I was honored to provide the catering for Paula Bennett’s visit to Inglewood yesterday. If you don’t know who she is, she’s the deputy leader of the NZ National Party. They’re currently the opposition to our Labour/coalition government.
It was a wonderful experience, not least because the event was hosted in a shop/event venue called Farmsource. As you can imagine it’s a place where farmers come to buy stock, conduct training and do business. All types of farmers, but the majority are dairy and dry stock farmers. The irony was not lost on me!
There were some looks of anxiety on their faces when they saw there was no meat or dairy for their breakfast, but after the initial shock they tried the food and really enjoyed it.
The breakfast consisted of:
* Chia pots with blueberries and granola. This was made with soy milk rather than coconut milk and sweetened with rice syrup.
* Breakfast burritos with avocado, black beans, green capsicum, tomato, cajun spices and sunflower mayo
* Seedy rye Sourdough bread with apple & onion chutney and blueberry & chia seed jam
I answered lots of questions about the ingredients and the merits of a plant based diet. They were especially interested in why we use minimal oil and reduced sugar. I really enjoyed educating the group and they enjoyed listening. While I got lots of compliments and the sound of ‘mmm’s’ was echoed through the building while they were eating, I know these farmers will not choose a plant based diet. The point is that they tried something new and were surprised that they enjoyed it.
That is all I ask for.
I’m so proud to be the local plant based caterer and voice of change here in Taranaki. I know that many people have tried my food with apprehension and become lovers of plant based foods because of me and for that I am humbled and proud.
If you’d like to order catering or book me to speak at your next event, contact me for a quote. I’d love to help you.
Some say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If that’s true for you, then you want to be eating something delicious and nutritious right?! These cookies are absolutely delicious and easy to eat on the go. So many people eat on the run, which isn’t ideal, but sometimes can’t be helped.
I’ve called them breakfast cookies because I made them late at night and I forgot to prep some oats for breakfast. In the morning, my eldest asked if the cookies were what we were having and I thought, why not! Of course you an eat them at anytime of the day and they’re great in the lunchboxes.
The recipe is very adaptable, so you can add any type of nut or seeds that you have. If you don’t have nuts or seeds, just use extra oats! As usual, these cookies are oil free, dairy free and egg free. I made these cookies fairly large, but you can make them smaller to make the ingredients go further.
If you’re not used to cooking without eggs, oil and butter; the cookies won’t be like the traditional cookie you’re used to. They’re not crunchy and light, they are soft, deliciously chewy and satiating. The dates give them natural sweetness, so there’s no need for any extra sugar. If you’re introducing children to these cookies for the first time and you’re worried they won’t find them sweet enough, add half a cup of dairy free chocolate chips.
Makes 10 large cookies
1/4 cup organic nuts or seeds (I used almonds & hazelnuts)
2 cups organic dates (soaked in hot water for at least 15 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp flaxseed
1 1/2 cups jumbo oats (not quick oats)
Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray
Boil the kettle and soak your dates in a bowl
In a food processor or thermomix, blitz your nuts or seeds (not the flaxseed) until they’re small, but not ground and set aside
Add the dates to the mixing bowl along with the cinnamon and vanilla. Blend until nearly smooth. You might need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times
Add the oats and nuts/seeds to the dates. Blend until the oats are just mixed in, but still whole
With damp hands shape the mixture into tablespoon size balls and flatten slightly on the tray.
Cook on the top shelf for 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown and still soft.
Remove from the oven and cook on the tray for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before storing. Otherwise dig in!
Use any seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds in place of nuts
If not using any seeds, ad an extra 1/2 cup of oats
Add 1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips for a sweeter cookie
You can leave out the flaxseed if you don’t have it
Make the cookies extra large and top them with ice cream, fresh fruit or chia jam for an extra boost of colour and nutrients
Store the cookies in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or the freezer for up to 3 months
Potatoes are one of my favourite vegetables. They so versatile, but also very filling and contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, fibre, potassium, magnesium and folate (vitamin B9].
We love hashbrowns, especially the crunchy bits on the outside. They go with anything and you can eat them anytime!
In my quest to cook them without oil, I discovered that using my sandwich maker or grill produced a crispy result while still being fluffy inside.
Depending on how many people you’re feeding, you’ll need to either cook 2 batches or like me, use both the sandwhich maker and the George foreman grill. This recipe makes enough to feed 2 adults and 3 children. I use 2 potatoes per person, so you can adjust that number as you need to. You can also sub some potatoes for zucchini, kumera, onion and carrot.
