PINK BEET PANCAKES

Pink Beet Pancakes

Serves 4

2 medium beets

1/2 cup quinoa flour (if you can’t get hold of this, use whole wheat instead.)

1/2 cup wholewheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar (I love this because it’s low -glycemic and deliciously nutty, but use an extra tbsp of maple syrup if you can’t find it.)

2tbsp maple syrup

1tbsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups of whole milk (or soy if you prefer)

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled (you can substitute with Earth Balance, but it won’t taste as good!)

1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

Roughly wash your beets, cutting off tops and lay them on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for about one hour or until they are tender when a knife is inserted. Leave to cool and then wrap in foil and refrigerate until you are ready to use them.

When you are ready, peel them – the skins come off easily, and roughly chop them. You then want to puree them. I used my Magic Bullet, which worked great. You need to end up with about 1/2 cup of puree.

Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk the milk, yogurt, butter, egg and beet puree.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until you have a batter which should be the consistency of heavy cream – bright pink too!

 

Heat a griddle or frying pan and melt a little butter making sure it had evenly covered the bottom of the pan. Add a ladle at a time of batter to the pan, creating the size of pancake you want.

 

When bubbles appear in the top, flip them over and fry until the bottom is golden brown.

Keep them warm in oven and serve topped with either butter, a dollop of virgin coconut oil and maple syrup or agave nectar – heavenly!

 

 

 

PINK BEET PANCAKES

While my in-laws were visiting for the Holidays, I wanted to pull something really impressive out of the bag for breakfast, and remembered a pancake recipe that I’d seen in the excellent book on baking, Good To The Grain, by Kim Boyce. It’s for beet pancakes, and just by virtue of the way they looked, I wanted to give them a go. I also got a huge bunch of beets in my farm box and no one was in the mood for a beet salad.

I customized the recipe a little, as I wanted to use a little less sugar, but the result is still sweet enough because of the roasted beets always slightly caramelize.

I highly recommend roasting a bunch of beets the day before, because you can always use the rest of them for other recipes.

Suffice to say, my in-laws were tickled pink (sorry!) by the color and couldn’t believe how wonderful they tasted – a sweet earthiness provided by the beets and the quinoa flour – spectacular and well worth the extra bit of effort.

Pink Beet Pancakes

Serves 4

2 medium beets

1/2 cup quinoa flour (if you can’t get hold of this, use whole wheat instead.)

1/2 cup wholewheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar (I love this because it’s low -glycemic and deliciously nutty, but use an extra tbsp of maple syrup if you can’t find it.)

2tbsp maple syrup

1tbsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups of whole milk (or soy if you prefer)

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled (you can substitute with Earth Balance, but it won’t taste as good!)

1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

Roughly wash your beets, cutting off tops and lay them on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for about one hour or until they are tender when a knife is inserted. Leave to cool and then wrap in foil and refrigerate until you are ready to use them.

When you are ready, peel them – the skins come off easily, and roughly chop them. You then want to puree them. I used my Magic Bullet, which worked great. You need to end up with about 1/2 cup of puree.

Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk the milk, yogurt, butter, egg and beet puree.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until you have a batter which should be the consistency of heavy cream – bright pink too!

Heat a griddle or frying pan and melt a little butter making sure it had evenly covered the bottom of the pan. Add a ladle at a time of batter to the pan, creating the size of pancake you want.

When bubbles appear in the top, flip them over and fry until the bottom is golden brown.

Keep them warm in oven and serve topped with either butter, a dollop of virgin coconut oil and maple syrup or agave nectar – heavenly!

 

 

STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Serves 2

1 medium Butternut squash, halved & de-seeded

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 cup fresh cranberries

2tbsp grapeseed, canola or olive oil

1 small onion, minced

2 shallots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)

1 cup brown mushrooms, roughly chopped

1/2 cup walnut peices

Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

1tsp agave nectar

1/2 cup of chopped fresh flat-leaved parsley

 

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

 

Rub the cut side of the squash with a little oil to prevent sticking and place them flesh-side down on a greased baking sheet. I used recycled aluminum foil to avoid too much mess. Place them in the oven for about 30 -40 minutes or until they are tender when a knife is inserted. I would check them after 30 minutes because they might be ready – in my experience, over-baking them isn’t great as the whole thing can collapse and isn’t as pretty when serving.

