A classic lemon tart is always popular. Rich and redolent with eggs & cream and generous with sharp citrus, lemon tart was a staple on menus in the early noughties.
So I planned to take one to a family get together last weekend until it was announced that I was catering for a vegan!.. At a barbeque!
OK…..so never one to renounce a challenge, I set about modifying my plans and started experimenting!
I have previously posted a raw vegan lemon tart but that recipe wasn’t what I wanted in the traditional sense and I wanted something that was easily transported and would cut into many slices.
For a citrus tart to achieve greatness, the filling has to be exactly the right texture – not too soft but not too firm either. When you are working with custard, this is relatively easy if you have the right proportions of eggs to cream but eggs and cream were not an option this time!
Lemons are available all year round but their flavour excels in the winter months. The Eureka lemon is the most common variety found in the supermarket and popular in back gardens because of its ability to produce fruit and flowers together throughout the year. It has a thicker rind and many more seeds (often lots!) than the Lisbon which has a thinner skin and is bred to have no seeds. Lisbon lemons are rounder and softer and tend not to have a knobbly end as do the former.
The sweetest lemon is the Meyer lemon which is a cross between a lemon and possibly an orange or a mandarin. Thin-skinned and slightly less acidic than the Lisbon and Eureka lemons, Meyer lemons are harder to zest, have only a couple of seeds and are harder to find. They are great for making lemonade as they are sweeter.
For the tart, I like to use an acidic lemon like the Eureka but the proliferant seeds can be pesky! They also yield more zest which shouldn’t be skimped because the flavour of the volatile oils are integral.
I have glazed the tart more for presentation than taste. When making a lemon tart without butter or eggs, the colour can be quite insipid and not very appealing. Adding a pinch of turmeric helps but doesn’t quite cut the mustard! A glaze with orange juice gives the tart a more attractive hue without overriding the lemon-i-ness, but feel free to skip this step if it doesn’t matter to you. Alternatively, you could cover it with sliced strawberries or whipped cream!
Base 120g almonds 70g dates 60g coconut butter 60g whole buckwheat Blitz together on SP 8 until a fine crumble and press thinly into a lined 24cm tart pan. Add a little water if it is too dry. Put into the oven and turn on to 165ºC for 15 – 20 mins until lightly golden. Cool. Filling 70g water 70g almond milk (or water) 2 tabs agar agar flakes (or 2 teas agar powder) 160 lemon juice rind of 2 lemons 160g coconut oil 90g brown rice syrup 90g coconut sugar (I used Natvia) 2 teas maize cornflour pinch turmeric Mill the rind and sugar on SP 8 for 10 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and heat to 80ºC on SP 1 for 3 minutes to dissolve the agar flakes. Don’t be tempted to increase the speed as the agar will stick to the sides of the bowl and not dissolve. Cook further for 8 minutes on SP 4 at 90ºC, then blitz on SP 7 for 10 seconds to ensure its smooth & thick. Pour into the tart shell and allow to cool while you make the glaze. Glaze (Optional) 70g water 100g orange juice (strained) juice of half a lemon 1 teas agar flakes (or 1/2 teas agar powder) 1 tab brown rice syrup Add all of the ingredients to the TM and heat to 90ºC on SP 1 for 8 minutes. When dissolved and smooth, pour over the tart and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to firm up.
There is a little Swiss cake shop in suburban Melbourne that I used to frequent many years (almost 30!) ago. On a Google search, I was delighted to find out that it is still there AND owned by the same gorgeous couple, Helen & Franz. Along with their sons Sascha and Marcus, (whom I remember as toddlers) they take pride in making traditional Swiss & German pastries & cakes that are the best you will find outside of Europe.
It was Franz who taught me the secret of making a true butter puff in his Mille-Feuille. It was Franz who made my
first wedding, previous life wedding croquembouche all those years ago before they came in vogue. And my favourite pastry in his window was his nut twist loaf.
I often reminisce over his strawberry tartlets and chocolate truffles. Helen’s crème patisserie was the most amazing silky & creamy custard I ever tasted. And I was always intrigued that they often made their cakes in a thin pastry shell.
