Fig and Feta Salad

It’s hard not to love the epic combination of roast pumpkin, fresh figs and creamy feta cheese!

Ingredients (serves 2) 

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 4 figs
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 1/4 small pumpkin
  • 1/2 small cauliflower
  • 1 small head broccoli, stem removed
  • vinaigrette of your choice (I used Harnett’s rapeseed oil redcurrant vinaigrette but a light balsamic works just as well!)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. Slice the pumpkin and cauliflower into small pieces and spray with olive oil. Place on a lined baking tray and bake until soft and slightly golden.
  2. Leave the broccoli raw and break the florets into small pieces. Cut the figs into small pieces.
  3. To assemble the salad, place the spinach on the bottom and top with the pumpkin, cauliflower, broccoli and figs. Crumble the feta over the top, then drizzle over the vinaigrette.
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High Protein Banana Bread

This is a variation of the banana bread recipe by I Quit Sugar with the added benefit of pea protein.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup pea protein (I used Botanika Blend’s raspberry coconut flavour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp berry or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 cup shredded coconut

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a loaf pan with baking paper.
  2. Mash the banana with the milk, eggs and oil until just lumpy (it tastes better with chunks left in!).
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until well combined. Pour into loaf tin and sprinkle with coconut.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Eat while still warm!

Pimp My Platter: Easy DYI Platters to Impress

For some people, hearing the words, “oh yes, everyone can just bring a plate!” when referring to a family gathering or BBQ with friends is enough to make their palms sweaty. If you’re not a foodie fiend, it can be hard to think of what to bring in the first instance, let alone how to make it look good among the other dishes.

I usually think “challenge accepted” in these situations, which is often followed by people saying, “oh and Kat, don’t be extra this time okay?”. I never used to be good as assembling platters, but after a little practice, I believe I’ve found a way to make them effortless!

The secret? It’s about variety. Obvious, I know.

While I’m sure many of us would like to sit down and eat 1kg of watermelon or a massive wheel of brie, the idea of a platter is small amounts of everything – so keep this in mind when buying your ingredients.

To assemble the platter, start with the large ingredients on the bottom and work around the edges of you plate or tray until you have a ‘frame’ so to speak. Then add the ingredients in descending size order until you’ve covered most of the blank space. Leave the smallest stuff until last so you can plug any gaps that are left.

Fruit Platter 

For fruit platters, shop for whatever is in season and go for a mixture of fruit that is big and small. There is no shame in buying only one orange, one passion fruit etc for the sake of a fruit platter! I also like to throw on some mixed nuts for texture so long as no one has a nut allergy. Anaphylaxis at a family reunion is never a good look.

Cheese Platter

In my humble opinion, the cheese platter is the king of platters. Again, remember the variety – both in crackers, condiments and cheese. Go for small lumps of something firm (mature cheddar), something soft (gouda, Jarlsberg etc), something creamy (creameux, brie, camembert, d’afanois) and something blue (go for mild rather than pungent). If you have the space, a pate and a goat cheese help to spice things up a little.

Place the cheese down first with enough space separating them, followed by your condiments (nothing beats a good quince paste!). I then frame the cheese with a mixture of water crackers and rice crackers depending on dietary requirements, add some fruit (passionfruit, figs, anything that’s easy to pick up) and throw on a handful of nuts to finish.

Dessert Platter 

What to bring when you have literally no idea – also makes for a great present idea!

Avoid anything with the potential to go soggy. For mine I’ve used homemade pastries (puff pastry triangles baked with a piece of chocolate inside is stupidly easy and effective!), a variety of berries, nougat pieces and nut bars, as well as chocolate coated nuts. You could easily use firm brownies and add some melted chocolate pots to dip things into – but remember to use different sized dessert tidbits with different textures for maximum effect.

So there you have it, some perfectly pimped platters to impress with the best!

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Plant-based, high protein, dairy-free, gluten-friendly and low refined sugar – what’s not to love about this variation on chocolate mousse?!

Ingredients (serves 2) 

Method

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate until set (approximately 1 hour). Top with cacao nibs. Enjoy!

Pavlamingtons

The Pavlamington is the glorious love child between a rich sweet lamington and a particularly frisky meringue. This recipe is a variation of my favourite pavlova recipe by Donna Hay, made all the more exciting with the addition of chocolate, coconut and strawberry jam.

Ingredients 

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp raspberry vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 120*C and line a couple of trays with baking paper.
  2. With an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until peaks form, then add the sugar one teaspoon at a time until dissolved. Once glossy, add the vinegar and beat for another 2 minutes.
  3. Place the meringue mixture into a piping bag fitted with a reasonably broad nozzle (or you can cut the corner off a plastic zip lock bag). Pipe the meringue into 50c piece sized discs onto the baking trays, and bake until firm (about 40-50 minutes). Set aside to cool.
  4. In a saucepan over medium heat, gently heat the chocolate and cream until melted and mixed through. Set aside to cool slightly.
  5. To assemble the Pavlamingtons, sandwich two of the meringue discs together with strawberry jam before dunking the side of the sandwich into the chocolate ganache. Roll the chocolate coated side in coconut and place in the fridge to set for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Note: if you find your meringues start to melt when you dip them in chocolate, place the meringues in the freezer for 5 minutes before dipping. Also place the ganache in a shallow dish to ensure it cools evenly (as in a deep bowl it may still be warm on the bottom).

