Monday, April 30, 2012

Miso, Goji & Seaweed Soup (in a thermos!)

Hello :) This idea for a healthy portable soup came to me, when I was at uni spying on people eating packaged chicken flavoured noodle soups. I'm a bit creepy like that (not really...) So I decided to make something simple to take to uni, in a thermos. There's a place to access free hot water at uni, which is great & I'm thus always taking teabags with glee, knowing I can have tea for free. Brilliant rhyming, no? Well I took this soup with me when I was feeling sick last week. And here are the ingredients I used:

Miso: a fermented soy product, high in sodium, but also full of nutrients such as zinc, which supports the immune system and can shorten the duration of colds. A bowl of miso soup is always soothing!
Goji: a Chinese superfood packed full of antioxidants! I used medicine-grade goji berries, which we sell as part of Little China Teas. These one's are dense and sticky and tend to clump together. In tea and soup they expand and become soft & yummy.
Seaweed: I used wakame which according to the packet is rich in calcium, iron, folate, potassium and beta-carotene. The seaweed expands quite a lot in hot water, it's awesome!
Chinese red dates: although I didn't add these to my soup, I sure will next time. They are sweet (but not overly sweet like other dates) and are high in iron and fibre and also have warming properties. As with the gojis, they expand and soften in hot water and are the perfect addition to soups and broths. I'm working on a Traditional Chinese Medicine energy mix at the moment with Little China Teas, and these are one of the ingredients. They're just so dense, chewy and delicious to snack on.
So basically the night before I just add the dry ingredients to the thermos. And after I've filled it up with hot water, I just pour a little bit at a time into the cup. I take a long spoon to scoop out the gojis and seaweed and sip on the rest :) 
 I'd add a few more ingredients if I was at home (some which require cooking) such as Chinese spinach, buckwheat noodles, dried mushrooms, ginger and coriander. 

A bowl of warming soup was perfectly soothing and nourishing, just what I needed. Especially with this chilly weather, those packets of miso are just so handy! Definitely going to take my soup mix & thermos tomorrow to uni. Fun times.

Hannah x

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

Hello :) I did not come up with the recipe for this pumpkin pie & did not even bake it. I did however have the honour of eating several slices, which must count for something! The recipe comes from my Aunty Fiona who served this at a recent family lunch and although I couldn't attend, a few leftover slices were brought home for my enjoyment. Recently we got hold of the recipe and I came home the other week to my sister preparing the pie. Excellent!

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie (courtesy of my Aunty Fiona)
3 cups pureed pumpkin
1 tin low fat evaporated milk (400mL)
4 beaten eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
spices: nutmeg, allspice, ginger etc
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Mix all ingredients and place in a pastry case*. Bake at 200 degrees for approximately 40 minutes or until filling is firm to touch.

* My sister used 2 sheets of shortcrust pastry, brushed with melted butter.

There was some leftover pie filling, so my sister made a mini one! Aw, isn't it too cute. 

 The creamy pumpkin, almost custard-like filling was divine. You can certainly play around with the recipe too & next time I might add some more spice and less sugar. It was perfect for the rainy Autumn evening we devoured it on! 

All this chilly weather has me dreaming of pies, tarts and cakes. I wonder what I'll be making (or eating!) next...

Happy Baking :)

Hannah x

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weekend At Home...

Hello :) I am amidst exams at the moment, but in a few more days I shall be oh so happy. I've been in turn spending quite a bit of time at home, which I enjoy. I'll be back next week with some yummy recipes, but for now here's a few pictures I've taken around the house.

A delicious afternoon tea break. Spelt sourdough topped with coconut butter, sliced banana, chia seeds and maple syrup. Accompanied with a liquorice and fennel tea blend.
More spelt sourdough. This time with avocado, tomato & pepitas. 
Utilising this lovely old fashioned writing desk in my room for study purposes. Tea helps.
It was haloumi time in our house a little while ago. Haloumi time = fun times. 
A little corner of my room. 

Hannah x

Friday, April 13, 2012

The National Folk Festival

Hello :) Over the Easter long weekend, I was at The National Folk Festival in Canberra. I was camping with my family and volunteering, which meant I scored a free season pass + camping ticket! For the second year I chose to join the waste & recycling team, because even though you're wheeling bins around the festival, you can still be in amongst it all, not waiting in the same spot for several hours.

It's a festival I look forward to every year. There's always awesome music & some bands I enjoyed this year being: The Woohoo Revue, Rapskallion, The London Klesma Quartet, The Simpson Three, The Ellis Collective & Truckstop Honeymoon. There's also busking, circus acts, dancing, workshops & great food. So today I thought I'd share some of my snapshots with you :)

1. Daily soy chai teas 
2. Katie Noonan performing & what an incredible voice! 
3. Yummy green juices. 
4. Waiting to go into a popular venue called The Majestic 
5. Rapskallion, a folk band with gypsy/cabaret vibes. Awesome to dance to!
6. My sister eating a delicious porridge. 
7. Lagerphones (an Australian folk instrument) parading in the street, as part of a world record attempt. Yep.
8. Getting a henna tattoo! The top layer peels off to a light brown, and now I have a little elephant on my arm, which shall last for 1-2 weeks :)
9. Late night buskers.
10. The Labyrinth tent, I want one!
11. The Bearded Gypsy Band. I do like a man in mustard pants! 
12. The Woohoo Revue playing at the volunteers party, which play Balkan gypsy music and were my favourite band of the festival. 
13. So this photo sums up the session bar. Stacking cups to reach the ceiling. Apart from...that, it's a great place; all the musicians jam together, drink and it's fun to be in amongst in all, sitting by the fire with bands you've seen play that day. 
14. Hello police!