When I make my poppy-seed brioche I think of the Hilltop cake shop* and have fond memories of my friends there. But, now grain-free, I rarely make my brioche recipe, although writing this has inspired me to convert the recipe to gluten-free and revisit it!
Poppy seeds provide quite a number of health benefits. They have an excellent source of minerals like magnesium, zinc and calcium. The fatty acids present, aid digestion and the linoleic acid helps protect the heart. Apparently, poppy seeds are used to treat insomnia although I haven’t quite benefited from this application! Very high in polyunsaturated oils, they are vulnerable to oxidation and easily turn rancid, so buy small quantities fresh and keep them in the freezer.
I have used the filling from my poppy-seed brioche as a surprise garnish in my cupcakes. I think it works! It adds a nutty, almost earthy flavour that tempers the sweetness of the cake. To make this recipe nut-free, substitute the almond meal for sun-flour, although you may get a faint green taint due to the chlorogenic compounds. Make the filling first to allow to cool and thicken.Filling 80g fresh poppy seeds 60g milk (I used almond milk) 1 egg yolk 25g butter 1 tab honey 1 teas coconut flour 1 tab tapioca flour vanilla to taste Mill the poppy seeds on SP 9 for 10 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 6 mins at 100°C on SP 3. The mix will be thick – set aside to cool. Clean & dry the TM bowl. Cake mix 50g almond meal (or sun-flour if nut-free) 45g coconut flour 20g tapioca flour 110g coconut sugar (I used Natvia) 1 heaped teas baking powder rind of 1 lemon 110g butter, softened 4 eggs + 1 egg white 60g orange juice or water 2 teas apple cider vinegar Grind the lemon rind with the sugar on SP 9 for 10 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix on SP 6 for 10 seconds or until well combined and creamy. Use cupcake cases in a cupcake tin and give them a spray of oil. Half fill cases with the cake mix and make a small indent. Drop a teaspoonful of the poppy paste into the indented mix and cover with remaining cake mix. Alternatively, fill a piping bag with the poppy-seed paste and pipe a teaspoonful into the middle of the batter. Bake in a 170°C oven for 20 minutes. * Footnote: I have since spoken to Helen who tells me that later this year they will be opening a cafe, 2 shops down from their bakery!!
My first introduction to hoisin sauce was in 1978 at an “upmarket” Chinese restaurant where they served the pungent sauce with their spring rolls. The rolls were fat and long and filled with pork & vegetables that you could discern from and the hoisin was an extravagant step up from the usual sweet & sour sauce that typically accompanies them.
From then on, hoisin was a favourite addition to whatever we were eating with rice, or even just with rice on its own!
Hoisin sauce is also known as Chinese barbecue sauce and is often confused with plum sauce as both are thick, dark and sweet. It’s commonly used as an ingredient in Chinese cooking and is traditionally based on fermented soy beans.
But on label watch recently, I found very few commercial varieties that had any soy beans in them at all! Most named sugar as the main ingredient with wheat starch coming in second. Hoisin should typically include soy, chillies and garlic. Vinegar, salt and sugar are also commonly added.
It dawned on me that the reason why I have gone “off” dining in Chinese restaurants is that the majority of the dishes are based on commercial bottled sauces. Because we have been eating cleanly for some time now, anything that has preservatives, additives or flavouring, leaves a residue on my tongue, not to mention a “blech” feeling in my gut!
As you know, I make just about everything in my pantry but was yet to attempt hoisin – until now!
There are so many dishes that feature hoisin as the focus. Barbeque roast pork, shanghai noodles and Mongolian beef all use hoisin as an integral ingredient. As a dipping sauce, you couldn’t have Peking duck or popiah rolls without it. A favourite dish that I used to make was a simple eggplant stir-fry with hoisin sauce and I have included the recipe below.
The sauce itself is very easy. The secret to getting the texture right is adding some starch so that it should be quite thick and pasty. I achieved this by using some roasted sweet potato. White potato & pumpkin would work too as a thickening agent – if it’s roasted it will have a more intense flavour. This recipe makes 1 medium jar. If hoisin is popular in your household, double the recipe.
