Sunday, 13 April 2014

Something On The Side

Dijonnaise

These delightful sides should be just that- always by your side. I have a jar of each in my fridge at all times, and am constantly surprising myself with how well the deep aromatic spices of the sweet chilli, and creamy fresh taste of the dijonnaise harmonise with anything and everything. 

Each of these beautiful sauces are ridiculously easy to whip up for last minute pop-ins and impromptu barbecues, or simply a fine accompaniment to ones morning eggs. For a Sweet Chili that packs an extra punch, leave the chill seeds in. Free from nasty refined sugars, gluten and dairy, but certainly not free from taste.

Makes 1 cups

1 large egg
3 tsp dry mustard powder
1 Tbs honey
1½ tsp vinegar
250 ml (1 cup) grapeseed oil
or sunflower oil
1½ Tbs lemon juice
    ½ tsp salt

  1. Whisk the egg, mustard powder, honey, salt and pepper together.
  2. Add a very small amount of oil and whisk until combined.
  3. Keep adding small amounts of oil into the mixture and keep combining it. After about ¼ cup of oil, slowly pour another quarter of the oil in a fine stream into the mixture while whisking.
  4. After half the oil has been used, pour in the vinegar and keep adding the oil while whisking.
  5. The secret to good mayonnaise is to pour the oil into the mixture very slowly while whisking. 
  6. Add lemon juice at the end while whisking.
  7. Stores for up to two weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight jar.
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Sweet Chili Sauce

Makes 1 litre/4 cups


10 cloves garlic - minced
4 large red chilies - chopped
2 large red peppers - chopped
3 Tbs fresh ginger - grated
8 kaffir lime leaves - chopped
3 lemon grass stems - chopped
1 bunch coriander - chopped
300 g (1 cup) honey
4 Tbs water
100 ml (3 fl. oz) apple cider vinegar
50 ml fish sauce
1 tsp salt
  1. Combine garlic, chilies, red peppers, ginger, lime leaves, lemongrass, and coriander in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  2. Combine honey and water in a medium size saucepan and heat until honey starts to simmer.
  3. Add the paste, apple cider vinegar, fish sauce and salt, and simmer for about 2 minutes.
  4. For a spicier sauce, try leaving in some of the chili seeds.
  5. Refrigerate in an airtight jar.

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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Gourmet Mushroom Risotto

Gourmet Mushroom Risotto





Okay, so Risotto is a misnomer for this dish, but I couldn't think of a suitable name for the cauliflower; Cauliflotto just didn't sound too appetising  to me.

Risotto is actually quite a rich and heavy dish and I remember the feeling of being weighted down by what seemed a belly full of gravel. In contrast, this 'Cauliflotto' (yeah, I don't think so) is light, yet still has the rich flavours reminiscent of a scented wood with the sweet adjunct of juicy raisins and the nutty taste of pine nuts.

Serves 4

¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup raisins
600g mushrooms, e.g. oyster, shitake, Portobello, button (sliced)
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme, stem removed
salt and pepper to taste

Cauliflower Rice

1 medium head cauliflower
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium and add the onions and garlic, stirring frequently until the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the pine nuts, raisins, and stir, cooking until the raisins become plump.
  3. Add the sliced mushrooms and stir for at least one minute.
  4. Pour in the stock mixing thoroughly. Place the lid onto the pot and cook on low for 10 minutes.
  5. In the meantime remove the hard stem from the cauliflower. Place the florets into a food processor and process until finely ground.
  6. Place the ground cauliflower into the mushroom mixture and stir. Replace the lid and cook on low for 15-20 minutes, until the cauliflower has softened. 
  7. Serve with or without grated parmesan.

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Sunday, 23 March 2014

Bitter Sweet Citrus Cupcakes

Bitter Sweet Citrus Cupcakes





I'm sure you can count the amount of times you've left a birthday party slipping in and out of a dizzying sugar coma (sure maybe not recently, but that's only because - thankfully, but I'm sure somewhat regrettably - experience has led you to see the light). Oh to be young again and enjoy the follies of afternoon tea parties and cupcakes tiered up further than greedy hands could reach. 

