Rawlicious Challenge – Mung Bean & Goji Berry Sweet Potato and Day 31 of March Food Photo Challenge

I rolled both Tandy’s challenge as well as the final day of March Food Photo Challenge into one today. My recipe is for Mung Bean & Goji berry Sweet Potato, topped with Roasted Beetroot Yogurt Dressing.

The whole Raw Food concept really does intrigue me, however, I do find it really difficult to to go complete raw, hence why my recipe is not 100% Raw, but again, you can just make the salad part and that would be classified as Raw.
I did a lot of research for this challenge, and chose certain ingredients for reasons.

The sweet potato, I admit freely that it has to be my top 5 ingredients to work with. I have to try and stick to low GI due to the insulin resistance I have in my body, so the sweet potato is my replacement for potatoes. The sweet potato stabilizes blood sugar & improves response to insulin; it is high in vitamin A & beta carotene, which therefore results as a great superfood for the skin.

I used Mung Beans, instead of cooking, I just sprouted them, when you do this, you release Vitamin C in them, to add to the other packed vitamins A, K and B6, mung beans are high in fibre and slow down the release of calories into the blood stream, as well as slow down of digestion which also stabilizes blood sugar. Although a bean, it has a low content of protein so you can’t use it as a complete meal.

Goji Berries are recently acquired goodness. I have to admit, I do enjoy them. Also known as one of the superfoods, Goji berried are great for stamina, weight loss and maintain blood glucose levels. These little berries are a great immune system booster and enhance the body to fight off diseases, lowers blood cholesterol, as well as great for the skin.

Beetroot, being not only on my list of top 5, is also a great antioxidants. Beetroot is a rich source of carbohydrates, a good source of protein, and has high levels of important vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. It is a good source of dietary fibre, has practically no fat, and no cholesterol. This makes beetroot relatively low in calories

Mung Bean & Goji Berry Sweet Potato with Roasted Beetroot Yogurt Dressing
Serves 4 – 6

4 medum size sweet potato
½ cup mung beans
40g yellow & 40g red peppers
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp goji berries
½ cup spinach
½ yellow cling peach
1 small fresh chilli
2 button mushrooms
1 large beetroot
½ cup plain low fat yogurt
seasoning
fresh rosemary
balsamic vinegar
fete cheese
Chia seeds

Wrap the sweet potato and beetroot (with a splash of balsamic vinegar) individually with tin foil and roast off in the oven for 60 minutes at 200 C. ( Now this part is not part of a normal Raw Diet, so you can either omit this part and have this as a salad, or you can cook your sweet potato at 47 C for I am going to guess a good 5 – 6 hours, and you can use raw beetroot.)

Dice up the yellow pepper, ginger, peach, mushrooms, and chilli, add to the mung beans. You want it all more or less the same size. Crumb the feta cheese into the mixture and add goji berries.

Once the beetroot is ready, cut up and place into a food processor with the yogurt, and some chopped rosemary. Season. You want a smooth consistency.

Cut open the sweet potato and scoop some out so you have a hollowing which you can fill. Shred the spinach and add to the mung bean salad. I like to add a little of the dressing in the pocket, and then add the mixture on top, drizzled with a little more dressing. Of course you have to finish it off with some chia seeds sprinkled on top, just because they are so good for you!

Ravioli stuffed with Mussels & Homemade Tomato Sauce

The challenge set by Tandy from Lavender & Lime is to use one of your many recipe books that you have not experimented with, and make something. Now, I have so many recipe books, magazines, pieces of paper and often in my diary at a recipe or two. I love looking at pictures and going “I want to make that my way”.

It was hard choosing which book to use, considering I have a few that I have not played around with…after looking through all of them, and deciding on recipes I would like to try, I finally decided that I will start with my Justin Bonello – Cooked in Africa. If you remember, I did a short post when I received this book.

The first recipe I decided was Ravioli stuffed with Mussels & Homemade Tomato Sauce. Having discussed this book with a few people, and being my first time ever using a Bonello book, I found that his recipes are wonderful and simple, yet, I don’t always see them working out. So I tweaked the recipe here and there.

This recipe was inspired by Tandy who loves to make pasta. My brother bought me a pasta machine for my birthday 2 years ago, and I have used it very little, I am going to make it my personal mission to use it more often as nothing beats homemade pasta.