Hoisin Sauce Make Your Own1 clove garlic 1 purple shallot, peeled 1 teas oil 1/4 teas dried chilli flakes 1/4 teas ground black pepper 1/2 teas Chinese five-spice 50g nut butter (I used almond butter) 50g dark mushroom soy 20g dark molasses (1 tab) 20g rapadura sugar – or more to taste 1 tab apple cider vinegar 60g roasted sweet potato 50g water 1 teas cornflour (or potato starch or tapioca) 1 teas toasted sesame oil Chop the garlic & shallot for 10 seconds, SP 8. Scrape down the bowl and add the oil. Saute for 3 minutes at 100°C on SP 2. Add the remaining ingredients, except the sesame oil and cook for 7 minutes on SP 4 at 100°C. It will be quite thick. Add the sesame oil* and mix in before storing in a clean jar. Simple Eggplant Stir-Fry with Hoisin 500g eggplant, cut into large cubes 50g light olive oil or coconut oil, divided 2 teas fresh ginger, julienned 2 cloves garlic, sliced 1 small onion, sliced 1 teas toasted sesame oil 100g homemade hoisin sauce 50g milk (I used almond) Sliced spring onions or coriander to garnish. In a wok or frying pan, heat half of the oil until hot and saute the eggplant until brown on all sides, adding more oil when required. Pour in 40g of water and cover with a lid to steam the eggplant until it is quite soft and the water has evaporated. Set aside in a serving dish and keep warm. Whilst this is cooking, add the hoisin and milk to the TM and cook for 2 minutes at 100°C SP 3. Back to your wok or frying pan, saute the garlic, onion & ginger for 5 minutes until soft, adding a little more oil if required. Stir in the sesame oil at the end. Pour the sauce over the eggplant and top with the fried onions & ginger. Top with spring onions to garnish. Serve with rice. *Sesame oil has a very low smoke point and its best not to “cook” it but add it last as a flavouring. Some variations:
- Try sautéing some minced pork and mixing it in with the eggplant.
- Use green beans or broccolini instead of eggplant.
- Use tofu instead of eggplant.
brrrrr, it’s cold in Brisbane at the moment!
I know it is hardly cold by some of my readers standards, considering that I live in a sub-tropical climate, but it is all relative! Our Queensland houses are not so well insulated or built to keep the heat in – in fact – they’re built to keep the heat out!!
Growing up in the southern states, our seasons were much more defined. Autumn leaves fell, spring bulbs bloomed and the first appearance of wattle flowers signalled that winter was on its way!
In Queensland, there are few deciduous trees, and flowers bloom all year around! Our rain comes in the Summer and soupy foggy mornings are rare. The seasons are something that I do miss about Melbourne – its like the absence of ebb & flow; life rhythm.
So winter in Queensland means wearing 2 changes of clothing in a day! A warm set for early morning and late afternoon to evening and a summery set for the height of the day, when you can still get sunburnt!! It means replacing the cotton blanket for a doona on the bed and pulling out the oil heater and ugg boots for watching TV. In winter, the cat become mysteriously affectionate & cuddly!
It also means chocolate pudding!
Self-saucing chocolate pudding must have been the first, most decadent, bit of kitchen alchemy that I learnt as a kid. How on earth did a chocolate batter not get ruined by a boiling watery mess poured over the top? How on earth did that watery mess transform into a silky thick sauce underneath the pudding when cooked? It was a magic that impressed my sons when they were little too and we made it often.
But this recipe isn’t for a self-saucing chocolate pudding – sorry to disappoint! Self-saucing chocolate pudding is best eaten as soon as its out of the oven – it doesn’t reheat so well and I wanted to do something that could be pulled out of the freezer on a whim! This pudding is baked as individual serves that can readily be frozen and reheated. I used bananas that weren’t overly ripe; they weren’t green, but they were definitely firm. I didn’t want the banana taste to overpower and less ripe bananas are beneficial to the gut as they have more resistance starch.
