Monthly Archives: March 2013

Hazelnut Chocolate Tart (Gluten Free)

Going to the gym on a bad knee wasn’t the smartest of ideas. One might even argue that the twitching pain of a twisted knee is somewhat deserved. Ouch. Do we not do it so often? Push our bodies through gruelling regimes; be it overexertion, overeating, toxic makeup or the unnatural position of sitting at a desk for ten hours a day (I have admittedly been guilty of all of the above).

So this paleo vegan chocolate tart inspired by Gourmande in the Kitchen then, was a little gift of appreciation for my overworked, under-rested body. A thank you, to the vessel that carries me through this experience we call life.

chocolate tart

Hazelnut Chocolate Tart (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegan)

(adapted from Gourmand in the kitchen)

Ingredients

For the tart crust
40g unsweetened shredded coconut
200g ground almonds
30g coconut oil
1/4 tsp salt
30 g maple syrup
For the chocolate ganache
240ml full fat coconut milk
280g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Topping
40g hazelnuts, chopped
10g ground or shredded coconut
Pinch of sea salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse together almond flour, salt and shredded coconut. Melt together coconut oil and maple syrup and add to almond and coconut mixture, pulse until coarse crumbs form. Transfer the dough to a greased tart pan or baking dish (preferably one with a removable bottom or you can just use a sheet of baking paper beneath the mixture instead). Evenly press dough in bottom and up sides of pan. Bake in center of oven until golden and firm, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Place chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk to a boil. Pour the hot coconut milk over chocolate, then slowly stir until smooth and creamy. Mix in vanilla extract.

chocolate in tin

Pour chocolate mixture into cooled tart shell. Lightly sprinkle hazelnuts coconut across the top. Add a pinch of flaky sea salt if desired. Chill for 40-50mins until set and serve (with a small prayer of gratitude to your body) :)

finished cake

Buckwheat Pancakes

I have not been in the blog space for what seems like an eternity (an eternity being the about the whole of a week). So much has been happening since last weekend (everything from arguing that despite the mild embarrassment of frequently being ID’d for alcoholic purchases, I did not in fact submit an erroneous business birthdate of 1959; to eating my bodyweight in emotional salted-caramel-chocolate-coated-peanuts; to taking several hours and five trains to get home on Thursday evening; to going full steam with my body daily, on a battery recharge of about four hours nightly). It’s been a long and gruelling, but altogether rewarding week.

But. Less of that, and more of the important stuff. Blueberry buckwheat pancakes. Priorities, right?

I have been searching for a great buckwheat pancake recipe for some time, and there are many many variations out there. Ultimately, although they may exist, I never found one that was 100% buckwheat in form. And so, I got to work inventing one that worked. I used Molly Wizenburg‘s recipe as a starting point, based on her admirable dedication to finding good pancakes.

buckwheat pancakes

Recipe: Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes

Ingredients:

150g buckwheat flour
3 tsp sugar or xylitol
1/2 tsp baking powder
180ml buttermilk
70ml milk
1 large egg, yolk and white separated
1 tbsp coconut oil
maple syrup and fresh blueberries for serving (optional)

Method:

1. Mix together the fry ingredients; buckwheat flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.

2. Pour the buttermilk and milk into a bowl or large measuring jug. Whisk the egg white into this milk mixture.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with the melted butter. Whisk the yolk mixture into the milk mixture.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined, the batter will be thick

4. Heat a large nonstick nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a little of the coconut oil and heat until melted.

5. Ladle about a tablespoon of batter into the pan, adding another 2-3, providing they are not crowded. After one minute, add fruit, if desired, fresh blueberries work a real treat. When the undersides of the pancakes are nicely browned and you see the top begin to bubble, its time to flip them. Cook until the second side has browned.

browned pancakes

6. Set aside on a warm plate and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm with maple syrup.

blueberry pancakes

Brown Butter Sweet Macaroni

Yep, published in the Guardian today, my own recipe of Brown Butter Sweet Macaroni.

I’m kind of chuffed considering I have always extolled the virtues of sweet pasta (sugars and carbs, a marriage of two divinely inspired ingredients, making love bubbles in my tummy). I must find time to tell you about the chocolate pasta recipe soon too. Oh, and the sweet penne. For now though, here is the macaroni….

