vegan option

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

baklava

13th April 2013

The end of our first winter in Portugal.  Just beautiful.  I wish I could express the loveliness that surrounded us this morning.  The light was awe-inspiring, golden and clear, clean and divine.

There are two magnolia trees right outside the entrance door, so I see them every time I come and go.  In Winter, they are both completely uninhibitedly bare.  Standing together side by side, in all of their euphoric natural beauty.  They are lovely, with their knobbly tendrils and smooth, graceful limbs.  There are small buds. Lots and lots of them getting bigger and bigger, almost bursting with their divine essence. The other morning there was a splash of color, just a little at first, and now, soft blushes of the loveliest pink.

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Traditionally, baklava is made with honey, however in Ayurveda honey should never be cooked, boiled or baked.  In high temperatures, honey becomes nonhomogenized and gluelike. As a result, it increases the toxicity of the body. I replace the honey with maple syrup with wonderful results!

 

baklava

This is a recipe from Kristin, which she made on more than one occasion when we had our house overflowing with special guests for our teacher’s workshop in Israel.  We make it for very special occasions in her honour.

ingredients 

1 packet phyllo dough (18 sheets)

450 grams chopped small nuts – walnuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds (I use 350g walnuts and 100g pistachios)

1 cup butter or ghee, melted 

3 tsp cinnamon powder

generous pinch rock salt

for the syrup 

cup water

cup raw brown sugar

6 cardamom pods

cup maple  syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract

preparation 

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.

2.  Make the syrup  place the water, sugar and cardamom pods in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, remove from heat, add maple syrup and vanilla, and stir until well blended. Set aside and allow to cool.

3.  Grind the nuts – in a food processor – process using the on/off pulsing action until the nuts are roughly chopped.  I like them quite chunky and not too powdery fine, then place in a bowl with the cinnamon powder and salt – mix well.

4.  Unroll the phylo dough and with scissors, cut to the size of your tray.  I use an approximately 23 x 32 cm tray.  Cover with a damp cloth so it does not dry out.

5.  Assemble the baklava   with a pastry brush, brush the surface of the tray with melted butter, then place one phylo sheet in the bottom of the dish, brush with butter.  Continue with seven more sheets, brushing each individually.

6.  Spread half the nut mixture over the phylo sheets, then layer two more sheets of phyllo pastry, brushing each individually, then spread the rest of the nut mixture, then layer 8 more sheets on top – butter each layer.

7.  Brush the top with butter.  Using a sharp knife cut all the baklava into diamonds by slicing straight across in one direction, then diagonally in the other direction.  Make sure you cut all the way through the layers.  (This is done before baking as it will be very fragile after it’s been baked.)

8.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and remove the baklava from the oven.

9.  Remove the cardamom pods from the syrup and pour evenly over the already cut baklava.  Let it sit until it comes to room temperature,  at least an hour.  Cut through the same lines before serving.

variations

  • For a vegan version, replace the butter with mild-tasting olive oil.
  • Instead of brushing each individual layer, after slicing the baklava, pour the melted butter over the top and then bake.  The butter seeps all the way through each layer, making its way to the centre of each piece as it bakes and resulting in perfectly cooked baklava without the tedious layering.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

Rotem’s date syrup cake (vegan & gluten-free option)

8th August 2010

This earthy date syrup cake was made for me a few days after I gave birth to my first child, Yasmin, just over 11 years ago.  Yasmin was born at home and my one request was for friends and relatives to prepare nourishing meals for us during that first week.  Rotem, a friend and relative, baked this wonderfully moist, comforting cake on one of those days.  I love to serve it with thick Greek yoghurt and drizzled with maple syrup.  It is so delicious and impossible to resist.

The key is to get good quality pure date syrup, rich and dark in quality.

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Rotem’s date syrup cake

Update: A heartfelt thank you to all of you who have been visiting this site and making this Date Syrup Cake, it has been many years since I have made it and it seems to be the one cake which gets the most views, so I decided to revisit and give a vegan option and make it shine with new photos.

Makes 1 x 28cm loaf or 10 cupcakes (bake – 30 mins)

ingredients 

½ cup/100g butter (room temperature) or replace with 100g melted coconut oil 

¾ cup/255g silan (date syrup)

2 eggs or 2 Tbsp/12g ground flax soaked for 10 mins in ½ cup/50g water

¼ cup/50g nut milk or water

rind from one lemon

1 cup/140g whole-wheat flour

1 Tbsp ginger powder

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp fine rock salt

1½ cups/150g finely chopped walnuts/pecans (I blitz for a few seconds in the food processor)

preparation 

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

2.  Cream the butter or oil and silan together using a hand mixer or whisk until soft and well mixed, add the eggs (or flax eggs), milk, lemon zest and mix well.

3.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then stir in the walnuts (set aside 2 Tbsp for sprinkling on top) and fold into the wet mixture – stir well to combine.

4.  Pour mixture into the prepared loaf tin, sprinkle remaining walnuts over the top and bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until well risen, golden and springy to touch.

variation

  • To make this cake gluten-free; increase the flax seeds to ¼ cup/22g (leaving the water the same), replace the wheat flour with 1 cup/130g millet flour, ½ cup/45g gluten-free oat flour, ½ cup/45g almond flour.

Goodness shared from Stacey

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