Sunday Brunch Hippy Pancakes

pancake sunday

No need to feel guilty about Sunday splurges when you try these. So yummy, so good for you. Full of chia, almonds, cinnamon and flax seed meal these pancakes tick all the boxes for essential fatty acids, blood sugar control, fibre and taste.

Team them up with some fresh or poached fruit and coconut yogurt for Sunday morning heaven.

Sunday Brunch Hippy Pancakes

3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup wholemeal plain flour
3 heaped teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 heaped tablespoons linseed (flax seed) meal
2 heaped tablespoons of almond meal or crushed almonds
1 heaped tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon (yes tablespoon) cinnamon
1 cup milk – I like soy or almond for this recipe
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons rice bran oil
i teaspoon vanilla

In a bowl mix together milk, water, vanilla, oil and apple cider vinegar and whisk like crazy for a minute or so until fluffy.

In a separate large bowl mix together flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, chia, almonds, linseed meal and cinnamon. Whisk to combine well and make sure there are no lumps.

Add wet mixture to dry and stir till well mixed. leave to stand for 10 minutes.
I use coconut oil to grease frypan for health and because it tastes great but you can use butter if you prefer.
Fry in batches turning when bubbles appear on top of pancakes.

Makes about 20 good sized pancakes.

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Moving Day Apple Gingerbread Cake – for Eleanor….

gingerbread

 

My daughter shares her house with a couple of friends who have steadily wiggled their way into my heart over the last couple of years. Charlie is a gingery, kind, chutney making gentle soul. Eleanor is a funny, feisty, funky-glasses wearing gal. Together with Zoe – cat loving, vegetable gardening, ever loving, vegan feminista –  it makes for the basis of a great sitcom. Some of the tales from their home make for laugh out loud stories and I am so glad that Zoe has these friends to share her days with. They are incredibly supportive of each other and I am loving having a little place in their lives.

We spent some of the end of year break helping this trio move into a new house and what do mothers always bring to moving day ? Drinks, sandwiches and cake ! Yummy, sticky, spicy, gingery, vegan cake.

This cake was a particular hit with Eleanor so, in her honour, I am dedicating this one to her !

Eleanor’s Gingerbread Apple Cake 

2 teaspoon flax seeds soaked in 1/4 cup water ( or 2 eggs if you’re not vegan )
1/4  cup each of brown sugar and caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons of molasses
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large apples grated
1 cup milk – I used almond
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
1/2 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease or line a round pan or loaf tin.

Mix together flax seeds or eggs, sugars, oil, milk, vanilla, water, molasses and apples.

In a large bowl place flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and whisk to combine.
Stir through wet ingredients until combined. Gently stir through oats. Don’t over mix !

Pour into pan and bake for about 40 minutes.

We had this with some vegan cream cheese icing but it was still good even without it. I’ll leave the toppings up to you !

 

Dan Sultan and Banana Bread – two things sure to make you feel good….

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Remember long ago, like maybe 2014, when everybody thought banana bread was a healthy option at the cafe ? That long ago time before everyone realised it was CAKE !?

Ok, here is the truth – it is cake, it is not healthy and even more so when it is toasted and slathered in butter. That’s not to say that its not completely delicious but in the interest of a healthy start to the new year I thought I’d share with you my version of banana bread which is nowhere near as sickeningly sweet and has stacks of fibre and good things bundled in. Lots of whole grains, vegan, only a smidge of refined sugar. What’s not to love ?

I’ve been having a love affair with this recipe and my new Dan Sultan album and the two go together to make for happy baking times for me.

Banana Bread

2 cups whole grain rolled oats – whiz these up in a food processor to make oat flour.
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons bicarb soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk of your choice ( I like almond)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 – 4 mashed ripe bananas
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses or treacle
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons vegetable oil – I use rice bran oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 extra tablespoon of oats

Method – Put on Dan Sultan Dirty Ground CD and get baking….

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease or line a loaf pan.

