search icon

Tag: Desserts

Flourless Chocolate ‘Cloud’ Cake, and Fair Trade Month

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

~ Nelson Mandela

It’s very hard to “walk in another man’s shoes”, to truly understand what it feels to grow up in poverty, without access to many things people in other countries take for granted, such as having food on the table for every meal, having shoes to wear or having more than one pair, having access to healthcare, modern infrastructure, the opportunity to go to school, the possibility to have real chances to change your life for the better…

I remember growing up in Spain during a time when ETA, the Basque terrorist group, was in its full apogee and bomb scares were happening almost every week at our school. Every time we were told that classes were postponed for later in the day or cancelled, I always felt a pang in my heart and remember thinking that I much preferred to have to go to school every single day of the year than getting time off because of bomb threats. I also remember many kids being ecstatic about not having to go to classes; in fact, some of these kids who are obviously now adults, have admitted to calling in many of the threats that resulted to be fake.

[Read more…] »

Coconut Milk or Basic Flan Recipe

There are times that one forgets how the simple things in life are the best. Flan is one of the easiest desserts to make and always tastes good and looks impressive on a plate.

We were invited to lunch by my parent’s friends the other day and my father accustomed to my mother’s cooking and social habits, suggested that I make a flan. A custard as our English friend told us. In the US, whenever we had parties or social gatherings, my mother was known for her delicious flan, paella and other traditional Spanish dishes. My sister-in-law’s is also renown for her culinary talents amongst our friends. And oftentimes, flan is her star dish.

So, I acquiesced and indulged my father with a flan, albeit dairy-free, which didn’t make him too happy. (He much prefers regular milk flan.) Our friends enjoyed it too and because I was feeling guilty, I made it again yesterday, this time with cow’s milk just for him.

Whenever a recipe calls for just a few ingredients, you know that what is important is the quality of such ingredients. Pasture-raised, organic eggs and the best quality milk and honey make this dessert a special treat that is not only delicious, but also very healthy.

I personally love the flavour of coconut flan, but for a more neutral flan, I would suggest using cow’s milk. I’ve tried using almond milk in the past, and find the texture too granular, granted it was homemade. Also, you can be creative and add some fruit or other flavourings and come up with your own special recipe! Like I did here.

This is the basic recipe for flan; and it can be made with any type of milk you prefer, although remember it should always be full-fat for better results and taste.

Coconut Milk Flan

Ingredients

6 large eggs
750ml coconut milk (preferably canned)
1/2 cup raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup raw honey
1 tablespoon water

Method

You’ll need a large ovenproof dish in which you can place another ovenproof dish or bowl or individual molds for baking the flan au bain marie.

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

On the stovetop, in a medium pan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat the 1/3 cup raw honey and 1 tablespoon water. Cook, stirring constantly until caramelised but still liquid, about 4 minutes. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit and also turn brown as you cook. Do not over cook, however, or you’ll end up with hard caramel in the pan. Pour into the flan mold/s and coat the bottom. Set aside. Place the pot immediately in the sink and fill with warm water. I do this to make it easier to clean later.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and raw honey. Once they are well blended, add the coconut milk and vanilla extract and mix well. Pour into the mold/s. Place the mold inside the ovenproof dish, large enough to hold the flan mold and be filled with water. Fill the outside glass dish to about 1/2 of the side of the flan mold. Do not over-fill, or the water can boil over inside the egg mixture and ruin the flan.

For a large mold (one flan), bake for 55 minutes or until an inserted sharp knife comes out clean. For individual molds adjust the baking time (less).

Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature until the mold/s are cool enough to place in the fridge. Cool completely in the fridge before serving. When ready to serve, with a sharp knife cut away the edges of the flan from the mold. Place the serving plate on top and quickly turn over, giving it a jiggle if necessary. The flan should come out easily and look pretty on the plate.

Top with fruit, mint or edible flowers if desired.

 *****

Flan de Leche de Coco

Ingredientes

6 huevos grandes
750ml leche de coco (preferiblemente de lata)
125 ml miel cruda
1 cucharadita de las de te de extracto de vanilla
80ml miel cruda
1 cucharada grande (de las de sopa) de agua

Metódo

Nos hará falta un recipiente para el horno lo suficientemente grande para poder poner otro dentro o varios moldes/flaneras dentro al baño maria.

Precalentamos el horno a 180 grados.

Sobre la hornilla a fuego medio-alto, calentamos en una cazuela medianita 80ml de miel cruda y la cucharada de agua para hacer el caramelo líquido. Removiendo continuamente tarderemos unos 4 minutos en conseguir la textura y color deseados. Vertimos el caramelo dentro del molde/flaneras que vayamos a usar. Ponemos la cazuela dentro del fregadero y la llenamos de agua tibia para que luego nos sea mas fácil de limpiar.

