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Fragrant Walnut & Honey Friands

January 17, 2015

Light and airy, these friands are easy to make!

Light and airy, these friands are easy to make!

Happy New 2015!

It has been a very different start to my new year with a snowy holiday in Japan. I have come back refreshed, revitalised and ready for a busy year filled with exciting new recipes to blog and more cooking classes. And all of my bones intact!

Typically of the new year, I have restocked my fridge with loads of healthy vegetables and fruit and have been madly replenishing my depleted stores of vege crackers, activated nuts & seeds and my favourite paleo bread.

My pre-Christmas cooking involved lots of egg yolks so I find my freezer full of egg whites which I’m thinking I need to find a use for, and what better way but to make some healthy friands for the weekend.

A friand is a small French cake, most often based on almonds, egg whites, butter, and sugar. The French word friand, means dainty or a gourmet who delights in delicate tastes, and friands are usually small and rich due to the high nut content. In keeping with a healthy bent, my recipe is a lot lighter than the traditional friand. I use honey instead of sugar and have omitted the butter completely although you may add a tablespoon of melted butter if you want to add some richness.

One of my favourite flavours is cardamom, which has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance. You only need to use a little, because too much can be overpowering.

I buy both the green pods, black pods and the seeds from the Asian grocer. I use the pods in curries and chai blends and use the seeds, which I mill, in cakes and desserts. It is best to mill the seeds as you use them, because as they are ground, they quickly lose their flavour. The seeds can be bought in packets and look very much like mouse poo!

Apart from Indian and Thai cuisine, cardamom is often used in baking in Sweden, Finland, and the Middle East. I tend to discover the spice for a while, OD on it and then forget about it for a while!

From a medicinal perspective, cardamom is broadly used to treat infections in the mouth and upper respiratory tract. It is also great for digestion and the gall bladder, which might be handy for our post-Christmas reboot!  If you are averse to cardamom, feel free to replace with nutmeg or allspice.

4 egg whites

1/4 teas cream of tartar

1/4 teas cardamom seeds

140g raw almonds

60g walnuts

60g honey

1 tab melted butter (optional)

1 teas vanilla extract

1 1/2 teas baking powder

pinch salt

Warm the clean empty TM bowl on 60°C for 1 minute on SP 3.

Add the egg whites and tartar and insert the butterfly and whip on SP 4 for 2 minutes at 37°C until light & fluffy. Set aside in another wide bowl. Rinse & dry the TM bowl and add the cardamom seeds. Mill on SP 9 for 20 seconds, then add the almonds and grind on SP 9 for 5 seconds. Add the walnuts & salt and grind for a further 5 seconds on SP 8.

Add the honey, vanilla, butter (if using) and baking powder and mix on SP 4 to combine well.

Fold the nut mixture into the egg whites gently and pour into silicone friand or cupcake molds to bake for 15 minutes at 170°C. Serve warm or at room temperature. These also freeze very well.

 

Christmas Prune & Almond Flan

December 23, 2014

This scrummy tart is best served at room temperature.

This scrummy tart is best served at room temperature.

Here is another Christmas dessert alternative after a big festive feast. I adapted it from a previous recipe and served it to visitors last night. It was such a hit that I thought that I had better post it tout suite!

Its previous version is dairy and nut free but this one is almond based. I think that hazelnut meal would work too.

Have a wonderful festive feast – we can all show restraint in January…. or maybe not…!

2 pieces lemon rind
50g rapadura (I used Natvia)
140g coconut cream (or dairy cream)
2 eggs 
80g butter
80g ground almonds
20g coconut flour
2 teas baking powder
180g homemade fruit mince*
6 prunes, split and pitted
 
Mill the sugar and lemon rind on SP 9 for 10 seconds.
Add the eggs, coconut cream and butter and blend on SP 7 for 10 seconds.
Mix in the coconut flour, almond flour and baking powder on SP 5 for 10 seconds and let sit for 2 minutes to thicken. Add the fruit mince and  mix on SP 1 REVERSE. Spread into a greased and lined tart tin and dot with the prunes. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in tin before slicing.
Serve with yoghurt (or cream) and brandy sauce.
 
*Of course, you can always use bought fruit mince too

Tiramisu Cake Version 2

December 21, 2014

A better, quicker version!