 

Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile cook the quinoa according to the package directions. If you don’t have package directions (you can buy your quinoa in the bulk bins,) you’ll need to boil 1 1/4 cups of water, add the quinoa, and simmer on a low heat with the lid on, until all the water is absorbed.

For the last 5 minutes of cooking time for the quinoa (usually takes about 15 minutes total) – so after 10 minutes, add the cranberries. When cooked, fluff up with fork and set aside to cool.

 

In a large skillet, heat the oil and fry the onions, shallots, and garlic on a medium heat until they are just about to brown – keep stirring all the time, as you don’t want the garlic to burn. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 3-4 minutes. Stir in the walnuts thyme, agave, salt and pepper and fry for a further minute or so. Remove from the heat.

Scoop most of the flesh out of the butternut nut squash, making sure the skins stay well intact and place it in a large bowl.

Add the quinoa & cranberries and gently fold into the soft squash. The key here is not tomix, but to gently combine, because you don’t want the whole thing turning into a mush.

 

Add the onion/mushroom mixture and again, gently combine. Finally mix in the parsley.

 

Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on a baking sheet, and cover each one with a piece of foil.  Place in a medium oven (350 degrees) for 20 – 30 minutes. You can easily prepare this whole thing the day before and chill overnight. If so, you’ll need 30 minutes to heat it up, however, if you are cooking it while the ingredients are still warm, you’ll probably only need to bake for 20 minutes.

 

A nice finishing touch would be to sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese (for non-vegans), and whole wheat bread crumbs for vegans. If you decide to go for topping, remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

 

 

 

 

HOLIDAY STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

I’ve been cooking up all kinds of Seasonal veggie entrees for my family for the past two weeks, and their favorite is this stuffed butternut squash, which I think makes a perfect vegan Holiday Meal. If you’re not veggie and having turkey, it also makes for a lovely post-turkey (when you’re sick of the sight of it,) supper.

You can use any kind of squash, but Butternut is my favorite for this one.

Serves 2

1 medium Butternut squash, halved & de-seeded

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 cup fresh cranberries

2tbsp grapeseed, canola or olive oil

1 small onion, minced

2 shallots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)

1 cup brown mushrooms, roughly chopped

1/2 cup walnut peices

Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

1tsp agave nectar

1/2 cup of chopped fresh flat-leaved parsley

 

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

Rub the cut side of the squash with a little oil to prevent sticking and place them flesh-side down on a greased baking sheet. I used recycled aluminum foil to avoid too much mess. Place them in the oven for about 30 -40 minutes or until they are tender when a knife is inserted. I would check them after 30 minutes because they might be ready – in my experience, over-baking them isn’t great as the whole thing can collapse and isn’t as pretty when serving.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile cook the quinoa according to the package directions. If you don’t have package directions (you can buy your quinoa in the bulk bins,) you’ll need to boil 1 1/4 cups of water, add the quinoa, and simmer on a low heat with the lid on, until all the water is absorbed.

For the last 5 minutes of cooking time for the quinoa (usually takes about 15 minutes total) – so after 10 minutes, add the cranberries. When cooked, fluff up with fork and set aside to cool.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and fry the onions, shallots, and garlic on a medium heat until they are just about to brown – keep stirring all the time, as you don’t want the garlic to burn. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 3-4 minutes. Stir in the walnuts thyme, agave, salt and pepper and fry for a further minute or so. Remove from the heat.

Scoop most of the flesh out of the butternut nut squash, making sure the skins stay well intact and place it in a large bowl.

Add the quinoa & cranberries and gently fold into the soft squash. The key here is not to mix, but to gently combine, because you don’t want the whole thing turning into a mush.

Add the onion/mushroom mixture and again, gently combine. Finally mix in the parsley.

Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on a baking sheet, and cover each one with a piece of foil.  Place in a medium oven (350 degrees) for 20 – 30 minutes. You can easily prepare this whole thing the day before and chill overnight. If so, you’ll need 30 minutes to heat it up, however, if you are cooking it while the ingredients are still warm, you’ll probably only need to bake for 20 minutes.

