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Rhubarb and apple crumble

It’s rhubarb season! The word “forced” used to lead me to believe that this kind of rhubarb is somehow inferior, but I have since come to love this delicious late winter treat. Lifting sections of the rhubarb roots and bringing them under the cover of a greenhouse or other warmer place, shutting out all light, creates stems that grow pale. This means the light-starved plants desperately reach out in search of light and thereby produce smooth, bright crimson stems (rather than green ones created post photosynthesis). The Rhubarb Triangle in West Yorkshire produces some of the world’s finest. Forced rhubarb is less bitter than the traditional, non-forced stalks and needs less sugar to balance the tartness. Pretty in pink and less astringent – perfect!

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Rhubarb and apple crumble

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients for the fruit filling

500g rhubarb, washed and sliced into 1/2 cm pieces

2 apples, cored and thinly sliced

zest of 1 orange

juice of 2 oranges

40g dark muscovado sugar

1 cinnamon stick, broken into 2 or 3 pieces

Ingredients for the topping

85g cold unsalted butter (preferably organic) or ice cold coconut oil, cut into little cubes

50g mixed nuts, roughly chopped (I used a combination of almonds, pecans and walnuts)

30g demerara sugar

70g muesli base (mine is a mix of oat, rye and quinoa flakes, but you can use any combination)

70g wholemeal rye flour (or use wholemeal spelt or you favourite gluten-free mix)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (370°F).
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl, then transfer to a medium ovenproof dish and cover with a lid or foil. Bake for 45 minutes (or until the fruit is tender when tested with a sharp knife), stirring carefully half-way through the cooking time.
  3. In the meantime, place all the topping ingredients apart from the butter in a bowl and mix well. Now add the butter (or coconut oil) and quickly rub into the dry ingredients until it comes together and you are able to form large clumps. Spread the clumps out on a baking sheet and place in the oven with the fruit. The crumble topping should be ready after about 30 minutes, but use a spatula to turn the pieces over gently half way.
  4. To serve, divide the fruit amongst 4 – 6 bowls, spoon over the delicious juices, scatter the crumble over the fruit and serve with vanilla-sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream of your choice.

Note: If you use coconut oil and gluten-free flour, your crumble will be a much finer texture, but still crunchy and delicious.

crumble 1

crumble 2

 



Roasted pumpkin with green sauce

I spent some time in beautiful Hamburg in my early 20’s. My neighbour opposite was also a keen cook and I remember chatting to him about his favourite local dishes (his was Steckrübeneintopf). When he asked me whether there were any particular South African specialities I loved, it took about 1 second for “Pumpkin Fritters” to leave my mouth, a little more loudly than I had intended.  He was horrified. “Pumpkin? That is what the pigs eat here in Germany…” Say what?! Naturally I rose to the challenge and, once I had finally sourced a pumpkin, made him some Pampoenkoekies. I believe he was a converted man.

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This dish is a lovely make-ahead option for the colder months. Use whatever squash or pumpkin you have, but it is particularly delicious with sugar pumpkin. The green sauce is very moreish and good with any type of grain or pulse-based salad. It will thicken in the fridge, but just give it a good whisk and it should be pourable.

roasted-pumpkin

 

Roasted pumpkin with green sauce

 

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients for the sauce

80ml (1/3 cup) coconut milk (if using organic, stand the tin in warm water to melt the fat)

30ml (2 tablespoons) lime juice (about 2 medium limes)

1/2 teaspoon unrefined salt

1/2 small avocado

Juice of 1 tangerine

1 spring onion

large bunch (100g) fresh coriander, leaves and stalks

medium bunch (50g) fresh mint, leaves only

1 teaspoon raw honey

1 green chilli (more or less to taste), seeds removed if you prefer it less spicy

 

For the rest

1 fennel bulb, the tough outer layer peeled (or a couple of stalks celery)

1 spring onion, finely sliced

3 cups cooked lentils and/ or quinoa

unrefined salt

crumbled goats cheese

roasted pumpkin (I used kabocha squash, but for an extra delicious option, try sugar pumkin)

toasted pumpkin seeds

 

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Separate the layers of the fennel bulb, then chop into small squares. Sauté in a little coconut oil until tender.
  3. Combine the fennel with the rest of the ingredients, dress with the dressing and serve.

