Friday, 25 April 2014

Anzac Biscuits with Homemade Nutella

My husband loves biscuits, and Anzac biscuits are one of his fave all time biscuit.  So I set out to make some vegan friendly Anzac cookies that still tasted good, with the right amount of crunch.
For those of you who are wondering what Anzac is, it's actually a public holiday for us Aussies, to commemorate and remember those who have died in military operations.
The Anzac biscuit was originally called 'soldier's biscuit' and it came about from family who were wanting to send their loved ones supplies that would last without refrigeration, withstand the travel and also pack a nutrient punch.  Enter the Anzac biscuit.

Here's an old recipe that I found and which I've adjusted to make it vegan.

Anzac Biscuits
Makes 16


2 cups of organic wholegrain oats
1 cup of organic spelt flour
2/3 cup organic panela (you could also use caster sugar)
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup golden syrup
125 g of organic coconut oil
1 tsp bicarb soda
2 TBS hot water


Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees Celcius.  
Place the oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a bowl and mix well to combine.  Place the golden syrup and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat until melted.  
Combine the bicarb and water together and add to the coconut and golden syrup mixture.  It will bubble, just keep stirring it and then pour it over your oat and flour mixture and mix well to combine.
The mixture will be crumbly and won't stick together completely, don't fret, this is fine!
Place one tablespoon of the mixture onto lined baking trays and flatten to make rounds.  Make sure you leave some room between biscuits for spreading.  
Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Take them out and leave to completely cool before you lift them off otherwise they will fall apart.
Be patient, the crunchy biscuit that you end up with will be worth it!

Now you can eat them as is, crumbled over ice cream, or stuffed with some delicious homemade nutella!

Homemade Nutella
Makes approx. 370 mls


150 g of raw hazelnuts
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 TBS raw cacao powder
4 TBS raw coconut nectar (or maple syrup)
1/8 tsp of Himalayan pink salt
1 TBS EV coconut oil
1/2 cup almond milk*


Place the nuts in a food processor and process until they begin to form a paste.  This will take a while, and you will need to scrape down the sides intermittently.  I found that I had to stop and start as the motor was heating up!
Once it's start to form a paste and you can see that the oils are starting to get released, add the coconut oil and continue processing until it starts getting smooth.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process a little bit more, until it's all creamy and spreadable.  You can stop here or do what I did which is added it all to my vitamix and blended it on high for about 30 seconds.
This gives it a really smooth and creamy texture, more than what I got when I did it with just the food processor alone.
Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes before you start spreading.
The colour of the nutella will darken if left exposed to the light/air.
I keep mine in a glass container with a tight fitting lid.

*I used store bought almond milk because it has a milder flavour than homemade as I didn't want the delicate hazelnut flavour to be over powered but choice is yours.

Hope you enjoy the recipe and please let me know if you try it.

Peas, love and mungbeans


Thursday, 3 April 2014

waste not

So as promised, here is a recipe for almond milk.  It's so ridiculously easy that I'm looking forward to making lots of other nut milks.
My first advice is to buy a nut milk bag, they are not very expensive and you should get a lot of use out of it.  I have tried using a clean dish towel before but it does let a lot of the pulp in, making your nut milk thicker, and that's ok if that's what you like.
The following recipe is for basic unsweetened almond milk.

Almond milk
makes 2 cups

1 cup raw almonds
2 cups of water

Soak the raw almonds in lots of water for 48 hours.
Once soaked, rinse well and drain.
Place almonds in a powerful blender with 2 cups of clean water (use filtered if possible).
Blend until mixture is super smooth.
Pour mixture into nut milk bag, making sure you have a bowl to catch the nut milk!
Squeeze as much of the liquid out as you can.
Pour prepared milk into a glass bottle with tight fitting lid, it should keep in the fridge for 2 days.

Now at this point, prior to bottling, you can add your flavours.
So normally I would add some organic vanilla extract and a couple of drops of stevia or a date to give it a tiny bit of sweetness.

Was that the easiest thing ever or what?
You can do that to every nut you desire.

So, with delicious fresh almond milk in tow, I decided to make a yummy turmeric almond milk.

Why do I love turmeric so much?
Simple really, turmeric is an overall healing spice.  Apart from being a powerful anti-inflammatory, it also has anti-tumour and anti-microbial properties.  
It's the bright yellow pigment, curcumin, that makes turmeric the pharmacological powerhouse that it is.

