Mango Passionfruit Smoothie

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The internet is back! We would have had it sooner but our set up was timed perfectly with a nation-wide problem setting up cable internet for Telstra. Moving house went well, despite jettisoning half our worldly goods due to lack of storage space. A bit of perspective helped, looking at an object that has sat in your garage for four years unused, you have to be realistic about the exact same thing happening in the new house. My kitchen stayed mostly intact, I have all of my essentials and it’s lucky that the kitchen has the only cupboards to be found in the house. My sister and her boyf purchased an amazing kitchen island from Ikea that is the new home for my kitchen appliances, with space for two stools on the opposite side. I’m still adjusting to the COMPLETELY NORMAL OVEN that doesn’t burn the base of everything. The first time I put something in to bake without two trays protecting it I broke out in a sweat (or was that just the charming Queensland weather?). The blender once again has a permanent place on the counter for my daily breakfast smoothie and this is the recipe that I will be making for as long as I can get my paws mangoes.

5 passionfruits might seem a little excessive but what’s the point of putting them in if you can’t taste them? I add the lemon juice because I like everything to be sour but leave it out if you like your mango beverages sweet.

Mango Passionfruit Smoothie

pulp of 5 passionfruits

1 orange, skin and pith removed

juice of 1/2 lemon

flesh of 2 mangoes, frozen

big handful of kale

1 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp psyllium husk

3 tbsp rolled oats

Combine all ingredients in a blender and add enough cold water to just cover everything.

Blend until completely smooth and serve immediately (this does make a lot, sometimes I keep a cup of it for breakfast the next day and it keeps quite well).

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Raw Choc Chip Cookies

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I’ve had more days off than usual lately, and unfortunately/fortunately that means more opportunities to cook. I’ve got baked goods coming out the wazoo and not a whole lot of it is healthy. I’m not a health nut but I do my best to keep things balanced (please ignore the kilo of Doritos that I got from Costco yesterday) and these Raw Choc Chip Cookies caught my eye. Another bonus is that they don’t require any kind of heat to make and that is kind of essential this time of year, all my homies in Queensland will know what I’m talking about. There is a large list of things that become an absolute no-no in summer which includes but isn’t limited to turning on the oven, leaving the house, eating soups/stews, moving beyond the limit of your fan and any unnecessary movements in general. As a result I’ve been collecting recipes that don’t need the oven, as well as watching every possible thing on my hard drive (had an all day Back to the Future Marathon, dayum that is an awesome trilogy).

If you want them to be gluten free then you will need to track down some gluten free oats. Oats are naturally gluten free but commonly gluten-tainted from being processed.

Adapted from Raw Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies over at This Rawsome Vegan Life.

1 cup rolled oats

10-15 dates, pitted

1 cup nut butter ( I used peanut butter)

2 tsp vanilla essence

2 tbsp water

5 tbsp liquid sweetener (I used honey but that makes them not vegan)

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cup raw vegan chocolate, chopped

Blend the oats in a food processor until coarsely ground.

Add in all other ingredients (except for the chocolate) and pulse until the mixture starts sticking together in a dough.

Pinch the mixture between your fingers, if it sticks together easily it is done, if it is crumbly add more liquid sweetener 1 tbsp at a time and pulse until it does stick together.

Tip the mixture into a mixing bowl and stir through the chocolate.

Roll tablespoon sized balls (or press into a tablespoon measure and slide the formed cookie out like I did) and place on a tray lined with baking paper, chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Chimichurri

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For the longest time I wasn’t a massive fan of steak but as far as I can tell it was due to a childhood of eating blackened steak cooked way past well done (the treatment that Australians seem to give everything that they put on the BBQ). In response to this depraved childhood I now take my steak rare, although I am a chronic over-cooker as befits my Australian heritage.

Chimichurri is my new steak sauce of choice, it’s rich but still super fresh and has garlic for days. This recipe will serve around 4 people but go ahead and double it because the more of this you can slather on your meat the better. Use it as a versatile sauce for any grilled meats and chuck it on your salad as a dressing while you’re at it. It’s even great as a dip, I know that we couldn’t stop scooping it up with fresh bread. I’ve also got plans for using it on a steak sandwich, seriously, chimichurri can do anything.

Adapted from Chimichurri over at David Lebovitz.

1 large red chilli

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh oregano)

1/2 – 3/4 tsp sea salt

4 cloves garlic

1 1/2 cups flat-leaf parsley

1/4 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1-2 tsp lemon juice

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (start with 1/4 cup olive oil and add more in between pulses).

Alternatively, chop everything finely then combine in a small bowl.

Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Grilled Corn and Avocado Salsa

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I am just crazy for anything smokey or charred, especially paired with fresh and zingy flavours. As soon as I finished making this salsa I had to test it with a few Doritos, nek minnit half the packet is gone (okay, so that happens any time that I open a packet of Doritos but on this particular occasion the salsa was to blame). It’s great as a dip or as a side, next post I’ll show you what I did with it.

Grilled Corn and Avocado Salsa

Recipe by Ainsley Badman.

1 ear of corn

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

juice of 1 lime

big pinch of salt

125g cherry tomatoes, finely chopped

large handful of coriander, finely chopped

1 avocado, cubed

Leaving the husk on the corn, microwave it for 5 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly then peel of the husk and silk.

Heat a grill pan on medium-high heat, spray the corn with oil and grill on all sides until black and blistered, set aside to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the red onion, lime juice and salt, allow to sit for 5 mins.

Cut the corn off the cob and add it to the mixing bowl along with the cherry tomatoes, coriander and avocado.

Mix gently and taste for seasoning, adding more salt or lime juice to taste.

