At this year’s Auckland Food Show, hemp products were a highlight but for me the most unusual palate pleasers were the insects.
Established in 2013, Eat Crawlers claim their insects — crickets, scorpions, grasshoppers and tarantulas — are not only tasty but are good for you and the planet. Insects are high in protein, healthy fats, iron and calcium and low in carbohydrates. They require fewer resources than traditional meats to produce – it takes one litre of water to produce one kilogram of insect protein and 22,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of beef protein.
The dried crickets and grasshoppers are crisp and come lightly salted, and are excellent for snacking. However, I’m still a bit ambivalent about nibbling on scorpions and tarantulas!
No, you won’t get high from eating hemp – just healthy. Hemp protein powder is packed with antioxidants, minerals, fibre and heart-healthy fats. Hemp oil has a good ratio of omega 6 and 3. All you need is one tablespoon a day in smoothies or yoghurt for extra nourishment and vitality.
If you’re a vegan then it’s no longer necessary to avoid cheese. There were plenty of dairy-free goodies on offer at the Food Show including cheeses and dips. Many are readily available from supermarkets.
CRICKET PENNE WITH CREAMY LEEK SAUCE
Very yummy. This high-protein 10 per cent cricket flour penne from Tomorrow Foods takes longer to cook than regular pasta.
3/4 cup protein pasta powered by crickets
1 large leek
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cream
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
1/2 cup shredded tasty cheese
Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim the leek and wash well. Use the white and light green parts only. Halve lengthwise then thinly slice.
Melt the butter on medium in a non-stick frying pan. Add the leek and season. Cook on low until tender about 10 minutes. Stir often.
Add the cream and lemon rind. Simmer until slightly thickened. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Drain the pasta well and stir into the sauce.
Garnish with lightly salted dried crickets, if preferred. Serves 2.
UNBAKED HEMP BROWNIES
Can be frozen. If using solid coconut oil, melt beforehand.
Base: 300g pitted dates
50g pumpkin seeds (pepita)
4 (level) tablespoons hemp powder
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Topping: 3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon each: maple syrup, brown sugar
Line an 18cm square cake pan with baking paper.
Combine the dates and pumpkin seeds in a food processor until well mixed. Add the hemp and cocoa powders and vanilla and mix until well combined. Add the maple syrup to moisten. The mixture should stick together when pressed.
Pat evenly into the lined cake pan. Chill.
To make the topping, combine the coconut oil, cocoa, maple syrup and brown sugar. Mix well. Spread evenly over the base. Chill. Cut into squares to serve.
These Nelson-produced purple & gold cracked pepper & sea salt Proper Crisps come in a compostable bag.
16 purple & gold cracked pepper & sea salt crisps
5-6 tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
squeeze lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
4 large slices smoked salmon, cut into quarters
16 capers, rinsed and dried
Place a selection of crisps on a serving plate. Combine the sour cream, lemon rind, lemon juice and chives, until smooth. Curl the salmon and place on the crisps. Top with a teaspoon of the sour cream mixture then top with a caper. Serves 4 as a nibble.