Plus that’s all I had!
The sauce is made separately and can be stored for weeks in the fridge for those late night “Nigella” excursions to the kitchen! This nut-free, dairy-free sauce works well in smoothies, on ice-cream and as an icing for cakes. Be as liberal or conservative with the chilli as you like. It is full of good fats and can be made sugar-free if you want.
The best thing about this pudding is that it is nut-free, dairy-free and grain-free. Actually, the best thing about this pudding is the taste, those other things are just added benefits really!! Try it and see…
Make the sauce first:75g coconut sugar or rapadura (I used xylitol) 120g water 40g 70% dark dairy-free chocolate 1 tab cacao 50g coconut oil or ghee 50g cacao butter (or substitute with ghee) pinch salt big pinch chilli powder* pinch cinnamon (optional) vanilla to taste Put the sugar, chocolate, cacao butter & salt into the TM and chop on SP 8 for 10 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on 60ºC for 5 minutes, SP 3. It will thicken on standing and go hard if you store it in the fridge. Pudding 50g dark chocolate, dairy-free 150g sunflower seeds 2 eggs 100g olive oil 2 bananas – (about 190g peeled) 25g raw cacao 100g brown rice syrup or maple syrup stevia to taste big pinch salt 1 1/2 teas baking powder 1 teas apple cider vinegar Without cleaning the TM bowl, grind the seeds & chocolate on SP 8 for 10 seconds. Because the bowl was wet, it will not be evenly ground – but that’s OK. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on SP 7 for 20 seconds. Pour into 8 greased ramekins or 10 large muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with the warm sauce with my dairy-free whipped cream or vanilla icecream. *If cooking for kids, omit the chilli and sprinkle on top of the adult portions when serving. I haven’t tried steaming these, but I am sure they would work in the Varoma. Steam for about 35 minutes.
I really wanted to call this recipe Baked Potato Pudding, just for the fun of it, although I figured it might not get your attention quite so much as Rum & Raisin Pudding with Caramel sauce!!
It is based on a baked sweet potato that I had in the fridge – and works beautifully with a normal white potato too.
Potatoes as a carbohydrate are usually avoided in my diet. Although who could argue that the carbohydrate in potato is worse than carbohydrate in tapioca, which is widely accepted in Paleo-land? I can’t.
Potatoes represent a bolus of dietary starch, which can wreak havoc on the insulin resistant, but they are undeniably whole, real foods that don’t require much processing beyond simple cooking. Grains and legumes, on the other hand, are tiny, disparate sources of calories that need soaking, fermenting, and extensive cooking to be palatable. And potato has more nutritional value than rice with more magnesium & potassium and Vitamin C, ( but they are more allergenic than rice). As a rule, the whiter the potato, the higher the starch content. White King Edward or Coliban potatoes have much higher carb content than waxier varieties like Kipfler or Pink Eye. Sweet potatoes are a different breed entirely and whilst contain roughly the same amount of carbohydrates & fibre, they have more nutritional value and are less allergenic to people with sensitivities.
Having said that, I don’t eat them very often but this colder weather has had me craving carbohydrates (yes, and ice-cream) and I wanted to make a dish that was more “whole”. It is important that you use a baked potato and not a steamed one or boiled one. The roasting process dries the potato out and steaming retains too much water which will upset the batter. I have purposely used brown rice syrup & dates to keep this sugar-free.
I made this pudding in a loaf pan and sliced it hot, served with liberal amounts of sauce. It is sort of custardy and not cake-like so it’s definitely a pudding. I will cook it in individual ramekins next time as I think it will present better.
