My nephew Elijah has recently discovered the joy of the word "Delish." Munching on some apple one dinner time he regaled the family with his excellent command of the English language at the grand old age of 19 months. This got me to thinking; what constitutes as "delish" these days?
In the new year every man and his dog is posting on facebook and instagram their veganuary meals or low carb, high fat banting journey or the joys of the store cupboard recipes when trying to pinch pennies, as January is a long haul when you have had a blow out Christmas. Yes, I am guilty of all of the aforementioned. Is it all really that delicious? I watched a recipe video on facebook this week, posted by Goodful, for Lemon Chicken and Spaghetti Squash and it looked so good. I am usually very sceptical about recipes I see on facebook but I thought I would give this one a go. It was low carb blah, blah, blah and I happened to have the key ingredients lying around the house, which is unusual for me. To my surprise it was quite a tasty dish and even Kyle said it was "ayoba." Ayoba means cool in South African slang according to the online urban dictionary.
Over the festive period I had to rack my brains for a recipe for dessert. Someone very close to us in on a special diet - not to lose weight or for any reason other than good food is the best medicine. They cannot eat dairy, sugar, not even sweetners. Certain fruits, some nuts or gluten to name but a few. How in goodness name was I to make a "delish" dessert when my list of ingredients was fairly limited? To the recipe books! Michelle Cranston, the food editor for Australian Women's Weekly is also a food writer and has produced a number of recipe books over the years. I have 3 of them. So I flicked through for inspiration and saw a recipe for rice pudding. Light bulb moment. Yes, I know, rice pudding is traditionally full of milk and sugar and her recipe was no different but I was sure I could tweak it. So in keeping with current trends and dietary requirements I replaced the milk and cream for coconut milk and coconut cream, none of your light kinds mind you. The sugar I replaced for honey, I am sure you could use xylitol if you are vegan, but in this case I couldn't. Eh Voila!
For quality control purposes I had a few of teaspoons of pudding while it was cooking, while it was cooling and when it was cold. Even though I say so myself it was "Delish". The end product went down a treat and I was very happy with my dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, Rose Tinged Rice Pudding with Pistachios and Fresh Raspberries. Thank you Michelle Cranston for the idea. So to sum up, if you put your mind to it your veganuary, banting, clean eating and store cupboard staple meals can be "delish," as long as you put a little love in them and above all use quality ingredients.
500ml coconut milk
3Tbsp runny honey
2tsp finely grated orange zest
1/4tsp fine cooking salt
75g pudding rice or white short-grain rice
125ml coconut cream, beaten until a little fluffier
65g raw pistachios, chopped or whole
Bring the coconut milk to a boil in a saucepan over a medium heat with the sugar, orange zest and salt. Add the rice, reduce the heat and gently simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every so often to make sure the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan. When the rice has cooked let it cool. Once cool beat in the coconut cream and the rose-water.
Spoon the pudding into small bowls straight away and top with pistachios, the raspberries and if you like another drizzle of honey. Or put into a large bowl and into the fridge until you are ready to serve and garnish.
For a winter option use orange blossom water instead of rose-water and top with slices of orange poached in orange juice, honey, cinnamon and cloves. The kitchen will smell heavenly!
Have fun with your food, don't limit your possibilities, forget the fads and above all else enjoy!
Bon Appetit my lovelies,
The last 5 years we have celebrated Christmas in and around the UK and it really is a winter wonderland. Twinkling lights, mulled wine, wooly jumpers, mittens, carols being played in the shops, people walking around the city with gifts wrapped in pretty ribbons and Germanic style markets pop up all over the place. If you are a child this is exactly what Christmas is described as in the songs you hear growing up. This year things were a little different, I was dreaming of a white Christmas. We were in sunny South Africa for the holidays and it definitely was not white! If anything I was battling with the humidity. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about the warmth and the sunshine but I am no longer built to cope with 35 degree heat and 90% humidity. Give me a dry heat any day.
