Moroccan Brown Rice

moroccan-brown-rice

The best thing about being half Moroccan is, by far, the food. Who doesn’t like Moroccan food? Moroccan grandmothers are renowned for their cooking skills and my grandmother was one of the best.

My mum grew up in the East End of London – you literally couldn’t find a bigger disparity between my dad’s upbringing in Casablanca and my mum’s in the East End! Pie and mash versus apricot chicken tagine, fish and chips versus almond couscous, bacon butties versus cinnamon and turmeric spiced rice, and so on.

But luckily for me, my mum is an amazing cook and learnt all the dishes from my grandmother when she met my dad and so I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up eating the most beautifully tasting food, not just thanks to my mum but also all my dad’s sisters.

I have learnt a lot of the dishes myself and although some of them are very intricate, there are also ways of incorporating the flavours and spices into everyday dishes like rice. Rice is a really hard thing to get right so I hope this post helps you perfect it.

I made this for our dinner alongside some other bits and Daniel and Braxton both love it. I hope you do too.

Ingredients

1 cup brown basmati rice
Enough purified water to cover the rice
1 tsp bouillon
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
Handful almond flakes
Handful sultanas
Himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste

Method

Put the rice in a saucepan and cover with water, but make sure the water comes up about an inch over the rice. I have a Brita kettle and usually boil the kettle first to pre-boil and purify the water, then pour it over once it’s boiled. Give it a mix and add the bouillon and wait until it starts bubbling. Once the bubbling starts, give it another mix, turn the heat down to low and put the lid on.

It will take about 20 minutes from here but you need to give it a stir every 5 minutes or so. If you see the water has gone down too much and the rice isn’t nearly ready, add some more water. The heat is down on low and the lid is on so the steam will cook it more than the water.

Once there is only a very tiny bit of water left at the bottom, after about 15 minutes, add the turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper and mix, then add the almond flakes and sultanas and give it another mix and leave the lid off until the water has disappeared but only just.

Serve straight away.

Love & health,
Lauren

Lemon & Coconut Energy Balls

Lemon Coconut Energy Balls

So I was attempting to make some almond butter but my Vitamix stopped working so before the almonds got smooth enough I was left with a thicker butter. I didn’t want it to go to waste so I just mixed them with dates and other bits to make some energy balls.

I love the combination of lemon and coconut – it’s so summery and refreshing.

Ingredients

1 cup almonds (soaked for 6 hours)
1 cup dates
2 tbsp maple syrup or 1 tbsp Natvia (for lower GI or diabetics use Natvia)
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 tbsp desiccated coconut and more to coat

Method

After the almonds have soaked, rinse and pat them dry, then put them in the blender and blend until a thick buttery consistency forms.

Now add the dates and blend until incorporated.

Add the maple, zest, lemon juice and coconut and blend until combined.

Spoon the mixture into a bowl as it’s easier to work with than when it’s in the blender. Get a clean plate and start rolling the mixture into small balls in your hands and put them on the plate.

Once they are all made, sprinkle the desiccated coconut over them and roll them around to coat them completely.

Chill in the fridge for 4 hours before eating and keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Love & health,
Lauren

 

Apple & Redcurrant Crumble

Apple & Redcurrant Crumble 1

Following on from the post about my mum going to the farmer’s market when she was in Suffolk, other than the summer squashes, she also bought me some lovely redcurrants. I have to say it’s not something I usually buy but they are so pretty and I had loads of apples (and was entertaining, as usual!) so I thought, why not make a crumble. It’s a real British dessert and redcurrants are typical of the ‘English country garden’ so it worked really well.

Just like the Natvia natural sugar substitute I use in this (and many other) recipe, redcurrants have a lower glycemic index value than many other fruits. They are also really good for the hair and skin and, just like its cousin the blueberry, the redcurrant is a great antioxidant. All in all I’d say this crumble is essential for your general wellbeing!

