Recipe: Double chocolate, adzuki and black sesame bliss balls

Double chocolate, that’s all you need to know. Don’t worry about the hippie stuff 🙂 Ok, ok, as you can gather from the recipe name, these balls have beans in them. Beans are a great source of fibre, low GI carbohydrate and a decent source of protein. They can cause gastrointestinal discomfort to some people, which can be minimised by preparation steps such as soaking, sprouting and fermenting.

This recipe came about because I had rescued some adzuki beans from going in the bin. Since these beans are commonly used in desserts, I thought I’d make myself a healthy treat with them. I though I would continue with the Asian theme by adding black sesame seeds (in the form of tahini) and added chocolate to the mix for good measure. You can use other beans (such as black or red kidney) and regular tahini or nut butter instead. Also feel free to use chocolate with a different cacao percentage depending on your taste.

These balls taste great at food temperature, but I prefer them chilled or even frozen. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and raw. Enjoy!

Double chocolate, adzuki and black sesame bliss balls

  • Servings: about 20
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cups cooked adzuki beans (you can use canned)
  • 50 g dark chocolate (I used 78%)
  • 2 tbsp black tahini
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 25 g prunes or Medjool dates
  • 1-2 teaspoons white sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Break chocolate in pieces and place in a bowl on top of boiling water until melted.
  2. Place beans, melted chocolate, tahini, cacao powder and prunes/dates in a food processor and process until well combined.
  3. Add white sesame seeds, mix well and roll into balls.
  4. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 19.2g
Servings Per Container

Amount Per Serving
Calories 50.4 Calories from Fat 24.3
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2.7g 4%
Saturated Fat 0.9g 5%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 6.0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 4.2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.1g 4%
Sugars 1.2g
Protein 1.8g 4%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Recipe: Salmon with roasted Brussel sprouts, fennel and pesto

This is an easy recipe that combines some of my favourite things: crispy skin salmon, Brussel sprouts and pesto. This is a meal packed with healthy fats, including omega-3 from the salmon and monounsaturated fats from the extra-virgin olive oil. This dish is gluten-free and low in carbs. Feel free to swap the vegetables for your favourite ones or whatever you have available.

I used Pecorino cheese (made from sheep’s milk) instead of Parmigiano Reggiano because I prefer its sharp taste, but you can use regular Parmesan. I also left out the garlic – I prefer using roasted garlic instead of raw in sauces but wanted to keep this recipe as simple as possible. You will have leftover pesto to enjoy with your morning eggs.

Salmon with roasted Brussel sprouts, fennel and pesto

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Salmon and vegetables

  • 3 salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 600 gr Brussel sprouts
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pesto

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 30g grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  2. Trim and halve Brussel sprouts, trim and slice fennel. Place vegetables on a tray and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  3. While the vegetables cook, place washed basil leaves, pine nuts, cheese, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor. Process to desired texture. Check seasoning, add salt if needed and several grinds of black pepper.
  4. Heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Place the salmon fillets skin side down, season flesh with salt and pepper. Let cook for 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness.
  5. Flip fillets using a spatula and cook for another 2-3 minutes, depending on thickness.
  6. Serve fillets skin side up to preserve crispness or skin side down with a dollop of pesto on top for colour contrast. Serve roasted vegetables on the side, seasoned with salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Recipe: Supercharged Bolognese

This Supercharged Bolognese might look like a regular Bolognese but it’s got a secret ingredient to make it extra nutritious: Feather and Bone’s organic beef mince with organs. You can use your own mince + organ meat blend, of course.

Flavour comes, mostly, from the speck (also from Feather and Bone – you can use bacon instead), classic soffritto veggies (onion, garlic, celery and carrot) and red wine (you can use beef broth instead). The other flavour booster most Bolognese recipes don’t include is dried porcini, which adds to the umaminess of the dish. In Perú, ragú-style dishes are always made with dried mushrooms because they are included by default in the bay leaves bags that can be found at the herbs & spices section of the supermarket (this is called hongos y laurel). Finding dried mushrooms can be a bit more challenging in Australia but not impossible! – they’re available in most superkmarkets (and certainly specialty food stores), you just need to be patient to find them.

Most people serve Bolognese with spaghetti, but I prefer to serve it with vegetables for extra nutrition. I served them on top of sautéed Russian kale.

