Category Archives: raw

Recipe: Crisp Vegetable Salad for Spring

I haven’t been doing much cooking recently, or at least, not much that is creative, but this little salad has been a nice change from the usual lettuce-cucumber-tomato-capsicum deal, and is a nice, fresh, crisp-tasting side-dish for spring.

Today’s version is brought to you by my friend A, who gave me a bag of baby carrots – really carrot thinnings, so even cuter – mint and other goodies from her garden when we went to pick her up for a freecycling trip.  The amounts are vague, because I am vague too, but the combination of small, sweet, crisp carrot with spicy radish, fragrant mint and aniseedy fennel is very tasty, and very easy to bring together on a plate.  You can use any light tasting vinegar – cider or white wine vinegar would work – but strawberry vinegar seemed to fit with the spring-like theme of this salad.

This recipe serves two as a side dish.

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Embarrassingly Belated Pasta Please Roundup Post

I am so, so sorry.  No sooner had Politics Madness come to an end than I found myself plunged into Singing Madness – because of course December is singing season for church musicians like myself.  My best friend visited last weekend and commented on the fact that I was out singing on all three nights – and I had to tell her that this was actually a fairly relaxing weekend compared to the last two, on which I had also been out singing completely different things during the day as well…

We had a small but delicious collection of posts this month, no doubt due to a combination of being intimidated by home-made pasta, and, let’s be frank, my negligence in promoting this challenge properly.  Jacqueline, you have my apologies and I will plan better next time, if you ever let me host again!

As it happens, all three recipes this month are gluten free, dairy free, nut-free, and vegetarian, and two of them are vegan.  An impressive effort!

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Recipe: Cucumber Noodles with Gazpacho Sauce and Guacamole

I am the worst hostess ever for Pasta Please. No sooner do I set the Make Your Own Pasta challenge, but I acquire a Herman starter and become obsessed with him, and then disappear into my politics blog for a round of intensive pre-election blog-writing, pausing only to run out and sing in what feels like every church in Melbourne.  It’s a shocker.

But I am not a total failure, because here I am, a day before the end of the challenge, and I have made pasta! Or a kind of pasta anyway.  What with not being in my kitchen long enough to cook much of anything for the last couple of weeks, getting out the pasta machine was never going to be an option.  But my vegetable spiraliser is another story, and I had this random idea one one of the hot days recently about cucumber noodles, which would surely be an incredibly cooling thing to eat.  But what do you put with cucumber?  Well, I’m fairly sure cucumber gets used in Gazpacho, which is also lovely and cooling… at least until the lid falls off your bottle of hot sauce at the crucial moment and you accidentally add a tablespoon rather than a teaspoon.  My face is still tingling hours later…

Anyway, cucumber noodles with Gazpacho sauce it was, and very cooling and delicious it was too.  Alas, the weather was also quite cold, and not so auspicious for my purposes, so I’m calling this a trial run for the summer.  This is more of a light meal than a main, by the way – sort of a fancy salad, really.  But it’s very fast to make, and would be a beautiful starter for a long summer meal.
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Your Shopping List

3 roasted capsicums (from a jar is fine, you’re adding vinegar anyway)
6 roma tomatoes + 1 for the guacamole
2 tsp red wine vinegar (see?)
1 tsp hot sauce, or to taste, or however much you drop into the blender by accident
3 celery sticks
1 red onion
a handful of coriander, plus another handful for the guacamole
2 small avocados
1 clove garlic
1 tsp guacamole spice mix (sorry, I’m lazy today)
juice of 1 lime
6 lebanese cucumbers Continue reading

Recipe: Arden Forest Salad

For too long has my Complete Works of Shakespeare languished, lonely and unloved, waiting in vain for our next reading to occur!  I do love our Shakespeare feasts, but they are quite fiendishly difficult to organise – as soon as I think I have a full cast, someone gets sick, or remembers a prior commitment, or moves overseas or interstate, and then everything has to be rearranged.

