Category Archives: Gluten-free

* Nectarine and Orange Blossom Chia Jam *

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Nectarine and Orange Blossom Jam

Nectarines are rocking my world right now. As the summer weather comes to a close here in New Zealand, orchards and gardens are heaving with delicious fruit, ripe for the picking.

Nectarines have always been my most treasured of the stone fruit bunch. Sweet yet tart, soft with a bit of bite, I often mourn their presence when supplies slowly dwindle after summer. I’m making the most of them while I can and I suggest that you do as well if you are living in this part of the world.

Nectarines are a super food star as they are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that converts into vitamin A, which helps keep your skin radiant and teeth strong. They are also high in vitamin C, which is essential at this time of year to protect your body against sickness; as well as fibre and potassium, which ensure the body is functioning optimally.

The addition of orange blossom water instantly takes me back to my time in the Jordan and the wonderful way that traditional Middle Eastern delicacies use a hint of a floral fragrance to transport you somewhere exotic and far away. Much time was spent wandering the different neighbourhoods of Amman, soaking up the sights, scents and sounds of the Old Town, popping into eateries when I needed to be refreshed, creating some of my most perfectly enduring food experiences. I treasure these memories, when the Middle East was much more peaceful and stable, and live in hope that this harmonious state will return.

The key to using orange blossom water (and rose water) is to use it sparingly – you want a subtle hint, not an extreme sensory punch. Orange blossom water is widely available these days, in the international section of the supermarket, delicatessen or Middle Eastern store.

Making a chia-based jam is a healthy way to get your jam jamming as the chia seeds “gelatinise” when mixed with liquid, so the jam doesn’t require a thickening agent like pectin or an immense amount of sugar to set, as is the norm with a traditional jam. This lusciously floral fruity jam freezes well and will last for about two weeks in the fridge.

Nectarine and Orange Blossom Chia Jam

4 cups of nectarines, chopped (about 1.5 kgs)

1/2 a cup of coconut sugar

A tablespoon of orange blossom water

A tablespoon of lemon juice

4 tablespoons of ground chia seeds *

Blanch the nectarines until the skins split (about a minute or two). Refresh with cool water and peel.

Chop the nectarine flesh into small pieces, transfer into a saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes until the fruit starts to break down and become syrupy. Add the coconut sugar, orange blossom water and lemon juice and cook for a further 5 minutes. You can make the jam as smooth or chunky as you like by mashing the mixture until it is the desired consistency.

Take off the heat and stir in the ground chia seeds and allow to thicken. It will become obviously thicker at this point (and slightly more once fully cooled), but if you would like a thicker consistency, add an extra teaspoon of ground chia seeds.

Transfer into glass jars once the jam has reached room temperature and pop into the fridge. Enjoy the jam on toast with lashings of butter or on Greek yoghurt, ice cream or creamy dessert.

*You can use normal chia seeds, but I prefer ground when making jam as the chia seeds blend into the mixture better.

 

* Sprouted Falafel *

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I’ve been living the “single life” on and off for a few years now as my Beau and I have lived in different locations for work and play. I generally adjust pretty well to life as a solo lass and have come up with a few recipes which have saved my bacon on many a late night home.

Falafel is something that I’ve been a big fan of for a long time and especially fell in love with whilst living in Jordan a few years back. In Jordan and other countries in the Middle East, falafel is a serious business. There are various people involved in the falafel creation process; from preparing, forming, frying and drying the falafel. The freshest of fresh falafel balls are then devoured with hummus, pickles and pita bread hot from the oven – and yes, the experience is amazing. The picture below is from Hashems, the world famous falafel joint in the Old Town in Amman, Jordan. I really did eat a lot of falafel that day.

All go Felafel

Back in New Zealand, no falafel has ever come close to those halcyon days of life in the Middle East. Until recently –  when I finally gave it a go myself and tried hard to replicate what those falafel artisans had made, though in true Super Foodie style, much, much healthier.

The key is to start with the best chickpeas (also referred to as garbanzos). I go to the organic shop Taste Nature around the corner from my apartment Dunedin, New Zealand. Taste Nature source their chickpeas from Turkey via Chantal Organics. Chickpeas are nutritional powerhouses, being highly valued for their high fibre and protein content, as well as iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K.

The benefits of sprouting are aplenty and definitely get the Super Foodie tick of approval. Once seeds, grains and beans have been sprouted, they have 15 – 30% more protein, more vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron and phosphorous. Through the sprouting process, these mini plants are bursting with nutrition and vitality. They’re also easier to digest, as the complex sugars are broken down and enzyme inhibitors are neutralised, in turn decreasing bloating from intestinal gas.

