pumpkin & chickpea salad

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This is definately a firm family favourite for us. We have made it for BBQ’s, on its own as dinner or portioned out as leftovers and it keeps well in the fridge for a couple of  work lunchboxes. We have even served it as a kind of dip/salad at parties surrounded by garlic toasts. It is a very tasty, wholesome and filling salad. What more can I say but that I love it and have cooked it for years and years! It’s a winner!

We must credit this recipe to the fabulous Julie Le Clerc and her book Simple Cafe Food which along with its sequel More Simple Cafe Food has been an invaluable source of inspiration and ideas.


pumpkin & chickpea salad (serves 2 as a main – 4 as lunches or as a side salad)

1 tin organic chickpeas / approx. 1 cup chickpeas

1/2 medium size jap pumpkin pelled & cut into cubes

olive oil for roasting

1 bunch fresh basil, leaves torn (reserve a few leaves to decorate)

Dressing –

1/2 cup dried/sundried tomatoes/semi sundried tomatoes (whatever is your favourite)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3 cloves garlic, grated

1 tbs balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbs brown sugar

salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Place pumpkin on a lined baking tray and generously drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Bake for approx. 30 mins until cooked through & golden. Allow to cool. Rinse & drain chickpeas.

To make dressing heat the red wine vinegar & dried tomatoes in a saucepan. Do not allow to boil but switch off just before boiling. Allow tomatoes to soak for a while (10 minutes or so) in the vinegar to soften. Then place all ingredients for the dressing together in the saucepan & blitz with a bamix to combine or transfer to a food processsor & do the same. Do not over-process, some chunky bits should remain. Season with salt & pepper.

To make the salad toss chickpeas, basil and pumpkin with the dressing & place in a large bowl or serving plate. Sprinkle with a few extra basil leaves for decoration.

sticky lemongrass rice noodle and cabbage salad

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This is a really great summer midweek meal with asian flavours and it is so quick and easy. This salad evolved from our love of a vietnamese dish which has sticky, chewy rice noodles and flavours of white pepper and lemongrass which then fused with our desire to put another summer salad/fresh style meal on our restaurant menu. There are a few variations on the salad ingredients and the nuts we use but we have included those options in this recipe and they all taste equally delicious. This is the perfect meal for a hot summer night and for those times you feel like a yummy asian noodle dish but should really be eating lots of raw salad and vegetables. It is like a treat without being to much of a treat if you get my drift. Plus you can fill up on this meal even after a big workout as it has carbohydrates and combined protein through nuts and rice.

sticky lemongrass rice noodle and cabbage salad  (serves 2)

approx half a packet rice vermicelli, soaked in boiling water until cooked then drained and rinsed until cool

generous slug of oil – peanut/coconut/light olive oil

1 stalk fresh lemongrass, peeled & base finely chopped (or use 2 tbs frozen lemongrass available in asian supermarkets)

2 tbs fish sauce (squid brand is great)

1 tbs oyster sauce

1 tbs sugar

1 tsp ground white pepper

1/2 red onion, finely sliced

salad –

1/2 small red cabbage (can use some wombok cabbage also if you like), very finely shredded

1 lge carrot, peeled & very finely cut into matchsticks

fresh spinach, roughly chopped

half a packet of bean sprouts

big handful roasted cashews or peanuts

big handful deep fried shallots (available in asian stores or deep fry your own red shallots in coconut oil then drain on paper towel)

dressing – (double this quantity if you like lots of dressing)

2 tbs rice wine vinegar

2 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs organic raw sugar

2 tbs boiling water

1 tsp sesame oil

Heat oil in a wok then add onions and fry until softened and translucent. Add lemongrass and garlic and stir. Add sauces, sugar and white pepper and toss well. If you use a meatl spoon you can make sure noodles don’t stick too much to the wok and scrape off the ones that are nice and brown and sticky. Serve noodles onto plates.

Toss salad ingredients together except for nuts and shallots. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Top noodles with large handfuls of salad and then sprinkle over generous amounts of nuts and deep fried shallots. Serve.

