Crunchy granola clusters

I made over one of my first recipes here – granola – now featuring crunchy sweet delightful clusters! It’s so good that I had to kick my man out of the kitchen as he was eating it faster than it was taking to cool down ūüėČ

Crunchy granola clusters

VEGAN – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients

4 cups of whole rolled oats (gluten-free) (or, a new favourite of mine is using half puffed rice and half puffed millet)

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup walnuts

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup coconut flakes

1/2 cup buckwheat

7 tbsp oil (I use coconut oil, you can, however, leave this out completely, it just doesn’t cluster as much – you could always increase the syrup a bit)

3-8 tbsp (brown) rice syrup (or glucose syrup) – I used 3 which made some clusters but not all and I liked the sweetness. If you want all of it to cluster and want it sweeter add in more syrup. Make sure that the rice syrup is pure, the mixes contain fructose. I get mine at the Bulk Food Savings in Auckland (in the car park behind Wendy’s) but you can get this in most specialty stores. Please share where you have found yours.

Variations

It really doesn’t matter too much which seeds and nuts you use, pick your favorites or whatever you have ¬†in your cupboards, I just found the combo above to be my favorite.

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Directions

Pre-heat oven to 160C. Chop the almonds and walnuts into chunky pieces. Pour all the nuts, oats and seeds into a bowl.

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Pour over a third of the syrup, mix, add another third, mix, add the remainder, mix. Then spread out on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 6-10 minutes approximately (depends on your oven and how small you chopped the nuts and how roasted you like it).

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If you fan bake you can put in two sheets at the time and do two rounds. Keep the granola on the baking sheet and cool down at room temperature before transferring to an airtight container. Enjoy!

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Choccy treat balls

These delightful choccy treat balls were inspired by a recipe from my friend Tina. Traditionally they were just 3 ingredients (dates, cacao and coconut oil) but I added in liquids (water/orange juice) to make them smoother and softer with additional orange and mint respectively. They went down a treat with everybody at work ūüôā

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VEGAN – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

With the size I choose, I made 32 balls – 16 of each flavor. Please note that since a medium Medjool date contains 7.7 grams of fructose, the total content for this recipe is 77 grams. If you make 36 balls, that is just over 2 grams per ball. I try to stay below 15 grams per day = 7 balls.

Ingredients:

10 medium Medjool dates (These are very soft which is what you need but you can probably sub for others if you can find some really soft ones, then you probably just need to put in extra dates as Medjool usually are a little bigger than your average date. I buy organic loose dates in my local New World in the fresh veggie section, but dates can otherwise be found in bags in the isles next to sultanas etc)

20-24 tbsp cacao (or cocoa) powder

2 tsp coconut oil (or rice bran oil, but you might need to add a little more cacao at the end if it gets too sticky – or, if you are not lactose intolerant, melted butter)

1 tsp mint essence (or any other essence you can think of)

45 ml water (3 tbsp)

50 ml (3 tbsp + 1 tsp) freshly squeezed orange juice with pulp (approx the juice from half a medium sized orange)

Toppings (E.g. chopped nuts and desiccated coconut or whatever else you have in your cupboard)

Optional: ‘Nutella‘ or other chocolate spread¬†(this recipe takes only 5 min if you have some peanut butter)

Directions:

Pit all the dates and place them in a bowl with 8 tbsp cacao and all the oil.

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Combine and knead with your hands until the “dough” is well mixed and smooth (or pop in a food processor).

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Now divide the dough in two equal portions and place in two separate bowls.

Orange balls: Add the orange juice and 6-8 tbsp of cacao (put less cacao in first and then stop when it has the consistency you prefer). Knead/combine.

Mint balls: Add the mint essence, water and 6-8 tbsp of cacao (put less cacao in first and then stop when it has the consistency you prefer). Knead/combine.

Roll each portion out into a long roll and cut into 8 pieces. Then shape into a ball and cover in your favorite toppings (I choose chopped almonds for the orange balls and desiccated coconut for the mint balls).

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You can either finish there, or inject some filling, I made some with ‘Nutella“.

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Now your balls are ready to eat straight away or keep in an airtight container in the pantry or fridge. Enjoy!

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Burning love

As the otherwise beautiful weather was shattered by a storm shaking the windows and howling outside yesterday evening, we felt like a nice hearty meal. What could be better than return to my childhood roots and put together some ‘burning love’ (br√¶ndende k√¶rlighed). This an adaption of my mother’s recipe which is an all-time favorite of mine.

