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Corned Beef Hash with Easy Mustard Aoili

July 26, 2015

Serve with a fried egg and steamed greens

Serve with a fried egg and steamed greens

Recently we had a wonderful holiday in Auckland, New Zealand, where we slept in every day and languished in our warm hotel room while it was cold and wet and windy outside.

We only ventured out when our stomachs got the better of us, and searched for a hearty warming breakfast to keep us going until dinner. Our holidays seem to consist of seeking one meal to the next, in between relaxing and digesting – do yours?

The food in Auckland is vibrant, fresh and exciting, we found some wonderful café’s and restaurants. I did notice, however, a recurring theme on breakfast menus, and that was (potato) hash.

Where we see a lot of roesti and perhaps, potato tortilla’s on local menus, potato hash is not so common.

I think I saw it on every single breakfast menu where we dined. And you know what? – I never tried it –  there were always other things on the menu that distracted me more!

Hash is a dish consisting of chopped cooked potatoes mixed together and shallow fried as a patty. The name is derived from the French verb ‘hacher’  – to chop. I knew it as ‘bubble & squeak'; a mash-up of leftovers which might include roast meat and other vegetables. A similar rendition is colcannon. It is often mixed with corned beef
where it was popular in Britain during and after World War II as rationing limited the availability of fresh meat.

Unlike roesti, which uses raw grated potato, the potatoes are pre-cooked, which when reheated, are a fabulous source of resistant starch.

If you are doing a roast dinner, cook extra vegetables for this hash because it makes an easy extra meal for the next day. We don’t eat a lot of potatoes so when roasting, I always use plenty of sweet potatoes, cauliflower, yams, pumpkin, swedes and parsnips. They make the hash much more flavoursome and nutritious than regular white potatoes. I don’t add any egg or flour, roasted starchy vegetables will hold together without any binders. My kids love this with some cheese added, but I don’t usually add it as a rule.

I have used corned beef, which I do myself, but you could equally use some bought corned beef from the deli (Or leftover roast meat). Ask for a thick slab, rather than slices, it produces a better texture. This recipe makes 4 patties which we found 1 per serve plenty, especially if serving with an egg and green vegetables. This is true comfort food on a wintery day!

Not pretty, but yummy!

Not pretty, but yummy – and nutritious!

200g corned beef, cut in chunks

½ small onion

50g water

500g roasted starchy vegetables (I used a combination of sweet potatoes, pumpkin and parsnip)

2 tabs chopped parsley

30g tasty cheese (optional)

salt & pepper to taste

½ cup mayonnaise (preferably home-made)

2 teas seeded mustard

Finely chop the onion on SP 5 for 5 seconds. Add the corned beef and water and cook for 5 minutes on SP 1 REVERSE at 100°C (MC off)

Pour off the water and shred the beef on SP 4 REVERSE. The time will vary depending on the cut of the meat and how well it was corned. If you use pre-purchased beef, it will be firmer and you may need to chop it instead. You are after a “pulled” texture, not a minced texture.

Add the vegetables, parsley, cheese (if using), salt & pepper and mix on SP 4 REVERSE to combine. Do not over process, it needs to be roughly mashed. Form into 4 patties and fry in plenty of ghee or tallow! Serve with a fried egg and mustard aioli.

To make the mustard aioli, mix together the seeded mustard and mayonnaise!

 

 

 

 

 

Paleo Apricot Fruit Loaf

July 22, 2015

One can never slather enough butter!

One can never slather enough butter!

This is an oldie but a goodie! There is nothing more comforting on a cold wintery day than being rugged up inside, in front of the TV with a cup of tea and hot buttery toast! Although this is more of a cake than a bread..

I have adapted this recipe from a previous post from my pre Paleo days to become gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free and optionally; dairy-free, nut free, egg-free and vegan!! Wow, that’s a mouthful of free!!

It combines the goodness of apricots & prunes, both high in iron and fibre and is a perfect after-school snack when it’s toasted. (I have a thing for toasted fruit bread, although this recipe is more a ‘cake’ than a bread!)  It’s also yummy for breakfast, although a bit sweet for me at this time of day.