And then, of course, there is the cooking.  For reasons that even I do not entirely understand, I feel compelled not merely to drastically overcater, but to do so in a way that fits the theme or story of the play.  Which means sitting down with book in one hand and notepad in the other writing things like ‘fool.  Passionfruit?  Lots of hearts.  Venison!  Disguise. Pancakes, pancakes, pancakes’, and then trying to come up with a collection of recipes that both cover the most important keywords while actually producing a fairly balanced meal that covers this week’s collection of dietary restrictions…

This sounds like a big complaint, which it really isn’t – but it serves to explain why I have to be feeling pretty bold to plan one of these feasts, and why by the end of them, I feel both great satisfaction and as though I’ve been hit by a train.

Anyway.  Today’s play was As You Like It, which is one of Shakespeare’s comedies, clearly written at a point in his life when he had a lot of good musicians in his Company, because everyone sings, all the time.  He hasn’t quite written a musical, but you can see that he was seriously considering it.  As You Like It is notable for pretty much the entire cast running off to live, like Robin Hood, in the greenwood.  Half the characters start off in exile in the wood, more characters join them there as the play progresses, and at the very end, when everyone is set to return from exile, the villain of the piece puts himself into self-imposed exile – you guessed it, in the woods.

Clearly, the woods needed to be represented here, so I decided to create a salad forest, suitable for exile with random singing.  This is my excuse for making it quite so mildly psychedelic – I imagine most forests are not amply endowed with magenta rocks, but mine is.  This is, of course, a composed salad, and your dressing is essentially the layer that everything is standing on, so when serving, make sure you get a good scoop of the yoghurt layer and the nutty gravel to go with your vegetables.  It really is astonishingly delicious.

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Your Shopping List

300 g Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp tahini (unhulled is nice!)
100 g pistachios
100 g  slivered almonds
125 roasted chickpeas (sometimes called chick-nuts)65 g dried cranberries
6 small oranges (blood oranges or even mandarins would work – that’s about the size you are after.)
12 stems of broccolini
8 little bocconcini (ovalini are good)
4-6 spears of sage flowers or rosemary in bloom
8 small radishes in mixed colours
5 sprigs of thyme
a handful of dill
3-5 sprigs of mint
80 g fresh blueberries Continue reading

Recipe: Rose-Scented Sugar

And what is this?  A genuine post from Germanz, that’s what.  On a genuine German keyboard, too, which is tripping me up every time I try to punctuate anything or use a Y or a Z.  This may need to be a post without either of those letters…

I will, of course, post extensively (almost certainly far too extensively) about my travels when I get home, but suffice it to say that it has all been wonderful so far, and I have neither fallen into a glacier, nor been eaten by a wolf, nor even shipwrecked by the Lorelei.  And yes, I had opportunities to do all of these things.  I didn’t even break my leg in Darwin, which seemed like a near-certainty, and while Paris was full of tourists, the actual French people I met there were all extremely nice and helpful.

In fact, here I am, in a boat on the Rhine river, not being drowned by the Lorelei.  Though I do admit to singing the Lorelei song often enough that my fellow passengers may have wanted to drown me instead… (I was singing under my breath.  Mostly.)

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So much for the stereotypes.  Now let’s get on with the sugar!

You may be asking yourself why I am making rose-scented sugar.  It’s a fair question.  You see, as we were eating dinner last night, the rose sitting in a vase on the table abruptly dropped half its petals into a bowl.  And the petals smelled so amazing  – these are real, old roses from the garden of Anna’s mother and their scent is rich and heady and intoxicating – that I had to think of something to do with them.  So I decided to see if I could make a perfumed sugar.

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It turns out that I can.  It’s hardly a recipe, but it really is a lovely thing to sprinkle on raspberries, or on a plain cake, or even on rye bread – so it’s definitely worth recording here.

Your Shopping List

Petals from the last rose of summer (left blooming alone, or not, as the case may be).  Make sure it is a rose that actually smells of something, though.
Caster sugar.  Nope, I can’t tell you how much.  Enough to cover it.

Now what will you do with it?

Put the petals in a bowl, unless they fell there of their own accord.

Cover with sugar.

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Massage the petals and sugar together well with your fingers for several minutes, to help release the rose oil into the sugar.  The sugar will go slightly pink and the rose petals will break up.  Also, your fingers will smell of roses, which is a definite bonus.

Cover and leave overnight, or for a few days, before eating.

Enjoy.  I suspect that you might want to seive out the roses after a few days, though the sugar may well preserve them.

