Happy New Year!

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Dear Friends of Tasha. Kitchen,

Happy New Year!

My wish for you is to Live Better, Strive Harder, Be Bolder, Dream Bigger, Climb Higher and Seek Greater.

These too are wishes for myself and in the pursuit of this at the end of the year I took some time out to self reflect on all I have learnt over the last year.

In 2018, I completed my certificate in Plant Based Nutrition with Cornell and have used this and some great books (e.g. how not to die – Gene Stone and Michel Greger), articles and blogs to learn more about the hard science behind food and disease.  Many of you may have seen my blog evolve over that time, from broad based healthy food to more of a plant-based blog. This is a reflection of my learning and has caused me to sit back and think about what my own philosophy is and what the blog should centre around.

After much study, contemplation and a recommitment to both my followers, and myself I am pleased to announce a new blog coming soon. The blog will be dedicated to Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw recipes with a focus on Plants and Whole Foods to maximise the nutritional content. There will also be a new section where I will share scientific research, so you can learn with me.

The blog will be called PlantToTable.com and exists today but with a redirect to Tasha.Kitchen until it is ready for launch in early 2019. Tasha.Kitchen will resume this Saturday and an announcement will be made when the new blog is ready.

I hope that this news allows you to forgive my absence and I look forward to continuing our journey together.

Yours faithfully,

Tasha x

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Cardamom Ice-cream (Vegan, DF, GF)

Cardamom Ice-cream (Vegan, DF, GF)

Cinnamon Icecream

I love the simplicity and pureness of this recipe, filled with amazing ingredients straight from Mother Nature’s door!

I adapted this recipe from my plant lab raw desserts classic, bringing a little Indian Flair with the cardamom. If you don’t like cardamom, cinnamon works well or vanilla if you’d prefer a less dominant flavour profile

Did you know Cardamom has impressive medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It has antioxidant and diuretic properties, which are said to stop the growth of tumours, lower blood pressure, prevent inflammation and act as an antibacterial.  Cinnamon has similar such properties, so you are good either way. Mr B doesn’t like Cardamom, so I tend to use cinnamon for him or during the holidays a little pumpkin spice (a US classic. I can not account for the medicinal properties I am afraid, just the smile invoked by the scent of the holidays)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup soaked cashews
  • ½ cup. Young coconut meat or coconut cream
  • ¼ cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp. crushed cardamom seeds or cardamom powder
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Blend all the ingredients together until smooth, except the coconut oil
  • Stream coconut oil in last
  • Process in an ice cream maker, or if you don’t have one (like me), place in a tub and freeze

Toffee Apples (Vegan, DF, GF)

Toffee Apples (Vegan, DF, GF)

Raw Toffee Apples

‘Here’s to the crazy one. The misfits, the rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They are not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. Some may see them as the crazy some genius. But it is only those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, that do’

Matthew Kenney was one such crazy person, who created a plant-based culinary nutrition education program. He is a true believer that food is our medicine and through his own personal experience has seen a plant based diet bring him back to life. His culinary school is dedicated to showing the world that healthy, plant-based foods can be delicious, sexy, vibrant, beautiful and can be consumed without compromise.

I am a true believer in this philosophy and whilst not 100% plant based, I am making my way down this path. My dream is that food is used to fuel our body, minds and souls and the more I learn about the nutrient content of our basic plant friends, the more I feel like our health care is easily accessible and available to all.

Of all the courses that the PlantLab Culinary school runs, the one I choose to start with was their raw desserts course. You can do it online over 6 months, so pacing it with your own schedule. Desserts have always been my weakest point; due to my body not reacting well to gluten and dairy, so this course is an eye and palate opener. Mr B who loves his desserts is super happy too as he can now eat dessert for breakfast.

This was the first recipe I used at my vegan dinner party and the guests where in love with it. The whole plate was dairy, gluten and nut free and they were super surprised that it was a possibility. I hope Chef Kenney is proud of the impact he is having, I believe this revolution and evolution has just begun!

Ingredients

Apples

  • 1 apple

Caramel

  • 10 medjool dates, pitted and soaked
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1/3. Cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. mesquite or maca powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. Water

Pumpkin seed crunch/raspberries

  • ½ cup, plus 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • ½ vanilla pod, seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freeze dried raspberries

Method

  • Using a melon baller, make apple balls, place in a bowl with some lemon water to make sure it doesn’t brown. Place to the side
  • Blend all the caramel ingredients until smooth. Pour caramel to the side and move to the side
  • Grind all the pumpkin seed ingredients together, place in a bowl and move to the side
  • Crush the freeze dried raspberries, place in a bowl and move to the side
  • Take one of the apple balls, dry off, place a toothpick through the center, roll in the caramel, roll in topping of choice
  • Place in fridge to set (min 5 minutes)
  • Serve once set

 

Nori Macadamia Nut Cheese (Vegan, DF, GF)

Nori Macadamia Nut Cheese (Vegan, DF, GF)

IMG_0698

What do you do when you can’t eat dairy anymore but you love cheese…make your own of course!

Some of you may think that this sounds a little extreme, but I used to eat so much cheese that my brother nicknamed me, cheese please! I therefore had to work out a way to reintegrate this into my diet and the best thing about making your own, is that you can make it to your own palate

You may think that making vegan cheese sounds difficult but it is really a blender recipe with just a few ingredients. I got this recipe from Plantlab, my favourite raw plant power recipe book, which just blows my mind with every recipe. I love learning the new techniques and intensity of flavours you can achieve through raw preparations. You’ll need a dehydrator for this, but an oven on low will work just as well.

