Orange and Garlic Humus

Vegan and Gluten Free
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When I was little I used to hate Middle Eastern food. I don’t think I even tried it before I had decided. Falafels and humus were just not for me. The only thing I liked was the greasy deep fried cauliflower, which I would steal from the rest of the table and eat by the bowlful. (Soooo good.)

Luckily times have changed! I think I realised how much I liked this kind of food when I was in Europe, which has amazing Middle Eastern food literally everywhere. You’re so lucky! I’ll never forget the humus plate I had in Munich. Swirled with baba ganoush, beetroot dip, and covered in dolmades, falafels, tabouli and fattoush it was the nicest thing I’ve ever eaten in my whole life. Oh my gosh! Just thinking about it makes me weep.

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Fast forward to now and I’m kind of obsessed. Like, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have some element of za’atar or humus or sumac at least once in the day. I realised it was probably time to give homemade humus a whirl, what with me wanting to have it at every meal.

I used the recipe from Jerusalem as a starting point, but halfway through realised I didn’t have any lemons! Oh no! But then I remembered a recipe in Moosewood Cookbook that had used orange juice instead. I don’t want to brag, but it turned out so amazing! I couldn’t stop eating it. I had it on sweet potato fries (the best kind of fries) but you could do so much with it!

I’m excited to experiment with all the different legumes. I’m also super excited to make homemade falafels now. I might just have to make an official falafel month! Who knows, it could be even more exciting than Dumpling Month.

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This week is the first week of uni holidays and I’m so excited. Hopefully I’ll be able to find time to post all the recipes I’ve been promising to make on Instagram for ages! Saying that I can already tell I’m going to spend most of my time at the beach sunbaking or watching Shrek and eating ice cream…(don’t judge me.) But I will try!

I’ve been dreaming of making some coconut ice cream with brownie chunks for a while now, if anyone is interested in that…have a great break every body! xx
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Orange and Garlic Hummus: Adapted from this book

250g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 tsp bicarb soda

270g tahini (hulled)
4 tbsp orange juice (or lemon)
1/2 tsp each ground cumin, coriander and ginger
100ml ice cold water

parsley and olive oil, to garnish
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Drain the chickpeas and put a pot of water on to boil. Add the bicarb soda, then the chickpeas, and boil for about 20 minutes, until the skins come off and the chickpeas can be easily crushed between your fingers. Drain and peel off any remaining skins. You can use canned chickpeas, but you will have to pick off all the skins yourself. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes. The final weight should be about 600g of chickpeas.

Add to your blender along with the tahini, spices, orange juice and a pinch of salt. blend until combined. Slowly pour in the ice water, blending as you go until the humus is completely smooth and of the desired consistency. Leave to settle for about half an hour before stirring in any crushed chickpeas and herbs for texture.

Top with fresh parsley and olive oil. Keep in a sealed container for up to a week in the fridge, although it’s best fresh.

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Orange and Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles

Raw, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan

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There’s something about chocolates in the shape of a ball that is seriously addictive. It’s like eating grapes. Who ever saw a bunch of grapes and thought, oh…I’ll just have one. I’ll just have one grape please. Who does that? No one. It’s obligatory that you have at least five. I feel the same way about chocolate balls. Maltesers, M&Ms, Smarties, Jaffa Balls, all the balls. It’s impossible to show any kind of self control and just have a single malteser! Plus, people would think you were weird. Who only eats one ball! Ok,  time to move on from the subject of balls… these chocolate orange truffles are pretty much where it’s at with addictive chocolate. 

I go all kinds of crazy in Christmas season (who doesn’t, please.) and bake/ice/eat at a velocity of 1000x more intense then the rest of the year. Last year I made three kinds of ice cream, a Christmas fruit cake, gingerbread men, custard and sugar cookies all for Christmas Day. And I was not assigned to dessert. Christmas lunch at my family’s house is always an intense eating marathon that we all look forward to for the entire lead-up. 

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Lunch is always AMAZING! Heaps of seafood and ham and prawn cocktails. But I never fill up on these trivial things. I just sip my water and eat my tasty salad patiently, waiting for the big guns. Dessert. Oh my gosh. I dream about it. My grandma always makes a multi-layered trifle covered in cream and passionfruit that makes me weep with joy. We always have a prune pudding (do not judge! It is the food of the Gods!) and ice cream and fruit skewers and more cream and custard and wow. It’s really a beautiful moment. 

And at the end of the day there’s always a box of chocolates on the table, usually one of the many Christmas gifts received over the previous weeks. These chocolate truffles are for that moment. They’re the perfect Christmas gift because they’re full of Christmassy flavours like cinnamon and orange, and they look nice and ‘rustic’ and homemade. You can feel the love right? 

