Natural Sugars

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!

Spelt and Date Cookies

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It has been quite a busy week as we finally found a lovely apartment and moved in a week today. Of course the first thing to be unpacked and ready to use was the kitchen and I've been trying to understand the way the stove works as it's and electric stovetop and we had a gas stove in London so there have been many trials.You come across delicious looking dates almost everywhere you go here and I ended up buying a pack of amazingly soft medjool dates. When I got home I wanted to make something with them and had a look through a cookbook I bought a couple of years back called When Suzanne Cooks by Suzanne Husseini which is a great book filled with delicious Middle Eastern recipes. I have to say it does help being in the Middle East as the ingredients are easier to come by. I altered the recipe slightly to make it slightly healthier and to suit the ingredients I had at home so instead of white flour I used whole grain spelt flour and instead of butter I used coconut oil, and luckily it worked!

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Ingredients (makes about 2 dozen)

1 1/2 cups whole grain spelt flour 1/2 cup coconut oil 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 3 cups soft dates, pitted and chopped 30 grams 70% dark chocolate

Place the coconut oil, nutmeg and cardamom in a small saucepan and put on low heat until the coconut oil has melted, then set aside.

Put the flour in a large saucepan and place on medium heat and let it toast slightly, stirring constantly, this should take about 10 mins.

Then add the dates to the flour and combine until the dates start to soften slightly then add the coconut oil and remove from heat. Continue mixing well with a wooden spatula. Transfer the mixture onto a clean surface and knead slightly until you get a dough like consistency, then roll it out and if you have a cookie cutter cut the cookies into any shape you like and place onto a lined baking tray.

Melt the chocolate by placing a heatproof bowl/dish over a saucepan with hot water (make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl) and put the chocolate pieces into the bowl and leave them to melt. Once melted using a spoon, scoop out some chocolate and drizzle over the cookies.

Leave the cookies to set for at least half an hour and enjoy with a nice cup of mint tea or a coffee!

Juice Pulp Gluten Free Muffins

Juice pulp muffin

I posted a video on our Instagram page (@vegetariantreehouse) of me making some juice yesterday morning and a friend posted a comment asking whether I do anything with the left over juice pulp. The answer was yes, I've made a number of things with it including hummus inspired dips, soups, veggie burgers (watch this space I have a recipe coming soon), and crackers. Since the pulp has a lot of nutrients and fibre in it it's a real shame to let it go to waste, so if you don't have time to make something with it immediately after making your morning juice just store it in the fridge, and it should keep for a couple of days. His question got me thinking about what else I could do with the pulp I had just saved from my morning juice and so I started researching and came across this lovely recipe. I decided to give it a go with the ingredients I had on hand at home, and since I'm packing up the flat at the moment in preparation for the big move to Doha on Friday I improvised a bit.

The pulp I used was from a orange, carrot, apple, ginger, and parsley juice, I sifted through it to get as much of the parsley out as possible. So here is the recipe and I hope you try it out next time you make a juice. If you want to give the muffins a go and don't have juice pulp just grate some carrot, apple and ginger and leave out the orange and parsley!

Ingredients (makes 12)

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I made my own, see recipe below) 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1 tablespoon cinnamon 3/4 cup sunflower seeds 1/2 cup chopped raisins (or whatever dried fruit you have on hand) 2 tablespoons ground chia seeds Filtered water 2 cups unsweetened soya milk (or non dairy milk of your choice) 1 teaspoon vanilla (fresh from the pod or extract) 1 1/2 cups juice pulp (or grated fruit) 2 tablespoons date syrup (or sweetener of your choice)

My Improvised Gluten Free Flour Recipe

Blend 2 cups quinoa flakes until it becomes a flour like consistency. Then add 2 tablespoons coconut flour, and 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour to it. The End.

So back to the muffin recipe...

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. Grease the muffin tins, I would not recommend using muffin cups as I did because the muffins stick to the paper! Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl and add the sunflower seeds and raisins. In a separate bowl mix the chia seeds with about half a cup of hot water, stir well and add the soya milk, date syrup, and vanilla. Then add the fruit pulp and another half cup of water, and mix well for a couple of minutes. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix together. Then spoon the batter into the muffin tins, place in the oven and leave to bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a metal rack. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Beetroot Risotto

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Making risotto with brown rice is not only healthier but it's also a lot easier, because instead of having to stand over the pot stirring constantly, you pretty much just leave it to cook for about an hour. The brown rice adds a nuttier flavour to the risotto, and is packed full of Vitamin B1 and B6. The vibrant colour that comes off the beetroot is not only a feast for the eyes. Beetroot helps detoxify the liver, lower blood pressure, and is a sustainable source of energy due to the natural sugars which are gradually released into your body. If you buy the beetroot with the leaves attached please do not throw them away as they can be used as a side salad or you can sauté them with a bit of garlic and chilli.

Please Note: Items marked with * suggest using organic products if possible.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 medium sized beetroots* Coconut oil 1 yellow onion 2 garlic cloves 2 cups short grain brown rice* 4 cups vegetable stock Zest of 1/2 a lemon* 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese Sea salt and black pepper to taste Few sprigs of flat leaf parsley.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Wash and scrub any dirt off the beetroot, and place in a glass baking dish. Melt down about a tablespoon of coconut oil so that it turns to liquid and drizzle over the beetroot. Pop the beetroot in the oven and let cook for about 45 minutes to an hour. Heat up a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pot. Dice up the onion, put it in the pot and let it cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Mince the garlic and add it to the pot with the lemon zest, stirring occasionally. Then add the brown rice and toss to coat. Slowly add all the stock in and bring the rice to a boil. Then reduce to low heat, cover and leave to simmer for 50 minutes. Once the beetroot is done cooking take it out the oven and leave to cool down a bit. If they are organic you don't need to peel the skin off but if they aren't I would recommend peeling off the skin, which should be quite soft by now. Then cut the beetroot into small cubes and stir them into the risotto and let cook for another 10 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and mix in the parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. Roughly cut the flat leaf parsley and sprinkle on top of each serving. I like to have a bit more parmesan cheese at the table for my guests to help themselves to. Enjoy!