zucchini, kale & corn fritters – vegan & gluten free

zucchini, kale & corn fritters | The Secret Life of Bee

These fritters are the business. They’re delicious and jam packed with nourishing goodness. The husband and I have decided to go on a bit of a health kick/ will power experiment and i’m really enjoying making us lots of plant based meals. I made cashew nut mayonnaise the other night and it was a bloody revelation! Mayonnaise out of nuts! I was convinced it was going to be dreadful but the stuff is gold! I have a production line on the go now!

zucchini, kale & corn fritters | The Secret Life of Bee

Unlike many gluten-free vegan recipes out there I am going to be real with you. Nothing beats the binding power of wheat flour and eggs. So don’t expect this mixture to be your run of the mill fritter. You really have to coax these babies into submission. I mix the mixture by hand so that I can really squash the ingredients together and get the “flax eggs” evenly distributed. “Flax eggs” I hear you asking? What on earth? Well up until two weeks ago I had no idea that if you mix 1 Tbsp of flaxseed flour with 3 Tbsp of boiling water you’ll end up with a gloriously sticky egg like binding magic mixture. It’s rather splendid.

zucchini, kale & corn fritters | The Secret Life of Bee

Once you’ve shaped your fritters there will be a few reluctant pieces of corn, kale and bit of the mixture that just didn’t want to become a fritter. This is my absolute favourite part. Fry these little bits off at the end. Get them super crispy and then top your fritters with these little nuggets of joy.

Zucchini, Corn & Kale Fritters

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g grated zucchini, about 3 cups
  • 125g fresh corn, 1 cob
  • 50g kale, a large handful
  • 1 x 400g tin organic lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 “flax eggs”*
  • 30g coconut flour
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • coconut oil for frying

*1 flax egg = 1 Tbsp flaxseed flour mixed with 3 Tbsp boiling water. Mix well into a sticky egg like paste.

Method:

Place grated zucchini in a colander lined with a tea towel. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and massage the salt into the zucchini. Leave for 30 min.

Squeeze all the water out of the zucchini and place in a large bowl.

Slice the corn off the cob and finely slice the kale. Add this along with all the other ingredients except the flax eggs. Mix.

Make the “flax eggs”. Add them to the fritter mixture while still hot and mix them in. I find using your hands is the only way to go about mixing this homogeneously. Season the mixture well with salt and pepper.

Shape the mixture into fritters. I get 12.

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Fry the fritters in coconut oil until crispy on both sides. Transfer fritters to a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of coconut yoghurt, fresh coriander and a crunchy green salad.

zucchini, kale & corn fritters | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

 

 

fig & goat’s cheese salad

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

One of my favourite chefs on earth is Yotam Ottolenghi and the man can write a seriously good cookbook or ten. Plenty is a vegetarian filled masterpiece with an entire chapter dedicated to ‘The Mighty Aubergine.” It is jam packed with inspirational ideas of ways to cook and serve veggies you would never have dreamed of. This fig and goat’s cheese salad hails from this recipe book and is one of the most beautifully simple but flavourful salads.

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

I’ve put my own spin on this classic combination and it’s a winner. I also added some apple cider vinegar to his dressing as the acidity is perfectly balanced by the sweet figs and cuts through the richness of the goat’s cheese. This aint no ordinary goat’s cheese either. This is the good stuff. Super creamy and luxurious, Chavroux is my favourite brand of goat’s cheese. Treat yourself to the Aston Martin of goat’s cheeses! I’m a wee bit obsessed. Can you tell?

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

Fig & Goat’s Cheese Salad

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 80g mixed baby leaves
  • 10 ripe figs
  • 150g creamy goat’s cheese
  • 20g mixed purple and green basil
  • mixed sprouts
  • edible flowers

For the dressing:

  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method:

Combine all dressing ingredients except for the olive oil.

Slowly pour in the olive oil and whisk until the dressing comes together homogeneously.

Mix the baby leaves and basil together in a large serving dish. Cut the figs into quarters and arrange over the leaves. Scatter dollops of goat’s cheese around the figs as well as the mixed sprouts and edible flowers.

