Hemp Seed Falafel

When I think of Hemp Seed now I have association with the words: Fatty acids, Protein and Minerals. It is amazing how well balanced the nutrition of the hemp seed is. It is one of a few plants where we get not only high level of protein but also a good level of fatty acids, this allows our body to process and use this high quality protein. In addition, we get magnesium, calcium, iron and copper from hemp seeds, if only to mention a few minerals, and vitamin E.

There was even a research for the impact of adding hemp seeds to the meat products, which showed dramatic improvements in quality and demand!

One research work caught my eye, ‘Chemical constituents of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) seed with potential anti-neuroinflammatory activity‘ (Yuefang Zhou, February 2018). They isolated two new compounds along with 18 known compounds. And what is wonderful about it, they found “The results laid a solid foundation for additional research on hemp seed related to its value against neurodegenerative disease.” This is due to a new compound coumaroylamino glycoside derivative (2), which exhibited significant inhibitory effects by an anti-neuroinflammatory activity.

And if you try to find out the health benefits of Hemp Seeds, you will find lots of articles on Internet. The main five evidence-based benefits that are listed in many sources are: Risk of heart disease reduction or boost heart health; Skin disorders improvement or anti-ageing effect; PMS and menopause symptoms reduction or emotional stability; Digestion aid; Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases aid or brain protection.

Hemp seeds inspired me for my version of this Super Healthy Falafels, they are crispy on outside and soft and rich inside. Serve with this traditional Tzatziki with a modern twist. Enjoy, and stay healthy!

Hemp Seed Falafel

Ingredients:

2 can organic chickpea
2 cup hulled hemp seeds
200g organic spinach, (1 pack of finely chopped and frozen baby spinach)
50ml light olive oil
2 tablespoon pea or brown rice protein (alternatively brown rice flour)
1 small garlic clove, finely grated or minced
1 cup parsley and coriander, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt as desired

Method

1. A couple of hours before, thaw the spinach in the sieve, do not press the juices.
2. Switch the oven on to 185C.
3. Process hemp seeds in a coffee/spices grinder in five-six batches by pressing only for two seconds, otherwise it will cake.
4. Drain chickpeas well and process in a food processor only by doing three pulses. If any whole chickpeas are left, you can squeeze them between your fingers in the next step.
5. Mix all the ingredients, and make 16 falafels. Each is about 60g a wheel of 5cm in diameter and 1cm thick.
6. Use a shallow tray with some oil in it – the amount enough to cover half of the tray only by turning it. Then with the help of your fingers or spatula distribute to cover the whole tray.
7. Place all falafels on the tray and bake at 185C for ten minutes. Then take the tray out, turn the falafels over and bake for another ten minutes. Serve warm with Tzatziki dip or plain yoghurt.

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Cauliflower and Almond Soup

How versatile cauliflower is! It is a pack of vitamins and fibre. Cauliflower belongs to the same family as cabbage, broccoli, and most of green leaf vegetables.

Its taste is mild, creamy and slightly sweet, that makes it a perfect candidate to be partnered with delicate almond flavours. I am delighted with this combination, this is why my soup doesn’t have many ingredients and it has two simple steps to cook. A perfect soup for spring or autumn, hope you will enjoy it too.

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Cauliflower and Almond Soup

Ingredients:

1 L filtered water
1 L almond milk
1 Kg fresh cauliflower
1 leek white (about 20 cm)
Seasoning
Optional: 0.5 g saffron

Method:

1. Separate all the cauliflower florets and finely slice the leek. If using saffron soak it in little water.
2. Cook the vegetables in the water with seasoning until soft, then add the saffron.
3. Process the soup until smooth by gradually adding the almond milk. Serve warm.

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Pumpkin and Chia Jam

Yet another Pumpkin recipe!

If you’ve managed to quit the sugar or trying to, but craving for a jam, try this recipe. You will love it!

Maybe you have some baked pumpkin left from Pumpkin Bread recipe, then this will be a great use for it.

This recipe also contains chia seeds; such a good source of calcium, protein, magnesium and phosphorus. Enjoy and stay healthy.

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Pumpkin and Chia Jam

Ingredients:

300 g ripe sweet pumpkin, alternatively roasted and ready-to-use pumpkin
2 Golden Delicious apples
2 tablespoon Chia seeds
1 tablespoon honey, for diabetic version use 1 teaspoon of Stevia sugar or add no sweetener at all

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 185C. If using ready-to-use pumpkin go to step 3.
2. Remove the pumpkin seeds, cover and bake for 50 minutes or until soft.
3. Bake apples for 25 minutes, or until they start collapsing. If baking pumpkin, add them into the oven half-way.
4. Remove apple skin and the middle, place the soft apple into a food processor along with chia seeds and honey..
5. Transfer all the soft pumpkin including any liquid collected in the pumpkin into the food processor.  Process all ingredients until smooth and put into a glass jar to refrigerate.

