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Category Archives: Food: Vegetarian

Sago, Coconut Cream and Banana

Sago

Oh sago… Where have you been all my life? Seriously a simple, delicious dessert that everyone will love. Sago is made from the starchy pulp of a specific type of palm tree. Yup, starch. That makes sago about 90% carbohydrates, so be careful, diabetics.

[ Serves: 4 | Time: 60 Minutes | Cost: $4 ]
[ Joes Rating: 4.5 / 5 | My Rating: 5 / 5 ]

Ingredients

100 g dry sago
400 ml coconut cream
½ teaspoon stevia or 2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons coconut, shredded and toasted
2 tablespoons almonds, chopped and toasted

Method

  1. Put the stevia, sago and coconut cream in a pot and cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring continually.
  2. Remove from the heat and place in the fridge until chilled.
  3. Serve with toasted nuts and coconut.

Yum, give me extra nuts and coconut!

Observations

  • I adore sago. No, I mean I REALLY adore it. I could eat it all day long. It’s so easy and so delicious. Ahh sago……. *drool*
  • Diabetic Note: Banana is always bad for me. When it comes into the equation, my blood glucose levels get crazy. Having said that though, my bloods handled this dish exceptionally well.
  • Ethical Note: I want to do some research about sago. I am not sure how sustainable the crop is. Many south-east Asian rainforests are torn down to make way for crops such as palm sugar. For now, the jury is out until I can find the time to research this further.

 

 
 

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Asian Inspired Greens

Sometimes, clean fresh flavours are what inspires me the most. Don’t get me wrong; there is always a place for technique, but there is something delightful about pure ingredients. This quick slap together lunch is a classic example.

[ Serves: 2 | Time: 15 Minutes | Cost: $3 ]
[ Brittanys Rating: 4.5 / 5 | My Rating: 4.5 / 5 ]

Ingredients

1 bunch bok choy
1 bunch pak choy
1 bunch baby broccoli
1 zucchini, sliced thick
1 handful green beans
chilli flakes to taste

Sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon teriyaki sauce
¼ teaspoon stevia or 1 teaspoon sugar

Method

  1. Steam the vegetables in stages so they are cooked but still fresh and crisp on the plate.
  2. Mix all the sauce ingredients together and toss the vegetables in a bowl with the sauce. Ensure the vegetables are coated well with the sauce.
  3. Serve hot in a bowl with or without noodles. Sprinkle with chilli to taste.

Observations

  • Yum. Enough said!
  • Diabetic Note: No drama at all with this plate. If you are insulin dependent, add some noodles for carbs.
  • Ethical Note: Raw or near raw, fresh, and local. So awesome.
 

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Hot English Muffins – the sourdough variety!

This is not my recipe. Not in the slightest. The full credit for this goes to Susan from Wild Yeast. Nevertheless, breakfast perfection has been achieved and it is my sworn duty to report such wins to you!

Sourdough hot English muffins with scrambled eggs. Just what the doctor ordered.

[ Makes: 8 | Time: 24 hours | Cost: $4 ]
[ Joes Rating: 4 / 5 | My Rating: 4.5 / 5 ]

Ingredients – Sponge

110 g starter
160 g plain flour
100 g wholemeal flour
275 ml soy milk

Final dough

75 g plain flour
1.5 teaspoon agave or ½ teaspoon stevia
1  teaspoon bicarbonate soda
¾ teaspoon salt

Polenta to sprinkle

Method

  1. Mix the sponge ingredients together. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and allow to rest overnight.

    Cover and rest

  2. Add the final dough ingredients and mix to incorporate. Turn out on a clean bench and mix by hand. The dough is very sticky, but resist the urge to add more flour. The mixture will thicken up after a lot of kneading – about 8 – 10 minutes.

    When you start to knead, the dough will be extremely sticky. Resist the urge to add flour!

  3. Use a bread scraper to get the dough off the bench and sprinkle with flour.

    The dough will still be sticky but it will be usable.

  4. Flatten the dough on the floured bench until it is about an inch thick. Use a cutter or a glass to cut out the muffins. Dust the outsides of the muffin with polenta.
  5. Cover and let proof for an hour or three.
  6. Heat a frying pan with a little oil over a low to medium heat. Cook for about 8 minutes on each side, turning regularly to maintain shape.
  7. Cool on a wire rack. To use, slit the muffins with a fork and toast until golden.

    before and after toasting.