En un bol, batimos los huevos y la miel. Cuando estén bien incorporados, agregamos la leche y batimos otra vez. Vertimos todo dentro del molde/flanera. Echamos agua dentro del recipiente grande, siempre teniendo en cuenta que queremos que sobre unos dedos sin agua para que cuando este en el horno no rebose al molde o la flanera estropeando el flan. Para un flan grande, horneamos unos 55 minutos o hasta que este hecho. Yo lo compruebo con un cuchillo afilado en el centro del flan.

Sacamos del  horno y del baño maria y dejamos que el flan se enfrie a temperatura ambiente hasta que podamos ponerlo en la nevera para enfriar del todo. Para servir, utilizamos un cuchillo afilado para desprender los filos del flan del molde. Le ponemos un plato por encima y le damos rapidamente la vuelta.

Se puede servir con fruta fresca, menta o incluso flores comestibles si deseamos.

San Nicolas and Chestnut & Drunken Raisins Muffins

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

…are synonymous with wintery days and nights and the Yuletide season that’s upon us. For me, roasting chestnuts also brings back memories of growing up in Chipiona and my Spanish grandmother, whom we all called Tita Paca. She was one of the biggest influences in my life and someone that continues to be very important.

Today, which is the holiday of San Nicolás (Saint Nicholas), I remember her even more than other days. For Tita Paca, San Nicolás was very special. We used to do the traditional 3-Monday journey many times during the year, and on December 6th especially, we’d always try to go to church to visit him.

I’m not a very religious person, and in many ways, neither was my grandmother. Yet, she truly believed in Saint Nicholas and how he had helped many people during his lifetime, and as a saint, also helped our family steer away from harm…

Leovigildo used to travel the country roads on his horse-carriage from town to town in the provinces of Sevilla and Huelva, taking with him important items, money and foodstuff during the late 1800s. During those times, there were a lot of bandoleros – robbers – on horseback on the country roads. They were always waiting for the right moment to attack travellers and steal what they could. 

Leovigildo grew up in the town of Castilleja del Campo, in a humble home, where his mother used to have the portrait of an old man, with a white beard and a bishop’s hat on the wall. Leovigildo would ask his mother who that old man was, and she would always say, “just a saint… carry on”. And Leovigildo did, carry on. He wasn’t a religious man, in fact more of a republican and non-believer, but always an honourable and good person, never doing harm to anyone and always being just and kind. He was the father of one of my grandmother’s best friends, Carmelita. 

After Leovigildo married and already had a few children, he continued with his business. His wife used to always tell him to not travel at night and be careful, since the bandoleros were always a menace and he was always in danger of being assaulted. But Leovigildo had little choice if he wanted to keep his family afloat.

One night, whilst travelling the country roads, in darkness and all alone, he heard voices and noises… and then he saw a bright light ahead of him on the road. He thought of turning back, but couldn’t because the carriage couldn’t turn around. He used to boast that he was not scared of anything…but on this particular night, he feared for his life. He knew the bandoleros were many and very prepared, with lights and all… so he braced himself and carried on. 

Not being a religious man, he didn’t pray or ask God to help him. 

As he entered the bright lights, he saw an old man with a white beard sitting on the side of the road…and just then, Leovigildo turned to the man and said, “I know you! You’re the man in the painting that my mother has always had.” Just as he pronounced those words, the old man with a beard disappeared and so did the bright lights. 

He made his way home on that evening and many others, never, ever being assaulted or harmed…and never once telling anyone about this incident. Years later, when he was very old and agonising for days – the doctors kept saying that each day was to be his last – he found the strength to tell his granddaughter, Violeta, and my mother, who was also like a granddaughter to him, about the story. He still couldn’t really understand why that old man, Saint Nicholas, had chosen to appear to him on that dark night so long ago.. but he thought he owed him being safe all those years and wanted someone to know. 

Leovigildo died a few days later… on December 6th, the day of Saint Nicholas. 

This is a true story. One that my grandmother would tell me and my mother has told me over and over. And one that gives me goosebumps every time I remember it. San Nicolás also “gave signs” to my grandmother…and she believed that he answered all her questions that she would pose during the 3-Monday walks to see him at the Santuario de Regla, in Chipiona.

I have to admit I believe in him too, although maybe not quite the same way my grandmother did…and what I truly believe in, is his message of goodness and protection of those in need.

Today, on the day of Saint Nicholas, we should all – kids from one to ninety-two – be believers… believers in dreams and doing good to others.

I love this time of year that is approaching with the festive atmosphere, the lights, the decorations, the gathering of our family and friends, and yes, the roasting of chestnuts… the ones you find on street corners from London to Sevilla.

My grandmother is no longer with us, but her soul lingers and I remember her especially today and know that San Nicolás is somehow protecting all of us.

I remember her child-like excitement whilst opening packages on Christmas, her enthusiasm for everything in life, even the smallest things like roasting chestnuts in our fireplace.

I didn’t roast the chestnuts for this recipe, but rather cooked them on the stovetop to make them moist and supple. The muffins are a delicious combination of the seasonal flavours. I hope you enjoy and dream a little today…

CHESTNUT & DRUNKEN RAISINS MUFFINS

Ingredients, makes 9 large muffins:

350g chestnuts (about 50 chestnuts, plus some extra; I put in about 5 more)*
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup moscatel or brandy**
4 yolks
4 egg whites + 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup raw honey
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup almond flour

Method:

Cook the chestnuts in a large pot of boiling water, about 50 minutes. Make sure you add more water, if necessary, so the chestnuts do not burn. In the meantime, place the raisins in a bowl and cover with the moscatel.

