Summer Beetroot Soup

Another superfood in our collection – beetroot and its leaves. Beetroot juice is very powerful, and it is taken in small dozes, about 70 ml a day.

‘Beetroot juice during periods of psychological stress protects against cold symptoms. Preliminary evidence suggests particular benefits in asthma, which could translate into reduced asthma exacerbations due to respiratory infections.’ (Physiology & Behaviour, Volume 202, 1 April 2019, Pages 45-51)

Interesting facts about organic beetroot were concluded in this study below. ‘Although our analysis showed that both organic and conventional growing systems had similar average levels of the flavonoids kaempferol-3-O-glucoside and luteolin in the final products, the organic beetroot showed significantly higher contents of total betalains and total polyphenols, as well as higher total antioxidant capacities, when compared to the conventionally grown samples. …In view of the crucial role of the cultivar, it is therefore difficult to guarantee that organic rather than conventional beetroot in the shopping basket will result in better nutritional quality for the consumer.’ (LWT, Volume 116, December 2019, Article 108552)

We suggest this beautiful and delicious cold soup, perfect for summer and detox after festive season. You will love it!

If you want to sprout your own mung beans, it is a good idea. you can store them in the fridge at least for a week and use them in salad, soups, rice dishes, also as a snack. See Coconut Mung Beans for a method.

After-Festive-Season Detox Beetroot Soup

Ingredients:

1 kg beetroot
15-17 green small beet leaves
2 tablespoons linseed/ Flax seeds, ground
Lebanese cucumbers, about 2 per 3 people
Sprouted mung beans, about 2 tablespoons per person
Green chives finely chopped, about 2 tablespoons per person
Fresh dill finely chopped, about 1 tablespoon per person
1 small lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil.

Method:

1. Peel beetroots and cook them in 3L of filtered water.
2. Once beetroots are ready (medium-large size beetroot requires about 50 minutes to cook), transfer them to cool down. Finely chop the leaves and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
3. Grind linseed in a coffee grinder, if you have whole seeds. Squeeze the lemon. Mix all these into the soup, also add salt and pepper to your taste.
4. Grate beetroots on coarse side and put back into the pot. Now, the base soup is ready. Place the pot in refrigerator to cool or until the serving time.
5. When the soup is to be served, peel cucumbers and cut lengthwise into quarters, then dice into 5mm pieces, and save them in a dish. Finely chop the chives and dill into two separate dishes also.
6. Place into each soup plate: two tablespoons of diced cucumbers and two tablespoons of mung beans. Pour about 2-3 ladders of cold soup, and top with green herbs. Optional, one tablespoon of olive oil per serving.

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Morello Cherry Trifle Sugar-Gluten-Dairy-Free

It is great when it is a season for Morello cherries, known under other names Sour Cherry or Tart Cherry. The superfood qualities of Morello cherries are researched in other posts, for example Cherry Clafoutis.

This Cherry Trifle summer recipe may sound sophisticated, but it is actually an easy recipe, so, please, don’t be scared by a number of ingredients and steps. The beauty of this recipe is that you can use this method with any other seasonal fruit in your region, just replace fruit and jelly. It also tastes divine with Mangoes, however please use toasted and crushed hazelnuts with Mango Trifle instead of almonds. For this post I am using Cherry Trifle, just because Morello Cherries are my favourite. Each component has a great taste, and when the trifle is constructed, the taste is unforgettable!