Observations

  • I’ve made these several times now with mixed results. Take my advice; don’t allow the sponge to rest for more than overnight. It fails to rise when it’s rested for more. Make sure you allow it the second rest period after its been shaped.
  • Diabetic Note: There is nothing too evil here. Treat it like you do bread – one or two slices is allowable. More will wreak havoc with your blood glucose levels.
  • Ethical Note: Sourdough – enough said 🙂

I mentioned the bread scraper. It is a firm but flexible piece of plastic that is excellent for scraping bowls and manipulating dough. If you are getting aboard the sourdough train, make sure you get yourself one.

 

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Broad (Fava) Bean Risotto

 

I love beans of all variety, and broad beans are no exception. When I was a little girl, I grew up on them as a staple. Lately I’ve been craving them in my diet and when I stumbled across this gem of a recipe by Yummly, I knew I had to give it a try – with my own changes, of course! =)

Broad Bean Risotto

[ Serves: 2 | Time: 24hrs + 15 Minutes | Cost: $3 ]
[ Joes Rating: 5 / 5 | My Rating: 4.5 / 5 ]

Ingredients

100 grams dried broad beans
1 large onion
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups vegetable stock
½ cup white wine
½ cup Pecorino cheese
¼ cup low-fat cream ¹
2 cloves garlic
½ tablespoon sage
drizzle olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Soak the dried beans in water over night with a pinch of bicarbonate soda. After a good soak, slightly twist each bean or squeeze from the sides to remove the hard skins. Discard the skins. After a rinse under cold running water, the beans are ready to be used.
  2. Put the stock in a pot and bring to a light simmer.
  3. In a larger pot, add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent. Don’t allow to brown.
  4. Stir the dry rice into the mixture and give it a stir to coat it well with the oil, onions and garlic.
  5. De-glaze with the wine and cook over a warm – moderate heat until the wine has been absorbed.
  6. Add ½ – 1 cup of hot stock to the mixture and stir frequently while the rice absorbs the fluid.
  7. Continue slowly adding stock until the rice is cooked. This will take about 25 – 35 minutes. Stir frequently to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick.
  8. When the rice is tender, add the cream, cheese, sage and beans to the pot and stir it gently to combine it well.
  9. Season to taste and serve immediately with some grated cheese to garnish.

 

A well made risotto should still show the individual rice grains and not be a gluggy mess. The black masses in the photo are peppercorns form the cheese.

Observations

  • Note 1: I recently discovered this wonderful Kraft’s product range Philadelphia Cream Cheese called Cream for Cooking. This is the first time I have used it and found it produced a really good flavour without all the carbohydrates. It boasts 60% less fat than regular cream, so look out for it.
  • I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with this risotto. It was creamy, filling, flavourful and the taste just lingered all night on my palate.
  • Diabetic Note: 100 grams of cooked arborio rice is about 35g carbohydrates. There are roughly 10 grams of carbs between the cream and beans. This meal will sneak in to the tightest carbohydrate budget as long as you observe strict serving sizes.
  • Ethical Note: Dried legumes allows you to use seasonal crops all year round. The ability to dry legumes for later use reduces wastage. Learn to love legumes and once you have mastered No Meat Monday, try Legumes Thursday!

 

 

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Turkey English Muffins for Breakfast

I never usually buy commercial bread products. Mine are so much tastier and a darn sight better for me! Nevertheless, I have succumbed and bought a packet of English Breakfast Muffins. The reason behind this is to understand the texture and taste of them because I think my sourdough adventures will lead to a tastier home-made version sometime soon.

So my experiments begin. I must seek awesome ways of eating this delightful muffin. Is this awesome cleverly disguised as a breakfast dish? Id say so, but I may be biased.

Turkey English Muffins for Breakfast

[ Serves: 2 | Time: 15 Minutes | Cost: $5 ]
[ Joes Rating: 5 / 5 | My Rating: 4.5 / 5 ]

Ingredients

2 English muffins
100g turkey breast
2 organic free ranged eggs
1 tomato, sliced
2 cheese slices
handful baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cranberry jelly
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Slice all the ingredients ready for construction while the muffin is hot.
  2. Split the muffins in half at the join line and toast lightly.
  3. While the muffin is toasting, lightly scramble one egg in a bowl and pop it in the microwave oven for 30 – 40 seconds until cooked. 

