One of the lovliest and funnest things to do with your friends is make truffles!
They are really very easy to make and you can customize them to have any flavour you fancy… These ones are Amaretto & Cherry. But I also have a great recipe for Spicy Orange & Rum ones. The recipe below is very rough since I dont ever measure anything!
- 3 x 100g bars of dark chocolate (Sainsbury basics 30p bar, roughly 50% cocoa, but 70% is also great).
- 3-4 tablespoons coconut cream (I use this instead of butter or cream)
- 3-4 tablespoons Disaronno
- 3 teaspoons almond essence
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- Dried Morello Cherries (or any dried fruit)
- flaked almonds or dessicated coconut for coating
- cocoa powder for rolling
- tiny truffle cases
- Melt your chocolate very gently in a pan (or bain marie, or in microwave in a tupperware)
- once its all melted, slowly add the coconut cream and stir in, the mix should go dark, smooth and glossy
- now add the Disaronno, almond essence and honey
- mix together well, the consistency should be thick (this is called ganache)
- put the ganache in the fridge for 2-3 hours to set
- meanwhile, gently toast the flaked almonds or dessicated coconut in a non-stick frying pan or under the grill. This happens VERY quickly, so don’t walk away, watch it the whole time and shake the pan so it all gets a little golden. Then you can crush the almonds a little so they are in small peices which will stick to the outside of the truffle.
- once the ganache is cooled it should be thick enough that you can only just push a spoon in there and scoop out a blob. (if too hard, you may need to melt again and add more coconut cream, if too soft, you may need to melt again and add more chocolate.)
- press a dried cherry or two into your blob of chocolate and roll in the cocoa powder, then roll gently in the palm of both hands into a ball, the cocoa powder should stop the ganache sticking to your skin.
- now roll the ball in the nuts until completely coated and put in a case
- carry on until all the ganache is used up! Your hands should be quite messy by this point!
- Put the truffles back in the fridge to harden up again, since they may be a little soft after rolling in your warm hands.
- After an hour or so, they are ready for eating, firm and chewy! Eat within about 3-4 days… if they last that long =D
- Puy Lentils
- Red / Yellow Pepper
- Red Onion
- Sweet Potato
- Feta Cheese
- Thyme or Rosemary
For the Dressing:
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp cumin
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- garlic clove
Place the sliced vegetables on an oiled baking tray and sprinkle with a little salt and either Rosemary or Thyme. Bake for at least an hour, turning occassionally so that both sides of each slice are golden brown.
Meanwhile, boil a pan of puy lentils (not green or orange ones since they go mushy!). Cook until soft, but still keep their shape (maybe 40 mins).
Then get to chopping the tomato, cucumber, and corriander – save aside in a bowl.
For the dressing I use a pestle & mortar; crush the garlic clove, grate the lemon zest and add the cumin and olive oil and give it a good smashing. Then add the lemon juice and a little salt and pepper to taste.
Once the lentils are ready, add them to the tomato mix.
When the vegetables are ready, you can either chop them and add them to the tomato/lentil mix, or you can decide to arrange the roast veg on a platter and keep lentil/tomato mix in the centre as per the picture above.
Finally, chop or crumble the feta over the top of the whole thing and drizzle with the dressing!
- peanut butter
- raisins or sultanas
- coconut milk
- dessicated coconut
- sunflower seeds
- walnut peices
- dark chocolate
Firstly heat up the coconut milk (I dont mean the tinned kind for cooking curries, I mean something like koko-milk which is for drinking with your tea or cereal). Then add the raisins so they soften up. Add the oats and keep stirring on a gentle heat. Add the cinnamon and a spoon of peanut butter and keep stirring. Once it is the consistency you like, take it off the heat. In a small non-stick frying pan gently toast the dessicated coconut for a minute or two and quickly take off the heat as soon as it starts to go golden brown.
Now pour your porridge into a bowl, top with a piece of dark chocolate, let this melt a little, add your chopped banana and sprinkle with sunflower seeds, walnuts and a few extra raisins, finish off with your toasted coconut!
If you have a sweet tooth, you may want to add honey, but I find the raisins add all the sweetness I need.
Cooking and baking are both ways of having fun, whilst at the same time nourishing yourself and those around you with the healthiest food possible. If you are worried that making cakes will make you fat, simply make them for someone you love! Giving someone a home-made cake is a lovely feeling. Especially when you know what ingredients have gone in. You can choose to stick to a recipe, or you can customize it and get creative to suit your dietary requirements and tastes.
TIPS FOR HEALTHY BAKING:
- cut down on the amount of sugar stated, for instance if it says 200g, try 150g
- replace the sugar by using raisins instead – which are naturally sweet and contain fibre
- replace the butter with a vegetable oil such as sunflower oil or olive oil or coconut oil
- try using wholemeal flour instead – this increases the amount of fibre too
- often I use gluten-free flour (I am not intolerant, but we already eat so much wheat!)
- replace some of the flour with mashed banana or mashed sweet potato (this keeps the cake moist)
- if you don’t want to use flour at all, try blended chickpeas or green lentils
TIPS FOR HEALTHY COOKING:
- instead of adding more salt, fat or sugar for flavour, add herbs!
- herbs not only make food taste better but they help with digestion too!
- brown rice, bread and pasta all contain more fibre, which passes straight through you =D
- try converting from dairy milk to coconut or almond milk, its lower in fat and no cows had to suffer!
- replace mayonnaise with greek yoghurt in your tuna-mayo, much less fat and more protein