An Avo Extravaganza! A Duo of Avo – Starter

Avo Ritz Mousse and Avo Risotto Ball SweetLikeCandi

Wow, I just love avos! Can’t get enough of them – I love everything about them, the colour, texture, taste and the fact that they are so versatile!

I entered the “More than just guacamole!” Afrikado Blogger Challenge, held by ZZ2 Farming because I simply could not pass up such an awesome opportunity.

I really wanted to push myself with this challenge, beyond my comfort zone and then, just a little bit more. I can honestly say that this has been one of the best experiences I’ve had so far – it taught me so much about myself; what I am capable of, that not getting it right the first time is actually an amazing blessing, how to pair ingredients, plate up and most importantly how much fun I have in the kitchen – even when hours go by – there is nothing quite like the sense of achievement at the end of the day, when you’ve pushed yourself to your limits and come out the other side with a dish that you are utterly proud of. What a rush! 😀

This is the dish that I have created – it is a starter of avo, done two ways, and I think it really does show the versatility of this delicious super food!

Avo Ritz Mousse accompanied by an Avo Risotto Ball in a Sesame Seed Crumb

There are quite a few processes to this dish, but the great thing is that everything can be made the night before so that when it comes time to serve, it is virtually stress free.

Avo Ritz Mousse with micro herbs and caper berries:

(Makes 4 Individual Mousses)

Ingredients:

  • 200g cooked prawns, flash fried in butter, salt and pepper to release juices, plus 8 extra for garnish
  • 75g cream cheese
  • 75mls homemade tomato sauce (ingredients below) *Retain the remainder of the sauce for plating with the risotto ball
  • 75mls homemade mayonnaise (ingredients below)
  • Flesh of 1 ripe medium avocado
  • Juice of half medium sized lemon (or to taste)
  • 12 chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 leaf gelatine (follow directions on packet)

Tomato Sauce:

  • 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbs Xylitol (sugar substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Juice 1/4 lemon
  • Salt to taste

Mayonnaise:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 75mls Canola oil (for Banting use Coconut Oil or Macadamia Nut Oil)
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Xylitol (sugar substitute)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Tomato sauce: (Can be made the night before)

  • Roughly chop tomatoes
  • Add all ingredients to a pan on the stove
  • Cook on low heat until tomatoes are soft and falling apart (about 20 minutes)
  • Strain sauce through a sieve
  • Place liquid back on stove and reduce by half
  • Taste and make sure that it is tangy, slightly sweet, salty and a bit spicy
  • Adjust seasoning if needed
  • Chill tomato sauce in the fridge until ready to use

Mayonnaise: (Can be made the night before)

  • The secret to making the perfect mayo is patience!
  • Add the canola oil, literally one drop at a time, to the egg yolk and whisk after every addition
  • Adding the oil slowly will ensure a thick mayo that doesn’t split
  • Once the yolk has become a pale yellow and the mixture has thickened, you can add the lemon juice
  • And whisk again
  • Slowly add the rest of the ingredients (don’t have a heavy hand with this, you want the mayo to have a subtle flavour)
  • Finish adding the oil, you can be a bit quicker, and whisk
  • You may want to add a tablespoon of hot water to loosen the mayonnaise
  • Chill in the fridge until ready to use

Other directions:

  • Make sure all mousse ingredients have cooled
  • Blend mousse ingredients until smooth, except for the gelatine
  • Only add the gelatine at the end, following directions on the packet
  • Taste and check for seasoning
  • The avo is the star of this dish, therefore it shouldn’t be overpowered by the other ingredients
  • Once you are happy with the flavour, transfer to small molds covered in clingfilm
  • Chill for a minimum of 4 hours

Avo and Mozzarella Risotto Ball with Sesame Seed Crumb, Spicy Tomato Sauce and Basil Oil

(Makes 8 balls)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs oil with little flavour (like Canola)
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 250g Arborio rice
  • 500-600ml chicken stock (I used a yeast-free, mock chicken stock made by Earth Products)
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Flesh of 1 ripe medium avocado
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 75g Fior di latte mozzarella (or 8 small cubes)
  • +/- 50g sesame seeds for coating
  • Canola oil for frying

Directions:

  • Make risotto:
  • Fry onion in the butter and oil until translucent
  • Add the rice
  • Slowly add the stock and stir after every addition to release the starch
  • The risotto should have quite a dry consistency so that it is easier to roll into balls
  • It should take about 20 to 30 minutes until it is cooked and absorbed all the stock, but still has a bit of a bite
  • Add the lemon zest, paprika, salt and pepper and leave to cool
  • Add the avo once cooled
  • Check for seasoning,but make sure that the avo is not overpowered by the rest of the ingredients
  • You might like to chill the mixture so that it is easier to work with
  • Roll into nugget-sized balls with a cube of mozzarella placed in the middle
  • Coat the balls in a thin layer of sesame seeds
  • Chill the balls in the fridge until ready to serve
  • Fry the balls in oil until the sesame seeds turn golden and they have heated through to melt the mozzarella inside

Basil Oil:

  • 15g basil, chopped
  • A good glug of good quality olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Combine all ingredients and strain through a sieve
  • The oil should be a bright emerald colour
  • Add a few bits of the basil for texture

Spicy Tomato Sauce:

  • With the remainder of the tomato sauce from the mousse, add some olive oil to loosen and give it a nice sheen
  • Add an extra dash of paprika for added oomph

Serving:

  • Malba toast: Freeze a loaf of good quality sour dough bread and slice paper thin, bake in an oven at 180 degrees until the bread has become golden and crisp (will only take a few minutes)
  • Micro herbs: I used red chard, beetroot and mustard
  • Caper berries
  • Prawns flash fried in butter, lemon, salt and pepper until they become beautifully dark pink in colour
  • Place the malba toast in a rough stack in the centre of a large plate
  • Gently remove the mousse from its mold and place on one side of the malba toast, in the centre
  • Dot a few micro herbs and caper berries around the mousse and place the prawns on the top (just before serving so that they are still warm)
  • Add the risotto ball into the centre of the other side of the malba toast (fry the ball just before serving so that it is still warm)
  • Add a stripe of tomato sauce and a drizzle of basil oil onto the plate on either side of the ball
  • And there you have a sophisticated little avo number!

In my opinion, all components marry well together. There is a discovery at every turn as you journey around the plate. Flavours burst and tantalize the taste buds. I’m so excited for you to try this! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😀

To follow the fun of the competition follow @ZZ2Farming and #Afrikado on twitter or check their facebook page.

Avo Ritz Mousse and Avo Risotto Ball2 SweetLikeCandi

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Crepe Lasagne (Gluten Free)

lasagne

When I want comfort food, I can’t think of anything more delectable than a lasagne, fresh out of the oven, bubbling with cheese. I want to completely embrace my inner Garfield, stuff my face and roll around in my lasagne-induced haze.

Like all things worth their salt, this lasagne takes time and effort, but the end result makes for a very happy tummy and smiling taste buds.

The reason I actually made the crepes in my previous post was just so that I could make this lasagne – when I saw the words “lasagna noodles” here, I instantly began to salivate!

Crepe Lasagne

Tomato sauce:

800g ripe tomatoes, halved

1tsp oreganum

2tsp Xylitol

2tsp sea salt

Other lasagne ingredients:

1tbs olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

500g mince (I used half beef, half ostrich)

3 bay leaves

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp dried thyme

5 baby marrows, grated/ very finely chopped

1 pimento pepper or sweet bell pepper, very finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

30g fresh basil, finely chopped

White sauce: (to make the white sauce Banting, leave out the flour and replace the milk with cream)

60g butter

1/4 cup maizena / gluten free flour

2 cups lactose free milk

1 cup grated cheese such as Daily cheese from Woolworths (young, white cheese), plus extra to sprinkle over the top of the lasagne

1tsp nutmeg

salt and pepper

Crepes made with coconut flour

 

Directions:

  • Make crepes as per recipe in the link above and cut into lasagne strips
  • Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Place tomatoes on a tin foil covered baking tray and roast in the oven for about an hour
  • Blitz with the remainder of the tomato sauce ingredients and set aside
  • Fry onion in olive oil until translucent
  • Add mince and fry until browned
  • Add herbs and spices except the basil and fry for a few minutes
  • Add baby marrow, peppers and garlic and cook out
  • Add tomato sauce and stir
  • Add basil
  • Simmer for 30 minutes until it has reduced down to a delicious tasting and unctuous ragu
  • Check seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste
  • Make the white sauce:
  • Heat butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour to form a roux, be careful not to burn
  • Add the milk in slowly, stirring all the time to prevent lumps
  • Add in the cheese and mix in
  • Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir
  • White sauce should be nicely thickened
  • Start layering up your lasagne: a little mince at the bottom so that it doesn’t burn, a layer of crepe lasagne sheets, mince, white sauce; repeating until you have reached the top of the dish or run out of ingredients
  • Sprinkle with cheese
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes until it is golden and bubbling on the top
  • Serve with a salad if desired
  • And there you have it – a lasagne Garfield would fall in love with!

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Crepes Made with Coconut Flour

crepes

Finesse is an important ingredient when it comes to making the perfect crepe.

I speak from experience. The batter on my first attempt was so beyond help, not even a Frenchman, well-practiced in the art of crepe making, could even resurrect it. (It had nothing to do with recipe and everything to do with me! More haste, less speed is the moral of the story.) That night would have been a classic winner for a Leon Schuster prank. (Damn, why didn’t I think of that! ;)) By the time we decided to admit defeat, the kitchen looked like a Jackson Pollock painting.

A slow hand from start to finish will leave you with a light and fluffy crepe – which is what I discovered on the second attempt. Victory was mine!

This recipe is adapted from a lovely blog called Against all Grain and the recipe can be found here as I am not permitted to share it on my blog.

Crepes Made with Coconut Flour

(Makes 10 Crepes)

Ingredients

  • Instead of the almond milk, I used lactose free cow’s milk from Woolworths
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca flour instead of arrowroot powder
  • All other ingredients are as per the recipe in the link above
Instructions
  • Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.
  • Whisk the eggs, milk and coconut oil together first, and then slowly whisk in the rest of the ingredients.
  • Follow the rest of the directions as per the recipe

And voila! You should have the perfect crepes – every time (second time around) 🙂

Serving suggestions:

  • The classic way with lemon, Xylitol and cinnamon
  • Almond butter and bananas
  • Melted sugar free chocolate and pears
  • Berries and creme fraiche
  • As the layers in lasagne
  • As a wrap for a breakfast burrito
  • Any other savoury filling of your choice

Carrot Cake made with Almond Flour

slice of carrot cake

Sometimes in life you stumble upon things that you would never have imagined yourself doing. But, at the same time, you could never imagine yourself ever not doing again. And when you look back at the process and synchronicities that occurred in order to get you to that point, you can’t help but have a good chuckle, because life  knows you better than you ever thought you knew yourself.

That’s how I feel about baking. It has become such a pivotal part of my life. I love everything about it: the challenge of using gluten free flours and healthy sweetener alternatives and combing the ingredients in such a way that you have a cake at the end of it that is moist and delicious. But, there is nothing that can compare to the sense of achievement I feel when someone, who has had to give up cake and all other scrumptious goodies for medical reasons, has a bite and you can physically see every emotion and memory running across her face. That, is pure bliss!

Carrot Cake with Almond Flour

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups almond flour (I have ground my own almonds to make the flour too)
  • 1/2 cup pecan nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Xylitol
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs warm water
  • 1.5 cups grated carrot (excess water squeezed out)
  • Zest of one lemon

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius
  • Grease a cake tin
  • Add dry ingredients to a bowl
  • Whisk oil, yoghurt and eggs together and add to dry ingredients
  • Add vanilla extract and water and mix gently to combine
  • Add grated carrot and lemon zest and mix gently to combine again
  • Transfer batter to cake tin
  • Bake for 45 minutes
  • Turn off oven and leave cake in for a further 15 minutes
  • Take cake out of oven and transfer to a cake rack to cool
  • When cake is cool ice with the below

Icing:

  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/8 cup Xylitol
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

  • Dissolve Xylitol in the lemon juice
  • Add all the other ingredients and mix well to remove all the lumps
  • Spread over cake
  • Decorate with chopped pecan nuts if desired

carrotcakecollage

Spinach and Feta Brown Rice Risotto (This recipe is not Banting)

Image

Spinach, a symbol of the earth. It evokes images of soil studded, emerald-green bouquets; rows and rows of richly toiled terrain, moist from the rain… As I’m writing this, I can even taste the earthiness on my tongue and smell the dark vitality of the earth, fresh after a storm. This is life and health and growth, with a little bit of magic thrown in.

We are all strongly connected to our Earth, deeply rooted into the grains and fabric of our world. As mother Earth grows, so we thrive and as she suffers so we do the same. Sometimes, we don’t realise that everything that we do to the Earth has an impact on ourselves. If we were just a bit more thoughtful, we would see that when she is happy, so are we. When we appreciate the wonders, such as a flourishing bunch of spinach, everything can become a miracle.

Spinach and Feta Brown Rice Risotto:

(Serves 2 to 4)

Ingredients:

  • 250g organic brown short grain rice (Health Connection)
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock ( Health Connection Gourmet Vegetable Stock Powder. Directions say 2 tsp for every cup, I only use 1 tsp)
  • 200g baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 100g Danish feta, crumbled
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • Lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Knob of butter (optional)

Directions:

  • This rice takes a long time to cook, so to shorten the cooking time of the risotto, I recommend boiling the rice for 15 minutes before. Do not rinse the rice as the starch is needed
  • Fry the onion in the coconut oil, until translucent
  • Add the parboiled rice and stir
  • Add the chopped garlic and fry for a few minutes
  • Keep the stock hot in a separate pot on the stove and add it a ladle at a time to the rice, stirring until it is absorbed and then adding another ladle. Continue in this way.
  • Cook for about 45 minutes until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente (has a slight bite to it, but is not chewy and tough)
  • 5 minutes before the end of cooking add the spinach, feta, nutmeg, lemon zest, salt and pepper and a knob of butter if desired. (Taste before adding any salt as the stock and feta are already salty)
  • Stir it all together. Let flavours amalgamate and serve as soon as possible
  • I like to add a few slivers of raw spinach, some extra feta and a final grating of lemon zest onto each portion before serving

Taste the wonders of the earth and marvel at the magic.

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Vanilla Lemon and Coconut Cake (This recipe is not Banting)

lemoncake9

Do you need some sunshine in your life?

There was so much potential from my previous post on the chocolate cake, to create other cakes… My mind went crazy with ideas – what flavours, which beans, what ingredients could I substitute for what? And eventually, I settled on this Vanilla, Lemon and Coconut Cake. A few adjustments and I was A for Away!

Healthy, Flourless, Sugar-Free Vanilla Lemon and Coconut Cake

Makes a 23cm one layer cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of unseasoned butter beans
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Xylitol
  • 6 tablespoons coconut
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  • Spray a 23cm cake pan with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray, or just grease it with a thin layer of butter.
  • Drain and rinse beans in a strainer or colander. Shake off excess water.
  • Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla extract and salt into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquefied. No lumps!
  • Beat butter with Xylitol until light and fluffy.
  • Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each addition.
  • Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix.
  • Finally, stir in coconut, vanilla powder, baking soda, baking powder, water and lemon zest, and beat the batter on high for one minute, until smooth. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top. Grip pan firmly by the edges and rap it on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 40 minutes and then turn temperature up to 180 degrees, bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until cooked.
  • Cake is done when the top is rounded and firm to the touch.
  • Remove from oven. After 10 minutes, turn out cake from pan, and flip over again onto a cooling rack.
  • Let cool until cake reaches room temperature
  • Ice immediately before serving
  • This cake just tastes better with age – so if you let it rest under a dome or bowl, for about 8 hours it will be even more delicious!

Lemony Cream Cheese Icing

Makes enough to thickly cover one layer, or fill and ice a halved stacked layer

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup low fat cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoon plain yoghurt
  • 1/8 cup Xylitol powdered (grind in a pestle and mortar)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Toasted coconut and lemon zest to garnish

Preparation:

  • Dissolve Xylitol in the lemon juice
  • Add the cream cheese, yoghurt and vanilla and blend well until there are no lumps
  • Spread over cake
  • Toast some coconut in a dry pan for a few minutes, until golden, and sprinkle over cake
  • Add a grating of lemon zest for a burst of sunny colour

Doesn’t that look like the perfect cake to send away the Winter blues? I say, yes! Go on, invite some sunshine into your world 🙂

lemoncake3