Category Archives: Vegetarian & Vegan

Holiday Cranberry and Pear Sauce with Star Anise.

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Holiday Cranberry Pear Sauce

I am so excited that the holiday season is coming up, but I think I may have mentioned that before.

Either way, I always feel the need to prepare and stock up on essentials so I won’t get caught by the Bull (Spanish expression, bull meaning something unexpected).

I like to have plenty of sauces and condiments on hand for not only the turkey, but for Pâtés, sandwiches and cheeses too.

Here’s my favorite sauce, the star anise gives it such a depth of flavour that I am sure you will love. It’s made in a jiffy and easily keeps over the holiday season. The preserving sugar I am using is one that only requires a short cooking time, so check which sugar is available to you and cook according to directions on the sugar package.

      

Makes 2 medium Jars.

Ingredients;

12.5 oz bag of fresh Cranberries

2 medium pears

1/2 C.  orange juice

2 Star Anise

1 Cinnamon Stick

12 oz. Preserving Sugar

Method;

In a pan, place the cranberries, the peeled, cored and chopped pears, the o.j. the spices and sugar.

Leave to macerate for about two hours. Stirring occasionally.

Turn the heat on high and bring it to a boil, reduce heat but is must still bubble slightly. Cook for about 10-15 minutes.

Ladle into sterilized jars, seal and place them upside down on a clean kitchen towel for about an hour. Turn upright and cool completely. Label and store.

Holiday Cranberry Pear Sauce

If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoon on instagram! You’ll make my day.

Not quite what you’re looking for? How about Pickled Red Cabbage

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Raw Chocolate with Berries and Nuts

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Making your own chocolate is probably one of the easiest thing to make in the whole wide world. And the good part is….it’s actually good for you. Obviously in moderation because fat is still  fat no matter how healthy, but at least you don’t have to feel guilty when indulging. I have used maple syrup to sweeten it and coconut oil instead of cocoa butter. And I thought since the holiday season is coming up it might come in handy to have some healthier options on hand.

So here we go, pretty straight forward and you can add anything you like, nuts, seeds and dried fruits of choice.

Makes 1 large bar 

Ingredients;

  • 1 C. Organic Grade A Dark Maple Syrup
  • 1 C. Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 C. Organic Cacao Powder, Raw plus 2 tbsp.
  • 1/2 tsp. Organic Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Dried fruits and nuts

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Method;

Melt the coconut oil by putting it in a glass bowl and placing in a hot water bath. Or melt it simply by leaving it at room temperature or near an oven or heater.

Add the cocoa powder , maple syrup and vanilla extract. Beat very well to combine.

Get a plastic container and lightly oil it, I use a Tupperware dish because it’s flexible and I can just flip out the chocolate when it has set.

So place the mixture in the Tupperware container and sprinkle with whatever nuts and berries you have chosen. Leaf in the fridge to set overnight or if you’re in a hurry put it in the freezer for about an hour.

When ready to serve or eat, flip out the chocolate and break into large pieces for serving.

You have to store this chocolate in the fridge because it will melt at room temperature.

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Not quite what you’re looking for? How about these healthy  Bounty Bars

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Dukkah Parmesan crusted whole Salmon Fillet…

This is such an easy recipe!  No fancy equipment, no massive amounts of dirty dishes afterwards, just a baking tray, some foil and you’re good to go. Ah, and there’s the Dukkah of course…

Let me tell you a little something about Dukkah. Don’t you love that word?

Dukkah is a middle eastern condiment. The word Dukkah (pronounced DOO-kah) actually means “to pound”. Herbs and nuts are pound together to form a crumbly substance that is neither a paste nor a powder. It’s mostly eaten as an appetizer. Flatbread is torn into pieces, dipped in olive oil and then dipped in Dukkah. I don’t pound my Dukkah but pulse it in the food processor until rough crumbs.

