Dahl stuffed Marrow 

I have shared a similar post before, however this time there are a few small and yet significant changes!

Homegrown tastes best and is simply better for you, I am yet to taste something homegrown that does not surpass the shop bought version in every way and this Dahl Stuffed Marrow is no exception.

The following were grown in either our garden or allotment:

  • Marrow
  • Red Hot Chilli Pepper (a small tip)
  • Garlic (3 cloves)

The following are shop bought:

  • Can of chopped tomatoes 
  • Fresh turmeric root (1 inch)
  • Fresh ginger root (1 inch)
  • Dahl lentils (1 cup)
  • Mushrooms (as many as you like)
  • Garam Masala (1tsp)
  • Sea salt (3tsp)
  • Red onion (1)
  • Koftas (2)
  • Lemon (1/2)
  • Olive oil (1/2tsp)
  • Coconut oil 2-3 tsp

With dhal I always cook 1 cup lentils to 3 cups water, get that going in a pan, bring to the boil and simmer until soft. Whilst that’s happening get your blender and add the canned tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, sea salt, lemon, olive oil and chilli, whizz them up until smooth. In another pan heat up water (splash) mixed with coconut oil and cook up your garlic and onions, once they’ve started to sweat so to speak add the mushrooms and koftas (cut them up into any sized pieces). By now the Dahl should be cooked so add the other ingredients to the pot, I usually clean up the pans at this point leaving the one pot with the mix in on a low heat. Once everything is cleaned I grab my Marrow half it then quarter it, scoup out the seeds and place on a baking tray (bear in mind your mix will probably fall out over the edges). Add your mix to your marrows and pop them in the oven, crank up the heat according to how quickly or slowly you want to cook your dish and happy days, if like me you find you have extra Dahl left over then no problem eat on its own as a starter it tastes great. Enjoy.

I am growing tomatoes and onions, I also have turmeric root growing so some day soon I should be able to make this dish with even more home grown produce, which is exciting 😀.

Enjoy.

Matt

Vegan Dahl Stuffed Marrow

Marrow season has passed and I meant to share this awhile back, but life happens.

In its simplest form I filled a marrow with Dahl Lentils and vegetables and it was great.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Marrow
  • 1 cup of red split lentils (3cups water)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (ideally your have fresh ones, being honest I went for the tin this time🤔)
  • 1-2 tsp of Garam Masala spice mix
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • A glug of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh date
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • A variety of vegetables to your liking.

Method:

Add the lentils and water to a pan bring to the boil and simmer, add the rest of the ingredients to a blender to make your sauce and mix till smooth. Prepare the marrow by cutting it in half and then cut each half down the middle and clean out the seeds from the middle, place the 4 marrow slices on a baking tray and pre heat your oven.

Once the lentils have cooked add the sauce and any vegetables you want to, no need to over cook at this point as it will cook in the oven, this part is more for the benefit of making your marrow filling.

Pour the filling into the marrow slices cover in foil and place into the middle of your oven on high heat (I’m not good at looking what temp I cook at, I’ve simply figured out how food comes out great from my oven😀). It roughly took 30 minutes for the marrow to cook to a point where it slid of the skin.

I personally was a big fan of this dish, it was simple and very tasty, it can serve 4, but we shared it between 2. 

Enjoy.

Matt

Ostara’s naming celebration cakes (vegan)

On the 1st of June we as family and friends gathered on a plot at Stanmer Park where the mood and spirits were high, the heavens opened to bring a fresh supply of rain for the surrounding wild life, it reminded of the saying ‘do not wait for the storm to pass, instead learn to dance in the rain’. This was for sure the case, it can be easy to let the weather dampen and raise your spirits, but if you remain inwardly present you see the beauty in all expressions, not to mention that great cake always saves the day no matter the weather.

The vegan cakes I made were inspired by this recipe Pineapple and Banana Cake

That link will also give you the base recipe, however as is the case with all creation and what I always actively encourage is add your own twist, your own jazz into anything you make, with this in mind I have added my twists below, but am grateful for the original inspiration that came from the linked recipe.


