A controversial hummus of the zucchini variety.

I know. I’m sorry. Perhaps you think I have lost the plot with this one…

It IS hummus, but instead of using chickpeas, I wanted to find something a wee bit lighter. We currently have zucchini coming out of our eyeholes, so I thought why not use this gigantic phallic vegetable for a new and exciting hummus-y paste?

I’m sure you can probably think of a few reasons why not…. But give it a go.

Its a bit runnier than your average hummus, due to the moisture content of the zucchini. I found that letting it sit overnight in the fridge thickened it up a bit, but if you want it less runny, try grating the zucchini first and squeezing the moisture out of it before blending with the other ingredients. You could also add a handful of nuts or seeds (cashew is always a goodie) to give it a bit more texture.

If you can’t tolerate or avoiding legumes, its a good option. Hummus purists may weep a tear or two, but I think its a tasty alternative.

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini (or just one big daddy), peeled and chopped, excess moisture squeezed out

1/2 cup tahini

3 garlic cloves (to keep the boys and girls away)

1-2 tbsp olive oil

juice of one lemon

1-2 tsp cumin (or other herbs and spices you like)

sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Method

Pop it all in your food processor and whiz away until it resembles hummus. Sprinkle some toasted seeds on top and serve with chopped veggies, or maybe a large hunk of steak, if that tickles your fancy.

photo-2

Recipe: Green Fritters

Is it breakfast, lunch or dinner? I’ll let you decide.

We ate these on a particularly sweaty summers evening in the back garden, accompanied by buckwheat cabbage salad, homemade sundried tomato hummus, sweetcorn and a cheeky glass of Neudorf Pinot Noir.

I have a confession to make –  it’s definitely not my own recipe. I have nabbed it and adapted it from a book my lovely aunt in England gave me, titled “A Modern Way to Eat”, which is written by a woman living in London with excellent taste in food. Thankyou, kind lady, for this delight.

I used greens from the garden – silver beet, kale, and courgette, with a lemon from the lemon tree. I’m lucky enough to be at home in Nelson where Mother has a glorious vegetable garden. You can use whatever you have to hand – spinach, broccoli, peas, etc. The idea is that its a quick and easy recipe to throw together, using whats available. Also, cheese is important (but when is cheese not important, amiright?)

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying they never quite turn out how they look in the book… but they taste real good. That is all that matters.

Here goes:

 

Green Fritters

250g courgettes (grated or finely chopped)

2 handfuls greens, shredded (spinach, kale, silverbeet, whatever you like)

4 tbsp soft cheese (feta, goats cheese)

25 g grated parmesan or pecorino

1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

5 free range eggs

wee bit of basil/mint/dill/parsley

squeeze of a lemon

sea salt and cracked pepper

olive oil or coconut oil (for frying)

photo 1

Put all the vegetables in a big bowl, crumble in the cheeses, add the garlic, herbs and lemon with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Crack in the eggs and mix it well.

Get a large frying pan, a generous amount of oil and a medium-high heat. Spoon in the mixture, flatten to form patties, fry for 2-3 minutes then flip and fry on the other side until brown.

Serve with whatever you want to serve it with, and a hearty glass of wine/beersie/lemonade/typical summer beverage.

Bask in your culinary glory.

Best. Day. Ever.

Wednesday was an action packed day. These Dutch people, they don’t mess around, they get things done. It’s invigorating and inspiring, and you are so ready for bed when the time comes.

The day began with some yoga and a meditation with Izzy outside our little chalet, which we have been doing every day. They say it takes 30 days to develop a habit, and I think I just hit that. Right now I’m loving the Sivananda sun salutations, probably because that was the style we were doing in Spain every morning. The meditation is the 108 breath meditation, which involves alot of heavy breathing which is kind of awkward…. But it sets you up for a very peaceful morning meditation.

 

Bums
Bums
Saluting the Sun
Saluting the Sun

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After that, we had our green smoothies and did some weeding and gardening. I am learning all about which ones are weeds and which ones are plants, which is quite useful to know. I needed to be taught, otherwise I would just go around pulling everything out because it “‘looks messy”… We went foraging for greens to have in our lunchtime salad, now I know that things growing all around our feet are totally edible and actually taste kind of good. Apart from some things which will make you ill, don’t eat those ones…

Then we ate lunch, then we made a raw apple pie for our dinner party that evening! Oh boy, it was good. Its free of.. gluten, dairy, processed sugar, and… meat. You would hope so.

