Not quite a tabbouleh, I wanted this salad to be heavily ‘herby’ but less ‘grassy’ than the traditional style. (I also had a huge bunch of coriander to use up which worked really well.) I think you could easily substitute the coriander with fresh dill or parsley if you are coriander adverse.
I don’t use lentils very often. Apart from them being a legume, my initial experience with them in my youth, sort of turned me off them:
As a teenager, I was invited to a friend’s house to have dinner with her very hippy family (who I was enamoured by), who served a huge feast of stewed lentils for dinner. This was the first time that I had tried lentils and it was also the first time I had ever tried brown rice. As you can probably gather, I came from a very white rice family!!
The lentils were stewed with a few spices and a bit of onion, or should I say, partially stewed with a few spices and a bit of onion, and I was served an enormous mound atop an equally enormous pile of brown rice. Being brought up to finish everything on my plate, I struggled with the less-than-al-dente lentils and was the last to finish my meal by too many minutes! And they sat in my stomach like gravel…..for a week…!
Lentils are said to be the world’s oldest cultivated legume, with evidence of them showing they were eaten 9,500 to 13,000 years ago. Colours range from slate green, brown, and black to reddish-orange, coral, and gold, with all varieties having their own unique flavour and texture but a similar nutritional profile.
They are a rich source of dietary fibre and protein and contain high levels of folate, iron and zinc. I didn’t realise that they have the second-highest ratio of protein per calorie of any legume (after soy beans) and are what a lot of ‘pea protein’ supplements are made of.
So I guess I eat more lentils than I thought!
They contain high amounts of resistant starch, which is great for the gut but….. they also contain anti-nutrient factors such as trypsin inhibitors and have a relatively high phytate content. Trypsin is an enzyme involved in digestion, and phytates reduce the bioavailability of dietary minerals although the phytates can be reduced by soaking the lentils in water overnight.
Many peas and split peas used in Indian dishes are actually lentils!
In this recipe I have used the small French green lentils, known as lentilles du Puy. They take less time to cook and retain their shape better than ordinary lentils. And they have a slightly nutty taste; and are less earthy than regular lentils. Thanks to their firmer texture, French lentils are perfect for salads and cook up beautifully in no time. Feel free to use all lentils for this salad – my previous experience won’t allow me to use only lentils here. I think the quinoa gives a nice contrast in the texture.
80g du puy lentils, soaked in fresh water overnight
100g red quinoa, soaked in hot water overnight, then rinsed VERY well
1 small cauliflower, chopped
60g baby kale
1 bunch fresh coriander
90g olive oil
30g white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
1 tab honey (or brown rice syrup)
1 teas salt
3 tabs toasted pepitas
3 tabs currants
Place drained lentils & quinoa into the simmering basket and pour in 1200g of water. Cook for 20 – 25 mins at 100ºC on SP 3. Set aside to drain.
Prepare the cauliflower by chopping on SP 4 until resembling rice size pieces. Add 100g water and cook at 100ºC for 7 minutes. Drain and tip into a large mixing bowl – add the lentils & quinoa after they have drained.
In the TM add the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, olive oil & salt and blend on SP 7 for 10 seconds. Pour over the cauliflower and mix through.
Without cleaning the TM bowl, add the coriander and kale and chop roughly for a second and add to the cauliflower with the currants. Taste for seasoning.
Garnish with the toasted pepitas just before serving. This might just make a nice salad to go with the Christmas turkey!
DIET is a four letter word. One of the most influential things I have learnt on my Paleo journey is that fat does not equate to fat, and calories are not equal. OK, that’s two things!
My generation and the few preceding, grew up with the notion that dietary fat, and to a lesser extent, protein, makes you fat and carbohydrates make you thin. This of course, was based on the foundation belief of calories in = calories out. But old
habits beliefs are hard to break and conscious of my increasing snacking tendency, I examined my diet and realised that I simply haven’t been eating enough protein lately, hence fuelling my snacking demon to rear its ugly head!
Lots of people think my diet consists of magic bean cake and ….. meat! Ha ha!! They think that eating Paleo is all about eating lots of meat, but it’s not. Surely “replacing those pesky grains with something means replacing them with meat” is a common thought. Uh-oh, nope! Replacing those pesky grains with more vegetables and nuts is a more realistic ideal and one that I strive for. But I obviously haven’t been eating enough meat (and don’t really feel like it) so I revisited the path of taking a protein supplement.
Now, protein supplements are not food. They are so highly processed they really resemble chemicals (– like sugar), but like aspirin, in certain situations, they can be useful! I have written more about protein powders here.
