A Wholefood Tasting Plate with Avocado Salsa and Walnut & Sage ‘Pate’

A Wholefood Tasting Plate with Avocado Salsa and Walnut & Sage ‘Pate’

Walnut and Sage ‘Pate’ Balls

Growing up, my family would have ‘platters’ on given occasions. My sister and I loved these platters that were decorated with a number of usual suspects; black pepper pate, fruit cheese, gherkins, and savoy biscuits. And there was always the ceremonial using of the duck pate knife, which we thought was very flash! I still love platters. I associate them with good times, good conversation and sharing food – all of which play a starring role in the making of my own family traditions with my husband and daughter now.

The platters have changed a bit over the years though. My perfect platter, or tasting plate to be more fancy about it, must have a dip, a cheese, some sort of crunchy vehicle to get these into your mouth, something raw, and a nice balance of colours so that it looks pretty too.

I thought I would share a couple of favourites here: avocado salsa and walnut and sage ‘pate’.

The Food Matters Project’s menu for this week was Five Quick Salsas For Chips, Dips and other Stuff – you can see the original recipe here.

Avocados should feature in every home’s fruit bowl. They have an abundance of monounsaturated fat. This is good! Monounsaturated fats have beneficial effects on cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, and they are a more stable fat and therefore do not become rancid as easily as the polyunsaturated types.

Avocados also contain a natural source of lecithin – a food for our brains and again assists will cholesterol levels. They are high in lutein, vitamin K, calcium, folate and vitamin C, and because of their combination of good fats and vitamins, are a fabulous skin food. So, healthy heart, glowing skin, boosted immune system and protection against certain cancers (bowel …

Wholefood Pizza Three Ways: Quinoa with Roasted Eggplant and Pomegranate, Spelt Traditional and Mushroom Faux Pizza

Wholefood Pizza Three Ways: Quinoa with Roasted Eggplant and Pomegranate, Spelt Traditional and Mushroom Faux Pizza

I have gone a little pizza crazy this week. It’s the food matters project‘s fault really for laying on such as fabulously broad topic this week – Mostly Whole Wheat Pizza (check out the full recipe here).

I wanted to make a gluten-free option, but I didn’t want to use the normal array of gluten-free flours and tapioca blends. I was planning on using a blend of quinoa and spelt flours, until I found a recipe using brown rice and decided I had to make it with cooked quinoa! I have touted the wonders of quinoa before, don’t get me started again, SO GOOD!

For the topping, I have been lusting after a particular eggplant and pomegranate dip from Ottolenghi’s book for a couple of weeks now, but since pizzas were on the menu and I am currently pomegranate obsessed, why not fashion it into a pizza topping? 

Quinoa Crust
(Makes enough for 1 small pizza)
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1 egg
1/2 tsp dried herbs (I used oregano)
1 tbs nutritional yeast (or 2 tbs parmesan)

1/2 eggplant
1/2 tabs lemon juice
2 tbs tahini
1/2 clove garlic
1/2 tsp pomegranate molasses
big pinch of sea salt
drizzle of olive oil
a little water
fresh thyme leaves

Chop the eggplant into chunks and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes or until eggplant is tender.

While this is cooking away, combine all other ingredients and adjust with the water, oil, salt and pomegranate molasses to get a fabulously sweet/sour/salty taste explosion.

For the base, combine ingredients and spread onto a lined baking tray, shaping into the pizza shape of your choice. Press it out to be around 1/2 centimetre thick, or as thin as you can make

Vegetables of the Sea

Vegetables of the Sea

Sea vegetables are such wonderful friends! For thousands of years they have been called upon for their healing, disease preventing, life prolonging properties, and they come in many colours and varieties, so there is bound to be one that suits you just perfectly!

Sea vegetables contain 10-20 times more minerals than land plants, and because these minerals have been integrated into a living plant/seaweed, they are beautifully absorbed and assimilated by our bodies.

Each sea vegetable has a specific set of qualities, but generally speaking they all contain protein, vitamins A, B, C and E, super amounts of iron, calcium and iodine, are detoxifying, alkalising and anti-inflammatory.

To prepare sea vegetables they need to be rehydrated. Cover with water and soak for 5-15 minutes – they will expand to at least twice their original volume.

Cooked Arame


I will feature a little special each month on each sea vegetable in turn, giving them all a time to shine. This month is arame. Arame grows in fronds which is then cut into stringy ‘noodles’, partly cooked and dried. It is rich in iodine, high in iron and calcium, and is traditionally used for normalising high blood pressure, treating female reproductive conditions, mouth afflictions and encouraging growth of glossy hair.

This week on the food matters project the recipe was Seared Bean Sprouts with Beef and Sesame Orange Sauce (check out the original version here). I adapted this to a vegetarian meal using tempeh, and added the arame and served it with quinoa – delicious!

I also changed the marinade a little, making it a version of the one Jude Blereau uses with her pan-glazed orange tofu. Here’s what I did.

Orange Pan-Glazed Tempeh with Bean Sprouts
225g/8oz tempeh
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive …

Roasted Beetroot Hummus

Roasted Beetroot Hummus

Hummus is potentially one of my favourite foods. It wears many hats in my house: a dip, a spread, a topping, a sauce; my daughter eats it straight from the spoon. Made simply it is an amazing dish, but it also lends itself to great variation.


This weeks food matters project was hummus (see the original recipe here). I found some fabulous heirloom beetroot at the market today and so thought I would make it a beetroot hummus.

Check out the magnificent ‘chioggia’ beetroot which are paler skinned and have a beautiful circular pattern on the inside – so cute!

And as for nutritional content, beets are blessed with antioxidants, folate, vitamin C,  manganese, magnesium and iron. 

They also strengthen the heart, purify the blood and improve circulation.

So why wouldn’t you want to add it to your hummus!

The other main ingredient in hummus is no wallflower either. Chickpeas are a wonderful source of protein, potassium, iron, calcium and B vitamins. The secret (if you are using dried beans and cooking them yourself) is to soak them overnight (or longer) covered generously in water with a tablespoon of yoghurt, whey, buttermilk or a squeeze of lemon juice stirred through. This will help to break down the enzymes and make them easier to digest (read no bloating and wind – hooray!). Once you have soaked the beans, rinse and add to a pot, cover with water and simmer for around 2 hours (it can take between 1 and four hours depending on your beans) until chickpeas are tender. Adding a small piece of kombu to the cooking water will help this process.

So here is a version of one of everyone’s favourite dips.

Beetroot Hummus
200g / around 1 cup cooked chickpeas
200g / 1- 1 1/2 cups