Drizzle the salad with the dressing and some fresh olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper.

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: Sexy salad bowl courtesy of Sugar and Vice

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

This vegan chocolate ice cream, or nicecream should I say is dairy-free, sugar-free and guilt-free but with ALL the flavour and the most amazing luxurious texture. Bananas are a truly handy little fruit and are the base of this ice cream. Add some top quality dark cocoa powder, vanilla and almond milk and you have yourself something seriously scrumptious.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

This sweet treat takes seconds to whip together. Just remember to freeze your sliced bananas the day before or even early in the morning if you make this for an after dinner delight. I slice my bananas and lay them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, cling film the lot and then pop them into the freezer.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

The pistachio brittle adds amazing crunch, colour and it’s delicious. If you want to keep this recipe refined sugar free then just leave it out and you can serve your nicecream with some toasted almond flakes or fresh raspberries. I love the brittle and could eat it on its own as is. Just watch out for your teeth!

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream with Pistachio Brittle 

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g bananas, sliced, frozen overnight
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract/essence or paste
  • 100ml almond milk

For the brittle:

  • 225g caster sugar
  • 75ml water
  • 50g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • pinch sea salt

Method:

Add the frozen bananas, cocoa powder, vanilla and almond milk to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Scrape into a small serving dish and freeze.

For the brittle: Whisk caster sugar and water together in a pan on high heat. Make sure to clean down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush and some water or your caramel will crystallise. Do not stir the caramel. Allow it to cook and bubble until it turns a rich golden brown colour. Pour out immediately onto a greased baking tray or a baking tray lined with a silicone mat.

Scatter with the roughly chopped pistachios and sea salt and leave to harden and cool.

Serve ice cream with shattered shards of pistachio brittle.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

 

tuna poke bowl

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

Poke, pronounced ‘poh-keh’, is a scrumptious Hawaiian dish that is basically deconstructed sushi in a bowl. So if you’re really rubbish with chopsticks you can finally eat sushi with a fork and not be judged. Well, judged a bit less. I adore this dish because of the different textures and flavour combos. The crunchy raw veg and creamy avocado are a match made in heaven for the salty fish and sweet rice. It really is such a well balanced dish, takes no time at all to put together and looks darn pretty too. Check out this awesome article from HuffPost for a run down on all you need to know about poke!

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

One of the most important and delicious flavours in this dish is the sesame seed oil. I used the Organic Sesame Seed Oil from Lemcke Oils. It has a subtle nutty flavour and adds depth to the dish without being overpowering. It’s a great oil to eat as is on salads and dishes such as this one but it is also a great oil to cook with as it has a high smoke point. In a dish like this it is very important to use high quality, fresh ingredients because it is such a simple dish, each ingredient really needs to shine.

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

The fish is obviously paramount. Don’t make this unless you have the freshest and very best quality of tuna or salmon you can get your hands on. When I got home with this chunk of tuna I had to stop the husband from eating it straight off my chopping board with a dash of soy sauce. It was sensational. As for the accompaniments… there are no strict rules. You can add and experiment with all sorts of veggies. You can leave out the rice as well for a deliciously healthy low carb meal. Poke can be as versatile as you allow it to be. This has definitely become a weeknight staple for us.

Tuna Poke Bowl

serves 4

Ingredients:

For the fish:

  • 400-500g fresh tuna, skinned and deboned
  • 75ml soy sauce
  • 45ml Organic Sesame Oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha or more to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced

For the rest of the bowl:

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 60ml rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • grated carrot
  • shaved cucumber
  • sliced radish
  • radish sprouts
  • nori
  • avocado
  • spring onions

Method:

Begin with the rice. Rinse the rice well in a sieve until the water runs clear and then cook according to package instructions.

*While working at The Mandarin Oriental in Paris I was taught to make sushi like a pro. Granted it was filled with foie gras and mango which was not very traditional but it was delish. Rinse the rice until the water runs completely clear. Cook the rice in just enough water to cover it with a fine layer of water sitting on top of it. About 3mm. Also only ever use a wooden spoon when working with sushi rice and do so gently or you’ll break the grains. We even had a dedicated wooden bowl for mixing the seasoning into the rice if you want to go to extremes!

