gluten free fruit mince tarts …

These fruit mince tarts are perfect to make for the Christmas season. It’s a popular Christmas treat.

A custom from the middle ages says that if you eat a mince pie on every day from Christmas to  the Twelfth Night (6th January) you will have happiness for the next 12 months!

Ingredients
Fruit Mince
2 cups mixed dried fruit
1 green apple, peeled, grated
1/4 cup brown Sugar
50 g butter, melted
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp orange zest
1/2 cup Orange Juice
1/4 cup silvered almonds
pure icing sugar, to dust

Pastry
250 g gluten-free plain flour
1/2 cup Pure Icing Sugar
1 tsp xanthan gum
160 g butter, chopped, chilled

Method
1) Place flour, icing sugar and xanthan gum in a food processor. Add chopped butter and pulse, in short bursts, until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

2) Add egg white and pulse until combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, flatten slightly and wrap in plastic. Chill in freezer for 30 minutess. Cut off one-quarter, re-wrap and place back in freezer.

3) Preheat oven to 160°C or 140°C fan. Grease a 12-hole ¹⁄3-cup muffin pan. Roll out pastry between baking paper until 5mm thick. Cut out 12 x 9½cm rounds and ease into greased tins. Prick each pastry with a fork a couple of times. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden-brown.

Note: I didn’t have a round cookie cutter big enough so I used a mini fluted flan tin.

4) Meanwhile to make Fruit Mince: Combine fruit mince ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer for 5-6 mins, or until thickened. Cool completely.

5) Fill each pastry with fruit mince. Grate the frozen pastry over top of each fruit mince tart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Dust with icing sugar, to serve.

I get really nervous whenever a recipe calls for the pastry to be made from scratch. No problems with this recipe. The gluten free pastry was easy to make, roll and shape.

I was happy with the way the tarts turned out. They looked so cute. They were delicious. The pastry was crumbly and buttery. The mince fruit was sweet, sticky and moist. So much better (and healthier) than the store bought mince pies.

“The future… seems to me no unified dream but a mince pie, long in the baking, never quite done.” ~ Edward Young

no bake vegan peanut butter banoffee pie …

I thought the raw chocolate chunk cheesecake with peanut butter and coconut was the best raw vegan pie that existed … until this one! Those who know me know that my favourite dessert is banana caramel pie. Imagine how excited I was to find a healthy version! (Actually my mum found it on Pinterest and sent me the pin. Thanks mum!)

This recipe is courtesy of The Clean Dish.

It’s a simple recipe. No baking involved. Gluten free. Vegan. Refined sugar free. Amazing.

Ingredients
Crust
2 cups raw cashew nuts
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
¾ cup chopped dates (approximately)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt

Filling
2 cans full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated for at least 8 hours (ideally several days)
3 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 medium bananas
fresh squeezed lemon juice from ½ lemon
1 cup peanut butter

Method
Crust
1) To make the crust, add nuts to a food processor and blend until coarse.

2) Add shredded coconut, dates, vanilla extract and sea salt and process until well combined.

3) Press crust into a pie form and refrigerate. I used a 9 inch (23cm) diameter pie dish.

Filling
1) Remove coconut cans from refrigerator; be careful not to shake.

2) Scoop out cream that has accumulated at the top of both cans into a medium bowl (discard the liquid or save for a smoothie).

Note: I’ve made this pie twice and the type of coconut milk that you use along with the duration that the milk is in the refrigerator for does make a difference. With the first pie, the coconut milk contained 27% coconut extract and was stored in the refrigerator overnight. With the second pie, the coconut milk contained 82% coconut extract and was in the refrigerator for days. The coconut milk for the second pie better resembled whipped cream than the coconut milk that I used for the first pie.

3) Add maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix with a hand mixer until coconut cream stiffens and resembles regular whipped cream. May take up to 5 minutes of mixing). Refrigerate.

4) Peel and slice bananas and dip into lemon juice. Don’t let banana slices sit in lemon juice for too long, they will become mushy.
5) To assemble the pie, spread peanut butter on pie crust, cover with banana slices (about two layers), then spread whipped cream out on top. Garnish with banana chips, if desired.

6) Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, ideally over night. Enjoy!

My family loved this pie. This pie was absolutely delicious. The crust was thick, the peanut butter was gooey, the bananas soft and the coconut milk creamy – textures galore. The raw version is just as good as the original version of the banana caramel pie.

You can shamelessly enjoy this dessert without feeling guilty.

“The basic items necessary to sustain life are sunshine and coconut milk.” ~ Dustin Hoffman

purely fruit sweetened brownies …

The quickest and easiest way to make brownies. Using only six ingredients. You may even say these brownies are healthy.

The recipe is courtesy of Elena Amsterdam via the Jamie Oliver site.

Ingredients
200 grams baking chocolate (unsweetened chocolate)
½ teaspoon baking soda
200 grams pitted dates (about 10 dates)
3 eggs
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method
1) In a food processor, pulse chocolate and baking soda until texture of coarse sand.

2) Pulse in dates, then eggs, coconut oil and vanilla.

3) Transfer batter into a 20 x 20 centimeter baking dish.


4) Bake at 180°C/350°F for 26-30 minutes.

5) Cool for 1 hour.
6) Serve.

These brownies are fudgy, moist and yummy. I think they taste better the next day (they become chewy) after they have been in the refrigerator overnight. Be warned – you can’t stop at one.

“I fudge the truth. Like brownies.” ~ Jarod Kintz, Sleepwalking is restercise

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