Chocolate, Date and Chick Pea Cookies

Family favourites – delicious and nutritious!!

Itchin' Kitchen

Today we were heading out to a party but when I went to the freezer to grab out a safe cake for miss Ellie – there were none left … eek!

So, with an hour to go before we needed to leave … these cookies were the made-up-on-the-spot result. They have now been a firm favourite for the past 4 years!

I use legumes in soooo many things, little powerhouses of fibre and protein and so good for your gut health – but I was inspired to add legumes to my cookies by TRTLMT

We most often use chick peas, but when I’m after a little variety, or the pantry dictates, we also used butter beans and kidney beans. They are all delish!

My little miss loves them – I’m pretty sure she’d eaten about 6 of them by the end of the day while I wasn’t paying too much…

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Mushroom and Lentil Bolognese

Bolognese has long been a favourite dinner in our house.

We have a pretty non-traditional version, but it works for us – there are always 6 empty plates and 6 happy tummies when it’s on the menu.

Easy to make, a massive serve of veggies, great fibre and it’s  a very budget friendly meal, that cooks up in bulk and freezes well too.

More recently as we are reducing the number of meals we eat that contain meat, we’ve moved from making our standard beef mince bolognese, to this vegan version.

The kids haven’t blinked an eye with the transition, in fact, Harry recently requested it as his birthday party dinner – hope you like it too!

 

  • 1 finely chopped medium brown onion
  • 2 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp minced chillies (depending on your heat preference)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 large zucchini
  • 2 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed (we also use black beans)
  • 2 400g tin lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 cups mushrooms (a mixture of types is good to give textural variety)
  • medium sweet potato or pumpkin (roughly 2 fist sized pieces), peeled and diced
  • 3 large handfuls spinach
  • 700 ml tomato pasata
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 cup stock (we use the vegan, but beef stlye stock by Massel for a store bought option)
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • spaghetti or pasta that suits your diet to serve

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Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then add the onion and stir until soft.

Add in the chillies, mix well and turn down to low heat.

In your food processor (or with a knife if you have the patience!), pulse the mushrooms until you get a fine chop. Add the mushrooms to the onion mix in the hot saucepan. Stir them in well to coat in onion mixture.

Add in the lentils, plus the stock, tomato paste and red wine then stir well to combine.

Meanwhile, in the food processor blitz or grate the vegetables, spinach and beans. Add in the pasata to help bring the mix all together. Process more or less depending on how smooth you want your sauce.

Add the veggie and pasata mix to the mushroom and lentil mix in the pan and stir well. Bring to a very gentle simmer, then add the fresh herbs. I tend to finely chop the basil before stirring through, but I leave the rosemary on it’s stems, just bruising the leaves before adding it to the pot, just remove the stems when you serve. Simmer for about half an hour, stirring regularly.

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Serve on your choice of pasta, zucchini noodles or a bed of steamed green beans – add cheese of choice to top if you like, or even sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

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Serves about 10 adults (freeze left over sauce in an airtight container for a couple of months)

Enjoy 🙂

 

Chocolate beetroot muffins (with extra veggies!)

These rich, earthy muffins are a standard in our freezer – today we have to feed the hordes after school so there’s a double batch cooling!

Itchin' Kitchen

I know … beetroot and spinach (or pumpkin and chick peas!) are not ingredients you would normally associate with a chocolate muffin – but trust me, it works!

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My tribe wolf them down and have no idea of the goodies hiding inside – yay! They are a standard lunchbox favourite – I even use this recipe to make the base of our birthday cakes now and everyone digs in!

See below the recipe for the coeliac friendly option and some different veggie variations

  • 1 large cooked beetroot (approx 225g)*
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 40g cocoa/30g cacao powder
  • 70ml tasteless oil (rice bran oil, melted vegan butter & coconut oil work well) OR 70g sunflower seed butter
  • 150ml oat/rice/soy/almond milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 90g maple syrup OR coconut sugar
  • 280g spelt flour (half wholemeal)
  • 2.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 6 tbsp aquafaba OR 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp…

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Roo and root veg pie

We have reduced our consumption of meat significantly in the last year. For numerous reasons; the cost, the environmental impact and the health benefits.

But recently we were kindly given a couple of kilos of Kangaroo tails. Kangaroos have far less of an impact on the enviroment than does farmed meat, it is much, much lower in saturated fats than other red meat, but is higher in iron and B12 and well, as a gift … the cost aspect was quite appealing!

It is something I have eaten before and enjoyed but not cooked myself. We have had a stew with them, and added them to veggie burger patties and for our last lot I thought we’d have a pie. Since we have an abundance of beetroot, sweet potato and fresh herbs in our garden at the moment, we made good use of those too.

Peter went back for seconds, Will gave me 5 gold stars, George licked his bowl clean and Harry went back for seconds and thirds …. even Ellie tasted it. Winner!!

Of course if you don’t have access to Kangaroo, or it doesn’t appeal to you, you can always use beef or lamb bones for this pie – just reduce the cooking time in the slow cooker to 7-8 hours on low.

