The Sweet Meadow

gluten free

Product Spotlight: Grain-Free Granola

foodAishe Besim
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We've been serving up our grain-free granola dish since we started the cafe almost a year ago. I wanted to offer a breakfast option that would appeal to the paleo and low-carb/high fat way of eating (even if personally I eat the opposite!).

Enter the star of the show - granola from The Belle General Bakehouse. I discovered this granola on my first visit to Byron Bay a few months before I opened the business, and quickly became obsessed with it. The girls at The Belle General bake this granola in-house at their cafe in Ballina, NSW, and use mostly local ingredients. Full of nuts and seeds, we like to serve our granola with almond milk. Almonds are one of the only alkalising nuts and a great source of vitamin E, the major antioxidant in human epidermal tissue, which create smoothness and suppleness to our skin. 

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The granola also has chia seeds, which contain the all-important essential omega 3 and 6 oils. They have twice the protein concentration of other seeds and are easily digestible in their whole form. We serve our granola with coconut yoghurt, a great source of probiotics that will help maintain a healthy stomach environment to aid in digestion and gut heatlh.

You can also sprinkle the granola on your oats, smoothie bowl, yoghurt or savoury muffins for an added protein and fibre hit. 500g bags of the granola are available at our cafe for $24, although we tend to sell out quicker than we can order it in (I always joke that the The Belle General crew are on "Byron time"). Alternatively, you can purchase other sizes directly from The Belle General's online store here

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Vitamin Green

recipes, foodAishe Besim

I must confess - I'm not a fan of multivitamins. I actually think they make people lazy.

Instead of making an effort to eat a variety of foods that are high in different vitamins and minerals, they stick with the same kind of diet and then supplement this with a tablet. Skip the manufactured product and just get it from the source!

I firmly believe drinking a green juice or smoothie regularly is a natural form of multivitamin. I was first introduced to the concept of green juices by my naturopath Greg Munro from Natremed, long before I'd even thought about becoming vegan. Greg had just watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and was educating me on the benefits of drinking a green juice most days. 

Green vegetables have more valuable nutrients than any other food group on the planet. They build your internal system and strengthen your blood. They are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, protein, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are also loaded with folic acid and chlorophyll and purify the blood, prevent diseases, improve circulation, strengthen your immune system and boost your energy levels. 

There's literally hundreds of green drink recipes available online, but ever since finding Kimberly Synder's Glowing Green Smoothie recipe I've been hooked. Scroll down for my tweaked recipe. 

GLOWING GREEN SMOOTHIE
VEGAN | DAIRY FREE | GLUTEN FREE
Makes about 1 litre

FOR THE JUICER
1 x large bunch of spinach
Handful of kale leaves, stems removed (throw them in the compost)
2 x stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 a large cucumber, chopped
2 x granny smith apples, chopped

FOR THE BLENDER
2 x frozen bananas, chopped
Handful of fresh herbs (I like parsley or basil depending on the season)
Juice of one lemon

METHOD
1. Pass the freshly washed juice ingredients through a juicer (cold-pressed is best, although I'm still using my old school Breville Juice Fountain, so use whatever you can afford!). I tend to add some cucumber or apple as I'm juicing the spinach or kale, to help the leaves pass through the juicer. This should extract anywhere between 500 - 700ml of liquid, depending on the size of the apples and cucumber. Add water if there's less than 500ml of juice extracted. 

2. Pour the juice into a blender and add the chopped frozen bananas, lemon juice and fresh herbs. Blitz until smooth. If you're not keen on frozen bananas, substitute for frozen pineapple or frozen mango. Definitely include the fruit though, it's a natural sweetener and removes the need to add stevia, honey or some other sweetener. 

If you have a good quality cold-pressed juicer you could probably store this in the fridge for up to two days, although I drink mine immediately as my breakfast.

Using a juicer and a blender makes a lot of mess in the kitchen, but I find it gives me the best consistency. If you have a top of the range blender like a Vitamix, Thermomix or Blendtec, feel free to skip the juicer and just use the blender. I'd still blend the green vegetables together first before adding the apples and banana. 

Get juicing!

Silverbeet is a good alternative if you don't have kale or spinach. 

Silverbeet is a good alternative if you don't have kale or spinach. 

Top Deck that's better than Cadbury

recipes, foodAishe Besim

I'm definitely a sweet tooth. I knew if I was ever going to last as a vegan long term I needed to learn how to master the art of vegan desserts. 

I love how simple and filling vegan desserts are – there are no lame filler ingredients,  like flour, baking soda and sugar. Every single component is a whole food, special and delicious on its own. 

This slice is one of my favourites. An ode to the much loved caramel slice, I like to mix up the taste of dark chocolate on the top with some creamy white chocolate. Heaven in my mouth!

TOP DECK CARAMEL SLICE
Vegan | Dairy Free | Gluten Free | Processed Sugar Free
Makes 6 Slices

BASE
3/4 cup raw almonds
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup Loving Earth Caramelised Buckinis
8 medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

CARAMEL
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I'm obsessed with this brand)
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
*Recipe for the caramel layer is part of a recipe found in the Hippie Lane app

CHOCOLATE LAYER
80g Loving Earth Creamy Coconut Chocolate
80g Sweet William White Dairy Free Chocolate

METHOD
1. To make base, blitz almonds in a food processor until they have reduced to small pieces. Add the remainder of the base ingredients and process for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is combined and sticky. 
2. Press base into a tin lined with baking paper and store in freezer.
3. To make the caramel layer, add all ingredients into a small saucepan and combine over low heat. Stir until sauce is glossy and smooth.
4. Spread the caramel over the prepared base and place in the fridge to set. 
5. For the chocolate layer, melt the two different chocolate blocks separately. I do it the old school way with a double-boiler over the stovetop because I'm not a fan of microwaves, but they would be a lot quicker. 
6. Pour the melted chocolate into opposite ends of the tin and then gently move the tin around until the chocolate meets in the centre. Use a knife to create swirls. Freeze to set.
7. Remove from freezer at least 20 minutes before serving.