Choc Chick(pea) Cookies

Raising a two year old is the best way to teach me patience. He wants to do EVERY dang THING himself. His favourite phrase on repeat is “let me do it pleaseeeee” (miss (ter) independent – Neyo fans out there?).

So when it comes to making food, as soon as I step into the vicinity of the kitchen, I hear the dining table chair being dragged along the floor boards. He assists himself up to the bench and he promotes himself to sous chef.

We created this together one arvo and they were a hit with the whole family.

These are YUMMY, kid friendly, packed with natural protein and utilises simple ingredients you’d probably have in your pantry. They’re also dairy free, vegan (using vegan choc chips), and plant based- which was all accidental but I consider it a win.

Lets get started. You will need:

  • 1 cup of chickpeas (I used canned)
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt flakes
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup choc chips
  • 1/3 cup dates

Start by:

  • preheating oven to 180 C fan forced.
  • Boil the kettle and soak the dates in hot water for at least 5 minutes.
  • drain, rinse + pat dry chickpeas.
  • Take 1/4 cup of the date water and set aside.
  • Drain the remaining water from dates and blitz in food processor until in big chunks and broken down a bit.
  • Add the chickpeas and remaining ingredients except the choc chips.
  • Blitz until combined into a crumbly texture and add in date water.
  • Blitz for 10-15 seconds until a rough dough is formed. NOTE: Do not over process here or it will turn into a yucky hommus.
  • Fold in choc chips with a spoon and scoop out tablespoons of mixture at a time. Form into balls and press them lightly down on to a lined baking tray.
  • Cook for 15 minutes until hardened on the top and slightly brown.
  • Best served warm with a cup of tea or warm milk.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 -5 days.

Enjoy..

Ames. Xx

Everyday Strawberries + Cream ‘Ice-cream’

Let’s just get right down to it. Everyone loves ice-cream, right? But eating it everyday isn’t quite ideal. Additives, sugar and cream are basically the ingredients in a store bought tub. But this recipe is 2 ingredients, takes 5 minutes to make, is DELICIOUS, allows your children to participate in the kitchen and make their own dessert!

All you need is :

  • Frozen banana
  • Frozen organic strawberries
  • Your choice of toppings *optional

Make that ‘ice-cream’!

  • Portion up equal parts frozen banana and strawberry
  • Blend the frozen banana. Place into a bowl.
  • Blend the frozen strawberry and place on top of the banana ‘ice-cream’ and swirl.
  • Add toppings of choice – here we used chia seeds, coconut and dehydrated strawberries. Enjoy!

Hope you and your family love this alternative to standard ice-cream and love it as much as we do!

Ames.

Coconut + Pumpkin Winter Warmer

Pumpkin soup is life in the winter months. Served with a piece of toasted crusty sourdough and drizzled with olive oil (genuinely salivating writing this). I’ve added turmeric and ginger for their cold fighting/immune boosting properties and for the warmth they add to the base. The chili is for the heat needed on a cold Melbourne night and the coconut milk adds a healthy fat to the soup, as well as containing lauric acid,  that has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

I truly believe that food is thy medicine and it is also a preventative. We wouldn’t need medicine if we weren’t sick, so I aim to nourish our cells, muscles, organs, bones (you get the point), with fresh and live food. Not ‘food’ created in a laboratory. After years of getting the flu each winter, I stopped and looked at my diet. People assumed because I was vegetarian, I was healthy but I ate barely any fresh produce and consumed a lot of sugar that had a negative effect on my immune system.

Food is now my ally and I love how everything has purpose and was created to serve us beneficially, when used in its natural state. This winter warmer aims to utilize seasonal vegetables and warming spices to fight those cold and flu bugs.

You’ll be needing:

  • ½ tablespoon fresh grated ginger or roughly a 3cm knob of ginger
  • 4-5 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cumin
  • 1 heaped teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • 1 small green chilli diced *optional
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 whole large butternut pumpkin or roughly 6 cups diced
  • 200mls of organic coconut milk (with cream)
  • 500ml Organic veggie stock or broth
  • 250ml Water

Let’s cook:

  1. Throw the diced onion and pumpkin into a pot with a splash of olive oil. I dice the pumpkin finely so it cooks faster.
  2. Saute on low for a few minutes until the onion starts becoming translucent.
  3. After a minute, crush the garlic cloves and add to the onion and pumpkin along with grated ginger, small chili, cumin, and turmeric .
  4. Stir spices, pumpkin, onion, garlic and ginger on medium heat for a minute or two then add the stock and water. Bring to the boil then simmer on medium heat with the lid ajar for 15 minutes (until the pumpkin is soft). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
  6. Pour back into the pot and turn on low heat. Stir the coconut milk in and simmer for a minute or two. (Don’t allow the coconut milk to boil otherwise it may separate the milk from the soup).
  7. Done! Serve up and slurp up. Serves roughly 4.