Mr B couldn’t work out what this was at first glance, but once he decided to try it, he loved the smooth texture and tangy taste

Ingredients

For the cheese

  • 3 cups macadamia nuts, soaked
  • ½ cup of water (just enough to blend thoroughly)
  • 1 probiotic capsule
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice

For the nori powder

  • Pulse nori in blender until it becomes a powder, about 1 minute

Method

  • Blend the macadamia nuts, water and probiotic capsule in a high speed blender until smooth, about 3 minutes
  • Place the mixture in a shallow glass bowl and cover with cheesecloth. Let it sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours to culture
  • Mix in the sea salt, nutritional yeast and lemon juice
  • Roll the cheese into a cylinder by first placing a 12-inch piece of plastic warp on a flat surface
  • Place half a cup of cheese in the middle and flatten it out into a rectangular shape
  • Carefully roll the plastic wrap over the cheese and twist the sides to create a tight cylinder
  • Tie the ends securely, starting with one and then twisting the other carefully and tightly before tying
  • Place the cylinder in the freezer for 2 hours
  • Remove the plastic wrap, roll the cheese in the nori powder and dehydrate for 115f for 24 hours to develop the rind
  • Refrigerate until ready to use

Coconut-Lime Avocado Dressing on Kale  (GF, DF, Vegan, Raw)

Coconut-Lime Avocado Dressing on Kale  (GF, DF, Vegan, Raw)

Kale Lime Coconut

I adapted this recipe from Matthew Kenney’s PlantLab – creating the future of food book, which is centred on nutrient dense plant based recipes

It is a beautifully vibrant salad with the coconut and lime reminding you of the tropics as well as doing a good job at breaking down the kale

I had half of this for lunch and served the other half with my lentil tart over dinner to bring something bright and light to the dish

You can use this as a base and add anything your heart desires. I’d also recommend using the coconut-lime dressing on other salads and vegetables, as it really is sublime

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of Kale, de-stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 Avocados
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • Sea Salt

Method

  • Place the coconut oil, lime and sea salt in a blender and blend until well combined, taste and add salt
  • Place the kale and half an avocado in a bowl as well as the dressing, and massage for at least a minute until well combined, add the rest of the avocado and more salt if needed
  • Garnish with anything else you like for colour or texture, I added some California walnuts for crunch

Roasted Romanesco with Garlic, Sage Crumbs (GF, DF)

Roasted Romanesco with Garlic, Sage Crumbs (GF, DF)

Cauliflower and Sage Crumbs

This is a stunning dish, fragrant, tasty, textured and healthy

I have a lot of fun cooking vegetables as sides to my southern Italian in-laws dishes. I can not make what would be perceived as a main dish, as it would be seen as disrespectful, even in my own house and since I don’t want to end up sleeping with the fishes, I choose to make vegetable accompliments that I think might compliment the food

This is one such dish, which I made with garlic and sage so as to stay within the Italian lane to compliment the beautiful muscles and shrimp that my in-laws made

Mr B was super happy to see everyone in the kitchen in harmony whilst he sat back and enjoyed his fathers homemade wine

You could use pretty much any cauliflower or vegetable for this recipe. I like Romanesco for its beautiful Fibonacci spirals, its nuttiness and textured crunch!

Ingredients

  • 1 head Romanesco (core and cut into florets)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. vegan or normal butter
  • ½ cup gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • ½ cup. minced sage
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper

Method

  • Preheat your oven and get a casserole dish ready
  • Place the florets in a bowl with the oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper
  • Roast for 10-15 minutes until they start to brown at the edges
  • Whilst the cauliflower is roasting, add the butter to a pan on a low heat, add the breadcrumbs and garlic and stir to coat, cook for a few minutes and stir the sage in 30 seconds before finishing
  • Remove from the heat and cover the cauliflower
  • I take it straight to the table, steaming hot and serve it straight from the casserole dish

Chicken 65 (GF, DF)

Chicken 65 (GF, DF)

Fried Chicken

This is an amazingly addictive dish and very popular at my Indian Inspired dinner party. It is real mash up of flavours, with spiced chicken and cooling yogurt or my favourite way of serving, with a little smoked maple syrup glaze for contrast

I don’t usually cook much meat and when I do, it is organic, free range and listens to opera when indoors, but fried chicken is such a classic in the USA that I had to give it a go. I did a cauliflower version (Gobi 65), which I will post another week

Mr B liked both versions and noted that it was the spicing and contrast of flavours that really elevates either one

Go Mr Foodie B!

Ingredients

For the chicken marinade

  • 1 tbsp. chilli powder/smoked paprika (dependent on spice preference)
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

For the coating

  • 4 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp. rice flour
  • 5 tsp. chilli powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Neutral oil, for frying

For the yogurt sauce

  • ¼ cup. Almond yogurt
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the smoked maple syrup glaze

  • ¼ cup. Maple Syrup
  • Pinch of smoked salt, to taste

Method

  • Cut the chicken into bite size pieces
  • Whisk together the marinade ingredients and cover the chicken, allow to sit for at least an hour/overnight if possible
  • To make the seasoned coating, stir together the coating ingredients and place in a bowl, beat the egg and place in another bowl
  • Heat the oil in a deep pot to 375f. Dredge the chicken pieces in the egg, then in the coating. Carefully deep fry the pieces, 4-5 minutes each
  • Remove from the hot oil, using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate
  • To make the yogurt sauce, whisk together the yogurt, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper
  • Serve on the side or stir fry with some curry leaves
  • Instead of the yogurt sauce, I like to brush the chicken with smoked maple syrup, giving a spicy, smoky, sweet flavour
  • Either way is great