Serve it fresh out of the oven with copious amounts of butter (or nut butter) or slice it when cold and freeze it in portions to defrost for the toaster.

apricotloaf2120g dried apricots, chopped

50g pitted prunes

50g pitted dates, chopped

200g boiling water

100g buckwheat

20g linseeds

80g tapioca flour

2 teas baking powder

2 teas cinnamon

90g olive oil

2 eggs – (or 2 chia eggs*)

50g honey – or maple, if vegan

30g walnuts, chopped – optional

 

Soak the dried fruit in the water for at least 20 minutes. Set aside.

Mill the buckwheat and seeds on SP 10 for 30 seconds. Add the tapioca flour, baking powder and cinnamon and pulse to mix. Add the eggs, oil, honey and soaking liquid from the fruit and mix on SP 5 for 10 seconds.

Add the soaked fruit and walnuts, if using and mix briefly on REVERSE to stir through. Pour into a lined loaf tin and bake at 165°C oven for about 45 minutes, until done. If you are planning on toasting this, I like to cook for a little longer so that the toast is crunchy and dried out. Otherwise, cooking it a little less will give a nice moist loaf to serve fresh.

Slather it liberally with butter and your tummy will smile!

* 2 chia eggs = 5 tabs water with 2 tabs chia seeds, soaked for 20 minutes to become a gel.

Galbi Jjim – Korean Beef Stew with Kelp Noodles

July 17, 2015

koreanbeef

My foray into Korean cuisine has only been recent. Having had an enormous passion for all things Japanese, I was interested to learn that most Japanese people have a fondness for anything Korean! Ask any Japanese local where they would prefer to holiday or eat, they will say Korea!

So it was in a Korean restaurant where I discovered ‘Galbi Jjim‘, a provincial stew, which has many variants across Asia. This long slow braise with a combination of salty and sweet, is found in similar forms across Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and China. All designed to use cheaper cuts of meat, these braises are often seen at street vendor stalls, who have been boiling ‘bits’ for days making flavoursome magic.

My Korean stew was served with dangmyeon: Korean glass noodles made from sweet potato starch that look transparent and glassy when cooked. In their dried form, they look grey and spindly. They are different from the Chinese glass noodles which are based on mung bean and much finer. Dangmyeon must be cooked first and their texture is chewier and more elastic than other kinds of noodles, which reminded me of shiratake or kelp noodles. Hmm, I have kelp noodles, I think I will give this dish a go.

Kelp noodles are a raw noodle made from edible seaweed. Widely used in Japan, Kelp noodles are becoming more popular in health circles because of their low carb content and raw food following. Whilst they can be eaten raw, I prefer them boiled in a broth where they maintain some crunchiness but become much more tender and comfortingly slippery. Find out more here.

Being gluten-free and nearly carb free, they are high in iodine and include many other minerals including magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium and calcium. You can find them at the health food shop.

I have also used beef short ribs in this recipe. Both beef or pork ribs work well. Ask the butcher to cut them down the middle for bite size pieces. The meat on the bone has so much flavour and you will extract many more nutrients from the bones. By the time my stew finished cooking, all of the bones had come away, leaving the meat behind.

Depending on your ribs, there may be a lot of fat that comes out of them. If this is the case, when the dish is finished, pour off the sauce into a jar and leave over night in the fridge. You can then take the fat off easily and return the sauce to the ribs to reheat.

I have used my slow cooker for this is a really easy dish. I’m sure it would work in a pressure cooker too, but I don’t have one – experiment with your own! I put it on in the morning and we had it for dinner. Whilst it has kelp noodles, I also served it with some cauliflower rice for some extra vegetables.

1.5kg beef short ribs

100g mirin

1 onion

1 green pear

1/2 teas peppercorns

4 cloves garlic

1 knob ginger

150g tamari or soy sauce

80g rapadura sugar (I used Natvia)

500g water

1 turnip, peeled and quartered

1 swede, peeled and quartered

1 carrot, chopped into 4 big chunks

450g kelp noodles, rinsed & drained*

Spring onions, sliced to garnish

Start by placing the ribs into a big pot and covering with water. Let soak for 30 minutes to draw out the excess blood.

