limoncello …

And now for something completely different – limoncello. Limoncello is a sweet lemon flavoured Italian liqueur.

During my 2010 travels overseas, I went to a restaurant called La Tagliata which is located in a small town called Montepertuso (above Positano) along the Amalfi Coast. This is where I had my first sip of limoncello. Loved it! Couldn’t get enough of it.

After lunch our party of four went to Sorrento. Sorrento is well known for its production of limoncello so everywhere we went, there it was.

Anyways, the point of this story is that I have always wanted to make limoncello since that trip. Up until recently I thought that making limoncello was going to be a task and a half. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to find out how easy it is to make my own limoncello! And the best thing is that I’ve read that meyer lemons are the best lemons to use – which I have plenty of!

How easy is it to make limoncello? The peels (without the pith), is steeped in a spirit until the oil is released. The resulting yellow liquid is then mixed with simple syrup. Too easy!

The recipe below states to store your mixture in a dark place for a week. I stored my mixture in a dark place for 4 weeks. I wanted the flavours from the peel to really infuse into the liquid.

Ingredients
10 – 12 organic lemons
1 750ml bottle of vodka or high-proof spirit (an ethanol content of 28-32% is considered optimal)
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

Method
1) Using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife peel the lemons. Because you are getting the flavor from the peels, opt for organic produce, if you can. And make sure you wash them thoroughly.
2) Remove as much of the white pith from the peels as possible. Too much pith will make your limoncello bitter.

3) Combine the lemon peels and vodka in a clean, dry glass container with a tight-sealing lid. Store the container in a cool dark place for at least a week.

The spirit I used was vodka. The brand – Vodka O. This vodka is three times distilled from fresh seasonal whey and carbon filtered using pure Australian water.

This is actually the world’s first completely organic vodka!

4) Every 2 days, shake the jar to agitate the peels, and make sure they are releasing flavor into the vodka.
5) After at least 1 week, strain the peels out of the vodka.

6) Make simple syrup with the 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water. Start by bringing your water to a boil in a small saucepan.

Once it’s boiling pour in your sugar, and stir until all the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Remove from heat and let cool.

7) Combine the strained lemon vodka and simple syrup, and pour into clean, dry glass bottles.

8) Store in the freezer. Serve chilled. The high alcohol content is one of the reasons why limoncello can be kept in the freezer without turning to ice. The limoncello can be kept in the freezer for at least a year.

I had a sip of the limoncello before I put the bottle in the freezer. It was smooth and sweet.

Note: Because you only need the lemon peel to make limoncello, what do you do with the rest of the lemon? I put the juice into ice cube trays.

So in a nutshell, all you need is lemons, a bottle of vodka, sugar, water and patience.

“When life gives you lemons, grab some vodka and make limoncello!”

 

paleo inspired coconut choc fudge …

This recipe is from Scott Gooding and Luke Hines. They are personal trainers from Bondi. Australia got to know them when they were contestants on My Kitchen Rules in 2013.  They are right into clean living – i.e. eat clean, real, whole and local food.

The boys have released 2 books:

My brother, who works for an organic foods wholesaler, Steve’s Organics, told me about this recipe. After hearing about the recipe, I wanted to make them. (BTW, for this recipe, I bought some of the ingredients from Steve’s Organics. After all, you have to support your local small business, right?)

Now I don’t have the nous or the equipment to film my recipes but here’s a video on how to make the coconut choc fudge. The presenters? None other than Scott and Luke themselves :)


This double layered dessert is quick and easy to make. It’s a very good healthy alternative to those sugared-up fatty sweets. And delicious.

Ingredients
1 cup coconut oil, plus a little extra to grease the tin
1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup shredded coconut, plus a little extra to sprinkle
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup cacao nibs

Method
1) Line the sides and base of a 20 cm square cake tin with baking paper or grease it with coconut oil.
2) Put your coconut oil, almond butter, shredded coconut, rice malt syrup and vanilla seeds in a food processor and combine really well.

3) Scoop half of the mixture into the tin and smooth it out with a knife or spatula so it’s even all over. Place the tin in the freezer for 20 minutes until the fudge has firmed up slightly.

4) Turn the food processor on again and add the raw cacao powder. Blend until chocolatey and lovely, then spoon this mixture onto the already prepared layer in the tin.

