Homemade

Summertime Homemade Popsicles

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I know I haven't had the chance to post a recipe up on the blog for a while... We went away on a family holiday to Jordan & Dubai and as soon as I got back I went straight into weekly special orders, my first ever group cooking class, followed by lots of catering orders and few new exciting developments which I'll hopefully be able to write about soon :)

I've been practising yoga on the balcony recently as the weather is absolutely beautiful over here at the moment, and this recipe idea came to me on one hot morning! It was a lot hotter than usual and after I finished I was drenched in sweat, all I could think of was having a nice fruity popsicle. I rummaged around the cupboards and found my old popsicle moulds, reached for the few ingredients we had in the fridge and decided to make some mango, coconut milk, lime, and ginger popsicles.

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Mangos are very alkaline, which help balance the acidity in your body, they are also high in antioxidants which help protect the body against certain types of cancers.

Coconut milk has a multitude of benefits so here are a few, it's anti-bacterial, high in good fats, and iron, which is especially good for women.

Limes are an amazing source of vitamin C, they also help keep the body's blood sugar levels balanced, which is a good combination with mango as they are high in natural sugars.

Finally, I love ginger, not only does it add a nice depth of flavour but it's so good for you too! It helps reduce inflammation, aids in digestion & nausea and has also been linked to studies which have shown that it kills cancer cells.

So not only will this popsicle cool you down in the summer heat, but it will also be doing a lot of good to your body, in contrast to the sugar and chemical filled popsicles you can by at the shops! Again, if you don't have all the ingredients, try experimenting with what you have at home.

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Ingredients (makes 6)

1 medium ripe mango

1 frozen ripe banana

1/2 cup coconut milk/cream

Juice of 1 lime

1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled

Method

Scoop the flesh out of the mango, place in a blender along with all the other ingredients and pulse until you have a nice smooth consistency.

Fill the moulds with the thick mixture, tap the moulds on the counter to make sure the mixture has been evenly dispersed, then place in the freezer for 4 hours, or over night.

Enjoy!

Pistachio & Rose Amazeballs

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I started doing weekly specials about a month ago, selling the food products I make for catering jobs, or at home. I never imagined I would be selling my amazeballs, cashew milk, banana bread etc, but my friends and clients kept asking so I thought I'd give it a go! And I couldn't be happier, not only do I get to share my food with more people, which is what I love doing, but I've also met such wonderful new people! It has made me realise just how much people in Doha do want good, organic, whole, plant based food.

One thing I've sold almost every week and have been playing around with is what I call 'amazeballs'! They are the perfect little treat to have around as they all filled with pure goodness, no added sugars, fillers, words you can't read, let alone say, and my husband loves them, which is a good excuse to make them all the time. The different variations I've sold so far have been chocolate orange with maca, goji berry with flaxseed , and pistachio & rose with spirulina, which is this weeks' special inspired by my Iranian background and a little bit, but not really, valentines day.

Once you have the consistency of the base down, which is basically raw nuts, dates, and a superfood (this is optional, but so much better added in) then it's easy to experiment with flavour combinations etc. If you don't have all the ingredients, it's ok, you can sub it for something similar, or leave it out all together. Goji berries can be substituted for cranberries, medjool dates can be substituted for any other soft dates, raw honey can be substituted for date syrup or maple syrup etc, and you don't have to roll them in anything, they're also great just on their own.

P.S. I'm not really one for celebrating valentines day, I think that if you love someone, be it your family, friends or your other half, you should shower them with love (and amazeballs) every single day!

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Ingredients (makes approx. 20 pieces)

  • 80 grams raw, unsalted pistachios (peeled)
  • 50 grams goji berries (see notes above for substitutions)
  • 50 grams dried figs
  • 100 grams medjool dates
  • 60 grams unsweetened desiccated coconut (organic, preservative free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon spirulina powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rose water

Toppings (optional) 1/2 cup dehydrated rose petals, or dried rose buds 1/2 cup desiccated coconut

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Amazeballs mudra!

