Anzac biscuits

Recipe: Better (gluten-free) Anzac biscuits

It’s been ages since I’ve eaten Anzac biscuits because they are definitely not gluten-free and. I know there are several paleo versions floating around in the interwebs but oats are such an important ingredient in this particular cookie that IMO they don’t deserve to be called Anzac biscuits at all.

Back when I reintroduced oats in my diet to follow the Chinese doctor’s nagging recommendations, I tried a few brands of gluten-free (by US standards, which are less strict than Australian) and uncontaminated oats. I didn’t have any issues with any of those so I use them regularly. For this recipe I used this brand of Australian uncontaminated oats. To learn more about oats, gluten and contamination click here.

I also bumped up the protein content by adding some whey protein powder and used a relatively low amount of unrefined sweeteners (coconut sugar and maple syrup), hence the name “better Anzacs”. Don’t be fooled though, these are still treats!
Hope you’re having a great Anzac Day!

Better (gluten-free) Anzac biscuits
Yield: about 14 medium chunky cookies

Better Anzac biscuits

Ingredients

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup uncontaminated oats
  • 1/2 cup plain whey protein isolate
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Wet ingredients

  • 75g butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan-forced works best).
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients in a saucepan and melt on the stove (or place them in a bowl and melt in the microwave).
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix well with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
  5. With your hands, make golf-sized balls with the batter, pressing firmly to make sure everything sticks together. Place on a tray lined with wax paper and flatten with your hand.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your taste (20 minutes will yield darker and crunchier cookies).
  7. Let cool down and enjoy.

Review: Pana Chocolate (Alexandria)

A while ago Pana Chocolate opened a shop in Alexandria but I managed to avoid the temptation until recently. Now that I’ve changed gyms I walk past Pana 3x week. They don’t only sell their chocolate bars, but all sorts of raw gluten-, dairy-, and refined sugar-free treats. What keeps me from going nuts is the price but it is good stuff. Great stuff indeed.

Pana Chocolate

Pana Chocolate

Pana Chocolate

Pana Chocolate

Pana Chocolate

Grapefruit, surprise cake

Grapefruit, surprise cake ($43 for both)

Blueberry & salted caramel, raw lamington

Blueberries & salted caramel, raw lamington ($15 for both)

Pana Chocolate
21 Fountain Street
Alexandria NSW 2015
1300 717 488
www.panachocolate.com

Click to add a blog post for Pana Chocolate on Zomato

Review: Black Star Pastry (Rosebery)

My first visit to Black Star Pastry was in my pre-paleo days. We bought a bunch of cakes (and got a faulty macaron for free) and a lamb shank pie on a second visit. Then I went paleo and thought I wouldn’t step foot on Black Star ever again.

Until our lunch in Kitchen by Mike. We knew we needed more to feel satisfied and Gladys was prepared: she had spotted a Black Star a few metres away and had checked that they had gluten-free options. Well done, sis!

It had been 4 years since the one and only time I tried the famous strawberry & watermelon cake. Back then, I didn’t know it was gluten-free. I didn’t understand why people raved it about it so much, either. Judging for the amount of watermelons on site, it’s still their best-selling item.

Bread and watermelons

I was very pleased to see that there were several gluten-free cakes on display.

Cakes

We *almost* ordered one of each (we missed the macadamia & choc GF brownie). Surprisingly, the strawberry & watermelon cake was my favourite, followed by the orange cake, Persian figs, cheesecake. The pistachio lemon curd + white chocolate zen garden was too sweet for my taste.

Gluten-free cakes

Strawberry & watermelon cake ($7.50), pistachio lemon curd + white chocolate zen garden ($7.50), orange cake, Persian figs, cheesecake ($4.50)

Besides cakes they also serve sandwiches (no GF bread, though) and some lunch specials.

Recipe: Lúcuma coconut mousse v2.0

This is a revamped version of the lúcuma coconut mousse I posted a while ago, this time with the added benefit of the probiotic cultures in CO YO and the collagen in gelatin.

