August 2014 archive

Wild strawberries and vanilla cream

Looking for something simple and light with minimal preparation? then look no further than Mr Jamie Oliver’s strawberries and vanilla cream – (original recipe here).

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Ingredients

4 handfuls wild strawberries

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 vanilla pod, scored lengthways and seeds scraped out

1 splash sherry vinegar

1 pot crème fraîche

a few small fresh mint leaves

zest of 1 orange

Directions

Pick out the nicest strawberries and set aside. Put the rest in a bowl and add the sugar, half the vanilla seeds and the vinegar. Squash together with the back of a fork and leave to macerate for 10–15 minutes.

Stir the rest of the vanilla seeds into the crème fraîche. To serve, spoon a little vanilla cream in the centre of each bowl, make a well in the middle and spoon in some mushed strawberries. Halve some of the reserved strawberries and sprinkle the lot over the vanilla cream. Scatter over the mint leaves (and orange zest if using) then serve.

I love not only the subtle taste the vanilla gives the crème fraîche but also the beautiful speckling of black that runs through the cream. So simple yet so elegant.

Girl wants cake – first taste of a Lamington

For those in Johannesburg – seems every 4th week or so I feel the need to venture forth and find myself some sweet treat. So as per previous excursions I ended up at Fresh Earth in Emmerentia, and this time I bought a gluten-free Lamington.

Now this is something that I have never actually eaten, or even tried a nibble of in the dark while no-one was looking. So time for some research… a Lamington is an Australian dessert with sponge cake coated in chocolate sauce (or icing depending on where you read) and then in desiccated coconut.

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Being a fan of both chocolate and coconut I decided to try the unknown. Very nice, satisfies the sweet tooth and as with everything I have tried at Fresh Earth a great tasting gluten-free cake – nothing worse than a gluten-free cake or bread that tastes like dried cardboard! Visit the Fresh Earth website here.

Whilst on the topic of nibbly things, someone recently gave me some Schar gluten-free “Maria” biscuits (thank you Morne) which are basically Marie biscuits, and I wondered why an Italian company was producing a South African biscuit. Seems I rather erroneously believed that a Marie biscuit was a South African invention. Imagine my horror (and embarrassment, yes maybe I blushed a little) to find out that the Marie Biscuit was created in London in 1874. I grew up in the UK and have no recollection of a Marie Biscuit – not that I would have been eating them of course,  but I am well aware of chocolate digestives , Bakewell Tarts and Jaffa Cakes and I was not eating those either!

I did ask someone at work to try one and then do a comparison with a local Marie biscuit and apparently it is rather close – they taste just like the real thing.  So if it’s time for tea and you are looking for a biscuit to dunk, now you know what to eat! Schar products are imported by Master Health Products – visit their website for a full list of stockists.

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Gluten-free baked chocolate and raspberry mousse

I saw this recipe recently in Woman & Home and I was forced to try it almost immediately – chocolate and fruit in one wicked dessert! The article said that the recipe was by James Martin but I have not been able to find it online so far. As you can see this was eaten faster than I could take a photo, partly because it needed to be eaten hot out of the oven, and partly because it tasted so good!

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Ingredients (serves 4)

200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids

25g butter

4 eggs

50g castor sugar

400g raspberries

Pouring cream or ice cream to serve if desired

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees

Break the chocolate into pieces. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove and allow to cool slightly.

Separate the eggs, reserving the whites, then whisk the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture.

Whisk the egg whites with the sugar to form stiff peaks, and then fold them into the chocolate mixture.

Place the raspberries into a large ovenproof dish measuring approximately 15 x 20cm, then top with the chocolate mixture.

Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, remove and serve immediately with cream if desired.

 

The notes to the recipe say that this could also just into the fridge to set as an unbaked mousse as well, but cooking it changes the flavour. In the interests of research I kept a small amount of the mixture into the fridge as well. The fridge version was basically a chocolate mousse which tasted a lot better the next day. The baked mousse almost takes on the consistency of gooey cake with small pieces of raspberries dotted throughout – really was very nice and also something a little different to serve.

Pretty and pesto

This weekend I felt like pasta and one of my favourite sauces is a simple pesto. That said, with additives and who knows what else sometimes being added, one has to be quite vigilant in terms of what one actually buys (plus some pesto seems to have walnuts in which, for some reason, can bother me). So right now I have two trusted options:

Option 1 – raw pesto from Free Food

Made with extra virgin olive oil, filtered water, basil, almonds, garlic, lemon juice and kalahari salt; this is a gluten-free, dairy-free, additive and stabilizer free pesto. If you eat dairy then you can just your own parmesan as so desired.  Free Food has a small restaurant and deli just off Corlett Drive where you can find deli items, frozen meals, soups, salads, gluten-free pasta, vegan burgers, gluten-free pizza bases/wraps and so much more (including the odd dessert). The menu changes every 2 weeks but you can always find the pesto and other great things in the deli section. Free Food is gluten/what, dairy, sugar, preservative and animal free. Many more postings on this shop to come!

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Photos originally from freefood.co.za

Visit http://www.freefood.co.za for more or visit them at the corner of Corlett Drive and Delta Street (opposite BMW).

Option 2 – make it yourself!

I was recently watching Siba’s Table (starring Siba Mtongana) on the Home Channel and she made a chicken pesto penne dish, and I was inspired by this to make my own pesto as well.

Find the original recipe here at http://www.foodnetwork.co.za.

For the pesto:

  • 200g fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 100g pine nuts, toasted
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded
  • 160ml olive oil
  • Parmesan shavings, to serve
  • Fresh basil, to serve

1. To make the pesto: place the pesto ingredients in a food processor, except for the olive oil. Blend until smooth and well combined. Add the oil in a thread like motioning until you have a thick pesto.

2. Transfer to a sterilized jar and cover with a layer of oil to seal. Store in the fridge until needed.

How simple is that? I do not add the chilli myself not being a lover of spicy food so that is up to you.

With both these options I know exactly where the products have come from and what the ingredients are, which for me, is the most important thing… and they taste pretty good as well!