Method

Place pistachios in the food processor and pulse until they are crumbly.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor, except for the toppings, and blitz on a medium speed for about 20 seconds then go to high speed for about a minute, until you have an even consistency (this will vary depending on how powerful your food processor is).

Scoop out approximately 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time, squeeze in your hand, and roll into a ball gently with the palms of your hands.

Prepare the toppings (optional) by using a spice mill, or pestle and mortar, to grate down the rose petals to a similar consistency as the desiccated coconut.

Mix the 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut and the rose in a small bowl, and roll the amazeballs in the mixture. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes (if you can resist) or eat as is! They should keep in the fridge for about 2-3 weeks, but they'll probably be eaten up way before then!

Enjoy and share with all the people you love in your life!

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If you are based in Doha and are interested in knowing more about my weekly specials, head over to my instagram or facebook page for more info! 

Quick Homemade Pickles

The winter season in Qatar is pretty much equivalent to Spring, as the weather is a lot cooler than the scorching summer months. Which mean this is the perfect time to start pickling any surplus veggies. Here is a quick and easy recipe that I found on My New Roots which I used to preserve the delicious locally grown organic produce I've been getting.

This is a great accompaniment to any meal and will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. I like to have it in my post yoga bowls which normally consist of steamed veggies (whatever I have in the fridge), buckwheat noodles/quinoa, and a topping of avocado, nuts and seeds. It adds a delightful vinegary crunch to your meal, and you're body will be taking in all the goodness from the raw veggies and apple cider vinegar.

Get creative and use any veggies you like, I had daikon, radish and cabbage spare so I decided to use them, but you can switch it up depending on what you have on hand. You'll need a 1 litre jar or several smaller ones.

Ingredients

  • 4/5 large radishes
  • 1 daikon
  • 1 cup green cabbage
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp fine Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns 1 tsp fennel seed (optional)

Method

Cut off the stem and root of the radishes and daikon. Slice the veggies into thin rounds, dice the cabbage, and set aside.

Measure out the apple cider vinegar and water into a cup, and add the salt and maple syrup. Stir to combine, making sure the salt has dissolved.

Add the radish to the jar, along with the a few peppercorns a clove of garlic, and fennel seeds if using. Then add the cabbage, again a few peppercorns and garlic as before, and finally the daikon, along with the remaining condiments.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the veggies, making sure they're all covered and close the lid tightly over the jar. Store in the fridge for at least 24 hours before eating, this will keep for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Dairy and Nut Free Ice Cream

IMG_6212 I love ice cream, I mean who doesn't?! The only problem is that immediately after I have eaten it I get an upset stomach, this is probably because my body just doesn't digest milk, it's been that way since I was little. However I used to ignore this and eat ice cream, well...because it's just so good! But as I have become more in tune with my body over the past couple of years, I really do notice how it reacts to different foods, especially dairy. So I started off my dairy free ice cream endeavour by making frozen banana ice cream, which quite simply is blending up frozen ripe bananas and adding the topping of choice, mine would always be cinnamon and cacao nibs. It's delicious and easy to make but I was not quite satisfied, it lacks the creamy consistency. Then I experimented with making nut based ice cream, which was also really yummy but my husband wasn't convinced, and I wanted to try and make something for people with nut allergies.

So after a lot a of research and experimenting, I bring you the dairy and nut (and ice cream maker) free ice cream! It's rich and creamy, the perfect alternative to normal ice cream, husband approved (he went for seconds), and you don't need any fancy equipment to make it! It requires some pre planning, which is just putting a can of coconut milk in the fridge over night and peeling some ripe bananas and placing them in the freezer for a couple of hours. It is a great base so you can add cacao powder, fresh berries or just keep it plain and simple. I served some on top of spiced poached plums last night and it was divine. So let your imagination run free and the little child in you will be very happy, I promise!

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Ingredients (serves 8) 

1 can full fat coconut milk (the only added ingredient on the list should be water, no other nasties!) 3 ripe bananas (frozen) 1 vanilla pod / 1 teaspoon pure vanilla powder Optional : Goji berries (1/4 cup)

Extra ingredients

Coconut sugar / maple syrup / honey Cacao powder Fresh mint Cacao nibs

Equipment

Food Processor / blender Tupperware / Glass Pyrex container / I use this

Method:

Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge over night, or for at least 6 hours. When ready, turn the can upside down and open, you should have thick creamy coconut milk, scoop the contents into the food processor / blender. (At this point you will feel an urge to eat the solidified coconut milk straight out of the can, please try to control yourself!)

Add the bananas to the food processor / blender and combine, depending on your machine this should take around 5 mins to get a smooth consistency.

Meanwhile cut the vanilla pod lengthways and scoop out the seeds and add to the food processor / blender. This is the point to add in any other ingredients you want. I didn't add any sweetener to mine as I thought the bananas made it sweet enough for my palette but if you want it sweeter, add some coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey.

Then give it one final whizz in the food processor to combine all the ingredients (about a minute or so).

Pour the ingredients into the container and place in the freezer for 2 - 3 hours, at least.

Remove the ice cream from the freezer about 10 - 15 minutes before serving so that it is easy to scoop up.

Then add your favourite topping, or serve plain, and most importantly enjoy!

Easy Spelt Pizzas

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I was always intimidated by the idea of making any bread related food, but once I gave this spelt pizza base a go I realised how easy it actually is and haven't looked back since! I have made it in all different shapes and sizes, from a large family style pizza, to mini heart shaped ones. The options of toppings are endless so experiment as much as you want, with whatever you have on hand. This is a staple in the Vegetarian Treehouse Kitchen and every time I make I am so glad I didn't decide to order in!

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Spelt is a wheat free flour, which is packed with nutritional benefits from regulating the body’s metabolism to lowering blood sugar, and reducing cholesterol levels. It does however contain very low levels of gluten therefore if you are celiac I would recommend replacing it with rice or quinoa flour.

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Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

Pizza Base

4 cups wholegrain spelt flour 3/4 cup warm water 1 1/2 tablespoons dry active yeast 3 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons zataar Salt to taste (preferably Himalayan pink salt or sea salt)

Toppings

4 vine tomatoes 1 tablespoon dried oregano 1/4 cup tomato paste 1 teaspoon coconut sugar / brown sugar 1 medium onion - sliced 1 tablespoon coconut oil 1 pack chestnut mushrooms - sliced 250 gram pack halloumi cheese - sliced salt &  freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

Sift 3 1/2 cups of the spelt flour into a large mixing bowl.

Gently whisk the yeast in 3/4 cup water to dissolve.

Add the yeast and olive oil to the flour and stir in until you have a consistent texture.

Then start kneading the dough on a clean floured surface for about 5 mins.

Place the dough back in the bowl, dust with some flour and cover with a damp towel. Leave the dough to rise for approx. 1 1/2 hours, until it has almost doubled in size.

In the meantime you can make the topping....

Cut the tomatoes in half and place cut side down on a lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 mins.

Heat up the coconut oil in a pan on medium/high heat, and add the onion. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Leave to cook, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 mins, until caramelised and set aside.

Remove the tomatoes from the oven, and leave to cool for about 10 mins. Then remove the skins and place in a medium sized bowl.

Add the oregano, tomato paste, and sugar to the tomatoes. Whiz all the ingredients with a hand blender or normal blender, until you have a smooth sauce consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

When the dough has risen, oil a lined baking sheet and set aside.

You can divide the dough up into 2 medium sized pizzas or 1 large pizza, it's up to you.

Dust a clean surface with flour and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, adding the zataar and salt as you go, and pinching the edges with your fingers. The dough will rise slightly so roll it out as thin as possible.

Place on the oiled and lined baking sheet and brush the edge of the pizza with olive oil and add the the toppings, starting with the tomato sauce, caramelised onions, mushrooms and finally halloumi cheese.

Pop in the oven for approximately 30 mins, if you're making smaller pizzas bake for less time, about 20 mins.

Take out the oven, cut up and enjoy!

Raw Chocolate Madness Pt. 2

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So I know it has been a while since my last post...I was hoping to post part 2 of my raw chocolate experience quite soon after the 1st part as I made them both on the same day. However I got caught up with work and then went on holiday for a month, then I got back, had a serious case of the holiday blues and dived head-first into crazy working hours.

