The mild buttery flavour and a soft crunch gives Macadamia nuts a top spot in cookies, cakes and salads. Paired with white chocolate and raspberries they add a super indulgent deliciousness to sweet treats.
These native Australian nuts have an unusual and unique nutritional profile. A 30g serve, provides our total daily requirement for vitamin B1 (Thiamine), a fair amount of B6 (pyridoxine), and about 20% of our daily requirement for iron and fibre.
The unusual feature of the Macadamia nut is the quantity of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) that form a key part of the heart healthy Mediterranean diet. Like olive oil and avocados, Macadamia nuts are particularly rich in the MUFAs palmitoleic and oleic acids. These fatty acids are thought to promote a healthy lipid profile by reducing levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol whilst maintaining levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. They may also improve blood vessel function and insulin sensitivity.
Macadamia nuts are best stored in the fridge or freezer, these precious fatty acids are prone to oxidation (going rancid).
Plenty of MUFAs means plenty of calories. The Mayo Clinic advises that we should eat MUFA rich foods instead of other fatty foods, not in addition to them. They are excellent for people with low appetite who need energy dense snacks, but for most of us, it’s Macadamia nuts in our salad or avocado, but not both! Here’s a link to the delicious salad pictured below Baby spinach, orange and macadamia salad
With the Australia Day long weekend less than a week away, and picnics being planned, this deliciously golden and easy-to-make loaf is perfect to pack as a sweet treat. Full of all Australian goodness!
50g Australian Macadamia nuts – roughly chopped
70g softened butter
Grated zest of one small lemon
190g/1cup soft brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
2 large ripe bananas mashed
200g/1½ cups self-raising flour
Line and butter a loaf tin, 22cm by 12cm.
Heat oven to 180 C.
Cream butter, lemon zest and sugar together.
Add egg, half at a time, beating in between.
Add mashed banana, mix well.
Sift in flour, add chopped nuts, fold in carefully.
Pour into loaf tin.
Bake in oven on medium shelf for 45 minutes. Loaf should be golden brown and firm to the touch. Cool in tin. Remove to serve.
Delicious and moist. Totally moreish on the day it’s made, if it isn’t finished, serve with natural yoghurt or spread with butter for a treat.
We love the crispy Indian Dosa and we want to have a go at a proper, full-monty fermentation – no tinkering around the edges for us, we want the real thing. These are also vegan and gluten free!
Fermentation takes time – we start our fermentation the day before we want to eat dosas. I started this at lunch time day 1, to eat for dinner day 2. The preparation is easy.
The Dosa Batter
1 cup (180g) basmati rice
¼ cup (45g) urad dal (black split lentils)
Rinse basmati rice in a sieve. Put in a bowl and cover with 2 cups (280ml) cold water. Rinse the lentils and put in a cup and cover with cold water to 1cm over the lentils. Leave both to soak for several hours. Drain the rice. Place in a blender with ½ cup (120ml) water and blend to a smooth paste (about 4 minutes). Drain and rinse the lentils and add to the blender. Blend together for a further two minutes. Pour contents of blender into a bowl. Add ½ cup (120ml) water to blender, swill around and add to bowl. Cover with a tea cloth and leave until the next day. (Any left over batter can be stored in the fridge for a few days.)
Topping For Dosa
400g sweet potato – cut into small cubes, boiled and drained
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 large onion, chopped
1 green capsicum/pepper, de-seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic – crushed
1 thumb tip size piece ginger, peeled and grated
½ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon dry chili flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
This can be made ahead and re-heated when required. In a large wok or frying pan, heat canola oil and when hot, add cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds pop, after a minute or two, add onion and capsicum. Fry for a few minutes until onion starts to soften. Add crushed garlic and ginger, chili and garam masala. Fry for a few minutes more. Add sweet potato and salt, mix well and cook for a further 5 minutes on a low heat.
Add ¼ teaspoon salt to dosa batter and stir. Heat a non stick frying pan with one teaspoon canola oil. Use a ladle or ¼ cup measure, pour batter into centre of pan and spread with a swirling action. As the dosa starts to cook and edges brown, ease away from the pan with spatula. I flipped mine – the real deal dosa cooks very hot on one side and filling is loaded while the dosa cooks. Mine’s a wimps dosa but it cooked well, had a fresh, crisp texture and tasted great. These are best eaten fresh. If you can keep frying dosa batter and keep adding filling, people will love your meal. A little coconut chutney or extra veggie curry is wonderful with this. A little plain yoghurt worked for me.
It’s Shrove Tuesday, a great excuse for yummy pancakes and they are pretty healthy. Those winter Olympic athletes could be having them for breakfast with bananas to get a low fat, high carb plus protein start to the day. Here’s our delicious recipe to try with coconut flour which is gluten free, perfect for those of us who are gluten intolerant or sensitive or who just like the coconut flavour for something different.
½ cup (20g) coconut flour
¾ cup (95g) gluten-free plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 cup (240ml) milk
Small handful of blueberries
Dollop of crème fraiche
Sieve dry ingredients into mixing bowl. Whisk 1 egg with milk and add to flours. Mix well. Spoon dollops of batter into buttered hot frying pan. Spread a little, turn after a few minutes. Serve warm with blueberries and crème fraiche.
Enjoy for breakfast or a delicious dessert or snack.
I’m in Northern Spain and September is harvest time for sunflowers. These nutritious treats are ubiquitous, munched at half time at the soccer, on loaves, in muesli. Tree nuts can be costly but tiny sunflower seeds are equally nutritious and very cheap.
From Sunflower to Food – what happens?
The salted sunflower snack that we crack open to eat the seed is usually prepared by soaking or boiling the seeds in salted water then roasting them. Although the seeds are high in calories, these are slow to eat and so long as the salt level isn’t high, we get a nutritious snack.
Whole seeds are mashed and processed to extract the oil – more on sunflower oil later.
Around half our daily requirement for vitamin E – 10.6mg
A little calcium and iron, B vitamins and Vitamin A
Plus squalene and sterols both of which are associated with a reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease.
The raw seed is low in sodium
How About Cooking with sunflower oil?
On the face of it, sunflower oil looks good, excellent mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids, and a high smoking point (225). Oils like olive oil and butter have much lower smoking points which made them seem unsuitable for frying – but now we know better. Sunflower oil is great raw, but as with corn oil, at high temperatures they produce aldehydes which have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Canola oil is a better choice for frying.