These crackers came out of the blue, as an afterthought, they appeared in a bowl, I stirred them, decided to dry them and hey pesto! Umami Crackers came into the world. CRUNCH!
The real reason for these flax crackers was the desire to make a superbly healthy cracker, something to idly munch on without care. Jane and I can put away vast quantities of oat cakes/ crackers at one mid-sitting, its something to do with the texture. Most crackers aren’t exactly packed with nutrition, we’ve found that after a couple of these we are sated. Its all the good stuff in them we reckon.
Flax (or Lin) Seeds are a special little thing, one of the finest things for our digestion. When you pop a little water on them, you’ll see why. Flax takes on a gooey, emulsion-like property which the belly and below loves, this is the exact property that makes these crackers ‘gel’. Just add a little water to flax, leave them for a few minutes and they become a vehicle for all sorts of flavours and once dried/ baked they make crunchy biscuits to get excited about. There is absolutely nothing negative about these crackers, nutritionally, they are food for super humans (that’s all of us then!!!!)
Umami is the fifth taste, along with bitter, sweet etc. Umami means ‘yummy’ in Japanese and the Umami spectrum was opened up by a Japanese fellow. Umami is a delicious savouriness, think MSG but natural. MSG is not the baddy that many think, it is present naturally in foods like parmesan, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms. Added to this, umami just sounds like alot of fun!
I used a splendid Halen Mon product here, Umami powder. Its a mixture of their awesome sea salt (from the Menia Straits just outside the Beach House) and some seaweed and dried mushrooms. Seriously savoury and brilliant for perking things up, stews, risottos, soups…..you get the picture. Its a wonder condiment.
The Veg Box Salad is a Jane speciality that we enjoy on numerous occasions per week (especially when Janes cooking/non-cooking). It consists of loads of veggies and other special bits from the fridge and larder (seeds, olives, dried fruits…..), you never know what to expect from a Veg Box Salad, but you know that it will be massive and super tasty. The exhaustive list of ingredients of this particular salad are below, but feel free to empty your own fridge or veg box into a bowl and enjoy the spoils!!!!! There is an alarming amount of awesome veg to be found here.
A good salad is all about combining textures, flavours and colours, all topped off with a kickin’ dressing. Ingredients don’t matter here, this is free-flowing fare, changing with the seasons and your whims.
Makes around 10 crackers
1 1/2 cup flax (lin) seeds, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup sunblushed tomatoes (finely chopped), 1 teas umami powder, 2 tbs black sesame seeds, 2 cloves garlic (crushed, minced or mashed up)
Mix water into flax seeds and leave for 10 minutes, the seeds should be sticky, but not too wet. Add the rest of your ingredients and stir well. Spread out onto dehydrator tray or baking tray, oiled. 1/2 cm thickness is good and any shape that take you fancy. Cracker size!?
Dehydrate for 6 hours until crispy, bake for 10-15 minutes at around 1800C or until crispy.
Be gentle when handling the finished crackers, they are sensitive little guys. Use a flat spatula for the sake of a decent sized cracker.
Veg Box Salad
One massive bowlful
3 stems swiss chard (finely sliced), 1/4 green cabbage (shredded), 1/2 white onion (finely chopped), 2 stems celery (chopped), 2 handfuls chopped parsley, 1 avocado (roughly chopped), 1 green apple (diced and cored), 1 small courgette, small cucumber, small broccoli (all diced), 2 handfuls of olives, 2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds, 3 tbs nutritional yeast flakes (optional but very tasty)
1 handful of fresh mint, 1 handful of fresh basil, juice and zest of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 cup fruity olive oil, 1 cup soya yoghurt, 1 teas sea salt, 1 teas bharat (spice mix, or garam masala), 1 tbs apple juice concentrate (or honey), 1 tbs white wine vinegar
Blend all together in a food processor, adding the olive oil slowly to for a good emulsion.
We broke up some of the crackers and added them as a topping which worked out nicely. Big bowls. BIG bowls!
We Love It!
Every Thursday (that’s today) we pick up our veg box and are consistently surprised by the wonderful veg produced by the magical John and Pippa. There is no better way to celebrate good vegetables than very, very simply. Salad style definitely works here.
The flavours of these organic vegetables light up the bowl, a dressing almost seems like overkill. The crackers make a decent accompaniment to such a bounty of veg goodness.
Flax seeds are unique in many ways. Firstly, they provide the highest levels of Omega 3 oils found in a vegetarian diet (hundreds times more than the nearest competitor!) and these abundant oils are not altered by cooking at high heats. Which is great news!
Flax seeds are also insanely high in lignans, which act like fibre and have antioxidant effects on the body.
As mentioned above, flax seeds have mucilage properties, which means they form a ‘gum’ like substance in the body which helps the absorption of many nutrients in the intestines.