TIPS &/ TRICKS * Sometimes we also serve with a sliced red chilli on top *If you are really into protein add a fried egg on top or stirfry some squid/prawns/fish pieces or chicken/beef strips over high heat in the wok and set aside until noodles are done then add back into the wok with the stirfried noodles and toss…


easy like sunday morning…relaxing and baking!

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That’s our boy – our pride and joy! He loves to laze about on the kitchen floor catching a breeze across his belly! We, well we love baking… We try to bake a couple of healthy treats on the weekend, prepare our breakfast mix of grains/nuts/seeds/ dried or stewed fruit and also cook some staples to help us throw together healthy lunches for our working week.

The standout treat from this weeks bake off was definitely the choc chunk trail mix cookies which were based on an Oh She Glows recipe with our own adaptations. They are really satisfying and delicious! We made a double batch and gave some to our neighbour who so kindly helped us remove a green tree snake from behind our fridge…. a task well worth the reward of warm fresh baked goodies I think.

These cookies are dairy free and vegan.


choc chunk trail mix cookies (makes approx 24 cookies)


1 cup wholemeal spelt flour

2 cups quinoa flakes (available at Coles and Woolworths)

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds

1/4 cup sultanas

1/4 cup coconut sugar or organic raw sugar

5 tbs dairy-free dark chocolate chips or roughly chopped chocolate

2 tbs sesame seeds

2 tbs chia seeds

2 tbs hazelnuts

2 tbs walnuts

1/2 tsp himilayan salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarb soda


1 tbs ground flaxseeds mixed with 2 tbs water

1/4 cup + 2 tbs drippy nut butter (any kind but almond or hazelnut is great)

1/4 cup oil (coconut or light olive oil)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla essence


Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a two baking trays with baking paper. Mix flax and water together and set aside to form a gel. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients together in another bowl including the flax gel. Then combine wet and dry ingredients and mix together really well – this takes a fair bit of stirring and even use your clean hands if it is too difficult. Portion balls of dough (just smaller than golf balls) and place on baking trays evenly spaced so they have some room to spread (We fit 12 per tray). Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven. Let cool before you move them around. Store in an airtight container.



Chickpea & Mushroom Salad

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Chickpea & Mushroom Salad (2 large or 4 small servings)

This salad is a great mid-week summer meal. It is so easy to make and is packed with protein and B12. Whenever we make this salad I think to myself, “Wow that was so satisfying and it was a healthy, low-calorie salad!” It really does hit the spot this recipe.

olive oil for cooking

1 tin of organic chickpeas or 2 cups cooked chickpeas

1 small red onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, finely sliced

4 tbs ground cumin

approx. 16 mushrooms

1 bunch or bag of fresh spinach, washed

1 long red chilli, deseeded & finely diced

rind of 1 lemon & juice of 2 lemons

1 cup good quality greek-style natural yoghurt

himalayan sea salt & pepper

Wash and dry spinach and spread evenly acros your serving plates. Place yoghurt in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan and fry onions & garlic until softened and translucent. Season the onions with salt. Add lemon rind and cumin. Stir until aroma of the spices is released then add mushrooms and chickpeas. Sautee over medium heat until the mushrooms are cooked to your liking. Remove pan from heat and add lemon juice and chilli. Season to taste and serve over fresh spinach a blob yoghurt on top.


vegan pumpkin fruit cake

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This is such a great cake and it is a recipe we have used over and over again for many years. I found it by chance in a thread on one of those websites where people post answers to questions from others and this was one person’s suggestion for a good vegan cake. A good vegan cake it is. It is moist and deliciously fruity. We have gone on to alter the original cake to our own recipe and we like ours with extra citrus peel which is optional if you don’t like it of course. You can buy really good organic citrus peel and dried fruits in healthfood stores these days which are free from the nasties such as sulfur dioxide in the regular varieties.


