Sunday, January 26, 2014

How to Make Coconut Milk

I always thought making your own nut milk was a long process needing lots of special equipment, but I was happy to find out, when I actually looked up how to do it, how easy it is!  And the only equipment you need is a blender / smoothie maker and a nut milk bag - if you have a blender in the higher price ranges, the process will probably be a bit quicker, but you don't need anything expensive.

I used 2 coconuts to make close to 1 litre of milk.  I use mature coconuts because I haven't ever seen green ones around here, but it doesn't matter, mature coconuts are perfect.

First pour the water out of the coconuts, you don't want to waste that because it's nutritious.  You're anyway going to use this water when making the milk, but if there's no water in them it's ok too, you just use filtered water instead.  My coconuts never have enough milk in them so I have to use filtered water in addition to the coconut water.

Remove the coconut meat, there's no need to remove the brown "skin", it'll make no difference to the milk. Rinse them in water to get them clean.  Break into smaller pieces and put in a blender.
I only do 1 coconut at a time otherwise the blender is too full and it takes longer to get everything chopped finely.

Add the coconut water you drained out before - pour it through a sieve to get rid of any coconut bits & hair.  If you need to add some more water, add filtered water.  Start with about 1 cup of liquid in total and add more if you see you would like a more diluted milk.  I usually add enough liquid so that it almost covers the coconut in the blender.  Blend until you have desiccated coconut, it only takes a couple of minutes.
Place a nut milk bag in a glass bowl and put everything in the blender into the bag - don't mess any coconut bits outside of the bag into the bowl because you don't want any bits in your milk.
Squish & squish the bag to get ALL the milk out, you wanna squish until no more milk comes out - all you want to have left in the bag is dry as possible desiccated coconut - you can use the coconut to make desiccated coconut.

Pour the milk into a glass bottle and refrigerate.  It keeps for about 3 days in the fridge.

See how to make your own desiccated coconut here (coming soon).

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Vegan Lentil Carrot Burgers

These are a healthy alternative to meat or frozen burger patties.  Unlike most burger patties, these are actually nice when eaten just as is - I made these especially so that baby (well, 1 year & almost 2 month baby) can join us for our burger dinner.  :)
This makes about 9 small burgers.

2 1/2 cups cooked & drained lentils (about 1 cup dried), mashed (I blended them in a food processor - quicker than trying to mash 'em)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely grated carrots
3 tbs tomato paste
3/4 cup bread crumbs (I used gluten-free bread)
salt to taste
coconut or sunflower oil for frying (coconut will give it a slight coconutty taste)
  • put lentils in a bowl & add all remaining ingredients except oil
  • mix well
  • shape into patties & fry both sides in a little oil until heated through
Make your burger and munch away!

We didn't have burger buns so we had to use sliced bread, and the slices were way bigger than the burgers so I used a cookie cutter to make smaller pieces of bread (this is the only shape I had that was just the right size)
Yum, a good burger.

Peppermint Crisp Tart

Ok, time for another naughty but nice dessert.  :)  Peppermint crisp tart is one of my faves.
It makes about 6 reasonable sized portions.

1 packet tennis biscuits (or some kind of flat coconut cookies if you don't have tennis biscuits)
1 can caramel
250ml fresh cream
1 small slab of peppermint crisp chocolate (I like using Cadbury's 100g peppermint slab - you don't need THAT much chocolate but I like left overs)
  • pour caramel into a bowl and beat with an electric beater to get it smooth & soft
  • pour cream into another bowl and beat until slightly firm - add to caramel and hand-mix until just combined
  • place 1 layer of cookies in bottom of a glass dish (about 20cm x 2ocm) - no need to grease the dish
  • snack on a few of the cookies - there'll be a few to spare
  • pour over half of the caramel mixture, then grate some chocolate over
  • repeat the layers one more time and place in fridge to set, at least an hour
  • eat the rest of the chocolate

Gluten-free Single Serve Chocolate Cake

This is an adaptation of a 5 min microwave cake someone showed me long ago, and I finally decided to make a second attempt at a healthier and gluten-free version (my first attempt turned out horrid), and it turned out surprisingly GOOD!  I'm not a pro at adapting recipes and actually have them turn out good in the end.
This one takes a little longer than 5 minutes to do though.  Unless you have superman's speedy powers.
It really doesn't look impressive as far as cakes go, but the taste makes up for it.
And this version actually turned out more moist and gooey-fudgy than the original, so it's delicious!
2 tbs coconut flour
2 tbs gluten-free flour mix
3 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs
3 tbs greek yoghurt
3 tbs coconut oil (liquid)
3 tbs agave nectar
    • combine flours, cocoa powder & baking powder in a coffee mug & mix with a fork
    • add egg replacer & greek yoghurt and mix well to combine fully
    • add coconut oil & mix
    • add agave and mix well to combine, and make sure there's no dry flour in the bottom of the mug
    • microwave for 3 mins

    Greek Yoghurt & Chive Dip

    I made some home-made chips (aka fries) - I use an air fryer for that, so no deep frying in oil.  Anyway, here is a dip I made to go along with the chips . . . yummy . . .
    all is you need is:
    greek yoghurt
    fresh chives
    • put some greek yoghurt into a bowl
    • finely chop chives and mix into yoghurt
    • dip a chip in and munch
     It's a lovely cool fresh dip.  I even tried it as a pasta sauce and that actually worked too.

