Thai Curry Paste time!

The colour of your paste will really depend on how much dried red chillies or fresh coriander you use. For red paste don’t use any coriander leaves. Well on with it. I have to say this is the easiest and most fun I have had in a while. After all who doesn’t like thai curry?  There  is nothing like the wait of an order at a restaurant or order in to get the gastric juices flowing. The anticipation and excitement of the first bite of that awesome red/green curry to take your body to a food comatorium. Yah, just made up that word so don’t look it up! Thai curry does that to the mind. There you lose your mind and you begin to hear voices. Gentle whispers,  “you could soo make this”!

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You head to the store the following day, searching frantically for the best curry paste: mild. red. vegan, gluten free, and everything zoe friendly. You find one in the array of glass bottled pastes and spices from across the sea. You are ready!

Ingredients in, rice cooked, you are on a roll. Dinner served, and to your bewildered surprised, it taste like absolutely nothing you just had in the restaurant!!!!!!! After much research. you conclude making your own paste  is the only way to wake up form this.

Finding your way to your local International District, you start your journey to being the greatest cook there every was, in your house. So what do you need?

  1. Galangal – don’t even think of skipping on this cause without this well….
  2.  Lemon grass – seriously do not make me repeat myself!
  3. Dried red chillies – you know your limit. I however, always like to push the boundaries. Avoid if you have ulcers, because you and I both know it will kill you. Finally, remember chili burns twice
  4. Garlic – use 2-3 cloves. Don’t over  do it, you might live to regret it.
  5. Shallots – no, not green onions, or spring onions.The other one, mini purple onion, the size of a giant garlic.
  6. Finally, coriander roots – good luck finding this lot at your local. You may have to make your way to your nearest ID. Whiles there be sure to grab another curry for the sake of research.

 

Alright, alright, on with it.

Putting it all together.

Seriously this is really easy. Soak about 5-7 dried chillies and galangal bits in filtered water. Leave for about an hour. Once done, put everything in a mortar and smash away. Be sure to wear googles, chili water travels! Use pestle until you get a paste. However, should you find yourself once again with voices in your head, as the words of singer eSNa rings true, you might find yourself saying “ani’t not body got time for this”. If this is you, pack it all up, dump it in the nearest blender, and it does not have to be your own, and turn that baby on! You are done!

Ok, go out there and start master cooking. Have a great weekend!

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Morning Start – Quinoa Breakfast of Vegan, allergy sufferers champions!

I can hear myself chewing. It’s not the quinoa as you might first think, but the sweet crunch of apple and nuts which were carefully chosen to compliment this awesome meal. Breakfast is the hardest meal of the day for me. Take away the daily routine of rush in the morning to get 2 children ready, 1 for school, and a Mr two, time is never on my side. Being a vegan with allergies and makes things a little more challenging. So what to do, what to do. Pick a meal that will give you everything you need in one sitting of various multitasking, because you only get one chance at this. So here is what you will need

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1/2 cup of quinoa – this is your super food. Great for getting in your iron, protein, calcium and carb it pretty much covers all the nutrients you need.

1/2 a medium apple – low sugar, high fiber, great for lowering blood sugar and lets face it, what fun is anything without apples

5 dried sulfur free apricots – in the winter months, I love apricots. You don’t need alot of it to get what you need. When dried, these fruits are high in vitamin A which is great for your immune system! So throw more than 5 on if you are keen on them.

1 tablespoon chai seeds – the other super food. Rich in calcium, omega 3, mucilage, fiber, manganese, phosphorus, it is up there in the comparison chart with flaxseed and sesame seed. It also decreases blood pressure and fibrinogen and C-reactive. For this reason, If you are on any anti hypertensive medication be sure to speak to your healthcare practitioner as chai seeds increase the effects of those medications.

protein levels1/4- 1/2 cup of walnuts –  High in protein, fiber, and must importantly antioxidant and omega oils

1 teaspoon of blackstrap molasses – great source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, B6, potassium, manganese, and even calcium. A little goes a long way

1/2 teaspoon maple syrup

1/2 cup of warm nut or soy milk (optional)

Prep:

Cover your quinoa with water and let it soak over night. In the morning rub grains between your finger whiles still in the water. You might have noticed the foam that is on top. That is your saponins. Rub the grains to get the rest of. throw water away and rinse again. Discard water and cover with 2 cups of fresh water. Place on stove on leave to boil. let it boil till grains expand. This should take less than 10mins as you have already presoaked. Once grain is open, discard remaining water, place in bowl and began to cover this remainder ingredients and enjoy.

note: If you forgot to soak your grain, simply cover with 4 cups of water in pot, place on stove, and let it boil till the water turns yellow, form becomes visible on the liquid surface and grains have opened (this usually takes about 10 – 25 mins depending on your stove and heat setting), remove from stove, discard water and rinse under clean water. Continue the remainder steps.