Tip*

  • throw a bib on your babes as turmeric stains clothes.
  • Before I begin, I try to dice, grate and prep everything that needs prepping before I cook. So for this recipe, dice the onion, peel and dice the pumpkin, crush the garlic and have all the spices in a bowl set aside and ready. It sounds silly to mention because it seems common sense but I can’t count the amount of times I’ve started something before prepping and it lead to burnt food or kitchen panic so I thought I would add that in 😉

If you did try this recipe, leave me a comment and let me know how you found it.

Ames.


Kale + Walnut Pesto

I made this one night on a whim because the only fresh veg in the fridge was kale and the only nut variety left in the cupboard were walnuts. Kale is an anti-inflammatory vegetable, packed with potent antioxidants that counteract damage caused by free radicals, aids in detoxification, improves heart health and has anti-carcinogenic effects (anti cancer)!

Walnuts are a super food that contain 65% fat and 15% protein. The are packed with vitamins and essential nutrients but my favourite things about them is that they provide antioxidants that help prevent liver damage caused by chemicals, reduce inflammation, regulate sleep (produces melatonin) AND boosts immunity and your mood! That is pretty super. Oh, and great for brain health as they contain omega 3- fatty acids. I added that in because I love how walnuts look like a brain – coincidence? I think not!

I love that foods can provide us with everything our mind and body needs. Ahhh, ily food.

Anyway, pesto mixed in through pasta was a favourite of mine during my teen years and into my early 20’s. Naive ol’ ames here used to use packet gnocchi, dollop of cream and pesto in a jar.  Sounds pretty scrumptious but most packaged supermarket pesto and gnocchi contain preservative 202, canola oil, thickeners and often other nasties! (more about those ‘nasties’ on another post).

So, after I had learned this, I gave up on packaged “foods” and my diet became super bland. Soon my cravings got the better of me and I decided to see how hard it was to actually make pesto. Turns out – it’s pretty darn simple. Things that make creating pesto easier are a blender or food processor although the trusty pestle and mortar will work, it will just take alot (alot, alot) more time.

Let’s get started!  You will need:

  • 2 packed cup of organic Kale
  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 2 smashed garlic bulbs
  • Generous Pinch of salt flakes
  • ⅓ cup Olive oil

Let’s get cookin’:

  1. Peel and crush the garlic.
  2. Place half the olive oil into the bender with remaining ingredients.
  3. Blend on low and then pulse , adding remaining oil to reach desired consistency. You want it a little nutty and not completely blended until smooth.
  4. Mix in with your favourite cooked pasta and serve.

Pesto can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Tips:

If you have a sensitive gut, massage the raw kale for a minute or two before it’s thrown into the blender.

This is delicious without cheese, but if you’re after a more traditional flavour, add ¼ cup of pecorino parmesan or for it to remain vegan, add in some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour.

If you did try this recipe, leave me a comment and let me know how you found it.

Ames.

Xx

Simple Baked Falafel

Fresh out of high school,  I worked part time at a yacht club in central Melbourne. I dreaded serving the members each day that had their identity set in money but I worked with the loveliest people. One young couple I adored, were two chefs. One was from Israel and the other Brazil. Beautiful hearts. I loved working with different people from all around the world and looking back, I am grateful for learning their ways of culture and cuisine.

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My favourite meal served was falafels. It was simply plated with hummus on a bed of salad. I begged for the recipe but when I tried to recreate it at home – they always fell short.  This lovely Israeli chef acquired generations of culture and lessons that had been passed down, and I expected to replicate all of that from a recipe. Ignorant young Amy.

Over the past 10 years since then, I have tampered with many recipes and created a simpler version of that delicious morsel of chickpea goodness I had once tasted.

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This recipe holds true to traditional flavours and ingredients but does not require soaking the chickpeas overnight, instead uses good quality canned ones (‘cos time). And these ones are baked and not deep fried. I have come to realise, sadly, I am no Israeli goddess and won’t even try to pretend like I know what I’m doing by recreating a true traditional falafel. So here is my quick and easy mumma hack falafels.

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Yer’ gonna need:


1 can of good quality chickpeas

Bunch of washed Parsley

Juice from ½ lemon

3-5 garlic cloves (peeled)

1 tbsp of flour (I used almond)

1 tbsp of tahini

Generous pinch of salt and pepper

Let’s get cookin’:


Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius.

Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse until combined.

Don’t blend too much or it will become a glorified hummus. Make sure it’s a bit chunky.

If it’s too dry, add some more lemon juice or tahini.

Scoop out a tbsp and roll into a mini pattie, placing on a tray lined with baking paper.

Bake for around 20 minutes, flipping them at the halfway mark.

Take out and serve hot.

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Alternatively, let them cool and store in an airtight container. Can be kept 3-4 days refrigerated.

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These can be served in wraps with salad and yoghurt (as we did), or simply placed over a green salad with hummus.

Let me know if you try these beauties.

Ames.