Before the next steps, preheat oven to 180C (350F).  Prepare a large muffin tin with paper holders.

When the chestnuts are done, allow to cool before handling. Peel and purée in a food processor. Drain the raisins, reserving 2 tablespoons of moscatel. Set the raisins aside.

Add the 2 tablespoons of moscatel to the chestnuts and continue puréeing. Add the egg yolks, butter, and coconut milk and blend until smooth. Add the raw honey, orange zest, baking soda and sea salt. Pulse again until well blended.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Fold the chestnut mixture, almond flour and raisins into the egg whites until just blended.

Pour by spoonfuls into the muffin holders, about 2 spoonfuls per muffin. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and muffins are golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

*Tip: Since you are cooking the chestnuts without peeling, add a few extra in case they are rotten or not nice on the inside. I used about 5 extra and I ended up discarding about 6 chestnuts after peeling because they were not right inside.

**If you prefer to make the recipe without alcohol, simply soak the raisins in water, orange juice or orange blossom water to make them soft.

 *****

 MUFFINS DE CASTAÑAS Y UVAS PASAS BORRACHAS

Ingredientes, para 9 muffins grandes:

350g castañas (son como unas 50, aparte yo puse unas 5 de demás)*
1/2 vaso uvas pasas
1/2 vaso moscatel o brandy**
4 yemas
4 claras + 1/2 cucharadita crema de tartar
1/3 vaso mantequilla
1/2 vaso leche de coco
1/2 cucharadita de bicarbonato de soda
1/8 cucharadita de sal fina, como una pizca
1/4 vaso de miel cruda
1 cucharada sopera de ralladura de naranja
1 vaso de harina de almendras/almendras molidas muy finas

Como hacer los muffins:

Cuece las castañas en una olla grande de agua hirviendo, como unos 50 minutos. Si hiciera falta, añade mas agua.  Entretanto, pon las uvas pasas en un bol y tapa las con el moscatel.

Antes de empezar con los siguientes pasos, precalienta el horno a 180C. Y prepara un molde de muffins grandes con su correspondientes fundas de papel.

Cuando las castañas esten listas, deja que se enfríen antes de pelar las. Pela las y haz un puré con el robot de cocina. Escure las uvas pasas, reservando 2 cucharadas de moscatel. Añade el moscatel al puré de castañas. Agrega las yemas, la mantequilla, la leche de coco y pulsa hasta que obtengas una masa suave.

Ahora incorpora la miel, la ralladura de naranja, el bicarbonato y la sal. Vuelve a pulsar hasta que este todo bien mezclado.

En un bol aparte, bate las claras de huevo con la crema tartar hasta punto de nieve. Con una espátula, pasa la crema de castañas al bol de las claras montadas. Añade la harina de almendras (almendras molidas) y las uvas pasas. Mezcla todo bien con las espátula, pero sin batir la masa. Queremos que quede con aire, pero que no se vean las claras montadas.

Echa como dos cucharadas soperas de la masa en cada molde de muffin. Hornea durante unos 35-40 minutos hasta que esten los muffins dorados y hechos. Se puede comprobar con un palillo de dientes. Deja que se enfríen antes de servir.

*Nota: Al utilizar castañas frescas sin pelar, siempre es bueno incluir unas cuantas demás por si nos sale alguna mala por dentro. Yo puse unas 5 demás, y tire como 6 después de cocer las.

**Si no quieres utilizar alcohol, en vez de moscatel, usa agua, zumo de naranja o agua de azahar para poner las pasas en remojo.

Fig & Olive Oil Tart

I was really debating whether to make this or simply eat the fresh figs. We bought some beautifully ripe figs the other day and I have been eating them for breakfast and as dessert; and I also used them in this delightfully autumnal recipe: Butternut Squash, Fig & Serrano Hash. 

IMG_9824

The problem is that I’m home alone for a couple of weeks, and I can’t possibly eat everything by myself… maybe I should be having dinner parties, while my husband is travelling for business. How does that sound? 😉

IMG_9826

Anyway, I was searching for a savoury fig recipe ideas to inspire me to make my own, but only found one that caught my eye. I will have to leave it for another fig occasion as I didn’t have two of the main ingredients nor anything substitutable. So, I decided that this tart sounded really good and perfect to keep around for breakfast, as well. I had to Paleolise it of course, and am very happy with the results.

IMG_9804

Mikel López Iturriaga is a reporter and blogger, who loves food and shares recipes on El Pais newspaper. I’ve been inspired before by a number of his ideas.

IMG_9818

Figs are very traditional in the Mediterranean cuisine, both in savoury and sweet dishes, and what better to pair it with than our very healthy olive oil and native rosemary!

A disfrutar!