ImageChristmas is a little bit sad this year because I’m not with my family to celebrate. I’m going to miss seeing all my beautiful cousins and aunts and uncles! And my hilarious grandpa wearing his cute little Christmas paper crown. But then again, hopefully by that point in my travels, I’ll be celebrating Christmas with my boyfriend in an apartment in Paris! So I doubt I’ll be that sad.

These chocolate truffles are super healthy and easy to make for all your family and friends this year. They’re similar to the chocolate coconut balls I made, but with a seasonal twist. Made out of dried organic apricots and walnuts, they are packed with protein and potassium and vitamin C from the orange juice! Way healthier than the usual standard truffle, keep these in the fridge or freezer for a yummy snack or wrap them up in cellophane and send around the Christmas cheer 🙂 IMG_7634

Orange and Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dried organic apricots
juice of 2 oranges
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
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Soak the apricots for half an hour in the orange juice. Drain them, reserving some juice, and cut into strips. Pound up the walnuts and throw in the blender with the cinnamon, cocoa powder, and apricots. Blend until smooth, adding a teaspoon or two of orange juice as you go if the paste is too thick. Scoop into a bowl and use two teaspoons to roll out even balls. Pour a little cocoa powder in a small bowl and drop the balls in the bowl. Use your fingertips to roll the balls around until evenly coated. Once dusted, place in a container and keep in the fridge until they firm up. Happy holidays!
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Carrot, Pear and Quinoa Crumble Muffins (vegan, sugar free)

Vegan and Sugar Free

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I am so, sooo sick of the election lead-up. Everywhere you look, Abbot and the Ruddmeister smiling and waving creepily, commercials of little children being cast in to darkness because nobody cares about their education! Ridiculous slogans like “stop the boats,” that will be played back in thirty years as an example of how backwards and racist Australians used to be. 

It makes me sad that in this “democratic” country so many people’s votes are shaped not by party’s policies, but by fear campaigns and propaganda spread by the media controlled by a certain someone I won’t name (Murdoch). I don’t want this post to be all about politics and I don’t want to alienate anyone with my views, but it’s hard not to say a word or two when the election is tomorrow! 

It’s embarrassing to think what overseas countries must see in Australian politics. It seems that every three years, all the darkest and ugliest sides of Australia come out and take centre stage for a while, even though most of these views are held by a minority for the rest of the term. For instance gay marriage has been a hot topic this election, and instead of playing out as a cooperative and respectful debate it has become a monster of homophobia, discrimination and name-calling. Within the parties too, not just in general society. It’s such a horrible point to use as a defining policy and it shines negatively on the entire liberal party to take such a primitive and old-fashioned stance. The worst part is, it’s gaining them votes, not losing them. 

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 Sorry about that rant! And on to these muffins. I love muffins but so often they’re the most unhealthy option in the entire cafe. They can be packed full of preservatives, sugar, margarine and other strange ingredients I’ve never heard of, especially if you buy them at the supermarket or make them from a muffin mix. 

That’s where these bad boys step in! Each muffin has a whopping 7 grams of protein! That’s an entire serving, which for a vegetarian is like Christmas come early. They are also intensely delicious. I had a little “taste test” so I could explain the quinoa flour flavour to everyone, and I ended up eating an entire muffin. They are fruity and sweet and packed full of flavours like coconut, sultanas, walnuts, carrot and pear and cinnamon and vanilla and are you drooling yet?? The honey flavour really shines through and gives the loveliest sweetness and crunch to these muffins. 

But it’s the crumble that takes them to the next level. 

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Coconut, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, flaked almonds and nutty wholemeal flour come together in a medley of love to create a very crunchy and flavoursome topping. Don’t do what I did and pour hot honey over the crumble, because that will melt your butter like nothing else. Also don’t under-estimate just how much crumble your muffins can take! 

I have a terrible condition of overfilling my muffin cases, and this crumble topping was a great way of exercising control. Once the crumble’s on you can’t add any more muffin mix! Genius. These muffins are great the day they are made, but wait for them to cool down before eating them because all the flavours come together more. Also quinoa flour! What is that you may wonder? It is ground quinoa and it has an earthy, strong flavour that works well here because it is completely masked by the other ingredients. 

I wouldn’t know if you could substitute more than I have, but I would proceed with caution. It’s naturally gluten free so doesn’t behave like normal flour, and depending on the brand it can have a powerful “plant” flavour that can be overwhelming in lighter cakes. It’s very good for you though! So lets all continue to experiment with it and tell me what you discover.

Can’t get enough of your muffin fix? Here’s some recipes I’ve been eyeing this week:
Delicious Oatmeal Muffins from 101 Cookbooks
Mini Almond and Roasted Strawberry Muffins from Sprouted Kitchen so cute!
Plums and Almond Muffins from A Tasty Love Story look amaaazing.