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The name burning love is actually a direct translation from Danish which made me think about where the name came from. No definitive answers although some people suggest that it looks like a bonfire if you make a mount of mashed potato with the fried meats on the very top. It is also said that two lovers were cooking the dish once upon a time and were staring too deep into each others eyes (or something like that!) and forgot about the dish, thus earning it its ‘burnt’ name ūüėČ

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To make this a VEGAN meal you could substitute the meats for vegan bacon and sausages! Either buy them ready made or you could even try and ‘make’ your own. Check out Vegan Adventures’ bacon¬†here.¬†I am going to try that sometime soon – using gluten-free flour instead or regular flour and glucose syrup instead of molasses (although it will loose some of the flavor by not using blackstrap molasses). You could also try to make your own vegan sausages with this recipe from Hell Yeah It’s Vegan! (using same swaps as above to make it gluten and fructose free).

DAIRY FREE – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

Enough for dinner for 2.

2 kumara potatoes (or yams or other sweet potatoes)

1 regular large white potato

6-7 long rashers of thin streaky bacon

2 continental/European frankfurters

1 German spicy kransky sausage

A handful celery leaves

Crispy fried onions to sprinkle over the top (you can get these in European delicatessen or other specialty stores. Or, you can make them yourself – all you need is shallots, gluten-free all purpose flour and oil for deep frying. Cut the onions in very very very thin slices and cover in flour. Heat up oil and fry them until they turn brown and crunchy. Then place on paper towels to soak up the excess oil). You can also just swap for regular pan-fried onions.

Directions:

Heat a pot of water. Peel your potatoes, cut them into big chunks and pop them in the water and heat to a low boil. Whilst the potatoes are boiling, turn a pan to medium-high heat and put on your bacon in one layer so they all get crisp.

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Your bacon is done when it’s nice and crisp and looking almost a bit burnt (but don’t go black, black is not good for your body or taste, only dark brown).

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While the bacon is cooking, get your franks and sausages out and cut into small chunks (or have all this prepared beforehand).

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Take the bacon off the pan and place on paper towels to soak up the excess fat. Leave the bacon fat in the pan and now cook your sausages in this which brings out the most beautiful flavors.

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Chop your bacon into nice thin rows and leave for the moment. When the sausages have cooked, put them aside with the bacon.

Chop a handful of celery leaves finely leaving a leaf or two for decoration (you could use parsley as well, I just always have celery in the house and rarely use the leaves/the top anyways – less waste, more taste).

Now check that your potatoes are ready – you should be able to put a knife in one and have it slide though easily. Pour all the excess water away. Then pour all the fat from the pan into the pot with potatoes and mash away (this is in place of butter and makes it taste delicious – if you want a healthier version, just leave it out, but the taste is not the same). Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Then, just before serving, add half the chopped celery to retain the fresh taste and give it a stir.

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Now all you have to do is plate it up. Place a portion of mashed potato on the plate. Add your bacon and sausage mix. Sprinkle celery and crispy onion on top and finish with a decorative celery leaf. Serve as is or traditionally it’s eaten with tomato sauce or ketchup. Enjoy!

If you would like to see more recipes like this you can always follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

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Danish pancakes (crepes) with blueberry compote

We were away away last weekend and I felt like making something a little different for breakfast. I combined a traditional Danish pancake (which is dinner plate sized and as thin as a crepe Рmost other nationalities would probably call it crepe) with my 5 minute fluffy mini pancakes, served with blueberry compote and I got this lovely creation:

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VEGETARIAN – DAIRY FREE – GLUTEN FREE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

Enough fr 2 very hungry people or 4 small-regular breakfast sizes (the amount of pancakes depends on the size and thickness you decide to go for).

8 tbsp buckwheat flour

2 eggs (or for a vegan version you can either substitute for a flaxseed egg or add another banana and 1/8-1/4 tsp Xanthan gum)

2 bananas

1 + 1/2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (or smooth if you prefer)

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp water

3 cups blueberries + extra for decoration if you want

4-5 tbsp dextrose (can be left out depending on how sweet/ripe your berries are and how sweet you like it)

1 tbsp chia seeds

Variations:

You can of course use any sweet filling, it doesn’t have to be blueberries, it could be strawberries, raspberries etc. You could also just simply spread chocolate (e.g. chocolate peanut butter spread or ‘Nutella‘) on the pancakes and roll them up with a sprinkle of dextrose on top. Or, my favorite as a child – filled with vanilla ice cream and served with chocolate sauce on top (more of a dessert than a breakfast then though lol).