5) Put the fudge back in the freezer for about 20–30 minutes, then take it out and cut it into squares.

6) Serve topped with the cacao nibs and extra shredded coconut. (Even though I had cacao nibs in the pantry I didn’t use them. Nor did I use the extra shredded coconut.

Tip: It’s recommended that you use vanilla seeds scraped from the bean. If you don’t have a vanilla bean, just replace the seeds with 1—2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
Variation: Putting a layer of smashed raspberries between the two layers of fudge adds colour and a great tart flavour — try it out sometime.

Fudge is a noun, a verb, an interjection, and delicious!” ~ Terri Guillemets

gluten free sticky mandarin friands …

Friands are small French cakes, usually made with almond flour and baked in small molds.

I decided that I would make friands when, given mandarins, I searched for recipes and found one on Taste. It was a recipe for ‘Sticky Mandarin Loaves’ – the recipe stated you could make mini loaves or friands. Friands it was!

It’s a simple & quick one bowl recipe. I modified the recipe by using gluten free plain flour.

FYI, I have made these friands twice and, in my opinion, blanched almond meal is better to use than the natural almond meal.

Blanched almond meal is made from almonds with the skins removed.

Natural almond meal is made from whole almonds with the skins intact and has a speckled appearance.

Ingredients
125g butter, softened
1 cup (215g) caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon finely grated mandarin rind
1/2 cup (55g) almond meal
3/4 cup (115g) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup (60g) natural yoghurt
1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar, extra
1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
1/4 cup (60ml) mandarin juice
White sugar, to sprinkle
Shredded mandarin peel, to decorate

Method
1) Preheat oven to 160°C.
2) Grease twelve 1/2 cup (125ml) capacity loaf or friand pans. Place on an oven tray.

3) Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy.

4) Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

5) Add mandarin rind, almond meal, flour, baking powder and yoghurt and stir to combine.

6) Spoon evenly among pans and smooth over.

7) Bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

8) Combine the extra sugar, lemon and mandarin juice in a saucepan over low heat.

9) Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves.
10) Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until syrup thickens.

11) Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Pour evenly over each cake and set aside to cool slightly. Top with sugar and peel to serve.

The friands, served for afternoon tea, were light, moist, and tangy.

Great taste and smooth texture. They are just the cutest things! I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the friands were to make. I highly recommend this recipe.

“The first thing I see is the gluten-free section, filled with crackers and bread made from various wheat substitutes such as cardboard and sawdust. I skip this aisle because I’m not rich enough to have dietary restrictions.” ~ Anonymous

 

red ochre grill adelaide …

The Red Ochre Grill is located on War Memorial Drive in North Adelaide.  The restaurant overlooks the River Torrens so a stunning view is guaranteed.

Because Tempting Palates was dining at Red Ochre with Festival of Food vouchers we were given the Festival of Food menu.

The meal started with Pepper leaf pide bread with bush tomato balsamic:

The entree tasting plate consisted of potato and leek soup with pepperleaf chive cream, crocodile fish cake with Vietnamese lemon myrtle pickle and Woodside goats curd noisette with liquid beetroot:

The soup was light, smooth and refreshing, the goats curd noisette was a mix of textures and, despite my initial hesitation, I dared to try the the crocodile fish cake – it was surprisingly tasty.

Some of the group ordered side dishes – steak fries and portobello mushrooms.

There was an assortment of mains ordered. Orroroo Kangaroo fillet (char grilled fillet with a ragu of duy puy lentils, spiced carrots & drunken pear, orange blossom water & cardamon sauce:

Saltbush lamb (slow roasted lamb shoulder & grilled cutlets of saltbush lamb with roasted pumpkin puree, peppered green bean salad, straw potato and mountain pepperberry jus):

I ordered the Gawler River Young Organic Chicken (prosciutto wrapped, soft herb stuffing, confit leg, sweet potato, toasted cashews, spinach puree, cranberry & native apple pickle):

The dish had a nice delicate mix of flavours however the chicken was just a tad dry.

The dessert was after dinner handmade petit fours: sweet and very chocolatey – just how I like it.

The cuisine at Red Ochre is modern Australian and definitely showcases the native ingredients. The dishes are beautifully presented. The staff are helpful and friendly. It was a pleasant dining experience.

I would go back again to dine a la carte and I would like to try the salt and pepper crocodile, the casserole of seafood and the wattleseed pavlova.