Cherry Trifle

Jelly Ingredients:

500ml cherry juice, at room temperature
10g Agar-Agar
500ml filtered water, warm

Custard Ingredients:

2 packs coconut milk powder (enough to make 600 ml of coconut milk)
600 ml hot water
2 eggs
3/4 cup rice flour
150 ml water
1/4 cup Birch sugar
1/2 cup Stevia and Monk Fruit sugar
50 g Ghee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Biscuits Ingredients:

2 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 cup Stevia and Monk Fruit sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla exract
1/4 cup rice flour (tapioca flour for Paleo)
1/2 cup almond flour

Fruits and Nuts:

700g Morello cherries / sour cherries / tart cherries
100g sliced almonds / almond flakes

Method:

1. Jelly: mix Agar-Agar into 200ml water and bring to boil constantly mixing with a silicon spatula. Immediately add Stevia and Monk fruit sugar and stir with spatula until it dissolves and bubbles. Gradually combine with juice and the rest of water, remove from the heat, then place in the fridge to set.

2. Custard. Turn oven on at 120C. Use a tray covered with baking paper to distribute two packs of coconut powder over it and put into oven for 3-5 minutes. If needed, turn off the fan to prevent burning. It should be of light creamy colour.

3. Biscuits: Increase the oven temperature to 175C. Beet eggs and lemon juice well in a mixer until volume increases twice, add sugars and vanilla, beat further until all dissolved. Fold in flours and spread the dough in the square silicon tray, bake at 175 for 12 minutes.  When the base cake is ready, turn over on the board to cool.

4. Custard:

– Make coconut milk using only half of hot water, only 300 ml.

– Beat the eggs and mix in the flours. Add coconut milk into eggs mixture and get a consistent smooth mixture.

– Heat 150 ml water with sugar in a saucepan, stir to dissolve and get to simmering state. Add the rest of hot water (300 ml) and put the saucepan on medium flame.

– Add the eggs mixture in and constantly mix with a spatula, going through all the surfaces inside the saucepan to prevent burning or forming lumps. Once the custard thickens switch off the flame and mix well.

– If the custard formed lumps, just use a blender to smooth the custard out, it will be shiny and smooth. Combine the ghee in and put the saucepan into the fridge to cool.

5. Cut the baked base into biscuits about 18 pieces. Place them around inside the bowl vertically. When the jelly is almost set, crush the jelly into the bowl but keep all the biscuits in place. Make another layer of cherries over the jelly. Pour the cold custard over the cherries, cover the bowl and place in the fridge until serving time.

6. While the oven is hot, place almond flakes in for a few minutes until they just start changing colour. Save until serving time.

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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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Pulled Lamb Shoulder Bake

Although I miss researching new superfoods, this is just a warm home made dish, which did not require any research, only imagination and creativity. I think it is a perfect meal for a Melbourne winter weekend.

And in the next post, I will research about Spirulina and Hemp seeds! Equally excited about this recipe as well.

So here, my very new recipe was a success from the first try. I still made it three times for the consistency of the recipe result. Please note, the first step for preparing Lamb Shoulder can be used as a separate recipe, just add a few peeled potatoes in the same bag. Using the oven bag makes a big difference for the result. I used to make this lamb shoulder on its own and had to share the recipe on many requests.

When you have all the eggplants sliced, choose the most beautiful 10 slices of similar size for the top layer and take care of them.

Magic Tablecloth.

Pulled Lamb Shoulder Bake

Ingredients:

1 Lamb Shoulder trimmed
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 thick eggplants
500g ripe tomatoes, skinned and diced
1 onion, finely diced
2 capsicums, finely diced
150g button mushrooms, no stems, sliced
1/4 cup Besan flour
2x100g Manchego cheese, grated
1/4 cup stock (or water)
salt and pepper

* deep baking tray approximately 23cm x 43cm; baking paper

Method:

1. Switch oven to 200C. Rub lamb shoulder with salt, pepper and garlic, place into the baking bag and tie. Put the tray with lamb into the oven. Once the temperature is at 200C put timer to 30 minutes, after that reduce to 150C and cook for an hour. As the last step, reduce to 100C and and keep the meat for two hours. If the lamb is done a night before, you can switch the oven off after the 150C step is completed and leave the lamb in the oven overnight for the best result.

