Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Lamb Cutlets & MInted Smashed Peas


See that knife and fork to the side? Forget them, don't use them. Tie back your hair, roll up your sleeves, firmly grasp the handle of the cutlet, and sink your teeth into the tender scallop of flesh, allowing (of course) for all the juices to dribble down both chin and fingers. If you have a beard, shave it. Not even years of torturous hair growing only to look like a pubescent Keanu Reeves is worth having to eat these cutlets delicately. 

Grab a spoon (if you haven't already completely abandoned civility) and smash some of that Pea Smash atop your cutlet. Think-a biscuit and cheese. Think-there's no bloody way even a fern gully fairy is going to leave the slightest green skid mark on a plate. Eliminate the plate and bring on the mint sauce. As if it wasn't heavenly enough, dribble some home-made mint sauce over the lot and devour it before the whole thing becomes too overwhelming and you have to go lie down.

Why have I smashed the peas? Cos their slippery little bloated bellied bodies running all over my plate feed into my fear of abandonment. Plus their manageability factor goes through the roof, keeping your dinner table war zone-free (peas are the perfect ammunition for a catapult-spoon).

Mint and peas go together like a fine wine and a beautiful human. They exist in perfect harmony, and will forevermore be the perfect addition to leave you feeling fresh and sweet after such a carnal affair. 

Lamb Cutlets

Serves 4

1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
12 lamb cutlets

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan until very hot.
  2. Sprinkle in the salt.
  3. Cook lamb cutlets for about 4 minutes on each side for medium and a little longer if you want them well done.
Minted Smashed Peas

Serves 4

1 Tbs olive oil
3 shallots – trimmed and chopped
250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
450 g (3 cups) frozen baby peas
1 tsp honey
1⁄4 cup fresh mint – chopped
75 g (1⁄3 cup) parmesan cheese – grated 
salt and pepper
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium size frying pan.
  2. Add the shallots and sauté until tender. Set aside.
  3. Heat chicken stock in a small pot until boiling. 
  4. Add the peas, honey, and mint.
  5. Cover and cook until peas are tender for about 4 – 5 minutes.
  6. Drain and reserve 1⁄3 cup of the liquid.
  7. Return pea mixture to pan, adding the reserved liquid, and combine with the fried shallots.
  8. Simmer for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  9. Remove from heat and roughly mash using a potato masher.
  10. Stir in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
Mint Sauce

Makes 1 cup

110 g (1 1⁄4 cup) fresh mint
250 ml (1 cup) white vinegar
6 Tbs honey
3 Tbs fresh lemon grass – finely minced
  1. Place 1 cup of the mint in a food processor, reserving the leftover 1⁄4 cup mint for later. 
  2. Add the vinegar and process until pureed. 
  3. Scrape into a small saucepan and add the honey and lemon grass.
  4. Cook and stir over medium heat until the honey has dissolved.
  5. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes.
  6. Strain the sauce into a small serving bowl and let cool.
  7. Chop the remaining mint and mix into the strained sauce.

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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Cashew & Coconut Milk Yogurt


The coconut palm is often referred to as "the tree of life", as almost every element of this paradisiac drupe can be used in one way or another. It is no secret I am a die hard fan of the fruit (it is in fact not a nut, as commonly assumed), and find it not only a worthy substitute for dairy, but a sure rival of the Royal Guard in it's propensity to stand it's own as a confident cream. Not to mention the never ending list of health benefits it will throw at your face to boost supple skin(antioxidants), seep into your immune system(lauric acid, great antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial qualities), flow through your digestive tract (great for acid reflux and stomach ulcers), and a great source of Iron (to help you travel through the depths of Mordor when Elven Steele is not on hand).

As they say behind every coconut is an even better cashew. No, no I'm sure that's how it goes...Anyway, semantics aside, the cashews are a real treat when mixed with the coconut. They are a go-to for cream-like substances, and have a sweet nutty flavour that compliment both sweet and savoury. The essential good fats and oils in cashews are also great for your heart, skin and bones. 