Fig & Olive Oil Tart
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 9-10 figs, rinsed, dried and quartered
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
  • zest of one lemon, about 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/3 cups ground almonds/almond flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • butter, for greasing
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Grease a tart tin with butter. The tin should be about 20cm (about 8in) in diameter.
  3. In a food processor, beat the eggs and honey for about 1 1/2 minutes, until light yellow.
  4. Add the olive oil, coconut milk, vanilla, rosemary, and lemon zest. Pulse about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the almond flour, arrowroot powder and coconut flour. Pulse until all is well mixed, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Let stand about 5 minutes to thicken up a bit.
  6. Pour into a mixing bowl.
  7. Give it a stir and add about 3/4 of the cut figs to the dough. Give it another stir to mix well.
  8. Pour into the tart tin, scrapping the bowl with a spatula to get all of the dough.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Then add the remaining fig pieces on top, placing them in a pretty design, if desired.
  11. Bake an additional 10 minutes, then drizzle with some olive oil and bake 5 minutes longer.

 

Orange-Fennel Almond Cake with Orange Glaze

When I saw this recipe from Adobo Down Under, I was intrigued by the history behind it and how simple it is to create. I discovered Anna, from Adobo Down Under, through the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, in which we both engage. Since then, I’ve been following her on Instagram and on Facebook.

IMG_9624

Adobo has interesting recipes, many of which are traditional Filipino, from where Anna originates. (She has another recipe for an insanely gorgeous purple cake made with ube – or purple yam – that I so want to make since she shared it… now, I must find the yams!)

My husband’s birthday was this week and he asked me to make a cake for his office. So I obediently did. 😉 I made him my Paleo Banana Bundt Cake, which is very tasty, and sent him off with a box of homemade macarons as well. (Yes, I know… the macarons are not Paleo, but are quite a lot of fun to make, and I am obsessed with them. I don’t make them that often anymore because they are loaded with refined sugars.)

IMG_9625

Anyway, I also wanted to have a cake at home, with which my husband could blow out his birthday candles… so Adobo’s cake looked perfect, as I had quite a few oranges laying around.

You only need two large oranges for the cake actually; however, I used one more for the topping, as you will see in the recipe. Additionally, I added a couple ingredients of my own, such as fennel seeds, and made it Paleo by swapping out the sugar for honey. The day before making the cake, I made Ras-el-Hanout spice blend and the scent of the fennel came to mind as a nice combination for the oranges. Fennel is a bit like anis, but not quite as powerful.

Note: My husband works in the chemical industry, and when I was explaining how the cake was made, he proceeded to tell me that the skin of the oranges is where most of the impurities and pesticides can be found. I’m guessing, as with other fruits and vegetables when cooked, the effect on our bodies of the impurities and pesticides are diminished.  However, if you’re very worried about this, then maybe peeling them prior to cooking would be an option. Of course the cooking time would need to be reduced. I haven’t tried it this way, and you would miss out on the texture of the skins, but it’s just a piece of information I thought I should through out there.

Orange Fennel Almond Cake with Orange Glaze
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • For the cake:
  • 2 whole oranges
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup raw honey (more or less to taste)
  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • zest of 1 orange
  • additional fennel seeds for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Place the whole oranges in a deep pot and fill with enough water to cover them completely.
  2. Over low to medium heat, cook for about 1 hour. Set aside to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  4. Grease a cake tin with some coconut oil. Set aside.
  5. When the oranges are cool, cut into quarters, remove any seeds and any inside white parts. Place into the food processor bowl. Pulse until smooth.
  6. Add the eggs, raw honey, vanilla, ground fennel and sea salt. Pulse until smooth.
  7. Add the almond flour, arrowroot powder and baking soda and pulse again until well blended.
  8. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and allow to cool before glazing.
  10. For the glaze:
  11. Grate the orange and reserve the zest.
  12. Peel off what is left of the skin of the orange, and cut the flesh into small chunks.
  13. Place the orange pieces and the rest of the ingredients in a small pot, over low heat, and cook about 20-25 minutes until the orange pieces are caramelised. Allow to cool at room temperature.
  14. With an immersion blender, slightly puree. (Alternatively, you can leave with the chunks for a more rustic look.)
  15. Pour over the top of the cake and drizzle with some additional fennel seeds.
  16. Serve and enjoy!

 

Avocado Mint Chocolate Ice Cream (Dairy Free)

We have a love for avocados, as I’m sure most of you do too. They are just delicious almost any way and any time. I particularly love making ice cream with avocados, as it creates a very rich and smooth cream, almost like eating the dairy version.

IMG_9053

I thought of making my Avocado-Lime Ice Cream, since my father absolutely adores this recipe. But I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to grate all the limes and lemons for that, so I opted for something different this time and gave mint and chocolate a try in this super easy to make ice cream.

IMG_9059

OMG! This is really delicious, rich and smooth! I had to use regular chocolate chips, as my parents didn’t have any Paleo options in stock. Next time I make this, I’ll drizzle homemade chocolate overtop, as I did with the Cardamom-Infused Strawberry Ice Cream.