There are many variations of Dukkah and the composition varies from family to family in the middle east though there are common ingredients, such as sesame , coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. But you can add anything you like really like  Nigella or  za’atar. And instead of hazelnuts you can use any nut or seed, maybe pine nuts or pistachios. It depends what you’re paring it with so go with the flow. You are going to have some left over Dukkah, just store in an airtight container. It will keep for weeks. Why not try it as an appetizer with olive oil and bread? 

Serves 4 – 6

Dukkah Ingredients;

1 cups Hazelnuts

1 cup Sesame Seed

2 tablespoons ground Coriander

2 tablespoons ground Cumin

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

2 tsp. Onion Powder

1 tsp.  Himalayan Salt

2 tsp. Black Pepper, Ground

Method;

Toast the hazelnut over medium heat for about five minutes keeping a close watch on them because they burn very quickly. Keep tossing them around. Add the sesame seeds and toast for an other two minutes until you hear a popping sound. Turn off the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Keep tossing a few times more to mix well. Let cool completely. Put the mixture in a food processor and pulse until medium crumbs. Store in a mason jar.

Ingredients Salmon Fillet and baby potatoes;

2 lbs Salmon fillet, skin removed20161024_122440

3 tbsp. Dukkah

1/2 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp. Light Olive Oil

Baby potatoes;

1 lb. peeled and pre cooked baby potatoes

1 tbsp. Light Olive Oil

1 tsp. smoked paprika,

1 garlic clove peeled and crushed

salt and pepper

Cucumber – Pomegranate Salad;

1 Cucumber, organic preferably

1 tbsp. Light Olive Oil

2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 C. Pomegranate seeds, fresh or frozen

1 –  tbsp. Fresh Dill sprigs

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Method;

Preheat the oven to 430° F

Get out a baking tray and line with parchment paper. Now get a piece of  aluminum foil large enough for the whole fillet to sit on. Lay it out on the tray diagonally and cover with an other piece of parchment paper. Spray with some cooking oil and place the fillet on top with the dark side down (where the skin was).

Brush the Salmon fillet with the olive oil.

In a small bowl mix the Dukkah with the Parmesan cheese. Cover the entire surface of the fillet with the mixture and press it on with your fingers.

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To prepare the baby potatoes, toss all the ingredients in a bowl and spread out along the sides of the salmon fillet.

Place in the middle of the oven and bake for  20 minutes. Serve immediately with the cucumber salad.

To make the salad, peel the cucumber leaving on some of the green for color. Slice thin with a mandolin. Place in a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients.

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Not quite what you were looking for? How about Home smoked Salmon

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Spiced Pumpkin Soup with a twist…

 

Spiced Pumpkin Soup with a twist...This soup recipe will become one of your favorites, it's quick and easy to make. Smooth and comfort food at it's best.I thecookingspoon.org

…and with XXL Cheese Croutons and crunchy pumpkin seed topping!

I’ve been making this soup for at least ten years and it’s very very comforting and has a velvet like texture. When it’s raining outside this is the kind of soup you look forward to.

I was about to make it for lunch when I realized I didn’t have a enough onions. Yikes, that ment I had to go outside again and it was pouring with rain.

Thank goodness the supermarket is just across the street so I put on my raincoat and made a run for it! I came back a little soaked but hey, this soup’s worth it.

The soup only takes about 15 minutes to prepare at the most, plus 30 minutes of simmering.  During the simmering you can make the crunchy seed topping and prepare the croutons. It really is a meal in itself, but you could serve it as a first course too, just serve small portions since it is quite filling.

I’ve added a super delicious crunchy topping of spicey pumpkin seeds and some XXL cheesy croutons. YUM!

