Chocolate Almond Buckwheat Clusters

When Fran (from The Road to Serendipidity) posted her recipe for Narf’s Bolshie Blissful Buckwheat Granola Clusters I knew I had to try these. After going gluten free several month’s ago I was really missing the muesli I used to make. As always I have tweaked the recipe to suit what I had or made wee changes in the method. I did not use apple sauce or date paste as Fran did because I rushed to make these one morning before work and had neither on hand. This is a delicious cereal with the potential for many variations.

Specialty breakfast cereals similar to this retail here (NZ) for $12 – $16 a packet, way beyond my budget, or desire to pay that much! You need to make sunflower seed butter first for this  I worked out that both a batch of butter (around 2 cups)  and 1 batch of clusters at 1.2 kg cost me around $12 to make. The sliced almonds were purchased at a bulk store as was the buckwheat. I always have alot of sunflower seeds on hand anyway but these are also purchased from bulk bins.

My recipe:

3 cups buckwheat groats

1 – 1 1/2 cup almond pieces (or other nuts)

3/4 cup sunflower seed butter

1/2 cup ground sesame seeds

3 good tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon molasses (optional)

3 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup coconut sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa

2 tsp vanilla

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 cups chopped dates

Preheat oven to 320 F and lined a large roasting dish with baking paper. Mix the dry ingredients in a large dish/bowl.


Mix the sunflower seed butter, coconut oil, vanilla and honey (molasses if using) and stir through dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly. The mixture appears quite crumbly but is ok.Image

Pour into oven dish and bake for around 15 minutes. Through this time the oils and sugars will combine to make a thick, sticky mass….you want this and it will dry out on cooking. BE MINDFUL TO STIR OFTEN, this would burn easily. After 10 minutes add the dates.

And at this stage I forgot to take photos!!

Once the mixture has started to dry out and appears crumbly again, but still sticky, remove from oven and leave to cool, tossing a few times. It will crunch up on standing and on stirring it will break into clusters.


Fran got her recipe from Oh, She Glows! so here are three variations of the recipe to ponder on and then create your own 🙂

I expect any nut butter would work just as well as the sunflower seed butter if it’s just too time consuming to make your own.

Beer Tempura Vegetables


An economical and delicious way of dressing up ordinary vegetables, this is a perfect scratch meal that’s sure to please. I have made these quite a few times over the years but made up my own batter recipe as I have often not been entirely happy with past efforts, this is just perfect. Light, crunchy and golden. Normally we have this late summer and use capsicums, broccoli, pumpkin etc but this time I just used what I had in the fridge – nothing startling but it was very good. The zucchini flowers are excellent this way. And usually it’s served with sweet chilli sauce but I have run out so we had it with chutney.

Chop whatever vegetables you are using and spread out on a board to dry for at least 30 minutes. They must be dry for the batter to stick.



3/4 cup white flour

1/2 cup cornflour (corn starch)

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg

1/2 tsp salt

Chilled Beer (approx 3/4 stubbie or can)

Olive Oil (this can be strained and refrigerated to use again)

Mix the dry ingredients, add the egg and 1 cup of beer. Mix well and add more beer until it is a batter similar consistency to a thinnish pancake batter. It needs to coat thinly but be thick enough to stay on whatever you are coating. Leave to stand 10 minutes.

Heat about 3 cups of oil in a pot, about 3 ” deep. Turn on warming drawer or oven as this needs to be cooked in batches and kept hot. Toss vegetables one batch at a time (maybe 10 – 12 pieces) and fry just a few minutes till a rich golden colour. Repeat process till all cooked. These keep well while being kept warm and do not go soggy….they are also great as leftovers. I made twice this amount on the plate.


Red Pepper, Zucchini and Baby Spinach Omelette

If I am just cooking for me omelettes are my meal of choice, using whatever is in the garden or fridge. This was particularly nice.

Heat omelette pan with a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. Slice red peppers and saute for a minute, add sliced zucchini and saute both until just tender. Beat together 3 eggs, a couple of tablespoons of water or milk, salt and pepper, and pour over vegetables.


As the eggs are setting cover with baby spinach leaves, fold in pan and remove onto plate. Top with avocado.


A good, tasty meal for one doesn’t get much easier or quicker than omelettes!

Roasted Capsicums (Peppers)

These are delicious, are simple to make and are much cheaper to make your own rather than buying them. These aren’t preserved though, they need to be refrigerated and eaten within a few days.

Preheat grill. Cut capsicums in half and remove the seeds. Pour a little olive onto your hands and rub over the skins of each half. Slice the capsicums into pieces or slices (size desired, realising they will shrink by 1/2). Place in oven dish that has been greased or sprayed with olive oil.


Place under grill (not too close) and cook for 8 – 12 minutes until the skins are bubbled and blackened. The longer and slower these are cooked the sweeter they become so you don’t want to cook these too quickly.Image

Leave to cook and carefully peel off skins…they should come off easily. Place in dish and drizzle with olive oil.


Green Omelette with Avocado Salsa

I found this recipe in Dr Libby Weavers book Real Food Chef, The Power of Plants.

The omelette is full of baby spinach, parsley and peas and topped with avocado, tomato, red onion and seeds. I could eat this every night, it’s truly very good and takes only minutes to make really. I especially like that we grow all this ourselves with the exception of the avocado and seeds.


Recipe is for one serving.


3 eggs

2 cups baby spinach leaves

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1/2 cup cooked peas

1/3 cup milk (I used nut milk)

Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat some oil, butter or coconut oil (your preference) in a non stick pan. Whisk the eggs, milk and seasonings, add the peas and parsley. The recipe suggests steaming the spinach tilled wilted but I just put it in the pan to wilt before pouring the eggs over it. While this is cooking make the salsa.

Avocado Salsa:

1 tomato, chopped or several cherry tomatoes halved

1 avocado, chopped

red or green onion to taste

chopped coriander (cilantro) optional

salt and pepper

Seeds of choice eg, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower

Mix together the tomatoes, coriander, onion and seasonings. Gently combine with avocado.

Once the omelette is cooked remove from pan to plate. Top with salsa and sprinkle desired seeds over (I used pumpkin and sesame)


Spicy Pumpkin, Spinach and Lentil Soup

A few months ago I posted a recipe for Moroccon Lamb Soup, I have adapted this recipe for a vegetarian one. This has pumpkin, potato, spinach, lentils, chickpeas and is flavoured with turmeric, paprika and ginger. The results? Perfect!

Chock full of nutrients, this can be eaten as a stoup (how I like it) or more water added for a more soupy texture. This made a large quantity to enable freezing of some but could easily be halved.

500 g pumpkin, chopped

2 brown onions, chopped

2 carrots, diced

2 potatoes, cubed

good bunch of baby spinach…2 – 3 cups

5 cloves garlic

1 can tomatoes including juice, or fresh

400 g tin chickpeas, or cooked

1 cup brown lentils

Vegetable stock of choice, 10 – 12 cups water

2 tsp each paprika and turmeric

1 1/2 tsp each black pepper and ginger

Salt to taste – 11/2 – 2 tspns

Pour a little olive oil in the base of very large pan and saute onions, garlic and carrots with the spices gently till soft. Add all other ingredients except chickpeas and spinach and cook for 1 1/2 hours, keeping an eye on the water level as I needed to add more a couple of times. Add the chickpeas after 1 1/4 hours, check seasonings, and add the spinach just a couple of minutes before serving.


This was actually very cheap to make, using most of the vegetables from the garden and frozen cooked chickpeas I by in bulk. The pumpkin base and spices makes this dish but this is something that could easily be adapted to use what is available/ cheap at the time.

Roasted Asparagus and Pesto Pasta


This is a simple and very delicious meal to make. I used rice pasta, homemade pesto, homemade sundried tomatoes and homegrown asparagus. The pesto I used was my parsley and sunflower seed – the sunflower seeds make it an economical pesto (I sometimes use walnuts instead) The recipe for this is here, I make up batches and freeze in ice cube trays for use in recipes. Despite the rather humble ingredients this is a really tasty pesto.

The quantities for this dish are approximate,  really it’s just a throw together meal depending on quantities available or required.

1 1/2 bunches asparagus (12 – 15 spears?)

Around 3 – 4  cups cooked pasta

1/2 – 3/4 cup pesto

Sundried tomatoes to taste, sliced finely

Preheat the oven to 350 deg. Put the pasta on to cook in boiling, salted water.