This Yogurt is pretty spot on when it comes to flavour, it's cold, it's creamy, it's got a slight tang. The vanilla bean punctuates the flavours nicely to create a sweeter option without having to add any sweeteners. This yogurt is the real primordial ooze to an array of dishes, I highly recommend partnering it with our Apple Granola/Muesli, our Chicken Tagine (omitting the vanilla essence), or a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit.


Makes 2 cups

1 cup of raw cashews – soaked for 2 hours
1 cup of coconut milk
3 Tbs natural yogurt/or the recommended amount of non-dairy yogurt culture
1 vanilla bean – for sweet yogurt
  1. Drain the soaked cashews and blend with the coconut milk in a high speed blender.
  2. Place the mixture into a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to  80°C/180°F.
  3. Keep stirring the milk whilst heating.
  4. Then let the milk cool down to around 115°F/45°C.
  5. Add the 3 tablespoons of yogurt or the appropriate amount of yogurt starter.
  6. Incubate for 8 hours at around 110°F/43°C in a clean oven proof jar and then place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours to set.


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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Moroccan Chicken Tagine


Every now and then I go through periods in my life where I want every single thing I put in my mouth to be sweet. I even want the savoury to be sweet. This, my friends, is a fine remedy for what I call the "swavoury" tooth. I have always been a fan of apricot chicken curries, sweet sauces and soups, and find that chicken is the perfect addition to this orchard of fruity delights. 

The cinnamon will coat your halls in a spicy allure, pied piper-ing hungry bellies straight into your hands. However this is not to be confused with a Christmas pudding, the tumeric and black pepper are your passport to exploring the breadth and depth of these beautiful fruit flavours. The chicken is moist and juicy, providing the perfect springboard for the acrobatic accolades of these nourishing ingredients. 

Now that I have woven my rich tapestry of tagine tooting, I would like to give a deep bow to the lima bean for gracing humanity with a taste not too dissimilar to that of butter. So much so, that in some countries they have been dubbed the butter bean. Process the hell out of these bad boys and you will get a mash creamier than if Hilda were churning butter through lace in the clouds. I have fed this mash to an array of family and friends not on the SCD, gluten-free or dairy-free diet, and there is a general consensus of its superiority over the good-for-nothing (excepting vodka) potato.

Serves 4

Olive oil
240 g (2 cups) onions - chopped
1.5 kg (3 lb) chicken thighs – cut into large chunks
2 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp black pepper
500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
100 g  ( cup) dried apricots
100 g ( cup) dried prunes
85 g (¼ cup) honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ Tbs almond flour
50 g (½ cup) slivered almonds

  1. In a saucepan, heat a small amount of oil and sauté the onions until soft and then add into a large pot.
  2. Add the chicken with the cinnamon sticks, turmeric, and black pepper and pour in chicken stock.
  3. Cover with the lid and cook for 2½ hours on low-medium.
  4. Add the dried apricots, prunes, honey, cinnamon, and almond flour and stir until well combined. Cover with the lid and cook for another hour.
  5. In a dry pan, toast the slivered almonds. Serve the Tagine decorated with the toasted almonds.
  6. This dish can be served with our lima bean mash, cauliflower rice or pumpkin and cauliflower mash. A little bit of scd yogurt on the side is also delicious.

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Honey (Apple) Cake


Oy! So today marks the first day of Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year. So the vibe is to eat lots of delicious sweet things, in order to set yourself up for a sweet year ahead. I mean, I guess if I have to...

The traditional sweet foods to eat on this day are apples and honey, usually with the former dipped or soaked in the later. With this in mind, I have re-invented the salivation inducing honey cake. I've always loved traditional treats, but it is close to impossible to find gluten free versions. And a Jewish feast without the sweet breads and cakes is like a Fabio without the muscles - no thanks. 

This cake is so moist I had to check I didn't double the measurement of honey. It's a proud cake that sits in a pool of it's own 'don't-mind-if-I-do's, this is an invisible pool of course, (kind of like the one you pretend to be swimming laps in to get bikini-ready)with not a shred of sog. I have drizzled this mouth watering madness in a creamy lemon icing, to really help all the Shiksa's out there stand out in the crowd.