Adding warmed nut or soy milk gives it a really hearty touch

Making Homemade Rice Crackers

Reaching over in that middle aisle, you grab a pack of the rice crackers you love soo much, and probably the only ones you can eat thanks to the long list of allergy foods that you can no longer  eat. The price shows $ 2.99 which at first seems steep, as you glance over at the organic NON-GMO version sitting at about $4.00, you  begin reading the ingredients to compare. It reads: Rice, Salt. Is it really worth paying 3 – 4 dollars for a packet of crackers which will only last a few hours? What happens when you have 2 packs in the week, or goodness should you have a party for all your gluten free, vegan friends, how on earth do you buy enough for them. Let not forget the kids that eat you out of house and home, and pretty much live on rice crackers. As the calculations of cost begin to pile in your brain, you can’t help but wonder; could I make this at home? At $2.00/ LB  Organic rice comes fairly reasonably and cheaper than a packet of non organic rice crackers. In truth you can make them at home, all you need is patience, drive and rice! So lets get started

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Ingredients :

1 cup of organic rice ( jasmine or short grain brown)

pinch of salt

2 table spoons olive oil

 

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Prep:

Rinse rice till water runs almost clear. Add 3 cups of filtered water to white jasmine rice or 4 cups to short grain brown.

Put on stove to boil.

Cook until soft but still damp. If you need to add more water for longer cooking add 1/2 – 1 cup .

Turn oven on to 220 degrees F

Once soft but not dried, empty into food processor, or heavy duty blender, or a bowl to use hand blender

Blend till smooth.

Mix pureed rice and oil in bowl with salt to taste. It should be very gooey.

Pour mixture on to a metal baking sheet and spread no higher than 1cm.

Place on top shelf  in oven for 30mins or until surface of mixture becomes rubbery.

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Remove tray and place cooking weights or 3-4 butter knives on top of surface

Increase temp to 300 degrees F

Place tray back in oven and bake for 30 – 40mins till the rice starts to harden.

Turn off oven and leave try in oven to cool.

Once cool break rice spread/cracker into bite size pieces

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Severe with hummus or guacamole for a lovely snack!

 

 

Gluten Free, Lactose Free Ginger Bread Cookies

I thought we could do this together as we go along and see how things turn out. It is 3pm on Monday December 23 2014, and I have just turned on the oven to 380 F.

In progress

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What you will need:

1 cup quinoa flour

1 cup brown rice flour

2 table spoons virgin coconut oil

2 table spoons olive oil

2 table spoons blackstrap molasses

2 teaspoon ground ginger or more if you like it spicey

1 min I am going to put the cookies in the freezer for five minutes…

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2 teaspoon of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of cardamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg

1/3 cup Demerara sugar

Preparation:

Mix oils, egg and spices together till smooth.

Next add baking soda and eggs and mix till eggs are blended

Now add molasses and mix

Add flours and mix will into a soft dough

Roll dough into a ball and press down till 1/2 inch thick.

Cut shapes with cutter and place on metal try, no baking sheets!

Place in freezer fro 5 minutes.

While that is happening, place oven on 380 F

Remove raw cookies from oven and place in oven.

Leave for 20 minutes on top shelf, 25 max. Any longer and it might start to burn. Enjoy!

The Healthy Nut Bar

Ah, coconut bliss. It’s morning tea time and all you really want is a little pick me up and a smoothie that will leave you feeling refreshed and healthy all at the same time. You reach for the little health snack you bought at the health food shop.  You know it’s health because it’s organic, gluten free, and high in protein. It’s not too big, not as filling, but it will do, cause you know it’s healthy. You couldn’t have this every day though, because the price tag per square will see you paying upwards of $3-$4, which will pretty much send you into poordum by weeks end. So what do you do? Well, make it yourself really. Stop denying the hippy in you, it’s need to make everything at home and just get on with it. Yes, it may be a disaster the first 5 times but you can be comforted in knowing the it cost less than buying 7 of those bars. So you give it one last go, because well, you are deep in now and there is no turning back, and you nail it!