Mango Sorbet

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Sorbet eating at my house usually involves my sister and I passing the container back and forth while standing in the kitchen, putting it back in the freezer for a while when the edges get melty. As much as I love waffle cones I much prefer them for pairing with creamy ice-creams rather than fruity ones. I have always eaten my sorbet plain but when I become an adult and start throwing elegant dinner parties I want to pour sparkling white wine over scoops of sorbet like I saw Nigella do in Nigella Feasts (a really awesome series if you need ideas for feeding large groups of people).

This is one of my favourite sorbet recipe’s, mostly because it’s possible to swap out caster sugar for healthier sweeteners without sacrificing texture. There is something special about mango that results in a soft, scoopable mixture without having to add a lot of refined sugar. I have also made this sorbet using stevia granules with great success. Mangoes aren’t in season right now, I cheated a little bit and used frozen mango (as an Australian I feel pretty bad admitting that). For the brightest flavour be patient and use fresh mangoes but if you just can’t wait, frozen ones still work outrageously well. Swap out the honey for a different sweetener such as agave syrup to make this vegan friendly. The rum in this recipe helps to achieve a nice soft sorbet but you can leave it out if you’re making this for children or anyone else who can’t have alcohol.

Mango Sorbet

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Mango Sorbet in The Perfect Scoop.

500g mango, or the flesh of 2 large mangoes

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup honey (this is what I ended up adding but start with less and add more if you need it)

juice of 1 lime

pinch of salt

3 tbsp rum

Place all of the ingredients in a blender, pulse until combined.

Taste and adjust with honey or lime juice to personal taste (remember that the flavours will be slightly muted when it’s cold).

Chill overnight then churn in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturers instructions.

Transfer mixture to a 1 litre capacity container and chill for 4 hours before eating.

Raw Date and Nut Slice

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This recipe was one of my first forays into raw and vegan sweets. The ingredients read like a who’s who of health foods but the result is a rich and nutty chocolate muesli bar that makes a great afternoon snack when you’re craving something sweet. I don’t usually use the fact they are raw and vegan to persuade people to eat some, there seem to be a lot of misconceptions that these kinds of food are bland or missing out on something. Does it taste like something crammed full of butter and flour? No, it doesn’t. It tastes like nuts, dates and chocolate but if you appreciate those flavours for what they are, then you will most likely enjoy them.

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I always use Chinese red dates that I pick up from a health food store in West End because they LITERALLY taste like caramel. I’m not being dramatic, they actually taste like a chewy caramel. During one dark chapter of my life my regular supply ran out but I tracked them down online at Charlesworth Nuts (they only ship to Australia, sorry everybody else!). I bought 3 kg to make the shipping worth it so I’m set up for a good long while.

I advise chopping the dates roughly simply for the fact that they are usually machine pitted and there can be splinters of the seed left behind. The first time I made this slice I wasn’t aware of that fun fact and ended up crunching on at least five different pieces of date seed (I was at least thankful that no one else managed to get any!). If you feel a CRUNCH as you’re chopping simply remove the offending seed and keep on slicing. When trying to flatten the mixture into the slice tin, if you find it too sticky then lay a piece of cling film over the top of it, this acts as a barrier between the sticky mixture and your spoon allowing you to get it into a nice even layer. The chia seeds and psyllium husk can be considered extras, I add them because I have them so don’t go out buying them unless you think that you will use them regularly.

Raw Date and Nut Slice

Adapted from Emily’s Fudgy Raw Brownies over at This Rawsome Vegan Life.

1 cup rolled oats

pinch of sea salt

1 cup raw almonds

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp psyllium husk

2 cups dried dates, chopped

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

natural sweetener to taste (I used coconut nectar)

Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with water, allow to soak for 3-4 hours.

Line a slice tin with baking paper.

Blitz the oats and salt in a food processor until they turn into a coarse flour, add the drained almonds, chia seeds and psyllium husk, process until the nuts are finely chopped.

Add the cacao and dates, pulse until the dates are broken down and the mixture starts to clump together.

Add the coconut oil and start by adding 1 tsp of natural sweetener, pulsing to mix, then adding more sweetener until it reaches desired taste.

Pinch the mixture and if it sticks together it’s ready, if not, add more coconut oil 1 tsp at a time, pulsing in between, until the mixture sticks together.

Scoop the mixture into the prepared slice tin and press flat with the back of a spoon.

Place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours, then slice into bars.

Guacamole

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This dip was an eye opener for me about how little I knew about Mexican food. I grew up eating meals made from Old El Paso taco and burrito kits and putting sour cream in guacamole. We loved it but had no idea what we were missing. As far as I can tell Mexican food is based around super fresh ingredients and there is ALWAYS coriander. I still get a nostalgic craving for the packet Mexican but every time I think about cooking it I’m always drawn back to the fresh stuff.

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I can eat a whole bowl of this stuff and because there is nothing heavy in it I don’t feel sick afterwards (like I used to with my white-people guacamole). Serve as a dip with corn chips or use it as a condiment with any Mexican inspired meal (I serve it with Mexican Chicken).

Guacamole

Adapted from Guadalupe Feint’s Guacamole dip over at SBS Food.

3 large ripe avocados

1/2 fresh jalapeno, de-seeded, chopped finely

4 tbsp coriander, finely chopped

1/4 red onion, finely chopped

1 large tomato, finely chopped

1/2 lime, juiced

1 tsp sea salt

If you prefer a more mellow onion flavour, mix the red onion with the lime juice and salt, allow to sit for 10 mins.

Halve the avocados, remove the seed and scoop the flesh into the bowl with the onion.

Add the chilli and coriander, mash everything together with a fork.

Fold in the tomato and taste for seasoning.

Best served immediately.