Gluten Free White Chocolate & Roasted Thyme Nectarine Pizza

Being gluten free is a new concept to me, I am still finding my way around all the DO’s & DON’Ts of eating gluten free. I was taking part in a challenge and decided that I would dive deeper into the world of gluten free, but I really had to do my research as to what is classified as gluten…and what isn’t.

Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat, now this may sound devastating to most, however there are many acceptable substitutes for wheat. For example almond flour is fantastic as it has a low glycemic index and is a low-carbohydrate alternative to wheat flour. As I learn more and more about this lifestyle change, I will share the information. Until then, try my Gluten Free Dessert Pizza!

Pizza Base

3 cups gluten free flour
1tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
5 tsp white sugar
1 tbsp yeast
1 ¼ cups tepid water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½  tsp Robertson Cayenne Pepper (use more if you like more of bite)

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Mix the yeast into the tepid water. Add one tsp sugar and whisk, set aside to double in size.
In a bowl, combine the flour, cayenne pepper, baking powder, rest of the sugar, salt and olive oil. Mix until combined.
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, pour the yeast mixture in and mix with a spoon.  Remember this is gluten free so your dough will not be very stiff.
Lightly flour your work surface, top out the dough and knead until smooth, this won’t take long. There are no glutens to work so all you are looking for is a smooth dough.
Place the ball of dough into a greased pizza pan or baking sheet. Shape out the dough working with damp hands, bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

Set aside to cool completely. Remove from dish.

Toppings:

3 nectarines cut into wedges
150ml fresh cream
50g fresh thyme
2 tsp white sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
70g white chocolate

Place the nectarines on a roasting try, drizzle olive oil over.
Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over, bruise thyme and spread over the nectarines
Roast for 30 minutes or until golden and sugar is caramelized. Remove the thyme stalks and set aside to cool completely.
Heat 70mls of cream and add the chocolate to the warm cream.  Slowly melt, creating a Ganache glaze. (leave a little chocolate for garnishing)
Pour the Ganache over the cooled pizza base, place roasted nectarines on the surface, spreading it out.
Grate white chocolate over the top and place in the fridge for the glaze to set (about 30 minutes)

gluten free pizza

Rocky Road Pear and Amarula Tart

This weeks Freshly Blogged Recipes are up and ready for viewing and voting.  I was really excited about doing this, as baking is taking me out of my comfort zone, however this recipe, to me, was a setting a new standard for my baking.

Amarula sponsored this weeks challenge, if you would like to vote for my recipe, head on over to the Freshly Blogged Page and VOTE.

I recently attended a Mad Hatters Tea Party, which brought on wonderful thoughts of tea time treats and baking. Jane Austen came to mind when she claimed “Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.” I didn’t have any apples to work with, but I did have a few pears…and so I got my baking on.

Although not a traditional Rocky Road, this is my take inspired by the ingredients on hand.  There are so many beautiful flavour marriages in this tart. The bitter undertones of the dark chocolate matched perfectly with the fruitiness of the pears and when combined with the velvet like Amarula, you are left with a delicious tart. Adding texture with the nuts, this tart just screams EAT ME – served best at afternoon tea with the girls.

Rocky Road Pear & Amarula Tart

Rocky road pear and Amarula tart

Crust
1 pkt PnP Cream Crackers
80g soft butter

Filling – Part 1
4 Fresh Pears
100g blanched almonds
1cup white sugar
90g dark chocolate

Custard Filling – Part 2
½ cup melted butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup flour
3 eggs – separated  (if you want a harder set for the custard, use another egg)
1 cup milk
½ cup Amarula

Extra:
250ml Fresh cream, whipped lightly.

Filling Part 1
Heat the oven to 180°C
Peel the pears and slice lengthways.
In a thick botton pan, heat the sugar until melted. Place the sliced pears into the sugar and coat, removing from the sugar, set aside to cool.
Drizzle any left over sugar over the top of the pears.