Pour a little olive oil into an ovenproof dish. Break asparagus into 3 pieces and roll in oil in dish. Roast in oven 12 minutes turning once.

Drain the pasta and toss the sundried tomatoes and pesto through it. Add the asparagus and fold through gently. Tip into bowl and decorate with a few more slices of sundried tomato.

This recipe originally came from Damn Delicious and she adds mozzarella to it

For dessert we had a vegan avocado/chocolate tart topped with fresh strawberries. I have made this a few times since I found this divine recipe here

Harira – Moroccon Lamb Soup

Another lamb soup recipe, this is thick with lentils, chickpeas, pasta and full of flavour of tumeric, ginger, paprika. A very nutritious and economical one pot meal.

6 tbspns olive oil

500 g lamb (any cheap cuts, the meat will fall off the bones if used)

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium carrot, sliced (I used 2)

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 tsp each tumeric, ginger, paprika and black pepper

400 g tin of tomatoes (or equivalent fresh)

3/4 cup brown lentils

1/4 cup chopped coriander (could use dried)

1/2 cup dry pasta or risoni

400 g cooked or canned chickpeas

1 lemon, juiced

2 – 3 tsp salt

extra coriander or mint to garnish

Brown the meat, add vegetables and saute.

Stir in spices, add around 8 cups water, tomatoes, lentils and coriander. Simmer

1/2 hours.

Remove meat from bones if necessary, add pasta, chickpeas and lemon juice and simmer another 15 minutes.

Check seasoning and adjust if necessary, Serve with chopped mint or coriander.



This recipe freezes well.

Cottage Pie with Sweet Potato (Kumara) and Cheese Topping

Simple winter comfort food but made with a deeper flavour base than the cottage pies of old, with  combined potato and sweet orange kumara topping and cheese.Image

Quantities are approximate only, I usually just throw in a bit of this and a swig of something 🙂 so no need to be too specific. I also sometimes add mushrooms to this which is nice.

500 g mince beef

2 med onions, sliced

2 carrots

1 cup of frozen peas or green beans

1 tsp worcester sauce

2 tablespoons tomato sauce

1 tsp dried parsley

1 1/2 tsp salt and some black pepper

olive oil

500 grams (1 pound) potatoes

300 grams orange kumara (or pumpkin is nice)

50 g (2 oz) butter

little milk

grated cheese

Put the potatoes and kumara on to cook together in salted water. Preheat the oven to 350 deg.

Brown mince in electric frying pan, add onions, carrots, sauces, and seasoning and simmer 5 minutes like this, taking care not to scorch .

Add enough water to keep it simmering away for half an hour , add frozen peas and continue cooking 10 minutes.

Thicken with flour or whatever thickening agent you prefer (have used gravy powder in past).

Pour into oven dish.

Drain potatoes and sweet potato (or pumpkin) and mash with butter and a little milk till a good spreadable consistency. Spread over mince and top with grated cheese.

Cook for around 20 minutes till golden.

Chicken, Bacon, Mushroom and Spinach Penne

This is an easy recipe to cook, takes 15 minutes and has a creamy garlic sauce.


As always, apologies for the photo quality!!

This recipe is for two meals.

3 boneless chicken thighs (or breast meat) sliced

3 rashers of bacon

1 – 2 cups sliced button mushrooms, to taste

baby spinach, to taste

3 – 4 cloves garlic

1 tin of evaporated milk

around 3 cups cooked penne


1/2 tsp salt, good sprinkle black pepper

Put the penne on to cook in boiling, salted water.

Saute the chopped chicken meat, bacon, garlic and mushrooms in oil till cooked and turning golden.

Pout the evaporated milk over, season with salt, pepper and parsley and simmer very gently until pasta is cooked.

Tip in pasta and spinach, and bring back to simmering. Done.

This meal generally follows a stir fry or curry for us so I can make 1 packet of chicken do two meals. I keep small packets of bacon in the freezer for use in odd meals when needed (it’s terribly expensive here!) Spinach from the garden, mushrooms are always in the fridge.

Generally our meals revolve around what’s in the garden, what’s on special…sometimes you just want something different but being on a tight budget it takes some planning – do others plan their meals like this?