If you’ve never sprouted chickpeas before, it’s a doddle and only takes about a minute of your time everyday until they’re fully germinated. All you’ll need is: chickpeas, muslin cloth, a wide bowl and a rubber band. Rinse and soak the chickpeas in water for 24 hours. Put the muslin cloth over the bowl, secure with a rubber band then rinse with water morning and night for a further 36 hours. When the chickpeas have grown little tails (about 1/2 cm) they are ready to be made into morsels of delicious falafel.

Once in a while I’ll make up a massive batch of falafel to get me through. I’ll add whatever suitable spices I have in stock and greens from the garden and never follow an exact recipe. For me cooking is about tasting along the way and following my gut instinct.

After forming the falafel into balls / patties, I pop them into the freezer in an airtight container (layered and separated by greaseproof paper) and defrost as required. I serve the falafel (either lightly fried in oil or au naturel) in a wrap with grated beetroot, carrot, tomato, avocado, fresh spinach and mint from the garden and lashings of chilli sauce and tahini. Alternatively, with whatever vegetables I have in the fridge (silverbeet / Swiss chard, red cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts etc.) stir fried with grated ginger, garlic, tamari / soy sauce, and garnish with avocado, fresh herbs and yes, lashings of tahini and chilli sauce.

I encourage you to not follow the recipe exactly; try a bit of this, a bit of that. If you don’t like a particular spice that’s in the recipe, don’t use it. It’s the kind of recipe where you really can just do what you want.

Sprouted Felafel

Sprouted Falafel

2 cups of sprouted chickpeas

A small onion

5 cloves of garlic

A large bunch of parsley, chopped

A large bunch of spinach or silver beet or Swiss chard, chopped

1/2 a teaspoon of Himalayan rock salt

1/4 a teaspoon of pepper

3 teaspoons of ground cumin

2 teaspoons of coriander

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1/2 a teaspoon of mixed spice

3 tablespoons of chickpea flour or almond meal (you may need a bit more)

A chia egg (1 tablespoon of chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water and left for 10 minutes)

A tablespoon of tahini

Olive oil, rice bran oil or coconut oil for frying (optional)

Process the sprouted chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, spinach / silver beet / Swiss chard, salt, pepper and spices until well combined, but still a bit chunky.

Transfer to a bowl and add the almond meal/chickpea flour, chia egg and tahini and mix well.

Allow the mixture to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes then form into balls.

Eat these raw or lightly fried in oil. Shukraan!

* Embas Bread *

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Embas Bread

I’d been searching for a wholesome, super healthy bread recipe for a long, long time, as bread was one of the only foods I ate that I didn’t make from scratch and I like to know what’s really in my food. Store-bought, overly processed bread just does not seem to agree with me and although I do indulge occasionally, it is best avoided. I was overjoyed when this recipe for Life-Changing Loaf of Bread popped into my mail box from the beloved My New Roots blog, as it saved me many, many hours in the kitchen and gave me some serious inspiration to bake.

I’ve called my take on this recipe ‘Embas Bread’, as in stark contrast to regular wheat bread, this keeps you going for hours, much in the same way that Lembas Bread kept those wee Hobbits trekking for days. And my other name (no, not Super Foodie, the other one) is Em.   Ta da!

I’ve adapted the original recipe by increasing the ratio of flaxseeds and decreasing the sunflower seeds, oil and salt. I’ve also made two versions of this bread, a savoury and a sweet. The sweet option is my fave and is reminiscent of the Müsli-Brot that was a weekly staple whilst living in Berlin. It’s laden with figs and dates, spiced with cinnamon and mixed spice and is perfect for breakfast as banana on toast. The savoury version is also rather delicious and certainly keeps the Other Half happy. I make them both at the same time and store them in the freezer, sliced and ready to tuck in to.

Both versions of the bread are extremely nutritious and get a big Super Foodie tick of approval. Psyllium husks are high in both soluble and insoluble fibre and keep those bowels in top form. Flaxseed and chia are tiny seeds with mighty powers which provide a solid protein hit, as well as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fat which is very good for your heart. There is also no flour in these recipes, the base being made up of rolled oats, which are renowned for sustained energy release to keep you powering through the day.

As well as being a Super Foodie dream, this recipe is also easy. No kneading, no rising, no finicky measures. Just bang it all in a bowl or pan, wait a couple of hours or overnight, bake and await the glorious scent of fresh bread wafting through your home.

