the lucky cat bar and dim sum …

Last week my friends and I went to the opening/launch of Lucky Cat Bar and Dim Sum – formerly known as Suzie Wong’s Room.

Whilst waiting to be seated we were given complimentary martinis – a green tea martini or a pineapple and cardamon martini. I chose the green tea martini. Very refreshing and much needed as during the day the temperature had hit 34 degrees and it was still quite warm when we arrived.

There are two main eating areas – upstairs (where the main bar is) and downstairs. Our table was downstairs in the cellar. Wow, what a stunning room!

The evening feast started with scallop, prawn and coriander steamed dumplings and vegetable springs rolls. The dumplings were melt-in-your-mouth and tasted so good. I was too busy enjoying those dumplings to take further photos of the dumplings. My bad.

My friend and I ordered the salt and pepper tentacles. If we had known that we were going to get such a generous serving, we would have ordered the one plate to share between us. In saying that though, the salt and pepper tentacles were delicious! It was the stand out dish for me.

The egg fried rice is also a share plate. If you can tackle the whole plate, then all power to you :)

I neglected to take a photo of the vegetable steamed buns (I didn’t order them) but I was assured that they were good.

My other friend ordered the broadbean, bean curd and cabbage dish with a serve of steamed rice. Despite the presence (and lack of warning) about the chilli, she liked the dish. So consider yourselves warned – there is chilli in them beans!

The prawn crackers were free. Who knocks back free food? To earn the crackers, we had to like the Lucky Cat on Facebook and check-in. I was onto it ASAP ;)

The Lucky Cat bar & Dim Sum is a cool and casual place to hang out with your friends and share good food. I’d like to go back and try the steamed buns, the shallot cakes and the long beans. And the Espresso martini …

The Lucky Cat is located on Port Road, Hindmarsh – just out of the Adelaide CBD and next door to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. You can dine in or take away.

Lucky Cat Bar & Dim Sum on Urbanspoon

raw chocolate chunk cheesecake with peanut butter and coconut …

This recipe is from One Green Planet. Drool_worthy!

This recipe does not contain any processed flours, refined sugars, eggs, dairy or gluten. It’s completely raw with no baking involved. The added bonus? The peanut butter and chocolate combination which is the best food combination. Ever.

Ingredients
Crust
1 cup oats (or buckwheat if you want gluten free) *
1 cup dates
* I used gluten free porridge

Cheesecake (filling)
2 or more bananas
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 cups cashews
1 1/2 cups dates
1/4 cup liquid sweetener, like maple syrup, if desired
Beans from one vanilla pod (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
Water, as needed
1/4 cup cacao or carob powder

Topping
3 tablespoons raw chocolate
3 tablespoons raw peanut butter (or you can use regular – it’s up to you)

Method
Crust
1) Process the oats (or buckwheat) and dates until they stick together.

* Tip – soak the pitted dates in warm water for 10 minutes then drain before adding to the food processor.

2) Press into the bottom of a spring form pan and put in the fridge.

Cheesecake
3) Blend all ingredients – except the cacao/carob – until very smooth.

 

4) Add as little water as possible to keep your cheesecake creamy.
5) If you don’t want to add any water, use some liquid sweetener or another banana.
6) Now take out half the batter and put in a bowl.
7) Add the cacao/carob in the remaining batter that is still in your blender and blend until it’s incorporated.

8) Now spread the vanilla layer and the chocolate layers on your crust, alternating a few times.

9) Set in the freezer overnight and then drizzle with peanut butter and chocolate the next day. Enjoy!

Absolutely fabulous! Decadent even. The crunchy crust adds texture. The filling is not overly sweet. There are great flavours coming from the bananas and coconut oil. As I sampled a slice I was reminded of my all time favourite dessert – banana caramel pie. And I wasn’t the only one that was thinking that! This could be the closest thing to being a raw version of that pie.

My youngest brother said “Delightful!” and the other brother said “This is your personal best!” – always good to hear comments like that.

If you decide to make this, it will be a crowd pleaser. It looks amazing especially with the drizzled peanut butter and raw chocolate on top.