Place the almonds on a baking tray and place in the oven.  Roast off until darker and lightly toasted. When cooled, chop roughly and set aside. Leave oven on as you will be baking the tart soon.
Chop the dark chocolate roughly. Set aside.

Custard Filling – Part 2
Whip up the egg whites.
Cream together the sugar and melted butter.
Add 1 egg yolk at a time.
Add the flour.
Add the milk and Amarula

Fold the egg whites into the mixture, careful to keep it light and airy.
Place a layer of the caramelized pears on the bottom of the frozen crust. Add a few bits of the chocolate and toasted almonds.
Pour half the custard mixture over the top.
Repeat layering the pears and bits of chocolate and toasted almonds, leaving enough for a final layer.
Pour the rest of the custard over the top again.

Bake at 180°C for 25 – 30 minutes. The tart should be just about baked, check by placing a skewer stick into the tart and it will come out slightly wet.  Remove from oven and place the last layer of pears, chocolate and almonds on up and place back into the oven for about 10 minutes. Check doneness by placing a skewer into the tart again, this time the skewer should come out clean.

Let cool completely.  Grate a little chocolate on top for garnish.  Serve with fresh cream which has been lightly whipped.

 

Coffee Sabayon, served with Cinnamon & Nut Biscotti

My friend over at Lavender & Lime always has something exciting for bloggers to partake in, which I absolutely love.  For me, I am a seasonal blogger, I do not do it everyday, unfortunately time just doesn’t allow for it, I also go through these food slumps, to make something new and exciting EVERYDAY is exhausting.  I am trying to get better at blogging…it is my goal for this year.

The new Challenge – I Made It Challenge – Sabayon | Zabaione got me thinking.  I have made Sabayon a few times, for both sweet and savory dishes, served hot, cold and frozen, so I didn’t follow any recipe as such, I just went ahead and did my thing.  I was going to do two different types, however, those time fairies and all that…

The best part of this dessert is how you can adjust it to suit you.  If you like it a little sweeter, add more sugar, if you want to substitute different sugars, go ahead, and use whatever flavour alcohol you want, it’s all up to you!

Coffee Sabayon, served with Cinnamon & Nut Biscotti

6 egg yolks
80g sugar
1 cup Grundheim Coffee Liqueur (They also have a Rose Liqueur which will work just as well over fresh fruit)
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ box Biscotti, roughly crumbled

You will need a clear or stainless steel bowl which fit over a pot to create a double boiler.

Place all the ingredients into a clear bowl, whisk the ingredients until well combined, place bowl over simmering water and whisk continuously until your custard is at ribbon stage.

This process will take about 45 minutes to an hour.  You must cook it out properly otherwise you will have this egg like taste.

Roughly crush the Biscotti and layer between the Zabaione, place in fridge.

Zabaione

 

©-I-Made-It-150x150

Healthier Chocolate Lava Cake

It has been a hard month, a month filled with sadness, fears, self assessment, self realization and change, and of course filled with so much gratitude for all the many wonderful people I have in my life who are without a doubt true friends.

I did a quick crash course in diabetic cooking, although I have always been into healthy eating, diabetic eating is very different to just enjoying a healthier lifestyle.  I have since started a further study to work on a few recipes that are diabetic friendly but not boring or just steamed up.  I will in future mark all recipes which are diabetic friendly, or not, as I wish to still indulge in sinful deliciousness! I will slowly supply more and more information about diabetics.

This recipe is a play on the Chocolate Lava Cake, otherwise known as chocolate fondant.  After seeking a little advice from my fellow blogger and friend over at Lavendar & Lime, Tandy steered me in the direction of Canderel Yellow.  It’s a great substitute for sugar when baking and cooking, made with sucralose.

