Saturday, June 26, 2010

Improved Healthier Sweet Sesame Crackers

These Sweet Sesame Crackers are a right spin-off from the healthy Nut and Seed Break posted a couple of weeks back. It is my sincere intent to dedicate this recipe to all of you who tried out my previous recipe of Healthy Sweet Sesame Crackers. This time it is a true crunch in the sweet cracker - the way it is suppose to be:

Improved Healthier Sweet Sesame Crackers
1dl unhulled sesame seeds
10 soft pitted dates

Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF and line a 14x21cm/5.5x8inch baking dish with baking paper. Mix the dates in a food processor until forming a paste. Transfer the date paste to a small baking bowl. Add the sesame seeds and combine well with the dates using a large spoon. Transfer the sticky mix to the lined baking dish. Press the mix with your hands or a large spoon until the bottom of the dish is covered.

Bake in the oven for 15min. Turn off the oven, take out the Sesame Seed Cracker and close the oven door. Cut the big cracker 5 times vertically to get 6 rectangular crackers. Return the crackers to the oven and leave to dry until the oven has cooled down.

If you do not have the exact sized baking dish calling for in the recipe, use a normal sized baking tray instead and form the sesame and date mix to any preferable form approx. 3-5mm thick.

These Improved Even Healthier Sesame Crackers are a real healthy nibble. I would advice you to double the recipe and keep the crackers in a glass jar at home or/and at work to always have a healthy snack in hand. My husband loves these and eats them all before I even have had a chance to place them in a jar. I guess that says it all. Enjoy!  

HEALTH BENEFITS of Sesame Seeds: Read here

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Warm Quinoa & Feta Cheese Salad

I had about 30min to prepare and eat my dinner the other night before I had to run off to a friends surprise birthday party. In situations like these you want something quick, yet deliciously tasting, healthy and full of goodness to keep you going through the evening. Fortunately I had a few leftovers in my fridge that would fulfill my needs and the result was a warm Quinoa and Feta Cheese Salad.

Warm Quinoa & Feta Cheese Salad
6dl precooked quinoa
4-6 salad onions
2 garlic cloves
2tsp rapeseed oil
1tsp water
100g/1/2pack feta cheese

Chop onions and garlic and gently fry in oil and water using a medium non-stick pan. Lower the heat and add the quinoa once the onions and garlic has started to soften. Stir occasionally and leave until thoroughly heated. Add the feta cheese, stir and leave until the cheese has started to soften.
serves 2

The good thing about this warm salad  is that even though you do not have the precooked quinoa in hand it still doesn't take more than 20min to prepare from scratch. You prepare quinoa the same you would prepare pasta or rice - place 2dl (yields 6dl) in a saucepan along with 1/2liter/500ml water and 1tbsp vegetable gluten free bouillon powder, bring to the boil, lower the heat and allow to simmer for 8-10min until the water has been soaked up.   

HEALTH BENEFITS of Quinoa: Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) in itself constitute a complete protein, meaning that it contains all the 9 essential amino acids to form a macro nutrient the body can use for cellular and muscular buildup. This makes this seed (or what is normally referred to as a grain) the protein source for anyone who wants to avoid animal sourced protein. It is a vegetable protein that is easy to digest. Apart from being one of the best protein sources quinoa also provide an ocean of vital minerals. Amongst these are magnesium - natures tranquilizer, and iron  - vital for energy production and metabolism.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fruit & Yoghurt Swirl Topped with Crunchy Seed & Nut Break

I have been feasting on my Rhubarb & Blueberry Compote all week. I have been enjoying it as a topping (along with delicious buttery tasting Manuka Honey) on my morning porridge, on its own cold straight out from the fridge, and my favourite - with yogurt topped with my newly found delicious and healthy recipe for a Crunchy Seed and Nut Break.

