Stewed rhubarb with orange and rosewater yoghurt jar

OMFG  I’ve been having way too much fun this week making the prettiest breakfasts. It turns out the bowl is a thing of the past and breakfast in a cute jar in colourful layers really is just so much more incredibly fancy. This is the kind of thing you see on Instagram and think who on earth has time in the morning, or the motivation to layer up all their fruit and yoghurt and make patterns on the top etc. Well this week I was THAT person. And you can be too with extremely little effort!

Rhubarb yoghurt
rhubarb yoghurt
Feeds 4-5 people or 1 weeks worth of breakfast fun
 
500g Rhubarb or any other stewed fruit that’s in season, plums amazing too
2 x oranges juiced
2 tbsp rosewater
3 tbsp honey
 
Nutty layer
3 handfuls of nuts, I used almonds and walnut but any will do
5 dates
 
Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
 
Additional toppings, sliced banana, chia seeds, grounds LSA, coconut chips, runny honey, cacao nibs

Start with the stewed rhubarb, chop it up roughly into a wide saucepan and add the orange juice, rosewater and honey and simmer on a low heat until soft and broken down. Taste it for sweetness, sometimes it can taste tart so just add more honey. It should take about 15-20 minutes.

While thats cooking, add the nuts to a food processor and pulse until chunky, add the dates and pulse until combined.

Voila, now all you need to do is make pretty alternate layers with the yoghurt, rhubarb, nutty layer in a pretty jar or glass. And chuck on some mega amazing extra toppings just to add to the show off factor.

 

Chocolate, cardamom and beetroot cake

Beetroot anc chocolate cake It’s a cake! A big birthday beetroot cake! And it has taken a while to get here, so many cakes made. I actually nailed it first time but then doubled the recipe and suddenly it just tasted like soda, so then I had to make another and another and another just to get  it right. And thats a cake every single day since Monday so I’m over cake and having chocolate all over my clothes…never mind…yay for cake!

It was Jase’s birthday on Tuesday so thats what all the baking was for. I got super excited to have a party in our attic room which I just turned into a Scandinavian paradise by white washing the wooden ceiling, then I hung festoon lights and it just looked mega cool. Actually…it felt a little bit like an awkward teenage party, Jase and I hanging out in a room we had all set up waiting to see if he actually had any friends that would turn up on a school night. Anyway congratulations to him he had heaps of friends and I got overexcited and drank too many bubbles…and then totally forgot about the birthday cake until everyone was leaving…whoops!

CAKE TOP

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Beetroot cake
250g 70% dark chocolate 
200g unsalted butter
200g unrefined organic brown sugar or coconut sugar ( I used ACME sugar which is amazing!!)
6 free range medium eggs
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
200g spelt flour
½ tsp ground cardamom
300g grated beetroot
pinch salt
 
Chocolate and avocado icing
2 very ripe avocados
½ cup dark chocolate, melted
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 heaped tbsp cacao powder
½ cup of honey
Drop of vanilla essence
 
Raspberry cream middle layer
150g cream
80g raspberries
1 tsp honey
 

Firstly get your oven onto 180°C .

To make the cake, melt the butter and the chocolate together in a bain marie.

While it’s melting grab a bowl that will fit all the ingredients into it and add just the eggs and sugar. Using an electric whisk, beat the mix until its really pale, thick and creamy, if you think your there keep going for a minute just to make sure. It did take me around 8 minutes so hang out and read a trashy magazine while your doing whisking.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda/powder and cardamom.

When everything is ready and the chocolate has cooled pour the chocolate mix into the eggs and fold through, then sieve in the flour mix, then add the beetroot.

When all smooth and delicious pour the mix into a standard springform cake tin lined with baking paper.

Cook for about 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool unless you just want it just with ice cream then serve it warm because its reaaaal good hot!

For the icing

Melt the coconut oil and dark chocolate in the microwave until its runny.

Spoon the flesh out of the avocado into a blender along with all the other ingredients until super smooth. Then scrape it all out into a bowl and chill in the fridge for the minimum of half an hour.

Raspberry cream

Just whisk the cream until just before the peaky thick stage and add the honey and raspberries, keep whisking until its at the thick stage.

Cut the cake in half lengthways and make sure that it’s cool or your cream will melt all over the place.

Fill the middle with the cream and put the top back on. Then using a pallet knife spread the avocado icing all over the top.

