dairy free

No Bake Pecan Nut Brownies From Christel’s Creative Cooking

Gluten Free, Finger Licking, No Bake Pecan Nut Brownies

I can’t imagine anything looking better than these right now! Healthy ingredients like almond flour and coconut oil make them totally guilt free and no baking… well they didn’t even need to be more awesome!

The Recipe

3 roughly heaped up table spoons of solid coconut oil.
3 table spoons of honey or maple syrup (you can use more or less according to taste).
1 slab of good quality dark chocolate – I used #Lindt – A Touch of Sea Salt Dark Chocolate.
About a cup of Pecan nuts – broken up.
About half a cup of almond flour and half a cup of cocoa (you can always add more later on).
Vanilla extract or essence.

TIP!! #toastyournuts !!
no bake pecan nut browniesI lightly toasted the pecans and almond flour in the oven for about 10 minutes. Toasting nuts activates the flavour and gives it a crisp and toasty texture and taste.

Heat up the first 2 ingredients on low heat until it starts to simmer.

Mix in the dark chocolate until melted and remove from heat.

Mix in the nuts, almond flour, cocoa and vanilla and stir around.

If it looks as if it is still a bit runny, you can add more almond flour or cocoa.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread out the mixture evenly, gently pressing down.

Let it cool down in the fridge for about an hour.

Cut into pieces.

Yum!

 

Pan seared fish with tomato white wine & basil

Fresh Hake in a bright sauce, full of flavour

This dinner idea was inspired by a recipe found on Pinterest, which I played with a bit as usual and ended up with the below. I must add that the smells while cooking were amazing and just added to the anticipation of the dining.

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.

Heat a little olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Depending on children and/or taste, add a small sprinkle (up to half a tsp) of red chilli flakes and 1tsp crushed garlic. Sauté for a minute.

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and a few halved cherry tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes. Add in a quarter cup of dry white wine and let the mixture simmer.

Add half a cup of finely chopped fresh basil, 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, a quarter tsp lemon zest, ground salt and black pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Then transfer into a bowl and set aside.

Season portions of fresh skinless hake on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a large oven proof non stick pan over medium high heat. Place the hake in the oil until golden brown, approximately 6 minutes. Carefully turn the hake over, pour over the wine and tomato sauce and place in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes or until cooked through.

While the fish is cooking in the oven, mix 1,5 cups couscous and 1,5 cups of boiling water in a bowl. Add 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot and a dash of olive oil. Mix well and cover with cling wrap or a plate. Wait 3-4 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Serve (with some of that crisp white wine) and enjoy!


This fish comes out super soft and breaks apart very easily, so be prepared for not having perfectly beautiful golden fillets. It really is delicious though!

Wonderful Wednesday Curry

Chicken, chickpea & spinach curry

What could be better than a wonderful curry on a wintery Wednesday to ward off the worries of the working week?

Well…

This is a completely made up curry recipe (following the general curry guidelines), which I initially made far too spicy for the boys and had to tone down substantiaby adding more and more vegetables (which is not a bad thing). Point being, my quantities are probably not quite accurate but luckily, curry is one of those things you can adjust as you taste and keep going along. It was super tasty and definitely something I plan on making more often.

Incidentally, some people popped in quickly while I was cooking and all commented on the amazing aroma of coconut curry  wafting through and around the house.

Chicken chickpea and spinach curry

Recipe:

Heat a little olive oil over medium high heat. Add 1 finely chopped onion, a heaped teaspoon each of crushed garlic and finely chopped ginger, a heaped teaspoon of Woolworths medium curry mixture. Of course you could also add chilli if you don’t have to worry about sensitive tastebuds. Fry while stirring, for about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, put 2 cups of Basmati rice cooking, following the packet instructions

Add 8-10 cubed skinless, boneless chicken thighs and brown all over. Next, add a tin of diced/chopped tomatoes, half a tin of chickpeas, a chicken stock cube, a quarter cup of water and half to a whole tin of coconut cream (this is where the tasting is important). Mix well and turn down the heat to a simmer once it has come to a boil.

If you are using chopped, frozen spinach then this is the right time to add it, then leave to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened a bit. If you are using fresh spinach, let the curry simmer for 15 minutes and then add the spinach to cook for the last 5 minutes.

Warm up a naan bread or 2 in the oven and serve up! This recipe comfortably feeds 6.

If you have a special curry recipe, please share it with me and you might just be featured soon!

Split Pea Soup

Another one of my favourite things about winter (other than my most comfy pair of slippers) is soup. This split pea soup is absolutely delicious served piping hot with a warm and crispy bread roll.

Since it’s a slow cooker recipe as well, there’s practically no work to be done other than chuck ingredients into the pot and go on your merry little way! Super easy! In fact, as I was on my way home on Tuesday afternoon, I suddenly realised that I would arrive home to delicious soup that has already been cooked and the only thing I had to do was pop the rolls into the oven, dish up and take a photo for you! Happy, happy, happiness!

