Summer Slushie

Orange Pineapple Slushie

What’s better than a pineapple, orange and ginger juice?

Pineapple, orange and ginger slushie!

what you need

1 pineapple
8 oranges
1 knob ginger

what to do

juice it all
freeze
let it melt a little then place in blender

pros
easy to eat, cool, refreshing, delicious, healthy

cons
brain freeze

Chocolate Chia Peanut Butter Pudding

This recipe is not one of my own, but one I found on the Loving Earth website. I love their products and use them a lot in my cooking – and eating; they have some great chocolate.

Some of my favourite ingredients are in this dessert (or breakfast) depends which way you look at it – peanut butter, chocolate, chia seeds, buckinis. All the good stuff, all in one place.

Don’t use a jar that’s too big, as it’s quite filling. I have made these in small ramekins, but you don’t get the same visual effect.

What you need

Choc Banana Chia Pudding
4 tbsp chia seeds
2 very ripe bananas
1 cup almond milk
2 tbsp Raw Cacao Powder
2 tsp raw Agave Syrup

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce
5 medjool dates (pits removed)
1⁄2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp Mesquite Powder

Other Layers
1 ripe banana (sliced)
Caramelised Buckinis
Cacao Nibs

What to do

In a bowl, mash banana with the back of a fork, until smooth.
Add all remaining ingredients and whisk with a fork until mixed well. Leave in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight. Chia seeds will expand to make a pudding.

Add dates to a food processor and process until it becomes a smooth paste.

Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth and well combined. This will take a few minutes. Leave in the fridge overnight to chill.

In the morning, mix the chia pudding and smooth out any lumps.
Grab 2 glass jars and gradually add each layer to the jar. Begin with a few spoonfuls of the chia pudding, then top with caramel sauce, layer of sliced banana, buckinis and raw cacao nibs.

Repeat.

You can whip this up in a few minutes, however, it needs to soak and combine overnight in the fridge, so be prepared to wait for the goodness.

coconut macaroons with raspberry chia seed jam

macaroons or macarons?

i grew up with macaroons. my mum use to make them, little coconut, crunchy biscuits. just the right amount of crunch and lots of coconut. i remember my mum brought me some to the hospital when i had my baby (yes, i remember what i ate 22 years ago!)

then along came master chef and everyone was talking macarons! macaroons seemed to be forgotten. that one little ‘o’ was gone and a whole other biscuit was on everyone’s lips. literally. i tried macarons. i tried them multiple times. i really tried to like them. i wanted to be like all the cool kids who had their favourite colours and their favourite flavours and their favourite places to buy their favourite macarons. i even went to paris to try them, surely if they are going to get macarons right anywhere it would be in paris! but, alas, it wasn’t to be. i just couldn’t get my taste buds to agree with the rest of the world.

but, i love macaroons. little coconut biscuits, with just the right amount of crunch and lots of coconut. and now with jam! raspberry and (superfood) chia jam.

and you don’t even need to be a master chef to make them. you may want to double the recipe as they will go quickly! well, if i’m around they will.

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 40 mins | Servings: 15 | Difficulty: Easy

what you need:

for the chia seed jam (makes about 1 cup)
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

for the macaroons:
1.5 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1 cup almond meal
pinch fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

what to do:

for the chia seed jam: add frozen raspberries and maple syrup into a medium pot and bring to a simmer. after 5 minutes or so, stir in the chia seeds. continue to cook down the mixture for about 15 minutes, or until thickened. remove from heat and stir in vanilla. chill in the fridge to thicken it up even more, whilst you prepare the macaroons

preheat oven to 135C and line a tray with a sheet of baking paper

in a large bowl, combine the coconut, almond meal, and salt.

if it’s solid, melt the coconut oil over a very low heat.

add the maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla into the dry mixture and stir very well until combined. the dough will be very wet and sticky, but this is normal.

grab a tablespoon of dough at a time with your hands and roll into a ball. place on baking sheet. with a teaspoon, press a well into the middle and lightly shape the outsides if necessary. repeat for the rest. fill each well with jam. the macaroons don’t spread out so there’s no need to space them far apart.

bake at 135C for 20 minutes. rotate the pan and bake for another 15 minutes until the bottoms are lightly golden and browned, but not burned. remove from oven and leave for 5 mins. the macaroons will be very soft at first, but will firm as they cool.

these are best eaten the day you make them. they will keep for up to a week, however they will soften again. if you want them with just the right amount of crunch you’ll need to pop them back into the oven for 6-8 minutes, which is the perfect time to make a cup of tea to enjoy with the macaroons.

