Jul 2014

CAULIFLOWER PIZZA BITES

CAULIFLOWER PIZZA BITES

Cauliflower in the fridge and I needed an inspiration. I wanted to make something different, something unusual and preferably delicious. After bit of internet searching I found a recipe for cauliflower pizza bites. I might have had an intention to follow the recipe step by step since I did have all the ingredients on hand (for a change) but I just could not help myself to tinker with it. Here is the original recipe link, credit where credit is due: http://www.damyhealth.com/2012/06/vegan-cauliflower-pizza-bites/

To all you cauliflower haters (I know there are quite a few out there) this may just change the way you see it. My kids are the proof, they both approached the bites with trepidation: “Yuck it has cauliflower in it. I hate cauliflower.” After the first mouthful they changed their mid. They will be definitely on the menu again.

Two of my student clinic clients came to see me with peri-menopausal symptoms and I think this is the perfect recipe for them. The tofu is a source of isoflavones and linseeds are so rich in lignans, both powerful phytoestrogens that may help alleviate symptoms of peri-menopause (or menopause). Cauliflower itself is a member of the amazing cruciferous family of vegetables, rich in nutrients that aid liver function. A healthy liver is crucial for regulating hormones. This is a definitely one for a client recipe folder.

Even if cauliflower is not a favorite of yours please do have a go. I may just have to make these for my son’s guitar teacher as he claims cauliflower is his mortal enemy.

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CAULIFLOWER PIZZA BITES
makes 12

ingredients
2 cups cauliflower
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 flax egg (1tbs flax 3 Tbs water)
1/2 firm tofu
1/2 chickpeas, cooked and drained ( I used tinned ones)
2 tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1-2 Tbs non dairy milk
2 tsp sun-dried tomato paste
salt to taste
healthy oil in a spray to grease the muffin pan
2 tbs regular tomato paste
6 green olives

method
  1. Grate the cauliflower in a food processor until you achieve couscous like texture.
  2. Cook the cauliflower in a frying pan adding water (couple tablespoons at a time) till softened, this will take about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let it cool down.
  3. Next prepare the flax egg, simply mix the ground flax seed and egg and let sit for a few minutes.
  4. Ad oregano, thyme, garlic powder, flax egg, tofu, chickpeas, nutritional yeast, chilli powder, non- dairy milk and sun-dried tomato paste into a blender or food processor. Blend till smooth (or as smooth as you can achieve).
  5. Mix in the cauliflower
  6. Lightly spray the muffin pan with oil spray, divide the mixture between the 12 - muffin pan. Top each pizza bite with 1/2 tsp of tomato puree and half an olive.
  7. Bake at 180 for about 30min. Let it cool down slightly before taking them out of a pan. This is the most tricky bit. Enjoy as a snack or part of a meal.

Before going into the oven
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BROAD BEAN AND COURGETTE WASABI DIP

BROAD BEAN AND COURGETTE WASABI DIP

What a gorgeous day! Sun is shining, kids’ teachers are on yet another strike so we have got to enjoy the sunshine together with their friends. After playing a game of tennis it was all about spending time lazying around (or inside) the paddling pool. With only one week before this school year is over I am hoping all days will be a bit like today.

Even preparing broad beans seems to be enjoyable when you can sit outside in the sun. I ended up with 2 cups of broad beans that further shrunk to 1 cup after cooking and removing the tough outer skins. And a large bowl of empty pods for the compost bin.

Inspired by the flavour of wasabi peas I decided to pair my broad beans with some prepared wasabi paste and turn them into a dip. I also used a courgette to bulk the dip up and to help make it smoother. I was tempted to add some tahini but broad beans can have a slightly bitter undertone and so does tahini paste. I used the sweeter cashew nut butter instead. Almond butter would work too.

When preparing my dip, my daughter called out to her friend. “Look, my mum is making something green again!” Very funny. I guess I am known among my children’s friends for green recipes... Unlike kids I do find green foods rather appetising and had to taste the dip straight away with a rice cake. The rest is in the fridge waiting to come out later possible with some carrot sticks or tortilla chips.

broad-bean-wasabi-dip

BROAD BEAN AND COURGETTE WASABI DIP

ingredients
1 cup cooked broad beans (weight of beans without their leathery outer skins)
1 courgette, raw
juice of 1/2 lemon (or to taste)
1 tbs cashew butter
handful of fresh coriander
1-2 tsp of prepared wasabi (or to taste)
salt to taste

1. Put all ingredients into the blender and process till smooth. Serve as a dip or spread.

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ROASTED COURGETTE, BROAD BEAN AND VEGAN PESTO SALAD

ROASTED COURGETTE, BROAD BEAN AND VEGAN PESTO SALAD

Most of the courgettes that I have in the kitchen make it into a bowl of raw spaghetti with a variety of raw sauces. This time however I opted to cook them. I must have been inspired about last Friday’s lunch with a friend. We shared lovely Lebanese mezze and a massive dish of grilled veggies (including courgettes) and falafels.

Another summer vegetable, the broad bean was in my veg box. I find it the most wasteful vegetable in the world. It even rivals globe artichokes in the amount of waste it generates...You receive a big bag of bean pods, you pod the beans, cook them, pop them out of the tough (to me not very pleasant) skins and you are left with a handful of bright green beans and a mountain of waste... lucky we have a compost bin. You can’t deny the nutritional value of broad beans, it makes all the work worth it. A cup of can provide 44% of your folate! And 12.9g of protein. Other minerals and vitamins these little gems are rich in include iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, potassium and B vitamins.

The courgettes and beans do not posses any strong flavours and need something to lift them up. I chose pesto as it is great with any veg. My pesto maybe vegan but it sure is delicious. It is thick, nearly spreadable, cheesy from the nutritional flakes. Lemon juice just lifts it up a little. I really enjoyed this dish, it’s so full of flavour and so versatile. I had mine simply with some rice, but any grain or pasta will be great. The salad is perfect for a mezze style meal. The pesto is great on its own too. I can promise you won’t miss the parmesan.

More broad beans and courgettes in my veg box this week... I think I know what I will be making.


pestobeans-and-courgettes
ROASTED COURGETTE, BROAD BEAN AND VEGAN PESTO SALAD
serve this as a salad, mix in with some rice, pasta or quinoa, use as a topping for a jacked potato, in a sandwich... the possibilities are endless

Serves 2 as a main dish

2-3 courgettes (zucchini) (I used two rather big ones)
olive oil in a spray bottle
1-2 cups shelled broad (fava) beans
2 spring onions (scallions), white part thinly sliced
pesto
1 cup (packed) of basil
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
1tbs lemon juice
3 tbs cold press extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
salt to taste

broad-beans

  1. Cut the courgettes into bite size pieces. Place into a roasting dish and lightly spray with olive oil. Bake for 25min at 400 or until courgettes start to brown around edges. Set aside to cool
  2. Boil the beans for 2 minutes in water. Rinse in a colander with cold water. When cool enough to handle pop them out of the light green tough skins. Set aside.
  3. In a blender combined the pesto ingredients and process into a thick paste. It won’t be as runny as traditional pesto.
  4. Mix the courgettes, beans, spring onion with the pesto. Best served at room temperature.

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