Rather than make my own, I sourced a fabulous vegan protein powder without artificial sugars, soy, dairy, or fillers. And I have been using it in the afternoons when I am tired and hungry and raiding my husbands secret stash of chocolate (that he doesn’t know I know about)! And it has been satiating me so well, I’m not really hungry for dinner. And because I’m eating less at dinner, I am sleeping soooo much better. And not needing to snack after dinner. Win/win!
So if you have teenage boys who are hard to fill, or daughters, who in their tenacious wisdom, refuse to eat…because they are DIETING, give them more protein. These hotcakes were certainly a hit with my family, I haven’t mentioned the protein powder to them of course, but they stop at one, – and stop rummaging the cupboards for more food afterwards! Being grain-free and nut-free, I have used my favourite la farine de jour; banana flour, but you can substitute this with your preferred flour, perhaps buckwheat or sorghum.
3 small eggs (or 2 large eggs)
130g roasted pumpkin (or steamed but roasted is better)
150g almond milk (or alternative milk if nut-free)
70g banana flour
2 tabs protein powder
¼ teas psyllium powder*
½ teas cinnamon
30g maple or brown rice syrup or honey (about 2 tablespoons)
20g olive oil
2 teas baking powder
1 teas apple cider vinegar
80g maple or brown rice syrup (or honey)
3 tabs marmalade
4 tabs water
Purée the pumpkin and eggs together on SP 6 for 5 seconds until smooth. Add the milk, maple syrup, oil, salt & cinnamon and blend for a further 10 seconds on SP 6.
Mix in the banana flour, baking powder and protein powder on SP 4, adding the vinegar when the batter is smooth.
Set aside in a bowl for 10 minutes – 1 hour to rest. The baking powder will activate with the protein powder and vinegar and the batter will expand and become light & fluffy. Wash the TM bowl to make the syrup.
Without squashing too much air out of the mix, pan-fry dollopfuls of the mix in plenty of ghee or coconut oil until brown. Start on a low heat and adjust as they cook. The mix will brown very quickly and you don’t want this to happen before the inside cooks. Flip and cook on the other side.
Serve each hotcake with a few slices of orange and a little syrup.
Peel and slice the orange thinly and set aside in a shallow heat-proof bowl.
Mix the syrup, water and marmalade and cook on SP 2 for 2 minutes at 90°C. Pour over the oranges.
*The psyllium will thicken the batter and help stabilise it to assist with the airy texture. If you omit it, your hotcakes will still be yummy but not quite as thick & fluffy. Have a look at your protein powder ingredients. If there is already a thickener in there, like inulin or guar, omit the psyllium. I have been using this vegetable protein powder as it is really clean with no additives or binders.
I have a 100 year old bottle of Angostura Bitters in my cupboard, that I recently retrieved when my son asked me about a cocktail recipe he was working on. Well, it’s not really that old, but it has been there, seldom used for as long as I can remember and I wondered if it ‘went off’..
After Googling, the answer is …no. With an alcohol level of 44.7%, it will keep until it evaporates!!
Angostura bitters is a botanically infused alcoholic mixture, made of water, alcohol and herbs and spices in Trinidad and Tobago. It is typically used for flavouring beverages or less often, food. The bitters were first produced in the early 1800’s in the town of Angostura, Venezuela, (hence the name), and do not contain angostura bark (as some may falsely believe). The recipe is a closely guarded secret of over 40 ingredients but most bitters recipes have a combination of herbs including:
- angelica root (angelica archangelica)
- carline thistle root (carlina acaulis)
- camphor (cinnamomum camphora)
- manna (fraxinus ornus)
- rhubarb root (rheum palmatum)
- senna (senna alexandrina)
- dandelion root
“Bitter” is an unpopular flavour out of the five basic tastes: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. Our modern diet is overloaded with sweet, salty and processed food with a complete lack of bitterness. Bitter engages and excites the digestive system to secrete a cascade of digestive juices and bile in preparation for incoming food. Hence, they are often used as a digestif, a remedy for hiccups & reflux, or to rid parasites. Most bitters are extremely concentrated and are an acquired taste; though they are not normally ingested undiluted.
As humans we evolved eating bitters on a daily basis – bitters greens, bitter roots, bitter barks. As part of the evolution process, we are very sensitive to bitter flavours when we are young – many bitter plants are toxic – and it explains why children hate green vegetables and olives! As we age our bitterness receptors in our taste buds decline and the taste becomes more acceptable. Bitter foods are a central part of many cultures around the world and have been for many years. In Europe, a salad made from bitter lettuce leaves was traditionally eaten before a meal, while traditional Asian cultures have long valued bitters not only for their digestive benefit but also for cleansing properties. Common bitter foods include coffee, raw cacao, many vegetables in the Brassica family, and herbs.
