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Impress your Friends and Family with these
delicious guilt free Canapés.

Prawn tartlets 3

These recipes are designed especially for those that love Canapés but want to know that what you are eating is healthy and not full of fats, sugars and poor quality ingredients.

Buying high quality ready-made canapés can be very expensive and making your own can be so much more economical and impressive –and I think much  tastier.

You will need a baking tray especially for tiny muffins and tarts. There are various brands, I use one from Chefs Kitchen sold in various stores and websites, there are many on the market – they normally have 24 casings.

Tray with pastry for tartletsIf you plan to make a lot – I would advise you buy a couple of the trays.

You will also need something to cut the pastry circles – it should be 6.5 – 7cm, can use a glass if you don’t have a cutter.

All the following recipes can be made with or with a food processor, but I try to do most by hand as this does the least damage to the ingredients. A hand mixer can be very useful for the muffins. You may want to consider some large plastic containers with some paper towels to absorb moisture, to store the canapés or large plates with foil cover, as the following recipes will produce quite a few. These are really good for those Christmas drinks parties, or to start your Christmas day dinner.

I have used some alternative ingredients to what you might
normally find in recipes.

They are chosen for their health promoting properties and wonderful taste.

Rapa Dura Sugar is raw cane sugar and full of nutrients including iron, calcium and magnesium. As it is super sweet, less is needed to sweeten foods; it is also a mix of different sugars, which is much healthier for the body. Why not make your sugar a natural mineral supplement. You can purchase from health stores or even online.

Coconut Butter is a great alternative to processed vegetable fats and cows butter. Also perfect if you are avoiding dairy. It is a saturated fat so should not be heated to too high a degree, and the actual product should state ‘cold pressed’. Heat and processing can damage the fat structure changing it into an unhealthy fat.

Goat’s butter – delicious tasting with less cholesterol and casein proteins

Olive oil – instead of butter in pastry.

Oat milk – instead of milk.

Arrowroot thickener – instead of flour (can get from health stores or order on line).

Spelt flour – instead of normal wheat flour – easier to digest and much less gluten. If you are avoiding gluten altogether – try alternative flour like millet and use arrowroot to thicken sauces.

Seasoning – Pink Himalayan Salt, contains all necessary minerals and iodine, has a nicer flavor than normal salt and more health benefits. Organic finely ground black pepper. Use in moderation – salt can always be added later

Bite size muffins and tartlets –
create the perfect Christmas Canapés

Chocalte and coconut snawballsChocolate and Coconut Snowballs 

Dairy free (or can use Goat’s butter)

Ingredients – makes 24

70g Coconut Butter (or Goat’s butter)
70g Rapa Dura sugar
100g White Spelt Flour
3 x Eggs

20g Cocoa powder, can use raw cocoa (half the amount for a lighter chocolate taste)

Half teaspoon of baking powder

Half cup of desiccated coconut

Place coconut butter and Rapa Dura sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly, add the eggs and whisk. Gently mix in flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Add half the desiccated coconut and mix in.

Fill the muffin tray level off mixture so flatter surface.

Cook for 15-20 minutes on 160 degrees – test the middle ones with a skewer to check if fully cooked. Remove while still warm, smooth a very small amount of coconut butter on top of each one with a knife and press the rest of the desiccated coconut onto the top. It should stick – place in a fridge or leave to cool.

Store in sealed container.

Goat’s Cheese and Shallot Tartlets

Quiche minis

Crust:
Ingredients
185g flour – half whole grain spelt and half white spelt

Cold pressed olive oil – gives more flavor than light – but needs to be cooked on lower heat to avoid damaging the fat. Approx half a cup

Seasoning – Pink Himalayan Salt or sea salt, ground black pepper

A little filtered water

Heat oven to 160 degrees

Place flour in a bowel with seasoning and add olive oil slowly, stopping and rubbing it into the flour with fingers, add more until like light crumbs, now add a little water at a time until the crumbs seal together to make a dough – this should not be too dry as it will be difficult to roll or too wet, add more flour if needed.

Roll out dough on a small amount of flour to prevent sticking, cut 24 rounds out and gently push down into the tray. See picture.

Place in oven for 15 minutes until partially cooked, remove from oven.

Filling:

Ingredients

3 x eggs

3 x shallots

Half a cup of grated goat’s cheese

Fresh herbs options: Tarragon, parsley or basil

Seasoning

Whisk the eggs and season

Finely slice the shallots – for a stronger flavor, you can leave raw – or cook in small amount of olive oil on a low heat until soft but not brown.

Grate the goat’s cheese

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Fill each pastry cup to brim

Place back into heated oven for 15 minutes until all egg cooked.

Allow to cool slightly and remove from tray.

Prawn and Spinach tartlets – makes 24

Prawn tartlets 2

Pastry- same as mini Quiche – but allow cooking the cups for
5 minutes longer to become crisper.

