Mushroom & Chestnut Martini Soup

Every time I make this soup, I ask myself ‘why don’t I make this more often?’ Chestnuts contain no cholesterol and are low in sodium and fat. They are also rich in mineral salts and an excellent source for vitamins C, B1, B2 and folates.  Guests always love how it plates up as a savoury martini. I love it more, because it screams SCREW YOU winter!

Mushroom and Chestnut Martini Soup

What you’ll need: serves 6
400g peeled chestnuts (I buy mine frozen from either the markets or good health food stores)
400g mushrooms finely sliced (I like to use organic portobellos)
1 tablespoon of EV olive oil
1 medium organic potato, peeled and diced
1 medium brown onion, peeled and diced
1 glove of garlic, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon of organic dried thyme
1 litre of vegetable stock (I use 2-3 tablespoons of my Thermomix veggie stock, diluted in a litre of filtered water)
Freshly ground pepper top taste
Sea salt to taste and fresh herbs to garnish (basil and parsley are my favs, but you could use thyme or chives too)
Tub of Butter Me Up; the first Australian-made real butter alternative. If you haven’t tried this yet, you must

How to prepare:
In a pan bring vegetable stock to a gentle simmer
In a separate deep, heavy based saucepan sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent
Add chestnuts, potato and mushrooms to sautéed onion and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes until the ingredients begin to stick to the base of your pot, then add thyme and stir through well, followed by 3/4 of your hot stock
Simmer for 25-30 minutes
Remove from heat, transfer to blender and blitz until smooth, using the remaining stock to adjust the consistency if need be, blitz again
Taste and adjust seasoning if required
Ladle into your martini glasses, top with fresh herbs, salt and or pepper and serve with fresh bread and generous lashings of vegan butter

Raw A+B+C Salad

Apple, beetroot and carrot… well, salads just don’t come any easier or fresher than this. The divine flavours of the fruit and vegetables are prefect as they are, so no dressing is needed. If you like, add a little white cabbage and this dish moonlights as a fantastic dairy free coleslaw. Either way, you are going to love this.
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What’ you’ll need: serves 4-6
3 fresh beetroots (440g) peeled and quartered
3 small carrots (100g) peeled and chopped into fours
½ a red onion, peeled and quartered
1 granny smith apple peeled, cored and quartered
¼ of a cup of fresh coriander, washed and chopped
½ cup of walnuts (optional)

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How to prepare:
Place apple, beetroot, carrot and onion into the TM bowl of your Thermomix
Chop on speed 4 for 7 seconds, then transfer salad into a serving bowl and garnish with walnuts (optional) and fresh coriander
If you don’t have a Thermomix, you can use a blender but will have to prepare the salad in batches
With no dressing this salad remains equally tasty day two. Any left overs are delicious in a toasted wrap with smashed white beans (stay tuned, that recipe is on its way).

Spinach + Banana Popeye Smoothie

spinach and banana popeye smoothie

What you’ll need: serves 2-4
3 organic bananas
2-3 big handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon of peanut butter (I’m loving Planet Organic stoneground peanut butter)
1 scoop of Sunwarrior classic raw vegan protein powder
250mls of almond milk (with no added nasties – always read the label)
250mls of coconut water (check that the brand you buy is coconut water and nothing else)
1 tray of ice cubes

How to make:
Add all the ingredients to your Thermomix bowl or blender
Blend for 1 minute going from speed 1 to 10
Serve with a reusable steel straw

Yum x

Pesto Pasta with baby spinach, kalamata olives & perino tomatoes

2014 is going to be all about delicious, family friendly main meals straight from my kind kitchen. Dishes with substance that you can serve as a weekly staple, or  ‘jazz’ up for special get togethers with friends and a good glass of wine.
pesto pasta

This dish is one of my husband’s all time favourites. A simple pesto pasta that is both substantial and bloody tasty.

If I’m having a busy week I’ll skip making my pesto from scratch and buy Roza’s dairy free pesto, the best ready-made pesto I’ve ever come across. Now available at Aunt Maggies, Thomas Dux, Leo’s Fine Food, Toscano’s and select IGA stores. You can find a full list of their Australia-wide stockists here. But when the weekend comes, I always make my fresh, home-made pesto which will last in the fridge for two weeks.

For the pesto you’ll need: serves 4-6
4 cloves of Australian garlic, peeled
100g of pine nuts
60g of smoked almonds
250g of fresh basil, washed
200g of fresh spinach leaves, washed
120g of Australian olive oil

Basil

Did you know?
Basil is rich in antioxidants, contains vitamins A, K and C, magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium. And pine nuts are a really good source of plant based iron and zinc, also containing niacin which is very good for your nervous system.

For the rest of the dish you’ll need:
1 packet of spaghetti pasta
Two handfuls of baby spinach leaves
4 tablespoons of whole kalamata olives
16 perino tomatoes, washed and halved
Savoury yeast flakes
2 fresh chillies, sliced

How to prepare pesto in a blender:
Add nuts and blitz, scrape down the sizes and blitz again until nuts are well ground
Add spinach and basil and blitz, stopping to turn the mixture with a spoon, then pulsing
Once ingredients are well mixed, begin adding olive oil slowly through lid pulsing as you go to form a smooth paste
Store in an airtight glass jar

How to prepare pesto in your Thermomix:
Place pine nuts in the bowl and grind for 3 seconds on speed 7
Add almonds and grind for 3 seconds on speed 7
Scrape down the sides
Add basil and spinach into the bowl and process until smooth (using your spatula to assist) turning dial from 1 to 6
Once smooth, reduce speed to 4 and add the olive oil in a slow stream through the lid, until your pesto is well combined
Store in an airtight glass jar