Drain and cover again with water and bring to the boil. As soon as it boils, drain and place the ribs into your slow cooker bowl.

In the TM bowl, mince the onion, pear, peppercorns, garlic and ginger on SP 8 for 5 seconds. Add the mirin, tamari and sugar and blend on SP 6 for 10 seconds. Pour over the ribs.

Add 500g of water to the TM and swish around to rinse the bowl and pour over the ribs and sauce.

Cook on LOW for 5 – 6 hours. Add the vegetables & noodles and cook for another hour, or until the vegetables are tender but not disintegrating. Garnish with sliced spring onions and serve.

* You could use shiratake or glass noodles if you prefer.

 

 

On A Sausage Roll… Gluten-Free AND Dairy-Free!

July 12, 2015

Serve with a nice tomato relish

Serve with a nice tomato relish

When I was at high school, I was never very keen on a tuck-shop sausage roll, favouring the good old Cornish pasty instead. There was never a nice way to eat them as they slid all around inside the paper bag, made soggy with tomato sauce. Unlike the ubiquitous ‘Four and Twenty’ pie, or aforementioned pasty, sausage rolls were impervious to stabs with the tomato sauce bottle to flood the insides!

So years later, whilst teaching at a local boys school, it came as quite a shock when I was observing students queuing at the tuck-shop, to see them encasing their sausage rolls inside a BREAD roll and eating a sausage roll sandwich!! WOAH! these boys put everything inside a bread roll, squashed up pies, pasties, the lot! But to be fair, it kept the tomato sauce at bay.

I don’t know why I found this concept so shocking – it seemed so uncouth and disrespectful to the sausage roll! Welcome to the world of a teenage boy! No matter that these sausage rolls were really rubbish anyway, it didn’t seem just! One could never really discern what was actually in these sausage rolls, at least with a pasty, you can see the carrot and the potato and the meat.

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A bought sausage roll.

A closer inspection of a sausage roll label revealed: Wheat Flour, Water, Meat (17%) [Halal Beef and/or Halal Mutton], Margarine [Vegetable fats and oils, water, salt, emulsifiers (471, 322 – soy), acidity regulator (331), antioxidants (306 from Soy), flavours, colour (160a)], Salt, Soy Flour, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Onion, Sugar, Yeast, Vegetable Oil, Flavours, Milk Solids, Maltodextrin, Mineral Salts (339, 451, 450, 500), Flavour Enhancer (635), Anti-caking Agent (551), Emulsifier (471), Preservative (223), Spice Extracts, Stabiliser (415), Colours (160a, 160b).

Only 17% meat! Why am I not shocked?! Blech!

I used to regularly make sausage rolls for my kids. I would fill them with carrot and celery and apple and a mix of minced beef and pork sausage mince. I would wrap them in Pampas butter puff pastry and cook them until they were really crunchy. They were always a hit. I’m not even going to attempt a gluten-free puff pastry this time, but I did want to experiment with a chickpea (besan) dairy-free pastry I had been working on. It is a cooked pastry, similar to a choux but with besan flour instead.

Besan flour, also known as  gram flour, garbanzo bean flour, or chickpea flour, is made from dried chickpeas. It is a staple ingredient in Indian and Bangladeshi cuisines and can be made from either raw dried chickpeas or roasted chickpeas. When mixed with an equal proportion of water, it can be used as an egg replacer in vegan cooking, although I have never tried this.

Chickpea flour contains a high proportion of protein than other flours with no gluten. I have found that using besan flour on its own can dry out quickly, so I have used some potato flour in this recipe too. You could use tapioca flour if you prefer, but I had potato flour on hand.

Potato flour is quite different to potato starch in that the flour is produced from raw dried potatoes where the starch has been extracted from cooked potatoes. They do have different qualities but both can be used as flour ‘softeners’ just as tapioca can be. I have also used xanthan gum for pliability: I haven’t tried this with psyllium or guar – let me know if you do!