    Quick method for light fluffy eggs

  4. Once the muffin has been toasted, spread mayonnaise on one half and cranberry jelly on the other. On the mayonnaise side, add the baby spinach, tomato, salt and pepper, turkey, cheese, egg and more salt and pepper. 

    Construction of a master piece.

  5. Devour immediately.

So yummy

Observations

  • This was so tasty and filling. Much happiness comes from such a complete breakfast!
  • A note about seasoning. If you noticed, I seasoned the muffin twice; on the tomatoes and on the eggs. I believe both require adequate seasoning to enhance their flavours. Do a blind taste test on a piece of tomato and a bit of egg both seasoned and unseasoned and you will understand my rationale behind this.
  • I’ve heard and read a lot of things both for and against microwaved proteins. I hardly ever use my microwave, but this 30 – 40 second zap for one egg produces light, fluffy eggs that are otherwise time-consuming and require a lot of clean up. My only word of caution is to not over cook the eggs in the microwave, unless you want rubber fighting weapons for comic skits.
  • Want a vegetarian version? Just leave the turkey off and perhaps substitute a lentil patty!
  • Diabetic Note: One of these muffins is within my carbohydrate budget. The protein from the turkey, cheese and egg (particularly the egg) keeps me full for hours. While you may be pushing the fats friendship from the egg content and cheese, all in all this is a pretty balanced and awesome breakfast!
  • Ethical Note: I used tomatoes from my garden. YAY! And with any luck, next time I write to you about English Muffins, it will be about my own home made sourdough version. Fingers crossed!
 

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Banana and Coconut Cream Custard

I stumbled across this wonderful recipe by Real Food Forager and was very eager to try something similar. I don’t know why I waited so long, to be honest. It should now be a part of our regular diet – it was just that good!

Silky, creamy and smooth – a perfect dessert.

[ Serves: 4 – 6 | Time: 30 Minutes | Cost: $4 ]
[ Joes Rating: 4.5 / 5 | My Rating: 5 / 5 ]

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas – puréed
1 can coconut cream – well incorporated ¹
4 free ranged eggs
2 tablespoons agave ²
2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon stevia

Method

  1. Mash and purée the banana in a blender until it is smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well aerated.
  3. Pour the mixture into a tart tray and bake at 180°C for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve hot or cold ³.

Creamy and delicious.

Observations

  • Note 1: The original recipe called for coconut milk and gave instructions on how to convert coconut cream into coconut milk. I opted to just use a tin of coconut cream and the results were delicious. If your coconut cream is solid in the tin, warm it until it melts and becomes incorporated.
  • Note 2: The original recipe uses four tablespoons of honey, however, I was concerned about the glucose content. I’ve altered it to be half agave and a little stevia to make up the sweetness required. The dish didn’t suffer for the substitutes. If you don’t have agave, you can use sugar, honey or just stevia as desired.
  • Note 3: The original recommended refrigerating the custard and serving it cold. We had some hot to taste test it (for research, I assure you!) and found it was moist and not all that appealing. When we set it in the fridge, the moisture seems to disappear and the texture and taste strengthens. Although it can be eaten hot, it is our opinion that served chilled is the only way to enjoy it.
  • Diabetic Note: There is always something about bananas that sets my blood glucose levels screaming. This dish, however, even when served with some low GI ice cream (Bulla lite brand) was ok. Watch the fat content of your coconut cream (I use a lite variety), the sugars (see note 2) and serving size as there is plenty of sugar in the bananas.
  • Ethical Note: These bananas were well past their prime and were due for the compost heap. Even so, they were perfect in this dish.

Served chilled with low Gi Ice Cream – a diabetics dreams come true.

 

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Broccoli Pasta Sauce

No, I didn’t make a mistake with the title. The dish really is a Broccoli Pasta Sauce. A rather amazing and totally delicious sauce at that. This is definitely a “don’t judge a book by its cover” type deal and is inspired by Tea and Cookies. Enjoy!

Broccoli Pasta Sauce – Don’t judge a book by its cover.