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Variations

I suspect this method would work with violets or lavender.  And yes, this recipe is vegan, nut-free, gluten-free, low fructose and not even a little bit low GI.  But you knew that already…

I totally love this on rye bread, but I think it would be particularly fantastic on the sort of little sugar biscuits that you roll in sugar as they come out of the oven.

Alternatively, this sugar would be lovely as a topping for raspberry muffins – raspberries and roses go supremely well together.

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And it’s so much nicer than letting those last petals fall and disappear into autumn.  Let them stay with you for just a little longer.

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This is not a glacier

Hello!  This blog post is a message from the past – a time-travelling blog post, if you will.  As you read this post, if all is going according to plan, I will be on a train on my way to Folgefonna Glacier in Norway.  Or possibly already on the glacier.  The aim is to go hiking, ideally without breaking my neck.  Since I am a total klutz, and glaciers are slippery, there is no guarantee that I will succeed.  Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Anyway, to celebrate my close encounter of the cold kind, I thought I would launch a new page for my blog today.  Welcome to my Raw Food page!

(See what I did there?  Cold food to go with my cold journey…)

As you will see, it’s not the longest page on this blog, but I hope to give it more fodder soon, so that it can be a go-to page for food that doesn’t require switching on the stove or the oven.  Which, given that I am writing this in a middle of a Melbourne winter and will be posting this while I am on (or possibly under, but let’s hope not) a glacier, is possibly a little ironic.  Like rain on your wedding day, only with actual irony.

I hope you are all well, and I will try to post some photos of my travels soon.

Recipe: Lisa’s Low Fructose Gingerbread Bliss Balls

I’m procrastinating from packing.  I don’t know why I’m so scared of packing, but I totally am, which means that instead of packing I have resorted to things like cleaning the bathroom, baking cakes (so that Andrew still feels loved while I’m away), and now, finally fulfilling a promise from months and months ago to create some bliss balls for a friend of mine who is now having to avoid fructose.  Sorry about the wait, Lisa.

It’s actually a bit difficult to make bliss balls (or raw truffles, as I tend to call them) without fructose, because pretty much all the recipes use dates or other dried fruits to hold the balls together and make them sweet.  Fortunately, I have a chocolate truffle recipe that doesn’t involve fruit – until I put freeze-dried raspberries into it, of course – and so I was able to modify this into a slightly healthier, less rich snack that will hopefully fit the bill.

I rather like the treacly darkness of these truffles, but I admit, my first batch was a bit low in the spice department.  I suspect they will get a bit spicier if you leave them to mature for a few days as the raw ginger permeates the mixture, but I, personally, would definitely add more ginger to begin with – and in fact, the recipe below reflects the amount of ginger that *I* think these bliss balls need…

Enjoy!

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1/2 cup rolled oats
60 g fresh ginger
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup melted cocoa butter
1/4 cup treacle
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
a pinch of nutmeg

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Recipe: Raw Zucchini Spaghetti with Sicilian Nut-Meat Balls

Oh, God, it’s hot.  It’s hot, it’s hot, it’s hot.  I hate this weather.  I had this enticing introduction all planned to tell you about how I came up with this recipe and why I think it is just too unutterably clever for words and why you should make it right now but my brain has melted in the heat, and basically all I want to do right now is sit in front of the air-conditioner and eat ice-cream.  I just went to the supermarket to get groceries for tomorrow, and I nearly curled up in a corner and built a little house there, because it was so blessedly, wonderfully *cool* and even if it isn’t full of books, at least it’s cold enough that I can breathe.

Anyway.  This is a slightly fiddly, but entirely worth it, raw pasta dish.  It doesn’t involve turning on the stove, and it’s actually even nicer if all the components are kept in the fridge until you are just about to combine them.  The tomato sauce is fresh and light and sweet and the nut-meat balls are rich and full of flavour with sudden bites of caper or currants to keep them interesting.  Also, it looks really cool.

And that’s all I’ve got.  Sorry, I really am melting right now.

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Your shopping list

6 tomatoes
a handful of basil, or a squeeze of basil from a tube
1 fresh date
salt, pepper
125 g sun dried tomatoes
80 g pistachios
40 g almonds
80 g walnuts
80 g cashews
15 g dried mushrooms or 100 g fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup water (optional)
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
15 g capers
30 g currants
30 g pine nuts
3-4 small zucchini or two ginormous ones

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Recipe: Raw Zucchini Pasta with Mushroom and Nut Pesto

Have you ever created a recipe and had it go really well and then sat down at the table and realised how you could have made it ten times more awesome?  Well, you’re going to have to wait until next week for the super awesome version, because I’m not eating zucchini pasta every day, but the really good recipe which is suddenly not quite as exciting as it was follows.

