abc complete protein granola

abc granola

Maple-roasted ABC complete protein granola for the win!

I came late to my granola lovin’ ways. Here in Australia, the concept of ‘granola’ doesn’t quite exist in the same way it does elsewhere. Sure, we have muesli bars, and sugary cereal, or if you’re a health nut, muesli (usually not roasted). But nothing that really captures the same essentials as granola. (If you’re an Aussie, and reading this, and haven’t made or tried granola, please do! It cured me of all those shitty primary school muesli bars in one foul swoop.)

My general aims for a granola are: nuts that are big enough (or chopped big enough) to be picked up with your fingers (for hand to mouth snacking); a variety of nuts; good clumping factor (you don’t want everything to be separate, nor do you want enormous clumps) and a SUPER fragrant flavour.

I think, really, that this granola succeeds everytime. It’s nutty, chewy, fragrant, just-sweet-enough. I’d made a few versions of these with just almonds and cashews until, one day, a brainwave hit me: ‘Let’s add brazil nuts, and make it an ABC complete protein granola!’ Brain, sometimes you are a wonderful thing.

The combination of almonds, brazil nuts and cashews (ABC), all together provides the 8 essential amino acids (therefore, a ‘complete protein’). For those not in the wise, an essential amino acid is one the human body can’t produce by itself, so needs to source it from food. For non-vegetarians and vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs, this isn’t a problem (most animal sources are complete proteins), but if you’re vegan, soy is basically your only option. That is, of course, unless you get down and dirty with your nut mixology, like I’ve done here (variety? you betcha ya!).

ABC
abc granola ingredients
raw granola

(Not to mention all the good fats and fibre you’re getting in the granola!)

I love this served with fruit (banana is a favourite, but all berries are good – stone fruit in summer would be divine!) and almond milk, for (a quick and awesome) breakfast. Or on top of coconut yoghurt. Or over roasted fruit. Or by the handful. Any which way you want to enjoy it, this granola has got you covered.

abc complete protein granola

ABC Complete Protein Granola

makes about 4 and a half cups

Recipe notes

  • Do not copy my dumb-ass example and line your baking sheet with foil. Use baking paper. I love this granola SO much that I spent a decent ten minutes picking it off the foil. Be cool and using baking paper (I had run out, and was desperate for granola).
  • If you’re not crazy for sultanas (or raisins) you could substitute dried cranberries or dried cherries instead.
  • I eat this granola by the handful, or for breakfast (with non-dairy milk and banana slices). Whenever the mood strikes.

Ingredients

  • 2 c (200 g) rolled oats
  • 3/4 c (120 g) raw almonds
  • 3/4 c (105 g) cashews
  • 3/4 c (105 g) halved brazil nuts
  • 1/2 c (30 g) shredded coconut
  • 1/2 c (70 g) sultanas or raisins
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground (or freshly grated) nutmeg

Preheat oven to 180 C (355 F) (no fan). Combine all ingredients in a bowl, a mix thoroughly (at least 1 minute), until everything is thoroughly coated. Spread out onto a baking-paper-lined tray in an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Should keep for 2-3 weeks.

banana, mango and strawberry recovery smoothie

banana mango and strawberry recovery smoothie

After exercise, whether that be cycling, a run or a gym session, it’s essential to have a wholesome, nutritious and restorative meal to help your muscles and body recover.

Enter the banana, mango and strawberry recovery smoothie! Quick, simple, effective and tasty. It’s high in protein (thanks to some nifty protein powder), vitamin C, and other important nutrients like folate, potassium and manganese. Perfect recovery food.

If you know you’re going to be in a rush, here’s my advice: prepare all the fruit before your workout and store in a container in the fridge. That way, when you’re work out is done, all you have to do is throw the fruit into the blender with the protein powder and water. Hey presto! You’re done.

banana mango and strawberry prep
smoothie bowl
recovery smoothie

Now, do you normally just pour your smoothie into a glass and chug it down without so much as a breath? I bet you’re left with a tummy that feels overfull and definitely sloshy. Here’s my challenge: pour your smoothie into a large soup bowl, top with some more fruit (strawberries, bananas, whatever), and if you’re really feeling crazy, some chopped nuts. Eat it with a spoon. I know this might sound bizarre, but it really improves your digestion of what is a pretty nutrient-dense meal.