Consider this dream, come true. This cupcake is for the mature palette, the more refined palette. The bitter-sweet moist cakes are complemented exquisitely by the rich and creamy cashew icing. Even the most finely tuned cupcake Queen would celebrate these dairy-free, sugar-free, grain-free treats. Peeling these plump little cupcakes from their wrapping will be the most fun you've had since pinning the tail on the donkey.  Your body will thank you for the health, but your inner child will thank you for the taste.

Makes 12

1 medium navel orange
1 lemon
1 mandarin
250 g (3⁄4 cup) honey
6 eggs
250 (2 1⁄2 cups) almond flour/meal
1 tsp baking soda

Icing

1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 2 hours)
1 orange (juice only)
cup honey
1 tsp vanilla essence

  1. Place cashews into a bowl, cover with water, and let soak.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 170°C/340°F
  3. Line two large cupcake tins with waxed baking paper.
  4. Place the orange, mandarin and lemon into a medium pot and cover with water.
  5. Bring to boil and then let simmer for 45 minutes or until the fruit begins to go soft. Drain and let cool.
  6. Remove the seeds from the fruit and then puree in a blender and set aside.
  7. Place honey and eggs into a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
  8. Fold through the pureed fruit.
  9. In another bowl combine the almond meal and baking soda.
  10. Then mix the dry ingredients with the pureed fruit until well combined.
  11. Pour mixture into the prepared baking tins and then bake for 35-40 minutes. The cupcakes will be done when the top feel firm.
  12. Remove from oven and let cool. 
  13. Drain the cashews and place into a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. 
  14. Place the icing into the refrigerator for 30 minutes until it has firmed up a little.
  15. Decorate the cupcakes with the frosting and then keep in an airtight container in the fridge.


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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Super Creamy Salmon Pasta

Super Creamy Salmon Pasta

I remember this one time I came home, ate an entire packet of pasta and woke up skinnier than I was the day before; said no one ever. Fortunately there are ways one can re-invent this carb craving wheel without all the glutenous starch.

The luxuriously creamy harmony of coconut and cashews coats the tendrils of this 'pasta' as if they were never meant to be apart…yes ok, this pasta does in fact encompass all the elements of great food porn.

The benefits of coconut cream are endless, it contains important healthy fats that can be metabolised and turned into energy fast, without raising cholesterol. The combination of the cashew butter and coconut cream eliminates any coconut taste. The light blanching of the zucchini and carrot create a delicious al-dente crunch. This dairy-free creamy pasta will be a favourite amongst even the keenest dairy and carb worshipper. 

Serves 2

2 large carrots
2 large zucchinis
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh garlic – finely chopped
½ cup red onion - chopped
½ cup red peppers – thinly sliced
½ cup green peppers – thinly sliced
1 tsp dried thyme/or fresh
12 snow peas
200g/7oz salmon
1 cup coconut cream – left in fridge overnight and drained of fluid
¼ cup cashew nut butter
1 avocado – flesh removed
salt & pepper to taste

With a spiral tool process the carrots and zucchinis into thin noodles and put aside.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Turn off the stove once boiled.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a deep pan on medium and add the garlic, onion and peppers. Cook for about 5 minutes until the peppers have softened.

Add the thyme, snow peas and salmon and cook a further 5 minutes.

Add the coconut cream and cashew nut butter and stir into the vegetables until well combined.

Add the avocado, salt and pepper and stir cooking for about 1 minute.

Turn off the stove and move aside the salmon pasta topping.

Place the carrot and zucchini noodles into the boiled water and let sit for 2 minutes. Then drain and combine the noodles with the salmon topping.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate for a great tasting cold pasta salad for the next day.

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Sunday, 9 March 2014

Pumpkin Paper Rolls

Pumpkin Paper Rolls

A dehydrator is essential to this dish, an investment, but a worthy one at that! It allows you to substitute traditional glutinous rice paper with a fibre- rich, antioxidant packed pumpkin paper. These sweat creamy babies can be filled with just about anything you can find in your fridge, and make for a fun hands-on experience for your family and friends alike.