IMG_9058

Also, as my parents do not have an ice cream machine, we made it directly in the freezer. They also make the other ice cream recipes the same way. So don’t fret if you don’t have a maker… simply put the blended mix in sealable freezer container and freeze for at least 4 hours and voila!

Avocado Mint Chocolate Ice Cream (Dairy Free)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 2 medium, ripe Hass avocados
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut/almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons mint extract
  • 1/2 cup Paleo chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, blend all of the ingredients except the chocolate pieces, until smooth.
  2. Add the chocolate pieces and pulse a few times to cut the chocolate up, if desired.
  3. Pour into the ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions or place in a sealable freezer container and freeze at least for 4 hours, stirring every hour or so.

 

Paleo Banana Bundt Cake

I feel very fortunate to be visiting with my parents for a few weeks. Living the expat life is fabulous in many ways, but being away from family is always hard. We have the opportunity to visit at least once, sometimes twice a year; and of course Skype helps with the distance to see each other often.

IMG_8992

But nothing beats in person, of course! While visiting, we are not only enjoying each other’s company and conversation, but we are also able to share experiences in the kitchen, which always brings us together. My mother has been making some delectable typical Spanish and Portuguese dishes, that I had been longing to eat again with her special touch. And I’ve been baking quite a lot more than I generally do.

I baked a Paleo carrot cake for my mother’s birthday per special request from my father. Okay.. it was her birthday and he chose the flavour. 😉 But we all enjoyed it.

I’ve also been making a lot of things to “teach” her how to bake Paleo style. The following cake is an example.

IMG_8998

Since going Paleo, reading about and experiencing the nutritional benefits of this lifestyle, I’ve been trying to share my new-found knowledge with my family. Every day cooking is very easy to adapt to Paleo. However, baking is a more complicated venture.

Nut flours, and coconut flour especially, react differently to heat and liquid content. And although in Spanish pastry making the almond is used quite frequently, my mother has never really baked with nut flours alone. Therefore sharing my recipes and techniques with her is helping her learn how to use them.

IMG_8976

(This is the batter with the swirl dropped into it. I apologise for the poor picture quality, which was taken late at night.)

Baking with bananas is a good starting point in Paleo/Primal baking. Bananas act as a binding agent and a liquid component at the same time. So it’s an easier ingredient to experiment with and add nut flours, coconut flour and/or starches, such as tapioca and arrowroot.

For this cake, I kept it simple. And it’s quite delicious and very easy to make; in fact, it’s a great recipe to share with children.

IMG_8977

(The swirl incorporated into the batter.)

IMG_8992

By making it in a bundt tin and adding the banana-cinnamon swirl, this cake is also a delicate and elegant dessert, which can be served at a party, yet works great for “every day” use.

We are enjoying it “bare”; but I do see it as a beautiful event cake with some icing….

By the way, I was inspired to make the banana-cinnamon swirls by this recipe from Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations.

Paleo Banana Bundt Cake
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • For cake:
  • 4 ripe bananas, thoroughly mashed (1 1/2 cups or 400ml)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • coconut oil, for greasing
  • For swirl:
  • 1 ripe banana, thoroughly mashed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease a cake tin with some coconut oil (I made a bundt cake). Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, blender, or by hand, blend until smooth the bananas, eggs, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. (I did this by hand in a bowl, as I was being lazy and didn’t want to wash more dishes.)
  3. If using a food processor, pour the batter into a mixing bowl for the next steps.
  4. Add the almond flour and baking soda and mix well with a hand whisk.
  5. Add the coconut flour and mix well with a hand whisk.
  6. Pour the batter into the cake tin.
  7. For the swirl:
  8. Mash the banana and mix well with the cinnamon.
  9. Place spoonfuls of the swirl over top the cake batter and with a fork, cut the swirl into the batter.
  10. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

 

Sweet Spinach Pie with Basic Paleo Almond Crust

I found an interesting article the other day, “Three Ways Cooking Has Changed Over the Last 300 Years,” which I posted on my Facebook page.

“With help from food historian Annie Gray, Finnamore has been cooking – and blogging — her way through The Unknown Ladies Cookbook, a 300-year-old British compendium of family recipes. Jotted down by hand by several different women between 1690 and 1830, the recipes provide insights into the cooking habits of the Georgian and Regency periods. They also tell us quite a bit about how much culinary craft has changed over the centuries.” ~exert from “Three Ways Cooking Has Changed Over the Last 300 Years”.

IMG_8714

The article intrigued me, and even more captivating were the use of some ingredients, such as spinach in a sweet pie. Yes, I know we use vegetables in many sweet versions, especially zucchini, carrots, potatoes… But somehow, I hadn’t thought of spinach as something for a dessert. However, having said that, this dish was not considered a dessert, but a second course! 

IMG_8720

‘To Make a Spineage Tort:’ Sweet spinach tart – a surprising combination of sweet and savory ingredients. This recipe has been largely forgotten in Britain, but a very similar dish is still made in a parts of Provence during the Christmas celebrations. This would be served as a second course.