Et Voila! Oh wait no, chop up some pistachios for a bit of fancy colour or you could decorate with more raspberries, grated chocolate etc!

Easy, creamy cold Avocado, guacamole style soup

Guacamole soup

Makes 2 little jars (as seen in photo)

Mega quick and easy summer cold soup made from the kind of salady ingredients you probably have hanging about in the fridge. This is basically a blended version of guacamole…yes! It tastes oh so heavenly and is absolutely rip your pants off, I’m the heathiest person on the planet food. Get Blending!

1 ripe Avocado
2 tomatoes
1 thumb sized chunk of cucumber
1 clove of garlic
1/2 red pepper
chunk of chilli, depending on how spicy you like it
juice of 1 lime
A small handful of coriander
salt and pepper
 

Stick everything in a high speed blender until totally creamy and smooth, check for seasoning and add more herbs, lime juice and then pour into a container and chill in the fridge. If you want to eat it immedietly blend with some ice cubes. I serve it with some chopped up red pepper, cucumber and a drizzle of olive oil is aways pretty delicious.

 

 

Chocolate milkshake with coconut milk and cacao

chocolate milkshake
chocolate milkshake

Oh bonjour chocolate milkshake that’s really delicious, healthy and feeds you and a friend.

Makes just over 1 Mason jar but it’s really filling so 4 kids or 2 adults

 2 bananas
¼ cup cacao
splash of vanilla essence
¼ desiccated coconut
4-6 dates depending on size and sweetness, make sure you take the pips out
1 ¼ cups coconut milk
1 tsp coconut nectar, honey, maple syrup….if you like it sweeter

Whizz it all up together in a high speed blender until totally smooth!

And if you want to be jazzy and do the coconut around the top of the glass…melt some honey on a plate, turn the jar upside down and roll in the runny honey and then do the same on a plate of desiccated coconut and it should all stick.

Photos Jase Hancox, Colab Creative

Sundried tomato, veggie lasagne with rosemary cashew cream cheese

Veggie lasangna with cashew cheese

Last week I managed to persuade my whole house to participate in a detox week…well 5 days because some of us had parties at the weekend and none of us have the will power to arrive at a party and dance away with a soda in hand. So we gave up sugar, coffee, dairy, all grains/legumes, alcohol and any non grass fed animals. It all seems to be going well apart from the coffee heads and Jase got pissed because all he wanted was bacon. I made this vegetable lasagne one night because I haven’t done much experimenting with cashew cheese and I was keen to find out what the hype was about and whether I was going to turn my nose up…I am a big fan of le fromage you see. Well it was actually really good and when smeared all over a lasagne it did trick you into thinking you were eating a cheesy béchamel.

The detox week went pretty well until on Friday night I got a little overexcited about partying with my buddy Anna because Jase was out of town. I decided it would be a super idea to skateboard to town in a floor length kimono, handbag on my arm, hmmm this is already sounding quite ridiculous and I didn’t even mention that my penny board is bright pink. It didn’t take long for the first injury…you see town is downhill so you get some speed up and then you out of control, so I slowed myself down by grabbing onto a rose bush….what a clever dick! That was the first bloody incident. Then we went to a Mexican party at Anna’s friends, drank margaritas, ate tacos and had a swell time. Then hey, next good idea, lets skate home. Skating uphill went ok, then we got to our road which is unfortunately for me a natural bowl. So before I knew it I had decided to bomb the hill from the top, kimono flowing in the wind a bit like a super hero cape, it was awesome I was going really fast but then the speed wobbles hit. I had one of those slow motion moments when your like hmmm this is going to end with my face on the pavement. So smash, I tarmac planted at about 30 k/ph, I think head first because I still have a giant egg on my head, and grazes all down the side of body, and a lovely one on my forehead too. So lesson learnt….don’t drink margaritas and skate, and also, get better at skating! Anyway Jase now thinks I am a badass with all the tough stickers all over my body so I’m feeling pretty cool.

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Veggie lasagna with cashew cheeseCashew cheese

1 cup cashews (soaked for 2-4 hours)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp and ½ tsp nutritional yeast
2 slices of a shallot (roughly a tsp chopped)
¼ cup water
sea salt (needs quite a few big pinches) pepper and dried rosemary or any other herbs you fancy

Tomato sauce

1 shallot finely sliced
2 big garlic cloves sliced
1 sprig of rosemary with the leaves taken off
2-3 tbsp olive oil
4 medium tomatoes roughly chopped
½ cup sundried tomatoes
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
handful of basil leaves

Vegetables

4 small courgettes, sliced thinly lengthways
1 red pepper cut into about 3 big pieces around the core
2 big handfuls of spinach
 

First soak the cashews for 2-4 hours in cold water.

