon if needed.  I find the lemon juice and freshly ground pepper bring this soup together, so you may want to add more.  Drizzle with a spoon of melted ghee when serving.

Serve with your favourite bread toasted and a bowl of guacamole, or if trying to avoid bread make a pot of red rice or quinoa and serve a spoon in each bowl of soup.

Goodness shared from Stacey

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