If you don’t have a minute for chopping/grating stuff, WOOLWORTHS SA fresh split pea soup mix also works fantastically! Just add some herbs and bits and bobs and away you go!

Split Pea Soup.png

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 3 chopped celery ribs
  • 1 Large leek, chopped and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon (heaped) crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley OR some fresh sprigs
  • 500grams dried green split peas
  • 6 cups Vegetable stock
  • ground salt & black pepper
  • Optional: diced ham or bacon

Toss all the ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.

Triple tomato & basil pasta

18950353_140498023177787_7769945861118754816_nOur Meat Free Monday dinner is an amazing Triple tomato and basil pasta, as usual with gluten free spaghetti. My favourite gluten free pasta is San Remo from Pick n Pay – so good that my guys don’t notice any difference at all!

On a soccer night this is quick and easy to make, although I did stray quite a bit from the original recipe. To be honest, pounds and ounces are just confusing and with a gang of hungry boys I didn’t have time to Google each amount! So Mamma “wung it”, as we do!

Recipe (feeds 4-6)

In a large pot, start cooking spaghetti (approx 400g) according to instructions on the packet.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add roughly chopped sundried tomatoes (1/3 cup) and chopped and peeled tomatoes (1 tin), simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring halfway. Add 2 teaspoons crushed garlic, salt, black pepper to taste (optional red chilli flakes). Stir well, simmer for 2 minutes.

Drain the pasta about 2 minutes before the end of its cooking time, leaving it in the pot.

Back at the stove, pour the tomato mixture over the pasta. Add 4 cups vegetable stock, approx. 180ml tomato paste, place over high heat and stir while rapidly boiling for about 5 minutes or until sauce has evaporated sufficiently to your liking and the pasta is cooked.

Remove the pot from heat, stir in 2 handfuls chopped fresh basil, cover and let stand for 2 minutes while opening a lovely bottle of red wine.

Serve with some extra basil and Parmesan cheese, if you wish.

Speaking of basil, let me tell you about the unfortunate basil incident…

I have a lovely little basil plant in my kitchen window and it gives me such a good feeling to use its leaves in my cooking. At one point, I noticed that it looked like some little buglet was munching on my basil! I couldn’t see any bugs and left it at that, until one evening I went to touch the plant and nearly squished a skinny little bright green worm who was making his way to the leaf right at the top of the plant! Could have been a hungry caterpillar, I don’t know! I screamed, I imagine he screamed and once everyone had had a chance to recover, he was relocated to a new home outside and away from my herbs!

The unfortunate part is that my basil plant did not recover as fast as the hungry caterpillar and I did and I now have to use store bought fresh basil. Tastes just as good though! 🙂

Share your thoughts and any yummy additions you made!

Love

xMCJx

Butternut & Quinoa Soup

Butternut soup seems to be a controversial meal (in my house anyway – leading to a great debate about soups which eventually led to a victory for green soup!)… Nevertheless, this to me was amazing today! Warm, just a little sweet, perfect!
It’s also totally vegan (unless you sprinkle with crispy bacon before serving, gluten free, dairy free and sugar free… Win!


Butternut & Quinoa Soup
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and grated
800g butternut, peeled and diced
1 cup quinoa
1 sprig fresh sage
1 white onion, diced
Salt & pepper to taste
pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
optional garnishes: bacon, extra coconut milk and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or paprika

Add vegetable stock, garlic, carrot, apple, butternut squash, quinoa, sage, onion, salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg to slow cooker. Stir to combine.

Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high, or until the butternut is completely tender and mashes easily with a fork. Remove and discard the sage. Stir in the coconut milk.

Use a hand held blender to puree the soup until smooth. (Be very careful when working with the hot liquid.) Taste, and season with additional salt, pepper if needed.

Serve warm, with optional garnishes if desired and of course your choice of toasty and crispy bread, in our case ciabatta.

Let us know if you made any interesting additions or changes! Love to hear from you!

Colourful Paella!

The Mediterranean Diet prescribes lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, healthy oils, minimal dairy and a glass (or two) of red wine every day!


So today, let’s imagine we find ourselves on a beautiful beach in the Med, having a glass (or two) of wine, a good chat, a lot of laughter and a warm, colourful Paella!
Sidenote: I actually didn’t get a photo of the finished dish as my phone was annexed by a certain 8 year old…

Roast fish & vegetables

Fishy fishy Fursday! We have a vegan in the house so today’s dinner is all out partly vegan, gluten free, dairy free and sugar free… how fun does that sound? But it’s still yummy and you can always add cheese.


Roasted fish – lemon juice, thyme
Roasted veg – sweet potato, broccoli, mielies, baby carrots, baby spinach
Chickpeas with a teeny bit of vinegar
Olive oil, salt, black pepper on everything!

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