While the rice is cooking mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pan. Heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Cool.

Once the rice has cooked and cooled gently fold in the seasoning using a wooden spoon.

Prep the veggies.

Finally mix all the seasoning ingredients for the fish in a large bowl.

Slice the tuna into cubes and toss gently in the marinade.

Assemble the poke bowl with rice, veggies, avocado, nori, tuna, toasted sesame seeds and little extras like pickled ginger and wasabi if desired.

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

 

*Disclaimer: Delicious oils supplied by the awesome folks from Lemcke Oils

 

freekeh beet burgers with avonaise

Freekeh Beet Burgers with Avonaise | The Secret Life of Bee

I was recently invited to take part in Faithful to Nature‘s Organic Recipe Challenge. It had to be something vegetarian, seasonal, family-meal friendly and made with organic produce and pantry items from Faithful to Nature‘s online organic shop. Perfect timing then for me to have fallen in love with a new, yet ancient grain. Freekeh. It’s absolutely delicious and so I decided that my recipe would involve it somehow. It’s basically green wheat that gets roasted, rubbed and cracked, creating a smoky, savoury and nutty flavour. It has a very high protein and vitamin B content so I mixed it up with some quinoa, chickpeas and roasted beets and seriously you’ll never need a beef burger again.

Freekeh Beet Burgers with Avonaise | The Secret Life of Bee

Food and family go hand in hand for me as meal time has always involved everyone in and around the kitchen, chit chatting at the dining room table or perched on the kitchen counter. Burgers were a firm favourite growing up as everyone had a job, did their part and then built their own burger just the way they liked it. They were always deliciously messy and ruined granny’s snow white table cloth every time. This freekeh beet burger is perfect for a family lunch or dinner and is really easy to put together!

OZCF Market | The Secret Life of Bee

It’s difficult not to fall in love with everything at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market where I bought my produce for these burgers. Their gorgeous organic veg is the stuff food porn dreams are made of. I might have gone a little bit wild and ended up with zero space in my fridge for anything other than glorious seasonal veggies. Beetroot is one of my all time favourite veggies and apart from its tremendous colour it’s full of antioxidants, fibre, folic acid and helps lower blood pressure. Could these burgers get any healthier?

Freekeh Beet Burger with Avonaise | The Secret Life of Bee

If bread is not your friend then just enjoy your burger in a lettuce wrap. That’s exactly how the husband and I devoured these! So they’re vegetarian, vegan, low GI, healthy and darn pretty! I used a food processor to make life a tad easier but if you don’t have one no problemo. Just use a fork to mash the roasted beetroot and chickpeas. Same goes for the avonaise. I used a stick blender to combine all the ingredients but you could easily mash them up and have a chunkier guacamole style sauce. So pop on an apron (because beetroot) and get cooking!

Freekeh beet burgers with avonaise

makes 6-8 patties depending on size

Ingredients:

Method:

Preheat oven to 200˚C.

Place the freekeh, quinoa and water in a pot. Bring to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Simmer with the lid on for 15-20 minutes until the grains are tender. Remove from the pot, drain and place in a bowl to cool completely.

Roasted beets | The Secret Life of Bee

Wash, trim and peel the beetroot. Slice into wedges and place in a roasting dish. Season well with salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until tender.

Roasted beets | The Secret Life of BeeRoasted beets | The Secret Life of Bee

Place beetroot into a food processor and pulse until chunky. Alternatively mash with a fork. If using a food processor add the chickpeas and pulse. Next add the cooled freekeh and quinoa. Pulse gently to mix. Alternatively mash chickpeas and mix grains by hand.