In a small jug mix together apple cider vinegar and milk and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

In a medium sized bowl mix together oat flour, wholemeal flour, bicarb, spices and salt.
In a separate bowl mix together mashed banana, maple syrup, molasses, oil and vanilla. Add milk mixture and mix. Add dry ingredients and stir only until there are no dry lumps.
Pour mix into prepared pan and sprinkle with brown sugar and extra oats. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes.

 

Weekend treat … Strawberry tart – vegan, grain free, delicious

strawberry tart

 

Our lovely friend Melissa is coming over tonight so I thought I’d whip up something a bit yummy. This fruit tart has an almond and date base, cashew cream filling and strawberries (or any fruit you like) to top it all off.

This gorgeous tart is delicious, decadent and just the thing when you want to indulge a bit but not take a hit to your cholesterol levels, waist line, blood sugar level or conscience.

It can seem a bit fiddly but it actually comes together very quickly once you get going.

I hope you get some spare time in your busy weekend to give this a go – you won’t be disappointed.

To get started soak a cup of raw cashews in boiling water while you make the ‘pastry’.

For the ‘pastry’ shell …

1 cup raw almonds
6-8 dates – Medjool is good but ordinary dates are fine too
2 flat teaspoons cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons of water

Place dates, almonds and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until you have a fine crumb – some chunky bits are fine, they just add to the texture so don’t fret about this.
Gradually add the water until you get a ‘dough’. The best way to test this is to press some of the mixture with your finger. It should hold together but not be too wet.

Press this into a flan tin and place in the fridge to chill.

Cashew Cream Filling

1 cup soaked raw cashews
1-2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons water

Blend cashews, maple syrup and vanilla in a food processor till smooth. Add enough water to achieve a creamy consistency.

Pour cashew cream into chilled tart case and top with fruit of your choice. You can drizzle with some dark chocolate if your feeling festive.

Hope you have a great weekend !

 

 

Birthday boy…..

soul-r-vegan-cafe

 

Today is my son’s birthday. He is 17. He did his driving test this morning and now my youngest child is driving independently and I am feeling equal measures of delight for him and wistfulness for me. When I think back to this time all those years ago when I first held him in my arms I could never have imagined him as he is now. He is so much more than I could have ever hoped for …. laugh out loud funny, smart, kind, brave, loyal, loving, compassionate. How did I get so lucky ?

Where we live there’s no public transport. Here on the top of our lovely mountain it can be kind of limiting if you don’t have wheels of your own. For my two daughters getting their licence was a huge rite of passage, a door opening to a world of their own making, no more getting lifts, they could skedaddle when and where they liked. I am so happy for Simon that his turn has come.

He is out at the moment and we have pimped up the house with fairy lights, candles and birthday banners for his return.

I cannot tell you how much I love this boy of mine. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

We are getting ready for a yummy birthday dinner and a vegan tiramisu (tastes decadent but is so much better for you than the usual version) for celebrating….. recipes to follow but right now I’m heading for the kitchen in honour of his wonderful presence on this earth.

 

 

Feel like something sweet ? Don’t want to eat biscuits ? …. read on

blue dish

 

Since losing a bit of weight and running a wellness/weight loss course I have found I am asked time and again about ways to top up between meals that aren’t going to take you off track from your goals – it may be weight loss or just finding a healthier way to eat.  If weight loss is your aim then snacking is not going to help you but some days you are using more energy or are simply more hungry than others and you might just need something to get you through. That’s ok, just go with it. I can honestly say that I have had this for every meal at some stage … it keeps you full and feels like you are eating pudding at any time of the day !

This recipe for apple and oat slice ticks all the boxes. You can have it for breakfast with some fruit or yoghurt, on it’s own for a mid morning or afternoon snack or for a little bit of something sweet after dinner. Kids will love it in lunch boxes and it is the perfect thing to grab to eat on the go when time is at a premium and you don’t want to fall prey to the temptations of nasty fast food.

Filled with oats, fruit and spices you are going to want to have this time and again. This recipe is vegan, gluten free (if you are coeliac or gluten intolerant make sure your oats are gluten free), contains no oil but has lots of good fatty acids from the nuts and flax seeds, very little sugar and lots of fibre and flavour.

