Where do you get your protein? & Making Blue Dye

You know you’re a foodie when you spend half your pay on hemp seeds and acai berries, and can’t wait to get into the kitchen and spend 5 hours making a mess (and then cleaning it up). And you know your friends are too if they are on the phone begging you to tell them what you just made.

In my kitchen tonight, I had goji berries, spirulina, golden pea protein powder and hemp seeds, plus the usual suspects: flaxseeds, tahini, dates, raw cashews, pepitas. Some macadamia, walnuts and a red cabbage completed things.

Why red cabbage? In half-asleep half-awake land last week I had a vision that I wanted to make a reality. First, I required blue dye.

Cut cabbage.

Boil cabbage.

Strain cabbage.

Reduce liquid.

Add a teensy tiny bit of bi-carb soda. If it turns green, add lemon. Set aside.

Freshly grind nuts and seeds- here is macadamia, cashews, walnuts, pepitas, hemp seeds and flax.

Mix something wet and something dry together in a bowl with your hands until everything is used up, and you have this:

You can also add cocoa to stuff.

Everybody love parfait

It’s been a busy few weeks.

Lots of cooking, lots of travelling, lots of trial and error. Lots of smoothies, and lots of strange new ingredients that the jury is still out on.

Apparently spirulina in a glass of water is the limit to my healthy-hippyness. Shudder.

Exploring Sydney has resulted in some new favourite haunts, like Dr Earth in Newtown and Nourishing Quarter in Surry Hills. I have tasted the best vegan cheesecake and rosewater flan of my life in the past two weeks, and both were naturally sweetened. Winning.

Finally back into my own kitchen, like coming home. Nothing like a decent cook-sesh to straighten me out.

Berry Crumble.

Kanten (a macrobiotic jelly).

Parfait! Everybody love parfait. (Kanten layered with banana custard and tofu cream).

Sticky-date with caramel sauce.

Three desserts and three sauces later, and I’m trying to figure out why I feel slightly nauseous.

White kumera & pea curry FOOD to balance it out, as found here.

My friends are wonderful cooks, and when they tell me about their dinners I wonder why I am the one posting things online. It is a strange habit, but one that makes me happy.

And we could all do with more of what makes us happy. 🙂

White Macadamia Protein Cookies

My treat for this week: Vital protein powder. Which leads naturally to: Cookies.

1 C brown rice flour.
1/2 C vanilla protein powder.
1/2 C Rice malt syrup.
1/2 C macadamia oil or nuttelex
1 tsp guar gum.
1 tsp baking powder.
1/4 C macadamia pieces
CINNAMON because it’s amazing in all things
Generous pinch celtic sea salt.

Optional: White cocoa butter.
Tahini- also amazing in all things
Some arrowroot powder.

Mix with hands, get messy. Roll into balls, bake until brown at 200ish for 10-15ish minutes.

Makes 8 cookies. Best eaten fresh. The protein powder makes them a little drier than usual so either wetten up your batter, or dunk them in tea.

Note that the amino acid profile of the protein powder once cooked is reduced, so if body-building DO NOT BAKE YOUR PROTEIN POWDER INTO COOKIES. ^_^

Explorations… and Sorbet.

Sunny Saturday finds me at Leisure Coast Fruit Market, Fairy Meadow. A long overdue trip. The temperature inside the market is goosebump-chilly, but I spend a good hour or so carefully perusing the shelves anyway. The mass of goodies are notated in my ‘Product list’.

Anyway, what I really came here to get, was bananas. To make Dun Dun DUNN! …Sorbet. Although you probably surmised that from the blog title. Without further ado:

1. Slice ripe bananas.

2. Freeze.

3. Blend with other ingredients.

4. Nom.

Exhibit A: 1 Banana combined with 6 frozen strawberries…

..sprinkled over with choc vanilla nibs.

Exhibit B: The sky/your imagination/cooking skill is the limit.

Left to right: Banana strawberry; Caramelised carob pecan; Cinnamon.

Coat pecans in sticky liquid of choice (carob molasses in this case, though maple syrup would also work) and watchfully heat in oven until coating caramelises.

In some blenders, you may need to add a liquid (such as rice or almond milk) to facilitate the blending. Pause blending and stir often. Mushing with fork helps too.

