Little Smackerels For Teatime With Christopher Robin

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It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words, but rather short, easy words like: what about lunch?  
Winnie The Pooh

This food feature has taken many twists and turns in the process of creation. The original idea started with the desire to highlight tea in a feature post. 

The feature then developed to include my daughter, Clare doing a Hundred Acre Wood (Bois-des-esprit), Winnie The Pooh photo shoot with my grandson, Matthew, playing the part of Christopher Robin; collecting haycorns for homemade nut butters - with recipes.

It expanded to include favourite savoury recipes from my career as a vegetarian chef and caterer, and to hosting a STEEPED TEA party, and making super healthy, superfood versions of commercial candy and other sweet treats.

Now, this story is a little of all those things but it is about food more than it is about tea. Food that is equally suitable for a teddy bear's picnic, medieval banquet, sophisticated cocktail party, a Pooh Expotition,  a lazy brunch, or for teatime, with leftovers

Blogging, like any activity of creativity requires and develops adaptability and resourcefulness. Because of a forgotten camera and a lost photo opportunity, I decided it was time to learn some new photo collage skills to bring this post together, with help from Family Blog Tips and Pic Monkey.

Carrot Rice Cottage Pie

A combination of unique ingredients in this humble pie give it a delightful texture and elegant taste. Serve hot or cold.

2 c whole grain flour
1 t salt
1/2 c chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2 T cream cheese
2-4 T ice water
1 egg
1 T unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

Mix butter and cream cheese with flours and salt. Add wet ingredients and mix until blended. Chill 30 minutes. Prepare filling.

Carrot Rice Filling
7 T butter
1 large onion, minced
2 lbs carrots, peeled and shredded
1/4 c water
2 eggs
 2 egg yolks
1 t sea salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t fresh ground pepper
1/2 c cooked whole grain rice
1 c shredded emmanthal cheese

Pastry glaze: 1 egg, beaten + 2 T milk

Preheat oven 375°. Combine filling ingredients. Roll out 2/3 pastry. Press gently into a lightly buttered and floured loaf pan. Trim excess. Add carrot filling. Roll out remaining pastry. Cover pie. Brush with egg-milk glaze. Bake for 60 minutes until the crust is golden.

Layered Vegetable Terrine

A delicate and flavourful way to get a whole load of vegetables in every serving. A slice of health. Serve cold.

Butter one 1-1/2 quart loaf pan. Line with parchment paper, trimmed to fit the bottom of the pan and with plenty hanging over the sides. Brush melted butter on the parchment. Transfer to the freezer until you’re ready to start assembling. Preheat the oven to 350°.

Carrot Layer
1 lb carrots, thinly sliced
2 eggs
1/4 c cream
1 T honey (optional)
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t kosher salt
Pinch cinnamon
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 c breadcrumbs

Fill a saucepan with an inch or so of water, fit it with a steaming basket, then add the carrots and steam until they’re very tender, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until mostly puréed, then add the eggs, cream, honey, and spices, and process until completely smooth, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. Stir in the breadcrumbs, then spread the carrot mixture into the loaf pan. Smooth the top with a spoon.

Cauliflower Leek Layer
a small head of cauliflower trimmed, rinsed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

4 medium to large leeks, trimmed, sliced thinly, and rinsed thoroughly (about 6 cups)
2 T butter
2 eggs
1/4 c breadcrumbs
1/4 c cream
1/2 t salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a skillet, then add the cauliflower and leeks and salt and sauté until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and cream, then fold in the leeks, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Spread this mixture over the carrot layer and smooth the top.

Spinach Layer
Two 10-ounce packages fresh baby spinach, lightly steamed in a steam basket, and squeezed dry
2 eggs
1/2 c cream
1/4 c bread crumbs
1/4 c crumbled feta (or grated Parmesan)
2 T minced parsley
1/2 t salt
Dash cayenne pepper

Beat the eggs and cream in a mixing bowl, then fold in the spinach, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, salt, and cayenne. Divide this mixture over the leek layer and smooth the top. Fold the overhanging parchment over the spinach, ensuring that it’s been brushed with butter and pressing gently so that it adheres, then cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.

Arrange the loaf pan in a deep roasting pan or other large baking pan. Pour water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes - to test, peel parchment carefully to insert a sharp knife into the terrine - it should come out clean. If not, wrap it back up and return it to the bain marie.

Finally, transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool for an hour. Then carefully run a thin knife around the narrow edges, which aren’t layered with parchment, and overturn the loafonto a platter and unmold it. Remove the parchment. Let cool for 20 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 3 days.  adapted from: Lukas Volger's Veggie Madness

Lentil Samosas

1 c cooked or rinsed canned lentils
1/2 c purple onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c mint leaves, chopped
1/4 c coriander leaves, chopped
1 green chili pepper, minced
1 t red chili powder
1 t garam masala or curry paste
1 t roasted cumin powder
Sea salt to taste
Spring roll wrappers or phyllo pastry

Sauté onions, garlic, spices, and seasonings. Stir in the lentils to blend all of the flavours, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add fresh herbs. Set aside to cool. 

