Birthday Banoffee

December 18, 2013 § 2 Comments

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So it was my good friend Emma’s birthday yesterday and I wanted to make her a cake. Because I love her and I love making food. And also because I’m a masochist. It’s the kindy holidays and baking and children, while a really good combo on TV ads for flour and plastic storage containers, in my house equals a pre-schooler running around like he’s on P shouting about chopping people’s heads off with a spatula (thanks to all the maple syrup he helps me pour drinks) and a toddler who thinks coconut cream is body paint.
This time I was smart and craftily avoided death by insanity by making the base and caramel layer the night before and after the kids had gone to bed. The only problem was my trusty springform pan was actually a cheap piece of crap and had broken so I had to use a really large one, which meant my cake was more of a thick plate and I broke the crust getting it into a plastic storage container and it ended up being soft the next day anyway and wow this story is getting more riveting by the second.
In short, use a smaller springform pan, and make it to eat the same day. Just not with children.

One of my all-time favourite food bloggers is an 18-year-old Norwegian girl and she is a fecking genius. This recipe is totally lifted from hers (aside from the base) so go check out the original here and ogle her other awesome creations.

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Check out my Steiner candles. Oh yeah.

Banoffee Pie (vegan, gluten free, oil free, soy free, can be made nut free)
Base
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond meal (use ground buckwheat if nut-free)
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp almond butter (use more coconut butter if nut-free)
2 tbsp coconut butter, melted
Pinch salt

Caramel
3 cups soft pitted dates
1 cup coconut water (from can of coconut cream)
1 tsp vanilla
Good pinch sea salt

Cream
Cream from 1 can Trade Aid coconut milk
1-2 bananas, sliced
Cacao powder

The day before you make the cake, put the can of coconut cream in the fridge.
Turn oven to 160degC.
To make the base, combine all ingredients in a food processor or bowl and process or stir well to combine. Press into a 9″ springform pan and bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool a bit, then remove carefully onto a wire rack so bottom doesn’t go soggy.
Take coconut cream out of fridge and gently scoop the thick creamy layer from the top into a bowl. Set aside.
To make the caramel, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined, using half a cup of the coconut water and adding a little more until you’re happy with the consistency (should be thick enough to slice through). Scoop mixture onto cooled base.
Whip coconut cream with an electric mixer until thick, then add banana and stir through. Spoon over the caramel, then top with a dusting of cacao powder. Serve immediately.

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Sweet Savoury: Why You Need Chutney + a Rant About Feelings

December 15, 2013 § 4 Comments

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I’ve been having a magical time lately, in no small part thanks to a visit from my always inspirational London-based friend Natalie (of Magic Surrounds fame). She vibes flowers and beauty and scent and well-cut clothes, but, most importantly, ideas.
I have plans people.
Watch out.

And yes they involve food, of course. But really, it’s been so long since I’ve felt any kind of space to FEEL. That creative energy you get when you’re full up with inspiration, when you can’t stop taking notes, when your mind races at night for all the ideas. Oh brain fade, sure, that’s a given when you’re parenting young children full-time on little sleep; trying to maintain a steady train of thought or finish a sentence is the first thing you learn to say goodbye to. But I’d forgotten about the loss of feeling, that independent, wholly your own creative imagination that makes everything sparkle and the right things stand out. I’m not sure I even mourned it’s passing, it just left and I was too tired to notice.
For now I’m holding tightly, however long it lasts. And my pantry is reaping the rewards. I got rather obsessed last autumn with buying all the organic fruit seconds that appeared at my local store – sticky, almost too late bags of pears and apples and tomatoes and stonefruits – as well as the baskets full of feijoas collected from under trees at my secret foraging spots. After slicing and scooping and coring and freezing there they sat, taking up room for months. But not any more. I’ve been on a chutney-making binge and I’ve perfected the most delicately balanced combination of sweet, savoury and spicy ready to dollop on top of a plate of dhal and rice or serve alongside these wonderful gluten-free samosas or spread onto salad-stuffed sandwiches, and sometimes, when my kids aren’t looking, as a dip for a bag of corn chips.

This recipe makes enough for two 300ml jars, so if you’d like to make extra for gifts you will need to double it at least. Please note if you use tomatoes I would add an extra half cup of sugar.

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Fruitful Chutney (vegan, gluten free, oil-free)
4 cups chopped fruit (tomatoes/feijoa/pear etc)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup coconut sugar (or sugar of your choice)
1 cup apple cider vinegar (or another plain vinegar)
1 cup raisins
2 cloves garlic, crushed (opt)
1 tsp sea salt (opt)
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp allspice
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne (depending on taste)

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and simmer on low for 1-1.5 hours, stirring regularly to prevent burning, until thick and brown. Spoon immediately into sterilised jars and seal. I don’t have a jar rack for sterilising so I just boil a big pot of water and put the jars and lids in for a couple of minutes before filling.
Keeps well if bottled properly. Refrigerate once opened.

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