Shepen Naches! (Enjoy!)

Serves 8

Cake 

4 green apples – peeled, cored and grated
6 large eggs
1 cup honey
½ cup coconut cream
1 ¼ cup grapeseed/conola oil
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla
5 cups almond meal
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
dash ground cloves
¾ tsp salt
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300°F
  2. Peel, core and grate your apples and set aside.
  3. In a bowl combine your eggs with the honey, coconut cream, oil and vanilla essence and whisk until frothy.
  4. In another bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Then combine with the wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Then add the grated apple and mix well.
  6. Grease a nine inch bunt baking pan and pour in the dough.
  7. Bake for 60 minutes or until the sides of the cake pull away from the pan and the bottom is evenly browned.

Icing 

2 egg yolks
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs honey
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup cacao butter (chopped up)
  1. Place a heatproof bowl over the top of a pot containing a little water. Heat until boiling and then turn down to simmer.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks with the lemon juice, honey and vanilla essence until it starts to thicken then add the cacao butter a little at a time.
  3. It will take about 5 minutes for the whole of the cacao butter to be dissolved with the egg mixture and it will thicken quite a bit.
  4. Then let the icing cool to room temperature before applying to the tops of the cooled down cupcakes.



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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Pecan Pie Cookies


Why have one cookie when you can have two? Especially when they are smooshed together with a big dollop of creamy heaven. They look like a sophisticated 'grown-ups' treat, but don't blame me if you find yourself twisting them open, licking out the zesty lemony cream and scraping your bottom teeth along the base for all and any remnants. An excellent treat for both a lunchbox or handbag (or crammed into your pocket when no one is looking. The average coat pocket holds around 2-3).

Nut flours can get quite pricey, so grab it wholesale or you can even try making your own; literally use any nut and finely blend it to smithereens in a food processor. And of course these cookies are completely free from added sugars, dairy and gluten. Perfect for those of you on the SCD, gluten free and paleo diet. 

Makes 8

Biscuit Base

1 cup pecan flour
1 cup almond meal
2 Tbs coconut Flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 large egg
¼ cup coconut oil - softened
cup honey
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
8 whole pecans

Filling

cup cacao butter – melted
½ cup cashew butter
¼ cup honey
1 Lemon – juice only
1 tsp pure vanilla essence

  1. Combine the flours with the baking soda in a food processor.
  2. In a bowl mix the egg with the coconut oil honey salt and vanilla until light and frothy.
  3. Pour into the food processor with the flours and mix thoroughly.
  4. Remove the dough from the food processor and roll one tablespoon at a time into small balls.
  5. Flatten with wet fingers into round cookie shapes. There should be 16 altogether.
  6. Place one whole pecan into the center of 8 of the cookies.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Then let cool completely.
  8. Whilst baking the cookies prepare the filling.
  9. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and with an electric mixer, mix the filling for at least two minutes, until it has turned thick and light in color.
  10. Once the cookies are completely cooled down, place 1 ½ tsp of the filling onto the cookie without the pecan and top, squishing down gently the top cookie, which has the pecan.
  11. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.

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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Creamy Mushroom Soup



Everyone loves a good 'shroom. Whether you are a Woodstock revivalist or a protein hungry vegetarian, the power of the mushroom is unbeatable. I have always been mesmerised by the variety of this power-hub fungi, from robust knobs of chewy brown velvet to bleached shoelaces wearing pearl hats, the range certainly challenges one's own concept of strange familial relations. The beauty of this dish is the freedom it allows for you to pick and choose your favourite fungi. 

This dish was a total experiment, but I could not be more wrapped with the outcome. The cashews create a dream cream, forget Elle Macpherson, this soup has some serious body. Feel free to adjust the thickness by slowly adding the cashew cream until desired consistency is achieved. I for one like it eeeeextra creamy, like someone is hugging you from the inside out. Mushrooms are a wondrous vegetable, containing high amounts glutamate (not to be confused with gluten) which account for their rich flavour, are a source of Vitamin D, ironic as they are grown in the dark. 

