A little honey .... a recipe for when you're sick

Recipes, Slow & Sustainable Livingellie2 Comments

There's colds and coughs here at the moment. And rainy coolish days. Perfect weather for gathering lemons from our trees, lemongrass from my friends garden and raw honey and organic ginger from the farmers market.

A remedy my mama used to make for us to nourish our bodies and warm our hearts. Holding a cup of warm lemon, honey & ginger is almost like a hug.

{a recipe} 

You'll need:

•fresh lemons, any sort will do. At least 1 per person or more if you like it tangy.

•honey, about 1-2 teaspoons each. Please use raw and local honey - it's better for your body as it still contains all the real nutrients (not stripped bare like from the supermarket), and supports a local farmer and his bees.

•a small knob of fresh ginger.

•some fresh or dried lemongrass (optional).

Squeeze the lemon into a cup, smash the ginger to release the flavour and add along with the cut lemongrass. Pour over not-quite boiling water and add honey to taste.

Cosy up with your favourite handknit or crochet blankie and snuggles with your little ones.

my dad's chickpea dahl {a recipe}

Recipesellie3 Comments

Today I made my dad's chickpea dahl. My dad is one of the best cook's I know. ......maybe the best..?? Anyway, he's a pretty excellent cook. We grew up eating his good healthy real made-with intention, thought, care, love meals. My mum was a great cook too, one of the best I know too! They cooked different things, which makes me not have to compare them. 

I think childhood memories of food and cooking and being in the kitchen with your parents are some of the strongest memories I have. I think maybe my siblings have similar strong food memories.

Wanna make channa masala…..

Coconut Cake - Pretty flowers & a recipe

RecipesEllie BeckComment

Cake solves lots of problems, don't you think. You know, not massive world issue problems, but those tiny at home daily challenges problems.

The making of a cake, for me, is such a restorative process (mostly). I love thinking about the cake I'll make, and gathering the ingredients  - seeing if we have the right things, or making do with what we do have instead. I love the preparation - getting the butter and eggs out. And then thinking about the sharing of the cake - that's the lovely part. Sitting down together and cutting into a cake.

So - cake is good. Yes?

I wanted to share a current go-to cake, with you. It's easy to make, quite healthy, very delicious and ever so pretty when you want to pretty it all up. (Those of you who read this blog know that I don't often use a recipe - but there are times I need to know a cake will work with no issues and this one ticks so many boxes in terms of look, taste, ease of making and fairly healthy).

Coconut Cake with (coconut) Cream  6 fresh free-range eggs, separated 1 cup coconut sugar 1 cup plain flour (I use spelt or whatever you want) 2 pinches baking powder 2 cups shredded coconut or 1 cup shredded + 1 cup dessicated. 180g butter, melted (I always use salted butter in my cake cooking - it adds that little speck of salt)

For cream ganache / filling 1-2 can of coconut cream - place in the fridge for 24hours before ready to use 2-4T coconut sugar (the coconut sugar will turn your cream a beautiful golden colour)

How to: Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly butter a 16cm spring form cake tin. Using an electric beater, mix the egg whites until stiff peaks form and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the yolks and sugar until thick. Gently fold a third of the egg whites into the yolks, with a third of the sifted flour. Repeat until all mixed together, then gently add the coconut and melted butter and fold through until just combined. It's ok if some of egg white can still be seen. Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for 30-40mins  until golden and pulling away from the sides. Leave to cool and then remove from the tin.

For the coconut cream ganache - Place one can of the cooled cream and 2T of the coconut sugar into bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy. One can is enough for one layer of cake filling.
To ice cake - slice cake horizontally into either 2 or 3 pieces, through the middle. Spread the coconut cream filling over each layer and carefully place them on top of each other. You can leave the top naked or cream it as well. This is the fun part - so I'll leave it up to you to decorate as you like. Toasted or large flakes of fresh coconut on the top is lovely too.

Decorate with non-toxic or edible flowers. Please be sure you check that the flowers aren't poisonous before serving to your guests!

You can make as many layers as you like - make 2 cakes to make a giant cake stack of 6 layers!