 



Apricot, red currant & butternut cake

I absolutely love cooked apricots, whether in a cake, jam, compote, tart or savoury dish. I find that they offer the perfect balance of flavour, and the vibrant colour is always a treat. This cake has a firm texture and is not very crumbly, so makes for an ideal dessert to take along on a picnic. Use frozen red currants if you can’t find fresh.

apricot cake (2)

Apricot, red currant and butternut squash cake

Makes one 20cm cake

 

Ingredients

3 medium eggs

150ml (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) macadamia nut or extra virgin olive oil

140g (1 cup) palm sugar or dark muscovado sugar

1 vanilla pod, cut into smaller pieces (or just the seeds if you are not using a high-speed blender)

130g (1 cup) wholemeal spelt or buckwheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of sea salt

165g (1 1/2 cups) grated peeled butternut squash

150g red currants, stripped from the stalks

8 small apricots, halved and stone removed

Toasted macadamias, optional

 

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/360°F, and grease a 20cm spring form.
  2. In a blender, whisk together the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla pod pieces (or vanilla seeds, if not using a strong blender).
  3. Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the centre and add the egg mix. Stir until just combined.
  4. Stir in the butternut and half the red currants, then scrape into prepared tin.
  5. Place the apricot halves, cut sides down, onto the cake batter and scatter the rest of the currants on top. Use the back of a large spoon to gently press the fruit into the batter.
  6. Bake for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean or with a few dry crumbs.  It may need a little longer, depending on your oven.
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  8. Serve with whipped cream and toasted macadamia nuts.

 

 

 



Puffed quinoa squares

A relative unknown a few years ago, South American-born Quinoa has since crept into our hearts and is unlikely to disappear anytime soon. This little pseudo-grain is very nutritious, rich in protein and gluten-free to boot, making it an ideal addition to any meal. It is most often cooked and prepared in the same way as rice, but I love grinding and making a delicious breakfast porridge with it. You can also make puffed quinoa as if you were making popcorn. Heat a large heavy bottomed pot (cast iron ones work best) and add about half a cup of quinoa. Keep shaking the pot until most of the seeds have popped. If your pot is deep enough, you won’t need a lid to keep the little nippers at bay.  Tip them out onto a baking sheet to cool and use in muesli, as a topping on yoghurt or in recipes such as these squares below.

Puffed quinoa squares (1)

Puffed quinoa squares

The squares make an excellent after-school snack, as they are a mini version of a complete meal.

Makes about 40

Ingredients

200g (1 1/2 loosely packed cups) soft, dried prunes

125ml coconut water, at room temperature and preferably raw (i.e. unpasteurised)

150ml (125g or 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) liquid coconut oil

125ml (1/2 cup) raw honey

Pinch of sea salt

5 cups puffed quinoa (home-made or store-bought)

90g (1 cup) toasted desiccated coconut

70g (1/2 cup) shelled hemp seeds

70g (1/2 cup) shelled sunflower seeds

 

Method

  1. Soak the prunes in the coconut water whilst you get your other ingredients together.
  2. In a powerful blender, blend the prunes, coconut water and enough of the coconut oil to give you a smooth paste. Scrape into a bowl.
  3. Add the rest of the oil, honey, salt, quinoa, desiccated coconut and seeds, and stir until well combined. Your mixture needs to be sticky and hold together when pressed.
  4. Line a 34cm x 26cm (9” x 13”) tin or oven dish with greaseproof paper, then press the mixture into the tin and refrigerate until set (at least a couple of hours).
  5. Turn out onto a chopping board and cut into squares. They will keep a week or so in the fridge, and freeze really well.

 

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Stuffed heirloom tomatoes

Do you often have a bite of a tomato and wonder why you even bother buying them? Although beautifully uniform and bright red, commercial tomato varieties often lack taste.