“Take 6 eggs, yolks & whites. Beat them well with a pint of sweet cream, a qr of a pd of crums of bread, a good handfull of spinage cut small, half a qr of currons, half a qr of almonds pounded wth a little rose water, half a nutmeg, half a pd of white sugar. Half a pound of drawn butter, 3 spoonfulls of brandy. Mix all well together. Lay paist thin at the bottom & sides of the dish & cross bar at top. 3 qrs of an hour bakes it.”

 I loved the sound of this and therefore have made my own version of sweet “spineage” tort, which I have found delicious.

IMG_8715

My version is of course Paleo and Primal. The crust is a basic almond-coconut crust, of which I only made enough for a 6-inch pie. If you plan on making a larger pie, you may want to double up the crust recipe.

IMG_8713

As for the filling: I also followed the basics of spinach, almonds, and eggs, added a bit of coconut flour for more of a baked-goods texture, and included the rosewater (the secret ingredient I’ve been mentioning on Instagram and Facebook). I know the rosewater can be overpowering for some, but personally I wouldn’t omit it. It adds depth and an exotic taste to the pie, and actually brings out a nice flavour in the spinach.

For a slightly less sweet version, reduce the coconut sugar to 3/4 cup.

Enjoy!

Sweet Spinach Pie with Basic Paleo Almond Crust
Cuisine: Old English
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
One 6-inch pie.
Ingredients
  • For the pie crust:
  • 1 cup ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of sea salt
  • For the spinach filling:
  • 300g fresh spinach leaves (1 cup cooked)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater
  • pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. For the crust:
  2. In a mixing bowl, knead all the ingredients together until a dough is formed.
  3. With your hands, press the dough into a pie plate, bottom and sides (I used a 6-inch round plate).
  4. Set aside.
  5. For the spinach filling:
  6. In a medium-sized pot, place the spinach and about 1 cup of water. At medium heat, bring to a boil, and cook about 5 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Turn heat off and allow to cool in the pot with water.
  9. Once the spinach is cool, drain into a colander and press the spinach to remove all of the water. I pressed it with the back of a spoon.
  10. Put the spinach, egg yolks, rosewater and sea salt into a food processor. Pulse until a a puree is formed, about 1 minute.
  11. Add the almond four, coconut flour and sugar and pulse again until everything is well incorporated.
  12. Pour the dough into a mixing bowl.
  13. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  14. Fold the egg whites into the spinach mixture. Mix well until no white is visible.
  15. Pour the spinach filling into the pie crust.
  16. Bake at 180C (350F) for 35-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out dry.

 

Banana Chestnut Crunch Ice Cream (No Sugar, No Dairy)

You all know the “one ingredient” ice cream going from blog to blog and spreading through Facebook like wild fire, right? Well, I’ve never tried it. I love bananas, and banana ice cream, but banana alone as an ice cream intrigues me less…and although I love simple cooking and simple dishes, I also like to add something different to my culinary repertoire.  For me, it keeps things more exciting in the kitchen, where I spend a lot of my time.

IMG_8721

This ice cream came about for two reasons. Firstly, I love this fruit juice I used to get in a juice bar in Vistahermosa, en El Puerto de Santa Maria, in Spain. It was made with bananas, orange juice and strawberries. Every once in a while, I also have it at home, although I don’t tend to drink fruit juices too often. The combined flavours are really delicious, and as I was thinking with what to blend the banana, I immediately thought of this drink.

IMG_8730

Secondly, I wanted a “crunch” factor. I have found that chestnut flour is so versatile and fun, and it can be eaten “raw” when mixed with coconut oil and/or honey. (Chestnut flour is made from already roasted chestnuts.) So, the “crunch” in this is made with a chestnut-flour dough, sort of like “chocolate chip dough” ice cream, which my nieces and I used to adore getting at Dairy Queen. (Now, there’s another recipe to be made soon… )

IMG_8728

And one of the best things is that it has no sweetener at all. I’ve kept the natural flavours and sweetness of the fruit and the chestnuts.

So, we can all indulge a little without much guilt! 😉

Banana Chestnut Crunch Ice Cream (No Sugar, No Dairy)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
No Sweetener added at all.
Ingredients
  • For the banana ice cream:
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • zest of one orange
  • For the “peanut butter” crunch:
  • 1/2 cup chestnut flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Blend all of the ice cream ingredients in a blender or food processor until a puree is formed.
  2. Pour into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. In the meantime, in a small bowl, mix with your hands the chestnut flour and coconut oil until a dough is formed.
  4. As the ice cream is churning, break off small chunks of the chestnut dough and drop them into the ice cream maker.
  5. Allow the ice cream maker to finish churning and then serve ice cream.
  6. Or store in freezer for later use.

 

Paleo Shortbread & Tomato-Honey Jam Cookies – SABH

“Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?” …

IMG_8664

It’s that time of month again…to join in on the fun of recipe exchanges with the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop! I love the creativity and enthusiasm I find in all the participants; and very much enjoy being part of this special group.