Coconut cream is more of an 'adult' taste, so you can just as easily use regular whipped (cows) cream. You shouldn't need sugar with this as it's sweet enough on it's own. We like whipping it in a jar - shakey shakey. Fun and easy. (Half fill a glass jar with regular pouring cream - make sure the lid is tightly closed. Then shake shake shake and keep on shaking until it turns to nice thick cream. This is a fun to do with kids as well. Just make sure you keep checking on it; if you shake too much you'll end up making butter.)

{I have started using a 16cm cake tin, instead of my usual 22cm as it makes a smaller but taller cake. I'm loving the tall cake layers at the moment, but not needing the giant 22cm size cake for smaller gatherings or family nibbles. This recipe is suitable for a 22cm cake tin - it makes two well-sized layers}.

*Recipe is adapted from "Coming Home" by Cathy Armstrong. *Photos of pansy-topped cake are taken by Leah from Such Wild Grace at my weaving workshop gathering, a few years ago. The cut-pansy cake photo is by me. Other photos are by me, at my daughter's 7th birthday party earlier this year. Pansy-topped cake has coconut cream and 16cm tin used. Zinnia-topped cake has regular cream and 2x 22cm tin used.

This post was originally written on my Petalplum blogspot blog - I'm moving a few posts over here because I think they're still beautiful and worthwhile sharing.

Souper Hero Challenge + Red Lentil Soup Recipe

RecipesEllie BeckComment

I like soup, a whole lot. I think I could happily eat soup for dinner every night (my family doesn't always think so, but that's ok - cause I'm happy to eat it all myself). Well then how good that I've joined the Salvation Army Be a SouperHero Challenge! Yay - a whole week of soup. But actually, the real reason I'm doing it is to raise funds to donate to the thousands of people in Australia who have no choice but to eat soup every night, the people who can't afford luxury items, who sometimes can't afford heating for their homes. There are thousands living on less than $17 a day for all their expenses (after accommodation costs), including food, schooling, medical. That's a cup of coffee, and a magazine for some of you!

Each year the Salvation Army raises money through their shops, door-knock-appeals and now the Souper Challenge. I've decided that I'll be eating soup for every dinner for the whole week of the appeal from 25th - 31st July, and I'm asking you to sponsor me. The cost of a cup of coffee, or a dinner out - whatever you can spare. I'll be eating soup.

I've decided that I will need more than just and only soup for the whole week, due to being a breastfeeding mama - so I'm setting myself a challenge of soup each night for dinner (rather than the official challenge of soup for every meal). If you're keen to join in there's heaps of different challenges to work around your life, and encourage you to participate. Check it all out on the main website.

A week of soup - what's your favourite soup? Being a vegetarian, and living on a budget, soup is a low-cost but high nutritious food for us. We fill it with lentils or beans and lots of fresh locally grown veges.

Here's my recipe for Red Lentil & Ginger Soup - perfect to stick to a budget, fill your tummy and keep you healthy; the ginger is great for cold season to boost your immune system.

Ingredients: 1 cup of red lentils 1 red onion, finely diced 1 cup pumpkin, cut into cubes 1/2 bunch kale, cut into slithers 3 large fresh tomatoes, cut into cubes or 1 tin diced toms piece of fresh ginger, grated - as much or as little as you like the heat of it 2 pinches of sea or rock salt spices - 1t each of powdered cumin, coriander, turmeric (or freshly if you can get it) a few gluggs of good quality olive oil Other veges you can include - potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots…. cut into cubes

Put the lentils on to boil, covered well with water. They take about 15 mins at a semi-rapid boil. Heat a heavy based frypan (I use a cast iron pan I've had since I was 18), and add the olive oil, onion, salt and spices and let the onion soften and start to caramelise slightly. Add the pumpkin (potatoes, sweet potatoes) and allow to cook for about 5-7 minutes, add the kale and cook down briefly, then the tomatoes and about 2 cups of water. Cook for approx 15 mins until the tomatoes are all nice and juicy and broken down (less time if you happen to use a tin of diced tomatoes). By this stage the lentils should be cooked. Drain them, but retain the cooking water. Put the lentils and tomato vege sauce into the saucepan, and add enough lentil cooking water to make a lovely thick soup consistency. Grate in the ginger, and cook for 15 mins - adding more water (lentil water) if you want.