Sweet Embas Bread

1 1/2 cups of rolled oats

3/4 of a cup of flaxseed (a mix of whole and ground if you like)

3/4 of a cup of sunflower seeds

A cup of figs and dates, rustically chopped (you can also add nuts too)

4 tablespoons of psyllium husks

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

A teaspoon of cinnamon

A teaspoon of mixed spice

1/8 of a teaspoon of fine Himalayan rock salt

2 tablespoons of honey, agave or maple syrup

2 tablespoons of oil (coconut, olive or rice bran)

1 1/2 cups of water (you may need a touch more if you are using ground flaxseed)

Savoury Embas Bread

1 1/2 cups of rolled oats

3/4 of a cup of flaxseed (a mix of whole and ground if you like)

3/4 of a cup of sunflower seeds

A cup of nuts and/or other seeds (pumpkin, poppy and sesame seeds work well)

4 tablespoons of psyllium husks

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

1/4 of a teaspoon of fine Himalayan rock salt

A tablespoon of honey, agave or maple syrup

2 tablespoons of oil (coconut, olive or rice bran)

1 1/2 cups of water (you may need a touch more if you are using ground flaxseed)

Grease a loaf pan or line with baking paper. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl or in the loaf pan. Mix all of the wet ingredients together, add to the dry ingredients and mix well. If using a bowl, transfer mixture into the loaf pan. Spread evenly in the pan and allow to rest for anywhere between 2 – 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 160° c fan bake. Place loaf in the oven and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and place upside down on the oven rack and cook for a further 25-30 minutes. The loaf is ready when it’s a wonderful golden brown colour and sounds hollow when tapped.

* Club Mate *

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Club Mate

As we set off from sleepy Papnat in the the searing heat, we passed flourishing market gardens, animals laying sedately under the canopy of trees and the occasional car with tourists, naturally (the locals wouldn’t dream of leaving the house mid afternoon.) After cascading down a hairpin windy road, we reached the beach of all beaches, the local’s secret of Korcula.

We headed down a secret garden kind of path to the glorious beach, aquamarine water sparkling in the bright, bright sun, this certainly was a paradise dreams were made of. We found a space, hit the water and explored the bay, swimming into wee coves and climbing up and down the rocks.

As a keen swimmer, Croatia was an absolute wunderland. Every morning I’d set off on an exploratory mission. With bikini underneath and goggles in hand, I’d jog around the bays and find a cordoned swimming area, which are found all along the coast. There is something so invigorating about doing laps in the sea, surrounded by other keen swimmers and placid fish bobbing around in the waves. In Croatia, swimming is a part of everyday summer life – the men practically live in their speedos and more often than not, the teency, figure-hugging lycra is patriotically designed with the Croatian flag on, proudly for the world to see.

After a long swim in the ocean, we were parched and in desperate need of refreshment. We headed to the beach watering hole ‘Club Mate’ and met the local lads. What is ironic is that the Club-Mate that I’m used to, is the famous carbonated yerba mate tea drink I practically live on when I’m in Berlin (along with half of the population there.) Club-Mate is derived from the leaves of the yerba mate tree native to South America. In its usual guise it is a hugely popular tea in Argentina and other parts of South America. However, in Germany and other parts of world lucky enough to have it, it’s a low sugar, highly stimulating and refreshing drink, which goes perfectly with vodka and an afternoon playing table tennis on the banks of the canal. Yerba mate contains a serious dose of antioxidants and is highly caffeinated, but without the usual jitters and crash that is associated with coffee.

We sat down and had a natter with Mate, the proprietor, who occasionally got up to blow his whistle and entice those walking past to have a shot of rakia, the house distilled spirit not dissimilar to rocket fuel. In another ironic twist, it was Mate’s family restaurant we’d just visited and were booked in to later that night. We spent the afternoon there, drinking beers with Mate and his friends, who had helped build the beach shack and were making sure that it lasted the summer, by keeping a half-cut but ever watchful eye on the place.

I thought it fitting to replicate Club-Mate, the drink, as an ode to our friend Mate and his kooky beach club. As Club-Mate is practically impossible to come by in New Zealand (one place sells it in Auckland) I’ve had to make it myself in order to indulge my addiction and I’m pretty damn pleased with the result.

Club Mate

2 tablespoons of yerba mate*

A litre of boiling water

A lemon, sliced

A few drops of vanilla extract (optional)

3 – 4 tablespoons of raw honey or agave

5oo mls – 1 litre of cold water or soda water

Steep the yerba mate leaves in boiling water for a few hours or overnight, along with the sliced lemon, vanilla (optional) and honey or agave.

