I'm back! It seems like forever since my last post only because so much has happened... I had a beautiful baby boy whom we named Maximilian Noah. He is a darling to have around, one with a terrific set of lungs! I've surprised myself with how calm I can be at times. It is challenging to find some time to myself to rest or compose posts, so I'm afraid my updates for the foreseeable future will be a tad irregular.
Since April I have splurged on a new food processor, a Thermomix, as it's predecessor had for some untold reason refused to work. The Thermomix people would no doubt raise their hands in horror at being labelled a "food processor", as it's so much more than that... grinder, steamer, cooker etc. I haven't as yet explored all the options but I am rather pleased with my purchase, ecstatic that the jug like container is stainless steel instead of plastic for all the obvious reasons. The only thing I am a little disgruntled about is that it does not shred.
I have also discovered a cool book for all amateur cooks like myself, it's called the Flavour Thesaurus. You know it's something special when you lay your eyes on it as it's so beautifully presented. Written by Niki Segnit it's a wonderful resource that provides a lengthy list of food pairings that work. I love some of the more unusual combinations it features, can't wait to experiment in the kitchen.
And I'm excited to discover Loving Earth raw chocolate, I had given up on enjoying shop bought chocolate because of the high refined sugar content and the sugar free chocolate felt like I was overdosed on it's maltitol sweetness which was a little worrying due to the laxative warning. Eating Loving Earth raw chocolate is pure bliss, it's completely vegan and has a subtle sweetness derived from coconut nectar. My favourites are the Maqui Luvju, Mint and AFA Luvju, and the Orange and Gubinge Luvju. I was initially bemused by the strange names and ingredients but my curiosity got the better of me. You will be pleased to know that maqui, AFA and gubinge are superfoods and you'll be doing your body a favour by consuming the chocolate. How's that for guilt free indulgence!
And so with this post I bring you these delicious berry tarts to celebrate little Max's arrival into the world and a recent wedding anniversary, see the one week old roses which still look beautiful, I think, in it's decaying state. Because I adore the luscious almond cream in this recipe I have turned all tart components into abit of a parfait which means I can have as many cream layers as the glass container can accommodate. The almond cream recipe is courtesy of the exceptionally talented Jude Blereau, I haven't come across anyone who doesn't fancy it.
1/2 cup almonds
3 tbsp cornflour (I used 3 tbsp kudzu instead)
2 tsp natural vanilla extract (I used seeds from 1 vanilla bean instead)
1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup weaker almond milk
Blanch the almonds; put the almonds and 2 cups water of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute. Take off the heat and sit for 5 minutes. Discard the water and remove the skins from the almonds.
Put the blanched almonds and 1 3/4 cups water in a blender and blend well until smooth. Peg 4 layers of muslin onto a bowl and pour the almond mix through. Pick up the muslin and twist to squeeze out the remaining milk. This should make 1 1/2 cups of almond milk. Set aside. For the 1/4 cup weaker almond milk, pur 1/2 cup more water through the remains and squeeze this out into a separate bowl. This weaker almond milk can be used to thin the cream once it has set. (I prefer the cream thick so usually skip this step).
To make the cream, put the cornflour (or kudzu) in a saucepan. Add vanilla and maple syrup. Slowly add the almond milk (1 1/2 cups), stirring with a wooden spoon until a thin paste is formed.
Put the saucepan over a low heat, and slowly bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. The mixture needs to bubble, ensuring the cornflour (or kudzu) is cooked out, but only just. As soon as it begins to bubble, remove from the heat. Pour into a bowl, allow to cool, cover and refrigerate until cold.
Spoon the mixture into a food processor and add the coconut milk and weak almond milk (I just add the coconut milk, omitting weak almond milk). Blend for 5 minutes, until very smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before filling tarts.
Reprinted with permission from Wholefood Copyright © Jude Blereau. (Murdoch Books, Australia, 2006)
2 cups of almond flour
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/3 cup almond oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius (400 degrees F).
Grease removable tart tins (makes about 6-8 small tarts) with almond oil.
Process all ingredients in a food processor until a dough like consistency forms. Distribute mixture evenly amongst the tart tins and press into the sides and bottom ensuring a consistent thickness. The biscuit crust does rise in the oven so make sure the bottom is not too thick.
Bake for 15 minutes until slightly browned. Remove and cool before adding the almond cream and berries.
Recipe for tart base tweaked from The Nourishing Gourmet blog. Btw Kimi's Deep Dark Chocolate Tart recipe is incredible, I urge you to try it!
1 punnet blueberries
1 punnet raspberries
For assembly, place two spoonfuls (tbsp)of the set almond cream into the cooled tart shells and top with a mixture of blueberries and raspberries (or preferred choice of fruit).