A better, quicker version!

There’s always room for improvement.

This is what I’m thinking as I make my tiramisu cake from a previous post. When I developed this recipe, I was particularly interested in keeping it vegan as requested by a reader but it has been playing on my mind that a few non-vegan tweaks might not go astray. Don’t get me wrong – that recipe is a good one, but for non-vegans, this one is better!  In my typical caffeine-sensitive fashion, I have steered away from heavy-duty coffee and used strong dandelion tea, but feel free to use the high-octane stuff if you are so inclined. The former method was also a little complicated and I have simplified it further – it’s worth the effort.

Just like the previous version, the sponge in my tiramisu is based on a pancake batter.  The filling is more or less the same but instead of Irish moss ( a commonly used thickener in raw food cooking) or xanthan gel, I have just used psyllium powder* to thicken – sometimes I can’t see the wood for the trees! This makes a 22cm cake which cuts into many pieces as it is very rich, start by melting the coconut oils before making the pancakes:

170g coconut oil
100g cacao butter
 
Melt on SP 2 @ 50°C for 5 minutes, or until combined. Set aside for the cake.
 
Sponge base
25g coconut flour
30g almond flour
20g tapioca flour
1 rounded teas baking powder
4 eggs
1 tab honey or coconut nectar
15g melted ghee or macadamia oil 
100g nut milk _ I used almond milk
2 teas apple cider vinegar
 
Mix all of the ingredients on SP 6 for 20 seconds until well combined. Let sit for 5 minutes and mix again. Depending on your coconut flour, it should be a thick pourable batter – if it’s a bit thin, add 1/2 teas coconut flour.
In an oiled frying pan, make 4  x 22cm pancakes and set aside.
 
Filling
240g cashews, soaked in water overnight or at least 4 hours
480g homemade nut milk (I used almond)
160g coconut sugar
1 teas apple cider vinegar
1/2 teas salt
1 tab vanilla extract
100g maple syrup or brown rice syrup
4 teas psyllium powder
170g coconut oil & 100g cacao butter melted – see above
60g cacao powder or cocoa
2 tabs nut milk, extra
2 teas instant coffee
 
80g made up espresso coffee, cooled (I used strong dandelion tea)
40g dark chocolate, grated finely or raw cacao powder for dusting
 
Blend the soaked nuts, milk, sugar, vinegar, salt, vanilla, and syrup on SP 9 for 2 minutes. Add the psyllium and the combined oils and mix on SP 7 for 20 seconds. It will be very smooth and glossy.
 
You will have about 1200g of filling. 
 
Pour out 600g filling into a separate bowl and add the cacao & extra milk to the remaining mix in the TM. Mix to combine well for 10 seconds on SP 7.
 
Grease and line a 22cm round cake tin with baking paper.  Place a pancake in the tin and brush with some cooled espresso (or dandelion tea). Pour in half of the chocolate mixture and smooth over. Top with another pancake and brush again with espresso.
 
Without washing the TM bowl, return the remaining mix and add the instant coffee. Mix to combine well for 10 seconds on SP 7. Pour over the second pancake and top with another pancake. Brush with espresso and repeat with the rest of the chocolate mix, finishing with a pancake.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to firm up before dusting with grated chocolate or cacao to decorate. 
 
See? Easy!
 
I’m thinking that this might be nice if I omitted the chocolate and the coffee and sprinkled in some berries instead…….mmmm, more room for improvement!
 
*It MUST be fine psyllium powder not husks.
 
 
 
 

Christmas Truffles

December 14, 2014

rumball

These are probably the naughtiest rum balls on my blog! There are varying degrees of rum ball recipes from the healthy, to healthier and healthiest, and despite their being no granulated sugar or dates, this recipe breaks the mould.  It’s a bit naughty! So go enjoy!!

