Poached Pears with Honey and Turmeric

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” 
~  A.A. Milne

 

Here at the farm it’s been unseasonably cold and rainy as we head towards summer. That’s okay. It’s the perfect weather for poached pears.

This is a very simple dish to make, but the results are fancy enough to grace your table at a dinner party or special luncheon. Or you can eat them anytime! They are super when served warm but are also delicious cold. They are sweetly spiced and they turn golden from the turmeric.

Make extra. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Ingredients:

4 to 6 large firm ripe pears (Bartlett or Bosc are good varieties), 3 cups of water, 1/2 cup of honey, 1 large cinnamon stick, 6 to 12 cardamom pods crushed with the back of a knife or a mortar and pestle, a 2 inch piece of ginger cut into slices, 5 cloves, a 2 inch piece of turmeric cut into slices, pinch of salt

(If you’re sugar-free use natvia or stevia instead of the honey, or just cook the pears in unsweetened apple juice instead of the water and honey mixture. No fresh ginger or turmeric? Just use a 1/2 teaspoon of each as dried powder)

Method:

  1. Peel the pears and find a saucepan that fits them snugly.
  2. Add the water, honey and spices to the pan and bring the liquid to the boil.
  3. Reduce heat and add pears.
  4. Poach the pears in the liquid for 20 minutes or until soft all the way through when pierced by a fork or skewer.
  5. Remove pears from liquid to serve.
  6. If you want a thicker syrup return the pan to the stove and boil the liquid until it is reduced by half. This syrup can then be drizzled over the pears.
  7. Serve with a spoonful of poaching liquid or reduced syrup. Excellent with yogurt, ice-cream or creamed rice pudding.

Easy Sweet Potato and Apple Bake – Savoury

“I’m eating’ it quick… but I’ll remember it a long time.” 
~  Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

 

I would love to say that I had a picture of this awesomely delicious little bake intact and looking as amazing as it did when it was still in one piece. But I don’t because we gobbled it up for Sunday lunch with friends, and it was only after the initial feasting frenzy died down that I remembered I hadn’t taken a photo when it was fresh from the oven. Still, this image will suffice. You can see the apple, the onion, the sweet potato and the spices. You can see how tasty it was. In fact I’m glad I took a picture when I did because even though we all declared ourselves groaningly full ten minutes later this bowl had been picked clean!

This bake will go well with any kind of roasted or barbequed meat or seafood or would make a great vegan main course. The layers of red onion, apple and sweet potato meld together into total deliciousness. We teamed ours with lamb chops and a fig and roasted tomato salad.

This bake would also make a lovely Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner addition.

Ingredients:

Choose enough ingredients to fill the sized bowl you’re going to bake in. Truly!

Sweet potato, apple (I used Pink Lady apples), red onion, butter or butter substitute, salt and pepper, nutmeg, one cup of stock, bone broth or a stock cube with water (I used some homemade chicken stock but use whatever you have to hand!

The ratio of sweet potato to apple is 2:1.

Method:

Peel the sweet potato and cut into slices no more than 1cm thick.

No need to peel the apple but cut into slices (not the core!).

Thinly slice one red onion.

Lightly butter your dish and then arrange layers of sweet potato, onion and apple to the top of your baking dish. Add a few extra dollops of butter to the top. Sprinkle salt and pepper and add some freshly grated nutmeg. Carefully pour in the stock.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees c) for one to one and a half hours or until well done – soft vegetables and browned on top. Cooking time will be less for a dish with only a few layers of vegetable, and more for a dish with deeper layers. You’ll figure it out. Enjoy! If you ever get leftovers of this it is also delicious served cold.

 

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!

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

 

 

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.

mango1

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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! <3 So very yum. 🙂

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Green Goji Bliss Balls

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“Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don’t forget food. You can go a week without laughing.”
~ Joss Whedon

 

I often whip up a batch of these healthy, yummy snacks. Green Goji Bliss Balls are packed full of nutrition, and the lemon gives them a lovely fresh tang.

They are incredibly easy to make, especially if you have a good food processor or blender.

This recipe is high in good fats and protein, and in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. It is also vegan and gluten-free, refined sugar-free and dairy-free. A couple of these Bliss Balls and a fresh juice make a satisfying lunch if you’re on the go, and a great snack anytime. Don’t let the green colour put you off – they are absolutely delicious and lemony.

Note: Broccoli sprout powder is super-nutritious and helps to detox the body of heavy metals, as well as metabolising estrogen, normalising DNA methylation and working as a potent anti-oxidant and immune booster. But it’s fine to omit or to substitute for something else. 🙂

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds, 1/2 cup pepitas, 1/2 cup brazil nuts, zest of two lemons, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1 cup of unsweetened coconut, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup goji berries, 2 heaped teaspoons spirulina, 1 heaped teaspoon broccoli sprout powder, 3 tablespoons of maple or rice malt syrup . Extra coconut for rolling.

Method:

Zest your lemon and then squeeze the juice.

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Use a food processor  or spice grinder to chop the almonds and brazil nuts until they are finely chopped. Do this in a couple of batches if you need to. It’s fine for there to be a few larger chunks. Don’t process until it is a paste – you are looking for a crumbly, chopped texture rather than goo!

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Add all the dry ingredients and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix well with a spoon.

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Add the lemon juice and mix the entire lot together with a clean hand. You could use a spoon but your hand will do a better job!

When the mixture is well combined, roll into balls about the size of a golf ball. Drop the balls into a small container of coconut and cover them well. Place into the refrigerator to set (about thirty minutes).

These bliss balls will keep for a week refrigerated, if they last that long. Enjoy!

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