Gluten free

Home-made Goat’s Milk Ricotta

Home-made Goat’s Milk Ricotta

So many discoveries this week!! Four dollars has changed my life in the form of a cook book stand! I can’t believe I have lived without one for so long! No more precariously balanced books propped up on whatever was hanging around the bench with a lemon, banana or a phone sitting on top to keep the pages open. Fab! It is possibly the most kitsch looking stand in the world, but it was $4, so there you go. Now all I need is some sort of lap-top protector so I can have that on the bench too – I’m sure there is an app for that, ha!

Next, ricotta.
I first came across the idea of making my own ricotta after seeing Jennifer Perillo’s recipe on  Food52‘s fabulous website. I wanted to make it with goat’s milk though, so after a bit more investigating I found several websites and blogs with suggestions, and settled on an excellent recipe at Honest Cooking – perfect! Goat’s milk also has a wonderful amount of calcium, vitamin D, and a protein profile to make the cows jealous. It has traditionally been used as a remedy for weakened conditions, malnutrition, stomach ulcers, nervous exhaustion and loss of energy 1.

Goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk as it has smaller fat globules, a softer curd, and because of the nature of its fat structure, is naturally non-homogenised. Homogenisation splits up the fat globules making them able to sneak into the blood stream along with particular enzymes (xanthine oxidase for the nerds like me) instead of being excreted. This process has now been linked with damaging cell membranes, creating scar tissue and fatty deposits in our arteries or atherosclerosis 1. So maybe next time you are buying your dairy, check out the

Quinoa-tastic Tabbouleh

Quinoa-tastic Tabbouleh

How fabulous is quinoa? Its versatility, nutrient profile and deliciousness have made it almost a household name, and I see it appearing more and more in cafes, restaurants and several print publications. Just in case you may have missed the news, here is a recap.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a fabulous nutrient-packed food that you should try to sneak into your diet wherever you can! And here’s why:

  • It has an amazing nutrient profile; high in protein, B vitamins (in particular B1, B2, B6 and folate), iron, potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium and vitamin E.
  • It’s gluten free and lovely and easy to digest.
  • It is quick and easy to prepare.
  • It comes in red, black and white varieties to add colour and excitement to your meals!
  • It’s slightly nutty, slightly chewy, slightly fluffy and completely delicious!
  • It is a wonderful first food for babies mixed with vegetable or fruit purees. Note: pre-soaking the quinoa in water with a teaspoon of lemon juice for at least 6 hours will optimise digestion. Blend after cooking for young babies.
Quinoa flower

Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking rice. I prefer the absorption method.
Combine 1/3 cup of uncooked quinoa with 2/3 cup of water (or stock), bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for around 15 minutes. It will be translucent and plump when cooked. This will give you about a cup of cooked quinoa.

Go forth and add to soups, salads, breakfasts, desserts, and as a replacement to rice or combined with rice for added nutritional benefit. There are literally thousands of ways to use quinoa! Here is another fabulous idea – double broccoli quinoa from Heidi Swanson. So, back to the tabbouleh. Traditionally made with bulgur, I substituted quinoa and added fresh parsley, mint, basil, toasted

How to make nut milk

How to make nut milk

Not to be all how to this, how to that, but this is a how to really worth knowing!
We have a need for non-dairy milks in our house, and use a combination of coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk and almond milk as replacements (yes it’s a hectic bottom fridge door shelf!). The problem with most commercial brands of non-dairy milks is that they are watered down, and usually contain sunflower oil and other additives, which is a bit annoying.

Why not make your own? Can’t be bothered? You will once you know how EASY it is to make delicious, additive free nut milk in 5 easy steps!

Step one – get yourself some good nuts! If you’re in Melbourne, I love Friends of the Earth in Fitzroy for buying bulk good quality nuts (plus grains and other goodies). I have made used 1/2 almonds and 1/2 brazil nuts here, but you can be as creative as you like! Cashews  are another great choice, or you might want to experiment with hazelnuts, walnuts or pumpkin and sesame seeds.

Step two – soak nuts for 8 hours or overnight. Why? Nuts (and grains, legumes, beans & seeds) contain phytic acid which bind with minerals making it difficult for us to absorb the goods. Soaking deactivates phytates and enzyme inhibitors – sprouting and souring has the same effect.

After they have finished soaking, give the nuts a really good rinse

Step three – Add the nuts (1 cup) and 4 cups of water to a blender and blend until smooth(ish). At this point you can also add any sweetener that you you may like. I didn’t  bother this time, but if you like a sweeter tasting milk, soak a couple of dates and add them to the blender. Some scraped vanilla