Tuesday, 13 March 2012

"Creamy" Herb and Garlic Dip, Pesto & More! ;)

I've been meaning to get a post up for days and days now, and I've just been busy with kids, study, Thermomix, and of course cooking (and uncooking too!)! So here's a few things I've been making and thinking about the past week or so!

Firstly I put up a picture of my dinner the other night - Quirky Jo's delicious gluten free foccacia style pizza base (recipe here) topped with Mushroom and Onion and with a little pesto, and of course the Pink Paradise Smuice I had with it! 

With the pizzas I made up the recipe from Quirky Cooking, and after rising I just sprinkled some finely sliced onion and mushroom on it, then baked it. I just had this broken up with a little of my homemade macadamia pesto and it was just divine! 

I also felt like something sweet and energising with dinner that night so I had this beautiful Pink Paradise Smuice (Smoothie-Juice ;))

Pink Paradise Smuice
150g frozen watermelon cut into chunks approx 2 inches in size
2 oranges skinned and halved
1 round of pineapple cut into large chunks
1/2 a tray of ice

Simply throw all ingredients in the TMX or blender then blend up for 1 minute on speed 9.
Sit back and relax and enjoy your delicious and pretty pink smuice! :D (Or you could throw some greens in it for some extra oomph and voila its a scrummy green smoothie!)

I also made up a few salads to have on hand in my fridge so that I wouldn't go looking for easy UNhealthy snacks. I find if I have a few really great crunchy healthy salads with a couple of different dressings in the fridge ready to go, I can eat those until I'm busting and know that I'm nourishing my body instead of hurting it with excess fat, sugar etc. So I made up the salads, and I made a lemon basil vinaigrette and then thought I'd see if I could make a Japanese recipe I have for Sesame Soy dressing. I didn't actually have all the necessary ingredients for the authentic recipe (such as rice wine vinegar and sesame oil to name a couple) but I thought I could get close to how it should taste, and it turned out way better than I expected! Just like the real thing!

Japanese Sesame Soy Dressing:
1/2 med brown or white onion
60g sesame seeds
60g vinegar
60g grape seed oil (or other lightly flavoured oil)
20g soy sauce or tamari
20g sugar or other sweetener

Grind the sesame seeds in TMX for 1 minute on speed 10.
Add onion and mince for 10 seconds on speed 6.
Add all other ingredients and blend for 1 minute on speed 9.

Mix into your favourite salad and enjoy - this goes particularly well with a chinese style salad of wombok, finely sliced red capsicum, bean sprouts etc. Also with daikon but good luck finding quality ones here in the Far North! Those of you down south, if you can get hold of daikon you want to shred it either in your tmx on speed 5 for about 10 seconds or grate it and have just that with this dressing - sounds strange but its delicious, and that's the way they eat it in Japan!

Then today I went a bit crazy with dips - I made a trio of dips! One was to practise for my Varoma Demos with the TMX which is a red capsicum, sundried tomato and cashew dip. The other two were my own creations and both turned out so well I simply have to share them!

The first one I made was because at our demos we make the Creamy Herb and Garlic Dip from the Everyday Cookbook and its always a huge hit. So that got me thinking, I wish I could have that dip without suffering from hayfever for a couple of days afterwards (as the original recipe has cream cheese in it and dairy makes my hayfever go crazy)! I had heard of and seen and tasted creams made from cashews before so I thought if I just made a "cream cheese" from cashews, then added the rest of the ingredients, that should work, and it turned out pretty well!

Creamy Dairy Free Herb & Garlic Dip (foreground of above picture)
200g Cashews
60g warm water
1tsp salt
1-2 cloves garlic with the centre removed (this takes the bitterness out of the raw garlic, but leaves all the great garlic flavour, you don't have to do this if you don't want to, it tastes fine with using whole garlic cloves!)
2 Shallots quartered
Handful fresh parsley

First make the cashew cream "cheese": First mill the cashews for 10 seconds on speed 9 to make a fairly fine powder.
Add water and salt and blend for 1-2 minutes on speed 8 or until a cream cheese type texture is reached.
Remove this cashew cream cheese and set aside.
In your clean bowl, mince garlic, parsley and shallots for 3 seconds on speed 7.
Add your cashew cream cheese mixture back into the bowl and blend for 5 seconds on speed 7.
Enjoy with some rice crackers or my fave - veggie sticks - especially zucchini and carrots! :)

The final item for tonight (and then I have to get to bed, urgh!) is my Raw Vegan Macadamia Pesto (pictured at the back of the above picture). I have been tweaking and tweaking and tweaking this for weeks now, so if you've seen the other incarnations on my blog sorry but this one really is the BEST! I'm finally happy with it, and we had 3 others taste test at our TMX meeting tonight and everyone really loved it (EVEN Jo! :P) so here it is:

Raw Vegan Macadamia Pesto:
1-2 cloves garlic
Leaves from 2 x 50g packs of basil (approx 40-50g of basil leaves)
100g raw macadamia nuts
Handful of parsley
Handful of baby spinach
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
40g Cold Pressed Olive Oil

First mince garlic for 3 seconds on speed 7.
Add all remaining ingredients and pulse on Turbo for 3-5 pulses.
Scrape down sides of bowl and pulse a few more times until the desired texture is reached (some people like it chunkier, I like mine medium).

That's it from me tonight as its WAAAAYYY past my bedtime and I'm about to fall asleep at the keyboard!

Over the next couple of days I'm going to do a series of posts on my top "secrets" for weight loss and increased energy! I've also still been thinking of running another challenge, so stay tuned for details!

Love and Health, B xxx


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