Amaranth Porridge Bowl with Berries

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Amaranth Porridge with berries and cashew milk.  This photo was taken by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

I love Amaranth because it is such a versatile ingredient.  During our tv show I have recently popped it, serve it instead of mash and use it to thicken soups.  I particularly love this amaranth porridge.  As a rough guide use 1 part amaranth to 3 parts liquid and cook until all the liquid is absorbed.  Remove the mixture from the heat to prevent it from becoming overcooked and gummy in texture. Is there a better way to start the day during a cold winter?

You will need:

1/2 cup amaranth
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cashew milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon agave or stevia [or honey for non-vegan]
vanilla
1 cinnamon stick
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Top with:  200g mixed berries and I use blueberries, strawberries, pecans, hazelnuts, mint leaves

Soak the amaranth overnight in water if you have the time.  Rinse then place in a saucepan and add 1 1/2 cups water.  Add the vanilla, cinnamon stick broken in half, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.    Bring to boil and reduce to heat.  Cover and simmer for 25 minutes stirring constantly.  Add the cashew milk and cook for another 5 minutes.    Remove from the heat and add the agave/stevia or honey.   Stir and add the lemon zest.

Pour half the mixture into a bowl.  Puree half the berries and add to the other half of the amaranth porridge.  Mix it in then pour it into the bowl and use a fork or knife to make some swirls to create a marbled effect.  Decorate the amaranth bowl with a mix of berries, nuts and mint leaves.  Serve while still hot.

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My fresh fruit and vegetables today come from Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables in Paola.  My Tunisian fresh dates come from Deyma Shop Gzira

My cashew milk by Alpro and amaranth come from Good Earth.  My daily selection of fresh fruit and vegetables comes from Big Fresh in Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables in Paola and Barbuto in Sicily for organic vegetables.

Black Forest Smoothie Bowl fortified with Aronia

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‘Nothing tastes better than fresh ingredients and this black forest smoothie bowl is the ultimate breakfast or dessert.  I poured melted chocolate over the ice cold mix and it solidified in a few seconds.  My photos are taken by CJ during a live tv show’

You will need:

1/2 purple raw carrot
1/2 cooked beetroot
4 dates
2 kale leaves
1/4 peeled apple
2 frozen bananas
2 cups mixed frozen cherries and cranberries
1 teaspoon agave
2 tablespoons aronia concentrate
2 cups cashew milk
3 tablespoons oats

Top with : 100g fresh cherries, 50g dry roasted flaked almonds and 50g melted dark sugar free chocolate, baby chard

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Add all the ingredients to the blender and combine until it is a smooth consistency.

While you are doing this melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie.

Pour into a bowl.

Arrange the fresh cherries on top of the smoothie mix.

Add some dry roasted flaked almonds.

Pour melted chocolate on the surface of the smoothie mix. It will solidify and makes the smoothie mix taste even more amazing.

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My fresh fruit and vegetables come from Big Fresh, frozen fruit from PJ Sutters, nuts, oats, agave and cashew milk from Good Earth, sugar-free chocolate by Valor and aronia concentrate from J Calleja Import Export Ltd

Borage Flower Ice Cubes

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Borage ice cubes in citrus flavoured water, photo during a live tv show by CJ Baldacchino

‘having used organic borage very recently for some new recipes, I was given a box of fresh borage flowers by my friend Antida this week.  Borage flowers are usually bright blue but you can find creamy white ones and pink ones too.  Borage is also known as starflower because of the 5 pointed petals.   A few years ago I went through a phase of using edible flowers in ice cubes but could not resist making them on tv this week’

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Borage flowers from Antida’s garden, photo by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

Once you have picked the flowers and while they are very fresh, gently remove the stem.  Be careful not to damage them.  Place them in a bowl of water to make sure there are no insects.  Fill up an ice cube tray with bottled or filtered water.  I found that the best method is to place the flowers on top and push them down gently with your finger.

There are other methods to freeze half of the ice cubes and top with water once the flower freezes but doing it in one go produces more crystal clear ice cubes and is much quicker.  When the ice cubes are completely frozen, add them to your drinks.  The flowers are edible.

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Borage flowers in ice cubes,  photos taken during a live tv show

Lea’s new book  Good Food Everyday is available via Midsea Books.

I use organic borage from Barbuto.  With thanks to Antida at Big Fresh Mosta for the borage flowers.  

 

Homemade plant-based milks in today’s Sunday Times

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Homemade rice milk.  Photo by Marconia Schembri during a live tv show.  Tunisian handmade sweets by Deyma Shop, Gzira

I spent the past few months exploring different options of homemade plant based milk and was surprised to discover that the whole process is very simple. It takes about 5 minutes as long as the main ingredient is soaked overnight in plenty of water. You do not need any fancy appliances and can…

Source Sunday Times: Homemade dairy-free goodies

Gluten-free & lactose-free Christmas treats [with Vegan Baci] in today’s Sunday Times

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Vegan Baci.  Photo taken during a live tv show by George Aquilina

Gluten-free, lactose-free and reduced sugar diets are hot topics these days. The drive for ingredients to suit a large number of food intolerances comes from consumers and with such a large choice in the market, guests no longer have to feel they are a burden to their hosts and be apologetic…

Source: Sunday Times Gluten-free & lactose-free Christmas treats

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Gluten free and lactose free Christmas Cake with no added refined sugar.  Photo taken by George Aquilina during a live tv show