One of the reasons for this was the move by tomato growers in the 1930’s towards tomato mutations with a “uniform ripening” gene, which ensured the fruits would ripen evenly from stem to tip, without leaving a harder, green part around the stem, deemed undesirable by consumers at the time. Unfortunately this mutation has a side-effect: by disabling the gene that creates the darker green colour around the stem, the chlorophyll (or chloroplasts), which converts sunlight into sugars for the plant, is removed, leading to a less sweet and tasty fruit. Thankfully some families and growers have passed the seeds from older varieties down from generation to generation because of their valued characteristics and taste. These heirloom varieties – now available at most markets – are usually much more tasty, albeit a little more expensive.

DSC_9370 We’ve had a few very wet days lately, which meant the wonderful summer produce I bought at the market over the weekend had to find a rather more wintry purpose. I’ve always loved roasted tomatoes, but stuffing these beauties elevates them to the most perfect light meal imaginable.

Heirloom toms If you cannot find heirloom tomatoes for this recipe, use 4 large regular tomatoes. For the oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, cut 2 punnets of cherry tomatoes in half, toss in red wine vinegar and olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then roast cut sides up in a medium hot oven until caramelised (about 1 – 2 hours). I usually have a jar of these in my fridge, but you could also replace them with 60g of finely sliced marinated sun-dried tomatoes and increase the amount of rice slightly. Use the scooped out tomato flesh in your next batch of tomato soup or sauce, or blend with a pinch of salt and strain through a muslin cloth to make the most delicious tomato broth.

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 heirloom beef tomatoes (about 800g), cut in half horizontally and flesh scooped out carefully

Ingredients for the filling

extra virgin olive oil

1/2 large red onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)

1 stalk celery, finely diced

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs (parsley, basil, tarragon, oregano etc.)

125g oven-roasted cherry tomatoes (about 1/2 cup firmly packed)

85g (1/2 cup) cooked brown long-grain rice

1 – 2 teaspoons lemon juice

100g tin sardines in brine or olive oil, drained and broken up slightly with a fork

3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley and dill

150g fresh ricotta cheese, preferably made with unpasteurised milk from grass-fed animals

 

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/360°F.
  2. Heat a glug of olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery, salt and dried herbs, and cook until softened (about 5 to 10 minutes).
  3. Now mix together all the ingredients for the filling, except the ricotta, and allow to cool.
  4. Fold the ricotta into the filling briefly, leaving it in tact as much as possible.
  5. Spoon the filling into the tomato halves, place into an ovenproof dish that fits them snugly and bake at 180°C/360°F for about 30 to 40 minutes (or until the tomatoes are very tender). If the filling is starting to get too brown after about 20 minutes, cover with foil.
  6. Serve with a crisp green salad and green beans, or on toasted sourdough.

Heirloom toms 2 (1)

Stuffed toms



Hot cross breakfast bake

I have an issue with Christmas decorations appearing in September. And hot cross buns being for sale all year long. They are such a treat precisely because they are usually only available during Easter – and, like fragrant strawberries in summer and nutty-sweet Jerusalem artichokes in winter, I so look forward to indulging in them for a brief period every year. Here is a recipe idea for a savoury dish making use of these little spiced buns and one of my favourite greens – cavolo nero.

Wishing you all a blessed Easter!

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Hot cross breakfast bake

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large onion, finely chopped

large knob of organic butter

50g (small handful) Tuscan kale / cavolo nero, leaves stripped from stems and roughly chopped

4 wholewheat, preferably organic, hot cross buns, sliced into 5 slices each (they can be a few days old)

3 pastured organic eggs

200ml (1/2 plus 1/3 cup) milk of your choice

small handful (about 20g) pine nuts, toasted in a heavy based pan until golden

large handful (about 40g) grated strong cheddar cheese

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Heat the butter, add the onion and cook over a medium heat until soft and translucent. Now turn up the heat and cook for another 20 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid the edges catching.
  3. While the onion is caramelising, “steam” the kale briefly in a little water until bright green and wilted. Refresh under cold running water and squeeze out any excess liquid.
  4. As soon as the onions are golden and sweet, set aside to cool slightly.
  5. Butter each of the hot cross bun slices with butter and stack in an ovenproof dish. Scatter over the toasted pine nuts.
  6. Now place the onion, kale, eggs and milk in a blender and blend briefly until the kale is finely chopped (but not completely liquidised). Carefully pour this mixture over the hot cross buns and leave to stand for at least 20 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle over the grated cheese and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and set.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

