Easy Kale and Orange Salad with Miso Dressing

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
~ Hippocrates

 

This is a super-scrummy salad that is easy to prepare and chock full of goodness.

It’s satisfying enough that you could eat a bowl on its own, but it’s also a great side for roasts and barbeques.

I use kale leaves as a base and then add whatever other raw vegetables are in the fridge to make up four cups. Needless to say it tastes a little different every time I make it!

The dressing is also stupidly easy.

This salad will feed your gut microbes, adding in friendlies from the miso paste, and using the acid in the orange juice to make everything more digestible. The umeboshi plum has a myriad health benefits, and your gut will love it!

The salad will only keep for 24 hours once you add the dressing, so it is best made close to serving, and any leftovers eaten the next day. Want to make a higher protein meal in a bowl? Add some white beans, grilled or cold cooked chicken, pork or seafood.

The dressing can also be used as a glaze (don’t make it quite as thin) for baking/grilling salmon.

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

2 cups of shredded kale leaves (not the rib!) and a selection of the following to make up another two cups of shredded vegetables: carrots, zucchini, beetroot, apple, red or green cabbage. Plus one small red salad onion, an orange and a couple of tablespoons of your favourite seed and nut mix. I sometimes use a trail mix that also has dried cranberries and sultanas for some OMG yumness.

For the dressing you’ll need two heaped teaspoons of white miso paste, juice of half an orange (give or take) and if you like, add a 1/4 teaspoon of umeboshi plum paste to give a salty tartness to the dressing (and for the awesome health benefits of this condiment).

Method:

Shred or finely cut your kale, cabbage, carrots, and other vegetables of choice to make 4 cups. Add to a large bowl. I like the act of slicing and chopping. I use it like a mindfulness meditation, especially at the end of a long day of psychic work. It gives me decompression time. But if you are in a hurry or would rather decompress in front of Netflix using a mandolin or a food processor will have this job done in no time! Ridiculously time poor? Buy a bag of salad to add to your onion and orange combo. Finely dice the red onion, peel the orange and cut into small cubes, removing any seeds.

Chuck the onion, orange and seed and nut mix into the bowl of vegetables.

Dressing: Add the miso to a cup, and the umeboshi if you are using it. Umeboshi is strong flavoured, while white miso and orange are sweet and mild so be cautious about adding too much at first. Then add a small amount of orange juice and mix. Keep adding juice until it is thinned to a good consistency but still creamy. Taste and adjust juice or miso flavours if necessary. Pour over salad and mix well.

It doesn’t take much juice to go from thick to creamy. This pic below is with a tablespoon of juice. A bit more of a stir and it would be great as a glaze. But for dressing we’ll need to add more juice.

Pour over the dressing just before serving. Yum!

Easy Chocolate Sour Cream Cake Recipe

Chocolate-s

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
~ Charles M. Schulz

 

Who doesn’t love chocolate cake?

Actually, my husband! But even Ben loves this cake, declaring it ‘the best chocolate cake he has ever tasted’.

If you’re looking for a simple, easy, moist chocolate cake recipe that can be whipped up as easily as a packet mix but with so much more flavour and goodness – this is it.

It really is as simple as throwing the ingredients in a bowl, mixing together, placing in the oven and baking. Kids and non-cooks will have success with this recipe. So yummy. So easy.

The cake is dense and fudge-y. You could serve it plain, or dust a little icing sugar over the top, but for a real celebration the ganache frosting totally rocks. In fact it dresses up this simple cake so much that suddenly it could be a special occasion cake, a dessert cake, a fancy cake…

I’ve made this very successfully with gluten-free flour too. This recipe is a keeper!

Ingredients:

Cake: 1 cup of plain flour (can be wheat flour or gluten-free), 4 tablespoons cocoa, 1 teaspoon bicarb soda, 1 pinch of salt, 1 cup of soft brown sugar – lightly packed, 1 large egg, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Chocolate Ganache: 200 grams of dark chocolate (70% cocoa is great!), 200 grams of cream, 1 tablespoon of honey

 

Method for Cake:

Line a 23cm round, deep tin with baking paper. Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Sift the flour, bicarb and cocoa together in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients and then mix until combined. Don’t over-beat. You can mix by hand or with a mixer (I dump everything in my Kitchenaid and beat on low speed for a minute or so). The mixture will be thick, and it will seem like the cake can never rise. Don’t panic about that. It will.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30 minutes.

Cake should spring back when pressed lightly in the centre, or a skewer inserted in middle of cake will come out clean with no mixture sticking to it. If not quite done cook a little more.

Cool in tin. Remove paper and place on platter.