“Crocodile meat is a low-fat, low cholesterol and high protein meat. It is good for your heart, lungs, blood circulation and it is known to cure asthma and coughing problems. Crocodile skin is rich in pectin, which is effective in prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, and with the efficacy of improving skin beauty.” ~ krocies

Red Ochre on Urbanspoon

gluten free meyer lemon upside-down cake …

A few weeks ago I picked all the lemons off my lemon tree. I didn’t realise how many lemons I had until I had finished picking.

What to do with them all? I went looking for a meyer lemon recipe. This recipe is courtesy of Butterlust. I modified the recipe by making it gluten free.

OMG! This recipe is a keeper. The cake turned out beautifully and tasted absolutely delicious – the cake was moist, the top was sticky, the flavour was tangy and it had just the right amount of sweetness.

Ingredients
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened (170g)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 Meyer lemons, sliced paper-thin crosswise, seeds discarded
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten free plain flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
2) Set a 9-inch nonstick cake pan over moderate heat. I used a spring-form pan and placed it over a cooling rack on the cook-top.
3) Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and stir in the brown sugar until dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

4) Arrange the lemon slices in the melted brown sugar.

5) In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
6) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter with the granulated sugar until light and fluffy.

7) Beat in the vanilla, lemon zest & lemon juice then add the egg yolks, one at a time.

8) At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the milk.

9) In a stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar at high speed until firm peaks form.

10) Fold one-third of the beaten whites into the batter, then fold in the rest.

11) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

12) Let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then invert it onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This cake was an instant hit with the family. It was served warm. One brother said “delightful!”. The other brother said “your best dessert yet!”.

This is now my favourite go-to cake to make. Since I found the recipe I have made this cake four times.

And in case you were wondering yes, this recipe works with oranges too.

I used navel oranges picked from my mum’s tree.

“When life gives you lemons, make orange juice and leave the whole world wondering how you did it!” ~ Unknown

 

 

date and walnut muffins …

This recipe came to my attention via Facebook on the 4 Ingredients page. The recipe is from the latest 4 ingredients book, ‘Chocolate, Cakes & Cute Things’.

Ingredients
13 ounces/370 grams pitted dates
1 cup self raising flour (gluten free if needed)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons instant coffee or one cup of black coffee

Method
1) In a small bowl, stir together the coffee and 1 cup of boiling water.

2) Add the dates to the bowl and let soak for at least 2 hours.

3) Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
4) Line 12 cups of a muffin tin with paper liners.

5) Stir the flour and walnuts into the date mixture. I used gluten free flour. And I chopped the coffee-soaked dates into smaller pieces.

6) Divide the batter amongst the muffin cups.

7) Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

As with most 4 Ingredient recipes these muffins were easy to make. Healthy. Tasty. Perfect for breakfast, morning or afternoon tea. Ideal for lunch boxes.

“Muffins should always be eaten quite calmly, as it is the only way to eat them!” ~ Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

 

 

gluten free blueberry banana bread …

Following on from last week’s recipe (gluten free moist pineapple banana bread) I still had a few very-ripe bananas left. I went looking for another banana bread recipe. I found one courtesy of Taste of Home. If it was at all possible this recipe yielded a better banana bread than the pineapple banana bread!

* There were some changes that I made – I used butter instead of shortening, substituted the flour with gluten free plain flour and used frozen blueberries (thawed).

Ingredients
1/2 cup shortening (butter)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten free plain flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup fresh blueberries

Method
1) In a large bowl, cream the shortening (butter) and sugar until light and fluffy.

2) Beat in eggs and vanilla.

3) Combine the flour, baking soda and salt.

4) Gradually add creamed mixture, beating just until combined.

5) Stir in bananas.

6) Fold in blueberries.

7) Pour into three greased 5-3/4-in. x 3-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. I used a 7-3/4-in x 3-3/4 in x 2-3/4 in loaf pan.

8) Bake at 350F (180C) for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

9) Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

The smell of freshly baked banana bread is enough to send your taste buds into a frenzy!

Quick and super easy to make. Delicious and moist. Light and not overly sweet. And it toasts well the next day.

Perfect for morning or afternoon tea.

“Hannah’s magic cure for every ill,” he teased. “Blueberry cake and a kitten.” ~ Elizabeth George Speare, The Witch of Blackbird Pond