Saturday, 21 June 2014

Raw Chocolate Brownies

This is from ohsheglows.com which contains some great vegan recipes. Things have come a long way from my vegan days where I really struggled with what to eat. Now I pretty much eat anything except for processed sugar, fructose and pork. I've also cut out a lot of natural sweeteners like agave (90% fructose) & honey so rice syrup & stevia are my new best friends. I made some substitutes as the recipe is quite flexible so play around with what you have in the cupboard.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw pecan or walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup linseed seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates (approx. 275g)
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder or dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt or fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs
  • Dark chocolate for melting - I used Cavalier Dark Chocolate Buttons sweetened with Stevia but if you aren't eliminating fructose from your diet then any type of 70% dark chocolate will work
Method
  1. Line an 8-inch square pan with baking paper

  2. In a food processor, process the pecans (or nuts of choice) into a fine crumb.
  3. Add the seeds and the pitted dates and process until finely
    chopped and sticky.
  4. Add the cacao powder, vanilla, and salt and process until thoroughly combined.
  5. Stir or pulse in the nibs until just combined.
  6. Evenly press the mixture into prepared square pan until smooth. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  7. For the chocolate topping: place buttons in a heat proof dish that will fit snugly over a pot. Bring pot of water (fill about 2cm as you don't want the water touching the bowl) to barely simmering & place bowl of buttons over the top and melt stirring with a dry wooden spoon
  8. Remove the brownies from the freezer and pour on the chocolate topping. Spread out evenly. Transfer the pan to the freezer on a flat, even surface. Chill for 20 + minutes or until the topping is firm enough to slice & enjoy!

ohsheglows tips

  • Run hot water over a knife for a minute or so, wipe quickly with towel, and carefully slide the knife into the brownies to slice (warming up the knife helps it slice more evenly without much cracking).
  • Store leftovers in the freezer for a chocolate treat anytime.
  • You’ll want to use soft, fresh Medjool dates for this recipe to make it easier on the processor. If your dates are firm, try soaking them in water for 30-60 minutes (and then draining well) before use.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Annabel's Prawn and Bok Choy Risotto

Another great recipe from my favourite kiwi chef, Annabel Langbein from Simple Pleasures - The Free Range Cook. This is the first risotto made by my partner and he found it super easy and I love the Asian fusion.

Ingredients
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 25-30 mins
Serves: 2

  • 3 tbsp butter or olive oil 
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped 
  • 2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1½ cups risotto rice
  • 4½ cups hot chicken stock
  • finely grated zest of 2 limes
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 350g (about 2 cups) shelled prawns, halved lengthwise
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 4-5 small or 2-3 medium bok choy, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp lime juice 
  • 3 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander leaves
Method
  1. Heat butter or oil in a deep, heavy-based pot and gently fry onions and ginger until soft but not browned (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add rice and stir over heat for 2 minutes to lightly toast. Add hot stock and lime zest (reserving a little zest for the garnish) and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cover and cook over a very low heat until almost cooked (about 15 minutes). 
  3. At this point, test the rice – it should have a tiny white core in the centre of each grain. If the core is bigger, continue cooking another few minutes. It needs to be almost cooked before you add the final ingredients. If the rice begins to dry out, add another half cup of hot stock or water – it should be quite soupy.
  4. Stir in the prawns and peas, cook for 1 minute then add the bok choy and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and coriander (reserving a little coriander for the garnish) and adjust seasonings to taste. To serve, sprinkle with the reserved lime zest and coriander. Enjoy!