Red Chai

Beautiful. Brew up a batch for friends. I’ve been wanting a caffeine-free chai for so long. Rooibos (red bush) tea makes a lovely alternative. It’s also fine for children and a lovely dessert tea. Perfect served with fruit toast and Kere’s bliss balls. Dedicated to my sis.

Chai tea brings peace.

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INGREDIENTS

1 stick cinnamon
12 sticks of cloves (more if desired)
6 cardamon pods
1/4 inch fresh ginger (peeled)
2 tablespoons fair-trade rooibos (red bush) tea or 4 bags, opened up and added
7 cups water
ground pepper (optional)

AND
1 cup soymilk (I prefer Soymilky)
2-5 tablespoons sugar (I prefer 2, but chai is supposed to be served super-sweet)

INSTRUCTIONS

In a pot on the stove, boil cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, ginger, tea and water. Add pepper if desired. Boil for 5 minutes then stand for 10. Add soymilk and sugar. Strain into teacups to serve.

Brazil-coconut Cardamom Smoothie

We’re having family smoothies and my 9 month old son loves them!

I’ve added a new category: ‘Baby Loves It’.

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INGREDIENTS

2 bananas
3 brazil nuts
3/4 cup coconut cream
a dash of vanilla
a sprinkle of cardamom
a few sultanas (optional)
a dash of cinnamon (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Blend

Pear-Cashew Cheese Noodles

This is simple and nice.

I spiralised up some carrot noodles with my trusty Betti Bossi (you can also just grate or finely chop carrot if preferred), tossed through cashew cheese, chopped pear, and a few whole cashews, then drizzled some lemon juice and a lil’ olive oil on top. It would also be nice with some avocado, if you have any.

Delicious!

Carrot Cheese Pear

A MAR-MIGHTY Discovery…

Sorry if that’s too CHEESY…

You know all that money you’ve been spending on expensive nutritional yeast?

You know how you had to tell your provincial friends you made cheesy sauce out of weird ingredients that they can’t source in their town?

Well not any more.

BECAUSE YOU CAN MAKE CHEESY SAUCE… with Marmite.

Teaser trim

(picture us, dancing)

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons vegan margarine
3 tablespoons cornflour
2 cups soy milk
2 teaspoons mustard
1 teaspoon Marmite
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

Melt margarine on the stove. Stir in cornflour until there are no lumps. Slowly stir in soy milk. Simmer until thickened. Stir in mustard, Marmite, sugar, and salt. Thin to desired consistency with soy milk.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Great in lasagna, on pizza, nachos, mac ‘n’ cheese, in burgers or on wedges.

Welcome back, Marmite! We missed you!

And no, we ain’t getting paid for this… (please pay us).

Marmite Drought Ends!

 

Cultured Raw Cashew ‘Cheese’ w/ Cracked Pepper, Wild Fennel & Chives

After tasting nut cheese at an event serving raw food (I think it was Little Bird) a few years ago, I got really curious about how to make it. At the time, the lovely young lady who served me a slice told me “it’s actually easy, just Google it”.

There are some great recipes out there (and some not so great ones) but this one seems to be the basic ‘industry standard’ and has worked every time. My personal tip is to go the whole 9-yards and make a cultured cheese like this one – the texture, taste and thrill of creation are much more enjoyable. It takes time (like a proper cheese) but don’t be put off, each step is only 5 minutes and the results are shockingly good!

Apologies for the long instructions I just wanted it to be really clear.

nut cheese

INGREDIENTS

2 cups cashews, soaked for a minimum of 4 hours (macadamias are another option)
2 cups water (as needed)
1 teaspoon probiotic powder or 1 teaspoon miso will also work (fresh, not the manky stuff at the back of the fridge)
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup fresh, finely chopped wild fennel tufts & chives (you can use any herbs you like of course)
cracked pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Place cashews, 1 cup of the water and the probiotic powder into a high speed blender until it becomes smooth. If the mixture is too thick add more water until it loosens. You want the mix to be smooth but not at all watery.

Transfer the the mix into a cheesecloth, fold over and place into a strainer sitting over a bowl. Place a weight on top of the cheesecloth (such as a plate with a copy of Shantaram on it). Cover everything to keep it protected from debris and any unwanted bacteria and place it in a warm area to culture (room temperature is good). Leave for a minimum of 24 hours – no more than 48. After this time you’ll notice that it has become slightly airy or fluffy which indicates the culturing process has worked a treat.

