Years ago I could never have imagined it, but here I am today, an almost vegetarian. I say ‘almost’ because I still eat fish occasionally. If I have guests it’s generally what I serve up, but mostly I live on vegetables, eggs, tofu, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, and all the other lovely foods that make up a vegetarian diet, and I love it. They’ve turned out to be my favourite things to eat, and I think they are delicious and scrumptious.
About ten years ago I stopped eating red meat as a staple in my diet, and then later chicken. I didn’t set out to become almost vegetarian. At the time, it wasn’t a choice of conscience though it is something I’ve considered, especially as there are so many wonderful plant-based foods on the planet. The truth of it is I noticed that I felt a whole lot better when I didn’t eat meat or chicken, and after a while, a whole lot happier to let the animals be.
When I was a child, for a time, my parents kept chooks. As our backyard was always full of animals, my young heart connected to every one of them, and as far as I was concerned they were all my pets. The chooks, of course, provided us with lots of lovely eggs, but when I discovered it was our chickens, which graced the table every Sunday, I was outraged and flatly refused to eat them. I can’t remember how long I held out, but I was resolute while I did. It wasn’t too long after that my mother started work and the chickens disappeared, and I forget all about them. And so, as many of us do, I grew up eating meat, and lots of it.
But my digestive system just can’t handle it anymore, and so for me, almost vegetarian it is! Needless to say, Hubby and I eat completely different food, but it’s all good. We both thoroughly enjoy our individual tucker, and that of course, is the most important thing ~ to have a good relationship with your food. And so to the reason for this post ~ I’d like to share the joy of two of my favourite recipes ~ my sweet chilli hommus and my very lemony cashew balls. Both delicious! If you make them, I hope you enjoy them.
Sweet Chilli Hommus
- 2 cups of fresh, cooked chickpeas, cooled, drained and skinned
- 2 decent sized cloves of fresh pressed garlic
- 1/2 cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tablespoon avjar (red pepper paste – mild or hot)
- 1/3 cup of tahini (sesame) paste
- Juice of 2 good sized lemons
- Good pinch of ground coriander
- Good pinch of ground cumin
- Good pinch of salt
- Skin the chickpeas by pinching them lightly between your thumb and index finger until they pop out of their thin shell. This takes quite a bit of time and can be tedious. It’s a job I do in front of the telly. I cook a whole bag of chickpeas, skin the lot and freeze what I don’t use for next time.
- The next bit is easy ~ put all the ingredients into a blender and puree. I use a stick blender with the bowl attachment, and it works very well though you might get a smoother consistency in a high-speed blender.
- Season further if required, but I never need to. It’s always perfect for my taste.
Very Lemony Cashew Balls
Ingredients: Makes 36 balls
- 1½ cups cashews
- 1½ cup desiccated coconut
- 1-2 lemons zested and juiced
- 1/4 cup rice malt syrup
- 1/8 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp soft coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- A pinch of rock salt
- Blitz the cashews in a food processor until they are the texture of tiny rocks. Don’t over-blend or you will get cashew butter.
- Add the remainder ingredients and blitz until the mix just comes together.
- Roll into balls and coat in more desiccated coconut.
- Place the balls in the fridge to firm up for at least 2 hours.
The bottom line is: enjoy your food and eat what makes you feel good.
Cheers and Enjoy!
Inara Hawley © 2015