Lay out the phyllo sheets and wrapped in a slightly damp tea towel. Working with one sheet at a time, butter phyllo and fold each side towards the centre in thirds to form a 3 inch long strip, buttering each layer. Spoon 1 T of filling onto the sheet and start folding from side to side to form a triangle. Sauté in oil if using spring roll wrappers or bake phyllo pastries at 375° for 12-15 minutes.  adapted from Food Wanderings

Kid-Friendly Probiotic Ketchup Recipe

Lacto-fermented ketchup is healthier because it is missing the preservatives, food coloring, and corn-by-products of its commercial counterparts, but also because it aides in healthy digestion and contains the essential nutrients lost by cooking.

This fermented ketchup is as good, or better, than the commercial brands — even the organic ones. The light tangy flavour is altered by how long you allow it to ferment before storing in the refrigerator and by how much sugar or whey you use. If you prefer a spicier blend, simply add more black pepper or a dash or two of cayenne.

2 c raw tomato paste
¼ c raw honey 
2 T raw (unpasteurized) apple cider vinegar 
1/3 c whey 
1 t Celtic sea salt
½ t ground cardamom
3 dashes fresh ground black pepper
2 dashes turmeric
2 dashes garlic powder or ½ teaspoon raw garlic sliced
4 dashes onion powder or 2 t raw diced onion
Dash arrowroot starch (to thicken)

Blend raw tomatoes and suspend in a cheesecloth sack over a bowl until well drained. Repeat this process until you have two cups of paste from drained and squeezed tomatoes. Save the juice to use as a flavoring for soups and other dishes by freezing it.

Add all ingredients except arrowroot starch to a blender and blend until smooth. (Add more sugar or honey if you prefer a sweeter ketchup. Or add cayenne for a spicy ketchup.) Add arrowroot starch and blend for 30 more seconds.

Transfer to an air-tight mason jar and allow to rest on the counter for 24 to 48 hours (or up to a week for desired tangy flavor) to ferment.

When fermented, this ketchup will last in the refrigerator for several months. Happily, it is usually sold out within the week at our house.

Fairy Toast - Eeyore's House - Pumpkin Teabread  
Collette St. Amant of Steeped Tea - Christopher Robin

Super Healthy Superfood Candy

For a food to qualify as a superfood, by HEALTH COACH standards, it must be a natural and nutrient dense, whole food, be health-promoting, and have the ability to act as medicine, to heal your body.

The following sweet treat recipes are easy to make. I triple the recipes and store the fillings in the fridge until I want to make the candy for a gift or to satisfy a sweet craving. I prepare the chocolate in a double boiler and make small batches of a dozen at a time. After a couple of batches, you will develop a comfortable routine of your own.

The great news about these treats is that, unlike their commercial counterparts, these candies are truly satisfying. Commercial candies create a craving that is never satisfied, but these super healthy, superfood versions completely satisfy the desire for sweet.

Coconut Butter

5 cups of shredded unsweetened coconut (do not use coconut flakes or reduced fat shredded coconut, it will not work)

Place the shredded coconut into a food processor and turn it on.

Let it work its magic for about 10 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides, until you have a nice creamy, butter-like consistency. 

Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

6 ounces medjool dates, pitted and chopped
6 ounces toasted almonds
3 t real vanilla extract
3/4 t fine salt (more, to taste)
Coarse salt to garnish tops

Melt the chocolate gently in a double boiler/microwave. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Add the dates, almonds, vanilla and fine salt to the small bowl of a food processor. Process until mostly smooth and forming a sticky dough. 

Spoon a small amount of melted chocolate into the bottoms of the paper baking cups – about 1/2-1 tsp – working with your spoon to push up the sides.  Put each coated case into a cupcake baking tray and place in the freezer until hardened – about 10 minutes.

Roll small balls, about 1/2-1 teaspoon (depending on the size of the baking cup) of filling and flatten to make a little disc. Push the disc into each cooled case. Spoon over the remaining chocolate, swirling slightly to distribute and completely cover the almond-date mixture.

Store the candy in the fridge/freezer until almost set. Sprinkle over the chopped almonds and salt; return to the fridge. Once set, keep covered in a cool place.

Coconut Candy Bark

1 c coconut butter
1 c coconut oil
1/3 c peanut/almond butter

1/3 c coconut sugar (optional)
1 c peanuts

1 c shredded coconut
1/2 c dark chocolate chips

Warm the coconut butter so that it can be stirred.

In a food processor, combine coconut butter, coconut oil, and peanut butter until well mixed. 