Filling
Ingredients

1 cup of small cooked prawns (stronger flavour)

Half a finely lemon grass stalk finely chopped

2 x cups of chopped spinach leaves

3 x finely chopped spring onions (or can use finely chopped leek)

Teaspoon of arrowroot powder

A little water

A little olive oil

Seasoning if required

Directions

Place a little olive oil in a heated pan, add lemon grass, spring onions and prawns, heat for 2 – 3 minutes stirring. Lower heat. Sprinkle the arrowroot on top and stir in, pour a little water in until there is a small amount of watery sauce (which will be thickened by the arrowroot), add the chopped spinach leaves stir in for 1 minute until leaves are wilted. Remove from heat. Place a teaspoon full of mixture into each pastry cup. Serve warm or cold.

Chicken and Mushroom tartlets – makes 24

Chicken Tartlets

Pastry – create the same way as Prawn and Spinach tartlets.

Filling:
Ingredients:

Half a chicken breast or whole thigh – finely chopped – can be cooked or raw

3 large Portobello mushrooms – finely chopped

1 whole medium leek – very finely chopped

1 x desert spoon of finely chopped parsley

A little olive oil

1 x Teaspoon of arrowroot powder

Oat milk

Seasoning

Directions:

Place olive oil in pan and add chicken and mushrooms stir until chicken well cooked if raw.

Lower heat and add leeks. When softened sprinkle the arrowroot powder and stir in, then slowly add some oat milk until a creamy consistency sauce develops. Add parsley and seasoning.

Take off heat and cool a little. Add a teaspoonful to each pastry cup. Serve warm or cold.

Vegetarian Version

Instead of chicken, double the amount of mushrooms. You can also add different herbs like tarragon or basil.

Christmas mini Muffins – Makes 24

Christmas muffins 2

120g Softened Goat’s butter

20g Rapa Dura Sugar

2 x large eggs

70g Whole grain Spelt

70g white spelt

(Or can use all whole grain spelt)

Pinch of baking powder

Half cup of chopped prunes (organic)

Half cup of Raisins or Sultanas (organic)

The rind of one finely chopped or ground fresh organic orange

Handful of sunflower seeds.

Mixed spice

Directions

Heat oven to 160 degrees.

Place softened butter in a mixing bowl, add Rapa Dura sugar mix in, and then whisk in eggs. Fold in flour, spice and baking powder. Add all the chopped fruit, sunflower seeds and orange rind. Fill each cup in baking tray to brim and any extra leftover add a little more to each cup.

Place in oven for 20 minutes and check if cooked with skewer – if not leave for a further 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat allow to cool slightly, and remove from tray. Store in airtight container so they don’t dry out if you are storing them for later use.

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One day in February I decided that as I am a nutritional therapist – I should have a go at growing things (to eat).

I wanted to appreciate what goes into growing some of the foods that I recommend people to have in their diet. In fact I wanted to get that satisfied feeling that I had actually managed to grow something. I am not green fingered, so if I can manage it anyone can as long as they can squeeze a bit of space from their garden or even their patio. Lily, my assistant and I go out to look at little shoots that have come up over night and are constantly amazed and delighted by them (well it’s a novelty at the moment)

I have done this with a little bit of advise from a gardening lady.  I can’t say that I have taken it too seriously – or placed it high on the agenda – which is partly why I am only really just starting now at the end of June. I did with he help from Lily, manage to plant some seedlings that my children had helped start to grow (kind of as they put the seeds in the pots that I supplied, then left them in their play house to die).

My small vegetable patch has been very hard come by, as my husband doesn’t want me to create a patch that fails to mirror the rest of the garden. I have very surreptitiously gained inch by inch of earth. I did get lucky (if you can really call it that) as our house has subsidence and the insurance company has insisted on taking out vegetation – this has allowed me to get a bit more space, but I had to wait for it as insurance companies move in a completely different time dimension to normal folk.

So for all you people out there that have never even considered growing something here’s what we are doing. I hope that this encourages you to have a go yourself. We can learn together. If any of you have any advise to give us please feel free, it would be appreciated. As yet I have not got great satisfaction as the vulnerable little seedlings look painfully fragile and I can’t quite believe they will grow into edible foods.

Getting the seeds ready

6 weeks ago we planted seeds in some seedling pots – as it was quite warm I took them from the children’s playhouse and kept them on the garden bench. They sprouted quite nicely.

WEEK ONE

Getting the earth ready – June 15th

I first started getting the earth ready with the children. We spent 3 hours just getting the small stones out. My daughter and I raked . dug and sorted whilst my son played with his strange monster toys around our feet.

My son enjoying the mud

Then we waited for the tree men to remove a few bushes that the insurance company claimed were bringing down our house (hmm). Having cleared these we raked some more. I then went to the nearest garden centre and purchased some organic compost which smells like it will produce robust organic fare.

The soil is ready for planting

I also bought: tarragon, two cherry tomato plants, mint, dill, strawberries and 3 pots to grow these in.