If you have a Soda Stream machine, add the desired measure of cold water and fizz it up. If you don’t have a Soda Stream machine, simply add the desired measure of soda water. Serve on its own with ice or as a mixer with vodka and prepare to dance all night long.

* Yerba Mate is available at good health food stores and organic shops.

* Rose and Basil Frozen Yoghurt *

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Rose and Basil Frozen YoghurtWhilst on holiday on the island of Korcula (kor-chew-la) in Croatia, we came across a beautifully rustic, family-run restaurant which served some of the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted. On a sleepy afternoon, we went for a cross country burn on the scooter in search of a famously remote beach, which is renowned for being a heavenly paradise, free from all those irritating tourists. We stopped off in the sleepy little village called Papnat for a squizz at the local country folk (who must have been having a sensible siesta as they were not in sight) and found this gem called ‘Konobe Mate’.

Set in the front garden of the family home, grape vines and creepers adorned with bright flowers provided a whimsical setting and welcome respite from the sweltering heat. The endearingly genuine service typical of many in the hospitality trade extended here, as the waitress made polite, inquisitive conversation and praised our selection. On such an intensely scorching afternoon there was only one option – the rose and basil frozen yoghurt, washed down with an espresso and a shot of her finest homemade rakia (house distilled fermented fruit, reminiscent of rocket fuel concocted in days gone by).

We tucked into delectably icy pillows of this rose and basil frozen yoghurt, a combination that I’d never thought would go well together, but it just works. It’s so fragrant, with intense bursts of floral and herbaceous notes. Put simply, it’s like feasting on a summery garden, only creamy. We were so enchanted with this delightful restaurant, we made a booking for that evening and set off into the blazing sun towards the coast.

In order to make this frozen yoghurt you need an ice cream maker, which can easily be purchased at an appliance store or in good condition off Ebay or Trade Me. Ensure that the frozen yoghurt is the perfect consistency by checking it often. I’m usually so captivated by the creation of this frozen yoghurt, I can barely tear myself away from watching it. Am I alone here?

Rose and Basil Frozen Yoghurt

2 cups of plain, unsweetened Greek yoghurt

3/4 of a cup of milk

1/2 a cup of good-quality raw honey, warmed

1 1/2 tablespoons of rose water

A teaspoon of vanilla paste or a vanilla bean, deseeded

2 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

A couple of handfuls of fresh, organically grown rose petals (optional)

Whisk together all of the ingredients for a couple of minutes until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Transfer to the ice cream maker and follow the user instructions until the desired consistency is reached. In the ice cream maker I use, it took about 35 minutes until lusciously textured frozen yoghurt was created. Best eaten as soon as possible.

* Kefir Bananarama Shake à la Fabulous Fermentation Week *

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I’m so into bananarama shakes right now. I simply must have at least one per day, usually straight after work or on weekend afternoons before heading to the Botanics for some frisbee extravaganza action. I usually make my bananaramas with almond milk, but my dear friend and fellow food blogger Kauia Moriaty who writes the wunderbar eat it blog, informed me of the ladies who are spreading the joys of fermenting to the masses. Elenore Bendel Zahn who writes the Earthsprout blog and Sarah Britton from My New Roots are pioneering this fermentastic revolution and provide thorough and informed expositions on the benefits of fermenting fabulously.

I’m fairly new to fermenting, in fact, I’d only ever fermented kefir using cow’s milk and the result was seriously tart – so tart, it was undrinkable. The Fabulous Fermentation Week inspired me to try again and reap the nutritional rewards of these (dare I say) seriously strange grains.

Kefir is fermented milk made with kefir grains, which is a symbiotic culture of yeasts and good bacteria. It’s believed to have originated in the Caucasus mountains and is increasing in popularity as people are waking up to its incredible health benefits. Kefir is highly nutritious, full of gut-aiding probiotics and has a good dose of B12, which is good news for vegans and vegetarians whose diets are usually lacking in this integral vitamin. It also contains vitamins B1, B6, D, as well as folic acid, iodine, calcium and iron. Kefir can also be made from various types of milk, including coconut, almond, rice, seed, soy or dairy and can also ferment fruit juice and coconut water.

I purchased whole milk kefir from the organic store and sat it on the bench for a couple of days until the cauliflower-esque grains appeared and the kefir had started to form. As I wanted to make an almond milk kefir, I strained the kefir and washed the wee grains thoroughly and started the kefir process again, by putting the kefir grains and a good dose of almond milk in a jar, popping the lid on and allowing it to sit for a day or two.