On a cookie sheet greased with coconut oil, sprinkle shredded coconut, nuts, and chocolate chips. You could add any nuts or dried fruit that you prefer, for example, cashews and dried pineapple.

Pour the coconut cream mixture over the chocolate and coconut, taking care to stir in the sugar so that it is well blended.

When the coconut cream mixture forms a thin layer on top of the chocolate chips, nuts, and coconut, move the cookie sheet to the freezer until mixture is frozen.

After about 30 minutes in the freezer, remove the cookie sheet and break the mixture into chips using a spatula. Store in a container in the refrigerator. adapted from Fresh Bites Daily

Almond Joy and Mounds Bars

1 c unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly packed
3 T coconut oil

2 T Pure maple syrup
1 t pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
12 (or more) lightly toasted whole almonds
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

In a food processor, work the shredded coconut, coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract, and salt until it forms a thick paste, about 2 to 3 minutes. Test the coconut mixture to see if it holds together by squeezing a small amount in your palm. It should compact nicely. If the coconut is still too loose to hold together well, continue to process the coconut mixture for 1 to 2 more minutes.

Scoop the coconut mixture with a tablespoon and shape with your hand. Press each ball into a rounded small oval-rectangle, taking care to make sure the sides and top are compact. Press an almond on top of the coconut bars.

Place the coconut bars in the freezer and freeze for 15 to 30 minutes, or until solid.

While the coconut is freezing, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, medium high heat.

Carefully skewer each frozen candy bar onto a toothpick and dip into the melted chocolate, tapping off any excess. Return the bar to the baking tray
adapted from Food 52  and Marin Mama Cooks

Vanilla-Rooibos Fig Newtons

1 c dried figs
1/2 c strong-brewed rooisbos tea
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
2 t lemon juice
pinch sea salt

Roughly chop figs and place them in a small saucepan with ½ cup brewed tea, lemon juice, salt and scraped vanilla seeds, including the pod. Cook over low-medium heat until the figs start to break down and the mixture thickens (about 10-15 minutes). Add more tea or water if necessary. Let cool slightly, remove vanilla pod, then blend in a food processor.

1 c rolled oats 
1/4 c coconut sugar
1/4 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1 t of cinnamon
1 T maple syrup
1 T chia seeds or ground flax seeds 
3 T strong-brewed rooibos tea
5 T coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Brew the tea. If using bags, use two to make the tea very strong. If using loose rooibos, use at least 1 tablespoon. Boil ¾ cup (175ml) and pour over the tea. Let steep for 15-20 minutes, then remove the bags or strain. Take out three tablespoons and stir in 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, set aside to gel. 

Blend 1 cup of rolled oats in a food processor to make a rough flour. Add coconut sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and pulse to mix. Next add the coconut oil, chia-rooibos gel, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Pulse to mix until the mixture forms a ball. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, cover tightly and place in the fridge to chill for at least one hour.

Preheat oven 350°. Remove dough from fridge, place on a piece of parchment paper and lay another sheet on top. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out until the dough is a little larger than 4.5" x 11". To make a rectangle trim off any excess dough around the sides. Spoon fig filling along the center, then fold in both sides and press lightly to seal. Cut 10-12 pieces out and place each one, seam-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake 20 minutes. adapted from My New Roots

Oatmeal Coconut Raspberry Bars

1 + 1/2 c sweetened flaked coconut
1 + 1/4 c whole grain flour
3/4 c coconut sugar
1/2 t salt
3/4 c cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 + 1/2 c old-fashioned oats
1 12oz. jar of seedless raspberry jam, stirred thoroughly to loosen

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment so that the parchment runs up the sides of the pan. Butter parchment.

Spread 3/4 cup coconut evenly on a baking sheet and toast in middle of oven, checking every 2 minutes and stirring, until golden, about 8 minutes, then cool.

Blend together flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, then add butter and blend until a dough begins to form. Transfer to a bowl and knead in oats and toasted coconut until combined well.

Reserve 3/4 cup dough, then press remainder evenly into bottom of prepared baking pan and spread jam over it. Crumble reserved dough evenly over jam, then sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup (untoasted) coconut.

Bake in middle of oven until golden, 20 to 25 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack. Lift out in 1 piece using the parchment as handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bars. adapted from Amandeleine

The Pooh Cook Book
Fairy Toast
from The Pooh Cook Book

Old bread, sliced as thinly as possible
Fresh berries
Coconut whipped cream

Place the shavings of bread on a baking tray or rack and toast under a low temperature broiler or in a toaster oven until lightly golden brown and starting to curl at the edges. 

Quickly butter the toast and serve with lashings of jam, whipped coconut cream, and fresh berries.

Photography by Clare Isaak

For more delicious, healthy recipes

White Bean and Roasted Mushroom Soup

Roast Apricot, Almond and Quinoa Cakes

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