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Serves 6

Ingredients Soup:

  • 2 tbsp. Butter (use coconut oil for vegans)
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 tsp. Coriander , ground
  • 1 tsp. Cumin, ground
  • 2 lbs. peeled and cubed pumpkin, fresh or frozen
  • 3 C. chicken stock made with 3 Bouillon Cubes (use vegetable stock for vegans/vegetarians)
  • 3/4 C. Apple Juice without added sugar
  • 1 ripe peeled banana, sliced
  • 3 tbsp. Almond Meal
  • 1 tsp. Sambal Oelek

Method;

In a large pan, melt the butter, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes on medium low. Add the garlic, stir around and add the spices. Stir a couple of times. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to  medium simmer and leave to cook for thirty minutes until everything is very tender. Turn off the heat. Blend with a hand blender until completely smooth.

Ingredients Crispy Pumpkin Seeds:

  • 1/2 C. Pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp. honey (use coconut sugar for vegans)

Method;

Heat a small frying pan over medium high heat. Add the oil.  Add the seeds and toast tossing constantly for about three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook for an other minute. Transfer the seeds to a tray lined with baking parchment and let cool until ready to use.

 

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Ingredients for the XXL Croutons;

  • 1 baguette
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. butter softened  (use coconut oil for vegans/vegetarians)
  • 4 – 6  slices thick cheese (use vegan or omit)

Method;

Preheat the grill of your oven.

Slice the baguette as diagonally as you can to get long slim pieces.

Butter the bottom of the slices and place on a lined baking tray. Cover with the cheese and grill in the middle rack of the oven until golden on top for about 5 minutes.

To serve, ladle some soup into a bowl or mug, sprinkle with the crispy pumpkin seeds a place a xxl crouton on top. Yum.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Maple glazed Hazelnuts and Bacon

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This side dish is going to blow your mind! Wait… side dish?  What am I saying, it’s more than just a side dish, you don’t really need anything else, it’s that good.

I have to confess that I am a little bit obsessed with side dishes, I think they deserve more attention. It also has to do with the fact that I try not to eat carbs in the evening so I want to have something really spectacular to compensate for the lack of potatoes or rice. When I was eating these Brussels sprouts I almost forgot about the grilled chicken I had on the side and ate the entire dish of sprouts, oops.

Ok, I’ll admit that I was very full, but so satisfied.

Serves 4 (or 2 if you’re like me)

      

Ingredients;

1 lbs. Brussels sprouts, cleaned and shredded

1 small onion, peeled and diced as fine as you can

1 Garlic clove, peeled and grated or crushed

4 oz. smoked Bacon, cut in medium small dice  (* Omit or use vegetarian bacon for vegetarians)

1/3 C. Hazelnuts, skin removed

2 tbsp. Butter

2 tbsp. Maple Syrup

salt and pepper

2 – 3 tbsp. Water

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Method;

Over medium high heat fry the bacon for a few minutes in one tablespoon of butter. Once they start to get a little crispy and golden add the hazelnuts. Fry for about 4 minutes until the nuts become golden.  Now add the Maple syrup and continue to cook for an other  3 minutes until all is nice and sticky and golden.

Place the nuts and bacon in a bowl and set aside.

Put the pan back on the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Once melted add the onions, the garlic and the Brussels sprouts after a minutes or so. Start sautéing, season with salt and black pepper. Add the two  tablespoons of water and put a lid on the pan, leaving a side open, or use a lid with holes in it like I do.

Cook for about seven minutes or until they are tender to your liking. Return the hazelnuts and bacon to the pan and sautee for another minute until heated thru. Serve immediately.

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No Bake Almond Protein Bars

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Makes: 12 bars

Needed: Glass baking dish 8×8″

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These super quick bars are packed with protein and nutrients to keep you going for a ages and are also really great as a pre or post work out snack. Kids love them too.

Just 5 basic ingredients!!!

Ingredients;

  • 1 1/3 C. Gluten Free Oat Flour
  • 1/4 C. Plant Based Protein Powder, Sweet Vanilla Bean
  • a pinch of Himalayan Salt
  • 1/2 C. Almond Butter
  • 1/4 C. Honey ,  Maple Syrup or Light Agave Nectar
  • Some Almonds for decorating.