Wikipedia has the following to say about sucralose

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener. The majority of ingested sucralose is not broken down by the body and therefore it is non-caloric.
Sucralose is approximately 600 times as sweet as sucrose (table sugar),
 twice as sweet as saccharin, and 3 times as sweet as aspartame. It is stable under heat and over a broad range of pH conditions. Therefore, it can be used in baking or in products that require a longer shelf life. The commercial success of sucralose-based products stems from its favorable comparison to other low-calorie sweeteners in terms of taste, stability, and safety
Sucralose is a highly heat-stable artificial sweetener, allowing it to be used in many recipes with little or no sugar. Sucralose is available in a granulated form that allows for same-volume substitution with sugar. This mix of granulated sucralose includes fillers, all of which rapidly dissolve in liquids. While the granulated sucralose provides apparent volume-for-volume sweetness, the texture in baked products may be noticeably different. Sucralose is not hygroscopic, meaning it does not attract moisture, which can lead to baked goods that are noticeably drier and manifesting a less dense texture than those made with sucrose

Now onto the recipe for a healthier Chocolate Lava Cake
serves 6 – 8

200g Nomu Skinny Hot Chocolate
6 eggs, separated
200g cake flour (stone ground)
2 tsp baking powder
40g butter (please use proper butter, margarine just doesn’t work – this will be your fat portion for the day)
1 cup Canderel Yellow

Preheat the oven to 180°C
Generously spray your ramekins with spray and cook

Melt butter and set aside to cool slightly
Cream Canderel and egg yolks until light in colour.
Whip the egg whites until stiff
Sift the flour, baking powder and hot chocolate.
Mix the dry ingredients and egg & sugar mixture, fold in the egg whites.  If you find the mixture a little stiff, add tablespoons of water until it is well combined. Do not add to much water!

Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven let stand for 4 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Dust with a little Canderel Yellow and serve.

 

Lazy Sundays and a wonderful lunch at Crossways Country Kitchen

I know I have not been on the blogs much lately, I guess just a mixture of being busy, and for a while I stepped away from the  stoves, I just didn’t have any confidence in my cooking after a rather nasty incident with a patron.  But I am back, and I am feeling again…I have missed food…and most important, I have missed the feeling I have when I create in the kitchen.

Today, we had to do a little celebrating, so my lovely husband and I went to discover a new destination for lunch.  Now this is definitely what I would refer to as a “Hole in the Wall’ type place, which is exactly the kind of restaurants I love.  I am not one for the top 5 restaurants in the country, in my opinion, fine dining does have its purpose, however, for me…I am more the “mom & pop” kind of chef, where food comes from the heart and the creativity on the plate is such a large part of you.  Maybe its the artist in me as well that brings these feelings out.

The Crossways Country Kitchen is exactly what I love about the industry.  Briefly listening to the owner, I am so excited for the ideas he has, and WOW, it will bring so much into the community and more importantly for the “foodie’ community of the Eastern Cape.  I really look forward to his vision.

You can find out more about the restaurant here

We were warmly greeted by the handful of waitresses which are so lovely and friendly, and told we may sit anywhere, as there were many open tables.  I was rather surprised as I thought they would be more busy, however, we were early for lunch, and by the time we left, they were buzzing with people.

Image

We were brought the drinks menu and asked for a wine list, I was slightly confused as there was not an actual menu.

Image

The waitress brought us our wine, and in tow were 2 more waitresses, one with an easel and one with a large blackboard which was set up in front of us.  I absolutely loved this, however not very practical when they got busy as there was only one menu floating around.

Image

We settled on a wine I have never heard of.  Brampton Viognier, which was so fruity. The aromatics are splendid: springtime perfumery, fresh ginger, peaches, apricots and honeysuckle. The palate is waxy and delicate yet with an underlying strength and focus. Aromas follow effortlessly onto the rich palate the wine just set the mood for an absolutely wonderful meal.

Image

We started with the roasted tomato soup with basil pesto and  lovely homemade bread.  The bread was so delicious, beautiful soft crumb texture yet the crust was so crispy and chewy – exactly how I love my bread, with oregano and nuts, this was a perfect companion to this hearty earthy soup.