Do you enjoy folk music? I always come back inspired to listen to more folk music & start playing my violin again! And maybe go to another festival!

Hannah x

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Raw Cooking Class, Alfalfa House

Hello :) The other week I went to a super fun cooking class, at Alfalfa House, a community food co-op in Enmore. I was invited by a friend, who was unfortunately sick on the day, so I ended up inviting a friend, Teo. But what type of cooking class was this? Raw Food! It was hosted by Lydia, who is known at Marrickville markets for her truly amazing Earth plates, filled with raw salads, buckwheat/quinoa patties & lots of fresh ingredients. 

An Earth plate from the markets...

The class was limited to 15, as there wasn't much space at the back of the food co-op. We all shared a large table and were split into 4 groups, to work on a different dish. It was all about team work! 

Our group made a cauliflower salad with vinaigrette. We were given the ingredients and instructions, but not the quantities and were encouraged to taste and season accordingly. 

First of all, we broke half a cauliflower into small segments. Thanks for posing, Teo.

Next up, we shredded the cauliflower in a food processor and then mixed this with the vinaigrette, which consisted of olive oil, sea salt, cayenne pepper, chopped basil, balsamic vinegar and lime juice. 

Ta-da! Cauliflower salad with vinaigrette 

Another salad consisted of pumpkin and beetroot, very finely shredded.

Now onto the fun part. Eating!

We got to sample each of the salads, using a cabbage leaf as our plate. Clever. There was also hummus, raw cashews and grapes to add. Other groups made salads using buckwheat/parsley/tomatoes and one with shredded cabbage.

I enjoyed the cooking class immensely! Here's a few things I learnt about raw cooking:

1. It's easy! And eating raw cauliflower, beetroot and pumpkin actually tastes really yummy, it's all about chopping it very finely (a food processor helps). 
2. Use lots of flavours! Make up delicious salad dressings using lots of spices, herbs, lemon/lime juice oils and balsamic vinegar. Using lots of warming spices in particular, helps create the taste of something cooked.
3. Cabbage leaves are perfect used as a plate, and you can always eat it afterwards :)
4. You can make the meals more substantial by adding raw nuts and homemade dips.
5. The salads can be refrigerated for a few days & taste even yummier the day after.
6. Eating raw food makes you feel fantastic & the food I enjoyed was certainly nourishing for both the body and soul. It's true. 

Hopefully they'll be more cooking classes in the future! But for now, I'd better find myself a cauliflower...

Do you enjoy eating lots of raw food? Have any great salad recipes?

Hannah x

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Parsnip & Rosemary Spelt Rolls

Hello :) My bread making adventure is continuing with these rustic, parsnip filled rolls. Just like the rye soda bread I made a little while ago, these rolls require no yeast and are super simple. You might even like to think of them as dense, savoury scones. The recipe is versatile and it is suggested that you can bake it as a whole loaf or vary the herbs and the root vegetables if you wish. It would be delightful, served with a bowl of hot soup! There is a decent amount of parsnip in the rolls too and you can really taste their earthy sweetness, which I love.

Recipe: Parsnip & Rosemary Spelt Rolls (adapted from Vegetarian, Alice Hart)

olive oil, to oil and drizzle
220g parsnips, coarsely grated
275g spelt flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary, plus extra sprigs
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk

*Self-raising flour can be used instead of spelt flour and baking powder.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius. Oil a baking tray or line it with non-stick baking paper.

Mix the parsnips, flour, rosemary and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten eggs and milk. Use a knife to quickly mix everything together to form a rough dough, being careful not to overwork it. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and shape each into a round shape. Slash the tops with a sharp knife and press a small rosemary sprig onto each. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack if you like, but these rolls are best eaten warm. I served mine with butter and ricotta :)

Enjoy the Easter break! What are your plans? I am off as usual to the National Folk Festival in Canberra, where I'll be camping, volunteering and basically getting my hippy on! 

Hannah x

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Farmers Market Kale Cups

Hello :) Another weekend & another Sunday spent at the markets. Our day started off at Concord Farmers Markets, which only started last month and I'm pretty sure run on the first Sunday of the month. They were small but had some great produce and yummy eats & we bought some strawberries and shared vegetarian samosas.

Afterwards it was off to Marrickville markets, as usual. I enjoyed a tub of yoghurt with oats, chia seeds and raspberries for breakfast, along with an iced chai. It was a sunny morning, perfect for lazing about and I managed to spend all the money I brought... funny how that always happens! A vibrant & nutritious salad was constructed for lunch with the fresh veges and produce I came home with.

Farmers Market Kale Cups

1. Tear off a few kale leaves, wash and pat dry
2. Cook 1/2 cup of quinoa in 1 cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer until the quinoa has fluffed up and the water has been absorbed
3. Add the cooked quinoa to a bowl and mix with raw green beans, sliced strawberries and chopped olives 

I bought these olives from Molives, a hand stuffed olive company. They taste seriously good and after much contemplation decided to buy a mixture of  smoked almond and onion/sumac olives. Yum!

4. Arrange kale leaves on a plate

5. Spoon on the quinoa salad and drizzle on extra virgin olive oil. Vegetarians stop here...

6. But I also added some wood smoked salmon!

7. Eat, just like you would a taco!

I ate the kale raw, but feel free to steam or bake it, and of course you can use lettuce cups instead if you prefer :)

Hannah x