Ingredients

For the fruit layer:
A large handful of redcurrants, picked off the stalks
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
Juice of 2 oranges, reserve the zest of 1 orange
1 tsp Natvia
2 tbsp honey

For the crumble:
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup almonds, soaked for 6 hours
60ml coconut oil
40ml raw honey

Method

Firstly, remember to pre-soak the almonds. Drain, rinse & pat them dry.

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

In a saucepan combine all the fruit layer ingredients. Simmer for around 10-15 minutes until tender. Once softened, pour into an oven-proof dish.

For the crumble, put the oats, ground flaxseed, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest and almonds into a food processor. Process until a crumb-like texture forms. Add the coconut oil and honey and combine well. Spread over the rhubarb mixture.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the crumble is golden and the sauce is bubbling up around the edges. Best served warm, but also delicious served at room temperature for breakfast the next day, with some coconut yoghurt. This was Braxton’s breakfast for 2 days in a row!

Apple & Redcurrant Crumble 2

Love & health,
Lauren

Vegan Lemon & Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I love muffins and cupcakes, but I try to stay away from the ones packed with refined sugar, gluten and dairy these days. My favourite was always lemon and poppy seed so I thought I’d try to make my own today. I’m loving using my Natvia natural sugar substitute and wanted to try it in muffins and they turned out beautifully – a real indulgent afternoon snack with a cup of herbal tea!

Ingredients

2 flax eggs (mix 2 tbsp ground flax seed with 5 tbsp water and leave aside in a bowl)
¼ cup vegan margarine / non-dairy butter/spread (room temperature, soft)
¼ cup Natvia
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp maple syrup (optional, omit for diabetics or low GI)

Frosting:
2 tbsp non-dairy butter / marge at room temperature
2 tbsp Natvia
2 tbsp lemon juice

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a cupcake / muffin baking tin with cupcake cases.

Prepare your flax eggs by mixing the flax seeds and water in a bowl and setting aside.

Put the margarine in a bowl and whip with a fork or a handheld whip.

Add the Natvia and mix, then add the flax eggs and mix until totally combined.

Add the vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and combine.

Now add the buckwheat flour, slowly, and mix as you go until you have added it all, then add the baking powder, then the almond milk and poppy seeds and mix until incorporated.

Spoon the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake for around 12 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean but they are still fairly moist.

Love & health,
Lauren

 

 

White Chocolate Mulberry Fudge

 

White Chocolate Mulberry Bars

This is such a simple recipe and so healthy. Dried white mulberries contain less than half the natural sugar of raisins and other dried fruits. They are high in fibre and in protein – just 1/3 cup contains 4 grams of protein and 20% of your daily fibre needs. They also contain powerful antioxidants which help to protect your heart from damage from some toxins. Raw cacao butter is a source of healthy fats, which optimise organ function.

I’ve added no sweetener as the natural sweetness of the mulberries is enough for me. However if you would prefer it slightly sweeter you could add a bit of raw honey or organic maple syrup.

Ingredients:

100g raw cacao butter
100g organic dried white mulberries
1/8 tsp Oryx Desert Salt
1/4 tsp organic vanilla powder
2 tbsp almond butter

Method:

Gently melt the cacao butter over a very low heat. Be careful not to raise the temperature too much as this will destroy the nutrients found in raw cacao products. I normally turn the stove on for a few minutes, then turn it off and put the saucepan on the plate – the residual heat is enough to melt the cacao butter.

Place the mulberries in a food processor and process until they are broken up into a meal. Alternatively you could grind them in a coffee or spice grinder. Add the remaining ingredients and process to combine.