Supercharged Bolognese

Other suggestions include:

  • Higher carb:
    • roasted root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, swedes, celeriac, pumpkin
    • vegetable “noodles” made from parsnip, celeriac, sweet potato, pumpkin
    • mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, parsnips, celeriac, swedes or a combination
    • polenta
    • rice, quinoa or a combination (pro tip: add lupin flakes for extra fibre and protein)
  • Lower carb:
    • roasted or steamed broccoli and/or cauliflower
    • sautéed kale or cabbage
    • roasted Brussel sprouts
    • roasted zucchini, eggplant and capsicum
    • vegetable “noodles” made from zucchini
    • kelp or shirataki noodles

Finally, I prefer using Pecorino Romano instead of Parmesan (or Parmigiano Reggiano) but you can use whichever hard cheese you prefer.

Supercharged Bolognese

  • Servings: 4 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Bolognese

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500gr beef mince with organs
  • 200gr speck or bacon, cut in stripes
  • 10gr dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, white part finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine or beef broth
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • small handful of basil leaves, thinly sliced

To serve

  • your choice of vegetables or regular pasta substitute (see suggestions above)
  • freshly grated Pecorino Romano or other hard cheese

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pot or pan. Brown mince and speck/bacon.
  2. While meat cooks, place mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with hot water. When soft (5-8 minutes), drain but don’t discard the water. Chop mushrooms finely.
  3. Once meat is cooked, add onion, garlic, carrot, celery and leek. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add wine/broth and stir until almost fully evaporated.
  5. Add mushrooms and their water, tomatoes, bay leaf, season with 1 tsp salt and greshly ground pepper. Lower heat and cover cooking vessel. Cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat, check seasoning and stir in basil.
  7. Serve sauce over vegetables with freshly grated cheese on top.

Recipe: Licorice salted chocolate mousse

I learned from a young age that salt accentuates sweet flavours (my grandma taught me to eat watermelon with salt). Later, in culinary school, I learned to always add salt to chocolate desserts – chocolate mousse included – and sugar to tomato-based dishes.

That’s why there was no doubt in my mind that Saltverk’s licorice sea salt would pair beautifully with a simple, rich chocolate mousse.

Licorice salted dark chocolate mousse

There are a million ways to make chocolate mousse. Classic ingredients include dark chocolate, eggs, butter and cream. Nowadays, there are lots of hipster versions using ingredients such as avocado, cacao powder (or even hipster-er: carob), coconut cream and cashews (of course, soaked overnight for that creamy texture).

I decided to go with a recipe that was given to me by a friend, which uses both water (Heston Blumenthal invented the chocolate + water mousse recipe) and eggs. I served it with a dollop of skyr to match the Icelandic theme. I haven’t tried real skyr so I’m not sure whether the ones sold in Australia are legit or not. Let me know in the comments if you do. Enjoy!

Licorice salted chocolate mousse




Mousse

  • 150gr dark chocolate (70% or darker, I used 78%)
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs at room temperature, whites and yolks separated
  • 1/2 tsp Saltverk licorice sea salt

To serve

  • A few spoonfuls of skyr (such as this or this)
  • Fresh or frozen berries (optional)

Directions

  1. Break chocolate in pieces, place in a bowl with the warm water and melt over a pot of boiling water.
  2. Remove from heat, let cool down for about 4 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, whisk egg whites until firm peaks are formed.
  4. Beat egg yolks and salt in a small bowl, combine with cooled down chocolate.
  5. Using a spatula, gently add egg whites to chocolate mixture.
  6. Place mousse in glasses, cover with cling wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  7. When ready to serve, remove from fridge, scoop a dollop of skyr on top and garnish with berries (if using).

gluten free expo

Gluten Free Expo 2018

The Gluten Free Expo is an annual event owned and managed by Coeliac Australia with the purpose of showcasing new products in the market. The expo also features cooking demos (sponsored by Coles, education sessions (sponsored by Genius Gluten Free) and more.

Genius Gluten Free education session

Gluten free expo

There are plenty of products to sample at the expo, but in case you’re still hungry, there are also a number of food stalls offering everything from arepas to donuts.

