Monthly Archives: November 2012

* Super Grain Pancakes with Strawberries and Coconut Whipped Cream *


Sunday brunch. It’s somewhat of an institution here in New Zealand. The weekend is celebrated with a long, lazy breakfasty lunch, often amidst the chaos of a café, or if you’re like me, in the quiet comfort of your sweet home, surrounded by National Radio and lashings of Lady Grey tea.

I’m a sweet brunch girl – pancakes, fruit salad and Bircher muesli being on my list of hit picks. My Beau, like so many others out there, prefers a Brunch with The Works: Eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans and toast (with marmite and cheese). That just ain’t how I roll. This recipe for brunch is perfect as it’s not too sweet and includes a hearty dose of super foods, which makes for two very happy campers.

The pancakes include Quark (or Kwark), which is possibly an ingredient that if you haven’t lived in Europe, you’ll probably be thinking “what on earth?” right about now. Quark is a soft cheese, similar to cottage cheese, although it’s not made with rennet like cottage cheese and has a smoother consistency. There are different grades of quark – minimal fat, regular (20% fat) and creamy (40% fat). In this recipe, the Super Foodie panel of experts advises that the minimal fat option is the winner. Quark is high in both protein and calcium, ensuring a satisfyingly healthy brunch that’s good for your bones, whilst pleasing many a palate.

Recently I’ve come across some exceptional Healtheries (brand) products, which are a welcome change from the traditional LSA (linseed, sunflower, almond) mixtures. The LSA used in this recipe has the added benefits of black chia, buckwheat and quinoa flakes, which provide extra fibre, antioxidants and essential omega-3 fatty acids. It also works super well sprinkled on yoghurt for an afternoon snack and appears to make everything just taste better. I should know – I’ve almost gone through a whole pack in 10 days.

The coconut whipped cream is a take on the delectable version that I’ve seen on Brandi’s blog The Healthy Flavor. I get very inspired by the dedicated food bloggers that are beavering away in various parts of the world, creating interesting and innovative dishes. Unfortunately, many of you won’t be able to enjoy the summer strawberry season here in New Zealand, however, a berry coulis (made from frozen berries) would also make a yummo substitute. Roll on the weekend!

Super Grain Pancakes with Strawberries and Whipped Coconut Cream

1/2 a cup of LSA with Super Grains

1/2 a cup of oat bran

A teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 a cup of quark

3 free-range eggs

3/4 – 1 cup of milk (depending on whether you’d prefer them large and flat, or small and fat)

Coconut oil for frying

A can of refrigerated coconut cream

A teaspoon of vanilla extract/paste or a vanilla pod, de-seeded

A punnet of the freshest, juiciest strawberries you can find

Agave or high-quality maple syrup

In a bowl, mix the LSA, oat bran and baking powder together. Beat the eggs together with the quark and milk and combine with the dry ingredients. Allow to rest for a few minutes. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and spoon the mixture into the frying pan to create pancakes of the desired size.

Whip the refrigerated coconut cream and vanilla in a beater or food processor until it forms peaks. Slice the strawberries. Layer or roll the pancakes with the strawberries and top with the coconut whipped cream. Douse in agave or maple syrup and devour.

Serves 3 really hungry people or 4 relatively hungry people.  

* Dreamy Lemon and Blueberry “Cheesecake” (Raw + Vegan) *


Happy World Vegan Day!

To commemorate World Vegan Day, which marks the start of World Vegan Month, I thought that I’d celebrate by paying homage to the traditional German ritual of devouring cake most afternoons, usually at 1600 hours on the dot. In café’s and Bäckereien up and down the Vaterland, whether in a sleepy country village after a hike in the hills (with hiking poles, naturally) or street-side in the leafy green city of Berlin, people are honoring this tradition of “Kaffee und Kuchen” by eating cake.  Lots of cake.

Now that I’m back in New Zealand, I really appreciate these German niceties. New Zealand has an exceptional “café culture”, with more cafés than is actually necessary, but our rituals are not as defined as in Germany. I like to hold on to these traditions in my home country in a determined effort to feel closer to the Northern climes. Other European rituals I practice include drinking freezing vodka, listening to techno at any given opportunity and recycling with fervent intensity.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been exposed to some pretty damn good cafés in my time and my recent trip to Europe was most inspiring. There is a real movement towards eating healthier and more holistically. Naturally, the progression towards raw and vegan food was well noted, as organic shops, super markets, café’s and restaurants are offering more raw and vegan options. For more information on the benefits of eating raw, have a squizz at my recipe for Sprouted Quinoa, Pistachio and Pomegranate Salad.

A wonderful café that I’ve had the privilege of working at is Goodies on Warschauer Straße in Friedrichain, Berlin. The food is amazingly innovative and the café is run like a well-oiled German ship. The raw + vegan cakes are absolute works of art and taste exceptional. Similarly with this Lemon and Blueberry “Cheesecake”, the main ingredient in a raw + vegan cake is nuts, predominantly cashews for the “cheese” mixture. The cashews give a super creamy texture and taste, without being high in saturated fat like your average cheesecake. Cashews have a lower fat content than other nuts and comprise of about 75% unsaturated fat acids. A good proportion of this is oleic acid, which promotes cardiovascular health. So you can “have your cake and eat it too” as the old saying goes.

This cake is an ode to those Goodies raw + vegan cakes and those honorary Germans eating cake pünktlich in the afternoon all over the world.

Dreamy Lemon and Blueberry Cheese Cake (Raw + Vegan)

2 cups of nuts – any mix you like (I use an even mix of walnuts and almonds)

1/2 a cup of pitted Medjool dates

1/4 of a cup of thread coconut

2 1/2 cups of cashews

1/2 a cup of agave

5 tablespoons of coconut oil, gently heated

The zest and juice of three lemons

1 vanilla pod, deseeded

1/4 of a cup of cold water

2 cups of blueberries (preferably fresh but can be frozen)

In a bowl, soak the cashews overnight or for a minimum 0f 4 hours.  In another bowl, repeat with the other nuts of your choosing. Rinse well, drain and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the nuts of your choice with the pitted dates until a crumb-like consistency is reached. Sprinkle thread coconut into a decent sized, round pan. Press the nut mixture onto the coconut, ensuring the base is flat and even.

Place the cashews, agave, coconut oil, lemon zest and lemon juice, vanilla and water in the food processor and puree until smooth.

Pour the mixture onto the crust and freeze for a couple of hours or until firm. Remove from the freezer and place the blueberries on top of the cake. Slice whilst frozen and transfer to a serving platter. Defrost for about an hour and serve to amazed friends who won’t believe it’s raw and vegan.

Serves 8.