Confessions over Chickpea Pancakes

chickpea pancakes

They’re gluten free, vegetarian and taste pretty darn good sidled up with a little sweet chilli sauce number. The thing is could I make them as well as I had at home, and successfully take them to a big group lunch time gathering?

First up I’d like to make a confession. It’s rather a ridiculous one, and I’m the first to admit that, but it’s there all the same, so here goes.

I have food making-taking anxiety.

Say what?

I hear over rolled eyes and crinkled brows. Food making-taking anxiety? What the hell does that even mean? 

Please. Grab a coffee (it’s Sunday after all) push the snoozing dog off the arm chair and get weekend comfortable while I explain.

I cook a lot. No surprises there. This blog over the past nearly 7 years has it’s foundations fairly rooted into food and cooking, we are familiar with that.

Ok, yeeesss…keep going.

So I like cooking, and I like thinking about cooking. The planning, the putting together and deliciously, the eating. However when it comes to taking food to someone else’s house, or perhaps as a gift, passing it on to someone else etc. Well, I slightly fall apart.

Sure it doesn’t stop me from doing it, and yes, I still do it allll the time, but each time my brain goes into slight freak out mode whenever someone says, (especially these words) “bring a plate”. In a 10 second spasm I’m saying in my head….but I can’t cook, what will I take, WHAT will I take!…

And exhale. Yes, I could buy something. (Actually on second thought, well no, I can’t. That’s just not going to happen, I have my own standards to live within remember.)

So the brain now does a few epileptic jumps from one food to another, trying to think of the ‘right’ one. It’s like sorting through files on files within a computer system looking for a file that might or might not exist, you’ll only know for sure, when you see it.

What usually happens now, and yes I know it’s ridiculous. I generally decide on something I’ve never made before. But why would I start on something I’m yet to trial and truly nail I hear you say? Beats me, no idea, not even the slightest. But yes, yes that’s what I often do.

Alternatively, there is a slightly different version to this tale when I’m taking something and this time I have actually made it over and over again. This time the dish-bread-meal is truly nailed to the the last detail, all within the confines of my own home. And yet when I go to take the trusty…[insert dish, bread, meal] it’s just not quite there. Not bad enough to go, oh crap, that’s horrendous, wow, never bring that again. But just enough to go, mmm, well thanks for the thought Brydie, you gave it a crack, and it was very NICE of you to think of us. (Quietly scraping food into compost, chook bucket, bin.)

Now I’m not that much of a duffer that this would happen all the time, sometimes I really can deliver on something that is quite delicious! But if I was a betting woman, I’d say the money is pretty fairly divied up and a 1:2 chance of you having to smile politely as your poor teeth have to try and sink through the hard crusty thing I’ve just offered up at your table is a good one. Combine that with the chance of me making something I’ve never made before, and might or might not be a bit of an experimental flop, I’d say there was room for a little food-making-taking-anxiety.

(I tell you, it’s totally a thing.)

chickpea pancakes

***************

These were delicious and super easy (when made at home.) Also a natural follow on after playing with buckwheat pancakes from a few posts previously.

chickpea pancakes

Chickpea Pancakes

2 cups besan flour (chickpea flour)

2 beaten eggs

250mls cream

125mls water

1 finely diced brown onion

3 cloves garlic finely diced

1 knob of ginger, peeled and grated

1 tsp dried cumin

2 tsp salt

Vegetable oil

In a pan add a good slug of your favourite vegetable oil, add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until onion is translucent. In a bowl add besan flour, beaten eggs, salt and cream. Whisk together, also adding in your onion mixture.

Cook up in batches in a frying pan with a little vegetable oil.

Optional extras– jazz these up with some kimchi, spinach or anything else you have going.

Advertisements

Carrot Top Pesto -ELC #5

carrot top pest recipe || cityhippyfarmgirlThe day I found out I could eat the tops of carrots was a bit of an exciting one.

“You can eat them!” I cried.

“Excellent.” He said, in a less than thinking it really was excellent, voice.