“Because you don’t live near a bakery doesn’t mean you have to go without cheesecake.” ~ Hedy Lamarr

polenta pizza with italian toppings …

Janella Purcell is a naturopath + nutritionist, herbalist, iridologist, wellness coach, author, environmentalist, wholefood chef, TV presenter.

Janella’s healthy food philosophy is keeping it deliciously simple.

I follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram – um … stalker much? Anyways, last month she mentioned the launch of her new book, ‘Janella’s Super Natural Foods’, on Facebook. The opportunity to pre-order the book, through Booktopia, was too good an opportunity to pass up.

The book arrived 2 weeks ago! There’s over 150 recipes to try. The first recipe I tried? The polenta pizza.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
500ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) vegetable stock
65g (2 1/2 oz /1/3 cup) fine polenta
1 teaspoon unrefined salt (optional)
125ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) Napoli sauce
2 tablespoons pitted and halved black olives
2 tablespoons quartered sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons Broccoli and mint pesto
1 large bocconcini ball, torn
6 basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 tablespoon Cashew cream cheese (optional)

* See end of post below for recipes for Napoli sauce, the broccoli and mint pesto and the cashew cream cheese.

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 180C (350F/Gas 4). Lightly brush two 22cm (8.5 inch) pizza trays with a little of the olive oil.

I had just the one pizza pan but it measured 32cm (12.5 inch).

2) Bring the stock to a rolling simmer in a large saucepan then, whisking constantly, rain in the polenta in a steady stream.

3) Continue to whisk for about 5 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed.

4) Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes until the polenta is very thick. Be careful not to get splattered by a volcanic-like burst of polenta lava. Remove from heat, taste and season but only if your polenta is not salty enough.

5) Allow the polenta to cool slightly, then spread it over the pizza trays.

You can make the crust as thick as you like.

6) Pop the polenta bases in the fridge to set. This will take about 5 minutes.
7) Remove the trays of polenta from the fridge and add the toppings.

First up, spoon the Napoli sauce over each base, then scatter on the olives and sun-dried tomatoes, dollop on the pesto, and finish with the bocconcini and herbs. Drizzle lightly with the remaining olive oil (not essential) and bake for 10 or so minutes until the tops of the pizzas are golden and the cheese has melted a little.

I didn’t make the Napoli sauce. I used tomato paste instead.

Whenever my mum would make pizzas, she would always put the oregano on the sauce before the toppings were added.

This pizza was going to be for me, mum and nonna. I added sliced ham to one half for mum and nonna.

5) Remove the trays from the oven and allow the pizzas to cool slightly before dolloping cashew cream cheese, if using, over them. Cut into slices and serve on the trays.

I cut the pizza into quarters. Mum, nonna and I had a piece each. Each piece was large enough for us. (The fourth piece I kept for the next night.) The pizza was delicious! We all loved it. Granted, you can’t hold the polenta pizza like you would a normal pizza but there’s nothing wrong with using a fork and knife to eat this pizza.

This was such an easy way to make pizza. Mum loved the fact that the pizza was gluten free. She can now enjoy pizza again! I will definitely make this pizza again – especially for my brothers who don’t like ham and cheese. For them, I’ll use tomato paste, mushrooms and pineapple – an interesting mix but that’s how they like their pizzas. Remember, you can use whatever toppings you like. Be creative, go crazy!

Napoli sauce
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil, depending on your preference
1 medium brown onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 x 400g (14oz) BPA-free tins diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon each unrefined salt and cracked black pepper

Heat a large fry pan over medium heat, then add your oil. Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute for about a few seconds. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf and seasoning and simmer fro about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens and intensifies in flavour.

