The union of fennel with orange is one of my favourites. Thanks to Diego Bonetto’s foraging tour I learnt how to identify edible plants growing wild in my backyard including fennel.
A delicious way to start the day and use up ingredients in the pantry.
A recipe for rich chocolate that will not only satisfy your cravings but you need never feel naughty about eating!
Find out about my Mushroom Foraging adventure with Diego Bonetto from Weedy Connection.
Following my muesli recipe, I had some spelt left over to experiment with.
Wholegrain Rolled Spelt, enough for 2 cups when finely blended
1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon of himalayan pink salt
3 tablespoons of chilled water
Put the rolled spelt into a blender and continue to process to the finest texture you can get. It will still be quite rough and chunky compared to flour.
Add the salt to the blended spelt and mix the coconut oil through the dry ingredients using a knife until it forms crumbs. Add the water and stir. Press the mixture together into a ball and put in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
1 cup thick natural yoghurt
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1/2 teaspoon rosewater
1 tablespoon pistachio paste
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Plums, finely sliced
Mix the pistachio paste with the orange blossom and rose water until it forms a runnier consistency and all the lumps are gone.
Stir this into the yoghurt with the chia seeds and put in the fridge for at least 1 hour. The chia seeds will thicken the yoghurt if you leave it for long enough.
Pre heat an oven to 180°c
Take the spelt mixture out of the fridge and use enough to evenly press into small tart tins (with removable bases) like you do with a biscuit base for a cheesecake. I wouldn’t call this a pastry – it’s far too crumbly and textural. Put the tart tins in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the coconut oil to harden.
Put the cold tart shells straight into the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes. Check after 15 minutes to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Fill the cooled tart shells with the thickened yoghurt mixture, top with sliced plums, whole blackberries and crushed pistachios.
This recipe is sugar free but you can add honey to the yoghurt mixture or drizzle it on top of the finished tart to suit your taste. This will also make an extravagant yet healthy breakfast to serve guests with a cheeky twist. Looks can be deceiving and it’s not the rich pastry it appears to be…
I love it when I can cook without a recipe and use my senses and this is a perfect example. I visited a favourite wholesaler on Friday and stocked up on ingredients to make a batch of muesli for the week.
Organic Wholegrain Rolled Spelt
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Sesame Seeds, white, hulled
Blood Orange Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Himalayan Pink Salt
Pre heat an oven to 180° c
Pour the rolled spelt into a baking tray and add the desired amount of nuts, sesame seeds and coconut flakes. Sprinkle over some salt, turmeric and cinnamon powder and crumble the cocoa nibs into small chunks.
If the coconut oil is too solid to pour, warm it just enough so it becomes liquid and pour generously over the muesli mixture. Drizzle with the olive oil and honey and stir well so all the ingredients are coated and evenly distributed.
Toast in the oven and stir regularly so the top layer doesn’t burn. When the muesli is golden brown, remove from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature. Serve with your favourite milk, yoghurt, fresh or poached fruit. YUM!
This muesli is fragrant, full of texture and packed with ingredients that each boast their own list of health benefits. I’ve been enjoying it with this pistachio yoghurt and poached peaches. There’s another spelt recipe to follow and you won’t believe how good it is because it looks seriously naughty!
I’m having dinner with a friend this week and I volunteered to make the dessert. I came up with this recipe after an indulgent weekend. I had an absolutely delicious and fun feast but I can’t face sugar for a few days.
4 large yellow peaches
blood orange infused extra virgin olive oil
40g pistachios, shelled
a handful of shredded coconut, toasted
4 heaped tablespoons of natural yoghurt
1 cap full of orange blossom water
Wash the peaches, cut them in half length ways and remove the seeds. Place the peaches in a baking dish, drizzle lightly with the infused oil and rub it evenly over the fruit with your fingers. Put the peaches under the grill for 10 minutes turning them over after 5 minutes so they warm through evenly.
Put the pistachios into a blender and grind to a fine dust. Reserve a few teaspoons of the ground pistachios and continue to blend the rest until it comes together to form a paste.
Mix a dessert spoon of the paste in with the yoghurt. You’ll need to push the paste against the side of the bowl to smooth it out and mix it through the yoghurt and you will be left with some lumps. This adds to the texture and creates concentrated bursts of flavour through the yoghurt. Add the orange blossom water and stir through the yoghurt. It should be very subtle so you can still taste the pistachio flavour.
Once the peaches have cooled down to a bit above room temperature, spoon some yoghurt into the cavity where the seed once sat and top with toasted coconut and the reserved ground pistachios.
Grilling the peaches gets the natural juices flowing and intensifies the sweet, tangy flesh. This is such a simple dessert without any added sugar and it’s also perfect for breakfast. The leftover pistachio paste can be used as you wish. I’m going to be experimenting with mine so look out for more recipes.
So here’s the result of the second batch of chia seed breakfast pudding that I mentioned in my last post.
1 cup of natural organic yoghurt
2 heaped dessert spoons of black chia seeds
Mix the yoghurt and chia seeds together and leave it in the fridge overnight. Serve with fresh fruit and shredded coconut sprinkled on top. Simple! More posts to follow.
So the holiday season has swept through like a hurricane and I’ve enjoyed every minute. I ate and drank whatever I felt like and now it’s time for a healthy kickstart – not just for me but also friends and family. Over the past few years I’ve received requests for healthy diet tips and now even to push people to exercise and keep checking in on their progress. This is a sign of things to come…
I began by preparing my breakfast last night. It’s often a difficult meal for most people to master yet it’s so important to start the day with the right fuel to avoid loading up on the wrong foods when you finally become fuzzy and ravenous. I’m as guilty of skipping breakfast as the next person but when I get into a routine I stick to it. There doesn’t need to be a lot of effort involved in preparing a delicious healthy breakfast and I’m a believer in eating the foods that make you feel good.
A fruit salad on an empty stomach can make me feel sick due to the natural acids and sugar while others might find this is perfect for their body. Tune in and notice how you feel when you eat different foods – you are the best person to assess this.
So back to breakfast this morning. You may have heard of Chia Seed Pudding and this is my version which is very basic. I’m experimenting with different ingredients using chia seeds as the focus.
When chia seeds come into contact with liquid, a gel like substance forms around them similar to tapioca. There’s a plethora of information online about the health benefits of chia seeds and whether or not humans should be consuming them. Again, I believe in moderation and listening to my body and I like chia seeds. I don’t eat them everyday, just when I feel like it.
Chia Seed and Coconut Water Pudding
1/2 cup of fresh young coconut water
1/2 cup of black chia seeds
Organic shredded coconut
Young coconut flesh
Cut open a fresh young coconut, drain the water and scoop out the flesh. Mix the chia seeds and 1/2 cup coconut water in a bowl until it starts to thicken. Divide the mixture into individual bowls (1 serve each), cover and leave it in the fridge over night.
To serve, you can either leave the pudding as is or loosen it with extra coconut water. Toast some shredded coconut and hazelnuts and sprinkle over the pudding with blueberries, some coconut flesh and crunchy (dry) chia seeds.
I have a mix of chia seeds and organic natural yoghurt soaking in the fridge for my next recipe so until then, here’s an old post that makes me laugh…
The past few weeks have flown by and I finally have time to share with you about the beautiful dinner I attended on the 18th of December. ALMA – The International School of Italian Cuisine, INTERNATIONAL EXTRAVIRGIN OLIVEOIL AGENCY in collaboration with INTERNATIONAL OLIVE OIL ACADEMY – Australia presented the “Young Chef’s Showcase Dinner”.
This event followed the Armonia International Olive Oil Competition and the dishes were prepared by the winners of the professional chefs category. When I arrived at the Cammeray Golf Club I had the opportunity to mingle with some of the EVOO producers that I missed during the excitement of the awards ceremony a few weeks back.
A selection of EVOO was on offer to sample with bread, baby vegetables and champagne before we were seated for dinner.
I sat with Alese who joined me as a winner in the enthusiasts category of the competition and Mr and Mrs Joslyn – the parents of young chef Alex who also won with his chocolate mousse. I was dying to try it since he showed me a picture!
We began with an Amuse Bouche of Asparagus with Dehydrated Olives.
Entree was by Elizabeth Fiducia from Jamie’s Italian Sydney
Crudo of Hiramasa Kingfish, lemon jam, peaches, apple and EVOO served with 2010 White Label Hawkes Bay Pinot Grigio
Main was by Kevin Nguyen from Quay Restaurant
Confit of Hapuka fillet, squid noodles, Shitake Speck Italiano, olive oil broth, seasonal vegetables, olive oil emulsion served with 2010 White Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay
Dessert was by Alexanda Ian Joslyn from Ormeggio at the Spit
Olive oil white chocolate mousse, EVOO biscuit, yoghurt and rhubarb jelly served with 2011 Grant Burge Alfresco Moscato Frizzante
I wish I could begin to explain the harmonious flavours, the crunches, the way a rich looking emulsion and elements of the dessert simply melted like air on my tongue leaving behind the pure essence of extra virgin olive oil. No description could be vivid enough to convey how immensely delightful this meal was! The wines were superbly matched – too bad I was driving.
Congratulations to all the chefs involved. They had barely slept for 48 hours in preparation and their dedication was evident.
To top off the evening, Jamie’s Italian in Sydney was announced as an Extra Virgin Olive Oil Restaurant and is only the 2nd restaurant in Australia with this title following Pilu at Freshwater. This is an exclusive circle open only to those restaurants who use certified extra virgin olive oils of excellence that have gone through the very stringent selection process of the ARMONIA competition.
It’s been a fantastic journey since entering the olive oil competition and I’m very excited to see what these talented young chefs will be doing in the restaurant scene over the next few years.