Donuts

Gluten-free regulations are stricter in Australia than other countries. Therefore, it is reassuring for people who need to avoid gluten to know which products meet national standards. This can be particularly important shortly after an allergy/intolerance diagnosis, when navigating the gluten-free foodscape can be tricky.

This year’s highlights

I recommend having a look at the following stalls:

Simply Wize

GF Precinct

Bob's Red Mill

Bob's Red Mill chocolate cake mix

Tender Gourmet Butchery

O'Brien Beer

Roza's Gourmet

Diegos Authentic Foods

Lewis and Son

Lewis and Son

Bolero

Fullgreen

Wellaby's

Schär

Schär

The Happy Snack Company

Well & Good

Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates

Lupins For Life Pty Ltd

Lupins For Life Pty Ltd

Jalna Dairy Foods

Food for thought

According to Coeliac Australia, Coeliac Disease affects 1 in 70 people (however, 80% of the population remain undiagnosed). People with Coeliac Disease need to be on a gluten-free diet for life. The best diagnostic tool for Coeliac Disease is an intestinal biopsy.

Gluten intolerance (a.k.a. non-Coeliac gluten sensitivity) is a highly debated topic; recent studies seem to indicate that it does exist but its prevalence is rather low (estimated at 0.6 – 6%). As it’s the case with all food intolerance, there is a threshold unique to each individual. The best way of determining whether gluten is a problem or not and what amount of gluten you can have is following an elimination-reintroduction protocol.

The bottom line is that not everyone needs to be on a gluten-free diet. If you do have Coeliac disease or are gluten intolerant, remember the following:

  • There are plenty of foods that are naturally gluten-free and do not come in packages: meat, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, milk, cheese, etc. (ok, some of those do come in packages but you get my point)
  • Always read labels, some gluten-free foods are hyper processed and nutrient-poor (gluten-free does not necessarily equal healthy)

More info

The Gluten Free Expo is still on today Sunday 5th August at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse from 9:00am – 4:00pm. To learn more about the expo, buy tickets or for more information about Coeliac disease click on the links below.

Gluten Free Expo website
Coeliac Australia

You can also read about last year’s expo here.

Recipe: Smokey poached salmon and potato salad

This is another recipe featuring one of the wonderful sustainable Saltverk Icelandic sea salts. Once again, I relied on the internet to tell me which foods are common in Iceland and put a bunch of them together in dish that is easy to make, healthy and delicious.

If you have never poached fish before, I encourage to give it a try. The trick is to use a flavourful sauce or dressing to make the fish shine.

I used Spud Lite potatoes for this recipe for a slighter lower carb meal, but you can use whichever potatoes you can get your hands on.

Smokey poached salmon and potato salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Salad

  • 400-450g skinless salmon fillets
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8-10 black peppercorns
  • 5-8 chives
  • 4 small or 2 medium potatoes (I used baby Spud Lite)
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 handfuls mixed greens
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Saltverk birch smoked sea salt
  • ground pepper, to taste

Dressing


To serve

  • Fresh dill or chives, chopped

Directions

  1. In a pot or deep saucepan, pour enough water to cover salmon fillets. Add bay leaves, peppercorns and chives, cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Once water is boiling, turn off heat, add salmon fillets and cover. Set timer to 15 minutes.
  3. Peel and cube potatoes. Boil or steam until fully cooked (10-15 minutes).
  4. Make the dressing by whisking all ingredients or shaking them in a jar until fully emulsified.
  5. Serve greens and cabbage on a plate. Top with warm potatoes and salmon, drizzle dressing and finish with Saltverk birch smoked sea salt, pepper and chopped dill or chives.

Recipe: Arctic thyme lamb meatballs with roasted swede mash

I made these lamb meatballs using one of the wonderful Icelandic sea salts I reviewed recently. This artisanal salt is made by mixing Saltverk flaky sea salt with Wild Icelandic Arctic thyme, a plant that grows on gravel soils and in dry heath lands. According to the manufacturer, it pairs well with meat, especially Icelandic lamb.

I did not have access to Icelandic lamb but I figured grass-fed Australian lamb would make a fair substitute. I kept the recipe simple to highlight the flavour of the Arctic thyme sea salt. I chose swedes for the mash as this is one of the few vegetables traditionally used in Icelandic cuisine. The dish does take a bit of time to make if you roast the swedes like I did, but you can shorten the cooking time by steaming them instead.