So after Googling this and learning all about bitters, I thought about using bitters more in my food. And seeing as I have started my Christmas gift baking, I thought I would experiment by adding bitters to a barbeque sauce recipe that I had heard about that contained coffee. Coffee is bitter too, right?
I do like Angostura bitters with it’s characteristic herby fragrance. I wonder why I haven’t dug it out sooner..
So against your
bitter better judgement, give this sauce a try – it is actually really nice served with steak – and not too sweet at all. I have sweetened it with dates and thickened it with a bit of psyllium. Dried dates will help thicken it but my original effort was too thin according to the men of the house. If you don’t use psyllium, you could thicken it with a bit of tapioca flour or guar gum, or you may like to keep it a thinner consistency. You can always hold back on the psyllium until the final few minutes and see if you like the consistency before adding it. If you do add it at the end, make sure to cook for a good 5 minutes further for it to swell and do its job.
In any case this recipe will make a curious conversation piece as a gift from your kitchen to your bbq/coffee lover friends!
50g + 50g olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic
4 – 8 anchovy fillets*
100g strong made-up coffee
1 tab (10g) Angostura bitters
100g tamari (or soy)
300g tomato passata (A thicker one is better)
30g apple cider vinegar
60g red wine vinegar
1 teas salt
1 teas chilli flakes
½ teas smoked paprika (optional)
stevia to taste
2 teas psyllium (optional)
Chop the garlic & onion on SP 7 for 5 seconds. Scrape down and add the anchovies and 50g oil. Cook for 4 minutes on SP 1 at 100ºC with the MC off.
Add the rest of the ingredients, including the extra 50g oil, to the TM. Cook for 20 minutes at 100°C on SP 3 with the MC off. Taste for sweetness and add some stevia if desired.
Placing the MC back on, blitz the sauce on SP 8 for 20 seconds at the end to ensure it is smooth.
*Don’t worry, the anchovies will not make this taste fishy – they add umami to the sauce.
It’s that time of year again when I start thinking about edible gifts for the festive season. Wanting to make something a little different from my standard healthy rum balls or coconut truffles, I was thinking FUDGE!
But not chocolate fudge…
But toffee and caramel require copious amounts of sugar – and to get the right consistency you have to caramelise the sugar over high heat. After a bit of experimenting I came up with this fudge which texture I liken to jersey caramels* – but with nuts; and not as sickly sweet; and they taste MUCH nicer!
So what is fudge?
Fudge is a confectionery, essentially a firm fondant, which is soft and sweet. It’s made by boiling sugar, butter and milk, and then beating the mixture while it cools so that it acquires a smooth, creamy consistency. American fudge always contains chocolate and can sometimes be a thick sauce. (I remember when our local McDonald’s first opened in 1973**
yep, I’m old and my mother introduced us to their hot chocolate fudge sundaes – poor Cottee’s chocolate topping was never the same after that!)
I think that the most important attribute of fudge is its texture. The cooking temperature distinguishes hard caramel from soft fudge. The higher the temperature, the more sugar is dissolved and more water is evaporated, resulting in a firmer fudge. If this isn’t done properly the resulting fudge can be grainy and sugary.
My dairy-free recipe is almost ‘raw’: I only melt the cacao butter which creates the creaminess (to replace the butter) and melt the gelatine which helps firm the texture (to replace the sugar). I purposely didn’t use dates as they produced a coarser mouth-feel, plus there are lots of date recipes! And although I like to freeze it to help it set, this recipe does not need to be kept in the freezer; it will keep in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks.
You can make some wonderful variations to this basic recipe – feel free to play around with the flavours, the possibilities are endless – see below!
70g hot water
2 teas gelatine˜
100g cacao butter, chopped
40g rapadura or dark coconut sugar
100g maple syrup or brown rice syrup
stevia to taste (optional)
150g almond butter
a dash of vanilla (or seeds scraped from ½ a vanilla bean)
¼ teas salt
50g coconut cream (or cream if not dairy free)
handful of toasted almonds or pecans
Course salt flakes to sprinkle (optional)
In a small cup, sprinkle the gelatine over the hot water and allow to sit for 10 minutes to bloom.