TIP No.1 : add some Pumpkin Pie Spice, Cinnamon or Vanilla Extract to suit your mood.

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Method;

Put oat flour and protein powder with a pinch of salt together in a bowl and stir to mix. Add some spices like suggested above if you want, but it’s not necessary since they taste great without too. Add the almond butter and honey. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Add a drop of milk or water if it seems to dry.

Oil spray your baking dish first and then line with parchment paper, press the mixture very firmly in to the dish. Decorate with the Almonds if desired.

Place in the freezer for about an hour before cutting or overnight in the refrigerator.

Eat within 5 days.

TIP No.2: Dip them in very dark melted Chocolate (70% Cocoa) , if you want to be extra naughty.

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Not quite what you were looking for? How about Black Bean Brownies

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"Gratin Dauphinois"

Gratin Dauphinois with Gruyere.

Alt="Gratin Dauphinois"

Ingredients;

2 lb /1 kg starchy potatoes

1 garlic clove peeled and sliced in half lengthwise

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

grating of nutmeg

Freshly ground pepper

1 C. cream

1/2 C. chicken stock

1 C.  grated Gruyere cheese

Method;

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

Bring cream, chicken stock, nutmeg and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and let it steep while you make the rest of the gratin.

Rub a baking dish with the cut garlic, then spread with the  butter.

Peel the potatoes and slice them thin.

Place half of the potatoes in the dish, then scatter over cheese.

Repeat for the second layer, finishing with the cheese.

Pour over the cream.

Cover with lid or foil, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 until the top is bubbly and golden. Rest for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with some chives or parsley before serving.

Alt="Gratin Dauphinois"

Alt="Gratin Dauphinois"

Another great fast side dish would be Super quick pan roast Jacket Potatoes.

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Endive Gratin with Baked Apples, Blue cheese and Thyme

Serves 4 as a side dish

Who disliked Endives as a kid?… raise your hands….

Well I don’t know about you, but I really really disliked Endives when I was a child. Always prepared so very over cooked. Boiled and then rolled in some cheap ham and covered in cheese. It was bitter and the consistency was just aweful.

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Thank goodness we have come a long way since then when it comes to being creative with endive. Really there is more than just Waldorf salad and the typical gratin.

I actually love this dish and some times I eat it with just some steamed new potatoes, it’s that satisfying. But I think it goes particularly well with white meats like  chicken or pork.

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Ingredients;

6 Large heads of Endive, about 1.5 lbs.

3 tbsp butter

2 tbsp. pine nuts

2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin.

1 tablespoon fresh Thyme leafs

1/4 C. white wine

5 oz. blue cheese, 2 medium apples, peeled, core removed, cut in wedges

2 tbsp. honey

2 – 3 tbsp. pine nuts

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Method;

In a large frying pan, melt one tablespoon of butter and when hot add the apples. Fry for about 5 minutes then add 1 tbsp. of  honey, cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the apple slices to a plate and reserve.

Cut the endive in half lengthwise and remove bruised outer leafs if necessary. Slice away a small bit from the bottom.

In the same pan, add the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Add the endive cut side down and sprinkle over the thyme, season with salt and pepper.Cook for about  5 minutes before adding the garlic and the remaining honey, and turn them once in a while.  Add the white wine. Depending on how thick they are, cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Pierce with a knife to check if they are tender but still a little bit firm.

Turn on the grill.

Transfer the endive to a baking dish and gently place the baked apple wedges around the sides.

Cut the blue cheese in slices and divide over the endive. Sprinkle over the pine nuts.

Grill the endives for about 5 minutes until nice and melted and golden. Keep an eye on it!

Enjoy

Myra Xo

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Not quite what you were looking for? How about a  Beet Salad

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Macadamia-Cashew Bars with fresh berries

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There is just something so great about indulging and not having to feel guilty about it. Although these do have a lot of calories because of the nuts, but at least they are good for you.