Vegan Pumpkin Fruit Cake  (makes up one big bar cake/loaf tin)

1 cup mashed pumpkin (steamed, mashed & cooled)

360g mixed fruit ( we use currants, raisins, sultanas & orange peel)

2 tbs maple syrup

1 tsp bicarb soda

1 1/2 cups organic/wholemeal SR flour (or 1 1/2 cups spelt flour + 3 tsp baking powder)

1 cup of fresh fruit juice / water / rosehip tea

1 tsp mixed spice

a little bit of marmalade to brush the top of the cake and make it shiny!

Grease and line a loaf tin and preheat oven to 160-180 degrees. Put mixed fruit, maple syrup and tea/water/juice in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.  Allow fruit mixture to cool and add pumpkin, flour (& baking powder if using it), spice, and bicarb.  Mix well and poor into loaf tin. Bake in a moderately slow oven for about 90 minutes turning the cake a few times. Remove from oven brush with marmalade and allow to cool before slicing – if you can!



you can’t beet-a-root…. vegetable!

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Beetroot is Nature’s little purple present to us all. We absolutely love beetroot in our household and we eat them raw, roasted, boiled or steamed. We like to make batches of pickled beetroots every couple of weeks & eat these straight from the jar with olives as a snack (also straight from the jar & lucky for us homegrown chemical-free organic olives grown right near us – sorry for the boast moment but personally I think property prices should rise in the area the olives here are sooo good!) Beetroots are so sweet and delicious and so versatile. We like to use beetroot in dips, salads, juices, burgers, curries and even cakes or muffins.

Beetroots are such a wonderful colour and anything with this purple colour is rich in antioxidants that can prevent free radical damage in the body. It is also rich in nitrates and is said to be good for building intensity and endurance when exercising by increasing nitric oxide production and therefore giving you more energy and available oxygen during workouts. A much recommended vegetable for athletes particularly as a juice before workouts. Beetroot is high in folate which is vital in pregnancy, B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. Beetroot is known as a great vegetable for liver health because of the nutrients it contains.

You can eat beetroot raw, just peel off the skin & grate or slice very finely on a mandolin. If you cook beetroot leave the skin on and boil/steam or roast until they soften & can be pierced easily with a skewer. If using beetroot as part of a roasted vegetable medley I always peel them before roasting and sprinkle them with some vinegar. A good trick to know is that if you want to eat the cooked beetroot cold or room temperature then allowing them to cool first makes it super easy to peel the skins off. For pickled beetroots I make the syrup and cook the beetroot and allow them both to cool in the refrigerator overnight before peeling and slicing the beetroots and immersing in the pickling liquid. The leaves of beetroot can also be eaten, the smaller ones in salads and the larger older leaves cooked like spinach. Be warned if you do eat or drink a lot of beetroot then it may affect your digestion in that things may come out a little “pink” in colour including your urine but this is harmless so don’t panic.


Apple & Beetroot Cake (makes 10-12 pieces)

I was inspired to make a cake like this because I thought about how much I love beetroot and apple juices. Everyone knows beetroot and chocolate make a wonderful combination and I thought so do apple and beetroot. Recipe inspired by tinned tomatoes blog.

1 organic free-range egg, beaten (1tbs ground flaxseed + 3tbs water for vegans)

2/3 cup keffir or yoghurt

4 tbs coconut oil

2 green apples, peeled, cored & finely chopped

1 lge beetroot, cooked & very finely diced

½ cup raw sugar/your favourite sugar

1 tbs honey

1 ¼ cups wholemeal spelt flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 heaped tsp cinnamon

1 heaped tsp raw sugar

Preheat oven to 200˚C. Grease & Line a 20cm cake tin. Beat the egg in a bowl and add keffir/yoghurt, oil & sugar & stir well. Add the finely diced beetroot, the apple, & the honey. Mix well. Sieve over the spelt flour & baking powder & gently fold into mix. Spoon this mixture into prepared cake tin & sprinkle over the cinnamon & sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until firm to touch and not wobbly.