A nice finishing touch would be to sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese (for non-vegans), and whole wheat bread crumbs for vegans. If you decide to go for topping, remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

 

 

 

 

SUPER CRANBERRY & ORANGE GRANOLA

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup sprouted quinoa (millet seed or more oats if you can’t get the sprouted quinoa)

1/2 cup of hemp seeds

1/2 cup of chia seeds

4 tbsp of lucuma powder (or two tbsp of brown sugar)

1tbsp ground cinnamon

2tsp vanilla essence

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Zest of 1 medium orange

1/2 cup raw virgin coconut oil (heated to liquify) – you can substitute with a vegetable oil such as canola if needs be.

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Simply mix all the ingredients except the cranberries. together in a large bowl, making sure that the oats are well coated with all the ingredients.

 

Spread evenly on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for about ten minutes or until slightly browned on top. Use a large spatula to turn over the granola and pop back in the oven for a further ten minutes or until nicely browned. Add the cranberries.

 

 

I love to serve it with Almond Milk or plain yogurt. Greek yogurt is a little too thick for this granola, but a more runny plain yogurt is fab.

 

 

SUPER CRANBERRY & ORANGE GRANOLA

I’m always playing with different granola recipes to find one that’s yummy, crunch and really healthy. I recently went to the bulk bins in a Wholefoods store and “sampled” a bunch of their “healthy” granolas – in my opinion, they were at best, absolutely tasteless.

Since homemade granola is really easy to make, it just makes sense to whip out a baking sheet once a week and get a batch in the oven.

I’m a great fan of a company called Navitas Naturals, as they carry every kind of fair-trade Super Food imaginable, and if you’re into giving these potent/health-giving foods a whirl, granola is a great place to start. You can pack every batch with tiny seeds, which contain more nutrients than almost anything you can find at a grocery store.

I also tried a superfood powder called Lucuma (Navitas Naturals,) which comes from a Peruvian fruit and is an excellent low-glycemic sweetener, which is full of vitamins and minerals – perfect for baking too. If possible I like to avoid eating sugar, particularly at breakfast, so this is a great alternative. If you can’t get hold of it right away, for now just substitute with brown sugar.

I also wanted to use quinoa because it’s a grain which is really high in protein. I came across a bag of sprouted quinoa at my local health food store, which is fantastic because you don’t need to cook it first. If you can’t find this rather more unusual ingredient, substitute with another grain, such as millet, or just add another cup of old-fashioned oats.

If you order your seeds and lucuma from Navitas Naturals, a small bag will keep you going for a while, and you can also add them to smoothies.

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup sprouted quinoa (millet seed or more oats if you can’t get the sprouted quinoa)

1/2 cup of hemp seeds

1/2 cup of chia seeds

4 tbsp of lucuma powder (or two tbsp of brown sugar)

1tbsp ground cinnamon

2tsp vanilla essence

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Zest of 1 medium orange

1/2 cup raw virgin coconut oil (heated to liquify) – you can substitute with a vegetable oil such as canola if needs be.

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Simply mix all the ingredients except the cranberries. together in a large bowl, making sure that the oats are well coated with all the ingredients.

Spread evenly on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for about ten minutes or until slightly browned on top. Use a large spatula to turn over the granola and pop back in the oven for a further ten minutes or until nicely browned. Add the cranberries.

 

I love to serve it with Almond Milk or plain yogurt. Greek yogurt is a little too thick for this granola, but a more runny plain yogurt is fab.

 

 

Spinach & Feta One Pot Pie

Serves 4

1 box whole wheat filo pastry

1/2 cup olive oil

6 ounces baby spinach leaves

3 eggs

5 ounces feta cheese

2 or 3 marinated red bell peppers (optional)

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

1/2 tsp sea salt & 1/2tsp black pepper

 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

 

Grease the bottom of your cast iron skillet (if you don’t have one, use a round pie dish instead.)

Open out the rolled up pastry and lay half a sheet in the bottom of the pan. Gently brush with olive oil and lay over another sheet. Continue until you have 6 sheets layered on top of one another. Don’t worry if the pastry sheets come apart (they always do,) just patch up where necessary.

Steam the spinach for 2 or 3 minutes and then drain.

Lightly beat the eggs in a medium bowl and crumble the feta into it. Add the bell peppers and/or olives and seasoning.

Squeeze any remaining water out of the spinach with your hands, then add to the bowl and combine well.

Pour the egg mixture into your skillet. Top with another sheet of filo pastry, brush the pastry with olive oil and continue until you have 6-8 sheets. Brush the top sheet with olive oil and place in the oven for 35 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned on top.