Turning my Black Thumb Green

I have a black thumb – no where near being green, not even brown. Mine is black, nothing I grow can stay alive, except children, I’ve managed to keep them alive for over 20 years, and they seem happy enough.

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to grow anything. I’ve had those times like little kids do when they see a puppy. They beg and beg their parents to get one, promising they’ll do all the dirty work, but after a month or so, it’s left for someone else to pick up the poop. I’ve planted fruit trees and herbs, but nothing has stayed alive for long. I got sick of waiting for the fruit and just gave up and moved onto something else.

But this time it’s different. This times I am prepared. This time I researched. This time I made plans. And kept them.

And now I’ve planted a couple of things that are green and this time they are going to stay alive.
I prepared my garden bed with lots of organic mixes and manure and good old fashioned stuff. I knew how to do that because I researched on the inter web and it explained it all. Like a good bread, I left it to rest for 2 weeks. Well, I wouldn’t leave bread for 2 weeks, but I’m sure you know what I mean. I went out and looked at the brown dirt and said nice words to it, hoping it will provide a bountiful harvest and then I got my plants.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a little while, you’ll probably realise that I can cook. Well, I know people who can keep stuff alive. And they like to eat. So I bartered some food for some plants.
Strawberry cheesecake and raw apple pie for tomatoes, strawberries, thyme, spearmint, chives and some type of lettuce. I think I came away from this a winner!
They ate their cheesecake and apple pie and I planted some plants. A week later their cheesecake and apple pie are gone and my plants are still alive! Hooray for me.
Stay tuned for updates on my green thumb. It’s going to be as exciting as watching grass grow.

Miss Chief

I recently came across ‘Edgar’s Mission‘ online – an animal sanctuary in Victoria. Whilst exploring their website I saw the cutest thing – Miss Chief – and decided to become her ‘best buddy’, which means I have donated some money to help keep her safe, alive and well at Edgar’s Mission.

MissChiefDesktop2 As the story goes, Miss Chief was seen falling from a livestock truck that was on it’s way to the slaughterhouse. A Good Samaritan who was driving behind the truck stopped and caught the little goat. They spoke to the driver of the truck, who didn’t want to put the little goat back onto the truck. So this lovely Good Samaritan gave this lovely little goat a lifeline – and took her to Edgar’s Mission.

Here she was named, Miss Chief, and enjoys jumping around and enjoying the life that every living being deserves. You really should check out their website – there are so many other adorable cuties.

MissChiefFacebook

If you were given a second chance wouldn’t you be jumping for joy, just like Miss Chief? Isn’t she just the cutest thing!

Holiday Eating – Gozo, Malta

Ftira

Gozo is the middle sized island of Malta’s three and one of the traditional Gozitan meals is a ftira which consists of anchovies (or tuna), olives, garlic, capers, basil, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, salt & pepper on a crust, a little like a pizza, but so much better. The great thing I found about the ftira was it wasn’t served with cheese, so it was easy to order ftira without anchovies, to satisfy my way of eating.

Having been to Malta previously this was one of the foods that I was looking forward to. However, like last time, when you order ftira you’re never really sure what you are going to get. Sometimes we got the pizza style and sometimes the sandwich variety. The two rolls in the photos below were from the same place, Stephen’s in Zaghra (pronounced Shara). Gozo has great bread, so both of the rolls were really tasty. Stephen actually made it in front of me, adding the ingredients I wanted, so I had conserva (a tomato spread) and marinated veggies – eggplant, capsicum, onion, marrow and olives. The second time I added some rucola and mushrooms.

Fruit and Veg

My favourite thing to eat is fruit and vegetables (and sometimes it’s chocolate). Gozo has a lot of market gardens, and it’s something that early Maltese immigrants did when they came to Australia. Vegetables, in particular, are really cheap compared to what we pay in Australia. But it’s all relative, because they earn a lot less too.  Fresh fruit and vegetables play a big part in Maltese meals, along with bread, cheese, pasta and meat.