For the pasta dough

200g flour – the best to use is MN100, however I didn’t have, so I just used cake flour
2 eggs (or 3 egg yolks)
1tsp olive oil
2 tsp fine salt

Sprinkle the flour onto your work surface and make a well, add salt and kind of mix in, add the eggs and oil and slowly bring the edges of the well together by stirring the eggs into the flour. Carry on until you have a nice crumb, start kneading your dough together, you want a slightly dry dough, but not overly dry, if you find your dough is to wet, add a little more flour, if your dough is to dry, add a dash more oil. It’s all about feel. Knead your dough for about 10 minutes, you want smooth dough. Place in fridge to let rest. I did this in the morning, that way by the time I get home, all I have to do is bring it to room temperature and work it through my pasta machine.

If you don’t have a pasta machine, you can roll the dough out with a rolling pin, this is a very tedious task, so be warned, you will hate it!!

For the Mussels
I used frozen, as I don’t have fresh – if you can get your hands on fresh, definitely go that route!

Mussels
2 glasses of dry white wine
fresh parsley
knob of butter

Place your mussels in the pot with a handful of parsley, add the wine. And let simmer for a few minutes over a medium heat. Remove mussels and place the liquid one side to add to the tomato sauce later.

Finish of the ravioli

Mix a knob of butter and parsley and a 1 clove of garlic until well incorporated.

Work your dough through the pasta machine until you have thin, roughly 3-4 cm thick pasta sheets. Cut into squares, big enough to hold a mussel. Using an egg wash, brush the edges of the pasta squares, place a mussel in the middle with a little of the parsley garlic butter and cover with another piece of dough. Using a fork pressed the edge so that it seals.

For the homemade tomato sauce

1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic
2 tomatoes
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
3 anchovy fillets, just tear up the fillets with your fingers
Olive oil

Fry of the onions and garlic until transparent, add the tomatoes and can of tomatoes, and the liquid from the mussels, let simmer over a low heat. Cook out for about an hour and half, add the anchovy fillets and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to boil and salt the water, gently drop the ravioli and cook for about 4 – 5 minutes, plate the ravioli, with a nice spoonful of the sauce, some parmesan and top with fresh parsley.

Now…what did I think of this pasta. It is a very interesting dish, and I have to admit, very time consuming, the anchovy & mussels work beautifully together, I just find that it was missing that something special. Next time, I would like to add some fresh chili to the sauce, I think it will take the sauce to a new level and will work wonderfully with the mussels. With this, I just had a small salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and feta, with Verlaque Mango Chili Dressing.


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Ready Steady Cook Challenge

readysteadycook

When I saw Tandy post this challenge, great memories of watching Ainsley on TV came flooding back over me. I use to love this show, it was a Saturday morning ritual for me and I always made a point to watch it. How those chefs would come up with these great dishes in such a short period of time, from a mystery bag picked up by a random person who knew nothing about food. It was always such great fun, my favourite chefs were Anthony, Ross and Lesley.

So when I saw this challenge, I jumped right to it and signed up, thinking somehow I would fit it in with the wedding, not long after I received my grocery list…and let me tell you, I was stumped. I knew this was going to be a big challenge; I was way out of my comfort zone. I had a list of vegetarian ingredients, and the biggest challenge is always trying to have a balanced vegetarian meal. Often in a restaurant, if you say you are vegetarian, you are given a salad or fries, I didn’t want to go that route.

My grocery list was as follows:
gelatine (or agar agar)
yeast
strawberries
cheese (I used goats cheese, being my favourite cheese)
bell pepper
soya sauce
banana

Along with my pantry items, I came up with this menu.

Starter
Summery grilled strawberry & Goats Cheese salad

Mains
Bellpepper & Goats cheese focaccia with lemon hummus

Dessert
Banana & Cardamom Panna Cotta

So with the wedding and honeymoon thrown into the mix, along with this 3 course meal, I decided to incorporate it all into the visiting guests and let them taste! Nothing like having some friends over who are not scared to tell you to try harder!! I started with my salad…and got some great feed back!

Summery Strawberry & Goats Cheese Salad

500g strawberries, halved
200g goats cheese
Fresh basil
Macadamia oil
White wine vinegar
Castor Sugar
seasoning

Heat a griddle pan over high heat, when hot, wipe with oil, and place strawberry down with cut half on the griddle pan. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Roughly crumble the goats cheese and place in salad bowl
Stack fresh basil leaves on top of each other, and with a sharp knife, slice into thin strands. Careful not to bruise the basil to much. Toss with goats cheese and a pinch of sugar.
Toss in cold strawberries, drizzles with oil and white wine vinegar, and season to taste.