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Method for Ganache:

Place cream in a saucepan and heat until warm (not boiling). You should be able to stick your finger into the cream without burning yourself. Turn off heat. Break or cut chocolate into small pieces. Add to warm cream and leave to sit for a minute or two until melting. Stir to combine and then add honey and stir once more. Leave ganache to cool until it is thick but still spreadable. You can speed this process by placing ganache in fridge for ten minutes.

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Spread ganache thickly over top of cake. Decorate with sprinkles or other adornments if desired.

Store covered in fridge or a cool place and eat within three days. This cake also freezes well.

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Black Sticky Rice Pudding Recipe – Gluten Free, Vegan, Yum!

black sticky rice

“I like rice. Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2000 of something. ”
~ Mich Ehrenborg

 

This is truly one of those comfort-in-a-bowl dishes. Black sticky rice pudding is popular in Thailand and parts of Asia. It can be eaten warm or cold, and makes a delicious dessert, but it’s equally good for breakfast or as a snack.

To serve I use a splodge of coconut cream or coconut yogurt, some fresh seasonal fruit, and sometimes a handful of nuts or seeds as well. It’s endlessly versatile.

Black sticky rice pudding is a great recipe – gluten free, dairy free, vegan and full of fibre, anti-oxidants and nurture-y goodness.  Black rice is a source of amino acids, iron, zinc, copper and according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is great for supporting and nurturing the liver and kidneys, two organs/energy centres that get very depleted during times of stress, illness or depression.  It’s great food for people with burnout or adrenal fatigue as it is warm and easy to digest.  Coconut is also good for low thyroid function and boosting slow metabolisms.

I usually make double this quantity and keep some in the fridge.  I reheat in a saucepan with a little extra water, but if you are a microwave user, I guess you could go there…

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Ingredients

1 cup of black glutinous rice (you can find this in most Asian grocery stores or good supermarkets), 2.5 cups of water, 2 tablespoons palm sugar or soft brown sugar, salt, vanilla essence, 1 cup of coconut milk/cream

Note – If you are sugar-free use Natvia, stevia or your favourite sugar substitute.

Method

Soak the rice overnight (or at least 6 hours)  in the water in a ceramic or glass dish. It’s really important to soak your rice well, so please don’t skimp on that part of the cooking process. The water will go a nice shade of purple – try not to get it on you as it will stain some fabrics. Many people suggest you discard the soaking water, rinse and start over, but then you’d lose many of the minerals and anti-oxidants that have leached from the water overnight.

Transfer to a suitable saucepan and place on the heat.  Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, and then reduce the heat to low, and cover.  Cook for a further half an hour to forty-five minutes, until the rice is soft and the mixture has thickened.  You need to play this by ear a bit, as you might need to add a little more water and cook longer. It all depends on the rice.

Add a pinch of salt and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of  coconut milk/cream, then sugar to taste. Add in a splash of vanilla essence too. I use about 2 heaped tablespoons of palm sugar, but if you prefer it sweeter, add more.  Stir occasionally over the next ten minutes until the rice is thick and pudding like. (I sometimes omit the coconut milk as a variation, which gives a nuttier flavour.)

Cool slightly and then serve in bowls with the remaining coconut milk/cream drizzled over the top.  Sliced banana or tropical fruits such as papaya or mango are also good.  In winter I may use berries.  Right now I am using a big dollop of coconut yoghurt (yoghurt made on coconut milk!) from a company called Co Yo, which is divine.

If I have made a less-sweet pudding, I will sometimes also add a sprinkle of palm sugar or a dash of maple syrup when serving.

Enjoy ♥

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sticky rice pudding

 

 

Honey Pepper Beef Marinade and Stirfry Recipe

pepper beef

“I just love Chinese food. My favourite dish is number 27.” ~ Clement Attlee

 

Note: Finally, the recipe I tried to post the other day! This is the one that kept uploading pictures of the beach, instead of my food pictures. How grateful I am now that this post was already written and only needed to have the pictures added, as we are still grief-stricken here at the farm, and missing our dear dog Bert so very much. I could barely think what to write this morning. Now that I’ve added these pictures we are taking Harry to the beach for a walk and then a coffee, as he is heartbroken at the loss of his brother. Thank you for all of your messages of love and support. They have been a great comfort to us. Anyway, read on. It really is a very tasty recipe…

 

This is a simple but really flavoursome dish. I’ve given quantities to serve four, but the recipe can easily be adjusted for fewer or more people.

The meat needs to be marinated for an hour minimum, but I prefer to leave it at least four or five hours for the flavour to deepen. I’ve also left the meat in the marinade for a few days, well refrigerated, and it was delicious when finally cooked.

If you want you can also use the marinade for steaks, chops and ribs. It goes equally well with beef, pork or lamb.

 

Marinade Ingredients:

2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch/cornflour or arrowroot, Pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sherry or Shaoxing wine, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Other Ingredients:

500 grams thinly sliced beef strips

For the Stirfry:

Four cups of mixed vegetables, chopped into thin slices or cut into pieces. A slug of your favourite oil for cooking. Rice to serve.