If you find it really hard to stomach uber-tart food or beverages, disguising kefir is the key. Bananas are a great way to disguise the tartiest of tart flavours and coconut milk provides a creamy hit to balance the shake. LSA (Linseed, Sunflower, Almond mix) fortified with buckwheat, quinoa and chia provide an extra nutrient hit and the honey (or agave, maple syrup) gives the bananarama shake a nectarous finish.

Kefir Bananarama Shake à la Fabulous Fermentation Week                                                                                                                                                                

A cup of kefir, any which way you please

A cup of coconut milk

2 very ripe bananas

2 tablespoons of LSA

A tablespoon of raw honey, agave or maple syrup

A few cubes of ice

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and whizzz. Serve on the deck in the sun with your dearest or if you’re in the cooler climes, watching the snow and dreaming of summery pastures new.

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* Cherry and Almond Clafoutis with Lemony Coconut Whipped Cream *

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Cherry and Almond Clafoutis with Lemony Coconut Whipped Cream

To me, there is nothing more quintessentially French than clafoutis. The wunderkind of French desserts, clafoutis (kla-foo-tee) lies somewhere between a frangapine tart and a baked custard. Clafoutis hails from the Limousin region of France and is traditionally baked with the pits of the cherries still in tact, in order to ‘saveur le flavour’. To protect your precious pearly whites, my recipe requires the pits to be laboriously removed. This initial slaving over the stove is short-lived, as the simplicity of this dessert is its saving grace. A spread, a splash, a whisk, a sprinkle and viola! Pop it in the oven and await the sweet cherry almond scent to permeate the house.

Cherries are aplenty right now. The cream of the crop are grown in Central Otago, just a few hours away from where we live in Dunedin (New Zealand). These cherries are renowned for being the sweetest, juiciest, shiniest you’ve ever had the pleasure of laying your mitts on. Cherries are however not just a pretty face – they are one of Mother Earth’s most powerful anti-inflammatory sources due to the presence of anthocyanins, which research has unveiled prevents free radical damage and improves memory. Cherries also contain melatonin, a hormone which assists in regulating sleep cycles.

I’ve made this dessert with almond milk which works superbly, but clafoutis also works well with other milks especially cow’s milk. I’ve adapted the recipe from the Australian Taste website and given their clafoutis recipe a Super Foodie makeover, ensuring the recipe is dairy-free (if you prefer), gluten-free and using a minimally refined sugar. I’ve used coconut palm sugar, but you can use any sugar you like, as long as it’s not the over-processed, bleached and filtered white variety. Coconut palm sugar is made from coconut tree nectar and has a naturally low glycemic index compared to other sugars. It also has a higher nutrient content and is a source of potassium, zinc, iron and magnesium. When choosing coconut palm sugar, ensure it is the purest you can find in the organic section, as some brands can be mixed with cane sugar.

This photo was taken by my delightfully Hilarious Sidekick Rachael Lawrence Lodge, who provided the creative direction for the shoot. Before we demolished the clafoutis, naturally. Dankeschön, Liebling!

Cherry and Almond Clafoutis 

Coconut oil for greasing the dish

500 grams of fresh cherries, pitted

2/3 of a cup of ground almonds

1/2 a cup of coconut palm sugar or coconut sugar

A tablespoon of honey

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups of almond milk (or cows milk if you prefer)

A vanilla pod, deseeded or a teaspoon of vanilla essence or paste

The zest of a lemon

Lemony Coconut Whipped Cream

A can of refrigerated coconut cream

A vanilla pod, deseeded or a teaspoon of vanilla essence or paste

The zest of a lemon

A teaspoon of honey

1/3 of a cup of sliced almonds

A sprinkling of fruit, a sprig of fresh mint or lemon zest for garnishing

Heat the oven to 180 degrees. In a frying pan, toast the almonds until golden brown and allow to cool. Grease a large dish with coconut oil. Pit the cherries and place evenly in the greased dish. In a bowl, mix the ground almonds and sugar together and form a well.

In a jug, whisk the eggs and add the almond milk, vanilla and the zest of one of the lemons. Gently pour the liquid into the sugar and almond well and combine. Pour into the dish and sprinkle with toasted almond flakes.

Cook for 30 minutes or until the middle is springy. Allow to cool until slightly warm.

Separate the creamiest part of the coconut cream by gently spooning it out of the refrigerated can (use the  surplus liquid for smoothies or Banana, Date and Coconut Baked Porridge).

Add the vanilla, zest of the second lemon and honey and whisk to form peaks. Transfer into a serving bowl and refrigerate. Garnish with whatever you please and serve with the warm clafoutis. Bon Appetit!