My names Baba… BabaGanush

When I was 19 I had the amazing experience of living in Israel for 9 months. Travelling the whole country from the Golan heights to Eilat , I have hundreds of stories and a million memories.

I spent alot of time in Jerusalem, staying in the Old City for most of it, trying all the traditional food on offer and some of the not so traditional, one place I remember was Bonkers Bagels, freshly made bagels smothered with lox and cream cheese or smeared in Chatzilim typically known as Babaganush or Eggplant dip.

Coming back to New Zealand trying store bought Babaganush after Babaganush I lost all hope of ever finding the smokey slightly tangy creamy dip… until I made my own.

The memories of coming home at 1am after nights of drinking sweet kosher wine or some sort of alcohol that could quite possibly have been petrol, stopping off to get a tub of Babaganush and some slightly stale bagels to help soak up some of the 100%proof … ah to be 19 again.

You don’t have to be an eggplant lover to like this dip, like I said, it is smokey, garlicky, lemony and creamy and oh do delicious!

Babaganush

4 Eggplants

1-4 Cloves Garlic

2-3 Lemons juiced

3-5Tbs Tahini

Prick the Eggplants all over and place on open flame till they start to blacken- the longer you leave them the more smokey the end dip will be. Place on a rack over a tray in the oven till the Eggplants are deflated and soft, remove from the oven and cover the tray with tinfoil or cling film for 10min. Once the Eggplants have cooled a bit remove the flesh from the chard skin and place in a food processor.

Depending on your tastes add remaining ingredients till you have reached a lovely balance and a creamy consistancy, at this stage the dip is Vegan.

You can leave the dip as is or add in some optional: Natural yoghurt, Mayonaise, Sour cream.

These give a more mellow flavour and make the dip go futher.

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Bits and Pieces

I hate it when you have people over for a BBQ and there isn’t any room in the fridge for a big salad, yet you don’t want to make it and leave it out at room temp on a stinking hot day, and you also don’t want to miss out on having a cold drink with your guests because you are stuck in the kitchen making the salad.
What to do!? What to do?!

Or coming home from a long day at work and having to pull everything out of the fridge to make that salad you crave?
Yet a pre made salad never lasts more than a day- wilted lettuce, soggy tomato.. What to do?! What to do?!

Make a bag of bits.
Easy!

I like to cut all the goodies that go in my favourite green salad, keep them in a plastic bag in the fridge, all ready to be layered with the greenery of choice to make a fresh, crisp, delish salad…

Ideas for bits:
Radish
Cucumber
Courgette
Capsicum
Spring onion or red onion
Tasty cheese (feta is a bit too soft for this- but easy to add after)
Mung beans
Whole cherry tomatoes (cut tomatoes are too messy- best to add later)
Carrot
Raw broccoli or cauliflower
Just to name a few!!Cut everything into salad size pieces, put in a plastic bag, mix around and keep in the fridge till you want to make your salad. All you need to do is layer the bits with your favorite greens- or not- after all the bits are the well best bits ­čÖé

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Short & Savoury

Summer is totally about quick, easy, fresh and tasty.

So over the next wee while that’s what I’m gonna give you.

There may or may not be a lot of reading involved on your behalf- which means there may or may not be a lot of writing on my behalf- it also means more time for you to spend out on the deck in the sun eating a yummy salad and drinking a crisp Pinot Gris…

I love raw broccoli- slightly spicy, great texture and such a beautiful colour.

Raw Broccoli and Cranberry Salad

Raw Broccoli – cut into small pieces- kinda like couscous

Toasted Almonds

Dried Cranberries

Your favorite vinagrette (balsamic, oil, seeded mustard, honey)

Mix everything together and enjoy- seriously it is that easy!

This is also great if you add some chilli flakes for a bit of heat, or avocado, feta, wild rice even red rice for texture.

Everything Slaw

Sometimes you just crave flavours and textures, on a warm afternoon as it starts to cool down with the setting sun I crave something fresh, crunchy and light yet creamy and amazingly tasty.

At this time of year salad vegetables are a plenty so you can add in or leave out what ever you like- and the dressing… well i could eat it on anything… it would go wonderful on a cold japaneese noodle salad with toasted sesame seeds and even some grilled chicken…

Everything slaw with Creamy Asian Avocado dressing

Carrot

Red Cabbage

Radish

Cucumber

Red Onion

Bean sprouts

Capsicum

Coriander (mint would also be lovely)

I like to cut the vegetables in long thin pieces like a traditional coleslaw.

Toast in a dry pan a selection of nuts and seeds, I used:

Cashews

Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

Sesame Seeds

Creamy Asian Avocado Dressing

Avocado

1 small clove Garlic- finely grated

1/4tsp Ginger- finely grated

Small handful Roquette or Spinach

1Tbs Tahini

Tamari/ Soy sauce to taste

Sesame Oil

Juice 1 Lime

Salt

Optional- Chilli

Blend everything till creamy- Adjust flavours to desired taste

Add a little water to thin if you want to use as a salad dressing.

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Did you say Avocado?!?

So the Girls are coming for dinner and seeing as it is spring and summer is just around the corner a decadent chocolate dessert may be just what we feel like but not what we need if you catch my drift… so vegan and almost raw it is, and it doesn’t get much better than this. There are a million recipes on the web, this is my version, serve it with some cointreau macerated orange segments for a real doozy of a boozy dessert.

Vegan Orange and Chocolate Mousse

2 Ripe Avocados

3-4Tbs Agave Nectar

2Tbs Homemade Marmalade

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

Blend all ingredients together- if the mousse is too thick add some liquid (rice milk, almond milk or any liquid you like)
Taste- adding more of individual ingredients till you think its the best tasting thing ever.

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Made this morning- scone by the afternoon

I had a hankering this morning for scones.

I was meeting my sister and her soon to be three year old twins at the park for a play then a coffee- what situation is more suited to turn up to with freshly baked scones than this?!

These scones were not your ordinary scone, they were AMAZING- even if I do say so myself! And if you cant take my word for it then take my Mums- because she also loved them.

Those of you who know my Mum know she is a straight shooter who is not afraid to say what she thinks whether its nice or not- and today it was very nice- so nice she told me to take them all home with me when I left or she would eat them all, and that would be bad for the diet!

They were practically good for you as I made them with Extra Virgin Coconut oil instead of fatty butter, they were sweetened with unrefined molasses sugar and had glorious chunks of dark chocolate and tart dried cranberries dotted through the moist and crumbly layers, perfect for a mid morning snack with a hot cuppa .

Vegan Scones

3cups Plain Flour

2Tbs Baking Powder

80g Extra virgin Coconut oil- hard

1/2cup packed Molasses Sugar

Pinch of Salt

With finger tips rub the above ingredients together till there are no lumps of oil (it should look like bread crumbs). This can also be done in  the food processor.

I used Dark Chocolate chunks and Dried Cranberries but you could use white chocolate, dried cherries, orange zest, dates- anything your heart desires.

Mix flavourings into the dry mix and stir till mixed evenly.

Lastly add Rice milk (or any milk you like- almond milk would also be good, or coconut milk) slowly until the mix starts to come together- how much milk – enough so that when you fold to combine no dry flour is left at the bottom of the bowl- if you make it too wet- add some more of the magic mix -too dry add more milk.

Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and cut into 8 portions.

Put onto grease proof paper and bake 180c till a skewer comes out clean- 20-40minutes.

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