Arctic thyme lamb meatballs with roasted swede mash

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
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Meatballs


Mash

  • 4 large swedes
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt

To serve

  • Mixed greens
  • Fresh parsley or chives, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  2. Peel and cut swedes in large cubes. Place on a baking tray with 1 tbsp unsalted butter. Bake until tender, about 1 hour (stir the butter once it has melted).
  3. While the swedes cook, mix meatball ingredients and form golf-sized balls. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper or foil.
  4. When the swedes are cooked, remove from oven and rise temperature to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
  5. Place meatballs in oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  6. While the meatballs cook, place swedes in food processor with the rest of the butter and salt. Process until smooth.
  7. Serve meatballs and mash with wilted greens, garnish with parsley or chives.

Recipe: Sudado de pescado (Peruvian steamed fish)

Sudado de pescado can be considered a soup or a stew. I guess it depends on how you serve it: with boiled cassava or with boiled cassava and rice. The verb sudar means “to sweat”… in this context, it means the fish is steamed on top of a bed of onions and tomatoes with a delicious broth.

One of the broth ingredients is chicha de jora, a fermented beverage made from malted maize (corn), commonly used in Peruvian cuisine. It is also served as a drink in many towns in the highlands to children and adults, despite its alcoholic content. Back in the day, the fermentation was kickstarted by chewing the corn kernels and spitting them in a bucket. Thankfully, these days it’s made through a more modern and hygienic process. Taste-wise, it’s similar to apple cider vinegar and plain kombucha. You can buy it from Latin food shops such as Tienda Latina in Ashfield.

Chicha de jora

Sudado de pescado was one of dad’s favourite dishes. I didn’t appreciate it until mum started making it with scallops. The addition of seafood elevates the dish to another level. I asked her for the recipe and she wrote down a paragraph with instructions but no quantities (for a change!). I think I got my version pretty close; dad would have approved.

As you can see below, sudado de pescado is a very simple and healthy dish to make, provided you have the ingredients at hand. I have indicated substitutions and ingredients that can be omitted.

Sudado de pescado

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 white fish fillets
  • 12 scallops (optional)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red onion in thick slices
  • 2 tomatoes in thick slices
  • 1 tbsp ají panca paste (or other red chilli paste, preferably smoked)
  • 1 tbsp ají amarillo paste (or other yellow chilli paste)
  • 3/4 cup chicha de jora (or plain kombucha or a combination of apple cider vinegar and white wine)
  • 1/4 cup fish stock
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) pisco (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 500g frozen cassava, to serve
  • rice or cauliflower rice, to serve (optional)
  • fresh chilli, to serve
  • coriander leaves, to serve

Directions

  1. Boil cassava until tender (25-30 minutes).
  2. While the cassava is cooking, heat oil in a large saucepan at medium heat. Add garlic, onion, tomatoes, ají panca and ají amarillo. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add chicha de jora, stock and pisco (if using) to the saucepan. Place fish on top of vegetables and scallops on top of fish. Season with salt and pepper. Turn down heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain cassava.
  5. Serve sudado with boiled cassava and rice/cauliflower rice (if desired). Garnish with fresh chilli and coriander.

Keep Tone bread

Product review: Keep Tone bread

Keep Tone bread is a new brand of keto/paleo/low carb bread currently available at selected health food shops and cafes in NSW (I bought mine at Mr Vitamins Ashfield).

Health claims

The bread claims to contain “only wholefoods, no nasties”. It is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, yeast free, grain free and has no added sugar. I know most people would think this is no bread… until you try it.

What’s in Keep Tone bread?

Keep Tone bread currently comes in 3 flavours: rosemary blast, super seeds and divine chocolate. Below are the ingredients for the 2 savoury varieties:

  • Rosemary blast: Almond meal, golden flax meal, coconut flour, free range eggs, extra virgin olive oil, psyllium husk, apple cider vinegar, rosemary, Italian herbs, sea salt flakes, gluten free baking powder, Himalayan pink salt
  • Super seeds: Almond meal, golden flax meal, free range eggs, organic coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, psyllium husk, gluten free baking powder, xanthan gum, Himalayan pink salt, stevia

All ingredients are Australian and most of them are organic, which drives the price a little high: $14.95 for the rosemary and $15.95 for the seedy one.