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake

I’ll admit this isn’t the healthiest cheesecake ever BUT it certainly has less refined sugar and fat than it would have otherwise!

Ingredients 

  • 200g gluten free arrowroot biscuits
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 200g block of extra light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra light ricotta
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp pumpkin spice (or alternatively, mix 1/2 tbsp cinnamon with 1/4 tbsp each of ground ginger, allspice, ground cloves and nutmeg)
  • 200g pumpkin (I used butternut, go with whatever is in season)
  • 1 tbsp gluten free plain flour

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a 24cm cake tin with baking paper.
  2. In the food processor, blend the biscuits until crumbs form. Add the butter and stir until combined, then press into the bottom and sides of the cake tin and bake for 10 minutes or until firm.
  3. Finely slice the pumpkin and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until soft. Blend into a puree.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, ricotta and maple syrup until smooth (you can add more maple syrup here to taste). Add the pumpkin, pumpkin spice, eggs and flour, and stir until well combined.
  5. Pour the filling into the biscuit lined cake tin and bake until firm (approximately 40 minutes). Set aside in the fridge for 2 hours to chill before serving.

Garlic Prawns with Fruit and Nut Slaw

The title is peculiar I know, but how else to describe beautiful Australian prawns lovingly cooked in garlic and macadamia oil, with a drizzle of orange and passionfruit for a tangy hint of sweetness?

Ingredients 

  • 500g Australian prawns (fresh, peeled)
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder (depending on your taste!)
  • 1/4 green cabbage (or if you’re not a fan, coz lettuce)
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 2 large kale leaves, de-veined
  • 3 tbsp macadamia oil
  • 1 medium passionfruit, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice and 1 tbsp chia seeds (or you can use Chia New Zealand orange passionfruit flavour)
  • Nuts to season on top (I would use macadamia usually, but in the photo I’ve used shaved almonds)

Method 

  1. Peel the prawns if not already done, and gently toss in 2 tbsp macadamia oil and the garlic powder.
  2. To assemble the salad, shred the green cabbage, kale and broccoli. Mix the passionfruit pulp (seeds removed) with the orange juice and chia seeds, and stir until starting to congeal. Toss the salad with the fruit mix and 1 tbsp macadamia oil until combined.
  3. Preheat a fry pan over medium heat and empty the entire prawn / oil mix into the pain, and cook until the prawns are just cooked through.
  4. Serve the salad with the prawns and nuts on top.

Chickpea Zucchini Fritters

This versatile mixture can be used to make small fritters or muffins (or a bit of both like I did!). Both taste great eaten warm with lashings of fresh avocado, but also make for a great cold ‘grab and go’ breakfast laden with protein!

    

Ingredients (makes 12) 

  • 400g can chicpeas, drained
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plain flour (you can use any flour really e.g. Teff, gluten free, wholemeal, buckwheat or alternatively, use oats  or rolled rye / barley / spelt)
  • salt and pepper to taste (or your favourite seasoning mix)

Method 

  1. Place all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until smooth.
  2. To make fritters: Preheat a pan over medium heat and spray with olive oil. Cook the mixture in 1/8th cup batches until bubbling on top, the flip and cook for another minute.
  3. To make muffins: Preheat the oven to 200*C. Spoon 1/8th cup of mixture into small muffin cases, and top with a cherry tomato. Bake until golden brown and fluffy (about 15 minutes).

Vegan “Fettuccine Alfredo”

Next time someone tells you to eat more vegetables, make Fettuccine Alfredo! (“Um, what?!” I hear you say!). This recipe is a great plant-based and gluten-free take on Fettuccine Alfredo, adapted from a similar one on the  Tastemade Facebook page.

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 4 tbs olive oil Nuttalex (or other non-dairy  olive based spread)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves garlic, sauteed until soft)
  • 2 tsp onion powder (or 1 brown onion, sauteed until soft)
  • salt and pepper to taste (or your favourite Italian seasoning)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 200g mixed mushrooms (roughly chopped)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast or grated cashew cheese (or alternatively, I used Extraordinary Food Co Cashew Parmesan)
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Break the cauliflower into small florets. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until just charred around the edges and soft (around 15-20 minutes). Allow to cool slightly.
  2. To make the zucchini noodles, use 1 zucchini per person and turn in a spiralizer (you can also buy some zucchini noodles pre-madein the produce section of major Aussie supermarkets).
  3. Place the cauliflower, half the Nuttalex, almond milk and seasoning in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth (note that mine looks slightly lumpy in my pictures as I didn’t blend for long enough and started with too much cauliflower!).
  4. Heat a medium fry pan over a medium heat. Add the other half of the Nuttalex with the mushrooms and sautee until soft.
  5. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and pour the sauce in to heat it up, then add the zucchini noodles and toss to coat (but not to cook, so do this quickly). Serve topped with the mushrooms and your choice of cheese.