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Cloudy Spinach Soup

Spinach is very versatile and it is easy to incorporate spinach into a diet. That is great because spinach has so many health benefits. Vitamin C, or ascorbate, is chemically the simplest vitamin. Unlike humans, plants can synthesise ascorbate, accumulating it up to 10% of the total water-soluble ‘carbohydrates’, according to research findings. The washing process of pre-packaged spinach, which uses circulating water with chlorine-based sanitiser, “can be a potential source of ascorbate loss and younger plant tissues often have higher ascorbate concentrations than older ones, e.g. in spinach.” (Food Chemistry 233 (2017) 237–246) So, if you are buying spinach for a salad, try the baby spinach that is sold unpacked and wash it yourself.
The following is very interesting too:
“Dark green leafy vegetables are primary food sources for lutein and b-carotene, however these bioactives have low bioavailability… Lutein liberation and in vitro accessibility were three-fold higher from spinach puree compared to whole leaves. Results for b-carotene liberation were similar, whereas that of b-carotene accessibility was only about two-fold.” (Food Chemistry 224 (2017) 407–413) This is good to know, well supports my recipe for Tabouleh. They call lutein ‘eye vitamin’.

Spinach can be added to many savoury dishes, raw or cooked. I prefer cooked spinach in winter and raw in summer. We are in the middle of the winter right now in Australia. And, here I am again with a new soup recipe. Please enjoy!

Cloudy Spinach Soup

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Marinated Zucchini Salad

Courgette (Zucchini) is a simple and affordable fruit that is harvested immature. Some information about zucchini was collected in the other post for Zucchini Patties recipe. Young zucchini have a subtle taste and they are perfect for being used raw in salads. If you like cucumbers try to substitute them with young zucchini and you will increase your vitamin intake. Below recipe uses uncooked zucchini but not completely raw!

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Marinated Zucchini Salad

Ingredients:

 5 small zucchini
100g soft goat cheese

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Hawthorn Tea Recipe

Hawthorn (Greek Crataegus) is a beautiful plant that grows in all continents now. The leaves, flowers and berries have health benefits and they are used to produce medicine for heart diseases.

The British Homeopathic Review revealed of Dr. Green (Ireland):
“… For many years had a reputation for the cure of heart disease that caused patients to flock to him from all parts of the United Kingdom. He cured the most of them and amassed considerable wealth by means of his secret. 

For, contrary to the code, he, though a physician in good standing, refused to reveal the remedy to his professional brethren. After his death … (in 1894), his daughter, a Mrs. Graham, revealed the name of the remedy her father had used so successfully. It is Crataegus oxycanthus …”

The health qualities of Hawthorn are still being researched:
‘This study was to investigate the anticancer effects of the peel polyphenolic extract (HPP) and flesh polyphenolic extract (HFP) from hawthorn fruit in human MCF-7 breast cancer cells. It was found that the polyphenol and flavonoid contents of HPP were significant higher than that of HFP. Both HPP and HFP inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner with …, suggesting that HPP was more effective against MCF-7 cells than HFP. … All these findings indicate that hawthorn fruit, especially its peel, is an excellent source of natural chemopreventive agents in the treatment of breast cancer.” (Food Chemistry, Volume 141, Issue 2, 15 November 2013, Pages 1008-1018)

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Hawthorn tree, Daylesford


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Pumpkin Soup Recipe

The pumpkin is a large fruit that is so versatile that it can be used in many sweet and savoury dishes. Pumpkin is packed with vitamins and minerals. Of note, it is very high in vitamin A and C, potassium and the minerals copper and phosphorous. Pumpkin is also very low in calories.

NPK fertilizer is often used to grow pumpkin. NPK stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. One study from 2012 evaluated the influence of NPK fertilizer on protein, fibre, fat and carbohydrates, which collectively are called proximate content. The main focus of the study was to assess the effect of NPK fertiliser on antioxidant activities and antioxidant phenolic compounds in immature and mature fruits of pumpkin. It was found that ‘Between the control and the highest fertilizer rate, proximate compositions decreased by 7–62% while the antioxidant profile decreased by 13–79% for both immature and mature fruits. Across all the measured parameters, mature fruit had higher proximate contents and higher antioxidant concentrations.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 135, Issue 2, 15 November 2012, Pages 460-463)  It seems like buying very ripe pumpkin is a good idea. The conclusion made was ‘ For the high health value of pumpkin fruits to be maintained, little or no NPK fertilizer should be applied.’ Unfortunately, considering NPK can be organic fertilizer, how do we know how much of it was used in the pumpkin we buy?

Here it is my version of pumpkin soup that can convert anyone into becoming a pumpkin soup lover.

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Pumpkin Soup

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