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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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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Sesame Tuna

This is a very simple and easy way to enjoy a fresh, high quality piece of tuna. I find, it is a perfect entrée meal to share or a snack for two on the weekend.

I was served a similar dish in one of the Melbourne’s restaurants years ago and since, I have been using this idea to experiment with different coatings and sauces. This method is so versatile. So, next time you see a beautiful piece of tuna in the shop, get it and have a try.

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Sesame Tuna

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Breakfast Cookies

I created Teff cookies and I found them magical. First, one cookie keeps you going for a few hours and also, they are great for weight management.

Besides Teff’s high-fibre and high-protein qualities, which were mentioned in the previous posts for Teff recipes, this super grain also contains vitamins K, B1, B2, B3, B6 and C, which is unique for a grain. Combination of minerals is also admirable, just a few to mention: copper, zinc, magnesium, iron (which is easily absorbed), and what is the most attractive for me is high amounts of calcium. If your body, like mine, doesn’t agree with dairy products, Teff is a very good option for calcium consumption. This array of vitamins and minerals found in Teff makes it a healthy, weight-managing and bone-strengthening food.

There is also a nut butter ingredient in my recipe. My choice is a cashew nut butter, which I love using for my desserts. However, a similar result can be achieved by using peanut butter. Peanuts have more protein than any of the other nuts. Also, peanuts champion the other nuts with plant Sterols, which can help lower bad cholesterol in your body and reduce the risk of heart disease. Cashews have the lowest fat content (the same as pistachios), although peanuts aren’t far behind.

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Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

1.5 cups Teff flour
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Pumpkin Bread Recipe

In addition to being healthy, pumpkin also contains another healthy ingredient, that is pepitas, or pumpkin seeds. Pepitas are very rich in minerals such as zinc, magnesium and iron. They are also high in protein content, about 20%. Unfortunately, like many other nuts and seeds, pepitas contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid, or phytate, that can make all the previously discussed important nutrients less bioavailable when you consume them. These anti-nutrients bind to minerals, especially zinc and iron, and the minerals cannot be absorbed.

I found a study that was specifically designed to research this factor in pumpkin seeds. It concluded, ‘The subsequent digestion under intestinal conditions showed that Zn becomes less accessible, indicating that antinutrients like naturally present phytate may be responsible for complex formation in the small intestines, thus reducing the potential for Zn bioavailability.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 128, Issue 4, 15 October 2011, Pages 839-846)

So, if you plan on consuming seeds or nuts on a regular basis, it would be wise to soak or sprout them, that is what doctors advise. Unfortunately, ‘the soaking of whole seeds for 24 h can lead to leaching of iron and, to a lesser extent, of zinc ions into the soaking medium.’ The same applies to all legumes and grains. The good news, it was also proved that fermentation can completely hydrolyze the phytic acid. (Food Chemistry, Volume 138, Issue 1, 1 May 2013, Pages 430-436) And by the way, the heating also causes phytic acid reduction.

In this recipe I suggest to bake the whole pumpkin. But don’t worry the baked pumpkin can be stored very well and there are other recipes where the baked pumpkin can be used. See the links:

Quinoa Porridge

Barley Risotto

Pumpkin Soup

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Pumpkin Bread

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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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Teff Polenta Recipe

In Tzatziki and Teff Crackers post we discussed the health benefits of teff. This recipe will be loved by those who enjoy corn polenta but wish it had less carbs and more protein. Adding olives and cheese is just my improvisation that adds more flavours, you can also experiment with herbs and seeds. This polenta is best to accompany any  dish with a sauce. Alternatively, polenta slices can be toasted and served with a soup.

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Teff Polenta

Ingredients:

5 cups water
1 cup polenta
1 cup teff flour
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