Serve with fresh coriander, feta cheese or yoghurt and a slice of yummy bread, + freshly cracked black pepper for extra bite. Gobble it up and go back for seconds. It keeps well for a day or two in fridge and makes excellent leftovers for breakfast or lunch. It will thicken up and can be reheated easily.

I'd love any other suggestions for what soup I should make for the Be a SouperHero Challenge. You can find my channa masala dahl / soup recipe here, and I've love to know if you make my red lentil & ginger soup.

Spiced Almonds {a recipe}

RecipesEllie BeckComment

These delicious spiced almonds are perfect to have as a snack in the cupboard, to take on a picnic or even as a treat to share at a party. They're more-ish, ever-so-tasty and a whole lot of pretty. And really really easy.

You'll need:

  • Almonds, or a mix of other nuts you like
  • Organic cinnamon sticks (seriously tastes better than regular cinnamon)
  • Salt flakes - use sea, rock or ocean salt. The real stuff, not table salt
  • Spices of your choice - whole star anise, black pepper, coriander seeds or powder, smokey paprika

Using a heavy based metal fry pan, dry toast the spices and salt with the nuts, until the spices start to release their aroma and the nuts look all toasty roasty. Allow to cool before you taste them - hot nuts can burn your mouth and are also soft (they become hard again once they're cooled).

Store in a glass jar - and nibble whenever you need something sweet salty spicy crunchy yummy.

And, need I mention - choose Australian, pesticide-free almonds always (support our farmers and consider the food miles, as well as the taste).

making from scratch || seaweed & sesame crackers {a recipe}

Recipes, Slow & Sustainable LivingellieComment

With back to school looming a week ago, I was trying to think of ways to ease myself back into the school morning routine. One of the things that was so lovely about homeschooling, was the not having to make school lunches and deal with half-eaten school lunches every afternoon. Or the other kids making of fun of my kids' school lunches. And such matters.

I knew I would get myself in a fluster and a flurry every morning if I wasn't prepared. I am not naturally an early riser, so dragging myself out of bed on a cold Winter's morning in the dark little shack to make school lunches isn't the top of my list!

Best way to remedy this was make a plan. A school lunch menu was talked about, and written down. A list of options to choose from, then a daily list of what the kids wanted to eat compromised with what I wanted them to eat, and what I knew they really would based on experience. 

Added to this is my ban on buying packaged sweet or savoury biscuits / crackers, or any fast lunch-box packaged items.  For more reasons than one; the sugar / salt content is so much more than I like in either sweet biscuits or savoury crackers, the plastic packaging is crazy and thoughtless (Ryvita's are one of the few that have minimal non-plastic packaging, and aren't really kid-enjoyed!), the cost and the speed at which a packet of biscuits is consumed in my house. I haven't been buying any biscuits, bare the occasional few, for all year. 

Some time ago, Ari declared he wanted some crackers, so set about making some. Yep - my 8year old boy came up with this recipe! With a few tweaks from me, and a continual change of additions and tastings, here's our recipe for:

Go Crackers for Ari's Crackers!  Seaweed & Sesame Crackers

2 cups of flour (of your choice, can be gluten free flour or nut 'flour')

1 cup LSA (or almond meal or similar)

1/2 cup each of white + black sesame seeds (or mix up with whatever seeds you like, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, flaked almonds, etc etc)

1 TPS each ground cumin, coriander, rock/sea salt

1/2 cup olive oil (or whatever oil you like using)

A few sheets of nori roll seaweed or wakame

Mix together with enough water to just make a workable dough, not too soft. Wrap in a cloth (I use these

beautiful beeswax wraps

) and leave in fridge for 1/2 hour. Roll out in batches between two sheets of baking paper until very thin, chop seaweed sheets into sliver using scissors, and roll/press into crackers. Add more seeds and press in too, if you want. Score into shapes and place on baking tray (leave it on one sheet of baking paper and transfer whole lot to tray). Bake 180-200C until looks cooked; 8-15 mins. Once cool they will be crispy. 

Enjoy with homemade dips, cheeses or on their own; I've been loving beetroot/yoghurt & a homemade cheese dip lately. Nibble nibble yum yum.

I'd love to know if you make some, and any variations you work with.