2. Once the meat is cool enough to touch, pull all the meat apart. Cover and put aside.

3. Cut the eggplants into 5-7 mm thick slices, and keep them in lightly salted water for at least 10 minutes. Then bake them in single layers for 10 minutes at 180C, using the oiled baking paper (the eggplant slices should not brown).

4. In the deep pan, cook onion, garlic, tomatoes, and capsicum on low heat for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can use ready to use 800g of your favourite tomato and capsicum based sauce. Mix in the Besan flour and half of the cheese, also the stock, lamb, and mushrooms. Heat the sauce through, simmer on low for 5 minutes and switch off the stove.

5. Use the deep tray to make a single layer using the egg plant slices, then distribute half of the lamb sauce. Repeat with another layer of eggplants and lamb. Make the last layer using the ten best eggplant slices and evenly cover with the second half of cheese. Cover the tray with aluminium and bake at 180C for 35 minutes. For crispy cheese and eggplant top layer, bake without aluminium for 30 minutes.

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Buckwheat Mushroom Pie

This has been my longest trial so far. Maybe it shows I crave pastries. Maybe because I have been trying to make it gluten free. Apology to my coeliac (celiac) followers, but I could not. If you want to experiment, try to substitute Spelt flour with Brown Rice flour. Although, the flavour will be different, the overall experience will be very close.

So, here we are!

Magic Tablecloth

Buckwheat Mushroom Pie

Ingredients:

Base:
1 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup very hot water
25g ghee (or butter, if not allergic to dairy)
3 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup goat, sheep or greek yoghurt, vegan is OK too.
1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg
1 cup wholemeal spelt flour

Filling:
350g button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
15g ghee (or butter)
2 tablespoon wholemeal spelt flour
salt and pepper
*silicone baking form about 18-20cm

Method:

1. Season mushrooms well and cook with garlic in butter for 5 minutes on low-medium heat, reduce the cooking time if juices start to separate. Add two tablespoons of spelt flour, heat through, and switch off the heat. Cover and let it rest until step 5.
2. Make a dough from buckwheat flour by gradually adding the hot water. Make a consistent smooth mixture.
3. Dissolve soda in lemon juice to react, then combine all the dough ingredients in the order of the recipe, mix well until consistent.
4. Use a half of the dough to spread over the baking form and bake for 5-7 mins at 175C.
5. Distribute the mushrooms over the base not too close to the walls. Then, using a spatula, distribute the rest of the dough over the top also filling the gap at the walls. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes with fan or for 45 minutes without fan. Serve warm.

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Protein Cookies

If you want to be lean, you need protein. If you are working out in gym, you need protein. If you want energy, you need protein. Our modern lifestyle is not very convenient for making steaks every day, and if you are vegetarian your options are limited too. The recommended daily protein intake is 0.8 g per 1 kg of human’s weight. So, for someone with 60kg weight, you need to consume 48 g of protein every day for an average active life style.

So, we see more products on the shelves  that promise a quick and easy protein fix. However, if you read the ingredients you will find that they might have a high level of carbs.

The protein cookies you see on the picture are not sweet, and they are not just savoury, they have a special flavour. This recipe has about 116 g of protein in total. I love these cookies, as they can be eaten on its own for snacking or with hot beverages. The best way to enjoy these protein cookies is with Paleo broth.

Protein Cookies Recipe

Ingredients:

3/4 cup pea protein (70g)
1/4 cup hemp seed protein (12g)
1/2 cup teff flour (10gr)
1/2 cup quinoa flour (4gr)
1 tablespoon chia seeds (1.5g)
1 tablespoon turmeric (1gr)
2 tablespoon ground cumin (2g)
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 egg whites (8g)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
250 ml light coconut cream (8gr)

Method:

1. Turn oven on to 175C.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients well.
3. Combine with all the rest ingredients.
4. Make 16 cookies using your palms. First, roll into the balls, then press to form a cookie.
5. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool them down at the room temperature, then store in airtight container.

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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.

Magic Tablecloth

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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