Simone’s Plant Based Kitchen is popping up cafe style at the Wellness Fair in Inglewood on 15th June. It’ll be in the Town Hall, 34 Cutfield Street.

I am committed to reducing my own waste so I’m excited to announce that it will be a rubbish free event. Where possible please bring your own food container. If you can’t or you forget, I will have home compostable serve ware, which I will take home with me to compost. There won’t be any rubbish bins provided, so please take your general rubbish home.

Drop in for some delicious food to eat in or take away.
I’ll have a few favourites for you; vegan sausage rolls, chocolate truffles and chick pea smash wraps plus gluten free options and a hot option!

Eftpos available

Available for pre-order by 12th June and pick up on the day:
* Platter box for 1 – Sunflower cheese, herby pesto, crackers & veggies $25
* 5 seed bread – $13
* Kumera & Chick Pea Curry with brown rice for 1 $15
* Lasagne – for 1 $15

Email me to pre-order: simonesplantbasedkitchen@gmail.com

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.

Recipe:

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)

Method:

  • 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!

Tips:

  • 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

Our Journey

Hi and welcome! I thought I’d better introduce myself and my family.
I’m Simone and I’m married to Stephen. I’m originally from UK and my husband is from NZ. I’m a qualified Social Worker and trained in UK. I met Stephen in Birmingham in 2004 and we moved to NZ back in 2009 after we had our 1st son in 2006. We then went on to have 2 more children, another boy in 2015 and a daughter in 2017. Yes the last two are close together; 18 months apart in fact! We now live in beautiful New Plymouth, Taranaki. I am fortunate that I am able to stay at home with our children.
We’ve been eating plant-based food for a month now and we’re loving it. Well, the children and I are loving it. My husband misses meat and does eat it when he’s at work. I’m sure he sneaks in a pie once a week. He also still has milk in his coffee and for his weetbix (it is like cardboard!) He can’t stand almond milk, and that’s ok. I’m working on alternatives for him to try; this is a learning curve for all of us after all. Although Stephen isn’t 100% plant-based yet, he does eat all the meals I cook at home and he’s supportive of the change.
We changed to this way of eating for a number of reasons. One is for our health, the second is for the environment and third is the animals. I have a condition called Sarcoidosis and I recently had to have tests as I found a lump in my breast. Turns out the Sarcoidosis has spread throughout my body in my lymph nodes. It’s an auto immune disorder which causes inflammation. After doing lots of research about my condition and finding out that there is no cure; I concluded that I needed to change my and my family’s’ diet and lifestyle.
Now I come from an African background where meat, starch and vegetables are the normal diet. I’ve eaten meat, dairy and animal products all my life, but I’ve known for a long time now that they aren’t that great for our health. I needed a reason to change my diet and my condition was it.  A good friend of mine had embarked on a similar journey, so she suggested some documentaries to watch to get me started. I have to say, these documentaries have changed my life! If you’d like to watch any, they are: What the Health, Forks over Knives, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and Cowspiracy.
What is the WFPB (whole foods plant-based) diet? Well if the food has a mum and dad don’t eat it! I love that phrase from Forks over knives. Whole foods are foods which haven’t been processed; the whole apple, the bean or grain. Plant based means food which comes from plants and not animals, so no meat, dairy, honey or eggs. Eating WFPB also avoids oils and refined sugars. I love the Forks over knives webpage as it explains it so much more eloquently!
So here on my blog I’ll be sharing our journey, how to start eating a whole foods plant-based diet, recipes, information, places to shop, places to eat, our daily struggles, meal planning, ideas for the kids, lunchbox fillers and anything else fun!
Whether you’re thinking about changing to this way of eating, converted already, want to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet or you just want more information come and join me.

Yesterday I felt like some chocolate and reached for my favourite; Whittakers Dark Chocolate block. Readi

ng the ingredients, it got me thinking about where companies source their ingredients and whether they are concerned about child slavery.

I did some research and came across the Food Empowerment Project. They have created an app listing chocolate makers who source their ingredients ethically. It was great to see a few NZ companies listed; Loving Earth & The Wellington Chocolate Factory. Safe to say I’ll changing brands!

Take a look at this app:

Chocolate List

All hail Buckwheat!

Buckwheat, also known as Kasha is a seed and in no way related to wheat. The seeds come from a plant in the rhubarb family 👏

Buckwheat really packs a nutritional punch. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals like magnesium and potassium and the bio availability of zinc and copper is higher than other cereal grains. 1/2 cup of Buckwheat contains 17g of carbohydrate, 0.6g of fat and 2.27g of fiber and 11.5g of protein!