This recipe is very adaptable so use what you like – try different nuts or fruits. Add some cranberries or other spices. Use what’s in season and what tastes good to you.  If you don’t have flax seeds in your fridge ( and you should !) you can substitute in an egg.

Baked Apple Walnut Oatmeal

 

Oat and Apple Slice

3 tablespoons of flax seeds
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 teaspoons each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 apples, diced – you can also use pear, I like a mix of both – I have used a grated carrot with good results too
2 cups of almond milk (or any other milk you like)
1/2 cup of apple sauce
1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey to taste – if your fruit is sweet you won’t even need this
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup nuts – almonds, walnuts or pecans work best

Method

Place flax seeds in a small bowl with 1/3 cup of warm water and allow to stand for a few minutes.

In a large bowl mix together oats, spices, baking powder and sugar. Make a well and  pour in the milk, apple sauce, flax seeds, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Fold in your diced fruit and pour into a baking tray. The mixture should be quite wet. Smooth the mixture in the pan and sprinkle over the nuts.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees) for about an hour until the middle is cooked.

Voila !

 

 

How to eat protein balls and still be able to pay your mortgage….

p ball

I have been working at a women’s health centre for a couple of years now and I love it. I love the women I get to meet and treat, their inspiring stories and strength and the opportunity to spread the joy about how eating well is not about denial or living on brussell sprouts and goji berries.

I have recently started running a 10 week course on our relationship with food. We’re covering all sorts of things like emotional eating, eating well on a budget, making better choices for ourselves and our children.

A couple of weeks ago I made some hippy lamingtons to share. One lovely woman I have had the pleasure of working with promptly went home, whipped up a batch and got her young family hooked on a snack that is doing them good.

In honour of her incredible dedication and willingness to embrace new things I have been dabbling in the kitchen coming up with some variations on this theme of healthy snacks.

I was recently sent a few samples of some Bounce Protein Balls from a company I deal with and I gave them a go. They were yummy but at around $3.60 per ball it isn’t really a sustainable option for feeding growing kids.

bounce

 

Here’s my take. These ones are full of nuts, healthy oils, fruit, protein and other yummy stuff. I made about 45 balls and this costs out at 26 cents a ball. Not a bad saving and certainly cheaper and healthier than muesli bars and bags of chips.

 

The basic mixture 

4 tablespoons of coconut oil
4 tablespoons of nut butter – I used almond but any nut butter will work
3 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoons of vanilla
2 heaped tablespoons of vanilla protein powder
6 tablespoons of desiccated coconut

Flavour options

option 1

10 dates
3/4 cup raw almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon

option 2

20 dried apricots
3/4 cup of pecans
1 tablespoon of LSA mix (linseed, soy and almond mix)
1 tablespoon chia seeds

option 3

10 dried figs
3/4 cup raw cashews
3-4 pieces of crystallised ginger or 1 teaspoon of dried ginger

For all variations whiz up nuts in a food processor until they are a fine crumble. Add all other ingredients in the option you have chosen and whiz together. Add all ingredients from your basic mixture and process till combined. If the mixture feels too dry you can add more honey or vanilla or even a splash of soy milk.

Roll heaped teaspoons full of mixture into balls and refrigerate. If you like you can coat them with coconut, cocoa powder or nuts.

Making the best of things …sometimes only really good chocolate cake will do

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There has been a lot of change here recently. We have a new government and although this blog is not usually a forum for this kind of thing I have to say that I am feeling blue over the fact that the majority of my fellow countrymen have chosen to elect a man and political party for whom I have little respect and no faith whose agenda seems to be one of money and not people.

Election of our political leaders has become a populist, personality based game and it seems that policy, ethics and decency took a wrong turn somewhere and we haven’t seen them for a while.

Whilst I respect other peoples right to their opinion and choice I am disappointed that, by and large, the government we have now is one with which I can find no common ground. The things that are important to me – fairness, affordable quality healthcare, the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, compassion, respect, care for those unable to care for themselves, dignity for all regardless of wealth and status, safe and affordable housing, equity across races, genders and religions seems to be a long way from who we are as a nation. I have been told that my opinion and hopes are pie in the sky, leftie and utopian – to that I just say ‘thank you, that’s exactly what I was aiming for”. Why should we not be hopeful, compassionate, welcoming and aiming for a society which is uplifting and respectful of each other and the planet we all share ?