Freekeh Beet Burger with Avonaise | The Secret Life of BeeFreekeh Beet Burger with Avonaise | The Secret Life of Bee

To the grain and beet mix add the garlic, ginger, fresh coriander, fresh parsley, chilli, ground coriander, ground cumin, dried origanum, lemon zest, onion, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Freekeh Beet Burger with Avonaise | The Secret Life of BeeFreekeh Beet Burger with Avonaise | The Secret Life of Bee

Shape the mixture into patties by hand. Place onto a lined and oiled baking tray. Reduce the oven temperature to 180˚C and bake the patties for 20 minutes until they have a crisp outer layer.

For the avonaise:

Ingredients:

Method:

Place all the ingredients into a jug. Season well and then blend using a stick blender or mash with a fork for a chunkier texture.

Avonaise | The Secret Life of BeeAvonaise | The Secret Life of Bee

To serve:

Assemble your burger with a wholewheat bun, fresh organic mixed greens, the freekeh and beet patty, plenty of avonaise and eat with your hands!

These are also super delish served in a lettuce cup. Spread the avonaise onto the lettuce first and then top with greens and the patty.

I also served mine with some delicious dukkah roasted carrots and sweet potatoes. I just seasoned them well with olive oil, salt, pepper, organic dukkah and popped them in a 200˚C oven for 30 minutes until golden and cooked through. All that plus a bottle of homemade Kombucha and tummies were very happy indeed!

Freekeh Beet Burgers with Avonaise | The Secret Life of BeeFreekeh Beet Burgers with Avonaise | The Secret Life of BeeFreekeh Beet Burgers with Avonaise | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: Pantry items sponsored by the lovely folks from Faithful to Nature. Go check out their amazing online organic shop!

Faithful to Nature Online Organic Shop | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

 

açaí super smoothie

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

The açaí palm provides two of my favourite things on earth, açai berries and hearts of palm. The açaí berry is jam packed with antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It’s also delicious. The first time the husband took me to Rio we went to a juice bar near the beach and he got me this massive dark purple açaí smoothie. It was incredibly beautiful and super scrumptious. The berry is quite tart but has chocolatey cocoa undertones which makes it a delicious addition to any smoothie or juice. It also has a magnificent colour.

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

I received the most beautiful glass bottle of milk from Consol last week. Not only do I just adore the nostalgia of milk in a glass bottle but the milk inside was the most delicious and creamy milk i’ve ever tasted. Thanks to the sexy Swiss cows from Deneys Swiss Dairy i’m ruined for all other milk. And let’s face it, milk just tastes better in a glass bottle. This awesome colab is getting people to focus on bringing back the pure things in life. This gorgeous glass bottle is pure packaging. It keeps the milk fresher for longer and with no nasty chemicals that could alter the taste of its contents. So chuck out those plastic cartons and decant your milk into a beautiful glass bottle. It’s better for you, it looks darn pretty and it feels like a treat!

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

Also- can we have a minute for these amazing strawberries I found at the market. They were almost too pretty to eat… almost. To give the different layers of the smoothie some slushie consistency I sliced and froze a bunch of strawberries and bananas. They also make fabulous sorbet in seconds if you blend them up with a splash of coconut milk. The chia seed layer is a yum and fun textural element but also super duper healthy. These babies are laden with B vitamins, thiamine, niacin, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. I mean. I’m feeling healthier just typing this!

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

Açaí Super Smoothie

makes 1 large smoothie

Ingredients:

Banana layer

  • 1 banana
  • 125ml milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder

Slice banana thinly and freeze slices until hard. Remove from the freezer and place all ingredients in a blender or nutribullet. Blend until smooth and reserve layer in the freezer.

Chia seed layer

  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 125ml milk

Soak chia seeds in milk and vanilla until they become porridge like and reserve in the fridge.

Açaí layer

  • 7 strawberries
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 heaped Tbsp açaí powder
  • 125ml milk

Slice strawberries thinly and freeze until hard. Remove from the freezer and place all ingredients in a blender or nutribullet. Blend until smooth and reserve layer in the freezer.

To assemble smoothie:

Mash some fresh strawberries at the bottom of the jar. Top with banana layer, chia seed layer and then açaí layer. Finally decorate with fresh fruit, toasted nuts and seeds.