TIPS&TRICKS – * This mix also makes muffins just divide into 6 large muffin cases in a tin & bake 30 minutes * This cake/muffins freeze well * Especially tasty served warm * If you do not have keffir then you can use almond/organic – soy milk just add 1 tbs apple cider vinegar to it and set aside for 10 minutes OR just use yoghurt.


Pickled Beetroots (makes 2 small tubs)

Be warned these are so yummy and sweet that sometimes we eat them all before they get a chance to be included in salads and on burgers or sandwiches.

4 large beetroots cut in quarters (so they cook quicker)

¼ cup raw sugar/rapadura sugar

1 cup apple cider vinegar

3 cups water

1 tsp salt

1 tbs soy sauce/tamari

½ tsp chilli oil/ginger oil (optional)

Steam or roast beetroots with the skins on until cooked through & can be pierced with a skewer (might take 20-30mins). Allow beetroots to cool and put them covered in the refrigerator overnight. To make the pickling liquid place vinegar, sugar, salt and water in a saucepan & bring to the boil. Once liquid is boiling, turn down & simmer uncovered until reduced by one third. Remove liquid from the heat and set aside to cool. Store the pickling liquid in a container in the refrigerator overnight. When cooled peel beetroot & slice thinly and layer in Tupperware or clean sterilised jars. Cover beetroots with cooled pickling liquid making sure they are fully submerged then add a little of the soy and the chilli/ginger oil to each batch.

TIPS&TRICKS – * You can add some whole cloves, a bay leaf & 2 strips of orange peel to the pickling liquid and omit soy & oil for a different flavour * Don’t waste the pickling liquid when you’ve eaten all the beetroot it can be reused several times (as long as not too many dirty fingers go into it!) or use it up in salad dressings with some olive oil, mustard & garlic


Beetroot & Millet Burgers (makes 10-12 burgers)

Thanks to the fabulous Green Kitchen Stories for this wonderful recipe which makes a very different kind of burger. Check out their website if you get the chance especially all the info they provide on how they are raising children – amazing and inspiring!

1 cup water

½ cup millet (rinsed)


4 sml / 2 lge beetroot, peeled

1 zucchini

1 lge carrot

1/2 red onion

4 organic eggs

salt & pepper

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan & add millet & salt. Reduce heat to low & cook for 10 minutes. All the water should be absorbed & millet cooked. Set aside. Grate beetroot, zucchini, carrot & grate or finely dice red onion (you can do all this very quickly in a food processor with the grater attachment if you like). Mix grated vegetables, eggs, millet and seasoning together in a bowl. If the mixture feels to wet you can strain the mixture over a bowl to remove the moisture or add some flour or quinoa flakes. Don’t worry too much though they work out fine with a fair bit of moisture. Heat some oil in a frypan & then scoop mixture into pan in burger size shapes. Fry on each side until golden & crunchy & warmed through. Serve with a nice big green salad with avocado. We think they are so tasty they don’t even need sauce!

TIPS&/TRICKS * Keep any leftover mix in a bowl in the refrigerator or fry up all the burgers & freeze them * Make these into works burgers by serving them on your favourite bread/roll with caramelised onions, lettuce, tomato, a fried egg & mayo       * Add a serving of homemade fries or sweet potato or zucchini fries

Have a great week everyone…. oh and don’t forget to like foods-kool on facebook!

Linda and Sophie

keffir soaked buckwheat

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buckwheat simple yoghurt

keffir soaked buckwheat (serves 1)

This recipe is soooo healthy and soooo easy!!!! You can substitute half natural yoghurt and half filtered water for the keffir but it really is wonderful for gut health if you can source some or consider making it yourself. This recipe is so simple and it is a healthy probiotic, gluten-free, soaked grain breakfast – how perfect!


¼ cup raw buckwheat kernels

¼ cup keffir (goat milk is ideal)

1 tsp chia seeds

1 heaped tsp cinnamon

2 tsp maple syrup / agave 

10 raw almonds


Combine all the ingredients together and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.


TIPS&TRICKS * Make this in a jar or some Tupperware and you have breakfast to go! * Add fresh or frozen berries for extra taste and nutrition.



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