I pushed that lack of enthusiasm to the side as I was carrying more than enough excitability for this one to carry us both. Carrot tops eh? Who knew, actually it turns out lots of people knew, and I was just a bit slow on the uptake. So that’s why they quite often sell bunches of carrots with the tops still on… I just thought they were trying to keep the carrots looking au natural. 

What would I make with them? How would they taste? And would I get it by the rest of the family?

Carrot Top Pesto

Bunch of carrot tops, washed and finally chopped.

A couple of cloves of garlic

Juice of a lemon

Enough olive oil to get a good pesto like consistency.

Pop it all into a hand held mixer, and pulse.

With Carrot Top Pesto made, what was I going to eat with it? I had some potatoes that were whispering to be popped into the oven with some rosemary, and that looked like it could be it. Too simple? Surprisingly no. Mr Chocolate drizzled his with some Pukara balsamic vinegar, (which gave it an extra zing) and not a murmur of objection was to be heard about the ‘different’ pesto.

The following day I had more of the potatoes and pesto together, leaving out the snow pea shoots, (which just quietly I feel are a bit of a chore to eat.) Delicious, seriously delicious. I kept taking another bite just to makes sure. Armed with an empty bowl and green speckled lips, I decided that yes, carrot top pesto was indeed a winner.

A local, frugal, seasonal winner.

carrot tops || cityhippyfarmgirl

How about you? Have you made any food discoveries lately? Ever made carrot top pesto? Do you think snow pea shoots are a bit of chore to eat as well?

Where did my food come from?

Carrots- Rita’s Farm, Kemps Creek 50km

Sebago Potato- Naturally Grown, Naturally Better, Crookwell 240km

Snow Pea Shoots- Lin’s Organics, Londonderry 60km

Rosemary- My courtyard

Lemon- My parents in law’s backyard

roast potatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl

 Interested in taking the challenge?

Just how local is local? Well this depends entirely on you. Only you know how you and your family eat. Raise the bar just a little from what you already do. If making sure the majority of your meal includes solely food produced in your country, than make that your challenge. If you want to make it a little trickier, go for produced in the same state…trickier still within 160km.

My aim is to really know where my food is coming from for at least one meal a month, (where I will be posting here in the last week of the month).

Eat Local Challenge #4

Eat Local Challenge #3

Eat Local Challenge #2

Eat Local Challenge #1

eat local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

 

Cauliflower Curry- Frugal Friday

cauliflower || cityhippyfarmgirlcauliflower curry || cityhippyfarmgirl

The good thing about having a blog is that you can see how you have changed over time. Looking back on your words, thoughts, photos and certainly for me, my recipes. Sometimes I feel those recipes need a little shake up.

Now come winter time, this dish (or a variation of it) often turns up on our dinner table. It’s easy, it’s seasonal, it’s super frugal and it deserved a better picture than this one from three years ago.

easy cauliflower curry recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

 Cauliflower Curry

1/2 a large head of cauliflower

3 potatoes

3 sticks of celery

6 cloves of garlic

1 finely chopped onion

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp curry powder ( a bit old school, but I like it)

400mls coconut milk

Dry fry the spices, onion, garlic (fresh chilli if you are feeling bold) and celery in a little vegetable oil. When they smell delicious, add the coconut milk. Let it simmer for a bit and then add your potatoes and cauliflower. Pop the lid of the pot on and cook it until they are as soft as you like.

curry

Eat Local Challenge #1

eat local #1 || cityhippyfarmgirl

Eat LOCAL child version || cityhippyfarmgirl The challenge was on. My Eat Local challenge, and this was the night to be doing. A chaotic evening after a rough day. Not the best choices to start off an challenge but I was wearing it. However it was what we were eating that was more important.

The Menu

For the adults- A raw kale salad with hard boiled eggs. (rice, kale, shallots, brown onion, flat leafed parsley, corn, carrot, lime juice, olive oil, chilli and eggs.)

For the kiddo’s- A similar tamed down version, swapping the kale for lettuce. (rice, corn, lettuce, carrot, olive oil and eggs.)

