Do you ever buy things that just sit in your food cupboard and you don’t use them? I had a bag of organic Quinoa sitting in my cupboard for ages, in fact the best by date is next month so you can imagine how long it has been there! I had been to our local organic store to buy some kelp products for the Pacific Harvest competition and saw these cute little pre packaged salads of cous cous or quinoa and bought one for my lunch while I was there. It was quite delicious but the price wasn’t as cute as the packaging and I decided to make my own knowing that somewhere in the back of my cupboard was lurking a packet of quinoa.
You can serve this salad both warm or cold.
Serves 4 as side dish
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 red pepper/capsicum, slided
- 2 small courgettes, diced
- 1 grated carrot
- 1 onion, halved then sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 inch of ginger, finely chopped
- 1/4 preserved lemon
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1tsp coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Large handful Italian parsley, finely chopped
- In a medium sized pan add the cup of quinoa grains and 3 cups of water. Bring the water to the boil then turn heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes. The quinoa will ‘sprout’ in the water showing the little white tail you see in the picture.
- Dry fry the cumin, coriander & mustard seeds in a frying pan for 1 minute to release their fragrance. Remove from pan and grind with a mortar & pestle.
- Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
- Add the sliced onions and gentle fry until the onions become soft and opaque, add the garlic, ginger, ground spices, preserved lemon and turmeric and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the diced courgettes and red pepper and fry for a further 5 minutes until everything is cooked.
- Add the tomato and cook until the tomato had broken down.
- Add the grated carrots, quinoa and parsley then serve warm or keep in the fridge until ready to serve cold.
Thank you Jamie for this wonderful chocolate cake recipe! It’s rich and heavy with a lovely hint of cinnamon.
I had made paneer cheese on Saturday fully intending to turn it into a curry for our monthly curry club that evening but having class that same day I ran out of time so Sunday I needed to find a recipe for paneer or ricotta. For those who do not know, paneer is made the same way as ricotta but it is pressed to remove more whey turning it into a soft cheese block. All I needed to do was blend it up and make it into a smooth cheese.
It’s a really easy recipe but I have changed the method slightly to make it easier to work with the melted chocolate. The original recipe I found firmed up quickly before all the egg white could be added so I am recommending using a ban marie to keep the mixture warm to prevent this.
- 500g Ricotta
- Zest of 2 limes
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 300g castor sugar
- 250g ground almonds
- 250g chocolate, 70%, chopped
- seeds from 1 vanilla pod
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- icing sugar and crushed pistachio nuts to decorate
- Pre heat oven 180C. Grease & flour a 24cm spring form cake tin.
- Boil a pan of water and sit a large bowl on top of it (big enough for all ingredients). Turn the heat off.
- Place chocolate in the bowl over the pan and allow it to melt.
- Add the ricotta, zest, sugar, ground almonds, cinnamon & vanilla seeds to the melted chocolate and combine.
- Add the egg yolks and combine.
- In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites till soft peak consistency.
- Remove the chocolate bowl from the hot pan. Add the egg whites to the mixture and gently fold through until completely combined retaining as much air as possible.
- Spoon batter into cake tin and smooth top.
- Bake for 45 minutes, then allow to cool in tin before removing.
- To serve, dust with pistachio and icing sugar. Goes well with unsweetened Greek yoghurt.
I love anything with marzipan or almonds, for me it denotes Christmas whether on an English Christmas cake, in Stollen or just in bars covered in chocolate.
I have found a supply of German chocolate covered marzipan bars in New World, one of our local super markets, it’s the first time I have seen this product available and I’m not ashamed to admit I have purchased and consumed quite a few bars in the last few weeks. Each time I go to the supermarket the shelf containing them doesn’t seem to have diminished so I feel I should try and deplete their stock so they feel it is a popular product and buy it again next year ;o) All in the name of a good cause of course, someone might have to roll me into the New Year though!
Since I have the almond craving at the moment I decided to make Amaretti biscuits, I have always liked them and in the back of my mind I knew I had seen somewhere that there was a recipe for ‘chewy’ biscuits rather than the crunchy one I have bought in the past. I found this recipe from Smitten Kitten, who has such a beautiful website. I have modified my recipe since I was using ground almonds not paste and added the Amaretto liqueur to help create my own paste. It is an incredibly easy recipe.
- 200g ground almonds
- 2 tblsp amaretto liqueur
- 1 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large egg whites at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
- Preheat oven to 150°C and place racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Line two large sheet pans with greaseproof paper.
- Pulse ground almonds, sugar, salt and amaretto in a food processor until blended.