Lúcuma coconut mousse v2.0
Yield: 4-6 servings

Lúcuma coconut mousse

Ingredients

Base

  • 1 cup (100g) almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 50g salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Mousse

  • 1 400g tub plain CO YO
  • 2 tablespoons lúcuma powder
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin (grass-fed recommended)

To serve

  • a few squares of dark chocolate (85% recommended)

Directions

Base

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Melt the butter and mix with the rest of ingredients.
  3. Line a small loaf pan with wax paper, spread the mix and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Let cool down.

Mousse

  1. Sprinkle gelatin on water and let hydrate. Melt over a pot of boiling water and let cool a bit.
  2. Mix coconut yoghurt, lúcuma powder and maple syrup with a whisk or mixer. Add hydrated gelatin and mix well.

To serve

  1. Line glasses or ramekins with pieces of the base, spoon mousse and top with grated chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Recipe: Coconut cappuccino bites

This is a variation of the chocolate coffee bites recipe I posted a few months ago. It came about because I ran out of dark chocolate but still wanted to chew on something crunchy that would give me a caffeine hit. To be honest, I prefer these to the chocolate ones.

Coconut cappuccino bites
Yield: 6-10 units, depending on size

Coconut cappuccino bites

Ingredients

  • 80 grams (about 1/2 cup) creamed coconut
  • 1 tablespoon ground coffee (coarsely ground for plunger recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
  • coconut sugar or other sweetner (optional, I don’t use any)

Directions

  1. Melt creamed coconut in the microwave.
  2. Mix in the coffee and cacao nibs (and sweetener if using).
  3. Pour in an ice tray (I make mine in a lemon slice-shaped silicone tray that yields 6 big portions). Alternatively you can use a small rectangular tray and chop it up before serving. Cover with cling wrap and place in the freezer.
  4. Wait patiently until set and enjoy.

Recipe: Chocolate coffee bites

There are only a few things that can mess with my willpower and usual tendency to eat sensibly. One of the biggies: dark chocolate-covered coffee beans. That’s the reason I (almost) never buy them.

One night I was studying and I felt like I *needed* my cacao-caffeine fix, but all the shops were closed. I came up with this super simple, quick and dangerous alternative.

Chocolate coffee bites
Yield: 6-12 units, depending on size

Chocolate coffee bites

Ingredients

  • 100 grams dark chocolate (min 70% cacao, 85% recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coffee (coarsely ground for plunger recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs

Directions

  1. Break chocolate in small pieces with your hands, place in a bowl.
  2. Boil some water in a pot, turn the heat off and place the bowl over the pot to melt the chocolate, stirring with a rubber spatula.
  3. Mix in the coffee and cacao nibs.
  4. Pour in an ice tray (I make mine in a lemon slice-shaped silicone tray that yields 6 big portions). Alternatively you can use a small rectangular tray and chop it up before serving. Cover with cling wrap and place in the freezer.
  5. Wait patiently until set and enjoy.

Recipe: Paleo crema volteada

Another Paleo version of another Peruvian classic dessert: crema volteada (our take on crème caramel). This is my mother-in-law’s and my sister Gloria’s favourite dessert. The original version uses evaporated and condensed milk, and is served with caramelised sugar on top. Yes, it is very sweet. I used coconut milk and cream and just enough honey to make it slightly sweet. The texture was very similar to the original version, but was paler in colour because there was less protein and sugar to react with the heat.

Paleo crema volteada
Yield: 8 servings

Paleo crema volteada

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
  • honey or maple syrup, to serve

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. Get a small square or rectangular oven-safe dish (I use a 20cm x 20cm Pyrex) and a larger baking tray with high rims. Line the oven-safe dish with baking (wax) paper. Line the baking tray with paper and place the oven-safe dish on top.
  3. Boil a kettle of water.
  4. Crack eggs in a medium-sized bowl and whisk with an electric mixer.
  5. Add coconut milk and cream, honey and vanilla essence and whisk until frothy.
  6. Pour mixture into oven-safe dish. Place in oven and carefully pour the boiling water in the baking tray, until the water has reached at half of the oven-safe dish height.
  7. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until set.
  8. Let cool down and chill in the fridge.
  9. When ready to serve, place a platter on top of the dish and invert carefully.
  10. Cut in portions and serve topped with honey or maple syrup.