Putting this dish together:
Fill a large pot with water, add a pinch of salt and some olive oil, then bring to the boil
Cook your spaghetti as per instructions and once al dente drain
Place spaghetti back into pot
Stir through 3-4 tablespoons of pesto (I use one tablespoon per person)
Stir through tomatoes and whole olives
Finally add spinach and gently fold, so it wilts
Split ingredients evenly into serving bowls and serve with savoury yeast flakes and fresh chilli for some heat
Devour

Reuse and recycle: I love this… last night’s dairy free pesto became this morning’s smoothie jar.Roza's pesto

Nut & Spinach Christmas Roast

In the true spirit of Christmas, I have been gifted this magnificent nut roast from the Executive Chef of La Résidence d’Angkor, in Cambodia. It was presented to me on a bed of chickpeas and steamed greens with a fresh salsa verde.

With Christmas fast approaching I wanted to see the year out giving my readers the opportunity to make, present and photograph this dish from your kind kitchen. I’ve provided a modern-spin on the Chef’s creation with my warm, rustic chickpea salad and I’m working on a vegan gravy, which I will post in the next few days. The rest is up to you for interpretation. I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!

What you’ll need: (serves 4)
200g fresh spinach leaves
100g macadamia nuts
100g hazel nuts
50g walnuts
25g of unsalted cashew nuts
½ onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
200g tomatoes, blanched, peeled, chopped
25g tomato confit an alternative is sun-dried tomatoes, but given it’s Christmas home-made confit makes the dish all that more special
½ teaspoon chopped coriander
½ teaspoon chopped sage
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint
1½ teaspoon freshly chopped curly parsley
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon vegetable stock concentrate
Sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Loaf tin, grease proof paper, food processor

Nut and Spinach roast

How to prepare:
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4

Blanch the spinach in boiling water, then drain it well and squeeze out all the water. Chop the spinach finely and set aside

Put the nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but take care not to reduce them to a powder

Tip the nuts into a large mixing bowl and add the onion, carrot, fresh tomatoes, tomato confit, herbs, spinach, garlic, stock and seasoning, then mix and combine everything together well

Grease a loaf tin with olive oil and pour in the mixture. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper to fit the loaf tin, grease it and lay it over the top to stop it burning. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes until the nut roast is cooked through. Turn it out onto a plate for slicing

Cauliflower and Butter Bean Soup

I’ve called this dish cauliflower and butter bean soup, but really you could use chickpeas, or cannelloni beans. For those of my readers who are Nutritionists I’d love to know exactly what’s in cauliflower, because it is the only food I ever crave.

This dish works well no matter what the season, and I alternative between two very different garnishes to keep things interesting; coriander, roasted macadamia nuts and fresh chilli. Or activated hazelnuts, freshly grated nutmeg, and a generous lashing of cold-pressed olive oil.

Cauliflower and butter bean soup

What you’ll need:
Large cauliflower head, leaves removed and cut into florets
1 can of organic butter beans or the like
Vegetable stock – I use 1-2 tablespoons of home-made vegetable stock. Massel vegetable stock is an alternative
800g Water
2 tablespoons of organic plain flour
2 tablespoons of good olive oil
Garnishes: coriander, roasted macadamia nuts, fresh chilli, freshly grated nutmeg, activated hazelnuts
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

How to prepare in your Thermomix:
Place water and vegetable stock into Thermomix
Add cauliflower
Cook for 15 minutes at 100 degrees on speed 1
Add flour, oil and butter beans
Cook for a further 5 minutes at 100 degrees on speed 1
Allow to sit for a few minutes, then blend for 1 minute going from speed 1 to 9
Plate up, garnish and serve

How to prepare on the stove:
Place water and vegetable stock into a large heavy based pot and bring to the boil
Add cauliflower
Cook on medium-high heat for 25 minutes, with lid on
If cauliflower is soft, add butter beans and cook for 3 minutes
Transfer to blender, blitz until smooth
Return soup to pot, add flour and oil
Cook for a further 5 minutes stirring continuously
Transfer back to blender, blitz again
Plate up, garnish and serve

Fruit Shack Smoothie

We took a drive from the south of the island of Kauai to Hanalei Bay in north, where the movie the Decedents starring George Clooney was filmed. Along the way we happened across a mobile smoothie wagon. It was a sight to behold, a literal oasis with every tropical fruit you could wish for. As we drank up our fruit smoothies, I couldn’t wait to try out some of the wagon owner’s combinations for myself.

This one is our three-year-old son’s favourite. Since our return, he’s asked for the ‘fruit shack smoothie’ everyday! I’ve made it for breakfast on-the-go and even as a dessert. Guests and the kids get a real kick out of the retro bottles, jars and re-usable straws.

If you’re already a fan of my ultimate breakfast smoothie you’re going to love this one. Easy to make and packed with so much goodness, you can just feel your body hydrating with every gulp.

Smoothie in cool jar

What you’ll need: (serves 4-6)
2 bananas broken into pieces
1/2 a Papaya peeled, deseeded and diced
1 Mango peeled and diced, or just cut it in half and scoop out the flesh, then eat the pip… it’s a a little quicker
6 Strawberries
1 tray of ice cubes
1/4 cup of filtered water
Re-useable steel or glass straws available online at the raw food store
Fruit smoothie ingredients

How to prepare:
Add fruit to a powerful blender and blitz
Add ice cubes and blitz until smooth
Add water and blitz until mixed
If you have a Thermomix, I start at one and move to speed 10 for 10-15 seconds
Serve in a unusual glass or old-school jar with re-usable straws
Devour and go for more!

Ethan Hawaii Smoothie