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As you take your first bite, you taste every single flavor, and your taste buds are not confused, but excited about the next mouthful. Chewy with a hit of crunchiness it fills you bite after bite after bite.  You chase it with a warm cup of tea, at which point you are content. You could have another, and not feel guilty for it.

 

Be sure to use your bulk bins as much as possible as this will save you a lot more money than buy individual pre packed. With bulk bins you buy only what you need with smaller chance of wastage.

What you will need:

1/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios

1/2 cup of walnuts

1 cup Brazilian nuts

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup desiccated coconut

10 dried figs

2 table spoons olive oil

2 table spoon maple syrup

1 table spoons blackstap molasses

 

Preparation:

1. set your oven to 400 F

2. place nuts in a food processor, blender or hand blender cup and blend  into a meal. Don’t make it prefect, some chopped chunks are good!

3. Empty into a bowl, add desiccated coconut, and mix well

4. cut figs into thin or thick slices, mix well

5. add wet ingredients and mix well

6. spread into a square baking pan, to desired thickness. Do not use baking sheet. the heat from the pans metal on the bottom will help toast from underneath.

7. Place in oven for 7 mins – 10min do not turn on candy crush or your food will burn. Stay close by

8. Remove pan from oven. Let Stand for 1 -2 mins.  Using a sharp knife, cut columns and rows tables into your bake. Do not remove. Leave to completely cool.

9. No go over your lines again and separate individual squares. Store in container in fridge for extra firmness and enjoy daily

 

 

 

Pumpkin & Pistachio Risotto

Well, that’s different, but a gal’s got to eat. It looked totally amazing on the plate. Creamy and garnished, it looks ready to eat.  Fluffing a portion of round white rice with spots of purple green, you wonder if this idea, which perhaps was fulfilled in hast might have been a not so good idea. After all who cooks pistachios with rice. Ice cream, yes! Salted, yes. You had to take it a little further. As you stem through your other dinner options, the folk hits your mouth, and there it is. the subtleness of the truffle oil hits you first, musky and strong, but not over powering. As you continue to chew, the creaminess of the pistachio wakes your pallet. Yum. The sweetness of the butternut resets your tastebuds to begin the experience all over again!

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With a change in my diet, as a non lactose vegetarian, with food intolerances I had to find ways to increase my protein, calcium and other nutrients while still enjoying food, because well I love food. This risotto gave me the whole food experience without the addition of the processed substitutions.  It really was bliss.

 

Butternut is rich in beta carotene which converts to vitamin A to help you keep your immune system healthy and strong. With cold season on its way, getting as much high carotene foods in will help you fight illnesses better and recover alot faster.

The pistachios. Well, who knew these tiny purple and green nuts had this  much power! Another food not given enough credit. IT is from the cashew family, but it is able to provide so much more. Packed with protein, lutein, folate, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc,  Studies have also shown that they help to lower LDL so if you have a cholesterol risk, start eating. You will be putting these where ever you can!

Finally Thyme,  wonderful for the upper respiratory system, especially with coughs and infected tonsil. So when paired with the richness of butternut and superfood of pistachio. You should be feeling a mountain of health in no time.

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

half butternut pumpkin

3/4  risotto rice

1/2 red onion

1 cup shelled pistachio unsalted

2 cups vegetarian stock

3 cups filtered water

2 table spoons of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon black truffle oil

stick of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

watercress for garnish or more for nutritional benefits

 

 

Prep:

peel and chop butternut pumpkin in to nice small squares or just small abstract pieces. The smaller pieces allow for quicker cooking time.  Next chop onions and place in frying pan with pumpkin. Remember frying pan not pot. Add olive and turn stove to low heat. Cook pumpkin and onions for 7mins to 10mins.

Next rinse rice till water is clear. Drain and add to pumpkin and onions. Add thyme. Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes, to prevent stick and burning. Add stock and 1 cup of water. leave to simmer. Stir occasionally, remember you are cooking in a frying pan so water will evaporate faster. Add 2 cups of water to pan once water evaporates and leave to simmer. Stir ever 5 minutes until rice is soft.

Put pistachio in food processor with last 1 cup of water and blend smoother with small chunks. Stir through rich and leave to cook for 2 minutes. Stir through 1/2 teaspoon of black truffle oil. Add salt to taste. Garnish and enjoy!

 

Quinoa waffles – Coconut island banana nut bliss! wiggle wiggle wiggle

Starts like any other day. It’s waffle/ pancake day. He looks forward to Sunday mornings. As the sun shows it’s face and the light passes through the turquoise shades of the bedroom window, you feel his excitement build, as he tries patiently to wait for the rest of the house to wake. Tossing and turning he can no longer resist the urge to poke at me and his brother. A hand gently reaches over followed by a head peeking over the other side, “mama, are you awake?” he says loudly in his whispering voice.  I sense the hope in his voice that I will answer, which will lead to a domino effect of a 13month old summersaulting  over my body to find the voice that woke his slumber. I try to be still, in the hope that he will wait just a little longer, but my efforts are meaningless  and up pops beaver with a light in his eyes as he scans for his companion and best friend. Everyone is awake, it’s breakfast time ! As we make our way to the kitchen, a memory floods over me.  ‘ These waffles are going to take gluten free to another level.”

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It hits the pallet with the hint of coconut, just beneath the aroma of cinnamon. The texture is moist and smooth.  As you chew, the sharpness of the sunflower butter takes you to an exotic island, there you sit eating coconuts, bananas, & nuts. It’s a banana nut bliss. Full of richness and nutrients, every bit makes you feel nourished. and guilt free.

Stuff you need: makes – 6 waffles

quinoa – 1/2 cup : Well, what can I say but it has it’s own recognised day! Thats right this super food is pretty awesome and great to have when your diet has been cut down to a teeny tiny list laking in essential nutrients required to sustain you. It is abundant in protein, calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, zinc & potassium. It really is super

brown rice  –  1/2 cup : really really really rich in niacin! Yes something we all need to help us avoid hight cholesterol. It also helps in healing impaired digestion. It doesn’t stop there though, it has been shown to successfully treat acne as well as prevent extremely painful migraines. The winner in my book is the use of treatment in depression and impaired memory. With winter knocking at the door, this will be my go to vitamin to keep the winter blues away. So when in doubt this winter, eat brown rice

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virgin coconut oil – 1 table spoon: Thanks to the medium chain fatty acids, you won’t need bile to digest this fat. This is great news for those with fatty livers as it is absorbs through the gut. It also helps with protein metabolism, and we all know how we need our protein. So don’t over do it, but don’t fear it either.

olive oil –  50ml

egg –  2 egg whites & 1 yoke

baking powder – 1 teaspoon

rice milk (homemade) – 200ml

cinnamon – 1 teaspoon

banana – 1 medium (whole): potassium, potassium, potassium

sunflower seed butter –  2 table spoons:  Another seed on  my superfood list. If it’s not on yours, it should because it has everything! High in protein, niacin, rich in folate and calcium why would I eat anything else. It’s got an abundance of iron and a fair amount of potassium. Eating this will make your vegan intolerance free diet a breeze and delight.

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Prep:

First turn on your waffle iron.

Once you have done that, seriously mix together your flours and dry ingredients, oils, eggs, and rice milk. Do not put in the banana or sunflower butter. Be warned the coconut oil might have bits that are undissolved. Don’t worry about it, just mix it as well as you can and the heat from the waffle iron will do the rest. Place 4-5 tablespoons of mix on each side of the waffle iron plate. Close iron on mix and let cook. remove when lightly brown or to your crunch!

To serve: Place waffle on the place, top with at least 1 tablespoon of sunflower seed butter and spread over waffle. Top with banana and enjoy!  For added sweetness, dress with maple or agave syrup.

 

My food intolerances & allergies – the 4 week elimination diet

So though I have been on a health quest all my life due to wheat and intolerances, it never accrued to me that I might still be eating the wrong things. I decided it was time to have a visit with my naturopath as I still had some allergy symptoms but was still eating healthy. We sent my blood work to the lab to check for IgA, B, antigens to foods and the results were shocking! So for the next 4 weeks I will be on a elimination diet until my next visit with my doctor. I am optimistic that this will only make me better and even more healthier so I welcome the challenge. To follow my progress make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel. I will upload daily progress vblogs  http://www.youtube.com/user/Naturallyzoefriendly

Here are a list of foods I can not eat for the next 4 weeks:

dairy ,
coffee,
blueberries ,
cranberries,
honey,
sugar,
baker’s yeast,
brewer’s yeast,
fish ,
almonds,
amaranth,
kidney beans,
lima beans,
soy,
string beans,
buckwheat,
corn,
wheat,
gluten,
hazelnut,
lentil,
oat,
green peas,
pecan,
rye,
sesame seeds,
spelt,

Blueberries & Buckwheat squares oh yay – Our visit to Blue Dot Farm

Our visit to blue dot farm wonderful. The hour drive out of the city was wonderful and pleasant, nothing short of amazing. Watching the wonderful green lush of evergreens line the edge of the roads, I began to appreciate all that nature offers.

