Monday, March 31, 2014

Dinner Party Dessert - Choc Peanut Butter Tofu Mousse

This recipe is inspired by Connie from Urban Bakes’ Banana Choc Tofu Mousse. When I saw her recipe I immediately knew it was something I would try. Super easy, relatively healthy and potentially delicious. Just my kind of dessert! Lance isn’t the hugest fan of banana in anything except smoothies – and even then he likes them to have lots of chocolate to disguise the banana – which granted this does have - but I thought I would still omit them. When I made this, I was also having people over for dinner, and not knowing where a few of my guests stand on bananas (they tend to be a bit of a love/hate item in my experience) it just seemed like a safer bet. I decided to add peanut butter, because I’m obsessed with the choc/peanut butter combo and I sweetened it with dates to add a slightly caramelly flavour that dates naturally have. So, on the whole, this is a pretty healthy dessert (dark chocolate is totally good for you!).
 It is also great for dinner parties, because it can be prepared in advance and popped in the fridge to set. I was a little worried that this seemed more like 6 servings, but I divided it up between my 7 guests, but it turned out pretty perfectly. The mousse turned out quite dense and decadent, so a slightly smaller serving didn’t go noticed. I did forget to take photos of it served with the chopped up peanut praline, but it was the perfect accompaniment.
 My full menu was actually pretty brilliant in that the prep work was all done before my guests arrived and I wasn’t a slave to the kitchen, apart from bruleeing the top of the Ceviche, everything was done and just needed to be served.
Salmon Ceviche Brulee
Puerco Pibil with Cashew Crema and Roast Potatoes
Choc Peanut Butter Tofu Mousse

Choc Peanut Butter Tofu Mousse12 dates, soaked overnight in water (just cover)
1 package silken tofu (300g)
2 tbsp smooth natural peanut butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (approx. 200g) dark chocolate chips
 ¾ cup raw peanuts
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
 In a glass bowl, melt the chocolate by microwaving in 30 second bursts until melted (mine took 3 lots of 30seconds). Set aside to cool slightly.
 Remove the dates from soaking water to a bowl, reserving the liquid. Using a hand beater, blend to a smooth paste. Add a few tablespoons of the soaking water, salt and the vanilla to the paste and blend to thin the mixture. Add the peanut butter and blend fully incorporated. Add the tofu and blend on high until completely smooth and combined.
 Using a spatula, fold the melted chocolate into the tofu mixture.
 Scoop into the serving containers, then chill for 30 minutes to ‘set’.
 To make the toffee peanuts, line a baking tray with baking paper. Melt the butter in a pan and add the sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Approx 2 minutes. Add the peanuts and toss around in the caramelly mixture and toast for a further 2 minutes. Pour the whole mixture on the baking tray and leave to harden and cool. Crack and break the toffee peanuts up to use as garnish

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chip Addiction - Lime and Black Pepper Chip Crusted Bream

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to Red Rock Deli Lime and Black Pepper Chips. We pretty much stopped buying them because we’d open them, Lance would turn his head for 10 seconds and I’d have eaten the whole packet. Then he’d be all sad that he didn’t get to have a snack. I seriously have no willpower when it comes to them. BUT, they are too delicious to give up completely. After a Molloy Island fishing trip, we managed to keep about a cup’s worth of them to do my second favourite trick (you know, after making them all disappear instantly)…crumbing fish with them. So. Good. Obviously lime and pepper are natural friends with fish. Smash a few up, coat the fish and oven bake them (to make them a little healthier) and you have a delicious and super easy dinner. And the best part? You have to eat the rest of the packet!

For a bit of extra oomph, I’ve added some coconut shreds. And for some contrast, I’ve got a slightly sweet dressed salad using a blood orange marmalade that Coles currently have in their ‘limited edition’ collection. You can sub a different marmalade in here if you can’t find it.

Lime and Black Pepper Chip Crusted Bream
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice one lime
¼ tsp cracked pepper
1 cup lime and black pepper chips, measure then crush
2 tbsp coconut shreds (unsweetened)
2 fillets firm fleshed white fish (I used black bream)

Blood Orange Dressed Salad
2 tbsp blood orange marmalade
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp lime juice
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
Mixed leaves (spinach, beet leaves, rocket)
Handful grape tomatoes, halved
½ Lebanese cucumber, diced
50g sheep fetta, crumbled
½ pickle, finely diced
Sprinkle of toasted pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds

Cut the fillets into two ‘strips’. Mix the oil, lime juice and pepper together, coat the fish in it and allow to marinade while you do the rest. Approx 10 minutes. Heat the oven to 175C. Place a cooling rack onto baking tray and spray lightly with oil.

Microwave the blood orange marmalade with the water for 30 seconds, stir to combine. The idea is to thin out the marmalade. Set aside to cool.

