* 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!

* Super Foodie Live *

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The Yoga Barn 2

Savasana View at The Yoga Barn, Ubud, Bali (September, 2015)

The New year heralds a fresh start, a new perspective, a switch, a transformation. For Super Foodie, it means a new domain – superfoodie.live – and the drive to connect more. Connect with the Super Foodie community, with loved ones, myself, my aspirations, the world, lightness, brightness and life itself.

Super Foodie (Adventure) has been around for four years now and has been ticking along in the background; however, it required a refresh to better reflect my lifestyle. The name of the new domain is significant as it reminds me and hopefully you as well to live, to be alive, be energetic, resilient, alert, conscious, present, to live in the now, to be aligned with light. There is no space for ego, negativity, darkness and certainly not for people who don’t make you feel good.

Super Foodie will continue to bring you snippets of the best and brightest super foods and recipes from near and afar, cool places to visit, rad things to do etc. but in a more consistent and enlightening fashion.

So here’s to 2016 and being a more alive and connected you and me, embracing the now and remembering that life is limitless, so dream big.

“Whatever you do or dream you can do – begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it”. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

* Spiced Beetroot Chips with Pear Guacamole *

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Spiced Beetroot Chips with Pear Guacamole

Beetroot is the wunderkind of the vegetable family. Bright, vibrant and packed full of nutrients, beetroot cleanses the liver, nourishes the blood and is also highly fibrous. These spiced beetroot chips are a great way to introduce more beetroot in to your diet, especially those among us who are not so hot on beetroot but love to indulge in chippies. The spiced beetroot chips perfectly match the pear guacamole, which my lovely Beau concocted. He sought to bulk out the guacamole whilst spontaneously entertaining guests one evening – pure genius, I say. The pear provides a refreshing sweetness, whilst the coconut cream gives the dish a delightful creaminess.

This recipe (recently published in The Kiwi Diary 2015) is ideal for a spot of autumnal entertaining with your nearest and dearest.

Spiced Beetroot Chips

4 medium beetroots, peeled

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1/2 a teaspoon of rock salt

1/2 a teaspoon of white pepper

1/2 a teaspoon of brown sugar

1/2 a teaspoon of Chinese five spice

Preheat the oven to 160°C on fan bake. Slice the beetroot very thinly using a mandoline. Mix together the rock salt, brown sugar, white pepper and Chinese five spice. Toss the beetroot slices in olive oil and the spice mixture until they are well coated. Lay out on lined baking trays and bake until lightly crisp (20-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the beetroot slices). Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool and become extra crispy.

Pear Guacamole

1 large avocado or two smaller avocados

The juice of a lemon

½ a pear, finely diced

1 tomato, finely diced

1 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce

1 – 2 garlic cloves, crushed (depending on how garlicy you like it)

2 tablespoons of coconut cream

1/2 a teaspoon of ground pepper

1/2 a teaspoon of Himalayan rock salt

Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Serve with spiced beetroot chips, crackers, crudités, tortillas or whatever else takes your fancy.

* Lemon, Berry and Coconut Puddings *

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Lemon, Berry and Coconut Puddings

Lemon, Berry and Coconut Puddings

Serves 4

My Mum and I share the philosophy that lemons are worth their weight in gold. No other fruit comes close to being so versatile in both sweet and savoury dishes and has the ability to lift any dish it touches. Berry and lemon is a stellar combination and one of my all time faves, complementing each other beautifully. Throw velvety, sweet coconut cream in the mix and – voilà! – a dreamy dessert is created. These lemon, berry and coconut puddings are light, refreshing and most importantly, decadent without being too heavy.

* Note:  You may prefer to use white chia seeds (whole or ground) for the lemon curd if you would like a less speckled lemon layer. Also, if you would like a more decadent dessert, add the leftover egg whites (beaten) to the coconut layer to form a coconut mousse.

Lemon Layer

2/3 of a cup of lemon juice (about 5 large lemons)

The zest of two lemons

1/3 of a cup of honey or maple syrup

5 free-range egg yolks

1 free-range egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla paste

1 heaped tablespoon of white chia seeds*

Place all of the ingredients into a thick-bottomed saucepan and whisk together at a low to moderate heat.  Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, usually about 5-6 minutes or when the mixture sticks to the back of a spoon. Take off the heat, transfer into dessert glasses and allow the mixture to set in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.