Anyhoo now I am back in the swing of things I am finally ready to put up the second part of my experiment, this time using cacao butter instead of coconut oil. I made this version into more of a healthy chocolate finger-esque bar, you can use a mould to achieve any shape you want, so it's fun to play around with. I had an Ikea silicone ice cube tray on hand and decided to use that. Alternatively you can line a glass oven dish with parchment paper, or basically anything that is flat and has sides which can contain the liquid chocolate mixture!

P.S.Using cacao butter definitely takes raw chocolate taste up to the heavens, but if it's not easy to get a hold of coconut oil is a pretty good replacement.

This recipe is inspired the one on Eleanor's amazingly beautiful blog, Earthsprout.

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Ingredients

1/3 cup cacao butter

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

3 tablespoon coconut sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon maca powder

1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder

himalayan pink salt / sea salt

Crushed pistachio nuts (optional)

Method

Melt the cacao butter in a metal or ceramic bowl over a pot of hot water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.

Once melted remove from heat and sift the cacao powder, coconut sugar, maca powder and vanilla powder over the melter cacao butter and whisk together to combine. Then add a pinch of salt, this will enhance the sweet tones, and whisk away again, making sure all ingredients are well combined.

Pour out the mixture into the mould you are using, if you aren't using a silicone mould make sure to line with parchment paper. Sprinkle some crushed pistachio nuts on top, or whatever else you fancy, and pop in the freezer for 10 - 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Freshly Squeezed Almond Milk

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almond milk

From a young age I couldn't digest milk very well, therefore I tried to avoid it as much as possible. I then started substituting it with soy milk and soon found out that most soy products are genetically modified, have a lot of artificial sweeteners and preservatives added to them. I then became familiar with almond, rice and hemp milk and started buying those instead.

A couple years ago I had some friends over for brunch and was testing out some packaged hemp milk for the first time, as were most of my guests we started talking about crazy it is that hemp seeds, almonds or rice are made into something that resembles milk. My friend Tana explained that it's actually really easy to make it at home, and so that evening I went in search of recipes and was shocked at just how easy it really was! Better yet it's much healthier than what you find in the shop because it doesn't have preservatives or any other nasty ingredients added to it, and you can make whatever flavour you like.

I normally add a bit of vanilla powder, in the photo above I decided to add cacao & lucuma powder to one and vanilla & maple syrup to the other, they both turned out really good!

If you have a nut allergy just substitute the almonds with cooked brown rice or shelled hemp seeds.

Ingredients (make about 1 litre)

1 cup raw almonds 1 litre water (about 4 cups)

Additonal ingredients cacao powder (1-2 tablespoons per litre) lucuma powder (1-2 tablespoon per litre) vanilla powder (approx. 1/4 teaspoon per litre) honey/maple syrup (1 - 2 tablespoons per litre) rose water (1 tablespoon per litre)

Equipment  Nut milk bag (I have this one, its easy to clean and I've used it plenty of times over the past 4 years and it's only just stared to fall apart) OR a fine cheesecloth High speed blender Medium sized bowl 1 litre glass jar/ bottle with lid

Method

Cover and soak the almonds in a bowl of water overnight or for at least 6 hours. Once soaked, drain and thoroughly rinse the almonds. Place in a blender with 1 litre filtered water and blend for about 2-3 minutes, you want the almonds to be as fine as possible. Place the nut milk bag or cheesecloth over a bowl and carefully pour the almond milk over the cloth, making sure it is secure. Then hold the sides of the nut milk bag/cheesecloth and twist the top closed, then press and squeeze the pulp with your hands trying to get as much of the almond milk out as possible. (I like to save the almond pulp to make almond flour or amazeballs out of it) If you're adding any of the optional ingredients, rinse out the blender, pour the milk back in, add the ingredients and pulse for 10-15 seconds. Then pour into the jar or bottle,  and place in the fridge to chill.

Enjoy!

*This will stay good for about 2-3 days.

**The milk may separate but just give it a good shake and it will go back to normal.