[ Serves: 4 | Time: 15 Minutes | Cost: $4 ]
[ Joes Rating: 4 / 5 | My Rating: 4 / 5 | Brittanys rating: 4 / 5 ]

Ingredients

5 cups broccoli
1 onion, diced
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper to taste
Pecorino Cheese to taste

Method

  1. Wash the broccoli and cut it into bite size chunks, including the stems. Steam or boil the broccoli until it is tender – about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large frying pan, bring a drizzle of oil to temperature and fry of the onion and garlic until transparent. Add the drained broccoli and saute for a few minutes until tender and coated in the oil and onion mixture.
  3. Pour the broccoli and onion mixture into a blender. Add the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water.
  4. Mix through hot pasta and serve with grated cheese.

Season it well and serve with grated pecorino cheese

Observations

  • Reserve the water from the boiling / steaming process to use to thin out the sauce during the blending stage. Also, reserving vegetable water is perfect for feeding sourdough starter!
  • I was honestly so surprised at the taste of this dish. I was even more surprised at how Brittany loved it. Seriously, the child lapped it all up and was looking for more! Definitely a winner.
  • Diabetic Note: Ok, so pasta is naughty. And I struggle really hard when I do eat it. Be wary of your serving size and opt for more sauce than pasta and you *might* be ok. (Remember, pasta is ~70% carbohydrates.)
  • Ethical Note: Oh how awesome is this recipe. You use the stems too. Far too often broccoli stems are discarded as waste even though they are delicious and totally edible.
  • Did you get all the way to the bottom and are still trying to work out why I haven’t gotten duck recipe #2 published yet? Tomorrow guys, I promise! 🙂

This is my portion. I try to make it small and keep to 1 cup cooked pasta.

 

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Apple Porridge

Hello Mr. Zebra
Can I have your sweater?
Cause it’s cold, cold, cold
In my hole, hole, hole.

Tori Amos – Mr Zebra

Its cold. So very cold. My fingers aren’t even working properly and I’m typing with mittens on! (No comments on not knowing cold from you Alaskans!) You know what this calls for, right? Yup, Porridge!

Apple Porridge

[ SERVES: 3 | TIME: 15 MINUTES | COST: $2 ]
[ JOES RATING: 4 / 5 | MY RATING: 4 / 5 | BRITTANYS RATING: 4 / 5 ]

Ingredients

1 green apple
1 cup oat flakes
3 cups water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
soy milk
brown sugar or agave to taste

Method

  1. Peel and core the apple. Cut into small bite size pieces. Place the apple in a small pot and bring to the boil with enough water to cover the apples. Stew until soft – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cinnamon, oats and water to the boil. Stir over a moderate heat until the oats are tender. This may take 5 minutes. Add a little more water if all the water has been absorbed but the oat flakes are still tough.
  3. Remove from heat and serve in a bowl with soy milk and sugar to taste.

Apple and Cranberries work a treat!

Observations

  • Good grief, Charlie Brown. Even Brittany enjoyed this one! Its warm, filling and nutritious. Definitely a crowd pleaser during winter.
  • I often add sultanas to the mix and sometimes cranberries. It depends on what is in the cupboard. Toasted nuts sprinkled over the top at serving are a real treat!
  • Diabetic Note: Oats are Low GI so are much better for you than wheat based cereals and breads. As much as I hate to admit it, porridge is a much sounder diabetic option than sourdough bread.
  • Ethical Note: Oats are a sustainable crop often undervalued in agriculture. According to the North American Millers Association, “Oats are especially valuable in environmentally sustainable crop rotation systems, helping to ensure sound cropping and soil conservation practices.”

My serving had agave on it for sweetness. Joe and Brittany opted for raw sugar.

 

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Tomato and Capsicum Sauce

I’ve been craving a smooth tomato sauce with some bite for a while now. I have been tossing around some ideas until this one just sort of formed one afternoon for no particular reason. Its so easy that I’m embarrassed to post it, but nevertheless, here it is because it deserves to be shared!

