Throughout this summer I’ve had a few things on my agenda: A new baby (check), finish the house (check…sort of) and finally use the ice cream paleta mould that’s been kicking around the back of the cupboard. The arrival of the new baby has put any cooking ambitions on the back foot. Unless we can eat it cold or warm it up by the power of a microwave, we’ve not been interested. But whisper it quietly………he’s sleeping a bit longer. Yay! So I could either; Get some much-needed sleep or finally make some coconut paletas. I foolishly chose paletas.
I found this recipe on bon appétit and thought re-working a classic rice pudding into an ice cream sounded pretty good. Plus, I don’t have an ice cream maker kicking about and this recipe doesn’t need one. I’ve tweaked the recipe a tiny bit to make it a little more creamy with a bigger hit of vanilla.
Combine the milk, coconut milk, cream, lemongrass, ginger, and 1/2 vanilla paste in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cover the rice with water in a small bowl. Let it stand for 10 minutes to soften. Drain.
Strain ice cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a saucepan. Add rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until rice is very tender. About 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before combining the chopped apricots and sugar to the mix. Pour into the ice-cream moulds and freeze.
Twelve months ago, I attempted to shift my treat addiction into the sugar and dairy free category. I concluded that the best Paleo pudding was a sliced apple or square of dark chocolate. Pretty dull huh? I had yet to discover anything as amazing as these sweet potato brownies. Then out of the blue we got pregnant. Yay! Suddenly, we were able to justify brownies with extra ice cream, lemon tart and any other goodies. Wait! What was that you said about butter and sugar? Okay, sure, I had a little bit. I mean, I’ve got to support Anna during the pregnancy right? Well, now the little fella is here I’m bang out of excuses. Time to get back on the sugar and dairy free bandwagon.
Now I know I’m not the first food blogger to post about these magical Ella Woodward sweet potato brownies. But when you want to unlock sweetness’s hold on richness, oh friends, please do make these brownie wonders. Those eagle eyed readers may have noticed I’ve slightly adapted the recipe. Firstly, because sourcing Medjool dates probably calls for a camel trek in Morocco. They’re pretty hard to source, so I’ve substituted them for Tunisian dates. You can get them in most health food shops. Secondly, I like my brownies to have a little bit of texture. The sweet potato makes these very creamy and adding the walnuts gives them that little bit of extra brownie like texture.
Makes 10 – 12 brownies
600g sweet potatoes
16 Tunisian dates
80g ground almonds
100g buckwheat flour
20g walnut pieces
4 tbsp raw cacao powder
3 tbsp maple syrup
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into chunks. Place in a glass bowl with a tablespoon of water, cover with clingfilm and microwave for 12 minutes. Until they’re soft and fall apart.
Add the cooked sweet potato and pitted dates to a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pre-mix the remaining ingredients and stir into the creamy mixture. Stir well.
Place the mixture into a lined baking dish and cook for about 20 – 30 minutes, until you can pierce the brownie mix with a fork and it comes out dry. Remove the tray and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
I won’t lie. I generally feel that breakfast without some form of grain is nigh impossible. Cereal? Nope. Bagels, toast or porridge? All a big no. Growing up, our breakfast was a rotation of all of these, so it’s not like I have a deep love of all things wheat free. It’s just that I’m trying to discover a wheat free breakfast that’s still the ‘big fella’ meal of day, but doesn’t feel like I’m only consuming a glass of pulverised fruit.
This recipe is nothing new, but in my breakfast arsenal this is dish I’ve made the most that doesn’t deliver a furrowed brow. Freshly scrambled eggs with a spicy tomato salsa and crumble of feta cheese. These taco free huevos rancheros are awesome on their own, but even more magic with a couple of rashers of bacon.
Mexican Breakfast Eggs 3 large free-range eggs 1 medium ripe tomato
3 slices of pickled jalapeños (normally in a jar)
tsp of butter (optional)
tsp of feta
Make a quick salsa by roughly chopping the tomato, coriander leaves and pickled jalapeños. Season and set aside. Heat up a large frying pan with a couple of glugs of olive oil. While the pan is warming up whisk up three eggs in a bowl and pour into the pan with a teaspoon of butter. You want the eggs to be light and fluffy, so avoid scrambling and instead gently fold the eggs in from the sides. Rotate the pan as you go until you get a folded pile of fluffy eggs in the middle of the pan. Spoon the eggs onto a warm plate and sprinkle the salsa and feta over the top. Season and eat it right away.
I’ve come to think that discovering the moment for a perfectly ripe pear is something of a dark art. Miss the magic few minutes they’re just right and you’ll be wondering if it’s okay to spit or enjoy the apple like crunch. That was until the lovely people at Karma Cola got me onto a recipe that poaches them in ‘Gingerella’ ginger ale until they’re just perfect. It’s an Allegra recipe for Fairtrade week and ensures you’ll never have a crunchy pear again
Poached Pears Recipe 3 pears – I prefer the shorter fatter ones for this, but just make sure they’re not too ripe as they’ll fall apart in the cooking
1 vanilla pod or a couple of drops of vanilla essence
1 piece star anise
A couple of nuggets stem ginger, sliced
1 bottle Faitrade Gingerella ginger ale
60g chocolate – milk or dark…your call
Peel the pears, then quarter and core. Choose a pan that can hold all the pear quarters in a single layer, then pour in the Gingerella. As it comes up to a simmer chuck in the vanilla, star anise, stem ginger and ginger wine if you’re heading that way.
Lay in the pear pieces and simmer then gently, uncovered for 12-20 mins (it’s a wide window as pears can be anything from rock hard so juicilicious) until a knife meets just a little resistance when you stick it in. Once ready, lift them out with a slotted spoon onto kitchen roll and leave to cool.
By this point the poaching liquor should be pretty reduced – you want to end up with about 4 tablespoons, so simmer it down or add a bit of hot water accordingly. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in whatever way you fancy (microwave or in a bowl over steaming water).
Use a fork to spear one of the cooled pear pieces at a time and dip the fat end of it into the chocolate, taking care not to make a big old mess, and leave to set a little then do the same with the rest.
Cut the lime into 6 wedges – squeeze two into the pan to finish off the sauce (have a quick taste as you warm it through) and have one for each of the plates.