In a mortar and pestle, or a bowl with the back of a spoon, crush the chips into breadcrumb sized pieces, with a few bigger bits. Stir through the coconut shreds. Take each piece of fish out of the oil mixture and let any excess liquid drip off. Press firmly into the chip mixture to coat on both sides. Carefully place onto the rack. Repeat until it’s all coated, then pop it in the oven to bake until golden and cooked through. Approximately 10 minutes.

Add the lime juice, olive oil and mustard seeds to the marmalade then whisk to combine. Assemble all of the salad ingredients except the cheese and nuts/seeds. Dress the salad, then gently fold through the cheese. Plate, then scatter the nuts and seeds over the top. Plate up the fish and eat immediately

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Restaurant Inspired - Sweet Potato and Coconut Gnocchi with Cashew Basil Crema

I recently had a lunch date with my husband at Solomon’s CafĂ© in Highgate. It was on the to-visit list for a while and the menu item that most put it there was the famed sweet potato and coconut gnocchi. When we got there, we ordered out meals with a side of sweet potato and coconut gnocchi. And we were told…it’s actually beetroot gnocchi now. They haven’t been able to source any organic sweet potatoes for a while, so they’ve had to amend it. The whole restaurant is organic (and gluten and dairy free), so obviously this is an issue for them. And the gnocchi was soooo good. Everything was delicious, but the gnocchi was definitely the stand-out.

The next morning I was trying to work out what to make for breakfast. The idea of toast wasn’t thrilling me, so in spite of telling Lance that I was going to make some form of ratatouille with the almost-too-ripe tomatoes in the fridge…I wasn’t really in the mood. So I still made the ratatouille (which we had for lunch), and I thought I’d give the sweet potato gnocchi a go.

This isn’t gnocchi in the traditional boiled pasta route, I just fried the pieces until crispy. And I already had some cashews soaking, so I made a kale, basil and cashew crema to go with it. To make it more breakfast-y, I served it with an egg and a few zucchini chips as more of a garnish. To keep the dish quick, I microwaved the sweet potato instead of roasting it.

All in all, not a bad breakfast – and it all came together before 8:30am! Unfortunately, it was too early for me to bother with many photos, so there’s only a couple of the finished product.

Sweet Potato and Coconut Gnocchi with Cashew Basil Crema.
(serves 2)
1 medium sweet potato
3 tbsp coconut flour (depending on how big your sweet potato is)
Pinch sea salt
Pinch black pepper
pinch cinnamon
¼ tsp sweet paprika
Coconut oil for frying.

2 handfuls cashews, soaked overnight
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 kale leaves, stripped off the rib
Big handful basil
Big handful parsley
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup olive oil
Water for thinning

Prick the sweet potato a few times, put in a glass bowl, cover with a piece of paper towel and microwave for around 6 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool.

In a food processor, blend the all the ingredients except the olive oil and water. Pulse at first, scrape down the sides, then run on low, adding the oil and water to reach your desired consistency. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

When the sweet potato is cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin. Mash well with a fork. Add the salt, pepper, cinnamon and sweet paprika, and mix through with the fork. Add coconut flour 1 tbsp at a time until it makes a dough. I only needed 3 tbsp for my sweet potato.

Scoop teaspoonsful of dough and roll into gnocchi shapes, flatten slightly with the tines of the fork to shape.

Heat a nob of coconut oil in a fry pan to medium high heat. Fry the gnocchi pieces for a few minutes until golden – around 3 minutes, then flip over and cook that side. Don’t crowd the pan. I did mine in 2 loads, moving the first to a plate in the microwave to keep warm.

Drizzle the sauce onto your serving plates, then top with sweet potato gnocchi.

Serve with an egg if you’d like.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Satisfying Cravings and (Late) New Year's Resolutions - Basic Cornbread

At the end of the first month of 2014 worked out that my new year’s resolution is to eat more cornbread. I love it so much, but it’s one of those things I forget about. It’s not often on menus in Perth, so it tends to go off my radar as eating it usually equals cooking it myself. But I went to Miss Kitty’s Saloon in Inglewood for brunch with my husband and sister-in-law a few weekends back and the stand-out dish from what we ordered was the steak benedict. Ignoring for a second the delicious jerk potatoes that it came with, the steak benedict was perfectly created. It was a thin marinated skirt steak, with a tart pink peppercorn hollandaise sauce on top of sweet and juicy caramelised onions all on top of the most melt-in-your-mouth buttery cornbread I’ve ever tasted.

I have a recipe for cornbread floating around somewhere that includes bacon and Cajun spices. I’ll try dig that out again now that it’s my new year’s resolution. But in the meantime, I wanted just your basic cornbread. Given that I’ve spent the last month drooling over the Treme cook book I got for Christmas, I thought that’d be the perfect resource for finding cornbread. And I wasn’t wrong. I’ve only made two small adjustments to their recipe. I used buttermilk instead of normal milk – because shouldn’t that always be a thing in southern style baking? I halved the salt and replaced it with a Creole spice mix. And I used olive oil instead of canola oil. Just because I like olive oil.

