picnic

antique roadshow

roasted pumpkin & hempseed spelt pasties

After another rather deep conversation about the goings on of the planet and our place on it, a beautiful friend of mine proposed a beautiful thing; can we have a play date and remember that carefree joy that sits in us somewhere under the seriousness of how we’re planning to save the world? Instantly on board with the idea, my mind went to setting up jumps for the ponies (our legs) that would be racing around the hill next time we caught up. That little gem of a game featured heavily in my childhood so it was a given it would be the first thing to come to me, but thinking about it a little more, I kind of felt a bit sad that we might have to organise play for ourselves, that it did seem like quite a while since that easy, go-with-the-flow creative process had us captured in that wonderful place of no time and no expectation. A heavy sigh out let in a gorgeous visual vignette of antique shops, a packed lunch, thermos of tea and laughing in the car – a road trip – of course! Grown up play of the very best kind.

Just thinking about what we’d have on our roadside picnic had the creative process started, food always does it. Actually, that’s not true, sometimes cooking can be a drag, but when you take the expectation away the whole concept flips itself into the same territory as finger painting or potato stamping. Good stuff. So, with the current roast-ahead-to-make-easy-meals-later theme at play in our kitchen, I had some roasted pumpkin ready to go, the hemp seeds came out of the fridge and some lemon thyme and sage joined in to make pasties. Because that’s what the miners used to eat, and we were heading into old mining towns, and somehow this all made sense at the time. You know how it goes.

It was the very shiniest of days as we set ourselves up on a blanket in the overgrown grounds of an unused church, drinking kombucha, eating pasties and rocket salad with sauerkraut and pesto, and chatting about everything and nothing. The raw chocolate and tea was saved for our next stop further up the road and every little antique shop in every little town we drove through filled in the blanks along the way. As we stopped to watch the sunset on the way home, in the middle of absolutely nowhere, where the sky was so big we had to turn the music way up in the car to do the scene soundtrack justice, we vowed to make this a seasonal event at the very least. Given, eating vegan food and antique shopping in quiet country towns isn’t the wildest thing we could all imagine doing, it’s our new favourite game. And don’t worry, we giggled at that too.

 

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Roasted Pumpkin & Hempseed Spelt Pasties

makes 4 pasties

for the spelt pastry:

1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour

2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

enough water to pull dough together

Himalayan salt, to taste

for the filling:

1/2 organic pumpkin (about 4 cups), cut into 2cm cubes, skin on and roasted

extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp organic lemon thyme, chopped

2 tbsp organic fresh sage, chopped

4 tbsp organic hempseeds

Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 180C.

To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt and coconut oil in a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds. Then slowly add a little water until the dough pulls together to form a ball. 

To make the pumpkin filling, simply combine all the ingredients without mashing the pumpkin up too much in the process. If you’d rather not have the skin as part of the plan, remove it prior to mixing, but I love the texture it adds so I’ve left it on in this recipe.

Remove the dough and cut into 4 even pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 20cm in diameter and place a quarter of the pumpkin mixture along the centre line in a small mound, tapering off at each end.

Using your fingers to wet the edges of the pastry, pull the two sides of the pasty over the top of the filling and press together using your finger and thumb to concertina the join. Work all the way down to each end of the pasty and finally fold the very last piece of dough at each end over itself to completely seal the pasty.

Repeat with the remaining dough and mixture to end up with 4 pasties.

Brush a little almond or soy milk across the tops of the pasties and put into the preheated oven to cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry just starts to colour and is cooked through on the bottom. This is not the kind of pastry that puffs up, so don’t wait for that as the sign it’s ready!

When the pasties are cooked, remove from the oven and slide onto a cooling rack to ensure they don’t end up with soggy bottoms. Nothing worse.

We ate our’s with sauerkraut which I’d highly recommend as the perfect accompaniment but I’d never say no to a good homemade tomato sauce either.

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plane picnic

Beetroot Burgers

At the risk of sounding like a retreat junkie, I’m on a plane heading to Bali to do another dose of yoga and meditation. If only this could be an ongoing monthly occurrence in my life! More about that when I get back.

Because it’s all I’ve been thinking about over the last couple of days, I wanted to talk about what to pack when you’re flying if you don’t eat really overcooked non-descript meat and cold white bread rolls. I’m flying with a couple of buddies today and between us we could just about open a wholefoods cafe on board. We’d be the ‘alternative’ flight attendants. Dressed in organic hemp uniforms, no doubt.

The thing with taking food on planes is that you want to eat anything that will help hydrate you, but you don’t want anything that will leak over your only pair of socks. Beetroot burgers. Plus fresh fruit; apples are great because you don’t have any skin to peel and they can handle a bit of a pre flight bumble about in your bag. Raw nuts are really good too. I’ve packed a ziplock bag of rocket that I picked from the garden this morning, no dressing, but that’s forgiven, it’s still a load of chlorophyll going in along with the burgers. I usually pack dehydrated coconut water powder to mix into whatever water I drink on board too, really good stuff to up your electrolytes. And maybe a little orange and chia seed muffin or two. And tea! I always pack loose leaf tea with a single cup infuser so you just need to ask for hot water.

The easiest thing is to make these burgers for dinner the night before you fly out so you can quickly pop a few of them into a container once they’re cold the next morning. They taste pretty good cold too, another factor to tick off when your packing your plane picnic. When we had these last night, we added nettle pesto but that’s not exactly plane friendly when you think about opening a jar of raw garlic under the nose of the person next to you. It’s really good with these though, for the non-flying times.

 

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Beetroot Burgers

makes 12

 

3 medium sized organic beetroot, grated

1 organic leek, finely chopped

300g organic borlotti beans, cooked and cooled

2 cups organic brown rice, cooked and cooled

1 cup fresh organic chervil

1 cup fresh organic parsley

1/2 cup organic pepitas

1/2 cup organic sunflower seeds

1 heaped tablespoon organic tahini

2 teaspoons organic coriander seeds, dry toasted and ground

1 teaspoon organic cumin seeds, dry toasted and ground

1 teaspoon organic fennel seeds, dry toasted and ground

organic GF whole flour or spelt flour, to coat burgers

Celtic salt & pepper to taste

 

Blitz the cooked beans, herbs, tahini, spices and half of the seeds in a food processor until you have something resembling hommus.

In a large bowl, combine the pureed bean mixture with the chopped leek and grated beetroot. Add the remaining seeds and cooked brown rice. Season to taste.

To shape the burgers, have a plate of spelt flour at the ready and as you mould each burger with your hands, coat both sides in the flour, this will stop them sticking when you cook them.

Heat a flat grill and cook the burgers for 8-10 minutes, flipping half way through the cooking time to ensure both sides are evenly cooked.

Serve with fresh greens, whether at your table or in seat 16F.

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