Bellpepper & Goats cheese focaccia with lemon hummus

Roasted Bell pepper
1 of each colour bell pepper
macadamia oil
soya sauce

Heat the oven to 200 C, cut peppers in half and place on baking tray. Drizzle with oil and soya sauce. Roast for 45 minutes.

Focaccia Dough
4 cups bread flour
1 packet instant dried yeast
50 ml macadamia oil
1 tbs soya sauce
50 g castor sugar
700 ml warm water

Make a well in the flour and add yeast, sugar and soya sauce.
Pour in the warm water in batches and draw the flour in from the sides to make a soft, workable dough. Add more water or flour as needed – the dough shouldn’t be too sticky.
Knead until nice ad smooth, around 5 – 7 minutes.
Cover the dough in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.

Focaccia
Roasted bell peppers
Goats cheese
Crushed garlic
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
Macadamia oil
soya sauce

Place the dough on a greased baking tray and press holes into the dough with your fingers, don’t press too hard. Sprinkle rosemary and oregano and garlic onto the dough and press in roasted peppers and goats cheese.
Drizzle with oil and soya sauce
Allow to rise for 10 to 15 minutes in a warm place, then bake in a 180° C oven for 45 minutes.

Lemon Hummus
1 can chickpeas
juice of ½ lemon
zest of half a lemon
macadamia oil
soya sauce
black pepper
crushed garlic
fresh ginger, finely chopped

Add all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.

Any dessert is always a challenge to me, simply because I am not a huge fan of desserts, and for me, a simple fruit platter, or a nice cheese board is always a great way to end off a meal. Instead…I concluded my meal with the following:

Banana & Cardamom Panna Cotta

340ml cold water
2 envelopes gelatine
250ml castor sugar
175ml water
1 banana mashed up
8 cardamom pods, split open, and only crush the little black seeds
500ml cream
500ml full cream milk

Place 340ml cold water into a bowl and sprinkle the gelatine over gently. Set aside
Mix the mashed banana and grinded cardamom seeds together
Place ¾ of the sugar and ½ of the water in a pot over high heat until the sugar has caramelized. Remove from heat and add the banana, cream, milk and the left over sugar. Place back on heat until the mixture is smooth.
Remove from head again and add gelatine and water, whisk in, place bowl in ice water and carry on whisking until the mixture is room temperature.
Place in moulds and refrigerate for about an hour and a half



Secret Santa Visit

I love how my beautiful and inspiring friend, Tandy over at Lavender & Lime always gets us bloggers involved in fun activities and great challenges, her latest one being Ready Steady Cook, which I encourage all you foodie bloggers to get involved in, and even you non foodies, it will be great fun!

Last year, Tandy got a few bloggers together for Secret Santa, I was a late comer due to the fact that I hardly ever get around to blogging anymore, which I am going to change this year (Thank you New Years Resolutions).

My Secret Santa gave me this beautiful gift!

I love it. The magnetic measuring spoons are going to come in so handy! I can just clip it against my knife magnet at work, and never have to worry about never having measuring spoons again, because all the other chefs know not to touch my knife magnet. Along with the measuring spoon, I got a little packet of basil paste from Robertsons, which I am going to make my favourite quick lunch – some fresh pasta with basil pesto and grated grana padana. Yum!!!! I also got a lovely apricot preserve.

So with this, I want to thank my Secret Santa, you know who you are!!

Have a beautiful Sunday blogland

Apple & Fresh Coriander Pesto – Filippo Berio Pesto Competition

Apple and Fresh Coriander Pesto
(makes +- 200ml)

¼ cup Filippo Berio Olive Oil
Generous handful of fresh Coriander
1 ½ tsp fresh garlic
1 tsp honey
1 tsp balsamic reduction
20 toasted almonds
1 golden delish apple
Salt & Pepper to taste
Using a handheld blender, puree all the ingredients together until creamy.

I love this because of the subtle taste, you can use it as a topping for canapés, salad dressing, a refreshing dip for fresh vegetable, or sauce for a great grilled chicken wrap.