SPINACH & FETA ONE POT PIE

I love this so much that I make it as least once every two weeks. It’s a one-pot version of a Spanokopita, but so much more delicious and healthy because I use less pasty. If you have a small cast iron pan like the one pictured, I highly recommend using it as it bakes this little pie to perfection. It’s a great Holiday stand-by dish for vegetarians. Once you’ve given it a try, I promise it’ll go up there in your top easy-to-throw-together recipes.

Serves 4

1 box whole wheat filo pastry

1/2 cup olive oil

6 ounces baby spinach leaves*

3 eggs*

5 ounces feta cheese

2 or 3 marinated red bell peppers (optional)

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

1/2 tsp sea salt & 1/2tsp black pepper

* I highly recommend buying organic eggs and spinach.

 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

 

Grease the bottom of your cast iron skillet (if you don’t have one, use a round pie dish instead.)

Open out the rolled up pastry and lay half a sheet in the bottom of the pan. Gently brush with olive oil and lay over another sheet. Continue until you have 6 sheets layered on top of one another. Don’t worry if the pastry sheets come apart (they always do,) just patch up where necessary.

Steam the spinach for 2 or 3 minutes and then drain.

Lightly beat the eggs in a medium bowl and crumble the feta into it. Add the bell peppers and/or olives and seasoning.

Squeeze any remaining water out of the spinach with your hands, then add to the bowl and combine well.

Pour the egg mixture into your skillet. Top with another sheet of filo pastry, brush the pastry with olive oil and continue until you have 6-8 sheets. Brush the top sheet with olive oil and place in the oven for 35 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned on top.

EASY APPLE STRUDEL

EASY APPLE STRUDEL

Approx 1/2lb of puff pastry ( I purchased a 11b box and used half for this recipe)

1tsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup raspberry jelly

1/4 cup almond meal

4 apples

1/4 cup raisins

1/2tsp ground cinnamon

1tbsp milk

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

 

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Grate the apples and place in a colander lined with paper towel to drain

Roll out a rectangular block of the pastry. You need to roll it out into as thin as possible a rectangle (measuring about 10 x 15 inches).

Lightly brush the pastry with half the oil leaving a 1 inch border.

Spread the jelly over the pastry. Squeeze any remaining moisture out of the grated apple and then pile on top of the pastry. Sprinkle with the almonds, the raisins and finally the cinnamon.

Carefully roll from the long edge of the rectangle to form a thick log. Make sure the seam in underneath and very carefully transfer to a greased baking sheet.

Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack and dust with sugar before serving.

I like to serve it with either plain yogurt, or creme fraiche.

If you wrap it in foil and stick it in the fridge, it will keep for up to 3 days. You can re-heat it for 20 minutes in a warm (320 F) oven.

 

 

 

EASY APPLE STRUDEL

Now is apple season and I’ll never turn down an apple strudel. With the holidays coming up, I’m all about cutting corners, while still creating seriously healthy dishes. The corner-cutter in this case was a box of whole wheat puff pastry, which pained me beyond measure to buy, because it was so expensive and pastry is not only pretty easy to make, but a fraction of the price. I let myself have this little lazy luxury, however, as I was knee-deep in work and family stuff.

This is a perfect Holiday dessert, so stock up your freezer with puff pastry and you’re almost good to go.

EASY APPLE STRUDEL

Approx 1/2lb of puff pastry ( I purchased a 11b box and used half for this recipe)

1tsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup raspberry jelly

1/4 cup almond meal

4 apples

1/4 cup raisins

1/2tsp ground cinnamon

1tbsp milk

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

 

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Grate the apples and place in a colander lined with paper towel to drain

Roll out a rectangular block of the pastry. You need to roll it out into as thin as possible a rectangle (measuring about 10 x 15 inches).

Lightly brush the pastry with half the oil leaving a 1 inch border.

Spread the jelly over the pastry within the border. Squeeze the grated apple to make sure that most of the moisture has drained, then pile it evenly over the pastry rectangle. Sprinkle the almonds on top, the raisins and finally the cinnamon.

Carefully roll from the long edge of the rectangle to form a thick log. Make sure the seam in underneath and very carefully transfer to a greased baking sheet.

Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack and dust with sugar before serving.

I like to serve it with either plain yogurt, or creme fraiche.

If you wrap it in foil and stick it in the fridge, it will keep for up to 3 days. You can re-heat it for 20 minutes in a warm (320 F) oven.