Mushroom & Chestnut Martini Soup

Every time I make this soup, I ask myself ‘why don’t I make this more often?’ Chestnuts contain no cholesterol and are low in sodium and fat. They are also rich in mineral salts and an excellent source for vitamins C, B1, B2 and folates.  Guests always love how it plates up as a savoury martini. I love it more, because it screams SCREW YOU winter!

Mushroom and Chestnut Martini Soup

What you’ll need: serves 6
400g peeled chestnuts (I buy mine frozen from either the markets or good health food stores)
400g mushrooms finely sliced (I like to use organic portobellos)
1 tablespoon of EV olive oil
1 medium organic potato, peeled and diced
1 medium brown onion, peeled and diced
1 glove of garlic, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon of organic dried thyme
1 litre of vegetable stock (I use 2-3 tablespoons of my Thermomix veggie stock, diluted in a litre of filtered water)
Freshly ground pepper top taste
Sea salt to taste and fresh herbs to garnish (basil and parsley are my favs, but you could use thyme or chives too)
Tub of Butter Me Up; the first Australian-made real butter alternative. If you haven’t tried this yet, you must

How to prepare:
In a pan bring vegetable stock to a gentle simmer
In a separate deep, heavy based saucepan sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent
Add chestnuts, potato and mushrooms to sautéed onion and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes until the ingredients begin to stick to the base of your pot, then add thyme and stir through well, followed by 3/4 of your hot stock
Simmer for 25-30 minutes
Remove from heat, transfer to blender and blitz until smooth, using the remaining stock to adjust the consistency if need be, blitz again
Taste and adjust seasoning if required
Ladle into your martini glasses, top with fresh herbs, salt and or pepper and serve with fresh bread and generous lashings of vegan butter

Retro Quiche

Before you vilify me, hear me out. We recently rescued four hens. They came to us both malnourished and underweight. After many months of much love, only organic, vegetarian food and many happy hours being free to dust bath and roam they returned to full health. Once each of our girls is given an egg, every week there are some to spare and I’m not going to see these daily miracles go to waste. We do not buy eggs, but will gladly enjoy those of our beloved girls along with all the time, effort, money, love and deep reward that comes with having them in our lives. This ‘retro’ quiche is a wonderful meal for kids and has taught our sons the importance of both knowing and caring about where our food comes from…

Quiche retro style

What you’ll need:
3 organic zucchinis, grated. Then squeezed in paper towel to remove excess water
2 organic carrots, grated
Fresh parsley (a generous handful will do) washed, dried and chopped
1 onion, finely diced
2 handfuls of spinach, chopped
EV olive oil
Sea salt
1-2 teaspoons of dried Italian herb mix
5 eggs
3/4 cup of grated plant-based cheeze
1 cup of organic self raising flour

How to prepare:
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees
In a pan sauté your onion in a lashing of olive oil
Once translucent, add zucchini and carrot and warm through folding gently. Cook on low for 3-5 minutes, then turn off and allow to rest
In a large bowl, crack eggs and whisk
Add a generous pinch of sea salt
Add cup of self raising flour and cheeze, then fresh cut herbs and mix together
Add all veggies from pan and fold well
Whack everything in your bowl into a rectangular baking tray and cook for 35-40 minutes

I love to serve this with a small green salad topped with snow pea shoots and a side of avocado and a lashing of beetroot or tomato relish if I have it.

Our beautiful girls: Trudy, Fluffy, Happy and Suzi roaming freely, with the sunshine on their backs and not a care in the world… because they will be loved and cared for long after they stop laying.
Hens

 

 

 

Easy chickpea and sweet potato curry

This is comfort food at its best kindkitcheners! Moreish, nutritious, warming and filling. Seriously, what more could you want? I use only organic produce and opt for bio-dynamic rice, which has both a flavour and texture that takes this dish to a whole other level. This curry can also be frozen. Yay.