Fruit & Yoghurt Swirl Topped with Crunchy Seed & Nut Break
1liter fat free natural yogurt
1 batch of Rhubarb & Blueberry Compote

for the nut and seed break:
0.5dl almonds
0.25 each of pumpkin and sunflower seeds
10 dried dates

Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF and line a baking tray with baking paper. Mix the dates in a food processor until forming a paste. Roughly cut the almonds and transfer to a bowl along with the seeds. Combine almonds and seeds with dates. This can be a bit tricky but don't give up.

Transfer the mix to the lined baking tray. Wet your hands and gently form the mix into a large "cookie" approx. 3-5 mm thick. Bake in the oven for 15min. Turn off the oven, take out the Seed and Nut Break and close the oven door. Cut the Seed and Nut Break into approx. 3x3cm pieces. Do not worry about the exact size of the pieces. The important thing is that you transform the large "cookie" to lots of small pieces. Return to the oven and allow the Nut and Seed Break pieces to dry until the oven has cooled down.  

To prepare the Fruit & Yogurt Swirl you simply add the compote and yogurt to a drinking glass. Start with the fruit compote, top with yogurt, do the procedure once more and finish off by adding a few pieces of the Seed and Nut Break on top as a final touch. Now Eat! Serves 4 as a healthy dessert or as part of a delicious healthy breakfast.

HEALTH BENEFITS of Yoghurt: Yoghurt that is labeled “live and active cultures” contains good bacteria/probiotics that work towards a comfortable, happy and flat stomach. Probiotics literally means “for life” and work towards a healthy digestive tract. I find that eating plain fat free yogurt calms my stomach whenever it feels upset or particularly acidic. It has a soothing effect that leaves my stomach feeling calm and balanced. Apart from providing you with protein, calcium, iodine, phosphorus, vitamin B2 and 12, potassium and zinc research shows that yogurt can also help in the battle of:

Lactose intolerance
Constipation and Diarrhea
Colon Cancer
Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Make a habit of adding yogurt as part of your diet. Follow the link for a good article about the health benefits of yogurt:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rhubarb & Blueberry Compote

Rhubarb is in season. On my weekly visit to the Farmers Market this Saturday I came across an enormous pile of freshly harvested organic rhubarb that was brought by one of the farmers this sunny day of June. Rhubarb is originally a vegetable but its use in cooking has put it right in the fruit category. The rhubarbs deep red and freshly green color is vastly inspiring for any type of cooking and its slightly odd funny long thin look with split ends, once the grand leaf has been cut off, puts a smile on any face. Well, mine at least...I had a punnet of blueberries in my fridge that I had sadly ignored for a certain amount of time. It was time to do it justice and eat it. Along with the freshly bought rhubarb a fruit compote came to mind. I have never done a compote before, I have been thinking about making it for a long time and I really needed a new topping on my morning porridge. It was about time I did something about it.

Rhubarb & Blueberry Compote
4dl/230g rhubarb
2dl/150g blueberry
1.5dl/150ml filtered water
1tsp vanilla bean extract
1tsp quinoa flour
1tsp active 10+ manuka honey 

Wash the fruit and cut the rhubarb in 0.5cm/5mm pieces. Place the fruit, water and vanilla extract in a small 2liter pan. Gently bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5minutes. Take the pan off the heat and gently stir in the flour. The easiest way to add flour is to shake it through a sieve to avoid any lumps.  Finally add the manuka honey. Leave the compote in the pan to set and cool down. Makes 3dl/300ml

The compote is not sweet. By that I mean that it is not sweeter than the natural sweetness from the fruit itself. Since flavours enhance by time and we want to keep a low sugar intake I would suggest that you leave the compote as is and add more honey, maple syrup, agave syrup or what ever might be your preferable sweetener until you know what you will use the compote for.

You can use any honey you want but the active 10+ honey has an antifunghal property that any other honey does not have. Manuka honey has been proven to have very powerful antifungal properties, making it an ideal substance to treat fungal infections. Manuka honey is also effective in treating eczema and it works great to use topically as a facial to bring back the glow of your skin. 

Follow this link to read an interesting article about the health benefits of rhubarb and why you should never eat the leafs: