Tahini is the easiest thing in the world to make.  I use tonnes of it to put in slices, hummus, as toppings or just by the spoon full!  It’s a great no-nut peanut butter substitute.  Sesame seeds are full of all the good stuff:

  • Incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals. Calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper are especially concentrated in sesame seeds. Many of these minerals have a vital role in bone mineralization, red blood cell production, enzyme synthesis, hormone production, as well as regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.
  • The seeds are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, which comprises of up to 50% of fatty acids in them. Oleic acid helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which is rich in mono-unsaturated fats may help prevent coronary artery disease, and stroke by favoring healthy serum lipid profile.
  • Sesame seeds contain many health benefiting compounds such as sesamol (3, 4-methylene-dioxyphenol), sesaminol, furyl-methanthiol, guajacol (2-methoxyphenol), phenylethanthiol and furaneol, vinylguacol, and decadienal. Sesamol and sesaminol are phenolic anti-oxidants. Together, these compounds help stave off harmful free radicals from the human body.
  • Sesame is among the seeds rich in quality vitamins, and minerals. They are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and riboflavin.
  • 100 g of sesame contains 97 µg of folic acid, about 25% of recommended daily intake. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis. When given to expectant mothers during their peri-conception period, it may prevent neural tube defects in the newborns.

Just a handful of sesame a day provides enough recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and protein.

I used unhulled sesame seeds in this recipe, which you can buy from Binn Inn.  But you can use hulled (the white ones) seeds also.  You can also make this a raw tahini by omitting the toasting step.  Toasting (and the unhulled seeds) give the tahini a nuttier flavour which I prefer.

Tahini (makes about 400 gm)

Recipe inspiration from http://www.thekitchn.com

250 gm Unhulled sesame seeds

1/2 cup Grapeseed oil (or any neutral flavoured oil)

  1. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan for 5-10 minutes until they are fragrant.
  2. Blend until the seeds form a powder that starts to stick together
  3. Add in the oil until it reaches the consistency you desire.  It should have the texture of peanut butter.

Store in the fridge.




Nutrition and you

The Kitchn


Cashew cream & chia parfait


Chia seeds are native to South America.  They are a nutrition powerhouse.  A serving of 28 gms contains:

Fiber: 11 grams.
Protein: 4 grams.
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
137 calories

They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

These are the reasons I love chia :

*  High in protein
*  Full of antioxidants
*  Can be used as an egg replacement
*  Contains 18% RDA of Calcium
*  High fibre, wholegrain
*  Easy, versatile meal

Cashew cream & chia parfait

I usually love my parfaits with coconut yoghurt – but I ran out, so I whipped up some cashew cream as a substitute.  Its creamy decadence is wicked and calorie wise should definitely be restricted!  However its a versatile cream that can be used on top of anything from pancakes to soups.


Cashew cream recipe adapted from http://www.healthyblenderrecipes.com

Cashew cream:
1 cup raw cashews soaked for 2 hours
1/4-1/2 cup filtered water depending on desired thickness
1-2 tablespoons brown rice syrup, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract, plus more to taste
a pinch of Celtic/himalayan sea salt

Throw everything into the blender and blast on high until thick and creamy.

It is a good idea to start with ¼ cup of water, and then gradually thin it out in order to achieve the desired thickness.

**Please note – you will need a high speed blender in order to achieve a really creamy consistency. With a conventional blender, you must soak the cashews by covering with room temperature water for about 4 hours or the quick way (albeit not raw) by covering with boiling water for 15 minutes.

1/2 cup frozen berries (thawed)
Water to blend
1/4 cup soaked chia
Extra brown rice syrup for topping

I keep a jar of soaked chia in the fridge, however if you are making this last minute use boiling water for instant soaked chia!

Blend your berries with a little water.

Start your parfait with the chia, then layer with berries, cashew cream and LSA, finishing with cashew cream on top and a sprinkle of LSA and a streak of syrup.

You can add seeds or nuts or granola to give it some crunch!



Authority Nutrition
Healthy blender recipes

Battle of the gingernuts – Griffins v Leda

Leda ginger cookies

Leda-Gingernut-GF-Cookies-155g.jpgLeda gingernuts are gluten, dairy, egg free, but still sugar heavy with 1.3 tsp of sugar per serving – which is just 2 cookies.

I don’t dare have these in the pantry – they’re just too scrummy – I prefer them to Griffins!  If you’re looking for a gingery, crunchy treat thats gluten, dairy and egg free and a little healthier than you usual gingernuts, these are great.

The sugar content comes from golden syrup,which is a refined sugar containing 25% fructose.  Its Glycemic index (GI) is lower than sugar at 60.

Unlike molasses the calories in golden syrup are empty – no nutrition whatsoever, no vitamins or minerals.

These cookies are vegan.


Gluten free flour (Tapioca, Besan), Raw Sugar, Vegetable Oil [Vit E – Soy derived], Golden Syrup, Treacle, Ginger Powder (1.4%), Guar Gum,  Raising Agent – Sodium Bicarbonate, Salt. Contains Soy.  Also contains sulphites.

Griffins gingernuts

griffins gingernutsCompare these to Griffins gingernuts which have 2.3 tsps of sugar per serving (from brown sugar)and contain gluten and dairy.

Brown sugar is effectively refined white sugar with a bit of molasses added back in to give it a brown colour.  It has a GI of 64.

Again there is scant nutrition in brown sugar.


Wheat Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Fat [Antioxidant (306)], Brown Sugar, Ginger (1%), Salt, Flavour, Raising Agent (Baking Soda), Milk Solids.

Palm oil is used in both of these biscuits, and apparently in most commercial biscuits.  Its cleverly disguised as vegetable fat/shortening.

Nutrition content

nutrition ginger cookies


The big differences are in sodium levels, fibre and total fat – Griffins has over twice as much salt and no fibre plus twice as much sugar.  Leda has over twice as much fat but 40 less calories – due in part to the smaller serving size.

I kind of wanted Leda to win this contest but all in all, it’d be better to make my own!…At least I’ll know whats in them!  These cookies are really easy and taste crunchy and delicious.  I don’t think they require the sesame seeds, next time I’ll leave them out.  Oh, and space them out a little – mine are smooshed together!  While these are no substitute for my Leda cookies, they’re pretty damn good!

Sesame ginger cookies

1.5 cups ground almonds

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1/3 cup unhulled tahini

3.5 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup sesame seeds for rolling (optional)


Combine ground almonds, ginger, baking soda in a bowl and stir to blend.  Add syrup, tahini and vanilla and stir until the mixture forms a moist dough.  Take teaspoons of the mixture in wet hands, and roll into balls.  Drop into the sesame seeds and coat evenly.  Space the balls out on a baking tray, they expand.  Flatten. Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for about 10-15 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook as they burn easily.  Makes around 40 small biscuits or 15 larger sized.  If you want them larger, cook for 5 minutes more.

sesame ginger cookies



My fitness pal

Fat secret



High histamine foods

Do you experience unexplained headaches or anxiety? What about irregular menstrual cycles? Does your face flush when you drink red wine? Do you get an itchy tongue or runny nose when you eat bananas, avocados, or eggplants? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you could have a histamine intolerance.

What is histamine?

Histamine is a chemical involved in your immune system, proper digestion, and your central nervous system. As a neurotransmitter, it communicates important messages from your body to your brain. It is also a component of stomach acid, which is what helps you break down food in your stomach.

You might be most familiar with histamine as it relates to the immune system. If you’ve suffered from seasonal allergies or food allergies, you may have noticed that antihistamine medications like Zytrec, Allegra or Benedryl provide quick relief of your symptoms. This is because histamine’s role in the body is to cause an immediate inflammatory response. It serves as a red flag in your immune system, notifying your body of any potential attackers.

Histamine causes your blood vessels to swell, or dilate, so that your white blood cells can quickly find and attack the infection or problem. The histamine buildup is what gives you a headache and leaves you feeling flushed, itchy and miserable. This is part of the body’s natural immune response, but if you don’t break down histamine properly, you could develop what we call histamine intolerance.

Because it travels throughout your bloodstream, histamine can affect your gut, lungs, skin, brain, and entire cardiovascular system, contributing to a wide range of problems often making it difficult to pinpoint and diagnose.

Anybody can have Histamine Intolerance, but you are at higher risk if you eat a GAPS diet, low-carb diet, enjoy gourmet foods, or have been swept up in the current fermented foods fad, because histamine is found lurking primarily in aged, fermented, cured, cultured, and smoked foods. Foods like aged beef, ripe cheeses, salami, sauerkraut, red wine, and natto can all be quite high in histamine.

What Causes High Histamine Levels?

Common symptoms of histamine intolerance include:

  • Headaches/migraines
  • Difficulty falling asleep, easily arousal
  • Hypertension
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Arrhythmia, or accelerated heart rate
  • Difficulty regulating body temperature
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Flushing
  • Nasal congestion, sneezing, difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal menstrual cycle
  • Hives
  • Fatigue
  • Tissue swelling

What Causes High Histamine Levels?


Low histamine level foods:

  • Fresh meat (cooled, frozen or fresh)
  • Freshly caught fish
  • Chicken (skinned and fresh)
  • Egg yolk
  • Fresh fruits – with the exception of strawberries, most fresh fruits are considered to have a low histamine level (also see histamine liberators below)
  • Fresh vegetables – with the exception of tomatoes
  • Grains – rice noodles, yeast free rye bread, rice crisp bread, oats, puffed rice crackers, millet flour, pasta (spelt and corn based)
  • Fresh pasteurised milk and milk products
  • Milk substitutes – coconut milk, rice milk
  • Cream cheese, butter (without the histamine generating rancidity)
  • Most cooking oils – check suitability before use
  • Most leafy herbs – check suitability before use
  • Most non-citric fruit juices
  • Herbal teas – with the exception of those listed below

High histamine level foods:

  • Alcohol
  • Pickled or canned foods – sauerkrauts
  • Matured cheeses
  • Smoked meat products – salami, ham, sausages….
  • Shellfish
  • Beans and pulses – chickpeas, soy beans, peanuts
  • Nuts – walnuts, cashew nuts
  • Chocolates and other cocoa based products
  • Vinegar
  • Ready meals
  • Salty snacks, sweets with preservatives and artificial colourings

Histamine liberators:

  • Most citric fruits – kiwi, lemon, lime, pineapple, plums…
  • Cocoa and chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Papaya
  • Beans and pulses
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat germ
  • Additives – benzoate, sulphites, nitrites, glutamate, food dyes

Diamine Oxidase (DAO) blockers:

Diamine oxidase is an enzyme that helps us digest.  It’s present in food in various levels.  Legumes contain high amounts, as well as some internal organs like kidneys and intestines.  You want to have DAO, so the blockers should be limited.

  • Alcohol
  • Black tea
  • Energy drinks
  • Green tea
  • Mate tea


  • Yoghurt – depends on the bacteria culture used
  • Egg white – it is a histamine liberator only when in its raw state


  • Yeast – even though it does not contain histamine as such, yeast serves as a catalyst for histamine generation during manufacture. There is no yeast in the end product.


Histamine intolerance UK

Diagnosis diet


Rice krispy treats


Very similar to the millet slice recipe, but using rice puffs instead. 

Express version:

2.5 cups organic puffed brown rice
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup brown rice syrup

You can just use the above for minimum ingredients.

However for the luxury version I amended to this:

In a pot heat on a low heat:

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
2 T coconut oil
1/2 cup tahini

2.5 cups puffed brown rice
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped pumpkin seeds
Handful of chopped dried cranberries
1 tsp vanilla

Press into a slice tin.  Refridgerate for an hour.  Slice and keep in the freezer for instant snacks.

Delicious Buckwheat oat pancakes for 1


Screw it, I’m having pancakes for dinner!

This recipe is based off the buckwheat pancakes I posted a few days ago but in a single portion and its now gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, low fructose and NO eggs!!  And I prefer them!  Yummy!  And so easy to make.


1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup milk of your choice (I used ricemilk)
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp aluminium free baking powder
Pinch of himalayan salt
1 T coconut oil (melted)
1 chia egg (1 T chia meal in 3 T water..sit for 5 mins in fridge)
1-2 T brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (optional)

Coconut oil to cook

Pour milk into oats and sit for 10 minutes.  Add rest of ingredients except xanthan gum and mix.  Sprinkle in xanthan gum and stir a few times quickly.  The xanthan gum is optional.  This recipe should work without it but haven’t tried it yet.

Cook until golden brown on either side and serve with your choice of berries, syrup and yoghurt.  I had mine with maple and brown rice syrup and fresh tart plums from the garden.

Heat coconut oil in pan until hot and make 3 big round pancakes.  The mixture will be thick and easy to shape.


Zoodle stirfry (& how to zoodle!)


If you haven’t caught onto the craze yet – zoodles are a noodle made from zucchini.

Well, my stirfry doesn’t really show my zoodles to their full magnificance – this is what they look like with skins on:

If you peel then marinate the zoodles in a little himalayan or sea salt for 5-10 minutes and lightly saute, they’re a great substitute for wheat noodles in spaghetti bolognese.  The texture is soft and delicious and kidlets will LOVE them!


..and here is the gadget that produced them – the Paderno world cuisine spiralizer.  It has a tri blade that cuts 2 sizes of spaghetti type noodles and a ribbon cut noodle :

You can purchase the Paderno on Trademe (or Amazon).  It’s about NZD$77.

Words can’t describe my childlike glee when I take a humble zucchini or carrot and within seconds, produce a long colourful voodle (vege noodle).  This is a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen.

Zoodle stirfry

I’m loving this sweet and salty tasty vege sidedish that can be whipped up quickly and cheaply.


1 small zucchini (zoodled or grated)

half a carrot (zoodled or grated)

handful of finely sliced cabbage

some finely sliced red capsicum

small amount of sliced up spring onion

handful of leafy greens

1 tsp green curry paste

1 tsp coconut nectar (or your choice of sweetener)

1 tsp tamari soy sauce

sprinkle of sesame seeds

grapeseed oil for saute


You can sprinkle some himalayan salt on your voodles and leave to marinate for 5 minutes – or not – up to you.  Then just bung it all in a pan and saute till its cooked to your liking.  Sprinkle over sesame seeds.  Eat as a sidedish or by itself with some avo and sauerkraut. You could use this recipe as a base and throw in meat, beans, tempeh or tofu to jazz it up.

Use any vege you have in the fridge for this dish.  And all ingredients are interchangeable except for green curry paste.  You can use normal normal soy instead of the tamari.

Baked Cran/chia energy bread slice


Baked granola bars

Recipe credit http://www.ohsheglows.com


3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour
1 cup water
3/4 cup packed pitted Medjool dates
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt


Preheat oven to 325F and line a 9-inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one going each way.

Add rolled oats into a high-speed blender. Blend on highest speed until a fine flour forms. Add oat flour into a large bowl.
Add water and pitted dates into blender. Allow the dates to soak for 30 minutes if they are a bit firm or your blender has a hard time blending dates smooth. Once they are soft, blend the dates and water until super smooth.

Add all of the ingredients into the bowl with the oat flour and stir well until combined.
Scoop the mixture into the pan and spread it out with a spatula as evenly as possible. You can use lightly wet hands to smooth it down if necessary.

Bake at 325F for about 23-25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then lift it out and transfer it to a cooling rack for another 5-10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
I suggest freezing leftovers to preserve freshness.

Nb: I was confused when I bit into these as they were called granola bars but they don’t have the bite and they’re not dry like a granola bar. I like them! But if you’re unused to the texture that chia seeds give to an end product it will confuse you too! Chia gives this slice a kind of spongy texture. This is more like a seedy cranberry Chia energy bread slice….consider it renamed!

I like to keep this in the freezer for those times I need an energy hit.

Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2014/01/08/soft-chewy-sugar-free-baked-granola-bars/#ixzz3yl9K2iZc

Is Marmite full of MSG?

Homemade Organic Gluten-Free "Vegemite" {Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free}

This blog is based off the unconventional bakers blog.

The short answer is yes, there are glutamates in all of the ‘mites (Marmite, Vegemite, Promite).   I actually made a call to Sanitarium to check the ingredients, as the blog mentioned that ingredients under 1gm don’t have to be disclosed on labels.  They said, no – no MSG or glutamate additives.  So where didthis whole MSG-gate come from?

How are the ‘mites’ made? 

Salt is added to yeast which is grown on barley or wheat.  (This is why the mites are NOT considered gluten free).  This causes the cell to dry up and self destruct.  Chemical enzymes are added to kill the yeast cells outright.  Refining processes are used to leave a paste high in glutamic acid.  At this point, there is no difference between this and MSG – they are functionally identical.

Umami – MSG – and can 1 tsp on my toast harm me?

The ‘umami’ taste of MSG is what attracts us to products like marmite.  Umami is a Japanese word that describes one of the 5 taste sensations.  Its refers to a pleasant savoury  taste.  What you probably didn’t know is that the pleasant taste we all love is due to receptors specific to glutamate.  Glutamates are present in a number of foods like meat broths and fermented foods.  It’s delicious!    Having a bit of MSG is not likely to hurt most people.  However to those that are sensitive or allergic it can cause massive issues.  In studies its claimed to be linked to autism, obesity and inflammation.

Yes there are studies on both mice and humans to prove some of the above.  I guess I’m more interested in the personal stories of Mums with children whose behaviour has signficantly improved from removing Marmite and MSG from their diet and suchlike.  You can read about some of these in the references below.

FDA considers the addition of MSG to foods to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). Although many people identify themselves as sensitive to MSG, in studies with such individuals given MSG or a placebo, scientists have not been able to consistently trigger reactions.

Vegemite has WAAAY less sugar!

Marmite is just over 11% sugar

Promite is 18% sugar  (shock horror)

Vegemite is far better at only 2.2% sugar

More importantly – what about the sugar content???

Unfortunately if you’re trying to lower your sugar consumption Kiwi’s, it looks like our favourite spread has been outsmarted in the sugar stakes by Vegemite.

All of these yeast spreads are full of B vitamins.  But whats the skinny on the rest of the ingredients?

Whats inside?  

  • Marmite contains 15% of the daily recommended intake of iron.  Vegemite does not.
  • All contain barley and wheat derivatives so not suitable for coeliacs
  • All contain corn maltodextrin – a polysaccharide (and carbohydrate) that is derived from corn or wheat (corn in this case), is high glycemic, highly processed.  However according to healthline, its the high sugar content that is of most risk to diabetics and those with blood sugar issues.
  • Promite has a huge list of additives – so that’s why it tastes so good.  Immediate strike off any future grocery list.



Its fair to say that the ‘mites are highly processed.  As usual, its not the teaspoon of your preferred ‘mite on toast – its a diet high in all that processed, packaged, sugary crap that will harm.  But I have to say, I was very surprised of some of the facts in my research, particularly the huge difference in sugar content.  And now to my big omission – don’t hate me..I’m a closet vegemite lover…eek…

Click here for a list of how MSG can be hidden in your food.

Home made Marmite

  • ½ cup black tahini sesame butter
  • 4 tbsp tamari
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process into a creamy and smooth consistency {I used my magic bullet because it’s such a small batch and it worked perfectly! An immersion blender would be the next best way to go in my opinion}. Store in the fridge. Lightly spread on {non-dairy} buttery {gf} toast and enjoy!






The unconventional baker



Natural news

Science direct

The Smithsonian

My goodness organics

American Nutrition Association

Buckwheat porridge


Buckwheat, like amaranth and quinoa is a seed – therefore it doesn’t contain wheat and is gluten free.  It’s also full of fibre, and minerals.  However it is low in protein (3.4%) and higher in carbs.  Interestingly, it is low to medium on the glycemic index, so its suitable for diabetics…..and its alkalizing so its good for cleansing and detox.

In animals, buckwheat protein has been found to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol (14, 15), suppressing gallstone formation (16, 17) and reducing the risk of colon cancer (13).

In order to increase protein availability, just like any other seed, by sprouting, digestibility is increased (next time!)

Vitamins and Minerals

Buckwheat Groats

Buckwheat is richer in minerals than many common cereals, such as rice, wheat and corn (5).

However, buckwheat is not particularly rich in vitamins.  Here are the most abundant minerals found in common buckwheat:

  • Manganese: Found in high amounts in whole grains, manganese is essential for healthy metabolism, growth, development and the body’s antioxidant defenses.
  • Copper: Often lacking in the Western diet, copper is an essential trace element that may have beneficial effects on heart health when eaten in small amounts (19).
  • Magnesium: When present in sufficient amounts in the diet, this essential mineral may lower the risk of various chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease (20).
  • Iron: Deficiency in this important mineral leads to anemia, a condition characterized by reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
  • Phosphorus: This mineral plays an essential role in the growth and maintenance of body tissues.

Compared to other grains, the minerals in cooked buckwheat groats are particularly well absorbed.  This is because buckwheat is relatively low in phytic acid, a common inhibitor of mineral absorption found in most grains (6).


Buckwheat porridge

My new fav porridge!!  I love buckwheat because it produces a creamy porridge, especially using the soy milk.   To up the protein, I just add a tablespoon of LSA!

Recipe adapted from deliciously ella.com  (Serves 2)

1 cup of buckwheat grouts

2 cups of homemade almond milk (I subbed in 1 cup rice milk, 1 cup soy milk)

1 cup of water

1 T brown rice syrup (or bettasweet or sweetener of your choice) (optional)

2 T dessicated coconut (optional)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

Soak buckwheat groats overnight. The next morning, rinse thoroughly. Put the buckwheat and cinnamon into a pan with one cup of boiling water, allow this to heat for a couple of minutes. Once the water is absorbed add one cup of almond milk and stir well. Allow it to keep cooking and gradually add in the second cup of almond milk when it’s needed – don’t let the buckwheat run out of liquid ever. It should take about 20 minutes to cook completely, at which point stir in your sweetener, vanilla and coconut.

Top with a tablespoon of LSA.  Mine is served with a sliced golden queen peach from Mum’s tree -yummo!

Ella’s recipe also adds in banana’s and almond butter which makes this porridge creamier.  You can see her original recipe here.



Deliciously Ella

Authority Nutrition  (I unashamedly copied and pasted from this article)