IMG_8656

If you’re a blogger, you too can join! Just check out the instructions at the bottom of this page for all of the information.

IMG_8655

I’ve missed a few SABH lately and I really didn’t want to miss August’s “Cookie Monster” hop. So, I created this cookie especially for this event.

IMG_8647

Why tomatoes?

IMG_8648

Well, we bought a box of  5kg the other day and I need to use them up! In fact, I’m making a Dutch tomato soup, by special request from my husband, tonight, and I’m blanching and freezing up the rest for later use.

Paleo Shortbread & Tomato-Honey Jam Cookies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: The Saffron Girl
Serves: 10
Makes 10 cookies/biscuits.
Ingredients
  • For the shortbread:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 1/4 cups ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • For the tomato jam:
  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeesed orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • freshly ground rosemary (optional)
Instructions
  1. For the shortbread:
  2. Place the butter and honey in the food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until a dough is formed.
  4. Create a ball or sausage with the dough and cover with a piece of parchment paper.
  5. Freeze for about 30 minutes.
  6. Bring out of the freezer and let stand 10 minutes before using the dough.
  7. On a sheet of parchment (or the same one used to freeze), roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
  8. Cut out desired shapes and transfer the cookies with a spatula to a a cookie sheet covered with a sheet of parchment paper.
  9. Bake at 180C (350F) for 6-8 minutes on the bottom rack. Remove from oven and let cool before touching, so they can harden.
  10. For the tomato jam:
  11. Peel the tomatoes with a sharp knife. (You can also scald them in water; but I personally find it easy to simply peel this small amount.)
  12. Cut the tomatoes into small chunks and place them in a medium sized pot.
  13. Add the honey and orange juice.
  14. Over low heat, cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  15. Add the ground cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well.
  16. Cook 5 minutes longer.
  17. Remove from heat and allow to completely cool.
  18. You can either keep the jam with chunks or puree it with an immersion blender for a smoother spread. Strain if desired. (I kept mine with chunks, as it gives it a more rustic feel.)
  19. Pour into a jar and refrigerate.
  20. For using the jam with the cookies, make sure you refrigerate at least an hour before applying to the cookies. Overnight is better.
  21. To assemble:
  22. Place about 2 teaspoons of the jam on a “whole” cookie.
  23. And place the cookie with a “hole” on top.
  24. Sprinkle with some ground rosemary, if desired.
  25. Repeat until you have completed with all the cookies.
  26. NOTE: You can add more flavour to these cookies for other recipes by adding in the dough one of the following, for example: rosemary, edible lavender, sesame seeds, or even chopped up nuts.

 

********

SABH_13-08_Cookie-150

The Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, or SABH, is brought to you by 84th & 3rd and monthly Guest Hostesses.

The August 2013 ‘Cookie Monster’ hop is open for linkup until 11:59 pm, Friday 23 August [AEST Sydney time].

IMPORTANT – The instructions below cover how to link up but if you aren’t sure of something don’t hesitate to ask! Detailed instructions can be seen here. Remember, SABH is open to all food bloggers but only new posts published after the hop goes live can be linked up.

  1. Add a link to this post somewhere in your post. You won’t be able to link up in the hop without a ‘backlink’ to this hostess post included in your post.
  2. Click here for the Thumbnail List code – Copy the code and add it to the bottom of your post in HTML view.
  3. Click here to Enter the Hop – Make sure to do this step so you appear in the list too! Add the link to your SABH post (NOT your homepage). Your entry will be submitted when you click ‘crop’ on your photo.

Use the #SABH hashtag to tell the world about your post! You can follow us on Twitter: @SweetAdvBlogHop and on Facebook /SweetAdventuresBlogHop for new hop announcements and general deliciousness. Thanks for joining!

This is a Blog Hop!

Roasted Strawberry Custard Popsicles

I follow Cannelle et Vanille on Instagram, since I love Aran’s food photography and interesting ideas. I was ecstatic when her book came out last year and promptly purchased it. I have made a few recipes from it; and it has inspired me to create some of my own.

IMG_8623

Today is one of those days where I drew inspiration from one of her photographs. Aran posted some gorgeous    strawberries with thyme (much prettier than mine, as she’s a professional food photographer!), that she was preparing to roast. And since I had two packages of strawberries that were threatening to go bad on me, I thought what a perfect idea…for some ice cream!

IMG_8436

I wanted something super creamy, like a custard… so I used egg yolks in this recipe. If you’re worried about raw eggs.. don’t be. They are cooked.

None of my other ice cream recipes are made with eggs, except the rhubard semifreddo; and I must say the custard makes this ice cream spectacular! In fact, it’s so creamy that after putting it through the ice cream maker, I had to freeze it a bit longer to make it hard enough to scoop.

IMG_8614

However, after being in the freezer overnight, it was hard as a rock. So, I put it out to defrost a bit and forgot all about it… so instead of putting it through the ice cream maker again, I decided to make popsicles.

896_498888290187981_343968077_n

They are a bit tangy, as I didn’t add much sweetener on purpose, since my intention was to pair the ice cream with a balsamic reduction. So, if you like things sweeter, just add more honey.