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egg shells



Cacao and matcha pinwheels

We all know that regularly enjoying a cup of green tea is beneficial to our health. Matcha powder is a concentrated powdered green tea that can be stirred into hot water to make a cuppa, but also be added to a variety of dishes, such as smoothies, porridge, lattes, chocolate truffles and cakes. The nutritional value and antioxidant content of matcha tea exceeds that of regular green tea tenfold, because the whole leaf, not just the brewed water, is ingested. Amongst its many benefits, matcha is packed with antioxidants, boosts metabolism and burns calories, detoxifies, calms, aids in concentration, contains vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium, fights against viruses and bacteria, is rich in fibre, and lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. Well worth incorporating into your diet, it seems.

Keksi

 

Gluten-free cacao and matcha pinwheel cookies

Makes 50 – 60 cookies, depending on thickness

Ingredients

110g butter, preferably organic and pastured

130 – 140g coconut sugar (you could also use unrefined brown sugar)

1 egg

250g gluten-free flour (try using one that contains no xanthan gum) or wholegrain spelt flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

15g (2 tablespoons) unsweetened cacao powder

7g (1 tablespoon) matcha green tea powder

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F and line a large  baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, then fold into the butter mixture.
  4. Now divide the mixture in half, add the cacao powder to one half and the matcha powder to the other. Use your hands to work the cacao and the matcha into the two balls of dough. The dough will be quite sticky, but should be workable. The matcha half may need a tiny bit more flour.
  5. Now flatten the cacao dough ball onto a large piece of parchment paper in a rectangular shape. Place another piece of baking parchment on top and roll out until you have a very thin large rectangle. Place in the fridge on a chopping board or tray.
  6. Repeat the process for the matcha dough half. Remove the cacao rectangle from the fridge, peel off the top piece of paper, and flip over onto the matcha rectangle. Cut off any overhang to patch any gaps.
  7. Sprinkle the piece of paper that you peeled off the cacao rectangle with flour, then flip the now stuck-together rectangles onto that.
  8. Carefully start rolling up the dough on the long side until you have a very long and tight sausage. Place this in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before moving on to the next step.
  9. When completely firm, cut the sausage in half, leave one half in the fridge and slice the other half into thin rounds. Place on the lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheet once. Repeat for the other half of the sausage.
  10. Place on a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.


Two ways with roasted cauliflower

For Mother’s Day last year, my eldest son completed the sentence “I love my mummy because…” in the communal class card with “she makes me roasted cauliflower – my favourite!” – a statement that was endearing and cringe-worthy in equal measure. I could just imagine other parents rolling their eyes and wanting to gag, but the truth of the matter is that roasted cauliflower really IS his favourite food, and I am happy to indulge his love often. Here are two easy ways to enjoy this delicious brassica: with pickles or with pasta.

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Raw pickled watermelon radishes

Ingredients

2 medium watermelon  (also known as roseheart or red meat) radishes, scrubbed and sliced into thin discs or matchsticks
125ml (1/2 cup) water, preferably filtered
125ml (1/2 cup) apple cider vinegar, preferably unpasteurised such as this one or this one
30ml (2 tablespoons) honey, preferably raw
1 heaped teaspoon sea salt
large pinch of red chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

Method

  1. Pack the radish slices or matchsticks into a medium canning jar or glass container with lid, that you have either washed in the dishwasher or rinsed with boiling water.
  2. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients until honey and salt are dissolved, and pour over the radishes. Seal with the lid and place in a cool place or the fridge for at least 24 hours before tasting.
  3. They will remain crunchy for only a few days, but keep well for several weeks in the fridge.
  4. Serve with roasted cauliflower or mixed into salads, on sandwiches and with cheese.