And, actually, it’s still pretty exciting.  For one thing, it uses a vegetable spiraliser, which is hands-down the coolest kitchen implement known to humankind. For another, it takes about five minutes to assemble.  For a third thing, it tastes awesome.  And for the fourth thing, did I mention that it uses a vegetable spiraliser?  Because that is so much fun that it needs to be mentioned at least twice…

This is a good raw recipe for days when it is too hot to cook and you don’t want to spend hours thinking about dinner.  Put the nuts on to soak when you get home, and when you can face a few minutes of chopping and spiralising, start dinner.  It will be ready ten minutes later.

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Your shopping list

80g sun dried tomatoes
80 g almonds
80 g pistachios
60 g shitaake mushrooms (prepared weight – you probably need about 80 g to start with)
1/2 red capsicum
1/2 tsp chilli
1 clove garlic
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tbsp basil puree
1/2 cup water
juice of 1/2 a lemon
6 zucchini
salt

Now what will you do with it?

Soak the sun dried tomatoes and nuts in cold water for at least half an hour.  This is the longest part of the recipe!soaked

While the tomatoes and nuts are soaking, peel and de-stem the mushrooms, roughly chop the capsicum and one zucchini (? zucchino?), and peel the garlic.

Spiralise the remaining five zucchini.  Revel in doing so.  How cute do those long zucchini spirals look?  Very cute indeed, that’s how cute.

Now put the nuts and sun dried tomatoes in your food processor, and pile and pour all the other ingredients over the top.  Process until you get a reasonably soft paste.

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Put the zucchini spirals in a large salad bowl, and add the paste / sauce.  Use your hands to combine them  – nothing else will really work, I’m afraid.

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Serve!  This makes enough for 3-4 hungry people.

Variations

This meal is, as you will have noticed, vegan, gluten-free and low GI.  It is not low in fructose & friends, due to the presence of mushroom.  It is also not even a little bit nut-free.

I’m not really sure what to suggest by way of variations.  I mean, you are all smart enough to realise that one nut can be swapped for another according to taste, and herbs likewise.  If you weren’t worried about being 100% raw, you could add cooled roasted or marinated eggplant or capsicums to the sauce, which would be lovely.  You could also thin out the sauce with more water or lemon juice or oil, but go a bit easy on this, because you don’t want to dilute the flavour.

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I am submitting this recipe to my own “I am Vegetarian, Hear Me Raw” challenge for January – I invite you to join me in raw vegetarian bliss this summer!  I’m also submitting it to Raw Foods Thursdays, hosted by Gluten Free Cat, so if you’re excited about raw food, I encourage you to take a peek at what she has happening on her page!

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One Year Ago: Recipe: Tuna Salad

Recipe: Tangy Apricot Energy Balls with Blueberry, Lime and Sunflower Seeds

1ballsI’ve been having a chocolate week.  One of those weeks where the only thing – absolutely and utterly the only thing – keeping me going has been chocolate and sweets.  Not even good, dark chocolate either – just the sort of chocolate that is 100% about the sugar and not about anything else…

Now that I’ve hit a weekend, it’s clearly time to try to claw my way back from the brink, and the first step is filling the house with food that will give me energy but isn’t absolutely full of things that are terrible for me.  In other words – it’s time for more raw truffles, though these ones are more closely related to the average muesli bar than to anything rich and chocolatey.  Which might be a mistake, come to think of it, but never mind that. 

Anyway, these little snacks contain a whole alphabet of vitamins from the fruit, not to mention all sorts of proteins and minerals and omega 6 fats (to make your brain happy!) from the sunflower seeds, and a bit of low-GI carbohydrate from the oats.  They are positively *offensive* in their healthiness, but they are so tangy that I don’t mind.  Mmm, tangy…

Your shopping list

80 g sunflower seeds
20 g rolled oats
20 g coconut sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
20 g freeze-dried blueberries
150 g dried apricots
3 dates
20 g coconut oil
juice and zest of 1/2 a lime

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