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Carrot and Pear Crumble Muffins: Adapted from Ottolenghi 

Topping:

60g (1/4 cup) coconut butter, in pieces (or regular butter for non-vegan)

50g (1/2 cup) wholemeal flour

45ml (1/3 cup) runny honey or maple syrup for vegan

1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp water

50g (1/4 cup) oats

25g (1 tbsp) desiccated coconut

30g (1 heaped tbsp) sunflower seeds

20g (1 heaped tblsp) poppy seeds

15g (1 tbsp) flaked almonds

In a bowl, mix with your fingers the flour and butter until sandy. Add the other ingredients and mix until crumbly with your hands. Set aside. 

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Muffins:

4 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 8 tbsp of water to form a gel (or 4 large eggs)

200g (1.5 cups + 1 tbsp) plain flour sifted with 100g (3/4 cup) quinoa flour (or all plain/half wholemeal)

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla extract

200g (1 +3/4 cups each) each grated carrot and pear (apple works too)

270ml (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) honey or maple syrup for vegan

160ml (2/3 cup) olive oil

50g (2.5 tbsp) desiccated coconut

100g (2/3 cup) sultanas

100g (3/4 cup) walnuts, chopped

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Preheat the oven to 170C (340F) and line 12-14 muffin pans. Mix together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and sift well. In a large bowl mix the chia gel or eggs, honey, oil, carrots, pears and vanilla. Stir in the walnuts, coconut and sultanas. Fold in the flour mixture and gently combine. Spoon into 12-14 muffin cases and sprinkle with the  crumble generously, pushing it down so it sticks to the muffin mix. Bake for 18-25 minutes until golden brown and crunchy on top. Leave to cool and then eat them!

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Coconut and Peanut Butter Granola Clusters

Vegan, Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free

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Peanut butter brings back so many great memories for me. One time, I was having dinner with some friend’s and my sister arrived really late from a party. At first we didn’t notice anything unusual, but it soon became apparent that she was a little, um…drunk. She just sat there trying to be subtle for about half an hour, not really daring to join in the conversation, and then…

She stood up, gathered everyones attention and said, ‘do you guys want to hear a song from family guy’? Then she violently started dancing and yelling “PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME. PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME. PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME.” For a really long time.

Oh my gosh. I think it might just be my funniest memory of her. Especially because she was meeting everyone there literally for the first time, that night. 

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 Good old peanut butter. It just makes life so much more rich and varied. I think it may be the most versatile spread, up there with jam. This peanut butter and coconut granola actually had it’s beginnings in what would probably be considered a kitchen failure. 

As it’s Father’s Day today (Happy Father’s Day Dad and Step-Dad!!) I wanted to make some chewy peanut butter and coconut granola bars, because my step-dad goes absolutely nuts for them. I didn’t want to use a whole heap of sugar and I was trying to squeeze in more protein, so the ratio’s were different to what I was used to. I also forgot to take them out of the oven. 

What resulted was granola bars that shattered into clumps as soon as you tried to pick one up. It was so sad! But then I took a bite of some of the crumbs and holla! It was the best granola cluster I’d ever tried. The peanut butter flavour is amazing! And the clusters are huge instead of tiny and impossible to preserve whilst you pour it in the bowl. 

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I am still pushing forward with my granola bar attempts but I had to share this granola cluster recipe as well, because it’s so easy and fuss-free. You can use a combination of fruits, seeds and nuts but the best granola always has a good balance of crunchy, sweet, sour, crumbly and salty. Granola is best if the seeds and nuts are toasted for 8-10 minutes before being cooked, so just toast the first 5 ingredients at 180C (350F) until golden brown. 

I added some things I hadn’t tried before, like pine nuts and cranberries, and both worked really well. The desiccated coconut adds a sweet toasty flavour to the granola that is especially good with soy milk. You can eat a bowl of this granola like you would cereal, but it’s also great sprinkled over yogurt and fruit, folded into a compote or even just as a snack for nibbling on. 

If you’re making it gluten free, be sure to check the oats and other seeds on the packet, because some time’s they’re packaged by the same machines that deal with products containing gluten and can become contaminated. 

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Coconut and Peanut Butter Granola Clusters:

50g (1/2 cup) each chopped walnuts and sunflower seeds

25g (1 heaped tbsp) each pine nuts, flaked or chopped almonds and desiccated coconut

75g (2/3 cup) each dried cranberries and dried apricots and sultanas

45g (1/3 cup + 1/2 tbsp) ground almonds

240g (2 + 2/3 cup) oats

125g (1 cup) coconut butter

100g (5 tbsp) raw honey

75g (1/2 cup) peanut butter

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Preheat the oven to 160C (320F) and line an 18cm x 40cm or similar baking dish. Soak the cranberries, apricots and sultanas in some water for 10-20 minutes, then drain well. Mix the chopped nuts, seeds, oats, coconuts and fruit together in a large bowl. 

In a small saucepan, heat the honey, coconut butter and peanut butter until melted and combined. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well. Press everything into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden on top and crumbly. Leave to cool completely, and then crumble up and store in airtight jars or containers. Enjoy!

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