And to keep this pastry dairy-free, I have used olive oil. Cooking the olive oil with the water, thereby emulsifying it, makes the dough much easier to handle. It’s not a typical dough though, but it is very workable. I think it will make a good pie crust too.

I have fancied up the ingredients a little by adding some pinenuts and omitting the sausage mince. Be sure to use a fatty mince pork though otherwise your sausage rolls might be a little dry. And replacing the parsley with rosemary makes a nice change too, or use a combination of both –  the addition of herbs really make a difference.

sausageroll2

I actually forgot carrot in this batch but I always use them usually.

400g water

100g olive oil

1 teas salt

220g besan flour

50g potato flour (not potato starch)

1 teas xanthan gum

2 eggs, beaten

1 onion

1 stick celery

rind of 1 lemon (or orange)

1 small carrot

2 cloves garlic

1 small apple

20g olive oil

30g currants

500g minced pork – not too lean

2 egg whites, reserve the yolks for basting

3 tabs pinenuts, toasted (optional, or use sunflower seeds)

1/2 teas salt

black pepper to taste

1/2 teas allspice powder

4 tabs finely chopped parsley or rosemary

sesame seeds to garnish (optional)

First make the pastry:

Bring the water and oil and salt to a rolling boil at 100ºC on SP 2 for 7 minutes.

Mix the flours and xanthan gum together in a bowl while you wait. Set the TM for another minute at 100°C and add the flours to cook on SP 3. The mix will come together in a ball and cook further to produce a smooth elastic mass.

Set aside to cool for at least 1 hour in the fridge.

Give the mix a whiz on SP 4 and gradually add the eggs, one bit at a time. Beat for 1 minute on SP 4 when incorporated. You will have a smooth but not very malleable sticky dough. Remove the dough and refrigerate, covered in plastic for at least an hour while you make the filling.

In a clean TM bowl, add the onion, celery, lemon rind, carrot, garlic & apple and finely chop on SP 5 for 5 seconds.

Scrape down the bowl and add the oil to sauté on VAROMA temp, SP 1 for 3 minutes.

Add the pork, egg whites, currants, pinenuts and seasonings and mix well on SP 2 REVERSE.

Mix the 2 leftover egg yolks with 50g water.

Roll out the pastry to 4mm thick and place the filling down the middle. Using some egg wash to seal, cut lengths and place, seamside down on a tray. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds if using.

Bake in a 190°C oven for  25 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve with a good home-made tomato sauce or barbeque sauce.

 

 

 

Marvellous Mandarin Marmalade..

July 9, 2015

Marmalade

It’s been a very long time since my jam making days. In my twenties, I used to make and bottle my own preserves and sell them in a local restaurant for a bit of extra pocket-money. Lemon butter was my biggest seller, and then second: marmalade.

Since I edited sugar out of my diet, marmalade has been but a fond memory! And if I wasn’t indulging in a slice warm fruit toast and a cup of tea, marmalade on buttered toast would be an equal comfort.

Oh, to hell with it! Winter citrus is sooooo cheap at the moment and I need to keep up my skills – so a pot of marmalade it is!

Marmalade originated as a quince preserve in Greece where boiled fruit was transformed into “marmelo” (Portuguese) with the addition of honey.  Apicius gives a recipe for preserving whole quinces & lemons, stems and leaves attached, in a bath of honey – which was a Roman marmalade. Citrus fruit replaced quinces by the late 1600’s which produced a firm, thick dark paste.

We can thank the Scots for our modern marmalade as we know it now. They used more water to produce a less solid preserve and by the 1800’s had a better understanding of pectin and it’s setting properties. Traditionally it was only eaten in the evening with cold meats but the Scots moved marmalade to the breakfast table in the 19th century.

Who knew that this was an ancient food? Such a shame it falls short of paleo, by a few hundred thousand years!!!!

Despite having a had a keen history of making jam, this is the first time that I have made it in my slow cooker. Who would have thought? Back then I didn’t have a slow cooker and I am telling you that it is much MUCH easier!! No constant stirring or skimming. No marbles knocking away at the bottom (remember that?!) Just slice everything up and bung it in. You do need some patience though! It will take at least 6 hours and a watchful eye at the end, although the risk of burning is much less.

marmalade2

I have used mandarins in this recipe as they are lovely and fragrant and I found them for 99c a kilogram recently.