Pickles

Roasted cauliflower and chard pasta

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 small head cauliflower, trimmed and separated into florets
1 medium onion, chopped
200g Swiss chard, trimmed, stalks finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 – 3 preserved lemons (depending on their size), flesh discarded and finely chopped
linguini or spaghetti for 6 people (I like wholemeal spelt or gluten-free quinoa pasta)
sea salt
black pepper
1 tablespoon hazelnut and chickpea dukkha per person to serve
extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F. Toss the cauliflower florets with some salt and coconut or olive oil, and roast until golden and tender (about 50 minutes to an hour), turning at least once.
  2. While the cauliflower is roasting, bring a large pot of water to boil and add the pasta. Cook at a gentle simmer until just tender (al dente). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid for the sauce, and toss with sea salt and olive. Set aside.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, sweat the onion and the chard stalks with a large pinch of salt in some olive oil over a gentle heat. Once softened, add the garlic and a few minutes later the chard leaves. As soon as they have wilted, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. When the cauliflower is cooked, pour some of the pasta cooking liquid into a blender or food processor, then add the roasted cauliflower, chard mix and preserved lemon peels. Blend until smooth, adding a little more liquid as necessary. Adjust seasoning and stir into the cooked pasta with most of the dukkha. Add a generous glug of olive oil and divide between 6 pasta bowls. Sprinkle over the rest of the dukkha and serve hot.

Lemons 2 Pasta

 

 



Green crêpes with cayenne cashew cream

We love pancakes in any shape and size. And it is one of the easiest way to serve vegetables to your family – either mixed straight into the batter or as a filling. These Tuscan kale crêpes, a.k.a. dragon slayer pancakes, are delicious with a savoury cashew cream, but you could also serve them with grated (preferably unpasteurised) cheddar cheese or goat milk feta. And I usually reserve some of the batter to make a few plain ones to have with honey and lemon as a special Pancake Day dessert.

Green crepes

Ingredients for the crêpe batter

5 medium eggs

240g (2 cups) wholemeal spelt flour

500ml (2 cups) water

large pinch of  sea salt

200g Tuscan kale (also known as cavolo nero, dinosaur or lacinato kale), thick cores discarded, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Steam (or briefly blanch) the kale until wilted, then refresh under ice cold running water.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until well mixed.
  3. Set aside for at least 1 hour.
  4. To make the crêpes, heat a little ghee or coconut oil in crêpe pan until hot, but not smoking. Pour a ladleful of the batter into the pan, turning it while you pour to ensure you cover the base.
  5. As soon as the edges have browned (after a few minutes), carefully slide a spatula under the crêpe and flip it over for another couple of minutes. Repeat until all the batter has been used up.

Ingredients for the cashew cream

125g (about 1 cup) cashew nuts, soaked for 2 – 4 hours in fresh cold water

100 – 125ml (about 1/2 cup) water

large pinch of sea salt

1 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes

generous squeeze of lemon

large pinch of cayenne pepper

Method

  1. Rinse the soaked cashews thoroughly, then place in a blender with just under half a cup of water (about 100ml), salt, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and cayenne, and blend until creamy.
  2. If you don’t have access to a high speed blender, the resultant cream will have a coarser texture.
  3. Adjust seasoning and spoon onto a green crêpe before rolling up.

 

 



Picnic à deux

Ok, full disclosure: I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day.

I used to, but that was before I married another Capricorn at the end of January. By the time Christmas, New Year’s Eve, our respective birthdays and our wedding anniversary have been duly celebrated, we are usually ready for a break.

I am a HUGE fan of romantic dates, however. Any time, any place. And if Valentine’s Day happens to be the next available opportunity to spoil your sweetheart, then make the most of it with this easy peasy, super sexy stay-at-home picnic for two. Open fires and games of scrabble optional.

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The Ruby Noir

Makes 2 cocktails

Ingredients

60ml (1/4 cup) 100% pomegranate juice, chilled

30ml (2 tablespoons) damson, plum, blackberry or sloe vodka

1 teaspoon sweetened lime juice (squeeze out half a lime and stir in 1 teaspoon honey)

Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled

1 teaspoon pomegranate seeds

2 small and fine rosemary twigs (optional)

Method

  1. Mix the pomegranate juice, vodka and lime juice, then divide between two champagne flutes, pouring through a funnel if you want to keep it extra neat.
  2. Top up with Champagne, by carefully pouring the bubbly into the glass over the back of a metal spoon to “float” it on top of the pomegranate mix.
  3. Carefully float a few pomegranate seeds on top and finish with a rosemary twig, if you like.