If using actual dried sundried tomatoes soak them too in boiling water for about an hour.

You can get started on the courgettes by slicing them lengthways into thin strips and grilling them, I used the bbq but a griddle pan on a high heat or the oven will do fine too. Drizzle them in a little olive oil and grill until they are soft and have some charred lines. Do the same with the red pepper.

Wilt the spinach in a big frying pan with a little olive oil and some seasoning and set aside.

For the tomato sauce, on a medium heat fry the shallot and rosemary until soft, then add the sliced garlic followed by the chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes have softened and some start to fall apart. Blend with the sundried tomatoes, basil, apple cider vinegar until smooth…oh and add some seasoning.

Now you can start assembling the lasagne. Spoon a bit of the tomato sauce on the bottom of your dish and spread it evenly. Then layer over the courgette, a teeny bit more tomato sauce, the wilted spinach and grilled sliced peppers. Finish with the remaining tomato sauce, a sprinkle of extra sundried tomatoes and some dried rosemary.

Heat it up in the oven at 180˚C for about 30 minutes until hot

While it’s in the oven you can make the cashew cheese. Drain the cashews and give them a rinse with cold water then put all the ingredients in a food processor, they normally have a smaller bowl bit for when you are doing small quantities. Pulse away until it goes really smooth, mine took ages so I just left it going for a few minutes so don’t panic it will get smooth eventually.

Check it for seasoning, it does need quite a lot of salt and you can keep adding more dried herbs and yeast to make it taste cheesier. If you wan’t it runnier just add a splash more water etc.

When the lasagne is hot, spoon over the cashew cheese layer and serve away for totally fake cheesy goodness!

Photos Jase Hancox, Colab Creative

 

Spring pea, courgette, lemon and avocado soup

Spring soup 4

Spring soup 3

This is a late post because last week was my birthday and I got distracted and taken on adventures in the South Island. And what a fabulous birthday it was, my first ever hot one and I spent all day in my shorty dungarees which was ace. We started off the day in Christchurch and went to the Farmers market in Deans bush, ate ice cream and then road tripped down to Akaroa. Akaroa is a cute little French village on the East coast, there are actually french people there, I felt oh so european again which was super, and we played Petanque, for hours and I beat Jase lots and then I got stung by a bee.

So the most exciting part about Akaroa is that they have penguins!!! And Dolphins!!! So we went on a dolphin, penguin hunting mission and 4WD through the rain and fog, yes New Zealand is funny and you can go from hot summer to cold rainy winter in a flash. We went adventuring in this huge bay and then found all these penguin boxes and figured they came up there to sleep at night but it turns out all the Mumma penguins were in the boxes sitting on the babies. We met the farmer who looked after them and he lifted the box and let us have a look and shit they were cute, totally black and about the same size as my hand, and they were yellow eyed penguins which are extremely rare…score! We didn’t find any dolphins but we did find a seal so I was happy. Then we drank bubbles in party hats and went to The Little Bistro, a cute little restaurant in Akaroa and had a hearty 3 courses and a bottle of red by which point I was a little bit cross eyed and giggly…yay for birthdays!

I was cooking for a detox group last week and I made a really delicious soup with cauliflower, cashews and avocado and it was all creamy and amazing so here is my version using some Spring veggies and herbs.

Spring soup

 

Serves 6

1 big tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped up small
½ cup cashews
8 cups of water
4 medium courgettes, grated
3 cups of frozen peas
 
1 avocado
1 lemon zested and half juiced
handful of mint, parsley, basil
sea salt and pepper

In a big saucepan melt the coconut oil on a medium heat, then add the onions and cook until they are soft and transparent. Add the garlic and stir for a few minutes making sure it doesn’t brown. Add the water and cashews and simmer for 15 minutes.

Put the grated courgette and peas into the pan and let it bubble away until the peas are cooked, normally around 5-10 minutes.

You can now blend it all, maybe wait until it’s cooled down a bit just in case your blender melts but most are heat proof.

