Lemon and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Spiced Almond and Coconut Crumble for World Diabetes Day


Today, more than ever, I am astounded at the way that life works.

Tomorrow morning, I will be cooking the below recipe on LIVE tv for an audience of about 1.2 million people (so no pressure there haha).

A chance suggestion has resulted in this monumental occasion in my life – life just seems to fall into place when the timing is perfect, don’t you think? Although I am beyond nervous (which is natural right?? ;)) – the excitement is starting to take hold of me.

I. AM. GOING. TO. BE. ON. TV. (Sound the trumpets and throw the confetti)

I have to pinch myself every so often to remind myself that it’s real… Yay, to 5 minutes of fame – here I come! 🙂

There is another reason why making this recipe means so much to me and that’s because my step mother is Diabetic. I have witnessed her journey back to health, have seen her highs and lows (literally – as she has spiked) and have been amazed at her courage and tenacity. I have also noticed her fall in love with food again, through her discovery of exciting recipes that make her feel fantastic at the same time.

Nothing can compare to the feeling of being healthy!

Seeing her excitement at food return has increased my passion for creating healthy sugar free and gluten free recipes even more!

My step mom has discovered that it was the hidden carbs in the foods she was eating that was making her spike – as these turn to sugar in the body. I can’t encourage you to read food labels enough; familiarise yourself with everything you’re putting into your body. Your body is your temple! A Diabetic should have no more than 20g of carbs per day.

I have used Stevia in this recipe, which is a natural sugar substitute made from the plant with the same name. It has no carbs and is recommended as the sugar-substitute of choice for Diabetics. It is 200+ times sweeter than sugar, so every drop counts. I encourage you to taste as you go, to figure out the sweetness that is best for you.

(I made this recipe for 9 of my friends over the weekend, none of whom are Diabetic, and they all enjoyed it too :))

This light and fresh dessert is simple to make and perfect for the Summer months coming up. I hope you enjoy every mouthful with complete abandon and joy!

Lemon and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Spiced Almond and Coconut Crumble

(Makes 4 – 6 depending on size of the mould)

Total number of carbs per serving 3.9g (depending on size of panna cotta)

Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Setting/ chilling time: 4 hours

Spiced Crumble Ingredients:

40g whole almonds with skin, coarsely ground
40g coconut flakes
15g melted butter
¼ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp cinnamon
8 drops Health Connection Wholefoods Stevia Liquid
½ Tbs grated lemon zest
½ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Panna Cotta Ingredients:

1 Cup (250mls) Clover Cream
1 Cup (250g) Pick n Pay Cultured Cream
1 Vanilla Bean, sliced down the middle
1 Tbs Lemon Zest
30 drops Health Connection Wholefoods Stevia Liquid
1 Tbs water
3 leaves gelatine softened in water for 15 minutes


• Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
• Mix all crumble ingredients together
• Press out onto a lined oven sheet
• Bake for 10 minutes, until crumble has become golden in colour
• Allow to cool

• Spray moulds with spray and cook
• Add cream and cultured cream to a pan on the stove
• Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod and add the pod and seeds to the pan
• Add the lemon zest, stevia and water
• Gently heat mixture, stirring with a whisk until it is smooth – do not boil!
• Simmer gently, allowing the zest and vanilla to infuse the liquid for about 10 minutes, stirring intermittently – still do not allow the mixture to boil
• Add gelatine (squeeze out all the water)
• Whisk well to combine
• Strain mixture through a mesh sieve to remove zest and vanilla pod
• Pour mixture into panna cotta moulds
• Chill in the fridge for 4 hours

• To remove panna cotta from mould, take a knife around the rim of the mould to help loosen the panna cotta
• Place the panna cotta mould in a shallow hot water bath for a few seconds until you see the panna cotta start to come away from the edges
• Turn over onto a plate
• Sprinkle the crumble over and finish off with a few strands of lemon zest

Catch me on @expressoshow | facebook.com/expressoshow.sabc3 tomorrow at 6:37am 🙂

In case you missed it, here’s the link to my Expresso Show debut 🙂


Avo, Vanilla and Burnt Honey Ice Cream

ice cream1 SweetLikeCandi

I love how so many things in life are created from a progression of experiments. This ice cream is no exception and in fact the inspiration for this particular ice cream came from a completely mundane task, walking up the stairs! (The smell of burnt honey drifted into my subconscious and tickled my nostrils.)

I wanted to include an ice cream in my previous post – the duo of avo starter, but somehow, it just didn’t work when paired with the other components. Although it tasted quite amazing.

I was still fixated on the idea of a savoury ice cream and was racking my brains, trying to think of dishes to include it in, while walking up the stairs, when this ice cream shoved all thoughts aside and demanded to be created.

So, on a whim, in the early hours of a weekday morning, when it was still dark outside and the world was sleeping – I set my vision free.

In my opinion, avo was born to become ice cream. These flavours compliment each other so well and the burnt honey adds a subtle dimension that lifts the vanilla custard to another level. It is a creamy, smooth ice cream with nutty caramel tones that has to be tasted to be understood.

This is my second entry in the “More than just guacamole!” Afrikado Blogger Challenge, held by ZZ2 Farming

Avo, Vanilla and Burnt Honey Ice Cream

(Makes about 1 litre)


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups full cream milk (I used lactose free and it worked perfectly)
  • 2 vanilla pods, slit down the middle to scrape out the seeds
  • 1/4 cup Xylitol (sugar substitute)
  • 1 1/2 cups double thick cream
  • Flesh of 2 ripe avocados
  • 4 Tbs honey and extra for the caramelized honey garnish


  • Add eggs, milk, vanilla pods and seeds, and Xylitol to a pan on the stove
  • Whisk over low heat until it just forms a loose custard – be careful not to split or curdle. Gently does it
  • Strain mixture to remove vanilla pods
  • Add double cream and blend in a mixer
  • Add avos and blend. The mixture should thicken instantly
  • Heat honey in a pan on the stove, over low heat, until it just changes colour, becomes thick and sticky and you can smell it becoming slightly burnt
  • Let it cool for a while
  • Add the ice cream mixture to the honey and stir to combine. You may need to heat gently because the honey will become hard very quickly
  • Freeze the ice cream for a minimum of 4 hours
  • To make the caramelized honey garnish; heat some honey on the stove until it changes colour and becomes sticky and thick. Drizzle to form a decorative shape on a tin foil covered tray. It will harden as it cools. Gently peel off from the tin foil and decorate your ice cream

*If you have Candida, honey should not be consumed in large quantities.

icecream3 SweetLikeCandi