I was very sceptical a few years ago when I stumbled upon the whole “raw”movement. I tried it for a month or two to give it a fair judgement and although it’s not for me, I do admire people who can live that way.

I found it hard to follow and I missed cooking too much. The great thing I discovered were the raw desserts. I mean, they really are the business, again, very calorie rich but also very rich in flavour and nutritious at the same time.

I guess what really works for me is to take the best from various life styles and put them all together.

Makes 16

Ingredients;

Base:
1 cup of pitted dates – soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
2/3 cup of almonds
2/3 cup of walnuts
2 tbsp cacao
1 tbsp coconut oil

Cream top;
1 cup cashews, soaked in  water overnight
1 cup macadamia nuts, soaked in water overnight
1/2-1 cup coconut water
1/2 cup coconut nectar
1/2 cup coconut oil
dash of salt
dash of vanilla

Fruit top:

2 C. mixed berries or other fruits of choice

Method;

The Base:
Into a food processor add your dates, and pulse for 10 seconds.
Add the rest of your ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds,  until combined. Don’t pulse for too long or your mixture will end up in one big lump.
Transfer your base into your 8×8 tray lined with baking parchment  and pat down evenly. Put in the freezer to set!

Cream base:
Into a blender add your  nuts,  1/2 cup coconut water, coconut nectar, oil, salt and vanilla. Blend till smooth. Add more coconut water to get a good consistency.
Put on top of the Base layer, and then freeze.
Let it sit in the freezer for about two hours before cutting in to squares and decorate with a variety of fruits.

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Raw Peppermint Bars

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These are a great little treat and healthy too. If you like After Eight than you are going to love these. You do have to keep them in the fridge because the Chocolate top melts very quickly. You can have these any time of day, with a cup of tea or even serve them as a dessert. No bad Cholesterol or nasty sugar in these little gems, so enjoy a Peppermint slice (or two) completely guilt free.

Ingredients Base;

  • 1 C. Dates – soaked in warm water for 10 minutes if they are very dry
  • 1 C. AlmondsIMG_8025
  • 1/2 C. Oats
  • 2 tbsp cacao
  • 1 Tbsp. Chia seeds
  • 1 – 2  Tbsp. coconut oil

Method;

To make the base, soak the dates if necessary then cut in half and remove the stones. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you have a crumbly consistency that, when you press between two fingers should stick together. Add a drop of water if necessary.

Line a round 8″ tin with baking paper or a square tin, whatever you have at hand.

Press the base in to the tin, pressing really hard so it forms a good base. Put in the fridge while you make the Peppermint layer.

Ingredients Peppermint layer;

  • 2 C. Cashews soaked overnight, drained and dried
  • 2 tsp. Hemp powder
  • 2 tsp. Green vegetable powder
  • 1/2 C. Spinach leafs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Peppermint extract
  • 4 tbsp. Agave
  • 2  ( or 3) tbsp. Coconut Oil

Method;

Place the cashew nuts and coconut oil in a blender and blend until smooth. You may have to stop and press the mixture down a few times. But once it gets going it will get smooth. Now add the rest of the ingredients. Taste for sweetness and add more if you like. If the mass is to solid add a little more Coconut oil. Spread this mixture over the base. Put it in the freezer so it get nice and cold for the chocolate layer. The cooler the Peppermint base the quicker the Chocolate will set.

Ingredients Chocolate layer;

  • 1/2 C. Raw Cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C. Coconut Oil, soft
  • 1/2 C. Agave

Method;

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Pour over the Peppermint layer and put it in the fridge until ready to serve.

Cut into squares when ready to serve and decorate with flowers or chocolate shavings.

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NOTE: I have  decorated some with green shredded Coconut. I add a teaspoon of green vegetable powder to the shredded coconut in a bowl and add a drop or two of water. Mix thoroughly and let dry before putting in a container. You can do the same for  pink Coconut shreds, using Dragon fruit powder or other fruit powders.

Enjoy!

Myra Xo