I guess one good thing is that we have the right to free speech and I am exercising that right now.

Sometimes all there is left to do is eat cake… my apologies for the lack of healthiness and naturopathy …I’ll get back on track soon..

My best chocolate cake

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons bicarb soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs or no egg substitute
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water
 
Instructions
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans
Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt  to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter. Divide cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Ice with your favourite icing or ganache.

Lemon cake for Zoe and now it’s here for you too ……

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Despite being a vegetarian for too many years to mention,  we have had our diet and food situation shaken up in a good way by my daughters decision to go vegan.

I am loving exploring this new cruelty free way of eating and last nights lemon cake has quickly become a keeper. It also helps that we have lots of lemons and limes on our trees. Feel free to use milk based yoghurt and any type of milk you like if you aren’t vegan.

Make the most of some weekend down time to whip up this incredibly simple and oh so tasty lemon cake.  Perfect with a cup of tea and the company of friends or daughters.

Lemon cake 

1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup almond or soy milk
1 small pot of vanilla soy yoghurt
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup caster sugar
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Mix together the oil, milk, yoghurt, lemon juice and zest, vanilla and sugar.

Mix together the flour, baking powder and bicarb.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don’t over mix.

Place batter in a greased bundt or ring cake pan and bake at 180 degrees for 35-40 minutes. You can make this in a normal cake tin but it just doesn’t seem to be so good.

When cooked, turn out onto a plate.

Mix together the juice of another lemon with 1/3 cup caster sugar and pour over hot cake.

Happy weekend xxx

Perfect food for this cold and wintry day … Broccoli & Lemon Soup and a Pear & Ginger Cake

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Winter is most definitely here. It’s cold, wet and rainy outside with a top temperature of about 12 degrees today. The mist is swirling around the house, as it does when you live on top of a mountain, and the only thing to do is make soup… and a yummy ginger and pear cake.

Back in February I was making the most of a bumper crop with pots of zucchini and basil soup. This winter version is a way to use the masses of broccoli I have coming on. This gorgeous soup is quick and tasty and you can have it on the table in about 30 minutes. Perfect Sunday night supper.

Lemon and Broccoli Soup

1 large head of broccoli
1 leek
3 cloves of garlic
4 cups vegetable stock
1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Good handful of parsley

Thinly slice the leek and fry till soft with the garlic in a little olive oil.
Roughly chop the broccoli. Include the stalk. It will all get whizzed up in the food processor and it is such a waste to throw it away. If you would rather not whiz the soup you should just use the flower of the broccoli.
Add broccoli to the saucepan and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Allow to bubble away until the broccoli is tender.
Add a good grinding of pepper, nutmeg, parsley and zest and juice of the lemon. Feel free to go to town with the lemon. If it’s only small or not very juicy use two.
Whiz it all gently in a food processor or buzz with a stick mixer.
You can add some creme fraiche or light sour cream for serving if you like but it really doesn’t need it.

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Now onto the cake. This cake is a lovely hark back to Grandma style baking. It’s simple, makes a big yummy tray full and is perfect for lunch boxes and morning teas all through the week.

I have made this version pear and ginger but feel free to play around with other flavours. We have had great success with apples and cinnamon, quince and honey or fig and vanilla. Just use what you have in your garden or fruit bowl.

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Pear and Ginger Cake.

2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups brown sugar
125 g butter
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 cup milk of your choice
1 egg ( or 1 tablespoon of no-egg mixed in 1/4 cup water)
4 pears, peeled and sliced into sixths
1 teaspoon good vanilla
1 heaped teaspoon of dried ginger

Place flour, butter, bicarb soda and sugar in the food processor and whiz till it forms a fine crumb.

Press half of this mixture into the base of a baking tray or large cake tin then lay pears on top.

Add milk, ginger, baking powder, egg/egg replacer and whiz together until just combined.

Pour this mixture over the pears and bake for about 45 minutes at 180 degrees.

Stay warm.