As we approached the farm just off the main road, I began to feel my excitement build. My heart began to palpate and I felt as though I could not breathe. I could feel every beat as my heart pumped with glee.  We were about to harvest our own food.

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A two story home sat at the edge of the field, silent and still. It was early and there was little movement. Surrounded by trees and bush, it was a sight of tranquility. As we walked towards the building, I felt my mind confirm. “this is right, this is what we are suppose to do”. Build a relationship with our farmers. Like us they are people and not just a farm, but people that put their passion into providing us with nourishing food. To repay them and say thank you it made sense to physically say thank you and help harvest and show our appreciation for all the work they had done.

The bushes were new, young and organic. None more than two years old. They were beautiful. Filled with clusters of fresh, deep blue berries that were firm to touch and sweet to taste. Time past and buckets filled. We roamed the lanes in search of more berries and more peace. It was therapy. I began to sense a deep calm as I stood among the trees, observing the enjoyment among all those involved. The children laughed and ran with joy, picking and packing. They understood, a deep appreciation was being set in them.

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The summer has been brilliant. I can not find any fault with the wonderful warmth we were lucky to have this year.  Appreciating every ounce of D providing rays even on the hottest of days. As the summer comes to a close, I eye the many punnetts  of blueberries upon the shelf, knowing that not long from now, they will be a distant memory until the summer returns once again. I remember our farm host that allow us to be a part of their process. I remember the faces behind the boxes of clear plastics sealed with rubber bands. I remember were they began and how far they traveled.

We love making these delicious squares. I love that it is dairy free, margarine free, and low in sugar. They are easy to make anyone can do it. They make great snacks for school lunch boxes and morning and afternoon teas. Once made they can be frozen and eaten over a few weeks. They are awesome.

Buckwheat &  Blueberry Squares

What you will need:

1 cup of fresh organic blueberries

1 !/2 cup organic buckwheat flour

2 eggs

6 tablespoons of olive oil

1 level teaspoon aluminium – free baking powder

4 tablespoons of maple syrup

1/2 cup almond/soy/rice milk ( your choice)

2 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses

Preperation:

Mix  olive oil, maple, molasses, eggs, and baking powder together until mixture looks creamed. Next add buckwheat flour and non dairy milk and mix well. Finally add blueberries and mix through.

Set oven to 400 F. Oil pan and place mix in pan. Place in oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until ready. Let stand to cool. Serve.

Almond Milk Made Simple – What!

Wow, is the first thought that comes to mind as the rich white liquid hits the pallets of the mouth. It’s fresh and cool. The hint of cardamon is enough to have you wanting more. You remember you only made 6 cups, so you better go easy. Next time will be even better. You have complete control over how thick and rich you make it, from lite to full. Why has it taken soo long to get you here when all you need was just a few little ingredients.  You know the benefits of almonds, from the richness in Vitamin E, the high fiber, the vitamin B, protein, calcium, and mono saturated fats. You know the phytosterols in it helps to lower cholesterol. You know that you need to be aware that almonds can still be an allergy and intolerant food so be aware.  Yes, you knew all that. You also remembered to save your almond pulp to make desiccated almond to add to your granola and backing after all it’s all about wholefoods  and complete foods to get the full benefit of your almonds.

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Soo What Do You Need To Make Your Own Almond Milk:

1 1/2 cup of almond. (organic /pesticide free)

7 cups of filtered water

1/2 teaspoon of cardamon seeds

sieve or cheese muslin clothe

mason jars

blender/food processor/ hand held mixer

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Prep:

Place almonds in a container with 1 cup of filtered water. Leave in fridge for 24-36  hours. Make sure to cover it.

Sterilize your mason jars.

Next. Empty water out and place almonds and cardamon in processor along with the reminder 6 cups of filter water. If you would like your milk to be lite, add an additional 2 cups of filter water. Process until water is white and almond is broken down.

Pour through sieve or muslin cloth. Save almond pulp for making desiccated almond to add to your backing or granola. It’s all about wholefoods.

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Place in empty sterilsed mason jars and store.

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Enjoy!