 

 

Heart crackers

 

Spiced rye crackers with figgy goat’s cheese

Ingredients for the crackers

Makes about 18 small crackers, but feel free to double or triple the recipe – they keep well

50g (1/3 cup) stoneground rye flour

pinch of salt

pinch each of caraway seed, aniseed and cumin

10g (about 2 teaspoons) cold butter, cut into small cubes

15ml (1 tablespoon) or thereabouts milk of your choice (I used almond milk)

Ingredients for the figgy goat cheese

Enough for 2 people

70g (1/3 cup) soft goat cheese

1 large soft dried fig, finely chopped

1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley, leaves only

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

aged Balsamic vinegar to serve (optional)

Method

  1. For the crackers: preheat the oven to 220°C / 420°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, spices and salt. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
  3. Add the milk and knead the dough until it comes together in a soft ball – not too sticky, and not crumbly.
  4. Roll the dough out thinly and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Place these on the prepared sheet.
  5. Bake for roughly 10 minutes, or until the edges have turned golden, then remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  6. For the goat cheese: while the crackers are baking, mix all the ingredients for the cheese in a bowl, adjust seasoning and set aside.

 

Picnic

Scallop pops with avocado aïoli

What can be more seductive than nibbling on a sizzling scallop lollipop? These guys are the perfect mess-free picnic food and add just the right amount of spice to wake up the senses. Serve with a plate of gorgeous roasted mixed beets.

Ingredients for the marinade

handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

1 small red chilli, finely chopped (deseeded and membranes removed if you prefer it milder)

1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced

splash of olive oil

For the pops

6 large or 8 small scallops

knob of butter, preferably organic

4 to 6 wooden skewers

Ingredients for the avocado aïoli

1 small ripe avocado, mashed

1 – 2 tablespoons garlic aïoli or mayonnaise, preferably home-made

squeeze of lemon

sea salt

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and rub it into the scallops. Set aside for at least half an hour.
  2. While the scallops are marinating, mix together the ingredients for the avocado aïoli and refrigerate.
  3. When you are ready to fry the scallops, pick out the garlic slices, as they burn too easily, and heat the butter in a heavy bottomed skillet or pan over a medium heat.
  4. Fry the scallops for a minute or two on each side – do not overcook them! – then slide one to two onto each skewer. Season with sea salt and serve with the avocado aïoli.

 

Screenshot 2015-01-24 21.42.40

Chocolate-drizzled pear and raspberry lollies

For me, a romantic dinner has to be delicious, yes, but definitely not too filling. Who wants to feel stuffed and uncomfortable on a date? These refreshing, yet luscious lollies will hit the spot.

Makes 4 small or 2 large lollies

Ingredients for the lollies

teaspoon of coconut oil

2 pears, peeled, cored and quartered

1 teaspoon molasses sugar or dark brown muscovado sugar

80g (1/2 cup) frozen or fresh raspberries, plus a few extra

60ml (1/4 cup) milk of your choice (I used almond milk)

Ingredients for the chocolate drizzle

10g / 10ml (2 teaspoons) coconut oil

20g (about 6 squares) dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

Method

  1. For the lollies: heat the coconut oil in a heavy based saucepan until hot, then lay the pear quarters down, sprinkle over the sugar and do not turn until they’ve developed a lovely golden colour and the sugar has melted (about 5 to 10 minutes).
  2. Turn over and fry on the other side for another 5 minutes.
  3. Now blend the pears, raspberries and milk until smooth. Stir in the remaining raspberries (crush them if they are frozen) and fill the ice lolly moulds.
  4. Freeze for at least 4 to 5 hours.
  5. For the chocolate drizzle: put them coconut oil in a small saucepan and heat over a low heat until melted.
  6. Add the bits of chocolate and continue to warm over a medium heat until melted.
  7. Give it a quick whisk, then set aside to cool slightly.
  8. Run hot water over the moulds to remove the lollies. Using a spoon, drizzle some chocolate sauce over each and give it half a minute or so to set.

Lollies