Any of the following are good: onion, red onion, asparagus, snow peas, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, capsicum (bell pepper), cabbage, carrots, egg-plant, zucchini, Chinese vegetables such as bok choi or pak choi, canned or fresh baby corn spears, bamboo shoots, water chestnut slices.

Keep fast-cooking vegetables like bok choi to one side, to cook last.

 

Method:

Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the beef strips. Mix well. Cover and chill for at least an hour. Longer is better and will give a more tender and flavoursome result.

To cook:

Use a wok or a large frypan with high sides. Have your prepared vegetables ready and your rice done or close to done. You’ll also need a large clean bowl to hold the cooked beef strips. *Never return cooked meat to a marinade, and never put a used marinade on cooked food!

Place some oil in the pan and put it on to a high heat. You want to cook this fast and hot.

Place a handful of strip in the pan. They should sizzle. Stir them until browned, remove to a clean bowl and then repeat with the rest of the beef.

Add a little more oil to the pan and then dump in the vegetables that will take longer to cook. Stir for a few minutes over high heat until they are softening. Add in any remaining marinade. Stir well, and then add the beef back in to reheat. Stir to combine and wait til everything is piping hot. Finally, add the quick-cooking vegetables like your Asian greens to the top of the pan. Stir them through. It will only take a minute or so for them to soften down.

Remove from heat. Serve over rice. Enjoy!

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Mango-Misu – A Delicious and Easy Dessert!

mangomisu

“Take your pleasure seriously.” ~ Charles Eames

 

Every New Year’s Eve we have a small party at the farm, to celebrate life, the ending of the old year and the coming of the new AND the birthday of a dear friend.

What party of such calibre would be complete without dessert?

Mango Misu (or mangomisu) is a tropical twist on the classic Italian dessert Tiramisu. It’s light, luscious and totally delicious. As a further bonus it is one of those elegant and simple desserts that takes minutes to throw together, but that impresses everyone. Yay!

 

Ingredients

4 large mangoes, 6 to 8 small passionfruit or 4 large, Juice and zest of 1 lime, 1 cup of orange juice (Try to use freshly squeezed – it tastes so much better than bottled stuff!), 1.5 cups of thickened cream, 1.5 cups of ricotta cheese, 2 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar (confectioners sugar), 2 tablespoons Cointreau or Grand Marnier (optional but good), 250grams of savoiardi sponge finger biscuits (also known as Italian Ladyfinger biscuits)

Method

Find a shallow serving dish or a pretty bowl that will fit about 10 cups (2.5 liters)

Zest and then juice the lime.

Take the pulp from 1/2 the passionfruit.

Place the cream into a mixer with the icing sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold through the passionfruit pulp, ricotta cheese, lime zest and juice. Taste. If not sweet enough for your liking add a little more sugar. Set aside.

Cut up your mangoes and dice the flesh. If you want to be fancy cut one mango into slices to add a decorative twist to the top of your dessert.

Pour your orange juice into a shallow wide bowl, big enough to fit a sponge finger in. Add the alcohol. (It’s fine to omit the alcohol if you prefer alcohol-free!)

Now begin your layers.

Dip a sponge finger biscuit into the orange juice mixture and leave for just a moment. Remove and place into the dish. Complete a layer of biscuits and then add a layer of the cream and ricotta mixture.

Add a layer of chopped mango.

Repeat with layers of biscuit, cream and ricotta and mango until you reach the top of the dish. Spoon the pulp from the remaining passionfruit over the mango layer. Chill for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight if possible to really allow the flavours to amalgamate.

Serve and enjoy!

lime zest

passionfruit

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And how it looked when we ate it?

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It was GOOD.

So good…. 🙂

Why not whip one up this weekend? You’ll be glad you did!

mangomisu

Green Goodness Sauce Recipe

green sauce

“She pulls on her heavy boots and carries the water bucket past the rose bushes, past the herb garden, and back to the barn behind the house. Her steps kick up the scents of herbs: thyme, mint, and lemon balm. The plants send up new stems each year from the roots that survived the winter and grew up again along the path. The perfumed walk is a mystical part of her world. Walking here is her favorite part of mornings. Sometimes, this is the highlight of her day.”
J.J. Brown

 

One of the simple pleasures of my life is to grab a handful of herbs from one of the pots or vegetable gardens at my back door to use in our evening meal.

This green sauce recipe takes just a minute or two to whiz together, and it elevates all kinds of meals to a new level of yum.

The sauce itself is vegan. It’s also sugar, dairy and gluten free.

I love the versatility of this sauce. I often use it as a dip with chopped up vegetables, or I fold it through a little yogurt (use coconut yogurt if you’re dairy free) for a creamier version – it’s also good with chunks of fresh bread or crackers.