Berry Layer

1 1/2 cups of mixed berries (fresh or frozen)

1/4 of a cup of honey or maple syrup

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and let it simmer over a low heat for five minutes with a tablespoon or two of water, until the berries are soft. Allow to cool, then blitz the mixture in the food processor or blender until it reaches a smooth consistency. If you’re not a fan of pips, strain through a sieve, rubbing the mixture through with the back of a spoon. Delicately spoon the berry mixture on to the chilled lemon layer.

Coconut Layer

1 can of coconut cream, chilled in the fridge overnight

1 – 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup

1 teaspoon of vanilla paste

Leftover egg whites from the lemon layer (optional)*

Flip the chilled can of coconut cream over and open. The contents will have separated in to water and hardened cream. Pour out the liquid and keep for smoothies or curries. Whip the coconut cream, vanilla and honey or maple syrup until soft peaks are formed. If you would like to create a more decadent dessert, beat the egg whites until they too resemble soft peaks and gently combine. Spoon in to the glasses and refrigerate until ready to be served.

 

* Elderflower and Vanilla Apéritif *

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Elderflower in full bloom

Here in the southern isle of the Antipodes elderflower season is nigh. Peppered around the city, elderflower is in full bloom clambering through gardens and forests, waiting to be picked and turned into liquid gold, just in time for Christmas. For me, the smell of elderflower epitomises summer – the fragrance a heady burst whilst a batch is in the fermenting swing.

For many years now we’ve been making elderflower fizz and I must admit, we’ve got it down pat. We’ve tasted our first batch of the season (the other one is on the way) and my goodness, it’s good. Seriously good. We’re big fans of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal, so it was an easy decision to go with his elderflower fizz recipe (though slightly adapted).

Over the years we’ve searched high and low for the perfect elderflower patch. After serious scrutiny, we pick from North Dunedin alongside the banks of the Leith river. The elderflower’s habitat has to be as pure as possible, preferably living in a lush, sunny patch away from busy traffic and litter. It’s best to pick elderflower whilst the sun is out as it’s the key to a more flavoursome brew (an old wives’ tale which I’m sticking to).

A word of warning – making elderflower fizz is a dangerous business and should be treated with extreme caution. We’ve had a few explosions and although we’ve not lost any eyes, there have been a few very close calls. The golden rule is to keep the elderflower bottles contained in a chilly bin, or better still, kept in the drinks fridge.

At this time of year, we serve this elderflower and vanilla apéritif to guests or take it to one if the many Christmas soirees of the season. If you’re not a fan of vanilla, serve with normal vodka and top up with a dash of soda.

Elderflower and vanilla apéritif

A 750 mill bottle of freshly brewed elderflower fizz *

150 – 200 mills of vanilla vodka

Lemon zest and fresh mint to garmish

Soda water is optional if you prefer a mellower drop

Gently mix the elderflower fizz and desired portion of vodka together. Pour into champagne glasses, add a few cubes of ice and garnish with lemon zest and a sprig of fresh mint. Serve before a light summer lunch or dinner with lovely friends.

 

* Elderflower fizz à la Hugh

Four litres of hot water, plus an extra two litres of cold water

700 grams of sugar

The juice and zest of four lemons

2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar

15 elderflower heads in full bloom

A pinch of dried yeast (if needed)

Boil the jug and put the boiling water plus some cold water (to make up 4 litres of water) into a clean bucket or large container and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Add the additional two litres of cold water.

Add the lemon juice and zest, apple cider vinegar and elderflower heads and stir gently.

Completely cover with a clean muslin cloth and leave to ferment in a cool, airy place for a couple of days (the bathroom is a good option). Check the brew and if it’s not becoming a little foamy (i.e. fermenting) add the pinch of yeast.

Leave the covered mixture to bubble and brew for a further four days. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin and pour into sterilised strong glass bottles or Grolsch-style stoppers, or sterilized screw-top plastic bottles (you need strong bottles as a lot of pressure can build up).

Seal and leave to ferment in the bottles for at least a week before serving, chilled. The fizz should keep in the bottles for several months (although it never lasts this long in our house). Store in a cool, dry place. Release the pressure every day or so to prevent an explosion.

* Chocolate Kamut Crackles *

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Chocolate Kamut CracklesI recently completed the 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge (actually, it was in May, but I’ve been on hiatus) – and my goodness, what a challenge it was. The biggest challenge was not having time for much else apart from hitting the studio and practicing, as I work full time and life is busy. Other challenges included the lethargy, the insatiable hunger, the injured hip and the constant washing of towels (“it looks like a Chinese laundry around here!” remarked my Beau on more than a few occasions.) Alas, I made it and I felt pretty damn good in the end. It is an incredible mental and physical challenge and now I’ve done it, I don’t feel the need to ever do it again.