Cashew cream cheese
155g (5 1/2 oz / 1 cup) raw cashews soaked in 375ml (13 fl oz / 1 1/2 cups) water for an hour
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove (optional)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon each unrefined salt and cracked white pepper

Drain your cashews, then place in a blender with the other ingredients ad blitz until thick and luscious. You may want to adjust the flavours to your liking. It will firm up when chilled for a couple of hours, make it easier to spread. Leave out of the fridge until it softens a little if you want to use it on pasta or as a sauce. It will last for about 1 week, stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Broccoli and mint pesto
1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
20g (3/4 oz / 1 cup) mint, roughly chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
50g (1 3/4oz / 1/3 cup) chopped almonds
50g (1 3/4oz / 1/3 cup) crumbled goat’s feta
1 teaspoon unrefined salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon grated lemon zeest
125ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil

Steam the broccoli and garlic for a minute, or until the broccoli is just tender. Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, pulse or pound the broccoli, mint, garlic, almonds, feta, salt and lemon paste to form a chunky paste. Drizzle in the olive oil and process or pound until you have your desired consistency of crunchy peanut butter.

“Everybody likes pizza! It’s a quick and easy clean-up meal.” ~Buddy Valastro

raw strawberry cheesecake bites …

This simple recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, guilt-free, vegan, raw, paleo-friendly, no bake and has no refined sugars.

The recipe is courtesy of Delighted Momma via Pinterest. This recipe caught my eye because it was similar to the mini vegan cheesecakes that I had made previously.

The raw strawberry cheesecake bites are a much healthier version of the store bought cheesecakes. Just think of the ingredients that are in those cheesecakes (artificial additives, animal gelatin, etc …). Ugh!

Happy no-baking! ;)

Ingredients
Crust
2 cups almonds
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
juice from 1/2 a lemon

Filling
3 cups raw cashews
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla

Topping
8-9 medium to large strawberries
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey

Method
1) Place all of the ingredients for the crust in a food processor.  Process until you have a sticky dough consistency.

* Tip – soak the pitted dates in warm water for 10 minutes then drain before adding to the food processor.

2) Take a small amount of crust and roll it into a ball.  Then place it on the bottom of your muffin tin and press down firmly so it holds together.

* Tip – I scooped about 1 tablespoon of the crust into the muffin tin and then pressed it down. You can use a small glass or the back of a spoon to compact it and really press it down. The bottom of a glass works well. If it sticks, separate the crust and the glass with a small piece of parchment.

* Tip – To make removing the cheesecakes easier, cut strips of parchment paper and lay them in the slots. This creates little tabs that makes removing them easier to pop out once frozen.

Alternatively, using a silicone muffin tin makes the process of getting the frozen desserts out so much easier.

3) Clean your food processor and place all the ingredients for the filling inside.  Process until you have a smooth cheesecake filling consistency.

 

* It does take a little while for the cashew cream to get to the cheesecake consistency.

4) Layer the filling on top of the crust, leaving a little bit of room for the topping.

5) Place all of the strawberry topping ingredients into the food processor and blend until you have a sauce like consistency.

The food processor wasn’t mixing the ingredients well enough so I switched to the stick/immersion blender.

6) Add the topping on top of each mini cheesecake.

7) Place in the freezer for about an hour or until they are set.

8) Once they are set, remove by tugging on the tabs or loosening them with a butter knife. They should pop right out.  Keep in the freezer for up to 1-2 weeks.

I made 21 mini cheesecakes using 2 muffin trays.

Oh.my.goodness! Ridiculously tasty! These mini treats are to die for. The crust is crunchy, the filling is creamy and the topping is tangy. Textures galore. And your taste buds will go crazy. Bite-sized deliciousness.

“One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

upside down pineapple and banana loaf …

This week’s recipe is courtesy of the October 2014 edition of Better Homes and Gardens which came with a bonus booklet – ‘Slices of perfection with your bar tin’.

The other bonus was the inclusion of the  26 x 8 x 4.5cm bar tin.

Out of all the mouth watering recipes in the booklet, I chose the upside down pineapple and banana loaf recipe. This cake is really easy to make. It looks good and tastes good.

Ingredients
melted butter, to grease
2 tablespoons brown sugar
extra 20g unsalted butter, melted
440g can pineapple slices in natural juice, drained
3/4 cup plain flour *
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, mashed
double cream, to serve

* substituted with gluten free plain flour

Method
1) Preheat oven to 180C. Grease bar tin with butter, then line base and sides with baking paper.
2) Combine brown sugar and extra butter in a small bowl. Spoon over base of prepared tin.

3) Halve 3 pineapple slices and drain on paper towel. Arrange over sugar mixture.