Blend it up with the avocado, lemon zest, juice, herbs and salt and pepper. Don’t be shy with the salt it does need quite a bit!

Blend until it’s silky smooth and serve with a drizzle of good olive oil and it’s good with some parmesan, and if your not a veggie some crispy bacon would be amazing!

Chocolate ganache tart

IMG_3120 I have finally made it to the last leg of my journey back to New Zealand!! I am currently sitting in the Koru Lounge in Auckland which is bliss after 2 actual days of travelling. Just had a shower and a raid of the breakfast bar and of course stealing some booze from the fridge….it’s ok it’s not actually stealing, you allowed to take it, I’m sure people would have frowned at me less if it wasn’t 7:30am but I need to get my monies worth!

I had a long stop over in Shanghai which was interesting, they do eat funny things there, lots of packets of dried fish and crabs that sit in a fridge and I assume you just munch them…shell and all. I ordered up some won ton soup which had teeny shrimps floating in it with their legs and heads on…you could even see their eyeballs, I felt like they were watching me eat, it was scary. But they did have epic fresh mango smoothies for just a $2 which gave me the ultimate brain freeze…probably a good thing as I needed perking up after no sleep.

Anyhoo what a fabulous trip home, on my last weekend I summoned the whole family, cousins, Uncles and Aunts for my pretend Christmas/birthday/my sisters birthday and bonfire night. It was awesome we had sparklers, honey and mustard sausages, and fireworks yaya for two Christmases. We didn’t actually have turkey or anything, but we did do crackers and some party poppers and drank lots of wine and had a jolly time.

For pretend Christmas I made this absolute cracker of a choccy tart. I had something similar in a new Vegan restaurant in London called Nama which was so incredible that I thought they must have sneaked cream in. After a few tests I got this coconutty, super chocolaty tartness which you could feed to everyone, and maybe don’t mention that it’s vegan as I’ve learnt that people (my sister) think your weird and gross and don’t want to eat it.

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Makes 1 normal cake tin sized cake

1 ¼ cups of ground nuts (whatever you have, I used almonds and hazelnuts)
½ cup desiccated coconut
6 dates
3 tbsp coconut oil
pinch of salt
 
Chocolate filling
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp cacao butter or coconut oil
150g dark chocolate at least 70% I use green and blacks 85%, chopped up small
2 tbsp maple syrup or any other sweetener like coconut nectar/honey

To make the base whizz the nuts up in a food processor until they are ground up small. Add the coconut, dates and whizz until the dates are combined, then add a pinch of salt and the coconut oil. Push it down into the base of your cake or tart tin, making sure its firm and smooth all over then stick in the fridge.

To make the chocolate filling, heat the coconut milk, maple syrup and cacao butter up until it bubbles then pour it over the chopped chocolate, stir it until it’s smooth then add a pinch of salt. Pour into the cake tin, sprinkle over some cacao nibs if you have some and chill in the fridge for around 2 hours until it’s set.

Cauliflower rice salad with mango, red pepper, herbs and The Fat Radish curry sauce

IMG_2956It’s my last week in the UK before I fly home to beautiful Wanaka and my handsome Mr who I won’t have seen for over 6 weeks! I am getting super excited but then I have had to say quick hello’s and goodbyes to lots of people which of course sucks, although showing my best pictures and describing my life in an extremely positive light has hopefully tempted a few to come visit.

I’ve been hiding out in Dorset for most of my trip, London is far too scary and stressful and there are a lot of pretty odd people there who don’t walk past and say hello which is a change from extremely chirpy Wanaka. So I have been wellied up, walking dogs, cooking lots for my Mum and apparently todays task is clearing out all my stuff. My room is most definitely about to become a guest room….sad face!

This recipe was inspired from THE FAT RADISH Kitchen Diaries cookbook which I just bought a load of to give out as presents. I would have got one for myself but books take up way too much valuable weight in a strict long haul suitcase. Anyhoo, when I ran off to live in New York for 2 months about 4 years ago I got put in touch with the crazy clever English boys Ben and Phil who started up The Fat Radish and boy oh boy have they done a sweet job. The restaurant is just ridiculously cool, and the food is so fantastically fresh, colourful and homely. They have a real farm to table vibe with vegetables being the star of the show (FYI they were totally the creaters of the Kale trend). I worked in the kitchen for their events company Silkstone which meant I got to cater at some incredible venues and I was over the moon inspired but what they were up to. Oh just thinking about it is making me want to jump back on a plane to that crazy city! If you ever travel to NYC it’s a must visit in the Lower East Side and the book has a gazillion delicious looking recipes that will make you want host a party and pretend your cool like them living in New York.