170g almonds, toasted

40g coconut oil

10g cacao

90g coconut nectar or brown rice syrup

1/4 teas vanilla powder

100g 70% dairy free dark chocolate

30g coconut cream or yoghurt

20g rum or other liqueur

stevia to taste (optional)

1 tab lacuma or maca powder (optional)

a handful of walnuts, preferably toasted

2 tabs dried cherries (or dried cranberries)

2 tabs cacao, for rolling

Mill the almonds on SP 9 for 20 seconds or until almost butter, scraping down if necessary. Add the chocolate and continue on SP 9 for about 20 seconds. The chocolate will melt with the warmth of the nuts. If its really cold where you are, assist the melting on 37°C for a minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the walnuts and blend on SP 4 until the mix just comes together. Don’t worry if it separates a little. Throw in the walnuts and combine on REVERSE so that they remain chunky. Pour into a bowl and set in the fridge for at least 2 hours. When firm, roll teaspoonfuls in the cacao to coat. The mix will be very soft and you won’t get round smooth balls, so leave them a bit knobbly and knarly! Refrigerate to firm up.

 

A Festive $hit Hot Brandy Sauce

December 13, 2014

brandy

Easy?              Yes

Yummy?         Yes

Boozy?            Very

Lactose free? Of Course!

Here is my secret recipe for my $hithot brandy sauce that I give as my Christmas present to you, my lovely readers. Thank you for an absolutely amazing year – it has been so much fun!

I wish you and your families a very happy, safe and relaxing festive season (you notice that I add in relaxing there, as Christmas seldom is).

I will be experiencing my first-ever white Christmas on the ski slopes of Hokkaido. (Actually, my first-ever white anything as I have never been to the snow before!) I look forward to sharing with you lots of amazing Japanese culinary delights via facebook and will be looking for inspiration for next year!

There really is not much to say about this recipe except that it has been a family favourite for years. Just as the three wise men, I have delivered 3 gifts: A lactose free version; a dairy version; and a completely dairy-free version too! Warning: there is no alcohol version….

Lactose free version – My Favourite

250g ghee

100g rapadura (I use Natvia/rapadura mix, 70:30)

3 egg yolks

1 whole egg

100g port

120g brandy

125g almond milk

1/4 teas vanilla powder (or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean)

1 teas cornflour (optional)

Add all of the ingredients in the TM  and cook for 10 minutes on 90°C at SP 4. Serve warm or cold on Christmas Pudding or ice-cream!

Dairy Version 

125g butter

120g rapadura

3 egg yolks

1 whole egg

100g port

120g brandy

300g cream

1/4 teas vanilla powder (or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean)

1 teas cornflour (optional)

Add all of the ingredients in the TM  and cook for 10 minutes on 90°C at SP 4. Serve warm or cold on Christmas Pudding or ice-cream!

 

Dairy free version – Coconut

125g coconut oil

120g rapadura

3 egg yolks

1 whole egg

100g port

120g brandy

250g coconut cream

1/4 teas vanilla powder (or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean)

1 teas cornflour (optional)

Add all of the ingredients in the TM  and cook for 10 minutes on 90°C at SP 4. Serve warm or cold on Christmas Pudding or ice-cream!

Hazelnut Cream Slice with Mesquite

December 7, 2014

A nice change from caramel slice

A nice change from caramel slice

On a recent trip to the Eagle Farm markets, I met the lovely Yasmin from Yorganics Health Food Store who sells a fabulous selection of pesticide free products from Australia including nuts, seeds, cacao and healthy pantry staples.

She also makes some very yummy raw food treats including a cracker & granola range which are a labour of love for her.

Yasmin educated me about mesquite powder which is a new ingredient for me. Mesquite is an extremely hardy, drought-tolerant (legume) plant. It is native to South America and the southern US states. Mesquite powder is a traditional Native American food that is made by grinding ripened seed pods of the mesquite tree into a fine powder or meal.

Mesquite powder is full of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc and is also rich in the amino acid lysine, which is helpful if you are a cold-sore sufferer. It has traditionally been used as a flour or low GI sweetener and can be blended into smoothies, used in baking or sprinkled onto your cereal. It has a nutty flavour with a strong hint of caramel. It is sweet, but not sweet enough to use as a sweetener on its own, I used it to enhance a hazelnut slice without turning my recipe into a caramel slice. I think it worked well.

mesquite

Base
100g blanched almonds or macadamias
70g coconut
1 tab mesquite powder
1 teas cacao powder
1 tab psyllium husks
1 tab chia seeds
40g dates or dried figs
1 teas coconut oil
pinch salt
 
Add all of the ingredients to the TM and grind on SP 8 for 5 – 10 seconds. It will become floury then come together as wet crumbs that press together in a ball when pressed. Add a tablespoon water if it’s too dry.
Press this mix into a square tin and put in the freezer while you make the filling.
 