4) Sift flour, bicarb and spices into a large bowl. Add caster sugar.

5) Finely chop 2 pineapple slices and put in another large bowl; (Reserve remaining pineapple for another use.) Add egg, oil, vanilla and banana to pineapple.

6) Make a well in the centre of flour mixture and add egg mixture. Stir until just combined.

7) Spoon into tin. Put tin on an oven tray and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool completely.

8) Turn out onto a plate, letting syrup drizzle down the sides. Serve with cream.

Sep172014_0003

The cake was very moist, light and not too sweet. Crazy delicious! Even better served with cream. The tropical flavours makes this cake ideal for spring and summer. For the cold winter nights, serve it hot with custard (or cream).

“the rough end of the pineapple” – a situation in which someone receives unfair or harsh treatment.

luxury orange and almond polenta cake …

Because I picked all the oranges off my orange tree (I now have a glut of oranges) I decided to go looking for a recipe with oranges. Well, there are a lot of oranges_based recipes out there so it was difficult to narrow it to just one. I didn’t have the time to go through every.single.one. Thankfully I found an easy to follow recipe. The recipe is courtesy of good to know recipes.

Ingredients
2 small oranges
5 large eggs
175g (6oz) caster sugar
175g (6oz) ground almonds
50g (2oz) polenta (cornmeal)
5ml (1 teaspoon) baking powder

Orange syrup:
50g (2oz) caster sugar
Juice of 1 large orange

Method
1) Place the oranges, unpeeled, in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1¼ hrs until very soft. Drain and cool for 30 minutes.

2) Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5).
3) Grease and lightly flour a 24cm (9½ in) springform cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.

4) Roughly chop the boiled oranges, removing any pips. Place in a food processor or blender and purée.

5) Whisk together the eggs and sugar for 1-2 minutes then stir in the ground almonds, polenta and the baking powder, followed by the puréed oranges.

6) Pour into the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until light golden and just firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out and cool completely.

7) To make the syrup, place the sugar and 60ml (4 tablespoons) water in a small pan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Boil, without stirring, until the mixture turns light golden. Remove from the heat and add the orange juice. It will bubble and caramelize so reheat gently until dissolved.

8) Serve the cake in thin slices with the warm or cold syrup and crème fraîche. Lightly dust with icing sugar.

Gritty texture. Not overly sweet. Light. Tasty. Ideal for morning/afternoon tea. Beautiful.

“Polenta? Oh, you mean Italian grits.” ~ unknown.

no bake (vegan) peanut butter cup bars …

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – peanut butter + chocolate = amazeballs. The best flavour combination!

This recipe is from The Detoxinista. These bars take no time at all to make and require absolutely no baking. Bonus.

Ingredients
Chocolate Crust:
3/4 cup ground almond meal
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

Peanut Butter Filling:
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Topping:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Method
1) Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
2) In a medium bowl, stir together all of the chocolate crust ingredients until a moist dough is formed.

3) Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined loaf pan, and place it in the freezer to set.

4) To prepare the filling, you can use the same bowl to stir together the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt.

5) Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the peanut butter filling over the top, using a spatula to spread it out evenly.

5) Return the pan to the freezer to set.
6) Rinse the mixing bowl, and use it again, if you like, to make the final layer.
7) Combine the cocoa powder, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup, whisking well to break up any clumps.

8) Once the mixture has become a smooth chocolate sauce, pour it over the peanut butter layer, and return the pan to the freezer to set until firm, about an hour or two.

9) Once the bars are firm, grab the edges of parchment paper to easily lift the solid bar from the pan, and use a sharp knife to slice the bars into your desired size.

OMG. These bars are to die for. Seriously. You will not be able to stop at one. One of the best sweet treats you could possibly have. Heavenly.

Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month.

If you don’t like peanut butter, you can use almond butter, cashew butter or even sunflower butter for a nut free filling.

“These are delicious! What are they?”
“Double chocolate chip with peanut butter filling.”
“They’re the second best thing I’ve ever tasted.”
I laughed. “You said the same thing at dinner.”
“I recently readjusted the ranking.”
~ Colleen Houck, Tiger’s Quest