They have less pectin than oranges or lemons so I have added some extra. You can find pectin in the health food shop as citrus pectin or in the supermarket as jam setter. Jam setter is mixed with sugar and anti-caking agent, so I prefer to use the pure stuff.

Incidentally, about pectin:

Jams and preserves use naturally occurring pectin as a setting agent. The pectin content varies in different fruits but berries, peaches and apricots, and most citrus fruits already contain quite a lot of it.

Your intestines can’t absorb pectin in its natural form. This makes it an effective source of fibre. Citrus pectin powder has been processed to make it more easily absorbed.  If you Google it, there are a variety of health claims for pectin. Blood detoxification, cellular health, and ridding your body of heavy metals are some but are not substantiated by science.  Pectin acts as an effective source of dietary fibre and so can aid lowering cholesterol as well as keeping you ‘regular’. Some people have it as a useful supplement in their diet.

Anyway, back to the marmalade…. I like to slice my peel up into neat julienne – I’m a bit OCD in this regard but if you can’t be bothered you could give your whole fruit a pulse in the TM a few times.  I have also seen recipes that involve gathering the pips and pith and tying them up in a muslin cloth to extract the pectin. I may be OCD but not THAT much!! I don’t bother! If you use Imperial mandarins, they have very few seeds and a thinner skin – see here about other mandarin varieties.

My dad loves a nice marmalade, spread very thickly on toast – it’s his birthday today – Happy birthday Dad!

Oh, and another thing: marmalade can vary from being very firm to completely runny. I tend to like mine in between. Cooking it further will make it thicker but will compromise the flavour and colour. Mandarins have less pectin which make them harder to gel. And their fragrance can be lost if over-cooked. You need to find a happy medium that suits you. Do weigh your fruit as the fruit:sugar ratio is important.

marmalade3

1.5kg Imperial mandarins (about 16 small)

1kg sugar (light coconut sugar is better but will give a much darker colour)

2 lemons, juiced

600g water

40g citrus pectin*

Peel the mandarins and julienne (or chop) HALF of the skins finely. Place in the bottom of your slow cooker. Roughly dice the flesh and place on top.  Add the water and the lemon juice and cook on HIGH for 3 hours. Do not stir, you want the rind to be submersed and the flesh to steam.

Mix the pectin with the sugar and add to the slow cooker. Stir to dissolve and cook for a further 3½ hours on HIGH with the lid slightly tipped to allow for some evaporation.

Test for gelling and cook for another 30 minutes if too runny. Different fruit will gel at different rates, so you may have to test every 30 or 15 minutes after 3 hours.

To test: place a saucer in the freezer for about 15 minutes. When testing your jam, stir the jam and place a few drops on the cold saucer and leave for 10 minutes. Stick your finger in it and see if a skin has formed or it ‘gels’. If it doesn’t, and has the consistency of syrup, it isn’t ready yet.

*If you don’t want to use pectin, you will end up with a beautiful flavoured, but very runny jam. Which goes great on ice-cream!

Get your HOT Cinnamon DONUTS!!

July 4, 2015

Bag a doughnut today!

Bag a doughnut today!

I really want to say doughnut rather than donut as this sinful treat really did start as a ball of dough. In fact, the spelling ‘donut’ was invented in New York, when the Display Doughnut Machine Corporation (yes, there was such a company!) abbreviated the word to make it more pronounceable by the foreigners they hoped would buy their automated doughnut making equipment. So ‘dumbing down’ isn’t just a modern thing; it occurred in the 1920’s too.

But despite how it’s spelt, everyone loves a good doughnut; especially a freshly made, hot cinnamon doughnut; or a yeasty jam filled Berliner.

Doughnuts have a long history. One theory suggests they were invented in North America by Dutch settlers, and were referred to as a kind of oliekoek “oil cake”. The ring shape is said to have evolved in 1847, after American, Hanson Gregory, was dissatisfied with the frequency of finding a raw centre of regular doughnuts. He claimed to have punched a hole in the center of dough with a tin pepper-box, and later taught the technique to his mother.

