Category Archives: indulgent

Shortlisted!

This calls for cake.

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Some weeks ago a friend of mine drew my attention to the Taste Master job and said “this has your name all over it”. The widely advertised ‘Best Jobs in the World’ promotion by Tourism Australia was certainly creating some buzz.

When I finally got around to putting my always opining, often unhelpful, rational mind to one side, my heart had a chance to be heard; and, to agree with my friend. And so, I submitted an entry.

Late last night, just before my head hit the pillow, I checked my iPhone for new email messages. To receive the ‘ping’ of e-communication highlighting that 600,000 applicants had submitted entries for the World’s Best Job and that I had made the top 25 shortlist was surreal to say the least. It still is… my heart is peering smugly up at my disbelieving head. It is however, true. I’m on the shortlist. Woop!

Oh, yes. Cake. I wouldn’t leave you without something scrumptious to eat… let there be cake!

Carrot Cake

Ingredients

250g soft brown sugar
120ml vegetable oil
250g ground almonds
250g grated carrots
3 eggs

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.

2. Mix together the sugar and oil, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing to combine. Stir in the almond flour and the carrots.

3. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50mins to 1hour until the top has turned golden brown and is firm to touch.

 And let’s not pretend I didn’t eat it straight from the oven tray. I totally did.

CarrotCake_0061

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.

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.

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

I’ve just eaten my twelfth one. And why not. Twelve hours ago, I started breakfast with one of these teasing bites of ‘eat me now’ butter cups, I figured, why not complete the day with one.

almond butter cups halved

It was Kat’s birthday at the weekend (the same Kat that bullied …oops I mean “encouraged” me to start this blog). So, naturally, I wanted to make something to taste-test. Having seen her consume peanut butter Reeses at an impressive rate, I had an inkling of what to make when I saw this recipe for ‘dark chocolate almond butter cups’ by Sprouted Kitchen’s Sara Forte. Spot on.

birthday note

cups

I set about, making them last night (totally underestimating how long it would take to fill those tiny cases, and being forced to drizzle spoonfuls of melted chocolate into my mouth at midnight, in the interests of ‘saving time’). Refrigerated them overnight, and the tub went straight into my handbag this morning. It may have slightly opened itself on its commute to the office.

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups, from Sprouted Kitchen

In place of the powdered sugar, I used all honey.

200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solid
1/2 cup natural almond butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp powdered sugar (or an extra tbsp honey)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine grain salt
sea salt flakes for topping

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, over a pan of simmering water.

melted chocolate

Lay out the miniature cases. Spoon some chocolate into the bottom of each of the cases (how much will depend on the size of the case, but for mine I needed about half a tsp. Twist the case around so as to coat the sides with chocolate.

work in progress

Mix the almond butter, honey, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt together. Take about tsp of the mix and form a small ball in your hands. Gently press it into the centre of a case, and repeat. Once all the cases are filled, spoon some melted chocolate on top of each almond butter ball until it is completely covered. Sprinkle a flake or two of sea salt on top of each one and chill in the fridge to set.

semi filled cups

Share. Or, don’t. Just eat them. All of them. All by yourself.

Happy Birthday Kat.

almond butter cups