Recipe: Paleo tres leches cake

I don’t know where tres leches (three milks) cake came from but it’s very popular in several Latin American countries. It’s basically a sponge cake soaked in a mix of evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream (hence the name). Peruvian dessert queen Sandra Plevisani has a cinco leches version that uses coconut milk and dulce de leche (caramel) in addition. Needless to say, both versions are unbelievably sweet and not Paleo at all.

While it’s not my favourite cake (I prefer chocolate over anything else), I realise it’s a crowd pleaser. My version is, of course, Paleo, so you won’t need to drink a litre of water while eating it (nor a nap afterwards).

Paleo tres leches cake
Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Paleo tres leches

Ingredients

Sponge cake (recipe from Yoginibear’s blog):

  • 1 1/4 cups almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1 cup almond milk (preferrably homemade*)
  • ground cinnamon, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Line a loaf pan with baking (wax) paper.
  3. Mix almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs. Add honey and vanilla whisk with an electric mixer (or by hand, if you’re game) until pale and fluffy.
  5. Using a spatula, carefully fold the dry ingredients into the wet mix.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until completely cooked.
  7. While cake cools down a bit, mix the milks in a bowl.
  8. Place cake in a suitable container (I use a Pyrex dish) and pour the milks on top. Cover with the container’s lid or cling wrap and refrigerate overnight to allow the cake to soak.
  9. When ready to serve, take the cake out of the fridge, cut in slices, pour the milk that’s sitting on the container on top of each slice and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

* To make the almond milk: soak 1/2 cup of almonds in water overnight, the next day drain and rinse them and blend them with 1 cup of fresh water. Drain in a fine mesh strainer. Use the milk for this recipe, and reserve the solids for later use (for example: nut porridge or pancakes, or as facial scrub).

Recipe: Paleo lamingtons (take 1)

Happy Australia Day! Time for a confession: in the 4 years I’ve lived in Australia I have never eaten a lamington. When we were “fresh” in the country I didn’t like coconut. Over time, this aversion disappeared but I just wasn’t too excited about sponge cake with chocolate icing and desiccated coconut. Then I ditched the grains so lamingtons were out of the question.

As an almost citizen of Australia, I felt it was about time to try a lamington. I thought it would be relatively easy to find a gluten-free commercial one, but not a grain-free, crap-free one. So I had to make my own. Luckily, I’m one of those persons who can get a pretty good idea of what something should taste like by knowing what’s in it. Thus, I’m pretty confident my first attempt did not taste or feel like a true lamington. But it was delicious nonetheless. And I accidentally came up with a side recipe that will be posted soon.

For the moment, feel free to give this recipe a go. And yes, by “take 1” I’m taking on the challenge of coming up with a new, improved version every year on Australia Day.

Paleo mini lamingtons
Yield: 12 – 15 mini lamingtons

Paleo mini lamingtons

Ingredients

Sponge cake
Adapted from Diane Sanfilippo’s Practical Paleo.

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons macadamia butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla esence
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Icing

  • 1 can coconut cream (270 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar

Topping

  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut

Directions

Sponge cake

  1. Preheat oven to 180° and line a small baking tray with wax (baking) paper.
  2. If your coconut oil is solid, heat it up to soften/liquefy it.
  3. Whisk eggs, macadamia butter, coconut oil, maple syrup (I used 1 tablespoon maple syrup but you might want to use 2 if you eat more sweets than me) and vanilla essence until frothy. Don’t freak out if your macadamia butter is not so smooth and there are chunks of nuts in the mix.
  4. Mix coconut flour and baking soda with the rest of ingredients until well combined.
  5. Pour batter on tray and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.
  6. Let cool on a wire rack.

Icing

  1. Do not shake the can. Open it and remove the top layer (i.e. the creamiest part). Refrigerating the can makes this process easier.
  2. Whisk cream, cocoa powder and coconut sugar until well combined.

To serve

  1. Optional: with a sharp knife remove the upper and lower layers of the cake. This helps it absorb the icing better.
  2. Cut the cake in small rectangles.
  3. Dunk them in the icing and coat them with desiccated coconut.

Review: Sideways Deli Cafe, Fernandes Patisserie (Dulwich Hill)

My sister is back from Perú. A month passed by at turbo speed, one day we were dropping her at the airport and the next we were picking her up.