Banana, Strawberry and Mango Smoothie

serves 1 as a meal, 2 as a snack

Recipe notes

  • This smoothie makes enough for a whole meal, but if you’d like to share, go ahead!
  • I use Vital Protein Pea Isolate Unflavoured, but if you have a favourite protein powder, use that.
  • I use water as the liquid, as I feel that with the protein powder, the smoothie really doesn’t need any extra creamy liquids. But, if you’re hung up on milk, you can substitute. Coconut water is another great option!

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced (frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 2 heaped dessert spoons (~25 g) of protein powder
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup (if desired)

Place all ingredients in a blend, and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass (or bowl!) and enjoy.

truffled pumpkin and green bean salad

on the plate

I feel like it’s time I probably wrote something about Adam over here (I have, after all, just married the guy). I have a phobia about putting anything too personal out there on the internet, but I think I can overcome it for Adam.

Adam is the most driven, dedicated human being I know – this is a man who translates Julius Caesar at 11 pm, who is constantly revising vocabulary (Ancient Greek, Latin, and German are all in the mix at the moment), who is always ready to talk about ideas and concepts. His passion is the most motivating thing I can think of, and more than once has inspired me to get off my ass and do some work.

He’s all the things you could want in a partner (I’m sure everyone thinks that), and I’m so grateful that the guy from my ancient Greek art class, who helped me with an assignment, turned out to be Adam. He’s helped me grow in so many ways (and probably lots more that I’m not aware of), and seeing him develop and grow is one of my favourite things about our relationship. There is something new to love about him all the time (the other night he spent at least two hours clearing out paperwork and tidying his desk).

butternut pumpkin halves
patch of hazelnuts
lemon truffle pumpkin and green bean salad
while the pumpkin is roasting

I first made a version of this salad one weekend, stuck in an apartment at the beach on a very, very rainy day. We were going a little stir crazy, to say the least. It was good enough to brighten the shitty circumstances, and I made it again almost as soon as we got home. You wouldn’t think the combination of lemon and truffle oil would work, but it really does, especially with the sweet pumpkin.

roasted pumpkin
lemon truffle salad w hazelnuts

Truffled Pumpkin and Green Bean Salad

serves 2

Recipe notes

  • If you don’t have truffle oil, this salad will still be delicious! Use whatever good-quality olive oil you have on hand.
  • This salad could be easily made to go further by adding a few handfuls of rocket or baby spinach.
  • Serving suggestions: crusty toasted bread, roasted tofu or tempeh if you like!

Ingredients

  • 480 g (just over 1 lb) butternut pumpkin, deseeded and sliced into 1 cm half moons
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 175 g green beans, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup (40 g) toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the dressing:

  • 1 tsp truffle oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 200 C (390 F). In a large bowl, toss pumpkin slices with olive oil, thyme leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Spread out in a single layer on a baking tray. Roast for 25 minutes, turning slices over half way through. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

While the pumpkin is roasting, bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil. Boil green beans for 3 minutes, then drain.

Make dressing by putting all components in a glass jar, screw on the lid, and shake.

In a large bowl, toss roasted pumpkin slices, beans, dressing and hazelnuts. Arrange on a plate, with most of the hazelnuts on top. Enjoy!

oat and chocolate chip cookies

chocolate-cookies-for-all

Everyone, in my (very) humble opinion, requires a good chocolate chip cookie recipe in their arsenal. It’s essential for moments like: stressful assignments, tea dates with friends, sudden bouts of flu, and generally whenever something satisfying is required.

And, I don’t know about you, but here’s what I think a good choc-chip cookie should provide: crispy edges, chewy centre, vanilla-scented dough, generous hunks of chocolate. These cookies tick all the boxes, and they get a double thumbs up for me, especially from the oats making the centre extra-chewy.

cookie-dough-for-rollin
jonquils
cookies-are-ready-to-go

I’m pretty sure you should go and make these cookies right now. Find an excuse: I always do.

chocolate-cookies

Oat and Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 24 cookies

Recipe notes:

  • If you’re not bothered about wheat flour, substitute 1 cup plain flour for the mix of flours I use here.
  • It might look like a long baking time for cookies, but trust me, you want them to be crispy and golden.
  • To make one flax egg, combine 1 tbsp flaxseed (linseed) meal with 2 tbsp boiling water. Whisk with a fork and set aside for 10-15 minutes before using.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup white rice flour
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp almond meal
  • 1/2 c raw sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 80 g (about 1/2 cup) chopped dark chocolate (I used 70%)

Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F) – no fan. Line two baking trays with baking parchment. In a large bowl, combine oats, flours, sugar and baking powder. Whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, combine flax eggs, margarine, and extract. Use a fork or a spoon to mix thoroughly. Add wet mixture and chopped chocolate to dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or your hand, until combined.

Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out level tablespoons of cookie dough onto a baking tray. Distribute dough evenly onto trays. Roll the scoops of dough into balls, and press down each ball with your fingers to flatten. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until cookies are golden brown.

food crush: fennel

Fennel slices
Roasted fennel and jazzy rice

Holy shit guys, do I love fennel. Adam does not (weirdo). So the other week when I saw whole (massive) fennel bulbs for $1 each (!) I knew that their cheap fennel-y goodness would be all mine. It was so cheap because fennel is a winter vegetable, and it’s winter here in Australia (ha, our version of winter – it’s 20 degrees C today). So I bought two enormous bulbs. All mine.

Balsamic covered fennel
Tricked-out rice
Roasted fennel - oblique

One morning at 5 am, I woke up and knew what I wanted to do with it – combine it with all the other things Adam doesn’t like a lot (like balsamic vinegar and brown rice) and eat them all off one plate like the greedy guts I am. I’m such a fennel greedy guts that I even snuck toasted fennel seeds into the tricked-out brown rice.

Seriously though, I wish Adam liked fennel more, because then he’d be in for one of the tastiest, most versatile vegetables out there. Fresh and raw, or soft and caramelised, fennel is delicious either way. You can even eat it’s seeds and fronds. Sweet!

A final gush about this recipe: the roasted fennel works amazingly with the nutty brown rice and the toasted hazelnuts (I’m not sure another nut would have the same effect, but if you don’t have hazelnuts, try almonds). Some sort of fennel-hazelnut-brown rice love triangle happened. And it was delicious.

If you haven’t tried fennel before, and aren’t really sure if it’s your thing, I highly recommending roasting it (like in this recipe). Roasting fennel until it’s soft and caramelised mellows the aniseed flavour (which can be pretty full-on raw) and makes the fennel sweet and sublime.

On the other hand, if you’re a fennel hound like me, it’s perfect in raw in salads, and practically has a love affair with rocket and lemon juice.

A few more fennel-focussed recipes:

A few more fennel-y ideas:

  • Slice raw fennel and serve with with a selection of dips (salsa verde and romesco spring to mind)
  • Top pizza or flatbreads with roasted fennel
  • Thinly shave fennel and toss with rocket, lemon juice and olive oil for a simple green salad
  • Add sliced fennel to tomato-based vegetable soup to take it up a notch (or five)

Balsamic roasted fennel and brown rice with hazelnuts
Balsamic roasted fennel and brown rice

Roasted Fennel with Tricked-Out Brown Rice

serves 2

Recipe notes

  • This is enough to serve two people generously. I know that if I had some rocket lying around it definitely would have made its way into this salad, so don’t be shy if you’re luckier in the rocket department than me.
  • My only other suggestion is that this salad should ideally be served at room temperature. Add some cooked cannellini beans for some extra protein and deliciousness if you desire.

Ingredients

  • 1 large fennel bulb, top trimmed, fronds reserved, halved lengthwise and thickly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice, at room temperature
  • 1.5 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/3 c whole hazelnuts
  • 1 spring onion, greens parts only, thinly sliced
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Preheat oven to 200 C (390 F) (no fan) and line a baking tray with baking paper. In a medium bowl, toss sliced fennel with oil, vinegar and season to taste. Arrange on the tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until soft and caramelised.

Meanwhile, toast fennel seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant, and set aside to cool. In the same pan, toast the hazelnuts over medium heat. Remove hazelnuts from pan and allow to cool for a few minutes before roughly chopping. In a medium bowl, combine rice, hazelnuts, fennel seeds and sliced spring onion Stir to combine and then divide evenly between two plates.

Once the fennel is roasted, arrange on top of the rice and garnish with the reserved fennel fronds. Serve with lemon wedges. Best enjoyed warm or at room temperature.