Here's what you need:

Tumeric Almond Milk
Makes 2 cups

Prepared almond milk (as above)
2 pitted medjool dates
1 TBS raw coconut nectar
1 1/2 tsp of ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp of cardamon
freshly cracked pepper*

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
*adding the black pepper means that piperin, the active ingredient in black pepper, increases turmeric absorption, making it up to 2000x more powerful.  Hand me the grinder!!

Whilst you can have the turmeric almond milk cold, it also makes a delicious and nourishing drink when warm.  
To keep it raw, I just blended mine again in the vitamix until it warmed up a bit.  

So I bet you're wondering about the almond pulp right?  No, don't throw it in the bin!  There's many things that you can do with almond pulp, here's one of my favourite ways with almond pulp.

Almond Hummus
Makes about 500 mls

Left over almond pulp
1 large zucchini
small handful of baby spinach
1 garlic clove
1 tsp of ground cumin
juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup of water
Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients together in a powerful blender, you will need to scrape the sides down to make sure you get a smooth consistency as it's quite thick.  Don't be tempted to add more water, you just need to push the ingredients down with the blender tool to get all the ingredients blended up.
Store in a glass container with a tight fitting lid.  Should keep for about 3 days.

The reason I love this hummus so much is because it still has that delicious smooth consistency and taste but is completely raw.  I've tried making raw hummus before using sprouted chickpeas, but it didn't taste as good as this!

I also use the hummus as a salad dressing, it's the bomb!

Peas, love and mungbeans,


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

in a nut shell......

In my last post, I shared some ice cream recipes that contained store bought almond milk.  After this post, one of my readers on instagram asked me regarding an ingredient used in almond milk called carrageenan.
I had briefly heard about this ingredient before but decided to look into it further after it came up again.
It seems that there has been a lot of concern by the health community regarding the use of carageenan, even as far as organising a petition so that the FDA remove it from the food supply.(ref)

This is what I now know about carageenan:
  • derived from red algae.
  • used as a thickener or stabilizer in dairy & non-dairy milks, cheeses, meat products.
  • 2 types: degraded and undergraded.
  • undergraded is approved for use in food, degraded is not
  • they have different chemical properties although both are often referred to as carageenan.
Let's talk about degraded carageenan or otherwise known as poligeenan.  This ingredient has been shown to cause formation of ulcers and cancerous lesions in the colon of animals.(ref)
Poligeenan is significantly more detrimental to the health of laboratory animals than carageenan but lack of clear differentiation between the two types means that most of us think that carageenan (undergraded) is as harmful.

Carageenan can still cause problems though, but unlike poligeenan which has been shown to cause cancer on it's own, carageenan has been shown to accelerate cancer formation only when in the presence of a known carcinogen.
I'm not saying that it's safe, I'm just making the distinction that unlike popular belief, on it's own, it's not a known carcinogen.

What it has shown to cause, is intestinal damage in some species of animals.  This of course means that the effects of carageenan are species specific thus makes it difficult to apply the various study findings to humans.

Two studies done on food grade carageenan found that it increased the inflammation response of isolated human intestinal epithelial tissue.(ref,ref)
Another study found that it reduced the activity of some enzymes which may have an overall negative effect on the function & vitality of the cell.(ref)
In concentrations lower than would be found in a typical diet, this study found that carageenan caused increased cell death, reduced cell proliferation and cell cycle arrest.(ref)

Whilst these studies lend support that carageenan has potential for intestinal inflammation, it's good to keep in mind that they were done in vitro (as in not inside the human body) and that the carageenan used was in the absence of food, which means that the results may vary as most of us would be getting the carageenan in our foods and that the digestion of same may alter how it affects us.
This brings me to another concern voiced by the health community, that ingested carageenan can turn into poligeenan in the digestive tract after it's been eaten, secondary to gut environment (bacteria, acidity).  Some studies have shown that 10-20% can be turned into poligeenan during digestion.(ref)
Also, whilst these studies show that it can affect human tissue, other studies show no adverse effects.

So are you confused?  I don't blame you.
It seems that no matter what, there's always a price to pay for convenience!
So what should we do?  

I guess this is up to you, I'm just highlighting some of the points that stood out for me, but I always encourage everyone to do their own research and make up their own mind, specially due to the inconclusive nature of the data, both for and against.
If you are going to avoid it, please check the label, sometimes it's also labeled as vegetable gum (407).

For me, apart from being a positive learning experience, it has also inspired me to make my own nut milk.
So I finally bought a nut milk bag (highly recommend) and my first batch was delicious!
So easy and the possibilities are endless.  I think I'll be making my own nut milk from now on!
Will have a post on some delicious nut milk very, very soon.

Peas, love and mungbeans