 

Homemade energy bars and bliss balls

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Home made Energy Bars and Bliss Balls, all photos taken during a live tv show

There are so many varieties of energy bars on the market today with whole sections in supermarkets filled with them. The different choices are overwhelming and some provide energy while others may be classed as low carb or high in protein. Most of them satisfy current food trends. ….
Source: Sunday Times, Homemade energy bars

Ingredients used:

Maca Powder: the extract of a Peruvian plant best known for improving energy levels and vitality
Aronia: also known as chokeberry and can be found locally as a dried fruit or in liquid and powder concentrate.  It contains high antioxidants and is known to have many beneficial properties
Hemp Seeds: hard brown seeds with a light inner kernel that provide a good source of amino acids, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Maca Powder and Hemp Seeds are available via Good Earth.  Aronia is available via J Calleja Import Export Ltd

Carrot Cake Smoothie with Maca Powder [vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free]

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Carrot Cake Smoothie, vegan, gluten free and lactose free.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by CJ Baldacchino

‘More carrot cake follows the overnight oats of yesterday , this time in liquid form.  This is a smoothie based on most people’s favourite cake.  It contains no added refined sugar and it is gluten free, lactose free and vegan.  A meal in itself with the addition of maca powder.  I use the carrots from my organic box that arrives every Thursday from Barbuto in Sicily.’

You will need:

1 raw carrot
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup home made almond milk
1 tablespoon oats [gf]
1 teaspoon coconut
1/8 teaspoon ginger
vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon maca powder
1 tablespoon agave

For garnish: chopped pecans, shavings of sugar free dark chocolate and grated carrots

Place all the ingredients in a high powered blender or Nutribullet and blend until the consistency is very smooth.  If it is too thick, add more almond milk or water.

Garnish with pecans, savings of sugar free dark chocolate and grated carrots

Serve immediately.

Maca Powder is available at Good Earth

Quinoa Falafel Balls

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Quinoa falafel.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by CJ Baldacchino

‘As part of the series on healthy food for babies and kids every Thursday, I made these quinoa balls suitable for the whole family.  The recipe here has extra spices to suit adult tastes.   For babies, I pureed some quinoa, carrots and chickpeas before using the mix to make the rest of the balls.’

You will need:

250g cooked chickpeas
150g cooked quinoa
1 egg
150g gram flour (chickpea flour)
1 clove garlic
a pinch of cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper

In a large bowl mix the chickpeas, 50g of the quinoa, the egg, 100g of the gram flour, the garlic clove, cumin, coriander and parsley. Use a hand held blender to make a smooth puree. Mix in the rest of the quinoa. Ideally leave the mixture in the fridge for an hour or overnight. On tv we make the balls straight away and therefore had to fry them to hold their shape as they did not have enough time to bind well enough to bake.

On a clean flat surface, sift the rest of the gram flour.
Use a tablespoon and drop the mixture onto the gram flour and roll quickly with your hands. Repeat until you have finished all the mixture.

Bake the balls in a preheated oven at 180C for 35 minutes, turn over and bake for a further 20 minutes OR fry in hot oil. Drain and leave on kitchen towel to soak up the excess oil. Serve with dips of your choice.

My chickpea flour is by Le Farine Magiche and Fresh Vegetables by Big Fresh in Mosta and Barbuto.  I use Quinoa by Peak’s Free From at J Calleja Import Export

Golden Apple Latte with maca powder

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Golden Apple Latte fortified with Maca Powder, perfect as winter approaches.  Photo taken by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

‘Fortifying  food with nutritious ingredients is something I focus on during our daily tv show.  I have been using fresh turmeric root nearly everyday  in one way or another for the last 2 years and as winter approaches there is nothing more welcoming than my golden lattes.  For an extra boost and variety of flavours, chopped fresh fruit is added to the milk as it heats up and to lightly poach it.  Today’s golden latte is fortified with maca powder.’

You will need:

1 fresh turmeric root
vanilla
4 cups milk (coconut milk, almond milk or you can use regular milk if it is your preference)
1 tablespoon agave
1/2 cup organic lemon ginger tea (from infusion of 2 teabags)
2 apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon maca powder

Place the milk, grated turmeric root, vanilla, sliced apples and lemon ginger tea infusion in a sauce  pan and bring to boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove the saucepan from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Add the agave and the maca powder.  Blend until frothy using a liquidizer or nutribullet.

Serve and enjoy !

My fresh turmeric root  and fruit comes from Big Fresh in Mosta, Maca powder and agave by Good Earth, Lemon Ginger tea by Clipper also at Good Earth, vanilla by Schwartz

 

Quick Plant-Based Recipes

We come across a lot of advice about plant-based nutrition in relation to preventing disease before it happens. Sometimes it may appear confusing however the information shared often has valid points.  Reducing ingredients with a high sugar, salt and oil content from our diet and replacing processed foods with fresh fruit and vegetables and other ingredients that are as close to their natural state at possible take us back to the roots of eating.

Here are some nutrient-rich, meat free and dairy free recipes that are very quick to prepare. Source: Quick Plant-Based Recipes, Sunday Times

I use NO MILK by J Calleja, Chocolate by Valor, fresh fruit and vegetables by Big Fresh, herbs and spices by Schwartz, spelt flour and pulses by Good Earth, self raising flour and coconut by St Georges Brand.