Here’s the recipe, if you’re into that kind of thing. Or maybe you do not know how to work the oven, in which case this is perfect for you.
Raw Apple Pie
Base
200g ground almonds
150g dates, soaked, or a date paste
pinch salt
Filling
3 apples
1 cup dates, soaked
raisins
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
half a tsp ginger
pinch nutmeg

Blend together the base mixture in a food processor, press into the bottom of a shallow dish lined with baking paper. The mixture doesnt need to be around the sides. Blend the filling ingredients, press on top of the crust and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Put it in your mouth.

 

Cat and Pie
Cat and Pie

After making our pie, Mariken took Izzy and I on a trip to a nearby town called Chantelle, where there is a monastery with REAL NUNS, a forest and a river. Dreamy. We had a look in the nun shop where they sell all their homemade goodies, then hiked into the forest to forage some wild garlic for our pesto. I was expecting bulbs of garlic to be popping out of the hillside, but no, they are leaves that taste like garlic! Magnificient leaves! And pretty flowers that you can also eat. Oh nature, you never fail to amaze.

Then we found a swimming hole and decided to go swimming. Naked. Because there was no one around, and because we could. Initially I was like oh my word, I barely know these people! I cannot bare my flesh to them! Then I thought, meh. They can just deal with my awkward tan lines.

It was the shortest swim of my life because it was so GOSH DARN FREEZING. It literally took my breath away.

We drove home singing along to Bob Marley. Bobby never fails to capture the mood.

Mariken showed me how she works with her ponies without using a halter. They have seven ponies, all of them a little bit mischievious. They try to eat my gumboot on regular occasions.

Ponies
Ponies

That night we had a 3 course raw vegan meal with some of the guests – Auke, Saskia and their wee tot Shuart. I have no idea how to spell his name, but its pronounced as a combination of Stuart and Short. We had wild garlic pesto, raw lasagne and, of course, our apple pie. And wine, because whats a dinner party without wine? Then we had a soul shakedown party, which is essentially all of us dancing around and Auke the giant swinging around the pole in the middle of the room like a giant pole dancer. He is genuinely the tallest person I ever met. He has to duck to get in everywhere.

Shuart on his machine
Shuart on his machine
The Brenazet Family
The Brenazet Family

We made a bonfire outside and sat around making up stories. A pretty awesome day. Izzy and I are looking after the farm for the next 3 days while Mariken, Ron, Igor and Nikola go back to Holland for Opa’s birthday party. We are excited to have some quality farm time, make some exciting meals and walk Elsa the dog. This place is beautiful! Who knows why some of the photos are black and white and some are in colour…. I am too tired to figure it out.

Ron
Ron
Little guy
Little guy

Brenazet france mei 2014 001 (219)

Brenazet france mei 2014 001 (217)

Brenazet france mei 2014 001 (221)

Seeking the sun

After a week of strenuous planning ( I say strenuous like it’s hard, figuring out whether I want to go to Italy or Spain next), I have come up with a rough plan for the next 5 months. I am the kind of person that will agonise over every little detail for a few days, toss and turn at night, then suddenly make a snap decision and that’s it. Done. Sorted. The decision is the hardest part, the actual planning is generally smooth sailing!

Next Wednesday I’m heading to Barcelona for 3 nights, to see the city just because it’s somewhere I’ve never been and have heard wonderful things about! Through Couchsurfing I’ve been invited to drinks and a ‘language exchange’ evening while I’m there – I think they expect me to speak a small amount of Spanish, which is awkward, cos I don’t. But that’s ok – maybe I’ll meet someone who’s willing to teach me.. They may regret it. I thought about Couchsurfing in Barcelona and put up a open request for a couch, but I just got about ten messages from 30 year old men, with their entire profile filled out in Spanish apart from their life motto “impossible is nothing!!!!” and, “I’m here to show you how to PARTY DOWNTOWN.” Not entirely sure what they mean by that. I’m all for partying, but…. Nah..

Then I am heading down the coast of Spain to work at this yoga retreat in the hills, near the beaches of Costa Daurada. I will be sleeping in a tent, being vegetarian again, doing yoga every morning and of course helping with the retreats. I just have my fingers crossed that there are no aliens there. I can’t wait for SUNSHINE!