Where it was from

Rice- from Randall Organic rice

Olive Oil- from Lisborne Grove, Hunter Valley

Vegetables- from Kurrawong Organics and Champion’s Mountain Organics, Mangrove Mountain

Eggs- Ed’s Eggs, Jirandali Farm- Mangrove Mountain (85km from Sydney)

Chilli- my courtyard

eat local || cityhippyfarmgirl

Over all dinner was a success. The kids were happy to eat it all and Mr Chocolate said it was all delicious. He did throw a little Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar on top of his jazz it up a bit- a company that produces 250km’s away. I didn’t, but was kicking myself three hours later for not putting a little more protein in there or fat of some sort…I was hungry!! I guess this is the tricky bit, locally produced vegetarian protein. Besides eggs, what other alternatives do I have? To find out next time.

ooooby vegetables || cityhippyfarmgirl

Tidbits

– Foodconnect- Sydney is no longer, and OOOOBY has taken over. Similar concept, and just as committed. This is from their $39 delivered veg box.

The Locavore Edition– for Australian east coast readers, there is a comprehensive guide to both NSW and Victoria so far, (with Tasmania in the nominating stage.)

eat local || cityhippyfarmgirl

How about you? Interested in taking the challenge?

For more details see this post here and for the nitty gritty of ‘how local is local’- well this depends entirely on you. Only you know how you and your family eat. Raise the bar just a little from what you already do. If making sure the majority of your meal includes solely food produced in your country, than make that your challenge. If you want to make it a little trickier, go for produced in the same state…trickier still within 160km.

My aim is to really know where my food is coming from for at least one meal a month, (I will be post here in the last week of the month). It sounds easy enough at this stage, but as the year progresses will it continue to?

eat local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

Edit– Have a peek over here at Christine’s Eat Local deliciousness

Slow Living Essentials- Eat Local #1

Slow Living Essentials- Eat Local #1

Ricotta Pasta- Frugal Friday

ricotta pasta- cityhippyfarmgirl

pasta- cityhippyfarmgirl

The secret to this dish is quality ingredients in the pasta and the ricotta. Pay that little bit more or even better make your own of both.

Super quick, easy and frugal for a Friday.

Ricotta Pasta

cook up some great pasta

stir through some excellent ricotta

in a pot add some

local garlic and olive oil

quickly stir through some

frozen peas or if you are lucky, fresh ones

pop that on top of your pasta

and roughly rip some garden mint on top

and eat with gusto.

frugal-friday-pasta || cityhippyfarmgirl

Food for Thought- the ethics of rather a lot

carrots-cityhippyfarmgirl

I recently wrote a quite lengthy post on eating meat. Of which I got to the end and then just quietly, deleted the whole lot. All 852 words of it.

I felt like I was justifying my own meaty actions. Which is something I didn’t feel like I really wanted to do or needed to do. I was more than happy to engage in an amicable conversation with anyone who cared to listen. I was also more than happy to pass on any food information that I’d come across in my readings. Informed decisions on any level is an empowering thing, especially when it comes to something as important as food.

We all need to eat, it’s how we go about it that’s important.

So will I be made to feel guilty for eating a little meat here and there?

It’s the basis of many heated debates, but at this stage of my life? No. No I won’t.

I believe strongly in a diet based mostly on ‘real’ foods. Food that comes in as natural a state as possible. Keeping processing to a minimum, packaging to a minimum and being able to identify the food in front of you are top of my lists.

chooks-cityhippyfarmgirl

I also believe different bodies require different foods. Some people can exist happily as a Fruitarian and others strongly advocate they feel healthier on a Paleo based diet. I wouldn’t like to base my diet on either of these, but I respect the fact that they feel happy and healthy eating as such. I remember sitting in the audience of the His Holiness the Dalai Llama once, and his comment on the fact that he ate meat. Shocked I wasn’t, but happy yes, as he had obviously made an informed decision; and decided he functioned better with a small meat intake.

As meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans, raw enthusiasts, sugar free, gluten free, locavores, we all have choices to make and ethics to consider when we are preparing that dinner plate in front of us. (Unless by chance you are a city-living-raw-vegan-sugar free-gluten free-locavore AND on a family budget, in which case holey moley I would love you to comment and please share your story!)

goat-cityhippyfarmgirl

Some links of interest on the ethics of eating….

Meat Eaters– Where has the meat come from? How was it raised? American Meat-film, Fast Food Nation– film

Pescatarian– love eating canned tuna? Have a look at this snippet on what line and pole fishing actually is, and the value of paying that bit extra for your can of tuna. Also read here on GoodFishBadFish– sustainable seafood, what’s it all about or Slow Fish– and it’s campaign.

eat seasonally-cityhippyfarmgirl

Vegetarians Do you eat seasonally? Food Miles, have you considered them, how many do you clock up?…this site is so very humbling.)

Quorn– What do we know about this myco-protein? Made from mushrooms it isn’t.

Eggs– In what condition hens have your eggs come from? Caged Eggs

Are your meat substitutes highly processed coming in excessive packaging and have a full paragraph of odd sounding ingredients?

Soy products– How processed is this product, is palm oil being used within it? Palm Oil and Indonesian rainforests

Vegans

There are an array of options for cow milk alternatives- soy, almond, rice. Is there vegetable oil in there. Does this vegetable oil contain palm oil? Sunflower Oil? Added sugar? Food miles on your soy milk? where has the alternative milk been grown. Was it processed in the same place or somewhere else altogether?

Quinoa- Is it local? Where has it been grown? Slow Food- Questioning Quinoa

Sugar Free- 

Are you using sugar substitutes such as agave syrup. Have you considered the food miles (unless you live in Mexico) and extensive chemical process that is needed in order to obtain this yield?

Responsible Cafes Poster A4

1 billion takeaway cups and lids each year… {image credit to Responsible Runners}

Coffee– Got a coffee habit- Is it fair trade? Food miles? Excessive packaging on your daily take away coffee cup? Keep Cup– reusable coffee cup

Chocolate- Is it again fair trade? Does it have even more excessive packaging? Does it have an extraordinary amount of food miles? Was it harvested using slave labour? (Despite popular belief the cocoa bean is not produced in Belgium.) Slavery in the Chocolate Industry

There is always an impact on our food choices, regardless of what food types we mostly eat. Pretty much every choice we make has an impact. If more and more people make informed choices about what they are eating and passing a little less judgement on those that eat differently perhaps we would make some sort of head way in our food environment.

farmers markets-cityhippyfarmgirl

Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants…[Michael Pollan]

Our family meat intake is really quite small, we eat a mostly vegetarian diet, and bought meat is always considered; where it has come from and how it was raised. Fruit and vegetables are eaten in season, vegan and gluten free meals are becoming regulars, I try to make as many things from scratch as time allows and we eat on a family budget- keeping things as locally produced based as possible.

This doesn’t make me a sainted eater, it makes me an informed eater and at this stage, that’s the very best I can do.

So, to the next person that gets on their high horse about me making a conscious decision regarding what I have chosen to eat, please don’t. As I might just eat that high horse… I hear they’re quite delicious.

***********

Thoughts? Input? Ideas? Everything up for discussion in an unbiased nonjudgemental fashion.

kebab antidote salad- Frugal Friday

cityhippyfarmgirl

Mr Chocolate ate a very large dripping meaty kebab for lunch and wasn’t feeling so fit and wholesome afterwards.

This salad for dinner was the antidote…

and all was aligned in the world once more.

cityhippyfarmgirl

Kebab Antidote Salad

steamed potato

steamed sweet potato

peas

one bunch of finely chopped flat leaf parsley

dressing

handful of finely chopped mint

1/2 cup natural yogurt

1/4 cup olive oil

finely chopped chilli

salt to taste

handful of raw sunflower kernels

Cauliflower, Leek and Potato soup- Frugal Friday

cauliflower leek and potato soup

If I had opened our vegetable box as a kid, and seen cauliflower looking right back at me- I may well have wept a little.

