Grilled Salad Plenty

Beautiful salad that can be shared with friends on a hot summer day, as a main meal for lunch or dinner. Add a simple grilled fish or chicken, and you have a feast.

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Grilled Salad Plenty

Ingredients:

2 small eggplants
2 tbsp traditional Pesto
2 red capsicums
2 small zucchinis
10 button mushrooms
200g Baby Rocket leaves
1/2 Spanish/red onion, finely sliced
80g Manchego cheese

Dressing:
1/4 cup 4 leaves balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Method:

1. Bake capsicum for 15 minutes at 185c. Once cooled down, remove seeds and skin, cut into 3cm square pieces.
2. Cut eggplants into lengthwise slices, about 5mm thick and soak them in salted water for 10 minutes. Cut mushrooms in halves. Dry eggplants with paper towel and spray with oil. Bake all at 180C for a few minutes until soft.
3. Cut zucchini into 1.5cm chunks, season and stir fry until soft.
4. Shake the dressing components in the jar, then mix into the rocket and sliced onions, then make a layer over the shallow salad serving dish.
5. Spread the pesto over the eggplant slices and roll. Tuck them under the salad all around the dish, evenly distribute zucchini, capsicum and mushrooms over the dish. Using a fork bring the rocket to the top in a few places pushing vegetables below.
6. Shave Manchego cheese and throw over the salad just before serving.

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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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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.

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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Cashew Feta Vegan Cheese

Cheese lovers might not approve my post.

I consider myself lucky as I am well with goat or sheep dairy products whereas cow milk products don’t agree with me. A friend of mine, who is vegan, introduced me to an almond feta cheese and I loved it.

After a few experiments, I found that a texture of cashews are more to my liking for the vegan feta cheese option. I have other recipes with cashew as an ingredient and you can find more information on this product there, for example lemon and cashew dessert .

Here I am, publishing the final version of my new recipe, please enjoy!

Magic Tablecloth

Vegan Cashew Feta Cheese.

Ingredients:

2 cups raw cashews
1/2 teaspoon table salt
lemon juice

Dressing:
3/4 cup virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 soft rosemary, chopped
a few dill, chopped
1/4 lemon, juice separated and put aside.
1 teaspoon pepper corns

*a glass jar min 400ml; a tray or a container about 30cm x 40cm.

Method:

1. Overnight, soak the cashews in the filtered water, also infuse the oil with all the dressing ingredients.
2. On the next day, rinse and process cashews in the food processor with salt and the lemon juice saved from last night until smooth and fine.
3. Place baking paper on the tray or container, transfer processed cashews and make an even layer about 1.5-2 cm thick, cover airtight and refrigerate for a few hours.
4. Cut the whole cashew layer into the cubes or ‘fingers’.
5. Place the herbs from the infused oil into a glass jar and stack the cashew feta pieces on top, then pour the oil over it. Refrigerate for 2- 3 days before consuming.

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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.

Magic Tablecloth

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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