For a slight variation (last photograph): make an extra batch of roasted strawberries with the coconut sugar and blend with the immersion blender. Place this puree into the popsicle molds first. Freeze until it solidifies. Then place the strawberry custard mixture on top of that. Add some more of the roasted strawberry puree and insert a popsicle stick. Freeze again until solid. You will get a more colourful popsicle and also one with more intense flavours!

Roasted Strawberry Custard Popsicles
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Makes 6 popsicles.
Ingredients
  • For the ice cream:
  • 300g strawberries (about 2 cups cut)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups coconut milk (if using canned, make sure it’s full fat)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (more for a sweeter version)
  • 1/2 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 3 egg yolks
  • pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. For the ice cream:
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  3. Clean the strawberries and take the stems off. Cut in halves.
  4. Place them on a double sheet of parchment paper on a cookie tray or in an ovenproof dish.
  5. Drizzle with the lemon juice, zest and coconut sugar.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  7. In the meantime, in a pot over very low heat, mix the coconut milk and honey and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  8. Beat the egg yolks in a glass bowl and stir in a few tablespoons of the hot milk into the yolks, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  9. Add the arrowroot into the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Add a bit more hot coconut milk if necessary.
  10. Pour into the hot milk and continue cooking over very low heat until the sauce thickens and becomes a custard, stirring constantly.
  11. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Should you need to strain it, do so, while it’s warm, but not hot (you could burn yourself).
  12. Place the caramelised strawberries (with all the liquid, but remember to discard any lemon seeds) in the immersion blender or electric blender bowl. Pulse to liquify.
  13. Add the cooled custard and pulse to mix well.
  14. Add a pinch of sea salt and mix well.
  15. For popsicles:
  16. Pour the mixture in the popsicle molds and freeze.
  17. For ice cream:
  18. Place the entire mixture in your ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to churn.
  19. If you do not have an ice cream machine, don’t fret. Simply place the mixture into a sealable freezer container and freeze for about 4 hours, stirring every once in a while to avoid crystallization.
  20. For a slight variation (last photograph): make an extra batch of the roasted strawberries and blend with the immersion blender. Place this puree into the popsicle molds first. Freeze until it solidifies. Then place the strawberry custard mixture on top of that. Add some more of the roasted strawberry puree and insert a popsicle stick. Freeze again until solid. You will get a more colourful popsicle and also one with more intense flavours!

 

Chestnut-Flour Apricot Cacao Cake (Torta di Farina di Castagne e Cacao)

Chestnut flour is a lot of fun to bake with. It provides a nutty, yet sweet aromatic flavour to breads, tarts and cookies, which is very different from other nut flours. I use it a lot and have made the traditional Italian castagnaccio tart, pancakes, several breads, cookies, and even “peanut butter” cups. I also love to cook with the nuts themselves, making soups, adding them to dishes and purees.

20130711-124341.jpg

For a listing of all my chestnut recipes, please click here.

20130711-124436.jpg

Some weeks ago, I experimented with an eggless waffle made with chestnut flour and flax, whose flavour was really delicious. But the texture didn’t work out. I thought of recreating that for breakfast today, but I had added zucchini to the recipe and didn’t have any left. So, I’ll have to revisit that sometime soon…

20130711-124331.jpg

But today, I wanted to make something between a bread and a cake. My first experiment (of which I posted a picture on Instagram) has a nice flavour, but the texture is not quite what I was looking for. While I was on my walk, I kept thinking of how I could change the recipe and make it better.

20130711-124318.jpg

When I got home, I put out all the ingredients and then saw a recipe on the back of the chestnut flour bag that caught my eye: chestnut flour and cacao cake.

This is an adaptation of that recipe, making it gluten free, adding more eggs and fresh apricots instead of dried figs. I’ve kept it in grams, since it’s easier to adapt a recipe that way, but added cups for US conversion convenience. Therefore, some of the measurements seem odd, but are not really.

For me, it’s a keeper. I’m eager to know what you think!

Note: It’s better eaten the same day of baking or the day after. But after that, it tends to dry up a bit.

Chestnut-Flour Apricot Cacao Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert, Breakfast
Cuisine: Paleo
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 100g (1 cup + 1 heaping tablespoon) chestnut flour
  • 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 3 eggs, separate
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 35g (1/2 cup) raw cacao powder
  • 50g (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) coconut sugar (more or honey, if you prefer sweeter)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 25g (3 tablespoons) pine nuts (optional)
  • 3 ripe apricots, peeled and diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C fan (350F).
  2. Grease a pie/tart pan.
  3. In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. In another mixing bowl, cream the egg yolks, chestnut flour, ground almonds, coconut sugar, raw cacao, baking soda and coconut milk.
  5. Fold in the egg whites and blend until the white is no longer showing.
  6. Fold in the apricot pieces.
  7. Pour into the pie/tart mold.
  8. Sprinkle with pine nuts, if desired.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes on the middle rack.

 

Subscribe to Azahar

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.