Tomato and Capsicum Sauce

[ SERVES: 4  |  TIME: 60 MINUTES  |  COST: $2-3  ]
[  JOES RATING:  4  / 5  |  MY RATING:  5  / 5  |  BRITTANYS RATING:  4  / 5   ]

Ingredients

1 can tomatoes, crushed or diced
1 capsicum, quartered and de-seeded
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon chili flakes, to taste
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
splash of olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1.  In a saucepan, fry off the onion in a little olive oil until caramelised. Add the garlic and stir until cooked.
  2. Add the capsicum and tomatoes and allow to stew over a medium heat for several minutes. Add chilli, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Continue to stew until the sauce has reduced and the capsicum has started to break down ¹.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool before puréeing in a blender.
  5. May be served immediately hot or stored in the fridge for several days.

Observations

  • Note 1: If you stew it long enough over a low enough heat the capsicum will break down and release more flavour. It will also give the chilli time to incorporate well into the dish.
  • Note 2: For a silky sauce, push the sauce through a drum strainer. Although I blended it for several minutes, it was still quite textured.
  • I loved this very simple sauce. It was absolutely delicious without being over bearing. Id happily eat this forever as my new pasta sauce base. I can just imagine it drizzled over steamed vegetables…
  • Diabetic Note: I didn’t use much oil in this dish at all so its a perfect sauce for all diabetics. Almost no carbohydrates or fats in this dish means you can have a little more pasta, right?
  • Ethical Note: YAY! I have found the perfect sauce! This means I am no longer dependant on beef replacement products for certain pasta sauces. Healthier for me and the environment. I also have to admit that the capsicum I used was well past its peak so reduced landfill to boot!
 

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Bean Stew with Tarragon

While I was in Sydney at the Good Food and Wine Festival, I got to attend The Flavour Workshop that featured Oxford Landing Estate wines with Maggie Beer inspired foods. Of the tasting, two tastes really struck a chord with me. The first was a Prosciutto with Mustard Apricots which was just brilliant. I should mention that the apricots are not available yet, but once I get my hands on a jar later this month, you can expect a full review.

The second was a Chicken Breast with a Tarragon Butter. Generally, this is not the sort of flavours Id work with, but I was really inspired by this subtle combination that I decided to have a play with the flavours and textures. I am not sure what to call the results really. To Tarragon, With Love? Cannellini Beans with Tarragon Butter? Tarragon Flavoured Beans? Bean Stew with Tarragon? I don’t know. How about, Yes Please!?

[ SERVES: 3 PER TART  |  TIME: 4.5 MINUTES  |  COST: $3 PER TART  ]
[  JOES RATING:  3.5 /5 |  MY RATING:  4 /5 |  BRITTANYS RATING: 3.5 /5 ]

Ingredients

1 can Cannellini beans, rinsed
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup leeks, quartered and sliced
1 cup zucchini, quartered and chopped
1 cup peas, frozen is fine
½ litre veggie stock
½ cup carrots, diced
1 – 2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon tarragon, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
drizzle olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a frying pan with a little oil ¹. Sauté the leeks and garlic until they are transparent and fragrant.
  2. Add the carrots and celery and cook until tender.
  3. Add the stock, zucchini, beans, peas and herbs ² and cook covered until tender.
  4. Season and serve hot.

Observations

  • Note 1: When you are cooking with butter, add a splash of oil to stop the butter from burning.
  • Note 2: While I was in Sydney, one of the TV celebrity chefs mentioned that he only ever puts soft herbs in at the end of the dish to keep them fresh. More recently, I heard someone on Masterchef say they put woody herbs in early and soft herbs in late. I’ve started doing this since I came back from Sydney and I have noticed the difference. The herb flavour is a lot stronger using this method!
  • I really adored this dish. The tarragon gave such an amazing flavour to it. Joe also enjoyed it, but Brittany wasn’t such a fan. She would have preferred for it to be served with some form of carbohydrates (surprise, surprise!) such as rice, pasta or couscous.
  • Diabetic Note: There are no real carbohydrates in this dish, perhaps 1 exchange (15 grams carbohydrates) per serve. There are some fats, though, so be aware and adjust accordingly. The beans full of fibre, low GI and high in protein leaving you full for longer. All in all, this is a wonderful choice for diabetics.
  • Ethical Note: It’s the day before shop day and the fridge was kinda bear. I am always a happy camper when I can invent something tasty with limited ingredients. Instead of throwing away wilted fruit and veggies, attempt to be creative. If it fails, you’ve lost nothing as you were throwing them out anyway. If you succeed, you’ve learned something while reducing landfill.
 

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