Everyone I meet in the UK always asks me "what do you eat for your Christmas dinner when it is hot?" or "how do you celebrate Christmas in summer?" Questions that have complicated answers... We have had everything over the years from a turducken to pork belly to paella to a "braai." And in terms of celebrating Christmas; well exactly like the rest of the world, except most years we land up bobbing in the pool on a lilo with a cold glass of wine in hand instead of huddled round the fire place with mulled wine. I am getting a little off track here and the point I was trying to make was that I felt like some things were missing this year while back in the beautiful country that is South Africa, like twinkling lights, mulled wine and mittens. Again I am not complaining although I have grown to love the little details that make Christmas special in the UK and the collective spirit that grows around London in the lead up to Christmas.
As always my mind automatically went to food. What were we going to eat on Christmas day as it was going to be so hot? My aunt Laureen and my mother had it sorted! An antipasti platter and mum's homemade chicken liver pate to snack on. Paella, slow roasted lamb, pork belly, roasted vegetables and salads as the main event and a selection of desserts to finish things off. What was I going to contribute? So I told the lovely ladies in my life that I would make a dessert. My variation of Jamie Oliver's Winter Pudding Bombe, in this case a Summer Christmas Bombe.
This is a great dessert for both a white Christmas or a sunny Christmas. There is a little something for everyone and a burst of different flavours with every bite. It is refreshing and light after a heavy meal and you can tweak it anyway you like. The perfect end to a wonderful meal with family and loved ones.
1kg tub of good quality vanilla ice cream, I used a mixture of 500g vanilla and 500g of Tin Roof - an ice cream with chocolate sauce and almonds
1kg Panettone or Raisin Bread
125ml dessert wine of your choice, in this case I used Ratafia from Pierre Jourdan in Franschoek available through www.hardtofindwines.co.uk
3 Tbsp raspberry jam, I used Bonne Maman
100g tinned black cherries in juice or you can use glace cherries if you prefer
75g glace chopped mixed fruit peel
2 clementines or South African naartjies
50g shelled pistachios or any nut of your choice, pecans and almonds work just as well
300g good quality dark chocolate 70%
25g unsalted butter
Take your ice cream out and put it in the fridge to soften a little. Don't let it melt completely. Line a 2 litre glass bowl with 3 layers of clingfilm. Slice 6 2cm thick slices of Panettone from your loaf and keep the rest aside. Cut the 6 slices in half then arrange 6-8 of the halves around the inside of your bowl. It doesn't matter if they overlap, just push them in to make them fit. Drizzle about two thirds of the dessert wine over the Panettone and let is sink into the bread. Yum! Then spread the raspberry jam evenly all over.
Drain your cherries and set aside. Zest one clementine or naartjie and keep aside. Peel and slice the celmentine into thin rounds. Spoon 500 grams of ice cream into the bowl and spread thickly - it doesn't need to be pretty. Sprinkle in all the cherries, glace fruit peel and nuts. Then top with a layer of the clementine rounds. Quickly spread the remaining 500 grams of ice cream over the top, cover with the Panettone slices and drizzle with the rest of your dessert wine. Cover in clingfilm and then a dinner plate to make it all nice and compact. Pop something heavy on top and put it straight into the freezer until you need it.
20 minutes before you are due to serve take it out the freezer and pop it in the fridge. Turn it out onto a serving plate and remove the clingfilm. Snap up all your chocolate and put it in a bowl with the butter over a pot of simmering water on a low heat. Keep an eye on it and stir once or twice until it has melted. Sprinkle in the zest from the clementine and then pour the sauce over your slightly thawed bombe. Let the chocolate run down the sides and keep a little extra in a jug on the side incase someone is feeling extra indulgent. Garnish with clementine wedges or cherries and serve. This should be enough for 12 people to each get a slice.
You do not have to save this recipe for Christmas, I am sure you could use it anytime you like. Give it a go and let me know what you think.
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and I hope this new year is everything you dream of and more.
Good food is very often, even most often, simple food. - Anthony Bourdain