When I bought the apples from the fruit and veg van I was told that they were local apples, which I thought was odd because of the climate. Taking a bite they took me back to apples I use to eat when I was young, the soft textured flesh rather than the hard crisp flesh we have today.

When you’re eating out every day for weeks you start to crave just the simple fruit and veg. We found a farmers’ market one day and there was nothing more delicious than a bag of cherry tomatoes to snack on … and a watermelon!

The stuff you eat between meals

So what did we snack on?

Lots.

And lots.

And lots.

Even when we weren’t hungry!

Pastizzi are a favourite of mine. You can purchase them in Australia, but the authentic ones are so much more … authentic. Be careful how you say the word because it can have multiple meanings. (Check out the link to wikipedia if you want to know the other meanings.) I eat the pea version, but there is also a ricotta. They also make Qassatat, which is similar to the pastizzi, although it has different pastry.

Like other areas in the Mediterranean lemon sorbet is popular. As are treacle rings, which look like they have dates in them but it’s actually golden syrup.

One thing I did try which is not traditional Maltese food is deep fried Oreos. I’ve never had a deep-fried mars bar but I’m guessing it’s a similar kind of thing.

Jessica’s Delights is a cake shop open in Marsalforn over the summer, and it’s the place to visit. They have lots of cakes filled with cream, eggs and butter, so I went in and asked if they had anything without all of that, and the 2 things were apple pie and soy milk ice cream. I went with the apple pie and I certainly didn’t feel like I was missing out when everyone else was gorging on their animal filled cakes.

Ice cream! Before leaving Australia I found out about SottoZero. A gelato factory in Bugibba, Malta, right where we would be staying! Think about your local ice cream shop. If it’s like mine they have 2 cabinets of ice creams and maybe one tub of non-dairy ice cream. Well, SottoZero has 2 cabinets and 1 WHOLE cabinet is for non-dairy ice cream – either rice milk (the majority) or soy milk. AND, some of their rice milk ice cream is sugar free. That’s worth the flight there on it’s own!

 

So many stories, so much food.

Smoothies in Malta

I recently spent 4 weeks in Malta, specifically in a little seaside town known as Marsalforn on the island of Gozo. Gozo only has a population of 31000 and is more rural than the island of Malta. The only way to get to Gozo is a 25 minute ferry ride from Malta. Gozo is known for it’s rich history – having the oldest man-made, free standing structures in the world, the Ggantija Temples, as well as the oldest religious structures in the world.

From Wikipedia

“The island of Gozo has long been associated with Ogygia, the island home of the nymph Calypso in Homer‘s Odyssey. In that story, Calypso, possessed of great supernatural powers, and in love with Odysseus, holds him captive for a number of years, until finally releasing him to continue his journey home.”

Whilst I was excited to be spending time in Malta I knew there were some things from home that I would miss. Number one being smoothies. I’m a regular smoothie drinker for breakfast. I knew I would miss my smoothies, so I purchased a cheap blender from Kmart for $30 before I left. It was light enough to not impact my 30kg luggage allowance and the cup was made of plastic so I wasn’t worried about it breaking in my case. And it was the best travel decision I’ve made! All I needed was a power adapter and some fruit.

Maltese cuisine relies heavily on dairy and meat – two categories of food that I don’t eat. Malta does not have a lot of options like we have in Australia, like rice milk or oat milk. So armed with my smoothie maker, I made a smoothie (almost) every day. Ironically, one of the things I love about travelling is trying local food. And believe me, once I’d eaten breakfast, I ate the local food, and lots of it. But more of that later.

Every morning there was a little fruit and veg van about 100m from our apartment.

Day 03 2nd July Marsalforn

I would go down and buy a couple of bananas and some other type of fruit – usually peaches, nectarines, apricots or kiwi fruit. The main fruit grown in Gozo is watermelons, most of the fruit I bought was imported. Although, I did try a locally grown apple. I didn’t need to add any milk or water to my smoothies and as you can see from the pictures most of the time I ate the smoothie with a spoon.

The fruit, a little bit of muesli and some raw nuts was enough to keep me going until lunchtime I saw some pastizzis.

What are pastizzis? Well, I’ll leave that for another post, along with lots of other food I ate whilst away.

I would definitely take my blender away again with me. What’s something you can’t go on holidays without?