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 60C (160F), this is for keeping your pancakes warm later (don’t go much above this temperature as the pancakes will otherwise dry out).

Place 75% of the blueberries and all the dextrose in a pot with a lid at high heat until it’s boiling, then turn down the heat to low-medium until the berries are starting to fall apart (a couple of minutes).

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Give it a little stir so the berries come apart (you want this to happen so that the mixture becomes thicker – otherwise it will be very watery because you are using blueberries), then add the remaining blueberries (keep some for decoration) and simmer for another minute to heat. Depending on how watery your end result is (blueberries vary a lot in their water content) and how much you want the berries to stay whole, you can add more or less chia seeds – they soak up liquids and grow soft so that you hardly notice them and make the mixture thicker.

Whilst the blueberries are simmering away (or make that first, then set aside to reheat later) mash your bananas, add your peanut butter, eggs and dextrose. Stir vigorously until well combined. Then add your water and combine well.

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Put a bit of cooking oil on the pan and heat to medium. Now pour on a portion of the pancake mix, tilt the pan a little if needed to distribute and turn when bubbles have appeared and have popped (as in the photo below left). Your pancake will be beautifully brown (as in the photo below right). If you don’t want it quite so brown, flip the pancake when the bubble appear but haven’t burst yet.

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Start stacking the pancakes on a plate and keep in the oven whilst you make the rest of them, otherwise they will get cold really quickly. When you have finished cooking all the pancakes, re-heat the compote if needed. Then unfold a pancake, fill with blueberry compote and fold (or roll if you can without breaking the pancake, that is the traditional way of doing it).

If you want to get a bit fancy you can make decorative patterns with dextrose or cocoa powder. You don’t even need a stencil, I just folded a piece of paper towel, cut a heart shape (see two photos below left) and put it on top of the pancakes and sprinkle with dextrose on top, then remove the paper heart. You can also do the reverse, just use the other part that you cut out from (see photo below far right) and you will just have a powdered heart instead (or whatever else shape you go for).

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Now eat the pancakes straight away before they get cold. Enjoy!

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Mint chocolate chip ice cream

It is time for an ‘ice cream’ recipe. I’m a massive fan of chocolate and mint, so what could be better than mint chocolate chip ice cream! This one is smooth, minty and creamy – yum!

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Just a couple of notes before you are even thinking about swapping ingredients…. (I am sure you know the feeling of finding a recipe you want to try but are missing an ingredient or two and therefore swap with something else). I was going to make some with young coconut meat (I’ve seen a recipe somewhere with that), but since there was nowhere to get a hold of it, I grabbed a regular (who-knows-how-old-it-is) coconut from my local supermarket and spent ages getting the meat out (which is not easy when it’s hard – young coconut meat is soft and scoop-able). However, let me just say, that was edible but not pleasant enough to eat more of. Then I tried coconut milk and decided it was too ‘soupy’. Third time is the charm it seems though. Coconut cream and banana did the trick!

VEGAN – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

Makes approximately 1 litre of ice cream.

2 cans of full-fat coconut cream (400ml)

150 grams of glucose syrup (liquid glucose) (or 100 grams of dextrose as in the photo below, but it is nowhere near as smooth and soft)

1 banana, just ripe enough to eat but not gone spotty yet

2 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach (to give it its green color)

2 tsp of mint essence

Chocolate chips (make your own or try my fudgy chocolate or white chocolate¬†– I make a big batch and store it in the freezer for moments like this ūüôā¬†)

Directions:

Pour all the ingredients into the food processor and set at high speed until completely smooth (or as much as you want). I blended in-between but no need to.

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Then, you pour the mixture into your ice-cream maker for about 25 min. 5 minutes before time is up, add your chocolate chips and then pop into a container to set in the freezer for at least an hour. ¬†This recipe keeps okay in the freezer (it doesn’t go totally hard due to the fat in the coconut,¬†you just need to de-frost it for 15-30 minutes before digging in) but it definitely best if eaten straight away. Enjoy!

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Baked eggs bacon overload

This week I had baked eggs for the first time (at the lovely Richmond Rd Cafe in Grey Lynn – just a shout out for some of the best customer service I have had in a long time, they are super accommodating to any dietary requests, remember previous orders and requests you have had and always go the extra mile) and it tasted awesome! So I came up with a creation incorporating similar elements. Yummy breakfast if you need to spoil someone (including yourself) with something a little bit different than regular bacon and eggs ūüôā

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DAIRY FREE – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

Makes two little ramekins – enough for 2 people (or one very hungry person). To make enough for 4, double the recipe.