For base ingredients follow this link Pineapple and banana cake.

  • I added an extra 50g of hemp flour to add that nutty hemp flavour, to bind and strengthen the cake, I love strong cakes, fluffy sponge cakes are not my flavour, but they maybe yours.
  • I used coconut syrup instead of honey, simply because it jumped of the shelf at me whilst shopping and I hadn’t used it before and was curious, I think honey worked out better for flavour in my opinion.
  • I used a coconut and hemp oil mix instead as it was on special offer, no real difference hear except I’m a big fan of hemp, however most of its nutritional benefits are lost through cooking so it doesn’t warrant being a replacement unless like I did, you find it on special offer.
  • The rest I kept the same.

The Topping

Here’s my Jazz✌️

Avocado and Chamomile Chocolate with rose pet the decoration.

  • 140g – cacao butter
  • 150g – cashew nuts
  • 3 – baby avocados
  • 60ml – mix of honey and coconut syrup
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt
  • Dried rose petals for decoration

Method

It should be noted that I soaked the cashews and then mixed them with the sweetener and cacao butter after it had been melted alongside a tbsp of coconut oil in a Bain Marie, then during the mixing process I noticed the consistency was all wrong, it had lost its smoothness, however fear not, I threw in an extra 50g of dry cashew nuts and turned the mixture green with the whizzing of 3 baby avocados, I added extra sweetener to amend for the extra fats going into the mix, after I had made the mixture and saved it from ruin there was enough to sink a small ship, we refrigerated the excess and used it to fill medjool dates YUM is all I can say about that and that if you fly and roll with your mistakes magic happens. Once the mixture had setted I iced the cake and decorated with the rose petals.

Oh yes avocado chocolate works.


Now I made two cakes so you guys and the guys who attende are and were in for a real treat, those who know me know I cannot roll up to a celebration without chocolate cake it’s rude not to😀. 

I used the same base recipe which can be found following this link Pineapple and Banana Cake

This time my chocolate and cherry cake had some real jazz played to make it super awesome.

  • The most notable difference is the chocolate, I used 150g of Wonky Willys dark cooking chocolate, which may not be available in countries outside the U.K those in the U.K can grab some easily enough from Waitrose, but I chose it because it’s the best quality. You add the chocolate in by melting it alongside a tbsp of coconut oil in a Bain Marie and then whizz it up with the other blended ingredients.
  • I also added 2 tbsp of Cacao powder to the dry ingredients (if you gonna do it, do it properly and with style)😜
  • Note that all ingredients have been doubled I used a 12inch cake tin for this baby.
  • The size meant an extremely long cooking time, at least 2 hours to get it cooked right through, plus I kind of burnt the edges so I shaved the outer edge off the cake, life with out those last minute obstacles and challenges is no life😀.
  • Cherries replaced the pinapple and I used good old fresh cherries (remember to remove the stones).
  • Again hemp flour was added, I used roughly 50g.

The icing.

  • This was very simple, I simply melted down to bars of cooking chocolate and added some coconut syrup to the Bain Marie, add to your liking. Whilst the chocolate was melting I placed cherries cut in half round the perimeter of the cake, then once the chocolate had melted I simply poured it over the cake and made sure it went round the cherries, this then acted like glue to keep the cherries in place. Simple, but rediculously yummy.


Both cakes were fantastically yummy and there is plenty of room to play with recipes as you see fit.

Enjoy.

Matt

Creamy Hazelnut & Cacao Mousse

I love hazelnuts, cacao and mousse. This is a great combo and it produced a real thick and creamy mousse just how I like it.😀.

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 hazelnuts (soak in water for one or more hours)
  • 8 fresh dates (pit the dates)
  • 1 dried prune
  • 1 tbsp of flax seed
  • 1 tsp wheatgrass powder
  • 2-3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cacao butter
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 2 baby avocado 
  • 1 tbsp wild forest honey
  • 300ml of filtered water

Note: the above quantities are estimates, I rarely if ever exactly measure or count anything out.