For the meat and gravy part of the pie:

  • Approx 1kg kangaroo tail pieces
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp vegemite or miso paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs each of fresh rose and thyme
  • 1tsp onion flakes
  • 1/3 tsp garlic flakes
  • 3 cups hot beef stock (I used Massel)

Place the tail pieces in the slow cooker and turn it on low. Sprinkle over it the pepper, onion, garlic and herbs. Mix together the stock, wine, tomato paste, aminos and vegemite and pour over the lamb.

Place the lid and the slow cooker and leave for 9-10 hours.

For the remainder of filling of the pie, after the meat is cooked:

  • 400g sweet potato
  • 250g beetroot
  • 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • meat from the slow cooker
  • 3/4 liquid from the slow cooker.

Grate the veggies finely, use a food processor, or Speed 6 in your thermal cooker.

Add in the kidney beans and cooking liquid process until the beans are well broken down (Speed 5, 10 seconds).

Transfer the veggie mix to a large pan – even better if it can go directly from stove to oven. Place on a medium heat.

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Use a fork to pull the meat from the bones and finely chop it.

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Add the meat to the veggie mix.

Drain and strain the remaining liquid from the slow cooker and add another 3/4 cup of it to the meat and veg. Mix well and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the meat and veg are simmering, make the scone dough for the top of the pie:

  • 1.5 cups spelt flour (I do half wholemeal) OR 1.25 cups GF flour mix and 3/4 tsp psyllium
  • 1.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt flakes
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 50g vegan butter
  • 1/3-1/2 cup water

Place all ingredients except the water and butter in your processor and process to combine (Speed 4, 6 seconds)

Add in the butter and pulse until you get a sand like consistency.

Whilst the processor is running (Speed 4), add in the water through the top chute. Start with 1/3 cup and gradually add more if needed to bring together to a dough.

Tip out the dough and roll into shape of your pie dish.

Lay the dough on top of the pie filling, cut a few steam vents and place into a preheated 180C oven for about 30 minutes.

 

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Then cut and serve.

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Makes enough for 5-6 adult serves.

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Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

The Chocolate Cake

This is one of my most versatile cakes. There are options to cater for gluten, egg, dairy, nut, soy and legume allergies. The cake is vegan and can be more or less sweet depending on your sugar preference. It cooks well as a double batch for bulk cooking and freezing and also makes yummy cupcakes.
We’re taking a big batch off to a picnic today – enjoy!

Itchin' Kitchen

Growing up, my mum was famous for her chocolate cake. So much so that it was known simply as ‘The Chocolate Cake’.

It was the base for most (if not all!) of mine and my brother’s birthday cakes and it made an appearance at a lot of special family occasions. Since our diet has had to change I have so missed that cake! So since we are off to a birthday party tomorrow where we will need to take ‘safe’ cake along for Ellie … here is my attempt at living up to Mum’s cake!

See below the recipe for a coeliac friendly version.

  • 1 3/4 cups spelt flour (half wholemeal)**
  • 2 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/2 – 3/4  cup coconut sugar (use more or less depending on your sweet tooth!)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 125g Nuttelex/Vegan butter/tasteless coconut oil
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3…

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Seed Butter cookies

There’s an old recipe that claims to make ‘magic’ cookies – I think I even saw them on Masterchef last year – all you need is peanut butter, sugar and eggs.

Well, hm. Guess they’re not for us then!

But I’ve been thinking about how I could make a seed butter based cookie, also without eggs, and this is the winner!

  • 180g smooth Sunflower Seed butter (or other nut butter that suits you)
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba OR 1 whole egg
  • 1 cup rolled oats or quinoa
  • 3/4 tsp GF baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

In your processor/bullet/thermal cooker, place the oats, salt, cinnamon and baking powder and blitz until you have a consistency like flour (Speed 6, 12 seconds). Set aside

Place the seed butter, sugar, maple syrup, aquafaba and vanilla in a saucepan or thermal cooker. Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and well combined (Speed 3, 100C for 1 min, then up to speed 5 for 10 seconds).

Add the dry mix to the wet and mix until combined. (Speed 4, 10 seconds, scrape down and repeat). The mixture will be quite thick and will clump together.

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Tip mixture into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for 30 mins – 1 hour.

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Form a teaspoon of mix into a ball and place on a lined baking tray. Flatten with a fork.

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Place into a preheated moderate oven and bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden.

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Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

The cookies will be soft when you remove them from the oven but will harden on cooling.

Makes 18-20, store in an airtight container for a week.

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We like ours dunked in milk (my favourite is vanilla almond!)

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Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

Fried Rice

Itchin' Kitchen

‘The best dinner in the whole world of ever time’ …. This is how Will describes my fried rice.  So nice when you get something right!!

This is a fairly regular feature on our menu because; it’s a meal that everyone loves, is easy to make, can be easily adjusted to cater for allergies, you can make most of it in advance, you can make it in bulk, it freezes well for emergency dinners later on and it is a muuuuch healthier option than the Fried Rice you’d get in a restaurant! What is not to love?!

  • 2 cups brown rice*
  • 4 cups of finely chopped veggies (peas, corn, carrots and bean shoots are our regulars)
  • 200g sliced mushrooms
  • 3-4 diced chicken thighs
  • 6 rashers short cut bacon, diced
  • finely grated, fresh ginger, to taste
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (Massel for a…

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