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What you’ll need: Serves 4-6
2 tablespoons of EV olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
A 2cm piece of fresh ginger, diced
4 teaspoons of ground cumin
3 teaspoons of ground ginger
2 teaspoons of hot chilli powder (this will give your curry a warm kick, if you like it HOT add 3 teaspoons)
15 small potatoes (I’m loving Nicolas), peeled and halved
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into chunks
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced into chunks
2 x cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 fresh medium tomatoes, topped then halved and diced
1 large glass of white wine
Vegetable stock (paste or cubes), diluted in 500 mls of water
(I use 2 x tablespoons of homemade vegetable stock made in the Thermomix)
4 tablespoons of quality tomato puree
4-6 cups of Bio-dynamic rice

How to prepare:
In a large pot sauté fresh onion, garlic and ginger in olive oil until translucent
Add ground cumin, ground ginger and chilli powder, cook for another 2 minutes
Add chopped vegetables, coat well with spices. This step is key, so take your time folding
Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes then add freshly chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, wine, stock and tomato puree
Add salt, cover and leave to gently simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally as the vegetables cook and the curry thickens
Taste and season with salt before serving
Serve on a bed of bio-dynamic rice and top with fresh herbs. I love using coriander and/or flat leaf parsley

What to drink?
If you like a white wine; I recommend a pinot gris
If you like red you cannot go wrong with a pinot noir for something more adventureous, a nebbiolo would work well too. Dig in!

 

 

Choc Mint or Choc ‘n Raspberry Torte

This torte is a total crowd pleaser. It can be presented as a birthday cake or plated up like a fine dining dessert. Best of all, you can add or remove one ingredient; fresh mint to switch it from a Choc Mint Torte to a Choc ‘n Raspberry one. I just love that!

Choc n rasberry torte

What you’ll need for the crust:
1 and 1/4 cup of hazelnuts
1 and 1/4 cup of almonds
1/4 cup of unbleached, organic cane sugar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons of cocao powder
A very generous pinch of sea salt
6 tablespoons of softened coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon on vanilla extract
22cm round cake baking tin

To prepare the crust:
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees
In a food processor, combine nuts to create a fine consistency
Add sugar, cacao powder, salt and pulse again
Pour mixture into a large bowl
Add coconut oil and vanilla extract and gently fold, until your mixture sticks together add a little water (1 tablespoon) if mixture seems dry. It should be moist
Press the mixture into your tin and bake for 15 minutes or until golden
Set aside and allow to cool completely. I often make this the night before

What you’ll need for the filling:
I packet of organic silken tofu
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 bunch of washed fresh mint (or not, depending on which version you are making)
1/2 a cup of unbleached, organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of semisweet vegan Sweet William chocolate chips (these are readily available at Coles in the health food isle, other stockists are available in the link above)
A pinch of sea salt

To prepare the filling:
Place tofu, water, vanilla, sugar and salt into a medium saucepan
Using a whisk, break up and whisk the tofu to combine the ingredients
Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the liquid reduces a little and the tofu browns slightly
Place this mixture into your blender, add your mint (if using) and chocolate chips
Blitz until smooth
Pour onto your cooled crust
Refrigerate for 2-3 hours covered by a plate
Then slice and plate up with raspberries, fresh mint, a drizzle of soy yoghurt…
This torte pairs so well with just about any dessert wine from De Bortoli’s Noble One to any Moscato

You’ll be making this torte more than once. I promise you that… so don’t be afraid to pair it with whatever you’ve got in the fridge

 

 

 

 

Slow baked sweet potato stuffed with ancient grain salad

Baked sweet potato with grain saladWhat you’ll need:
Big organic sweet potatoes for 4-6 people
1 bunch coriander, washed and chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, washed and chopped
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 cup of your favourite grain: freekah, quinoa or cracked wheat
1/2 cup of Puy lentils
2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in coconut oil
2 tablespoons of hazelnuts, lightly crushed in your mortar and pestle. If you don’t have one, just use a clean a tea towel and a rolling pin
2 tablespoons of baby capers
1/2 cup organic black currants
Juice of one medium lemon
3 tablespoons of EVOO
Sea salt
1 pomegranate, halved and deseeded