It’s a popular substitute for wheat for those who are gluten-intolerant or coeliac; it’s pretty cheap and very easy to cook! Choose organic Buckwheat were possible and always soak it before using it. Soaking breaks down phytic acid, making the ‘grain’ more digestible. Plus it cuts the cooking time by half!

If you love porridge, but can’t have oats try using buckwheat instead. If you love bread but can’t eat wheat, I make delicious buckwheat bread you can order any time! You can also use it in salads, warm or cold; sprout it and make crackers; mill it into flour and make pancakes, wraps or muffins…the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

To get you started, here’s my recipe for buckwheat porridge:

Serves 4:

* Soak 1 1/2 cups of buckwheat with 6 cups of water covering the seeds, overnight in the fridge
* The next day rinse the buckwheat well with fresh water. It will be a bit gloopy, but that’s normal so rinse well
* Add the buckwheat to a saucepan with 4 cups of almond milk or any other plant milk, 2 tbsp pure maple syrup/rice syrup
* Bring it to the boil, then turn down the heat and cover with the lid. Cook the buckwheat for 15-20 minutes, until the seeds are cooked but still firm
* Serve with fresh fruit and big dollop of organic peanut butter

Enjoy 😋

This week I was excited to be interviewed by Taranaki Community News. It’s great to be featured by a local news outlet who’s focus is on community issues, local projects and businesses.

I love that mainstream news outlets are starting to report positive stories about the plant based lifestyle. The more we talk about it, the less extreme it becomes.

It’s very humbling to be asked to share my story; I hope you enjoy reading it.

Here’s the link:

https://taranakicommunitynews.com/2019/03/08/cooking-with-plants/

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!

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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!

Simone’s Plant Based Cooking Classes are your gateway to creating and eating vibrant, mostly organic and healthy vegan food.

I believe that food should serve your body and mind well. The plant based lifestyle is a way of fueling yourself that is enjoyable, simple and sustainable.

This 3 hour transition class will give you the information, tools, motivation and recipes to start your own journey into discovering plant based foods.

The topics we’ll cover are:

* The science

* What is a plant based diet?

* Discover your why & motivations

* What to eat?

* How to start

* How to include your family

* Recipes

* Shopping lists

* Goal setting & planning
The cost of the workshop is $100 per person and includes:

* A work book with all the information you need, including motivational tips, resources and useful websites.

* My ebook of family friendly recipes (worth $25)

* Nibbles & light dinner
Numbers are limited to 10, so book early as places will fill up fast. Come alone or bring a friend, but you’ll leave with a new community of friendship and support.

It will be held at @the open space in New Plymouth 3pm – 6pm.

Email or call me to book your space.

Christmas is just around the corner. If you love chocolate as much as we do, then you’ll love this Christmas themed treat. I serve it with a platter of other goodies but you can serve it alone. I’ll also be giving away little bags as presents for my kids’ teachers. If you can resist eating it, you could wrap the pieces up for your tree decorations. 

I use 90% cocoa dark chocolate drops as its not too sweet, but you can use whatever you like. The cranberries add a chewy sweetness and the raspberry powder gives a sharp, sweet pop which you’ll love.

This recipe makes enough to line a 9 by 9 inch square pan. It comes out quite thin, so if you want thick chunks, simply double or triple the amount of chocolate you use! 

Ingredients:

1 cup dark chocolate drops 

2 tbsp almond milk

1/4 cup cranberries 

1/8 cup pistachios, crushed 

1 tsp Fresh As Raspberry powder 

Method:

Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, with a bigger bowl on top 

Line your rectangular tray 

Add the chocolate and milk to the bowl and stir occasionally until melted. If the chocolate is too thick, add a little more milk

Once melted, pour the chocolate into your lined pan. Sprinkle over the cranberries, pistachios, then the raspberry powder 

Place the tin into the freezer for 20 mins until the chocolate is solid again

Once solid, remove the paper from the tin and roughly chop the slab into pieces

The slab will keep in an air tight container for a few weeks, but it won’t last that long! 

Blueberry & apple chia jam

Jam on toast, jam sandwiches, peanut butter and jam on crumpets……oh the childhood memories!

My kids love jam too, so I wanted to make sure they could still have it when we changed our diet.