Now place into a bowl & add in the salt, yeast and lemon juice. At this point I usually add in a few of the chopped herbs and maybe a little cracked pepper. Shape your cheese into a round (or if you want to get fancy you can use a metal ring mold). Gently cover the round in the remaining herbs and place into the fridge to firm up and let the flavours mellow together – at least overnight. If you want to go a litte further and get an even more impressive result you can place your cheese into a dehydrator instead of the fridge. Set at 105°F/40°C for 24 hours. This will form an impressive rind and make your cheese that much more spectacular.

There are endless possibilities for flavours here, so go wild and crazy and get all gourmet on it!

I’m Suffering From a Severe Salad Deficiency.

Too often I ignore my body’s desperate pleas for salad.

So tonight I upped my salad intake by using lettuce from our garden. This simple meal is garnished with a quick nut-cheese, plus it’s naturally gluten-free which is great for my tummy! My body feels so relieved.

Make lots because frankly, you will want another helping afterwards and you’ll be extremely disappointed if there is none left.

I urgently need more salad recipes so if you’d have some you’d like to share, please do.

INGREDIENTS

Tofu
Soy sauce
Garlic
Mixed nuts or cashews
Lemon
Spring onion (optional)
Chopped lettuce
Mung bean sprouts
4 Bean mix (tinned beans)
Avocado
Cucumber
Carrot
Balsamic vinegar
Mixed herbs
Oil
Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Pan fry tofu with garlic and a dash of soy sauce (optional). Finely slice carrot, cucumber, lettuce and avocado and add to a bowl with mung bean sprouts. In a food processor mix cashew nuts and lemon juice with a stalk of chopped spring onion (optional), add a dash of salt until cheesy, then roll into balls. Make a quick balsamic dressing by blending a 1/4 cup of oil and an 1/8th of a cup of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of mixed herbs. Assemble by tossing the salad, then serve with balls of cashew cheese on the side, topped with tofu and splashed with balsamic dressing.

Hot Chocolate

You don’t need lots of sugar to make a delicious, quick, hot chocolate. This is cheaper than buying pre-mixed, sugary hot chocolate.

There’s also a secret to soy milk. I was never a fan until this year, when I discovered that when it comes to soy milk, brand is everything. Everyone has their favourite but  I personally recommend Soy Milky. It’s the only kind I want. It’s perfect.

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon sugar or agave
1/3 cup soy milk
Boiling water

INSTRUCTIONS

There is a little knack to getting this right, which is why I decided to share something so simple. Plus it’s a good way of getting a little sweetness, without self-harm. To be totally healthy, use agave, but if you don’t want to spend the money, just a small, small amount of sugar will do.

Put cocoa and sugar in cup. Mix together with teaspoon until lumps disappear. Add a dash of soy milk. Blend into a smooth paste. Add the rest of the soy milk, fill with boiling water. Stir, serve.

Thrifty, Healthful, Sparkling, Sweet Soda!

I used to love soda.

♥ swoon ♥

Unfortunately my beloved pancreas did not share my fondness for sugary soft drink, and neither did my wallet.

So this is what I do in summer when it’s warm, and I want a treat.

I buy large bottles of orange or apple juice which contain no added sugar, then I fill a glass 30–40% juice, with ice, fresh fruit and soda water!

This is luscious in summer and doesn’t harm me in the way that sugar-laden fizzy drinks do. It’s light and refreshing and at 79¢ for a 1.5L bottle of soda water it makes the juice last a long time. If I’m out of soda I water down the juice so I don’t get a sugar rush – as orange juice is pretty sweet.

This is a great way to make up sweet punch for friends and children.

A New Banana Trick

We scored at the farmer’s market. I suggest you do the same.

We got an entire box of over-ripe bananas for $3.

This was possibly the single best budgeting score we have ever made. That was about a month ago, and we’re still making use of our bananas!

Here’s what you do.

Skin all of the bananas and separate them out into two grades – heavily bruised ones for baking and lightly bruised ones for smoothies. Then freeze the lot in sealed containers. They won’t get browner in the fridge and you’ll save yourself the hassle of trying to de-skin a frozen banana. (Trust me, it’s a real pain in the butt).

When you want to bake, just put a few baking bananas out of the freezer and bake-away! We substitute 1 banana for 1 egg, in baking.

When you want to make a delicious smoothie, or  soft serve ice cream or feel the urge for some raw chocolate cake, just whip them out and use them as desired.