Method:

I use a Vitamix, in the Vitamix I fill it up with water just above the blade and then I add the nuts, seeds and dried fruit, I leave them to soak for an hour or so.

Upon return I place the rest of the ingredients into the Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy.

Serve with a smile on my face and happiness in my heart for a cacao party is about to begin.

For extra creamy results leave in the fridge overnight.

Enjoy

To you all in great health

Matt

Cherry Chocolate Smoothie BLISS (vegan)

Wow, I managed to make in my humble opinion the best smoothie ever, I mean it can be improved of course, but thus far it’s number 1.

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre of hemp milk (you can make hemp milk, however this time I bought some from the shop)
  • 4-6 tbsp of cacao powder (technically I poured the remainder of the bag into the jug, which I guess is about 4-6tbsp)
  • 2 bananas 
  • 1 punnet of cherries (here’s one way to improve, source them locally and be patient for them to come into season, oops, I was caught out by the devious special offer).
  • 10 squeezes of honey (regular old squeezable honey, here again you could up your game and use wild raw, local honey).
  • 1tsp of wheat grass powder (I used organic freeze dried powder)

Method:

Simply throw it all into a high speed blender, remember to take the stones out of the cherries, apart from that, throw it in with love and due diligence press the power on and whizz until it’s thick a creamy. Then my friends you have the best smoothie ever and bliss will be yours. 😀

  
To you all in great health

Matt

Fennel and Cacao Balls

Wanted to share a simple experiment. On many occasions I have had power balls and other raw balls filled with great ingredients, however they were always dry, which didn’t make eating or digesting them a positive experience.

I’m sure there’s great recipes and ideas out there which address this dry issue and here’s what I came up with.

I simply soaked the following ingredients for a day.

  • Cashew nuts
  • Currants
  • Dates
  • Fennel seeds

Then I drained of the water and added the following.

  • Cacao nibs
  • Cacao butter
  • Cacao powder
  • Coconut oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Honey

Method.

I heated the cacao butter and coconut oil and then added everything together into a high speed blender and blended until it reached the texture I like, which is a chunky texture. I then made balls out of the mixture and popped them in the fridge.

The next morning they were ready and on one hand success, they tasted great, however they were in need of much more coconut oil and cacao butter, which is why I haven’t added measurements as a) I didn’t measure them out in the first place and b) the texture was slightly of so the original mix of ingredients was off.

I encourage you to try playing with the soaked version balls as they were definitely much better on the digestive system.

Enjoy.

Matt

Soaked Porridge – Vegan

A couple of years ago I soaked everything and on a lot of occasions would sprout seeds to add to salads and porridge, but as is so often the case I am as falable as the next man and I loose my best practices, which I’m totally ok with its part of the journey and sometimes the benefit is not recognised until you loose it and rediscover it.

Well I was walking home from the woods with my son and some friends and the topic of food came into discussion, after studying all walks of nutrition I generally do not enjoy these conversations because well the world of nutrition is a mine field, your more than likely to agree on some points and disagree on others, nutrition is a very personal journey of discovery, however there are jewels and reminders to be found in such conversations and one such reminder was that of ‘soaking’ your nuts, seeds, grains and dried fruits.

Soaking rehydrates dehydrated food, makes it easier to digest and assimilate and in my opinion  improves the taste and texture of the food.

Ever since I have been soaking my porridge overnight, I use filtered water which transforms into oat milk by the morning, the dried fruit release there sugars into the milk and the cashew nuts become more plump and creamy.

If I had more awareness and time I would even pre soak my grains for either lunch or dinner depending on the days menues. Breakfast is a good start and the rest is room for improvement.

The intention then is set, soak your grains and nuts and explore how this changes some of your favourite dishes.

Happy soaking 

Matt