Recipe: Brown Butter Sweet Macaroni

Ingredients:
1 cup macaroni (I used fresh, but dried works too)
3 tsp ghee/clarified butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk (full fat works best)
1 stick cinnamon
3 cloves cardamom
1/4 cup cashew nuts (or sliced almonds or pistachios as you prefer)
1/4 cup raisins

Method:

Par boil the macaroni (I used fresh pasta so boiled for 1min. If using dried pasta, boil for 3-4). Drain, and leave aside.

In the meantime, over a medium heat, melt the ghee in a pan. Add the cardamom, cinnamon and cashews. Cook for a few minutes until the cashews start to brown. Spoon out of the pan, discarding the cardamom and cinnamon, saving the cashews on a plate for later.

The ghee will have turned brown, with a beautiful nutty aroma. Whilst the ghee is still hot, add the macaroni to the pan and cook for 3 minutes until it starts to brown.

Add the milk and allow to simmer. When the milk has reduced by half, add the sugar, raisins and cashews. Continue to simmer until the milk has reduced completely.

Serve immediately.

Black Salsify Fritters

Black Salsify

Trust Hugh-Fearnley to know what to do with black salsify. When said vegetable turned up in my veg box delivery, it looked like some accidental packing of mud and roots alongside my beautiful red pepper and fresh fennel. Salsify really isn’t the prettiest of vegetables (but then again neither is sweet potato and that tastes like heaven on a plate). I found this recipe for fritters and decided that it had ‘bruncheon’ written all over it. Especially on a Saturday whereby my diary shows ‘downtime’.

Such an exciting prospect, downtime. I came to some slow and painful realisations: that if I didn’t actually diarise time for myself, I wouldn’t get it; that scheduling sleep is infinitely better than perpetually complaining of fatigue, and that rest is a necessity, not an indulgence.

It’s all too easy to be fooled into thinking that activity equates to motion; to some forward movement of our lives. But running on a hamster wheel doesn’t get one very far, it simply gets one very tired. And speaking for myself, running is an easy smokescreen I create to avoid looking at what I really need to, running is being too busy to take the actions that actually make a difference.

So whilst luxuriating into a restful and pensive weekend, I made these fritters. I’m not going to pretend they were quick and easy to make, nor that the washing, peeling and coarse grating wasn’t laborious. It was. But, oh so worth it. After making and eating these fritters, I lay back on the sofa and stared out of the window, for about an hour. I can’t promise the same soporific effect of the ‘downtime drug’ that these fritters induced for me, but I’m willing to bet that you’ll like them, they are just too awesome.

Fritters Mix

Black Salsify Fritters

A Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall recipe, adapted

Ingredients

300g salsify
45g butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small red chilli, finely diced
3 tbsp finely chopped coriander
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp buckwheat (HFW uses flour)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Method

Peel and coarsely grate the salsify. Warm some of the butter in a frying pan and sauté the salsify until softened. Transfer to a bowl and mix with the garlic, chilli, coriander, egg and flour. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, form the mixture into six fritters. Warm the remaining butter and the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and cook the fritters until golden, about four minutes a side. I love to eat this with bacon and homemade mayonnaise. Yum.

Frying Fritters

Truly, Madly, Sweetly

The inner sugar fiend lives on… unscathed by the detox.

This morning, for breakfast, I craved an entire chocolate torte. With smooth Italian cappuccino. And a cosy corner. And a good book. Instead I had chia seeds. Rice milk. Fruit. And commuter train delays. Hm. Work so got in the way.

pear

It’s like, my inner sugar monster is trying to be appeased with an apple when she wants candy. She isn’t fooled. She just, isn’t. Do you remember when you were a kid and your teacher said “come here dear, let’s go and play outside”, just to distract you from playing with the colouring pens that you so weren’t allowed to play with? Yeah. It’s a bit like that.

green n blacks

 As you know, from the healthy goings-on in my kitchen, I am not averse to eating well. Not at all. I love steeped chia seeds. And steamed vegetables. And brown rice milk. I do, but those things never negate my super sweet love affair with chocolate….

chocolate pile

I feel a chocolate truffle themed recipe coming along. Watch this space.