Tahini biscuits…

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My eldest daughter Zoe has an obsession with tahini. She loves it in all it’s forms. I’ve been making tahini salad dressing, black tahini banana bread and now I’ve whipped up a batch of tahini biscuits.

Tahini is the paste of ground sesame seeds. It has a lovely nutty taste and is a fantastic source of calcium.

If you’re looking for a refined sugar free, gluten free, vegan and delicious biscuit to have with your afternoon cup of tea I urge you to give these a go.

Tahini Biscuits 

90mls maple syrup
90mls treacle (you could use honey, molasses or golden syrup here)
90mls tahini
zest of an orange
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups oat flour (this can be made by processing rolled oats in a food processor until your get a flour consistency. Alternatively, you could use plain or GF flour instead)
150g almond meal
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Poppy seeds, sesame seeds or flaked almonds for dipping

How to..

With an electric or stand mixer blend together maple syrup, treacle, tahini, orange zest and vanilla. Beat for a few minutes until well mixed and fluffy.
Mix in oat flour and bicarb soda.

Roll into teaspoon size balls and roll in seeds or almonds. Flatten slightly and place on baking tray. Refrigerate for 30 mins.

Heat oven to 180 degrees. Bake biscuits for 10-15 mins.
Cool on trays.

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Anzac biscuits … vegan, GF and delicious…

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If you’re looking for something to have with a cup of tea you can’t go past Anzac biscuits.
This recipe has been adapted to suit vegans and those who are wheat intolerant without losing any of the traditional yumminess.

Chewy, wholesome, perfect for lunch boxes or to share around.

To up the nutritional content I’ve included some almond and flax meal and reduced the sugar. These are so easy to make and would be great way for kids to have a go at baking !

Recipe makes about 20 biscuits

1 cup rolled oats (check to make sure these are GF if intolerant)
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or cane sugar if you don’t have this)
2/3 cup coconut flakes (or desiccated coconut)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts (optional)
1/4 cup maple, golden or rice malt syrup
125g butter or butter substitute eg Nuttelex, coconut butter
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Method

Mix together all dry ingredients and stir well to combine.
Melt butter and syrup in *medium sized saucepan over low heat. When butter has melted turn off heat and stir in bicarbonate of soda.

*The butter mixture will froth up and bubble to about double its size when the bicarbonate of soda is added so make sure your saucepan is able to hold this volume of liquid.

Roll together dessert spoon sized balls of mixture and place on baking trays allowing some room to spread during baking. Flatten slightly and bake at 170 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes till lightly browned.

 

Allergies, asthma and eczema ….

Allergy, Asthma and Eczema ….

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Anyone else noticed lately how many people are suffering with allergies, asthma and eczema ? They often go hand in hand and it’s common to see families who share these immune problems. So why does this happen ?
The immune system is a complex system that protects us against disease. The main function of the immune system is to recognize the difference between our normal cells and invading, potentially harmful things like viruses, bacteria and parasites.

Our immune system is complex and uses lots of ways to keep pathogens out. One of these methods is the adaptive immune system where white blood cells make antibodies against invaders so the immune system can recognise the pathogen and quickly eliminate it in the future. Others cells are responsible for actively killing the pathogen.

We also have Th1 and Th2 cells. Th1 cells work to eliminate invaders within our cells (viruses). Th2 cells aim to destroy pathogens that occur outside our cells (bacteria and pathogens). Th1 cells and Th2 cells create different reactions which triggers different effects in the body. They create signals which tell other cells in our immune system how to react and what to do.

A healthy immune system can easily switch back and forth between Th1 and Th2. An unhealthy immune system can get stuck in one of these responses – leading to an imbalance in Th1 and Th2 actions.

Most people in the developed world get stuck in a Th2 response. This is because our bodies are not exposed to as many parasites and bacteria as in the past. An immune system without an invader to fight can become active in an unhealthy way overreacting to substances which really aren’t harmful at all e.g. pollen, dust. When Th2 becomes switched on it activates symptoms we know as allergies. For some people this can become severe, leading to asthma, eczema, and anaphylactic reactions.

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Much of the balancing of the Th1/Th2 response occurs in pregnancy and early infancy. Once the immune system gets stuck in an abnormal pattern we have a harder time correcting it. This is why asthma, eczema and allergies often strike first when we are young. Treatments that aim to balance the Th1/Th2 ratio can take a while to work so it’s important to stick with it to see results.

How can I help to balance my immune system?
Probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that live in us. Most adults have about 3-5 kilos of bacteria in our digestive system. The clincher is making sure they are the right type. There are specific strains of probiotic for different health issues so taking something you pick up at the chemist or pharmacy may not be very effective. Probiotic bacteria alter Th2 reaction to a healthier level. They also stimulate the immune system in the gut.

Fish oil reduces inflammation and reduces allergic response.

Vitamin A, in combination with vitamin D, is helpful in turning off inflammatory immune responses and balances the Th1 and Th2 levels.

Herbs which are anti-inflammatory or immune modulating can be hugely helpful. There are lots of options for herbal formulations to alter your Th1/Th2 ratio and manage your symptoms including liquorice, pirella and astragalus.