I served this as a base for the wonderful mushroom sauce that Alejandra from Always Order Dessert posted last year. And voila! Dinner. Just me and my baby.

There’s a recipe for jalapeno cornbread that might need to be tried now.

Oh, and they included Cane Syrup Butter in their cookbook as an accompaniment. Personally, I’m all for Maple Butter. Just whip a tablespoon or so of maple syrup into 50g or so of some delicious room temperature salted butter. I served this with my lemon and olive focaccia and it did not take long to be eaten!

Basic Cornbread
adapted from Treme
1 cup cornmeal plus 2 tbsps
1 cup plain flour
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp. raw sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Creole spice mix
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C

Grease a skillet or dish that can go in the oven, and place in the oven to warm.

In a large bowl, whisk the 1 cup cornmeal, flour, baking powder, Creole spice mix, salt and sugar. Add the wet ingredients and stir until just well mixed and smooth. Do not overmix.

Remove the hot casserole dish from the oven, sprinkle the extra 2 tbsp. cornmeal over the bottom and cook in the oven for 2 minutes.

Remove from the oven an gently pour the batter over the top of the baked cornmeal. Cook for around 20 minutes until golden on top. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Skamp's Kitchen - Ricotta, Hazelnut and Fig Cake

Skamp’s kitchen had it’s anniversary on the 4th of February. Yay! I put the call out on my facebook page – how should I celebrate my blogiversary? The overwhelming response was cake. Especially if that cake was shared with my fans! So, there was nothing for it, but to make cake when I got home from work. One friend had the good idea of making a fig cake, given that I was posting a bunch of fig recipes lately, and it just happened that I had a few left.

I decided to make a gluten-free cake, so that when I took the leftovers to work, a few co-workers who can’t eat gluten could still have a piece. And seeing as we were just coming out of January when everyone was still being good with their new years’ resolutions to eat healthier, I also made it with no processed sugar and all healthy fats from ricotta and hazelnuts. The result was a delicious, healthy, moist and nutty cake that didn’t last too long in the work kitchen.

But because I was celebrating, when Lance and I ate ours, I added an extra drizzle of honey. And some melted chocolate. And ate it with chocolate ice cream. Delicious. A dusting of icing sugar would also be a nice touch.

Ricotta, Hazelnut and Fig Cake
(adapted from
250g ricotta cheese
4 eggs, separated
1 vanilla bean, cut and seeds scraped out
½ cup honey
250g hazelnut meal
1 tsp ground ginger
6 figs, sliced into rounds
Optional – chocolate or honey to drizzle

Preheat oven to 150C, grease and line a springform cake tin

Beat the ricotta, egg yolks, vanilla and honey until smooth. Add the hazelnut meal and ginger, mix until fully incorporated.

Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the hazelnut mixture. Pour the mixture into a cake tin, and spread with a spatula. Gently press fig rounds into the top.

Bake for 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from the cake tin to a wire rack.

Serve drizzled with extra honey, or melted chocolate. Or both!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Quick Meals - Purple Cauliflower Cream Cheese Pizza with Lamb and Honey

Sometimes when colleagues see me eating leftovers at work, they ask if I have kids. When I say no, they then ask why I “hide” so many veges in my dishes. I don’t deliberately hide veges, I just like veges and try to include lots in my dishes - and processing is a lazy way of prepping them! But, if you do struggle to get your kids to eat veges and need to hide them, this pizza is a really good way of doing it. Pizza in general is a great way of doing it, because I’m yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love pizza. Check out my pizza sauce with beans here. But the vegetables in this pizza are 100% hidden in the sauce. It gets the wonderful pinky-purply colour from a purple cauliflower, but you can use a regular cauliflower. I know I’ve only ever come across the purple cauliflowers once in Perth!

The tortilla crusts were because I had leftovers. Sub in real pizza bases or lebanese loaves.
This is a great midweek meal, because it is super quick and easy to prepare. Everything is done in the food processor, then 10 minutes in the oven. 15 minutes total and you have a delicious meal.

Cauliflower Cream Cheese Pizza with Lamb and Honey 
¼ head cauliflower
200g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 tsp za'atar spices
2 tomatoes
2 lamb steaks
Tortillas or Lebanese loaves

Preheat your oven to 180C

Break the cauliflower into large florets and place in a food processor. Pulse to ‘rice’ it. Add the philly cream cheese, spices and tomatoes, then process until evenly chopped and combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Spread onto tortillas, slice lamb steaks thinly and scatter on top, top with grated parmesan, drizzle with honey.

Pop in the oven and bake until base is crispy and the parmesan is golden and melted