In the TM, grind the cacao butter and rapadura on SP 9 for 20 seconds. Melt for 3 minutes at 60°C on SP 2. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the gelatine water, and mix on SP 4 until well combined and smooth. Stir through the toasted nuts and pour into a shallow lined dish. Sprinkle with salt, if using, and freeze for several hours or overnight.
While frozen, cut into squares to serve. This can be kept in the freezer OR fridge for about 2 weeks.
Alternative Flavour Variations
- Rum & Raisin – Substitute 30g water for rum and add a handful of raisins.
- Peppermint – Add a few drops of food grade peppermint essential oil.
- Hazelnut – Use hazelnut butter instead of almond butter and substitute the toasted almonds for toasted hazelnuts.
- Baileys – Substitute 30g water for Irish whisky and substitute 50g cacao butter for 70% dark chocolate.
- Coffee Walnut – Use black coffee instead of water and substitute the almonds with lightly toasted walnuts.
- Green Tea – Use green tea instead of water and add 1 teas of green matcha powder.
- Peanut Butter & Cranberry – Use peanut butter instead of almond butter and substitute the almonds for toasted peanuts, add a handful of dried cranberries too.
Have fun!! Your kid’s school teachers will love you!!
˜If your almond butter is very stiff, use 1½ teas gelatine. My home-made almond butter was quite runny.
*The ingredients in jersey caramels are glucose syrup, sugar, soft icing sugar, sweetened condensed milk (more sugar!), flour, vegetable oil, water, flavour, gelatine, salt. YUK!
** The Glen Waverley franchise is the oldest surviving McDonald’s in Australia.
I love it when an experiment works first hand! After my protracted efforts with my gluten-free cinnamon scroll recipe, this one was a refreshing change!!
Years ago I gained notoriety for adding vegetables to my baking – not to mention opprobrium, for adding beans to a cake!! But
hiding adding vegetables into baked goods seems so much more acceptable now and no one bats an eyelid when I talk about zucchini in my muffins.
I have used banana flour, which I talk about here. If you haven’t tried it yet, and avoid gluten and/or wheat, I suggest you try it pronto! It is a fabulous alternative and produces a lovely moist crumb. Although, I find that if I eat too much of it I get a bit of a belly ache due to the resistant starch. That’s actually not a bad thing as it curbs my desire to over-indulge!
I also grate my zucchini by hand as I like the shreds, rather than chunks of zucchini. Give the grated zucchini a gentle squeeze to get rid of some of the moisture – it doesn’t have to be too dry though – younger smaller zucchini are wetter than older bigger ones.
This dairy free recipe is quick and easy; it can be made nut free if you substitute the walnuts for sunflower seeds and the milk for coconut. It’s versatile and uncomplicated – it keeps well, due to the oil and doesn’t need a frosting or icing. The kids will love it for afternoon tea!
120g nut milk (I used almond)
80g olive oil
150g banana flour
2 teas baking powder
1 teas cinnamon (or 3 drops cinnamon oil)
½ teas nutmeg
1 drop cardamon essential oil (optional)
240g grated zucchini
90g rapadura sugar
stevia to taste (optional)
1 teas apple cider vinegar
Pulse the walnuts to chop coarsely and set aside.
Blend the milk, oil, eggs and sugar on SP 5 for 5 seconds.
Add the flour, spices, baking powder & zucchini and mix on SP 4 REVERSE until combined. Add the vinegar last* and mix on SP 4 until just incorporated.
Pour into muffin cups and sprinkle the walnuts on the top then bake for 25 minutes at 165°C. They will be soft to touch but still be a little moist inside.
*A note on vinegar: adding an acid to a recipe when there is baking powder helps activate the baking powder. But it happens so efficiently that if you add the vinegar at the beginning, you will knock out all of the tiny air bubbles that form in the mixing. I always add the vinegar right at the end to kick-start the aeration process just before it goes into the oven. The result will be a lighter one!
If you have ever walked past a Cinnabon franchise you will be hard pressed not to notice the snaking queue of people intoxicated by the heady scent of cinnamon and yeast and sugar. In fact, you may even be lured to the end of the line to partake.
The combination is lethal. Cinnamon + yeast + burnt sugar. Certainly to die for in my book!
But most mass-produced bakery items are full of stuff that we would prefer not to think about. Additives that make the bread lighter, whiter, softer and more shelf stable. So accustomed to these ideals, its hard not to be disappointed with home-baked breads – especially gluten-free breads!