It will warm you from the inside but not bog you down as it is still quite light in texture. It was a hit with my family, much to their surprise! Feel free to add a slurp of rum to the caramel too for soporific effect!Pudding 220g baked potato – I used sweet potato but any baked potato is fine 200g almond flour 25 g tapioca 120g macadamia oil (or olive oil) 100g brown rice syrup or maple syrup stevia to taste 3 eggs 2 teas baking powder 50g raisins 50g dark rum – or other preferred liqueur 1 tab flaked almonds to garnish (optional) Caramel Sauce 100g dates – fresh is better but dried will work. 60g butter 1 tab nut butter 100g water half a vanilla bean, seeds scraped Soak the raisins in the rum while you prepare the sauce first. Place the dates to the TM and mill on SP 8 for 10 seconds. Add the butter, nut butter, vanilla and water and cook on SP 4 at 60°C for 4 minutes. Blend on SP 8 to ensure its smooth & creamy. If it splits add an ice-cube and blend for a further few seconds. Set aside. Without washing the bowl, add the ingredients for the pudding (including the rum drained from the raisins but not the raisins) and mix on SP 5 until smooth. Stir through the raisins at the end on REVERSE SP 1. Pour into a cake tin and garnish with flaked almonds. Bake for 40 minutes at 170°C – It will be moist when a toothpick is inserted. Individual ramekins should cook in about 20 minutes. Serve hot with the caramel sauce and perhaps whipped cream.
I don’t quite know what possessed me to write about ice-cream on (what was predicted to be) the coldest day of the year, here in sunny Queensland. Brrrr…. it was very hard to get out of bed this morning – even the dog refused to surface!
But I had been thinking about this post, since the publication of my Magnum Paleo Interpreted post. While that particular ice-cream is probably the most popular, most decadent ice-cream ever, I admit it isn’t my favourite! I find the commercial Magnums way too rich and sweet for my liking, even in my pre-Paleo days!
My favourite ice-cream on a stick was always the chocolate Paddlepop or Golden Gaytime. They are a little less sophisticated and much easier to devour. I loved the biscuity mantle on the Gaytime
despite the crumbs often being soft, they would much be better crunchy and the caramel ice-cream inside was a welcome treat.
And then there’s the ad! Do you remember it? It was hilarious then but even more hysterically funny now..click on the image for a reminder.
So, perhaps daydreaming about warm summery days eating ice-cream, on this bloody freezing cold Brisbane winter morning is what inspired me to get this recipe to you, pronto!
My Paleo version uses home-made almond milk in the ice-cream; you could use any nut milk or rice milk if you prefer. I have sweetened the cream with dates which impart a lovely caramel-ly flavour. (Is that a word?) My biscuit coating is very easy and simply dried out in the oven. The crumb makes a yummy topping for yoghurt or stewed fruit. If you want a short cut – use some bought dairy-free dark chocolate to dip, rather than make your own chocolate.Toffee Ice-Cream 350g almond milk 70g fresh dates 1 teas rapadura (optional – I didn’t use it but you may want it more caramel-ly) 50g cacao butter, chopped 3 egg yolks Chop the dates & cacao butter on SP 8 for 10 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients to the TM and cook on SP 4 at 90ºC for 7 minutes. Blend on SP 8 for a few seconds to make sure that it is smooth and glossy. Pour into a bowl and chill for at least 2 hours. Pour into ice-cream moulds and freeze overnight. “Mockolate” Coating 60g coconut sugar (I used 20g coconut sugar, 40g natvia powder) 1 big pinch salt 150g raw cacao butter, chopped 70g coconut oil 30g cacao or cocoa Mill sugar & salt and cacao butter on speed 9 for 10 seconds. Add the coconut oil & cacao and cook on 50°C for 10 minutes on SP 3. Pour into a tall glass which will allow a deep dip of the ice-creams and leave to cool to room temperature. It needs to be thick enough for one dip – a bit like cream consistency. Crunchy Biscuit Crumbs 100g blanched almonds 1 teas white chia seeds 1 tab sunflower seeds 1 tab coconut sugar (I used stevia – about 10 drops of concentrate) pinch salt 1 egg white, lightly beaten – you will only need about 2 teaspoons worth 1 teas macadamia oil Mill nuts & seeds for 10 seconds. Add oil & 2 teas egg white and mix on SP 5 until it just comes together as a crumble. Add a little more egg white if required if it’s too dry. Sprinkle onto a baking tray and bake at 170°C for about 10 minutes. You don’t want it to be too brown. Stir the crumble and break up any big bits, let cool. It will crisp up on cooling. Transfer to a plate for rolling. When ready to assemble, dip each icy-pole into the chocolate and then roll onto the cold crumble mix. You want the crumble to stick before the chocolate sets. Place back in the freezer and leave for at least an hour before indulging. If frozen over night, you may want to move them in the fridge for 20 minutes to “warm” before serving.