When practicing yoga, and especially when I did the challenge, I need high energy, light food before class. You’re not supposed to eat for 2 – 3 hours before practicing, but I feel better if I sneak a wee snack in. I came up with these chocolate kamut crackles to fill the void and I’m super pleased with the result – they’re decadent, healthy and seriously moreish.

Chocolate crackles are an old school, retro favourite and if you grew up in New Zealand in the 80’s and 90’s, you’ll know all about them. They’re a blessing for busy people as they require no baking and are ready in a flash (parents – take note.) They’re also a great way to get a good dose of high quality cereal in your diet – especially if the cereal is as impressive as kamut.

Kamut® is a trademarked ancient grain, otherwise known as khorasan wheat. It’s closely related to durum wheat and it’s been discovered that many people with traditional wheat allergies or sensitivities are able to tolerate kamut. Kamut packs a powerful protein punch and is high in fibre, which aids digestion and helps lower cholesterol. It also contains considerable amounts of magnesium, manganese and zinc, as well as your daily recommended dose of selenium. Kamut is naturally sweet and the puffed variety actually tastes like honey puffs (but is genuinely good for you). Kamut puffs (kamoot poofs) are available in all good health food stores, organic markets and specialist supermarkets.

Chocolate Kamut Crackles

1/2 a cup of coconut oil

1/2 a cup of honey or rice malt syrup

1/2 a cup of raw cacao or cocoa powder

4 cups of kamut puffs

3/4 of a cup of seeds, nuts or dried fruit (optional)

A pinch of pink Himalayan rock salt

In a large saucepan, slowly melt the coconut oil and honey or rice malt syrup. Take off the heat and add the raw cacao or cocoa powder and mix until it resembles melted chocolate. Gradually add the kamut puffs and optional extras (if you have any) and combine until the kamut puffs are covered in chocolatey goodness. Transfer in to cupcake cases and allow to set in the fridge. A batch keeps well in the fridge, although be warned – they won’t last long.

* Beetroot, Carrot and Ginger Elixir *

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Beetroot, Carrot and Ginger Elixir

I wouldn’t be without my daily dose of freshly pressed juice. I have the luxury of working approximately 2.46 minutes walk away from my inner city apartment and I return home every weekday lunchtime to my juice awaiting me in the fridge. My lovely Beau is Weekday Juice Boy and I’m Weekend and Holiday Juice Girl, so there is no excuse not to have our daily juicy juicy hit.

So, why is juicing so damn good for you?

Juice is a concentrated source of antioxidants, nutrients and immune enhancing goodness, which will increase your energy if you’re feeling sluggish and ensure you’re fighting fit again.

Juice is brimming with brilliant phytochemicals, which are the substances in plants that are among the most powerful ways to fight disease.

Juice is also a quick source of live enzymes, vitamins and minerals in their natural state. In combination with the micronutrients present in juice, cells can quickly absorb a greater amount of goodness, which supercharges your body. Also, as all or most of the fibre is removed, the digestive system is not being taxed and is able to absorb a higher proportion of nutrients.

This concoction of beetroot, carrot and ginger is called an elixir, as right now as summer beckons (and winter for you all in the northern climes), it’s a serious vitamin dose to get that spring back in your step. Beetroot in particular is one of the richest sources of nitrates and antioxidants that improves blood flow and blood pressure in the body. Beetroot juice’s star attraction is its unique source of phytonutrients called betalains, which research has indicated provides antioxidant, detoxification and anti-inflammatory support. It’s also rich in folate, vitamin C, potassium and nitrates, and is one of the best liver cleansers around, so drinking it every day is a stellar habit to get in to before the impending ‘silly season’.

Some people can feel nauseous after drinking beetroot juice, so start off by juicing half a beet and gradually increase. Evidently this is due to the rapid cleansing action of beetroot as it detoxifies the kidney, liver and blood.

If you don’t have a juicer, I thoroughly recommend investing in one – it’s been one of the best purchases that we’ve ever made. With Christmas just around the corner, buy one for your beloved, then you can both reap the benefits.

Beetroot, Carrot and Ginger Elixir

1/2 to a whole beetroot

2 – 4 carrots

A small to large knob of ginger, depending how spicy you like it

A whole apple or cranberry juice to sweeten.

Rev up the juicer, press the ingredients into a glass, top up with cranberry juice (optional) and drink up.