It was Sunday morning. A taxi took us to Dulwich Hill, where she lives. We stayed for a while in her apartment, while she told us about the family and all the delicious food she had eaten. Interestingly, she didn’t gain as much weight as I did in my last visit (yes, I’m jealous). She also gave us some gifts from our families (heaps of lúcuma powder, yay!). Then she had a shower and we decided to go out for brunch.

We were torn between two cafes: Sideways Deli and Last Drop. The sky didn’t look promising so we chose the closest one: Last Drop. On our way we passed by Fernandes Patisserie, I couldn’t help it and suggested getting a quick bite to sample their stuff. Gladys received a phone call so she stayed outside the shop, Alvaro and I got in and, as it often happens, were attracted by the same sweets. There were no labels in the display so we just pointed out what we wanted: one Portuguese custard tart or pastéi de nata and one (I think) baked custard. They were simply divine (although not “lite” at all).

Fernandes Patisserie: Baked custard & Portuguese tart

Unfortunately, Last Drop was closed (we thought it was maybe because of the road works that were going on at the time). In part I’m glad it was, because Sideways Deli ended up being a terrific choice. Despite its location, away from the suburb’s commercial area, the cafe was packed.

Sideways Deli Cafe

After a short wait we were given the option of a table inside or one outside that had just became vacant. Because it was not raining, we chose to eat outside. After checking the menu and the specials blackboard through the window we made up our minds.

No surprises with Alvaro’s choice: he wanted one of the featured risotti, the one with goat’s curd, asparagus and mushrooms. The waitress who took our order wasn’t sure if they had goat’s curd because they had run out the day before and were offering feta cheese instead. She checked with the kitchen and yes, they had goat’s curd. Excellent customer service detail, most places just exchange the ingredients with no notice. Alvaro also ordered a beetroot, apple, carrot & ginger juice (you can mix and match whichever ingredients you want). Gladys ordered the goat cheese and pumpkin tart and I the Gypsy Ham panino and a bowl of salad.

The juice was very nice, it had the right balance of ingredients. You’d think that is hard to screw up a veggie and fruit juice but believe me, I’ve tasted some nasty ones.

Sideways Deli Cafe: Beetroot, apple, carrot & ginger juice

Beetroot, apple, carrot & ginger juice

The risotto was just ok. It needed more salt and the rice lacked creaminess. But once salted it was nice.

Sideways Deli Cafe: Goat's curd, asparagus & mushroom risotto

Goat’s curd, asparagus & mushroom risotto ($17.90, if memory serves)

Gladys’ tart was a different story. It was simply perfect. Plus, the portion was generous and the fresh mixed salad was not made of leftover salad leaves (yeah, I still remember the vegetarian tart I had at Townhouse).

Sideways Deli Cafe: Goat cheese & pumpkin tart with mixed salad

Goat cheese and pumpkin tart with mixed salad ($15.50)

My panino was fantastic, too. The flavours matched perfectly, the bread was warm and crunchy. The mixed salad (leaves, tomatoes, feta cheese, roasted capsicum and the delicious honey mustard dressing) was tasty and big enough to share with Alvaro.

Sideways Deli Cafe: Gypsy Ham panino - bocconcini, semi-dried tomatoes, baby spinach and seeded mustard

Gypsy Ham panino – bocconcini, semi-dried tomatoes, baby spinach and seeded mustard ($9.30)

Sideways Deli Cafe: Mixed salad - bowl of mixed salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

Mixed salad – bowl of mixed salad with homemade honey mustard dressing ($8.90)

We were absolutely stuffed but still needed some caffeine (well, Gladys needed it more than I after a 24-hour trip). She had a regular latte (she usually orders a weak one to avoid getting migraines but she wanted to stay alert to switch back to Sydney time) and I my usual soy cappuccino (when will cafes offer non-lactose milk?). Both coffees came with a tiny bear biscuit and were really good, with a great taste and well textured milk.

Sideways Deli Cafe: Latte

Latte

Sideways Deli Cafe: Soy cappuccino

Soy cappuccino

It seems I have found two excuses to visit my sister more frequently.

Fernandes Patisserie
516 Marrickville Rd
Dulwich Hill NSW 2203
(02) 9568 2114

Sideways Deli Cafe
37 Constitution Rd
Dulwich Hill NSW 2203
(02) 9560 1425
www.sidewaysdelicafe.com.au