Hot tip:
Having to deseed a pomegranate put me off readily using these incredible fruits laden with Vitamin C, Vitamin K and fibre.  Then I discovered this video: How to deseed a pomegranate

For the dressing you’ll need:
1 cup of coconut yoghurt (available at all good health food stores)
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, crushed

How to prepare:
Preheat your oven to 220 degrees
Wash and pat dry your sweet potatoes
Place them in your preheated oven and turn heat down to 200 degrees to bake for 1 hour. Cooking time will vary due to size

Blanch your chosen grain and lentils separately in boiling water until al dente
Drain well and allow to completely cool
Mix your coconut yogurt and cumin and set side
In a medium bowl, place herbs, red onion, grain, lentils, nuts, seeds, capers, currants, lemon juice, olive oil, pomegranate and hand toss
Season with sea salt
Test your baked potatoes

Plating up + wine match:
Place a sweet potato on a plate
Slice open length ways and part
Spoon in your grain salad and lots of it
Top with yoghurt dressing
This dish goes beautifully with a Pinot Gris. I chose a 2014 Domaine de Belle Vue, from the Loire Valley France RRP $30AUD

 

Smash n’ Wrap

With Meat Free Week 2014 just days away, you will have lunch well and truly sorted with all the fresh salad combinations that work with smashed white beans. Including last week’s raw apple, beetroot and carrot salad which received rave reviews. Enjoy x

Smashed white bean wrap

What you’ll need: serves 2
400g organic cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
½ a red onion peeled and very finely diced
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon of coarse grain Celtic sea salt: free from preservatives, additives, refining and bleaching
½ a teaspoon of cracked black pepper
The juice and rind of 1 small lemon
Dill washed and chopped (optional)

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How to prepare:
Place all the ingredients (except dill) into a bowl
Mash well with a fork until you have a chunky paste
Taste and adjust seasoning, add dill (optional)
Take a whole-wheat wrap fill it with smashed white beans then add:
Raw ABC salad or
Spinach leaves, fresh basil and sliced tomato or
Avocado, spinach leaves, grated carrot and pitted olives… the options are only limited by your imagination
Wrap and place face down on sandwich press to
Toast until golden brown
Tuck in x

Raw A+B+C Salad

Apple, beetroot and carrot… well, salads just don’t come any easier or fresher than this. The divine flavours of the fruit and vegetables are prefect as they are, so no dressing is needed. If you like, add a little white cabbage and this dish moonlights as a fantastic dairy free coleslaw. Either way, you are going to love this.
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What’ you’ll need: serves 4-6
3 fresh beetroots (440g) peeled and quartered
3 small carrots (100g) peeled and chopped into fours
½ a red onion, peeled and quartered
1 granny smith apple peeled, cored and quartered
¼ of a cup of fresh coriander, washed and chopped
½ cup of walnuts (optional)

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How to prepare:
Place apple, beetroot, carrot and onion into the TM bowl of your Thermomix
Chop on speed 4 for 7 seconds, then transfer salad into a serving bowl and garnish with walnuts (optional) and fresh coriander
If you don’t have a Thermomix, you can use a blender but will have to prepare the salad in batches
With no dressing this salad remains equally tasty day two. Any left overs are delicious in a toasted wrap with smashed white beans (stay tuned, that recipe is on its way).

Spinach + Banana Popeye Smoothie

spinach and banana popeye smoothie

What you’ll need: serves 2-4
3 organic bananas
2-3 big handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon of peanut butter (I’m loving Planet Organic stoneground peanut butter)
1 scoop of Sunwarrior classic raw vegan protein powder
250mls of almond milk (with no added nasties – always read the label)
250mls of coconut water (check that the brand you buy is coconut water and nothing else)
1 tray of ice cubes

How to make:
Add all the ingredients to your Thermomix bowl or blender
Blend for 1 minute going from speed 1 to 10
Serve with a reusable steel straw

Yum x