A note on the zesty topping-do it! Seriously. 

Serves 4

1 small handful dried porcini
1 cup hot water
¼ cup olive oil
600 g/1.5 lb fresh mushrooms (oyster, chanterelles, shiitake, crimini or similar)– chopped
2 garlic cloves – crushed
1 medium red onion - chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme – stems removed
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup raw cashews – soaked for 2 hours
1 cup of flat leafed parsley – roughly chopped

Topping

1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  1. Place the porcini in a small dish, add boiling water just to cover, and leave to soak.
  2. Heat the olive oil on high in a deep pan and add the mushrooms.
  3. Stir quickly for a minute. Turn the heat to medium, add garlic, onion and thyme, and keep stirring for another minute.
  4. Add the salt and pepper and stir.
  5. Drain the porcini, setting aside the soaking liquid, and chop up.
  6. Then add to the pan.
  7. Pour the soaking liquid through a sieve and add to the pan.
  8. Simmer for 20 minutes or until most of the moisture has disappeared(you will want about half a cup remaining), but the mushrooms are still wet. You would want about a cup of liquid left in the pan with the mushrooms.
  9. In the meantime drain the cashews, place them with ½ cup of water into a fast food processor, and process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  10. Add the chicken stock to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes.
  11. Remove half of the soup into a food processor and process until smooth. Then add it back to the pan with the chopped up parsley and cashew cream. Stir and bring back to a simmer. Turn off heat and serve with the lemon zest mixture.
Topping


Zest the lemon and mix the zest with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the top of the soup short before serving.


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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sticky Smoked Lamb Ribs



Yum
You know when you eat an ice-cream on the beach and sand ALWAYS manages to sneak it's way into your mouth, but you kind of don't really care because it's all part of the 'vibe'? Well the same goes for ribs, with mess. When consuming the rib, one must always be armed with napkins, bibs, bowls of lemon water/pressure hose and a change of clothes. Dubbed the least sexiest thing to eat on a date, the rib has crept it's way up to my number one...Think a plate of ribs and two (?)naked bodies licking their fingers and 'elbows' of all that delightfully sticky sauce. Plonked in front of the kids in a big bowl, and finding greasy brown smears on light switches and doorhandles for days after works too, I guess. 

Whatever your culinary occasion, the sweetness of the honey and orange, is balanced beautifully against the paprika and chilli, giving it a warm smokey flavour you'll want to only remove with your tongue. I can guarantee not a spare rib will be left spare.

A note of warning however! Whilst making the glaze I managed to burn the bottom of my pot, and the fumes from the chilli nearly chocked me to death, not to mention making me all too aware of the futility of the pot. So keep your eye out for this, and just incase you're too busy holding your mouth open, trying to catch the invisible flavour on your tongue, here is a recipe for that burnt pot;

2 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 vinegar
  1. Bring all to a simmer and cook (attended) for 15 minutes. Then turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Pour the water into the sink and gently begin scraping the burnt bits off with a large metal spoon. Then use a gentle abrasive pad to finish cleaning.
Marinade

¼ cup olive oil
½ cup honey
3 garlic cloves – crushed
3 tsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
2 tsp cumin
2 ½ tsp salt
½ cup cider vinegar
zest from one orange
juice from one orange

1.5 kg/3 lb (2 racks) lamb spare ribs

  1. Put all of the ingredients for the marinade into a bowl and whisk together until well combined. 
  2. Place the ribs into a large plastic bag and pour over the marinade.
  3. Seal the bag pressing out excess air. Place into the refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours. 
  4. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/350°F 
  5. Remove the ribs from the marinade, setting aside the marinade, and place the ribs into a shallow baking dish.
  6. Then cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour on the middle rack of the oven.
  7. Meanwhile place the marinade into a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Cook until reduced by half.
  8. Discard the foil from the lamb, pouring off excess fat, and brush with the glaze. Bake for 10 minutes then turn the ribs, brush again with glaze. Repeat twice, in 20 minute intervals. Use the entire glaze, and be generous!
  9. Once done, remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Then cut into individual ribs and enjoy.

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