- Add egg whites and pulse until smooth. Transfer batter to pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch tip and pipe 3/4-inch rounds (1/3 inch high) about 1-inch apart in pans.
- Dip a fingertip in water and gently tamp down any peaks.
- Bake, rotating and switching position of pans halfway through, until golden and puffed, 15 to 18 minutes.
- Mine didn’t puff up as much as Smitten Kittens did but maybe because I used egg left over whites which I had defrosted. Although they turned out the shape I would expect for amaretti biscuits. They were crisp on the outside and chewy in the centre.
- Let me know how yours turn out if you make them.
Let cookies cool almost completely in their pans. Once cool, they’re much easier to cleanly remove from the parchment. You can make them into sandwich cookies but spreading some jam (I used raspberry) between them or ganache (3 ounces of semi-sweet chips melted with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cream, then left to thicken a bit would be enough to sandwich the whole batch).
Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or two or frozen up to one month.
Playing with new ingredients as well as a new lens!
A friend has someone visiting who is on a dairy, wheat, soy and egg free diet so it was a bit of a challenge to make a sweet treat for her. She knew I had been making ice cream lately from yoghurt and asked if it would be possible to make ice cream from rice milk. I said I would test run a recipe and then pass it along if it was successful. Of course I passed on the first batch of rice milk ice cream too! Since I couldn’t make a custard base with eggs I opted for a Gelato style ice cream, thickened with corn flour. The rice milk, which I had never tasted before, was quite sweet so there is very little sugar added to the recipe and the richness of the 70% chocolate over shadows the rice milk flavour.
It was a great success by everyone, not just the young lady on the special diet.
I have also been playing practising with my new macro lens and trying out new techniques, some are working well but other things I took for granted with a wider lens are proving frustrating but I suppose it is just a case of practise make perfect.
- 500ml rice milk
- 50g sugar
- 100g 70% cocoa chocolate, chopped
- 3 tsp corn flour/ corn starch
- Mix 50ml of rice milk and corn flour together till smooth.
- Heat the rest of rice milk in a pan.
- Just before the milk boils remove from the heat and stir in the corn flour.
- Once thoroughly mixed return pan to the heat and cook on a low heat, stirring constantly for a few minutes until milk thickens. It is important to cook out the flavour of the corn flour otherwise the gelato will taste floury.
- Remove from the heat and add the sugar.
- Pour into a bowl and add the chocolate and stir continuously until the chocolate has melted.
- Chill in fridge overnight or until completely cold.
- Transfer the mix into the ice cream maker and process according to manufacturers instructions.
- Keeps well for a week (if you can keep it that long!) but after that I find it forms too many ice crystals in a domestic freezer.
The banana teacakes came about last week when I was in Sydney for work and we had a few bananas ripening perfectly for banana cake. Although the apartment we were staying in was well stocked it wasn’t really set up for a full on backing session so no sooner had my mind turned to baking which it permanantly does, did I realise that there was no flour or baking powder in the cupboards. Amazing..a cupboard without the essentials ingredients!
Not to be deterred, I found ground almonds and we had plenty of eggs, so I figured if we used enough eggs and whisked them to a meringue consistency it would keep the sponge cake light. With just 4 ingredients, ground almonds, honey, bananas and eggs I was surprised how well the cakes turned out, so much so I had made them again this weekend once I was back home so that I could photograph them and share the recipe on my Blog. I felt no guilt at eating these cakes twice in a week, after all one could say they were actually very healthy!
These tea cakes come out very light and fluffy due to them not having any fat content as well as no flour. I made a double batch this weekend because all last week, after eating the banana teacake, I was thinking about how well the teacakes would make a great base for a gluten free banoffee pie-cake, which I will post in the next day or two. As I said I constantly think of baking even while working! Believe it or not but I have a pad next to my laptop in work to make notes as ideas pop into my head! Of course I am busy at work but we women are good at mutli-tasking aren’t we?
- 3 eggs, separated
- 100g ground almonds
- 3 very ripe bananas, sliced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- sliced almonds to decorate, optional
- heat oven to 160 degrees centigrade.
- Place the egg yolks, honey and sliced bananas into a bowl and blend with a whiz stick or electric whisk for 2 minutes. Mixture will become light and fluffy, doubling in volume.
- Add ground almonds to egg yolk mixture and fold through.
- Whisk eggs whites to ‘soft peak’ consistency.
- Fold egg yolk and egg white mixture together, do not beat as this is key to the cake rising and staying light.
- Spoon into mini cake moulds or into cupcake cases and sprinkle sliced almonds on top.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Note, they do not go very brown probably because there is no fat or high sugar content in them.