Sweet Mung Bean Soup

This versatile dish is the prefect antidote to all the over-indulgences of the silly season. Tried and tested, this recipe was given to me by my gorgeous father-in-law who has been making this hydrating and nutritious sweet dessert-soup (known in Cantonese as lucdousa) for more than 30 years.

Traditionally the Chinese enjoy this soup after a meal, or between courses but you’ll find my in-laws, myself and our toddler sons tucking into a big bowl for breakfast or for a late lunch. Full of fibre, folate, protein, calcium, iron and vitamin C (which as we know improves iron absorption). It makes plenty, which is just as well, because you’ll be going back for more, especially after a big workout, or day at the beach.

Lucdousa_ingredients
Lucdousa1

What you’ll need: (you’ll find eveything you need at any good Asian grocer)
2 cups of whole dried mung beans (Hepai)
1 cup of black-eyed beans
3-4 ltrs of water
1/4 cup which equates to roughly 10 tapioca sticks or flakes broken into one-inch pieces also known as (Bot Khoai Dai)

Tapioca_2

1/4 cup of tapioca pearls
1 and a half to two cups of organic raw sugar (start with less, you can always add more)
1/4 cup of shredded seaweed (Hoitai) 

Utensils:
Large pot
Small and large colander
Measuring cups
1 litre measuring jug
Wooden spoon

How to prepare:
Put mung bean and black-eyed beans into a large pot, cover with water and soak for 1 hour

Break up tapioca sticks into one-inch pieces and soak for 1 hour

Drain pot of beans and refill with 3 litres (you may use the 4th litre later) of fresh water.  Bring beans to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer cooking them for 30-mins or until soft

Meanwhile thoroughly wash and untangle seaweed in a small pot, to remove any possible sand (don’t soak the seaweed as you will loose the nutritional content) then drain in a small colander and set aside

When beans are al-dente add pre-soaked tapioca sticks

When beans are soft quickly rinse and drain tapioca pearls using your small colander

Then add them, your prewashed seaweed and the sugar stirring all three into the beans. Turn off the heat, then cover for 10 mins then eat

You’ll know you got this dish spot on if the tapioca pearls are transparent, if the soup is sweet and if there is ample liquid.  If this is not the case, just add another litre of water, a little more sugar and allow dish to sit for another 10 minutes

Once you have mastered this dish, you can adjust the amount of beans, tapioca or sugar content to your preferred taste.  You may also like to cut your shredded seaweed down a bit (into smaller pieces), that’s the way I like it

This dish can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days

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

The Most Popular Recipes of 2013

Happy new year kind friends! I am super excited to begin this year with over 3000 readers and for those of you who love social media, my kind kitchen is now ready to follow on Instagram @mykindkitchenselfies

There is plenty install for 2014 and I can’t wait to share it with you. Especially my upcoming series of posts featuring substantial mains for mid-week dinners and dinner parties alike. But before we kick off 2014, here is a quick look back at twenty-thirteen’s most popular recipes. Thank you for your support and inspiration. Jules x

Just click on the name of the dish above each photo to take you straight to the recipe…

Grand granola
granola_feature_2-scaled1000

Cauliflower and butter bean soup
Cauliflower and butter bean soup

Mini tacos
corn chip tacos

Fruit shack smoothie
Smoothie in cool jar

Nut and date truffles
Nut and date truffles

Chilli non carne
Chillie Non Carne

Goji berry and red date tea
Goji and date tea

Killer salad sandwich
Sandwich 3

Best-ever body scrub
scrub_1-scaled1000

Busy burritos
Burritos

Warm, rustic chickpea and green bean salad
Rustic chickpea salad

A very berry Christmas pie

If you love a tart, berry pie this recipe is just for you.  Either served warm right out of the oven, or baked the day before and served cold. One thing is for sure, you won’t be the only one wanting the last piece.

What you’ll need: (serves 6-8)
4-5 ripe, or very ripe pears, washed and sliced into quarters, then each quarter sliced into thirds
½ cup of frozen (then thawed) or fresh raspberries
I tablespoon of corn flour
2 sheets of Borg’s vegan puff pastry
Soy, rice or almond milk for glazing
Small square non-stick cake tin. If your tin is not non-stick it will need to be greased to prevent the pie catching

How to prepare:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees and prepare the middle tray
Separate pastry sheets by inserting a knife between the sheet and film and slide from side to side to separate
Thaw required sheets for 10 minutes
Place cut and thawed fruit into a bowl, add corn flour and gently fold in
Place first sheet of puff pastry into square cake tin
Place fruit on top of the pastry, creating a slightly raised peak in the middle
Place the second sheet of pastry on top and tuck in the sides
Glaze with plant-based milk
Using a small knife create a hole in the middle of the pie, where the ‘peak’ exists
Place in the middle of your oven
Cook for 45 minutes or until golden brown
Allow to rest, before cutting
Pair with fresh cherries, coconut ice-cream or coconut yoghurt or just on its own

Vegan gravy and roasted veggies

Gravy is one thing I do miss. So having it as part of this year’s cruelty free Christmas is pretty exciting. I’m really looking forward to your photographs and feedback. Enjoy!