At the very least I probably would have silently gagged.

Not now though. Now, when I see a little cauliflower peeking from a corner, in the Foodconnect box I do a little happy dance. I can’t get enough of it. Teamed up with some leek and potatoes also from the box, (and locally grown) you have yourself an easy peasy seasonal dinner. 

Cauliflower, Leek and Potato Soup

one chopped large leek

3 chopped large potatoes

half a head of a large cauliflower

1 vegetable stock cube

about 500mls water

salt and pepper to taste

Saute leeks in a couple of good slugs of olive oil, then the rest of the ingredients and cook until soft. Then blitz, with a hand held mixer.

Serve with pangritata and capsicum chilli sauce.

cauliflower, leek and potato soup

(Remarkably similar to last years cauliflower and potato soup…that’s seasonal eating for you!)

Baked Ricotta- Frugal Friday

baked ricotta

This is a ridiculously simple dish, where the possibilities are endless of what to team it up with. Add extra different types of cheese, fresh garden herbs, chilli, bacon pieces, shallots… endless I tell you.

A side salad or some roasted vegetables to go with it and a simple Friday night dinner is done. Five minutes tops, to put it all together.

Baked Ricotta

350g ricotta

3 eggs

75g self raising flour

50g melted butter

1 tsp oregano

salt and pepper to taste.

Beat eggs, mix through everything else except flour, and then fold that through too. Pop it into a greased pie dish (or something similar) and bake at 200C until puffed up and golden, (about 35 minutes.)

Little Nut Bars and a keep it simple reminder

cityhippyfarmgirl

Last Saturday I baked.

I baked and I baked, and I baked. I didn’t set out with having a baking day in mind, it just sort of turned out like that. A baking day that snuck up on me. I didn’t mind, I ran with it. I had ideas in my head, and I really just wanted to try them. Thing is I tried too hard. After a whole days baking I had a table full of food to feed my family for the coming week, and a sink full of dishes, but was I happy with them?

The Date and Pecan bread, yes- but nothing really new there.

cityhippyfarmgirl

The Muesli Biscuits, yes. (Although one tray was over cooked as I got distracted trying to do too many things.)

not lasagne

The Rocky Road Brownie was a complete and utter mess, mostly due to the fact that I’d forgotten to turn the oven down after baking bread at a really hot temperature, (the marshmallows certainly didn’t appreciate this.) And yes, it does look like lasagne.

The first tray of Chocolate Honey Cardamom Buns- looked like I had been blind folded while shaping them, and the taste was just plain bland. The second tray looked better, and tasted better, but oozed it’s contents every where, and certainly didn’t have any wow factor.

What was left?

The little Nut Bars. They certainly looked ok, but would they stand up to being flicked out of the mini muffin tray? (Jeez, maybe I really should have just put it all in a lined tray like was suggested.) I didn’t want to find out.

I wanted to go for a bike ride. Leave the mountain of dishes and ride with the wind in my hair. And so I did. A quick 15km’s later and I was back in the kitchen, ready to find out if the brownies were as bad as they looked, (hell no!) hoping the dishes had miraculously disappeared, (they hadn’t) and whether those little nut bars would come out (they did.)

So what did I learn from the days baking? Simple cooking is still the best. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, just good quality ingredients put together. I know this, I always say this. But I still seem to have days where I need to remind myself of it.

So with a days baking behind me, and some tasty little nut morsels to nibble on by my side….now I just had to work out what on earth we were having for dinner.

cityhippyfarmgirl

Little Nut Bars

(inspired by this recipe at the always delicious Green Kitchen Stories)

8 chopped medjool dates

100g whole almonds

100g crushed peanuts

100g sunflower seeds

100g sesame seeds

a pinch of Murray River Salt

2 heaped dessert spoonfuls of coconut oil

2 heaped dessert spoonfuls of local honey

In a pot gently combine the coconut oil and honey together. In a bowl pour mixture over the rest of the ingredients, and mix together. Either press down into a  lined baking tray or a non-stick mini muffin tray. Pop into the fridge until firm.