Filling
120g hazelnuts (toasted and skinned)
100g cacao butter
60g coconut sugar (I used Natvia)
30g dates
1 teas mesquite powder
120g coconut cream
40g butter
1/2 teas gelatine
1 teas vanilla extract
 
Grind the cacao butter, sugar, dates and nuts in the TM for 5 seconds, SP 8. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on SP 4 at 70°C for 5 minutes. Blend on SP 8 for 20 seconds to ensure it is smooth and pour over the base. Refrigerate until firm – about 2 hours. 
 
Chocolate Topping
80g chocolate of your choice
20g coconut oil
 
Melt the chocolate and oil together on SP 3 at 50°C for 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour over chilled slice and leave to set. Cut with a warm knife to prevent the chocolate from cracking.
 
 

Bananarama cake

December 4, 2014

Chocfull of banana's!

Choc-full of banana’s is this cake!

A funny thing happened at the grocer yesterday.

Bananas are a real treat for me as I don’t eat them very often and I was hankering for a nice ripe banana to eat.  I was craving a perfect sliced banana on toast and was at the local vege shop looking for a ripe, not too hard, banana to buy. Just one. For me. My husband always buys them very green and likes them with a green tinge, which is great for his gut but not for mine!

When cooking banana cake, I often ask the greengrocer if there are any manky bananas ‘out the back’ for cooking. You know, the ones that are not saleable anymore, and am delighted when I am given a few destined for the bin. The blacker, ‘mankier’, squishier bananas make the best cake. They have a higher sugar content and lower starch content.

But today I was looking for a banana to eat, rather than cook with and the ‘A grade’ bananas were a bit too green for me. They did have some ‘C grade’ bananas being sold by the 2 kilo bucket but I only wanted a single one.

So I grabbed one of these said bananas and headed to the checkout before where,  I was accosted by a staff member.

“You can’t just buy a single banana out of the buckets for the discounted price” he explained.

“That’s OK, I’m happy to pay the ‘A grade’ price for this banana” I replied.

“Are you crazy?” he said. “That one banana at the full price will cost the same as a whole kilo of the cheap ones”

To which I replied “I’m happy with that, I don’t eat bananas very often, and would prefer to pay more for a banana that I can enjoy today, rather than buy 2 kilos of bananas that I am unlikely to use”. And I didn’t want to freeze them as I don’t need any reason to make banana cake at the moment.

And the man stood there. And blocked my way. And just wouldn’t allow me to buy a single banana at top dollar and have me ‘waste” my money. In my mind, I wasn’t wasting my money at all, I just did not want to be sucked into the consumerism of buying something that I didn’t need just because it was on special! Goodness, my husband would have been so proud of me!

So out I walked with 2 FRIGGIN’ kilos of ripe ambrosial bananas under my arm for a dollar. As if I needed any excuse to make another banana cake!! That’s the end of my story.

Should you find yourself with a glut of ripe bananas that your husband & kids won’t eat, make this cake. It uses 500g ripe bananas and not much else! It has no added sugar, refined or otherwise and the stevia is purely optional – I don’t use it. You can make it with either coconut flour or buckwheat/almonds. Both work perfectly well but I prefer the buckwheat/almond version better.

500g banana flesh
120g raw almonds
50g buckwheat
3 eggs
140g nut butter
100g butter or coconut oil
2 teas baking powder
1/2 teas salt
stevia (optional)
 
Grind the buckwheat on SP 9 for 10 seconds. Add the almonds and mill a further 10 seconds until fine. Add the baking powder, cinnamon and salt and give the mix a whiz to combine.
 
Add the bananas, eggs, nut butter, butter and blend on SP 6 until smooth. Pour into a loaf tin and bake at 170°C for approximately 35 minutes. Cool before slicing and serve with lashings of butter!
 
Alternative Coconut flour version:
500g banana flesh
70g coconut flour
4 eggs
140g nut butter
100g butter or coconut oil
2 teas baking powder
1/2 teas salt
stevia (optional)
 
Method is as above but  no grinding required!
 
 
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