Tag Archives: truffles

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.

 

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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!

IMG_9698_2 IMG_9791_2

 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!

“Oeuf cocotte” : Savoury cream eggs with truffle paste and oil

I am very excited about sharing this recipe! Maybe it is its simplicity, or its taste combination, or maybe it is the fact we are approaching Easter but I feel really excited about posting this…

It was in a cold train station, very early one morning, that I tasted this dish and was instantly hooked! This little cream pot with a soft runny egg in the middle revived memories of the ham and egg “oeuf cocotte” I used to be served as a child – a comforting, protein-packed and tasty starter…

If you don’t want to splash on truffle oil or truffle paste, you can just replace it with chopped ham and a pinch of sweet paprika. Both versions work just as well but I had bought Truffle oil and Truffle paste from Tartufaia Truffles  in Borough Market as a Christmas treat and a dash of both elevated a simple family dish to new heights of deliciousness!!! I prefer using duck eggs for this because there is more of it and they cook slower than hen ones so you are less likely to overdo them ; but any egg will do – just adjust the cooking time to the size.

Duck egg in truffle cream

Duck egg in truffle cream

Steams in 10 minutes

Steams in 10 minutes

Ingredients list: 

  • Duck egg
  • Crème fraîche, 1 large Tbsp
  • Truffle oil and/or shaved truffle, 1 tsp
  • Sea salt

Take an oven-proof small dish like a “ramequins” or dariole mould and put a large dollop of crême fraîche in it. Push the curved side of your spoon in to create a dip. Crack your duck egg inside the dip. Dribble some truffle oil and add some truffle shavings (or use some Tartuffaia truffle paste if you can). Truffles are an expensive treat but you only need a little oil or paste to release the most powerful aroma so it is worth making the effort.

Steam in an electric steamer or in a pan with a little water for under 10 minutes. Stop the cooking as soon as the yolk start to set. The white will set before the yolk does and so the result is a soft boiled egg in a dish!

Serve boiling hot with a small pinch of sea salt. Add some buttered “soldiers” on the side! This is regressive and blissful cooking…

For the ham and paprika version: Just chop some cooked ham over the cream and add a pinch of smoked paprika on the egg. Success is guaranteed!IMG_9007

Healthy bites for lunch box – raw and vegan!

  1. WE ARE WHAT WE EAT and that is why it is so important to only put the very best fuel into our bodies.
  2. Over two thirds of our plate (or our daily intake) should come exclusively from plant based food. Namely fruit, veg, carbohydrates and staple food like rice, grains, flours.
  3. We only need sugar in very small quantities and we should avoid added sugar in food such as sauces, bread, bought biscuits.

This is in three points the essence of the message I try to pass onto my children and family. They mostly take it in,  sometimes ignore it and rarely but otherwise expectedly rebel against it! So it was with glee on my part and relief on theirs that I recently was able to drill a slightly larger audience of fresh, open and eager minds!

Last wednesday, for the last session of the Healthy Cooking Club, I had a lot of fun designing a menu along those lines and as I was looking at including a sweet/pudding, I came across these fruit and nut balls. They are not only deliciously healthy but also very easy to make and gratifying for the children to roll . They can easily fit into a lunch box or can be used as snack on the go. They can be customised with an endless variety of dry fruit, nuts and even fresh fruits or seeds but here is the mix that I used for the photo:

Raw fruit balls

Ingredient list:

  • raisin, 1 cup
  • rolled oats, 1 cup
  • pecan nuts, 1/2 cup
  • ground almond, 1/2 cup
  • handful of pine nuts
  • dates, 1 cup
  • grated zest of one lime
  • Prune juice, 50 ml to bind
Process to a pulp, adding the juice along so that it helps binding the mix but do keep it touch dry. It must not get too sticky in your hands or rolling will not be such fun…
Now prepare three bowls : Fill one with raw unsweetened cacao, one with cinnamon and Allspice mixed with a little rice flour or cornflour and lastly one more with grated coconut.
Give latex gloves to the kids or oil your hands and take a marble size chunck of the mixture. Roll it lightly then dip into the covering you choose and roll into a ball. Remember your playdoh days! Modelling is so therapeutic it should be compulsory until A level… Dress on a pretty plate and enjoy – or reserve in clingfilm in the fridge.

For a real teatime treat, you could make yourself this amazing drink I discovered at TOMBO, japanese bistrot in South kensington: A frothy Macha latte with soya.
Recipe to come next!