20/06/2010

Almond Coconut Fairycakes

As ever, I am still on my Low Carb quest. It makes no odds what I eat, I'm still a lardy lass but you have to try.

These are nice. Very easy to make, sweet coconutty mouthfuls that negate the need to go and ravage a whole sugar filled cake. You can just use all ground almonds if you you cannot get coconut flour. Might need to add another egg though.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened at room temperature
1/2 cup full fat cream cheese or sour cream
1/2 cup Splenda (original recipe called for 1 cup but that makes things way too sweet for me)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups almond flour (ground almonds)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk cream cheese and Splenda together.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.

Add baking powder, coconut and almond flours. Mix well. (It should be of a dropping consistency. i.e., drops off the end of the spoon without any help)

Pop a dessertspoonful into paper fairycake cases.

Bake until risen and golden brown.

Next time I will add rosewater and perhaps use 1/2 and 1/2 coconut and almonds. They don’t rise much as I only added 1/2 tsp baking powder but too much of that and you can taste it.

17/06/2010

Mojito anyone?

I do not drink alcohol. I cannot drink it, as I am allergic to it and it makes me feel very bad after only a teaspoonful as my friends can attest. It's not a problem at all, except on hot, sunny days when a mojito sounds just about the best thing ever. Apart from the reaction, of course. 

The combination of the mint and the lime smells so fresh and zesty, I can ignore the rum for a while. 

Limes always fascinate me. The sharper, more inquisitive sister of the mellow lemon, happy to fit into any kind of cuisine and improve it just that little bit more. She sparkles in a cake, adds depth to a chilli, makes the zing in a pad thai even sharper, but can add sweetness too. Add lime to a glass of coke or water and I'm happy. Add lemon and, to me, it just tastes wrong.

Lime is often overlooked, but you can't ignore her when she's there. Almost luminous in her translucent greenery and with a sheen like she's been rubbed with sweet oil. I love me some lime.


13/06/2010

Blackened - on purpose - Tuna Steaks

Yesterday was a very nice day. Because I did some of the food shopping on Friday, we didn't have so much to do. The Football and the prep for the Football and then the Football appeared to keep a lot of the people off the streets, although this did mean that people who don't usually drive ventured out and got in the way, with their lack of indicators and minimal road sense.

Anyway. We took a jaunt to the farm shop, where, as usual, I ogled lovely vegetables in an acquisitive manner. I did not buy the artichokes, or the marrow. I did give in and buy fresh picked asparagus though, and lots of salad. We also bought some meaty looking tuna steaks. Pricey, but no more so than a good bit of rib-eye.

I think my ideal job would be to work at a farm shop, with a small concession stand where I cooked what I was inspired to cook, and other people ate it. Making recipes up as I went along, just using what was on sale. Watching Iron Chef America last night made me envious of the contestants in that they had the pick of a very substantial larder, right there in front of them. When I go to any market or farm shop, I actually want to cook, not eat. The recipes and combinations of ingredients running through my head can be a bit overwhelming.

Last night we had blackened (on purpose) tuna steaks with Jersey Royal salad and various greenery. Edible oograh. I failed at taking a photo of the tuna which means we just have to have it again at some point.

The tuna was gorgeous. The spice rub, courtesy of my friend Mark (whose lovely dinner for us got me hooked), was also gorgeous. The mix that I made up for Husband's tuna steak was quite hot and peppery, mine not so much. The application of sour cream made the eating a little more comfortable for Tex. :)

Hot Blackening Spice Mix

1 tbsp Mixed peppercorns
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Hot paprika
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Crushed chillies
½ tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Onion granules
½ tsp Garlic granules
1 tbsp Low sodium salt (I used Smoked Maldon Sea Salt because that is what I had, and then only 1 tsp)


Not So Hot Blackening Spice Mix

1 tbsp Mixed peppercorns
1½ tsp Oregano
1½ tsp Thyme
1½ tsp Hot paprika
1½ tsp Paprika
1 tsp Onion granules
½ tsp Garlic granules
1 tsp Ground allspice
2 tsp Low sodium salt 

I ground the whole lot up in a coffee grinder. Not So Hot first, Hot second.

Olive oil was massaged into the tuna, which was then pressed into the spice mix. I did it twice so a good crust built up then griddled them on each side for about 4 minutes. I should have cooked them for less, but hey ho.

WARNING: when the spice mix coated fish hits the substantial heat of a cast iron griddle pan, the resulting smoke will make you cough. A lot.

I have lots of the spice mix left so more blackening will happen! And yes, I have them in jars labelled HOT and NOT SO HOT.

01/06/2010

Sweet Olive Oil Bread

This is an Italian recipe called Pissota, and I have a great deal of time for it. It was given to me many years ago by an Italian lady called G and the first time I made it just the smell of the batter made me happy.

Pissota
Makes 1 loaf

4 eggs
1 cup sugar (you can probably adjust this if you don't want it too sweet)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, a fruity one is best.
1/4 cup dry sherry 
1/4 cup milk
grated zest of 1 lemon (large, organic if possible)
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 375° F.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar until light and fluffy.

Whisk in the olive oil, rum or sherry, milk and zest.

In another mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder.

Add to the flour mixture to the bowl with the wet ingredients and beat well. Add more milk if batter is too dry.

Spray/butter a loaf pan and fill 3/4 full with the batter. It will rise dramatically, due to the eggs.

Sprinkle the top with pine nuts, if using.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out dry. Let cool for a few minutes. Unmold and cool on a rack.

I actually cook this in mini loaf tins. They make very nice Christmas presents.

I apologise for not having a photo of it...