Image

As always mains are a tough decision as I always want to have so many things!  I finally settled on my old time favourite Lamb Shank with spring onion mashed potatoes with a lovely red wine & onion gravy.  The lamb was so full of flavour and just fell off the bone, definitely country cooking at its best.  The spring onion in the mash just gave the mash such a beautiful uplifting flavour which enhanced the flavours of the lamb.

Image

Justin had the smoked pork neck with rustic butternut mash, when the food arrived I had one of those breathtaking moments.  The sight of this dish made my mouth water!  The roasted naartjies and the beautiful Fall colours on the board  just oozed creativity, I was in love!

Image

I was already so full however when the dessert blackboard was set out for us, and there was a cheeseboard…I had to have!  Very seldom do you find a cheeseboard part of dessert, so we enjoyed cheese, preserves, crackers and a lovely cuppachino for dessert.

Image

Image

The setting was just stunning, about 40kms from Humansdorp, just off the N2, take the Sunnyside turn off,  nestled between cows roaming free.  Open from 9am to 3pm, Wednesday through Sunday, from what I understand the menu changes all the time, and the pork belly is something to look out for!

 Image

Mixed Berry & Granola Smoothie and wonderful ladies night out

I love surprises, and wow did I receive one last night. About 2 weeks ago, myself and J were invited for dinner, I found it rather strange but none the less accepted, last night when we got to our hosts house, I didn’t smell any food cooking nor see any tables set, and when I walked in, a great big SURPRISE was called out. All the ladies decided I needed my first “wives” dinner out. Sadly I didn’t get any photos as I didn’t take my camera with, but it was such a wonderful evening.

We went to Five Elements, and again, I really enjoyed every moment. It is the fine dining restaurant in the area, and given not a restaurant you can go to every week, it is definitely a must for any special occasion ( boy oh boy do I find special occasions!)

The atmosphere is wonderful, do pop on over to the website and have a squiz.

Again, no photos, but I can tell you what I had!

I started with a dish called Fire & Ice – seared Szechuan peppered tuna with Japanese radish and cucumber sorbet. The flavours were a magical dance in my mouth. This dish was definitely a top favourit. The sweetness and the pepperiness was such a wonderful combination, with the cooling subtle cucumber sorbet.

For mains I had a hard time decided exactly what I wanted. So many lovely choices, however, the duck jumped out at me. I had Duck Roulade wrapped in swiss chard with creamed mielies, white mushrooms & duck jus. The meal was very interesting, i have to admit I personally didn’t like the plating, but the flavours made up for it. The duck was wonderful, cooked to perfection with a play of allspice which just brought so many different aspects to the palate, you kind of all over the place, yet your flavour focus comes together in the end.

Dessert, I decided on a rooibos crème brulee, which I have to say was wonderful as well. The hard crack of sugar you break through was perfect, nothing more beautiful than that crack of sugar. Thats when I know I am in crème brulee heaven. The best part is the dessert was not overpoweringly sweet, all the flavours were subtle and worked wonderfully together.

So again, a big thank you to the wonderful ladies, it was exactly what I needed!

Today, I finally got to the Department of Home Affairs and have now officially changed my last name and applied for my new ID book. I have to compliment the DOHA in Humansdorp, what wonderful friendly service which I have never received from any officially government department. I walked in and 20 minutes later, with lots of smiles and laughs, I had dotted all my i’s and crossed all my t’s and I am now officially going by my married name, which I love!

And of course, with this, I give you one more Smoothie. I am so excited about the new challenge from Tandy over at Lavender & Lime. I am working on a great rawliciouse ideas!

Mixed Berries & Granola Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp honey
1 apple roughly chopped
½ cup your favourit granola
1 tbsp chia seeds

Add all into a blender, the berries give a nice tang, just add a little more honey if you want to sweeten it up.