This isn’t the traditional jam you’re used to. It’s not loaded with sugar and the chia seeds provide fibre, omega 3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants and calcium. That’s a whole lot of goodness for very little effort and huge taste benefits!

We love it on spelt & almond scones, pancakes and porridge. You can use any fruit you like, but I like to use frozen berries as a base because they’re available all year round.

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen blueberries

¼ cup chia seeds

1 grated apple, skin on

2 tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)

Method:

Cook the blueberries and apple with the pure maple syrup until soft

Add to a blender and pulse until smooth

Transfer to a jar and mix through the chia seeds

Allow to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes hour before using

The jam will keep in the fridge for a week. Keep in mind that it doesn’t contain sugar to preserve it, so it won’t keep for more than a week.

Sub the pure maple syrup for any other liquid sweetener you like.

Sub the blueberries for any frozen fruit you like.

If using fresh fruit, be sure to cook it until soft with a little water before blending.

Feel free to blend the chia seeds with the fruit for a smoother consistency.

Enjoy!

Tofu; you either love it or hate it! We love it, but it hasn’t always been that way. We first tried it in an Asian style soup and it was simply cubed and dropped into the broth for a few minutes before it was served. It really didn’t taste of anything, and the texture was rubbery.  We’ve tried semi firm tofu cooked like scrambled egg. It’s broken up in the pan while cooking and you add flavour and turmeric for colour. We don’t like it like this either; it feels too much like egg in my mouth.

I came across this method while researching other ways to cook it. A recipe I saw dried the tofu in the oven on a low heat for a few minutes before frying it. The author was cheating, so as not to have to press the water out of the tofu for hours! So I thought, why not just bake it in the oven without oil.

Tofu is bland! It doesn’t taste of the soy beans it’s made from; it doesn’t taste like anything so you have to season or marinate it, so it takes on flavour. I use various methods of marinating depending on what I’m using the tofu for. This recipe makes the tofu nice and crispy, perfect for stir fry’s, wraps, summer rolls and burgers.  Tofu is very high in protein and it an excellent meat substitute.

I only use 1 packet of tofu in this recipe and it serves all 5 of us. Most recipes call for pressing the water out of the tofu block for at least an hour. This is because it has a high water content and most recipes deep or shallow fry it in oil. I don’t bother with that (who’s got that sort of time?!) Besides, we need a little water left in the tofu to dry out in the oven, making it crispy.

The picture along with this recipe shows the tofu on top of stir fried rice noodles and veggies. We don’t mix it into the noodles as it will go soggy and we don’t want that.

I use the Tonzu brand as it’s organic and made in NZ. You can find out all about this brand here: http://www.tonzu.co.nz/products/organic-tofu/

I prefer the Braggs brand of nutritional yeast, but you can use whatever you like. If you don’t like nutritional yeast, you can sub it for any other seasoning flakes. Onion flakes are a nice substitute. I wouldn’t use powder, as it will clump when it comes into contact with the tofu and the water. You can also change the All Purpose seasoning to suit your preference. This substitute can be a powder, it will sit on top of the previous seasoning layer.

Ingredients: 

1 pack Tonzu tofu (or any other brand of firm tofu)

5 tbsp Braggs Nutritional Yeast

1 tbsp Masterfoods All Purpose Seasoning

Optional:

Chilli flakes

Onion powder

Celery Salt

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 200º Celsius

Drain the tofu block, being careful not to break it

Place a clean, dry tea towel on a chopping board

Put the tofu block onto the centre of the towel and cover with another clean, dry folded tea towel

Place something heavy on top of the tofu. I use 3 or 4 cook books. Leave it for 10 minutes

Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat*

Pour the nutritional yeast into a shallow bowl or plate

Remove the tofu and place it on a dry chopping board, or turn over the one you already used

With a sharp, straight bladed knife slice the tofu width ways, into 1cm thick slices and cut each slice in half

Using your hand, carefully coat the slices in the nutritional yeast, ensuring they are evenly coated. Place them onto the baking tray leaving a small gap

Once all the slices are coated and on the tray, sprinkle them with the All Purpose seasoning. They don’t need to be completely covered

Cook for 20-25 minutes until the edges are brown and the slices are crispy. There is no need to turn them over during cooking

Remove from the oven and try not to eat them all before you serve them with the rest of your meal!

*If you use a silicone mat, you will need to turn the slices over after 20 minutes to get both sides crispy.

Enjoy x

 

20180213_165631.jpg
Tofu cut into strips for wraps

 

 

%d bloggers like this: