Category Archives: treats

Valentine chocolates – gifts of love and health!

Winter bloom and chocolate

Winter bloom and chocolate

Valentine day approaching and the shops are tempting us with a cornucopia of very sweet and colourful confectionary – but if you are still sticking to your healthy New Year resolutions, the choice can be quite daunting… So here I give you a more virtuous but deliciously indulgent version.

These delicate chocolate flowers are made with raw chocolate, non dairy ingredients and they are still big in flavour and satisfaction…

Ingredients list:

  • Dates, 250g
  • 100g of 100% cocoa chocolate (Check out Chocolat Rabot in Borough Market)
  • Raisins, 150g
  • Vanilla bean, 1
  • Crystalised ginger, a few pieces, but only optional!

Cut the chocolate in squares, cut up the dates.

Than put all in your best chopper (I use my Thermomix for the smoothest result) and mix at high speed for a few minutes until you get a glossy paste. DO NOT overwork it or the chocolate will melt !

Put in silicone moulds for individual chocolates (as above) or just roll bite size chunks in your palms and present them in a nice box or sachet to your Valentine with his Valentine day coffee. Garantie to score brownie points with any health-conscious foodie!

No need to be vegan either to appreciate the soft and creamy result – But take the best chocolate for the best taste, as always… My writing buddies loved them so much that I dedicate this recipe to our blue-stocking group – and their Valentines!

HAPPY VALENTINE DAY EVERYONE! This year it falls on a sunday so plan to take him to a spa, an art gallery or just a favourite place / corner of the world- like Venice?!!!

Promise Venice and chocolate this year!

One of my handprinted Valentine cards/original print.

 

Banana, pear, vanilla and cinnamon jam

I do not know about you but I personally love the combo of sweet banana and spicy cinnamon in anything from pancakes to waffles to milkshakes to ice-cream… The list goes on! So I was in a jaming mood the other day, preparing to go up North with a pot, and I thought up this jam recipe. Then realised Mrs Beeton had almost an identical one in her book : Great minds think alike!

I made it quite light in sugar because of the sweetness of the fruit so it probably will not last too long out of the fridge but then it does not HAVE to… Try it on toasted brioche or in my next batch of goat milk yogurt- See recipe here.

IMG_7217Ingredients list:

  • Bananas, 1 kg
  • Pears, 500g
  • Brown granulated sugar, 500g
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • Spices: Cinnamon 1 Tbsp and 1 Vanilla pod (scraped), 8 cloves

Peel and cut the fruit.

Put in the preserving pan, the pears, lemon juice and the sugar. Bring to boiling point. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the bananas and the spices and simmer at jam temperature for 20 minutes to half hour.

Pour boiling hot into clean jars and screw the tops before turning the jars upside down to sterilise from top to bottom. Wipe and  rinse the jars when cooled down.

Keep in a cool place until needed. Once open, it will not keep long …

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Darkest Peru magic bullets!

Raw balls of pure energy

Do you feel sometime that you need a break from your daily life? That you are up for a different kind of challenge?! That you are hungry for new views, new flavours, new emotions? Last week, this blog was travelling to Galicia in Northern Spain. You might know that already if you follow me on FB or Instagram… I was walking the millennia old Pilgrim’s Way and feeling way out of my comfort zone…  But loving every minute…

The Way of St James

The Way of St James

Here are some of the items I carry in my backpack :

Energy balls ready to pack!

Energy balls ready to pack!

Lucuma fruity energy balls to sustain my companion and I through the long daily walks! This is a new version of my Energy Balls– this time flavoured with orange , chocolate and Lucuma – a protein packed Aztec powder that a Peruvian friend introduced to me this year. To say my walking companion is addicted is an understatement: I have promised the recipe and here it is.

Lucuma Cocoa and Orange Energy Balls or Darkest Peru magic bullets!
Ingredients list:

  • Cup of almond(soaked)
  • Cup of dates
  • Handful of raisins
  • Zest of one small orange
  • 1 tbsp lucuma powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp linseeds
  • 1 handful sunflower seeds
  • 2 or three squares of very dark chocolate (I use 100% cocoa sans sugar)
  • Cocoa powder and more Lucuma powder to roll in

Mix it all in a grinder /blender until it makes a sticky paste.
Roll each bite into a mix of cocoa and lucuma, as you would for a chocolate truffle! Those healthy chocolatey truffle melt in the mouth and done in the Thermomix, they are smooth and fudgey… Plus super packed with everything you need to walk all day with 8 kg of back-pack!
Store in a metal box. They can keep for weeks but they will not last that long.

We were walking from Santiago de Compostella to Finisterre, the “end of the world” – or at least the extreme western point of Europe!

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 Postscript: You can find Lucuma powder in Peru -but also at your nearest Wholefoods store. It is rich in B vitamins and has a high protein content. It tastes a bit sweet and chocolatey so goes really well with cocoa and orange!

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Raw banana and hazelnut butter ice-cream in a croissant

 

Just landing back from a week-end in Venice, I am giving you here the quickest and easiest ice-cream recipe. It only takes two ingredients – plus the croissant into which you will nest your ice-cream balls, in true venetian style (see photo)!

Ingredients list:

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • Hazelnut butter (with ou without cocoa) , 100gr

About the two ingredients:

I buy my hazelnut and cocoa butter from Wholefoods but you can make your own or use any favourite nut butter. To make it yourself you just need a tough blender, chuck hazelnuts in with a spoonful of melted 90 percent cocoa chocolate and whizz to a paste. You might add a teaspoon of water if too sticky.

The frozen bananas are something I always keep in my freezer for smoothie making – or ice-cream as in here, or  for my rum raisin  frozen yogurt. A real good way of using up ripe bananas nobody wants to eat…

Anyway, using a blender or a thermomix, just blend both ingredients until smooth and eat straightway and gelato-cold in a crispy croissant or a soft brioche, as they do in Sicily. This is the best way to eat ice-cream! Trust an Italian to know this : It is million times better than the dry cones we usually have to make do with everywhere else…

This recipe is raw, natural and tastes hyper indulgent…

Of course there is much more to food in Venice than ice-cream but starting there is not a bad starting point…IMG_9283

Rum raisin creamy frozen yogurt

Rum and raisin frozen yogurt

To celebrate the hottest summer in many many years – or as far as my memories of London can stretch- I give you a lovely frozen yogurt embellished by a touch of  spirit! and a scatter of sultanas.

IMG_7415 Ingredients list:

  • Demerara sugar 200g
  • Water 150ml
  • Raisins sultanas 200g
  • Greek yogurt 1 L pot
  • Vanilla in “jelly” or vanilla bean, scraped
  • Dark rum

Make a syrup with 200g of sugar, two capfuls of dark rum and a small glass (150ml) of water. Melt all of the sugar and reduce the syrup a little bit but without getting to a boil: You do not want to get to a caramel ! Switch off : Throw the raisins in the pan and get them to soak the juice for a little while.
Leave to cool.

Mix a large tub of Greek yogurt (1L) with the cooled syrup and a small spoonful of vanilla jelly – I have just discovered this product and I love it: it’s great and easy to use in puddings and pastry, plus it lasts longer and there is less wastage than with vanilla pods. In the Uk, it is sold at Waitrose: try the Organic vanilla bean paste by Taylor and Colledge.

Beat the yogurt with a whisk, add some rum to taste and pour the mix into your ice-cream maker or just into a container and in the freezer.

The tangy yogurt complements the rum and vanilla flavour so well I do not know why I had not thought of it earlier… This frozen yogurt is delicious and goes very well with fresh brownies. This is indeed how I served it last night to friends from Spain on a very hot summer evening in London… But this week-end, should the nice weather continue to hold, I am heading to West Wittering, my favourite British beach… See you on Monday!

I scream for Ice scream! except that's a yogurt...

I scream for Ice cream! Except that’s a yogurt…