Something sweet & healthy

Sugar. It’s a word that used to be sweet; but that isn’t the case these days. I mean, It’s been plastered all over the media these last few years telling us how bad it is especially for our health and all!

Luckily, I am not a sugar craving type of human being any more; give me a grain of salt, preferably Himalayan pink or Celtic sea salt, any day. There are a few days where I just want something sweet, but I don’t want the common sucrose, table sugar. When I am hit with a craving such as this, I want something really rich and satisfying. I’d much rather have a lick of something decadent over constantly going back for more and more spoonfuls of a particular chocolate hazelnut spread that so many people are fond of.

I know sugar is addictive. Science has proven it. I was once addicted to it. Back in the day when I was a little kid, I’d go crazy looking for something sweet. Searching high and low, in my mum and dad’s wardrobe (mum usually hid it there, thinking we’d never find it, but we always did – they obviously never learned from their mistakes ;P). If however, there was a box of ‘roses’ shortage, there’d always be a can of condensed milk in the pantry. To this day, I don’t know how I could smash a good quarter of it, right then and there! Ewww!!

Because I have an almost two year old, little toddlers are more inclined to pick something sweet. I’m always thinking of what to make, meals and snacks, that pack a nutritional punch. It’s almost winter here, and this last week, we both have been fighting a head cold of some sort. Oranges are in season, and how good is it they are filled with heaps of immune boosting nutrients? We’ve got vitamin C, bioflavonoids, beta-carotene, lutein, potassium, zinc, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and a bit of calcium just to name a few.

My toddler has not had the best appetite over the last few days due to being a little under the weather. I know she’s fine, but being a mum, you want your child to eat (I’m sure this resonates with the maternal people). We are blessed in Australia, because we have access to such delicious fruit, and by fruit I mean the humble AVO! Avocados are nutrition powerhouses, and my little one, does NOT like them! So, what do I do? Hide it in her food. Mash it up with banana, sweet potatoes/potatoes, in her porridge, smoothies and in ‘desserts’.

If you haven’t tried a chocolate avocado mousse, I know it sounds weird, but let me tell you, it’s so rich and creamy, so satisfying and it doesn’t leave you feeling heavy, when you compare it to a dairy milk version; please give this ago. Sweet treats are an occasional food. They contain sugar, be it glucose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, whatever. Sugar is still sugar – just choose a better option. I always opt for a sweetener that is less processed than sucrose aka common table sugar, so I use sweeter fruits like ripe bananas, apples, pears, oranges, figs, prunes, dates. I also like molasses (although I have to be in the mood for this one), coconut sugar, pure maple syrup and honey.

Anyway here’s my recipe. Please enjoy.

Vegan Choc Orange Mousse IMG_5390

perfect portion for 2

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of raw cashew nuts
  • a good pinch of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
  • 3 tsp – 3 tbsp raw cacao, according to taste
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut – optional
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup
  • 2 oranges, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, deseeded and peeled

Method

  1. Place cashews, salt, sugar, coconut and cacao into TM bowl and grind 10 seconds, speed 10, until the cashews are ground up. Scrap sides and bottom of TM bowl to loosen, as nuts can turn into butter and if they are stuck to the walls of the bowl they won’t incorporate nicely into the mousse.
  2. Add avocado and oranges and blitz for up to 1 minute, speed 10. or until your desired consistency has been achieved. Scrape down sides every now and then.
  3. Spoon into glasses and place in the fridge. Or not. Just eat the mousse, enjoy 😉

IMG_5387

Bon appetit


Conventional method

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth in consistency – about 5 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to scrape sides.
  2. When nice and smooth, spoon mousse into glasses or bowls and either eat straight away, or if you can wait, pop them in the fridge for a few hours.

Something about Nuts

Every now and then, I like to make my husband a vegetarian option for his sandwich fillers. Personally, if I would have the same sort of deli, cured, smoked meat in my sandwich everyday, I know I’d definitely get sick and tired of that filling pretty quickly. And not to mention, how ‘heavy’ or hard on my digestion it would be; don’t even get me started on what sort of ingredients/chemicals are in those ‘foods’ (if you can call it that). I actually never buy any of those sorts of meats anyhow.

I usually bake a lentil and brown rice loaf or a pumpkin seed and sunflower seed loaf, but this time, I just didn’t want to turn my oven on a). it takes ages for it to preheat; b). having the oven on will only make my kitchen hotter – I’m usually really hot as it is anyway and c). I usually over bake the loaves and they are a firm and dryish consistency, that’s why lots of mayonnaise or a slice of tomato really makes it yummy and easier to swallow.

I love steamed puddings. Why not make a savoury steamed nut pudding? I thought to myself. Nuts are packed full of nutrition, minerals in particular, good fats and protein, have heaps of fibre and therefore leave you feeling fuller for longer. I am sure that you’ve heard of activating nuts before. It is a good idea to ‘activate’ raw nuts. All you have to do is soak them over night in cool or room temperature water; drain off the water and rinse the nuts of the impurities – the enzymes have now been ‘activated’ and the enzyme inhibiting factors or anti-nutrients will now be ‘washed away’. This makes the nuts easy to digest, is easier on the liver and you absorb more nutrients this way. They do go off within a few days, so activate as many nuts as needed to prevent wastage. Or you can activate kilos of nuts at a time, dehydrate them and pop them back into the freezer ready to use anytime.

When making this pudding there is no need to dehydrate the nuts to make them crunchy again; however, if you want to make a nut butter, it is a good idea to dehydrate them.

So here is my creation…steam nut loaf

You can play around with whatever nuts or seeds you like. I like cashews as they give a creamy texture and walnuts as they make everything taste just that bit more savoury and not sweet. Use which ever herbs you prefer – the possibilities are endless 🙂

Steamed Nut Loaf (Pudding) Recipe

Ingredients
100g raw cashews
160g raw walnuts
130g stale bread (I use spelt sourdough)
3 eggs
260mL water
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp vegetable stock concentrate
30mL extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 a bunch parsley, including stalks, roughly chopped (conventional must be finely chopped)

Thermomix Method

Place cashews and walnuts into TM mixing bowl and grind 30 seconds on speed 9. Set aside.
Place roughly chopped parsley and stale bread into TM mixing bowl and chop 5-8 seconds, speed 7; scrape down sides.
Add remaining ingredients into TM mixing bowl and mix on speed 6, 15-20 seconds or until well combined.
Pour mixture into greased pudding basin and place a piece of baking paper over the top secured with a rubber band – I found that when I put the lid on the pudding dish the varoma lid did not close. Place pudding basin into varoma dish and put varoma lid on.
Without washing TM bowl, pour 1.2L of boiling water, straight from the kettle, into TM bowl; set the timer on for 50 minutes, varoma temperature, speed 2.5. The pudding is ready when the middle starts to rise. Test with a skewer if unsure- if it comes out clean, then it’s ready to be consumed.

steamed nut loafTip onto a plate, slice it up and I like to have it with a gravy or sauce, either a mushroom and parsley sauce or a homemade tomato based gravy.

It’s great as a sandwich filler with mustard, mayo and slices of tomato; or it’s a perfect Mock Roast Turkey for any festive celebrations.

 


 

Conventional Method:

Grind nuts in batches in a coffee grinder or blender. Place in large mixing bowl.
Finely dice the onion, finely chop the parsley and crush the garlic clove and place in mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Combine well and put mixture into a greased pudding basin and cover with lid. Place basin in a large pot and fill with boiling water till it reaches halfway up the basin. Place lid on pot and let steam for an hour and a half (maximum 2 hours). Don’t forget to keep topping up the water with more boiling water.


 

Bon appetit