As a kid, I remember a shop at a local shopping centre where there was an automated doughnut machine in the window. You could stand outside and pass the time watching the endless production line of doughnuts. They would extrude into the fryer, get flipped, leave the fryer, travel up and down conveyers, (chitty chitty bang bang style), be dusted with cinnamon sugar and be collected by the shop lady, who never had a smile on her face. HOW could that be?? Perhaps she was sick of cleaning little-people-finger-marks and saliva from the glass window!

We didn’t go to this shopping centre* very often, and believe me it was ALWAYS the highlight of the trip. Hot jam doughnuts are a unique aspect of Australian culture, especially in Melbourne and the Queen Victoria Market, where they remain a tradition today. Jam doughnuts are similar to a Berliner, but are served hot with red jam (raspberry or strawberry) injected into the bun after it is deep-fried and then frosted in granulated sugar.  In South Australia, they are known as Berliner or Kitchener buns.

In my twenties, it was common to see mobile vans making doughnuts, traditional or jam, parked on the side of the road, with a queue of excited people snaking from it. A good van would cause traffic chaos, perhaps why that’s why we don’t see them anymore!

I nice 'cakey' texture without being too heavy or doughy.

                           A nice ‘cakey’ texture without being too heavy or doughy.

Fried pieces of dough are a global fascination. Tell me a culture that doesn’t have its own variation. From Indian jalebi to Malaysian Kuih keria, from South African koeksister, to the German Berliner. And of course there is the French beignet, the Greek loukoumas and Spanish churros. Another favourite is the Italian variant is the custard-filled doughnut called bomboloni.

Some might disagree, but I think that true doughnuts have been bastardised by popular chain shops, cashing in on fashion & prestige. Not mentioning any names; Donut King, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme, they are the McDonalds of doughnuts.  But there is a resurgence of artisan shops peeping its doughnut head, but few who do gluten-free!

There has been lots of doughnut recipe development in this household, and none quite so demanding as the humble doughnut. Getting a gluten-free rendition was not so difficult as was working out a vegan counterpart (Eggs do lighten the texture – especially when working with gluten-free flours). The flour will influence the outcome greatly. I mucked around with various combinations of flour and starch and in the end, could not improve on the result that I got from a purchased one – Orgran. So after having tested this recipe at least a hundred thousand times, I never want to see a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegan doughnut again. ….. Or for at least a week!!

donut3

If you are averse to deep-frying, stop reading now. There is no comparison to a baked doughnut and a fried one. None. Nada. Zilch. A baked doughnut would require a whole different recipe with more fat, more protein and more sugar. I shallow fried mine in a mix of coconut and light olive oil that was about 2 cm deep. I piped the mix directly into the pan, which is a bit tricky but provided you don’t have the oil too hot, not too difficult.

Milk does make a difference too. Dairy milk and home-made nut milk produced near identical results. Win!

I have added a little besan flour to the mix for both protein and colour. Depending on your flour, the doughnuts can end up being a little ‘ricey’ without it. You can try buckwheat or sorghum but I think that besan works the best. Also, refrain from eating them too hot – this can impact on the texture too – and also burn your tongue!! The addition of potato starch will make the doughnuts more tender but if you don’t have it, just use some more gluten-free flour.

Now GO FOR IT!

PS. Resting the mix does improve on the texture too, so don’t skip this step.

150g almond milk (or any homemade nut milk)

10g olive oil

pinch each of cinnamon & salt

10g sugar or a few drops of stevia

100g gluten-free flour (I used this one)

20g besan flour

10g potato starch

1 teas baking powder

½ teas apple cider vinegar

Oil to fry – (light olive oil, coconut oil, peanut oil or a mix)

Dusting powder

70g caster sugar

70g Natvia* (optional, use 140g sugar if preferred)

1 teas cinnamon

dough batterMix all of the ingredients well and let stand for at least 30 minutes.

The mix should be quite thick and firm and be able to hold itself up. Add a little extra milk if it is too thick. Gently spoon it into a zip lock bag and snip a 1.5cm corner off for piping. Try not to squash the air out of it.