Other sorbet versions such as those here suggest peanut butter mixed with cocoa powder. Have fun kids, and post any cool variations you come up with 🙂

Recipe for disaster

My cooking tends to parallel my emotional life. I have been reading ‘The Gabriel Method’, about how important it is to not starve yourself of anything, be it the nutrients your body craves or the yearnings of your heart. I move away from myself, and then I return and wonder how I ever left. Sorting through interesting emotions, I tend to find myself creating equally interesting kitchen concoctions. I have been cooking sporadically and with less vigour than usual, with my attention instead on curling my hair and dancing in the sunshine, moving house, getting a job, enrolling in post-grad, completing my travel blog, and publishing a recipe book. And yet from amongst the mess emerged this strange and wonderful creation. For a few days I wasn’t sure exactly what it was I had created, coining it my ‘unintentional flan’ in reflection of its distinctly egg-like texture. While eating the final mouthful of the dish (literally), it hit me like a ten tonne truck. I was tasting a long forgotten but adored treat from my childhood.

Custard Tart.

Prior to my wholefood, balanced life, I used to inhaled this artificially coloured, dairy and sugar laden dessert as if it constituted food. And now I had created my very own. Less pretty, definitely. In an inappropriate base, and not as sweet as I’d like. But edible, and therefore worth sharing.

Custard Tart.

500gram silken tofu
1/4 cup 1/2 C maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut cream
1 tbsp nuttelex
1-2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp agar agar
vanilla extract
pinch of ground cloves

pour runny mix into base. sprinkle over with cinnamon. put in oven at 180 for an hour or so. cross fingers.

Speaking of base: I took an awesome looking recipe, and tailored it to what was in my kitchen. Up to a point it was delicious; however I Do Not Advise following in my pepita and millet-y footsteps. At least not in this instance. Get more pecans in the first place and avoid needing to substitute. The original pecan base recipe can be found here.

1 cup oats
1 cup 2 cups pecans
1 tsp nuttelex
1/4 C 1/2C maple syrup
some leftover buckwheat flour
1/4 cup puffed millet
pinch bicarb

Blend. press into greased pan. bake til brown.

In keeping with my general weirdness at the moment, and to compensate for it not being sweet enough, I topped mine with mixed banana and pumpkin. Don’t do that. (Ever. Seriously). Get the pecan base right the first time, or put it in a gluten-free pastry. Add in the extra sweetener, and you’ll be good to go.

The mission for a balanced, informed and wise perspective on wholefoods continues. On how to not diet (The Gabriel Method), On sugar addiction (Potatoes not prozac), On honey here, and for other glorious links (as always) check my Facebook page. Bless. xx

Vegan Sweet Potato Bake

Thinly slice 1-2 large sweet potatoes. Cover with water in baking dish and place in pre-heating oven while preparing other ingredients.

Make a roux. I used 2 tbsp arrowroot, 1 tbsp corn flour, 1 tbsp nuttelex 1 tbsp macademia oil; any equivalent thickener will do. (Roux- one part flour to one part oil; heat until starch molecules open and become white).

Gradually add 1 tsp of vege stock and 2 cups soy/rice milk.

Caramelise one large leek according to instructions here.

Layer cream sauce, sweet potato, caramelised leek, drizzled tahini, and roughly chopped fresh organic silverbeet.

Top with pine nut sauce found here,  nutritional yeast and gluten free rice crumbs or equivelent.

Cook until browned and potatos soft: an hour at 200ºC.

Banana cake and other wonderful

The summer brought with it good news:

Bananas under two dollars, after the ridiculous $12.98 through winter.

Neither of my housemates are big bakers, but there has been a banana bake recipe on the fridge basically since I moved in, and one or the other seem to bake the cake or bread at least once at week. My mum used to make similar and the delicious, caramel smell has been torture. Torture, I tell you.

So, I began.

Effort one had too much bicarb. Effort two stuck to the roof of my mouth. Effort three burned, but with the edges trimmed was devoured as a friends birthday cake.

Today, excess from a friend’s parents garden landed me a bag of tiny and suspect looking bananas. I grimaced and whined my way through peeling them. I poked and sniffed at their squishyness once they were in the bowl. I mixed according to Banana Cake Attempt #3 and then…. BAM. A batter that tastes like mum’s.

This one goes out to the bananas.

Vegan, glutenfree Banana cake/ bread
3-4 overripe bananas
1/2-1 c sweetener
1/3-1/2 c rice bran oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla concentrate
1 1/2 c brown rice flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 heaped tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp bi carb soda
1 tsp baking powder

Stir-it up, lil darlin… Stir it up. Pour into greased/lined tin. Bake until the knife comes out clean.
(Approx 40 min at 200°C)

Adjust the sweetener according to how sweet the bananas are. The older they are, the more the sugars will have caramelised.

Oh and… I am finally jumping on the lentil bandwagon. A little belated, for a glutenfree vegan. Eh.

Find the recipe here. I added baby spinach at the end, and stirred through a little extra cumin. I served this dish with grated tofu and mushrooms, with a tablespoon of vege spread stirred through.

Om nom nom.