cauliflower rice salad

cauliflower rice salad
cauliflower rice
Serves a crowd…probably around 6 
 
1 cauliflower, cut in florets
1 red pepper, diced into small squares
2 small spring onion, finely sliced
handful coriander, roughly chopped
handful parsley, roughly chopped
2 handfuls rocket, roughly chopped
½ mango, cut into small squares
4 tbsp of The Fat Radish curry sauce

First off make the curry sauce recipe from below. Then steam the cauliflower florets until tender, around 10 minutes then leave aside to cool in a colander so they dry off.

While it’s cooling prep the veg to go into the salad.

Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice, don’t go crazy or it will go too smooth. Chuck it all into a big bowl, mixing through all the chopped herbs and vegetables and about 4 big spoonfuls of the curry sauce. It will take some seasoning so don’t be shy with some crunchy sea salt and pepper.

Serve at room temperature along with a green salad.

THE FAT RADISH curry sauce
makes 2 ½ cups (too much sauce for the recipe but it’s amazing added to just about anything!)
 
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 green apple, peeled cored and thinly sliced
1 (2 inch) knob of ginger, peeled and minced
1 kaffir lime leaf  (or 1 lime zested and juiced)
1 ½ tbsp curry powder
2 tsp turmeric
1 can coconut milk
salt, pepper
 
Place the oil in a saucepan set over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, apple, ginger, lime leaf, curry powder and turmeric and cook until softened, about 10 mins. Add the coconut milk and simmer for another 10 mins. Remove to cool and blend till smooth and season. 

Zaalouk ~ Moroccan Aubergine salad

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I am absolutely loving my trip home, especially last week when my Mum, sister and I jetted off for Ladies on tour in Marrakech!! Wow it’s a cool city. I thought it was a bit like “The Lion the witch and the wardrobe”, your’ll be wandering along a street that smells like wee and not look like anything exciting is down it, then you go through a Riad door and boom, your suddenly in the most incredibly beautiful moroccan courtyard. It’s insane!

I’m going to put lots of photos and restaurant tips up soon so I won’t go into massive detail now. However, I will say that the food is pretty tasty. We did two nights of Moroccan feasts, and they really are feasts. You start with salads…not salads like we know, not many greens. Instead there are about 9 plates of different dips and veggies. The one I have made was my favourite, probably because I have a slight obsession with aubergines. With the plates you get a basket of flat breads and just dig in. Then after that it becomes a meat feast. Chicken tagine followed by lamb and cous cous, then sometimes even two desserts..pfff I had to walk around the block a few times before bed.

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Serves about 5-6 as a starter mezze plate
 
2 medium sized Aubergines
2 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 heaped tsp paprika
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 pinch cinnamon
sprinkle of dried chilli
5 medium tomatoes, skinned and seeds removed
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
glug extra virgin good olive oil
½ tsp pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar
small handful of fresh coriander and parsley finely chopped

Firstly cook your aubergines. Preheat your oven to 200˚C and put the whole aubergine on a baking tray covered with some foil and bake for around an hour, turning over halfway through. The flesh should be soft all the way through, you can check by poking or stick a skewer in. Once cooked take out and leave to cool

To skin the tomatoes, score a cross on them and pour boiling water over the top. After about 10-20 seconds the skin should split and then just take them out and it’s super easy to peel off the skin. Then de-seed them and chop them up into small squares.

Add the olive oil to a medium sized saucepan and gently fry the sliced garlic until almost golden. Then add the spices for a minute giving them a good stir then add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes down for about 20 minutes until they fall apart and become a yummy thick sauce. Season the sauce and put aside.

Grab your aubergines and cut them in half lengthways and spoon out the flesh from the skin into the tomato sauce. Using a spoon poke the aubergine around a bit so it breaks up.

Stir in the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, herbs and seasoning, with a glug of good olive oil. Give it a taste and adjust the amount of lemon, herbs etc to your taste.

Serve up with some moroccan flat breads or sourdough with a mezze plate…I served it with some manchego cheese which was darn tasty.

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Behind the scenes shooting in my Mum’s greenhouse