I have used minimal sugar in the mix as the coating of sugar is plenty. I prefer to use stevia here. This also ensures that they don’t brown too quickly either, resulting in a raw middle.

In a shallow bowl, mix the sugars together and set aside.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan to medium heat and pipe a ring of batter into the middle. Keep a maximum of three in the pan. It doesn’t matter if they are wonky.  Fry until lightly golden – the oil will be the correct temperature if they take about 45 seconds per side to cook. (My thermometer broke so I couldn’t measure the temperature.) Drain on paper towel and dredge in cinnamon sugar.

Let rest for a few minutes before serving. Must be eaten on the day – they are not so appealing cold…

*Chadstone Shopping centre, Victoria, pre-renovation in the early 70’s.

Parsnip Pudding

July 2, 2015

parsnippudding

Earth’s long ivory tooth in a buried smile which becomes winter’s snarl tugging at the hem of my skirt as I walk by….. Kate Llewellyn

I love parsnips! I think its their sweetness and distinctive aroma which appeals to me, although completely polarising. Lots of people hate them for this very reason. They can be described as oddly sweet and nutty.

The parsnip is closely related to the carrot and parsley. Its long tuberous root has cream-coloured skin and flesh and when left in the ground after winter frosts, becomes sweeter in flavour. They can be eaten raw or cooked.

The parsnip has been used as a vegetable since antiquity and was cultivated by the Romans, although doesn’t feature prominently in Italian cooking. Parsnips were easy to grow and provided a good source of starch during the lean winter months. They were also valued for their sugar content and were used as a sweetener before the arrival of cane sugar in Europe. In fact, sweet parsnip dishes like jam and desserts became part of traditional English cookery, and they are still used for making beer and wine.

 

Parsnips are high in vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. They contain anti-oxidants such as falcarinol, falcarindiol, panaxydiol and methyl-falcarindiol which have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties  and have plenty of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. Handling the stems and foliage can cause a skin rash in some people.

Many years ago, we had a gorgeous French student staying with us (who, incidentally was studying food science), and she was horrified when she heard that we ate them – “Parzneep??, we feed zem to ze pigs!!” she exclaimed!

I love to roast them or spiralise them to make noodles. Often I will use them instead of zucchini when I make zucchini slice. I just realised that I haven’t posted a recipe for zucchini slice – here’s a good recipe from my friend Alisha, the Naughty Naturopath.

If you haven’t tried parsnips for a while, try them again. I find that a lot of people who were adverse to parsnips in the past actually like them now! A bit like the Brussel sprout complex – we all hated them as kids because our mums cooked the life out of them..and because what we like to eat changes over time due to olfactory and taste sensitivity changes.

This is an easy recipe which is not quite a slice and not quite a soufflé. A sort of hybrid pudding! It is fragrant and light and makes a fantastic entrée or lunch dish. I have made it dairy-free but substitute with milk and cheese if you can tolerate them. I like to serve it with a simple tomato salad. You can serve it as an accompaniment to a roast too – the oven is on anyway..

400g  parsnips, peeled & chopped

200g nut milk – I used homemade almond milk

50g ghee or olive oil (or butter)

40g rice flour

1 teas salt

pinch nutmeg

pepper to taste

3 eggs, separated

1 tab nutritional yeast (or 30g pecorino)

Steam the parsnip in the TM steamer basket over 300g water for 10 minutes VAROMA temp, SP 3. Dispose the water and roughly purée the cooked parsnip for 10 seconds on SP 3. Set aside.

Add the nut milk, ghee, rice flour, nutmeg & salt to the TM bowl and cook on SP 3 for 7 minutes at 90°C. It will become nice and thick. Add the nutritional yeast (or cheese), parsnip, egg yolks and a dash of pepper and mix on SP 4 for 8 – 10 seconds.

In a separate bowl or stand mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff and fold through the parsnip mixture. Bake in a greased oven dish at 170°C for about 30 minutes. It will puff a bit but not like a soufflé and become brown on top.

Try them again!!

 

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