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by the awesome folks at Consol Glass

 

 

broccoli, coconut & chilli soup

broccoli, coconut & chilli soup | The Secret Life of Bee

This is my absolute favourite soup. It’s perfect for autumn weather. The broccoli and chilli keep things light and vibrant, the coconut cream makes it luxuriously silky and the fresh whack of coriander wakes up your palate. I’ve made this soup for years and it takes minutes. All of the ingredients are cheap and cheerful so you can feed your family in no time at all with a delicious meal that is very easy on your wallet! Also broccoli is really really good for you. Don’t believe me? Read this 6000 word ode to broccoli on Well Being Secrets and you’ll be buying it by the ton!

broccoli, coconut & chilli soup | The Secret Life of Bee

This soup is vegetarian/ vegan if you make it as is but you could always use chicken stock or add some crispy fried chorizo bits on top. Shavings of Parmesan cheese would also be an excellent addition or melted cheesy toasts for dipping. I like it as is. The husband and I have drastically reduced our meat intake in any case and loving a more veggie intense diet. If you are going to add meat make sure it’s the very best free-range, organic, grass fed and ethically sourced meat you can find. To add a punch of umami I used half vegetable stock and half mushroom stock. The mushroom stock has exceptional earthy, meaty flavour. If you can’t get your hands on some and don’t feel like making any either straight up veggie stock is perfect.

broccoli, coconut & chilli soup | The Secret Life of Bee

Broccoli, coconut & chilli soup

serves four

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of broccoli (about 500g)
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 2 small bird’s eye chillies
  • 400ml coconut cream (1 tin)
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 250ml mushroom stock
  • handful fresh coriander
  • olive oil
  • organic sesame oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Fioretto stems for garnishing (totally unnecessary but heavens they’re pretty!)

Method:

In a large pot- sauté the red onion and chilli with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and cook until soft and translucent. Remove the broccoli florets from the stem, chop roughly and add to onions. Sauté the broccoli for a couple of minutes and then add a splash of water to your pot and cover with a lid to allow the broccoli to steam until cooked through.

Once the broccoli is cooked add coconut cream and stock. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for a few minutes. remove the pot from the heat and add a handful of fresh coriander, stems and all.

Blend the soup while hot using an immersion blender. Be careful. That’s why using a large pot will help keep the swirling liquid in the pot and not on you.

Check seasoning and adjust with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve the soup with some crispy fried Fioretto stems, fresh coriander leaves, a drizzle of sesame oil and some crusty bread for dunking.

broccoli, coconut & chilli soup | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

raw vegan brownies

Raw Vegan Brownies | The Secret Life of Bee

These raw brownies are officially taking up permanent residence in my fridge. I have been wanting to make raw treats for ages. Mostly because they’re delicious but also because buying them is super expensive. They took minutes to make and I am so chuffed with the taste. Making them was like a bit of a science experiment for me having never made something like this before and trying to get the texture and taste right.

Raw Vegan Brownies | The Secret Life of Bee

What I found is that they also lend themselves beautifully to adding fun flavours. Dried apricots, cayenne pepper or mint extract would be wonderful additions. They keep really well in the fridge as they soften at room temperature so take them out of the fridge for a few minutes before you want to serve them so they get fudgy and brownie like.

Raw Vegan Brownies | The Secret Life of Bee

Raw Vegan Brownies

Makes 12 small brownies, double the recipe for a more generous portion

Ingredients:

  • 130g medjool dates
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 20g desiccated coconut
  • 30g cocoa powder ( I used NOMU)
  • pinch sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil

Method:

Place all the ingredients except the coconut oil into a food processor and blitz until fine. Heat the coconut oil in a pan until it becomes liquid. Drizzle into the food processor and mix well.

Decant mixture into a lined little loaf tin or square tray. If you do not have one small enough decant onto some baking paper and fold, squeeze and shape it into a square. Place in the freezer to set firm.

Remove and slice into squares.  Dust with cocoa powder.

Keep the brownies in the fridge wrapped up tightly for a week.

Raw Vegan Brownies | The Secret Life of Bee

Raw Vegan Brownies | The Secret Life of Bee