1/2  of a 425g tin of chickpeas (drained and washed)

1/2 of a 300g tin of tomato paste or puree

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8-1/4 tsp hot chilli powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

3 tbsp water

4 eggs

2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach

250g streaky bacon (I get the Freedom Farms SPCA approved brand)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 175C (350F) and grease two little ramekins (I used ones which were 10cm wide, 6cm deep / 4 inches wide, 2.3 inches deep – keep in mind that if you use a different size the cooking time will change).

Cut up the onion into small chunks and pop in a small pot on high heat. When the onions are starting to turn glossy (and I like to cook mine till they get a nice brown surface as it gives it more taste), add the tomato paste, chickpeas, water and spices. Give it a good stir and pop a lid on it for 10 minutes in order for the flavors to develop (or longer if you want the chickpeas to turn mushy).

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Now divide the chickpea mix into the two ramekins, spoon out two holes for the eggs and pop them in.

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These will turn out with the eggs almost cooked all the way through. If you would like the egg yolk to be soft and runny, make a hollow in the middle, separate the egg yolk and put it in first, then the egg whites on top.

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Cook for approximately 20 minutes or as long as it takes for the egg whites to cook (as soon as you see no uncooked egg whites, take it out the oven or it will cook all the way through). Whilst they are cooking, make the bacon (fry to a crisp on a dry pan, then place on a plate with kitchen towel to soak up the extra fat – better finish the bacon before the rest and then keep warm in the oven than let anything go cold). Plate it all up and it is ready to eat. Enjoy!

If you would like to see more recipes like this you can always follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

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Peanut butter cups

I just stumbled on a recipe from Sarah Wilson’s book I Quit Sugar on chocolate butter cups (great book by the way, for anyone else on a sugar-free journey :)). That made me think, that this would be another good use for the fudgy chocolate I made the other day!!! Homemade healthy peanut butter cups – yum!

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VEGAN – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

Makes around 12 cups.

For the chocolate – follow the recipe for Fudgy Chocolate on one of my other posts.

The only other ingredient is peanut butter. Either you can buy some (make sure you check the labels – lots of them have added Palm Oil and sugar in it – I buy one called 100% Nuts which is exactly as it says on the label, only nuts). Or even better, make your own (I do this when I have time, it’s cheaper as well).

Variations to this recipe:

There is no end to the flavors and substitutes that you can make. As someone else commented on my fudgy chocolate recipe (thanks Anne) Рyou can swap the vanilla essence with mint essence! You can also substitute the peanut butter with any other nut butter you can think of Рor, how about adding in homemade Nutella, white chocolate, mashed banana, or anything else your creativity might inspire Рdo share if you think of something new!

Directions:

Make the chocolate mix and tip it into something which is easy to pour from (I used my measuring cup). As soon as you have stopped stirring the chocolate it will start separating. This is actually what I really like about this recipe. The ‘liquid’ part will harden into crunchy chocolate whilst the ‘thick oozy’ part will shape into chewy fudgy chocolate. Use this to have some fun. Pour the two different densities into separate containers. I poured in a little liquid in all the cups first. Now pop it in the freezer for 5 minutes.

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Take it back out the freezer (don’t leave it for any longer or the rest of your chocolate mix will get to dense to pour). Now spoon a little peanut butter in the middle of each cup. I choose to add a little peanut oil to my peanut butter to make it runny as you bite into the final product (but this also means that you will get a flat line of it as in the top picture). If you want more peanut butter in your cup and for it not to touch the sides, all you have to do is not add any oil. Then it will be dense enough to dollop and form a ball, rather than spread out.

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Now pour on a layer of the thick chocolate and wait for it to spread out evenly. Then pour on a finishing layer of the liquid.

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Then, pop the tray in the freezer and let it set for 30-60 minutes. Your peanut butter cups are now ready to use and will have a crunchy layer on bottom and top with soft peanut butter and chewy chocolate in the middle. You can keep them in the freezer for storing OR in the fridge if you are eating them within a week (regardless, they taste best when they are at fridge or living room temperature depending on your taste – they take about 15-30 minutes to ‘defrost’ when they come straight out of the freezer). Enjoy!

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Fudgy chocolate

This recipe was a little bit of luck. I had run out of dextrose to make chocolate chips for another recipe (mint chocolate chip ice cream – will post later this week), so I used glucose syrup instead. Rather than hard and crunchy, this chocolate turned out decadent, chewy and fudgy! This chocolate can be used for anything – add as chips in ice cream, cupcakes or cookies or just eat as a treat.

Main (blog)

VEGAN – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

100 grams cocoa butter

3 tbsp glucose syrup

2 1/2 tbsp cacao (or cocoa)

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Directions:

Measure out your cocoa butter.

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Then chop it up and melt over a water bath. Then add the glucose syrup whilst stirring and keep stirring until it has dissolved as much as possible (it will separate a little bit and the syrup will stay at the bottom. You may find that it doesn’t dissolve completely, that’s okay, it will still turn out fine).

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Take off the heat, add in the rest of the ingredients and stir some more.

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Then pour into a container (lined with a baking sheet) or make into chips or other decorative ¬†shapes (just keep in mind that if you go too thin the end shape will bend at room temperature due to it’s fudginess). It will naturally separate into layers of liquid and dense chocolate (as seen by the different brown colors in the photos below. I love the different texture in bars etc. However, if you want more fudgy, chewiness rather than crunch, add more syrup and chocolate or reduce the cocoa butter.

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Then freeze until it has set (10 min – 30 min) and chop up and use for whatever purpose you desire! Or, you can keep it in the freezer for whenever you have a craving for it – after 10 seconds out of the freezer it has softened a little bit and you can munch away (depending on the thickness you may have to be patient a little longer if it’s completely frozen – the thicker you go, the longer it takes to ‘defrost’). Enjoy!

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Best fish & chip shop in Auckland!

I’m not going to do many reviews, but, when i find somewhere really awesome like this, I need to share.

One of our old haunts for take-out was our local chippy… which was in no way healthy, and certainly not gluten-free with the indulgent batter covering the fish. I am SO happy now though, I stumbled on the Chip Shop!

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Battered hoki with chips

Their batter is gluten-free (contains maize starch and rice flour instead), dairy-free, free of sugar (sweetened instead by maltodextrin, which is on the ‘safe’ list) and all cooked in rice bran oil. Oh, and equally important, it tastes awesome! The batter is crunchy, the fish pieces are delicious and the staff are the nicest ever. If you live in Auckland or visiting, I can definitely recommend this place for great fish and chips, gluten-free/dairy-free/sugar-free or not!

The Chip Shop
711 Manukau Road, Royal Oak
(By the big roundabout)
Auckland
Phone: 09 625 3833

Opening hours are on their website but usually from noon (note that they are closed Mondays).

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Delectable white chocolate

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After making the chocolate cheesecake I found that the white chocolate worked great in the cake and as chips but I wanted more…. I wanted a white chocolate so great that it could be scoffed all by itself. After a failed attempt (too much coconut just doesn’t taste chocolaty), another fail (not creamy enough) and one nearly-there (good, but missing the awesome factor), I now have created a recipe that I almost didn’t get to photograph as it was disappearing too fast.

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VEGAN – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

50 grams of cocoa butter

2 tbsp dextrose

Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean pod

1/8 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp almond butter (homemade or shop bought – but look for a 100% nuts one, no additives)

1/2 tsp rice flour (I used brown rice flour, you can also use normal riec flour or rice milk powder)

Directions:

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Measure out the cocoa butter, chop into smaller pieces (the smaller, the faster it melts) and melt over a water bath (meanwhile, make the almond butter if you need to). You can also do this in the microwave for a few minutes (it takes a lot longer than butter) but I feel more in control when I can look at it and stir when needed.

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While the cocoa butter is melting you can de-seed the vanilla pod (split open lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a butter knife or spoon).

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Now add the dextrose and stir until dissolved. Take the bowl off the heat.

Add in the rice flour and vanilla seeds. Stir. Add vanilla essence. Stir. Add the almond butter. Stir.

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The mixture will look a little bit lumpy due to the almond butter which is fine (depends on how finely chopped and processed it is). Now, pour it into a container (chocolate shaped, bars, cheesecake, whichever shape, thickness or format you want – you can also pour it in a small bowl and wait for it to cool a bit in the fridge until it has the consistency of toothpaste and then pipe it on a baking sheet to shape chips). I made this batch one thin flat bar, to chop up and eat as is. Keep in the fridge or freezer.

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Enjoy!!!!

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