Keep Tone bread

Below are the nutritional labels for the 2 savoury breads: rosemary (top) and seeded (bottom). Based on the provided numbers, I’ve calculated the total kilocalories per slice to be 79Cal for the rosemary and 173Cal for the seeded bread.

Keep Tone bread nutrition information

Keep Tone bread nutrition information

Taste test

The bread loaves, which are smaller than commercial sliced gluten-free bread, come whole in a resealable bag with a desiccant packet. The bread has a great texture – it can be sliced easily and doesn’t crumble. Both savoury flavours are tasty – the seeded one is a bit sweeter so keep in mind when deciding what to eat it with.

I chucked the leftover bread in the freezer to test how it toasted from frozen. As expected, due to the fat content, it doesn’t toast the same as regular gluten-free bread (i.e. it doesn’t dry as much). Also, the seeds in the seedy variety tend to burn, so be careful.

Who is this bread right for?

People who are following a low carb diet/ketogenic diet for body composition or health reasons (e.g. people with insulin resistance), people who can’t eat gluten and do well on a lower carbohydrate diet.

I would also add the caveat that bread should not displace veggies out of your plate. Eat a piece of toast here and there but don’t use bread as an excuse to not eat vegetables.

The man behind Keep Tone bread

Gurpreet, the founder of Keep Tone, was kind enough to share his story:

“I’m a person who always thinks about the healthy lifestyle and keeps learning and searching for new research and any topics about health. About 2 years ago, I found a new lifestyle which is ketogenic. So I researched a lot about it and I studied health coaching where I learned about hormones and how the body uses fuel.

I’ve been doing a ketogenic lifestyle since then and also coached lots of people into this lifestyle including cyclists and weight trainers. My clients were perfectly enjoying all the benefits that keto has to offer but all of them missed one thing and that was BREAD. Being a problem solver and troubleshooter it got me thinking that how I can come up with the recipe of bread which will give bread-like pleasure but without spiking insulin, which is grain, dairy, gluten, yeast and soy free. Which is all natural just made from wholefoods no synthetic or preservatives or colours. So me and my partner chose all superfood ingredients that goes well with KETO, PALEO and all other low carb diets. After doing lots of taste testing on friends and clients we have received an outstanding response.

Now we have created a company known as KEEP TONE which has made Australia’s first Ketogenic superfood breads.

There are lot of other exciting food products coming along the way because I believe ketogenic was first type of lifestyle mankind knew and its very healthy lifestyle and KEEP TONE promises to offer the BEST.”

Gurpreet

Want to know more?

Follow @keeptone_aus on Instagram.

Recipe: Chupe de camarones (Peruvian prawn chowder)

Soup season is back! I would be hard-pressed to nominate my favourite soup, but chupe de camarones is definitely in the top 5. As it happens with most Peruvian dishes, it all starts with onion, garlic and ají (chilli). Ají panca (dried red Peruvian chilli) paste can be found in certain ethnic markets or you can sub another red chilli paste.

It also features Andean staples such as habas (broad beans), papas (potatoes) and choclo (corn). Rice is also an important ingredient, but you can sub cauliflower rice, quinoa, etc.

Chupe de camarones

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 whole king or tiger prawns (to garnish)
  • 450g peeled prawns (if you bought them unpeeled, follow the optional step below)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ají panca paste
  • 3 cups fish stock
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin, finely diced
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh broad beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup cooked rice or 2 cups cauliflower rice
  • salt, pepper and oregano, to taste
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 4 poached or fried eggs
  • coriander leaves, to serve

Directions

  1. Optional: If you bought unpeeled prawns, peel them (remember to reserve 4 to garnish) and pop the heads and shells in a pot and heat until bright red. Add the stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drain and reserve the stock.
  2. Heat 1 oil in a pot. add onion, garlic and ají panca and cook at low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add stock, potatoes and pumpkin. Cook at medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add broad beans, peas, corn and cauliflower rice (if using). Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Add cooked rice (if using) and all prawns, cook until prawns are bright red (approx. 5 minutes). Add cream, check seasoning and turn off heat.
  6. Serve soup and garnish with one whole prawn, a poached/fried egg and a few coriander leaves per bowl.