Now that the humble doughnut has been reinvigorated to trendsetter, I’m predicting that cinnamon buns are going to be the next big THING! Whilst we don’t have Cinnabon bakeries here in Australia, our local bakeries have been producing modest coffee scrolls and cinnamon scrolls for ever – they were always my favourite. Plastered with either white fondant (coffee scrolls) or pink (cinnamon scrolls), they may be studded with the odd walnut or sultana for garnish.
This recipe was a long time coming! I have been playing around with it for weeks trying to get it right. My dog is surely sick of gobbling up the reject attempts
and his poo production definitely increased! I was aiming for a bun that was soft and sweet and cinnamony – one that I felt was just as good an imposter for the ‘real deal’!
Most gluten-free bread recipes have a very gooey dough that would be impossible to roll out and fill, let alone, roll up! The gooey-ness of the dough enables the finished bread to stay soft and moist. I was also trying to avoid using a commercial gluten-free flour as pre-mixed varieties tend to vary greatly. Anyway, I have come up with a blend of rice and starches that work – feel free to substitute a commercial gluten-free flour – I tested this with the Orgran brand but can’t vouch for any other*. Don’t be put off by the length of this recipe; there are a few components to it, but if done in the listed order, you will not have to wash your TM bowl – except at the end of course!
Like a lot of gluten-free baked goods, these are best, straight out of the oven. Make them on a day when you pottering around at home and then relax in the afternoon with a cup of tea and one of these – just don’t burn your self on the hot caramel in your haste!
200g white rice
350g brown rice
60g tapioca starch
80g potato flour
Mill the white rice for 2 minutes on SP 10 and set aside. Mill the brown rice for 2 minutes on SP 10 and add the white rice flour and buckwheat.
Mill again for 2 minutes to ensure it is very fine with no grittiness. Add the tapioca and potato flours and mix well. You will have 750g of gluten-free flour mix. For this recipe you will need half: 375g.
Next make the cinnamon butter:
30g rapadura sugar
1 teas cinnamon or 2 drops cinnamon oil
Mix well on SP 5 for 10 seconds. Set aside.
Next make the caramel sauce:
50g rapadura sugar
60g fresh dates, pitted 60g butter
50g maple syrup
1 teas vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
Grind the sugar and dates on SP 9 for 10 seconds. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and cook for 3 minutes on SP 2 at 90°C. Pour into a 24cm square pan that has been lined with baking paper.
Without washing the bowl make the bun dough:
1 egg white
30g olive oil
90g hot water
Blend all of the wet ingredients on SP 5 for 10 seconds. If you used hot water, the mix should be warm and the butter melted.
375g flour mix – see above
100g maize cornflour
2 teas guar gum (or xanthan gum)
1 scant tab instant yeast
2 teas baking powder
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mix and blend on SP 5 for a few seconds to combine. Set to the wheat function and knead for 2 minutes . The mix will get firmer but be still quite sticky.
Place a piece of baking paper on the bench-top and grease with oil. Using oiled hands, spread the dough into a rectangle about 1.5cm thick. Spread with the cinnamon butter and using the paper, roll the dough like a Swiss roll.
It should come away nice and cleanly. Slice into 8 thick slices and place into the pan on top of the caramel. Leave in a warm place to prove for about 30 minutes.
Bake in a 165°C oven for about 25 – 30 minutes. The scrolls will be golden on top and smell delicious! Leave in the pan for 10 minutes before lifting out with the baking paper. Flip onto a plate and peel the baking paper away, revealing a sticky golden mass of caramel cinnamon buns! Enjoy straight away with lots of butter!
*If you do use a pre-mix, omit the guar gum as it will already have it in it.
**Spoiler Alert – Don’t read any further if you love Cinnabon!**
The average cinnabon bun contains nearly 900 calories & 60g sugar! The listed ingredients on their website are:
Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, brown sugar, palm oil, milk, soy bean oil, yeast, salt, whey, soy lecithin, cinnamon, powdered sugar, vegetable mono and diglycerides, sodium benzoate, vitamin A palmitate, cream, cream cultures, carob bean gum, corn starch, natural and artificial flavour.
It may also contain: Egg white, whole eggs, buttermilk, molasses, sodium stearoyl lactylate, buttermilk, azodicarbonamide, beta carotene, high fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose), wheat protein isolate (wheat gluten lactic acid, sulphites), vital wheat gluten, hydroxpropyl methylcellulose, acetylated tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides (datem), baking soda, xanthan gum, guar gum, beta carotene, glucono delta-lactone, citric acid, propionic acid, enzymes (amylase), ascorbic acid sorbitan monostearate, cellulose gum, potassium sorbate, soy oil, polysorbate 60, lactic acid, artificial colour.