Makes 4

2 cups pumpkin – chopped
¼ cup water
pinch salt

Filling
8 snow peas – slivered lengthwise
1 large carrot – grated
¼ red onion – chopped
½ zucchini – grated
fresh coriander leaves

  1. Simmer the pumpkin with the water for 15 minutes in a covered pot.
  2. Drain the water and with the salt process in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Evenly distribute the pumpkin onto a non-stick tray and de-hydrate for 4 hours on 43°C/110°F. It is important to check the pumpkin paper to make sure it is dried but still flexible and not going crisp.
  4. Remove the pumpkin paper from the sheet and cut into four even pieces.
  5. Combine the filling and fill the pumpkin paper rolls.
  6. Serve immediately and do not store, as the rolls once having absorbed the moisture from the vegetables will soften.

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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Focaccia

Focaccia Bread


This is a brag worthy focaccia bread. You can certainly substitute the olives and tomatoes with, say, semi dried zucchini and goats cheese, or peppers and semi-dried eggplant. Serve it on the side of a fabulous garden salad or a tasty minestrone. Say "Don't Worry Be Happy" with an Italian accent, kissing your thumb and first finger and watch everyone fight over the last piece.
Line a 8.5x8.5 inch baking tray with baking paper
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

Serves 4

4 large eggs
¼ cup coconut milk
50 g/1.5 oz coconut flour
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp crushed pepper corns
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
18 black olives, pitted and halved
8 sundried tomato slices, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
  1. Combine the eggs and coconut milk and whisk until smooth.
  2. Mix the coconut flour with the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and baking soda.
  3. Process the dry with the wet ingredients, adding the apple cider vinegar until well combined.
  4. Evenly distribute the dough into the lined baking tin.
  5. Mix the olives, tomatoes, oil and dried herbs and then spread onto the dough, pressing the mixture lightly into the dough.
  6. Bake on the middle tray in the oven for 25 minutes until the top has browned lightly.
  7. Let cool completely before serving.
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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Pumpkin & Eggplant Chips

Pumpkin & Eggplant Chips


Serves 4

¼ quarter medium Jap (Kabocha/Kent) pumpkin
3 small eggplants
salt
oil

1.   Peel and deseed pumpkin and slice into thick slices.
2.   Slice eggplant into thick slices
3.   Line a large baking tray with waxed baking paper and oil generously.
4.   Lay out the pumpkin and eggplant and brush generously with olive oil and salt lightly with sea salt.

5.   Bake on medium on the middle rung for 40 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave until it has cooled down. Then remove the vegetables and store in an airtight container or serve at room temperature.

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Bangers and Mash

Sweet Lamb Sausage


As you may know I am an active sausage fan and make my own, of course. This recipe is everyone's favourite. The combination of the dried fruit, juice and cider vinegar makes for a sweet and juicy sausage. Being lamb it's possible to cook them with an incy bit of pink in the middle, which will retain the juiciness. Ideally you will fry them on low to medium turning frequently until both sides are browned nicely for about 5 minutes each side. 

The mash I guarantee will taste so much like potato mash that no one will know the difference, except they won't end up with a belly full of starch.

Makes about 24 medium sausages

6 lb/3 kg minced lamb
½ tbs salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp raisins, chopped
2 tbsp dried apricots, chopped
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (or ¼ cup apple juice)
4 drops fish sauce (sugar free)
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients, mix well & stuff into hog casing. For instructions on how to make sausages please visit http://youtu.be/LSrLHCz-nsY


Better than Mash

Serves 4

4 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup lima beans (soaked overnight)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp grated lemon rind
½ tsp salt

1.   Cover the lima beans with water and simmer for 1½ hours until they have become tender.

2.   Add the cauliflower and simmer for another 20 minutes until the cauliflower has become tender.

3.   Remove from the heat and drain the water.

4.   Combine with the rest of the ingredients and place into a food processor and process until smooth.

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