You can spoon this sauce over steamed or baked vegetables, toss it through a bowl of pasta, add it at the end of a risotto dish, or serve it with fish, chicken or any kind of meat.

It’s a fabulous accompaniment to barbeques. I’ve even used it as a salad dressing.

I’ve given you this recipe base upon parsley and basil, but you can experiment with whatever other soft herbs and edible leaves, including bitter greens, you have to hand. Just a caution on bitter greens – use only 1/4 to 1/2 of your total herbs as bitter ones or the sauce becomes a bit too bitey. This recipe makes about a jar’s worth of sauce.

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Ingredients:

An equal-ish mix of parsley and basil leaves to make three cups. (If you have a little mint, thyme, chives or dill feel free to chuck a bit of that in too!) Up to three cloves of garlic. Juice and zest of one lemon, a tablespoon of gherkins, a tablespoon of capers, up to one half cup of extra virgin olive oil, pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper, half (or one small) red salad onion.

Method:

Tear the leaves off the basil and add in the tops of the parsley. It’s okay for there to be some parsley stalk – don’t be too particular. Rinse if necessary.

Keep one cup of leaves aside and chop roughly. Dump the other two cups in a food processor or blender.

Add the peeled garlic, gherkins, capers, lemon zest and juice and 1/4 cup of oil in your processor or blender.

Whiz until combined and smooth.

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Spoon the green sauce into a bowl.

Add the chopped herbs and finely diced red onion to the sauce and stir to combine. This gives a lovely contrast of textures. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy!

If there is any sauce left over it will keep in a jar in the fridge for up to one week.

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The vegan version – green sauce spooned over roasted cauliflower and sweet potato with a fresh garden salad.

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The meat-arian version – green sauce served over barbecued sausages with roasted cauliflower and sweet potato with a fresh garden salad.

green sauce

 

(Tip – if you have sausages left over, use them the next day in pasta – slice sausages and add to the green sauce then stir through pasta)

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Easy Mango Mousse #dairyfree #glutenfree #vegan #yum #paleo

vegan mango mousse

“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…”
~ Susan Polis Schutz

 

Mangoes are finally in season here in Australia. This is a super-easy and yummy mango mousse that tastes of summer and is something you can make all year round, even if you can’t access fresh mango. I’ve made this before with frozen mango and canned mango too. Perfect if it’s winter in your neck of the woods but you’re craving a little sunshine.

I’ve adjusted an old recipe of mine that called for cream and loads of sugar, and converted it to a recipe that is dairy-free and refined sugar-free. You can make this as a vegan or a paleo dessert – and it’s so healthy you could eat it for breakfast!

All you need to make this is a blender.

Ingredients:

270ml can of coconut cream – chilled (or use one cup), cheeks of three fresh mangoes, or the drained contents of an 800 gram can of mangoes or 2 cups of frozen mangoes, 1 tablespoon of agar agar (or use 1 tablespoon of gelatin if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian – this is a great option if you follow a paleo diet), 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of maple syrup or sweetener of your choice – natvia is a favourite of mine for sugar-free but coconut sugar also gives a great flavour (if you’re not vegan you could also use honey), a squeeze of lime juice or lemon juice if you have no limes!

Method:

Chill the can of coconut cream in the fridge for an hour or two or until when you shake it there is no liquid sloshing. If you’re in a cold climate it may already be like this at room temperature, but you need your coconut cream cold or it won’t whip.

Slice up your mango flesh or drain canned mangoes.

Soak your agar agar in 1/3 cup of water so it swells. Do the same if you are using gelatin. It’s fine to use the juice from canned mangoes or any squeezed pulp if you prefer.

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Place the chilled coconut cream (omit any liquid), mango flesh and agar agar mixture (or gelatin) into a blender or food processor. Whip on high speed until combined and fluffy. The time for this will vary depending on the speed of your motor, but really it should only take a minute or two.

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Now taste your mixture. Some mangoes are so sweet that they will need little extra sweetening. Add the quarter cup of sweetener (less if you feel it only needs a touch) and the squeeze of lime to freshen the flavour, pulse or blend quickly to combine and then taste again and add more sweetener if necessary until you are happy with the levels.

Pour into individual serving dishes or one larger bowl and refrigerate til set. You’ll need at least one hour for this.

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You can eat the mousse on its own, or garnish with more mango pieces. It’s also fabulous with a side of gelato or ice-cream, or a few gingersnaps.

I had a friend coming for dinner and I wanted to make pretty, so I chose a dollop of coconut yoghurt, some grated dark chocolate and a few fresh blueberries as my garnish. The nasturtium flowers made it feel completely celebratory.

The result?

Mango party for your mouth! ❤ So very yum. 🙂

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