Spread into a dish lined with baking paper or clingfilm and allow to set, then cut up into blocks. It can be kept at room temperature if it’s not too hot – you might want to put it in the fridge if you have temperatures over 30 C.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Choc-Chip Sweet Potato Cookies

Sweet Potato Choc Chip Cookies 1

If you’ve read my Joburg recommendations in the “Two Kitchens Loves” page, you’ll know that I am a big fan of the Organic Emporium in Bryanston. It has replaced regular supermarkets for my day-to-day grocery shopping. The owner, Debbie, is so passionate about the work she does, it’s hard not to get caught up in her enthusiasm!

Last week I was in the store and Debbie asked me to come up with a recipe for Wensleydale’s new organic Sweet Potato Flour. I made these gluten, sugar and dairy-free choc-chip cookies. They’ve been really popular with everyone’s who’s taste-tested them for me!

Sweet potatoes are naturally gluten-free and low-GI so the flour makes a great substitute for regular wheat flour. It is quite granular, so it gives the cookies a chunky texture. If you’d prefer a smoother texture you can grind the flour more finely in a blender. In the first batch I used a combination of honey and coconut sugar to sweeten; and in the second batch I replaced the coconut sugar with organic stevia leaf powder. Both worked equally well, so it’s just a matter of preference. If you’re watching calories I would recommend using the stevia.

Ingredients (makes about 20 cookies)

1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup organic coconut sugar OR 1/2 tsp organic stevia leaf powder
2 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew etc)
2 farm-raised eggs
1/4 tsp organic vanilla powder OR 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp himalayan salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 ripe banana, finely mashed with a fork
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup rolled oats
75g Gayleen’s Decadence Raw Chocolate Baking Slab, available at the Organic Emporium
1 1/2 cup Wensleydale’s Sweet Potato Flour, available at the Organic Emporium

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Make sure that the raw chocolate is cold from the fridge. Chop it up into small pieces for your “chocolate chips” and then return to the fridge. If left at room temperature it may start to melt.

Beat together the oil, coconut sugar or stevia, honey and nut butter. Add the eggs and beat well. Stir in the vanilla, salt, bicarb, banana and water. Add the oats and chocolate chips. Now stir in the sweet potato flour. You will notice that the flour is very “thirsty” and the dough will thicken quite quickly. Stir well so that there are no dry lumps of flour.

Line a large baking tray with silicone mats or baking paper. Place a heaped tablespoon of dough onto the tray and spread out into a neat circle, about 1.5cm thick. You can wet your fingers to prevent the dough from sticking to them. Repeat till all the dough is used up. The cookies will not spread during baking, so you can place them quite close together.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until slightly golden and firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup

Butternut Ginger Soup

Another warming soup for another cold London day. You can probably tell by all my recipes how much I love butternut squash! Butternut squash have a lower glycemic index than potatoes and are high in fibre so great for the metabolism. They’re packed with Vitamin A and potassium, are low in calories (low GI) and high in Vitamin B Complex which I need lots of for my nerve problems caused by long-term arthritis. They are also high in polyphenols (like acai berries and blueberries) which are great anti-oxidants. An all round brilliant vegetable! I added ginger, firstly because I like to take advantage of the detox affects of ginger but also because it gives it a great kick. The two flavours really go nicely together – my mum taught me that! I of course added turmeric, as I do to everything that is yellow, for some anti-inflammatory action.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash
1 large sweet potato
1 onion
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup almond or coconut milk
1 tsp freshly shaved ginger
1 tsp turmeric
Salt & pepper to taste
Half tsp coconut oil
Handful of pine nuts (optional)

Method

Peel and chop your vegetables. When that’s done, heat the oil in a large saucepan and when hot, add the onion and cook for one minute. Then add the butternut and sweet potato and coat in the oil, 30 seconds should be enough.

Add the stock and almond milk, along with the rest of the ingredients and keep at a high temperature until it starts bubbling then turn down to low, put on the lid and let it simmer for an hour.

Once all veggies are soft, use a handheld blender to blend (or put it in a food processor if you don’t have a handheld) and blend until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste. Decorate with pine nuts, a great accompaniment for this soup!

Enjoy!
Love,
Lauren