We had previously planted some seeds in a few starter pots: Sage, radichio, radishes, chives, thyme, rocket and beetroot.

Shoots Ready for Planting

We watered the earth and place compost on top. We then marked out lines with wooden kebab sticks and thick white thread.We then lifted the seedlings out and planted them using the space guide on the seed packs. I also put a couple of old bits of floor tiles down as stepping-stones.

We also planted some other seeds that are fine to go straight into the ground: swede, cabbage. Lettuce and broccoli, in this picture you can see a few tiny broccoli shoots about a week after sewing. You can also see we have an awful lot of stones in the earth.

I decided to keep the tomatoes in the pots, along with a selection of herbs in another pot and the strawberries in an old pot. It’s a bit of a cop out but they are safer it seems.

Tiger Helping Out

I tore a piece of the pack to put on the stick to mark what was growing and where. Of course with the help of our cat Tiger (a very loud Bengal).

Strawberries

We also planted a few beans seedlings. These are really cut and quick to grow. I have put long kebab sticks next to them and they have started o grow up them. The little feelers they put out are so delicate. When they are big enough we will take them out of the pot and put them at the back of the patch with much bigger sticks.

Beans

Tiny Broccoli shoots

Freshly Planted Seed

We were actually very pleased with our efforts and it all looked very hopeful.The next day however I went out to check on it and found that the foxes had bitten through 3 of our strings and managed to move a lot of the sticks.We have since had the fence completely renewed and I think they are unable to climb such a high fence. They do still come in the garden but so far have only chewed through two more strings. I can tell that they are still walking over it though.

We have considered getting netting – but I feel that the foxes will find that even more enticing as it is another thing for them to chew.

To day we will put lots more sticks everywhere so it is harder to walk around that area. The patch gets watered twice a day, we all take it in turns.

A rather strange thing is happening over night. Where the fox chews through the string (well I am assuming it is a fox) the string is then loose. For two mornings running I have come out to find the loose string wound up and pulled down into a small  in the ground. I have to pull it all the way out. It’s as if a small being has wound it up and then buried it. I am the first down stairs at 6am so I know it is not my children. I would love to set a camera up to capture all the animals that are contributing to the early morning state of our vegetable patch.

June 28th 2010 Monday
I have cleaned it all up and put new string onto the one that has gone missing (maybe completely buried by the underground string thief!)

So far it really hasn’t taken that much effort, it has been fitted in to what time I have at the end of the day or a snatch lunch break and a little weeding and watering at the weekend. I have asked my daughter, my assistant and any one else who is around to water it and keep an eye out for weeds.

June 30th 2010 Wednesday

Yesterday morning I went out side to find the string everywhere – the seedlings were trampled and there were holes where the foxes paws had been. The seeds are getting displaced and seedlings are getting trampled.

Last night I decided to take further action against fox activity and use sticks instead of string to keep them of the vegetable patch.

Sticks to Protect Patch from Wild Animals

It does appear to have worked although a few sticks had been removed and some trampling had occurred.

I have been a bit preoccupied with the fox destruction and have not been taking notice of the fact that the beetroot shoots are not growing any bigger. The seeds that I planted along side them are growing – so it seems that planting them straight into the ground may be better.

The radishes are doing well – although some have been trampled

Radish Shoots

June 30th 2010 Wednesday

Yesterday morning I went out side to find the string everywhere – the seedlings were trampled and there were holes where the foxes paws had been. The seeds are getting displaced and seedlings are getting trampled.

Last night I decided to take further action against fox activity and use sticks instead of string to keep them of the vegetable patch.

It does appear to have worked although a few sticks had been removed and some trampling had occurred.

I have been a bit preoccupied with the fox destruction and have not been taking notice of the fact that the beetroot shoots are not growing any bigger. The seeds that I planted along side them are growing – so it seems that planting them straight into the ground may be better.

The radishes are doing well – although some have been trampled

Other things to grow:

Lately I have been sprouting seeds with great success. I bought a’BioSnacky’ jar approx £4-£5. It is so simple to use.
I chose mung beans first and then I tried sunflower seeds.

Sprouting Mung beans

The directions are so simple – you soak the beans / seeds for approx 7-8 hours so can be night or day and then empty out the jar – fill again and rinse the empty out complete and leave to grow. Once a day you fill up with water and rinse off again. The sunflower seeds too 3 days – and they were wonderful (I think my favourite sprouted seeds)

Sunflowerseed Sprouts

I had then with cubed papaya, mustard cress – which I also grew very easily and an avocado and onion spelt tart that I created. (I will make this recipe available soon as it was really good)

Mustard cress is so easy – I found these lovely painted mental pots on a tray for around £10 that I will use over and over. I put some peat in the pots water them and sprinkled the seeds –they grew in less than a week. Give them a very small amount of water every day.
You can of course just grow cress on cotton wool or tissue – but I like to think that more nutrients are going in if you have some soil.

Watercress

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