What you’ll need:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/2 cup arrowroot (I used Bob’s Red Mill, which I found at a specialty green grocer)
4 teaspoons of savoury yeast flakes
1/4 cup salt reduced soy sauce
2 cups organic vegetable broth
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Image

Helpful hints:
There is no need to add salt because the savoury yeast flakes have quite a salty flavour already
I also found I needed to use salt-reduced soy sauce because of this
If you can’t find arrowroot you could use corn flour. Arrowroot is preferable because it has no residual flavour and is a better thickener
If you’d like to make a mushroom gravy, simply take 150grams of button. Wash, slice and sauté them. Then add to the gravy before bringing to the boil
Taste, taste and taste to adjust seasoning

How to prepare:
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat
Add onion and garlic
Cook, stirring frequently for 3 to 5 minutes
Add arrowroot, yeast flakes and soy sauce; mix well to form a smooth paste
Slowly add broth, whisking constantly to blend. Season with pepper
Add sautéed mushrooms now, if making a mushroom gravy
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, gently simmer, stirring frequently for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened

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

Warm, rustic chickpea and green bean salad

I am so excited I can hardly sit still to type. Following my cauliflower and butter bean soup post I had a tonne of mail requesting more Christmas day menu ideas. So, over the next few days I will have a complete cruelty free Christmas day menu, ready for you to road test this festive season. To get things rolling, this sublimely fresh and rather substantial warm chickpea salad is the perfect accompaniment to the nut roast, which will be this year’s ‘main event’ at our place. Stay tuned…

Rustic chickpea salad

What you’ll need: (serves 4)
300g of green beans, topped and tailed, then halved
10 grape or cherry tomatoes washed, then halved
Olive oil
1 x garlic clove, peeled then sliced
1 x 400g can of organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 x lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of coarsely cut fresh mint
2 tablespoons of coarsely cut fresh basil

How to prepare:
Zest lemon into a bowl. Cut lemon and juice into the same bowl trying to avoid any pips, set aside
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a simmer, then add beans
Cook beans for three minutes. Drain and set aside
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan, over medium heat and cook garlic for 30 seconds or until fragrant
Add drained chickpeas, stir and warm through for no more than two minutes
Stir in lemon juice and zest, then remove from heat
Add beans to a mixing bowl, then tomatoes, sea salt and pepper and herbs, then lightly toss
Add chickpeas and lightly toss again
Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy!

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

Holiday Hors d’oeuvres – part II

Taking no time to prepare, these mini vol-au-vents are a good recipe to have up your sleeve for the festive season. All the ingredients can be stored in your pantry and pulled out at the very last minute. They also make a great snack for the kids and are a bit of fun if you’re off to the moonlight cinema and are looking for some inspiration for your picnic hamper.

vol-au-vent

What you’ll need: (makes 24)
1-2 packets of ready made mini vol-au-vents. Vegan vol-au-vents aren’t always easy to find so you can use melba toasts instead
A can of creamed corn
Kale chips – I’m loving these handmade, raw, organic, Australian grown chips from Komarov foods who launched at World Vegan Day 2013
Savoury yeast flakes

How to prepare:
Heat the creamed corn in a pot on the stove, or if you are super busy, in the microwave
Set out your vol-au-vents
Spoon creamed corn into each vol-au-vent using a teaspoon
Top with crumbled kale chips and savoury yeast flakes
Serve immediately
These can also be eaten cold
If there is any creamed corn left over, it is yummy on toast with finely diced red onion, cracked pepper and some herbs

A litte about savoury yeast flakes
These flakes are loaded with B Vitamins including B1, B6, B3, B2 and B12
They are a great cheese substitute, in particular a parmesan cheese substitute
Try them on: salads, baked potatoes, in béchamel sauce and a top my famous vegetarian spaghetti bolognese
You’ll find them in any good health food store

Savoury yeast flakes

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