I’m there for about three weeks, then I’m going to France, to HelpX at this place that runs wellness retreats and camping/ gités over the warmer months. They also have horses, which I’m super excited about! Mariken is a yoga teacher and they drink green smoothies in the morning, I will be right at home.

Then it’s my birthday, which I weirdly almost forgot about when making my plans. I may head back to the UK for a week or so to catch up with people, then it’s over to Ireland for 2 months, back to the Valley House where I spent 6 weeks last summer.

The last few weeks have been a bit of downtime, recovering from my weird experiences in Devon and generally just eating meat.. I’m excited to get on the road again!

Earlier this week I wrote a blog post on meditation for my aunty Kath, who runs a wonderful business called designed2enable, which sources stylish assistive products for people with disabilities and physical difficulties. You can read it here. Their pill boxes are a handy gift for people with lots of medication to take!

Tonight I made Socca, which are chickpea pancakes that are very popular in Nice in the south of France. Credit goes to Aimee who I met in Devon – she made these one night and I was hooked.

Here’s the recipe for y’all – goes nicely with spicy Indian dal, or Mediterranean vegetables (just change up the herbs in the pancake). I like things that are easy to make and don’t stress me out by requiring a million ingredients. Which is why I like these!

Makes about two pancakes – double the recipe for more.

1 cup chickpea (gram) flour
1 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp EV olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin/coriander, or mixed herbs for a Mediterranean filling

Just cook them up like normal pancakes, then shove one in your mouth.

I hope you likey.

p.s. Exciting news of the week- I got two of 750 civilian passes to go to Gallipoli for ANZAC Day in 2015. You have to put your name in a ballot, and over 10,000 people entered. Woohoo!

P.p.s. The thought of packing up my backpack again is just exhausting. At least this time I won’t have to take all ten of my winter jumpers, because I’m heading to the sunshine! I’ll just take three. Three chunky jumpers will do, Rosie.

 

 

Ma Weird Green Gunk

Howdy kids!

So I thought I would share with you all two recipes that I take great delight over.

One habit from the yoga retreat that I have not been able to shake is the delightful green smoothies! I drink them most mornings and my darling Aunty Sue grimaces when I slurp down a glass full of green in the morning. I can understand how she feels – its how I felt before I started drinking them regularly….

But now I am a teensie bit addicted. I luff dem. So I thought I would share the recipe I make most mornings, because it involves ingredients that aren’t too hard to come by and you don’t have to spend an hour preparing, which is something nobody wants to do at 7.00am. Obviously you could get all fancy and add in chia seeds and maca powder, but that shit is expensive.

1 apple (granny smith is quite delish)

1 generous hand-grab of spinach or kale

1 cup water

a chunk of root ginger

juice of 1/2 a lemon

You could also add for fun: a few inches of cucumber, half a pear, half a banana, seeds, or some nutty butter for all you nutty butter lovers out there (I personally love Pic’s natural peanut butter, all the way from Nelson, New Zealand – its 100% nuts, none of that palm oil crud.. get some here: http://reallygood.co.nz/

Do the ol’ whizarooney and there’s your breakfast! You could even take it in a flask and share it out amongst your co-workers, and spend the rest of the day pointing out the spinach in each other’s teeth. I often need some substance with it so I have some nuts or a piece of toast. Because a girl cannot exist on liquids alone.

My next recent fave recipe is so easy you will not know what to do with yourself. I stole this from my yoga teacher’s newsletter, because I felt the deliciousness needed to be shared.

Flourless banana pancakes! 

One ripe banana

Two eggs

1 tsp cinnamon/ allspice

Mash up the banana in one bowl, whisk the eggs in another, combine, pop in the cinnamon and any other goodies you want, mix together, pour batter into a hot pan etc etc.

Makes about two small pancakes. Serve them with some yoghurt/ creme fraiche and berries, or whatevz really. Maybe peanut butter. You can tell I just really love the stuff. You could eat this for breakfast, for dessert, for midnight…I hope you all make these and thoroughly enjoy them.

Anyhoo, it’s Sunday night and therefore time for a gin and tonic and my orange hippie trousers.

Cheerio pumpkins!