What can I say? I seem to be on a bit of a “cheesecake” bent at the moment!
It’s funny how random memories can pop into your head without warning. I used to have a friend who described his brain as a collage of hundred different images at once; no one single thought predominant at a time. I thought this was a good description as it is often how my brain works. It’s rarely still and quiet – something I should work on!
Take for example: I was thinking about a glass-fusing workshop I held in Tambo, a remote Queensland town, a few years ago where I met the most wonderful group of women. In their isolation they had formed a very impressive art group with the most amazing resources and creative interest. Being women of the land, they were used to hard physical work, drought and floods whilst juggling the demands of raising a family in a somewhat far-flung place.
Being born and bred a city-slicker, I was naive about the inaccessibility of basic things that I take for granted, like regular post and fresh vegetables. Special items, like rice flour or goats milk had to be ordered in. I was in awe of the ingenuity of their kitchen prowess where “no name” vanilla cake packet mix could become a star!
So my thought process was thus:
Outback Qld > Ladies > Morning Tea > Cooking > Sour Cream Slice > Paleo? > Buttercake > Cheesecake > cherries. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?!
One of the ladies brought morning tea which was based on a packet vanilla cake mix
ARGGH!!, a tub of sour cream and an apple. The result was something domestic and comforting and believe it or not, was the inspiration for this (healthier) gluten-free, dairy free cake.
**The sauce is entirely optional – I just didn’t want to waste the juice from the cherries – it can dress the cake up a little bit if serving for dessert. I did try a chocolate option but it reminded me too much of a cream cheese brownie slice and I was after more of a “cake”. If you would like to make a chocolate version, substitute 20g of the tapioca flour with cacao and omit the orange rind.“Cheese” Topping 130g blanched almonds or almond meal Juice of a small lemon big pinch salt 120g warm water 40g macadamia oil 50g coconut sugar (I used Natvia) 1 extra large egg vanilla to taste Mill the 60g sugar* and the orange rind (for the cake*) on SP 9 for 10 seconds. Set aside until ready to make the cake. For the topping: If using almonds, mill on SP 8 for 8 seconds, otherwise add the meal, lemon juice, salt, water & oil to the TM and mix on SP 6 for 1 minute. Scrape down halfway if required. Add the sugar, egg & vanilla and mix on SP 6 for 1 minute. Set aside. It should be smooth & thick and will thicken a bit on standing. Without washing the bowl, start the cake mix. Butter Cake 4 eggs rind of 1 orange 60g maple or rice syrup 60g coconut sugar (I used Natvia) stevia to taste (optional) 90g butter (or ghee or macadamia oil) 50g orange juice or nut milk 40g coconut flour 60g tapioca flour 1 1/2 teas baking powder 150g pitted sour cherries, drained, reserve the juice & patted dry Add all of the wet ingredients (except the cherries) to the TM and blend on SP 6 for 15 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and continue to mix for another 10 seconds. Spread into a 22 cm tin – it will be quite thin and bake for 30 minutes. It will only be partially cooked. Check the cherries have no errant pips and carefully sprinkle on the surface of the cake. Dollop the “cheese” on top and gently spread over before returning to the oven to continue baking for another 25 minutes. A skewer will come out moist – don’t worry.
Sauce** 300g reserved cherry juice 30g kirsch (optional) 1 tab tapioca (I prefer cornflour, but it’s not Paleo legal) While it is cooling, make the sauce. Add the ingredients to the TM and cook on SP 3 for 8 minutes on 100°C. Serve hot or cold. Serve the cake warm with the sauce for dessert or cool the cake and serve cold for afternoon tea….. perhaps with some whipped cream! This is the chocolate version!