    Friday, January 24, 2014

    Soft Banana Coconut Cookies

    These are pleasant little high-fibre cookies to snack on.

    You know how you always have those extra bananas lying around, no longer in their prime, waiting for you to find something to do with them, and you swear you'll go google up on banana recipe ideas tomorrow . . . and how those same bananas always end up going black and then you're so relieved to be able to throw them away now and have that weight of finding a recipe finally lift off your shoulders? . . .  No?  It's only me then?

    Well I've found another way to use up that banana before it expands the fruit fly population in my kitchen.
    10 pitted organic dried dates
    1 soft banana
    1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut (not sweetened)
    • throw all ingredients in a food processor & process until smooth
    • the mixture should be a little moist, but not gooey or too dry - just right to shape into little balls & hold their shape - add more banana if too dry, or more coconut if too wet
    • take large teaspoon sized portions & shape into little balls (or something resembling a ball), press slightly flat, place on a buttered baking sheet
    • bake at 165 degree C for about 10 mins.  The cookies should be soft

    Raw Chocolate Cookies

    I'm completely addicted to chocolates & cakes and things, so I'm looking & searching & SEARCHING some more for healthy treats to satisfy my unhealthy cravings, and then I found these cookies - when I first tried them I thought "uhhhh, they taste like coco powder", but then the more I munched 'em, the nicer they became and now I'll definitely be making them again.  So bottom line, these may take a little getting used to, but they do satisfy a chocolate craving, and they ARE tasty.

    In fact, my husband does our shopping every week, and he'll always get us a slab of chocolate for the weekend, and this week I told him not to get me one, 'cause I'm gonna make me some 'a these cookies instead.  A proud moment for me.  :)
    1/2 cup coconut flour
    1/2 cup raw cacao powder (I'm using normal store bought cocoa powder for now, but I'll be making the switch to the raw one soon)
    2 tbs liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave, I used organic rice syrup)
    4 tbs + 1 tps organic coconut oil, melted
    • put all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix to combine well
    • take teaspoon sized portions, roll into little balls and squish em flat to form a cookie shape
    • place in a glass dish & refrigerate for about 1 hour until "set"                                              
    NOTE: if you use coconut oil in it's semi-solid state, the recipe will still work, but the batter will be reeeeally crumbly - just take teaspoonfulls of mixture and press into shape, it will hold together.

    Sunday, January 12, 2014

    Red Lentil & Veggie Dahl

    This turned out really good, BUT . . . only because we added chutney to it - without that it was nice, but it seriously lacked *something*, and chutney filled the gap perfectly. I'm talking about Mrs Ball original chutney.
    coconut oil for frying
    1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
    2 tbs grated fresh ginger
    1 tbs garam masala
    1 1/2 cups red lentils
    3 cups cauliflower, cut into small pieces (about 1 1/2 inch) (I used broccoli)
    2 1/2 cups carrots, roughly chopped
    1 1/4 cups potatoes, chopped into 1 inch chunks
    1 tsp turmeric
    1 1/2 tsp himalayan salt
    •  in a LARGE pot, heat coconut oil & fry onion & ginger for a minute, then add garam masala & stir
    • add lentils & stir to coat, then add cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, turmeric, 5 cups of water &1 1/2 tsp himalayan salt
    • bring to boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.  Simmer until veggies are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30-40 minutes
    • add chutney to taste before serving
    Can be eaten as is, or served over rice.

    Friday, January 10, 2014

    Spiced Date Balls

    These are SO yummy, and what's even better is that they're absolutely healthy so you don't even have to feel bad no matter how many of 'em you munch.  :)
    They're sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, and raw, so NO nutrients were harmed in the making of this healthy delight.

    1 cup (packed) organic dates, pips removed
    1/2 cup gluten-free oats (not the instant kind)
    2 small carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    unsweetened dried desiccated coconut for rolling in

    Throw all the ingredients (except coconut) into a food processor and blend until mixed but not totally smooth or pasty.

    Roll teaspoon sized portions into little balls, roll in coconut to cover, and they're good to go!  You can chill them in the fridge first if you like but it doesn't make that much difference in the end.  You get out about 24 balls.

    I've actually been looking for healthier foods & treats that I can make for baby (and ultimately the rest of family too!), so I'm chuffed at having found something that I find divine too (and extra happy that it's so much healthier than cake hehe).