Creamy Roasted Garlic Macadamia “Polenta” with Sundried Tomato Jam

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My phone rang, it was ZZ2 with an unexpected delivery. In my line of work, I receive deliveries all the time, but this was no ordinary delivery – it was the ZZ2 Mouthwatering Box!

I raced downstairs to collect my bounty of some of South Africa’s best produce. The box popped with delicious colour; I spied tomatoes in a multitude of shapes and hues; from large “every day” tomatoes, to tomatoes with beautiful names such as Romanita, Bacio, Rigoletta and Sante, but what peaked my fancy the most were the sundried tomatoes! The box also included onions, garlic, avos and even a nifty avo tool!

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I was beyond excited to get cooking! How could I not be with such fantastic ingredients?

I wanted to create something that would celebrate these ingredients, and my mind went straight to Italy. It must have been the exotic tomato names! But also because Italians are known for celebrating food in every sense of the word.

Winter is here, and to me, there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of creamy polenta. Since polenta is a grain and I am Banting, I decided to create my own “polenta”. I wanted something with a neutral colour, I first thought of coconut, but it has quite a sweet taste, and then I went to almond, but it was still not quite right. I settled on Macadamia flour because of its earthiness, which would go perfectly with this dish. But, if you would like to recreate this dish at home, please feel free to use almond flour or polenta 🙂

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With the box of deliciousness, ZZ2 had asked us to create a dish that would hero two or more of the ingredients. I chose the garlic, Bacio vine tomatoes and of course, the sundried tomatoes.

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Creamy Roasted Garlic Macadamia “Polenta” with Sundried Tomato Jam, Roasted Tomatoes, Mushroom, Rocket and Macadamia Nut Oil

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

Macadamia Polenta:
1 cup macadamia nut flour
1 – 11/2 cups water
1/2 tsp Oryx desert salt (or similar)
1/4 – 1/2 cup cream (or more water)
1 knob butter
handful grated white cheese (parmesan, pecorino or cheddar)
1 head ZZ2 garlic, broken into cloves

Sundried Tomato Jam:
1/2 cup ZZ2 sundried tomatoes
water
pinch chilli flakes *optional
fresh thyme
pinch of xylitol *optional
salt and pepper to taste

Other:
2 large brown mushrooms
ZZ2 Bacio vine tomatoes
rocket
cheese shavings
macadamia nut oil or olive oil

Method:

This is a multi-tasking kind of recipe. You can move onto the next process, while the previous element is cooking, or you can follow the recipe step-by-step – it’s up to you.

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Place garlic cloves on an oven tray, skin still on, and roast until soft and “squishy” and when they can slide easily out of the skins (the kitchen will start to smell amazing at this point)
While that is happening, put sundried tomatoes into a pan and just cover with water to allow them to re-hydrate for a few minutes. Bring water to the boil once the tomatoes are plump
Add in the rest of the ingredients and reduce down until you have a jam-like consistency
Mash 1 clove of roasted garlic into the jam and leave on low heat, while you get on with the rest of the processes
Taste as you go. I chose the sundried tomatoes because they are packed full of flavour. You are looking for a punchy jam that zings with flavour
Add macadamia nut flour, salt and 1 cup of water to a saucepan and stir with a whisk to smooth out the lumps
Cook on medium heat until it forms a porridge-like consistency and the flour has cooked out and the liquid has been absorbed – reduce the heat to a simmer here (you may need to keep adding some liquid until you are happy with the consistency). Stir with the whisk every now and again. It will take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of macadamia nut flour you use
Mash about 6 cloves of roasted garlic and stir into your “polenta” – this should provide a beautiful, yet subtle garlic flavour
Stir some cream, butter and cheese into the “polenta”. You should have something that is smooth, creamy and a little runny in consistency
Add salt and pepper to taste and keep on low heat until ready to serve
Place the mushrooms and vine tomatoes on a baking tray. Season your mushrooms with salt and pepper and drizzle them, as well as the vine tomatoes, with macadamia nut oil or olive oil
Roast until the tomato skins are wrinkled and the mushrooms have started to change colour and release their juices

To plate, place some “polenta” into a bowl or onto a plate, top with the tomato jam and slices of mushroom and the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle with a little macadamia nut oil or olive oil, finish off with a few shavings of cheese.

And there you have the perfect Winter warmer, using some of the best ingredients South Africa has to offer.

To win your very own Mouthwatering Box, an avo tool and a Checkers voucher worth R1000, tell ZZ2 what you’d create with this same box of ingredients by leaving your entry as a comment on their Facebook Page here. Good luck 🙂

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Pan Fried Fillet of Fish with Avo and Coconut Veloute topped with Avo and Horseradish Ice Cream and Sweet Chilli Sauce

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It’s official, avo has taken over my life! I eat, dream and think about it constantly (this is not a bad thing :p)… And yay, all that thinking paid off as I finally figured out how to put my savoury ice cream to good use! 😀

This is my third and final entry into the “More than just guacamole!” Afrikado Blogger Challenge, held by ZZ2 Farming and it is quite a mouthful!

Pan Fried Fillet of Fish with Avo and Coconut Veloute, topped with Avo and Horseradish Ice Cream and Sweet Chilli Sauce

(Serves 2)

Avo and Horseradish Ice Cream:

(It’s a good idea to prepare this the night before)

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used lactose free)
  • 3/4 cup double thick cream
  • Flesh of 1 ripe medium sized avocado
  • 2 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 tsp horseradish (I wanted to use fresh, but couldn’t find it anywhere. Eventually I found prepared horseradish, which didn’t contain vinegar or sugar)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Whisk egg and milk in a pan on the stove, over low heat, until it forms a loose custard – be careful not to split or curdle
  • Strain to remove any residue and add mixture to a blender
  • Add double cream and mix
  • Add flesh of avocado and mix until smooth. It should thicken immediately
  • Add horseradish, lemon and salt and pepper (gradually add these as the horseradish can become quite overpowering) and taste
  • It is very important to keep tasting
  • Once you are happy with the flavour, freeze for a minimum of 4 hours

Sweet Chilli Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 3 Tbs water
  • 2 Tbs chilli (if you are using fresh make sure it is finely chopped or you can use dried)
  • 2 Tbs Xylitol (sugar substitute)
  • A pinch of salt
  • Juice of a lemon

Directions:

  • Add water, chilli, Xylitol and salt to a pan
  • Cook on low heat until sauce thickens
  • Add lemon juice and cook further, on low heat, you don’t want the lemon to go bitter
  • When it takes on a reddish tinge and Xylitol becomes quite sticky remove from pan and allow to cool
  • Flavour should be sweet, tangy, with a hint of heat

Avo and Coconut Veloute:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 small white onion, finely diced
  • 2 more Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch (original recipe calls for flour, I replaced this)
  • 1 1/2 cups fish or chicken stock (I used Fish Stock Concentrate from Woolies as it contains no yeast, gluten or sugar), heated in a separate pan
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, preferably cold (to cool down the sauce so not to cook the avo)
  • Flesh of 1 ripe medium sized avocado, mashed (preferably cold, to cool down the sauce so you don’t cook the avo)
  • 10g parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • A veloute is a white sauce that is made with stock instead of milk
  • Fry onion in butter until translucent
  • Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and the corn starch and stir until it forms a roux. Cook out for a few minutes on low heat
  • Gradually add the hot stock and keep stirring until the sauce thickens
  • Allow to cool for a bit before adding the coconut milk and the mashed avo
  • blend well
  • Sieve to remove the onion so you are left with a smooth sauce
  • Return to stove on very low heat, to gently heat through
  • Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste
  • Finish off with a dollop of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice

Other ingredients:

  • 2 fillets of firm fish, with skin still on (I used Jacopever, which I was assured was on the green sassi list)
  • Mashed potato
  • Micro herbs

overall Directions:

  • Make ice cream as illustrated above and freeze for 4 hours. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before plating
  • Make chilli sauce (can also be prepared the night before)
  • Make your mash (an excellent way to make mash is to bake the potatoes in their skins. Once they are cooked, remove skins and then mash with a fork, this will result in a fluffy mash with no lumps. Add butter, a little milk, salt and pepper)
  • Make veloute as illustrated above
  • Pan fry your fish fillets. Score the skin to make it look pretty (cutting through the skin only, diagonally about 3 times, a few cms apart). Season the skin with salt
  • Add some oil to a pan and heat. When the pan is hot add the fish, skin side down
  • Season the flesh side with salt
  • The fish will want to curl up a bit, press it down so that it cooks evenly for a few minutes
  • You will notice that the flesh will change colour (become whiter)
  • When the colour change is about 1/4 of the way up the fish, flip over and cook for a further few minutes on the other side
  • Add a bit of butter to the pan and spoon over the fish to give it a nice golden colour
  • Remove fish from pan

Plating:

  • Add your mash to the centre of the plate
  • Pour your veloute around it
  • Place your fillet of fish on top of the mash
  • Add a dollop of the ice cream on top of that
  • Finish off with a drizzle of chilli sauce (not too much, as it is supposed to lift the dish, not kill it) and a few micro herbs

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And there you have a stunning fish dish zinging with a multitude of flavours. Wow your guests are your next dinner party 🙂

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