Celery Leaf and Macadamia Pesto

Celery Leaf and Macadamia Pesto

celeryleafpestoI love celery. Hubby doesn’t. But he’s away at the moment, so my house is currently celebrating this underrated vegetable. Celery deserves more than its “negative calorie” image. I admit in the past I have viewed it only as a vehicle for nut butter, but celery has a load more to offer us than that. Today I am celebrating celery in all its glory.

The quick nutritional run down is that it’s loaded with vitamin K, fibre and potassium, and it is wonderfully alkalising. Throw in antioxidants, a good dose of folate, vitamin A, vitamin C and a little calcium and magnesium, and suddenly celery is looking good. It also contains sodium (the good kind) and so is perfect for rehydration and balancing out the electrolytes when partnered with potassium and the rest of the vitamins and minerals.

celery leaves

But don’t forget the leaves! Often ignored, these fabulous foliage contain more vitamin C, calcium and potassium than the stalks. I use mine as I would parsley, so added to salads, or on top of soups, veg, or beany mixes. They work well juiced or in green smoothies, or you can get fancy and make delicious celery salt a la 101 Cookbooks. It’s so lovely to be able to use the whole vegetable to minimise waste and save some cash.

Making pesto with the leaves is a great example.  They don’t keep well, so it’s a nice way of using them up. Use this recipe as a guide, this is how I like it, but you can add more or less of anything to make it your own. I had a complete disaster today in the form of my blender breaking (OMG…hence the lack of smoothie post today) so I made this in my mortar and pestle, which is the best way …

Home-made sauces and stocks, your pathway to convenience!

Home-made sauces and stocks, your pathway to convenience!

Vegetable Stock Bouillon

Homemade stock bouillon. I had never considered making this myself until I came across it at 101 Cookbooks and had to do it! I usually make my vegetable stocks on the stove, but for those times that you don’t have 5 hours to slowly draw the flavour and nutrients out of your ingredients, this is a fab ‘cheats’ method. 
Stock bouillon is a wonderful thing to make because you know that you are not eating any of the added extras that are often found in stock cubes or powdered stocks such as preservatives, yeast extract, MSG, and sugar. You can use this stock in soups, stews, risottos, or anywhere you need a vegetable broth. The flavour is so fresh and clean, and you can adjust it by adding whatever vegetables and spices you like to make it your own. I’m thinking about a capsicum and chilli version next time. Here’s what to do.

You will need:
75g leeks, chopped
100g fennel bulb, chopped
100g carrot, chopped
100g celery, chopped
20g sundried tomatoes, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
100g fine celtic sea salt
50g fresh herbs, roughly chopped (I used parsley and coriander)

Add the leek, fennel, carrot and celery to a food processor and process until chunky. Add tomatoes and garlic and process some more. Add the salt, process until incorporated. Finally add the fresh herbs and process until smooth-ish. I left mine quite chunky as I like to see the little pieces of loveliness floating around.
Keep in mind that this is quite a salty stock, and you can play around with the amounts according to your taste. This version uses around 3/4 tsp to 1 cup of liquid when making recipes. You can keep the stock in the fridge for a

Nut Pulp Mania: Falafels and Roasted Capsicum Pesto

Nut Pulp Mania: Falafels and Roasted Capsicum Pesto

I have had a few requests lately for more recipes for all your left-over almond pulp, or nut pulp from making loads fabulous nut milk! I have talked about how to make nut milk in this previous post, so I will devote my time today to sharing these two super dooper recipes with you for your beautiful pulpy leftovers. Of course you can substitute any chopped nuts into these recipes if nut milk is not your thing.
First of all, a roasted capsicum and nutty pulp pesto. I posted this kale pesto recipe a while ago, but this one gives you a totally different flavour profile to play with. If you don’t happen to have any nut pulp hanging around, walnuts would be delicious here.

Roasted Capsicum and Nut Pulp Pesto
500g roasted capsicum *see below for details of how to roast capsicum if required
1/2 cup nut pulp or chopped nuts
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp miso paste
1/4 cup / 60ml olive oil
1/2 tbs of pomegranate molasses or lemon juice (plus extra for adjusting at the end)
Pinch of smoked paprika

Add the roasted capsicum and nut pulp/nuts to a food processor and pulse until chunky and combined.
Add all other ingredients and process until it is a consistency that you like – I like it a little chunky.
Taste and add extra pomegranate molasses/lemon juice or miso paste until it tastes delicious to you. There should be a nice balance between the sweetness of the capsicum, the salty miso and the tangy molasses/juice.

*To roast capsicums, cut lengthwise and de-seed. Place on a baking sheet with the skin facing up, and drizzle with a little oil. Grill the capsicums on a med-high heat until the skins begin to blacken and blister. At this point,

Kale Pesto

Kale Pesto

When I found out about the the Food Matters Project I put my hand up straight away to be involved. The subject, Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook. The mission, to cook our way through the book with a new recipe each week, each participant putting their own spin on the recipe. The concept of the cookbook is to eat more wholefoods and less processed foods – simple but sound advice. This week was Roasted Red Pepper (Capsicum) and Walnut “Pesto”. I love pesto. I love roasted capsicums, but alas my local had no capsicums today. I did however have half a bunch of kale, and so it was decided – kale pesto!

Kale is an absolute POWERHOUSE! Just look at it! Packed full of chlorophyll, it is an ancient member of the cabbage family that has been traditionally used to ease lung congestion and benefit the stomach. It also contains a wonderful amount of antioxidants, calcium, iron, vitamin C, manganese and vitamin K1.

Making pesto from Kale is a fabulous way to reap it’s benefits as you are eating it raw and together with other nourishing ingredients to increase the absorption of the nutrients. Nifty eh! And oh so easy!! 

You will need:
2 1/2 cups (tightly packed) kale, washed and torn from the stem
1/3 cup of cashews
1 large clove of garlic, chopped
130-150ml olive oil
1 teaspoon miso paste
2 tablespoons (or more) of parmesan (optional)

Combine all ingredients and 1/2 the oil. Whiz it all up in a food processor or in a bowl with a stick blender, gradually adding the rest of the oil.

That’s it! Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

This is a really gutsy pesto that packs a punch. I have used this over pasta, bean mixes, dolloped onto