I top ours with pan fried vegetables cooked in liquid seasoning and fresh garlic. You can add anything you like!
10 medium potatoes (any variety)
1/4 cup chopped parsley (or any fresh herbs)
2 chopped garlic cloves
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp mustard powder
Pre heat your sandwich maker and/or grill to toast or medium setting
Scrub the potatoes and grate them into a clean tea towel
Squeeze the water from the potatoes
Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix everything together, making sure the potatoes are well coated
Spread half of the mixture onto the grill, making sure it is even. Repeat with the other grill if using
Close the grill or sandwich maker ensuring the lid is flat. Cook for approximately 15 minutes (each machine is different so adjust cooking time as needed). Be careful not to lift the lid too early. If the hashbrowns haven’t crisped up enough you’ll pull it apart.
Carefully remove your hashbrowns and enjoy on its own with a dipping sauce or top with your favourite vegetables.
The best bit is that you only need to gently wipe you machine, as no oil is required!
I only started making smoothie bowls a few months ago. I would see so many elaborate and stunningly beautiful pictures of them on Instagram and think ‘I don’t have time for that’. I was so in awe of those amazing photos, I thought I’d give them a go. I spend around 10 minutes making them, with 2 toddlers and a tween telling me they’re hungry. If I can do it, you can too!
We love smoothies, but they can be a bit boring. My children love bright colours and food which looks different and fun. You can dress up a smoothie bowl with anything you have in your fridge and pantry. I use a mixture of grains, nuts, seeds and fruit. My kids love a smiley face on top of the brightly coloured base mixture. The trick to the floating face, is to make sure the smoothie is thick. You won’t be drinking it through a straw and you don’t want the toppings to sink! I like to use frozen bananas to make ‘nice cream’, which is nice and thick.
A smoothie bowl is typically topped with nuts, seeds and fruit which provide essential nutrients, vitamins and protein. Some people only use fruit and/or protein powder in the smoothie itself. That doesn’t keep my kids full for long at all. My favourite tummy filling, protein loaded things to add are:
* soaked oats
* cooked quinoa
* cooked buckwheat
* cooked kumera (sweet potato)
* Cannellini Beans
Mix it up a bit and try something different each time. I don’t use plant milk in smoothies, I only use water. This is only because almond milk is expensive. Water works just as well and if I want a creamier consistency, I use avocado.
If you or you children haven’t tired spirulina powder before, just try a little bit first and look out for a tummy upset. It isn’t recommended for children under 1 yr, so please consult a professional before giving it to your baby.
I hope you have as much fun creating these bowls as I do.
This recipe make 4 smoothie bowls. I make individual smoothies in my nutri bullet.
2 cups rolled oats, soaked overnight in 1 cup almond milk
4 tsp spirulina powder
4 heaped tsp ground flaxseed
4 tsp chia seeds
4 tsp sunflower seeds
4 tsp blueberry & apple jam
8 tsp peanut butter
1/4 cup water
Pure maple syrup, optional (I add a tsp to each smoothie to dull the taste of the spirulina powder)
In the blender add: 1/2 cup of the soaked oats, half a banana, 1 tsp of spirulina powder, 1 heaped tsp of flaxseed, 1/4 cup water
Blend until smooth
Pour into a bowl and top with your favourite toppings and enjoy!
These pancakes are so quick and easy to make, my 11 yr old can make his own in no time!
Buckwheat flour is a great alternative if you’re gluten free or if you just want something different. The flour soaks up a lot of liquid and binds really well, so there is no need to use a flax egg. They also cook much quicker than when you use regular flour. I don’t add any sweetener to the batter, but feel free to add any sweetener that works for you.
I have added grated apple to the mixture and that worked really well. You could also make them savoury, by adding peas and sweet corn.
I have frozen these pancakes and used them for lunchbox fillers. They are also great for little hands.
This recipe makes about 11 medium pancakes.
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 ripe banana
1 cup almond milk (or any other plant milk)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
Pre heat a non stick frying pan to a medium heat
Mash the banana in a large bowl
Add the vanilla essence and mix
Add the flour, baking powder and milk. Mix well
Add more milk if you want a thinner consistency
Spoon the batter into the hot pan, ensuring there is space between each one
Cook for around 2 minutes or until bubbles start forming
Flip and cook the other side until brown
Continue until you’ve used all the batter
Serve with pure maple syrup, coconut yoghurt, fruit or all 3!